Monday, December 31, 2007
Okay, so each year people make new years resolutions. I usually make them when the new years begin, sometimes people make them well before the new years and they take stock of what is going on with their past years resolutions.
I happen to be one striving to be a bit more orderly in how I approach life. This year I came up with some resolutions. I wanted to share my thoughts on them but thought I would like to ask what other Muslims are resolving to do this upcoming year, the year that ends in 8, a year of the Olympics..a year of many celebrations and sorrows yet to come.
Please share your thoughts. I will post mine according to the response and frankness people display.
Sunday, December 30, 2007
"We Americans live in a society awash in historical celebrations. The last few years have witnessed commemorations of the bicentennial of the Louisiana Purchase (2003) and the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II (2005). Looming on the horizon are the bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln’s birth (2009) and the sesquicentennial of the outbreak of the Civil War (2011). But one significant milestone has gone strangely unnoticed: the 200th anniversary of Jan. 1, 1808, when the importation of slaves into the United States was prohibited.
Jan. 1, 1808, is worth commemorating not only for what it directly accomplished, but for helping to save the United States from a history even more terrible than the Civil War that eventually rid our country of slavery."
Taken from the New York Times. Read on here.
Iraq Slashes Food Rations, Putting Lives at Risk
by Ahmed Ali and Dahr Jamail
The government also wants to reduce the number of people depending on the rationing system by five million by June 2008.
Iraq’s food rations system was introduced by the Saddam Hussein government in 1991 in response to the UN economic sanctions. Families were allotted basic foodstuffs monthly because the Iraqi Dinar and the economy collapsed.
The sanctions, imposed after Saddam Hussein ordered the invasion of Kuwait, were described as “genocidal” by Denis Halliday, then UN humanitarian coordinator in Iraq. Halliday quit his post in protest against the U.S.-backed sanctions.
The sanctions killed half a million Iraqi children, and as many adults, according to the UN. They brought malnutrition, disease, and lack of medicines. Iraqis became nearly completely reliant on food rations for survival. The programme has continued into the U.S.-led occupation.
But now the U.S.-backed Iraqi government has announced it will halve the essential items in the ration because of “insufficient funds and spiralling inflation.”
The cuts, which are to be introduced in the beginning of 2008, have drawn widespread criticism. The Iraqi government is unable to supply the rations with several billion dollars at its disposal, whereas Saddam Hussein was able to maintain the programme with less than a billion dollars.
“In 2007, we asked for 3.2 billion dollars for rationing basic foodstuffs,” Mohammed Hanoun, Iraq’s chief of staff for the ministry of trade told al-Jazeera. “But since the prices of imported foodstuff doubled in the past year, we requested 7.2 billion dollars for this year. That request was denied.”
The trade ministry is now preparing to slash the list of subsidised items by half to five basic food items, “namely flour, sugar, rice, oil, and infant milk,” Hanoun said.
The imminent move will affect nearly 10 million people who depend on the rationing system. But it has already caused outrage in Baquba, 40 km northeast of Baghdad.
“The monthly food ration was the only help from the government,” local grocer Ibrahim al-Ageely told IPS. “It was of great benefit for the families. The food ration consisted of two kilos of rice, sugar, soap, tea, detergent, wheat flour, lentils, chick-peas, and other items for every individual.”
Another grocer said the food ration was the “life of all Iraqis; every month, Iraqis wait in queues to receive their food rations.”
Read on here.
Saturday, December 29, 2007
It is also permissible for a Muslim to greet a non Muslim with this greeting. This was asserted by a number of Companions and Successors, including Ibn `Abbâs, Ibn Mas`ûd, Abû Umâmah, Ibn Muhîrîz, and `Umar b. `Abd al-`Azîz. It was also the opinion of many prominent imams, including Sufyân b. `Uyaynah, al-Sha`bî, al-Awzâ`î, and al-Tabarî. Recently, this opinion has been adopted by al-Sayyid Rashîd Ridâ’ in Tafsîr al-Manâr and al-Shinqîtî in Adwâ’ al-Bayân.
This view is in harmony with how the Qur’ân represents the Islamic greeting of peace as a universal greeting.
He says: “And the servants of (Allah) Most Gracious are those who walk on the earth in humility, and when the ignorant address them, they say, ‘Peace!’ ” [Sûrah al-Furqân: 63]
There are many scholars who hold the view that it is either disliked or prohibited for Muslims to initiate the greeting of salâm with non-Muslims. They rely on the following hadîth as evidence: “Do not initiate the salutation of ‘Peace’ with the Jews and Christians.” [Sahîh Muslim (2167)]
However, this hadîth relates to a state of hostilities which had erupted at that time against the Muslims. It was, in fact, at the time of the campaign against Banû Qurayzah. This is established by another authentic hadîth where the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “We are going forth in the morning against a group of Jews, so do not initiate the greeting of ‘Peace’ with them. [Musnad Ahmad (26695) and Mu`jam al-Tabarânî al-Kabîr (22/291). See also Musnad Ahmad (16844 & 17584)]
Continue at IslamToday.com
Thursday, December 27, 2007
I think Ms. Bhutto may have represented the hopes of many Pakistani citizens in that she would help the country emerge from the devolving military state that Musharraf created. At any rate, it is interesting to see how assassinations change the dynamics of political options for the populace in Asian countries. I don't know how many of you (Indians) remember -- or are old enough to remember -- Rajiv Gandhi's assassination during his bid for PM-ship in the early '90s, but Bhutto's killing reminded me very much of his.
Pakistan opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was assassinated Thursday by an attacker who shot her after a campaign rally and then blew himself up. Her death stoked new chaos across the nuclear-armed nation, an important U.S. ally in the war on terrorism.
At least 20 others were also killed in the attack on the rally for Jan. 8 parliamentary elections where the 54-year-old Bhutto had just spoken.
Her supporters erupted in anger and grief after her killing, attacking police and burning tires and election campaign posters in several cities. At the hospital where she died, some smashed glass and wailed, chanting slogans against President Pervez Musharraf.
Musharraf blamed Islamic extremists for Bhutto's death and said he would redouble his efforts to fight them.
"This is the work of those terrorists with whom we are engaged in war," he said in a nationally televised speech. "I have been saying that the nation faces the greatest threats from these terrorists. ... We will not rest until we eliminate these terrorists and root them out."
In the U.S., a tense looking President Bush strongly condemned the attack "by murderous extremists who are trying to undermine Pakistan's democracy."
Musharraf convened an emergency meeting with his senior staff, where they were expected to discuss whether to postpone the elections, an official at the Interior Ministry said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the talks.
The attacker struck just minutes after Bhutto addressed thousands of supporters in the garrison city of Rawalpindi, 8 miles south of Islamabad.
She was shot in the neck and chest by the attacker, who then blew himself up, said Rehman Malik, Bhutto's security adviser.
Sardar Qamar Hayyat, a leader from Bhutto's party, said he was standing about 10 yards away from her vehicle at the time of the attack.
"She was inside the vehicle and was coming out from the gate after addressing the rally when some of the youths started chanting slogans in her favor. Then I saw a smiling Bhutto emerging from the vehicle's roof and responding to their slogans," he said.
"Then I saw a thin, young man jumping toward her vehicle from the back and opening fire. Moments later, I saw her speeding vehicle going away," he added.
Bhutto was rushed to the hospital and taken into emergency surgery. She died about an hour after the attack.
Imam Anwar wrote, in an email to Cageprisoners
"The time I spent in detention was a great blessing from Allah. They were moments of contemplation and study which I was greatly in need of. Alhamdulillah, Allah has blessed me during that time of solitude with tranquility and peace to the extent that at most of the time I was preferring detention over freedom. Now that I am free I ask Allah to enable me to thank Him for his blessings.
"I am greatly moved to know that many of my brothers and sisters have been asking about my situation and praying for my release. I thank them all. May Allah reward all of you with Paradise."
We thank all of you who took action on his behalf and remembered him in your prayers.
If you would like to send Imam Anwar a message, please email us at email@example.com and we will pass it on.
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
PARIS: Leading Muslim scholars have addressed warm Christmas greetings to Christians around the world, a message notable both for what it said and the fact that it was sent at all.
The greetings, sent by a group of 138 Sunni, Shi'ite, Sufi and other scholars who recently proposed a dialogue with Christian leaders, called for peace on earth and thanked church leaders who have responded positively to their invitation.
The message, as the dialogue proposal made in October, was unprecedented because there has not been until now such a large group of Islamic scholars that could draft a common letter.
For complete statement, click here
Monday, December 24, 2007
They describe themselves as "...broadcast[ing] programs that engage, educate and activate viewers to become involved in the world. These programs provide a unique perspective on international news, current events, and diverse cultures, presenting issues not often covered in the U.S. media."
The contest they are currently hosting that I found rather interesting is called "One Nation, Many Voices: Muslims in America, Stories Not Stereotypes."
An overview declares, "We all have stories! And we could all use a little understanding. We're offering $50,000 in cash prizes for short videos 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, read our online tips, and get filming."
Judges include Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Danny Glover, Mariane Pearl and Azhar Usman.
Video entries so far include Baba Ali from Ummah Films, MAS Media Foundation, and more.
It'll be interesting to see where this goes. Everyone is allowed to vote, so I encourage you to watch the films and vote! It's entertaining and it's always important to make sure our community represents itself accurately and positively.
Many years ago a child known as "Little Annie" was locked in a dungeon of a mental institution near Boston- her doctors' last resort for the "hopelessly insane." At times, Annie seemed to fit the label. She was known to behave like an animal and viciously attack those who came near her "cage". At other times, she sat in a daze.From God's Little Devotion Book for the WorkPlace
An elderly nurse, however, didn't see Annie as an animal. She began to take her lunch breaks outside Annie's cell. She hoped to find some way to communicate God's love to this troubled girl.
One day, she left her dessert, a brownie, next to Annie's cell. Annie didn't acknowledge the gesture at the time, but when the nurse returned the next day, all that remained of the brownie were crumbs. From then on, the nurse brought Annie a brownie every Thursday.
As the months passed, the institution's staff noted changes in Annie's behaviours. She was removed to a more humane room. Ultimately, this once hopeless case was told she was able to return home.
Annie declined. A young adult by this time, she chose to stay at the institution to help others. One of the people she taught and nurtured was Hellen Keller. As you've probably guessed, Annie's last name was Sullivan.
I came into work this morning and found a Christmas gift nicely wrapped sitting on my desk. Being a Muslim, I don't celebrate Christmas, but I still appreciate a gift! It was a book from one of my co-workers, from which I quoted the story above.
The book has a whole bunch of other inspiring true stories and wise quotes which I am enjoying. As you can imagine, almost all the character traits (I haven't read the whole thing yet) discussed in the book (honesty, optimism, kindness,...) apply to good Christians and good Muslims (probably good Jews and good Hindus too) and are encouraged by both faiths.
Here's the funny part. I was depressed yesterday because after a week long vacation which I tried to make the best of ibadah [worship]-wise (Thul Hijjah first 10 days and all) I was back in the office and I felt it was difficult to keep my promises and survive all fittan the [tests] one is exposed to in a work environment.
As I was reading from this book, I realized that there are other people around me(who may not even be Muslim) who are undergoing the same tests and trying to do their best. It helps to know that I am not alone.
Sunday, December 23, 2007
There's also a similar service for UK Muslims.
For those interested in supporting this wonderful initiative, there are lots of ways to get involved, some of which don't even involve donating money (for the starving students out there). Check them out here.
For more info, check out this post at MuslimMatters.
Thursday, December 20, 2007
You know something is faulty when you have to pay "student leaders" to promote Israel as an "attractive" place. Obviously, these Zionists, feel that their students are not as committed to the state of Israel to do the promotion for free and must be paid to do something that if they were committed would come out of the goodness of their hearts, the connection and conviction to their cause. But no, you gotta get paid to promote Israel.
An advocacy group is hiring students as on-campus promoters of Israel.
StandWithUs is offering up to $1,000 a year this semester to 38 Emerson fellows, Jewish student leaders at key colleges and universities targeted by the organization. Their duties will include bringing in speakers and films that show Israel in a positive light.
Officials from StandWithUs told reporters that they gave particular consideration to applicants from “problem campuses” such as Columbia, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Michigan, which the organization identifies as hotbeds of anti-Israel sentiment.
More than 100 students applied for the fellowships, funded by California-based philanthropists Rita and Steven Emerson.
StandWithUs is an international pro-Israel education organization founded in 2001.
Muslim Americans are highly involved in the political process, relatively affluent and educated, and resemble the average American in terms of party affiliation, education and family income, according to research by Jen’nan Ghazal Read, associate professor of sociology at UC Irvine.Continue press release here
Read aims to shed light on a community that has been the subject of intense media scrutiny since 9/11, yet is still relatively unknown. In a recent survey, 66 percent of Americans said they know “very little or nothing” about Islam, and 34 percent said they have an “unfavorable opinion” of the religion.
“Muslim immigrants are not any different from earlier immigrant groups who came to America – they are motivated by the same desire to integrate and achieve a better way of life,” Ghazal Read said.
I found this statistic the most interesting:
Muslim Americans are registered to vote at higher rates than the national average, a significant statistic considering that many are immigrants to the U.S.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Advisors to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia may have thought that pardoning “the girl from Qatif” would quiet critics at home and abroad who were outraged by the way she was treated by the fundamentalist-Islamic Saudi justice system. But from many quarters, the pardon, reported in a Saudi newspaper on Monday, seems to be renewing the criticism and calls for reform.
A bit of back story: This is the now-notorious case of a 19-year-old woman, recently married, who, having been seen sitting in a car with a man to whom she was not related, was abducted and repeatedly raped by seven men. The assailants were prosecuted (for kidnapping, not rape), but so was the woman, known publicly only as the Girl From Qatif, and the man she was with, for the Saudi crime of “illegal mingling.” And the two victims got a harsher sentence than some of the assailants initially did: 90 lashes and several months in prison. When she appealed and the case began to attract international attention, the sentence was increased to 200 lashes, and the court suspended her attorney’s license to practice law.
Read on at the NY Times
I've been meaning to blog about this case for a while but it took some time because I wanted to make sure I get the facts of the story and the Islamic ruling straight before I 'lash out' right and left. Then, I found out about the royal pardon.
When is this injustice going to stop? When will Muslims and Muslim governments start practising what they preach: justice, enjoining the good, respect for women... Until Muslims begin to stand up against injustices happening to the weak in their own country, I can't blame people for thinking we are a bunch of chauvinistic hypocrites.
Why do I say this? Do you know that this case got zero coverage in Arabic (non-Saudi)press in the Middle East? At least, I couldn't find anything. Of course, that's until the royal pardon came along. That, the press covers. And of course, don't expect the imams to talk about it in their khutbahs - God forbid they discuss any current event issue. Too bad we don't have more Sheikh Sadullah Khans:
Just as we are appalled at the recent blatant display of Saudi Chauvinism in the verdict against a s woman who was sentenced to 90 lashes despite being a victim of gang-raped by 7 men when she tried to retrieve something with her friend from another car. These men were sentenced to 80 to 1000 lashes. When she made a public plea for justice, she was sentenced to 200 lashes and her lawyer was reprimanded.
This is neither fair, nor just and certainly NOT Islamic.
Even the war criminal Mr. G. W. Bush was outraged by the verdict - it took US intervention to get the Saudi royal family to pay pardon this poor girl.
But pardoning alone is not enough. The damage has been done. The message sent to the thousands of rape victims out there is do not dare report the horrible crimes that have been committed against you.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Thursday, December 13, 2007
The ICRC said the measures imposed by Israel had denied the Palestinian population the right to live a normal and dignified life.
The BBC's Imogen Foulkes in Geneva says politics is not usually a word which features in the language of the international Red Cross - the famously neutral organisation tends to work quietly in conflict zones, and when it does speak, it speaks of numbers of injured treated, or numbers of detainees visited.
But the ICRC now says that life in the West bank and Gaza Strip has become so dreadful that no amount of humanitarian aid can really help.
Continue BBC article here
Check out the full report here (a must read-the photos alone are shocking)
Unlike many other reports and statements issues byt humanitarian and relief organizations, I think this one especially is important.
What this report points to is that the incredible suffering of Palestinians is a direct result of oppressive and inhumane measures taken by the Israeli government.
In order to even begin talking about peace or a resolution (short term or long term) to the struggle, the Israeli government must restore to Palestinians the minimum level of human dignity and normalcy. The situation is so tragic that no amount of humanitarian aid will make any difference.
The fact that the ICRC came out and addressed the political issues head-on is very telling of the degree of suffering and oppression.
I hate to compare human suffering or tragedy because every human experience is unique and valuable. However, I sometimes blame myself for focusing too much on the Palestinian cause and being blind to suffering elsewhere around the world.
But then, I remember why the Palestinian cause deserves such international recognition and solidarity. Unlike many other conflicts and global problems (Aids in Africa, Iraq, climate change,...); the tragic situation the Palestinians are in at the moment (especially in Gaza, the situation is exponentially getting worse by the day), is a direct result of oppressive illegal occupation by Israel. However, unlike other perpetrators of injustice, Israel is seen as the victim not the oppressor by many around the world.
I will not say that the Palestinian conflict is easy to resolve. However, I do think alleviating the extreme suffering of the Palestinians is straight forward: remove the seige on Gaza and the barriers in the West Bank. Palestinians can then start breathing and maybe thinking about a long-term solution.
Until this happens, I think the whole world should be boycotting Israel and standing up to say "enough is enough".
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
There was a email circulating with the letter of the report from OCR stating that simply, the University has done a great job at maintaining an environment welcoming to all. That they have done what they could faced with incidents that were negative and wrong.
Whats more is that this has shown that the MSU at UCI has been exonerated and is within its right to free speech.
This leads one to wonder what the "hell Zionist Organization of America" wanted out of this whole thing. They referred callers to their East coast office which was closed today- no wonder- the report makes them look like fools yelling fire in a crowded theater.
Basically the Zionist Organization of America is a trying to paint a picture of something that just isn't- that UCI is a breeding haven for antisemitism- and if this tactic worked, it would force the University to shut down events aimed at the policies and practices of Israel and criticism of Zionism, because of the "Jewish" association of the two topics. Hence, college activism against Israel and Zionism would come to a complete full stop- which is what the ZOA ultimately wants.
Now, thats what the ZOA wants, what about Chuck Devore? The Irvine Assembly member- who is probably a nutcase in his own way, but seriously he is the elected official for Irvine, they couldnt elect some one who was half decent and at most neutral, next thing you know Devore will be coming out and saying- "there's to many Moslem's in Irvine"- many of the UCI Muslims are from Irvine, Chuck, I dont think they will be contributing to your campaign or voting for you when they are doctors, rich engineers, business owners etc.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
By the grace of Allah we are in the month of Dhul-Hijjah in which Allah has marked out, for both pilgrims and non-pilgrims, some very blessed days. We shall mention here some of the virtues of those days and acts that merit reward that can be performed on them.
Doing Good Deeds in General
The first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah are the best and most virtuous days of the year. They are the days in which Allah the Almighty most loves the people to perform good deeds. On this subject, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, "The best days in the world are the ten days" (Al-Bazzar, authenticated by Al-Albani).
Allah's Messenger (saws) said, "There are no days during which good deeds are more beloved to Allah than these (ten) days." It is by these ten days that Allah has taken an oath in His Book, by His saying "By the Dawn and by the Ten Nights" (Al-Fajr 89:1-2).
This is why it is recommended to increase remembrance of Allah, as mentioned in the hadith when the Prophet (saws) said, "There are no days that are greater with Allah, and in which good deeds are more beloved to Him, than these ten days. So increase in saying Subhan Allah, al-hamdu lillah, la ilaha ila Allah, and Allahu Akbar" (At-Tabarani, authenticated by Al-Mundhiri).
Fasting the Day of `Arafah
The ninth day of Dhul-Hijjah is the day of `Arafah, since it is on this day that the pilgrims gather at a plain located at the base of Mount `Arafah, praying and supplicating to their Lord. It is highly recommended for those who are not performing the Hajj to fast on this day. The Prophet (saws) said, "There is no day on which Allah frees people from the Fire more so than on the day of `Arafah" (Muslim).
He (saws) also said, "Fasting on the day of 'Arafah is an expiation for two years, the year preceding it and the year following it. Fasting the day of 'Ashurah is an expiation for the year preceding it." [This is related by "the group," except for al-Bukhari and at-Tirmidhi]
Offering Sacrifice on the Day of `Eid Al-Adha and the Following Three Days
The tenth day of Dhul-Hiijah marks the ending of the major rites of Hajj and commemorates the bounty and mercy of Allah the Most High when He gave His beloved Prophet Ibrahim (as) a ram to sacrifice in place of his firstborn son, Isma`il (as). Out of the ten best days of the year, it is this day which is the most excellent.
The Prophet (saws) said, "The greatest day of the Hajj (Pilgrimage) is the Day of An-Nahr" (Abu Dawud, authenticated by Al-Albani). The day of An-Nahr is also known as `Eid Al-Adha and is one of the two major festivals that Allah has granted to this Ummah. The Prophet (saws) also said, "The day of Al-Fitr, and the day of An-Nahr, and the days of At-Tashriq (the three days after An-Nahr) are our days of `Eid; and they are days of eating and drinking" (Ahmad).
Glorifying Allah With the Takbir
From the day of `Arafah (Dhul-Hijjah 9), up until the `Asr Prayer on the thirteenth day, are days in which the takbir (saying "Allahu Akbar"—Allah is the Greatest) is highly recommended. Ibn Mas`ud (may Allah be pleased with him) used to say: Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar, La ilaha illa Allah, wa Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar, wa lillahil-hamd. Allah is the greatest, Allah is the greatest. None has the right to be worshiped except Him. And Allah is greatest, Allah is greatest, and to Him belongs all praise.
The Messenger of Allah (saws) said, "There are no days more loved to Allah for you to worship Him therein than the ten days of Dhul Hijja. Fasting any day during it is equivalent to fasting one year and to offer salatul tahajjud (late-night prayer) during one of its nights is like performing the late night prayer on the night of power. [i.e., Lailatul Qadr]." [This is related by at-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, and al-Baihaqi]
On the Day of Nahr, the Messenger (saws) stood in between the Jamrat during his Hajj which he performed and said, "This is the greatest Day (i.e. 10th of Dhul-Hijjah)." The Messenger (saws) started saying repeatedly, "O Allah! Be Witness (I have conveyed Your Message)." He then bade the people farewell. The people said, "(This is Hajjat-al-Wada)." [Bukhari 2.798]
and a memorial in his honor." DONATE NOW at Islamic Relief Worldwide.
Monday, December 10, 2007
We dedicate so much time and money to go to college and work tirelessly because we know that the reward (eg. getting a six figure salary after college) will be there. Finals week, for a lot of of us, is here, and we are more focused than ever during this week, shunning aside anything that will distract us from getting good grades. We need to bring all of this focus and dedication into our deen as well. Just as we know that the nice paying job is awaiting us after we graduate, we should be sure of Allah's promise to us and strive towards bettering ourselves as Muslims and Human beings. Allah has promised in the Quran, "But those who believe and do deeds of righteousness,- we shall soon admit them to gardens, with rivers flowing beneath,-to dwell therein for ever. Allah's promise is the truth, and whose word can be truer than Allah's?" (The Holy Quran 04/122).
A few lessons:
1. I remember my exam days, when I lived in the states: sleepless nights, lots of caffeine and plenty of fajirs in the Masjid. It was so amazing that outside of those times I would find it so hard to pray in the night, make dua, fast and struggle in worship. But, when exams rolled around I became a 24 test maniac making nearly unbelievable sacrifices for my exams. Although, for some of us, this might seem negative at first? I would like to think that it means we can do it! If you can stay up, work like crazy, live off of coffee and struggle for a weeks towards success in this dunia, even disappearing and making 'itikaf in the library, then surely you can struggle a little for the Hereafter. You have the potential, it just needs to be redirected towards Allah. Thus, the first lesson we learn from this time is one related to potential and priorities. The Arabs have a saying, "If the girl is pretty, then the high mahr is no problem." Meaning, if the goal is beloved to the person, he will put forth great effort and feel very little stress. Thus, after this time, try and set for yourself a program related to worship. Spend, at least one night a week, worshipping Allah, serving Him and drawing nearer to him.
2. Many might be saying, "That is not easy." Indeed, there is no doubt that such an effort requires assistance. For that reason we can take a lesson from our study groups. Why not make 'Ibada groups? Meaning as we sit with others to study, we can also rely on others to help us worship Allah! The group is blessed and the lone sheep is always the first to get eaten. Thus, we should build on the relationship we built during finals and do the same for worship.
3. Dawa: many of us will be working with people of other faiths during this time. Use this as a means to build shared bridges and clarify the picture of Islam that many people have. What a great chance, by being nice to others and offering your time and help and services you will present a noble picture of Islam and this, inshallah, will bring about Allah's pleasure. Every word you speak, every step you take and every effort you make towards treating people well and being a positive role model links you with the efforts of the Companions and those after them in spreading this noble message. Thus, try and avoid falling into the crowd, using rude language, harming others or doing something forbidden. But upright and set a positive example for others.
4. Build a strong inner relationship with Allah. At the end of the day you talents and success are from Allah. Never forget this my dear brothers and sisters. Could you imagine a baby, if it was born today, coming out speaking a language fluently, understanding the nuances of religious law and having a number of miracles at its hand, what would be the reaction? Would, that baby not have a license to feel a little arrogant like "Yeah I can talk, I can quote this and that and I can cause the dead to come back to life?" This actually happened, at least the first part. But this baby, the first thing he said was, "I'm the servant of Allah" and that baby was 'Esa. Thus, let's not get carried away with our success and lose focus on who we are. We are nothing but tools that, if their master wants to use them, will be used. Thus, use this opportunity to build strong faith in your hearts. On the way to the exam pray two rakat of salatu hajjah, make dhikr and ask Allah to help you. When you start say bismillah and when you finish say al-humdulillah. Increase your duas and plead with Allah to make things easy for you and to open your heart. Ask Him to use you for good, be sincere and shed tears when you feel He has blessed you.
5. Finals affords you the opportunity to work on two important qualities:
- Trust in Allah
- Hard work in this dunya
6. Remember that there is a greater final awaiting you:Many of us will spend five to six hours taking our tests. However, there is a Day that awaits us where we might, may Allah have mercy upon us, stand for thousands of years! Thus, this final [the meeting with Allah], is, indeed, the true final. As we fear standing in front of our teachers and the test itself, let us remember the standing in front of Allah! This is a Day where the young will become old, women will drop their loads and parents will disown their children. Ya Allah, what awaits us and what is in front of us. That day, the Last day is the true Final. Thus, think. Think hard about it. Are you ready? Would you pass the first question "How was your prayers?" What makes this final more difficult is it is a take home exam. Not only do we have a few days to prepare, but Allah has given us a a few years [if we are lucky] to prepare for it and He, out of His mercy, has given us the answers. "The first thing the slave will be asked about is his/her prayers. If they are sound, everything else will be sound. If they are corrupted, then everything else is corrupted." That hadith gives us the first question that awaits us. Thus, dear brother and dear sister I address you with my love and concern for you, "How is your salah?" "How is your relationship with Allah?" The Prophet was asked, "When will be the Hour?" His response, "What did you prepare for it?" Thus, dear brother and dear sister, let us ask ourselves now, "What have we prepared for it?" "What have we prepared for it?" What have we prepared for it?" And that is the final lesson and, indeed, the most important.
Summary: May Allah bless all of you, we are very proud of you and we pray that Allah will grant you success and strength.
Musharraf cannot afford less than a landslide for his party; otherwise he risks facing an opposition in parliament that could invalidate his extra-constitutional declaration of emergency rule. At the very least a two-thirds majority could unseat him. A two-thirds majority in parliament could also call for the reinstatement of the original Supreme Court, which Sharif says is his party's primary goal. That reconstituted high court could then rule that Musharraf contravened the constitution by dismissing the judges in the first place and declaring emergency. And, what is most worrisome for Musharraf, working outside the constitution in Pakistani law can be considered treason.
You can read more about my thoughts on "Busharraf" and his Abraham Lincoln speech at This American Muslim.
Friday, December 7, 2007
A 23-year-old former Heathrow shop assistant who called herself the "lyrical terrorist" and scrawled her extremist thoughts on till receipts has been handed a nine-month suspended jail sentence.
Samina Malik became the first woman convicted under new terrorism legislation after writing poems entitled How To Behead and The Living Martyrs.
Malik, described as an "unlikely but committed" Islamic extremist, was last month convicted by an jury at the Old Bailey of a charge under the 2000 Terrorism Act.
She worked at WH Smith at Heathrow, where she scribbled her extremist lyrics on till receipts. On one she wrote: "The desire within me increases every day to go for martyrdom."
But Malik told the jury she only adopted her "lyrical terrorist" nickname because she thought it was "cool" and insisted: "I am not a terrorist."
Malik had tears in her eyes as she left the dock, while her mother wept during the court hearing. The judge said Malik's crime was on the "margins" of the offence of which she was found guilty. He said Malik was of "good character" and from a "supportive and law-abiding family who are appalled by the trouble that you are in".
"The Terrorism Act and the restrictions it imposes on the personal freedom exist to protect this country, its interests here and abroad, its citizens, and those who visit here. Its protection embraces us all. Its restrictions apply to us all, whatever our personal religious or political beliefs."
He told Malik that if she had been convicted of the more serious charge of possessing an article for terrorist purposes - of which the jury cleared her - she would have faced a jail term. But he said, while a custodial sentence was merited, she had already faced "extremely rigorous" bail conditions which were "tantamount to house arrest".
Read on here.
Thursday, December 6, 2007
Moscow, December 5, Interfax - The first experimental policlinic for Muslims will be opened in Moscow on Wednesday.
"The policlinic will strictly abide by Sharia law by observing, above all, gender differences in its services. Women will be served by specialists from the female department and men by those from the male department," Anna Kisko, a spokesperson from a clinical network opening this institution, told Interfax.
The administrative personnel will also be dressed accordingly to Sharia law, i.e. the doctors will only have their hands open and female doctors will have to wear headscarves or possibly hijabs, she said.
Read on at Interfax-Religion (English)
Also, check out this article on AsiaNews.it:
The creation of a Muslim hospital is backed by Russia’s health ministry and the Mufti Council of Russia. Ravil Gainutdin, the council’s chairman, could not hide his satisfaction over the initiative. For him the new facility “will be useful not only for Russian Muslims but also for personnel from the embassies of Muslim countries in Russia, especially women, who are forced to go abroad for treatment.”
The Mufti Council of Russia has indeed promoted the creation of a movement called “Muslims for Putin.”
I don't know about "Muslims for Putin" (how about "Muslims for Chechenya"?), but back to the polyclinic...I think it is very considerate gesture from the Russian authorities. I don't have very much background on Russian politics so I'm not sure if this is a bribe or cover-up of some sort, but I'll take it at face value and show my appreciation.
On a side note, I think some of the gender guidelines are a bit...what shall I say...too much? Forcing female doctors to wear hijab and having a partition in the TV room...in Russia?!
What I would really like to see is a Muslim hospital, run and funded by Muslims, and serving the general community with Islamic values: brotherly love, professionalism, compassion, and integrity to name a few. Islam is much more than a scarf and a partition and it would be great to see Muslims on the giving rather than the receiving end.
Also, I don't see why some of those measures cannot be integrated into all hospitals in Russia...Muslims don't need their own hospitals, schools, shopping malls...all it takes is some awareness and consideration from the service providers.
Halal cafeteria sounds great though!
A clinical trial has found that honey is more effective at soothing a sore throat than a common active ingredient in children's cough medicines.
Honey has been used for centuries to relieve a tickly throat and scientists now believe it may be effective because it has constituents that kill microbes and acts as an antioxidant. That means it might prevent damage inside cells from chemical byproducts of their activity.The study compared buckwheat honey with dextromethorphan, an ingredient in a range of branded medicines. Dextromethorphan is the most common active ingredient in children's over-the-counter cough medicine in the US..
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
Clinton volunteer quits over Obama email
WASHINGTON - A volunteer Iowa county coordinator for Hillary Rodham Clinton's presidential campaign has resigned after forwarding a chain e-mail that suggests Barack Obama is a Muslim who wants to destroy the United States by being elected to its highest office.
Obama is a member of the United Church of Christ and has never been a Muslim.
A hoax e-mail that has been widely circulated suggests Obama is some sort of Manchurian candidate for Muslims.
Monday, December 3, 2007
All these companies bailed on Savage, read here and here.
It seems Savage is savaged by the financial disaster that is looming for him as more advertisers with conscience leave CLEARCHANNEL the company behind Savage's hate speech. So to take a political stab at this and boost his ego he got Horowitz to sue CAIR for copywrite infringement. Savage claims CAIR used his audio clips out of context for fundraising purposes- and now wants equal dollar amount in funds raised. (IDIOT)
Here is a synopsis worth reading from Own-It, Intellectual Property Advice for Creative Business:
Staying in the USA, our next story concerns shock jock Michael Savage, who is suing the campaigning group the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) for copyright infringement after it used unlicensed clips of his show for fundraising events. Savage has made a number of inflammatory on-air comments regarding Islamic fundamentalism but claims that CAIR uses the clips out of context and is suing for damages "equal to the ongoing donations from CAIR supporters" as well as "actual damages according to proof". We suspect CAIR has a fairly strong defence under the US fair use exception to copyright infringement, though as the lawsuit seems to be as much about scoring a political point against the CAIR as it is about copyright, this may still go to trial. Monsters and Critics has more on that story.
And excerpts from Monsters and Critics story follow below:
From the lawsuit:
"The audience of 'The Savage Nation' expects this type of from-the-heart outrage and when it is directed at a murderer such as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his ilk, the piece is far more understandable and far more American mainstream. While the strength of the outrage is remarkable and a hallmark of 'The Savage Nation,' the sentiment is shared by a huge number of Americans," the lawsuit said.
and it continues
The Savage Nation' is unique among so-called 'Talk Radio' in that it combines serious intellectual analysis with dramatic and emotional soul baring that the show advertises as 'Psychological Nudity'.
going on...and on...
"Just as all religions are free to practice in the United States, Michael Savage is free to exercise his beliefs without having someone in the opposition steal his property and convert it for their own use. The violation of the copyright and the desecration of that copyright material is a violation of the freedoms of Michael Savage to express his views,"
So Mr. Savage is having a serious intellectual coma if he thinks his show is actually an analysis of anything. Pure drama, emotional ravings that are Islamophobic, hate filled and disgusting. Some comments left at Monsters and Critics worth reading:
brianDec 2nd, 2007 - 15:10:53
If mr Savage said these things about the jews he would be put in prison.
The spreading of this Islamaphobia is the exact same as the propaganda spread by the nazis against the jews in the 1930's.
Thats is the story folks- so please donate to CAIR :)
UPDATE: In an AP article Savage admits:
Bill Crawford, a spokesman for Talk Radio Network, which syndicates the Savage show, said "there have been advertisers who've canceled Michael's show because of the CAIR situation." He refused to identify the companies or reveal the amount of lost revenue. Savage said he's lost at least $1 million in revenue.
Wow a $1 Million hit!!! Moral of this episode is that hate speech is not worth much these days?
Sunday, December 2, 2007
Most Muslims would agree that as a whole we are misunderstood. While many view us as terrorists, those who do not believe this stereotype know nothing more about us than that that we are not terrorists. It is one of the largest problems facing Muslims today: everyone seems to know who we are not -- not who we really are.
So who are we? Well, here is your chance to decide. UCLA Film School graduate Lena Khan is looking for your help in making a music video about this very idea. The video will be compiled from these responses.
Want to help? Here's your chance:
Visit "I Wish They Knew" to find out how, ASAP!
Saturday, December 1, 2007
Daniel Pipes is well known for his hateful message, and is widely considered the premier Islamophobe in the country. An excerpt of the question and answer session from his lecture, where the Muslim Student Union's Spokeswoman Mariam Moustafa challenged him, clearly evidences this:
Mariam: What if Muslims do not accept your modernized versions of Islam?
Pipes: The war goes on.
Mariam: For how long?
Pipes: Until they do. We are fighting a defensive war…Which is worse, being attacked by terrorists, or being afraid of being perceived as a terrorist?
Mariam: So because I’m a Muslim, people should be afraid of me?
Pipes: I’m afraid so. [Applause]
(actual transcript from a reporter)
More information about Daniel Pipes can be found here. Alkalima Newsmagazine has created a professional pamphelet that can be downloaded and printed, for use if Pipes is invited to speak on your campus.
You can check out video of the silent walkout here.
To see video of how the Muslim students were then followed and harassed by a Red County blogger, see here.
Over a hundred UCI students, wearing tape across their mouths that said things like "Islamophobia" and "Racism", silently walked out of the Pipes' lecture once he began railing against domestic terrorism and accused students of being terrorists.
The Muslim Student Union released a press statement several hours before the event on their website, condemning Pipes' hateful message. They have also uploaded a video statement. Feedback is always welcome.
Overall, I think it is important to note that Daniel Pipes has very little support - as evidenced by the lack of turnout to his lecture. The type of propoganda he preaches, which attempts to paint all Muslims as extremists out to kill, is simply not accepted as truthful. It's also interesting to see how student activism evolves on campuses across America.
Don't bother listening to the answers...it's the typical trash/lies one would expect from the Republican pro-war candidates. Nevertheless, kudos to sister Yasmin Elhady for being proactive and putting her thoughts and question out there.
Unfortunately, Yasmin has been getting harassed since her question was aired on the debate: everything from insults to death threats. Read the details here and here.
By the way, in case you hadn't heard, a little over a year ago Yasmin was chosen by Glamour as one of the Top 10 College Women...how cool is that?! You go sister! Excerpts of the blurb on her in Glamour below:
Yasmin Elhady, 21, Emory University
HER DEFINING MOMENT: “Right after 9/11, I was booed out of Wal-Mart,” says Elhady, a devout Muslim who wears a head scarf. HER NEXT STEPS: She vowed to be a positive spokeswoman for her religion. “I wouldn’t be a Muslim if I didn’t believe Islam respects individuality and women’s rights,” says Elhady, who grew up in Alabama. As a sophomore at Emory, she organized “Fast-A-Thons,” where students fasted—a basic practice of Islam—for one day to raise funds for victims of social injustice. Campuses across Atlanta joined her movement and helped land Elhady, a behavioral biology and Middle Eastern studies major, an internship at the Carter Center (she had lunch with the former president!).