Monday 26 January 2015

Hadith: Do good...

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: "Do not be people without minds of your own, saying that if others treat you well you will treat them well and that if they do wrong you will do wrong. But (instead) accustom yourselves to do good if people do good and not to do wrong if they do evil." Al-Tirmidhi

Monday 19 January 2015

Three duties we owe each other at times of difficulty


Terrorists carry out their heinous acts to gain publicity for their cause but what is far more sinister is their motive to create division and conflict in the country and it is this that we need to be aware of and not let them succeed. The entire community has to show solidarity and unity. This means that we stand together, united against such evil forces that try to divide our different communities and create rift amongst us. I’m very pleased to say that from the President of France to Presidents of mosques in France, Muslims and non-Muslims have remained united against the terrorists.

The Prophet forgives his tormentors; The trip to Taif

The intense trials and tribulations of the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) trip to the city of Taif illustrate in abundance the virtues of forgiveness and forbearance, which were the hallmark of his gentle, stoical personality.  This trip came soon after the death of his beloved wife and constant companion of 25 years Khadija (may Allah be pleased with her) as well as that of his patron uncle Abu Talib who had been an impenetrable bulwark that stood between his nephew and the brutal Quraish. He decided to try the nearby city of Taif hoping that his call to Islam would find more willing recipients there than he was having at that time in Makka. However, the tribe of Thaqif, who ruled the city, not only declined to listen to him but mocked and ridiculed him mercilessly and expelled him from the city.
In the face of such a fierce opposition, the beloved Prophet (peace be upon him) had no choice but to retreat hastily. They ran after him, pelting him with stones which caused him severe injuries. In excruciating mental, physical and emotional pain, bleeding and exhausted, he took refuge in a vineyard. Feeling dejected, forlorn, helpless and humiliated he raised his hands and prayed a prayer which has become an iconic symbol of utter submission to the will of God in the face of complete and total despair. Read the intensity, the beauty and the moving humility of this magnificent supplication;
O God! Please consider my weakness, my shortage of means, and the little respect  people have of me. Oh, most Merciful God! You are the Lord of the oppressed and you are my Lord. To whom would you leave my fate? To a stranger who insults me? Or to an enemy who dominates me? Would I that you have no wrath against me! Your pleasure alone is my objective.”

Saturday 17 January 2015

Si Kaddour ben Ghabrit- Imam of the Grande Mosquée de Paris

Seeing as we're going through the usual cycle holding all Muslims to account for the horrific crimes of a handful of individuals...

The individual pictured below is Si Kaddour ben Ghabrit, the first Imam of the Grande Mosquée de Paris, to this day one of the largest Mosques in France. The Mosque was built in 1926 by the French government as a token of gratitude to French muslims who had fought and died defending their country in the First World War.

When France fell under Nazi occupation in the Summer of 1940, the Mosque first sheltered resistance fighters and North Africans who had escaped from German POW camps, yet the Mosque's actions became most prominent in the Summer of 1942, when the Nazi collaborator regime planned the round-up of Parisian Jews. They were to be handed over to the Germans, before being sent to death camps in the east.

More than 1,700 people are thought to have found short-term shelter in apartments on or near the grounds of the mosque. Ghabrit set up an alert system that allowed fugitives to disappear swiftly in case of a raid - if necessary to the prayer room's women's section, where men were normally not admitted. He wrote numerous false birth certificates making Jewish children into Muslims. 

After providing initial sanctuary, the members of the mosque helped smuggle the Jews out to safety in Algeria or Spain, a task enabled by access to Paris's sewers directly beneath the mosque's grounds provided an escape path, as did the mosque's proximity to the city's central wine market on the Seine, saving them from almost certain death at Nazi hands.

In times like this it's important to remember that within living memory there were regimes in Europe seeking to murder minority groups whilst also loudly emphasising their Christian nature. At the same time there were Muslims risking their own lives to save Jews and other victims of persection. As a society we wouldn't tolerate anyone demanding all Christians apologise for the crimes of Vichy France yet some seem happy to act in a similarly idiotic manner in regards to Muslims and the criminals who claim to represent their faith.

When you do so your playing into the hands of those who wanted to round-up the Jews, and now want to round-up the Muslims.

"In exile like ourselves, workers like ourselves. They are our brothers. Their children are like our own children. The one who encounters one of his children must give that child shelter and protection for as long as misfortune, or sorrow, lasts."

~ Si Kaddour ben Ghabrit

(taken from FB) 

Thursday 15 January 2015

Did Charlie Hebdo's cover get it right?


 President Hollande and other heads of state in Paris

Millions of French people took to the streets at the weekend to express their unity against terror attacks, but it has taken just 48 hours to undo this spirit. Because that's exactly what the new cover of Charlie Hebdo magazine risks doing. In depicting the prophet Muhammad it is deliberately offending the vast majority of Muslims around the world. And in caricaturing him holding a "Je suis Charlie" placard, they are adding insult to injury by claiming the prophet would support the values of the magazine, which for years has been widely criticised for targeting Muslims, in particular, under the cover of free speech.

Yes, of course Charlie Hebdo has the right to do this; but why would they want to, given the symbolism of Sunday's gatherings across France? Surely now is the time to move forward, to isolate the extremist murderers and bring the nation together; not to trumpet your rights by trampling over others' sensitivities, losing friends in the process.

At its core is the common misunderstanding in the west – that because all Muslim extremists hate depictions of the prophet, therefore all people who hate such depictions are Muslim extremists. The vast majority of Muslims object to these depictions but despise the terror attacks even more. So to retaliate against two terrorists by lashing out at potentially 1.6 billion people simply doesn't make sense.

This confusion is apparent on another level. Above Charlie Hebdo's drawing of the "prophet" it says "All is forgiven" (Tout est pardonné). But who is being forgiven? Is this aimed at the killers – which would be strange because they barely deserve this after their acts of terror, and they are not referenced in the drawing?

More likely, given the image of the prophet, it's aimed at Muslims in general. But why do Muslims need to be forgiven? They have done nothing wrong. In claiming to be about forgiveness the cover therefore achieves the opposite, spreading guilt by association.

In affirming its "right" to free speech, Charlie Hebdo has used a blunt instrument to smash apart a genuine moment of hope and togetherness. France will be the poorer for it.

• Joseph Harker is assistant editor, Comment, at the Guardian

Full article:

Sunday 11 January 2015


"...there were scholars who wrote in support of celebrating the Mawlid such as Al-Suyuti (May Allah have mercy upon him) and, at the same time, there were others who wrote against it. Thus, in my opinion, there is no need to drag this discussion out, nor continue to argue about it any longer.
The Ruling:

Whoever wants to celebrate the Prophet’s (ﷺ) birthday should celebrate it and avoid doing any action contrary to Islamic Law. This act should be done with an intention that it is not a sunna nor an obligatory act. If these conditions are observed, and one is careful not to contradict Islamic Law, out of sincere love for the Prophet (Peace and blessing of Allah upon him), then, Allah willing, there is nothing wrong with this action and this person will be rewarded." - Shaykh Abdallah bin Bayyah

Thursday 8 January 2015

Meet Pakistan's Lady Cadets

Nur came to the academy by way of Mandi Bahauddin, a small and old-fashioned town in the central province of Punjab, where horse-driven carts still outnumber cars, and where girls have no place to continue their education past high school. When Nur was 16 years old, her father moved the family to Rawalpindi, a larger city near Islamabad, where she could stay in school. Her plight was not unusual: Of all countries in the world, Pakistan has the second-largest number of children without access to schools -- 5.4 million -- which includes 75 percent of primary-school-age girls. Most women have trouble finding jobs, and many are pushed into becoming teachers or housewives.
By joining the military, Nur and the other female cadets have guaranteed themselves employment for at least the next seven years, the required term of service.
Yet this is a bittersweet victory, as being a woman comes with difficulties outside of school and within it. Case in point: Bilal, a male cadet who will graduate with Nur and who did not give his last name, said he would never marry a female soldier. “I would prefer if she were interested in something else,” he said. “Someone has to look after the children.”
But Nur doesn’t mind such comments. Already past the national average age of marriage, she has no interest in becoming a housewife. She prefers the discipline of the army, and, she'll admit with a smile, she’s partial to the uniform. 

Tuesday 6 January 2015

Muslims of America

"I converted to Islam sixteen years ago. I am married and have two boys. My wife is originally from Yemen. I was born in Germany and raised in the USA since I was 5. Islam is a religion for all times, for all peoples and all places. Unfortunately, this is not reality in most Muslim communities where they are divided up along race, nationality, ethnicity and sects instead. In the US when a person says their shahada in the masjid there are loud shouts of “takbir” but in most cases that is the most attention that a convert will get. What most born Muslims do not understand is that people who convert often lose their families, friends and other important things in life. It is a conscious choice they make to embrace Islam.

 The Muslim community should rally around these new converts and make them feel part of a new, wider family circle. Instead, the community remains stuck in their cultural ways and if you do not fit neatly into one of these social constructs you are left out in the cold. The next time you are at your Jummah prayer notice how after Salat is over everyone seems to coalesce according to which ever particular group they are a part of. Palestinians here, Egyptians there, or if the masjid is progressive you might see Arabs hanging out together. You’ll see the Pakistanis hanging out with other Pakistanis, Bengalis with Bengalis. If you don’t belong to any group you don’t really know where to go and most often people are more than happy to let you stand alone. 

This is one reason why many converts will try to adopt a certain culture in regards to dress, speech or otherwise in an attempt to fit in. During the holidays, many converts have lost their families, so spend them alone. During Ramadan, it is rare for a convert to be included in an iftar since these tend to be family events, or amongst circles of friends, again broken down according to ethnicity. When it comes time to marriage, the “takbirs” from your Shahada are long gone. Most of these yelling “Allahu Akbar” because you became a Muslim would not consider you for your daughter. The issue is especially bad for African American converts because there is a serious race issue in the Muslim community. A large portion of people who convert either leave the religion altogether or make a choice to not participate in the Muslim community because of these issues.

 As I stated before, Islam is a religion for all people, places and times. The Prophet himself (saw) took wives from various countries and backgrounds. One of the biggest draw for many to Islam is the raceless nature of the religion, but the community has failed in this respect. We should all strive to follow our religion and not our culture, not our race, ethnicity or anything else. Let’s strive to remember what the Prophet said on this issue in his last Khutba, and what Allah (swt) said in The Quran: “O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.” 49:13. 
- Marc Springer ‪#‎NorthernVirginia‬
Taken from FB page 'Muslims of America'. 

Monday 5 January 2015

Pakistan needs laws against misogyny, not blasphemy

 The national narrative regarding blasphemy in Pakistan is that the offense is unpardonable: Once you utter words that disrespect the Prophet Muhammad, his companions or the Quran, only death or life imprisonment awaits you.
But earlier this month, Junaid Jamshed, an influential Islamic preacher, sought an alternative outcome. Accused of blasphemy by members of a different Islamic sect for remarks he made in a video posted on Facebook, Jamshed released a subsequent apology video, in which he pleaded ignorance and asked for forgiveness.
Jamshed’s case has attracted international attention and opened debate about whether blasphemy is pardonable. The week after the events, Dawn, Pakistan’s leading English newspaper, published a blog post outlining how Advocate Ismaeel Qureshi, the creator of Pakistan’s blasphemy law, has acknowledged the possibility that the regulation rests on an error in theological interpretation. Religious clerics and talk-show hosts on television devoted much airtime to discuss the blasphemy law and Jamshed’s apology video.
But one aspect of this episode ignored in the debate is the misogyny Jamshed displays in the alleged blasphemy video.
In the clip, Jamshed, speaking in front of a small group of men, tells them a story about how Ayesha, one of the wives of Muhammad, would often feign being ill to receive attention from him. The moral of the story, according to Jamshed, is that if Muhammad could not reform women’s crooked ways, then ordinary men do not stand a chance.
The message is simple: Even under the holiest of influences, women, by the simple virtue of being women, cannot be “fixed.”
Whether Jamshed committed blasphemy under Pakistani laws — and whether there is room for a pardon — is for the Pakistani courts to decide. But in this particular instance, Jamshed must be held accountable for more than the alleged blasphemy. And it is the moral responsibility of Pakistan’s media and civil society to call him out for imparting misogynist views to an unsuspecting audience.