Wednesday, October 31, 2007
As Muslims who strive to worship Allah we have been entrusted with a great role and responsibility in this world. Our responsibility includes fulfilling the rights of Allah and the rights of the creation of Allah.
From the favors and blessing of Allah upon us is that he chose Islam as our religion and a complete way of living.
In Surah Al-Anaa'm (6:165) Allah says:
وَهُوَ الَّذِي جَعَلَكُمْ خَلاَئِفَ الأَرْضِ وَرَفَعَ بَعْضَكُمْ فَوْقَ بَعْضٍ دَرَجَاتٍ لِّيَبْلُوَكُمْ فِي مَا آتَاكُمْ
(Meaning): And it is He who has made you successors upon the earth and has raised some of you above others in degrees [of rank] that He may try you through what He has given you.
And in Surah Yunas (10:14):
ثُمَّ جَعَلْنَاكُمْ خَلاَئِفَ فِي الأَرْضِ مِن بَعْدِهِم لِنَنظُرَ كَيْفَ تَعْمَلُونَ
(Meaning): Then We made you successors in the land after them so that We may observe how you will do (what deeds you will do). I would like to bring your attention to the pertinent and often overlooked topic of environmentalism .
Environmentalism is the concern for the restoration, preservation and general importance of the natural environment.
Topics closely related to environmentalism include natural resources efficiency and waste minimization. Allah and his Messenger salallahu alaihee wa salam gave great value and and importance to the environment.
Jabir bin Abdullah reported: I heard Allah's Messenger salallahu alaihee wa salam saying, "Never does a Muslim plant [trees], or cultivate, but has reward for him for what the beasts eat, or the birds eat or anything else eats out of that." (Sahih Muslim)
In another hadith Anas ibn Malik narrated that the Prophet salallahu alaihee wa salam said, "If the Day of Judgment is starting and there is a faseela (seed or sapling) in the hand of one of you, if you can plant it before the Day of Judgment starts, then you should (go on and) plant it." (Silsila Saheeha)
There are many verses and traditions which mention trees, rivers, plants, water, rivers, the skies and the Earth.
In fact, the word "ardh " occurs almost 500 times in the Quran. Preserving the environment is one of the major aims of shariah and these aims include the "preservation of nafs (life), 'aql (intellect), nasl (progeny), maal (wealth) and deen (religion)".
For the Muslim who understands his religion and the overall purpose of the shariah, he must be concerned with the preservation of the environment. This concern ties in directly with communal responsibility; something people of all faiths, cultural backgrounds and age groups can unite upon and work together, hand in hand.
The sad truth is that currently there are not enough initiatives or efforts addressing environmentalism coming from Muslims, and certainly we can do better.At an individual and community level we must increase our efforts to recycle trash, reuse products and reduce waste. We must all do our part.
Can we carpool going to the Masjid or school?
Can we plant trees and help build parks?
Can we join efforts with our non-Muslim friends who have already initiated so many noble efforts to protect and preserve the environment?
We have a responsibility before Allah and to our children to help preserve this world and the bounties Allah ahs given us therein. I hope that as Muslims we will help to lead there efforts, insha allah and I would like to propose a plan which all the massajid, Islamic organizations, Imams and leaders can adopt and improve. Here are some practical steps we can take to help preserve the environment:
1. Every masjid should setup a recycling container for paper, plastic and other recyclable items.
2. We should strive to make our massajid, Islamic schools and centers as green as possible; we need to plant more trees around the masjid.
3. Imams, community leaders and specialists should give several lectures, workshops and sermons (khutab ) every year about environmental awareness and issues and address how we as Muslims can have a major role in protecting our planet.
4. Distribute educational materials about environment and how we can be positive consumers, use energy more efficiently and preserve natural resources.
5. Invite specialists in the field of environmentalism, recycling and related areas to talk about these pressing issues at our centers, schools and massajid.
6. Organize programs in our schools to educate our children and inculcate the idea of preserving the environment in their minds from an early age.
7. For programs we hold at our massajid and centers we should use recycled materials such as paper or plastic cups, plates and other utensils. We must avoiding non-recyclable materials such as foam cups.
8. Our massajid should reduce the use of energy & water by energy saving methods include:
a. Double tinting the windows
b. Good insulation.
c. Turning off electricity when it is not needed by using timers.
d. Using motion sensor faucets and toilets.
e. Putting up signs for being moderate in using water, electricity, etc.
9. Supporting companies who are environment friendly.
10. Participating with local community members, government agencies and local universities in any programs related to environmental issues.
This issue is a priority and a cause that all human beings must rally behind. I would love to see for us, as Muslims, to take a lead role in preserving and improving our environment and keeping this world beautiful for our communities and our children and generations after them.
For more information and resources about environmentalism and energy conservation please refer to these websites:
I can not help but think of the current situation with the California fires which have devastated and destroyed so much forestation in that beautiful state and hundreds of thousands of people have been forced to leave their homes. Our thoughts and prayers are with them all.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Well too bad for you! Apparently its overrated and illegal. That’s right. According to the new bill, HR 1955 titled the ‘Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007', targeted at truthseekers and people who want to think! By this bill millions of us are now criminals and or terrorists. It actually defines thought crimes as homegrown terrorists. The purposely vague definition of homegrown terrorism encompasses and incriminates many groups and individuals including any anti-war movements, any anti-establishment movements or anyone who doesn’t like the state and works to create change. The definition is as follows:
“..(2) VIOLENT RADICALIZATION- The term ..violent radicalization' means the process of adopting or promoting an extremist belief system for the purpose of facilitating ideologically based violence to advance political, religious, or social change.”
“..(3) HOMEGROWN TERRORISM- The term ..homegrown terrorism' means the use, planned use, or threatened use, of force or violence by a group or individual born, raised, or based and operating primarily within the United States or any possession of the United States to intimidate or coerce the United States government, the civilian population of the United States, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.”
So, see you at Guantanamo. Read the article here, and check out the whole bill here.
Monday, October 29, 2007
Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.), in the midst of a long-shot presidential campaign, will not seek re-election, his staff confirmed Monday.
. . .
"It's the fact that I really believe I have done all I can do in the House, especially about the issue about which I care greatly (immigration)," Tancredo told the Rocky Mountain News in a phone interview from Iowa.
His presidential campaign, mired in single-digits in the polls, has been focused primarily on fighting illegal immigration and securing the nation’s borders.
"right wing nutcase" who once suggested the US bomb Makkah.
Can I get an Alhamdulillah?
His answer below sums up the situation very well:
Q: How has your experience shaped your views on the Palestinian problem? Do you think there is a solution?
For a century or more, this has been a dispute over the control of the narrow strip of land that stretches from the River Jordan to the Mediterranean Sea. If the Israelis were to withdraw from every inch of occupied East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza, the Palestinians would be left with about 22% percent of that land. The Israelis would have 78% percent.
Every time you see an American president sit down with the two sides to talk peace, the question is largely about how much of that 22% the Palestinians should be allowed to have - and under what conditions.
I tend to feel that the Israelis will never really give enough - or be forced by their American friends to give enough. And for at least some angry young Palestinians, 22% could never be enough. They would want to fight on for much more.
I think that they would be hard to rein in, and in the poverty, despair and oppression of the occupation, the ranks of the radicals are only likely to grow.
Set against that, most people on both sides do want an end to the conflict - a settlement that might allow their children to live in peace and prosper. So, perhaps there is hope - "God willing", as they say in Palestine.
Click here for rest of Q and A on BBC News.com
Sunday, October 28, 2007
Paradise In Our Home is a family event featuring Ustadh Amr Khaled that will be held in San Jose (Nov. 10) and Anaheim (Nov. 18).
To my knowledge, this is the first time Amr Khaled is visiting the US to give a talk. The website indicates that although Amr Khaled's portion of the program will be in Arabic, there will be English translation, and that the rest of the program (there are other talks as well) will be in English.
Even if you are not an Arabic speaker, I would highly recommend attending the event. One of the things which I truly admire Amr Khaled for is his way of giving lectures. Regardless of whether he is addressing fifty, five thousand or five million people he is always very well prepared especially in terms of knowing his audience, speaks with great passion yet without being irrational, and knows how to get his message across straight to one's heart and soul. Maybe it's his sincerity that helps him get to so many people so easily.
On his quest to change the world and bring about spiritual, social, and economical development to the Muslim ummah (particularly in the Arab world) he has presented a diversity of TV programs from hard-core spiritual to down-right practical.
His latest series TV series this Ramadan, Paradise in Our Home, (which I assume the CA talks will revolve around) was a surprise to people since it dealt with a small-scale social issue: family ties. Still, his choice makes sense: in order to bring about the development of the larger community one must start with the family.
Buy your tickets now!
Friday, October 26, 2007
By Rebecca Trounson, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
October 25, 2007
Full story here, excerpts below:
As Muslim students and their supporters protested outside, commentator Ann Coulter told a USC audience Wednesday night that Americans should get tough on terrorists and "stop genuflecting before Islam."
The protesters who gathered outside the auditorium, chanted, shouted and carried signs, such as "Fight the Real Fascist, Down with Coulter" and "Hate Cannot Drive Out Hate."
Another sign noted the diversity of the protesters: "Thank you, Ann, for uniting Jews, Christians and Muslims."
Along with Ayloush's organization [CAIR], others represented included the Progressive Jewish Alliance of California, MEChA, the Anti-War Coalition and the Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace.
The Rev. Louis Chase, president of the interfaith group and pastor of Hamilton United Methodist Church in South Los Angeles, was among the protesters. "I have problems with Ann Coulter's characterization of the perfect society as a Christian nation, both as a pastor and a theologian," he said.
Steve Puzarne, a cantor who frequently sings at a Pacific Palisades synagogue and who heads the newly formed Pilgrimage of Peace, said he took issue both with Coulter and with what he called the demonization of Muslims.
"As I see it, these are very much cut from the same cloth," Puzarne said. "And I'm quite distressed that the Jewish community, which has responded vociferously to her comments about Jews, has remained relatively silent during her much longer history of hate speech about Muslims."
The term Islamo-Fascism, Puzarne said, is "beyond demagoguery."
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Yeah that’s right, did you know it was Al Qaeda (oozing sarcasm)?!?! That’s what FOX news, I mean FAUX news is reporting. Pointing to a 2003 memo they claim Al Qaeda is the culprit…umm ok. I wonder if they were responsible for Katrina too, or AIDs? You can read the story and transcripts here: http://thinkprogress.org/2007/10/24/fox-news-al-qaeda-is-causing-the-ca-wildires
The following are some excerpts from the recent New York Times article about Lt. Cmdr. Mathew Diaz who defied his military superiors to give a voice to those detained at Guantanamo Bay. It's uplifting to know that there are people on the inside who are willing to break the rules to stand up for human rights.
“Well into the night of Sunday, Jan. 2, 2005, lt. Cmdr. Matthew Diaz sat alone at his desk in the headquarters of the American detention center at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, consumed with a new project.”
“But the task that absorbed Diaz that night in January was taking him down a different path. Sitting at a secure desktop computer, he printed out page after page of classified information, pulling each batch from the printer in case anyone wandered by. When he was done, Diaz had assembled a document 39 pages long. In tiny type, it listed names, prison serial numbers and other information for each of the 551 men who were then being held by the United States at Guantanamo Bay.”
“Now, Diaz knew he was crossing a line. For nearly two weeks after printing the list, he kept it locked inside the safe in his office. On another late night, he carefully trimmed the pages down to the size of large index cards. Then, on Jan. 14, the last night of his tour, he went back to the office one more time. While his colleagues were getting ready for his farewell dinner, he slipped the stack of paper inside a Valentine’s Day card he had bought at the base exchange. It was an odd touch. The card showed a cartoon puppy with long ears and bubble eyes and the greeting, “Hope Valentine’s Day is just your style.” Diaz would later say that he chose it because it was big enough to hold the list. He also hoped the lipstick-red envelope might pass unscrutinized through the Guantánamo post office.”
“It hardly occurred to the lawyers that someone inside the detention-camp headquarters might be trying to help them, Olshansky told me not long ago. For all the public debate about Guantánamo, there was little sign that members of the military were defying their superiors. Uniformed lawyers who had been assigned to defend some of the prisoners before military commissions had begun criticizing the rules for those tribunals, but that dissent was explicitly tolerated by the Pentagon. Some Muslim servicemen at Guantanamo, including an Army chaplain, Capt. James Yee, had been investigated on suspicion of disloyal conduct. But that episode and the others seemed to suggest more about the high-security atmosphere of the camp than it did about any internal opposition to how the prisoners were treated. The valentine was different: no one had taken the law into his own hands quite like this.”
“As he lay in bed at night, Diaz said, he thought about the risk he would be taking if he went ahead. Over the previous year, the military had prosecuted or disciplined several servicemen for taking classified materials off the island. Security had been tightened. The Guantánamo counterintelligence officer slept in the next bedroom of the town house Diaz shared with several midlevel officers. The career for which he had worked so hard would be on the line. He was within striking distance of a promotion to commander, or of retiring with an officer’s pension.”
“On May 18 this year, after a weeklong trial, a panel of seven naval officers convicted Diaz on four of five counts, including one of disclosing secret defense information that “could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of a foreign nation.” By then, nearly two and a half years after Diaz had left Guantánamo, the politics of detention policy had shifted. The detainees’ names had been released under the Freedom of Information Act. The Supreme Court had ruled against the administration once more, upholding the minimum standards of the Geneva Conventions and derailing the military commissions. The president declared that he would like to close Guantánamo as soon as possible.”
Read on here: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/21/magazine/21Diaz-t.html?_r=1&oref=slogin
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
More than the color for breast cancer awareness, pink represents the promise between two sisters to find a cure for breast cancer. That promise started Susan G. Komen for the Cure and ignited the passion of millions to create a world without breast cancer.
Today, Komen for the Cure is the world's largest grassroots network of breast cancer survivors and activists fighting to save lives, empower people, ensure quality care for all and energize science to find the cures. Thanks to events like Passionately Pink for the Cure®, we have invested nearly $1 billion to fulfill our promise, becoming the largest source of nonprofit funds dedicated to the fight against breast cancer in the world.
Raging wildfires in Southern California have destroyed an estimated 1,300 homes and businesses and forced as many as a half-million people to evacuate their homes, state and local officials said Tuesday. Large tracts of brushland and suburbs have been blackened by more than a dozen separate fires.
Hot, gusting winds made the advancing flames nearly impossible for firefighters to control, officials said. The winds were expected to keep blowing through Tuesday, and perhaps longer.
The worst conditions continued to be in San Diego County, where large sections were under mandatory evacuation orders. County officials said Tuesday that "about 1,000" structures had been destroyed in the area since the fires started Sunday. About 300 houses and businesses were destroyed elsewhere, according the governor's Office of Emergency Management.
President George W. Bush declared Southern California a disaster area, and federal troops started to join the evacuation and firefighting effort. About 800 marines from Camp Pendleton, which is north of San Diego, were made available while six specially modified C-130 cargo aircraft were being flown to California to help with firefighting.
San Bernardino Fire Capt. Grant Hubbell tackles a burning house
in Running Springs near Lake Arrowhead.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)October 23, 2007
More Evacuations and New Fires
High temperatures and fierce winds returned to Southern California this morning, complicating the efforts to control a string of wildfires that grew overnight, prompting new evacuations. San Diego County authorities estimated 1,000 homes had burned there, and a second person was reported to have died, this one in the Santa Clarita area north of Los Angeles.
Fires sprang up in San Diego and Los Angeles counties, and new evacuations were ordered in Orange and San Diego counties. Weary firefighters fought major blazes that have burned since the weekend in seven counties, with containment days away at the soonest.
. . .
Estimates of the monetary losses start in the tens of millions, and the cost of fighting the fires was expected to at least match that number. Help was on the way after the White House declared a state of emergency, clearing the way for additional federal aid.
. . .
Flames regionwide crossed class lines as easily as the arid terrain, destroying homes from the beach enclave of Malibu to the vacation retreats around Lake Arrowhead, south through Orange and San Diego counties with its pricey communities of Del Mar and Solana Beach, to Mexico. The conflagrations were on the level of four years ago, when some 3,600 homes were destroyed and about 22 people died.(Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)October 23, 2007
Please keep the residents of Southern California (as well as those who suffer and risk the loss of life and limb everyday all over the world) in your duas. Recommended duas for this crisis in particular:Allaahumma 'asqinaa ghaythan mugheethan maree'an
maree'an, naafi'an ghayra dhaarrin, 'aajilan ghayra 'aajilin.
(O Allah, shower upon us abundant rain,
beneficial not harmful, swiftly and not delayed.)Allaahumma ‘aghithnaa, Allaahumma ‘aghithnaa,
(O Allah, send us rain. O Allah, send us rain.
O Allah, send us rain.)
Allaahum-masqi ‘ibaadaka, wa bahaa ‘imaka,
wanshur rahmataka, wa ‘ahyi baladakal-mayyita.
(O Allah, give water to Your slaves, and Your livestock,
and spread Your mercy, and revive Your dead land.)
Monday, October 22, 2007
Over 14 centuries after divine revelation was sent to our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), there continues to be attempts to challenge and slander Islam and Muslims. Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala, says in the Qur`an,
"They want to extinguish Allah’s light with their mouths: but God will not allow except that His light be perfected, even if the disbelievers hate it." (9:32)
Today in the West, Muslim students continue to face obstacles as they are at the forefront of the Islamic work. Just as the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his companions struggled and sacrificed to combat falsehood and to spread the message of Islam, it is truly an honor for Muslim students to also have the opportunity to struggle and sacrifice for Islam.
The upcoming event titled "Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week" will take place on college and university campuses starting October 22nd in an effort to curb critical thinking and academic freedom, spread racism and hate, and slander Islam and Muslims with lies and deception.
Before anything, MSA West asks you to make sincere du`a. It is through the example of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) that we learn that even the staunchest enemies of Islam have been brought to their knees by the truth and guidance of Allah, subhanahu wa ta`ala. We pray that Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala helps us to enjoin good and
forbid the evil, and to guide us to success in teaching truth over falsehood.
We ask Allah, Glory be to Him, to grant us the strength, courage, and knowledge needed to expose the falsehood as falsehood and to portray the truth as truth. We ask Him, the Almighty, to help us spread His light in all its fullness however hateful it may be to those who deny the truth."
Taken from the MSA West "Don't Hate...Educate" Packet. To request a copy, please contact email@example.com.
Saturday, October 20, 2007
A common misconception among many people is that they believe the texts of the Qur’an and Hadith are intended for all of mankind and are so clear that anyone fairly literate should be able to read them and understand what they mean. The first part of this idea is correct, the Qur’an and the teachings of the Prophet are intended for everyone. However, the idea that anyone reading the texts irrespective of their background knowledge will be able to fully understand each and every intended meaning is very wrong.The post goes on to explain the different arguments on this issue and the methodology used to derive rulings in this particular case, and in general. The post then concludes with this:
Let’s take a practical example in order to demonstrate the truth of this claim. If someone were to open up Sunan Al-Tirmidhi, which is one of the very famous early collections of narrations [Ahadith], they might come across the following:
Hannad and Mahmud ibn Ghaylan informed us that Waki’ informed us on the authority of Sufyan on the authority of Abi Qays on the authority of Huzayl ibn Sharhabil on the authority of Al-Mughira ibn Shu’ba who said: “The Prophet r made ablution [wudu] and wiped over his socks and sandals.”Abu Isa (At-Tirmidhi) said: “This narration is authentic [hasan sahih].”
Whether this was read in Arabic or in English you might conclude from it that you can wipe over your feet when making wudu without having to take off your socks or sandals. You might naturally go even further and consider it ridiculous that anyone could have a doubt about this since it is so clear. The Prophet did it and the narration is authentic so we can do it too.
One of the beautiful things about Islam is that there are no Divinely appointed clergy or priests. Anyone can study, increase in knowledge, and understand the Qur’an and Sunnah for themselves. If you only read this article with the hope of knowing whether or not you can wipe over the socks that you are wearing then go ask your local scholar rather than reading a collection of hadith. If that idea bothers you then set out on the path of knowledge, the Muslim ummah is in need of more knowledgeable people.
I think the author makes his point very well. Enjoy the post (but don't expect to get an answer on whether or not you can wipe on your socks!).
This is also another (shorter) post worth reading on Br. Mustafa's blog related to understanding hadith.
P.S. Jazakum Allah khairan Br. Mustafa and the brother who emailed me the link to the blog - may Allah (swt) increase us all in useful knowledge.
Friday, October 19, 2007
Assalaamu 'Alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh,
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, the Almighty. We ask Him to send His peace, blessings and mercy upon our beloved Prophet Muhammad, his family, companions and all those who follow his way till the end of time.
The Muslim Student Association – West (MSA West), a coalition of Muslim student groups from across the west coast, would like to express their support and solidarity with those on trial and their families. After 19 days of deliberation, a verdict has been reached and will be announced on Monday October 22nd at 10am. We'd like to sincerely ask everyone to use these next couple of days to make du'a and supplicate to Allah, the Almighty, asking Him to confirm the innocence of these men, that justice prevail, and that they be returned home safely to their families. We have complete faith and trust that Allah will answer the call of those who call on Him sincerely. As He says,
"When My servants ask you about Me - I am indeed close (to them); I respond to the prayer of every supplicant whenever he calls on Me: let them, then, listen to My call, and believe in Me, so that they might follow the right way." (2:186)
Please spread the word about this issue. Use this blessed day of Friday and make announcements after Friday prayers asking everyone to make du'a (supplications to Allah).
We ask Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala (Exalted is He) to reunite our brothers Ghassan Elashi , Shukri Abu Baker, Mohammad El-Mezain (Sheikh Abu Ibrahim), Mufid Abdulqader, and Abdulrahman Odeh safely with their families, to grant them patience, perseverance, justice and victory. Ameen.
"No, We hurl the Truth against falsehood, and it knocks out its brain, and behold, falsehood does perish! Ah! Woe be to you for the (false) things you ascribe (to Us)." ( 21:18 )
Thursday, October 18, 2007
We only have to look to other countries to see how much struggle some of our brothers and sisters endure to practice this beautiful deen. I’m posting a excerpts from some articles I found touching during Ramadan.
SRINAGAR, India (AFP) - In the pitch-dark early hours, men beating drums walk the narrow lanes of Indian Kashmir to wake people from their beds for a hearty pre-dawn feast ahead of a day of Ramadan fasting.
The human alarm clocks are the only ones who dare venture out at night in the revolt-hit region, where nocturnal pedestrians run the risk of a tough grilling or even a bullet from nervous Indian security forces. …
But the tradition goes back years, perhaps centuries, and the drum beaters say the Ramadan job is a vital source of income. …
"My heartbeat increases when I approach a security bunker. You never know, but I think now they (the Indian soldiers) are aware of the tradition." …
During the early years of the insurgency, the Indian army did not take too well to cries of "Wakhta-e-Sahar" -- often accusing the drum beaters of alerting militants ahead of security raids.
"It takes them time to comprehend what I am doing, but now they understand I am not out there for fun," Gulzar Lone, another wake-up man, said of the Indian security forces.
KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) - It's Ramadan in Malaysia and the days of the Muslim fasting month usually mean fairy lights, dinner tables groaning with dishes, and an upbeat mood.
But this year many householders such as 45-year-old Siti Nora are upset and frustrated as sharp increases in the price of staple foods have meant that "breaking fast" is a much more meagre affair. …
"Definitely, the hike in prices will dampen our merry mood as we Muslims prepare for Eid al-Fitr celebration," she said, referring to the festival which marks the conclusion of Ramadan this weekend.
The cost of basic items such as chicken, eggs, flour and condensed milk have all risen by up to 50 percent thanks to a price creep which began last year and has spiked in recent weeks.
"A 250 gram pack of butter is now priced at 2.80 ringgit, up from 1.80 ringgit last year," she said, adding that her monthly grocery bill has jumped to at least 500 ringgit (147 dollars) from 300 ringgit (33 dollars) before.
PARIS (Reuters) - It's late of a Ramadan evening in Paris, the iftar dinners are finished and Muslims from around France are calling Ahmed el Keiy to ask questions about Islam.
"Can I wear perfume during Ramadan?" a young girl asks. "How about hair gel?" a boy wants to know.
El Keiy, a lawyer-turned-journalist, devotes his nightly radio phone-in show to Islam during the holy month and wants to discuss big ideas.
But his listeners keep asking about details.
"Why do we get so many questions about how to practice Islam?" he asks listeners and three imams invited to the cramped studio of Beur FM, a popular station for "beurs" -- the French-born sons and daughters of North African immigrants.
"Nobody teaches us religion," says one caller named Nacera. "Our parents were illiterate," caller Najet adds, "so you see people who don't know how to say their prayers properly, or exactly what to do during Ramadan."
France has Europe's largest Muslim minority. Thanks to a long tradition of relations with the Arab world, it is home to many Muslim intellectuals -- both foreign and French -- and experts on the Islamic world.
But in the poor areas where many of the country's 5 million Muslims live, ignorance prevails.
Illiterate elders follow a sketchy folk Islam, many imams preach at Friday prayers without any training and many young people construct a do-it-yourself religion.
Most of the 1,200 imams in France have no formal training and one-third do not speak French.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
They stated that the "congressional resolution recognizing the Islamic holy month of Ramadan as important is reportedly being touted by U.S. Muslims as an important sign that they are gaining acceptance in America and becoming part of the fabric of the country." And the following is how leaders in other faith communities- Christian- feel about Muslims:
I am first and foremost a Christian. Secondly, I am an American. These two labels once went together; not that we lived in a theocracy, or that everybody truly embraced Jesus as their lord and savior, but we testified with our hands on His Bible, our Senate opened with a Christian blessing, the Constitution was dated from the first Christmas (i.e., “In the year of our Lord . . .”) and the Pilgrims’ stated purpose in the Compact was the “advancement the Christian faith.”
My point is that our nation, however much certain people wish to deny it, began and sustained with a belief in the true and biblical God; not Zeus, or Ra, Odin, or even the Allah of Ramadan.
For Congress to endorse other gods essentially repudiates the exclusive claims of the One that we have known and are known for. Such resolutions should not be made anyway, but officially recognizing Islam as “one of the great religions of the world” when it is an imported belief system that denies all the essential tenets of Christianity is too much. Islam denies the Crucifixion, the Resurrection, that Jesus is the Son of God, and especially, that He is God, the Son.
We are at war with Muslims abroad, and we worry about their intentions here. Christians have no divine mandate to destroy those who oppose Jesus, but we do have biblical warrant to support America. Is this true of Muslims? They have yet to resolve as one voice to denounce the violence and intentions of jihadists, terrorists and Sept. 11, 2001.
Now, I don’t deny that we have become quite the pluralistic society, but should we exalt the foreign religions to a place on par or even above our own? We should sincerely love our Muslim neighbors, but just as sincerely oppose Islam.
THE REV. BRYAN GRIEM
Also here is something from our Armenian friends:
A congressional resolution recognizing Ramadan is certainly an act of political correctness, but then again, so are all these types of resolutions. What else can you say about them? It’s not like they’re advocating one belief system over another, they merely recognize a portion of reality. In so doing, they’re bringing a level of comfort to members of our community — other Americans.
We need to stop being scared to face reality.
There is a sizable Muslim population in America. And the beauty of America and her “dream” is that there is room for everyone in this country. I have heard the argument that “those countries” would never allow or grant non-Islamic minorities the equal status or recognition with the mainstream religion.
But to me, that’s exactly the point.
We are not like the other countries. That’s what makes America great: its ability to incorporate so many into something greater than the components that make it up.
Ironically, this week’s news headlines pointed to another recognition resolution regarding the Armenian Genocide.
We witnessed the sad demonstration of denial by the political establishment, the president included, which wanted to compromise truth and justice for the sake of politics.
You can’t escape the reality of an organized, systematic annihilation of one group of people by a government. Its called genocide.
And a great country like America, with all of its greatness, cannot be intimidated to not speak the truth.
FATHER VAZKEN MOVSESIAN
In His Shoes Mission
And here is yet one more:
I think most of us appreciate the freedom of religious practice our country affords. That means, of course, that I am honor-bound to be respectable to others of different faiths, and to recognize their right to believe as they wish.This really is only a certain perspective, one that is part of a larger trend according to Pew polls and other statistics done about having Muslims as neighbors. I do believe as I mentioned, given our circumstances, the challenges we face in this country and within our own Muslim community, this resolution is/was a "historical" marker on the integral nature Islam has played in America and will continue to play.
Islam has gotten a lot of press post-Sept. 11, 2001, so recognizing it may well be a matter of political correctness. I’d certainly be uncomfortable, though, if Christianity had attracted attention in the same manner, and I’d be vocal about it.
A few folks may want to turn our country into a theocracy in line with their beliefs about God, but that’s not my concern. I am confident that when Jesus Christ returns, He will by Himself establish His kingdom on a worldwide scale. I’m happy to know that according to His promise I’ll be a part of it, and not cast out of it.
What I think is offensive to many religious people is the modern societal pressure upon us to accept all faiths as equally valid and true. I follow Jesus Christ because I believe He alone is the truth personified, He alone is the way to know God. I accept other faiths’ right to exist, but I reject the notion that their prophets are on a par with my wonderful Lord.
PASTOR JON BARTA
Monday, October 15, 2007
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.
Mabrook to our very own Angie Ellaboudy for completing half of her deen!
May Allah (swt) bless you and your husband with many many years of happiness and tranquility.
Below are some tips for Hisham [the super lucky groom] (and all the other husbands out there) on how to keep his wife's love and affection (originally posted here) :
- Yes for flattery, No for arguing
- Remember your wife in dua
- Respect and show that you appreciate her thinking
- Help her to find and build her inner strengths and skills
- Be an artist with your compliments
- Sit down and eat meals together
- Maintain the secrecy and privacy of the home
- Encourage each other in ibaadat [acts of worship]
- Show care for her health and well-being
- Remember you are not always right or perfect yourself
- Share your happiness and sadness with her
- Be a firm support for her to lean on
Sunday, October 14, 2007
“Is it allowable for me and women [who are eligible to marry] to shake hands sometimes?”
“The origin [of this ruling] is that a man is not allowed to shake hands with a woman [who he is eligible to marry and vice versa]. However, if she is an elderly woman then the school of Abi Hanifa [may Allah have mercy upon him] considered shaking hands with her permissible. Perhaps, the questioner will state that, “By not shaking a woman’s hand it could lead to hardship or shared ill feelings and so forth?” If not shaking hands will lead to the actuality of those fears, then it is allowable to shake hands as long as there is no evil feelings or affection for the woman [and vice versa]. And if the opposite holds true, then it is not allowed to do so.
Dr. Abdullah bin Bayyah
Note, there was some abridgment done to this answer to make it clearer to the English audience. However, the meaning and answer of Dr. Bin Bayyah was not changed.
Friday, October 12, 2007
“Our Nation is proud to be a land of many beliefs, and our society is enriched by our Muslim citizens. On the first day of Shawwal, the first month of the Islamic calendar, may people of all faiths reflect on the values we hold in common, including love of family, the importance of community, and gratitude to God,”
Click here for full statement.
Nonetheless, it was a wonderful experience, especially seeing everyone in the community at once all dressed in beautiful, colorful clothes. Eid prayers are the best time to get a glimpse of the wonderful diversity of our communities.
By the way, let's not forget our new Muslim brothers and sisters during Eid- their families may not be celebrating Eid so let's invite them to our homes.
And remember the masjid in which you spent many hours of the last 30 days? Don't forget it as soon as Eid rolls in. Unfortunately, our masajid are very lonely places during Eid.
May Allah (swt) accept our fasting and prayers, and bless us all with a joyous Eid.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Every year the Muslim community is found struggling to define and defend their most basic right, to claim the beginning and end of religious observances based on the sighting of the moon. This is like the Jewish tradition, where the moon is used to set dates, the lunar calender is an integral part of Muslim observances.
However, for a Muslim caught between tradition (principles- sunnah) and "modern" life (using this loosely to mean coping with life outside Muslim majority countries and the implications of differences on demands of life) this turmoil is not just disappointing, but quite nerve wrecking.
I prepared myself for Eid to be on Saturday. Turns out the Middle East sighted the moon declared Eid tomorrow- making it a momentous day- and throwing my world in whack because my parents Masjid follows Saudi moon sighting and I have to take tomorrow off, pack up, shop for clothes to wear, gifts to give and all of the other 'work' things in a matter of hours, and then drive up two hours to get my brother and drive home. Only to wake up to a hectic morning for prayer service preparations and then, then well Eid is over until the house calls begin.
You see what I have learned is this-
1. People are so passionate about the issue- they fight over it and dig their heels in.
2. Religion is meant to be a good experience- the fighting makes the Ramadan season and Eid a bit rancorous and down right unpleasant bitter in the beginning and the end.
3. People will not change their minds. They just won't, they are stubborn.
4. A Muslim layman is going to loose their minds dealing with the chaotic nature of the discourse and decision making process. Often times getting caught in between legitimate debates, but illegitimate rivalries that become personal.
5. Shaitan (Egos) plays with our hearts.
Given these, I cope the following way:
1. Until I have my own family, I do what my parents do;
2. I stay quite and walk away from these "conversations"; often times I just allow myself to let it in through one ear and out the other;
3. I smile and nod, and look for the quickest way to exit the situation, if ever caught in the firing lines;
4. I stay away from the "you were wrong, I was right" conversations;
5. My future preference is set, I will use the Calculation method- no matter how much people put it down, I find it to be in line with my Islamic understanding and ability, you can only pray that I am endowed with enough wisdom to accept your way of thinking, and I will pray that you will be endowed with enough wisdom to respect me for my decision and we can let each other live on this issue.
I hope my thoughts help people survive the MoonFight-palooza we have once again found ourselves in.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
NEW YORK - New York's iconic Empire State Building is to be lit up green from Friday in honor of the Muslim holiday of Eid, the biggest festival in the Muslim calendar marking the end of Ramadan, officials said.
"This is the first time that the Empire State Building will be illuminated for Eid, and the lighting will become an annual event in the same tradition of the yearly lightings for Christmas and Hannukah," according to a statement.
George Washington University's school newspaper received a shocking confession on Tuesday.
The GW newspaper the Hatchet received an e-mail confession late Tuesday night from seven students admitting to hanging hundreds of controversial fliers around campus.
The students -- Adam Kokesh, freshman Yong Kwon, senior Brian Tierny, freshman Ned Goodwin, Maxine Nwigwe, Lara Masri and Amal Rammah -- said their motives were misinterpreted.
"It is to our great dismay that the student body and the media missed the clear, if subtle, message of our flier: the hyperbolic nature of the flier was aimed at exposing Islamophobic racism," the e-mail said, according to the Hatchet. "While the poster, even if taken seriously was not intended to cause any real harm, the systematic and glorified type of racism represented by this event is being imposed upon us from dangerous divisive outside forces."
The students who said they did it said they wanted to bring attention to racism against Muslims.
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
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What is unique about Baig’s case is the fact that he used a process called “port expedite.” The process allows people to alert TSA officials through a third party at least one week ahead of their scheduled return into the country. In Baig’s case, CAIR sent Baig’s name, passport number, date of arrival and airline, port of entry, and address and contact information to TSA officials one week before Baig’s arrival.and it continues:
TSA agents were again notified by phone one-day prior to his arrival. Despite that, Baig was still screened. Shaikh admits that the process is not 100% efficient but said that CAIR southern California used the procedure with six people so far and five of them went through customs with no incidents. “Five out of six is an excellent result,” Shaikh remarked. “The system does work.”
Another method CAIR strongly recommends using is called “Traveler Redress Inquiry Program” or TRIP. DHS’s website defines TRIP as a procedure that, “provides a way for legitimate travelers to address situations where individuals believe they have been incorrectly delayed, denied boarding, identified for additional screening, or have otherwise experienced difficulties when seeking entry into the country.”
TRIP helps travelers seek redress and resolve possible watch list misidentification issues by filing personal information in order to obtain clearance prior to overseas travel. However, an FBI spokesperson said the Bureau could not confirm or deny if a person is off the watch-list for security reasons. Despite that, Shaikh said that the bureau is to be commended for instigating TRIP.
“They (FBI) pushed for a system to address our issues, to ensure that people’s civil rights are not violated,” Shaikh said. He advises everyone who intends to use DHS TRIP to notify CAIR as well in order to keep track of these cases.
Shaikh suggests that individuals like Dr. Monzer Kahf who travel frequently are advised to use both TRIP and “port expedite” to maximize their chances of not being singled out for screening. “There is a system of checks and balances,” he said. “American Arabs and Muslims should use it to the optimum to insure a hassle-free travel experience.”
If you happen to be having problems with flying freely. You have recourses that are available. You can call the CAIR-Greater Los Angeles Office at 714-776-1847 and ask for the Civil Rights Coordinator regarding "Flying While Muslim" and hopefully using a combination of things be able to find a way to clear your name if it is associated in any way to some one who is "being watched" and if you happen to be that some one...tsk tsk tsk, you should not be doing what you are doing! (actually the large majority of people are innocently caught up in a name recognition problems, to many Muhammad and Ahmed's)
Monday, October 8, 2007
The other night at the ICOI qiyam, these verses kept running through my head:
“O’Mankind! We created you from a single pair of male and female, and made you into nations and tribes that you might get to know one another. Surely, the noblest of you in the sight of Allah, is he who is the most righteous. Allah is All-Knowledgeable, All-Aware.” (49: 13)
“There has come to you from Allah a new Light and a clear book, with which Allah will guide to the ways of peace all those who seek His good pleasure and bring them out of the depth of darkness into the light of His grace and guide them to the right way.” (5:14-16)
All I could say to myself as I sat there and I looked around at the diversity of our community was SubhanAllah. If you know me you most likely have heard me talk about this before…and I can’t help it. As I sat there outside in the tent, I heard around me so many different languages, Spanish, Arabic, Urdu, Chinese and English. And as I sat and quietly observing, I was in awe of all the different ethnicities within our community. I wondered their stories and how they were brought to Islam. SubhanAllah…it makes me happy. It is easy to forget in our very busy lives the context of what we are living in and living through. But as Suhaib Webb said, “we are the ummah of the prophet” and we really are blessed to be such a close, diverse and knit tight community. Alhamdullilah.
Sunday, October 7, 2007
Saturday, October 6, 2007
The transliteration of this Dua is "Allahumma innaka `afuwwun tuhibbul `afwa fa`fu `annee"
For more tips on how to make the best of the last 10 days of Ramadan click here, here, and here.
Friday, October 5, 2007
"The America I believe in doesn't torture people or use cruel, inhuman treatment; doesn't hold people without charge, without fair trials, without hope, and without end; doesn't kidnap people off the street and ship them to nations known for their brutality; doesn't justify the use of secret prisons; and does not rob people of their basic dignity."
Click here to support Amnesty International's campaign to close down Guantanamo: Tear it down.
Get your pixel today!
Thursday, October 4, 2007
1st Session - H. RES. 635
Recognizing the commencement of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting and spiritual renewal, and commending Muslims in the United States and throughout the world for their faith.
September 5, 2007
Ms. EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON of Texas (for herself, Mr. MEEKS of New York, and Mr. KEITH ELLISON) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs.
Recognizing the commencement of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting and spiritual renewal, and commending Muslims in the United States and throughout the world for their faith.
Whereas since the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001, threats and incidents of violence have been directed at law-abiding, patriotic Americans of African, Arab, and South Asian descent, particularly members of the Islamic faith;
Whereas, on September 14, 2001, the House of Representatives passed a concurrent resolution condemning bigotry and violence against Arab-Americans, American Muslims, and Americans from South Asia in the wake of the terrorist attacks;
Whereas it is estimated that there are approximately 1,500,000,000 Muslims worldwide;
Whereas Ramadan is the holy month of fasting and spiritual renewal for Muslims worldwide, and is the 9th month of the Muslim calendar year; and
Whereas the observance of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan commences at dusk on September 13, 2007, and continues for one lunar month: Now, therefore, be it
(1) during this time of conflict, in order to demonstrate solidarity with and support for members of the community of Islam in the United States and throughout the world, the House of Representatives recognizes the Islamic faith as one of the great religions of the world; and
(2) in observance of and out of respect for the commencement of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting and spiritual renewal, the House of Representatives acknowledges the onset of Ramadan and expresses its deepest respect to Muslims in the United States and throughout the world on this significant occasion.
The Congress passed the resolution unanimously 376-0 on October 2,2007.
The forwarded e-mail is a internet lynching of AEF. Pipes, in all his load of junk, does share a meaningful quote by AEF:
"among American Muslim organizations, the intellectual and moral grounding—not just in the Islamic texts but in the pluralities of the Islamic tradition—is woefully, woefully absent. There has not been a serious movement among these organizations to create educational institutions that would attempt a critical understanding of the tradition they claim to represent. There are practically no such institutions, or even attempts to preserve the knowledge of Islamic law. These organizations remain activist, with a lot of energy but without direction."The very people who he (Pipes) is associating (AEF) with, do not see him (AEF) as anything significant. It probably is because of his (AEF's) criticism of the lack of "intellectual depth" shown by the community at large or as I mentioned in my "Dancing" post that he runs miles ahead of the community so people just don't understand him.
But that is the problem in the United States and definitely the root of this is the Muslim societies "back home". I find the colonial period in Muslim history to be a significant factor in the demise of Muslim understanding of Islam and that coming from the growth of hardcore Sufism (loss of balance in dunyia and akhira). The freed societies, post colonial era, had this mixed attachment to Islam and the West, one that was superimposed by the idea of "modernity".
Islam became a culture, and that culture was taken by the Muslim diaspora- i.e. from Pakistan to America- which became part of the identity developed by Muslims in the West, until 9/11.
Sheikh Suhaib Webb, a convert said it best, during the pre-9/11 era, Muslim in America had a landscape dotted with the intellectual battles of the schools of thought in the old world. We saw these ravages first hand in the demise of the salafi movement, the "caliphate" establishers and now the Sufi attacks on the conservatives or traditionalists.
I believe this happened because the doctors and engineers and professionals that flocked to America's shores were all culturally Muslim, with limited training in Islam. I remember as a child the conflict that arose when some one prayed using a different way- based on a different school of thought- and the ensuing battles which became personal vendetta's that went on to split the community.
These rifts were from this flawed cultural understanding of Islam. From this idea that my Islam is the only Islam. The immigrants who came to America brought a basic understanding of Islam with them, definitely a love for the religion and a desire to be American. It is no wonder that we have so many doctors and engineers who run the boards, who chair the charities, who work in social services- giving up lucrative jobs in their fields to devote themselves to assisting the Muslim community in America, out of a love to be on the Godly path. That is partly also why we have "imported" Muslim "imams" and also why there was a lack of social rooting into the American fabric beyond the idea that "yes I am (insert your nationality)-American".
The concern was always "back home"- sending money, constant trips back, marriage, burials even. Since 9/11 that has drastically changed, and I see more and more people talking about being American Muslim.
I agree with Abu El Fadl in his statement, however, I think it lacks the historical appreciation of the development of the American Muslim community. Like other immigrant communities, the diverse Muslim community is following the same path, albeit, with a huge head start.
Read on at http://www.onenationfilmcontest.org/.
"What's it like to wear a head scarf on Main St., USA? How about to play soccer in one? How would you feel if just going to the bathroom on a plane made people around you nervous? Or are you the person that feels nervous?
We're offering a $20,000 Grand Prize for the best new and creative short video exploring any aspect of life relating to the American-Muslim experience. Everyone in the U.S. is invited to compete, regardless of race or religion, so grab a camera and get filming. There's a story in every community and friends just waiting to be made."
Watch the promo video here. Read the AP story here.
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
The Qur’an is divided into 30 parts or Juz and into 114 chapters or Surahs.