Branching By Adnan R Iqbal
According to the Muslim Student Association’s mission statement, “the ultimate goal of the MSA is to encourage both Muslims and non-Muslims to evolve intellectually, physically, and spiritually during their tenure at UC Berkeley and to become enlightened, responsible, and just individuals.” This is an important all-encompassing goal for the MSA to strive for, and the MSA successfully organizes numerous events, speakers, programs, and activities to achieve this goal. However, these are lofty objectives and the MSA currently places much effort on encouraging, primarily Muslims, to evolve intellectually, physically, and spiritually. For example, the weekly Ustadh Suhaib Webb lectures intend to train us spiritually; weekly athletic activities intend to train us physically, and invited lecturers discuss topics intended to initiate intellectual development. The underlying theme in all of these activities is that they are geared predominantly towards Muslims on this campus. Although it is of the utmost importance for us as Muslims on this campus to develop ourselves spiritually and to strengthen our own faith and relationship with Allah, the Exalted, it is equally important for us to realize our role as Allah’s (swt) representatives on earth, as is stated in Suratul Baqarah, “Recall that your Lord said to the angels, "I am placing a viceroy on Earth” (Qur’an 2:30). Our responsibility to the entire campus community should not be taken lightly and should work in tandem with our own self-development, spiritual training, and intellectual development. Allah, the Exalted, gives us direction by saying: "Call people to the path of your Lord with wisdom and inspiring speech. Reason with them in a superior and respectful manner. Certainly, your Lord knows best who strays from His path and who is guided." (Qur'an 16:125). Thus, we again see the need for us to excel academically and to prepare ourselves to inform others about Islam.
Table International Iran Elections Sheikh Ahmed Yassin
However, as an MSA we primarily focus on preparing ourselves spiritually and ignore our responsibility to actually engage with the campus community. Although the MSA organizes and sponsors lectures and events intended to educate our non-Muslim peers, the vast majority of those in attendance at such events are Muslims. Thus, it is important for us as individuals to participate in a wide variety of organizations and activities while maintaining an active role in the MSA. We should welcome invitations from other groups on campus to co-sponsor events. We should encourage and be the first to organize events where dialogue and discourse are promoted on a wide range of topics. For example, a debate with Jewish students regarding the Palestinian-Israeli conflict should be welcomed and we should prepare ourselves to defend our position and reason with our counterparts. If we are organizing rallies and demonstrations protesting our country’s foreign affairs such as the war in Iraq, then we should be actively involved in organizing such an event. In fact, we should be the leaders and invite all those who wish to co-sponsor such an event rather than just sign our name onto a list of sponsors or not participate at all as we disagree with certain groups in participation as well. It is high time we as Muslims begin to speak for and represent ourselves rather than relying on other groups and organizations to organize events for us. Only through free-flowing dialogue and by our example will we be able to invite our non-Muslim peers to Islam. Thus, the challenge that faces us as Muslim students at UC Berkeley is to continuously improve ourselves spiritually, physically, and intellectually while engaging the entire campus community. In order to achieve the aforementioned goal, we must branch out and involve ourselves in student government, attend events put on by our non-Muslim peers, invite these very groups to our own events, and build relationships and alliances with other groups on campus that also face similar challenges. It is imperative for us to not become isolationists, but to interact with our nonMuslim peers and welcome their ideas rather than dismiss them immediately. Therefore we should follow the call of Allah, the Exalted, for us to be amongst those “who actively call people to righteousness; who encourage goodness and forbid evil. These are the ones who shall prosper." (Qur'an 3:104).
Spirit Adultery Hip Hop & Islam
“ ” Call people to the path of your Lord with wisdom and inspiring speech. Reason with them in a superior and respectful manner...
4 5 6-7
Dr. Bazian’s Program The Loss of Heart
Muslim Film Festival 2004 Muslim Passion for Christ
S ta f f Writers:
Adil Syed Adnan Iqbal Bushra Ahmad Adeel Iqbal Farah Mahesri Hosna Sheikholeslami Hosna Sheikholeslami Ibrahim Abusharif Kamran Khan M. Hasna Maznavi Mahin Ibrahim Mazen Basrawi Salman Alam Munir Moon Sarah Siddiqui Nabil Azhar Sofia Mohammed Sarah Ismail Shazia Kamal Wais Hassan All of us at Al Bayan would like to give a special shout out to this year’s seniors! You have made a huge impact in our lives and will truly be missed.
International Hamas Hamas Leader Leader Brutally Brutally Elections: Elections: Assassinated Assassinated Reformers Lose Due to Lack of
By Sarah Ismail
Credibility By Shazia Kamal
fter dominating the Iranian Parliament for two years, the Reformist party lost control after the elections in February 2004. The outcome was expected due to several factors; the two most important ones being that the Reformists had failed to carry out many of their promises in the past, and that the Guardian Council, a religious government body, had banned reformist candidates from participating, by the power of blanket-political-veto issued to the Guardian Council. President M o h a m m a d Khatami, a moderate reformer, claimed that the elections are an “unfair” tradition, whereby the Guardian Council chooses candidates and the citizens then select from that group. However, Khatami encouraged people to vote for independent candidates due to fear of a low voter turnout. A letter written by the Reformists to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khameini, argued, “Is not your insistence on holding the elections as scheduled anything but putting your seal of approval on the illegal actions of the Guardian Council?” Meanwhile, conservative candidates Conservatives: 149 expected a victory from the start because Reformers: 65 0 9 the party had been ex2 t: tmen a i l r a ercising its power durP in the s t a ing Khatami’s adminSe Total istration. Khatami’s unsuccessful efforts at loosening the hold on the social and political agenda of Iran were due to the hold of conservatives in the background. The Supreme Leader, the rahbar, who appoints the Guardian Council, which consists of twelve members, rules Iran’s unicameral government. The President is the head of state; he is in charge of all executive responsibility. The Council approves and appoints all candidates for the presidential and cabinet positions. A return to a conservative government does not necessarily mean a return to the strict regime that was prevalent in Iran ten years ago. The future of Iran is yet to be predicted, as questions of foreign relations, nuclear weapons, and internal structure flood government discourse. According to the Associated Press, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei saw the bigger picture amongst the controversy in the elections, “The loser of this election is the United States, Zionism and enemies of the Iranian nation…”
On the morning of March 22, 2004 after Fajr prayer in Gaza, Palestine, Hamas leader, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin was assassinated by three missiles from an Israeli helicopter, one of which directly hit him while sitting in his wheelchair. A passerby said that the first missile hit him directly followed by the second, which hit his wheelchair and followed by a third, which hit the two guards that were pushing Yassin’s wheelchair. Another witness said that he saw the missiles hit Sheikh Yassin and went to help him but found that he was dead and that there wasn’t much of him left except for his head. News of the incident spread like wild fire. People all over the Middle East and all around the world heard of the attacks. Some supported it and others denounced the underhanded act. Thousands of people in the Middle East mourned the departure of the Sheikh while Israeli supporters said that Yassin was a terrorist and that he deserved death. On CNN, there were Such actions violate pictures of members of the international law extremist Jewish group and do nothing to help find a Kahane. They were celebrating by drinking and peaceful solution holding up a sign that read, Kofi Annan Finish the job!!! Kill Arafat! Secretary-General On the other hand, many political leaders denounced the assassination, such as UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who said, “Such actions violate international law and do nothing to help find a peaceful solution.” Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak said, “They (Israelis) did not consider any reactions when they did this dangerous procedure,” referring to anticipated reactions and protests in all of the Middle East. British foreign secretary Jack Straw denounced the killing saying, “It’s been the long-standing position of the British government that such targeted killings, assassinations, are out with international law.” The Israeli government had been planning the attack and issued countless threats to the leader of Hamas. This was not the first assassination attempt that Sheikh Ahmed Yassin or the members of Hamas had encountered. On September 6, 2003 Israeli forces dropped a 550-pound bomb on Sheikh Ahmed Yassin’s house in Gaza where he and other Hamas leaders had gathered. Yassin had escaped with a small wound on his hand. For the Palestinian people, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin was not just a leader but also a symbol of hope. His organization, Hamas, which literally means “passion” in Arabic was a means of defense and a
Z Continued on page 9
The Loss of Heart By Adeel Iqbal
Activism. Loud protests. Heated rallies. That’s what most think of when they hear the words “Berkeley, California.” That’s what freshmen expect to see during their stay at the great institution that lies at the heart of the city. That is what characterizes the history of the town. Yet, I’ve been here for almost a year now and I haven’t seen a single real protest. Sure there’ve been the occasional fifty-person uprisings in support of the Palestinian people, and the scattered rallies and gatherings in support of political candidates and social causes. But, there have been no marches numbering in the thousands, no true flare, and no true passion – not a single protest that I had envisioned as a naïve high school student. Berkeley is the place that fostered the Free Speech Movement. It is the p l a c e where t h o u s a n d s flocked to support public ownership and use o f People’s Park. It is the place w h e r e massive demonstrations have been held in opposition to wars involving t h e United States. It has traditionally been the first to voice its opposition to conservative administrative measures. T h e question then comes to mind: has Berkeley lost its roots? Have we as students and citizens lost care and concern for the innumerable problems around us? Unfortunately, I think we have. And it’s not just Berkeley. It’s not just the protests. It’s true of everything around us. I think as citizens of this nation we have come to the completely incorrect conclusion that we truly cannot change the world around us and that the power to do so only lies in the hands of the elite. We have lost hope in our individual power. And we have lost heart. We now feel that the power of the people is a thing of the past – that the People’s Park riots are long gone, that the ability to freely voice our opposition without fear of repercussions is impossible, and that our civil liberties will slowly be taken away without our being able to stop it. Unfortunately, this same attitude is reflected in our local Muslim ummah today. We have given up hope in ourselves. We have come to believe that our ability to create social and political change in this nation is lost. Many of us have come to believe that the deportation of innocents is inevitable and that attacks on Muslim nations are unstoppable. We feel that everything now lies in the hands of the current neo-conservative American government. Sure, we go to the occasional protest in San Francisco to voice our
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Building an academic foundation:
The creation of an Institute on Muslims in America By Nabil Azhar communities. It will better preserve r. Hatem Bazian, and strengthen identity and more eflecturer in the Ethnic fectively meet the needs of its memStudies and Near bers, while becoming an active part Eastern Studies de- of society and improving relations partments at UC Ber- with other groups to make positive keley, and whose contributions to the larger commuother affiliations and positions are nity. In addition to its potential bentoo numerous to note here, has been efits in the social arena, this program developing a new research program will be especially important in influin the NES department at Berkeley encing political change in governabout Muslims in the United States. ment policy. The first major step toThe program, set to be in place by wards changing or influencing govfall, will focus on the historical pres- ernment policy is to research and ence anaand lyze growth a n The first major step towards o f issue’s Muscauses changing government policy l i m and is to research and analyze an come f muissue’s causes and effects in fects n i in ororder to build a convincing ties d e r argument for the need for and t o t h e build change . . . s o a cial, conecovincnomic, i n g and political issues facing them. In argument for the need for change addition, it will also analyze the de- that would gain the support of not velopment of Muslim institutions in only the public, but government ofAmerica. Methods of gathering such ficials as well. The program will information include visiting individual make such research possible by mosques and documenting their his- providing a vast amount of relevant tory, activities, services provided for informational resources for students the community, board of directors, to work with in formulating their and other relevant information. The analyses. Unlike studies in specifiprogram will also seek to provide op- cally Near Eastern or Middle Eastportunities for students to research ern matters and analyses of the role on contemporary issues by making of US Foreign Policy, the program available the combined information would provide more substance in and resources, such as documen- the academic discourse of domestation of civil rights cases and hate- tic matters by allowing for the formotivated crimes, collected by well- mulation of legitimate, well-backed known Muslim organizations, includ- arguments in discussing domestic ing American Muslim Alliance issues. (AMA), the Council on American-IsFunding for this project is exlamic Relations (CAIR) and Muslim pected to come from a number of American Society (MAS). The pro- different sources, including private gram also looks to be able to pro- endowments, community vide fellowships and scholarships to fundraising, and government fundstudents in the near future and will ing. It is important for us as a comprovide opportunities for under- munity to support this effort and engraduate contribution as well. courage other such programs that The importance of this research study Muslims in this country. A would be far-reaching in developing fundraising dinner will take place in improved strategies and policies to May to commence the formation of further the organization of Muslim this project.
Spirit Adultery in Islam Hip Hop and Islam By Wais Hassan
By Hosna Sheikholeslami
The punishment for adultery ensures that such behavior will never be “normalized” in an Islamic society
A Continued on page 10
Who willYOU vote for in 2004? This fall’s Presidential Election is anything but a false choice for Muslim Americans. George W. Bush and John F. Kerry certainly
to abolish “secret evidence.” To his credit, we haven’t heard the words secret evidence during his presidency—instead we live in a world of enemy combatants and unlawful detentions where evi-
ranking law-enforcement officer, was quoted as saying, “"Islam is a religion in which God requires you to send your son to die for him. Christianity is a faith in which God sends his son to die for you."
Bush called Ariel Sharon, an indicted war-criminal and overseer of the most ruthless campaign of ethnic cleansing the region has seen since 1948, “a man of peace.”
have a lot in common—both are graduates of Yale University where they were both members of the Scull and Bones secret society, and both are blue-blooded Washington insiders. But that is about where the comparison ends. For Muslim-Americans, we cannot afford a repeat of the disaster that was the 2000 election. Almost four years ago, every major Muslim political organization endorsed George W. Bush, based on his stated commitment
dence seems to be out-dated alltogether. The Bush II presidency has in fact been the most antiMuslim in history. Never before have Muslims been rounded up at whole-sale and deported, called in to register with the INS, and fingerprinted and photographed at the airport. The Attorney General, John Ashcroft, an unabashed Christian evangelical zealot who has had no misgivings about injecting theology into his duties as the nation’s highest-
Of course, we cannot neglect the fact that Bush has overseen the bloody invasion of Iraq and subsequent occupation, where over 10,000 innocent civilians have been killed and over 10,000 servicemen and women have been maimed or murdered. The destruction of the peace-process in Palestine and the accompanying violence resulting in untold numbers of innocent deaths took place with Bush’s tacit approval. Who can forget the moment when
Do we really have a real alternative to Bush? Many see Kerry as simply more of the same. After all, he did vote for the Patriot Act and the resolution authorizing Bush to go to war in Iraq. Notwithstanding these votes, Kerry has been a consistent critic of the president’s handling of the war both militarily, and for failing to create a broad coalition. His general approach to American foreign policy is multilateral: he believes in the mission of the United
By Mazen Basrawi
...And the Race is On...
Nations, and the importance of international cooperation, rather than simply ignoring the rest of the world when it disagrees. He disapproved of Bush’s handling of Iraq, evidenced when he voted no to the $87 billion supplemental budget that Bush demanded from Congress. His vote for the Patriot Act can only be understood in context. At the time, no senator or congressman really had the opportunity to read the proposed law, and the Whitehouse simply told Congress that it was necessary to protect America, a mere few weeks after 9-11. And though Sen. Russ Feingold had the courage to vote against it, we should be careful not to place too much blame on the 99 senators who felt their hand was forced. More important than the original vote on the Patriot Act, is his constant criticism of its abuse by the Bush Administration. On the issues of post-9-11detentions and other violations of civil liberties, John Kerry has promised to, “End the era of John Ashcroft.” Of course, how should we believe that Kerry’s rhetoric is more than just that? The answer lies in looking at Kerry’s own history. During the 1970s he was a target of an FBI investigation resulting from his participation in Vietnam Veterans Against the War. Who better than a victim of FBI abuse to appreciate the abuses of federal power against unpopular minorities? What is most troubling about Kerry is his recent change of view about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Though he made strong statements in October criticizing the “Separation” Wall under construction and Bush’s handling of the peace process, he has recently reversed course in courting Jewish-American votes. This certainly is troubling, given his genuine desire for Muslim-American support in November.
Some, such as Dr. Hatem Bazian, argue that we ought to support Ralph Nader since he bests represents the values of our community. From a policy per-
spective, Nader is the only candidate who is publicly discussing some of the major flaws in our democracy. These include rampant corporate abuse of campaign fi-
nance that lead to bed-fellow relationships between corporations and elected officials. As a community of values, we should support Nader’s commitment to revitalizing our democracy, especially in a time where we are attempting to export it. But history has a valuable lesson to teach us. No third-party has ever won a presidential election. This is because the winnertake-all system of elections forces small groups to join larger coalitions that can win pluralities of votes. In fact, the only time a thirdparty has managed to succeed was when the Republicans formed after the destruction of the Wig party in the 1850s. Perhaps we ought to consider pushing for electoral reform that would allow for smaller parties to be represented, but that is a long-term project that we cannot undertake by November. In the mean time, public support of Nader may reap concessions from Kerry, especially since Muslims may be critical to winning in swing states such as Michigan, Florida and Ohio. No matter whom you support, you should make sure that we Muslims count in the political process. So donate to your favorite candidate, volunteer for their campaign, and most importantly, register to and vote on November 2. Remember that this isn’t just a presidential election, so do not forget about your state and local races, in which you can have an even greater impact. Making friends with local politicians will lead to long term relationships when those politicians rise to higher office. Do not get fooled into believing that this election is a falsechoice, and remember, so long as we continue to be involved, our voice will not go unheard.
The Arts Muslim Film Festival 2004 The Passion for Christ By Ibrahim N. Abusharif
By M. Hasna Maznavi On March 13 th, the UC Berkeley campus was witness to a groundbreaking new event called the Muslim Film Festival. Founded by Berkeley alum, Juveria Aleem, the festival was the first of its kind, and was met with a curious and enthusiastic audience of approximately 300 students and community members. Upon reflection, Aleem said she felt the need for a film festival dedicated specifically to Muslims because “There is a tremendous lack of organiza- price, movie-goers were able to tions showcasing films that re- get a taste of the untapped Musflect the rich diversity of Muslim lim talent just finding its voice culture and that also give inde- through the medium of the fespendent Muslim filmmakers a tival. Audience members were venue to screen their films.” also treated with the hip-hop The festival featured a di- p e r f o r m a n c e o f l o c a l a r t i s t , verse array of films either made Harroon Abbasi, as well as a by or about Muslims, ranging Q&A session with a Bay Area f r o m d o c u m e n ta r i e s t o d a r k f i l m m a k e r, B a i y i n a H u g h l e y, comedies such as “T for Terror- whose film, “War on Terrorism”, ist” and “Death Threat”, music was featured in the festival. videos, and even a feature narThe day closed with a raffle rative film submitted from Iran of gifts donated by a local Mustitled “Oil Children”. When asked l i m b u s i n e s s , S u l ta n a B o o k to comment on her favorite film, store, as well as a relaxing reUC Berkeley sophomore Kiana ception and social hour. UC Berfreshman, Camille Castille said, “I found it [“Born k e l e y Conrotto, in the o b USA” served, docu“The atmenUnless we are proactive m o tary] in creating a medium sphere to be was rev e r y where we produce high ally ininterquality films that reflect viting, esting the Muslim culture, we a n d b e e v e n cause have no right to comthough I plain or criticize the I’m not learned Muslim, about mainstream news meI enMusdia. j o y e d l i m e v e r y people as they interacted in their differ- film that I saw because I think ent professions.” This reflects everyone could relate to them.” one of the many goals of the film Before the night ended, howfestival, as it strives to educate ever, movie-goers were urged to non-Muslims while providing a pa r t i c i pa t e i n t h e f e s t i v a l a s creative outlet for Muslims inter- more than just audience memested in the entertainment in- bers. Aleem explained, “It is important for the community to dustry. Tickets were sold at a mere support Muslim filmmakers fi$10 for an all-day pass (cover- nancially with their film projects ing more than 10 short films), and to encourage the next gen and a discounted $7 pass for students and seniors. For this AContinued on page 11
no Christ killer and, therefore, no need to associate anyone with that Like everyone else, I was indictment and no need to cause warned about the blood and vio- anyone to fear it. What happened lence, and braced for it. But the bit to Jesus at the end of his life was about the English subscripts must not about violence, but about honor have slipped my mind. One unex- in the face of vehement rejection. pected thing I got out of watching God raised His prophet to Himself, “The Passion of the Christ” is its af- thus sparing Jesus of the execution firmation that Jesus never uttered Gibson so graphically detailed and the word “God.” Instead, he called imprinted in the public mind through upon the t h e Creator v e r y using a powern a m e ful meChrist was not sent to die, that is dium but, like the prophets bev e r y of art close to fore him, he was sent to live a n d what I c u l and teach. and other ture. Muslims This is o f t e n a view evoke, t h a t n a m e l y, w a s the word “Allah.” (The Aramaic also shared among some early word for God is transliterated as Christian sects, like the Basilideans, “ a l a h a . ” ) who believed that Christ himself was In a broad sense, “The Pas- never crucified. sion,” as well as the controversy To vilify Jesus and deny that he that stalks it, is an extension of the is one of God’s prophets and mesvery long struggle for narrative con- sengers is a cardinal sin in Islam, trol over the life and mission of enough to disqualify one from the Jesus. We, the American public, faith. To deify Jesus, however, is are given the impression that the considered an affront to the primordiscussion about the movie and its main character is a discourse between folks on both sides of a curious hyphen in the Judeo-Christian ambit, with Rabbis and Jewish intelligentsia expressing their fears that the movie will inspire anti-Semitism and with Christians denying that. The irony here is that Muslims are perfectly poised to offer a view that no one seems to be talking about. What “The Passion” depicted in chilling imagery is but one narrative among several about Christ. In fact, Gibson portrayed one “canonized” narrative of Christ (only 12 hours of it) that received approval some centuries after the Messiah had lived and one that does not enjoy consensus even in Christian quarters dial foundation of the religion and scholarship. project: the oneness of God and His When asked, a Muslim will tell sole divinity. The Muslim “middle” you that Christ was not sent to die, view here is not a self-conscious act but, like the prophets before him of officiating a religious debate beand Prophet Muhammad after him, tween Jews and Christians. Our unhe was sent to live and teach. In derstanding and beliefs regarding short, a Muslim would say there is AContinued on page 11
Assasination of Sheik Ahmed Yassin A Continued from page 3 way to liberation. Even though Sheikh Yassin was left a quadriplegic at the tender age of 72, he was the leader of his time and a popular icon in the Middle East. Sheikh Yassin founded Hamas in 1987 during the first Palestinian Intifada in opposition to the brutalities and injustices of the Israelis toward the Palestinians. It has existed under different names since 1948 and is considered to be an extension of the Egyptian organization Al-Ikhwan Al Muslimeen, which means the “Muslim brotherhood” in Arabic and was founded in 1928.
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Duas ..... — Dua Before Studying — Allahumma infa’nii bimaa ‘allamtanii wa’allimnii maa yanfa’ unii. O Allah! Make useful for me what You taught me and teach me knowledge that will be useful to me. Allahumma inii as’aluka fahmal-nabiyyen wa hifthal mursaleen al-muqarrabeen. O Allah! I ask You for the understanding of the prophets and the memory of the messengers, and those nearest to You. Allahumma ijal leesanee ‘amiran bi thikrika wa qalbi bi khashyatika. O Allah! Make my tongue full of Your remembrance, and my heart with consciousness of You. Innaka ‘ala ma-tasha’-u qadeer wa anta hasbun-allahu wa na’mal wakeel. (Oh Allah!) You do whatever You wish, and You are my Availer and best if aid. Protector and the best of aid.
— Dua After Studying — Allahhumma inni astaodeeuka ma qara’tu wama hafaz-tu. Faradduhu ‘allaya inda hagati elayhi. Innaka ‘ala ma-tasha’-u qadeer wa anta hasbeeya wa na’mal wakeel. Oh Allah! I entrust You with what I have read and I have studied. (Oh Allah!) Bring it back to me when I am in need of it. (Oh Allah!) You do whatever You wish, and You are my Availer and Protector and the best of aid.
— Dua For Anxiety —
— Dua For Distress —
Allahumma inni a’oodhoo bika minal-hammi-walhazan. Wa’a oodhoo bika minal-ghammi-wal-kasal. Wa’a oodhoo bika minal jubni wal bukhl. Wa’a oodhoo bikal min ghalabatid-dayni-waqarir rijal. Oh Allah, I seek refuge in You from worry and grief, from helplessness and laziness, from cowardice and stinginess, and from overpowering of debt and from oppression of men.
Allahumma rahmataka arjoo falaa takilnee ilaa nafsee tarfata ‘aynin wa aslih-lee sha’nee kullahu, laa ilaha illa anta. O Allah! It is Your mercy that I hope for so do not leave me in charge of my affairs even for a blink of an eye and rectify for me all of my affairs. None has the right to be worshipped except You.
— Dua While Studying Something Difficult — Allahumma la sahla illama ja-’altahu sahla wa anta taj ‘alu al hazana etha shi’ta sahla. O Allah! Nothing is easy except what You have made easy. If You wish, You can make the difficult easy.
— Dua After Waking Up — Alhamdu-li-llaahil-lazi ahyaanaa ba’da maa Amaata-naa wa ilayhinnushuur. All praise be to Allah, Who gave us life after death, and unto Him will be the return.
— Dua Before Sleeping — Allahumma bismika amuutu wa ahyaa. O Allah! With your name I die and I live. Bismika rabbii wada’to janbi wabika arfa’oh. In amskta nafsii faghfir lahaa. Wa in arsaltahaa fahfazha bimaa tahfazo bihi i’baadakassaalihin. In Your Name, O Lord, I lay my side (to sleep). And by (Your leave) I raise it up. So if You take away my soul (during sleep) forgive it, and if You send it back (after sleep) protect it even as You protect Your pious servants.
The Loss of Heart
Continued from page 4
opposition to the occupation of Iraq. We have a merry time shouting and yelling. But do we really think that our few hours’ worth of “activism” has done much? I think this is true of our attendance of religious and political conferences as well. It’s become a form of entertainment for us. We have a great time getting out of the house for a few hours, taking a drive, and hearing the big-name imams crack jokes about the current state of the ummah and how we need to fix it. But where do we go from there? In each case, our involvement ends after the protest, or after the conference. It only lasts for a few hours at a time. And that is exactly where the problem lies. We cannot let it stop there. True activism – and true Islam – are twenty-four hour m o v e m e n ts . T h e y d o n ’ t e v e r stop. Unfortunately, I think we have let them. We have become overly concerned with worldly success. Our main intent is getting the degree and passing the class. It is not about learning the material. We are more concerned about using an organization to improve ourselves and further ourselves in our careers, than about achieving the organization’s mission and goals. We are more concerned
about making large amount of money than equally sharing that wealth with others. We are more concerned about feeling good than completing the work that needs to be done. Instead of care for the community at large, we are mainly intent on our individual success. Islam preaches the complete opposite. Islam is about the ummah. Islam is about constant development and improvement. Where have the daily acts of community service disappeared to? Where have the daily letters to the editor been lost? Where has the pure desire to get educated gone? I think it is time we reflect on the point where we have come to today and try to understand its roots. Sure we can blame our complete lack of care and concern on the new rapidity of life today, our heightened reliance on technology, our corrupt media conglomerates, and so on. None of these is enough of a reason for us to personally falter and lose heart. I think we still have it in us to bring back our passion for truth, and our passion for improvement and change. Deep down inside, we have the passion. We have the ability. And we have the duty as Muslims to make sure the true activism of the past returns. Inshallah, it will.
True activism – and true Islam – are
hour movements. They don’t ever stop.
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Adultery in Islam These verses further demonstrate how difficult it is to convict a w o m a n o f a d u l t e r y. I f s h e swears that her husband is lying, she can override his testimony. Once again, God’s grace and mercy are emphasized. Any mention of stoning comes from the hadith, or sayings, of the Prophet Muhammad. There are a number of hadith that indicate that the Prophet prescribed death by stoning as the penalty for adulterers, both male and female. “Narrated 'Abdullah bin ‘Umar: ‘The Jew brought to the Prophet a man and a woman from amongst them who have committed (adultery) illicit sexual intercourse. He ordered both of them to be stoned (to death), near the place of offering the funeral prayers beside the mosque.’” In another hadith, “Narrated Jabir bin Abdullah AlAnsari: ‘A man from the tribe of B a n i Aslam came to Allah's Apostle and Informed him that he had committed illegal sexual intercourse and bore witness four times against himself. Allah's Apostle ordered him to be stoned to death as he was a married Person.’” Both these hadiths indicate that for a married person, the penalty for adultery, which is a grave offence in Islam, is death by stoning. These hadith also imply that death by stoning is the “new legislation” that the Qur’an refers to in Chapter 4, Ayah 15. In the case of Amina Lawal, the pregnancy itself can be considered evidence of the crime of adultery, thus rendering the four witnesses unnecessary. There is no reference in either the hadith or Qur’an to the ramifications of a pregnancy through adultery, but many Islamic scholars assumed that a pregnancy is itself a testimony to the crime. According to the Qur’an, then, she should be punished, and according to the hadith, her rightful punishment should be death by stoning. Once again, the question arises—where is God’s mercy? Is it just for Amina Lawal to be stoned to death? As an answer to the first ques
Continued from page 5 tion, God’s mercy and kindness extend to all of humanity, not merely individual humans. Thus, societies and communities are also valid recipients of God’s mercy. When adultery enters the public realm—either through the presence of an illegitimate child or four eyewitness accounts—it affects an entire community. Thus, by making the punishment for adultery so severe, God is showing compassion to a society. The punishment for adultery ensures that such behavior will never be “normalized” in an Islamic society. In order to determine whether or not Amina Lawal should be stoned to death, it is important to distinguish between Islamic legal principles and legal practices. While the legal principles of Islam demand that the penalty for a married person who commits adultery be heavy, the practice and particular punishment ascribed by the Prophet were typical of the times. Stoning was a customary punishment in Arabia at the time of the Prophet. According to Islamic l e g a l p r i n c i p l e s , o r ta z e e r, such an action as adultery demands a consequence, but a consequence proportional to the societal context. In Islamic jurisprudence, every so often, public social interests overrides specific legal practices. The point of punishing the adulterer is to retain a certain sense of moral order in a given society, but in today’s world, death by stoning enrages the international community, and does not do justices to many of Islam’s humanitarian principles. Many contemporary jurists today hold that modern methods of punishment can and must be substituted for stoning, which, in the present day and age, has become more un-Islamic rather than obligatory. Should Amina Lawal be punished for adultery? Yes. Should she be stoned to death? Certainly not.
Should Amina Lawal be punished?
The Passion for Christ
Muslim Film Festival 2004
AContinued from page 8 Christ are essentially identical to the beliefs we have about Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Muhammad: all prophets, all humans, sent by God to teach humanity certain things that should keep us guided and clear in our very brief lives. If we are ever to be confused about something, let it not be about God and His divinity, and humankind and our humanity, especially as it pertains to our salvation quest. In Islamic theology, the human being is born pure, brought into this world in a state of grace. The concept of Original Sin is essentially homeless in our tradition. We inherit eye color and receding hairlines from our parents, not their wrongdoing. Forgiveness, pardoning, and mercy are of God’s essence, and He generously bestows them for the cool price of belief and sincerity. In an important way, “The Passion” is an accidental expose about the religious sensitivities of our times, about a wounded spirituality that seems to require sensationalism to keep the faithful going. This is a point that men and women of religion may all agree upon and observe in their respective flocks. Mel Gibson unwittingly may have done a service in raising issues indigenous to the human spirit that the postmodern world seems to shun, issues about God, prophets, salvation, mercy, and hope. It’s a vital conversation with divides and alliances, passions and perils, but a conversation that nonetheless can stand to hear the “middle” view that Islam naturally offers. Something of this view, in unavoidably brief fashion, now follows: Muslims love and revere Jesus, and believe in him as a Prophet and Messenger of God, a great teacher and guide for people. But Muslims do not believe that Jesus was God or the Son of God. Nor do Muslims believe that he was slain on the cross, as some early sects of Christians had once believed. Jesus was sent to the Children of Israel to revive faith and a spiritual connection with God. All the miracles that Jesus performed were indeed true: raising the dead, healing the blind and the leper, and more. These miracles, however, occurred through the auspices of God’s power and will, as it was with the splitting of the sea for Moses, Solomon understanding the utterances of animals, and many other suspensions of the natural order. God is the Creator, and when He determines something, He but
says to it “Be” and it is! (as the Quran states). Muslims venerate Mary, the mother of Jesus. She indeed gave birth to Jesus though she was a virgin. She was a spiritual woman who was chosen among her people to the office of special contemplation and prayer. But Muslims do not hold her to be the “mother of God” and similar attributes. She too was fully human and was a beloved and important person in a remarkable series of miracles in a special time in human history. Every biology and miracle, the explainable and the inexplicable, whether it is the creation of Adam from clay or the conception of any given child of two parents, goes back to God. It is all the same to Him. All of it easy. All of it His. In Islamic parlance, Jesus (peace be upon him) is known by the venerable titles of “Word” and “Spirit,” since the Quran tells us that God cast the “word” or “spirit” upon Mary, the Mother of Jesus. “Indeed, the angels said: ‘O Mary! God gives you glad tidings of a word from Him, whose name is the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, illustrious in this world and the Hereafter, and he shall be among those brought near [to God]. He will speak to humankind in the cradle and in manhood, and he is of the righteous” (Quran, 3:45). Also, the Quran states: “The Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, was but a Messenger of God, and His word which He conveyed to Mary, and a spirit proceeding from Him” (Quran, 4:171). “And indeed God gave Moses the Book [Torah], and after him We sent Messengers in succession. We gave Jesus son of Mary clear proofs and strengthened him with the Holy Spirit [Angel Gabriel]” (Quran, 2:87). The thought life of a Muslim with regard to all the prophets is best summed by the following verse of the Quran “Say [O believers]: “We believe in God and [the Book] sent down to us, and what was sent down to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes; and what was given to Moses and Jesus and what was given to [all] the Prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and to Him do we surrender ourselves” (Quran 2 : 1 3 6 ) . Ibrahim N. Abusharif is a Chicago-area writer and editor of Starlatch Press. He can be contacted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
AContinued from page 8 eration of youth who express an interest in pursuing a career in the film arts industry. Unless we are proactive in creating a medium where we produce high quality films that reflect the Muslim culture, we have no right to complain or criticize the mainstream news media or Hollywood’s portrayals of Muslims and Arabs. We encourage anyone who is interested in the festival to come and share the experience with us and join our organization.” The Muslim Film Festival is projected to expand to the Los Angeles area next year. For the latest updates on the Muslim Film Festival and for internship information, please visit the website at www.MuslimFilmFestival.org.
Films Screened at Berkeley “Born in the USA” by Ahmad Solimon Documentary “Oil Children” by Ebrahim Forouzesh Feature Film “On Common Grounds” by Ahmad Zahra Documentary “Nazrah” by Farah Nousheen Documentary
“Aicha” by Outlandish Music Video
“Death Threat” by Zarqa Nawaz Comedy
“T for Terrorist” by Sayed Badreya Comedy “Haters” by Lubna Khaled Documentary/ Experimental
“Art of the Mosque” by Jawaad Abdul Rahmam Educational “War on Terrorism” by Baiyina Hughely Documentary “All Around the World” by Aman Music Video
KNOW YOUR UMMAH Facts and Figures about the Muslim World The Arabic word “Ummah” refers to the collective body of Muslims all over the world. There are an estimated 1.4 billion Muslims worldwide and the Organization of Islamic Countries has 55 member nations.
Largest Muslim Populations: 1. Indonesia (194.4 milllion) 2. India (149.6 million) 3. Pakistan (144.6 milliion) 4. Bangladesh (129.5 million) 5. Turkey (71 million) 6. Egypt (67.7 million) 7. Nigeria (66.9 million) 8. Iran (66.0 million) 9. China (38.7 million) 10. Ethiopia (35.6 million)
Did you know...?
The Ummah in the West: Muslim populations in Europe and the Americas -United States (6.02 million) -France (5.98 million) -Germany (3.06 million) -Bosnia Herzegovina (2.34 million) -Albania (2.17 million) -Serbia & Montenegro (2.08 million) -United Kingdom (1.48 million) -Canada (0.62 million) -Argentina (0.5 million)
There are 27.65 million Muslims in Russia? That’s a stunning 19% of the Russian population!
Over 48% of ALL inhabitants of the African contintent are Muslim. That’s close to 413 million Muslims!
There are over 1200 mosques in the United States alone.
According to UN population estimates, the ten countries that will contribute most to world population growth over the next 30 years are India, China, Pakistan, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Indonesia, USA, Bangladesh, Zaire, and Iran--in that order!
Sources: CIA World Fact Book, United States Department of State, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, American Religious Identity Survey
The Ummah in the USA: An ethnic breakdown: -African-American (42.0%) -South Asian (24.4%) -Arab (12.4%) -African (5.2%) -Persian (3.6%) -Turkish (2.4%) -Southeast Asian (2.0%) -Caucasian-American (1.6%) -European (0.8%)
State-by-State: -California (20.0%) -New York (16.0%) -Illinois (8.4%) -New Jersey (4.0%) -Indiana (3.6%) -Michigan (3.4%) -Virginia (3.0%) -Texas (2.8%) -Ohio (2.6%) -Maryland (1.4%)
“Verily, this brotherhood of yours is a single brotherhood, and I am your Lord and Cherisher: therefore serve Me (and no other).” Al-Anbiya (The Prophets), verse 92