Syria Calls for Arab League Emergency Meeting

November 17, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Martin Chulov in Beirut

Syria has called for an emergency meeting of the Arab League after the regional body announced it will suspend Damascus from its membership ranks on Wednesday and impose sanctions – a move that has sharply escalated tensions across the region.

The regime of President Bashar al-Assad wants the urgent meeting held before the suspension is due to take effect. Syrian officials made the demand after a night of apparently sponsored violence against the diplomatic missions of states that had voted to punish it because of a crackdown against demonstrators in defiance of an earlier understanding.

On Saturday night, protesters stormed the Saudi Arabian and Turkish embassies in Damascus and the Qatari mission in nearby Beirut, prompting Turkey and Saudi Arabia to withdraw non-essential diplomats and their families.

Turkey has also demanded compensation for damage to its embassy and warned its citizens against travelling across its southern border.

Last month, the US also withdrew its ambassador after the US embassy was twice stormed by a crowd.

The British Foreign Office minister, Alistair Burt, condemned the latest embassy attacks on Sunday. “By allowing these attacks to take place, the Syrian regime is demonstrating yet again that its first response is repression and intimidation,” he said. “This cycle of violence must stop now for the sake of the Syrian people and for those who support them.”

Turkey called on the international community to stop the bloodshed in Syria, a demand that appeared to leave open the possibility of some kind of intervention.

An unnamed Syrian official told the state news agency Sana on Sunday that Arab League monitors could travel to the country to assess the situation before the suspension is due to take effect on 16 November.

Such a concession had been a key demand of the body, which two weeks ago thought it had struck a broad deal with Damascus to end the violence.

However, clashes have intensified since then, with daily death tolls often of more than 20 people, meaning November – the eighth month of the Syrian uprising – is likely to be its bloodiest yet.

A large pro-regime rally saw thousands turn out in central Damascus on Sunday in what was cast as a spontaneous mass display of backing for Assad, whose support base remains stronger in the capital and in the commercial hub of Aleppo than in the third and fourth cities, Hama and Homs. Daily clashes there between troops and protesters underline a deepening divide with ever-sharpening sectarian dimensions.

Syria is ruled by the Assad clan, hailing from the Allawite sect, which has close ties to Shia Islam. The Allawites account for around 12% of all Syrians, but are deeply entwined into the establishment.
Other minorities include Christians, Druze and Kurds. However, the bulk of Syrians are Sunni Muslims, whom the regime fears have drawn strength from successful revolts in the Sunni states of Tunisia, Egypt and Libya.

The effect of Syria’s suspension is not yet clear, and neither are the type of sanctions that the Arab League may impose. The organisation’s secretary general, Nabil al-Arabi, said on Sunday that he is “studying mechanisms” to protect Syrian people.

He left open the possibility of again referring Syria to the UN security council, where Syrian allies Russia and China last month blocked a move that had threatened to bring security council sanctions.
Arabi said the league did not have the means to act alone.

Despite its relative lack of clout, the Arab League move is significant on the global stage, where European and US policymakers had been struggling to craft a means of stopping the violence in Syria without causing a collapse in regional stability.

Without the cover from the Arab League that the US received in March, Barack Obama would have been much less likely to authorise the use of the US military in the early stages of the Libyan operation – an essential element of the ultimately succesful Nato operation.

The move against Syria – only the second of its kind in the history of the 22-state organisation – is likely to embolden states opposed to the regime but fearful of the knock-on effects of the fall of Assad.

Isolation is not sitting well with Assad or Syria’s key patron, Iran.

Both states have warned of “dire consequences” if more pressure is piled on the regime, and insisted that the relentless protests are foreign-backed and being led by militant Sunni Islamists.

Guardian.co.uk

Beauty in Diversity

November 3, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Dilnawaz Qamar

iCover_poster
 

The majority of those who have an antagonistic attitude and behaviour towards other religions have closed personalities. They are never open to those who are different. They are over-defensive and overprotective of their own superior beliefs

In the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, ‘diversity’ is defined as: “When many different types of things or people are included in something.” Diversity is a gift of God and different research and studies demonstrate that nature encourages diversity and it matters. If we just focus on our bodies we are blessed with different organs and these different organs have different functions. Diversity in bodily organs not only adds beauty to our physical being but also adds to the functionality of the body. We would not have been able to do various jobs if we were given a body with uniform functionality. Each and every part has a significant role to play in the body.

Cultural diversity is the multiplicity and variety of human cultures in a specific region or in the world as a whole. This world would be a boring place if we had to live in a homogenous society. Cultural differences include differences in language, dress, art, literature, values and traditions. As human beings we respect these differences.

Whenever we find ourselves in a different culture we try to accommodate, temporarily or permanently, the specific culture. Cultural diversity is a source of strength in society. Diversity becomes strength when society learns to value and respect differences. Doctors, engineers, soldiers, teachers, politicians, artists, singers, cricketers — all professionals make society a unified whole with diverse professions. Everyone is different with different talents and capacities and this variety is the most positive feature of any society. When we respect differences we actually create an environment where self-esteem and self-worth is promoted and where selfishness is discouraged. Nations are destroyed when there is intolerance and hostility to differences. Melissa Etheridge, an American singer, rightfully said, “I feel my heart break to see a nation ripped apart by its own greatest strength — its diversity.”

Many of you who are reading this article already agree that diversity, whether in mankind or culture and society, enriches life. But when it comes to religious diversity, a different evaluation is utilised. In all ages diversity in religions has been a fact but unfortunately this diversity has been a source of contention rather than community and kinship. We offend others by assuming that our religion is the superior one. People who entertain hostile feelings for other religions are considered to be the ones who are most faithful. Hostile people become satisfied as they assume that the hostility, aggression and enmity to the communities of different religions is an important component of religious commitment. Intolerance for people who are religiously different has become an important religious problem.

The thought that other religions are inferior to our religion is so deep rooted that many fundamentalists have become indifferent to other people. James Russell Lowell, an American poet, critic and essayist gives the following insight: “Toward no crimes have men shown themselves so cold-bloodedly cruel as in punishing differences of belief.”

Having difference in views is a human right and prevention of this right gives birth to defence, protection, selfishness, judgementalism and indifference.

In the Quran, God tells humanity: “Behold, we have created you all out of a male and a female and have formed you into tribes and nations so that you may get to know one another” (Surah Al-Hujurat, 49:13). It shows that diversity is God’s will. God encouraged diversity so that we may appreciate the unity and equality of the whole of mankind.

Jesus preaches the same, “If you love those who love you, what thanks you can expect?…Instead, love your enemies and do good, and lend without any hope of return.”

Today, the majority of those who have an antagonistic attitude and behaviour towards other religions have closed personalities. They are never open to those who are different. They are over-defensive and overprotective of their own superior beliefs. They have encaged themselves in their protective shells, making it impossible to welcome other viewpoints, thus shutting out all the opportunities of insights, learning and growth. Not to speak of other religions, many of these closed individuals have no tolerance for different sects within their own religion, believing themselves to be the true owners of the religion.

Nowadays Pakistan is the biggest victim of religious intolerance. Human life is sacred as God gives it and harming it or killing it in the name of religion is a hideous act. In the last few years, many people have been killed in the name of religion. We need to chuck out the intolerance that is lying within us as well as those around us.

We need to restructure our thinking patterns even if others are going against what we believe to be true. Let God be God and let us not interfere in His will. Now is the time for concerned Muslims, Christians, religious minorities, intellectuals, religious leaders and community leaders to mutually probe this matter. Pakistan is in dire need of getting rid of hatred, cruelty, intolerance, aggression and fanaticism. A significant paradigm change is required. Together we have to strive for mercy, justice, freedom and human dignity and respect.

DAILY  TIMES

The writer can be reached at dilnawazqamar@fccollege.edu.pk

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Bin Hammam Loses Appeal of Lifetime Ban

October 24, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Parvez Fatteh, Founder of http://sportingummah.com, sports@muslimobserver.com

SOCCER-FIFA/Qatari soccer official Mohamed bin Hammam, who challenged Sepp Blatter for the presidency of  international soccer’s governing body, lost an appeal against his lifetime ban from the sport, FIFA said on Thursday. He’ll now appeal to sport’s top court, his lawyer said. Bin Hammam was head of the Asian soccer confederation and was banned in July after being found guilty of buying votes for the FIFA leadership contest against Blatter. Bin Hammam said the ban was politically motivated and that he had the resources to fight for years to clear his name.

“The appeal made by Mohammed bin Hammam has been rejected and the decision of the FIFA Ethics Committee confirmed,” FIFA said in an e-mailed statement. “The sanction of being banned from taking part in any kind of football-related activity (administrative, sports or any other) at national and international level for life has therefore been maintained.” The Zurich-based body’s three-member appeal panel was led by Ecuadorian Francisco Acosta and included officials from Argentina and Senegal.

FIFA’s decision to expel Bin Hammam came after an investigation led by former Federal Bureau of Investigation director Louis Freeh into claims he offered Caribbean soccer officials envelopes containing $40,000 while campaigning in the region. FIFA vice president Jack Warner, who arranged Bin Hammam’s visit to the Caribbean, was also suspended and quit the sport before the end of Freeh’s inquiry. He denied wrongdoing.

The papers will be lodged with the Lausanne, Switzerland- based court once Bin Hammam receives a full written statement from FIFA explaining its latest decision, Gulland added. “I will continue my battle until I prove my innocence and that my suspension was a political decision and an absolute abuse of power to deprive me of my right to contest for FIFA presidency,” Bin Hammam wrote on his personal blog last month.

Bin Hammam’s legal team has also lodged a separate action with CAS that challenges FIFA’s right to designate China’s Zhang Jilong as “acting president” of the Asian Football Confederation and appoint him to sit on the FIFA Executive Committee, Gulland said.

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The Eternal Jihad is Doable

September 8, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Karima Friedemann

Modern psychology seems to agree with Islam that there are two kinds of people in this world, ultimately: Power Over and Power Within people. Marriages and nations have been destroyed because of the conflict between these two human philosophies. It seems completely impossible that they could ever live in peace, because one viewpoint says that in order for me to win, you must lose. This is the viewpoint of Jahiliyyah. The other viewpoint says, “I can never win unless you win also.” In Islam we have learned that if even just a small part of your body hurts, the entire body cannot sleep. It is the classic domination vs. cooperation framework conflict. It is as old as time. It would take a philosopher to really delve into it, but basically, the Prophet (s) told us this struggle will go on until the end of time! This is the eternal inner jihad.

When the medieval Christian world came into contact with the Arabian and African Muslim world, they did not have a complete code of honor. Because Christ’s teachings involved turning the other cheek, there was no actual Christian law to govern war. Therefore, there were no boundaries. It is very similar to India’s meat industry today. Because eating meat according to Hinduism is a sin, there are no laws or ethics governing the treatment of cows in India. They treat it like an all or nothing situation.

As a result of Europe’s dance with the Muslims during the Anglo-Saxon period, Christians absorbed what they learned from their Islamic enemies and interpreted things in their peculiar ways. Europeans had never before seen women on or near the battlefield. The Muslim women who accompanied their husband “Saracens” on long journeys were described as promiscuous witches in traditional English literature. Yet curiously, indirectly, the Islamic hadith got indirectly written into the tales of King Arthur, who is the fictional equivalent in literature of our Imam Ali.

Ali (sa) is best known for refusing to kill the pagan enemy simply because he didn’t want to kill out of anger or ego, he would only kill for the sake of Allah. The man had spit on Ali’s face. Ali just let him go! Ali is the ultimate historical character across all nations that defined righteous behavior on the battlefield. The Anglo-Saxons after their experience with the Muslim world adopted the creed that war was supposed to be about freeing prisoners, feeding widows and orphans and helping the needy and oppressed, and this wisdom was spread throughout Europe through the tales of King Arthur. Before Christians came into contact with Islam, they thought war was just about killing people for power and commercial products. They didn’t accept Islam directly but they rewrote their own teachings to include the Islamic wisdom indirectly.

There are even earlier teachings in Islam that involve this basic human conflict between ignorance and reason. The Prophet Sulayman (as) when approaching the Queen of Sheba in marriage made it clear that the pagan system of her empire was going to have to submit to Islam if she wanted peace with her neighbors. There truly cannot be any compromise between hedonistic materialism and the prophetic way. They are like night and day.

Margaret Paul, Ph.D writes in an article about Good Self Esteem, “Our society often confuses personal power – “power within” – with “power over,” which is about controlling others. There is a vast difference between personal power and control. Personal power comes from an inner sense of security, from knowing who you are in your soul, from having defined your own intrinsic worth. It is the power that flows through you when you are connected to and feel your oneness with a spiritual source of guidance. It is the power that is the eventual result of doing deep inner emotional and spiritual work to heal the fears and false beliefs acquired in childhood.”

All people on earth are obligated by the promise that they made before time with Adam (as) in front of God to do this work of inner searching towards guidance and ultimate truth, including banishing the false teachings of our childhoods. There are no excuses. According to Islam, nobody has the right to say they didn’t realize they were supposed to do this in their lifetime. We made that promise to God before birth.

Dr. M. Paul continues: “Even if you do manage to have some control through anger, criticism, judgment, or money, this will never give you personal power – When the soul has dominion over the body, you have the power to manifest your dreams, to stay centered in the face of attack, to remain loving in the face of fear. When the soul has dominion over the body, you have tremendous personal power.”

Every person who is serious about their role on this earth is going to have to learn how to control their animalistic impulses especially when feeling wronged. We cannot make rational decisions about how to deal with a situation until we let go of our attachment to knowing we were wronged.

The animal instincts of fight or flight – the instincts of the body – often have dominion over our choices, but these reactions are largely caused by adrenaline. After prolonged periods of adrenaline stimulation without any change in the situation, the immune system begins to shut down. It is a huge journey to learn how to stand up to injustice without losing your center of control within.

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Study: Kashmir Mass Graves Hold Thousands

August 25, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Lydia Polgreen

Kashmir-ProtestsNEW DELHI — Thousands of bullet-riddled bodies are buried in dozens of unmarked graves across Kashmir, a state human rights commission inquiry has concluded, many of them likely to be those of civilians who disappeared more than a decade ago in a brutal insurgency.

The inquiry, the result of three years of investigative work by senior police officers working for the Jammu and Kashmir State Human Rights Commission, brings the first official acknowledgment that civilians might have been buried in mass graves in Kashmir, a region claimed by both India and Pakistan where insurgents waged a bloody battle for independence in the early 1990s. The report sheds new light on a grim chapter in the history of the troubled region and confirms a 2008 report by a Kashmiri human rights organization that found hundreds of bodies buried in the Kashmir Valley.

Tens of thousands of people died in the insurgency, which began in 1989 and was partly fueled by weapons, cash and training from Pakistan.

According to the report, the bodies of hundreds of men described as unidentified militants were buried in unmarked graves. But of the more than 2,000 bodies, 574 were identified as local residents.
“There is every probability that these unidentified dead bodies buried in various unmarked graves at 38 places of North Kashmir may contain the dead bodies of enforced disappearances,” the report said.

The report catalogs 2,156 bodies found in graves in four districts of Kashmir that had been at the heart of the insurgency. It called for a thorough inquiry and a collection of DNA evidence to identify the dead, and, for the future, proper identification of anyone killed by security forces in Kashmir to avoid abuse of special laws shielding the military from prosecution there.

Thousands of people, mostly young men, have disappeared in Kashmir.

Some went to be trained as militants in the Pakistan-controlled portion of Kashmir and were killed in the fighting. Many others were detained by Indian security forces. The wives they left behind are known as half-widows, because the fates of their husbands are unknown. Parents keep vigil for sons who were arrested two decades ago.

Parveena Ahanger’s son Javed was taken away by the police on Aug. 18, 1990, and never seen again. An investigation found that he had been killed by security forces, but they have not been prosecuted, she said.

“I never got any response from the government,” she said. “I never got his dead body.”

After years of fighting in the courts to find out what happened to Javed, Ms. Ahanger was skeptical that the human rights report would get her son’s body back, or bring her justice.
“If the high court doesn’t give any justice on this issue, what will the state human rights commission do?” she said.

Zahoor Wani, an activist who works with the families of people who disappeared during the insurgency, said that the report was a welcome first step but that the government must identify the dead and allow families to bury their relatives.

“It is a very good thing that they acknowledge it,” Mr. Wani said.

“These families have been living in a hope to see these people again.

“They are neither dead nor alive,” he said. “We need to move them to one pole or the other.”

Hari Kumar contributed reporting.

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Spine

August 18, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

tufail 8-15-11

The vertebral column; the central support of the skeleton,consisting of individual bones called vertebrae.

The backbone surrounds and protects the delicate spinal cord.There are 33 sections in a baby’s backbone, 24 in a grown adult. Muscles and ligaments attach to the sections. The muscles support the spine. Cartilage makes up 25% of the Spine’s length. Cartilage is what bones are made of and some cartilage are still not developed. The spinal cord is the center of the nervous system which is the feeling system.

The backbone has many sections. The top section is the Cervical Vertebrae. The middle section is the Dorsal or Thoracic Vertebrae.The last and final section is the Lumbar Vertebrae. The is about 24 sections of the backbone. The backbone is the main support of the body and the bones. The location of the backbone is behind every organ in your body,including the heart.

The spine (or spinal column) has two main functions: it serves as a protective surrounding for the delicate spinal cord and forms the supporting backbone of the skeleton.The spine consist of 24 separate, differently shaped bones (vertebrae) with a curved, triangular bone (the sacrum) at the bottom. The sacrum is made up of fused vertebrae; at its lower end is a small tail-like structure made up of tiny bones collectively called the coccyx.

Between each pair of vertebrae is a disk of cartilage that cushions the bones during movement. The top two vertebrae differ in appearance from the others and work as a pair:the first,called the atlas, rotates around a stout vertical peg on the second,called the axis. This arrangement allows the skull to move freely up and down,and from side to side.

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Ramadan Acts of Worship Connect Us to the Suffering of Others

August 11, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Kari Ansari

2011-08-04T173951Z_29123431_GM1E78504PT01_RTRMADP_3_KENYA

A Muslim prays in the open at the drought-hit Kulaley village in Wajir, northeastern Kenya, August 4, 2011. The drought, the worst in decades, has affected about 12 million people across the Horn of Africa. 

REUTERS/Stringer

For 30 days during the Islamic Holy Month of Ramadan, healthy adult Muslims abstain from drinking a single drop of water or eating a bite of food, from before dawn until after the sun sets in the sky, as a religious obligation to God. Every year Muslims look forward to this test of faith with great longing. Last year I wrote a primer on fasting and Ramadan that can be found here.

Each fasting day during August will be a trial on my body and my spiritual resolve. With a decaffeinated, empty stomach, and a thirst that is difficult to tolerate, this act of fasting connects me to someone else. My fasting draws me to the story of a woman in Somalia who has been walking for miles to reach a refugee center; years of civil chaos combined with a devastating drought have ravaged her land, her body, and her children. The family is traveling through Eastern Africa, walking for miles on foot in brutal temperatures with hot, dust-filled wind blowing in their faces. She’ll thank God if they all make it alive to the feeding center. The baby she is carrying no longer gets milk from her breast; she feels him shrinking in her arms as she walks. The little hands of her other small children clutch at her with less and less strength, and their voices have become so weak it’s almost impossible to hear them above the howl of the wind. I hear her tell them that they must put their trust in God and keep moving. I feel her thirst as she utters words of prayer with every precious drop of water she goes without to give to her children for their survival.

My act of fasting brings empathy for her that is greater than any ordinary day; I can’t forget her story. I remember her when my head is dizzy with thirst after running out on a simple errand in triple-digit heat. I can step back into my air-conditioned home; she can’t. I won’t complain of my exhaustion from too little sleep because I know she won’t find a sheltering place to rest in the harsh landscape on her journey toward help. I’m hungry, but I can break my fast in a celebratory mood when the day is finished; I’ll take a cooling sip of clean, filtered water and literally feel it splash down in my empty gut at sundown. As I feel my body reviving, I remember the Somali woman’s fast has been going on since well-before Ramadan, and it will continue past the 30 days I will observe. She is forced into her suffering by circumstances beyond her control, and she is powerless to change them. She’s not thinking of me, but I’m praying for her.

As I slice up fruit to refresh my family after their 15 hours of fasting, I keep seeing the Somali woman. How can I set a table with food and water when she has none? How can I watch my teenagers laugh and express joy at a simple glass of water without thinking of the Somali woman’s broken heart when she has to tell her children she has nothing for them; the crops failed, the livestock died, and food prices have risen so high she has no way to feed them. The empathy for her suffering created by my act of fasting is only worth something to her — and to me — if I do something about it.

I can help make sure she has the ability to feed herself and the children through our Islam-mandated charity called zakat. Zakat is an almsgiving tax that every Muslim that has the means will pay this month. My husband and I will calculate our savings and pay roughly 2.5% of that savings to a charity we choose. We have decided to give our zakat to aid the Somali woman and her children, and the thousands like her. Our donation won’t make a dent in the suffering, but if every reader who has ever been hot, thirsty, or hungry, and has the ability to cool down, quench their thirst and fill their belly makes a donation to relief efforts in Eastern Africa, there may be some improvement in the situation. Our donations will allow these families to find some relief in the shade of a tent, drink clean water, and begin to revive their bodies with nourishment.

We are sending our donation to Islamic Relief because they have a 4-star rating by Charity Navigator, the largest charity evaluator in the United States, along with many more recognitions. Islamic Relief has been working in Eastern Africa for 20 years. They have medical camps, drought relief, and feeding programs already operating on the ground. You can find other charities that are also working in the Horn of Africa as well. Just make sure they have an established means of delivering food and aid where it’s needed.

Ramadan forces us to slow our lives down and focus on our worship, and our spirit. God has asked me to fast for His sake, but I am the one who needs it, because without it, it would be too easy to distance myself from the suffering of others. My Ramadan prayers go toward the relief workers who labor in unforgiving conditions for very little pay, and my sincerest prayers will go to the Somali lady who is my test from God during this holy month.

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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

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Dehydration

June 9, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

tufail-science

Dehydration occurs because there is too much water lost, not enough water taken in, or most often a combination of the two.

•    Diarrhea: Diarrhea is the most common reason for a person to loose excess amounts of water. A significant amount of water can be lost with each bowel movement. Worldwide, more than four million children die each year because of dehydration from diarrhea.

•    Vomiting: Vomiting can also be a cause of fluid loss and it is difficult for a person to replace water by drinking it if they are unable to tolerate liquids.

•    Sweat: The body can lose significant amounts of water when it tries to cool itself by sweating. Whether the body is hot because of the environment (for example, working in a warm environment), intense exercising in a hot environment, or because a fever is present due to an infection; the body uses a significant amount of water in the form of sweat to cool itself. Depending upon weather conditions, a brisk walk may generate up to 16 ounces of sweat (a pound) to allow body cooling, and that water needs to be replaced.

•    Diabetes: In people with diabetes, elevated blood sugar levels cause sugar to spill into the urine and water then follows, which may cause significant dehydration. For this reason, frequent urination and excessive thirst are among the early symptoms of diabetes.

•    Burns: Burn victims become dehydrated because the damaged skin cannot prevent fluid from seeping out of the body. Other inflammatory diseases of the skin are also associated with fluid loss.

•    Inability to drink fluids: The inability to drink adequately is the other potential cause of dehydration. Whether it is the lack of availability of water or the lack of strength to drink adequate amounts, this, coupled with routine or extraordinary water losses can compound the degree of dehydration

Water is a critical element of the body, and adequate hydration is a must to allow the body to function. Up to 75% of the body’s weight is made up of water. Most of the water is found within the cells of the body (intracellular space). The rest is found in what is referred to as the extracellular space, which consists of the blood vessels (intravascular space) and the spaces between cells (interstitial space).

Dehydration occurs when the amount of water leaving the body is greater than the amount being taken in. The body is very dynamic and always changing. This is especially true with water in the body. We lose water routinely when we: breathe and humidified air leaves the body; sweat to cool the body; and urinate or have a bowel movement to rid the body of waste products.

In a normal day, a person has to drink a significant amount of water to replace this routine loss.

If intravascular (within the blood vessels) water is lost, the body can compensate somewhat by shifting water from within the cells into the blood vessels, but this is a very short-term solution. The body lives within a very narrow range of normal parameters, and signs and symptoms of dehydration will occur quickly if the water is not replenished.

The body is able to monitor the amount of fluid it needs to function. The thirst mechanism signals the body to drink water when the body is dry. As well, hormones like anti-diuretic hormone (ADH) work with the kidney to limit the amount of water lost in the urine when the body needs to conserve water.

Dehydration generally signifies the excess loss or deficiency of water in the body. It refers to deficiency of water in relation to other dissolved solutes. Along with water, several vital minerals called electrolytes are also lost when one is dehydrated. Water accounts for almost 2/3rd of the total body weight and is present both within the cells as well as in the intracellular spaces. Dehydration is a condition when the level of water in the body gets reduced below the level required for carrying out vital activities within the body. It occurs due to loss of water in greater amount than its intake. A considerable amount of water is lost from our bodies daily, due to activities like breathing, sweating and urination. So, we need to drink plenty of water in order to compensate for this loss and thereby prevent dehydration.

Symptoms
Dehydration is easily recognized by symptoms like thirst and reduction in the volume of urine or discharge of dark yellow colored urine. It also produces some other symptoms, such as dry mouth, headache, dizziness, sunken eyes, lethargy, increased heart rate and irritability. In addition to these, in infants, a sunken fontanel (soft spot on the head) can be an important indicator of dehydration. In severe cases, due to poor supply of blood to the brain and other parts of the body, confusion and weakness may occur. If remained untreated, it can lead to coma and organ failure.

Causes
There are a wide range of factors including many diseases, that can cause dehydration. Diarrhea is one of the most important causes leading to dehydration. In diarrhea, dehydration results from frequent discharge of loose or liquid feces. Dehydration resulting from diarrhea is the second most common cause of infant deaths throughout the world.

Sweating is a mechanism of cooling down the body and thereby maintaining body temperature. But it also involves significant loss of water from the body and hence can be a cause of dehydration. Vomiting, the expulsion of the contents of the stomach through the mouth can lead to excess loss of water. Besides, victims of severe burns may also experience dehydration due to loss of fluids. .

In addition to all these, diseases like cholera, gastroenteritis, shigellosis and yellow fever can also cause dehydration. Large amounts of water are drained out of the body while exercising, playing sports and performing any other kind of strenuous activity, therefore the water or fluid balance of the body has to be maintained, to prevent dehydration.

Treatment and Prevention
Dehydration can be easily prevented as well as treated by replenishing the loss of fluid with adequate intake of water. The greater the amount of water lost from the body, the greater should the intake be. Besides water, one can also take rehydration fluids or solutions, especially in case of dehydration caused by diarrhea and vomiting. This will not only compensate the loss of water, but also the loss of important nutrients. Though dehydration can be easily treated with oral rehydration, sometimes intravenous administration of fluid may also be required, depending on the severity of the condition.

Dehydration, if neglected can lead to serious conditions, especially among infants and young children suffering from diarrhea. One needs to be more careful about babies and children as they tend to get easily dehydrated. An important indicator of dehydration is the frequency of urination and the nature of urine discharged. If the urine is dark yellow in color, along with a reduced frequency and volume of urine, then it can be an indicator of deficiency of water in the body. Whenever these signs are detected, body fluid should be immediately replenished by drinking water and other fluids containing important electrolytes like potassium and sodium.

Even when healthy, drink plenty of fluid every day. Drink more when the weather is hot or you are exercising.

Carefully monitor someone who is ill, especially an infant, child, or older adult. If you believe that dehydration is developing, consult a doctor before the person becomes moderately or severely dehydrated. Begin fluid replacement as soon as vomiting and diarrhea start — DO NOT wait for signs of dehydration.

Always encourage the person to drink during an illness, and remember that a person’s fluid needs are greater when that person has fever, vomiting, or diarrhea. The easiest signs to monitor are urine output (there should be frequent wet diapers or trips to the bathroom), saliva in the mouth, and tears when crying.

Drinking fluids is usually sufficient for mild dehydration. It is better to have frequent, small amounts of fluid (using a teaspoon or syringe for an infant or child) rather than trying to force large amounts of fluid at one time. Drinking too much fluid at once can bring on more vomiting.

Electrolyte solutions or freezer pops are especially effective. These are available at pharmacies. Sport drinks contain a lot of sugar and can cause or worsen diarrhea. In infants and children, avoid using water as the primary replacement fluid.

Intravenous fluids and hospitalization may be necessary for moderate to severe dehydration. The doctor will try to identify and then treat the cause of the dehydration.

Most cases of stomach viruses (also called viral gastroenteritis) tend to resolve on their own after a few days.

Dehydration means your body does not have as much water and fluids as it should. Dehydration can be caused by losing too much fluid, not drinking enough water or fluids, or both. Vomiting and diarrhea are common causes.

Infants and children are more susceptible to dehydration than adults because of their smaller body weights and higher turnover of water and electrolytes. The elderly and those with illnesses are also at higher risk.

Dehydration is classified as mild, moderate, or severe based on how much of the body’s fluid is lost or not replenished. When severe, dehydration is a life-threatening emergency.

13-24

Islamic Burial at Sea?

May 5, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Criticism about bin Laden’s sea burial comes for various reasons: failure to comply with Islamic law, a lack of closure, and the proliferation of conspiracy theories.

By Ariel Zirulnick

Uss-Carl-Vinson-Osama-Bin-Ladenaposs-Burial-At-Sea
File:  the USS Carl Vinson, from which Osama Bin Laden is reported to have been buried at sea.

A growing number of disparate parties, from Islamic clerics to the families of 9/11 victims, are criticizing the US decision to bury Osama bin Laden at sea.

The Obama administration said that the US chose to bury bin Laden at sea to prevent his burial site from becoming a shrine and because an unnamed country that the US asked to take his body refused. Because Islamic law mandates burial within 24 hours of death, there was no time for the US to ask other countries, counterterrorism adviser John Brennan said, according to the New York Times.

At a press conference Monday, Mr. Brennan assured reporters that his burial had been conducted “in accordance with the Islamic requirements.”

But in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim country, the country’s highest Islamic body condemned the burial at sea, Agence France-Presse reports.

“A Muslim, whatever his profession, even a criminal, their rites must be respected. There must be a prayer and the body should be wrapped in white cloth before being buried in the earth, not at sea,” [Indonesia Ulema Council] chief Amidhan said. “Many others have condemned it, especially as it was done with extreme hatred against him.”

Ahmad al-Tayeb, the top cleric of Egypt’s prominent Al Azhar University, also slammed the decision, saying in a statement that it “runs contrary to the principles of Islamic laws, religious values, and humanitarian customs,” according to Iran’s PressTV. Any of the dead deserve full respect, he said, and a corpse will only be respected if it is buried in the ground.

The US defended its procedures, saying that bin Laden’s body was washed and wrapped in a white cloth and “eased” it into the sea.

Meanwhile, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) of South Carolina criticized the burial on entirely different grounds. To him, rushing to bury bin Laden in order to be in accordance with Islamic law, “may have been sensitivity taken too far,” Fox News reported.

“It would be in our national interests to make a case, [a] documented case, that this was Osama bin Laden. He is dead. I think that would be a smart thing to do, and have it rolled out in a sensitive way, but prove it beyond a reasonable doubt, and some people still won’t believe it.” … “This idea of disposing the body within 24 hours because of tradition bothers me a bit because we will be under attack as to whether or not it really was him,” Graham said. “And I’m not so sure that was a wise move. I’d like to hear more about that.”

There are concerns that a burial at sea will spur on conspiracy theories that bin Laden isn’t actually dead, and that’s why the US has no body to show the public. Some of those theories have already begun to surface, particularly in the Arab world. Meanwhile, DNA testing has reportedly provided “99.9 percent certainty” that the person US forces killed was bin Laden, says the government. The US is still debating whether to release the photographs it took of bin Laden before his burial.

Rosaleen Tallon, the sister of a New York firefighter who died in the 9/11 attacks, said that the burial at sea “denied people like her the guarantee of seeing a body and knowing without a shadow of a doubt that Bin Laden was dead,” the Los Angeles Times reports.

But despite vocal criticism, there are likely many people who, while curious about the decision to bury bin Laden at sea, are not critical of it – including in the US Muslim community.

Khalid Latif, New York University chaplain and executive director of the university’s Islamic Center, said in a column for CNN that sharia law also takes into consideration what is best for society – and when held up to that standard, bin Laden’s burial at sea does follow Islamic law.

Humanity on a whole has a right that needs to be considered in regard to bin Laden’s burial. Who would want this man buried next to their loved one? Is it appropriate, especially after he has caused such pain to so many, to put anyone in a situation where they might have to be buried near or next to him?

It also protects his body, Mr. Latif wrote. If bin Laden was buried on land and the location of his body was discovered, there would be the risk not only of the burial site offering an “opportunity for glorification of bin Laden” but also of it being targeted by people still angry over his actions in life.

Christian Science Monitor

13-19

Family Planning in Islam

April 28, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Karin Friedemann, TMO
In every bed, there is a promise.     – Nathaniel Hawthorne

Politicians like to talk about “freedom of choice.” They are talking about abortion. The assumption is that if a woman chooses not to have an abortion, then the blame, and thus, the financial and emotional responsibility for the child, rests squarely on her shoulders.

Yet, others take another approach. I’ll never forget my Italian teacher in college giving us undergrads a lecture on morals. She said something I’ve never heard anyone say out loud. “When you choose to have sex, you have made that choice.” God bless her for her audacity to speak out in the face of the victimization of women and children!

Does anyone have any idea how many poor yet honest men all over the world are living without love for months and years at a time, often going to another city for work so they can send money home to their families?

Can you imagine the terrified lifestyle of a typical Afghani woman existing on a couple bags of rice, taking care of her children alone, in the middle of a violent war, waiting for her husband to come back with some groceries in a few months?

Many families who are blessed to be together are very much together. As in, living in one room. Sharing a house with their siblings and their spouses and their children. Many families, even in Europe, live in a one room apartment. During the night, the living room becomes the bedroom.

If you have never witnessed childbirth, let me explain something to you. It really hurts. It turns your body inside out. For a woman to choose to let a man put his “gushing fluid” inside her is the voluntary personal choice to go through an experience that feels about as pleasant as having a bus roll over your body very, very slowly.

Pregnancy is a time of such sickness that if she were a man, he would choose not to work that day. Childbirth can last for days. It takes a woman three years to get back the full use of her body after having a baby, if she exercises daily. No matter what, she permanently loses the strength of her eyesight and teeth. What an unthinking man might have thought was simply a beautiful moment, for her it was a life investment. There is no such thing as “accidentally” getting someone pregnant.

In Islam, men are the maintainers of women. There is none of this weird American marital squabbling about who pays what. Motherhood is a full time job. A loving woman carries the child in her womb for nine months and then nurses the child for two years, sacrificing her calories, her strength, and her free time. A mother cannot come and go as she pleases. She cannot fall asleep whenever she feels tired. And it’s not a question of whether she wants to do it or not. Women are biologically programmed to suddenly wake up on emergency alert if her baby so much as coughs in his sleep.

Full responsibility for a baby deprives the caretaker of REM sleep.

People who are deprived of sleep for a prolonged period of time spend a lot of energy merely “coping.” But somebody has to get the bills paid while someone maintains the living standard of the home. That is why parenting is a shared responsibility. There should be no burden on the woman in addition to the full time job of raising a child in a clean and safe environment. The least a man can do is pay all her expenses.

If he cannot afford to buy his family a house, his wife and the kids can share one mattress like the majority of people in the world. Even if a man is sleeping outside, he can put a tarp over his family’s head.

Because every soul born is someone that God commanded to be born and a man must take full responsibility for his family. Anything a woman spends on household expenses is rewarded by God like donating to charity, while anything a man does to help in the home is rewarded by God as charity.

In Islam, even if the marriage does not work out, the children are still the man’s full financial responsibility. He has to keep them alive and well – not just send their mother a “donation” per month.
Women have to start taking themselves more seriously. Motherhood is a full time career worthy of a six digit income. Find a man who will do everything he can to find a way to love the mother of his children, provide them with food and a roof over their heads, and if they cannot work things out he would be aware of what it costs to raise a child.

This is what you need to be thinking about on your first date. Does the man value his future offspring? Does he have a sense of personal honor?

A man must provide for his children, not only out of some ambiguous and fluctuating emotional attachment but because they are his flesh and blood, part of his lineage. A good man is looking for a good woman who has the qualities he wants in his descendants. He is always thinking long term about how to put his DNA to proper use. The sure sign of a no good man is a man who just lets things happen. Some men think that a crime is less criminal if it’s done in the heat of passion. Yet, the act is still a deliberate act. Don’t do it without getting married first.

13-18

Microorganisms

April 28, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

391805-SOMALIA

Microorganisms are very tiny one-celled organisms, viruses, fungi, and bacteria, and are found everywhere in the world. They are found in all living things, plants and animal. There are more microorganisms on and inside your body than there are cells that make up your entire body. Microorganisms can live in the air, on land, and in fresh or salt water environments. Some of them, pathogens, can be harmful and causes diseases, but there are some microorganisms that are needed for living things to survive.

All of the living things, plant and animal, in earth’s environmental communities of forests, deserts, tundra, water, air, and all of the rest depend on the cryptobiotic crust or microbiotic layer in the soil. This is the layer of soil that most microbes live in. These microbe communities are made up of fungi, cyanobacteria and lichens. They look like a grayish cover on the ground when they are first forming, but do form in clumps of lichen that look like little hills after about 50 years of growth.

Microorganisms also are responsible for building fertile soil for plants to grow in. Microbes stick to the roots of plants and decompose dead organic matter into food for the plant to absorb. The plants that live and grow because of the microorganisms that live on them make a home for other animals to live in. Some microorganisms make people, animals, and plants sick, but others make people well and kill the bacteria on plants that make them sick. Drug companies that make medicines use hundreds of different microorganisms to make medicines that will help cure diseases. Human waste products are broken down into safer particles by some microorganism. Scientists are always looking for new ways to use microbes.

13-18

All Muslim Cemetery to Open in Flint

May 13, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

By Adil James, MMNS

Farmington–May 12–Any Muslim who enters a non-Muslim cemetery to visit a relative or friend is confronted with a difficult dilemma, that in order to approach the grave of his friend he must walk across the graves of other people, or must sit on the graves of other people–meanwhile there are ahadith that this is a terrible act.

Thus, we Muslims need a cemetery planned from the beginning around Islamic law, where in order to visit a friend or relative, or to pray jinaza for that person, it is not necessary to walk across or sit upon the graves of other people.

And so it is a welcome event that a new all-Muslim cemetery is launching in Flint.  Garden of Peace is a fledgling cemetery with so far approximately five people interred–the cemetery features Shari’ah compliant planning, competitive pricing, and maintenance and ownership all by Muslims.

Hossam Shukairy, Abed Khirfan, Muhammed Saleem, and Dr. Khalid Shukairy held a meeting this past weekend to introduce the cemetery to local imams. And in attendance were imams and other representatives from Detroit, Ann Arbor, Bloomfield Hills, and Flint.

The initial effort of the Garden of Peace meeting held this past weekend was to spread the word about the cemetery, and especially to introduce the idea of each local mosque buying plots of 25 to 50 gravesites to distribute to the people who attend that mosque. 

One person in attendance emphasized that “They offered any mosque who buys 50 plots at one time, will get the best deal.  50 or more.  And price, they didn’t want to haggle about price right now.”

Some in attendance at the meeting from Detroit expressed doubts about buying gravesites in Flint, hours away, when for $1,400 one can buy a site in Detroit.
The new cemetery is intended to build to “10.5 acres in 3 phases,” explained Dr. Shukairy, the head of the cemetery committee.  The three phases comprise growing from its present modest size of five graves to 2,500 graves in 10.5 acres, with more than adequate parking.

Dr. Shukairy explained that each grave will be aligned facing qibla, pointing to the Northeast. 

The graves will be covered with uniform stones parallel to the earth, with uniform markers perpendicular, to show names and dates of birth and death.  Not like the public cemeteries with all different kinds of stone markers.

People will be interred on their right sides with their heads toward the qibla, and the graves are designed to acommodate both Michigan law and Shari’ah, so that each person is enclosed in a concrete vault as required by Michigan law, but without a casket and in contact with dirt below and above as required by Islamic law.
According to Michigan law, Dr. Shukairy explained, bodies must “be transferred in a wooden casket… but at the [burial site] the vault is opened from the top, the body placed inside without a casket, and with dirt inside, and the vault is sealed from the top–More acceptable from Shari’ah,” explained Dr. Shukairy.

There will be adequate space in the cemetery for maneuvering the heavy machinery required for digging graves–without their needing to drive over occupied graves.

Dr. Shukairy explained “the other advantage is that a public cemetery is maintained by [non-Muslim] public cemetery management; when they are digging or cleaning, they might not respect our concerns about respecting gravesites.  People might step on graves or not know the direction of graves.”

A theme on which Dr. Shukairy’s focused was the issue whether it is acceptable in the presence of an all-Muslim cemetery for Muslims to continue to be buried at mixed cemeteries.  The “point is, when we have a purely Muslim cemetery, an Islamic cemetery, is it desirable or allowed to use non-Muslim cemeteries?”

The cemetery is “very very close” to the Flint Islamic Center [on Corunna, west of Flint], which is only 7 minutes away.

The cemetery directors have also made efforts to smooth the entire transition from life to death.

For example, Dr. Shukairy explained that “assuming someone in Flint dies in the hospital, a shaykh or scholar does the preparation of the body, a funeral home transfers the body to the Islamic center, there is a prayer over the deceased, and a funeral home takes the body to the cemetery to be buried, and according to Shari’ah guidance.”

Imams were present from the Detroit Muslim Unity Center, Bloomfield Muslim Unity Center, Muslim House in Flint, the MCA in Ann Arbor, and several others.

“It was a really good gathering, imams were present from Lansing, Ann Arbor, and so forth–we believe this is a good service in Michigan,” said Dr. Shukairy.

“We tried to invite mosques through the Islamic Shura Council of Michigan–we know we did not do a complete job–some imams probably were not invited and we will invite them later.  Spread the word,” he said.

Some issues regarding the cemetery are still in flux.  For example prices, and arrangements for individuals to buy pre-need. However, Dr. Shukairy emphasized that “I believe prices will be less than other public cemeteries or at least comparable, with the advantage of having been buried in a purely Islamic cemetery.”

The cemetery is at 1310 South Morrish Road, in Swartz Creek, Michigan.  For more information, you can call Hossam Shukairy, 810-691-7738, Abed Khirfan, 810-877-1415; or Muhammed Saleem, 810-730-1776.

12-20

Chameleons!

May 6, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

tufail

Chameleons (family Chamaeleonidae) are a distinctive and highly specialized clade of lizards. They are distinguished by their parrot-like zygodactylous feet, their separately mobile and stereoscopic eyes, their very long, highly modified, and rapidly extrudable tongues, their swaying gait, the possession by many of a prehensile tail, crests or horns on their distinctively shaped heads, and the ability of some to change color. Uniquely adapted for climbing and visual hunting, the approximately 160 species of chameleon range from Africa, Madagascar, Spain and Portugal, across south Asia, to Sri Lanka, have been introduced to Hawaii, California and Florida, and are found in warm habitats that vary from rain forest to desert conditions.

Chameleons vary greatly in size and body structure, with maximum total length varying from 3.3 cm (1.3 in.) in Brookesia minima (one of the world’s smallest reptiles) to 68.5 cm (27 in.) in the male Furcifer oustaleti. Many have head or facial ornamentation, such as nasal protrusions, or horn-like projections in the case of Chamaeleo jacksonii, or large crests on top of their head, like Chamaeleo calyptratus. Many species are sexually dimorphic, and males are typically much more ornamented than the female chameleons.

Chameleon species have in common their foot structure, eyes, lack of ears, and tongues.

Their eyes are the most distinctive among the reptiles. The upper and lower eyelids are joined, with only a pinhole large enough for the pupil to see through. They can rotate and focus separately to observe two different objects simultaneously. It in effect gives them a full 360-degree arc of vision around their body. When prey is located, both eyes can be focused in the same direction, giving sharp stereoscopic vision and depth perception. They have very good eyesight for reptiles, letting them see small insects from a long (5-10 cm) distance.

They lack a vomeronasal organ. Also, like snakes, they do not have an outer or a middle ear. This suggests that chameleons might be deaf, although it should be noted that snakes can sense vibration using a bone called the quadrate. Furthermore, some or maybe all chameleons, can communicate via vibrations that travel through solid substrates such as branches.

Chameleons have very long tongues (sometimes longer than their own body length) which they are capable of rapidly extending out of the mouth.

Tongue structure

The tongue extends out faster than human eyes can follow, at around 26 body lengths per second. The tongue hits the prey in about 30 thousandths of a second.[4] The tongue of the chameleon is a complex arrangement of bone, muscle and sinew. At the base of the tongue there is a bone and this is shot forward giving the tongue the initial momentum it needs to reach the prey quickly. At the tip of the elastic tongue there is a muscular, club-like structure covered in thick mucus that forms a suction cup.[5] Once the tip sticks to a prey item, it is drawn quickly back into the mouth, where the chameleon’s strong jaws crush it and it is consumed. Ultraviolet light is part of the visible spectrum for chameleons.[6] Chameleons exposed to ultraviolet light show increased social behavior and activity levels, are more inclined to bask and feed and are also more likely to reproduce as it has a positive effect on the pineal gland

12-19

Pak MP’s Refuse Body Scan

April 8, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Shah-Mehmood-Qureshi
Pakistan’s foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi says he had raised the issue with US authorities during his recent visit to Washington.

Pakistani MPs abandon US visit over body scanning

Pakistani lawmakers belonging to different political parties have refused to visit the United States amid a row over body scanning at American airports.

A senior member of the Pakistani Parliament told Press TV on condition of anonymity that 18 lawmakers had rejected official invitation extended by the US embassy in Islamabad.

The lawmakers say they would not visit the US until their exemption from scanning at US airports.

Earlier this month, a six-member Pakistani parliamentary delegation, protesting full body scanning in Washington, cut short their official US visit immediately to return home.

The US state department had invited them to Washington to discuss security in the troubled tribal regions of Pakistan.

Pakistan’s foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi says he had raised the issue with US authorities during his recent visit to Washington.

The X-ray machines show naked images of passengers.

Under the new rules, citizens from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Algeria, Lebanon, Libya, Iraq, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Somalia and Yemen must receive an extra check of their body and carry-on bags before boarding a plane.

12-15

Muslim Groups Condemn Body Scanners

March 18, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

As full body scanners make their O’Hare Airport debut Monday, two groups (FCNA & CAIR) say the devices – which image a person’s body – are immodest, and therefore are inconsistent with Islam.

By Mark Guarino

body-scanner-airport-half Chicago–As full body scanners debut at O’Hare International Airport Monday, two American Muslim groups have suggested that the technology violates the teachings of Islam.

The comments are just the latest controversy surrounding full-body scanners, which some critics call a “virtual strip search” because the technology sees through clothing to show the contours of a passenger’s body in detail.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has deployed 150 scanners across 21 US airports this month, partly in response to the failed Christmas Day bombing of a Detroit-bound jetliner, where bombmaking materials were hidden in a passenger’s underwear – something full-body scanners would have seen.

The TSA expects to install an additional 300 scanners in nine additional airports by the end of this year. But security officials say they will be able to accommodate the wishes of passengers – Muslim or otherwise – who object to the full-body screener.

The technology is “completely optional for all passengers,” says Jim Fotenos, a TSA spokesman, and those who choose not to participate get “an equal level of screening,” which includes a walk through a metal detector and a physical pat-down by an officer of the same sex.

Islamic objections

The screening imagery is a violation of Islam, says The Fiqh Council of North America, a body of Islamic scholars located in Plainfield, Ind. Last month the council issued a statement that said the full body imagery “is against the teachings of Islam, natural law, and all religions and cultures that stand for decency and modesty.”

“It is a violation of clear Islamic teachings that men or women be seen naked by other men and women,” the statement continued. “There must be a compelling case for the necessity and the exemption to this rule must be proportional to the demonstrated need.”

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Washington-based civil rights advocacy group, agrees with the Fiqh Council and, according to National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, it plans to track Muslims concerns with the scanners before deciding what actions to take next.

“Modesty is a basic principal of the Islamic faith, it’s very important and always has been,” says Mr. Hooper. “People say, ‘I’ll do anything for safety,’ but that’s not the question. Everybody wants to be safe. Muslims fly like anybody else … you can be safe and secure and still maintain your privacy rights.”

‘A fuzzy photo negative’

To stress the anonymity of the process, the TSA says officers review the images in a remote location and never see the actual passengers. What they do see via their monitors is automatically deleted from the system once the passenger passes review.

According to the TSA website, what officers see of a passenger’s body either resembles “a chalk drawing” or “a fuzzy photo negative,” depending on the machine, therefore suggesting passenger privacy is ensured.

The Fiqh Council, however, is urging followers to request pat-down searches as an alternative.

CAIR’s Mr. Hooper also advocates an increase in federal funding for alternate screening technologies that do not require visual screening, such as the “Puffer,” a machine that can identify chemical particles a person may have on their body and analyze whether or not they are harmful.

The TSA’s Fotenos says the current options “shouldn’t substantially impact operations at checkpoints,” saying TSA research at 19 US airports shows gate delays are primarily caused by carry-on baggage checks.

12-12

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

12-6

Renewal of Yourself First

January 14, 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, so He orders us to fast each year.

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 also 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.  Arm your mind with positive thoughts and keep the evil ones (Shatan) 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.

Above all, try to live as uneventful a life as possible.  We learn in science that the brain responds to stress by secreting a hormone called cortisol.  This chemical balances the stress levels in your body and helps you to cope with the ups and downs of your life.  We know everybody has stress but it’s smart to keep it to a minimum because too much secretion of this cortisol is harmful to your body.  It causes excess plaque build-up in the blood vessels and contributes to heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and many other ailments.  These are things that could be prevented by living a moderate life as dictated by your Creator, Almighty ALLAH.

So when you concentrate on this constant renewal of yourself, it will make you grateful and put you in the best possible position to reach out to others.  We will be able to love and see the benefit and beauty of our spouse and help them see the benefit and beauty 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.

12-3

Harun Yahya – Heedlessness

December 27, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Introduction

The happy and joyful movements of a small child amuse people. The hard decisions and reactions to events that are so important to adults, such as economic crises, natural disasters, wars, and oppression, have no meaning for them. As long as they are not hungry or thirsty or have lost a toy, they live in contentment, unaware of what is going on around them. And as long as they are content, they unconsciously go on sleeping, playing, and laughing.

However, although it may not be obvious at first, many people are hardly different from children when it comes to their level of awareness. This characteristic is especially evident in their lack of appreciation for such important matters as Allah’s (God’s) existence and the Hereafter, the purpose of their creation, the certainty of death, and the account they will give to Him in the Hereafter for every action or thought while alive.

Most people live according to their own desires and intentions, unaware of Allah’s commands and prohibitions, even though He informs us of them through clear signs. They only want to enjoy the world’s pleasures, be happy, and satisfy their own egos. They pursue its temporary allurements to the exclusion of all else, working all their lives to get what they want. Their greatest worries are that their efforts be in vain and that they will lose what they already have.

However, this short life and everything pertaining to it will one day come to an end. Unaware of the eternal punishment awaiting all those who lived their lives without making any attempt to please Allah, they head toward the Day of Judgment—a day of great fear and distress for them. But they continue to desire the world’s transitory allurements and worry only about losing them.

This unconscious, insensible, and uninterested attitude, which they insist upon following despite His clear evidences, commands, and warnings, is known as “unawareness.”

Allah has created blessings, including their own bodies and many beautiful things wherever they may look, to remind human beings of His existence. At every moment and in every place, we see that creation is imbued with countless wonders:

In the creation of the heavens and Earth, and the alternation of the night and day, and the ships that sail the seas to people’s benefit, and the water that Allah sends down from the sky–by which He brings the ground to life when it was dead and scatters about in it creatures of every kind–and the varying direction of the winds, and the clouds subservient between heaven and Earth, there are Signs for people who use their intellect.

Al-Baqara: 164

Think of everything that happens and everything you see while you are awake. When you get up and look in the mirror, you see your body regenerated after a long sleep and notice how it continues to function perfectly without your interference. You see your body just as it was yesterday—your symmetrical and esthetically shaped body that started from the division of a single cell and now contains about 100 trillion of them; your body in which hundreds of complex functions occur in a perfect sequence of which you are not even aware.

But most people pay no attention to these facts. When looking in the mirror, all they see is what their face generally looks like or if their hair is combed. They think of nothing except work, school, or what they are going to do that day. Thus they fail to realize that every new day offers them another opportunity to draw closer to Allah. Perhaps this will be their last opportunity to do so, for this might be their last day on Earth. Most people, who cannot appreciate the value of this opportunity, generally busy themselves with trying to please only themselves or others. We can explain this with the following example:

Think of a general knowledge quiz. The winner will win a great deal of money. How will the contestants behave during the contest? Will they look around distractedly instead of listening to the questions and thinking of the answers? Will they criticize the host’s shirt, tone of voice, or hairstyle? Instead of concentrating on the answer, will they think about what they are going to do or wear tomorrow?

Quite the contrary. The contestants would listen carefully to the host and try to use the limited time in the best possible way. They would concentrate on coming up with the answers by being interested in nothing except the matter at hand. If they were to engage in the type of meaningless behavior just cited, then we would think that they are bewildered, have a closed mind, or are irrational; in other words, unaware.

But many people have fallen into a far more serious state of unawareness: a way of life that is completely divorced from Allah’s commands and prohibitions. This condition is caused by their unawareness that He created them only to serve Him.

Unawareness poses a severe threat to everyone who is careless and fails to submit to Allah sincerely. Such people continue to be unaware of their true situation until they begin to sincerely abide by the Qur’an’s commands and prohibitions and do their best to remain aware at all times. Therefore, all readers of this book should acknowledge the possibility that they could have a certain degree of unawareness within themselves and realize that no one is immune to or safe from this insidious danger: Allah says in the Qur’an: “No indeed! Truly humanity is unbridled, seeing himself as self-sufficient” (Surat al-‘Alaq: 6-7). After people set aside their imaginary immunity and accept the Qur’an as their guide, they can analyze their situation, try to correct their errors and mistakes, and eventually overcome their unawareness. The main reason why people persist in their unawareness, thereby allowing it to grow stronger every day, is that they are content with their own supposed perfection.

This book aims to familiarize readers with the idea of unawareness in the Qur’an and to warn them against this insidious threat, help them determine if they have fallen into a state of unawareness or ignorance and show them to escape it, and call upon believers to be careful and alert at all times in order to avoid satan’s traps.

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The Circulatory System

December 17, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

adil-tufail

The circulatory system is an organ system that passes nutrients (such as amino acids and electrolytes), gases, hormones, bloodcells, , etc. to and from cells in the body to help fight diseases and help stabilize body temperature and pH to maintain homeostasis. This system may be seen strictly as a blood distribution network, but some consider the circulatory system as composed of thecardiovascular system, which distributes blood, and thelymphatic system, which distributes lymph. While humans, as well as other vertebrates, have a closed cardiovascular system (meaning that the blood never leaves the network of arteries, veins and capillaries), some invertebrate groups have an open cardiovascular system. The most primitive animal phyla lack a circulatory system. The lymphatic system, on the other hand, is an open system.

The main components of the human circulatory system are the heart, the blood, and the blood vessels. The circulatory system includes: the pulmonary circulation, a “loop” through the lungswhere blood is oxygenated; and the systemic circulation, a “loop” through the rest of the body to provide oxygenated blood. An average adult contains about a gallon and a half of blood, which consists of plasma, red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.

Also, the digestive system works with the circulatory system to provide nutrients the system needs to keep the heart pumping.

Two types of fluids move through the circulatory system: blood and lymph. The blood, heart, and blood vessels form the cardiovascular system. The lymph, lymph nodes, and lymph vessels form the lymphatic system. The cardiovascular system and the lymphatic system collectively make up the circulatory system.

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