Take Time for Internal Reflection

May 13, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

By Imam Abdullah El-Amin, MMNS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Hebrew Motivation: 15 Million Jews Need 1.5 Billion Muslims

February 11, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Monotheism – We Are All Praying To The Same G_d

By Gary D. Mizel, Special To The Muslim Observer

At the outset of this opinion piece, I would like to express that after reading many issues of The Muslim Observer, I would characterize the newspaper as being journalistically at the same level as most of the highly esteemed papers around the country.  I say this because it is true;  and I also say it because I want to diffuse any criticism of the paper that would be used as a method of opposing me for appearing (as a Jew) in the text of TMO.

I would like to extol the Islamic community by citing a compliment that came from a noted Rebbetzin (Rabbi’s wife), which was expressed during a Torah study lecture.  In the midst of complaining, she came out with the following idea:  Muslims are more observant than Jews in a particular way because they devoutly pray five times a day.  This was meant to shame the audience to a degree whom she was trying to persuade to be more openly observant.  As for myself, I would simply assert that after having met scores of Muslims (mostly from studying the Koran at the Islamic Cultural Center on 96th street) I have never exchanged or been exposed to any harsh words.  One young man told me he did not like Jews and I answered that there is nothing I can do about that.  He smiled as if he were just testing me;  and we became friends.

It is my belief that the followers of the main religions spend more time adhering to the rituals of their faith than investigating what methods can be used to create peace and to bring the world together by declaring that we are all the same – all members of the human species.  Although we are commanded not to kill, we murder ourselves by murdering our own human kind.  The method of war that involves soldiers dying is as offensive as it is primitive.  It is much more cost effective to conduct a war through propaganda and influencing public opinion rather than having a human life extinguish during conflict.  It is exponentially more expensive to equip fighting men, train them, gather their bodies for burial, and take care of the wounded (physically and psychologically) for 50 years, or the rest of their lives.  Marketing leaves no scars and, like political elections, outcomes can change through the application and introduction of laws more easily and without physical conflict.  With this background, let me share what I view as the main pathway to peace – and that is to use the force of capitalism as the ultimate peacetime tool.

There are so many Muslims that are frustrated because they subsist without careers or upward mobility.  When I, myself, had no investment capital but many entrepreneurial ideas – I came to be angry, frustrated, and depressed with ideations of suicide, homicide, and overwhelming anxiety.  During such moods, I found temporary salvation by receiving some kind words and by immersing myself into some sort of creative activity.  Through this process I discovered that what made me feel healthy again was commerce and the pursuit of happiness by making money.

This point of view is what I would like to share with the readership of The Muslim Observer.         

From my experience in the business world, I have never witnessed a more uplifting event than when two or more people make money together.  When my partner Joan and myself went to the real estate office for a closing from the sale of one of our properties, I felt (like the old adage) that I was walking on air.  My mind was filled with the history of our buying a property, fixing it up, changing the zoning, and selling it for 50% more than what we paid.  When Joan and I would go out for a celebration, the feeling was euphoric.  My mind was filled with deploying our new capital to buy another building, buy clothes at the most prestigious store, buy my friend a mink coat, and try to select from my mind a myriad of daydreams all with ecstasy at their root.

This feeling is what I would like to share with my Muslim brothers and sisters.  Here is how.

I suggest that we form a company that would serve as a role model for Arabs and Hebrews alike.  We would start our project in a mosque where a Muslim audience would share with its Jewish hosts what kinds of negative feelings they may harbor towards the Jews.  The Jewish role would be to listen and ask questions so that by the end of the evening the Islamic contingent would feel that their complaints have been heard and understood. 

Then we would go about selecting an Arab (preferably Palestinian) to be my partner in a 50/50 commercial joint venture.  Myself and my Muslim partner would be co-chairmen, have an equal amount of stock in the company, and would receive the same salary and other compensation.  This scenario represents equality in many forms.  We would choose our business together such as bread, coffee, or art;  and we would market this company as being the most important in the world as its success would engender imitation and the concomitant growth of Muslim business sectors worldwide.

We would hire a Muslim videographer to document our salient experiences to use as promotional material or forge into a documentary.  Our marketing and PR would suggest that buying our product would be helping the world.  During the creation of our marketing plan, I would call upon painter extraordinaire, the great Anki King, to draft some sketches of our company logo. 

With permission from my partner, I would go for an icon that is symbolic of the two sides collaborating with each other such as a combination of the Crescent Moon and the Star of David.  Whatever image we decide upon in tandem would be augmented once again with the idea that buying our product is the equivalent of “Tikkun Olam” which is Hebrew for “repairing the world.” 

Once the Jews are in this position, their feet will be set in concrete, and I believe they will become more involved and seek new ways for our company to thrive.  Most importantly, besides the creation of a substantial revenue flow, our Muslim and Jew will work out our conflicts by speaking the language of business and not becoming confused or overwhelmed by making the entire initiative a religious experience.  Speaking for the Jews, I can say that we would not intend to convert anyone because (even though most people want to belong to the best or winningest religion) God hears all prayers.  Lastly, I simply want to express that I would relish having a Muslim partner.  I would promise loyalty to my partner;  and I would look forward to our commercial success as being a far reaching lesson in living and working together.  I would love human beings more fervently and love making a major contribution to the direction in which the human species determines to take. 

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Isn’t it Wonderful to be Muslim?

July 2, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

By Imam Abdullah El-Amin

El-Amin portrait ALLAH, The Almighty, has the power to use His creation as he sees fit.  He allows people to be Christian, Buddhist, Jewish, or even disbelievers.  He also reserves the authority to bestow His special blessings on a group of people that He has favored to carry His message.  That special group of people is us – the Muslims.

When I think about the special blessings ALLAH has bestowed on me, I am filled with gratitude because I could be someplace else.  In fact, I was someplace else before ALLAH rescued me and showed me the correct path.  And I’ve been striving to stay on it ever since.

What is sometimes disturbing is when I see people abusing the good life ALLAH has put them in.  I see men abusing women and taking advantage of them simply because they can.  They can consciously choose and execute this abuse because ALLAH has put the man in a stronger position than the women. But that superior position is only so the man can maintain and protect the woman.  I see men play on women’s emotions and pull them back and forth as though they were puppeteers.  It is definitely something wrong when a person is aware of ALLAH and the goodness He intends for us; and lives a life completely opposite from what she or he knows and preaches.

I am also aware of women who have a faster, more analytical mind than some men and they use this to abuse their spouse (and anyone else who gets in their way).

These people do not have a peaceful soul that is able to rest and enjoy the blessings has bestowed on them.  They see some flaw in themselves and attempt to cover it up by being overly aggressive and finding fault in others.  It seems that today’s world is filled with self-promotion, defending our own rights, taking care of ourselves first, winning by intimidation, pushing for first place, and a dozen other self-serving agendas.  That one attitude does more to squelch our joy than any other.  So busy defending and protecting and manipulating, we set ourselves up for a grim, intense state of being – and it is not new or confined to any certain group of people.

Prophet Isa ibn Maryam, said to “Be unselfish and humble yourself.  That statement is the secret of a happy life.  While someone else is busy building a case against you, you will be in the next room, down the hall, or across the globe being happy and productive.

Do all your deeds with the thought in mind of pleasing ALLAH alone.  Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind.  Let us regard other people as being more important than ourselves.  Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.

In this way, you, and those you are in contact with will prosper.  And it will be done with less stress and anxiety.

These are basic Islamic tenants that help guarantee a peaceful soul.  It is the way to purify your soul so you can better carry out your role as caretaker of the creation.

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

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