Sunday, May 28, 2006

What can be done to help the victims in Indonesia ?

Indonesia Help: Online information about resources, aid and donations for quake and tsunami victims in Aceh & North Sumatra and now in Yogyakarta

Muslim Hands, Islamic Relief, Muslim Aid

Prophet Muhammad,may Allah's peace and blessings be upon him, said: "Whoever relieves a believer of some distress in this world, Allah will relieve him of some of his suffering on the Day of Judgment. Whoever makes things easier for one who is suffering hardships, Allah will make things easier for him in this world and in the hereafter."

In another narration, Prophet Muhammad, may Allah's peace and blessings be upon him, commanded us to show mercy to distressed people. "Show mercy so that you may be shown mercy." And he also said, "Those who are merciful will be shown mercy by the Most Merciful. Have mercy on those who are on earth, and the One Who is in the heavens will show mercy on you."

Why are there so many earthquakes?

Question: Many countries have had earthquakes, such as Turkey, Mexico, Taiwan, Japan, etc. Does this mean anything (from an Islamic point of view)?


What's the Islamic perspective on earthquakes?

Earthquakes in Islam

O mankind! Fear your Lord and be dutiful to Him! Verily, the earthquake of the Hour (of Judgement) is a terrible thing.
The Day ye shall see it, every mother giving suck shall forget her suckling-babe, and every pregnant female shall drop her load (unformed): thou shalt see mankind as in a drunken riot, yet not drunk: but dreadful will be the Wrath of Allah. (Al-hajj 22:1-2)

When Earth is shaken with her (final) earthquake. And Earth yieldeth up her burdens, And man says: What has befallen her? On that day she shall tell her news, Because your Lord had inspired her. (al-zilzaal, 99:1-5)

Do ye feel secure that He Who is in heaven will not cause you to be swallowed upby the earth when it shakes (as in an earthquake)? (al mulk 64.16)

The news of the last week has been dominated by discussions of earthquakes. This is understandable considering the high death toll following the earthquake that hit the Indian cub-continent.

Occurrences of this kind often push us, as humans, to think deeply about our predicament as human beings. That is, we are continually at the mercy of the elements. It is thought that the earth’s surface is physically built up of series tectonic plates that shift, collide and interact to release and retain the pressure that lies beneath, generated by the molten furnaces of the inners of this planet. Therefore living with seismic activity has always been an aspect of human existence.

It follows then that thinkers and observers have always passed comment on this phenomenon. The 1755 Lisbon earthquake compelled the French philosopher, Voltaire to question the nature of a god that would allow such an occurrence to happen. The priests of Lisbon however had few questions relating god’s attributes to the tragic event. It was clear to them that it was a punishment from god. Instead of turning their attentions to the 50,000 that died in the quake, they proceeded to salvage crucifixes and religious icons from the collapsing buildings. To them church paraphernalia was more important than the lives of “sinners”. They did this to ward off more catastrophes sent by a god made irate by the behaviour of people of Lisbon.

Immanuel Kant was so disturbed by the Lisbon earthquake that he wrote three separate treatise on the issue of earthquakes. Earthquakes feature commonly in the old Judaeo-Christian text as well as the writings of ancient Greece and Rome. Thus philosophies and religions have addressed the natural phenomenon of earthquakes.

All of these reams of text on the subject should come as no surprise as civilisations for millennia have experienced the deviation resulting from earthquakes. Seismic convulsions also have a particular prominence within the text of Islam. In the Quran there are also several references to earthquakes in various contexts.

Similarly the hadith of the Prophet refer to this phenomenon. Earthquakes have been addressed in relation to civilisations that have been destroyed previously, as well as in relation to the end of the world and the accountability that we will all face, and also in relation to the signs of the hour. Thus earthquakes are central to the general culture of Islam.There is a whole surat that bares the name, al-zilzala “the earthquake”. This is one of the most profound chapters in the Quran in that it describes in the most comprehensive way, but with in the simplest of terms exactly what the whole issue of the day of judgement is leading up to. That is, to see the results of our good and bad actions.

Abu Hurrayrah narrated that the Prophet recited “On that day she shall tell her news” (Al-Zizala, 99:4). Then he (Sallallahu alaihi wasallam) inquired, “Do you know what its ‘news’ are?” He was told “Allah and is Rasool know better.” He said, “Its news are that it shall bear witness against every slave man and woman concerning that which they did on its back. It will say ‘you did this and this on such and such day.’ These will be its news.” (tirmithi)

There are many other verses (see above) that address subject of the end of the world using the shaking of the earth to describe the horrors of that day. The quran also describes the narrative of how the communities had disobeyed Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) command or rejected the message that was brought to them.

And to (the people of) Madyan (Midian), We sent their brother Shu'aib (Shuaib). He said: "O my people! Worship Allah, and hope for (the reward of good deeds by worshipping Allâh Alone, on) the last Day, and commit no mischief on the earth as Mufsidun (those who commit great crimes, oppressors, tyrants, mischief-makers, corrupts). And they belied him [Shu'aib (Shuaib)], so the earthquake seized them, and they lay (dead), prostrate in their dwellings. And 'Ad and Thamud (people)! And indeed (their destruction) is clearly apparent to you from their (ruined) dwellings. Shaitan (Satan) made their deeds fair-seeming to them, and turned them away from the (Right) Path, though they were intelligent. (al Ankabout 29: 36-38)

So they killed the she­camel and insolently defied the Commandment of their Lord, and said: "O Salih (Saleh)! Bring about your threats if you are indeed one of the Messengers (of Allah)." So the earthquake seized them, and they lay (dead), prostrate in their homes. Then he [Salih (Saleh)] turned from them, and said: "O my people! I have indeed conveyed to you the Message of my Lord, and have given you good advice but you like not good advisers." (al-araaf 7:77-79)

And in the Thamud (was another Sign): Behold, they were told, "Enjoy (your brief day) for a little while!" But they insolently defied the Command of their Lord: So the stunning noise (of an earthquake) seized them, even while they were looking on. Then they could not even stand (on their feet), nor could they help themselves. (Adh-Dhariyat 51:43-45)

The sayings of also made reference to the issue of earthquakes. Again these are in several contexts. One of which was in relation to the signs of the hour that is to come.

Narrated Ibn 'Umar: (The Prophet) said, "O Allah! Bless our Sham and our Yemen." People said, "Our Najd as well." The Prophet again said, "O Allah! Bless our Sham and Yemen." They said again, "Our Najd as well." On that the Prophet said, "There will appear earthquakes and afflictions, and from there will come out the side of the head of Satan." [bukari]

Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, "The Hour (Last Day) will not be established until (religious) knowledge will be taken away (by the death of religious learned men), earthquakes will be very frequent, time will pass quickly, afflictions will appear, murders will increase and money will overflow amongst you." (See Hadith No. 85 Vol 1). [bukhari]

In the light of the recent earthquakes, every human being should look to himself or herself and contemplate whether they are living their lives as they should.
As for the Muslim, all of these discussions of earthquakes should prompt us to think about out situation. Just as importantly all this discussion should urge us to look deeply into the aspects of Islam where earthquakes are referred. Most important of all, this topic should force us to contemplate on our preparation for the day of reckoning.

Source: Journal

Friday, May 26, 2006

What's the deal with Muslims and Friday prayers?

The Highlights of the Friday Prayer

  • Its time falls in the same time as that of the noon prayer (Salatu-Thuhr), and it replaces the very same prayer.
  • It must be said in a congregation led by an Imam, no single person can offer it by himself.
  • If any person misses it, he cannot make up for it; Instead, he has to offer the noon prayer, the original prayer which this service normally replaces.
  • All kinds of normal work are allowed on Friday as on any other week day. For Muslims there is no Sabbath. They can carry on with their usual duties and activities provided they come to the congregational service in time. After the service is over, they may resume their mundane activities.
  • This Friday prayer must be performed in a mosque, if there is one available. Otherwise, it may be said at any gathering place e.g. homes, farms, parks. etc.
  • When the time for prayer comes, the Adhan (call to prayer) is said, the Imam stands up, facing the audience and delivers his sermon (khutbah) which is an essential part of the service. Muslims are recommended to offer Sunnah prayers before the sermon. As for those who will arrive at the Mosque during the sermon they should offer the two brief units of the Sunnah prayer “Tahiyatu al Masjid” (Mosque greetings) and then sit down to listen. While the Imam is talking nobody should talk, everyone present should take a sitting position and listen to the sermon quietly to the end.
  • The sermon (khutbah) consists of two parts each beginning with words of praise of God and prayers of blessing for Prophet Muhammad. In the first part some Qur’anic passage must be recited and explained for the purpose of exhortation and admonition. At the end of the first part the Imam takes a short rest in the sitting posture, then stands up to deliver the second part of his sermon. General affairs of the Muslims may be stated in either or both parts of the sermon. In the second part, especially, the Imam prays for the general welfare of all Muslims.
  • After that, the Iqamah is made and the two obligatory units of prayer are offered under the leadership of the Imam who recites the Fatihah and the other Qur’anic passage in an audible voice.
  • When this is done, the prayer is completed. After that, Sunnah prayers may be offered individually in a low voice. The Sunnah prayers may be offered at home. Also they may be replaced with some obligatory prayers that one has missed in the past and for which one has to make up.
  • Any participant in the Friday weekly congregation or ‘Eed Prayers should do his best to be neat and tidy. Though there is no compulsory reason for a complete ablution, a bath is strongly recommended as it makes one fresher and more pleasant.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Who's the Funniest Mom in America ?

A Mom's Winning Riff on the Parodies of Parenthood

Rubi Nicholas's mouthful of a life became her comedy routine. She's a Pakistani Muslim with a Greek Orthodox, stay-at-home husband who converted to Islam. They live in a Denver suburb with their daughters. They fit in just fine. "Except," she says in her stand-up routine, "every time my daughter leaves her Barbie Jeep in someone else's driveway they call the bomb squad."

Ms. Nicholas's comic cocktail of culture clashes and motherhood has earned her the title of "Funniest Mom in America."
The 36-year-old mother of two was chosen last night during the broadcast of the finale of a five-part reality series on Nickelodeon's Nick at Nite programming block, called "Nick at Nite's Search for the Funniest Mom in America 2."

read the complete article here

(via EthnicallyIncorrect)

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Why are Muslims in Azerbaijan protesting against 'The Da Vinci Code'?

Muslims in Azerbaijan protest “Da Vinci Code’
(AFP)16 May 2006
BAKU - Muslim leaders in Azerbaijan called for protests against the film “The Da Vinci Code” on Tuesday, saying the film version of the best-selling book insulted all believers.

“The relevant Azeri authorities must ban showing this film and also end sales of the book,” Gadzhiaga Nuriyev, head of the Islamic Party of Azerbaijan, told AFP.
“Lack of respect for the feelings of believers, whether they are Muslims, Christians or representatives of other world religions, is inadmissable.”

Lala Abbasova, a parliamentary deputy and member of the legislature’s committee on science and education, also said: “This film should not appear on state television channels and should be listed as a banned film throughout Azerbaijani territory.”

“This film should be received negatively by society because the point of view of its authors, that Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene had a child, is not credible,” said Rafik Aliyev, head of the state commission on religious education in the Central Asian country.
Many religious critics have claimed that Dan Brown’s book -- which claims that Jesus Christ had children with Mary Magdalene and that their bloodline continues -- is blasphemous.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

What's journalist Rageh Omaar aiming for?

Rageh Omaar: The Scud Stud aims for truth

source: The Independent

In the eyes of Rageh Omaar, Western news organisations are perpetrating a "fraud" on their viewers with their misleading coverage of the war in Iraq, the conflict in which he established himself as an internationally-recognised journalist.

Omaar is outspoken in voicing his frustrations, and his words help to explain his recent career-path, which has taken him from being the flak-jacketed golden boy of the BBC to a presenter for Al Jazeera who is also writing a deeply personal book about the experiences of living as a Muslim in contemporary Britain.

He won admiration for his cool-headed dispatches from Baghdad during the aerial bombardments of the first days of the invasion of Iraq, and was nicknamed The Scud Stud by the New York Post, but suffered a whispering campaign by British Government officials that his work was unduly influenced by Iraqi information ministers.

Now it is Omaar, 38, who is calling the veracity of the reporting into question, saying that news organisations are failing to inform their audiences as to how their reports have been compiled. "Some of us, I feel, are engaged in some kind of a small fraud on the British public, the readers and viewers," he says. "I feel very uncomfortable that we are not putting a health warning on reports from Iraq because to not do so lends an enormous legitimacy. We are saying Channel 4 or the BBC or Reuters or ABC can vouch for this when individual journalists are not so certain."

Omaar says he has spoken to a number of senior correspondents from different news organisations who feel "less inclined" to return to Iraq because they cannot do their jobs properly. "When a broadcaster says Rageh Omaar, or 'X', reports now from Baghdad it's actually not wholly true, as I haven't shot the pictures because it's far too dangerous and I haven't been to visit the different areas because it's too dangerous."

His comments, he stresses, are not a criticism of his colleagues in the field but are "a reflection of the terrible circumstances in which journalists have to operate". He says: "Unless you explain those circumstances you run the danger of participating in what I think is a small fraud."

It is time, he says, for news organisations to "fess up" and make clear that many of the pictures that comprise what are effectively "pooled reports" have been shot by anonymous Iraqi freelancers, whilst the Western journalists have remained inside the protected Green Zone in Baghdad. "If we as an industry don't grapple with the question of putting up a health warning then we will slowly but surely have some of the legitimacy sapped from us."

His fear is that if atrocities and scandals in Iraq are later brought to light by Non-Governmental Organisations or other non-journalistic bodies, then the public will feel betrayed. "When it turns round in a year's time and Iraq is in even more of a mess, people will say: 'Hang on, I thought you guys were reporting all this'."

read the complete article here

Saturday, May 13, 2006

What does 'The Face Behind The Veil' look like ?

Twice part of a Pulitzer prize winning team of journalists,Donna Gehrke-White hopes to dispel some of the myths about Muslims, andmost specifically, Muslim women, in her book, "The Face Behind the Veil:The Extraordinary Lives of Muslim Women in America" which was released March 7.

The Muslim women, or Muslimah, Mrs. Gehrke-Whiteinterviewed in the wakeof Sept. 11 surprised her."I got fascinated with these women because they were very spiritual,very peaceful and calm," says Mrs. Gehrke-White.She wondered what their secret was."I wanted to know them more because they fascinated me - how they were willing to endure humiliation (and) harassment for their faith," shesays.

The Muslim women she knew in south Florida helped her find more Muslim women to feature in the book. She also surfed theInternet at night and met several more of the 50 women featured in "The Face Behind The Veil"in chat rooms or through other Muslims online.

She was amazed at their diversity."Some were born in this country. Others areimmigrants, others aredaughters of immigrants, and still others aredaughters of converts,"Mrs. Gehrke-White says. "They're attorneys, they're doctors, they're professors, social workers, teachers.""Many are educated and they attribute their faith toencouraging them toget an education," she adds.She hopes that in reading the book, people's conceptions of Muslim women will change.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

What do UK Muslims do, when not unsettling the natives?

For God and Country
The Sunday Times
May 07, 2006

Forget the scaremongering — UK Muslims are more concerned with speed dating, scout groups and women’s football than dismantling our way of life. Lesley White spent months among their communities and discovered that they don’t have to support the England cricket team to be British

This is the start of Ramadan, on a sweltering Sunday afternoon last September. I am sitting in a burger bar in Newham, east London, where the air is thick with the stench of stale fat. My companion, Omar, in white flowing robes, is the publisher of an online Muslim newsletter, and so visibly religious that the owner asks us to leave. Not an act of bigotry, but because, in these days of fasting, Omar is putting off embarrassed Muslim customers. Two years ago, Omar began publishing Islamic Events & Notices, a listing of social, sporting and spiritual events (the Muslim Time Out). Its contents are by turns pious – a talk on “fear of Allah” – and funny – “sisters’ aloe vera party” – and unfathomable, as in a workshop on the “ideal Muslim personality”; but he won’t plug anything aggressive, divisive or “unhelpful”.

Using the newsletter as my guide, I joined Muslim speed-daters, professional networkers, scouts and self-defence teachers. Sadly, I never got through to the woman auditioning for a Muslim performing-arts school (I doubt it was Fame in burkas), and today’s event at Omar’s local community centre is frustrating for its organiser. “To learn about fostering,” he complains, “not many turn up, but for a debate on Armageddon the place will be packed. That’s Muslims.”

The day after the July bombings in London, I travelled on the capital’s Underground, watchful for preoccupied Koran-readers. Daubed over an advertisement in my carriage were the words “Arabs are shit”. The insult was really aimed at Muslims: people some fear are living in thrall to an irrational, omniscient, feudal religion and who therefore might be capable of anything in its name, whose belief is rippled with a sort of madness, who are – whatever else they appear – soldiers in the furtherance of a holy war, a reverse Crusades.

Muslims are growing faster than any other minority, arriving from Africa, Chechnya, Jordan, Kosovo, united in a faith that supersedes national frontiers. A community leader in Leicester talked proudly of the young community in which one-third are under the age of 15; he talked of Muslims in Britain being “the future”. Not unnaturally, we are suspicious of this virile tribe, which has a stronger identity than the British sense of self, and an unbending rigour. Maybe we are also hurt that it doesn’t want to join in. Yet of the estimated 1.8m Muslims (an extrapolation from the last census) who live in this country, only the thinnest paring are political, and even fewer committed “jihadis”.

What do the others do when not unsettling the natives?
Live just like us, as the liberal Establishment would love us to believe? Not at all, actually.

read the complete article here

Monday, May 08, 2006

Why are French Muslim workers avoiding the prayer room at Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport?

Racist Book Alarms Muslim Workers at French Airport
By Hadi Yahmid, IOL Correspondent

PARIS, ( – The recently released book of a far-right French presidential hopeful, who claimed that the Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport was infiltrated by "Muslim radicals" and warned against the "Islamization of France," has scared away Muslim workers from the airport's prayer room fearing that they might be tracked by police as "potential terrorists."
"It is now something of a rarity to see a Muslim worker dare enter the prayer room since the publication of the book "Les Mosquees De Roissy" (The Mosques of Roissy)," an airport worker told Saturday, April 29.

Philippe de Villiers, the head of the right-wing Movement for France (MPF) party, claimed in his book that the airport was infiltrated by "Muslim radicals."
He alleged that the radicals have found jobs among the airport's personnel and the ground stuff.

"I now prefer to pray at home rather than being labeled a terrorist," Ayman, 27, a luggage worker at the airport said while looking at the empty prayer place.
"You are a terrorist now until proven innocent," smiling Ayman added.

Villiers has stirred up controversy in recent weeks with increasingly tough statements about Muslims, which critics call racist and officials describe as exaggerated.
The daily Le Parisien, in an extensive report on April 23, on Villiers' charges about radicals at the airport, quoted officials saying the problem was minimal and suspicious workers were kept under surveillance.

Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy and Justice Minister Dominique Perben toured the airport on April 20 and said only 122 of about 83,000 ground staff were being watched.

French Muslim leaders said that placing all Muslims in one basket is a cause for concern.
"It is extremely alarming and worrying to stigmatize all Muslim workers at the airport as terrorists for no reason other than being Muslims," Ammar Al-Asfar of the French Council for Muslim Faith (CFCM) told IOL.

"French Muslims are really in an unenviable situation since when they opt for work in large numbers at a certain place, they are accused of concocting plots; but when they remain jobless, they are criticized for being lazy, negligent and indifferent," he added.
Asfar, however, urged French Muslims to address these accusations in a wise and astute manner, and refuse to be provoked.

The CFCM earlier called on the French politicians and intellectuals to condemn Villier's racist remarks.
It further championed calls to sue right-wing leader.

Political Stunt
Daw Meskine, Secretary General of the French Council of Imams, said Villiers's anti-Muslim remarks were a political stunt.
"When there are no real political programs, Islamophobia becomes an election issue to win much-needed votes," he said.
The number of Muslims in France exceeds six millions, representing 10% of the population and possessing 1.8 million votes.
They come from 53 countries. Algerians represent a great majority of French Muslims.

French intellectuals have said Muslim organizations in France have made great strides and acted "more positively" to counter racist campaigns, which made some of them to change their names and hide their roots to spare themselves discrimination and police hunt.
French Muslims have heaped the blame for the sullied image squarely on media outlets and right-wing leaders, saying their allegations only fan up Islamophobia in the country.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

What do Muslims say when they pray?

What Are You Saying?!
General Staff/Editors

Do you know what you are saying when you pray? The purpose of prayer is to take time out of your day to remember Allah, and to worship Him.

What is sad is many people pray automatically like robots but do not understand or feel what they are saying. Make sure you know what you are saying! The following are the basics of the prayer - memorize the meanings and think about them when you pray- learn the extra du’aat you say on your own. And ponder what you say when you pray- it is your communication with your Lord. You should know what you are saying to Him, the Most High!

The Takbeer: Allaahu akbar. Allah is the greatest.

Suratul Faatihah-
Alhamdulillaahi rabbil ‘aalameen.
All praise is for Allah, Lord of the Worlds.

ArRahmaanir Raheem. The Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

Maaliki yawmid deen. Master of the Day of Judgment.

Iyyaaka na’budu wa iyyaaka nasta’een. You Alone we worship and You Alone we ask for help.

Ihdinassiraatal mustaqeem. Guide us to the Straight Path.

Siraatalladheena an’amta ‘alaihim ghayril maghdhoobi ‘alaihim wa ladh-dhaaalleen. The Path of those who earned your blessings, not of those who earned Your anger, nor of those who went astray.

Ruku’- Subhaana rabbiyal ‘adheem. Glory be to my Lord, the Great.

Sami’allaahu liman hamidah. Allah hears the one who praises Him. Rabbanaa wa lakal hamd. Our lord, and to you is the Praise.


Subhaana rabbiyal a’laa. Glory be to Allah, the Most High.

Tashahhud- At-taahiyaatu lillaahi was-salawaatu wat-tayyibaatu. All greetings, prayers, and good deeds are for Allah Alone.

Assalaamu ‘alaika ayyuhannabiyyu wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuh. Peace to the Prophet, and the mercy and blessings of Allah.

Assalaamu ‘alainaa wa ‘alaa ‘ibaadillaahis-saaliheen. Peace be upon us and upon the righteous worshippers.

Ash-hadu an laa ilaaha illallaahu wa ash-hadu anna muhammadan ‘abduhu wa rasooluh. I testify none has the right to be worshipped except Allah, and I testify Muhammad is His slave and His Messenger.

Allaahumma salli ‘alaa muhammad, wa ‘alaa aali muhammad, kamaa sallayta ‘alaa ibraheem wa ‘ala aali ibraheem, innaka hameedum-majeed. O Allah, put peace on Muhammad and the family of Muhammad, just as You put peace on Ibrahim and the family of Ibrahim, truly You are most worthy of Praise, Glorious.

Allaahumma baarik ‘alaa muhammad, wa ‘alaa aali muhammad, kamaa barakta ‘alaa ibraheem wa ‘ala aali ibraheem, innaka hameedum-majeed. O Allah, bless Muhammad and the family of Muhammad, just as You blessed Ibrahim and the family of Ibrahim, truly You are most worthy of Praise, Glorious.

Tasleem- Assalaamu ‘alaikum wa rahmatullah. Peace and mercy be upon you.