Black Muslim Joy
The 2023 Black Muslim Psychology Conference (BMPC2023) explores the art, science and practice of Black Muslim Joy as an essential ingredient in our healing and well-being. It is inspired by the ayat in the Qu’ran [10:58]: “In the grace, mercy and bounty of Allah let them rejoice, that is far better than any wealth…” This is a reminder that joy not only contributes to our sense of belonging and community, but also allows us to cherish our connection to each other and the Almighty - and this connection is priceless!
For Black Muslims, joy can be especially important because the experience of being Black and Muslim in America can be particularly challenging. Systemic racism, discrimination, and the intergenerational trauma of slavery and oppression can take a toll on our mental health and well-being. Engaging in rituals of joy can help us counterbalance these challenges by providing moments of respite and celebration. These rituals can take many forms, including prayer, meditation, music, dance, and communal gatherings like BMPC! These gatherings help sustain us through difficult times, while also lifting up the beauty and strength we have been given.
"...in the grace, mercy and bounty of Allah, let them rejoice..."
-Holy Quran 10:58
At BMPC2023, will explore these questions:
How do we understand the importance of joy, creativity, play and imagination, amidst marginalization and erasure of Black Muslim narratives?
What are the most joyful practices which have nourished our communities, in the past and present? How have these practices changed and evolved over time?
What strategies have been most helpful in preserving the legacy of our rituals of Black Muslim joy?
Imagine: It is now the year 2043. You are living and thriving in a community in which every believer is valued and appreciated. What do you love most about this community? What are you most proud of? What brings you joy?”
This unique gathering was held for the first time in Philadelphia, in the summer of 2015, on the auspicious coinciding occasions of Ramadan and the 150th anniversary of Juneteenth. Our inaugural conference brought together a small, but diverse group of Black Muslims from across the nation, representing a range of Afro-diasporic identities and approaches to Islamic practice—to create a community centered on the intersectional lived experiences that make up Black Islam in America. That inaugural conference relied on the insights of a talented, insightful cross-section of our community’s best and brightest: our community activists, physicians, psychologists, anthropologists, spiritual leaders, poets, historians, artists, educators, and other experts on the Black Muslim experience. The result was amazing—and we have been blessed to continue to grow the space, improve upon and expand what we offer to more members of our community. Alhamdulillah, we are approaching our 8th year of organizing a one of kind experience centering Black Muslims and healing.