Thursday, April 22, 2004

BE HONEST IN YOUR LIFE..ALWAYS, AND AT ANY AGE

Several years ago an imaam moved to London. He often

took the bus from his home to the downtown area. Some

weeks after he arrived, he had occasion to ride the

same bus. When he sat down, he discovered that the

driver had accidentally given him twenty pence too

much change.



As he considered what to do, he thought to himself,

you better give the twenty pence back. It would be

wrong to keep it. Then he thought, oh forget it, it's

only twenty pence. Who would worry about this little

amount?



Anyway, the bus company already gets too much fare;

they will never miss it. Accept it as a gift from

Almighty Allah and keep quiet.



When his stop came, the Imaam paused momentarily at

the door, then he handed the twenty pence back to the

driver and said " Here, you gave me too much change."



The driver with a smile replied " Aren't you the new

Imaam in this area? I have been thinking lately about

going to worship at your mosque. I just wanted to see

what you would do if I gave you too much change."



When the Imaam stepped off the bus, his knees became

weak and soft. He had to grab the nearest light pole

and held for support, and looked up to the heavens and

cried "Oh Allah, I almost sold Islam for twenty pence!



Remember, we may never see the impact our actions have

on people. Sometimes we are the only knowledge of

Quran someone will read, or the only Islam a

non-Muslim will see. What we need to provide, Insha

Allah is an example for others to see. Be careful and

be honest everyday, because you never know who is

watching your actions and judging you.



Taken from 'The Muslim Woman vol. 4 Ed 1'

Thanks a lot to Dr. Wan Hazabbah for sending this wonderful story

Aliens in their own country

Massoud Shadjareh
Thursday April 1, 2004
The Guardian

Seyf's a smart-looking guy, Mediterranean looking.
If you're clued up about these things you'd guess
he's of Turkish origin. Buying milk at his local
supermarket he and his American flatmate of Pakistani
origin were approached by a loud, white English
shopper, who yelled in the middle of the dairy
aisle: "Are you terrorists?"

This was an example of what passes as humour in
Middle England at the moment. Before she burst out
laughing and carried on what turned into a tirade,
other shoppers stood by, nervously looking for
staff and indicating that the two Muslim lads might
be trouble.

Forget about the latest arrests around London.
Forget about police profiling of Muslims (and of
that there's plenty) - the general public now
categorises all things Muslim as terror-orientated.
Why? It's easy to blame victims of prejudice for
their demonisation - it's a practice with a long
pedigree. But the unending calls on Muslims, from
rightwing shock jocks to former archbishops of
Canterbury, to condemn terrorism reveal a level of
conditionality that no other community has been
asked to bear.

Throw into this mix the continuous police raids and
arrests since 9/11 under various pieces of anti-
terrorist legislation, the fanfare of media attention
when Muslims of various origins are arrested and the
deafening silence when most (some 450 out of 540) are
released. Add the recent analysis of stop and search
figures that shows a disproportionately high number
of the 32,100 people who were stopped and searched in
the last year (or more accurately 71,100 people when
you take into account the misreporting of some police
forces, according to Statewatch) were of Asian origin.
Do not forget to include Islamophobic media coverage
of an increasingly anti-Muslim "war on terror", and
stir. The result?

British non-Muslims are scared of Muslims; they're
angry with them and they're paranoid about the threat
they perceive from Muslims ready to blow them up.
British Muslims are scared of the backlash against
them from non-Muslims. They're also paranoid about
their safety from wider society, the security
services and the other Muslims that they are told
are out there waiting to blow everybody up.

At either end of this polarisation we are seeing
a level of alienation that bodes ill for British
society. For the Muslim part, their sense of
grievance has to be taken on board by the
government, its institutions and the media in a
meaningful way. It's taken two years of lobbying
the Met about stereotyping, but at last, yesterday,
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Peter Clarke's
statement to the press was at pains to make clear
that the arrests and their focus should not cast
aspersions on the Muslim community. Yet every
breaking news story carried the label "Islamic
terrorists" and the addition of the description
"British of Pakistani origin". It may sell today's
papers but it is ultimately crass vilification.

It is also at the heart of the growing anger among
Muslim youth. Born and bred British, their citizenship
is always conditional. When Kriss Akabussi won
athletics medals he wasn't referred to as a British
Christian of Nigerian origin. Yet Muslims are always
alien by description - their religion and ethnicity
used in reporting further edges them to the boundaries
of society.

This isn't even a post-9/11 concern. After the Oldham
riots in 2001, we heard that long-term unemployment
or poor career opportunities, fuelled by racism and
Islamophobia, in turn fuelled pain and anger among
the young. Three years on, professional affluent
Muslims, whose lives had seen little, if any, of the
social deprivation and societal exclusion that the
Cantle report identified, can tell of discrimination
and hatred levelled against them.

They see an older Muslim leadership panic under the
strain of negativity. While younger organisations
such as the London Muslim Coalition called on mosques
to pray for peace for all in the wake of the horror
of Madrid, the Muslim Council of Britain called on
mosques to report any suspicions they had about
anything. It's the difference between being a part
of society, however marginalised, and perpetuating
the idea that you are an unruly guest, your stay
determined by different conditions than for everyone
else. You don't have to be disaffected youth to see
the anomalies and feel the isolation.

For all the Muslim communities' faults - and we, like
all other communities and individuals, have many -
our empathy, often inspired by our faith, with the
deprived and oppressed is not one of them. To want
an end to injustice against Palestinians doesn't
make you a terrorist, opposing the war against Iraq
or calling on Russia to withdraw from Chechnya
doesn't make you an extremist of any class. Yet
when British Muslims participate in demonstrations
and leafleting - against their government's
participation in occupations of Muslim lands - this
is seen as more evidence of inherent detachment
from British mores and, worse still, attachment to
potential, if not actual, terrorist causes.

The late Sulayman Zain ul-Abedin, who was the first
to be tried and found not guilty of offences under
the Terrorism Act of 2000, found his reading material
used as "evidence" against him. In a letter to some
mosques last year the Charity Commission is alleged
to have asked some not to allow prayers to be recited
for Palestine as this was "political". So, as a
British Muslim you can't act on what you believe in,
however just; you mustn't read about it and you can't
ven pray for it.

Seyf is a volunteer at our offices. Formerly a
journalist in Turkey, he is seeking asylum, having
been tortured by police for his views on Turkish
foreign policy. Some of his colleagues are serving
sentences for possessing reading material deemed
seditious. Civil society can only save Britain from
becoming a country that people seek asylum from,
when its institutions and its media realise that
the alienation of Muslims and many others is neither
self-imposed or imported from abroad.

· Massoud Shadjareh is chair of the
Islamic Human Rights Commission

7 tips for improving your relationship with the Qur'an

Are you one of those people who rarely touches the Qur'an? Or do you read daily, but don't find it is having the impact on you that it should? Whatever the case may be, these are some simple tips that can help you connect with the Qur'an.

1. Before you touch it, check your heart. The key to really benefiting from the Qur'an is to check your heart first, before you even touch Allah's book. Ask yourself, honestly, why you are reading it. Is it to just get some information and to let it drift away from you later? Remember that the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) was described by his wife as a "walking Qur'an": in other words, he didn't just read and recite the Qur'an, he lived it.

2. Do your Wudu (ablution). Doing your Wudu is good physical and mental preparation to remind you you're not reading just another book. You are about to interact with God, so being clean should be a priority when communicating with Him.

3. Read only 5 minutes everyday. Too often, we think we should read Qur'an for at least one whole hour. If you aren't in the habit of reading regularly, this is too much. Start off with just five minutes daily. If you took care of step one, Insha Allah (God willing), you will notice that those five minutes will become ten, then half an hour, then an hour, and maybe even more!

4. Make sure you understand what you've read. Five minutes of reading the Qur'an in Arabic is good, but you need to understand what you're reading. Make sure you have a good translation of the Qur'an in the language you understand best. Always try to read the translation of what you've read that day.

5. Remember, the Qur'an is more interactive than a CD. In an age of "interactive" CD-Roms and computer programs, a number of people think books are passive and boring. But the Qur'an is not like that. Remember that when you read Qur'an,you are interacting with Allah. He is talking to you, so pay attention.

6. Don't just read, listen too. There are now many audio cassettes and CDs of the Qur'an, a number of them with translations as well. This is great to put on your walkman or your car's CD or stereo as you drive to and from work. Use this in addition to your daily Qur'an reading, not as a replacement for it.

7. Make Dua (supplication). Ask Allah to guide you when you read the Qur'an. Your aim is to sincerely, for the love of Allah, interact with Him by reading, understanding and applying His blessed words. Making Dua to Allah for help and guidance will be your best tool for doing this.

Living the Quran

Living the Quran
Al-Araf (The Heights)
Chapter 7: Verse 37


To Testify Against Oneself
"Who is more wicked than one who invents lies about God or denies His revelations? These shall have whatever has been decreed to be their lot [in life]. When Our messengers come to carry off their souls, they will say: 'Where, now, are those whom you used to invoke besides God?' They will reply: 'They have forsaken us!' Thus, they will bear witness against themselves that they had been unbelievers.”

This is a scene of death as it overwhelms those who fabricate claims against God, alleging that their inherited concepts and philosophies and the traditions and laws they enact for themselves have been sanctioned by God. Such people deny God's revelations when they are conveyed to them by His Messengers although these contain a perfect divine code. Thus, they prefer their suspect, unconfirmed knowledge to the confirmed truth of God's revelations.

The angels come to gather their souls and cause them to die, at which point the angels ask them: what happened to the fabricated claims you used to emphasize? Where are the gods you invoked and worshipped, which caused you to turn away from the truth conveyed to you by God's messengers? Where are they now at this very critical point in time when your lives have come to an end, and you find no one to give you an extra hour beyond the deadline appointed to you by God?

They have only one answer to make. It is a clear, unambiguous and factual answer: They have simply gone away, far away. We do not know where they are, nor do they have a clear way of returning to us. Lost indeed are those whose gods cannot find them or who cannot help them in their hour of need. Worthless are the gods who know no way to reach their servants when they need them the most. Their reply them was a clear acknowledgement of being in the wrong.

Source:
"In The Shade of The Quran" - Sayyid Qutb, Vol 6, pp. 90, 91


Ask of Allah Only

The Prophet, peace be upon him, said: "If you ask, ask of Allah"
[Narrated by Abdullah Ibn Abbas. Recorded by Al-Tirmidhi]

The important point for the Muslim is to realize that Allah and Allah alone is able to truly grant his needs. Therefore, he should turn only to Allah and realize that, even if Allah uses other humans to meet his needs, the one who truly fulfilled his needs is Allah.

It is recorded in Sahih Muslim that the Prophet took an oath from a number of Companions, such as Abu Bakr, Abu Dharr and Thaubaan, that they would never ask for anything from anyone. If any of these Companions dropped their sticks or their camel reins, they would never ask anyone to pick it up for them but would get it themselves.

However, people are often in situations where they need to seek assistance from others. Therefore, it is important to recognize that there are two types of asking from other humans. One type is forbidden. As for the second type, it is still best for one not to ask of any other human.

1. The type that is completely forbidden is to ask of another human what is typically not within the ability of a human being. This would include asking them for guidance, asking from them things related to the unseen and unknowable, or praying to people who are dead and in their graves.

2. The second type is where people ask of each other what is normally with the ability of a human being. This is the kind of mutual assistance and help that takes place all the time among mankind. However, even when turning to other humans for this permissible type of request, one should realize that the request will only be satisfied by them if Allah guides them to that decision.

Source:
"Commentary on the Forty Hadith" - By Jamaal al-Din M. Zarabozo, pp. 748-752


Following is an excerpt from the conversation that took place between Said Ibn Jubayr and one of his students before Said was arrested and later on executed by Hajjaj Ibn Yusuf

Are We On Truth?

Umayr (a student)
Will Truth remain with its wings broken? Its propagators are killed and its people and helpers are tortured? Whereas Falsehood is proud of its numbers and preparations, shedding blood, taking wealth and sacred things, and in whatever they want and there is none to stop them or oppose them. Are we not on Truth and those oppressors on Falsehood?

Said
May your mother be bereaved of you, O Umayr! Are you in any doubt regarding this? By Allah if they cut us piece by piece so that the birds eat us and we are in the stomachs of the sharks, we will not doubt that we are on Truth and they are on Falsehood.

Umayr
Then how is it that they are winning and we are losing after losing?

Said
No, not quite like that. We will truly lose the day we doubt the Truth we are inviting others to or believe in the Falsehood they are upon. If an isolated person is steadfast on Truth in the face of Falsehood, he has truly won, even though in the eyes of the others he may be a loser. Shall I give you an example?

The most vivid example in our history is the hijrah (migration) of the Messenger of Allah: The day when he was forced out of his homeland and took refuge in the heart of Cave Mu'tam. I wonder what you thought of this situation. Do you think he was defeated or was he victorious?

Source:
"The Scholar and The Tyrant" - by Yusuf Al Qaradawi, pp. 19, 20