Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Chirac backs ban on headscarves

Chirac: "We cannot let secularism weaken"

French President Jacques Chirac has voiced support for a law that would ban the wearing of headscarves in schools.

He was giving his reaction to last week's report by a government commission, which proposed a ban on conspicuous religious signs in schools.

Jewish skull-caps and large Christian crosses would be affected, as well as headscarves worn by Muslim girls.

Some religious leaders have objected to the idea, but polls suggest a majority of voters would back it.

"Discreet" medallions and pendants which merely confirm a person's religious faith would be allowed.

No holiday

"Secularism is one of the great successes of the Republic," Mr Chirac said in an address to the nation.

"It is a crucial element of social peace and national cohesion. We cannot let it weaken."

Mr Chirac dropped another controversial proposal made by the commission - for school holidays to mark the Muslim feast of Eid el-Kabir and the Jewish Yom Kippur.

The idea sent shockwaves through the centre-right government which is currently drafting legislation to make state employees work on the Christian holiday of Pentecost in order to raise money for care for the elderly.

The commission, headed by former minister Bernard Stasi, consulted a wide cross-section of public opinion, including teachers, religious leaders, sociologists and politicians before handing in the report to the president on Thursday.

Although it dealt with the wider subject of French secularism, debate on the issue has focused on the wearing of Islamic headscarves in schools.

Public opinion

France has the largest Muslim population in the European Union, with around five million people, and several thousand teenage girls are estimated to wear headscarves to classes.

The spirit and general tone of the report stigmatise one section of the nation, and take no account of the reality of Islam in France

French Council for the Muslim Religion

The issue has led to a number of celebrated cases where girls have been suspended or expelled for wearing headscarves to school.

A survey published by Le Parisien newspaper on Wednesday suggested that public opinion has swung behind a ban on religious signs in schools and colleges.

It suggests that 69% of French citizens now support such a law, compared with 55% before the publication of the Stasi commission report.

But according to the same poll, only 39% of French Muslims favoured a ban on religious signs.

The survey questioned 1,004 French people over the age of 18 on 14 and 15 December.

The French Council for the Muslim Religion - recently created as Muslims' first ever representative body in France - said it regretted the report's recommendations.

"The spirit and general tone of the report stigmatise one section of the nation, and take no account of the reality of Islam in France," it said.

News source: BBC

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Living the Quran
Al-Hashr (The Gathering)
Chapter 59: Verse 19

Safety from Forgetfulness of God

"And be not like those who forget God and whom He causes to forget their own souls: truly those are corrupted'"

Constancy in remembrance of the Lord (Exalted) brings about security from forgetfulness of Him. This forgetfulness is the cause of the servant's misery both in his worldly life and on the appointed Day. This is because forgetfulness of his Lord ... leads to forgetfulness of his own soul and its welfare.

If a servant forgets his own soul - turning away from it, disregarding what benefits it and becoming engrossed with other things - then its ruin and corruption are inevitable. It is the same as if he had a field of grain, an orchard or anything else that depended on his care, and he neglected it, forgot about it, buried himself with something else and disregarded what it needed. This is where someone else could take his place.

But what about the misery, ruin and destruction of his own soul? If he ignores his soul, forgets it and gets distracted from its good; if he fails to care for it and gives up seeking what is beneficial to it, the what more can he expect than ruin, destruction and loss?

"The Invocation of God" - By Ibn Qayyim Al-Jawziyya, pp. 54, 55

Understanding the Prophet's Life

Forming A Leading Generation

The greatest single achievement of the Prophet, peace be upon him, is to secure the long and successful continuance of Islam by educating a whole generation of men and women to establish it so firmly. To succeed in this activity of education, he needed the best insight and wisdom, and knowledge of the dispositions and manners of particular individuals. Three important features of the Prophet's teachings are especially worth noting.

Firstly, he placed due emphasis on individual education and did not restrict himself to general, collective guidance. Reform of the individual was the essential foundation for reform of the community: virtue and right guidance spread outward from each virtuous and right-guided individual to influence the community which in its turn offers the best environment for other individuals to realize their potential for virtue and right guidance.

Secondly, the Prophet picked the moment when, as well as the person whom, he would seek to improve. If there is inward readiness for it, acquisition of knowledge is easier, more enduring and more fruitful. In the same way as watering a thirsty land is more profitable than pouring the same water on impermeable rocks, so attention needs to be paid to the occasions and circumstances in which guidance is presented.

As well as teaching the right person at the right moment to the right degre, the Prophet encouraged consistency and regularity in good acts. A strenuous act of virtue soon disappears as a gesture, whereas a little good done regularly brings greater benefit for longer. That is surely the meaning of the authentic hadith: 'The acts most pleasing to Allah are those which are done regularly, even if they amount to little.' [Bukhari, Muslim] Sustained good deeds have an assured, solid increase - just as drops of water may accumulate into a river or ocean.

"Muhammad: The Perfect Model for Humanity" - Mustafa Ahmad al-Zarqa, pp. 30, 31


When Facing the Pressure

In our teenage culture, which exaggerates the idea of personal freedom and excessive entertainment, you are exposed to Peer Pressure. Here are some tips when you are facing the pressure:

Think about the consequences of every action. Use wisdom, not emotion.

Say ‘No’ with courage. Make it clear how you feel about the situation. Explain why. It may be an opportunity to invite your friends to the Islamic way of life.

Use Humour. Throw out a funny line to ease the tension and show how you feel! “I don’t drink. I can’t afford to kill my brain cells. Unfortunately, I only have a few left as it is!”

Suggest a better idea. “Why don’t we play some hockey, instead of watching that movie? It’ll save us some money too!”

Remember Allah, your best Friend! He is there to help you. The Prophet told his close companion: “By Allah! Whoever gives up something for the sake of Allah, Allah will replace it with something better than it!”

"Cool or Fool: Choosing The Right Friends" - by Young Muslims Publications

Iraqi Vice

Locals are calling it 'the bad side of freedom': pills, porn, prostitution and booze are rampant now. And it's not only the radicals who blame America.

By Christian Caryl

Dec. 22 issue - The trip from Ali's village to Baghdad takes an hour and a half by bus. As soon as he arrives, the 21-year-old Iraqi heads straight to Abu Abdullah's, just off Sadoun Street in an alley with a number instead of a name. "I don't have a wife," he says. "I don't have enough money to get married. So I come here." At Abu Abdullah's, $1.50 buys 15 minutes alone with a woman. The room is a cell with only a curtain for a door, and Ali complains that Abu Abdullah's women should bathe more often. But the young man says it's still a big improvement from Saddam Hussein's day. Back then, he says, the only establishment for a poor boy like himself was at a Gypsy settlement on the capital's western outskirts. "But now there are plenty of places." He grins. "Now we have freedom."

Before the invasion, Iraq was one of the world's most tightly controlled societies. Only a few specially licensed stores could sell alcohol, and in recent years drinking was banned outright in restaurants and hotels. A committee in the Ministry of Culture kept a strict watch against even mildly naughty movies, magazines and films. Convicted prostitutes could be beheaded. Hard-core drug abuse was virtually unknown--if you didn't count certain members of Saddam's immediate family and their close friends. Now Iraqis like Ali are making up for what they've missed--and many other Iraqis, young and old, are blaming America. "Some people say the spread of such things is designed to weaken our society," says Col. Daoud Selman, a police chief in one of Baghdad's roughest districts. "Every day we hear it from people on the street. Not just the religious people, but ordinary ones, too."

Iraqis call it "the bad side of freedom." The problems go far beyond Baghdad's tailgate liquor bazaars, where wildcat shopkeepers peddle booze from the backs of cars, or the arrays of skin magazines on full display at the teeming Bab-i-Sharji market in the heart of town. The worry isn't only the growing number of visibly intoxicated people around the market, or the pharmacopeia of pills that are readily available there without prescription. What bothers many Iraqis, apparently even some of those who make their living from the sin industry, is the question of where Iraq is headed.

Walk down the street from the market to the adult cinemas, where 70 cents buys an all-day ticket and the audience hoots in protest if a nonpornographic trailer interrupts the action. "We have to compete with the satellites," says the manager of one theater, almost apologetically. A third of the country's population is estimated to have access to pornographic TV channels via satellite dish. For those who don't, enterprising dealers record the footage on videodiscs and sell them for a pittance. "Under Saddam this would have been an automatic six months in jail," says a vendor who keeps ultra-X wares in a drawer for special customers at his video shop in Baghdad's Karada district. "Now nothing will happen to us."

Nothing the police are likely to do, anyway. The regime's vice laws remain on the books, but they're rarely enforced. "Immediately after the war, we started raids and arresting prostitutes and pimps," says Lt. Col. Omar Zahid, a top cop in Abu Abdullah's district. "But the American MPs made us release them. After that, the whores and pimps understood they had nothing to fear." The colonel admits he doesn't know how he could have kept them all anyway; his jail was overflowing with thieves and violent criminals.

But Islamic vigilantes are inflicting punishments that can be far more severe than a short stay behind bars. Liquor stores and porno shops around the country have been bombed, torched or even attacked with rocket-propelled grenades. Two customers at a porno theater in Mosul died in September when unidentified assailants dropped a hand grenade through a ceiling vent. The owners had previously been threatened by Islamic groups. "In Saddam's time I had one old night watchman," says Hassan Abd, manager of Baghdad's Al Khayam theater, which has begun showing adult films. "Now I have three young people armed with Kalashnikovs."

Most Iraqis say they don't know what to do about the vice explosion. Few seem at all enthusiastic about the idea of Saudi-style morality police. "We can't forbid freedom," concedes Fuad al Rawi, a leader of the predominantly Sunni and deeply conservative Iraqi Islamic Party. Still, some people are always ready to try. That's how people like Saddam come to power.

© 2003 Newsweek, Inc.

Islam berjaya membina keunggulan kerana pembinaannya bermula dari dalam, iaitu dari hati, dan bukannya dari slogan kosong, teknologi canggih dan panji. Imam Al-Ghazali dalam Ihya Ulumuddin pada bab Huraian Keajaiban Hati berkata, “Hati ialah raja bagi manusia. Sebagai raja, hati mempunyai tentera-tentera yang mampu melaksanakan kehendak-kehendaknya. Tentera-tentera ini dikenali sebagai tentera-tentera zahir dan batin. Tentera-tentera zahir ialah segala anggota badan yang dikurniakan kepada manusia. Tentera-tentera batin pula ialah nafsu syahwat dan marah di samping ilmu, hikmat dan kebijaksanaan. Nafsu syahwat dan marah mampu memainkan dua peranan yang berbeza iaitu, membantu hati atau menghancurkannya. Justeru hati memerlukan ilmu dan hikmat agar dengannya nafsu syahwat dan marah dapat dikekang untuk melaksanakan perkara-perkara yang bermanfaat sahaja. Ilmu yang paling mulia ialah ilmu tentang Allah serta keagunganNya. Penguasaan ilmu ini dan keyakinan yang lahir daripadanya berbeza antara seorang dengan seorang yang lain. Di peringkat awal, ilmu ini diperolehi berdasarkan usaha dan kesungguhan sehingga seseorang mengenali sifat-sifat yang wajib, mustahil serta harus bagi Allah. Di tahap yang paling tinggi, ilmu dan keyakinan terhadap Allah terhasil berdasarkan penglihatan mata hati yang dikurniakan oleh Allah.”

Sahabat Ali bin Abu Talib pernah berkata, “Sesungguhnya Allah mempunyai bejana di muka bumi dan ia adalah dalam bentuk hati-hati manusia. Hati yang paling di kasihi Allah ialah hati yang paling lembut (araqquha), yang paling suci (asfaaha) dan yang paling keras (aslabuha). Maksud yang paling keras ialah yang paling keras berpegang pada agama Allah. Maksud yang paling suci ialah yang paling suci di sudut keyakinan, dan maksud yang paling lembut ialah yang paling berlemah lembut kepada sahabat dan taulan.”

Mengikut Imam Al-Ghazali, hati mempunyai empat sifat, iaitu sifat kebuasan, kebinatangan, kesyaitanan dan ketuhanan. Kebanyakan manusia gagal dalam hidup kerana mereka membela dan membelai sifat-sifat kebinatangan, kesyaitanan dan kebinatangan.

(Dari buku "Motivasi Al-Quran" yang bakal diterbitkan)

Dr. Danial bin Zainal Abidin,
Pengarang Buku "Empayar Minda Muslim" dan "Perubatan Islam Dan Bukti Sains Moden"

Sunday, December 14, 2003

Satan Hinders the Slave from Acting by Means of Procrastination and Laziness
Dr. `Umar Al-Ashqar

Chapter: From the Ways of Satan in Leading Humans Astray
The World of the Jinn and Devils
© 1998 al-Basheer Publications and Translations

Concerning this point, Satan has many ways and means. It is recorded in Sahih al-Bukhari that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said,

"During your sleep, Satan ties three knots at the back of your Decks. He breathes the following into them, 'The night is long so keep on sleeping.' If the person wakes and praises Allah, then one of the knots is unfastened. And if he performs ablution, the second knot is unfastened. When he prays, all of the knots are unfastened. After that he will be energetic and happy in the morning. Otherwise he would get up listless and grouchy."

It is also recorded in Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim that he said,

"When one of you rises from your sleep he should make ablution. He should rinse his nose three times. For Satan stays in the upper part of one's nose during the night."

Al-Bukhari also records that the Prophet (peace be upon him) was asked about a man who sleeps until the morning comes, that is, after the time of the dawn prayer. He said,

"That is a man whom Satan has urinated into his two ears."

What we have mentioned is from among the ways that Satan hinders the human from doing some actions. He also whispers into the human a love for laziness, postponing or procrastinating actions and thinking about what a long period of time one has for such and such action or work. Ibn al-Jauzi has written on this topic, stating,

How many of the Jews or Christians have considered in their hearts love for Islam. But Iblees always hinders them. He says to them, "Do not be hasty. Look closer into the matter." And they postpone their conversion until they die as unbelievers. In the same way the one who is disobedient to Allah postpones his repentance. He sets his sights on his desires and he hopes he will repent later. But, as the poet said, "Do not rush to perform the sins you desire and think about the period of repentance beforehand." How many are determined to do something and then they postpone it. Perhaps a scholar is determined to return to his study. Satan says, "Rest for a while." Or a servant is alerted to the prayer at night and he says to him, "You have plenty of time." He will not stop making people love laziness and postponing of actions and he makes the person rely on hopes and dreams.

It is necessary for the energetic person to take matters into his own hand and act upon his energy. The energetic finds the time to do things and does not procrastinate and he turns away from just dreaming. The one who has a real fear of Allah does not feel safe of punishment. The soul never stops in its dispute about evil and facing the good. But it always expects that it will have plenty of time to complete the good. One of the early scholars said, "Beware of procrastinating. It is the greatest of the soldiers of Satan." The serious, non-procrastinating person and the one who rests on his hopes and puts off working are like two who are passing through a city while journeying. The serious, energetic one buys his provisions early and waits for his traveling out of the city. The procrastinator says, "I will wait, as perhaps we will stay here a month," and continues to put off buying his provisions and preparing for his departure, until the last minute wherein he becomes rushed and mistake prone. This is how people are in this world. Some of them are prepared and alert. When the angel of death comes, he is not sorrowful. Others are deceived by thinking they can procrastinate and they will despair when the time to move on comes. It is part of one’s nature to love laziness and dreams but then Iblees comes and builds upon that. This makes it difficult to struggle against him in that matter. But the one who is alert knows that he is in the middle of a battle. He knows that his enemy does not rest. And if it seems that he is resting, it is actually just part of his strategy…

Ibn al-Jauzi, Talbees Iblees, p. 458

Saturday, December 13, 2003

The Muslim Is Friendly And Likeable
Dr. Muhammad Ali Al-Hashimi

The Ideal Muslim
© 1999 IIPH

The Muslim who truly understands the teachings of his religion is gentle, friendly and likeable. He mixes with people and gets along with them. This is something which should be a characteristic of the Muslim who understands that keeping in touch with people and earning their trust is one of the most important duties of the Muslim. It is an effective means of conveying the message of truth to them, and exposing them to its moral values, because people only listen to those whom they like, trust and accept. Hence there are many hadiths which commend the type of person who is friendly and liked by others. Such a person is one of those chosen ones who are beloved by the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) and will be closest to him on the Day of Resurrection:

"Shall I not tell you who among you is most beloved to me and will be closest to me on the Day of Resurrection?" He repeated it two or three times, and they said, "Yes, O Messenger of Allah (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam)." He said: "Those of you who are the best in attitude and character." [Reported by Ahmad and its isnad is jayyid] Some reports add: "Those who are down to earth and humble, who get along with others and with whom others feel comfortable."

One of the attributes of the believer is that he gets along with others and others feel comfortable with him. He likes people and they like him. If he is not like this, then he will not be able to convey the message or achieve anything of significance. Whoever is like that has no goodness in him, as in the hadith:

"The believer gets along with people and they feel comfortable with him. There is no goodness in the one who does not get along with people and with whom they do not feel comfortable. " [Reported by Abmad and al-Bazar; the men of Ahmad's isnad are rijal as-sahih]

The Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) set the highest example of good behaviour towards people. He was skilful in softening their hearts and called them to follow him in word and deed. He demonstrated how to reach people's hearts and win their love and admiration.

He was always cheerful and easy-going, never harsh. When he came to any gathering, he would sit wherever there was a free space, and he told others to do likewise. He treated everyone equally, so that no one who was present in a gathering would feel that anyone else was receiving preferential treatment. If anyone came to him and asked for something, he would give it to them, or at least respond with kind words. His good attitude extended to everyone and he was like a father to them. The people gathered around him were truly equal, distinguished only by their level of taqwa. They were humble, respecting their elders, showing compassion to young ones, giving priority to those in need and taking care of strangers.

The Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) never used to disappoint anyone who came to ask from him. There are three characteristics that he did not possess: he was not argumentative, he did not talk too much, and he did not concern himself with matters that were not his business. There are three things that he never did to people: he never criticized any one, he never said "Shame on you!" to anyone, and he never looked for anyone's faults. He never said anything but that for which he hoped to earn reward. When he spoke, the people around him would listen earnestly, sitting still as if there were birds on their heads. When he was silent, then they would speak. They never argued with one another in his presence. They would smile at whatever he smiled at, and would be impressed by whatever impressed him. He would be patient with a stranger who might be harsh in his requests or questions, and his Companions would ask the stranger to speak gently. He said, "If you see someone in need, then help him." He never accepted praise except from someone who was thanking him for a favour, and he never cut off anyone who was speaking; he would wait until the person indicated that he had finished, or stood up.

`A'ishah tells us that he used to be cautious of the worst type of people, and he would speak gently to them and treat them well. A man sought permission to enter upon him and he said, "Let him in, what a bad brother of his tribe he is!" When the man came in, he spoke gently to him. `A'ishah said: "O Messenger of Allah (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam), you said what you said, then you spoke gently to him." He (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) said, "O `A'ishah, the worst of people is the one whom people avoid (or are gentle towards) because they fear his slander." (Bukhari and Muslim)

The true Muslim follows in the footsteps of his Prophet in his dealings with all people, whether they are good or bad, so that he is liked and accepted by all people.

Thursday, December 11, 2003


Al-Fawaa`id [pp. 111-112] of ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah, may Allaah have mercy upon him.

[The translation is taken from ‘An Explanation of Riyaadh as-Saaliheen’ Vol. 1, Trans. Abu Sulaymaan and modified.]

The servant is not afflicted with a punishment greater in severity than the hardening of the heart and its being distant from Allaah. The Fire was created to melt the hardened heart, this heart which is the most distant of hearts from Allaah. If the heart becomes hardened the eye becomes dry [and finds no joy or tranquillity].

There are four matters, when the limits are transgressed with regards to them, which harden the heart: food, sleep, speech and sexual intercourse. A body afflicted by disease does not derive nourishment from food and water and similarly a diseased heart does not benefit from admonishment or exhortation.

Whosoever desires to purify his heart then let him give preference to Allaah over his base desires.

The heart that clings to its base desires is veiled from Allaah in accordance to the strength of its attachment to them. The hearts are the vessels of Allaah upon His earth, hence the most beloved of them to Him are those that are most tender, pure and resistant to deviation.

[A reference to the hadeeth, "Truly, Allaah has vessels from amongst the people of the earth, and the vessels of your Lord are the hearts of his righteous slaves, and the most beloved of them to Him are the softest and most tender ones" and it is hasan. Refer to as-Saheehah (no. 1691)]

The transgressors preoccupied their hearts with the pursuit of this world. If only they had preoccupied them with Allaah and seeking the Hereafter then they would have instead reflected upon the meaning of His Words and His Signs that are witnessed in creation. Their hearts would have returned to their owners (in whose chests they reside) bestowing upon them marvellous wisdom and pearls of benefit.

When the heart is nourished with dhikr, its thirst quenched with contemplation and cleansed from corruption, it shall witness remarkable and wondrous matters and be inspired with wisdom.

Not every individual who is endowed with knowledge and wisdom and dons its robe is from among its people. Rather the People of Knowledge and Wisdom are those who have infused life into their hearts by slaughtering their desires. As for the one who has destroyed his heart and given precedence to his desires then knowledge and wisdom are deprived from his tongue.

The destruction of the heart occurs through possessing a sense of security and negligence. The heart is fortified through fear of Allaah and dhikr. If the heart renounces the pleasures of this world then it will be directed towards pursuing the bliss of the Hereafter and it will be amongst those who call to it. Should the heart become content with the pleasures of this world the bliss of the Hereafter ceases to be pursued.

Yearning for Allaah and meeting Him is like a gentle breeze blowing upon the heart, blowing away the blazing desire for this world. Whosoever causes his heart to settle with his Lord shall find himself in a calm and tranquil condition and whosoever sends it amongst the people shall be disturbed and excessively perturbed. This is because the love of Allaah can never enter the heart which contains love of this world until the camel passes through they eye of a needle.

Therefore the most beloved servant to Allaah is the one who He places in His servitude, who He selects for His Love, who He causes to purify his worship for Him, who dedicates his life to Him, his tongue to His dhikr and his limbs to His service.

The heart becomes sick as the body becomes sick and its cure lies in repentance and seeking protection from evil.

It becomes rusty as a mirror becomes rusty and it is polished through dhikr.

It becomes naked as the body becomes naked and its adornment comes about through taqwaa.

It becomes hungry and thirsty as the body becomes hungry and thirsty and its hunger and thirst is satiated through knowledge, love, reliance, repentance and servitude to Allaah.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

A Story of Love and Humanity

At a fundraising dinner for a school that serves learning-disabled children, the father of one of the students delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all who attended. After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he offered a question. "When not interfered with by outside influences, everything nature does is done with perfection. Yet my son, Shay cannot learn things as other children do. He cannot understand things as other children do. Where is the natural order of things in my son?" The audience was stilled by the query.

The father continued. "I believe, that when a child like Shay comes into the world, an opportunity to realize true human nature presents itself, and it comes, in the way other people treat that child."

Then he told the following story: Shay and his father had walked past a park where some boys Shay knew were playing baseball. Shay asked, "Do you think they'll let me play?"

Shay's father knew that most of the boys would not want someone like Shay on their team, but the father also understood that if his son were allowed to play, it would give him a much-needed sense of belonging. Shay's father approached one of the boys on the field and asked if Shay could play.

The boy looked around for guidance and, getting none, he took matters into his own hands and said, "We're losing by six runs and the game is in the eighth inning. I guess he can be on our team and we'll try to put him in to bat in the ninth inning."

In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shay's team scored a few runs but was still behind by three. In the top of the ninth inning, Shay put on a glove and played in the outfield. Even though no hits came his way, he was obviously ecstatic just to be in the game and on the field, grinning from ear to ear as his father waved to him from the stands.

In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shay's team scored again. Now, with two outs and the bases loaded, the potential winning run was on base and Shay was scheduled to be next at bat. At this juncture, will they let Shay bat and give away their chance to win the game?

Surprisingly, Shay was given the bat. Everyone knew that a hit was all but impossible cause Shay didn't even know how to hold the bat properly, much less connect with the ball. However, as Shay stepped up to the plate, the pitcher moved in a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shay could at least be able to make contact. The first pitch came and Shay swung clumsily and missed. The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly towards Shay. As the pitch came in, Shay swung at the ball and hit a slow ground ball right back to the pitcher.

The pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could have easily thrown the ball to the first baseman. Shay would have been out and that would have been the end of the game. Instead, the pitcher took the ball and turned and threw the ball on a high arc to right field, far beyond the reach of the first baseman.

Everyone started yelling," Shay, run to first! Run to first!" Never in his life had Shay ever made it to first base. He scampered down the baseline, wide-eyed and startled; every one yelled, "Run to second, run to second!" By the time Shay rounded first base, the right fielder had the ball. He could have thrown the ball to the second-baseman for the tag, but he understood the pitcher's intentions and intentionally threw the ball high and far over the third-baseman's head. Shay ran toward second base as the runners ahead of him deliriously circled the bases toward home.

Shay reached second base, the opposing shortstop ran to him, turned him in the direction of third base, and shouted, "Run to third!"

As Shay rounded third, the boys from both teams were screaming, "Shay, run home!"

Shay ran to home, stepped on the plate, and was cheered as the hero who hit the "grand slam" and won the game for his team.

"That day," said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face, "the boys from both teams helped bring a piece of true love and humanity into this world."
Short Biography of Ibn al Qayyim al Jawziyya
691 - 751 AH (1292 - 1350 CE )

Shams Al-din Muhammad Ibn Abi Bakr, Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyya. He was born in a small farming village near Damascus, Syria in 691 A.H./1292 C.E, and he studied under his father who was the local attendant (qayyim) of al-Jawziyya school. Later on, he pursued his quest for knowledge at the hands of renowned masters and scholars of his epoch, as well as he studied the works and teachings of sufi masters known in his time. His schooling centered around Islamic jurisprudence, theology, and the science of prophetic traditions.

In the year 712/ 1312 at the age of 21 he joined the study circle of Imam Ibn Taimiyyah who kept him in his company as his closest student and disciple, who later on became his successor.

Ibn al-Qayyim was fervent in his devotion to his teacher, and he was an excellent student and disciple of the great Muslim scholar Imam Taqiyyu-Deen Ahmad Ibn Taimiyyah. He defended his religious opinions and approaches, and he compiled and edited most of his works, and taught the same.

Because of their perception and opinions, both the teacher and the student were unjustly persecuted, tortured, and humiliated in public by the local authorities then, and they were imprisoned in a single cell, while other disciples were kept separate in the central prison of Damascus, still known to-date as al-Qal'a. Among the imprisoned scholars, there also was a young man named Ibn Kathir who later on became as the most renowned Muslim scholar and compiler of the most comprehensive Quranic commentaries 'Tafsir Ibn Kathir.'

Upon the death of Imam Ibn Taimiyyah, the disciples were set free from prison, and Imam Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyya furthered his studies, and held study circles and classes for his own students. Ibn Jawziyya taught Islamic Jurisprudence at al-Sadriyya school, in Damascus, before he held the position of the Imam of the Jawziyya school for a long period. Most of his writings were compilations, although he authored several books himself, and manuscripts with his own handwriting are preserved today in the central Library of Damascus.

In fact, it was considered an honor and a privilege to study in his circle. Among the renowned Muslim scholars who studied under him, we mention Ibn 'Abd al-Hadi and Ibn Rajab and others who oft-frequented his circles, and sought his company, such as Imam Ibn Kathir.

Most scholars of the time have acknowledged the author's excellence, and profound knowledge of Quranic interpretation, commentaries on the prophetic traditions, and theology. His extensive knowledge and understanding of Quranic commentaries surpassed even some renowned theologians in Islamic history.

Ibn Kathir spoke of him in his book 'Al-Bidaya wa-'Nihaya, saying: "He was most friendly and kindhearted, he never envied anyone, he never caused harm to anyone, he never bore prejudice against anyone, and I was the closest to his heart. Furthermore, I do not know anyone who is more devout in his worship than him in our time." A similar opinion also was quoted by Ibn Hijr.

Ibn al-Qayyim catered to all the branches of Islamic science, and was particularly known and commended for his commentaries. Al-Hafiz Ibn Rajab spoke of his teacher, saying: "He was an accomplished scholar of Islamic science, and no one could rival him in his deep understanding of the Qur'an and prophetic saying, and his interpretations were unique in accuracy."

Ibn Rajab narrated that his teacher Imam Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyya learned the science of prophetic sayings (Hadith) from al-Shahab al-Nabulsi, Qadhi Taqiyyu-Deen Sulaiman, and Fatima Bint Jawhar, among others. During his early student life, Imam Ibn al-Qayyim sought the company of most shaikhs of his period, and he was particularly proficient in interpreting the Hanbali Muslim school of thoughts.

His Spiritual Life

Imam Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyya was an avid and a resolute worshipper. He devoted long hours to his supererogatory nightly prayers, he was in a constant state of remembrance (zikr), and he was known for his extended prostrations. One could see on his face the clear expressions of piety, and constant solicitation of God's bounty and favors.

During Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyya's imprisonment in al-Qal'a prison in Damascus, he was constantly reading the Qur'an, and studying its meanings. Ibn Rajab noted that during that period of seclusion, he gained extensive spiritual success, as well as he developed a great analytical wisdom, knowledge, and understanding of the prophetic traditions.

Upon his release, he performed the pilgrimage to Mecca several times, and sometimes he stayed in Mecca for a prolonged period of devotion and circumambulation of the holy Ka'aba.

His Works

Al-Nu'man al-Al?si al-Baghdadi once said: "His interpretations are unique in accuracy." The renowned Muslim scholar al-Thahabi once said about him: "He gave great attention to details and references of the prophetic traditions." Furthermore, Shaikh Burhan al-Deen al-Zari' spoke of him saying: "No one is as cognizant as Ibn al-Qayyim was in his time."

Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyya's contributions to the Islamic library are extensive, and they particularly deal with the Qur'anic commentaries, and understanding and analysis of the prophetic traditions (fiqh-u Sunnah).

He compiled a large number of studies besides his own books, including:

1- Tahthib Sunan Abi Dawoud (Emendation of Sunan Abi Dawoud); 2- Al-Kalam al-Tayyib wa-al-'Amal al-Salih (The Essence of Good Words and Deeds); 3- Commentaries on the book of Shaikh 'Abdullah al-Ansari: Manazil-u Sa'ireen (Stations of the Seekers), which is considered the epitome of knowledge of sufi books; and, Zad al-Ma'ad (Provisions of the Hereafter), from which this book on the Medicine of the Prophet is extracted, besides other manuscripts copied with his own handwriting, and which are preserved in the Central Library in Damascus, Syria.

Ibn al Qayyim al Jawziyya died in the city of Damascus the year 751 AH/1350 C.E., when he was scarcely 60 years old, and was buried at the cemetery of Bab al Saghir, near the grave of his father - Rahimahuma Allah


Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Below is an award-wining story written by a Muslim brother, for a nationwide essay competition in Canada:


A few months before I was born, my dad met a stranger who was new to our small town. From the beginning, Dad was fascinated with this enchanting newcomer, and soon invited him to live with our family. The stranger was quickly accepted and was around to welcome me into the world a few months later.

As I grew up, I never questioned his place in our family. In my young mind, each member had a special niche. My brother, Bilal, five years my senior, was my example. Fatimah, my younger sister, gave me an opportunity to play big brother and develop the art of teasing. My parentswere complementary instructors- Mom taught me to love the word of Allah, and Dad taught me to obey it.

But the stranger was our storyteller. He could weave the most fascinating tales. Adventures, mysteries, and comedies were daily conversations. He could hold our whole family spell-bound for hours each evening. If I wanted to know about politics, history, or science, he knew it.

He knew about the past, understood the present, and seemingly could predict the future. The pictures he could draw were so life like that I would often laugh or cry as I watched. He was like a friend to the whole family. He took Dad, Bilal, and me to our first major league baseball game. He was always encouraging us to see the movies and he even made arrangements to introduce us to several movie stars.

The stranger was an incessant talker. Dad didn't seem to mind but sometimes Mom would quietly get up while the rest of us were enthralled with one of his stories of faraway places, go to her room, and read her Quran and pray. I wonder now if she ever prayed that the stranger would leave.

You see, my dad ruled our household with certain moral convictions. But this stranger never felt an obligation to honor them. Profanity, for example, was not allowed in our house-not for some of us, from our friends, or adults.

Our longtime visitor, however, used occasional four letter words that turned my ears and made Dad squirm. To my knowledge, the stranger was never confronted. My dad was a teetotaler who didn't permit alcohol in his home, as good Muslims should. But the stranger felt like we needed

exposure and enlightened us to other ways of life. He offered us beer and other alcoholic beverages often. He made cigarettes look tasty, cigars manly, and pipes distinguished. He talked freely (probably too much, too freely) about sex. His comments were sometimes blatant, sometimes suggestive, and generally embarrassing. I know now that the stranger influenced my early concepts of the man-woman relationship.

As I look back, I believe it was the grace of Allah that the stranger did not influence us more. Time after time, he opposed the values of my parents.

Yet, he was seldom rebuked and never asked to leave. More than thirty years have passed since the stranger moved in with the young family on Wangee Road. He is not nearly so intriguing to my Dad as he was in those early years. But if I were to walk into my parents den today, you would still see him sitting over in a corner, waiting for someone to listen to him talk and watch him draw his pictures.

His name you ask?

We called him TV.

Our Lord! Forgive us our sins and expiate from us our evil deeds, and make us die in the state of righteousness. (Surah Ali Imran Ayat 193)

Oh Lord, let our last days be the best days of our life and our last deeds be the best deeds, and let the best day be the day we meet You.

written by-

Monday, December 08, 2003

By: Dr. Ali Zeiny

The importance of unity

It is well known fact that individuals can’t live alone by themselves and must live with others in communities. The needs of this life are too many for one individual to handle every thing by him/herself. He/she needs the expertise and help of others to live his/her life in an efficient way. We need the bakery man for bread, the carpenter for furniture, the farmer for food, the teacher for education, the engineer for construction, the physician for health care, and so on. One can’t handle all these areas by himself.

Allah S said in the Quran:
"It is we (Allah SWT is talking) who divided between them their share of life in this world, and We raised some of them above others in ranks, so that they may use and employ one another." (34:32)

If we look to the world of animals, we see that animals, like human, live in groups or herds. Birds fly together in groups making a triangular shape so that they may reduce the air resistance and fly faster and longer. The strongest bird takes its position in the head of the triangle leading other birds and penetrating the air resistance. If a bird decides to fly alone, he will be subjected to strong air resistance and he will not be able to complete the trip by himself and he will eventually fall down and die.

Other animals also like sheep and buffalo live in groups and walk in groups, called herds, so that the wolf may not eat any of them. The wolf will not be able to attack them and eat one of them because of the strength of the group.

Prophet Mohammed S said:

"The wolf will eat the cheap walking alone by itself away from the herd."

So living in groups and communities is a must and unavoidable. Animals gather in groups and herds based on something. Something has to be in common between individuals in the same group. For animals, they all have to be from the same type; birds live together; cheap live together and so forth. You can’t find a group of cheap and buffaloes living together. You can’t find a group of donkeys and horses living together. No way, they gather in groups based on the type and ethnicity. But this is because they animals and they have no brain or spirit.

Unfortunately, humans sometimes gather in groups and communities based on ethnicity, color, race, and nationality, which is an animal like way of unity. They may also unite based on other things as well. For example, if we ask ourselves what unites the American people, they come from different colors, different races, different national origins, different religions and even different sexual orientations. What unites such a diverse population? The answer is materialism.

We American citizens are united on materialism. We are as American Citizens united over common materialistic interests and benefits that we are enjoying. We are enjoying various degrees of rich comfortable fulfilling life that we would like to maintain for ourselves and for the future of our children.

But this is not the Islamic basis of unity. It is okay to recognize ethnicity and nationality, this is something natural that Allah planted into us, but it is wrong to use ethnicity and nationality as the basis for unity like animals.

One of the good ways of introducing ourselves is to say “I am a born in Egypt Muslim”, for example. In this way, we are not taking any of the two extremes, neither the extreme of nationalism nor the extreme of denying our national origin, which is an essential part of our identity. By saying I am a born in x country Muslim, we are taking the middle path of identifying our national origin as part of who we are but at the same time emphasizing that we are all Muslims. An example of that is the way we identify our selves as American citizens. We say, Arab American, Japanese American, Chinese American, …etc. The prefix that comes before the word American is for the purpose of recognition only, but at the end, we are all Americans.

Islam has a unique basis of unity. The Islamic basis for unity is evident from our gathering today. Why are we gathering in this place in such large numbers at this particular time in this particular day of the week. What is the thing that should bring us together as one group and one Omah. It is the worship and commitment to Allah and his religion.

The Islam that was established by the Prophet PBUH is based on two Unities, the Unity of Allah and the Unity of Omah. Both Unities are essential to each other like a hours and a carriage because no one of them is possible without the other. Allah SWT has combined both unities as essential unities in the Quran in two different places.

This is your Omah one Omah and I am your Lord one Lord so worship (21:92)/fear me. (23:52)

And because we have two kinds of unities, we also have two kinds of Shirk. The violation of either one of the two unities is Shirk. The main shirk is to divide the worship, the submission and the love between different deities. And the other kind of shirk is to divide the Omah into groups and factions. Allah SWT clearly stated that by saying

And do not be from those who commit Shirk. Those who split up in groups despite their common religion, each party is so arrogantly proud of what they adopted for themselves and got united on. (30:31-32)

This verse of Surat teaches us three lessons, the first is that dividing up is a form of Shirk, and shirk is the opposite of unity. And the second lesson is what we always witness among divided groups. Each group claims to be the righteous group and the official representative of Quran and Sunnah and other groups are wrong and deviated from the straight path. The third lesson is that it is Haram for Muslims to be united on other than Islam. It is Haram for Muslims to be united based on race. It is Haram for Muslims to be united based on ethnicity, it is Haram for Muslims to be united based on language, it is Haram for Muslims to be united based on nationality, it is Haram for Muslims to be united on any target, objective or materialistic interest. In general, it is Haram for Muslims to be united on any thing except Islam.

The rationale for this is very simple, if we are united on any thing other than Islam, then we will end up excluding other Muslims from our unity. This is for sure. For example, if we are united based on race, then we will end up excluding Muslims from a different race, if we are united on a language, then we will end up excluding Muslims who don’t speak the same language, and so forth. This is why the only legal unity in Islam is belief in Islam. Uniting on other than Islam is not called unity, it is rather called ganging up, or ganging up on illegal principles, and such a united group is not called Omah, it is called something else.

The Prophet PBUH also wanted to educate us about the objectives of the Satan. He told us the satan has an ultimate objective of destroying either one of the two kinds of unites. The first one, which is the unity of Allah, is deeply rooted in the hearts of Muslims and it is very difficult to destroy, but the second one is very easy for the Satan to destroy, and he did.

Satan has given up the hope that Muslims will worship him, he gave up the hope that the Muslims will fall into the first kind of Shirk, the Shirk of worshiping the Satan instead of Allah. He gave up this hope because Muslims will never worship the Satan, they will never commit this kind of Shirk, the Shirk of worshiping the Satan instead of Allah, but he is successful in making them fall into the second kind of shirk, the shirk of disunity by inspiring hatred and animosity between them.

The Satans of man kind are also targeting the same kind of unity. They know that the first unity is deeply rooted in the heart of Muslims generation and it is protected by the power of the second unity. Therefore they decided to target and destroy the second unity first before they can get the unity of submission to one God.

This is why there is no other religion so strict about forbidding disunity and so strict in emphasizing the importance of unity like the religion of Islam. And at this point, we may ask ourselves a question here, we understand why we did not receive good Islamic education in our original countries. We received good education in Math and science and other things to the level of learning things in math and science that we never used or will use in our professional life. This is good, but why the Islamic education was so poor and inadequate as compared to materialistic sciences? We understand the reasons very well and let us not talk about it now. But the puzzle that we do not understand is why so much emphasizes in the Islamic education was placed on the unity of God, even though it is so simple to understand and so natural to follow, while very little attention, and almost no attention at all, was placed on the unity of Omah even though it is very complicated issue and very hard to achieve. This is why you almost find no Muslim who does not understand and believe in the supreme divine word No deity but God while millions of Muslims don’t understand the other supreme divine word “This is your Omah one Omah and I am you Lord one Lord”

We understand why the Islamic education was taken out from the school system or marginalized. But why did we spend years and years studying the Tawhid of Allah and never studied the Tawheed of Omah. I will not answer this question and I will leave it to you to think about.

There is absolutely no religion so strict about forbidding disunity and so strict in emphasizing the importance of unity and making disunity equal to Shirk like the religion of Islam. There is an overwhelming evidence from Quran and Sunah to support this understanding.

From Quran

There are many verses. The one that I will pick is very touchy one because it explains exactly the reasons behind the miserable condition of the world today

The Unbelievers are united and protectors of one another, unless you believers do the same, be united and protectors of one another, there will be a big tribulation (Fitnah) on earth and big corruption. (8:73)

And this is exactly what we witness today. Non believers are united on materialism. It is so easy to unite on common materialistic interests because it is so tempting to do so. This is why it is so natural to find non believers united on materialism. On the other hand, because of the disunity of Muslims, there is a big fitnah and a big corruption. The fitnah comes because if non Muslims are united and cooperating with each other while Muslims are fighting and slandering each other, then people will be attracted to non Muslims.

What is more fitnah than the situation when the people of truth are divided while the people of falsehood are united. What is more fitnah than the situation when the non believers (Kufar) are helpful to each other and the believers are negative, passive and divided. Not to mention the big corruption because when non Muslims are united while Muslims are divided, non Muslims will then rule over Muslims and become the leaders of the Caravan of humanity, and they will enforce their materialistic values and ways of life. And we will end up with what we witness today, double standards and injustice in the distribution of wealth. The wealth is accumulating in the hands of few who live in obscene luxury while the rest of the world population is starving in the third world. Not to mention the century of mega death where 180 million humans were killed.

The second evidence also is very well linked to reality. It explains clearly the reasons for Muslims to be in such a miserable shape

Don’t fall into disputes that will result into an immediate failure as well as loss of power and strength. (8:46)

This clearly explains why Prophet Mohamed was able to establish a super power in 23 years, while we Muslims today not only we seized to be a super power, but we also seized to be of any significant weight or value in today’s power structure. And we will continue in the same miserable shape unless we go back to the way of Allah.

From Sunah

There are massive number of Hadeeth Articles that forbids disunity and order unity. I have divided them into groups and picked a sample Hadeeth from some of the groups.

• The first group is declaring fighting among Muslims to be Kufr. The Prophet Mohamed PBUH said:

"Do not go back to be Kufar after me, each group is fighting against the other."

"Cursing or calling a Muslim bad names is transgressing and fighting with him is an act of Kufr"

"Watch out for the shaver, the companion asked, what is the shaver prophet of Allah, he said it is the disputes among Muslims, it doesn’t shave ones hair, it shaves one’s religion."

Among the miracles that Prophet Mohamed was given is the miracle of choosing the words. He S was given the miracle of "jawami'ul kalaam" the ability to choose very few words that will precisely and accurately describe a very complicated situation. Today we will clearly see this particular miracle in the Ahadeeth that deals with the subject and let us start with this hadeeth of the shaver. What is the similarity between the shaver and disunity:

1. Just like shaving in the morning does not leave any hair behind, the shaver of disunity does not leave any religion behind for obvious reasons. Among them are backbiting and gossiping. It is very difficult to avoid backbiting and gossiping. It is so tempting then to backbite and gossip and only very few can fight such a strong temptation.

2. After you shave, your hair starts to grow back lightly, so is the religion starts to grow back because of prayers, fasting and other acts of worship. Then as son as you get some hair back. The shaver will hit again and completely wipe it away, and so forth as long as the shaver of disunity is active. The shaving will never stop as long as the fight is going.

• The second group of Ahadeeth provide us with the tools to avoid disunity. Indeed Isalm, the complete and perfect religion made by Allah, will never leave such an important target without showing us the way and providing us with the tools to achieve it. Every time Allah mandates something or forbids something, he SWT, the supreme in wisdom and knowledge, provides us with the tools necessary to achieve what he ordains or forbids. Let examine the following Ahadeeth and find out what tools are necessary to achieve unity.

Prophet Mohammed S said in the Hadeeth Narrated in the correct book of Muslim by Aboohoryra R:

"Do not envy one another, do not conspire against one another, do not hate each other, do not turn away from each other (do not avoid each other do not boycott each other do not cut of the relation of each other) do not compete in commercial transactions against one another, and be you servants of Allah brothers. The Muslim is the brother of the Muslim. The Muslim should not transgress against another Muslim brother, he should not look down to him or say things about him that make people look down to him, and he should not let him down in a crisis. Piety is hear (and he pointed to his chest). It is enough of a sin to get somebody to hell fire for a Muslim to look down to his Muslim brother or say things that will make people look down to him. All the rights of a Muslim, including his properties, blood and honor are totally unlawful (Haram) to be transgressed against by another Muslim."

The other Hadeeth is also a very good example of the miraculous way Prophet Mohamed PBUH chooses his words. He PBUH said describing how believers should communicate with each other

"The believer is the mirror of his brother/sister. "

Again to see the miracle the miracle of "jawami'ul kalaam" the ability to choose very few words that will precisely and accurately describe a very complicated situation. Let us compare the properties of the mirror with the lessons that Prophet Mohamed wants to teach us

1. The job of the mirror is to reflect the image, in the face or behind the back? In the face of course. The mirror will never stab in the back

2. The person looks at the mirror to examine his image and make sure it looks nice in public or in privacy? In privacy of course. The advise in privacy is mercy and guidance but in the public it is a dishonor and scandal

3. The mirror reflects both the good image and the bad image. The mirror will not hide any thing and will not reflect the good and hide the bad or reflect the bad and hid the good. It is an act of hypocrisy to reflect the good and hide the bad and it is an act of dishonor to hide the good and reflect the bad. The mirror is very fair and honest in reflecting both

4. The mirror will reflect the defective image in its exact and precise magnitude without any exaggerations and will also reflect the good image the same way

5. The mirror will not assume something that does not exist. The mirror will never make good or bad assumptions.

6. The mirror is quite and does not talk. Once you walk away from the mirror, it will never reveal your image to the next person

7. The mirror reflect the outside image and will never reflect the intension. It is Haram in Islam to judge the intensions. All creations of Allah, including the angels are ordered to take things for their face value. The intension is an absolute secret between the human and Allah, the angels on the right and on the left have no idea what the intension is. All what they do is to write deeds for the face value and Allah is the one who takes that deed and reward or punish for it. The reward could range from 10-700 times based on the sincerity of intensions, based on the effort made to perfect the deed, and based on the amount of sacrifice and pain one has to go through to perform the good deed.

8. No wonder we all trust the mirror and we all believe it is the most sincere and accurate image device in the whole word and so should be the believers with each other

9. We can clearly now see the miracle of the miracle of "jawami'ul kalaam" the ability to choose very few words that will precisely and accurately describe a very complicated situation. In three words only that take a second and half, the prophet taught excellent and deep lessons not like us where we give 50 minutes Khotbah and we barely do an adequate job