Friday, August 31, 2007
Thursday, August 30, 2007
It's time to get on the jihad...jihad al nafs that is.
d) The Prophet (s) said: al-mujahidu man jahada nafsahu fi ta`at Allah `azza wa jall [The fighter against unbelief is he who fights against his ego in obeying God; Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, Ibn Hibban, Tabarani, Hakim, etc.]... Sufyan al-Thawri said: "I never dealt with anything stronger against me than my own ego; it was one time with me, and one time against me"... Yahya ibn Mu`adh al-Razi said: "Fight against your ego with the four swords of training: eat little, sleep little, speak little, and be patient when people harm you... Then the ego will walk the paths of obedience, like a fleeing horseman in the field of battle."
1045. Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "The five prayers, and Jumu'a to Jumu'a is expiation for what is between them as long as a man has committed no major sins." [Muslim]
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Apparently, if you have a copy of the Riyad as-Salihin, you're a "jihadist." Google "m a p p i n g s h a r i a" to read about the "immediate threat" Sheikh Yusuf Estes posses to America *rolls eyes* Read some past blog entries about this group from Tariq Nelson and Umar Lee.
My copy of the Riyad is staying on my bookshelf, right next to al-Maqasid, thank you very much.
*please do not post a direct link to the website mentioned above. I'd rather not have them backtrack to my blog - been there, done that, never ever again*
Ramadan Preparation // with Imam Zaid Shakir
Ramadan: A Time for Change // With Imam Suhaib Webb
Are You Ready For The Month Of Ramadan? // With Imam Suhaib Webb
Qur'an with English translation - can't find the specific one I have - the english recitations here are kind of hockey sounding. The one I have is more conversational in tone.
For anyone who bothered to look for it, Ms. Almontaser left a clear, public record of interfaith activism and outreach across the boundaries of race, ethnicity and religion. Her efforts, especially after the Sept. 11 attacks, earned her honors, grants and fellowships. She has collaborated so often with Jewish organizations that an Arab-American newspaper, Aramica, castigated her earlier this summer for being too close to a “Zionist organization,” meaning the Anti-Defmatin League.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Shafi'is say that an inhaler breaks one's fast. Howeva, there' s an alternate opinion that it doesn't.
Logically, it makes sense to me that an inhaler should not break the fast, as it's not aimed for my stomach, but rather for my lungs. This is my first Ramadan as an asthmatic, and although I don't need to use my emergency inhaler too much, I'd rather not have to break my fast 30 minutes before iftar for an asthma attack.
Definitely something to talk with the husband about and get a third zahari opinion.
Monday, August 27, 2007
This is it - the point of no return. From here on out, I'm going to become a serious student of Islam. Ok, well, as serious as I can be with the internet as my guide and my arabic sorely lacking. First things first - enroll in an arabic course at a local masjid and sign up for more SunniPath courses.
What course should I take during the Fall semester. It's my goal, inshaAllah, to take one a semester.
Fiqh-i? Essentials of Islam - Shafi'i, Introduction to Islamic Worship - Shafi'i
Iman-y? Tahawi's Manual of Belief Explained
History-ish? Women and Men around the Messenger
Qur'an focused? Introduction to the Qur'an
Adab (my favorite!)? Attaining Good Character
Or something that would be good for everything overall? Journey to Allah - Part 1
I'm drawn towards the last two courses, but my more rational self thinks I should follow the Foundations Curriculumn Sunnipath has laid out. So, this means either Foundations of Islamic Law or Essentials of Islam (Shafi'i).
Since I have a blog this year, inshaAllah I'll post these pictures here.
Egyptians walk past displays of traditional tin lanterns known as Fawanis Ramadan in old Cairo, 16 August 2007 as preparations begin for the fasting month of Ramadan. (AFP/File/Cris Bouroncle)
Sunday, August 26, 2007
1. Eat, drink and be moderate
Almost all of us do it - once Iftar time hits, we just keep plowing food and drink into our mouths till it's hard to move afterwards. And those of us who do it know this is totally contrary to the spirit of Ramadan, through which we're supposed to learn self-control not self-indulgence. Let's try to stick to the Prophetic rule on eating: fill our stomachs with one-third food, one-third water and one-third breathing space, even in Ramadan.
2. Give a dollar a day in charity...or five or ten
The Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, was always generous but even more so in Ramadan. Let's open our hearts and dig a little deeper in our wallets this year. Even less than a dollar a day adds up. Whatever you can give, it's the intention that counts.
3. Memorize 4 new Surahs
Memorizing the Quran often seems like a daunting task. But the key is doing it in small bites. Since there are four weeks in Ramadan, try to memorize one new Surah a week. Start off with a short, easy one. Once you've started, you'll build momentum and may even want to memorize a longer one the following week.
4. Go to Tarawih prayers
Post-Iftar, the first urge is to sleep after an exhausting day. But try your best to head out to the mosque for Tarawih prayers. Praying alone is wonderful, but doing it in congregation is fantastic. The community spirit is part of Ramadan's blessings. Don't miss it this year. If going every day is not possible, try going at least one week.
5. Attend the Tarawih prayer in which the recitation of the Quran will be finished
Call the local mosque and find out which day the Imam will be finishing the recitation of the Quran in prayer. Attend to not only hear part of the Quran's recitation in prayer, but also participate in the heart-rending Duas that follow it.
6. Stop swearing and/or backbiting – with a special box
It's hard not to shoot our mouths off when someone's upset us. Whether we utter those four-letter words or backbite about someone to our family and friends, we know this isn't the God-approved way of letting off steam. In Ramadan, when we want to build our spirituality, we've got to wage Jihad against our bad habits.
Try this: get a box and every time you catch yourself swearing or backbiting put some money in it. It could be a buck or less. The point is to choose an amount that makes it feel like punishment.
At the end of the month send the money to a charity or buy a gift for the person whom you've backbitten the most against.
7. Call/email your relatives
You'd think that given the easy access to email, competitive long-distance calling rates, phone cards, etc. these days, we'd keep in touch with family and friends more often. But the opposite seems to be the case, as we get caught up in life's "busyness."
Strengthening ties with family members and keeping in touch with friends is part of our way of life and an act Allah is very pleased with. This Ramadan, call family and friends or at least email them a Ramadan card and ask them how their fasting is going.
8. Go on a technology diet
Even if you work in the IT industry, you can do this. Avoid checking personal email and surfing the web during your fast. After Iftar, instead of plopping yourself in front of the screen, go to Tarawih. The same goes for the television. The point is to try to give our full attention to spiritual elevation this month.
9. Read 5 minutes of Quran a day...just five, not more, not less
Even if you feel you've got absolutely no time, set a timer or the alarm on your cell phone and find a relatively quiet place. You can read the first page of the Quran you open or follow a sequence. The choice is yours. The point is simply to connect with God through His revelation in the month of the Quran.
10. Forgive everyone who has hurt you
Still got a festering wound from the fight with your friend last year? Still upset about something your spouse said during a heated argument? Or are you still bitter about the way your parents sometimes treated you as a kid? Let go of the anger and pain this Ramadan and forgive those who have hurt you. Forgiving someone is not only good for the body, but it's also great for the soul. And in Ramadan, ten days of which are devoted to Allah's forgiveness, shouldn't we lesser beings forgive too?
If you find it very difficult to forgive everyone, forgive at least three people.
Saturday, August 25, 2007
Friday, August 24, 2007
Definately a good site to have handy to play during iftars, throughout the month of Ramadan and beyond, inshaAllah.
Narrated Anas: Allah's Apostle said, "Help your brother, whether he is an oppressor or he is an oppressed one. People asked, "O Allah's Apostle! It is all right to help him if he is oppressed, but how should we help him if he is an oppressor?" The Prophet said, "By preventing him from oppressing others." [Bukhari]
Gee, you think that would include stopping him from raping someone?
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Justice and Remembrance: Introduction to the Spirituality of Imam Ali
The Prophet's Night Journey & Heavenly Ascent
Qur'an Manuscripts : Calligraphy, Illumination, Design
The Prayer : Its Effect in Increasing Eemaan & Purifying Soul
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
The set up is simple - 8 rows, 3 columns. The top row is labeled Day/Menu/What is Needed. The first column is labeled down with the days of the week. Here I can type out what I'd like to make each day, what ingredients are needed, and then print it out. Once it's printed out, I can cross out the ingredients I already have at home and wa'la, it's an instant shopping list for the week.
Other Ramadan iftar plans include making stuff on Sunday that is easy to reheat during the week, and making a lot of stir fry - it's easy, has lots of veggies and is filling. Make enough for iftars so that there are leftovers for suhoor, or if your family likes to snack through the night. I also always make gorp/trailmix to leave around for snacking. It also makes a great iftar on the go if you have night classes or won't be home for iftar. My mix includes cheerios, raisons, craisons, honey roasted peanuts, mixed nuts and chocolate chips.
So, here is a list of the sisters' blogs I visit, minus the ones that haven't been updated for awhile. I'm pretty sure these blogs are written by sisters, although there are one or two that I guessed when I categoriesed them. Order isn't indicative of anything except for the order I added them to my favorites menu.
Raising Yousuf, Unplugged
Travelers on the Path of Knowledge
The Egyptian's Wife
The Imam's Daughter
Soliloquies of A Stranger
Inner Reflections Transcribed
All About Marriage and the Search
Through a Muslimah’s Veil
Writeous Sister Speaks
Ginny’s Thoughts & Things
Saudi Stepford Wife
Koonj: the crane
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
On one such site that I stumbled upon today, I found the recent ITV1's Muslim Jesus program. It's decent, and although anyone with a basic understanding of Islam's view of Jesus (as) won't learn much, it's worth watching. Sheikh Hamza is excellent as always.
She talks of nurturing a genuine American Islam, rooted in the classical faith, which dates back before the theological, political and legal schisms fractured the Ummah, the Muslim world, centuries ago.
Also, on a personal note, a friend of mine is her assistant, lucky duck! *waves to Amera*
TJ Ramadan Resources Ramadan Lesson Ideas
I really like the ibadah club idea, and may make myself a club of one (or 2 if I can convince the husband to join), and the Ramadan bulletin board would be an excellent way of decorating for the month. Plus, the mother's organizational guide has some fantastic things as well - a place to list all the books and lectures you intend to listen to, as well as a place to write notes and reflect on the stuff you've learned.
Monday, August 20, 2007
Today appears to be the day of online book windowshopping
Coming soon, a translation of Imam Nawawi's The Book of Remembrance.
Also added to the wishlist:
- The Compendium of Knowledge and Wisdom
- Book of Wisdoms
- The Accepted Whispers
- The Sunnah Way of the Sufis
- The Achievement of love - The Spiritual Dimensions of Islam
- The Sublime Conduct Of Nabi SAW
- The Ramadan of the Saintly Elders
- Ethics in Islam
- Key to the Garden
- Two Treatises: Mutual Reminding & Good Manners
- Instruction of the Student: The Method of Learning
- The Fiqh of Da'wah
- Muslim Understanding of Other Religions - by ibn Hazm, oo the husband would be so happy
- Achievements of Muslim Women in Religious Fields
- Calls from the Most Merciful
- The Differences of the Imams
- The Most Beautiful Names of Allah
- The Creed of Imam al-Tahawi
- The Qur'an and Sayings of the Prophet Muhammad
- Islamica Magazine
- Q News
- Azizah Magazine
- Emel Magazine
- Illume Magazine
Yeah, ok I went a little overboard. What can I say, I loooove books.
Only problem? I didn't save the link, and my googling isn't turning anything up. Dang!
However, in related news, it looks like the hijabi swimwear industry is taking off. I still *heart* my splashgear, and will most likely buy from them again once I loose enough weight (inshaAllah) to get need a smaller size. 10 pounds down, 25 to go!
Friday, August 17, 2007
I wonder if I would be able to pay attention better if I had something in my hands to play with. Hmmm, got dhikr beads. Is it ok to make dhikr during jummah?
I did that when I went to see the Dalai Lama a few months back. The chairs were so dang uncomfortable and his microphone was so soft, I couldn't concentrate. I whipped out the beads and that helped me focus, at least a little. Didn't help with the mike problems though, lol.
Also, tried to sign up for the supplications sunnipath course, but it's not letting me log in or register for some reason. Gah!
Abu Bakr bin Abdullah al Muzani said: "Who is like you, O son of Adam? Whenever you wish, you use water to make Ablution, go to the place for worship and thus enter the presence of your Lord (i.e. start praying) without a translator/barrier or a barrier between you and Him!" [Al Bidayah wa an Nihayah 9/256]
Mu`adh bin Jabal advised his son, "My son! Pray the prayer of he who is just about to leave and imagine that you might not be able to pray ever again. Know that the believer dies between two good deeds, one that he performed and one that he intended to perform later on."[Sifat as Safwah 1/496]
Bakr al Muzani said, "If you want your prayer to be of benefit to you, say to yourself, 'I might not have a chance to perform another prayer.'[Jami` al `Ulum wal Hikam, p 466.]
Thursday, August 16, 2007
And during the month of Ramadan, they're offering a course on the Supplications of the Daily Prayer.
*Increase your presence of heart in prayer
*Reflect on the meanings and movements of the daily prayer which Allah Most High has commanded of all of us
*Study commentaries and explanations of the spiritual significance and wisdoms embedded in the various supplications of the prayer, so that you can say them with conviction
*Begin the path towards more connected prayers during the blessed month of Ramadan, and use this month as a springboard into the rest of the year
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
I've downloaded his booklet on ikhlas and tafweez for reading inshaAllah.
WadaWajaba ash-shukru 'alayna
Ma da'a lillahi da
Ma da'a lillahi da
The White Moon (track numbers 2 and 5, although 2 is the one that has been stuck in my head for the last half an hour)
Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammadin 'abdika wa rasulika wa salli
'ala l'mu'mina wa'l-mu'minat wa'l-muslimina wa'l-muslimat
Oh Allah send Your mercy on Muhammad, Your servant, Your Messenger and send mercy on all believing men and women and all Muslim men and women (Ibn Hibban)
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
A common site at taraweeh prayers (at least at the masjids I go to) is for the congregants to hold little booklets containing one juz (1/30th) of the Qur'an, so that they may follow along with the imam during the prayer. Unfortunately, all the ones I've come across are simply in arabic, and since my arabic reading and comprehension skills are sorely lacking (one day inshaAllah!), I decided to make my own quran for taraweeh this year.
I copied and pasted the transliteration and translation from the website listed above into a word document. I plan to print it out, 3 hole punch and put it all in a large binder. Then, each night during Ramadan, I can take out one juz, stick it in a smaller binder and read from that during taraweeh. I think if I stick my backpack in front of me, during sujood I can stick the book on it so that the quran is not on the floor.
If anyone would like a copy, please leave me your email address, and I'll email you a copy inshaAllah. It's kind of long at 600+ pages, and not very pretty format wise, but it's functional.
Alhamdulilah, only a month until Ramadan!
ps - It's valid to read from a quran in the shafi'i school, so long as you don't fidget with it too much I believe. inshaAllah will look in my fiqh books when i get home to post the specifics
AMMAN: Jordan has formed a committee of 100 Muslim scholars to address through dialogue “critical issues” affecting Muslims around the world, a statement said on Saturday.
The committee, called “Salam (peace) 100”, aims to “enable peaceful debate and discussion, using the power of ideas as a means of calming conflict and finding a resolution to problems of the gravest importance.” The statement said controversies such as the 2005 Danish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH), have “exposed the lack of intellectual leadership” in the Muslim world. This “must be addressed with the utmost urgency to prevent further rifts in human understanding. The committee proposes to conquer immediate and future fears and misapprehensions, which are so easily exploited by extremists of every kind.” The committee is headed by the uncle of King Abdullah II, former crown prince Hassan. It groups Muslim figures from around the world, including the director general of the Islamic Organization of Education, Science and Culture, Abdulaziz Othman Altwaijri, and former Yemeni prime ministers Abdul Karim al-Eryani and Haider Abu Bakr al-Attas.
It pledged to promote “a rational and equitable understanding of hearts and minds”. “We actively seek to address core disputes of international concern, to assuage anger, and to prevent unacceptable provocations”, the statement said. In 2004, Jordan launched an initiative known as the “Amman Message” in a bid to encourage fellow Muslims to reject extremism and embrace tolerance and acceptance.
Sounds promising, but it would appear this group has been around since last May. Why are they taking so dang long to do anything? Urgency? Phhhhh. Where is the flurry of papers, iniatives and plans? Googling "Salam 100" turns up close to nothing.
Monday, August 13, 2007
In his Ihya' Ulom ud Din, Imam al-Ghazali writes about 3 grades of fasting - ordinary, where one abstains from food, drink and sexual satisfaction, special fasting, where one keeps their organs from sin, and extra special fasting, a level where one's only concern is with God, and not with anything in this dunya.
While I aspire to the extra special fast, I know I first need to get the basis of my deen in order. What good is it to strive to be one of the true friends of God (awliya) if I don't do my best to follow the guidelines He has set down for us? So I'm on a fast from backbiting.
Prophet Muhammad (saws) said :"Do you know what backbiting is?" They said, "God and His Messenger know best." He then said, "It is to say something about your brother that he would dislike." Someone asked him, "But what if what I say is true?" The Messenger of God (saws) said, "If what you say about him is true, you are backbiting him, but if it is not true then you have slandered him." (Muslim)
Thursday, August 9, 2007
Text of the takbir.
RIYADH, 6 August 2007 — A new convert to Islam, fired with zeal to do a righteous act, had no idea that he would pay a heavy price for helping a sick woman, one that has landed him 50 days and counting behind bars.
Abu Hurairah, radiyallahu 'anhu, reported that the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu 'alayhi wasallam, said:
"Let whosoever believes in Allah and in the Last Day either speak good or be silent. Let whosoever believes in Allah and in the Last Day honour his neighbour. Let whosoever believes in Allah and in the Last Day honour his guest."
[Al-Bukhari & Muslim]
some commentary on this hadith:
The second part of this hadith stresses on being courteous and generous to our neighbours and guests. This is stated in the Qur'an - Surah An-Nisa'(4): ayat 36: "…do good to parents, relatives, orphans, the poor, the neighbour who is near of kin, the neighbour who is a stranger, the companion by your side, the wayfarer (you meet), and those (slaves) whom your right hand possess."
In one hadith, the Prophet, sallallahu 'alayhi wasallam, said: "Jibril kept advising me concerning the neighbour to the point that I thought that he would inherit from his neighbour." [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
In another hadith [also recorded by Al-Bukhari and Muslim], it is stated: "Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day should not harm his neighbour."
Another hadith records the Prophet, sallallahu 'alayhi wasallam, as saying that the person who does not have complete faith (iman) is the one from whose affairs the neighbour is not safe. Al-Bukhari and Muslim also records another hadith which states that when you cook stew, you should add a little bit more water and give some to your neighbours. This sharing of food between neighbours can strengthen the relationships between them. We should be nice to our neighbours and share our food even if they are not Muslims.
Does anyone else want to cry when they read stories about the sorry state our ummah is in? My mind keeps wondering why doesn't somebody do something? Then I remember - I am somebody. Guess that means I should be the one to do something.
The husband and I were talking last night about our future plans inshaAllah. He'd like to be a da'ee and write a best selling book about muslims. He then wondered about how to get on tv shows and I told him that writers do that for free to promote their books, but if Jon Stewart invited him to be on the Daily Show, he should say that he would only come on if his wife could meet Jon, ha. My husband responded - of course, he'll be happy to meet you. Why, I ask. Because you're going to be a famous moderate muslim of course, and he'll want you to be on to talk about Islam. We'll be a team, like Madam Curie and her husband.
Now, all my issues about the term moderate muslim aside, his faith in me and what I could do with my life is increadibly uplifting. Alhamdulilah for my husband. Now I just have to figure out how I can go about being somebody and change the ummah.
Wednesday, August 8, 2007
Glory to (Allah) Who did take His servant for a Journey by night from the Sacred Mosque to the farthest Mosque, whose precincts We did bless,- in order that We might show him some of Our Signs: for He is the One Who heareth and seeth (all things).
Subhana allathee asrabiAAabdihi laylan mina almasjidi alharami ilaalmasjidi al-aqsa allathee barakna hawlahulinuriyahu min ayatina innahu huwa alssameeAAualbaseeru (17:1)
We're currently in the month of Rajab, the 7th month in the Islamic year. Friday is the 27th of Rajab, aka Isra wa Miraj. This is the night that our beloved Prophet (saws) traveled from Mecca to Jerusalem and then rose through the heavens with Gabriel (as). There, he met a variety of Prophets (may peace be on all of them), and received the command from Allah (swt) for muslims to make salat 5 times a day.
Readings on the subject:
Muhammad Asad's discussion on the physical vs. spiritual nature of the journey.
Reflections on the Farthest Mosque: Isra’ wa’l Mi’raj by Sunni Sister
Parts I, II and III relating the story by Sunni Sister
To listen to on the subetc:
Tuesday, August 7, 2007
Friday, August 3, 2007
From what I remember reading in the past and from this bakery's own website, it's a Nation of Islam (aka NOI) operation or affiliation. Reviews of the place mention murals of Elijah Muhammad. According to the founder's obituary:
"I practice Islam as taught by Elijah Muhammad," Bey said in an interview in February. "His religion is a way of life. He has taught how to resurrect us from the dead state -- the so-called American Negro men. We're white people with black skin. It's all a mentality."
But, there's no mention of NOI anywhere in the article, just the ubiquitous term muslim.
So now unsuspecting islamophobes will link the story and muslims (aka the non NOI kind) will be blamed for some wackos we have nothing to do with. I mean, come on, do we not have enough wackos in our midst that we need to take the blame for NOI wackos as well?
Thursday, August 2, 2007
I'm still somewhat disjointed. It's hard putting together coherent thoughts. Good thing I'm not a reporter who has to produce pieces under stress and pressure.
It's weird to log onto the BBC, CNN and other international news sites and see your city up in red.
I was flipping through the channels last night when I came upon the local news. It was a shot from a new chopper of the bridge. SubhanAllah I said. Glory be to God. I paused - SubhanAllah what? SubhanAllah is my favorite dhikr, so it roles naturally off my tongue. Usually I use it to praise God. But what am I praising in this situation?
SubhanAllah for Minnesota nice. So many stories of civilians risking their lives to jump up and help people out of their cars and off the bridge. SubhanAllah for our emergency systems, which responded brilliantly. SubhanAllah for Bani Minnesota. We rock.
SubhanAllah I am alive. It's amazing that I am alive. Everything could be taken away in just one minute, but subhanAllah, here I am.
Wednesday, August 1, 2007
When leaving the house:
Bismi'Llahi tawakkaltu 'ala 'Llah, Allahumma inni a'udhu bika an udilla aw udall, aw uzilla aw uzall, aw azlima aw uzlam, aw aj-hala aw yuj-hala 'alayy
In the name of Allah, I trust in Allah. O Allah I seek your protectoin from misleading and being mislead, from causing someone to slip or slipping, from oppressing and oppression, and from promoting folly and being foolish (Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi)
I think there are some muslim leaders around the world who need to start making this dua when they leave the house. I wonder how many people who make this dua when they leave the house actually think about the meaning of the words they are reciting, and strive to do what they are praying for?