Archive for the ‘Articles’ Category

Muslims Condemn Terrorist Attacks

August 22nd, 2010 No comments

This page focuses on condemnations of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and other terrorist incidents since then as well as of terrorism in general. It is not a complete listing of all condemnations written or spoken by Muslims but is intended to provide a representative sample.

It has often been claimed in the media that Muslims are “silent” and do not condemn terrorism. This page is intended to refute that claim. Muslims have not been silent. Not even close.

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The Ideal Muslim Woman and Her Husband

July 3rd, 2010 3 comments

(An Excerpt from the Book “The Ideal Muslimah: The True Islâmic Personality of the Muslim Woman as Defined in the Qur’ân and Sunnah”)

By  Dr. Muhammad ‘Ali Al-Hashimi

Translated by Nasiruddin Al-Khattab and Revised by Ibrahim M. Kunna and Abu  Aya Sulaiman Abdus-Sabur Copyright and published by the International Islâmic Publishing House (IIPH), Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in 1999.

Marriage in Islam

In Islam, marriage is a blessed contract between a man and a woman, in which each becomes “permitted” to the other, and they begin the long journey of life in a spirit of love, co-operation, harmony and tolerance, where each feels at ease with the other, and finds tranquility, contentment and comfort in the company of the other. The Qur’an has described this relationship between men and women, which brings love, harmony, trust and compassion, in the most moving and eloquent terms:

( And among His Signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that you may dwell in tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy between your [hearts] . . .) (Qur’an 30:21)

This is the strongest of bonds, in which Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) unites the two Muslim partners, who come together on the basis of love, understanding, co-operation and mutual advice, and establish a Muslim family in which children will live and grow up, and they will develop the good character and behavior taught by Islam. The Muslim family is the strongest component of a Muslim society when its members are productive and constructive, helping and encouraging one another to be good and righteous, and competing with one another in good works.

The righteous woman is the pillar, cornerstone and foundation of the Muslim family. She is seen as the greatest joy in a man’s life, as the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said:

“This world is just temporary conveniences, and the best comfort in this world is a righteous women.”1

A righteous woman is the greatest blessing that Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) can give to a man, for with her he can find comfort and rest after the exhausting struggle of earning a living. With his wife, he can find incomparable tranquility and pleasure.

How can a woman be the best comfort in this world? How can she be a successful woman, true to her own femininity, and honored and loved? This is what will be explained in the following pages:

She chooses a good husband

One of the ways in which Islam has honored woman is by giving her the right to choose her husband. Her parents have no right to force her to marry someone she dislikes. The Muslim woman knows this right, but she does not reject the advice and guidance of her parents when a potential suitor comes along, because they have her best interests at heart, and they have more experience of life and people. At the same time, she does not forego this right because of her father’s wishes that may make him force his daughter into a marriage with someone she dislikes.

There are many texts that support the woman in this sensitive issue, for example the report quoted by Imam Bukhari from al-Khansa’ bint Khidam:

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Cover Girl

June 2nd, 2010 3 comments
taken from
Krista Bremer and her daughter

Nine years ago, I danced my newborn daughter around my North Carolina living room to the music of Free to Be…You and Me, the ’70s children’s classic whose every lyric about tolerance and gender equality I had memorized as a girl growing up in California. My Libyan-born husband, Ismail, sat with her for hours on our screened porch, swaying back and forth on a creaky metal rocker and singing old Arabic folk songs, and took her to a Muslim sheikh who chanted a prayer for long life into her tiny, velvety ear. She had espresso eyes and lush black lashes like her father’s, and her milky-brown skin darkened quickly in the summer sun. We named her Aliya, which means “exalted” in Arabic, and agreed we would raise her to choose what she identified with most from our dramatically different backgrounds.

I secretly felt smug about this agreement—confident that she would favor my comfortable American lifestyle over his modest Muslim upbringing. Ismail’s parents live in a squat stone house down a winding dirt alley outside Tripoli. Its walls are bare except for passages from the Qur’an engraved onto wood, its floors empty but for thin cushions that double as bedding at night. My parents live in a sprawling home in Santa Fe with a three-car garage, hundreds of channels on the flat-screen TV, organic food in the refrigerator, and a closetful of toys for the grandchildren. I imagined Aliya embracing shopping trips to Whole Foods and the stack of presents under the Christmas tree, while still fully appreciating the melodic sound of Arabic, the honey-soaked baklava Ismail makes from scratch, the intricate henna tattoos her aunt drew on her feet when we visited Libya. Not once did I imagine her falling for the head covering worn by Muslim girls as an expression of modesty.

Last summer we were celebrating the end of Ramadan with our Muslim community at a festival in the parking lot behind our local mosque. Children bounced in inflatable fun houses while their parents sat beneath a plastic tarp nearby, shooing flies from plates of curried chicken, golden rice, and baklava.

Aliya and I wandered past rows of vendors selling prayer mats, henna tattoos, and Muslim clothing. When we reached a table displaying head coverings, Aliya turned to me and pleaded, “Please, Mom—can I have one?”

She riffled through neatly folded stacks of headscarves while the vendor, an African-American woman shrouded in black, beamed at her. I had recently seen Aliya cast admiring glances at Muslim girls her age. I quietly pitied them, covered in floor-length skirts and long sleeves on even the hottest summer days, as my best childhood memories were of my skin laid bare to the sun: feeling the grass between my toes as I ran through the sprinkler on my front lawn; wading into an icy river in Idaho, my shorts hitched up my thighs, to catch my first rainbow trout; surfing a rolling emerald wave off the coast of Hawaii. But Aliya envied these girls and had asked me to buy her clothes like theirs. And now a headscarf.

In the past, my excuse was that they were hard to find at our local mall, but here she was, offering to spend ten dollars from her own allowance to buy the forest green rayon one she clutched in her hand. I started to shake my head emphatically “no,” but caught myself, remembering my commitment to Ismail. So I gritted my teeth and bought it, assuming it would soon be forgotten.

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The Daughter of Medina

May 22nd, 2010 1 comment

by Mohsin Badat   source

Recent events and experiences have caused me to question what it means to be a child of today’s west; to look at what is truly given from on high and true to the fitra, and what is shaped by the climate we live in. The Prophet (s) once described the heart as a mirror, and like all metals mirrors are prone to rust. Unfortunately I cannot say that I am an isolated example when I say that far from having a reflective heart, the rust has indeed set in. There is a damp in the air. Living in a society that is not driven towards the Divine comes with it’s own doubts, least of all those whispering and asking whether you can know truth, whether there is a ‘right’ way, whether or not we’re all the same deep down so why bother with anything? By the grace of Allah there are those on His earth who live in a land not troubled by such problems, who breathe the air clean and free and who remain a beacon of light for those who would cast aside the internal cobwebs and begin the long journey toward Him, majestic and august is He! Such a land is Tarim, and this is where my journey begins.

Tarim, a moderately sized town home to thousands of the faithful is nestled in between the towering cliffs that bound the Hadramawt valley in the south of Yemen; old Arabia Felix. A settlement established before Islam’s rise, Tarim first enters our consciousness at the time of Hadhrat Abu Bakr’s caliphate, may Allah be pleased with him. During the so-called ridda, the wars of apostasy when the Yemenis refused to pay the zakat the city of Tarim remained true and paid in full to the Commander of the Faithful. Their reward? Allah’s pleasure and three duas from the Caliph, “Allah make plentiful it’s water, and make it cultivated till the Day of Judgement, and may the Righteous blossom in its lands as plants blossom from water”. And so to this day Tarim’s environs are lush in the midst of aridity, are teeming with the awliya, hearts attached to dhikr and full of water pure, kind to the bowels of foreign visitors wary of sickness! One of Tarim’s names is ‘The Daughter of Medina’, for reasons that make it uniquely special. This we understand from the Hadith: “Love Allah for the blessings He bestows upon you, Love me for the love of Allah and Love my House for my love” (Al-Tirmidhi). Tarim can claim to be home to those who are loyal to this Hadith every waking and sleeping moment. For the truth is that one in three of the thousands of Tarimis claim descent from al-Imam al-Muhajir Ahmad b. Isa, son of Isa, son of Muhammad an-Naqid, son of Ali Uraydi, son of Ja’far As-Sadiq, son of Muhammad al-Baqir, son of Ali Zayn al-Abideen, son of Sayyidina Hussein the Grandson, son of Sayyida Fatima az-Zahra, wife of Sayyidina Ali (may Allah be pleased with them all!) and daughter of The Messenger Muhammad peace and blessings be upon him eternally. This is the real answer to Abu Bakr’s dua – Tarim was destined by Allah’s grace to overflow with the water that emanates from the caliph’s closest friend, The Beloved of Allah Muhammad (s). 1100 years have passed since Ahmad b. Isa’s arrival and Tarim is mother to thousands of Hadhrat Ali’s descendents, the largest gathering of the Ahl al-Bayt in the world. Their grandfather (s) was al-Habib, and his (s) descendents take his name. From the 12 th century onwards the scholars and saints of Tarim became known the world over as the Habaib.

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We have little to fear but ignorance

April 20th, 2010 2 comments

April 19, 2010
BY NEIL STEINBERG Sun-Times Columnist

Fear is the emotion underlying everything. A primary instinct we share with animals — I pad outside to retrieve the morning newspapers and catch a bunny unaware. He freezes, tracking me anxiously, then rockets away, his little heart hammering. I pick up the papers, smiling, because of course I mean him no harm.
For a bunny, there is no downside to automatically fleeing humans — much unnecessary leaping, perhaps. It is a survival mechanism, but so is my not being afraid of what doesn’t pose a threat, the skill that allowed humans to slowly develop beyond isolated tribes, to work together and build this complex world of wonder we now enjoy. There are no wonders of the rabbit world besides underground burrows. But that’s it.

My wife and I attended the 6th annual fund-raising dinner earlier this month for the Chicago chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a group dedicated to thwarting the baseless fear that so rattled my rabbit friend. “I’m going to wear the long dress I wear to Hassidic weddings,” my wife said beforehand, without irony. I said that sounded like a good idea.

Some 1,500 guests attended the CAIR dinner, at the Drury Lane in Oak Brook. An older gentleman named Feteh Riyal — a muezzin — gave the call to prayer, eyes closed, hands pressed flat against the sides of his face, emitting long, plaintive tones I had never heard before. They were haunting, beautiful. The keynote speaker was Professor Tariq Ramadan, who had been banned from the United States for six years under George W. Bush’s security state.

I brought along a tape recorder “in case he said anything incendiary.” But the speech centered on the moral duties of a Muslim to be an active part of the community and do good works. That didn’t seem like news.

To me, the most noteworthy moment came before the doors were opened. A hundred people were waiting — men in suits, women in headscarves. Three couples walked up — college boys in dark suits and their dates in tiny black dresses. The girls looked almost naked among the colorful veils and modest leggings.

“I knew Islam was a big tent,” I whispered to my wife. “But I didn’t think it was THAT big a tent.”

Turns out the college couples were there for a Sigma Chi dance in the next ballroom. It’s funny how the power of a majority works, because the Sigma Chi couples were suddenly the ones out of place, swimming against the cultural mainstream, and for the first time I grasped the perspective of women who dress in the modest Islamic manner and maintain that it is themselves who are the liberated ones.

But that was subtle and not something I felt obligated to pass along to you. The next day, I began reading my e-mail, as I always do. But now the usual garbage seemed different, worse.

The e-mail was headed “Muslim Belief” and began, “This is a true story and the author, Rick Mathes, is a well-known leader in prison ministry.”

It describes how Mathes attended a training session at a state prison. A Muslim cleric outlines his beliefs, and Mathes challenges him. Isn’t it true that “most Imams and clerics of Islam have declared a Holy war against the infidels of the world”?

The imam admits it is.

“Let me make sure I have this straight,” Mathes continues. “All followers of Allah have been commanded to kill everyone who is not of your faith so they can have a place in heaven. Is that correct?”

“He sheepishly replied, ‘Yes.’ ”

The story stank of fabrication, and a check of the debunking sign shows it’s pure falsity — the only true part is that Mathes wrote it.

It’s a lie. No such exchange took place. Yet the story has been circulating widely on the Internet for seven years.

Tariq Ramadan spoke for 45 minutes and said, basically, that being a good Muslim means living in harmony with your neighbors and in doing good.

“Spread peace,” he said. “You are a people of peace. People of peace are going to face rejection and war, but this is not our objective. Our objective is peace. Any Muslim who tells you [that] you cannot love your neighbor, you have to say, ‘You need to have a better understanding of Islam.’ We are people who are spreading around a dignified way of life. . . . You are at home in this country. This is your home. The American people are your people. And anyone in a mosque who speaks of Americans as ‘them’ and not ‘us’ is the starting point of a problem.”

Why do Westerners succumb to anti-Muslim fear? It’s a natural reflex — certainly what terrorists expect when they claim their acts are in the name of Islam. They want to drive a wedge between the cultures, lest a harmonious blending undercut their extremism and deprive them of the enemy they crave. It’s a partnership, the terrorists and the fear-mongers, working in harmony and tacit agreement.

Actually, fear isn’t the underlying instinct. Ignorance is. Fear is often ignorance in action. Rabbits are not smart animals, and so quick reflexes pass for philosophy. We humans are supposed to be brighter than that. I only wish you could have gone to the CAIR dinner with me and seen — no offense — the parade of unremarkable American normality that I saw; pleasant, concerned, decent people sharing a meal, albeit with a few more veils and skullcaps than are considered usual here at the moment. It will become much more common, and if that frightens you, you are being startled for no reason.

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A Woman’s Reflection on Leading Prayer

April 18th, 2010 No comments

by Yasmin Mogahed

On March 18, 2005, Amina Wadud led the first female-led jum`ah (Friday) prayer. On that day, women took a huge step towards being more like men. But did we come closer to actualizing our God-given liberation?

I don’t think so.

What we so often forget is that God has honored the woman by giving her value in relation to God—not in relation to men. But as Western feminism erases God from the scene, there is no standard left—except men. As a result, the Western feminist is forced to find her value in relation to a man. And in so doing, she has accepted a faulty assumption. She has accepted that man is the standard, and thus a woman can never be a full human being until she becomes just like a man.

When a man cut his hair short, she wanted to cut her hair short. When a man joined the army, she wanted to join the army. She wanted these things for no other reason than because the “standard” had it.

What she didn’t recognize was that God dignifies both men and women in their distinctiveness – not their sameness. And on March 18, Muslim women made the very same mistake.

For 1400 years there has been a consensus of the scholars that men are to lead prayer. As a Muslim woman, why does this matter? The one who leads prayer is not spiritually superior in any way. Something is not better just because a man does it. And leading prayer is not better, just because it’s leading. Had it been the role of women or had it been more divine, why wouldn’t the Prophet ﷺ have asked Ayesha or Khadija, or Fatima—the greatest women of all time—to lead? These women were promised heaven—and yet they never led prayer.

But now, for the first time in 1400 years, we look at a man leading prayer and we think, “That’s not fair.” We think so although God has given no special privilege to the one who leads. The imam is no higher in the eyes of God than the one who prays behind.

On the other hand, only a woman can be a mother. And God has given special privilege to a mother. The Prophet ﷺ taught us that heaven lies at the feet of mothers. But no matter what a man does he can never be a mother. So why is that not unfair?

When asked, “Who is most deserving of our kind treatment?” the Prophet ﷺ replied, “Your mother” three times before saying “your father” only once. Is that sexist? No matter what a man does he will never be able to have the status of a mother.
And yet, even when God honors us with something uniquely feminine, we are too busy trying to find our worth in reference to men to value it—or even notice. We, too, have accepted men as the standard; so anything uniquely feminine is, by definition, inferior. Being sensitive is an insult, becoming a mother—a degradation. In the battle between stoic rationality (considered masculine) and selfless compassion (considered feminine), rationality reigns supreme.

As soon as we accept that everything a man has and does is better, all that follows is a knee-jerk reaction: if men have it, we want it too. If men pray in the front rows, we assume this is better, so we want to pray in the front rows too. If men lead prayer, we assume the imam is closer to God, so we want to lead prayer too. Somewhere along the line we’ve accepted the notion that having a position of worldly leadership is some indication of one’s position with God.

A Muslim woman does not need to degrade herself in this way. She has God as a standard. She has God to give her value; she doesn’t need a man.

In fact, in our crusade to follow men, we as women never even stopped to examine the possibility that what we have is better for us. In some cases we even gave up what was higher only to be like men.

Fifty years ago, society told us that men were superior because they left the home to work in factories. We were mothers. And yet, we were told that it was women’s liberation to abandon the raising of another human being in order to work on a machine. We accepted that working in a factory was superior to raising the foundation of society—just because a man did it.

Then, after working, we were expected to be superhuman—the perfect mother, the perfect wife, the perfect homemaker—and have the perfect career. And while there is nothing wrong, by definition, with a woman having a career, we soon came to realize what we had sacrificed by blindly mimicking men. We watched as our children became strangers and soon recognized the privilege we’d given up.

And so only now—given the choice—women in the West are choosing to stay home to raise their children. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, only 31 percent of mothers with babies, and 18 percent of mothers with two or more children, are working full-time. And of those working mothers, a survey conducted by Parenting Magazine in 2000, found that 93% of them say they would rather be at home with their kids, but are compelled to work due to ‘financial obligations.’ These ‘obligations’ are imposed on women by the gender sameness of the modern West, and removed from women by the gender distinctiveness of Islam.

It took women in the West almost a century of experimentation to realize a privilege given to Muslim women 1400 years ago.

Given my privilege as a woman, I only degrade myself by trying to be something I’m not – and in all honesty – don’t want to be: a man. As women, we will never reach true liberation until we stop trying to mimic men, and value the beauty in our own God-given distinctiveness.

If given a choice between stoic justice and compassion, I choose compassion. And if given a choice between worldly leadership and heaven at my feet—I choose heaven.

taken from

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Advice to Husbands

January 22nd, 2010 2 comments

by Sheikh Abdallah Adhami

By getting married you are not just getting a wife, you are getting your whole world. From now until the rest of your days your wife will be your partner, your companion, and your best friend. She will share your moments, your days, and your years. She will share your joys and sorrows, your successes and failures, your dreams and your fears. When you are ill, she will take the best care of you; when you need help, she will do all she can for you; when you have a secret, she will keep it; when you need advice, she will give you the best advice. She will always be with you: when you wake up in the morning the first thing your eyes will see will be her; during the day, she will be with you, if for a moment she is not with you by her physical body, she will be thinking of you, praying for you with all her heart, mind, and soul; when you go to sleep at night, the last thing your eyes will see will be her; and when you are asleep you will still see her in your dreams. In short, she will be your whole world and you will be her whole world.
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Dr. Umar Faruq Abdallah: Living Islam With Purpose

December 3rd, 2009 No comments

Masha-allah, Dr Umar Faruq’s works are always so pertinent … this one is another gem.



The earlier Nawawi Foundation paper Islam and the Cultural Imperative addressed the necessity of establishing an authentic indigenous Muslim cultural presence in America. Living Islam with Purpose complements that paper by offering an operational framework for accomplishing the task. This framework consists of  “five operational principles,”  which are discussed at length and illustrated with examples:

* Trusting reason
* Respecting dissent
* Stressing societal obligation
* Setting priorities
* Embracing maxims

These five principles are central to the Islamic tradition and embody the practical wisdom and consummate sensibility of the Prophetic teaching. The paper emphasizes the need for American Muslims as a whole to become directly involved in their self-definition and the construction of their future as individuals and communities. This task cannot be left to others or to chance; the five operational principles provide an invaluable resource for determining the way forward. Living Islam with Purpose focuses on the American Muslim community but is relevant to Muslims everywhere, especially those in the West.

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Mohammad’s Sword

November 19th, 2009 1 comment


An insightful article … read on.

by Uri Avnery

September 27, 2006

Since the days when Roman Emperors threw Christians to the lions, the relations between the emperors and the heads of the church have undergone many changes.

Constantine the Great, who became Emperor in the year 306–exactly 1700 years ago–encouraged the practice of Christianity in the empire, which included Palestine . Centuries later, the church split into an Eastern (Orthodox) and a Western (Catholic) part. In the West, the Bishop of Rome, who acquired the title of Pope, demanded that the Emperor accept his superiority.

The struggle between the Emperors and the Popes played a central role in European history and divided the peoples. It knew ups and downs. Some Emperors dismissed or expelled a Pope, some Popes dismissed or excommunicated an Emperor. One of the Emperors, Henry IV, “walked to Canossa ,” standing for three days barefoot in the snow in front of the Pope’s castle, until the Pope deigned to annul his excommunication.

But there were times when Emperors and Popes lived in peace with each other. We are witnessing such a period today. Between the present Pope, Benedict XVI, and the present Emperor, George Bush II, there exists a wonderful harmony. Last week’s speech by the Pope, which aroused a world-wide storm, went well with Bush’s crusade against “Islamofascism,” in the context of the “Clash of Civilizations.”

IN HIS lecture at a German university, the 265th Pope described what he sees as a huge difference between Christianity and Islam: while Christianity is based on reason, Islam denies it. While Christians see the logic of God’s actions, Muslims deny that there is any such logic in the actions of Allah.

As a Jewish atheist, I do not intend to enter the fray of this debate. It is much beyond my humble abilities to understand the logic of the Pope. But I cannot overlook one passage, which concerns me too, as an Israeli living near the fault-line of this “war of civilizations.”

In order to prove the lack of reason in Islam, the Pope asserts that the prophet Muhammad ordered his followers to spread their religion by the sword. According to the Pope, that is unreasonable, because faith is born of the soul, not of the body. How can the sword influence the soul?

To support his case, the Pope quoted–of all people–a Byzantine Emperor, who belonged, of course, to the competing Eastern Church. At the end of the 14th Century, the Emperor Manuel II Palaeologus told of a debate he had–or so he said (its occurrence is in doubt)–with an unnamed Persian Muslim scholar. In the heat of the argument, the Emperor (according to himself) flung the following words at his adversary:

“Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.”

These words give rise to three questions: (a) Why did the Emperor say them? (b) Are they true? (c) Why did the present Pope quote them?

WHEN MANUEL II wrote his treatise, he was the head of a dying empire. He assumed power in 1391, when only a few provinces of the once illustrious empire remained. These, too, were already under Turkish threat.

At that point in time, the Ottoman Turks had reached the banks of the Danube . They had conquered Bulgaria and the north of Greece , and had twice defeated relieving armies sent by Europe to save the Eastern Empire . OnMay 29, 1453 , only a few years after Manuel’s death, his capital, Constantinople (the present Istanbul ) fell to the Turks, putting an end to the Empire that had lasted for more than a thousand years.

During his reign, Manuel made the rounds of the capitals of Europe in an attempt to drum up support. He promised to reunite the church. There is no doubt that he wrote his religious treatise in order to incite the Christian countries against the Turks and convince them to start a new crusade. The aim was practical, theology was serving politics.

In this sense, the quote serves exactly the requirements of the present Emperor, George Bush II. He, too, wants to unite the Christian world against the mainly Muslim “Axis of Evil.” Moreover, the Turks are again knocking on the doors of Europe , this time peacefully. It is well known that the Pope supports the forces that object to the entry of Turkey into the European Union.

IS THERE any truth in Manuel’s argument?

The pope himself threw in a word of caution. As a serious and renowned theologian, he could not afford to falsify written texts. Therefore, he admitted that the Qur’an specifically forbade the spreading of the faith by force. He quoted the second Sura, verse 256 (strangely fallible, for a pope, he meant verse 257) which says: “There must be no coercion in matters of faith.”

How can one ignore such an unequivocal statement? The Pope simply argues that this commandment was laid down by the prophet when he was at the beginning of his career, still weak and powerless, but that later on he ordered the use of the sword in the service of the faith. Such an order does not exist in the Qur’an. True, Muhammad called for the use of the sword in his war against opposing tribes–Christian, Jewish and others–inArabia , when he was building his state. But that was a political act, not a religious one; basically a fight for territory, not for the spreading of the faith.

Jesus said: “You will recognize them by their fruits.” The treatment of other religions by Islam must be judged by a simple test: How did the Muslim rulers behave for more than a thousand years, when they had the power to “spread the faith by the sword”?

Well, they just did not.

For many centuries, the Muslims ruled Greece . Did the Greeks become Muslims? Did anyone even try to Islamize them? On the contrary, Christian Greeks held the highest positions in the Ottoman administration. The Bulgarians, Serbs, Romanians, Hungarians and other European nations lived at one time or another under Ottoman rule and clung to their Christian faith. Nobody compelled them to become Muslims and all of them remained devoutly Christian.

True, the Albanians did convert to Islam, and so did the Bosniaks. But nobody argues that they did this under duress. They adopted Islam in order to become favorites of the government and enjoy the fruits.

In 1099, the Crusaders conquered Jerusalem and massacred its Muslim and Jewish inhabitants indiscriminately, in the name of the gentle Jesus. At that time, 400 years into the occupation of Palestine by the Muslims, Christians were still the majority in the country. Throughout this long period, no effort was made to impose Islam on them. Only after the expulsion of the Crusaders from the country, did the majority of the inhabitants start to adopt the Arabic language and the Muslim faith–and they were the forefathers of most of today’s Palestinians.

THERE IS no evidence whatsoever of any attempt to impose Islam on the Jews. As is well known, under Muslim rule the Jews of Spain enjoyed a bloom the like of which the Jews did not enjoy anywhere else until almost our time. Poets like Yehuda Halevy wrote in Arabic, as did the great Maimonides. In Muslim Spain, Jews were ministers, poets, scientists. In Muslim Toledo, Christian, Jewish and Muslim scholars worked together and translated the ancient Greek philosophical and scientific texts. That was, indeed, the Golden Age. How would this have been possible, had the Prophet decreed the “spreading of the faith by the sword”?

What happened afterwards is even more telling. When the Catholics re-conquered Spain from the Muslims, they instituted a reign of religious terror. The Jews and the Muslims were presented with a cruel choice: to become Christians, to be massacred or to leave. And where did the hundreds of thousand of Jews, who refused to abandon their faith, escape? Almost all of them were received with open arms in the Muslim countries. The Sephardi (“Spanish”) Jews settled all over the Muslim world, from Morocco in the west to Iraq in the east, fromBulgaria (then part of the Ottoman Empire ) in the north to Sudan in the south. Nowhere were they persecuted. They knew nothing like the tortures of the Inquisition, the flames of the auto-da-fe, the pogroms, the terrible mass-expulsions that took place in almost all Christian countries, up to the Holocaust.

WHY? Because Islam expressly prohibited any persecution of the “peoples of the book.” In Islamic society, a special place was reserved for Jews and Christians. They did not enjoy completely equal rights, but almost. They had to pay a special poll-tax, but were exempted from military service–a trade-off that was quite welcome to many Jews. It has been said that Muslim rulers frowned upon any attempt to convert Jews to Islam even by gentle persuasion–because it entailed the loss of taxes.

Every honest Jew who knows the history of his people cannot but feel a deep sense of gratitude to Islam, which has protected the Jews for 50 generations, while the Christian world persecuted the Jews and tried many times “by the sword” to get them to abandon their faith.

THE STORY about “spreading the faith by the sword” is an evil legend, one of the myths that grew up in Europeduring the great wars against the Muslims–the reconquista of Spain by the Christians, the Crusades and the repulsion of the Turks, who almost conquered Vienna. I suspect that the German Pope, too, honestly believes in these fables. That means that the leader of the Catholic world, who is a Christian theologian in his own right, did not make the effort to study the history of other religions.

Why did he utter these words in public? And why now?

There is no escape from viewing them against the background of the new Crusade of Bush and his evangelist supporters, with his slogans of “Islamofascism” and the “Global War on Terrorism”–when “terrorism” has become a synonym for Muslims. For Bush’s handlers, this is a cynical attempt to justify the domination of the world’s oil resources. Not for the first time in history, a religious robe is spread to cover the nakedness of economic interests; not for the first time, a robbers’ expedition becomes a Crusade. The speech of the Pope blends into this effort. Who can foretell the dire consequences?

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What are the First Ten Days of Dhu’l-Hijjah?

November 17th, 2009 1 comment


With the onset of the 12th and final month in the Islamic Calender, Dhu’l-Hijjah, we have the most blessed days of the year (with the last 10 nights of Ramadhān being the most blessed nights) as taken from various narrations.

To understand this, we must appreciate that from the immense mercy of Allah ‘azza wa jall, is His giving us specific extra opportunities during our lives to really take advantage and grab the chance to please Him and worship Him even more, thanking Him for his countless bounties and grace.

When we’re told that a single prayer in the Haram in Makkah is equal to 100,000 prayers, we don’t stand around and ask why! We get on with it! That’s because we all appreciate what a great opportunity it is to seize the moment.

Likewise Allah jalla wa ‘alā gives up special times and places and occasions to use in a similar way i.e. the Day of Nahr (i.e. the Day of Hajj on the 10th of Dhu’l-Hijjah), the Day of ‘Arafah, the Month of Ramadhān, the Hour of acceptance before Maghrib on the Day of Jumu‘ah, the time beween the Adhān and Iqāmah etc.

Likewise we have certain places too, such as the two sacred Mosques of Makkah and Madīnah, Masjid al-Aqsā, the Rawdha of the Prophet (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), the Black Stone, the Multazam, the plain of ‘Arafah, the Masjid of Khaif, etc.

All these times and places are there to make use of just like these ten days and when we have the Prophet (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) informing us in Sahīh al-Bukhāri that,

“There are no days in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah than these ten days”

…then we’d be mad not to act!

What to do in these Ten Days

In no particular order:

1. Fast – every one of these days if possible and if not then especially the 9th of Dhu’l-Hijjah for those back in their homes. And why are you fasting this day of ‘Arafah? Because the Prophet (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said:

“Fasting the day of ‘Arafah: I hope Allah will expiate thereby for the year before it and the year after it.” (Muslim)

Now that’s what you call a good reason.

2. Make a Sacrifice on behalf of yourself and your dependents. Do it locally if possible so as to share in the meat but if this is not possible, there are plenty of charities (such as Interpal and Human Appeal) that will do it for you in needy areas. Remember, no cutting of your hair or your nails during this period of time until after the sacrifice has been done i.e. after ‘Eed day.

And if you’re a ’stud’ who likes to prepare himself for ‘Eed – well, you should have of thought of that one beforehand… ;-)

3. Make as much Dhikr as you can; this includes reading the Qur’ān of course, sending salawāt upon our beloved Messenger (‘alayhi’l-salātu w’l-salām) and as the Salaf used to do: much Takbīr, Alhamdulillāh, Subhānallāh and Lā ilāha Illallāh as possible.

4. Reflect. Yes, think for a little while and reflect upon your year so far. Reflect how quickly the time has passed by between the last Hajj and this Hajj. Reflect whether you’ve improved since Ramadhān, whether you have benefited yourself and others.

5. After that, I’m sure like me you’ll realise that we can do much better and we’ve probably underachieved big time. So it’s seeking Forgiveness and Repentance time. And Du‘ā time! Use the day, use the nights, increase in extra prayers, increase in charity to wipe the slates clean, and increase all your happy good actions because remember folks, Allah jalla wa ‘alā says:

وَأَقِمِ الصَّلاةَ طَرَفَيِ النَّهَارِ وَزُلَفًا مِنَ اللَّيْلِ إِنَّ الْحَسَنَاتِ يُذْهِبْنَ السَّيِّئَاتِ ذَلِكَ ذِكْرَى لِلذَّاكِرِينَ

“Establish Prayer at each end of the day and in the first part of the Night. Good actions eradicate bad actions. This is a reminder for a people who pay heed.” (al-Hood, 114)

May Allah accept our good deeds and make it easy for us, Amīn!

What Happens Next?

Then it’s ‘Eed! And as my mother always used say, it’s BIG ‘Eed! Enjoy yourselves, eat, drink and be very merry as the Prophet (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) told us:

“The day of ‘Arafah, the day of Sacrifice, and the days of al-Tashrīq (the 3 days after) are our festival, and they are days of eating and drinking.” (al-Tirmidhi, Sahīh)

Don’t be guilty about it either; if you’ve done your duties correctly, observed the Sunnah correctly, given charity generously, then this is the time to smile! And for three days too! And don’t forget to keep making those takbīrs loudly and proudly all over town as per the action of the Companions, from the Fajr prayer on the Day of ‘Arafah until the ‘Asr prayer on the 13th of Dhu’l-Hijjah.

And Allah knows best.


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