Nelson Rolihlahla MANDELA - "Madiba"
Mandela's words, "The struggle is my life," are not to be taken lightly.
Nelson Mandela personifies struggle. He is still leading the fight against apartheid with extraordinary vigour and resilience after spending nearly three decades of his life behind bars. He has sacrificed his private life and his youth for his people, and remains South Africa's best known and loved hero.
Mandela has held numerous positions in the ANC: ANCYL secretary (1948); ANCYL president (1950); ANC Transvaal president (1952); deputy national president (1952) and ANC president (1991).
He was born at Qunu, near Umtata on 18 July 1918.
His father, Henry Mgadla Mandela, was chief councillor to Thembuland's acting paramount chief David Dalindyebo. When his father died, Mandela became the chief's ward and was groomed for the chieftainship.
Mandela matriculated at Healdtown Methodist Boarding School and then started a BA degree at Fort Hare. As an SRC member he participated in a student strike and was expelled, along with the late Oliver Tambo, in 1940. He completed his degree by correspondence from Johannesburg, did articles of clerkship and enrolled for an LLB at the University of the Witwatersrand.
In 1944 he helped found the ANC Youth League, whose Programme of Action was adopted by the ANC in 1949.
Mandela was elected national volunteer-in-chief of the 1952 Defiance Campaign. He travelled the country organising resistance to discriminatory legislation.
He was given a suspended sentence for his part in the campaign. Shortly afterwards a banning order confined him to Johannesburg for six months. During this period he formulated the "M Plan", in terms of which ANC branches were broken down into underground cells.
By 1952 Mandela and Tambo had opened the first black legal firm in the country, and Mandela was both Transvaal president of the ANC and deputy national president.
A petition by the Transvaal Law Society to strike Mandela off the roll of attorneys was refused by the Supreme Court.
In the 'fifties, after being forced through constant bannings to resign officially from the ANC, Mandela analysed the Bantustan policy as a political swindle. He predicted mass removals, political persecutions and police terror.
For the second half of the 'fifties, he was one of the accused in the Treason Trial. With Duma Nokwe, he conducted the defence.
When the ANC was banned after the Sharpeville massacre in 1960, he was detained until 1961 when he went underground to lead a campaign for a new national convention.
Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), the military wing of the ANC, was born the same year. Under his leadership it launched a campaign of sabotage against government and economic installations.
In 1962 Mandela left the country for military training in Algeria and to arrange training for other MK members.
On his return he was arrested for leaving the country illegally and for incitement to strike. He conducted his own defence. He was convicted and jailed for five years in November 1962. While serving his sentence, he was charged, in the Rivonia trial, with sabotage and sentenced to life imprisonment.
A decade before being imprisoned, Mandela had spoken out against the introduction of Bantu Education, recommending that community activists "make every home, every shack or rickety structure a centre of learning".
Robben Island, where he was imprisoned, became a centre for learning, and Mandela was a central figure in the organised political education classes.
In prison Mandela never compromised his political principles and was always a source of strength for the other prisoners.
During the 'seventies he refused the offer of a remission of sentence if he recognised Transkei and settled there.
In the 'eighties he again rejected PW Botha's offer of freedom if he renounced violence.
It is significant that shortly after his release on Sunday 11 February 1990, Mandela and his delegation agreed to the suspension of armed struggle.
Mandela has honorary degrees from more than 50 international universities and is chancellor of the University of the North.
He was inaugurated as State President of South Africa on 10 May 1994.
Profile of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela
Nelson Mandela's greatest pleasure, his most private moment, is watching the sun set with the music of Handel or Tchaikovsky playing.
Locked up in his cell during daylight hours, deprived of music, both these simple pleasures were denied him for decades. With his fellow prisoners, concerts were organised when possible, particularly at Christmas time, where they would sing. Nelson Mandela finds music very uplifting, and takes a keen interest not only in European classical music but also in African choral music and the many talents in South African music. But one voice stands out above all - that of Paul Robeson, whom he describes as our hero.
The years in jail reinforced habits that were already entrenched: the disciplined eating regime of an athlete began in the 1940s, as did the early morning exercise. Still today Nelson Mandela is up by 4.30am, irrespective of how late he has worked the previous evening. By 5am he has begun his exercise routine that lasts at least an hour. Breakfast is by 6.30, when the days newspapers are read. The day s work has begun.
With a standard working day of at least 12 hours, time management is critical and Nelson Mandela is extremely impatient with unpunctuality, regarding it as insulting to those you are dealing with.
When speaking of the extensive travelling he has undertaken since his release from prison, Nelson Mandela says: I was helped when preparing for my release by the biography of Pandit Nehru, who wrote of what happens when you leave jail. My daughter Zinzi says that she grew up without a father, who, when he returned, became a father of the nation. This has placed a great responsibility of my shoulders. And wherever I travel, I immediately begin to miss the familiar - the mine dumps, the colour and smell that is uniquely South African, and, above all, the people. I do not like to be away for any length of time. For me, there is no place like home.
Mandela accepted the Nobel Peace Prize as an accolade to all people who have worked for peace and stood against racism. It was as much an award to his person as it was to the ANC and all South Africa s people. In particular, he regards it as a tribute to the people of Norway who stood against apartheid while many in the world were silent.
We know it was Norway that provided resources for farming; thereby enabling us to grow food; resources for education and vocational training and the provision of accommodation over the years in exile. The reward for all this sacrifice will be the attainment of freedom and democracy in South Africa, in an open society which respects the rights of all individuals. That goal is now in sight, and we have to thank the people and governments of Norway and Sweden for the tremendous role they played.
- Breakfast of plain porridge, with fresh fruit and fresh milk.
- A favourite is the traditionally prepared meat of a freshly slaughtered sheep, and the delicacy Amarhewu (fermented corn-meal).
A Brief Biographical Note
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was born in a village near Umtata in the Transkei on the 18 July 1918. His father was the principal councillor to the Acting Paramount Chief of Thembuland. After his father s death, the young Rolihlahla became the Paramount Chief s ward to be groomed to assume high office. However, influenced by the cases that came before the Chief s court, he determined to become a lawyer. Hearing the elders stories of his ancestors valour during the wars of resistance in defence of their fatherland, he dreamed also of making his own contribution to the freedom struggle of his people.
After receiving a primary education at a local mission school, Nelson Mandela was sent to Healdtown, a Wesleyan secondary school of some repute where he matriculated. He then enrolled at the University College of Fort Hare for the Bachelor of Arts Degree where he was elected onto the Student's Representative Council. He was suspended from college for joining in a protest boycott. He went to Johannesburg where he completed his BA by correspondence, took articles of clerkship and commenced study for his LLB. He entered politics in earnest while studying in Johannesburg by joining the African National Congress in 1942.
At the height of the Second World War a small group of young Africans, members of the African National Congress, banded together under the leadership of Anton Lembede. Among them were William Nkomo, Walter Sisulu, Oliver R. Tambo, Ashby P. Mda and Nelson Mandela. Starting out with 60 members, all of whom were residing around the Witwatersrand, these young people set themselves the formidable task of transforming the ANC into a mass movement, deriving its strength and motivation from the unlettered millions of working people in the towns and countryside, the peasants in the rural areas and the professionals.
Their chief contention was that the political tactics of the old guard' leadership of the ANC, reared in the tradition of constitutionalism and polite petitioning of the government of the day, were proving inadequate to the tasks of national emancipation. In opposition to the old guard', Lembede and his colleagues espoused a radical African Nationalism grounded in the principle of national self-determination. In September 1944 they came together to found the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL).
Mandela soon impressed his peers by his disciplined work and consistent effort and was elected to the Secretaryship of the Youth League in 1947. By painstaking work, campaigning at the grassroots and through its mouthpiece Inyaniso' (Truth) the ANCYL was able to canvass support for its policies amongst the ANC membership. At the 1945 annual conference of the ANC, two of the League s leaders, Anton Lembede and Ashby Mda, were elected onto the National Executive Committee (NEC). Two years later another Youth League leader, Oliver R Tambo became a member of the NEC.
Spurred on by the victory of the National Party which won the 1948 all-White elections on the platform of Apartheid, at the 1949 annual conference, the Programme of Action, inspired by the Youth League, which advocated the weapons of boycott, strike, civil disobedience and non-co-operation was accepted as official ANC policy.
The Programme of Action had been drawn up by a sub-committee of the ANCYL composed of David Bopape, Ashby Mda, Nelson Mandela, James Njongwe, Walter Sisulu and Oliver Tambo. To ensure its implementation the membership replaced older leaders with a number of younger men. Walter Sisulu, a founding member of the Youth League was elected Secretary-General. The conservative Dr A.B. Xuma lost the presidency to Dr J.S. Moroka, a man with a reputation for greater militancy. The following year, 1950, Mandela himself was elected to the NEC at national conference.
The ANCYL programme aimed at the attainment of full citizenship, direct parliamentary representation for all South Africans. In policy documents of which Mandela was an important co-author, the ANCYL paid special attention to the redistribution of the land, trade union rights, education and culture. The ANCYL aspired to free and compulsory education for all children, as well as mass education for adults.
When the ANC launched its Campaign for the Defiance of Unjust Laws in 1952, Mandela was elected National Volunteer-in-Chief. The Defiance Campaign was conceived as a mass civil disobedience campaign that would snowball from a core of selected volunteers to involved more and more ordinary people, culminating in mass defiance. Fulfilling his responsibility as Volunteer-in-Chief, Mandela travelled the country organising resistance to discriminatory legislation. Charged and brought to trial for his role in the campaign, the court found that Mandela and his co-accused had consistently advised their followers to adopt a peaceful course of action and to avoid all violence.
For his part in the Defiance Campaign, Mandela was convicted of contravening the Suppression of Communism Act and given a suspended prison sentence. Shortly after the campaign ended, he was also prohibited from attending gatherings and confined to Johannesburg for six months.
During this period of restrictions, Mandela wrote the attorneys admission examination and was admitted to the profession. He opened a practice in Johannesburg, in partnership with Oliver Tambo. In recognition of his outstanding contribution during the Defiance Campaign Mandela had been elected to the presidency of both the Youth League and the Transvaal region of the ANC at the end of 1952, he thus became a deputy president of the ANC itself.
Of their law practice, Oliver Tambo, ANC National Chairman at the time of his death in April 1993, has written:
To reach our desks each morning Nelson and I ran the gauntlet of patient queues of people overflowing from the chairs in the waiting room into the corridors... To be landless (in South Africa) can be a crime, and weekly we interviewed the delegations of peasants who came to tell us how many generations their families had worked a little piece of land from which they were now being ejected... To live in the wrong area can be a crime... Our buff office files carried thousands of these stories and if, when we started our law partnership, we had not been rebels against apartheid, our experiences in our offices would have remedied the deficiency. We had risen to professional status in our community, but every case in court, every visit to the prisons to interview clients, reminded us of the humiliation and suffering burning into our people.
Nor did their professional status earn Mandela and Tambo any personal immunity from the brutal apartheid laws. They fell foul of the land segregation legislation, and the authorities demanded that they move their practice from the city to the back of beyond, as Mandela later put it, miles away from where clients could reach us during working hours. This was tantamount to asking us to abandon our legal practice, to give up the legal service of our people... No attorney worth his salt would easily agree to do that, said Mandela and the partnership resolved to defy the law.
Nor was the government alone in trying to frustrate Mandela s legal practice. On the grounds of his conviction under the Suppression of Communism Act, the Transvaal Law Society petitioned the Supreme Court to strike him off the roll of attorneys. The petition was refused with Mr Justice Ramsbottom finding that Mandela had been moved by a desire to serve his black fellow citizens and nothing he had done showed him to be unworthy to remain in the ranks of an honourable profession.
In 1952 Nelson Mandela was given the responsibility to prepare an organisational plan that would enable the leadership of the movement to maintain dynamic contact with its membership without recourse to public meetings. The objective was to prepare for the contingency of proscription by building up powerful local and regional branches to whom power could be devolved. This was the M-Plan, named after him.
During the early fifties Mandela played an important part in leading the resistance to the Western Areas removals and to the introduction of Bantu Education. He also played a significant role in popularising the Freedom Charter, adopted by the Congress of the People in 1955.
In the late fifties, Mandela s attention turned to the struggles against the exploitation of labour, the pass laws, the nascent Bantustan policy, and the segregation of the open universities. Mandela arrived at the conclusion very early on that the Bantustan policy was a political swindle and an economic absurdity. He predicted, with dismal prescience, that ahead there lay a grim programme of mass evictions, political persecutions, and police terror. On the segregation of the universities, Mandela observed that the friendship and inter-racial harmony that is forged through the admixture and association of various racial groups at the mixed universities constitute a direct threat to the policy of apartheid and baasskap, and that it was to remove that threat that the open universities were being closed to black students.
During the whole of the fifties, Mandela was the victim of various forms of repression. He was banned, arrested and imprisoned. For much of the latter half of the decade, he was one of the accused in the mammoth Treason Trial, at great cost to his legal practice and his political work. After the Sharpeville Massacre in 1960, the ANC was outlawed, and Mandela, still on trial, was detained.
The Treason Trial collapsed in 1961 as South Africa was being steered towards the adoption of the republic constitution. With the ANC now illegal the leadership picked up the threads from its underground headquarters. Nelson Mandela emerged at this time as the leading figure in this new phase of struggle. Under the ANC's inspiration, 1,400 delegates came together at an All-in African Conference in Pietermaritzburg during March 1961. Mandela was the keynote speaker. In an electrifying address he challenged the apartheid regime to convene a national convention, representative of all South Africans to thrash out a new constitution based on democratic principles. Failure to comply, he warned, would compel the majority (Blacks) to observe the forthcoming inauguration of the Republic with a mass general strike. He immediately went underground to lead the campaign. Although fewer answered the call than Mandela had hoped, it attracted considerable support throughout the country. The government responded with the largest military mobilisation since the war, and the Republic was born in an atmosphere of fear and apprehension.
Forced to live apart from his family, moving from place to place to evade detection by the government s ubiquitous informers and police spies, Mandela had to adopt a number of disguises. Sometimes dressed as a common labourer, at other times as a chauffeur, his successful evasion of the police earned him the title of the Black Pimpernel. It was during this time that he, together with other leaders of the ANC constituted a new specialised section of the liberation movement, Umkhonto we Sizwe, as an armed nucleus with a view to preparing for armed struggle. At the Rivonia trial, Mandela explained : "At the beginning of June 1961, after long and anxious assessment of the South African situation, I and some colleagues came to the conclusion that as violence in this country was inevitable, it would be wrong and unrealistic for African leaders to continue preaching peace and non-violence at a time when the government met our peaceful demands with force.
It was only when all else had failed, when all channels of peaceful protest had been barred to us, that the decision was made to embark on violent forms of political struggle, and to form Umkhonto we Sizwe...the Government had left us no other choice."
In 1961 Umkhonto we Sizwe was formed, with Mandela as its commander-in-chief. In 1962 Mandela left the country unlawfully and travelled abroad for several months. In Ethiopia he addressed the Conference of the Pan African Freedom Movement of East and Central Africa, and was warmly received by senior political leaders in several countries. During this trip Mandela, anticipating an intensification of the armed struggle, began to arrange guerrilla training for members of Umkhonto we Sizwe.
Not long after his return to South Africa Mandela was arrested and charged with illegal exit from the country, and incitement to strike.
Since he considered the prosecution a trial of the aspirations of the African people, Mandela decided to conduct his own defence. He applied for the recusal of the magistrate, on the ground that in such a prosecution a judiciary controlled entirely by whites was an interested party and therefore could not be impartial, and on the ground that he owed no duty to obey the laws of a white parliament, in which he was not represented.
Mandela prefaced this challenge with the affirmation: I detest racialism, because I regard it as a barbaric thing, whether it comes from a black man or a white man.
Mandela was convicted and sentenced to five years imprisonment. While serving his sentence he was charged, in the Rivonia Trial, with sabotage. Mandela s statements in court during these trials are classics in the history of the resistance to apartheid, and they have been an inspiration to all who have opposed it. His statement from the dock in the Rivonia Trial ends with these words:
I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.
Mandela was sentenced to life imprisonment. While on Robben Island, Mandela flatly rejected offers made by his jailers for remission of sentence in exchange for accepting the bantustan policy by recognising the independence of the Transkei and agreeing to settle there. Again in the eighties Mandela rejected an offer of release on condition that he renounce violence. Prisoners cannot enter into contracts. Only free men can negotiate, he said.
Released on 18 February 1990, Mandela plunged wholeheartedly into his life's work, striving to attain the goals he and others had set out almost four decades earlier. In 1991, at the first national conference of the ANC held inside South Africa after being banned for decades, Nelson Mandela was elected President of the ANC while his lifelong friend and colleague, Oliver Tambo, became the organisation's National Chairperson.
Nelson Mandela has never wavered in his devotion to democracy, equality and learning. Despite terrible provocation, he has never answered racism with racism. His life has been an inspiration, in South Africa and throughout the world, to all who are oppressed and deprived, to all who are opposed to oppression and deprivation.
In a life that symbolises the triumph of the human spirit over man s inhumanity to man, Nelson Mandela accepted the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of all South Africans who suffered and sacrificed so much to bring peace to our land.
Taken from http://www.anc.org.za/ancdocs/history/mandela.html
What is the meaning of Hayaa? Hayaa literally means self shame, modesty or morality. The noble Ulama have explained Hayaa to be a condition within ourselves that prevents us from committing any action that Allah Ta’ala has prohibited us from doing.
How important is Hayaa in the life of a Muslim? Rasulullah [Sallallahu alayhi wasallam] has mentioned in a Hadith that Imaan has 70 branches. The highest form of Imaan is belief in the Kalimah “Laailaha illallah” and the lowest form of Imaan is to move a harmful object from the path to save others from being harmed by it. Thereafter Nabi [Sallallahu alayhi wasallam] said that Hayaa (self shame, modesty, morality) is also a branch of Imaan. From this Hadith we understand how important Hayaa is in the life of a Muslim.
What will happen to a person who does not have Hayaa? Rasulullah [Sallallahu alayhi wasallam] has mentioned in a Hadith that when a person has no Hayaa (shame) then he will do as he pleases. We understand from this Hadith that without hayaa in a persons life one will do anything no matter how immoral it may be and wont even think of its evil consequences. As long as a person has Hayaa it will be extremely difficult for him to commit any evil or obscene acts. He will always be careful of what he does thus protecting his honour and the honour of his parents, teachers, families, friends etc.
Factors that lead to immorality
1. Television: One of the greatest tools of Shaytaan by which he leads people to immorality and shamelessness is the cursed television. It steals away all the good that is within us. Such immoral scenes are shown, that no Muslim should ever watch it. Because of this television many of our homes are deprived of barakah (blessings). The malaaikah (angels) stay far away from our homes. We must stop watching this television. In this way our homes will be filled with lots of blessings and good.
2. Newspapers and Magazines: Unfortunately, nowadays it is not even safe to read the newspapers. They are full of haraam pictures which draw the punishment of Allah Ta’ala. Children especially should not be reading these newspapers and magazines as there are very obscene pictures which create immorality in our lives.
3. Lack of Hijaab (Purdah): Allah Ta’ala has forbidden boys and girls to mix freely. It is not permissible for men and women to speak freely with one another. Allah Ta’ala has commanded both, men and women in the Qur’aan to lower their gazes. If just looking at other females is impermissible how can it ever be permissible to speak and mix freely with them. Allah Ta’ala has commanded all believing women to wear the purdah and cover themselves in this way protecting their honour and chastity.
4. Improper Dressing: Islaam has even taught us how to dress. Women should at all times keep their entire bodies covered. The kuffaar have made us dress indecently and as a result of this we have lost our hayaa, shame and dignity. As Muslims we should always dress in accordance to the sunnah.
In conclusion we make dua to Allah Ta’ala to instil this great quality of Hayaa into each and every one us. May He make us all good Muslims who will obey His every command and may He be pleased with us both in this world and the next. Aameen.
My Son Aadil ... Our Inspiration
My son Aadil was the eldest of my children. He started madrasah in Shallcross at the age of seven. Despite his asthmatic condition was always punctual for his lessons from a very young age. Two years after attending the madrasah I found his akhlaaq (character) improving. He always dressed according to the sunnah and was never seen without an amaamah (turban). He was always respectful and helpful to his mu’allimahs.
Daily he would gather his classmates and they would all go to madrasah together. He would take special care ensuring that the little one’s cross the road safely. He was very particular about gathering his friends for Jumuah Salaah on Friday and Taraweeh Salaah during the month of Ramadhaan.
At home he always helped his mother and granny with household chores. One outstanding quality in him was, he always shared what he had with others. On Fridays he would make sure he put his spending money into the musjid collection box. In Ramadhaan he saved his pocket money until he collected ten rands which he gave to his Aapa to give to the poor as Sadaqatul Fitr.
When the Ta’limi Board initiated the durood challenge, Aadil took it very seriously. After listening to the virtues of durood shareef, he dedicated much of his time to its recitation. (He was due to receive the certificate for the most amount of durood recited in his Madrasah). During this time he began having beautiful dreams. He dreamt of a handsome man wearing an amaamah and a white kurta. He could not see his face due to the noor emanating there-from. He also dreamt of a beautiful garden with beautiful flowers the like of which has never been seen in this world. The third dream he saw himself and his parents going to Madinah. There were many people present and he could feel the presence of Rasulullah [sallallahu alayhi wasallam]. Thereafter they went to Makkah where he performed tawaaf of the Ka’bah.
He always asked me (his mother) to leave work and spend my time at home saying that this world is of no value. [I have since left work]. He would tell everyone to stop watching television. He always wanted to become a Haafiz and made a firm intention to do so next year.
On Monday 21 May 2007 he suffered an asthma attack and breathed his last at the age of eleven. May Allah Ta’ala fill his qabar with Noor and make him an inspiration for the entire Ummah Aameen.
Dua to be Recited at the Approach of Ramadhaan
Hadhrat Ubaadah bin Saamit (Radi Allahu Anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) used to teach the Sahaabah (Radi Allahu Anhum) the following Dua at the approach of the Month of Ramadhaan:
“O Allah! Safeguard me for the Month of Ramadhaan (by making me see the Month of Ramadhaan healthy and fit so that I can take maximum benefit from it), and safeguard the Month of Ramadhaan for me (by making the conditions in it such that I can take maximum benefit from it) and accept it from me.”
(Kanz-ul-ummal, Vol.8, Pg. 584 Hadith 24277)
Every Muslim should endeavor to memorize this dua and recite it in abundance in the months preceding Ramadhaan.
Be on your Guard!
The wealth of knowledge stored and accessed through the internet is indeed colossal and unlimited. People have access to all kinds of information. And each day the information continues to grow and multiply.
While the internet may be used to one's great advantage sourcing information at the press of a button, one may possibly be ruined and misled. Apart from the evils like porn, addiction, etc, another serious problem faced by the Muslim user is the adulterated and fabricated Islamic information. One cannot imagine the number of illegal and corrupted websites posing as “Islamic websites”. Often such sites are cleverly set-up by Jewish agencies, Qadiyani groups and other deviated sects.
Muslims must be wary and alert about the dozens of such un-Islamic sites. Don't be fooled by the Islamic calligraphy, Islamic quotations, terminology, photo images of the Kaabah. For example, often the twist and curls are subtle but yet resoundingly convincing.
Next time be alert and wide awake.
Please pass this message to others.
Everybody loves cheese, but few people know much about it. So many flavours, so many colours, even the smell can be overwhelming at times. We all know it is made from milk, and that it comes in many shapes and forms, flavours and textures. But cheese is so much more than a dairy product; it is a part of human history, an heirloom passed down from antiquity. Throughout every generation, people have seen the craft of cheese making not only as a skill, but as an art form as well. It is an ancient food, which carries much history.
The Cheese is Born
The ancient lineage of cheese dates all the way to 6000 BC in Mesopotamia, which is today Iraq. Folklore has it that it was an accidental discovery by an unknown Arab. To prepare for his journey through the desert, he stored milk into a saddlebag, which was made out of the stomach of an animal. Midway through his trip, he noticed that the milk had formed into curds and whey. Although the man did not know this then, this was due to the rennin, a coagulating enzyme released from the saddlebag. The heat of the desert sun and the rocking movement of his horse had caused the milk to separate into curds and whey. The Arab found it quite suitable for eating, and the rest is ancient history.
An Empire of Cheese:
Many farmers found the method of converting milk into a solid as a useful way to store dairy. They allowed milk to curdle and would strike it with branches, later pressing it on stones and leaving it out to dry in the sun. Cheese from the milk of goats and ewes was used in pastries, and served to soldiers and sailors during their long journeys across the land and sea.
Nineteen centuries ago technology had advanced to where cheese presses were invented to press the curd. The Romans discovered how to ripen the cheese to get a certain taste, and what conditions are needed in order to acquire a particular texture and aroma. The Holy Roman emperor Charlemagne discovered blue cheese on a trip through his country and popularized it throughout the Empire. The Roman Empire had much to do with the diversification and popularization of cheeses. The expanding Roman Empire brought to its conquered peoples these methods and techniques, which then got transformed and assimilated throughout the Empire.
The collapse of the Roman Empire caused many of these cheese-making techniques to be forgotten and fall into disuse, to persevere only in relatively remote areas, such as the mountains and monasteries (thus the term ‘monastery’ cheese), where many cheeses are still produced today.
The monks were expert cheese makers, developing innovative and original cheeses that are still eaten today. The cheeses that most blossomed in this era were from France. Cheese was a popular product throughout the countryside and villages, enjoyed by everyone from royalty to peasantry.
From Artisan to Industrial, and back again:
The Industrial Revolution saw a heavy decline of traditional 'artisanal' methods of cheese making. Cheeses manufactured in factories were usually creamy and mild in taste, but widely available to the public, under the name of industriel cheese. By the 20th century, most cheeses were made in factories. Recent trends and demand for quality, not quantity, brought the comeback of the traditional cheese-making techniques, the fermier (farm-made) and artisan cheese, very labour-intensive, producing cheeses of high quality and delicate flavour.
- That the use of Halaal slaughtered meat/ poultry are sufficient to meet the Islamic requirements of Halaal.
INCORRECT: Halaal entails the entire process from inception (selection and slaughter process) to delivery to the Muslim Consumer. It includes all the Islamic standards pertaining to hygiene and the avoidance of cross-contamination with Haraam products.
- That the use of Halaal means only the exclusion of pork.
INCORRECT: Pork is one item which is unlawful (Haraam) from the Islamic legal perspective. There has to be full understanding of the whole process of Halaal and the products that are Haraam. For example, animal additives, which are derived from a non-Halaal source, are also prohibited.
- That, “baptism” or some ritual cleaning is what’s required for the meat/ poultry to be Halaal.
INCORRECT: There is no concept of baptism in Islamic Law pertaining to the concept of Halaal.
- That, alcohol used in the cooking process, medicines or as a preservative is permissible i.e. as long as it is not consumed for intoxication.
INCORRECT: There are detailed guidelines on what is permissible and what is not with respect to alcohol in food or medicine. A proper ruling should be sought on a case by case basis from the scholars.
Umphakathi wonkana wama-Muslim ase Mzansi Afrika ayanxuswa ukuba uphume ngobuningi bawo baye ukuyobhalisela ukuVota
I-Voti lakho lingenza umehluko omkhulu ekuthuthukseni isintu bese kuvikelaka namalungelo ethu wonkana.
Ukubhalisela ukuvota kuzobe kuyizinsuku ezimbili kuphela 8th and 9th November 2008
Shayela kulenombolo ukuze uthole kahle imininingwane ephelele
0800 11 8000
Thankfulness, gratitude. The twin of Sabr.
-As there is sabr in times of ni'mah, there is shukr as well.
- Quran: Nay, indeed it is Allah should you show ubudiyyah to, and show to Him gratitude.
- Quran: O you who believe, use of that which is good of what We have provided for you, and be grateful to Allah if you are truly ibaad.
- Quran: And if you show gratefulness, I will give you more.
- Quran: (shaytan says after being granted respite by Allah) I will come to them, from in front of them and from behind them, from their right and their left, and You will find most of them ungrateful.
- Hadeeth: O Mu'adh, I love you. Let me teach you something.. ( the duah at end of salah) Allahumma a'innee ala dhikrikah, wa shukrukah, wa hussni ibadatik.. ( Ya Allah help me to remember You, to show shukr to You, and to make the most beautiful of ibdadah)
- Rasulullah (saws) used to stand up nights in qiyamul-layl every night to the extent his feet swelled. Aisha (ra) asked him, why do you do this when Allah has already forgiven you everything before and everything after? He (saws) said: Then shall I not be a grateful 'abd (servant)?
("and we're too busy for this! Rasulullah saws was a busy man, wasn't he? Didn't he have important things to do? Yet He made qiyamul layl every night. But of course, we have school, or work, and we can't be tired for that. What are our priorities? Being strong and energetic in front of your boss, or being content and pleasing in front of Allah?)
- the more one has, the more one should fear, be scared and humble: Will I be able to show enough shukr for all that I have?
Shukr is to be shown in three ways:
(1): Shukru bil qalb: shukr of the heart. achieved by harboring and intending good for all of Allah's creation. (khayr meaning something pleasing to Allah swt)
(2): Shukru bil leesan: shukr of the tongue. celebrate with the tongue the praises of Allah (swt), Alhamdulillah = showing the world I am pleased with my Lord. Quran: As to the ni'mah of your Lord, celebrate it.
(3): Shukr bil jawaarih: shukr of the external senses. (amal, actions) everytime Allah gives us a ni'mah, we must use that ni'mah the way it was intended to be used by our Creator- and thus used in the way of His obedience, and not in the way of His disobedience.
- kuffr an- na'mah: rejection of Allah's ni'mah "There are divine words written on the pages of every ni'mah. But those words are not deciphered by everyone."
ex. Using the tongue in a harmful way is kuffran of ni'matul leesan ex. Using the eyes to look at things that are haraam is kuffran of the ni'mah of the eyes. ex. dressing inappropriately is kufrran of the ni'mah of our body ex. Using the intellect for the wrong type of knowledge, is kuffran as well.
Any ilm that does not bring us closer to Allah, is wrong. Rasulullah (saws) sought refuge in Allah from information that was not beneficial.
- Quran: If you were to count the ni'mah of Allah, you would not be able to ennumerate them. Verily Man is an ungrateful creature.
- How do we know what Allah wants us to do with this ni'mah? Ulamah says there are two ways:
1) a. What sharh' (Islamic law) teaches of the ni'mah or action b. seek help from the people of ilm (ijtihaad)
2) ali'tibaar- cotemplation, using the faculties we have been endowed with, with of course ilm and wisdom.
- Why does the universe exist in relation to us? (In relationship to itself, it exists to fulfill ubudiyyah to Allah, as is everything that has been created by Allah) No usul to Allah can exist without mahabba (love for Him), and you will not have hubb for Allah if you are not consistent in reflection of Allah (His attributes) and how they relate to the signs of Allah in His creation and bounties. Universe is made to reflect on the ni'im of Allah to gain hub for Allah (in relation to us).
Shukr + Sabr + Tawbaah = ingredients for happiness
-showing sabr in the ni'mah of Allah is shukr (by not transgressing the bounds set down by Allah)
some duah mentioned:
- In response to 'how are you?': "I celebrate the praises of my Lord to you and the rest of creation. Surely with my Lord I am pleased."
- In mornings and evenings: "Ya Allah whatever bounty has been my share and the bounty of the rest of creation has been from You and You alone; and I celebrate Your praise."
-For morning: "Ya Allah I woke up this morning having You, and the angels who carry Your throne, and all angels, and all of Your creation, witness that You are the One and Only God, and Muhammad is your messenger."
- Ni'mah is everything we like that happens to us, but there is one real ni'mah, the ni'mah of all ni'mahs: JANNAH Every other ni'mah are means to that end.
- Why is Jannah the only true, real ni'mah? Because of 4 things (all other ni'mah violate one of them):
1) eternal life without death - every other ni'mah is mortal
2) immortality with happiness - every happiness of dunyaa has moments of displeasure, grief, consequences.
3) ni'mah of knowlege - everyone, no matter how knowledgeable, has moments of ignorance, happiness of akhirah is ilm without jahil
4) wealth never tainted by moments of poverty and need.
- There are 4 types of ni'mah:
1) things that happen to us (nafiyyah) that are beneficial in the short term and the long: The pure ni'mah, beneficial in dunyaa and akhirah. ex. ilm in quran and sunnah, hussnul akhlaaq (good conduct).. These lead to pleasure in dunyaa and akhirah.
2) something harmful in both dunyaa and akhirah. ex. nifaaq
3) something beneficial to us now (dunyaa) but harmful to us in akhirah, considered a blessing by the ignorant, a calamity by the believers, a harm in disguise of benefit.
4) something harmful in the immediate future, but in the long run beneficial
-Before shukr, we need to know how to use Allah's ni'mah in the way He loves, by revealation, shari' ilm, sunnah, quran..
- People lack shukr for mainly two reasons, jahil (ignorance), and ghaffil (heedlesness, carelesness, also a form of jahil).
-kuffrun-na'mah - rejection of Allah's ni'mah. To prevent this: reflect on this world, ilm, amal, isit the hospitals to see Allah's nimah on you, visit the prisons, visit the graveyards.
The dead WISH for two rakah.
-If we are not thankful to Allah for a ni'mah, it will be taken away from us, if taken away, it is rarely returned.
- al-balaa: the opposite of ni'mah, a hardship, something we don't like. For ni'mah we show shukr, for balaa we show sabr. but a balaa to others might be a ni'mah to me. ex. jahil of how when and where we die- in this case it is a good thing because if we knew anxiety would be too much, so its a balaah of which I should show shukr. another ex. not knowing what other creatures are harboring of hate, conspiracies, and intent to harm, we would be concerned with these people everyday. ex. we don't know when duah is accepted on yawmul jummah (therefore we make duah throughout, a good thing) Every balaah should be looked at as a na'mah. It's all relative!
Umar (ra): There are four balaah for which I must be shakir:
1- the calamity is not in my deen. (ex. a criminal breaks into your house and steals your stuff. say alhamdulillah, because you should be thankful that shatan did not enter your heart and steal your eman.)
2- It could have been worse, bigger, and Allah has power over all things.
3- I am pleased with what Allah (swt) wanted to afflict me with. In my heart I am still satisfied, I am not stricken with discontent.
4- Every affliction is atonement for my sins.
"Let us embark together on this journey of knowledge.." (he just _says_ stuff like that, naturally)
- A recipe for disaster: Of the reasons of taking the avenues of destruction in this life and the hereafter: to love life, the heart feels serene and at ease in dunyaa.
- A recipe for success: Of the reasons of happiness in dunyaa and akhirah: the heart is restless and uneasy in dunyaa ( balaa' helps this)
- Then should we pray for balaa'?
NO! Rasulullah (saws) found someone doing that and said "Do not do that, do not do that, do not do that!" Hadeeth: Seek refuge in Allah from 4 things: from the exertion and affront of affliction, that one lives to reach a life of misery, from the harmful decree of affliction, and from the deceptive ways of the clans of the enemy. (ie we seek refuge in Allah from balaah, we do not ask him for it)
- Which is better, shukr or sabr?
We can't say, it is dependant upon what level of shukr or sabr it is. (ex. a man indulges in everything that is halaal, or one who uses that wealth in every way to get closer to Allah, the second is a higher level than the first)
- These are the keys to the treasure of happiness.
- Without these two wings of shukr and sabr, we cannot fly to happiness.
- Shukr is a fruit of being aware and conscious of Allah's bounty.
- Sabr is a fruit of being away of our own weaknesses, ignorance, transgressions, inadequacies and ugliness of the self.
The shortest path to Allah is the path of an 'abd. The thickest of veils between Allah and the 'abd is ad'daawaah (feeling of arrogance, deserving)
Ya Allah, make us of those who listen to the words of admonition and follow the best of them. Ya Allah, forgive us our sins, and grant us Your mercy.
Allahumma inne ala dhikrikah, wa shukrikah, wa hussni ibadaatik.
The abode of eternal bliss, where no pain or suffering will ever be experienced is Jannah (paradise). Jahannum (hell) is a place of non-stop punishment. This world is a mixture of pleasure and pain, happiness and grief, health and sickness and generally all types of “ups” and “downs”. Every person in this world experiences problems and difficulties. Some difficulties come as a test from Allah Ta’ala, such as the difficulties that come upon the pious. Other problems and hardships are the result of sins.
The solution to all problems is to turn sincerely to Allah Ta`ala. Irrespective of the nature of the problem, whether it be a financial crisis, a domestic dispute, illness, being afflicted by any jinn or whatever other problem there may be, the solution lies ONLY in drawing the help of Allah Ta’ala. Therefore, while adopting sabr (patience) do the following:
* Make sincere tauba (repent) and engage in excessive istighfaar (seek forgiveness).
* Ensure that you have not transgressed the rights of people.
* Perform all your salaah. Males must perform salaah with jama’ah.
* Ensure that you have discharged your zakaat correctly.
* Protect yourself from all haraam – haraam actions, haraam earnings and haraam food.
Learn and recite the masnoon duas (duas taught in the sunnah) on the relevant occasions. Also spend at least seven minutes daily in one sitting and earnestly engage in dua.
Together with the above one should, with the intention of following the sunnah, resort to permissible methods of treatment, as well as consult people of experience in business and other matters.
Remember! Only Allah Ta`ala can help you.
Amongst the highly emphasised teachings of Islam is to love every Muslim for the sake of Allah Ta`ala. Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) emphatically stressed this lesson when he said: “None of you is a believer until he loves for his brother (his fellow Muslims) what he loves for himself.” (Sahih Muslim)
The message is clear: The person who does not love for his brother what he loves for himself is not worthy of the title of Mu’min (Believer), though his Imaan itself is not negated by this serious deficiency in his life.
What does it really mean to love for others what one loves for oneself? There are two meanings to this hadith.
Firstly, one should treat others in the same manner that one would like to be treated. For instance, every person loves that he should be treated with respect and honour. He does not like to be mocked or ridiculed, or want anyone to harm his life, dignity and belongings. He should therefore treat others in the same manner. He should not harm anyone in any way or desire any ill for anyone.
The second aspect that applies is the following: If you were in the next person’s situation, what would you have desired for yourself. For instance a fellow Muslim is a trader. If you were the trader in his place, what would you have desired for yourself? Surely you would have earnestly wished that your business prospers and is protected from all harm, that it becomes the means of earning the good of this world and the Hereafter, etc. You should now love the same for your fellow Muslim trader. Think in a similar manner with regard to every other person, whoever he may be. What good you would have desired for yourself had you been in his shoes, desire the same for him.
If every Muslim adopts only this one concise teaching of Deen, most of the problems between people would be resolved. Malice, jealousy backbiting, revenge and a host of other social evils will be eliminated. Love and brotherhood will prevail.
We should therefore endeavour to bring this Hadith alive. Wish for the good of every Muslim. Daily make dua for every Believer. If you find yourself not wishing good for any Muslim, especially make dua for him that Allah Ta’ala should grant him the best of both worlds and save him from every difficulty and hardship. Insha Allah this will remove the ill-feeling and generate love. One will then become worthy of the title of “Mu’min”.
Gaza: Never-ending tragedy
Robert Fisk | The Independent
How easy it is to snap off the history of the Palestinians, to delete the narrative of their tragedy, to avoid a grotesque irony about Gaza which — in any other conflict — journalists would be writing about in their first reports: That the original, legal owners of the Israeli land on which Hamas rockets are detonating live in Gaza.
That is why Gaza exists: Because the Palestinians who lived in Ashkelon and the fields around it — Askalaan in Arabic — were dispossessed from their lands in 1948 when Israel was created and ended up on the beaches of Gaza. They — or their children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren — are among the one and a half million Palestinian refugees crammed into the cesspool of Gaza, 80 percent of whose families once lived in what is now Israel. This, historically, is the real story: Most of the people of Gaza don’t come from Gaza.
But watching the news shows, you’d think that history began yesterday, that a bunch of bearded anti-Semitic Islamist lunatics suddenly popped up in the slums of Gaza — a rubbish dump of destitute people of no origin — and began firing missiles into peace-loving, democratic Israel, only to meet with the righteous vengeance of the Israeli air force. The fact that the five sisters killed in Jabalya camp had grandparents who came from the very land whose more recent owners have now bombed them to death simply does not appear in the story.
Both Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres said back in the 1990s that they wished Gaza would just go away, drop into the sea, and you can see why. The existence of Gaza is a permanent reminder of those hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who lost their homes to Israel, who fled or were driven out through fear or Israeli ethnic cleansing 60 years ago, when tidal waves of refugees had washed over Europe in the aftermath of World War II and when a bunch of Arabs kicked out of their property didn’t worry the world.
Well, the world should worry now. Crammed into the most overpopulated few square miles in the whole world are a dispossessed people who have been living in refuse and sewage and, for the past six months, in hunger and darkness, and who have been sanctioned by us, the West. Gaza was always an insurrectionary place. It took two years for Ariel Sharon’s bloody “pacification”, starting in 1971, to be completed, and Gaza is not going to be tamed now.
Alas for the Palestinians, their most powerful political voice — I’m talking about the late Edward Said, not Yasser Arafat (and how the Israelis must miss him now) — is silent and their predicament largely unexplained by their deplorable, foolish spokesmen. “It’s the most terrifying place I’ve ever been in,” Said once said of Gaza. “It’s a horrifyingly sad place because of the desperation and misery of the way people live. I was unprepared for camps that are much worse than anything I saw in South Africa.”
Of course, it was left to Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni to admit that “sometimes also civilians pay the price,” an argument she would not make, of course, if the fatality statistics were reversed. Indeed, it was instructive yesterday to hear a member of the American Enterprise Institute — faithfully parroting Israel’s arguments — defending the outrageous Palestinian death toll by saying that it was “pointless to play the numbers game”. Yet if more than 300 Israelis had been killed — against two dead Palestinians — be sure that the “numbers game” and the disproportionate violence would be all too relevant. The simple fact is that Palestinian deaths matter far less than Israeli deaths. True, we know that 180 of the dead were Hamas members. But what of the rest? If the UN’s conservative figure of 57 civilian fatalities is correct, the death toll is still a disgrace. To find both the US and Britain failing to condemn the Israeli onslaught while blaming Hamas is not surprising. US Middle East policy and Israeli policy are now indistinguishable and Gordon Brown is following the same dog-like devotion to the Bush administration as his predecessor.
As usual, the Arab satraps are silent, preposterously calling for an Arab summit on the crisis which will (if it even takes place), appoint an “action committee” to draw up a report which will never be written. For that is the way with the Arab world and its rulers. As for Hamas, they will, of course, enjoy the discomfiture of the Arab potentates while cynically waiting for Israel to talk to them. Which they will. Indeed, within a few months, we’ll be hearing that Israel and Hamas have been having “secret talks” — just as we once did about Israel and the even more corrupt PLO. But by then, the dead will be long buried and we will be facing the next crisis since the last crisis.
Jerusalem Under Different Rulers
The hot sun scorched the master and his attendant. The long journey tired them. They only had one camel, and they rode it turn by turn. By chance, it happened to be the attendant’s turn to ride the camel the day they were going to reach their destination. “Commander of the Faithful,” said the attendant, “I give up my turn. It will be awkward in the eyes of the people if I ride and you walk.”
“Oh, no,” replied the master, “It’s your turn. I am not going to be unfair.”
They were received by the commanders of the Muslim army. The commanders were wearing clothes of silk, and this enraged the master. He picked up a rock and threw it at them, saying, “Have you changed so much in just two years? What dress is this?”
The officers replied, “Commander of the Faithful, we are in a land where the value of clothes worn tells the status of a man. If we wear ordinary clothes, we will command little or no respect among the people.” This answer cooled the anger of the master.
Who was the master? It was none other than the second Caliph, Umar (May God be pleased with him). He had journeyed all the way from Medina to Jerusalem to sign a peace treaty with the rulers of Jerusalem.
Afterwards, Umar signed the peace treaty. It read as follows:
“This is the protection which the servant of God, Umar, the Ruler of the Believers, has granted to the people of Jerusalem. The protection is for their lives and properties, their churches and crosses, their sick and healthy and for all their coreligionists. Their churches shall not be used for habitation, nor shall they be demolished, nor shall any injury be done to them or to their compounds, or to their crosses, nor shall their properties be injured in any way. There shall be no compulsion for these people in the matter of religion, nor shall any of them suffer any injury on account of religion... Whatever is written herein is under the covenant of God and the responsibility of His Messenger, of the Caliphs and of the believers, and shall hold good as long as they pay Jizya [the tax for their defense] imposed on them.”
The gates of the city were opened and Umar went to the Masjid Aqsa, the third most holy place in Islam, and prayed. Afterwards, the Bishop of the city invited him to tour the biggest church of the city. Umar was in the church when the time for the after-noon prayer came. The Bishop offered to let him pray in the church.
“No,” replied Umar, “If I do so, the Muslims one day might take this as an excuse to take the church from you.” So Umar prayed on the steps of the church. He then gave the Bishop a pact that forbade the Muslims from ever praying on the steps of the church.
Thus was the conquest of Jerusalem by the Muslims. Muslims, Christians, Jews, and others lived together peacefully under Muslim rule until 1099 CE when the Crusaders conquered Jerusalem.
The French historian Michaud (1767-1839), who traveled in the Middle East and wrote a book on the Crusades called Bibliotheque des Croisades (Library of the Crusades), says on the conquest of Jerusalem by the Crusaders in 1099, “The Muslims were massacred in the streets and in the houses. Some fled from death by precipitating themselves from the ramparts; others crowded for shelter into the palaces, the towers and above all, in the mosques where they could not conceal themselves from the Crusaders. The Crusaders, masters of the Mosque of Umar, where the Muslims defended themselves for sometime, renewed their deplorable scenes which disgraced the conquest of Titus. The infantry and the cavalry rushed pell-mell among the fugitives. Amid the most horrid tumult, nothing was heard but the groans and cries of death; the victors trod over heaps of corpses in pursuing those who vainly attempted to escape.”
“There was a short lull in the act of slaughter when the Crusaders assembled to offer their thanksgiving prayer for the victory they had achieved. But soon it was renewed with great ferocity. All the captives, whom the lassitude of carnage had at first spared, all those who had been saved in the hope of rich ransom, were butchered in cold blood. The Muslims were forced to throw themselves from the tops of towers and houses; they were burnt alive; they were dragged from their subterranean retreats, they were hauled to the public places, and immolated on piles of the dead. Neither the tears of women nor the cries of little children--- not even the sight of the place where Jesus Christ forgave his executioners, could mollify the victors' passion... The carnage lasted for a week. The few who escaped were reduced to horrible servitude.”
Raymond d'Agiles, who was an eye-witness, says, “Under the portico of the mosque, the blood was knee-deep, and reached the horses' bridles.”
Such was the cruelty shown by the Crusaders. In total contrast to this, the Muslims, when they had conquered Jerusalem showed total respect and nobility. They let the population alone. They shed no blood. They made sure that the churches weren’t changed into Masjids.
The treatment that Umar gave wasn’t one isolated event in Muslim history. There were hundreds of such incidents. In fact, all of these were in line with the tradition Prophet Muhammad Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam (Peace be upon him) set when he conquered Makkah. The day in which he declared to the pagan Makkan chiefs, “You are free from all fears today. May God forgive you.”
When the Muslims re-conquered Jerusalem in 1187, they again showed extreme mercy and kindness. The ruler at the time, Sultan Salahuddin Ayyubi, gave free pardon to the Christians in the city. Only the soldiers were required to pay a very small fee. However, the Sultan himself paid the fee for about ten thousand people. His brother paid it for seven thousand people. Salahuddin also allocated one of the gates of the city for people who were too poor to pay anything to leave from there. A number of weeping Christian women carrying their children in their arms approached the Sultan and said, “You see us on foot, the wives, mothers and daughters of the warriors who are your prisoners; we are quitting forever this country; they aided us in our lives, in losing them we lose our last hope; if you give them to us, they can alleviate our miseries and we shall not be without support on earth”. The Sultan was highly moved with their appeal and set free their men. Those who left the city were allowed to carry all their bag and baggage. The commanders under the Sultan competed with each other in showing mercy to the defeated Crusaders.
Today, the Zionists in Israel are doing similar to what the Crusaders did.
Innocent civilians are randomly tortured and killed. Little children are shot. Hospitals regularly overflow with patients. Entire blocks are bulldozed for no reason.
Palestinians on the streets during curfew, even those seeking medicine or food are shot out of hand. Kids throwing stones at heavily armored tanks are gunned down, schools are destroyed, clinics ransacked, homes plundered, tank shells lobbed into marketplaces and missiles hurled into crowds.
While settlers fill their swimming pools, Palestinians go begging for water; the Israeli army destroys wells.
Countless orchards nurtured over generations have been wiped out, marketplaces bulldozed, civilian infrastructure everywhere trashed, often for no apparent security reason.
Palestinian paramedics are beaten to a pulp by the Zionist soldiers, used as human shields by them, kidnapped or delayed for hours from reaching patients.
Israeli soldiers use terrifying methods of torture. They beat innocent people going about their daily lives. They detain random people for undefined periods of time. They use poison gas against protesting civilians. They shell crowded houses in the middle of the night. They routinely disallow Muslims to offer their prayers in Al-Aqsa Masjid, the third holiest site in Islam.
Jerusalem is a holy land for Muslims, Christians, and Jews. All live there. All have ruled there at different times. But their rules were not the same. Some filled it with justice; others with oppression.
GAZA ON FIRE
Allah says in the Noble Qur’an:
سُبْحَانَ الَّذِي أَسْرَى بِعَبْدِهِ لَيْلاً مِّنَ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ إِلَى الْمَسْجِدِ الأَقْصَى الَّذِي بَارَكْنَا حَوْلَهُ لِنُرِيَهُ مِنْ آيَاتِنَا إِنَّهُ هُوَ السَّمِيعُ البَصِيرُ
Glory be to Him Who made His servant to go on a night journey from the Sacred Mosque to the remote mosque of which We have blessed the precincts, so that We may show to him some of Our signs; surely He is the Hearing, the Seeing.
[Al-Israa, Ayah 1]
What does Al-Aqsa Mean to Us?
Islam’s First Qiblah - Rasulullah sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam instructed the early Muslims to perform Salah whilst facing towards Al-Quds before the revelation to face towards Makkah as Qiblah.
Its sanctity is matched only by Makkah and Madinah - In the Noble Qur’an there are many verses implying that the Land of Palestine, the city of Jerusalem and the entire environs are set apart as blessed. The land around Masjid Al- Aqsa is referred to 70 times in the Qur’an.
Land of the Isra and Miraj -The Night Journey of Rasulullah sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam was to Jerusalem. It was from here that the Ascension to the Heavens took place.
Virtues of praying in Masjid Al Aqsa are exalted - Up to 500 times more virtuous than any Masajid other than Baitullah and Masjid Nabawi sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam. (Hadith: Abu Darda; Al Bukhari).
It is an article of Islamic faith to respect all the Prophets - As many Ambiyaa were associated with Al Quds and its surroundings, every inch has become an object of reverence.
Linked to the Last Day - Maimunah bin Sa’d radhiallahu ‘anha asked: ‘O Prophet of Allah! Tell us about Baitul Maqdas,’ to which he replied, ‘It is the land of gathering and resurrection.’ (Abu Dawud)
Waqf - After ‘Umar ibn Khatab radhiallahu ‘anhu signed an agreement, he refused to distribute the land amongst the Muslim soldiers and declared it an Islamic endowment [waqf] for the benefit of future generations. Waqf, by definition, is a property that belongs to Allah until the Day of Qiyamah. Islamic literature is filled with references to Palestine as an Islamic trust or endowment.
Sahabah - Approximately four thousand Sahabah radhiallahu ‘anhum are buried in this sacred land.
What’s happening in Palestine Today?
Extrajudicial killings and assassinations by Israeli occupation of Palestinian freedom-fighters and activists are well-documented.
Zionists continue to implement their policies of exclusion by building an apartheid wall on Palestinian land.
Land is routinely expropriated for establishment of illegal settlements of migrant settlers from around the world except Palestinians.
Palestinian refugees within Palestine and beyond are denied their right of return to their homeland.
The so-called Israeli-Arabs risk losing their citizenship at any given time while more and more settlers are naturalized so long they claim Jewish descent. With the exception of Jordan, all other Arab states have not given Palestinian refugees citizenship status.
Palestinian people live in squalor and abject poverty in Lebanon, Syria and in the Occupied Territories.
Acts of provocation such us excavation of the area around and under the Haram al-Sharif under the pretext of archaeological research are sanctioned as legitimate.
Routinely such provocation leads to confrontation through which disproportionate force is used against Palestinian defending the Haram al Sharif to decimate, terrorize, maim and put under siege the wider Palestinian community.
The Palestinian economy is at the mercy of the Occupying Power: Israel decides what can be imported or exported, restricts movement of people and controls access to all borders and sea.
Israeli stands out a record-breaker in ignoring United Nations resolutions. In cases where no resolution was passed against Israel, it was with complicity of the US vetoing such a resolution.
Where is GAZA?
Gaza, which is one of the most densely populated areas in the region, which has been suffering a large scale humanitarian over the past 18 months. It is boarded by ‘Israel’ in the north and east, Egypt in the south and the Mediterranean to the west. Present day Gazans originally resided in the Occupied Territories and were later forced into this region by the Israeli regime only to expand its own land mass.
Israeli war planes have repeatedly bombed and utterly demolished Gaza's only power plant. About 700,000 of Gaza's 1.3 million people have had no electricity, and have been without basic necessities of day to day life.
In short, over a million civilians have been trapped in their homes listening to Israeli shells, while facing the awful prospect, within days or weeks, of having to give toxic water to their children that may consign them to quick but agonizing deaths.
Gazans are practically living in the world largest ‘concentration camp.’
Who is Hamas?
Hamas is organization which draws its guidelines from the principles of Islam. Its interpretation of reality, life, humanity and conduct stems directly from the Islamic ethos, thus creating a departure from the ideology of the PLO which is founded on Palestinian/Nationalistic Consciousness.
According to Hamas, the issue of Palestine is the responsibility of the Ummah and not merely of those residing there. Thus, the liberation of this land is binding upon every Muslim.
The cornerstone of this movement is that the land of Palestine is an Islamic Endowment (waqf); therefore no person can renounce and abandon it or a portion of it.
Believing that a divided leadership would undermine the interest of the region, Hamas has and continuously strives to maintain healthy relations with the Palestinian Authority and other regimes in the Arab world.
Based upon these fundamentals, the Hamas Administration has always posed a threat to the Zionist State of Israel to achieve its sinister goals and dreams. This is despite the fact that Hamas was democratically elected in February 2006 by its people to administer the affairs of the region of Gaza.
Who broke the ‘Truce’?
The Egyptian-mediated truce between Hamas and Israel took effect on 19 June 2008. The six month ceasefire deal stipulated that Hamas, will halt the fire of homemade shells into Israeli territory, in exchange for Israel lifting the 12 month-blockade and ceasing all military attacks against the Gaza Strip. In addition the truce deal included that Israel and Hamas will start to conduct indirect talks over a prisoners swap deal. Both Hamas and Israel announced that they agreed on the conditions.
Throughout the truce Israel did not lift the siege on Gaza as required and on more than 20 occasions during this six month period they defied the articles of the truce.
The most recent series of airstrikes on Gaza is not just an attack on Palestinians, rather an attack on the collective conscience of the world. The past 40 years clearly reflect that with each act of military aggression against Palestinians by Israel, the more intense the resistance becomes.
Historical fact indicates that Israel always manufactured a motive to expel or kill Palestinians. In 1980’s there was Sabra and Chatilla; prior to that the flattening of Beirut; thousands of Palestinians were killed for throwing stones during the first Intifada; thousands more killed during the second intifada apparently to stop suicide bombing and; the current justification is Hamas and the Qassam rockets. Each time the Palestinian demon is evoked as an existentialist threat.
The facts are clear: Palestinians in Gaza are fighting for their very survival, against annihilation by the state of Israel, who could so easily push them into the sea. They have no armed forces to match against sophistication of Israeli army, only crude weapons and a steely resolve never to give in to the occupier.
There’s no need for despondency. Remember the words of Rasulullah sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, “How wonderful is the affair of the believer, for his affairs are all good, and this applies to no one but the believer. If something good happens to him, he is thankful for it and that is good for him. If something bad happens to him, he bears it with patience and that is good for him.” (Muslim)
In another narration Nabi sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam is reported as saying: “The greatest reward comes with the greatest trial. When Allah loves a people He tests them. Whoever accepts that wins His pleasure but whoever is discontent with that earns His wrath.” (Tirmidhi and Ibn Maajah)
The ‘Ulama explain that any difficulty befalls a believer either as a means of forgiveness or of raising one’s rank in the eyes of Allah if he finds himself living the obedience of Allah. However, if perchance a believer has strayed from the path of righteousness, discomfort comes his way as a wake call to come back to Allah.
What must we do?
Du’a is the weapon of a believer. Rasulullah sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam said: “The du’a of a Muslim for his brother (in Islam) in his absence is readily accepted. An angel is appointed to his side. Whenever he makes a beneficial du’a for his brother the appointed angel says, 'Aameen. And may you also be blessed with the same.” [Sahih Muslim]
Rasulullah sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam said: “Believers (in their mutual concern for each other) are like a single individual, if his eye is in pain, his entire body is in pain, if his head is in pain, his entire body (becomes restless) with pain. (Muslim) Their pain is our pain, their loss is ours! The minimum we can do is read the Qunoot-e-Naazila and beg Allah for His forgiveness and mercy.
Educate yourself and your community about Palestine and the issues related to it.
Support causes for Palestine through charity.
Engage the media and government in the highlighting of the issue of Palestine as a humanitarian crisis.
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Growing up in a home with his parents, brother and sister, life seemed quite normal. However, with much difficulty Azaam admits that at the age of six or seven, he was sexually abused by a family member. Talking about such things is taboo in his family and community and as a result, Azaam had to live with this dark secret that tainted his life forever. From that day forward he chose to dissociate himself from life and his family, to run to a “safe” place within himself, a place where things felt ok.
At the age of sixteen, Azaam was introduced to marijuana. His first encounter with the drug was with a group of friends whom he met up with after school one day. “To be honest, I felt nothing, but I felt ok with myself. It was the first time that I felt at home with myself,” admits Azaam.
The use of Marijuana progressed onto experimenting with other drugs, which led to his choice of drug, Cocaine. At first, he only used cocaine on weekends and sometimes during the week, but within a month he was addicted and could not sleep for weeks at a time.
For six months, he used it every day. At the age of nineteen Azaam was not working and lived alone at university. He had a house and a car. “Everything around me was falling apart, yet I did not care, and just continued to spiral down,” said Azaam.
Eventually he managed to clean up for about six months. Unfortunately, by that time the damage was done. He was soon on his way back home to South Africa. After being back for approximately a year, his life took a formidable, yet familiar turn.
He went back to using Cocaine, although this time it was different because he was at home with his family. For about six months he managed to hide it from his family, but eventually they came to know what was happening. Azaam admits that he knew he had a problem, but figured he could overcome it alone. His family found it difficult to come to terms with his problem.
The Road to Recovery
Throughout Azaam’s life he visited psychiatrists and therapists. “I was always able to manipulate people to get the result I wanted,” said Azaam. There came a point when he realized that he wanted to make a change in his life. This time he wanted that change to be for himself, not for his family or anyone else.
“I remember my mum and I went for an evaluation, in which the counselor did a urine test for me. I will never forget the way my mum looked at me, and I could not shed a tear,” he added.
The following week he went into rehab on his own account. “They say when you do drugs, from the first hit you close a door in your mind, and open a new one. This is entirely true,” said Azaam.
Azaam has been on the road to recovery for about a year and a half. About eight months ago he relapsed. He was at a crossroad; he could either continue using drugs to the point of death, which was his goal then, or he could clean up, but this time without rehab.
Azaam said, “The last eight months have taken me through every emotion, and feeling. Things I’ve suppressed from a child are coming out. The days don’t get any easier, and life doesn’t cut you any breaks. I’ve had to relearn basic skills, such as how to deal with a basic situation."
He continued, "There are a few things that I have learnt: you have to have faith in your higher power, and you have to be honest, and willing to change. I developed an emotional dependency on drugs, and I used them no matter what I felt. They used to help me get away from reality. I used them because I wanted to, and I didn’t know any other way of being. I’ve since developed little coping skills and have realized my true passions in life.”
A Word of Advice
Azaam’s advice to the youth is that they should always try and do the right thing. He commented, “Everything happens for a reason in life. It’s all about how you look at it. Remember that whatever you do, you are not the first to have done it and won’t be the last.”
He continued, “I know it’s not easy to stop using drugs, and the craving doesn’t ever go away, but when you are willing to make that change, trust me, the universe will work in your favor, and you will be guided. Now that I look back on what has happened, I realize that all this has brought me to where I am.” Azaam’s greatest support during his difficult times has been his family and his faith in Almighty Allah.
Poetry and painting are two things that Azaam truly loves. He started writing poems at the age of thirteen. When writing, Azaam says that he feels like a child again. He feels free, and does not have any concerns about people’s judgments. When writing he explores his emotions and feelings, which he can freely express.
Writing poems allows him to open his mind and influence people’s perceptions of things. It also makes him realize that he is not the only one going through this kind of problem. It is a way of connecting and hopefully allowing others to see that they are not alone either. Writing has become an effective outlet for Azaam to express his innermost feelings.
In a sense, Azaam has dissociated himself from his past. “I’ve been forgetting that I am a recovering addict, and it’s at these times that I need to remind myself of the reality of my past. They say for an addict there are only three choices in active addiction: jail, institutions and death. I’ve done one of them and been very close to the other two.”
It is with much courage that Azaam has faced his problems and is determined to make a positive, lasting change in his life. I pray that Almighty Allah will guide him, grant him ease in his endeavors, everlasting success and keep him firm on the straight path.
Finally, I hope that the story of Azaam will be an example for others who are going through a similar situation. I hope they can be inspired by this story and take the first step towards recovery.
Now that you are entering the working environment you will find that you will experience a number of demands. Some of these may be demands from your friends and family, others from those who may have funded your studies, but most importantly you will experience the demands of your nafs.
Throughout your period of studying you motivated your nafs by incentivizing it with the promise of a new car, expensive clothes and a lavish lifestyle. You were able to bump a ride with your neighbour knowing that in a few years you would have a flashy new car that you could show off to the rest of your peers. In fact, the main reason you went to university in the first place was to be able to live your dream lifestyle.
I want to highlight to you that your success in your education is solely due to the kindness and mercy of Allah. Although your hard work has been the means of obtaining the qualification, the ultimate decision as to whether you were going to pass or fail was in the hands of Allah. In the same light the type of lifestyle you will lead and the amount of money you will earn from here on end is not a function of the level of your qualification. While it may become the means of earning a livelihood, these earnings have been preordained by Allah.
Therefore I wish to advise you regarding something extremely important as you embark on this long journey of formal employment. While your original intention for obtaining your education may have been incorrect, you have a choice about how you will earn and spend your wealth from this point
We live in a world where you don’t necessarily need to work in the job you may have studied for. A degree or other such qualification is simply a benchmark that allows you to enter into the corporate environment. You must carefully consider whether the field you intend going into is compliant with the laws of Allah, to whom you owe your gratitude for your education. It will be much easier to change jobs now while you are young as opposed to when you have established yourself in an industry.
You also need to be aware of controlling the demands of your nafs when it comes to spending your wealth. The western corporate culture will encourage you to live a lifestyle beyond that which you can actually afford. You will be enticed to purchase a car on extremely favourable yet haraam interest rates. Remember, at the time when you are test driving the car you can’t afford, that Allah is the benefactor of your education and you owe it to Him to make sure that your wealth is spent correctly.
You are fortunate in that you live in an environment where you have the option to by your car using halaal means. There is no excuse for you to say that an interest bearing loan is the only facility you have available. You may find that the Islamic financing options are slightly more expensive than the interest based ones. This is a test from Allah and a deception of shaytaan. While you may save a few rands every month, you will be earning the greatest displeasure of Allah. Rather buy something less flashy while ensuring complete adherence to the Quran and Sunnah.
I hope that this humble advice will stand you in good stead as you enter into your exciting new career. Remember above all else that going out to work can become a perpetual ibaadat if done with the intention of earning a halaal livelihood. But earning a halaal livelihood means that the source of income, the manner in which it is spent and the way in which you exert yourself at work must all be in accordance with the Shariah