Focusing On What’s Important

November 3, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Imam Abdullah El-Amin, TMO

“It is not righteousness that ye turn your faces towards East or West; but it is righteousness – to believe in ALLAH and the Last Day, and the Angels, and the Book, and the messengers; to spend of your substance, out of love for Him, for your kin, for orphans, for the needy, for the wayfarer, for those who ask, and for the ransom of slaves; to be steadfast in prayer, and give Zakat, to fulfill the contracts which ye have made; and to be firm and patient, in pain (or suffering) and adversity, and throughout all periods of panic.  Such are the people of truth, the God-fearing. 

Al Qur’an  2:177

One of the beautiful things of this great religion of ours is the diversity of people, cultures and Madhhabs, or schools of thought, which make up the religion.  We learn so much by traveling through the earth, meeting people, studying their ways, and applying the good of what they have to enhance our own situation.  In fact, Almighty ALLAH, (swt) says in Qur’an “He has made us different so that we may know one another” (so that we may grow).

I don’t think there will come a time (at least not in our lifetime) when all the Muslims will think alike, act alike, or worship alike.  So ALLAH has said it’s not important which way you turn your head.  It is not important how far you stick your finger out in jalsa (or whether you stick it out at all).  Focusing on such trivialities only cause feelings of animosity and seek to cause dis-unity rather than unity.
What ALLAH says He does like is for us to treat our fellow human being in a way that respects him or her and helps him or her to the best of our ability.

One of the things I am so elated about is I see more and more of the Muslims going out of their way to be courteous to one another.  I see more and more people trying to understand each other; I see more and more people trying to work with each other; even if they only come to the realization that they would rather not work together.  This is also positive because it keeps down confrontation.  A quote from Imam W.D. Mohammed puts it this way.  “The whole world is changing.  None of us are staying the same.  It’s wonderful to see people changing now to accept each other, understand each other, get to know each other and try to do something together to make life better for all of us on this earth.  This is really a wonderful time we’re living in!  A time that brings Jews, Christians, and Muslims together for a common cause in the spirit of fraternal or brotherly friendship.”

In the above sura ALLAH tells us what is not righteousness and then He tells us what is righteousness.  He says to fulfill the contracts that you have made.  Don’t get in the habit of being untruthful to each other.  There is nothing that can destroy a community quicker than lies – intentional untruths.

So let’s not worry about turning our faces East or West.  Let us gain righteousness by believing in ALLAH and following His guidance to all mankind. 

We invite the community to the Muslim Center on Sunday November 13, 2011 at 1:00 PM for an Interfaith Service.  Christians, Jews, and other faith traditions will join us and watch a re-enactment of the Hajj, done by our young people.

As Salaam alaikum
Al Hajj Imam Abdullah El-Amin

13-45

Focusing On What’s Important

November 3, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Imam Abdullah El-Amin, TMO

“It is not righteousness that ye turn your faces towards East or West; but it is righteousness – to believe in ALLAH and the Last Day, and the Angels, and the Book, and the messengers; to spend of your substance, out of love for Him, for your kin, for orphans, for the needy, for the wayfarer, for those who ask, and for the ransom of slaves; to be steadfast in prayer, and give Zakat, to fulfill the contracts which ye have made; and to be firm and patient, in pain (or suffering) and adversity, and throughout all periods of panic.  Such are the people of truth, the God-fearing. 

Al Qur’an  2:177

One of the beautiful things of this great religion of ours is the diversity of people, cultures and Madhhabs, or schools of thought, which make up the religion.  We learn so much by traveling through the earth, meeting people, studying their ways, and applying the good of what they have to enhance our own situation.  In fact, Almighty ALLAH, (swt) says in Qur’an “He has made us different so that we may know one another” (so that we may grow).

I don’t think there will come a time (at least not in our lifetime) when all the Muslims will think alike, act alike, or worship alike.  So ALLAH has said it’s not important which way you turn your head.  It is not important how far you stick your finger out in jalsa (or whether you stick it out at all).  Focusing on such trivialities only cause feelings of animosity and seek to cause dis-unity rather than unity.
What ALLAH says He does like is for us to treat our fellow human being in a way that respects him or her and helps him or her to the best of our ability.

One of the things I am so elated about is I see more and more of the Muslims going out of their way to be courteous to one another.  I see more and more people trying to understand each other; I see more and more people trying to work with each other; even if they only come to the realization that they would rather not work together.  This is also positive because it keeps down confrontation.  A quote from Imam W.D. Mohammed puts it this way.  “The whole world is changing.  None of us are staying the same.  It’s wonderful to see people changing now to accept each other, understand each other, get to know each other and try to do something together to make life better for all of us on this earth.  This is really a wonderful time we’re living in!  A time that brings Jews, Christians, and Muslims together for a common cause in the spirit of fraternal or brotherly friendship.”

In the above sura ALLAH tells us what is not righteousness and then He tells us what is righteousness.  He says to fulfill the contracts that you have made.  Don’t get in the habit of being untruthful to each other.  There is nothing that can destroy a community quicker than lies – intentional untruths.

So let’s not worry about turning our faces East or West.  Let us gain righteousness by believing in ALLAH and following His guidance to all mankind. 

We invite the community to the Muslim Center on Sunday November 13, 2011 at 1:00 PM for an Interfaith Service.  Christians, Jews, and other faith traditions will join us and watch a re-enactment of the Hajj, done by our young people.

As Salaam alaikum
Al Hajj Imam Abdullah El-Amin

13-45

Live with the Confidence of ALLAH’S Grace

October 13, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Imam Abdullah El-Amin, TMO

ALLAH, ta, created all of us from a single soul and endowed all of us with special gifts and qualities that are unique to us individually.  Each human being has the opportunity to make whatever we do the best.

But sometimes we forget about the special place ALLAH has placed us on.  We sometimes look at the gifts of others and put them on a pedestal higher than the one ALLAH has placed us on.  We will think someone is handsomer or prettier than we are.  Or we might think they are smarter or have a more perfectly built body.

But ALLAH, Almighty   has endowed each and every one of us with special gifts that are cause to celebrate.   

This is why it is ludicrous to put other people on a pedestal higher than yours. Carry yourself in a confident manner.  Hold your head high and look people in the eye as you talk to them.  You are royalty.  Don’t hold yourself back.   Go forward and celebrate yourself with no fear.  After all, no one you come in contact with is is better than you in the sight of Almighty ALLAH.    You are the special creation of Almighty ALLAH.  You come from the Ultimate Family…The family of ALLAH.

We should go through life with the feeling that every person and everything we come in contact with is there to serve us…because it is.  I was recently in a clothing store returning some merchandise to be exchanged.  The saleslady said there was no way that was going to happen because of some glitch.  I told her that it certainly could happen because in this age of technology anything is possible.  At this time, the manager came forward and entered a special code and the problem was solved. 

Now if I had let the first lady’s pronouncement go, I would not have accomplished my goal.  But with the attitude that everything and everyone was there to serve me, I was going to succeed.  I was reminded of the truth of the saying, “the difference between success and failure is one more try.  If you quit, you have surely failed.  But if you continue, some way, somehow, you will succeed.

I am also reminded of the tenacity of the early band of Muslims who were fleeing persecution from the Meccan’s.  With the enemy in pursuit of them, The Muslims sought refuge with an African Christian King on the advance instructions of the Prophet Muhammad, (as).   The King Negus was about to give the Muslims up to their enemies, but being steadfast and full of faith, they quoted some Qur’an and softened the king’s heart and the Meccans’ were sent back empty handed. 

Knowing your special place it should behoove you to take care of yourself.  Take care of your body and mind.  It is ALLAH’S gift to you. Eat sensibly and exercise regularly.   ALLAH made a gift to you and it would be like a slap in the face to Him and a detriment to you if you just let it rot.

Live with confidence like the royalty you are.

As Salaam alaikum
Al Hajj Imam Abdullah El-Amin

13-42

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

Hajj Explained

November 25, 2009 by · 1 Comment 

THE HAJJ: A TIME OF IMPORTANCE, BLESSINGS AND HOPE

By Imam Dr. Zijad Delic

2009-11-03T135104Z_496352578_GM1E5B31NMF01_RTRMADP_3_BANGLADESH Muslims – wherever they are geographically located — live in continuous connection with the sacred house called the Ka’bah, the symbol of their relationship with the Creator, the homeland of the Prophet (s), and the first Masjid on earth. Allah has chosen this Masjid as the place where His servants will make ‘Ibadah (worship) to Him and glorify His Name.

The word Hajj means to make a resolve to visit the Ka’bah in Makkah (Mecca). This was the first House of Worship appointed for humanity. As Almighty Allah mentions in the Qur’an: “Verily, the first House (of worship) appointed for humanity was that at Makkah, full of blessings, and a guidance for all ‘Alams (worlds).” {Ali ‘Imran 96}

Thus a visit to this sacred house, in the revered ancient city of Makkah, in this most sacred land, is the wish of every Muslim (brother) and Muslimah (sister).

This central pilgrimage of Islam, whose origin dates back to the Prophet Ibrahim (or Abraham, pbuh), brings together Muslims of all races, nationalities and tongues to share in one of life’s most memorable spiritual experiences. In fact, for fourteen centuries, countless millions of Muslims from the four corners of the earth have performed the Hajj to Makkah, the birthplace of Islam.

In reality, Hajj is the greatest annual congress of believers anywhere on earth. Not only is it important to more than two billion Muslims around the globe, but to the whole of humankind. Hajj marks part of the Ummah’s (Islamic world community’s) preparation for the Qurbani, or sacrifice, which reminds us of the sacrifice that the patriarch Ibrahim was commanded to make of his son Isma’il, ‘alayhimassalam. It reminds us of the mercy Allah extends to those who surrender themselves in complete trust to His Will just as Ibrahim and Isma’il did. As the Qur’an records the words of young Isma’il: “O my father! Do what you are commanded. If Allah wills, you shall find me … steadfast.” {As Safat 102}

This Hajj is a vibrant proof of Unity among all Muslims around the one inalterable principle of Islam – Tawhid, the Oneness of Almighty Allah.

Hajj gathers millions of believers and calls upon all of them to unify their opinions, ideas and values, helping them collectively to support one another in upholding all that is good and decent. Islam stands for unity of the human race, teaching that all peoples in their global diversity were originally as one, deriving their existence from the sole Creator of All, and that the barriers now separating us — race, color, class, region, ideology, etc. — are really no more than constructed illusions.

In fact, the divisive ideologies based on negative human distinctions are among the most dangerous viruses on earth. Hajj, on the other hand, proves that the hope of unity can be a reality, for Islam removes all differences and evaluates or rates people by their conduct. Islam seeks to build an intellectual, moral, ethical and just ideology throughout international society – an ideology strong enough to stand its ground against existing tribal, racial, linguistic and national barriers which have turned the world into a sea of tragic conflict.

Hajj symbolizes an opposite movement, from chaos and conflict toward unity in Almighty Allah. It is a noble tradition that upholds the hope and potential of kindred love and solidarity among the people. In calling all believers back to the basic principles of Tawhid (which are expressed in the words of Talbiyyah during Hajj) it is the living response of Allah’s servants; on this special occasion, all pilgrims are guests answering their Lord’s personal invitation to visit His house in Makkah.

All Hujjaj (Hajj pilgrims) chant the following words: “Labbaykallahumma Labbayk, Labbayka La Sharika Laka Labbayk, Innal Hamda Wan Ni’mata Wal Mulka La Sharika Laka.”

In English paraphrase, they mean: “Here I am at Your service, O my Lord. My humble submission is only to You, and I am here submitting to You who does not have a partner, for no one is worthy of worship except You. You are the Only One Who deserves every praise. You are the Only One Who has all power, so help me, O Allah, that I benefit from all the blessings that You have bestowed on humankind. This is the only way, for I have no other reason for existence.”

This repeated statement is meant to re-awaken every Muslim’s consciousness that Allah is the eternal Centre of their reality and the source of all meaning and blessing in life. With these words, believers fervently express their belief and their commitment to the Straight Path that Allah has set out for them. The journey to Hajj is purely for the sake of Almighty Allah who wants us to learn from the examples of the Prophets that He chose to be our teachers. Allah wants us to learn that Hajj is a spiritual training ground and a unique experience of worship which changes a person from the inside out, washing him/her clean and restoring his/her belief and attitude.

The discipline of Hajj has often been the key to awaken many Muslims to a fuller and deeper understanding of the concepts of Islam and its true Message. More than simply an annual institution or ritual, Hajj holds the potential to draw all believers, Insha’allah, into a future filled with blessings, among which the following are central:

1. Purification of the soul from all traces of sin. – Hajj provides the greatest opportunity for believers to seek forgiveness of sins accumulated throughout life and to make Du’as for others. This can happen when one has performed Hajj Mabrur, or done the pilgrimage in a proper way, as the Messenger of Allah mentions: “They will return from Hajj as newly born babies (free of all sins).”  Hadith}

2. Unity and understanding. – Through Hajj, the believers come to know each other and are made more aware of the mutual affairs of their brothers and sisters from all over the world. In Hajj they feel more connection and kindred love for each other, irrespective of their geographical or cultural backgrounds. Thus, Hajj unites the believers of the world into one international community.

3. Confirmation of commitment to Almighty Allah. – Through demonstrating that they are ready to sacrifice all material possessions and values for the sake of their Creator, believers show their commitment to Allah; for unless a Muslim really loves Allah, he/she would never undertake such a long, costly and arduous journey to Makkah, leaving all their near and dear ones behind.

4. Reminding believers of complete trust in Allah. – Believers com efface to face with the deep faith and unshaken commitment of Ibrahim and his son Isma’il (peace be upon them) when they were called to make the ultimate sacrifice – of life itself — in His name.

5. Preserving important rites. – Hajj reminds us of the rites which were ordained for us by Allah and taught by His Last Messenger, the Prophet Muhammad (s).

6. Walking in the Prophet’s footsteps. – Hajj is a memorable and cleansing means of acquainting believers with the spiritual, historical and physical environment in which the last Messenger, Muhammad (S), lived and served Allah.

7. Spiritual blessing. – This is the greatest Hajj blessing of all, for pilgrims (Hujjaj) are encouraged to develop a greater consciousness of Allah in and to return home with a sense of uplifted spirit and fulfillment.

Therefore, during these important days of Hajj and Eid, let us remember the following:

1. There are many Muslims in North America and your own local area who need your help.

2. Your neighbors, whether Muslim or non-Muslim, need your support in different ways.

3. Millions of Muslims in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Sudan, Kashmir, Palestine, and in other areas of the world need your ongoing help and support.

4. Your relatives and family value your support; never forget them or take them for granted.

5. During Eid, try to visit one another other on these blessed days.

6. Make a point of visiting those who are sick, hospitalized, in long-term care facilities, or shut-in.

7. Organize Eid dinners among yourselves and take time to ENJOY the occasion!

8. Share all the beauties and blessings of Eid with your children: give them gifts, take them on outings and visits; and participate with them in wholesome entertainment so they can feel proud of having such a great celebration of their own. At this time of year, many Muslim children feel left out when they see all the attention paid to the secular and religious aspects of Christmas; with Eid to celebrate, they have every reason to enjoy the season.

9. Life keeps moving on, and with it, our good intentions! Remember that you and I will be one year older next Hajj season … Now is the time to get serious about improving our lives.

10. Your mission in this great country of Canada is to educate yourselves, help yourselves in order to help all others around you. It all starts with family members and relatives, extending out to our neighbors, our communities, and the world large.

11. Lastly, remember always to be a good representative of Islam and a good citizen of this wonderful country – your homeland and mine – CANADA.

Happy HAJJ Season!

CIC Friday Magazine

Dawah at the Dinner table During Ramadan

August 20, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Correct Fear of ALLAH

By Imam Abdullah El-Amin

A famous politician once said, “ The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”.  That may be true if you are speaking in generalities only.  If you are afraid of the scrutiny of other people or their criticisms, then you will have a fear of them and be under their power, unable to utilize your own.

But if the only fear you have is the fear (respect, regardfulness) of ALLAH, you are empowered over everything in creation.

In my leadership at the masjid I often see people hold back from expressing the truth about a situation simply because they are afraid of the gaze or scrutiny of another person.  That is the wrong fear.

People will also not pursue their dreams because someone told them they were unqualified and so they back up and let it drop and it is probably something they are very good at or at least something that can be sharpened.  They drop their dreams because this naysayer appears to be stronger or smarter than you.  But when you really look at this person you will probably find they are actually weaker than you.

Suppressing the talent ALLAH blessed you with is actually being ungrateful to Him.  If you suppress your Islam so as to not let non-Muslims see you, you are being ungrateful of the greatest gift bestowed on mankind.

Alhamdullilah, we are at the advent of another Ramadan fast.  We look to this month as a period of rejuvenation of our souls and our spirits.  Almighty ALLAH orders us to abstain from food, drink, sex, and vain talk as a submission to Him so as to strengthen our iman.  It is an excellent time to re-visit, study, and, strengthen some basic Islamic principles.

Ramadan is also the time when ALLAH affords us the opportunity to eat with each other more often.  At Maghrib time, you can be sure most Muslims are scurrying around to find something to eat.  During the rest of the year, with our busy schedules, it is difficult for some families to find time to eat together.

This Ramadan, we should focus on utilizing this time to do “Dawah at the dinner table.”  When we have fear of ALLAH, it will be more easy to combat the following weak behaviors.

Muslim men and women need to pay attention to how we live and practice our religion.  This society makes a big point out of irresponsible men and loose women seeming to be normal.  I know some Muslim males who have fathered children and never taken care of them.  They have gotten to the point in their life where the sin of such action escapes them.  In some communities the men go from woman to woman as though they were expendable collateral.  To father children and not “maintain and protect them,” is in direct conflict to the directives of ALLAH.  Men are also charged with maintaining and protecting the community.  Adhering to basic directives like this is necessary to have a stable productive community.

Females also need to be reminded of basic Islamic principles.  ALLAH orders women to not expose their breasts and not draw unnecessary attention to their bodies.  Yet I am noticing increasing numbers of Muslim women exposing cleavage and wearing form fitting jeans and dresses with not enough top piece to cover their forms.  And it is ironic that at the same time they are wearing a scarf.  What do you think the men inside and outside of the mosque are looking at…the scarf??  I think not.

Female breasts are sexual body parts.  That’s why ALLAH orders women to draw a veil over them.  But I see lots of Muslim females from teenagers to young women – and even some “seasoned” women showing cleavage just like the women on TV.

Dawah at the dinner table will help those guilty of this.

Men, if you have babies with women and you haven’t financially, materially, or emotionally supported them, start doing it now – for the sake of ALLAH – if you believe.  You cannot continue lying to and using women just because you can – because they are the weaker sex.  Repent to ALLAH and ask for His forgiveness; and from then on, strive to be upright.

During this month I would like to see more men standing up to their obligations to our women and children.  Start with what you have and ask ALLAH to make it easy for you to fulfill you duties.

And I don’t want to see any more females showing cleavage.  I don’t want to see it at any mosque  – or if I happen to see you at CVS pharmacy.  If you don’t demand respect, you will not get any.

Let’s talk to each other for real.  Do dawah at the dinner table – it’s the best place.

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

11-35