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Friday, June 30, 2006

!!! Magic Of Flower's !!!

I picked some fragrant flowers
to bring to you today.
I gathered them together
and made a bright bouquet.

There were lovely pale pink roses
with petals paper thin,
I touched one with my hand
it felt soft against my skin.

I added perfumed lilies,
wet with morning dew,
And hope their special magic,
Speak of my love for you.

USMAN ALI
Ansu119@Yahoo.com

I Miss You!

Just can't help but miss you
since you went away
I may act like I'm okay
but it's the facade I portray

Miss everything 'bout you
from your smile to your ways
Just can't stop but reminisce
about the good old days

Thought I would tell you
just exactly how I feel
There's nothing I can change
'cause they're absolutely real

I Miss You!

USMAN ALI
Ansu119@Yahoo.com

For My Special F-R-I-E-N-D!!

Sitting here thinking about you today,
wishing that you weren't so far away.
A friendship that was created all so soon,
is really starting to bud and bloom.
~
You bring a smile to my face each day,
with the little messages you send my way.
I hope in the years soon to come,
that our friendship will shine like the sun.
~
We share a special kind of love,
blessed by that of the Lord above.
Forever friends we will stay,
never allowing our bond to fray.
~
In my heart you will always stay,
as I cherish our friendship everyday.
Take my hand my dear friend,
and friends we will remain to the end.
~
I will lift you up when your feeling down,
giving you a smile to replace that frown.
Just as I know you would do for me,
without friends where would we be.

[beautiful_teachings_of_Islam]

25 Rules Of Being Close To Allah

1. Start off each day with 'adhkaar al-istiyqaadh' (waking up Supplications), thanking Allah for waking up in good shape.

2. Put Allah first in your life.

3. Broaden your horizons - learn 5 new verses from the Quran every day, travel to pray far in the mosque to brighten your day,take up a booklet having supplications and read them.

4. Pray Salaat Al-dhuhaa (after sunrise).

5. If someone says something mean things to you, just shrug it off and dismiss it in a friendly, laidback manner, and pray that Allah shall forgive them.

6. When you get angry, remember Allah, and how short and worthless life is to waste in being Angry.

7. Remember that you can never have too many friends, but you can have few quality friends that help you fulfill the purpose of your creation (i.e. live for Allah).

8. When you're happy, try to share your happiness with others. Thank Allah for that, and pray its continuation.

9. When something bad or embarrassing happens to you, just think that it could always be worse, remember the reward of patience,and thank Allah that it's not worse than it is.

10. Do something extra of goodness once in a while, like feeding a poor person, or caressing an orphan's head.

11. Never stop believing that you can win Allah's love and thus work For it. Then you can win the love of Allah's slaves.

12. Spend some time thinking of Allah's amazing creation.

13. Always love those who love Allah unconditionally. This way you will ensure that you live for Him, love for Him, and hate for Him (those who are enemies of Him).

14. Find the righteous ways to express yourself, and if you think that what you are about to say shall cause no benefit, maintain silence.

15. Every now and then, give yourself a break. Play sports, give time to your family, friends, but always remember Allah and watch that He is watching you.

16. Pray for blessing to come to those being lost, and pray to Allah to guide them to the right path.

17. Hug your parents, kiss their hands and heads and always obey but stop at Allah's orders.

18. Smile to everybody, for your smile makes a big difference to him or her and you are rewarded.

19. Forgive, forget and smile.

20. Tears are not for women only... tears are for all human beings with feelings remaining in them. Don't restrain your tears when remembering Allah.

21. When people criticize your actions and effort, revise your actions and see if they please Allah or no. If they do; then ignore and remember how the Prophet (SAAW) and the righteous Sahaba were criticized, made fun of and even physically harmed, so have patience.

22. Read the Quran daily and try to have a schedule for completing it as much as you could. As you open the Quran daily, read with observing not just passing your eyes through the words.

23. Don't let popularity go to your head, for it never lasts and you may lose from it more than gain.

24. Never look down on anybody, for, to Allah, they may be better than you.

25. Send this to all brothers & sisters with the intention of having a healthy society living for Allah and pray


I Need You Now

My friend, I need you now-

Please take me by the hand.

Stand by me in my hour of need,

Take time to understand.


Take my hand, dear friend,

And lead me from this place.

Chase away my doubts and fears,

Wipe the tears from off my face.


Friend, I cannot stand alone.

I need your hand to hold,

The warmth of your gentle touch

In my world that's grown so cold.


Please be a friend to me

And hold me day by day.

Because with your loving hand in mine,

I know we'll find the way.

We Are Family

we are family,
although we do not resemble
although I am black and you are white
although you are rich and I am poor

we are family,
even though I am democrat, and you are republican
even though your ancestors are from Iraq, and mine are from Africa
even though you teach the class I'm enrolled in

we are family,
although I'm a poet and you are a singer
although you are old and I am young
although I'm a lady and you a gentleman

we are family,
even though you praise Jesus Christ and I praise Allah
even though I love football and you play soccer
even though you are a Sagittarius and I'm a Cancer

we are family,
although I prefer rhythm and blues and you love blue grass
even though you have a car and I have a bus…to ride
although I have love and you are alone
even though you dress one way, and I dress the other
although my family loves me and yours does not know of you

we are family,
you and I are family,
me and you are family,
no matter what the difference is
family we are, forever
because we are here, and here is earth
and earth is our home
so here, we will live,
we are family.

About Our Friendship

Sitting here thinking about you today,
wishing that you weren't so far away.
A friendship that was created all so soon,
is really starting to bud and bloom.
~
You bring a smile to my face each day,
with the little messages you send my way.
I hope in the years soon to come,
that our friendship will shine like the sun.
~
We share a special kind of love,
blessed by that of the Lord above.
Forever friends we will stay,
never allowing our bond to fray.
~
In my heart you will always stay,
as I cherish our friendship everyday.
Take my hand my dear friend,
and friends we will remain to the end.
~
I will lift you up when your feeling down,
giving you a smile to replace that frown.
Just as I know you would do for me,
without friends where would we be.


USMAN ALI
Ansu119@Yahoo.com

"Stressed Ladie's?"

This is a specially formulated diet designed to help women cope with the stress that builds during the day.

BREAKFAST
1 grapefruit
1 slice whole-wheat toast
1 cup skim milk

LUNCH
1 small portion lean, steamed chicken with a cup of spinach
1 cup herbal tea
1 Hershey's Kiss

AFTERNOON TEA
The rest of the Hershey Kisses in the bag
1 tub of Hagen-Daaz ice cream with chocolate-chip topping

DINNER
4 bottles of wine (red or white)
2 loaves garlic bread
1 family-size Supreme pizza
3 Snickers bars

LATE NIGHT SNACK
1 whole Sarah Lee cheesecake (eaten directly from the freezer)

REMEMBER: "Stressed" spelled backward is "desserts".


Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Israeli forces push into Gaza Strip

Wed Jun 28, 2006 09:16 AM ET
By Nidal al-Mughrabi

GAZA (Reuters) - Israel launched on Wednesday its first ground offensive in the Gaza Strip since leaving the territory last year, stepping up pressure on Palestinian militants to release an abducted soldier.

Tanks and infantry, backed by assault helicopters and artillery, set up a strategic observation post at a disused airport outside the southern town of Rafah as masked gunmen waited behind barricades and in alleyways for battle to begin.

Threatening "extreme steps" if Corporal Gilad Shalit was not freed, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said the operation would continue "over the coming days."

Launching the offensive three days after Shalit was captured in Israel by gunmen in a cross-border raid, Israeli aircraft struck at three bridges in what the army said was an attempt to stop militants moving the captive.

A helicopter attack on Gaza's only power plant sent flames shooting into the sky and cut off electricity to much of the coastal territory, where 1.4 million Palestinians live. Engineers said repairs could take six months.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called the bombardment of civilian infrastructure "collective punishment and a crime against humanity."

Olmert said Israel had "no intention of recapturing" the Gaza Strip.

"We have a central goal and that is to bring Gilad home," he said in a speech in Jerusalem.

Mushir al-Masri, a legislator from the governing Hamas movement, said Olmert's "adventurism" was "putting the missing soldier at risk."

Overflying Gaza, Israeli warplanes caused sonic booms that rattled Palestinian nerves and carried out what a military spokeswoman said were several missile strikes in open areas.

Security sources said an explosion that killed two Palestinians at a home in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday was accidental and not related to the Israeli offensive.

MISSING SETTLER

In another challenge to Israel, a militant group threatened to kill a Jewish settler it said it seized in the West Bank if the Gaza raid continued. Israeli authorities said the settler has been missing since Sunday.

Abu Abir, a spokesman for the Popular Resistance Committees, showed a photocopy of the missing settler's ID card at a Gaza news conference. Abu Abir and other militants left in a hurry at the sound of Israeli aircraft breaking the sound barrier.

In a statement in Brussels, the European Union's external relations commissioner, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, called on those holding the soldier to free him.

She also urged Israel to "act with prudence" to allow diplomatic efforts to secure his release to succeed.

The hostage crisis was a major test for Olmert, a career politician with little security experience.

He was elected in March on a platform of carrying out a similar withdrawal from parts of the occupied West Bank, another territory Palestinians would like as part of a state.

With tension growing on Tuesday, Hamas reached a political deal with Abbas, a moderate, but rejected any suggestion the plan meant it recognized Israel.

Israel dismissed the manifesto, penned by Palestinians in its jails, as "double-speak" aimed at lifting a U.S.-led aid embargo on the Palestinian Authority.

Two Israeli soldiers and two attackers were killed in Sunday's raid by gunmen from three factions, including Hamas's armed wing, who tunneled under Israel's Gaza border fence.

The groups said the assault was in response to the killing of 14 Palestinian civilians in Israeli air strikes in Gaza against militants behind cross-border rocket attacks.

http://go.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml;jsessionid=DJVH5YQCWM34ECRBAEOCFEY?type=topNews&storyID=12674971

A Wife

A talk by Shaykh Abdullah Adhami

By getting married you are not just getting a wife, you are getting your whole world. From now until the rest of your days your wife will be your partner, your companion, and your best friend.

She will share your moments, your days, and your years. She will share your joys and sorrows, your successes and failures, your dreams and your fears. When you are ill, she will take the best care of you; when you need help, she will do all she can for you;

When you have a secret, she will keep it; when you need advice, she will give you the best advice. She will always be with you: when you wake up in the morning the first thing your eyes will see will be hers; during the day, she will be with you, if for a moment she is not with you by her physical body, she will be thinking of you, praying for you with all her heart, mind, and soul; when you go to sleep at night, the last thing your eyes will see will be her; and when you are asleep you will still see her in your dreams. In short, she will be your whole world and you will be her whole world.

The best description that I personally have ever read describing the closeness of the spouses to each other is the Qur'anic verse which says: "they are your garments and you are their garments" (Surah Al Baqarah 2:187). Indeed, spouses are like garments to each other because they provide one another with the protection, the comfort, the cover, the support, and the adornment that garments provide to humans. Just imagine a journey in the winter of Alaska without garments! Our spouses provide us with the same level of comfort, protection, cover, and support in the journey of our lives on this earth as garments would do in the Alaskan journey.

The relationship between the spouses is the most amazing of all human relations: the amount of love and affection, intimacy and closeness, mercy and compassion, peace and tranquillity that fills the hearts of the spouses is simply inexplicable. The only rational explanation for these most amazing of all human feelings is that: it is an act of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala, "And Allah has made for you Mates (and Companions) of your own nature ..." (Surah Al Nahl 16:72) Only our Almighty Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala in His Infinite Power, Boundless Mercy, and Great Wisdom can create and ingrain these amazing and blessed feelings in the hearts of the spouses. In fact Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala is reminding those who search for His signs in the universe that these feelings in the hearts of the spouses are among the signs that should guide humans to His existence as He says in the Qur'an, "And among His signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves that you may dwell in tranquillity with them and He has put love and mercy between your hearts: verily in that are signs for those who reflect." (Surah Al Rum 30:21)

But Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala knows that the human heart is not a static entity, it is sometimes weak and at times dynamic. Feelings can and do change with time. Love may wither and fade away. The marital bond might weaken if not properly cared for. Happiness in marriage cannot be taken for granted; continuous happiness requires constant giving from both sides. For the tree of marital love to remain alive and keep growing, the soil has to be sustained, maintained, watered and nurtured.

Remember that our Prophet Muhammad Salallaahu 'aliahi wa'sallaam had found the time to go out to the desert and race with his wife Aisha. She out ran him but later after she had gained some weight, he out ran her.

Remember that the Prophet Salallaahu 'aliahi wa'sallaam took his wife to watch the young Ethiopians playing and dancing their folk dances. The show of emotions is necessary to keep the marital bond away from rusting and disintegrating.

Remember that you will be rewarded by Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala for any emotions you show to your wife as the Prophet Salallaahu 'aliahi wa'sallaam said "one would be rewarded for anything that he does seeking the pleasure of Allah even the food that he puts in the mouth of his wife."

Never underestimate the importance of seemingly little things as putting food in your wife's mouth, opening the car's door for her, etc. Remember that the Prophet Salallaahu 'aliahi wa'sallaam used to extend his knee to his wife to assist her up to ride the camel.

Try to always find some time for both of you to pray together. Strengthening the bond between you and Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala is the best guarantee that your own marital bond would always remain strong. Having peace with Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala will always result in having more peace at home.

Remember that the Prophet Salallaahu 'aliahi wa'sallaam gave glad tidings for those couples who wake up at night to pray together. The Prophet Salallaahu 'aliahi wa'sallaam even urged the spouse who rises up first to wake the other spouse up even by throwing cold water on his/her face.

Always try your best to be good to your wife by words and by deeds. Talk to her, smile to her, seek her advice, ask for her opinion, spend quality time with her and always remember that the Prophet Salallaahu 'aliahi wa'sallaam said "the best of you are those who are best to their wives."

Finally, it is common that spouses vow to love and honor their spouses until death do them part. I do believe that this vow is good or even great, but not enough! It is not enough that you love your wife. You have to love what she loves as well. Her family, her loved ones must also become your loved ones. Don't be like my colleague who was unhappy about his wife's parents coming to visit for few weeks. He candidly said to her "I don't like your parents." Naturally, she angrily looked at him straight in the eye and said " I don't like yours either"... Also, it is not enough that you love her until death do you part. Love should never end and we do believe there is life after death where those who did righteousness in this world will be joined by their spouses (Surah Al Zukhruf 43:70) and offsprings.

The best example in this regard is the Prophet Salallaahu 'aliahi wa'sallaam whose love for Khadija, his wife of 25 years extended to include all those she loved and continued even after her death. It was many years after her death and he never forgot her and whenever a goat was slaughtered in his house he would send portions of it to Khadija's family and friends and whenever he felt that the visitor at the door might be Khadija's sister Hala, he would pray saying "O Allah let it be Hala."

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

9/11 conspiracy theorists gather at LA conference

9/11 conspiracy theorists gather at LA conference: "9/11 conspiracy theorists gather at LA conference
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - They wore T-shirts asking 'What Really Happened?,' snapped up DVDs titled '9/11; The Great Illusion,' and cheered as physicists, philosophers and terrorism experts decried the official version of the Sept. 11 attacks that shook America to its core.

Some 1,200 people gathered at a Los Angeles hotel on the weekend for what organizers billed as the largest conference on the plethora of conspiracy theories that see the 2001 attacks on Washington and New York as, at best, official negligence, and at worst an orchestrated U.S. attempt to incite world war.

'There are so many prominent people who are incredibly well-respected who have stated that the evidence is overwhelming that 9/11 was an inside job,' syndicated radio talk show host Alex Jones told a news conference.

'There are hundreds of smoking guns that people need to be made aware of,' said Jones, calling for the impeachment of President George W. Bush and charging that mainstream media had been slow to cover the growing movement of 9/11 skeptics.

The '9/11 and the Neo-Con Agenda' conference comprised two days of seminars, video presentations and talks by groups including 'Scholars for 9/11 Truth,' www.infowars.com and an appearance by actor Charlie Sheen.

Most are convinced the U.S. military command 'stood down' on the day of the attack, that the hijackers were trained at American military bases, and that the World Trade Center towers collapsed because of a series of controlled explosions set before they were hit by two hijacked planes.
ADVERTISEMENT

Suggested motives range from expected benefits for U.S. arms and oil conglomerates to revolutionary plans for a new world order headed by the United States.

The theories, derided by critics as wild and far-fetched, have mostly been confined to the Internet, talk radio and the alternative press.

But an August 2004 Zogby opini"

Etiquettes of Joking….from an Islaamic Perspective

By Asma bint Shameem


As the Imam got up after Friday prayers, he announced to the people:
"I have good news and bad news. The good news is, Alhamdulillaah, we have enough money to pay for our new building project. The bad news is, it's still out there in your pockets!

Some people think that there is no place in Islaam for laughs and jokes like these, that Islaam is all about seriousness and harshness, and the one who does joke or ‘lightens up’ a bit, is crossing bounds. And on the other hand, there are some, especially our youth, who actually DO go beyond bounds in their joking and having ‘fun’. They cross all limits, carry things too far and don’t know what is appropriate and what is not.
Actually, the truth lies somewhere in the middle.
Alhamdulillaah, our religion is perfect and it has set guidelines for everything, in every walk of life. Following the Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh) is the key to everything and it shows us that the Prophet (pbuh) used to smile and joke with his companions:
A man came to the Prophet (pbuh) and said:
“Give me an animal to ride on” the Prophet (pbuh) replied: “I will give you the son of a female camel”. The man said with astonishment: “What could I do with the son of a female camel?” (thinking that he would be given a camel too small to ride). Thereupon, the Messenger of Allaah (pbuh) replied: “What do female camels deliver except camels?” (i.e., that every camel, even if it is fully grown, is the product of a female camel!). (Abu Daawood & Tirmidhi).
However there are certain guidelines to follow, according to the Sunnah, when it comes to joking, laughing and having fun.

1) MAKE SURE you don’t make fun of any aspect of Islaam:
Jokes should not involve verses from the Qur’aan, hadeeth, or any of fundamentals of Islaam. Unfortunately, some people tell jokes about the verses of the Qur’aan, Prophets, angels, or they make fun of the Hijaab, the beard, etc. This is the most dangerous as it can make a person a Kaafir, EVEN IF YOU ARE ONLY JOKING.
Shaikh Al-‘Uthaymeen said: “One who mocks Allaah, His verses, His signs or His Messengers is a disbeliever because this action nullifies belief.”
And the Prophet (pbuh) said:
“A slave (of Allaah) would utter a word, without paying attention to it, which would result in him going down into the Hellfire further than the distance between the east and the west.” (Muslim).
So the sister in the Niqaab is NOT A NINJAA and the brother who shortens his pants or lengthens his beard is NOT A NERD!
“If you ask them, they declare: ‘We were only talking idly and joking.’ Say: ‘Was it at Allaah, and His verses and His Messenger that you were mocking? ’Make no excuse; you disbelieved after you had believed” [al-Tawbah:65-66]

2) NEVER joke about something that is HARAAM:
Some people, especially the youth living in the western society tend to take the things that are Haraam too lightly and something to joke about. For example, they make jokes about a person being GAY or being ‘high’, having committed zinaa, etc.
Subhaan Allah! We forget that these are things among the worst in the sight of Allaah and bring on Allaah’s wrath and curse and are certainly NOT things to joke about.

3) Say ONLY that which is true:
The Prophet (pbuh) used to joke but he would only speak the truth.
Someone asked the Prophet (pbuh): “Do you joke with us?” He (pbuh) replied: “I do, but I only say that which is true” (Tirmidhi & Bukhaari--Adab al-Mufrad)
If it involves lying and making up stories, then it is not allowed.
The Prophet (pbuh) said, "Woe to the one who speaks and tells a lie in order to make the people laugh at it. Woe to him. Then again, woe to him." (Abu Dawud, al-Tirmidhi and al-Nasaa’i)

4) Don’t make jokes to make ‘FUN’ of people:
Be careful that your joking does not hurt anybody’s feelings or harms them in any way. So don’t make those snide remarks or wink behind their backs.
“O you who believe! Let not a group ridicule another group, it may be that the latter are better than the former. Nor let (some) women scoff at other women, it may be that the latter are better than the former. Nor defame one another, nor insult one another by nicknames. How bad is it to insult one’s brother after having Faith” [Hujuraat:11]

5) Don’t laugh if someone slips or falls or is afflicted with something:
The Prophet (pbuh) said, “Do not express malicious joy towards your brother’s misfortune, for Allaah may have mercy on him and you may be stricken by the thing you made fun of.” (al-Tirmidhi).

6) Never scare anybody while joking or otherwise:
The Messenger of Allaah (pbuh) said: ‘It is not permissible for a Muslim to frighten another Muslim.’” (Abu Dawood).

7) Joking should not involve backbiting:
Don’t ever joke about others when they are not there, even if you ‘think’ they wouldn’t mind, as it would involve backbiting.
“[Backbiting is] your mentioning about your brother something that he dislikes.” (Muslim)

8) Beware of excessive laughing and joking:
Don’t be like the one who jokes ALL the time. The amount of joking should be like the amount of salt in one’s food, as too much laughing and joking makes the heart hard, distracts one from the remembrance of Allaah and makes you lose respect.
The Prophet (pbuh) said: “Do not laugh too much, for laughing too much deadens the heart.” (Saheeh al-Jaami)
‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab said: “Whoever laughs too much or jokes too much loses respect, and whoever persists in doing something will be known for it.”

9) Choose appropriate time and place for your jokes:
Some people don’t appreciate the time or place for joking and do so indiscriminately.
There is a time and place for everything. For example, what might be amusing at a picnic or at the dinner table might not be so amusing in the middle of a Halaqah.
Sufyaan ibn ‘Uyaynah said, “….. it (joking) is Sunnah, but only for those who know how to do it and do it at the appropriate time.”

10) Use appropriate language:
Some people resort to immoral or obscene language when joking around, even though under ‘normal’ circumstances they would not even think of using such words.
The Prophet (pbuh) said: “The Muslim does not slander, curse, speak obscenely or speak rudely.” (Tirmidhi--saheeh by al-Albaani).

11) Acknowledge people’s status
Some people may joke with everyone indiscriminately, but scholars and the elderly have special positions and rights, so you have to be aware of the character of the person with whom you are dealing. You should also not joke with people whom you do not know or who won’t understand, or it may lead to unpleasantness.
‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al-‘Azeez said: “Fear joking, for it is folly and generates grudges.”
Thus we see that Islam is not against jokes. Good humor is part of Islam and Islam does not go against this because it is typically a part of human nature. A Muslim should develop a positive and optimistic personality, and not a gloomy and pessimistic one that is negative towards life.
However, moderation is the key, and it is what distinguishes Muslims from others. We don’t go overboard in our jokes and humor, (or in anything else, for that matter) and if we follow the Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh), and his guidance, we will certainly not get lost.

"O you who believe! Be patient, and excel in patience, and remain steadfast and fear Allah, that you may be successful." [3:200)

Planning

By Omar Tarhuni

A-úthú billáhi minash shaytánir rajím. Bismilláhir Rahmánir Rahím!

[Arabic du'á]


We often notice a regrettable phenomenon among Moslem individuals, groups, communities, and countries. This phenomenon is bad planning or a total lack of planning.

Some Moslems fail to plan their actions, therefore the outcomes of such actions are different from what they had in mind when they started. These Moslems work on the basis of the "Baraka syndrome," or "Inshallah, everything will be fine," or "Allah will be with us." This new phenomenon, although it is true, is exploited by the defeated Moslems, who always look west, and the seculars who reject Islam as a way of life. They attack Islam and accuse it of being the source of backwardness in the Moslem world.

Needless to say that this new phenomenon does not represent Islam, because if we carefully read the Quran and the Sunna, we clearly see that there are Islamic foundations for planning.

THE ISLAMIC FOUNDATION OF PLANNING


1. Orientation to the future

The Islamic way of life revolves around our preparation for the future life in the hereafter. The Quran tells us that there are people who ask for what is good in this world as well as in the hereafter will receive what is due the them in both the worlds. It affirms that what is due to them is based on what they earn by their actions.

some say .Our Lord, give us all the good things here in this world, such people shall have no share in the hereafter. Then, there are others who say, Our Lord, give us what is good in this world and also what is good in

the Hereafter and save us from the torment of Fire, Such people shall have their due share (in both the worlds) according to what they earn. And ALLAH is swift at settling accounts.

Thus, the Quranic view is two-fold ; We should plan our actions with specific goals in mind. our reward is dependent on our implementation of that plan.Making a plane and implementing it are thus two sides of the same coin.

The Prophet urges us to be always oriented to the future , IF the last hour strikes and you are carrying a nursling tree to the grove for planting, go ahead and plant it.

WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO PLAN.? In other words what are the requirements or the mechanics of planning?

Planning requires four basic elements. a) Learning from the past, b) use of resources, c) consulting before deciding and, d) being fair to others

A- Learning from the past.

In planning for the future, we must build on what has been done before , without being limited by the shortcomings of the past. The Quran urges us to learn from the experience of others Did they not travel through the earth, and see what was the end of those before them ?

B- Using Resources

The art of good planning is the art of identifying potential resources and

optimizing their use to produce the desired results.The Muslim recognizes

that ALLAH has provided all that he needs, if he would only srtive to

deserve it and to aquire it. " Do you not see that ALLAH has subjected

to your use all things in the heavens and on earth, and has made His bounties flow to you in exceeding measure both seen and unseen.

C- Consulting before deciding

The Islamic view of planning is based on, study, advice and consultation. It is not an authoritarian, totally centralized process of giving orders. In fact the Muslim planner seeks knowledge to replace his ignorance on the subject at hand, solicits advise to test his assumptions and engages in consultation to overcome his own limitations Then ask the learned if you do not know,

Consult them in affairs of the moment. The Quran furthers describes the believers as.... and who conduct their affairs by consultation.

The prophets tells us that ......Religion is sincere advise.

D- BEING FAIR TO OTHERS

Good planning demands a balances approach in assigning responsibilities to carry out tasks, in giving authority to discharge responsibilities, in allocating resources to accomplish objectives and in putting goals in priority to achieve the best interests of all involved. The Quran calls for justice and fairness in all dealings.......Give just measure and weight, and do not withhold from people the things that are their due...

Planning is not putting words and drawings on paper, it is not a theoretical concept only. Planning is based on actions , commitments, implementing decisions and delegating when necessary.

A. Commitments

Planning is not an academic exercise but a commitment to take a series of actions to get from where one is to where one wants to be. Without action actions one can not move and thus can not achieve anything. The Quran clarifies that results can come only from our actions...The man can have nothing but what he strives for.

B. Implementing decisions

Good planning is realistic. It consists of actions that are compatible with the resources, ability and willingness, not unrealistic promises that can not be kept. .....O you who believe! Why do you say that which you do not do.

A plan is only as good as the decisions that it calls for. The decisions are only as good as their implementation. The Muslim should directs the need human and financial resources to implementation and seeks ALLAH'S help in bringing his efforts to success...Then, when you have taken a decision, put you trust in ALLAH

C. DELEGATING TO OTHERS.

Some times , making a plane or implementing one may require the

collective efforts of a number of people. In this case, it is important

to recognize the need to involve others and delegate work to them in

order to translate the plan into accomplishments. The Quran clarifies the

need for delegation. .....And We raise some of them above others in

ranks so that some may command work from others.

QUALITY OF PLANNING

Allah loves your actions to be done thoroughly and perfectly. Striving for perfection should be reflected in all our actions, including planning. Therefore a muslim should build exellence into his\her planning.

A. Build Excellence into planning

The Muslim planner builds excellence into his plans by seeking to find

ways in which his resources can generate most desirable results. The

Prophet has referred to this by saying.....Allah decreed that for every

thing there is a better way.....

When working with others, a muslim planner should build a team and acknowledge their contributions.

B. Build a Team

Planning is a collective activity in the sense that it touches on the lives and

achievements of all affected, be they the family, community or nation.

Success in good planning call for benefiting from the effort of all, exercised

not through disoriented individual action but through concerted effort. The

Prophet, advises us that " The hand of ALLAH is with the Jama ah..Then

whoever singles himself out ( form the Jamm ah ) will be singled out for

the hell-fire"

C. Acknowledge other's contribution

Good planning recognizes the value of people and encourages their

continued commitment by acknowledging their contribution. The Prophet

stated:

" He who does not thank people, does not thank ALLAH.

D. Integrate Accountability into Planning

Responsibility must be accompanied by accountability. Those who assume leadership roles in carrying a plan must be more accountable than others because their success or failure affects everyone involved. The Quran stressed accountability in this way.

" O women of the Prophet, if any of you were guilty of evident unseemly conduct, the punishment would be

doubled to her, and that is easy for ALLAH.

REMEMBER : IF YOU FAIL TO PLAN , YOU PLAN TO FAIL.

[du'á in Arabic]
Ameen! Aqeemus Salaah!

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Discover Islam in World Cup

By Amir Shabana, IOL Staff


"Discover Islam" stickers, balloons and T-shirts will be given to the fans.


CAIRO - The World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY) will launch a know-Islam campaign during the World Cup 2006 in Germany, which kicks off on June 9.

"The campaign will be championed by our Berlin branch," WAMY Cairo Director Hamdy Al-Mursi told IslamOnline.net on Sunday, June 4.

He said up to 1.5 million glossy and colorful leaflets on Islam will be printed in English and German and distributed among football fans flocking from all over the world.

"The distribution will be through leased mosque-shaped pavilions inside different stadiums," added the activist.

Mursi said "Discover Islam" stickers, balloons and T-shirts will also be given to the fans.

He noted that the campaign is organized in tandem with a number of Islamic centers and NGOs in the total of twelve cities hosting the football extravaganza after getting the green light from the German authorities.

Islam comes third in Germany after Protestant and Catholic Christianity.

There are some 3.4 million Muslims in Germany, two thirds of whom are of Turkish origin.

The 2006 FIFA World Cup finals, the eighteenth to be contested, are scheduled to take place between 9 June and 9 July.

In June 2000, Germany won the right to host the gala, narrowly beating South Africa which will be the host of the 2010 competition.

Tolerant Islam

Mursi said the WAMY campaign will highlight tolerance in Islam, which is unfairly equated with terrorism.

"We want people to read about this much-stereotyped religion, which breaches against discrimination," he added.

"This is a golden opportunity to train Muslim youths in making use of world events to introduce our religion," said the activist.

Established in Saudi Arabia in 1972, WAMY is a non-governmental youth and student organization affiliated with the United Nations.

It has presence in 55 countries and an associate membership of over 500 youth organizations around the world.

Through its various projects, WAMY provides support structures to encourage the positive engagement and integration of the youth in their social environment.

It also aims to help assist towards diffusing social tensions, and protect Muslim youth from extremism and such trends that result in social instability.


Dutch Mosques Support Soccer Team

By Nasreddine Djebbi, IOL Correspondent


Small orange flags are seen hovering over the Osse mosque.


THE HAGUE - Dutch Muslims have decorated mosques' minarets and houses with orange and national flags in support of the Dutch soccer team in the FIFA World Cup 2006 in Germany.

Small orange flags are seen hovering over the only minaret of the Oglu mosque in the Osse city, Brabant.

"The Muslim minority wanted to demonstrate their loyalty to the Netherlands and support for the national soccer team in World Cup 2006," mosque imam Yasin Dagruyol told IslamOnline.net.

Following suit, Muslim and non-Muslim residents of Osse have raised Dutch flags over their buildings.

"We just wanted to show that Muslims are part and parcel of Dutch society," Mustafa Sen, chairman of the Interact Youth Foundation, told IOL.

Dutch Muslims nationwide have also hoisted Dutch flags over Islamic cultural and religious centers, following in the footsteps of their peers in Osse.

Holland sealed a World Cup second-round berth on Friday, June 17, after beating Ivory Coast 2-1 in their Group C.

This came after the Dutch players beat Serbia and Montenegro 1-0 in their opener.

The Dutch will play against Argentina, 6-0 winners over Serbia and Montenegro earlier Friday, in a dead game on Wednesday before going into the second round of 16 three days later.

Screens

A big screen was also set up in the cultural center of the Osse mosque to display the World Cup matches for the Dutch.

"We provide a friendly atmosphere and encourage people to join us instead of going to cafes," Sen said.

Dutch Muslim media have also entered the fray.

Times Media newspaper, a major Turkish newspaper published in the Netherlands, has called on the Dutch Muslims or Turkish origin to place the Dutch flags over their houses and windows.

Sen said the Osse mosque's initiative has drawn a warming welcome from Dutch residents and municipality officials.

He said that World Cup was a golden opportunity for Muslims to clear out misconceptions about their worship places and religion.

"It will help remove misconceptions and allay fears triggered by media exaggeration and show that the Islamic faith is no obstacle to entertainment," he added.

Muslims make up one million of the Netherlands's 16 million population.

There are more than 300 mosques, 1000 Islamic cultural centers, two Islamic universities and 42 preparatory schools in the country.

World Cup Muslim Fans Urged to "Give Example"

T-shirts with anti-Muslim slurs are being circulated by right-wingers in the run-up for the World Cup.

By Ahmed Al-Matboli, IOL Correspondent

BERLIN, May 25, 2006 (IslamOnline.net) - With right-wing groups charging batteries to provoke Muslim teams taking part in the FIFA World Cup, to kick off on June 9, Muslim fans are urged not to fall into the trap and to serve as an example.

A German Muslim website has exhorted Muslim football supporters to take into their strides provocations by right-wingers.

"Muslim fans should give an example of Muslim behavior and enjoy the contests no matter what the results are," wrote the muslimmarkt website.

The website urged Muslim fans to report any law violations to the police.

"The far right-wingers are out to provoke the fans to cause riots, particularly during the matches of the Iranian team."

T-shirts emblazoned with anti-Muslim slurs are already been circulated by far rightists.

One of these T-shirts reads "Islamophobic And Proud Of It".

The football gala runs from June 9h through July 9 with 32 teams competing for the prestigious trophy.

Anti-Iran

Days before the world event, German right-wing groups have already mobilized to harass Muslim teams in the Mondial.

The Iranians are the main focus of the campaign.

Right-wing groups are encouraging supporters to flock to Iran's matches and use Israeli flags in supporting any team playing against the Islamic republic.

Israeli flags are being delivered to the homes of those interested at 25 euros per piece.

Iran plays in Group D with Mexico, Angola and Portugal.

The team will have its first encounter against Mexico on June 11.

Other Muslim teams taking part in the competition are Saudi Arabia and Tunisia.

Anti-Racism Day

Meanwhile, FIFA has set plans to stage an anti-racism day during the World Cup to demonstrate opposition to racism and discrimination.

The action, coordinated with the tournament's organizing committee, will take place during the quarter-finals on June 30 and July 1.

Television ads and a huge round banner draped over the center circle at each of the 12 World Cup stadiums are also planned as part of the anti-racism campaign.

Bearing the World Cup motto "A Time to Make Friends," the World Cup logo "Germany 2006" and the slogan "Say No to Racism," the banners will be displayed at each of the 64 matches until shortly before kick-off.

"The aim is to send a clear message to the world against racism," the organizing committee said.

Germany has been a scene of a spate of race-related attacks in the run-up to the World Cup, raising concern of violence and intolerance during the world gala.

In the latest incident a politician of Turkish origin was beaten and slashed with a broken bottle in Lichtenberg, a suburb of Berlin known as a neo-Nazi stronghold, at the weekend.

Ribery's Islam "Noticed" in French WC Opener

By Hadi Yahmid, IOL Correspondent


The 23-year-old Ribery sees his new faith a matter of privacy and dislikes to talk about it in public.

PARIS - French national soccer team player Franck Ribery did not notice that his reversion to Islam would steal the limelight at his country's opener in Germany World Cup 2006 as the attacking midfielder raised his hands and supplicated to God like a typical Muslim before the kickoff.

The 23-year-old Ribery sees his new faith a matter of privacy and dislikes to talk about it in public with many French knowing nothing about his reversion to Islam.

The Olympique Marseille right-sided winger and midfielder has even been reluctant to tell reporters his reversion story, though it is believed that his Muslim wife, of Moroccan origin, played a pivotal role in his new lease of life.

Some reports hinted at his one-year stay in Turkish Galatasaray in 2005 when he helped the team win the 2005 Turkish Cup.

He rarely speaks about how he found the Muslim faith, urging the paparazzi to let him live in peace.

But he recently told the Paris Match magazine that he felt "safe" with Islam.

"Islam is my source of strength either in or outside the playground," he said.

"I lead a difficult career and I was determined to find peace of mind, and I finally found Islam."

Ribery's reversion to Islam was first leaked by L'Express magazine earlier this year, though the weekly did not mention him by name and said that a national team player was used to frequenting a mosque in southern Marseille.

Thousands of French revert to Islam every year in France, but not all of them declare their new faith outright, fearing discrimination at home or work and a stereotypical view that reverts tilt towards extremism, according to recent studies and surveys.

Last March, sources confirmed that former French soccer coach Philippe Troussier and his wife Dominique had reverted to Islam in the Moroccan capital where they live.

Super striker Anelka, who played for Paris Saint-Germain, Arsenal, Real Madrid, Liverpool and Manchester City, eventually had to leave for the Turkish league after increasing harassment.

France is home to some six to seven million Muslims, the largest Muslim minority in Europe.

Proud

Steve Bradore of Shehada organization, which caters for Muslim reverts, said that French Muslims must be proud of Ribery.

"He is really a source of pride for us due his unique performance and modesty," he told IslamOnline.net Saturday, June 17.

Ribery is tipped to succeed playmaker legend and three-time FIFA World Player of the Year Zinedine Zidane, who said he will quit football at the end of the World Cup.

He started his playing career at his home town club US Boulogne and then moved to Alès, Brest and FC Metz in consecutive seasons.

His move to Olympique Marseille has earned him top French player honors for the months of August, October and November 2005. He was selected for the France squad for the FIFA World Cup 2006 in Germany.

France's opener with Switzerland at the World Cup ended goalless to the disappointment of the French people.

The French team will play on Sunday, June 18, with South Korea, which is a virtual must-win fixture for the 1998 World Cup winners if they are to cruise square two.

The Koreans top Group G ahead after the 2-1 win over Togo.

French Coach Troussier Reverts to Islam

"I want to keep my feelings for myself," said Troussier.

RABAT, March 24, 2006 (IslamOnline.net & News Agencies) - Famed French soccer coach Philippe Troussier and his wife Dominique have reverted to Islam in the Moroccan capital where they live, sources close to the couple confirmed Thursday, March 23.

"Troussier is no longer Philippe, he has taken the name Omar and his wife is no longer Dominique but Amina," the French-Moroccan daily L'Opinion reported Thursday.

A source close to the couple confirmed the reversion to Agence France-Presse (AFP), adding that the ceremony took place last Friday.

The widely-travelled Troussier, 51, is former coach of the Moroccan national team and French club Marseille.

He also had spells in charge of South Africa, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Qatar and Japan, whom he guided to the second round of the 2002 World Cup.

"Wonderful Surprise"

L'Opinion hailed the reversion as "a magnificent and wonderful surprise."

"Welcome Omar and Amina to the Kingdom of the All Powerful, the Kingdom of the Truth," it wrote.

"As Muslims we are happy to see such a strong and well recognized personality as Philippe Troussier become part of this religion of peace and tolerance."

The newspaper added that when contacted Troussier said he "did not want to elaborate too much on the subject."

"I want to keep my feelings for myself," Troussier was quoted as saying, adding: "as you see things evolve ..."

The Moroccan Evening newspaper reported that the couple have adopted two local girls Selma and Mariam.

Thousands of French revert to Islam every year in France, but not all of them declare their new faith outright, fearing discrimination at home or work and a stereotypical view that reverts tilt towards extremism, according to recent studies and surveys.

Anelka, who played for Paris Saint-Germain, Arsenal, Real Madrid, Liverpool and Manchester City, eventually had to leave for the Turkish league after increasing harassment.

Some imams in France have ruled that it was permissible for new reverts to conceal their faith if they feared rejection from family members and colleagues or security harassment.

Many Arabs and Muslims were even forced to change their names and hide their roots to spare themselves police and employers' discrimination.

A Sorbonne research released earlier in the year by the French Observatory Against Racism found that Arab names and dark complexion represent an obstacle to jobseekers.

France is home to some six to seven million Muslims, the largest Muslim minority in Europe.

Story of two friends

The example of two friends

Allah has given us another opportunity to share with each other some
advice which will remind us about the purpose of our lives
inshallah. These advice are written and posted by Muslim youths just
like you.

Our belief in Allah needs to be strong and solid. Right now if I
were to ask you "Is there a ground under you?" You would without a
doubt say yes. Then if I asked "Is there a sky above you?" You would
reply yes again without a doubt. Our belief in Allah should be so
strong that if I was to ask "Is Allah watching you right now?"
Without a doubt you should say yes. This type of belief doesn't come
by sitting at home and doing nothing. We must work for it. Allah the
Almighty has said in the Holy Quran: As for those who strive hard
``in Us`` (Our Cause), We will surely, guide them to Our Paths.
(Surah Ankabut: 69).

Let me share a story with you. Two friends were travelling together.
One was blind and the other could see. Now, when the night fell,
they decided to take some rest and continue the journey in the
morning. This area was such that in the day time the temperature
increases pretty high but in the night the temperature decreases
significantly. Much like the areas near the oceans. In the morning,
the person who could see left to find some food. The blind man
stayed behind and was just touching here and there around him. Now,
what had happened at night is that one snake was passing by this
place. But due to the extreme coldness, the snake became inactive,
frozen, and straight. This blind man's hand fell on this snake and
he thought that it's a very nice stick. He picked it up and became
very happy. To a blind man, a good stick is a very valuable thing.

Later, the person who could see came back with some food and saw his
friend touching a snake. So he shouted and said to throw it away.
But the blind man insisted, you want this stick don't you? I am not
going to throw it away. After trying hard, he couldn't convince the
blind man to throw it away. Anyway, they continued their journey.
Then the temperature began to rise and the snake started regaining
its energy. When it received enough heat, it flexed its muscles and
bit the blind man.

We can compare ourselves to this situation also. We are like this
blind man and Prophet Muhammad (SAW) is like the person who could
see. Prophet Muhammad (SAW) went to Miraj and saw the horrors of
Hell and the blissfulness of Paradise. Now, the Prophet told us
about many things to give up and stay away but because we can't see
the dangers that's why we don't pay any attention to them. But when
the time comes, we will get into serious problems. That is why, we
should follow the rules and regulations of Islam

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Seekers_of_the_Love_of_alRahman/message/4154

Response to Pop Culture in the Name of Islam

As-salaamu Alaikum!

Yvonne Ridley's article: Pop Culture in the Name of Islam
See: http://www.muslimsweekly.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1807&Itemid=238

Open Letter
From Sami Yusuf to Yvonne Ridley
17/06/06

Dear Yvonne,
Peace and blessings of God be upon you.

Your recent article on 'Pop Culture in the Name of Islam' has been brought
to my attention. I commend you for voicing your opinion and raising some
very important issues - albeit in a very provocative manner. I thought it
would be useful to share some of my thoughts with you on this matter.
As a Muslim artist, I regularly seek clarification and advice from
world-renowned scholars on art, music, singing and culture. Be informed that
the subject of music is one of the most controversial topics in Islamic
Jurisprudence. I respect those who consider music to be haram. Yes eminent
scholars of our past have opined such. However, I respect and follow the
opinion of other eminent scholars - classical and contemporary, who permit
singing and the use of musical instruments. The well-established
jurisprudential rule states that 'in matters where there is ikhtilaf
(differences of opinion) there is to be no condemnation of either opinion.'
This is from the beauty of the religion of Islam. The diversity of our
cultural, legal and social traditions is something we are in dire need of
celebrating not condemning. So let's agree to disagree on this one.

The obsessive fascination of fans towards any celebrity - be it in arts,
music, politics, media, etc - to the point of hysteria and hero-worshipping
is definitely unhealthy not to mention un-Islamic. Of course, as Muslims, we
are required to abide by certain etiquettes in whatever situation we may
find ourselves in. However, I definitely did not see girls dancing or
behaving indecently in any of my concerts. To state otherwise is a gross
exaggeration if not an outright fallacy. And if indeed that did take place
then let's deal with it in the true Prophetic tradition - a tradition that
imparts love, mercy, tolerance and wisdom. Let me share with you the story
of the Bedouin who came to the Prophet's mosque and started urinating in the
mosque itself. The Companions rushed to grab him and give him a 'good
beating.' But the Prophet did not allow them to do so and told them to let
him be. After the Bedouin had urinated, the Prophet asked his Companions to
bring a bucket of water and wash the place. Afterwards he called the man and
with gentleness and affection explained to him that this was a place of
worship and that it should be kept clean. Though I have to say that had the
Bedouin been around today he would be lucky to get away with just a 'good
beating'!

Indeed the state of contemporary mainstream music is one dominated by
celebrity worship, materialism and the constant promotion of a consumerist
culture that seeks only to derive instant emotional and physical
gratification. The arts industry in general - and the music industry
specifically - is being commercialised at the expense of art itself. We
don't value good art or good music anymore - it's about what can sell most
in the market. In the midst of all this, it is upon all conscious and
responsible artists who look beyond the commercial to work in refining arts
and music. Apart from entertaining audiences, music is a powerful medium to
communicate values and social messages. In these times where heinous crimes
against humanity are being committed, we as artists - Muslims or
non-Muslims, British or non-British - have a duty to use this medium to
bring some sanity to this world of unrest, fear, violence, terror and war.
Human life and dignity are values that should be cherished and championed by
all. Had you listened carefully to the songs in my latest album which is
actually entitled 'My Ummah' before hastily passing judgements, you would
have noticed my modest attempt at addressing issues facing the global Muslim
community - such as regaining our lost legacy in all spheres of human life,
oppression in different parts of the Muslim world, Aids, landmines, poverty
and freedom to wear the hijab.

This leads me to another important issue which you raised - that of identity
and culture. Who are we? How do we define ourselves? What do we stand for?
Let me remind you again - I am a British Muslim. Proud to be Muslim and
proud to be British! Why? Because this is what Islam teaches me to be -
loyal towards my faith and my country. Throughout our rich history, wherever
Muslims settled they adopted and fused the best aspects of the local
culture/society with Islamic teachings and traditions. As Dr. Umar Faruq
Abdallah, a leading American Muslim scholar and thinker writes in 'Islam the
Cultural Imperative': ...In history, Islam showed itself to be culturally friendly and, in that regard, has been likened to a crystal clear river. Its waters (Islam) are pure, sweet, and life-giving but-having no color of their own-reflect the bedrock (indigenous culture) over which they flow. In China, Islam looked Chinese; in Mali, it looked African. Sustained cultural relevance to distinct peoples, diverse places, and different times underlay Islam's long success as a global civilization...

At a time when leading Muslim scholars and thinkers have reached an advanced
stage in crystallising theories of citizenship and positive integration into
Western societies, any discussion of renouncing parts of our identity is
simply ridiculous, dangerous and destructive - especially for someone who
has no other homeland. Such emotional fist-pumping and chest-pounding about
renouncing our British identity may seem attractive to a minority of Muslim
youth, but as Muslims in positions of influence like yourself, we should not
play to these base instincts. Rather, we should try to be more far-sighted
and responsible in our discourse and not sacrifice this in the pursuit of
tabloid-style sensationalist journalism.

Do you not see the Prophet of Islam shedding tears whilst migrating from
Makkah - his beloved homeland to Madina despite the persecution he suffered
at the hands of its people. Britain is my home. I was raised here as a
child, I went to school here, most of my friends - Muslims and non-Muslims -
are British and my earliest as well as fondest memories are rooted here.
Does being British mean I take pride in the oppressive and exploitative
colonial past of Britain? Does it mean I support the British invasion of
Afghanistan and Iraq? Does it mean I support the Anti-Terrorism Act? Does it
mean I support the erosion of civil liberties and human rights? Of course
not! But Yvonne, let us be fair and not forget that it was in Britain that
the world witnessed the largest anti-war demonstration - a testimony to the
moral consciousness of the British public. I too was in that demonstration
voicing my discontent over the foreign policies of our government. Although
we have our fair share of racism, Islamophobia, discrimination,
under-representation - and in no way am I claiming that we live in a utopian
society, but I still believe that British society is amongst the most
tolerant, open, liberal, multi-cultural and inclusive societies in the
world. We don't need to go far but Muslims in the Continent would envy the
liberties and opportunities that British Muslims take for granted. Actually
the real debate that needs to take place is how are we to shape this
emerging British / European / Western Muslim identity and what direction it
should take. I see my work a humble contribution towards that end.
You are critical of my mention that the Metropolitan Police is inclusive of
Muslims. By God, who are you depending on to protect and safeguard our
streets? Yes, there is no doubt that the Metropolitan Police have committed
a series of grave mistakes and blunders - the recent Forest Gate incident is
one such example and the Police must be held fully accountable for their
actions. But we as Britons and Muslims have a religious and civic obligation
to help maintain a safe and secure Britain. This actually raises serious
questions about the participation of British Muslims not just in the
Metropolitan Police but in mainstream civil society.

We have three options
as a community: [1] To assimilate and lose our cultural, ethnic and even
religious roots. [2] To ghettoise and divorce ourselves from society and
face extermination. [3] To positively integrate and contribute to society
whilst remaining loyal to both faith and country. I - like the vast majority
Muslims - have chosen option three. We need to build trust and partnerships
with civil institutions and engage with them. This path entails that we be
active members in our communities and societies; that we participate at all
levels of society from politics to sports, from academia to arts, from
business to media; that we reserve and exercise the right of dissent and
criticism; that we join our fellow citizens in building a safe, peaceful,
tolerant and pluralistic society that embodies the values of freedom and
justice. Thus I commend you for standing in the last European Elections,
General Elections and the recent Council Elections as a candidate in order
to get your views heard, to make an impact, and to represent British people
- although I hope you have better luck next time. Positive engagement - not
anarchist ranting -- is the path we must tread.

It is true that the state of the global Muslim community is saddening but
are we meant to live in perpetual grieving and lamenting and dress in black?
Despite all the oppression and persecution suffered by the Prophet, he would
always find time to celebrate the different joyful moments in life such as
marriages, births, Eids and other happy occasions. He, peace and blessings
of God be upon him, also found time to enjoy poetry and even had appointed a
personal poet - the notable companion Hassan ibn Thabit.

Maintaining balance and adopting the middle way is the key in these troubled
times of ours. Extremism and extremists have no place in Islam and in our
civil societies. "Perished are the extremists" is a famous Prophetic
tradition. Extremism is not a problem unique to Islam. Every religion, every
way of life, every ideology has its puritans and those willing to distort
and misinterpret it to meet their own agenda. And these are no different to
those that commit acts of terror, who preach extremism, and who sow seeds of
hatred in the name if Islam. There is no denying that Muslims in places like
Palestine, Iraq, Kashmir and Chechnya are facing oppression and tragedy
every day, and both the Muslim world and the West need to come together to
solve these problems in the greater interest of humanity. Western
governments in particular must understand that to help the majority of
Muslims defeat the minority of extremists, they must assist us in
eradicating the daily humiliation faced by Muslims across many parts of the
world. Ending this humiliation is the only way forward for us.

You have every right to criticise and disagree with me or anyone else for
that matter, and I always welcome any advice and constructive criticism for
I know my defects and shortcomings are many. I am guided by the ancient
wisdom which states 'May God have mercy on the one who shows me my defects -
for that is the best gift he could give me.' However, in the Islamic
tradition there are adab (ethics) of criticism and disagreement. I know you
wrote your article with sincerity and zeal, but on a more personal level, I
was deeply pained and saddened by the hostile tone and the vulgar style of
your language that was brimming with sarcasm and was clearly un-Islamic,
indecent and a gross violation of the beautiful teachings of our beloved
Prophet who said "I was not sent except to perfect your manners." Using
words such as "astagfirullah dude," "lap-dancing," 'whooping and dancing,"
and describing the volunteer stewards as "pipe cleaners" and "bulldozers"
are inappropriate to say the very least. What shocked and even angered me
was the way you shamelessly insulted our pure innocent sisters who were
supporting a charity concert by describing them as "fluffers"!
(Incidentally, these very sisters managed to raise over £100,000 for orphans
all over the world.) I - like the vast majority of those who read your
article - was blissfully ignorant about the very existence of this
disgusting obscene word, and I would question the wisdom of introducing it
to the vocabulary of your readers. As to my performances, I always
consciously endeavour to be responsible, respectable, modest and dignified
on stage.

It has been my approach that whenever personal criticism is levelled at me I
ignore it and get on with my work, as my philosophy in life is to build and
not destroy, and to unite not divide. However, on this occasion I felt
duty-bound to respond because of the dangerous ideas and notions contained
in your article. Yvonne, let us work together as fellow Muslims and Britons
in building a better future for our community and all human beings and
strive to make our world a safer, more peaceful, tolerant and prosperous
place.

Yours faithfully,
Sami Yusuf

Pop Culture in the Name of Islam

YVONNE RIDLEY
Monday, April 24, 2006
I FEEL very uncomfortable about the pop culture which is growing around some so-called Nasheed artists. Of course I use the term ‘Nasheed artists' very lightly. Islamic ‘boy bands' and Muslim ‘popsters' would probably be more appropriate.

Eminent scholars throughout history have often opined that music is haram, and I don't recall reading anything about the Sahaba whooping it up to the sound of music. Don't get me wrong. I'm all for people letting off steam, but in a dignified manner and one which is appropriate to their surroundings.
The reason I am expressing concern is that just a few days ago at a venue in Central London, sisters went wild in the aisles as some form of pop-mania swept through the concert venue. And I'm not just talking about silly, little girls who don't know any better; I am talking about sisters in their 20's, 30's and 40's, who squealed, shouted, swayed and danced. Even the security guys who looked more like pipe cleaners than bulldozers were left looking dazed and confused as they tried to stop hijabi sisters from standing on their chairs. Of course the stage groupies did not help at all as they waved and encouraged the largely female Muslim crowd to "get up and sing along." (They're called ‘Fluffers' in lap-dancing circles!)
The source of all this adulation was British-born Sami Yusuf, who is so proud of his claret-colored passport that he wants us all to wave the Union Jacks. I'm amazed he didn't encourage his fans to sing "Land of Hope and Glory." Brother Sami asked his audience to cheer if they were proud to be British ,and when they responded loudly, he said he couldn't hear them and asked them to cheer again.
How can anyone be proud to be British? Britain is the third most hated country in the world. The Union Jack is drenched in the blood of our brothers and sisters across Iraq, Afghanistan, and Palestine. Our history is steeped in the blood of colonialism, rooted in slavery, brutality, torture, and oppression. And we haven't had a decent game of soccer since we lifted the World Cup in 1966.
Apparently Sami also said one of the selling points of Brand UK was having Muslims in the Metropolitan Police Force! Astafur'Allah! Dude, these are the same cops who have a shoot-to-kill policy and would have gunned down a Muslim last year if they could tell the difference between a Bangladeshi and a Brazilian. This is the same police force that has raided more than 3000 Muslim homes in Britain since 9/11. What sort of life is there on Planet Sami, I wonder? If he is so proud to be British, why is he living in the great Middle Eastern democracy of Egypt?
Apparently the sort of hysteria Sami helped encourage is also in America, and if it is happening on both sides of the Atlantic, then it must be creeping around the globe and poisoning the masses. Islamic boy bands like 786 and Mecca 2 Medina are also the subject of the sort of female adulation you expect to see on American Pop Idol or the X-Factor. Surely Islamic events should be promoting restrained and more sedate behavior.
Do we blame the out-of-control sisters? Or do we blame the organizers for allowing this sort of excessive behavior which demeans Islam? Or do we blame the artists themselves?
Abu Ali and Abu Abdul Malik, struggling for their Deen, would certainly not try to whip up this sort of hysteria. Neither would the anonymous heroic Nasheed artists who sing for freedom; check out Idhrib Ya Asad Fallujah, and you will know exactly what I mean.
Fallujah is now synonymous with the sort of heroic resistance that elevated the Palestinians of Jenin to the ranks of the resistance written about in the Paris Communeand the Siege of Leningrad. The US military has banned the playing of any Nasheeds about Fallujah because of the power and the passion it evokes.
If those Nasheeds had sisters running in the streets whooping and dancing, however, the Nasheeds may be encouraged because of haram activity surrounding them.
Quite frankly, I really don't know how anyone in the Ummah can really let go and scream and shout with joy at pleasure domes when there is so much brutality and suffering going on in the world today. The rivers of blood flow freely from the veins of our brothers and sisters from across the Muslim world. Screaming and shouting the names of musical heroes drown out the screams coming from the dungeons of Uzbekistan where brothers and sisters are boiled alive in vats of water. How many will jump up and down and wave their arms in the air, shouting wildly for justice for our kin in Kashmir, Afghanistan, Chechnya, Palestine, and Iraq? There are many more killing fields as well across the Asian and Arab world. Will you climb on theater chairs and express your rage over Guantanamo Bay and other gulags where our brothers and sisters are being tortured, raped, sodomized, beaten, and burned? Or will you just switch off this concerned sister and switch on to the likes of Sami Yusuf because he can sell you a pipe dream with his soothing words and melodic voice?
Oh, Muslims, wake up! The Ummah is not bleeding; it is hemorrhaging.
Listen not to what is haram. Listen to the pain of your global family.

http://www.muslimsweekly.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1807&Itemid=238

Muslim by Birth? Congratulations! NO, WAIT!

Many find consolation in, “We are born Muslims”, or “Thank God! He created us among Muslims.” But the Qur'an confers no value to Islam by inheritance. It reads:

4:136 O You who have chosen to be graced with belief! (and call yourselves Muslims)! Believe in Allah and His Messenger, and the Book He has revealed to His Messenger, and (the fact that He revealed) the Scripture before. (Belief to the point of Conviction can only be attained through reason and not as a birth right 12:108).

12:108 Say (O Prophet), “This is my way. Resting my call upon reason, I am calling you all to Allah - I and they who follow me.” (We do not invite through blind faith, vague dogmas or by stunning your intellect with miracles). Glory to Allah! And I am not one of those who ascribe divinity in any form besides Him.”

The Qur'an is so particular on using our intellect and reason that it emphatically admonishes that one should not accept even its own verses deaf and blind [17:36, 25:73].

Muslims should stop here and think for a moment. Have I ever tried to search for reality? Did I really find the Truth? Or, am I simply imitating the ways of my forefathers? It is only after due contemplation that Islam can be adopted.

Unfortunately, today almost all the one billion plus Muslims in the world are Muslims by birth and by blind following, the kind of Islam which the Qur'an considers of no merit. It has to be a matter of choice based upon reason and understanding.

Reason and learning are like body and soul
Without reason soul is empty wind
Without learning body is a senseless frame.
(Kahlil Gibran, 1883-1931)

Dr. Shabbir Ahmed

The above writing is an excerpt from the online book:
Islam As I Understand
Dr. Shabbir Ahmed
http://www.galaxydastak.com/books/iaiu/

Ribery's Islam "Noticed" in French WC Opener

By Hadi Yahmid, IOL Correspondent

PARIS — French national soccer team player Franck Ribery did not notice that his reversion to Islam would steal the limelight at his country's opener in Germany World Cup 2006 as the attacking midfielder raised his hands and supplicated to God like a typical Muslim before the kickoff.

The 23-year-old Ribery sees his new faith a matter of privacy and dislikes to talk about it in public with many French knowing nothing about his reversion to Islam.

The Olympique Marseille right-sided winger and midfielder has even been reluctant to tell reporters his reversion story, though it is believed that his Muslim wife, of Moroccan origin, played a pivotal role in his new lease of life.

Some reports hinted at his one-year stay in Turkish Galatasaray in 2005 when he helped the team win the 2005 Turkish Cup.

He rarely speaks about how he found the Muslim faith, urging the paparazzi to let him live in peace.

But he recently told the Paris Match magazine that he felt "safe" with Islam.

"Islam is my source of strength either in or outside the playground," he said.

"I lead a difficult career and I was determined to find peace of mind, and I finally found Islam."

Ribery's reversion to Islam was first leaked by L'Express magazine earlier this year, though the weekly did not mention him by name and said that a national team player was used to frequenting a mosque in southern Marseille.

Thousands of French revert to Islam every year in France, but not all of them declare their new faith outright, fearing discrimination at home or work and a stereotypical view that reverts tilt towards extremism, according to recent studies and surveys.

Last March, sources confirmed that former French soccer coach Philippe Troussier and his wife Dominique had reverted to Islam in the Moroccan capital where they live.

Super striker Anelka, who played for Paris Saint-Germain, Arsenal, Real Madrid, Liverpool and Manchester City, eventually had to leave for the Turkish league after increasing harassment.

France is home to some six to seven million Muslims, the largest Muslim minority in Europe.

Proud

Steve Bradore of Shehada organization, which caters for Muslim reverts, said that French Muslims must be proud of Ribery.

"He is really a source of pride for us due his unique performance and modesty," he told IslamOnline.net Saturday, June 17.

Ribery is tipped to succeed playmaker legend and three-time FIFA World Player of the Year Zinedine Zidane, who said he will quit football at the end of the World Cup.

He started his playing career at his home town club US Boulogne and then moved to Alès, Brest and FC Metz in consecutive seasons.

His move to Olympique Marseille has earned him top French player honors for the months of August, October and November 2005. He was selected for the France squad for the FIFA World Cup 2006 in Germany.

France's opener with Switzerland at the World Cup ended goalless to the disappointment of the French people.

The French team will play on Sunday, June 18, with South Korea, which is a virtual must-win fixture for the 1998 World Cup winners if they are to cruise square two.

The Koreans top Group G ahead after the 2-1 win over Togo.

http://www.islamonline.net/English/News/2006-06/17/03.shtml

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Experiences of a Recently Converted Hindu Woman

I came from a purely Hindu family where we were always taught to regard ourselves (i.e. women) as beings who were eventually to be married off and have children and serve the husband, whether he was kind or not. Other than this, I found that there were a lot of things, which really oppressed women, such as: If a woman was widowed, she would always have to wear a white sari costume, eat vegetarian meals, cut her hair short, and never re-marry. The bride always had to pay the dowry (bridal money) to the husband’s family. And the husband could ask for anything, irrespective of whether the bride would have difficulty giving it.

Not only that, if after marriage she was not able to pay the full dowry she would be both emotionally and physically tortured, and could end up being a victim of “kitchen death” where the husband, or both the mother-in-law and the husband try to set fire to the wife while she is cooking or is in the kitchen, and try to make it look like an accidental death. More and more of these instances are taking place. The daughter of a friend of my own fathers had the same fate last year!

In addition to all this, men in Hinduism are treated literally as among the gods. In one of the religious Hindu celebration, unmarried girls pray for and worship an idol representing a particular god (Shiva) so that they may have husbands like him. Even my own mother had asked me to do this. This made me see that the Hindu religion which is based on superstitions and things that have no manifest proof, but were merely traditions which oppressed women could not be right.

Subsequently, when I came to England to study, I thought that at least this is a country, which gives equal rights to men and women, and does not oppress them.

We all have the freedom to do, as we like, I thought. Well, as I started to meet people and make new friends, learn about this new society, and go to all the places my friends went to in order to “socialize” (bars, dance halls, ...etc.), I realized that this “equality” was not so true in practice as it was in theory. Outwardly, women were seen to be given equal rights in education, work, and so forth, but in reality women were still oppressed in a different, subtler way.

When I went with my friends to those places they hung out at, I found everybody interested to talk to me and I thought that was normal. But it was only later that I realized how naive I was, and recognized what these people were really looking for. I soon began to feel uncomfortable, as if I was not myself: I had to dress in a certain way so that people would like me, and had to talk in a certain way to please them. I soon found that I was feeling more and more uncomfortable, less and less myself, yet I could not get out. Everybody was saying they were enjoying themselves, but I don’t call this enjoying. I think women in this way of life are oppressed; they have to dress in a certain way in order to please and appear more appealing, and also talk in a certain way so people like them.

During this time I had not thought about Islam, even though I had some Muslim acquaintances. But I felt I really had to do something, to find something that I would be happy and secure with, and would feel respected with. Something to believe in that is the right belief, because everybody has a belief that they live according to. If having fun by getting off with other people is someone’s belief, they do this. If making money is someone’s belief, they do everything to achieve this. If they believe drinking is one way to enjoy life then they do it. But I feel all this leads to nowhere; no one is truly satisfied, and the respect women are looking for is diminishing in this way.

In these days of so called ‘society of equal rights,” you are expected to have a boyfriend (or you’re weird!) and to not be a virgin. So this is a form of oppression even though some women do not realize it. When I came to Islam, it was obvious that I had finally found permanent security. A religion, a belief that was so complete and clear in every aspect of life.

How I find that Islam does not Oppress Women:

Many people have a misconception that Islam is an oppressive religion, where women are covered from head to toe, and are not allowed any freedom or rights. In fact, women in Islam are given more rights, and have been for the past 1400 years, compared to the only recently rights given to non-Muslim women in some western and some other societies. But there are, even now, societies where women are still oppressed, as I mentioned earlier in relation to Hindu women that Muslim women have the right to inheritance. They have the right to run their own trade and business. They have the full right to ownership, property, disposal over their wealth to which the husband has no right. They have the right to education, a right to refuse marriage as long as this refusal is according to reasonable and justifiable grounds.

The Quran itself, which is the word of Allah, contains many verses commanding men to be kind to their wives and stressing the rights of women. Islam gives the right set of rules, because they are NOT made by men, but made by Allah; hence it is a perfect religion.

Quite often Muslim women are asked why they are covered from head to toe (except the face and the hands), and are told that this is oppression! It is not. In Islam, marriage is an important part of life, the making of the society. Therefore, a woman should not go around showing herself to everybody, only for her husband. Even the man is not allowed to show certain parts of his body to none but his wife. In addition, Allah has commanded Muslim women to cover themselves for their modesty: “O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks (veils) over their bodies (when outdoors). That is most convenient that they could be known as such (i.e. decent and chaste) and not molested.” (Qur’an 33:59).

If we look around at any other society, we find that in the majority of cases women are attacked and molested because of how they are dressed. Another point I’d like to comment on is that the rules and regulation laid down in Islam by Allah (God) do not apply just to women but to men also. There is no intermingling and free running between men and women for the benefit of both. Whatever Allah commands is right, wholesome, pure and beneficial to mankind; there is no doubt about that.

A verse in the Quran explains this concept clearly: “Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and protect their private parts (i.e. from indecency, illegal sexual acts); that will make for greater purity for them. And Allah is well aware of what they do. And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and protect their private parts (from indecency, illegal sexual intercourse); and that they should not display their beauty and ornaments....” (Quran, Surah “Al-Nur” 24:31).

When I put on my Hijab (veil), I was really happy to do it. In fact, I really want to do it. When I put on the Hijab, I felt a great sense of satisfaction and happiness. Satisfied that I had obeyed Allah’s command. And happy with the good and blessings that come with it. I have felt secure and protected. In fact people respect me more for it. I could really see the difference in behavior towards me.

Finally, I’d like to say that I had accepted Islam not blindly, or under any compulsion. In the Qur’an itself there is a verse which says “There is no compulsion in religion.” I accepted Islam with conviction. I have seen, been there, done that, and seen both sides of the story. I know and have experienced what the other side is like, and I know that I have done the right thing.

Islam does not oppress women, but rather Islam liberates them and gives them the respect they deserve. Islam is the religion Allah has chosen for the whole of mankind. Those who accept it are truly liberated from the chains and shackles of mankind whose ruling and legislating necessitates nothing but the oppression of one group by another and the exploitation and oppression of one sex by the other.

This is not the case of Islam, which truly liberated women and gave them individuality not given by any other authority.

Sister Noor has been a Muslim for over a year and a half and is currently in her second year of undergraduate study in the Department of Biology.

Source: http://www.alinaam.org.za/library/nmuslim/hinduconvert.htm

American Muslim Clerics Seek a Modern Middle Ground

Please read the following article that appeared in New York times, quite an
enlightening piece. It gives us the boost in our confidence that we need
today. I have drafted a letter in a hurry and sent it to the New York Times.
Kindly send your own letter, at least 10 words, or improve on my draft, but do
it. We need to encourage the magazine to do more positive write ups....The
more letters we sent, the more chance we have of similar coverage in the future.
I am pleased to acknowledge Claudia Martins for forwarding this promptly
for action.

It is in your hands, just write to them whatever comes to your mind,
criticism, encouragement or appreciation. Next time I see your posting, do I have
the right to ask you, if you wrote?




To the Editor
New York Times
June 16, 2006

Laurie Goodstien
Well done!

99% of Muslims are moderates: they want to get along with all, they want a
hassle free life and they respect all that God has created, humans as well as
the environment. Our Imams are a representation of this group. Thanks for
putting together this article.

You may have encountered disbelief reading the first word of this letter.
Figure out 1% 1.3 Billion Muslims and check out the figures released by the
Department of State last year in May - all combined they had figured 450,000
Muslims world wide who are possibly involved in insurgent activities. Of that, a
small percent is hard core terrorists. Run the numbers, the insurgents make
up 1/30th of 1% of Muslim population and terrorist possibly 1/50th of 1% of
less. Statistically they are not representative of Muslims or Islam in any
fashion.

The responsibility for the goof up falls squarely on Muslims as well as the
media. Muslims because, just like the silent majority of any group, Muslims
mind their own business and go on with lives. They have condemned them bad
boys, but not enough to shut them up. The media, on the other hand feasts on
terrorism, look at TV anchors and the neocons, they come alive on television.
They give birth to terrorism experts on every channel which encourages the
bullies by giving them the flood light, it is wrong, dead wrong to shine the
light on those who are not representative of Muslims.

Given this, I am pleased to read NY times reflecting the mood of the
majority. We, the World Muslim Congress is forming to represent the voice of the
silent majority. Silent no more, better yet, we are developing a board of
advisors representing every faith. Every one is a neighbor to every one else, we
aspire to nurture the concept of good neighborliness in the world. Our
advisory board will be represented by individuals from every faith. It is time for
us to be equal citizens of one world, our home. This is a major paradigm shift
in how the religious organizations would conduct their business in the
coming years. (Press release pasted below)

Mike Ghouse, President
World Muslim Congress
GOOD FOR MUSLIMS, GOOD FOR THE WORLD

3928 BRAZOS DR, CARROLLTON, TX 75007
(214) 325-1916 | (214) 731-1044
__________________________________________________________
_______________


In a message dated 6/17/2006 2:57:42 P.M. Central Standard Time,
c.gaspar@terra.com.br writes:


American Muslim Clerics Seek a Modern Middle Ground
_http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/18/us/18imams.html?ei=5094&en=1e386291f3ee1e4a&ex=1150603200&%20hp=&partner=homepage&pagewanted=all_



By _LAURIE GOODSTEIN_
(http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/g/laurie_goodstein/index.html?inline=nyt-per)
Published: June 18, 2006

Every seat in the auditorium at the _University of Houston_
(http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/u/university_of_houston/index
.html?inline=nyt-org) was taken, and the crowd was standing in the back and
spilling out into the lobby, straining to hear. The two men onstage began to
speak to the crowd in Arabic, with such flawless accents and rarefied
Koranic grammar that some audience members gaped when they heard the Arabic
equivalent of the king's English coming from the mouths of two Americans.
Sheik Hamza Yusuf, in a groomed goatee and sports jacket, looked more like a
hip white college professor than a Muslim sheik. Imam Zaid Shakir, a lanky
African-American in a long brown tunic, looked like he would fit in just fine
on the streets of Damascus.
Both men are converts to Islam who spent years in the Middle East and North
Africa being mentored by formidable Muslim scholars. They have since become
leading intellectual lights for a new generation of American Muslims looking
for homegrown leaders who can help them learn how to live their faith without
succumbing to American materialism or Islamic extremism.
"This is the wealthiest Muslim community on earth," Mr. Shakir told the
crowd, quickly adding that "the wealth here has been earned" — unlike, he said,
in the oil-rich Middle East. As the audience laughed at Mr. Shakir's flattery,
he chided them for buying Lexuses — with heated leather seats they would
never need in Houston — and Jaguars, and made them laugh again by pronouncing it
"Jaguoooaah," like a stuffy Anglophile.
And then he issued a challenge: "Where are the Muslim _Doctors Without
Borders_
(http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/d/doctors_without_borders/index.html?inline=nyt-org) ? Spend six months here, six
months in the Congo. Form it!"
Most American mosques import their clerics from overseas — some who preach
extremism, some who cannot speak English, and most who cannot begin to speak to
young American Muslims growing up on hip-hop and in mixed-sex chat rooms.
Mr. Yusuf, 48, and Mr. Shakir, 50, are using their clout to create the first
Islamic seminary in the United States, where they hope to train a new
generation of imams and scholars who can reconcile Islam and American culture.
The seminary is still in its fledgling stages, but Mr. Yusuf and Mr. Shakir
have gained a large following by being equally at home in Islamic tradition
and modern American culture. Mr. Yusuf dazzles his audiences by weaving into
one of his typical half-hour talks quotations from St. Augustine, Patton, Eric
Erikson, Jung, Solzhenitsyn, Auden, Robert Bly, Gen. William C. Westmoreland
and the Bible. He hosts a TV reality show that is popular in the Middle East,
in which he takes a vanload of Arabs on a road trip across the United States
to visit people who might challenge Arab stereotypes about Americans, like
the antiwar protesters demonstrating outside the _Republican National
Convention_
(http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/r/republican_party/index.html?inline=nyt-org) .
Mr. Shakir mixes passages from the Koran with a few lines of rap, and
channels accents from ghetto to Valley Girl. Some of his students call him the next
_Malcolm X_
(http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/m/malcolm_x/index.html?inline=nyt-per) — out of his earshot, because he so often
preaches the importance of humility.
Both men draw overflow crowds in theaters, mosques and university auditoriums
that seat thousands. Their books and CD's are pored over by young Muslims in
study groups. As scholars and proselytizers for the faith, they have a much
higher profile than most imams, as Muslim clerics who are usually in charge
of mosques are known. Their message is that both Islam and America have gone
seriously astray, and American Muslims have a responsibility to harness their
growing numbers and economic power to help set them straight.
They say that Islam must be rescued from extremists who selectively cite
Islamic scripture to justify terrorism. Though Mr. Yusuf and Mr. Shakir do not
denounce particular scholars or schools of thought, their students say the two
are challenging the influence of Islam's more reactionary sects, like
Wahhabism and Salafism, which has been spread to American mosques and schools by
clerics trained in Saudi Arabia. Where Wahhabism and Salafism are often
intolerant of other religions — even of other streams within Islam — Mr. Yusuf and
Mr. Shakir teach that Islam is open to a diversity of interpretations honed by
centuries of scholars.
Mr. Yusuf told the audience in Houston to beware of "fanatics" who pluck
Islamic scripture out of context and say, "We're going to tell you what God says
on every single issue."
"That's not Islam," Mr. Yusuf said. "That's psychopathy."
He asked the audience to pray for the victims of kidnappers in Iraq, saying
that kidnapping is just as bad as American bombings in which the military
dismisses the civilians killed as "collateral damage."
"They're both sinister, as far as I'm concerned," he said. "One is efficient,
the other is pathetic."
Both Mr. Shakir and Mr. Yusuf have a history of anti-American rhetoric, but
with age, they have tempered their views. Mr. Shakir told the Houston audience
that they are blessed to live in a country that is stable and safe, and in
which they have thrived.
When it came time for questions, one young man stepped to the microphone and
asked, "You said we have an obligation to humanity. Did you mean to Muslims,
or to everyone?"
Mr. Shakir responded, "The obligation is to everyone. All of the people are
the dependents of Allah."
When Mr. Shakir and Mr. Yusuf stepped off the stage, they were mobbed by a
crowd that personified the breadth of their following. There were students in
college sweatshirts, doctors and limousine drivers in suits. There were
immigrants from Asia, the Middle East and Africa, and the grown children,
grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the immigrant generation. There were plenty
of African-American Muslims, and a sprinkling of white and Hispanic converts.
There were women in all kinds of head scarves, and women without.
Mr. Yusuf and Mr. Shakir posed for pictures and signed their CD's, books and
DVD's, of which the two of them combined have more than 80 on the market. A
young couple thanked Mr. Yusuf for his CD set on Muslim marriage, saying it
had saved theirs. A family from Indonesia asked him to interpret a dream. An
older woman from Iraq begged him to contact Muslim scholars in her homeland and
correct their misguided teaching.
After waiting for more than an hour to greet the scholars, Sohail Ansari, an
information technology specialist originally from India, marveled, "I was
born a Muslim, and these guys are so far ahead of us."
Encouraging Tolerance
Mr. Yusuf lives on a cul-de-sac in Danville, a Northern California suburb, in
a house with a three-car garage. The living room is spread with Persian
rugs; it is mostly bare of furniture. He held a dinner with guests in traditional
Arab style — on the floor, while the smallest of his five sons curled up in
the rugs and fell asleep. His wife, Liliana, tired from a day of
home-schooling and driving the boys to karate lessons, passed around take-out curry. She
converted to Islam after meeting Mr. Yusuf in college, to the chagrin of her
Catholic Hispanic parents. The couple married outdoors, in a redwood grove.
Mr. Yusuf received the Arabic title of sheik from his teachers in Mauritania,
in West Africa. There the honorific is usually given to old men with a deep
knowledge of Islam who serve their communities as wise oracles, but Mr. Yusuf
was only 28. His given name was Mark Hanson, and he was raised Greek
Orthodox in a bohemian but affluent part of Marin County, just north of San
Francisco.
He converted to Islam after a near-fatal car accident in high school sent him
on an existential journey. He said that the simplicity of "no God but Allah"
made far more sense to him than the Trinity, and he found the five daily
prayers a constant call to awe about everything from the sun to his capillaries.

The American seminary was Mr. Yusuf's idea. His diagnosis of the problem with
Islam today is that its followers lack "religious knowledge." Islam, like
Judaism, is based in scripture and law that has been interpreted, reinterpreted
and debated for centuries by scholars who inspired four schools of Islamic
jurisprudence. Mr. Yusuf laments that many of the seminaries that once
flourished in the Muslim world are now either gone or intellectually dead. Now, he
said, the sharpest Muslim students go into technical fields like engineering,
not religion.
He said he believed that if more Muslims were schooled in the their faith's
diverse intellectual streams and a holistic understanding of their religion,
they would not be so susceptible to the Osama bin Ladens who tell them that
suicide bombers are martyrs.
"Where you don't have people who have strong intellectual capacity, you get
demagoguery," he said.
Mr. Yusuf once was a source of the kind of zealous rhetoric he now denounces.
He said in 1995 that Judaism was based on the belief that "God has this bias
to this small little tribe in the middle of the desert," which makes it "a
most racist religion." On September 9, 2001, he said the United States "stands
condemned" for invading Muslim lands.
He has since changed his tune — not for spin, he says, but on principle. "Our
community has failed, and I include myself in that," he told an audience in
a downtown theater in Elizabeth, N.J., this year. "When I started speaking in
the early 90's, our discourse was not balanced.
"We were focused so often on what was negative about this country," he said.
"We ended up alienating some people. I've said some things about other
religions that I regret now. I think they were incorrect."
He added, "A tree grows. If you're staying the same, something is wrong.
You're not alive."
An Enthusiastic Following
Mr. Yusuf named his school the Zaytuna Institute — Arabic for olive tree, and
also the name of a renowned Islamic university in Tunisia. The site,
adjacent to a busy boulevard in Hayward, Calif., is an unlikely oasis, the air
scented by jasmine bushes and flowering vines.
Five times a day, starting around 5 a.m., a teacher or a student stands
outside the prayer hall and warbles the call to prayer. In the mornings, few
respond, but by evening, the hall is filled with the rustling of men and women
dropping to their knees, divided by a wooden screen.
The prayer hall was once a church. There is also a yurt and a high backboard
used as a target for archery, because the Prophet Muhammad recommended it as
an athletic activity. (The backboard will soon come down to avoid alarming
neighbors who might balk at seeing Muslims with bows and arrows).
On a sunny day, one student, Ousmane Bah sat outside the yurt, washing the
ink off a polished wooden slate on which he had written his lesson for the past
week, which he had committed to memory. The lesson, written in Arabic
poetry, was about what makes a fair trade. Near the yurt, BART trains sped by.
"The United States is the capitol of modernity," Mr. Bah said, "and you have
this very traditional Islam, which is 1,400 years old, being taught in this
modern world."
Many American universities have Islamic studies departments, and a program at
Hartford Seminary accredits Muslim chaplains. But there is no program in the
United States like Zaytuna.
Hundreds of Muslims come to Zaytuna for evening and weekend classes on the
Prophet Muhammad, the Koran and the Arabic language. The institute's full-time
seminary program is in the pilot phase. With only six students; it is
expected to double its enrollment next fall.
Besides Mr. Bah, there are two women — one a former software engineer, the
other a former prenatal genetic counselor — and three men — a former jazz
musician from Maryland, a motorcycle mechanic from Atlanta and a son of
Bangladeshi immigrants in New York City who chose Zaytuna over the _Ivy League_
(http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/i/ivy_league/index.html?inline=nyt-org) .
"Sheik Hamza and Imam Zaid have grown up here after having studied abroad,
and you can really connect with them," said the New Yorker, Ebadur Rahman, who
is 19. "The scholars who come from abroad, they can't connect with the
people. They're ignorant of life here."
Islamic studies experts say that what Mr. Yusuf and Mr. Shakir are teaching
is traditional orthodox Islam, and that it is impossible to characterize their
theology as either conservative or liberal. They encourage but do not
require women in class to cover their heads. They have hired a woman scholar, who
teaches women only. Last year, Mr. Shakir published a rebuttal to a group of
progressive American Muslims who argue that Islamic law allows women to lead
men in prayer.
Mr. Yusuf says he has become too busy to teach regularly at his own school.
He writes books, translates Arabic poetry, records CD's, tapes his television
show. He meets with rabbis, ministers and the _Dalai Lama_
(http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/d/_dalai_lama/index.html?inline=nyt-
per
) , and travels annually to the _World Economic Forum_
(http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/w/world_economic_forum/index.h
tml?inline=nyt-org
) in Davos, Switzerland.
His fame grew after he was invited to the White House nine days after Sept.
11, making him the only Muslim leader along with five other religious leaders
who were called to meet with President Bush. He suggested that Mr. Bush
change the name of the military's impending operation in Afghanistan, "Infinite
Justice," because it would offend Muslims, who believe the only source of
infinite justice is God. Mr. Bush responded by changing the operation's name, to
"Operation Enduring Freedom," and in the news media Mr. Yusuf gained a title
other than sheik: "adviser to the president."
Mr. Yusuf, however, said that Mr. Bush since then "hasn't taken any of my
advice."
Persuasion Over Violence
Three years ago, Mr. Yusuf invited Mr. Shakir to teach at Zaytuna as a
scholar in residence. Mr. Shakir had recently returned from his second stint of
studying Islam abroad — a total of seven years in Syria and Morocco.
One recent Sunday afternoon, Mr. Shakir had 50 students in his Zaytuna class
on marriage and family. The women brought their babies and their knitting,
and everyone munched on homemade cookies brought for a cookie-baking contest.
"It's going to be hard to beat this oatmeal raisin," Mr. Shakir said between
swigs of organic milk.
The real topic at hand was whether polygamy, which is permitted in Islam, is
appropriate in the modern context. Mr. Shakir mediated a heated debate
between the men and women who sparred across the wooden divider that separated
them.
One man said that having more than one wife was good because some women are
so "career orientated" that "they don't want to be cleaning up all the time
behind the man." At that, one woman shouted out, "Get a maid!" and everyone
dissolved in laughter.
Mr. Shakir told the students that Islam allows polygamy because it was a
"practical" and "compassionate" solution in some cases, as when women are
widowed in war. But in the modern context, he said, "a lot of harm ensues."
Mr. Shakir said afterward that he still had trouble believing how a boy from
the projects could have become an Islamic scholar with students who are
willing to move across the country to study with him.
He and his wife, Saliha, became Muslims in the Air Force. He had joined the
military as a teenager in the lull after Vietnam because his mother had died
and he had no means. His name was Ricky Mitchell, and his mother had raised
him and his siblings in housing projects in Georgia — where he remembers going
to his grandparents' farm and picking cotton — and in New Britain, Conn.
A Goal for America
While leading a mosque in New Haven, Conn., in 1992, he wrote a pamphlet that
cautioned Muslims not to be co-opted by American politics. He wrote, "Islam
presents an absolutist political agenda, or one which doesn't lend itself to
compromise, nor to coalition building."
While he did not denounce Muslims who take part in politics, he pointed out
the effectiveness of "extrasystemic political action" — like the "armed
struggle" that brought about the rule of the _Taliban_
(http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/t/taliban/index.html?inline=nyt-org)
in Afghanistan. A copy of the pamphlet was found in the apartment of a suspect
in the first World Trade Center bombing, in 1993. Mr. Shakir says he was
questioned by the _F.B.I._
(http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/f/federal_bureau_of_investigation/index.html?inline=nyt-org) ,
but had no link to the man, and that was the end of it.
While studying in Syria a few years later, he visited Hama, a city that had
tried to revolt against the Syrian ruler, _Hafez al-Assad_
(http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/a/hafez_al_assad/index.html?inline=ny
t-per
) . Mr. Shakir said he saw mass graves and bulldozed neighborhoods, and
talked with widows of those killed. He gave up on the idea of armed
struggle, he said, "just seeing the reality of where revolution can end."
Asked now about his past, he said, "To be perfectly honest, I don't regret
anything I've done or said."
He added, "I had to go through that stage to become the person that I am, and
I'm not willing to negate my past."
He said he still hoped that one day the United States would be a Muslim
country ruled by Islamic law, "not by violent means, but by persuasion."
"Every Muslim who is honest would say, I would like to see America become a
Muslim country," he said. "I think it would help people, and if I didn't
believe that, I wouldn't be a Muslim. Because Islam helped me as a person, and
it's helped a lot of people in my community."
__________________________________________________________
________________


World Muslim Congress
GOOD FOR MUSLIMS, GOOD FOR THE WORLD

Islam is not a monolithic religion and has allowed diversity from its very
inception. Justice, Liberty and freedom are its core values. God could have
made us desire-less and sinless angels, instead he chose to make us human,
giving guidance on one hand, temptations on the other – then giving room to make
mistakes, and room to correct ourselves thru repentance. Forgiveness is a
full cycle concept and not merely utterance of words. Hence, Islam is a deed
based religion.
I ask whether I should seek any god besides God--when he is the Lord of all
things. All people will reap the harvest of their own deeds; no one will bear
another’s burden. Ultimately, all of you will return to your Lord, and he
will resolve your disputes.

-Qur'an, Al-An'am, Surah 6:163-164
Our silence has done a lot more damage to us than the damage done by the
extremists. We have a forum now to speak up and present the majority view to
the world.
Our silence has done a lot more damage to us, our faith, and our community
and our World. Silence no more, we have a forum now to speak up and present
the majority view and hope to take back our faith. Insha Allah

World Muslim Congress
GOOD FOR MUSLIMS, GOOD FOR THE WORLD
Carrollton, Texas . Thursday, May 25th, 2006. All praise to God. We are
pleased to announce the formation of The World Muslim Congress, a non-profit
organization with a commitment to work towards forming a just world.
Our Mission is to create a better world for every human being, through
inclusiveness and participation, as members of a diverse family. Our efforts will
be directed towards justice and equity to attain a sustainable peace and
goodwill. We believe communication is a two way street. We cannot have advantages
at the cost of others. Such benefits are temporary and deleterious to
lasting peace.
Our Prophet (pbuh) described a good deed as an act which benefits others,
such as planting trees that serve generations of wayfarers with fruits and a
shade. The world is a better place today because of the good legacy bequeathed
to the humanity by people of all faiths that came before us. We owe it to
coming generations to leave the world little better than we found, to usher an
era of justice and peace.
Our goal is to inspire Muslims to be actively involved in the larger global
community and be productive citizens as well as peace makers to the world.
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) set the example of good citizenship early on in his
life. The people of Makkah, non-Muslims at that time, called him Al-Amin -
the truthful and the trustworthy, because of his unwavering commitment to
honesty in word and deed. The goal of the World Muslim Congress is to instill
the humane values of Islam and to aspire to be Al-Amin to all.
The World Muslim Congress aims to give voice to the silent majority of
Muslims, those who believe in leading a good life by contributing their time,
effort and energy towards shaping a just society. A society where helping
families, building bridges between communities, and foster love, justice and peace.

Through the revolution in travel and communication the world has indeed
become a global community. Every one is a neighbor to every one else, we aspire
to nurture the concept of good neighborliness in the world. Our advisory board
will be represented by individuals from every faith. It is time for us to be
equal citizens of one world, our home. This is a paradigm shift in how the
religious organizations would be conducting their business in the coming
years.
Insha Allah, the organization will officially come into full operation on
Tuesday, July 4th, 2006.
Contact: Mike Mohamed Ghouse - _MikeGhouse@gmail.com_
(mailto:MikeGhouse@gmail.com) | Mirza Akhtar Beg - _mirza.a.beg@gmail.com_
(mailto:mirza.a.beg@gmail.com) Website to be ready in August: _www.WorldMuslimCongress.com_
(http://www.worldmuslimcongress.com/)

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