View Full Version : America's First Muslimah Judge

05-19-2008, 03:29 PM
America's First Muslimah Judge
Zakia Mahasa, Master Chancery in the Family Division of the Baltimore City Circuit Court
by Nadirah Z. Sabir, Azizah magazine.

Zakia Mahasa, the first Muslimah ever to be appointed to a judgeship in the American courts, never apologizes for who she is; instead, she gains respect and accumulates success after success by focusing on being outstanding at whatever she does.

A powerful presence in the courtroom and a dynamic woman who knows her own mind, Zakia has possessed this drive to achieve and strong sense of direction since her earliest years.

"When I was about four years old," she smiles, "I was reading the newspaper. There's a game, Wishing Well. 'You'd count the letters in a name--mine spelled out, One day, you'll be a lawyer or doctor.' So I thought, I have to do really well in kindergarten so I can get into a really good first grade!"

Since then Zakia's fortunes have multiplied with the power of that kind of determination and focus and on her belief in God. She asserts passionately that what gives her the aplomb to pursue her interests and to be herself is her Islamic faith.

"You really have to have a certainty and surety and confidence about yourself," as a Muslimah, Zakia advises. "It carries me through everything I do. My way of life [as a Muslimah] is superior to anything out there. I believe God wanted me in this position."

Zakia's study of Islam began while she was an undergraduate at the University of Maryland, where she was majoring in business management. She declared her shahadah [profession of faith] a year later.

"It was initially difficult for my mother," Zakia recalls. "I had a cousin who had a bad experience with the Nation of Islam." But Zakia knew her path and stuck to it, and by the time Ramadan came, only two weeks after her conversion, Zakia says her mother "had my meals ready at the end of the day!"

Zakia's father had more pragmatic concerns over his daughter's conversion to Islam. Since Zakia was headed toward law school at that time, he wondered whether there would be any place for a Muslimah in the circles of American law. Zakia herself was not at all worried. She explains, "Islam really does free you of all that. If God wants it for you, nobody can take it away. I felt that as long as I looked professional and really knew what I was doing," success would follow.

Zakia's father asserted that appearances are important in the legal profession, but Zakia would not compromise her faith. "When I first became Muslim, from the very beginning I was covered," she says. "At work I knew it was important to look professional. I dress well. I wear suits, skirts, dresses, blazers. They're longer, looser. I don't wear over-garments to work, but it's evident I'm being modest. My hair is always covered, but pulled back and out of the way. I did my research and I am convinced that I am properly covered; you can dress many ways and still be properly covered."

Much of her success Zakia attributes directly to this refusal to betray herself or her Islamic principles in order to be accepted by or blend in with others. Of her iman [faith], she says firmly, "I don't wear it on my sleeve. But I don't hide it. It's who I am." If you stand for what you are, even if it is different from the mainstream, Zakia believes, others will respect you.

"My being a Muslim doesn't mean I'm standoffish or reclusive. I'm very approachable," she says.

Above all, she advises, in order to earn the respect of others, "You have to be good," at what you do.

Zakia excels at what she does. As Master Chancery in the family division of the Baltimore City Circuit Court, she presides over domestic cases, hearing anywhere from nine to thirty of them a day. These cases tend to be emotional and complicated, involving abused, neglected and delinquent children. Zakia unabashedly brings a healthy Islamic outlook to her work, believing that often the best way to propagate Islam is by example.

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05-19-2008, 07:08 PM
:sl:Wow go sister! Masha allah! Thanks for sharing:w:

medlink student
05-19-2008, 07:59 PM
Great then! mashallah! Allah Akbar!

Islam is growing alhamdulelah and they can't stop us.
i'm happy for the sister:)

05-19-2008, 08:06 PM
oh mashallah thats tiight, hah we takin over and dey cant do nothin bout it. lol
so sandra day o connor...i fink..was the first women judge or something. i dunno i had an esay bout her but it was mostly plajerized (however u spell it) so i dunt kno what i even wrote. lol. i dunno who she is or wut she did but i kno she has somefin to do wit courts and lady.
neway now we gotta first muslimah judge, thats great mashallah
Jazakallah kahir

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05-19-2008, 08:51 PM
My way of life [as a Muslimah] is superior to anything out there. I believe God wanted me in this position."

does this job not come under judging in a non muslims court-other than what Allah has revealed-Taghut?

05-20-2008, 01:38 PM
How a headstrong Slovakian teenager found solace and contentment in Islam.

I converted to Islam just over one year ago. I'm from Slovakia (Europe), but I lived in England for 2 two years and also in Holland. I never really cared about any religion. I didn't have religious friends or anything like that. I was a usual teenager. Then I left home when I was 18 and went to work in England as an au-pair. I loved it. And of course I went really wild.

When I was 21 I came to Holland. I was unhappy for a long time. I met my husband just 2 weeks after my arrival. We fell head over heels in love and he introduced me to Islam. I needed it. I have a very strong personality and say what I want. It brought me trouble sometimes. I have a diploma from Commercial College, two certificates for English (one for tourism and business) and know a lot about the world of economy and politics.

But I needed some spirituality. I found it in God. It might seem I did it for my husband, but it is not true. He said it was my own decision whether I do it or not. Since I did I feel very happy. Somehow complete and fulfilled. It is difficult at times to explain to my parents or friends, but they try to understand.

I know I did some bad things in my life, but I also believe that our Creator is the Most-forgiving, Most-merciful. I'm trying to be as good as I can. Islam brought me my freedom and happiness. It's hard to explain how I feel, but I know that my fellow sisters and brothers will understand how it is to stand alone. My home country is very intolerant against Muslims, so I'll have a hard time when I go and see my parents. But God will help me to go through it.

There are still things I need to find out and I cannot wait to know them all. I realised one thing since I became a Muslimah and started wearing Hijab. Fellow Muslims smile at me and say Inshaalah or Alhamdulillah. It's a great feeling.

This is my story in short. Peace be upon you all. Ma`a assalama,


04-15-2017, 03:46 PM
Sheila Abdus-Salaam: New Yorkers mourn judge's death

Tributes flow in for first black woman to serve as a judge on New York's highest court after unexplained death.

Tributes were paid on Thursday to Sheila Abdus-Salaam, the first African-American woman to serve on New York's highest court.

Police pulled Abdus-Salaam's fully clothed body from the Hudson River on Wednesday, a day after she was reported missing. The 65-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene. No cause of death has been announced.

There were no signs a crime had been committed in her death, a police spokesman said on Thursday.

Law enforcement officials speaking on condition of anonymity told US media that investigators were treating the death as a suicide.

One of the officials said both the judge's mother and brother had died in recent years around Easter, the brother by suicide.

Results of an autopsy conducted on Thursday were inconclusive.

"The cause and manner of death are pending further studies following today's examination," Julie Bolcer, a spokeswoman for the city's medical examiner, said in a statement.
Abdus-Salaam was widely reported to have been the country's first female Muslim judge.

Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo hailed Abdus-Salaam as "a trailblazing jurist whose life in public service was in pursuit of a more fair and more just New York for all".

"As the first African-American woman to be appointed to the state's Court of Appeals, she was a pioneer," Cuomo said. "Through her writings, her wisdom and her unshakable moral compass, she was a force for good whose legacy will be felt for years to come."

'Bright legal mind'

Chief Judge Janet DiFiore said her colleague will be "missed deeply".

"Her personal warmth, uncompromising sense of fairness and bright legal mind were an inspiration to all of us who had the good fortune to know her," DiFiore said.

Nihad Awad, national executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said her example and work on civil rights issues were inspiring to women, Muslims, and African Americans.

"Her story was a story of success, empowerment and inspiration," he said.

The president of the New York State Bar Association, Claire P Gutekunst, noted Abdus-Salaam grew up poor in a family of seven children in Washington, DC, and "rose to become one of the seven judges in New York's highest court, where her intellect, judicial temperament and wisdom earned her wide respect".

Abdus-Salaam graduated from Barnard College and received her law degree from Columbia Law School. She became a public defender in Brooklyn after law school, the New York Times said, representing people who could not afford lawyers.

She went on to serve as a lawyer for New York state government and city's office of labour services.

In one of her first cases, she won an anti-discrimination suit for more than 30 female New York City bus drivers who had been denied promotions.
She held a series of judicial posts after being elected to a New York City judgeship in 1991.

On Twitter and Facebook, some social media users criticised what they called a muted reaction to Abdus-Salaam's death, while others alleged foul play.

Inna lillahi wa'inna ilaihi raji'oon


04-15-2017, 04:20 PM
Inna lillahi wa inna ilaiyhi rajeeon.

Muslimah inshal
04-15-2017, 04:39 PM
Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi rajioon

Finding MEMO
04-15-2017, 10:09 PM
إِنَّا لِلّهِ وَإِنَّـا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعونَ

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