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An-Nur “The Light”

Safar 1426 April 8, 2005


Muslim Women of Maryland

The newsletter of the Muslim Students‟ Association & the Muslim Women of Maryland

Contact Us! Please send your creative submsissions, comments, and suggestions to The deadline for the next issue is April 27th, 2005.

Inside this issue: Intellectual Revolution


Interest In Islam


Directions, Roles and Intentions


“Allah is Better and More Lasting”


The Islamic Way to Eat Mahshi — Part 1


Creative Writing


MSA History Founded in 1969, the Muslim Students' Association is an organization dedicated to serving the Muslim students on campus and educating the campus community about Islam and Muslims. We carry out Islamic activities, sponsor social, community service, and charity events, and strengthens relations and understanding between Muslims and nonMuslims.

Volume 7, Issue 2

Sweating Today, Sights on Tomorrow by Mohamed Abutaleb Words are defined through usage – found in dictionaries, lexicons, and on the tongues of people in speech. Buildings are defined through appearance – using masonry, bricks, wood, metal, sheetrock, screws, nails, and glue. Adventure is defined through experience – the act of getting up, being proactive, and performing adventurous acts. But unlike all of these, great people can not be defined through usage, appearance, or experience alone. One who acquires the look of righteousness could just as soon be an actor, hypocrite, or deceiver rather than a believer. Rather, in Islam, greatness is established in a very comprehensive way. A member of the faithful is not made through attractive speech, exterior pretension, or numerous connections to important people. Instead, acceptance is granted by Allah the Almighty when a heart becomes truly pure, intentions become truly sincere, and the desire to please is directed to the Lord of all creation, not to members of the creation. As the Exalted says in the Qur‟an, “Is not to your Lord due the sincere way of life?” (Az-Zumar) And the saying of the Prophet (saw), “Verily, actions are judged by their intentions, and to each individual is what he intended.” (Agreed upon) In this gathering of ours that we call the MSA and MWM, we aspire to build such greatness in our members. We work with the realization that anyone can put together attractive speech, clothe even the most wretched of people in modest garb, or give someone a few simple experiences that grants them the illusion of being a scholar or authority; but how many can inculcate true piety that emanates from within, not from without? How many can build true courage in the human soul – not the absence of fear, for even the Prophets (as) were fearful at times, but rather the drive to do the right thing despite the existence of fear ? As Allah (swt) says in his Holy Book, “And who is better in speech than the one who calls to Allah, performs righteous deeds, and proclaims „I am among the

Muslims?‟” We are coming up on an extremely busy month as we close our school year insha‟Allah. The month begins with our MSA Fundraising Banquet: “Spreading the Light of Learning” on the evening of Sunday, April 3. All members are highly encouraged to invite their families and friends to this large, important, and beneficial gathering. The month continues with three educational events as part of our Islam Awareness Month. At its center comes the Muslim InterScholastic Tournament (MIST), a competition and educational event for high school students, that falls on the weekend of April 16-17. Then, to close off our year comes a celebration for our graduating students, an end-of-the-year picnic, and our elections of next year‟s Executive Committees insha‟Allah. All of our members are encouraged to find ways to get involved in this extensive list of beneficial community activities insha‟Allah – both as an organizer and a participant. But through it all, do not lose sight of the true purpose and motivation behind these and all of our events. Set your intentions towards Allah (swt) and follow the course that you have plotted for yourself. As you build the events, gatherings, and lectures of today, do not ever lose sight of building the leaders and saviors of mankind for tomorrow.


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Student Advice & Perspectives Substance of Intellectual Revolution by Khuram Zaman What do we mean by Intellectual Revolution? We must recognize that there is no more a single paradigm that dominates the collective thinking of the Muslim Ummah, but a plurality of paradigms (modernism, post-modernism, traditionalism, fundamentalism, etc) that are competing with one another for dominance. This excessive competition is resulting in a sort of „intellectual anarchy‟ within the Muslim Ummah where the elites have busied themselves with intellectual disputations resulting in alienation, confusion, and despair within the masses. The excess reliance on emotion and activism due to a sense of powerlessness has caused many Muslims to think without seriously contemplating the proper course of action. With all these different paradigms floating in the collective mind of the Ummah and since no clear course of action has presented itself and yet each group is pushing for activism, the end result is that all of the creative forces within the Ummah are collapsing into one another and expending valuable energy on otherwise wasted projects such as the establishment of an Islamic state or the integration of Muslims within a non-Islamic political system. Unless and until a paradigm that caters to the need of the Muslim Ummah as a whole, in other words, a Universal Paradigm, is developed, the Ummah will continue to degenerate into anarchy and chaos.

Why is a Universal Paradigm important? It is the basis of a civilization, without which, a culture declines and is taken over by another one. In history, we can observe how the Mongols took the world by surprise and conquered vast amounts of territory and yet, within three generations or so, they were completely absorbed by the cultures of their subjects due to the simple fact that they had no independent culture of their own. If we examine our Ummah today, we should duly note that what happened to the Mongols is precisely what is happening today where many Muslim societies are mixing Islam not only

with Western cultures, but other cultures as well, such as Hindu, Zoroastrian, Pagan, and other Jahili cultures. We ought to ask ourselves whether this intermingling of cultures is truly a strength as many modernists would argue or is it not a sign of the weakness of our Ummah? In fact, we

system and our hearts have become attached with the dunya. The solution to mental servitude that our Ummah is making of to Western ideologies can only be intellectual in nature; in fact, nothing short of an intellectual revolution will suffice in liberating the Muslim minds which is in and of itself a

“...the strength of the community is defined by the hearts and minds of the believers.” should note that the aspects of these other cultures that are being borrowed are not substantively beneficial to the Ummah since we find that most Muslim countries are not borrowing at the level of ideas, technology, science, or power systems, but instead, are merely emulating the clothing, music, fashion, architecture, and foods of the powerful nations like monkeys emulate human beings. We should reflect on the words of Ibn Khaldun that he wrote in his “Muqaddimah,” that the vanquished imitate their conquerors. Is this not precisely what the Muslims are doing today? What is the solution to this civilizational hegemony? Is it establishing an Islamic state? Obviously not, since the foundations of the Islamic state relies upon the vitality of the traditions as embodied in the minds and bodies of the Muslims. What makes a Muslim community a strong community is not the Arabic calligraphy that are beautifully displayed in its Masjid or the size of its minaret or the beauty by which the Imam recites the Quran, instead, the strength of the community is defined by the hearts and minds of the believers. If the hearts and minds of the believers are filled with heedlessness, then the community as a whole will be heedless. If the believers have remembrance of Allah (swt) in the hearts and minds, then the community will as a whole will engage in social acts and transactions that embody the laws of Allah (swt). In other words, we must focus on the hearts and minds of the Ummah before we can focus on its body and we should not forget that our hearts and minds are in terrible states. Our minds have become disaffected with Islam as an intellectual

necessary prerequisite for the political emancipation of the Ummah from tyrannical regimes and corrupt, un-Islamic governments.

Intellectual Revolution... Intellectual Revolution, then, refers to efforts by a group of thinkers, in accordance with the traditional Islamic sciences, to examine all of the aforementioned paradigms and determine why they are all failing and, if need be, to create/re-create a dominant paradigm which can unite the thinking of the Muslims. As such, Intellectual Revolution has four components: Reconstruction of Islamic Knowledge – revives the traditions, Deconstruction of Western thought, Construction of Islamic Power Systems, Refutation of Deviant Groups. Reconstruction of Islamic knowledge entails the revival of the Islamic sciences in accordance with the boundaries of the Quran and Sunnah as understood by the Mujtahid Mutlaq Imams and those who followed them since the entirety of the Islamic sciences have been systematically formalized by them. Furthermore, it must be clearly explained that the seeking of knowledge is an obligation, of which some branches are fardh ain while others are fardh kaffayah. It is a travesty of times that the overwhelming majority of the Ummah is unaware of even what types of actions are obligatory upon let alone the knowledge of fulfilling those obligations. The only way the reconstruction of Islamic knowledge can occur is by reviving the Maddrasseh system of education and by developing programs of funding and (Continued on page 3)


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Student Advice & Perspectives Intellectual Revolution (cont.) (Continued from page 2)

scholarships that encourage Muslim youth living in the West to go overseas and acquire the best of Islamic education. The second component of intellectual revolution entails deconstructing Western power systems. Instead of Muslims falling into an ideological trap of whether or not Islam is compatible with such Western thought-systems as science, democracy, feminism, etc, we ought to question the authority of such systems. Any system produced by a human is inherently flawed when compared with the Divine revelation that was sent to us by Allah (swt) through the Prophet (saw). Our religion is the Haqq and we ought not to be afraid to make the bold claim that every other system besides Islam is false. Deconstructing Western power systems requires those Muslims living in the West to rigorously reject the authority of the Western political discourse and to firmly attack the roots of their political concepts, especially this absurd notion of freedom. Islam demands submission from human beings to their Creator, not freedom from their Creator. If anyone claims that

homosexuals have the freedom to do as they please, respond harshly with whether or not they would grant such „freedoms‟ to mutually consenting adults who desired to engage in incest. The façade of „freedom‟ must be pierced by brave intellectuals who have no fear of anything except Allah (swt). The third component of Intellectual Revolution is the thorough refutation of deviant groups, especially those groups that possess deviant aqeedah or lack an understanding of usool al fiqh, or question the authority of the Ulema without having studied their proofs. Special attention should be given to those who ascribe to the „modernist‟ paradigm where they claim that there is no proof in the Quran and Sunnah for hijab or that homosexuality is not only not a major sin, but permissible or that women can lead men in salah and give khutbahs even though this is expressly mentioned to be prohibited in narrations. The method of responding to such groups must be based firmly on the Islamic sciences as well as rational arguments, which is why the reconstruction of Islamic knowledge is a necessary prerequisite for all of the other components of intellectual revolution. The last component of intellectual revolution is to develop a contemporary formulation of Islamic power systems (ie to provide sufficient proofs for the establishment of a Universal Islamic Government). As is it clear by the works of the Ulema such as Imam Tahawi, Imam

“Any system produced by a human is inherently flawed when compared with the Divine revelation that was sent to us by Allah (swt) through the Prophet (saw).”

Mawardi, ibn Khaldun, Shaykh Uthman dan Fodio et al, that the establishment of a Khalifa is a fardh kaffayah, there must always be a group of people within our Ummah working towards this goal. The method of working towards khalifa is not by hosting debates on college campuses or passing out flyers or by throwing protests against the actions of corrupt governments as some political groups engage in. The method of restoring the khalifa is by restoring the confidence of the people within such a system. Due to the effects of excessive Western propaganda that slander the image of the khalifa based on false information or incorrect assessments, the average Muslim is so afraid of the establishment of a khalifa that he would prefer living under non-Muslim rule than Muslim rule. This is a reflection of the low state of our Ummah. Brothers and sisters of Islam, ponder over this! Reflect on how in previous eras, the non-Muslims flocked to the Muslims for protection and rulership and note how the situation has reversed itself! With all these four components of intellectual revolution, the basis of the intellectual suppression of the Ummah becomes null and void and it is only then when talk of real change becomes feasible. When the masses realize that political systems are not solid, cemented, metallic structures but are constructed and comprised of human beings like themselves, it is only then that they will be able to realize that just as they can be constructed, they can be „deconstructed‟ and „reconstructed‟ as an Islamic one.

What is NOT meant by Intellectual Revolution? It is not a scientific or technological revolution. We must honestly ask ourselves, is merely adopting Western science and technology going to benefit the Muslim Ummah when our power systems are completely dominated by the West either directly or indirectly? For example, let‟s (Continued on page 6)


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Perspectives on Islamic Law Interest in Islam by Maryam bint Dawud “That which ye lay out for increase through the property of (other) people, will have no increase with Allah: but that which ye lay out for charity, seeking the Countenance of Allah, (will increase): it is these who will get a recompense multiplied.” [30:39]. Amongst Muslims there must be an allconsuming thirst for knowledge about our way of life Islam. We must know and understand our way of life, the beauty and perfection of it, and the reason why we need to cherish being in the vanguard of this way of life. We will not be able to understand this without knowing why we are Muslims and our purpose in life. Allah created us to worship Him Alone, and in worshiping Allah (swt) we put all of our fear, hope, trust, and love in Him Alone. This is the definition of tawhid, to believe in Allah as The One Unique from all others. Everything and everyone else has been created by the Sole Creator to worship Him Alone. When we understand the fundamentals of tawhid, than we are truly ready to obey and glorify our Rab (Lord) in the way in which He commands us to do so. We understand that Allah is Perfect in everything, He is our Creator, our Cherisher, our Sustainer, The Master of all the universes. He is Allah „AzzawaJal. As such, we never question, doubt or deny Him. Therefore when Allah commands us to worship Him through the salaah five times a day, we do this without hesitation. When Allah commands us to worship Him through acts of charity and giving zakaat, we do so, without hesitation. When Allah commands us to wear our hijab, to love, honor and respect our parents and to be brothers and sisters in Islam holding on all together to His Rope fisabilillah, than we do all of this without hesitation, because He is Allah. Who has given us a breath of life and a heartbeat until death and Who is closer to us than our jugular vein. Who has created us from nothing, and made us into something, and given us all of our faculties and different abilities as a test to see which of us is best in taqwa. In being conscientious of Allah and what our duty is in life we understand that our only goal is Jannah, and our only purpose in life is to worship Allah, in order to get to Jannah so that

we may continue to worship Allah. For us, this is the greatest success and the supreme achievement being near our Rab, who blessed us with a chance, with a life, and a death and then the real ultimate life in the Aakhira. As Muslims we know and understand this and therefore try as much as we can to avoid all things that will lead us into sin and hellfire, and we try to exhort and uphold all things that will help us gain reward and will Inshallah lead us to the Jannatun Na‟im in the Aakhira. Allah says, “O ye who believe! Devour not usury, doubled and multiplied; but fear Allah; that ye may (really) prosper.” Surah 3, ayah 130. As Muslims, those people who strive to enjoin what Allah loves and leave what Allah hates, without any hesitation we must stop the endorsement and interaction of riba‟ or interest (usury). In order to leave interest we must understand what interest is according to Allah in the Qur‟an and Rasulullah (saws)

in the sunnah. Malik related that he had heard that Abdullah ibn Mas‟ud used to say, “If someone makes a loan, they should not stipulate better than it. Even if it is a handful of grass it is usury.” And narrated by Abu Hurayrah: Rasulullah (saws) said, "Usury has seventy parts, the least important being that a man should marry his mother." And narrated by Abu Umamah: Rasulullah (saws) said: “If anyone intercedes for his brother and he presents a gift to him for it and he accepts it, he approaches a great door of the doors of usury.” This hadith states that someone who has helped his brother (perhaps in saving him from a punishment by intercession on his behalf) if the individual who was given intercession presents a gift out of gratitude to his intercessor and the intercessor accepts this gift, this is very near to the practice of riba‟, Subhanallah! Narrated by Sa'id ibn Zayd: Rasulullah (saws) said: “The most prevalent kind of usury is going to lengths in talking unjustly against a Muslim's honor.” And narrated by Abu Huraira: Rasulullah (saws) said, "Avoid the seven great destructive sins." They (the people) asked, "O Rasulullah (saws)! What are they?" He said, "To join partners in worship with Allah; to practice sorcery; to kill the life which Allah has (Continued on page 5)


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Perspectives on Islamic Law Interest (cont.) (Continued from page 4)

forbidden except for a just cause (according to Islamic law); to eat up usury (Riba), to eat up the property of an orphan; to give one's back to the enemy and fleeing from the battlefield at the time of fighting and to accuse chaste women who never even think of anything touching chastity and are good believers." These are the definitions of interest according to the ahadith in the sunnah of Rasulullah (saws). As Muslims, we must take seriously every definition and

says, “Those who devour usury will not stand except as stand one whom the Evil one by his touch hath driven to madness. That is because they say: „Trade is like usury,‟ but Allah hath permitted trade and forbidden usury. Those who after receiving direction from their Lord, desist, shall be pardoned for the past; their case is for Allah (to judge); but those who repeat (the offence) are companions of the Fire: They will abide therein (forever).” (2:75) There is also a hadith that reflects our society today. Narrated by Abu Hurayrah:

“Rasulullah (saws) curse those who took usury, those who paid it, those who recorded it, and those who refused to give sadaqah.” understand the heavy sin that this action is relegated to in Islam. Partaking in interest is a crime in Islam and there is a severe punishment for those who interact in it at any level. Rasulullah (saws) has cursed people involved in riba‟. Mentioned in this ahadith: Narrated by Ali ibn Abu Talib, Ali heard Rasulullah (saws) curse those who took usury, those who paid it, those who recorded it, and those who refused to give sadaqah. There is not only a punishment in this life for those who deal in interest but an eternal punishment in the Aakhira. Narrated by Abdullah ibn Hanzalah ; Abdullah ibn Abbas: Rasulullah (saws) said, "A dirham which a man knowingly receives in usury is more serious than thirty-six acts of fornication." Ibn Abbas‟s version adds that he said, "Hell is more fitting for him whose flesh is nourished by what is unlawful." The magnitude of this sin is so big that even one of the major sins, the act of fornication committed thirty-six times, is not as great in the Sight of Allah as dealing in interest. Narrated by Abu Hurayrah: Rasulullah (saws) said, "On the night when I was taken up to Heaven I came upon people whose bellies were like houses and contained snakes which could be seen from outside their bellies. I asked Jibreel who they were and he told me that they were people who had practiced usury.” As Allah

Rasulullah (saws) said: “A time is certainly coming to mankind when only the receiver of usury will remain, and if he does not receive it, some of its vapor will reach him.” Around the world all of the major global institutions are based on interest, an act specifically prohibited by Allah (swt) and established in the international banking and financial systems of the world. Interacting in

our whole focus is getting into the Jannah tul Firdaws this will not be an issue for us. This means we have to examine our actions in our daily lives. For instance, I am going to ask a very touchy question. Did any of us take out that big pretty Stafford or Perkins loan in order to stay in school? The one they always ask us each year to accept or decline, for some of us it would be declining our whole school degree unless we got two jobs and no life, right? But this is not a justification for accepting these loans, because it is hateful to Allah „AzzawaJal. We must realize that in saying „we love Allah‟, we will be tested by our actions… How much? Getting to Jannah will be a struggle, but we have no excuse to give up or to make excuses for ourselves. Rasulullah (saws) and his sahabah (ra), sacrificed their whole lives fisabilillah. What have we sacrificed? We should never believe that was then and this is now. That was then, and this is now, and Allah will hold us accountable by the laws that He set down for the whole universe and for all of humanity for all time. There is no special glittering pass for those of us who are alive in the year 2005. Either you were a practicing Muslim and willing to make the

“Just because you want a degree, or a new car or a new house, it does not excuse you from The Laws of Allah.” interest is so reprehensible to Allah that Rasulullah (saws) curses the people who participate in this system and Allah has made hellfire a reward for those who help to propagate interest. Our entire society is based on an economic system rooted in interest, and therefore in making bank accounts, taking out loans, buying houses or cars, and other basic items that we may need we are helping to sustain a system of riba‟. Many of us feel that we must accept interest until we get to where we need to be in life and than we will repent and have a clean slate. I ask those of us who feel this way, to get to where? How? Why? If

sacrifice fisabilillah or you weren‟t. Just because you want a degree, or a new car or a new house, it does not excuse you from The Laws of Allah. Many of us make the mistake of believing that back then in a past of deserts, camels, tents and campfires people didn‟t have dreams or desires or even what they might consider pressing necessities. Just as right now we have dreams and desires and even what we might consider pressing necessities. They did, and we do, but Allah is The One Who will provide for us and sustain us, and bestow on us His mercy and Allah is The One Who will be with us forever, Inshallah. Islam is (Continued on page 8)


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Reflections Directions, Roles, and Intentions: A Moment for Self-Reflection and Sobering Honesty by Abdullah Valanzola I am not a sheikh, imam, or scholar. I would not even consider myself a student of knowledge, although I strive to be one. Therefore, the following is simply a reflection. Whatever good is understood and acted upon is from Allah and may Allah forgive me for whatever is bad in it. We all fit into numerous roles or titles. Many of these roles we do not even consciously realize, rather, we simply act upon. Reflect for a few moments and consider the roles and relationships you are responsible for. You likely fit into the majority of these roles: brother, sister, son, daughter, spouse, family member, friend, student, teacher, worker, activist, athlete, performer, (think of more) and the list is seemingly endless. However, there is something that surpasses all of these roles and it is obvious. Allah (SWT) says in the Quran, “And who is better in speech than the one who calls to Allah, performs righteous acts, and proclaims: „I am among the Muslims!‟” (Quran 41:33). The most important role… the most important

title you can obtain is that of a Muslim or one who submits him/her self to Allah (SWT). Therefore, it is the Muslim brother, Muslim sister, Muslim son, Muslim daughter, Muslim athlete, etc… that truly matters. Some say that titles are meaningless. Allah knows best, but I believe this to be true. The term Muslim is not a title; it is an action. Allah (SWT) refers to our Deen not as an inactive and passive religion, but a committed and magnificent way of life, “Say: Verily, I am commanded to serve Allah with sincere devotion.” (Quran 39:11). The Muslim should be acting consistently as a Muslim in all of his or her roles. Therefore, it is not enough to simply be called a Muslim. Being a Muslim requires acting as a Muslim. Take a hypothetical example of a student who studies each night with the intention of pleasing Allah versus the student who takes his/her studies without seriousness (and then makes frantic du‟aa

five minutes before the final in hopes of a miracle). Another hypothetical example is that of an athlete, who walks onto the field, court, or gym with the sole intention of acting as a Muslim and giving the best of dawah through the best of conduct. Contrary to this, there is the Muslim who engages in athletic events with the primary objective of wanting others to love and admire him/her. The final hypothetical example I have is that of a friend. One who watches, advices, and interacts with their friend with the sole purpose of having both of the individuals gaining a closer relationship to Allah and being among those who are shaded on the Day of Judgment. Contrary to this, is the friend who is afraid to advise their troubled brother or sister in the interest of preserving a “plastic” relationship. Sit for a moment and reflect upon the many situations, relationships, intentions, and circumstances where we encounter this struggle. The numbers of circumstances are vast. As we enter these numerous (Continued on page 8)

Intellectual Revolution (cont.) (Continued from page 3)

assume a Muslim country acquires the ability to develop a nuclear weapon. Although this may be a technological breakthrough, if the government that wields such a weapon is no more then a puppet of some Western government or other, then in reality, then the development of such weaponry, or any technology for that matter, not only fails to benefit the Ummah, it in facts hurts it. If a Western country possesses ownership over the resources, manpower, and territory that are within Muslim lands, how does being at the bottom of the economic food chain benefit the Muslim Ummah? Furthermore, with regards to the foolhardy claim that our Ummah will be saved by “Science” when all our Muslim youth become

doctors, engineers, or IFSM majors, if this was the case, then we would have certainly seen such a scenario in our history. Yet, if we observe our history carefully, the scientific flourishing that occurred during the golden age of Islam under the Abbassid Khalifa wasn‟t the cause of the success of Islam, it was an effect. Furthermore, of what benefit is the use of a Western education when in fact most of the Muslims who get educated in the West, often stay in the West. Of those Muslims who get educated in the West and do go back to their country, they often carry more Western intellectual baggage back home then reverse. It must be carefully noted that the ultimate strength of the West is in intellectual ownership, not in resources, not in management of resources, not in technological innovation (since most of its scientific-technological process rests

on the shoulders of foreigners anyhow). The goal of Intellectual Revolution is to eventually produce theories of Islamic power systems in order to create valid alternatives to current power systems. Once a clear alternative is presented, then political revolution becomes possible. When political revolutions become possible, then the unification of the Ummah becomes possible and when the unification of the Ummah becomes possible, then Jihad does too. How intellectual revolution is a necessary prerequisite for political revolutions which are themselves necessary for the establishment of a Universal form of Islamic government that engages in dawah, jihad, and the implementation of the shariah will be discussed in the next article.


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Reflecting on the Qur’an “Allah is Better and More Lasting” by Maria Khalid Then all the magicians were flung down prostrate crying, “We believe in the Lord of Harun and Musa (AS).” Pharaoh said, “You put faith in him before I give you permission? …Now surely I shall cut off your hands and your feet alternately and I shall crucify you on the trunks of palm trees and you shall know for certain, which of us has sterner and more lasting punishment.” They said, “We do not prefer you over the clear proofs that have come to us and over Him Who created us. So decree what you will decree, you can only decree for us in the life of this world. Verily we believe in our Lord, that He may forgive us of our sins and the magic you forced upon us. Allah is better and more lasting.” One day on my way to school, I was listening to the translation of Surah Ta Ha in my car, and as I was concentrating on controlling my road rage, the above verses caught my attention. The scene that is described here is very striking (it sounds even more striking if you‟re listening to it narrated in the translator‟s dramatic voice. This scene is taking place after Pharaoh rejects Prophet Musa‟s (as) message. Prophet Musa (as) says that he will prove that he is telling the truth via his miracles. Thereafter, Musa (as) and the magicians have a showdown, followed by the scene described above. In the Qur‟an, Pharaoh is the epitome of all oppressors and tyrants. He symbolizes those who may try to control us, distract us from our religion, and turn us away from Allah. He is the type of person I am sure all of us have, or we will at some point, encounter in our lives. And if we don‟t find him in our personal lives, then we could definitely find an example of him sitting in the Oval Office. Men and women like him are not few in number, nor are they feeble in their abilities to manipulate others. Accordingly, there is much that one can learn from analyzing the various descriptions of him in the Qur‟an and the way his adversaries respond to him in those descriptions. What amazes me about this scene was how quick the magicians were to accept Musa‟s (as) religion. It only took one moment for them to realize the truth and to dedicate themselves to it wholeheartedly, to the point where they were willing to sacrifice their lives for their belief. The idea of being tortured to death did not faze them,

for they saw the bigger picture. They saw that this man, Pharaoh, although he controlled their lives and the lives of the thousands of other Egyptians in their country, was nevertheless an insignificant human being. They knew that although he could mutilate their bodies and inflict severe physical pain on them, he had no control over their souls. And in the backs of their minds they realized that Pharaoh‟s torture and his dictatorship were, like the life of this world, only temporary. Their faith in Allah and the comfort of His presence in their hearts could allow them to endure any degree of suffering Pharaoh may try to inflict upon them. It is also interesting to note that these were magicians. These were men, who had dedicated their whole lives to the devilish art of deceiving others, and yet within just a moment they gave all of that up, as courage and conviction flooded their hearts. Perhaps this enthusiasm to sacrifice their livelihoods rooted from their experience of how empty and unfulfilling their lives must have been previously, before they had realized the truth. And when Pharaoh threatened them, they did not get caught up in the predicament of that moment, nor did they get overwhelmed and frightened. Instead, they recognized immediately where their loyalties lay. It lay in the hands of He Who created them. These are very comforting and empowering verses. In this world, everybody encounters times of pain and suffering. And when we think about all of our brothers and sisters in Palestine, Iraq, Sudan, and all over the world, it may seem overwhelming to consider the innumerable degree of injustices that are inflicted onto Muslims. However, the magicians‟ willingness to accept Pharaoh‟s

threats reflects a greater sense of wisdom they had in dealing with injustice. It seems as though perhaps they had once known a more profound sense of torment than the physical and emotional pain they were threatened with. That torment was what they felt before they saw the truth, when they felt that endless abyss of emptiness in their hearts. Therefore in comparison, crucifixion on the trunks of palm trees seemed to them, bearable. The human body and the even mind are temporary creations, that will eventually die off and the torture inflicted upon them will be forgotten. But without Allah, the torture within the human soul is more profound and it remains forever. Alhamdulillah for that we as Muslims have been spared of such a torment in this life and in Allah‟s remembrance, our hearts and our souls find comfort.


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Reflections Directions, Roles (Cont.) (Continued from page 6)

examples, we are commanded to keep one thing consistent throughout, Allah (SWT) tells us, “O you who believe! Be conscious of Allah and fear Him as you should, and do not die except as Muslims.” (Quran 3:102). A Muslim is in a particular state of consciousness. The litmus test for our consciousness is our intentions. The true test of a Muslim comes down to our intentions and the seriousness with which we follow through on our intentions. Through this, there are actually differences between Muslims. As we know differences in race, nationality, gender, are relatively meaningless. Differences in our seriousness for our Deen or level of piety, is the only meaningful distinguishing factor. Our sole purpose in this dunya is to worship Allah (SWT). Allah (SWT) tells us, “And We have not created the jinn or mankind except that they may worship (Allah).” (Quran 51:56). What level of a Muslim are you going to choose to be in the classroom, at the dinner table, on the playing field, or while no one but Allah can see you? Improving as a

Muslim is going to take reflection, honesty, and c o u r a g e . Reflection to discover. (Come to an understanding of your roles). Honesty to admit. (Build upon where you have succeeded and admit where you have failed). And courage to change. Allah loves those who seek his forgiveness. Nevertheless, always be vigilant, as Shaytan hates the progression of each stage of this process. Shaytan will use people, thoughts, events, and any other tool of evil to deviate you from change. As you pass through Shaytan‟s temptations, by Allah‟s will, it will become easier and easier to avoid the Shaytan. The Khalifa Umar (RA) is an excellent example of this. The Prophet Muhammed, may Allah shower his peace and blessing upon, said, “By Him in whose hands my life is, when Shaytan sees you taking a

path, he takes a path other than yours". (Bukhari, Book 54, Hadith No. 515). One thing is certain. In whatever role you may hold, you are either a true Muslim or you are not. So, before, during, and after any activity or action, ask yourself… were you acting as a Muslim? What were and what are you intentions? Work slowly and steadily in this process. Make sure you have a clear direction and progressively work toward improvement. Change that comes quick is likely to burn out fast. Change that comes patiently burns forever by Allah‟s will. And Allah (SWT) knows best. May He guide us all on the straight path. I will end reflection with a quote that is atypical to the usual Islamic article:

who could not be present here today. O People, just as you regard this month, this day, this city as Sacred, so regard the life and property of every Muslim as a sacred trust...Remember that you will indeed meet your Rab, and that He will indeed reckon your deeds. Allah has forbidden you to take usury (interest), therefore all interest ob li gation sh all h encefo rt h b e waived...Beware of Shaitan, for your safety of your religion. He has lost all hope that he will ever be able to lead you astray in big things, so beware of following him in small things….Remember, one day you will appear before Allah and answer for your deeds. So beware, do not astray from the path of righteousness after I am gone. O People, no prophet or messenger will come after me and no new faith will be born. Reason well, therefore, O People, and

understand my words which I convey to you. I leave behind me two things, the Qur'an and my example, the Sunnah and if you follow these you will never go astray. All those who listen to me shall pass on my words to others and those to others again; and may the last ones understand my words better than those who listen to me directly. Be my witness O Allah, that I have conveyed Your message to Your people." Remember it is not the dunya that we are reaching for, we are reaching for the Aakhira. May Allah give us the best in this life and the best in the next and save us from the punishment of the hellfire, Amin. Any mistakes I have made are from myself, and anything good I have said is from Allah (swt).

"Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?" said Alice. "That depends a good deal on where you want to go," said the Cat. "I don't much care where-" said Alice. "Then it doesn't much matter which way you go," said the Cat. -Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Interest (cont.) (Continued from page 5)

for all humanity for all time, halal, and haram are the same yesterday and today. Jannah and Jahanam last an eternity, and all of the bounties, rewards, blessings and treasures of the heavens and the earth belong to Allah, The Sole Owner and Possessor of the universe. If you ever want something, ask Allah and just as Allah gave you the stars in the sky Allah will continue to provide for you out of His Loving Kindness. I will end with the words of Rasulullah (saws). In his last khutbah he mentions interest, what better way to emphasize the significance of this sinful act? "O People, lend me an attentive ear, for I don't know whether, after this year, I shall ever be amongst you again. Therefore listen to what I am saying to you carefully and take these words to those


Volume 7, Issue 2 Page 9

Islamic Manners The Islamic Way to Eat Mahshi — Part One by Dina Raafat So, as mahshi is an art, we must appreciate its craft by respecting it not only in its recipe but in how we eat it, for this mahshi is not only stuffed perfection, it is a blessing from Allah. For food is what gives us sustenance in order to ensure that our minds and bodies can be in the service of God. Because food is one of the pleasures of this life, it is not surprising that Islam has given us rules in its over indulgence and in sharing it with company, this article will particularly discuss the guidelines BEFORE we begin our meal. A healthy body is required through the digestion of food, therefore a person should satisfy his or her hunger, but abstain from food while still having an appetite for more. A hadith states, “Do not kill your hearts with much eating and drinking, for the heart is like a plant which dies if watered too much,” therefore, clearly Islam warns against excess but it portrays, an appreciation for food and our health. Therefore, by providing us with guidelines before we eat only further strengthens the appreciation we hold for it. The first guideline being the food must be lawful or halal. The second guideline is to wash one‟s hands. The Prophet (SAW) said, “Ablution performed before a meal banishes poverty, ablution after a meal banishes minor sins.” Because eating is a part of

Islam (therefore, a form of worship), it would be improper to conduct it while unclean. The third guideline is to place the food on a sufra (a ground cover) as did the Prophet (SAW) instead of a raised table. However, after the death of the Prophet (SAW) tables were introduced therefore, while eating on a sufra is appropriate, eating on a table is not condemned or found distasteful. The fourth guideline is while sitting at the sufra one should sit respectably and properly. The Prophet (saw) said, “I do not eat while reclining…for I am but a slave; I eat as a slave and sit as a slave sits”. The fifth guideline concerns itself with the purpose of eating. One should have the intention before eating that the purpose of the meal is strengthening his or her obedience to Allah. Ibrahim ibn Shayban resolved to lessen his food intake since he ate for the purpose of worshiping Allah, his intention was sincere only when he ate less than what satisfied him. The Prophet (SAW) said, “No human being has ever filled a container worse than his own stomach. The son of Adam needs no more than some morsels of food to keep up his strength; doing so, he should consider that a third of [his stomach] is for food, a third for drink and a third for breathing.” Therefore, one should only reach for food when there is hunger (regardless of whether mahshi is on the table or not). The sixth rule of conduct is simply to

eat what you are served or what is available. For food is what nourishes our bodies -- it gives us the ability to study, work, and most importantly, to worship. Food is held in such esteem that when the time of prayer arrives, you should eat the meal if there is enough time. The Prophet (SAW) said “If the time for evening prayers and that of supper coincide, begin with the supper.” However, if the person can wait and is not exceptionally hungry it is preferred to pray but, if the food will spoil or grow cold it is preferred to eat. This is because when the food is set, it‟s difficult to not think about the food, even when you are not very hungry. Finally, the last guideline is to have as many people join you during the meal. The Prophet (SAW) said, “The best food is that over which there are many hands.” Therefore, if anyone is having mahshi for dinner, it is your obligation to invite me.

To view the electronic version of one of the most popular du‟aa books in print visit


Volume 7, Issue 2


Page 10

Creative Writing “Mmmmm, Fundraiser.....” by Sherihan Youssef

University of Maryland at College Park Box 44, Stamp Student Union College Park, MD 20742 Email:

WWW.MSA-UMD.ORG Department of Islamic Studies


The following is a quiz to test your knowledge and awareness about the MSA fundraiser and must be taken with absolute seriousness. Please answer the questions and check your answers upon completion of the quiz. Jazzaku Allahu Khairen. 1. How many classes did the brothers have to miss in order to complete the movie, “What Dreams may Become”? a. 0 to 3 b. 7 to 9 c. Classes? What Classes? d. It doesn‟t matter because it was worth it!! 2. What was the most touching part of Brother Mohamed‟s Speech? a. The way he spoke about the MSA with such passion. b. The way he made us feel that we ARE out to save the world. c. The tears of love that filled his eyes when he spoke about his beloved printer. d. All of the above. 3. What was the #1 indicator that the MSA fundraiser was a Muslim event? a. Everyone shows up an hour late. b. The first thing people ask about when they arrive is the food. c. Everyone feels that is okay to take the Masjid centerpieces with them. It would be a great toy for the kids. d. All of the above. 4. What Production company filled our evening with laughter? a. ThatVon Productions b. DatOne Productions c. DatVon Broduct Is Too Good d. DatVon Productions 5. Who was the voice of the songs that were in the movie, “What Dreams May Become”? a. Br. Rashad. He does the best of his vocal performances in front of the mirror. b. Br. Raef, MashaAllah. c. Br. Ahmad. You could SO tell he wasn‟t lip synching. It was so original. d. Singing? What singing? I was concentrating too hard on the physical amazement of Br. Ahmad‟s ability to balance on the chairs while singing! 6. By the end of the evening, we all learned a fun fact. What was it? a. Sisters are better at counting than brothers. b. Don‟t feed people first. c. We have a generous crowd of Muslims, MashaAllah. d. All of the above. 7. Who was Imam Johari speaking to when he said, “I bet your not married, Akhi, right?” a. Br. Ahmad b. Br. Ibrahim c. Br. Sami d. Br. Mustafa On a Serious note, Jazzaku Allahu Khairen to everyone who helped out with the MSA Fundraiser! May Allah reward you all for your efforts! Answers: 1-d,2-d,3-d,4-d,5-b,6-d,7-c

MSA Officers President: Mohamed Abutaleb Vice-President: Ibrahim Elmoghazy VP Sisters‟ Affairs: Mona Ibrahim Masjid Affairs: Hosam Haggag Pub. Relations: Abdullah Valanzola Secretary: Yusuf Yates Treasurer: Mustafa Zaghal MSA Chaplain: Ali Darwish

MWM Officers President: Sherihan Youssef Vice-President: Ruba Elbasha Secretary: Dina Raafat Treasurer: Asfa Lohani Pub. Relations: Fasiha Khan SGA Liaison: Samya Mohammad

Newsletter Staff Editor-in-Chief: Asfa Lohani Staff Writers: Mohamed Abutaleb Maryam bint Dawud Maria Khalid Dina Raafat Abdullah Valanzola Sherihan Youssef Khuram Zaman Copy Editor: Chancey Gannett Fasiha Khan Page Editors: Asfa Lohani (Lead) Kausar Sajjad

An-Nur: Volume 7 - Issue 2 (April 8, 2005)  

The newsletter of the Muslim Students Association & the Muslim Women of Maryland. | Volume 7, Issue 2

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