Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Salman al-Farisi's (r.a.) Search for the Truth

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It was narrated that ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas (r.a.) said, “Salman al-Farisi told me his story from his own lips.”  And this is Salman’s (r.a.) story of his search for the Truth.

He said, “I was a Persian man, one of the people of Isfahan, from a village thereof called Jayy.  My father was the chieftain of his village, and I was the dearest of Allah’s Creation to him.  He loved me so much that he kept me in his house near the fire, as girls are kept in.  I strove hard in the Magian religion until I became the Keeper of the Fire, which I tended and did not let go out for a moment.  My father had a huge garden, and he was busy one day with some construction work, so he said, ‘O my son, I am too busy with this building today, go and check my garden,’ and he told me some of the things he wanted done.  I went out, heading towards his garden, and I passed by one of the Christian churches, where I could hear their voices as they were praying.  I did not know anything about the people because my father had kept me in his house.  When I passed by and heard their voices, I entered upon them to see what they were doing.  When I saw them, I was impressed with their prayer and I was attracted to their way.

I said, ‘By Allah, this is better than the religion that we follow.’  By Allah, I did not leave them until the sun set, and I forgot about my father’s garden and did not go there.  I asked them, ‘Where did this religion originate?’

They replied, ‘In Syria.’

Then I went back to my father, who had sent people out to look for me, and I had distracted him from all his work.  When I came to him, he asked, ‘O my son, where were you?  Did I not ask you to do what I asked?’

I said, ‘O my father, I passed by some people who were praying in a church of theirs, and I was impressed with what I saw of their religion.  By Allah, I stayed with them until the sun set.’

He said, ‘O my son, there is nothing good in that religion.  Your religion and the religion of your forefathers is better than that.’

I said, ‘No, by Allah, it is better than our religion.’  He was afraid for me, and he put fetters on my legs and kept me in his house.  I sent word to the Christians saying, ‘If any Christian merchants come to you from Syria, tell me about them.’

One of them said, ‘Some Christian merchants came to them from Syria, and they told me about them.’

I said to them, ‘When they have completed their business and want to go back to their own country, tell me about that.’  So, when they wanted to go back to their own country, they told me about that, and I threw off the irons from my legs and went out with them, until I came to Syria.  When I reached Syria, I asked, ‘Who is the best person in this religion?’

They replied, ‘The bishop in the church.’

So I went to him and said, ‘I like this religion, and I would like to stay with you and serve you in your church and learn from you and pray with you.’

He said, ‘Come in.’

So I went in with him, but he was a bad man.  He would command them and exhort them to give charity, but he kept a great deal of it for himself and did not give it to the poor; he had amassed seven chests of gold and silver.  I hated him deeply when I saw what he was doing, then he died and the Christians gathered to bury him.  I said to them, ‘This was a bad man; he commanded you and exhorted you to give charity, but when you brought it to him he kept it for himself and did not give any of it to the poor.’

They asked, ‘How do you know that?  Show us where his treasure is.’  So I showed them where it was and they brought out seven chests filled with gold and silver.

When they saw that they said, ‘By Allah, we will never bury him;’ then they crucified him and pelted him with stones.  Then they brought another man and appointed him in his place.  I have never seen a man who does not offer the five daily prayers who was better than him; he shunned this world and sought the hereafter and no one strove harder than him night and day.  I loved him as I had never loved anyone before, and I stayed with him for a while.  Then when he was about to die, I asked, ‘O So and so, I was with you and I loved you as I had never loved anyone before, and now the decree of Allah has come to you as you see; to whom do you advise me to go?  What do you command me to do?’

He replied, ‘O my son, by Allah, I do not know of anyone today who follows what I followed.  The people are doomed; they have changed and abandoned most of what they used to follow, except for a man in Mosul.  He is So and so, and he follows what I used to follow, so go and join him.’

When he passed away and was buried, I went to the man in Mosul.  I said to him, ‘O So and so, So and so advised me when he died to come to you, and he told me that you follow the same as he followed.’

He said to me, ‘Stay with me.’  So I stayed with him, and I found him to be a good man who followed the same as his companion had followed.  But soon he passed away.  When he was dying I asked him, ‘O So and so, So and so advised me to come to you and told me to join you, but now there has come to you from Allah what you see.  To whom do you advise me to go?  What do you command me to do?’

He replied, ‘O my son, by Allah I do not know of anyone who follows what we used to follow except a man in Nasayyibin.  He is So and so; go to him.’

When he passed away and was buried, I went to the man in Nasayyibin.  I came to him and told him my story and what my companion had told me to do.  He said, ‘Stay with me.’  So I stayed with him and I found him to be a follower of the same way as his two companions, and I stayed with a good man.  By Allah, soon death came upon him, and when he was dying I said to him, ‘O So and so, So and so advised me to go to So and so; then So and so advised me to come to you.  To whom do you advise me to go and what do you command me to do?’

He said, ‘O my son, by Allah we do not know of anyone left who follows our way and to whom I can tell you to go, except a man in ‘Ammuriyyah.  He follows something like what we follow.  If you wish, go to him, for he follows our way.’

When he passed away and was buried, I went to the man in ‘Ammuriyyah and told him my story.  He said, ‘Stay with me.’  So I stayed with a man who was following the same way as his companions.  I earned wealth until I had cows and sheep, then the Decree of Allah came to him.  When he was dying, I said to him, ‘O So and so, I was with So and so, and So and so told me to go to So and so; then So and so told me to go to So and so; then So and so told me to come to you.  To whom do you advise me to go and what do you command me to do?’

He replied, ‘O my son, by Allah, I do not know of anyone who follows our way to whom I can advise you to go.  But there has come the time of a prophet, who will be Sent with the religion of Abraham.  He will appear in the land of the Arabs and will migrate to a land between two lave fields, between which there are palm trees.  He will have characteristics that will not be hidden.  He will eat of what is given as a gift but he will not eat of what is given as charity.  Between his shoulder blades is the Seal of Prophethood.  If you can go to that land then do so.’

Then he passed away and was buried, and I stayed in ‘Ammuriyyah as long as Allah Willed I should stay, then some merchants of Kalb passed by me and I asked to them, ‘Will you take me to the land of the Arabs and I will give you these cows and sheep of mine?’

They replied, ‘Yes.’  So I gave them the cows and sheep, and they took me there, but when they brought me to Wadi al-Qura they wronged me and sold me as a slave to a Jewish man.  When I was with him, I saw the palm trees, and I hoped that this was the land that my companion had described to me, but I was not sure.  Whilst I was with him, a cousin of his from Banu Qurayzah came to him from Madina, and he sold me to him, and he took me to Madina.  By Allah, as soon as I saw it, I recognised it from the description given to me by my companion.

I stayed there, and Allah (s.w.t.) Sent His Messenger (s.a.w.), who stayed in Makkah as long as he stayed and I did not hear anything about him because I was so busy with the work of a slave.  Then he migrated to Madina, and by Allah, I was at the top of a palm tree belonging to my master, doing some work on it, and my master was sitting there.  Then a cousin of his came and stood beside him, and exclaimed, ‘May Allah kill Banu Qaylah!  By Allah, right now they are gathering in Quba’ to welcome a man who has come from Makkah today, and they say that he is a prophet.’

When I heard that, I began to shiver so much that I thought I would fall on top of my master.  I came down from the tree and started saying to that cousin of his, ‘What are you saying?  What are you saying?’

My master got angry and he struck me with his fist and said, ‘What has it got to do with you?  Go back to your work!’

I replied, ‘Nothing.  I just wanted to make sure of what he was saying.’  I had something that I had collected, and when evening came, I went to the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) when he was in Quba’, and I entered upon him and said to him, ‘I have heard that you are a righteous man and that you have companions who are strangers and are in need.  This is something that I have to give in charity, and I see that you are more in need of it than anyone else.’

I brought it near to him and the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) said to his companions: ‘Eat,’ but he refrained from eating.

I said to myself, ‘This is one.  Then I went away and collected some more.’

The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) moved to Madina, then I came to him and said, ‘I see that you do not eat charity; this is a gift with which I wish to honour you.’  The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) ate some of it and told his companions to eat too.

I said to myself, ‘This is two.’

Then I came to the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) when he was in Baqi’ al-Gharqad, where he had attended the funeral of one of his companions and he was wearing two shawls and was sitting among his companions.  I greeted him with salaam then I moved behind him, trying to look at his back to see the Seal that my companion had described to me.  When the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) saw me going behind him, he realised that I was trying to find confirmation of something that had been described to me, so he let his rida’ drop from his back, and I saw the Seal and recognised it.  Then I embraced him, kissing the Seal and weeping, and the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) said to me, ‘Turn around.’  So I turned around and I told him my story as I have told it to you, O ibn ‘Abbas.”

The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) wanted his companions to hear that.  Then Salman (r.a.) was kept busy with the work of a slave, until he had missed attending Badr and Uhud with the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.).  He said, “Then the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) said to me, ‘Draw up a contract of manumission, O Salman.’  So I draw up a contract of manumission with my master in return for three hundred palm trees which I would plant for him, and forty ‘uqiyah.  The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) said to his companions, ‘Help your brother.’  So they helped me with the palm trees, one man gave thirty small trees and another gave twenty, and another gave fifteen, and another gave ten; each man gave according to what he had, until they had collected three hundred small trees for me.  Then the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) said to me, ‘Go, O Salman, and dig the holes where they are to be planted.  When you have finished, come to me and I will plant them with my own hand.’  So I dug the holes for them, and my companions helped me, then when I had finished, I came to him and told him.  The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) came out with me and we started to bring the trees close and the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) planted them with his own hand.  By the One in Whose Hand is the soul of Salman, not one single tree among them died.  So I had paid off the trees but there still remained the money.

A piece of gold the size of an egg was brought to the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) from one of his campaigns.  He asked, ‘What happened to the Persian who had a contract of manumission?’  I was summoned to him and he said, ‘Take this and pay off what you owe, O Salman.’

I asked, ‘How could this pay off everything I owe, O Messenger of Allah?’

He said. ‘Take it, and Allah will Help you to pay off what you owe.’  So I took it and weighed it for them, and by the One in Whose Hand is the soul of Salman, it was forty ‘uqiyah, so I paid them their dues and I was set free.  I was present with the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) at al-Khandaq, and after that I did not miss any major event with him.”

Monday, 30 January 2017

A Story That Will Terrify Every Man Who Abuses A Woman And Every Mother In Law Who Abuses Her Daughter In Law

Image courtesy of Spreadit.com
Must read blog post by brother Babar Ahmad.
When I was in HM Prison Manchester I saw Rahan Arshad, a Pakistani taxi driver from Manchester who in 2006 battered his wife and three children, Adam (11), Abbas (8) and Henna (6), to death with a rounders bat.
After killing their mother, one by one he brought the three sleeping children downstairs where he battered their heads with the bat until he killed them.
At HM Prison Manchester I was on the high-security Category A unit but Arshad was on a separate unit, the VP (Vulnerable Prisoner) unit which houses rapists, paedophiles and rats (informers).
The prison service considers them “vulnerable” to attack by other prisoners and so they are kept on separate units where they have no contact with mainstream prisoners. They only have contact with each other.
When I was in HM Prison Long Lartin I saw Mahmod Mahmod, a Kurdish man from Mitcham, south London who, along with his brother in 2006, supervised the two-hour long rape, torture and slow death of his own 20-year old daughter Banaz Mahmod in a so-called “honour killing.”
Mahmod was also held in a Vulnerable Prisoner unit but I used to see him in the corner of the prisoner-family visits hall.
He would always be holding in his hand a “tasbeeh” rosary bead that the devout use to remember Allah. The shocking thing was that he just looked like an ordinary guy.

Thursday, 26 January 2017

This year adopt these five values

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2016 gave us Brexit, Trump, a growing sense of fear, nationalism, isolationism and fear of the other. We can change this by reforming our attitude, by adopting rules that can clearly guide our thinking so we can once more get closer to each other and become caring. Here are five golden values that will keep us on the straight and narrow, insha Allah.
Long ago there lived a brilliant teacher, a spiritual guide, an excellent life coach. He lived in a tranquil countryside house at the foot of the snow-capped Mount Judi, his zawiya (spiritual retreat) offered an oasis of peace in the most scenic part of North East Turkey not far from the Iranian border. So students and disciples flocked to him. His purpose was to produce good human beings, so people rushed to him for knowledge and wisdom. He was kind, considerate and a compassionate man seeking to make the world a peaceful and harmonious place. One day the old sage summoned a student who had stayed with him for a few years and was finally ready to graduate, so he asked him “what have you learnt from me?” He wanted to satisfy himself that he had done a decent job with this student, the student replied “sir, I have learnt five valuable things from you”. The wise old man was surprised that over the years he had learnt just five things.
The five values of inner peace
He replied “firstly, people should love neither wealth nor high positions nor fame, they should focus on doing the common good for Humanity. You have taught me we should not be greedy or mean, instead we should be generous and charitable. I have noticed how people spend their day and night in fact their entire life accumulating wealth and they don’t get to use it and when they die others inherit it. So what I have learnt from you is whatever good we are given by the Almighty we should use it in the best way for the good of others, in this way we will have peace of mind and also the pleasure of the Lord. This is what will give true happiness here and in the hereafter“.
The Wise old man smiled and asked, “what is the second thing you have learnt?” The student replied, “it is that one should always be mindful of the Lord, be attentive and aware and fully awake to his responsibilities so that he could be thankful and this will stop him from doing wicked things. One should always remember that sustenance for our worldly needs is provided by the Almighty Loving God, therefore we should not be overly concerned with it“.
By now the smile on the face of the sage was growing bigger and bigger, he then enquired, “what is the third thing you have learnt from me?” The young man replied, “O sage! The third thing that I have learnt from you is that one should never be jealous of the wealth and the status of others. This is a moral vice that eats away people’s good deeds like the fire burns dry wood. After all the real owner of all wealth is Allah. Therefore, never wish to see people deprived of their possessions“.
The Great Teacher nodded his head and approved his student’s wisdom. “So what next?” The student responded, “The fourth lesson is that Satan is the bitterest enemy, he just seeks to destroy and damage people’s lives and their happiness and therefore we ought to regard him as our enemy“.
The old man said you have spoken the truth and asked him to tell him the fifth lesson. The student replied, “my dear teacher, I have learnt that people’s real Helper and the Guardian is the Almighty Lord and no one else, therefore we should put trust in Him alone“. After hearing these words of wisdom the old sage was thankful to Allah for giving him such wonderful people to teach.
This articulate young man has shown us the need for spiritual values, the connection with the bigger reality that life is more than material things and secondly the need to care for others, when we are genuinely concerned about others our view of the world will change for the better and fear of the other will disappear.

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Propaganda against Islam Made Me Muslim

Propaganda against Islam Made Me Muslim
“I always grew up believing in something, so I knew there was a god,” Fuller, a sophomore English major, said. “I was just trying to figure out what I wanted to be, but I knew Baptist wasn’t for me.”
The second semester of her freshman year, Fuller was introduced to another student, a practicing Muslim, through a mutual friend. They quickly became friends, and he began to teach her about Islam.
“I started talking to my friend, and he was telling more about it, and I thought this kinda makes sense,” Fuller said. “In Islam, you use logic; in Christianity you have to go on blind faith. A lot of times, when I tried to question Christian beliefs, I was shut down. With Islam, they welcome doubts and attempt to dispel them.”
According to the Council on American-Islamic relations, “Muslims believe in One, Unique, and Incomparable God. They believe in the Day of Judgement and individual accountability for actions.” There are about 7 million Muslims in America, and according to the Foreign Policy Group, Islam is the second largest and fastest growing religion in the world. According to the Association of Religion Data Archives, there are about 4,000 Muslims in Mississippi.
Fuller said she knew her conversion would receive some mixed opinions, but she did not expect the amount of backlash she received on Facebook. While most of her college friends took the change in stride, the older generation had a problem with it.
“My heart is sad for the teenage girl I admired so much in church,” a member of Fuller’s former church posted on her wall. “You were such an inspiration to all the teenagers who saw you stand up for what you believed and not ashamed to be a Christian. Don’t be a stumbling block April to all these young souls.”
Although many of April’s friends at school have largely congratulated her, her grandfather was not nearly as accepting.
“A few days after I came out as Muslim, he called me to ask if I was going to be blowing up any buildings soon,” Fuller said.
While her dad’s side of the family has yet to come around, her mom’s side has openly embraced the change.
“My mom has always encouraged me to follow my heart, and this is no different,” Fuller said. “She educates herself on what I believe, can eat and all that so that she can understand what I’m going through and how she can best help me.”
Any friends that Fuller may have lost, she has more than made up. She joined the Muslim Student Association (where she is also the director of women affairs) at Ole Miss, which, according to Fuller, provides a place where she can be herself. The organization, made up mostly of full-time undergraduate and graduate students, has offered Fuller a new home.
“I love all my friends, don’t get me wrong,” Fuller said. “But since I joined the Muslim Student Association, I have a close group that I can talk about Islam with, as well as a group that won’t pressure me to do anything that goes against Islam.”
Since converting, Fuller has defied the Ole Miss student stereotype. She does not drink, keeping her away from the Square and frat parties, and did not visit the Grove for a single football game last season. Her hijab, a piece of clothing that covers the hair and neck, keeps her in more modest clothing choices (such as not showing ankles, hair, etc.) and not the oversized t-shirts and Nike shorts that Ole Miss girls are known for. As there is no mosque in Oxford, she travels to Memphis with a group every Sunday for worship, while still performing the mandatory five daily prayers

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Yazid ibn Mu'awiyah's Rape of Makkah & Madina

The Battle of al-Harrah took place after the massacre of the family of the Prophet (s.a.w.) at Karbala.  The army of Yazid ibn Mu’awiyah attacked Madina whose residents had revolted against his tyranny and outrage over the murder of the Ahl al-Bayt.  In Madina, they massacred 10,000 of the best Muslims then, including 700swahabah who fought valiantly until the end.  Among the dead were the swahabah who had participated in the Battle of Badr.  More than a 1,000 of their daughters were raped and impregnated.  For three entire days, there was no adzan and swalah in Masjid an-Nabawi.  The pillars of the mosques were used by Yazid’s Army to tether their horses and the animals defecated therein, soiling the place.

The pillage was done at Yazid’s explicit order as recorded in the history books.  The people of Madina, theswahabah and the tabi’un, were forced to give bay'ah to Yazid as slaves to him.  When a man from the Answarsaid, “I give bay’ah to him on the Qur’an and the sunnah”, they chopped off his head.

Imam al-Bukhari (r.a.) narrated in his Swahih, that the Prophet (s.a.w.) said, “My Madina is a Sacred Sanctuary, so whosoever commits crime therein, then upon him is the Curse of Allah, His angels and all people.”  On the strength of this hadits, we curse Yazid ibn Mu’awiyah, those who follow him and we rebuke those who think he is in the right to this day.  And the only group that disregards this hadits and honour Yazid is the Wahhabi sect.  Only a kafir would support a kafir.


Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Thanks to this Afghan woman, 6,000 imams have taken gender-sensitivity training

Afghani knew the task ahead was not going to be easy. Initially, imams were shown the manual without them knowing it would be used for their own training. Afghani and her colleagues told the imams they wanted input on what they had developed. This is how the discussions began, and suddenly the training was in full swing. “Sometimes women are very clever. More than men,” Afghani laughs.
Some of the imams were immediately receptive to Afghani’s ideas. But with others, some issues proved very difficult. “Women’s political participation was the hardest thing,” she says. “Even ... now, some of the imams are not on the same page as [us].”
Of the 6,000 imams who have been trained by NECDO, one is Mohammed Ehsan Saikal, the imam in Kabul who has kept his mosque open to women for 12 years. He has been working with Afghani during this time and often preaches about the importance of education for girls. “I have three daughters, and all of them are highly educated and go to work,” he says. “The best thing I have received from this organization is enlightenment and awareness.”
Nargis Hamdard, age 20, is a female student at Mr. Saikal’s madrasa, which operates alongside his mosque. Her family used to be against education for women, but since she started coming to the madrasa, their opinion has changed. “I have learned that in Islam, women have the right to work and study. Now my family also believes this,” she says.

Monday, 9 January 2017

Dua for repentance

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The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) made the following supplication: "My Lord, accept my repentance, wash away my sin. . .guide my heart, make true my tongue, and draw out malice from my breast." Sunan of Abu-Dawood