Local Time

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Lessons

*Sent In By Shane Hopkins (Yusuf)*

A Mosque goer wrote a letter to the editor of a newspaper and complained that it made no sense to go to Mosque. "I've gone for 30 years now, "he wrote, "and in that time I have heard something like 3,000 Lectures.

But for the life of me, I can't remember a single one of them. So, I think I'm wasting my time and the Imams are wasting theirs by giving Lectures at all."

This started a real controversy in the "Letters to the Editor" column, much to the delight of the editor. It went on for weeks until someone wrote this clincher.

"I've been married for 30 years now. In that time my wife has cooked some 32,000 meals. But for the life of me, I cannot recall the entire menu for a single one of those meals. But I do know this: They all nourished me and gave me the strength I needed to do my work. If my wife had not given me these meals, I would be physically dead today.

Likewise, if I had not gone to Mosque for nourishment, I would be spiritually dead today!"

When you are DOWN to nothing....Allah is UP to something! Faith sees the invisible, believes the incredible and receives the impossible!

Thank Allah for our physical AND our spiritual nourishment!

"When Shaitan is knocking at your door, simply say, " Allah, could you please get that for me?

Surah Isra 17:80 Say: "O my Lord! Let my entry be by the Gate of Truth and Honor and likewise my exit by the Gate of Truth and Honor; and grant me from Thy Presence an authority to aid (me)." *17:81"And say, Truth has (now) arrived, and Falsehood perished: For falsehood is (by its nature) bound to perish." *
--
All praises and thanks be to Allah, Lord of everything that exists.The most Gracious, the Most Merciful.Master of the Day of Judgment You (alone) we worship, and You (alone) we ask for help.Guide us to the Straight Way The Way of of those on whom You have bestowed Your Grace, not (the way) of those who earned Your Anger, nor those who went astray. Ameen

PERFECT SYSTEM OF LIFE

One day the Prophet of Islam seated himself in a mosque in Medina, along with some companions. Shortly thereafter, a Bedouin entered the mosque and began urinating. The Prophet’s Companions rose with the intention of beating the Bedouin. But the Prophet forbade them to do so, asking them to let him be. When the man had finished urinating, the Prophet asked the Companions to fetch a bucket of water and wash the place clean.

Afterwards he explained to his Companions:

“You are sent to make things easy and not to make things difficult” (Fathul Bari, 1/386).

This illustrates for us an unwavering principle of Islam, that is, in social life when any unpleasant incident takes place, the believers should concentrate on finding a solution to the problem and not just think in terms of what punishment to mete out to the problem-maker. On all such occasions the urge to reform should be engendered within the believers instead of a desire to exact revenge. Such methods should be adopted as alleviate rather than aggravate the problem. Just as when some building is set on fire, the most natural impulse is to immediately extinguish it, rather than fan the flames to make it flare up even more.

In most controversial matters there can be both easy and difficult ways of resolving the problem. Treading the path of facility usually eases matters, whereas treading the path of difficulty can cause matters to flare up with even greater intensity. In all situations, Islam gives preference to the former, rather than to the latter approach.

This is an eternal principle of Islam, relating to both personal and social life. It ought to be applied in all matters inside as well as outside the home. It is a perfect principle on which to base a perfect system of life.

Soul Power

Al-Istighfaar (Seeking Forgiveness)

The Messenger of Allah sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam (may the peace & blessings be upon him) said: "The master of supplications (the best dua) for forgiveness is that the servant says:


Allah hum ma anta rab bee, laa ilaa ha il laa ant, kha laq ta nee, wa a na a'b duk, wa a na a' la a'h dika wa wa` dika mas ta ta`t, a` outhu bika min shar ri ma sa na`t, a boo u laka bi ni` matika a' layya, wa a boo u bi tham bee, fagh fir lee fa innahu laa yagh firuth thunooba il laa ant.


O' Allah! You are my Lord, there is no God but You. You created me, and I am your bondservant, and I will stick to my covenant and promise [of faith and sincere obedience] to You, as to my ability. I seek refuge in You from the evil of what I have done, I acknowledge, to You, your bounties upon me, and I acknowledge, to You, my sin. Thus forgive me, for none forgives sins except You.


Whoever says this as they enters upon evening, then, dies that night, they would enter Paradise; and if one says this as they enters upon morning, then, dies that day, they would enter Paradise". [Al-Bukhari]


The servant is always in the blessings of Allah, which necessitate thankfulness, and in sinfulness, which requires seeking forgiveness. Both of these matters are required and essential for the servant at all times, as the servant does not cease to alternate between Allaah's (various) favors and blessings, and does not cease to be in need of repentance and seeking forgiveness.


This is why the Master of the Children of Adam, and the Leader of the Pious, Muhammad, sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam sought forgiveness in all circumstances. He said in an authentic hadeeth reported by al-Bukhari:

"O people, repent to your Lord, for verily I seek forgiveness from Allah and repent to him more than seventy times in a day."


It is reported in Saheeh Muslim that he said: "I seek forgiveness one hundred times in a day." [Muslim]


`Abdullah ibn `Umar (ra - may Allah be pleased with him) said: We counted in a single sitting the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam, saying one hundred times:


"Rab bigh fir lee wa tub `a layya in naka an tat taw waa bul gha foor."

[My Lord, forgive me and accept my repentance, verily you are Acceptor of Repentance, Oft-Forgiving.] [Ahmad, Abu Dawood, Ibn Maajah]


This is why seeking forgiveness was legislated at the end of actions. Allah the Exalted said:

"Those who seek forgiveness before dawn (at late night)." [Aal `Imraan (3):17]


Some of them said: "Give life to your nights by performing Prayer, and when the time of late night comes, concern yourself with seeking forgiveness."


It is related that the Prophet, sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam, when he finished his Prayer, he would seek forgiveness three times and say:


"Allah hum ma an tas sa laa mu, wa min kas sa laa mu, ta baa rakta ya thal ja laa li wal ik raam."


[O' Allah! You are 'As-Sa laam [One free from flaws], and from You comes Sa laam [peace, or safety], blessed are Thee O' Possessor of glory and kindness.] [Muslim]


Allah says:


"And seek forgiveness of Allah. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful."
[al-Muzammil (73):20]


(Even) After the Prophet (may the peace & blessings of Allah be upon him)peace conveyed the Message, fought in the path of Allah with true jihad, and performed what Allah ordered more than anyone else, Allah commanded his Prophet (to perform istighfar), as He the Exalted said


"When the victory of Allah has come and the conquest, and you see the people entering into the religion of Allah in multitudes, then exalt [Him] with praise of your Lord and ask forgiveness of Him. Indeed, He is ever Accepting of repentance." [An-Nasr (110):1-3]


This is why the Deen (Religion) is established with Tawheed (monotheism) and Istighfaar, as Allah the Exalted said:


"Alif Lam Ra. [This is] a Book whose verses are perfected an then presented in detail from [one who is] Wise and Acquainted. [Through a messenger, saying], "Do not worship except Allah. Indeed, I am to you from Him a warner and a bringer of good tidings," and [saying], "Seek forgiveness of your Lord and repent to Him, [and] He will let you enjoy a good provision." [Hood(11):1-3]


And Allah says:


"So take a straight course to Him and seek His forgiveness."[Fussilat (41):6].


And He says:


"So know [O Muhammad], that there is no deity except Allah and ask forgiveness for your sin and for the believing men and believing women." [Muhammad (47):19]


This is why it was it came in a narration: "The Shaytan (the devil) said: People are destroyed with sins, and they destroy me with 'Laa i laa ha il lal laah' and seeking forgiveness." [Reported by Ibn Abi Asim and Abu Ya`la, but its chain is a fabrication].


Yoonus (Jonah), `alayhis salam (peace be upon him), said:


"There is no deity except You; exalted are You. Indeed, I have been of the wrongdoers." [al-Anbiyaa' (21):87]


The Prophet, sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam, when he would ride his mount, he would praise Allah, then say Allahu Akbar (God is the Greatest) three times, then say:


"Laa i laaa ha il laa anta sub haa nak, thal lam tu naf see, fagh fir lee."


[I testify that there is no God except You, Glorified are You, I have transgressed upon myself, so forgive me] [Abu Dawood]


Expiation of a gathering with which the gathering is completed is (the supplication):


"Sub haa na kal laa hum ma, wa bi ham di ka, ash ha du an laa i laa ha il laaa ant,as tagh fi ru ka wa a too bu ilayk."


Glorified are You O' Allah and I am in Your praise, I testify that there is no 'ilah except You, I ask Your forgiveness and repent unto You. [Abu Dawood]


Allah knows best, and may His blessings and peace be upon [the Prophet] Muhammad.

Ibn Taymiyyah (Sheikh al-Islam)

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Girls of the ummah!

by bint Pandor

You got a scarf on your head
But jeans that stick to your skin
Your stomach is revealed
You’re into the SIN
When asked what you are
Your culture you name
Muslim don’t cross your tongue
What a pity what a shame!
You take pride in the tops
That reveals your back
Cleavage not an issue
It’s with the pack
Now it’s fashion to wear the scarf
In the way you do
Julia Stiles did it in save the last dance
Now you should too!
Your hair it is styled
With the gel and the mouse
You got the hip hugging jeans
With the matching shoes
You wake up at dawn
To apply your face
So guys can pick you up
What a disgrace!
You infuriated girl
Hit the road of the west
Your born in the truth
But you observe the rest
You do the dating scene
And the kissing guys
You think they’re the world
Open your eyes
Encouraging Muslim boys
To do the same?
But it’s all-good,
With the Muslim name
At least he is Muslim
That’s what your friends say
Encouraging a ummati
In the same way
Your life revolves around him
Your heart it does the dance
Pitiful are you
Within haram romance
DON’T YOU SEE…
Life doesn’t travel
Farther than the grave
It’ll pass you faster
If the world you crave
You think your getting educated
When you hit the school
But they’re playing you like puppets
You’re the fool
And those who do fear god
Those whom you tease
When you toss in the flames
They’ll cool in the breeze
Don’t you love the prophet?
Who was stoned for you?
Whose last words were for us?
Who came with the truth
The mothers of believer
Who cast their gaze down?
The best of the women
Upon you they would frown
Disgusting girl have some shame within you
While they cast their gaze down, you stare right through
While they feared Allah, the alone the True
You think the only problem is if people see you
What would my parents say, will I be allowed out again
Society will gossip, it’ll be the end
But little do you assume about the end that is near
And if only your death and Allah you fear
But you know the truth, there’s only so much I can say
And the guilt only lasts before you go back to the way
So before you turn back and to parties you attend
There is one small thing I do recommend
No matter where you go and what you decide to do
Just remember that Allah is always around you
Fear him more than being “caught” fear him there
And when you start to realize, then you’ll start to care
And the rest of the girls will disgust you true
If it worked for me it can work for you
Taste the sweetness of the veil and cover up well
And make the hereafter your eternity in Jannah you’ll dwell
So take off the shamelessness, throw off the nudity
Be a Muslimah stand proud most of all as an ummati!

Be a basket case!

An old American Muslim lived on a farm in the mountains of eastern Kentucky with his young grandson. Each morning Grandpa was up early sitting at the kitchen table reading his Quraan .

His grandson wanted to be just like him and tried to imitate him in every way he could. One day the grandson asked, "Papa, I try to read the Quraan just like you but I don't understand it, and what I do understand I forget as soon as I close the book. What good does reading the Quraan do?"

The Grandfather quietly turned from putting coal in the stove and replied, "Take this coal basket down to the river and bring me back a basket of water." The boy did as he was told, but all the water leaked out before he got back to the house. The grandfather laughed and said, "You'll have to move a little faster next time," and sent him back to the river with the basket to try again. This time the boy ran faster, but again the basket was empty before he returned home. Out of breath, he told his grandfather that it was impossible to carry water in a basket, and he went to get a bucket instead.

The old man said, "I don't want a bucket of water; I want a basket of water. You're just not trying hard enough," and he went out the door to watch the boy try again.

At this point, the boy knew it was impossible, but he wanted to show his grandfather that even if he ran as fast as he could, the water would leak out before he got back to the house.

The boy again dipped the basket into river and ran hard, but when he reached his grandfather the basket was again empty.

Out of breath, he said, "See Papa, it's useless!"

"So you think it is useless?" The old man said, "Look at the basket."

The boy looked at the basket and for the first time realized that the basket was different. It had been transformed from a dirty old coal basket and was now clean, inside and out.

"Son, that's what happens when you read the Quraan. You might not understand or remember everything, but when you read it, you will be changed, inside and out. That is the work of Allah in our lives."

Clash of the Uncivilized: Insights on the Cartoon Controversy

By Imam Zaid Shakir

As the crisis that has emerged in the aftermath of the publication of the infamous cartoons that claim to depict the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of God upon him, escalates, we would do well by stepping back and attempting to analyze the situation as dispassionately as possible. By doing so, as Muslims, we can hopefully formulate a more productive and meaningful response, and avoid being exploited by either side in the ongoing conflict. Saying this, I do not mean to imply that Muslims are not justifiably angry over the caricatures. However, I would agree with those who argue that responses that involve wild outbreaks of frenzied violence are inappropriate, and they only affirm what the cartoonist is trying to imply. Namely, that Islam is a religion that encourages obscurantist violence and terrorism.

The current crisis shows the extent we Muslims are vulnerable to media manipulation, superficial shows of piety, and counterproductive one-upmanship militancy. If we start with the issue of media manipulation, it is clear that Western and Eastern media outlets played a large role in stirring up Muslim, and now Western sentiments. When the crisis initially broke in September, it was barely a blip on the media radar. Few outside of Denmark even knew of the cartoons. The Danish Muslim community, appropriately, by and large ignored the story. [1] It was only after a campaign undertaken by a delegation of Danish Muslim community activists to stimulate greater interest in the issue that the crisis reached the proportions we are currently witnessing. These activists traveled throughout the Muslim East trying to draw attention to the issue. When the issue was popularized by Iqra and other Arab satellite channels, and the cartoons were reprinted by several European papers, the crisis deepened. In light of that reality, it would be hard to deny the role the media has played in sparking and now perpetuating the crisis.

A question we must ask is if these cartoons, which are an example of hundreds of other anti-Islamic slights occurring daily in Europe and America, were not brought to the attention of Muslims by the media, would we be undergoing the current brouhaha? - Clearly not. That being the case, what does this say about our strategic vision? What does this say about our level of political maturity? And what does it say about our ability to engage in meaningful proactive work? The answers to these questions are obvious. We get angry about Israeli troops breaking the bones of Palestinian children, as long as it is in the media. When it disappears from our television screens, our interest vanishes with it. We raise millions of dollars for those affected by the Tsunami, as long as the images of death and destruction are beamed into our homes by the media. However, when the coverage shifts to other issues, the donations dry up. As for those crises that do not make the news in a big way, such as the ongoing famines in Mali, Niger, and the Horn of Africa, we are hardly stirred to action.

Furthermore, we go on living our lives oblivious to the ongoing abuse of Islam and our Prophet, peace and blessing of God upon him, until it becomes a major media event. At that point based on urgings issued by parties, the origins of their dubious agendas unknown to us, we are expected to drop everything and hastily rush into the fray. In many instances, our ill-conceived actions only make the situation worse.

Sometimes, those actions may constitute superficial shows of piety emanating from the mob hysteria underlying them. In the mob we are empowered, and find it easy to confront our opponents, defy the rule of law, behave with wanton abandon, or engage in other acts which under the proper circumstances we may view as supporting Islam. In terms of more constructive mass actions, such as emerging into the streets by the tens of thousands to protest the brutal, authoritarian regimes that make a mockery of the prophetic ideals of justice, mutual consultation, and service to the oppressed and downtrodden of society, we come up terribly short. Similarly, there are no credible grassroots efforts towards forming effective anti-defamation organizations to bring constructive legal action against transgressing organizations and individuals, on a fulltime, proactive basis. As individuals, we find it difficult to support the Prophet, peace and blessings of God upon him, by adorning ourselves with his lofty character traits, or reviving His Sunnah in our daily lives.

On the other hand, as mentioned above, it is all too easy to get swept up into the mob hysteria generated by the crowd, and then engage in outrageous actions that only affirm the offensive claims of the transgressing cartoonist. It is as if we are saying, “We’ll show the Kafirs our Prophet, peace upon him was no terrorist! We’ll defame the symbols of their religion [2] burn their embassies, murder their unsuspecting innocents, and behead the bloody cartoonist if we get our hands on him.” [3]

This brings us to my third point, that of counterproductive, one-upmanship militancy. It is during these crises that all Muslims are supposed to drop everything and join the latest “Jihad” fad. Those of us who urge restraint are mocked as not being militant enough, or ridiculed as cowards who are afraid to “stand up to the real enemies of Islam.” No differences in understanding, interpretation, or strategy are allowed, because there is only one correct approach, the one stumbled upon with the aid of modern, sensationalizing media.

Such a reactive, haphazard approach is counterproductive for a number of reasons. First of all, it destroys the basis for proactive work based on the existence of a strategic vision. As long as the enemies of Islam know that they can mobilize the Muslims to chase after an unimaginable number of distracting issues, divide our ranks by those issues, and diffuse our energies through their debate and the pursuit of their resolution, they will possess a trump card that will affect our ability to unite and work more effectively towards creating and implementing an agenda capable of effecting meaningful change in our circumstance. It also blinds us to the underlying agenda that reckless spontaneous action might be unwittingly serving.

For example, it is interesting that these events have come to a head in the immediate aftermath of the stunning landslide victory of Hamas in the Palestinian elections. That victory has rekindled, both in the East and the West, the debate around the implications of supporting democratization in the Muslim world when the biggest winners will be Islamic parties and movements. There are secularists in both the West and the Muslim world who advocate ending the democratizing experiment on that basis. However, they know that denying the democratic will of the Muslim peoples cannot be done without the support of the masses of people in Europe and America. These masses, especially in Britain and America, are increasingly wary of their governments’ nefarious agenda for the Middle East. However, the frightening images of crazed crowds rampaging, looting, and burning provides a powerful justification for the extreme, repressive policies being advocated by the far right for dealing with Islam and Muslims, both domestically, and internationally. Democracy in the Muslim world, they argue, will bring the advocates of mob rule to power.

If brutal draconian measures, such as those employed to end the democratization process in Algeria in the early 1990s, are employed elsewhere, the Western public will be psychologically prepared to accept those measures, because of the fear that has been created around the “Islamic” alternative. That fear can not only be used to justify denying the democratic will of the Muslim peoples, it can also be used to justify denying their legitimate strategic ambitions. A recent editorial in the Jerusalem Post links the fanaticism of the cartoon protests to the lawful nuclear ambitions of Iran. It states, “If anyone wants to appreciate why the West views with such suspicion the weapons programs of Muslim states such as Iran, they need look no further than the intolerance Muslim regimes exhibit to these cartoons, and what this portends.”

This crisis has also occurred in the immediate aftermath of the appearance of the latest “Bin Laden” tape, intensified warnings of an imminent major terrorist attack in the West, something "on the scale of 9/11," and it coincides with the escape of the alleged mastermind of the attack on the USS Cole from a Yemeni jail. The fear associated with the latter two events, combined with the images of hysterical protesters, work to create a climate that can support unprecedented measures if another major terrorist attack were to occur in the near future –whoever the perpetrators may be.

In addition to the setbacks on the psychological front, the current crisis indicates just how bad we are losing in the Jihad of ideas. It is not without significance that the ultimate objective of Jihad is linked to ideas. The Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of God upon him, was asked about a man who fought to display his bravery, another who fought out of fealty to his tribe, and a third who fought to show off. Which had fought in the Way of God? He replied, peace and blessings of God upon him, “The one who fought to make the Word of God uppermost has fought in the Way of God.”[4] Is the nature of the current campaign working to make the Word of God uppermost? Every Muslim needs to ask that question.

As Muslims, we are carrying the Word of God in an increasingly secular, militarized, and alienated world. What it means to carry that word is not an unknowable abstraction. We carry it by following the concrete example of our Noble Messenger Muhammad, peace and blessings of God upon him. In carrying the word, he endured unimaginable abuses and he persevered through them because he was inspired by a grand vision. That vision was to see his people saved by the life-giving, life-affirming message of Islam. No greater illustration of this can be given than the story of his expulsion from the city of Ta’if, after the arrogant leaders of that town unleashed the fools, slaves, and children against him.

In the aftermath of that onslaught, the Prophet, peace and blessings of God upon him, humbly raised his hands towards the sky and prayed:

O, God! Unto you alone do I plead my lack of strength, the paucity of my efforts, and my humiliation before the people. O, the Most Merciful of all! You are the Lord of the oppressed, you are my Lord. Unto who have you dispatched me? To a distant host who receives me repugnantly? Or to an enemy you have authorized over my affair? If you are not angry with me, I care not. It is only your goodness I seek to be covered with. I seek refuge with the Light of your Face, through which the darkness is illuminated and all the affairs of the world and hereafter are rectified, that you do not cast your anger down on me, nor cause your wrath to settle upon me. There is neither strength, nor power but with You. [5]

Two significant events are then related after this prayer was uttered by the Prophet, peace and blessing of God upon him. First of all, when presented with an offer by the Angels that God crush the city of Ta’if, the Prophet, peace and blessings of God upon him, refused saying that perhaps from the offspring of the offending hosts, there would emerge those who would worship God. This incident is well known. A lesser known incident associated with the journey to Ta’if occurred when the Prophet, peace and blessings of God upon him, was preparing to reenter Mecca, in the company of his companion Zaid bin Haritha. Zaid asked, “How can you reenter their presence when they have expelled you?” The Prophet, peace and blessings of God upon him, replied, “O, Zaid! God is bringing about through these events you have witnessed a great opening. God is most capable of assisting His religion, and manifesting the truth of His prophet.”

One of the most disturbing aspects of the current campaign to “Assist the Prophet,” for many converts, like this writer, is the implicit assumption that there is no da’wah work being undertaken here in the West, and no one is currently, or will in the future enter Islam in these lands. Therefore, it does not matter what transpires in the Muslim East. Muslims can behave in the most barbaric fashion, murder, plunder, pillage, brutalize and kidnap civilians, desecrate the symbols of other religions, trample on their honor, discard their values and mores, and massacre their fellow Muslims. If any of that undermines the works of Muslims in these Western lands, it does not matter. If it places a barrier between the Western people and Islam, when many of those people are in the most desperate need of Islam, it does not matter. If our Prophet, peace and blessings of God upon him, had responded to those who abused him in Ta’if with similar disregard, none of the generations of Muslims who have come from the descendants of those transgressors would have seen the light of day.

These campaigns of desperation also implicitly display a lack of confidence in God’s ability to protect his religion and defend the honor of His Prophet, peace and blessings of God upon him. We should do what we can do within lawful limits, and then we depute the affair to God. When we despair of help from God and find ourselves with limited strategic resources, we sometimes press forward with the most desperate tactics imaginable, taking little time to assess the compatibility of those tactics with Islamic teachings, or their long-term implications for the cause of Islam, especially in the West.

There are certainly more constructive and productive ways to defend the honor of the Prophet, peace and blessings of God upon him. Why are we calling for a “Day of Outrage” when our Prophet has instructed us repeatedly not to become angry? There are surely times when we should become angry for the sake of God. However, under the current circumstances, are anger and outrage appropriate responses? Why not a “Day of Familiarization,” where we teach people who the Prophet was and what he really represents, peace and blessings of God upon him? Why not a “Day of Sunnah,” where we all vow to revive a Sunnah we have allowed to slip away from our religious life. Such a day could also include the Sunnah of showing concern for ones neighbors? We could visit them and tell them about Islam and our beloved Prophet, peace and blessings of God upon him.

Whatever we do, as Muslims in the West, we may be approaching the day when we will have to "go it alone." If our coreligionists in the East cannot respect the fact that we are trying to accomplish things here in the West, and that their oftentimes ill-considered actions undermine that work in many instances, then it will be hard for us to consider them allies. How can one be an ally when he fails to consult you concerning actions whose negative consequences you will suffer? No one from the Muslim east consults us before launching these campaigns. No one seeks to find out as to how their actions are going to affect our lives and families. The confused incompetence of the Muslim countries around the issue of moon-sighting, a situation that has painful consequences for Muslims here in America is bad enough, the added pressure generated by these reoccurring crises is becoming unbearable for many.

We have a generation of Muslim children here who have to go to schools where most of them are small minorities facing severe peer pressure. During these crises they do not have the luxury of losing themselves in a frenzied mob. Their faith is challenged and many decide to simply stop identifying with Islam. Is that what they deserve? If they are largely lost to Islam, what is the future of our religion here? We have obedient, pious Hijab wearing women, who out of necessity must work, usually in places where they are the only Muslims. Should their safety, dignity, and honor be jeopardized by the actions of Muslims halfway around the world?

I reiterate that I am not saying these cartoons, and other denigrations of our religion and our Prophet, peace and blessings of God upon him, should be totally ignored. Imam Shafi’i stated that anyone who is angered and does not respond; he is a jackass. However, our responses should be weighed on the basis of a strategic calculus we construct. Their timing should be determined by that calculus, not by media sensationalizing. They should be undertaken in consultation with those who will be directly affected by the responses they generate. And their long-range implications should be deeply considered.
In conclusion, one should not see the ongoing crisis as a clash of civilizations. Phenomena as deep and complex as civilizations cannot be thrown into conflict overnight by media-driven campaigns. A clash of civilizations would also involve the overwhelming majority of people identified by a particular civilizational nexus. The current crisis is the result of a regrettable incident that has been exploited by an uncivilized minority of provocateurs both in the West and the East to advance their conflicting agendas. As long as that exploitation continues, the crisis could aptly be called the clash of the uncivilized.

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[1] We say appropriately because the measured response of the Danish Muslim community killed the story. Certainly part of the defense of the Prophet’s honor is to keep these images out of the media. The initial response of the Danish Muslims did just that.

[2] The Danish flag prominently displays a cross, the symbol of Christianity. Hence, every time a Danish flag is burned or trampled on, the symbol of Christianity is desecrated. A similar transgression against Islam would occur if the Saudi flag, which contains the Name of Allah, and the declaration of Tawhid La ilaha illa Allah were burned or trampled. The question here is has the entirety of Christendom transgressed against the Muslim people in a way to justify an attack on the symbol of their faith?

[3] Protestors in Britain this past Friday threatened suicide bombing attacks in European cities, and the beheading of the offending cartoonists. Insightfully, the British Muslim youth protesting wearing a mock suicide bomber’s vest turned out to be a convicted heroin and crack dealer, out on parole. It is a lot easier to mobilize the Muslim youth for the anti-cartoon Jihad than to deal with the rising rates of incarceration, mental illness, failing schools, dysfunctional homes, and the drug addition and alcoholism that are ravaging the British Muslim community.

[4] Al-Bukhari, no. 7458, and Muslim, no. 1904.

[5] This prayer and the incident precipitating it are related in the various books of Prophetic biography, both ancient and modern. It is quoted here from Dr. Muhammad Sa’id Ramadan al-Buti, Fiqh as-Sirah (Beirut: Dar al-Fikr, 2001/1422), pp. 150-151.



Saturday, February 25, 2006

DEMANDS OF LOVE

Is it the only month to express love and devotion? No… not at all. Every heart should be suffused with love of the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihe wasallam) all the time all the year, all life, as it signifies perfection of Faith and beauty of Islam. It is food of souls, cure for ills and relief for eyes. A heart not kindled with the love of Rasoolullah (sallallahu ‘alaihe wasallam) is inhabited by darkness, desolation, wretchedness and stoniness. A heart deprived of his love is filled with unbearable stink and filth.

Our Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihe wasallam) is a role model for entire humanity. If one does not love him, one does not love humanity. Such a person is a beast in man’s clothing. The Holy Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihe wasallam) says, “None of you can become a perfect Muslim until he loves me more than his family and your property.”

The paramount demand of his love is to follow his ways and advices. Love of Allah also demands of us to love His dearest Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihe wasallam). Anything pertaining to love of Allah operates in two dimensions — One, Allah’s love for his servant; two, servant’s love for Allah. The first dimension of love is testified by one’s following the Holy Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihe wasallam). A person who claims to love Allah but he does not follow His Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihe wasallam) is making a claim without any testimony, and a claim without testimony is not accepted anywhere. When a person fulfills the demands of the first dimension of love, he is rewarded with the second dimension of love – Allah’s love for him. The following verse of the Holy Quran also deals with this subject.

Allah Ta’ala addresses His Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihe wasallam), “Say, (O Muhammad, to mankind): If you love Allah, follow me; Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.”

This verse is thus called the verse of love.

Hazrat Sohail bin Abdullah (rahimahullahu) says that love of Allah is signified by love of Quran, and love of Quran is signified by love of the Prophet, and love of Prophet is signified by love of his Sunnah.

Rites performed in the name of love nowadays are of no use if we do not follow the Sunnah. If a person does not perform these self-innovated rites – flags, sweets, processions and lighting, but he adheres to the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihe wasallam), he is undoubtedly a real love and he does not need to give a proof of his love.

Books of Hadith, Seerah and Islamic history are witness that none of the Sahaba, Tabaeen, saints, `Ulama and Islamic jurisprudents ever adopted the ways for expression of love that we have adopted and made them part of Shari`ah.

We celebrate the birth of Prophet while they followed the ways of Prophet. There is much difference between results of celebrating and following. Those who just celebrate are entangled with superficies having no access to the pith and marrow. Those who follow give preference to the marrow and essence, and do not hesitate to sacrifice their lives for gaining it.

If they were not lovers then no one in the world is lover of Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihe wasallam). Their hearts were so kindled with the love of Rasoolullah that every action of theirs reflected their love. Their love was not confined to their speeches and slogans. Rather, their love was reflected in their homes, their gatherings, their solitude, their villages, their cities and everywhere. They did not need to show their love because their politics, their social behavior, their conduct, their preaching, their jihad manifested their love. A fragrance need not explain that it is a fragrance.

They had zeal to carry forward the mission of the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihe wasallam). They left their homes and their beloved homeland with their hands carrying the Quran and their hearts imbued with spirit to spread the Prophet’s message. That’s why, their graves are found jungles of Africa, wilderness of China and mountains of Afghanistan.

It was love that moved them to follow the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihe wasallam), and it is our love that diverts us from the way of Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihe wasallam). It was their love that instilled life into them and it is our love that has rendered us frozen.

Not a single day passes without witnessing disgrace of Muslims. The entire Ummah is in a mesh of problems. The land of Palestine is bloodstained. Jews flocking in from all around the world have thrown them out of their lands. Our brothers in Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan are facing miseries, hunger, poverty and prosecution. Two Palestinian leaders have been martyred in broad daylight one after another. But we are unmoved, callous and indifferent.

O reader of this article! Get aware of true love and realize its demands so you not only describe the beauty of Prophet’s black ringlets but also mention the battles of Badar and Hunain and get ready do something for the suffering Ummah. It is the real demand of love and reward of adherence to the Holy Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihe wasallam).


Source: www.darsequran.com

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Islam is peace, let's really mean it

I thought of composing my thoughts in poetry format... I don't know
the rules of poetry in English, however here is an attempt. Your
comments?

the more we get angry, the more we fall in to their bait,
the more we get angry, the more they will agitate.
the more we get angry, the more we fan their fire.
the more we get angry, the consequences be dire.

Let's not forget what our prophet said,
whenever we are gripped with anger
here is a challenge, the prophet said
'hate, anger and ill will you must conquer'

Let's not fall prey to their challenges for they test our will We have got to be Amins of the society and earn goodwill It is time for Jihad against our own temptations Let's honor our prophet and do no lamentations

Islam is peace, let's really mean it,
Islam is peace, let's show it by our acts,
Islam is peace, let's not frighten any one
Islam is peace, let's be the ambassadors of peace.

----------------------------- end

Think about what he would have done...
there are examples of praying for the wicked,
there are examples of forgiveness,
there are examples of holding on to the little devil in us,
and let's never forget, Islam means Peace
and let's not mess, what Islam means.

Mike Ghouse
American Muslim Agenda
www.foundationforpluralism.com
www.MikeGhouse.net

We are champions at shooting ourselves in the foot. Another piece by Mirza Yawar

What do we want to show and what do we actually show?



"How did the bandh go?" asked a friend, referring to the protest
against the cartoons published by the Danish newspaper.



What should I say in response?



"Well, you see, before the protest, we had people who were at least
sympathetic to the Muslim's cause. Even if they did not protest in
public, many of my Hindu and Christian friends wrote to me and voted
in various newspaper surveys against the cartoons. But then the
protest happened. And what did our people do? They burnt buses,
vandalized shops and cars and threw stones at the police."



"You mean burnt buses of Denmark and threw stones at Danish police?"



"No, they burnt their own (Indian) buses and threw stones at their
own police which was there to try to prevent them from breaking the
law."



"But doesn't Islam prohibit breaking the law? And wasn't this whole
thing about protesting against the Danish cartoons which depicted
the Prophet (SAS) as a terrorist? Does not the Qur'an say: 5:8: 'Let
not your enmity against anyone lead you into the sin of deviating
from justice. Always be just. That is the closest to taqwa.'



"Yes of course it is. The protest was to show the world that the
Prophet (SAS) never allowed injustice. That the Qur'an prohibits
injustice. That Islam means peace. That Muslims are peaceful people."



"But you just said that during the protest Muslims burnt buses and
vandalized shops and cars and threw stones at the police who were
trying to prevent injustice?"



"Well, you see, that is because in the crowd there were agents of
America and the Israel. They are the ones who did these things and
our poor innocent Muslims get blamed for them. It is all a Zionist
conspiracy you see."



"No, I don't see. The only conspiracy seems to be your own suicidal
tendency for self destruction. What I see is that the Muslims say
something and do something else. That they are champions at shooting
themselves in the foot. That they are great at converting their
friends into enemies. That they have no discipline or social
responsibility and that their leaders are at the head of this
infamous list. People who can't even control their own emotions are
condemned to be the slaves of those who play with them through their
emotions."



He continues, "What I see is that to protest was the right thing to
do as the Danish newspaper had no right to do what it did. But in
that protest there was the opportunity to gain the support of all
those who were neutral in the issue. And that opportunity was not
only lost but you Muslims actually created enemies."



"However there is still an opportunity to right this wrong and to
act according to what your own Qur'an tells you to do. Re-establish
justice."



"What do you mean?"



"Let your leaders publicly apologize for all the damage caused by
those who participated in the protest. And then let them then put
their money where their mouth is and pay full compensation to those
whose property was damaged."



"Come on....you are not serious!!!"



"Yes, I am. Come to think of it, didn't you tell me that you guys
believe in the Day of Judgment? And did you not tell me that you
will answer for every little thing you do even unto the weight of an
atom? Well you know, looks to me like a bus is a little bigger than
an atom, eh!"



And he concluded, "So I ask you, do you Muslims really respect your
Qur'an and your Prophet?"



Mirza Yawar Baig

Conceal the Weaknesses of Others

A very bad and dirty habit to be commonly found is to reveal and make public the fault of other persons. People dont think for a second to comment upon any others fault or weakness. While Avoiding harm to others and concealing the weakness of one's fellow human beings is a prominent theme of the moral teachings of the Quran and the Sunnah. Please have a look at the Few Sayings of our Prophet are as follows:

1 - "If a person conceals the weakness of another in this world, Allah will conceal their weakness in the hereafter" [Al Nawawi, Riyad al Salihin p 135, Hadith no 245; al Ghazali, Kitab Adab p 344]

2 - "Whoever protects the honour of his brother, will have Allah protect his countenance from the fire on the Day of Judgement" [Al Nawawi, Riyad al Salihin p 488, Hadith no 1530]

3 - "Do not harm Muslims, and do not revile them, nor pursue their imperfections. For verily, whosoever pursues the imperfections of his brother shall have his own imperfections pursued by Allah" [Sunan of al Tirmidhi, as quoted in Principles of State and Government in Islam, p 85]

Concealing the faults of, and respecting the privacy of others is again the theme of the following hadith:

"The Muslim who helps another when the latter's honour and dignity are under attack, shall be helped by Allah, Glorious and Sublime is He! - at a time when he would wish for Allah's help. But he who forsakes a Muslim whose dignity is under attack, shall have Allah forsake him at a time when he would wish for Allah's help" [Al Ghazali, Ihyaa Ulum al Din; Kitab Adab al Suhbah p 369]

It is noted that concealment (satr) is recommended only with regard to persons who are not generally known to engage in corrupt and harmful activities. As for those who are notorious, it is recommended that their evil is not concealed and that the matter is reported to the authorities.Those who are committing grave sins and their sins or wrong doings are contaminating other poeple also, who if not checked , would put the entire community into a big problem, They should be brought to book , their faults should be made public so that others can take care and be alert.

Exposing the faults of others by casting aspersions, or spying on them, is particularly reprehensible. Thus according to a hadith, people are warned:

"Beware of suspicion. For suspicion is the most untrue form of speech; and do not spy upon one another and do not revile one another." [Sahih Muslim, Kitab al birr wal silah, Bab al nahy an al tajasus]

Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal was once asked about the correct meaning of the following hadith:

"When you hear something form or about your brother, ascribe to it the best interpretation until you can no longer do so" To this, he replied:"Find an excuse for him by saying, 'Maybe he said this, or maybe he meant such and such'"

It is further reported in another hadith:

"Whoever is offered an apology from a fellow Muslim should accept it unless he knows that the person apologising is being dishonest" [Mishkat al Tabrizi, Vol III Hadith no 5052]

In Islam justice and benevolence (adl wa ihsan) are not confined to Muslims alone. The question of the way people treat fellow citizens in society, their brothers and sisters in humanity, is closely linked with the Quranic concepts of adl and ihsan, and these do not admit if any restriction that would compromise their objective application. [Tuffah, Masadir pp 89-90]

This indeed is the main point of the following Quranic text:"And let not the hatred of a people harm you into being unjust. Be just, for it is closet to piety (taqwa)" [Surah 5: verse 8]

Furthermore, Hasan, the son of Ali is reported to have said:

"If a man abuses me in one ear and then apologises to me in the other, I shall accept his apology" [Al Maqdisi, al Adab, I p 341]

Thus it is evident that silence takes priority over speech when it comes to exposing the faults and weaknesses of others.

I would finish with one quote from Imam Ghazali

'One should not talk about the defects of others even if one is asked about them. One must try to avoid prying and asking personal questions about the private lives of others" [Al Ghazali, Kitab Adab pp 242-43]

khalidkoraivi@yahoo.com

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

“What is the best thing in Islam?”

All people have the custom of greeting one another, and every group has its own distinctive greeting that distinguishes them from other people.

The Arabs used to greet one another with the words “An’im sabaahan” or “An’imu sabaahan” [equivalent to “Good morning” – Translator], using words derived from “al-ni’mah”, which means good living after the morning. The idea was that because the morning is the first part of the day, if a person encounters something good in the morning, the rest of the day will be good too.

When Islam came, Allaah prescribed that the manner of greeting among Muslims should be “As-salaamu a'laykum” [not salam or salams or whatever] and that this greeting should only be used among Muslims and not for other nations. The meaning of salaam (literally, peace) is harmlessness, safety and protection from evil and from faults. The name al-Salaam is a Name of Allaah, may He be exalted, so the meaning of the greeting of salaam which is required among Muslims is, “May the blessing of His Name descend upon you.” The usage of the preposition a'la in a'laykum (upon you) indicates that the greeting is inclusive.

Ibn al-Qayyim said in Badaa’i' al-Fawaa’id (144):

“Allaah, the Sovereign, the Most Holy, the Peace, prescribed that the greeting among the people of Islam should be ‘as-salaamu ‘a'laykum’, which is better than all the greetings of other nations which include impossible ideas or lies, such as saying, ‘May you live for a thousand years,’ or things that are not accurate, such as ‘An’im sabaahan (Good morning),’ or actions that are not right, such as prostrating in greeting. Thus the greeting of salaam is better than all of these, because it has the meaning of safety which is life, without which nothing else can be achieved. So this takes precedence over all other aims or objectives. A person has two main aims in life: to keep himself safe from evil, and to get something good. Keeping safe from evil takes precedence over getting something good…”

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) made spreading salaam a part of faith. Narrated from ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Umar (ra) that a man asked the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him): “What is the best thing in Islam?” He said, “Feeding others and giving the greeting of salaam to those whom you know and those whom you do not know.” Al-Bukhaari

Ibn Hajar said in al-Fath (1/56): “i.e., do not single out anybody out of arrogance or to impress them, but do it to honour the symbols of Islam and to foster Islamic brotherhood.”

Ibn Rajab said in al-Fath (1/43): “The hadeeth makes the connection between feeding others and spreading salaam because this combines good actions in both word and deed, which is perfect good treatment (ihsaan). Indeed, this is the best thing that you can do in Islam after the obligatory duties.”

Al-Sanoosi said in Ikmaal al-Mu’allim (1/244): “What is meant by salaam is the greeting between people, which sows seeds of love and friendship in their hearts, as does giving food. There may be some weakness in the heart of one of them, which is dispelled when he is greeted, or there may be some hostility, which is turned to friendship by the greeting.”

Al-Qaadi said in Ikmaal al-Mu’allim (1:276): “Here the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was urging the believers to soften their hearts. The best Islamic attitude is to love one another and greet one another, and this is achieved by words and deeds. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) urged the Muslims to foster love between one another by exchanging gifts and food, and by spreading salaam, and he forbade the opposite, namely forsaking one another, turning away from one another, spying on one another, seeking out information about one another, stirring up trouble and being two faced.

Love is one of the duties of Islam and one of the pillars of the Islamic system. One should give salaams to those whom one knows and those whom one does not know, out of sincerity towards Allaah; one should not try to impress other people by giving salaams only to those whom one knows and no-one else. This also entails an attitude of humility and spreading the symbols of this ummah through the word of salaam.”

Thus the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) explained that this salaam spreads love and brotherhood. Muslim narrated from Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:

“You will not enter Paradise until you believe, and you will not believe until you love one another. Shall I not tell you about something which, if you do it, you will love one another? Spread salaam amongst yourselves.”

Al-Qaadi ‘Ayaad said in al-Ikmaal (1/304): “This is urging us to spread salaam, as mentioned above, among those whom we know and those whom we do not know. Salaam is the first level of righteousness and the first quality of brotherhood, and it is the key to creating love. By spreading salaam the Muslims’ love for one another grows stronger and they demonstrate their distinctive symbols and spread a feeling of security amongst themselves. This is the meaning of Islam.”

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) also explained the reward earned by the one who says salaam, as was reported by al-Nisaa’. They reported from Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) that a man passed by the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) whilst he was sitting with some others, and said “As-salaamu ‘alaykum (peace be upon you).” The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “[He will have] ten hasanaat (rewards).” Another man passed by and said “As-salaamu ‘alaykum wa rahma-tullaah (peace be upon you and the mercy of Allaah).” The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “[He will have] twenty hasanaat.” Another man passed by and said “As-salaamu ‘alaykum wa rahma-tullaahi wa barakaa tuh (peace be upon you and the mercy of Allaah and His blessings).” The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “[He will have] thirty hasanaat.”

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) commanded us to return salaams, and made it a right and a duty. Ahmad, al-Bukhaari, Muslim, al-Nisaa’i in al-Yawm wa’l-Laylah and Abu Dawood all reported that Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The Muslim has five rights over his fellow-Muslim: he should return his salaams, visit him when he is sick, attend his funeral, accept his invitation, and pray for mercy for him [say “Yar ha'mu kallaah”] when he sneezes.”

It is clear that it is obligatory to say salaam and return salaams, because by doing so a Muslim is giving you safety and you have to give him safety in return. It is as if he is saying to you, “I am giving you safety and security,” so you have to give him the same, so that he does not get suspicious or think that the one to whom he has given salaam is betraying him or ignoring him. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) told us that if Muslims are ignoring or forsaking one another, this will be put to an end when one of them gives salaam. Al-Bukhaari (6233) reported that Abu Ayyoob (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘It is not permissible for a Muslim to forsake his brother for more than three days, each of them turning away from the other if they meet. The better of them is the first one to say salaam.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The Bismillah

Every good action or deed should be started with reciting Bismillah In this section we will quote some Authentic Traditions of the Prophet Muhammad (saw) regarding Bismillah - In the name of Allah.
Saying Bismillah Is Recommended Before Eating:
The Prophet (saw) said,
"Say Bismillah, eat with your right hand and eat what is in front of you."
[Bukhari 7/88, Muslim 2/207, Ahmad 17/92, Muwatta Malik 10/32 and Ibn Majah 1/557]

Saying Bismillah Is Recommended When Drinking Water:
Ibn Abbas (ra) reported that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, "Do not drink in one gulp like a camel, but in two or three [Gulps]. Mention the Name of Allah when you start drinking and praise Him after you have finished Drinking.''
[Fath al-Bari 12/197 and Al-Trimidhi]

Saying Bismillah Is Recommended At The Beginning Of Ablution:
The Prophet (saw) said,
"Make Wudu [Ablution] in the name of Allah"
[An-Nasai 1/11 and Ibn Khuzaimah 1/84]

Saying Bismillah Is Recommended Before Having Sexual Intercourse with one's wife:
The Prophet (saw) said,
"If anyone of you, when having sexual intercourse with his wife, says: In the name of Allah. O Allah! Protect us from Satan and also protect what you grant us [i.e. Coming offspring] from Satan and if it is destined that they should have a child, then Satan will never be able to harm him."
[Sahih Bukhari 7/94 and Sahih Muslim 2/1058]

Saying Bismillah Is Recommended When Entering The House:
Jabir (ra) said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (saw) saying,
"If a person mentions the Name of Allah upon entering his house or eating, Satan says, addressing his followers: `You will find no where to spend the night and no dinner.' But if he enters without mentioning the Name of Allah, Satan says [To his followers]; `You have found [A place] to spend the night in, and if he does not mention the Name of Allah at the time of eating, Satan says: `You have found [A place] to spend the night in as well as food."
[Sahih Muslim 2/206]

Saying Bismillah Is Recommended When Leaving The House:
The Messenger Of Allah (saw) said,
"If anyone of you when leaving the house says In the name of Allah, I trust in Allah, there is no power and might except from Allah. Your needs shall be fulfilled, you shall be saved from difficulties and hardships. Shaitaan hearing these words leaves him."
[Al-Trimidhi 2/493]

Say Bismillah At The Time When Slaughtering An Animal:
Anas (ra) reported that the Messenger (saw) of Allah sacrificed two horned rams of white color with black markings over them. He also stated: I saw him sacrificing them with his own hand and saw him placing his foot on their sides, and recited in the name of Allah and Glorified Him [Bismillah Allaahu Akbar]
[Bukhari 7/133, Muslim 2/181, Abu Dawud 3/230, An-Nasai 7/231, Al-Trimidhi 5/76, Ibn Majah 2120]

Saying Bismillah Is Recommended When Fighting For The Cause Of Allah:
The Messenger of Allah (saw) said,
"Fight in the name of Allah and in the way of Allah"
[Sahih Muslim 2/69]

Saying Bismillah Is Recommended Before Entering The Toilet:
The Prophet Of Allah (saw) said
"When you enter the toilet you should say, In the Name of Allah, I seek protection in you from unclean spirits, male and female."
[Abu Dawud 4/264, Ahmad 2/389 and Fath Al-Bari 1/254]

Saying Bismillah Is Recommended Because It Causes Humiliation To The Shaitaan:
Abul Malih said: I was riding on a mount behind the Prophet (saw). It stumbled. Thereupon I said: May the devil perish! He said: Do not say: May the devil perish! For if you say that, he will swell so much so that he will be like a house, and say: By my power.
But say Bismillah for when you say that, he will diminish so much so that he will be like a fly.
[An-Nasai 6/142, Ahmad 5/59 and Abu Dawud 4946]

Saying Bismillah Is Recommended When Night Falls:
Allah's Apostle (saw) said, "When night falls stop your children from going out, for the devils spread out at that time. But when an hour of the night has passed, release them and close the doors and mention Allah's Name, for Satan does not open a closed door.
Tie the mouth of your water-skin and mention Allah's Name; cover your containers and utensils and mention Allah's Name. Cover them even by placing something across it, and extinguish your lamps. "
[Bukhari 7/527 and Abu Dawud 3722]

Saying Bismillah Is Recommended When Placing The Body Of The Deceased In The Grave:
The Prophet of Allah (saw) said, "When you are lowering the deceased in the grave you should say In the name of Allah and in accordance to the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah."
[Ahmad 8/58 and Al-Hakim 1/366]

The Virtue Of Saying Bismillah:
Uthman bin Abu al-As Al-Thaqafi reported that he made a complaint of pain to Allah's Messenger (saw) that he felt in his body at the time he had become Muslim. Thereupon Allah's Messenger (saw) said: Place your hand at the place where you feel pain in your body and say in the name of Allah three times and seven times I seek refuge with Allah and with His Power from the evil that I find and that I fear.
[Muslim 2/280]

It Is Recommended When Writing A Letter Bismillah Should Also Be Written:
Abu Sufyan said that the contents of the letter were as follows: "In the name of Allah the Beneficent, the Merciful, [This letter is] from Muhammad the slave of Allah and His Apostle to Heraclius the ruler of Byzantine. Peace be upon him, who follows the right path. Furthermore I invite you to Islam, and if you become a Muslim you will be safe, and Allah will double your reward, and if you reject this invitation of Islam you will be committing a sin by misguiding your peasants."
[Bukhari 4/191, Muslim 2/91, Al-Trimidhi 7/500]

said O chief! Surely an honorable letter has been delivered to me Surely it is from Sulaiman, and surely it is in the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful;
[Al-Quran, Surah Al-Naml, Ayahs 29-30]

For More Information/Questions/Comments: hasana00@yahoo.com

Should we follow Majority or the Minority?

Nowadays many true, humble, devout and sincere Muslims are labelled as "minorities" or even "lunatic fringes". Some people have even sunk down to the level of making haraam into halaal based upon what the majority of people say. Is this valid in Islam? Should we really follow what the majority of people believe in and follow, or should we stick to the haq (truth), regardless of how many people follow it?

Since we are Muslims (submitters), it is vital (and in fact an obligation) for us to refer back to the Qur'aan and Sunnah and see what our Lord has to say about this issue. The Almighty says in his book:

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"And if you obey the majority who are on earth, they will lead you far astray from the path of Allah. They follow nothing but conjectures and they are nothing but liars." (EMQ 6: 116)

This verse is very clear and explicit for us all to see. Allah (swt) informs us that the majority of people follow nothing but conjectures (doubt) and they do nothing but lie. This verse annihilates any kind of idea or concept which involves seeking the permission, satisfaction and pleasure of the majority of people on earth. Therefore, those who say that we do not represent the majority of people and that we are a minority, we would like to say to them, indeed! The majority are misguided and the majority will enter the Fire.

The truth is not with the majority and this is something which is very well known to those who are on guidance from Allah (swt). We know the truth from the evidence (i.e. the divine texts – the Qur'aan and Sunnah) and not by the sayings of the majority. In fact, the Shaytaan (devil) made a promise to Allah (swt) that he will mislead the majority of his slaves and only a minority of believers who are sincere will be able to combat every evil whispering he has to offer. Allah (swt) says in the Qur'aan:

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"[Iblees (Satan)] said: 'By Your Might, then I will surely mislead them all, except your chosen slaves amongst them (who are true believers in Islam and worship Allah exclusively).'" (EMQ 38: 82-83)

Therefore, what the majority, say, do or believe in should never be a criteria for a Muslim to judge what is right and what is wrong, evil and what is good etc. Our only criterion is the Qur'aan and the Sunnah, in accordance with the understanding of the Sahaabah – this is what we follow regardless of how many people hold on to it. It has been authentically reported that the Sahaabi Abdullah ibn Mas'ood said:

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"Be with the Jamaa'ah (the Haq) even if you are by yourself."

In fact, during the time of Ahmad bin Hanbal (rh), he was the only one who had the courage to stand with the truth and declare that the Qur'aan was the sayings of Allah and not his (swt)'s creation; despite the fact that the majority of people said otherwise and didn't have the audacity to openly declare what he did.

Furthermore, the messenger Muhammad (saw) said:
...??????? ??? ????? ??? ???? ?????? ???? ???? ?? ????? ??? ?????? ????: ??? ?? ???? ?????? ???: ?? ??? ??? ?? ??? ???? ???????
"…And this nation (of Muslims) will split into seventy-three sects. All of them will be in the Fire except one sect (the saviour sect)." They (the Companions) asked, 'who are they (the saviour sect) oh Messenger of Allah?' He (saw) said, "Those who are upon what I and my Companions are upon." (Sunan at-Tirmidhi)

Therefore, the messenger Muhammad (saw) prophesised and informed us that this Ummah will be divided into sects. The majority of them will go to Hell, and only a minority will be saved – and they are those who strictly follow none other than him (saw) and his companions; not the customs of the people or the majority. Furthermore, another hadeeth in Saheeh al-Bukhaari also proves this fact that the majority of people will be in Hellfire:

?? ????? ??? ???? ???? ???? ???: ???? ???? ?????: ?? ???? ?????: ???? ??????? ?????? ?? ????? ?????: ???? ??? ?????? ???: ??? ??? ?????? ???: ?? ?? ??? ??????? ????? ??????
The messenger Muhammad (saw) said: "Allah will say (on the Day of Resurrection), 'O Aadam.' Aadam (as) will reply, 'Here I am, with full submission and all good is in your hand.' Allah will say, 'Bring out the people of the Fire.' Aadam will say, 'O Allah! How many are the people of the Fire?' Allah will reply, 'From every one thousand, take out nine hundred and ninety-nine.'" (Saheeh al-Bukhaari, Book of: Stories of the Prophets, chapter 7 hadeeth #3348)

Therefore, as we have already mentioned before, this issue is something which is very clear to those who are on guidance from their Lord. And those who say that we do not represent the majority; we believe you are absolutely correct! The majority of people are misguided and the majority will enter the Hellfire – we never want to represent the people of Hellfire.

In fact, these same people who say that we are a minority are actually minorities themselves! Ask the Muslim Ummah if they believe the MCB represents them; it is more than likely that only a minute percentage would say that they do – based upon surveys which we have carried out ourselves. However, this is not the method of Ahl us-Sunnah wal-Jamaa'ah (the Saviour Sect) to judge between what is right and wrong. Whether the majority or minority agree with us, we do not care – so long as we are following the divine texts. Those people who seek the pleasure and satisfaction of the people will burn in the Fire which Allah (swt) has created, and Allah (swt) will make them be detested by the whole of mankind:

?? ????? ??? ???? ??? ???? ????? ??? ???? ???? ????? ??? ?????? ??? ????? ??? ????? ???? ????? ??? ???? ???? ????? ???? ?????
The messenger Muhammad (saw) said: "Whoever seeks Allah's pleasure at the cost of the majorities' displeasure, will win the pleasure of Allah, and Allah will cause men to be please with him. And whoever seeks to please the majority at the cost of Allah's displeasure, will win the displeasure of Allah, and Allah will cause men to be displeased with him." (Musnad al-Imaam Ahmad)

The messenger Muhammad (saw) and his companions were a minority in Makkah, yet due to their uncompromising hard work and efforts, they succeeded in destroying the kufr system of the Quraysh and Allah (swt) granted them authority on earth. Allah (swt) says:

???? ???? ?????? ????????? ???????? ?????? ????????? ???????? ??????? ????????? ???? ?????????????
"…How often has a small group overpowered a mightier host with the permission of Allah?" And Allah is with as-Saabireen (those who are firm and uncompromising)."
(EMQ 2: 249)

Friday, February 17, 2006

Duas (Supplications) for Grief, Concern, Sorrow, Worries, & Sadness

1) At times of distress the Messenger of Allah (may the peace & blessings of Allah be upon him) would say:
"Laa ilaa ha il lal laah al-a'theem al-ha' leem, laa ilaa ha il lal laah rabbul arshil-atheem, laa ilaa ha il lal laah rab bus-sa maa waa ti wa rab bul-ardi wa rab bul-arshil-kareem"
(Bukhari and Muslim)

The English meaning is: There is no ilah (God) except Allah the Magnificent, The Forbearing. There is no ilah except Allah, Lord of the Magnificent Throne. There is no ilah except Allah Lord of the Heavens, Lord of the Earth, and Lord of the Noble Throne.

2) It is reported of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) that if something distressed him he would say:

"Ya hayyu ya qay yoom, bi-rah matika as tagheeth"
(At Tirmidhi)

The English meaning is: O' Ever Living, O Sustainer, in your Mercy I plead for rescue (help, aid, assistance).

3) Abu Bakr (RA – may Allah be pleased with him) stated that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said "The supplications of the distressed are:

"Allah humma ra'hma taka ar joo, fa laa ta kil nee ilaa naf see tar fa ta a’yn, wa as li’h lee sha nee kul lah, laa ilaa ha il laa ant"
(Abu Dawud)

The English meaning is: O' my Allah it is your Mercy that I beseech, so do not entrust me to myself for even a twinkle of an eye, and correct for me all my affairs, there is no ilah other than You.

4) The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah) said to Asma bint Umaysin (May Allah be please with her): "Shall I not teach you a few words which you can say when you are distressed - or at the time of distress -

"Allah Allah rab bee laa ush riku bihi shay an"
(Abu Dawud)

The English meaning is: Allah, Allah my Lord I associate nothing with Him.

5) The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: "The petition of Thin-Noon (Jonah) which he petitioned was when he was inside the whale:

"Laa ilaa ha il laa an ta, sub ha’ naka in nee kun tu minath-thaa limeen"
(At-Tirmithi)

The English meaning is: There is no ilah except You, Glorified are Thee, I have been one of the unjust.

6) It is reported of the Prophet (peace and blessing of Allah be upon him) that he said:
"No pre-occupying concern, or sadness inflicts a slave of Allah whereupon they says:

"Allah humma in nee a'b duka, wabnu a'b dika, wabnu amatika, na siyatee biyadik, madhin fiyya hu'k muk, a'd lun fiyya qa dhaa uk, as aluka bikul lis min huwa lak, sam mayta bihi naf sak, aw an zal tahu fee kitabik, aw a'l lam tahu aha'dan min khal qik, aw is ta thar ta bihi fee i'l mil ghay bi in dak, an taj a'l al-qur aan rabee'a, qal bee, wa noora sad ree, wa jala'a hu'z nee, wa thahaba hammee"
(Ahmad and Ibn Hibban)

The English meaning is: O' Allah! I am your bondservant, son of your bondsman, and son of your bondwoman. My forelock is in your Hands; your judgement is continuously being carried out upon me; your sentence upon me is just. I ask You with every name that is yours, with which You have named yourself, brought down in your book, taught to one of your creation, or have preferred for Yourself in the hidden knoweldge, with You; that You make the Quran the spring of my heart, and the light of my chest, and the despellation of my sadness, and deportation of my (preoccupying) concern.

...except that Allah would dispel his concern and his sadness, and would replace it with ease and relaxation for him."
(Ahmad and Ibn Hibban)

"Who is there that responds to the Du'a of the one in distress (besides Allah)?"
[an-Naml: 62]

"And your Lord said: Make Du'a to Me, I will respond to you."
[Ghafir: 60]

"And when My servant asks you concerning me (then answer them) , I am indeed near to them. I respond to the supplication of the supplicant when he calls on Me."
[al-Baqarah: 186]

For More Information/Questions/Opinions/Comments: hasana00@yahoo.com

Why are Paintings of Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) Sacrilegious?

Mike Ghouse


When Islam reached its potential bringing the entire Arabian
Peninsula into its fold, Prophet Mohammad became the statesman, the
general and the religious leader.

His teachings of belief in one God, equality of humankind and seeking
spirituality made his followers put him on the pedestal. As has
happened with all the great prophets, people were considering even
the dirt he walked on as holy.

Even to this day, we hang pictures; make statues of our heroes and
our leaders. Every king of era, or head of a town or state, had his
portraits in public places and some of them had their statutes placed
in every town. At that time period, people had the habit of making
individuals divine.

Although he was the chosen one to deliver the message of God to
mankind, the Prophet himself remained a simple soul. A few things
relating to the subject about him;

In one of his sermons, he had said, that I am as human as you are,
and when I die, please do not bury me in a special grave, bury me in
an unmarked grave like every one else.

I am a mortal and a messenger, the only one you have to worship is
God and not anyone else.

He stressed on individual responsibility to the point that he said to
his own daughter that, on the day of reckoning, it will be her own
deeds that will be her salvation.

He lived a simple life, although he had the whole world to him, he
chose to live in a small house and with no material accumulation. He
was the King, but he did not live in opulence, he wanted to lead a
spiritual life by example.

Does every Muslim follow his teachings to the Core? No! We are humans
and we do make mistakes, an allowance has been made by God through
the concept of forgiveness.

Can the world make judgments about Islam and Muslims with the acts of
less than 1/10th of one percent of Muslims? (1% of 1.3 Billion = 13
Million – 10th of a percent comes to 1.3 Million – state department
had released figures last year that about 450,000 people have
enlisted in organizations that believe in violence. It is 1/30th of
1% and to call the protest a representation of Muslims is grossly
flawed.

The prophet saw the dangers in misplaced divinity, he wanted people
to worship the one supreme God and not put any one or anything else
on par with him. By the way, as in other faiths, God does not have a
gender in Islam.

He made a ruling that no one should paint his portrait, or put up his
statue anywhere, he was making a strong point that people should, at
not time make any mortal human, the divine. Only God is to be
worshipped and no one else.

Over the years, Muslims have guarded this principle with great care.
You will never see a Muslim worship any one but God. Muslims draw
their pride in his teachings of equality, simplicity and
spirituality. This is one simple reason why Muslims consider any
painting of the prophet as sacrilegious. When Muslims stand shoulder
to shoulder to pray to God, all distinctions between intellectuals
and ordinary, rich or poor vanish, and when they chant Alla hu Akbar,
i.e., God is Great, they are saying we are mortals and all of us are
on par, and only God is great. It is to bring humility every time we
recite Alla hu Akbar.

Those of you who would like to learn about the Prophet thru a western
scholar, please read "Muhammad" by Karen Armstrong, it is available
at all the bookstores.


Mike Ghouse
Foundation for Pluralism
www.FoundationforPluralism.com
Mike@foundationforpluralism.com

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Blessing on the Mountain

By Khadija Margarid

“I saw Muslims praying on the streets when it was prayer time, and I thought, what humbleness, and what faith these people have.”

January 2004

It was a common day, like any other of the last weeks; working, preparing the discussion of my master’s degree dissertation, and organizing the trip to Nepal intending to satisfy the need for a deep rest intertwined with a motivation to feel like a foreigner, which had been growing as a result of two years without vacations. I was willing to listen to other folk’s languages, to observe their traditions, to know their religion, their eating habits, their costumes, their homes and so on. Europe seemed so close; it didn’t look as deep as my necessity, and Buddhist philosophies had roused my interest some years before.

One month earlier I was attending the prayers at the Buddhist temple in Lisbon. My goal was starting to prepare myself for my stay in Nepal, to experience in reality the prayers which the Dalai Lama speaks about, and if possible to learn a few meditation techniques—something that might be of value in moments of anguish, which I knew I’d go through, and might help me to find the way, to “enlightenment But fear invaded me because I had family and friends, because as a psychologist I had a job in which I was responsible for others.

I’d searched for prices and dates on which I could travel. The idea was to take the plane to Delhi, and from there one of the buses doing the route to Kathmandu – because it was cheaper, and to be traveling with the local people appeared much more interesting. But the answer had been invariable everywhere: “All flights are booked, there’s nothing else to do but wait!” Very well, I’ll wait. I waited for almost a month in anxiety, as if I was forcing something without understanding what, while simultaneously I was feeling some insinuating culpability traits because I thought, “one month absent might be an irresponsibility; after all it is time only to meditate on my existence and the world’s suffering.”

Some days went by, and circumstances changed. My mother wasn’t able to travel to Egypt as planned, two months from then: “Do you want to go instead of me?” she asked.

“I don’t know,” I answered.

I’m thankful for the new alternative but, I don’t give it a great importance because my mind is hooked on Nepal; when suddenly, in the middle of some casual activity, my mind was cleared and I could feel myself thinking “that’s the trip of my life: going to the desert, crossing Sinai and getting to Jerusalem.” A shiver ran through my body from head to toe; I want to go!

So, I started going to these Catholic group meetings and started to practice my religion assiduously. At the same time I decided to buy and start reading the Qur’an to know what Muslims think about God. The idea of God had been hovering above my spirit more clearly for four years now. That is, I was born into a believing family, although I didn’t go to church regularly. When I was a child my mother knelt down with me every night, and right beside the bed with our palms folded we prayed .

I started to move further away from this feeling when I was 17. I moved alone to Lisbon to study at the university. I started to enjoy the opportunity to hang out with friends, to have some drinks and to subtly and beautifully mask the trap that was getting installed, to confront timidity and erase the pain of the void which went on growing each time I looked for something more within others and kept finding them also empty. They said I was hoping for someone who believed in the impossible, in the dream, in love, in the will to transpose it into reality and defend it with the entire soul against everything that might diminish its beauty. As time passed by, each day I started to use fewer religious words in my vocabulary and, fundamentally, the word that was able to translate all the above sentiments was God.

May 25, 2004, Approxi-mately 3:00 a.m.

I am on top of Mount Moses, Sinai. In the last hours, I’ve prayed, read the Bible, and tried to be close to God as much as I could because today is Christ’s Ascension Day, and I’ve planned everything to be at this place on this specific moment. My heart is full of happiness and gratitude, but some fears start arising in my mind because there’s no one there except myself and some Bedouins on the other side. Exactly at that moment I perceive something, I don’t know what it is, but it’s like a gentle melody. I focus my attention on it and start listening to the most beautiful crystalline and soft voices, and so I turn to the immense vastness of stars above me. Where do these voices come from? They sound like angels. Oh my God, I never heard the angels but could it be? Who else could whisper this sweet music and reach the top of the mountain? I don’t know. It doesn’t really matter. I feel such a great peace and comfort –just like that childhood feeling again- and I know that I can sleep now; I know that I’m safe. Surely I know there’s a God, Who created the heavens and the earth and all that is between them.

Walking back again through the cities of Egypt I saw Muslims praying on the streets when it was prayer time, no matter what, and I thought “what humbleness, and what faith these people have.” I had just been given that precious blessing on the mountain, and every time I watched them I felt I was losing something, I felt incomplete, and each time it caused me sorrow.

It took me a while to understand why; I had never in my life knelt before someone and even less did I put my forehead on the ground to thank someone for anything or to ask anything of someone. God revealed Himself to me to be the only one worthy of my kneeling, and towards Whom I felt the need of doing so. I went back to Portugal, continued reading the Qur’an until the end, and faced myself with my daily world. The world built by humans, the world of visible things, the relentless racing for a bursting wallet, falsehood among lips and eyes, sacred words proclaimed in vain, the promulgation of false deities and faith in its images, temptations served on luxuriant hotel breakfast trays… all this and more…I was overcome with anguish because we don’t belong to this world. Something must be changed.

March 30, 2005

Two and a half months before, I had arrived to Cairo once again. But now I had a different insight in my heart. And on the evening of that specific day, from the depths of my being, I repented and asked for forgiveness; I humbly said grace and prayed to be accepted while my voice was trembling with the words “There is none worthy of worship except Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.” I decided to change myself.

(Khadija Margarid is a psychologist who is currently studying Arabic in Egypt).

Khalid ibn Waleed (RA) narrated the following Hadith:

A Bedouin came one day to the Prophet (Pbuh) and said to him, “O, Messenger of Allah! I have come to ask you a few questions about the affairs of this Life and the Hereafter.”

-Ask what you wish.

Q: I’d like to be the most learned of men.
A: Fear Allah, and you will be the most learned of men.

Q: I wish to be the richest man in the world.
A: Be contented, and you will be the richest man in the world.

Q: I’d like to be the most just man.
A: Desire for others what you desire for yourself, and you will be the most just of men.

Q: I want to be the best of men.
A: Do good to others and you will be the best of men.

Q: I wish to be the most favoured by Allah.
A: Engage much in Allah’s praise, and you will be most favored by Him.

Q: I’d like to complete my faith.
A: If you have good manners you will complete your faith

Q: I’d like to be raised on the Day of Judgement in the light.
A: Don’t wrong yourself or any other creature, and you will be raised on the Day of Judgement in the light.

Q: I’d like Allah to bestow His mercy on me.
A: If you have mercy on yourself and others, Allah will grant you mercy on the Day of Judgement.

Q: I’d like my sins to be very few.
A: If you seek forgiveness from Allah as much as you can, your sins will be very few.

Q: I’d like to be loved by Allah and His messenger.
A: If you love what Allah and His messenger love, you will be among their beloved ones.

Q: I wish to be safe from Allah’s wrath on the Day of Judgement.
A: If you do not lose your temper with any of your fellow creatures, you will be safe from the wrath of Allah on the Day of Judgement.

Q: I’d like Allah not to disgrace me on the Day of Judgement.
A: If you guard your chastity, Allah will not disgrace you on the Day of Judgement.

Q: I’d like Allah to provide me with a protective covering on the Day of Judgement.
A: Do not uncover your fellow brothers faults, and Allah will provide you with a covering protection on the Day of Judgement.

Q: What are the best deeds in the eyes of Allah?
A: Gentle manners, modesty and patience.

Q: What are the worst evils in the eyes of Allah?
A: Hot temper and miserliness.

Q: What extinguishes hell’s fire on the Day of Judgement?
A: Patience in adversity and misfortunes.

The Bride Price: Dowry Abuse

By Amatullah Abdullah

Demanding a dowry and getting married may seem valid in the eyes of many, but will the marriage be validated in the eyes of Allah?

A woman holds a very high status in the Islamic faith. She is honoured and respected at all times, but many startling transgressions have crept into Islamic practice. These transgressions have been caused by cultural influences that have no basis in Islam.One such influence is the dowry. Muslims living in India have slowly incorporated the payment of dowry into their lives. There is nothing strange or unique about a culture influencing Muslim practice, as it is a common occurrence around the globe. There is nothing wrong with this as long as those cultural practices do not contradict Islamic law. The practice of dowry, however, does in fact transgress Islamic Law.

The Bride Price

We usually use the word “gift” for something that we give voluntarily to a person we like. A gift is something that strengthens the bond of friendship between two people. Dowry, which is usually defined as a “gift” given along with the bride by a bride’s family to the bridegroom, is used as a tool of coercion and greed in societies like India. The bride’s family must give this “gift” or the marriage will not take place. Always the price of the dowry is set higher than the bride’s family can afford, and, sadly, this results in the bride becoming a burden on her family. The bride’s family then struggles to pay the “gift.”

In Islam, in contrast, it is the man who pays the mahr (dower) to the woman. The following verses in the Qur’an prove that it is the man who is obligated to pay the mahr to the woman unless the woman chooses not to take it.

(And give women their dower as a free gift, but if they of themselves be pleased to give up to you a portion of it, then eat it with enjoyment and with wholesome result.) (An-Nisaa’ 4:4)

Dowry Deaths

Cultures that demand dowry from the bride’s family are actually practising the opposite of what Allah has commanded. They have reversed Allah’s words in their practice. The bride is forced to pay a negotiated amount to the groom unless the man chooses not to take it. When the woman brings less than the negotiated amount, she has to endure constant torture from her in-laws after marriage. When the husband or in-laws are not satisfied with the dowry brought by the bride, they may even go so far as to kill the woman after marriage.The most severe among all the dowry abuse is “bride burning.” The parties engaged in the murder usually report the case as an accident or suicide.

Dowry abuse is rising among Muslims. Despite the Dowry Prohibition Act of 1961, dowry abuse is arising in India. The Indian Ministry of Home Affairs and the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) reported 6,285 deaths in 2003. The official records always include under-reportage. For example, in Delhi, 90 per cent of cases of women being burned are recorded as accidents, 5 percent as suicides, and only the remaining 5 percent are shown as murders. The statistics of dowry deaths in the whole of India is spine-chilling.

A Dowry Chest

Many women remain unmarried due to this dowry. Even worse is that when Muslim men intend to honour the mahr to their brides, it is often rejected. The women prefer to remain unmarried rather than to marry someone who is not from their culture. Another common practice is that people “exchange” their sons. In other words, they give a bridegroom (usually their son) to a woman to be married in exchange for a bridegroom from the woman’s family (the bride-to-be’s brother or any unmarried relative), so that they can have their daughters married without a dowry. This places an incredible disadvantage on the parents who have daughters and no sons. The parents of the daughters have to give money to get their daughters married!


Objectify Women

It is a sad irony that women (mainly mothers-in-law) are oppressive towards other women (daughters-in-law). It is mainly the mothers-in-law-to-be who demand dowry from the bride’s family and who end up torturing the daughter-in-law after marriage if she brings less than the negotiated amount.

Syed (not his real name), aged 35, from Chennai, said, “It is difficult to find a bride who would be able to afford all that my mom asks. … Because of this I am still unmarried.” When I asked his mother why she demands a dowry from the bride, she said, “We have spent so much on our son, for his education, for raising him and now we will marry him off and most of the money he earns will go to his wife. So she will benefit from all the money we spent on him. For that they can pay an amount to have our son.”

Ahmed (not his real name), 29, from Delhi, said, “I don’t want to take any dowry, but can’t stop my parents from asking, as I will disrespect them if I do so.”

So in an effort to respect parents and to conform to cultural norms, Muslim youth in India are bending over backwards to follow traditions that are not even rooted in Islam. Demanding a dowry and getting married may seem valid in the eyes of many, but will the marriage be validated in the eyes of Allah? If a culture contains un-Islamic practice, then one should not feel any shame in breaking those conflicting traditional practices. The practice of dowry has caused Muslims in many parts of the world to continue their prejudices against women despite the Islamic prohibitions against dowry. On the Indian sub-continent, a woman is considered to be a great burden mainly because of the dowry system. It is common to see people rejoicing over the birth of a son and lamenting over the birth of a daughter. Why aren’t people listening to the message of Islam instead of following the customs around them?

Islam stressed fairness and kindness. Islam ensures that boys and girls are treated equally. It is unfortunate to see people submitting themselves to dictates of culture rather than to the will of Allah Who is our Creator, Cherisher, and Sustainer. Let us not succumb to the fitnah caused by culture and let us stand in practicing Islam by enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong.

(The writer can be reached at amatullah110@yahoo.com). (www.islamonline.net)

The Justice of the King of Persia

By Khusthar Jamal


It is related in a story that in the times of old, a king by name, Sultan Malik Shah Seljuki ruled the Kingdom of Persia. One day, he set out on a hunt along with his soldiers on the banks of a river. After a long journey, the king decided to rest for a while before continuing on the hunt. He got down form his horse and pitched camp on a green meadow, under a tree, which grew on the banks of the river.

One of the servants of Sultan Malik Shah who was the chief of all his bodyguards decided to get the Sultan some food as they rested under the tree. He went to the nearby village seeking food, and unable to find any, seized a large goat that was grazing on the riverbank. He ordered his companion to slaughter it and roast its flesh.

Now, the goat belonged to an old man whose only means of food was the milk that he got from the goat. When he became aware of the incident, he rushed towards the bridge where the Sultan and his retinue had to pass, in order to continue on with their journey. He waited eagerly until the magnificent decked horse of the Sultan, accompanied by his soldiers arrived in front of him. Running forward, he caught the reins of the Sultan’s horse. The chief of the Sultan’s bodyguard flourished his whip in order to strike at him for this disrespectful act. The Sultan said, “Leave him, for he appears to be an oppressed man and a helpless creature. Let me see what his grievance is.” He then turned and faced the old man, and asked him what he had to say.

The old man said, “O Sultan! If you do not give me redress at the entrance of this bridge, I swear by the Glory of Allah, the Almighty God that I will not let the hand of my resentment quit your royal robes at the entrance of the Sirat Bridge, until I get justice from you. Think well; which of the two bridges will you choose before you will grant me to put right the injustice that was done to me?”

The Sultan was struck with terror on hearing those words, and said, “Take care, my friend! I even as the Sultan do not have the strength to face that bridge! Who has oppressed you?” The old man replied, “O Sultan, the same person who had just flourished his whip to strike at me in your presence, has slaughtered and roasted the only goat that I had in my possession, from whose milk, I used to sustain myself for my daily food.”

Malik Shah immediately turned to his chief of bodyguard to find out the truth. When he admitted his guilt, Malik Shah ordered him to be punished with the same whip, which he held in his hand. He ordered his other soldiers to go into the nearby villages and purchase 70 goats and present them to the old man in compensation for the goat he had lost.

After some time, the old man heard the news that Sultan Malik Shah had died. He journeyed to the city the same night and made his way to his grave where he was buried, and spreading a prayer-mat besides the grave, and raising his hands in supplication prayed to God, with tears flowing out of his eyes, “O Allah, this slave of Yours who lies buried in this earth, helped me on one occasion when I was in distress. Now, it is possible that he may be in trouble, please help him out of Your Mercy! I was helpless like him on the day when I sought justice from him. He took compassion on me and relieved me of my distress in a handsome manner. At this moment, he himself is helpless and is in need of Your Compassion. You are the Lord of the worlds. Please help him out and take pity on him!”

On that night, one of the servants of the Sultan saw him in a dream. The servant asked the Sultan how Allah, the Almighty had treated him. The Sultan replied in the dream, “If the prayer of the old man had not come to my help, then I would not have escaped the Wrath of Allah and his Punishment! The justice, which I had got for him, and the blessings of his prayers, opened the door of Allah’s Mercy on me!”

Moral of the story: Grant redress to the oppressed and fulfill the desires of the disappointed so that Allah may show compassion on you and shower you with His Mercy in the Hereafter!

The King and the Cow


It is said in a story that once King Salim of Turkey, while hunting along with his soldiers strayed far away from the group. The air in the countryside grew warmer and he soon felt thirsty. He began to look in every direction in search of shade and a spring of water. At a distance, he could make out a house, so he drove his horse in that direction. He saw that it was a roadside inn built in the middle of a deserted road. When he came near the inn, he saw an old woman sitting with her daughter. When the King reached the inn, the old woman ran out of the building to welcome her guest. She brought some food for him to eat. After the king ate from the food, and drank the cool water provided for him, he felt drowsy, and soon slept.

After waking up from his sleep, he noticed the sun setting behind the clouds. It was very late for him to return back to his palace so he decided to stay in the inn for the night.

As soon as he finished his evening prayer, he noticed a cow had come to the inn after grazing from the nearby meadow, and after tying it to the fence of the inn, the old woman’s daughter started milking the cow. The King was surprised at the huge quantity of milk that was obtained from the cow. He said to himself, “These people reside in the village side with the object that no person may become acquainted with their secret of growing up their cows. They get quite a lot of milk from a single cow. If they give it to the King, once in a week, surely they would not suffer in poverty, and the Royal Treasury can be filled with additional taxes from the proceeds that are got by selling the milk.”

He decided on the intention of taxing his subjects who lived in the countryside on the milk that was produced by their cows. He retired for the night on a bed provided by the old woman for him to sleep.

The next day morning, the young daughter milked the cow again. Soon, she raised a cry and ran to her mother, saying, “O my mother, take yourself immediately to prayer, for it appears to me that our king has just made an intention of oppressing his people.”

The King listened to the girl astonished, and asked her, “How did you know that?”

She replied, “I have been milking this cow for many years now, and it yields plenty of milk, but today, I find that she has given out only a small quantity. It is said by our wise people that whenever a king makes an evil intention, Allah, the Almighty, puts an end to the prosperity of his kingdom.” The King said, “You speak the truth.” He removed the intention of taxing the villagers for their milk from his mind and said to the girl, “Go again, and try to milk the cow.”

The girl obeyed, and then rose to milk the cow for a second time, and this time, she found the cow yielded a large quantity of milk. She ran again to her mother and announced to her about the good news. “Perhaps,” she said, “Our King must have given up on the evil intention of oppressing his subjects. The cow is yielding the same quantity of milk as before.”

Moral of the story: A country ruled by a good ruler who has the welfare of his subjects in his mind, brings the country more prosperity, Allah, the Almighty blesses such a land with health, wealth and prosperity of its people.

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