Court lifts ban on naming faith school in segregation case

The Guardian World news: Islam - 10 July, 2017 - 20:26

Al-Hijrah named as Birmingham Muslim school that Ofsted had penalised for separating boys and girls

A state-funded Muslim faith school in Birmingham at the centre of a legal battle over its policy of gender segregation in the classroom has been named ahead of the start of a court of appeal hearing on the legality of its approach.

Judges lifted a ban on the naming of Al-Hijrah school, an Islamic faith school in inner-city Birmingham, which segregates its pupils on the basis of gender between the ages of 9 and 16.

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Banned Grandmas of Instagram take on Trump over travel ban

The Guardian World news: Islam - 10 July, 2017 - 12:22

Photographs of grandmothers posted on account curated by Iranian-American woman to highlight ‘absurdity’ of new rules

When Donald Trump’s revised travel ban was implemented on 29 June, Holly Dagres wanted to express her solidarity with those affected.

The new rules meant citizens of six Muslim-majority countries were not allowed to enter the US without a “credible claim of a bona fide” or close relationship with a person or entity already in the US.

Related: Hawaii loses court fight to exempt grandparents from Trump travel ban

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Why Netflix is the Ramadan faster’s friend

The Guardian World news: Islam - 8 July, 2017 - 06:00

At 3am when you are chopping vegetables for your early meal, there’s nothing finer than a nimble comedy on a small screen

Did you know that Ramadan sleep patterns exist to remind you of your mortality? Last month’s nights gave me a glimpse into what life might be like for new parents, pulled out of bed and walking around zombie-eyed the next day. And I did it on my own. If you imagined a solo Ramadan as a minor tragedy, it’s even worse when you’re away from family (I’m in the US, my family is scattered across the UK and Nigeria). Thank heaven, then, for Netflix, the faster’s friend.

The kitchen at 3am is an excellent time to play catch-up on everything you’ve missed. I watched all of the third season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, chopping veg while marvelling at how the show has got incrementally less funny with every season. I rewatched the second season of Aziz Ansari’s Master Of None, often in the lull between getting home from work and breaking my fast. I watched Friends (up to when Rachel and Ross “were on a break”), snatching minutes in that window of post pre-dawn meal and pre-falling back to sleep. I watched documentaries, sitcoms, standup specials and dramas. I recommended TV shows to fellow fasters, and prayed while canned laughter spilled from tinny speakers. On days when it was just me in the kitchen, the noise and chatter made the fatigue of solo fasting less taxing.

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Unesco makes Hebron old city Palestinian world heritage site

The Guardian World news: Islam - 7 July, 2017 - 16:49

Israel denounces decision on city, home to site known to Muslims as Ibrahimi mosque and Jews as Tomb of the Patriarchs

The UN’s world heritage body has recognised the old city of Hebron in the West Bank as a Palestinian world heritage site, sparking outrage from Israel.

Furious efforts by Israel failed to derail the Unesco ruling on the city, which includes a holy site known to Muslims as the Ibrahimi mosque and Jews as the Tomb of the Patriarchs.

Related: Unesco adopts controversial resolution on Jerusalem holy sites

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Philippines police push for Muslim ID cards as counter-terrorism measure

The Guardian World news: Islam - 7 July, 2017 - 06:41

Authorities in Central Luzon call for policy after Muslims blamed for failing to prevent Islamist conflict in the south

Police from a region in the majority-Christian Philippines are considering issuing mandatory identification cards to thousands of Muslims living there – a proposal Human Rights Watch condemned as “collective punishment”.

Authorities in Central Luzon, a region north of the capital, were quoted in local media as saying the policy was a counter-terrorism measure after Islamist militants took over a city hundreds of kilometres to the south on the island of Mindanao.

Related: Philippine sectarian bloodshed unites Muslims and Christians

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Is Islam Inherently Secular?

altmuslim - 7 July, 2017 - 01:48
When American Muslims say that America is the closest nation to reconcile itself to Islamic ideals anywhere in the world, they are not speaking of shariah law, they are simply reinforcing their renunciation of the dualistic view of existence. The sacred and secular are one.

The Art of Dream Interpretation

Muslim Matters - 7 July, 2017 - 00:04


The Quran and Sunnah are full of discussions regarding dreams. Dreams are a firm part of the human experience. The most famous discussion regarding dream interpretation is vividly portrayed through the life mission of the great Prophet Yusuf (Joseph) 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him). Yusuf 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) in fact was strengthened by Allah with the ability to interpret visions. Allah says in the Quran (12:21):

“Thus did We establish Yusuf (Joseph) in the land, that We might teach him the interpretation of events. And Allah has full power and control over His Affairs, but most of men know not. And when he [Yusuf (Joseph)] attained his full manhood, We gave him wisdom and knowledge, thus We reward the Muhsinun (doers of good).”

Aisha raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) says, “The commencement of the Divine Inspiration to Allah’s Apostle ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) was  in the form of visions which came true like bright day light, and then the love of seclusion was bestowed upon him…” Bukhari #3

Ibn Umar raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him), “Some men amongst the companions of the Prophet were shown in their dreams that the night of Qadr was in the last seven nights of Ramadan. Allah’s Apostle r said, “It seems that all your dreams agree that (the Night of Qadr) is in the last seven nights, and whoever wants to search for it (i.e. the Night of Qadr) should search in the last seven (nights of Ramadan).” Bukhari

We see in the two preceding hadith that the Prophet (r) and companions would see visions during their sleep sessions and they would freely relay them to each other.

Abu Hurayrah raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) narrates that the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, “Nothing is left of Prophethood except Al-Mubashshirat.” They asked, “What are Al-Mubashshirat?” He replied, “Truthful visions (that conveys glad tidings).” Bukhari

He raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) also narrates that the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, “Allah’s Apostle said, “The (good) dream of a faithful believer is a part of the forty-six parts of prophecy.” Bukhari

Abi Saeed al-Khudari, Abu Qatada, Anas raḍyAllāhu 'anhum (may Allāh be pleased with them) all report the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) saying, “”Whoever sees me (in a dream) then he indeed has seen the truth, as Satan cannot appear in my shape.” Bukhari

Ibn Saad says in his Tabaqaat 5:93 –

Al-Imam Saeed ibn al-Musayib (rahimullah) was amongst the best of dream interpreters. He received his knowledge from Asma, the daughter of Abu Bakr. She in turn received it from her father Abu Bakr raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him).

On the other hand, in the Hilyah (9:146) of Abu Nu’aym al-Imam ash-Shafi ‘ee states:

“I have left behind in Iraq something that the zanadiqah (heretics) concocted, calling it dream interpretation. It is with it, rather than the Quran, that they occupy themselves.”

Ibn Abbas raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) narrates:

A man came to Allah’s Apostle ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) and said, “I saw in a dream, a cloud having shade. Butter and honey were dropping from it and I saw the people gathering it in their hands, some gathering much and some a little. And behold, there was a rope extending from the earth to the sky, and I saw that you (the Prophet) held it and went up, and then another man held it and went up and (after that) another (third) held it and went up, and then after another (fourth) man held it, but it broke and then got connected again.”

Abu Bakr said, “O Allah’s Apostle! Let my father be sacrificed for you! Allow me to interpret this dream.” The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said to him, “Interpret it.”

Abu Bakr said, “The cloud with shade symbolizes Islam, and the butter and honey dropping from it, symbolizes the Quran, its sweetness dropping and some people learning much of the Qur’an and some a little. The rope, which is extended from the sky to the earth, is the Truth, which you (the Prophet) are following. You follow it and Allah will raise you high with it, and then another man will follow it and will rise up with it and another person will follow it and then another man will follow it but it will break and then it will be connected for him and he will rise up with it.”

O Allah’s Apostle! Let my father be sacrificed for you! Am I right or wrong?” The Prophet r replied, “You are right in some of it and wrong in some.” Abu Bakr said, “O Allah’s Prophet! By Allah, you must tell me in what I was wrong.” The Prophet said, “Do not swear by Allah.” Bukhari

Abu Hurayrah raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) narrates that Allah’s Apostle r said, “When the Day of Resurrection approaches, the dreams of a believer will hardly fail to come true. A vision of a believer is one of forty-six parts of Prophecy, and whatever belongs to Prophecy can never be false.” Muhammad bin Sirin (narrating from Abu Hurayrah) said, “But I say this.” He said, “It used to be said, ‘There are three types of dreams: The reflection of one’s thoughts and experiences one has during wakefulness, what is suggested by Satan to frighten the dreamer, or glad tidings from Allah. So, if someone has a dream which he dislikes, he should not tell it to others, but get up and offer a prayer.”

Ibn Sirin added, “He (Abu Huraira) hated to see a Ghul (i.e., iron collar around his neck in a dream) and people liked to see fetters (on their feet in a dream). The fetters on the feet symbolizes one’s constant and firm adherence to religion.” And Abu ‘Abdullah said, “Ghul (iron collars) are used only for necks.” Bukhari

Muhammed Ibn Sirin was born 34H during the life of Uthman raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) his mother was initially a slave of Abu Bakr raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) and his father was a freed slave of Umar raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him). Although partially deaf he was a prominent narrator of hadith and a firm reporter of high integrity, devotion and piety. He died in 110H –Rahimahullah. (see siyar of Dhahabi 4:606-22, tahdhib 5:139-41)

He was also blessed with deep insight into dream interpretation. Sadly, today people have claimed his name on documents, books that were never authored by him. Without a doubt, Ibn Sirin did not write a dream manual that has been preserved.

Nonetheless, he and others in the early generation of Muslims were very active in the study of dream interpretation. The knowledge of interpreting dreams was never readily accessible as it was with other Islamic disciplines.

The work of the great scholar, Imam, muhaddith and judge – Imam Ibn Qutaybah (213H) is one of the earliest surviving, extant manuals of dream interpretation.

Al-Imam al-Qayrawani has works that are summaries and explanations of Ibn Qutaybah’s work and others. In the next instalment our focus will be, “A methodological approach to ancient Sunni Dream

What value “100% attendance”?

Indigo Jo Blogs - 6 July, 2017 - 22:11

The middle of the front of a Victorian school building, with an arched front door and a tall arched loft window.Last Sunday I saw a Facebook and blog post by a mother who said her son would not be accepting his award for 100% from his school, which would have meant a trip to a soft-play centre with classmates who had achieved the same. She spelled out her reasons, namely that it rewards luck, which she disagrees with, as those who never missed a day did so partly because of good health which was beyond their control, because it was she who took him to school every morning, and because staying off when you are ill is actually a good thing as it means you do not spread germs around the school. I questioned whether the boy had decided himself not to accept the award or whether she had made that decision for him, but it did provoke a debate both on her blog and on Twitter and Facebook. It has since made it into at least two national news outlets, Metro and the Daily Mirror, so I decided to write my own thoughts on this.

I was at a secondary school (Thomas Moore, a Catholic high school in Purley) for a year (1988-89) which had “excellent attendance” and “100% attendance” certificates each term, as well as whole-year and whole-career 100% attendance certificates. I remember a teacher lecturing us on how the forthcoming term had to be one of “excellent health” as if that was something we had any control over. Our form tutor once told us of an incident whereby a fifth-form (year 11) girl had resisted being sent home when she was sick and the staff wanted her to go home, because she was afraid of losing that all-important award. I don’t know what the illness was or whether everyone involved knew it was neither infectious nor life-threatening; if it had been the Ebola virus, I suspect the incident would have brought infamy to the school that lasted decades. These awards encourage similar attitudes to sickness absence in the world of work; workers are afraid to lose pay or promotion by taking time off, while short-sighted managers might be inclined to punish the sick worker for causing a temporary slowdown when they may have prevented a much bigger problem by staying home with their germs. In addition, British school customs tend to be copied in parts of the world that were formerly British colonies, which is why children in Kenya miss out on school because their parents cannot afford uniforms; we would not want a major epidemic to be the result of a child attending school when infectious to make sure they kept their attendance up.

Some might say that such awards should make allowances for those who miss school for legitimate health reasons, but this would only leave other valid reasons, such as a wedding or funeral in the family, and things like truancy, and the first would be just as cruel to the child to force them to miss (particularly a wedding) and coming to school rather than playing truant is just what is expected; it does not merit a certificate. And there are some health concerns that might seem trivial at the time but are later discovered to be more serious; some teenagers struggle with undiagnosed health problems (e.g. ‘period pains’ that turn out to be the result of endometriosis) into adulthood. The bottom line is that rewarding 100% attendance in schools where it is known that some cannot achieve this for health reasons is cruel to those who can’t, particularly if they make a huge effort to keep up with their schoolwork. Worse, some parents reported in the comments to that entry that their children’s whole classes had missed out on rewards for attendance because of their health-related absences, and the others were told, which resulted in their being bullied. That’s simply beyond the pale.

Finally, there are some children whose attendance is excellent but whose behaviour is dreadful and of whom the teachers and other pupils might wish to see less. A bully who bunks off school really does everyone a favour, even if he causes a nuisance (or worse) elsewhere. I got one excellent and one 100% attendance certificate for the year I was there, but was expelled at the end of the year. (Oddly, despite the story of the fifth-form girl mentioned earlier, my regular trips to see a therapist at King’s College Hospital, which required me to leave school early once a week, did not affect my attendance record.)

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