Archive for September, 2006

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New book cover

September 29, 2006

As you can see, I changed the cover for the book. What can I say? When I looked over the old cover, I just was not completely satisfied, and I decided not to settle. It would be a great cover, but the image resolution just was not high enough. It left it with a grainy kind of look to it. There was nothing I could do to fix it, short of flying to Germany and taking a new photo. That was simply not going to happen.

So, enter the new cover. Before you ask, I have no idea who the model is on the front. It is just a stock photo that I purchased. If you would like the photographer’s information, I can send that to you. As to what character she represents, I will leave that a mystery, at least for now. But for those of you who read the book and want to guess, I would be happy to hear your guesses.

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Ramadan Kareem

September 26, 2006

It is reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessing be upon him) said:

“O People! The month of Allah (Ramadan) has approached you with His mercy and blessings. This is the month that is the best of all months in the estimation of Allah. Its days are the best among the days; its nights are the best among the nights. Its hours are the best among the hours. This is a month in which He has invited you. You have been, in this month, selected as the recipients of the honors of Allah, the Merciful. In this holy month, when you breathe, it has the reward of glorification (tasbih) and your sleep has the reward of worship. Your good deeds are accepted in this month. So are your invocations. Therefore, you must invoke your Lord, in right earnest, with hearts that are free from sins and evils, that Allah may bless you, observe fast, in this month, and recite the Holy Qur’an.”

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A man who knows his drums

September 25, 2006

I’ve never posted a YouTube video and probably never will again, but this is my father, so I gotta represent.
Read the rest of this entry ?

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My First Novel: The Golden Scrolls

September 22, 2006

As you can see from the sidebar, my book, The Golden Scrolls, has finally been released. It will be several weeks before it’s in the online bookstores, but if you must have it now, and I’m sure you must, then you can order it from the web site. There are many reasons why I chose to go with Lulu with this book, but posting all of them would make this blog unduly long. It is sufficient to say that it is the right choice for now.

Here is the plot summary:

The Golden Scrolls
by Tavis J. Hampton

Fuad, a young boy from the kingdom of Cor, must leave his home to travel the Known World in search of the legend his heart believes to be true. The Golden Scrolls, written thousands of years ago, could hold the answers to the mysterious darkness that has been consuming kingdoms, with Cor in its path. But is the legend true or simply another fable of the renowned Storyteller? The fate of civilization depends upon the courage and faith of a boy. Is he the Chosen One?

Part of the first chapter is available for download on GoldenScrolls.com.

Those who have read it have enjoyed it. God willing, you will too.

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Reaction to Bush's speech to the Iranian people

September 20, 2006

I just posted this to a private mailing list that I share with some highly respected, scholarly friends of mine. I figured it was worth posting to the world. It is a reaction to Bush’s UN speech regarding the “freedom” of the Iranian people.
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What is interesting is that Iran is expected to be perfect and any imperfection means that the entire regime must be dismantled and replaced, while America’s imperfections are to be overlooked and forgiven.

In reality it is not the imperfections (i.e. human rights issues) that are of any concern to the U.S. There have and will continue to be only two issues: oil and Israel (and not necessarily in that order).

Here is an excellent response to Bush’s speech from a human rights activist in Egypt

One more thing, keep in mind that it took 144 years in America before women were even allowed to vote, and then (1920) it only applied to white women. It would be nearly 50 more years before black men and women could vote.

We are only 140 years removed from slavery and only 230 years removed from America’s own bloody revolution (much bloodier than Iran’s).

The Iranian constitution, however, guaranteed women the right to vote from the beginning. In Iran, they’ve had a female vice president. In the last election in Iran, at least 8 candidates were serious contenders for the presidency. This while America has a two party system.

As an American, I can say proudly that this is my home and I’m willing to fight and iron out any of its problems, but the Iranian people should be given the same opportunity in their own country. It is their right to choose their own destiny, not have it thrust upon them.

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What happened on the 15th of Sha'ban

September 17, 2006

OK, I had actually intended to post something on the 15th. In fact, I even typed it, but I still needed to add my sources. We were in the process of moving, and my books were all packed up in boxes. Now I’m debating whether or not I’ll post it at all, but I probably will. It’s on the iBook, which is downstairs, so I’ll do it later, inshaAllah.

In the meanwhile, I think it’s time to start preparing for Ramadan. We’ve created a new forum on Muslim Message specifically for Ramadan.

I know there’s a lot of controversy in North America about how we are to determine when Ramadan starts. My advice to everyone is to follow the scholars you trust and don’t worry about what other people are doing. Allah will accept your intentions.

I’ll be back later with the Sha’baniyya post, inshaAllah.

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Islam is unreasonable, saith the Holy Father

September 15, 2006

I am writing this with the utmost caution because I have not read the actual transcript of the Pope’s controversial speech. I am forced to rely on media sources, which we know are often unreliable when quoting Islamic personalities. I can only hope that they more honestly quote their own religious figures. If he did not really say what I am critiquing below, I ask for his and God’s forgiveness.

The concept of Jihad, according to what the Pope reportedly said, is contrary to reason, while the West, on the other hand, is so entrenched in reason, that Muslims cannot understand it. This statement is laughable at best, and dangerous at worst. He then reportedly goes on to say what many ignorant popes before him have claimed: that Islam was “spread” by the sword. What is most shocking is that he seems to be saying that the Qur’an instructs Muslims to “spread” it by the sword. (As one comedian said, it makes it appear as though the world is a bagel and Islam is the cream cheese. I guess Christianity was spread by the knife).

Let’s see what the Qur’an says about spreading religion with the sword:

Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error: whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah has grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks. And Allah hears and knows all things. (2:256)

Now, correct me if I am wrong, Mr. Pope (because I am no expert on Qur’anic exegesis, but then again, neither are you), but doesn’t that mean that you cannot force anyone to become Muslim?

Furthermore, one could argue that Islam is closer to reason than the Catholic sect of Christianity. The very notion of the Trinity itself defies reason, even from a metaphysical standpoint.

Al-Islam, however, promotes reason, as it is the only way to know God. Miracles, emotional “revivals”, and even mysticism are insufficient. One must believe in God through the faculties of his own reason, otherwise he does not truly believe.

One must then wonder why he thinks Muslims do not understand the West. Our problem has never been understanding it. Our problem is that the “West” spreads secularism by the sword. Had the West not colonized our lands, exploited our resources, stolen our treasures, enslaved our people, occupied our territories and killed millions of innocent women and children, why would we care about the West enough to even want to understand it?

The Pope is only feeding into the secular myth that they are completely innocent and have done nothing to incite Muslims’ antagonism towards them; just as they did nothing to the Indians of North America, the enslaved Africans, or Jews of Germany. Palestine was just a “barren desert” when they arrived and occupied it, so why are Muslims upset? Saddam Hussein “butchered his own people” so why are you mad that we’re bombing them instead? This is what you are encouraging with your words, Mr. Pope: mythology.

Muslims are not “out to get” the West. As I’ve said before, and I’ll say it again: if we seriously wanted to do harm to the West, there would be no place safe for any westerner in any country. There are 1.2 Billion Muslims in the world. Out of that 1.2 Billion, perhaps 0.0003 percent (and I’m being generous here) wish to become terrorists. Out of that 0.0003 percent, only 1% actually carry out terrorist attacks. Somehow, however, this “fundamentalist ideology” or “islamofascism” as Mr. Bush prefers to call it, is spreading like wildfire. Jihad is apparently synonymous with terrorism, and every people have the right to defend themselves except Muslims.

We are to humbly and willfully accept our oppression because we simply “do not understand the West.” That is our tragic flaw: misunderstanding. I suppose I misunderstood you, Mr. Pope. I thought you were a beacon of peace, a champion of tolerance, and a brother in faith.