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.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Books by Dr. Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips

By Aiyesha Humaira

Books :

Dr. Bilal Philips has written, translated and commented on over 50 published books on various Islamic topics. He has also edited and published the 56 book Eemaan reading series for children. Among them his personal favourites are Fundamentals of Tawheed, Tafseer of Surah Al- Hujrat, and the Exorcist Tradition in Islam.

1. The Evolution of Fiqh, (176 pages)
2. Tafseer of Soorah al-Hujuraat, (252 pages)
3. The Fundamentals of Tawheed, (224 pages)
4. Polygamy in Islaam, (112 pages)
5. Salvation Through Repentance, (92 pages)
6. The True Message of Jesus Christ, (126 pages)
7. Hajj and Umrah According to Qur’aan and Sunnah,(198 pages)
8. The Ansar Cult in America, (206 pages)
9. The True Religion of God, (24 pages)
10. The Qur’aan’s Numerical Miracle: Hoax and Heresy, (74 pages)
11. Islamic Rules on Menstruation and Post-Natal Bleeding, (144 pages)
12. Arabic Reading and Writing Made Easy, (180 pages)
13. Arabic Grammar Made Easy, (202 pages)
14. The Purpose of Creation, (128 pages)
15. The Best in Islam, (110 pages)
16. Dream Interpretation According to Qur’aan and Sunnah, (132 pages)
17. Islamic Studies, Book 1 to 4, (192 pages)
18. Funeral Rites in Islaam, (160 pages)
19. The Exorcist Tradition in Islaam, (332 pages)
20. Usool at-Tafseer, (340 pages)
21. A Commentary on General Issues of Faith, (104 ages)
22. Did God Become Man, (36 pages)
23. A Commentary on The Book of Monotheism, (226 pages)
24. A Commentary on Ibn Qudaamah’s Radiance of Faith, (306 pages)
25. Usool al-Hadeeth, (246 pages)
26. The Moral Foundations of Islamic Culture, (186 pages)
27. The Foundations of Islamic Studies, (356 pages)
28. A Commentary on Usool al-Fiqh, (242 pages)
29. The Jinn Possession of Izzan, (100 pages)
30. Arabic Calligraphy in Manuscript, (210 pages)
31. Ibn Taymeeyah’s Essay on the Jinn, (138 pages)
32. The Mirage in Iran, (78 pages)
33. The Devil’s Deception, (72 pages)
34. Khomeini: A Moderate or Fanatical Shi’ite, (56 pages)
35. The Qur’aan and Modern Science, (48 pages)
36. Ar Riyaa’, (104 pages)
37. Studies in Islam, (300 pages)
38. Shaykh Ibn Baaz’s Gift to the Brethren, (279 pages)
39. Condensed Saheeh Muslim, (1200 pages)
40. A Simple Call to One God (80 pages)
41. Usool al-Fiqh, (154 pages)
42. Tafseer Soorah al-Burooj, (115 pages)
43. Tafseer Soorah al-Mulk, (170 pages)
44. Riyaa: Hidden Shirk, (100 pages)
45. The First Day, (40 pages)
46. Human Rights in Islam, (130 pages)
47. Foundation of Islamic Studies, (250 pages), and more

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Top Ten People Who influenced my understanding of Islam

Having read the 500 most influential Muslims list, I began thinking of the people who have had the most influence on my understanding and practice of Islam. I have been searching for the true understanding of Islam since the age of sixteen and since that time, many people have influenced me in different ways. I began to realize that nobody is perfect and you will find things you disagree with in everybody you meet so instead of looking for the perfect scholar, I started taking the best from everyone.

So here are my Top Ten people who influenced my understanding and practice of Islam, note that I do not agree with everything each of them says or believes but I can not deny the positive influence they have had on my life:

10. Yusuf Estes

The one thing I love most about Yusuf Estes is that he is one of those people around whom I feel Iman in the air. I can't explain it but it’s almost as if I can feel the angels of mercy near us whenever I am with him and my heart becomes at ease. He influenced me mainly by teaching me to appreciate Islam and treasure it.

Also he is the first person to ever call me Abu Muawiyah, although he probably doesn't remember it. I also love his sense of humor, his lectures are hilarious!

9. Baba Ali

Another funny guy, Baba Ali taught me so much through his video blogs, and I am sure I am not alone in saying that since he has over 5 million video views and has made the Top 500 most influential people list at such a young age. Most importantly, he taught me that we can be cool, funny and enjoy life without compromising our deen, and he showed me the funny side of all the problems the ummah faces. I also tend to look at his video topics when deciding what topic to lecture about.

8. Yasir Qadhi

Yasir Qadhi taught me tolerance and how to deal with people who have different beliefs in a civilized manner. Thanks to his influence I am now a lot friendlier to people from different groups than I was back when I first started discovering how wrong I was taught Islam by my Deobandi teachers, so he gets props for helping me become a nicer guy. I also benefited greatly from his lectures on Aqeedah.

7. Kamal El-Mekki

I love this man or the sake of Allah. I love his charisma, his style, his humor, his knowledge, his poetry, his hairstyle and most of all I love his manners. He is my role model in good manners, I want to treat people in the same nice friendly manner as he does. I am lucky enough to have studied two Al-Kauthar courses under him and wish I could spend more time with him. If a new Kamal Mekki lecture is released online, be sure I am one of the first to download and listen to it.

6. Dr Yusuf Al-Qaradawi

My first exposure outside the Deobandi school of thought was Yusuf Qaradawi's Halal and Haram in Islam. At that time, I hated the book and couldn't believe the fatwas he passed in there, it was completely opposite to what I was raised with. Now seven years later, I read the book again and find that much of what he said was correct, I just didn't know it back then.

Of course, there are still rulings in that book that I disagree with but no where near as much as I did before. He influenced me by making me question, think outside the box and realize how diverse the opinions in this ummah are, and that what I am raised with is not necessarily correct. This man is number 9 in the list of the Top 50 most influential Muslims of our time.

5. Zain Bhikha

A Nasheed singer so high? Why? Because he influenced me long before I was old enough to listen to lectures, I grew up with Zain Bhikha and Dawud Wharnsby Nasheeds, they were my substitute for Haraam music, and Alhamdulillah these songs helped shape me into a better young Muslim. My children are luckier, in that they can grow up watching "Enjoying Islam with Zain and Dawud" and benefit even more from them.

When I met Zain Bhikha at the Peace Conference in Mumbai 2007, the one thing that struck me about him was his humility. He is just such a nice down-to-earth guy. If you meet him on the streets, you will never guess he is a world-renowned singer or one of the Top 500 most influential Muslims. His humility would shined through every time that I would see him, especially when I saw a picture of him teaching underprivileged children in South Africa while sitting happily on the floor in their house. No matter where I go in life, I want to be as humble as him always, if not more. I am also inspired by all the social work he does.

4. Dawud Wharnsby

I couldn't decide which of these two singers should be higher on my list, but I chose Dawud for two reasons. Firstly, my oldest Islamic memory is listening to "animals love to hear Quran" and "sing children of the world" when I was six years old, so his influence dates back more than Zain's. Secondly, I benefited from his lectures as much as I did from his songs, so that gives him an edge over Zain.

I may not agree with everything Dawud believes but the main thing he taught me was the beauty of just being a nice person and the effect that has on others. Every time I look at Dawud, I think he is such a nice sweet sincere man and I want to be like him in that sense, so Dawud influenced my character mainly. He also taught me not to judge other people's intentions and to look at the good in others. This has helped me greatly in developing into a better person.

3. Shaykh Salman Al-Oudah

He is number 19 on the Top 50 most influential people of our time, and he has influenced me greatly. I did not know much about him before he visited South Africa in 2008, but when I attended his lectures, my mind was opened to new ideas and I found myself spending many days reading his books and his articles on his website Islam Today, he has influenced me mainly in helping me develop from an extreme fighting type into a peaceful loving type. I use to believe some extreme things about Jihad but this man's lectures, books and articles taught me the balanced understanding and the peaceful teachings of Islam.

2. Ahmed Deedat (May Allah grant him Paradise)

Ahmed Deedat answered the questions that were burning in my head since the age of seven, "How do we know our religion in right and the others are wrong?" It was Deedat's debates and lectures that answered that question satisfactory and that led me to believing in Islam wholeheartedly, rather than just as the religion of my forefathers, but this is not the only way in which he influenced me.

Allah used Deedat to light the fire of Dawah in my heart at the age of sixteen and since then I have never stopped doing Dawah. Deedat always emphasized that we must read the Quran with understanding and that led me to doing so which opened up a whole new world of Islam to me. Deedat's life story also showed me that if I wish to follow in his footsteps I must be prepared for tough times and tests from Allah.

As you can see, Deedat had the biggest impact on my life from everyone except….

1. Dr Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips

Before meeting Dr Bilal, I had no principles or direction, I was seeking the truth but has no clear method of finding it. Alhamdulillah, through his IOU (Islamic Online University) and my personal meetings and studies under him, I was able to learn the pure Aqeedah of Islam and the principles of Aqeedah, Fiqh, Tafsir and Hadith which gave me the foundations to grow and a guideline to follow to studying Islam.

In the end, I have listened to more lectures by him, read more books by him, done more courses under him, spent more time with him and ask more questions to him than any of my other teachers. That is why he deserves the number one spot on this list.

I hope you enjoyed and benefited from this list. The purpose of this list was to show these people who have influenced me so you too can be influenced but remember nobody is perfect and many of the people on this list have some beliefs or opinions that I might disagree with, but in the end their positive impact on me overshadows their faults by far.

I ask Allah to reward all my teachers and anybody who has assisted in making me a better Muslim and to forgive all their mistakes and sins, and to unite us with them in Paradise when the time comes.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

After Hardship, my ease

2010, a new year has began and with it a new beginning for me.

2009 was a difficult year for me, but as soon as the new year set in, Allah just opened a lot of new doors for me. Insha Allah, 2010 will be a good year and the beginning of my ease. I got a lot of exciting articles planned, just need the time and motivation to sit and write them.

Also keep your eyes on for new articles by me as I have recently been added as an Associate there.

Thank you to everyone who supported me during my times of difficulty and to all those who made dua for me.

Please make dua that Allah can keep me strong on the Deen during times of ease as well.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Bidah Dodgems

When a young Muslim decides to study Islam, he will sooner or later realize that his family might have some wrong practices which he will identify as Bidah. A Bidah is a religious innovation, which means it is an act of worship or a belief which either did not exist in the era of the prophet (peace be upon him) or which has been modified from its original form. Sadly there are many Bidah prevalent in Muslim societies today and many of them are so common that the average Muslim finds it very difficult to accept that the religious practices of his family are wrong.

For the practicing Muslim who does accept it, there is another problem, which is avoiding situations were he is forced to either break family relations or commit a Bidah. You see, in a normal situation we can sit with our relatives and discuss differences and if they do something we disagree with, we can just walk away but sometimes a youngster might find himself in a situation in which his family are very emotional and calling the practice a Bidah could lead to a major family fight, the following are the most common cases:

1) The Funeral:

The amount of Bidah associated with people’s deaths and the rituals that follow are so many that Dr Bilal Philips has a four page appendix listing them at the end of his book “Funeral rites in Islam” so if you are attending a funeral, you are very likely to encounter at least one if not many baseless practices. What do you do? Imagine walking up to the old lady crying and reading Yaseen Khatam over her dead brother and telling her what she is doing is Bidah? Not a good idea! Or what about shouting her son for sprinkling rosewater on you since you are in the company of the body? What to do? What to do?

My advice is that people are very emotional at this time having just lost a loved one so it is not the right time or place to correct them as it will cause more harm than good. Speak to people at other times and educate them on the correct method of dealing with death and benefiting the dead so that they will be prepared and might not commit the Bidah in future, if they still do it, your job is already done by explaining it to them. Secondly, avoid those situations were Bidah will definitely occur, so don’t go into the house if there is a group of strange men sitting there swaying from side to side screaming ILLALLAH, ILLALLAH! Rather show up for the funeral later, join the Janazah Salah, accompany the body to the grave and give condolences to the family then go straight home as that is all Islam asks of you. Don’t stick around and wait for a situation were you are put on the spot to fight or join in. it is also advisable to make a will stating how you want your funeral to take place and say, “Don’t do Bidah over my dead body!”

2) Weddings:

At weddings people might put hankies on their heads while making a mass Dua or spin an egg in front of the bride to chase away the evil eye or whatever other bidah are common in different cultures. Or the other extreme will include music, intermingling and dancing so what do you do? I personally stay away from weddings unless I am sure there is no dancing, music or any other fitnah.

Unlike a funeral, we are not obligated to attend weddings so don’t put yourself in such a situation. You can always meet the lucky person later and congratulate and make Dua for them so just away from such situations altogether and teach people about the Islamic method of marriage and its importance on some other occasion. I do not advice you to storm into the wedding and takeoff with the groom in front of everyone that his wedding is Haram and Bidah. That is not the proper manner of correcting people.

3) Family Gatherings:

If your family are involved in Bidah, you most probably will find it happening at family gatherings, it is not advisable to get involved in an argument about it at the gathering as that will just create negative feelings and might break family ties. If you know there is Bidah at the beginning, arrive a little late, if you know it is at the ending then excuse yourself and leave a little early, if it happens in between then use that as a bathroom break or a chance to phone your friend.

My point is that we must stay away from innovations yet at the same time be wise in our dealings with others. Breaking family ties and having bad character are major sins just as Bidah is, so it is senseless to commit one while avoiding the other. Stay away from situations in which you know there will be Bidah and advice people privately in a nice manner on a separate occasion. Insha Allah these steps will help us stay on the straight path and bring our families closer to Allah.