Thursday 31 May 2018

Inside the camps where China tries to brainwash Muslims until they love the party and hate their own culture

Since last spring, Chinese authorities in the heavily Muslim region of Xinjiang have ensnared tens, possibly hundreds of thousands of Muslim Chinese – and even foreign citizens – in mass internment camps. This detention campaign has swept across Xinjiang, a territory half the area of India, leading to what a US commission on China last month said is “the largest mass incarceration of a minority population in the world today.”
Chinese officials have largely avoided comment on the camps, but some have been quoted in state media as saying that ideological changes are needed to fight separatism and Islamic extremism. Radical Muslim Uygurs have killed hundreds in recent years, and China considers the region a threat to peace in a country where the majority is Han Chinese.
The internment programme aims to rewire the political thinking of detainees, erase their Islamic beliefs and reshape their very identities. The camps have expanded rapidly over the past year, with almost no judicial process or legal paperwork.
Detainees who most vigorously criticise the people and things they love are rewarded, and those who refuse to do so are punished with solitary confinement, beatings and food deprivation.


Wednesday 30 May 2018

Forced marriage: Mother jailed for four-and-a-half years

A mother who forced her daughter to marry a relative almost twice her age has been sentenced to four-and-a-half years in prison.
The woman from Birmingham, who is in her 40s, duped the then 17-year-old into going to Pakistan in September 2016 to wed the man.
The girl became pregnant by him when she was 13 and he was 29, which her mother saw as a "marriage contract".
The case is the first successful prosecution of its type.
Sentencing the mother at Birmingham Crown Court, Judge Patrick Thomas QC said the victim had been "sold for her passport".
Neither the mother nor daughter can be identified for legal reasons.
Jurors had heard the daughter, now aged 19, was fooled into travelling to Pakistan on the promise of getting an iPhone for her 18th birthday.

'Cruelly deceived'

When the plan to marry her to the relative 16 years her senior was revealed, the girl protested. In response her mother threatened to burn her passport and assaulted her.
"It takes no imagination to understand the terror she must have felt", the judge said.
"You had cruelly deceived her. She was frightened, alone, held against her will, being forced into a marriage she dreaded.
"You must have known that was her state of mind. Yet for your own purposes, you drove the marriage through."
Prosecutor Deborah Gould read a victim statement to the court in which the girl said she was proud of herself for coming forward and wanted other young women who found themselves in similar situations to ask for help.
The court heard how the wedding was the defendant's idea. The victim's father, who is divorced from her mother, eventually found out and told social services and police.
The mother was found guilty on Tuesday of two counts of forced marriage and a count of perjury after she lied to the High Court about the incident.

Thursday 24 May 2018

Here’s why people are afraid to denounce the genocidal brutality of the Israeli regime

Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
And some, it seems, examine the worst horrors with notepad in hand, keen to work out how they can achieve the same and get away with it.
So we come to the atrocities of the nation of Israel.
If the people of Gaza, imprisoned behind the apartheid wall imposed by Israel, may be likened to the inmates of a concentration camp – and I think they can…
And if their only defence against the Israel Defence Force thugs who murdered them on Monday was slings and stones – and I think it was…
Then it seems clear that Benjamin Netanyahu has launched a little Holocaust, all of his own, against the Palestinian people.
I know – accusing Israel of behaviour similar to that of Nazi Germany is an anti-Semitic trope. We’re all told we must not do it.
But that implies responsibility on the part of that country – not to emulate the Nazis in any way. It is a responsibility that the current Israeli government has scorned.
Netanyahu and his cronies are attacking Palestinian people purely because of who they are, and the fact that they live on land and occupy property he wants to steal.
A statement is not anti-Semitic if it is factually correct. And it is factually correct that Benjamin Netanyahu and the government of Israel are carrying out the racist, Islamophobic extermination of the Palestinian people.
The massacre of nearly 60 unarmed Palestinians – with more than 2,000 injured – is just the latest item on that agenda.
That it should happen on the 70th anniversary of the establishment of Israel as a nation only amplifies the crime. What happened – did Mr Netanyahu wake up and say to himself, “This is a great day – I think I’ll celebrate by murdering some Arabs”? That is, after all, what he did.
And what response does he receive from the international community and the media? Silence – or unrestrained approval.
It seems the threat of being labelled “anti-Semite” hangs heavily on some. To my colleagues in the mainstream media who don’t have the guts to stand up against brutality, I say: Shame on you. You disgrace us all.
Of course, the 70th anniversary of the establishment of Israel is also the 70th anniversary of the day Palestinians were turfed off land that had previously been theirs. They call it the Nakba, which means “catastrophe”:

Wednesday 23 May 2018

Why 80% of American Muslims fast during Ramadan. (It's not about the food.)

According to a survey published last year by the Pew Research Center, 80% of American Muslims observe the holy month by fasting. In that 80%, there is little distinction between Muslims who were born overseas or in the United States, black or white, men or women.
Even more surprising is the fact that American Muslims are far less likely to observe another of Islam's most fundamental pillars, prayer. Only 39% of American-born Muslims, and 44% of foreign-born Muslims, say they pray five times a day. 

This may at first seem puzzling. Why are some Muslims more likely to fast during Ramadan, a difficult spiritual practice, than perform the relatively routine rituals of praying daily?
One clue may lie in a recent Cigna study showing that loneliness has reached epidemic proportions in the United States, with about half of Americans feeling alone or finding that they lack meaningful daily social interactions, such as extended conversations with family or friends.

People crave a sense of being valued by others, feeling an attachment to a community, and that may be why so many Muslims hold on to Ramadan, even -- or maybe especially -- when tough times face the community.

Many Muslims who do not attend the mosque year-roun
d come almost nightly during the month of Ramadan. Every night the mosque is filled with prayers, food, socializing and fundraisers. In truth, almost every Muslim will attest to reading more Quran and praying more in that one month than they do throughout the entire year. It's a team effort that picks up, even if temporarily, the weakest member.
It's also that positive, feel good representation of unity within diversity and culture that most Muslims want to be a part of, as well as proudly express to the world. It's not uncommon to find Christians in places like Syria and Egypt fasting with the Muslim majority. (And no, it's not because they've been threatened with murder if they don't.)
But Islam is more than an identity. Embedded within Islam are a set of normative practices, and those practices matter. They are what turns a loose, passive identification with Islam into a flourishing faith, with benefits for us all. In the tradition of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), fasting, like prayer, is meant to primarily be an act of sincere devotion to the God who lovingly sustains us.
We spend 11 months of the year focusing on what feeds our body. It's worth taking the opportunity this month to ask how we can feed our souls by building that connection with God, and being mindful and grateful for the blessings we consume every day.
And in the process of restraining ourselves from the blessings so readily available to us, we naturally develop empathy for those who aren't as fortunate. It's a special type of worship that is incredibly both sacred and fulfilling. It gives a spiritual dimension to being unapologetically Muslim in America.

Tuesday 22 May 2018

Don’t Mess With This Muslim From Texas—He Just Got Elected!

A Muslim immigrant winning an election in Trump’s America, where he’s made anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant bigotry a cornerstone of his campaign, is truly inspiring—especially in a red state like Texas. While Bhojani was subject to anti-Muslim attacks during the campaign, his win truly represents a victory of American values over Trump’s un-American views.
But this wasn’t an easy win for Bhojani, who possesses all the qualifications of someone who should easily win a local race. He’s a Boy Scout leader, a family man, has served on the city’s parks board for four years and is a lawyer practicing in the area. If he were Christian and white, I bet the GOP would’ve loved to recruit Bhojani.
But he’s not. Bhojani is a brown, Muslim Pakistani immigrant who came to America in 1999. And while the election was non-partisan, that didn’t stop a Republican state representative—who was not even a candidate in the race—from trying to gin up anti-Muslim animus. So there was Texas representative and Trump wannabe Jonathan Stickland doing his best to scare local voters about the dangers of a Muslim American seeking elected office.
Stickland, a Tea Party darling (but of course!), warned in a Facebook post that Bhojani was a Muslim, adding that “His ideas for our community would scare a majority of our residents but he’s very sneaky in how he presents himself.” (Interestingly, Stickland uses “sneaky” which historically had been used to smear Jews but now is also used to demonize Muslims.) Stickland warned that if elected, Bhojani would make "massive changes" to their mid-size city, clearly playing on fears of changing demographics and anti-Muslim sentiment.

Saturday 19 May 2018

Qur'an video lectures and linguistic miracles

We are working on collecting video lectures and linguistic miracles of Qur'an in one place. We invite you this Ramadan to check them out and Inshallah benefit from them. Follow this link:

Thursday 17 May 2018

How India's institutions are failing Muslims

Denial is a disease :(
In January, an eight-year-old girl was abducted, sexually assaulted and murdered in the Kathua district of Jammu and Kashmir. The girl was from the Bakarwal Muslim nomadic community. The eight men accused of participating in her abduction, assault and murder, on the other hand, are Hindus. The primary accused is a retired revenue official, while one of the others is a police officer.
When the girl's body was discovered near a temple in the forest, almost a week after her disappearance, Bakarwals demanded a special inquiry. The court-monitored investigation revealed that her abduction, rape and murder were purposeful and preplanned. It indicated that the attack on the girl aimed to scare the Bakarwal community away from Kathua.
Today, many people from the Hindu community, against all evidence, seems to be convinced that this crime could not have been committed by Hindus. Instead, they allege that the child must have been killed by the Rohingya or the Bakarwals themselves. They claim the entire case is a Muslim-Kashmiri conspiracy aiming to undermine the Hindus. 

What started as a demand for a probe by a higher impartial agency has now taken a definitive anti-Muslim turn, with the local Hindu population outright denying the possibility of Hindus being involved in the crime. 
But these anti-Muslim sentiments are not only being promoted by Kathua lawyers or members of the public. India's top institutions, and even the ruling party, seem to be following a similar agenda. 
After lawyers tried to stop the investigative team from filing the charge sheet against the men accused of the murder, the photos and videos of the agitation were shared widely in the media. Following a strong public reaction to the incident, the Supreme Court instructed the Bar Council of India (BCI) to send a fact-finding team to Kathua.
In their report to the top court, the BCI said the Kathua lawyers didn't prevent the special investigative team from filing the charge sheet and blamed the media for "misreporting". In fact, the team went beyond its mandate and even said the "demand" for a CBI probe into the crime "seems to be justified".
Many members of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have also openly put their support behind the accused and criticised the investigation. Two BJP ministers in the state of Jammu and Kashmir addressed a rally in support of the accused, which caused a public outcry across India and both ministers were forced to resign from their roles. 
But after that all the BJP ministers resigned from the ministry. When new members from the party joined the government, it was pointed out that at least one of them was present in the rally opposing the probe. The new deputy chief minister insensitively said that the Kathua rape and murder was a minor incident and was being unnecessarily hyped.

Tuesday 15 May 2018

Forgiveness-Prophetic Example

Do you know the Prophet's ﷺ daughter, Zaynab fell off a camel and suffered a miscarriage because of a man named Habbar who was trying to prevent her from migrating. Many years later, he came to Rasūlullāh ﷺ and guess what? the Prophet forgave him and he accepted Islam. 'Utba married the Prophet's daughter, Ruqayyah and divorced her out of spite. He came to Rasūlullāh ﷺ years later. Guess what? The Prophet ﷺ forgave him and he accepted Islam. The son of Abu Jahl waged war against him for two decades. Guess what? He came years later and Rasūlullāh ﷺ forgave him and he accepted Islam. Wahshi killed the Prophet's uncle Hamza. He came years later and guess what? Rasūlullāh ﷺ forgave him and he accepted Islam. Uthman ibn Talha would prevent him for entering the Ka'bah. Rasūlullāh ﷺ conquered Makkah and guess what? The Prophet ﷺ forgave him and gave him and his family the keys for the Ka'bah until the end of time; and he accepted Islam. Fadala came to assassinate Rasūlullāh whilst he was making Tawaf and guess what? He placed his hand on his chest, forgave him, and he accepted Islam.
Brothers and sisters, people have wronged you? Mocked you? Done bad to you? Cut you off? Learn from Rasūlullāh ﷺ. Their crimes were great but his mercy was greater.

From the FB status of Mohammad Aslam

Monday 14 May 2018

Since deciding to study law, Shaukat said: "I've walked about with a shroud wrapped around my head."

The woman in the brown burqa stood at the gate of court complex as men in suits shouldered past. With one hand, she clutched her son, and in the other, a piece of paper scrawled with a name.

The district police officer gave it to her when she complained about her husband's abuse. He told her to present it at the entrance of the sprawling court administration that serves the Swat Valley. Noorshad Begum couldn't read it, being illiterate.
She handed it to a court guard.

He immediately strode toward the woman whose name was scrawled on the slip: Mehnaz. She was easily identifiable — the only female lawyer there on a recent spring day, wearing a a black lawyer's robe over her long white outfit, her hair covered by a headscarf and face by a veil.

"I often fight cases free of cost for poor people," said Mehnaz, who, like many Pakistanis, goes by one name. "This woman can't afford to pay for a lawyer," she said, flipping through referral documents Noorshad Begum kept in a plastic bag.
"My husband married another woman," Noorshad Begum explained. "He abandoned me. I have five children. He doesn't bother to ask about us."
The final straw: he took the dowry money she'd saved for their daughter's marriage.

"She wants justice and her rights," said Mehnaz, summarizing the woman's case. Then, summarizing her life's desire, she said: "I want women to have rights like men."
Minutes later, the guard stopped Mehnaz again — to direct her to a nearby room, where another woman sat with a baby. She appeared to have recently been crying and spoke to Mehnaz in confidence.

Mehnaz and other women lawyers do what they can, helping women to obtain divorces, custody of children and inheritance. In the seven years since she's been practicing law, Mehnaz estimates that she's helped hundreds of women in the Swat Valley, offering free legal counsel to some and representing others. She handles cases for male clients as well.
The Pakistani Taliban ruled here a decade ago, imposing their harsh interpretation of Islamic law. The military pushed them out in 2009 and the government mostly resumed control.

But many women lead cloistered lives, regardless of who is in power. They are rarely seen on the grubby streets of Mingora, Swat's main city. When they do appear, they are draped in scarves that cover their hair and much of their faces. Other women don burqas. Few women work outside the home.

Mehnaz is one of 12 female lawyers in this administrative district within Swat that numbers 700,000 people, according to Gohar Ali Khan, a senior advocate based in Mingora. Khan said there were about 500 male lawyers.
As a teenager, Mehnaz saw her male relatives cheat their sisters out of their inheritance of land – a key asset in the fertile Swat River plain. Traditionally, Swat's women do not inherit, even though under Pakistani law, they are entitled to half the amount that their male siblings would receive.
Mehnaz recalled her male relatives saying to their sisters: "Our parents died in our house. There's nothing for you." She said those women were poor and that inheritance could have helped them.

"When I saw that women weren't given their rights," she says, "I decided I would be a lawyer. I'd help them get justice."
Her father, a schoolteacher, told her to forget it. He wanted her to be a teacher like him — it was a respectable job for women. Lawyering was for men, she recalled him saying. Mehnaz fought back. It was the first of many battles. Her mother sided with her. Eventually, her father relented.
Then the Taliban took over her village of Matta in 2007 and burned down the girls' schools months later. Mehnaz had already finished high school, but Taliban insurgents were also attacking women who tried to commute to study in other areas. So Mehnaz moved to her aunt's house in Mingora, Swat's main town. It hadn't yet fallen to Taliban control and there was a coed institution, the Muslim Law College.
But clashes between the Pakistani army and the Taliban in 2009 upturned her studies again.
"I did my exams under very difficult circumstances," she recalled. "There was curfew, clashes," she said, "and I was afraid of the Taliban, too, that they might kill me for getting an education."
Mehnaz says at the time, the Taliban even threatened her parents.
By then, her father was her biggest cheerleader. He counseled her to not think of the threats: just focus on exams.
She did. And two years later, in 2011, Mehnaz began practicing as a lawyer. On her first day, she recalled, people exchanged glances as she entered the court complex in her black lawyer's robe.
"People found it strange," she said. "They'd say, 'Why has she joined a male profession?' "
Mehnaz said she decided to make a point of sitting in the large, shady courtyard reserved for lawyers.
"There were no girls at all!" she said with a laugh. "It was very difficult to sit here." Other lawyers stared at her; she says they made her feel out of place. But she tried as much as she could to ignore this and keep working. She felt she was fighting two battles — one on behalf of her clients in the courts and the other, to be taken seriously by the court administration.
On a recent day, Mehnaz was again the only woman in the courtyard, but her male colleagues greeted her with respectful salaams. "Now, thank God, things are better," she said.
Although the Taliban weren't in power after the army took control of the Swat Valley, extremists still threatened women trying to work and girls getting an education. Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman as she returned home from school in 2012.

During the same year, Taliban insurgents kidnapped the father of female lawyer Humaira Shaukat – to pressure her to quit her profession, Shaukat said. Although he was released after a month, the threats against her and her father have continued, she said – but she declined to provide further detail, saying it could put her in danger.
Since deciding to study law, Shaukat said: "I've walked about with a shroud wrapped around my head."
Also in 2012, as Taliban threats continued against women who worked and girls pursuing an education, Mehnaz said threats resumed against her own father.
"He was threatened through letters. Mobile phones. Sometimes through the post," she said.
Her father kept it secret from her, not wanting her to worry. But her siblings told her, fearing that she, too, might be in danger. "They were terrible years for me," she said. "It was risky. But I didn't lose courage."
These days, Mehnaz says she doesn't get threatened by the Taliban. But she recently joined a movement demanding rights for her ethnic minority, the Pashtuns. The movement emerged in January, and activists have been subject to arrest and disappearance.
Days after Mehnaz was interviewed by NPR, she sent a photograph of herself at a small protest. She was holding a sign saying, "We are demanding rights according to the constitution." She was the only woman, and she stood in the front row.

Wednesday 9 May 2018

Thousands Of Israelis Take To The Streets Calling For Palestinian Genocide

Massive rallies and Facebook campaigns calling for Palestinian genocide are ignored by Western mainstream media and Facebook despite concerns and collaborations aimed at stopping “calls to violence”.

Since last October, the Israeli government has accused Palestinians and their allies of “inciting violence” against Israelis, despite the fact that only 34 Israelis have died in that time frame compared to 230 Palestinians. The uptick in violence has been attributed to an internationally condemned Israeli encroachment of Palestinian lands in the contested West Bank.

Israeli government concern over recent violence has led them to arrest Palestinians for social media content that could potentially lead to crimes. So far, 145 Palestinians have been arrested this year for “pre-crime” via social media “incitement.” This practice eventually led to a collaboration between Facebook and the Israeli government, whose joint effort to curb social media “incitement” has led to the banning of several Facebook accounts of Palestinian journalists and news agencies.

However, social media, as well as mainstream Western media, have failed to condemn Israeli “incitement” against Palestinians, a practice that is surprisingly common considering the little to no attention it receives. Often these anti-Palestinian posts, pictures, and rallies are rife with calls for genocide, with cries of “Death to the whole Arab nation” and “Kill them all” surprisingly common.

Even the Times of Israel ran an op-ed article about “When Genocide is Permissible” in reference to Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. Though the post was eventually taken down, it points to an all-too-common and dangerous mentality that social media, the Israeli government, and Western media “conveniently” ignore.
An Israeli news agency even put the then-suspected preferential treatment to the test and found that Facebook and the Israeli authorities treated calls for revenge from Palestinians and Israelis very differently.

Even massive rallies calling for Palestinian genocide have been ignored entirely by social media and the corporate press. Earlier this year in April, a massive anti-Palestinian rally took place in Tel Aviv where thousands called for the death of all Arabs. The rally was organized to support an Israeli soldier who killed an already-wounded Palestinian by shooting him execution-style in the head.

The soldier, Elor Azaria, was charged with manslaughter for the killing, which occurred deep within Palestinian sovereign territory in the city of Hebron. Hebron contains an illegal Jewish settlement, but despite its illegality is protected by Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) all the same. This has led to frequent clashes between Israelis and Palestinians in the area.

The Tel-Aviv rally was attended by an estimated 2,000 people and several Israeli pop icons entertained attendees including singer Maor Edri, Moshik Afia, and Amos Elgali, along with rapper Subliminal. Chants of “Elor [the soldier] is a hero” and calls to release the soldier were common. One woman was photographed holding a sign reading “Kill them all.”
A Jewish reporter at the scene remarked that it seemed “more like a celebration of murder than anything.” Despite the obvious animosity and incitement made evident at the rally, it isn’t difficult to imagine what the response would have been if this has been a pro-Palestinian rally calling for the deaths of Jews. The stark divide between what is permissible for Palestinians and what is permissible for Israelis should concern us all as the widespread bias of social media, the press, and many governments threaten to blind us from the realities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Tuesday 8 May 2018

Israel has killed a Palestinian child every three days for 18 years, reveals shocking statistic

The Israeli occupation forces have killed around 2,000 Palestinian children since the start of the Second (Al-Aqsa) Intifada in September 2000, Anadolu reported on Friday. The figure was provided by Defence of Children International.
On average, that means a Palestinian child has been killed by a uniformed Israeli every three days for the past 18 years. It is a shocking statistic.
Ayed Qteesh, the director of the NGO’s Palestine Branch, told Anadolu that the Israelis also arrest and imprison around 700 Palestinian children every year. He alleged that the occupation security forces put Palestinian children before mock courts and treat them badly in order to extract “confessions” from them.

Monday 7 May 2018

My Hindu family still won’t accept my conversion to Islam, eight years later

I’m from a Hindu household and my mother is extremely religious.
Growing up I went to the temple and attended Hindu festivals with my family. As I grew older and learned more about the faith, I realized that I didn’t believe in Hinduism. Visits to the temple left me feeling empty and confused. I respected and still respect my parents’ belief in Hinduism.
But I never felt that connection with their religion.
When I was 17, my older sister converted to Islam. Though I supported her decision, I didn’t think much of it. She started calling everyone “brother” and “sister” and I honestly thought she’d joined a cult. But I watched her become happier and more confident.
My curiosity won out, and I researched as much as I could about Islam. The stories in the Quran felt more real to me than the myths and fables in Hinduism. The more I learned about it, the more I fell in love with the notion of one God and simplicity of it all.
For the first time, something made sense to me. Moreover, I felt a connection, a belonging that I didn’t realize I’d been missing. After a few months, I knew that this was something I could not go back from; it had taken root inside of me.
So, I converted to Islam. It was liberating. People talk about Islam as being something that restricts you, but I’ve never felt so much freedom as I did when I converted and chose my own place in the world.
I wish I could say that my parents aren’t racist. However, they were both bought up in India where tensions between Hindus and Muslims are high. Their environment provided them with this mentality of disliking Islam and everything associated with it. I knew this was something that I could not share with them.
My sister and I prayed behind closed doors, listening to see if anyone was approaching. Books, scarves and prayer mats were hidden in obscure places. Fasting during Ramadhan was tough to hide, but we did what we could. We washed plates to make it seem like we’d eaten and hid breakfast bars under our beds.
It was a struggle, but this only made our faith stronger. Over time, we both separately tried to talk to our mum about religion. I questioned what she believed in and why. When she had no answers she would get frustrated and angry.
A few years later, things took a bad turn when my mum walked in on my sister praying. The secret was out, and it led to one of the worst days of my life. Chairs were thrown, unforgivable things were said, and hearts were broken. My sister left the house, I don’t think she had any other choice. My mum was furious, unstable, and unable to listen to reason.
The day after my sister left, my mum asked me whether I was Muslim too. I told her I was. It went as well as I had expected. There were tears, disbelief, emotional blackmail, and then came the anger. I wasn’t forced to leave like my sister, but that also meant I couldn’t escape.
The months that followed were hard. I missed my sister; it had been easier when I had someone to hide behind. My mum stopped acknowledging me other than her daily outbursts of anger and disappointment. I wasn’t allowed to go out as she knew that the majority of my friends were Muslim. I felt trapped and broken.
There’s only so many times you can watch the person you love the most break down in front of you, because of you. I started to worry about my mum’s mental health; she was becoming more and more withdrawn.
The guilt was overwhelming and the situation was not getting better. So I relented. The next time my mum asked me if I was Muslim, I told her what she wanted to hear. Over time she stopped asking me and we stopped discussing religion. She started talking to me again and things went back to how they once had been.
I’ve spent a lot of time wondering why my mother reacted like she did. Whether it was due to her prejudices, her own conviction in her religion or fear of what the community would think.  Overall I understand that it was hard for her, I mean we were going against everything she had been brought up to believe.
I felt awful about hurting my mother, I still do. She could have asked me to give up anything else in the world, and I would have without a second thought. But I couldn’t give up something that had become such a part of me, I couldn’t make myself stop believing.
It’s been 8 years. I can’t say I regret the decision I made, I don’t. I still secretly pray, fast and observe my faith. Islam is the only thing that has kept me grounded when things have gotten hard. I love knowing that there is someone watching over me and that there is a reason for everything. The peace I feel when I pray is indescribable. I feel as though I have found a purpose in life. My faith is woven into my soul and to get rid of it would damage me beyond repair.
I know at some point I will need to stop hiding. I’m terrified of the future but I also have faith that whatever happens will happen for the best.
On the bright side, I think I have all the skills necessary to make a perfect spy.

Friday 4 May 2018

Status of teachers in Islam

(By: Muhammad Baqir Qarashi)

Islam has paid considerable attention to teachers for their being the first brick in the structure of social development and perfection and the cause of guiding and developing behaviors and mentalities of individuals and communities. The Prophet cared for teachers and showed their elevated standings. Once, he passed by two circles of people; the first was supplicating to God while the other listening to a teacher. He commented, "The first is begging Allah who may or may not give them. The second was learning. I have been sent as a teacher." Hence, he joined the second.

Teachers are exemplars

Teachers are indisputably their pupils' exemplars. Pupils acquire the good traits and sound trends, as well as the virtuous behavior and equanimity, from their teachers whose guidance and conducts penetrate to their hearts. On that account, teachers must over discipline themselves and train on virtuous and noble morals and manners to be the best exemplars of their pupils.

As a caliph appointed a teacher for his son, he instructed, "The reformation you will provide to my son should be a part of your self-reformation. Flaws of pupils are totally related to yours. They will deem good only what you deem good and deem evil only what you deem evil."

An educationist states, "Teachers are the good exemplars to whom the pupils refer inadvertently."

Another educationist says, "Majority of people are pursuing states of the speakers. Those who are not are very rare. Hence, teachers should care for themselves more than improving their ways of teaching."

It is said that admonitions of masters that neglect applying them are being very unstable in hearts.

Abul-Aswed ad-Dueli composed a couple of verses in which he said:

O, man that teaches others! You should have taught yourself first
Warn not against a manner while you are doing
This is the great shame on you
Begin with yourself in interdicting sins
If you do it then you are truly wise
Only then, your admonition will be acceded
And your words will be ensued and teaching be useful.

Self-disrespect and immorality of some teachers have been the cause that resulted in the present youth's irregularity and deviation from the social traditions.

Teachers' Rights

Teachers enjoy abundant rights on their pupils since they are sources of their perfection and familiarity with life experts. They are also sources of their mentalities' illumination. Therefore, teachers' rights are preferable to fathers'. Pupils are required to show their teachers the highest pictures of respect and reverence.

Imam Zain-ul-'Abidin says, "The right of your instructor is dignifying him and committing to solemnity in their classes and good listening and attending. You should provide for your instructor with mental presence and conceptual attendance and heart retaining and sight propinquity. The way of all these is laxness of desires and confine of lusts. You must understand that you are the emissary of what you have been received to the ignorant you may meet. Then, you should convey properly and never breach the mission if you should perform."

These golden words have been definitely suffocated with teachers' rights that bring about the nation's guidance in behavior and morals.

Teachers' Qualities and Responsibilities

The ancient Muslim educationists referred to a number of qualities and responsibilities that the teachers should apply on their teaching life. These qualities may participate in making the teachers the noble exemplars and achieving the prosperity of education and teaching for creating a generation of equanimity and good manners. The following is an exposition of these qualities:

- Teachers should offer their disciplinary activities for Allah's sake. Their acts must aim at reforming the Muslim young generations. They should avoid thinking of riches or positions. Deviation is the inevitable fate of any teacher that intends to gain good livelihood or high positions through his missions.

- Teachers should be of extraordinary faith in Allah the Exalted, and should perform the rituals for showing the Islamic norms and destroying the seditious. They should also acquire noble traits so that Allah will cast understanding in their minds.

Ibn Masud said, "Knowledge is not the abundance of narration. It is an illumination that Allah casts in minds."

- Teachers should clean their bodies and practice the other ablutionary activities such as clipping the nails and avoiding unpleasant smell.

- Teachers should copy the virtuous and pious men among the Prophet's companions and their followers.

- Teachers should be concerned with the serviceable knowledges and avoid the useless and disputable.

- Teachers should be concerned with the knowledges that take to the affairs of the Hereafter.

Shaqiq al-Belkhi asked his student, Hatem al-Asem about the questions he had learned. "How long have you been with me?" asked the teacher. "Thirty three years," answered the student.

"What have you learned all these years?" asked the teacher.

"I have learnt eight questions," replied the student.

The teacher expressed his sorrow and said, "I have finished my years with you, but you have learnt eight things only!"

"That is it," expressed the student, "I do not want to lie."

"Well," said the teacher, "Let me hear."

"They are the fondness of the good deeds, shoving the caprices away, decency and god-fearing, befriending the right, antagonizing the devil, adhering to obedience, leaving the humiliation of seeking earnings to people, and depending on God," counted the student.

The teacher expressed his great admiration and esteem and said, "O Hatem! May Allah prosper you. As I looked in the Torah, the Bible, the Psalms, and the Quran, I found these eight questions to be the pivot of these Books."

- Teachers should not engage themselves in positions higher than their abilities until they accomplish their profession and grant the certificate of master teachers.

As-Shibli says, "He whoever has the front before attaining suitability is meeting his shame."

- Teachers should discipline the pupils with their accounts and deeds in addition to words and admonition.

- Teachers should love their pupils and guard them against harm.

- Teachers should pardon and acquit the pupils who make mistakes. They should use intimation in attracting their attentions to their faults. If they do not conceive, teachers then may state the fault openly. Then comes the reproach. The Prophet 'alaihissalatu wassalam said, "Teach without chiding. Teachers are preferable to the scolders." He also said, "Use leniency to those whom you teach and those who learn you."

- Teachers should welcome the attendant pupils and ask about the absent.

- Teachers should not answer questions they ignore. They may confess they do not know.

Ibn Mas'ud said, "O people! He, whoever is familiar with something, should say it, otherwise he should say : Allah is the most knowledgeable. This saying is a part of knowledge."

- Teacher should realize the levels of the pupils and offer to them according to their understandings. They should intimate to the smart, elucidate for others, and repeat for the unintelligent.

- Teachers should refer to the unchanging rules and the exceptions of the materials they teach. They should also urge them on working and ask them to repeat the matters they had to memorize. They should also ask them for testing their understandings and order them of moderation especially when signs of physical or mental fatigue are shown. They should recommend the bored ones of rest and relaxation.

- Teachers should not ask for intolerable matters that do not fit the students' minds and age. They should not ask the students of reading books that are mentally unattainable. They should test before referring to a subject to be perceived. After test, teachers may refer to books that accord the pupils' minds. They should not engage the pupils with several subjects at the same time.

- Teachers should not teach when they are annoyed or complaining an illness, hunger, or anger since these states may harm the students and themselves.

- Teachers should neither prolong nor shorten the lessons unacceptably. Likewise, they should neither raise nor reduce their voices inadequately.

- Teachers should allot certain times to receiving the scope of the pupils' memorized items. In the ancient times, teachers allotted Wednesday night and Thursday morning to recalling. Friday was the day off.

- Teachers should treat the pupils equally and avoid any sort of discrimination.

The Prophet is reported to say, "Teachers who have three students- of different social classes- and do not treat them equally, will be in the line of the traitors on the Resurrection Day."

- Teachers should supervise the pupils' tendencies and mental desires so that the suitable subject is chosen. They should lead the pupils who seek another subject to the correct direction.

- Teachers should reward the hard-working pupils and praise them before the mates.

Ibn Maskub said, "Pupils should be praised and rewarded for any good manner and favorable act they show."

- Teachers should be accurate in treating the pupils. They should count their breaths and account their entire movements and activities.

The desires of seeking knowledge should be evolved in the pupils' minds. Teachers should refer to the most significant matters that advance them and their societies plentifully. Pupils will surely pursue knowledge resolutely if this noble tendency is sewn in their minds and, consequently, the conceptual and scientific life will be prosperous in the country.

Because they applied those programs, the teachers of the early eras of Islam could produce those virtuous generations of such high traits and perfect maturity, and achieve the most remarkable scientific renaissance the sparks of which have covered all of the ages.