Saturday, December 25, 2010

AMIK's Christmas Special

Note: The Following is a fictional story which should serve as a framework for a little Christmas Dawah

Twas the night before Christmas, all was still

Down the road came my good friend Bill

And I will not rhyme anymore as it is hurting my head trying to think up a way to make the entire conversation rhyme!

Bill: Merry Christmas, Ismail.

Me: How are you, Bill?

Bill: I am fine on this festive eve, will you not wish me Merry Christmas

Me: Sorry my friend, I do not believe in Christmas. Can I ask you a question though?

Bill: Go ahead

Me: Why do you celebrate Christmas? What is so special about this day?

Bill: It is the day our Lord and Savior Jesus was born?

Me: before we get into the Lord issue, you sure he was born on this day?

Bill: Yes, why do you ask?

Me: Because according to Biblical data, he was born in Summer.

Bill: It is Summer

Me: Not in the Nothern hemisphere

Bill: Oh yeah, you are right about that, you sure about this?

Me: Yes, researchers point out that Jesus was born in May, but you do not need to take my word for it, just google it

Bill: I will, but then how did 25 December become known as Christmas day?

Me: Historians differ over the exact reason, they do agree that it is on this day the sun reversed its southward retreat and due to that some ancient pagan religions used to worship the birth of the Sun-God on this day. Some argue that over time, it became known as the day the Son of God was born, but others regard it as an unrelated coincidence.

Bill: Very interesting, so if people know this, why is Christmas still such a big deal?

Me: Because it has been commercialized. It is the time of the year in which businesses make the most money and in order to keep this up, they need to keep Christmas special. This is why a lot of money is spend on Christmas movies, special tv shows, decorations and that annoying jingle bells song that plays in all the shops. ;)

Bill: Haha, the song is annoying but Christmas is such a beautiful time of the year in which families gather and enjoy the festive spirirt.

Me: Sadly, it is also the time of the year in which the most car accidents, intoxication and fornication occur.

Bill: That is true, so.....don't you Mozlems celebrate any holidays at all?

Me: We celebrate the two Eids, which are the Day of Ramadan and the third day of the Hajj

Bill: oh yes, you did tell me about fasting in Ramadan and the Hajj before. Thats the journey Malcolm X made, right?

Me: The same one. :)

Bill: Well that was educational, but I'm curious now as to why you know so much about Jesus

Me: Well, we Muslims believe that Jesus was the prophet of God who came with the same message as Muhammad, Moses, Abraham and all the other prophets, which is that we should worship God alone. Sadly, over time pagan beliefs crept into Christianity, most dominantly is the belief in a begotten son a God which we regard as blasphemous. In order to find out when and how the followers of Jesus started worshipping him, I studied the history of Christianity and the Bible.

Bill: And that is how you discovered all this, very impressive. You know, we have been friends for a while but I we never got down to discussing our religious differences before. Today has been quite interesting, but now I need to get going. Maybe I'll research the history of your religion and bring you some facts that you did not know next time. ;)

Me: Please go ahead and do so, although I studied my own religion's history before studying others. In fact, here are some DVDs and books to get you started.

Bill: Thank you, Ismail. I won't say Merry Christmas to you again, so......happy holidays!

Me: Enjoy your holidays too, hope you find it spiritually uplifting. May God guide us both to what pleases him.

Bill: Amen

Inshaa Allah, such conversations could open the door to Bill becoming Bilal. Or we could just avoid the whole conversation, wish him Merry Christmas and let him continue living a life involved in Shirk while we face the consequences for avoiding our duty of Dawah.

Allah knows best.

Did you understand the affair of Tawheed?

Shaikhul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah would teach this book from cover to cover. And once he would finish the book, he would go back to the beginning and he would start it all over again. And when this happened on a number of occasions, his students asked that another book be started, that they had learned this affair of at-Tawheed. They wanted to continue on to another affair.

The shaikh, willing to test them and their understanding, set up a test for them. And he said to them that on such and such day there will be no dars (lesson) because he had to travel to see someone who had fornicated with his own mother. And his students were astonished and surprised. That was clear by the voices they made.

When [the shaikh] returned, the students asked as to what happened to this individual. Shaikhul-Islaam said it was not as he had explained - that he had commited fornication with his own mother - but rather a man was commiting shirk by slaughtering a small animal in the name of other than Allaah.

When he explained this, the astonishment from his students left them. They were no longer astonished. So the astonishment that was present when they heard a man was commiting fornication with his own mother was great. But when they heard of someone commiting shirk with a small animal, the astonishment was absent, as though this action [shirk] was less serious than the former action [fornication with his mother].

Shaikhul-Islaam, through this test, knew that his students did not understand this affair of at-Tawheed, and he began the book all over again.

This story was taken from here.

Lesson: Shirk is the greatest and the only unforgivable sin if you die upon it. Let us not treat it lightly. Too often we Muslims are guilty of getting upset if we see homosexuality, intoxication or immorality, yet we don't show the same level of anger at acts of Shirk. This shows that we have not yet realized how severe a sin it is.

Remember, in general sins,we are either oppressing ourselves or other people, but with Shirk we are giving Allah's rights to other than Allah, and what can be a greater sin than that!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Of Wa-Hubbies and Conspiracies

There seems to be an obsession with conspiracy theories among young Muslims these days. For some strange reason, Muslims seem to look for secret messages in almost everything. From cartoons to people's names, nothing is innocent and all seem to be part of a secret plot of some underworld organization.

From an Islamic perspective, it is not proper for Muslims to dwell on conspiracy theories. Islam teaches us to focus our efforts on Ilm-Naafi - knowledge that benefits us and not to get involved in Laghw - useless discussions. For the most part, conspiracy theories are useless discussions in which we can not prove the conspiracy to be true or not, and even if you can, the information gained can seldom help you gain closeness to Allah or benefit you in anyway. Conspiracy theories in general fall into the category of Laghw and waste precious time that could be spent in more beneficial activities.

I have identified a few reasons why Muslims seem to be obsessed with conspiracy theories:

1. To find somebody else to blame for our mistakes:

Some Muslims don't want to accept the fact that we are in the situation we are in because of our disobedience of Allah or deviation from the straight path. Such Muslims tend to look for a scapegoat to blame for their mistakes, and conspiracy theories provide enough of these. If you look at the people who tend to be obsessed with conspiracy theories, many of them are generally not knowledgable or practicing Muslims. It is not uncommon to find Muslims discussing how the Jews or Illuminati are cause of all their problems, yet missing a salah due to the discussion.

Solution: The Qur'an does not teach us to blame others for our problems. It teaches us to strive to please Allah and then He will assist us in solving our problems. So it would be better to utilize our time to watch Islamic lectures instead of a conspiracy documentary, and to pray and strive to implement our knowledge than to sit around discussing who was behind an earthquake or flood and how they caused it.

2. Boredom, not utilizing time properly

Many Muslims try to find ways to kill time. As if time needs killing. You'd think with all the problems in our lives, our own sins and weaknesses, we'd have a lot more important things to do than kill time. Sadly many Muslims suffer from boredom and thus browse YouTube for something to kill time. It is during these moments in which they wanted to kill ten minutes, that they discover a conspiracy theory video which ends up eating up hours and sometimes days of their lives as they watch, rewatch, discuss and obsess over it.

Solution: Utilize your time properly and wisely. There is so much that we need to do that we really should not have time to kill. If you are bored and decide to surf YouTube, you rather spend your time watching Islamic lectures or if you need to relax, a
Nasheed video. Just don't give Shaytaan a chance to trap you into an obsession that can waste hours of precious time.

3. lack of understanding of the religion

Some Muslims are sincere and trying to practice their religion, but due to ignorance they mistake conspiracy theory videos for Islamic videos. I often find Islamic DVD stalls stocked with almost only conspiracy theory videos, most of them by Non-Muslims too. This shows a lack of understanding as to what is Islamic knowledge and also what is beneficial knowledge.

Solution: Consult scholars and learn from them what constitutes beneficial knowledge. Oh, and make sure the islamic DVDs you buy are really Islamic.

I am sure there are many other reasons why Muslims love conspiracy theories, maybe someone else can help me understand this obsession.

Some of these conspiracy theories can be very funny, take a look at the following examples:

1. Coca Cola backwards is Laa Muhammad, Laa Makkah which means No Muhamammad, No Makkah.

This one circulates a lot via email and it seems that many Muslims seem to believe it. (Why else would they forward the email) yet it is extremely illogical. Why would someone when naming a Soft Drink, try and decide what is No Muhammad, No Makkah backwards with the backwards word being Arabic and the forward word being English? Furthermore, even if you squint and twist the letters, you still can't see it. The closest you get is maybe Li Muhammad, Li Makkah, meaning for Muhammad, For Makkah, which makes me wonder why conspiracy theories are never pro-Muslim or positive?

Looking at words backwards to find secret messages can be very dangerous as then one can find hidden messages in good words like god and live. In fact, one can even deduce that Godzilla is a Muslim's pet as Godzilla backwards is Alliz dog.

2. Zakumi is named after a tree in Hell

Before the World Cup occurred, I heard during a Jumah lecture that one of the reasons the World Cup is Haraam is because its mascot is named after a tree in Hellfire, Shajaratuz-Zaqqum. Firstly, Zaqqum and Zakumi are not the same word. Secondly, nobody names their mascot after a tree in Hell in any language, I doubt the people who named him even know Arabic or what Zaqqum is. Finally, Zakumi means SA2010, that is all it means, No hidden messages, no hidden agendas.....except to sell more Wolrd Cup merchandise.

3. Pokemon means Poke Imaan

Firstly, Pokemon means pocket monsters. Secondly, what does poke Imaan mean? Is it a good thing or a bad thing? and finally how do you poke Imaan if it does not have a Facebook account?

Can splitting a name really expose hidden messages? If thats the case, let us look at the word Wahhabi and I'll so you how easy it is to invent a conspiracy theory and get caught up in it. Note the following is fictional humor:

Wahhabi is actually two words Wa and Hubby, Wa is the Arabic for 'and' while hubby is English slang for husband, so wahhabies actualy means 'and husbands' this is because the Wahabbi movement is actually a cover for polygamous Muslim men wanting to take multiple wives. This also explains why many Westerners dislike wa-hubbies, because they are anti-polygamy!

So what do we learn from this? Lets not waste our lives looking at words backwards, or splitting names to find secret messages. Let us focus our brain power on learning, understanding and implementing Islam our lives. This will be more beneficial for us in this world and the Afterlife.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Review: A Way of Life

Zain Bhikha is a household name in my family so it is no surprise that I bought a copy of his latest CD as soon as it was released. By 'as soon as', I mean I went to the Al-Ansar bookstore and asked them if they have the new CD, they said they did not know it was out. Two days later I walked into the shop and they took out a copy for me as soon as they saw me. It had just arrived. :)

So now after a month of listening to it, I decided to do a little review for those who are not sure if they should purchase it.

The CD is entitled "A Way of Life" after the first track which is a new version of the Golden Oldie from Zain's ancient album "Children of Heaven". New versions of old songs is the common theme in this CD and it was much needed, these old songs have great messages yet I noticed that when the new generation listens to them, they find it too slow and the tunes outdated.

Clearly, Zain realized this too and over the past three CDs, he has taken some of his best old songs and made them relevant again. "A Way of Life" offers 14 songs, 11 with drum versions as well, making it altogether 25 tracks. Compared to "1415: The beginning" which featured mostly mature themed songs aimed at the youth, "A Way of life" is clearly aimed primarily at children.

Here is my review of the songs:

1) A Way of Life: 5 Stars

The new version of A Way of Life is faster and sung by some children (as are many of the tracks on this CD). I like the fact that Zain is using more children in his CDs, my kids love listening to songs sung by other children and so do we as it has a unique innocence to it that makes it more enjoyable.

2) 25 Prophets: 5 Stars

I prefer the drum version of this song, but either way it is a brilliant new song which makes it so easy for children to memorize the names of 25 prophets (No Yusha though) and has a very nice tone. I heard this song before at the Peace Conference in Mumbai 2007 and in "Enjoying Islam with Zain and Dawud" on PEACE TV. Great educational track.

3) When I Grow Up: 4 Stars

This song is definitely for kids by kids. Some cute children sing about what they will be when they grow up (teacher, Doctor, Mummy and most importantly, the best Muslims they can be), children will love this song as will parents, the youth might skip it though as they won't find it relevant to themselves unless they love kids.

4) Although I never saw his face: 4 Stars

This song starts of slow, and sounds like the old version at first, then it picks up speed and is really a very beautiful song describing the Prophet (pbuh). Once you get passed the slow start, it is a beautiful moving song which increases your love for the prophet (pbuh).

5) Turn to Allah: 4 Stars

Another old classic from Yusuf Islam's "A is for Allah" album, the new version is sung by children and sounds beautiful. Another fun song for kids.

6) Muslim School Anthem: 5 Stars

A reworking of "Children of Heaven"s song "Pretoria Muslim School Anthem", the new version is edited to not be restricted to any specific school and contains general lyrics sung very beautifully by a young girl. My favortie track on this CD, even though it is one of the only tracks without a drum version.

7) Give thanks to Allah: 4 Stars

A new version of a song so old that many people did not know Zain Bhikha sung it and a rumor went around that Michael Jackson converted to Islam and recorded it, which I find hilarious. This new version is fun but very short, I think its the shortest track on the CD.

8) I am a Muslim: 5 Stars

Another golden oldie now sung by little kids. It is one of my favorite tracks on this CD and I love the fact that Zain changed the wording of the final segment about death. The old version had him singing about death as if his time was up, the new version has the kids singing about death occuring someday and we know not when Allah will call us home. A good change that made this song even better.

9) Welcome O Ramadaan: 3 Stars

The second song not to have a drum version, but honestly I can not make up any real difference between this and the old version except the sound quality. Not that the old version is bad, it is still a beautiful song that we hear every Ramadaan, it is just the only song which I can't really hear any significant change in.

10) Eid-un Sa-Eid: 5 Stars

One of the best new versions of an old song on this CD, especially the drum version. This was already one of his most famous songs, but this new version is awesome, it is faster paced, features children singing joyfully with Zain and just creates a great atmosphere for Eid. The video is beautiful too, watch it here.

11) Salaamun Salaam: 5 Stars

The third track not to have a drum version and it does not need one. This is a very famous song, the PEACE TV theme song. This song is so old I can not recall which album it is from, I think it was sung by Zain on the "A is for Allah" album by Yusuf Islam. Anyway, this version is a bit faster, better quality with a beautiful chorus of children singing in the background.

12) Which of Allah's favors can we deny: 4 stars

Another old song recorded again with better quality and a faster tune. Really nice track with a great message.

13) Forever: 5 Stars

This is definitely going to be the hit track of this CD, expect to hear it all the time on Radio. It is a touching love song about the love between parents and their children sung beautifully by Zain and his young son Muhammad. The video too is very beautiful, watch is here.

14) Spread the word: 5 Stars

A new faster version of the song from the "Our World" album. I love this new version even more than the old one. It has a nice tune to it and a beautiful message about the importance of Dawah.

Overall: 9 out of 10

This is a great addition to any Nasheed collection for parents and children. However those who were hoping for another mature themed album like 1415 might be disappointed as this CD is clearly aimed at children. I like the fact that Zain is producing CDs for both the youth and children. For me, this is my favorite CD of his after 1415: The Beginning, and it is the only CD of his in which I love all the tracks and don't skip any of them.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

I'm back...inshaa Allah

After many months of being too busy or having writer's block. I am back inshaa Allah.

Having just completed the Hajj and read many new books, etc. I have a lot to digest and share, so inshaa Allah over the next few months expect a overload of articles by me, here and on Muslim Matters.

My Hajj reflections will be covered exclusively on Muslim Matters in a four or five part series. While my other random stuff will be posted here.

So stay tuned!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Reminder - Story of the Great Slander

Why did the believing men and women, upon hearing this, not think good of their people and say, "This is clearly slander?" (Surah Nur 24:12)

This verse was revealed when our beloved mother Ayesha (RA) was slandered on Zina and some of the companions of the prophet (pbuh) believed and spread this slander. Sadly, it seems that many Muslim have forgotten this incident and the verses revealed upon it, including the warning, "Allah admonishes you never to repeat a mistake like this if you are truely believers," (24:17) As it seems slander has become loose on the tongues of some Muslims, even against righteous people by other learned people.

A quick recap of the incident, the details of which are available in Saheeh Muslim and many other resources:

While returning from an expedition, Ayesha (RA) was searching for her necklace and mistakenly got left behind. A young male companion, Safwan, found her and offered her his camel so that he could take her home. The leader of the hypocrites, Abdullah Ibn Ubay, saw this as an opportunity and started spreading a rumor about the two of them. Ayesha (RA) fell ill and stayed in her home for a few days oblivious of the accusations being levelled against her. Eventually, the gossip reached her and she was shocked and perplexed.

The prophet (pbuh) did not speak to her for a few days while he investigated. He did not believe the rumors but he had to investigate in order to put his mind at ease. For accusations against one's wife are harder for a man to bear than being slandered of being a poet or magician.

During this period, Ayesha (RA) experienced great emotional pain and went to stay with her parents. It is narrated that she could not stop crying for two nights. Finally, Ayesha (RA) went with her parents to speak to the prophet (pbuh) who said, "if you have done something wrong, then tell me so that you can repent. if you have done something wrong, repent to Allah so that you can meet Him in a state of repentance," Ayesha (RA) firmly stated that she did not do anything. Her parents in turn asked her this question, and she replied the same.

Finally, she said, “The only thing I am going to tell you is the same thing Abu Yusuf (Yaqoob) told his sons when Yusuf was taken away… ‘fa sabroon jameel wallahul musta’anu ala matasifoon .’ “With good patience, Allah is the one who aids me in that which you are accusing me.. .” After saying this, she felt at ease and put her trust in Allah. Soon after this, Allah revealed verses 11-20 of Surah Nur declaring her innocence and putting an end to the rumors and gossip. It was due to these veres that she gained the title, "Al-Mutabarri'u Fee Kitaabillah" (The one whose innocence is declared in the book of Allah)

There are many lessons to be learned from this important incident in our history but I want to focus on the following:

1) Many a times, we take pleasure in discussing the faults of others and spreading gossip and rumors behind their back, yet we do not benefit from this rumor-mongering at all, rather we cause so much emotional pain to the one being slandered that can not be described to a person who has not experienced it. If Ayesha (RA), with all her spiritual strength, cried for two nights when slandered, imagine the pain we cause to people with less strength when we slander them.

2) Even if it is true and not slander, this does not justify talking about it. How do we benefit from discussing the faults of others? Don't we have our own sins and faults that we need to overcome first? Gossip is never justified in Islam, even the steps leading to gossip are prohibited as per the following verse:

"Oh you who believe, do not be suspicious of others because suspicion can sometimes be a sin, and do not spy on others nor backbite them! Would you like to eat the flesh of your dead brother? No! You would hate it! So fear Allah, indeed He is the one who accepts repentance and is Most Merciful," (Surah Hujarat 49:12)

From the above story, I hope we all realise that not only is it wrong and counter-productive to indulge in gossip, but it is extremely hurtful to the people being slandered, I would like to end with the following warning from Allah to those who enjoy juicy gossip:

"Indeed, Those who love to spread such slanders among the believers,will have a painful punishment in this world and the next. Allah knows (the truth behind such accusations) and you do not know," (Surah Nur 24:19)

And words of comfort from Allah to those being slandered, "Do not think it to be bad for you, rather it is good for you," (Surah Nur 24:11) if nothing else, the rewards of good deeds done by the slanderer get transferred to you and that alone is good for you.

NOTE: Do not mention any slanderers or slandered people by name is the comments to this post!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Concerning Yusha

So everybody wants to know where I got this name for my son from. Many people never hear of it before so here is a quick history lesson.

Yusha (pronounced You-Shaa) is the Arabic equivalent of Joshua.

According to Ibn Katheer in Bidayah Wa Nihayah, his lineage is as follows, he is Yusha the Son of Noon, the son of Afra'yeel, the son of Yusuf, the son of Yaqub, the son of Ishaaq, the son of Ibraheem (Peace be upon them all). So Yusha is the great-grandson of prophet Yusuf (AS) and out of six of his forefathers, four were prophets.

Yusha was the prophet Musa's (AS) companion on his journey to meet Khidr. Ibn Kathir says in Bidayah Wa Nihaya, "Allah Ta'ala mentions him in the Qur'an but not by name, in the story of Khidr, when he says, 'And when Musa said to his young companion,' and 'and when they reached it, he said to his young companion,', the prophet (SAW) clarified that the young companion is Yusha Bin Noon in a Saheeh Hadeeth," (Bidaya Wa Nihaya, volume 1, p: 378)

This can be found in the following authentic Hadeeth:

"Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said, 'Once Moses stood up and addressed Bani Israel. He was asked who was the most learned man amongst the people. He said, 'I.' Allah admonished him as he did not attribute absolute knowledge to Him (Allah). So, Allah said to him, 'Yes, at the junction of the two seas there is a Slave of Mine who is more learned than you.' Moses said, 'O my Lord! How can I meet him?' Allah said, 'Take a fish and put it in a large basket and you will find him at the place where you will lose the fish.' Moses took a fish and put it in a basket and proceeded along with his (servant) boy, Yusha 'bin Nun, till they reached the rock where they laid their heads (i.e. lay down). Moses slept, and the fish, moving out of the basket, fell into the sea." (Saheeh Bukhari 4: 55:613 )

Yusha Bin Noon (AS) was also Musa's (AS) successor. When Musa (AS) passed away, he became the prophet and it was under his leadership that Banu Israel finally conquered Jerusalem.

The prophet Muhammad (SAW) mentions one miracle of his. Yusha wanted to conquer Jerusalem before sunset so Allah cause the sunset to be delayed until he had conquered Jerusalem. Here follows the complete narration:

It has been narrated by Abu Huraira that the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: "One of the Prophets made a holy war. He said to his followers: One who has married a woman and wants to consummate to his marriage but has not yet done so; another who has built a house but has not yet erected its roof; and another who has bought goats and pregnant she-camels and is waiting for their offspring-will not accommpany me. So he marched on and approached a village at or about the time of the Asr prayers. He said to the sun: Thou art subserviant (to Allah) and so am I. O Allah, stop it for me a little. It was stopped for him until Allah granted him victory. The people gathered the spoils of war (at one place). A fire approached the spoils to devour them, but it did not devour them. He (the Holy Prophet) said: Some of you have been guilty of misappropriation. So one man from each tribe should swear fealty to me. The did so (putting their hands into his). The hand of one man stuck to his hand and the Prophet (may peace be upon him) said: Your tribe is guilty of misappropriation. Let all the members of your tribe swear fealty to me one by one. They did so, when the hands of two or three persons got stuck with his hand. He said: You have misappropriated. So they took out gold equal in volume to the head of a cow. They-placed it among the spoils on the earth. Then the fire approached the spoils and devoured them. The spoils of war were not made lawful for any people before us, This is because Allah saw our weakness and humility and made them lawful for us." (Saheeh Muslim 19:4327)

We learn that the prophet mentioned in the above Hadith is Yusha from the following narration mentioned by Imam Ahmad Ibn Hambal with an authentic chain of narrator: The prophet (SAW) said, "The sun has never stopped for any man besides Yusha when he wanted to conquer Baitul Muqaddis," (Bidaya Wa Nihaya, volume: 1, p: 382)

According to Islam Online, the name means "God is my salvation"

You see, even naming a child can be educating. :)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Yusha Ibn Ismail Kamdar enters the World!


Today, Sunday 19 September 2010 at 8:45am, my wife delivered our third son Yusha into this world. We praise Allah for His great blessing of children upon us. Please remember us and our children in your duas.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Random Update

It has been over a month since I updated my blog. I think I'm suffering from writer's block! Can't get down to writing anything interesting lately. It is not like I lack ideas, rather my mind has been loaded with ponderings as of late, just not in much of a writing mood. I think I'm missing lecturing. I have not delivered a public lecture in months.

Anyway here are a few points I've been pondering over lately, just to share my thoughts:

1. My wife is due to deliver our third child anytime now. We are very excited and happy. I do not understand people who try to ruin such happiness and tell you to slow down, not have so many children,and just sprout negativity about kids in general. If we are happy, we are happy, don't try to ruin that.

For the record, we do practice family planning, we PLAN to have a very big FAMILY and raise our children to be practising leaders of the ummah. :P

2. The Islamic Online University is running well Alhamdulillah. Second semester has now began and I look forward to teaching new students. Through the IOU I have discovered the potential of using the internet as a Dawah platform and plan to branch out into other online projects.

3. Speaking of online projects, I have decided to teach private Islamic classes online for an hour a week at a set monthly fee, anybody who is interested in such classes can contact me via Facebook or email me at:

4. I have big dreams and goals, yet face many obstacles and failed projects but I will not stop, I am determined to accomplish some huge goals within the next few years Bi Iznillah.

Thats it for updates, I'll be posting something interesting soon inshaa Allah.

Please let me know if you are interested in online Islamic classes and we can work out a schedule, and please remember my family and I in your duas.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Ramadan: Between culture and religion

It is that time of the year again. Everybody is excited and ready for Ramadan! In this month, Muslims all the world fast and pray. Unfortunately, due to lack of knowledge, many of us have ritualized this religion and do not attain maximum benefit from it. In this short piece, I want to list some of the reasons why Ramadan and fasting are prescribed then highlightsome common cultural mistakes we often make.

The wisdoms behind Ramadan:

There are many lectures and books available online mentioning the benefits of fasting and Ramadan with all their evidences. I will just mention some in point form. You may listen to those lectures or read those books for more details.

1. The Qur'an clearly states that fasting is prescribed to assist us in attaining Taqwa (God Consiousness). This Taqwa is attained when we fast for the pleasure of Allah, and realize that if we can stay away from basic necessities like food and drink to please Allah, then we have the ability to stay away from sin to please Allah.

2. Self-Control: The hadeeth makes it clear that if you sin while fasting then you attain no reward for that fast. With this in mind, when we fast to pelase Allah, we are careful not to do or say anything Haraam. This is training so that we may learn to control our tongues outside of Ramadan

3. Growing close to the Qur'an: Ramadan is the month of the Qur'an, the purpose behind taraweh and recitation is to expose people to the message of the Qur'an so that we may benefit and grow closer to Allah through it. Of course, this means one must recite the Qu'an with understanding during Ramadan.

4. Reflection and Repentance: Through fasting, staying away from sins and useless deeds, we have more time to reflect on our own lives, especially if one sits for Itikaaf. This reflection should lead to repentance and a positive change in our lives.

Cultural issues that clash with the above:

1. Overeating: If one overeats for Iftaar or Suhoor, you have defeated the purpose of fasting. The Sunnah is to have a light meal for both Suhoor and Iftaar. By overeating, we are damaging our bodies and in the case of Suhoor, we do not feel our fast (what then is the point of fasting), and in the case of Iftaar, we are too tired and full during Taraweh which leads to mass burping competitions in the back rows.

2. Wasting time: Three hours left till Iftaar? Lets watch the Lord of the Rings so we don't feel it. Once again we are trying to avoid feeling the fast, so our fast passes like any other day without any spiritual benefit. Even if something is Halal, if it is not beneficial, try to stay away from it in Ramadan and focus on more important things like studying Islam, reciting Qur'an and helping others.

3. Missing our prayers: I have observed people skipping Maghrib while enjoying Iftaar. This is a futile exercise which shows lack of understanding or priorities. Salah is the second pillar of Islam and even more important than fasting. We nullify the reward of our fasts if we sleep through Asr or skip Maghrib because we are eating.

4. Ritualized Taraweh: It is your choice if you want to pray eight or twenty Rakah Taraweh but pray it properly. I firmly believe that praying eight rakah slowly with concentration and understanding is far more rewarding and beneficial than rushing through twenty rakah at superspeed. As Dr Bilal Philips once told us, "the way we pray Taraweh today (ritualized and superspeed) is bidah and might not be accepted by Allah,"

5. Khataming Qur'ans: We grew up with the idea that in Ramadan, we should finsih the Qur'an as many times as possible since Abu Hanifa use to recite it 60 times every Ramadan. We forget that Abu Hanifa had already studied and mastered the knowledge of the Qur'an before doing so. Instead of speed reading the Qur'an so that we can boast how many times we completed it. Read it just once or twice with understanding and resolve to practice and follow it.

6. Counting down the days to Eid: Some people can't wait for Ramadan to end and count down the dyas till Eid. You can not benefit from Ramadan if you do not appreciate it and are waiting for it to end. Change your mindset and appreciate each and every one of these blessed days as they come.

7. Cigarette Iftaar: Instead of using Ramadan to give up their sinful habits, many Muslims stand outside teh Masjid waiting for the Adhaan so that they can make Iftaar by polluting the air and their lungs with this evil substance. You don't see alcoholics waiting outside with bottles in their hands or drug addicts waiting with their shots, so why do smokers do so? If you can stay away from it all day in Ramadan, you can stay away from it permenantly. Just make the effort and resolve to do so.

May Allah make this Ramadan beneficial and spiritually uplifting for us all.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Students of knowledge, we need to watch our Character!

"With great power comes great responsibilities" as Spider-man's wise uncle once said to him.

I grew up on this principle and take it very seriously. After all, Islam teaches us the very same. The prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said that all of us are shepherd and responsible for our flocks. The bigger role we have in the world, the bigger our responsibilities towards others becomes.

This brings me to the issue of Islamic knowledge and the responsibility that comes with it. I do not think many students realize this but we are looked upon by others as role models. They watch our very move and when we do stupid things, either people will lose respect for us or think it is right. We need to realize that knowledge is power and with great power comes great responsibility. When you choose to gain knowledge of Islam, realize that you become responsible for assisting and serving the Ummah.

Yet many people do not seem to realize this. I found too many students of knowledge and scholars, who I initially look up to, disappoint me by displayed such character that even an ignorant Muslim knows is wrong. This is true for people from all schools of thought including Salafis, Deobandis and Sufis. Below are some of my experiences with such people:

1) I visited a student of knowledge who runs his own Islamic center and who has been praised as knowledgeable in the Deen with the hope of working for him. He invited me to his house for dinner were I noticed two things that put me off working with him, firstly he was very harsh and judgmental in his way of talking.

The entire time at dinner he would just lecture me about certain faults I have (he had just met me and assumed these faults). Secondly, his sons sat at dinner scared and silent, clearly terrified by their father. When he asked me if I had children, I responded that I had two sons. In front of his sons, he told me they only get harder to deal with as they get older. It was clear in his sons' faces that they were embarrassed and hurt by his statement in front of a stranger.

I decided never to work for him or visit him again. I guess being a knowledgeable person with your own center is more important than your children's feelings or your character in dealing with others.

2) I met a world-renowned Salafi Islamic teacher, only to immediately recognize that his character was lacking. He does not know how to talk to people and seems disconnected from the world and unable to relate to others. I would later learn that he treats his wife horribly and clearly does not love or care for her.

3) I attended the lecture of a famous Sufi scholar at a conference. In the middle of his lecture, he pointed to me in the audience and told me to sit properly. The entire audience turned to look at me. Perhaps he did not learn the manner of correcting people and the prohibition of publicly embarrassing people (especially for something as small as the way they sit at a conference).

4) I attended the lecture of a female scholar who seemed very impressive until the Q&A session in which she displayed utmost arrogance and humiliated a Madinan Graduate for questioning a statement she made. She even said that she is right because she has a PHd and then accused him of being a chauvinist for questioning her opinion.

5) I met too many scholars who tell me some strange ruling and when I ask for evidence, their evidence is, "I'm a Moulana/Mufti/Shaykh, I'm telling you so," So apparently his view counts as proof in of itself.

All the above examples show the exact same problem, many people focus on the book knowledge while ignoring the Adab and practical aspects of dealing with people. Too many times we get so caught up in studying Fiqh that we become like walking emotionless books unable to relate to others, care for them, completely devoid of empathy.

A lot of emphasis needs to be placed on studying human interaction, psychology, importance of family and plain old good character. Such issues need to be incorporated into our curriculum at the universities.

If you can not care for people, treat them well or relate to them, you can not help them and you end up doing more harm than good. Especially if it is your own family. Children raised by such religious people who do not know how to treat their wives or children end up becoming averse to Islam because they do not want to be like their parents.

I know this came across as a rant but I needed to let this out. Firstly as a warning to myself, as well anyone else studying Islam. This religion is an Amaanah (trust) on our shoulders and our actions are Dawah, whether we like it or not.

When you wear the mantle of knowledge, people watch you and learn more from your behavior than your lectures.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Taraweh: Eight or Twenty, both are permissible

The people who hold that twenty rakats taraweh is a compulsory sunnah (Sunnah Muakiddah) usually bring forth two arguments, the first being that Umar (May Allah be pleased with him) united the Muslims upon twenty rakahs behind Ubay Ibn Ka’ab and Tamim Daari. The second being that the four Imams unanimously agreed that twenty rakahs is sunnah muakiddah.

Regarding how many rakahs Umar (May Allah be pleased with him) united the people
upon, Imam San’ai says, "There is a difference of opinion in the amount that Ubay Ibn Kab read. Some say it was eleven rakahs, others say it was twenty one rakahs, others say twenty, others say twenty three and there are other opinions as well," (Subulus Salaam Vol:2 Page: 356)

So we see that the scholars don’t even agree upon how many rakahs Umar united the people upon so this can not be a proof.

Regarding the four Imams, Imam Malik (May Allah be pleased with him) narrated the following in his Muwatta, "Umar ibn al-Khattab ordered Ubayy ibn Kab and Tamim ad-Dari to watch the night in prayer with the people for eleven rakats. The reciter of the Qur'an would recite the Mi'in (a group of medium-sized surahs) until we would be leaning on our staffs from having stood so long in prayer. And we would not leave until the approach of dawn," (Muwatta Malik 6:2:4). This narration also shows that Umar united the people upon eleven rakahs, not twenty.

Regarding the Hanafi viewpoint, Imam Muhammad, the student of Imam Abu Hanifah, mentions the following narration in his Muwatta, "the prophet (peace be upon him) would not read more than eleven rakahs, neither in Ramadan or out of it (Muwatta Muhammad, Chapter of the Ramadan prayer 71:239)

Imam Muhammad then says, "We (The Hanafis) go according to all of this, there is nothing wrong in praying in the month of Ramadan, the people praying voluntarily with an Imam," (Muwatta Muhammad, Chaper of the Ramadan prayer 71:241)

This shows that the belief of Imam Abu Hanifah and his students was that Taraweh is optional. When the hadith says eleven rakahs, it could mean eight rakahs taraweh and three rakahs witr or ten rakahs taraweh and one rakah witr, Allah knows best.

So it is clear that Taraweh is optional and each person should read what he is able to, with eleven rakahs (including the witr) being the sunnat. To make twenty rakahs compulsory upon Muslims is an innovation with no basis in the Quran or Sunnah.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Top Ten Islamic Entertainment for Kids

I have two little boys (and a third one on the way) and I am always worried about what they watch on television. I do not stop my children from watching television completely as I feel that has negative results, but I have provided a controlled environment in which they only watch DVDs and programs which I have approved. Although, I let them watch a few animated movies, especially those by Pixar, I am always on the look out for quality Islamic shows for my children to watch and enjoy.

When I was a child, there was barely any Islamic media available for kids. I grew up listening to Zain Bhikha and Dawud Wharnsby’s nasheeds but that was all I had. Alhamdulillah, all that has changed as more Muslims have realized the importance of Islamic media and in the past few years, many products for children have been produced.

Thus I have compiled a list of my favorite Islamic entertainment products for children to share with other parents who have similar concerns. People may differ over the permissibility of these products (music, animation, etc) but this is not the forum for that. Please click here for a fatwa on this issue on music in television shows, and here for a fatwa about animation for children.

10. The Lion of Ain Jaloot

This is a one hour animated movie about the early wars between the Muslims and the Mongols. It focuses on the story of Saifudeen Khutuz (pronounced Khotos in the movie) from childhood until he leads the Muslims to their first victory over the Mongols. The problem with this movie is that the animation is a bit outdated and the voices are not in sync with the lips of the characters. However, what I really enjoy about this movie is that it gives you a chance to teach and discuss many important aspects of Islamic history with your children. One of the scenes in this movie is the sacking of Baghdad which is a very important event in the history of Islamic scholarship. This movie opens the doors to discuss such historical events with your children.

9. Harun Yahya’s nature documentaries

Children love animals and nature (at least my kids do), and as such I feel much more at ease letting them watch Harun Yahya’s nature documentaries rather than those of Non-Muslims. Now the Non-Muslim produced animal documentaries are good but the advantage of the Harun Yahya DVDs is that he always links everything back to Allah and Islam. It is a beautiful way for children to learn about Islam and nature at the same time.

8. Nasheed Videos

This is a controversial area as there are so many different opinions regarding what is permissible or not in terms of nasheeds. Going with the majority view that wind and string instruments are prohibited, as is acting like you are in a rock video, there are still many Islamic nasheed videos you can let your children watch. I have a collection of nasheed videos by various artists like Zain Bhikha, Ahmed Bukhatir and Native Deen which I let my children watch as well a collection of nasheed performances on stage (call it a concert or whatever you like) without instruments (except a drum sometimes) or screaming girls in the crowd (I don’t approve of that).

My children’s first word was Allah which they repeated after hearing it in almost every nasheed, one of their first sentences was Laa Ilaaha Illallah which they learned from the song ‘Al-Khaliq’ and the list of good things they have learned from these songs can go on and on. Thus far, I have seen only good results from raising my children with nasheeds, but that is a decision for parents to make based on the opinion they follow about nasheeds and music.

7. Stories of the Prophets – Yusuf Estes

PEACE TV has produced some of the best Islamic shows for children. The first one to make this list is Stories of the Prophets. Yusuf Estes is perfect as an Islamic teacher for children, looking like a jolly grandfather and with a very good sense of humor, he keeps the children entertained while teaching them the stories of the prophets (peace be upon them) and many valuable lessons from each story. This is a very important show to let your children watch and one of many reasons why I recommend PEACE TV for every Muslim home.

6. Whiz Kids – Wonder Kids

Other entertaining shows on PEACE TV are Whiz Kids and Wonder Kids, both feature performances by the children of the IIS (International Islamic School) in which the children deliver lectures, sing nasheeds, act out plays and overall provide good entertainment and lessons for children. I really like these shows because they provide positive role models for Muslim children, as your children can grow up watching practicing Muslim children on television.

5. Hooray for Baba Ali

Young people and teenagers are entertained and learn a lot through Baba Ali’s Reminder series, but for the little ones, there is Hooray for Baba Ali. A series of short videos in which Baba Ali entertains the kiddies by behaving like a child (more like a Muslim version of Mr. Bean) while teaching them many important lessons including obedience to parents, cleanliness, kindness to animals and so much more. The DVD of this series released by 1Islam productions has some bonus nasheed videos which the children really love.

4. The Boy and the King

One of my favorite stories of all time, narrated in Saheeh Muslim and the Tafseer of Surah Buruj, the story of the boy and the king is full of great moral lessons. That is why this is one of my favorite Islamic movies ever. At a full feature length of one and a half hours, this movie tells the story of the boy who stood up against the king and his sorcerer and all the adventures that ensued. The movie’s animation is a bit outdated but it does not matter much because that is made up for with quality voice acting, a well written script and many morals and lessons for the entire family. This movie I recommend the entire family to watch together, not just for the kids.

3. Muhammad (pbuh): The Final Prophet

It is hard to choose between the Message, the Final Legacy (series on Islam Channel) or the animated movie Muhammad: The Final Prophet. All three tell the Seerah beautifully, but since this is a list for children, I will go with the animated movie as the best way to teach your children the basic Seerah. The movie is well-animated, has good voice acting, an excellent script and tells all the major events of the Seerah with many moral lessons in just one and a half hours. I find this movie perfect as an introduction to the Seerah for children, Non-Muslims and new converts.

2. The Zaky Series

1Islam Productions’ child division One4Kids have hired quality animators to put together a series of DVDs with an Islamic ethos about a purple bear named Zaky. There is so much to praise about this series. The animation is of the highest quality, the knowledge passed on is approved by scholars and authentic, there are no musical instruments and it is very well scripted. The best DVD in this series thus far is “Time to Pray with Zaky” which teaches children how to perform Wudhu, Tayyamum and Salah as well as many other lessons along the way. This DVD taught my children how to pray before they were two years old and at the moment they are learning their duas and surahs from this movie. If you don’t have this DVD in your collection, get it now. At the moment, we are eagerly awaiting the DVD release of the next Zaky movie in which he deals with protecting the environment.

1. Enjoying Islam with Zain and Dawud

Another PEACE TV production, this is a very high quality TV show, which I love watching with my children. This show stars Zain Bhikha, Dawud Wharnsby and five wonderful Muslim children in a library in which they discussed many important Islamic topics using many creative means and of course many nasheeds (with no instruments except the duff). The show has a catchy theme song which gets my children excited and glued to the TV, it has a brightly colored set, brilliant actors and in every episode your children will learn many valuable Islamic lessons. Yet another reason to have PEACE TV in your home.


Monday, June 7, 2010

If Superheroes were Muslims

I want to write a Muslim Superhero story but till then here is some light humor. Some things I thought about while trying to think up a Muslim Superhero.

(If you do not find this funny or lack a sense of humor then simply do not comment and ignore this piece)

If Superheroes were Muslims:
They wouldn't wear tight-fitting costumes

If Superheroes were Muslims:
Most supervillains would strike at Salah time
(In this case, the heroes would utilize the Fiqh of Salah in Jihad)

If Superheroes were Muslims:
More Supervillains would convert to Islam than die

If Batman was a Muslim:
He'd keep that cool beard he had at the beginning of Batman Begins

If Superman was a Muslim:
Some Sufis would regard him as a Hazrat and regard his powers as Karamaat

If Spiderman was a Muslim:
He'd marry both Gwen Stacy and Mary Jane, problem solved

If Ironman was a Muslim:
The war in Afganisthan would be over

If Wolverine was a Muslim:
He wouldn't hit on the X-women

If Magneto was a Muslim:
He'd look like Gandalf

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Research on Macdonalds

With all the controversy going on in our loving united community about Halal chicken, I thought the following research by a good friend of mine, Imran Ayub, can help shed some light on the issue (or at least set the stage for Chicken War II):

Halaal Meat

By Imran Ayub

Alhamdulilah. Indeed, all praise is due to Allaah. We praise Him and seek His help and forgiveness. We seek refuge in Allaah from our souls’ evil and our wrong doings. He whom Allaah guides, no one can misguide; and he whom He misguides, no one can guide. I bear witness that there is no (true) God except Allaah – alone without a partner, and I bear witness that Muhammad (peace be upon him) is His ‘Abd (servant) and messenger

Case study of McDonalds in UK: Is it Halaal?

Question 1: What are the Islamic guidelines in terms of Slaughter?


i. The Animal should be slaughtered Using a sharp object and in the name of Allaah

Narrated Rafi bin Khadij (May Allaah be pleased with him): The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "If the killing tool causes blood to gush out and if Allah's Name is mentioned, eat (of the slaughterer animal). But do not slaughter with a tooth or a nail. I am telling you why: A tooth is a bone, and the nail is the knife of Ethiopians.”[1]

Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “(Correct) slaughtering is applied to the throat and windpipe.”[2]

ii. The Food needs to be from a Muslim, Jew or Christian only.

Allaah, the Most High, says: “Made lawful to you this day are At­Tayyibât [all kinds of Halâl (lawful) foods, which Allâh has made lawful (meat of slaughtered eatable animals, etc., milk products, fats, vegetables and fruits, etc.). The food (slaughtered cattle, eatable animals, etc.) of the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) is lawful to you and yours is lawful to them.”[3]

In his famous Tafseer, Imaam Ibn Katheer said: “The food of the People of the Scripture is lawful to you..” meaning, their slaughtered animals, as Ibn `Abbas, Abu Umamah, Mujahid, Sa`id bin Jubayr, `Ikrimah, `Ata', Al-Hasan, Makhul, Ibrahim An-Nakha`i, As-Suddi and Muqatil bin Hayyan stated. This ruling, that the slaughtered animals of the People of the Book are permissible for Muslims, is agreed on by the scholars, because the People of the Book believe that slaughtering for other than Allah is prohibited[4]. They mention Allah's Name upon slaughtering their animals, even though they have deviant beliefs about Allah that do not befit His majesty.”

Even the Prophet (peace be upon him) ate the food from the Jews and did not ask how they had slaughtered it or if they had mentioned Allaah’s name:

Narrated Anas bin Maalik (may Allaah be pleased with him): A Jewess brought a poisoned (cooked) sheep for the Prophet who ate from it. She was brought to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and he was asked, "Shall we kill her?" He said, "No." I continued to see the effect of the poison on the palate of the mouth of Allah's Apostle.[5]

Dr. Muhammad al – Jibaly said: “…If Allaah's name is not pronounced at the time of slaughtering because of ignorance or forgetfulness, this does not make the animal prohibited - unless it is dedicated to other than Allaah.”[6] And we know that Jews and Christians do not slaughter their meat for false gods.

It was reported from Yazeed An – Nahwee, from ‘Ikrimah, from Ibn ‘Abbaas, who said: The Verse “So eat of that upon which Allaah’s Name has been mentioned.” (6:118) and the Verse “Eat not of that upon which Allaah’s Name has not been mentioned.” (6:121) were abrogated, and an exception was granted for that, so He said “The food of the people of the Book is lawful to you, and yours is lawful to them.” (5:5)[7]

Question 2: Are we allowed to eat the food of the Christians and Jews today?


Yes, we are, as long as they slaughter the animal while it’s alive, and not, for example, stunned it to death. As for the beliefs of the Jews and Christians, they were off the straight right path along time before the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). The Jews ignored their scriptures and tried to kill the messiah, ‘Isa (peace be upon him), while the Christians were deceived by Paul, and the bible and the trinity were changed and ‘invented’ in Nicea, by Constantine and co.

Allaah mentions how they strayed from the right path in the Qur’aan: "Surely, disbelievers are those who said: "Allâh is the third of the three (in a trinity)." But there is no ilâh (god) (none who has the right to be worshipped) but One Ilâh (God -Allâh). And if they cease not from what they say, verily, a painful torment will befall the disbelievers among them.”[8]

“O people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians)! Do not exceed the limits in your religion, nor say of Allâh aught but the truth. The Messiah 'Iesa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary), was (no more than) a Messenger of Allâh and His Word, ("Be!" - and he was) which He bestowed on Maryam (Mary) and a spirit (Rûh) created by Him; so believe in Allâh and His Messengers. Say not: "Three (trinity)!" Cease! (it is) better for you. For Allâh is (the only) One Ilâh (God), Glory be to Him (Far Exalted is He) above having a son. To Him belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth. And Allâh is All­Sufficient as a Disposer of affairs."[9]

“And they (Jews, Christians and pagans) say: Allâh has begotten a son (children or offspring). Glory be to Him (Exalted be He above all that they associate with Him). Nay, to Him belongs all that is in the heavens and on earth, and all surrender with obedience (in worship) to Him.”[10]

Please note: Some of these Jews and Christians have in fact become atheists. This, however, is not as common as people may believe and we cannot judge (a Christian or Jew) to be an atheist, unless there is proof. Most Christians and Jews today have some belief in God and the reality is that atheism (in its true form) is extremely rare. Most people, who claim to deny God's existence, tend to believe in God, but hate Him for something that may have happened in their live, like an illness for example. This is due to their ignorance of Qadr.

Question 3: I called McDonalds and they said their food is not Halaal


The reality is that they probably do not even understand what Halaal food is. Due to the ignorance in the Muslim community, most people do not understand what Halaal food is exactly and end up basing their judgements on baseless rulings.

Thus, it is incumbent on us to do the research ourselves.

Question 4: Doesn’t McDonalds stun their animals?


Yes, however, they do not stun them to death. The following is taken from their website:

“All animals are individually stunned and unconscious before slaughter. McDonald’s ensures that the slaughter of animals is carried out in a humane and compassionate manner by qualified personnel, under veterinary supervision.”[11]

a. Beef

“The majority of abattoirs that supply McDonald's beef in the UK use a captive bolt to stun the animal. There are a small number that use electric stunning. Both methods comply with the high standards of animal welfare required by McDonald's under advisement from UK and European legislation as well as animal experts. The company simply will not work with any supplier that does not adhere to these high standards. All abattoirs must be EU-approved and all are under the care of qualified vets and health inspectors.”[12]

“The cattle are unloaded at the abattoir and then carefully inspected under veterinary supervision to make sure each animal is fit for slaughter. They are then individually walked through to a pen where they are stunned before their main artery is cut. They will die in a matter of seconds and do not feel a thing during this process. McDonald’s has standards in place to ensure that the slaughter of animals is carried out in a humane and compassionate manner by qualified personnel. The company simply will not work with any supplier that cannot adhere to these high standards, and of course all those required by UK and EU legislation. All abattoirs must be EU-approved and all are under the care of qualified vets and health inspectors. (July 2007)”[13]

“The cattle are unloaded at the abattoir and then carefully inspected under veterinary supervision to make sure each animal is fit for slaughter. They are then individually walked through to a pen where they are stunned before their main artery is cut. They will die in a matter of seconds and do not feel a thing during this process. McDonald’s has standards in place to ensure that the slaughter of animals is carried out in a humane and compassionate manner by qualified personnel. The company simply will not work with any supplier that cannot adhere to these high standards, and of course all those required by UK and EU legislation. All abattoirs must be EU-approved and all are under the care of qualified vets and health inspectors. (October 2007)”[14]

b. Chicken

“The chickens are unloaded at the abattoir and then carefully inspected under veterinary supervision to make sure each animal is fit for slaughter. They are then individually hung on a line which quickly transports them in a calm environment (they hang against a soft side rest proven to have a calming effect); to where they are stunned to make sure they are unconscious, before the main artery is cut. McDonald’s has very stringent procedures in place throughout its food production to ensure that all animals are treated in the right way before slaughter.

All suppliers who work with McDonald’s must adhere to the extremely stringent guidelines and high standards laid down by local government, the McDonald’s Agriculture Assurance Plans, and the British Poultry Council’s Assured Chicken Production scheme which controls all aspects of chicken farming, including feed and animal welfare. McDonald's continues to collaborate with global animal welfare experts to ensure that it provides the highest levels of farming quality and welfare. (August 2007)”[15]

And as long as the animal is alive after stunning[16], it’s Halaal.

Question 5: You are not a scholar, so why should we believe you?


I am a simple student as yourselves, however I have presented proof from the research I have done and I got my opinion checked and approved by Dr. Bilal Philips who agreed and said: “You are correct. Their meat is fundamentally Halaal, as long as the animal is alive when slaughtered. If they die from stunning prior to slaughter, then they are Haraam.”

Ask yourself this, “Do I really know what Halaal food is? Or do I just follow what people say?”

Islaam is a religion of ease…and we should leave it like that.

Allaah, the Most High, says in the Qur’aan: “…Allâh intends for you ease, and He does not want to make things difficult for you...”[17]

Narrated Aboo Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him): The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "Religion is very easy and whoever overburdens himself in his religion will not be able to continue in that way. So you should not be extremists, but try to be near to perfection and receive the good tidings that you will be rewarded; and gain strength by worshipping in the mornings, the nights."[18]

Question 5: What about KFC?

On the KFC Website about the Halaal Chicken they sell It says:

7. Does this mean your animal welfare standards have changed?
No, not at all. We will always only purchase high quality, Grade A, farm assured chicken from the same leading suppliers used by Britain’s major retailers. We remain committed to the same animal welfare standards and will continue to insist that our poultry is stunned before slaughter. All of our suppliers are contractually required to meet or exceed all relevant UK and EU legislation.

8. Is KFC’s halal chicken stunned before slaughter? Absolutely, we insist that all of our poultry is stunned before slaughter. The only difference is that for us to achieve halal accreditation, a blessing must be read by an authorised person at the time of slaughter and we need to ensure that the poultry does not come into contact with non-halal meat at any point in the supply chain. These are small changes that do not compromise our current welfare standards in any way.”

Thus, everything is exactly the same, except they say the Tasmiyyah before slaughtering (which is mentioning Allaah's name). This means they are doing exactly what McDonalds does. The animal is stunned (made unconscious, but is alive), then slaughtered. They do this because they think it’s humane, and Muslim do this (i.e. stunning), because chicken start hitting each other and end up with bruising (when on the conveyor belt).

There is a difference of opinion whether you must mention Allaah's name when slaughtering, or whether it is recommended. From what Dr. Bilal Philips (a Muslim Scholar) explained to me, you need to mention Allaah's name, in general for Muslims, but there is an exception when it comes to Christians and Jews.

And this is supported by Ibn Abbaas, who was a companion that new the Qur'aan really well and his Tafseer is one that is considered one of the best and most reliable:

It was reported from Yazeed An – Nahwee, from ‘Ikrimah, from Ibn ‘Abbaas, who said: The Verse “So eat of that upon which Allaah’s Name has been mentioned.” (6:118) and the Verse “Eat not of that upon which Allaah’s Name has not been mentioned.” (6:121) were abrogated, and an exception was granted for that, so He said “The food of the people of the Book is lawful to you, and yours is lawful to them.” (5:5)[19]


Sheikh Abu ‘Abdissalam[20] said: “If the general rule in the country is that the huge majority of people still call themselves Christian or Jew, then the asl (general rule) regarding meat in that country is that it is Halaal (of course, this excludes things which are specifically prohibited in Islam such as the pig). This is as long as the general norm is that they slaughter the animal (spill blood by cutting the neck) and not kill it for example by stunning (i.e. the stunning causes the death).”[21]

Narrated ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her): A group of people said to the Prophet (peace be upon him), ‘Some people bring us meat and we do not know whether they have mentioned Allah's Name or not on slaughtering the animal.’ He (peace be upon him) said, “Mention Allah's Name on it and eat.” Those people had embraced Islam recently.[22]

Sheikh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen said, after quoting the above hadeeth: “They were new in Islam, and they did not know whether they had said the name of Allah or not, so he said: “Say it yourselves, then eat.” So eating it is permissible even if we do not know whether the one who slaughtered the meat mentioned the name of Allah or not. Similarly it is permissible to eat even if we do not know whether the meat was slaughtered in the proper manner or not, because if the action is carried out by the right people then the basic principle is that it is valid, unless there is evidence to the contrary. So if some meat comes to us from a Muslim, a Jew or a Christian, we should not ask about it or ask how it was slaughtered or whether the name of Allah was mentioned over it. It is Halaal so long as there is no clear proof that it is Haraam. This is a way in which Allah has made things easier for us.”[23]

Thus, it is incumbent upon the Muslim community to do the research and convey the correct information to the public.

The above case study was not to promote McDonalds or claim it is Halaal, my intentions were to simply make us all aware of how to derive correct rulings based on proof. We cannot simply follow our whims and desires or follow our 'Imams' blindly. These guidelines should be used for all meats in all restaurants, shops, etc in UK and around the world.

And It is Only Allaah Who grants success. May Allaah Exalt the mention of His slave and Messenger Muhammad (peace be upon him), and render him, his household and companion safe from Evil.



· ‘Halaal Meat’, by Sheikh Abu ‘Abdissalam,

· ‘Festivals and Celebrations’, by Dr. Muhammad al – Jiblaay, 2nd Edition, al – Kitaab and as – Sunnah Publishing, 2005

· ‘Make up your own mind about McDonald’s Restaurants and Food Quality’,


[1] Saheeh Bukhaari, Volume 7, Book 67, Number 406

[2] Recorded by Ibn Hibbaan and others from Ibn ‘Abbaas and other companions (may Allaah be pleased with them). Verified to be Saheeh by Sheikh al – Albaanee in ‘Irwaa’ ul – Ghaleel’, Number 2542; as quoted in ‘Festivals and Celebrations’, p. 199

[3] The Noble Qur’aan, Soorah Al-Ma'idah 5:5
[4] They do claim they worship One God and this is also found in the Bible: "You shall have no other gods besides me. You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below." [The Bible, Exodus 20:3-4 (New International Version)]

[5] Saheeh Bukhaari, Volume 3, Book 47, Number 786; Also see Saheeh Muslim, Book 026, Number 5430
[6] As quoted in ‘Festivals and Celebrations’, p. 202
[7] Sunan Aboo Daawood, Volume 3, Book 16, Hadeeth Number 2,817, p. 388, Classed as Hasan by Haafiz Aboo Taahir Zubayr ‘Alee Za’i, Darussalam Publishers, [English Translation], 2008

[8] The Noble Qur’aan, Soorah Al-Ma'idah 5:73
[9] The Noble Qur’aan, Soorah An-Nisa 4:171
[10] The Noble Qur’aan, Soorah Al-Baqarah 2:116
[16] The only reason stunning would make a meat Haraam is if the animal died due to the stunning. This would put that meat in the category of ‘dead meat’, and would thus not be permissible. The reason why they normally stun is to make the slaughtering process easier as the animal is large. They also claim its less painful, however, studies have shown the Islaamic method is the least pain full (Its like comparing a blow to the head and a sharp cut due to shaving)

[17] The Noble Qur’aan, Soorah Al-Baqarah 2:185
[18] See Fath-ul-Bari, Page 102, Vol 1; Saheeh Bukhaari, Volume 1, Book 2, Number 38
[19] Sunan Aboo Daawood, Volume 3, Book 16, Hadeeth Number 2,817, p. 388, Classed as Hasan by Haafiz Aboo Taahir Zubayr ‘Alee Za’i, Darussalam Publishers, [English Translation], 2008

[20] Abu Abdissalam Muhammad Nabeel was born in the central English town of Coventry and was raised in London. Graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from the City University in London, his zeal for knowledge led him to give up a subsequently lucrative career in the computer industry to join Dar Al-Hadith Al-Khayriyyah in the blessed city of Makkah and obtained a degree in Islamic Studies specialising in Hadith and it's Sciences.

During his time there, he studied under many of the prominent scholars of our time. He is currently in the final year of his degree at the Darul-Hadeeth, Makkah.

During the course of his studies he has acquired ijazas for all of the six major books of Hadith (Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmidhi, Abu Dawood, Na'sai and Ibn Majah). In addition, he also has ijazas for the Sharh of Aqidah Tahawiyyah of Ibn Abdil Izz al-Hanafi, Shaykh Muhammmad Amin al Harari's Sharh of Muqadimmah of Muslim and Nuzhat An-Nazr Sharh Nukhbat al-Fikr of Ibn Hajar.

Abu Abdissalam has translated a number of Islamic texts from Arabic into English for the benefit of the English speaking Muslims around the world. He is actively involved in many spheres of Da’wah in the UK and has numerous notable achievements. These include establishing the Islamic Network, a non-profit organization that provides a common platform for various da’wah efforts to work collectively in the UK and abroad.

Abu 'Abdissalam also appears regularly on Islam Channel, a UK-based satellite channel which is currently broadcasting two of his series: 'Heavenly Pearls' and 'Stories of the Prophets'. []

[21] ‘Halaal Meat’,

[22] Saheeh Bukhaari, Vol. 3, Book 34, Number 273
[23] Liqaa’aat al-Baab il-Maftooh, 1/77; as quoted in ‘Halaal Meat’,

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Women in a Masjid, a female convert's perspective

I recently had a big discussion of Facebook about the right of women to visit the Masjid, the following email from a female convert who use to live in a country where women were allowed in the Masjid before moving to ultra-conservative South Africa really hit me, please read and you will insha Allah understand why we put so much emphasis on this issue. By the way, I asked Dr Bilal Philips about Shaykh Yusuf Qaradawi's statement on this issue and he replied, "Good, this evil (of banning women from the Masjid) must be overcome."

The E-mail:

"Wa'alaykum asalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatahu,

BarakAllahu feek ya Abu Muawiyah for defending the order of the Prophet, sallallahu 'alayhi wassalam. And when the Prophet, 'alayhis salam orders a thing, then NO-ONE has any right at all to oppose him...

Personally, I know of no country other than South Africa where women are forbidden from attending the masajids - it was certainly a big issue which upset me when I came to SA - after living in australia, and being able to attend the masjid when I pleased and sooo loving ramadaan and attending the masjid for taraweeh every night, I felt totally 'deprived' and almost like my deen had been stolen from me. There just is no place like the house of Allah, it has an amazingly spiritual, calming, cleansing and truly beneficial effect.

I also know from visiting countries such as Saudi, Malaysia and Dubai, that facilitating women in Masajids, prayer rooms etc, carries HUGE benefit. It makes salaah so easy, and always on time. Unlike here, where I have actually been 'forced' to miss my salaah because a man wanted to stop the car and pray in the masjid, whereas us women had to remain in the car, just watching the time for salaah float by, along with our salaah - I've rarely experience such anger and frustration!

And especially in places like Dubai, where one is so surrounded by materialism - being able to retreat to a prayer room in the mall at salaah time is truly full of good. Leaving the shops and stepping into a place of worship is almost literally like stepping out of filth into purity, or from darkness into light...

And never have i seen any mixing caused by this, let alone 'zina'! in every country i've been to, and every masjid, there was a separate entrance for women that was out of view of the entrance for men, so how can there be mixing? And if a person was so diseased that he or she would commit any level of zina anywhere near the house of Allah, then it is surely these people who need to attend His house more often so that they may receive guidance.

Also, in most other countries esp UK, US and Australia, because of the women being allowed to attend the masjid there is a wonderful beautiful 'sisterhood' amongst these women - this I certainly do not find, and desperately miss here in SA, where every women seems to be for herself, and the only gathering is the rule-burdened tabligh ta'aleems, where the women are practically not allowed to speak to each other during the meeting. And of course being in 'fatima's' house, nowhere near carries the atmosphere of being in Allah's house!

For any negatives there may be for women attending the masjid, there are far more positives that clearly outweigh them. This would be why the Prophet, salallahu alahyi wassalam's last order concerning the masjid and women, was not to forbid them, and we should remember again, that when the Prophet, 'alayhis salam orders a thing, then NO-ONE has any right at all to oppose him..."

Umm Latifa

Monday, April 5, 2010

Imaan-Boosting Motivational Tasks

Many a times we lack motivation to go the distance and be the best Muslims we can be. Here are a few tasks you can do that will boost your motivational levels, insha Allah:

1. Think of your favorite things that you love about Paradise and how much you want it (meeting Allah, meeting a relative who passed away, eternal life, etc), now think about what you are doing wrong in your life that might be preventing you from getting it (not praying, not wearing Hijab, backbiting, injustice, etc). Is Paradise not worth sacrificing for? Think about the above and make a pledge and effort to improve yourself to get what you want.

2. Attend a workshop or Islamic course taught by a dynamic tutor who makes you love Islam (not some boring scary molwy), this normally boosts my Imaan levels and gets me going to do my best!

3. Read a portion of the Qur'aan with translation and sit and ponder over its beauty and meanings and impact in your life.

4. Visit a friend who reminds you of Allah and makes you love Islam and want to practice Islam (not the self-righteous guy who makes you feel inferior to him)

5. Go outdoors on a beautiful day, sit in the sunlight and ponder over the beauty of Allah's creation (no guys, not the girls ,lower your gaze from them), pray two rakahs on the grass itself slowly with understanding.

6. Read my articles (just joking). Watch a motivational Islamic video (DVD, YouTube, PEACE TV) or read a motivational book or article.

Most importantly, change comes from within and from Allah. Make that effort, make du'a and Allah will help us find our way to Him and His Paradise.

Monday, March 29, 2010

The IOU and Me

In early 2007, I had recently gotten married and was searching for authentic Islamic sources for my wife and I. I started watching PEACE TV and got interested in the lectures of Dr Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips.

I also had the habit of buying any book I found written by Ibn Taymiyyah (RA. During this time I came across a book called "Ibn Taymiyyah's essay on the Jinn" translated and edited by Dr Abu Amueenah Bilal Philips. On the back cover of the book was a link to the Islamic Online University (IOU).

I joined the IOU that week (its free!) and took up the only available course "The dawah training course" as the website had recently opened up. That was a new beginning for me. Through modules consisting of PDF notes, audio and video lectures and MCQ (multiple choice question) tests, as well as assignments, I began to re-study Islam and change many of my opinions.

During this time, I started talking to Dr Bilal Philips about many of our differences and my doubts in his content. He was the first teacher who could answer my questions in a manner that satisfied my intellect and never stopped me from asking questions or questioning his opinions and I developed a deep admiration for him. That year in November, I journeyed to Mumbai, India for the first time to attend the Peace Conference and meet this amazing man.

The conference was amazing and I met many other amazing people before I got to meet the Shaykh, including Shaykh Salem Al-Amry, Zain Bhikha, Yusuf Estes, Iesa Washington and Musa Cerantonio amongst others. Finally, on the eight night of the conference I managed to sneak past the guards long enough to greet and introduce myself to Dr Bilal, he then told them to let me into the VIP area and I had the honor that night of dining with the Shuyukh and meeting Dr Zakir Naik! I sat with Dr Bilal Philips and Shaykh Hussein Yee and had dinner with them. Two nights later, I once again had dinner in the VIP area with Dr Bilal Philips.

During this trip, I bought at least ten books written by Dr Bilal and read all of them, including Fundamentals of Tawheed, Evolution of Fiqh and Tafseer Surah Hujarat. It was one of the most memorable and life-changing journeys of my life.

Since 2007, gradualy the IOU introduced more free courses and I did as many as I could. As of now, I have completed almost ten courses through the IOU including Foundations of Islamic Studies, Usool Tafseer, Usool Hadith, Fiqh of Fasting to name a few. I owe a lot of my knowledge to Dr Bilal Philips and his IOU and I ask Allah to reward them all greatly.

My relationship with the IOU did not stop there however, as the university grew, they needed more staff, in 2008 I found myself taking up a voluntary post to assist in facilitating the courses. The university grew so fast that today, there are over 13000 students studying the free short courses on the IOU, Alhamdulillah.

In 2009, I went to India once again, this time to Chennai to teach in a new school that Dr Bilal Philips had founded, the Al-Fajr International School. I stayed in India for two months before returning. Even though I enjoyed the job and loved the children I met there, and really appreciated the time I spent in Dr Bilal's company, I found the living conditions in Chennai difficult for myself and my family so I returned to South Africa.

In 2010, a new chapter begins in the IOU. Dr Bilal Philips has introduced the first ever tution-free BA in Islamic Studies course online. Alhamdulillah, he has hired me as a Tutorial Assistant for this course, I will be assisting and tutoring the students in the fields of Arabic, Fiqh and Aqeedah. It is an exciting new initiative and I am grateful to Allah for allowing me to be part of something so big and important.

As of today, close to 800 students have registered for the first semester in the IOU's BAIS program. I ask Allah to make the IOU a great success, to use it to change the lives of millions and revive the correct understanding of His deen, to reward Dr Bilal for all his hard work, as well as all those involved in this and all other important Islamic projects.

Few points about Hijab

Hijab is a topic people shy away from and don't want to talk about, out of fear of being unpopular. The only topic more controversial to talk about to women than Hijab is polygamy, but that is for another article.

Anyway, here are a few short pointers on Hijab:

1) Hijab is compulsory for both men and women in front of members of the opposite gender whom they can marry. (that includes your cousins)

2) Area of Hijab for women, minimum is to cover everything except their face and hands. (yes, some scholars say face as well, but I'm talking minimum, agreed upon, etc)

3) Area of Hijab for men is whatever is between their navel and their knees (not including navel or knees), men are also prohibited from wearing pure silk, jewelry (except a ring) and shaving their beards

4) Both men and women must lower their gaze if they feel desire when they see a member of the opposite sex.

5) Both men and women must NOT wear tight-fitting or transparent clothing

6) Both men and women must NOT wear sexually attractive clothing or talk, act in a sexy manner

7) That is between people you can marry. In front of your brothers, father, other women, etc, a woman only has to cover from her bosom to her knees

8) Between husband and wife, all the above rules do not apply, its No-Holds-barred!..except two but thats a different topic.

9) The above rules apply on Facebook as well, in your profile and album pics

10) Many women find wearing Hijab difficult, try your best, do it for Allah and don't worry about what people say.

11) Your hijab is NOT hijab if: 1) You backbite people who don't wear it
2) You beautify your face and Hijab enough to turn men's heads
3) You are a muscled up guy wearing a tight fitting shirt
4) Your hair, neck or bra straps are showing!
5) You flirt around despite wearing hijab

12) Lowering your gaze is difficult, let us make it easy for each other by dressing appropriately.

13) If you fulfill the above conditions and the opposite sex still gazes at you with lust, you have done your duty, they must learn to do theirs, which is lower their gaze (I know men who look at Niqabis' eyes and how beautiful they are)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Dawah: You missed a spot!

A few days ago, I was in a bookstore doing some research and I overheard some guys discussing the existence of God. It was clear that one was an atheist and the other was a struggling Christian.

“Do you believe in God or not?” demanded the atheist customer, “and which book do you recommend to prove that God does not exist?”

“I can’t recommend a book since I don’t exactly not believe in God,” the Christian salesman stammered, “I can’t say that I believe in God or not, although I believe much of what is in the Bible.”

The two men went back and forth with the atheist pressuring the salesman into taking a stance, meanwhile, I went back to reading my book. Then an elderly lady came and took a book from the table in front of me, I offered her my seat but she declined but commented that she liked my thobe (she didn’t use that word, just said that shirt thing you’re wearing) and asked me where I got it from. I told her I got it from Dubai, she then went on her way and I returned to my book.

After I had finished reading, while I was driving home, my heart was suddenly filled with regret. “You missed a spot!” I told myself, two good Dawah opportunities presented themselves to me but I did not take advantage of them because I was too busy with my book!

How many times do we pass by these opportunities to share our views and beliefs with others? Generally, I try my best never to miss a Dawah opportunity. If I am sitting on a train, bus or aeroplane, then you should expect the person seated next to me to receive a dose of Dawah.

Islam is a universal message and as carriers of this message, we are duty-bound to share the message of Islam with everyone we meet. If the right occasion presents itself to you, do not hesitate to share the message of Islam with anyone. Do not repeat my mistake, seize every opportunity and spread the word of Islam!

Crossposted from Muslim Matters

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Just an update - IOU, Muslim Matters and more

I haven't updated my blog in a while because I have been very busy with the Islamic Online University (IOU) setting up their BAIS program which I am officially a Tutorial Assistant in. I would like to thank Dr Bilal Philips for this opportunity to be a part of this incrediblely creative method of imparting Islamic knowledge. If you don't know what the IOU is, check it out! Over fifteen free short courses in different Islamic topics and know the Full BAIS online tution free. Please check it out and do not let this opportunity to gain Islamic knowledge pass you by.

I am also very busy with Deenclass Durban, currently serving as a substitute Arabic teacher but will soon insha Allah have my own Arabic classes as well as monthly Youth workshop so stay tuned for that!

As of late I have been posting most of my articles on Muslim since they receive a much larger readership than this blog. So for now I won't be posting many articles here unless I find an article of mine too controversial for a big blog. ;)

Here is a nice article to read by MJ Khan about the arrivals about which I said in my latest Jumah lecture, "The Arrivals is a bunch of crap and we should not waste our time with it as we have more important things to learn from"

My Radio lecture series (Friday 9am - radio Al-Ansar)is going extremely well, I don't have it up online but you can download or listen to the youth program we had on Radio Al-Ansar with myself, MJ Khan, Fatima Asmal, Zain Bhikha, Baba Ali and more here.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

New Article at Muslim Matters

My latest article "The Quran and Me: Developing a personal relationship" is now up at Muslim Matters. Please check it out.

In other news, tomorrow night (Thursday 24 February) I'll be a guest on Fatima Asmal's show on Radio Al-Ansaar between 8:30pm and 10:30pm SA time. Please tune in. Don't forget, my own lecture series on Radio Al-Ansaar starts this coming Friday at 9am.

Look out for Youth Seminars starting soon in Durban hosted by me, insha Allah.

To Allah Alone belongs all praise.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

"Mercy To The Universe" Radio Lecture Series

Alhamdulillah, during the upcoming Radio Al-Ansar Sirah Broadcast, I will be hosting my own lecture series. Every Friday morning at 9am South African time (GMT +2) for an hour. Please tune in to hear about a different dimension to the Sirah, focusing on the mercy, tolerance and social dealings of the prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him). People outside of Durban can listen to the broadcast here.

Please tune in and then provide me with your feedback. :)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

CM Punk should be a Muslim

The WWE is not a good place for Muslims to take their role models from. Whether it is the beer-drinking finger-flipping Steve Austin or the women who dress so bad, it is Haraam to even look at them. (unless you are Superbuzrug and don't feel desire when looking at them)

Of course, the biggest problem with the WWE (and many other sports) is that smoking, drug usage, steroids and alcohol consumption are common amongst their stars, which is something no Muslim wants their kids to emulate. This is what makes CM Punk so unique. When I first heard about CM Punk's straightedge gimmick, I was happy that at least he is promoting something good on screen, even though I know that the WWE is staged (not fake). However, when I learned that he really is straightedge i.e. he does not drink, smoke or take drugs, I became curious and did some research on him. So here are my thoughts on CM Punk:

1. It is sad that being straightedge makes CM Punk unique in the WWE when in reality, that is how we all should be. CM Punk probably never heard the true message of Islam, if he did, he'd be happy to know that there is a straightedge religion, i.e. a religion which condemns all forms of smoking, drug usage, steroids and alcohol consumption. The perfect religion for him and if he joins us, he will be joining the world's largest straightedge family. He even started growing a nice beard now, which will make him fit in even more.

I would encourage CM Punk and other straight-edge people to study Islam, in fact if I would jump at the chance to sit with him and discuss our commonalities and differences. He'll be more at home with us than in the WWE. Just a thought.

2. As a heel (thats the wrestling term for bad guy) CM Punk plays the preachy Holier-than-thou character. Another lesson for Muslims, many of us fall into this same trap. When we get pious and grow a beard, we tend to talk other people down and behave like we have always been perfect. Watch CM Punk talking to the audience, notice that most of what he says is true, why do they boo and hate him? Because of the manner in which he said it and his character, i.e. been holier-than-thou. Now be introspective and see if you do not have the same fault and come across as Holier-Than-Thou when correcting people. If you do, make a change! Become humble by thinking about your own sins and weaknesses. If you don't have this fault, praise Allah and keep humble.

Who said you can't take out Islamic lessons from Western Media. ;-)

Stay Strong! Stay Drug Free!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Majlis Strikes Back (Fictional Piece)

As I looked around, tears formed in my eyes. Xenaphobia against Indians had reached its limits thanks to the.....Majlis!

It was just a few months ago that the Majlis decided to declare war on South Africa since they had come to the conclusion that all South Africans are disbelievers and must be fought, especially the apostates, i.e. all the other Muslims. So they began calling people for Jihad and a lot of youth got riled up and joined their Jihad.

The Jihad initially started with a press release, every Majlis issue ever was distributed to every Masjid in SA. Huge posters were put up saying, "Do not support the evil apostate Baboon Ulema-e-Zuuul and do not eat filthy carrion halalized chickens!" At first people ignored it, then tragedy struck....

Two weeks later, a young supporter of Majlis went on a suicide mission to Rainbow Chickens, he was successful and blew up the plantation massacring twenty five thousand chickens and himself, thus saving the chickens from being tortured by electrocution and saving Muslims from eating "Haram Carrion Stinking Rotten Halalized Chicken"

The backlash of this was that the government banned all Muslim butcheries stating that this was a terrorist attack aimed at undercutting the business of rainbow chicken. Soon Muslims in South Africa had no where to buy Halal Chicken from and started rethinking the ruling of eating the meat of "the people of the book,". This only angered Majlis more and they sent out new articles stating that the people of the book at the time of the prophet were different and not the "Immoral Filthy Kaafir" of today. Again nobody took this seriously, except Jews and Christians in South Africa who were now afraid of going the same way as Rainbow Chicken.

They formed the "POTBAM" (People of the Book Against Majlis) society and asked the government to arrest Majlis on terrorist charges. Unfortunately, Zuma was too busy taking a shower to care.

The Jamiats and MJC all united in the face of this new treat from Majlis but refused to unite with the Salafis, Barelwis and Progressives. This unity lasted one meeting until the head of the Jamait KZN accused the other Jamiats of being Pro-Salafi and they all accused MJC of being Modernist. Soon every Masjid in SA had posters up from each of these groups asking to boycott the others, as well as a poster from Majlis declaring all these groups and their supporters "Filthy Dirty Apostates"

The biggest shock came on what was suppose to be most blessed day in South Africa, Zuma and a few other members of the ANC including the head of the Youth League were going to take their Shahadah and join the Muslim community. Zuma and his friends however quickly revealed that they were firm Majlis supporters and the youth league changed their slogan from "Kill for Zuma" to "Kill for Allah" Zuma then declared Maulana A.S. Desai the new Caliph of South Africa.

From then on, things got even worse. The first order of the Majlis was not to stop crime or end poverty, rather they officially banned all commercially slaughtered chickens and when asked what will the millions of starving South African people eat, Desai replied, "Let them eat Hake!"

Within a few weeks, the following changes were made to 'Islamize' South Africa:

1) All Chairs and High Pan Toilets were banned!
2) All women had to wear full niqab and were banned from public places, with Non-Muslim women wearing red shoes to distinguish them from the Muslims!
3) Entertainment was banned outright as was all media and technology!
4) All Secular Schools were shut down and all children were forced into Darul Ulooms and makthabs

However they could not enforce any of the above, as mass Xenophobia against Indians started. The Progressives and Salafis explained that this was not Islam but Indian culture, thus the locals decided to get rid off all Indians which included the Salafis, Progressives and Hindus since they wanted no sign of Indian culture left in South Africa. Riots broke up countrywide while the locals shouted 'Get the F(atwa) out off our country!'

The South African Economy crumbled, all Majlis members were publicly executed by rebels, Indians were massacred, those who survived were grouped together into a concentration camp called 'District 10' were they shared tents with some strange creatures that resembled prawns and Islam was officially banned in South Africa.

Morals of the Story:
1) We Muslims don't deserve power until we understand and implement Islam properly
2) Terrorism by a few idiots is all thats needed to ruin life and the Dawah for all South Africans so lets sort them out now!
3) Allah save us from the day Majlis has power over anyone but themselves.