Friday, October 12, 2012

Friday Nasihah

Living The Quran
Preserving Life
Al-Maidah (The Table Spread) Chapter 5: Verse 32 (Partial)
"... he who slays a soul unless it be (in punishment) for murder or for spreading mischief on earth shall be as if he had slain all mankind; and he who saves a life shall be as if he had given life to all mankind."
The Guidance:
No human being has any right by himself to take human life in retaliation or for causing mischief on this earth. Therefore it is incumbent on every human being that under no circumstances should he be guilty of taking a human life. If anyone has murdered a human being, it is as if he has slain the entire human race.
The Prophet, may God's blessings be on him, has declared murder as the greatest sin only next to polytheism. The Tradition of the Prophet reads: "The greatest sins are to associate something with God and to kill human beings."
In the Quran and the Traditions of the Prophet the word 'soul' (nafs) has been used in general terms without any distinction or particularization. Therefore the injunction to not kill does not refer only to the persons belonging to one's nation, the citizens of one's country, the people of a particular race or religion. The injunction applies to all human beings and the destruction of human life in itself has been prohibited.
The Reason:
The survival of human life depends on everyone respecting other human beings and in contributing actively to the survival and protection of others. Whosoever kills unjustly is thus not merely guilty of doing wrong to one single person, but proves by his act that his heart is devoid of respect for human life and of sympathy for the human species as such. Such a person, therefore, is an enemy of all mankind. This is so because he happens to be possessed of a quality which, were it to become common to all men, would lead to the destruction of the entire human race. The person who helps to preserve the life of even one person, on the other hand, is the protector of the whole of humanity, for he possesses a quality which is indispensable to the survival of mankind.
Compiled From:
"Human Rights in Islam" - Sayyid Abul Ala Mawdudi
"Towards Understanding the Quran" - Sayyid Abul Ala Mawdudi, Vol.2, 155-156
"Mumbai - Islam's Reputation is at Stake" - Salman al-Oadah
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Understanding the Prophet's Life (peace be upon him)
Conquering Death
The Day of Judgement, though it is to be feared, must also inspire in us a desire and eagerness to meet Allah. Sayyida Aisha reported that the Prophet said:
"Whoever loves to meet Allah, Allah loves to meet with him; and whoever dislikes the meeting with Allah, Allah also dislikes the meeting with him."
Our eagerness and desire to meet Allah should therefore, be echoed in all our Prayers. The Prophet Muhammad used to supplicate repeatedly:
"O Allah, I ask you for a soothing life after death, and I ask you for the pleasure of looking upon Your Face and for the yearning to meet You, free from suffering distress or from trial that leads one astray. O Allah, adorn us with the ornament of faith and make us guides and rightly guided." (an-Nasai.)
This desire to meet Allah will calm our fear of death, which is only a natural instinct. Even the Prophet Musa, on whom be peace, out of fear ran away when he saw his staff turning into a serpent. Fear, though, can be conquered with dhikr, doing good and keeping ever before us, our meeting with the Lord and Master of the Day of Judgement.
Compiled From:
"In The Early Hours" - Khurram Murad, pp. 143-145
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The Journey Motif
Islam is a religion that is built upon the notion of journeying, making one's way through this world and back "home" to God. The journey motif touches almost every aspect of the Muslim's life. One example is the Islamic code of ideal living, the shariah. The word comes from and old desert word that describes the trampled path that leads to an oasis or water hole. By extension, then, the shariah is the way that leads to water, to life, and to the refreshment of the whole person. It is the way walked by others before and the way that others will walk after us.
According to the specificities of the Islamic shariah, this path or way of life includes a command to make a journey to God's "house" in Mecca, where Abraham and his son Ishmael erected the first temple or "house" for the worshiping of one God. And so, to celebrate the pilgrimage is to commemorate Abraham's journey from his home in Mesopotamia to the west, where he made his home and fathered two sons, Ishmael and Isaac. To celebrate the pilgrimage is to commemorate the journey of Ishmael and his mother, Hagar, in the desert wilderness where they miraculously found water in the form of a well/spring that gushed out of the arid, rocky ground when Hagar had given up all hope of life.
As a practical act and pillar of Islam, the pilgrimage is full of ancient and often perplexing actions, some of which may strike us as curious and others as bewildering. It is important to stress, however, that the experience of the pilgrimage is itself a journey, and no pilgrim's experience of the rites is ever separate from the journey.
In Arabic, the word for pilgrimage (hajj) is related to the word for "proof" (hujjah). Contemplating this connection, Muslim masters speak of the life-change that comes when one completes the journey. Pilgrims are meant to return reborn, with a certitude and commitment that they did not know before. We witness this in the conversations we have with those who have gone, in the testimonials we read from those who have made the journey and completed the ancient rites. They may put on their old clothes when they have finished, but many claim that these clothes belonged to someone else, to someone they used to be prior to the experience. While the rituals themselves are integral part of the hajj, often the journey itself proves to be the most transformative aspect of this fifth and final "pillar" of the faith.
Compiled From:
"In the Light of a Blessed Tree" - Timothy J. Gianotti, pp. 58-62
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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Mom, I'm a Muslim.

Ever wondered what it feels like to be a guy that converts to Islam? I always do. I always assume they have it made. They can blend in without anyone knowing they've converted. At the mosque every guy loves the token white guy and men are so much less judgmental than women anyways. But what about what their families and friends think? I never really knew. This book will give you the perspective that you may have known or not. I was surprised myself. I found this book a little boring at the beginning but if you can get through that you will find a very important, touching, powerful story. I think men could relate to it even better but every convert will be able to relate. Overall its a book of hope in these times of despair.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Friday Nasihah

Living The Quran
Overflowing Benefit
Al Baqara (The Cow) Chapter 2: Verse 269
"He grants wisdom to whomever He wants, and whoever receives wisdom gains great benefits thereby; yet, only the insightful ever realize this."
Although the term has a broad range of meanings, "the wisdom" basically signifies insight, discernment, and knowledge of creation, life, right and wrong, and of the Divine system prevailing in the universe, so as to enable persuasive, convincing answers for such questions as "Who am I? What is the purpose for my existence in this world? Who has sent me to this world and why? Where did I come from and where am I heading? What does death ask of me?" It may be regarded, from one perspective, as harmony with Divine Destiny or knowledge of it. Wisdom is a name that signifies the accuracy of putting something in its right place.
It is of three levels:
1. The first level consists in giving each thing its due, not exceeding its limit and not rushing its time.
2. The second level consists in attesting to God's view in his threat, knowing His justice in His Judgment (Ruling) and observing His beneficence in His prohibition.
3. The third level consists in attaining divine guidance in one's search, the truth in one's guidance and the goal in one's counsel.
Compiled From:
"The Holy Quran: Guidance for Life" - Yahiya Emerick, pp. 40-41
"Stations of the Wayfarers" - Abdullah Al-Ansari, p. 146
"The Quran: Annotated Interpretation in Modern English" - Ali Unal, pp. 114, 115

Understanding the Prophet's Life (peace be upon him)
Practical Evidence
It is preferable to use the lucid, yet simply-worded blessings for the Prophet which have been passed down to us by the first generations of Muslims, rather than the affected, difficult formulas for which missals have been written, group recitations convened, and names for the Prophet invented - names for which Allah has revealed no legitimation. Surely it is not the mere repetition of eloquent phrases that is important. What matters is one's acknowledgement of the favour done by the Prophet, upon him be peace, for the betterment of the believers, one's appreciation of the jihad he waged against the forces of ignorance, and one's allegiance to the nation which he founded in the name of ultimate truth.
This is the real meaning of seeking blessings for the Prophet of Allah, upon him be peace. And only those who give practical evidence of their appreciation of this meaning will receive the rewards promised to those who seek blessings for the Prophet, upon him be peace. Certainly those self-acclaimed 'lovers of the Prophet' who hollowly echo set phrases, yet who are unable to stand in defence of the Sunnah, cannot ever be eligible for such rewards. It is with regard to the defenders of the faith, those who truly appreciate the Prophet, upon him be peace, that this hadith is related:
Whosoever seeks blessings for me will be blessed ten times over by the Almighty.
Abdullah ibn Masud related that the Prophet, upon him be peace, said:
On the Day of Judgement, the people most deserving of (a relationship with) me will be those who have most often sought blessings for me.
Compiled From:
"Remembrance And Prayer" - Muhammad Al-Ghazali, pp. 104-105
Pragmatism, adaptability and flexibility arise out of broad experience, balanced knowledge and thinking. The Prophet Muhammad and his faithful Companions constantly remained open-minded, outward looking and alert. They were flexible in their approach and had no hesitation to learn and relearn, and adapt to the changes occurring in the external social environment, whilst holding fast to their faith and principles. They prepared themselves for any threats, made use of opportunities and kept themselves fully informed of the developing situation in their society. They did not create mind-guards or become inward looking.
Enslavement to structures, bureaucratic procedures, language and ways of working was not part of their style or attitude. In fact, such attitudes and rigidity stifles creativity and innovation, and can lead towards stagnation. and even to decay. This is why Muslims are enjoined not to be rigid or follow anyone blindly. They must only abide by, and work within the framework of the beliefs and principles encoded in the sources of Islam, i.e. the Quran and Sunna. Principles of Islamic jurisprudence highlight that anything outside the basic sources of Islamic guidance, including the opinions of scholars, is not sacred and subject to change, improvement or modification.
Compiled From:
"Building A New Society" - Zahid Parvez, pp. 201, 202

Monday, October 1, 2012

First Impressions.

Recently I went to an open house. Not really a house but an Islamic establishment. I sat with the non-Muslims since isn't that the point and hey I can't stand to sit on the ground. While sitting with them I heard their remarks about the great hospitality; no one can fault Muslims for that and  everyone's lovely attire. One woman even wanted me to get her daughter an abaya for her little little daughter. That was the outside part of the event. On the inside was the tour which I didn't take; been there, done that for the most part. But then my daughter needed to go to the bathroom. I found one and was shocked with the condition of the place. Surely this couldn't be so! An unclean bathroom at an open house? 4 toilets covered up with bags or paper and out of use? Open toilets with unclean bowls? Cobwebs? Is this Canada? Can't be! I'm cringing inside because I am at once the host and the guest which is an odd feeling. I know the non-Muslims will bring their 'Cleanliness is next to Godliness' mores and the Muslims should have met that with their 'Cleanliness is half of faith' ideals but there was an epic fail and I was left with a feeling of embarrassment and shame. In fact the place was so bad, that my 3 yr old said 'I'll go at home .'  Now you may say that I should tell these Muslims to 'clean up their act' and I would if they ever even gave me the time of day which is why I find a blog so cathartic. Or you could say why don't I clean it up to which I say I am sure they would not want me to as they are very territorial and secondly I have my health problems to contend with. I would like to suggest that they get the teens to do it so they can get their volunteer hours or perhaps they could hire a janitor or ask anyone from the community. I would say call Molly Maids but the memory of them giving me the finger is still too much for me to bear.

October Book Club Pick

Nobody probably cares but anyway here is the pick of the month.