AFMI’s Educational Mission: A Success

January 18, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

(A Press Note with photographs and a few comments of AFMI delegates)

By Nilofar Suhrawardy, MMNS India Correspondent

NEW DELHI: Delegates of American Federation of Muslims of Indian Origin (AFMI) wrapped up their India-visit last week (January 10) on a satisfactory note. AFMI has been engaged for more than two decades in promoting literacy among Indian Muslims by establishing and/or aiding the existing educational institutions. As a part of its aim to achieve 100 percent literacy rate, the AFMI delegates hold an international convention every year in a different city of the country. This is followed by zonal conventions in several areas. Since the early 1990s, the AFMI has awarded medals (gold, silver & bronze), certificates and cash prizes to students having scored high percentage in Class 10th and 12th board examinations. While recipients of the awards are selected from across the country for the international convention, the zonal convention includes students of that particular zone.

Expressing satisfaction with increase in literacy rate of Indian Muslims, its key founder member, Dr. A.S. Nakadar said: “AFMI has made a difference.” Literacy among Muslims has increased by 60%, with 2008 being witness to greater upward trend than earlier, he said. He drew attention to increasing number of Muslim students scoring above 90%. Besides, Nakadar pointed to Muslim applicants to “higher educational institutions being higher than before.” He supported this point by referring to 50% quota in Muslim-minority educational institutions being now filled by Muslim students, which “earlier was not the case.” Nakadar, a retired cardiologist in Detroit, Michigan, visits India regularly to pursue AFMI’s literacy mission.

A key recipient of AFMI’s aid is Mijwan Welfare Society run by actor Shabana Azmi in the town called Mijwan (Uttar Pradesh), from where her father- renowned poet late Kaifi Azmi hailed. Azmi showed AFMI delegates the areas in which the students of this institution are engaged in. She expressed the need to further expand this organization with possible aid from AFMI, which is under consideration. The AFMI delegates were here last Thursday (January 8). AFMI delegates addressed the Zonal Educational Conference at Shibli National Inter-College, Azamgarh, Uttar Pradesh the same afternoon.

The two-day international convention was held (January 2-3) at Indore in Madhya Pradesh. Among Indian dignitaries who addressed AFMI’s 18th annual convention were Union Minister of State for Corporate and Minority Affairs (Independent Charge) Salman Khursheed, Justice MSA Siddiqui, Chairman National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions, Mayor of Indore Krishna Murari Moghe and others. It was the first international conference to be held in Indore this century. It was also the first one, where people from diverse political backgrounds, spoke only on importance of enhancing the literary rate of India’s largest minority community- the Muslims.

The Indore convention was followed by a tour of several towns and villages of Uttar Pradesh, with Amroha being the first to be visited by AFMI delegates (January 5). They addressed the Zonal Educational Conference at the institution run by Hakeem Sirajuddin Hashmi. AFMI delegates addressed a similar conference at Hira Public School at Hanswar (January 6).

Summing up his opinion, AFMI President Dr. Iqbal Ahmed expressed that though “Indian Muslims have developed the awareness about importance of education,” “poverty remains a major hindrance in achieving education.” He cited instances of people who had approached him in Indore about their children having secured admission to B. Tech but were dropped as their loan application was rejected by banks. “Rich segments of Muslims, Wakf boards and other Muslim groups must come forward and share the responsibility,” he said. Ahmed is a medical doctor (gastro-enetrology) in Cleveland, Ohio.

Dr. Shakir Mukhi, also a medical doctor (New York) said that AFMI delegates were “impressed” by increase in involvement of Muslims in pursuing higher education. Describing AFMI awards for bright students as providing the needed “incentive” to students to move forward, he said that AFMI plans to come forward with more incentives to help students and educational institutions pursue higher goals.    

Reflecting on AFMI’s achievements in UP alone, Ali Quraishi said: “We strengthened about 25 schools and built two new ones. It is not easy to complete this job.” Nevertheless, expressing confidence, he said: “AFMI’s aim is to promote education among Muslims so that no child is left behind. Our aim is to specially educate female students to help educate a whole family.” Quraishi, runs a business in Albuquerque, New Mexico and has built a number of educational institutions in Pune, Mumbai and elsewhere.

Psychiatrist Dr. Razia Ahmed (Cleveland, Ohio) said: “I am proud of AFMI which has definitely contributed to increasing awareness of importance of education among the Muslim community.” Laying emphasis on the need of involvement of other organizations to help in progress of Indian Muslims, she said: “I wish everyone joins us (AFMI) for this cause.”

During their India-visit, the AFMI delegates also met several leaders, including Ahmed Patel (Congress). They voiced their concern about “plight” of Muslim community in Gujarat. In a letter addressed to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, AFMI stated: “The Muslim community in Gujarat feels that opportunities that ideally should be available to all communities are denied to it because of its religious identity. Obstacles are created in its way to establish new educational institutions. State grant is not available to deserving institutions and meritorious students are discriminated in scholarship. In fact, the state government has failed to disburse the full Federal scholarship and grant money to deserving students which they were promised.” The letter also states: “The delegates of AFMI strongly feel that implementation of Mishra Commission as well as Sachar Commission” reports “would pave the way for ensuring rights of minorities in Gujarat in all walks of life.”

The signatories to the letter addressed to Congress chief include the AFMI delegates visiting India. These include Dr A.S. Nakadar (AFMI-Trustee), Dr. Aslam Abdullah (Trustee), Dr. Iqbal Ahmed (AFMI President), Dr. Shakir Mukhi (former AFMI President), Sheikh Muhammed Quraishi (former President) and AFMI members from various parts of USA and Canada. These are: Rizwana Quraishi (New Mexico), Dr. Razia Ahmed (Ohio), Dr. Khalid Khan (Nevada), Dr. Abdul Aziz (Florida), Dr. S. Ashraf (Washington DC), Dr. W. Baig (Ohio), Dr. Shahida Akhtar (Florida0, Dr Abdur Razzak (Massachusetts) and Mr & Mrs Gahffar Shaikh from Canada.

AFMI’s next international convention is scheduled to be held this December in Ahmedabad, Gujarat.

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Musings–The Qur’an Can Advance You to “Riches”

August 27, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

By Imam Abdullah El-Amin, Muslim Media News Service (MMNS)

Note:  This article is part of a CD series.  Write for more information.

First of all you should know that when we say “Rich” we’re not simply talking about material or monetary richness.  Finance is certainly a part of it, but richness comes in many forms.  You can be “rich” if you only make $150 a week – and you can be a multi-millionaire and be the “poorest” of the poor.  You are “rich” when you have a balanced life brought on by a balanced lifestyle.  This balanced lifestyle begins with the belief in ALLAH, His Messenger… and prayer.

Of course, having ample finances to take care of your necessities plus a few luxuries, goes a long way to making one happy.  You cannot be happy and fulfilled if you don’t have enough food to eat or clothes to wear or a comfortable place to lay your head.  This is one of the main reasons that poor areas have more despair, stress, lawlessness, and family and societal breakdown.

This is not to say these things don’t exist in affluent neighborhoods.  They do.  But the proportion of despair in poor neighborhoods far exceeds that in richer areas.  It doesn’t take a rocket scientist or a psychiatrist to understand that if a person grows up looking at broken bottles and empty boarded up houses everyday, he or she will not be as productive as those who grow up looking at and utilizing wealth.

However, ALLAH says if you follow some simple rules, you will be “Rich” enough to be happy in peaceful, productive surroundings.

First let us look at ZAKAT.  Prayer and zakat are two of the most often repeated dictates of ALLAH.  He puts so much emphasis on it that He has given an example of what you get back by charitable giving.  He says charity is like giving a grain of corn and each grain grows seven ears and each ear has another hundred grains.  Now add that up and see what your reward is.  I must warn you – you’ll need a mighty bi calculator.

This principle of giving is for everybody – not just “affluent Muslims.  ALLAH says for the believers (rich and poor) to pay zakat.  Some people who don’t have much money think they are exempt from giving.  This is not true and may very well be the reason they are in need.  If you only have a dollar and you give five cents, ALLAH will multiply what you gave.

The next key for getting “Rich” is saving a portion of what you have.  Again, it is irrelevant as to how much you have.  If you only make $150.00 a week, save some of it before you start spending.  First give charity and then, pay yourself.  This savings is not to be touched for anything except a dire emergency.  (And an emergency does not mean running out and buying that good looking coat you saw in the paper.)  Saving will make you independent.  You can rely on yourself for emergencies and needs rather than rely on the generosities of other people.

This is sensible living and allows you to live a life “Rich” in value, “Rich” in productivity and eventually “Rich” in finances – or at least being able to live comfortably and happy.  This is the type of life ALLAH wants us to live.  It’s the very reason He sent His message and Messenger to us.

Too many Muslims do not key in on the simple, but powerful benefits of obeying ALLAH.  But in case you don’t realize it, it’s the way to a perfect life.

As Salaam alaikum
(Al Hajj) Imam Abdullah El-Amin The Qur’an Can Advance You to “Riches”
By Imam Abdullah El-Amin

Harun Yahya – Secrets of the Hypocrites

June 18, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Continuation of the book by Harun Yahya, The Secrets of the Hypocrites.

They Spend on Things That They Themselves Do Not Like

. . . Do not have recourse to bad things when you give, things you would take only with your eyes tight shut! Know that Allah is Rich Beyond Need, Praiseworthy.

Al-Baqara: 267

Even if hypocrites do spend generously, nevertheless they spend on things that do not appeal to them. This is at the same time a rule of the Religion of the Ignorant. The things given away by hypocrites, who spend on things that serve no purpose solely in order to put on a show for believers, are unacceptable. Allah states the reason for this in the Qur’an:

Nothing prevents what they give from being accepted from them but the fact that they have rejected Allah and His messenger, and that they only come to prayer lethargically, and that they only give reluctantly.

At-Tawba: 54

They Have Sharp Tongues

. . . when fear departs they flay you with sharp tongues, grasping for wealth. Such people disbelieve and Allah will make their actions come to nothing. That is easy for Allah.

Al-Ahzab: 19

Despite being timid and weak, hypocrites still seek to attack the faithful and hurt them with their harsh words. Interestingly, the environment in which they find the courage to do this is one where they feel secure and where they imagine there is no question of any danger. The preceding verse makes this clear.

Satan is the source of all this behavior. As we know, satan seeks to block the true path before people and to do them harm. With this satanically inspired aspect, hypocrites seek to harm believers and make them uneasy, seizing every opportunity of doing so. Yet they can never harm believers in any way.

They are Skeptical

. . . They too were in a state of crippling doubt.

Saba’: 54

Hypocrites constantly feel doubt in their hearts. This skepticism is directed towards such basic elements of the religion as the Qur’an, the messenger and the Hereafter.

Due to the sickness in their hearts, their consciences are never at ease. On the one hand they witness believers’ devotion to Allah, and on the other, they realize the false nature of their own desires. Indeed, Allah refers to the hypocrites who constructed a mosque in the time of the Prophet (saas) apart from the Muslims, saying that the skepticism stemming from the sickness in their hearts would continue forever:

The buildings they have built will not cease to be a bone of suspicion in their hearts, until their hearts are cut to shreds. . . .

At-Tawba: 110

They do not trust people. They doubt everyone, fearing that any moment, someone will set a trap for them or else belittle them. They do this to such an extent that in one verse, Allah says of them “They imagine every cry to be against them. . .” (Surat al-Munafiqun: 4). They harbor such concerns because they do not place their trust in Allah and do not take Him as their friend.

They are Cruel

. . . Those who do not judge by what Allah has sent down, such people are wrongdoers.

Al-Ma’ida: 45

One thing that believers seek to achieve in this world is to replace cruelty and wickedness with truth and goodness. Those ideals stem from their proper moral values, and they subscribe to this obligation because of their fear of Allah.

Engaging in a struggle against believers who wish to put an end to the cruelty prevailing in the Society of the Ignorant and to replace it with goodness—and in addition, doing so by entering among them and while in their midst—clearly reveals the cruel souls possessed by hypocrites.

Having gone back on their faith after having believed, hypocrites cannot save themselves from falling into a mindset of cruelty. Therefore, they are unable to live lives full of peace and security, as they had imagined.

Indeed, as is revealed in the verse, “Those who believe and do not mix up their faith with any wrongdoing, they are the ones who are safe; it is they who are guided” (Surat al-An‘am: 82), peace and security are a blessing that only the faithful, who act with determination in their faith, can enjoy.

Their External Appearances are Deceptive

When you see them, their outward form appeals to you, and if they speak you listen to what they say. But they are like propped-up planks of wood. . . .

Al-Munafiqun: 4

So long as they live in this world, hypocrites are unaware that they will be gravely disappointed in the Hereafter. On the contrary, they imagine that they are destined for Paradise. One of the chief reasons for their self-deception lies in their technical and physical values.

For example, a hypocrite may be wealthy or physically attractive. But even if that person regards this as an advantage, in fact it represents a test. The hypocrite who is taken in by his wealth, property or attractiveness imagines that everything is going well and continues to live at ease. Unknown to him, however, an account is being kept of all his deeds, and he will be recompensed with suffering in Hell for all the evil he commits.

Furthermore, as already stated, Allah permits them to live in this world for a specific period of time, and when their time comes, He shows His messenger and believers the dark state of mind within the hypocrites. Thus Muslims who perceive hypocrisy will not be taken in by its deceptive external appearances, but rather fulfill Allah’s commandment and engage in a struggle against it.

They are Among the Lowest in Creation

. . . They have hearts they do not understand with. They have eyes they do not see with. They have ears they do not hear with. Such people are like cattle. No, they are even further astray! . . .

Al-A’raf: 179

Allah describes them in this way because even though they are aware of His existence, have learned the commandments and recommendations of the Qur’an, and know of the messenger and the believers; they turn their backs on all these and turn away from faith, towards denial. Since they fail to believe when called upon to do so and do not fear Allah as they should, He has evidently created them with a lower character even than that of animals, and has informed believers of the fact.

Our Prophet (saas) has described hypocrites as “the worst of people:”

“You will find the worst of people are the two-faced who come to these people with one face and those people with another face.”

Sahih Bukhari

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