Friday, April 30, 2010
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Saturday, April 24, 2010
Nur al-Yaqin fi sirah sayyid al-Mursaleen/The light of certainty in the story of the master of Messengers
This is an excellent starter text with some good information and its recommended for learners of the Arabic language. So it is really worth going through for intermediate students of the Arabic Language. My only complaint is that the text is a bit brief and I wish it was longer.
Muhammad: Man and Prophet By Adil Salahi
The problem with this text is that it does not have the answers to the questions that I wanted answered. It was written for the sceptic Westerner but it fails to give definite answers to the questions that the text itself raises. So for me this text is better avoided for these reasons. However, I do feel that anyone writing 800+ pages on the subject of Sira should be praised but this skipped over many details that a text of this size should not have. Borrow don't buy. He seems to prefer strange opinions which I have never read before and sometimes he prefers to logic over historical reference.
Sixth Century and Beyond by M.Abdulla Pasha
This was a disappointing text that I was expecting a lot from but it did not deliver. It re-enforced a lot of Western stereotypes and this was something that was not wanted. The text does not deliver anything new in terms of the author's insight which was something that I was expecting but did not get.
As-Shifa by Qadi Iyad
This is the definite book of praise upon the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). This is an amazing book to read and is worth reading again and again. If you can read it in Arabic then go ahead and if you cannot then the English will do. They say that the sick are healed if this book is recited to them.
Muhammad: A Prophet for all humanity by Maulana Wahiduddin Khan
This is an amazing book which is not a biography but examines the different aspects of his life (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). This book is ideal for non-Muslims as it a book aimed at outreach so give to people who want to study Islam or anyone who wants to study. You can get it quite cheaply and it's really worth purchasing.
Proofs of Prophethood by Sheikh Abdel haleem Mahmood
This is an interesting text that deserves to be re-read a few times. It is also a recommended text that could be read after M. Fethullah Gulen's text. There are lots of references and interesting points. Sometimes it reads like a text on his miracles. Worth buying.
Prophet Mohammad and His Miracles: From the Risale i Nur Collection By Bediuzzaman Said Nursi
This is not a Sira text but is a text on miracles using a logical approach. He also goes through some miracles and explains them to us. It is another text worth purchasing.
Sira Reviews part one
Friday, April 23, 2010
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
This is the way
This is the straight way
A light is lit and I can see the thorns
I can see the difficulties
How can someone go down this path
They would have to be strong
How can I go down this path
Someone as weak as me
How could I follow him?
The one who went before us all
He went through things that wouldn’t be able to bear
No burden is placed upon a person
More than he can carry
How much loss he bore
People he loved where killed, tortured and mutilated
Yet he saved nations
And his work has to be carried on
How could I
All I have is insincerity
The enveloped one, covered us in the mercy of Allah Ta’ala
If I could see him
If I could only see him
How happy would I be
What was I missing
I will follow you
I will follow you
This is the path
This is the only path
I will fall but I have to focus on my goal
He knew more than anyone before him or after him
Yet he was the most humble, dignified of them all
How I long to be where he is
How many nights I have waited to see if he would visit me in my dreams
The entire universe is honoured to have him here
I’ll keep him in my heart where no one can see
Some won’t understand and how lost would those be
Without the love of the chosen one
O Lord of the worlds how you have honoured me by making me
One of those who will be part of his community
How could anyone not see what you are
You allowed this path to be open for us all no matter what colour
Or what race we are
This is the path
The path of success
And this love increased until this heart beat
With your knowledge
How did I live for so long without this love
How did I survive when my heart was ruined without you
Please tell how this translates
I'll never know
I never knew what I was missing out on
I wonder how many others are like this
Say with lips what there hearts don’t know
If only the hearts knew
What others know
He came to join people not separate
He was sent to save
He never came to condemn
He came to every living thing
How can it be that rocks and trees knew him
And some of us have forgotten
We have become rocks but without knowledge
We walk loud and tall but he never walked like that did he?
He walked unlike anything we could imagine
We need to dress like him
We need to wear that cloak and understand
The words coming out of our months
How can I explain in words what I can only feel
How can you understand unless you come close
We say that some people break the mould
When you where made there was no mould to break
You are the one and only
No one looked like you
No one talked like you
No one sat like you
No one ate like you
No one prayed like you
No one fasted like you
There is no one that this world has seen like you
I send one prayer to you and I get ten prayers send to me
It is only because Allah Ta’ala has honoured my tongue
By mentioning your name
He is the best of the best of the best
He went through test after test
That is the way
The way to Allah Ta’ala
You may have to struggle but that’s part of the way
You have to struggle before you can have ease
How else can you know ease without struggle
Then how would you know love
Unless there was no love before
Then you can see the completion of this faith
Then you would begin to understand.
He never answered a bad word with a bad word
You replied in every tongue that you heard
You never interrupted anyone’s speech
You let them finish then you would respond
Never pointed, you used your whole hand
You went when to heaven and conversed with our Lord
Another amazing thing after this
You came back
You came back to Earth to set us free
From the chains we wrap ourselves in
The chains of humanity
O person with no love
Plant the seed of this love
Then watch the tree grow
A great oak, it takes time to understand this
I hope those who don’t, will
I hope to be one of those whose thirst will be quenched on that day
I hope to drink from the pool
I will never be thirsty after that day
There was a man who was happy to be tortured
Happy to be tortured to death rather than to have you feel a thorn
Everything connected to you is the great
But the title you were most content with was the slave of Allah Subhanu wa Ta’ala
Your worship was perfect and sincere
How did I live without this love?
Some say it’s a condition of faith
Others say without it you have no faith
He was veiled from some
He would enter a room at night and his face would radiate light
How could we not love you
Someone said if only he was the eyes of Abu Jahl
Eyes that saw you
I would be happy to burn in hell
To pay for this blessing
Know that lovers always use hyperbole
Have I alienated more of you?
A lover only cares for his beloved
He doesn’t care what names that you call him
They wanted an angel to bring them revelation
They wanted a king who had power
They didn’t want a man
What they didn’t know is that you are the best of creation
Better than the angels
Even the angel of death asked permission to take your soul
He was better than all the mankind put together
No king would every be able to have people love him
Like people did you
You laid to rest all of your children
Yet we cannot find a single complaint
Even then you knew when Fatima would follow you
She cried because she did not want you to pass away
But when happy when she learned that she would join you soon
Who cries now?
We must cry because we miss you
We must cry
How many riches do we try to obtain?
We are led astray by own hands
You wished to live amongst the poor
You wished to be born amongst the poor
There is something wrong here isn’t there
The only rich man in this world
Is someone who loves you
The only poor man is he who doesn’t love you
That’s true poverty
He remembered death
He loved people to be guided
So when they stoned him
And the angels came down ready to destroy the people of this town
He said no, he wished that out of their children, believers would come
What would you have done?
This is the path you must follow
This is the only path to success
It is set out for you
The beginning and the end of this has a core
That core is tawqa
O’ you who desire to follow you, must have taqwa
Piety and fear
He never cast a shadow
Yet he could the light the world
The only reason we don’t see the light of the other stars
Is because the sun is so close
Thats why when he walked, light surrounded him
His light (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was stronger than the light of the sun
How dare we fill our bellies until they burst
When he used to sleep hungry
How can we fight people?
When he was the first to make peace
How we have neglected his practice
We was sent to be obeyed by the permission of Allah Ta'ala
Why have we forgotten this
We draw closer to the world
With every step we take
The further we run from him
He gave away what we eat from
He feed the hungry
He protected the weak
We neglect the hungry and the weak
Where do we begin
To repair this
Where do we start
There are so much that we have to repair
Some of us desire to destroy this world
Have you actually tried to deliver it?
You are wondrous
You amaze me every day
I miss you more and more each day
All praise is due to Allah (mighty and majestic) who made it easy to love you
It's so easy how could anyone not
I have learnt that to live honourable in this world
There is only one way
So many of us are too busy to lend an ear and listen
Listen to his legacy
His legacy is the legacy of prophet hood
How dare you believe anything else!
We must open the books and learn from those who leant from you
This chain is unbreakable
We must link ourselves to it
I am awake but eyes have not seen beauty like you
If we lived, in this world, like you
We would conquer the earth
If we don’t
Why do we make it so difficult for ourselves?
Why can’t we change our condition?
We must see progress
We must see our potential
We must understand
What we are
The one who migrated for the world will lose out
Yet the one who migrated for the deen
His reward will be, in line with what he gave up
We curse those who help us
We have everything we could ever want
Yet we complain, how wretched we are
So many in the world don’t live like us
Poverty was his pride
Without any negativity
Why don’t we live like him?
We live like animals
If we live any other way than his
Are we content with being animals?
Are we happy to disgraced?
It is time to revive ourselves
We still have time to put things right
Ask Allah (mighty and majestic) for forgiveness
Then follow the guided path
Where the night is like its day
So don’t worry what they say
Walk, tread this path
If we turn away we will be lost
And layers of darkness will enclose us
In a living prison
Where the only escape is death
Death is just a journey from one realm to the next
Some say that you pray for yourself
You should pray for Allah and that the highest calling
The rest of the positions are much lower
If you don’t pray then you are your own worst enemy
Do you want your judgement to be as bad as possible
Isn’t that what you are trying to say?
He never said that his message was just for some
It was for everyone
Not just the chosen ones
We live in our bubbles and we are scared of the sound
When it will finally burst
There are parts of our culture that we should leave
We are at a dawn of a new age
That age will come shortly
We either fall or we rise up
Some will become disillusioned along the way
We may fall a long way
Clean yourself up and carry on along his way
Know tribulation will befall us all
In many different ways
But this when his way should become clear
We will know what do
We are not without guidance
Some who fall astray have neglected his way
He was never hopeless
He knew that Allah had already won
It just depends on you
What are you going to do
Are you going to go him?
And find your way back
Is it not time we were honest
To admit we are not happy and that we should try another way
This way is waiting for you
Waiting for your footsteps
It won't be easy but if you cry out
You will get help
Believe and stand firm
Don’t listen to what they say
Listen to what he did
He didn't go to extremes
Follow the middle path
Don’t debase yourself
With anything else
Every single hadith applies to you
Apply it if you can
Even if it is just once
Even if its only one thing
Perfect it and move forward
I learn more about him everyday
And every day there is something new
There is so much that I cannot do
Because of my weakness
Why do we pretend to be who we are not
We scream yet there is no realisation
We make it hard for old friends and new
The only thing good about our claims is his name in it
We love but love is not enough and love is not the end of all things
Love means nothing without obedience
Love means nothing when it is just words
Do we want our words to be thrown back into our faces
Just because we claim does not mean we follow his path
Flundering and blundering in darkness
When the light showed us the way out
We chose to fall away
We chose to leave his love
We chose to walk another way
They said he had all the best characteristics of the Prophets (upon them peace)
They had an agreement to follow him
He was the one they all followed
He was the one they all loved
He was the one whose character they took from
O' Allah how you have blessed us with the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)
O' Allah; there is nothing like you, nothing overcomes you
Please allow us to see the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) with our sinful eyes
Even though we don’t deserve it
O' Allah please forgive our sins and enter us into heaven
So we can see the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and see you
O' Allah the creator of everything you created his beauty
Without it the world wouldn’t be the same.
All you have to do is follow his way
We are happy with Allah as our Lord, with Islam as our religion
And with Muhammad (may Allah bestow upon him peace and blessings) as our Prophet.
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Are we bothered about it? I mean really bothered. Do we shake when we realise that all our faults will open for everyone to see and we will not be able to deny, do we? All those sins we committed in the darkness of the night will be exposed for everyone to see.
Are we thinking about it? Do we pause for a moment and think that this could be may last moment on Earth before I am about to be buried in it. Do I really want to die with all these sins weighting on top of me?
Are we asleep when our tongues move from sin to sin thinking that we are the ‘saved’ ones and that everyone else is going to be punished but not us, no, not our select bunch!
We are asleep. Really and truly we are asleep because if we were awake we would not think about the moment that we will resurrected and then be given our books. The book we have spent a lifetime filling with sins and we did not care. The book that we forgot about; the book we did not heed to write good in is given to us.
How can you complain now? You cannot edit it now; it is too late! What are we going to do then? What? Do you like to look at sins? It will make you feel sick but who did them? Are you ready to die? Think about it! At any moment of your life you will be taken out of this world not a moment of your choosing but a moment of His choosing. In fact the moment has been laid down and there is nothing that will change it. So what are you going to do? Change your ways or just go back to being the same as you were before?
We are not bothered are we? If we were then we would change our ways. We would think that this moment is my last and that’s it! Game over! What are you going to do now? You cannot go back and do things again. This is it!
What makes me think, is that this world is the means to a final abode and someone who does not use the means, means that they do not care! If you do not care about your deen then you do not care about the day and if you do not care about the day then you are the living dead. I do not mean you are a zombie but you are a person who dreams about entering paradise and does not want to work for it. You are too bothered about other things that cause you nothing but loss. When you are about to do something; think is it going to benefit me on the day of judgement or not? If it isn’t then don’t do it! Leave it!
Would you like that you have done something worthy and then you are informed about its goodness? Or would you prefer that someone who inform you of your sins? Your choice , your bed and you have to lay in it. Make it a bed in paradise and not elsewhere as the alternative is unthinkable. Do you really want to take a chance and ruin yourself or do you want to be smart and prepare yourself for that day in the best way?
Al-Faqih Al-Bahir said, "If I knew with certainty that all my life would be one moment; then I would be agreived and I would fill it with righteous acts and obedience." (Nafahat Al-Arab p.264)
It’s up to you...
Saturday, April 17, 2010
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
This is something that we have touched on earlier but it needs to be re-itterated. We have to show respect to sacred knowledge and all that contains or bears sacred knowledge. This means books, papers, audio and of course scholars.
Respecting a scholar means let them finish speaking, never interrupt, showing humbleness in their presence, asking the right questions and showing them the upmost respect. For more details about this please see previous post.
Respecting religious materials is respecting anything with anything religious on it. It does not matter if it is Arabic, English, Urdu, Turkish, Malay or any other language. You have to respect it and treat it correctly. Some people think it is okay to place translations of the Quran on the floor, then refuse to pick it up when told to. If you are a Muslim and you need proof to show respect to the speech of God, then you better think again and wake up. How many things do we do without proof?
If you have respect to religious materials then this shows you are a good student. If you do not show respect then this makes me think that there is nothing good in that student of knowledge. The common person has an excuse because they have little knowledge but even then the common folk show the Quran a lot of respect.
Remember to never interrupt someone who recites a verse of the Quran, reads a hadith and then the speech of the companions etc. Let that person finish and disagree (if you must) with the opinion but do not interrupt the narration.
Sunday, April 11, 2010
We have a dire need for education in our Muslim societies not just in Urdu but in English and the fact that most committees favour Imams who come from ‘back home’ rather than anyone who can speak English is a major and serious problem that needs to be addressed.
How did we get to this?
When Muslims came to the West during the last century it was not to spread Islam but it was to escape their economic situation. So there was little in the way of knowledge amongst the people. Eventually people became concerned about their religion and this lead to founding Masjids.
Committees were made up of concerned people, some were religious and others were not. This meant that they did not understand that every community needs knowledge, Islamic knowledge.
They tried to envisage Islam as how it was ‘back home’ so they copied everything including the prayer times.
So these committees were based upon whoever wished to be part of it and when they decided that they needed an Imam. One was recommended and sent from their own country. The Imam is now thrown into cauldron of politics which does not truly understand. Yet how can any of this answer the question; what does it mean to be British and live in the west?
From this beginning we arrive to our time. In which we see the same families controlling the types of things that take part in the community. We build massive masjids which are just empty buildings which are not even close to being full at any time of the year. Yet so many committee members just want to build larger and larger Masjids, what is the point when most of them are unaware of the prayer and cannot recite the Quran correctly. Instead why don't we pay a good salary to a teacher to make scholars in our community, is this so absurd?
Many Masjids committees have people who are against Islamic knowledge. They either want only their people to deliver knowledge or they do not want these events taking place in the masjids. The list is a very sad one and each reason is illogical. Any Muslim who is against the teaching of Islamic knowledge wants Islam to die out! Not only that he is also against the way of the Prophet (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) because his way was knowledge! He taught us how to pray, to fast, how to treat people, the Quran and all those things that so many of us take for granted.
What are we going to be like, if this knowledge is going to be lost? We receive reports of scholars dying all the time and who are taking their places? Is anyone taking their places?
We only allow specific people to teach and not others because we are not sure about them, this is absolutely pathetic. Committees who are against knowledge are an obstacle to Islamic knowledge. Do you want me to say it any clearer?
Scholars also have advisor roles which they need to play in assisting and not preventing the imparting of sacred knowledge. Many a time 'scholars' are obstacles to learning rather than assisting learning. Is it because we could be a threat to their existence by taking their jobs? Or would it be the simple case that we would leave those who have been misleading us all these years? Scholars who prevent the spread of sacred knowledge should be sent to an empty village to live out the remainder of their years because they are no good here.
What is the way out?
The way out is knowledge and it is a simple as that. Knowledge of Islam can help us solve so many problems in our communities. For example it is not permissible in Islam to force someone to marry someone else. So why do we have other peoples telling us that we cannot do this? We should already know this and we should not be forcing anyone into an unhappy marriage. Yes they are your children but look at their needs as well. For their sake as much as yours!
We need to do either one of two things, either we try to work with our elders and if they are ready and receptive. If they are not receptive then we need to think about forming our centres of learning or our own masjids. I would prefer to work with the elders because having their valuable input is something us youngsters need but if they want to stand in our way then other avenues must be sought.
We believe that many problems in our communities could be solved if the right knowledge was imparted by those who are living the knowledge. Words from people who do not practice their knowledge means nothing, at the end of the day. It is only those people who practice change hearts.
We really do not have the luxury of time and we need to speed up this process of founding teaching centres of sound Islamic learning in the classical tradition.
I am not discounting the elders in our communities because they are absolutely irreplaceable but they saw what they community needed in their time and we must do what our community needs in this time. Our elders are blessing and we would not want to be without them.
I do think that the Masjids we have now may not be put into full use until many, many years into the future.
There are some masjids who are attempting to address the problem of knowledge and may Allah bless them to continue.
We have identified key areas that need addressing after the knowledge issue is responded to:
1. Disenfranchised Muslims.
We have a significant number of Muslims who do not understand Islam. They need to be explained correctly what things are. This may be too late for some but for others this is may be just in time.
2. Islamic Outreach.
We are going to post something about this soon so read that. But for now, are people explaining Islam to non Muslims? Special classes are needed for those who enter Islam.
They need to know their rights and so do we, because many of us have forgotten or we just plainly do not know.
We have a large amount of Muslims who are unmarried. This is an issue that the Masjids could take a proactive role in. Many Muslims need counselling services which are unavailable in most places.
5. Other social problems
We have Muslims in myriad of social problems such as clashes with culture and living in the West. Solutions need to be brought to the table and implemented. We have drug addicts and alcoholics who are brushed aside in these communities. We need to help these people!
If one masjid cannot do this then why don’t an area of people band together and do one part of this? Is that really asking for too much? Why do we need to rely on the government to help when we should cleaning up our own mess?
In short people on boards should be ready to do more and if they are not willing to do anything then they should resign and let someone else take their place. The people who should be on the board are Muslims who are knowledgeable and have studied the religion rather than people who do not even know what breaks their prayer!
One of the main reasons why Islam was not established in America, when it came there in the 16th century, was because Islamic knowledge was not transmitted. Also due to the efforts of the inquisition who were as active there as they were in Spain.
They made sure that Muslims did not marry other Muslims and prevented them for teaching anything in Arabic. So Islam was not established soundly until recent times. Islam had all but died out for a hundred years that is why you might find people with Muslim names but who are Christians. Why because knowledge was not passed onto their children until they were just Muslim in name and then their subsequent offspring were just Muslim in name. Do you really want that for your offspring?
Islam has never, ever, ever been revived by anything else but Islamic knowledge. So all those who are calling to unity, love and anything else have failed and will continue to fail until they wake up to this.
If we do not make a serious effort to change our situation in these terms then we may see the dissolution of Islam in the next generation. You can see this already occurring as many good practices of our elders are all but gone. Then the only people teaching Islam will be those who are teaching a harsh type of bedouin Islam that no one wants but it will be accepted by people’s children because there isn’t anything else.
Is it not high time that we woke up?
Friday, April 09, 2010
Wednesday, April 07, 2010
Sunday, April 04, 2010
After ending the call I began to think about what he said. The events that are played out on a world level were taken advantage of by the far right groups. They played on this fear then fed the public their nonsense. Then the following thought began to plague me, was it because of our lack of engagement of Islam in our communities? Had it contributed to the growth of these groups? For the first time in history these groups were having a greater impact and they were winning votes as well as seats in local councils.
They used to propagate fear and hatred about foreigners but now they openly attack Muslims. Another contributing factor was the growth of political apathy that had lead to resentment of the ruling party.
They also used badly reported localised events to drive their message home.
What was our reaction?
Like anything else, in this country, our reaction was minimal if anything. Other groups who are against these groups continued their opposition to them. These groups are mostly made up of non-Muslims. Local leaders did speak up but were their voices drowned out by the media and relegated to a line or two. Or was it the quality of the speakers who could not speak English fluently, so could not get their views eloquently across.
What is the solution?
The only solution is that we must engage in forms of outreach that are relevant to the countries that we live in not the countries that we come from. Some forms of outreach work in countries that we come from but do not work here. For example the Naat or Qasida gathering was an event that anyone could attend. This was relevant in places that we come from but not in the UK, as these events are held behind closed doors. So they do not have the same relevance that they would have if they were held in the Indo-Pak world.
We also need to have people who are trained to speak to the media.
We need to engage with religious societies and use interfaith gatherings to our advantage and not use them to discredit the religion. At the same time it does concern me that many people are not into faith so a large amount of the target audience is missed out.
We have deep social problems that need to be tackled and solved. These problems are swept under the carpet and are ignored. We have to show some courage and attempt to resolve our problems.
Friday, April 02, 2010
(The man agreed and whilst the bird was in his hand he said), “Do not lament what has been lost.” The man let it go and it perched on the tree and said, “Do not believe something that can never be.” Then when it reached the mountain and it proclaimed, “O unfortunate one, if you had killed me then you would have found in my belly two pearls, each one worth twenty mithqals.”
The man bit his lip out of grief then said, “What was the third?” It replied, “Did you forget the first two? So how could I tell you the third? Did I not tell you not to lament what has been lost and not to believe something that can never be? I am flesh, blood and feathers; there is no twenty pieces in me! So how could there be two pieces weighting twenty mithqals in my belly!” Then it spread its wings and flew away.
This story can be found in many works of Imam Ghazali (may Allah be pleased with him) and others, this is from Nafhat Al-Arab/Breeze of the Arabs p.58.
One mithqal is about 3 grams in weight so the bird tricked the man saying he had sixty grams worth of pearls in its belly. Smart bird!!
Thursday, April 01, 2010
The Heart of a Muslim
Sabr and Sukr/ Pateince and Gratitude