Thursday, March 20, 2008


Yesterday, marked five years since the illegal invasion of Iraq. We're thousands of deaths and billions of dollars into this mess.

Did we even remember?

If you haven't already, please take a few minutes to say a prayer for the innocent people who have and are dying as a result of this illegal war.

Abu Sa"id al-Khudri, may Allah be pleased with him, reported that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) had said: "Whoever amongst you sees anything objectionable, let him change it with his hand, if he is not able, then with his tongue, and if he is not even able to do so, then with his heart, and the latter is the weakest form of faith."

A few weeks ago, I told myself protesting was the least we could do. I thought we as a people had to at least be at the "then with your tongue" level. Sadly though, there were so many "activists" who were MIA at protest time. There were four that took place in San Francisco yesterday, and I only made it to one despite having a generally flexible schedule. (insha'Allah we can make up for it by doing something, anything, for Iraq.) Sadly, I spoke to several people who didn't even remember what March 19th marked. More of us used the Internet to celebrate an Egyptian sports victory than to make a statement against the war. We're too busy planning weddings, having headaches, studying and attending baby showers to really care about our brothers and sisters dying. So I stand corrected. Protesting, letter writing, donating, lobbying seem to all be ideals. We're not there yet. Saying a prayer and hating the war from the depths of our hearts is the least we can do.


nida said...

you rub the truth in our faces; not that we will appreciate it for what its worth; its quite resentful the way you do it actually; brutally honest - just the way it is deserved, by me at least (and just the way I like it, too; thank you Zahra Billoo <3)

btw, i dig the new look muslamics. the green you changed it to was hella nasty, but this is at once warm and inviting

i wasn't planning a wedding or picking an outfit; but i was studying for finals and wasting a lot of time

the time waste indicating a serious lack of seriousness in life and purpose

it's seriously so nice to be a lazy cow, to eat and mill around in the sunny fields; to curl up like a cat and go to sleep

gotsta keep it moving

Ahmed Ibn Aslam said...


I would like to remind the blogger of the statement of Umar RA,"take account of yourselves before you are taken account of."

He(may allah be pleased with him) did not say, "take account of others before they are taken account of."

I think we should all look into the proper ways (according to the book Allah and the sunnah of his messenger) of offering naseeha. We should not be harsh in addressing our brothers and the sisters, it is not the way of the Salaf (our righteous predecesors).

We should give our brothers and sister excuses, if they did not show up to an event then it is not our job to call them out. "The Momen always looks for excuses for his brother when his brother makes a mistake, the Munafiq is always looking to catch the mistake of his brother." ~Abdullah Ibn Mubarak

"Make your last excuse that YOU could not think of a good excuse." ~Umar Ibn Khattab RA

We should also respect our brothers and sisters who hold a different view about "protesting."

And Allah SWT knows best.
"Our Lord! Pour forth on us patience, and set firm our feet and make us victorious over the disbelieving people." (2;250)

-Ahmed Ibn Aslam

Affad Shaikh said...

Dear Br. ibn aslam, I totally see the point. However, sometimes, its not enough to do as is pointed out.

Do you remember the story of Abu Ali al-Hasan al-Tusi, or Nizami Mulk. I believe it was he who heard about the massacres by the Crusaders and ran to the court to tell ask them "what were they doing" while their brothers and sisters were being raped and killed.

I understand that while being overly dramatic, Zahra might have taken into account that "life goes on" and that people do what they can do best. However, sometimes, its time to remind people to do more. We become to complacent.

It would be no different then shaking the community awake when there is widespread neglect of our children's ability to stay with the deen? Right, we would want more then a shake, we would want a jolt to pass through us and wake us up to the destructive force of complacency that has allowed us to loose sight of our children's education in the deen.

Sometimes, it might just be appropriate to agree to disagree?

Zahra Billoo said...

Great points, on all ends. Alhamdulillah. And seriously, jazaka'Allah khair for the reminders Ahmed.

I believe you may have misread the words between the lines though. Or given I was writing in a moment of sadness, I may have been unclear:

1. Again, this was a post written in sadness not anger. There was absolutely no disrespect intended. I was simply voicing my mental anguish.

2. I used the word "we" not "you" as often as possible for a reason.

3. I took into account those who do not believe in the efficiency of protesting. I did after all cite several other things we could do for Iraq that I personally feel are at a higher level than dua alone.

3a. For those who do not believe in protests, I would love to talk to you about alternative methods of creating change. We should by no means be limiting ourselves. The more directions (and methods) the anti-war pressure comes from, the better.

4. Additionally, it's my understanding that the 70 excuses deal doesn't apply here. Every excuse I listed was one explicitly provided to me by somebody who did no more than make dua for Iraq this past week. I believe the 70 excuses structure kicks in when I'm making assumptions, not when I'm quoting actual conversations.

And in the end, Allah (swt) knows best.

Ahmed said...


Brother Affad and Sister Zahra very interesting responses to say the least. Before I respond I would like to point out that there were some changes made to the ORIGINAL POST by sister Zahra after my comments were posted. So were both of you commenting on the ORIGINAL POST or the edited version?

Brother Affad you said, “However, sometimes, its time to remind people to do more,” I do agree with you, but you must first make sure that you yourself are doing enough. We must look into our own lives and ask ourselves, “are we living our lives according to the book of Allah and sunnah of His messenger to the best of our ability?”

We are very quick to point out the faults of our brothers and sisters, but go back to the quote of Umar RA,"take account of YOURSELVES before you are taken account of.” Please look for the keyword.

Brother Affad you also stated, “Right, we would want more then a shake, we would want a jolt to pass through us and wake us up to the destructive force of complacency that has allowed us to loose sight of our children's education in the deen.” Yes, I agree we would want a jolt, but everything must be done the right way. If you deliver the jolt in a harsh manner, then people will not respond and it will have no effect on people. If you are harsh when giving naseeha to your fellow brothers and sisters you will offend them and maybe even hurt them. We cannot say that, “oh I think it should be like this,” or “I understand this to mean this.” Our scholars of the past have said over and over again, “if we put forth our intellect before the book of Allah and the sunnah of His messenger, then verily we have been misguided.”

In my original post I clearly stated where we should refer back to in our affairs of deen. I said, “I think we should all look into the proper ways (according to the book Allah and the sunnah of his messenger) of offering naseeha.”

Islam was never spread by harshness or by pointing out the faults of others. Aisha RA said, “If the first thing that was revealed was, “do not drink,” the people would have said, “by Allah we will not leave drinking,” and if the first thing that was revealed was, “do not fornicate,” the people would have said, “by Allah we will not leave fornicated,” but the first thing that was revealed were the surahs that contained the remembrance of Paradise and the Hell Fire until the people’s hearts became attached to their lord, then what was halal and haraam was revealed.”

One may then say, “oh well we are already Muslims, so now we can address our brothers and sisters they way we choose.” Do we remember the battle of Uhud? A victory turned into defeat, a battle in which this Ummah lost 70 great companions (may Allah be pleased with them), a battle in which the Prophet (pbuh) lost his own uncle Hamza (may Allah be pleased with him), a battle in which some companions disobeyed an order of the Prophet (pbuh), so how did the Prophet deal with those companions who had disobeyed them? Was he harsh with them?
“And by the Mercy of Allah, you dealt with them gently. And had you been severe and harsh-hearted, they would have broken away from about you; so pass over their faults, and ask Allah’s forgiveness for them.” (3;159)

Sister Zahra sated, “Additionally, it's my understanding that the 70 excuses deal doesn't apply here. Every excuse I listed was one explicitly provided to me by somebody who did no more than make dua for Iraq this past week. I believe the 70 excuses structure kicks in when I'm making assumptions, not when I'm quoting actual conversations.” I do not think it is appropriate for you to base something on your understanding, I advise you to look further into the issue (islamically) of giving your brothers and sisters the benefit of the doubt. Also, please be very careful with your words, it may be possible for someone to misinterpret what you are saying, because although I don’t believe you would, it could be taken as if you are belittling the power of dua. I am not saying that you are, I am just asking you to be careful with your words.

Additionally I do not understand how or why you would list the excuses people gave you. I understand that you did not give their names, but some people may know who you are talking about just by you providing their excuses. The Prophet saw said, “whomsoever covers the faults of a Muslim, Allah will cover his faults in the dunya and the akirah.”
Wa Allahu ta'3ala A'lam.

Please take what I have said as naseeha and not as an attack.

I apologize for lengthy response; I just really felt the issue needed to be addressed.
May Allah guide US all. Ameen.
-Ahmed Ibn Aslam

Zahra Billoo said...

You are CORRECT. I am SORRY:

There WAS a change, if I remember correctly it was the addition of ONE sentence (the one about my personal situation in San Francisco). I actually added it when we were conversing, BEFORE any of us submitted our comments. It was my lame attempt at making clearER that I was including myself in the discussion.

(That disclaimer to readers who came across the post after it's first 12 hours should have been made earlier. I am sorry it didn't.)

Affad, if this impacted your comments please feel free to adjust/retract them accordingly.

The rest I'll attempt to respond to ASAP.

Affad Shaikh said...

Ahmed, jazaks, no appology on lenght everything you stated was relevant and an important reminder not only for me, but I believe it serves well to all those who will read this.

I am actually on my way out for some organizing activities in Bakersfield. I want to say that I was unaware of changes to the post, in fact if i re-read the post, I doubt being able to point out what was changed, since I only remember the gist of it at this point.

With that said, right now Zahra I can not retract, change or a anything else with my statement. But Brother Ahmed I think you and I share a very common point of beginning which is the consistent need to work on oneself and focus on one's development toward becoming a better Muslim. Where we might differ is the approach on whether this can or can not be done in a solely unilateral way- meaning strict focus on self development to the exclusivity of it and nothing else, such as social activism etc.?

Am I correct in understanding this subtle, or maybe it may be a huge difference? (though i have to admit I have not really stated my opinion for you to judge this)

omair ibn ashraf said...

Assalamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullah,
I agree with Br. Ahmed ibn Aslam's naseeha. I myself almost wrote a response a few days ago for the same reasons, although I'm sure he made the points with more eloquence and knowledge.

I just wanted to give another piece of naseeha. The tone that comes across in this piece is that of looking down on people who are supposedly not doing anything (really, not doing what you feel they should be doing). This is a very dangerous tone, as it can lead to arrogance in good deeds. Such an attitude can lead to the loss of the reward of the good deeds we are doing. For example, if one prays qiyam al-layl, they should not look with disdain upon someone who doesn't, or feel that they are better than them. This is very similar to the standard complaints we get in MSAs that muhajjiba sisters look down on those who don't wear hijab.

Remember the ayah in Surah Nahl: Invite (all) to the Way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious: for thy Lord knoweth best, who have strayed from His Path, and who receive guidance. (16:125).

It is better to soften people's hearts and then remind them in a gentle manner. This would be more effective than being harsh with them.

Also keep in mind that humans are forgetful (thus the word insaan). Many people do not remember their anniversaries, or sibling's birthdays, etc., so it is very conceivable for someone not to remember the day that the Iraq war started.

Finally, I hope this advice and Ahmed's advice are taken by all of the bloggers on this site. I've noticed that many of the bloggers use harsh language, and seem to look down on others who think differently or don't do something that they do. There are many other posts criticizing "salafis" or "liberals", posts calling people "armchair activists", and more. So please tone it down and respect other Muslims and even non-Muslims, whether they agree with you or not, whether they are as practicing as you or not, or whether they are as "active" as you or not.

Jazakum Allahu khairan.