Archive for August, 2006

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Know Your Imam: Husayn ibn Ali

August 28, 2006

Imam Husayn ibn ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib, the second son of Fatimah, daughter of Muhammad, was the grandson of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him and his family peace) and the Imam of the Muslims after his brother, Hassan ibn Ali.

He was born on the 3rd of Sha’ban in the year 4 A.H. (10/01/626 C.E.) His mother was the best of all women, and his father was the best of men after the Prophet. When he was born, the Prophet came to the house of his daughter, took the baby in his arms, and said the athan (call to prayer) in one ear and the iqama (announcement to stand for prayer) in the other. The people around him then saw tears trickle down from his eyes, and Fatimah asked him why he was crying.

The Prophet announced that he would achieve martyrdom and that an entire nation would mourn him till the Day of Judgment.

It is reported that the Prophet said of Imam Husayn: “Husayn is from me, and I am from Husayn.”

Some sayings of Imam Husayn:

Death with dignity is better than life with humiliation.”

O Allah! You know that all there was from us was not in competition to seek power, nor to gain refuse of the world, but it was nothing other than to present the signs and essence of Your religion, and to promote reform in Your land, (so that) oppressed members of your servants find safety and security, and Your laws, orders and obligations are acted upon.”

Muhammad Iqbal wrote of Imam Husayn:

“Imam Husayn uprooted despotism forever till the Day of Resurrection. He watered the dry garden of freedom with the surging wave of his blood, and indeed he awakened the sleeping Muslim nation. If Imam Husayn had aimed at acquiring a worldly empire, he would not have travelled the way he did. Husayn weltered in blood and dust for the sake of truth. Verily he, therefore, became the bed-rock of the Muslim creed; la ilaha illa-Allah (There is no god but Allah).”

Peace be upon you, O Husayn. Today we remember your birth, but it is your death that set this Ummah free. O Allah, bless Muhammad and the family of Muhammad, send peace upon Imam Husayn and all the righteous members of his house, upon their followers, and upon all believers.

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Bush and Saddam Should Both Stand Trial, Says Nuremberg Prosecutor

August 27, 2006

Very interesting:

A chief prosecutor of Nazi war crimes at Nuremberg has said George W. Bush should be tried for war crimes along with Saddam Hussein. Benjamin Ferenccz, who secured convictions for 22 Nazi officers for their work in orchestrating the death squads that killed more than 1 million people, told OneWorld both Bush and Saddam should be tried for starting “aggressive” wars–Saddam for his 1990 attack on Kuwait and Bush for his 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Full Story

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'nother house update

August 20, 2006

OK, so here it is with the driveway.

New house with driveway

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House update

August 17, 2006

It’s almost done. InshaAllah, our closing date will be on September 7th.

Our new house, almost finished

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Jewish Dissent

August 14, 2006

Here is an interesting article about the Jewish dissenters and how Jewish people are often wrongly accused of unanimously supporting Israeli policies.

“Many believe that American Jews unanimously and unconditionally support the Israeli government. That what we learned from the Holocaust is to shoot first and ask questions later. That our commitment to justice and equal rights is a quaint feature of our past.

“There is a saying “two Jews, three opinions.” Now we are told “1 million Jews, one opinion.”

“In fact, our community is profoundly divided:

“Hundreds, if not thousands, of Jews all over the country have demonstrated to demand an end to the bombing of Gaza and Lebanon. In one of these demonstrations, 17 Jewish protesters were arrested in an act of civil disobedience.”

Full Article

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Purpose and Reliance on Scholars

August 10, 2006

Many people, Muslim and non-Muslim, have often asked me, “Why are there so many rules in Islam?” Of course, my answer is, “There aren’t.” But what would satisfy the soul of someone seeking such mysteries is to know the philosophy or purpose behind the shari’ah. According to the ‘aqidah (formula of beliefs) of some schools of al-Islam, every injunction, recommendation, and prohibition in the shari’ah has a purpose behind it and is based upon either benefit or harm.

Accordingly, when something new is brought before a mujtahid, smoking for example, its benefit or harm plays a large role in determining whether it is obligatory (wajib), recommended (mustahhab), permissible (mubah), disliked (makruh), or forbidden (haram).

To continue with the example of smoking, many scholars of the past labeled it makruh (disliked) because of its offensive odor, but left open a clause that, if it was discovered to be harmful to the body, it would then become haram. In modern times, advancements in science have revealed that smoking is harmful (and in many cases deadly) for the body, for people exposed to second-hand smoke, and to the environment. As a result, some modern scholars, such as Ayatullah al-‘Udhma Nasir Makarem Shirazi, have labeled it haram, and in his case, have actually initiated youth programs and public service campaigns to encourage people to stop smoking.

When it comes to other issues, such as the prohibition of alcohol, the recommendation to wash your hands before you eat, the recommendation for marriage, and the plethora of various laws and ethics that al-Islam lays out for humanity, it is to our benefit to study their purposes. It increases one’s iman (faith) and enables us to explore and appreciate the love that Allah has for His servants.

None of our worship is of any benefit to Allah. We do not, in any way, increase His power, wealth, or health by serving Him. On the contrary, what He has revealed, which is sound and complete, is entirely for our benefit, both in this life and in the hereafter.

Nevertheless, seeking out the understanding of shari’ah does not remove responsibility from a Muslim and allow him to follow his own desires because he perceives some benefit to doing so. We must still arrive at rulings through the correct sources of legislation and formulate just and correct verdicts through reasoning (‘aql). If one is knowledgeable of these sources and capable of deducing rulings through reasoning, such a person might be qualified as a mujtahid (jurist). Because most of us do not even come close to the level of ijtihad necessary, we must rely on the juristic decisions of someone more knowledgeable and wise. The practice of this reliance is referred to as Taqlid.

Some “reformists” have mistakenly referred to this practice as “blind imitation” or even, insultingly, as “aping.” Yet, if they were suffering from a medical ailment, they would seek out medical advice and treatment from a medical professional. They would not rely on their own desires for a cure or consider mere conjecture to be medicine.

Similarly, if someone is interested in learning a particular field of studies, he should seek out that knowledge from qualified institutions that employ reputable teachers capable of relating the inner dimensions of a subject to him. If I was interested in physics, I would not seek knowledge of it from a nutritionist. It would be illogical, and in some cases, it could be harmful to me.

When a Muslim needs juristic advice or treatment for a disease of the soul, he must turn to the experts, those whose hearts are purified and whose knowledge is sufficient to address all or some of a person’s concerns. Taqlid is particularly applied in the field of jurisprudence (fiqh, but other areas, such as ‘irfan (gnosis), require experts who are aware of the inner mysteries and dimensions of their specialty.

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Know Your Imam: Ali ibn Abu Talib (the first Imam)

August 8, 2006

Shaykh al-Mufid (may Allah shower him with mercy) recorded that Abu Sa’id al-Khudri related that he heard the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him and his family peace) talking to Fatimah (peace be upon her), who had come to him that day crying and saying, “O Messenger of Allah, the women of the Quraysh have reproached me because of Ali’s poverty.’

He said, ‘Are you not content, O Fatimah, that I have married you to your husband when he was the first man to embrace Islam and the most knowledgeable of men? Allah has examined the people of the earth and chosen your father, and made him a prophet. He then examined the people again and chose from among them your husband and made him the appointed guardian. Allah then revealed to me that I should marry you to him. Do you not see it as Allah’s honor and respect for you that your husband is the kindest of men, the most knowledgeable and the first of them to submit to Islam?’

Fatimah then smiled and rejoiced at the good news.”

Al-Tabarani in al-Kabir and al-Bayhaqi in his Sunnah relate that the Messenger of Allah said of Ali, pointing to him with his hand, “This man was the first to believe in me and will be the first to take my hand on the Day of Resurrection; he is the greatest of friends and the most discriminating between truth and falsehood, and he is the Commander of the Faithful.”

Al-Tabarani in al-Kabir and al-Hakim in al-Mustadrak relate that the Messenger of Allah said, “I am the city of knowledge, and ‘Ali is the gate; so whoever desires knowledge should come to its gate.”

Ibn Majah, al-Tirmidhi, al-Nasa’i, Ibn Hanbal, and others relate that the Messenger of Allah said, at the time of the final pilgrimage, “Ali is from me and I am from ‘Ali. No one can discharge my duty instead of me expect ‘Ali.”

During the battle of Khaibar, the Messenger of Allah entrusted the standard to Abu Bakr to lead the army and bring back victory, but he encountered difficulty and returned unsuccessful. On the following day, he gave the standard to ‘Umar who also returned unsuccessful.

As a result, the Prophet called together his companions and announced, “By Allah, tomorrow I will give the standard to a person who loves Allah and His Messenger and who is loved by Allah and His Messenger, one who is constant in battle and does not flee the battlefield, one who will stand firm and will not return until victory is achieved.”

When morning came, they all hastened to Allah’s Messenger, hoping that he would choose one of them. He said to them, “Where is ‘Ali?”

They replied, “He is suffering from an eye ailment.”

The Prophet took some of his saliva and applied it to ‘Ali’s eyes, invoking blessings on him, and he was cured. Imam ‘Ali went forth in battle and achieved victory with the Muslim army.

The Commander of the Faithful, ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib was born on the 13th of Rajab in the thirteenth year of the Elephant, in Makkah, inside of the sacred Ka’bah (an honor bestowed on none before him or after him). He served as the fourth caliph of the Islamic Ummah and left in his progeny the eleven Imams of Ahlul-bayt. He was martyred on the 21st of Ramadan and was buried in Najaf, Iraq.