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
Allah Ta’ala declares in His Glorious Qur’an: “It is He (Allah) who reveals upon His slave (Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam) clear verses so that He may remove you from darkness to light” (Surah 57, Aayah 9). The clear message from this aayah is that Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) was sent with “Light.” Every aspect that he delivered to mankind pertaining to any aspect of life is “Light.” EVERYTHING ELSE IS “DARKNESS.” There is no “middle path.” It is either “Light” — otherwise “Darkness.”
The distinction of either “Darkness” or “Light” is not only restricted to acts of worship. Rather the manner of conducting our various day to day activities and all aspects of life fall in one of the two categories. “Light” is the way of Rasulullah(sallallahu alaihi wasallam). The ways of the Jews, Christians, the West and everybody else falls in the category of “Darkness.” More than anybody else, the ways of the West are most opposed to the “Light” that Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) brought. It is, and especially in the present world scenario, the greatest darkness. It is godless culture, utterly immoral, callous and ruthless and in short — decayed to the core. If one sheds away the indoctrination of the media and considers the realities, one would regard the above judgement as mild. Let us take a few basic examples:
Islam provided an economic system that is neither capitalistic nor socialistic. (The details are beyond the scope of this pamphlet.) While the Islamic system allows the wealthy to prosper in a lawful way, it caters for the need of the less privileged. The bedrock of the Islamic economic system is that interest and usury in all it’s forms is taboo. In direct opposition to this system is the capitalistic system of the West. The bedrock of the Western system is interest. By means of this system, some get richer at the expense of millions of others. It is a ruthless and callous system, the evil of which has been expounded by even many Western writers.
One of the most distinguishing aspects of Islam is the level of Hayaa (modesty/morality) that it teaches. Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) is reported to have said: “Hayaa is a branch of faith.” Thus Islam forbids the intermingling of the sexes. A man may not look at any woman besides his wife or mahram (one with whom marriage is impermissible). The Qur’an has commanded both males and females to lower the gaze and not to look at the opposite sex. These and other such directives ensure a morally upright society. In a society where the Islamic moral code is upheld, illicit activities are virtually non-existent. Marriages by and large last a lifetime.
In the West these noble values are despised and mocked. What else can be expected from those who have no values at all. In Western culture intermingling and shaking hands with all and sundry is a trivial matter. In fact a woman in the presence of her smiling husband may hug another man who is a “family friend” without any hesitation. Not only is it “culturally acceptable,” it would be “rude” not to do so.What an utterly value-less and filthy system! It is compounded darkness. It is as Allah Ta’ala describes in the Qur’an: “Darkness upon darkness. If he brings out his hand (in front of him) he will not be able to see it. And the one for whom Allah Ta’ala does not provide any light, he (certainly) has no light at all” (Surah 24, Aayah 40). As a result of being without any light from Allah Ta’ala, absolutely filthy practices seem cultured and one completely fails to see the utter immorality in it.
In Western culture, pornography is “art,” marrying someone of the same gender is acceptable, living together without marriage is fine while drinking, gambling and fornicating is amusement. Western culture has sunken to a level way below animals.
The primary purpose of clothing is to cover the body. Thus Islam advocates that clothing must truly cover the body. The clothing must be thick enough to ensure that thesatr (part of the body which is necessary to cover) is not visible through it. It must be loose enough to ensure that the shape of the satr is not distinguished. Islam advocates simplicity in attire. The garments of the West are made tighter and more revealing by the day. Due to the type of clothing worn, a father can easily distinguish most parts of the anatomy of his daughter and a son of his mother and sister — and no one even bats an eyelid!What an immoral and sickening culture!!!
The pivotal focus of Western garments is pride and show. The great obsession with designer labels is proof of this. Even a fake designer label will do — one can show off with it! This entire culture is fake, hollow and decayed. It directly contradicts the teachings of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) who declared: “He who will dress in garments of show (i.e. he wears garments in order to show-off among people), Allah Ta’ala will clothe him in garments of disgrace on the day of Qiyamah”(Mishkaat).
Western culture is in direct opposition to the Sunnah. Islam teaches us to wash our hands before eating and to sit and eat. The West teaches that standing around and eating is cultured. Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) has emphasised upon men to LENGHTEN their beards (to at least a fist length). The West teaches shaving it off (or at the most sporting a short “fashionable” beard). Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) has warned men from wearing any garment in such a way that it hangs below the ankles. The West and its slaves insist on opposing this command. Islam teaches the husband and wife to be conscious of their duties to one another and to fulfil the same, thus creating harmony and peace. The West emphasises upon each one to demand their rights, thus creating strife and animosity.
Most of all Islam focuses towards the Hereafter and reminds us to prepare for the everlasting life to come. The West focuses solely on this world — make the most money, have the best mansion and car, buy the best luxuries, enjoy the best holidays and just keep chasing fun. If you have not been able to achieve that yet, just keep toiling to get there — until you suddenly drop dead! This is the sum total of this alien culture.
Every Muslim claims to love the Sunnah and to hate the opposing Western culture — the way of life of the Yahood and Nasaara (Jews and Christians). However, in practice we have aped their rotten culture to a great extent — and paid the price. How many dozens of major Muslim businesses have shut down mainly due to becoming entangled in the accursed interest system? While the reasons for the rocketing divorce rate in the Muslim community may be many, most of it can be traced back to the abandoning of the Sunnah way of life and adopting the ways of the Jews and Christians. Likewise, how much of illicit activity has crept in among Muslims due to the adoption of the immorality of the West? The entire family is constantly bombarded with immorality by means of the television, magazines, newspapers (especially weekend newspapers) and other media. Are we even conscious of this? Are we prepared to sacrifice our “entertainment” in order to protect the hayaa of our families? The clothing worn by Muslim sisters and daughters is becoming tighter, shorter and more shameless — as if all shame and modesty has bid farewell to them … and to their parents also. Who do they resemble in their body-hugging garments and Western styles? Do they resemble Hazrath Fathima (R.A.), or the loose, immoral women of the West? Western culture wishes to drag us to the gutters. The quicker we abandon it the better.
SINCERE IN HATRED
We have cursed the Christians and Jews enough. If we are sincere in our hatred for them, let us shun their “Darkness.” Let us shun the Western culture that they are promoting. Let us come back to the “Light” of Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) in every aspect of life, be it in business, attire, eating and drinking, marriage or funeral. Let every action display our love and admiration for the way of life of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). Do not become an advertiser for Western culture by your attire or anything else. Take the time daily to learn the Sunnats of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) and implement the same in one’s life. Only by adopting the Sunnah in our lives will we be able to appreciate it’s excellence, simplicity, ease and practicality. When the Sunnah will brighten up our lives, only then will we be able to discern and recognise the evil and darkness of the Western culture. Only then will we want to wash off the ways of the Yahood and Nasaara like washing away impurities from our bodies. Otherwise we will continue wallowing in the “Darkness,” believing ourselves to be “enlightened and liberated,” until we trip into our graves. May Allah Ta’ala save us.
All praise is due to Allah and may His choicest salutations descend upon our Master and Leader Muhammad Sallallahu 'alayhi wasallam
"We sent aforetime our messengers with clear Signs and sent down with them the Book and the Balance so that men may stand forth in Justice." (57:25).
The concept of Justice serves as the edifice of Islam. Justice is the underlying rationale of every law of the Quran, and permeates all Islamic values, since there can be no sense of peace in the absence of justice. In the verse mentioned above the phrase 'Our Messengers' shows that justice has been the goal of all revelation and scriptures sent to humanity. The verse also shows that justice must be measured and implemented by the standards and guidelines set by revelation.
Timeless commitment to Justice:
The timeless commitment of the Quran to the basic standards of justice is found in its declaration:
“And the Word of your Lord has been fulfilled in truth and in justice. None can change His Words.” (6:115)
The Quranic concept of justice also extends justice to being a personal virtue, and one of the standards of moral excellence that a believer is encouraged to attain as part of his proximity to the Creator.
“…Be just, for it is closest to Allah consciousness…” (5:8)
To render justice is a trust that Allah has conferred on the human being and, like all other trusts, its fulfilment must be guided by a sense of responsibility Thus, the Quran states: “Allah commands you to render trusts to whom they are due, and when you judge between people, judge with justice…” (4:58)
Justice even at the cost of your own Interest:
The Qur'anic standards of justice transcend considerations of race, religion, colour, and creed, as Muslims are commanded to be just to their friends and foes alike:
“O you who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even if it be against yourselves, your parents, and your relatives, or whether it is against the rich or the poor...” (4:135)
With specific regard to relations with non-Muslims, the Quran further states:
“Allah does not forbid you from doing good and being just to those who have neither fought you over your faith nor evicted you from your homes...” (60:8)
Deal justly with your Enemy!
Even hatred for a people should not lead one to do injustice. "O ye who believe! Stand out firmly for Allah, as witnesses to fair dealing, and let not the hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just: that is next to Piety: and fear Allah. For Allah is well-acquainted with all that ye do." (5:8) In other words you cannot do injustice even when you are dealing with the enemy. The natural, uneducated, and uncivilized tendency is to treat the enemy as less than a human being; one who has no rights and deserves no justice or fairness. It was as true in the pre-Islamic tribal jahilya (based on ignorance) society as it is today. See how Islam directly curbs it. It is a command to the believers, with a reminder that Allah is watching you, that enmity of others cannot be used as an excuse for committing injustices against them.
Justice even during the Time of Warfare:
Nabi Sallallahu 'alayhi wasallam generally advised the commanders while sending them for war saying: “Fight in the name of Allah and in the path of Allah. Combat those who disbelieve in Allah. Fight, yet do not cheat, do not break trust, do not mutilate, and do not kill minors…”
Ali bin Abi Talib Radhi-Allahu anhu lost a shield that was dear to him and later found it in the hands of a non-Muslim citizen who was selling it in one of Koofah's markets. When he saw it, 'Ali Radhi-Allahu anhu said: “This is my shield that fell off my camel on so and so night at such and such time.” The man answered: “No, this is my shield in my hand.” 'Ali replied: “No, it is mine since I never sold or gave it to any one.” The man agreed to let a judge decide, which 'Ali Radhi-Allahu anhu accepted. They went to Shurayh who asked 'Ali Radhi-Allahu anhu for his side of the story. 'Ali Radhi-Allahu anhu said that the shield was his and that he had found it with that man, it had fallen off his camel and he had never sold it or given it to anyone. The judge turned to the other man asking his story. The man said that he did not accuse 'Ali Radhi-Allahu anhu of lying, but the shield was his, as it was in his hands. Shurayh turned to 'Ali saying: “I believe you, but we need the statement of two witnesses to back your story.” 'Ali Radhi-Allahu anhu said that there was his aide Qanbar and his son Al-Hassan Radhi-Allahu anhu to which the man replied that a son could not testify for the benefit of his father. Ali said: “By Allah (how) can a man who is promised paradise not act as a witness! Have you not heard that the Prophet Sallallahu 'alayhi wasallam said that Al-Hassan and Al-Hussayn Radhi-Allahu anhu were the masters of the youths of paradise? Shurayh said: “Yes I have, but a son cannot bear witness for his father.” Then 'Ali turned to the man and said: “Take the shield, as I have no other witnesses.”
The man, who was a non-Muslim, then said: “O 'Ali, the shield is yours. What a great religion! I can sue 'Ali and get a judge to pass a decision for my benefit! I declare myself a Muslim.” He told the judge that he was following the army and had seen the shield fall down and picked it up. 'Ali Radhi-Allahu anhu then told him to keep the shield and even gave him a horse.
How do we compare? Where is our sense of justice? Have we distorted the purity of our Deen by dealing unjustly? May Allah protect us from oppressive tendencies especially in the name of our Deen!
Jamiatul Ulama South Africa
A mutawalli must comply with the following conditions:
1. He must have the right of trusteeship. This right, in sequence of priority, goes first to the person who made the endowment (waqf). Second is the person appointed by the endower himself. Next is the Muslim ruler or the appointed Muslim governor of the district. Thereafter this right rests with the Muslim Judge (Qaadhi), then finally with the person whom the inhabitants of the locality choose. (Shaami, Book of Waqf - Page 384 / Vol. 5)
2. He must be a sane Muslim.
3. He must be well acquainted with the regulations pertaining to endowment and trust (waqf).
4. He must have a practical and theoretical knowledge concerning the affairs of managing the endowment (waqf). (Durrul Mukhtaar & Shaami) This means that he should not be so ignorant as to be unable to differentiate between a capable and non-capable candidate for appointment as lmaam or Muazzin. It should not be that he fails to consult learned people and disassociate himself from senior Ulama in related matters. He must also not be so busy that he is unavailable to attend to the affairs of the trust.
5. He must be a trustworthy person, taking care not to misappropriate a single cent.
6. He must not involve himself in such futile engagements wherein people destroy their wealth, like gambling and bribery.
7. He must be an "Allah-fearing" and pious person - not a faasiq, i.e. an open sinner who indulges in major sins such as drinking, adultery, dealing in interest, shaving the beard, neglecting salaah, discarding the fardh salaah with jamaat (congregation), acquiring livelihood by unlawfw means, etc. Thus, if any trustee is found to be involved in such actions it will be incumbent (waajib) to dismiss him from office, even though he may the endower himself. (Durrul Mukhtaar with Shaami , Vol 5 - Pg. 385)
8. He should not be one who requested for the position as a trustee.
If any close relative of the endower complies with the above conditions he should be appointed as a trustee. However, if all these qualities are not found in any individual then such a person cannot be a mutawalli nor can he be appointed as one, since this will constitute an act of sin.
THE MUTAWALLI'S OBLIGATION TOWARDS THE MASJID
1. He should safeguard the income and property of the Masjid, meeting the necessary expenses and avoiding unnecessary expenditure. These days funds are generally squandered on expenses which have no importance in the shariah, but are merely spent because unenlightened trustees deem them to be imperative. These people should fear Allah, for on the day of Qiyaamah they will be accountable for every cent. The mutawallis of the masjid must take the onus upon themselves to consult the Ulama, at the first opportunity, regarding the detailed rulings pertaining to these expenses and the running of the masiid in general.
2. He must keep a proper record of all the income and expenditure of the masjid.
3. According to the best of means, a proper Imaam must be appointed. If however, instead of a competent person, an unfit and inefficient person is appointed to serve the community and deen at large then the warning sounded in the following Hadith should be heeded to : It is narrated that whosoever appoints someone to a post whereas within his sphere of influence there are more deserving persons, he has betrayed Allah, His Nabi (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) and the Muslims in general. (Fathul Qadeer)
4. He must appoint such a Muazzin who is well acquainted with the times of Salaah (and the correct pronunciation of the azaan).
5. He should give due priority to the maintenance of the masjid building as well as it's other associated facilities. Security should also be given due consideration.
6. Cleanliness, lighting and water facilities must also be adequately arranged.
7. It is of paramount importance for the Mutawalli to ensure the performance of the five daily salaah in congregation and always strive towards increasing the number of musallis (in the masjid). Each mutawalli must look sincerely into these duties and exert his utmost efforts towards achieving these ends.
It is noticed that the mutawallis of the various masaajid usually do not fully discharge their responsibilities, hence becoming sinners. Special care must be exercised in the appointment of an Imaam, because due to any. shortcomings in this regard, thousands more will mushroom which can lead the Muslims to deviation.
If someone is an Imaam it does not entitle his son to the same. Since Imaamat is not a legacy, the most competent and deserving person should be appointed.
(The following are the cardinal requirements for an Imaam)
1. He should be well versed in relevant masaa'il Pertaining to Imaamat and salaah).
2. He must have mastered tajweed rules (to facilitate correct recitation of qiraat in salaah).
3. He should adhere to the faraaidh, waajibaat, sunnah and mustahabaat.
4. He must refrain from haraam and makroohaat.
If the correct choice of an Imaam cannot be made, a reliable Aalim should be asked to interview a potential candidate. To use only a beautiful voice as a yard-stick in choosing an Imaam is pure ignorance. However, if together with the above cardinal requirements, the Imaam also possesses a beautiful voice then this will be an added asset.
Once the right Imaam has been appointed, due respect must be shown to him. He must not be considered as a personal subordinate of the mutawalli. He is the leader and should be followed. This should always be kept in mind. Such a salary should be stipulated for him that will enable him to lead a decent and peaceful life. Stinginess should never be shown with regard to this issue. If there is a need, other expenses should be curtailed but a low and unreasonable salary should never be given to the Imaam or Muazzin. If negligence prevails, it should be borne in mind that man is often forced to fulfil his basic needs by other means. The Muslim jurists (rahimahumullah) have stated that if somebody commits himself to the service of a community, it is waajib upon them that they meet his expenses.
When the Imaam stands up to reform the masses, it is incumbent upon the mutawallis to jointly shoulder the cart and assist him to achieve his religious goal. In the event of the ignorant public raising objections and undue criticism against the Imaam. It is the duty of the mutawallis to stop them. If people disapprove of his propagation of the truth and the musallis decrease, they should first be made to understand. If they persist (in their disapproval) then they should be ignored, because it is better to have a few abiding to the sunnah and shariah rather than a deviated crowd.
If any Imaam does anything contrary to the shariah or introduces innovations, then he should be dismissed. The Imaam 'must have freedom of expression, he should never be hindered by the mutawallis. Some mutawallis dislike and are offended by the Imaam's mentioning of any vices or faults in which they are involved, thus they prevent the Imaam from such lectures. Such an attitude leads to severe sins. They will also be considered amongst those subjected to the severe warnings given in the following aayaat: "They prevent others_from the path of Allah.'
'Who can be more unjust than he who prevents the name of Allah been taken in the house of Allah.'
The mutawalli should never interfere in the Imaam's ibaadat, lectures and religious services. According to the shariah the mutawalli has no right of intervention. His responsibility is to see to the proper maintenance and functioning of the masjid, as mentioned above.
If the mutawalli adopts and adheres to the above mentioned advices, with a true spirit, then it is highly believed that he will be amongst the good-named mutawallis in the hereafter and be absolved of the great responsibilities which he shouldered. He will be justly rewarded, Inshaa-Allah.
( The above has been extracted from the book - Khutbaat-e-Mouizat)
Prepared under the auspices of: Sheikhul Hadeeth Hadbrat Moulaana Fazlur Rahman Saheb
TRUSTEES OF MUSJIDS
Perhaps it is due to this sad state of affairs that we observe that such people are appointed as trustees who possess wealth and power, even though they do not perform a single Salaat in the Musjid. The result of this is, that daily we find disputes and quarrels in the Musjid which leads to court-cases and non-Muslim judges passing judgement in matters of religion. In reality as the Imaamat of the Musjid is handed to the Ulama, in the same way the trusteeship of the Musjid should also be in the control of learned and pious people, who are divinely discharged to lead the Ummah. The Qur’aan bears testimony to this issue in these words:
"He only shall tend Allah's sanctuaries who believe in Allah and the last day, and observes proper worship and pays the poor due, and fear none but Allah.” (Surah Tawbah 18.)
It is incumbent upon the residents of locality to remove a dishonest Mutawalli (Trustee) from office otherwise they will be guilty of sin. It is incumbent upon the residents of a locality to remove a dishonest Mutawalli (Trustee) from office, otherwise they will be guilty of sin. (Fatawa Khairiyyah)
Hadhrat Ibn Abbas Radhiallahu anhu narrated that Rasulullah Sallallahu alayhi wasallam said: "He who appoints a man in charge of the affairs of Muslims whilst in that Community there is a Person more versed in the Quraan and Hadith has betrayed Allah, His Messenger and the Muslim community." (Izalatul Khifa)
"It is not permissible to appoint a Faasiq as a Mutawalli.” (Fatawa Ibn Taimiyyah)
"To appoint an ignorant and a Faasiq person to a position of Trust (e.g. Mutawalli) is to show honour to him whereas the Shariah has prohibited the honouring of Fussaq (rebellious and shameless sinners)." (Shami)
Rasulullah Sallallahu alayhi wasallam said: "When positions of Trust are handed unqualified (Islamically) persons then await the to Final Hour." (Bukhari Shareef)
DECLARING MUSJIDS NATIONAL MONUMENTS
One of the tragedies of the present times prevalent in many countries especially in communist countries, and parts of India is the law declaring Musjids national monuments and locking them up, due to which either those Muslims are completely neglected and deserted, or they are visited by tourists, and the performance of prayers and recital of the Quraan is prohibited therein, whereas Musjids are dedicated for the worship of Allah and they cannot be used for any of the above purposes. Stopping the devotees from praying and reciting the Quraan is tantamount to the crime of demolishing the Musjid.
It is mentioned in the Quraan: "And who doeth greater wrong then he who forbiddeth the entry to the sanctuaries of Allah, lest his name should be mentioned therein, and striveth for their ruin? As for such it was never meant that they should enter them except in fear. Theirs in the world of Ignomirny and theirs in the hereafter is an awful doom.” (Surah Baqarah: 114)
The commentators have interpreted "striveth for their ruin" to mean all forms of obstruction, desertion and neglect.
Allama Raashid Rada Misri Rahmatullaahi alaih writes that the meaning of the above verse is to stop or obstruct the worship, remembrance of Allah in any form.
From the above it is concluded that declaring Musjids national monuments is tantamount to stopping the worship of Allah therein, and cannot be tolerated under any circumstances.It should also be remembered that a Musjid built on proper endowed (waqf) ground with the spirit of sincerity and piety will always remain a Musjid, and it will always be used only for the worship, remembrance and glorification of Allah and it will not be used for the worship of anything besides of Allah, as the Qur'aan says:
"These Musjids are for Allah so do not call upon anyone besides Allah therein" (Surah Jinn)
It is not permissible for Muslims to withdraw and relinquish their rights over a Musjid and allow it to be declared a national monument and used for the purpose of tourist attractions, or to exchange a musjid for another place because the house of Allah cannot be sold, exchanged, locked, demolished, or changed into any other type of building.[ The Musjid – It’s Role and Etiquette ]
The end of the financial year is a time for stocktaking. It is a time when profits or losses are calculated. Allah forbid, if the stocktaking exercise reveals a loss, it results in great concern and anxiety. Meetings are held, consultants are approached for advice, “belt tightening” measures are implemented and a host of other strategies are adopted to cover the loss and make a profit. If it appears that the loss is due to pilferage, extra security measures are implemented. In short, the stocktaking spurs one to action.
While much effort is put into ascertaining the profits and losses of this world, how often do we take stock of our profits and losses of the Hereafter? Are we certain we are not in a loss situation? We would only be able to truly ascertain this after taking stock of our lives – of our beliefs, actions, character, monetary dealings and social life.
TAKE STOCK NOW
Hazrat Umar (R.A.) is reported to have said: “Take an account of yourself before you are taken to account (on the Day of Judgement) and adorn yourself for your appearance in the court of Allah, for verily the giving of an account on the Day of Judgement is lighter for the one who took stock of himself in the world.” (Tirmizi)
Many of the pious predecessors used to daily take an account of the day’s deeds before going to bed. During the day they noted down all the actions they had performed in that day, the words they had spoken and even what they thought about. At night they would bring out their notebook and study the actions of the day. Everything recorded therein was thereafter responded to accordingly — if something deserved shukr (gratitude), such as having been able to perform any righteous action, or having received any good, they expressed shukr. If something demanded repentance and seeking forgiveness, they immediately did so (Risaalatul Mustarshideen, Pg 80).
While the ideal is to take stock daily, the least is that occasionally one takes stock of all aspects of one’s life.
The stocktaking should commence with the level of one’s Imaan. How strong is it? Does it make one jump out of bed and proceed for Fajr Salaah to the Musjid? Is one’s Imaan saving one from all haraam, such as gossip, lying, casting lustful glances, engaging in haraam business transactions, etc? If the stocktaking reveals that one’s Imaan is not strong enough to save oneself from sin and disobedience, urgent steps must be taken to strengthen it. Imaan is strengthened by associating with the pious, being in the gatherings of Deen and striving in the Path of Allah Ta’ala. This must be done before the “business” shuts down – that is before death.
Then take stock of one’s ibaadah. Ask oneself, “Am I performing my Salaah? Am I performing it with Jama`ah in the Musjid (for males)? Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) is reported to have said: “The one who misses a single Salaah, it is as if he has lost his entire family and wealth!” Am I incurring such losses? Am I performing my Salaah correctly, in the sunnah manner, with complete humility and devotion, or is it a haphazard Salaah? If it needs improvement, set up an urgent “meeting” with an experienced and learned person to rectify one’s salaah and plug the losses being incurred by performing salaah which does not conform to the sunnah. Likewise, take an account of all the other acts of worship.
With great scrutiny, take stock of the attributes of Imaan. What is the level of Hayaa (modesty and shame) in my life? Is it increasing or decreasing? Is my dressing gradually becoming more immodest (shorter and tighter than it used to be)? Stake stock of one’s taqwa (consciousness of Allah Ta’ala), sincerity, humility, trust in Allah Ta’ala, love for Allah Ta’ala and Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) over every thing else, sabr (patience), shukr (gratitude), simplicity, the heart being free from love for the world and love for the ego, etc. Consider: Do I posses these qualities to the standard required? If not, I must immediately consult an expert to help me acquire them.
A crucial aspect to take stock of is one’s akhlaaq (character). Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) is reported to have said: “There is nothing weightier on the scales on the Day of Judgement (apart from obligatory actions) than good character.” Some of the aspects to consider in this regard are: Anger. Do I vent my anger over trivial things? A Sahaabi (R.A.)requested Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) for advice. “Do not get angry” was his reply. He repeated his request two more times. Each time he got the same reply. Take stock of one’s akhlaaq in the light of the words of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam): “Join ties of relationship with those who cut-off ties from you, forgive the one who has oppressed you and return ill-treatment with kindness.”
Take stock of one’s time. How much of my time is dedicated to earning the world? What percentage of my time is spent in striving for Deen? Also, take stock of one’s heart! Check: Is my heart filled with the love of Allah Ta`ala and His beloved Rasul (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) more than the love of others? Are my aspirations more for the Hereafter or for this world? Do I desire to become a true slave of Allah Ta`ala more than the desire to become wealthy or gain worldly positions and status? To what extent is the sunnah in my life? Allah forbid, is there a greater inclination towards the western lifestyle than the sunnah?
The abovementioned points are merely some of the aspects we should be taking stock of. One should consult an experienced, pious personality for guidance in these and all other aspects of one’s life.
The main objective of the stocktaking exercise is to propel one to action. Is one’s “balance sheet” indicating a loss? If yes, there is no time to procrastinate. It is necessary to take immediate steps to recover the loss. One should sincerely repent, fulfil outstanding Ibaadah, balance one’s time and dedicate a significant amount to Deen and towards becoming a true slave of Allah Ta`ala.
May Allah Ta`ala enable us to take stock of ourselves before our stock is taken. Aameen.
Isaac Newton is, as most will agree, the greatest physicist of all time.
At the very least, he is the undisputed father of modern optics, or so we are told at school where our textbooks abound with his famous experiments with lenses and prisms, his study of the nature of light and its reflection, and the refraction and decomposition of light into the colours of the rainbow.
Yet, the truth is rather greyer; and I feel it important to point out that, certainly in the field of optics, Newton himself stood on the shoulders of a giant who lived 700 years earlier.
For, without doubt, another great physicist, who is worthy of ranking up alongside Newton, is a scientist born in AD 965 in what is now Iraq who went by the name of al-Hassan Ibn al-Haytham.
Most people in the West will never have even heard of him.
As a physicist myself, I am quite in awe of this man's contribution to my field, but I was fortunate enough to have recently been given the opportunity to dig a little into his life and work through my recent filming of a three-part BBC Four series on medieval Islamic scientists.
Popular accounts of the history of science typically suggest that no major scientific advances took place in between the ancient Greeks and the European Renaissance.
But just because Western Europe languished in the Dark Ages, does not mean there was stagnation elsewhere. Indeed, the period between the 9th and 13th Centuries marked the Golden Age of Arabic science.
Great advances were made in mathematics, astronomy, medicine, physics, chemistry and philosophy. Among the many geniuses of that period Ibn al-Haytham stands taller than all the others.
Ibn al-Haytham is regarded as the father of the modern scientific method.
As commonly defined, this is the approach to investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge, based on the gathering of data through observation and measurement, followed by the formulation and testing of hypotheses to explain the data.
This is how we do science today and is why I put my trust in the advances that have been made in science.
But it is often still claimed that the modern scientific method was not established until the early 17th Century by Francis Bacon and Rene Descartes.
There is no doubt in my mind, however, that Ibn al-Haytham arrived there first.
In fact, with his emphasis on experimental data and reproducibility of results, he is often referred to as the "world's first true scientist".
He was the first scientist to give a correct account of how we see objects.
He proved experimentally, for instance, that the so-called emission theory (which stated that light from our eyes shines upon the objects we see), which was believed by great thinkers such as Plato, Euclid and Ptolemy, was wrong and established the modern idea that we see because light enters our eyes.
What he also did that no other scientist had tried before was to use mathematics to describe and prove this process.
So he can be regarded as the very first theoretical physicist, too.
He is perhaps best known for his invention of the pinhole camera and should be credited with the discovery of the laws of refraction.
He also carried out the first experiments on the dispersion of light into its constituent colours and studied shadows, rainbows and eclipses; and by observing the way sunlight diffracted through the atmosphere, he was able to work out a rather good estimate for the height of the atmosphere, which he found to be around 100km.
In common with many modern scholars, Ibn-al Haytham badly needed the time and isolation to focus on writing his many treatises, including his great work on optics.
He was given an unwelcome opportunity, however, when he was imprisoned in Egypt between 1011 and 1021, having failed a task set him by a caliph in Cairo to help solve the problem of regulating the flooding of the Nile.
While still in Basra, Ibn al-Haytham had claimed that the Nile's autumn flood waters could be held by a system of dykes and canals, thereby preserved as reservoirs until the summer's droughts.
But on arrival in Cairo, he soon realised that his scheme was utterly impractical from an engineering perspective.
Yet rather than admit his mistake to the dangerous and murderous caliph, Ibn-al Haytham instead decided to feign madness as a way to escape punishment.
This promptly led to him being placed under house arrest, thereby granting him 10 years of seclusion in which to work.
He was only released after the caliph's death. He returned to Iraq where he composed a further 100 works on a range of subjects in physics and mathematics.
While travelling through the Middle East during, I interviewed an expert in Alexandria who showed me recently discovered work by Ibn al-Haytham on astronomy.
It seems he had developed what is called celestial mechanics, explaining the orbits of the planets, which was to lead to the eventual work of Europeans like Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler and Newton.
It is incredible that we are only now uncovering the debt that today's physicists owe to an Arab who lived 1,000 years ago.
By Professor Jim Al-Khalili
University of Surrey
One of the many sunnats of the Ambiyaa ( ‘alaihimus Salaam) is that of Hayaa – shame and modesty : a quality which is sorely missing in the lives of the majority of Muslims today and which should otherwise be an outstanding characteristic and feature of all Muslims, whether married or un-married.
The following is the prescription that has been given in respect to getting punctual with Fajr…
Over the years Moulana Sahib gave so many advices for the benefit of his students, colleagues and visitors that we cannot collect all in one place. Nevertheless, we have gathered in this Newsletter of 2007 a few and hopefully continue to do so every year henceforth.
http://www.darulihsan.com/images/stories/news/alcohol.jpg“They ask you about wine and gambling. Say, ‘In both these is great sin, and some benefits for people. And their sin is greater than their benefit.’” [SURAH BAQARAH 2 : 219]