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'Reclaiming Australia' from Islam is really about reclaiming whiteness

The Guardian World news: Islam - 7 April, 2015 - 06:12

Reclaim Australia’s rallies weren’t a reaction to a real ‘threat’ from Islam. On the contrary, Islamism gives racists a convenient vocabulary for their grievances

There are no Islamic courts, no practice of its jurisprudence, no laws from the Quran, and yet on Saturday we saw Reclaim Australia rally violently, their placards demanding the country say “No to Sharia!”

Related: Reclaim Australia rallies 'hurtful' to new migrants and refugees

Racism is rarely about the reality of the other.

Related: Fighting hatred with hatred at Reclaim Australia rallies is a failure of progressive politics | Brad Chilcott

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FearBusters: Fear of Loss of Love

Muslim Matters - 7 April, 2015 - 05:42

See Previous parts: FearBusters: Conquering our Fears, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

Part 4: Fear of Loss of Love

To address this fear I'm going to share with you something extremely personal, which I have never truly shared with anyone. The reason I am choosing to do this is because it is the best example that I know of overcoming the fear of loss of love.

Many years ago I was married to a wonderful God-conscious woman who loved me very dearly and whom I loved very dearly. We had our rough patches during our marriage, mainly because of outside influences and not being able to manage them properly, but throughout it all we maintained our love and affection for one another. It was a kind of love that you see in movies, it is the kind of love that still lingers in our hearts years after we have gone our separate ways.

Unfortunately, I did not know how to manage the outside forces that caused negativity in our marriage and we ended up getting a divorce. Immediately following the divorce, I think we were both devastated but I forced myself to become very busy and tried not to think about things too much. She also kept busy and coped with the situation as well as anyone I've ever seen cope with a “tragic” loss of love.

Why I'm mentioning all of this is that we have spoken from time to time throughout the years after our divorce, and what amazes me about my ex-wife and has been a great lesson for me is the strength of her faith. I took her love for granted and recognize now that her love for me was special and unconditional; however it pales in comparison to her greatest love, which is her love for Allah. This is the reason why she has always remained happy and, to this day, lives with the great positive spirit and energy that she has always had.

For many people (women in particular) the fear of losing love is completely debilitating. This fear is oftentimes based on more of a sense of comfort and belonging than anything else. When you're married to the same person for a long time, it becomes like a part of your being, and to lose that would be to lose a part of your own self, a part of your own heart. This fear seems quite normal at first, but when you really dig deep you realize that it is a state of reliance on the other person that may become so powerful and overwhelming that it supersedes your reliance on Al-Wakeel (The One Who is Relied Upon or The Caretaker).  Oftentimes, this fear is so strong that people stay in toxic relationships only because they are debilitated by the fear of what might happen if they choose to walk away from the relationship. In cases of abusive relationships this fear becomes even more profound, because the spirit of the individual being abused has been damage and oppressed. Their self-belief and internal strength becomes weakened through the abuse, so this fear becomes even more pronounced.

Principle to Overcome this Fear: Make the greatest love of your life the love of Allah

I cannot overstate how incredibly important this principle is. Like the example of my ex-wife, when the greatest love that you have in your heart is the love of Allah, then you can deal with any and all tests that come your way. When Allah is the One you cry to, the One you pour your heart out to on a daily basis, then the fear that you have is removed. I will end this article by reminding you again of what Allah says in the Qur'an:

 46_13

Indeed, those who have said, 'Our Lord is Allah' and then remained on a right course – there will be no fear concerning them, nor will they grieve.” (46:13)

The post FearBusters: Fear of Loss of Love appeared first on MuslimMatters.org.

Islam as Burden in a World of Short Shorts |The Muslim Skeptic

Muslim Matters - 7 April, 2015 - 00:23

Why are so many of our youth experiencing Islam as an unbearable hardship?

Why are so many of our youth experiencing promiscuity, drinking, and drugs as liberation?

The recent “Practicing Islam in Short Shorts” is yet another entry in a long line of literature that characterizes traditional Islam as “inflexible and fossilized” and departure from traditional Islam as liberating and rational.

The responses to the “Short Shorts” confession have also been typical. On one side, commentators cheer the “brave” voice daring to “transcend hollow religiosity” and throw off the “chains of organized religion.” On the other side, the response has focused on defending orthodoxy, essentially conceding that Islam is inflexible and monolithic, but abiding by that restrictiveness is worth it in the end.

What both approaches have in common is that they assume that the burden is on Islam — and traditional religion at large — to satisfactorily defend itself against the litany of accusations made against it. As for Islam, it is guilty until proven innocent, and “practicing” “traditional” Muslims have been only too eager play the role of public defender.

In contrast to this, my question is: Why should the “other side” — promiscuity, drinking, drugs, “sexy” clothes, and all the activities, choices, and values that Muslims opt for when flouting Islamic ethics — get a free pass? Why shouldn't the burden be on these things to prove themselves to the rational mind as a clear alternative? Is life according to the standards of the Western monoculture really as liberating and autonomous as we are made to believe, or is there an unnoticed rigidity and discipline inherent to that system much akin to the most draconian religious traditions?

I address these questions and more in this brief video:

Click here to view the embedded video.

The post Islam as Burden in a World of Short Shorts |The Muslim Skeptic appeared first on MuslimMatters.org.

Nana Asma’u Leader Of Women’s rights in Islam and West Africa

Loon Watch - 7 April, 2015 - 00:04

Nana Asma’u

Original guest post

by Razainc

“Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs only to those who prepare for it today.”-El Hajj Malik El-Shabazz

I intended to write this article for International Women’s Day earlier this month but time did not permit. This article is a short profile of Nana Asma’u’s pivotal role as Muslim leader in the 19th century. Nana’s father, Usman Dan Fodiyo, like his daughter is famous in his own right and I plan to write an article on him in the near future. Usman Dan Fodiyo was the first ruler of the Sokoto state and was succeeded by his son Muhammad Bello who was also a half-brother to Nana Asma’u.

There are a few things I wanted to mention about the Qadirriyya Sufi order before I delve into Nana Asma’u’s life. The Qadirriyya order was a decentralized order. Unlike some Sufi orders which focus exclusively on the spiritual dimension and break from traditional Fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence), the Qadirriyya order in Dan Fodiyo’s region focused on the Sunnah (saying and traditions of The Prophet Mohammed (SAW).

Education was important to the Qadirriyya order. “The Qadirriyya order sought to serve by teaching, preaching, and practical work while rejecting materialism.” The goal was not to consume yourself in the material world to the point where you forget about the spiritual dimension but live in the world while staying connected to spirituality.

Joining the Qadirriyya order was as simple as a hand shake and saying Ziker (liturgy) in remembrance of the eponym of the order, Abdul Qadir Jilani, after whose teachings the order was modeled. This made it very easy for locals in Dan Fodio’s region to join. It did however demand a certain level of spiritual discipline like praying, fasting and general asceticism (1). In practical terms Dan Fodiyo sought a balance where Fiqh would develop virtuous outward behavior, Tawhid (realizing the unity/Oneness of God) would be the basis of beliefs and Sufism would develop the spiritual dimension. While a few royals joined his ranks many of Dan Fodiyo’s followers were commoners.

Nana Asma’u

Usman Dan Fodiyo’s teachings came into conflict with the ruling authorities, whom he felt were not properly practicing Islam, this lead to his followers being threatened. Thus Dan Fodiyo and his followers made hijra (migration) and eventually strengthened their numbers which infuriated the authorities (2), thus began what is known as the “Sokoto Jihad.” This is the context in which his daughter Nana Asma’u(1793-1864) grew up.

Asma’u was a West African princess, scholar, Sufi mystic, poet, teacher, educator, wife, mother, and actively involved in politics and social reform. Asma’u was born a twin, the custom was to name twins after Hassan and Hussein the Prophet’s grandsons. Dan Fodiyo however decided break from tradition and named her after Abu Bakr’s daughter Asmā’ bint Abu Bakr suggesting that he had spiritual intuition that she would be special.

Asma’u was tutored as a child in various subjects from fiqh and tawhid to Islamic philosophy and mysticism. Her poetry focused on getting people to live a righteous life and turning back to God. Her poetry and writings also focused on war, as well as women and their roles in the community. She tried to lead people on the Prophetic path.

She married Gidado Dan Laima with whom she had six sons, their first born died as an infant. Laima later became chief adviser to the Sokoto Caliphate under Muhammed Bello. Asma’u would help organize the Muslim community under the Sokoto Caliphate.

By forty Asma’u would be called Uwargari (Mother of the People). She was also fluent in several languages: Arabic, Fulfulde, Hausa, and Tamacheq Arabic. She was also “Erudite and well versed in Arabic, Greek, and Latin classics.” She liked rare books which she avidly collected and would also use to teach her students.

In her poetry, in addition to dealing with the political issues of her time, she also took time to praise the good deeds of everyday people regardless of their status. Take for example excerpts from two elegies she wrote.

Her elegy for Na’Inna, her uncle who was an average citizen who held no official position.

Elegy for Na’Inna:

He was cheerful, loved his family to visit him. Acted likewise with his neighbors. He told them many things. He did not concern him self with worldly happenings May God forgive his sins.

Or an Elegy for her neighbor Halima.

Elegy for Halima:

She was a fine woman with lots of common sense. She loved children and adults treating them fittingly with respect. She was religious and kept close relationships in good repair. Acting always with never ending patience.

Many of Nana Asma’u’s poems can be found reprinted in Educating Muslim Women: The West African Legacy of Nana Asma’u 1793-1864 by Beverley Mack and Jean Boyd.

First one The Path of Truth:

For there is [in Paradise] no illness, no ageing, no poverty, no death: we remain for ever. Forever in enjoyment, relaxation and pleasant talk We walk in Paradise, we have seen Muhammada… The houses are made of gold, the clothes of silk We drink from fragrant rivers of Salsabil with Ahmada. The bodies of people are as beautiful as rubies or red coral, Their ornaments are jewels and topaz. They feel no sadness of heart and do not think sad thoughts They are forever in Paradise together with Muhammada.

“If anyone asks who composed this song, say That it is Nana, daughter of the Shehu, who loves Muhammada. You should firmly resolve, friends, to follow her And thus you will follow exactly the Sunna of Muhammada.”

Also here is an elegy Asama’u wrote for Dan Fodiyo’s friend Umaru al-Kammu’s daughter Aisha. Umaru’s children married Dan Fodiyo’s children, one those marriages was that of Umaru’s daughter Aisha who married Muhammad Bello.

“The death of the beloved Aisha reminded me of those who have passed away from among wise and pious sisters. My sorrows, my loneliness, and my melancholy increase the flow of tears on my cheeks into torrents. At the loss of the noble Aisha. Oh, what a woman! She had all the virtues Of pious women, humble to their Lord; Of the women who have memorized the Qur’an by heart and who do extra In prayers, alms-giving, then recitation of the Qur’an, defending the unjustly treated, carrying the burdens of many responsibilities. She was a guardian of orphans and widows, a pillar of the community, ensuring harmony. I am desolate over losing her, for she was my bosom friend, my confidante, from our earliest days. This is no surprise; the love we had for each other came to us from our fathers before us; it was not short-lived. God in Heaven, judge her with pure forgiveness and make room for a grave in perpetual light. On the Day of Judgement preserve her from all that is feared, from everything terrifying on that day. And place her in Paradise with our Shaykh, her father and her husband in the heavenly abodes.”

She was also not one to bite her tongue even to her own allies for their behavior. Take the case of Dan Yali “the son of the Fulani patriarch, Muhammad Moyijo who had offered a safe haven to the Shehu after the Community was forced to leave Gudu in 1803.” Dan Yali was known for his strange behavior which initially was generosity but eventually changed into him squandering his wealth and being very gullible and easily tricked into giving his wealth .

“The new caliph, Ahmad Rufai ɗan Shehu, dismissed him,” Asma’u praised his dismissal writing :

“Thanks be to God who empowered us to overthrow ɗan Yalli Who has caused so much trouble. He behaved unlawfully, he did wanton harm And caused hardship… We can ourselves testify to the Robberies and extortion in the markets, on the Highways and at the city gateways.”

Asma’u was and is a role model for many women in West Africa. Asma’u was also a writer of battles she witnessed particularly in the battles that came to be known as the Sokoto Jihad (1804-1830). Asma’u didn’t only teach students (both men and women) in her own community but she also was part of a network of women teachers whom she trained to teach women in the rural areas.

Amina of Zaria

Asma’u was following in the footsteps of the Prophet’s wife Aisha who was a general, scholar and teacher. West Africa is also not alien to empowered Muslim women, take for example the General Amina of Zaria mentioned by Muhammad Bello in chapter seven of his text Ifaq al-Maysur (The Wages of the Fortunate) which covers much of the history of West Africa, talking about Husana history.

Amina of Zaria was said to have been a brilliant military tactician and general and credited as being the first person to establish a government over all seven of the Husana regions. She also developed fortified walls “Amina was also responsible for the development of well-fortified walls around the city of Zazzau … called ganuwar Amina, or Amina’s walls.”

In popular discourse you have pundits and journalists regularly talking and writing about how Boko Haram and ISIS represent Islam’s discourse on women and education. However, two centuries ago you had Asma’u’s famous call,“In Islam, it is a religious duty to seek knowledge. Women may leave their homes freely for this.”

Saheela Ibraheem

When we think of Islam and the role of women or Islam and the African diaspora Nigerian-American’s like Saheela Ibraheem one of the world’s smartest teenagers should come to mind. Lets also recall scholars, educators and leaders like Nana Asma’u and Amina of Zaria, they more closely represent Islam than Boko Haram or ISIS ever did or ever will.

Nana Asma’u’s story is a riposte to the orientalist image of Muslim women in history that marks them as invisible and oppressed beings. Nana, is a role model for many, one who reminds us today that it is possible to be devout in faith, an artist, a just leader and a mystic–at the same time.  Nana’s empowerment and support of women’s education is far removed from the bellicosity and anti-education ideology of group’s such as Boko Haram, in contradistinction to them she was a life long learner and teacher who truly valued education.

Note unless otherwise sated most of this information is referenced from Nana Asma’u One Woman’s Jihad Scholar and Scribe by Beverly Mack and Jean Boyd

Chapel Hill shooting: death penalty possible for man who killed students

The Guardian World news: Islam - 6 April, 2015 - 21:05
  • Judge rules that Craig Stephen Hicks is ‘death penalty qualified’
  • FBI has yet to determine if murder of Muslim students violates hate crime laws

A man charged with first-degree murder in the killing of three Muslim college students can face a death penalty trial, a judge ruled Monday.

Superior court judge Orlando Hudson Jr said prosecutors had two aggravating factors and that Craig Stephen Hicks is “death penalty qualified”.

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Unveiled: 'Nobody expects Muslim women to be comedians'

The Guardian World news: Islam - 6 April, 2015 - 18:45

A group of Muslim Pakistani-American women are pushing the boundaries on how Muslim women are perceived – on the nation’s comedy scene

One of the last things many people might expect a Muslim Pakistani-American woman to do when she takes the stage is crack a joke, openly talk about smoking weed, or say that she is gay. Conversations about South Asian women in America are more usually limited to topics like early marriages, abuse and oppression. If the woman happens to be Muslim, fundamentalism and terrorism are often added to the narrative.

As Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie summed it up: “The problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete.”

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A Thousand Shames

Muslimah Media Watch - 6 April, 2015 - 18:18
This article was originally published at Sixteen Minutes to Palestine  by Sami Kishawi. Saying that this photograph recently resurfaced would imply that it had somehow gotten buried. But that is simply not true. Published for the New York Times just days after Israel pulled back on its most deadly assault on the Gaza Strip yet, the [Read More...]

Ferrari Plus Value Dua’a

Muslim Matters - 6 April, 2015 - 17:39

As-salaamu alaykum,

I will be sharing with you 1 outstanding du'a'a learned through  one outstanding story.

The family of Abu Salamah –may Allah be pleased with them- was known to be a family full of love, respect and iman. They were the first family to apply the command of Allah –subhanahu wa ta'ala- and His prophet –salla Allahu alayhe wa sallam- which was to immigrate from Mecca to Madinah.

While they were in Madinah, Abu Salamah came back home all excited and said to his wife, Umm Salamah: “I have heard today from the prophet –salla Allahu alayhe wa sallam- words that are more beloved to me than being given red camels [i.e. being given the most precious type of ride known! In our times it would perhaps be a Ferrari or so].”

  • So what he is saying is: if I had the option to either learn these few words, which he just heard from the prophet –salla Allahu alayhe wa sallam-, or be given all the wealth in the world he would chose to learn these words. Allahu akbar! WOW!

Umm Salamah asked: “What is it that you heard Abu Salamah?”

Abu Salamah responded with stating the du'a'a the prophet –salla Allahu alayhe wa sallam- taught his companions. This du'a'a can be found in Saheeh Muslim as follows:

The Prophet –salla Allahu alayhe wa sallam- said:

  • ما من مسلمٍ تصيبُه مصيبةٌ
    • There is no Muslim that is afflicted with an affliction
  • فيقولُ : ما أمره اللهُ :
    • And says what Allah ordered him or her to say
      • إنَّا للهِ وإنَّا إليه راجعون .
        • To Allah we belong and to Allah we shall return
        • Inna lil-laahi wa ennaa elayhe raje'oon
      • اللهمَّ ! أْجُرْني في مصيبتي
        • O Allah reward me for my affliction
        • Allahumma-ajurnee fee muSebatee
      • وأَخْلِفْ لي خيرًا منها
        • And give me in exchange for it (i.e. the affliction) something that is better than it
        • Wa 'akhlef lee khairun menhaa
    • إلَّا آجَرَهُ اللهُ في مصيبَتِهِ
      • Except that Allah would reward him or her for the affliction
    •  وأَخْلَفَ اللهُ لَهُ خيرًا منها
      • And Allah would give him or her something better than it in exchange.

Back to the story: After sometime what happened? Umm Salamah faced one of the most tragic events a married woman who was blessed with a respectful and caring husband may ever face which was the death of Abu Salamah.

She said: “When Abu Salamah died I said what the prophet –salla Allahu alayhe wa sallam- ordered those who have been afflicted with a calamity to say: To Allah we belong and to Allah we shall return. O Allah reward me for my affliction…”

And then she was about to say the last and 3rd part of the du'a'a but she paused and said: “I was about to say: “give me something better than it in exchange.” But then said to (myself): And who is better than Abu Salamah?”

  • Basically, she is saying what can I be given that would replace Abu Salamah. What amount of money, or what man would propose or what good in the world that can happen to her life that would be better than having Abu Salamah as her husband. She knows that she is now widowed, got old in age and already have a son.
  • But with all of that, she pushed herself towards fulfilling the orders of Allah and His prophet –salla Allahu alayhe wa sallam- and she was certain that Allah is capable and will fulfill His promise and her du'a.

Umm Salamah said: “ثمَّ قلتُها” “Then I said it! (i.e. وأَخْلِفْ لي خيرًا منها) [And give me in exchange for the affliction something that is better than it.”

Not too long after that, someone knocked on the door of the house of Umm Salamah. She opened the door. The person who knocked explained himself and said to Umm Salamah that he was asked by the prophet –salla Allahu alayhe wa sallam- to go to her. But why? To tell her that the prophet –salla Allahu alayhe wa sallam- is asking for her hand in marriage! (Allahu Akbar!)

  • Can you imagine her facial expressions and her reaction!? May Allah allow me and you to be in Jannah and have Allah show us how was her reaction when she was right at the door after hearing this :)
    • Did she cry… Did she say: “Me!? Do I really deserve it”… Did she look up in the sky and say:
      • “الْحَمْدُ لِلَّـهِ الَّذِي صَدَقَنَا وَعْدَهُ” Praise be to Allah the one who fulfilled His promise.
      • Allah knows best but surely it a memorable moment.

Umm Salamah accepted the proposal and said afterwards: “أبدلني الله بأبي سلمة خيرا منه ، رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم Indeed Allah has given me someone better than Abu Salam, Rasoolo Allah –salla Allahu alayhe wa sallam-.”

My dear beloved brother and sister, remember to follow the command of Allah of saying these 3 statements when facing a calamity and Allah will substitute you with something better than what you lost in addition to the great reward you will get in the afterlife for putting your trust in Allah. May Allah ease your hardships, make them means of reward and substitute you with something better than what you faced and lost.

Wassalaamu alaykum,

Your Brother Majed Mahmoud

 

The post Ferrari Plus Value Dua’a appeared first on MuslimMatters.org.

Reclaim Australia rallies 'hurtful' to new migrants and refugees

The Guardian World news: Islam - 6 April, 2015 - 06:11

Community leaders say nationwide anti-Islam rallies held on Saturday have left new arrivals feeling isolated and vulnerable

Refugees and new migrants feel more isolated and vulnerable following last weekend’s Reclaim Australia rallies, community leaders said.

The anti-Islam rallies on Saturday attracted hundreds of demonstrators nationwide who were protesting against halal certification, sharia law and increased Muslim migration.

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The Essential Muaddhin

Muslim Matters - 6 April, 2015 - 05:32

By Jameel A. Syed

 

There are over 7 billion people in the world and 1.6 billion of them are Muslim. That accounts for approximately 23% of the world's population across all seven continents. As diverse as they may be in the way they look, the food they eat, the languages they speak or the way that they dress, when the Muaddhin makes the call: “Come to prayer, come to success,” Muslims all around the world respond in kind. In a matter of minutes, people wrap up their worldly affairs, perform ablution and face the holy sanctuary in Mecca to engage in prayer. This happens five times a day for 365 days a year, without fail.

The First Muaddhin

A Muaddhin is the one who makes the call to prayer, the adhan. This beautiful tradition of making the call to prayer dates back almost 1500 years ago to the days of early Islam. It was reported that multiple companions saw the same dream which showcased the words to the adhan by means of a man making the call. They related the dream to Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) who then appointed the first Muaddhin of Islam – Bilal ibn Rabah raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him), a companion of the Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) who was a freed Abyssinian slave, the seventh person to accept Islam with the title Muaddhin Ar-Rasul (the Muaddhin of the Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him))

Muhammad Abdul-Rauf describes his appearance in his book Bilal ibn Rabah:

“He [Bilal] was of a handsome and impressive stature, dark brown complexion with sparkling eyes, a fine nose and bright skin. He was also gifted with a deep, melodious, resonant voice. He wore a beard which was thin on both cheeks. He was endowed with great wisdom and a sense of dignity and self-esteem”

He raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) was the perfect model for millions of Muaddhins that would follow in his footsteps throughout the centuries.

Rewards for the Muaddhin

The position of the Muaddhin is a coveted station that brings with it both honor and prestige in the communities they reside in, and in the eyes of the Creator. According to prophetic tradition, the Muaddhin enjoys a differentiated rank of elevation and reward above all other parties associated with the practice of prayer. The Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said:

Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) and His angels send blessings upon the front row, and the Muaddhin is forgiven as far as his voice reaches, and whatever hears him, animate or inanimate, confirms what he says, and he will have a reward like that of those who pray with him.” Narrated by al-Nasaa'i, 646; classed as saheeh by al-Mundhiri and al-Albaani, as it says in Saheeh al-Targheeb, 235.

-Reported by Bara' ibn 'Aazib raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him)

The position by its nature was designed for the best of people to compete in the best of ways:

“If the people knew what there is in the call to prayer and the first row, and they had no other way but drawing lots, then they would draw lots.” Narrated by al-Bukhari, 590; Muslim, 437.

– Reported by Abu Hurayrah raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him)

The stakes are high and the reward is immense, so the prospective Muaddhin really needs to be in top form. You will find that most Muaddhins have a deep respect for time. They are fully aware that the adhan is an appointment that cannot be missed. You will usually find them ahead of schedule waiting anxiously for the time of prayer to arrive. As mentioned before, Muaddhins are competitive and aggressive in their nature. They're not ones to give up their positions to just anyone. On occasion, they may do so, if another Muaddhin has a superior style or there is a guest visiting their facility. Even then, the guest Muaddhin and their style will be under tremendous scrutiny and study for the purpose of replication and acquisition of style; an eternal competition to one up each other by way of good deeds. They are the ones who check for the rows to be aligned and to ensure that the mobile phones have been turned off before prayer begins.

Challenges of being Muaddhin

One of the biggest challenges of the Muaddhin however is sincerity. The position brings with it notoriety and, if he is good at what he does, then praise will follow. The pitfall is to avoid sharpening ones' craft for the sake of worldly gain and praise from people. This brings with it arrogance, the seed of all failure. An excellent remedy for the Muaddhin in this situation is to praise the one who is worthy of being praised. Replying with a simple tradition of the Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) should suffice:

“Allah is beautiful and He loves beauty” – Muslim

The focus of all his effort is aimed towards achieving two things: First the beautification of the adhan. Pronunciation, control of voice, melody and measure, all of which are core attributes of this work. The second is its amplification. What good is the caller if the call itself is not heard? A loud voice, the ability to manipulate a proper sound system or a vantage point to make the call is necessary so that the call can be heard effectively. The whole point is that the recipient hears the call and is drawn to it.

The adhan is architected by Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) to pull the strings of our hearts. It's designed to make humanity respond to a higher call. Yusuf Islam, formerly known as Cat Stevens (The famous singer-songwriter) testified that his first exposure to Islam as a non-Muslim was the adhan and that it affected him in a way that totally drew him in. A wonderful attribute of the adhan is that you don't have to be Muslim or understand Arabic to appreciate it. By itself it has an affinity towards latching on to your very soul. Today, there are millions of Muaddhins across the world in every country, each one a master in his own right. From Mecca to Istanbul, the styles of the adhan are as diverse as they come and the Muaddhins are the zenith of their respective masajids, communities, and nations.

Make adhan at Home

One of the biggest tragedies in all of this is that making the adhan to a large degree is a practice reduced and restricted now-a-days only to the institutional level of the masajids or elite social events. Question: Should we not make the adhan and establish prayer in our homes? We are living in a time where Muslims around the world are facing tremendous difficulties that are quite complex in their nature. It is times like these where we as a community need to turn to the guidance of our Creator and the Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him). Islam has a way of solving complex problems with the simplest of solutions – Prayer!

Make the call to prayer and the people will come! Every household should have a designated Muaddhin. The leadership of the household should make it a point to set an example by making the adhan and calling everyone to pray. The adhan brings people together for prayer and prayer brings us close to one another and the Divine. Children can eventually be vested with the responsibility and incentivized to make the adhan and bring the rest of the family together. This is how our youth will learn, take responsibility, gain confidence in who they are and move Islam forward. You can shut off the alarm on your phone or a wall clock, but you can't and shouldn't mute a real live person.

Someone recently asked me “What do you feel when you hear the adhan?” I answered: “When I hear the adhan, I become nostalgic. I think of Mecca and Madinah, of Hajj, Umrah, billions of Muslims around the world that come in all different shapes and forms, prostrating in the direction of the Holy Sanctuary. There's an image that pops into my head of Bilal raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) making the call to prayer from the top of the Kabah with 10,000 strong during the time of the conquest of Mecca; and there's an image imprinted on my heart of him making the adhan for the last time upon the insistence of the Khalifah Umar-Al-Khattab raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) surrounded by the Prophets' companions [ranhuma] who wept as they reminisced about the days of the final Messenger of Allah, Sayyidina Muhammad Mustafa ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him).

Editorial Note:

On April 3rd, 2015, Jameel Syed sets off on a journey to be the first Muaddhin in history to recite the call to prayer and the Last Sermon of the Prophet Muhammadﷺ in all fifty states across the United States. The ultimate goal? To reclaim the American Muslim narrative and give masjids the opportunity to deliver a positive message to the world. The entire trip will be chronicled in real time, through photographs, videos and blog updates. Follow the trip here:

www.muaddhin.com facebook.com/muaddhin twitter.com/themuaddhin instagram.com/themuaddhin

 

Jameel A. Syed is the founder and CEO of the Fluidvisions Marketing Firm. His concentration and focus is Strategy Consulting, Building Brand Equity and Launching New Ventures. He has over 20 years of corporate experience across a very broad spectrum of industries and through Fluidvisions, he has serviced hundreds of accounts in the past ten years. As an Executive Consultant, he has worked exclusively with key decision makers within his respective clientele base. He has a special concentration in working with the American Muslim community as over 90% of all clients within his portfolio are Muslim owned and/or managed.

The post The Essential Muaddhin appeared first on MuslimMatters.org.

A new speed limit at midnight

Indigo Jo Blogs - 6 April, 2015 - 00:01

A red DAF XF articulated truck with red tractor and curtain trailer with the name "Dünya" and a globe with the land in light blue on it.Tonight at midnight, the speed limits for trucks on roads in England and Wales go up by 10mph: the maximum speed on single-carriageway roads to 50mph, and on dual carriageways to 60mph (in practice, vehicles will not be able to exceed 56mph as they are all fitted with speed restrictors). This is something the industry has been campaigning for for some time, but safety charities have criticised it as giving into law-breaking and some drivers complain that it will mean they are paid less as they can complete jobs more quickly. Personally, I welcome it, although I think it should be accompanied by speed limit adjustments for other vehicles as it still leaves trucks doing 10mph less than cars.

The speed limits at present were set in the 1950s when trucks were slower than they are today, but had less effective brakes (previously, the truck speed limit was 20mph!). The speed limits were already among the highest in Europe, where motorway speed limits for Europe are 80km/h (50mph) in most countries and lower on normal roads (for example, it’s 60km/h or 37mph on main roads in Germany) and now are probably, on average, easily the highest. In the 1950s there were no motorways (the first motorway as such was opened in 1956) and far fewer dual carriageways. These days there are sections of dual carriageways which are distinguished from motorways only by having green signs (in particular, the A2 in Kent and part of the A3 in Surrey), longer stretches where the road conditions do not merit having the lower speed limits, and wide or straight single-carriageway roads where trucks doing 40mph are an annoyance to other drivers.

These days large parts of the country do not have motorways, only long stretches of dual carriageway: most of these are away from the big cities, such as in eastern England (the Humber region being an exception) and the south-west. In other areas, dual carriageways have been built to avoid the cost or environmental impact of a previously planned motorway (e.g. the A50 from Leicester to Stoke on Trent, which was built in place of a planned motorway, the M64). These roads are not always greatly inferior to actual motorways; the M1 in particular has narrower lanes than some newer motorways, like the M40, while dual carriageways often have wider lanes. Their junctions are often (but not always) tighter, which does present a hazard, but specific speed limits can be applied in these areas rather than across the whole road.

The road safety charity Brake issued a formal response (.docx) to the changes, claiming that the limit increases “average speeds”. The problem with this is that average speeds do not cause accidents; specific vehicles’ speeds at particular moments cause or contribute to accidents, along with poor observation, lane discipline or other forms of bad driving, along with other factors such as road and weather conditions. They also claim it “sets a dangerous precedent that if traffic laws are persistently flouted; the government would rather change them than enforce them”. In fact, even the police have at times understood that the limits are an unnecessary nuisance and have encouraged truck drivers to do 50mph on long, straight stretches of single carriageway. Right now, they don’t expend much effort in enforcing the speed limits on some (long) stretches — last time I drove the A1 from Worksop to London (which I did quite frequently on one job I did last summer), there was only one speed camera north of Huntingdon.

I don’t buy the argument that higher speed limits will mean drivers will get paid less as they will finish jobs quicker. This might happen on some runs, but on others, the time saved will allow an extra drop or two which will add hours and, with it, pay, and in any case, if the journey is mostly by motorway, this time saving already exists and nobody is campaigning to bring the motorway truck speed limit down. What is more likely is that transport supervisors will expect drivers to do 50mph when previously they had been doing 40mph, when the road conditions make it safe to do 45mph or so but not 50, at least not all the way. Sometimes I’m more concerned about finishing the job quickly and getting home than I am about squeezing a bit of extra money out of it, and it’s only likely to make a big difference if you are on a long journey and can do 56 most of the way (like 20 minutes on a 200-mile journey). If you’re stopping and starting a lot, being able to do a few stretches a bit faster won’t make much difference.

I would support harmonising speed limits for different types of vehicle. On two-lane carriageways on dual carriageways, for example, I would advocate a speed limit of 60mph for everyone. Why? Because when people join these roads, especially at the tight junctions that they often have (e.g. the A1), people in the inside lane have to move across to let them on, and when someone is coming from behind at 70mph (or more), this becomes impossible, making it necessary to slow down rapidly. If the speed limit on single carriageways was 50mph for everyone, the remaining annoyance of being stuck behind a ‘slow’ truck when you ‘should’ be doing 60mph would be reduced, and a fairly large number of single-carriageway roads are not suitable for doing 60mph anyway. It would also make it easier for drivers to slow down when entering villages as they have less speed to lose.

The majority of truck drivers are responsible adults and not joy-riders or maniacs. A few already drive their trucks too fast or otherwise dangerously — tipper drivers being the worst offenders — and for these people there needs to be better enforcement on safe driving other than speed. The new limits apply on roads where a limit above 40mph, or the national speed limit, already applies; it will not mean that truck drivers can drive any faster on urban roads where the speed limit is 30mph — that isn’t changing. We also don’t want to get into accidents (particularly with other trucks, where we are more vulnerable because we sit at the front of our vehicles on top of the engine, not behind it) or put our insurance costs up. For me, the new limit will make driving a bit less stressful: I will no longer be constantly checking my speedometer, watching for police or speed cameras, or worrying about holding up other traffic or about unsafe overtakes. But don’t expect all the slow movers to suddenly speed up: if we’re fully laden, we won’t be able to go much faster, especially up hills, and some roads are just not safe to do 50mph on in a large truck.

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Yasir Qadhi On American Foreign Policy And The Rise Of ISIS

Loon Watch - 5 April, 2015 - 22:29

yasir_qadhi_isis

Muslim American Islamic scholar Yasir Qadhi faces his share of death threats, from not only the right-wing in America but also now from the extremist ISIS organization.  In the following video he goes into depth on the reasons why ISIS emerged, the Iraq War and what part US policy has played in creating the conditions that gave birth to the group.

It is a definite must watch.

Kenya shock and defiance as al-Shabaab gunman revealed to be official's son

The Guardian World news: Islam - 5 April, 2015 - 17:35

President Uhuru Kenyatta promises to counter terrorism at home, while authorities criticised for handling of Islamist university siege in which 148 died

Christians across Kenya sang the national anthem before Easter Sunday services in a message of defiance aimed at Islamist militants who killed almost 150 students last week, as the nation reacted with shock at the news that one of the gunmen had been a young Kenyan law graduate.

The interior ministry named the gunman as Abdirahim Abdullahi, a formerly straight-A student who received his degree from the University of Nairobi, Kenya’s most prestigious law school, before slipping into Somalia.

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Sunni v Shia: why the conflict is more political than religious

The Guardian World news: Islam - 5 April, 2015 - 16:26

Across the Middle East, sectarianism has always been linked to the battle for power, resources and territory

Time was, across the Arab world, that it was simply rude to ask people their religion or sect, even if it was obvious from their name, their accent, from where they lived or worshipped or the pictures on their walls that they were a Sunni Muslim, Shia, or Christian.

In the glory days of the post-colonial era the focus was on creating an overarching Arab and national identity. Syria, with its mosaic of Sunnis, Alawites, Druze and many Christian communities, boasted of being the “beating heart of Arabism”. Even in Lebanon, with its elaborate power-sharing arrangements, confessional identity remained a private matter. Intermarriage was common.

Related: Iraqi Sunnis forced to abandon homes and identity in battle for survival

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