Tuesday 28 April 2020

How were the Muslims tortured during the days of Jahiliyyah

We often hear about torture of Muslims in different parts of the world but do you know how these intial converts to Islam were tortured in Mecca before Islam conquered it? A good summary from Dr. Yasir Qadhi in one of his tafseer halaqah

"The Hearts Can Still Remain Connected": A Ramadan Message from Hamza Yusuf

Sunday 26 April 2020

Difference between Nabi and Rasool

In Islam we use the term Nabi (meaning Prophet) and Rasool (meaning Messenger). All Messengers are Prophets but the other way around is not true. I have heard a lot of debates over the years regarding the differences between them. Finally, found a good convincing explanation from Dr. Yasir Qadhi. It's embedded below.

Please jump to 23:30 if it doesnt automatically jump there

Saturday 25 April 2020

Are Muslims allowed to be double faced about bringing Shariah to the west?

A good explanation from brother Dr. Yasir Qadhi about Muslims being double faced. As a Muslim minority in the west, we are expected to follow the law of the land and not try and overthrow the goverment to try and bring Islamic laws to the country.

Julmp to 1 hour 9 mins if it doesnt automatically take you there.

Thursday 23 April 2020

Ramadan Mubarak

Assalamoalaikum Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Wish you all a very Happy Ramadan, may we all succeed in connecting to the creator and achieve success in this world and the hereafter. Ameen!

We have a lot of resources on Ramadan on our website: https://www.islamawareness.net/Ramadhan/

We will Insha'Allah also try and add some educational resources on the blog regularly.

Please remember us in your duas.


Palestine, crown on the head

Wednesday 22 April 2020

Hon. Malcolm X: Oxford Union

I enjoy replaying this vintage gem every now and then  -- Malcolm X debating at Oxford University in 1964. In this classic video, you get a good feel for Malcolm X's presence and message, not to mention the social issues that were alive during the day. You'll hear X's trademark claim that liberty can be attained by "whatever means necessary," including force, if the government won't guarantee it, and that "intelligently directed extremism" will achieve liberty far more effectively than pacifist strategies. (He's clearly alluding to Martin Luther King.) You can listen to the speech in its entirety here (Real Audio), something that is well worth doing. But I'd also encourage you to watch the dramatic closing minutes and pay some attention to the nice rhetorical slide, where X takes lines from Shakespeare's Hamlet and uses them to justify his "by whatever means necessary" position. You'd probably never expect to see Hamlet getting invoked that way, let alone Malcolm X speaking at Oxford. A wonderful set of contrasts.

“I read once, passingly, about a man named Shakespeare. I only read about him passingly, but I remember one thing he wrote that kind of moved me. He put it in the mouth of Hamlet, I think, it was, who said, ‘To be or not to be.’ He was in doubt about something—whether it was nobler in the mind of man to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune—moderation—or to take up arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing end them. And I go for that. If you take up arms, you’ll end it, but if you sit around and wait for the one who’s in power to make up his mind that he should end it, you’ll be waiting a long time. And in my opinion, the young generation of whites, blacks, browns, whatever else there is, you’re living at a time of extremism, a time of revolution, a time when there’s got to be a change. People in power have misused it, and now there has to be a change and a better world has to be built, and the only way it’s going to be built—is with extreme methods. And I, for one, will join in with anyone—I don’t care what color you are—as long as you want to change this miserable condition that exists on this earth.”


Tuesday 21 April 2020

“Blaming Muslims For Coronavirus Is Nonsense & Extremely Dangerous”: Historian Yuval Noah Harari To India Today’s Rahul Kanwal

World-renowned historian Yuval Noah Harari appealed Indians to develop solidarity and benevolence and not hatred to fight the coronavirus epidemic, which has engulfed the whole world.

The historian, who was talking to TV anchor Rahul Kanwal at India Today Group’s E-Conclave Corona Series, raised concerns over people blaming the pandemic as a “deliberate act of terrorism” by Muslims, saying that this is “complete nonsense and “extremely dangerous”.

He said, “we don’t need more hatred, we need solidarity, we need love between people.”

Ever since Delhi’s Markaz Nizamuddin emerged as a coronavirus hotbed after numerous people who attended a Tablighi Jamaat meet in mid-March tested positive for the viral infection, there has been a deliberate and malicious attempt to blame Muslims for the spread of coronavirus, producing violent and deadly outcomes.

Ever since Delhi’s Markaz Nizamuddin emerged as a coronavirus hotbed after numerous people who attended a Tablighi Jamaat meet in mid-March tested positive for the viral infection, there has been a swathe of fake and malicious news published against Muslims, leading to attack against the community across the country.

Last week, a video of a group of people attacking two Muslims with sticks and irons rods in Karnataka’s Bagalkot district went viral on social media. The attackers could be heard saying: “You people (Muslims) are the ones who are spreading this disease… Don’t touch them. They are the ones spreading the disease.”

In another incident that took place in Kadakorappa village in the same district, villagers barged into a mosque and attacked elderly people praying there.

In Delhi, a young Muslim man was brutally thrashed after accusing him of being a part of the conspiracy to spread novel coronavirus.

In Himachal Pradesh, a Muslim man hanged himself to death after allegedly being taunted by some villagers, who suspected him to be suffering from COVID-19 despite testing negative for it.

In Rajasthan, a pregnant Muslim woman was refused admission in a hospital by its staff citing her religion. The woman after leaving the hospital delivered the child inside the ambulance but the just born could not survive.

Last week, a young Muslim man was beaten to death in Jharkhand after a mob accused him and two of his friends, who survived their injuries, of spitting on surfaces to spread COVID-19 to Hindus.

These attacks were not an anamoly but a well-orechestrated campaign to blame Muslims for the spread of the virus in India.

Since the Nizamuddin fiasco, there has been rampant disinformation and a tsunami of fake news attributing old and often unrelated incidents to Muslim, blaming them of a consipiracy to spread the pandemic.

News channels and even some politicians from the ruling BJP have malicously termed the coronavirus pandemic as ‘Corona Jihad’, ‘Terrorist Virus’, insinuating a Muslim-led conspiracy behind its spread.

Recently, Rahul Kanwal too was lashed at for his communally inflammatory news report targeting Madrasa going children.


Monday 20 April 2020

Ayat of the day

"We shall surely test your steadfastness with fear and famine, with loss of property, life and produce. Give good news to those who endure with patience; who, when afflicted with calamity, say: 'We belong to God and to Him we shall return.'" The Holy Quran, 2:155-156

Thursday 16 April 2020

In the Footsteps of a Tunisian Hero

Lazhar Chraiti, a legendary figure in Tunisia's resistance to French colonial rule, was executed in 1963. More than 50 years later, Lazhar Chraiti's son goes back to Tunisia to find out more about how his father lived - and how he died.

The story of Lazhar Chraiti is that of an unlikely hero. He had little education, was virtually illiterate, worked as a miner and was a trade union activist. Yet he had a vivid sense of the injustice in his country, particularly the economic and social divide between Tunisians and French colonials.

In the footsteps of a tunisian hero - AJW - DO NOT USE   Lazhar Chraiti's son Slim is on a personal journey to discover more about how his father lived and died [Screengrab/Al Jazeera]
In response, Chraiti joined the Fellagha, bands of rural fighters with a common enemy, the French. He quickly rose up the ranks and took part in several battles against French military units. Eventually in 1956, French colonial authorities - seeing Tunisia slipping from their control - offered nominal independence, but with strings attached. It was about this time that Lazhar Chraiti first encountered Habib Bourguiba, a man who would later become Tunisia's first president. There were tensions between Bourguiba and the Fellagha, many of whom felt the deal did not reflect their struggle.

In the Footsteps of a Tunisian Hero charts the rise and fall of Lazhar Chraiti's fortunes. The early years of Tunisian independence saw Bourguiba consolidate his power as the Fellagha's influence waned. Tensions came to a head when Bourguiba accused Lazhar Chraiti of being part of a coup attempt against the new president. In the film, Lazhar Chraiti's son tells how after his father's arrest, the family had nowhere to turn and were ostracised from Tunisian society.

After a speedy trial, Chraiti was executed on January 24, 1963. To the continuing distress of his family, the site of his burial remains unknown.


Tuesday 7 April 2020

Coronavirus: What The Prophet Might Have Done?

Indeed, in the messenger of God (Prophet Muhammad), there is a striking pattern in conduct for anyone who has trust in the divine guidance, who believes in life after death and who continuously focuses on the path God has shown to humanity. (Quran 33:21).

The Quran also describes the Prophet as a mercy to humanity. (Quran 21:107).

How the Prophet of mercy whose life is a beautiful pattern in conduct for all of humanity might have handled this pandemic, we call coronavirus? The Prophet was not a physician. Nor was he a pharmacist. He was a Messenger whose primary responsibility was to relay the divine guidance in all aspects of life through words and actions to the community he lived in and to the people who would come after him.

One must find out the patterns in his life to understand his leadership in crisis, like the one we are facing in our times.

The Prophet always followed the divine guidance of consulting his companions on issues on issues of public concerns. "And take counsel with them in all matters of public concern; then, when thou hast decided upon a course of action, place thy trust in God: for, verily, God loves those who place their trust in Him." (Quran 3:159).

He would have formed a committee of experts and researchers to look into the pandemic and advise him and the people on precautions needed to deal with the situation. Some actions require common sense and other experts' opinions.

He took some of the actions based on common sense.  Even though he did not face a pandemic situation, yet he was quick to act in inconvenient conditions.

On a rainy day, he advised the people to offer Friday prayers at home.
During a plague, he asked people to quarantine them.
He told them to maintain social distancing by not visiting or leaving the area.
He ensured that during a time of social distancing, the community pool its resources to take care of the basic needs of people.
He opened the state treasury for that purpose and appealed to the people to donate generously to help those who were in need.
He also started a soup kitchen to feed those who were unable to take care of them.
He appointed a team of volunteers to ensure that the necessities of life reach the people in time.
He admonished traders and merchants not to hoard and not to price gouge during any crisis.
He urged people to consult medical experts to treat the disease.
He also advised people to follow hygienic rules in their everyday life. He did not limit them to wash their hands five times a day during the ablution but suggested total physical cleanliness.
He also advised people not to throw the garbage in public places and dispose it in safe places.

The Quran demands from believer dignity for human beings. "No, indeed, We have conferred dignity on the children of Adam,  and borne them over land and sea, and provided for them sustenance out of the good things of life, and favored them far above most of Our creation. (Quran 17:70).

It means that the sanctity and preservation of life is the primary concern of those who are in a position of leadership. During emergencies, their responsibilities increase manifolds.  The Prophet relied on the opinions of his companions. He was aware that there is a cure for every disease, and he knew that those who are knowledgeable about human anatomy, herbology, and climatic conditions were the best to find the cure. He encouraged such people to continue researching in this area. There were no labs or hospitals in his time. But there were physicians, nurses and pharmacists and he advised people to visit them. He told them to "make use of medical treatment, for Allah has not made a disease without appointing a remedy for it, except for one condition, namely old age."  (Sunan Abu Dawood)

Based on experts' advice, he encouraged people to do regular exercise and focus on taking preventive measures to boost their immune system. He also asked people to follow dietary rules in their everyday life and more in times of medical emergencies.

He also acted on the expert's advice to isolate patients with serious illness to stop the spread of disease, if contagious.  In case of the death of the patient, he commanded immediate burial. If the deceased had an infectious disease, he asked the family not to expose the body in places like a mosque or public squares.

During emergencies such as war, he buried many of the deceased without a proper shroud and washing.

The Quran reminds the people that remembering the Creator and His Majesty strengthens the resolve to face every situation. "Those who believe, and whose hearts find their rest in the remembrance of God - for, surely, in the listening to God [human] hearts do find their rest." (Quran 13:28)

He reminded people that life is a blessing of God for a certain period as everyone would return to the creator one day. "All that lives on earth or in the heavens is bound to pass away" (Quran 55:26). He assured them human beings would rise once again on a day when a new world would come into being. Everyone would learn about his or her ultimate destination, and the ones who lived a life based on divine guidance would enter paradise.  "We record that (deeds) which they have put forward and their traces (that which they have left behind)." (Quran 36:12)

He urged people to focus on three main things while alive. a) raising a responsible family that is a source of continuous good for all; b) contributing to the existing knowledge to benefit humanity; c) leaving a charity behind to help the needy and the poor.

Confidence in Divine laws

Through his words and actions, the Prophet strengthened the belief of people in God during trying times. True piety does not consist in turning your faces towards the east or the west. Truly pious is he who believes in God and the Last Day, and the angels, and revelation, and the prophets.  He spends his valuable resources upon his relatives, the orphans, the needy, the wayfarer, the beggars, and for the freeing of human beings from bondage.  And he is constant in prayer.  And he renders the purifying dues.  Truly pious are they who keep their promises whenever they make it and are patient in misfortune and hardship and in time of peril: it is they that have proved themselves pure, and it is they, who are conscious of God. (Quran 2:177)

People need physical, social, and spiritual comfort during times of crisis. They want to know the reality, and they want to have the assurance that they can overcome it. The promise of their success depends on the accuracy and relevance of the guidance and leadership style. The Prophet offered through his life an example in physical, social and spiritual leadership based on the divine guidance, common sense and expert's opinion.

The coronavirus is not the first or last pandemic that humans have faced in their history. There were many earlier pandemics. Humanity responded to the challenges based on their trust in divine laws and guidance and their resolve to follow facts and not their whims and superstitions.


Monday 6 April 2020

It Was Already Dangerous to Be Muslim in India. Then Came the Coronavirus

The Islamophobic hashtags began circulating shortly after the news broke in late March.

Indian authorities had linked dozens of cases of COVID-19 to a Muslim missionary group that held its annual conference in Delhi in early March, and health officials were racing to track down anyone who had contact with the participants. Coronavirus fears and religious tension were already at a fever pitch in India, and it didn’t take long for the two forces to intermingle. Videos falsely claiming to show members of the missionary group spitting on police and others quickly went viral on social media, exacerbating an already dangerous atmosphere for Muslims. “Islamophobia has been transposed onto the coronavirus issue,” says Amir Ali, an assistant professor of political science at Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi.

Since March 28, tweets with the hashtag #CoronaJihad have appeared nearly 300,000 times and potentially seen by 165 million people on Twitter, according to data shared with TIME by Equality Labs, a digital human rights group. Equality Labs activists say that many of the posts are in clear violation of Twitter’s rules on hate speech and coronavirus, but have yet to be taken down. “We are committed to protect and serve the public conversation as we navigate this unprecedented global public healthcare crisis,” reads a statement Twitter provided to TIME. “We continue to remain vigilant.”

Coming just weeks after religious pogroms conducted by Hindu nationalists left 36 Muslims dead in Delhi, the surge in hateful tweets demonstrates how anxieties over the coronavirus have merged with longstanding Islamophobia in India, at a time when the Muslim minority — 200 million people in a nation of 1.3 billion — feels increasingly targeted by the ruling Hindu nationalists. “One of the key features of anti-Muslim sentiment in India for quite a long time has been the idea that Muslims themselves are a kind of infection in the body politic,” says Arjun Appadurai, a professor of media, culture and communication at New York University who studies Indian politics. “So there’s a kind of affinity between this long-standing image and the new anxieties surrounding coronavirus.”

One of the most popular false #CoronaJihad tweets claims to show a Muslim man from the Delhi congregation intentionally coughing on somebody. The tweet referred to Muslims as “such vile minded people” and listed hashtags including #CoronaJihad and #TablighiJamatVirus, a reference to the religious group that met in Delhi. But the video featured in the viral tweet was actually filmed in Thailand, not India, and there is no proof that the man was a member of the Delhi congregation. Nevertheless, the tweet was still online as of April 3, with more than 4,200 retweets and 503 replies. Another video shared on both Facebook and Twitter purporting to show Muslims intentionally sneezing on each other was debunked by the fact-checking organization AltNews.

Another tweet, which had around 2,000 retweets before it was removed for violating Twitter’s rules, featured a cartoon of a caricatured Muslim man labeled “Corona Jihad” trying to push a Hindu off a cliff. “Corona jihad is this new idea that Muslims are weaponizing the coronavirus to target Hindus,” says Thenmozhi Soundarajan, executive director of Equality Labs. The tweet has since been removed for violating Twitter’s rules, but several other cartoons linking Muslims to the coronavirus, shared by the same account with more than 15,000 followers, were still online as of April 3.

In India, where the politically dominant Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has increasingly launched dogwhistle attacks on Muslims since being reelected with a massive majority in April last year, the coronavirus is just “one more opportunity to cast the Muslim as the other, as dangerous,” says Ali, the professor.

“People are talking about ‘bio jihad’ and ‘corona jihad,’” Ali says. “These are just the latest in a series of different forms of ‘jihad’ that the media has talked about, that have been spread on social media, and that people are gleefully accepting.” Population jihad, for example, is a common trope in Hindu nationalist messaging, claiming that Muslims are trying to turn India into a Muslim nation by reproducing at a faster rate than Hindus. Love jihad is the idea that Muslim men are tricking Hindu women into romantic relationships in order to convert them to Islam. “Corona jihad is the most outrageous one so far, because people are really being infected and dying,” Ali says.

Social media companies have struggled with hate speech for years, embroiling the platforms in a difficult tangle in which freedom of speech runs up against the companies’ responsibility to protect minorities. In the world’s first social media pandemic, hate speech related to the virus is spreading online almost as fast as the virus itself. But recent history demonstrates that inaction on the platforms’ part can allow hate speech to turn into violence. Myanmar’s 2017 genocide perpetrated by Buddhist nationalists against Rohingya Muslims was preceded by a campaign of dehumanizing hate speech on Facebook. Equality Labs’ Soundarajan says social media companies cannot feign ignorance on the issue because her group and others are flagging troublesome content. “They’re aware of it,” says Soundarajan. “Whether they allow it to go viral is now their own responsibility.” (Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment from TIME.)

Although this pandemic is uncharted territory when it comes to predicting the impact of virus-related hate speech, public health officials have warned against stigmatizing minority groups. Because COVID-19 originated in Wuhan, China, some — including the U.S. President — have called it the “China virus” or the “Wuhan virus,” a name that appears to be linked to an uptick in global violence against Asians. In February, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced the then-unnamed coronavirus would henceforth be known officially as COVID-19 — a name which purposely did not include a reference to China. “Having a name matters to prevent the use of other names that can be inaccurate or stigmatizing,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at the time.

Some are working to prevent fears over the virus from becoming entangled with religious divisions. Sam Brownback, the U.S. ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom, is calling on governments to push back “aggressively” against the rising incidents of “blaming of religious minorities for the COVID virus,” including the rise in usage of #CoronaJihad and other hashtags trending in India. “The governments really should put this down, and say very clearly that this is not the source of the Coronavirus,” he said in a conference call with reporters on Thursday. “We know where this virus originated. We know it’s a pandemic the whole world is being subjected to. It’s not something from religious minorities. But unfortunately we are seeing that sort of blame game getting started up in different places around the world.”

In India, activists fear the stigmatization of Muslims could exacerbate the coronavirus crisis. “Launching a witch hunt against the attendees of the Nizamuddin congregation will be counterproductive from the public health point of view,” said several Indian intellectuals in an open letter published Thursday, referring to the area of Delhi where the conference was held. “The attendees should be identified without criminalizing them and put into quarantine as per norms.” The virus, they said, does not care about religious or national differences. “The solution will not come through the pursuit of divisive agendas but through scientific endeavors and human solidarity.”

A final irony of the Tablighi Jamaat controversy — which escalated on April 3 when the Indian government announced some members of the group would be charged under India’s National Security Act for violating quarantine — is that it was just one of myriad religious groups that continued to meet after India unexpectedly announced its coronavirus lockdown, yet it has drawn the vast majority of attention.

“They are no different from any other people in India and around the world who have pushed the envelope in terms of good sense,” Appadurai says of the Tablighi Jamaat congregation. “But of course, India is a very dangerous place for Muslims even apart from the coronavirus. It was asking for just the kind of thing that has now happened.”