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Friday Links | November 14, 2014

Muslimah Media Watch - 14 November, 2014 - 06:00
The UN peacekeeping mission investigating the reports of rape in northern Darfur, says it hasn’t found any evidence of the mass rape, which was reported last week, shocking victims. A Moroccan teen, who was forced to marry her rapist last year, has been attacked by him with razor blades for trying to seek a divorce. [Read More...]

Khutbah: Wudu (Ablution) Fiqh, Rules, Purification & Blessings

Muslim Matters - 14 November, 2014 - 05:00

Transcribed by  Ayaz Siddiqui

One of the unique actions of worship that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) has blessed us with that He did not bless nations before us is the action of wudu. The action of performing ablution was the very first ritual that our Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) ever performed as a Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) and as a Muslim. How so? Allah revealed the following verses from Surah Al-Mudatthir early on in the seerah:

[1-7] O you who lies wrapped up, arise and warn and proclaim the greatness of your Lord. And keep your garments pure, and avoid filth, and do not favor (others) expecting to get more, and be patient for the sake of your Lord

On the second day after this revelation, right after the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) understood he was a Prophet, we learned that Jibreel came down and taught him about the five prayers [1], taught him about wudu [2], and the timings to pray [3]. Although it is true that the five prayers were ordained for the rest of the Muslims at Al-isra' wal miraj (The Night Ascension), for the Prophet and for the early Muslims the prayer, and therefore the wudu, were legislated from the very beginning of Islam. That is why we have the commandments to pray in the early Makkan Surahs. Even before prayer became obligatory for the rest of the Muslims, they were still commanded to pray generically. As for the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), He was told to pray exactly when we are praying the five daily prayers and Jibreel taught him how to do wudu. Jibreel demonstrated for Him how wudu is done and then our Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) followed him in that procedure [4].

Therefore, the purpose of this article is to be a brief reminder for us of the blessings that Allah has given us thru this simple ritual as well as some basics of Fiqh (Islamic Jurisprudence) related to wudu. Why should we be so concerned about it? It is hoped by the end of the article that the act of wudu will be one of the highlights of your day to stand in front of that sink and do wudu. It will be part of your daily routine to wash and cleanse yourself for the sake of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). Realize, my dear brothers and sisters, there are dozens of Hadith regarding wudu. This simple article cannot to justice to this topic by discussing all of the Hadith, however it will be as comprehensive as possible.

In the first Hadith to be discussed, the well-known Hadith of Jibreel, wudu has been mentioned as one of the pillars of Islam. When Jibreel came to the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) and asked him “What is Islam?”, He ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) responded by mentioning the five pillars. What may not be as well-known is that there are other narrations of this same Hadith with different wording. In one of these narrations found in Ibn Khuzaymah, narrated by Abdullah ibn Omar, when Jibreel said what is Islam, the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) gave a longer list of not just the five pillars, but also included in that list is that Ghusl should be performed in the state of Janabah (impurity) and that this is a part of Islam, and that you perfect your wudu [5]. So in this Hadith, doing wudu is listed as one of the pillars of being a Muslim. Jibreel then asked him at the end of this, 'if I do all of these things then will I be a Muslim' and the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said 'Yes, if you do these things you will be a Muslim'. The reason why we are discussing this Hadith is that wudu is included in this list of the pillars of Islam.

The concept of doing wudu was told to us in the famous Hadith of our Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) that we memorize as children where He ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, “Cleanliness is half of faith…” [6]. This translation is correct however, in the language of the Shariah, taghoor primarily applies to doing wudu. Therefore, if this hadith were to be translated that doing wudu is half of iman, it would actually be more accurate. In Islam, the concept of Taharah is doing wudu and ghusl. Therefore to translate this hadith as doing wudu, and also doing ghusl, is half of iman, is actually a more appropriate translation. In fact, the other half of iman would then be the prayer. To underscore this point, in one version of this hadith what is mentioned is perfecting the wudu is half of faith [7]. The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) actually said the phrase perfecting wudu is half of faith. Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, those of us who do not have wudu, or do wudu, or perfect wudu have not fulfilled even the bare minimum of even half of Islam.

Our Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) encouraged us to do wudu throughout the day. Were it not for the fact that I know my ummah would have found it difficult, I would have commanded them to do wudu every time they prayed. We know that if we previously made wudu and we haven't broken it, then we don't have to make wudu again for the upcoming salah. However, what did our Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) say? He ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said “were it not for the fact that it would be too difficult, I would have commanded my ummah to do wudu every time they stand up to pray”. This shows us He is encouraging us by indicating that even if you have wudu, go ahead and do it again because Allah will bless you with that.

In another beautiful Hadith, our Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) told us that doing wudu cleanses us from our daily sins. Abu Umamah narrates that the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said:

“Whoever stands up to perform his wudu, intending to offer salah, then cleans his hands, the sins of his two hands fall out with the first drop of water. Then, when he rinses his mouth, and draws water into his nose and expels it, the sins of his tongue and two lips fallout with the first drop of water. Then, as he cleans his face the sins of his hearing and seeing fallout with the first drop (of water). Then, when he cleans his two arms including the elbows and his two feet including the ankles, he becomes free of all his offenses and sins, just as he was the day his mother gave him birth.” He (then) said: “When he stands for salah Allah elevates his position and if he (merely) sits (without standing for salah) even then his sitting is free of sins.” (Musnad Ahmad)

In other words, one wudu, if you do it properly, will cause all of these sins to be forgiven. Then when he stands up to pray Allah will raise his rank even more. Our scholars point out that these traditions should be understood as purifying what is called the minor sins. As for the major sins such as drinking, fornication, drugs, or murder, these major sins need to be repented from and cannot be wiped away by simply by performing wudu and then the good deeds only add to the excellence of repentance. Wudu will cleanse the minor sins, such as the white lies we may say or the glances we make towards the opposite gender. This is proven in another hadith that the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said,

“Five (daily) prayers and from one Friday prayer to the (next) Friday prayer, and from Ramadhan to Ramadhan are expiations for the (sins) committed in between them provided one shuns the major sins.” (Muslim)[8]

This Hadith not only shows us that wudu will not cleanse one of their major sins, but also the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) mentions the five prayers here, and as we know wudu is a pre-requisite to the five prayers. Therefore, we can say that doing wudu regularly will cleanse one of all of their sins, provided that the major sins are avoided as the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) mentions. Performing wudu only increases the perfection of repentance in this regard.

In another beautiful and profound Hadith, the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said,

“Adhere to righteousness even though you will not be able to do all acts of virtue. Know that the best of your deeds is salah (prayer) and that no one maintains his ablution except a believer.” (Majah) [9]

The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) is telling us that we won't be perfect, but even then we should adhere to righteousness. We should do what we can to avoid sins, we should perform the obligatory actions that Allah has told us to do, and go above and beyond the obligatory actions into the supergatory actions as well. The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) then mentions that the best of deeds is the prayer, but then what is the key to the prayer? It is the wudu, and so the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) mentions that nobody will maintain or protect their wudu except a true believer. What does it mean to protect one's wudu? It means that a Mu'min (true believer), which is a higher level that just a Muslim, will always want to be in a state of wudu. Whenever he or she breaks their wudu, they immediately want to perform wudu again to always be in the state of spiritual purity. He or she makes wudu not necessarily because they need to pray right then and there, rather they perform wudu to be in the state of purity out of love for being in the state of purity. That is why the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) encouraged us to protect our wudu so that we are that we may obtain this higher level of faith.

The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) also told us that on the Day of Judgment that the wudu will beautify the one who has perfected it. In a famous hadith in Sahih Muslim, Abu Hazim reported:

“I was (standing) behind Abu Huraira and he was performing the ablution for prayer. He extended the (washing) of his hand that it went up to his armpit. I said to him: 'O Abu Huraira, what is this ablution?' He said: 'O of the tribe of Faruukh, you are here; if I knew that you were here, I would have never performed ablution like this; I have heard my Friend ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) say. In a believer adornment would reach the places where ablution reaches.'” [10]

The beauty of the believer on the Day of Judgment will be shown and demonstrated wherever the wudu was perfected. How will the believer be beautified on that day? There will be light coming from those limbs that were washed during wudu. The light from Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) will be coming from the body and the limbs of the one who did wudu.

In another hadith our Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) encouraged us to do wudu perfectly as that will allow all of the doors of Jannah to be opened to us. This means that Jannah is waiting, and just as soon as we die, we can go to Jannah. He ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said:

“Whoever performs wudu, making wudu well, then says: (Ashhadu an la ilaha illallah, wahdahu la sharika lahu, wa ashhadu anna Muhammadan-abduhu wa rasuluhu, Allahummajalni minat tawwabin, waj'alni minal mutatahhirin) 'I testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah Alone, there are no partners for Him. And I testify that Muhammad is His servant and Messenger. (Allahummaj-'alni minat-tawwabina, waj-'alni minal-mutatahhirin) 'O Allah! Make me among the repentant, and make me among those who purify themselves.' Then eight gates of Paradise are opened for him, that may enter by whichever of them wishes.” [11]

What does this Hadith mean? It is saying whoever perfects his wudu, and it important to perfect it, and then says the dhikr that is supposed to be said, our Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said all eight doors of Jannah will be flung open for him just after one wudu and after saying one dhikr in a proper manner. This shows us how beloved wudu is such that Jannah opens up its gates waiting for the one who has done wudu.

Perhaps the single most important blessing that we should truly appreciate and want to achieve for performing wudu is the blessing of being recognized on the Day of Judgment by our Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him). The only way our Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) will recognize His nation will be thru the effects of wudu. The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) in a beautiful hadith narrated by more than 12 sahabah and in all of the books of Hadith, and it is a Hadith that we should keep in our minds every time we stand up for wudu so that we perfect it, said in one narration reported by Abu Hurayrah:

“On the Day of Resurrection, my followers (or Ummah) will be summoned `Al-Ghurr Al-Muhajjalun' from the traces of wudu'. Whoever can increase the area of his radiance should do so.”[12]

In this Hadith, the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) used two words that are used to describe horses, Al-Ghurr and Al-Muhajjalun. Ghurra is a horse that has a white streak on its forehead. It is human nature that when we see a horse with a white streak on its forehead, we feel that this horse is valuable and it is beautiful. Muhajjal means a horse that has white streaks that are going down to its limbs. To this day, the most prized horses are Arabian horses, and for the Arabs the most prized Arabian horses were those that were ghurr and muhajjal. The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) by describing his nation with these two adjectives is saying that their faces will be shining bright and their limbs will be shining bright from the effects of wudu. Abu Hurayrah, when narrating this Hadith to his students, would encourage them that whoever amongst them can prolong their wudu or make their wudu such that they would be more beautiful or shine more on the Day of Judgment, should do so.

This Hadith is what Abu Hurayrah himself acted on which was discussed previously, as narrated by Abu Hazim. Abu Hurayrah is telling Abu Hazim that if he had known he was there, he wouldn't have done wudu in this manner so that Abu Hazim doesn't think this is Sunnah. Abu Hurayrah is doing this because he heard the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) say that his ummah would come on the Day of Judgment ghurr and muhajjall so he wants to beautify himself more thru his wudu. This is Abu Hurayrah's opinion, and no doubt the Sunnah is to stick with the Sunnah and make wudu to the elbows but the point here is to look at the love of Abu Hurayrah and his desire to be recognized by the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him). He wants to be known and to stand out on the day of judgment by perfecting his wudu.

In a very beautiful and similar Hadith narrated in Sahih Muslim, Abu Hurayrah reports:

The Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) went to the (Baqi`) cemetery and said, “May you be secured from punishment, O dwellers of abode of the believers! We, if Allah wills, will follow you. I wish we see my brothers.” The Companions said, “O Messenger of Allah! Are not we your brothers?” He ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, “You are my Companions, but my brothers are those who have not come into the world yet.” They said; “O Messenger of Allah! How will you recognize those of your Ummah who are not born yet?” He ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, “Say, if a man has white-footed horses with white foreheads among horses which are pure black, will he not recognize his own horses?” They said; “Certainly, O Messenger of Allah!” He ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, “They (my followers) will come with bright faces and white limbs because of wudu'; and I will arrive at the Hawd (Al-Kauthar) ahead of them.”[13]

In this Hadith, the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) is again describing his nation as coming ghurr and muhajjal due to the effects of wudu. He ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) is saying here that He will be able to recognize His nation easily because of the effects of wudu on their faces and limbs, similar to how it is easy to recognize a horse that is ghurr and muhajjal from a group of pure black horses. It is important to note that generally only one horse out of maybe 500 or a thousand horses is ghurr and muhajjal and the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) is saying his nation will be amongst non-Muslims and he will still be able to recognize them. SubhanAllah, all of mankind will be the color of their skins and their won't be any light emanating from them, but the Muslims will be the only nation that there will be a divine light emanating from their faces and limbs due to their wudu. Therefore, anyone who did wudu shall be recognized by our Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), no matter what era they lived in, no matter what timeframe, no matter what geographic location, wherever and whenever a person a person lived, if he or she made wudu they will be recognized by the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) amongst millions of people.

That will be our ticket, God-willing, to drink from the fountain of al-Kawthar. Why? Who does that fountain belong to? It belongs to the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him). Who can drink from it? Only those whom the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) owner allows will be allowed to drink from it How will we who are living today get permission to drink from the fountain of al-Kawthar when the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) has not seen us? The only method of recognition the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) mentioned is thru the perfection of wudu and its effects. Also, my dear brothers and sisters, we all want the intercession of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him). It is part of our iman to believe that the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) will intercede on the Day of Judgment. How will he recognize his ummah or us when we don't have the tell-tale characteristics of what it means to be a Muslim? It is thru wudu that the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) will recognize his ummah who will be shining bright, their faces will be bright, and their limbs will be shining bright from the effects of wudu.

In yet another beautiful and very profound Hadith, the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) discusses a dream that he had with the companions. In Jami' at-Tirmidhi, Muadh ibn Jabal the following story:

“One morning, the Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) was prevented from coming to us for salah As-Subh, until we were just about to look for the eye of the sun (meaning sunrise). Then he came out quickly, had the salah prepared for. The Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) performed the salah, and he performed his salah in a relatively quick manner. When he said the Salam, he called aloud with his voice saying to us: 'Stay in your rows as you are.' Then he turned coming near to us, then he said: 'I am going to narrate to you what kept me from you this morning: I got up during the night, I performed wudu and prayed as much as I was able to, and I dozed off during my salah, and fell deep asleep. Then I saw my Lord, Blessed and Most High, in the best of appearances. He said: 'O Muhammad!' I said: 'My Lord here I am my Lord!' [14] He said: 'What is it that the most exalted group (Angels) busy themselves with?' [15] I said: 'I do not know Lord.' And He said it three times.” He said: “So I saw Him place His Palm between my shoulders, and I sensed the coolness of His Fingertips between my breast. Then everything was disclosed for me, and I became aware. So He said: 'O Muhammad!' I said: 'Here I am my Lord!' He said: 'What is it that the most exalted group (Angels) busy themselves with?' I said: 'In the acts that atone.' He said: 'And what are they?' I said: 'The footsteps to the congregation, the gatherings in the masajid after the salah, Isbagh Al-wudu during difficulties.' He said: 'Then what else?' I said: 'Feeding others, being lenient in speech, and salah during the night while the people are sleeping.' He said: 'Ask.' I said: 'O Allah! I ask of you the doing of the good deeds, avoiding the evil deeds, loving the poor, and that You forgive me, and have mercy upon me. And when You have willed Fitnah in the people, then take me without the Fitnah. And I ask You for Your love, the love of whomever You love, and the of the deeds that bring one nearer to Your love.'” The Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said: “Indeed it is true, so study it and learn it.” [16]

In the first part of this Hadith, the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said that He had a dream in which he saw Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). Now, the scholars of Ahlul-Sunnah say it is not allowed for any human to see Allah in a wakeful state in this world. However, it is possible for the Prophets to see a dream and in that dream, they may speak to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) directly. How this occurs is beyond our knowledge, but they are not seeing Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) in a wakeful state and a dream is a different state than a wakeful state. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) then asks the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) what the Angels are debating. The point of the Hadith and the phrasing of the Hadith indicates that they are debating which deeds are the most beloved to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He).

What do the Angels debate? They don't debate over useless sports or politics. They are debating over which deed is the most beloved to Allah, what deed will bring a person closest to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) responds that He does not know what they are debating. This shows the humility of our Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) and teaches us an important lesson in that we shouldn't hesitate in saying 'I don't know' if we are unaware of a matter. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) then opens up to him the doors of the unseen thru a method of direct revelation (meaning without an Angel as an intermediary) and, at that point, he says he knew everything. So, Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) asks Him ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) again what the Angels are debating. The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said they are debating about the things that cleanse a person of their sins the most. They are debating which of these deeds is the first, which is second, and which is third in terms of most beloved to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) and which cleanse the sins the most. All three of these are at the top of the list.

One of these is perfecting the wudu when it is difficult to do so. What does it mean to perfect wudu when difficult? This can apply especially in the winter months, or when there is no water, or when the wind is blowing while making wudu outside. The houses of the companions and the house of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) were not fully blocked from the wind. There were cracks and crevices so their houses were not completely sealed off the way our houses are sealed off. They did not have hot water like we have hot water. Can you imagine doing wudu in the freezing cold when the water is freezing cold and doing it perfect? This is what the Hadith is indicating by perfecting wudu at times of difficulty. Another deed that is beloved to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) is walking on your feet to the masjid and in another version walking during the darkness to the masjid, both versions are correct. This applies to going to the masjid for Fajr and Isha in particular and praying it in the masjid. The third deed mentioned is waiting from one salah to the next salah, i.e. you are always eager for when the next salah is coming up. These are the three things the angels are arguing about that will bring people close to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) and the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) and the Angels mention wudu as one of them.

One additional hadith that truly demonstrates what wudu will do to a person and what benefit it will have is a Hadith, which we are all familiar with. It is the story of Bilal whose footsteps the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) heard in Paradise. Abu Buraidah narrates in Tirmidhi:

The Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) awoke in the morning and called for Bilal, then said: 'O Bilal! By what have you preceded me to Paradise? I have not entered Paradise at all, except that I heard your footsteps before me. I entered Paradise last night, and I heard your footsteps before me, and I came upon a square palace having balconies made of gold. So I said: 'Whose palace is this?' They said: 'A man among the Arabs.' So I said: 'I am an Arab, whose palace is this?' They said: 'A man among the Quraish.' So I said: 'I am from the Quraish, whose palace is this?' They said: 'A man from the Ummah of Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him).' So I said: 'I am Muhammad, whose palace is this?' They said: ”Umar bin Al-Khattab's.' So Bilal said: 'O Allah's Messenger! I have never called the adhan except that I prayed two Rak'ah, and I never committed Hadath except that I performed wudu upon that, and I considered that I owed Allah two Rak'ah.' So the Messenger of Allah (sallahu alayhi wa salam) said: 'For those two.' [17]

This Hadith shows Bilal's desire to always be in a state of wudu. This Hadith does not mean that Bilal is higher that the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) or that Bilal will enter Jannah before the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him). We learn in other hadith that the first person to enter Jannah after Adam was expelled from it will be our Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) [18]. It simply means Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) is showing that Bilal is doing something very beloved and great to the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him). Bilal responds to the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) by saying that there are two things he does. The first of which is that he prays to rakah after performing the adhan, and the second is that he never breaks his wudu except that he renews it immediately. Regarding the two rakah after the adhan, how many times does Bilal give the adhan? Five times a day because he is the Muadhin, and every single time he will pray two rakah. It is a Sunnah to pray two rakh between the adhan and the iqamah. The second thing he says is that he is always in a state of wudu. Praise by to Allah, Bilal is linking his place in Jannah to being in a state of wudu. Obviously, Bilal endured punishment and torture due to being a Muslim and was steadfast, but when Bilal himself was asked what he thinks and what he expects Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) to reward him for, it is for the extra prayers he performed and for always being in a state of wudu.

My dear brothers and sisters, to summarize, there are many benefits of wudu. Of the ones we discussed are:

  1. wudu is half of iman. Half of your faith is dependant upon wudu.
  2. wudu cleanses sins. So much so that it is possible for a person to be completely purified of their minor sins simply by perfecting wudu.
  3. wudu will come as a bright decoration on the Day of Judgment for the believer. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) will decorate you and make you look beautiful and handsome on the Day of Judgment.
  4. Your faces and limbs will come Ghurran Muhajileen from the effects of wudu.
  5. It is of the noblest deeds that even the Angels are arguing about and are putting it first on the list.
  6. It is of one's iman to protect one's wudu throughout the day and night and you raise your rank in Islam simply by guarding your wudu.
  7. It is the only means of our Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) recognizing us. When the Sahabah asked him how will you know your ummah, the one thing he said was that He will recognize them from the effects od wudu.

My dear brothers and sisters in Islam, if these are some of the effects and blessings of wudu, then how can we ever trivialize this deed when Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) has placed so many blessings in it. When Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) has linked our iman, our love for Him, and our recognizing of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) thru it, how can we possibly trivialize this deed? How can we perform wudu in two seconds splashing water on ourselves and everywhere around us when we stand in front of that sink? My dear brothers and sisters, a little bit of knowledge will affect us for an entire lifetime and we have only narrated a few Hadith. It is impossible after knowing these Hadith to stand in front of the sink and trivialize the wudu when you recognize how much is at stake here. If this is how much we benefit from simply talking about the blessings of one deed, imagine how much more we will benefit when we learn about the blessings of each and every deed that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) has told us to do.

It is also important to discuss some of the basic legal laws pertaining to wudu. There is no doubt that the fiqh aspects of wudu require a much lengthier discussion. Yet at the same time it is important to very briefly summarize some of the things everyone should be aware of.

Wudu, my dear brothers and sisters, is needed primarily for two things. The first area where wudu is required is for any salah whether it is fard, nafl, Sunnah or any type of salah. The second area where wudu is required is when you are touching the mushaf. Not a book of tafseer, or a book on Islam, the actual Qur'an itself. Wudu is not needed to recite the Qur'an, only when you are touching it. You may recite the Qur'an from memory or you may recite from the Qur'an without actually touching the mushaf. However, if you want to touch a mushaf, you should have wudu. Wudu is not needed for sajdah that is done for tilawa. If you hear somebody reciting the Qur'an, you can fall into sajda without wudu. Wudu is also not needed for sajda of thankfulness. if some good news comes to you, you can fall into sajda as you are. Wudu is not needed because it is not a salah, it is only a sajda.

Wudu is not needed for when you are making duaa or dhikr. You don't need to have wudu for any duaa and any dhikr, you may make them in any state that you are.

Wudu has seven pillars that you must do. They are very simple and you can memorize them easily. They are:

  1. Intention – Intention if a pillar of all good deeds. You must have the intention to do wudu.
  2. Washing the face
  3. Washing the hands up to the elbows
  4. Wiping the head
  5. Washing the feet up until the ankles
  6. Following the order above. We don't mess this order up because the Qur'an mentions this order.
  7. The wudu is performed in a small amount of time. You don't delay it half an hour between washing various parts of the body to take a phone call or watch TV for example. It must be done in a small amount of time.

The sunnah is to perfect wudu beyond this and that is to begin with mentioning Allah's name by starting with the basmala (bismillah ir rahmanir raheem). Perfecting the wudu also includes washing the hands in the beginning, to gargling water in the mouth, and to blowing water from the nose. These acts are from the sunnah and not of the necessary things of wudu. It is also only necessary to wash each part once, but if you wash each part three times [19], other than the wiping of the head, which is done once, than this is a sunnah as well. You may also wash each part twice [20] or once [21], but once is the bare minimum. Finally, it is sunnah to say the dhikr at the end of wudu as we said earlier.

The wudu is broken by anything that is expelled from the private organs such as a fluid, gas, or solid. It is also broken by a heavy deep sleep, not if you just doze off. If your sitting in your office chair and go to sleep, it is not broken. Only a heavy deep sleep such that you lose your consciousness is what breaks wudu. It is also not broken by vomiting or bleeding according to the strongest position of the scholars. If you do vomit or bleed, that does not break the wudu even though it is better to do wudu to cleanse yourself. The wudu is not broken if you touch somebody of the opposite gender. It is authentically reported by Aisha that sometimes the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) would kiss her and then he would go and pray without doing wudu [22]. Aisha is telling us merely to touching a women does not break the wudu, even though you are not supposed to touch a non-mahram women and it is my position that it is makruh to shake hands with non-mahrams of the opposite gender. It should be avoided, but suppose you do shake hands with someone who is not your mahram in an office setting it does not break you wudu, even though it is makruh to do so. Lastly, there is a big controversy over touching ones private organ and whether or not the wudu is broken. The evidences are ambiguous in this regard and in my humble opinion it is safer to do wudu, but it does not break the wudu if you touch your own organ.

Realize, my brothers and sisters, that there is a general rule in fiqh that certainty is not lifted up because of doubt. The meaning of this is if you are unsure if you have wudu or not, you try to determine what you are certain of. For example, if you positively remember making wudu at 2 o'clock, and it now 3 o'clock and your unsure if you've broken wudu or not. If you are sure you did wudu, then you base your state on what you're sure about which is that you did wudu at 2 o'clock and you disregard being unsure because religion is based upon certainty. The opposite also applies in that if you're certain you went to the restroom at 3 o'clock, but now its 4 o'clock and your unsure if you made wudu although you remember going to the bathroom. In this case you base it on certainty and certainty is you broke your wudu. So whatever you are certain about, you base your religion and your state on that and you discard what your uncertain of.

My dear brothers and sisters in Islam, I conclude by reminding you of one more hadith that we did not discuss in the previously and it demonstrates the importance of perfecting the wudu. This Hadith is perhaps the most common Hadith about wudu. The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) saw a man who was doing wudu and when he finished, the back of his foot was still dry. In those days they would do wudu sitting down and the back of the foot would be put on the sand while the top of the foot is washed, similar to how we was our feet today. This man finishes doing wudu and stands up, while the back of his foot had not been washed. Our Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) says to this man “Woe to the heels because of hell-fire” [23]. This Hadith demonstrates that being careless in wudu might bring about punishment from Allah. It demonstrates that perfecting wudu guarantees Jannah because if you can enter Hellfire for not doing wudu properly, then you will enter Paradise for doing properly.

My dear brothers and sisters, heaven and hell are linked to our rituals and worship. Wudu is the key to salah and salah is the key to Jannah. The one who perfects his wudu will automatically be creating a way directly Jannah. As for the one who does not perfect his wudu, the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) threatened a similar person during his time for being careless with wudu so similarly you may be punished. What will become of the person who does wudu once a year, once a month, or once a week? What will the status of the one who is not addicted to the purity of wudu? How do you think that person will ever be saved from the Fire? How do you think the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) will recognize such a person?

My dear brothers and sisters in Islam, we thank Allah for having blessed us with such a ritual that our Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) can recognize us with. We thank Allah that such a simple routine which is in fact good for us, its healthy for us, its hygienic for us, we thank Allah that so many blessings are linked to such a simple ritual that takes barely two minutes every time we do it. what a beautiful religion that Allah has given us as Allah says in the Qur'an Allah wants to purify you and Allah wants to cleanse you and this is of the goals of the Shariah. may Allah make us of those who understand those goals.

 

 

 

 

[1] Narrated by Ibn Shihab, Once `Umar bin `Abdul `Aziz delayed the `asr prayer a little. `Urwa said to him, “Gabriel descended and led the prayer in front of the Prophet (sallahu alayhi wa salaam)ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) ” On that `Umar said, “O `Urwa! Be sure of what you say.” “Urwa, “I heard Bashir bin Abi Masud narrating from Ibn Masud who heard Allah's Messenger ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) saying, 'Gabriel descended and led me in prayer; and then prayed with him again, and then prayed with him again, and then prayed with him again, and then prayed with him again, counting with his fingers five prayers.” (Bukhari, 59:32)

[2] The Prophet (sallahu alayhi wa salaam)ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said “Jibreel came to me at the beginning of what he revealed to me and taught me how to do wudu and the prayer…” (Ahmad, al-Hakam) (Kishk, pg.55)

[3] Narrated by Abdullah ibn Abbas, The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: Gabriel (ﷺ) led me in prayer at the House (i.e. the Ka'bah). He prayed the noon prayer with me when the sun had passed the meridian to the extent of the thong of a sandal; he prayed the afternoon prayer with me when the shadow of everything was as long as itself; he prayed the sunset prayer with me when one who is fasting breaks the fast; he prayed the night prayer with me when the twilight had ended; and he prayed the dawn prayer with me when food and drink become forbidden to one who is keeping the fast. On the following day he prayed the noon prayer with me when his shadow was as long as himself; he prayed the afternoon prayer with me when his shadow was twice as long as himself; he prayed the sunset prayer at the time when one who is fasting breaks the fast; he prayed the night prayer with me when about the third of the night had passed; and he prayed the dawn prayer with me when there was a fair amount of light. Then turning to me he said: Muhammad, this is the time observed by the prophets before you, and the time is anywhere between two times. (Dawud, 2:3)

[4] Jibreel took the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) behind Mount Safaa. There, he caused, by the permission of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), a spring of Zamzam to appear. Jibreel then demonstrated the wudu and the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) followed him in that procedure. The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) later brought Khadija (ra) to the same spring and taught her to make wudu and they together performed prayer. (Jangda, Episode 31)

[5] Abdullah ibn Umar (RA) narrates in the episode when Jibreel came to the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) to ask him some questions regarding Islam. The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) answered, 'Islam is to testify that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah and to establish salah, to pay Zakaah, to perform the Hajj and Umrah, to take a complete bath from major impurities, to complete the wudu and to fast in the month of Ramadhaan.' Jibreel then asked, 'if I do these acts, am I then a Muslim?' He ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) replied, 'Yes'. (Ibn Khuzaymah)

[6] The Messenger of Allah (sallahu alayhi wa salaam) said: Cleanliness is half of faith and al-Hamdu Liliah (Praise be to Allah) fills the scale, and Subhan Allah (Glory be to Allah) and al-Hamdu Liliah (Praise be to Allah) fill up what is between the heavens and the earth, and prayer is a light, and charity is proof (of one's faith) and endurance is a brightness and the Holy Qur'an is a proof on your behalf or against you. All men go out early in the morning and sell themselves, thereby setting themselves free or destroying themselves. (Muslims, 2:1)

[7] Sunan an-Nasa'i 2437

[8] (Muslim, 2:19)

[9] (Majah, 1:1:277)

[10] (Muslim, 2:53)

[11] In the version narrated in Sahih Muslim (2:20), the additional duaa “O Allah! Make me of the repentant…” is not narrated. The version narrated in Jami' at-Thirmidhi (1:55) contains this additional duaa.

[12] (Bukhari, 4:2)

[13] (Muslim, 2:52)

[14] At IlmSummit 2014, Shaykh Yasir comments on this Hadith and mentions that it is an etiquette to respond to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) by saying 'Labbayk' (Here I am). This is why when we are called for Hajj, we say Labbayk Allahuma Labbayk (Here I am, O Allah, Here I am)

[15] This shows us that the Angels are of different ranks and the higher the rank, the better. (Shaykh Yasir Qadhi, IlmSummit 2014)

[16] (Tirmidhi, 1:44:3245)

[17] (Tirmidhi, 1:46:3689)

[18] (Muslim, 1:392), (Muslim, 1:394)

[19] (Bukhari, 4:25)

[20] (Bukhari, 4:24)

[21] (Bukhari, 4:23)

[22] (Dawud, 1:179)

[23} (Muslim, 2:40)

The post Khutbah: Wudu (Ablution) Fiqh, Rules, Purification & Blessings appeared first on MuslimMatters.org.

Gay and Muslim?

Muslim Matters - 13 November, 2014 - 18:00

A Cry for Help

I have a question and I really don't know where to turn. This is something I can't even talk to my parents or friends about, so I hope you can help me. I am a 19-year-old Muslim girl and I'm sexually attracted to other girls. Please don't judge me. I know it's not right to act on my feelings and so far I haven't, alhamdulillah. But I come from a good Muslim family, and now I live away from home for college and it's getting more & more difficult to stay away from sin. I'm part of the MSA (Muslim Student Association) & I tried to bring up this topic once (without telling them it was about me); and the Muslims got all upset & some people started making jokes about “It's Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.” And I was just asking what someone with these feelings should do to stay away from sin. I didn't say homosexual acts are okay! Now I'm getting really depressed and feel so alone. I'm even starting to question my faith. I mean, why can't Muslims with gay & lesbian feelings get advice or help when Muslims have no problem giving advice to Muslims who don't wear hijab, who drink, who commit zina, and even Muslims who don't pray! Do you know of any online resources or support groups for Muslims I can join anonymously? I don't want to lose my faith. Please help me. -Don't want to be Gay Muslim

This is an example of the type of questions I regularly receive from Muslim youth wanting advice.

UZ Corner

How Can We Help?

Undoubtedly, any Muslim who reaches out for help in practicing his or her faith deserves not only help and guidance, but also patience, compassion, and empathy. No believer should be shamed or blamed for simply wanting advice in fighting sin, whether that sin is major or minor, normal or abnormal. None of us is without sin. Prophet Muhammad, sallallahu'alayhi wa sallam, taught us that all of the children of Adam sin, and the best of those who sin are those who constantly repent.

Therefore, as we strive for Paradise, we should help each other in our efforts of repentance, even if the sin is shocking or repulsive, as homosexuality is to many people.

Homophobia: Remaking Religion in a New Image

Ironically, one of the greatest barriers to helping Muslims like the nineteen-year-old Muslim girl above is the alleged fight against homophobia. Literally, homophobia means an irrational fear of or paranoia regarding homosexuality or homosexuals. However, socially and politically, homophobia has come to mean anything that offends gays and lesbians, specifically those gays and lesbians who either reject God and religion altogether or those who wish to remake God and religion in their image.

Unfortunately, the latter group now includes professed Muslims. Some of these Muslims identify with a gay or lesbian orientation while others are merely silent (or vocal) supporters of “the cause”—whose primary goal is to dismantle the moral teachings of the Qur'an under the guise of “new interpretations.”

Gay Struggle vs. Gay Agenda

In the Qur'an, Allah discusses the stipulations of nikaah (Islamic marriage):4

“And give to the women [whom you marry] their mahr [dowry or marital gift]…”

Al-Nisaa, 4:4

However, one lesbian blogger who professes to be Muslim claims that Allah's instructions are outdated. “I think the concept of nikkah is largely outdated,” the lesbian blogger told me in an email.

She went on to say that Islamic marriage is, for all intents and purposes, a reprehensible financial transaction that involves selling and buying a woman's sexual organs, a concept that is inferior to her homosexual “marriage”

In the fiqhi discussions, the nikkah contract at its most basic is one whereby the husband purchases with the mahr access to the wife's sexual organs usually from one of her male relatives. This is why this is little discussion or understanding of marital rape or the wife's right of consent before engaging in sex with her husband. This concept of purchasing or a contract stipulating access to a spouse sexually is anathema to the relationship I have with my wife. Our marriage is based on more egalitarian principles of mutual love, support and commitment.

Interestingly, this explanation utilizes the same approach used by Islamophobes, wherein they describe praiseworthy Islamic concepts in reprehensible terms to make their “alternative” appear not only logical and justifiable, but also more desirable than anything offered by Allah in Islam.

Clearly, this view is not indicative of a Muslim's “gay struggle,” wherein one struggles with gay feelings but merely needs support and empathy from believers in striving against temptation to sin. Rather, this view is indicative of a “gay agenda” designed to dismantle Islamic teachings altogether.

As we seek to be supportive and empathetic with Muslims struggling with homosexual desires, it is important that we don't mistake a gay agenda for a gay struggle. The former is a path to kufr (disbelief) while the latter is a path to tawbah (repentance).

Is a Gay Orientation “Natural”?

In her email, the lesbian blogger argued, “God created us perfectly, irrespective of orientation.” She also said that “a person's sexual orientation is not a mistake, sinful, or something to feel ashamed about nor hidden or suppressed.”

In other words, Islam's requirement to avoid acting on our underlying sinful desires (homosexual or otherwise) and the perpetual existence of our underlying sinful desires are somehow mutually exclusive to each other…Or they are evidence that no Islamic law exists to prevent us from acting on our sinful desires as long as we can convince ourselves that our sinful desires stem from a static “orientation” that is part of our “perfect nature.”

Put simply, if we can blame Allah for our ongoing struggles and desires in this world, we are allegedly absolved of any responsibility for following His laws in the process.

This is an interesting argument given that not a single one of us controls the tests we are handed, only how we respond.

Sexual Orientation Argument Debunked

If we use the blogger's definition of orientation (an underlying consistent sexual desire that the person himself/herself did not choose), then we have to recognize that there are people who have an underlying “orientation” toward animals, inanimate objects, and even children—orientations that they too did not choose. Thus, if we remove acts of homosexuality from the category of sin based on the consistency of the underlying sexual desire beyond one's control, then we must accept that a host of sexual desires can be acted on without falling into sin.

Though the modern Western world typically uses the “consenting adults” argument to dismiss the validity of acting on sexual desires toward children, the “consenting adults” argument is inherently flawed when approving homosexual acts.

In other words, if you believe homosexual acts are not sinful but you apply the condition of “consenting adults,” then you are agreeing to the same principle that rules homosexual acts as sinful in the first place—that, ultimately, morality trumps desire. The only question is: What is your definition of “morality”?

Muslims, like Jews and Christians, recognize only one ultimate authority in defining morality: God. Thus, any underlying “nature” is irrelevant in discussions of sexual morality. Although many Muslims (as well as Jews and Christians), argue that homosexuality is “unnatural,” this is really a moot point as far as the religious concepts of sin and obedience are concerned.

Islam, as a general rule, is most concerned with sinful acts, not with the underlying desire itself, irrespective of whether or not the desire is rooted in nature (i.e. a man and a woman sexually desiring each other) or a perversion of nature (i.e. a person desiring sexual relations with an animal).

However, viewing certain desires as unnatural (as some desires certainly are) is helpful for those seeking to understand and subsequently root out their perverted desires. But, in the context of religious morality, the categorization of the sexual desire as natural or unnatural is irrelevant when discussing sinful behaviors.

In other words, in Islam, we are not held accountable for desiring something sinful. We are held accountable only for acting on something sinful.

When We Betray Those We Can Help

When offering advice to others about a sinful lifestyle, there are only two possibilities: We frame our advice according to how the sin is viewed in Allah's Book and the Sunnah; or we frame our advice according to some other point of view.

When we choose the latter approach, we are betraying those whom Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) has entrusted us to help.

Whenever we are given both emaan (Islamic faith) and a severe trial, it as if we are being given an answer key along with a test. And if we are able to share with others the lessons we learn during our tests in life, we are offering a hand to others with struggles like ours. In fact, as believers we have a responsibility to help others during our brief sojourn on this earth, especially if Allah has equipped us with both the life experience and the Islamic knowledge necessary to help others remain on the right path.

I just wish there were more experienced, knowledgeable people to help Muslims like the nineteen-year-old Muslim girl struggling with lesbian desires, help that strikes a balance between not judging her for her struggle and not inviting her to effectively indulge in the very sin she is crying out for help in fighting.

…Or inviting her to leave the very faith she wants to hold onto by encouraging her to replace her gay struggle (a path to tawbah) with a gay agenda (a path to kufr).

Umm Zakiyyah is the internationally acclaimed author of the If I Should Speak trilogy. Her latest novel Muslim Girl is now available.

To learn more about the author, visit ummzakiyyah.com or subscribe to her YouTube channel.

 

Copyright © 2014 by Al-Walaa Publications. All Rights Reserved.

WRITTEN FOR MUSLIMMATTERS.ORG

Related Reading: From our What's the Matter Counselors Attracted to Same Sex

Shaykh Yasir Qadhi Dealing with homosexual urges

 

The post Gay and Muslim? appeared first on MuslimMatters.org.

Germany’s new right: The unholy alliance of neo-Nazis and football hooligans

Loon Watch - 13 November, 2014 - 14:29

Hooligan-Demo gegen Salafisten

Der Spiegel says the riots by a united front of Neo-Nazis and Football hooligans was unexpected but is it really? The rise of violent Islamophobia amongst these two groups has been well documented and should’ve hinted at a possible hate alliance. (h/t: IslamophobiaWatch)

Hours after their coup, the rabble rousers were still reveling in their unexpected success. One hooligan going by the nom de guerre “Bo Ne,” happily posted: “We made it into the news around the entire world. Russia, Turkey, Switzerland, Spain, France — first goal achieved!”

It was a view shared by almost everyone in the four closed forums belonging to the group called Hooligans gegen Salafisten (Hooligans against Salafists). With more than 3,000 members, the network is a loose association of neo-Nazis, nationalists and football rowdies — and their posts made it clear that they didn’t think they were being monitored. One regretted not having brought an axe to the demonstration to “destroy all of Islam.” Bo Ne and others, however, were totally satisfied. Germany, he wrote, has now seen “what it means to deceive a people for 70 years.”

And: “Cologne was just the beginning.”

The rally took place on the last weekend in October and saw almost 5,000 demonstrators, right-wing extremists and football hooligans march through Cologne, many of them clearly looking for trouble. Riled up by the right-wing rock band Kategorie C (which sings lyrics like: “Today they are slitting the throats of sheep and cows, tomorrow it may be Christian children”), they filled the Cologne city center with their hate. Tourists and passersby got out of their way.

By the time the march came to an end, 49 police officers had been injured, a police van had been flipped over and plenty of other property had been damaged. Cologne police quickly assembled a special investigative unit made up of 36 officers. State prosecutors say that 32 suspects have now been identified and fully 72 investigations have been opened.

Unexpected Phenomenon

But questions abound as to how such a thing could have happened. And fear about what comes next is also widespread. Almost as soon as the violence in Cologne had come to an end, dates for further demonstrations elsewhere in Germany began circulating.

The phenomenon is an unexpected one. Thousands of hooligans appear to have left their football clubs of choice behind in favor of uniting against a common enemy: the presumed danger of Islam. In addition, they have joined forces with neo-Nazis and other racists. Nobody, it would seem, thought that such an unholy alliance was possible.

Political reaction was prompt. Lorenz Caffier, the interior minister of the northern German state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, quickly placed the issue on the agenda for the next meeting of state interior ministers. His counterpart from Lower Saxony, Boris Pistorius, demanded the creation of a special police task force. Meanwhile, representatives of football clubs around the country expressed shock and dismay at the violence on display in Cologne.

Yet despite the hurried reactions, the phenomenon is one that has been developing for some time now. Since February of 2012, security officials have had solid evidence that traditionally adversarial hooligan groups were establishing ties and drifting to the right-wing fringe. That month, the Borussenfront — a group of right-wing rowdies that had its apex in the 1980s — invited representatives of other hooligan groups to a “cross-club exchange” in a farmhouse in the Rhineland.

Members of 17 “firms,” as they call themselves in imitation of their British counterparts, came to the gathering from across the country, many of them aging veterans of past battles. They drank plenty of beer and reminisced — a kind of class reunion for thugs.

Read the rest of the article…

Top Five Misquotations Of The Quran

Muslim Matters - 13 November, 2014 - 05:00


by Dr. M. Nazir Khan on Spiritual Perception

 

The recent surge in negative sentiments towards Islam and Muslims has resulted in many attempts to depict the religion as inherently violent. This has also resulted in absurd accusations against the Qur'an. What are the five most frequently misquoted passages in the Qur'an? Do accusations of violence stand up to academic scrutiny, or are the verses being distorted to suggest the opposite of what they actually say?

 
Religion has always been a convenient scapegoat for violence. Genocidal maniacs and extremists throughout history have frequently invoked religion to grant cosmic significance to their earthly conflicts. The political conflicts, brutal dictatorships, and warfare involving Muslim countries in recent decades have lead to the emergence of modern extremist groups attempting to justify violence in the name of Islam. Chaos, instability and prolonged warfare create a political vacuum where power-hungry groups vie for control. Such groups will raise whatever banner draws support for their cause, whether it be the banner of ethnic identity, cultural identity, nationalism, 0r a particular ideological or religious identity.

One should immediately be skeptical of the political instrumentalization of religion by such groups, and of the attempt to shift blame to a religion that has been around for 1400 years and is practiced by almost two billion adherents around the world. Nevertheless, certain verses of the Qur'an have been tossed around by radicals and by islamophobes alike, alleging that there is some Qur'anic support for violent activity. The slightest familiarity with the verses in question would demonstrate that nothing could be further from the truth.

It is fairly easy to misquote a text. All one must do is cherry-pick partial sentences and delete the surrounding context. What makes the five most misquoted Quranic verses so interesting is that the supposed violent nature of such verses immediately dissolves with a quick glance at the textual and historical context. All one needs to do is simply complete the sentence, or read the preceding or following verse, and it becomes evident that the verse in no way preaches violence. In addition, this perspective is further substantiated when one looks at the other passages in the Qur'an and statements of the Prophet Muhammad, which are unequivocal in their condemnation of violence and affirmation of peace. Furthermore, 1400 years of scholarly analysis of the Qur'an dispels the misinterpretations of contemporary radicals and anti-Muslim bigots

Misquotation 1 – Verse 2:191

The phrase “kill them where you find them” is by far the most frequent phrase that is misquoted by ardent Islamophobes and radical extremists. But this battlefield exhortation comes right after the verse which states “fight against those who fight you” and it comes right before the part which states “but if they cease fighting, then let there be no hostility except against oppressors“!

What is the historical context of verses 2:190-3 and who does it refer to? Ibn Abbas, the famous companion of the Prophet and Qur'anic exegete, says that this passage was revealed in reference to the Quraysh [1]. The Quraysh had persecuted the Muslims and tortured them for thirteen years in Mecca. They had driven Muslims out of their homes, seized their properties and wealth, and fought battles against them after the Muslims sought refuge in Madinah. The Muslims were apprehensive about another attack occurring during their sacred pilgrimage when fighting was prohibited. This is why these verses were revealed to reassure them that they would be able to defend against a Qurayshi attack during pilgrimage. Such fighting never ended up occurring between them and Quraysh, for a peace agreement was upheld and the pilgrimage was permitted [2].

The phrase “do not commit aggression” was explained by Ibn Abbas to mean, “Do not attack women, children, elderly, or anyone who is not fighting against you“, and thus harming any non-combatants is deemed a transgression against God Almighty [3]. The erudite Qur'anic exegete Ibn Ashur (d.1393H) states, “If they desist from fighting you, then do not fight them for verily God is Most Forgiving and Most Merciful, and so it is only befitting that the believers show mercy” [4]. In this regard, this verse is very similar to 4:89 which prescribes fighting the enemy but is immediately followed by the statement in 4:89, “So if they remove themselves from you and do not fight you but rather offer you peace, then God has made no way for you to fight them.

Returning to 2:190-3, the word fitnah in this passage means religious persecution (as used in 85:10) and punishing someone for their faith, and coercing them to disbelieve or commit idolatry. The great Qur'anic scholar imam al-Kisaa'i (d.189) explains that fitnah here means “torture ('adhaab) because the Quraysh used to torture those who accepted Islam” [5]. Ibn Jarir al-Tabari (d.310H) explains that the phrase “fitnah is worse than killing” means that “to persecute a believer for his faith until he recants it and becomes an idolater is worse and more painful to him than being slain while holding onto his faith” [ وقد بـينت فـيـما مضى أن أصل الفتنة الابتلاء والاختبـار فتأويـل الكلام: وابتلاء الـمؤمن فـي دينه حتـى يرجع عنه فـيصير مشركا بـالله من بعد إسلامه أشدّ علـيه وأضرّ من أن يقتل مقـيـماً علـى دينه متـمسكاً علـيه مـحقّاً فـيه" href="http://spiritualperception.org/portfolio/top-five-misquotations-of-the-quran/#fn6-96" rel="footnote">6]

Therefore, the passage clearly prohibits fighting against those who are not fighting. The particular misquoted phrase describes fighting in defence against perpetrators of anti-religious persecution and torture.

Misquotation 2 – Verse 9:5

The next phrase that is frequently misquoted is quite similar – “slay those pagans wherever you find them”, but again the slightest familiarity with the historical and contextual context would immediately dispel this misquotation. The verse immediately before speaks of upholding peaceful agreements with those who are at peace and never supported enemy warriors against the Muslims – so who is verse 9:5 in reference to? Qur'anic exegetes al-Baydawi (d.685H) and al-Alusi (d.1270H) explain that it refers to those pagan arabs who violated their peace treaties by waging war against the Muslims (nakitheen) [7], and thus Abu Bakr al-Jassas (d.370H) notes that these verses are particular to the Arab polytheists and do not apply to anyone else [8]. These comments are substantiated by what the Qur'an itself says. Verse 13 of the same chapter states, “Will you not fight against those who violated their peace treaties, plotted the expulsion of the messenger, and initiated the fighting against you?” and verse 36 states, “and fight the pagans collectively who wage war against you collectively.” The textual context is abundantly clear that verse 9:5 is not a random instruction out of the blue but relates to the pagan tribes of Arabia, who were in a state of war with the Muslims [9]. Therefore, to interpret the passage in any other way is to contradict the very text of the Qur'an.

Moreover, what is fascinating is that the very next verse (9:6) states that if any enemy warrior suddenly demands protection, one is religiously obligated to provide that individual with protection, explain the message of Islam to him, and if he refuses to accept, escort him to a place of security. This instruction to protect and escort enemy combatants to a safe haven makes it blatantly obvious that this passage in no way, shape or form, can be construed as violent.

Misquotation 3 – Verse 8:60

Another favourite text to misquote is the passage that states, “Prepare against them all you can of power and steeds of war..” but again, the very next verse reads, “If they incline towards peace, then incline towards peace as well” – hardly a violent passage!

Moreover, one must again ask who is being referred to in this citation? The historical context clearly places these verses again in reference to the ongoing war between the Muslims and the enemy forces of the Quraysh of Mecca and their tribal allies [10]. This chapter was revealed in reference to the Battle of Badr which took place between the Muslims who sought refuge in Madinah and the Quraysh who had persecuted them and driven them out of their homes in Mecca. The same chapter describes the pervasive warfare in Arabia and lack of security suffered by the early oppressed Muslim community. “And remember when you were few and oppressed in the land, fearing that people might abduct you, but He sheltered you, supported you with His victory, and provided you with good things – that you might be grateful.” (8:26)

Note also that sometimes Islamophobic bigots cite verse 8:12 from this same chapter “strike above their necks”, somehow completely missing the fact that the verse describes what God said to the angels during the battle of Badr. The first half of the verse reads, “When your Lord inspired the angels, 'Verily, I am with you, so strengthen the believers…'”. To take a description of God's inspiration to angels during a historical battle against the Quraysh oppressors and somehow distort that into a generic command for Muslims to attack non-muslims is profoundly dishonest, to say the least.

Misquotation 4 – Verse 47:4

This is perhaps the most outrageous of all misquotations. A phrase in the middle of a passage about battle is ripped out of its context and presented ludicrously as, “When you meet disbelievers, smite their necks.” To even the most casual reader who bothers to glance at the passage, the verse is talking about a meeting in mutual battle between warriors (Ar. “fi'l-muharabah” as al-Baydawi explains [11]) that comes to an end “when the war lays down its burdens” as the verse itself states. This verse is specifically discussing mutual battle with those disbelievers engaged in warfare as noted by Ibn Jareer al-Tabari [12]. This is clear from the opening line of the chapter which states, “Those who disbelieve and prevent people from the path of God“, which as Ibn Abbas has stated, is in reference to the pagans of Quraysh [13], who oppressed the believers by denying them the freedom to practice their faith and then went to war with them to exterminate their community.

With respect to the phrase, “until the war lays down its burdens“, imam Qatadah (d.117H) explained it saying, “until the enemy warriors lay down their burdens” – a phrase that was echoed by many scholars throughout history, including Ibn Qutaybah al-Daynuri (d.276H) [14]. Note also that this verse provides Muslims with only two options for prisoners of war – unconditional release, or acceptance of ransom. The verse mentions no other option, and indeed scholars have pointed out that this is the general rule, for the Prophet Muhammad only punished those war criminals guilty of treachery or gross violations, but otherwise he almost universally would pardon people even his most ardent opponents, as he did with the war chief Thumamah ibn Uthal, Abu Sufyan ibn Harb, Habbar ibn al-Aswad, Ikrimah ibn Abi Jahl, Umayr ibn Wahb, Safwan ibn Umayyah, Suhayl ibn Aamir, and the list goes on.

Misquotation 5 – Verse 9:29

One of the most interesting citations is 9:29, along with the claim that it instructs Muslims to fight people of the Book “until they pay the jizya and feel subdued”. But this verse as well has a historical context that is neglected. The very early exegete, Mujahid ibn Jabr al-Makhzumi (d.104H) explained that this fighting was revealed in reference to the Prophet Muhammad's campaign against the Byzantine empire [15]. The Prophet Muhammad sent al-Harith ibn Umayr al-Azdi as an emissary to the Byzantine vassal state of the Ghassanids, but the chieftain Shurahbeel committing the shocking crime of tying up the emissary, torturing him, and murdering him [16]. When an army was dispatched to confront the Ghassanids for their crime, the Vicarius Theodorus summoned a large force of Roman soldiers to engage in war against the Muslims in the Battle of Mu'tah.

Thus, this verse was revealed in regards to fighting within an existing war against an enemy political entity, namely the Byzantine empire, which lead to preparations for the expedition of Tabuk. The hostility of the group in question is mentioned in the this very Qur'anic passage itself, which goes on to state (9:32) that this instruction refers to those “who attempt to extinguish the light of Islam with their mouths“, which al-Dahhak (d.105H) stated meant “they wish to destroy Muhammad and his companions.” [17]

As history went on, imperial conflicts continued between the Byzantine empire and the subsequent Muslim empire of the Umayyads. Many writing within the historical setting of imperial conflict assumed that this verse characterized a generic state of perpetual warfare with opponent political entities. However, as noted in Tafsir al-Maraghi, all of the Qur'anic conditions of warfare mentioned earlier still apply to this verse. Thus, the verse means, “fight those mentioned when the conditions which necessitate fighting are present, namely, aggression against you or your country, oppression and persecution against you on account of your faith, or threatening your safety and security, as was committed against you by the Byzantines, which was what lead to Tabuk.” [  "أي قاتلوا من ذكروا حين وجود ما يقتضي القتال كالعتداء عليكم أو علي بلادكم أو اضطهادكم و فتنتكم عن دينكم أو تهديد أمنكم و سلامتكم كما فعل بك الروم و كان ذلك سببا لغزوة تبوك"" href="http://spiritualperception.org/portfolio/top-five-misquotations-of-the-quran/#fn18-96" rel="footnote">18]

Quran-text-closeup

 

Conclusion

The Qur'an is a message to humanity that repeats 114 times, “In the Name of God the Most Compassionate the Most Merciful.” The Qur'an instructs Muslims to show goodness to those who do evil (41:34), to speak words of peace to those who are hostile (25:63), to call to the way of God with wisdom and beautiful preaching (16:125), to treat peaceful non-muslims with the utmost kindness and justice (60:8), to be the best of people towards other people (3:110), and to respect freedom of religion (2:256, 10:99). There is simply no plausible way to understand the Qur'an in a manner bereft of mercy, compassion or peace. Any sincere and reasonable person looking at these passages must necessarily recognize that the Qur'an stands for mercy, not for destruction and violence.

Attempts to portray the Qur'anic text as preaching violence do not stand up to academic scrutiny, and in fact, can be dispelled by simply reading the entire sentence and the immediate context. Dishonesty abounds in the selective chopping of sentences by both Islamophobes and radicals alike. Knowledge of the historical context of these verses clearly demonstrates that all of these passages without exception relate to fighting against those engaged in warfare. A careful examination of the scholarly analysis of these passages provides abundant statements clarifying the meaning of these verses.

At this point, it should be obvious that one of the best ways to combat misuse of scripture is by propagating the voluminous evidences which necessitate an understanding of scripture that is peaceful, merciful, and tolerant, and empowering those who advance this understanding. To insist on characterizing the religion as inherently violent is to play right into the hands of extremists on both sides who wish to incite hatred and perpetuate war.

  1. See Asbab al-Nuzûl by Al-Wahidi (d.468H)  
  2. Ibn Abbas explains that when the Muslims went to Mecca in 6 AH intending to perform pilgrimage, they were prevented from doing so by the Quraysh and agreed to turn around and go home after a peace treaty was made permitting them to return the following year. However, they were apprehensive to return again, fearing that they would be slaughtered while in a state of pilgrimage as the Quraysh had plotted to attack them at that time. These verses were revealed to assure them they would be able to defend themselves from such an act of aggression in the sacred precincts of Mecca. In the end, no such fighting took place at all and the Muslims were able to perform their pilgrimage in peace (al-Wahidi, al-Samarqandi, al-Tabari). 
  3. See Tafsir of Ibn Jarir al-Tabari (d.310H) and al-Tha'labi (d.427H). Also, the famous early Muslim scholars Abu'l-Aliyah, SaEid ibn Jubayr, and Ibn Zayd all explained that aggression here means “fighting anyone who is not fighting you”. The famous Umayyad caliph and religious scholar Umar ibn Abdul-Aziz was asked about this verse and he stated that it prohibited any fighting against those not engaged in warfare. This has been taken as a legal maxim by Muslim scholars prohibiting harming any non-combatants. 
  4. Tahrir wal-Tanwir 2:192. Multiple early exegetical sources explain that the phrase “if they desist, then verily God is Most Forgiving, Most Merciful” means if they cease fighting you and desist from their warfare against you, including Tafsir Muqatil b. Sulayman (d.150H), Tafsir al-Samarqandi (d.375H) and Tafsir al-Tha'labi (d.427H).  
  5. Reported by al-Tha'labi and al-Tabarani (d.360H). Some may wonder if scholars like imam al-Kisaa'i were contradicted by the statement of some later Qur'anic commentators who said that fitnah means disbelief or idolatry. However, Ibn Jareer al-Tabari (d.310H) and others demonstrate that there is no contradiction as “coercing Muslims to commit disbelief/idolatry” is also intended by the verse as a form of persecution of Muslims. As the eminent early Qur'anic scholar, Makki ibn Abi Talib (d.437H) notes, “Fitnah linguistically means a trial, so a trial that causes one to lose faith is worse than being slain.” Ibn Jareer al-Tabari states the same (see next footnote). Moreover, we have the irrefutable evidence of the companion Abdullah ibn Umar related in Sahih Bukhari. Ibn Umar was asked to justify his pacifism during the war in the time of Caliph Ali, especially when the Qur'an states “Fight them until there is no more fitnah.” Ibn Umar replied that when the persecution of Muslims for their faith has ceased and the tortures and killing had subsided, there was no longer any fitnah (وقاتلوهم حتى لا تكون فتنة قال ابن عمر قد فعلنا على عهد رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم إذ كان الإسلام قليلا فكان الرجل يفتن في دينه إما يقتلونه وإما يوثقونه حتى كثر الإسلام فلم تكن فتنة).  
  6. Jami' al-Bayan 'an Ta'wil ay al-Qur'an (2:190-193)ofImamal-Tabari states:

    وقد بـينت فـيـما مضى أن أصل الفتنة الابتلاء والاختبـار فتأويـل الكلام: وابتلاء الـمؤمن فـي دينه حتـى يرجع عنه فـيصير مشركا بـالله من بعد إسلامه أشدّ علـيه وأضرّ من أن يقتل مقـيـماً علـى دينه متـمسكاً علـيه مـحقّاً فـيه 

  7. Anwar al-Tanzeel wa Asrar al-Ta'weel (9:5) of imam al-Baydawi and Rooh al-Ma'ani (9:5) of imam al-Alusi. Such statements by exegetes are given authority because the are in agreement with the text of the Qur'an itself. When reading the comments of various classical figures, it is important to note the historical context of their comments. Many exegetes lived in the era of rival empires vying for control against each other. Often, people in those times saw imperial conquest and political expansion as the only means of conveying the message of truth to other communities who lived under hostile political entities, and so some of them attempted to reinterpret such passages in order to permit a broader scope of application. However, such interpretations are refuted by the textual and historical context of the Qur'an. Moreover, those figures themselves stated that the ultimate goal was to establish the security of the Muslim lands (see Bidayatul-Mujtahid of Ibn Rushd) or communicate the message of the faith to other people, and thus by the principles of Islamic law political expansion as a means of propagation becomes irrelevant in the digital age of mass communication and globalization. 
  8. Abu Bakr al-Jassas states, “صار قوله تعالى: {فَاقْتُلُوا المُشْرِكِينَ حَيْثُ وَجَدْتُمُوهُمْ} خاصّاً في مشركي العرب دون غيرهم.” 
  9. Note also that verses 9:8 and 9:10 characterize the referents of these verses further by stating that those intended are the ones who “observe neither pact nor kinship in their dealings with believers”. The importance of understanding the general state of tribal Arabia cannot be understated. Today, a person can walk down the street fairly confident of not being mugged for their personal possessions, and can simply call the police should they feel their security threatened. But in seventh century Arabia, there was no police, no law, no order, only tribal protections. And these tribes were in a state of constant warfare with each other and would conduct perpetual raids. The Qur'an itself alludes to this environment, saying “Do they not then see that We have made Mecca a sanctuary secure, while men are being snatched away and ravaged from all around them?” (29:67). Wandering in the desert was a certain guarantee that one would be either killed and robbed, or worse – sold into slavery. In fact, that is precisely what happened to several of the individuals who became companions of the Prophet, including Suhaib al-Rumi, Salman al-Farisi and Zaid ibn Harithah. It is impossible to read chapter 9 without understanding this background context to appreciate the consolidation of order and rule of law that was being established in war-torn Arabia. 
  10. Zad al-Masir (8:60) of Ibn al-Jawzi (d.597H) and Nadhm al-Durar (8:60) of al-Biqa'i (d.885H). 
  11. Anwar al-Tanzeel wa Asrar al-Ta'weel (9:5) of imam al-Baydawi (d.685H). 
  12. Jami' al-Bayan 'an Ta'wil ay al-Qur'an (47:4) of imam al-Tabari (d.310H). 
  13. Ma'alim al-Tanzeel of imam al-Baghawi (d.516H). Likewise, the same is stated by Ibn al-Jawzi:  ” وصَدُّوا } الناس عن الإِيمان به، وهم مشركو قريش” Zad al-Masir (47:4) of Ibn al-Jawzi (d.597H). 
  14. ” حتى يضع أهل الحرب السلاح” as cited in Tafsir al-Samarqandi (47:4). 
  15. Jami' al-Bayan 'an Ta'wil ay al-Qur'an (9:29) of imam al-Tabari, also al-Kashf wa'l-Bayan (9:29) of imam al-Tha'labi. 
  16. Kitab al-Tarikh wa'l-Maghazi of imam al-Waqidi (d.207H), p. 755. 
  17. Recorded by Ibn Abi Hatim (d.327H), as cited in Fath al-Qadeer (9:32) of imam al-Shawkani (d.1250H). 
  18. Tafsir al-Maraghi vol. 10, p.95 of Sh. AhmadMustafaal-Maraghi:

     “أي قاتلوا من ذكروا حين وجود ما يقتضي القتال كالعتداء عليكم أو علي بلادكم أو اضطهادكم و فتنتكم عن دينكم أو تهديد أمنكم و سلامتكم كما فعل بك الروم و كان ذلك سببا لغزوة تبوك” 

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US appeals court agrees to reconsider Innocence of Muslims case

The Guardian World news: Islam - 12 November, 2014 - 20:26

Earlier this year, appeals court panel sided with woman who appeared in Innocence of Muslims and ordered Google to take down video which sparked widespread protests

A US appeals court will reconsider whether Google Inc must remove from its YouTube video sharing service an anti-Islamic film that sparked protests across the Muslim world.

Earlier this year a three-judge panel on the ninth US circuit court of appeals in San Francisco sided with a woman who appeared in the film and ordered Google to take it down. An 11-judge panel will now rehear the YouTube case, the court said on Wednesday.

Continue reading...

Maryland schools avoid recognising Muslim holiday by renaming others

The Guardian World news: Islam - 12 November, 2014 - 15:30
  • Largest school district removes Christian and Jewish names from holidays
  • Muslims had requested recognition of Eid al-Adha

Marylands largest school district has voted to strip religious labels from holidays on next years school calendar after Muslims sought recognition of a holy day.

The stripped labels include Christian holidays like Easter and Christmas, and the Jewish holidays of Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah.

Continue reading...

Caroline Fourest fined €6000 for defaming young Muslim victim of racist attack

Loon Watch - 12 November, 2014 - 14:26

Rabia-B.-2

Islamophobe Caroline Fourest claims to be a “Feminist” but it appears her feminism is of the Neo-colonialist variety.

via. IslamophobiaWatch

Saphir News has reported that Caroline Fourest – the French “left-wing” Islamophobe who wrote Brother Tariq: The Doublespeak of Tariq Ramadan – has been successfully sued for defamation over comments she made in June last year on the radio station France Culture.

Fourest was responding to the attacks on two Muslim women in Argenteuil, one of whom lost her baby after being kicked in the stomach by her assailants. This followed an earlier incident in which a 17-year-old woman named Rabia Bentot (pictured) was punched and kicked by racists, who also tore off her headscarf while shouting “dirty Arab” and “dirty Muslim”

Instead of Fourest declaring her outrage at the assaults, and her solidarity with the victims, this self-styled feminist expressed scepticism about the women’s accounts.

Fourest claimed that Rabia Bentot was being manipulated by her father and by the Coordination contre le Racisme et l’Islamophobie, assisted by what Fourest described as the “communalist” website Oumma.com, and she suggested that the story of an attack might well have been fabricated. Even if an assault did take place, Fourest asserted, the police had not excluded the possibility that Rabia was the victim of violence by her own family, who could have beaten her up as punishment for living too free a lifestyle.

Needless to say, Fourest offered no evidence whatsoever to back up these disgraceful slurs.

The Collectif contre l’Islamophobie en France comments that for someone who claims to be a feminist Fourest is very selective in her indignation, especially when it comes to Muslim women who wear hijab. The CCIF notes that trying to discredit the testimony of women victims of violence is a well-known phenomenon, and has been vigorously denounced by feminist organisations.

Rabia Bentot sued Fourest for defamation, and last week the Grand Instance Court in Paris ruled in Rabia’s favour. Fourest was fined €6000, half of which was to be paid in damages with the remainder to cover the plaintiff’s legal costs. Fourest has announced that she will be appealing the verdict.

 

In-your-face racism is back (but victim blaming never went away)

Indigo Jo Blogs - 11 November, 2014 - 22:40

Picture of an old-style red London bus, with the number 9 on the front, under some leafless winter trees in a London streetA few people I know yesterday tweeted an article by Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, the mainstream media’s favourite “Muslim” and authority on all things Asian, which claimed that “in-your-face racism” had returned and that she was spat at on the number 9 bus the other day (although it appears to have missed and landed on the back of her seat), and that few people were doing anything to fight it, unlike in the 80s and 90s. Towards the end, which the people retweeting it did not seem to notice, she turns to blame the people she spends much of her media career railing against: Muslims.

Some of what she says about racism being on the rise and that racists often claim that “they’re not allowed to talk about race” are true, although the reason there is less activism at all levels in society is because a lot of that work has been done, including laws banning racial discrimination and setting up government bodies to monitor different types of discrimination. When these groups were all bundled into one under the last Labour government (the Equalities Commission), the person appointed to head it was a middle-class Black man with an English name — a safe and acceptable minority; nothing foreign-sounding or unusual-looking — who had started telling the Establishment what it wanted to hear. But it’s all scene-setting for delivering her real point: that it’s all the Muslims’ fault:

I blame the minorities, too, for the vulnerable state we are in. Islamicist separatism and now Isis terrorism have turned good people off diversity. The anti-white prejudices within some Asian families are mortifying. Grooming gangs have destroyed young girls and also cohesion and mutual trust between the brown and white Britons.

What has “turned people off” is the press repeatedly bringing their attention to obscure activities of small groups of Muslims or individuals, and putting pictures of women in niqaab next to many of them. While a small number of British Muslims have gone to Syria or Iraq to fight for ISIS, the majority of prominent Muslims here have consistently opposed them, and appealed for the western hostages they have held to be released. Nobody knows or cares about the fact that Asian families sometimes harbour prejudices against whites, because they will not randomly attack white people in the street, unlike when it’s whites who are racist, and their prejudices may have something to do with living or trying to raise children (or being raised) surrounded by white racists. Us converts have to deal with that more than most white Brits; many of us have been refused marriages on grounds of “cultural compatibility” and other excuses. Yet most of us do not become racists.

As for grooming gangs, the majority of those who abuse women and girls are white men, as whites are the majority of the population and men are the (vast) majority of sex criminals. That the majority of men participating in a particular type of gang are Asian does not mean most Asians are involved in or sympathise with them, any more than the majority of Sicilians are involved in or sympathise with Cosa Nostra. It does not give whites at large the right to become bigots.

Alibhai-Brown is trying to point the finger of blame downwards, at a weaker group of people (Asians and particularly Muslims) rather than upwards, to the press that foster bigotry (and also pays her wages) and to the white population, in much the same way that when a group of children are punished because one or two act up, they are more likely to turn on that child than on their teachers. I know of a lady who complains that people give her dirty looks because she is a black woman with a child, and assume she is a “baby mama”, but she blames other black women for being baby mamas, not whites for being racist. Yasmin Alibhai-Brown is not really fighting racism, but just to persuade those with the power not to confuse the good Asians with the bad ones, i.e. the practising Muslims she despises, and rails against in her other newspaper articles and TV appearances (where she lectures people who were born here about “British values”, which she makes up as she goes along). So, anyone tempted to hold her up as a fighter against racism should understand that she defines racism quite narrowly, and that her solution is that all the “bad Muslims” should give up what makes them different, except for the cuisine and the prayer (when it’s convenient).

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France: Attack On Strasbourg Mosque Condemned

Loon Watch - 11 November, 2014 - 20:23

Strasbourg_Mosque_France

i24News

A fire at the entrance to the Grand Mosque of Strasbourg was quickly extinguished overnight Saturday. The attack, which took place at the entrance to one of the main mosques in France caused only minor cosmetic damage.

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve has decried the arson attack and has vowed to pursue those responsible for this “odious act,” an official statement said Monday.

The statement continued on to say that Cazeneuve “reaffirms his commitment to protect the places of worship of all religions from such outrageous acts and attacks which target them, and also to fight against all expressions of hatred and intolerance,” adding that “such acts went against the core values of the French Republic.”

The president of the Grand Mosque, Ali El Jarroudi condemned “with the greatest firmness this odious act” and said that a complaint had been lodged with the police, adding that there were images of an individual lighting the fires which he had handed to the police..

In a statement to AFP, Abdallah Zekri, president of the Observatory against Islamophobia, said that he feels “anger and disgust at those who want to create tensions between communities.”

The Mayor of Strasbourg Roland Ries, expressed his “outrage” against “acts which, as isolated they are, affect the serenity of cohabitation between religions and tradition of understanding and ‘openness’ of the city.

The President of the Union of mosques in France (UMF), Mohammed Moussaoui, also condemned “in the strongest force” the attack, calling on the “Muslims of France to be vigilant and calm in the face of these acts.”

The incident did not disrupt the Great Mosque musical program which took place Sunday which included hosting the London Zemel Choir, a Jewish choir chosen as part of a religious music festival which took place in Strasbourg.

(with AFP)

Food and drink manufacturers have no plans to ditch halal certification

The Guardian World news: Islam - 11 November, 2014 - 07:16

Peak body says boycott campaign directed at brands with halal certified products is misinformation

The peak body for Australian food and drink manufacturers says its members have no plans to ditch halal certification despite threats of a boycott and other sabotage by anti-Islam campaigners.

High-profile brands such as Cadburys, Sanitarium, Byron Bay Cookies, Four N Twenty and Kelloggs have been targeted for having their products certified for Islamic dietary requirements.

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21 Lessons in Leadership from the Prophet | Part 3

Muslim Matters - 11 November, 2014 - 05:00

Part 1 | Part 2 

Law of Addition: Leaders Add Value by Serving Others

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The Law of Addition emphasizes the practice of Servant Leadership, or the concept that the leader is there to serve the people and not the opposite. The Prophet was truly a servant of the people who added value to everyone's life that he came across. Whether it was a ruler that he was inviting to Tawheed, a companion the he was teaching and developing, an old lady whose bags he was carrying, a sick member of the community that he was visiting, or one of the many children in the community that he was raising, he added great value to everyone's life around him. The most incredible fact is that some 1400 years later he is still adding value to hundreds of millions of people worldwide on a daily basis.

There is a saying that has been attributed to the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) (although I have yet to find an authentic source) that summarizes who he was beautifully. “The believer is like a light rain, everywhere he goes he brings benefit.” In other words, if we want to be like the Prophet, then we should strive to be people that make a positive impact and add value everywhere we go.

Reflection Questions on the Law:

  • To whom did you add value to today?
  • Who can you intentionally add value to every single day? Think of the people that you have influence over…imagine them in your mind right now and think about how you can add value to them day in and day out.

The post 21 Lessons in Leadership from the Prophet | Part 3 appeared first on MuslimMatters.org.

Repatriating The Yellow Dogs: what happened to Iran's rock stars slain in New York?

The Guardian World news: Islam - 11 November, 2014 - 05:00

The band left their homeland to pursue their artistic dream, but it came to an end in tragedy in a New York neighbourhood. Their families then faced a fight to bring their bodies back

On a bright and cold morning on 16 November 2013, a funeral procession left Brooklyn for John F Kennedy airport. A hearse carried the body of Soroush Farazmand. Behind him in a black mini van was the body of his brother Arash, who was taller.

NoorudDean Abu Ibrahim, a Brooklyn funeral director was driving the mini van. The brothers were being flown back to Tehran for burial.

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Ethnic Cleansing of Rohingya Accelerated

Loon Watch - 11 November, 2014 - 02:45

A camp for Rohingya, an ethnic minority, on the outskirts of Sittwe, in Rakhine State. Rohingya, who are mostly Muslim, are accused of being Bangladeshi migrants and face discrimination and violence at the hands of the Buddhist majority. Hundreds of thousands have fled their homes or the country to escape bloodshed. Tomas Munita for The New York Times

A camp for Rohingya, an ethnic minority, on the outskirts of Sittwe, in Rakhine State. Rohingya, who are mostly Muslim, are accused of being Bangladeshi migrants and face discrimination and violence at the hands of the Buddhist majority. Hundreds of thousands have fled their homes or the country to escape bloodshed. Tomas Munita for The New York Times

There is a lot of suffering across the world but the plight of the Rohingya people of Myanmar is one of the worst cases of state sanctioned brutality and persecution anywhere. Over the past two years, the Rohingya have been visited by one attack after another:

Massacres such as Buddhists killing 9 Muslim pilgrims, 36 school children and their teachers butchered in front of local police. Myanmar saw the near complete destruction of the Muslim quarter in the city of Kyaukpyu. Human rights groups have reported on the systematic killing and ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya in Rakhine State, where the Rohingya Muslim population is herded into concentration campsMosques, Muslim homes, and orphanages across torched in arson attacks. Numerous  internet sites are replete with Islamophobic dehumanization messages about Islam and Muslims spread by the extremist movement ‘969.’ Myanmar is where the “symbol of Democracy,” the Noble Peace Prize winning Suu Kyi not only says she won’t speak out for the persecuted Rohingya but denies their existence. Myanmar’s government has given official backing to the violent, extremist 969 movement. Ministers in the Myanmar government have backed discriminatory legislation that would limit Rohingya women to two children. Local officials have severely restricted humanitarian aid to Rohingya concentration camps and the rest of Rakhine State, where tuberculosis, waterborne illnesses and malnutrition are endemic.

While Obama has made some mealy-mouthed criticisms of the Myanmar government, not much has changed on the ground, and the desire/need for US companies to invest in Myanmar continues apace. When money is involved morality usually goes out the window.

Recently, the New York Times’ Jane Perlez had a heartbreaking report on the worsening ethnic cleansing situation. The title of their article: Myanmar Policy’s Message to Muslims: Get Out

SITTWE, Myanmar — The Myanmar government has given the estimated one million Rohingya people in this coastal region of the country a dispiriting choice: Prove your family has lived here for more than 60 years and qualify for second-class citizenship, or be placed in camps and face deportation.

The policy, accompanied by a wave of decrees and legislation, has made life for the Rohingya, a long-persecuted Muslim minority, ever more desperate, spurring the biggest flow of Rohingya refugees since a major exodus two years ago.

The crisis has become an embarrassment to the White House ahead of a scheduled visit by President Obama to Myanmar next week. The administration considers Myanmar a foreign-policy success story in Asia but is worried that renewed conflict between Buddhist extremists, who are given a free hand by the government, and the Rohingya could derail the already rocky transition from military rule to democratic reform.

Mr. Obama called President Thein Sein of Myanmar last week, urging him to address the “tensions and humanitarian situation in Rakhine State,” the White House said.

In his most public appeal to the government yet, Mr. Obama asked the Myanmar leader to revise the anti-Rohingya policies, specifically the resettlement plan. Myanmar must “support the civil and political rights of the Rohingya population,” he said.

The Rohingya have faced discrimination for decades. They have been denied citizenship and evicted from their homes, their land has been confiscated, and they have been attacked by the military. After one such attack in 1978, some 200,000 fled to Bangladesh.

The latest flare-up began with an outbreak of sectarian rioting in 2012, in which hundreds of Rohingya were killed and dozens of their villages burned to the ground by radical Buddhists. Since then, close to 100,000 have fled the country, and more than 100,000 have been confined to squalid camps, forbidden to leave.

As conditions in the camps have deteriorated, international pressure has mounted on the government to find a humane solution. Instead, the government appears to be accelerating a strategy that human rights groups have described as ethnic cleansing.

For many Rohingya, the new policy, called the Rakhine Action Plan, represents a kind of final humiliation, said Mohamed Saeed, a community organizer in a camp on the edge of Sittwe, the capital of Rakhine State.

“People really fear this plan,” he said. “Our community is getting less and less. This is where they want us — out.”

Many Rohingya came to Myanmar in the 19th century when the British ruled all of what is now India, Bangladesh and Myanmar, formerly known as Burma. But the government’s demand for proof of residence since 1948 is too onerous for many, who either do not have the paperwork or fall short of the six-decade requirement, human rights advocates say.

Those who can prove their residence qualify only for naturalized citizenship, which carries fewer rights than full citizenship and can be revoked. Moreover, they would be classified as “Bengali,” rather than Rohingya, suggesting that they are immigrants from Bangladesh and leaving open the possibility of deportation.

Under the plan, those Rohingya who cannot meet the standards for naturalized citizenship or refuse to accept the Bengali designation would be placed in camps before being deported.

Human Rights Watch described the plan as “nothing less than a blueprint for permanent segregation and statelessness.”

The government asked the United Nations refugee agency to participate in the resettlement, but the agency refused, a spokesman said.

The Rakhine Action Plan is but one element of a host of policies and tactics aimed at marginalizing the Rohingya. This year, in line with the government’s position that they are foreigners, the Rohingya were prevented from participating in the national census.

Legislation introduced in Parliament two months ago, and expected to pass, would bar Rohingya from voting in next year’s election. Parliament is also considering a bill that would ban interfaith marriage, a measure human rights advocates say is designed to stoke anti-Muslim sentiment.

The policies come on top of an increasingly dire situation in Rohingya camps and villages. In the camps around Sittwe, where about 140,000 Rohingya live, health services are virtually nonexistent.

The main medical provider, Doctors Without Borders, the international nonprofit group, was chased out six months ago and has not been able to return.

In the villages around Maungdaw, a Rohingya-dominated town near the border with Bangladesh, there has been a sudden increase in the arrests of young Rohingya men and boys, United Nations officials and human rights advocates said.

The Border Guard Police arrested more than 100 Rohingya on charges of holding illegal gatherings and over refusals to participate in the action plan. Chris Lewa, the director of the Arakan Project, said the arrests were part of a campaign to force the men to leave the country.

For many, the high-risk boat trips to Thailand en route to Malaysia, a Muslim country that quietly tolerates the refugees, begin at a gray sandy beach at Ohn Taw Shi, a fishing village fringed by coconut trees on the outskirts of a camp for the displaced.

On a recent day, a froth of waves lapped the shore, a few open wooden boats lay untended, waiting for use at night. The police slept in the afternoon heat in a wooden shack about 500 yards away.

A smuggler, Chan Thet Maung, a cellphone hooked to his pants and earplugs dangling from his neck, said that when the wooden boats were filled with Rohingya, they sailed north for about five hours to connect with larger vessels. There, in waters off the Myanmar-Bangladesh border, multideck boats sometimes idle for days or weeks, manned by armed and often brutal crews, waiting for a full complement of passengers bound for Thailand, the United Nations refugee agency said in an internal report.

The annual smuggling season, which begins in early October when the monsoon season ends, got off to a fast start, the smuggler said. The police wanted $2,000 — $100 for each of the 20 passengers — for a recent boatload, but the smugglers had offered slightly less, he said.

The trip was aborted, but another attempt would be made soon, he said.

Local officials abet the smuggling trips, according to Matthew Smith, the director of Fortify Rights, an organization that studies ethnic groups in Myanmar.

“The regional trafficking and smuggling begins with the complicity of Myanmar authorities,” he said. “We’ve documented Myanmar police and armed forces taking payments as high as seven million kyat in return for a boat’s passage to sea.” Seven million kyat is about $7,000.

In some cases, the Myanmar Navy escorted boats filled with fleeing Rohingya and operated by criminal gangs out to international waters, Mr. Smith said.

Read the rest of the article…

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Atrocities against Rohingya: Money Extortion and Arbitrary Imprisonment

Phil Cleary's Victorian election bid driven by 'obsession' with political diversity

The Guardian World news: Islam - 11 November, 2014 - 01:08

The former independent federal MPs progressive Voice for the West party to speak up for people west of the Yarra

The family violence campaigner, sports commentator and former independent federal MP, Phil Cleary, says his obsession with a need for diversity in politics prompted him to stand for Victorias upper house at this months state election.

His party, Voice for the West, was about speaking up for people west of the Yarra at a time when the Coalition and Labor had been focusing on marginal seats such as Bentleigh, Carrum, Mordialloc and Frankston, he said.

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Nigeria suicide blast in Potsikum school kills dozens

The Guardian World news: Islam - 10 November, 2014 - 23:34
Boko Haram militants suspected of being behind attack during a high school assembly which has killed at least 48 students

A suicide bomber disguised in a school uniform set off a backpack full of explosives during an assembly at a high school in Nigeria on Monday, killing at least 48 students and wounding 79 others.

It was the latest attack by suspected Boko Haram militants who kidnapped more than 200 schoolgirls earlier this year.

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Claire Dyer is free

Indigo Jo Blogs - 10 November, 2014 - 23:08

Claire Dyer, a young white woman with glasses and multiple missing teeth wearing a blue and white striped T-shirt, holding a heart-shaped card with the slogan "There's no place like home".Today Claire Dyer and her family found out that she had been released from her sectioning under the Mental Health Act, and will not have to return to the medium-secure unit to which she was sent on 1st August. Claire Dyer is a 20-year-old autistic woman who had been in an NHS learning disability unit in Swansea who had earlier fought off an attempt to transfer her to St Andrew’s hospital in Northampton; the unit she spent more than two months in was near Brighton, which was even further from her home than Northampton. She had been on extended leave from the hospital for the past three weeks and was due to return for an MHA tribunal this Wednesday. This will now not be necessary.

Someone on one of the Facebook groups where these issues are discussed asked what the Brighton unit did differently. I responded that it was not Brighton that did something differently but the unit in Swansea that she had come from: it was they who misused the Mental Health Act for their own convenience, to try and transfer her to Northampton and later to Brighton without Claire or her family having the ability to prevent it. The Brighton unit management just did their jobs: they must have quickly identified Claire as someone whose condition was nothing like those of their normal clientele, who were women with serious mental illnesses or personality disorders, some of them sent there on hospital orders after convictions for serious offences including manslaughter. The unit also must have known that there was publicity surrounding Claire’s case and that her family and supporters were connected to other prominent campaigners who had had to fight the system on behalf of their autistic sons and daughters, some of whom had died, and that the unit and its corporate owners would have faced a blaze of hostile publicity if the same had happened to Claire.

Nobody should be under the illusion that this unit is any model of good practice, despite a good CQC report (following a dreadful one a year earlier); local mental health outreach teams avoid placing people there, as it is expensive and there have been safeguarding concerns. In the first month after she arrived, Claire was only allowed to see her family in the unit’s visiting room, and only for two hours at a time. While Claire was used to talking to her family over FaceTime before going there (which was essential as her sister is deaf), her iPad was taken away and, despite promising that Skype was available for these purposes, it took weeks to set up. The loom bands that were her main hobby before being moved were taken away as a supposed precaution against self-harm; she was not allowed crayons in her room unless she ate them. She was not allowed outdoors for several weeks; she was given grounds leave, but on the first occasion this was not passed on and so she did not get it; on other occasions it was cancelled because of meltdowns. After about a month there, she was allowed out with her family, but this too (including the first one) was sometimes cancelled for the same reason (and the family had to travel for five hours each way to see her). It was after these trips out began that the staff came to realise that the stories they had been told, among other things that she was not safe at home.

I would like to see a thorough investigation of the decisions that led to Claire being sent away. The family have not named the unit in Swansea or its responsible clinician, but the authorities know who he is. It was he who sectioned Claire in September 2013 and then told the family that he intended to move her to Northampton a couple of weeks later. He also told the family that if Claire were released from the section at the tribunal earlier this year, she could not stay at the unit at a time when the family felt that Claire could not live at home (as she had done for five weeks in early 2013 after an earlier care home placement broke down); he claimed that she should remain under section as she behaves better when on section than off it. He continued to allow Claire out with her family almost every day, and home for weekends, as he had done since imposing the section, and did so even after deciding that Claire needed a medium-secure unit — this is unheard-of, and entirely inconsistent.

The first draft of the so-called LB Bill, named after Connor “Laughing Boy” Sparrowhawk who died due to staff negligence in an NHS learning disability unit in Oxford in July 2013, was published last week; you can view the full text, explanatory notes and two easy-read books on the LB Bill website. The eighth clause of the draft Bill removes people with autism and other learning disabilities from the scope of the Mental Health Act unless they also had a diagnosis of a recognised mental illness; any detention would have to be done under the Mental Capacity Act. This is because there have been numerous incidents of machinations involving the MHA being used to transfer learning disabled people to places far away from their families against their wishes or their best interests. It places far too much power in the hands of psychiatrists; it takes only two of them to make the decision and it takes a lot more effort and time to challenge it, and sometimes the tribunal can outlive the section, as it did in Claire’s case, and the patient is back to square one. An autistic person usually does not need a highly secure environment; they need a familiar environment with consistency and support. It is an extremely common mistake to confuse an autistic person’s behaviour in the unnatural and stressful environment of a locked unit with their behaviour when in familiar surroundings and without stress. The conflicting laws which allow clinicians to abuse their power must be reformed.

As for Claire, she will be at home for the foreseeable future; support is being put in place and a long-term placement in the area looked at, although there is no date set for this. As someone who has been on a section 3, she is entitled to aftercare under section 117 of the MHA, which is more than she would have had before being placed on section; but the same was true before she was sent to Brighton. It was entirely unnecessary. There are so many young people with autism in the UK who are still suffering in unsuitable or badly-run units and hospitals, and it seems even prisons, often hundreds of miles from home, some of whose conditions are deteriorating and some who have been attacked and abused, as was reported on Channel 4 News last week. Learning disability and mental health are united in being underfunded, “Cinderella” specialities that can be cut and people moved from pillar to post without attracting much protest, as may have been anticipated by the management who transferred women’s beds to male use in Lancashire last month. But they are separate, and an autistic crisis should not get someone stuck in the mental health system.

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