Archive for February, 2006

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Electric Blankets

February 27, 2006

This morning, I went to the dryer to get some socks, and I found that all of the clothes had been sucked into a balled-up blanket. I began to shake the blanket, but there was a towel that was stuck to it. As I pulled the towel from the blanket, blue sparks flew through the air (I’m not exaggerating). It popped and crackled like a gas stove when you first light it. And it hurt too! Nevertheless, it was quite a scientific experience.

I think, if we were able to spin the dryer fast enough, we could achieve fission. That would explain how socks always come up missing. Hmmmm…

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Midnight Oil

February 26, 2006

It is 2AM, but I thought I would try to get some writing done. My intention is to have my book finished by the end of this summer and then have it in the stores by next year, inshaAllah. Yes, Lantern Torch also does editing and publishing. 🙂 We are quite a multi-faceted organization.

I have at least two more books that I would like to write after that (in the near future).

I feel that I owe some explanation about Bayt-al-Hikmah. The premise for it began when I was working at an Islamic school in Chicago. In essence, it is a non-profit library, mainly geared towards Islam, but also holding a collection of books from other revealed religions (Judaism, Christianity, etc). The goal is to make it public so that anyone can check out the books, just as they would in a public library, with library cards. I have figured out a way to get the initial funding. The only issue that remains is how to keep it funded. I would prefer not to rely on donations, as most religious organizations do.

After I get one successful Bayt al-Hikmah (House of Wisdom) going, I’d like to send the plans and structure to Muslims all over the world so that they can also start similar ventures, inshaAllah. Who knows, maybe they’ll even make it happen before I do. I think it is something that is needed, and since I am a Librarian, I am hoping that I have something useful to contribute to the Ummah. Allah knows best!

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Seestani to the rescue…Again?

February 24, 2006

Since the United States illegally invaded Iraq, their military and politicians have made one blunder after another. Amazingly, there has been one common factor that has consistently saved Iraq from spiraling into oblivion and, indirectly, saved the U.S. from utter failure. That factor is an old man, probably not unlike your sweetest grandfather, who lives in a simple house and wears old, simple clothing.

But this man is the leader of millions of people, not only in Iraq, but all over the world. His name is Ayatullah al-‘Udhma Ali Seestani. He is not pro-America, nor is he pro-Iran. His goals have always been clear: protect the interests of the Iraqi people.

When the U.S. invaded, toppled Saddam’s regime and set up a laughable provisional government, Ayatullah Seestani insisted that the Iraqis hold elections as soon as possible. The U.S. refused, and so Ayatullah Seestani sent his followers into the streets to protest. Eventually, the U.S. caved into their demands. Seestani himself, penned and reviewed the election plans and the laws that would be setup for the interim government, a fact that U.S. media conveniently hides. Instead, the Bush administration championed the elections as though they had organized them. In reality, they had resisted them, preferring to keep their new Ba’athist boy, Iyad Allawi, in position as long as possible.

When the young, fiery scholar, Muqtada al-Sadr, raised the banner of jihad and sent his Mahdi army into the streets of Najaf to fight the U.S. military and drive them out “once and for all,” the Americans saw their dreams of a “liberated Iraq” slipping away. Al-Sadr was poised to start another Islamic Revolution, one that would see the Iranians take center-stage in reshaping and rebuilding Iraq. Seestani, at the time, was having surgery in London. Upon his return, al-Sadr, like a disobedient grandson, silenced his rhetoric, retired his army, and turned the keys of Imam ‘Ali’s shrine back over to the “Grand Ayatullah.”

But was Ayatullah Seestani trying to aide the Americans in stopping the Mahdi Army? Absolutely not. His goal, as always, was to protect the people of Najaf, to protect the grave site of Imam Ali (peace be upon him), and to protect one of the greatest learning institutions on the planet, Al-Hawza. Furthermore, Ayatullah Seestani had no more interest in having Iran play too much of a role in reshaping Iraq than the Americans. The difference is that he does not want Iranians to be his enemies. He is Iranian himself. But Iraq must be able to stand on its own, and for that, he has repeatedly asked for the Americans to leave.

Instead, they have remained, ignoring the one sane voice coming out of Iraq. With hope slipping away, after the attacks on the grave site of Imam ‘Ali al-Naqi (peace be upon him) and Imam Hasan al-‘Askari (peace be upon him), the 10th and 11th Imams, the U.S. is shivering at the thought of all out civil war. But so far, civil war has not happened. Yes, sectarian violence in on the rise, but, considering the number of Shi’a in Iraq, the power of their leadership, and the organization of their militias, they could easily and effectively crush any Sunni resistance, but they have not. Why?

Ayatullah Seestani issued a statement. Thus, the majority of shi’as have remained calm, only involving themselves in peaceful protest. The leader of Iran, Ayatullah Khamene`i, issued a similar statement, refusing to bow down to the pressure of a few lunatics who insist on starting a Muslim-on-Muslim civil war. Iran has no interest in doing so, as they did not when Saddam imposed the Iran-Iraq war on them in the 80s. Had Seestani said only one word, “fight,” every Shi’a in the known world would have taken up arms, but he did not. He will not, inshaAllah.

So, once again, Ayatullah Seestani might have saved Iraq and the U.S. from sudden death. But now the question remains, will the U.S. finally start listening to this man? Iraqis listen to him; Iranians listen to him; even people in Pakistan listen to him. The only person reasonably capable of ruling Iraq is the one person who does not want the job, but, whether he wants it or not, people will continue to look to him for guidance. I think it is about time Mr. Bush does the same, before it is too late.

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Violence Begets Violence

February 23, 2006

I was going to write a lengthy response to the attack on the grave site of Imam Ali al-Naqi (peace be upon him) and Imam Hasan al-‘Askari (peace be upon him), but Sunni Sister did a really good job, and you should just read hers.

I will say, however, that no Muslim has the right to attack the graves of anyone (Muslim or non-Muslim) much less the graves of Ahlul-bayt.

I think that this is a time when we should learn something about these Imams, because that is what the nasibiyya (haters of Ahlul-bayt) wish to erase by attacking their graves. But they cannot make us (those Muslims, both Sunni and Shi’a, who love them), forget.

Imam Muhammad ibn ‘Ali al-Baqir (the 5th Imam) once said, “The true nasibi (hater of Ahlul-bayt) is not one who shows antagonism towards us, the family of the Prophet. You will not find anyone who will say, ‘I hate Muhammad and his family.’ The true nasibi is one who antagonizes you, our followers (shi’a).”

Once Bahlul (may Allah have mercy on him) saw a young child sitting in a puddle of water on the ground, crying and wailing. The child was Imam Hasan al-‘Askari. Bahlul went to him and asked him why he was crying. Despite his young age, the boy began reciting ayaat about the Day of Judgment and about other heavy matters. Bahlul said to him, “Why are you concerned with these things? You are not even baligh (of age) yet.” Imam al-‘Askari replied,

“I have watched my mother kindle a fire, how she uses the smaller sticks to ignite the larger ones, and I am afraid that Allah will do the same thing with me.”

This pure soul, a child, an Imam of all the Muslims in the world, is afraid of Allah’s punishment to the point where he is in tears. What of those who attack his grave and defile the religion that he sought to preserve?

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A Sad Day

February 22, 2006

One of my best assistants and a good friend left today. There’s not really much else to say. 😦

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The 'Ugly Face of American Racism'

February 21, 2006

From IndyMedia:

“The following interview of Professor Tony Van Der Meer was conducted by Bryan G. Pfeifer over the course of December 2005 and January 2006.

“In April 2003 Mr. Tony Van Der Meer, a Black adjunct professor of Africana studies at the University of Massachusetts Boston was assaulted and arrested by campus police after challenging an Army National Guard recruiter who threatened a student distributing leaflets for an anti-war commemoration honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.. Van Der Meer objected to the recruiter’s remark that the student should be shot like Dr. King.

Read the Interview at The Boston IMC

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Rare Kiwi Bird Hatches in US Zoo

February 21, 2006

From National Geographic:

“This North Island brown kiwi hatched at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington, D.C., this week-only the second of these rare birds to hatch during the zoo’s 116-year history.

“Kiwi chicks hatch fully feathered with their eyes open and begin foraging for small worms and berries after their first week of life, since they receive no help from their parents.”

Isn’t it cute?