Saturday, December 31, 2005

What was special about Mansa Musa's Hajj?

Mansa Musa, King of Mali
The Hajj That Changed the Course of History
By Aisha R. Masterton**

King Mansa Musa is famous for his Hajj journey, during which he stopped off in Egypt and gave out so much gold that the Egyptian economy was ruined for years to come. Mansa Musa was the great-great-grandson of Sunjata, who was the founder of the empire of Mali. His 25-year reign (1312-1337 CE) is described as “the golden age of the empire of Mali” (Levztion 66).

While Sunjata focused on building an ethnic Malinke empire, Mansa Musa developed its Islamic practice. He performed his Hajj in 1324. According to Levztion, the journey across Africa to Makkah took more than a year and it took a powerful king to be able to be absent from his kingdom for so long. Mansa Musa journeyed along the Niger River to Mema, then to Walata, then through Taghaza and on to Tuat, which was a trade center in central Africa. Tuat attracted traders from as far as Majorca and Egypt and its traders included Jews as well as Muslims.

When he arrived in Egypt, Mansa Musa camped near the Pyramids for three days. He then sent a gift of 50,000 dinars to the Sultan of Egypt before settling in Cairo for three months. The Sultan lent him his palace for the summer and made sure that his entourage was treated well. Mansa Musa gave away thousands of ingots of gold, and Egyptian traders took advantage of this by charging five times the normal price for their goods. The value of gold in Egypt decreased as much as 25 percent. By the time Mansa Musa returned to Cairo from Hajj, however, he had run out of money and had to borrow from local Egyptian merchants.

read the complete article here

Friday, December 30, 2005

What does the Christian Science Monitor survey say about Muslim reverts?

CAIRO, December 27, 2005
( - Islam is a message that appeals to more and more Europeans who are “looking for inner peace and reacting to the moral uncertainties of Western society”, Muslim and non-Muslim researchers told a leading US paper Tuesday, December 27.
Although there are no precise figures, observers who monitor Europe's Muslim population estimate that several thousand men and women revert each year, The Christian Science Monitor (CSM) said.

Mary Fallot, who reverted to Islam three years ago after asking herself spiritual questions to which she found no answers in her childhood Catholicism, told the paper she finds the suspicion her new religion attracts "wounding". "For me, Islam is a message of love, of tolerance and peace," Fallot said.
Only a fraction of reverts are attracted to radical strands of Islam, researchers told the paper, adding that even fewer are drawn into violence.
A handful have been convicted of terrorist offences, such as Richard Reid, the "shoe bomber" and American John Walker Lindh, who was captured in Afghanistan, according to CSM.
"The phenomenon is booming, and it worries us," the head of the French domestic intelligence agency, Pascal Mailhos, told the Paris-based newspaper Le Monde in a recent interview.
"But we must absolutely avoid lumping everyone together."

More Women
The Monitor quoted experts as saying that admittedly patchy research suggests that more women than men revert.However, contrary to popular perception, only a minority do so in order to marry Muslim men, it added.
"That used to be the most common way, but recently more [women] are coming out of conviction," says Haifa Jawad, who teaches at Birmingham University in Britain.
Though non-Muslim men must revert in order to marry a Muslim woman, she points out, the opposite is not true.
Fallot laughed when she is asked whether her love life had anything to do with her decision.
"When I told my colleagues at work that I had reverted, their first reaction was to ask whether I had a Muslim boyfriend," she recalls.
"They couldn't believe I had done it of my own free will."
In fact, she explained, she liked the way "Islam demands a closeness to God."
"Islam is simpler, more rigorous, and it's easier because it is explicit. I was looking for a framework; man needs rules and behaviour to follow. Christianity did not give me the same reference points."
Those reasons reflect many female reverts' thinking, experts who have studied the phenomenon told the daily.
"A lot of women are reacting to the moral uncertainties of Western society," Dr. Jawad said.
"They like the sense of belonging and caring and sharing that Islam offers."

Others are attracted by "a certain idea of womanhood and manhood that Islam offers," suggests Karin van Nieuwkerk, who has studied Dutch women reverts. "There is more space for family and motherhood in Islam, and women are not sex objects."

At the same time, argues Sarah Joseph, an English revert who founded "Emel," a Muslim lifestyle magazine, "the idea that all women reverts are looking for a nice cocooned lifestyle away from the excesses of Western feminism is not exactly accurate."
Some reverts give their decision a political meaning, says Stefano Allievi, a professor at Padua University in Italy."Islam offers a spiritualization of politics, the idea of a sacred order," he said."But that is a very masculine way to understand the world" and rarely appeals to women, he added.
After making their decision, some reverts take things slowly, adopting Muslim customs bit by bit, the paper noted.
Fallot, for example, does not yet feel ready to wear a head scarf, though she is wearing longer and looser clothes than she used to.
Others jump right in, eager for the exoticism of a new religion, and become much more pious than fellow mosque-goers who were born into Islam.Such reverts, taking an absolutist approach, appear to be the ones most easily led into extremism, the paper claimed.

The early stages of a revert's discovery of Islam "can be quite a sensitive time," says Batool al-Toma, who runs the "New Muslims" program at the Islamic Foundation in Leicester, England.
"You are not confident of your knowledge, you are a newcomer, and you could be prey to a lot of different people either acting individually or as members of an organization," Ms. Al-Toma explained.
"New reverts feel they have to prove themselves," Dr. Ranstorp added.
"Those who seek more extreme ways of proving themselves can become extraordinarily easy prey to manipulation."
At the same time, Al-Toma said, reverts seeking respite in Islam from a troubled past.
She gave Muriel Degauque, a Belgian revert who blew herself up in a suicide attack on US troops in occupied Iraq last month, as an example of this type.
Degauque, who had reportedly drifted in and out of drugs and jobs before reverting to Islam, might be persuaded that such an "ultimate action" as a suicide bomb attack offered an opportunity for salvation and forgiveness, she added.
"The saddest conclusion" Al-Toma draws from Degauque's death in Iraq is that "a woman who set out on the road to inner peace became a victim of people who set out to use and abuse her."
Called by French and Belgian media as "la kamikaze Belge," Degauque left the impression that all Muslim reverts exhibit extremist tendencies.
The EU launched a drive against terrorism after the 9/11 attacks and stepped it up after the Madrid train bombings 14 months ago.
Muslim minorities have taken the brunt of the anti-terror measures, which include predawn raids and stop-and-search campaigns, for no reason other than being Muslims.
Recently, Europe’s main rights and democracy watchdog, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), expressed concern at increasing Dutch intolerance towards Muslims and the “climate of fear” under which the minority was living.
A recent report by the International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights (IHF) also said that Muslim minorities across Europe have been experiencing growing distrust, hostility and discrimination since the 9/11 attacks.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Why are all roads leading to Makkah?

An American in Makkah
The Hajj Experience of Michael Wolfe

I am a Muslim. I revere the same Allah as my Christian mother and my Jewish father. Allah is simply the Arabic word for the God of Abraham, Moses and Jesus. I find the absence of priests and rabbis attractive. Islam means acknowledging the Oneness of Allah, surrendering to it, cooperating with the way things are. Being a Muslim, Allah is as near as the veins in my neck.

During the Hajj each year, millions of faithful come to Makkah. The men and women wear simple lengths of unstitched cloth. The garments are a symbol. The person who wears them agrees not to harm plants and animals or fellow pilgrims. No arguments, no violence. We agree to keep the peace. The garments are a great leveler too. Who can tell rich from poor? Millions Descend on Makkah Here I join people from all over the earth, all these human beings drawn together by the call of an idea, by the oneness of Allah. We have left daily life behind and come to a place hardly belonging to this world, a place filled by the almost tangible presence of Allah. To preserve its sanctity and protect pilgrims, the sacred territory around Makkah is forbidden to all but Muslims. It lies hidden in the mountains of Saudi Arabia 50 miles from the Red Sea, a modern city of 1.2 million people.

To walk around the block in Makkah is to walk around the world. I step out the door and for 15 yards, I’m in Indonesia. Down the street past a couple of stores and it’s Africa. Pakistan is just around the corner and then I’m in Bangladesh. A vast majority of the world’s one billion Muslims—80 percent—now live outside the Middle East. There are more than five million in the United States.

Muslims Perform Sacred Duties:
The duties of the Hajj are symbolic of the story and obligations of Islam. Before prayer, Muslims wash, representing ritual purity. The walk around the Ka`bah—the black stone block in the great mosque—is an expression of our desire to put Allah at the center of our lives. Pilgrims also make a journey to Mina and to the plain of `Arafat, 13 miles outside of Makkah. Making our way on foot, we trade city streets and buildings for tents and carpets on the sand of the barren plain, giving

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

What's Gamma Gamma Chi got to do with Muslim women?

via alt.muslim
University students tend to segregate into various social groups soon upon arrival, and one would be hard pressed to think of of two groups farther apart on the social spectrum than Muslims and members of the Greek (fraternity & sorority) system.
Some in the two groups have for years cast curious eyes at each other, with some Muslims seeing a benefit in a close-knit support group, and some Greeks seeing Muslims as a way to diversify their houses and clean up their hard-partying reputation.

While Muslims have joined traditional fraternities and sororities for years, a group of Muslim women have taken the step of creating Gamma Gamma Chi - the first Islamic sorority in the US. "As a Muslim who dresses modestly and does not drink, I wouldn't want to set myself apart from the people I was pledging with," explained 34-year old Imani Abdul-Haqq, a business administration major at Guilford College in Greensboro who started the sorority. "I want to feel the unity."
Open to both Muslims and non-Muslims who are ready to reconcile the benefits of sorority life while keeping with Islamic law, the sorority hopes to have chapters across the country within the next ten years. Members will have to maintain a minimum GPA, commit themselves to living a non-traditional Greek life (i.e. no hazing, partying, etc.), and commit to the sorority motto ("Striving for the pleasure of Allah through sisterhood, scholarship, leadership and community service") during their membership. The sorority comes complete with secret handshake and a line of Greek accessories in official green-and-purple color schemes.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

What's the Muslim alternative to "racist soup"?

Muslim "Couscous" Vs. "Racist Soup" in France
The delicious Moroccan couscous appealed to many French.
By Hadi Yahmid,
IOL Correspondent
PARIS, December 27, 2005 ( – The Le Secours Islamique (Islamic Relief) group in France is planning to distribute plates of delicious Moroccan couscous (hard-wheat semolina) as Christmas cheer among the poor and displaced in France irrespective of their religion or ethnicity in response to what is known as "racist soup" served by an extreme-right group for Christians only.
“The ‘couscous of friendship’ campaign will reach out to all French, Muslims or non-Muslims, nationwide,” Wahid Abbasi, media officer of the Islamic Relief in France, told Tuesday, December 27.
He added French Muslims have volunteered to serve couscous at underground metro stations, parks, in front of mosques and churches.
“There is no room for religious backgrounds in our campaign,” Abbasi stressed.
Dominique Lescure, head of the small ultra-nationalist Soulidarieta (solidarity) group, distributes every Wednesday free hot soup containing pork – which Muslims and Jews do not eat -- for the poor in front of the main church in Nice, southeastern France.
When he launched his soup kitchen in early December under the motto “Ours before the Others,” Lescure said in a statement he wanted to help “our least fortunate blood brothers ... in this hour when the black tide of demographic submersion and free-market impoverisation is rising.”
“I don't see why I should not be able to put pork, which has always played a major role in my country's cuisine, into a traditional soup that I want to distribute, admittedly, to my compatriots and European homeless people,” Reuters quoted him as saying.
An official with the French Council of Muslim Faith (CFCM) charged in statements to IOL that Lescure’s campaign was targeting Muslims as he knew that Muslims do not eat pork.
“He wants to force poor Muslims to drink his soup,” he said.
A Nice official said he could do nothing about the controversial soup kitchen.
“Serving soup with pork is not a crime,” said deputy mayor Noel Ayraud.
Lescure’s “charity” was banned last year in Paris on the grounds that it was racist and selective.
A poor man drinks Lescure’s soup in Nice.
The soup kitchen, set up at the harbor of this Riviera town, draws about as many protesters as poor people, according to Reuters.
Protesters at the soup kitchen denounced the group as a bunch of racists.
“Our fathers are Muslims and they fought for France with honor and loyalty,” one Muslim woman shouted at Lescure while serving his controversial soup.
“This pork-based soup kitchen is pure discrimination, it's an in-your-face way of telling people who don't eat pork – you can stay in your cardboard boxes and starve,” said Teresa Mafeis, holding back tears of anger.
“After the holidays, we're going to set up our own soup kitchen and there will be shorba for everyone,” she said, using the Arabic word for soup.
The Muslim Soup for All organization embarked on its annual campaign for the 13th straight year in Ramadan this year.
The organization provides hot soup for poor Muslims and non-Muslims alike across France.
In 2003, Le Secours Islamique placed money boxes in shops and supermarkets to raise funds for the poor, drawing unprecedented Muslim and non-Muslim contributions.
The electrocution deaths of two teenagers of west and North African background hiding from police in an electrical sub-station in a poor neighborhood northeast of Paris in October cast a harsh light on racism in France.
The incident was taken as an excuse by hundreds of immigrants to vent their pent-up frustration at racial discrimination despite being born in France, a lack of educational and employment prospects and police harassment.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

What's life like in Bethlehem on Christmas?

For Palestinians in Bethlehem, season offers little to celebrate
Christmas is fast approaching and the birth of Jesus will be joyously celebrated by over a billion Christians around the globe, gathering with family and friends in prayer, joy and reflection. Christmas trees will be adorned and festively wrapped gifts will tease children. The story of the Nativity will be retold thousands of times, scenes of the humble birth will be recreated in endless displays and Christmas pageants will commemorate the blessed event around the world.

Although a Muslim, I, too, participate in the beautiful festivities of Christmas. In elementary school in America, I sang carols with the school choir, performed in concerts and joined the annual visit to Dearborn's historic Greenfield Village that depicts American life in centuries gone by. One of my favorite carols since that time is Silent Night, which captures the atmosphere at the time of Christ's birth and reflects the true spirit of Christmas.
While I happily participated in these activities, my teachers, and the world, did not acknowledge the Palestinian connection to this blessed holiday. There I was, a Palestinian, born in Jerusalem, a few miles from Bethlehem where Jesus was born. Singing to people with no knowledge of Palestinians and our link to Bethlehem and Jesus always seemed very strange and still does.

For our audiences, it was always about Israel: "How nice a visit to the Israeli town of Bethlehem would be," people said, ignoring the fact that Bethlehem is a Palestinian town where Palestinian Christians and Muslims live, tormented and imprisoned under Israel's brutal military occupation.

We were singing O Little Town of Bethlehem to people who had absolutely no idea that thousands of desperate people live in Bethlehem's refugee camps. To our audience, Bethlehem was the idyllic scene found on Christmas cards.

I knew the truth: Palestinians in Bethlehem's refugee camps have lived in abject poverty ever since being expelled from their homes in 1948 during the creation of the state of Israel. Today, ringed by Jewish settlements and the 30-foot high concrete wall that strangles Palestinian cities and villages, Bethlehem is virtually cut off from the rest of Palestine, its lands, water and other resources expropriated by Israel in a relentless effort to make life ever more unbearable for the Palestinians who call it home.

How fitting that the Virgin Mary, seeking refuge from the mighty Roman army and a safe place to give birth, came to this town.
Today, pregnant Palestinian women must endure the degrading Israeli checkpoints in order to reach a hospital. While the Virgin Mary found refuge in a humble stable, many contemporary mothers-to-be are forced to stand endless hours at checkpoints manned by teenage soldiers who couldn't care less about a woman in labor. Many have given birth in taxis or in streets choked with dust in summer and swimming with mud in winter, waiting at checkpoints for a soldier to arbitrarily decide whether they "look pregnant or only fat." And many children and mothers have died when not allowed to pass in time.

The birth of a human being is a momentous and joyous occasion for the parents, even those who suffer the pain and anxiety of checkpoint deliveries. Still, a growing number of Palestinian infants are named "Hajez" (from the Arabic for "checkpoint") as a bitter reminder of their birthplace.
I fail to grasp what benefit such inhumanity bestows upon the Jewish state. The bitter truth is that 2,000 years after Mary gave birth to Jesus under Roman occupation, Palestinian mothers in Bethlehem and elsewhere in occupied Palestine still seek safe refuge to deliver their infants.
So, when you hear O Little Town of Bethlehem this Christmas, pause to remember the Palestinians for whom this town is home. The Christian and Muslim children of Palestine will observe Christmas this year, but they will have little to celebrate behind the high concrete walls that imprison them.
Fear and hunger will keep them awake through the night, not the anticipation of gifts as in other lands. While the rest of the world celebrates, Bethlehem's children, like all Palestinian children, will pray for some brief respite from the fright of the killings, abuse and destruction that is life in Palestine.

Mike Odetalla emigrated from the Middle East in 1969 when he was 8 years old, following the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. He returns to the Middle East every summer to visit with relatives. He has lived in Canton for 27 years.
Originally published December 22, 2005

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Where did Muslims migrate before they went to Madina?

A Short Presentation at the Conference on Muslims and the Political Development in Southern Africa, in Johannesburg, 23 to 25 April 1999.

By Usman Bugaje

Islam and Africa are inextricably linked. Africa provided the first place of refuge for the first generation of Muslims, fleeing from the intolerance and oppression of the Makkan Arabs. That Islam first crossed to Africa even before going to Madina, is a matter of profound significance, the wisdom of which we are yet to fathom and may unfold in the future. Africa may have well been preserved for a role in the future, indeed it has a great potential for a role in the future.
Islam in Africa is, therefore, as old as Islam itself.

By the first century of Islam, Islamic communities and polities have emerged and continued to develop, grow and spread in the continent. Where ever it reached in the continent, it spread learning, liberated peoples from the shackles of parochialism and ignorance, boosted trade and commerce, built states of varying complexities and created culture and civilisation.

In many parts of Africa literacy started only after the spread of Islam and to this day a great many African languages are written using the Arabic script despite calculated and concerted efforts to obliterate it. By introducing literacy, boosting trade, creating centres of learning, Islam triggered unprecedented movements of peoples bringing about social integration at a scale never seen before and yet unmatched by any modern state creation. The Bilad al-Sudan, the stretch of Savannah grassland from Sene- Gambia to the Nile valley is a good case in point.

click here to read the complete article

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

What was Spain like under Muslim rule?

From an article on the BBC Religion and Ethics website:

Islamic Spain was a multi-cultural mix of the people of three great monotheistic religions: Muslims, Christians, and Jews.For much of the time, the three groups managed to get along together, and to benefit from the presence of each other.
It brought a degree of civilisation to Europe that matched the heights of the Roman Empire and the Italian Renaissance.

The traditional story is that in the year 711, an oppressed Christian chief, Julian, went to Musa ibn Nusair, the governor of North Africa, with a plea for help against the tyrannical Visigoth ruler of Spain, Roderick.
Musa responded by sending the young general Tariq bin Ziyad with an army of 7000 troops. The name Gibraltar is derived from Jabal At-Tariq which is Arabic for 'Rock of Tariq' named after the place where the Muslim army landed.

The Muslim army defeated the Visigoth army easily, and Roderick was killed in battle.
After the first victory, the Muslims conquered most of Spain and Portugal with little difficulty, and in fact with little opposition. By 720 Spain was largely under Muslim (or Moorish, as it was called) control.
One reason for the rapid Muslim success was the generous surrender terms that they offered the people, which contrasted with the harsh conditions imposed by the previous Visigoth rulers. The ruling Islamic forces were made up of different nationalities, and many of the forces were converts with uncertain motivation, so the establishment of a coherent Muslim state was not easy.

The heartland of Muslim rule was Southern Spain or Andulusia. The name Andalusia comes from the term Al-Andalus used by the Arabs which is derived from the Vandals who had been settled in the region.

read on ...

Monday, December 19, 2005

What's going on in Australia?

Read an Australian Muslim's insightful, insider account of the riots in Cronulla here

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Are there any Muslim magazines?

Check out the buzz on Muslim mags here or read some of them online here

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Does "evolution" sound plausible to Muslims?

Look up the details here

Friday, December 16, 2005

Where can I read about the good things Muslims do?

Read all about the good things Muslims are doing in North America and around the world, here

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Who are the net Muslims?

Muslims on the Internet: the Good, the Bad...the Ugly

by Huma Ahmad

The era of the technological age is upon us. We communicate in seconds with e-mails and fax's. Information of every type is accessible to anyone with a modem from what was originally intended to be a government network for research projects, now called the Internet. The average person is able to create, advertise and publish easily for an audience of millions on the World Wide Web. Thoughts and ideas are exchanged, discussed and argued across thousands of chat channels, muds and newsgroups for every possible topic ever imagined. Businesses, educators and fortune hunters all stumble over each other to see who can best exploit the new opportunities. The global electronic village is open for business and the garish neon 24 hour sign seems to keep blinking an urgent message: "New Frontier: Danger Ahead."

The philosophy of the Internet comes from its originators; laid back computer programmers, information and technology addicts. They wanted to create something special. Something no one business, government or group could control. A true democracy circumventing normal channels and reaching to the deepest grass roots. A frontier where anyone could go out and make it, where those with common interests could connect with each other and ignore the normal barriers of race, nationality, and tradition. An ideology of community, working together exchanging ideas, and making the world a better place was their vision.

Noble beginnings, and this too was in the minds of the Muslims when we first joined the rush. Many were even part of the original builders, software engineers, and programmers, due to many Muslims themselves being in the Computer Science Information fields. We began mailing lists, newsgroups, chat lines, and web pages about Islam. Here was one place where we could actually get the true message of Islam to the outside world. Through the net, we could influence those who never would have encountered Islam or only received their information from the media, orientalists or anti-Islam propagandists. We could reach others and share and discuss ideas to help bring the Ummah closer. Muslims separated and spread out all over could feel the intimacy of being an e-mail or modem's dial away from each other. It would open new heights in our ability to organize and plan events, to share knowledge, articles, experiences.

What we forgot though, was to read the sign.

click here to read the complete article

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

What must office staff know about Muslims in the workplace?

Islam in the Workplace - suggested practice for HR personnel
by Muhammad Ridha
Kwintessential's Middle East and Islam Consultant

Muslims now form one of the largest religious groups in the UK. At a time when great misunderstandings and stereotypes circulate the media and society regarding the religion, it is crucial for an effort to be made at all levels to go beyond archetypal images and to begin to understand Islam and Muslims.

With a population of approximately 1.5 million Muslims and growing, UK based companies are employing more and more young Muslim men and women. With this increase comes a greater need for HR practitioners to be aware of the respective cultural sensitivities.

As with individuals from any background, if they do not feel comfortable and understood in their office or company, it is likely that they will eventually seek employment elsewhere. In order to maximise retention of young Muslims, it is ever more important therefore, that their sensitivities are kept in mind.

The following information contains basic tips and guidelines for HR staff and others to bear in mind. Please note that these are very generic guidelines. Muslims differ from generation to generation, culture to culture, some are more devout than others and interpretations and practices of the faith are numerous. It may also be the case that the individual is Muslim by name only and chooses not to practice their religion.

read the complete article here

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Why would Muslims buy a Fulla?

The Gulf News recently asked its readers: Would you buy a Fulla for your child?
Here's what they think.

Monday, December 12, 2005

What's up with Muslims in Denmark?

Danish Muslims are estimated at 180,000 or around 3 per cent of Denmark's 5.4 million.
Islam is Denmark's second largest religion after the Lutheran Protestant Church, which is actively followed by four-fifths of the country's population.

Danish Muslims "Internationalize" Anti-Prophet Cartoons

This just in:
Al-Azhar Takes Anti-Prophet Danish Cartoons to UN
BY Adel Abdel Halim, IOL correspondent
CAIRO, December 11, 2005
Al-Azhar, the highest seat of religious learning in the Sunni world, vowed to raise the issue of the provocative caricatures of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) recently published by Denmark's main daily with the UN and international human rights organizations.
"This has trespassed all limits of objective criticism into insults and contempt of the religious beliefs of more than one billion Muslims around the world, including thousands in Denmark," Al-Azhar's Islamic Researches Academy said in a statement issued on Saturday, December 10.
"Al-Azhar intends to protest these Anti-Prophet cartoons with the UN's concerned committees and human rights groups around the world," read the statement signed by Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Sheikh Mohammad Sayed Tantawi.

Twelve drawings depicting Prophet Muhammad in different settings appeared in Denmark's largest circulation daily Jyllands-Posten on September 30.
In one of the drawings, the image of assumed to be of the Prophet appeared with a turban shaped like a bomb strapped to his head.
The images, considered blasphemous under Islam, have drawn rebuke from the Muslim minority especially with the paper's adamancy to apologize on the ground of freedom of expression.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Do Muslims have a sense of humour?

Check it out for yourself: here, here and here


Saturday, December 10, 2005

Where can German Muslims find soul mates?

BERLIN, December 10, 2005
( - The first Muslim matchmaking service in Germany is attracting scores of matrimonial profiles from Muslims searching for Mr. or Mrs. Right.
"Finding a wife or husband is no longer a headache for Muslims in Germany," Samer Fahd, the founder of the Islamic Marriage Center, told on Saturday, December 10.
Fahd said several Muslims have tied the knot since the service was launched in February of this year.
"We were not that famous at the beginning," he said. "But the center has become reputable over the days and has received so far 150 applications."
Islam comes third in Germany after Protestant and Catholic Christianity.
There are some 3.4 million Muslims in the country, including 220,000 in Berlin alone. An estimated two thirds of the minority are of Turkish origin.

For details, click here

Friday, December 09, 2005

Which Companion went to China?

By Yusuf Abdul Rahman
Although it may come as some surprise, Islam has survived in China for over 1300 [1400] years. It has done so despite such upheavals as the Cultural Revolution as well as regimes hostile to it.
Even though there are only sparse records of the event in Arab history, a brief one in Chinese history, The Ancient Record of the Tang Dynasty describes a landmark visit to China by an emissary from Arabia in the seventh century. Saad ibn Abi Waqqas (ra), one of the companions of Prophet [Muhammad (s)], led the delegation [in 650 C.E.], which brought gifts as well as the belief system of Islam to China. According to the traditions of Chinese Muslims, this event is considered to be the birth of Islam in China.

Although the emperor of the time, Yung-Wei, found Islam to be a bit too restrictive for his taste, he respected its teachings and considered it to be compatible with the teachings of Confucius. For this reason, he gave Saad complete freedom to propagate the faith among his people. To show his admiration for Islam, the emperor ordered the establishment of China's first mosque at Ch'ang-an. The mosque still stands today, after thirteen [fourteen] centuries.
As time passed, relations between the Chinese and the Muslim heartland continued to improve. Many Muslim businessmen, visitors, and traders began to come to China for commercial and religious reasons. [Arabs had already established trade in the area before Prophet Muhammad (s).] The Umayyads and Abbasids sent six delegations to China, all of which were warmly received by the Chinese.

The Muslims who immigrated to China eventually began to have a great economic impact and influence on the country. They virtually dominated the import/export business by the time of the Sung Dynasty (960 - 1279 CE). Indeed, the office of Director General of Shipping was consistently held by a Muslim during this period.

In spite of the economic successes the Muslims enjoyed during these and later times, they were recognized as being fair, law-abiding, and self-disciplined. Thus, there is no record of appreciable anti-Muslim sentiment on the part of the Han (Chinese) people.
By the beginning of the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644 CE) Islam had been nourishing in China for 700 years. Up to this time, the Muslims had maintained a separate, alien status which had its own customs, language, and traditions and was never totally integrated with the Han people. Under the Ming Dynasty, generally considered to be the golden age of Islam in China, Muslims gradually became fully integrated into Han society.

An interesting example of this synthesis by Chinese Muslims was the process by which their names changed. Many Muslims who married Han women simply took on the name of the wife. Others took the Chinese surnames of Mo, Mai, and Mu - names adopted by Muslims who had the names Muhammad, Mustafa, and Masoud. Still others who could find no Chinese surname similar to their own adopted the Chinese character that most closely resembled their name - Ha for Hasan, Hu for Hussein, or Sai for Said, and so on.
In addition to names, Muslim customs of dress and food also underwent a synthesis with Chinese culture. The Islamic mode of dress and dietary restrictions were consistently maintained, however, and not compromised. In time, the Muslims began to speak Han dialects and to read in Chinese. Well into the Ming era, the Muslims could not be distinguished from other Chinese other than by their unique religious customs. For this reason, once again, there was little friction between Muslim and non-Muslim Chinese.

read the complete article here

Thursday, December 08, 2005

How long have Muslims been in Britain?

1000 years of Islam in Britain

By Farrukh I.Younus
Dec. 06, 2005

Many of us hold the perception that the Muslim communities of Britain were the result of post-war mass migration, and to some extent this is true. But among the talks during the Islam Awareness Week—an annual week of activities aimed at encouraging knowledge and understanding of Islam across the United Kingdom by engaging local communities—was “1000 years of Islam in Britain” by Mohammad Siddique Seddon of the Islamic Foundation.
Imagine that, a thousand years of Islam in Britain! Well, while this statement needs to be nuanced, it is, however, clear that there has been an Islamic influence in this country for more than a millennium, a heritage that belongs not only to myself as a second generation British Pakistani Muslim, but also to the “native” English who can trace their genealogy on the island back for generations.

The first hint of Islamic influence that the speaker referred to was that felt under the leadership of King Offa of Mercia, a wealthy Anglo-Saxon king who ruled until the end of the 8th century CE. He is perhaps more famously known for commissioning Offa’s dyke, a massive wall built to separate England from Wales, compared by many to the building of the pyramids in terms of the resources employed.

King Offa commissioned a gold coin using the Islamic gold standard. On the one side it reads “There is no deity but God, without partners.” On the other, one way up it reads “Offa Rex” (King Offa). When rotated 180 degrees, it reads “Muhammad is the Messenger of God.”

There are a number of theories about the coins: the need to align with one of the two Muslim authorities of his time and to facilitate business with Muslim traders. However, the one that I am partial to is the need to pay the Pope his dues—a process perhaps best illustrated in the Robin Hood movies. Having accepted the need to pay tribute, King Offa did so willingly but with tongue in cheek by marking the coins with the testimony of the belief in one God, quite contrary to the Trinitarian belief of Christianity of which the Pope was the supreme authority. Then again, perhaps he even accepted Islam. Whatever the hypothesis, what cannot be denied is the minting of a coin bearing the mark of one of the most powerful English kings and the Muslim testimony of faith

read the complete article here

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

What can a Muslim lifestyle do for Jordan?

Lifestyle Choices - Food for Thought
"I took my clothes off, I learnt all there is to know about sex and I changed my body - all to please men" - topless model Jordan.
A British tabloid story gave Michael Young cause to reflect.

Anyone who scans the front pages of newspapers in Britain before purchasing will no doubt be familiar with the "glamour" model, Jordan. It seems that never a week goes by without a photo of her being splashed across the cover of one of the down-market tabloids or there being a story about her latest sexual exploits.

Today (June 24, 2001) it is the turn of the Sunday People. But this time things are a little different. Although the story is presented in the usual sensationalist style, it seems that what the paper describes alternately as "Britain's No1 glamour babe" and a "32FF plastic boobs freak" with a craving for kinky sex, has been spending some time reflecting on her lifestyle.
Twenty-three year old Jordan, real name Katie Price, has a string of broken relationships behind her including with pop singer Dane Bowers (ex-Another Level) and Manchester United footballer, Dwight Yorke. She now finds herself alone, lusted after but unloved by men and ridiculed by women. According to press reports, some months ago when Jordan accompanied Yorke into the players' lounge at Old Trafford, Spice Girl Victoria Beckham, wife of soccer star David, launched into the chorus of Who Let The Dogs Out!
In the Sunday People interview Jordan lamented:
"I took my clothes off, I learnt all there is to know about sex and I changed my body - all to please men.
"More and more I would struggle to keep them happy and want them to trust me, but they never could."
The story catalogues violent, abusive relationships leading to a craving for "bizarre" sex and aborting a pregnancy when her then lover allegedly cheated on her. It also details ever more extreme measures including a succession of cosmetic surgery operations on Jordan's breasts and lips in a desperate and misguided attempt to attract a man who would provide the genuine love missing in her life. As the report concludes:
"Now Jordan is alone with her tragic obsessions. She says: "I am scared of growing old and looking ugly. I want men to find me attractive and love me.
"But most of the men I have been with have never made me feel wanted - it has all been bulls**t. Each time in the end, I felt I was to blame, that it was all my fault."
An Islamic PerspectiveIt is easy when faced with such a scenario for a Muslim to launch into a tirade about jahiliya and the evils of Western society. But we are dealing with a real person here, a damaged young woman obviously suffering from low self esteem, someone who has gone astray, who is on the path to self destruction and doesn't know where to look to find inner peace.
What do Islam and a Muslim lifestyle have to offer to Jordan and other non-celebrity young women in her situation?

click here to find out

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

When did Muslims come to America?

Islam in America before Columbus
Hisham Zoubeir,
14 February 1998

Before I begin this article, I would like to extend my thanks to the creators of the Internet. It was there that I found my research on the topic that follows, and it is to the people who wrote the various articles and references that credit for this article should go to. I merely put two and two together for the benefit of those reading this now.

The history surrounding the followers of our proud faith is one of two shades; the truth and the lie. The lies surrounding our history have been spread to every corner of the globe; that we were and are (?) barbarians, no better than animals. The truth is that although there were certain parts of history that do show that some of our followers were ruthless and brutal (such as the Ottoman Empire), this is not unlike every nation and country in the world. And we have a much more worthy things to focus on.

Before the West declared themselves the great scientists of the earth, before their own Renaissance, Muslims already were making discoveries in science that took the West hundreds of years to even begin to imagine. What a shame that people in Europe were being persecuted by the Church for their suppositions that the earth was round; they should have come to the Islamic world--- an Afghan Muslim had proved that in 793 C.E.!

However, the studying of the universe brought forth more questions, and more curiosity. The Muslims in West Africa were so intrigued by what was on the other side of the Great Sea, that they began their expeditions into the great unknown. Early reports of these travels are sketchy, but we can be sure that they crossed the Atlantic by 889 C.E.

That was 603 years before Columbus. And that is not counting the actual physical evidence in the United States today that dates back even further; however, we do know, as De Lacy O'Leary pointed out, that Muslims definitely had the scientific knowledge and skill to make journeys across the Atlantic ocean.
We were in the Americas, hundreds of years before Columbus, and of that we can be sure.

click here to read on

Monday, December 05, 2005

Who's the "man with two lights"?

Who was the "man with two lights"?

Read all about him here and here

Sunday, December 04, 2005

How many kinds of Muslims are there?

73 Sects
Sheikh Salman al-Oadah

There is a famous hadîth where the Prophet (peace be upon him) says: “My community will experience everything that the Children of Israel had experienced, following in their footsteps exactly, so much so that if one of their number had approached his mother publicly for sex, one of my community will do the same. The Children of Israel divided into 72 sects. My community will divide into 73 sects, and all of them will be in the Hellfire save one.”The people asked him: “And which one will that be?”He replied: “The one that follows what I and my Companions are upon right now.”

This hadîth is mentioned all of the time. In fact, scarcely does anyone speak on the topic of disagreement without mentioning it. This hadîth is often mentioned inappropriately and to audiences who cannot fully appreciate its implications. Therefore, I wish to discuss this hadîth and elucidate more clearly what it is telling us.

This hadîth is not recorded in either Sahîh al-Bukhârî or Sahîh Muslim. This by no means implies that the hadîth is unauthentic. However, it is possible that they did not mention it because it was not up to their arduous standards of authenticity.The hadîth can be found in the four Sunan works and in Musnad Ahmad with different chains of transmission. Some scholars declared it to be authentic or at least good, including al-Tirmidhî, al-Hâkim, al-Dhahabî, Ibn Taymiyah, al-Shâtibî, and Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalânî. Others declared it as weak, including ibn Hazm and Ibn al-Wazîr. The most correct opinion is that it is authentic; taking into consideration the large number of ways it has reached us, with some chains of transmission strengthening the deficiencies of others.

Nevertheless, we should not behave as if it is the only hadîth in the world that addresses the issue of difference among Muslims.We have the hadîth where the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “This community of mine is a community blessed with mercy. It is not punished in the Hereafter. Instead, it is punished in this world with strife, instability, and bloodshed.” [Musnad Ahmad, Sunan Abî Dâwûd, and Mustadrak al-Hâkim] It is an authentic hadîth. It indicates that Allah has shown mercy on the Islamic community and that its punishment will be in this world instead of the Hereafter.

to read the complete article, click here

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Who pays for a woman's hajj?

The Pilgrimage — 3: Responsibility for Women’s Religious Duties
Adil Salahi, Arab News

In many Islamic communities where women are used to be looked after financially it is often assumed that a woman’s husband is responsible for her pilgrimage. This assumption is even extended to other Islamic duties such as zakah and the sacrifice at the time of Eid Al-Adha. On the other hand some people suggest that a woman cannot use her husband’s money to fulfill these duties. They claim that if she does, then the duties paid for by her husband are not valid. To such people, a woman must have her own resources or even use her dowry.

In looking at these questions we need to differentiate between responsibility and acceptability. Islam makes each individual, men or women, responsible for their own religious duties. How could men and women be truly equal unless they have equal responsibility? If some of us were responsible for the performance of the religious duties of others, we could not be accountable to God in the same way. It is part of the equal status that Islam has accorded to women that it has made them responsible for the fulfillment of their own religious duties.

A woman does not have to have her husband’s permission in order to perform her religious duties. He, on the other hand, cannot tell her not to perform any such duty, unless he has a very valid reason for that. Even then, such a request by him may be made only within the narrowest of limits and it applies only to few duties. No husband may tell his wife, for example, not to fast in Ramadan unless she is fasting against the express medical advice of her doctor. Similarly, he may not tell her not to go on pilgrimage for her obligatory duty, unless there is a very good reason for that, such as the route being unsafe.

to read the complete article, click here

Friday, December 02, 2005

Who's helping Yousuf win?

Yousuf keeps the Faith
By Paresh Soni
Just over two months ago, Mohammad Yousuf was publicly disowned by his mother and was forced to fend off questions about his decision to convert from Christianity to Islam. A poor performance in the first Test against England betrayed the pressure he was under but returning home to Lahore this week for the series finale and a batsman-friendly pitch worked wonders.

Such was the surge in his confidence that he marked his century by performing a Sajda - kneeling down and touching the ground with his forehead - which, as Yousuf Youhana, he used to watch his Muslim team-mates do when celebrating. Asked about his unbeaten 183 when day three ended, the 31-year-old's first words were an expression of gratitude to higher powers. "I just try hard but everything is down to God - Allah gives us help."

A quiet man, Yousuf appeared to have rediscovered the stability he has often provided to Pakistan's middle order. The son of a railway worker brought up in modest surroundings, he once pondered a career as a tailor before battling to make the grade in domestic cricket.

Unusually for a player on the subcontinent, he was made to wait until the age of 23 before breaking into the national team. But the right-hander's patience and solid technique eventually paid off and led to a call-up for the tour of South Africa in 1998. The second Test in Durban, with Allan Donald and Shaun Pollock as opponents, was never going to be the easiest of starts and his two debut innings lasted a mere 40 balls. But while plenty of his contemporaries fell victim to the revolving door selection policy in Pakistan, Yousuf survived to become one of the most successful batsmen in the country's history. His innings on Thursday took his total of Test runs to 4,574 at an average - 48.65 - which has only been bettered by two other Pakistanis, former captain Javed Miandad and current skipper Inzamam-ul-Haq. Between 2000 and 2002 he accumulated almost half of those runs, with nine of his 14 hundreds coming in the process.

But life since then has not been as straightforward, with his average in the last two years around 38. He was again overlooked for the captaincy last year, leaving his supporters to claim that religion was the deciding factor. The man who got the job, Inzamam, puts the team's success in the past year down to religious bonding but says none of his players are compelled to take part. And before his conversion, Yousuf and the team's English coach Bob Woolmer claimed they had been treated well by the rest of the squad, who marked Christmas on last winter's tour of Australia with a special dinner. Nonetheless, the suspicion persists among sections of the Pakistani media and the country's minority Christian community that the number four batsman was pressured into changing faith. Others have accused the team of overtly demonstrating their commitment to Islam as a means of avoiding heavy criticism when results go against them.
Yousuf says he embraced Muslim principles three years ago but only went public in September. "I had money and fame but I was restless," he explained. "At the end of the day I would wonder what kind of a life this was. It was too superficial." Whatever his motivations, with his series-deciding knock in Lahore, Mohammad Yousuf has shown his countrymen and England he is a player of substance.

(Story from BBC SPORT )

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Why Blog?

...because we at Muslims-R-Us believe that an update a day keeps ignorance at bay!!

stay tuned!!