// Blind Spot
    Peace be upon you,
    Welcome to Madinat Al-Muslimeen, the City of the Muslims. Please feel free to visit the different hot spots around the Madina and post any discussion, articles, suggestions, comments, art, poetry, events, recipes, etc etc. Basically anything you would like to share with your sisters and brothers!! Non-muslims are also of course quite welcome to share their comments. If this is your first time here, you need to register with the city council. Once you register you have 15 days to post your mandatory introduction and then you will be upgraded to a Madina Citizen, God Willing. Please note that our city does have regulations which are listed in the city constitution. Read them carefully before moving in. P.S. - You can also post anonymously if you wish. P.S.S. - Also be sure to check out our ARCHIVES from 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 & 2007. :)

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« Reply #25 on: Jul 05, 2008 09:16 PM »

The Anti-Drugs

If you're depressed, angry, hurting, rebellious, fearful, insecure, or have some other hole in your life that needs to be filled, instead of filling it up by drinking or doing drugs, try something more satisfying and enduring. Just as you can become addicted to harmful substances or practices, you can also pick up positive addictions, and get high naturally! Here's a short list of positive addictions that may help you fill the potential holes in your life:

Exercise. Working out releases endorphins, which are the body's natural painkillers and positive mood-makers. Have you heard of runner's high, that euphoric feeling you get while running? Truly, nothing can clear your head like a good workout can.

Service. Losing yourself in service to other has always been the best way to forget your own troubles.

Hobbies. Find something you love to do and get good at it. Whether it be photography, cooking, or astronomy, hobbies produce a natural high without the big crash afterward.

Family. No one cares more about you than your family, including cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents. When you're hurting, cast your burdens upon them, instead of looking for another outlet.

Faith. Practicing your religion or beliefs alone or with others can give meaning and purpose to your life and offer you standards to live by.

Friends. In times of trouble, lean on good friends. Talk through your problems with them instead of the bottle.

Source:
"The 6 Most Important Decisions You'll Ever Make" - Sean Covey, pp. 249-250

The Almighty Allah says,

"When a servant thinks of Me, I am near.
When he invokes Me, I am with him.
If he reflects on Me in secret, I reply in secret,
And if he acknowledges Me in an assembly,
I acknowledge him in a far superior assembly."

- Prophet Muhammad (SAW), as reptd by Abu Huraira
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« Reply #26 on: Jul 16, 2008 05:46 PM »

What’s in it for Me? Five Advantages of Hijab

    * I can’t be messed with! Hijab protects me – Hijab identifies a Muslim woman
       as a person of high moral standards to reduce her chances of being harassed.

    * I am liberated from slavery to ‘physical perfection’ – Society makes women
       desire to become ‘perfect objects’. The multitudes of alluring fashion magazines and cosmetic surgeries
       show women’s enslavement to beauty. The entertainment industry pressures teens to believe that for
       clothes, less is better. When we wear Hijab, we vow to liberate ourselves from such desires and serve
       only God.

    * I don’t let others judge me by my hair and curves! – In schools and
      professional environments, women are often judged by their looks or bodies—characteristics they neither
      chose nor created. Hijab forces society to judge women for their value as human beings, with intellect,
      principles, and feelings. A woman in Hijab sends a message, “Deal with my brain, not my body!”

    * I feel empowered and confident – In contrast to today’s teenage culture, where
       anorexia and suicide are on the rise, as women attempt to reach an unattainable ideal of beauty, Hijab
       frees a woman from the pressure to ‘fit in’. She does not have to worry about wearing the right kind of
       jeans or the right shade of eyeshadow. She can feel secure about her appearance because she cares to
       please only Allah.

    * I feel the bond of unity – Hijab identifies us as Muslims and encourages
       other Muslim sisters to greet us with the salutation of peace, “Assalamu Alaikum”. Hijab draws others to
       us and immerses us in good company.

Source:
"Hijab: Fabric, Fad or Faith?" - Young Muslims Publications

The Almighty Allah says,

"When a servant thinks of Me, I am near.
When he invokes Me, I am with him.
If he reflects on Me in secret, I reply in secret,
And if he acknowledges Me in an assembly,
I acknowledge him in a far superior assembly."

- Prophet Muhammad (SAW), as reptd by Abu Huraira
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« Reply #27 on: Jul 26, 2008 03:30 PM »

Dejection

Dejection is a state of sad thought, depression and a feeling of being worthless. This could be a result of anger with self or someone else, unexpressed anger, failure and frustration. Dejection is a deadly disease which can harm the body acutely or on a chronic basis and can irreversibly destroy one's relationships. It is during this state of dejection that people have suicidal thoughts and sometimes actions. During anger a person tries to manifest his verbal and physical strength. However, while in dejection, he completely gives up, thinking he is worthless.

Dejection can be the result of losses, financial or of a dear one, or even failure in work, education and business. Many times terminally ill patients, without any hope of getting better, would also be dejected. Sometimes dejection or depression is due to a chemical imbalance just like anger, whether it is a psychotropic condition with depletion of brain amines, epinephrine, norepinephrine and dopamine, or hormonal imbalance like hypothyroidism and Addison's disease. Therefore, in all cases of depression, when a physician sees them, he does and he must evaluate them for a treatable organic cause.

The way to fight dejection is a mind-control phenomenon. We must realize that we are not in control of our destiny. Certain failures and adversity have been designed to teach us certain lessons. We must know that someone else is in control of our past, present and future. Caliph Ali once said, "What makes me a believer in God is the fact that I realize that after doing everything humanly possible to make certain things go right, it goes wrong unexpectedly, making me believe that someone else was in control of that situation, not me."

The remedy for dejection is hope. God made hopelessness unlawful by saying, "Do not despair of God's mercy." Thus, no matter at what level of despair, depression and frustration we are, whether loss of a loved one or a job, or as the result of anger from someone else, we must not give up hope as there is a ray of hope at the end of the tunnel. The greatest hope is mercy from God.

During dejection, there is darkness, but in hope, there is light. Therefore, one must pray for this light to illuminate the heart so that we can see beyond what is causing the suffering today.

Source:
"Anger and Dejection - An Islamic Perspective" - Shahid Athar

The Almighty Allah says,

"When a servant thinks of Me, I am near.
When he invokes Me, I am with him.
If he reflects on Me in secret, I reply in secret,
And if he acknowledges Me in an assembly,
I acknowledge him in a far superior assembly."

- Prophet Muhammad (SAW), as reptd by Abu Huraira
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« Reply #28 on: Aug 04, 2008 07:13 PM »

The Meaning of Citizenship

The conventional definition of citizenship is concerned with the act of voting and taking a vow to uphold the constitution and laws of a country. This is narrow and limiting. Too many organizations that are committed to sustaining democracy in the world and at home have this constrained view of citizenship. Citizenship is not about voting, or even about having a vote.

The idea of what it means to be a citizen is too important and needs to be taken back to its more profound value. Citizenship is a state of being. It is a choice for activism and care. A citizen is one who is willing to do the following:

    * Hold oneself accountable for the well-being of the larger collective of which we are a
       part.

    * Choose to own and exercise power rather than defer or delegate it to others.
    * Enter into a collective possibility that gives hospitable and restorative community its own
       sense of being.

    * Acknowledge that community grows out of the possibility of citizens. Community is built
       not by specialized expertise, or great leadership, or improved services; it is built by great 
       citizens.

    * Attend to the gifts and capacities of all others, and act to bring the gifts of those on the
       margin into the centre.


Source:
"Community: The Structure of Belonging" - Peter Block, pp. 64-65

The Almighty Allah says,

"When a servant thinks of Me, I am near.
When he invokes Me, I am with him.
If he reflects on Me in secret, I reply in secret,
And if he acknowledges Me in an assembly,
I acknowledge him in a far superior assembly."

- Prophet Muhammad (SAW), as reptd by Abu Huraira
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« Reply #29 on: Aug 09, 2008 09:57 PM »

Prepare for Ramadan

Have you noticed that each year, Ramadan goes by faster and faster? This blessed month can’t be left to become a blur in our memories. It has to be more than that time of the year we squeeze in fasting amongst the other things we do daily.

One way to make the most of Ramadan is to plan and prepare ourselves beforehand. Here are few resources that will help us prepare for Ramadan:

    SoundVision.com's page on Ramadan
    Tips and articles to make the planning easy for the entire family.

    MuslimVille.com Ramadan Activities
    Make it cool for kids.

    IslamOnline.Net Ramadan 1428
    Still useful.

    Young Muslims Brochure
    Ramadan: A Time for Revival or Survival? [read, download]
    Ramadan: Un moment pour la renaissance ou la survie? [lire, download]

The Almighty Allah says,

"When a servant thinks of Me, I am near.
When he invokes Me, I am with him.
If he reflects on Me in secret, I reply in secret,
And if he acknowledges Me in an assembly,
I acknowledge him in a far superior assembly."

- Prophet Muhammad (SAW), as reptd by Abu Huraira
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« Reply #30 on: Aug 14, 2008 06:23 PM »

Crying Like A Baby

When was the last time you cried like a baby?

We can't afford not to be crying in front of Allah, the Merciful, All-Aware.

Tears flow when we remember how much Allah has blessed us with and how much we disobey Him. We can never repay Allah for everything we have, yet we still blatantly commit sins both big and small: whether it's backbiting, hurting other human beings, not standing up for the truth, treating our family badly, lying, doing good deeds to show off, cheating, etc.

Abdullah ibn Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, said he would rather shed two tears from the fear of Allah than give a thousand dinars in charity.

And the most telling example of a man who few would think would cry because of Allah is Umar, may Allah be pleased with him. He was known for being strong, fearless, and uncompromising when it came to matters of faith. Yet, Abdullah ibn Isa said that Umar had two black streaks on his face because of constant weeping.

He feared Allah so much that he once said, "If someone announced from the heavens that everybody will enter Paradise except one person, I would fear that that person would be me."

Umar was one of the strongest believers. Yet he cried and feared Allah. And Abu Bakr, he was simply known for his crying. These people loved to serve human beings in the day and spent time begging God to save humanity at night. May Allah be pleased with them.

Let's be more contemplative and pray for an awareness of and forgiveness for our sins, as well as softness in our hearts. If Umar the brave and pious did it, we have even more need and urgency to do it.

Source:
"Crying in Front of Allah - It's not impossible" - Abdul Malik Mujahid

The Almighty Allah says,

"When a servant thinks of Me, I am near.
When he invokes Me, I am with him.
If he reflects on Me in secret, I reply in secret,
And if he acknowledges Me in an assembly,
I acknowledge him in a far superior assembly."

- Prophet Muhammad (SAW), as reptd by Abu Huraira
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« Reply #31 on: Aug 16, 2008 10:40 PM »

Denial

Denial means we act as if the present is good enough. It is defence against the woundedness of the present and a rejection of any possibility beyond continuous improvement. Our denial of the destruction of the environment is a good example. Denial in this case takes the form of wanting more data or holding the belief that technology is a god that can surmount any obstacle. It often agrees there is a problem, but then trivializes its existence or its cost.

Denial is a defining feature of addiction. In creating the communities we live in, we are addicted to urban centres and rural towns that don't work for all, to a world of large class differences, to a place where we consider people on the margin to not be our brothers and sisters. We are addicted to accepting the illusion of safety that we get from allowing large systems to name the game and define the conversation.

Source:
"Community: The Structure of Belonging" - Peter Block, pp. 133-134

The Almighty Allah says,

"When a servant thinks of Me, I am near.
When he invokes Me, I am with him.
If he reflects on Me in secret, I reply in secret,
And if he acknowledges Me in an assembly,
I acknowledge him in a far superior assembly."

- Prophet Muhammad (SAW), as reptd by Abu Huraira
Halima
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« Reply #32 on: Aug 25, 2008 07:40 PM »

Rebellion

Rebellion is complex. It lives in reaction to the world. On the surface, rebellion claims to be against monarchy, dominion, or oppression. Too often it turns out to be a vote for monarchy, dominion, or patriarchy. Rebellion is most often not a call for transformation or a new context, but simply a complaint that others control the monarchy and not us. This is why most revolutions fail - because nothing changes, only the name of the monarch.

The community form of rebellion is protest. It is noble in tradition but still often keeps us in perpetual reaction to the stances of others. There is safety in building an identity on what we do not want. The extremists on both sides of any issue are more wedded to their positions than to creating a new possibility. That is why they make unfulfillable demands. The AM radio band is populated with this non-conversation. Any time we act in reaction, even to evil, we are giving power to what we are in reaction to.

I have heard John McKnight say that advisory groups speak quietly to power, protestors scream at power, and neither chooses to reclaim or produce power. The real problem with rebellion is that it is such fun. It avoids taking responsibility, operates on the high ground, is fuelled by righteousness, gives legitimacy to blame, and is a delightful escape from the unbearable burden of being accountable.

Source:
"Community: The Structure of Belonging" - Peter Block, p. 134

The Almighty Allah says,

"When a servant thinks of Me, I am near.
When he invokes Me, I am with him.
If he reflects on Me in secret, I reply in secret,
And if he acknowledges Me in an assembly,
I acknowledge him in a far superior assembly."

- Prophet Muhammad (SAW), as reptd by Abu Huraira
Halima
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« Reply #33 on: Sep 01, 2008 01:43 PM »

Determination

Islam has declared achievement of strength and power essential. Its one characteristic and manifestation is that you make a firm determination and a strong resolve to achieve, with the help of your nearest available means and resources, your objective. Try your utmost in achieving your goal. You should leave no stone unturned and no room for chance, and thereafter leave the outcome in the hands of destiny. There are many individuals who take Allah's shelter in order to cover their objectionable defects reprehensible negligence, inability and laziness, and grumble against luck. Islam has disapproved of this tendency.

It is the duty of everybody that he should make full efforts and try to the best of his ability to overcome his difficulty, till the time he achieves his objective. If he overcomes his difficulties then he has fulfilled his responsibility.

However, if after making all the efforts he fails, then at such a time the support of Allah is the best shelter for him, which would help him to overcome the sense of defeatism and frustration. In both the states he is strong and powerful. First by making efforts and working and in the second case by relying on God he receives strength.

Islam does not like that in your affairs you should be a prey to vagueness and hesitation. You should not be undecided in the matter of selecting the advantageous alternative. Your head should not be filled up with doubts and misgivings, resulting in an atmosphere of uncertainty and indecision, making it difficult for you to come to a decision. It does not like that due to your weakness you may not be able to strongly hold the advantageous things in your firm grip, and they should slip through your fingers and may be wasted. This restlessness and indecision does not become a Muslim.

Source:
"Muslim's Character" - Muhammad Al-Ghazali

The Almighty Allah says,

"When a servant thinks of Me, I am near.
When he invokes Me, I am with him.
If he reflects on Me in secret, I reply in secret,
And if he acknowledges Me in an assembly,
I acknowledge him in a far superior assembly."

- Prophet Muhammad (SAW), as reptd by Abu Huraira
Halima
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« Reply #34 on: Sep 07, 2008 04:16 PM »

Deen of Practice

Islam is a Deen of practice and Muslims, being obedient slaves of Allah, must be practical people. Their focus must be on practising Islamic teaching rather than on theorizing or on amassing knowledge. This does not mean that a Muslim should be ignorant; far from it. Muslims are obliged to learn, and they will be held accountable for this obligation. But the learning must be for practising, not to gain knowledge for its own sake. As soon as they learn, whatever they learn, they must immediately put it into practice. If this means changing their lifestyle, they must make those changes immediately instead of waiting until they have acquired all knowledge. By the same token, the knowledge they acquire must be relevant to their current circumstances and their current responsibilities so that whatever is learned can be immediately put into action. That is why the companions of the Prophet, peace be upon him, used to learn a few points, put them into practice, then learn more and put them into practice and continue that way all their life.

Learning and practicing are parallel processes that continue throughout life. In fact, there is no concept of knowledge without corresponding practice in Islam. Religious knowledge that is not put into practice right away is considered loss of knowledge.

Source:
"Islam: Adopting its Paradigms" - Ayub A. Hamid, pp. 69, 70

The Almighty Allah says,

"When a servant thinks of Me, I am near.
When he invokes Me, I am with him.
If he reflects on Me in secret, I reply in secret,
And if he acknowledges Me in an assembly,
I acknowledge him in a far superior assembly."

- Prophet Muhammad (SAW), as reptd by Abu Huraira
Halima
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« Reply #35 on: Sep 14, 2008 09:47 AM »

Keeping Commitments

Keeping commitments is the 'Big Kahuna' of all behaviours. It's the quickest way to build trust in any relationship - be it with an employee, a boss, a team member, a customer, a supplier, a spouse, a child, or the public in general. Its opposite - to break commitments or violate promises - is, without question, the quickest way to destroy trust.

Obviously this behaviour involves making commitments as well as keeping them. To paraphrase my friend Roger Merill, when you make a commitment, you build hope; when you keep it, you build trust. Given the impact of violating commitments, it's vital to be careful with the commitments you make.

However, the counterfeit of this behaviour is to make commitments that are so vague or elusive that nobody can pin you down, or, even worse, to be so afraid of breaking commitments that you don't even make any the first place.

Keeping commitments is based on the principles of integrity, performance, courage, and humility. It's the perfect balance of character and competence. Particularly, it involves integrity (character) and your ability to do what you say you're going to do (competence).

When it comes to dealing with a commitment to a client, people tend to be more rigid. But when it comes to a family commitment, they tend to be more flexible - sometimes simply because they're trying to provide for their families and they tend to justify breaking those commitments more easily. Because keeping commitments has such an impact on trust - and because trust is so vital to a thriving family culture - it's wise to keep in mind that commitments to family members are often the most important commitments of all.

Also, making and keeping commitments to yourself is the key to success in making and keeping commitments to others. That's where it all starts, and that's what gives you the power and confidence - the Self Trust - that enables you to build trust with others.

Source:
"The Speed of Trust" - Stephen M. R. Covey, pp. 215-220

The Almighty Allah says,

"When a servant thinks of Me, I am near.
When he invokes Me, I am with him.
If he reflects on Me in secret, I reply in secret,
And if he acknowledges Me in an assembly,
I acknowledge him in a far superior assembly."

- Prophet Muhammad (SAW), as reptd by Abu Huraira
Halima
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« Reply #36 on: Sep 20, 2008 12:26 PM »

Position of Specific Rituals

The wide jurisdiction of worship, its incorporation into all acts which are performed with the intention of complying with the will of God, is sometimes used as a pretext to support the erroneous view that the formal rituals of worship such as prayers, fasting, zakah and pilgrimage can be dispensed with; or that they are not very important. The truth, however, is quite contrary to this. In Islam, they are the chief means for strengthening one's attachment with God. Thus the view of those who are given to laxity in religious matters with regard to obligatory acts of worship, and who imagine that the true faith does not consist of salah and sawm, and who believe that the basis of true faith is merely purity of heart, goodness of intention and soundness of conduct is absolutely misconceived. This constitutes a fundamental misrepresentation of the Islamic teachings.

So far as the intention to live a life of righteousness is concerned, some take the view that this does not lend itself to external observation. But such intention to do good alone does not mark off true people of faith from the rest. Religion, after all, has an external aspect in the same way as it has an internal one.

This attitude of deliberate disregard for obligations is destructive of the very foundations of religion. For, were this viewpoint to be adopted, everyone, even those who are opposed to religion, could claim to be the most devout of all worshippers! Prayers, and all other prescribed forms of worship for that matter, serve to distinguish the ones who do really have faith and who wish sincerely to serve God from those who are content with lip service. So important is Prayer that the Prophet has said: 'salah is the pillar of the Islamic religion and whosoever abandons it, demolishes the very pillar of religion.'

Source:
Islam: The Way of Revival,"The Islamic Concept of Worship" - Mustafa Ahmad al-Zarqa, pp. 161, 162

The Almighty Allah says,

"When a servant thinks of Me, I am near.
When he invokes Me, I am with him.
If he reflects on Me in secret, I reply in secret,
And if he acknowledges Me in an assembly,
I acknowledge him in a far superior assembly."

- Prophet Muhammad (SAW), as reptd by Abu Huraira
Halima
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« Reply #37 on: Sep 27, 2008 03:19 PM »

Weeping During Recitation

It is an attribute of those with profound knowledge of God, and a distinguishing feature of God's righteous devotees. God Most High said, They fall down upon their faces weeping, and it increases them in humility (Quran 17: 109).

Many hadiths and accounts from the Righteous Forebears have been related concerning this. Among them is from the Prophet, peace be upon him, himself: "Read the Quran and weep. If you do not weep, cause yourself to weep." [Ibn Majah]

Umar ibn al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him, prayed the Morning Prayer in congregation and read Surat Yusuf. He wept until his tears flowed over his collarbone.

Imam Abu Hamid al-Ghazali said, "Weeping is recommended while reciting [the Quran] or witnessing [its recitation]." He said, "The way to achieve this is by bringing sadness to mind by pondering the threats and warnings, the covenants and agreements that it contains, and then contemplating one's shortcomings with their regard. If this does not bring to mind sadness and weeping, as it does with elite worshippers, then one should weep from the lack of it, since it is among the greatest of calamities." [Ihy Ulum al-Din]

Source:
"Etiquette with the Quran" - Imam al-Nawawi, pg. 45

The Almighty Allah says,

"When a servant thinks of Me, I am near.
When he invokes Me, I am with him.
If he reflects on Me in secret, I reply in secret,
And if he acknowledges Me in an assembly,
I acknowledge him in a far superior assembly."

- Prophet Muhammad (SAW), as reptd by Abu Huraira
Halima
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« Reply #38 on: Oct 07, 2008 10:44 AM »

The drug of the 21st century

The pornography industry is a mega-billion-dollar industry and growing. The people who run it don't care about you. They just want your money. They know it's addictive and have found ways to entice and trap you.

Have you ever watched one of those nature films where a crocodile is hiding in a pond? The thirsty gazelle trots around the pond, afraid to get too close, while the vicious, one-ton croc waits silently below the surface. Eventually, the gazelle overcomes its fear, meanders to the pond, and begins drinking. Suddenly, the gaping jaws of the crocodile reach up and grab its prey, pulling it beneath t he surface and eating it alive.

So it is with porn. If you get too close it will reach up, sink its teeth into you, and pull you down beneath its murky waters so fast you won't even know what happened. It's especially tempting for guys, even though girls are getting into it more and more.

Pornography is a behavioural addiction as strong as cocaine. Avoid it. Be smart and self-aware. Throw it away or turn it off. Put your computer in the family room where everyone can see it, not in your bedroom. If you are hooked, get help, just as you would with a drug addiction. Studies show that it is difficult to overcome on your own. Don't let anyone tell you it's normal or harmless or that boys will be boys. We all know better.

Pornography is usually viewed in secret. But that which is done in the dark will eventually be brought to light in the form of broken relationships, low self-esteem, and unfulfilled dreams.

Source:
"The 6 Most Important Decisions You'll Ever Make" - Sean Covey, pp. 256-260

The Almighty Allah says,

"When a servant thinks of Me, I am near.
When he invokes Me, I am with him.
If he reflects on Me in secret, I reply in secret,
And if he acknowledges Me in an assembly,
I acknowledge him in a far superior assembly."

- Prophet Muhammad (SAW), as reptd by Abu Huraira
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« Reply #39 on: Oct 07, 2008 10:51 AM »

Salam

Thank you Sis Halimah for posting these.

Wassalam
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« Reply #40 on: Oct 11, 2008 12:36 PM »

The Worst Fitnah

Ibn Abd al-Barr reported that Hudhayfah was asked: "What is the worst fitnah?" So, he replied: "That you are presented with the good and the bad, and you are confused as to which path to take."

Ibn Abi Shaybah in his 'Musannaf' reported that Khalid bin al-Walid said: "Fitnah is that you are in a land in which sins are rampant, and when you seek to leave it for a land in which sins are not rampant, you are unable to find such a place."

Ibn Abi Shaybah also reported that Abu Hurayrah said: "There will be a fitnah such that nothing can rescue you from it except to supplicate as if you are drowning."

Source:
"Ithaf al-Jama'ah" - Hamud at-Tuwayjri

The Almighty Allah says,

"When a servant thinks of Me, I am near.
When he invokes Me, I am with him.
If he reflects on Me in secret, I reply in secret,
And if he acknowledges Me in an assembly,
I acknowledge him in a far superior assembly."

- Prophet Muhammad (SAW), as reptd by Abu Huraira
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« Reply #41 on: Oct 21, 2008 08:25 AM »

Kindness to Animals

Kind treatment and tender-heartedness was meted out to animals by the Islamic State and other welfare institutions of Islamic Civilization. Umar ibn Abd al-Aziz issued instructions to the common people not to cause animals hardship nor trouble them, but to treat them kindly. The law in this regard was as follows: "People should not be allowed to load their animals with loads heavier than their capacity, nor can they be permitted to goad them to great speed when they are carrying heavy loads. They should be made to desist from beating them. All these practices are against the Islamic Shariah. It is the duty of the owners of the animals to be God-fearing in the matter of their feed. The fodder should be enough to fully satisfy the animal's hunger. It should be neither of a poor quality nor meagre in quantity."

A very charming example of such kind treatment of animals is that presented by a high-ranking Companion - Abu al-Darda. At the time of his death he said to his camel, "O my camel! Do not quarrel with me before our Lord and Cherisher, for I never made you work beyond your capacity." There was another companion by the name Adi ibn Hatim who crushed the bread into fine powder for the ants and said, "These are our neighbours, therefore they have a right over us." The great Imam Abu Ishaq al-Shirazi was one day going along with his friends when a dog confronted him. Its master tried to drive it away from his path, but the Imam prevented him from doing so, saying, "Do you not know that the roads are common between us humans and dogs."

Compiled From:
"The Islamic Civilization" - Mustafa Sibai, pp. 127-129

The Almighty Allah says,

"When a servant thinks of Me, I am near.
When he invokes Me, I am with him.
If he reflects on Me in secret, I reply in secret,
And if he acknowledges Me in an assembly,
I acknowledge him in a far superior assembly."

- Prophet Muhammad (SAW), as reptd by Abu Huraira
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« Reply #42 on: Oct 25, 2008 03:31 PM »

Intention and Intention

Any deed performed with the sole intention of pleasing Allah which is also consistent with His shariah is an act of worship or ibadah. At the same time, though, there are some deeds that must be accompanied with an intention for them to be accepted by Allah. These deeds include, according to the majority opinion, ablution, ghusl, tayammum, prayers, zakat, fasts, pilgrimage, itikaf and other acts of worship.

For example, someone could go the entire day without eating due to lack of food or for health reasons but this would not be the same thing as fasting as an act of worship. Whenever anyone wishes to fast as an act of worship, one must first make the intention to perform that act of worship. Therefore, in order to distinguish the act of worship from any other customary act, the intention must be present in the heart of the person.

Compiled From:
"Commentary on the Forty Hadith of al-Nawawi" - Jamaal al-Din M. Zarabozo, p. 141

The Almighty Allah says,

"When a servant thinks of Me, I am near.
When he invokes Me, I am with him.
If he reflects on Me in secret, I reply in secret,
And if he acknowledges Me in an assembly,
I acknowledge him in a far superior assembly."

- Prophet Muhammad (SAW), as reptd by Abu Huraira
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« Reply #43 on: Nov 01, 2008 07:20 AM »

Critique of Democracy

At the heart of the "conflict," "debate," or "dialogue" between civilizations, democracy is often presented in the West as "a value" supposed to be either "Western" or "universal" or, with no fear of contradiction both at the same time. Thus presented, "the critique of democracy" becomes suspicious and its instigators tend to be lumped with old-time idealistic Communists defending the "dictatorship of the proletariat" or new Muslim radicals advocating a theocratic implementation of the shariah.

However, democracy is not a value but a generic system encompassing a set of organizational and institutional models for universal, fundamental values and principles. Democracy could only be a "value" if it guaranteed the respect of a series of other higher "values."

The critique of democracy, in the sense of criticizing its dysfunction and the perversion of its models and institutions, is a necessity today. If one approaches the issue on an international level, one very quickly realizes that the high-sounding dialogue between civilizations that would reduce the terms of the debate to accepting democracy or not is most misleading: one knows, or should know historically that being a democracy has never been enough to guarantee the promotion of peace, the respect of human rights, dignity, freedom, autonomy, etc. From the outset, Athenian democracy was forever at war with its neighbours (besides, its discriminatory treatment of women, the poor, and the "Barbarians" is well known) and today as well, U.S.-style democracy keep getting involved in conflicts and wars that, as in Iraq, completely fail to respect fundamental values and human dignity (moreover, that the discriminatory treatment of Native-American and African-American citizens still endures within the system is well known).

The constructive critique of contemporary democratic models must be undertaken, first of all, by identifying what they do not guarantee in terms of respecting values, which must absolutely be reformed if we are to be consistent. Repeating that it is the least bad system cannot justify passivity about denouncing its perversions and excesses.

Compiled From:
"Radical Reform: Islamic Ethics and Liberation" - Tariq Ramadan, pp. 282, 283

The Almighty Allah says,

"When a servant thinks of Me, I am near.
When he invokes Me, I am with him.
If he reflects on Me in secret, I reply in secret,
And if he acknowledges Me in an assembly,
I acknowledge him in a far superior assembly."

- Prophet Muhammad (SAW), as reptd by Abu Huraira
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« Reply #44 on: Nov 08, 2008 10:11 AM »

Political Fiqh

The Islamic Movement should seek to rectify the defective, strange concepts and decisions that we read and hear, and the methodologies of deduction that are even stranger and more peculiar.

These peculiar concepts, rules and methodologies are most evident in political fiqh, which has not received in the past the same degree of attention devoted to the fiqhs of worship, transactions, marriage etc.

The political fiqh of today is afflicted with much misconception and ill judgments, and its basics are so much varied in the minds of Islamists that the rules applied by some may be far from those applied by others like east is far from west.

We have seen some people who regard shura [consultation] as mere informative, not a compulsory duty, we have seen others who vest the head of state with the right to declare war and conclude treaties without consulting the representatives of the nation, and we have seen still others who consider democracy as a form of unbelief.

We have also seen those who believe that woman has no place in Islamic politics and that her only place is her father's house, from which she may only go to either of two place: her husband's house or her grave. To them, woman has no right to vote in any elections, let alone run in the elections for local governments or the Parliament.

There are also those who see political plurality as an arrangement that is rejected by Islam, and believe that no parties, groups or bodies that have any political views or affiliations should be established in a Muslim state.

I was dismayed when some brothers showed me a treatise that some zealous advocates of the Call had written under the title "Monotheism Is Against Membership Of Parliament", for I saw that as a peculiar confusion of issues of practice with issues of doctrine. Issues of practice deal with right and wrong, not belief and unbelief, and they are part of Shariah politics where ijtihad is rewarded twice when it is right and once when it is wrong.

The same mistake was made by the Kharijites in the old days when they branded Imam Ali lbn Abu­Talib as an unbeliever on account of a worldly matter related to politics that they had turned into a doctrinal issue, saying "He had given people control over the Religion of Allah, and none but Allah shall have judgment". The Imam's reply to their allegation was most eloquent, as he said, "A word of right intended to establish wrong"!

Compiled From:
"Priorities of The Islamic Movement in The Coming Phase" - Yusuf Al-Qaradawi

The Almighty Allah says,

"When a servant thinks of Me, I am near.
When he invokes Me, I am with him.
If he reflects on Me in secret, I reply in secret,
And if he acknowledges Me in an assembly,
I acknowledge him in a far superior assembly."

- Prophet Muhammad (SAW), as reptd by Abu Huraira
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« Reply #45 on: Nov 14, 2008 08:39 AM »

Waters of Divine Knowledge

What is the origin or source of a sense of "universal goodness" or "universal truth" in an individual? If it is true that God created human beings with an innate sense of right and wrong (fitra), it is also true that the Quran and the Sunna teach that this inner sense can be corrupted by persisting in sin, and that one can easily be led astray by one's selfish desires. It is for this reason that revelation is a theological necessity - to help guide us back to what is right. But how do we attain a true understanding of revelation if we are already emotionally and spiritually wounded people?

If we reflect upon the story of Hajar (wife of Abraham, peace be upon them) we find a way out of this dilemma. The spiritual matriarch of Islam shows us that we must first trust in God, and then struggle, using all means God has given us, to find the pure waters of Divine knowledge. Hajar found the holy water only because she was confident that God would provide for her, and then exerted all her energy and resources to find her provisions.

Thus, in the first place, we must use all the intellectual resources God has given us to attempt to understand the true meaning of the Quran. God gave Hajar two legs which she used to run back and forth between the mountains, and two eyes with which she looked for a source of water. God gave Muslims, individually and collectively, sight, hearing, and intellect to put at the service of studying the linguistic and historical context of the Quran. It is impossible for any one individual to master all these aspects of Quranic learning, even in a lifetime of study. A serious effort to understand the Quran, therefore, necessarily includes a deep engagement with the extensive scholarly tradition of Islam.

The second necessary condition for understanding revelation is the proper intention - to sincerely wish to be guided by God. This does not mean that non-Muslims and even atheists cannot contribute to the factual body of knowledge useful to contextualizing the Quran; but you cannot attain what you do not set out to find. The meaning of the revelation can only be accessed by those who believe that ultimate meaning is beyond the limited understanding of any human being and who sincerely turn to the Quran for the purpose of finding that meaning. However, attaining the state of humility that is characteristic of a sincere intention is not easy. How many individuals are confident of the purity of their intentions and the soundness of their hearts, yet clearly are deceiving themselves?

Compiled From:
"The Story of the Qur'an: Its History and Place in Muslim Life" - Ingrid Mattson, pp. 229-231

The Almighty Allah says,

"When a servant thinks of Me, I am near.
When he invokes Me, I am with him.
If he reflects on Me in secret, I reply in secret,
And if he acknowledges Me in an assembly,
I acknowledge him in a far superior assembly."

- Prophet Muhammad (SAW), as reptd by Abu Huraira
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« Reply #46 on: Nov 22, 2008 09:12 AM »

Faith

Faith means believing in something you can't see. It comes in all varieties. you can have faith in yourself, faith in others, or faith that through hard work good things will happen. For example, you have faith that by cutting out junk food and exercising you will lose weight. Faith causes you to act. Without it, there's nothing to hope for.

There's yet another kind of faith that's increasingly important to many teens - faith in spiritual things.

Did you know that your brain is hard-wired to connect spiritually? Babies yearn to be held and teenagers hunger for meaning and spirituality. At least that was the conclusion of 33 experts from the nonpartisan Commision on Children at Risk, which researched why kids today are in crisis. In their report, "Hard-wired to Connect," they concluded that our brains are yearning for spiritual meaning, and listed spiritual and religious development as one of the ten marks of an ideal community. Interesting, huh?

Of course, everyone believes differently and that's okay. But study after study has shown that faith or religious involvement of some sort can build self-worth in teens. Why's that? Faith can:

    * help you connect to something bigger than yourself
    * provide you with standards to live by
    * help you overcome negative peer pressure
    * give you a sense of identity and belonging

Compiled From:
"The 6 Most Important Decisions You'll Ever Make" - Sean Covey, p. 280

The Almighty Allah says,

"When a servant thinks of Me, I am near.
When he invokes Me, I am with him.
If he reflects on Me in secret, I reply in secret,
And if he acknowledges Me in an assembly,
I acknowledge him in a far superior assembly."

- Prophet Muhammad (SAW), as reptd by Abu Huraira
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« Reply #47 on: Nov 29, 2008 06:56 PM »

Inner Voices

Due heed must be paid to small voices (or inner voices) that sometimes challenge the interpretations offered by those who are considered to be speaking authoritatively. Many Muslims have a strong internal conviction that God is just and fair, and that any Quranic interpretation that conflicts with their sense of justice and fairness, even if it is considered authoritative, demands, at the very least, further scrutiny. To this end, stories like the following can encourage ordinary Muslims to feel confident enough to voice their reservations or discomfort with certain interpretations of the Quran.

Zaynab bint Muayqib was a woman of Madina, who, along with thousands of others, went out to attend the funerals of two great men - one a religious scholar and one a poet - who died on the same day at the beginning of the second century of Islam. Zaynab was among a large group of women who were gathering behind one of the coffins. A prominent Sayyid, Abu Jafar Muhammad ibn Ali ("al Baqir" - who would be identified by the Shiites as their fifth "Imam"), tried to approach the coffin. Blocked by the crowds of women who would not part to let him through, Abu Jafar began to snap his cloak at them saying, "Enough, you companions of Joseph!"

In response to Abu Jafar's insult, Zaynab called out, "O son of the Messenger of God, you are correct that we are the companions of Joseph - and we treated him better than you!" After the funeral was over, Abu Jafar sent someone to bring Zaynab to him. The narrator of the story says that Zaynab arrived "as though she were a spark of fire." Abu Jafar asked what she had meant when she said that "(We) women are better than (you) men." Zaynab responded to him: "We women, O son of the Messenger of God, invited (Joseph) to the delights of food and drink, and to enjoy and be comfortable. But you men threw him in the well, sold him for a miserable price and locked him in prison - so which of us was more tender and kind to him?"

When Abu Jafar used the Quran to dismiss the women who got in his way, Zaynab knew this was not fair. Her knowledge was not based on an academic study of the Quran, nor on the claim that she had any special spiritual status that gave her unique insight to the meanings of the Quran. Zaynab, rather, had confidence in her intuitive sense of fairness which allowed her to tell Abu Jafar how she perceived misogyny in his words (for his part, Abu Jafar is said to have expressed admiration at Zaynab's spirited defense). As a woman, Zaynab also had a different perspective than Abu Jafar on the Quranic story of Joseph. In her eyes, the story clearly shows a male propensity for violence and acquiring power at any cost.

Compiled From:
"The Story of the Qur'an: Its History and Place in Muslim Life" - Ingrid Mattson, pp. 226-228

The Almighty Allah says,

"When a servant thinks of Me, I am near.
When he invokes Me, I am with him.
If he reflects on Me in secret, I reply in secret,
And if he acknowledges Me in an assembly,
I acknowledge him in a far superior assembly."

- Prophet Muhammad (SAW), as reptd by Abu Huraira
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« Reply #48 on: Dec 06, 2008 12:46 PM »

Lip Service

Commitment is a promise made with no expectation of return. It is the willingness to make a promise independent of either approval or reciprocity from other people. This takes barter out of the conversation. Our promise is not contingent on the actions of others. As long as our promise is dependent on the actions of others, it is not a commitment; it is a deal, a contract.

Saying no is a stance as useful as a promise. Both offer clarity and the authentic basis to move forward, even if there is no place to go at the moment. Lip service is another story. Nothing kills transformation faster than lip service. The future does not die from opposition; it disappears in the face of lip service.

Lip service sabotages commitment. It offers an empty step forward. It comes in the form of "I'll try." It is an agreement made standing next to the exit door. Whenever someone says they will try hard, agree to think about it, or do the best they can, it is smart to consider that a no. It may not be a final refusal, but at that moment there is no commitment. We can move forward with refusal; we cannot move forward with maybe. Whether it is a response to feeling coerced, a sense of internal obligation, or just a desire to look good, it is really a way to escape the moment and hijacks commitment.

Compiled From:
"Community: The Structure of Belonging" - Peter Block, p. 136, 137

The Almighty Allah says,

"When a servant thinks of Me, I am near.
When he invokes Me, I am with him.
If he reflects on Me in secret, I reply in secret,
And if he acknowledges Me in an assembly,
I acknowledge him in a far superior assembly."

- Prophet Muhammad (SAW), as reptd by Abu Huraira
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« Reply #49 on: Dec 13, 2008 03:06 PM »

Dreams and Wishes

Islam is the religion of rational and critical minds. This is why one of its fundamental goals is to make man aware of the paramount significance of gradation, fortitude, and maturity. Haste is an inherent characteristic of man in general and of the young in particular. Indeed, haste is an outstanding characteristic of our own age. It has made our youth eager to sow the seeds today and to harvest the next day. But Allah's will in His own creation does not allow that: a tree goes through stages of growth, short or long, before it bears fruit. The very creation of a human being illustrates this very clearly. A child is born, breast­fed and weaned, then he/she gradually grows from childhood to maturity. Similarly, life gradually moves from one stage to another until Allah's sunan (patterns) are realized.

Islam began as a simple religion, then gradually the obligatory duties were introduced, the prohibitions prescribed, and legislative matters detailed. Gradually, the structure took full shape, and Allah's favours and blessings were diffused everywhere. Such development and stages are plain enough, but they are rarely, at all, observed or acknowledged.

The enthusiastic young people are outraged by the corruption that surrounds them as they witness, and live, the rapidly worsening condition of the Islamic Ummah. The common concern initiates group meetings they undertake to put things right, to salvage what is worth keeping. But in their haste and enthusiasm, they lose clarity of vision, they begin to daydream and build castles in the air, believing that they can blot out all forms of corruption and falsehood in addition to establishing the ideal Islamic state overnight.

They underestimate or disregard the incalculable obstacles and pitfalls that exceed their means and potential. Their dilemma is like that of the man who asked Ibn Sirin to interpret a dream for him: he dreamed that he was swimming on dry land, flying without wings. Ibn Sirin told him that he too was a man of too many dreams and wishes. Ali ibn Abu Talib (may Allah be pleased with him) warned his son: " . .and beware of relying on wishes, for they are the goods of fools."

Compiled From:
"Islamic Awakening Between Rejection and Extremism" - Yusuf Al-Qaradawi

The Almighty Allah says,

"When a servant thinks of Me, I am near.
When he invokes Me, I am with him.
If he reflects on Me in secret, I reply in secret,
And if he acknowledges Me in an assembly,
I acknowledge him in a far superior assembly."

- Prophet Muhammad (SAW), as reptd by Abu Huraira
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