Houstonian Corner (Volume 13 Issue 34)

August 18, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Landmark Radio Light Of Islam Enters Into The 18th Year

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Houston is considered as the Mecca of Community Media Outlets, with many Weekly Newspapers; Daily & Weekly Radio Shows. One of the longest running Radio Program is Light Of Islam (www.LightOfIslamRadio.Com)

Community entrepreneur Maqsood Siddiqui has been conducting this show, since August 14th, 1994. It comes on Houston Radio Frequency 1460AM every Friday between 1pm.-2pm. and every Monday between 9pm.-12am. and can also be heard worldwide at www.LightOfIslamRadio.Com

A special program was done this past Monday night to commemorate the entering into the 18th year of Light of Islam. Several community personalities were present including former Islamic Society of Greater Houston President Dr. Moein Butt, President of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce USA (PCC-USA) P. J. Swati, PCC-USA Officer Bearer Abdur Rauf, and many others.
Everyone appreciated the hard work and perseverance of Maqsood Siddiqui for continuing to provide this community service for 17 years.

Maqsood Siddiqui informed: “We started this program because radio had become very popular media among the community, especially those from India-Pakistan-Bangladesh; and to provide voice to the Muslim community to learn our religion and for the preservation of the Muslim identity of our future generations. We have evolved to also provide other services like Hajj package, Matrimonial Services especially for those in late 30s and early 40s, Counseling Services, etc. Our most popular segments have been opportunity for the young ones to come live on air and read from the Quran or presenting Hamd-o-Naat; understanding of Islam by scholars like Hafiz Muhammad Iqbal of Madrasae Islamiah, Late Imam Mohammad Naseem, and many others from throughout the world.”
Special cake was cut on the occasion, and everyone was offered snacks and tea. For more information, one can reach Maqsood Siddiqui at 1-832-298-7860.

Calls for Unity at Houston Consulate Pakistan Day Celebrations

“Mudslinging in the community should finish. If we aspire to secure a progressing and peaceful Pakistan, we need to start here in Houston, through our mature, civil and responsible behavior,” these were the approximate words of Amir Shah of The Organization of Pakistani Entrepreneurs (OPEN), as he was one of the many speakers, who spoke at the traditional flag hoisting ceremony at the Houston Pakistani Consulate on the occasion of independence day of Pakistan August 14th.

Emcee of the event was Faisal Amin, Honorary Investment Advisor to the Government of Pakistan. He read the message of Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani. Faisal Amin talked about the fact that this year, he has spent more days in Pakistan than USA and have seen very closely all the huge challenges, the government of Pakistan is facing and trying to resolve.

Others who spoke, included the Consul General of Pakistan Honorable Aqil Nadeem (also read President Zardari’s statement), President of Islamic Society of Greater Houston (ISGH) Dr. Aziz Siddiqi, President of Pakistani-American Association of Greater Houston (PAGH) Taslim Siddiqui, President of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce USA (PCC-USA) P. J. Swati (talked about enhancing trade links with Pakistan and working on economy to bring Pakistan out of gloom), and President of Houston-Karachi Sister City Association (HKSCA) Saeed Sheikh (talked about importance of law & order in Karachi for the sake of Pakistan).

Interesting thing about the message of Presdient Zardari was that he mentioned about People’s Party, while as the head of state, he needs to talk mainly about the country Pakistan.

“It is nice to see some young ones here among us. Parents need to inspire their children to become journalists, attorneys, and lawyers, other than doctors & engineers, to able to serve the community, USA, Pakistan, and get personal professionals satisfaction of doing something worthwhile,” said Aqil Nadeem, the Consul general of Pakistan.

This traditional Pakistan Day 14th August Flag Hoisting Ceremony was held at the Houston Pakistani Consulate with much fervor and enthusiasm. Despite Ramadan and heat advisory, appreciable number of people attended. It was heartening to see a bunch of youth that had come with Mrs. Mahmood, who has the privilege of once holding Pakistani flag with Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah.

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Book Review

December 31, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Ayesha Jalal,Partisans of Allah: Jihad in South Asia, Harvard University Press, Cambridge (Mass.), $29.95.

By Geoffrey Cook, MMNS

Madison (Wisc.)–With many contemporary books, I find myself merely skimming over the text.  (I think this comes from reading information over the computer.)  This book by Professor Jalal is too absorbing to do that, though. 

I was commissioned to do a scholarly a chapter on Jihadi websites here and in an abridged form in Orlando during early April.  I was encouraged to read Ayesha Jalal because it is the latest and most authoritative statement on Indian Jihadism.

Jalal goes into the fascinating South Asian history and theology of Jihad.  This is a challenging book to comprehend, but it is well worth it.

To a sincere traditional Jihadist, Shari a does not prohibit nationalist wars.  Therefore, a Jihad is not always a “physical” struggle for God (Allah [SWT]).  Still, some temporal rulers employ the concept against the “infidel” (both those who practice different forms of Islam and the non-Muslim), and, thus, in essence these rulers along with their militaristic entourages are imperialistic.  Still, there are those who believe that there is an intrinsic relationship between outward physical Jihad and violent resistance and faith in their concepts of religious concepts of personal and collective identity.

Nonetheless, Jihad has high ideals, but the tragic end to so many Jihadi fighters has led to a eulogistic and nostalgic fog concerning their actions.

Even such outstanding thinkers such as Muhammad Iqbal theorized on Jihad, but he saw Jihad in the original Arabic sense which denoted “a struggle within, or as he states in a poem:

“Jihad with death does not befit a warrior

One [who] has faith [is] alive and war[s] with himself.”

Iqbal’s originality gives elucidation to the love of God (i.e. Allah [SWT]).  Further, Muhammad Iqbal saw his poetry as an explication upon the Koran; consequently, therefore, he wrote upon his vision of inward Jihad “In…the ‘sword’ of men” which found expressed in his life, throughout.

Finally, in her study, Jalal brings Jihad into the contemporary period, and the perversion of the concept of Jihad amongst a minority of Muslims who have reinterpreted it as a violent struggle: “Equating Jihad with violence and terror makes a sheer tragedy of a concept… [that]… remains [at] the core of Islamic ethics.”

Dr. Jalal points to the lack of understanding by the counter-insurgent:  While The American-led [War on Terror until recently promoted] a military dictator in Pakistan [Musharraf] while seeking, at the same time, to spread democracy in the Middle East…”

Your critic considers Ayesha Jalal’s study to be an essential one on the subject.  It is important reading for all Muslims – especially here in the West – where one hears so much erroneous claims and counter-claims on Jihadism.  

Parisians of Allah is not only a book for education for Muslims, but the information presented can here help to explain the true nature of Islam to those outside the faith and to clarify the misrepresentation on many subjects to the non-Islamic world.

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Defining Muslim Work & Faith Based Institutions: Madrasah Islamiah of Houston

November 5, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

By Umme Abdullah

Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.”

- Carl Jung

In the light of Islam, 21st century might be considered as the Platinum Era; and it is nothing but the blind faith in Allah that has resulted Islam to rank as the World’s Largest Religion! And by no means is it also the fastest growing religion in the West. Here, only question to all the fellow readers is; what is driving the western world to accept Islam? Is anyone gripping a gun under their heads? Or are the “Extremists” studying under the roof of Madrasah’s forcing these people to accept Islam?

Islam is not just a religion; it’s a complete way of life! When an individual unfolds into the bounty of Islam, he enforces its fundamentals to instill within. Albert Einstein once said it is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education. And, in order to fulfill this quest; Madrasah’s are well known for its formal education and services towards Deen ul Islam. Creating the gateway to Madrasah’s; I have the following for you………

Let’s ponder, what exactly is a Madrasah?  And have we witnessed one? Madrasah is derived from the root word d-r-s, which literally means “a place where learning/ teaching is done”. In Arabic language, the word Madrasah simply means the same as school does in English language, whether that is private, public or parochial school as well as for any primary or secondary school whether Muslim, non-Muslim or secular. Unlike the understanding of the word school in British English, the word Madrasah is like the term school in American English, in that it can refer to a university-level or post-graduate school as well.

In Muslim states it is an instruction of higher education. According to Encyclopedia Britannica, “Madrasah functioned until the 20th century as a theological seminary and law school, with a curriculum centered on the Qur’an. In addition to Islamic theology and law, Arabic grammar and literature, mathematics, logic, and, in some cases, natural sciences were studied in Madrasahs. Tuition was free, and food, lodging, and medical care were provided as well. Instruction usually took place in a courtyard and consisted primarily of memorizing textbooks and the instructor’s lectures. The lecturer issued certificates to his students that constituted permission to repeat his words.”

Such being the layout of schools in the Islamic states; Madrasah Islamiah is one of the prominent authentic institutions, concentrating on Hifz course as the main stream of study in the United States. In the state of Texas, located in the southeast region of Houston; this unit servers as a moral structure that enhances the well-being of the Muslim community; locally and worldwide.

Hazrat Hafiz Muhammad Iqbal, founder of this sole Madrasah, initiated his journey to the state of Texas; in the city of Houston through an invitation by Sheikh Mehboob and Farkooh Malik of respected board members of the Islamic Society of Greater Houston in 1981 .Where he gave devout sermons and lectures to fortify Iman (faith) within the Muslim local community. Later in the years he spent a decade, serving Qur’an via home teaching; travelling 150 miles by car from one zone to another.  His sincere dedication, services and spirit to raise a Madrasah that has structure in place for the transmission of knowledge of Deen, and that has institutional credibility in the community; where teaching would be carried out with commitment laid the foundation of Madrasah Islamiah in the month of Ramadan in 1989.

The city of Houston being blessed with one of the most prominent Ulema from Pakistan, a religious scholar and one of the most eminent religious figures, Hazrat Hafiz Muhammad Iqbal had authoritatively erected the initial building blocks of Madrasah Islamiah in 1991. In 1993, the construction of the Madrasah was completed. Since then, Madrasah Islamiah has produced 70 Huffaz & a Hafiza; which serve the local community especially during Ramadan leading Tarawih and Qaiyamm ul lail prayers. Tarawih are extra prayers offered by Sunni Muslims at night in the Islamic month of Ramadan. Qaiyam ul Lail are late night prayers on the last ten days of Ramadan. Services rendered by this institution for the welfare of the community are summarized as below:

Salat is the Arabic term for formal prayer of Islam. Salat being one of the obligatory rites of the religion, to be preformed five times a day by a Muslim; the Madrasah  has the facility to offer these prayers in congregation at their prescribed times. Salat Al-Jumu’ah weekly congregational prayer; that is compulsory upon men is also offered in Madrasah Islamiah premises. Due to low capacity (800 people in one sitting) and huge participation of crowds; the Jumu’ah prayer is set twice, right one after the other. Madrasah Islamiah also puts forward Salat Al-Janaza; the funeral prayer held by Muslims, prayer performed in congregation to seek pardon for the deceased and all dead Muslims.

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