Friday, September 28, 2012


Today is my 21st anniversary; its been 21 years since I took my Shahadah.

Things sure have changed a lot for Muslims in that time and for me too. How long have you been Muslim?

On another note I guess its been about 2 months since I posted anything here. We celebrated Eid so many times and in so many ways. Three Muslim families moved into my town and that has kept me busy. My health was getting a lot better but just recently seems to be in decline. Duas would be nice. Also experiencing problems with my non-Muslim family so that is not helping things either. This life is a test for sure! What's new with you?

Friday Nasihah

Living The Quran
One Command
Al Qamar (The Moon) Chapter 54: Verse 50
"Our command is but once, like the twinkling of an eye."
God's power accomplishes the greatest of events by the simplest means. It takes just a signal or one word and everything, great or tiny, is done. In fact there is nothing to distinguish great from tiny; it is all part of how human beings see things. Nor is there a question of time, not even the twinkling of an eye; it is merely a metaphor to help people understand. Time is no more than a human conception that arises from the position of the earth and its rotation. As far as God and His plans are concerned, it has no significance.
The command is given just once and this entire universe comes into existence. Similarly, any change in it can be accomplished. Just one command and it will all go away as God wishes. In everything, the command is given once only: bringing anyone into life, taking here or there, causing it to die, bringing it back in some shape or form, resurrecting all creatures from all generations to gather them for the reckoning and reward. It is a once only command that requires no effort or time, because it comes from the Almighty in due measure and with perfect ease.
Compiled From:
"In the Shade of the Quran" - Sayyid Qutb, Vol 16, p. 271
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Understanding the Prophet's Life (peace be upon him)
Evil Inclinations
A very important aspect in the jihad against the evil inclinations of the soul is the repelling of any evil thoughts that pop into one's mind. Evil ideas occur to everybody. The important thing is to cast them out as soon as they appear and not to allow them to grow and flourish until the person himself begins to desire or intend to do that evil act. When caught in their early moments, there is no sin upon the person for what occurred in his mind. A hadith, recorded by al-Bukhari and Muslim, states:
"Verily, Allah has overlooked for my nation what their souls think about as long as they do not act on it or speak about it."
As one allows the evil thoughts to persist, the stronger they become and the more difficult they are to overcome and defeat. If the individual allows them to grow until they become true wants and intentions, then he may commit a sin depending upon the entire situation and what he does afterwards.
Compiled From:
"Purification of the Soul: Concept, Process and Means" - Jamaal al-Din M. Zarabozo, p. 348
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Sense of Truth
Sincere advice and consultation (nasihah, shura) that originate in knowledge and sincerity is meant to be an integral part of Islamic ethos at almost all levels, within the family, in the workplace, and the society at large. Commitment to truth and justice, avoidance of rash judgements, and remaining patient in the face of adversity must take a high priority in Islamic values.
Yet at times of conflict and situations when one is exposed to divergent voices, the individual may find it hard to determine the sense of truth, balance and justice in all of them. This has now become a problem that Muslim societies face almost everywhere. Questions also arise as to the relevance of the divergent and self-assertive advice to the prevailing conditions and circumstances of the generation, the youth and the society at large. One would expect the media and organized education to provide the needed guidance on matters of concern to the community. Media and education planners should, perhaps take more specific measures to identify clear agenda on civic education in their programmes. The schools may consider introducing a subject on civic education that provide perspectives on the ethical teachings of Islam, on nasihah, moderation, the meaning of jihad, civil society matters and the crucial importance of peace for economic development that informs and sensitizes the people on what it takes to be a good citizen. Violence and senseless destruction have taken a heavy toll on Muslim societies.
Compiled From:
"Shariah Law - An Introduction" - Mohammad Hashim Kamali, pp. 218, 219
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Friday, September 21, 2012

Friday Nasihah

Living The Quran
Enthusiasm for Life
Saba (Sheba) Chapter 34: Verses 10-11
"On David We bestowed Our favour. 'O mountains, and you birds, echo his songs of praise [to God].' We made iron pliant to him. [And We said], 'Make coats of mail armour, and do what is right. Verily I am watching over what you do."
The parable of David belies the ignorant belief of some religious people that backwardness is the way to success in the life to come. This is a gross misconception. The route to religious faith is through the mastery of useful knowledge rather than sloth and indolence. David was able to combine two achievements in his life-time: to use his elegant voice - which even the birds appreciated and admired - to venerate, praise, and worship God; and to apply industrial skill to make military as well as civilian tools and utensils for everyday use.
In order to appreciate and comprehend the life to come, one has to understand and fully experience life here and now. Muslims have only become a liability to Islam and an easy target for their enemies since they lost their enthusiasm for life and their ardor for success and achievement.
Compiled From:
"A Thematic Commentary on the Quran" - Muhammad Al-Ghazali, p. 465
Understanding the Prophet's Life (peace be upon him)
God-given Abilities
A person is in need of Allah to bring about what is good for her in both this life as well as the Hereafter. In addition, Allah's help is also needed concerning what occurs after one's death in this life, both in the grave and on the Day of Judgment.
This concept of asking Allah and seeking Allah's help does not mean that a person puts forth no effort on her own part. Instead, the person should use all of her God-given abilities to meet her goal. She should ask Allah to help her in using those abilities and then ask Allah and seek help in Allah for her needs that are beyond what she has the capability to perform. This is the correct approach as implied by the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) when he said,
"A strong believer is better and more beloved to Allah than a weak believer - however, there is good in every [believer]. Be eager for [and strive after] what benefits you and seek help in Allah. And do not be too weak or lazy to do so." [Muslim]
Compiled From:
"Commentary on the Forty Hadith of an-Nawawi" - Jamaal al-Din Zarabozo, pp 758, 759
Awakening Conscience
To attack innocents, diplomats and to kill indiscriminately is anti-Islamic by its very nature; Muslims cannot respond to insults to their religion in this way. On this principle there can be no compromise.
In the light of the contemporary Muslim conscience, while deploring and regretting the emotive reactions of the populations of the Muslim-majority societies of the Global South we must take into account their social and historical reality. Economically and culturally disadvantaged, their political and cultural sensitivities are sorely tried by deliberate insults to the sacred symbols that give meaning to their perseverance and their lives—the very symbols invoked by leaders or Islamist tendencies to nurture resentment and to give voice to anger. This reality in no way justifies violence, but helps us to understand its source and seek out possible solutions. It is the task of the elites, the leaders, of Muslim religious scholars and intellectuals to play a leading role in order to head off explosions of anger and mob violence. They bear three kinds of responsibility.
1. First, they must turn their attention to education, and work toward a deeper understanding of Islam, one that focuses on meaning and ultimate goals, and not simply on rituals and prohibitions. The task at hand is enormous, and requires the full participation of all schools of thought.
2. Second, Islam’s extraordinary diversity must be accepted and celebrated. Islam is one, but its interpretations are many. The existence of literalist, traditionalist, reformist, mystic, rationalist and other currents is a fact, a reality that must be treated positively and qualitatively, for each of them has its own legitimacy and should (must!) contribute a multifaceted debate among Muslims. Whenever considerations of belonging threaten to replace principles, religious scholars, intellectuals and leaders must return to shared principles, must find common ground between these considerations, in full respect of legitimate diversity.
3. Third, scholars and intellectuals must have the courage to expose themselves further. Instead of encouraging popular feelings, or to use those feelings to further their own religious identity (Sunni, Shi’a, Salafi, reformist, Sufi, etc.) or their political ideology they must face the issue squarely, dare to be self-critical, commit themselves to dialogue and—more often than not—tell Muslims what they may not like to hear about their own failings, their lack of coherence, their propensity to play the victim, failure to understand and to accept responsibility. Far from the feverish rhetoric of the populists, they must put their credibility on the line to awaken consciences in an attempt to counter emotionalism and mass blindness. The educated elites, students, intellectuals and professionals also have a major responsibility. The way they follow their leaders, as does their status as intermediaries makes their active and critical presence imperative: holding the scholars and the leaders accountable, simplifying and participating in grassroots dynamics is an absolute imperative. The passivity of the educated elites, looking down upon inflamed and uncontrolled populations far below them, is a grievous fault.
Ultimately we end up with the leaders—and the peoples—we deserve. Without committed and determined religious scholars, intellectuals and business people aware of the critical nature of the issues, there can be little doubt that we will be heading for an upsurge of religious populism among the leadership, and the emotional blindness of the masses. The words and the commitment of the leaders must set the highest standards: beginning with knowledge, understanding, coherence and self-criticism. They must abandon the notion of victimization by appealing to responsibility, by freeing themselves from the illusion that opposition to the “other” can lead to reconciliation with one’s self. Make no mistake: the violent reactions to the insults uttered against the Prophet have driven many Muslims to behaviors far removed from the principles of Islam. We become ourselves not in opposition to someone else, but in accord and at peace with our conscience, our principles and our aspirations. In the serene mastery of ourselves, and not in the aggressive rejection of the Other.
Compiled From:
"An appeal to contemporary Muslim conscience" - Tariq Ramadan

Friday, September 14, 2012

Friday Nasihah

Living The Quran
Al-Isra (The Ascension) Chapter 17: Verse 59
"Moreover, nothing keeps Us from sending forth more of the miraculous signs that the disbelievers demand, except Our knowledge that the earliest generations of humanity belied them all. For We gave to the people of Thamud the miraculously created she-camel, brought forth before their very eyes, and still they wronged her. Nor do We send forth miraculous signs except to put the fear of God in people's hearts."
The more something transcends the "normal," the greater its controversy, and the less people will believe it really happened. Yet, the human being does not tire - rather, insists! - on the miraculous when it comes to religion.
What people do not realize, or tend to forget, is that the miraculous comes not only as an affirmation of the truth of God, but as a test of people's faith in that truth that brings about their divine denunciation if they fail to believe after having witnessed it or after they have received its account through a valid report, such as through a subsequent Prophet or a revealed Book of God.
This is the meaning of the example in the verse just cited, that of the miraculously created she-camel sent as a sign to the ancient people of Thamud. When a miracle occurs, one party accepts it, but another always rejects, and each group exerts itself in its argument to vindicate or debunk its occurence.
Science has many more believers today in its "miraculous" possibilities than does religion. They tend to reject reports about miracles that happened in the context of religion, considering them superstitions that do not correspond with what they believe they know about the laws of physics, forgetting that we know little, indeed, about the universe. There are also sincere men and women of religion who seek to interpret these miraculous events in a manner that accords with the sensibilities of the modern mindset, preferring to explain them by the serendipity of certain "scientific" events or to interpret them as allegorical or spiritual in their "real" meaning.
Yet the Quran tells us three things: (1) it happened; (2) it happened with precisely this intent, that is, to test the faith of people; (3) the outcome of the miraculous on the mind of the skeptical has usually just the opposite effect than it ought to have on a rational creature; namely, the narrowing of belief in their breast, which leads to greater sin.
Compiled From:
"The Gracious Quran" - Ahmad Zaki Hammad, pp. 212-214

Understanding the Prophet's Life (peace be upon him)
Sharing Sunna
The Sunna is the window opened on the Messenger of God, the sacred way leading to the blessings of Islam. Without it, Muslims cannot implement Islam in their daily lives or establish a connection with the Messenger. The Prophet, peace be upon him, encouraged Muslims to learn, implement and share his Sunna, saying:
"May God make radiant the face of the servant who has heard my speech and, committing it to memory and observing it in daily life, conveys it to others." [Ibn Maja]
The Messenger spoke distinctly and sometimes repeated his words so his audience could memorize them [Bukhari]. He taught them supplications and recitations that were not in the Quran with the same care and emphasis as he taught the Quran [Muslim]. He continually urged his Companions to spread his words and teach others what they knew. If they did not, he warned them: "If you are asked about something you know and then conceal that knowledge, a bridle of fire will be put on you on the Day of Judgment." [Tirmidhi]
Keeping these words and warnings in mind, the Companions strove to record the Sunna. They then lived their lives in accordance with Islamic principles and commands, and conveyed what they knew to others. They formed study and discussion groups to refine their understanding.
Compiled From:
"The Messenger of God: Muhammad" - Fethullah Gulen, pp. 327-329
Nature of Sins
Human beings are not culprits or oppressors by nature. Allah has created us with many talents and capabilities. If we commit a sin, it is because of us abusing our right of autonomy. It is Satan who prompts us to oppress by persuading us to break the few restrictions that Allah has put on our vast freedom. Satan tells us that these few restrictions are a great hindrance to our comfort and living. Once they are overcome, the doors of progress, comfort and living are open to mankind. We see the short-term benefits of these devilish inducements and so become trapped. Thus, we indulge in sins against the noble qualities of our nature.
The sin committed because of a weakness in one's will-power is of a different nature from sin committed because of pride and jealousy. There is a good chance of repentance and reform for sins committed due to a weakness of determination. Allah takes care of such persons and guides them on the Right Path. Contrary to this, the disease of those who disobey Allah due to pride and jealousy is a severe one. Instead of being reformed, these people follow their leader iblis. The sin of Adam was of the first kind and, therefore, he had the courage to ask for repentance which was then granted to him. The sin of iblis was of the second kind, hence he was deprived of repentance and reform, and ultimately incurred God's curse.
Compiled From:
"Words That Moved the World" - Qazi Ashfaq Ahmad, pp. 82-84

Friday, September 7, 2012

Friday Nasihah

Living The Quran
Caught Unawares
Al-Naba (The Tiding) Chapter 78: Verses 21-23
"Surely the Hell is an ambush, a resort for the rebellious; therein they shall abide for ages."
The word mirsad (ambush) denotes a spot which is especially chosen to entrap game; a spot where it is caught unawares. Hell is described as an ambush because God's rebels, being unaware, are fearless of it. As a result, they strut about, considering the world to be simply a den for their own self-indulgence, altogether incognizant of the possibility of being caught and punished. Thus Hell, being hidden from their eyes, is like an ambush wherein they are likely to be entrapped.
The word ahqab (ages) used here denotes long periods of time, each period following the other in succession. Some misconstrue this word in the sense that while life in Paradise will be eternal, it will not be so in Hell. For these periods, no matter how long they are, will come to an end at some point. It is both unfair and reprehensible that a Quranic verse be interpreted in a sense that runs contrary to the thrust of other Quranic verses. On as many as 34 occasions, the Quran specifies that the inmates of Hell will remain there for ever. In three instances, the point is further reinforced, adding that it will be their eternal abode. By the same token, the pious will have Paradise as their eternal abode.
Compiled From:
"Towards Understanding The Quran" - Sayyid Abul Ala Mawdudi, Part 30, pp. 10, 11

Understanding the Prophet's Life (peace be upon him)
Other-World Consciousness
The Muslim community is not a community of people drawn together for any commercial or other material purpose. Fundamentally they are and remain a religious community, a brotherhood of faith, moved by an awareness of God, and of the Hereafter. This other-world consciousness has been emphasized over and over again by the letter and spirit of the Quran, and recounted endless times in the sayings of the Prophet. When he ordered the building of his Mosque, he said:
'I want it to be a simple building, like the thatching of my brother Moses. But in reality this world is more transient than would deserve even such a simple building - wa al-Amr a'jal min dhalik (the matter is more transient than that)'.
This other-world consciousness in Islam must not be lost sight of. The whole community must be made continually aware of it. The establishing of the prescribed five daily prayers, and the fact that they commence at dawn and finish at night is a most effective instrument for doing so. The very chant that the Prophet chose to sing and repeat while the Mosque was being built is a reminder of just this:
'O Lord! There is no worthwhile living but one oriented towards the Hereafter.'
Through the constant, strict observance of the five daily prayers performed at the Mosque under the leadership of the Prophet, the community of believers in Madinah was transformed into a society of thoroughly spiritualized people. They became so thoroughly permeated by the Quranic and Prophetic light, energy and vitality, that they were themselves transformed into a great reservoir of light, energy and vitality. They became a society of special persons, whose essence was spiritual energy and whose inward constitution was wholly dominated by God-consciousness.
Compiled From:
"Sunshine At Madinah" - Zakaria Bashier, pp. 78, 79

Religious Shows
On Television, religion, like everything else is presented as an entertainment. Everything that makes religion an historic, profound and sacred human activity is stripped away; there is no ritual, no dogma, no tradition, no theology, and above all, no sense of spiritual transcendence. On these shows, the preacher is tops. God comes out as second banana.
This fact has more to do with the bias of television than with the deficiencies of these electronic preachers, as they are called. It is true enough that some of these men are uneducated, provincial and even bigoted. What makes these television preachers the enemy of religious experience is not so much their weaknesses but the weaknesses of the medium in which they work.
Not everything is televisable. Or to put it precisely, what is televised is transformed from what it was to something else, which may or may not preserve its former essence. For the most part, television preachers have not seriously addressed this matter. If the delivery is not the same, then the message, quite likely, is not the same.
There is no religious leader - from the Buddha to Moses to Jesus to Mohammed to Luther - who offered people what they want. Only what they need. But Television is not well suited to offering people what they need. It is 'user friendly.' It is too easy to turn off. As a consequence, what is preached on television is not anything like the Sermon on the Mount. Religious programs are filled with good cheer. They celebrate affluence. There featured players become celebrities. Though their messages are trivial, the shows have high ratings, or rather, because their messages are trivial, the shows have high ratings.
There is no doubt that religion can be made entertaining. The question is, By doing so, do we destroy it as an "authentic object of culture"? The danger is not that religion has become the content of television shows but that television shows may become the content of religion.
Compiled From:
"Amusing Ourselves to Death" - Neil Postman, pp. 114-124