Humanity An Islamic Perspective Imam Yahya Ederer Spirituality and Nature Samia Mubarak
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August -2017, Volume 3, Issue 8 ISSN 2377 - 9624 Publisher & Editor-in-Chief : Mohamed Haroon Sait Editor : Nabeel Sait Design & Layout : Mubin M.K All content Copyright ÂŠ2016 Muslim American, Inc. except where otherwise noted. Please contact the editor or publisher directly to obtain reprint permission and guidelines.
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6 | In Perspective, Humanity An Islamic Perspective By Imam John Ederer
18 | Hands Off Al-Aqsa
Work By Rondie George
By Maitha Ali
20 | Education Is A Team
Should Disagree By Duston Barto
14 | The Jihad is Real
renounced his Throne
By Fahim Munshi
26 | Spirituality and
8 | How Muslims
By Saad Haq
24 | The King who
22 | Islam Perspective on By Sh. Muhammad Khan
By Samia Mubarak
In Perspective Humanity An Islamic Perspective Imam John Ederer Some have mistakenly claimed that Islam teaches a compassionate loving bond exclusively with Muslims. When people talk about humanity, they are usually referring to two concepts; the reality of human beings and/or the compassionate benevolence we show our fellow humans. Our scripture has emphasized these two points in many ways. There are some scriptures that break from this fundamental reality of positive human interaction. Those are related to the context of war which is completely understandable. The fact is that there are overarching clear verses regarding Islamic teachings and others which are ambiguous and can seemingly contradict those clear fundamental verses. The Quran warns us, “As for those with deviant hearts, they follow the ambiguous verses seeking turmoil in their interpretation.” (3:7) Indeed one of the single most decisive verses in the Quran is that of the nature of the Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) mission! “We have merely sent you as 6
benevolence to everyone and everything.” (21:107) This verse carries profound eloquent connotations in the original Arabic. It defines the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) as an act of altruistic care and concern for the ultimate wellbeing of all things; plants, animals, human beings and the entire world. It is a mission much deeper than just love which can become a cliché void of much meaning. Rather it is a sacrifice of one’s time, wealth and means so that others could be nurtured. Therefore, the Prophet (PBUH) and all those who declare faith in him must share such an approach to the world around them. To understand this we mustunderstand the roots of it all. Human kind in the Quran is referred to as the children of Adam or humanity. Either way we are all related in the human family connected by the soul
Muslim American Magazine August 2017
that God created of a heavenly source and the body of a Earthly source. We were all meant to embrace each other as a human family getting to know each other without judgements as God is the judge and knows what is in the hearts. “O Mankind, I have created you all from male and female and made you into tribes and nations so that you may come to know each other. Indeed the best among you with God are the most virtuous. Indeed God is allknowing and aware.” (49:13) “O Mankind, be mindful of your Lord who created you from a single soul from which He created its mate and then from the two of them, He dispersed many men and women…” (4:1) In addition to this, the prophets (PBUT) all emphasized their nationalistic connection with their people, even though they were engaged in deep immorality
In Perspective and rejecting their prophethood! “We sent to Ad their brother Hud. He preached to them, ‘My people worship God, you have no god beside Him.” (7:65) “We sent to Madyan their brother Shu’ayb. He preached to them, ‘My people worship God, you have no god beside Him.” (11:84) A fundamental core teaching of the Quran is God’s honoring and exalting all of humanity as His distinguished creation. This entails a level of human respect that is intended for all regardless of belief. “Indeed I have honored the children of Adam and given them the means to travel through the land and sea. We have provided them with the good things and clearly preferred them over much of Our creation.” (17:70) This meaning was brought home in which the Prophet (PBUH) stood in respect to a Jewish funeral procession that passed by him and his companions. “Sahl bin Haneef and Qays bin Sa’d were leaders in the battle of Qadisiyyah against the Persian army. At one point a funeral procession went by and they stood out of respect. Some of the other Muslims said, ‘But they are non-Muslims?!’ Then they informed them of when they witnessed the Prophet (PBUH) stand for a Jewish funeral procession to which he exclaimed. Isn’t this a human soul that has passed?” (Bukhari 1312) So there are texts that some people quote attempting to
claim that Islam is either confused or that some of the later texts abrogated these concepts. The problem is that we have to understand these scriptures according to the core fundamental texts. Then we will see that they are the circumstantial exception to the rule. In fact, the Prophet (PBUH) attempted to make treaties and live peacefully with all of his nonMuslim neighbors. When these people proved to be treacherous seeking to put an end to Islam and the Muslims, God revealed verses of war engagement. So in this context, he revealed verses of general dealing and attitude with these people. These include, “Struggle against the disbelievers and the hypocrites being harsh against them…” (9:73) “Muhammad is the messenger of God and those who are with him are tough on the disbelievers and compassionate among themselves…” (48:29) “You will not find among believers in God and the Last Day anyone who would have loving affection for those who oppose God and His messenger. Even if it were their parents, children, kinfolk or extended family…” (58:22) In a nutshell these verses are all to be understood in the context of a group of verses from Surah alMumtahanah. “Perhaps God can make affectionate love between you and your enemies. God is able to do that and He is Forgiving and Merciful. He would not prevent you from being good and fair to those disbelievers who have
NOT fought against you because of your religion or expelled you from your homeland. Indeed God loves the just. He only forbids you from taking allies from those who have fought against you because of your religion and driven you out of your homelands. Whoever would make allies with them is surely among the oppressors.” (60:7-9) In conclusion, those of us who have made a home here in the US should see our neighbors as our human family that we owe benevolence. Most people who have a negative view of us are simply victims of a seemingly convincing campaign against us. We should establish the human connection by reaching out to build bridges of better understanding thus elevating social morality and cohesion.
Imam John Ederer embraced Islam in 1998. In 2002 he began a journey seeking the sacred sciences which led him to sit with prominent scholars from across the Muslim world for the next seven years. Since 20009 he has been a fulltime Imam. He now leads the Muslim Community Center of Charlotte.
How Muslims Should Disagree Duston Barto “Believers, uphold justice and bear witness to God, even if that witness is against yourself, your parents or your close relatives. Whether a person is rich or poor, God can best take care of both. Refrain from following your own desires, so that you do not act unjustly. If you distort the truth, God is fully aware of what you do.” - Qur’an 4:135
and rather than engaging in an intellectual exchange of ideas, recruited others to run a smear campaign against the original campaign. The resulting chaos led to both sides and supporters bickering with one another harshly and very few people maintaining cool. The fundraiser collapsed and no good at all was done.
In today’s marketplace of ideas, the communication has become faceless through online social media. This often leads to even the most intelligent of individuals getting sucked into bickering, name-calling, and ugliness which would probably not happen in a face-to-face exchange. I freely admit that there have been occasions where I have lost my manners and gotten far harsher with someone in an exchange than I should have. However, the most shocking incident happened several weeks ago when two Muslim activists whom I love and respect very much clashed over a proposed fundraiser. One activist saw an opportunity to explore the virtue of rahma for an enemy in the example given by Prophet Muhammad (SAWS). The mission was reviewed by scholars and Imams, given a seal of approval and the activist began promoting for the fundraising. The other activist disagreed with the scope of the fundraiser 8
In the process of this, I saw several problems come up. 1. Islamic mannerisms went out the window with the first layer of disagreement. 2. Islamic arguments made by scholars and Imams were rejected in favor of social justice talking points. 3. Racially charged narratives were thrown around and ultimately the first activist was discredited by the detractors because of the fact that he is a white male convert whereas the other activist is an Arab born-and-raised Muslim.
Muslim American Magazine August 2017
4. Arguments against the fundraiser were also based on a “greater good” comparison that frequently comes up whenever fundraising is done. Insha’Allah, I will address all four of these issues and how we, as an ummah need to do better with all of these. Ethical Disagreement In Dr. Taha Jabir al-Alwani’s The Ethics of Disagreement he states the full analysis of the problem, “Arguably, the most dangerous disease which now afflicts the Muslim Ummah is the disease of disagreement and discord. This disease has become all-pervasive and affects every area, town and society. Its appalling influence has penetrated into ideas and beliefs, morality and behavior, and ways of speaking and interacting. It has affected both short- and long term goals and objectives. Like a dark specter, it finally envelops people’s souls. It poisons the atmosphere and leaves hearts sterile and desolate. Multitudes of people are left contending with one another, and the impression is given that all the Islamic teachings, commands, and prohibitions at the disposal of the Ummah are there only to spur people on to discord and make them revel in internecine strife. “ In his seminal work, al-Alwani reflects on the Qur’an in 8:46 where Allah says, “Obey God and His Messenger, and do not quarrel with one another so that you do not lose momentum. Be patient; God is with those who are patient in hard times.”
Abdullah ibn Umar relates an authenticated hadith, “One day I called upon the Messenger of God (SAWS) during the midday rest. While I was there, the Prophet heard two men arguing loudly in disagreement over the meaning of a Qur’anic verse. The Messenger of God (SAWS) went out with anger showing on his Dr. al-Alwani mentions that among the ummah there are often face and said: `People before you perished only because of a wide range of disagreements, there is, as he calls it, a Spectrum their disagreement about the of Discord which affects Muslims Scripture.’” specifically and humans in general. Within this spectrum are There is no harm in discussing acceptable disagreements wherein ideas, sharing views, or comparing positions of thought; but as we see we must disagree with things from the example of the Prophet, that clearly deviate from Islam. we should not allow ourselves However, the disagreements to disagree to a position where which cause the greatest friction we are shouting at one another. are those driven by our egos. Instead, we should reflect upon We have an impulsive need to the morality of the Messenger be “right” about everything and of Allah as he would provide when an idea challenges that, evidence for every statement. we respond emotionally and irrationally. Likewise, as Muslims, we As Muslims, we must submit to should submit the will of Allah. So when an idea challenges our perception of to the will of Allah. If we reality, we must look directly to do not have Islam for the answer. Does this knowledge of new idea conflict with Islam? Is Hadith, we it actually supported by Islam? should leave Which position is closer to the Islamic ideal? For the layperson, it alone and stick to the many times these questions Qur’an. We are difficult to answer and this should not fight is where we must submit to one another guidance of scholars and Imams with ayat, we whom we can trust. should share knowledge. Another thing to consider in the disagreement is what greater good If we cannot will be served by fighting it? Who come to an agreement, will benefit if you fight and win versus if you allow it to continue? then we must part Are your arguments logical, ways and say provable, based in evidence, “Allahu’alim.” and supported by Islam? Or are Rarely will your arguments based on “gut” we have a feelings? disagreement In the situation I described, the fundraiser was completely collapsed because of the quarrel started between the two opposing views. An opportunity to express the good of the Muslim community was completely lost, and the only winner was shaytaan.
Muslim American Magazine August 2017
with a Muslim that actually falls on issues of aqeedah (the creed of Al-Islam). When we do, we should defend our position from the Qur’an. If we are on the receiving end, we should submit to the words of Allah and accept the knowledge. Lastly, and most importantly, we must be willing to be wrong. There is no shame in gaining knowledge. Sunnah Examples over Modern Social Justice One of the biggest issues that I have seen in the past few years is that Muslim activists have gotten involved in other aspects of activism for social justice. Now, in and of itself, I see this as a good thing. We are commanded to fight oppression wherever it happens and when we see injustice and
he checked on her when she fell ill. A further piece of evidence was However, Islamic thought must presented from be the supremacy of a Muslim’s the example mind. The structure of an idea of Salahuddin must have foundations that are who sent his built upon layers of knowledge. physician to There is a hierarchy of sources treat King that a Muslim must maintain in order to keep focus on submission Richard in the midst of to Allah. I will list them here: the crusades. However, Primary source: Qur’an these pieces Secondary source: Authenticated/ of evidence verified Sunnah (Life Examples of were cast aside by the other the Prophet Muhammad) activist and supporters Tertiary source: Peer-reviewed based on the scientific evidence (including raw emotion social sciences, etc) behind the fact that the Social sources: non-Muslim beneficiary of authorities on the subject, the fundraiser anecdotal information, “gut was an feelings”, etc islamophobe This presents a logical framework and they extended that to assume that he was also a white for a Muslim to construct his or supremacist. her position on any social issue which is rooted in the Qur’an and Sunnah, validated with evidence, It is worth noting, that falsely combining Islamophobia and and corroborated with social information. Unfortunately today, White Supremacy prevents us from tackling the specific issue. the reverse seems to be in effect In my years of interfaith and for many Muslim activists who pro-Muslim activism, I have place the social sources in the encountered many Islamophobes primary slot. of various ethnicities and many white people who hated Islam In the scenario mentioned in the that were not racist at all in their beginning, the initial fundraiser arguments. I digress... that isn’t was rooted in the Islamic the purpose of the article, but principles of Rahma. Evidence worth noting. from the Qur’an in 41:34 was used where Allah says, “Good and So, you see, what happened in evil are never equal. Repel evil this scenario is that evidence of with good, and your enemy will a social nature was presented become like an intimate friend.” against evidence of the Qur’an and Then evidence from the Sunnah Sunnah. Because these pieces of was used in reference to the evidence are rooted in emotions cruel woman who would throw garbage on the Prophet, but then rather than logic, this stirred up the hornet’s nest of protest against oppression, it is the righteous, Islamic action to stand up against it.
the initial fundraiser. As Muslims, we must proceed in a logical fashion. We have to submit ourselves to the will of Allah over that of our own emotions. The only way to successfully do this is to keep the Qur’an and the Sunnah at the core focus of every opinion that we formulate. The Convert’s Conundrum This one hits home for me. Many people close to me know the story of how I went to a Mosque to do fundraising in Ramadan for The Zakat Foundation and got a lesson in bigotry. I entered the Mosque like normal and there were kids playing, they all ran out of the musalah area to see who had come in and they saw my white skin, blonde hair, and blue eyes and took of screaming, 11
“THERE’S A WHITE MAN IN THE MOSQUE!!!” over and over. I sighed, took off my shoes and walked in to make my welcome rakaats when I was surrounded by the fathers of these kids. I was bombarded with questions “Who are you? Why are you here? Are you FBI? What do you want? Who are you REALLY?” I was forced to stand there and re-state my shahadah before they would allow me to enter the Masjid fully.
The issue is that these arguments wouldn’t have been used if he had been Black, Arab, or Desi. The fact that he is Muslim would have been first and foremost. The fact that he is Muslim should have overridden his skin color anyway. Muslims should be better than this.
of Islam! Allow Allah to save you from the bondage of seeing people along the lines of race and nation and unite with your brothers and sisters in Islam. Think of the Children!
The last point I will address is actually the least and this is Brother al-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz something that comes up only (Malcolm X) said, “America needs because it happens every time to understand Islam, because there is a fundraiser. There is this is the one religion that erases always a chorus of nay-sayers who from its society the race problem. will shout out “better” causes. Over the years there have been Throughout my travels in the many other incidents where Muslim world, I have met, talked Allah has told us in the Qur’an my skin color has made other Muslims treat me differently. As a to, and even eaten with people that there are eight categories of white convert, there are two sides who in America would have been people who should receive our to the coin. Sometimes the people considered white - but the white Zakat, “The offerings given for want to prop me up and make me attitude was removed from their the sake of God are only for the minds by the religion of Islam. talk and do things just because poor and the needy, and those I’m white. Other times, they won’t I have never before seen sincere who are in charge of the funds, and true brotherhood practiced by and those whose hearts are to even let me speak a word. My mother was told that she couldn’t all colors together, irrespective of be won over, and for the freeing their color.” pray in a mosque because “We of human beings from bondage, don’t know who you are!” and a and those who are over burdened close friend of mine was LOCKED Yes, America needs to understand with debts, and in God’s cause, OUT of a Mosque in New York Islam. However, before that can and the wayfarer: this is an while the immigrant Muslims happen, the MUSLIMS need ordinance from God - and God is stared at him from windows. His to understand Islam. Allah’s all-knowing, wise.” (Qur’an 9:60) crime? Being a white guy. Messenger (SAWS) has told us very plainly in his farewell Allah does not give us a sermon, “All mankind is from I don’t want everyone to get hierarchy, He presents that all Adam and Eve. An Arab has the wrong impression, it’s not a of these categories are equally no superiority over a non-Arab, constant barrage of oppression. deserving of need. Therefore, it nor does a non-Arab have any In the example I opened the is inappropriate for a Muslim to article with, it popped up in a big superiority over an Arab; a say “Do not donate to a school white has no superiority over a way. The activist who started in China when there are starving black, nor does a black have any the fundraiser is a white convert. people in Afghanistan.” or “Don’t superiority over a white; none In fairness to him, he’s studied give money to heal a bigot when have superiority over another intensely under scholars for over there are people in Syria who except by piety and good action. a decade and many communities need homes.” ALL of these Learn that every Muslim is a have trusted him to lead the people are worthy of Zakat under brother to every Muslim and khutbah for the community on Allah’s guidance. The school in that the Muslims constitute one Jummuah. He is intellectually China helps those who are needy, brotherhood.” sharp and well spoken. But the people who are starving in none of that mattered to his Afghanistan are poor, the bigot detractors. What they saw was a One brotherhood! Islam has needs his heart won over, and the white man raising funds to help erased nationalism, tribalism, Syrian refugees are wayfarers. another white man who was an racism and all allegiances and ALL fit into Allah’s plan for Islamophobe. Then the argument lines between them. If you are a charity. was construed that he was a white Muslim and you continue to draw supremacist. these lines of division among If you choose not to donate yourselves then you are outside 12
because of your own reasons, then do not deny your fellow Muslim the right to do good through his or her own donations. Merely refrain from doing so yourself. Conclusions I ask all of us Muslims to remember that we constitute one family, guided by Allah’s Messenger. Given instruction by His divine word, the Qur’an. We are all on this journey together and we should only compete with one another in righteous acts, not shout and debate with one another over who is “right” or “wrong” when, in reality, there are multiple correct positions. Let us all have enough rahma (mercy) in our hearts for one another to extend peace instead of discord.
I invite you all to pray with me: Bismillah, ir rahmaan ir raheem. O Allah, Creator of all that exists, master of the Day of Judgment; grant us the wisdom to know righteousness from deviancy. Grant us the mercy to speak in peace to one another and to join with one another in righteous deeds. Keep us on the straight way and help us to be worthy of your divine mercy and salvation. Help us to speak only words of peace and grant us the patience to remain silent, the humility to accept that we are wrong, and the life to serve our fellow man in the way that you have guided us. My life, my words and my deeds are for you, O Lord. Make me among the companions of paradise. Ameen!
Duston Barto is a social activist and a freelance writer. He is the co-founder of Foot Hills Interfaith based in Maiden, NC where He lives with his wife and daughter.
The Jihad is Real
Linda Sarsour, Palestinian American Activist and co-chair Saad Haq of the Womens’s March, drew criticism over the use of jihad in her speech at the annual Yes, that is the title; it is a play on convention hosted by the Islamic the phrase “the struggle is real.” Society of North America (ISNA). To be honest, I had a difficult time To provide full context, here writing this piece because of the is the transcript of her speech topic of discussion, which I chose referencing jihad: to write about – you could call it a struggle. As a person who has just “You can count on me every begun to write for publications, it single day to use my voice to was very intimidating to approach stand up, not only to people this topic and find my way around outside our community writing about it well. I am no who are oppressing our scholar by any stretch; I plan to communities, but those keep this at a high level, while inside our community who bringing awareness to the use and aid and abet the oppressors misuse of the word jihad. outside our community. Jihad, it means to strive or struggle in the name of God, a struggle of the self from sin. It is a word as old as Islam. This word is used amongst a wide spectrum of people, Muslim, non-Muslim, good, and evil to fulfill a goal. After all the discussions and debates about jihad, one thing is conclusive - this word has been used for our benefit and for our detriment. For the sake of clarity, allow me to explain. Muslims such as you and I struggle in our daily lives to maintain the straight path, but at the same time, people have abused it to take innocent lives, majority of them being Muslim. And if Muslims are not dying from it, people are twisting the meaning of jihad to paint Muslims with a broad brush, turning us into sword wielding, infidel chasing monsters. During the 4th of July weekend, 14
There is a man who once asked our beloved prophet … has said to him, “What is the best form of jihad or struggle?” And our beloved prophet … said to him, “A word of truth in front of a tyrant or leader, that is the best form of jihad.” I hope, that when we stand up to those who oppress our communities, that Allah accepts us as a form of jihad, that we are struggling against tyrants and rulers not only abroad in the Middle East or the other side of the world, but here in the United States of America, where you have fascists and white supremacists and Islamophobes reigning in the White House.”
Muslim American Magazine August 2017
Her speech resonated with all Muslims, as our very existence in this country is at stake. Her context was to encourage Muslims to speak truth to power and nonviolent resistance, but news outlets, Islamophobes, etc. removed the context and portrayed this moment at ISNA as a call to Muslims to wage a jihad against President Donald Trump, implying the context of violence and battle. After this “controversy”, I have heard and read about Muslims saying we should think of the when, where, how, and who if speaking about jihad. But honestly, why? Linda Sarsour was amongst the company of Muslims, or at least a vast majority, when she spoke about jihad. There is no safe time or location to use this word, and we should not be afraid to use it when speaking in the context of truth to power, nonviolent resistance, and explaining to others what jihad really means. How much longer can Muslims tolerate the misuse of this word as old as Islam? The big problem is that nearly 16 years after the tragic events on September 11, 2001, there is still a lack of understanding of the meaning of jihad. Blame and finger pointing can be found all around, from the media to Islamophobes to individuals that are simply ignorant and consuming all this misinformation - which continues to drive their fear and hatred. Websites are dedicated to spread misinformation about jihad. But the problem goes deeper, and it
in devotion to Islam especially involving spiritual discipline”. In this case, both the greater and lesser jihad are listed in the first Shaykh Google is the ongoing definition, but the first sentence joke we hear in conversation mentions holy war. The other when Muslims use the internet websites I referenced mention to find answers about Islam and the greater jihad, but as the issues effecting Muslims today. But have we thought about how a second, or secondary, definition. non-Muslim begins to learn about Finally, I tried the Oxford Dictionary website; it provides the Islam and specifically, jihad. A same definition, with the same few choices come to mind: ask sentence, that Google provided. If a Muslim, visit a Mosque, go to I search the word “jihad” through the library, search the internet. Google Images, majority of the Out of the 4 choices, what is the pictures are of Muslims holding most convenient method - the swords and guns. internet. only takes a few key strokes and mouse clicks to see how.
I made myself the test subject for this exercise. I opened my browser and began my Google search; I entered “jihad”. The results and links appeared, but also with a box on the top of the page which had the word and definition. The first definition said “a struggle or fight against the enemies of Islam.” Right under the definition was the word used in a sentence, to help the reader apply the word. The sentence said “he declared a jihad against the infidels”. I refined my search by searching for the “meaning of jihad”, “definition of jihad”, and “what is jihad” – the results were all the same. The next thing I tried was searching for the definition on Dictionary.com; as I did on Google, I entered “jihad” on the search field near the very top of the page. The first definition of jihad, as defined by the website is “a holy war undertaken as a sacred duty by Muslims.” The third site I went to was the Merriam-Webster Dictionary website. Here, the first definition of jihad is “a holy war waged on behalf of Islam as a religious duty; also : a personal struggle
My mind went “SubhanAllah”, “OMG”, “Arey Yaar”. After knowing this, what is the problem? The problem is that the word jihad and its meaning have been hijacked, to the point where people can easily misunderstand jihad through very little effort, in this case, by just performing a Google search and navigating through a few online dictionaries. The lesser jihad is being highlighted, put first in line, and the greater jihad is placed second in line. The greater jihad, in my opinion, is much simpler to define and understand, but the lesser jihad cannot be explained so simply, there is context that needs to be placed for people to understand, which a simple Google or dictionary search cannot do. This is just one word, imagine what else is being misunderstood, yet easily accessible online. I am not saying that this is the only root cause of all misunderstandings of Islam, but it is definitely one of them, leading to misunderstandings at an early age which could snowball into something bigger, and that should ring our annoyingly loud mental fire alarms.
What we need to do as Muslims is learn about jihad, and how to explain jihad to others and feel comfortable talking about it – myself included. We need to be unapologetic, stand up, and not be cowed into ceding anything, not even our words. Jihad is not a bad, dirty word, it is not the J-word. This is what we need to strive and struggle for, so we can practice our faith freely without the worry of any consequences.
Saad Haq is the Founder of Being There, a Charlotte based non profit organization working in the area of building interfaith relations through humanitarian and social services
Hands Off Al-Aqsa Maitha Ali
For the first time in 48 years, Masjid al-Aqsa was shut down by Israeli occupation forces for two days after an alleged gun attack. The results? Three Palestinians shot dead on the grounds of the masjid, and tens of thousands restricted from being able to perform Friday prayers. Protests continue to spark within the occupied city of Palestine, as Israeli occupation forces continue to impose various, unjust means of “security measures” within alAqsa mosque. These include metal detectors and television cameras, all of which restrict Palestinian citizens to enter voluntarily and violate UN resolutions. 18
As an Ummah, we should not feel consolidation for the decades of endless massacres within Palestine’s illegal occupation, much less the prohibition of being able to freely enter al-Aqsa Masjid. In fact, the Palestinians unceasing resilience should be our motivation to help free al-Aqsa and free the people of Palestine.
- Qur’an 17:1 In addition to being the site of alIsra and al-Miraj, Masjid al-Aqsa was the first Qiblah, the second masjid built, and to this day – the third, holiest and most sacred site. Al-Aqsa has been directly and indirectly referred to in the Holy Qur’an 70 times. And has been accompanied by various, innumerable hadiths. This alone “Exalted is He who took His concludes that to strive for a Free Servant by night from al-Masjid Palestine, is a vital part of the al-haram to al-Masjid al- Aqsa, Islamic faith and our obligation. whose surroundings We have In fact, Prophet Muhammad blessed, to show him of Our signs. (pbuh) mentioned, “Set out Indeed, He is the Hearing, the deliberately on a journey only to Seeing.” three mosques: this mosque of
Muslim American Magazine August 2017
mine [in Madinah], the Sacred Mosque [in Makkah], and al-Aqsa Mosque [in Jerusalem]” (alBukhari). Even the virtue of a single prayer in Masjid al-Aqsa has a prodigious and unbelievable number of blessings. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), again, mentioned, “…a prayer in Jerusalem [al-Aqsa Mosque] is worth 500 prayers more than in any other mosque” (al-Bukhari). Not only has the Prophet (pbuh) also led a prayer with all other Messengers at Masjid al-Aqsa, but Ibn Abbas (ra), stated, “There is not a single inch in Jerusalem where a Prophet has not prayed or an Angel has not stood” (Tirmidhi, Ahmad). The emphasis placed on Masjid alAqsa is so great, and yet, the value
seems to be underwhelmed and ignored by our Ummah. Of course, the majority of our Muslim Ummah – if not all – are aware of the illegal, immoral, and inhumane occupation and war crimes that Palestinians endure in their everyday lives. Regardless of decades’ worth of harsh sufferings, our Palestinian brothers and sisters continue to shoulder this obligation, and have remained steadfast in their endless dedication and innumerable sacrifices, to protect Masjid alAqsa, and the Sacred Land of Palestine so that it remains our Holy place of worship. By protecting the Sacred Land of Palestine that Allah (s.w.t.), Himself refers to as a Blessed Land, is to comply and fulfill the Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh). A woman once asked the Prophet (pbuh), “If one cannot visit it [alAqsa], what should we do?” And the Prophet (pbuh) responded, “If one cannot visit, then send some oil to be used for its’ lamps, and it will be as if he prayed in it” (Ahmad, Ibn Majah, Abu Dawud, Tabarani). This alludes to the fact that there are no exceptions to why an individual is not able to aid the
Palestinian people and the Sacred Land in some way. Organize a local protest to acknowledge the right to religion, that has been violated within alAqsa. Populate #HandsOffAlAqsa on social media outlets, and engage with others educating them of the oppressive acts that the Palestinians suffer. Write a petition, or write letters to government officials, Senators, and Congressmen, expressing your support for Palestinian Solidarity – the options are endless. The ability to practice freedom of religion is a human right within this country and several others. However, in occupied Jerusalem, not only are schools, hospitals, and homes obliterated, but our mosques are violated. There is no justification for the injustice of the Palestinian people. It is the duty to strive for a Free Palestine for ourselves, and for one another. The Sacred Land of Palestine, is not just for Palestine, but for our collective Ummah too.
Maitha Ali is a Student,
community volunteer and free-lance writer.
Education Is A Team Work Rondie George Education should be threefold. It should involve the parent, teacher and student all working in harmony and working in a way that would improve the entire community. 1. PARENTS: You are the most critical component of your child’s learning. Instill a strong sense of education within your child from birth. Allow him or her to see you read, engage your child in problem solving skills and life skills daily. Keep up with your child’s progress weekly. Ask your teachers questions about performance, testing data, interpreting scores, behavior, etc. Attend regular conferences and school activities. Make sure your child always has school supplies Limit television time/electronics during weekdays. Make sure your child eats a balanced meal, get enough sleep, drink plenty of water and take multivitamins daily. Make sure to set up a daily effective routine with your child that will provide structure and balance. -According to www.pbs.org, Although a parent’s role in their children’s learning evolves as kids grow, one thing remains constant: we are our children’s learning models. Our attitudes about education can inspire theirs and show them how to take charge of their own educational journey. For example, parents should be a role model for learning, pay attention to what your child loves, tune into how your child learns, practice what your child learns at school, 20
set aside time to read together, connects what your child learns to summarize everyday life, help your child take learning, charge of his learning, don’t over and retell it to others. schedule your child, and learn Show them multiple ways to something new yourself. solve problems, use illustrations and anchor charts. Greet kids 2. TEACHERS: Have a passion each day and say positive words for learning and teaching students to them. Attend professional each day. Make sure to plan development that will increase effective, engaging lessons where your skills and work hard on you are the facilitator and the classroom management skills. students are engaged in projectUse humor daily. Be punctual based learning with open-ended, and communicate effective with
critical thinking questions such as parents via phone, text, emails, Science, Technology, Engineering, website, etc. Get involved in Art, and Math (STEAM). community outreach programs designed to enrich and improve Use effective graphic organizers, the total child. A great teacher is spend time on vocabulary and also inspirational, a motivator and word study, phonics, grammar, a constant role model. Teachers and reading comprehension on must allow students to express a higher level of learning. Allow learning in multiple ways in class, students to take effective notes, write about their thoughts and make their own study guides, feelings about their work, share
Muslim American Magazine August 2017
ideas and thoughts with other students, become involved in planning meaningful lessons, and use effective rubrics for grading and feedback. 3. STUDENTS: Take responsibility for your own learning. Take effective notes, bring all school supplies daily, be respectful and obedient to adults and peers, ask lots of questions about concepts and seek assistance when you are in need of extra help. They should involve themselves in community outreach programs and keep current with world and local happenings Students should act as mentors for those who require additional help, be facilitators, and decision makers when it comes to their own learning. They should be able to retell lessons and concepts to peers and adults. They should also learn how to
self-monitor and perform daily selfevaluations. Students should also avoid distractions with toys and electronics, follow all class rules, discuss daily learning with parents, and always be the best that you can be daily.
Islam Perspective on Disabilities Sheikh Muhammad Khan
We live in a world in which we are increasingly facing many various challenges, trials and tribulations, a number of them concerns our well-being and the way we we live. Sadly, muslims that are faced by disabilities and special needs are any times faces with a greater challenge which is their own 22
muslim communities. As muslims we must understand that, First: Looking at disabilities is looking at tests and trials in life that every Believer experiences â€˘ As a matter of fact, trials and tribulations are the norm of
Muslim American Magazine August 2017
this worldly life. â€˘ Hence, experiencing hardship is part of that process. â€˘ Similarly a disability that has to be endured is just another one of those tests as Allah SWT so clearly tells us in the Quran:
And certainly, We shall test you with something of fear, hunger, loss of wealth, lives and fruits, but give glad tidings to As-Sabirin (the patient ones, etc.). (155) Who, when afflicted with calamity, say: “Truly! To Allah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return.” (156) Second: The greatest disability is the spiritual disability not the physical one • Sometimes, a disability is visible. Sometimes, it is not seen by our fellow brothers and sisters. But the greatest of all disability is the invisible one; the spiritual disability that we do not tend to pay much attention to.
he might attain purity or be reminded and the remembrance would benefit him? (`Abasa 80:1-9)
care of someone that is totally Ma’soon those that the pen has been lifted from, you have a person of Jannah under your care and perhaps on the Day of (The Prophet) frowned and turned Judgement they can ask for your pardon to enter Jannah, when away, because there came to in this world they were not able him the blind man (interrupting to help you and you did it all for him). But what would make them. you perceive, (O Muhammad), that perhaps he might attain There is no doubt that we as purity or be reminded and the remembrance would benefit him? a Muslim community need to change our attitude and (`Abasa 80:1-9) understand that those with Fourthly: They are to be engaged special needs and disabilities are blessings for us and our society in every aspect of society. Islam and we must do whatever it takes asserts equal opportunities for to take care of our blessings. people with special needs.
• The same Abdullah Ibn Umm Makhtoom was left in charge of Al-Madinah when Rasoolullah SAS and the • This disability is rectified and Sahaabah (RA) went out to fixed by gaining Taqwa in Badr. He was also to known as Allah SWT as Allah SWT says: one of the Muathin (caller to prayer) along with Billal RA. What a great honor! Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of God is the most pious of you. (Al-Hujurat: 13) • The making of the Ka’bah cloth today is done by majority with special need. Thirdly: Disability is a test for the person affected by it inasmuch as it is a test for the entire society. Finally: Those with special needs Treating those with disabilities gets the same rewards as those with respect is something that who participate in the expeditions even Rasoolullah SAS was told of Rasoolullah SAS. He SAS said to pay close attention to them to his Companions: “You left with the incident of Abdullah Ibn behind some people in Medina Umm Makhtoom (RA). And Allah who did not fail to be with you SWT made it clear to our prophet wherever you went and whatever Muhammad SAS and to this you spent (of your goods) and ummah when He revealed: whatever valley you crossed.” The Companions wondered: “How can they be with us when they are still (The Prophet) frowned and in Medina?” He replied: “They turned away, because there were hindered by a valid excuse.” came to him the blind man (interrupting him). But what (Muslim) would make you perceive, (O Muhammad), that perhaps And those of you who are taking
I ask Allah to bless us to have the open mind and an open heart to care for those that are in need and to join us with those that are close to Him and make us amongst them.
Sheikh Muhammad Khan a Graduate of Madinah University is the Assistant Imam and youth director at Islamic Center of Charlotte. He is the Head of Quran Arabic and Islamic Studies department at Charlotte Islamic Academy.
The King who renounced his Throne
gave up all worldly aspirations and devoted himself more to prayers, charity and other acts of benevolence.
One night as the king lay on his royal bed after his meditation, he heard someone parading on the terrace of his chamber. He Fahim Munshi asked, “Who is there?” A voice from the terrace replied, “I have Ibrahim Abu Ishaq was a Persian lost my camel and I am trying to search for it.” Hearing this absurd King who renounced his throne response, the king replied, “You to become a Sufi saint who came stupid man, if your camel has to be known as Abou Bin Adham been lost why are you searching it (may Allah accept him). on my chamber terrace… go and search for it in the jungles!” “I It is said that once the Persian am not foolish, it is you who are King, Ibrahim Abu Isahq was senseless,” said the voice from pompously seated on his throne above, “If you are in quest of Allah when a well built young man (glorified and exalted is He), you walked into his royal chamber must step out and search for Him and looking all around the in the jungles for you can’t find kingly surroundings said to Him in the luxuries of your royal Ibrahim, “This sarai is no good.” palace which as such is nothing Astonished at his behavior, the king told the intruder, “This is not but your temporary abode.” a sarai. It is my Royal Palace in which you are standing.” Hearing It is said that soon thereafter, King Ibrahim Abu Isahq this the intruder inquired of the relinquished his throne and all king, “Who occupied this before the comforts of his life and went you?” “My father!” replied the away to live by himself in a cave in king. “...and before him, who?” total seclusion. He spent his time asked the man, “My grand in the cave praying to Allah and father, and before him my great grandfather!” answered the king. made his living by collecting wood and every Thursday went to the “So you see a place where people constantly keep coming and going town to sell the wood, earnings from which he made a small is nothing but a sarai, isn’t it?” living but donated major part of intervened the young man. Soon it in charity every week. His life after having said that, the man had now become totally saintly walked away. unconcerned with any worldly desires. He lived for Allah and The strange intruder’s words devoted much of his time in the made the king ponder over service of his fellowmen with the the wisdom the man had just sole intention of earning Allah’s imparted. King Ibrahim soon favors. realized that life is truly nothing but a sarai, a place similar to a It is reported that once he found highway inn where people pause a drunken man fallen by the for rest on their onward journey. roadside. The erstwhile king by With this realization, Ibrahim 24
Muslim American Magazine August 2017
now known as Abou Bin Adham approached the man and carried him to his abode, wiped his face and advised him, “Friend, why do you spoil your tongue with haram instead fragrance it with the remembrance (dhikr) of Allah to whom belong all that is in heavens and the earth and everything in between.” Four days passed by and Abou Bin Adham learnt that this same man whom he had met had turned a new leaf and was now a pious, revered person admired by all for his generosity and profound kind nature.” Totally surprised at this transformation, Abou Adham inquired of Allah the reason of this occurrence, and he was told by Allah, “You cleaned his mouth to please Me, I cleaned his heart to please you.” Once Abou Bin Adham was meditating by the seashore when the subjects of his (earlier) kingdom approached him and requested, “Why not come over and take charge of your kingdom, it will delight us all to be ruled by a just and kind hearted king?” Hearing this Abou Adham threw a metal needle into the flowing seawaters and asked the men
desire Jannah (heaven) and fear Jahannum (hell) but don’t mend our incorrect ways; we recognize shaytan as our enemy but don’t protect ourselves from him; we know death as a reality but remain attracted to life; we bury our own parents but don’t learn lessons from it; we know our own faults and shortcomings yet busy ourselves in the quest of searching faults and shortcomings in other people. If we are devoid of all of this Allah in His ever-lasting Mercy will answer our prayers even before we think of them.”
who had come to invite him “Fetch me my needle.” Surprised the men said, “How is that possible? The needle must have floated away in the sea current!” Hearing this Abou Adham looked at the waters and said, “Fishes get me my metal needle.” All present were surprised to see many fishes emerge out of the water with golden needles to which Abou Adham said, “No I don’t need these.” Soon a fish appeared with his lost needle. At this Abou Adham told those gathered, “You see to one whom Allah has bestowed the friendship and obedience of even fishes, why would I then need any other kingdoms to rule!” Once a person approached the Sufi saint Abou Adham and said, “I have been praying and asking Allah for help but none of my dua’s are answered, what could be the cause for this?” To the satisfaction of the person, Abou Bin Adham cited the following main reasons for this. Abou bin Adham said: “We believe in Allah, but not worship Him in the way we should; we recognize Allah’s Prophet but we don’t follow his ways; we enjoy all His bounties but don’t thank Him for them; we
Abou Bin Adham (erstwhile King Ibrahim Abu Ishaq) lived for 102 years and according to some scholars he is buried in Medina while some say his grave is in Sham.
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Abou Bin Adham (Ibrahim ibn Adham) also called Ibrahim Baikhi (718782) is among the prominent early Sufi saints. The story of his conversion from the life of a sultan to that of a saint is among the most celebrated Sufi legend that narrates countless acts of his righteousness. His humble lifestyle of a saint was in total contrast to his early life as the king of Balkh. Rumi has extensively described Ibrahim’s legend in his Masnavi. 25
Spiritual As reflected in the physical world around us, there will also be varying degrees of darkness and light in our lives and in our hearts. Through it all, Allah wants us to stay connected to Him, the one constant rope to hold on to. Our spirituality in Islam is so vitally entwined with the world around us. There is a merging, reliance, and interdependence of the unseen and intangible with the apparent and physical. Allah says in the Quran: ‘Verily! In the creation of the heavens and the earth, and in the alternation of night and day, there are indeed signs for those of understanding. Those who remember Allah standing, sitting, and lying down on their sides, and think deeply about the creation of the heavens and the earth, (saying): “Our Lord! You have not created this without purpose, glory to You! Give us salvation from the torment of the Fire.”’ [3:190-191]
Spirituality and Nature Samia Mubarak Five times a day, Muslims must remain constantly aware of the sun’s position in the sky as it makes its gradual departure from east to west. Isn’t it so amazing that our daily prayers are so inherently intertwined with the 26
What is beautiful about these verses is that Allah encourages us to reflect on the creation around us. Watching the sun set, the birds spread their wings and defy gravity, and lightning strike against the pitch black sky remind us of God’s amazing power and vast ability. The world around us is constantly giving us reasons to glorify His names.
world around us? Before the sun rises, we pray Fajr, when the sun is at a certain angle throughout the day, we pray Duhr and Asr, when it sets, we pray Maghrib. When there is a certain amount of darkness, we pray Isha. Allah is teaching us to constantly connect with nature around us while we simultaneously connect with Him, Moreover, our beloved prophet the Creator of everything, from (PBUH) also taught us to say the sun to each of us. certain prayers depending on changes in nature. The Nothing is created without prophetic tradition has a specific purpose. This drives us to supplication for when it rains, remember Allah in every change when the wind is strong, when we see in the sun and nature lightning strikes, during a lunar around us, slowly helping us eclipse, in a drought, during remember Him in every aspect of sunrise and sunset. Our religion our lives as our lives also change. teaches us to be in touch with the
Muslim American Magazine August 2017
as we sit and watch, unaware of everything going on around us. As the world changes, so too should we reflect on how we should Being connected to nature can change; just as the clouds pour you help you overcome certain stages in your life. Allah says those down their rain, at times, we need to let go of our grudges and bad who remember Him standing, habits; just as the moon lights a sitting and on their sides. We dark road, we too can light the don’t remember Allah when it’s merely convenient. We remember path for others; just as the gentle breeze brings coolness on a hot Him in times of hardship and summer day, we too can strive ease, in darkness and light, in to be sources of mercy in the success and in failure. Allah is always there for us regardless, and lives of others. These reflections the sun that is once not visible will transform these physical realities into meaningful, spiritual eventually rise. Allah is teaching realizations that hit deep and lead us to be hopeful through His to changes in our own lives. creation. outer world and make it a part of our spirituality.
In these verses, Allah describes those who reflect on His creation as those who understand. When you reflect on the nature around you, you are increasing your intellect. Allah is encouraging us not to let things around us change
I pray Allah grants us the understanding to use the changes of nature to reflect on our lives, build a deeper connection with our Creator and His creation, and strengthen our own spirituality.
Samia Mubarak is a wife and mother of two daughters. She memorized the Quran and often writes Quranic reflections in a personal blog. She is a strong advocate for special needs, having a daughter with a rare syndrome. She was born and raised in Panama City, FL and currently resides in Harrisburg, NC.
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All content Copyright © 2017 Muslim American, Inc. except where otherwise noted. Please contact the editor or publisher directly to obtain r...
Published on Jul 31, 2017
All content Copyright © 2017 Muslim American, Inc. except where otherwise noted. Please contact the editor or publisher directly to obtain r...