One in a series of posts centered around Islamic knowledge posted today on http://www.keepingithalal.com :

When it comes to university, we all know how learning works. If we want to become a doctor, then we know that we must start with introductory biology and chemistry so that the year after we can take organic chemistry so that we can then move on to more complicated subjects. We know that we must first build a foundation of basic essentials and then slowly build upon this foundation, layer by layer, until we eventually reach an understanding of medicine that allows us to treat people. To help us along in this process, our university devises curricula so that when we make the decision to be a doctor, we know what courses to take. After all, how are we supposed to figure out, on our own, without any knowledge, what exactly a doctor must learn? In any course, the process is similar. When learning French, we start with the alphabet and pronunciation, then some basic words, then some bits of grammar, etc. We do not start with learning the conditional if we don’t even understand the verb avoir. This is common sense. It would be ridiculous to attempt to learn medicine by simply going to a chemistry lecture one day and then a surgery training the next. We don’t create our own curriculum about a subject we know almost nothing about.

Somehow, these principles disappear when we approach Islamic knowledge.

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Brother Baraka Blue, an artist from Seattle, wrote this beautiful piece for Mother’s Day. Please make du’a for him and his mother. You can find more information about him here: www.barakabluemusic.com

To those mothers who buttered sandwiches
and lit loves lanterns when
sweet dreams turned into nightmares-
and cloaked us in radiant safety net bear hugs under covers and
sacrificed many a-night sleep like a coat over a puddle so our pillows stayed dry
and evaporated tears when we would cry, and
smiled at the clouds till they bowed gracefully to a blue sky
and answered all the times we asked, “why?”

to all those mothers who allowed faces to hide in pant legs
when we were shy
from strangers or neighbors or distant
family members who just wanted to say, “hi”
and who explained with true amazement
the transformation of a caterpillar to a butterfly

to those mothers who peanut buttered sandwiches,
and read books… over.. and over… and over again.
until she could noose Dr. Seuss
but when that, “please, mommy, please” eyes plead mouth squeezed chubby cheeks… gapped teeth
her heart melts and she reads….
just one more time.
and those words become sweet in her mouth because that warm
ball of innocent trust in her
curls up on her shoulder and she knows no sound sweeter than hearing him breathe.
and when the breathing gets deep… she looks deep into that glowing innocence and her heart weeps with overwhelming mercy-
for she is accessing the feeling nearest to God a human being can experience.
Love.
unconditional mercy… compassionate love.
true selfless, gentle, nurturing, life giving, soul cleansing, spirit raising,
Love.

for all those mothers who buttered sandwiches
and taught young boys in a society so sick and deprived of Love- to Love
and young girls to find Love deep within themselves and watered seeds to full flown flowers unfolding petals gracefully in concrete habitats and old rusty ramshackle shacks in any desert or countryside anywhere and everywhere that mothers…
butter sandwiches
or split coconuts, or make curries, or milk goats,
or steam rice, or warm bottles on stoves, or microwaves,
or hang clothes on lines in the sunshine

this is for those mothers…
who raise children to be lovers
and let youngins hog all the covers
and go to sleep last
making school lunches
and wake up first making breakfast and assembling outfits
who struggle and strain and bear the pain and don’t complain…
but smile.

this is for mothers
who had to be fathers…
and mothers….
and had to hide tears because there was no time for her own
when she was wiping away everyone else’s
this is for mothers… who never knew selfish
and never felt they deserved a congratulations, or a celebration, or a high station, or a standing ovation
but you do….
all of you.

and this is for mothers who bore abuse…
both physical and mental… from men who…
had mothers too… who raised them like you
but forgot what you taught…
and this is my pledge.
I promise I will not. ever. forget.
for every woman is a potential mother… and is a daughter who was an innocent ball of trust
who was held by a mother
who buttered sandwhiches…
if she was lucky.
and if not, all the more reason to treat her
like a mother would treat her….
who loved her
and peanut buttered sandwiches.

and this is for my mother. the one i owe love to.
because you are the one i know love through.
you are the closest thing I’ve ever known to purity.
to sincere over-whelming, overpowering, unconditional love and mercy over flowing
from your heart through your eyes when you look at me.
everything good in me
is from you.
and it is such an understatement to say….
but it is the most powerful thing language can display….
I love you.
I love you.
I love you.

Every day is mothers day. Happy Mother’s Day

Love,

your baby boy

In the name of God, the Lord of Mercy, the Giver of Mercy

We Muslims like to judge. We like to judge everyone and everything, in particular those who we see as disobedient to God. I’ve been meaning to post a lengthier discussion on this, but for now, perhaps this reminder from Imam al-Haddad’s Book of Assistance would suffice:

Think well of all Muslims, and beware of thinking ill of any of them. The Prophet, may blessings and peace be upon him, has said: ‘Two traits are unsurpassed by any other good: thinking well of God, and thinking well of His servants. And two traits are unsurpassed by any other evil: thinking ill of God and thinking ill of His servants.‘ To think well of Muslims is to regard nothing they do or say as evil when it can be interpreted otherwise. If you cannot find a good interpretation, in the case of sins, for example, then reproach them for committing them, and believe that their faith will eventually drive them to refrain and repent of them.

For example, you may see a Muslim who frequently prays, gives charity, and recites [the Qur’an], and you think that he is only doing this so that people may see him, and that his aim is wealth and social position. This corrupt form of thinking occurs only to those who are inwardly vile, and is an attribute of the hypocrites.

And only God knows best.

In the Name of God, the Lord of Mercy, the Giver of Mercy

After a hiatus in posting, I decided that for now, as I do not have much time, I’ll focus on writing smaller posts, posting links, etc, until I am once again able to write at length about a particular topic, insha’Allah.

When someone praises you, you must feel dislike for his praises within your heart. If he has praised you for something you truly possess say: ‘Praise belongs to God Who has revealed the good things and concealed the ugly ones.’ And if he praises you for something which you do not possess, say as one of our predecessors has said: ‘O God! Do not call me to account for what they say, forgive me what they do not know, and make me better than they think!’

From The Book of Assistance by Imam Al-Haddad

The du’a at the end is from ‘Ali, may God be pleased with him. The Arabic and its transliteration are:

اللهم لا تؤاخذني بما يقولون واغفرلي ما لا يعلمون و اجعلني خيرا مما يظنون

Allahuma laa tu’akhidhnee bimaa yaqooloon wa igfirlee maa laa ya’lamoon wa aj’alnee khayran mimmaa yaDHunnoon.

Ibn Ata’illah al-Iskandari, may God have mercy on him, also said with regards to this:

People praise you for what they imagine you are, so be sure that you blame yourself for what you know you are.

And he also said:

Incompetent is the one who leaves certainty one has for conjecture others have [i.e. with regards to oneself].

And only God Most High knows best.

In the Name of God, the Lord of Mercy, the Giver of Mercy

I’ve been slacking off on this blog recently, but insha’Allah an update is coming tomorrow. In the meantime, here are a few ahadith to remind ourselves of the danger of speaking from ignorance:

Whoever is given a legal opinion without knowledge, his sin is but upon the person who gave him the legal opinion.” [Abu Dawud]

A man who judges for people while ignorant, he shall go to hell.” [Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, and others]

Narrated from Jabir ibn ‘Abdullah: “We went on a journey, and a stone struck one of us and opened a gash in his head. When he later had a wet-dream in his sleep, he then asked his companions, “Do you find any dispensation for me to perform dry ablution? [Meaning instead of a full purificatory bath.] They told him, “We don’t find any dispensation for you if you can use water.”
So he performed the purificatory bath, his wound opened, and he died. When we came back to the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), he was told of this and he said
, “They have killed him, May Allah kill them. Why did they not ask? -for they didn’t know; the only cure for someone who does not know what to say is to ask…” ” [Abu Dawud]

In the name of God, the Lord of Mercy, the Giver of Mercy.

While I’m working on the next blog update, I wanted to share an interesting read from Friday Nasiha – a weekly mailing list containing excellent reminders, titled “Five Degrees of Prayer”. I highly encourage to subscribe to the mailing via their website – you will get one email on Friday, no spam.

The website’s copyright forbids re-distribution of the content, so I cannot quote the reminder here. I really encourage you to read through it though, as it may remind you (as it did me) of how much higher you can go with your daily prayers.

Insha’Allah I hope you find this useful. Stay tuned for a lengthier update on an interesting topic, insha’Allah 🙂 Please keep me in your du’as – midterms coming up 😦

Wassalaam,

– El Musafir