Take Time for Internal Reflection

September 29, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Imam Abdullah El-Amin, TMO

It is not the quantity, but the quality of time spent attempting to follow the guidance of ALLAH that ensures success.  ALLAH says in Qur’an that “everything is a sign – for those who reflect.”  Each day, if we just take 10 minutes of quiet, quality time in carefully selected thought procedures, we can improve our life by achieving a greater measure of happiness, increased efficiency, and a feeling of spiritual, mental, and physical well-being.

So many things whiz by us each day that it is virtually impossible to reflect while you are on the go.  You will possibly see these “signs of ALLAH”, but not will reflect on them to get the full benefit.  So many miraculous things occur during the course of our going about our daily activities.  They are happening whether you realize it or not.  The key is to first know that ALLAH is in the blessing business and then key in on your blessings by being one of those who “reflect” on the signs of ALLAH.

This 10 minute formula I am sharing with you has been proven scientifically over time and it is right in sync with the ALLAH’S word to “reflect.”  The plan is to spend the 10 minutes every day in quiet submission.  It must be regular.  To do it for a day or two and then skip a day or two will lessen the impact on the results.

ALLAH is real, and He will guide you as you submit your mind to His.  Don’t go into this process with the idea “I want to do this—or do that.  Instead, wait on an answer to enter your mind.  You have now made your mind susceptible to Divine wisdom.

This is in the same vein as the Istikara prayer Muslims say in the early reaches of the night.  The difference is, in the istakara prayer, we ask ALLAH to examine our particular situation.  It may be a particular relationship or maybe a career move or something similar.  We make two rakah and ask ALLAH to make it easy and possible to attain— if it is right for us.  If it is not right for us, we ask Him to remove it from us.  Istakara is a powerful tool of connection and help from ALLAH.

This time of reflection is also special because we stop what we are doing, go to a quiet place with no distractions and wait for thoughts to enter your mind.  They might not be what you expect or even what you want.  They may be far from what we are accustomed to thinking.  But if you are a believer and have submitted yourself to be an instrument of ALLAH, you will be on a higher wavelength of righteousness in which there is no error. The time can vary.  It may be before salat or after salat—or an hour or so after salat. It doesn’t matter.  The main thing is quietness, relaxation, and submission of your mind to ALLAH.

There are many tools and avenues to connect spiritually to our Creator.  This is only one.  Sometimes while offering salat, solutions and answers come to our minds.  I take it as ALLAH choosing a time to communicate with me.  Some people think they are sinning if your mind wanders during salat.  But it is not necessarily so.  It depends on what your mind is wandering to.

This human mind we have is special and it has a special way of communicating with its Maker.  Reflect on the “Signs” of ALLAH.  You will be richer for it.

As Salaam alaikum
Al Hajj Imam Abdullah El-Amin

13-40

‘Eid in America!

September 1, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By TMO Staff

Eid_017

Most of the mosques in the US celebrated ‘Eidul Fitr on Tuesday August 30th, 2011, finalizing the festival of worship and celebration that was Ramadan of AH 1432.

In this issue is a series of reports from around the USA, where TMO reporters describe their own ‘Eid experiences.

The Bloomfield Hills’ Muslim Unity Center celebrated ‘Eid on Tuesday, filled to overflowing and forced to have three separate celebrations (at 8AM, 10AM, and 11AM).  These ‘Eid khutbas focused on keeping Allah in mind “whatever you do,” the imam arguing that if you keep Allah in your mind, that will prevent you from doing wrong.  The khutbah also focused on Tawhid. 

Children at the center had a very good time, as there were rides and slides, and plenty of good food, and a festive atmosphere permeated the atmosphere of this suburban mosque.

Other reports in this issue of TMO!

13-36

Getting Forgiveness for Abuse

August 18, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Imam Abdullah El-Amin, TMO

I’d like to start with the reminder of our beginning – our creation as Adam, ALLAH’S Kahlifa of creation – whom He created to be a perfect submitter,  created him from water (moral consciousness), and endowed him with the light of intelligence to utilize the material and spiritual creation to enhance himself and everything else under ALLAH.

It is no secret that the Muslim community is loaded with cases of spousal abuse and many of us (men and women) think we are doomed to be bad or predisposed to accept abusive behavior from our spouse or others.  Many men (and some women) inflict abuse because they have been conditioned to be abusive since they were children.  Perhaps theirs were abusive to their mothers and they witnessed this growing up.

Science has said that by the time we are six or seven years old, our personal mentality is pretty much shaped.  Your mindset is basically what you will be for the rest of your life.

So some men whose brains were ingrained with this type of thinking grow to be abusive to their spouses as well.

And similarly, some women who witnessed an abusive relationship between their parents take on the same mentality.  They grow to accept it and see it as normal, and it becomes a part of them.  Both are wrong.

This is part of the life experiences (wombs) that ALLAH mentions in 4:1 of the Qur’an.  Every experience that ALLAH allows to happen to you, or allow you to witness, is designed to make you stronger and test your faith.  You should not feel that this is your lot in life and you are doomed to that existence.  Quite the contrary,  this can be a boost in your human strength.

ALLAH says He will forgive you (for giving abuse and accepting it) if you repent and don’t keep doing it and making excuses for it. (This is very important).

As human beings, ALLAH has given us the uncanny ability to control our own minds and the dispositions and mentality that comes out of our minds.  La illaha illala truly means nothing is above the human being (Adam) except The Creator.  We control our minds by thinking positively on the dictates of ALLAH and submitting to them.  This pushes out the negative and allows strong iman (faith in ALLAH and His Message) to reign in us allowing us to lead peaceful and productive lives.

So, like the scientists say, if your mind has been affected by witnessing negative abusive behavior, you will probably have these feelings for the rest of your life.  But they do not have to control you.  This is where ALLAH comes in and gives you insight and strength.

First you realize these negative feelings are wrong and are a tool of the devil.  ALLAH did not create you to be abusive to any of His creation.  Nor did He create you to accept abuse.  You are better than that.  You are Adam.  Those devil-inspired feelings are supposed to bow to you…not vice versa. 

And remember, those who inflict abuse are guilty and committing great sin.  And similarly, those who accept abuse are guilty.  Both are lowering themselves beneath the lofty station ALLAH has placed them on. It’s as if you are denying the Favors of ALLAH.  Keep the faith.  Remain strong.  Remember ALLAH often and the victory is yours.

“And those who, having done an act of indecency, or wronged their own souls, should remember ALLAH and ask for forgiveness for their sins;  and who can forgive sins except ALLAH?  And are never stubborn in continuing (and excusing) the wrong they have done.  For them, the reward is is forgiveness from The Lord and gardens with rivers flowing underneath as an eternal dwelling; how excellent a reward this is for those who work and strive for good”.  3:135-136 Qur’an

As Salaam alaikum
Al Hajj Imam Abdullah El-Amin

13-34

Find your Peace Using ALLAH’S Peace

August 4, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Imam Abdullah El-Amin, TMO

Islam, the religion of peace of over one billion people, is uniquely situated to comfort each of those people individually.  No two people are alike or have the same situations or experiences – not best friends, family members, not even identical twins think and act alike.  And for all these one billion plus Muslims, there is only one book of guidance for all…the illustrious Qur’an Karim.

ALLAH has structured His creation so that every human being can have a personal relationship with Him.  This is why when praying, it shouldn’t matter what masjid you are at or what imam is leading.  You’re not praying to him or through him: you’re praying directly to ALLAH.  The imam is just leading you through the motions.

To enhance peace in our own lives, we must focus on the peace of the Divine Mind revealed by ALLAH to mankind.  Keeping the mind steady on the path of love and prosperity is a full-time job and absolutely imperative if we are to attain the true purpose of our existence, which is to follow ALLAH’S directives for peace of mind and prosperity.

ALLAH has given us this beautiful mind as the greatest tool in creation.  Everything except ALLAH submits to that mind (Adam).  The mind was designed by ALLAH to reflect the spiritual world, so we can better maneuver in the material world and thus, achieve a balance between these two worlds.

No where in the Qur’an does ALLAH tell mankind to be evil, mean, jealous, or envious as these are the characteristics of Satan.  Quite the contrary, He admonishes us for those things and directs us to be the exact opposite.  But as we have said many times, it is not automatic.  Because we are equipped with a mind and consciousness, we must consciously read and learn ALLAH’S word and act on it in order to be successful.

The common, lazy practice of mankind is to make other people the cause and the source of their happiness.  Women will look to a man for happiness and peace, and a man will look to a woman.  Ironically, these false sources of happiness can also be thought of as the guilty ones and the ones to blame for our unhappiness.  Neither one is the truth.  True happiness and peace can only come from submission to The Source of peace…Almighty ALLAH.

It takes faith and work (action) to walk the path of spirituality while negativity and self-doubt are the results of lack of faith in ALLAH, and lack of knowledge of the sacred principles that govern this world.  This lack of knowledge comes most often from not getting involved with the scripture of ALLAH through reflective reading.

Presently we are in the 1st days of the month of Ramadan which affords us the best opportunity to reflect on and increase our faith…which is the key to peace.  ALLAH tells us in Qur’an that the early morning is the best time for reading Qur’an and reflection and prayer.  In His mercy of ordering us to fast, the majority of us is up and has had suhoor anyway: so, if your schedule allows it, use this time to raise yourself spiritually.  Sit down quietly and read the days reading with reflection on the words; not just as a duty.

ALLAH has made peace attainable to us all, individually, so don’t miss your opportunity.  Find your peace by being human as ALLAH describes a human.

As Salaam alaikum
(Al Hajj) Imam Abdullah El-Amin

Fulfilling Our Destiny is Like Surfing the Waves

July 14, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Karin Friedemann, TMO

Every living thing has an ideal destiny, because God created us to grow, learn, enjoy life, and improve our intellect, so that we may understand Reality, just like He wants the flowers to bloom. God made every living being with a blueprint of its true nature within its DNA. Sometimes flowers wilt, sometimes people become depressed, but that is not their true nature. Some kind of deficit has occurred, like lack of rain prevents the flower from living up to its natural potential. Unlike flowers we have choices, and the moral responsibility for those choices. We also have human rights.

In Islam, a woman has the moral responsibility for the spiritual status of herself, and her children. On the Day of Judgment a man will however be asked about the level of his wife’s faith. A woman will not be held morally responsible to the same degree if her husband went astray. That is because man has a degree of power over his wife that she doesn’t have over him, by nature. A parent only has moral responsibility up to a point. When the child becomes of age, he is responsible for his own choices. Prophet Noah (as) had to go through the heartbreak of enduring a disobedient son and then, he had to live with the knowledge his son had drowned in the Flood. What a terrible burden! But Allah relieved him of that burden. 

He (God) said, “O Noah, in fact, he (your son) is not a part of your family. Indeed, he is (a man of) bad deeds. So do not ask Me something of which you have no knowledge. I exhort you not to be among the ignorant.” (Quran 11:46)

Allah said it is ignorance to love and consider as family a man of bad deeds. The most sacred bonds such as between a parent and a child can be destroyed by bad deeds. When we continue to pray for something in a relationship that is not possible, we are living in ignorance. Yet, at other times, when we should be doing something quite possible, but we did not make the effort, we are also living in ignorance. How do we know if a situation is salvageable? How do we know when to give up on a person or whether to try harder to reach them? As long as we are acting from ego, we will never know.

Even our Prophet (s), as an example for us, asked for protection against his own ego, even for the blink of an eye; although he is perfect and preserved from sin by God, he taught us to be careful of our own egos. Prophet David (as) used to follow his prayers with supplications begging forgiveness for the inadequacy of his previous prayers, in case there was any pride mixed in for having performed them.

Every struggle, whether a relationship problem, cancer, or a war, presents us with opportunities to learn and grow, and to purify our souls. There is a special dwelling place in Paradise for those who are able to praise God in every circumstance no matter what. We will always experience hardship and loss and fear. Our ego can get in the way and make us afraid to take risks or conversely, make us react emotionally and destructively. Real devils will interfere in our lives and zap our ability to understand what’s going on.

Everyone has something that they are destined to fulfill in this life. Sometimes we stop the process of our own growth and degrade ourselves; sometimes we allow someone else to degrade us – because we have been allowing our ego to cover up the Truth deep inside that God wants us to be happy and healthy. It’s a delicate balance we must maintain, and it has to move with every wave, like a surfer. But if we can maintain that balance within, we can then with a clear head make the best decision for what will help us blossom in our true lives.

The Prophet Muhammad (s) said the struggle will go on until the Day of Judgment, like the ocean waves. There will never be a time when we don’t have to face trouble and make decisions about how to deal with these challenges. Until we get our own egos under control, we will face the same trouble over and over and over, regardless of how many times we run away from our problems.

All human beings are in a state of total confusion until we accept Grace. Verily all men are in a state of loss! Except those who accept that sunshine and rain from the sky, and share this Truth with others. They are the ones who can bloom. They are the ones who have learned to collect Power from the universe, circulate it within, and emit Light. They are the glowing ones.

When you see someone who is glowing, you know they are not wasting their day nursing resentments, you know they are keeping their minds clear and clean. They probably have a regular spiritual practice, because glowing takes regular practice. It doesn’t just “happen” just like music doesn’t just “happen.” Unless a musician regularly exercises the tiny muscles in his fingers, he will not be able to play you a song, let alone put feeling into that song. We must constantly work on perfecting ourselves, but we will never be perfect. We can never give up trying to be the best we can be, because that is the whole point of our life’s journey.

Karin Friedemann is a Boston-based freelance writer.

13-29

To Will or Not To Will…

July 7, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Adil Daudi, Esq.

A few weeks ago I was approached by a client who stepped in to discuss his estate plan. He began the meeting by telling me he wanted to create a Shariah compliant Will that will ensure his assets are distributed pursuant to the terms given to us by Allah s.w.t. Before proceeding with his demands, I asked him if he was fully aware of the benefits of creating a Will and whether he knew he had other options.

This scenario is all-too-common. Under the right circumstances, there is nothing wrong with drafting a Will as part of your Estate Plan, however, prior to taking any steps, it is important to be informed on what you are drafting and why.

A Last Will and Testament is very commonly used, but many are not sure what it exactly entails. Although it is very easy to draft a will, be sure to consult with an Attorney on the benefits and drawbacks of actually having one.

Prior to any plan it is always important to know why you should even have one. For any Muslim, having an estate plan is not discretionary, but rather mandatory. Narrated by Ibn Umar, Prophet Muhammad (s) once said: “It is not right for any Muslim person who has something to bequeath to stay for two nights without having his last will and testament written and kept ready with him.”

The following are certain factors, or facts, that should be considered when drafting a will.

1. Every Will must go through Probate: Probate is a court system that determines the validity of your will and helps facilitate in the process of distributing your assets. Note:  assets cannot be distributed until this process has completed. On average, the entire probate process can take between four-to-six months. 

2. Costs: Here is a very common misconception concerning a Will. “I got a Will because it is cheaper than a Trust.” Do not fall into the trap of thinking a Will is the best estate planning tool just because it is the cheapest. I have heard many clients proudly claim they created their Will for free online. But what they don’t realize are the costs that are associated with the Will after they die. Probate costs are not cheap. On average the entire probate process can cost between 3-5% of your estate.

It is important to realize that when discussing your estate planning options, it should not be dependent on how much you pay today, but rather how much your estate will pay at the end.

3. Public Information: Depending on how much value you place on privacy, the administration of a Will provides you with none. Once your Will is filed with the court, it becomes accessible to the general public.

These are some of the issues that you should consider when contemplating your estate plan. Fortunately, there are other options available for you to consider that can be cheaper and more effective. That is why it is important to speak with an Attorney to discuss your options and more importantly to discuss the options on how best to effectuate the distribution requirements pursuant to Shariah law. With the proper planning, you will have set up the best method that suits your individual needs, saves you money, and satisfies the requirements of Allah (s.w.t.)

Adil Daudi is an Attorney at Joseph, Kroll & Yagalla, P.C., focusing primarily on Asset Protection for Physicians, Physician Contracts, Estate Planning, Business Litigation, Corporate Formations, and Family Law. He can be contacted for any questions related to this article or other areas of law at adil@josephlaw.net or (517) 381-2663.

13-28

Practice Your Belief

June 9, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

With ALLAH’S name, The Merciful Benefactor, Merciful Redeemer

By Imam Abdullah El-Amin, TMO

El-Amin portrait  90dpiTo have faith in ALLAH is to trust Him in good times and bad times, in prosperity and poverty, when we have made intelligent decisions or dumb mistakes.  Things don’t always go as we plan.  Sometimes we can do something so stupid that we doubt our sanity.  But keeping faith in ALLAH by using our conscious minds can save us and help get us back on track.

Sometimes it is difficult to believe in the unseen, even though ALLAH says these believers are the people the book is written for.  So the practice of the religion must be coupled with the faith that the obedience to the dictates of the religion will bring the desired results; that the promises ALLAH makes will be kept.

Always remember, we receive, as a result of prayer, exactly what we think.  WE have to begin to think straight, as the Qur’an instructs us and as Muhammad (s) did by example, to receive the blessings of ALLAH.

Rote, mechanical movements of salat, will not, in itself, produce the results you desire without the conscious submission of your mind to Him.     

It is a fact that our minds have to be programmed by us.  ALLAH designed it that way.  He gave each of us the ingredients and thus, the power to change our condition and enhance our condition – just by thinking positively.  He puts the responsibility on us by telling us our condition will not change until we first change our hearts -the heart being representative of the “nafs” or soul of the human being.
I keep putting the emphasis on we and us to underscore the fact that it won’t be done automatically.  It must be done by each individual.  If you don’t think you can – you will think you can’t – and you most certainly won’t.

ALLAH tells us in another verse of the Qur’an that our souls must be purified by us in order for us to be successful.  Again, that purification begins with a thought – positive thinking.  So it is important that these thoughts be clean and guided by a righteous heart.  And if it is not righteous, it can be programmed to be righteous.  The Prophet Muhammad (s) has said, “There is a morsel of flesh in the body which if it be whole, the whole body will be whole.  And if it be diseased, the whole body is diseased.  Surely it is the heart” Of course we know this is the symbolic heart and not necessarily the physical heart, but it is a good example.  The heart pumps life-giving blood to every cell in the body, including the brain, which houses the mind.  Now if this heart is pumping good rich blood to the brain, it will thrive and prosper with the nutrients it carries.  Similarly, if the “nafs” is good, pure, and whole, it will feed the mind so it can make proper decisions for clean and positive living.

Isn’t it wonderful?  We actually have the ability to make ourselves whole.  By practicing our belief, it increases our faith, which gives us the strength to obey ALLAH, and so we become better human beings.  We become more stable, more prosperous, more peaceful, and, most importantly, more spiritually connected to ALLAH.

So let us start to program our brains to think on the straight path ALLAH has laid out for us.  Let us make our brains purify our hearts so we can be truly successful.

As Salaam alaikum
(Al Hajj) Imam Abdullah El-Amin

13-24

MANA Official Leaves Hospital

June 2, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Press Release

As-Salaamu ‘Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakaatuhu:

As you may know, over a week ago, I was admitted to Mt. Sinai hospital in New York due to high blood sugar levels and for surgery on an infected foot.  Alhamdulillah, since that time, my blood sugar and the infection have responded well to rest and antibiotics, and as a result; I have not had to have surgery.  If my condition continues to improve, my doctors expect for me to be released within a few days. 

On behalf of myself and my family and on behalf of the MANA Diwan and Majlis, I thank the community for the concern you have expressed for my well-being and for your du’a.

May Allah’s blessings and mercy be upon us all.

Your brother,
Imam Al-Hajj Talib ‘Abdur-Rashid, Deputy Amir/General Secretary, MANA

13-23

Take Time for Internal Reflection

May 13, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

By Imam Abdullah El-Amin, MMNS

It is not the quantity, but the quality of time spent attempting to follow the guidance of ALLAH that ensures success.  ALLAH says in Qur’an that “everything is a sign – for those who reflect.”  Each day, if we just take 10 minutes of quiet, quality time in carefully selected thought procedures, we can improve our life by achieving a greater measure of happiness, increased efficiency, and a feeling of spiritual, mental, and physical well-being.

So many things whiz by us each day that it is virtually impossible to reflect while you are on the go.  You will possibly see these “signs of ALLAH”, but not will reflect on them to get the full benefit.  So many miraculous things occur during the course of our going about our daily activities.  They are happening whether you realize it or not.  The key is to first know that ALLAH is in the blessing business and then key in on your blessings by being one of those who “reflect” on the signs of ALLAH.

This 10 minute formula I am sharing with you has been proven scientifically over time and it is right in sync with the ALLAH’S word to “reflect.”  The plan is to spend the 10 minutes every day in quiet submission.  It must be regular.  To do it for a day or two and then skip a day or two will lessen the impact on the results.

ALLAH is real, and He will guide you as you submit your mind to His.  Don’t go into this process with the idea “I want to do this—or do that.  Instead, wait on an answer to enter your mind.  You have now made your mind susceptible to Divine wisdom.

This is in the same vein as the Istikara prayer Muslims say in the early reaches of the night.  The difference is, in the istakara prayer, we ask ALLAH to examine our particular situation.  It may be a particular relationship or maybe a career move or something similar.  We make two rakah and ask ALLAH to make it easy and possible to attain— if it is right for us.  If it is not right for us, we ask Him to remove it from us.  Istakara is a powerful tool of connection and help from ALLAH.

This time of reflection is also special because we stop what we are doing, go to a quiet place with no distractions and wait for thoughts to enter your mind.  They might not be what you expect or even what you want.  They may be far from what we are accustomed to thinking.  But if you are a believer and have submitted yourself to be an instrument of ALLAH, you will be on a higher wavelength of righteousness in which there is no error. The time can vary.  It may be before salat or after salat—or an hour or so after salat. It doesn’t matter.  The main thing is quietness, relaxation, and submission of your mind to ALLAH.

There are many tools and avenues to connect spiritually to our Creator.  This is only one.  Sometimes while offering salat, solutions and answers come to our minds.  I take it as ALLAH choosing a time to communicate with me.  Some people think they are sinning if your mind wanders during salat.  But it is not necessarily so.  It depends on what your mind is wandering to.

This human mind we have is special and it has a special way of communicating with its Maker.  Reflect on the “Signs” of ALLAH.  You will be richer for it.

As Salaam alaikum
(Al Hajj) Imam Abdullah El-Amin

12-20

Day of Goodness

April 22, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

By Adil James, MMNS

P4178782 Southfield–April 21–Small fundraiser highlights up and coming local Muslim organizations, delivers goodness despite missing keynote speaker.

The Islamic Shura Council of Michigan’s “Day of Goodness” last Saturday night was deprived of its keynote speaker due to a problem with specialized visas. 

However, many prominent and active Muslims from local organizations still attended, perhaps showing more in quality than in quantity, with about 100 people present, but among those people perhaps 10 imams, and the leadership of the many organizations associated with the Islamic Shura Council of Michigan.

The event is essentially a fundraiser, and by the end of the evening it had earned approximately $75,000 towards its stated goal of $150,000.  The event was in a conference room at the Southfield Westin hotel on Town Center Drive.

ISCOM Chair Dr. Mouhib Ayas explained that intended keynote speaker Jamal Badawi’s visa did not permit him to speak at Not-for-profit fundraisers.  So Badawi was not able to speak despite his coming to Michigan from Canada, and despite his having given the khutbah at the Bloomfield Muslim Unity Center earlier in the day.

ISCOM was established in 2005 as a non-profit umbrella organization with, according to the dayofgoodness website, “the mission of providing coordination between and building cohesiveness among the Islamic centers mosques, and organizations in Michigan.  The council works for the betterment of all Muslims, to advance Muslim interests, and to promote Islamic values.”

The chairman of the Board of Directors is Mouhib Ayas, and its Vice Chair is Arif Huskic.  Attorney Misbah Shahid is the Secretary, and several other prominent Southeast Michigan Muslims are also on the board–the executive assistant and first employee is Reheem Hanifa.

20 different mosques, comprising the majority of the major mosques in Southeast Michigan, including the biggest Shi’a mosque and most of the big Sunni mosques, are involved.

Dr. Ayas gave a long but interesting presentation with a slideshow demonstrating the accomplishments of ISCOM.  He pointed out the association of ISCOM with Gleaners Food Bank, and also showed the institutional progress the organization has made by hiring a grant writer to apply for available grants–this alone has netted thousands of dollars in projects and may likely bring more projects in the near future.  One project the grant writing process obtained was a $25,000 Blue Cross Blue Shield project.

One program he spoke about was the “Maintaining Houses of Allah” program, which is designed to address the disparity between the wealthy mosques and the mosques with less money that are sometimes dilapidated and run down for lack of funds.

In a moving presentation Dr. Ayas pointed to pictures, first of a wealthy mosque then of a more destitute mosque, saying “This is a house of Allah, and this is a house of Allah,” driving home the point that ISCOM is working to benefit Muslims who really need help in order to worship Allah in clean and nice mosques.

P4178785 Another ISCOM project is working with MSA’s, using them really as a lever to connect to non-Muslims in universities–”we need to start influencing minds when people are young.”  He explained the goal is to meet future leaders of this country early on, and Dr. Ayas gave examples of programs where non-Muslim students fasted (not during Ramadan) in order to understand the effects of fasting on Muslims.

Dr. Ayas explained also that in order for the institution to move forward, ISCOM needs to start hiring professional full-time people, and he gave the example of Mr. Reheem Hanifa who has begun working full-time for the organization.

Dr. Ayas also showed a fairly inspiring diagram which showed ISCOM as the hub of a wheel reaching about 15 different important Muslim organizations in Southeast Michigan, including Muslim Family Services, MSA’s, the Huda Clinic, Islamic schools, and more.

There was a presentation by a relatively new organization called Muslim Social Services, www.muslimsocialservices.com, whose mission is to extend the reach and value of social services to Muslims in Washtenaw County, Michigan. 

There was a strong fundraising effort by a young but dedicated medical student, Farhan Abdul Aziz.  He told a beautiful story of a Chinese Muslim who travelled to the United States and passed away knowing nobody, but who was able to be buried by Muslims because of the social service institutions that had been set up in the city in which she died, which drove home the vital importance of such institutions.

For more information about ISCOM, you can visit either www.islamicshuracouncil.com or www.dayofgoodness.com.  You can also contact Dr. Ayas at 248-705-9137.

12-17

Shakh Tahir Qadri’s Fatwa Against Suicide Bombing and Terrorism

April 1, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

(Continuation from last week–part four)

The Quran says:

“(Say to the people:) ‘Listen, sincere obedience and worship is only Allāh’s due. And those (disbelievers) who have taken (idols as) helpers other than Allāh (say in false justification of their idol-worship:) ‘We worship them only that they may bring us near to Allāh.’ Surely, Allāh will judge between them concerning the matter in which they differ. Certainly Allāh does not give him guidance who is a liar, very ungrateful.”

(Al-Quran, 39-3)

When the idolaters of Makka were asked the reason of idol-worship, they said the idols would get them into Allah’s proximity. The intention to attain to Allah’s nearness is good, but idol-worship is blasphemy and disbelief. The idolatry, therefore, cannot be justified because of good intention.

Similarly, the terrorists’ claim of reformation too cannot be accepted because, practically, they prove bloodshed and violence instead of some constructive work and reformation. Allah Most High says:

“And among people there is also someone whose conversation seems to you pleasing in the life of the world and who calls Allāh to witness that which is in his heart, but in truth he is most quarrelsome. And when he turns away (from you), he runs about in the land to do (everything possible) to rouse mischief and destroy crops and life. And Allāh does not like mischief and violence. And when it is said to him (on account of this tyranny and violence): ‘Fear Allāh,’ his arrogance stimulates him for more sins. Hell is, therefore, sufficient for him. And that is indeed an evil abode.”

(Al-Quran, 204-206)

These verses too describe that many people will make conversation appearing delightful in the perspective of superficial arguments. They will swear on their good intentions, and declare Allah witness to their noble objectives and pious aims. Despite their assertions and testimonial claims, however, Allah has declared them miscreants and evil-mongers to face the torment of Hell. So their swearing on their intentions has been refuted because they are doing sheer terrorism, violence and strife. Their crimes, therefore, cannot be forgiven due to their good intentions and noble designs declared on oath. This is the basic principle drawn from the Quran and Islamic Law.

These Quranic verses explain the same point:

“When it is said to them: ‘Do not spread disorder in the land,’ they say: ‘It is we who reform.’ Beware! (Truly) it is they who spread disorder, but they do not have any sense (of it) at all.”

(Al-Quran, 11-12)

Here again the mischievous and criminal mentality has been described that the miscreants never take their activities as disruption, violence and strife; rather, they call it Jihad and deeds of reconstruction and reformation. They presume that the tyrannous activities they perpetrate are aimed at greater good of society. Today’s tragedy is that terrorists, murderers, mischief-mongers and rioters try to prove their criminal, rebellious, tyrannous, and brutal blasphemous activities as a right and justified reaction to foreign aggression under the garb of defense of Islam and national interests.

They should know that, as good intention can never prove an unlawful act justified, pious designs can never prove blasphemy as righteousness, and virtuous objectives can never prove an impure act wholesome, the intention to perform Jihad, in the same way, can never prove violence and terrorism lawful and permissible. The intention to protect Islam, erect defense against foreign aggression and avenge the wrongs and excesses inflicted upon Muslim Umma is one thing, and brutal mass murder of innocent citizens, vast destruction of civil property, ruthless target killings and destruction of mosques and markets and businesses is altogether a different debacle. The former can never prove the latter lawful. The one has nothing to do with the other; there is no relevance and congruity between the two. Terrorism, carnage and mass destruction can never be justified in the name of any intention of enforcing Islamic commands and judicial system. Nor can these condemnable activities be any exception to the rule, or be overlooked, or forgiven.

The in-depth study of the Quran and Hadith makes one dauntlessly declare that Islam makes it conditional to realize the lawful objectives only through lawful means, to attain to the noble targets only through permissible resources and reach the sacred destinations by treading only the righteous ways. A holy goal can never be attained by following an evil and criminal path. Constructing a mosque is a pious act, but it cannot be proved lawful to do it by looting a bank. The objectives of mercy cannot be achieved through cruel and oppressive ways. The designs of an exalted pious person cannot be materialized by adopting blasphemous methodology. In sum, good cannot be earned by evil means. Fair is fair and foul is foul. This is Satan who says, ‘fair is foul and fouls is fair.’ This is the majesty and purity of Din that it has purified and reformed both the destination and its path. It has made both objective and method pure and upright.

The people who base their argument on the Hadith, ‘actions are judged according to intentions,’ in order to justify their brutal ways and cursed means, make false and heretic implications. They cannot set a wrong thing right. This Hadith signifies only those actions that are proved pious, permissible and lawful. Their acceptability has been based on trueness of intention. If the intention is pure, they will be accepted, or they will be rejected. If the intention is not good, or the coveted intention does not exist, the actions will not be considered acts of worship, despite their apparent righteous value. They will be rejected or discredited. But the actions that are forbidden, unjust, unlawful and blasphemous cannot be made permissible, lawful, just and creditable by even extremely good intentions joined together. This is such an Islamic principle and legal formula as no one of the Companions, pious predecessors, Imams, and authorities of hadith and exegeses has departed from to date. Some scholars have also interpreted this hadith, ‘actions are judged according to intentions,’ as pointing to manifestation of deeds according to intentions. The actions take shape according to the intentions. So a terrorist’s actions speak of his intentions. His killings and destructive activities refer to his foul intention and condemnable ideas and beliefs. His heinous actions cannot stem from pious intentions and beliefs. The bloodshed he causes refers only to a cruel man inside him and not any kind and merciful soul. It is, therefore, evident that whatever false implications and foul justifications these rebels, criminals, evil-mongers, tyrannous brutes may put forth to prove their atrocities as act of Jihad, they have nothing to do with the teachings of Islam.

The Holy Quran has vividly described them in this verse:

“It is those whose entire struggle is wasted in worldly life, but they presume they are doing very good works.”

(Al-Quran, 18: 104)

12-14

Using our Adam to Control our Animal Nature

March 18, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

By Imam Abdullah El-Amin, MMNS

When Adam was created a very special being was created.  ALLAH actually put more of Himself into human kind than any other part of creation.  He told the Jinn, Angels, Devil, and everything else to submit to humankind.  This puts us directly under ALLAH with nothing in between.

It also gives us a great amount of responsibility to live our lives as Muslim human beings.  When you consciously accept to become a Muslim, thoughts and activities you did prior to accepting the highest station of creation (Conscious Muslim human being) should be suppressed with as much vigor as possible.

All ethnic groups and cultures of Muslim groups have their own cultural baggage that denigrates the religion as well as the individual.  There are cultural practices that automatically place women in an inferior, sub-class from men.  This is not from scripture.  It is from misogynist, chauvinistic ideas of men.  Nevertheless they are seen by non-Muslims, and some Muslims, as part of the religion.  These types of negative portrayals create a mindset that stifles the positive forward progress of the community.

There are other groups, primarily reverts to the religion, that have cultural baggage they brought with them from another life.

I witnessed a terrible example of this when two brothers in a disagreement actually went to fisticuffs – at the masjid – instead of using their religious instruction to solve the problem.  The altercation actually started over unproven accusations that they didn’t take time to discuss.  They just let violent, uncivilized behavior take over their minds and a worst situation developed.   Settling differences with brawn rather than brain is the result of a barbaric mentality that has no place in the life of a conscious Muslim.

When most reverts accept the religion it’s because they see a superior way of life dictated by the directives of the Almighty ALLAH through His human example, Prophet Muhammad (s).  We look at where we came from and the negative effects backward lifestyles had on us and vow to live a new, fruitful, productive, moral and peaceful life.  Some of us even make the journey to Mecca to perform the hajj to increase our spirituality and thus the tools to achieve this new life.

Human beings are animals.  The same physiological characteristics that make up our bodies are present in most animals, especially mammals.  We even use cats, dogs, and fetal pigs in laboratories to study our own human physiology.  The only difference between our brain and the brain of a cat is our brain houses “mind,” which makes us human.

So even though we have this animal nature, our human mind is supposed to control it.  This is true for ordinary human beings and is supposed to be especially prominent for those of us who have become Conscious Muslim Human Beings.  So whatever your ethnic or cultural baggage, whether misogyny or brutal aggression, Islam is supposed to free you from that.  And this freedom is yours regardless of your cultural or ethnic background.  The Qur’an speaks to all people.

It is understandable that these things are difficult to overcome but every effort must be made to make the change.  ALLAH made us (Muslim human animals) to be the cream of creation and endowed us with a piece of Him to take care of the creation.

Let us try to remember ALLAH the next time challenges confront us.  Let us think before we do an action whether ALLAH would approve of what that action is and the manner we are doing that action.  Remember Ihsan, “behave as though you see ALLAH, aware you can’t see Him, but also aware that He sees you.”

As Salaam alaikum
Al Hajj Imam Abdullah El-Amin

12-12

Shakh Tahir Qadri’s Detailed Fatwa Against Suicide Bombing and Terrorism

March 11, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Leading Islamic Scholar’s Detailed Fatwa Against Suicide Bombing and All Forms of Terrorism – Shaykh Tahir Qadri

Shaykh-Tahir-Qadri A torturous spate of terrorism that continues unabated for last many years has brought Muslim Umma in general and Pakistan in particular into disrepute. There is no gainsaying the fact that the Muslims on the whole oppose and condemn terrorism in unequivocal terms and are not ready to accept it even as remotely related to Islam in any manner. However, a negligible minority amongst them seems to give it a tacit support. Instead of openly opposing and condemning terrorism, these people confuse the entire subject by resorting to misleading and perplexing discussions. Injustice being currently meted out to the Muslims in certain matters, double standards displayed by bigger powers and their open-ended and long-term military engagements in a number of countries, under the pretext of eliminating terror, form some of the fundamental local, national and international causes that underpin terrorism, and add a punch to the war cry of militants.

Similarly, the terrorists’ recourse to violence, indiscriminate massacre of humanity, suicide bombings against innocent and peaceful people, and bomb blasts on Mosques, shrines, educational institutions, Bazaars, governmental buildings, trade centers, markets, security installations, and other public places, which are heinous, anti-human and barbarous steps in their very essence, have become a routine affair. These people justify their actions of human destruction and mass killing of hundreds of innocent people in the name of Jihad and thus distort, deform and confuse the entire Islamic concept of Jihad (holy struggle against evil). This situation is causing Muslims in general and the Muslim youth in particular to fall prey to doubts and reservations besides muddling their minds in respect of Jihad because those perpetrating these atrocities are from amongst Muslims. They practice Islamic rituals, perform acts of worship and wear appearance delineated in Sharia. This has put not only the common Muslims but a dominating majority of religious scholars and intellectuals too into a paradox, bewildered to know truly the exact and precise Islamic injunctions about the way of workings, methods and measures these individuals and groups have adopted to cause the havoc.

Furthermore, the Western media is in wont of over-projecting the incidents and episodes of terrorism and extremism about the Muslim world, and does not at all highlight positive and constructive aspects of Islam, its peaceful teachings and anthropological philosophy and orientation. So much so, that it does not even reflect hatred, condemnation and opposition towards extremists, militants and terrorists that permeate the Muslim societies. The negative outcome of this attitude has appeared by way of bracketing both Islam and terrorism together. Consequently, the western mind starts conjuring up the picture of terrorism and extremism at a slight mention of the word ‘Islam’, putting the Western-bred and educated youth in a quandary, leaving them more beleaguered than before. The present generation of Muslim youth in the entire Islamic world is also falling victim to mental confusion and decadence intellectually, practically and in the domain of beliefs and religious tenets.

Because of this situation, two kinds of negative responses and destructive attitudes are forming up: one in the form of damage to Islam and the Muslim world, and second a threat to the Western world in particular and entire humanity in general. The damage to Islam and Muslim world is that the Muslim youth, not completely and comprehensively aware of Islamic teachings, regard terrorism and extremism as emanating from religious teachings and attitudes of religious people under the influence of media; hence, they are getting alienated from religion. This misplaced thinking is leading them to atheism, posing lethal dangers to the Muslim Umma in future. Contrary to this, the damage threatening the Western world in particular, and entire humanity in general, is that the above-mentioned policies and racial profiling of the Muslims is inciting negative response among some of the Muslim youths who regard these forays against Islam as an organized conspiracy and enmity by some influential circles in the western world. By way of reaction, they are either gradually becoming extremists, militants and terrorists, departing moderation and poised outlook on life, charged with hatred and revenge, or are being grown and groomed into the design. Thus, the Western policies are instrumental in producing and inducting new potential terrorist recruits and workforce, with no end in sight. In both the cases, the Muslim Umma as well as humanity are heading towards a catastrophe.

Moreover, these circumstances are heightening tension, creating larger trust deficits between the Islamic and the Western worlds. The increase in terrorism is paving the way for greater foreign interference in and pressure on the Muslim states. This widening gulf is not only pushing the humanity towards inter-faith antagonism at the global level but also reducing to nothingness the possibilities of peace, tolerance and mutual coexistence among different human societies on the globe. We thought it necessary, under these circumstances, to put the Islamic stance on terrorism precisely in its right perspective before the Western and Islamic worlds, in the light of the Holy Quran, Prophetic traditions and Books of Jurisprudence and Beliefs. We want to put across this point of view before all the significant institutions, valuable think tanks and influential opinion-making organizations in the world so that the Muslim and non-Muslim circles, entertaining doubts and reservations about Islam, are enabled to understand Islam’s standpoint on terrorism more clearly and unambiguously. The contents of this research work have been summarized here briefly.

The first chapter of this document, explaining and elaborating the meaning of Islam, discusses its three grades i.e. Islam (peace), Iman (faith) and Ehsan (Spiritual Excellence). These three words, both literally and metaphorically, represent peace, safety, mercy, tolerance, forbearance, love, affection, benevolence and respect for humanity. It has been proven in the second chapter of this document through dozens of Quranic verses and Prophetic traditions that the mass killing of Muslims and perpetration of terrorism are not only unlawful and forbidden in Islam but also denote the rejection of faith. Through reference to the expositions and opinions of jurists and experts of Exegeses and Hadith, it has been established that all the learned authorities have held the same opinion about terrorism in 1400-year-old history of Islam.

The third chapter of this edict describes the rights of non-Muslim citizens quite comprehensively. The opinions of all the leading jurists have also been listed in the light of various Quranic verses and Prophetic traditions.

In addition to that, the most important point this research study has undertaken to make revolves around the thought, ideology and mindset, which pits a Muslim against another and finally leads him to massacre innocent humanity. Such a mindset not only regards the killing of women shopping in markets and School-going girls permissible but also a means of earning rewards and spiritual benefits. What power or conviction rouses him to kill people gathered in the mosque, and earn Paradise through carnage? Why does a terrorist decide to end his own life, the greatest blessing of Allah Almighty, with his own hands through suicide bombings? How he comes to believe that, by killing innocent Muslims through suicide bombing, he would become a martyr and enter Paradise? These are the questions whirling in the mind of every person possessing common sense. While furnishing befitting answers to these emerging questions, we have resorted to those historical facts, besides scholarly arguments, which the Holy Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) himself identified. Undertaking the comprehensive analysis of signs, beliefs and ideologies of Khawarij through the Quranic Verses, Prophetic traditions and jurisprudential opinions of jurists, we have established that the terrorists are the Khawarij of the contemporary times.

After declaring this forbidden terrorist act rebellion, gory brutality on earth and an act of infidelity, we have drawn the attention of all the responsible powers and stakeholders under the topic, “Call to Reflect and Reform” to the need of eliminating all the factors that cause people to entertain doubts, and reinforce the hidden hands actively engaged in spreading the plague around. Another theme under discussion these days emphasizes that since foreign imperialist powers are making unwarranted and unjustified interference in Muslim countries including Pakistan, the so-called Jihadi groups have come in their way to launch the offensive, inflicting upon them a devastating blow. Their action though not right and justifiable, they should not be reviled and condemned because their intention is to defend Islam. In our view, this is an awful witticism and a deplorable stance. To remove the misconception, we have specified a brief portion of the treatise in the beginning to this subject as well, bringing to the fore the fact in the light of the Quran and Hadith that evil cannot become good under any circumstances, nor can oppression transform itself into virtuous deed due to goodness of intention.

After these explanatory submissions, we also regard it our fundamental duty to let everyone know without any grain of doubt that we are going ahead with the publication of this research work solely for the sake of respect and dignity of Islam and service of humanity. We do not mean to condone or approve the unpopular and unwise policies of global powers through this Edict, nor do we aim to justify the wrong policies of any government including that of Pakistan. We neither seek pleasure of any government, nor tribute or appreciation from any international power or organization. Like always, we have taken initiative and are performing this task as a part of our religious obligations. Our objective in doing so is to wash off the stain of terrorism from the fair face of Islam, familiarizing the Muslims with real teachings of the Holy Quran and Sunna and try to rid the suffering humanity of the raging fire of terrorism.

May Almighty Allah bless this endeavour with His benevolent acceptance through the holy means of His Beloved Messenger (s).

– to be continued –

Islam – America’s Answer to the Race Problem

March 11, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

By Imam Abdullah El-Amin, MMNS

Repeated from earlier article.

“O mankind.  We created you from a single (pair) of a male and female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know each other (not that you may despise each other).  Surely the most honored of you in the sight of ALLAH is he or she who is the most righteous of you.  And ALLAH has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things). 

Hujurat:13

There is none more aware of the differences of human beings than the One who created them.  It is through the generosity and graciousness of ALLAH that He made us different nations, tribes and colors.  Just think for a moment how dull the world would be if everyone were pink and thought exactly alike.  We could not learn from each other – and thus, we could not grow.  But ALLAH, with His infinite wisdom, has made us different- so we may know each other.

In the early 1960’s, El Hajj Malik El Shabazz (Malcolm X) returned from his pilgrimage to Mecca and made the profound statement that “America needs to look at Islam as the answer to its race problem.”  Here was a man whose mind had been previously clouded by erroneous assertions of Black superiority and Caucasian devilishness.  While on hajj he wrote to his wife that he had sat down and eaten with blonde-haired, blue-eyed people and there was no racism there – only brotherhood.

Recently, in Southeast Michigan where I live, there have been a rash of ugly racial incidents and feelings put out.  There have been cross-burnings and even opposition to the building of a major mall because it would attract people from other cities nearby.  Southeast Michigan has the reputation of being one of the most racially segregated areas in the country.  Cities separated by a few miles are 90% African-American and 98% Caucasian respectively.

This can be looked at negatively as a sign of hatred, which in some cases it might very well be.  But what is more important than where people live is what is in their hearts.  ALLAH says regardless of where we live or were born, ALLAH says we are one ummah, and He is Lord (21:92)

In my nearly 30 years as a Muslim, I am a witness that Muslims, for the most part, look upon other Muslims as brothers and sisters, regardless of their culture, ethnic background, or school of thought.  As an example, a Muslim from China can meet a Muslim from the Netherlands while they are vacationing in Brazil, and there is an instant kinship and recognition – and most times a universal greeting of As Salaam alaikum.  I have seen this in no other group of people whether it be religious or fraternal.  Even Muslims who don’t necessarily like each other still share this kinship.  And it is not fake.  You know in your soul and heart if someone really likes you or not.

This is a blessing from ALLAH to those who are adherents to the highest form of existence for a human being…Islam.

Our charge now is to exercise this brotherhood by more visible interaction of the various Islamic communities.  Even if we live, work and play in different areas, we must make a conscious effort to be seen interacting and cooperating with each other.  This is not only good for us, but it will also be a sign and a help to those who are not Muslim.  It will raise the esteem of Muslims in the general society as having something very positive and beneficial to contribute to the entire world.

Let’s look in our communities and see how we can aggressively promote this religion.  Do you want to end racism?…..try Islam.

As Salaam alaikum
Al Hajj Imam Abdullah El-Amin

12-11

The Power of Forgiveness

March 4, 2010 by · 2 Comments 

By Imam Abdullah El-Amin, MMNS

“HOLD TO FORGIVENESS; COMMAND WHAT IS RIGHT; BUT TURN AWAY FROM THE IGNORANT” 7:199

“TELL THOSE WHO BELIEVE TO FORGIVE THOSE WHO DO NOT LOOK FORWARD TO THE DAYS OF ALLAH: IT IS FOR HIM TO RECOMPENSE (FOR GOOD OR ILL) EACH PEOPLE ACCORDING TO WHAT THEY HAVE EARNED. 45:14

Has someone done you wrong?  Does it seem that someone has or is going out of their way to do harm to you?  Do you seem to be consumed with the thought of these acts of injustice to you?  Before you lose your mind, stop and assess your situation, and know this – NOW IS THE TIME FOR FORGIVENESS.

You might say, “why should I forgive someone who hurt me?  After all, I didn’t do anything to them.  They should ask me for forgiveness.” That might be true to a certain extent, but look at it this way.  Your human qualities are far above what Satan and the Jinns desire for you.

You should forgive because it takes the burden of someone else’s problem off your shoulders.  Forgiveness releases the heavy yoke of self-oppression from you.  If your adversary knows that he/she has consumed your thoughts with their wicked deeds, it only adds to their delight to see you squirm.

Let us look at our human example, Muhammad Ibn Abdullah (s), who was full of forgiveness.  One strong enemy of the Prophet (s) used to throw feces and sharp thorns in the prophet’s walkway every day.  The Prophet (s) would calmly sweep it up and say nothing.  Then one day he noticed that his walkway was clean.  No one had thrown anything on it.  Seeing this, the Prophet (s) promptly went to the man and inquired of his health.  The humble character of the Prophet (s) so impressed the man that he eventually accepted Al-Islam.

And of course we all know that we would not breathe another breath if it were not for the ever-present forgiveness of ALLAH on us.  ALLAH says all through the Qur’an that He is the Most Merciful and the Most Compassionate.  If He were to punish us according to our deeds, there would be no one left on the earth.  Now since ALLAH is so forgiving, (ultra-forgiving) and Prophet Muhammad (s), following the direction of ALLAH, exercises the ultimate human level of forgiveness, doesn’t it behoove us to follow their lead and attempt to do the same?  As in all directives of ALLAH, the purpose of the directive is to uplift the human being.  When we attempt to follow ALLAH and emulate the Messenger (s), there is a promised benefit in it for us – and that benefit is peace of mind.

Walk up to a brother or sister who you believe has done you a disservice and ask them to forgive you for anything you might have done to them, either knowingly or unknowingly.  Instantly you will feel a great lifting of doom and ugliness from your heart if the right intention was there (the pleasure of ALLAH).  And of course, if you are aware that you have wronged someone, be big enough to approach that person and ask them to forgive you – then go and strive to be upright after that.  If they accept your apology you have made peace in that particular relationship.  If they don’t accept your apology then at least you have lifted the cloud from yourself and you will go about your day with less of a burden on your shoulders.

If we just follow these simple rules of Islamic etiquette, our minds and hearts will be light and peaceful.  We will also be responsible for remaking the world into one of peace.

This is also showing Almighty ALLAH that we are grateful to Him for making us a human being – the greatest of all creation – and puts the bad Jinn in his place – under you.

As Salaam alaikum
Al Hajj Imam Abdullah El-Amin

12-10

Harun Yahya – Unawareness—A Sly Threat

February 18, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Freeing Oneself from Unawareness

Reading the Qur’an and pondering its verses

The most effective solution to ending one’s unawareness is to read the Qur’an, Allah’s divine light to guide His servants, and reflect upon its verses. Reading the Qur’an draws people closer to Allah and allows them to grasp something of His supreme knowledge and power. At the same time, it provides the clearest and truest knowledge about what was previously unknown and unconsidered, and also answers questions that had perplexed them in the past. For this reason, those who read the Qur’an sincerely understand it turn to Allah with their hearts satisfied.

Those who take its verses to heart become aware of the errors in their attitudes and ideas. Gradually, they come to understand the importance and seriousness of their past deeds and what drove them to engage in such activities. In short, they finally begin to understand Allah’s supreme knowledge and power, and thus feel their fear, respect, and love for Him start to grow:

This (Qur’an) is a communication to be transmitted to humanity so that people may be warned by it and will know that He is Allah, the One and Only; and so that people of intelligence will pay heed.

Ibrahim: 52

This Qur’an guides to the most upright Way and gives good news to the believers who do right actions that they will have a large reward.

al-Isra’: 9

Those who read the Qur’an and ponder its verses with sincerity eventually come to see it in the context of its manifestations of Allah. This allows them to remember Him at all times and avoid any type of unawareness. For example, they gradually notice that some of the people around them have characteristics that the Qur’an says belong to deniers. And, due to their awareness of the punishment awaiting such people, these examples become important lessons for them. This way, by Allah’s will, they avoid unawareness and learn how to protect themselves from it. In addition, they realize that the verses in the Qur’an reveal the punishment of Hell and that, apart from Allah’s will, there is no salvation. In the same way, they ponder the eternal beauty and blessings of life in the Garden and strive to win His mercy so that they may enter the Garden. Those who read the Qur’an know that they will be called to account for what they have done and, based on this record, will enter the Garden or Hell. Therefore, aware of this truth, they avoid any type of unawareness and are careful to act in ways that win His approval.

Taking advantage of the opportunities sent by Allah

Allah has created circumstances that enable human beings to recognize His existence and turn to Him. Among these are times of anxiety and difficulty: Do they not see that they are tried once or twice in every year? But still they do not turn back. They do not pay heed (Surat at-Tawba:126). These difficult periods are very useful in causing people to realize their unawareness, for, in such moments, the lower self, which is in a constant state of rebelliousness against Allah, realizes its helplessness. During these times, people bring their consciences to the fore, see their errors, and find ways to avoid them. This important opportunity, provided people act upon it properly, helps them curtail their lower selves by recognizing their own weakness and repenting of their sins. As a result, they feel closer to Allah. They realize that Allah’s power is all-sufficient, that He is the source of all things, and that only He can end this period of testing.

It is He Who conveys you on both land and sea, so that when some of you are on a boat, running before a fair wind, rejoicing at it, and then a violent squall comes upon them and the waves come at them from every side and they realize there is no way of escape, they call upon Allah, making their religion sincerely His: “If You rescue us from this, we will truly be among the thankful.” But then, when He rescues them, they become rebellious in the land without any right to do so. O humanity, your rebelliousness is only against yourselves. There is the enjoyment of the life of this world, and then you will return to Us and We will inform you about what you did.

Yunus: 22-23

Unaware people can realize that there is no power to help them except Allah only when they feel completely helpless. But when their difficulties end, they forget Him and carry on as before:

When harm touches humanity, he calls upon Us, lying on his side, sitting down, or standing up. Then when We remove the harm from him, he carries on as if he had never called upon Us when the harm first touched him. In that way, We make what they have done appear good to the profligate.

Yunus: 12

For example, in times of natural disaster, people recognize how powerless they really are, that His knowledge and might are infinite, and that Allah is omnipresent and omniscient. At these times, they are reminded that they should fear and respect Him because He is all-powerful and that they may suffer His wrath at any moment. But earlier, these same people had ignored His commands and prohibitions, putting off their obedience until later. When fear consumes them, their consciences become clear and they recognize the truth. By causing people to see the truth, natural disasters are excellent reminders that, if understood in the proper light, will save them in the Hereafter. But once their discomfort fades, those who do not learn from such warnings allow their traditional unawareness to reassert itself, embrace this transitory world again, and resume their defiance of His commands and prohibitions. In order to escape from this vicious circle, individuals should take advantage of these opportunities by frequently recalling their difficulties and how Allah comforted them.

They must understand that these events are warnings, and thus great blessings, for such displays of Allah’s infinite power open the way for people to cast off their usual unawareness. However, it is wrong to wait for such events to happen in order to escape from unawareness, because Allah gives such warnings all the time: difficult times experienced by relatives and neighbors, natural disasters, wars, and so on. Those individuals who heed these warnings realize that the same thing could happen to them. Using such events to remind themselves just how powerless they really are when confronted with Allah’s supreme might, they try to root out their own unawareness and turn to Him. What happened to the people of ‘Ad could happen to any people:

(The people of) ‘Ad were destroyed by a savage howling wind. Allah subjected them to it for seven nights and eight days without a break. You could see the people flattened in their homes, just like the hollow stumps of uprooted palms.

Al-Haqqah: 6-7

By giving such examples in the Qur’an, Allah expects people to learn from what has happened to others and to think about His infinite power and knowledge. Daily life contains many examples that lead people to remember Allah’s power. But people merely feel sorry and pity when they see powerless individuals; they do not realize that what they see is also a warning to them. All of these examples are warnings and new opportunities for people to pierce the veil of unawareness.

12-8

Harun Yahya – Unawareness—A Sly Threat

February 11, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Forgetting that death may come at any moment

People usually meet their death at unexpected times and places, for:

And no self knows what it will earn tomorrow and in what land it will die. Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware.

Luqman: 34

The moment of a person’s death is determined by destiny even before he or she is born. Allah reveals in the Qur’an:

It is He Who created you from clay and then decreed a fixed term, and another fixed term is specified with Him.

Al-An‘am: 2

The fact that people do not know when they will die is one of the factors that draw them toward unawareness. If people who are aware of the Hereafter’s punishments knew when they would die, they would not remain heedless of Allah’s commands, be distracted by this world, or forget that they will be called to account in the Hereafter.

Not knowing the time of one’s death is a secret of the trials of this world. Believers who know this prepare for the Hereafter as if they expect to die at any moment. They obey all of Allah’s commands and prohibitions with complete sincerity for as long as they live.

Unaware people live according to the desires of their egos. They know they will die, but cannot grasp the fact that death is an awakening in the Hereafter either to eternal Paradise or endless Hell. They think of it as only an eternal separation from the things and people they loved. This is why they are so passionate about what and whom they love and so uncomfortable when the subject of death is mentioned or crosses their minds. Just thinking about it depresses them and makes them worry that their lives will change. Since they do not consider that death may be right around the corner and do not reflect on its reality, they ignore Allah’s commands and prohibitions, or at least postpone thinking about them, by telling themselves that they still have a lot of time to pray and will start doing so when they are older. But they really have no idea how much time they have left. They go merrily on their way, only to find that death comes suddenly, before they start living in compliance with Allah’s commandments. The moment the heedless people meet death, which they regard as remote and far off, is described in the Qur’an as follows:

If those who do not believe only knew of the time when they will not be able to keep the Fire away from their faces or their backs! And they will receive no help! No, it (death) will come upon them suddenly, confounding them, taking them completely by surprise, and they will not be able to ward it off. They will be granted no reprieve.

Al-Anbiya’: 39-40

From this verse, we can clearly see that death does not listen to excuses and that the appointed time approaches quickly. Nothing can prevent its coming. Allah tells this in the Qur’an:

Say: “Death, from which you are fleeing, will certainly catch up with you. Then you will be returned to the Knower of the Unseen and the Visible, and He will inform you about what you did.”

Al-Jumu‘ah: 8

A person may die at any moment; forgetting this fact or trying to escape it is a sign that a person is unaware and that he is being sucked into the whirlpool of unawareness. It is a certain fact that unawareness may lead to eternal suffering.

Not thinking about the account one will give

People who are unaware also forget that they will be called to account in Allah’s sight in the Hereafter. No matter if they die alone or among many others, when the angel of death takes their souls, all of their relationships with the world and those around them are severed. When they are resurrected and go to give their accounts, each person is alone in the vast multitude, for no one will take any notice of anyone else. This solitude is not like any earthly isolation. The moment of reckoning will be the most difficult moment that an unaware person will ever face. The resulting solitude comes from the realization that it is now time to account for all that they have done, that they are completely isolated from other people, and that they are powerless in His presence. They are physically and emotionally exposed; bereft of their power, possessions, titles, position, and renown; and apart from all those to whom they were close. In other words, they are totally alone in Allah’s presence:

Each of them will come to Him on the Day of Resurrection all alone.

Maryam: 95

Unaware people who do not see any immediate consequences for what they do here think that the same applies in the Hereafter. Due to this error, they persuade their friends to ignore Allah’s commands and prohibitions or to put off their obedience until later, sayings things like “you only live once,” “don’t worry about it,” or “I’ll take full responsibility for it.” Such expressions clearly betray their lack of awareness, for just as a person comes into this world but once, he or she will also descend into Hell but once and suffer endless punishment there. Such people regard this punishment lightly and claim that they will take the sins of others upon themselves. This shows even more how far away they are from understanding His supreme knowledge and power:

No burden-bearer can bear another’s burden. If someone weighed down calls for help to bear his load, none of it will be borne for him, even by his next of kin. You can only warn those who fear (and respect) their Lord in the Unseen and perform prayer. Whoever is purified is purified for himself alone. Allah is your final destination.

Fatir: 18

(Has he not been informed) that no burden-bearer can bear another’s burden?

An-Najm: 38

In the Hereafter, all people will receive a just and perfect recompense for their deeds. There will be no friends or relatives to take responsibility for their errors or help them out, as there were while they were alive. Indeed, they now begin to hate all of the friends they once respected, blaming them for making them unaware of these truths:

On that Day the closest friends will be enemies to each other–except for those who guard against evil.

Az-Zukhruf: 67

… the Day when friends will be of no use at all to each other, and they will not be helped.

Ad-Dukhan: 41

The false friendships of this world cease and actually turn into hostility in the Hereafter, for they were formed for some advantage and without regard for Allah’s consent. While they were in the world, they made friends not with people who directed their hearts toward Allah and were loved by Him, but with insincere, unaware individuals who turned their backs on Him and denied His existence. Actually, it is quite common for the best of friends to become enemies when there is a conflict between that friendship and their own advantage. As we are told in the Qur’an, friendships that last a lifetime even though the parties harm one another by leading each other into unawareness will turn into hostility in Allah’s presence. This hostility begins once they gradually begin to become aware of suffering as their veil of unawareness is lifted from them. Allah reveals their sincere confessions:

(They will say:) “And now we have no one to intercede for us.” (The Companions of the Fire will say:) “We do not have a single loyal friend. If only we could have another chance, then we would be among the believers!”

Ash-Shu‘ara’: 100-102

When they are called to account, in deep sorrow, unbelievers express that they are all alone. The believers, with whom they made fun of while they were in the world are not around. When they come face to face with the truth they took so lightly, they long to return and be among the sincere believers:

It may be that those who are unbelievers will wish that they had been Muslims.

Al-Hijr: 2

But there is now no way back.

12-7

Harun Yahya – Unawareness—A Sly Threat

February 4, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Other characteristics

Such people overreact to events, do not trust Allah and behave rebelliously. But believers know that Allah controls everything and so trust Him completely, regardless of what trials He sends their way. When something happens, they remain as patient as they can, for they know that such things are no more than trials sent by Allah. Therefore, they are happy and joyful in the knowledge that He will reward their patience and trust:

We will test you with a certain amount of fear and hunger, and loss of wealth, life, and fruits. But give good news to the steadfast.

Al-Baqara: 155

Remembering these glad tidings only makes them more determined to be patient when facing difficulties. Fully aware that their possessions, wealth, position, and rank are meant to test them, they do their best to thank Him and use them according to His will so that they may earn His pleasure:

Every self will taste death. We test you with both good and evil as a trial. And you will be returned to Us.

Al-Anbiya’: 35

Unaware people are ignorant of these facts; even if they know about them, they ignore them. Therefore, they react to events quite differently. For example, believers who know that their loss of material goods is a trial from Allah accept their fate with full trust in Him. However, the same situation will cause material and spiritual damage to those who are unaware. They will become dejected and, as this feeling grows, become more unbalanced and irritable until they lose their mental health. Being rejected by their circle of acquaintances and losing their luxuries will only make things worse; it might even bring some individuals to the brink of suicide. As we can see, unaware people have no trust in Allah, are rebellious, and live their lives far removed from His will.

The Reasons for Unawareness

Not listening to one’s conscience

The conscience is a guide that, by Allah’s inspiration, always points to the right path:

And (I swear by) the self and what proportioned it and inspired it with depravity or a sense of duty. One who purifies it has succeeded; one who covers it up has failed.

Ash-Shams: 7-10

Depravity is the desire to fulfill the ego’s desires and passions even if it means doing what is forbidden or illegal. Allah constantly inspires, through one’s conscience, a warning against depravity. Constantly obeying this voice cleanses and purifies people from sin and leads them to salvation and happiness. Those who follow their ego first fall into the depths of unawareness and then advance on the road to perdition:

And they repudiated them (Our Signs) wrongly and haughtily, despite their own certainty about them.

An-Naml: 14

The conscience constantly warns people against the ego’s limitless desires and urges them to follow the right path. Unaware people do not heed this warning, thinking that it will make them unhappy because it conflicts with the desires of their egos. And so they try to silence this divine warning, not realizing that its source, Allah, is calling them to the true path of eternal happiness.

The unawareness into which people fall as a result of ignoring this voice grows worse as they indulge in so much immorality (e.g., limitless sin and wickedness) that the ensuing rebelliousness, sin, and depravity cause their egos to begin deteriorating. They are now so profoundly unaware that they want to live in this state of wickedness forever:

Yet humanity still wants to deny what is ahead of him, asking: “So when is the Day of Rising?” But when the eyesight is dazzled, the Moon is eclipsed, and the Sun and Moon are fused together, on that Day humanity will ask: “To where can I run?” No indeed! There will be no safe place. On that Day, the only resting place will be your Lord.

Al-Qiyama: 5-12

People who do not listen to this divine voice are in a great fall, for the resulting unawareness, which has alienated them from Him, brings with it a level of suffering far beyond our imagination: the burning pit of Hell.

Ignoring destiny

Destiny means that, whether living or non-living, every thing’s, condition and experiences are determined beforehand by Allah. This is true of every creature, from a tiny mosquito to an elephant; from a tiny new-born fish in the ocean and microscopic creatures in every part of the world to all living things in the vast universe.

Nobody can choose even one of their physical attributes (e.g, their complexion, eye color, or height) or their parents. Given that they cannot determine such basic things, how can they possibly determine the course of their own lives? As revealed in the Qur’an: “We have created all things in due measure”

Al-Qamar: 49

Anyone who is aware of this should seek Allah’s mercy and favor when they use their possessions and experience anything. In fact, the Qur’an is the only guide that shows people how to do this. No human being, whether a powerful businessman or a tribesman, and no other creature, whether an animal living in the depths of the oceans or an insect in a primeval forest, can alter or escape the fate determined for them by Allah:

You do not engage in any matter, recite any of the Qur’an, or do any action without Our witnessing you while you are occupied with it. Not even the smallest speck eludes your Lord, either on Earth or in heaven. Nor is there anything smaller than that, or larger than that, which is not in a Clear Book.

Yunus: 61

We are told in the Qur’an that every moment and experience through which a person passes is determined by destiny. Those who ignore the facts revealed in the Qur’an think that they live in this vast universe, among billions of other people, due to blind and unconscious chance. So, they regard themselves as creatures who are free to do whatever they want. Under the illusion that they are autonomous and independent of Allah, they plunge into deep unawareness.

12-6

Renew Yourself

February 4, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

By Imam Abdullah El-Amin, MMNS

The tenets of the religion of Al-Islam emphasize constant renewal in our lives.  If we could just do something once and be done with it, our practice of the religion would cease to exist.  For instance, we are directed to fast every year in Ramadan.  This is because one time just won’t do it.  We will forget and/or lapse into other activities to divert our attention from the remembrance of ALLAH.

There are many other signs from ALLAH for us to reflect on.  We breathe, eat and drink everyday to replenish our bodies.  If we did not…well you know the answer to that.  There is constant renewal in education.  Our brains need activity to grow and be useful.

Similarly, our relationships must also be constantly renewed.  How many of us have heard the expression “What you did to get her, you must also do to keep her?”
But before we get to that; before reaching out to our spouses, we must reach out to ourselves.  In order to spread cheer to our families, spouses, and others, it must first come from a cheerful body and mind.  How is this accomplished?

Each day upon rising we must begin to renew ourselves by recognizing the great masterful work of art ALLAH formed when He created you.  You must look in the mirror and say to yourself how good you look.  You must talk to yourself and constantly convince yourself that because you are a flesh and blood human being, you are directly under ALLAH.  Always tell yourself that there is no one or nothing that is greater than you except ALLAH.  This will arm your mind with positive thoughts and keep the evil ones from convincing you that you are otherwise.

After recognition of your greatness, resolve to be grateful to ALLAH by taking care of this great creation – you.  Make sure you bathe and keep yourself clean.  Shampoo your hair and use conditioner to enhance its appearance and health.  Try to eat sensibly to reduce stress on your body.  Exercise at least moderately to keep your temple in the best shape.

This constant renewal will make you grateful and put you in the best possible shape to reach out to others.  We will be able to love and see the benefit of our spouse and help them see the benefit of themselves.  This is very important because then everybody wins and ALLAH is pleased because you are carrying out His desires for creating you in the first place.  And if ALLAH is pleased with you, you can ask for no better reward.

As Salaam alaikum
Al Hajj Imam Abdullah El-Amin

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Harun Yahya – Unawareness—A Sly Threat

January 28, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

They believe they are on the right path

Taking the general population as an example, the most salient characteristic of heedless individuals is their attempt to persuade themselves that their thoughts and actions are justified. Believing that they are not harming others and that their hearts are filled with goodness, they imagine that they deserve what they have. However, Allah says something rather different in the Qur’an:

Do they imagine that, in the wealth and children We extend to them, We are hastening to them with good things? No indeed, but they have no awareness!

Al-Mu’minun: 55-56

It is revealed in the Qur’an that such people believe that they are on the right path, and so satan prevents them from obeying Allah’s commands and prohibitions:

They debar them from the path, yet they still think they are guided.

Al-Zukhruf: 37

But your Lord knows best who is best guided on the (right) Path.

Al-Isra’: 84

Allah gives an instructive example of the state of such individuals in the story of the vineyard owner. We are told in the Qur’an of a conversation between two people, only one of whom is aware:

Make an example for them of two men. To one of them We gave two gardens of grapevines and surrounded them with date palms, putting between them some cultivated land. Both gardens yielded their crops and did not suffer any loss, and We made a river flow right through the middle of them.

Al-Kahf: 32-33

He entered his garden and wronged himself by saying: “I do not think that this will ever end. I do not think the Hour will ever come. But if I should be sent back to my Lord, I will definitely get something better in return.”

Al-Kahf: 35-36

His companion, with whom he was debating, asked: “Do you then not believe in Him Who created you from dust, then from a drop of sperm, and then formed you as a man? He is, however, Allah, my Lord, and I will not associate anyone with my Lord.” (His companion replied:) “Why, when you entered your garden, did you not say: ‘It is as Allah wills, there is no strength but in Him’? Though you see me with less wealth and children than you possess, it may well be that my Lord will give me something better than your garden and send down upon it a fireball from the sky so that the morning finds it a shifting heap of dust or finds its water drained into the ground so that you cannot get at it.

Al-Kahf: 37-41

The fruits of his labor were completely destroyed, and he woke up wringing his hands in grief, for everything that he had spent on it was now a ruin, a ruin with all of its trellises fallen in. He exclaimed: “Oh, if only I had not associated anyone with my Lord!” There was no group to come to his aid, besides Allah, and he was not given any help. In that situation, the only protection is from Allah, the Real. He gives the best reward and the best outcome.

Al-Kahf: 42-44

The vineyard owner was deceived into thinking that he was on the right path due to his great wealth and many children. His very words demonstrate his unawareness, for his overwhelming pride and arrogance made it impossible for him to conceive of Allah’s power: “But if I should be sent back to my Lord, I will definitely get something better in return.”, His unawareness is so deep that he thinks he created his garden and therefore will keep it forever. In recompense for his attitude, all of a sudden Allah destroyed his treasured vineyard.

Although they are unaware, some individuals think that they are on the right path and do some good deeds. However, these are not done to gain Allah’s favor but out of custom and habit, or out of a desire to put on appearances or soothe their consciences, or to make someone feel grateful to them. In reality, such deeds may not be of any use in the Hereafter, because they are limited only to those actions that do not conflict with the person’s own interests. Unaware that they may not receive a reward for the deeds they did to curry other people’s favor rather than to please Allah, they feel certainly sure that they are on the right path.

These people regard their children, property, and easy and carefree life as signs that they are on the right path. The fact is, however, that Allah allots them a period of time to test them and, due to their actions, gives them no share in the Hereafter:

As for those who desire the life of this world and its finery, We will give them full payment in it for their actions. They will not be deprived here of their due. But such people will have nothing in the Hereafter but the Fire. What they achieved here will come to nothing. What they did will prove to be null and void.

Hud: 15-16

People who deceive themselves in this way gain nothing but a painful death in a state of unawareness and eternal suffering:

Do not let their wealth and their children impress you. Allah merely wants to punish them by them in this world, and for them to die while they are unbelievers.

Al-Tawba: 85

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