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)