Monday, November 23, 2009

Thoughts from a food kitchen

In the Name of Allah, The Most Kind The Most Merciful

I was at a soup kitchen this weekend. There's this group of muslims who have started doing this all over the country, Mashallah, A few observations. First of all, I think there is more than enough food to feed everyone all over the world. It's just that people in general (and yes, myself included) are too greedy and selfish. If humanity were to put it's mind to it, I'm sure hunger could be eliminated overnight.

Secondly, a lot of the sisters doing this were not wearing hijab. A lot of people - sadly, myself included sometimes - seem to make an instant judgement on a sister based on whether or not she wears hijab. These were sisters here who were not only giving up their precious weekend time to help the poor and hungry, but also bringing in their kids to help. Everytime their kids do anything like this, for the rest of their lives, their mother will share in the reward. And the Prophet(SAW) said that "The most beloved person to Allah is the one who benefits mankind the most". And bear in mind that not every hijabi wearer is an angel. I'm sure we all know hijabi wearers who are very lax about their salat. Salat is much, much more important than hijab. Don't get me wrong, hijab is important, and is an obligation on women, and I find women wearing hijab to have an awe of beauty. But next time you rush to judge a sister who does not wear a hijab, think twice. And if you're a guy, start by counting the number of women you yourself gawked at today.

Finally... it was amazing to see people helping each other, regardless of color, creed or anything else. There are people all over the world, across all nations, across all religions, who seem to think that war and fighting is the answer to everything. Bearing in mind the hadith I just mentioned above, it would be a much better world if we all tried to benefit each other.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Letters to Dr. Seuss

To summarize: a woman whose son is going thru chemo came across a Dr Seuss book which showed a photo of kids with various hair lengths and colors. All of them were smiling broadly, except the bald one, who had a big frown. Upset, she wrote letters to Dr Seuss about this. Read on for the details...

UPDATE: Letters to Dr. Seuss: Umm Yousuf | Random House Consents! |

I found this very touching. It shows how, underneath it all, we are all humans, and we all have feelings. If people of all faiths could respect everyone else's feelings, this world would be a much better place.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Thoughts on Surah Al Fatiha

In the name of Allah, The Most Kind The Most Merciful

Part of an email I was having with a woman interested in Islam (may Allah guide her to the truth, Ameen).

I have meanwhile learnt the fatiha by heart. Is it a sacrilege to practice without having the intention of being a Muslim just now?

I thought about this for a few minutes, and then started laughing. Why? Because when you recite Faitha, you are asking Allah to guide you to be a muslim. 'Guide us to the straight path'. You recite this in Fatiha, what does it mean? It means 'Guide us to the path of those you have blessed; who have accepted the correct faith; who try and follow obedience to their Creator; who follow the way of the Prophets; who truly submit themselves'. And this is the very defintion of being a muslim. So it's not sacrilege at all, and if you are sincere in reciting it, there can only be one final result, God willing.

Let me share a few thoughts with you regarding Fatiha. Let's go thru it verse by verse.

'In the name of Allah, the Most Kind the Most Merciful'.

Every action should start with the name of Allah, to always remember the importance of sincerity to Him. And the most common attributes which Allah wants to be remembered by are Al Rahman, the Most Kind, and Al Rahim, the Most Merciful. Al Rahman refers to the mercy and kindess of Allah when He provides for all of his creation. The things that we have around us to enable us to live our lives to the fullest... every single thing comes from the mercy and kindness of Allah. As for Al Rahim, this refers to his mercy when it comes to forgiving sins. For someone who truly is remorseful and repentant, there is no limit at all to the mercy and forgiveness of Allah.

'Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds'.

Praise and thanks to Allah. A muslim should always be grateful to Allah, in all circumstances, good or bad. As Allah says elsewhere in the Quran, if you were to try and count the favors of Allah, you would be unable to number them. Allah is the Lord of the Worlds. 'Lord' here means the Creator, Sustainer, the actual Cause of every action that happens in all the 'Worlds', the whole universe (or maybe universes) of creation.

'The Most Kind, the Most Merciful'.

To emphasise the mercy of Allah, His attributes of kindness, generosity, mercy and forgiveness are again repeated here.

'Master of the Day of Judgement'

Compared with Allah's mercy, this verse brings to mind Allah's power. A muslim is balanced, always hopeful in the mercy of Allah, but always remembering that he/she will be accountable for all his actions one day. And on that day, there will be no power whatsoever except that of Allah. The Masters in this world, the kings, leaders, power brokers, etc. they will have no say whatsoever on that day. Allah, and Allah alone, will be the Master that day.

'You alone we worship, and You alone we ask for help'

The message of all the Prophets, and the message which is inside the nature of every human being... that Allah alone is worthy of worship. No ifs, buts or anything else... worship Allah, who because of his Lordship, is the only being that worship can be of benefit to. And when we are in need, we ask Allah and Allah alone, because Allah is the cause of everything. Even if someone is helping us, Allah is the ultimate cause of that help, the 'someone' is merely the means thru which Allah helps.

'Guide us to the straight path, the path of those whom you blessed'.

One of the attributes of Allah is 'Al Hadi', The Guide. Only Allah can guide to the straight path, the path of believing in Allah alone, and obedience to Him. Without being guided by Allah, we would be totally lost, grasping for light in the utter darkness in this world. If you ask Allah to guide you, He will; if you do not ask Allah to guide you, you will fall off the path. And to be on that path, there is no greater blessing than that.

'Not the path of those who earned Your anger, nor the path of those who went astray'.

Allah has given the message to people before; some were blessed and accepted the message correctly, acting on it correctly. Others accepted the message, and knew what the message was, but did no act on it accordingly; these are the ones who have earned the displeasure of Allah. Others accepted the message, but accepted it in a way that was not correct; these are the ones who have gone astray. So when we pray for guidance, we pray that we understand the guidance and knowledge that Allah bestows on us, and that we do our best to act according to that knowledge.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Assalam Alaikum

In the Name of Allah, The Most Kind The Most Merciful

Assalam Alaikum, and thank you for stopping by! Over the years, I have made a lot of contacts in real life and over the web. These days, it's hard to keep up with everybody. With that in mind, I have decided to create a 'presence' by starting this blog. I will be posting various thoughts, rants, interesting links, all with the purposes of (a) staying in touch with all of you, and (b) trying to make myself, and those who read my blog, get closer to Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala. I encourage all of you to leave comments, I'd love to read what you think! So I'm going to start a hadith with one of my favorite aspects of Islam, the importance of simply meeting each other for the sake of Allah SWT.

Abu Idris Al-Khaulani (May Allah had mercy upon him) reported: I once entered the mosque in Damascus. I happened to catch sight of a young man who had bright teeth (i.e., he was always seen smiling). A number of people had gathered around him. When they differed over anything they would refer it to him and act upon his advice. I asked who he was and I was told that he was Mu`adh bin Jabal (May Allah be pleased with him) The next day I hastened to the mosque, but found that he had arrived before me and was busy in performing Salat. I waited until he finished, and then went to him from the front, greeted him with Salam and said to him, "By Allah I love you.'' He asked, "For the sake of Allah?'' I replied, "Yes, for the sake of Allah". He again asked me, "Is it for Allah's sake?'' I replied, "Yes, it is for Allah's sake.'' Then he took hold of my cloak, drew me to himself and said, "Rejoice,! I heard Messenger of Allah (PBUH) saying, `Allah, the Exalted, says: My love is due to those who love one another for My sake, meet one another for My sake, visit one another for My sake and spend in charity for My sake" (Malik)

May Allah SWT accept this blog from me as an example of loving one another, meeting one another, and visting one another for His sake, Ameen.