In the Path of Islam is a community-driven project amplifying the diverse voices of Philadelphia’s indigenous Muslim community, born and raised in the city, while engaging all Philadelphians who feel a connection with Islam. The project is inspired by the books and paintings made in Muslim lands that are housed at the Free Library of Philadelphia.
In the Path of Islam Exhibition
The William B. Dietrich Gallery on the Third Floor of Parkway Central Library will host an exhibit curated by Philadelphians from around the city. It includes one-of-a-kind art and artifacts from one thousand years of Muslim culture alongside treasures and ephemera from the homes of Philadelphia Muslims. In the Path of Islam is a place to share the stories of Islam and to celebrate Philadelphia as a center for Black American Muslims. The exhibit will be complemented with a traveling exhibition showing off the Free Library’s largest Qur’an, a collection of indigenous Muslim dolls designed here in Philadelphia, and ancient and modern Arabic calligraphy. The exhibits are available to neighborhood libraries, schools, and masajid upon request during the project period.
In the Path of Islam Lecture Series
A monthly free lecture series beginning in February with From Africa to the Americas at Masjid Al-Wasatiyah Wal-Itidaa. Other topics include "How to Nourish the Body During Fasting", "The History of Islam in Philadelphia", and "Women In Islam". Full details can be found on our Events Calendar, and both in-person and virtual lectures will be recorded.
View past recorded lectures and programs!
The Philadelphia Muslim Oral History Project
A podcast series recording and preserving the experiences of Philadelphia Muslim community members, as they share stories that bring to light marginalized perspectives that have been overlooked and left out of history books. Recordings begin early-January 2022 and will be accessible via popular podcast platforms.
Children's Programming: Art on the Road
A collaborative art installation led by two professional artists and inspired by an item in our Digital Collections. The artists will travel to participating libraries, schools, and masajid, guiding participants to contribute to a shared work of art through decoration, painting, and calligraphy. When complete, the art piece will be displayed around the city.
Getting To Know Me: Ayesha and Raghad
Groups, school classes, or libraries can check out one of two circulating trunks, consisting of objects from the homes of Philadelphia Muslims. Ayesha is an indigenous Muslim born and raised in West Philadelphia, and Raghad is Palestinian and raised in Jordan. Children learn about who they are from their personal objects. The circulating trunks come with a companion guide to help educators talk about the objects with children.
Circulating Collections: Getting to Know Me – Ayesaha »
Circulating Collections: Getting to Know Me – Raghad »
Virtual Arabic Conversation and Arabic Artistic Expressions Classes
In this collaboration with Al-Bustan Seed of Culture, students can choose to practice the sounds and letters of the Arabic language, learn basic grammar, and common vocabulary and phrases. There is also the option to enroll in an Arabic Artistic Expressions Class. Taught mostly in English, students will be introduced to iconic Arab theater, songs, videos, and films. Toward the end of the series, students will produce artistic expressions that reflect what they have learned in class. This could include short theater scenes, videos, digital expressions, or any work the student chooses. All classes are taught by Professor Fadi Skeiker, Theater Professor from the University of the Arts.
Please note: All February Arabic Conversation Classes classes are now full.
Arabic Artistic Expressions classes in March are still open.
Additional programs can be found on the Event Calendar. Please check back for details as dates and locations may change.
Browse the Calendar of Events»
For information about the In the Path of Islam project, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Who are indigenous Muslims? You may have noticed this term; here’s the perspective of Shahadah Abdul-Rashid, an indigenous Muslimah and member of the project team: "'Indigenous Muslim' is a descriptive term used by many American Muslims to describe their cultural roots. The adjective indigenous, spelled with a lowercase i, denotes being born and raised in the United States as distinct from having another native culture and country of birth. While not exclusive to African-American Black Muslims, "indigenous Muslim" is a term of self-identification for a community who celebrates its diversity but also recognizes itself as American as apple pie."
The project team for In the Path of Islam is Shahadah Abdul-Rashid, Hudhaifah Abdulhayy, Yaroub Al Obaidi, Caitlin Goodman, and Joseph Shemtov, but the project would not have been possible without the work of many Free Library divisions, including Collection Care, Communications, the Culinary Literacy Center, Development and Institutional Giving, Digital Development, Graphics, the Neighborhood Libraries, and Special Collections. We'd also like to thank Victor Jackson for his exhibit design.
In the Path of Islam is made possible in part by the Council on Libraries and Information Resources, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art, The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, the Independence Foundation, and John McFadden and Lisa Kabnick through support to the Free Library of Philadelphia Foundation.