The Muslim American Society (MAS) is a comprehensive American reform movement founded on the deep, balanced understanding of Islam. MAS aims to revive the faith, develop and unite the Muslim community, contribute profoundly to the betterment of society, and promote the universal values of Islam within the framework of American pluralistic society.
MAS is an independent, grassroots, non-profit organization that engages in religious, educational, social, and civic activities. Its comprehensive vision translates into an array of institutions and departments that pioneer in all fields of Islamic work. With chapters in every metropolitan area, MAS has established youth centers, social service agencies, educational institutions, scouting troops, and an array of community development programs that positively impact the lives of thousands of Americans. Whether through MAS Freedom Foundation, MAS Youth chapters, the Islamic American University, or MAS Outreach programs, MAS aims to engage and serve all areas of our community and society. In our model, people come first—organizations are just means to serve them and touch their lives.
Through active participation in societal affairs and peaceful civic engagement, MAS pursues its mission to establish the universal values of Islam within the framework of the U.S. Constitution. This approach of civic engagement is rooted in the Quran and the teachings of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him. Religious and civic duties are congruent—our nation's government guarantees the basic freedoms needed to live and promote Islam.
MAS' understanding of Islam is bound only by the original sources of Islamic guidance: the Quran and the authentic Prophetic example, interpreted in light of our reality. MAS is inspired by the accumulated experiences of past and present Muslim scholars, thinkers, reformers, and reform movements—interpreted in the American context and bound by the original sources. MAS embraces everything beneficial in the human heritage. The tenets of our comprehensive, balanced Islamic understanding are the following:
1. Allah is Our Goal. Godliness, or Ar-Rabbaniyyah, means that all of our actions and speech are centered on fulfilling Allah's will to earn His pleasure. That is why we concentrate on connecting ourselves and our community to Allah and aligning our lives with His Guidance.
2. Islam is the Ultimate Source of Guidance. We believe in the validity, relevance, and superiority of the divine guidance of Islam. We are convinced that it is the only system capable of guiding humanity to the path of truth, goodness, justice, and peace. We believe Islam secures happiness and success, both in this life and the Hereafter, for all those who choose to embrace its way of life.
3. The Flexibility and Relevance of Islam.We believe that Islam is a complete and timeless system, with a built-in flexibility that allows it to evolve and accommodate change and progress, without diluting its essence. Indeed, Islam shuns all forms of extremism and stagnation, for it is intended to be applicable and relevant to all times and in all human circumstances. Among Islamic teachings is the concept that every useful idea can be embraced by Muslims, as long as it is compatible with core Islamic principles.
4. Comprehensiveness, Balance, and Moderation.We understand Islam as the Prophet, peace be upon him, understood it—a comprehensive way of life that we should strive to live in totality. Our understanding of Islam is characterized by moderation and balance between all dimensions of life and all aspects of Islamic work. Indeed, Islam is a religion of moderation. It empowers and appeals to all that is good in human nature and denounces every brand of extremism.
Our Mission: Dawah & Islah
Islam is our way of life and our life mission. A cornerstone in MAS thought is the correlation between the personal relationship to God and the individual's commitment to social activism on earth. The connection is clear in the following two verses:
"Be mindful of God, as is His due." The Quran, 3:102 [Personal relationship with Allah]
"Strive hard for Allah, as is His due." The Quran, 22:78 [The obligation of activism]
So, as we strive to live Islam in its totality, we also work to spread the message of Islam and positively influence our community and country. We believe that dawah, spreading the message of Islam, and islah, social activism, are an essential part of the Muslim's identity and the key responsibility of the community of believers. Islam is a universal message and a comprehensive system that brings goodness and success to all people. Promoting Islam and advocating its values is the only way to fulfill our purpose and mission: to worship God, guide humanity to what is good, and be witnesses and examples for mankind.
Many Quranic verses emphasize this mission assigned to the community of believers. Among them are:
"Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good, enjoining what is right, and forbidding what is wrong: They are the ones to attain felicity." The Quran, 3:104
"O you who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah." The Quran, 4:135
Our Methodology: Tarbiyah & Organized Work
Promoting Islam is the obligation of every Muslim. Unity—not a token unity, but one that achieves the mission of Islam—is an individual obligation and a condition to effectively fulfill the believers' responsibility of dawah and islah. It is crucial that our work be collective and organized. Following the directives of the Quran and Sunnah, we believe in the necessity of a structured, comprehensive movement with correct methodology and deep understanding. This movement, rooted in the Prophetic model and cognizant of our society's reality, must have a comprehensive vision and integrated institutions to deploy resources, streamline individual effort, and effectively organize and mobilize the Muslim community.
MAS strives to emulate the Prophetic model. Indeed, the prophet built a movement to fulfill the mission assigned to the believers. Embracing Islam meant joining the Islamic movement, and all believers were members of that movement under the Prophet's leadership. Within the American community, our mission of comprehensive reform and the multifaceted challenges we face demand that we span all fronts of social, political, and community work. We can only answer this call as a unified movement. In order to streamline our efforts, we need plans, systems, and institutions to effectively organize and mobilize the Muslim community.
Collective, organized work is an obligation upon the community of believers. In order to successfully achieve this work and unity, two elements must be present: tarbiyah and institution-building.
1.Tarbiyah. Tarbiyah is the continuous process of inculcating the teachings of Islam and empowering people to fulfill the mission of dawah and islah on this earth. As they strive to promote Islam, believers should embody the teachings of Islam and develop themselves as models and exemplary citizens. Tarbiyah, a cornerstone of the MAS Prophetic methodology, is the pursuit of excellence, self-empowerment, and unity that achieves the mission.
This endless process of self-development and purification also enables members and potential members to reach their full potential, prepare themselves for the mission, and join the movement that coordinates and streamlines their efforts. The process fosters unity of purpose, shared vision, teamwork, and true brotherhood among the believers. It also orients members to a decisive system of consultation and compliance that minimizes argumentation and preserves unity despite differences. These elements are essential to sustaining an effective team that works together to fulfill its mission.
2. Institution-Building. MAS strives to be practical and action-oriented, building institutions to develop the community, organize activities, and offer services. These institutions work to implement MAS' mission in every field, all the while deploying MAS members undergoing the tarbiyah process, offering practical training to individuals, and recruiting new members.
MAS institutions are critical in the synergetic model of tarbiyah and activism. The MAS mission is translated into a comprehensive agenda of reform, which is realized through an array of specialized institutions and departments. MAS is determined to develop and unify the community, and will constantly invite, educate, train, and organize more members within its institutions and ranks.
Membership in MAS
MAS is a movement of dedicated Muslims from diverse backgrounds who work collectively towards the mission that Allah entrusted them with. Every American Muslim who has a keen interest in learning more about Islam, applying it to his or her life, spreading its message, and advocating its values is welcome to join MAS. MAS offers Muslims the vehicle through which Islamic work can be conducted cooperatively, efficiently, and thus more successfully.
MAS has multi-level membership to accommodate all members of the community who want to be associated with MAS. Membership categories in MAS include Associate, Adjunct, Regular, and Active. Individuals can be at the level they choose, provided they meet the requirements for that level in terms of understanding, commitment, and involvement.
MAS Chapters & Institutions
MAS chapters all over the United States are working to realize the mission of MAS at the local level. Implementing MAS programs, recruiting members, and empowering the work of MAS' national departments, the local chapters are MAS' grassroots. An array of integrated and comprehensive national departments and institutions direct and streamline MAS efforts across the country. These departments include:
MAS Council of Islamic Schools
Enhances and standardizes the performance of Islamic schools through networking, evaluation, training, and curriculum development.
MAS Freedom Foundation
Fulfills the Islamic mandate of social activism by mobilizing, organizing, and empowering our community. The Freedom Foundation promotes effective civic participation through education, training, and coalition-building, providing a better society for our community and all Americans.
MAS Outreach Department
Fosters mutual understanding and cooperation for the greater good by engaging all components of the society and empowering the community with material and skills to be civically engaged.
Islamic American University
Promotes Islamic knowledge for all members of the community and trains future scholars with relevant, in-depth knowledge. IAU offers on-site and online courses leading to an array of undergraduate and graduate degrees.
The Tarbiyah Department equips MAS members and potential members with the proper understanding, spirituality, character, discipline, and skills necessary to fulfill the mission. Through the department's programs, MAS members are empowered and integrated into an effective team, held together by a resilient spirit of brotherhood.
MAS Youth serves all American youth through a wide array of programs and services. The MAS Youth mission is to develop and nurture, through knowledge and practice, committed Muslim young men and women capable of spreading and giving root to the comprehensive understanding of Islam, and to prepare them to be at the forefront in the development of their communities.
Provides personal development programs for children, teaching them religion as well as other necessary traits and skills. The department's programs teach discipline, teamwork, responsibility, self-confidence, and leadership skills.
MAS Youth and Community Centers
Provide a healthy recreational and educational environment that the entire family can enjoy.
MAS Quran Institute
Aims at preserving the Quran by helping Muslims in America connect to Islam's holy book through recitation, memorization, and deepened understanding.
National and Regional Conventions
MAS conventions offer an environment for the entire Muslim community to meet with scholars, experts, and leaders addressing religious and contemporary issues. MAS conventions provide opportunity for each family member to learn, socialize, be trained, and find opportunities to get involved.