Monday, 27 June 2011




'Indeed in the Messenger of Allah you have a good example to follow for him who hopes for (the meeting with)Allah and the Last Day, and remembers Allah much.' (Al-Quran, S. Al-Ahzab; s. 33, v. 21)

O slaves of Allah! Do you look forward to the meeting with Allah? Do you have faith and hope in the Last Day? Do you remember Allah much?

If your answer to any one of those questions is a 'yes', then by all means, heed the reminder of this above-quoted verse!

How is it that so many people world-wide claim that they hold a deep and strong love for our beloved prophet(SAAW) and yet they choose others from past and present to imitate their practices and speech?

The most obvious and strongest way to prove your love of someone or something is imitation.

We have been told by our beloved prophet(SAAW) that we will be raised up among those whom we loved in this life.

It is said in the Quran: 'Say (O Mohammed,SAAW, to mankind): 'If you (really) love Allah then follow me (i.e., accept Islamic monotheism, follow the Quran and the sunnah), Allah will love you and forgive you your sins.'' (s. 3, v. 31)

Who do you wish to raised up with, or among whose company? Do you truly wish to be raised and finally situated among our beloved prophet(SAAW) and his beloved companions(ARA)?

If so, then it has become truly important and incumbent upon you to study for yourself from the works left to us by renowned scholars of the lives of these important personalities.

And then, once you have learned the important lessons from their lives, then apply it step by step into your daily lives yourselves. Hence, imitating the life and practices of our beloved prophet(SAAW).

Have you come across some difficulties or obstacles in your life? Have you had disappointments or times of sadness and despair?

Surely, do not despair of the mercy and blessings of Allah. And never become ungrateful to Him of the endless blessings that He has bestowed upon each and every one of us, regardless of any hard times or trials and tribulations that may befall us from time to time.

Rather, gain strength and fortitude and inspiration from the reminder that even in the face of trials, there is still great blessing to be found and gained.

To prove this point, let us take a look at some of the revelations of the prophet's(SAAW) sayings from the many various ahadith on this matter:

Narrated Abu Hurairah(ARA): Allah's Messenger(SAAW) said, 'A Muslim, male or female, continues to remain under trial in respect of his life, property and offspring till he or she faces Allah the Exalted, in a state that he or she has no sin on his or her record.' (At-Tirmidhi)(Riyadh-As-Saliheen, v. 1, p. 70, #49)

*We come to know from this hadith, that Muslims are special targets of trials, but a redeeming feature of these trials is that Muslim's sins are pardoned through them provided they remain firm in their faith and patience.


Narrated Abu Sa'id and Abu Hurairah(ARA): The Prophet(SAAW) said, 'Never a believer is stricken with a discomfort, and illness, and anxiety, a grief or mental worry or even the pricking of a thorn that his sins are not expiated for him.' (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)(Riyadh-As-Saliheen, v. 1, p. 60, #37)

*This hadith mentions the special grace and mercy of Allah for the Muslims. It relates how Allah turns the hardships and troubles suffered by a Muslim into a means of expiation for his sins. But this is only possible if the believer exercises patience. However, if he starts weeping and wailing instead of showing patience then beside suffering hardships, he would be deprived the reward which lies in bearing them patiently. Thus, he shall have to take the burden of additional sins also.

Two very important reminders for all to remember concerning adversity or calamity (or in more simple lay terms: 'bad times'):

1. Our life on this earth is a series of ongoing tests. These tests act like a sieve to 'weed out' the true believers from the hypocrites. And these tests are a means by which Allah(SWT) helps us to strengthen our faith.

2. Regardless of what we may be going through, others have had to pass through similar and perhaps tougher tests than what we ourselves are having to endure. Therefore, we are not alone in the experience nor are we alone in our pain.

We have been told in the Quran:

'O ye who believe! Seek help with patient perseverance and prayer; for Allah is with those who patiently persevere.' (s. 2, v. 153)

The prophet(SAAW) was well-known to have not only close and strong affiliation to Allah, but he(SAAW) was also well known for his strong love of the prayer and high tendency towards the prayer, particularly in times of adversity and calamity.

He(SAAW) would often turn to Bilal in times of adversity or when feeling strong waves of sadness or depression, urging him to make the call to the prayer. Simply because he found such solace and peace and tranquility in the prayer. A virtual escape, and eventual solution to, the problems conflicting and confronting him of the moment.

O, my dear brethren, remember that Satan is the greatest tempter and the reason of much of our feelings of discord and jealousy and discontent in this life. So when you have any of those feelings coming on, then proceed towards the prayer, imitating the practice of our beloved prophet(SAAW).

Even if it is not time for one of the prescribed prayers, then make your intention for a voluntary prayer. And, as has been established as dependable tradition, the first step towards the prayer is the intention, then the cleansing with water (wudhu).

This is a most important aspect towards conquering or defeating Satan and his whisperings.

Remember that Satan was created from fire. And the most effective element in extinguishing the fire is water!

So, once you have performed the ceremonial cleansing itself, you have made the best step towards defeating Satan this time.

Also very important to remember-none of us can conquer Satan on our own. We need Allah's help and strength to do so. So seek Allah's protection always, by saying: 'Aoudhubillahi minash-shaytaanir-rajim' (I seek refuge with Allah from Satan the accursed!)

Take the fullest advantage of this prayer as you seek to strengthen yourself through patient perseverance and prayer. Take the time to recite verses from which you can receive higher and more meaningful inspiration. Contemplate on those verses as you recite.

Take full advantage of the position and action of the sajda (prostration). The Prophet(SAAW) has so wisely told us that the time or position in which we are closest to the Creator is while we are in the state of the sajda (prostration). Hence, he(SAAW) advised us to increase the supplication (dua) at this stage.

While in this position cry your heart out to Allah! Bring your complaints and desires and wishes to the surface! Turn your life and you rproblems over to Allah!

Glory be to Him! He knows all, and sees all! He knows that which is in the deepest part of your inner souls!!

Surely, He knows all of our problems and wishes and desires without us having to admit them.

But, as I have stated before-this worldly life is nothing more than an ongoing test. This world is the testing ground by which the hypocrites are weeded out from among the true believers. And it is the worldly experience which serves as a method of strengthening for the true believers.

Allah(SWT) has given us the guidance and criterion by which to improve ourselves and find the path back to Him. Will we take it?

He knows our innermost desires and needs. Yet He(SWT) wisely refrains from granting us everything till we make the move to humble ourselves and come to Him.

In that is a great lesson to be learned. Will we humble ourselves to ask of Him? Will we be thankful of all the blessings He has bestowed upon us? Will we seek the path that leads toward Him and eternal salvation and utter undisturbed peace and happiness?

Or will we be distracted by the fleeting and momentary distractions of the pastimes of this worldly life?

O, my dear brothers and sisters-take heed, and find true peace and solace for your lives. Not only for this worldly life, but more importantly for the Eternity!

Seek help with patient perseverance and prayer!!


Islamic Articles: TO ALLAH IS OUR RETURN



Allah (SWT) says (translation of the meanings):

'And certainly, We shall test you with something of fear, hunger, loss of wealth, lives, and fruits, but give glad tidings to those who are patient. Who, when afflicted with calamity, say: 'Truly, to Allah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return.''(s. 2, v. 155-156).

One of the most difficult things for a person to bear in this life is the loss of a loved one. For sure, we all face difficulty and hardship when we are confronted with the loss of the material fruits of this life, or even with a loss to ourselves by decline in health or disease. But it seems to me that the most difficult of calamity to cope with is to face the life of this world without the continuance of any of our loved ones along with us.

For those of you who have had to cope with the loss of a loved one, you understand what I am saying. And for those of you who have yet to face such a calamity, you will not fully understand until that time may come to you. And as true as this test is part of this worldly life, I pray that each of us will have the strength and fortitude to persevere with patience, and eventually reap the reward promised by Allah. For surely, He never relinquishes on His promise.

There is no loss which is easy for the person to bear. But of all the possible manners of loss, perhaps the most heart-wrenching, and therefore most difficult to sustain, is that of a parent who's child dies.

Due to the most natural procession of events of life, we most generally assume and take for granted that the elder fall weak, ill, and then die before the younger generation. And for the vast majority of cases, this is indeed the normal procession of events.

But this life has no guarantees, and we should not take it for granted nor assume that death will come to the elderly before the younger. Truly, our lives and the length of our lives is the sole knowledge of Allah, and it is with His power and permission that the life continues or ends.

As a mother myself, I can only imagine the sheer heartbreak that one faces at the loss of any of her children.

Several days ago I went to pay my respects to a family of our acquaintance of whom their adult son had only several days previously died. He was a husband and father of four. He had apparently been battling cancer for quite a while. Finally, Allah's decree of the disease won the battle. May Allah shed His mercy upon him.

There is no doubt that he will be missed by many. Although there are several uncles and even their grandfathers present in the children's lives, still there is no replacement for their father. A person may have many children or re-marry any number of times, but we all –regardless of our ages and stage in life-have only one father and one mother. Whenever we may lose either of those parents, there is no chance of replacement.

Yet no matter how hard it is for one to lose either of the parents, still I believe something that is more difficult to deal with in patience is the loss of a child.

As I visited with the family in my humble effort to join them in their sorrow and to gently remind them to remember Allah and be patient, I was touched by the extreme patience and perseverance I recognized in the mother of the deceased. Although she was not adorned with the kohl eyeliner, still her appearance was extremely neat and groomed. And it was not necessarily her neatness which caught my eye so much as the appearance of her eyes-very little, if any at all, residue or evidence of crying. Her countenance was, of course, of serious nature-but obviously not teary-eyed. As new visitors came in, some would make purposeful extensions of remembrance of the deceased and reminding the mother and all others of this natural course in life that we must all eventually take. They would also voice reminders of the importance of patience at such times. Most generally, the mother would simply reply in a tearless
agreement to their statements, and perhaps she would also express praises and thanks to Allah.

Upon conversing with one of the daughters-in-law of the household, I learned that this stance of the mother was not merely a front for the visiting public. Rather, she was this same pillar of strength for the whole family even behind closed doors and away from the on-looking visitors. Whenever she would notice some of the younger ones crying, she would reprimand them-reminding that his death was a mercy from Allah in that he had suffered much from the disease. And she would continue on to remind them that even if not for his suffering, still this was the plan and desire of Allah to take him at this time, so they must all be thankful to Him for all things.

Even in her most private of moments when she was in prayer to the Creator, she was reportedly ever patient, and in true form of a faithful slave-calling out to Allah to shed His mercy upon her beloved son.

Such utter patience at a time of great calamity! Surely, the greatest pain any mother can endure is the loss of a child. Yet, this woman shows us great strength and love for Allah through her patience and seeking perseverance through prayer.

We are taught by the Islamic teachings that the test for patience is at the time of the onset of the calamity, not at a later time. It is easy for all of us, although still painful, to awaken a bit later after the onset of the calamity and then gather our senses towards a patient acceptance of the reality of the loss. But the test for us is at the onset of the calamity-to be patient and accepting of Allah's decree and worship Him with remembrance of Him and thanks to Him.

Verily, we come from Allah and to Him is our return.


Islamic Articles: 'TIS THE SEASON



Once again, the magnificient, truly mind-boggling and utterly beautiful, ancient season of haj is upon us. Mind-boggling in that so many Muslims literally from all corners and cracks of the world gather together in this one spot at one time, for the sole purpose of worshipping their Creator. And beautiful in that this once-a-year procession demonstrates so vividly the possibility of unity and harmony of mankind.

To the modern-day Muslims, the haj is basically an exercise in worship by imitating the traditional rituals that our father Ibrahim, A.S.(Abraham) himself performed.

But to mankind in general, and the history of mankind, as well as creation as a whole, it has a more vast and far-reaching meaning.

The haj itself entails the necessity of the individual to embark on this venture, leaving behind all his/her worldly affairs for the time, in order to present himself/herself at the required spots on the required times.

The pilgrim needs to travel to Makkah, perform the circumambulation round the kaaba; walk/run between the hillocks Safa and Marwa; stand (i.e. be present) at the plains region of Arafat on the Day of Arafat; camp out that night at Mizdelifa; campt for 2-3 nights at Mina; and then perform once again the circumambulation round the kaaba. As well as offering the sacrificial animal, for those who it is incumbent upon, and throwing the pebbles at the assigned stations on the assigned days.

Of these deeds and rituals, the most important aspect is the presence of the hopeful hajji at the Arafat plains region on the Day of Arafat. As has been recorded in various ahadith, the prophet(SAAW) mentioned: the haj IS Arafat. Thereby indicating the jurisdiction that for those not present within the boundaries of the Arafat plains sometime before sunset on the Day of Arafat, then they have not attained the performance of the haj. Even thought they may attend to all other rituals of the haj. Without the presence at Arafat at the right time, there is no haj.

And although many people prefer to term this presence at Arafat as 'standing at Arafat', it is quite acceptable that the people may sit (whether on chairs, the ground, or even their vehicles), or even lay down for a time.

And it is also fine and acceptable that those present at Arafat take a meal, and drink to their satisfaction during their stay. In fact, as according to the prophet's saying, those present at Arafat on the Day of Arafat, are not to fast. It is a sufficient form of worship that they are present at Arafat for that holy, important, day.

Allah (SWT) has told us, in His Book, that He has created us for nothing other than worshipping Him. And although there are many pleasing aspects of this life within the realm of the permissible and legal status, we should not let those worldly pleasures distract us from what He has created us for, and that is to worship Him.

The observance of the haj, or the participation in the haj, is one of the five pillars of Islam. And although it is required of a Muslim only once in his/her life (as per the individual's ability to meet the requirements/qualifications for it), it is considered highly as the culmination or high peek of status of worship. This is basically due to the sacrificial nature of and surrounding the haj and it's season. Even for those Muslims not attending the haj, there is still the high value of sacrifice surrounding this season.

One of the important traditional practices associated with the haj is the offering of the sacrificial animal. Before proceeding, we should remember that Allah(SWT) has told us that it is not the blood of the sacrifice, nor the meat, which reaches Him. Nor is He in need of that blood or meat. But it is the piety of the worshipper offering the sacrifice in His name, which is the benefit and goal of the whole act.

The tradition of offering the sacrificial animal began with Ibrahim, A.S. He received a vision, which he correctly understood to be a divine directive, to sacrifice his own beloved son.

To better understand the value and importance of this act, we should think in more detail of the particulars in relation to the situation.

Up until this time, his wife was barren. In other words, he had no children as of yet. He and his wife both were getting on in years, so naturally, the natural hope of them having children dwindled as their ages rose.

Along their travels through the earth, Ibrahim and his wife Sarah passed through Egypt for a time. And upon their exit from Egypt, the king of Egypt presented Sarah with a slave girl as a gift for her. Sarah in turn offered this very same slave girl to her beloved husband. Ibrahim did not reject, and so he co-habited with Hagar (the slave girl) as well as with his wife Sarah.

When it became known that Hagar was pregnant, Sarah could no longer contain her jealousy. It was one thing for her to know of and even witness her beloved husband with another woman. But to realize that this other woman should be blessed with child while she remained barren, this was too much for her to bear.

And so, at Sarah's insistence, Ibrahim, A.S., took Hagar and her infant son, Ismael, to the desert valley region which we know as Makkah today. But at that time, it was not only desert, it was virtually deserted as well, excepting for the tribes of the surrounding region and the traders who occasionally crossed the paths of this region in their travels from Yemen in the south to Syria in the north and back.

As Ibrahim turned to leave his fostering family behind, Hagar naturally made a pleading move in questioning objection to this turn of fate. And when Ibrahim made no reply, but rather silently and determinedly moved along his way, she realized that this was of divine decree. So, she, in turn, became resolved in peace to the fate encrued upon herself and her beloved infant son. It was shortly after this, that her desperate search for water became the source of the traditional practice of the 'saiee' (running/walking) between the two hillocks of Safa and Marwa. And the greatest blessing out of this one event itself is the still-vibrant and productive well of the zam-zam water. For it sprout out of the ground as the crying baby Ismael pounded his heels to the ground during his crying.

As Ibrahim left his family behind, he supplicated Allah the Almighty to protect and provide for his family, which He evidently did. Ibrahim returned to visit them years later, when the lad was approaching adolescence. He had received a vision that he was to offer in sacrifice, his precious first-born, who was until now his only son. Making him even more so precious. Yet even if a person has many children, all are precious in their own right.

He informed his beloved son, who was still essentially a child even by standards of that time, of the vision which he understood and took seriously as divine decree, thereby necessitating it's obedience. Yet this foresighted and truly amazingly patient child, rather than crying out of fright, simply replied with the greatest of trust to his father: 'O father! Do as you deem the right thing. And you will find me in patient obedience.'

Such an honorable way to respond for this child, who was destined to be a prophet as well, not only the son of a prophet!!

So, Ibrahim took his son out a ways from the people, and proceeded in his preparations to sacrifice his first-born, as yet his only-born. He even made measure to instruct his son to face downwards so that he need not look into his son's face as he did the act.

As his truly razor-sharp knife was lowering on Ismael's throat, a beautiful ram appeared from utterly no where. And Ibrahim was immediately divinely informed that this ram was sent to him by divine order as the replacement for his son. Such a great and blessed replacement indeed!!

Hence, Ibrahim proceeded almost immediately, out of joy, relief, and thanks for Allah's blessing and mercy, to sacrifice this beautiful animal. And in doing so, Ibrahim was divinely informed that he had fulfilled the covenant and passed the important test that was presented to him.

In the end, he did not sacrifice his own son, killing him with his own hands, but a ram instead. But it was as if he had truly sacrificed him, for he proceeded steadfastly every step of the way in progression towards that goal. And Allah, in His everlasting and all-encompassing mercy, sent to Ibrahim the gift of the ram instead. Providing for him a way out, that he may retain his beloved son, while at the same time, and more importantly, fulfilling Allah's command to offer the sacrifice

To this day, whether attending the haj themselves, or remaining in their homes across the globe, Muslims celebrate the remembrance of this ordeal by offering their own sacrificial animal. And they give thanks to Allah for the uncountable blessings He has bestowed upon us all.

Ibrahim passed the test. He was truly willing to sacrifice that which he was commanded to. That which was perhaps the most dear to him in his life.

Are you ready truly to sacrifice for Allah when the time comes? Will you pass the test?!

Prepare yourselves always for the test. Seek Allah's help and strength. It surely will not be easy, as it was not easy for Ibrahim nor for Ismael.

'Tis the season…for sacrifice.

For the true believers, that is year round, not merely seasonable. So let's work to be classified among the true believers, and take the important lessons to be had of this holy season, and apply it to the rest of our lives the whole year through!!


Islamic Articles: A DEBT WE ALL OWE



In the name of Allah, the Most Beneficient, Most Merciful, Creator of the Heavens and Earth and all that lies in them, Sustainer of all life, He who has the Power over all things. I praise and thank Him with the most generous and sincere praises and thanks for all that He has blessed me with, and humbly ask that He shall bestow His mercy upon you, the reader, and myself, that He shall forgive us our sins and admit us into His highest paradise.

Peace and salutations upon His Beloved Messenger Mohammed, and his companions, and his family, and those that followed them.

I humbly dedicate this essay to the memory of my own parents, who brought me into this world, and sustained through many hardships and heartaches to help guide me towards adulthood. If it weren't for their kindness and loving support and guidance, perhaps I would not be the person that I am today. Of course, it is Allah alone who guides one to Islam or astray, and I cannot convey my thanks and praises enough to Him for having guided me to Islam.

It is said in Alalh's Book:

'And your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him. And that you be dutiful to your parents. If one of them or both of them attain old age in your life, say not to them a word of disrespect, nor shout at them, but address them in terms of honor. And lower unto them the wings of submission and humility through mercy, and say: 'My Lord bestow on them Your Mercy as they did bring me up when I was young.' ' (s. 17, v. 23-24).

The basic idea of these verses is directing us towards respectful and kind behavior towards our parents. And the key initiating factor in this is to be dutiful towards them, indicating that our respect of them and kindness towards them is indeed a duty we owe them; i.e., their rights upon us. It is not only an act of kindness that we treat them with respect and in a good manner, but it is in fact a duty we owe them. And if we ignore this and treat them otherwise, we are then doing ourselves harm by entering into a grave sin by outrightly disobeying a direct command from Allah.

Allah's Book says:

'And We have enjoined on man (to be dutiful and good) to his parents. His mother bore him in weakness and hardship upon weakness and hardship, and his weaning is in two years-give thanks to Me and to your parents.' (s. 31, v. 14)

Narrated Abdullah bin Mas'ud(Allahu radhi anhu): I asked Allah's Messenger(Salla Allahu alaihi wa salam), 'Which of the deeds is best loved by Allah?' Allah's Messenger (salla Allahu alaihi wa salam) said, 'As-Salat (the prayer) at it's proper time.' I asked, 'What next?' He (salla Allahu alaihi wa salam) replied, 'Kindness to the parents.' I asked, 'What next?' He replied, 'Jihad in the way of Allah.' (Al-Bukhari and Muslim) (Riyadh-As-Saliheen, v. 1, p. 295, #312)

To disobey one's parents is regarded as one of the major sins (al-Kaba'ir). And to accentuate the serious severity of this sin, it is important for us to note that it is mentioned among the first five of those major sins, usually mentioned immediately after that of associating partners with Allah. But we must also remember that we have been told by our prophet(salla Allahu alaihi wa salam) that there is no acceptance towards obeying any of Allah's creatures in something which is in direct disobedience of Allah. So, we must also keep in mind that if our own parents demand of us something which is in disobedience to Allah's commands, then we are not to obey their wishes in this respect. But, if we must disobey them in such a case, we should still treat them with the utmost respect and kindness and dignity, while turning to Allah in obedience to Him and His commands.

Narrated Abdullah bin'Amr bin Al-'As (radhi Allahu anhuma): Allah's Messenger (sallah Allahu alaihi wa salam) said, '(Of the) major sins are to join partners with Allah in worship, to disobey parents, to murder someone and to take a false oath (personally).' (Al-Bukhari) (Riyadh As-Saliheen, v. 1, p. 315, #337.

It is also evident that to spend time and energy in taking care of and helping one's parents is equivalent to or perhaps even greater than jihad.

Narrated Abdullah bin Amr bin Al-As (radhi Allahu anhuma): A man came to Allah's Messenger (salla Allahu alaihi wa salam) and said, 'I swear allegiance to you for emigration and jihad, seeking reward only from Allah.' He (salla Allahu alaihi wa salam) said, 'Is any of your parents alive?' He said, 'Yes, of course, both of them are alive.' He (salla Allahu alaihi wa salam) then asked, 'Do you want to seek reward from Allah?' He replied in the affirmative. Thereupon Allah's Messenger(salla Allahu alaihi wa salam) said, 'Go back to your parents and accord them kind treatment (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

In another narration it is reported that a person came to Allah's Messenger (salla Allahu alaihi wa salam) and sought his permission to participate in jihad. The Prophet(salla Allahu alaihi wa salam) asked, 'Are your parents alive?' He replied in the affirmative. The Prophet(salla Allahu alaihi wa salam) said, '(You should) consider their service as jihad.' (Riyadh As-Saliheen, v. 1, p. 302, #321)

It is important also to remember that although we have been commanded to not only respect our parents and treat them with kindness, we have also been commanded to obey their commands. But that does not go to the extent of obeying them if they may command us to do something in disobedience towards Allah and His commands. There is no obedience to any of Allah's creatures when that may entail disobeying Allah's commands. So, if our parents command or direct us to something which is in disobedience of Allah and His commands, we should not do it. But we should rather refrain from it in quite form, keeping in mind to treat them with respect and dignity all the while.

Please return with me now to re-examine the verse quoted at the beginning. I would like to emphasize the section where it is said '…say not to them a word of disrespect…' The original Arabic here goes 'wa laa taqul lahuma uff' (and don't say to them 'uff').

Note that one of the great majestical wonders and miraculous nature of Islam and the Quran is the original language of the Arabic in which it was first revealed. The basic nature of this language is what is called in Arabic as 'jawaami-al-kalaam'. Translated, that means that the basic quality of the language lends itself towards giving a very broad and deep meaning using a very condensed pressurized wording. That means that in translating the meanings of the words revealed, it takes much wording of explanation to try to reveal or explain the meaning. And even then, we may miss some of the meaning in that translation. Even for those who's language is Arabic, many times more wording is necessary to convey the more extensive meaning of the condensed manner of wording. This is what is meant by the miraculous nature of 'jawami-al-kalaam'.

Keeping all this in mind, I return once again to the wording of the verse, in which it is mentioned: 'wa laa taqul lahuma uff'. Translated, it usually reads something like: 'and do not say to them a word of disrespect'. But the Arabic says only: 'do not say to them 'uff''. In Arabic, the word 'uff' itself consists of only two letters. It's pronunciation is 'uff' with a soft 'f' at the end, similar to the English word 'off'. The word 'uff' itself is more an expression than it is a word. An expression to show one's disgust or unhappiness or perhaps even impatience with someone or something or a situation. A person may feel tired or worn out or simply impatient, and then they exhale, and with that outgoing breathe, they say 'uff', relieving a bit of that pressure building up inside. It is human nature, and most generally, all of us go through this from time to time. It is difficult to suppress. And it is alright for one to release that build up of pressure when we need to.

But, we must take care to know when and where to do so, so as not only not to be offensive or hurtful towards those around us, but also as a protection for ourselves so that we may not inadvertently encrue accumulation of sins upon ourselves. For surely, to even make the simplest exhalation with the expression 'uff' in response to our parents is a sin indeed.

Then what about those who dare to talk back to their parents in anger, or even some kind of defense or opposition towards their ideas or demands?

My dear brethren-as I'm sure those of you who have become parents themselves now know or are learning for themselves, your parents have gone through many hardships for you. And it is their right granted to them by Allah that you treat them with the utmost respect and kindness. So you should treat them in the proper manner as decreed by Allah, in the hopes that you will gain Allah's pleasure in doing so by obeying His command in this matter; and also in the hopes that you will be treated with respect and kindness by your own children when you yourselves reach old age.

Allah says in His Book:

'And let those who oppose the Messenger's commandment (i.e., his sunnah legal ways, orders, acts of worship, statements) (among the sects) beware, lest some fitnah (disbelief, trials, afflictions, earthquakes, killing, overpowered by a tyrant) should befall them or a painful torment be inflicted on them.' (s. 24, v. 63)

Narrated Abu Hurairah (Allahu radhi anhu): Allah's Messenger(salla Allahu alaihi wa salam) said: 'Verily, Allah the Exalted became angry, and His Anger is provoked if a person does that which Allah has declared unlawful.' (Al-Bukhari and Muslim) (Riyadh As-Saliheen, v. 2, p. 1347, #1806)

It is incumbent upon us all to learn and then obey the commandments of Allah, so that we may gain His pleasure and avoid His wrath, and we shall then reap the greatest reward of gaining access to His Heavens.





We have been told directly by Allah in His Book, that the messenger(SAAW) was sent to the world as a mercy to mankind, to the world at large. Not as a mercy only to the muslims. But as a mercy to mankind in general. With him(SAAW), and in his speech and practices, we can find the most excellent example by which to mold our lives ourselves.

But the question is, who will take heed and put into practice the preaching of our beloved Mohammed(SAAW)?

Allah's Messenger(SAAW) said, 'He who believes in Allah and the Last Day must either speak good or remain silent.' (Muslim)

This applies to all walks of life, and all conditions and situations that may arise in life. We need to condition ourselves and prepare ourselves and train ourselves towards this very behavior of either speaking good (or something of benefit to those listening), or to remain silent.

One of the easiest sins that all of us fall into from one time to another (and so many of us, sadly, very often) is that of backbiting or gossiping. And, this sin is classified among the great sins (al-kabaa'ir).

Remember that Satan is our number one enemy. He has sworn before Allah the Almighty that he will sway us from the right path, attacking us from in front and from behind, from the right and the left, from above and below, and from all other more concealed manners. And one of his more deceiving and sadly successful ways of leading us astray is that of making sins appear innocent or even as a good deed. He has found that he cannot necessarily succeed in swaying us away from praying or fasting or even doing many other good deeds or avoiding other sins. But, he does succeed, sadly, much of the time and with so many of us, in making the sin of backbiting appeal to us in such ease and innocence, that we tend to forget it's dire consequences.

We have been reminded by Allah that verily the good deeds wipe away the bad deeds. And so, we should take heed and format our lives to accommodate that hope in wiping away our sins and bad deeds with good deeds, and not the opposite.

Beware of turning your lifestyle into the opposite, of wiping out your good deeds with the bad deeds. I seek refuge with Allah from such a fate!!

Satan is truly our enemy, and he will attempt in every possible manner to sway us from the right path. And this sin of backbiting and gossiping is perhaps one of the easiest ways to lead us all astray at one time or another.

Be consistent and frequent in seeking Allah's forgiveness. The prophet(SAAW), who was promised forgiveness of his own sins and entrance into paradise, the most excellent exempler for mankind, in fact truly the best of all of Allah's creatures, has informed us that he himself would seek Allah's forgiveness at least 70 times throughout any one given day.

What about us in this day and age?

So many of us are consumed by the formalities and details of our daily lives. So many of us are wrapped up in the small and fleeting pleasures of this earthly world. So many of us tend to forget the day of Accounting, the day of Judgement, the torment of the hellfire.

Oh, yes, we say that we believe in it. But do we really? Do we keep it in mind enough to take heed of the directives that Allah has so mercifully given us in His Book? Do we keep this in mind in order to mold our earthly lives according to His directives and plans for us?

My dear brethren!! Allah has created you, given you life to enjoy and many blessings which are truly uncountable!! And one of the greatest blessings indeed is the guidance that He has blessed us with by His mercy and grace, to guide us on the straight path towards Him and His pleasure and His gardens of paradise!! Then why should we be so ungrateful as to disobey His guidance in any one point??
I plead with all reading, to seek Allah's protection from Satan and his whisperings and his temptations, and seek Allah's help and guidance to keeping away from this terribly easy and tempting sin of backbiting.

Before talking about others, think first, and ask yourself some questions…what result will this accomplish if I speak about this? Will this talk truly benefit any of us concerned? Or is it merely idle gossip which could in fact be harmful, in any way or manner to any of us?

It is more than likely, perhaps even a rating of 99&1/2 %, that this talk of gossip would in fact be harmful in any way or form to any of the persons concerned (either the person you would be talking about, or the listener, or yourself). So, refrain from it, if at all possible.

And, if you hear others talking in such manner in your presence, try to remind them as well. The easiest and simplest and perhaps most effective method of reminder is to simply utter the phrase 'astaghfurAllah' (I seek Allah's forgiveness) when hearing some gossip mentioned in your presence. This is like a wake-up-alarm to remind those talking and listening, that this kind of talk is indeed backbiting, which is a sin, which we should all try to refrain from.

I pray that we can all succeed, with Allah's help, in conquering the concealed attempts of Satan to swaying us from the right path, and from the right conduct, which Allah has so graciously and mercifully given us the guidance towards.

May we all be successful in attaining Allah's pleasure.





Allah says in the Quran: 'Everyone shall taste death. And only on the Day of Resurrection shall you be paid your wages in full. And whoever is removed away from the Fire and admitted to paradise, he indeed is successful. The life of this world is only the enjoyment of deception(a deceiving thing).' (S.3, v.185)

Every person who passes through the life of this world shall experience death-or a cessation to this life. Just as the birth, or the entrance into this life, and the continuance of our lives in the succession of days are all part of life, so death is also part of life. For without death as the exit from the life of this world, there is no progression towards the ultimate eternity.

And inasmuch everyone shall experience death as the cessation to this life, so also we will be compensated eventually as regards our deeds in this life, and whatever we may have put forth in the cause of Allah as our provision in the eternal life.

Allah, in His everlasting Mercy for His creation, has given us the guidance to direct us away from the wrong and towards the right. He has mercifully created us with the tools to learn and understand that guidance. And He has also planted in our hearts the seed of knowledge, and the basic sense which guides us or acknowledges the right from the wrong. Then why is it that so many of us are so weak as to arrogantly deny His signs and His directives?

For so many it boils down to the simplicity of the desire to ssatisfy our needs and desires of the moment at hand. In our human tendency to forget, we become overwhelmed by the temptations of the passing pleasure of the moment, and hence indulge ourselves in whatever that pleasure may be-either forgetting (at least temporarily) the consequences thereof, or making light of the truth of those consequences.

Remember that Allah is full aware of all that takes place in this world in all ages and in all places. He is keeping full count of everyone's deeds, thoughts, and speech-to be reviewed at the time of judgement. And He is the most just of all judges. There is no corruption nor inbalance in His judgement. And what ever He passes as sentence-takes place.

Do not wrong yourself by becoming weak and giving in to the passing pleasure of this life. Rather, find the true pleasure and tranquility in abstention from that which is prohibited and enjoying that which is permitted, all for the sake of seeking Allah's pleasure by your obedience to Him in recognition of His guidance.

One of the close companions of the prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was quoted to have mentioned that if it were not a command from Allah (i.e. obligatory) he would not have troubled himself with fasting or praying. He would have spent that time seeking the pleasures of this life. But the knowledge and insight he gained from the blessings of the guidance (i.e. Islamic teachings) led him to realizes that the true pleasure was to be found in following the guidance, worshipping Allah, and seeking His pleasure.

Beware of the deceiving nature of this world, and strive towards eternal success. Read and re-read the guidance of the Quran and Sunnah to refresh your mind always and give you strength.

I pray that Allah will shed His mercy upon us all by granting us the guidance and the yearning in our hearts to seek His pleasure.


Islamic Articles: CAMP RAMADHAN



In the west, the United States in particular, there is the tradition of going to a specialty camp of applied interest to the individual. Particularly in the summer vacation months.

At these camps, you will find a concentration towards the topic of interest of which the camp was set up to begin with. For instance, there are the various types of sports camps (such as baseball camp, canoe camp, etc.), as well as there are other specialized camps such as band camp for those inclined towards school band activities and music, as well as the various religious camps (namely Christian youth activities camps).

As a previous Christian, I attended several of such camps in my youth. Christian Youth Fellowship camps. Those camps were dedicated towards renewing the attendees' faith, and learning something new as well. But basically for the social aspect of the camp itself, and renewing one's faith through the fellowship that such a camp provided, in a different atmosphere than the normal daily routine of the family life.

Now, after having been a muslim for 25+ years, and experiencing the coming and going of many Ramadhans, I compare this yearly experience of Ramadhan to those camps, in a sense.

The month of Ramadhan is a holy month to Islam. It is the month in which the first revelation of the Quran occured. It is the month in which the Quran was revealed. It is the month in which we are reassured that the devils are chained, and the doors to paradise are open to all. It is the month which contains the 'night of power', which we are told directly from Allah, is better in it's value and importance than one thousand months.

It is during this month that all muslims worldwide come together under the one flag of fasting for the sake of Allah. It is also during this month that muslims worldwide gather together in a more concentrated effort of increased prayers and other forms of worship, in following suit to the example set for them by their beloved prophet Mohammed(PBUH).

Hence, my comparison of this month which occurs yearly, to the camps of the west.

I call it 'Camp Ramadhan'.

Whenever a western youngster (or even adult) goes home from a summer camp (regardless if it is a religious camp or otherwise), they are somehow changed by the effects of the change of lifestyle that camp has provided for them of the time period they spent at the camp.

The memories of that camp remain with them for a long time, even after returning home to their daily routines and families.

So it should be for us muslims, that the effects of Ramadhan remain with us throughout the year, and continuing on to the upcoming of the next Ramadhan.

I humbly remind all muslims now reading this to ask themselves seriously: what lessons have you learned from this Ramadhan? Or what practices did you put into effect during this Ramadhan which is even slightly different from your daily routine year-round? Or what feelings spiritually and emotionally have you experienced throughout this month or perhaps at it's closing?

Why not make the extra effort this year to carry those practices or lessons or feelings throughout the rest of the year? Why save those practices or feelings or lessons only for Ramadhan??

My dear brothers and sisters...I implore you to carry on with the nafal (superrogatory) prayers you began to do during this holy month.

I implore with you to continue making the extra effort daily to recite from the Quran and learn it's meaning, as you have in this special holy month.

Make the extra effort to make the lessons of Ramadhan last and make a true difference in your life, and perhaps the deciding factor of your very survival from the hell fire!!

Were you able to contain your anger during this month better than at other times?

Then why not apply that to your daily life through the rest of the year.

Were you able to realize your duty to Allah in your prayers or remembrance and praise of Him?

The surely, apply that to your daily life throughout the rest of the year!!

I pray humbly to Allah that He will bless us all to come away from this year's 'Camp Ramadhan' with the lessons it has to teach us engrained in our hearts, and with the firmer determination to apply those lessons to our lives throughout the rest of our time on this earth.

And I also pray humbly that Allah will bless us all and have His mercy to shed upon us to forgive us our sins, and grant us the reward of this month of the fasting we have observed, and bless us even further to live long enough to witness yet another great Ramadhan to serve Him better!!






I like to listen to the Islamic lectures given by the local Arab scholars. Alhamdulillah, I have been privileged and blessed to have learnt the Arabic language well enough that I can now understand, at least quite extensively, the message that these learned scholars are trying to get across to their audiences. And we are also quite blessed in that we in Saudi Arabia are living witnesses to a rise in the attention given to both learning as well as the responsible spreading of such important Islamic knowledge and awareness.

The khutbah (Friday sermon) in one of the local masajid yesterday focused upon the topic of death, the end of this earthly life, and how or what to do (or what to know) in order to prepare for it. The following recourse is merely one small sub-topic within the longer topic covered in the sermon.

To begin with, it is important to recall the realization that the life of this world is merely momentary in relation to the everlasting nature of eternity. This earth and the life and experiences we endure of this world are merely a passing stage and truly a testing ground. We are directed by Allah as He states in the Quran: 'Don't forget your portion of this world (ad-dunya)' s. 28, v. 77. Yet, while we strive daily to take and enjoy what we can from this life, we should be quite careful to do so within the realms of what Islam deems as legal and permissible. And all the while building towards a good future for the ever-lasting eternity. The life which is the ultimate life of which there is no more death nor end.

Just as a young adult will much of the time be concerned to work hard while he/she is young and able-saving here and there-cautious to save towards building an account for the time later in life when old age or infirmity sets in, so should we as Muslims work hard in this life-taking of it within the legal realms of Islamic teachings enough to sustain us for this life, all the while doing deeds which will build our account with Allah in order to help us at that grave time when we ourselves will be taken to account.

We are told by Allah that He created the jinns and mankind for worshipping Him. (s. 51, v. 56) And this earthly life is the testing ground to sift out the true believers from those who reject and the hypocrites. The angels were also created for worshipping Him-but they were not endowed with a free will such as the humans and jinns. Hence, their 'angelic' behavior and nature-they worship and praise Allah and serve Him in every respect exactly as what they were created for, without ever having to make a choice between right and wrong. Whereas the humans and the jinn have been given a free will to choose to worship Him or not. Hence, the revelation of the message of Islam to give us proper direction as to how to find our way to worship Allah and please Him, and to find the path towards gaining entrance to Heaven, and salvation from Hell.

There are four stages of testing attack upon each individual human. The first of these being the death of this earthly body-marking the end of this worldly life, and the first stage of further progression towards eternity. As we are told by Allah in His book, each soul must taste death. (s. 3, v. 185) But prepare yourselves, for it is something of which it's time and place and manner which is known only to Allah. It comes upon each and everyone of us quite suddenly, unexpectedly, and unannounced.

The second of these stages of trial and attack upon the person is the reception and division of the inheritance by the rightful heirs. Sadly, a strong and overbearing inborn inclination of mankind is that of selfish greed. And it is also sadly true and quite common that one of the major times of life that this selfish greed surfaces is after the death of a loved one. Many a story has been reported of previously loving and caring family members (loving and caring while their common-denominator-loved one was still alive) turning into vipers only shortly after the death-some even as early as the time of the burial-of their loved one. Vipers arguing over the inheritance, as do vultures over a fresh open carcass. Do not expect or hope that they would be so generous or so loving as to put what you have left from this life towards charity or for the cause of Allah. So, if you wish to build up your account in the Heavenly Bank, make proper preparations and steps towards that while you have the ability and chance to do so. Remember that with the end of this earthly life, so also ends all ability and chance for repentance and accumulating good deeds and building up that account in the Bank of the Heavens. Any account of money or assets you build up for this world are for your pleasures and benefit only of this temporary life-this short passage before going on for eternity. Therefore, if you wish or hope to get any pleasure or benefit out of money or assets you are blessed with in this life, ensure that by turning it over to Allah and His Cause while you are still in this life and able to do so. Some simple ideas on how to build such a Heavenly Bank Account, or to accrue such Heavenly assets: build a masjid, dontate money towards building or furnishing a masjid, establish a charitable trust fund, or donate to an already established charity, donate what you may have in money or assets towards anything in this life of which you ar assured is work in the Cause of Allah (i.e. helping orphans, widows, the disabled, providing or funding halaqahs for Quran, etc.) Anything you pay during this life along this line will be of extremem benefit to you in the next life. And remember to do so of course within the realms of the Islamic teachings (i.e. the allowance or permissibility of donating one third of your property to charity-the rest is the rightful inheritance for your heirs).

The third stage of fitnah or attach upon the person is the decaying of the physical body in the grave. The traditional and common Arabic phrase for this stage, translated as 'the worms' is quite a vivid and all-encompassing description, albeit short, of this quite terrifying stage. And, as is true of the other three stages-something that none of us can escapte nor avoid. Do not assume that this stage will be painless or without feeling. Since none of us (of past nor present nor future) can pass through any of these four stages and then return to this life to give first-hand report of it, our knowledge of these stages is quite limited and narrow to only that which Allah has chosen to reveal to us. Hence, many unimaginable and quite unexpected things may very well be possible. As for the process of the decaying of the physical body, it is well established that some sort of worm and/or bug eats away at the flesh till nothing is left but dust and bones. Some have reported that the worm or bug that eats away at this flesh is in fact a parasite that is living within each of us, and exits only after the death about a day or so to being it's task of cleaning the bones of all flesh. And yet others report or assume that the worms and/or bogs come out of the earth itself upon the smell of the burial of a freshly dead body. And only Allah knows best exactly how this process takes place. What we know for sure is that somehow, the flesh of the body decays to leave only dust and bones remaining. And it is a great blessing indeed, that mankind was given the inspiration from the first of mankind to die, that of one of Adam's sons, to bury their dead so that as a mercy to the remaining humans to witness, they are not first hand witness to this process of the decaying of the bones. The only thing that they may see from time to time, for any reason whatsoever, is the remaining of the cleaned bones free of all decayed flesh.

The fourth, last, and perhaps most important and frightening stage, is that of the standing for account before the Ultimate Judge-Allah. Although each of the previous three stages are equally important in their own right, for the passage towards the eternal and final existence can be attained only by passing through them, still this final stage of taking account holds a position of greater importance and authority because of it's basic defining and determining nature. It is clearly what it's name indicates-a passage or stage of taking each individual to account for his/her deeds and sayings during the testing period of the earthly life. Here lies the resulting importance of learning and adhering to the Divine Guidance. We will each have to stand alone in front of Allah, with no help or defense in our favor other than those deeds or actions we did in this life for seeking reward and the pleasure of Allah. And once Allah has taken us to account for everything-that which is small as well as big, that which was hidden as well as public,-we will be taken to account for the trespasses we made against our fellow humans. And the gravest of these trespasses against our fellow humans is that of gossip. Each one we may have gossiped about will have a right over us just as we ourselves will have a right over them for their gossips on us. And that right will be that they will be able to take away from any of our remaining good deeds (if there is anything remaining after Allah takes us to account). And once the good deeds have all dwindled away, and anyone still has a right over us, they will be given the option to transfer to us from their bad deeds, in accordance to their right over us. Imagine that you have a right over someone because of their gossip of you in this life. And couple with that that you cannot take from them their good deeds, for their stock of good deeds is now completely depleted. Now you have the option to transfer to them from your stock pile of bad deeds, in compensation for taking from their good deeds. Surely, you will not be so gracious as to transfer any weak bad deeds to those whom you realize have gossiped and back-talked about you. No, you would more than likely hand over the heaver bad deeds to those souls.

And then, after we have passed through all four stages, will be the descension of the final deciding factor upon which our fate of eternal abode lies upon is dependent. Truly, it is the Mercy of Allah which will admit us into His Heavens and Eternal Peace and Happiness.

But will we be deserving of His Mercy? Did we accumulate enough good deeds to attain His Mercy? Did we humble ourselves in asking for His Mercy? Did we do those deeds purely for His Sake in seeking His Mercy and His Pleasure? Or did we have some other ulterior earthly motive behind our actions? Did we take heed of the message of guidance sent to us, seeking His Pleasure, or did we arrogantly ignore that message, encruing His Wrath upon us? I seek refuge with Allah from the terrible fate of His Wrath, and I humbly ask Him to bestow upon us His Divine Guidance and to shed His never-ending Mercy over us all. May Allah forgive us our sins and trespasses and open the gates of the Heavens for us to enter Paradise in Peace and Safety. Ameen.


Islamic Articles: HIJAB-AND NOT HIJAB



I come originally from the western society of American, in which almost to the letter, anything goes. By that, I mean that nearly any style of dress-or undress perhaps a better term-is common to see nearly anywhere you may go. In view of my own background and personal past, I find no shock in seeing women clad in tight or scanty clothing.

But what bothers me-not shocks, but bothers-is to witness Muslim women donned in garb which is not conforming with the Islamic ruling of the hijab. I am not talking about young teenage girls who perhaps because of their tender and impressionable age do not yet know any better. I am speaking about full-grown adult women with husbands and children in accompaniment with her in her travels. Women who have lived long enough to gain this very basic knowledge of their own religion and it's teachings. Women who were born and raised in Muslim families, in a tight-knit Muslim society.

It never ceases to amaze me, as well as sadden and anger me, to witness women getting on a plane on Saudi ground, bound for some destination overseas, clad in her normal customary hijab of the flowing black over-garment, scarves, and face veil, only to discard it the moment the plane is in the air. Then, upon their return to Saudi, there is this sudden rush for the plane's bathrooms 15 minutes preceding the landing, in order that these women can re-do their hijab in haste before making their touch-down on Saudi land. I mean, they could not have possibly donned their hijab at the airport before boarding the plane. They needed to fit in every last moment before arriving on Saudi land to savor the opportunity to remain hijab-less. It is as if there is some sort of unwritten law that says a woman is supposed to observe the rules of proper hijab only while resident inside the boundaries of Saudi Arabia. It is as if this unwritten law tells the women that the observance of and adherence to a proper hijab is not necessary when traveling outside the boundaries of Saudi Arabia.

And it is one thing for the woman to remove the hijab altogether, leaving no trace for the onlooker to know even if she is Muslim or not. But it is another thing altogether for the woman to make some sort of a sad and rather sick mixture of the hijab and non-hijab.

My latest experience in this was on a recent trip to Dubai, a neighboring Arab and Muslim land. There were two women in front of me, both family women (their husbands and children in tow), and both in the state of half-hijab soon after the take-off. I noticed them still in their seats in front of me, both clad in seemingly proper and modest head-gear for the hijab. And as I was noticing this, I was making this mental note to myself of how I was happy and satisfied that they were retaining their hijab while traveling, even if they did discard the face covering. Well, when the plane landed at Dubai airport, and we all stood to make for disboarding, I was saddened to notice the remainder of their apparel, only to find that they were both wearing short (above the hips) and tight-fitting shirts over terribly skin-tight hip-hugger jeans. I mean, there was nothing left to the imagination of the figures of either of these women for any onlooker to notice.

Sure, the color of their midriff skin and even their arms and legs was concealed. But that was the only thing that was concealed. I mean, their whole figure was obviously outlined in exactness due to the tight fitting of their clothing.

That is truly not hijab. The Arabic term 'hijab' is an all-encompassing term which indicates to conceal, hide, shelter and protect the object concerned. And in the case as it is mentioned in the Quran in this respect, it is referring to the need for women to conceal and cover themselves not only for protection, but as well that they should be known to any onlooker as a believing woman. And, as per the verses which are concerned with the hijab in giving it's order and explaining and defining it, it is clear that it is not proper that a woman reveal herself to any non-mahram man. That means her shape and figure as well as her skin.

My sisters (and brothers who are responsible for women)-the observance of the hijab is not a matter of choice. It is rather a matter of commanding obedience to the divine laws of our Creator!! If you are a Muslim woman, it is your duty to cover properly in obedience to His Command. And if you are a Muslim man, it is your responsibility to support your women and instruct them in obedience to their Creator.

The matter of hijab is a matter of obeying Allah's command. And when we ignore this important aspect of our religion, we then fall into disobedience of His commands.

Allah said (translation of the meaning):

'O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks (veils) all over their bodies (i.e. screen themselves completely). That will be better, that they should be known (i.e. as free believing women), so as not to be annoyed. And Allah is Ever Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.' S. 33, v. 59.

Upon recalling the revelation of the hijab, our mother Aisha (ARA) has been recorded as praising the women of the region at that time, mentioning that when they first heard the revelation directly from the beloved prophet(SAAW), that they immediately went into their homes, and did not come out again except that they were covered from head to foot, appearing as the black crow. Apparently nothing showing but their eyes. As we all know that the black crow is completely black, and nothing truly apparent of it other than it's eyes. So were the women of that time, in covering themselves so that nothing of their bodies was revealed.

And this was the description of the female companions of the prophet(SAAW). The women who were present in his(SAAW) time, who learned directly from him(SAAW).

But what about the women of today? Some wearing a hijab which is not truly a hijab which conceals. But rather, a hijab which merely covers by simple definition that it is a piece of cloth which covers the skin, but does not conceal what lies underneath. Hence, it is not truly a hijab. For the basic definition of the term hijab is that it is something which conceals and protects, not attracting attention to look and notice and to know what lies underneath.

Oh, my sisters-fear Allah as He should be feared! And find in your hearts the strength to discard any of the passing pleasures and temptations of this life. Do not lose the hope of eternal salvation at the price of being weak in this life and grasping the temptation of discarding your hijab. Put your sights on what lies ahead for you after this life, and you will then find the strength to adhere to Allah's commands and directions in all your endeavors and practices in this life. Live and practice the teachings of Islam in your every day life, and you shall then be worthy of Allah's mercy and compassion on the day when even those most close to you in this life will desert you.

And my brothers-do be strong yourselves and support and guide your women lovingly towards implementation of Islamic teachings in all your interactions in life. Remember that as you see your wife or your sister or your daughter outside in public, so other onlookers are seeing her as well. And as you gaze and follow the actions of other women, so your own women are being watched as you watch others. So, beware of your gaze and where you guide your eyes to look and see again and again. And beware to guard your own women from the gaze of others as well.

My dear brothers and sisters-the verses of the hijab have no mention in them of adhering to the covering of the hijab only in such and such land. No, rather, it is for all times of the world, and all places of the world. So then, why is it that so many people, as they take off from the land of Saudi Arabia, they are so quick to discard this hijab?

Allah is ever-presently watching over the whole world, not only Saudi Arabia or any other land in particular. And there is intermingling of people the whole world over. Hence, the necessity to adhere to the laws of the hijab anywhere we travel and at any time.

I pray that each and every one of us will find it within ourselves to obey our Creator seeking His pleasure and becoming deserving of His never-ending mercy. I pray that He will shed His light and mercy upon us all to instill in our hearts the fear and love of Him enough that we shall all not only learn, but as well implement the teachings He has given us in His Book of Guidance, into our daily lives. He has been so gracious so as to give us this guidance. It is the very least that we can do to implement this guidance into our daily lives.






Throughout the ages, there have been various upsurges from time to time of the apparently endless war between the religious factions of the world. Some of those upsurges have been more physical and bloody and fatal than others. And some of those upsurges have been more on the intellectual front. Yet even the upsurges of the intellectual design sadly lead towards an uncontrollable spiraling of flaming reaction of defensivevengeance that oft times results in loss or damage of property and/or life.

Such is the evidential scene we observe in today's environment of a wide-ranged Muslim reaction towards the most recent attacks of insulting caricatures of our beloved prophet Mohammed(SAAW), publicized in some European papers. Rather than putting down the Muslims, these insults have come to bring together the various differing factions of Muslims all within the wider fold of Islam. Recognizing our differences, we have come to overlook those differences, and join hands in defending the honor of our beloved prophet Mohammed(SAAW), and the truth of the message he was endowed to spread to mankind. It is a time of heightened awareness among the Muslims themselves of the importance of the message of Islam.

Pictures have appeared in many international newspapers as well as on many satellite T.V. stations broadcasting not only mass demonstrations by Muslims in opposition to the publications of the caricatures-but sadly as well various other more violent reactions such as destructions of vehicles and/or public buildings in relation to or of importance to those somehow related to those guilty of the publications.

We as Muslims must stop to look into ourselves and our religion with some serious investigative introspect. And although we all know that our beloved prophet(SAAW) did indeed lead his companions into battle at times, we must also realize the reason for and behind those very battles. Even in time of battle, there were strict rules in place, according to the dictates of Islam, which rendered the highest and utmost respect to human life and rights. Not true with what is witnessed today.

We need to examine the life and practices of our beloved prophet(SAAW0, to better understand his manners in dealing in nearly any situation. And from that knowledge of his(SAAW) excellent and upright behavior, we can then and perhaps only then, deduce what he himself (SAAW) would do (or perhaps approve of doing) when faced with some similar situation as what we are facing today.

Those brave and unknowing souls who are falsely accusing that Islam was spread by the sword and other similar methods of death, destruction, and hateful danger, are finding retaliation of such similar destruction as the angry defensive vengeance-response from various Muslims. Granted, those response are a marginally small percentage in relation to the world's Muslim populace today. But because of the nature of the response (violent) and the expectation of the accusers, it is a most widely heard and recognized response.

To those opting or even in support of such measures of violent defensive vengeful reaction to the insults waged against our beloved prophet(SAAW) and divine religion-I ask-what message does that really send to the on-looking world?! Can it be said, by acts of unnecessary violence, that Islam does not promote nor teach violence?

Indeed, a common underlying factor for mankind of all the ages and every walk and belief-is that imitation is the utmost compliment and truest showing of one's love and care for something or someone.

If you Muslims the world round truly love and respect Mohammed(SAAW), then the best way to prove that love is to imitate his(SAAW) truly excellent and unprecedented example. He(SAAW0 spread the important divine message of Islam to the world by the highest example of patience, love, and kindness towards his fellow man. Never becoming weak nor wavering in his bold yet simple speech in the face of adversity and opposition, while ever so gently striking a safe balance all the time. Strong, yet not offensive and insulting. And in particular, not unnecessarily violent. The violent and deadly battles were reserved only for those occasions of dire necessity.

The current trend of violent reaction in supposed defense of Islam and our beloved prophet Mohammed(SAAW), escalating only in yet more violence from each opposing side, is reminiscent to me of the typical school bully scene and mentality. We have on the one side a group of people opting to insult Islam and the beloved prophet Mohammed(SAAW) with slanderous caricatures and accompanying dialogue or captions. Then on the defensive side are not only those who have opposed such childish insulting behavior by various methods of public condemnation and boycotts, but we also sadly have the various factions taking to more physical and invasively violent measures such as bombings or raids and attacks upon people and things of even the most remote connection to those responsible for the insults.

My dear Muslim brethren, it is in fact the group of the latter description which not only distorts the true message of Islam worldwide and hence makes the non-Muslims automatically on the defense against anything in relation to Islam and Muslims, but it is also the spiraling generator for the bully to react in even more vicious manner.

O Muslims! Come together at this most important time in the history of mankind and defend our esteemed religion and prophet with the best possible manner of defense-that is which is defined within the realms of the teachings of Islam. Beware of taking steps of outward and unnecessary violence as a response to the verbal and written attacks. This type of action only serves as a detriment to the image of Islam and Muslims worldwide, and a re-enforcement of the misconceptions held by so many against Islam.

Oppose those who opt to insult Islam and Muslims with something which is better than violence. Extinguish the fire with water, not with fire. And fight ignorance with knowledge, shedding a light on the darkness.





So, you have made your plans and preparations to perform the haj, eh?

Your reservations for travel and accommodation have already been made and confirmed. You have either paid off your debts or come to some amicable agreement with your debtors, which frees you for the haj. You have had all the necessary vaccinations, and so now all the necessary paper work has been completed for your safe and smooth journey.

You have even either purchased or selected from your closet the clothing that you will need. Perhaps even your bags are already packed. And you have also put away a nice little bundle of money for your provisions and other needs along the way.

And you have even studied in books as a review on how to proceed through the haj, or perhaps you have attended lectures or some sort of classes of tutoring to prepare you for the haj.

And so, you are ready. But…are you REALLY ready?

This is a gathering of people from literally ever crack and corner of the world, uniting in this one spot, on this one day (namely-Arafat), for one purpose-to worship and humbly dedicate themselves to the One and Only God.

For even the most sage haji's, who have attended the haj many times over and are accustomed to this scene, it is still a tremendously emotional and impressively flabbergasting moment.

If you come by air, most likely your first glimpse of the haj atmosphere will greet you at the specially allocated haj terminal in Jeddah. The Saudi authorities have wisely set up this separate terminal building to help them more efficiently process the hundreds of thousands of hajis. This has helped them to free up the regular terminal somewhat for those traveling at this time for reasons other than the haj.

Then, as you first enter Makkah, you will notice the influx of the tens of thousands of pilgrims homing in on the Grand Mosque for prayer and the ceremonial circumambulation of the Kaaba as honey bees are attracted towards and held in magnetic connection to their queen and the hive.

Another beautiful site developing and increasing in recent years is something that I affectionately call 'Rainbos of the Haj'. This is the growing tendancy of the various separate groups coming for the haj, in particular those from non-arab lands, of assigning a one-color scheme of head-dress (hijab) for all of their female participants to don. It is not uncommon nowadays to look out onto the sea of humans in the Grand Mosque, and find a group of 20+ women donned in, for example, yellow scarves, followed by yet another group of purple, and yet another group of green, and so on and so forth, literally covering their heads with any and every color of the rainbow and all shades in between. This manner helps their own groups-helping to prevent losses from their groups in aiding them to identify one another.

As you progress towards Mina, the tent-city camp site where most of your stay will be, you will notice now more and more of the men donned in the traditional simple garb of two pieces of un-sewn white cloth. Here, at this point, (only one or two days before the haj of Arafat), the only men dressed in regular clothing are those not intending haj for themselves.

The days preceding the haj have come and gone. You have done your first visit of the Grand Mosque, performed some prayers and completed the circumambulation due upon your arrival. You have checked into your assigned tent in Mina, acquiring 'your space' for your stay.

Now the truly Big Day has arrived. The Day of Arafat. The Day of the Bigger Haj (al-Haj Al-Akbar), as it is so names by Allah in the Quran.

This is truly the Day of the Haj-for without attending to it in it's proper place, in proper manner, and in proper time, it does not count with Allah as Haj for that person, even if they may attend to all the other rites and rituals of the Haj. And as for all the other rites and rituals of the Haj-if you miss out on them in any way, there is expiation for that. But there is no form of expiation for missing the presence at Arafat-within it's set boundaries, and during the daylight hours up until sunset.

This most excellent day of the year is a day for prayers and supplication-seeking for His Mery and Forgiveness. So take the fullest advantage of this truly one-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

This is the Day in which Allah tells His angels that He indeed forgives those who have presented themselves to Him at this time and at this spot. So do not lose the spirit of the moment by worldly cares and worries.

For those who have the chance to participate in and witness for themselves the gathering of the pilgrims-all at one spot, all at one time, all facing one direction, all dressed the same, all for the same reason-humbling themselves to worship and serve the One and Only God-it is a fantastically overwhelming experience indeed.

Over 2 million, perhaps closer to 3 million, pilgrims-all worshipping the One God at one time! People from all over the globe-countless backgrounds, countless languages, countless professions and levels in society-all standing literally side by side, bowing all at one time, prostrating all at one time, in perfect unison and obedience behind one leader, all seeking the Mercy of their Creator and Sustainer.

It is a sight which is, perhaps, even chillingly predictive of the Day of Resurrection. A Day when all will be raised in a fashion of facing their Lord and Accounter.

But it is different still. For on this day, we are yet in this life, and we yet have the chance for repentance and redemption. We have this hane yet to hopefully wipe our slates clean.

For as Allah has promised us, for those who commit no sin nor debauchery in the haj, they will return after the haj as a new born babe, with a clean slate! Literally a new start! A second chance at a new life-with all past sins wiped off the slate!

It is truly overwhelming indeed-to the point where you may very well in fat find yourself at a loss of words or manner of how to ask what you most desperately need or want from your Lord. So do not let this sensation of overwhelm consume you to that extent. Rather, continue to remember Allah much in the simplest fashion.

Repeat the shahada over and over. This statement itself is truly the essence of Islam. So, repeat it often. It is something truly loved by Allah. Another phrase to frequently moisten your tongue with is: 'subhan-Allah wa bi hamdihi, subhan Allahul-adhim'. As recorded by Al-Bukhari and Muslim, this phrase is dearly beloved by the Most Merciful, light on the tongue, and heavy in the scales (of reward). So, repeat it often. And don't become forgetful or mindless of seeking Allah's forgiveness. Two great benefits of this is that one: it is a door-opener to having your other prayers answered; and, two: it is a method of attaining Allah's protection from His anger and punishment, as He Himself has promised us. And Allah never relinquishes on anything He promises.

Take the fullest advantage of the Day of the Haj. Humble yourself to Allah in seeking His Mercy and His Forgiveness. Reap the rih benefit to be had from the Haj. Take your belief to another higher and more encompassing level. Find the true brotherhood of Islam. Take care to help and be kind to your fellow pilgrims. Have much patience.

It is truly an out-of-this-world experience, if you will open yourself for it. Prepare yourself-leave the world and all of your worldly cares behind you for that short time. And sincerely give of yourself to Allah.

He has beckoned unto you, commanding His slave Ibrahim (AS) to proclaim the Haj when it's time comes. He has spoken-the Haj is now upon us. And you, my brothers and sisters, are answering His call: 'Labaik Allahumma labaik'. Pilgrims coming from literally every crack and corner of the world-to gather in answer to His all.

So reap the benefits of this time, and be of those who are sincere with they say: 'Laa ilaha illa Allah, Mohammedan rasool Allah.'

May Allah grant you the greatest benefit of this haj-to be forgiven of your sins, and to be granted entrance to His Paradise. And may He protect you to return to your loved ones in excellent form.


Islamic Articles: ODE TO A BELOVED UNCLE



His talent, his knowledge, and the art-now lost forever!!

As muslims, we have been fore-warned that as time passes, and as the Judgement Day draws near-as the Hour has been established-so will the beneficial knowledge decrease. Scholars of Islamic teachings have interpreted this through the ages to mean not that knowledge will be picked from our brains and removed as one picks and removed berries from a bush-but rather that those blessed souls who have been endowed with knowledge and a special talent or a gift will die off, without-for some odd reason or another-having passed on that knowledge or talent for future generations to benefit from and develop upon.

And so this happens now as I am a sad witness to it.

The passing of Uncle Abdallah is a sad blow on so many. It is always typically selfishly sad for us when a loved one passes along. Out of our natural human inclinations, we cry out of the sorrow of looking towards the moments to come when we will miss the presence of our loved one in our lives. A presence which we had become accustomed to, and which we selfishly dread when faced with the reality of this immediate future void. That is in reality a reflection of the love of one's self, not of the loved one who has passed along. How many times-at the death of a loved one-have you heard those remaining cry out for fear of the unknown which the deceased must be entering??

Uncle Abdallah was well-trained and professionally versed in the age-old art of what might be called 'traditional orthopedics'. He was not a lettered man. Nor did he go through anything anyways near a conventional medical school. But he knew how to read, understand, and interpret an x-ray. And even more important-he knew in his brain and heart where and how to guide his crafted yet strong hands to set straight even the most peculiar bone and/or muscular deformities, fractures, slips, sprains, and strains. In the Arabic, his craft is known as one of the many branches of 'arab medicine'. This term is a wide-encompassing term meaning in general traditional treatment passed down through the centuries and generations. In encompasses a wide range of treatments from the usage of herbs and spices and home-made remedies of mixtures of ointments and lotions as well as various herbal potions, and of course, not excluding the physical treatment of setting straight orthopedic ailments.

His practice could perhaps be compared to the more modern development of chiropractic treatment, but only in a vague way. This is an art encompassing much more than mere chiropractic practices.

And so sad for the remaining community-his craft and this gift from God has been lost now forever. Unless and until God should grace yet another soul miraculously to begin all over again. But it is a feat not easy to achieve. For the knowledge that Uncle Abdallah acquired and went to his grave with was not something he merely woke up with one day. No; it had accumulated painfully and slowly through the ages; passed down from generation to generation, to apparently diminish and disappear now in this age. So sad for those remaining.

So many knew him far and wide. He had no need to advertise. The simplest and most ancient form of advertisement-word of mouth-was plenty to assure him of even the most distant customers, day and night, all through the year.

Severe cold or rain would not discourage them from waking him and his family at any hour of the day or night. Nor would great distances or miles be a hindrance for those seeking an option to long periods of uncomfortable casts or invasive surgery using steel implants, which would require even more eventual surgery. And, unlike the various modern-day treatments, his age-old practice proved to induce good, strong, proper, and even healing of the bones, muscles, and related tendons and fibers.

A dearly lost art indeed. And a man greatly missed by so many.

He was widely known as fair and just in all matters. Extremely generous, he would jump at the chance to entertain and feed the guests. He was well-known to even compete with others in attaining guests for entertainment, so deeply rooted was his inclination towards generosity towards the guests.

And so loving and caring for his family. Always ensuring to provide the best he could for them, and more. And although he had no dependable monthly income, he was never one to be known to be miserly towards his children or his wife. Yearly ensuring a trip to Makkah and then to Madinah for witnessing the completion of the fast of Ramadhan and the celebration of the eid. And providing for his wife not only the enjoyment of the trip, but as well gifts for her to take back home for herself, and plenty of shopping money for her to buy gifts for her loved ones back home as a treat of her return from traveling.

Such a loving and generous man indeed. Even in the late years, when the two (i.e. man and wife) had become rather slow and weak in their movements, he was so daunting on his beloved wife to take her himself personally to visit her sisters or other loved ones, keeping her hand in his to guide her in and out of the car to the door of the houses, and back. And now, the surviving wife is left to face the emptiness of her house, the evolving emptiness of her life without her life-long partner, and the upcoming excruciating moments when she must clear his possessions out of the house out of her view. Going back into her bedroom now, the pain only begins over and over again, as she notices his cloak hanging in the closet, his clothes hanging on the hook on the wall, and the thin cane he customarily carried along with him, all painful physical evidence of his one-time presence in this worldly life. Letting go is always a drawn-out and painful process. But it is something that we all must face eventually.

Of those he treated, I will narrate briefly to you of only a few to demonstrate his explicit talent. One-a young man-was in a devastating car accident. It was a miracle that this young man did not die in that accident, nor was he more seriously hurt than the fractures that he encountered. But he came out with a broken thigh bone, and a shattered hip and joint. The doctors prescribed a sequence of surgeries to reset the break, and to reconstruct the shattered hip and joint. The young man and his mother so wisely opted to try Uncle Abdallah's traditional treatment. And so he proceeded in his usual manner of first washing the injured area with warm water and soap. And then his hands began with the knowing pressure and pulling, advising those standing by to hold the man down as the pain would rise, until he got the fracture and the dislocations and the shattered bone fragments all set in the proper places. Then he would wrap the region with perhaps a strap of leather, covered by some gauze, after first applying a mixture of a ghee and honey rub as a soothing ointment which also helps induce the healing process. And before leaving the patient, he would first instruct the patient and family on how long the wrap should remain before removal or his next visit; and also on how or when the patient can bath; and he would remind them also of the importance of healthy diet to help induce good healing: fresh meat broth, fresh fruits and juices, etc.

As for the young man, the treatment consisted of several such repeated visits over a span of several months. And, finally, when the healing was complete and all wraps removed and he could easily walk again, he returned to the doctor who treated him those first days and nights at the hospital. That same orthopedic surgeon who was so insulted by the young man's insistence to exit the hospital, fractures untreated, on his own accord and accepting his own responsibility for any adverse reactions to his own option for refusing conventional treatment.

The doctor could not believe his eyes: the young man was walking again-only several months after the accident-with only a slight limp, no sign of any distortion of the leg, nor any sign of surgical entrance. How could this be??? Could it be true???

The doctor asked the young man to agree to a new x-ray, as well as he asked medical records for his chart and previous x-rays to make a study comparison between the two sets of x-rays.

It was truly amazing! Without any invasive surgery; with only his skilled hands, experience, and knowledge, Uncle Abdallah was able, by the grace and permission of God, to renew this young man's leg into a miraculously healed and useful leg!!

All praises and thanks be to God Almighty. And may He shower His mercy on Uncle Abdallah and let him rest in peace.

As for uncountable others-truly countless breaks, dislocations, deformities, sprains, and strains, have all been successfully set straight by Uncle Abdallah.

But now to be no more. He and his art and his heart are lost to us all now forever.

But the memory of him, of his talent, of his love and care for his fellow man, will carry on in so many of our hearts for a long time. As well as the memory of so many witnesses to his attention and attachment to worshipping God in the best possible manner.

If I had the chance to relay to Uncle Abdallah a message-I would say: 'We miss you dearly, O father!! Not only for the great service you provided to so many, and the odd hours that you would- without any complaint- jump to help others, but for your deep and caring heart, for your strength, for your love and kindness. I pray that you will rest in peace and comfort now, with no more pain or discomfort, and that you will be admitted into the most beautiful and wide expansive Heavens!! Ameen!!!'


Islamic Articles: PREPARE YOURSELVES!!



Most of us, at one time or another, have traveled from one place to another far away place. Whether that travel was for a short break from our daily routine of life-i.g. a vacation-or of a more permanent nature such as moving, it invariably involved to some extent packing and other preparations. Most of us will generally pack clothes and various provisions in the form of food and drink to sustain us in our travels. Or in place of carrying those provisions with us, we will take along a plentiful stash of cash money with which to buy nourishments and various other needs along the way. As well as the afore-mentioned packing, many of us will make yet other preparations before traveling-such as arranging our homes and personal items before we leave, making sure that those dependent upon us for support are properly taken care of in our absence, etc.

Well, my dear friends-a very important and surely permanent-ah, verily: eternal-type of travel is imminent upon each and every one of us at any given time.

What differentiates this particular travel from all others is that we have no choice in the matter-no option to refuse this trip. And we also have no say-so about when we will travel nor our final destination. It is all up to the divine command and mercy of our Creator.

But we don indeed have the option to prepare for it.

Now I ask you this sincere question-what have you prepared for your trip? What do you have in the form of garments to shade and conceal you? What have you built up as a protector against the elements which may discomfort you? What have you prepared as your nourishment? What have you prepared to keep you company in that lonely, dark, cold, and damp grave? What have you prepared as assurance for your loved ones you will be forced to leave behind? What have you prepared to continue in this world to move towards good acts on your behalf?

Have you prayed? Have you fasted? Did you pay the zakat and perform the pilgrimage?

If your answers to these last points are 'yes'-then I say to you: 'so what?!' Those things are only the most basic of duties we as Muslims owe to Allah!

What I am talking about is-what-if anything- extra have you done from your heart merely for the sake of Allah?

What have you done to prepare for the Final Journey? The Journey from which there is no return to this familiar earthly life. The Journey by which we enter into a completely new, different, and unfathomable state of existence. The Journey which brings us ever closer to the Final Judgement Day and then our abode for eternity.

Have you willingly and freely given money in charity-which will bless you and sustain you later? Have you learned the Quran-which will accompany you in the grave and perhaps act as your protector from the punishment of the grave? Have you done acts of good nature purely for the sake of Allah which will earn you salvation from the fire and entrance into Heaven? Have you made provisions to sustain your loved ones whom you will leave behind? Have you remembered Allah much so that you will enter into a beautiful garden full of many trees?

My dear brethren-what have you done to prepare for your eternal abode?

Beware of losing precious time on the trivialities of this life. Remember the true reminder that this life is nothing but the passing of time and pleasures for a time. It is not the true life, nor is it our permanent abode. From Allah we have come, and it is to Him that we shall return. It is merely a testing ground to sift out the true believers from the others. To prove and determine which souls deserve paradise and great reward, and which deserve the everlasting torment and punishment.

Make the best usage of the time and health and mentality that Allah has blessed you with. Strive in every manner you possibly can for His cause, all the while hoping and praying for His help in seeking His pleasure.

Aim to die in the state of jihad (i.e. striving) in His cause-not only in the state of a mere muslim.

Abu Ad-Darda, one of the companions of the prophet(SAAW), was visited by some of the companions when news came to them of his serious condition of his dwindling health. They found him in terribly low state of depressed spirit as well as the deteriorated state of his physical health. They tried to cheer him up, reminding him of the outlook a true believing muslim should have, even when death is approaching.

In his response to them, he tearfully exclaimed his lowered spirits were not due to his realization of the imminence of the approach of death, nor was it necessarily due to his state of physical illness.

But rather that all those years previously he had always hoped and prayed that his final moments of his earthly life-the state in which his soul would be taken-that it would happen while he were in the state and action of jihad for the cause of Allah, not merely in the state of Islam.

Ah, such a high aspiration indeed! And a goal that we should all strive for-to die in the state of jihad for the cause of Allah!!

My dear muslim brethren-what have you done to prepare for that path?

What have you done for Allah??

What will be your accompaniment in the grave? Sorrow of the chances past which you did not take the best advantage of? Or happiness of the promise of salvation and paradise?

Prepare yourselves for the Journey!!