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Do Islamic Schools Have Their Priorities Straight?

July 19, 2016 Leave a comment

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته

If we look at the majority of issues that Islamic Schools are focusing on or that parents are concerned about, it usually revolves around specific fiqh issues such halal meat, moon sighting, 20 vs 8 rakah and other issues. It is an art to manage the complexities of teaching Islamic Studies while appeasing to the various stakeholders: parents, teachers, belonging to diverse backgrounds in terms of sects, fiqh madhab/positions, liberal/orthodox etc.

To me, it seems like symptoms of a larger issue: the lack of leadership in the Muslim Ummah. If we reflect on the hadith where Rasoolullah (saw) instructed three people who are travelling together to appoint one as an ameer/leader, we see that even such a simple task as travelling requires somebody at the help to dissolve disputes, confusions as they occur. What about the affairs of the Muslims? The sahabas had delayed the funeral of Prophet Muhammad by 3 days just to resolve that issue.

The ummah is in such a state of decline and weakness that we amplify smaller issues and keep quarrelling endlessly on zabihah meat while muslims all over the world are being slaughtered. What about issues like – are we allowed to vote and give somebody authorization on our behalf to legislate laws when Allah has said that Allah is the sole law-giver? What about the issue of paying taxes to a government that actively wages wars against muslims or hijra which is rarely discussed? Why aren’t certain issues that the Quran and ahadith focused on, such as striving in the path of Allah or Al-Walaa wal Baraa, removed from the curriculums or meanings distorted? Don’t we read the ayat condemning the scholars of the past who took part of the book and discarded part of the book?

Yes, it is not easy covering certain topics living in the west, or most other places; but we fail to realize that the threat in the akhira is far greater than the difficulties faced in this duniya for sticking to the truth. We can reflect on a similar situation in our history when the issue of creation of Quran was enforced by those in power and a lot of the ulema gave in although they disagreed with the position. Imam Ibn Hanbal criticized such scholars and told them that if the ulema use the excuse of being compelled, then the truth would be lost. Islamic teachers and schools also share that responsibility to find ways that all aspects of our deen are imparted and not just those that we deem to be politically correct as Allah is the ultimate judge of what is right and wrong.

It is also true that the environment we live in impacts us. Inadvertently, we start embodying values of the larger society we live in without realizing it or questioning the validity of that value with respect to Islam – such as diversity in terms of respecting and recognizing everybody’s right to their opinions, beliefs etc. even if it is in conflict with Islam. For instance, in issues where we know that it is clearly incorrect or unacceptable in Islam, we should have the moral courage to communicate that as an Islamic School or teacher – be it issue of Shia student’s parent’s wanting shia perspective taught or a teacher or student not wearing hijab outside the school. In issues where there is acceptable ijtihad, then ofcourse tolerance and acceptance to the differences should be encouraged.

 

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Virtues of the First Ten Days of Dhu’l-Hijjah

September 25, 2014 Leave a comment

Link: http://blog.islamiconlineuniversity.com/virtues-of-the-first-ten-days-of-dhul-hijjah/

 

Among the great seasons of worship are the first ten days of Dhu’l-Hijjah, which Allah (Allah Subhanahu-wa-Taala) has favored over other days. It was narrated from Ibn ‘Abbaas (MALE radi-allahu-anhu) that the Prophet (SAW) said: “There are no days on which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah than these ten days.” They said: “Not even jihad for the sake of Allah?” He said: “Not even jihad for the sake of Allah, unless a man goes out himself for jihad taking his wealth with him and does not come back with anything.” 1

It was also narrated from Anas (MALE radi-allahu-anhu) that the Prophet (SAW) said: “There is no deed that is better before Allah or more greatly rewarded than a good deed done in the (first) ten days of al-Adha.” It was said: “Not even jihad for the sake of Allah?” He said: “Not even jihad for the sake of Allah, unless a man goes out himself for jihad taking his wealth with him and does not come back with anything.” 2

These texts and others indicate that these ten days are better than all other days of the year, with no exception, even the last ten days of Ramadaan. But the last ten nights of Ramadaan are better than the first ten nights of Dhu’l-Hijjah, because they include Laylat al-Qadr, which is better than a thousand months.

So the Muslim should start these days with sincere repentance to Allah (Allah Subhanahu-wa-Taala), then he should do a lot of righteous deeds in general, then he should pay attention to doing the following deeds: Read more…

Am I Worthy of Repenting?

January 24, 2014 1 comment

Concept of Istigfar and Tawbah in Islam

A man (Israeli) who had killed ninety nine people wanted to find out if there was any chance for forgiveness for him. He was directed to a monk who replied in the negative. This outraged him and he killed the monk. He did not quit in his quest for repentance and was directed to a scholar who replied that ‘Who stands between you and repentance?’ and instructed him to go to another city where he won’t be reminded of his sins and would be surrounded by good company. The man set on his journey and died on the way. The angels and mercy and torment, both came to the scene. The angle of torment argued that the man had been a big sinner and deserves punishment, while the angel of mercy put forth the case that he turned to Allah with a repenting heart. An angel was sent to arbitrate and measure the distance between the lands and was he sent to heaven as he was closer to his destination.[1]

This story highlights that Allah is indeed Al-Ghafoor Ar-Raheem (The Forgiving, The Merciful) and forgives those who turn to him. It highlights the Islamic concepts of maghfirah and tawba that Allah is willing to forgive the worst of sins as long as the slave is willing to turn to Allah sincerely and seek repentance. Allah Subhanawatala says:

 

“Say, O My servants who have transgressed against themselves [by sinning], do not despair of the mercy of Allah . Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful.” [Surah Zumar 39:53]

Now what is the difference between maghfirah and tawbah? This short paper will look into the Islamic concept of maghfirah (forgiveness) and tawbah (repentance), proofs from Quran and authentic Sunnah, conditions of tawbah as well as benefits of tawbah and istigfar on the Muslim.

In many instances in the Quran, istigfar is mentioned alongside tawbah. For instance, if we look at the following verse:

 

“So will they not repent to Allah and seek His forgiveness? And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.” [al-Maaidah 5:74]

The word istigfar means seeking forgiveness and is derived from the word “ghafara” or clothe oneself to protect from harm. Read more…

Never Shed Your Leaves – Tariq Mehanna

September 7, 2013 Leave a comment

Source: http://www.kalamullah.com/never-shed-your-leaves.html

In the Name of Allâh, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful

The believer is like a tree, always at war with the wind. To survive the wind, the tree must possess certain qualities. For example, its seed must be planted in fertile soil that allows it to grow strong. This is described in the Qur’an:

{“Muhammad is the Messenger of God, and those with him … their description in the Gospel is like a seed which sends forth its shoot, then makes it strong, and it becomes thick and stands straight on its stem, delighting the sowers, so that He may enrage the disbelievers through them …”} (al-Fath, v. 29)

And here is that description in the Gospel referenced in the above verse:
“The sower went out to sow his seed, and as he sowed, some fell beside the road, and it was trampled under foot, and the birds of the air ate it up. Other seed fell on rocky soil, and as soon as it grew up, it withered away because it had no moisture. Other seed fell among the thorns, and the thorns grew up with it and choked it out. Other seed fell into the good soil and grew up, and produced a crop a hundred times as great …

Now, the parable is this: the seed is the Word of God. Those beside the road are those who have heard, then the Devil comes and takes the Word from their heart so that they will not believe and be saved. Those on the rocky soil are those who, when they hear, receive the Word with joy, and these have no firm root: they believe for a while, and in times of temptation, fall away. The seed which fell among the thorns, these are the ones who have heard, and as they go on their way, they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity. But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the Word in an honest and good heart, hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance.” (Luke 8:5-15)

So, the heart is likened to fertile soil in which a seed is planted. Ibn al-Qayyim likewise said, in ‘al-Fawa`id’ (p.70): “The soil of one’s natural state is fertile, accommodating whatever is planted in it. If the tree of faith and God-conciousness is planted, it will bring forth an eternally sweet fruit. If the tree of ignorance and desires is planted, all its fruits will be bitter.”

So, when you make your heart fertile for the seed of faith, that tree will grow strong and bear sweet fruit. The particular methods of making your heart fertile will be discussed later.

At this point, an angry wind will blow in your direction, because as the aforementioned verse notes, the strong tree will “enrage the disbelievers.” Nothing infuriates this wind more than a strong Muslim. This has been a reality since ancient times. When Pharaoh was hunting Prophet Moses and his followers through the deserts of Egypt, he specifically complained: Read more…

Sulaiman Al-Rajhi’s life a rags to riches story

September 4, 2013 Leave a comment

Source: http://www.arabnews.com/economy/sulaiman-al-rajhi%E2%80%99s-life-rags-riches-story

rajhi

Saudi Arabia’s rags-to-riches billionaire Sulaiman Al-Rajhi is also a world-renowned philanthropist. He is the founder of Al-Rajhi Bank, the largest Islamic bank in the world, and one of the largest companies in Saudi Arabia. As of 2011, his wealth was estimated by Forbes to be $7.7 billion, making him the 120th richest person in the world. His flagship SAAR Foundation is a leading charity organization in the Kingdom. The Al-Rajhi family is considered as one of the Kingdom’s wealthiest non-royals, and among the world’s leading philanthropists.
Al-Rajhi is a billionaire who chose last year to become a poor man at his own will without having any cash or real estates or stocks that he owned earlier. He became penniless after transferring all his assets among his children and set aside the rest for endowments. In recognition of his outstanding work to serve Islam, including his role in establishing the world’s largest Islamic bank and his regular contribution toward humanitarian efforts to fight poverty, Al-Rajhi was chosen for this year’s prestigious King Faisal International Prize for Service to Islam.
In an interview with Muhammad Al-Harbi of Al-Eqtisadiah business daily, Al-Rajhi speaks about how he was able to succeed in convincing chiefs of the leading central banks in the world, including that of the Bank of England, nearly 30 years ago that interest is forbidden in both Islam and Christianity, and that the Islamic banking is the most effective solution to activate Islamic financing in the world and make it a real boost to the global economy.
The story of Al-Rajhi is that of a man who made his fortunes from scratch, relying on grit and determination. Al-Rajhi threw away his huge wealth through two windows — distributed a major part of his inheritance among his children and transferred another portion to endowments, which are regarded as the largest endowment in the history of the Islamic world. He had to fight poverty and suffering during his childhood before becoming a billionaire through hard work and relentless efforts, and then leaving all his fortunes to become penniless again.
Al-Rajhi is still very active and hardworking even in his 80s with youthful spirits. He begins his work daily after morning prayers and is active until Isha prayers before going to bed early. He is now fully concentrated on running the endowment project under his SAAR Foundation, and traveling various regions of the Kingdom managing activities related with it. He always carries a pocket diary containing his daily programs and activities and he is accustomed to stick on to the schedule he had prepared well in advance.
Al-Rajhi scored excellent performance results in almost all businesses in which he carved out a niche for himself. In addition to establishing the world’s largest Islamic bank, he founded the largest poultry farm in the Middle East. The credit of activating the organic farming experiment in the Kingdom mainly goes to him through launching a number of farming projects, including Al-Laith shrimp farming. He also established real estate and other investment projects.
Read more…

Dr. Abdul Rahman Al-Sumait – Legendary Ambassador of Islam

September 1, 2013 Leave a comment

Source (for article below) http://productivemuslim.com/dr-abdul-rahman-al-sumait-a-legendary-productive-muslim/#more-7343

I cannot even start describing this legendary personality who lived in our Ummah for the past half century and gave so much for the Ummah’s service.

I’m extremely saddened that we lost him last month after many months of struggling with his disease.

If you don’t know him, I won’t be surprised, since he wasn’t a man of fame or TV shows or websites, but he was a man of action and those who knew him, knew him from his actions.

He was the embodiment of sincere intentions and hard work which resulted in outcomes beyond his or anyone’s expectations.

His name is Dr.Abdul-Rahman Al-Sumait. An Islamic scholar, medical practitioner, but more importantly, a Humanitarian. He was known to have built hundreds of orphanages, schools, mosques, and amazingly inspired 11 million (yes 11 million!) Africans to convert to Islam.

Below is an article which I’m reproducing with kind permission from Al-Huda Institute (Canada) written by Bassama Al-Toaimi describing this legendary man.

But before you read this article (and after you read it), please make dua for him. He gave so much for the Ummah, let’s at least give him our duas.

Dr Abdul Rahman Al Sumait

The Story of a True Humanitarian
By Bassama Al Toaimi

Profile: Who: Sheikh Dr. Abdul Rahman Al Sumait
Nationality: Kuwaiti
Date of Birth: October 15, 1947
Family: Married, blessed with five children
Dr Al Sumait’s work

Founder and chairman of a branch of the Muslim Physicians Society, United States of America and Canada 1976, East Canada Branch
Founding member of the Montreal branch of the Muslim Students Society, 1974-1976
Founding member, Malawi Muslims Committee – Kuwait 1980
Founding member, Kuwaiti Relief Committee
Founding member, International Islamic Charity Authority – Kuwait
Founding member, International Islamic council for Call and Relief – Kuwait
Member of Charity Rescue Society – Kuwait
General Secretary of the African Muslims Committee, 1981 – 1999
Chairman of Direct Aid, 1999 – 2008 Member of the Kuwaiti Red Crescent Society – Kuwait
Editor-in-Chief of Al Kawther Magazine, 1984 until his passing
Member of the council of trustees of Islamic Call Organization – Sudan
Member of the council of trustees of Science and Technology University – Yemen
Chairman of the board of Faculty of Education – Zangbar
Chairman of the board of Faculty of Shari’ah and Islamic Studies – Kenya
Chairman of Charity Work Studies Center – Kuwait

Dr Abdul Rahman Al Sumait was an extraordinary human being who dedicated his life to doing good deeds. This man should be acknowledged and known for the major impact he had on millions of lives, not only in his hometown, but also worldwide.

Al Sumait was an Islamic scholar, a medical practitioner, and a role model for all Muslims. Born and raised in Kuwait, he was a qualified doctor specializing in internal diseases and gastroenterology before becoming involved in charity work. He graduated from the University of Baghdad with a BS in Medicine and Surgery, a diploma in Tropical Diseases from the University of Liverpool in 1974, and then completed his postgraduate studies specializing in internal diseases and the digestive system at McGill University in Canada. By the time he was 35 years old, he decided to move and live in Africa, and he dedicated 29 years of his life there with his wife, contributing and helping millions of children with education, starvation, shelter, and religion.

As a young high school student in Kuwait, Al Sumait witnessed a scene outside his school that sparked his interest in helping the less fortunate, and his life changed forever. He observed poor workers waiting for their means of transportation in the heat on a daily basis, and with some friends decided to save up from their pocket money and purchase an affordable car, and from that day onwards, he drove these workers for free.

At university Al Sumait used the majority of his monthly salary to purchase Islamic books and would distribute them at mosques. He also took part in collecting money from fellow Muslim students and all together they used the money to pay for the printing and distribution of Islamic pamphlets throughout South East Asia and Africa.

Al Sumait’s interest in Africa was ignited when he felt and saw that the continent of Africa was being neglected. Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, Kenya, Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia, and Angola, among many other nations in the area that were suffering from famine, hunger and disease, were the focus of Al Sumait’s operations.

In 1981, when he was just 35 years old, he established the Africa Muslims Agency (AMA – later renamed Direct-Aid), where he served as chairman from 1981 to 2008. AMA is a charity organization that operates in more than 40 countries worldwide and aims to provide assistance to people suffering from economic and social crisis, mainly in Africa.

Upon his arrival to Africa, he was deeply saddened by the scenes of hunger and disease, so he decided to sacrifice his profession and dedicate himself fully to their benefit. Twenty-nine years of Al Sumait’s life was spent in undertaking charitable works in Africa, only returning to Kuwait for short visits or to receive medical treatment; he was on a mission to assist those in need.

He sacrificed his life, time, skills and efforts to provide people less fortunate with a decent life. Al Sumait also initiated a variety of projects in addition to Direct-Aid, which helped underprivileged people with the sole aim of easing their life from poverty.

The Highlights of His Accomplishments from His Time in Africa Are:

9,500 orphans supported
95,000 students financed
5,700 mosques
200 training centers for women
860 schools
4 universities
102 Islamic centers
9,500 wells
51 million Qur’ans distributed
7 million people reverted to Islam at his hands, Including priests and bishops

Although Al Sumait’s journey in Africa was a major success, it was anything but smooth. Due to his time in Africa, he took numerous trips deep into the African jungles to conduct his work; with time he got high blood pressure, diabetes, a number of blood clots, and malaria, among other diseases. He was also the target of several failed assassination attempts by armed militias who were disturbed by his overwhelming presence and the impact he had on the poor and needy. In Mozambique, Kenya, and Malawi, Al Sumait went through more than one near-death experience with deadly cobras. And he also had to experience the adversities of imprisonment at some point in his life. However, he still remained determined to fulfill and accomplish his aim of bringing peace, aid, and relief to Africa, whether it was with food, shelter, education, or religion.

Throughout his life, Dr Al Sumait’s efforts in charity work were recognized and acknowledged with honors, awards, trophies, and certificates, including the highly prestigious award, the King Faisal International Prize for Service to Islam. Dr Abdul Rahman Al Sumait was a remarkable man, truly an inspiration, and the definition of a true Muslim. He sacrificed his entire being for the benefit of others. His time and efforts are visible today and will always be visible, especially in the children of Africa who continue to receive education at various universities throughout the whole continent.

May Allah bless his soul and reward him immensely for the great life he leads. Amen.

Call for Action

Let’s not stop the river of good deeds pouring into this man’s scales. Support his charity Direct Aid and give as much as you can and invite your families and friends to support his charity.

On http://direct-aid.org, click on Ways to Give, and you will find a list of Endowments (waqf) and projects that are ongoing. You can choose from a range of projects such as donating for the printing of Quran, continuous charity, or donating a small amount for maintaining orphanages. These are just a few options among many others. By donating and contributing even the smallest amount of money, the act of charity will remain continuous for you indefinitely. Also, under Ways to Give there’s a Donate Now tab, in which you can read the donation procedure. Help the underprivileged, and think of how many lives you could save with just a few clicks.

Click to read more: http://productivemuslim.com/dr-abdul-rahman-al-sumait-a-legendary-productive-muslim/#ixzz2dekjRWIW
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Is your Heart Really Healthy? (Signs of a Sick Heart and Pure Heart – Ibn Qayyum)

October 18, 2012 1 comment

One must always strive to purify his heart from sicknesses as that is the only way towards attaining Allah’s pleasure and Paradise in the next world. Ibn Qayyum has noted the following signs of sick and pure heart:

[Source: Commentary on the Forty Hadith of Imam Nawawi by Jamaluddeen Zarabozo http://store.dar-us-salam.com/product/R40.html ]

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Signs of a Sound Heart: 

  1. The person considers himself to be belonging to the next world and not this world. He is a stranger in this world and cannot wait to reach his abode in the hearafter.
  2. The person continues to be upset with himself any time he commits a sin until he finally and completely repents to Allah.
  3. If the person misses his daily recitation of the Quran and dhikr, he is more upset and unhappy than if he had lost his wealth.
  4. The individual finds a pleasure in worshiping Allah that is much greater than any pleasure he finds in eating or drinking.
  5. When the person begins his prayer, his worries and concerns about this world leave him.
  6. His only concern and worries are concerning Allah and acting for the sake of Allah.
  7. He is more concerned with wasting time and more stingy about wasting his time than a greedy persin is with respect to his wealth. Time is one key element that everyone must use for the worship of Allah. Unfortunately, often Allah blesses people with free time and yet they have no idea how to use it, so they simply waste it.  Read more…
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