Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Dhul-Hijjah: The Days of Hajj!

Zul-Hijjah: There are so many virtues in this month, and more specifically the first 10 days, that we should hold on to tightly and practice with a passion, insha'Allah. Who can guarantee that we will be alive to see next year's Zul Hijjah? For those of us who have been invited to Allah swt's House (the Bayt Allah/Ka'bah in Makkah al Mukarramah) may Allah swt facilitate our Hajj and make it a means to draw closer unto Him and allow us to return sinless and with a new level of reinvigorated Imaan! For those of us who will not be going for Hajj this year, we can still benefit from these blessed days if we prepare from now!

Virtues of these blessed 10 days are below from none other than Rasulullah (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam.)

(note: Thurs. 21st December 2006 C.E - Saturday 30th December 2006 C.E correspond with the 1st - 10th of Zul-Hijjah. *There is a small probability of one day error. Please check with your local masjid.)

Ibn Abbas (radhiyallahu anhu) that Rasulullah(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) said: "There is no day wherein any good action is more beloved to Allah Ta'ala than these ten days (the first ten days of Zul Hijjah)". The Sahaabah (radhiyallahu anhum) enquired: " Not even Striving in the path of Allah ?"

"Not even Striving in the path of Allah," replied Rasulullah(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) , "with the exception of that person who left with his life and wealth (in the path of Allah) and did not return with any of it (i.e. he is martyred)". (Bukhari, Tabraani)

It is also narrated from Ibn Abbaas(radhiyallanhu) that Rasulullah(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) said: "No days are as weighty with Allah and so liked by Him for good deeds than the first ten days of Zul-Hijjah ". Therefore in these days increasingly recite: "La ilaha illallah, Allahu Akbar, Al-Hamdu-lillah, Sub-hanallah." (Tabraani)

Fasts in the First 10 Days:

The Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) has said, "One fast during these days is equal to the fasting of one complete year, and the worship of one night during this period is equal to the worship in the "Lailatul-Qadr".(Tirmidhi)

Fast of Day of 'Arafah (9th day of Zulhijjah is called 'Youmul - "Arafah')

Abu Qataadah (radhiyallahu anhu) reported that Rasullullah(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) said: " I have hope in Allah Ta'ala that the fast of Arafaat will be an atonement for the sins of the past and the forthcoming year." (Tirmidhi)

For Hajjis and Non Hajjis:
The Takbeer at-Tashreeq is wajib for men to recite, and mustahab for women, at least once after every fardh prayer from Fajr of the 9th of Zulhijjah until Asr time of the 13th of Zulhijjah. It is:

"Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar, la ilaha ill-Allah; wa Allahu akbar. Allahu akbar, wa Lillahi'l-hamd (Allah is Most Great, Allah is Most Great, there is no god but Allah; Allah is Most Great and to Allah be praise),"

Men are encouraged to recite these phrases out loud and women quietly.

ps--Please don't forget about the obligation on each of us to offer a qurbani (slaughtering of an animal) during the days of the 10th, 11th, 12th of Zul Hijjah. This is an obligation on each one of us and it represents the beautiful, complete submission of Prophet Ibrahim (as) when he chose to obey Allah Ta'ala fully and without question when it came to slaughtering his own son, Prophet Ismail (as). Before the knife was able to cut his son's neck, Allah Ta'ala replaced Ismail (as) with a ram from Jannah. Ismail (as) was saved and Ibrahim (as)'s complete submission to God's command was accepted !!

By slaughtering an animal during these days, we commemorate that great sacrifice and we are rewarded abundantly..insha'Allah!

pps Please remember us in your du'aas!


The first 10 days of Zul Hijjah: Why They Matter
by Sound Vision Staff Writer

Even for those not performing the pilgrimage, Hajj, the first ten days of this month are considered very sacred and a time for increased reflection, seeking Allah's forgiveness, doing good and various other forms of worship.

Prophet Mohammed (peace and blessings be upon him) has said about the first ten days of Zul Hijjah: There are no days in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah than these ten days." The people asked, "Not even Jihad for the sake of Allah ?" He said, "Not even Jihad for the sake of Allah, except in the case of a man who went out to fight giving himself and his wealth up for the cause, and came back with nothing (Bukhari).

So sacred are the first ten days of Zul Hijjah that Allah swears an oath by them when He says in the Quran: "By the dawn; by the ten nights" [al-Fajr 89:1-2]. Swearing an oath by something indicates its importance and great benefit.

What kinds of worship should be performed?

While any good deed done for the sake of Allah according to the way He approves will be rewarded immensely during the first ten days, Insha Allah, some of the more specific actions mentioned in the Traditions of the Prophet are fasting and verbal Zikr (remembrance) of Allah.

In terms of fasting, it is particularly encouraged to fast on the ninth day of Zul-Hijjah, known in Arabic as Yawm Arafa. The Prophet used to fast on this day (al Nisai and Abu Dawud). Fasting on this day will expiate a Muslim's sins for two years.

The verbal remembrance of Allah is another meritorious act during these first ten days of Zul Hijjah. The Prophet upon him) encouraged Muslims to recite a lot of Tasbeeh ("Subhan-Allaah"), Tahmeed ("Al-hamdu Lillaah") and Takbeer ("Allahu akbar") during this time.

The Takbeer may include the words "Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar, la ilaha ill-Allah; wa Allahu akbar wa Lillahi'l-hamd (Allah is Most Great, Allah is Most Great, there is no god but Allah; Allah is Most Great and to Allah be praise)," as well as other phrases.

Men are encouraged to recite these phrases out loud and women quietly.

Ibn 'Umar and Abu Hurayrah, two of the Prophet's Companions, used to go out in the marketplace during the first ten days of Zul-Hijjah, reciting Takbeer, and the people would recite Takbeer individually when they heard them.

Generally, all good deeds are rewarded highly at this blessed time. These actions include praying, reading Quran, making Dua (supplication), giving in charity and being good to our families.

In addition, seeking Allah's forgiveness at this time is also encouraged. This means more than just a verbal expression of sorrow for past misdeeds. It also requires a firm resolution to avoid making the same mistakes in the future by giving up bad habits and behavior while sincerely turning to Allah.
It is useless to have a learned tongue but an ignorant heart.

-Shaykh Abd al Qadir al Jalani

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Beauty of Hijab!

The pea is a splendid plant. It proudly displays its strong green Hijab. It protects it from the hot and cold weather and guards it from insects. Allah has blessed the pea with a special Hijab, because without it, the seeds would scatter, dry up and die.

The orange keeps itself within its shiny orange Hijab to protect its delicious fruit. Otherwise it-looses its taste too.

So are the banana, the coconut and the pomegranate. Each one has an elegant and unique Hijab, which protects it from disease and destruction.

The jewel of the sea, the pearl, has been given a very tough and rugged Hijab - oyster shell. It protects it from sea animals and keeps it sparkling and shining inside.

However, the most beloved of Allah in all His creation is the Muslim girl who wears the Hijab. She knows it is a gift from Allah. It protects her from harm, injury and mischief. She wears it knowing it gives her dignity, beauty and respect. So precious she can be that she hides herself beneath her Hijab.

"Allah does not look at your body and face; rather he looks at your heart" [at-tirmidhi]

"Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty......And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what ordinarily appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms...." (Qur'an 24:30-31)

"The world is prison for the believer and paradise for the disbeliever" [Muslim]

"O Prophet, tell your wives and daughters and the believing women that they should cast their outer garments over their bodies (when abroad) so that they should be known and not molested" (Qur'an 33:59).


The Hijab:

They say, "Oh, poor girl, you're so beautiful you know

It's a shame that you cover up your beauty so."

She just smiles and graciously responds reassuringly,

"This beauty that I have is just one simple part of me.

This body that I have, no stranger has the right to see.

These long clothes, this shawl I wear, ensure my modesty.

Faith is more essential than fashion, wouldn't you agree?"

This hijab,

This mark of piety,

Is an act of faith, a symbol,

For all the world to see.

A simple cloth, to protect her dignity.

So lift the veil from your heart to see the heart of purity.

They tell her, "Girl, don't you know this is the West and you are free?

You don't need to be oppressed, ashamed of your femininity."

She just shakes her head and she speaks so assuredly,

"See the bill-boards and the magazines that line the check-out isles,

with their phony painted faces and their air-brushed smiles?

Well their sheer clothes and low cut gowns they are really not for me.

You call it freedom, I call it anarchy."

This hijab,

This mark of piety,

Is an act of faith, a symbol,

For all the world to see.

A simple cloth, to protect her dignity.

So lift the veil from your heart to see the heart of purity.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


Two Muslim girls in a classroom - one wearing a Hijab; the other one without.
The girl with no scarf - eager to have a laugh began to gossip and shout…

“Take off your headscarf - lets see the length of your hair…
Go on just this once - it’s only a dare!”
The girl with the Hijab looked back and proudly replied…
“There is no chance that I’ll let 14 devils float by my side”

The other girl scoffed still wanting to have fun…
“So you’re prepared to roast under the burning sun??”
“Yes - because the heat right now means nothing to me;
It is the hell fire which is extremely scary”

Girl with no scarf - still wanting to say more…
“Why are you wearing it? What is the purpose for?”
“Allah will keep evil and punishment away from me….
This Hijab is there in my life for security…
I love and value my faith - which is why I cover my head”
Smiling the girl in the Hijab had said.

The other girl tensed - but not showing she’s feeling bad….
“Why not show everyone your beauty - once you have, you’ll feel ever so glad!”
“The beauty is inside me - where Islam is growing in my heart…
…appreciating Allah is the way for a happy start!”

At this point, the girl with no Hijab had nothing else left to say…
She knew that the other girl was always joyful and confident each and every day.
She realised that this Sister in Hijab will always remain pure and never will walk in shame….
The girl with no scarf knew she wanted to be exactly the same.

This is why, when she went home - she made a very big decision.
She realised that loving Allah can put you in such a wonderful position.
In the classroom, the next day - this girl was wearing her Hijab for the first ever time - feeling so proud…
Looked at the other girl whom she had made fun of before had said out loud…

“Oh sister of Islam - forgive me for the things I have said….
Seeing the love you hold for our religion has today made me cover my head…
Your sweet and caring words that you so dearly expressed…
Made me see how Islam has given you so much respect
I know that Allah will gift those who follow Islam….
Wearing my Hijab - I know that I will be safe from any harm.

Thank you My Sister - for you who I now admire and congratulate
Together as Muslims, we should aim to reach Jannat’s Gates.”

The first girl - amazed, had happiness all over her face
Smiled with love and gave the Sister a lot of praise.
"Marshallah Sister – Indeed Allah will purify your heart and your deen…
Continue love for our faith and in Heaven we will be seen…
Wearing the Hijab – we will always stay as the 'Respected
And to Allah we will be known as the 'Concealed Pearl!'


Nazma Begum

Sisters, forward this poem to everyone and let us appreciate our identity.
We should be so proud of who we are and what gift our Creator has given us. Let us value our Hijab and work towards getting a place in Akeraat - Inshallah!
Remember, when we take one step close to Allah - Allah takes 10 steps closer to us.
Let us fulfill the Right Path and that is bringing the Muslim Ummah together to follow


What Happens in Heaven

I dream that I went to Heaven and an angel was showing me around. We walked side-by-side inside a large workroom filled with angels.

My angel guide stopped in front of the first section and said, "This is the Receiving Section. Here, all petitions to God said in prayer are received."

I looked around in this area, and it was terribly busy with so many angels sorting out petitions written on voluminous paper sheets and scraps from people all over the world.

Then we moved on down a long corridor until we reached the second section. The angel then said to me, "This is the Packaging and Delivery Section. Here, the graces and blessings the people asked for are processed and delivered to the living persons who asked for them." I noticed again how busy it was there. There were many angels working hard at that station, since so many blessings had been requested and were being packaged for delivery to Earth.

Finally at the farthest end of the long corridor we stopped at the door of a very small station. To my great surprise, only one angel was seated there, idly doing nothing. "This is the Acknowledgment Section," my angel friend quietly admitted to me. He seemed embarrassed "How is it that? There's no work going on here?" I asked. "So sad," the angel sighed. "After people receive the blessings that they asked for, very few send back acknowledgments.

"How does one acknowledge God's blessings?" I asked. "Simple," the angel answered. "Just say, "Thank you, God."

"What blessings should they acknowledge?" I asked.

"If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead and a place to sleep you are richer than 75% of this world.

"If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish, you are among the top 8% of the world's wealthy.

"And if you get this on your own computer, you are part of the 1% in the world who has that opportunity. "

If you can read this message, you are more blessed than over two billion people in the world who cannot read at all.

Ok, what now? How can I start? Have a good day, count your blessings, and if you want, pass this along to remind everyone else how blessed we all are.

I'd Cry (Poem)

By Halima Nalo Afi

As salaamu Alaikum,
I was sitting before fajr one day thinking why I can’t cry. I feel sad that I am lazy and procrastinating. I feel sad that others are suffering and I am not helping or even supplicating. I feel deeply connected to the Shayks speech and was even motivated. Are tears only for the pure. Trying to keep my intention for this reflecting and follow through on this inspirational moment and having thankfulness for His gifts but... the movie that I last saw kept creeping into my thoughts. And I said to myself I finally believe in the way TV is a shaytaanic device. The TV memories was keeping me from keeping my train of thought solely on Allah subhanna wa ta Allah. I was again disappointed but glad to finally give priority to Allah and see my error. I only pray that we all hold fast to this deen. Ameen. This is the poem that followed those moments, Bismillah...

I’d Cry
By Halima Nalo Afi

I can’t cry
All the gratefulness and patience in my heart is dry

I can’t feel
All the mercifulness and vigilance of limbs are only surreal
Only connection to intricacies of life is on the TV or video reel

I’d cry if I had to share
Whoever I attempt to provide for or give generously I resent
The only way to please me is to reciprocate with a present

I’d cry if I had to accept moderation
I must refill with a material gain or power
I appreciate the finer things, if not a rose then no flowers

I’d cry if I had to live without hatred
Who ever hates I enjoy them for it only stimulates me to instigate
No tragedy in an argument only a chance to litigate

I’d cry if I couldn’t say hurtful things to others
Whoever stands in my way will receive great harm one way or another
I lash out at others and if you want me to apologize I don’t even bother

I’d cry if I had to go on living this way
Only the consistency of ibadaat will bring tears for me to bathe
Only the turning away from making partners with Allah will bring Angels by the waves
Only way to climb out of cravings of the nafs is to fast for the sake of Allah
InshAllah, my heart will submit
In the actions of Rasulullah find benefit
Put my head on the earth and repent
Before my life in this world is spent…

Saturday, November 04, 2006

CEO Mothers

A woman named Emily renewing her driver's license at the Clerk's office was asked by the woman recorder to state her occupation. She hesitated, uncertain how to classify herself.

"What I mean is," explained the recorder, "do you have a job, or are you just a .....?"

"Of course I have a job," snapped Emily. "I'm a mother."

"We don't list `mother` as an occupation... `housewife` covers it," said the recorder emphatically.

I forgot all about her story until one day I found myself in the same situation, this time at our own Town Hall.

The Clerk was obviously a career woman, poised, efficient, and possessed of a high sounding title like, "Official Interrogator" or "Town Registrar."

"What is your occupation?" she probed. What made me say it, I do not know...

The words simply popped out.

"I'm a Research Associate in the field of Child Development and Human Relations."

The clerk paused, ball-point pen frozen in midair, and looked up as though she had not heard right. I repeated the title slowly, emphasizing the most significant words. Then I stared with wonder as my pronouncement was written in bold, black ink on the official questionnaire.

"Might I ask," said the clerk with new interest, "just what you do in your field?"

Coolly, without any trace of fluster in my voice, I heard myself reply, "I have a continuing program of research, (what mother doesn't), in the laboratory and in the field, (normally I would have said indoors and out). I'm working for my Masters, (the whole darned family), and already have four credits, (all daughters). Of course, the job is one of the most demanding in the humanities, (any mother care to disagree.?.) and I often work 14 hours a
day, (24 is more like it). But the job is more challenging than most run-of-the-mill careers and the rewards are more.

There was an increasing note of respect in the clerk's voice as she completed the form, stood up, and personally ushered me to the door.

As I drove into our driveway, buoyed up by my glamorous new career, I was greeted by my lab assistants - ages 13, 7, and 3. Upstairs I could hear our new experiment, (a 6 month old baby), in the child-development program, testing out a new vocal pattern.

I felt triumphant! I had scored a beat on bureaucracy! And I had gone on the official records
as someone more distinguished and indispensable to mankind than "just another mother."

Motherhood.....What a glorious career!

Especially when there's a title on the door. Does this make:

Grandmothers: "Senior Research Associates in the field of Child Development and Human Relations"?

Great grandmothers:
"Executive Senior Research Associates"? I think so!!!

Aunts: "Associate Research Assistants".

Mothers should be appreciated not just by their own kind but by everyone.

"Who is better in speech than the one who calls (mankind) to Allah, works righteousness and says 'I am of those who bow in Islam'".41:33

Du'aa! Amazing points!

Assalamualaykum wa Rahmatullah!

Today in our small online class with Mufti Abdurrahman, we came across a really interesting hadith related by Tirmidhi in his book of Da'waat. Basically: whenever a person feels an opening in their heart to make du'aa, the doors of acceptance, mercy or [the doors of] Jannah have been opened (for his du'aa). Subhan'Allah. Isn't that amazing?!

Another fascinating point is that when Ibrahim (as) as a 16 year old boy was about to be thrown into the fire kindled by his people, Jibra'eel (as) came to him and asked if he could do anything, and Ibrahim (as) replied "I do not have any need for you." Jibra'eel (as) responded "Then ask your Lord" upon which Ibrahim (as) poetically stated"Hasbi fi su'aali 'ilmuhu bi haali" (Allah Ta'ala's knowledge of my condition is sufficient for my du'aa) that Allah (saw) knows the condition of my heart, what I require and what I desire, thus there is no need for me to voice it to the All Hearer, the All knowing. And due to that yaqin and beautiful answer, nothing burned of Ibrahim (as) when his people placed him in the fire. Subhan'Allah!

From that there were different rulings/difference of opinions as to when a person should or should not ask Allah swt for personal (worldy) wishes, and the view that stuck out the most to me was that whatever du'aa contains something for the Haqq of Allah (swt), then ask your Lord in du'aa (verbalize it), but if it is for one's self, then it is loftier to remain silent and leave it up to Allah (swt).

This was studied in the end section of Mullah Ali al Qari's (ra) "Al Fiqh Al Akbar."

Praise the Prophet (pbuh)!

The Praise the Prophet Competition is about to end!! Submission Deadline is Nov. 30th, 2006! There are a lot of prizes to be won, so please submit your poetry soon! Presents
1st Annual International
Praise the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace)
Poetry Competition

Submission Deadline has been
changed to November 30th, 2006
The entry fee for each submisstion
has been waived.

  • Adult Category 1st Prize: Up to $1,000 US for an airfare to the homeland of the Prophet (Makkah & Madinah, Saudi Arabia) or
    $800 in cash/gift package
  • Teen Category 1st Prize: Up to $1,000 US for an airfare to the homeland of the Prophet (Makkah & Madinah, Saudi Arabia) or $800 in cash/gift package
  • Children's Category 1st Prize: Gift Packages valued at $400

Friday, November 03, 2006

Jamba Juice?!

Muslim Consumer Group :: Events

Event Date Mon May 01 14:20:41 CDT 2006
Type News

All Jamba Juice products are not Halal except All fruit Smoothies Grape Escape, Mega Mongo and Raspberry Rainbow. Strawberry whirl all fruit smoothies is not Halal because due to presence of Non Halal or Kosher certified apple juice. All other products are made with non Halal or Kosher certified ingredients according to the company.

I spoke with the webmaster of the Muslim Consumer groups website and asked him why does apple juice have to be halal or kosher certified?! He said because sometimes they use gelatin in one of their processing steps, so you must look for an "o" or "u" symbol on any apple juice that you buy (which indicates its kosher so its okay).

Subhan'Allah! May Allah swt increase us in taqwa and in doing such deeds which please Him and may He grant us abundant tawfiq and accept it from us!

May Allah swt protect us all. Ameen!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Attn: Hijabis/Niqabis!!

This is an email I received. It is still being verified, but there is good advice/precautionary measures prescribed that all Muslimahs can heed, insha'Allah.

Salam `alaykum everyone,
I just got some VERY serious and VERY scary news:

"Just learned from a well known Muslim social worker, Nabila Mango, that a Muslim female Yemeni who wears hijab has been missing for two days in San Francisco . They believe she was abducted. The situation has started a scare in the City where many Muslim women in hijab are not going out. This happened outside of the Tenderloin area so it may not have anything to do with a hate crime but no one believes this. The woman has two children and is 5mos pregnant. The police have no leads at this point." (Maha ElGenaidi--ING)
May Allah (swt) protect this sister wherever she is and bring her back safely to her family soon. AMEEN. Ya Allah, those of us who wear hijab or niqab must take SERIOUS precaution during these very dangerous times. I am so troubled, as I'm sure all of you are, by this news as well as the recent tragedy of sister Alia (Allah yarHamha). I feel it is IMPERATIVE that we start a major campaign to hijabis, and all identifiable Muslim women, across the Bay Area that they need to take EXTRA measures to safeguard themselves.
Here are some tips that I've come up with:

1) DO NOT go out at night, and if you must please do NOT go anywhere ALONE.

2) DO NOT draw any attention to yourself, especially by driving with loud music (or quran, nasheeds, etc). Or keeping your window open...CLOSE your windows whenever alone.

3) DO NOT talk on the cell phone while you drive at night, be vigilant about your environment at ALL TIMES. Talking on the cell phone will distract you from the person stopped next to you at the red light or someone who may be following you. Check your mirrors frequently and if you notice ANY hostile behavior from another driver, DO NOT drive home. Rather, go to the nearest well-lit public place you can find and immediately call the police.

4) DO NOT park your car, whether it is at a shopping center or in a housing area, far from where you are going. If possible wait for a closer space OR (if going to someone's house) call someone (preferrably a male) to come and meet you in the parking lot and walk you inside.

5) INVEST in a pepper spray PLEASE. They are only $4.99 (or something like that) at Fry's Electronics and they attach to your keychain.

6) Walk all the way around your car and make sure everything is clear before getting in. And always LOCK your car doors, when you get out and when you get in.

7) And this last tip is of the UTMOST importance, PLEASEEEEEEEEEE by Allah (swt) I beg you to take my advice and invest in TWO very important articles of clothing. Just $20 could make a difference, please get these items NOW:
a) a BASEBALL CAP. These can be bought pretty much anywhere nowadays. I would suggest getting a cheap one from Walmart or any other such store.
b) a HOODED SWEATSHIRT (or hoodie) with a zipper in the front.
NO matter what your personal style (i.e. if you wear jilbab, niqab, abayas or if you wear western clothing) these two pieces are easy to put on and remove whenever you are out alone, especially while driving in your car. They will NOT cost you much and could potentially save your life. All you have to do is loosely throw the baseball cap over your hijab, without fastening the band in the back so you don't ruin your existing hijab and then wear the hooded sweatshirt and raise the hood over the cap. This is a matter of being as inconspicuous as possible while protecting the honor of your hijab. I do NOT suggest wearing any other types of hats as most can obstruct your view and could prove dangerous in other ways, especially while driving.

We have to act fast and take these precautions right away. Please sisters, do NOT become negligent or take these incidents lightly. We must act and act QUICKLY. May Allah (swt) preserve all of you and protect every Muslim, male and female, from the evils of this world.

We must work together and stand firm, proud of our hijab, and take preventative measures such as the ones mentioned above to protect ourselves. Please keep the sister mentioned above in your duahs...if I hear anything further I'll let you know as soon as possible!

Jazakum'Allahu khayran

Another Sad Case of 'Islamophobia'

Subhan'Allah--it deeply saddens me to see this type of misunderstanding, hate, fear and intolerance displayed by our fellow citizens. May Allah (swt) grant guidance to all and allow an atmosphere of understanding, cooperation and respect to bloom in order to weed out such destructive ignorance. Ameen.


n : prejudice against Muslims; "Muslim intellectuals are afraid of growing Islamophobia in the West" [syn: Islamophobia]

WordNet ® 2.0, © 2003 Princeton University

The Unfortunate Case:

Robert Little, Spartanburg Herald-Journal, 10/29/06

I am greatly disturbed about the U.S. Postal Service supporting Islam with stamps recognizing two Islamic holidays. We just purchased two from a post office in Spartanburg. One postal worker didn't even know about them.

Why is the U.S. Postal Service giving this kind of support to this group when there are Islamic extremists who would like to see this country wiped off the face of the Earth? We should boycott the stamps. Would you please write about this disgraceful stamp supplied by the U.S. Postal Service?

Robert Little


CAIR is asking members of the American Muslim community to contact local postmasters and request that they stock the stamp commemorating Eid ul-Fitr and Eid ul-Adha that were re-issued on October 6, 2006, as part of the "Holiday Series." In past years, there have been reports that the Eid stamp was unavailable in some post offices.


1. CONTACT your local postmaster TODAY to request that he or she stock the "Eid stamp."

2. BUY AND USE Eid stamps for all your mailing needs.

Post offices may be located and stamps may be ordered through the United States Postal Service website.

Eid stamps may also be ordered by calling 1-800-STAMP-24.

Unveiling Blackburn

Unveiling Blackburn
Ismaeel Nakhuda, Arab News

JEDDAH, 31 October 2006 — “It was done out of respect for Islam — out of affection for the Muslim community...but of concern too, especially about their future in our society,” said Blackburn MP and former British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw recently while speaking to his local newspaper the Lancashire Evening Telegraph.

As someone born and bred in Preston (a 15-minute drive from Straw’s constituency), I’ve always considered Blackburn to be like a second home; after all my in-laws live there. In my opinion, Blackburn isn’t exactly an absolutely attractive place to live, but I have to say the Whalley Range area of the old textile town has some fantastic mouth-watering kebab houses and my in-laws have a tendency to give me a warm welcoming whenever I go down. Not to mention the fine food they cook at their home.

My wife wears the niqab and loves Blackburn. It was after all she who inculcated in me a deep love for the town. A total Blackburn-maniac, my wife and I have regular amusing and animated discussions of whether living in Blackburn is better or Preston. In fact, over the years I’ve ended up making a lot of friends in the town, many of them Muslims who, being diehard Blackburn Rovers supporters, love the town and consider it home.

For rest of article click here.

Monday, October 30, 2006

The Prevailing of Modesty


TROID Publications Prepared by a Muslimah

This is a good question and there is a beautiful answer! Allaah has commanded us with every action that is good for us and prohibited us from performing every action that is bad for us. Allaah orders the Muslim woman to wear the hijaab when she steps out of the security of her home or when in the presence of strange men. So to wear the hijaab is a source of great good for you – the Muslim woman - for many reasons. Among them: You please Allaah. You are obeying the commands of your Lord when you wear the hijaab and you can expect great rewards in return.

It is Allaah's protection of your natural beauty. You are too precious to be "on display" for each man to see.

It is Allaah's preservation of your chastity.Allaah purifies your heart and mind through the hijaab. Allaah beautifies your inner and outer countenance with hijaab. Outwardly your hijaab reflects innocence, purity, modesty, shyness, serenity, contentment and obedience to your Lord. Inwardly you cultivate the same.

Allaah defines your femininity through the hijaab. You are a woman who respects her womanhood. Allaah wants you to be respected by others, and for you to respect yourself.

Allaah raises your dignity through the hijaab. When a strange man looks at you, he respects you because he sees that you respect yourself.

Allaah protects your honour 100% through your hijaab. Men do not gaze at you in a sensual way, they do not approach you in a sensual way, and neither do they speak to you in a sensual way. Rather, a man holds you in high esteem and that is just by one glance at you!

Allaah gives you nobility through the hijaab. You are noble, not degraded, because you are covered and not naked.

Allaah demonstrates your equality as a Muslim woman through the hijaab. Your Lord bestows upon you equal worth as your male counterpart, and gives you a host of beautiful rights and liberties. You express your acceptance of these unique rights by putting on the hijaab.

Allaah defines your role as a Muslim woman through the hijaab. You are a someone with important duties. You are a reflection of a woman of action not idle pursuits. You display your sense of direction and purpose through your hijaab. You are someone that people take seriously.

Allaah expresses your independence through the hijaab. You are stating clearly that you are an obedient servant of the Greatest Master. You will obey no one else and follow no other way. You are not a slave to any man, nor a slave to any nation. You are free and independent from all man-made systems.

Allaah gives you the freedom of movement and expression through the hijaab. You are able to move about and communicate without fear of harassment. Your hijaab gives you a unique confidence.

Allaah wants others to treat you – a Muslim woman - with kindness. And the hijaab brings about the best treatment of men towards you.

Allaah wants your beauty to be preserved and saved for just one man to enjoy: your husband.

Allaah helps you to enjoy a successful marriage through wearing hijaab. Because you reserve your beauty for one man alone, your husband's love for you increases, he cherishes you more, he respects you more and he honours you more. So your hijaab contributes to a successful and lasting marital relationship.

Allaah brings about peace and stability in the society through the hijaab!

Yes this is true! Men do not cause corruption by forming illegal relationships because you - the Muslim woman - calm their passions. When a man looks at you, he feels at ease, not tempted to fornicate…

So a Muslim woman in hijaab is dignified, not dishonoured, noble, not degraded, liberated, not subjugated, purified, not sullied, independent, not a slave, protected, not exposed, respected, not laughed at, confident, not insecure, obedient, not a sinner, a guarded pearl, not a prostitute…

Dear Muslim sister! Come towards the gates of Paradise with us! Fulfill your duties towards Allaah, put on your adornment - put on your hijaab, and race towards Jannah (Paradise) by doing all good actions. You should agree by now that wearing hijaab is extremely beneficial – it must be - because Allaah only commands what is good……and believe me, dear sister, it is good to obey the commands of your Lord…

"Their reward is with their Lord: Gardens of Eden underneath which rivers flow wherein they will dwell for ever; Allaah is pleased with them, and they are pleased with Him; this is (in store) for whoever fears his Lord." [Sooratul-Bayyinah 98:8]

Advice of Imam Abu Hanifa (ra)

A sister wrote:

Assalamu Alaikum,

I just wanted to share with you the advice given by Imam Abu Hanifa to his student Yusuf ibn Khalid as-Samit who was migrating to Basra. I think it is still pertinent to us today, especially if you are an immigrant to this country.

"Know that if you harm ten people, you will have enemies, even if they are your mothers and fathers, but if you do good to ten people who are not your relatives, they will become like mothers and fathers to you.

"If you enter Basra and oppose it people, elevate yourself over them, vaunt your knowledge among them, and hold yourself aloof from their company, you will shun them and they will shun you; you will curse them and they will curse you; you will consider them misguided and they will think you misguided and an innovator. Ignominy will attach itself to you and us, and you will have to flee from them. This is not an option. It is not an intelligent person who is unsociable to the one who is unsociable until Allah shows him a way out.

"When you go to Basra, the people will receive you, visit you and acknowledge your due, so put each person in his proper position. Honour the people of honor, esteeem the people of knowledge and respect the shaykhs. Be kind to the young and draw near to the common people.

"Be courteous to the impious but keep the company of the good. Do not disregard the authorities or demean anyone. Do not fall short in your chivalry and do not disclose your secrets to anyone or trust them until you have tested them. Do not socialise with the base or the weak. Do not accustom yourself to what you disapprove of outwardly. Beware of speaking freely with fools.

"You must have courtesy, patience, endurance, good character and forbearance. Renew your clothing regularly, have a good mount and use a lot of what is good... Offer your food to people: a miser never prevails. You should have as your confidants those you know to be best of people. When you discern corruption, you should immediately rectify it. When you discern righteousness, you should increase your attention to it.

"Act on behalf of those who visit you and those who do not. Be good to those who are good to you and those who are bad to you. Adopt pardon and command the correct. Ignore what does not concern you. leave all that will harm you. Hasten to establish people's rights. If any of your brethren is ill, visit him yourself and send your messengers. Inquire after those who are absent. If any of them holds back from you do not hold back from him.

"Show affection to people as much as possible and greet even blameworthy people.. When you meet others in a gathering or join them in a mosque and questions are discuussed in a way different to your position, do not rush to diagree. If you are asked, tell the people what you know and then say, "There is another position on it which is such-and-such, and the evidence is such-and-such." If they listen to you, they will recognise your worth and the worth of what you have. If they ask, "Whose postion is that?" reply, "One of the fuqaha "...

"Give everyone who frequents you some of the knowledge they are expecting. Be friendly with them and joke with them sometimes and chat with them. love encourages people to persevere in knowledge. Feed them sometimes and fulfil their needs. Acknowledge their worth and overlook their faults. Be kind to them and tolerant them. Do not show them annoyance or vexation. Be like one of them... Do not burden people with what they cannot do."

This was the advice of Imam Abu Hanifa to one of his students who went to Basra to teach people there the fiqh of Kufa and the opnion of it's shaykhs.

Source: "The Four Imams" their lives, Works, and their Schools of Thought, by Muhammad Abu Zahra.

Pork & Tootsie Roll Industries

Please send this warning to those who will be collecting candy and sweets tomorrow (Oct. 31st)...

(although we do not personally endorse trick-or-treating)

Pork-Based Ingredients in Popular Candy Products An employee of Tootsie Roll Industries has recently confirmed that several of their popular candy products contain beef-based or pork-based ingredients. Products with Beef-Based Ingredients Charms Blow Pops Products with Pork-Based Ingredients Sugar Daddy Pops Sugar Babies Tootsie Rolls Frooties Tootsie Fruit Rolls Tootsie Pops Caramel Apple Pops Junior Mints Junior Caramels Fruit Smoothie... Source:

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Defender of the Flag

In connection with comments from a previous post:

Defender of the Flag: In Memory of Alia Ansari

This past Tuesday, Muslims celebrated ‘Id al-Fitr, one of Islam’s two great festivals. For me, it was a beautiful day that began with a truly warm and vibrant ‘Id gathering at the Zaytuna Institute. God afforded me a wonderful opportunity to see friends who had been “missing in action,” to meet enthusiastic new converts to the Islam, and to kiss so many babies I felt like a politician. During that time, I was also able to break away from the gathering to visit the graves of some distinguished Muslims buried in a nearby cemetery. Visiting the local Muslim cemetery on ‘Id day is a practice I have been able to maintain since my earliest years in Islam. They serve as a solemn reminder that all of us have an appointment with the Angel of Death.

I was blessed to stay at Zaytuna until the early afternoon when I departed to attend a meeting at a local school, a reminder that we are in America and sometimes, despite our best efforts to clear our schedules on the day of our festivals, the requisites of our everyday duties intervene. After that meeting, I was able to visit some of the Muslim families in the area. All of those visits filled my heart with awe at the simple dignity of ordinary Muslims, many of whom are struggling valiantly to survive in this sometimes cruel, always challenging and complicated society.

The last of those visits was to the family of Alia Ansari, the Afghani-American mother of six who was gunned down in central Fremont last Thursday as she walked to pick up her children from school. The Ansari family are everyday people—and, they are proud people. As I talked with Alia’s husband, brothers, and cousins who were gathered in the family’s humble apartment, it became clear to me that, most of all, they were proud to be Ansaris, descendants of the companion of the Prophet Muhammad, peace upon him, Abu Ayyub al-Ansari, and the great Muslim mystical sage, Khawaja Abdullah Ansari. In Afghan society, they are people who are identified with piety and they endeavor to live up to that identification, in their various ways.

Alia Ansari migrated from war-torn Afghanistan at the age of 17. When her father died shortly thereafter, she became a second parent to her younger siblings. A life of hardship could not suppress her inner beauty, expressed most readily in an irrepressible smile. Her husband, Ahmadullah Ansari, an auto mechanic struggling to make ends meet for a family that includes six young children, five of them girls, spoke glowingly of Alia’s martyrdom and the place God has reserved for her in Heaven. Her story impressed on me the truth embodied in the words of a poet who said, “Be yourself beautiful, and you will find the world full of beauty.”

Her husband, contrary to the caricature of the vindictive, hateful, enraged Muslim, mentioned how the family did not wish her martyrdom be treated as a hate crime, because he did not want her death to be a source of agitation in the area’s large Muslim community. He also mentioned that the family would not want the murderer executed, because that would not bring his wife back. His wife was a martyr, her place in Paradise secure—for him that was enough.

His gentle voice was most emphatic when he mentioned that he did not want his wife’s death to be politicized. Rather, he wanted her spirit of love and reconciliation to prevail after her passing as it had during her life. He spoke of his desire that her funeral be a solemn service, where people of all faiths could gather to remind each other just how important it is to work to remove the pernicious stain of racial and religious hatred from this society lest it lead to ever deepening spirals of senseless violence.

As we sat on the floor of their sparsely furnished living room to eat a meal of traditional Afghan food, our gathering was overseen by four walls decorated with only an unframed picture of the Ka’aba, and a tapestry with Ayatu Kursi, the Qur’anic Verse of the Throne (2:255), printed on it. Husband, brothers, and cousins gathered around to tell me more about just who Alia Ansari was. They spoke proudly of a deeply religious individual who embodied the true spirit of the “Ansar,” the Helpers. The original Ansar were those Muslims in Medina who welcomed into their city and homes the faithful believers who had migrated from Mecca, fleeing the persecution of that city’s population. The Qur’an mentions the spirit the Ansar exhibited in the following terms:

As for those who had previously established homes [in Medina], having adopted the faith; they show their love and affection to those who migrated to them [seeking refuge]. You will not find their hearts harboring any desire for that given to those migrants; rather they give preference to them over themselves, even though they are themselves afflicted with grinding poverty. (59:9)

Alia was indeed a helper. In addition to her tireless and faithful service to her immediate family, she was constantly helping relatives and neighbors, many of whom themselves had recently migrated to this country from their native Afghanistan. Her brother, Humayun, remarked that she did the work of six people and never complained. A typical day might find her preparing meals for the family, dropping the children to school, taking a neighbor shopping, shuttling a newly-arrived relative to the immigration department, watching a neighbor’s child, nursing a sick relative, or numerous other tasks demanding the sacrifice of her time and energy.

Although never formally educated in Islam, she was a deeply devout and spiritual individual. Her husband noted that she never missed a prayer. He quietly added that she would stand for voluntary prayer every night until she wept beseeching God to save her daughters from the ravages of the lewd, violent, promiscuous youth culture of this country. Her deep spirituality is illustrated by the following incident. A few days before her demise, she told her husband that she had seen her deceased grandfather, an individual well known for his righteousness, in a dream. The learned sage indicated that the end of her worldly struggles was near, and a resting place in Paradise would soon be hers.

As a pious Muslim woman, she never left home without her hijab, the traditional head scarf worn by Muslim women. She was proud of her hijab. In the aftermath of the attacks of September 11, 2001, some of her friends and relatives, afraid of reprisal attacks, took off their hijabs. Alia encouraged them not to compromise their religion, especially when they had nothing to do with those crimes. As for herself, she told them that she would never take off her hijab, even if someone put a gun to her head demanding that she do so. Alia said that her hijab was her flag. She could not have known as she began the fateful walk to her children’s school last Thursday that her path would cross that of a lone gunman who in a single act of mindless violence would bring a close to a life of dedication and service. She could not have known that her grandfather’s words were so close to fulfillment. She could not have known that she would soon die defending her flag.

Among the believers are those who have been true to their covenant to God. Among them are those who have given their lives, others patiently wait their turn, having never weakened in their resolve. (33:23)

Imam Zaid Shakir

Zaytuna Institute


The author requests that you share this article with non-Muslim friends and neighbors.

*The funeral prayer (janaza) for Sister Alia Ansari will be Friday, October 27, 2006, at Lake Elizabeth Park (Paseo Padre Blvd.) in Fremont, California. The service will begin promptly at 3:00pm. The family has requested that everyone come out to show their support for Alia and her family.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Don't Forget Your 6 Fasts in Shawwal!

Six Fasts in the Month of Shawwal

It is commendable to keep six fasts in the month of Shawwal. The Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, has said:

Whoever completes fasts of Ramadan then adds to them the fast of six days in the month of Shawwal, it will carry the thawab (reward) of fasting for the whole year. (Sahih Muslim)

This hadith had described the great thawab of six fasts of this month. Therefore, the Muslims should take this opportunity of acquiring such an enormous reward from Allah. It is more preferable to start these fasts from the 2nd of Shawwal and keep fasting up to the 7th of it. However, if, they are kept in other days, it is hoped that the requirement of the above hadith may also be fulfilled.

Also, Thawban, may Allah be pleased with him, reported that the Prophet (pbuh) said,
Ramadhan is equal to fasting ten months, and fasting six days of Shawwal is equal to two months. This is equal to fasting the whole year." (Ahmad & An-Nasaii).

Therefore, fasting six days in Shawwal after having fasted Ramadhan will attain the person the reward of a perpetual fast, and more.

Furthermore, fasting Ramadhan, with belief and sincerity, erases all previous sins, as the authentic Hadiths state. The ones who have performed the fast are given this bounty at the end of Ramadhan in Eid, which is the day of rewards. Therefore, fasting again after being given this great bounty serves as an act of thanking Allah, because no bounty is greater than having your sins forgiven.

As for those who revert to their old evil ways after Ramadhan has passed, then they are indeed the losers. They loose Allah (swt)'s bounty and they do not thank Him for anything. Also, the good deeds that are performed in Ramadhan do not stop after the month ends, but they can still be performed as long as the person is alive and breathing.

Fasting after Ramadhan is like the warrior who attacks and withdraws, only to attack again. This is unlike the coward who withdraws and runs away from the battlefield. Many people today are most happy when Ramadhan ends, because they see it as a burden on them and a task that one has to do and that there is no way out of it. Anyone with such a mentality and attitude will not be eager to fast again shortly after Ramadhan ends. On the other hand, the person who fasts again right after Ramadhan will be demonstrating his will and eagerness to fast for Allah (swt)'s sake and his need to acquire Allah (swt)'s pleasure.

ps: The clocks will be set back an hour in about a week, so there really isn't much of an excuse to not fast since the days will be much shorter! Tawfiq, insha'Allah :)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Tips for Fajr/Tahajjud!

Assalamualaykum Wa Rahmatullah!

I pray everyone is in the best of every state, having the himma to continue the increased 'ibadah from Ramadan. Subhan'Allah. Well, to start off Shawwal I thought it would be great to post tips on how to wake up for Fajr (and especially Tahajjud because that salaah is of utmost importance to the one who is striving to gain Allah swt's Nearness, insha'Allah)

I pray it is of benefit. Let me know of any other new and exciting suggestion(s) that you can come up with..

Tawfiq, insha'Allah!

Tips to help you wake up for Fajr (and Tahajjud!), Insha'Allah:

1. Keep Away from Ma'aasi (acts of disobedience).
2. Avoid eating too much food.
3. Drink one or two glasses of water before going to bed.
4. Perform Wudoo (ablution) before going to bed.
5. Go to bed early.
6. Make intention in your heart to get up for Fajr/Tahajjud.
7. Set your alarm.
8. Establish Fajr/Tahajjud wake up calling system with family and friends e.g. friends/family members calling, texting etc each other to help one another wake up for the prayer.
9. Say prescribed supplications (dua) before sleeping
10. Once awake, do not linger lazily in bed.
11. Go to your local masjid to pray

Also... one thing that helps that I do when I study late, or am up until the early morning, is to put my alarm clock (which is very loud) in the bathroom... thus forcing me to get up to go to the bathroom to shut it off. While you're in the bathroom, just splash yourself with water and voila! You are awake and ready for Fajr.

Okay... so you dont have to do the splashing part, but try it.. it works Inshallah.

And the above 2 advices above about staying away from sins and sleeping early is very important. It is from the Rizq (provision/bounty) of Allah that He allows you to get up for Fajr and especially Tahajjud, and when you start sinning He may deprive you from turning to Him at Fajr/Tahajjud due to your sins and having turned away from Him. May Allah swt protect us all and grant us forgiveness and abundant tawfiq. Ameen!

ps. Do NOT sleep after Fajr!

Sunday, October 22, 2006


Moon sighting announcement (Sightings in North America)

[8:35 pm PST ]

Hilal Committees have determined that there was an authentic sighting of the hilal tonight (October 22) and hence, Eid ul Fitr will be on Monday, October 23, 2006.
Details of the hilal sighting will be posted on this site shortly.

Eid Mubarak!

What to do on Eid!! A Comprehensive Article

Shawwal: What to Do On Eid Night, Eid Day, and During the Month

By Mufti Taqi Usmani

Click here for the full article which includes comprehensive info on:

- Beginning of the Ashur-ul-Hajj
- Eid-ul-fitr
- The Night Preceding 'Eid-ul-Fitr'
- Before Going to Eid Prayer
- Sadaqat-ul-fitr
- The 'Eid Prayer
- How to Perform Eid Prayer
- Khutbah: The Address of 'Eid-ul-fitr
- Six Fasts in the Month of Shawwal

The Night Preceding 'Eid al Fitr

It had been the practice of the Holy Prophet that he would nnot sleep in the night preceding the day of 'Eid al Fitr. This night has been named in a Hadith as Laylatul Ja'izah, or the night of reward. It means that Allah the Almighty bestows His rewards to those who have spent the month of Ramadan abiding by the dictates of Shari'ah, and all their prayers in this night are accepted. Therefore, it is desirable to perform nafl prayers this night.

The Holy Prophet is reported to have said:

"Whoever stands up (in worship) in the nights preceding the two Eids, expecting rewards from his Lord, his heart will not die when the other hearts will die." (Ibn Majah)

To benefit from this opportunity, one should perform as much worship in this night as he can, and should pray for all his needs and desires.

Please remember us all in your du'aas and Eid Mubarak!

Reflect on The Success of Your Ramadaan!!

The words of RasulAllah (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) serves as a grim reminder to us "Jibraeel (alayhis salaam) appeared before me and said: 'Woe to him who found the blessed month of Ramadaan and let it pass by without gaining forgiveness.' Upon that I said: Aameen. Everyday Allah decorates Jannah for them and says to it: 'The time is near when my faithful servants shall cast the great trials (of the world) and come to you'".

Let us look at our present condition in light of the effects Ramadaan had on us. Let us compare our condition at the start of Ramadaan to our condition now:

Was the advent of Ramadaan something that made us become obedient?

Do we have the will to change our lives or was this just another Ramadaan?

Whose loss is greater than he who missed the blessings of Ramadaan?

When will the one who did not reform himself during the month of Ramadaan ever do so?

When will the one who was not cured from the sickness of ignorance, sin and heedlessness in this month ever get cured?

Did it reform our actions and conduct?

Did it unify our community?

Did it remove the hatred and rancour between us?

You have responded to the call of your Allah by salaat, fasting, charity and many other good deeds, so respond to His command in all other matters and at all times. Humble your hearts for the remembrance of Allaah and be united in adherence to the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of His Prophet sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam so that the Ummah may be saved from calamities.

May Allah grant us understanding and may He bless and be pleased with us.


Eid Mubarak

Zaytuna Ramadan Khatm

Assalamualaykum wa Rahmatullah!

All I have to say was the khatm tonight (Sat. 10/22, the 29th night of Ramadan) at Zaytuna was AMAZING!!!! Whoever attended please share your thoughts/comments with the rest of us!

May Allah swt accept our fasting, accept our tears, forgive our sins, and extend our years. May this blessed month be a source of mercy, guidance, unity, and peace that permeates throughout the world. Ameen.

The Messenger of God said, “Abandon desire for this world, and God will love you. Abandon desire for others’ goods, and people will love you.” Ibn Majah

Friday, October 20, 2006

How would you deal with this situation?!



“You pray in your distress and in your need; would that you might also pray in the fullness of your joy and in your days of abundance.”

-Kahlil Gibran

There is no “right way” to pray. There is no “right time” to pray. Prayer is an ongoing dialogue, a soul connection with spirit, a fusion of physics and metaphysics. Prayer is our expression of gratitude, despair, longing, appreciation. It is one means of communication and communion with All That Is. Sometimes we’re praying and we don’t even realize it. Our actions reflect our thoughts; our thoughts are prayers. What are we thinking? What are we doing about it?

“ Prayer is something deeper than words. It is present in the soul before it has been formulated in words. And it abides in the soul after the last words of prayer have passed over our lips.”
-O. Hallesby

We feel our prayers more than we really say our prayers. Prayers become real to us when the emotion behind them, within them, is so strong that the prayer becomes animated – it has life. Our soul houses these prayers before our minds even figure out how to articulate them. Prayers can be silent, yet heart-felt.
-Lissa Coffey

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Allah's Special Selection

An excerpt from
Ramadan Nights : Laylat el Qadr: The Night of Power
By Amr Khaled

He chose from all the nights, one night, which he called Laylat Al Qadr. Not only that, but he chose the people who accomplish this night. The angels which come down on this day were chosen above the rest to come down on this night. This is what I wanted you to feel, that you wish it to be you.

Now to us, there are so many things He selected you with. First, He chose you out of the millions of creation and made you a human. Sometimes when one is walking along you see a lonely dog and you may think…I wonder, who knows…He chose me to be a human. And He selected you to be from the nation of Mohammad (PBUH). And he selected you from all those millions to be able to read Arabic while others can't read the Qur'an. Then He selected you and made you able to pray, and cry at the humility to Allah. Then He selected you again for praying in the mosques, or wearing the veil, or learning more about your religion. Then He selected you again to know about Laylat alQadr. Look at how beautiful being specially chosen by Allah is. An example of the feeling of being selected like this is like when you admire someone so much, and everyone is looking at him but you are standing far away, then he looks at you and calls you over and gives you his phone number saying let's keep in touch. Then you call him but you think he's not going to answer but he does, and you increase in happiness that he chose you. Then he says come even closer to me and work with me. In this world, if someone famous does this with you and brings you closer, your heart will be filled with happiness. Allah is letting you come closer on this night! Why don't you present yourself to Him? How? By 2 prostrations in the night, with strong prayers from your heart, with a heart filled with humility, with a gaze you are averting. "Please Allah, choose me more and select me with this night."

Feeling the Qur'an

Masha'Allah this really struck me; I have selected parts of the article to post here and have highlighted other parts. Insha'Allah it is of benefit to all.

It is taken from an adaptation of a translation of a part of a book entitled "Key to the Supreme Name, and the Way of Arrival to Allah," or Miftah al-Ism al-A'dham, wa Tariq al-wusool ila-Allaah, by the Imam Shaykh Ibrahim Muhammad al-Battawi of Egypt (Allah be pleased with him).

When the Shaykh says to read the Quran, he is emphasizing that we not only enunciate sounds which are represented by characters written in ink on paper, but rather come to read the revelation of Allah, which is at the same time within you and around you. It is vital to understand that the revelation of the Quran came as sound, which we echo with our recital, and not as a written text. The written text itself is not the Revelation. We should read the Quran with our entire beings, not only with our tongues, until we come to have the Quranic character until the Quran reads us and fashions our character. We should not read the Quran as we read a newspaper, and the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, told us that there will be people who will read the Quran, but it will not pass! beyond their throats to their hearts, these people the Quran will curse. The first command Allah gave us was to recite, in His Name (not in our name) Who created us, and Who teaches us what we do not know. If Allah is not teaching you knowledge from His Presence which you do not know while you are reading the Quran, then you are in fact not reciting the Quran, but only enunciating Arabic letters)

And be steadfast in keeping the company of those who call on their Lord in mornings and evenings, who seek after His Face, and do not turn your eyes away from them seeking the pleasures and ornaments of this world. And do not obey those whose hearts We have made heedless of Our remembrance, who follow only their desires, and whose (life) is in disharmony and chaos. (Q18:28). In such a manner should you strive until Allah opens your heart to His realities, according to the level of your yearning (himma) for Him.

A Summary of the method of obtaining the experience of Laylatul-Qadr. The Way to that end is comprised in certain steps, which we will now summarize in what follows:

1. Recite the entire Quran over a certain period of time in two recitations. The first (mode of recitation) is for (the intention of) memorization and worship, and it can be either silent or aloud, according to your time and ability. The second mode is specifically for devotion and the training of the spirit and intellect in concentration in reflection upon its meanings. In this mode, your tongue does not move and your heart should not be busy except with what is recited and with Allah, Who is the Speaker, and Who encompasses you on all sides and directions (without His being in any direction). Be influenced by what you recite. We call this method of recitation active and involved recitation. Compose a small booklet or diary of the meanings that you arrive at through this reading, and keep it beside your Quran at all times. It is also recommended that there be in the margins of the Mushaf the explanation of difficult words, such as in the Tafsir of Jalalayn and Tabari and others. This, together with some hadiths which have come in relation to those ayat. Also, it is recommended that this recitation be in the night time, and also in Fajr time.

2. Act upon and according to the meanings which you have previously arrived at in your readings. Allah sent down the best of words, a book filled with allegories, doubly-repeated (mathaani), which causes the skins of those who fear their Lord to shiver, then their skins and hearts are softened to the conscious invocation of Allah (Q39:23). It becomes softened through acting upon what you read.

3. Let this recitation and action be throughout the whole year, and not only in Ramadan.

4. Make for yourself at least one night from every week for the rest of your life in which you isolate yourself with your Lord at certain times, for example 7:00 in the evening. Recite certain ayat of Quran like Fatiha, Ayat Kursi, the last ayat of Baqara, and any other ayat which you memorized from the Quran. Then recite and repeat the 99 Names of Allah, which were recorded in the books of hadith. And do not allow your himma (aspiration) to be to finish with them as soon as possible, but rather let your whole aspiration and zeal be for the Gift that Allah gives to those who perfect the recitation. Just as your himma should not be to finish the Salat as soon as possible, but rather all your himma should be to perfect it until Allah accepts it and accepts your du'aa in it. For that reason, every Name you recite should be accompanied with gathered concentration and the live awareness that Allah surrounds and encompasses you from all sides. In other words, you connect between the All-Encompassing Supreme Name and the Name that you recite. And the same situation should be in the Salat. You perceive that your spirit is before His Hands and that He encompasses (Muheet) you and the universe from all sides and directions.

5. Do not be overly occupied with the articulation of the Name or their written letters, but rather be occupied with their meanings that surround you.

6. This seclusion should not be less than an hour. Do it by yourself or with your family or friends, but with the condition that you do not preoccupy each other. Be firmly convinced that Allah will accept your repentance, and that He will heal your sicknesses and pains, and ease your affair and settle your need, and answer your call in this seclusion and in the Salat.

7. Do not let your attention waver in the Salat, and make du'aa in your prostration, and pray the Prayer of Need (haja) every night, especially before Fajr (during suhoor).

8. Increase your affection on the orphans. No connection can be formed between a slave and his Lord, and it can never be sound, if he neglects them. In fact, Allah considered the one who neglects their support (the orphans and the needy) and those who do not call others to help them, Allah considered him as rejecting the Deen of Islam, among whose marks is the aid of the orphans and love for them. And He considered their prayers as being for ostentation (riya), no matter how hidden or open he is in their performance.

9. Know very well that the Zakat is obligatory on your incoming salary, so pay it when you get it. And those who, in their wealth, there is a set portion and known right for the beggar and those prevented from asking (Q70:24-25), and give its due right on the day of its harvest (Q6:141), and O you who believe, spend out of the good things We have provided you that you have acquired, and from what We took out from the earth for you (Q2:267)."

10. Do not despise any inanimate thing or any animal, so that you will not be satisfied with despising any human.

11. Read the Quran on wudu, and work in wudu, and sleep upon wudu after you pray two raka'as with the intention that Allah unveil for you that in which lies your good and benefit. Make the reason for your sleep and movements and stillnesses to please Allah and attain His reward.

12. When you see an ayat in your sleep (from the Quran), then act upon it and repeat it often, especially if the Prophet (salla allahu alayhi wa sallam) himself pointed you to it or gave it to you. And know that it could be a certain Name from among the Names of Allah. The same applies if one of the Saliheen recited it upon you, or it was repeated in your sleep, or you woke up repeating it out of inspiration (automatically).

13. Those who have already arrived can be of help to you. The companionship of him who has already arrived for 40 days is better for you than 40 years of continuous solitary worship. Because of that (companionship), difficulties will be made easy and under your control, and far things will come nearer. Even though, however, the Perfect Shaykh is rarely to be found in this time of ours, a group of the first generations, and a few of the later generations (these are those brought near) Q56:13-14.

14. You can also find help in Surat Ya-Siin, reciting it often with the intention that Allah illuminates your way (to Him). The Messenger (salla allahu alayhi wa sallam) said: for everything there is a heart, and the heart of the Quran is Ya-Siin. Whoever reads it, Allah records for him as if he read the entire Quran 10 times without Ya-Siin, (narrated by Tirmidhi). And he said: the heart of the Qur'an is Ya-Siin. No one reads it who desires Allah and the Final Abode except that He forgives him. Read it upon your dead, (recorded by Ibn Majah, Nisa'i, Abu Dawud, and Ibn Hibban).

15. Have a positive attitude and strength in all your affairs, and enjoin the good and forbid the wrong. For if you were at the highest level of piety but left enjoining or forbidding, then that neglect will veil you from your Laylatul-Qadr, in accordance with the words of the Messenger (salla allahu alayhi wa sallam) about the one who left Jihad with the tongue and heart: there is no imaan after that, even the size of a mustard seed."

16. For every human there is his Laylat ul-Qadr, which could be at different occasions in one month or one year. (very important understanding).

17. Establish the nights of the special occasions and the Islamic holidays in the above-mentioned manner, with a seclusion (khalwat) the majority of the night, and sleep for 2 or 3 hours, and continue with the rest of the night. We have found much good in the Night of the Ascension (Rajab 27) and the Middle of Sha'aban (Sha'aban 15), and the first night of Ramadan, which is the night of the sighting of the crescent, and all of the nights of Ramadan are immense opportunities. For actions on these nights are increased. Maybe the Possessor of the Ascension (salla allahu alayhi wa sallam) might surprise you in them, and he would recharge your spiritual battery so that you arrive. Every Ramadan the angels of inspiration (ilham) and attainment (wusul) increase their descent to the earth. Other special nights include the first nine nights of Shawwal (which include the six white days), and the night of Arafat, and the night of the two Eids, and the night of 'Ashura (Muharram 10), and the first night of the lunar year, and the night of the Mawlid of Muhammad (salla allahu alayhi wa sallam). Also, expose yourself to the fragrant breezes of the Prophets, Awliya, and Martyrs by visiting their graves and making du'aa for them, and Allah will return your du'aa with something better because of them.

18. It is highly recommended that every one of these nights be preceded by a fast which you break with a vegetarian meal (no meat!), such as dates and fruit. This is the more beneficial according to experience, but not mandatory. If you do not want to fast, then let your food throughout the day be vegetarian, in a small amount in the beginning of the day, and avoid eating or drinking in the end of the day. But if you are fasting, let your futur (breaking) be in a small amount with vegetables and fruits, and there is no blame if you begin your fast (suhoor) with any food you wish. This is so that you fulfill the right of this night, and that you obtain as much as possible the Divine grants which accompany these special nights. Because those who begin their night by filling their bellies with meats and savory foods, that would stop them from arriving, because more often than not they would fall asleep anyway! "

19. Allah might unveil your insight (basira) and complete your ascension and perception, or you might feel this in an awake conscious state, and then He might for a certain time be veiled from you, so that you increase your himma and zeal and jihad, and you arrive completely after difficult trials which come with much dhikr of your Lord. And We will surely try you with something of fear and hunger, and decrease in wealth, persons, or fruits, but give glad tidings to the steadfast/patient. Those who, when a trial besets them, say: We are for Allah, and to Him do we return. Upon such will be benedictions from their Lord, and mercy, and these are the truly guided! (Q2:155-157). These difficulties carry away your sins, and purify you so that you be prepared for arrival.20. If you ask Allah for something or you pray the Prayer of Need, then increase the chances of receiving that by giving away in charity, to an orphan or needy, for that is a cleansing for you which aids in the Divine Answer. If you seek to commune with the Messenger, then bring before your communion with him some charity, for that is better for you and more pure (Q58:12). So what if you seek to commune with Allah the Lord of the Messenger! Similarly, if your aspiration weakens, or you sense some misdeed from you, then quickly go to purifying yourself with fasting and charity. Take from their wealth charity (sadaqa) which will purify and cleanse them, and send blessings upon them, for your blessings are a means of stillness and stability for them (Q9:103).

21. Laylatul-Qadr will be taken away from you if you seek for a worldly thing. Your desire could be fulfilled, but you will be veiled from arrival, which is equivalent to (or is in the place of) taking back your Jannat which your father Adam was expelled from because of his rebellion. You will regain it through your sincere obedience for the Face of Allah, free from the shirk of love of status, or the shirk of obtaining some recompense for your deeds, and so on. Any of these forms of shirk will veil you from arrival (to the Truth). "

22. For that reason Laylatul-Qadr, which you prepared for through intense devotion and fasting from rebellion all your life, is better than the life of your father Adam after his being expelled from the Garden, and better than any life that did not retrieve the lost Firdaws! The Night of Power is better than 1000 months. In it do the angels and the Spirit descend with the permission of their Lord, from every command. Peace it is, until the coming of dawn!

23. Every human has a potential for Laylatul-Qadr, as long as he prepares for it with serious deeds which take one to it, and Allah would not lose your faith (Q2:143). Indeed, the Hour is coming, and I am hiding it, so that every soul be rewarded according to its striving (Q20:15). Therefore, it is not specific to a group of people instead of another, nor a certain race over another. Rather, it is for every Salih in the community of Islam. For all those who do good, there will be good and an increase above that, and their faces will not suffer humiliation (Q10:26). The most noble of you is the most God-wary of you (Q49:13). Everyone, according to the degree of his/her action and sincerity, takes from the Grants of His Lord, and His Bestowals and Bounties, and the grants of your Lord never end! (Q17:20)