Thursday, May 31, 2007

*cries* No jummah for me tomorrow. inshaAllah the masjid will open on June 8th. I still have the afternoon off, so I suppose I can go to the masjid by my apartment with the husband. *sigh*

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Free lessons on Sunnipath

Via Seeker's Digest

On occasion, Sunnipath will hold free live sessions for all to attend. These sessions have covered a wide range of topics, from the Qur'an to extremism in our community. Now, some of these courses (and a mawlid event) have been recorded and are available to view anytime on their website. Definately check them out when you have a chance! I hope they put some of their earlier ones online as well.

Mawlid - with Shaykh Anas Khalifah
Pride & Humility - by Shaykh Abdul-Kareem Yahya
Reality of the Spiritual Path - by Shaykh Nuh Keller
The Opening: An Explanation of Surat al-Fatiha - by Shaykh Sohail Hanif

Show your appreciation

Last month, a local Minnesota college caused an international stir when it got out that they planned on installing foot baths for wudu for the muslim population on campus. Now it appears the University of Michigan - Dearborn, is doing the same. And, of course, it's the same ol same ol out of the same ol bloggers. They're asking their readers to write letters to Robert Behrens to express their displeasure over the accomidation of those dang muzzie terrorists in Dearbornistan.

Phillip Davis, president of the Minnesota school, mentioned in the NPR interview linked above that he was inundated with emails from all over the world, when word got out about his school's plans. I'm betting most of those were negative.

So, why not take 5 minutes and write a letter to thank Mr. Behrens and the University of Michigan - Dearbon for their thoughtful gesture. He can be reached at bbehrens at His address is linked above as well, if you'd like to write a letter.

In fact, whenever you see someone doing something to help the muslim community here in the US, take the time to say thanks. They'll certainly get a lot of flack for their actions, and they deserve praise as well.

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Planned foot baths are not the highly anticipated automatic wudu machines, unfortunately ;)

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Goin to the masjid...inshaAllah

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Ok, doing a quasi happy dance/impatient stomp. Why? Because this Friday is suppose to be the reopening of Masjid an Nur. "Suppose to" being the key phrase of course. Despite the fact that this masjid is predominantly African American, they still seem to be afflicted with the maladies that effects the immigrant portion of our american muslim community - chronic lateness.

It wasn't long after I became muslim that I was introduced to the concept of "muslim time. And I'm not just talkin a few mintues late...noooo, sometimes I've witnessed people come hours after the appointed time. Being that I'm an increadibly impatient person, this doesn't really mesh with me. You say you're going to pick me up to go somewhere at 5, I'm waiting outside my door at 4:55. I've gotten a lot of practice learning how to remain calm in the face of tardiness, especially since marrying my (formerly) chronically late husband. Alhamdulilah, he understands now how important it is for me that I'm on time places, and he does an excellent job being (mostly) on time.

So, it would be no suprise if the masjid doesn't open on Friday, but please, ya Allah, please let it open on time! I haven't been to the masjid for anything other than praying since Ramadan. Ok, there was the time I attempted to go to another masjid for jummah, but it was in arabic, so I can't really count that as going for something other than prayer since I spend the entire khutbah trying to stay awake.

I neeeed a muslim community where I fit, where I belong, and I hope, inshaAllah that I can find it at Masjid an Nur. I attended a few jummahs there before and during Ramadan last year, but then they closed for renovations. I can't wait to go to jummah each week in a beautiful new masjid, where everyone is so friendly, and people actually talk to me. Plus, this masjid is really involved in helping the community. It's kind of a dream come true, a place where people actually live the whole deen, and reflect Nur out on the rest of the community.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Recipe for a Successful Marriage

by Mufti Ebrahim Desai (db) via Munzareen Padela. I really like this list, as it addresses BOTH marriage partners. All too often, from what I've seen, muslim marital advice is directed mainly towards the wife, and relies heavily on "be patient."

“Our Lord! Grant that our spouses and our offspring be a comfort to our eyes, and give us the grace to lead those who are conscious of You”(Furqaan 74).

Q: Every human being by nature has an instinct to dispute. This instinct becomes more manifest between the husband and wife, thus leading to marital disputes. How can this instinct be controlled?

A. Consider the following ten points to control the instinct of dispute and maintain a happy marriage.

1. Fear Allah: It was the noble practice of Nabi (SAW) to conscientise the spouses about the fear for Allah before performing a Nikah by reciting the verses (Nisa v14, Ahzab v69, Aali-Imraan v101) from the Quraan. All the verses are common in the message of Taqwa (fear of Allah). The spouses will be first committed to Allah before being committed to their partner. There can be no doubt in the success of a marriage governed by the fear of Allah.

2. Never be angry at the same time: Anger is the root cause for all marital disputes. One Sahabi came to Rasulullah (SAW) and sought some advice. Rasulullah (SAW) replied, control your anger. The same advice was rendered three times. (Mishkaat pg.433; HM Saeed)

3. If one has to win an argument, let it be the other: Nabi (SAW) said: “Whoever discards an argument despite being correct shall earn a palace in the centre of Jannah. (Ibid pg.412)

4. Never shout at each other unless the house is on fire: Luqman (AS) while offering advice to his son said: ” and lower your voice for verily the most disliked voice is that of a donkey”. (Surah Luqman v19)

5. If you have to criticize, do it lovingly: Rasulullah (SAW) said, ‘A Mu’min is a mirror for a Mu’min.’ (Abu Dawud vol.2 pg.325; Imdadiyah) Advise with dignity and silently.

6. Never bring up mistakes of the past: Nabi (SAW) said: “Whoever conceals the faults of others, Allah shall conceal his faults on the day of Qiyaamah.” (Mishkaat pg.429; HM Saeed)

7. Neglect the whole world rather than your marriage partner: Nabi (SAW) confirmed the advice of Salman to Abu-Darda [RA] for neglecting his wife. “Verily there is a right of your wife over you.” (Nasai Hadith2391)

8. Never sleep with an argument unsettled: Abu Bakr [RA] resolved his dispute with his wife over-feeding the guests before going to bed. (Bukhari Hadith 602)

9. At least, once everyday, express your gratitude to your partner: Nabi [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] said, ‘Whoever does not show gratitude to the people has not shown gratitude to Allah.’ (Abu Dawud pg.662; Karachi)

10. When you have done something wrong, be ready to admit it and ask for forgiveness: Nabi [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] said, ‘All the sons of Aadam commit error, and the best of those who err are those who seek forgiveness.’ (Tirmidhi Hadith 2499)

Imam Ibn Tammiyah (ra) on takfir

Translated by Imam Suhaib Webb.

“It is not allowed to declare any Muslim an apostate for a sin he committed, or a mistake he made. Such as, an error related to differences surrounding issues of Ijtihad (3) . Allah says in His noble book, “Forgive us our Lord. And to You is the final return.” (4) It is related in the al-Sahih (5): that Allah (may He be exalted) answered this supplication and forgave the believers for any mistakes they committed.
Continued at the link above. Hmm, I wonder how we could apply this in today's modern world?

A few of Imam Suihab's talks are available for free here, here, here and here. His "Mothers of the Believers" cd series can be purchased many places online, and is quite excellent.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Lack of sleep

Its nice that the birds in our area are happy and plentiful. These happy birds decide to congregate on the tree outside our apartment window and start a chirp fest at 4:00 a.m. Alas, this is just the latest in a long line of sleep issues that are driving me mad. I'm almost to the point of asking my doctor (ala the television commercials) about Ambian CR, Lnesta or some other sleep pill that could help me get to sleep and stay asleep.

But, before that, the husband and I are working on a more natural, deeny plan. 1st, make salat right before sleeping. 2nd, drink some anseed (anise seed boiled in water for 3 to 4 minutes). 3rd, make dua. inshaAllah this will work, cuz I don't want to add another pill to the pile I'm already taking. Blah.

Allahumma gharati n'nujum(u), wa hada'ati 'l-'uyun(u), wa Anta Hayyun Qayyum(ul), la ta'khudhuka sinatuw wa la nawm(un), Ya Hayyu ya Qayyum(u), ahdi' layli wa anim 'ayni.

Oh Allah, the stars have gone and the eyes [of people] have sunken [into deep slumber]. Verily You are Everlasting and Eternal, neither sleep, nor slumber can seize you. O Everlasting and Eternal, bless my night with peace and my eyes with sleep.

From Ibn al-Sunni, in the book Reflections of Pearls.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Dawah and Brother Malcolm

If you happen to be flipping through the channels in the Twin Cities, you'd probably pass by channel 14, the local religious programming channel. One frequent group is a set of three african american gentleman dressed in a rather garish, shiney version of what I can only guess is a version of ancient Israelite priestly robes.

The middle one flips through the bible, asks one of his companions to read, and then proceeds to tell the audience about how the bible is all about black people.

This same trio, plus several others decked out in the same robes, camp out on the corner by my office at least once a week during the summer. They try to engage the african americans waiting at the nearby bus stop, but are usually ignored.

I've had an inkling in the back of my mind for some time now that this scene is somehow familiar. Then, last week, it hit me. As I was walking past the group, I noticed that on one of the signs, they had pasted a picture of Brother Malcolm. Ah, so that was what this reminded me of - scenes from the movie Malcolm X, where he would stand on the street corners outside of the church and try to steer the black churchgoers towards the temple.

I smiled to the gentleman, pointed at the picture and said, "he was muslim." The man scowled at me and turned away. I can only suppose that this group finds Malcolm before Mecca useful, but that after Mecca, his words don't fit their race centric view of religion.

As a euro-american muslim, I definately feel more kinship with post Mecca Malcolm than I do with pre Mecca Malcolm. I can see the fruits of Malcolm's post Mecca attitude in the masjid I started attending before Ramadan this last year (which is unfortunately closed now for renovations). It's an ex NOI temple that is associated with WD Muhammad's association.

The majority of the congregants are african american, but there are plenty of muslims from other backgrounds that are welcomed with open arms. I feel more at home there than I have at any of the other masjids I've attended that are dominated by various immigrant groups. The masjid runs a soup kitchen and a food pantry and is quite involved in the community around it.

So, back to the group of people on the corner - I'm debating whether or not I should print off Malcolm's letter from Mecca and shove it at them. There are always police nearby, so I doubt any trouble would start. I'm not nearly as brash and bold as Brother Malcolm, so I don't think I would do any good trying to engage them in a debate. Nope, just on the run dawah, I think.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Sacred: Discover what we share

Via Visual Dhikr:

The British Library's online gallery of their sacred texts exhibit.

The Ma'il Qur'an is one of the very earliest Qur'ans in the world, dating back to the eighth century. Not only that, but it also probably hails from the Hijaz region of Arabia - a region which contains the holy places of Mecca and Medina, homes of the Prophet Muhammad.

Qur’an, Mecca or Medina, eighth century.

Chapter 26, al-Shu‘ara’ (The Poets), verse 183 to Chapter 27, al-Naml (The Ant), verse 3

BL Or. MS 2165, ff. 76v–77

Copyright © The British Library Board

This very rare early Hebrew Bible shows the influence of Islamic art in its decorative elements. It is named after a previous owner, Dr Moses Gaster (1856-1939), a scholar and spiritual leader of Sephardic Jews in London.

First Gaster Bible, perhaps Egypt, ninth or 10th century. Psalm 64
BL Or. MS 9879, f. 14v
Copyright © The British Library Board

Selective listening

Black Iris presents 2 contrasting letters, one from the Prophet Muhammad (saws) to the monks at St. Catherines, and another from his purported followers to a christian community in Pakistan.

*insert little pukey smiley here*

for the Love of God

The husband and I had a long and winding conversation yesterday that eventually led us to these verses in the Qur'an:

And they feed, for the love of God, the indigent, the orphan, and the captive,
(Saying),"We feed you for the sake of God alone: no reward do we desire from you, nor thanks.
We only fear a Day of distressful Wrath from the side of our Lord."
But God will deliver them from the evil of that Day, and will shed over them a Light of Beauty and (blissful) Joy.


If we really loved God like we are suppose to, and we followed the letter and spirit of this verse, if we sought to help each other, as a means to express our LOVE for God, imagine the good we could do.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Hijab in the dining room

Browsing advice columns daily is a guilty pleasure of mine. I quasi store the information in some recess of my mind, in the future event that I may one day be put in one of the situations discussed. Ask Amy has become one of my favorites, and now she's even more my fav:

Dear Amy: I live in a retirement community where all residents are provided one served meal each day. This meal is served by high school students in a dining area accommodating about 200 residents. These servers are both male and female, and wear white shirts/blouses and black pants/skirts. It is a uniform of sorts. Two of the female servers wear black scarves over their heads and around their necks, consistent with, I presume, their Muslim tradition. It offends my sense of propriety and decorum to have these two servers display their religious symbols in a private dining area, such that they cannot be ignored. I would like to complain to management, but I don't want to stir up a hornet's nest. Am I wrong?-- Kilroy

Dear Kilroy: I'm not sure what you find offensive. Are you offended by evidence of any religion in the dining room? Or do you mind the fact that these girls are Muslim and it is impossible for you to ignore that fact? The ideal function of the hijab is to project an air of modesty to avoid attention -- not draw it to themselves. And it seems that a black head scarf fits in with the black-and-white uniform for servers.
I wonder if you would be similarly offended if these girls wore Amish caps or if some of the young male waiters wore yarmulkes? Perhaps you would be. If so, and if any evidence of religion in your dining room offends you, then complain to management. But you will be stirring up a hornet's nest if you do.Unless these scarves somehow impair these young people's ability to serve you dinner, I don't think you have a leg to stand on. We live in a pluralistic society, and while it might be changing a bit fast for your taste, the freedom to practice and express one's religion is a pretty important aspect of what it means to be an American, right?