Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Tolerance of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)

Many mistakenly believe that Islam does not tolerate the existence of other religions present in the world. This article discusses some of the foundations the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) himself laid in dealing with people of other faiths, with practical examples from his lifetime.
There are examples in the life of the Prophet in which he cooperated with people of other faiths in the political arena. He selected a non-Muslim, Amr-ibn Umaiyah-ad-Damri, as an ambassador to be sent to Negus, the King of Ethiopia.

These are only some of the examples of the Prophet’s tolerance of other faiths. Islam recognises that there are a plurality of religions on this earth, and gives the right to individuals to choose the path which they believe to be true. Religion is not to be, and was never, forced upon an individual against their own will.
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Thursday, December 20, 2007

Helping Others

Inspirational story regarding Helping Others:

"May I never get too busy in my own Affairs"

It was a bitter, cold evening. The old man's beard was glazed by winter's frost while he waited for a ride across the river. The wait seemed endless. His body became numb and stiff from the frigid north wind. He heard the faint, steady rhythm of approaching hooves galloping along the frozen path.

Anxiously, he watched as several horsemen rounded the bend. He let the first one pass by without an effort to get his attention. Then another passed by... and another. Finally, the last rider neared the spot where the old man sat like a snow statue.

As this one drew near, the old man caught the rider's eye and said, "Sir, would you mind giving an old man a ride to the other side? There doesn't appear to be a passageway by foot."

Reining his horse, the rider replied, "Sure thing. Hop aboard."

Seeing the old man was unable to lift his half-frozen body from the ground, the horseman dismounted and helped the old man onto the horse. The horseman took the old man not just across the river, but to his destination, which was just a few miles away.
As they neared the tiny but cozy cottage, the horseman's curiosity caused him to inquire, "Sir, I notice that you let several other riders pass by without making an effort to secure a ride. Then I came up and you immediately asked me for a ride. I'm curious why, on such a bitter winter night; you would wait and ask the last rider. What if I had refused and left you there?"

The old man lowered himself slowly down from the horse, looked the rider straight in the eyes, and replied, "I've been around here for some time. I reckon I know people pretty good."

The old-timer continued, "I looked into the eyes of the other riders and immediately saw there was no concern for my situation. It would have been useless even to ask them for a ride.

But when I looked into your eyes, kindness and compassion were evident. I knew, then and there, that your gentle spirit would welcome the opportunity to give me assistance in my time of need."

Those heartwarming comments touched the horseman deeply.

Moral to learn from Inspirational Story:

"I'm most grateful for what you have said," he told the old man. "May I never get too busy in my own affairs that I fail to respond to the needs of others with kindness and compassion."

Ya Allah, Make me among those about whom the Holy Quran has said: "And they give them preference over their own selves even though they are in need". (Hashr 59:9)

Eid-ul-Adha Mubarak

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Who is Responsible?

An article by Hafeeza Kashif, United Mothers for Moral Excellence (with some minor changes)

It has been said, "The duty of the civilized person is to bring civilization to the uncivilized." This is a Nobel calling of men and women who have accepted this responsibility assigned to them by God. Given the prevalent corruption in society today, the question that must be addressed is "Who is Responsible?"

In the Qur’an, Allah (SWT)clearly defines these "responsible" persons. In Surah Ali-Imaran, He says "Let there arise out of you a band of people, inviting to all that is good, enjoining what is right, and forbidding what is wrong; They are the ones to attain felicity."

Today however, we find that most of mankind has lost all sense of responsibility. Very few people are willing to take responsibility for anything. We may recall that our ancestors, Adam and Hawa (Eve) were warned about this while they enjoyed the fruits of the Garden: "O Adam" God said," Verily, this is an enemy to thee and to thy wife: so let him not get you both out of the Garden so that thou art landed in misery." (Ta Ha: 20:P117)

Despite this warning, Adam and his wife succumbed to the whispers of Satan.

Will this be our fate? We must establish "Taqwa" (God consciousness) within ourselves. Allah (SWT) created us to be the Khalifa or Vicegerent on earth. He made us the most intelligent among His Creation. Man is seen as the "crown of creation." He gave us responsibility (to be a witness) to mankind.

Let us review and re-evaluate ourselves. Each of us has a responsibility to Allah's creatures and creation. We share responsibilities with each other. The husband to the wife, the wife to the husband; parents to children and children to parents, etc. We also have responsibility to our neighbours and to society, even to the animals and to the plants. Every day we see these inanimate objects carrying out their responsibility to mankind in providing necessary life-giving resources for all and sundry.

How can we reverse the trend of irresponsibility among the human family? We might begin with the basic principles of faith: Belief in One god, establishment of salat, Charity, Fasting (for purification of our souls) and Pilgrimage (reflecting unity of mankind). These principles apply to all and embody such noble attributes as truthfulness, honesty, loyalty, justice, beneficence, peace, forgiveness and repentance.

Have we lost sensitivity toward others? We might begin by making an effort to take others "feelings," into consideration as we dialogue with them. We need to seek reconciliation, even with ourselves. Many of us have lost touch with the truth of our being. In this, we need to earnestly seek the help of Allah (SWT). It is He who invites us to accept His intervention.

We must shake off the shackles of Satan and reclaim the One God, Allah (SWT). He has given us our very being and yet many of us have given in to the evils of society. We must reconnect ourselves to Allah (SWT). "There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is His Messenger."

Let us give our children a good life. Let us teach them the right way. The Qur’an and ahadith is just the first step. We must emphasize "amal" (work), the practical side of life. "Action! Let us ask, who put the gambling dices in the hands of our children; who put guns in their hands? Did we truly speak out? Who allowed the secular society to take God out of the classrooms? Did we stand by while this was happening? Were we conscious of such activity, were we alert, were we aware?

Who is responsible? How did we let these low despicable values and immorality creep into our society and into our lives? Did we stand by? What about the thievery, the killing and the pornography? Have we really spoken out? Have we submitted our weakness to a false god of materialism, wealth, children, sport, play, etc.

Who can we blame? Why have so many facets of evil crept into society? Think, children killing children, children killing parents, husbands and wives killing each other, and on infinitum and we don't want to be responsible!

Allah (SWT) asks in the Quran: "Has not the Time arrived for the believers that their hearts in all humility should engage in the remembrance of Allah (SWT) and of the Truth which has been revealed (to them), and that they should not become like those to whom was given Revelation aforetime, but long ages passed over them and their hearts grew hard? For many among them are the rebellious transgressors. (Q57:16)

Where do we begin? We must begin with ourselves. Then Allah (SWT) tells us that He has created everything in pairs: "He is the Creator of the heavens and the earth: He has made for you pairs from among yourselves, and pairs among cattle: by this means does He multiplies you: there is nothing whatever like unto Him, and He is the One that hears and sees (all things)." (Q42:11)

He also said: "It is He Who has created man from water: then has He established relationships of lineage and marriage: for thy Lord has power over all thing." Q35:54

Can't we all agree that the family is the basis of all civilization? Thus proper family structure brings the right of the husbands, wives, children and relatives into a fine equilibrium.

This nourishes unselfish behaviour, generosity and love in the framework of an well-organized family system. The peace and security that is offered by a stable family unit is essential for both spiritual and societal growth. Home is where it begins!

In a lecture on this subject, Imam W. Deen Mohammed explained: "You have health care and hospitals, but the first health care center was in the home. The first store was in the home. The first government was in the home. The first governmental order was in the home. The first school was in the home. The first bank was in the home. The first transportation was home." He concluded, saying, "if the home is run well, society does not have to worry."

So the home is where the responsibility begins. Strong mothers are needed in the home and the home-extended. The Prophet (SAW) said that "Paradise is at the foot of the mother." Thus "responsible" wives and mothers have a mandate and so do the "responsible" husbands and fathers. Together they have the ultimate mandate to restore civilization to the world.

Courtesy: WWW.THEMODERNRELIGION.COM

Thursday, December 06, 2007

The Goals of Da'wah

Following article received via e-mail from Brother Muhammad Rizwan Talib:

It is necessary that we Muslims have a clear understanding of the primary goals of da'wah, in order to direct our efforts toward the correct ends and achieve the intended effect.

We must know what specifically we intend to bring about and accomplish by making da'wah. Otherwise, we are likely to fail in ascertaining the priorities that are necessary for achieving what Allah Ta'aala wants from us by calling people to Him.

A clear formulation of the aims of da'wah can be summarized as follows:

1) To guide people to the religion of Allah Ta'aala.
2) To establish evidence against those who decline from, or oppose the religion.
3) To discharge the duty enjoined on us, the Muslims, by Allah Ta'aala.
4) To exalt the word of Allah Ta'aala on earth.

1) The first objective, of guiding people to Allah’s religion and establishing worship of Allah Ta'aala alone, was the primary task of the Prophets and Messengers. The Prophets were calling people to the realization and fulfillment of the purpose of creation, which is worship of their Creator.
Worship can be defined as: "everything that Allah Ta'aala loves and approves of from the apparent, and hidden sayings and deeds." [Ibn Taymeeyah]

The Qur'an makes it clear that worship is the specific reason why Allah Ta'aala created all that exists, animate or inanimate.

"And I created not the Jinns and men except that they may worship Me (Alone)."
[al-Qur’aan, adh-Dhaariyaat(51):56]

"There is not a thing but glorifies His praise. But you understand not that glorification."
[al-Qur’aan, al-Israa’(17):44]

The aim of Muslims in da'wah is the same, calling all of mankind to worship of Allah alone and submission to Him according to the Deen that He chose for His Prophets to convey. At the same time, it must be realized that the actual results of our efforts in guiding people to Allah’s religion are not in our hands, as it is only Allah Subhannah wa Ta'aala Who guides.

Even the Prophet himself (salallaahu 'alayhee wa sallam), was unable to guide his uncle Abu Taalib, about which Allah Ta'aala said:

"Verily you (O Muhammad) guide not whom you like, but Allah guides whom He wills.
And he knows best those who are guided."
[al-Qur’aan, al-Qasas(28):56]

2) Establishing Allah’s proof against the disbelievers and the rebellious is the second goal of da'wah, and is achieved by our relating the message in a proper way. Our success in this regard does not depend on whether Allah Ta'aala guides those whom we call or not.

The Prophets themselves were sent as warners to the mankind, having as their duty only to convey the message and explain the obligations of the people towards their Creator, and to warn of a severe torment for those who rejected the message.

Disbelievers are thus left with no excuse that can justify their disobedience to Allah Ta'aala.
These concepts are explained in the following Qur'anic verses:

"Messengers are bearers of good news as well as warning in order that mankind should
have no plea against Allah after the Messengers. And Allah is All-Powerful, All-Wise."
[al-Qur’aan, an-Nisaa’(4):165]

"Say: Obey Allah and obey the Messenger, but if you turn away, he is only
responsible for the duty placed on him (to convey the Message) and you for that
placed on you. If you obey him, you shall be on the right guidance. The
Messenger’s duty is only to convey [the Message] in a clear way."
[an-Noor(24):54]

Calling to Allah Ta'aala will therefore leave those who disbelieve without an excuse before Allah on the Day of Judgment, in case they do not respond to the call of the Messengers.

- Calling is our role, and responding is theirs.
"Say (O Muhammad, to the disbelievers): My Lord pays attention to you only
because of your invocation to Him. But now you have indeed denied (Him).
So the torment will be yours forever."
[al-Qur’aan, al-Furqaan(25):77]

3) The third goal of da'wah is to fulfill our duty of calling people to Allah Subhannah wa Ta'aala. Our duty is only to convey the message, so our success in realising this goal is also not dependent on the response of those that we are calling.

Allah Ta'aala says to the Messenger (salallaahu 'alayhee wa sallam) in several places in the Qur'an:

"Your duty is to convey the Message."
[al-Qur’aan, Ash-Shooraa(42):48]

"The Messenger’s duty is but to convey the Message."
[al-Qur’aan, al-Maai`dah(5):99]

"Whether we show you (O Muhammad) part of what We have promised them or cause you to die, your duty is only to convey (the Message) and unto Us is the reckoning."
[al-Qur’aan, ar-Ra`d(13):40]

Releasing ourselves from the duty of da'wah enjoined upon us by Allah Ta'aala is of particular relevance to those Muslims living in non-Muslim lands, as engaging in da'wah would, insha' Allah, justify their staying amongst the disbelievers.

The Prophet (salallaahu 'alayhee wa sallam) has also explained that fulfilling our obligations can provide us an excuse before Allah Ta'aala, otherwise we are bound to perish:

"The people will not perish until they have no excuse left for themselves."
[Authentic Hadeeth]

4) The fourth goal is establishing a Muslim nation and making the word of Allah Ta'aala dominant on earth. Allah Ta'aala explains in the Qur'an:

"It is He Who has sent His Messenger (Muhammad) with Guidance and the Religion of Truth, that He may make it (Islam) superior over all religions. And All-Sufficient is Allah as a Witness."
[al-Qur’aan, al-Fath(48):28]

Allah Ta'aala also says in the Qur'an:

"He it is Who sent among the unlettered ones a Messenger (Muhammad) from among themselves, purifying them, and teaching them the Book (the Qur'an), and Al-Hikmah (Sunnah). And verily, they had been before in manifest error."
[al-Qur’aan, al-Jumu`ah(62):2]

The Messenger of Allah (salallaahu 'alayhee wa sallam) and the Sahaabah established an Islamic society here on earth. Therefore, our aim in da'wah should also be to create a strong Muslim society that would exalt Allah’s word in this world. This goal, like the first one, is dependent on the response of those we are calling and is therefore in Allah’s Hands. However, Allah Ta'aala has promised to Muslims that He will establish them on earth if they believe and do righteous deeds:

"Allah has promised those among you who believe, and do righteous good deeds,
that He will certainly grant them succession to (the present rulers) in the earth,
as He granted it to those before them, and that He will grant them the authority to
practice their religion, that which He has chosen for them (i.e. Islam).
And He will surely give them in exchange a safe security after their fear (provided)
they (believers) worship Me and do not associate anything (in worship) with Me.
But whoever disbelieved after this, they are the Faasiqoon (rebellious, disobedient to Allah)."
[al-Qur’aan, an-Noor(24):55]

The Messenger of Allah, Muhammad (sallallahu alaihi wa-allehe wa-sallam) said
"Pass on knowledge from me even if it is only one verse"
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Sponsor an Orphan

Sponsoring an orphan through Muslim Hands is a very simple process using:

http://www.muslimhands.org/en/gb/our_work/sponsorship_schemes/orphan_sponsorship/

Please consider sponsoring an orphan. Remember the wealth that you spend in the way of Allah will always benefit you.

Forward this post to friends and family, in the hope that more people will contribute InshaAllah.

Friday, November 30, 2007

The Final Sajdah

A worshipper who passed away during sajood in Masjid an Nabawi
"Every person will be resurrected in the manner that he died" [Muslim, 2878]

Hardship & Gratitude

Received via e-mail from Brother Mamood Sultan

Here's an excellent reminder from the narrations of the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam).

Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) said:
' Indeed amazing are the affairs of a believer ! They are all for his benefit; If he is granted ease of living he is thankful; and this is best for him. And if he is afflicted with a hardship, he perseveres; and this is best for him.' [ Muslim ]

And Allah (SWT) said (which means); 'Certainly, We shall test you with fear, hunger, loss of wealth, lives and fruits; but give glad tidings to the patient - those who, when afflicted with calamity say, 'Truly to Allah we belong, and truly to Him shall we return.' it is those who will be awarded blessings and mercy from their Lord; and it is those who are the guided ones.' [ 2:155-157 ]

Abu Hurayrah (radiallaahu anhu) reported that the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) said: 'Hardships continue to befall a believing man and woman in their body, family, and property, until they meet Allah (SWT) burdened with no sins. ' [ Tirmithee ]

Abu Hurayrah (radiallaahu anhu) reported that the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) said: 'Whenever Allah wills good for a person, He subjects him to adversity' [ Bukharee and others]

Abu Hurayrah (radiallaahu anhu) and Ka'b Bin Maalik (radiallaahu anhu) reported that the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) said: 'The parable of a believer is that of a fresh and moist plant; the wind tilts it this way and that way; and so is the believer; he continues to be subject to affliction. And the parable of a hypocrite is that of a firm cedar tree; it does not shake - until it is uprooted all at once.' [ Bukharee and Muslim ]

'The most in their suffering among the people are the prophets, then the best, then the (next) best. One is afflicted in accordance with his deen (faith). If his deen is firm his affliction is hard, and if his deen is weak, his affliction is light. Indeed, one would be so much subjected to adversity until he walks among the people without any sins. ' [ Ahmad, Tirmithee ]

Anas (radiallaahu anhu) reported that the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) said: 'When Allah wills good for a servant of His, He expedites his punishment in this life; and when He wills retribution for a servant of His, He holds his sins for Him to judge him by them on the Day of Resurrection. ' [ Tirmithee ]

Anas (radiallaahu anhu) reported that the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) said: 'The amount of reward is in accordance with the amount of suffering. When Allah (SWT) loves some people, He tries them (with affliction). He who then is content (with Allah's decree) has achieved the acceptance (of Allah), and he who is dissatisfied (with Allah's decree) will attain the anger (of allah).' [ Tirmithee ]

Abu Sa'eed al-Khudree (radiallaahu anhu) reported that the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) said: 'A muslim is not afflicted by hardship, sickness, sadness, worry, harm, or depression - even if pricked by a thorn, but Allah expiates his sins because of that. ' [ Bukharee and Muslim ]

Sa'eed said, ' I was with Salmaan (radiallaahu anhu) when he visited a sick man in Kindah ( in Persia ), and he said to him: ' Expect good because Allah (SWT) makes a believer’s sickness an expiation (for his sins) and a period of rest. However, when a disbeliever falls sick, he is like a camel whose owner ties it then lets it loose - it does not understand why it was tied nor why it was freed.'' [ Bukharee ]

'Aishah (radiallaahu anhu) narrated that once some pain afflicted the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) causing him to suffer and turn about in his bed. she said: ' Had one of us done this, you would have blamed him.' He (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) replied: 'An ailment is intensified for the righteous. Whenever a believer is afflicted by a hardship, whether it is a thorn or more, a sin is taken off from him because of it, and he is elevated by one rank (in Jannah). ' [ Ahmad ]

Abu Moosa Al-Ash'aree (radiallaahu anhu) narrated that the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) said:
'For a travelling or sick person, his deeds will be recorded in accordance with what he used to do when he was resident or well.' [ Bukharee ]

'Abdullah Bin 'Amr (radiallaahu anhu)reported that the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) said: 'If a Muslim is pricked by (as little as) a thorn in the worldly life, and he seeks its reward from Allah, some of his sins will be removed, because of it, on the Day of Judgement.' [ Bukharee ]

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Saturday, November 24, 2007

Master Foods Status Update

Important Message received via e-mail from Brother Mamood Sultan:

There has been some recent confusion about what Master Foods has been up to with the recent Mars/animal fat issues. Needless to say, the following link has a (short!) list of what is vegetarian so anything that doesn't appear on this list, is not halal in the UK:

www.masterfoodsconsumercare.co.uk/veg_prodlst.asp
www.vegsoc.org/news/2007/mars.html

Also, it is worth noting as a couple of us here have been caught out by this one, Celebrations (mini Twix, Bounty, Mars, Milky Way…etc) are NOT vegetarian; this was confirmed by a phone call to Master Foods.

May Allah (SWT) forgive us what we have eaten from haram food.

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The Cookie Thief

An interesting story which shows that the way we see things is not always how they really are because our knowledge can be limited.

Story by Valerie Cox

A woman was waiting at an airport one night, with several long hours before her flight. She hunted for a book in the airport shops. Bought a bag of cookies and found a place to drop.
She was engrossed in her book but happened to see, that the man sitting beside her, as bold as could be - grabbed a cookie or two from the bag in between, which she tried to ignore to avoid a scene.
So she munched the cookies and watched the clock, as the gutsy cookie thief diminished her stock. She was getting more irritated as the minutes ticked by,Thinking, "If I wasn't so nice, I would blacken his eye."
With each cookie she took, he took one too, when only one was left, she wondered what he would do. With a smile on his face, and a nervous laugh, he took the last cookie and broke it in half.
He offered her half, as he ate the other. She snatched it from him and thought... oooh, brother. This guy has some nerve and he's also rude, why he didn't even show any gratitude!
She had never known when she had been so galled, and sighed with relief when her flight was called. She gathered her belongings and headed to the gate, refusing to look back at the thieving ingrate.
She boarded the plane, and sank in her seat, then she sought her book, which was almost complete. As she reached in her baggage, she gasped with surprise, there was her bag of cookies, in front of her eyes.
If mine are here, she moaned in despair, the others were his, and he tried to share. Too late to apologise, she realised with grief, that she was the rude one, the ingrate, the thief.
How many times in our lives, have we absolutely known that something was a certain way, only to discover later that what we believed to be true ... was not?

She's My Sister - A True Story


I received this emotional story via e-mail from Brother Mamood Sultan.


Translated By: Muhammad Alshareef


"Faith is believing what we do not see. The reward of this faith is to see what we believe."

Her cheeks were worn and sunken and her skin hugged her bones. That didn't stop her though, you could never catch her not reciting Qur'an. Always vigil in her personal prayer room Dad had set up for her. Bowing, prostrating, raising her hands in prayer. That was the way she was from dawn to sunset and back again, boredom was for others. As for me I craved nothing more than fashion magazines and novels. I treated myself all the time to videos until those trips to the rental place became my trademark. As they say, when something becomes habit people tend to distinguish you by it. I was negligent in my responsibilities and laziness characterized my Salah.

One night, I turned the video off after a marathon three hours of watching. The adhan softly rose in that quiet night. I slipped peacefully into my blanket. Her voice carried from her prayer room. "Yes? Would you like anything Noorah?"

With a sharp needle she popped my plans. 'Don't sleep before you pray Fajr!'

"Agh ... there's still an hour before Fajr, that was only the first Adhaan!"

With those loving pinches of hers, she called me closer. She was always like that, even before the fierce sickness shook her spirit and shut her in bed. 'Hanan can you come sit beside me.' I could never refuse any of her requests, you could touch the purity and sincerity. "Yes, Noorah?"

'Please sit here.'

"OK, I'm sitting. What's on your mind?"

With the sweetest mono voice she began reciting:

"Every soul shall taste death and you will merely be repaid your earnings on Resurrection Day"
She stopped thoughtfully. Then she asked, 'Do you believe in death?' "Of course I do."

'Do you believe that you shall be responsible for whatever you do, regardless of how small or large?'

"I do, but … Allah is Forgiving and Merciful and I've got a long life waiting for me."
'Stop it Hanan ... aren't you afraid of death and it's abruptness? Look at Hind. She was younger than you but she died in a car accident. So did so and so, and so and so. Death is age-blind and your age could never be a measure of when you shall die.'

The darkness of the room filled my skin with fear. "I'm scared of the dark and now you made me scared of death, how am I supposed to go to sleep now. Noorah, I thought you promised you'd go with us on vacation during the summer break."

Impact. Her voice broke and her heart quivered. 'I might be going on a long trip this year Hanan, but somewhere else. Just maybe. All of our lives are in Allah's hands and we all belong to Him.'

My eyes welled and the tears slipped down both cheeks. I pondered my sisters grizzly sickness, how the doctors had informed my father privately that there was not much hope that Noorah was going to outlive the disease. She wasn't told though. Who hinted to her? Or was it that she could sense the truth.

'What are you thinking about Hanan?' Her voice was sharp. 'Do you think I am just saying this because I am sick? Uh - uh. In fact, I may live longer than people who are not sick. And you Hanan, how long are you going to live? Twenty years, maybe? Forty? Then what?' Through the dark she reached for my hand and squeezed gently.

'There's no difference between us; we're all going to leave this world to live in Paradise or agonize in Hell. Listen to the words of Allah:

"Anyone who is pushed away from the Fire and shown into Jannah will have triumphed."
I left my sister's room dazed, her words ringing in my ears:

"May Allah guide you Hanan - don't forget your prayer."
Eight O'clock in the morning. Pounding on my door. I don't usually wake up at this time. Crying. Confusion. O Allah, what happened?

Noorahs condition became critical after Fajr, they took her immediately to the hospital ... Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji'un. There wasn't going to be any trips this summer. It was written that I would spend the summer at home. After an eternity...

It was one O'clock in the afternoon. Mother phoned the hospital. 'Yes. You can come and see her now.' Dad's voice had changed, mother could sense something had gone deathly wrong. We left immediately. Where was that avenue I used to travel and thought was so short? Why was it so long now, so very long. Where was the cherished crowd and traffic that would give me a chance to gaze left and right. Everyone, just move out of our way. Mother was shaking her head in her hands – crying – as she made dua' for her Noorah.

We arrived at the hospitals main entrance. One man was moaning, another was involved in an accident and a third's eyes were iced, you couldn't tell if he was alive or dead. We skipped stairs to Noorahs floor. She was in intensive care. The nurse approached us. 'Let me take you to her.' As we walked down the aisles the nurse went on expressing how sweet a girl Noorah was. She reassured Mother somewhat that Noorah's condition had gotten better than what it was in the morning.

'Sorry. No more than one visitor at a time.' This was the intensive care unit. Through the small window in the door and past the flurry of white robes I caught my sisters eyes. Mother was standing beside her. After two minutes, mother came out unable to control her crying.

'You may enter and say Salaam to her on condition that you do not speak too long,' they told me. 'Two minutes should be enough.'

"How are you Noorah? You were fine last night sister, what happened?"
We held hands, she squeezed harmlessly.

'Even now, Alhamdulillah, I'm doing fine.'
"Alhamdulillah ... but ... your hands are so cold."
I sat on her bedside and rested my fingers on her knee.
She jerked it away. "Sorry ... did I hurt you?"
"No, it is just that I remembered Allah's words:

"One leg will be wrapped to the other leg (in the death shroud)"
... Hanan pray for me. I may be meeting the first day of the hearafter very soon. It is a long journey and I haven't prepared enough good deeds in my suitcase.'

A tear escaped my eye and ran down my cheek at her words. I cried and she joined me. The room blurred away and left us – two sisters - to cry together. Rivulets of tears splashed down on my sister's palm which I held with both hands. Dad was now becoming more worried about me. I've never cried like that before.

At home and upstairs in my room, I watched the sun pass away with a sorrowful day. Silence mingled in our corridors. A cousin came in my room, another. The visitors were many and all the voices from downstairs stirred together. Only one thing was clear at that point ... Noorah had died!

I stopped distinguishing who came and who went. I couldn't remember what they said. O Allah, where was I? What was going on? I couldn't even cry anymore. Later that week they told me what had happened. Dad had taken my hand to say goodbye to my sister for the last time, I had kissed Noorah's head.

I remember only one thing though, seeing her spread on that bed, the bed that she was going to die on. I remembered the verse she recited:

"One leg will be wrapped to the other leg (in the death shroud)"
and I knew too well the truth of the next verse: "The drive on that day we be to your Lord (Allah)!"

I tiptoed into her prayer room that night. Staring at the quiet dressers and silenced mirrors, I treasured who it was that had shared my mother's stomach with me. Noorah was my twin sister. I remembered who I had swapped sorrows with. Who had comforted my rainy days. I remembered who had prayed for my guidance and who had spent so many tears for so many long nights telling me about death and accountability.

May Allah save us all. Tonight is Noorah's first night that she shall spend in her tomb. O Allah, have mercy on her and illumine her grave.

This was her Qur'an, her prayer mat and …and this was the spring rose-colored dress that she told me she would hide until she got married, the dress she wanted to keep just for her husband. I remembered my sister and cried over all the days that I had lost. I prayed to Allah to have mercy on me, accept me and forgive me. I prayed to Allah to keep her firm in her grave as she always liked to mention in her supplications.

At that moment, I stopped. I asked myself: what if it was I who had died? Where would I be moving on to? Fear pressed me and the tears began all over again.

"Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar..."
The first adhan rose softly from the Masjid, how beautiful it sounded this time. I felt calm and relaxed as I repeated the Muadhdhins call. I wrapped the shawl around my shoulders and stood to pray Fajr.

I prayed as if it was my last prayer, a farewell prayer, just like Noorah had done yesterday. It had been her last Fajr. Now and inshaAllah for the rest of my life, if I awake in the mornings I do not count on being alive by evening, and in the evening I do not count on being alive by morning.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Arrogance

Source: http://www.islamhelpline.com

One of our brothers/sisters has asked this Question:

Can you please let me know where arrogance stands in Islam. For eg. some people are arrogant because they are wealthy, some are arrogant because they might be good looking and some people are arrogant even if they have nothing to be arrogant about .....

Answer:

Arrogance in Islam

Arrogance has absolutely no place in Islam. One of the attributes of Allah is that He is the Al-Mutakabbir (The Arrogant) and Allah Alone deserves to be! He is the Creator, Sustainer, Cherisher, Provider, Protector and Maintainer of the heavens and the earth, and everything in between. No one else has a right to be arrogant, other than Allah Subhanah.

The Messenger of Allah (saws) said in an authentic narration, that arrogance is denial of the ‘haqq’ (truth), and not to look down upon people.

An arrogant person is one who denies Allah, His Messengers and His Book as the Truth, and lives life according to his own whims and fancies. He has no respect for Allah and His guidance and does not show any need for it. He thinks his wealth, his life, his power, his authority, his health, his position, will last with him forever. And thus in his arrogance, he looks down upon other people who have less than him and thinks unjustly that he gained all his wealth and position with his intelligence and hard work, and despises the people below him and thinks of them as useless and unworthy of his attention. Arrogance is an attitude, and Allah has promised Hell Fire for the one who is arrogant. Humility is the cloak of the people of Paradise and arrogance is the cloak of the people of Hell Fire.

A person can be riding a donkey or a cycle and be arrogant, and a person sitting in a Rolls Royce could be humble. It all depends on the attitude of the person. But most times a person is arrogant because of his wealth and the status Allah has granted him in this world, but little does he realize that the One who has given this honor, is Able and Capable of taking it away in a millisecond. Instead of being grateful to Allah for the favors, he credits his wealth and his position to himself and his intelligence and hard work, and becomes one of the arrogant and ungrateful in the sight of Allah.

Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 40 Surah Gafir verse 75-76: It will be said to the disbelievers: “You have met this fate because you rejoiced on the earth in things other than the Truth, and then exulted in it. Enter now the gates of Hell to live therein forever. What an evil abode for the arrogant!”

Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 39 Surah Zumar verse 59-60: “Why not? My Revelations did come to you, then you denied them, and showed arrogance, and you were among the disbelievers.” You will see that on the Day of Resurrection, the faces of those who have invented falsehoods against Allah will be blackened. Is there not enough room in Hell for the arrogant?

Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 16 Surah Nahl verse 22-23: Your God is One Allah, but the hearts of those, who do not believe in the Hereafter, are given to denial and they are puffed up with pride. Surely Allah has full knowledge of all their deeds, both secret and open. Verily, Allah does not love the arrogant.

It has been reported in an authentic narration that the Prophet (saws) said: "May I tell you of the people of Paradise? He is a very weak, poor and obscure person whom the people look down upon, but his oath is fulfilled by Allah when he takes an oath to do something. And may I inform you of the people of the Hell-Fire? They are all those violent, arrogant and stubborn people."

The Prophet (saws) said: A person who persistently keeps himself aloof from people and behaves insolently, so much so that his name is counted among the arrogant, he is meted out the same punishment which is earmarked for insolent persons.

The Prophet (saws) said, "Whoever drags his clothes (on the ground) out of pride and arrogance, Allah will not look at him on the Day of Resurrection."

Thus it is clear from the above aayahs of the Holy Quran and the narrations of the Prophet (saws), how much Allah Subhanah despises the attitude of arrogance.

May Allah guide us to be His humble slaves and servants. May Allah guide us to the Siraat ul Mustaqeem.

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.

Your brother and well wisher in Islam,

Burhan

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Sunday, April 29, 2007

Taraweeh Videos


Download complete Q'uran recitation (in Arabic) with English translation, divided into Surah's:

http://www.soennah.com/content/view/20/56/

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

E-numbers (Food)

E-numbers may be derived from animal origin. In many cases the origin of the product may be either from animal or non-animal sources. This is especially the case for those additives that contain fatty acids. These are normally of plant origin, but animal origin cannot be excluded. As the products are chemically identical, only the producers can give information on the exact origin.
For example, E471: Although mainly vegetable oils are used, the use of animal fat (incl. pork) cannot be excluded. Synthetic fats, produced from glycerol and natural fatty acids, mainly from plant origin, but also fats of animal origin may be used.
Wheypowder: A fraction of milk (Whey, wheypowder and cheese may not be halal when the animal that provided the rennet to clot the milk, is not slaughtered according to Islamic rules. Only the producer can provide the information on the status of these products.)
For a more complete guide (see links below):

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Selling Alcohol

Written by Shaykh Hafeezud Din
Sunday, 11 February 2007

The following question was asked at Islamic Times

Dear Shaykh! I have always wanted to help my father who indeed is a great dad. However, recently he purchased a shop which is licensed and sells alcohol. My dad says that I am only serving customers and not consuming the alcohol. Must I honour my father’s wishes? I really need your help; what should I do?

ANSWER
First and foremost, according to a Hadith in Al-Tirmidhi, it has been narrated by Hadhrat Abu Darda (Radi Allah Anho) that alcohol is the key to all evil; this is consuming it or selling it. It is totally Haraam to sell alcohol and the income earned is also Haraam.

It is Haraam for a Muslim to sell something that is Haraam for him to eat or use. The Holy Prophet, Hadhrat Muhammad-ur Rasullullaah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) said, “If Allah Taa’la makes Haraam the consumption of something; He also makes Haraam its transaction.” (Musnad Ahmad, Hadith no. 2546)

Islam is a consistent religion. When it says that something is bad and forbidden, then it wants Muslims to avoid it for themselves and for others. If a Muslim sells Haraam things, he is not only inconsistent in his behaviour; he is also ridiculing the law of Allah Taa’la. He does not care what is right and what is wrong. It is right if other Muslims avoid business with this person. This will be a good reminder for this person to come back to the rules of Allah Taa’la.

Hadhrat Anas (Radi Allah Anho) says that the Holy prophet, Hadhrat Muhammad-ur Rasullullaah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) cursed ten people in connection with wine; the wine-presser, the one who has it pressed, the one who drinks it, the one who conveys it, the one to whom it is conveyed, the one who serves it, the one who sells it, the one who benefits from the price paid for it, the one who buys it and the one for whom it is bought. (Al-Tirmidhi) My advice to you is that within the boundaries of respect to your father, tell your dad that you cannot sell alcohol as it contradicts the teachings of Islam.

(VERILY, ALLAH TAA’LA IS ALL-KNOWING!)

Yvonne Ridley: Drawing Parallels

Written by Yvonne Ridley
Monday, 02 April 2007

I must confess that the events of the last few days involving British woman Faye Turney and her Royal Navy shipmates have filled me with mixed emotions. Faye is a captive of the Iranian Government and I can't help drawing parallels with my days as a prisoner of the Taliban way back in September 2001.

Like Faye, I was simply doing my job and just like her I ended up being plastered across the world's newspapers portrayed as a victim of an evil, brutal regime. Funnily enough, I went tresspassing too. Although to be fair to Faye she might not have realised she was entering Iranian waters whereas I was caught banged to rights for my illegal trip into Afghanistan without a passport and visa. And, just like Faye, once my captors realised I was a nicotine addict, they kept me topped up in cigarettes for the duration of my ordeal. Mercifully, the Taleban did not parade me with fag in gob for the media, that would have been too cruel ... my mother would never have forgiven me! She despised my cigarette habit and would certainly not have approved of me puffing away in public, stressed or otherwise.

I do hope Faye's ordeal does come to a rapid end. It is not much fun being anyone's prisoner but she should count her blessings that she's in the hands of the Iranians. Imagine if she had been caught by the Americans? By now she would have been shaved, shackled and sodomised at the very least in her first week of capitivity. She would almost certainly be wearing an orange jumpsuit after being thrown into a rat-infested cage via a rendition flight to Guantanamo.

I just thank God that she was, like me, captured by an evil, brutal regime instead of the US military!George Bush and Tony Blair's indignation over her arrest, and the Western tabloid outpourings regarding Faye's black headscarf has certainly been something to behold. Although, with regard to the head covering, to a certain extent, I can see their point - by contrast the Taleban issued me with a rather fetching little hijab, a sort of autumnal blend of colours. Black can be too drab without the right accessories.

Muslims don't have any such fashion dilemmas when they find themselves in the hands of the British or the Americans because there's nothing like a good old fashioned hood over the head to hide your blushes, and some sticky tape across your mouth will certainly curtail such anti-social and potentially life-threatening habits like smoking. We only know this because those nice folk from the US and British military were thoughtful enough to take lots of pictures and videos of their treatment of prisoners in Abu Ghraib, Basra, Guantanamo and elsewhere. How thoughtful, as I say, to hide their identities and prevent them from being publicly paraded in the same way as Faye and her naval colleagues.

And of course a hood over the head would have stopped them from talking publicly infront of the cameras about how they strayed into Iranian waters under the orders of the UK military.
Mind you, the Brits appear to have become regular little chatterboxes haven't they? According to declassified US documents Khalid Sheik Mohammed had to be coaxed with CIA watersports before he overcame his shyness.

I wonder if like the Australian David Hicks, the British naval crew will be allowed to enjoy five years in solitary confinement before being charged with anything? Given the choice, what do you think Faye and her mates would prefer - Western justice Bush and Blair-style or Islamic justice? Just in case you are struggling with an answer, here are some clues to help you supplied by my man in Virginia who has outlined below some of the CIA's Enhanced Interrogation Techniques. All have been tried and tested on Muslim detainees at secret locations on military bases in regions from Asia to Eastern Europe.

* The Belly Slap: A hard open-handed slap to the stomach designed to cause pain, but not internal injury.
* Long Time Standing: Prisoners are forced to stand, handcuffed and with their feet shackled to an eye bolt in the floor for more than 40 hours.
* The Cold Cell: The prisoner is left to stand naked in a cell kept near 50 degrees. Throughout the time in the cell the prisoner is doused with cold water.
* Water Boarding: The prisoner is bound to an inclined board, feet raised and head slightly below the feet. Cellophane is wrapped over the prisoner's face and water is poured over him.

Unavoidably, the gag reflex kicks in and a terrifying fear of drowning leads to almost instant pleas to bring the treatment to a halt. CIA officers who subjected themselves to the water boarding technique lasted an average of 14 seconds before caving in. They said al Qaida suspect Khalid Sheik Mohammed, won their admiration when he was able to last between two and two-and-a-half minutes before begging to confess. According to Larry Johnson, a former CIA officer and a deputy director of the State Department's office of counterterrorism: "What real CIA field officers know firsthand is that it is better to build a relationship of trust … than to extract quick confessions through tactics such as those used by the Nazis and the Soviets." Ah, ha. So now we know. Those devious Iranians are trying to build up a relationship of trust with their captives by acting in a civilised manner.

Quick George, Tony ... get the Brits out now before they are given copies of the Qur'an to read!

Source: Islamic Times

Monday, April 02, 2007

Drugs and Rap


If you're older than 10 and younger than 20, you probably know people or have friends that are trying to live the life of a rap star. Just like the big boyz, they wanna drive heavy cars, be seen with pretty ladies, smoke like its all that matters and live life to the fullest. Well, it seems all cool, but things do go wrong, just that it can be hard to find out when uve gone down the drain.

So, where does it all start? Do you just watch a 'Get Rich or Die Tryin', and walk out the cinema thinking you wanna be that man. No, not quite that simple. It takes time, slowly your character starts to change. Maybe you cut your hair like dem manz or u start to dress like em. And then you start treatin ppl like they gotta be treated, speakin to yer old man the way any young geeza would, tellin your mom to mind 'er own business. Just havin that attitude that makes u feel big, u dnt need to respect any1 - dats all a load of bull. Cos thats the way life is meant to be, hard and rough.
What happenz nxt? ur mates want u to try some weed but you dnt do that sh*t but u dnt mind a bit of a smoke. Then u gta move on, the real stuff is waitin for ya. You got nuthin to lose, no1 gives a sh*t abt u anyway. Remember, ur still looking up to your hero, that rapper that knws the true meanin of life.

Five years later, you're addicted to drugs, ur lifes a mess, ur mom and dad are shattered, ppl dnt like u no more. u wna be that same old school boy but it dnt happen dat way, the clock dnt go back. Your left with your drug addiction, the hero in dat movie is gone, but theres sum1 else in his place, jus lyk theres sum1 else in ur place.

Now - I'm not lecturing anyone, that ain't my job but I just want young people to do better in life. And I don't think we should tell anyone not to take drugs, because thats their choice, but its our job to let them know what will happen to them. Thats really why I started to volunteer for Right Start Foundation a few months ago. At the moment, I've just done some drugs courses but in the future I hope to help out some ppl with drugs problems and also spread awareness of drugs and the problems they pose.

I think its important for Muslims to not just complain about things but actually go out there and try to do something about it, even if its only one hour a month, its a step in the right direction. There are so many Muslim brothers and sisters that have ruined their lives because of drugs and many more will continue to do so. Most of them didn't even realise that drugs could be so damaging, ruining not only their life but also their family.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

The True Solution

Once there were two students walking along a river. One of them just so happened to glance over at something floating in the river. It did not take long for him to realize that it was a baby! Without hesitation he jumped into the river to save the infant from drowning. When he jumped in he realized that there were at least ten more in his immediate area, all of them screaming and crying as they bobbed by.

Quite naturally he started screaming to the other student. "Help! C'mon man! Get in here! Look at all of these babies! We gotta help 'em!" The other student, however, kept walking upstream, despite noticing a river full of babies, with more and more floating downstream.

For every one that the first student saved, eight passed him. There were just too many."C'mon man! Don't you have a heart?! I can't grab all of these babies alone!" The second student replied, "I'm going upstream to find out who's throwing all of these babies in the river."

The point of this short story is to demonstrate the importance of going to the source of the problem to have a greater impact. Many people address each of society's social ailments as separate entities. Thus we find numerous organizations that target a specific poison; The solution to racism, spouse abuse, child abuse, crime, pollution, alcohol abuse, drug addiction, and other social ills is one.

Each problem does not require its own organizations and groups to eliminate it. The solutions for all of these is one. That one, is Islam.

Sayings of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)

  • There are three roots to Iman (Faith): not to trouble him who shall say 'there is no deity but God;' not to think him an unbeliever on account of one fault; and not to discard him for one crime.
  • When asked to mention one of the most excellent parts of Iman (Faith) Muhammad said, "To love him who loveth God, and hate him who hateth God, and to keep your tongue employed in repeating the name of God." What else? He said, "To do unto all men as you would wish to have done unto you, and to reject for others what you would reject for yourself."
  • Speak to men according to their mental capacities, for if you speak all things to all men, some cannot understand you, and so fall into errors.
  • Verily your deeds will be brought back to you, as if you yourself were the creator of your own punishment.
  • Feed the hungry and visit the sick, and free the captive, if he be unjustly confined. Assist any person oppressed, whether Muslim or non-Muslim.
  • Do a good deed for every bad deed that it may blot out the latter.
  • All Muslims are as one body. If a man complaineth of a pain in his head, his whole body complaineth; and if his eye complaineth, his whole body complaineth.
  • Assist your Muslim brother, whether he be an oppressor or oppressed. "But how shall we do it when he is an oppressor?" enquired a companion. Muhammad replied, "Assisting an oppressor consists in forbidding and witholding him from oppression."
  • Ye will not enter Paradise until ye have faith, and ye will not complete your faith until ye love one another.
  • Verily, each of you is a mirror to his brother: then if he seeth a vice in his brother he must tell him to get rid of it.

Read hundreds more: Sayings of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)

Friday, March 30, 2007

The Value of Honesty

Narrated Abu Umamah (r.a.) Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:

a) I guarantee a home in Paradise for a person who gives up arguments and disputes even if he is on the truth.

b) And (I (also) guarantee) a home in the middle of Paradise for a person who gives up lying (false statements) even while joking.

c) And (I (also) gurantee) a home in the highest part of Paradise for a person who has a high standard of character.”

This hadith is quoted by Abu Dawud, Al Trimidhi, An-Nasa’I and Ibn Majah

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Junaid Jamshed pays tribute to Bob Woolmer

Becoming a better Muslim

What we can do...
  • First of all, acknowledge that nobody is perfect, we all have our strengths and weaknesses. E.g. some people are disciplined and always pray on time (strength), some people can't respect their parents (weakness), and others can't stop back-biting (weakness).
  • Then, start to analyse our weaknesses and highlight them in our minds, so that we are aware of them in a very clear manner. This is important because sometimes we don't really know our own weaknesses (maybe because we are afraid to face them). Don't hesitate to write things down on a piece of paper, it will help you in some way or another.
  • Over a period of time, start to think about ways in which you can stop yourself from repeating the same mistakes time and time again, i.e. the weaknesses you've identified.
  • Try to reform and gradually bring about positive change, but be prepared for failure.
  • In case of failure, accept that you've not been able to fight the weakness and try again.
  • Trying again is what makes you feel more confident, like when you play a computer game - you don't abandon it when it says 'Game Over'.
  • Keep trying and don't let yourself feel that you cannot do it, because when you give up - you are taking the advice of your open enemy - the Shaytaan.
  • Example: Identified Weakness: You don't read the Q'uran often enough. Why don't you read the Q'uran often enough? How can you change this? When will you change this? Set an achievable target for the next few weeks. Always remind yourself that this is one of your weaknesses and you're trying to do something about it. If you don't manage to meet your set target, don't ignore the issue, keep thinking about it. The Shaytaan will try to convince you to put this matter to the back of your head (so you forget about it). But be clear in your mind that you are going to continue your struggle until you overcome your weakness.
  • Use this technique for both weaknesses and strengths (monitor your strengths also, make sure that they remain).
  • InshaAllah the fact that you are constantly thinking about 'enhancing' your Imaan will help you to become successful. Remember, ignoring an issue is the worst way of addressing it.
  • Be active and positive, and enjoy the process of making yourself a better Muslim.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Jermaine prays for Michael

Written by Islamic Times
Sunday, 11 February 2007

Jermaine Jackson, also known as Abdul Aziz emerged from the Celebrity Big Brother house in January, and in one of the first interviews he gave, he said he prays his brother, Michael Jackson will convert to Islam.


Jermaine who lives between Bahrain and Dubai said he believes his brother has given it serious thought after Michael joined his brother to live in the Middle East. “Michael, I feel, needs to become a Muslim because I think it’s a great protection for him from all the things that he’s been attacked with, which are false,”

“There’s a strength and protection there,” “I was the reason why he had gone there, I wanted him to get out of America and just go somewhere where it’s peaceful and quiet and people pray five times a day which is beautiful.”

Jermaine Jackson said his faith helped keep him sane in the enclosed confines of the reality TV programme where the contestants were kept within the compounds of the big brother house and were under 24-hour surveillance. “If I didn’t have Allah and my prayer rug, I would not have survived. It kept me focused, it kept me calm.” he said.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Khalid Mish'al - The Guardian

An interesting article from the Guardian newspaper:
Our Unity Can Now Pave The Way For Peace And Justice
The Mecca agreement gives the west the chance to break with its policy of blackmail and recognise Palestinian rights

Khalid Mish'al Tuesday February 13, 2007 The Guardian

A historic new phase in the Palestinian struggle for freedom and independence has begun. Last week's Mecca agreement between Hamas and Fatah will pave the way for the first ever truly Palestinian national unity government. Hamas and Fatah, joined by all the other Palestinian factions, will now seek to rebuild Palestinian society following the destruction brought upon it by Israeli occupation and resume the campaign for our national rights.

We are determined to make sure that the recent internal fighting, which appalled our people and dismayed their supporters around the world, becomes history. We firmly believe that it would never have happened had it not been for foreign intervention and the brutal sanctions imposed on our people by Israel and its allies. The crisis would not have existed had international and regional powers respected the results of last year's democratic elections in Palestine.

The Mecca agreement has laid the foundations for a power-sharing process that will produce a functioning government capable of attending to our people's needs. It will also pave the way for rebuilding the PLO to include all the factions and become the legitimate representative of all Palestinian people. The partnership born out of the Mecca meeting is possible because of the consensus among the Palestinians that their primary objective is to win their freedom, and that their struggle should be solely against occupation. It is now up to the international community to respect this accord and the will of the Palestinian people.

We Palestinians have been the victims of invasion, occupation and oppression for almost a century. Yet we have been constantly blackmailed to make concessions and give up yet more of our legitimate rights. Since the elections of January 2006 our people have been boycotted and punished by the international community for exercising their democratic rights. In the meantime, Israel has continued to kill and detain Palestinians on a daily basis, demolishing hundreds of houses and making thousands homeless.

Today Israel has more than 11,000 of our brothers and sisters in jail and continues to deny millions of refugees the right to return to their homeland. It has defied international law by proceeding with the construction of the apartheid wall and building settlements on land expropriated from Palestinians. Meanwhile, excavation resumed last week in the compound of al-Aqsa mosque, and on Friday the mosque, to which access is denied to Palestinians below the age of 45, was invaded by Israeli troops who wounded scores of worshippers.

Now that Hamas and Fatah have agreed to form a national unity government, the international community has no excuse to maintain the siege against our people. We know that many governments around the world are unhappy with these sanctions and want to see an end to them. The Palestinian national accord achieved in Mecca envisages the establishment of a truly sovereign and independent Palestinian state on the territories occupied by Israel in June 1967 - with Jerusalem as its capital, the dismantling of the settlements in the West Bank, the release of all Palestinian prisoners and the acknowledgement of the right of the refugees to return to their homes.

Once translated into reality, this vision will pave the way for real peace in the region. There must be no more blackmail of Palestinians, for there is nothing else they can give away. Global powers should have learned by now that neither sanctions nor any other form of pressure or bribery will force the Palestinians to abandon their struggle for freedom and independence.

All previous peace proposals have failed because they were intended to impose an unjust pro-Israel settlement on our people, and were based on the assumption that the Palestinian struggle was a form of terrorism that the Palestinians had to renounce. The attempt to divide Palestinians into moderates and extremists or peacemakers and terrorists has failed. Now we are united in our determination to seek an end to oppression and occupation.

So, will the international community seize this historic opportunity, require Israel to respect our rights and stop hindering this attempt to turn the Palestinian national agreement into a reality? Or will it remain weak and ineffective in the face of Israeli intransigence and risk alienating not only Hamas but also Fatah and all the other Palestinian factions?

If the latter is the choice, the outcome will be dire indeed: the entire Middle East region will be driven towards another cycle of bloody escalation that may last for many years to come - and an entire Palestinian generation, which might not be willing to accept what we accept today, will be left profoundly embittered.

The west needs to wake up and realise that time is no longer on the side of Israel and its policies of occupation, destruction and expansion. Time no longer favours the continuation of policies biased towards Israel. It will not serve the best interests of the west to support Israel while it continues to terrorise our people, occupy our land, violate our basic human and national rights and encroach on Muslim and Christian holy places. Such blind support has proven to be very costly for the west and will increasingly damage its vital interests.

It must be understood by all that the people of Palestine have the key to both peace and war in the Middle East. There can never be peace and stability in the region without settling the Palestinian question. And that can only be achieved by ending the occupation and recognising our people's rights.

Khalid Mish'al is head of the Hamas political bureau
khmishal@gmail.com

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Yvonne Ridley Talk in Audio


"Are You A Terrorist?" with Dr Azzam Tamimi and Yvonne Ridley

Monday 12th February 2007

Link to Audio Download

NB: You will need to enter the code shown and then click Submit and wait 30 seconds before getting the download link

The recording is approx. 40 minutes in duration. Unfortunately, I missed out the Q&A session at the end due to memory running out (on my mobile phone).

Sheikh Ziaullah Khan Video


Saturday, February 10, 2007

Daily Recitations

Click to open PDF

The Lion Proclaims Allah


The lion makes short ablution and says the name of Allah! Thousand visitors of a zoo in city Baku became witnesses of this miracle. The inspector of the zoo said, that the Lion was brought from Iran in 1999.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

The Underlying Problem



Here we go again, the streets of Birmingham are full of chaos, uncertainty and frustration. An alleged plot to behead a member of the British Army has been foiled by intelligence workers. Some of us feel sorry for the British Muslim member of the army, who had been serving in Afghanistan, protecting the nation from an evil eye. Others would argue that the war in Iraq and Afghanistan causes the death of several human beings everyday, therefore anyone who is responsible should be killed (not beheaded). Personally, I don't think that such plots will achieve anything because such acts are sickening and will not give birth to peace and harmony. One could say the same about most other forms of terrorism, e.g. suicide bombings and car bombs.

But then that makes me think, how can we help our fellow human beings in Iraq and Afghanistan from the situation that they have been put into? Peaceful marching? Violent protests? Well, none of these have had much of an effect as yet. How can we save the next 5-year old kid from being bombed to bits like thousands of others?
I don't have the answer because just like many others, I am helpless, I can't do anything to stop Britain and USA (in terms of their evil foreign policy). But is it ok to simply turn a blind eye to what is happening as the result of the decisions of a few politicians? The image of Britain is being ruined, it is up to the British people to do something about it. Despite living in a democracy, we are afraid of saying the truth because of the possible consequences.

Other than that, I came across a blog article which was titled, 'Muslims are not paranoid - everyone does really hate them'. My response is as follows:

My dear friend, you stop the British and American forces from killing innocent people in massive numbers and over several years (wiping out nations - Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon), and then we talk about peace. How can we stop the West from committing such crimes? By negociating with people whose hands are covered in blood? We want peace as much as you do, but won’t let you have it unless you let us have it.

It seems obvious to me that the underlying problem is British foreign policy. By arresting a few angry and frustrated individuals you are not going to solve the problem, you need to look at the bigger picture. Muslims are not targeting the West because people have a different lifestyle (as the media wants you to believe), but because the West is actively killing on a large scale day after day, as if it is some kind of natural process. Then when we get any form of retaliation, we respond in shock and label it as terrorism?

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Junaid Jamshed Interview 1 of 2

Junaid Jamshed on why and how he changed his lifestyle, choosing to leave the glamorous world of pop music in order to live a more Islamic life.

Junaid Jamshed Interview 2 of 2

Junaid Jamshed on why and how he changed his lifestyle, choosing to leave the glamorous world of pop music in order to live a more Islamic life.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Importance of Namaz

An extract from an article on the importance of prayer:

Every action that one has been commanded to do in namaz provides uses for one's heart and body. Performing namaz in jamaat (congregation) in mosques attaches Muslims' hearts to one another. It provides love between them. Thus they realize that they are brethren. The elder become merciful towards the younger. And the younger become respectful towards the elder. The rich become helpers for the poor and the powerful for the weak. The healthy, not seeing the sick in the mosque, visit them in their homes....(read the full article).

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

"Trust me, I saw it on TV !!!"

It has become more and more easier for us to believe something without actually experiencing or witnessing it ourselves. This is why many of us think that we 'know it all' when it comes to world politics and situations on the other side of the globe. We've all heard comments like, 'I read it in the paper', 'it was on the news' and 'didn't you see that programme on TV??!!'.

Recently, I've come across several blogs which contain posts regarding 'Islamic Extremism'. The kind of comments that individuals are making about Islam are extremely negative and reflect a lack of knowledge, yet most writers convey an attitude of 'I know it all'. I often ask such people, who are so worried about Islam being hijacked by terrorists, when they last came across an extremist, other than on CNN or some other media source. Why don't we realise that we see everything through the eyes of the media? Therefore, it is inevitable that our perceptions will be incomplete and limited by perspective.

Just think about it, all of a sudden Britain began to worry about the welfare of women who wear the face-veil, it became a national issue. How many women do we know that wear the face-veil? Is it really more important than so many other issues that affect the majority of society? It is not a problem if 70% of the population is negatively affected by the abuse of alcohol, but if a few women decide that they want to cover up, then the whole nation must help them out. The media is playing games with us, next thing we know we'll all be worried about David Beckham finding a club, even if it means we forget about Iraq for a while.

As a muslim, I can say that I've been to many different mosques, attended various Islamic talks by several organisations, etc. However, I am yet to meet a terrorist or even hear comments by an Islamic leader which are extreme in nature. But you know what, I 'm sure that there are thousands of extremists out there, trust me I seen it all on TV!