Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Mai Masri Wins Best Documentary! +2006 Israel Attack on Lebanon \ How Humanity Survives

Palastinian film-maker Mai Masri wins best documentary award at the "Asian Pacific Film Festival"
Mai Masri 1959 - Filmmaker, director, and producer. Mai Masri was born in Jordan in 1959 to an American mother from Texas and a Palestinian father,
This clip is an excerpt from the film -- "33 Days," by Mai Masri.
She is a Palestinian filmmaker with a Bachelor's degree in film from San Francisco State University.
This edited clip follows a theatre director who devotes his strength and time to the Lebanese children affected by the massive Israeli bombing that took place on Lebanon's city's and suburbs. Many Lebanese citizens were killed or greatly injured, while survivors were exiled out of their dwellings.
visit deepdishtv.org

Beirut Diaries & 33 Days

The Best Story on the History of Islam I have ever read.

I have received one of the best Madressa educations. We were taught the deeper meanings of the Quran and other Religious Scriptures. We were taught, the Methodology and Philosophy of Namaaz, Fasting and other rituals. Best of all were were taught to practice the highest morals, such as courtesy to parents, charity, having the love of Knowledge. My years at Madressa years were one of the best educational years of my life. But inspite of having such an excellent Madressa Education as well as having the subject “Islam” at my Day-Time School, my knowledge of the history of Islam was very sketchy and highly incomplete.
Here are couple of examples where I was lacking:
1. How is it that Islam that was started by one man, in a little town in Saudia Arabia, exploded to 1.5 billion? There are Muslims and mosques where ever you go. From China and Japan right through Europe and America. From all the way North in Canada to the Southern parts of Africa there are devout Muslim communities that any Muslim can find himself home in. What exactly happened for the numbers to swell like this in short span of just 20 generations?
2. I had first heard of the Crusades when I was ten, in Walt Disney’s Robin Hood. But what were the Crusades? When did it happen? Why was it such a big deal?
3. Me and Ali are great fans of Sufi Literature (duh :-). But how and when did the Sufis come about. We hear the illustrious names of Rabia Basri, Ibn Arabi, Mevlana Rumi, Al-Hallaj, Kabir, but who came first, who came second etc. What spawned their coming? We hear some were revered and others persecuted. Why? The great Mevlana Rumi spoke and wrote in Farsi, then why is he buried in Turkey?
4. I often hear of the Golden Age of Islam. The Age where Muslims Scholars, excelled in Geography mapped the world, exceeded in Mathematics, excelled in Optometry so much that they even performed successful Cartact Surgeries! But when did these take place. What happened to bring about their decline in these sciences.
5. Historically, Islam was never Extremist. It was the more accommodating and tolerant of religions. What gave rise to the hard-lined ideologies practiced in Afghanistan, Kingdom of Saudia Arabia and parts of Pakistan?
I had all the above questions and tonnes more answered in the engaging narrative by Aga Tamim Ansary in his brilliant book Destiny Disrupted. An unbiased account from the birth of Islam 1400 years ago right through the various Caliphate regimes, covering the Mongol Raids as well as the Glory days of the Moghuls right down till the 2003 invasion of Iraq. I don’t think there’s a country or major event in the tale that Aga Ansary has left uncovered. The writing style is fluent, engaging and at times witty one just eagerly keeps flipping the pages to know what happened next. It’s certainly not a book only for Muslims. It’s for all those who have had the above questions and were curious on any aspect on the History of Islam.
If you are ever in a bookshop, ask for Destiny Disrupted. It may be a difficult find. But if you do get it in your hands, do open the book anywhere in the middle and read till the end of that page. If you find yourself drawn into the story, go ahead and buy the book. All of it is really that good.

Source : http://www.vakil.orgThe Best Story on the History of Islam I have ever read. 

 Inventions in medieval Islam: Invention, Muslim world, Geopolitics, Islamic Golden Age, Alchemy and chemistry in medieval Islam, Islamic pottery, Muslim Agricultural Revolution, Bimaristan

Monday, November 29, 2010

Never forget to repent

Never forget to repent and ask for forgiveness for your wrongdoings

But to those who do evil in ignorance and then after that repent and put things right, to them your Lord is Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Surat an-Nahl: 119)

Having a grasp of the importance of sincerity towards Allah leads one not to falter in turning to Him, and to repent and seek His forgiveness, no matter what the wrongdoing may be. This is example of Allah's infinite mercy, as recounted in the Qur'an:
Anyone who does evil or wrongs himself and then asks Allah's forgiveness will find Allah Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Surat an-Nisa': 110)

Allah grants His servants the opportunity to make amends for any wrongdoing. In Allah's sight, what matters is not the significance or insignificance of the wrongdoing, but one's sincerity. This is certainly a great mercy bestowed upon believers:
Those who, when they act indecently or wrong themselves, remember Allah and ask forgiveness for their bad actions-for who can forgive bad actions except Allah?-and do not knowingly persist in what they were doing. (Surah Al 'Imran: 135)

Believers must acknowledge that no matter how serious a mistake may be-even the greatest offence one could possibly imagine, turning to Allah with a sincere repentance will relieve that person of his burden. As the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said:

If anyone constantly seeks pardon (from Allah), Allah will appoint for him a way out of every distress and a relief from every anxiety, and will provide sustenance for him from where he expects not.(Abu Dawud)

It may well be that a person had disbelieved all through his life, until that very moment. He may have pursued only his whims and desires. However, in return for one's repentance for his wrongdoings, following a firm and sincere resolve never to commit the same error again, one can always hope for Allah's forgiveness. Remember that to enjoy the relief from the burden of the offences committed against Allah only takes a moment through sincere repentance and is the only way to salvation. Basically, a person needs to only keep his promise to Allah and be sincere to Him:

Allah only accepts the repentance of those who do evil in ignorance and then quickly make repentance after doing it. Allah turns towards such people. Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise. There is no repentance for people who persist in doing evil until death comes to them and who then say, "Now I make repentance," nor for people who die disbelievers. We have prepared for them a painful punishment. (Surat an-Nisa': 17-18)

No matter what the sin may be, never forget to turn to Allah in repentance. Keeping in mind that death may come upon you at any moment, bringing to a sudden end any further opportunity to repent, ask for forgiveness now.

Certainly, it is difficult except for the humble (Surat al-Baqara: 45); but remember that such people will enter Hell abjectly (Surah Ghafir: 60), and be dragged face-first into the Fire (Surat al-Qamar: 48). On that day they will be banned from the presence of their Lord; Allah will neither speak to them nor purify them...

Except for those who repent and believe and act rightly: Allah will transform the wrong actions of such people into good-Allah is Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful-for certainly all who make repentance and act rightly have turned sincerely towards Allah. (Surat al-Furqan: 70-71)
 Source : http://us1.harunyahya.com/Detail/T/EDCRFV/productId/12683/NEVER_FORGET_TO_REPENT_AND_ASK_FOR_FORGIVENESS_FOR_YOUR_WRONGDOINGS

Personal repentance is vital in the transformation process. Repentance literally means “a change of mind.” It is to say to the Allah, “I want to turn toward you and away from the life I’ve lived independently from you. I am sorry for who I’ve been and what I have done and I want to permanently change. I receive your forgiveness for my sins.”
A happy life is not a perfect life.
Life never seems to be the way we want it,but we live it the best way we can.
There is no perfect life, but we can fill it with perfect Moments.
Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect.
Vince Lombardi
To practice five things under all circumstances constitutes perfect virtue; these five are gravity, generosity of soul, sincerity, earnestness, and kindness.
Just consider of how many times a day you have to force yourself to remember something. Already by the time you get out of bed, there are many issues with which you have to keep your mind occupied. You might have taken notes or placed a reminder somewhere so as not to forget about any of them. At times, even the thought of forgetting is worrisome... What if, though, you had actually forgotten about something greatly more important than anything else in your daily life? Our purpose is to remind you of those issues in your life that are most important. Never forget that, forgetting those things of which you will be reminded in this book will cost you immeasurably more than forgetting what you attempt to remember throughout the day, no matter how valuable that issue may seem.

Life of Last Prophet

Extraordinary stories of ordinary women

TCN Special Series: Part 1 on Nazma Phumdreimeiyum
By Anjuman Ara Begum, TwoCircles.net,
Nazma Phumdreimeiyum is the founder of Organisation for Development (OFD), a group working on the issues of violence against women and women empowerment in Santhal Namung Leikai, Thoubal district of Manipur. She has been working on women’s rights since 2001 and this passion became her profession in 2003. Nazma, a courageous and outspoken lady, shares the challenges she faces everyday for her work.
What are you interests?
I am interested to work on the issues of violence against women, child rights. The economic development of women and proper education for children are my main focus. I started dealing with the cases of domestic violence directly since 2003.

What kinds of cases you deal with?
Different kinds of issues come in from time to time. Mostly, cases of survivors of sexual assault, dowry, and domestic violence come in.
You are working for a long time on this issue. What are the challenges you are facing both personally and professionally?
For me working on the issues of women is challenging both personally and professionally. The mindset of Muslim community in Thoubal district is very conservative and religious fanatics imposed dictum on women often and controls women’s social behavior. When I started working people looked at me differently as someone who has challenged the society and branded my work as something against the society and order. My perspective didn’t match with the so called elites and leaders of the society. They also presumed that I am earning money through elicit means. I was branded as someone who doesn’t respect her husband or obey his ‘commands’ which is considered as duty for the women in my society. The local religious community, the Maulavis thought that I will become more popular than them and they saw my work and prosperity in the professional field as a challenge. They started imposing dictum on me. They said that when I take up cases since I am a woman I should talk to man in the courtyard or meet police in the police station or lawyers in their chambers. They said that my work will destroy the society and its norms.
How did you face these challenges?
Maulavis mobilized villagers and had meeting to boycott me and throw away me from the village or at least impose restriction on my mobility. In 2007, I formed a Self Help Group (SHG) to help women to stand at their feet. The SHG started making detergent powders, pickles, soap etc. and we were doing well. Maulavis instigated the villagers against me arguing that my work in anti Islamic and I take interests. I was asked to resign from the SHG and also asked the husbands of other SHG members to force their wives to resign from the group. I was afraid as if there is no member would mean automatic closure of the group. Then we decided to have meeting every Friday and discussed among ourselves. We struggled for three months. I had to complain to police too. Police helped me. Police informed the miscreants that they will send police commandos if I am bothered further. I was afraid of repercussions. I decided to know if Islam permits women to work or not. If Islam permits then I will work, otherwise I will stop working altogether. I did this as my mobility was criticized and restricted. It became problematic for me to do small things like buying something for the shop or fetching water. I complained to police as it was unbearable to me. I also consulted some good NGOs that extended solidarity with me. These are All Manipur Students Union, United Manipur Muslim Women Development Organisation etc. The Maulavis made false allegations against me and collected signature from the villagers. I protested and asked them to remove the false words. They also called a meeting in the mosque and caused spilt in the community over my issue. All Manipur Jamiat e Ulema, a religious body in Manipur was informed about these developments and called me and the Maulavis for a hearing. I attended and the Maulavis too attended the hearing. I informed the Ulema that the SHG is for women’s financial independence and not for earning interests. I produced all the documents in my support. The Ulema personnels rebuked the Maulavis and asked them not to disturb me in future for my work. The hearing continued for four hours. I was allowed to continue my work. The conflict was clear and a declaration was done that women can work. Right now I have no problem but the Maulavis fear that I may become a big leader in future.
Do you work only for your community or for others too?
Right now my work is not confined only to my community but I work for all.
What type of work are you concentrating now?
I constructed a shelter home for female survivors of violence. I took donations from various sources and also accepted rice as donation. I have a three room shelter home with basic amenities.
How do you manage the shelter home?
It’s again very challenging as I don’t have continuous source of funding. Earlier I got support from Centre for Social Development but it stopped now. I managed with my own savings. People also give food and other help. Sometime I do counseling for victims and if the victim is rich I get some money. I use such earning to recharge my cell phone. I am also getting help from Integrated Rural Social Development Organisation (IRDSO), a NGO. My children are growing up and I need to think seriously now. My SHG group too now started silk warm rearing. Hope this will help with some money. Also few men are supporting our SHG.
What about your family? Do they cooperate with you in your work?
My husband Ayub Khan is a cultivator and a small trader of fish. I have two sons and three daughters. My parents help me a lot. My brothers are doctors and lawyers. They support me both morally and financially. In 2007, my husband use to beat me a lot because of my work. My family too confronted with my husband. He didn’t allow me to travel to other states to attend workshop. Once he took money from the organizers for my participation in a conference in Mizoram. I challenged my husband. Now he has changed a lot and supports me. My children are young and studying in schools.
(Nazma Phumdreimeiyum is reachable at Organisation for Development, Santhal Namang Leikai, Thoubal district, Manipur, India. Phone: +91-9856326838)
SOurce: http://www.twocircles.net/2010nov27/extraordinary_stories_ordinary_women.html
No Dowry

Friday, November 26, 2010

Preaching can change perception on Islam: Yusof

(From left) Wife of Yusof Islam, Fauzia Mubarak Ali, Dr Sheikh 
Yusof Islam, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and wife, Datin Seri Rosmah 
KUALA LUMPUR: A comprehensive study on the concept of peace and harmony was crucial as it served as the purpose of life, said humanitarian and preacher Dr Yusof Islam. Yusof, who was known as Cat Stevens before converted to said before he converted and in the midst of searching for a peaceful mind, he has chosen to preach because through this way the wrong perception on the religion especially in the western societies could be corrected.

“For me, preaching was part of Islam because it brings us towards the right path. The message from Islam was true and the teaching was on harmonious.

“However, when we preach we should have first talk to the Islam community because it encourage interaction and knowledge sharing,” he said at the tazkirah after solat at Masjid Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah today.
Earlier at Malaysia Hari Ini, a TV3 programme, the former song writer and singer said music was a harmony element which was able to show peace and the beauty of life if it was used properly.

“When the world was tired of the war and politic issues, there is when the harmonious music should play out,” he said.

He added that Malaysia was a unique place where Asian communities with different races and religions are living in peace and harmony, at the same time preserving the traditions and growing with the new technologies.

Yusof together with his wife, Fauzia Mubarak Ali were also meeting Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin, Raja Permaisuri Agong Tuanku Nur Zahirah, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor today. 

Source : http://1426.blogspot.com/2010/11/preaching-can-change-perception-on.html 

An Other Cup 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Garlic, and Apple Cider Vinegar: Must Have Excellent Home Remedy

This is an excellent home remedy that you want to keep available at all times in your home. It's great as a preventative and for maintaining good health. There are some variations to this with the addition of other ingredients such as ginger, or cayenne pepper. The base mixture includes the three main ingredients of garlic, apple cider vinegar and honey. Each of these three ingredients have individual benefits on their own and in this mixture, a synergistic effect enhances the properties of each. The apple cider vinegar must be unfiltered and the honey must be raw, unpasteurised (and preferably organic) honey for all the benefits to be realised. One of the main reasons honey is pasteurised is to speed up the packaging process (heating makes it flow much quicker) - so pretty much all honeys from supermarkets will be unsuitable.
This remedy is an immune stimulant, it lowers blood pressure as well as cholesterol (if you are someone who still believes in that hypothesis), it leads to fewer colds and infections, and is helpful in conditions such as gout, arthritis, and joint aches. It is also a good tonic for the digestive tract and benefits the skin, and is helpful in weight loss. In short, it is beneficial for a wide range of conditions as it is a general immune stimulant and enhancer. You can read the numerous articles on garlic, honey and vinegar elsewhere on this site.

  • 8 cloves of fresh garlic
  • 1 cup (200ml) of unfiltered, unpasteurised organic apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup (200ml) of raw, unpasteurised honey
  • Small piece of ginger (this is optional)
Mix all the ingredients into a blender and mix at high speed for 45-60 seconds. Alternatively, you can put the garlic in first, blend well so it becomes fine - or you can use a garlic crusher instead - and then place in the blender, then mix in the honey and apple cider vinegar and blend for another 10-15 seconds seconds.
Then pour into a glass jar or container (sealable) and leave in the refrigerator for five days, with the occasional stir every day. After five days the mixture is ready.

There are other things that can be included. You can added a small amount of ginger (one or two inch length), you just put it in the blender with the garlic, and some cayenne pepper (one small to medium sized pepper) can also be added.
The normal dosage is 2 tsp in a glass of water, daily, first thing in the morning. The mixture is very strong, and should not be taken directly.
Source : http://www.healthymuslim.com/articles/zccrk-garlic-honey-and-apple-cider-vinegar-must-have-excellent-home-remedy.cfm
Cholesterol Down: Ten Simple Steps to Lower Your Cholesterol in Four Weeks--Without Prescription Drugs

Monday, November 22, 2010

Treat your women well

"Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has made the one of them to excel the other, and because they spend (to support them) from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient (to Allah and to their husbands), and guard in the husband’s absence what Allah orders them to guard (e.g. their chastity, their husband’s property, etc.)…" (An-Nisa’ 4:34)

“O you who  believe!  You are forbidden to
inherit women against their will, and  you
should not treat them with harshness....”

(Final Testament, Al Quran, An Nisa 4:19)
“The Power of Imaan is such that once it fills
the heart of a true believing believer, it is
impossible to be removed.” (Sahih Bukhari

"If a woman prays her five (daily prayers), fasts her month (i.e. Ramadan), guards her private parts, and obeys her husband, it will be said to her, ‘Enter Paradise through whichever of the gates of Paradise you wish.’" (Sahih Al-Bukhari)

As-Sa’dee said, "They are obedient to Allah (SWT), they are obedient to their husbands even when the husbands are absent and she guards herself and her husband’s property."

The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said in the sermon of the Farewell Pilgrimage:

"…treat your women well, for they are captives with you." (Hasan Sahih, reported by at-Tirmidhee)

"Whichever woman asks her husband for divorce without a strong reason - then the fragrance of Paradise will be forbidden for her." (Sahih Muslim, reported by Abu Dawud, at-Tirmidhee and others)

Should Muslim women be allowed to pray in the mosque?

Allah (SWT) is not merciful to those who are not merciful to others.
 "Do not prevent your women from attending the mosque if they seek your permission to do so."Ibid., 4/161

  "If your womenfolk seek your permission to go to the mosque, then let them do so." Sahih Muslim, 4/161, kitab al-salah, bab khuruj al-nisa' ila'l-masajid.

Islam has excused women from the obligation to attend the  jama`ah prayer in the mosque, but at the same time, they are permitted to go out of the house to attend jama`ah  on condition that they dress up well enough not to cause any temptation. Indeed, the first Muslim women did go out and pray in the mosque behind the Prophet (PBUH). `A'ishah (May Allah be pleased with her) said:

Allah 's Apostle said, "Treat women nicely, for a women is created from a rib, and the most curved portion of the rib is its upper portion, so, if you should try to straighten it, it will break, but if you leave it as it is, it will remain crooked. So treat women nicely."

Islam has excused women from the obligation to attend the  jama`ah prayer in the mosque, but at the same time, they are permitted to go out of the house to attend jama`ah  on condition that they dress up well enough not to cause any temptation. Indeed, the first Muslim women did go out and pray in the mosque behind the Prophet (PBUH). `A'ishah (May Allah be pleased with her) said:

The Prophet (PBUH) used to shorten his prayer if he heard a child crying, because he understood the concern the child's mother would be feeling. In a hadith whose authenticity is agreed upon he (PBUH) said: "I begin the prayer, intending to make it lengthy, but then I hear a child crying, so I shorten my prayer because I know the stress facing the mother because of his crying."9Allah (SWT) showed great mercy to women by sparing them the obligation to offer the five compulsory prayers in congregation in the mosque. If He had made this obligatory, it would have placed an intolerable burden on women, and they would not have been able to fulfil it, just as we see many men failing to pray regularly in the mosque and finding themselves with no other choice but to pray wherever they are, in the workplace or in the home. The woman's heavy burden of household chores and attending to the needs of her husband and children do not permit her to leave the house five times a day; it would be impossible for her to do so. Thus the wisdom behind the limiting of compulsory attendance at the mosque to men only becomes quite clear. Her prayer at home is described as being better for her than her prayer in the mosque, but Allah (SWT) gives her the freedom of choice: she may pray at home if she wishes, or she may go out to pray in the mosque. If she asks her husband for permission to go out to the mosque, he is not allowed to stop her, as the Prophet (PBUH) stated in a number of hadith, for example: "Do not stop your women from going to the mosque, although their houses are better for them."

The mosque was, and still is, the centre of light and guidance for Muslim men and women; in its pure environment acts of worship are performed and from its minbar messages of truth and guidance are transmitted. From the dawn of Islam, the Muslim woman has had her role to play in the mosque.

There are many sahih reports, which confirm the woman's presence and role in the mosque. They describe how women attended salat al-jumu`ah, the eclipse prayer, and the Eid prayers, responding to the call of the muezzin to join the prayer.

  During that golden era, the time of the Prophet (PBUH), the Muslim woman knew about her religion and was keen to understand the events and affairs that concerned the Muslims in this world and the next. When she heard the call to prayer, she would rush to the mosque to hear the words of the Prophet (PBUH) from the minbar, guiding and teaching the people. Fatimah bint Qays, one of the earliest migrant women (muhajirat), said:"The people were called to prayer, so I rushed with the others to the mosque, and prayed with the Messenger of Allah (PBUH). I was in the first row of women, which was just behind the last row of men."19
 Muslim women attended the mosque on various occasions and that this attendance was an approved custom at the time of the Prophet (PBUH).
 The Prophet (PBUH) appreciated the circumstances of the women who attended the congregational prayers, so he used to be kind to them and would shorten the prayer if he heard a child crying, so that the mother would not become distressed

Bukhari and Muslim also report a hadith concerning how women should draw the imam's attention to something during the prayer by clapping. Sahl ibn Sa'd al-Sa'idi said: "The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, `Why do I see you clapping so much? Whoever notices any error in my prayer should say "Subhan Allah ," for by doing so he will alert me to the error. Clapping is only for women.'"\

Prophet (PBUH) said:"Do not stop your women from going to the mosque, although their houses are better for them."

It is permissible for Muslim women to attend the gatherings of the Muslims in the mosque, and there is much to be gained from them doing so, but certain conditions apply to this permission, the most important of which is that the woman who goes to the mosque should not wear perfume or make-up. Zaynab al-Thaqafiyyah reported that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said:"If any of you (women) wishes to attend `isha' prayer, she should not wear perfume that night."

You go to Saudi Arabia… women are allowed in the Mosque, you go to London… women are allowed in the Mosque, you go to America, Malaysia and more women are allowed in the Mosque.  You go to the Haram-Sharif in Mecca, in Masjid-e-Nabwi, they are allowed.

So if separation and dignity of women is maintained in mosque than there is no binding of praying in mosque.

Mosque Alarm Clock

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Take Care Of Others Rights

Anybody took your rights by force ? Anybody cheated you ? did not pay the money you loaned to him ?When you standing on queue somebody forced you back ? I think this happens quite common in our life . Don’t worry . You will be rewarded by Almighty Allah not only for your patience but also you will be getting Hasanat (good deeds) from the account of who deprived your rights.

Abu Hurairah, (R.A) reported: The Prophet Muhammad, (Peace Be Upon Him), said: "He who has done a wrong affecting his brother's honor or anything else, let him ask his forgiveness today before the time (i.e. the Day of Resurrection) when he will have neither a dinar nor a dirham. If he has done some good deeds, a portion equal to his wrongdoings will be subtracted from them; but if he has no good deeds, he will be burdened with the evil deeds of the one he had wronged in the same proportion." [Al-Bukhari]

Abu Hurairah, (R.A), reported: Messenger of Allah (PBUH), said, "Do you know who is the bankrupt?" The bankrupt among us is one who has neither money with him nor any property." He said, "The real bankrupt of my people (Ummah) would be he who would come on the Day of Resurrection with Salat, Saum, and Sadaqah (charity), but he will find himself bankrupt on that day as he will have exhausted the good deeds) because he reviled others, brought calumny against others, unlawfully devoured the wealth of others, shed the blood of others and beat others; so his good deeds would be credited to the account of those (who suffered at his hand). If his good deeds fall short to clear the account, their sins would be entered in his account and he would be thrown in Hell Fire. (Muslim).

Jabir, (R.A), reported:A Messenger of Allah (PBUH), said: "Beware of injustice, for oppression will be darkness on the Day of Resurrection; and beware of stinginess because it doomed those who were before you. It inclined them to shed blood and treat the unlawful as lawful." [Muslim]

If people wronged one another, the score will be settled between them. If they mistreated one another equally, then there will be no score to settle. If one of them is still owed something by the other, he will take what he is entitled to.

In Sunan at-Tirmidhi it is narrated that 'Aa'ishah said: "A man came and sat in front of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH), and said, 'O Messenger of Allah, I have two slaves who tell me lies, betray and disobey me, and I insult them and beat them. What is my position with regard to them?” The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said:

'On the Day of Resurrection, their betrayal, disobedience and lying will be measured against your punishment of them. If your punishment is commensurate with their wrongs, then there will be no score to settle. If your punishment of them was less than their sins deserved, then this will count in your favor. If your punishment of them was more than their sins deserved, then the score will be settled against you.' The man turned away and started to weep. The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said to him, 'Have you not read the words of Allah?' -

“And We shall set up Balances of justice on the Day of Resurrection, then none will be dealt with unjustly in anything. And if there be the weight of a mustard seed, We will bring it. And Sufficient are We to take account.” (Holy Qur'an 21:47).

"Allah doth command you To render back your Trusts To those to whom they are due; And when ye judge Between people That ye judge with justice: Verily how excellent Is the teaching which He giveth you! For Allah is He Who heareth And seeth all things." (Holy Qur'an 4:58).
Note: A Muslim - who may be close to Almighty Allah by doing good deeds (like prayer, charity etc) - is still answerable to Almighty Allah - on the Judgement Day - if he/she does a wrong to either a non-muslim or a muslim. This is the summary of the above 'Sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)'.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Palestine! and Israel!

Mahatma Ghandi Said Jews Need To Get Out of Palestine.

Why should they not, like other peoples of the earth, make that country their home where they are born and where they earn their livelihood?

Palestine belongs to the Arabs in the same sense that England belongs to the English or France to the French. It is wrong and inhuman to impose the Jews on the Arabs. What is going on in Palestine today cannot be justified by any moral code of conduct. The mandates have no sanction but that of the last war.

Before you boycott Israel!

GRITtv: Noor Elashi: The Holy Land Foundation

Tawaf al-Ifadha in the Holy City of Makkah

Tawaf al-Ifadha in the Holy City of Makkah

circumambulating Kaaba Pilgrims circumambulating Kaaba
10th of Dhu'l-Hijjah: You return to the Holy City of Makkah to perform Tawaf al-Ifadha on 10th of Dhu'l-Hijjah.
Tawaf al-Ifadha is an essential element of Hajj.
You will circumambulate the Kaaba seven times and then offer prayers (rakaat) behind Maqam Ibrahim.
You will then perform Sa'y between Safa and Marwah.
Drink water from the Well of Zamzam.
As soon as you have completed the Hajj Tawaf (Tawaf al-Ifadha) the state of Ihram is completely ended and all restrictions are lifted including those relating to sexual relations with one's spouse.
Return to Mina.
Source : http://www.hajinformation.com/main/f21118.htm

Mountains of Makkah

CHINA MUSLIM SILATURRAHIM (bonding or close ties)

Silaturrahim is an Arabic word meaning bonding or close ties. Silaturrahim Tour is therefore not just an ordinary tour where one takes in the sights and scenes of the country, but it also helps  to promote  cultural and educational interaction. In this way a closer bond is established.
Pioneer of Silaturrahim Tour
Brother Jaafar Mah, a Chinese Muslim living in Singapore whose ancestors were Muslims from China conceived the idea of Silaturrahim Tour in 1994. As there are many  Malay Muslims in Singapore who are still unaware of the fact that Islam existed in China as early as the 8th century, a trip to China would be an eye-opener. In fact there exist in China many historical and cultural sites and relics of Islamic interest as well as madrasahs and mosques which were built hundreds of years ago. The oldest mosque is the one in Kwantung, known as the Luminous Tower Mosque -- the first mosque in the world to be built outside Medina. 
As Brother Jaafar has always maintained close contact with the Muslim community in China, he has made arrangements with the relevant Muslim authorities and tour agents there to facilitate the Silaturrahim Tour and to ensure that those who go on the tour will get genuine Halal food.
In 1995, the first Silaturrahim Tour was launched for members of the Muslim Converts Association of Singapore (Darul Arqam) and Brother Jaafar led this pioneer group. Since then such tours have been organised regularly throughout the year for the convenience of Muslims who wish to visit China.
As the tours gradually became popular among the Muslims in Singapore, commercial tour agencies began to ride on the idea as they realise that there is a potential market for China Muslim tours. But our Silaturrahim Tour is non-profit based as they are organised as a community service project. Proceeds from the tours are channeled to sponsor poor and  needy children to have an opportunity to pursue an education , to set up  child-care centers cum kindergartens and to help build sanitary facilities in poor rural areas. We hope that Muslims from all over the world will help in our charity effort by participating in our Silaturrahim Tour.
History - Early Muslim Ties with China
Islam was introduced to China as early as the 7thcentury (during the Tang Dynasty) when merchants from Arabia and Persia came to China to trade via the Silk Road. In AD.651, the third Caliph Uthman Ibn Affan, sent an envoy to call on the reigning Tang Emperor Gao Zong, and since then Islam began to be found in many parts of China.
In the midst of trade and cultural exchanges across the Asia-Europe continent for the next few centuries, streams of Muslim immigrants from central Asia settled permanently in China. They had contacts with local Chinese Muslim converts. They carried on their faith, built mosques and cemeteries and gradually created a unique social unit of their own.
However all these exchanges gradually diminished during the Ming and Qing(Manchu) Dynasties and they came to a stop with the establishment of the Communist government. It was only in the 1980’s under the leadership of Deng Xiaopeng that China slowly open up to tourists from all over the world.
Muslims in the present day era
Today China has ten Muslim nationalities, numbering more than 30 million Muslims. They are the Hui, Uighur, Kazakh, Dongxiang, Khalkhas, Salar, Tajik, Uzbek, Baoan and Tartar. These nationalities have their own written and spoken languages and cultures and their unique ethnic traditions.
When the Republic of China was formed in 1911 the Muslims were recognised as a Race in China. Now the Communist Government calls all Muslims as the HUI race. The national constitution testified to the freedom of faith. 
Beijing has about 200,000 Muslims, Xian -- 60,000, Shanghai – 100,000 and Hohhot, the capital of Inner Mongolia, a modest 30,000.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Who Was Zulqarnain?

Who Was Zulqarnain?
Can you tell me who is Zulqarnain cited in the Koran (Surah Al Kahaf 18). Have you an answer about the Iron gate or the iron dam that stopped Gog and Magog and [is] still in work until the end of time. Where is-it?
The Qur’an relates the story of Zulqarnain (one with two horns) in Surah Kahaf. In fact the Qur’an relates three incidents in this Surah, and the story of Zulqarnain is one of them. These were apparently revealed in response to three questions asked by the Quraish. But actually the Qur’an responded to serve its own purpose of admonition. As to who was Zulqarnain, the Qur’an does not specifically mention any name or personality in history to be Zulqarnain. However certain hints are given which can be helpful in arriving at a decision as to who actually was Zulqarnain.
The first question in this regard is that which is the personality in history who fits the beliefs and characteristics of Zulqarnain and his different expeditions as mentioned in the Qur’an. Secondly, what was the importance of Zulqarnain for Quraish who asked about him? And if not for the Quraish then for any other group which was the direct addressee of Qur’an --- Jews and Christians. In fact these two questions are interrelated and cannot be viewed in isolation, that is, if a personality from history fits the charecteristics of Zulqarnain then we will also have to find out about his importance for any of the three groups mentioned above, for without any historic importance it seems illogical that any of the three groups instigated the question. Specially when the Qur’an responded with the words ‘they ask thee concerning Zulqarnain’. Only a personality with these specifications have a greater chance to be Zulqarnain
There are apparently two personalities in history before Islam who were great conquerors and ruled over vast empires as mentioned by Qur’an. These were Alexander the Greek conqueror and Cyrus the Persian conqueror. As far as Alexander is concerned the extent of his expeditions was towards the east and south, whereas Qur’an mentions Zulqarnain’s expeditions towards west, east and a third direction. Secondly when Qur’an talks about Zulqarnain, it shows him as a person believing in one God and the hereafter. He is also depicted as a kindhearted and just ruler. Now it is known about Alexander that he was a polytheist and no incidents of his kindness and justice are explicitly recorded in history. But as far as Cyrus is concerned we find out that the extent of his expeditions was towards west, east and north that is, after becoming the king of Persia, Cyrus went on different expeditions, ultimately conquering almost eighty percent of the civilized world at that time. He became the king of this vast empire stretching from Lydia (west) to India (east) and Bactria (north) to Babylon (south). Secondly history has explicitly recorded incidents of Cyrus’s extreme kindness and justice towards his subjects. In fact, these traits of his personality were so conspicuous that friend and foe equally acknowledged this fact. As regards Cyrus’s religion, he was a believer in Zoroastrianism, a new religion at that time, which existed with all its purity and spirit. The prophet Zoroaster who was probably contemporary to Cyrus preached belief in one God, the hereafter and all other basic good deeds that form a part of Divine religions. This answers our first question, showing that Cyrus comes very close to the narrative of the Qur’an. Now the second question will be answered in the light of the first.
As far as Alexander is concerned, there is no mention of him in the history of either the Quraish or the Jews and Christians in any manner which makes him significant for either of these groups. But as far as Cyrus is concerned we find out that though he had no significance for Quraish and Christians but Jews had a very special importance for him in their history. What was this importance of Cyrus for Jews? Anyone who is familiar with the Jewish history knows that the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar conquered the kingdom of Judea in sixth century B.C and the Jews were taken to Babylon as captives. The temple of Jerusalem was plundered and desecrated. From then onwards the Jews remained in Babylon as captives for seventy years. During this time the Prophet Daniel was appointed in Jews. He was the Prophet who at one time, after receiving revelation from God in a dream, announced the coming of a savior of Jews---the one who would release them from the captivity of the Babylonians. In that dream the Prophet Daniel saw this savior as a ram with two horns (Zulqarnain---one with two horns) (Daniel 8:1-4). The two horns metaphorically showed the two kingdoms of Media and Persia united and ram depicting the savior himself showed him to be the conqueror and king of this united kingdom. This king was Cyrus. He was the one who afterwards conquered the Babylonian kingdom and released the Jews from captivity and allowed them to go back to their homeland and build the temple. It was because of these reasons that Jews held him in very high esteem and considered him as their savior as predicted by the Prophet Daniel. Apart from Prophet Daniel, Prophet Isaiah and Jermiah also foretold the destruction of Jerusalem, captivity of Jews and then release with the coming of Cyrus as the savior (Isaiah 44:26-28, 45:1-3) (Jermiah 50:1-3, 29:11). With this explanation it becomes clear that Jews had great regard for the Persian king Cyrus. This answers our second question that out of the three main groups who were the direct addressees of Qur’an---Quraish, Jews, Christians---Jews had a personality in their history who fits the description of Zulqarnain and they had great regard for him. This personality (Cyrus) happens to be the same, which we have alluded to, in the first question. This discussion makes it clear that Cyrus comes very close to the Zulqarnain of Qur’an.
Another interesting thing in this regard is that the commentators of the Qur’an have also generally believed that the Jews instigated the question. The above discussion verifies this notion also and it seems quite possible that actually the Jews instigated the question and the Quraish asked it on their behalf.
However, it would be pertinent to mention in brief the three expeditions and the wall built by Zulqarnain (Cyrus). Cyrus’s western expedition was the one, in which he conquered Lydia and the Lonian city-states on the western coast of Asia Minor. It is in all probability this expedition which the Qur’an mentions as the one in which he reached a place where he saw the sun sinking in water, metaphorically explaining the western direction of his conquest and his experience while standing at the shore of Mediterranean in western Asia Minor (modern Turkey). He must have had the same vision in front of him at that time. Next, Cyrus turned his attention towards the barbaric nomadic tribes of the eastern part of the Iranian plateau. It is probably this expedition which the Qur’an mentions as the one in which he conquered a people who had no cover for the rising sun, metaphorically explaining their nomadic life style and the eastern direction of the conquest. Lastly, the Qur’an talks about his third expedition. This is probably when Cyrus went to the northeastern part of his empire (Caucasus mountain range between the Black Sea and the Caspian sea) and built barriers to protect his people against the incursion of nomadic tribes who lived on the other side of the Caucasus range, and referred to as Gog and Magog in the Qur’an. As for the iron wall itself, its remains probably can still be found in the area of the Caucasus region called Dariel Pass.
With this discussion in view we can conclude that in our opinion there is a greater likelihood that Cyrus the Persian king was the person mentioned as Zulqarnain in the Qur’an. However, it should always be kept in mind that Qur’an has not specifically mentioned any name, so we should also avoid saying that our opinion is final and the personality we found out to be Zulqarnain is exactly the one which Qur’an calls Zulqarnain. We should always talk about it in terms of our own understanding and knowledge, as the door for further research is always open.
(Primary sources of information for this piece of writing were Maulana Abul Kalam Azad’s “Ashab-i-Kahaf” and Jackson J. Spielvogel’s “Western Civilization”). 
Holy Qur'an Version 9.0, Recitation by Shaikh Muhammad Ayyub. Quran, Quraan, Koran, Koraan, Qoraan, Qoran (The Holy Book of Islam on a Multilingual CD-ROM) 


Socrates (469-399 bc)

Socrates, an Athenian Greek of the second half of the fifth century bc, wrote no philosophical works but was uniquely influential in the later history of philosophy. His philosophical interests were restricted to ethics and the conduct of life, topics which thereafter became central to philosophy. He discussed these in public places in Athens, sometimes with other prominent intellectuals or political leaders, sometimes with young men, who gathered round him in large numbers, and other admirers. Among these young men was Plato. Socrates' philosophical ideas and - equally important for his philosophical influence - his personality and methods as a 'teacher' were handed on to posterity in the 'dialogues' that several of his friends wrote after his death, depicting such discussions. Only those of Xenophon (Memorabilia,Apology, Symposium) and the early dialogues of Plato survive (for example Euthyphro, Apology, Crito). Later Platonic dialogues such as Phaedo, Symposium and Republic do not present the historical Socrates' ideas; the 'Socrates' appearing in them is a spokesman for Plato's own ideas.
Socrates' discussions took the form of face-to-face interrogations of another person. Most often they concerned the nature of some moral virtue, such as courage or justice. Socrates asked what the respondent thought these qualities of mind and character amounted to, what their value was, how they were acquired. He would then test their ideas for logical consistency with other highly plausible general views about morality and goodness that the respondent also agreed to accept, once Socrates presented them. He succeeded in showing, to his satisfaction and that of the respondent and any bystanders, that the respondent's ideas were not consistent. By this practice of 'elenchus' or refutation he was able to prove that politicians and others who claimed to have 'wisdom' about human affairs in fact lacked it, and to draw attention to at least apparent errors in their thinking. He wanted to encourage them and others to think harder and to improve their ideas about the virtues and about how to conduct a good human life. He never argued directly for ideas of his own, but always questioned those of others. None the less, one can infer, from the questions he asks and his attitudes to the answers he receives, something about his own views.
Socrates was convinced that our souls - where virtues and vices are found - are vastly more important for our lives than our bodies or external circumstances. The quality of our souls determines the character of our lives, for better or for worse, much more than whether we are healthy or sick, or rich or poor. If we are to live well and happily, as he assumed we all want to do more than we want anything else, we must place the highest priority on the care of our souls. That means we must above all want to acquire the virtues, since they perfect our souls and enable them to direct our lives for the better. If only we could know what each of the virtues is we could then make an effort to obtain them. As to the nature of the virtues, Socrates seems to have held quite strict and, from the popular point of view, paradoxical views. Each virtue consists entirely in knowledge, of how it is best to act in some area of life, and why: additional 'emotional' aspects, such as the disciplining of our feelings and desires, he dismissed as of no importance. Weakness of will is not psychologically possible: if you act wrongly or badly, that is due to your ignorance of how you ought to act and why. He thought each of the apparently separate virtues amounts to the same single body of knowledge: the comprehensive knowledge of what is and is not good for a human being. Thus his quest was to acquire this single wisdom: all the particular virtues would follow automatically.
At the age of 70 Socrates was charged before an Athenian popular court with 'impiety' - with not believing in the Olympian gods and corrupting young men through his constant questioning of everything. He was found guilty and condemned to death. Plato's Apology, where Socrates gives a passionate defence of his life and philosophy, is one of the classics of Western literature. For different groups of later Greek philosophers he was the model both of a sceptical inquirer who never claims to know the truth, and of a 'sage' who knows the whole truth about human life and the human good. Among modern philosophers, the interpretations of his innermost meaning given by Montaigne, Hegel, Kierkegaard, and Nietzsche are especially notable.

  1. Life and sources
  2. Life and sources (cont.)
  3. Socratic elenchus, or refutation
  4. Elenchus and moral progress
  5. The unity of virtue
  6. Weakness of will denied
  7. Socrates' personality
  8. Socrates in the history of philosophy

Source : Socrates (469-399 BC)

Read  more http://www.muslimphilosophy.com/ip/rep/A108.htm


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