Friday, 16 April 2021
Thursday, 15 April 2021
Wednesday, 14 April 2021
You have to understand the revolution Islam brought for women’s self worth and the worth men recognized in women. In the pre-Revelation era, women were inherited like property, men buried their baby daughters alive.
And then within two decades, women went from being inherited like objects to being inheritors. To owning businesses and economic agency. To being involved politically (think: bayah to the Prophet ﷺ in making hijrah, actively participating in wars and taking care of the wounded, being consulted in and witnesses of major political decisions and so much more).
A daughter went from being a burden to becoming a means of entering Paradise if cared for and honored by her father. Women asked about and explained the fiqh of intimacy, not shamed in claiming their rights. They went from not having their voices acknowledged societally to having the Quran itself revealed in response to a woman whispering her complaint about her husband. A woman learned her worth was not connected to a comparison of herself with men, but that her worth was connected to God.
And imagine the shift for men. In just the span of a generation, men went from laughing at women to the powerful statement of Omar radi Allahu anhu: “By God, when we were in ignorance, we didn’t think of women until God revealed about them what He revealed and divided for them what was divided.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
Now, women were made counterparts by mandate of the Prophet of God ﷺ himself, “Indeed women are partners of men.” (Abu Dawud)
Today, the shameful marginalization of women in some Muslim communities rival the times of ignorance in pre-Islamic Arabia, at times isolating her even in the architecture and infrastructure - not in what is often constructed to be the houses of men- but are actually the Houses of GOD.
But if women companions could find their worth and voices amplified, and if men companions could go from burying their daughters to recognizing women’s honor in just the span of two decades with the right accountability, commitment and mentorship-
Then imagine where we could be as an ummah if we truly returned to the teachings of the Divine Revelation and Prophetic narrations today
Tuesday, 13 April 2021
Monday, 12 April 2021
When I complain of my child, remind me of the test that Adam and Hawa عليه السلام faced when Qabil killed Habil,
When I complain of my child, remind me of Nuh عليه السلام as he watched his child die in the waters when Allah ﷻ sent the floods,
When I complain of my child, remind me of Hud عليه السلام whose son refused to believe in Allah and remained with the non believers,
When I complain of my child, remind me of Ibrahim عليه السلام who was asked to leave Ismail عليه السلام as a newborn infant on the burning sands between Mount Safa and Mount Marwah,
When I complain of my child, remind me of when You ﷻ commanded Ibrahim عليه السلام to sacrifice his only son after almost 100 years, for Your pleasure,
When I complain of my child, remind me of Yaqub عليه السلام whose sons left Yusuf عليه السلام to die in a well, yet Yaqub عليه السلام held on to the belief that his son was still alive,
When I complain of my child, remind me of the mother of Musa عليه السلام, who was commanded to place her newborn baby in a bassinet and in the dangerous waters of the river Nile,
When I complain of my child, remind me of our mother Maryam عليه السلام, who gave birth to Isa عليه السلام alone under a date tree,
When I complain of my child, remind me of our beloved Prophet Muhammad ﷺ who buried all of his beloved children in his lifetime, with the exception of Fatimah رضي الله عنه ,
When I complain of my child, remind me that until today there are people who are struggling to conceive.
🤲 Ya Hayyu Ya Qayyum, my child is an Amanah that you have blessed me with. I am grateful for this blessing, and I pray every single day that this Amanat will be the coolness of my eyes, as well as a bearer of the pillars of Islam.
Ya Allah bless my sisters who are praying for children with pious, healthy and beautiful children.
Ya Allah answer the prayer of every mother for her child.
Friday, 9 April 2021
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Thursday, 8 April 2021
Wednesday, 7 April 2021
Tuesday, 6 April 2021
When going through hardships and a tough time remember the story of Hajar عليه السلام, wife of prophet Ibrahim عليه السلام abul ambiya "The Father of Prophets". Her husband was a prophet and she gave birth to a prophet Ismael عليه السلام.
Her struggle, her taqwa requires constant and sincere reflection.
Lesson one from the story of Hajar عليه السلام is Taqwa.
Imagine standing all alone in a desert with a new born baby in your arms and you have ran out of food and water, all you see is sand as far as your eyes can see.
Visualize that and imagine how scared would you be.
YOU WILL FEEL HOPELESS, WORRIED AND ANXIOUS.
That is how our mother Hajar felt.
Although, regardless of who left her there and why, Hajar knew that Rizq is from Allah, and that Allah would never forsake or abandon her.
That's the message I take from it. That as an amatullah I know for a fact that Allah will never forsake or abandon me as long as I take action and put my trust in Him.
The character of Hajar is what we should aspire to. Her sense of faith and reliance on Allah and her perseverance in what seemed an utterly hopeless situation is the lesson.
She raised her son Ismael عليه السلام, alone in the desert, without any family around and in such a way that Ismael was still obedient to the very father who left him in the desert.
Did she or Ismael throw a fit when Ibrahim عليه السلام showed up years later and said Allah wants me to slaughter you son?
Hajar عليه السلام trusted that Allah would provide, and she sought out that provision.
Today as a result of that call to Allah, billions of Muslims from around the world and across generations commemorate her sunnah of running from safa to marwah while performing Umrah and Allah gave this Ummah the well of zam-zam because of her tawakkul and taqwa in Allah.
These two blessings showcase how immense her tawakkul and yaqeen in her rabb was. Her tawakkul in Allah was so strong that Ibn Abbas رضي الله عنه comments on the blessing of zamzam and says " May Allah bestow Mercy on Ismaa'eel's mother! Had she left the Zamzam alone Zamzam would have been a stream flowing on the surface of the Earth." - subhanAllah! ❤
✦ Tawakkul is the reason we have Zamzam.
✦ Tawakkul is the reason the dates fell from the tree to feed Maryam عليه السلام during her labour pains, because a pregnant woman in pain cannot shake a tree.
✦ Tawakkul is the reason striking the staff split the sea for Musa عليه السلام.
Let's remember she is our mother. Her example is the best example to emulate. Her trials elevated her. During her lowest points she had the highest level of eeman and faith.
When things get tough, we need to stop whining. Instead focus on duas, ask Allah that he gives you tawfeeq, sabr and tawakkul that is unmatched and doesn't waver.
The second lesson is about being okay with not witnessing your true legacy in this temporary lifetime. So, what do I mean by that? When we talk about legacy, did Hajar عليه السلام witness her entire legacy in her lifetime?
NO SHE DID NOT.
Hajar عليه السلام had zero idea that billions of Muslims across generations would commemorate her sunnah while performing umrah.
Similarly, don’t worry if your legacy is not visible in a few years or even in your lifetime. If you are sincere and you do good deeds for the sake of Allah alone, Allah will bless you with a good legacy and inshaAllah the fruition, result and reward will be visible be on the day of judgement.
Some legacies are visible in our lifetime and some will inshaAllah be visible on the day of judgment.
Don't limit your idea of legacy.
Just focus on the sincerity of your intentions and perform many good deeds.
🤲 May Allah bless us with tawakkul, ikhlaas, ihsan and unending sadaqaye jariya, may Allah keep us all sincere and steadfast in our affairs – Allahumma ameen.
Monday, 5 April 2021
Friday, 2 April 2021
Thursday, 1 April 2021
Wednesday, 31 March 2021
Tuesday, 30 March 2021
A long white shawl on her head, Rani Khan gives daily Quran lessons at Pakistan’s first transgender-only madrasa, a religious school she set up herself using her life savings. The school is an important milestone for the LGBTQ community in the Muslim-majority country, where transgender people face ostracism, even though there is no official restriction on them attending religious schools or praying at mosques.
“Most families do not accept transgender people. They throw them out of their homes. Transgender people turn to wrongdoing,” Khan, 34, said, as other transgender people, their heads similarly covered, swayed back and forth behind her, reciting verses from the Quran. “At one time, I was also one of them.” Holding back tears, Khan recalled how she was disowned by her family at 13 and forced into begging.
At 17, she joined a transgender group, dancing at weddings and other functions, but quit it to connect with her religion after a dream in which a deceased transgender friend and fellow dancer pleaded with her to do something for the community. Khan studied the Quran at home and attended religious schools, before opening the two-room madrasa in October.
“I’m teaching the Quran to please God, to make my life here and in the hereafter,” Khan said, explaining how the school offered a place for transgender people to worship, learn about Islam and repent for past actions. She says the school has not received aid from the government, although some officials promised to help students find jobs.
Along with some donations, Khan is teaching her students how to sew and embroider, in hopes of raising funds for the school by selling clothing. Pakistan’s parliament recognised the third gender in 2018, giving such individuals fundamental rights such as the ability to vote and choose their gender on official documents. Nonetheless, the transgender community remains on the margins in the country, and often has to resort to begging, dancing and prostitution to make a living.
The madrasa could help trans people assimilate into mainstream society, Islamabad Deputy Commissioner Hamza Shafqaat told the Reuters news agency. “I’m hopeful that if you replicate this model in other cities, things will improve,” he said. A madrasa for transgender people has opened in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, and last year, a Christian transgender group started its own church in Pakistan’s bustling southern port city of Karachi. Pakistan’s 2017 census recorded about 10,000 transgender people, though trans rights groups say the number could now be well over 300,000 in the country of 220 million. “It gives my heart peace when I read the Quran,” said 19-year-old school student, Simran Khan, who is also eager to learn life skills. “It is much better than a life full of insults.”
Monday, 29 March 2021
Friday, 26 March 2021
Thursday, 25 March 2021
Wednesday, 24 March 2021
Tuesday, 23 March 2021
When partition happened, men of all three religions took it upon themselves to humiliate the other group by ensuring that their women carried the sperm of the other's religion. Mass rapes took place. Carried out by men of all three religions against women of all three religions. In case a woman got raped, it was likely that she'd be killed by her own male family members in order to protect their honour. The situation got so bad that the only way women could think of saving themselves from such a fate was to end their lives themselves. Suicides became common. Women would often jump in wells to kill themselves until wells started filling up with dead bodies. At one point women had to actively search for wells with some space left to die in.
August 1947, two states celebrated indepedance. Urdu did not have a word for "rape".
When Bengal asked for its independance, it did so because the East Pakistanis felt deprived of its right. The Bengali man realized he would never be allow to run his own country or be a part of it. The Pakistani man could not fathom how the Bengali man could place his interest over national sovereignity. War ensued. Thousands died as an army turned against its own people. Thousands were raped. In one of the most horrifying cases on war crimes in modern human history, the Pakistani army raped thousands on Bengali women in an effort to insert their sperm in the Bengali lineage as payback for the Bengali man to prioritize his interests over national cohesion. The number of rapes was so high that rehabilitation of these women became one of the top most priorities of the newly born Bangladeshi state. The government promised economic reward to men who would marry these victims of wartime rape. In a war torn, newly independant state, men jumped at the opportunity. They married these women, claimed their economic reward and left them soon after. Further stigmatizing these women, until they started being conflated with sex workers.
Pakistan lost a war. Committed one of the biggest incidents of war crimes. Lost half the country. Thousands of women had their lives turned upside down.
Urdu did not have a word for "rape".
When Zia-ul-Haq came into power, he put into practice the Hudood Ordinance. One of those laws contained the Islamic judgement on Zina.
The Islamic judgement on Zina states that if an individual accuses two people of adultery, he is required to bring forth at least four eye witnesses as evidence. In case of failure, the individual would be charged with defamation. The laws of Zina were meant to ensure that public acts of sex did not become common, and any act taking place behind closed doors did not become a matter of public debate, and be dealt with privately.
Men raped women prior to the imposition of the Hudood law. Men raped women after the imposition of the Hudood law.
Women tended to remain quiet after being raped in order to protect familial honour. So they did.
But rapes can get women pregnant, and now when a woman carried a child of rape in her womb, she had to go to the police station in order to report her rape so that she not be accused of adultery.
The law then asked her the question that was supposed to protect her against defamation: bring forth four witnesses of rape. Because you see, urdu did not have a word for rape. Despite a national history so closely tied to it, it did not have the concept of rape. Female anguish was not spoken of in our national language. It was not heard. It was only inflicted.
As far as the imposition of Hudood Ordinance in Pakistan was concerned zina was adultery, zina was rape. And if zina had taken place, then the person claiming it to have taken place, in this case a pregnant victim who is left with no option but to report, had to bring forth four eye witnesses of her rape. How do you bring forth four witnesses in the case or rape, when the entire logic to bring forth four witnesses was to ensure that the private does not become public.
The catch: the woman has reported she was raped. Rape is zina in this reality. There is a life in her womb as testament to it. But there is no man.
The woman has "confessed" but there aren't four eye witnesses to support her against the man she accuses.
The raped woman is sent to jail for Zina under the Hudood Ordinance.
Sometimes no man was sent to jail for being the counterpart. In case that the rapist was influential, it was arranged that some other man be accused for it instead. This man could be anyone. Someone who was in love with the victim. Someone who friends with her. Someone who was cordial to her. Someone who took pity on her. It doesn't matter. As long as the two could be placed in the same vicinity by the locals. The man was then accused. Taken into custody. Tortured and forced a false confession out of.
In the 1980s, as Pakistan celebrated itself as the nation that brought a super power to its knees, women were being sentenced for their own rape. And men were being dissuaded from even being seen close to them.
Because Urdu did not have a word for "rape".
That is when women took to streets and demanded this be put an end to. Remember the iconic image of women burning their dupattas? It was in one of the many protests women conducted against Zia's multiple misogynistic laws to protect the "Islamic" culture.
After decades of being raped. Being killed by brothers and fathers after being raped. Killing themselves to prevent from being raped. Being raped in a war by their own army. Being exploited after being raped by their own men. Being raped and being sent to jail for it, women finally forced the language to create a word for that experience.
In the 1980s, we finally had a word in the vocabulary that described the experience of women in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan: Zina-bil-Jabr.
It was still just a word. Not the law. Introducing Zina bil Jabr in the vocabulary meant that in the case of rape a woman can accuse her rapist under Zina bil Jabr instead of Zina. And her accusation not being taken as a confession of adultery. She still had to produce four eye witnesses of rape in order for there to be a conviction. Again, impossible.
The introduction of the concept of Zina bil Jabr meant that the state will not punish the woman for being raped. It did not mean that the state would protect her against being raped.
Men knew that the chances of being convicted in the case of rape were slim to none. Thus, there was nothing preventing them from raping women like they used to by the state.
What followed was a feminist struggle of years. Women repeatedly argued that the four-witnesses-for-rape charge is an impossible condition for any victim to fulfil.
To which, men responded that it is Islamic law. Men argued that Islam has given women rights already. Demanding there to be an overturn in the law is the result of a westernized mind being antagonistic towards Islamic traditions of the country.
1) It is not an Islamic Law.
2) Pakistan has a history of sexual violence against the women
3) We have heard it. We still hear it. We will hear it for eternity.
After another two and a half decades of struggle, in 2006, there was finally a act passed in the assembly: The Women Protection Act of 2006 that removed the four eye witness condition from a rape charge.
The act stated that in case of a rape charge, forensic evidence will be considered adequate evidence for a man to be charged with rape.
We got a word for our experience four decades after they said we were independant.
We got a shot at justice 59 years after they said we were independant.
Islamic Republic of Pakistan, this.
Men raped women when they got this country.
Men raped women when they lost this country.
Men raped women when they went on a Holy War.
And men never had a word for what they did to us.
Women were raped.
Women were killed for being raped.
Women killed themselves to prevent themselves from being raped.
Women were raped by the men they paid to protect them.
Women were married as a stepping stone and discarded.
Women were raped and were sent to jail for it.
Women were raped and were made to stay quiet about it because they couldn't possibly prove it in courts.
Women marched against a dictators.
Women fought for a word to describe decades worth of trauma. The trauma of existence in this hellhole.
Women fought against the state. The men with guns.
Women fought against decades of stifling tradition.
Women fought against the men who have the Holy Book on their chest and darkness in their hearts.
Women fought against every man who ridiculed her. Who raised his finger on her character. Who accused her of being a pawn of the enemy.
Women fought against the men who raped her.
Women fought for the law that gives her a shot at justice.
So never tell me what our culture is. Never utter the same words to me that you uttered to these women. Because I know what our culture is. Our culture is to rape women and celebrate our nationhood on her body. Our culture is to rape women and celebrate our religion on her body. Our culture is to not even have a word for male atrocities. Our culture is to make enemies of the women who fight against those atrocities.
If men were made to remain quiet for the atrocities they have committed on us, none of them would be allowed to ever speak again.
I will set fire to your culture and dance around the pyre. Watch me dance.
Women breathe because women march.
And women will.
Monday, 22 March 2021
Saturday, 20 March 2021
Friday, 19 March 2021
Thursday, 18 March 2021
Wednesday, 17 March 2021
Birthdays are halal because there is nothing to make them haraam. I celebrate my own birthday and birthdays of all my loved ones. This is the daleel I believe in.
In a distant, self absorbed and sometimes extremely busy world we do need a day to make those close to us feel special. And this can be done without indulging in haraam. Gifts, cake, lunch or dinner together with friends and family. Notes of appreciation and flowers.
There are legit Muslims who deem birthdays haraam not because they think they are haraam but just because they don't want to put in the effort or spend that money to make those in their lives feel special.
Although, I respect and know there is a difference of opinion about not celebrating birthdays. Don't celebrate if you don't want to. But don't degrade others who do celebrate knowing there are scholars who allow it. 🙂
❝On top of this some of the celebrations can actually bring a positive that the shariah wants, love between families. Anniversaries are one of the most easiest ways to win your wife's heart back - mashaAllah tabarakallah.Please don't forget your anniversaries. I say it is sunnah meaning, the goals of the shariah sunnah not the prophet ﷺ did sunnah. Don't misunderstand me.
It is of the goals of shariah to celebrate annivesary. QUOTE ME ON THAT.❞
- Shaykh Yasir Qadhi
Tuesday, 16 March 2021
When Imam Bukhari was 3 years of age, he lost his eyesight.
His mother promised herself that she would pray #tahajjud salah until Allah restores her son's eyesight back.
And that's exactly what she did. She prayed tahajjud every night until one night in a dream she saw Ibrahim (as) give her the good news that Imam Bukhari's eyesight had been restored. She ran to her son and when he awoke, he found himself with vision again.
Lessons for me: This mother didn't go into a state of helplessness after her young child lost his eyesight.
Being a single mother, she didn't lose hope and become disheartened with the difficulty she would have to face with bringing up a son with a disability. She knew very well the power of dua. She knew the beauty that lies in praying tahajjud salah. She knew Allah comes down to the lowest heaven asking his servants to make dua to Him at this time. Her taqwa, her conviction in the Might of Allah is what led her to consistently pray.
To pray tahajjud salah means you sacrifice your sleep. But she did it without fail. It wasn't a "sacrifice" on her behalf but a most needed task.
When we read about the life of Imam Bukhari or know what his contribution to Islamic history and education is, how can we not look back at the household he grew up in. The mother that raised him. The mother that made dua for him in the darkness of the night.
A widow, a single mother. But she had a wealth many of us fail to embrace. She devoted herself as a slave.
These women are our role models. These women are who we look up to. Not because we know how pretty or amazing they were in looks. But because in the face of tests, they remained close to Allah. With a history filled with women who brought up men like Imam Bukhari and others, how can we feel demotivated when it comes to our own children.
If we want good for our children, and see them grow up to be good slaves, we need to take the necessary steps to become a good slave too.
This reminder about this mother's dua came at such a perfect and apt time for me. A time when I've become extremely worried about my children. This reminded me that dua is no small thing.
- Gilded Dunya
Monday, 15 March 2021
Friday, 12 March 2021
Thursday, 11 March 2021
Wednesday, 10 March 2021
Tuesday, 9 March 2021
Monday, 8 March 2021
The Muslim obsession with female virginity is disturbing, because it completely ignores the *Islamic* values and conceptualization of spiritual chastity.
Demanding a virgin bride turns a blind eye to:
1) sexual abuse and rape
2) those who may have engaged in zina but also did sincere tawba (this includes both converts and 'born Muslims')
3) divorcees and widows
4) the importance of MALE chastity
Using the hadith of Jabir to point out "look, RasulAllah commanded us to marry virgins!" is a very convenient and selective reading of the hadith of Jabir. When Jabir explained his reasoning, RasulAllah approved of his decision, and indeed praised it.
Jabir himself was a young man, possibly previously unmarried himself - presumably, a virgin. The recommendation to marry a 'virgin' was more along the lines of marrying someone closer to him in age so that they could relate to each other better on a personal level.
Of particularly worthy note is that Jabir married a 'matron' (previously married woman) because he was looking out for his family - specifically, his young sisters, who had no other caretaker.
He purposely chose an older, more experienced woman so that his sisters could have a loving maternal figure who would look out for them and care for them... not someone who herself was too young to know how to raise children well.
It's very convenient for bros to quote the hadith of Jabir to justify their search for some pure, virginal, unblemished wildflower who has never seen a nonMahram man in her life... while they themselves have a far from spotless past and struggle with basic adult responsibilities.
Narrated Jaabir ibn 'Abdillah:
"Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) said to me, "Have you got married O Jabir?" I replied, "Yes." He asked "What, a virgin or a matron?" I replied, "Not a virgin but a matron." He said, "Why did you not marry a young girl who would have been playful with you?"
I replied, "O Allah's Messenger (ﷺ)! My father was martyred on the day of Uhud and left nine (orphan) daughters who are my nine sisters; so I disliked to have another young girl of their age, but (I sought) an (older) woman who could comb their hair and look after them."
The Prophet (ﷺ) said, "You have done the right thing."
Thursday, 4 March 2021
Wednesday, 3 March 2021
Monday, 1 March 2021
Friday, 26 February 2021
Wednesday, 24 February 2021
Monday, 22 February 2021
Friday, 19 February 2021
Thursday, 18 February 2021
Tuesday, 16 February 2021
“I’ll tell you frankly, the women scholars here are even more important than men,” said El-Azaar, a thin grandfatherly man in a cream-colored Moroccan tunic and a burgundy fez. “Women, just by virtue of their role in society, have so much contact with the people—children, young people, other women, even men. ... They are the primary educators of their children. So it is natural for them to provide advice,” he said. “We give them an education so they can offer it in a scholarly way.”
The morchidat program leverages a woman’s familial and social influence to combat radical Islam at the level of the sidewalks—and at individual mosques. “We’ve found over the years that if we have women organize something at the mosque, 450 people show up. If the men are put in charge, they’re lucky if 25 guys make the effort,” El-Azaar said.
Zineb Hidra, a morchidat whose cherubic face and tortoiseshell glasses make her look much younger than her 49 years, was in the first graduating class of women 11 years ago. Since then, she has been working as a full-time employee of the Ministry of Islamic Affairs in the inner-city neighborhoods of Casablanca. “It was hard at first,” Hidra told me. “People didn’t trust us. … They’d never seen anything like that before.”
One afternoon in 2006, Hidra was rushing down a middle-school corridor when six students and their teacher barreled out of a classroom into the hall. The teenagers wore robes and billowy izaar pants that hit above their ankles—the supposed style of the Prophet Mohammed—and they stood in a circle berating their teacher. His history lesson, they said, was blasphemous, contradicting the words of the Prophet. Hidra felt her heart begin to race. “These were exactly the signs we were told to look for—how they dressed, how they acted at school, and how they talked about religion,” she told me later. “It was clear they had picked up ideas about Islam that were taking them down the wrong path.” Hidra asked them if she could help. It was, she recalled with a smile, her very first radicalization case.
As Hidra continued her work in Casablanca, she faced resistance. When she went to call on mothers in their homes, knocks went unanswered, even though “we knew people were inside,” she said. Local women avoided her at the mosque. Even school administrators wondered what she was doing in the hallways, concerned that if she found radicalized youth among the student body then the schools themselves would suffer.
Hidra said it required quiet patience to earn their trust. “As they saw more and more of us, we became easier to accept,” she explained, and people in the community began asking her for advice or suggesting she go talk to this young man or that family where a problem with radical ideas might be developing. “It probably helped that we didn’t argue with [the young people we talked to],” she said. “We just answered their questions. We helped their families. We sat with the mothers and taught them how to help their children.”
Many of the young Moroccan men and women who turn to groups like ISIS feel isolated, come from violent homes, or have been involved with petty crime. Radical Islamists offer them community and tell them that a full-throated embrace of their religion—an embrace that includes violence against nonbelievers—is the solution. Morchidats like Hidra suggest the solution is less doctrinaire. They walk young people through Quranic passages that emphasize tolerance, and provide gentler interpretations of passages that could be taken to promote violence. The idea is that young people eventually learn that their faith is not at odds with their families or society more broadly, and that this provides a lasting bulwark against terrorist recruiters.
L’Institute Mohamed VI sits in a neighborhood that feels more southern California chic than North African Maghreb. The school is surrounded by white stucco houses and colorful explosions of bougainvillea. The campus itself is hidden behind a succession of wrought iron gates; security is tight, as many Islamists don’t approve of their moderate teachings.
Admission is highly competitive. Students apply from all over the Arab world and Africa; only about 10 percent are accepted. To be eligible, students must have already completed an undergraduate degree and be in good standing in their communities—without, for example, a criminal record. Successful women candidates must have committed half the Quran to memory before they arrive; men, many of whom will go on to become imams, must have it memorized in its entirety. This is an important requirement because it typically takes years to memorize the Quran, and if incoming students are already deeply familiar with the texts, the center can focus on interpretation instead of memorization.
Once enrolled, students pay nothing. The Moroccan government picks up the tab for tuition, room and board, books, medical care, flights home, and small monthly stipends.
Of the roughly 250 new students accepted each year, nearly half are women. There is no strict segregation of the sexes, but there is separation. Men and women attend classes together in the same modern lecture hall, and women fill the last 10 rows in the back. Even from their separate perch in the hall, they offer a visual representation of progress. (Often, in devout Muslim-majority countries, men and women are educated in separate classrooms.)
The program has two tracks: One for Moroccan students and another for foreigners. Moroccan candidates study at the center for 12 months, 30 hours a week. The foreign students are placed in a two- or three-year program, depending on their Arabic language proficiency, and then grouped by country so they can receive specific instruction in their nation’s laws, rules of civil society, geography, and history. The goal is to create not just an Islamic scholar, but a respected intellectual who can answer a variety of questions, El-Azaar explained.
Morocco may be perfectly positioned to offer this kind of instruction. Its monarch, King Mohammed VI, is believed to be a direct descendant of the Prophet Mohammed. Constitutionally, he is considered the Amir al-Mu’minin, or Commander of the Faithful, which gives him both religious and political authority over the Moroccan people, 98 percent of whom are Sunni Muslim.
“In recent years, we’ve relied on the military to combat terrorism on its own,” El-Azaar told me, referring to the nation’s beefed up intelligence and security forces. “Now we’re fighting this on two fronts—the military and the ideological,” he said. “We’ve found over the past ten years that women are uniquely placed to spread moderate messages in a way that imams and fathers can’t, and we’re focusing on that.”
How effective the morchidat program is at preventing young people from joining groups like ISIS is difficult to quantify. While the women undoubtedly have helped young people with questions about their religion, it’s impossible to know how many of those youth might have become radicalized enough to join a terrorist group or launch an attack if not for the presence of the morchidat. The program is also only 11 years old—not long enough to meaningfully measure the success of such an initiative.
For the women in the program, however, there’s a side benefit that they find indisputable: It has elevated their status as women in society. Faitha El-Phammouti, 25, is in the class of scholars graduating later this year. She says the whole experience hasn’t just changed the way other people look at her, it has changed the way she sees herself. “I used to think men were superior to women,” she told me. “Now I don’t just think we’re equals, I think women come out ahead. We aren’t forced to work; we have a lot of autonomy and as morchidats we can have a profound impact on society, even more than men can, because we can talk to the young people and explain to them about the true Islam and they are willing to learn from us.”
El-Phammouti seemed unbothered by the possibility that it does not really change the role of women in society, because women at the institute are not permitted to follow a more rigorous course of study and become imams—that job is still reserved for men. Of the program, she said simply, “It’s very exciting.”
And what of those six radicalized students Hidra met years ago in a middle school corridor? She ended up meeting with them three times a week for six months. “Our religion tells us to be patient and insistent and that’s what I was,” she told me. “They asked questions and I gave them answers, guiding them to the right path. It took a long time, but slowly they started changing their clothes and started looking like the rest of the kids. They began engaging in school and stopped challenging their parents. Eventually they got to the right place.”
Today, all six of the young men have jobs. Three have graduated from college. One happily announced to Hidra that he’d just passed the officer’s exam for the police. He didn’t want to talk about what had happened in middle school—he had put those kinds of “foolish ideas,” he said, behind him.
Monday, 15 February 2021
Friday, 12 February 2021
Thursday, 11 February 2021
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:
"Do you know who is a poor person? A poor person in my community is someone who will come on the Day of Resurrection backed with prayers, fasting, regular charity, and pilgrimage, but also with a number of injustices to others, such as abusing this one, taking the property of that one, slandering someone, hitting another, or shedding the blood of someone else. Thereafter, (that person's) good deeds will be taken one after one and will be given to (those) who were wronged by him."
Wednesday, 10 February 2021
Tuesday, 9 February 2021
Monday, 8 February 2021
The Prophet ﷺ used to pray and he was holding his granddaughter Umamah, the daughter of his ﷺ daughter Zaynab رضي الله عنها. When he ﷺ would make sajdah, he would put her down, and when he ﷺ would stand, he would pick her up. (Bukhari)
The scholar alFakahaani, as cited in Fathul Bari, mentions that it’s as if the secret in his ﷺ carrying Umamah in his prayer was to push against the narrative that the Arabs used to have in disliking girls and holding them.
So he ﷺ opposed that culture emphatically, even in [such an important space as salah], because action is stronger than simply speaking about it.
He ﷺ actively demonstrated how to honor girls. How to include daughters in religious spaces ﷺ How to create a access for women.
Today, the misogynistic practices and policies in some Muslim communities rivals the ignorance of the pre-Islamic Arabian society that the Quran was revealed to transform.
While many men and women who are scholars and activists are actively working to create change to return us to the uplifting community practices of the Prophet ﷺ, how should our own religious leadership demonstrate this commitment to actively portraying honoring daughters and the women they become as our leader ﷺ did?
Maryam Amir's page of FB
Friday, 5 February 2021
Thursday, 4 February 2021
Wednesday, 3 February 2021
Tuesday, 2 February 2021
Monday, 1 February 2021
Archaeologists in Israel say they have discovered the remnants of an early mosque believed to date to the earliest decades of Islam during an excavation in the northern city of Tiberias.
The foundations of the mosque, excavated just south of the Sea of Galilee by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, point to its construction roughly a generation after the death of the prophet Muhammad, making it one of the earliest Muslim houses of worship to be studied by archaeologists.
“We know about many early mosques that were founded right in the beginning of the Islamic period,” said Katia Cytryn-Silverman, a specialist in Islamic archaeology at Hebrew University who heads the dig. Other mosques dating from around the same time, such as the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina, the Great Mosque of Damascus, and Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque, are still in use today and cannot be tampered with by archaeologists.
Cytryn-Silverman said excavating the Tiberian mosque provided a rare chance to study the architecture of Muslim prayer houses in their infancy, and the findings indicated a tolerance for other faiths by early Islamic leaders. She announced the findings this month in a virtual conference.
When the mosque was built around AD670, Tiberias had been a Muslim-ruled city for a few decades. Named after Rome’s second emperor in about AD20, the city was a major centre of Jewish life and scholarship for nearly five centuries. Before its conquest by Muslim armies in 635, the Byzantine city was home to one of a constellation of Christian holy sites dotting the Sea of Galilee’s shoreline.
Under Muslim rule, Tiberias became a provincial capital in the early Islamic empire and grew in prominence. Early caliphs built palaces on its outskirts along the lake shore. But until recently, little was known about the city’s early Muslim past.
Gideon Avni, the chief archaeologist with the Israel Antiquities Authority, who was not involved in the excavation, said the discovery helped resolve a scholarly debate about when mosques began standardising their design, facing towards Mecca. “In the archaeological finds, it was very rare to find early mosques,” he said.
Since early last year the coronavirus pandemic has halted excavations, and lush Galilean grasses, herbs and weeds have grown over the ruins. Hebrew University and its partners at the German Protestant Institute of Archaeology plan to restart the dig next month.
Initial excavations of the site in the 1950s led scholars to believe the building was a Byzantine marketplace later used as a mosque. But Cytryn-Silverman’s excavations delved deeper beneath the floor. Coins and ceramics nestled at the base of the crudely crafted foundations helped date them to about AD660-680, barely a generation after the city’s capture. The building’s dimensions, pillared floorplan and qiblah, or prayer niche, closely resembled other mosques from the period.
Avni said that for a long time academics were unsure what had happened to cities in the Levant and Mesopotamia conquered by the Muslims in the early seventh century. “Earlier opinions said there was a process of conquest, destruction and devastation,” he said.
Today archaeologists understood that there was a “fairly gradual process, and in Tiberias you see that”, he said.
The first mosque built in the newly conquered city stood cheek by jowl with the local synagogues and the Byzantine church that dominated the skyline. This earliest phase of the mosque was “more humble” than a larger, grander structure that replaced it half a century later, Cytryn-Silverman said. “At least until the monumental mosque was erected in the eighth century, the church continued being the main building in Tiberias.”
She said this supported the idea that the early Muslim rulers who governed an overwhelmingly non-Muslim population adopted a tolerant approach towards other faiths, allowing a “golden age” of coexistence.
“You see that the beginning of the Islamic rule here respected very much the population that was the main population of the city: Christians, Jews, Samaritans,” Cytryn-Silverman said. “They were not in a hurry to make their presence expressed into buildings. They were not destroying others’ houses of prayers, but they were actually fitting themselves into the societies that they now were the leaders of.”
Friday, 29 January 2021
Thursday, 28 January 2021
Wednesday, 27 January 2021
Tuesday, 26 January 2021
French President Emmanuel Macron has ruled out issuing an official apology for abuses in Algeria, his office said Wednesday, ahead of a major report on how France is facing up to its colonial past in the country. There will be "no repentance nor apologies" for the occupation of Algeria or the bloody eight-year war that ended French rule, Macron's office said, adding that the French leader would instead take part in "symbolic acts" aimed at promoting reconciliation.
The atrocities committed by both sides during the 1954-1962 Algerian war of independence continue to strain relations between the two countries six decades later. Macron, the first president born after the colonial period, has gone further than any of his predecessors in recognising French crimes in Algeria. Later Wednesday, a historian commissioned by the president with assessing "the progress made by France on the memory of the colonisation of Algeria and the Algerian war," will submit his findings.
Monday, 25 January 2021
From the excellent Media Lens:
One of the most egregious recent omissions by BBC News was last week’s groundbreaking report by leading Israeli human rights group B’Tselem naming Israel as ‘an apartheid state’ and ‘a regime of Jewish supremacy’:
‘In the entire area between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, the Israeli regime implements laws, practices and state violence designed to cement the supremacy of one group – Jews – over another – Palestinians.’
Apartheid in the Palestinian Territories has long been recognised. For example, in 2004, a prominent South African professor of international law, John Dugard, then UN special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, wrote that there is ‘an apartheid regime’ in the territories ‘worse than the one that existed in South Africa.’
Noam Chomsky concurred:
‘In the Occupied Territories, what Israel is doing is much worse than apartheid. To call it apartheid is a gift to Israel, at least if by “apartheid” you mean South African-style apartheid.
‘What is happening in the Occupied Territories is much worse. There is a crucial difference. The South African Nationalists needed the black population. That was their workforce…
‘The Israeli relationship to the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories is totally different. They just do not want them. They want them out, or at least in prison.’
All this was damning enough. But the publication of the new B’Tselem report was the first time that Israeli human rights and legal experts had publicly stated that apartheid exists not just in the Occupied Territories, but throughout the whole region that Israel claims for itself.
As the Israel-based British journalist Jonathan Cook observed:
‘By calling Israel an apartheid state and a “regime of Jewish supremacy”, B’Tselem has given the lie to the Israel lobby’s claim – bolstered by a new definition promoted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance – that it is antisemitic to suggest Israel is a “racist endeavour”.
‘B’Tselem, a veteran Israeli Jewish organisation with deep expertise in human rights and international law, has now explicitly declared that Israel is a racist state. Israel’s apologists will now face the much harder task of showing that B’Tselem is antisemitic, along with the Palestinian solidarity activists who cite its work.’
As far as we are aware, there was no mention of the report on any of the flagship BBC News at 6 or 10 television programmes. Nor was there anything to be found on the BBC News website. Presumably, the BBC deemed it unworthy of the public’s attention. We challenged BBC foreign editor Andrew Roy, BBC world affairs editor John Simpson, BBC chief international correspondent Lyse Doucet and BBC digital news editor Stuart Millar for a response. Not one of them replied. It is perhaps significant that Millar moved to the BBC from the Guardian where, as deputy editor of Guardian US, he had scoffed at Julian Assange:
‘I like to think that #Assange chose the Ecuadorean embassy because it’s so convenient for Harrods’
This is the archetypal sneering ‘mainstream’ journalist’s view of anyone who seriously exposes the truth and challenges power.
As for B’Tselem’s landmark report detailing the reality of the Israeli state as an apartheid regime, it is possible that there were sporadic brief mentions in some outlying parts of the BBC. Longtime readers will recall that the BBC infamously buried revelations by Scott Ritter, a former chief UN weapons inspector, that Iraq had been fundamentally disarmed of any weapons of mass destruction, at 3am on the BBC World Service.
In response to the B’Tselem report, John Pilger pointed out via Twitter:
‘Israel is top of the league for vaccinating its own people [against coronavirus]. The accolades say Israel is the “example”. False. Israel is denying the vaccine to Palestinians whose land and lives it controls. WHO has pleaded with Israel: to no avail. Apartheid in action.’
Friday, 22 January 2021
Thursday, 21 January 2021
1. It is sunnah to marry older women.
2. It is sunnah to marry a divorced person.
3. It is sunnah to marry a widow.
4. It is sunnah to help women with household chores, such as cooking, cleaning, washing, etc.
5. Put food in your wife's mouth as an expression of love. (classified as a form of charity)
6. It is sunnah to express your love, gratitude and respect to your wife.
7. It is sunnah to forgive her for her mistakes.
8. It is the sunnah to keep your wife looking good, to gift her, kiss her, foreplay with her, give her a seperate housing if you can afford it.
9. It is a sunnah to try to know your wife's feelings and to comfort her when she needs it.
10. It is a sunnah to have fun together. (running, storytelling, sharing a happy occasion with her are well known examples)
11. It is the sunnah to lie down and relax in your wife's lap, to smile at her, to compliment her, to flirt with her and let her play with your beard.
12. It is sunnah to call your wife with beautiful names.
13. It is a sunnah not to divulge her secrets to family or friends.
14. It is the sunnah to love and respect the parents of one's wife.
15. It is the sunnah to protect your wife and your children from your toxic family or your mother and father if they are abusing her.
Let us practice the sunnah in its entirety and not to measure.
🤲 May Allah bless Muslim women with Qawwam who fears Allah - Allahumma ameen!
The meaning of a Qawwam is a man who protects you financially, physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally. Who literally takes you under the fortress of his protection.
Wednesday, 20 January 2021
Tuesday, 19 January 2021
Monday, 18 January 2021
Friday, 15 January 2021
Thursday, 14 January 2021
Wednesday, 13 January 2021
Tuesday, 12 January 2021
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: "There are two (kinds of) people worth envying: Someone whom God has made rich and who spends his [or her] money righteously; and someone whom God has given wisdom and who acts according to it and teaches it to others." Sahih Al-Bukhari
Monday, 11 January 2021
Saturday, 9 January 2021
Friday, 8 January 2021
Thursday, 7 January 2021
Men have dreamed of flying ever since they learned to walk.
History is full of legends and fables of men trying to fly. Icarus being the most famous who flew to close to the sun which melted the wax holding his feathers and he fell into the sea and drowned. The first successful attempt at flight was done by the Chinese who flew kites around the 5th century BCE but the first successful attempt at human flight was accomplished by a Muslim, Abbas ibn Firnas in 875 CE in the city of Qutuba Al-Andalus (Cordoba, Spain).
Abbas Ibn Firnas was born in Izn-Rand Onda Al-Andalus (today Ronda Spain) but lived in the Emirate of Cordoba which was one of the major centers of learning in the Muslim world. He was a polymath: an inventor, engineer, aviator, physician, Arabic poet, and Andalusian musician.
The stories say that Ibn Firnas was influenced by the one named Armen Firman in 852 CE. This is a person who made a living by pulling stunts. He was no scientist but by observing the nature around him and based on a rudimentary understanding of the mechanics of flight, he constructed a suit of silk with wood reinforced rods. Taking his crude machine, Armen Firman climbed to the top of a minaret of the grand mosque in Qurtuba and jumped. He did not fly, he plummeted but fortunately his flying contraption inflated just enough to slow his descent so he did not fall at full speed. Hitting the ground he was mildly hurt but he was not dead or crippled. This was probably the world’s first parachute jump.
Ibn Firnas was in the crowd watching and was impressed with the results. Although the attempt was crude and not very scientific, there was a germ of an idea that needed to be studied further. This took Ibn Firnas into the realm of aeronautics.
In 875, about 23 years after Armen Firman, the 70 year old Ibn Firnas constructed his flying machine after spending the intervening years studying the nature of flight in between his other studies. He constructed a pair of wings out of silk and wood and had sewn actual feathers. From the hills of Jabal Al-'Arus he jumped off a cliff. He would glide for a considerable period of time. Many witnesses said it felt like 10 minutes.
As he came down into his final descent, he realized there was a problem with his design. He had focused all of his energy in studying the mechanics of taking off but had neglected the mechanics of landing. As he descended back to earth, unable to control his speed, he came down at a very high speed. When he hit the ground, he hit it hard and seriously injured himself.
Ibn Firnas would live for another 12 years after this event. In these final years he would reflect on what went wrong on that faithful day and he reached the conclusion that his design did not include a mechanism to slow his descent. A bird uses its tail and wings in unison to slow its speed and stall just above the ground before touching down. Ibn Firnas realized that he forgot to design a tail!
Abbas Ibn Firnas did not make another attempt at flying in his lifetime. Centuries would pass before another attempt was made by Ahmed Celebi , an Ottoman Turk, in 1630-1632 who would glide across the Bosporus. In 1783 the Montgolfiers brothers launched a tethered hot air balloon with humans on board in Paris but it was only in 1853 that Sir George Cayley would build the first modern glider based on a basic understanding of aerodynamic theory and glide in the town of Yorkshire England, almost 1000 years after the first attempt by Abbas Ibn Firnas in 875.
Abbas Ibn Firnas is well known for his attempt at human flight but he has many other accomplishments to his name. He was an astronomer who built a mechanized planetarium with revolving planets. He studied mechanical devices and timepieces. His interest in crystals, quartz and sand would lead him to melt sand into glass allowing him to create Andalusian drinking glasses. He experimented with lenses and their magnifying qualities and anything else that came from glass.
In 1976, In recognition of the accomplishments of Abbas ibn Firnas, the Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature (IAU/WGPSN) named a moon crater Ibn Firnas in his honor.