Friday, December 29, 2006

Eid ul-Adha Mubarak


Hajj Update

Extract from Times Online article:

Costly new safety measures have been implemented to prevent stampedes such as the one that afflicted the last Hajj, in which at least 345 pilgrims, including three Britons, died during the ritual stoning of a pillar representing the devil.

A Saudi team went to Munich to learn from the Germans’ experience of managing hordes of football fans during the World Cup, and the Kingdom has spent $1 billion (£500 billion) improving safety at the stoning site in Mina.

Times Online - Full Article

Blogging voices from Mecca
  • ‘Today has been a momentous day for many of us as our Hajj has now well and truly begun. It was a great feeling to be doing what Allah has commanded all Muslims do; especially when we were surrounded by so many people from so many different backgrounds, each with the same aim’.
  • ‘In order to seek Allah’s forgiveness we need to be fully aware of our own faults so that we can repent and try and ensure that we change our habits from now on. This is not an easy task, but it is essential if our haj is to be accepted’.
  • ‘I still can’t believe I’m going to haj. I’ve been on cloud nine ever since Dad confirmed the visa. Time doesn’t seem to move — I can’t eat, sleep or concentrate on anything . . . It truly is an invaluable gift, the best thing a father can give his daughter’.
  • ‘Spoke to my brother last night. They were getting ready to set off. Mum and him have not been well and with mum in a wheelchair, it’s a daunting task. Inshallah, Allah will make it easy for them’.
  • ‘The sighting of the Ka’bah was overwhelming. I was awestruck by its magnificence; its beauty cannot be described in any other way except by pure experience of its presence. Tears streamed down my face as I asked for the Razamandi (pleasure) of my Lord’.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all those who are celebrating this day. As with all religious festivals, as well as enjoying the food and everything else, we have to remember the importance of the occasion. I've found a series of articles which look at Christmas from an Islamic point of view. All of the material below is from Sound Vision:

Prophet Jesus, peace be upon him, for both Muslims and Christians represents some of these things: commitment to One God, spirituality, simplicity, humbleness, kindness and generosity.
But Jesus is becoming more and more absent from the Christmas celebration that is meant to commemorate his birth. The articles on this page are written essentially as a guide to Muslims. We, however, believe that an honest criticism based on Islamic as well Christians sources does not amount to disrespect.

Jesus in Islam and Muslim-Christian Relations

The Hajj

As many of us are enjoying the warmth of the winter season, we are aware that our fellow brothers and sisters are on pilgrimage and going through a most amazing experience. Here is an article which discusses a few of the key aspects of this journey...

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Art by Hafez


Received an e-mail from Hafez of NYC who has used his artistic skills to present the 99 Names of Allah.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Blair Strikes Again

Mr Blair said:

"If you come here lawfully, we welcome you. If you are permitted to stay here permanently, you become an equal member of our community and become one of us."

"The right to be different, the duty to integrate: that is what being British means."

"And neither racists nor extremists should be allowed to destroy it."

Read Entire BBC Article

Why is it that the British National Party (BNP) has the right to damage what it means to be British? Surely, they are racists?

Tony Blair has been a loser all the time and now he is behaving like a very sore one.

Integration is something that cannot be forced, you can't make people get on well but what you can do is stop making so many hurtful comments (e.g. Tony Blair backing the attempts to limit wearing of veil and questioning the funding of Muslim organisations). Such comments will fuel the tension and make the situation a lot worse than it is. People need time to improve relations and this will only happen if we all behave as normal and it is certainly not normal to start analysing every little aspect of someones religion (e.g. the veil issue) and tell them to change so that they can integrate more. Just be normal and let things get better and they will.

Here is an extract from a Guardian article on the same issue:

Muhammad Abdul Bari, secretary-general of the Muslim Council of Britain, told Mr Blair that he could not "agree more" with his positive remarks on multiculturalism and integration. But in a statement he added: "It was disappointing to see that the PM continues to see the phenomenon of terrorism as a clash of values rather than being prepared to examine whether some of our misguided policies in the Middle East have contributed to gravely exacerbating the threat from extremist groups. It was also worrying to see the PM using emotive language such as Britain 'being taken for a ride' or its good and tolerant nature being 'abused'. That can only help reinforce a 'them and us' attitude, when the reality is that there are a tiny group of people - from various different backgrounds - that commit criminal acts and should be dealt with firmly using due legal process."

Read Entire Guardian Article

Monday, November 20, 2006

Mohammed Yousuf Audio





Mohammed Yousuf speaks (in Urdu) to Junaid Jamshed on his acceptance of Islam. This is a recording from the BBC Asian Network Ramadhan programme:


Duration: approx. 4 mins.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Sheikh Ziaullah Khan Talk

On Wednesday, 15th November, I went to an Islamic Talk by Sheikh Ziaullah Khan (of Canada) at The University of Birmingham. I have already attended two talks of his in the past - one of which was last year and the other was in 2003. The way in which he combines his sense of humour with his discussion of Islam deserves immense respect. He talks in a very light manner yet is able to deliver some very hard-hitting arguments.

Some very good points were made at the talk which was pretty much based on any random topic. Sadly though I can only remember a few of the issues that were discussed. One of the issues was that very few people make notes at Islamic Lectures (only about 4 people were on that day - no, I wasn't one of them). It is a shame because they listen to the speech for an hour or so and really appreciate the worth of the comments, but forget most things within a few hours. Brother Ziaullah joked that when he asked members of the Islamic Society about the subject of his last talk, in response they just about recalled him mentioning the odour of shoes in the mosque. Obviously this was not the theme of his last talk but it was probably one of the comments he might have made regarding the importance of hygiene.

Fortunately, I've been able to recall a few of the issues (mainly because I shared them with friends soon after) that were talked about and will mention them briefly, as well as adding my thoughts to them.

Name Calling

The Sheikh said that we sometimes call people by a name which sticks with them for the rest of their life. This has caused me to think about the issue a little further. Nowadays, it has become natural to make comments about other people, whether they are regarding physical appearance, intellectual ability, job status, family life, etc. Sometimes things are said in a lighthearted manner and both parties end up laughing, and everything seems perfectly normal. However, the person being offended may have kept his distress within himself for some reason. For example, say there is a group of friends engaged in general chat and one of them makes a comment that another has a very big nose. The nature of the environment is such that everybody will laugh and the matter will not be taken too seriously. However, when the person who has been joked about is alone and most probably at a time when he feels low in confidence he will think about the comment. Returning to the point that the Sheikh made, we sometimes call people by a name and it stays with them forever. Just imagine what goes through the mind of that person when he looks in the mirror every morning and remembers those 'lighthearted' comments.

We should be a little more careful when we talk about people especially when others are around us. Something you might say could stay with someone for the rest of their life. Just think that could be you or someone from your family.

Technology

If you are reading this or even if you aren't, it is likely that you are using technology as part of your everyday life, whether it is your mobile phone, computer, or television. Brother Ziaullah stated that many companies are promoting technology arguing that it will make life better and easier. Of course we all know that technology is a great thing but let us not forget that there are always two sides to the coin. For example, technology will improve the life of a computer programmer, a student, a businessman, and a doctor, and several companies will benefit from its application. However, brother Ziaullah made the point that technology will not improve life for everybody - consider those who lose their jobs just because a computer can do better than them.

Personally, I feel that technology is the way forward and I am grateful that we have so much technology available right now. But sometimes when I think about the fact that I can spend hours sitting infront of a flickering computer screen it kind of seems depressing. I mean how can we do so much stuff that is based on technology - watching TV, text messaging, playing computer games, chatting online, checking e-mails, etc. Most of us cannot really imagine living without all these things, which is kind of disturbing if you think about it. Now I'm not saying pack your bags and go to the nearest village but at least save yourself from being run by technology. Then again, I suppose it is not the technology that is good or bad but it is how we use it.

Companies

The Sheikh stated that an insurance company will always make it seem as if they will go out of their way to help the customer. We are familiar with so many different companies telling us that they are customer focused or that cusomter satisfaction means everything to them. But the truth is far from what they make it out to be. Many firms don't care about people, they just want to make big profits (which is obviously a good thing, but how far should they go?). The Sheikh then went on to mention the Nike story (you know the one where a Pakistani/Indian child works all day to make a football and gets paid 20 rupees and that ball sells in the USA or UK for £35 or $70 approx.). They simply don't care as long as they make their money.

So many people came to the UK as immigrants, why? They came because they were given more opportunities and would become wealthier. But why did their companies want them? Because they were cheap labour, it was cheaper to get people from India/Pakistan and make them work for you than to pay British Nationals. Today, due to immigration laws becoming stricter, companies can no longer do this. So, what do they do? They set up their own places in India so that they can get people working for them and pay them much less than the national mimimum wage here in the UK. This was not discussed by the Sheikh, but it is another example that demonstrates how far a company will go to make profit (ignoring unemployed people in the UK and going to India to setup call centres).

The talk by Sheikh Ziaullah Khan was very general and mentioned a lot of different things, and I have only discussed one or two of the points he briefly made and expanded them with my own opinions. The talk will be made available (in audio) on the Birmingham University Islamic Society web site in the future (within the next ten years).

Another talk by the Sheikh can be downloaded from the following page:
http://buisoc.co.uk/media/media.html#audio
Scroll down to:
12th Nov 2003 - Grand Iftaar
Imam Ziaullah Khan - Role Models, Who Are They?

and download the Main Talk.

The following link contains videos of a few lectures by Sheikh Ziaullah Khan:
Sheikh Ziaullah Khan Talks On Video

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Duas for Studying


“Oh Allah! I entrust you with what I have read and I have studied. Oh Allah! Bring it back to me when I am in need of it. Oh Allah! You do whatever you wish, you are my availer and protector and the best of aid.”

“Oh Allah! Nothing is easy except what you have made easy. If you wish, you can make the difficult easy.”

More can be found below:

http://www.duas.org/student.htm

Signs of Weak Imaan

  • Feeling pleased when things are not progressing for others.
  • Committing sins and not feeling any guilt.
  • Not feeling the responsibility to do something to promote Islam.
  • Willing to argue just for the sake of arguing without any valid reason.

These are just a few of the signs of a weak Imaan. More can be found in the link below. The link contains a list of signs that demonstrate a weak Imaan (i.e. a lack of belief):

Signs of Weak Imaan

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Avoiding Major Sins

The points below are taken from an article by Syed Yasin Ali:

“If you avoid the major sins which you have been forbidden, We will cancel out for you your (other) evil deeds and admit you (to Paradise) with a noble entry.” (An-Nisaa 4:31).

We can avoid all kinds of sins by praying five times a day, reciting the Holy Qur’an, observing the five pillars of Islam and by keeping ourselves busy with the name of Allah (zikr). By observing these duties, we leave very little room for sins to occur. We should also go to the mosque regularly and we should keep good company. Thus, these sins don’t have any influence on us.

But true repentance is the key to avoiding sins. Whenever we commit a sin, we should beg for forgiveness from Allah the Almighty and we should vow not to repeat them again. Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala forgives the sins of those who repent. He says in the Holy Qur’an:

“Except those who repent and believe and do good deeds. Such will enter the Garden, and they will not be wronged in any way.” (Al-Maryam, 19:60).

It is very hard for a Mu’min (believer) to remain sinless throughout his life. We commit sins everyday. But we should try to avoid the major sins that are very displeasing to Allah. We should repent for the sins that we commit and we should beg Allah’s forgiveness. We should also do good deeds in order to replace our sins. We should also have a good understanding about Islam through the Qur’an and hadith. Thus, we will know the sins and the unlawful deeds that displease Allah and will be able to avoid them.

Please do read this short article in its entirety:
Major Sins and How to Avoid Them
By Syed Yasin Ali

Different Categories of Sin

An article that briefly discusses the various types of prohibitions (sins) that one must make an effort to avoid and their differences in terms of severity:

Divine Prohibitions Have Different Degrees of Severity

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Yvonne Ridley on the Veil

Yvonne discusses the much talked about 'Veil issue':

How I Came to Love the Veil
(Sunday, October 22, 2006)

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

British Muslims

The extracts below are taken from the Introduction of a book by Ehsan Masood:

"This publication gives an account of Britons who feel themselves to be the target of antagonism. A joint enterprise of the British Council and a number of Muslim organisations, the book is written in the belief that much hostility and negativity is founded in, and fostered by, misunderstanding. It is neither paranoid nor rose-tinted. It does not presume that agreement in all things is possible; but it does work on the basis that disagreement – as long as it is shaped by sound knowledge rather than prejudice – can be useful, constructive, civilised and civilising for the whole of our society."

"Those in Britain and around the world who write about this country and its people sometimes need reminding that ‘we’ include almost two million Muslims. This is the basis of a new sense of ourselves – even perhaps a much-debated new sense of ‘Britishness’ – and it is important to ensure that it includes all of us."


The entire book can be downloaded via the link below:

British Muslims (PDF Format)

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Zakir Naik - Q'uran & Modern Science

The Q'uran and Modern Science: Compatible or Incompatibe?

By Dr. Zakir Naik of Islamic Research Foundation (IRF India):

http://www.sunnahonline.com/ilm/quran/qms.pdf

Who wrote the Q'uran?

A must read article for those who doubt the Divine Origin of the Holy Q'uran:

http://www.islamhouse.com/en/books/pdf/en2297.pdf

Sultan Islamic Links

Several Islamic Books (covering a large variety of issues) available for free:

http://sultan.org/books/

Many other Islamic Links can be found at Sultan Islamic Links

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Hadith Corner

Narrated Abu Hurairah: Allah’s Messenger said, “He who believes in Allah and the Last Day must not harm his neighbour, and he who believes in Allah and the Last Day must show hospitality to his guest, and he who believes in Allah and the Last Day should speak good or remain silent.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim).

Do not turn away a poor man...even if all you can give is half a date. If you love the poor and bring them near you...Allah will bring you near Him on the Day of Resurrection (Tirmidhi).

Narrated Abu Hurairah: Allah’s Messenger said, “There are three signs of a hypocrite: When he speaks, he lies; when he makes a promise, he breaks it; and when he is trusted, he betrays his trust.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Narrated Abu Dharr: The Prophet said, “Do not disdain any good deed, even your meeting with your brother (Muslim) with a cheerful face.” (Muslim)

Narrated ‘Abdullâh bin ‘Abbâs : Allah’s Messenger said that Allah the Glorious said, “Verily, Allah has ordered that the good and the bad deeds be written down. Then He explained it clearly how (to write):He who intends to do a good deed and he does not do it, then Allah records it for him as a full good deed, but if he carries out his intention, the Glorious and the Great Allah writes it down for him with Him as from ten to seven hundred times, and even many times more. But if he intends to do an evil act and has not done it, then Allah writes it down with Him as a full good deed, but if he intends it and has done it, Allah writes it down as one bad deed. (Al-Bukhâri and Muslim)

Many more available at Hadith Corner:
http://www.harunyahya.com/hadith_corner.php

Islam Denounces Terrorism




















Link to a free book (one of many available for download) by Harun Yahya:
http://www.harunyahya.com/terrorism1.php

Quran and Modern Science Debate

"Is there evidence in the Quran, which would lead to the conclusion that the Quran has come from a higher power than man?"

The link below provides text/audio from a debate between Nadir Ahmed and Denis Giron:

http://www.examinethetruth.com/ahmed-giron.htm

The Speed of Light

For the Physicists...

299,792.458 km/s is the speed of light in vacuum. However, according to Einstein's theory of General Relativity, the speed of light appears to vary with the intensity of the gravitational field. But 1400 years ago it was stated in the Quran (the book of Islam) that angels travel in one day the same distance that the moon travels in 1000 lunar years, that is, 12000 Lunar orbits / Earth day. Outside gravitational fields 12000 Lunar orbits / Earth day turned out to be the known speed of light!

http://www.speed-light.info/

We can calculate the speed of light by using information from verses of the Q'uran. Basically, the Q'uran was written at a time when people had no idea of what the speed of light was and many people thought that light had no speed and could travel at infinite speeds. The speed of light was discovered by Scientists after a very long time.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Monday, October 23, 2006

Eid Mubarak



















Eid Mubarak to all, the spelling mistake is by eidmubarak.com but its ok to have 2 m's if we are having two Eids.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

The Final Moments of Ramadhan

The end of Ramadhan is approaching and various emotions are running through my mind. I feel heartbroken that such a great month is coming to an end and the good times I've had may never return again. I never really thought that I would be feeling this way especially since I usually cannot wait for Ramadhan to be over. It might be because I devoted more time to my religion and less time to other stuff than previous years. Nevertheless, I hope that the 'Muslim in Me' does not go to sleep until next year. If this happens then I will have not only wasted time, but also missed out on getting the best out of myself. It is quite simple – when I sit there watching TV or playing the PS2 whilst it is time to pray – I cannot be doing myself as much good as when I get up and make Wudhu to pray to Allah The Almighty.

I always had huge respect for those who could go to the mosque for two hours (offering Taraweeh prayer) everyday for a month after having fasted all day long. But I always thought that it was beyond me. In all honesty, I had never been to Taraweeh prayers (in 22 years of life), and a few weeks before Ramadhan I made an intention to go as much as possible. However, I knew that it was not going to happen for me. But when I made that initial effort and realised the benefits of Taraweeh, I began to do it more and then it became a habit for me. We all have something that we have not been doing regularly since our early days and so it becomes difficult, as it seems unnatural. Unfortunately, the best actions sometimes feel ‘odd’ (because of our own fault) and we stay away from them. The only solution is to have a ‘go’ and then see what happens.

Just imagine that there are two students, student A and student B, who both have an exam tomorrow morning. Student A spends hours and hours trying to understand the examinable material, whereas student B decides to sit in front of the TV because it is more enjoyable and easier than studying. You can guess who will perform better in the exam and reap academic benefit. Similarly, getting up to pray will only help YOU and make YOUR life better. You will only realise this if YOU try to do it - even for a week, a month or a year, then it will become clear which way YOU are happier and enjoying life more. As humans we all make mistakes, but we must make it a habit to acknowledge our mistakes and put them right, rather than to carry on blindly. This is why Allah loves those who regret their sinful actions (and ask for forgiveness), at the same time making an effort to correct their ways.

Sadly, once again Muslims (in the UK) will not have one Eid (some will celebrate on Monday and others on Tuesday). It is a shame that this happens consistently every year. But at the same time I am glad to see that even such a difference is not great enough to disturb the strong unity formed throughout Ramadhan.

The other thing that I am not thinking about right now but will do very soon is of course - Eid, and InshaALLAH all Muslims will not forget that God is still watching them despite the Holy Month coming to an end. It is sad to think that many of us will neglect our religious duties as soon as Ramadhan is over and return to miserable ways. Like every year it will be easy for us to become complacent and before we know it - what we had will no longer be with us.

99 Names of Allah

Qur'an 7:180 The most beautiful names belong to God, so call on Him thereby.

Qur'an 13:28 Those who believe, and whose hearts find satisfaction in the remembrance of God, for without doubt in the remembrance of God do hearts find satisfaction.

http://path-to-peace.com/99names.html

(Many Thanks to: Path To Peace)

Friday, October 20, 2006

Ramadhan For Me

Fasting is not supposed to be an easy task, yet so many Muslims accomplish it every year for an entire month. Since it is a difficult task, God makes it easier for us to achieve our various religious duties, e.g. praying, abstaining from spitefulness, avoiding alcohol, etc. (whilst fasting through this month). For example, a fasting person gains more reward from prayer than he would normally (i.e. outside Ramadhan). God is merciful to the extent that even sleeping while fasting is regarded as an act of worship. It seems that God facilitates our tasks, in knowledge of the fact that we are fasting. This is why the Quran mentions several times that Allah is most Merciful. Therefore, Ramadhan is a special month because not only more reward is on offer, but also it is easier to complete religious duties. The aim should be to continue these duties throughout the rest of the year, as opposed to simply performing them for a single month.

Personally, I consider Ramadhan to be a month of opportunity, in which one can become more disciplined and focused in life. It is quite different from the norm, not only for the reason that you cannot simply eat whenever you want. The moments before I break my fast, I feel as if I am the luckiest person in the world because I have food to eat. Although I might say this at any other time of the year, I can truly say that I would not really appreciate the value of the statement as much as during these moments. This is where my weakness (hunger) becomes my strength by making me feel more appreciative of what I have. This 'ME' is very different from the 'ME' that continually feels that life would be better if there was more money in the bank allowing me to buy more 'THINGS' that I perceive would make me happier. In other words, it makes you happy with what you already have, rather than always wanting more and feeling that you only have a little. This feeling may only last for a short while, but this does not reduce its impact. This emotion of satisfaction with what you already have is an important part of the spirit of Islam, and in many ways differentiates it from the principles of our society of today.

(Before reading the next paragraph: Please note that I am in no way against the education system, or gaining education in general - obviously it is one of the most important aspects of our lives and Islam encourages it very much. I am just providing an example of how we sometimes place too much emphasis on the life of this World).

Just look at the education system for an example, when you do your GCSEs you feel that this is everything and after you have done well, everything will be 'SORTED'. Then you go through the same thing for A-Levels, thinking that University life is going to be a 'CHILL'. Then you think that after you get a degree you have done it all, but then you have to work and earn money, but how much? You are only going to work till you have enough money, which depends on how much wealth you think is enough for you to survive and then for your kids also, so it carries on, you never really get 'SORTED'. Then the same things start again but this time it is about your children and how well they will climb up the ladder and reach the top. But you never really feel satisfied because there is always something inside you that makes you want more.

The reason is that you are looking for the wrong thing i.e. long-term satisfaction in a short-term situation (your life). This is one of the reasons why (in my opinion) Islam is being accepted by so many people all over the world, because it provides answers to the bigger questions of life, which we do not get anywhere else.

On the other hand, why are so many people reluctant to follow the Islamic way of life? I think that some people are not ready to sacrifice what they are currently doing, e.g. drinking, gambling, etc. or sacrifice what they have been believeing for so long (even though it may be wrong). Since they feel that following Islam will require a drastic change (and uncertainty), and it sometimes means letting go of things they have believed for so many years. They feel that why should they change? Consequently they do their best to keep themselves away from Islamic information (deen) in fear of being guilty that they are doing the wrong thing. It makes them feel that they are doing things their own way which is best for them. But they don't realise that mankind is far from perfect and that their way is not the best way of life. They are simply being ignorant and will make every effort to misguide those who are following the right path, so that they do not feel isolated. If only they knew that Allah is the most Forgiving and will help them so much only if they make a little effort.

I think fasting reduces arrogance from the individual whereby he acknowledges that he is weak since a lack of food can deteriorate him to such an extent. It makes us more understanding of poverty and encourages us to help those in need. In general, Ramadhan is a time of getting closer to reality and this can only be achieved by consciousness of our Creator.

Needless to say it would be almost impossible for me to describe the entire benefits of Ramadhan, instead I have made a modest effort to briefly describe what Ramadhan means to me. Muslims should do their very best to make the most of this month of opportunity and take it as a time to fine-tune their Islamic character so that it is enhanced for the remainder of the year. There is so much reward on offer (e.g. 1,500 good deeds per Sajdah of Taraweeh) that you simply cannot afford to miss out.

As Islamhelpline.com state:
Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allah’s Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me. Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.

Are we robots even though we have thinking power?

This question was asked at Islamhelpline.com, and was answered in an interesting manner - the parent/child example seems effective.

http://www.islamhelpline.com/view_answers.asp?QAID=9290