Who we are
SPENTEM is a non-profit pending religious institution that serves as a residential reentry center for Muslim men who are making the transition back into society from prison. In addition, we maintain a functioning masjid for all community members to come worship, listen to Friday sermons and participate in workshops and courses that teach a specific interpretation of Islam according to an urban lens without compromising traditional theological principles.
Through our academy we provide a utility-based education for Urban Muslims that prepares them for a real-world experience.
Allah says: “And let there arise out of you a group inviting to all that is Khair (righteous and sound) —enjoining what is good and forbidding what is bad.” 3:104
SPENTEM believes you should "come as you are," which does not mean that you will leave as you came.
Our methodology aims to maintain the parts of the urban identity that are self-affirming while refining other areas that may need attention in order to make our men better sons, husbands, fathers and citizens.
The name SPENTEM is a portmanteau which combines our three core principles, spirituality, enterprise and empathy.
We believe the first generation of Muslims utilized these three fundamental tools to achieve a level of autonomy, certainty and influence that has yet to be duplicated.
Utilizing the key elements of the book 44 Ways to Manhood, written by our founder, we explore ways to be authentically Muslim without losing our western, urban context.
Our Ten-Point Code
1 . HUNAFAA: We believe in the monotheistic principles of Hunafaa, which along with recognizing Allah's unity, encompass a moral code of conduct that emphasizes understanding polytheism in its many forms and how we may slip into its grasp without realizing.
2. URBAN SUNNAH: We believe in following the pious predecessors in applying the Sunnah with wisdom as it relates to meeting practical objectives according to geographic location, social and cultural context. We don't advocate for blind imitation of traditional Muslim cultural practices, which may not be congruent with true Islam.
3. FINANCIAL AUTONOMY: We believe that many of the moral shortcomings of our brotherhood are the results of spending too much time in working environments that are devoid of moral and spiritual benefit. Not having enough time spent in the company of upright Muslims takes a toll on one's faith and practice. Working for yourself, making your own schedule allows time to observe the rights of Allah within a circle of upright men. In addition, we also believe that true asceticism is found in being independent of the need to ask others for provision.
4. STRATEGIC SOCIAL INTERVENTION: We believe organized people & organized money can be enough of a catalyst for social change and that every human being must find a proximate injustice that they should struggle to peacefully dismantle.
5. ORGANIZATIONAL INTEGRITY: We believe that asking for donations and pledges to sustain our program is an outdated model that does a disservice to our community members and opens the door to donor monopolization.
6. FEARLESS FELLOWSHIP: We believe in cooperation and fellowship with our non-Muslim neighbors. We embrace our identity as Americans and believe that practicing true Islam helps edify our citizenship.
7. COMPLEMENTARIANISM: The word complement derives from the Latin word complere, which refers to something that completes something else. We believe in complementarianism. This means that men and women are created equal and both need each other even though each has unique responsibilities. Men are generally the maintainers and protectors of their families while women are the nucleus and guideposts for their households. Each gender should realize their full potential in education, career and personal achievement while following a prophetic trajectory that best suits their strengths.
8. CONDITIONAL BROTHERHOOD: Many Urban Muslims are caught in a cycle of negative behavior and they expect fidelity from other Muslims due to the rights they believe Islam affords them. On the contrary, we believe that Muslim brotherhood is contingent upon one's obedience to Allah and not simply being loyal to every person who testifies that they're Muslim. If a person recognizes and admits the moral and spiritual transgressions he commits openly then he deserves help in improving his condition. However we do not embrace Muslims who normalize the use of drugs, commit crimes and have no regard for religious protocol or societal law.
9. TRAUMA ENGINEERING: We believe that helping system-affected men understand the scope and sequence of the trauma in their lives will open up new discoveries and insights which will ultimately allow them to achieve self-realization in the form of consistent worship of Allah and self-reliance, which will assist them in becoming righteous fathers, sons, husbands and community members.
10. SHIELD RITUALS: We believe that the only way to protect oneself from spiritual atrophy and immorality is through the divine remedies found in remembering Allah individually and in groups via daily Quran recitation, night prayer, regular fasting and living a life of service.
Man at the Threshold
The visual representation of our program, Man at the Threshold symbolizes Allah's Mercy for those incarcerated Muslims who have repented and do good works.
The man represents the criminalization and mass incarceration of urban men.
The image is encouragement that doors will open for those who follow guidance.
..."O my servants who have transgressed against their own souls recklessly, do not despair in Allah's Mercy. Without a doubt He forgives all sins. Surely He is Forgiving, Full of Mercy."