In the Name of Almighty God, The Merciful, The Compassionate

بسم لله الرحمان الرحيم

Salaam Aleikum (Peace be with you)! I hope you may gain some insight from my work here. Remember, I'm not a scholar and don't claim to be. I only claim to be a person who has a passion for both Islam and this great republic in which I live and wish to share my thoughts with others. Remember that anything good you find in this blog is from Allah, and anything wrong or bad is from my own flawed self.

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The Holy Ka'aba

The Holy Ka'aba
The House of God built by Abraham (peace be upon him)

The Pledge of Allegiance

The Pledge of Allegiance
take out the 9th line, and it would be haram (forbidden) to say this.

Friday, May 30, 2008

'ILM "Seeking Knowledge"

“Seeking Knowledge”
بسم لله الرحمان الرحيم
In the name of Allah, the most gracious the most merciful. All praise be to Allah, the lord and cherisher of all creation. We give Him our praise, we seek his guidance, we seek his forgiveness and seek refuge in him from the evil within ourselves and in our deeds. No one whom Allah guides can be misguided, and no one whom Allah allows to go astray, can be guided. I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah without partners, and I bear witness that Muhammad is the servant and messenger of Allah.
One of the most important aspects of the deen of Islam, is knowledge. Knowledge allows one to free themselves from the bondage of ignorance and dependence, to free one’s mind and soul, to be able to fully and completely experience the beauty of Islam. In today’s time, the Muslim Ummah, is plagued by a drought of real ‘ilm. Muslims today respond to the world around them in ways that are reminiscent of the days of jahalia, before the coming of Jibreel to our beloved prophet Muhammad (sws). It seems that the average Muslim simply relies on listening to their local sheikh in regards to fatawa. And, at the same time, many of those who are considered shieookh aren’t really knowledgeable at all. This is a problem that is at the root of many other problems facing the Muslim Ummah. So how do we fix it.
The very first words revealed to our messenger (sws), dealt directly with the importance of knowledge and education. Allah says in the Qur’an, “Read in the name of your Lord who created. Created man from a congealed clot of blood. Read, for your Lord is most bountiful. Who taught the use of the pen, and taught Man that which he knows not.” These illuminous words of our Lord illustrate to us that knowledge, and the ability to reason are what makes us unique among Allah’s creation. It is what separates us from the animals. Many animals can be very intelligent. Some can even be taught to do basic math and to learn basic language skills. However the thing that no animal can do, is reason. To be able to contemplate Allah’s creation. To be able to contemplate their purpose in this world. This is something that only we, as human beings can do.
However, this ability to reason also allows us as human beings, to lead ourselves down different and mislead paths. It is this ability that can cause people to associate partners with Allah and commit shirk. It can even cause them to conclude that they don’t believe in God at all. The ability to reason is by it’s nature chaotic, unless supplemented with guidance and wisdom along the way.
Allah (swt) says in the Qur’an, “Indeed, Allâh conferred a great favor on the believers when He sent among them a Messenger from among themselves, reciting unto them His Verses, and purifying them, and instructing them the Book and Al-Hikmah [the wisdom and the
Sunnah of the Prophet, while before that they had been in manifest error” [Aal ‘Imraan 3:164]
Allah (swt) sent messengers from amongst us to give us this wisdom thru two basic means. One being the direct revealation from Allah such as what was given to Musa in the Torah, to Dawood in the Psalms, Jesus in the Gospels, and Muhammad in the Qur’an. The other means, is in the hikmah or wisdom in their sunnah, or example. This leads me to my first major point concerning knowledge; that all knowledge is based first and foremost in the wisdom of the Qur’an and Sunnah. No shiekh, imam, scholar, ruler, or idealogy can overule these two fundamental bases of knowledge.
Many people choose to follow a particular shiekh or imam. One that they trust in their interpretation of the Qur’an and Sunnah. This may be a local shiekh but in many cases it is a particular classical shiekh such as those of the major madathab, or schools of thought. While these shieookh were no doubt great scholars of Islam, none of them ever claimed that they were infallible, or that they wished to found any type of “school of thought”. It was actually students of these imams later after their deaths, that founded the concept of a madhab related to their respective Imams. In many cases the madhabs dominated a certain geographical region. The Maliki madhab, dominated most of northern and western Africa. The Hanafi madhab dominates much of central Asia from China to southern Europe. The Shafi’ii madhab nominates most of eastern Africa as well as southeast Asia into Indonesia, while the Hanbalis made up much of the Arabian penninsula. So as a result, many people were and still are raised to follow certain madaahab that are dominate in their local areas. While I have the utmost respect for these imams and the later imams that followed their respective school’s of thought, the danger in this concept is that people become lazy in respect to ‘ilm. People begin to rely more and more on following the fatwas and rulings of their respective madhab, and all the while they don’t have any real understanding of where that knowledge comes from. It’s similar to how today, if you ask a lot of people where milk or eggs come from, they say the grocery store. People have become so disconnected with the original sources such as the cow or the chicken, that they don’t even associate these things together. The same is true with the majority of average Muslims today. They’ve become so accustomed to receiving their “deen” from their shieookh that they’ve lost contact with that original source, the Qur’an and Sunnah. Thus, they no longer feel the need to seek knowledge. Or, if they do, they do so within the scope of their particular madhab, and not considering the opinions of other respected scholars. Thus, it is absolutely vital for all Muslims to seek knowledge of their deen. It is not enough just to practice Islam the way someone tells you to.
Without knowledge, one cannot truly have faith. How can you have faith in something that you don’t understand? Allah (swt) consistently, throughout the Qur’an, refers to his ayaat as “signs for those who understand”, or “those who comtemplate”. Allah (swt) does not ask us to have blind faith. He encourages us to ask questions and to seek to understand his creation. And, the more we understand, the more we appreciate of his creation. After all we were created to be the keepers of this earth. Allah (swt) says in the Qur’an, “ And it is He who has created you as the inheritors of the Earth” (An’aam 6:165). The word “khalaaif” is used in this verse to refer to the purpose of our existence. “Khalaaif” or “Khaleefa”, means a ruler. Any ruler, in order to carry out his duties, must have a complete and comprehensive understanding over that which he is to rule. The very purpose of our existence depends on our seeking knowledge. The prophet Muhammad (sws) said, “seek knowledge even into China”, illustrating to us the importance of seeking knowledge to the furthest of our ability.
Also however, knowledge is essentially useless if you don’t put it into action. Allah (swt) says in his kitaab, “O you who believe! Why do you say that which you do not do? Most hateful it is with Allâh that you say that which you do not do” [al-Saff :2-3]
Many people who do have some degree of knowledge, don’t act by it, whether it be due to laziness or maliciousness. It is truly unfortunate that so many of our brothers and sisters have some knowledge of this deen, but choose to follow alternate ideologies. Today in the Muslim world you can find all sorts of political and religious movements. Many of them not at all based on the teachings of Islam. You can find socialism, communism, fascism, monarchy, military dictatorship, all the way down to fundamentalist Muslim movements that all adhere to a manmade ideology, and meanwhile the words of Allah (swt) and our beloved prophet Muhammad (sws) are not much more than an after thought. I personally, is my few travels to the Muslim countries, have mentioned these things to some people. That many of their customs and practices are un-Islamic. Their usual response is that, “well that’s just the way it is”, or “ that’s our culture”, or sometimes the response is just a shrug. It is truly unfortunate that so much of the Muslim world has lost it’s connection with the teachings of Allah (swt) and his prophet (sws). All of us, who do have understanding of this deen, have a responsibility to convey it to others. Not only is it our responsibility, but it is one of the only things that can benefit us after our deaths. Only three things can accumulate ajar for us in death, which are charity that people continue to benefit from, a righteous child that prays for you, and knowledge that you convey to others, and that they continue to benefit from. So it is important to seek knowledge and then also to impliment it into one’s life, and then to convey that knowledge for the sake of making life easier in this dunya, for completing our purpose in this life, and also for our benefit in the akhira and for the pleasure of Allah (swt).
A Qulu Qawli Haatha, wa Astaghfir Allah lii wallakum…
In todays times, humanity has achieved many great accomplishments as a result of their pursuit of ‘ilm. Man has discovered the atom, and how to manipulate it to create energy. Man went into space and landed on the moon, and even in these past two weeks, sent the second robotic system to explore the surface of Mars. I find it rather sad that there hasn’t been more Muslims involved with these accomplishments. Knowledge, both of the deen of Islam, and of this dunya, is absolutely essential to living a life pleasing to Allah. For those who are students my advice is this; don’t let your studies, come in the way of your education. What I mean by that is that don’t just study to past the tests. Study to educate yourself about this world that we live in, and to find how you can contribute to make it a little better than you found it. For those of us who aren’t students I say, you don’t have to be attending a school to be a student. Nowadays, the internet makes almost any information you could possibly want to know available at just the click of a button. We have available to us, information that generations before us could only dream of. A little bit of “careful” use of the internet, can go a long way in the pursuit of knowledge. So let us all seek to be students or knowledge, whether young or old, man or woman, rich or poor; so that we may attain the pleasure of Allah and win the ultimate reward in jennah insha’Allah.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Memorial Day

بسم لله الرحمان الرحيم
In the name of Almighty God, the most gracious, the most merciful. All praise be to God, the lord and sustainer of all creation. I give Him praise, I seek his guidance, I seek his forgiveness, and I seek refuge in Him from the evil in my deeds and in myself. No one whom the Almighty guides can be misguided, and for those whom he allows to go astray, no one can guide. I bear witness that there is no Deity worthy of worship except Almighty God, alone with no partners, and I bear witness that Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, is the servant and messenger of Almighty God.
This coming Monday is known here in the US as "Memorial Day". It is a day in which Americans remember those who have died in military service to our country. Many people now-a-days, tend to just think of it as a day off work, but this is, in my opinion, one of many signs that many people of this country have lost sight of what it really means to be an American.
Memorial Day began first as a day to honor US (Union) soldiers who died in the War for Southern Independence, or more commonly known as the American Civil War, and the day was originally known as "Decoration Day". As a side note, many former Confederate states have "Confederate Memorial Day" that honors those soldiers who died for the Confederacy in that war. After World War I, the holiday was extended to all American servicemen who gave their lives in combat.
As an American Muslim, Memorial Day has special meaning to me, because it is a recognition of what it took and what it has taken for this nation to preserve it's freedom's. I cherish my American heritage for the fact that it is the very thing that gives me the freedom to choose and recognize the truth of Islam. The Constitution of the United States, is a political document that bears incredible resemblance to the Constitution of Medina, implemented by our prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him. The Constitution of Medina gave equal rights under the law to all who pledged allegiance to it. It guaranteed freedom of worship, commerce and trade, and property to all whether they be Muslim, Jewish, or even Pagan. It was a document that recognized that all human beings are equal in the sight of Almighty God. The Almighty says in the Qur'an, "We have created you from a single pair, and made you into nations and tribes so that you may come to know one another (not to despise one another), and the best among you is the most righteous." This compares rather similarly with statements in the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. Those men and women who have fallen in defense of this country, are the "beasts of burden" upon which the heavy weight of liberty was carried. If not for them, Muslims and non-Muslims alike would not have the opportunity to live in such a place that is based upon the individuals right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Some might say that some of the recent military campaigns that the U.S. has engaged in have not been for the sake of "defending freedom". Regardless of your political views, it cannot be said that the men and women who serve in our military are always in unanimous agreement with the "politics" of the situation. However, they serve there country because they believe in the ideals upon which it was founded; as do I, and as should all people of this nation, especially Muslims.
The bottom line is that we may not always agree with policies of our government or the reason for waging such wars, and no doubt there are indeed servicemen who behave shamefully in any conflict. However, the heroism that belongs to those men and women and serve and die honorably in defense of the American ideals can in no way be diminished by these few ignorant and shameful soldiers and the corruption of Washington. They deserve our utmost respect and admiration, and on this Memorial Day, I encourage all my brothers and sisters in Islam and my fellow Americans to remember these words.
...And Allah Knows Best...

Thursday, May 15, 2008

60 years of Oppression and Exploitation

بسم لله الرحمان الرحيم
In the name of Almighty God, the most gracious, the most merciful. All praise be to God. I praise him, I seek his guidance, and I beg his forgiveness. I seek refuge in Him from the evil within myself and the evil of my deeds. I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship other than Almighty God, and I bear witness that Muhammad, is the slave and messenger of God.
People who know me, know that generally I avoid engaging in political talk and rhetoric. However, as many know, this past week, on the 14th of May, the world recognized the 60th anniversary of the creation of the state of Israel. For the Palestinian people, it means 60 years of oppression of exploitation.
This is nothing more than my personal remembrance, and a call for others to remember the plight of the Palestinian people. May almighty God alleviate there pain and suffering, and may Almighty God guide them to retain their faith in Islam to the utmost degree, so that they do not transgress limits because of anger, and may Almighty God guide the Israelis away from committing the same crimes that were committed against their parents and grandparents in Europe, and may He guide them towards recognizing the evil of Zionism, to recognize their Palestinian neighbors, both Christian and Muslim, as fellow human beings and believers in the same loving, and just God.
...And Allah Knows Best...