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Monday, February 21, 2011

Al Quran English Translation of Al-holy Quran rciter [8]. Surah Al-Anfal [The Spoils of War]

القرآن Al Quran

English Translation of Al-holy Quran rciter

[8]. Surah Al-Anfal [The Spoils of War]

Ayat 43. (And remember) when Allah showed them to you as few in your (i.e. Muhammad's  [SAWW](PBUH) dream, if He had shown them to you as many, you would surely have been discouraged, and you would surely have disputed in making a decision. But Allah saved (you). Certainly, He is the All-Knower of what is in the breasts.

Hadith الحديث

English Translation of Hadith

Hazrat Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah  [SAWW](PBUH) said, "Allah, the Exalted, has said: `I will declare war against him who treats with hostility a pious worshipper of Mine. And the most beloved thing with which My slave comes nearer to Me, is what I have enjoined upon him; and My slave keeps on coming closer to Me through performing Nawafil (voluntary prayers or doing extra deeds besides what is obligatory) until I love him, (so much so that) I become his hearing with which he hears, and his sight with which he sees, and his hand with which he strikes, and his leg with which he walks; and if he asks Me something, I will surely give him, and if he seeks My Protection (refuge), I will surely protect him". [Al-Bukhari Hadith # 6502]

Lesson : as mentioned above in Surah Al-Anfal Ayat 43 "(And remember) when Allah showed them to you as few in your dream,) This Hadith tell us the status and distinctive signs of the favoured men of Allah ('Auliya' Allah) The Noble holy Quran online has defined them as: "Those who believed (in the Oneness of Allah) and used to fear Allah much (by abstaining from evil deeds and sins and by doing righteous deeds)". (10:63). According to this definition, every believer who really fears Allah is a favoured of Allah. It means that except for Faith and piety, favoured of Allah are neither people of the special kind nor have they any special distinctive signs, as is generally thought by some people. In this respect, the ignorance of the general public is shocking because they regard even such persons as favoured of Allah who not only neglect the religious obligations and the practice of the Prophet [SAWW](PBUH), but also woefully lack cleanliness. Sometimes they call even mad or half-mad persons as favourites of Allah, whereas a Wali in the true sense is one who is meticulous about observing the obligations and is fearful of Allah. Firstly, the love of those whom Allah loves entail the love of Allah, and hating them entails the hatred of Allah.Secondly, when a true Muslim acquires nearness and love of Allah by means of performing religious obligations, supererogatory and voluntary prayers, Allah then becomes his special helper and protects his limbs and organs and does not let them work for His disobedience.

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Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Real Deal on Sufism


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via Inside Islam by Colin on 1/24/11

Dervishes, Konya, Turkey

Islamic extremists have one thing in common with many American media outlets: they don't understand what Sufism is. Often referred to as "liberal Islam," even major reputable news sources attempt to boil down an integral part of Islamic tradition into a single, ambiguous word. A growing number of Islamic extremists accuse Sufis of idol worship, or shirk, and have recently taken to violence, destroying Sufi shrines and killing Sufi worshipers in the name of purifying Islam. These extremists understand neither Sufism nor Islamic law justifying the killing of humans, and are part of an increasingly large group of both non-Muslims and Muslims that characterize Sufism in a way that benefits them.

Major media outlets, as this Newsweek piece points out, rarely provide any level of depth or context to a story or concept, and their characterization of Sufism isn't any different. (For context on Sufism, see this.) "Liberal," "moderate," "peaceful," "hippie," "colorful,"and "different"are just a few of the terms commonly used to describe Sufism. The American media in particular uses Sufism as a counter to the violent extremist elements within Muslim communities, creating a "Good Muslim"-"Bad Muslim" dichotomy. The world is far from black and white, and Sufi Islam is no different.

Many people often associate Sufism and Sufis with whirling dervishes, spiritual trances, and the poetry of Rumi. While all of these are important cultural markers and/or contributions to Sufism, they are only a few aspects that make up this multilayered Islamic tradition.

So what is Sufism? Described by many scholars as the heart or spiritual essence of Islam (similar to role of Kabbalah in Judaism), Sufism attempts to cleanse the heart and beautify the self through attaining and enacting praiseworthy traits–charity, compassion, humility, honesty, and justice. Sufis cite the various manifestations of one's nafs, or ego, as the the cause of individual suffering and the world's ills, and believe salah (prayer) and zikr (meditation and the remembrance of God) are foundational to purifying the heart and understanding attaining tawhid, or oneness of with God, the ultimate goal of Sufism.

Sufis of all orders agree that the combination of knowledge, love, and action is necessary for the seeker to come close to God in this world and to prepare for the next. All Sufis are Muslims and adhere to Islamic Law. Being Sufi does not affect other aspects of one's faith. One can be Sunni or Shi'a and Sufi at the same time.

This mystical tradition is Islamic in origin, and while there are many who follow Sufi principles and Sufi sheiks, or leaders, as non-Muslims, one cannot be a Sufi without being a Muslim. However, nearly all of the principles of Sufism are universal in nature and are shared by almost every faith tradition. Perennial Sufis, or those who see all religions as illuminating the same core truths, understand the Universal (as it's called) to manifest in different ways in various contexts.

Any complex system of acquiring knowledge and wisdom, whether purely intellectual or spiritual (Sufism requires intellect, love, and action) cannot be done justice with a one-word summary. Sufism is no different. While the core Sufi principle of love is easy to digest, the metaphysical foundations of the tradition do not warrant the "liberal" categorization. Sufism and its followers are diverse and numerous in their beliefs and it's time for the media to start acknowledging that reality.

For more information on Sufism, see Inside Islam's recent interview with Dr. Syyed Hossein Nasr, Professor of Islamic Studies at The George Washington University, and his thoughts on non-Muslims embracing Sufi principles.


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via Inside Islam by Reem on 1/25/11

A possible Inside Islam radio show next month will be on the new film "MOOZ-lum" that will be shown in select theaters beginning February 11th.  The film premiered at the Urban World Film Festival in New York City this past September.

"MOOZ-lum" is a coming of age story about Tariq Mahdi, a Muslim American who is raised in a strict Muslim household and heads off to college. The film explores the struggles that Tariq faces with negotiating his relationship with his faith and his newly found freedom. The story is further complicated by the 9/11 attacks.

Director Qasim Basir said he decided to make the film because the images of Islam that are portrayed in the media do not reflect the faith that he lives. Moreover, he believes that there are not enough positive depictions of Muslims in Hollywood.

The film is based on Basir's life and experiences and features well-known actors like Danny Glover and Nia Long. Basir hopes that the film will show the human perspective of Islam and that the audience will have a better idea of the experiences of Muslim Americans, specifically.

Would you be interested in a film that showed Muslim American experience? What do you think we can learn  from a film like this? What would you like to see in a radio show on the topic? Please share your thoughts below.


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Latino Muslims: A Growing Population


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via Inside Islam by Reem on 1/26/11

Latino Muslims are a  population that is relatively unknown within the Muslim American community. While still a small minority within the United States, they are a growing segment of the Muslim community's population. The American Muslim Council estimates that in 2007  there were 200,000 Latino Muslims, a significant jump from 40,000 in 1997. A study conducted by the Pew Forum on Religious and Public Life in 2008 estimates that Latino Muslim U.S. residents make up 4%  of Muslim Americans.

Many Latino Muslims come to Islam from Roman Catholicism, often saying that they had problems with some practices of the faith and the hierarchy of the church. Some said that they chose Islam because of shared values and traditions between Islamic and Latino culture–the emphasis on family and conservative values.

This group of Muslims face challenges from their families and sometimes from their new community. Mosques that are dominated by particular groups–Arabs, Pakistanis, etc.–do not make a space for their Latino culture. However, many Latino Muslims say that they were drawn to Islam because they could preserve their cultural background alongside their Muslim identity and have found spaces to do that. For example, the North Hudson Islamic Educational Center in Union City, New Jersey holds classes on the Qur'an in Spanish and has an annual Latino Muslim Day. Moreover, 35 % of the congregation is Latino.

Unlike in many Muslim majority countries, the Muslim American community is unique because it is so diverse. Its diversity not only adds another dimension to Muslim American identity, but to American identity in general. As a growing segment of the Muslim American community, Latino Muslims are demonstrating that you can be more than one thing: American, Latino, and Muslim.

Are you a Latino Muslim? What is your experience? What are some of your challenges? Do you think the diversity of the Muslim American community is an asset or an obstacle? Please share your thoughts below.


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Islamic Factor in Middle East/Mediterranean Protests?


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via Inside Islam by Colin on 1/28/11

Photo: Christophe Ena / AP

On December 17, 2010, Muhamed Bouazizi, a 26-year old fruit vendor from the economically deprived Tunisian town of Sidi Bouzid set himself ablaze (dying from his burns three weeks later) after a female police officer and her two colleagues vandalized his fruit cart, confiscated his scales, and allegedly assaulted him in the middle of the street. Mr. Bouazizi, supporting a family of five, had been harassed by authorities in the past for his street vending and was enraged by the latest incident. After being refused a meeting with authorities at the governor's office Mr. Bouazizi poured paint thinner on his body and lit himself on fire.

Just over a month later, the then-President of Tunisia has resigned and fled the country in the wake of widespread protests. Mr. Bouazizi's bold act has inspired others around the Middle East/Mediterranean region to follow suit and take to the streets in demanding regime change from their own corrupt governments. Albania, Egypt, Yemen, and most recently, Jordan–all of which are Muslim majority countries–have seen tens of thousands of people protesting against widespread fraud, a lack of economic opportunities, and general illegitimate rule. New York Times columnist Roger Cohen is calling it Tunisian Dominoes. Additional protests may be looming in other countries, since at least 7 others have also set themselves on fire in protest of the economic conditions in Algeria and Mauritania.

Although less than half of those who have burned themselves have perished, the majority (all young men) were believed to have been intending to die from their acts. And while suicide is forbidden by nearly every Islamic scholar, outspoken opposition and action against injustice is an Islamic tradition. One of the most widely-referenced hadiths cites the Prophet Muhammad as saying,

"Whosoever of you sees an evil action, let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart; and that is the weakest of faith."

Countless examples in Islamic history highlight Muslims rising up against illegitimate rule. One of the most important non-violent Indian leaders spearheading the resistance to British rule was Muslim. While less well-known than Mahatma Gandhi, Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan (a.k.a. Badshah Khan) was a lifelong pacifist, close friend of Gandhi, and instrumental in the non-violent Indian uprising of the 1930′s and 1940′s in present-day N.W.F.P. of Pakistan. In 1929, Badshah Khan, an ethnic Pashtun, recruited over 200,000 men and women to join his non-violent army known as the "Red Shirts." Under the official name of the Khudai Khidmatgar (KK or Servants of God), the Red Shirts led strikes, political rallies, and other opposition efforts and were instrumental in their efforts to defeat the British and gain independence.

And while Islamophobic pundits cite corrupt and despotic Arab leaders as evidence for what they call "Islam's backwardness," there are also numerous passages in the Qur'an that explicitly condemn injustice. In one such surah, or chapter, God encourages humans to teach "Truth," "Patience," and "Constancy" [Al-Asr 103:3].

Muslims all over the Middle East/Mediterranean are demanding change from corrupt leaders. While mainstream media may not be highlighting some of the socio-religious underpinnings of these uprisings around the region, it should be remembered that Islamic law, history, and culture are reflective and supportive of the protesters' sentiment and actions.

What do you think about the recent protests in Tunisia, Egypt, Albania, and Yemen? What relationship do you see between the uprisings and Islam?


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Islam’s Role in Egypt’s Secular Revolution


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via Inside Islam by Guest Contributor on 2/1/11

An Egyptian Protester kisses a riot police officer following clashes in Cairo, Egypt, Friday, Jan. 28, 2011. Photo: Lefteris Pitarakis /AP

Mona Mogahed is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and lived in Cairo between 2008-2009. She is a native of Madison, Wisconsin and currently resides in Washington, DC.

When a wave of self-immolation attempts began sweeping the Arab world following the now historic actions of Tunisian citizen Mohamed Bouazizi, Muslim clerics scrambled to issue statements condemning suicide in Islam. Al-Azhar, the world's most respected institution of Sunni learning, released a statement declaring that "Islam categorically forbids suicide for any reason," while a Saudi scholar called self-immolation a "great sin" and asserted that Islam "bans suicide even if living conditions are hard." Of course, few Muslims would argue that suicide is not forbidden in Islam, but both the timing and nature of these statements left little doubt that the dictums were government directives – urging citizens to refrain from the extreme forms of protest that led to the eventual ousting of Tunisian dictator Ben Ali. One Azhar sheikh even went so far as to claim that protesting was forbidden in Islam (other Azhar scholars did the responsible thing by disagreeing with him, even calling Ben Ali's removal a pious act).

It has long been a strategy of dictatorial governments like Mubarak's 30-year old regime to try using Islam as an effective means to control citizens, appealing to a common currency that few would muster enough sacrilege to object to (with Azhar-sanctioned legitimacy, the regime has God on its side after all). And Egyptians are indeed a deeply religious people – arguably the most religious in the world. A recent Gallup poll found that a whopping 99% of Egyptians answered "Yes" to the question "Is religion an important part of your daily life?"

It comes as a surprise to some, therefore, that the country's current popular uprising has not taken on an explicitly Islamic bent. Protesters' demands are quite simple: get Mubarak out. The role Islam has played thus far has been mostly organic and far from political. Until today, the most successful demonstrations took place on Friday, January 28th. These protests were scheduled immediately following the Friday prayers, benefiting from the already-critical masses which regularly turn out to attend these services. Committed protesters paused their chants in order to line up and perform daily prayers, bowing and prostrating beneath riot police and military tanks, gestures extensively documented in a slew of powerful images and videos.

But these were not political acts. These were merely practicing Muslims taking a few moments to perform prayer as they would on any other occasion, whether they were battling Egyptian security forces over control of a major bridge, or just experiencing a regular day in the office.

What does this mean for the revolution? Regardless of who takes rule after Mubarak, be it explicitly religious leadership such as the Muslim Brotherhood or a more secular figure like Mohamed El-Baradei, the powerful place religion occupies in the hearts and minds of Egyptians is unlikely to be affected. Contrary to an unfortunate misunderstanding espoused by government-puppet Muslim clerics and anti-Muslim zealots seeking to pit religion against freedom, lived Islam cannot be boiled down to a mere instrument of control or a series of punitive measures. In fact, as in the Egyptian uprising, the faith there is so much a part of Egyptian life that it seems to transcend such politics. It is there, simply as a matter of course, motivating people, enriching their lives, informing their decisions (both political and, more often, just everyday), but may ultimately go unaffected by the outcome of this historic moment.

What role does religion play in the current Egyptian protests and elsewhere? The majority of these protesters are Muslim. How does that change the perception of Islam?


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A Guide: How Not to Say Stupid Stuff about Egypt


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via Inside Islam by Colin on 2/2/11

Since the international media started following the situation in Egypt closely, a number of inaccurate, ignorant, and occasionally racist commentary from otherwise reputable new sources have been passed over without a thought. Since we write about Islam and Muslims, and Egypt is 90% Muslim, we thought it was relevant. And funny. The blogger Sarthanapalos has received a great deal of attention for this response:

"The past few days I have heard so many stupid things from friends, blogs, pundits, correspondents, politicians, experts, writers that I want to pull my hair.  So, I will not beat around the bush, I will be really blunt and give you a handy list to keep you from offending Egyptians, Arabs and the world when you discuss, blog or talk about Egypt. . . . .

  • "I am so impressed at how articulate Egyptians are." Does this sound familiar?  Imagine saying this about a Latino or African American?  You don't say it.  So don't say it about Egyptians. Gee, thank you oh great person who is of limited experience and human contact for recognizing that out of 80 million people some could be articulate, educated and speak many languages. Not cool. Don't say it. You may think it, but it makes you sound dumb. . . .
  • "This is so sad": No, sad were the thirty years of oppression, repression and torture. . . .

The Muslim Brotherhood is not on the U.S. Foreign Terrorist Organizations list. It renounced violence in the 1970s and has no active militia (although a provocative martial arts demonstration in December 2006 raised some alarm that they may be regrouping a militia.)

Nevertheless, the Muslim Brotherhood or Ikhwan Al Muslimun in Arabic, is frequently mentioned in relation to groups such as Hamas and Al Qaeda. . . . . 

  • "The women are so brave": Egyptian women have always been brave. If you want to know about Sadat's Egypt, read Nawal El Saadawi's memoir while in jail.  Memoirs from the Women's Prison
  • "Al Jazeera has come to it's own": Al Jazeera has been on it's own, you just only noticed. . . . .
  • "If they get Democracy they will elect extremists." Imagine if the world said that about America. The Tea Party threatens world stability, as did the Bush administration. How would you like if others used that as a threat to support an autocrat who made all opposing parties illegal? In truth, US politics threaten world stability more than Egypt does. Second, the implication is that democracy is not to be trusted in the hands of "certain" nations, people and religions is offensive, racist and ignorant. You do not claim to value human rights, democracy and freedom and then you make exclusions based on race, nationality and religion. Don't say this . . . . .
  • "The people are so nice":  Yes they are, it's your ignorant self that assumed they are all terrorists and fanatics. What did you think? Glad you went to Egypt and found the Egyptians nice. After all, they do have a cosmopolitan civilization of over 5,000 years, yet you reduced them to "rag heads,"  "jihadists," "ali babas," "terrorists," the list is endless. Imagine saying this about African Americans? Asians?  Nope. Just don't say it. It's patronizing.

It's time Egyptians were heard.  It's time the pundits and "Egypt hands" (old recycled western diplomats) were retired. These people were as good at predicting the current events as our economists were in predicting the economic calamity. I am glad you all got to see things from Egypt outside your comfort zone. Maybe now, you can give Egyptians and Arabs some respect.  The people in Egypt are struggling for human rights, dignity and freedom. Like the rest of us, they want the economic means to care for their families. Break down those closed ideas that dehumanize the Arab and Egyptian people in general.  That is all I ask."

Sarthanapalos may be strong with words, but there is a growing consensus within the western media that some commentators are getting away with statements that are backed up with little more than hearsay–especially in reference to what the Muslim Brotherhood stands for. Regardless of one's political, social, or religious views, it's important that the media, all around the world, become more rigorous in their research and demonstrate a higher level of assuredness before broadcasting bold statements.


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