Sunday, February 29, 2004

Ya Mu'tamm

Living the Quran
Ash-Shura (The Consultation)
Chapter 24: Verse 10

The Settler of Differences

"Whatever it be wherein ye differ, the decision thereof is with Allah: such is Allah my Lord: in Him I trust, and to Him I turn.”

This is the natural and logical demand of Allah Almighty's being the Master of the Universe and His being the real Guardian. When Sovereignty and Guardianship belong to Him only inevitably He alone is also the Ruler, and it is for Him to judge human beings' mutual disputes and differences.

The words are general and they clearly proclaim Allah as having the sole right to judge all disputes and differences - not only in the hereafter or on 'religious matters'. He is the Settler of the differences pertaining to beliefs as to what is the Truth and what is falsehood. He is the Settler of differences as to what is pure for man and what is impure, what is lawful and desirable for him and what is forbidden and undesirable, what is evil and vicious in morals and what is good and virtuous, what are the rights of the people in their mutual dealings and what are the right practices in social, political and economic life and what are wrong.

"The Meaning of the Quran" - By Sayyid Abul Ala Mawdudi, Vol. 4, pp. 524-525

Understanding the Prophet's Life
Dignity of Work

Some people regard certain kinds of work or professions as contemptible. However, the Prophet (peace be upon him) denied the validity of this notion. He taught his Companions that the whole of a human being's dignity is tied up with his work - any sort of work - and that real disgrace and humiliation consist of depending on other people's help. He said,

It is better that a person should take a rope and bring a bundle of wood on his back to sell so that Allah may preserve his honour, than that he should beg from people, (regardless of) whether they give to him or refuse him. [Al-Bukhari, Muslim]

A Muslim can earn his livelihood by agriculture, trade, or industry or by any profession or employment as long as it does not involve doing, supporting, or propagating anything haram.

"The Lawful and the Prohibited in Islam" - By Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, p. 127

Cool Bits!
If you must sing ...

Umar ibn al-Khattab, Allah be well-pleased with him, was approached one day by some people who complained, "We have an imam who, after praying the Asr prayer with us, began to sing!" Umar went with them and asked the man to recite to him what he had sang to them. He said:

My heart, every time I scold it, returns to pleasures
that fatigue me.
I never see it occupied except with empty pastimes
all the time, harming me.
My evil companion, what childishness is this?
Life has passed and you still play?
My youth has gone and left me
before I ever put it to its right use!
My soul! You and your lusts are nothing.
Fear Allah. Fear Him. Fear Him!

Umar repeated the last verse over and over, weeping. Then he said, "Whoever among you must sing, let him sing such things."

Narrated by the hafiz Ibn al-Sam`ani as cited in Kanz al-`Ummal (8944).

Yahya Ibrahim's List

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Handzalah (may Allah be pleased with him)

mmm .. this nasheed really makes my heart weep. wa Islama wa Islama!!

.. Hanzalah pergi ke medan jihad
bersama dengan para sahabat
bertempur hebat penuh semangat
sehingga dia syahid akhirnya ..

.. Turunlah malaikat ke bumi
mandikan jasadnya simpati
sucilah jasadnya mewangi
diarak ruhnya ke firdausi..

Syahid .. pembersih diri yang kekotoran.

* pemujuk hati: "iradatuka at-tajriid ma'a iqaamatillahi iyyaka fi al-asbab min as-shahwatil khafiyyah"

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Living the Quran
Al-Araf (The Heights)
Chapter 7: Verse 104-105

The Truth, The Whole Truth

"Moses said: 'Pharaoh, I am a Messenger from the Lord of all the worlds, and may say about God nothing but the truth.'”

Here is an encounter between truth and falsehood, faith and rejection. It is a scene which brings the Messenger, who calls on people to believe in the Lord of all the worlds, face to face with the tyrants who claim, and indeed practise, lordship over their people.

Moses (peace be upon him) combines good manners with self assurance, addressing Pharaoh with his simple title, "Pharaoh". He does not call him, "My Lord", as do those who do not really know who the true Lord is. He does so in order to point out to Pharaoh his true position while asserting at the same time the greatest fact in the universe: "I am a Messenger from the Lord of all the worlds."

Moses reasserts the fact stated by every messenger that preceded him. It is the fact that God is the only Lord of the universe; just one God and one Lord, and total submission by the whole universe to Him alone. Moses confronted Pharaoh and his powerful clique with this basic truth. He stated it clearly to his face, knowing that it meant revolution against Pharaoh, his regime and government.

A primary result of God's Lordship of the universe and all the worlds is that every regime and form of government, which exercises power over human beings without following God's law or abiding by His commandments, is illegitimate. It also means the removal of every form of tyranny that seeks to subjugate people to its own laws. Moses confronted Pharaoh with this great fact in his own capacity as a Messenger from the Lord of the universe, committed to stating the truth about God who gave him his message.

"In The Shade of the Quran" - By Sayyid Qutb, Vol. 6, pp. 177-179

Understanding the Prophet's Life
Relieving the Debts of Others

On the authority of Abu Huraira (may Allah be pleased with him) from the Prophet (may Allah's peace and blessings be upon him) who said, "Whoever alleviates [the situation of] one in dire straits who cannot repay his debt, Allah will alleviate his lot in both this world and the Hereafter." [Muslim]

Relieving one brother's debt is an act that is beloved to Allah - and has obvious implications for the strength of the brotherhood. There are basically two ways by which one can relieve a person's debt and gain the blessings mentioned in this hadith.

First, the loaner can wait until the impoverished debtor has the means to repay the debt. In fact, this is an obligation commanded by Allah. (See Al-Baqara 2: 180)

A second option is to reduce the debt or to forgive the debt completely. (See Al-Baqara 2: 180-181)

This hadith also includes giving the one in debt charity or a gift to help him pay off his debts. One may also extend him another loan so that he may pay off his current loan and have more time to pay off his new loan.

There are numerous hadith related to this topic that also demonstrate the emphasis that Islam places on such behaviour among brothers. For example, The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) also said,

There was a trader who used to give loans to the people. If he noticed that one was in straitened circumstances, he would tell his boy [working for him], 'Excuse him so that Allah may overlook [and forgive our sins] for us.' Therefore, Allah overlooked [his sins] and forgave him." (al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Ibn Uthaimeen points out that if a Muslim makes life very difficult for another Muslim by making him repay a debt that he simply cannot afford to pay, then Allah may also make life difficult for him both in this life and on the Day of Judgment.

Al-Qaari points out that the reward for this kind of act is true regardless of whether the debtor was non-Muslim or a Muslim.

"Commentary on the Forty Hadith" - By Jamaal al-Din M. Zarabozo, pp. 1316-1318

Cool Bits!
Islamic New Year 1425!

Umar ibn al-Khattab introduced the Islamic (Hijri) Calendar to keep track of letters with time-stamps thus uniting the different dating methods of his time.
Counting back to the year of the Hijrah to determine when to start:
16 July, 622 CE = 1 Muharram, 1 AH
Our year begins with Sacrifice (hijrah of Muslims, of Prophets) and ends with Sacrifice (hajj, hijrah of Hajra, hijrah of Ummah to Makkah)
Not from someone's birthday, or some king or ruler's orders, but from the foundation of the Islamic community, on brotherhood and unity we begin and end
Lunar: Based upon the moon, accurate, close, visible, reminder of the beauty, order, submission of Allah's creation but also its imperfection, its rise and fall, it needs the sun to shine, we interact with the signs of Allah when we look for the new moon every month, it is not passive time-keeping and time-passing, it's natural, animals, sea-creatures, oceans, plants, even human cycles are lunar timed
We rotate through the seasons, dynamic, perpetual, summer is not just in June, Eid is not just in winter, a nation of all times and all seasons, we remain steadfast no matter what the season
Note the meaning of the names of the months and compare to the pagan Gregorian names:
Muharram ["Forbidden" - it is one of the four months during which time it is forbidden to wage war or fight]
Safar ["Empty" or "Yellow"]
Rabi al Awal ["First spring"]
Rabi al Thani ["Second spring"]
Jumaada al Awal ["First freezing"]
Jumaada al Thani ["Second freezing"]
Rajab ["To respect" - this is another holy month when fighting is prohibited]
Shaban ["To spread and distribute"]
Ramadan ["Parched thirst" - this is the month of Islamic daytime fasting]
Shawwal ["To be light and vigorous"]
Dhul-Qadah ["The month of rest" - another month when no warfare or fighting is allowed]
Dhul-Hijjah ["The month of Hajj" - this is the month of the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, again when no warfare or fighting is allowed]
We look at history through the life of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), the greatest life ever lived, everything is either before or after Hijrah, "Allah has renewed time", it's a universal new beginning in the history of man and civilization with the Hijrah of the Prophet and our forerunners at its centre piece.

"Making Resolutions That Matter" - By Young Muslims Canada

Saturday, February 21, 2004


Migration of the Heart

The caravan departs, and the traveller enters into a foreign land. He becomes separated from the habits and customs associated with his homeland. This allows him to ponder carefully over his situation. He seeks the most important thing that helps in his journey to God, and that deserves his life's pursuance.

The One in whose Hand is the guidance guides him to this most important thing that he seeks: " Migration to God and His Messenger". This migration is a duty on everyone at all times - it is the thing that God requires from His servant.

Migration is of two types:

1. The first is the migration of the body from one land to another. The legislation regarding this type is well known, and it is not our intention to discuss them here.

2. The second type is the migration of the heart to God and His Messenger. This is the only true migration (hijrah); it must precede the bodily hijrah, which is its natural outcome.

Fleeing unto God

This hijrah requires an origin and a goal. A person migrates with his heart:

from loving other than God to loving Him;
from fearing and hoping and relying on other than Him to fearing and hoping and relying on Him;
from calling upon, asking, surrendering to, and humbling oneself before other than Him to calling upon, asking, surrendering to, and humbling oneself before Him.

This is precisely the meaning of "fleeing unto God". Fleeing unto God includes turning to Him only for asking or worship or anything which
proceeds from that. Thus, it includes the oneness of sovereignity which was the common point in the messages of all the messengers, may God bestow His praise and peace upon all of them.

The Importance of Migrating to God

The Hijrah to God includes abandoning what He hates and doing what He loves and accepts. The hijrah originates from feelings of love and hatred. The migrator from one place to another must have more love for the place to which he migrated than that from which he migrated, and these feelings are what led him to prefer one of two places.

One's evil soul, his whims, and his devil keep calling him to that which is against what he loves and is satisfied with. One continues to be tested by these three things, calling him to avenues that displease His Lord.

At the same time, the call of faith will continue to drect him to what pleases his Lord. Thus one should keep migrating to God at all times, and should not abandon this hijrah until death.

This hijrah becomes strong or weak (in the heart) depending on the state of faith. The stronger and more complete the faith is, the more perfect the hijrah. And if the faith weakens, the hijrah weakens too, until one becomes unable to detect its presence or have readiness to be moved by it.

What is surprising is that you might find a man talking at great length and going into very fine details regarding the (physical) hijrah from land to land, and he may never have to do a thing with it in whole life.

But as for the hijrah of the heart, which continues to be required from him as long as he breathes, you find that he does not seek any knowledge regarding it, nor does he develop any intention to undertake it! Thus he turns away from that which he has been created, and which - alone - can save him, and involves himself in that which, of itself, cannot save him. This is the situation of those whose vision has been blinded, and whose knowledge is weak regarding the priorities of knowledge and action.

Indeed, God is the One from Whom we seek help, and He alone does facilitate our matters. There is no god except Him and no Lord other than Him.

Adapted and simplified from Ibnu Qayyim's Message from Tabuk.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Stories of the Prophets in al-Qur'an :: Tabik Spring!

Best best. SubhanAllah, tabik spring buat Pakcik Azman, kawan Abah dan ayah kepada Mawaddah and Murshid, sebab berjaya menulis buku "Stories of the Prophets in Al-Qur'an" co-authored with Dr. Tareq Suwaidan! Bukan calang-calang orang, dengan Dr. Tareq Suwaidan tu! Tokoh besar dalam dunia Islam. Moga memberi manfaat kepada semesta dan moga dapat membakar api semangat dalam diri sendiri untuk menapak tilas jejak langkah Pakcik Azman insha Allah. wa Allahu haseeb.

p/s: teringat masa Pakcik Azman tumpang rumah Faiz dekat Purdue untuk beberapa hari :)

A foreword from the book itself..

“We do relate unto you the most beautiful of stories, in that We reveal to you this (portion of the) Quran: before this, you too were among those who knew it not.” (Yusuf; 12:3)

“The best among you is the one who studies Al-Quran and teaches Al-Quran” (Hadith of Prophet Muhammad (saw) reported by Imam Al-Bukhary)

Welcome to this series on the Stories of the Prophets. This work is a compilation of the stories of the Prophets and Messengers of Allah as revealed in Al-Quran. Al-Quran, together with the trusted works of tafseer (commentaries) written by scholars like ibnu Katheer and ibnu Jarir, form the main source of reference for this compilation. Many references are also made to the books of Ahadeeth and also historical works as compiled by the great scholars like ibnu Katheer. We have been meticulous to abstain from narrations found in the historical works that are based upon weak Hadeeth or those taken from the Old or New Testaments. The verses of Al-Quran quoted in this book are taken from Abdullah Yusuf Ali’s English translation, New Revised Version 1989. Some changes have been made especially in avoiding the use of classical English literature expressions of pronouns.

This humble work started with the lecture series in Arabic entitled "Qisas al-Anbiya" (Stories of the Prophets) delivered by Dr. Tareq Muhammad Al-Suwaidan. These lectures have been compiled in one complete album of cassette tapes. During my regular visits to Kuwait in year 2002, the idea to write a book in English based upon the same lecture series was mooted and agreed upon. It has been a long journey since October 2002 until the final chapter of the book was completed on Monday, 26 January 2004.

It has certainly been a rewarding effort for me having to find the time and prime energy to complete this book while having to work hard on other responsibilities. As such I must sincerely thank those who have helped in any small way to realize this humble contribution to the Islamic literature. My foremost human appreciation of course is to my friend, teacher and mentor Dr. Tareq Al-Suwaidan. Since we first met in May 1981 during the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) Annual Convention at Bloomington, Indiana, his friendship and brotherhood has certainly helped me mature better in my humble quest to improve and expand my knowledge in Islam and Islamic civilization. I must also thank my dear wife, Dalialah, for her understanding and patience with her husband who never seems to run out of things to do. A token of appreciation too for Radziah and Maziatun at the office who helped in the typing. Also for Hasyahril, Fazli, Imran, Mus'ab, Edrina, Puteri Azlina and Salwa who provided valuable technical assistance for me to publish this on the Internet. I must thank InterXS Sdn. Bhd. ( for providing the Web hosting services. For all of you, my most sincere thanks and prayers that Allah (swt) will reward your contribution in making this hope a reality.

I dedicate this work to my children Mawaddah, Muhammad Murshid, Sakeenah, Yusuf Abdullah and Maryam, in hope that they will always be there to serve our beloved religion Islam. You are all much more talented than your father, so be grateful to our Creator and serve Him and His religion in much better ways than your father could do.

Azman Hussin
7 Dhulhijjah 1424

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Hari itu-selepas seminggu beraya dikampung, saya pulang ke K.Lumpur. Memikirkan highway PLUS sibuk, saya menyusuri laluan lama. Pekan pertama yang saya lintas ialah Teluk Intan.

Terasa mengantuk, saya singgah sebentar disebuah restoran di pinggir pekan itu. Sebaik memesan makanan, seorang kanak-kanak lelaki - berusia lebih kurang 12 tahun muncul dihadapan.

'Abang nak beli kuih ?' Katanya sambil tersenyum. Tangannya segera menyelak daun pisang yang menjadi penutup bakul kuih jajaanya. "Tak apalah dik abg dah pesan makanan," jawap saya ringkas.

Dia berlalu. Sebaik pesanan tiba, saya terus menikmatinya. Lebih kurang 20 minit kemudian saya nampak kanak-kanak tadi menghampiri pelanggan lain, sepasang suami isteri agaknya. Mereka juga menolak, dia berlalu begitu saja.

"Abang dah makan, tak nak beli kuih saya?" katanya selamba semasa menghampiri meja saya. "Abg baru lepas makan dik, masih kenyang lagi ni," kata saya sambil menepuk-nepuk perut.

Dia beredar, tapi cuma setakat di kaki lima. Sampai disitu, di meletakkan bakulnya yang masih sarat. Setiap yang lalu ditanya... " Tak nak beli kuih saya bang.. Pak cik... kakak atau makcik." Molek budi bahasanya !

Mamak restoran itu pun tidak menghalang dia keluar masuk ke premisnya bertemu pelanggan. Sambil memerhati, terselit rasa kagum dan kasihan dihati saya melihatkan betapa gigihnya dia berusaha.

Tidak nampak langsung tanda-tanda putus asa dalam dirinya, sekalipun orang yang ditemuinya enggan membeli kuihnya. Selepas membayar harga makanan dan minuman, saya terus beredar ke kereta. Kanak-kanak itu saya lihat berada agak jauh di deretan kedai yang sama. Saya buka pintu , membetulkan duduk dan menutup pintu. Belum sempat saya menghidupkan enjin, kanak-kanak tadi berdiri di tepi kereta. Dia menghadiahkan sebuah senyuman.

Saya turunkan cermin, membalas senyumanya. Saya lihat umurnya lebih kurang 12 tahun. "Abg dah kenyang, tapi mungkin abg perlukan kuih saya untuk adik-adik abang, ibu atau ayah abang. katanya petah sekali sambil tersenyum. Sekali lagi dia mempamerkan kuih dalam bakul dengan menyelak daun pisang penutupnya.

Saya tenung wajahnya, bersih dan bersahaja. Terpantul perasaan kesian di hati. Lantas saya buka dompet, dan menghulurkan sekeping not merah RM10. Saya hulurkan padanya. " Ambil ni dik! Abang sedekah... tak payah abang beli kuih tu" saya berkata ikhlas kerana perasaan kesian meningkat mendadak.

Kanak-kanak itu menerima wang tersebut, lantas mengucapkan terima kasih terus berjalan kembali ke kaki lima deretan kedai. Saya gembira dapat membantunya.

Setelah enjin kereta saya hidupkan, saya mengundur. Alangkah terperanjatnya saya melihat kanak-kanak itu menghulurkan pula RM10 pemberian saya itu kepada seorang pengemis yang buta kedua-dua matanya.

Saya terkejut, lantas memberhentikan semula kereta, memanggil kanak-kanak itu. "Kenapa bang nak beli kuih ke?" tanyanya. "Kenapa adik berikan duit abg tadi pada pengemis tu ? Duit tu abg bagi adik!" kata saya tanpa menjawap pertanyaannya.

"Bang saya tak boleh ambil duit tu. Mak marah kalau dia dapat tahu saya mengemis. Kata mak kita mesti bekerja mencari nafkah kerana Allah berikan tulang empat kerat pada saya. "Kalau dia tahu saya bawa duit sebanyak itu pulang, sedangkan jualan masih banyak, mak pasti marah. Kata mak, mengemis kerja orang yang tak berupaya, saya masih kuat bang!" katanya begitu lancar.

Saya sebak, sekali gus kagum dengan pegangan hidup kanak-kanak itu. Tanpa banyak soal saya terus bertanya berapa semua harga kuih dalam bakul itu.

"Abg nak beli semua ke?" dia bertanya dan saya cuma ngangguk. Lidah saya kelu nak berkata. "RM25 saja bang.....! Selepas dia memasukkan satu persatu kuihnya kedalam plastik, saya hulurkan RM25. Dia mengucapkan terima kasih dan terus berlalu.

Saya perhatikan dia sehingga hilang daripada pandangan. Dalam perjalanan ke K.Lumpur, baru saya terfikir untuk bertanya statusnya. Anak yatim kah ??

Siapakah wanita berhati mulia yang melahirknya ?? Terus terang saya katakan, saya beli kuihnya bukan lagi atas dasar kesian, tetapi kerana rasa kagum dengan sikapnya yang dapt menjadikan kerjayanya satu penghormatan.

Sesungguhnya saya kagum dengan sikap kanak-kanak itu. Dia menyedarkan saya, siapa kita sebenarnya ...

* diforwardkan oleh Haris Ali aka Ticub

Monday, February 16, 2004

* rehat .. tak five!


Bahagia itu dari dalam diri
Kesannya zahir rupanya maknawi
Terpendam bagai permata di dasar hati

Bahagia itu ada pada hati
Bertakhta di kerajaan diri
Terbenam bagai mutiara di lautan nurani

Bahagia itu ada di jiwa
Mahkota di singgahsana rasa
Bahagia itu adalah suatu ketenangan

Bila susah tiada gelisah
Bila miskin syukur pada Tuhan
Bila sakit tiada resah di jiwa
Bukankah Tuhan telah berfirman
Ketahuilah dengan mengingati Allah
Jiwa kan menjadi tenang

C/O :
Kebahagiaan itu suatu kesyukuran
Bila kaya jadi insan pemurah
Bila berkuasa amanah
Bila berjaya tidak alpa
Bila sihat tidak lupakan Tuhan

Hakikatnya bahagia itu
Adalah ketenangan
Bila hati mengingati Tuhan

Semua insan kan mengerti
Maksud terseni Ilahi
Itulah zikir yang hakiki

lirik dari ukhti Sumayya lagu dari ukhti Haridah

*full version - tapi servernya slow*

Sunday, February 15, 2004

min 'alaamati al-i'timaadi 'ala al-'amali,
nuqsaanu ar-rajaa' 'inda wujuudi az-zalali.
iraadatuka at-tajreed ma'a iqaamati Allahi iyyaka fi al-asbaab,
min as-shahwati al-khafiyyah.
iraadatuka al-asbaab ma'a iqaamati Allahi iyyaka fi at-tajreed,
inhitaatun 'ani al-himmati al-'aaliyah.

Allahu jalla wa 'ala said:

Fala oqsimu bimawaqi'i alnnujoomi. Wainnahu laqasamun law ta'lamoona 'atheemun

Furthermore I call to witness the setting of the Stars, And that is indeed a mighty adjuration if ye but knew. 56:75-76

* best sangat!
“I Love You"

2/13/2004 - Social Religious - Article Ref: IC0011-237
By: IslamiCity

Nothing to worry about ... This is not about the malignant 'I Love You' virus that will erase the data on your hard disk, nor is it about the superficial dialogs that actors exchange in soap operas bringing tears to those sensitive viewers.

For decades, linguists have documented the changing meanings of certain expressions which are intimately related to a particular culture, period of time, heritage, civilization, tradition, and geographic location. Not only has the expression 'I Love You' lost its value in today's world. Its true significance has been simplified and denigrated to the sensational way it is printed in greeting cards, or heard in songs, or generally portrayed in our fast and furious pop culture.

He (Muhammad pbuh) advised us to say, "I love you not but for the sake of Allah." Hadith

However, it would not take much to reflect upon the Islamic teachings to bring this tiny phrase back to its proper context. Recalling Prophet Muhammad's instruction to us not to shy away from saying 'I Love You For the Sake of God' to those God-loving individuals whom we feel close to, is just another reminder of the importance of communicating truthful feelings in a most honorable and meaningful way.

And (moreover) He has put affection between their hearts. Even if you had spent all that is in the earth, you could not have produced that affection, but Allah hath done it: for He is Exalted in might, Wise. [Quran 8:63 ]

This short expression encompasses so many other divine values such as the understanding that an individual must always love for others what he or she loves for him or herself. In addition, by consciously carrying this prophetic instruction, one's love for God and his prophet supercedes any love for others, and the inhibition of being misunderstood for saying it, even amongst people of the same gender, automatically disappears.

By keeping our Love God centric, it will always remind us of our true responsibility towards the recipient of our love, be it our parents, spouses, children, family, friends, neighbors and humanity.

May God instill in us the love of humanity and make us remember the Sunnah of conveying our feelings to our family, friends and all those who are dear to us. And may He restore the meaning of this tiny expression to the level and respect it deserves.
Living the Quran
Al-Maidah (The Repast)
Chapter 5: Verse 12

The Path to the Garden

"If you attend to your prayers, practise regular charity, believe in My messengers and support them and offer up to God a generous loan, I shall forgive you your sins and admit you into gardens through which running waters flow.”

God does not give His blessings as a personal favour or a personal gift. This comes only after its conditions are fulfilled. This was true in this particular covenant God made with the Children of Israel.

The first condition was to attend to prayer. This is more than merely offering prayers. It means that prayers should become a manifestation of a true relationship between man and his Lord. Second was charitable payment, in recognition of God's favour for having given us what we have and by way of acknowledgement of the fact that whatever we may own actually belongs to God. The next condition was to believe in God's Messengers making no distinction between them. Every single one of them was sent by God to preach the same message.

In addition to zakat, giving generously to support God's cause is mentioned as a loan given to God. Since God has promised to return to man every penny that he spends in His way along with His reward, which will be several-fold, the Quran characterizes this spending as a loan to God.

To forgive someone's evil deeds signifies two things:

First, that if a man decides to follow the Straight Path and strives to follow God's directives in both thought and action his soul will be purged of many evils and his way of life will gradually become free of corruption.

Second, if, in spite of this reform, weaknesses still persist in a man's life he is assured that God will not punish him and will have his failing erased from his record.

"In The Shade of the Quran" - By Sayyid Qutb, Vol. 4, pp. 53-55
"Towards Understanding the Quran" - By Syed Abul Ala Maududi, Vol. 2, p. 142

Understanding the Prophet's Life
Relieving the Distress of Others

On the authority of Abu Huraira (may Allah be pleased with him) from the Prophet (may Allah's peace and blessings be upon him) who said, "Whoever relieves a believer's distress (kurbah) of the distressful aspects of this world, Allah will rescue him from a difficulty of the difficulties of the Hereafter." [Muslim]

A Kurbah is that which distresses the soul and preoccupies the mind. In this world, many aspects can be described as kurbah. A person could face difficulties, problems and challenges almost every day in his life.

This hadith demonstrates the importance of fulfilling the needs of one's brother. This type of deed, with its great reward, is open to any Muslim. This is so because it can be accomplished by using one's knowledge, wealth or authority. It may be by simply advising him to what is best or guiding him to something good. It could also be by praying to Allah to help the other person and relieve his plight.

The word translated as "relieves" is actually naffasa. This means to lighten or relieve the burden. It comes from the expression, giving breath to one who is about to suffocate. It is as if one relaxes the suffocating person and opens a passage for him to breathe so that he is able to take a breath.

One can only imagine what society would be like - indeed, what the world would be like - if every Muslim would take this approach to life. The Muslim would go out in search of those who are in need and troubled because he knows that by helping them, he is actually helping himself and, Allah willing, saving himself from great hardship in the Hereafter.

Incidentally, according to al-Haitami, the mentioning of relieving a believer's stressful situation was simply for the purpose of honouring believers and emphasizing the importance of their good treatment. Otherwise, he says, the reward stated in this hadith applies to relieving a distressful situation of any human.

"Commentary on the Forty Hadith" - By Jamaal al-Din M. Zarabozo, pp. 1309-1316

Doing Everything for Allah’s Sake

It’s easy when you bear in mind:
- Each act will be presented before Allah for His judgement.
- Only acts for His pleasure are acceptable.
- Focus on Jannah (paradise) and Jahannam (hell): seek the promised reward, avoid the promised punishment

Prophet (peace be upon him) came as bashir (bearer of good tidings) and nadhir (warner) to instill desire for paradise and fear of hell and strengthen our resolve to take the path of obedience so that we may prepare for lives of submission to God.

"Dying and Living for Allah" - By Khurram Murad, p. 38

Friday, February 13, 2004

** 'Bowling For Columbine' a highly interesting movie. I recommend everyone to watch it. And hey .. my stand still doesn't change, I STILL think tv is EVIL and makruh tahrimi (as the hanafi's put it). You could still d/load the movie from the internet btw. :) Owh .. and you need to watch the movie first I guess before you could (really understand and) read the article below.

Michael Moore

US comedian and documentary-maker Michael Moore explains his thinking on gun control, American foreign policy, and making movies to eat popcorn to.

Andrew Collins
Monday November 11, 2002

Andrew Collins: Thanks for coming, and if you haven't seen Bowling For Columbine, I'm sure you know already, it's Michael's look at American gun laws, and from there, he expands it into a film about America's foreign policy and race. It's been wrongly described as a scattershot or scattergun approach by journalists too keen to use a gun metaphor in their review. If you've seen it, you'll know it isn't. I think it's more like a sniper who picks his target and hits the target.
Michael, yesterday when I saw the film in the West End, you got a standing ovation. Now, have you been getting a lot of standing ovations for this film?

Michael Moore: Ah, yeah. The first time we screened it at the Cannes film festival in May, the standing ovation went for close to 15 minutes. It was absolutely embarrassing. And what do you do during that time? I'm trying to cut it off after two minutes and the festival director came over and whispered in my ear, "You are to stand there and take it." So I just stood there and the response in the United States and Canada has been equally enthusiastic. I've shown my stuff here before but I've never had a standing ovation for my work - I just assumed that people didn't do that. I just figured something was wrong with the audience last night - or they were just Americans and Canadians.

AC: I think it's possible that they were clapping you and standing for you, and maybe clapping for what the film says. I think at this time, there's a feeling generally that America is bad over here. Everybody feels, outside of America, that America is running the world. And people kind of feel heartened that you exist and to have you here. Do you feel as separate from other Americans as we would imagine or are there loads of people out there like you?

MM: I think I'm in the majority of Americans. I believe that I am in the mainstream of middle America. This may come as a surprise to many people here but the majority of people did not vote for George Bush - he lost the election; he got the fewest number of votes. In the last year, just with my book that's been out in the United States, at a time when you've been told that we're all lining up behind Bush, united we stand and all this other crap since September 11, the largest selling non-fiction book since September 11 last year has been something called Stupid White Men starring George W Bush. So I think that this - the book, the film - has resonated with millions of people who otherwise don't have a voice, and don't own media and so you don't see them. You're not supposed to see me, I mean someone like me is not supposed to be on television or making films or writing books. So it's just an odd accident that I escaped and somehow I flew in under the radar and came up on the other side. My work is visible but I believe that...

We just finished this book tour: 47 cities across the country and an average of 2,000-3,000 people a night showed up. Not in college towns but in Tampa, Florida; Olympia, Washington; Portland, Oregon - they had to shut down an interstate freeway; they had to turn away about 5,000 people who couldn't get in to the 5,000-seat auditorium. This is not covered in the news though. I never once saw a television network at any of these 47 cities and so I knew that word wasn't getting out to all these people. So you go to all these places and everybody feels alone, thinking that they're the only ones who feel this way. I think probably sitting here you think the whole country's gone mad at this point and we're a menace to the rest of the world. And the second part of that is correct. But that's honestly how I see myself. You know, this morning I got a phone call - they called from the United States to tell me that they'd had another record breaking weekend with the film: 200 cities across the country, a documentary has never done business like this. They can't understand it: they tried to get me to change the title... who's going to see something called Bowling For Columbine? Then, when they find out what it's about: guns, school shootings or whatever, they won't go to it. Then, they hear from France that it's a movie to hate America by, then they really won't go and see it. And it turns out that all the predictions were wrong. And I knew that they'd be wrong because I feel like I have a sense of where people are in the country.

AC: Word of mouth is your best weapon, isn't it, because when the book came out, you weren't seen on a whole lot of TV shows to promote it, were you?

MM: No, I was not allowed on any network television shows in America. Over 90% of the newspapers did not review my book. The New York Times still has not reviewed the book.

AC: Wasn't it on their bestseller list?

MM: For 34 weeks... And at No 1 for a number of those weeks. But they act as if it doesn't exist. And that's the liberal paper. The publisher tried to kill the book after they printed it, on September 10, 2001. And so on September 12, they called me and said, "We can't put the book out, you'll have to change the title and you'll have to rewrite 50% of the book and tone down your dissent and you can't say these things about George W Bush." A whole list of what I had to change. "Oh, and you have to give us $100,000 to reprint the 50,000 copies that we've already printed, if you want the book to come out." I didn't change a word, didn't give them any money and word leaked out that they were banning the book and it caused an uproar and they were forced to release the book and it went to No 1 in about three days. Still, the total advertising budget for the book to date is zero dollars. But this doesn't matter. I don't like to sit around whining about the corporate media, how they control everything, own everything. We already know that. You have to trust that the people don't like what's going on and know they're being lied to. They saw their own White House ripped off from them in a shocking fashion. Some became paralysed by it and have done nothing about it; others are figuring out how to get it back, and I know that this is the time in which I live, and so I'm not surprised by any of it.

AC: So you are the people's film-maker... in the absence of anyone else doing it. I see you're uncomfortable with the term...

MM: Yeah, because I just set out to make a movie that I'd like to go see on a Friday night. When I make a film, I'm not doing it purely for political reasons. If I just wanted to do that, I'd run for office. I love to go see a good movie... try to remember when was the last great film that you saw and when you left the theatre it was like a religious experience; you have tears in your eyes because this art form was honoured by what you just saw on the screen. And it's so rare these days. It's been that way for the last decade or so and so I think as a film-maker, my first contribution would just be to make a good movie that people would love to go see and leave the theatre charged, with that sense of excitement that we've all had. And you want that, every time you go and you so rarely get it. And I just think I can't wait around for other people to give it to me; I'm going to give it to myself and so I'm going to make a movie that I would like to go see. And I trust that a few million others will want to see it too. And the great thing about living in such a large country with 280 million people is that I can literally have 260 million people completely hate what I do, or not get it, or not go; but if 20 million people go and see this movie, the box office would be larger than Jaws. So I'm not trying to appeal to a broad audience because then you'd be trying to water it down and pulling your punches because you've got to please everybody. You just have to please yourself and trust that there's other people like you, that feel that way. So, "people's film-maker", I don't know. I don't really want to represent anybody apart from myself when it comes to the actual film-making process.

AC: There's a lot of emotion in this film. I can't remember the last time that I saw a film where I've laughed out loud and felt almost physically sick, in the same movie.

MM: It's still emotional for me to watch. We were watching it last night - me with my wife and our friend Tom - and we were sitting there in tears; and we've watched it a hundred times. That part in Flint where the six-year-old shoots the six-year-old, I still can't get through that part of the film without tears coming to my eyes. And it's a very difficult trick to try and pull off - asking people to laugh and feel a sense of tragedy and sadness within the same film. I wondered if I could get away with both here and not lose people either way; ie not trivialise the tragedy with the humour but also not have the people leave the theatre in despair. And realising that humour is the most powerful way to make a political statement and say the things that you want to say. And it's not used enough, at least not in the US.

AC: Obviously, some of the laughter is not just at a joke; it's at the tragic ridiculousness of the situation.

MM: Right, it's the kind of laughter where if you didn't laugh you would cry.

AC: For those who haven't seen it, there's a sequence with a guy called John Nichols, who's the brother of Terry Nichols, who was put away in connection with the Oklahoma bombing. And he, I can imagine, must have been a gift of an interviewee - you can just sit back and let him talk. He's got the best line in the film; he says, "The pen is mightier than the sword, but it's always as well to have a sword handy." You couldn't write that up in a comedy, coming from a redneck guy who grows organic food, which I thought was quite ironic. When you find a John Nichols, you can just sit back and let him dig his own grave. You need people like that for each film, don't you?

MM: Yeah, and we sat there for four hours filming him and we used up a lot of film. He just went on and on. He was brilliant in the description of his beliefs, I had to hone that thing down to what you see in the film but we kept saying to ourselves, "OK, we'll put the rest in a DVD or something. It's just too good to waste." He goes off on this whole thing about how the Queen of England controls the American Bar Association. And with a straight face, he breaks it down for you to the point where you almost find yourself believing in it.

AC: So this is an author piece, it's the best way to describe the films that you make - you're in them, you write the text that goes into them and you go out to prove or disprove something you think needs proving or publicising. But there's a fine line, isn't there? You've been accused of being an egomaniac for the fact that you're in the film. You must feel self conscious about that because people know you now and expect to see you in the film. But you must want to hold back, a lot of times.

MM: I do. I read that, it's an odd thing. Clearly I am a person who suffers from a lack of ego. I mean, if I felt better about myself I wouldn't look this way. I don't know how to respond to that: "He puts himself in his film." Well, I never read that about Woody Allen or Spike Lee. I exist in my films as a stand-in for the audience. I'm just there doing what you probably would like to do and holding back from wanting to choke a few of these people. I'm just I try to keep my presence pretty low just because I don't like to look at myself up there on the screen.

AC: But there in Roger & Me, that was in 1989, when no one knew who you were. You were the everyman and you were going after Roger Smith, CEO of General Motors. And now, people know who you are. I would imagine there isn't a receptionist in the land that doesn't know your face and your hat. That must be good and bad as well. It must be great to be anonymous, but being Michael Moore must sometimes open doors.

MM: Well I feel bad for the receptionists because now when they see me coming, I see that look on their face. The day they've dreaded, you know. And like a dentist almost, I try to tell them, "This is going to be painless, we're just after the big man here. Just humour us here for a bit and we'll get past this painful moment." Yeah, but it has not affected my ability to get people to talk to me. For some reason, when people see the little red light on the camera, they want to be in the movies, they want to be on TV, or something. And even when they know it's going to be bad for them they still do it. It's kind of like running outside on Guy Fawkes night without your coat on - you know it's bad for you but you do it anyway because it's so much fun. It's more like Guy Fawkes week here, when do the explosions stop? I've been here a week now and I've not been able to figure this out. He essentially was the shoe bomber of the 17th century and wasn't able to light the shoe on fire, right? He was a complete fuck-up and now there's a whole fortnight devoted to him.

AC: Then Tony Blair puts us on high alert.

MM: What are we supposed to be afraid of?

AC: I don't know. I suppose afraid that the UN resolutions might not work.

MM: You've made your bed with the Bushman, now see what it feels like!

AC: On the publicity for the film here, it says, "Are they a nation of gun nuts, or just a nation of nuts?" Do you feel, when you're here, that you're a lapsed American?

MM: I really do think it's the latter. I think we're just nuts. I think we have a shared mental illness. It's almost in our DNA now: we're raised with the manifest destiny, the belief, that we have the right to resolve our conflicts through violence, and that we will shoot first and inspect for weapons later. That's our mentality, that's the way we're going to live our lives, that's how we're going to rule the world. And it will be our ruin if it's not addressed.

AC: Well, the film identifies the problem and you imagine going in that the problem is guns, but halfway through the film it's not the guns but the climate of fear that causes the problem. It's the fear that's sent down from above.

MM: One of the points of the film is that we are a nation of very frightened people. Often that is the MO of most bullies - bullies are actually very insecure and very scared. And we are constantly rattling the sabres because we're so afraid that something is out there. The wolf is out there. That's not just globally; it's personally, it's locally. And as often times is the case in our country, the wolf at the door is a black man. And the film explores how race is used to manipulate white people's fears. Most of the guns purchased in America - 90-95% of the guns - are purchased by white people in the suburbs and the safe parts of town where there is very little crime. And guns in the inner cities are usually guns that have been stolen from the white communities and end up in the inner cities. And in the film, you see a white kid who breaks into people's homes in the white areas, steals the guns and takes them to downtown Detroit and sells them for one-tenth the price. I guess I want the American audiences who see this film to examine why we are living in this constant culture of fear and what we can do to break the grip of that. As human beings, we're supposed to have fear; you do need to know when to be afraid so you can preserve your life. But when you're told to be afraid of everything, that there's always a new bogeyman - every two months, there's a new axe to add to the axis of evil - you lose your compass and you forget what you're supposed to be afraid of. And before you know it you're afraid of everything, and everybody is an enemy, and everybody's out to get you. You're not thinking straight. It's a big part of what I try to address in the film.

AC: A question that came up yesterday during the Q&A was, "Do you have a gun?"

MM: I have the gun which I won at the bank for opening the account, and I want to get rid of it; I don't want a gun in the house. Yes, I have that gun but not for long and there's no ammunition in it.

AC: You used your membership of the National Rifle Association to get that interview with Charlton Heston which is the finale of the film. And people were surprised that you are still in the NRA.

MM: I was a junior member when I was in the boy scouts when I was a kid, but I became a lifetime member after the Columbine massacre because my first thought after Columbine was to run against Charlton Heston for the presidency of the NRA. You have to be a lifetime member to be able to do that, so I had to pay $750 (about £450) to join. My plan was to get 5m Americans to join for the lowest basic membership and vote for me so that I'd win and dismantle the organisation. Unfortunately, I figured that's just too much work for me so instead I made this movie. But I'm still a lifetime member, until they excommunicate me... which is not far off, from what I hear.

AC: The Heston interview is, for some, somewhat contentious. For those who haven't seen the film, he invites Michael into his home to be interviewed, and some people have found that interview to be uncomfortable. He certainly did. Some have said that he seems to be senile or in some way not to be completely in control of his mental faculties and that you run rings around him. I didn't see it that way because this is the guy who appears in public straight after shootings and says, "We should all have rifles" and "To take my gun away from me, you'd have to prise it from out of my cold, dead hand". Do you see why some people are uncomfortable? Just talk about that interview you did with him.

MM: Well, I've read that in some American reviews of it. They feel sorry for him, he's an old man. Just before the film was released in America, he went on TV and announced that he had been told that he had Alzheimer-like symptoms. He doesn't have Alzheimer's but he might get it. And then he went out on the campaign trail for two or three weeks, 12 to 15 cities, campaigning for Senate and House candidates to make sure that Bush had control of the House and Senate. And he's in pre-production on his next movie. God I hope he doesn't get any bad diseases, I wouldn't wish that on anybody. I hope he lives a long life. I feel that the argument on my side of the fence is strong enough that I don't need him to be weakened by any disease. But I think they're very afraid of this film - they've been afraid of it since Cannes and they've been trying to figure out how to control it. Because it's not a gun control movie - this is a movie which says that something is more seriously and deeply wrong with the USA and our gun problem is a symptom of the larger illness that exists. Charlton Heston said in this interview with me, with no prompting from me, that the problem with America is "our mixed ethnicity". I'd asked a question about why Canadians don't have as many gun murders as we do and he said he was very proud that our country had been invented by those wise and dead white guys. And he kept making these kind of racial comments, but then he'd back off from them when I repeated the question to him. People were very afraid as to how that was going to come across. I don't know why anybody would feel sorry for a guy who leads the most powerful lobby group in the US and whose sole purpose is to make sure that people can have as many guns as they want to have and fire as many bullets as the guns can possibly fire. These people are insane and they have to be stopped. And the majority of Americans, according to every poll, want gun control. This group succeeds with a minority position and I think it's time to hear from the other side; time for the other side to not be afraid to stand up for what they believe in and until we correct the mental problem, we have to put the guns away. So I do believe in gun control - guns have to be put aside until we can act more Canadian-like.

AC: Somebody last night from Canada made you an honorary Canadian.

MM: It's happened many times now. Canadians will tell you they have a lot of problems and there are. But from our viewpoint, it looks like Nirvana. They somehow get to have a similar culture but with a hell of a lot less problems of the kind that we have. And I encourage people to think about how well it's worked in Canada - they have national healthcare, they have these things that we should be able to have, and they attempt to deal with their racial problems in a different way than we do, and they're not always in a rush to get behind us to go to war and drop bombs on people. I grew up on the border with Canada, and I remember watching the Canadian news as a kid during Vietnam, and you got the truth from Canada about Vietnam; you watch the American media, you didn't get the truth. And so I've always appreciated that about the Canadians, and how they provided refuge to people of my generation who did not want to kill Vietnamese, took them in with no questions asked - it's a very brave thing to do. So I've always been grateful for that.

AC: Your book was published the day before September 11. Since then, you've had another piece of timing, not sure if it's good timing or no, but since you've made the film, we've had the Washington sniper. That must have changed people's attitude away from gun ownership? That must have helped the film, possibly?

MM: No, we kill 40 people a day in the US. He just killed 10. We get that done by noon. I'm serious, what's the big news? Because he made it geographically interesting? Because he was such a good shot? Because the satellite trucks could all be parked in one parking lot and not have to travel too far to get the doughnuts? Why was that news? And why don't we know the names of the 40 people who get shot everyday since he was caught? Because they're spread out over 3,000 miles, their loss of life is less important? Less tragic? Less newsworthy? He just made it easier for the journalists. That's how I see it. And it was bizarre because he was black. You can't name a black serial killer in the US.

Audience members: Wayne Williams.

MM: He did not do it. That's a very good point - I wish somebody would make a movie about that. There are no black serial killers. That was the oddest thing that came out of that - that he and his stepson were black.

AC: How much did you shoot to get that two hours of gold dust?

MM: About 200 hours. And probably sifting through another 200 hours of archival footage. About a three-year process. It's a long process. I don't start out with a script or a hard and fast outline of what we've got to shoot. I have an idea but a lot of times, I'll start out and... I get this idea: "Let's go to Canada and show how they've got so few guns and that's why they have so few murders." And you get there and you find out they've got a lot of guns. Well, okay. I like that. I like being fooled by my own thoughts and being challenged and being found wrong. And I feel that if I let you in on that journey, you'll be as surprised as I am. As opposed to making a documentary film as they often do where there's a set script and you go out to try and shoot to fit the script, the idea, the thesis. I've always felt so grateful that I dropped out of school, that I never had to do a thesis, I wouldn't know how to organise and structure myself to film so that B follows A and C follows B. I don't think you should do that, especially a documentary film like this. Your feet should not be in cement. You should be open to whatever happens and go with it. It drives the budget and the producers batty because it can get costly but if you're willing to do that you'll end up with something that will reach a wider audience because you've got a much more interesting film.

AC: But documentary can be as manipulative as fiction, can't it? If you want to make it that way, you can make the facts fit.

MM: But that's true of anything.

AC: But you're led by the subject rather than the other way around. Some documentary film-makers just make the films that they want to make, they know what they want to make before they start.

MM: I think most documentaries are made that way, and that's why most people don't watch them. Because you can see what's coming and that's not interesting. You like the shock and the surprise of the twist and the turn that it'll take. That's just basic storytelling. And if a documentary is set up so that it doesn't have those twists and turns, then it's not very interesting to watch as a movie. It's sad that too many documentary film-makers set out to make a documentary and not a movie. And they're very well meaning and well intentioned and the issues they care about are important, but maybe they should do something else if they feel strongly enough about that issue but not use an art form where you're asking people to sit in a theatre like this and essentially be entertained. I don't mean entertained in a light way, entertainment can run the gamut. I remember thinking when I started this film, would I tell my wife on a Friday night, "Let's go watch that gun control movie"? I would never go see that. I would never go see a documentary about the arms race. Why would I want to go see that? What's it going to tell me? That it's bad! If I'm going to get facts and figures to enlighten myself about how many nuclear warheads are still active I can read that someplace, I don't need to go a movie to see that. And you've got to ask yourself, who's going to eat popcorn to this? I'm not debasing it. I'm saying that what's great about this form is the communal experience of sitting in the dark with strangers and viewing something that's going to engage us. And that's what I'm thinking when I'm making a film.

AC: You would imagine that getting people out of their houses to go watch a documentary would be as hard as getting a rifle out of Charlton Heston's cold dead hand. But you've done it now, more than once. You made Roger & Me, which at that time was the most successful non-concert documentary film of all time. And you're about to beat Hoop Dreams with this, if things keep going they way they're going at the moment. You've done it more than once. And you've done TV as well, but you're not so keen to do TV anymore, are you? You're more interested in making films that people go actively to see.

MM: Yeah, television takes a lot out of you. To do a weekly series and to make it good - and I'm very proud of the ones that we did - but it really is hard. It's very draining and the networks are difficult to deal with in America, in terms of what we can get on the air. Sadly, with the last series of The Awful Truth, Channel 4 - which was a co-producer - dumped it in the midnight slot and it's so debilitating when that happens. You have so little control over it and you certainly don't own the network. I don't know what the problem was but it's just soured me on the whole thing.

Michael Moore: part II

The second part of Michael Moore's talk at the NFT

Andrew Collins
Monday November 11, 2002

AC: You're a very imposing man, physically, but you must sometimes feel very small in America. We can only guess that you feel dwarfed by the task

ahead of you. Even though you have a camera and an audience behind you, you must sometimes feel, "I'm just a little man"?
[Laughter from audience]

MM: We went by High & Mighty today. In America, there aren't special needs stores for people like me. In Kmart, there's a whole department called Big Fat Slobs. When we saw the store, we just felt loved, for the first time, to see the store called High & Mighty.... I don't think that answered your question.

AC: But the task ahead, it must dwarf you. Somebody asked last night if you get depressed, which is a similar question. You forge onwards; how do you keep your spirits up? It does seem like a difficult job that you've set yourself here.

MM: Jeez, I think I'm right. The things I believe in, I believe strongly enough in them and I think I'm right. When I'm wrong, then I change my mind and I'm right again. I try to keep my sense of humour. I know what you're saying. I know there are Americans in here - they're just here to check if they can go back now, if I've fixed things for them. No, I haven't. So stay here.

It's a good question and I don't have a good answer for it. Maybe there's something in that Catholic upbringing - where all things seem unattainable, everything is insurmountable, the odds are always against you. I'm the person in the lifeboat, where if the lifeboat was full of holes and going down and all there was was a dixie cup, I'd be the one still bailing the water even though clearly that dixie cup would not be able to get the water out in time to save the boat. But I would be of this belief that it could happen. Maybe I've just had too many experiences in my life where I've had things which were not supposed to happen to me: none of this was ever supposed to happen to me, I was never supposed to have a film career, and I didn't go to film school. I didn't have this or that and I was making $99 a week the year Roger & Me came out. That seemed to happen so maybe this other stuff can happen.

AC: But there is a moment in the film where you manage to get a major store to stop selling bullets. This was a heartwarming moment - it seems to be a small victory but a victory nonetheless, so it must be that, presumably, that keeps you going?

MM: Yeah. My mom died this year. We rushed her to the hospital and the doctor came out and said that there was a 90% chance that she would make it. And I went, "Yes, that's great!" So they operate, and the surgeon came out and said the chances were now 70-30. I'm like, "That's good!" Somewhere in the middle of the night, the doctor went to 50-50, and I was still, "Yes, that's great!" And then they had to put the ventilator down her throat and he said the chances were now probably less than 20%. By the time my sister arrived from California, he said that it was down to about one in a 100. And I'm in the hallway with a doctor and I'm going, "Yes, do that. One in a 100 is great. One in a 100, she can live." And my sister was saying, "Mike, Mike, it's not going to happen." And still I had this belief that it was going to happen.

AC: It's that which keeps you going, when the odds are against you. When in the elections only 36% of the electorate turn out and vote and therefore can't change the country in the midterms - that could knock you out, but no.

MM: Maybe what I'm saying is that maybe I'm just crazy. That maybe there isn't any hope for the United States. We've had our moment, we had a chance to do great things with it. We started out by doing a few good things but then we blew it. And now, maybe there isn't any hope. I still think there's hope for you, for this country and for the rest of the world. You haven't quite turned into us yet. You haven't quite started to scare the shit out of everybody here yet, where you're behaving in a very strange and bizarre fashion. So I think, let the Americans go to watch this film and it will exist as a document of what we were at the beginning of the 21st century. Maybe if this film gets shown in the rest of the world, people will walk out of the theatres going, "Okay, let's get together. This is not how we want to end up."

AC: I feel it's time to hand over to the audience. I would say that you probably are hope on two legs for them and for us and we're kind of glad you're here.

MM: Thank you for saying that; and I'm not going to give up.

Q: You must be NRA enemy No 1. Are you afraid for your life?

MM: No, no. It's not my time yet. You should only fear for my life if you see me at the drive-through window at McDonald's. That's going to off me much quicker than anybody from the NRA. The picture of me dead in the paper next month that you'll get off the wire services will more than likely have a shamrock shake from McDonald's spilled all the way down my front.

Q: You've talked about how people are "afraid" to distribute your films - have you heard of some of these other films that people seem to be afraid of, like 11' 09" 01? What have your learned that you can tell them about getting distribution for their films?

MM: That's a good question. I make my films for a mass audience, even though I realise I'm probably not going to get that mass audience. I believe that I'm in the mainstream of Americans, and so if I make something that I would enjoy then they would enjoy it, too. Then, a film studio sees it and they think the same thing and it all sort of happens. A film like that, 11' 09" 01, I don't know what to do with a film like that. I'm not a distributor. But it's sad that more of those films don't get distribution.

AC: I think that laughter is still your secret weapon. There's obviously very serious stuff in this film but there are laughs in it and it helps the medicine go down, as it were.

Q: What's your next project?

MM: My next project, I'm making a funny September 11 film. I am. It's called Fahrenheit 911. There's a film about healthcare in America that I was making before I started this film. It's called Sicko and that film will hopefully put this issue on the agenda for the next elected president that we have. But right now, my next project is this live show that we're trying out here in London.

Q: What did you learn from making Canadian Bacon?

MM: I want to make more fiction features and I hope I get to do them. I was just reading the little Guardian write-up here about Canadian Bacon being "like Barry Levinson's Wag The Dog". Wag The Dog was made three years after Canadian Bacon.

Q: Did Kmart actually follow through on their promise to stop selling bullets? And secondly, is there any way that we can stop the US and Britain bombing Iraq?

MM: Well, I happen to have the answers to both of those questions. The answer to the first question is yes, Kmart did. As to the second question, nothing. I think it's on the cards, I think they've got it all planned out, I think they're going to be quite successful and I think you'll be surprised at how quickly it'll all be over. They will have the second largest supply of oil in the world, in their hand, just where they wanted. The demonstration here the other week was fantastic - that many people came out, that was very heartening. Bush cannot get away with American public opinion for this if he's doing it by himself, if he can't claim the Allies with him. It was horrible to see Blair backing him on this. We need Blair and the British public to stop this. No one is more responsible for this than Tony Blair. And in my mind, he's more responsible because he knows better. Bush is an idiot; Blair knows better and he's forgotten where he came from and he's taking a piss on what he was supposed to have been. And the feeling that everyone had on election night in 1997, when the dark ages of Thatcherism were just removed, everyone remembers the feeling, right? And to think that in five short years, he's put a friendly face on Thatcherism, it's absolutely appalling. I hope he felt the repudiation in the streets of London a couple of weeks ago.

Q: How do you set up the wonderful set pieces in your films? For instance that cop in Bowling For Columbine who you asked if he could arrest people for pollution.

MM: I don't make BBC style documentaries. Everything is very random and unplanned. The cops just showed up and I just went up to them and asked them what was going on. And the way they were ignoring me just pissed me off, so I just thought I'd ask if he could arrest anybody for the pollution in the air. And later, I remember looking at it in the editing room and realising that it was one of the big points in the film, isn't it? That we're not afraid of the things that we really should be afraid of. All those things in the film just happened. Getting Heston, I tried for two years to get him and I'd given up. We'd been in Los Angeles to film those parts in South Central and we'd checked out of the hotel and were on our way to the airport and passed by one of those star map signs. One of the people in the crew van said, "Hey let's get a star map and see if we can find Heston." I said, "No, let's just get to the airport; I just want to get to my seat." As soon as I said that, everybody in the van went, "I want a star map. I want a star map." So we stop at the next sign and I get one and show it to them. Now it's like they're challenging me, like I don't have it anymore. So I took their dare and drove up the hill. I get out and ring the bell, and out of that little box came the voice of Moses. If you see the film again, you can hear my voice shake because I'm like, "Holy shit!" And as you see, he told me to come back the next day and I thought for sure, somebody'll put an end to this. And we show up at 8.30 and the gates open. It was just amazing. But that was not planned. We'd pretty much finished.

Q: Who/what are the influences on your work?

MM: Monty Python. I can tell you who my favourite film-makers are - certainly all the films of Stanley Kubrick would be up there. As a kid, a teenager, really latching on to the feeling that film really matters - that it can have this powerful impact. One of my favourite documentaries of all time is Hearts and Minds by Peter Davis. Excellent, excellent film - if you watch just one film about Vietnam, that's the one. There was a Japanese documentary called The Emperor's Naked Army Marches On. It's about a veteran of the second world war who wants to find out what happened to the other privates in his battalion who were left on this island at the end of the war. Near the end of the film, he comes upon the colonel who was in charge of his battalion. When asked if he knew what had happened to the other privates, the colonel said, "Yes. We ate them because we were starving." So the film-maker just sets the camera down and goes over and just beats the shit out of this guy. It's the most amazing piece of film-making. It's so wonderful and lyrical all the way through up until this point, when it becomes Larry Clark-ish.

Q: What were you doing before Roger & Me?

MM: When I was 18, I became the first 18-year-old to be elected to public office. I dropped out of college in my sophomore year - it was a commuter campus, I couldn't find a parking space, so I dropped out - and started an alternative newspaper called the Flint Voice and ran that for 10 years, and then was unemployed in 1986 and started making Roger & Me.

Q: Was the Flint Voice a leftwing paper?

MM: Yeah, I guess so. We didn't use those terms in Flint.

Q: Do you think that all America's enemies are just fantasies to keep everyone in fear?

MM: No. The country was attacked on September 11 and 3,000 people were killed. That was not a fantasy. Who did it? I'd like to know. I'd like justice to happen to those who did that. I don't believe it was 19 guys at some Florida dipshit flying school who figured out how to do this. And as soon as we can say out loud who did it... nothing will happen.

Q: Do you have a theory as to who did it?

MM: Yeah. I'll give you a hint. If 15 of the 19 guys all come from one country, and that country's called Saudi Arabia, and you bomb Afghanistan, did we miss? If 15 out the 19 hijackers came from Cuba, do you think we'd bomb Bolivia? I don't think so. But we can't bomb daddy's oil buddies, can we? I wish that aliens from outer space could come and clear it up for us. If we could just see through their eyes how bizarre we are... Usually it's larger groupings called nations that attack each other like that. America's biggest enemy is itself - I wish we'd focus more on that.

Q: What is the more important question - who or why?

MM: It's always the why. We rarely get the why in the media because that requires hard work on the part of the media to get the answer.

Q: Do you have a theory as to why September 11 happened?

MM: Do I have to go through the whole next movie for you? There's a company called Unical. They wanted to build a pipeline through Afghanistan - the Taliban were meeting with them in Houston for a number of years in the late 90s. The BBC already ran the news here. That story exists - but the why was not because the third world was rising up to destroy America; the people who attacked America on September 11 were multimillionaires and billionaires. Even the minions they got to perform the act of murder were not people from the camps, the poor - they were middle class and upper middle class hijackers.

Q: Woody Allen was here recently and said that September 11 was a distraction from what's going on. What is the big evil then? What are you distracted from?

MM: We're distracted from the fact that the top 1% that own most of America and most of Britain are getting away with bloody murder while we're all focused on something else. They've been lining their pockets for the last 20 years and they've been doing it in such a skilful way that they can buy politicians and be upfront about it. And our two democracies have been taken away from us - they're not in our hands anymore. So that's the greater evil. And we don't want to be living in a world where three million people don't have clean drinking water - we have the means and the technology to allow everyone to have a glass of clean drinking water anytime they want.

Q: In the history of American intervention in the film, why did you leave out the statistics about US involvement in the Middle East?

MM: It's a legitimate criticism.

Q: Why are you not clear cut about your stand on Israel and Palestinians in the occupied territories?

MM: I think all gentiles should stand up and tell all our Jewish brothers and sisters that we will never again let happen to them what was done to them in the last century by people of our ilk. And that we will defend them at all costs. No 2, that position has no integrity if we will not do the same for Palestinian people. They need to know and not trust us when we say that we will defend them if we don't defend those people who are in worse shape right now. The religion I was brought up in teaches us that we will be judged by the way we treat the least among us and we've lost our way on the Christian end of things. I think the hell that has developed in the occupied territories is now back page news in America, and I think it needs to be front page news because it's partly the core of what needs to be addressed with all the issues around September 11.

Q: What happened to the six-year-old who did the Flint shooting?

MM: Sadly, he's been permanently taken from his mother by the state of Michigan and he will never be returned to her. And he's been put in a series of foster homes, and I've just heard that he was involved in a stabbing incident where he used a knife on another kid. He is, I think, horribly damaged. It's a terrible, tragic situation.

Q: What do you think of the internet for putting information out there?

MM: I think the internet is an incredible egalitarian way for us to keep talking to each other and communicating. It's a great way to get information and get the word out. It's really the thing that saved my book - it was how people heard about my book in the US. I was getting 70,000 hits a month in January on my website. They told me last month that it was getting 2m hits a day after the film came out - 50m a month. The thing is to make sure that the corporations never control it so that they make money off it and it goes directly to them. They may never be able to figure that out.

Q: At what point do you think America blew it?

MM: We blew it from the beginning - when we said that black people are three-fifths of a human being; that's written in our constitution, that same sacred document that says you have a right to a gun, which frankly it doesn't. Ultimately, at different times, we've tried to make it right, then we fail, then we get better. But I certainly think that, as of Tuesday's election, this is the first time since Eisenhower that we've got a Republican White House, Senate and Congress. And these aren't the kind of Republicans Eisenhower was - he was quite moderate. These are rightwing, Christian coalition nutcases who are hell bent on destroying our civil liberties and turning the country around as fast as they can because they know they've only got two years to do it. Because somebody's going to figure it out and take it back from them, like we did two years after Newt Gingrich. But for those two years of Newt Gingrich it was pretty bleak, so it's going to look really bad for the next couple of years.

Q: Do you really think the Democrats can make a difference?

MM: I don't really care about the titles. The Greens have not really been able to organise and make a real run at the next election. I think we need to hijack the Democratic party - they're so lame to begin with; they can't even find candidates to run in most of those races and so the Republicans run unopposed. Clearly, there is a Democratic party in name only. They've got a name, they've got a building in Washington, they've got a logo and the stationery printed. It might be better to make a run at locally going in and taking over local Democratic parties.

Q: Did you have problems financing the film?

MM: No. It was financed by Canadians, and it took them 30 seconds to give me the money. And they pleaded with me to take all that positive stuff about Canadians out because they were embarrassed by it.

AC: I think we have time for just another two to three questions.

MM: If I answer them really fast, I can do five.

Q: What has happened to the majority who think like you?

MM: People just got lazy.

Q: How many caps do you own, Mike?

MM: Too many.

Q: Is there a documentary that you'd like to make?

MM: Yes, one on Israel and one on the occupied territories.

Q: It struck me that between your long-term solution and Chris Rock's quick fix, you might have the whole issue wrapped up quickly. Are there any collaborations you'd like to form?

MM: Yes. We're going to bring Louis Theroux back.

Q: If you made a satirical film about Britain, what would it be on?

MM: I'd make a film about Channel 4 and the BBC and my experiences with them.

Q: You talked about the fear mentality so inherent in my generation - how do you change that mentality in us when that's all we know?

MM: I can't answer that quickly. I would tell you not to be afraid. If you go to school in America, as bad as it is, you still have three times greater chance of being struck by lightning on your way to school than of being killed in school. It's not as bad as we've made it seem. Just as the sniper was a small thing - you had a one in 5m chance of being shot in Washington by the sniper that night: those are pretty good odds, but everybody was hiding in their houses. You can't live that way.

Q: Do you have any friends in the US political arena?

MM: Twenty Congressmen were supposed to sponsor a Congressional screening of this film - I don't know if it actually happened or not. And the only person who came close to my way of thinking in the US Senate died in a plane crash the week before the election. The one voice of opposition in 100 and he dies in a plane crash. But then, change doesn't occur from the top down, it's from the bottom up and I'm not so worried about whether the people in power supported this. If you read the book, you know that the cameraman on Roger & Me was George W Bush's cousin, which at the time, I didn't know. And the only time I met George W Bush, he said to me, "Hey Mike! Go find real work." Of all people!

AC: It only remains for me to thank Michael and I'm sure if he stood for office, we'd all vote him in.

Thursday, February 12, 2004

Assalamu Alaykum,

Everything you see has its roots in the unseen world.
The forms may change, yet the essence remains the same.
Every wonderful sight will vanish,
every sweet word will fade,
But do not be disheartened,
The source they come from is eternal, growing,
Branching out, giving new life and new joy.

Why do you weep?
The source is within you
And this whole world is springing up from it.


The source within us, only blossoms when we allow it the breath of clarity.

My insides turn into varying shades of opacity, from time to time.

I realize I need to work hard, to effectively brush the rusty stains of heedlessness...this lack of awarness that fundamentally encapsulates us into narrow minds, narrow lives, narrow beings.

My writing tends to reflect this sadness...a melancholy of a future I yearn to transform, and a past I can't run away from. Yet in these privileged moments of existence, I try to do neither. The illusion of too much time ahead of me, makes me lazy. The reality of knowing how little the time I actually have, paralyzes me.

In between I do my mundane living activities...wondering in the haze of classrooms, papers, and constructed spiritual existence, how I can fulfil my Divine purpose and die the beautiful death of true surrender...

In a world overflowing with useless data, and meaningless information, I swim to the empty shores of my existence and try to listen carefully to this trembling heart within. The desolate stretch of neglect petrifies me. There is a huge arid gulf, between what I know, and the reality of my existence.

The space between the two is turning more concrete...and my creative source is threatening total capitulation to the madness without.

posted by Maliha Balala
8:58 AM Monday, February 09, 2004

* I don't know who sister Maliha is, I guess she's one of sister Taherah's friends .. but subhanAllah .. her writings are beauuutifulll .. I could feel butterflies inside my stomach :)

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Kudekati, Kujauhi. Kuhampiri, Dia Menghampiri.

Tatkala mengenali seseorang insan
semakin hampir dengannya semakin tampak kelemahannya
semakin mengetahui sifat-sifatnya semakin sedar bahawa dia juga

Namun dalam proses mengenali Ar-Rahmaan
semakin hampir denganNya semakin bertambah kagum padaNya
semakin dikenali sifat-sifatNya semakin sedar bahawa Dia lah
Yang Esa.

"fa bi ayyi aalaa-i rabbikuma tukazzibaan?"
wa la bi syai-in min aalaa-ika wa ni'imika rabbanaa nukazzib
Appointment of Muslim scholar causes unease in US
swissinfo February 7, 2004 2:00 PM

Tariq Ramadan's appointment at Notre Dame comes as he courts controversy in France (Keystone)

The controversial Swiss Islamic scholar, Tariq Ramadan, has accepted a professorship at Notre Dame University in the United States.

The Catholic college says the accusations of anti-Semitism levelled in France against the Muslim philosopher are unfounded.

Ramadan, who currently teaches in Geneva, will begin his teaching and research duties at the university in South Bend, Indiana, in the new academic year.

He denies his appointment has unleashed a wave of protests in the US.

“There hasn’t been an outburst,” Ramadan told the press. “A few internet sites have mentioned it, especially the Zionist sites.”

But a number of Jewish personalities in the US have voiced their concern about Ramadan’s appointment.

“He makes wrong generalisations and targets people because of their religion,” said Gabriel Schoenfeld, editor-in-chief of the Jewish magazine, “Commentary”.

Notre Dame is standing by its new professor, who will take up the Luce chair for religion, conflict and peace-building at the Kroc Institute for Peacebuilding.

“We are convinced Ramadan’s calls for non-violence and dialogue between religions are genuine,” Julie Titone, a spokeswoman at Notre Dame, told swissinfo.

Notre Dame is one of the better-known Catholic universities in the US, ranked in the top tier of national colleges.


Ramadan’s departure comes at a time when his opinions have caused some controversy in France.

The scholar was branded an anti-Semite after he accused French Jewish intellectuals in October of supporting war in Iraq to bolster Israel’s interests – despite having publicly taken position in the past against anti-Semitic acts.

His speeches all over the country attract many young, and often disenfranchised, Muslims from France’s poorer neighbourhoods. Tapes of his talks sell by the thousands.

Ramadan’s central message is that Islam and European society are not mutually exclusive. He wants Muslims to integrate fully and learn from Europe, while remaining rooted in their religion.

Critics have their misgivings about Ramadan’s philosophy though, saying that he doesn’t have anything to offer to Muslims who choose not to practise their religion.

Others believe he may have a hidden agenda.

“His sermons and conferences appear to be moderate but they hide a programme aimed at dividing the community,” said Jason Isaacson of the American Jewish Committee.

Others fear it could lead to some form of Islamic fundamentalism.

Militant groups

This fear is rooted in Ramadan’s own background. His grandfather founded Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, considered by some security experts as the forerunner of today’s Islamic militant groups.

Ramadan has rejected violent action and says he has no links to the Brotherhood, which is outlawed but tolerated in its homeland. He also denies any connection to the al-Qaeda network, despite allegations to the contrary by Swiss and French media.

“I’m not a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, as European intelligence services will vouch,” Ramadan told a French newspaper. “And I have [always] denounced suicide attacks.”


Doubts also persist about his position on Sharia law, the Islamic legal system.

His elder brother, Hani, director of Geneva’s Islamic centre, was fired from his public teaching job after he told a French newspaper that stoning a woman for adultery was acceptable.

Ramadan has so far only called for a moratorium on stoning. He has also become embroiled in the debate over young women wearing headscarves at French government schools.

In deeply secular France, the Muslim community and the government are locked in a fierce war of wills over a proposed law that would ban wearing obvious religious symbols.

Ramadan, who is opposed to the law, says it is up to women to decide if they want to wear a headscarf or not.

One last hurdle remains for the scholar before he can move to the States. He has still not been granted his visa, although the university is confident the State department will give the go-ahead.

“It is just taking a little longer because of the controversy surrounding him,” said Titone. “We don’t expect any problems.”

swissinfo, Marie-Christine Bonzom and Scott Capper

* yeaa!! Tariq Ramadan datang Indiana .. best best walhamdu lillah.
Living the Quran
Ibrahim (Abraham)
Chapter 14: Verse 10

Get Forgiven

"He calls you that He may forgive you.”

No matter how hard we try it would not be possible to abstain totally from sin. So we should not lose heart because of our sins. We should be quick in seeking forgiveness.

Allah calls us in the morning so that the sinners of the night may come forth; He extends His Hand in the evening that those who have trespassed during the day may come and seek His forgiveness and He may forgive them.

We should recite istighfar frequently. We should not let the frequent repetition of our sins keep us away from seeking pardon. Sinning repeatedly and then seeking forgiveness just as frequently does not come within the definition of a state of deliberate insistence upon sin. It is sinning with impunity and then not attempting to seek forgiveness, and attempting to explain our sins away that comes within that meaning of insistence on sinning.

"Dying and Living for Allah" - By Khurram Murad, pp. 72-74

Understanding the Prophet's Life
Strengthening the Will

There are a number of ahadith exclusively concerned about developing and strengthening the human will. Abu Bakr and Umar relate from Anas ibn Malik that the Prophet, peace be upon him, used to pray: "O Allah, I seek refuge with You from incapacity and laziness, and from cowardice and old age, and I seek refuge with You from the afflictions of life and death and from the punishment of the grave."

Supplication for protection against incapacity and helplessness can only create a psychological aversion to these weaknesses in the mind of a Muslim and induce him to gain strength and ability. In fact such a prayer opens up before a person the practical way to realize his cherished goals and expectations in life. It coordinates and harmonizes a person's skills and abilities for the realization of his dreams.

The sunnah of the Prophet, peace be upon him, exemplifies a perfect harmony between supplication and its practical manifestations. Once a Companion from among the Ansar came to the Prophet and complained to him about his needs and poverty. Thereupon the Prophet taught him in a practical way how to overcome his difficulties and live up to the higher ideals of supplication wherein a Muslim seeks refuge with Allah from incapacity and laziness. He bought him an axe by auctioning his few belongings and advised him to cut wood and sell it.

"Freedom And Responsibility" - By Hasan Al-Anani, pp. 204-205

The Absence of Political Culture

To consider the recent history of Muslim countries before and after colonisation, we have the right to ask whether there really exists a political culture at the populations level. For decades these peoples have very often been subjected to dictatorships and their opinions have never been decisive for the orientation of national politics. Independence has not changed much the data of the problems. This we can see today, and if we take into consideration the frightening rates of illiteracy in these societies, we have the right to ask how a process of popular participation can be put in place.

We can minimise this problem. In truth, it is of prime importance. Willing to apply the principle of shura on a national plane presupposes that the people are ready for it. To put it plainly, this presupposes that we multiply the experiences of participation on the local level and the level of neighbourhoods and countrysides in order to enable the people to take charge of themselves. In this sense, social work and literacy campaigns are of prime importance today, as they were yesterday; remember that after the Battle of Badr, the Prophet (peace be upon him) freed each prisoner who taught ten Muslims to read and write.

"Islam, the West and the Challenges of Modernity" - by Tariq Ramadan, pp. 120-121

Luxury Test

There are people who think that the affluent people of the world are put through lesser trial since they have wealth and riches to play about. They do not have to worry about their food and shelter. The luxuries of life open their arms for them.

This perception is not true. The Almighty has created this world as a trial and test for all of us. Every one of us undergoes this trial in some form or the other. It is not that only the poor and the needy are put through this test. Affluence also is a form of trial. Here the trial is to test a person regarding his attitude towards the Almighty. He is tested on whether he shows gratitude to the Almighty on His favors and blessings. As such, since a person generally tends to forget his Lord if he is blessed with an affluent life, this trial is perhaps tougher than that of a person who is put through the trial of poverty and adverse circumstances; in such circumstances, a person tends to remember the Lord more - or at least, has more opportunities for this remembrance.

Moreover, affluence is just one form of comfort a person may have. There are people who maybe affluent and very rich, but still have various forms of mental worries, troubles and tribulations.

Besides, having a strong relationship with the Almighty, the best way to fight out the ups and downs of life is to always look at people who are worse off: a cursory glance would bring many to our mind. One will begin to realize what one actually has in contrast with millions of others. Where others have been deprived, he would find himself blessed with many favors.

Source: Renaissance (via Islamicity)

Wadah Wanita Islam: Surah an-Nur perjelas hidup bermasyarakat
Oleh Prof Madya Maznah Daud

SURAH an-Nuur yang bererti cahaya, mengandungi 64 ayat, diturunkan di Madinah beberapa tahun selepas hijrah. Dalam surah ini terkandung ayat dan petunjuk Allah bagi manusia yang berhubung dengan hidup bermasyarakat, mahu pun berumah tangga. Semuanya, adalah cahaya yang menyinari kehidupan manusia dalam menempuh jalan menuju kebahagiaan dunia dan akhirat.

Allah memulakan surah ini dengan satu penegasan agak unik dan berbeza dengan surah lain. Firman-Nya bermaksud: "(Ini adalah) satu surah yang Kami turunkan dan Kami fardukan (menjalankan hukum yang ada dalam)nya, dan Kami turunkan dalamnya ayat yang jelas, agar kamu selalu mengingatinya." (Surah an-Nur, ayat 1)

Secara jelas dan tegas apa yang terkandung dalam surah ini diturunkan oleh Allah dan diwajibkan ke atas semua umat Islam yang beriman kepadaNya dan ayatNya, supaya menerima dan melaksanakannya tanpa ragu-ragu atau berdolak dalik.

Penegasan seperti ini sangat penting. Ia adalah asas kukuh dalam hati setiap Muslim agar bersedia mendengar, menerima dan seterusnya melaksanakan apa saja yang tuntut oleh-Nya. Meragui dan mempersoalkan hukum atau peraturan Allah tidak wujud sama sekali dalam hati orang beriman. Ini sebagaimana dinyatakan dalam firman-Nya bermaksud: "Sesungguhnya jawapan orang mukmin, apabila mereka dipanggil kepada Allah dan rasul-Nya agar rasul menghukum (mengadili) antara mereka ialah ucapan: "Kami mendengar dan kami patuh. Dan mereka itulah orang yang beruntung." (Surah an-Nuur, ayat 51)

Masyarakat adalah himpunan manusia daripada lelaki dan wanita. Mereka bukan saja saling memerlukan, malah difitrahkan mempunyai keinginan yang kuat terhadap satu sama lain. Bagi memenuhi keinginan semula jadi ini, Allah mensyariatkan perkahwinan dan menggesa pihak berkuasa dalam sesebuah masyarakat atau keluarga memberikan perhatian sewajarnya terhadap anggota yang belum berkahwin.

Firman Allah bermaksud: "Dan kahwinkanlah orang yang sendirian antara kamu dan orang yang layak (berkahwin) daripada hamba sahayamu yang lelaki dan hamba sahayamu yang perempuan. Jika mereka miskin Allah akan memampukan mereka dengan kurnia-Nya. Dan Allah Maha luas pemberian-Nya lagi Maha Mengetahui." (Surah an-Nur, ayat 32)

Perkahwinan adalah satu-satunya jalan paling selamat dan terhormat bagi memenuhi keinginan semula jadi manusia. Keinginan seksual adalah wasilah atau jalan yang menghubungkan antara satu generasi dengan generasi sebelum dan selepasnya. Lantaran, ia tidak boleh dipadam atau diketepikan. Keinginan itu tidak boleh pula dibiar lepas bebas tanpa batasan. Ini kerana keadaan sedemikian bukan saja akan menjatuhkan martabat insan, malah boleh menghancurkan institusi keluarga dan masyarakat seluruhnya.

Ayat di atas ditujukan kepada ketua keluarga serta pihak yang berkuasa dalam sesebuah masyarakat. Mereka tidak sepatutnya mengabaikan anggota yang belum mempunyai pasangan hidup yang sah.

Kemiskinan bukan suatu alasan untuk melambat-lambatkan urusan perkahwinan. Jalan mesti dicari. Penyelesaian mesti diusahakan. Allah sendiri memberi jaminan akan memudahkan rezeki orang yang ingin berkahwin (Jika mereka miskin Allah akan memampukan mereka dengan kurnia-Nya).

Hubungan antara lelaki dengan perempuan yang lain daripada ikatan perkahwinan dibataskan dengan adab serta panduan tertentu. Ini supaya keutuhan keluarga yang dibina terpelihara, terselamat daripada fitnah dan noda serta terhindar daripada jerangkap syaitan durjana.

"Katakanlah kepada lelaki yang beriman: "Hendaklah mereka menahan pandangan mereka dan memelihara kemaluan mereka; yang demikian itu adalah lebih suci bagi mereka. Sesungguhnya Allah Maha Mengetahui apa yang mereka perbuat." (Surah an-Nur, ayat 30)

"Katakanlah kepada wanita yang beriman: "Hendaklah mereka menahan pandangan mereka, dan memelihara kemaluan mereka, dan janganlah mereka menampakkan perhiasan mereka kecuali yang (biasa) nampak daripadanya. Dan hendaklah mereka menutupkan kain tudung ke dada mereka..." (Surah an-Nur, ayat 31)

Lelaki dan wanita tidak dihalang daripada membabitkan diri dalam masyarakat. Ini kerana mereka adalah sebahagian daripada masyarakat yang bertanggungjawab membangun, memaju dan memeliharanya daripada perkara yang boleh menjejaskan kesejahteraannya. Apa yang wajib dilakukan ialah memelihara tiga perkara iaitu menjaga mata, kemaluan dan aurat.

Hari ini, kesedaran memakai tudung di kalangan Muslimah laksana gelombang besar yang tidak mampu dibendung oleh sesiapa lagi. Memakai tudung saja tidak memadai. Mata hendaklah sentiasa dijaga kerana ia adalah penggoda yang amat berbisa. Apabila mata bertentang mata, hati mula berkata-kata, nafsu pun ikut bergelora, lantas iman terluntur dan iblis segera menjalankan peranan.

Tidak cukup juga dengan kaum wanita saja yang bertudung litup, menutup aurat dan menjaga maruah. Kaum lelaki juga seharusnya melakukan perkara sama. Kaum lelaki wajib juga mematuhi adab menundukkan pandangan dan kewajipan memelihara tiga perkara tadi. Ayat itu tidak hanya ditujukan kepada wanita, bahkan menjadi tanggungjawab lelaki dan wanita.

Kadang-kadang terdengar suara mengatakan menutup aurat juga tidak selamat. Mungkin ada benarnya luahan itu. Ini kerana menutup aurat mesti dilaksanakan secara bersepadu dengan memelihara pandangan serta aturan lain yang terkandung dalam surah ini. Ia tidak boleh diambil secara terpisah.

Perkara lain yang wajib dijauhi ialah memfitnah dan menyebarkan keburukan serta kemungkaran. Firman Allah bermaksdu: "Dan orang yang
menuduh wanita yang baik-baik (melakukan zina) kemudian mereka tidak mendatangkan empat orang saksi, maka sebatlah mereka (yang menuduh itu) lapan puluh kali sebatan, dan janganlah kamu terima kesaksian mereka buat selama-lamanya. Dan mereka itulah orang yang fasik." (Surah an-Nur, ayat 4)

Tidak dapat dinafikan bahawa fitnah atau tuduhan tanpa bukti meninggalkan kesan yang mendalam dalam diri seseorang sama ada dari aspek kejiwaan atau kemasyarakatan. Kesan itu bukan saja dirasai oleh orang yang dituduh, malah seluruh anggota keluarganya. Lantaran, Islam melarang perbuatan menuduh tanpa saksi hingga hukuman yang dikenakan ke atasnya hampir sama berat dengan hukuman ke atas orang yang melakukan zina.

Penyebaran perbuatan keji juga laluan yang memudahkan anggota masyarakat terjebak dalam kemaksiatan. Ini kerana sesuatu kemungkaran itu, apabila disebarkan akan cepat merebak dan mendorong anggota lain meniru perbuatan sama. Lantaran, tidak wajar disebarkan secara meluas hanya sekadar untuk dijadikan bahan berita tanpa diiringi usaha bersungguh-sungguh untuk membendungnya.

Firman Allah bermaksud: "Sesungguhnya orang yang suka agar (berita) perbuatan keji itu tersebar di kalangan orang beriman, bagi mereka azab yang pedih di dunia dan akhirat. Dan Allah mengetahui, sedangkan kamu tidak mengetahui." (Surah an-Nuur, ayat 19)

Kesungguhan Islam memerangi kemungkaran, khususnya zina yang menjadi punca runtuhnya institusi keluarga, tercemarnya zuriat dan menimbulkan keresahan masyarakat, dijelaskan dalam firman-Nya bermaksud :

"Perempuan yang berzina dan lelaki yang berzina, maka sebatlah tiap-tiap seorang daripada kedua-duanya seratus kali sebatan, dan janganlah belas kasihan kepada kedua-duanya mencegah kamu untuk (menjalankan) agama Allah, jika kamu beriman kepada Allah dan hari akhirat. Dan hendaklah (pelaksanaan) hukuman mereka disaksikan oleh sekumpulan orang beriman." (Surah an-Nur, ayat 2)

(PENULIS ialah pensyarah bidang syariah di Universiti Teknologi Mara, Shah Alam, Selangor dan boleh dihubungi di Perbincangan dan soal jawab berhubung artikel Wadah Wanita Islam yang lalu boleh dilayari di