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.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

God's Prophets Series: #1 Adam

بسم لله الرحمان الرحيم

In the name of Almighty God, the most gracious, the most merciful. All praise be to God, the Lord of all worlds. We give Him our praise, we seek his guidance, we seek forgiveness, and we seek refuge in Him from the evil within ourselves and the evil within our deeds. No one whom He guides can be misguided, and no one whom He allows to go astray, can be guided. I testify that there is nothing worthy of worship except almighty God, and I testify that Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, is his slave and messenger.
Allah (swt) has told us in the holy Qur'an, that He has sent many prophets to mankind. He has said that to every nation, there were prophets, who taught the message of "La ilaha illa Allah", or "there is none worthy of worship except Almighty God". Allah (swt) tells us that these prophets were sent from amongst us, to tell us, and maybe more importantly to show us how to live according to Allah's will. It is not known how many prophets there were exactly, but Allah (swt) mentions 25 of them by name in the Qur'an. Insha'Allah I will be talking about many of them in coming khutbahs, but today I will start with the first prophet of Allah, our primordial father Adam, peace be upon him.
Adam (as) is unique from all other prophets in that he did not come to any "nation" or "tribe", as there were no nations or tribes yet. But it was him, and his family that would set the stage for the creation of all of those nations and tribes. Allah (swt) relates the story of Adam's creation in Surat Al Baqarah verses 30-39. Allah (swt) says, "Remember when your Lord said to the angels: 'Verily, I am going to place mankind generations after generations on earth.' They said: 'Will You place therein those who will make mischief therein and shed blood, while we glorify You with praises and thanks (exalted be You above all that they associate with You as partners) and sanctify You.' Allah said: 'I know that which you do not know.'
Allah taught Adam all the names of everything, then He showed them to the angels and said: "Tell Me the names of these if you are truthful." They (angels) said: "Glory be to You, we have no knowledge except what You have taught us. Verily, it is You, the All-Knower, the All-Wise."
He said: "O Adam! Inform them of their names," and when he had informed them of their names, He said: "Did I not tell you that I know the unseen in the heavens and the earth, and I know what you reveal and what you have been hiding?"
Remember when We said to the angels: "Prostrate yourself before Adam" They prostrated except Iblis, he refused and was proud and was one of the disbelievers(disobedient to Allah)."
We said: "O Adam! Dwell you and your wife in the Paradise and both of you freely with pleasure and delight of things therein as wherever you will but come not near this tree or you both will be of the Zalimeen (wrongdoers)."
Then the Satan made them slip there from (the Paradise), and got them out from that in which they were. We said: "Get you down all with enmity between yourselves. On earth will be a dwelling place for you and an enjoyment for a time."
Then Adam received from his Lord Words. His Lord pardoned him (accepted his repentance). Verily He is the One Who forgives (accepts repentance), the most Merciful.
We said: "Get down all of you from this place (the Paradise), then whenever there comes to you Guidance from Me, and whoever follows My Guidance there shall be no fear on them, nor shall they grieve. But those who disbelieve and belie Our Ayah (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, and signs and revelations, etc) such are the dwellers of the Fire, they shall abide therein forever."
This is the story of our beginning. How human beings came to be the inheritors of the Earth. These verses from the Holy Qur'an also demonstrate to us the beginning of our war with Shaitan, Iblis. Allah (swt) relates the same story in Surat Al A'raaf verses 11-25 in more detail. It reads, "And surely, We created you (your father Adam) and then gave you shape (the noble shape of a human being), then We told the angels, "Prostrate to Adam", and they prostrated, except Iblis, he refused to be those who prostrate.
Allah said: "What prevented you (O Iblis) that you did not prostrate when I commanded you?"
Iblis said: "I am better than him (Adam), You created me from fire and him You created from clay."
Allah said: "O Iblis get down from this (Paradise), it is not for you to be arrogant here. Get out for you are of those humiliated and disgraced."
Iblis said: "Allow me respite till the Day they are raised up (Day of Resurrection)."
Allah said: "You are of those allowed respite."
Iblis said: "Because You have sent me astray, surely I will sit in wait against them (human beings) on Your Straight Path. Then I will come to them from before them and behind them, from their right and from their left and You will not find most of them as thankful ones (they will not be dutiful to You)."
Allah said: "Get out from Paradise, disgraced and expelled. Whoever of them (mankind) will follow you, then surely I will fill Hell with you all."
"And O Adam! Dwell you and your wife in Paradise, and eat thereof as you both wish, but approach not this tree otherwise you both will be of the Zalimeen (unjust and wrongdoers)."
Then Satan whispered suggestions to them both in order to uncover that which was hidden from them of their private parts before, he said:" Your Lord did not forbid you this tree save you should become angels or become of the immortals." Satan swore by Allah to them both saying: "Verily I am one of the sincere well wishers for you both."
So he misled them with deception. Then when they tasted of the tree, that which was hidden from them of their shame (private parts) became manifest to them and they began to stick together the leaves of Paradise over themselves (in order to cover their shame). Their Lord called out to them saying "Did I not forbid you that tree and tell you, Verily Satan is an open enemy unto you?"
They said: "Our Lord! We have wronged ourselves. If You forgive us not, and bestow not upon us Your Mercy, we shall certainly be of the losers." Allah said: "Get down one of you an enemy to the other (i.e. Adam, Eve, and Satan etc). On earth will be a dwelling place for you and an enjoyment, for a time." He said: "therein you shall live, and therein you shall die, and from it you shall be brought out (resurrected)."

From these immortal words of our Lord, we see that from the beginning, what an evil enemy we have in Iblis, Al Shaitan. We see that Iblis made a solemn oath to Allah (swt) to be a constant distraction to us as human beings along the path of righteousness. He said he would "sit in wait against them or your straight path. Then I will come to them from before them and behind them, and from their left and from their right".
This is probably one of the most important lessons we can take away from the story of our father Adam. That Iblis, Shaitan, Satan, the Devil, Lucifer, Diablo, whatever you call him, is the sworn enemy of our race. We must make no mistake about it. The fruits of his labor exist all around us. Everywhere we look we see them. On TV, in books, in our communities, in our families and even in ourselves. We must always remember that Shaitan is evil, but by no means stupid. Shaitan is more clever than any of us realize. The prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, said in his final sermon, "Shaitan has given up on deceiving you in bigger things (i.e. worshipping statues, and the like), so beware of the smaller things". We must constantly be aware of Shaitan's influence in our lives and let this story of Sayyidina Adam being an illustration and reminder to that.
Another important lesson we see from this story is that of the Angels place with Allah (swt). We see at first, the Angels to some extent questioned God's decision to create Adam, as he and thus his progeny would have the ability to disobey God. Angels don't have this ability. They are created with the sole purpose of carrying out Allah's command. Allah told the Angels, "I know that which you do not know", meaning that Allah knew what human beings were capable of, and therein lies the lesson. We as human beings have the potential to even greater in the sight of Allah, then the Angels. Because, we have the ability to disobey, yet some "choose" to obey; something that the Angels don't have. This fact is illustrated in that the Angels and all in the Heavens were ordered to prostrate themselves to Adam, not in worship of course because all worship is strictly for Allah, but in respect and admiration. This was Allah's way of demonstrating to them and to us through the telling of the story in the Qur'an, how truly esteemed we are in the sight of Allah, as a creation. At our best, we have the ability to surpass the Angels, however at the same time, at our worst, we are lower than animals. Allah (swt) also created all the different animals of the Earth, but they are given instinct, or built in instructions on how to survive and multiply. They are programmed if you will. They do not have the ability to override that programming. We as human beings also have that same programming but we have extra components such as reason, love, and lusts that can allow us to override that programming either for good or bad. We have the ability to behave in ways that make us lower than those animals. For example, if a dog tries to take a bear's fish, the bear will do whatever it can to try to ward of the dog before getting the fish. However, if the dog makes off with the fish, the bear isn't going to hunt down that bear years later and try to kill him. Human beings, however will do that. So in short this part of the story of prophet Adam (as) demonstrates to us the unique and esteemed position we as human beings hold in the spectrum of Allah's creations.
It is also documented in the Sahih al Bukhari on the authority of Abi Musa Sha'arai that the prophet Muhammad (sws) said, "Allah created Adam from a handful of dust (dirt) taken from different lands, so the children of Adam (human beings) have been created according to the composition of the land. Therefore from mankind we have white, red, black and yellow ones; good and evil, ease and sorrow, and all that comes between." So another lesson that can be deduced from the addition of this hadith is that the nature of our creation, is what lead to the variety of our colors. If you travel the Earth, you will many different kinds of soil. Indeed there are places where the soil appears red; there are places where the soil appears black, and there are places where the soil appears light brown and sometimes almost white, but regardless of the color, all of this soil is basically the same; made primarily of carbon and water. So it is also with human beings, and also we are made primarily of carbon and water. This goes to show how truly equal we are. There are no races amongst us as human beings, we are all one race, the human race.
It is almost impossible to talk about Adam, without talking about his wife Hawa, or as she is known in English, Eve. Allah talks briefly about her creation in the Qur'an. He says in the first verse of Surat An Nisa "O Mankind! Be dutiful to your Lord, Who created you from a single person (Adam) and from Him (Adam) He created his wife (Eve), and from them both He created many men and women." Allah (swt) also says in Surat Al A'raaf verse 189, "It is he Who has created you from a single person (Adam) and then He created from him his wife (Eve), in order that he might enjoy the pleasure of living with her." These verses from Allah's book show us that with the creation of Hawa, men and women were eternally linked as partners. In the Biblical tradition it was supposedly Hawa who was deceived by the serpent (i.e. Iblis), and that she fed some of it to Adam. This misrepresentation has led to centuries of persecution and dehumanization of women within both the Jewish and Christian traditions. Many Christians even up to today believe that the woman's menstrual cycle is "punishment" for their disobedience to God in the beginning. Also the Biblical story implies that Adam was unaware that the fruit he was eating was that of the forbidden tree and therefore their fall from Eden, or Paradise, was entirely her fault. Because of that mentality women have been subjugated and abused constantly throughout Biblical history. The Qur'an sets the record straight that they were BOTH equally responsible for disobeying Allah (swt); that Adam was just as guilty as Hawa, and this is the foundation of the role of the Male and the Female according to the deen of Islam.
Adam (as) was the original father. He and Hawa bore many children. Of which two named Cain and Abel became very famous. Allah (swt) says in the Qur'an in Surat al Ma'idah verses 27-31, "And (O Muhammad) recite to them (the Jews) the story of the two sons of Adam (Abel and Cain) in truth; when each offered a sacrifice to Allah, it was accepted from the one but not from the other. The latter said to the former; "I will surely kill you."
the former said: "Verily Allah accepts only from those who are Al Muttaqeen (the pious). If you do stretch your hand against me to kill me I shall never stretch my hand against you to kill you, for I fear Allah; the Lord of the Alameen (mankind, jinn, and all that exists). Verily I intend to let you draw my sin on yourself as well as yours then you will be one of the dwellers of the Fire, and that is the recompense of the Zalimeen (polytheists, and wrongdoers)."
So the self of the other (latter one) encouraged him and made fair seeming to him the murder of his brother; he murdered him and became one of the losers. Allah sent a crow who scratched the ground to show him to hide the dead body of his brother. He (the murderer) said: "Woe to me! Am I not even able to be as this crow and to hide the dead body of my brother?" Then he became one of those who regretted."
This event, the first murder, set the stage for the long history of humanity to come. Bloodshed has definitely been a chief characteristic of human beings, just as the Angels had feared. But through it all; despite all the droves of evil, misguided men and women their have been, there have always been those who heeded the message of Allah (swt) revealed through his many prophets. Noah, Moses, Abraham, Solomon, Jesus, and ending with Muhammad; all of them calling to the same basic and fundamental principal; "La ilaha illa Allah", "There is none worthy of worship except Almighty God". Let us all reflect on the story of Sayyidina Adam, peace be upon him, as a lesson to us about who we are, where we have come from, and where we aught to be moving into the future, towards the inevitable judgment day that awaits.
...And Allah Knows Best...

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Stand Out!!!

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 beg his forgiveness, and we 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 (swt), and I bear witness that Muhammad is the servant and messenger of Allah.
Allah (swt) says in the Qur'an, "Oh you who believe. Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even though it be against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, be he rich or poor. Allah is a better protector to both. So follow not the lusts of your heart, least you commit injustice. And if you distort your witness or refuse to give it, verily, Allah is ever Well Acquainted with what you do." (An Nisa 135).
Islam is a faith of rights and limitations. All things have rights. People have rights. Animals have rights. Plants and trees have rights. Stones and rocks even have rights. Life in this dunya is in all actuality a balancing act of fulfilling others rights over us. We must make sure that we fulfill Allah's rights over us first and foremost. But, we must also fulfill our families rights over us, and our employers rights over us, our rulers rights over us, and even our own bodies' rights over us. These rights make this world work. It is the grease that allows this great machine of life to function smoothly and efficiently. It is the cartilage between the joints of our many relationships. These rights are what allows for peace in this world. However, when these rights are violated, then it is like a car out of oil. Friction is created. Things begin to loose control, and eventually the whole thing just shuts down. No peace. There can be no peace, whether it be big or small, without justice. Justice, simply is ensuring that rights are upheld. And, often in today's materialistic world, it becomes easy to overlook others' rights. For those of us who consider ourselves descent people, we would like to think that we do respect the rights of others for the most part. However, we forget that Shaitan is tricky. The prophet Muhammad (sws) told us that Shaitan had given up on deceiving us in large matters, so beware of the smaller matters. Sometimes we may forget the little rights people and other things have over us, and when we do that, we fall into committing injustice, even though we're not really aware of it.
I would like to go back to the verse from the Qur'an that I quoted earlier. Allah (swt) says, "Oh you who believe" (this tells us that Allah is talking to Muslims specifically), "Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah". This is a direct command from our Lord (swt) to stand for justice. There can be no middle ground on this issue, when Allah aza wa jall uses this kind of language. "STAND OUT!!!! FIRMLY FOR JUSTICE! As witnesses to Allah".

" Kunu Qawaamiina!!!, bil qisTi shuhadaa'a lillaahi".

كونو قوامين بالقسط شهدا لله .

Make no mistake about it, this is an order from my Lord, from your Lord, from our Lord, to stand firmly for JUSTICE. There is no middle ground, there is no compromise and there are no excuses. Allah (swt) goes on, "even if it be against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, be he rich or poor". These words from Allah illustrate to us that justice is blind as they say. There is no favoritism in justice. Justice means that one's rights are ensured, and that the one who violates another's rights should be penalized accordingly, regardless of who they are. We as Muslims have a responsibility to stand up for justice, and to stand against injustice, regardless of who the oppressed and the oppressors are. Of course if we see Muslim brothers and sisters oppressed in the world today, we have a responsibility to stand up for them and against their oppressors, in whatever way is appropriate. Today we see this a lot. Particularly in places like Palestine and Somalia. Our brothers and sisters in these places are killed, raped, and terrorized on a daily basis. Rights? ha! What rights do these people know? How many rights of the Palestinian people have been violated since 1948, or 1967, or even in just the past two or three years. Countless. How many rights of the Somali people have been violated in the past 20 years? Even in many cases by other Somalis? My point is that we don't have to look very hard to find Muslims who are victims of oppression and who's rights are being violated on a daily basis. But what about the other way around? What about when Muslims commit injustice and oppress others? What about Muslims like the Taliban in Afghanistan? Who beat women in the street if any trace of skin could be seen? Who publicly executed thousands of people without any type of fair trial? Who sexually exploited countless women and children? All in the name of their perverted, backward, sadistic, and downright satanic "version" of Islam. What about corrupt so called democratic leaders such as Mubarak of Egypt? He, who imprisons anyone who disagrees with his policies. Or, what about the so called royal families of Saudi Arabia and Jordan, who impede the very livelihoods of their subjects, and who's motivation is money and greed? These are all Muslims who commit injustice on a daily basis. The prophet Muhammad (sws) said, "support your brother whether he be doing right or doing wrong". When he was asked how could one support someone who is doing wrong, the prophet (sws) replied, "by preventing him from doing wrong". As Allah (swt) says we have a responsibility to stand up for justice, EVEN if it against ourselves. Ourselves as Muslims.
Allah (swt) continues in this verse, "So follow not the lust of your heart, least you commit injustice". This also relates to another verse from Allah's kitab. He says in that verse, "Oh you who believe, stand out firmly for Allah, as witnesses to fair dealings, and LET NOT THE HATRED OF OTHERS MAKE YOU SWERVE TO WRONG AND DEPART FROM JUSTICE. Be just, for that is next to piety. And fear Allah for he is well acquainted with what you do". (Al Ma'eeda vs. 8) The message from these verses should be clear. Do not let hatred of those whom have done injustice to you, make you do injustice to them. We have a saying for this, "two wrongs don't make a right". A good example of this in modern times is suicide bombing. Going back to Palestine, as I said these people have suffered countless injustices. However, despite how grief stricken and hopelessly desperate they are, they cannot fall into doing injustice by killing civilians. By killing men, women, and children who were not directly involved with their oppression. This is what Allah (swt) means by "Don't let the hatred of others make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice".
So far most of my examples have been one's concerning other parts of the world. But, what about here in this country? What about right here in Ashland? Without a doubt, Muslims are targets for bigotry from the left and right. Muslims are harassed, degraded, victimized, demoralised, and sometimes even terrorized. For many Muslims throughout this land, it is not uncommon to hear slanderous remarks called from passing cars. For many it has become a part of life to get that evil eye whenever they walk into the neighborhood grocery store, and God forbid a young Muslim decides they want to be a pilot. How many of you can think of a time that something happened to you or to someone you know, that was unjust and a violation of your or this persons rights in some way? Especially when it involved religion? These incidents happen a lot nowadays. But, in many ways they are not unlike what has happened to other minorities in American history. But, the thing we must cling to ever so tightly in order to persevere these things, is justice. We must always stand up for what is just when faced or when another is faced with injustice. The prophet (sws) said, "Whenever you witness munkar (something wrong, or injustice) stop it with your hand, and if you can't stop it with your hand, then stop it with your tongue, and if you can't stop it with your tongue that at least have hatred for it in your heart, and that is the least of faith". So, the general message is that whenever we see injustice, we must do what we can to stop it, or at least hold it in contempt in our hearts. That is the absolute least we can do.
The last part of the verse from suret An Nisa, is, "And if you distort your witness or refuse to give it at all, then verily Allah is always well acquainted with what you do." Sometimes people, in order to make the argument more in their favor, will "distort" or exaggerate the truth when standing up to an oppressor. While this may or may not work in your favor in this world, Allah knows what's in your heart and will judge you accordingly. And, also sometimes people who have been victimized in some way or another, don't want to do anything about it; sometimes out of fear, sometimes simply because they don't want the hassle, especially when someone is victimized by someone they are supposed to trust such as a parent, teacher, doctor, or law enforcement. However, Allah (swt) is reminding us here that it is our RESPONSIBILITY to stand against injustice and to do what we can to ensure that it wont happen again either to us or to others.
It is also important that we stand up for justice both as individuals AND as a community. Allah (swt) says in the Qur'an, "Let there rise from among you a band of those calling towards all that is good, and commanding what is right, and forbidding what is wrong, and they are the ones who will be successful".
(Al 'Imraan vs. 104)

We must always stand in solidarity behind those who have been wronged within our community. We as a community must always be the first to speak out against injustice, even if it be our enemy who is violated. The prophet Muhammad (sws) said, "The Muslim Ummah, is like the human body; when one part of the body aches, the whole of the body shares in the pain". And Also like the human body, we must all come to the aid of those who are suffering and oppressed; just as white blood cells and antibodies band together to attack an invading pathogen, and just as our senses each become more keen when one of them is lost or out of commission. Let us all seek to be among those who will rise from amongst the Muslim ranks to be the commanders of good, and the forbidders of evil, and that we might be a shining example to the world of what justice truly is and truly means, so that in the end we may attain success both in this life and the next. Qulu Ameen.

...And Allah Knows Best...