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The Virtues of Home and the Curriculum of Belief

the foundational first seven years of your child’s forever Of all the issues facing Western Muslim families and the world today, perhaps none is more crucial and convoluted than the education of our children.As recipients and (imperfect) upholders of the Qur’an and the Sunnah, it’s incredibly vexing to find so many among us ignoring these sources of divine guidance as we look to educate, and foster Muslim consciousness in, our children. In a two-part series, author Shireen Pishdadi reveals her own findings after undertaking an extensive personal research project on early childhood education.A home educator herself, Pishdadi’s incisive analysis of early childhood education raises questions on the efficacy of public schooling and sheds new light on the viability of the Prophetic educational paradigm in an increasingly complex and secular modern world. by Shireen Pishdadi




STRAIGHT TALK Finding your calling in college may be linked to finding your calling in life itself.




HEART TALK Hearts swinging between hope & fear.


CHARACTER Admitting fault is the first step to sincere repentance.


YOUTHFUL HORIZONS Overly amenable parents risk stunting their kids’ propensity to work hard.


IN FOCUS In order to effectively reach out and help others, we need to assess all options under Islam and not just those reinforced by our cultures.

Vol. 20, No. 10

Al-Hasan Al-Basri: Between Myth and Reality

1.The Life of the Prophet Muhammad A Brief History By M.M. Pickthall

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2.The Muslim Marriage Guide By Ruqayyah Waris Maqsood



� Conditions for Paying Zakah on Gold �Textual Evidence for a Virtuous Aspect of the Surah of the Cave

STATEMENT OF OWNERSHIP, MANAGEMENT AND CIRCULATION (Required by 39 US.C 3685): (1) Al Jumuah. (2) 1092-3772. (3) Filing Date: 10/01/2008. (4) Monthly. (5) 12 issues annually. (6) Annual Subscription Price: $30. (7) Location of Office of Publication: 4718 Hammersley Road, Madison, Dane County, WI 53711-2763. (8) Location of General Business Office: Same. (9) Publisher: Hassen A. Hassen, Editor: Hassen A. Hassen Laidi, Address: P.O. Box 5387, Madison, WI 53705. (10) Owner: Al-Muntada Al-Islami, Inc. Address: P.O. Box 5387, Madison, WI 53705. (15) Extent and Nature of Circulation: A. Total Number of Copies Printed: 12876 average last 12 months, 15000 actual issue nearest filing date. B. Paid and/or Requested Circulation: 1. Paid/Requested Outside-County Mail Subscriptions: 3986 average last 12 months, 4065 actual issue nearest filing date. 3. Sales Through Dealers and Carriers etc.: 106 average last 12 months, 105 actual issue nearest filing date. 4. Other Classes Mailed Through the USPS: none average last 12 months, none actual issue nearest filing date. C. Total Paid and/or Requested Circulation (Sum 15B (1), (2), (3), and (4)): 4092 average last 12 months, 4170 actual issue nearest filing date. D. Free Distribution by Mail: 1. Outside County: none average last 12 months, none actual issue nearest filing date. 2. In County: none average last 12 months, none actual issue nearest filing date 3. Other Classes Mailed Through the USPS: 11 average last 12 months, 5 actual issue nearest filing date. 4. Free Distribution Outside the Mail: 7829 average last 12 months, 10025 actual issue nearest filing date. E. Total Free Distribution (Sum 15d (1), (2), (30, and (4): 7840 average last 12 months, 10030 actual issue nearest filing date. F. Total Distribution (Sum 15c and 15e): 11932 average last 12 months, 14200 actual issue nearest filing date. G. Copies not Distributed: 800 average last 12 months, 800 actual issue nearest filing date. H. Total (Sum 15f and G): 12732 average last 12 months, 15000 actual issue nearest filing date. I. Percent Paid and/or Requested Circulation: 34.00% average last 12 months, 29.00% actual issue nearest filing date. (17) I certify that the statement made by me above are correct and complete. /S/ Hassen A. Hassen Publishing Director 10/01/2008.


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SPECIAL ISSUE Educational research indicates that active parental involvement in home and school contributes positively to their children’s academic and social progress. SCIENCE UPHOLDS FAITH Were the proximity between the earth and sun only slightly altered, it would destroy life all together.


A MATTER OF FIQH The Prostration of Thankfulness is an opportunity to show gratitude to Allah. How does one perform it?


LETTERS FROM THE BACKWOODS The quest for a meaningful self-identity threatens to destabilize the family structure.

Al-Jumuah Magazine Published by Al-Muntada Al-Islami Publisher & Editor Hassen A. Hassen Laidi Managing Director Safwan M. Shoukfeh Managing Editor Moeed Z. Sufi Contributing Editors Michelle Al-Nasr Dr. Aisha Hamdan Marketing & Advertising Alper Bolat Tel: (608) 277-1855 Ext. 21 Circulation Manager Yahya Clute Art Director Mohammad Ashfaq Rahim


NUTRITION AND SPIRITUALITY Only a fine line separates sound dieting from a severe eating disorder.


MADARIJ-US-SALIKEEN Translation series of Ibnul Qayyim’s classic manual of Islamic Spirituality: Madarij-us-salikeen (Steps of the Seekers).

Advisory Board Dr. Haitham Bogis Dr. Abdulmohsen Al-Shaikh Dr. Abdulrahman Al-Ibrahim Dr. Mansour Al-Mansour Dr. Alhussein Assiry Dr.Yousef Alyousef Fuad Al-Rasheed


QUR’AN AND LIFE Despite promises of heavenly reconciliation, we must try our best to avoid antagonizing our fellow brothers and sisters.

Al-Jumuah P.O. Box 5387 Madison,WI 53705-5387 U.S.A. Tel: (608) 277-1855|Fax: (608) 277-0323


REFLECTIONS A young student recalls a campus protest against the Danish cartoons and shares an important lesson.

US Office:

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P.O.Box 26970 Riyadh 11496 Saudi Arabia Tel: (9661) 225 1288|(9661) 454 6868 Fax: (9661) 269 0509


Although we like to think so, sometimes the life-lessons of the Qur’an do not elude the intelligence of a child. Befriending your husband is the key to long and happy marriage. | VOL 20 ISSUE 10

Al-Jumuah (ISSN 10923772) is published monthly for $30.00 per year by Al-Muntada Al-Islami, Inc. The publication date for this issue is October 1, 2008. Principal Office: 4718 Hammersley Rd., Madison WI 53711. Periodicals postage paid at Madison Wisconsin and additional offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Al-Jumuah P.O. Box 5387 Madison WI, 53705-5387. Copyright © 2008 Al-Muntada Al-Islami, Inc.All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without prior permission is prohibited. Al-Jumuah Magazine is not responsible for the accuracy of information provided by the advertisers. Readers are encouraged to verify such information directly with the advertisers. AlJumuah Magazine reserves the right to reject any advertisement. This magazine contains some of Allah’s names.Please do not throw in the trash. Either keep, circulate, shred or recycle.



Education and the Role of Family


T’S NO NEWS flash that societies today have lost the know-how to educate their children. But it should be headlines that, one after the other, cultures are being taught to forget the real meaning of the “good life” they all claim to be educating their young for. We’re all media-inundated with the challenges facing our school systems, their poor quality of childhood education, and the negative and violent attitudes being inculcated in our offspring via the implicit social curricula. Indeed, exponents from all ideological, economic, and political backgrounds are genuinely seeking to “improve” a desperate situation.Yet realizing the desired change is still, it seems, a far-fetched goal. Nonetheless, we have reached a consensus of sorts about a number of the underlying contributing causes for this crisis. I see a fundamental deterioration in family as among the most crucial culprits. Family is the one component that affects all society’s building blocks, the element without which serious improvement in the educational system is impossible to effect. And since the family has suffered markedly in the past 50 years and continues to endure the most dramatic cultural and structural changes, it is essential that all strategic planning for educational renewal make reviving the family and its essential role in educating young children a top priority. Sound like complicating an already difficult problem? Perhaps. But considering our record of near-continuous failure in educational reform, we know that this calamity-in-progress has no easy solution. A few obviously key facts, however, return real meaning and significance to the central role of the Muslim family in our children’s education. Indeed, to the extent that we succeed in applying what



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these facts suggest to any future wholesociety solution, the right change in our families becomes the most vital cog of all the mechanics of educational reform: 1.THE ENDS OF EDUCATION ARE DIVINE AND NOT HUMAN:To mold the totality of man’s character in a context that is wholesome and toward a worldview that aligns with that of Heavenly reality, as opposed to earthly delusion.That is to say, Indeed, the true religion with God is Islam.This entails that the teaching of the Muslim child— Islamic education, if you will—be a process by which taqwa is inspired—a balanced, sagacious relationship with God, fellow human beings, and all creation.This most essential aspect of the Islamic education is often missed or ignored by so many Muslims, educators included. In fact, this attitude, or rather its absence, is probably the single most important cause of the current sad condition of our Islamic education and schools.This is profoundly unfortunate since Islam clearly emphasizes the intimate relationship between learning and taqwa, and the Qur’an often speaks of one in terms of the other. Allah, for example says: “And attain taqwa (for it is Allah) who teaches you” [2:282], and “None truly fear Allah (have taqwa of Him) but those who have knowledge” [35:28]. 2. EDUCATION IS NOT AN OUTWARD EFFORT BUT AN INNER TRANSFORMATION.This begins soon after a child’s birth and continues throughout his or her lifetime. Allah, our Creator and Lord, tells us in the Qur’an: “Moreover, it is (Allah) who brought you forth from the bellies of your mothers knowing nothing (at all).Yet He made for you the faculties of hearing and sight, and hearts that comprehend, so that you may (learn and) give thanks” [16:78]. It is my contention that the more we contemplate the factual connection between ‘ilm and eman,

knowledge and faith, the deeper becomes our understanding of God’s wisdom behind it. The Prophet Muhammad, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, has informed us, in a hadeeth reported by Bukhari, that all human beings are born in a state of fitrah—a pure innate nature, best understood by considering its three basic elements: Self-awareness, God-Consciousness, andWill. So, even though we are born into this life without any worldly or material knowledge, we are given what we need most—the basic inner gifts that differentiate us from animals and the rest of Allah’s creation, and enable us, supported by the outer gifts of seeing and hearing, to acquire and develop what we require to become the full human beings and honorable servants of Allah we are called to be. In educational terms, therefore, fitrah is inherent “teachableness.” In their formative years, children eagerly absorb all that is taught to them. Like sponges, they soak up language, behavioral patterns, moral precepts, manners, and truth. Further, fitrah allows them to accept challenges with enthusiasm.They “try on” unfamiliar ideas.They grow. This teaching happens at the earliest ages when families typically have maximum control over their children’s affairs and environment.The only obstacle to this easy path of early education, as revealed in the above hadeeth, is the child’s own family neglecting its duty. A genuine fitrah and an aware and willing family is what make us teachable souls that respond to Allah’s guidance with total openness, zero resistance. Allah freely supplies the one to our children. Let us not be so slavish in and to the world as to selfishly withhold the other.


For young adults about Faith & Life

Finding Our Purpose BY ABDUL AZIZ AHMED


HE TYPICAL COLLEGE adviser’s job is to help students find their way through the next four (sometimes more) years and into that sparkling, grandiose ceremony we call graduation. In a way, he or she is aiding students to find their academic or professional calling and then illuminating the way for them to that end. In other words, an adviser assists students in formulating a mission—I want to be a doctor! a teacher! a baker! a candlestick maker!—and that’s exactly what gives the higher education experience meaning. Absent a purpose, there really is no sense to college. It is for this reason that advisers are generally more fundamental and active, in a sense, with underclassmen. It’s commonplace to see a bright new face in college who isn’t yet sure what course of study to pursue, which is where a good adviser will step in. After helping the student locate his or her academic interest, the adviser helps our student plot a straight course to achievement, saving one from meandering into classes that will ultimately have no impact on the one’s elect major—an intellectually stimulating mistake, perhaps, but often an obscenely expensive one, as well. Your purpose in college dictates your course of action. It informs all your academic decisions, and influences what subjects you take or do not take. It defines you as a student and endows you with an identity. Not only do you know who you are and what you are doing, but knowing your purpose also lets others know just exactly who you are and what you consider to be important. In my own experience, I find that students who are focused in life tend to be the most focused in school. And in all honesty, knowing your purpose in life is of a far greater import than having a purpose



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in college. A purpose in college saves you from wasting time and money on superfluous classes and makes clear your mission in college. But a purpose in life saves you—period! No squandering of countless opportunities to raise your rank as a person in the sight of Allah (the ultimate goal). Moreover, it guides you away (although not always) from purposeless actions. A purpose in life is akin to a water filter. Pour all of life’s contents—amusement, competition, money, love, and so on—through it and then life suddenly becomes clear.We are spared the utter aimlessness that afflicts so many others. We are saved from “experimenting” with certain substances or busying ourselves with activities in pursuit of passionate pleasure.With purpose, we are, rather, trying to grant our lives real meaning. For many years before the advent of Islam, the common Arab lived a deplorable life. One could make an argument that pre-Islamic Arabia, just before the coming of the Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, was a relatively obscure region, especially when contrasted with the contemporaneous Byzantine and Sassanid Empires.Yet, after a protracted conflict with the ruling elites and other complicit tribes, the message of the Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam— Allah’s revealed message—prevailed and soon galvanized the Muslims of Arabia unto a series of historic social, regional, and global “openings” that continue to befuddle historians to this day. Among many other things, this is a lesson in what purpose can do for you, no matter who you are or what you’ve done in your past. No small number of us continue to revel in the college experience and embark on its labyrinthine pathways of intellectual growth. But let us be

reminded, often, of our basic purpose. For a life without purpose is a life lost—no matter the degree of material enjoyment. So for the many of us who are still confused about what college really means for us, this is, perhaps, an indication that we’re not so clear as to what life means for us.Yet fear you not! Allah, Most High, in His infinite wisdom and mercy ever provides guidance to each generation of His creation, and this applies to us. Guidance, however, is not an automated thing. It has always been contingent upon our own desire for it and the intensity (and sincerity) of our search for it. “And Allah increases in guidance those who seek guidance” [19:76]. Then instead of viewing our ambiguity about life as an obstacle to true felicity, a confusion we can clear up with cursory reading, we ought to realize that we need to make some wise choices about who we are, what we believe, and where we want to go—questions and selections profoundly rife with purpose.That is, we need to confront our ambiguity head on and honestly come to terms with why we are so confused. Inherent in that introspective, self-vetting search lay the multi-layered answers to our myriad questions. For in the end, it is the search for divine guidance, the search for purpose, as we reflect on the Qur’an, the way of our Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, and our own mental state of affairs. It is this that shall broaden our mind and transform our soul. A Zen Proverb relates that the obstacle is the path. But Islam tells us otherwise. It is the Straight Way that leads us by the very footsteps of the blessed to divine grace, which ultimately diverges from the courses which themselves become the impediment— namely, the two byroads of eternal anger and irretrievable loss.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Punk Music is Good for Dawah! I was reading the letter-to-the-editor section of one of your older issues, volume 20 issue 02, when I saw a response to the discussion of punk music and dawah. I thought the

response was contradictory and I was quite offended by it as I am a fan of heavier types of music.The letter stated that means for dawah should not be associated with filth, however many Muslim rap bands have formed and are successfully preaching Islam, my mother a fan of one herself. I believe that rock/punk music is far purer than rap music. A Muslim rock band is going to be pushing the same values of any other genre Muslim band. Punk/rock music contains far less indecent ideas and half dressed women than rap. I also believe that the idea of “pure” and “clean” music is very opinionated. As an example the infamous “psychedelic rock” has two different meanings. In the West, it is a form of music that tries to imitate the effects of hallucinogenic drugs while in the East (Japan a key example) “psychedelic rock” took a change for the better. Previously known for the drug intake of its performers leaving an impact on the hazy, drugged-out music, Japanese Rock performers tended to be drugfree and adamantly anti-drug. Now rock performers in the East are wear08


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ing clothes that push modesty and shyness for both males and females. I think a way to clarify the dawah and music controversy is to look at the musical group itself and see the values they promote. Muslims and nonMuslims listen to a variety of music and if punk rock will help convert non-Muslims and strengthen the belief of Muslims, then there should be no debate on whether its origins were clean. Zainab Ahmed NewYork, NewYork. Al-Jumuah: Started more than six months ago, the debate of “punk music and dawah” continues on with many readers strongly supporting both the pro and con sides of the issue. Some, like this reader, seem to find it plausible for Muslims to use this genre of music in dawah while others condemned it, but in all such discussions, basic issues like the permissibility of music, the meaning of dawah, and who should make fatawa or decisions regarding its means, were lost and did not receive due attention.As it is true for everything else in Islam, we are supposed to lead a life based on clear guidance from its authentic sources—the Qur’an and the Sunnah. Therefore, we would like to encourage our readers to participate in this discussion and make theirs informative, Islamically authentic and contemporary and forget not that such participation is not a mere exchange of personal opinion but an essential form of dawah.

AlMaghrib Students Turning Knowledge into Action After reading, “AlMaghrib Institute: Who is Your Family,” in volume 20, issue 08, all I can say is: alhamdulillah! It was truly heartwarming news

to hear of these social service initiatives taken up by young AlMaghrib Institute students. Our Prophet Muhammad, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, tells us about the true love of one another. In addition, Islam teaches us that the true faith is what is demonstrated through positive, sincere deeds, and that action is what makes noticeable progress in society and not just talking and preaching. In the Qur’an, we learn the characteristics of the truly righteous: “As to the righteous, they feed, for the love of Allah, the indigent, the orphan, and the captive (saying), we feed you for the sake of Allah alone, no reward do we desire from you, nor thanks” [77:8-9].With food and nourishment being the most basic physical needs of a human being, feeding


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