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Vol.1- Issue 2
August - October 2009
ARE WE REALLY
A Traveler through the Night
Written by Ahmed Malik
Dr. Naseem Ansari Dr. Muhammad Amin Dr. Amir Nazir
Dr. Waqas Ahmed Dr. Muzaffar Iqbal Dr. Kazi Zulkadar
Are we really Independent?
Written by Dr. Muzaffar Iqbal
8 10 12 15 18 20 22 26 28
Pakistan achieved freedom from the British sixty two years ago. Hundreds of thousands of people poured their lives into the making of a homeland for Muslims to live in peace and prosperity. Even a cursory look at the current state of affairs though, confirms that our independence is not yet complete. Take the recent happenings in the Swat Valley. Being pressured by the U.S. into conducting a military operation that has displaced 3.5 million of its own civilians is not the act of an independent government, nor is the allowing of drone attacks on sovereign territory. Where is the benefit in any of this for Pakistan? The growing disillusionment among the displaced civilians will only bolster the position of the Taliban and worsen the security situation. Furthermore, the huge additional burden placed by the refugees on an already failing infrastructure could lead to the total collapse of healthcare and other essential services. Alternatively, look at the recent 7.6 billion dollar loan Pakistan took in November of 2008 from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Facing a drastic deficit shortfall, and being refused help by China, the United States, and Saudi Arabia, Pakistan took another loan, on top of what it already owes to the IMF, the Asian Development Bank, and the World Bank. It is not only our politics and economics that are so dependent on foreign powers. Every aspect of our lives, from education to entertainment, from clothing to food, is heavily influenced by the West. This cannot be dismissed as a natural consequence of globalization. If that were the case, why do we not see many Americans walking around in shalwar kameez? Most frightening of all is that not even our basic Islamic values are safe. We are succumbing to foreign influence even in fundamental concerns like “what constitutes Islam” and “who is a Muslim.” It is only through careful thought and determined action that we can remove all obstacles to true independence. With this issue of Transcend, we hope, inshaAllah, to inspire a bit of both. Ahmad Yaseen Arain
Movie Review - “Occupation 101”
Written by Yousuf Raza
Written by Dr. Waqas Ahmed
Written by Yousuf Raza
Written by Muhammad Hammad
A Day in Aman Refugee Camp
Written by Zahid Saeed
Summary of a lecture delivered by Imam Anwar Al-Awlaki
The Caliph and the Bedouin
A story from the time of Umar bin Khattab (RA)
Manifestations of Religiosity
Written by Kazi Zulkader Siddiqui
Ahmad Yaseen Arain Yousaf Raza Ahmed Malik Talal Khattak
Thinking outside the Box
Komal Atta Muhammad Hammad Asmara Ahmed Malik
What the Mirror can Reveal
Jamal Khattak Umar Shuayb Ammar Zaman Khan
Umar Bin Al-Khattab t
4th Year Student, Shifa College Of Medicine
on tablets that either increase insulin release or the response of cells. Also, they are told to watch their diet, especially foods high in sugar.” “That’s right! Now imagine someone you know is diagnosed with diabetes mellitus (we ask Allah to protect us) and he decides not to take his medication and completely ignores the doctor’s instructions about a balanced diet. What would happen if his family decided that he was never going to change and that his attitude toward the medication and a proper diet would never improve, and without trying their best to help him understand the situation, decided to leave him be? Then what if everyone else close to him—his friends, his doctor— decided the same and refused to do anything to help him or to get him help? And finally, what if you, too, decided to do the same? Wouldn’t it be the wrong thing to do on the part of all those people?” people who don’t listen to you and who don’t take your medications: ‘non-compliant.’ It sounds like you’re accusing them of disobeying a military law or a curfew.” “Well, at least we’re not scaring the entire world by stretching every threat into an enormous goliath. Before it was the ‘communists,’ and now it’s the ‘terrorists.’” Sameer knew that Tariq loved to take jabs at his career choice, so he always took Tariq’s comments in good humor. Even now, Sameer could clearly remember how Tariq had tried convincing him against taking up a career in journalism. It was not that Tariq did not respect the field, but it was the metamorphosis of the once noble ideals of journalism into a form foreign to human dignity and honesty that he detested. Sameer could clearly remember his words as if Tariq were sitting next to him at that very moment: “They talk about how journalism represents a venue that can foster honesty and transparency in a government; they talk about how a work of true journalism is untarnished by the slightest element of slander or libel; but everywhere we look we see something different all together. Journalism only becomes a venue trying to foster honesty and transparency in the government when its community is at odds with the government. Then, too, it employs all means necessary to ‘expose’ the government, even if that requires slander and libel. Sadly, that is the kind of journalism that pays these days, and that’s the kind of journalism you’ll end up working on if you want to be a success.” When it came to these discussions, Sameer did not have as dismal an oulook. “You know, everyone isn’t out there just to make a lot of money. For that matter the money factor can even be applied to the field of medicine, and even
A Tra veler Through
By Ahmed Malik
It was during one of these conversations that Tariq had expressed his grief for the way things were running in their home country. Sameer had agreed with him, but felt that it would do no good to grieve as things weren’t going to change anytime soon. He would tell Tariq, “Listen, things are going to stay the way they are for a long time, so we shouldn’t be bogged down in depression, nor should we develop any false hopes. That’s why I left and came here to study. If things ever get better, maybe I’ll go back, but if not, at least I won’t have to deal with them day in and day out.” Tariq would stay quiet for sometime as was his habit. He was never too quick to try to counter anyone. He always gave time for all the words of a conversation to settle in, and for his thoughts to collect in his mind before expressing them as clearly and as politely as possible. After the pause, he asked Sameer, “What do you know about diabetes mellitus?” In other circumstances, Sameer would have been taken aback by this seemingly off-topic question, but he knew his friend well enough to entertain his question with an answer. Besides, it gave him a chance to demonstrate the ‘well-rounded’ education he was getting from the country he had moved to. “It’s a disease of the pancreas where the production of the hormone, insulin, is not sufficient, or the receptors for insulin in other parts of the body are not responsive.” “So how do we treat it?” “Well, insulin is needed so that glucose, the sugar content of our diet, can be removed from our blood and be transported to our cells, where it is used for energy. So, I guess we would need to do something to increase the insulin in our body if it is deficient; otherwise we need to increase the responsiveness of our cells to insulin. That’s why people with diabetes are on insulin injections or
- 4th year MBBS student at Shifa College of Medicine
s he picked up his pen for the first time in many days, he felt heaviness in his hands; it was a kind of reluctance. When he finally allowed his mental determination to translate into action, and as he began the first downward stroke of his pen, Sameer couldn’t help but notice a slight tremor arise in his hand. It lasted only a few seconds but was long enough to cause him consternation. He was well-read in many disciplines of science and was particularly keen on constantly scrutinizing himself for any symptoms of neurological disease. Sameer had a family history of such diseases; some of his family members had succumbed to the fatal outcome. Naturally, when he noticed a tremor in his hand, he could only think of all the diseases associated with an ‘intention tremor,’ as it was referred to in medical jargon. The tremor subsided as quickly as it had begun. Sameer gradually turned his attention back to writing, hoping that the tremor was due to the weight of his task. It had been just two days since his best friend, Tariq, had died. They had practically grown up together, and had been the best of friends since kindergarten. They had attended the same school, and had been in all the same classes until it came time for college and choosing a career. At this point, Sameer and Tariq parted ways. Sameer went abroad to study journalism and Tariq stayed in his home country to study medicine. Despite the physical distance that had developed between them, they still kept in touch and would often visit one another. One summer vacation Tariq would go and visit Sameer and the next vacation Sameer would come to visit Tariq. Sitting with paper in front of him and a pen in his hand, Sameer had vivid flashbacks of the times when he and Tariq would meet up after long hiatuses and talk about all the things affecting their daily lives.
“We need to have a purpose for everything we do and in the end it is that purpose which will determine its worth.”
“Yeah, it would be. I don’t think anyone would do that unless they had already tried convincing him and failed.” “I think that’s what a lot of people are doing with our country. Without even trying to help it come to terms with its ailment and to start taking the proper medication and precautions, people are leaving the country and letting it be. It’s almost like leaving a ‘non-compliant’ diabetic at his own mercy.” Sameer quickly realized that he had led himself into a trap by enthusiastically displaying his knowledge of diabetes, and decided to change the subject slightly. He could not work out a proper argument to what Tariq had said, and even if he could have come up with something, it would only have been for the sake of argument. “You doctors really have a funny way to describe
“That’s true. I guess what I’m trying to say is that we need to have a purpose for everything we do and in the end it is that purpose which will determine its worth.” Eventually, Sameer changed his journalism major to a minor and chose a different major for his bachelors’ degree. The change was actually more due to the culture of constantly changing one’s field of study before finally settling on one, which was prominent in the country he had moved to. One thing was sure though: even if Sameer hadn’t agreed with all that Tariq had said, he could not deny that worth is determined by purpose. In the months leading up to being diagnosed with a glioblastoma, Tariq had been extensively involved in all kinds of community oriented events. One week there was a drive to create an awareness of the real message of the Prophet (SAW); another week there was a food and clothing drive for the underprivileged people of the area. All this, he did while maintaining his medical education. He had slowly been developing some indications of an internal problem, but that didn’t slow him down. There were times when he couldn’t remember people’s names. He hadn’t told anyone about the diagnosis for an entire month. Slowly, but surely, his condition worsened until he was left with no option but to let his friends and family know. His home was in another city away from the college, and the distance only added to his parents’ distress. As a result, he only informed his parents little by little about his diagnosis so they did not have to face a tremendous shock all at once. Eventually, he had to be hospitalized. His parents acquired a temporary residence near the hospital and remained at his bedside all the time. Sameer would also call him often. They would talk about all the things they had done together. The structure of the conversations was strange. Many times it seemed as though Tariq had to comfort and counsel Sameer in the way he had been taught to comfort and counsel patients. Still, Tariq enjoyed talking with Sameer. Finally, Sameer decided to travel back to his home country and visit Tariq for what he feared
could be the last time. He would go to Tariq’s hospital room and sit with him. They would talk for as long as Tariq wanted. Sometimes, during these conversations, Sameer would just become silent. In his mind, he would be travelling through time— through the years, the months, the days, and now, the hours—that they had spent together. It was at these times that Tariq would break the silence, “Why so quite, Sameer? You’re supposed to be the ‘jovial companion in evening talk.’” Sameer knew the reference all too well. Two years ago, he had had to write a story for one of his college English classes. He wanted to give a meaningful name to one of the characters; Tariq suggested ‘Sameer;’ it was a befitting name for a character who kept others company and was jovial. That day he had done some research of his own but never got the chance to talk to Tariq about it. As fate would have it, today was the day he could mention it: “What can the ‘jovial companion in evening talk’ do, without the ‘deliverer of messages,’ a ‘traveler through the night,’ a ‘pathbreaker,’ and ‘one who leads the way?’” “There is a lot he can do and a lot he has to do. A ‘traveler through the night’ is just that—a traveler. The ‘jovial companion in evening talk,’ on the other hand, may have to stay longer to tell others about his conversations with the ‘traveler.’ In the end, when all is brought back to its roots, when all of creation is scattered dust, and then flesh and bone are resurrected anew and the souls are returned, in utmost awe of their rebirth, in utmost awe of the compelling power of their Creator, ‘the traveler through the night’ and the ‘jovial companion’ can once again be in the company of one another. Then, each will have an eternal life. Each, being owner to large estates, with perfect families, will meet again as friends, rather, as brothers, joyfully facing each other on thrones. That day all this will be theirs, but only after the records that the Noble Scribes have kept are reviewed and all are recompensed accordingly.” Sameer’s anxiety finally settled in. He could now begin to write Tariq’s obituary. The uncertainty and heaviness he had been feeling all disappeared as he completed his opening sentence, “His name comes from a word in the Qur’an that refers to a morning star, a shining star, a star that leads the way.”
Prophet Mohammad e
one Ramadan came:
Saying of the
Abu Hurairah (RA) relates that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said when
“A blessed month has arrived. Observing it in fasting is mandated on you (the believers). During this month, the gates of Paradise will be opened and the gates of Hellfire will be closed. The evil ones (Shayaatin) will be handcuffed. In it there is one night, during which worship is better than worship in a thousand months. Whoever is denied its blessings has been denied the biggest blessing.”
(Ahmed, Nasaae, and Bayhaqi)
At the dawn of this new era, there is no leader yet, only the preparation for the appearance of one. The stage is being set, conditions are ripe, and a reversal of roles has taken place in the most deadly encounter ever experienced by Islamic civilization. For the first time in their long history, Muslims now have the entire globe as their theatre of action; that too not because of their own efforts, but thanks to the One who has His ways to get Pharaoh to lead toward his own drowning. (But that is beside the point, for no amount of such historical evidence is admissible.) All that can be admitted are the clearcut admissions of men like Rumsfeld and women like Rice, who now understand that the quick route to oil wells and the restructuring of the Middle East they envisioned is not so quick after all. 68% of men and women living in the most powerful country of the world (in purely material terms) now say they have no faith left in their leaders. This is not the moment of rejoicing, for there is too much blood, too much suffering all around us. Corpses have not been buried, the wounds of Abu Ghuraib are still raw, the memory of the sister in faith recently raped and then shot dead with her family in Baghdad by U.S. soldier Green and his comrades is still painfully vivid. There is an enormous amount of work to be done, and there are enormous resources needed for the task ahead. The resources needed however, are those of the poor and the middle class, not of the rich, for there is no blessing in them. What is needed now is the coming together of the traditional middle class—traders, teachers, students—who have always been Islam’s real living embodiment. A large number of men and women, with just enough material resources to spare one piece of bread from their meager meals, need to join together to make an effort to transform their view of life and death. This will allow them to change the way they live. All they need to see clearly is that this life of such short span in this world has a real dimension, a dimension other than that of bread and butter. This opening of the heart will allow them to clearly see their own agenda, something which has been dictated by others for the last three hundred years. Once they take this agenda into their own hands, with a clear perception of its goals, details will automatically be worked out. And then, what Iqbal really wanted to do with his sublime poetry, emerging from the deepest springs of poetic imagination and fired by the message of the Qur’an, will become a reality.
or the past three centuries the Muslim agenda has been defined by others. This is perhaps not surprising, given the enormous power and wealth accumulated by European nations in the wake of the Scientific and Industrial Revolutions, allowing them to conquer almost the entire middle belt of the globe, including some of the most resource-rich lands where Muslims had lived for centuries. The dominant position of Europe was such that the “mere presence of a European amidst natives was enough to strike terror,” as Marshall Hodgson writes in his The Venture of Islam. This terror has lately turned around. The ‘turning around of terror’ can be viewed simply as a process which reflects the custom of the One Who truly governs. This idea would, however, immediately alienate the educated reader, whose rationality does not admit any such cause for events on this planet. Such is the dictate of rationalism, which insists that even mega-processes such as human history must remain within the limits defined by the scientific worldview, which does not allow the Hand of God, as it were, to play any role in human affairs. Fortunately, even within the rationalist’s narrow view of history, there is now ample evidence to suggest that the three-hundredyear old darkness of Muslim subjugation is coming to an end; the first rays of light may not yet be obviously visible, but the terror of night has been broken and, as with the strike of dawn, there are sounds emerging from the abysmal depths—sounds which are harbingers of
ARE WE REALLY
By Dr. Muzaffar Iqbal Founder and President, Center for Islam and Science, Canada
dawn. The terror which the white man used to strike in the natives has turned around; no one is afraid of him anymore. A short stroll on any street in Gaza, Baghdad or Qandahar is enough to confirm this. Men and women laden with iron and laced with technological gadgets of all kinds walk down the road trembling in their uniforms, whereas unarmed, poor, and disheveled natives have little left to fear. What has really happened on the ground, however, has yet to happen in the mind of many an educated Muslim. The reconstruction of Islamic thought is a far easier task, as Iqbal knew well, than the reconstruction of the broken spirit which has lived in chains for so long that it has forgotten how to be free. But with the appearance of this new dawn, even the sleepiest minds are stirring: where are we heading? Who is controlling our agenda? What do we need to do? That Muslims are waking up is, ironically, thanks to the cruelty they have recently received. But this is their habit; they did the same after the Tatars left a million dead on the streets of that fabled “City of Peace” of al-Mansur, which has never witnessed peace since its remote beginning in 750 A.D.; perhaps there was something wrong in the estimate of the astrologers who advised the Caliph to start the construction on such-and-such day. Whatever the reason of their stirring, the fact is that the terror that had gripped their hearts for so long is disappearing.
Prophet (peace be upon him) and he said to me,
have been lifted and the pages have dried.”
By Yousuf Raza - 4th year MBBS student at Shifa College of Medicine
want to say that it was brilliant, that it’s the best television can do, but the macabre truth that is unveiled simply makes those adjectives inappropriate. If you think that the PalestinianIsraeli conflict is a mutual age-old struggle and relates to the never-ending war over Jerusalem, then this documentary is for you. If you think that during the last century Jews moved into empty homes just waiting for them, then this documentary is for you. If you feel that this world is a beautiful place with everything hunky dory for all, besides the odd skirmish here and there, then this documentary is definitely for you. If you think that those times when you are not getting reports of active battles from the region, the Palestinans are leading regular, bearable lives then you should see this documentary—stat. And finally, if you feel that the mainstream media has been giving you unbiased, reliable stories from the region, then know that “The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, but the illusion of knowledge” (introductory quote from Occupation 101). Winner of various awards, including Best Documentary at the New Orleans Film Festival, Best Film at the Artivist Film Festival, Hollywood, the Golden Palm award, and many others, Occupation 101 will shake you to your core. Meticulously made and professionally presented, the documentary does not give anyone the opportunity to shrug it off as another load of conspiracy theories. Indeed, with world renowned journalists and writers like Noam Chomsky, Alison Weir, Phyllis Bennis and many others presenting their research, very little doubt remains by the end of the reel of who is responsible for the conflict. Additionally, several Israeli Jews themselves— war-veterans and peace activists who saw the error of the Zionist ways—spill the beans as this documentary gives them the opportunity to show the world why they do not support the agenda of their government. You can’t even say, “Oh the
Love like never before...
Because one day is just not enough
anti-Semitic Muslims are ranting about their claim to Jerusalem once more,” because other than Palestinian men, women, and children explaining their suffering, you will not find many Muslims in the documentary. With all the facts and figures attributed to easily accessible sources, the documentary can stand the scrutiny of even the toughest critics. Oh, and this documentary is not available at your nearest stores (I wonder why…), so you are going to have to either download it from some torrent website, or watch it in bits and pieces on youtube, or on their official website—www.occupation101. com.
At Shifa College of Medicine
“Allah has established Čaqq (Truth) on the tongue and in the heart of ĂUmar.” (Tirmidhą) “In the previous nations there have been men who were MuĄadath; if there is a MuĄadath in my Ummah, it is ĂUmar” (MuĄadath is one who is inspired by Allah without being a Prophet). (BukhĀrą) “If there was going to be a Prophet after me, it would have been ĂUmar.” (Tirmidhą) His glory saw no bounds after he embraced Islam. He was the first one to use the term of Amąr-ulMuāminąn (the leader of the Believers), a term which still inspires awe. He was one of “The Four” who would forever be remembered as KhulĀfa-e-RĀshidąn (the rightly guided caliphs) and finally, he was the fourth in the most venerable list of “The Ten,” the ĂAsharaMubasharah (the ten who were given the glad tidings of Heaven in this world). Ibn-MasĂĈd ē is reported to have said that ĂUmar’s ē excellence is established by four things: 1. He counseled the killing of the captives of the battle of Badr which was affirmed by the verse of QurāĀn (8:68). 2. He wished for the mothers of the believers to observe the hijĀb; later on, the verses of hijĀb were revealed, and the Prophet Ē said, “Revelation is caused in my house and you were already inspired.” 3. The Prophet Ē prayed to AllĀh Ī to strengthen Islam with the conversion of ĂUmar to Islam. 4. He pledged allegiance to Abu-Bakr (after the demise of the Prophet Ē) before anyone did. MujĀhid ē has also been reported to have said, “We would often mention that the devil remained in confinement during the caliphate of ĂUmar and was released after his death.” The historians are unanimous in declaring the peak of the Muslim Empire to be during the caliphate of ĂUmar. Damascus was conquered by KhĀlid-bin-Waląd ē and Abu-Ubaidah-binal-JarrĀh ē. The victory crippled the Roman Empire. Under the command of SaĂd-bin-AbiWaqas ē, the battle of QĀdisąya saw the fall of the mighty Persian Empire. Egypt was overtaken by the army lead by Amr-bin-al-ĂĊs ē. The fall of Jerusalem without spilling blood reflected the true spirit of Islamic equality, as it saw the leader of a magnificent empire holding the halter of his camel on foot, while his slave rode as they approached the gates of Jerusalem. That was enough for the Jewish elders to hand over the keys of the city to the Muslim army. Some of his prodigious services for the Muslim state and its inhabitants included the establishment of a public treasury (bait-al-mĀl), the introduction of the Hijri calendar, the measurement and record keeping of public land and a census system, establishment of a police and prisons department, fixing of financial allowances for the poor amongst the Christians and the Jews, a specialized system for mail delivery across the Muslim land, and too many more to recount here. It is said that once ĂUmar ē was returning from an expedition and came upon the shack of a poor old woman. He asked her what she thought about the caliph ĂUmar, and she complained that she was in abject poverty and the caliph was unaware of her afflictions. “But how can ĂUmar know about your state here in the desert while he sits in Medinah?” he asked her. “Then why does he call himself the caliph?” she replied, upon hearing which ĂUmar ē cried and asked her how much she would take in gold dinars to forgive him. After that, he set a monthly stipend for her from the bait-al-mĀl. He lived an exemplary simple and austere life. His clothes were usually patched. Once, people had to wait a long time for him to come out of his
t mar bin al-khattab
The second of the rightly guided caliphs
by Dr. Waqas Ahmed - Consultant Cardiologist at Shifa International Hospital
e headed out alone in the direction of the holy KaĂbah. Despite the dark, he immediately noticed the man called Muhammad Ē offering his prayer next to the holy sanctuary. He quietly slid behind the cloth covering the KaĂbah and slowly edged closer to Muhammad Ē. Unnoticed, he got close enough to hear what Muhammad Ē was reciting. The words were mesmerizing. “Muhammad Ē must be a poet, for how else could an unlettered man utter such words,” he said to himself. The very next recitation took him by complete surprise: Verily this is the word of an honored Messenger. It is not the word of a poet, little is that you believe! (Q 69:40-1) “How did he read my mind?” ĂUmar asked himself, “he must be a magician.” What he heard immediately following was enough to shake him to the core: Nor is it the word of a soothsayer, little is that you remember! This is the Revelation sent down from the Lord of all that exists. (Q 69: 42-3) This was the first time the message of Islam permeated his heart. From that day onwards, he was not the same man. The son of KhaććĀb had begun his journey to finally become Amąr-ulMuāminąn (the leader of the Believers). He was born in Makkah to KhaććĀb-bin-Nufail of the Banu-ĂAdi clan of the tribe of Quraysh. His appellation was Abu-Ąafs, and he was given the title of FĀrĈq by none other than our beloved Prophet Muhammad Ē. His lineage meets that of the Noble Prophet Ē some eight generations back. He epitomized the Prophetic Ē narration, “The best people in jĀhiląya (ignorance) will be the best
ones in Islam, once they have been granted the right understanding and guidance” (BĈkhĀrą). What started as a fierce animosity to the message of Islam was replaced by an undying faithfulness to the message of the QurāĀn and the Sunnah of the Noble Prophet Ē. The story of his embracing Islam is deeply entrenched in the minds of all Muslim children because of the dramatic turn of events; here he was, heading to kill the Messenger Ē of Islam; shortly thereafter, he walked out of the house of the Noble Messenger Ē to the backdrop of the air of Makkah resounding with AllĀhuAkbar, AllĀhuAkbar (God is the Greatest). ĂUmar ē became a Companion of the Messenger of Islam Ē in the sixth year of the Prophethood. He was thirty two years old then, and his courage was unrivaled. He was an excellent horseman, swordsman, and wrestler. After embracing Islam, he went straight to the house of ĂAmr-bin-HishĀm (Abu-Jahl) to announce his conversion. Even when the Muslims were ordered to immigrate to Yathrib (Madinah al-Munawarah) in secrecy, he circumbulated the KaĂbah, prayed two rakĀĂ, and then walked straight to the leaders of Quraysh with a naked sword in his hand, challenging them to stop him if they dared. None did. In the early days of the advent of Islam there were only seventeen literate people among Quraysh, and ĂUmar was one of them. The Prophet Ē once said that he had a dream in which people were brought before him wearing shirts which reached to the chests of some and longer for others, but ĂUmar’s shirt was dragging. When asked about its meaning, he Ē said, “Religion.” It was the recognition of his extraordinary attributes that the Noble Prophet Ē said about ĂUmar:
The Prophet (SAW) once said: “If there was going to be a Prophet after me, it would have been Umar.”
house. The reason was he only had one outfit to wear, and he had washed it. When advised to use honey for an illness, he refused to use the stock in the public treasury without the permission of the people. The Persians had not forgotten their defeat under the leadership of ĂUmar. A Persian by the name of Abu-lulu-Feroze managed to find his way into the household of ĂUmar on the pretext of his extraordinary woodworking skill. One day soon after, as ĂUmar lead the Fajr salĀh, Feroz slid behind him and stabbed him multiple times. The leader of the believers stumbled, but not before grabbing hold of Abdur-RahmĀn-binĂAwf ē and asking him to lead the salĀh, which he did, as ĂUmar ē fell grievously wounded. Over the next few days, as he laid waiting for the approaching death, he recalled that the Prophet Ē had once named ten persons who would surely go to Paradise. Of those who survived, six were
present in Medinah and ĂUmar ē summoned them. He ordered them to deliberate and select one of them as the caliph. He then did something extraordinary which reflected his immense piety and sagacity. He added a seventh vote in case of a tie, but one who was expressly excluded from the candidacy of the caliphate: his son Abdullahbin-ĂUmar ē. The deliberations lead to the nomination of UthmĀn-bin-ĂAfĀn ē as the next caliph. Before his death on 1st Muharram, 24 Hijri, his son Abdullah came to Saeedah ĂAyesha Ĕ and requested that the caliph was begging her permission to be buried next to the Noble Prophet Ē and Abu-Bakr Siddique ē. She agreed. And so that is where he lies now, in the company of the best of mankind and the best of this Ummah, the two he loved the most. May Allah Ī shower His Mercy and Blessings on ĂUmar-binKhaććĀb ē.
have a feeling you won’t read this to the end. If you’re anything like the other 99% of people who happened to find a copy of this magazine in their hands and just skimmed through it, you will not read it through to the end. But if you’re different, you just might.
our apathy towards our historical debts rather incredulous. You and I grew up hearing about those sufferings and sacrifices: trains, which were meant to bring emigrants to the newly-founded homeland, were brought forth filled with mutilated corpses. Train-loads of dead-bodies! Can you imagine that? The struggle they must have gone through, the atrocities they must have witnessed, and when they finally boarded the train, their life’s journey was brought to a savage and callous end. What was their fault? They were Muslim. They were guilty of desiring to live by the code of conduct revealed to them by their Creator, in peace and with freedom. They knew they might not make it themselves, but to let others live that dream would be a cause worth dying for.
By Yousuf Raza - 4th year MBBS student at Shifa College of Medicine
The Muslim Empire at the time of ‘Umar ē
“ The historians are unanimous in declaring the peak of the Muslim Empire to be during the caliphate of ĂUmar.”
Yet, those ‘others,’ i.e. us, haven’t really lived up to their expectations. We enjoy the freedom they laid down their lives for, yes, but to what end and in what way? To do exactly what people 1947—Ring a bell? Yes, across the border are after the untiring efforts doing? You go to a fast Corpses of people who set out to migrate to Pakistan during of the Muslims of India, the partition food outlet in Islamabad ably led by M. A. Jinnah, and one in Delhi—what Iqbal’s dream was realized on the 14th of August, will strike you most is the uncanny resemblance. 1947. But it wasn’t exactly a walk in the park to The music, the attire, the conversations—ditto! get there, was it? Still, we treat it as though it Same goes for the wedding ceremonies; take out was. In a way we may be right; in some sense of the tawaaf around the fire and voila—you have the phrase it might have been a walk in the park: a replica. From our daily dealings to the laws Muslim women were stripped and made to “walk prevailing in the ‘Islamic’ republic of Pakistan, you in the park,” ridiculed and utterly humiliated, raped will hardly find anything reminiscent of what was in the thousands! Excuse the sarcasm, but I find revealed to our Prophet (SAW)—the law for which
And so for you I will continue to write. This article is not intended to preach; neither do I intend to show-off my writing prowess or my knowledge— really, I’m deficient in both areas (I’m not even being modest, just ask our adroit editor). It is but a simple plea. Nay, let me eat humble pie, or rather devour it, and say that it I am begging you, dear reader, to realize your forgotten debts. Not for me, but for God’s sake, for your own sake, and possibly for the sake of all the poor, deprived, and impoverished of this country. What can you possibly do to help them, you ask? Well, I’ll come to that. First let me elaborate on what these forgotten debts are.
through their efforts that we are Muslims today, Alhumdulillah.
testing predicaments to make sure that the Light of Islam reached every corner of the world, and it is
And so we owe them — BIG TIME.
The most amazing people went through the most
lesson. What I want you and I to realize is that this religion was not established by the wave of a wand, so to speak. The most amazing people went through the most testing predicaments to make sure that the Light of Islam reached every corner of the world, and it is through their efforts that we are Muslims today, Alhumdulillah. And so we owe them—BIG TIME! So there you have it—our forgotten debts! If you are reading this article, then you have been blessed by Allah, in terms of your health, wealth, and education in ways others in this country have not. So the weight of these debts is more on you than on anybody else. The natural inclination of a human being with a sound heart is to feel gratitude and the urge to repay those who have done him good. On the contrary, it is the character of a vile and contemptible person to actually feel resentment for his benefactor and to forget and ignore his debts. If you, my dear reader, possess a sound heart then you must be wondering how we can possibly repay these debts. Truth be told, the weight of a mountain has been lodged on our fragile and spoiled shoulders. Yet we will not be asked if we paid back our debt penny by penny, but rather if we tried. As according to the Prophet (saw), “It is on you only to try.”
of Allah, His Word, His Message to you and I. Know its language, and follow its instructions to the letter, no matter what. Acquire good company, and help each other towards accomplishing these ends. And whatever doubts you have, clarify them. “Ask the people of knowledge if you do not know.” (21: 07) What’s that? Difficult, is it? Surely not as difficult as the lives of those we just talked about? Remind yourself of their difficulties, and that will make yours look insignificant. Finally, do whatever it takes to make this country a truly Islamic country; to make it truly independent. For if you take the ’Islamic’ out of Pakistan, then Pakistan ka matlab no longer remains “La ilaha illa Allah,” the slogan for which your ancestors lost what they lost and you and I gained what we gained. It is by this that the injustices and deprivations that affect most of the citizens of our country can be removed. Those poor souls cannot remove the oppression they’re under themselves; they’re too busy suffering under them and still trying to make ends meet. So it has to be you and me! I know it is not easy, and it is definitely not an overnight thing. But we can take part in sowing the seeds now and nurturing the plant to the best of our abilities. When it grows into a big strong tree, we might not be around, but our reward will be with the Ever Living. The world will witness once more, like it did in the time of the four rightly guided Caliphs, that the Islamic system of economics and judiciary is the only way of attaining a truly just social order, and from there the light of Islam will enlighten even more souls, and the suffering of the people in this world, and in the next, will be curtailed. Waqte fursat hai kahan kaam abhi baqi hai noore-tauheed ka itmam abhi baqi hai. Pull up your socks and hop to it!
those noble souls sacrificed their property, honor, and lives. By acting thus, we have desecrated their sacrifices in the same vein as those who raped, pillaged, and murdered them 62 years ago. Perhaps our crime is greater—they did it because their Motherland, their god, was being divided; we do it for no fathomable reason. The charge-sheet has just started unrolling. For the second, even more important, debt that we have conveniently put at the back of our minds, we have to go back 1400 years. A young boy is tied to a pillar and his mother is stripped of her clothes before his very eyes and tortured in unmentionable ways. An idol is placed before her and she is asked to concede that this piece of stone has at least some form of divinity in it. With her son watching her terrible plight, she spits on the idol. Incensed, her master takes a spear and mercilessly shoves it through her, putting an end to her suffering. But the boy is still alive—he watches on as each of his father’s limbs are tied to a horse and the horses are made to run in opposite directions. Gruesome, is it not? These are the first martyrs of our ummah: Yasir and Summaya, May Allah be pleased with them. Mus’ab bin Umair was one of the wealthiest sons of Qur’aysh; He was spoiled by the riches and love given to him by his mother—not unlike you and I today. But then he received the message of Islam, and he took it to heart; that is the difference, I guess. As soon as the news reached his mother, she took him to a corner of the house and tied him up. Little did she know that the light of Iman that was ablaze in his heart was not to be put out by mere imprisonment. He was to eventually escape from there, but the luxury and comfort that he had thus far enjoyed was never to be seen again by him for the rest of his worldly life. Once, the Prophet of Allah (SAW), saw the
youth, who used to be the epitome of sartorial elegance, garbed in tattered and beaten-down clothes. He said with a smile on his face, “I have seen this Musab with his parents in Makkah. They lavished care and attention on him and gave him all comforts. There was no Qur’aysh youth like him. Then he left all that seeking the pleasure of God and devoting himself to the service of His Prophet.” Another of these believers was once praying in front of the Kaa’bah. Entrails of a camel were hurled onto him while he was in the state of prostration. Seeing her father being smothered under the weight, a young girl ran to his aid, tears flowing down her eyes. Again, whilst in a state of prayer, with the utmost concentration and humility before his Lord, the same believer was assaulted, as a cloth, rolled up to make a rope, was hurled around his neck and pulled until his eyes literally bobbed out. But this physical torture was nothing compared to what he was put through psychologically. The man, once admired for his honesty, wisdom and character was now being called a liar, a sorcerer, a madman! He was isolated and ridiculed. This, my friend, was the best of God’s creation, the most loved by the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth, the leader of humanity, Muhammad, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him. The psychological torture was so severe that time and again in the Qur’an, you will find Allah consoling his servant and reminding him that he is not what these people accuse him; rather, he has the best of character, and he is, in fact, the Messenger of Allah. All this is only the tip of the iceberg. No amount of dead words that I or anybody else puts on paper can make us realize what the Muhammad Rasullullah and the people with him went through. My point here is not to relay a history
Do whatever it takes to make this country a truly Islamic country; to make it truly independent. For if you take the ’Islamic’ out of Pakistan, then Pakistan ka matlab no longer remains “La ilaha illa Allah,” the slogan for which your ancestors lost what they lost and you and I gained what we gained.
So ending this entreaty, I plead: go back to the Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah. If you don’t pray, start praying. Know the meaning of your prayer. Converse with your Lord with the utmost sincerity and dedication. Redress your wrongs. Ask Him for forgiveness. If you pray, then strive to improve your prayer to the level of Ihsaan, about which the Prophet says, “It is that you worship Allah as if you see Him, and even though you do not see Him, you realize that He sees you.” Develop a relationship with the book
What the Mirror can Reveal
By Mohammad Hammad - 4th year MBBS student at Shifa College of Medicine
(This article is a brief summary of Dr. Israr Ahmed’s book: “Lessons from History.” The reader is encouraged to read the original source as important and interesting details have been left out for the sake of brevity.)
ore than 14 centuries ago the Prophet of Islam (SAW) gave us a prophecy, and more than that, a warning against repeating the mistakes of our predecessors: “My Ummah will experience all those conditions which were experienced by the children of Israel, just like a shoe resembles its pair.” (Tirmidhi) The Qur’an summarizes the history of Bani Israel in the 17th Surah, Verses 4-9. It tells us that Bani Israel earned the favor of Allah twice; twice were they blessed with economic and political strength. Both times they became arrogant and disobedient to Allah and so were relegated to the ignominy of divine punishment. Muslim history mirrors the path of these predecessors.
Liberated Bani Israel from slavery & polytheistic influences Jerusalem Conquered
Height of financial, political, and military strength
(AS) (AS) (AS)
Prophet Joshua Prophet Suleman Lays down foundation for an empire
Power corrupts and divides the Empire
An Empire Divided North
Jewish court sentences Prophet Isa (AS)
Romans destroy Bani Israel
Bani Israel butchered & enslaved
Bani Israel butchered & enslaved Solomon’s Temple destroyed
Power introduces the element of corruption
They rebel against the Greaks A setback in the form ofAlexander of Macedonia
A foreign element restores the glory of old
CYRUS, King of Persia defeats babylonians and frees the Jews
Bani Israel nearly decimated They realize their errors & repent
Height of financial, political and military strength Religious fervor at its zenith
Liberated the Arabs from ignorance, evil, polytheism Prophet Muhammad
Reclaims Jerusalem Umar (RA) Ground work for an empire laid down
Height of financial, political, and military strength Umayyad & Abbasid Caliphate
Power corrupts and divides the Empire
An Empire Divided East
disunity Material Comforts Faith weakens
Slaughter and destruction from China to Baghdad
Muslims at Jerusalem slaughtered Al-Aqsa Falls
Power introduces the element of corruption
A foreign element restores the glory of old Ottomon Empire
Height of financial, political and military strength Religious fervor at its zenith MONGOLS embrace Islam
Jerusalem conquered By Salahuddin Ayyubi
Muslim Empire at the edge of a precipice They realize their errors & repent
nother hadith of the Prophet (SAW) states that there would come a time when the Muslims, though great in number, would be as weak and ineffective as the scum on the surface of flood waters, because of a lack of imaan (faith). Such prophecies are not solely meant to insinuate the certainty of a particular fate, but are warnings against repeating the mistakes of the past nations and losing our imaan, and thus our independent Muslim identity. Muslims often ask themselves, “Why are we so humiliated in spite of being bearers of the truth?” We should remember though, that just like this prophecy, the promise of Allah in the Qur’an will also come true—however unlikely it may seem—and the light of Islam will illuminate the entire world. We have been suffering from the ill effects of our sins for too long. Has the time not yet come for the hearts of the believers to be moved and softened? Or are we waiting for Allah and the angels to appear right before our eyes for our reckoning? It is time to wake up; it is time to act.
By Mohammad Hammad
4th year MBBS student at Shifa College of Medicine
What the Mirror can Reveal
powdered milk and Lactogen infant baby formula. It is tiresome work, and it takes us around 1.5 hours to get done. Afterward, we are struggling to stay on our feet. The heat is a killer. Heatstroke and dehydration are some of the most fatal conditions out here. the same age as I am, yet here he is in a refugee camp with no apparent future. It really makes you think about how lucky we are.
A Day in Aman Refugee Camp
By Zahid Saeed - 1st year MBBS student at Shifa College of Medicine
oday, I have seen misery, despair, and hatred. I have also seen brotherhood, unity, and an amazing sense of faith in God. What these brave refugees have endured is beyond our comprehension. They have been expelled from their homes. They have travelled for days on foot, only to find that the government, which had promised them protection, shelter and food, is nowhere to be found. Infants lie in the baking heat, too weak to cry due to malnutrition and infections. What these people have been through is something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. The student society collected around 5.5 lakhs in three days at Shifa. Our task today was simple; go to the camps, identify the needs of the IDPs, and distribute supplies. The team consisted of Dr. Khalid Akbar (urologist and team leader), Dr. M. P. Qazi (gyne/obs), Dr. Athar Rana (allergist and immunologist), Dr. Masooma Saeed (anesthesia), Dr. Naheed Rana, Dr.Ihaab Matabdin, Dr.Nazia, Dr.Shazia, as well as a group of nursing staff. From the medical school, Ubaid, Yusuf, and I were present.
water and no fans at the camp. They lie in the dirt. All of them look lost. The only time I have ever seen anything close to this was the camp in the heart of Muzzafarbad right after the earthquake hit. Back then, we saw NGOs on every street corner. The UN, the Red Cross, Amnesty International, Oxfam, etc., are nowhere to be seen. Only people we see helping are locals. The sense of unity amongst these people is amazing.
11:15 am: We reach the home of our host, Mr. Liaqat Tarakai. Mr. Tarakai is running seven refugee camps by himself with every penny coming from his pocket. Under his care are 10,000 refugees. I understand now the pushtoon concept of fraternity. Even though he owes nothing to these people, he treats them like family, and spends most of his day shuttling between camps supervising the relief efforts. His camps are the only ones in the area with fans in every tent, cold running water, and three square meals a day. 12:15 pm: We leave for Aman Refugee Camp. It’s an extremely hot day; there is not a cloud in the sky, and on top of that, no breeze. 12:30 pm: We reach the camp. It consists of around two hundred tents, and has about 1500 residents. We start unloading the supplies and taking them to the makeshift medical clinic (which is a crumbling old one bedroom house built in the early 20th century). By the time we unload the first truck, each one of us is sweating like a dog. The heat has no mercy on anyone. 1 pm: We have identified malnutrition as the greatest health risk to children, so Yusuf, Ubaid, and I, along with a couple of local volunteers, begin the rounds of the tents, distributing
3 pm: We head back to the medical clinic. There we help fill the prescriptions for the patients that keep pouring in. The tide of people shows no signs of abating. Yusuf spots a bunch of bags filled with shoes. Remembering that most of the children were barefoot, we head back to the tents to distribute. It is heartening to see that the children, though they have been through so much, are still very playful and naughty. As soon as they see us coming, every child runs back to his/her tent and hides their old shoes, so that they can get new ones. We are flummoxed, because now we have no idea what to do. In the end, we decide that one pair of shoes per tent should be the rule. We never make it through all the tents. We only get to around tent number 150. 4:15 pm: Extremely tired, dirty, and dehydrated, we start making our way back to the medical clinic. 4:25 pm: I stop to talk to a young man sitting off to the side of the medical camp. He doesn’t appear to have any medical problems, so I ask him what he is doing. Thankfully, he speaks Urdu. He tells me, with tears in his eyes, how his mother and father were both killed in Swat, and how he fled with his two year old brother, who is sick with a GI infection. He just wants some ORS to rehydrate his little brother .This guy is probably
4:45 pm: We wrap up the clinic as the patient inflow starts to regress. In total, almost five hundred patients have come for consults. 5 pm: We head towards Mr. Tarakai’s home. We eat lunch, bid farewell to our kind host, and then set out for Islamabad. On the way back, we discuss the needs of the people in these camps. Dehydration, malnutrition, anemia, GI bugs, upper respiratory tract infections, scabies, and malaria top our list of concerns. We now have an idea as to what to purchase for the next trip: iron and folic acid supplements, multivitamins, antibiotics, powdered milk, mosquito repellents, and ORS. 7:30 pm: We reach Shifa safely. All of us are dead tired, and everyone leaves for their respective homes. It has been an experience none of us will ever forget. If you plan on donating to the IDPs, please do not give your money to the government run funds. Every IDP I talked to complained that none of the money, which exceeds 65 million dollars, has even reached the camps. The government camps are the most dilapidated and cramped. Food is scarce and medication is even scarcer, so PLEASE DON’T give the government your money. Instead, give it to one of the multiple NGOs working day and night to make life better for our brothers and sisters from Swat. In the face of all this despair, we must realize that, together, we can make a difference. Pakistan Zindabad.
P P P
Sunday, May 24th: P P
8 am: Our convoy leaves Shifa heading for Swabi. We have a truckload of supplies as well as a bus, and two cars. We are all excited and optimistic. We have no idea how bad the situation is. 9:45 am: We pass the first refugee camp, just outside of Mardan. This camp is being run by the government, and is by far the worst camp that we will see on our trip. Thirty people are squeezed inside a tent meant for ten. There is no running
Thinking outside the
An analytical summary of a lecture delivered by Imam Anwar Al-Awlaki
An explanation provided in the report further solidifies “The dividing line between moderate Muslims and radical Islamists is whether Sharia should apply.” So if you, as a Muslim, respect Sharia, the Rand Institute would like to label you a radical Islamist, and recommends the same to the U. S. Department of Defense.
“openly stating that we have a desire not only to influence Muslim societies, but to change the religion itself.” At this juncture, Imam Anwar puts forward a question that is to follow naturally in light of these observations:
Brothers and sisters, when a Muslim, a true Muslim, hears this, he hears that non-Muslims, who have no knowledge about the religion, who do not believe in Allah Almighty, who don’t believe in Muhammad (SAW) and don’t take [the] Quran as the book of Allah, when a Muslim hears that such a people, are openly claiming that we want to change your religion, this should make any Muslim who has any love of Allah Almighty angry! How dare you?! And who are you, to tell us what Islam is and isn’t?!
ur sentiments, ideas, and even selfreflections are so intimately swayed by those who hold the keys to influence and power around the globe, that at times we forget which thoughts are our own and which are the product of the constant insinuations of those influential and powerful entities. The talk, ‘Battle of Hearts and Minds,’ when analyzed thoroughly, is a call to think outside the box and to develop a more all-encompassing understanding of the situation of the Muslim world. The lecture begins, as should any work of a believer, with the praise of Allah and salutations upon the beloved Messenger (SAW). This is followed by the reading of a quote from a 2007 report of the Rand Institute, which is a sixteen-hundred employee, non-profit organization (think tank) that provides analyses to the U. S. Department of Defense: “The struggle under way throughout much of the Muslim world is essentially a war of ideas; its outcome will determine the future direction of the Muslim world.” While agreeing with this fact, Imam Anwar AlAwlaki beckons us to question what ideas this battle is being fought upon, and what role, if any, the non-Muslim world is playing. According to him, the battle is set upon the crux of the Muslim belief system. It is a struggle between remaining true to our claim to the submission of Allah’s Ultimate Knowledge and Oneness in Lordship, versus shirking slightly from that submission by omitting some parts of our belief system to make it more acceptable to the various powerful entities around us. Such a struggle, Imam Anwar warns, “even existed among the believing nations before us.”
For example, with Banu Israel, there were those who held on to the truth, and then, there were those whom Allah Almighty said about in the Quran, “They change the meanings of the words” (5:13). So, they would take the words of the Bible and they would change [them]. And some of that was done to please the authorities of the time, because we know that Bani Israel lived under various nations. For example, they lived under the Roman rule, and [at] that time the Romans were pagan. And they lived under the rule of the kings of Babel, and they were pagans too. And according to a story mentioned in Tafseer, at a particular time, some of the Rabbis of Bani Israel gave a Fatwa to the King of Babylon allowing him to have a forbidden relationship, only to please him. So they changed the rule of Allah the Almighty in order to please a human being!
are willing to go to the extent of sending their armies to enforce on us their particular version of Islam.” The reader can’t help but notice the irony of the tactics employed by these entities; all the while that they make an outcry against how some factions of Muslims are trying to force their version of Islam on others, they themselves are guilty of the same. “Civil Democratic Islam” lists four characteristics of a ‘moderate Muslim,’ as explained by Imam Anwar. The more interesting of these are: 1. Support for democracy: While Imam Anwar admits that the shura system of Islam is seen by many as a form of democracy, he states that such an idea is not sufficient, in the view of Bernard, for a person to qualify as a ‘moderate Muslim.’ He points out that the report specifies “a commitment to democracy as understood in the liberal western tradition.” The report further asserts that “support for democracy implies opposition to the concept of the Islamic state.” Imam Anwar paraphrases, “So, a ‘moderate Muslim’ is a Muslim who believes in a democratic system that is opposed to the Islamic State!” 2. Acceptance of non-sectarian sources of law: This means, as analyzed by Imam Anwar, that a ‘moderate Muslim’ must accept man-made laws over Islamic laws. An explanation provided in the report further solidifies his analysis: “the dividing line between moderate Muslims and radical Islamists is whether Sharia should apply.” So if you, as a Muslim, respect Sharia, the Rand Institute would like to label you a radical Islamist, and
Discovering the battleground of this war of ideas leads us to the second question—the role of the non-Muslim world, if any. That role is defined by the following quote from US News and World Report:
Today, Washington is fighting back. After repeated missteps since the 911 attacks, the US government has embarked on a campaign of political warfare unmatched since the height of the cold war. From military psychological operations teams and CIA covert operatives, to openly funded media and think tanks, Washington is plowing tens of millions of dollars into a campaign to influence not only Muslim societies but Islam itself.
For those to whom this may sound like a typical rant of an angry cleric, Imam Anwar points to the sarcastic remark of a non-Muslim analyst about a speech of former US President George W. Bush on Islam, “Political leadership collectively appears to have acquired an instant post graduate degree in Islamic studies, enabling them to lecture the population concerning the true nature of Islam.” The fallout of such an analysis is the desire to learn how these forces want to change the religion, and what new shape they want it to acquire. The answers to these questions are obtained through an analysis of one of the publications of Rand Institute titled, “Civil Democratic Islam,” by Sheryl Bernard. In it, Bernard declares that there is a need for setting a creation of ‘moderate Muslims.’ She also provides a detailed list of the qualities and criteria which constitute a ‘moderate Muslim.’ Imam Anwar, while renaming ‘moderate Muslim’ to the ‘Rand Muslim’ exclaims, “What kind of Islam [do] they want to force upon us?!” He adds that “They
In simple words, Imam Anwar states, the US is,
recommends the same to the U. S. Department of Defense. In addition to the above mentioned characteristics of a ‘Rand Muslim,’ “Civil Democratic Islam” provides a questionnaire to be filled out by Muslims to categorize them as being ‘moderate’ or ‘extreme.’ One set of questions asks if the individual or organization believes that the government should apply the criminal law component of Sharia, or even the civil law component of Sharia, or if the individual/ organization believes that there should be nonSharia options. In response to this, Imam Anwar brings forth a compelling argument: Praise is to Allah! What are we talking about here—a vegetable market [where you have to chose between] buying potatoes and onions?! What are you talking about, non-Sharia options! No country in the world gives you options regarding law. There is [always] one law regarding every issue. Here they want us to have options. So you walk into court and you are handed out a multiple-choice question, ‘Which law do you want to follow!’ In the end, the report provides some suggestions on how to help one party in this war of ideas.
Mainly, as summarized by Imam Anwar, these suggestions are to promote through all means (media, publicity, print material, monetarily) all those who fit the Rand criteria for a ‘moderate Muslim.’ Imam Anwar also provides his suggestions on how to confront such propaganda. One point of great import is that Muslims should develop an awareness of their true identity: “Different colors, different races, different languages, but we are one Ummah, and this should take precedence to any other association that we have!” He ends the talk on a positive note, reminding the audience of the prophecy of the beloved, and final, Messenger of Allah (SAW): Brothers and sisters, we are inching toward the final stage of the hadith of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him): “There will be prophethood with mercy. Then there will be khilafah with ba’yah(pledge), for as long as Allah wishes. Then there will be rule by force, for as long as Allah wishes. Then there will be rule against the people’s will, for as long as Allah wishes. Then there will be khilafah on the path of prophethood. Then, the earth and the sky will bestow their treasures.” (Musnad Ahmad)
From ‘Forty Hadith On: Islamic Personality’ by Shaykh ‘Alî Hasan ‘Alî ‘Abdul Hamîd
From Hanzalah al-Usayyidee who said:
A Time for This and a Time for That
Abu Bakr met me and asked: How are you O Hanzalah? I Replied: Hanzalah is guilty of hypocrisy! He said: Free is Allaah and far removed from all defects! What are you saying? I said: When we are with Allaah’s Messenger (salallaahu ‘alaihi wa’sallam) and he reminds us of the Fire and Paradise it is as if we were seeing it with our own eyes. Then when we depart from Allaah’s Messenger (salallaahu ‘alaihi wa’sallam) and attend our wives, our children and our business, then much of this slips from our mind. Abu Bakr said: By Allaah we also experience the same. So I went with Abu Bakr until we entered upon Allaah’s Messenger (salallaahu ‘alaihi wa’sallam). I said: Hanzalah is guilty of hypocrisy O Messenger of Allaah (salallaahu ‘alaihi wa’sallam). So Allaah’s Messenger (salallaahu ‘alaihi wa’sallam) said: And how is that? I said When we are with you, you remind us of the Fire and of Paradise and it is as if we are seeing it with our own eyes. Then when we depart from you and attend our wives, our children and our business then much of this slips from our minds. So Allaah’s Messenger (salallaahu ‘alaihi wa’sallam said: By Him in whose hand is my soul if you remained continually as you are when you are with me and in remembering (Allaah) then the angels would shake hands with you upon your beds and upon your roads. But O Hanzalah, (there is) a time for this and a time for that, (there is) a time for this and a time for that, (there is) a time for this and a time for that.
Reported by Muslim (Eng. Trans. Vol.4, p.1436, no.6223)
wills.” know where you lived.” He replied, “O Leader of the Faithful, I was not afraid of you. I was afraid of the One who knows the hidden and the manifest. I left my children, like a bird leaves her young, without water or a tree in the desert, and I am here for my death. I feared lest it be said, ‘Fulfillment of oaths has vanished from the people.’” Umar (RA) then asked Abu Dhar (RA), “Why did you vouch for him?” Abu Dhar (RA) replied, “I feared lest it be said, ‘Goodness has vanished from the people.’” Umar (RA) turned to the young men, “What do you two say?” They said, crying, “We forgive him, O Leader of the Faithful, for his truthfulness. We fear lest it be said, “Forgiveness and mercy have vanished from the people.” Umar (RA) proclaimed again, “Allah is the Greatest,” as tears flowed on to his beard. And he said to the young men, “May Allah reward you with the greatest of rewards for your forgiveness.” And he said to Abu Dhar (RA), “May Allah reward you with the greatest of rewards for your goodness.” And he said to the Bedouin, “And may Allah reward you with the greatest of rewards for your truthfulness and oath-fulfillment.” And may Allah reward you with the greatest of rewards, O Leader of the Faithful, for your justice and mercy.
The Caliph & The Bedouin
A story from the time of ĂUmar-bin-KhaććĀb ē
wo young men came upon Caliph Umar ibn al-Khattab (RA) as he sat in a gathering. With them was a Bedouin, whom they had bound. “What is this?” Umar (RA) asked. “O Leader of the Faithful, this man killed our father.” Umar (RA) then questioned the man, “Did you kill their father?” “Yes, I killed him,” he responded. “How did this happen?” “He trespassed onto my land with his camel. I tried to stop him, but he wouldn’t. So, I threw a rock at him. It hit him on his head, and he died.” Hearing this, Umar (RA) immediately declared, “AlQisas” (retribution). An unwritten decree, a quick decision, free from lengthy argumentation… Umar (RA) did not ask what family the man was from. Was he from a noble tribe? Did he have a strong lineage? What was his stature in the society? None of this interested Umar (RA); he showed no favoritism in matters of the Deen, and no leniency when judging according to the Shariah (law). Had his own son been the murderer, he would have been treated the same. The Bedouin asked, “O Leader of the Faithful! In the name of the One by whom the heavens and earth are standing, give me one night so I may go to my wife and children in the desert and inform them that you will soon kill me; I will return to you. By Allah, they do not have a breadwinner in the family beside Allah, and then me.”
“O Abu Dhar, do you know that if he doesn’t come back in three days you will be responsible?” “Allah is my helper, O Leader of the Faithful.” So the man left. Umar (RA) gave him three nights so he could prepare himself, say good-by to his family, take care of their affairs after him, and then return for the retribution, his death. The three nights passed. Umar had not forgotten the promise. At asr time, the call went out through the city: come for prayer! The youth came, the people gathered, and Abu Dhar (RA) sat before Umar (RA). “Where is the man?” Umar (RA) asked. “I don’t know, O Leader of the Faithful,” Abu Dhar (RA) replied. He turned towards the sun; it seemed to be moving at a quicker pace than usual. The Sahaba were all quiet. Only Allah knows what they were feeling. Abu Dhar (RA) held a special place in Umar’s (RA) heart, and he would be willing to make any sacrifice for him, but this was the Shariah, this was the manhaj, these were divine injunctions. They were not to be played with, and their validity was not open to discussion. The implementation could not vary from person to person or from place to place. A few moments before sunset, the man finally arrived. “Allah is the Greatest,” proclaimed Umar (RA), and this was echoed by all present. Umar (RA) asked the Bedouin, “Had you remained in your desert, we didn’t know you, and we didn’t
“Who will guarantee your return to me, once you go into the desert?” replied Umar (RA). Everyone was silent. They did not know his name, or where he lived, or his clan, so how could anyone of them vouch for him? And the guarantee was not for 10 dinars, or a piece of land, or a camel; if the Bedouin did not return, the guarantor would have his own neck cut by a sword. Then, who would dare to oppose Umar (RA) in the implementation of the Shariah? Who could possibly even think about interceding with him? So the Companions were silent, and Umar (RA) was at a loss. If he killed this man, then his children would die of hunger—if he let him go without a guarantee, the blood of the killed would go to waste. Umar (RA) turned to the young men, “Will you forgive him?” “No, our father’s killer must be killed,” they replied. Umar (RA) then repeated, “Who will vouch for him, O people?” Finally, the ascetic, white-haired Abu Dhar alGhifari (RA), stood up and said, “O Leader of the Faithful, I will vouch for him.” “He has killed!” warned Umar (RA). “Despite this, I will vouch for him.” “Do you know him?” “No, I don’t.” “So how can you vouch for him?” “I see in him the characteristics of a believer, so I know he does not lie—he will come back, if Allah
loves all nations and all people alike, and His religion is for everyone, from the beginning of time till the very end. The human values given by Allah to man through His religion resonate with all other laws in nature, which are also created by the Merciful One. This is the religion which is the ‘deen-e-fitrah’ or the natural religion. This religion is based on the essence of Love and Mercy while moderating itself against Justice for all. Thus, the purpose of religion given to us by Allah (not the man-made religion) is to promote human values that are imbued with divine values. In addition to Love and Mercy, it advocates and teaches us kindness, humbleness and Godconsciousness. This is the antithesis of arrogance, the essential foundation of the teachings of Iblis/ Shaytan. This leads us to the second article of faith, which is a direct reflection of the first article of belief in the One-ness of Allah, and which is imbued with the values that are reflected in the universe. Muhammad (sallAllahu alayhi wa sallam) was sent down as the last Messenger of Allah to establish the human dimension to the message of Allah. He is the epitome of the human reflection of these divine values, and not the values of the man-made religion.
Manifestations of Religiosity
– Social and Individual Perspectives
By Kazi Zulkader Siddiqui - Professor, Civilization Studies & Medical Ethics, Shifa College of Medicine
“Now has come unto you a Messenger from amongst yourselves: It grieves him that you should perish: Ardently anxious is he over you: To the Believers is he most kind and merciful.” (Al-Qur’an, 9:128) Such is this great man who lived his life for the sake of others. He would forsake the pleasures of this world and stand in vigil all night to seek forgiveness for others. He was the most powerful of men and yet lived like a pauper. This is the true reflection of that divine Love and Mercy. In order to understand the nature of this divine religion, we need to examine the different aspects of the relationship between man and God, and man and man. One of the most beautiful explanations comes through an understanding of the basic concepts of Islam, Iman, and Ihsan as expounded by the Prophet Muhammad (sallAllahu alayhi wa sallam) through the famous Hadith Jibra’il. It brings to fore the differences between human understandings of religion in conjunction with the divine wish. Islam is the manifestation of the human façade of the natural religion. It regulates human activity on Earth through laws that are derived from divine intervention. Thus, Islam does not guarantee Heaven in the Hereafter for the individual. Instead, it leads to the creation of good governance—social and individual—in a state of peace and prosperity. It leads to social and professional responsibility. At the same time, it challenges chaos and disorder. This provides the conducive environment for a believer to portray a righteous life, which then becomes the path to
All that is on earth will perish: And what remains (for ever) is the Face of your Lord, full of Majesty, Bounty and Honor. (Al-Qur’an, 55:26-27)
couple of years ago, I was attending a conference on South Asia which also discussed religious perspectives in line with social, economic and political issues. The stage was set by a very enlightening speech by the famous Buddhist social worker Dr. Ariyaratne, who was one of the keynote speakers from Sri Lanka. In his forceful speech, Dr. Ariyaratne expounded upon four key problems facing the world today: consciousness or rather a lack of it; a loss of sense of true religion that converts into manmade ideologies; a need to go beyond such ideologies; and a search for a vision which is meant to be the essence of our guidance in life. The remedy to these issues, according to Dr. Ariyaratne, is based on three important steps. Firstly, the consciousness must be based on compassion, love, kindness, and non-violence. Secondly, one must look at the economic woes and their solutions. We need to eradicate poverty and reverse the failures of the World Bank and such institutions that are unable to fathom the true meaning of poverty. Lastly, we bring about change for the better through steps that remove the abnormalities of our society, i.e. poverty, differences of caste, race, and religion, and by going back to the old religious values that are without ideologies. This speech set my own thought process into action, to examine the basis of religion and its role in human life. How does it relate to the
inequalities in the world? How does it bring about goodness in one’s life? And what distinguishes the Islamic concept of true religiosity in finding that peace in one’s life and contributing towards change for the better on Earth? Over the past several years, the secular West has portrayed religion in general and Islam in particular as a religion that leads to hatred, terror, fanaticism, intolerance, and limits to ‘freedom of expression,’ ‘human responsibility’ and ‘mutual respect.’ The essential problem in the mind of the West is due to the fact that religion in this modern age is man-made, and it is this man-made religion that promotes the negative elements that are now associated with it. Religion has thus become just another social and economic phenomenon, devoid of the spiritual basis or the ultimate design of our maker. It is powered by the powerful churches, temples, and other such institutions which regulate the religious aspect of one’s life. This man-made religion is for the sake of selfish motives, national pride, or ethnic superiority. All negative human traits are thus projected as the manifestations of such a concept of ‘religion.’ This is what leads to hatred, war, terror, intolerance, sectarianism, and intolerance. Such a view of religion is diametrically opposite to the view of religion in the ‘Eyes of God’. Islam defines religion in a totally different light. The religion of Allah promotes universalism. Allah
The purpose of religion given to us by Allah (not the manmade religion) is to promote human values that are imbued with divine values. In addition to Love and Mercy, it advocates and teaches us kindness, humbleness and Godconsciousness.
So the essential basis of the same good deeds (i.e. charity, goodness, caring for the people around us, elimination of poverty, etc.) takes on a different dimension when moving from the manmade religion to the religion of Allah. Rather than leading to chaos and anarchy, the human element as reflected in the Prophet’s life depicts peace and harmony in line with the divine design.
success, leading to Heaven in the Hereafter. On the other hand, Iman (faith) is the essence of inner thought that builds core values based on the divine teachings. It is the real link between man and God. It provides an answer to all that is beyond human comprehension. And it leads to peace and harmony in one’s personal life. It governs the inner presence and values of a human being. The culmination of Islam that is imbued with Iman (faith) is Ihsan. This is the height of ‘consciousness’ through experience of God at every moment of one’s life. It is the true coming together of faith (Iman) and practice (as reflected through the true implementation of Islam). As the Prophet said: Ihsan is to worship Allah as if you see Him with your own eyes standing before you, and even though you do not see Him, you realize that He sees you. If one were to actually see Allah with his own eyes, he would never ever indulge in any act that
is a violation of the essential divine principles and values. Thus, Ihsan is that ultimate realization of Allah being ever present with us at every step and moment of our lives. It is the culmination of the human psyche and behavior as demanded by Him. And when our deeds are a true reflection of that religiosity in a state of Ihsan, it brings about the best in eliminating our problems in society; we eliminate man’s ego and bow down in total submission to the will of Allah. This eliminates social and economic woes on Earth and leads us to the state of bliss. It is the real answer for the removal of the abnormalities of our society, i.e. poverty, differences of caste, race and religion; it is how we return to the ‘old,’ or rather, the real religious values that are without ideologies. It is based on the religion of Allah and not the religion of man. It moves us away from relative truth to the absolute truth and leads to the best in this life and the Hereafter. This is the true manifestation of religiosity and the real panacea for mankind.
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A collection of various sayings of Prophet Muhammad e regarding virtues of the month of Ramadan
The virtues of fasting are great indeed, and one of the things reported in the saheeh ahaadeeth is that Allaah has chosen fasting for Himself, and He will reward it and multiply the reward without measure, as He says [in the hadeeth qudsi]: “Except for fasting which is only for My sake, and I will reward him for it.” (al-Bukhaari, al-Fath, no. 1904; Saheeh al-Targheeb, 1/407). Fasting has no equal (al-Nisaa’i, 4/165; Saheeh al-Targheeb, 1/413), and the du’aa’ of the fasting person will not be refused (reported by al-Bayhaqi, 3/345; al-Silsilat al-Saheeh, 1797). The fasting person has two moments of joy: one when he breaks his fast and one when he meets his Lord and rejoices over his fasting (reported by Muslim, 2/807). Fasting will intercede for a person on the Day of Judgement, and will say, “O Lord, I prevented him from his food and physical desires during the day, so let me intercede for him.” (Reported by Ahmad, 2/174. Al-Haythami classed its isnaad as hasan in
al-Majma’, 3/181. )
Virtues of Ramadan
The Alchemy of Happiness;
by Imam Al-Ghazali
If a man finds himself sluggish and averse to austerity and self-discipline, he should… exhort his soul somewhat in the following way:
The smell that comes from the mouth of a fasting person is better with Allaah than the scent of musk. (Muslim, 2/807). Fasting is a protection and a strong fortress that keeps a person safe from the Fire. (Reported by Ahmad, 2/402; Saheeh alTargheeb, 1/411; Saheeh al-Jaami’, 3880).
O my soul! You think yourself intelligent and are angry at being called a fool, and yet what else are you? You prepare clothing to shield you from the cold of winter, yet make no preparation for the after-life. Your state is like that of a man who, in mid-winter, says, “I will wear no warm clothing, but trust to God’s mercy to shield me from the cold. He forgets that God, at the same time that He created cold, showed man the way to make clothing to protect himself from it, and provided the material for that clothing. Remember this also, O soul, that your punishment hereafter will not be because God is angry with your disobedience, it is your lusts themselves which will have kindled the flames of a hell within you; just as, from eating unwholesome food, disease is caused in a man’s body, and not because his doctor is vexed with him for disobeying his orders. Shame upon you, O soul, for your overweening love of the world! If you believe not in heaven or hell, at least you believe in death, which will snatch from you all worldly delights and cause you to feel the pangs of separation from them, with intensity in proportion to your attachment to them. Why are you madly after the world? If the whole of it, from East to West, were yours and worshipped you, yet it would all, in a brief space, turn to dust along with yourself, and oblivion would blot out your name, as those of ancient kings before you. But now, seeing that you have only a very small fragment of the world, and that a defiled one, will you be so mad as to barter eternal joy for it, a precious jewel for a broken cup of earthenware, and make yourself the laughingstock of all those around you?
Whoever fasts one day for the sake of Allaah, Allaah will remove his face seventy years’ distance from the Fire. (Reported
by Muslim, 2/808).
Whoever fasts one day seeking the pleasure of Allaah, if that is the last day of his life, he will enter Paradise. (Reported by
Ahmad, 5/391; Saheeh al-Targheeb, 1/412).
In Paradise there is a gate called al-Rayyaan, through those who fast will enter, and no one will enter it except them; when they have entered it will be locked, and no-one else will enter through it.” (al-Bukhaari, Fath, no. 1797). Ramadaan is a pillar of Islam; the Qur’aan was revealed in this month, and in it there is a night that is better than a thousand months. “When Ramadaan begins, the gates of Paradise are opened and the gates of Hell are closed, and the devils are put in chains.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, al-Fath, no. 3277). Fasting Ramadaan is equivalent to fasting ten months (Musnad Ahmad, 5/280; Saheeh al-Targheeb, 1/421). “Whoever fasts Ramadaan out of faith and with the hope of reward, all his previous sins will be forgiven.” (Reported by
al-Bukhaari, Fath, no. 37).
At the breaking of every fast, Allaah will choose people to free from Hellfire. (Reported by Ahmad, 5/256; Saheeh al-Targheeb,
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