Tag Archives: Islam

Muslim Lives Matter: Bias in the Mainstream Media

While main stream media is a little confused as to how a crime can happen against Muslims, I can confirm that it can and it did. I would also like to clarify that the shooter of the three Muslims in Chapel Hill was an atheist, Richard Dawkins fan, Inspired by Sam Harris rhetoric, a lover of guns and promoter of new-atheism. He is a non-Muslim terrorist and this was an act of terror, not just a simple hate crime, like painting hateful graffiti on the wall of a Masjid. Muslim lives matter!

And say not of those who are slain in the way of Allah: “They are dead.” Nay, they are living, though ye perceive (it) not. Qur’an 2:154

Media coverage has been disgusting. It took a very long time for media to start properly reporting on the issue and when it did, they made it sound as if Muslims lives are not as important.

Media Bias
Fox news website reporting the Chapel Hill shooting right at the bottom of the page

So do not worry, it is not Ghaza that gets imbalanced media coverage, if something happened here in Australia, in the states or any other country, unless Muslims can be blamed, the news will not get enough coverage.

I personally  first read about the shooting on Twitter:

It appeared that the the idea of reporting by mainstream media was also to collect twitter feeds and republish them on a page, like this:

It didn’t seem important for mainstream media to send a reporter to the scene and instead relied on social media.

Activists and cartoonists have been quick to condemn mainstream media for their bias and sub-slandered reporting of crimes against Muslims. Carlos Latuff (@LatuffCartoons) Tweeted this gem:

Muslim Lives Matter by Carlos Latuff
Muslim Lives Matter (#ChapelHillShooting) by Carlos Latuff

The three Muslims who were murdered in cold blood were Deah, his wife Yosur and her sister Razan were three exemplary young people who enjoyed life, worked hard, did voluntary work, helped the poor and less fortunate. You can see Deah in this video trying to raise funds for Project:Refugee Smiles, a dental relief program for Syrian refugees in Turkey.

Deah and Yosur had just got married less than 2 months ago. Surely they had plans to live a long life happily, finish their studies, settle down, bring new lives into this world and whatever else a young couple dream of. Alas they were not given the chance to do any of those. May Allah disgrace this murderer who has robbed a family of their future.

The man charged with this crime, many have already anticipated will be deemed mentally ill and put into an institution. I hope this is not the case and he faces the full force of law and is given the maximum possible sentence.

No amount of condolences and sympathy will lessen the pain their family is feeling right now. All we can do is to pray for them.

May Allah forgive and make Jannat al-Firdaws the abode of Deah, Yosur and Razan and bestow upon their loved ones patience and comfort in the face of such calamity.

Pretend Democracy Campaign in Afghanistan takes a blow

Carrey, Abdullah and Ghani
Carrey, Abdullah and Ghani

A national unity government now in Afghanistan means that the struggles and oppression that people of Afghanistan went through since at least 2001 when NATO invaded Afghanistan were basically for nothing. It is like saying, “We made a mistakes. Let’s go back to drawing board and start over. Democarcy has failed.”

The idea that we are somewhat better off than 1992 is laughable at best.  A government of coalition is basically what was agreed upon in Berlin back then and this is what we are going back to. As a matter of fact it is the same as when the Mujahideen took over Kabul in 1992. Hundreds of thousands of people killed by kinds of murderers from Jihadis to Talibs to Pakistanis to Americans since then and the ending is where it all began.

The naivety of us to think that somehow we would become civil and incorporate some form of democracy in our society boggles my mind. But then again I said this several times. My friends with whom I had similar discussions over the years will attest to that.

The fact that supporters of Dr Ashraf Ghani and Dr Abdullah Abdullah embarassed themselves on social media belittling each other was not surprising either. This was exactly what happened back in 1994. Hekmatyar was on about the fact that Rabani had joined with Kuffar but the moment he had an opportunity to make a deal with Dostum he did not think twice. Similarly, people in Dr Abdullah’s camp throwing all sorts of hypocritical statements that Ashraf Ghani has joined with Dostum while they were the ones who empowered Dostum to being with.

The idea that somehow one of these people will make a difference in the lives of common Afghans is a tall tale. The fact that people are so up in arms to defend these symbols of neo-clonialism is shameful. I am just hoping that at least some issues are addressed in the next couple of years, provided thugs do not jump each other before some order is established. However, political allegiances in Afghanistan being tribal and ethnocentric, it would be too much to hope for.

It is clear from what is happening in Iraq, Palestine and Syria that America has no intention of letting peace finds its way in the middle east. Similarly, this development in Afghanistan is a proof that the same is true for Afghanistan.

A Shared Ramadan Experience

We are only two Muslims in our company, but every Ramadan almost everyone else fasts one day to share the Ramadan experience with us. Our work organises a dinner for those who fast. This year, one of our colleagues emailed us the following and with her permission I decided to post it here.

Iftar
Iftar at Lazzat Kadah

When we were first approached and invited to be a part of Ramadan we all thought that it would be a breeze, a lot of us are constantly forgetting to eat lunch anyway, skipping dinner or breakfast because we are too busy too.

What we realised as we inched closer and closer to the day (Tuesday this week) was that there wouldn’t be a cup of tea on arrival at the office in the morning. No afternoon coffee and banana. No glass of water to sip on to keep us refreshed throughout the day. What we all also didn’t realise is that we would have to wake up before the crack of dawn to eat. I know that was my plan, but at 5.30 in the morning just didn’t happen for some reason 😉 zzzzzzzz

So, at 8.30am when I arrived at the office I was already hungry. Mainly because I knew there was 8 hours and 6 minutes until anything was going in my mouth. I know I wasn’t the only one on the countdown to 5.36pm.

I think the biggest struggle throughout the office was not having a comforting, refreshing cup of tea or coffee and having some kind of fruit or snack to get us through the afternoon slowdown.

Anyway, all 12 of us made it as far as I am aware (unless someone did a sneaky). 8 of us then made the journey, which seemed to take forever on an empty tummy, to Lazzat Kadah, a Pakistani Restaurant in Coburg for our well deserved Iftar.

I know that I will be taking part in Ramadan fasting next year and I hope that others will continue to do so. It wasn’t only my first time taking part in fasting (I don’t count the 40 hour famine when I was 8, I had 2 packets of barley sugars and a carton of just juice) it was the first time for a few others in the office too. I have heard that the first time is the hardest, and that it gets easier. I hope this is true. I guess we will all find out next year 🙂

Thanks for organising this great experience. I really, really really appreciated my tea this morning.

Ramadan 2013 is around the corner

Ramadhan
Ramadhan (Photo credit: ihtatho)

By now most preparations are done. Muslims around the world will be celebrating the holy month of Ramadan in few days.
For us in Australia it is going to be rather easy with short and cold days. May Allah make it easy for those brothers and sisters who live in the places where they have to fast for 16 hours and more. With heat from one side, hunger from the other and on top of that, other temptations will sure make things rather unpleasant, but remember that in Allah’s pleasure rests our pleasure.

Let’s evaluate what does Ramadan mean to us. What do we see in Ramadan? Do we use it as an opportunity to leave our sinful past behind or just as a bridge to connect two sinful parts of our lives?

I have witnessed many people who use this month as a month to repent their sins and afterwards go back to their old life. While, it is not for us to judge their actions, it becomes our duty to remind them that this is a month of refinement and improvement. If one intends to go back to old habits, then there is no point in improvement. Sure, our good deeds will reap rewards from Allah, but this is not the sole purpose of Ramadan. It should be seen as one of many doors out of the world of sin and our intention should be that once on the other side, the door should never open again for us to go back.

Inshallah, this year like every other year, the month of Ramadan will bring joy to the lives of Muslims and fill their hearts with Taqwa (God-conciousness).

 

May Allah give Barakah to all Muslims and the ability to fast the month of Ramadan.
May Allah allow us in this holy month to worship Him as we have never before.
May Allah make this month a time to repent our sins and not go stray.
May Allah bring and keep our children to the right path, the path of those who He has bestowed His mercy upon.
May Allah cause those of us and our loved ones who have strayed from the straight path, to return.
May Allah’s forgiveness showers our deceased.
May Allah cure our ill, solve our problems, open our hearts to words of Hikmah, strengthen our hearts and make us steadfast on His path.

 

Aameen Ya Rab-el-Alameen

 

 

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How a Distraction Becomes an Obsession

As Muslims we believe that the true purpose of our lives is to know and worship the one and only Creator. Numerous Qur’anic verses point to the fact that life was not created without purpose:

  • Human was created to worship Allah (Qur’an 51:56)
  • Life was not created without purpose (Qur’an 38:27)
  • Humans were created to be conscious of themselves and Allah and become righteous (Qur’an 2:21, 49:13)

All of the verses mentioned above, and several more, refer to the fact that the purpose of our existence is to attain righteousness, become God-conscious, and to understand life and be aware of one another.

We can conclude that humans are capable to reaching the heights of righteousness. It would be pointless if the purpose of creation was God-consciousness, yet humans did not possess the capability to do so. However, Allah (SWT) also says in the Qur’an that humans are created weak; consequently, He (SWT) has made the path very clear and removed the obstacles (Qur’an 4:28). This does not mean that we will not face any challenges. What it means is that the challenges that we are given will be according to our strength (Qur’an 2:286).

Islam is about balance. It does not dictate that we live a life of isolation and complete austerity. Islam is not into the business of making our lives difficult and miserable. The prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said:

Do not overburden yourselves, lest you perish. People [before you] overburdened themselves and perished. Their remains are found in hermitages and monasteries. (Musnad of Abu Ya’la)

The prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) always disagreed with excessiveness. He, may peace and blessing be upon him, once said to Abdullah ibn Amr, ‘Have I heard right that you fast everyday and stand in prayer all night?’ Abdullah replied, ‘Yes, O Messenger of God: The Prophet said, ‘Do not do that. Fast, as well as, eat and drink. Stand in prayer, as well as, sleep. This is because your body has a right upon you, your eyes have a right upon you, your wife has a right upon you, and your guest has a right upon you (Bukhari, Muslim)

Islam does not stop us from amusement, having fun, or enjoying ourselves. It actually encourages physical activities, competitions, and gatherings; all within the Halal limits. But we are not perfect. We make mistakes; we commit sins; we neglect our duties and forget the purpose of our existence. We get distracted, and then we overcome and move on. Nevertheless, sometimes these distractions can morph into something more; more than just a momentary disruption.

There is no such thing as good obsession even if the object of the obsession is something good. The fact that it becomes an excessiveness makes it harmful and against the teachings of Islam. However, when a distraction becomes an obsession, it is a greater problem because it should not last long enough to become a potential for an obsession.

Are you obsessed with your handheld devices? A lot of us are. There is a wealth of useful and worthy information that you can now hold in the palm of your hand; but at the same time, there is the possibility of misusing it for vain and useless activities. Assume you are reading an article on your iPad and then there is a game ad. on that page. It distracts you. You become interested in the content of the ad, the game that it was advertising. So you hop on to App Store and find the app for that game and buy it. Minutes later you find yourself playing the game. A few hours later, you realize that you are playing at the expense of work or study. Days later, you find yourself playing it every single chance you get. This is how a distraction becomes an obsession. The ad on the page was only few seconds long, but now you are losing precious time playing the game.

We cannot avoid distractions all the time, but we can control them and make sure they do not turn into obsessions. It is in our nature to like amusements, whether it is by watching TV, browsing the world wide web, going out with friends or any other type of entertainment, but we need to take a balanced approach. Excessive amusements has the potential to murder our soul and we need our soul to reach the purpose of our lives.

Ramadan: The transition is easy, the upkeep not so much

Ramadan
Ramadan a month for Transformation

I know some inspiring brothers and sisters who make being a practicing, obedient Muslim look so easy. But it is not. It takes constant struggle and for people like myself who are not very disciplined it is very hard to keep up the pace.

I know several brothers and sisters who decided to start practicing and become better Muslims, but after some time, the enthusiasm wore off and in some cases some are left in worse condition than before. It is a struggle to wake up for Fajr. It is a struggle to pray Isha because you have delayed it and now you are sleepy. It is hard.

Lucky for us, once a year we have this amazing month. The month that the doors of Jannah opens. There is something in this holy month that make obedience to Allah (SWT) so easy. As a friend of mine once said and I quote:

I don’t know about you, but fasting is easy. Some over-hyping it to their white friends making it seem like we are super humans for doing it when we are not.

Fasting is not that hard if it was about stopping eating only. But Ramadan is not just about not eating. Ramadan is the month of hope that we pray our previous sins are forgiven and hope that we stay on the path until next Ramadan.  It is a month that should be foundation for the rest of our lives. We establish our good deeds in this month and should build up on it even after Ramadan. This holy month should be used as a transition phase for becoming a better individual, more spiritual, more practicing. How you act in Ramadan should be how you act always.

Like any other year, this year, we fast, we break our fast, pray more Nawafil, pray Tarawih, repent for our past sins. What then after Ramadan? Obedience is not only for Ramadan. A Muslim should be in the state of obedience to Allah (SWT) all the time. Ramadan is an opportunity to be ceased so that we repent our past sins and do not go back to our old habits once Ramadan is over.

Ramadan will end this year like the year before, but our commitment to doing good deeds should not end. There is always voluntary fasting, there are always extra Nawafil prayers,   getting up for Tahajud and giving from your wealth to the needy. If sacrificed your needs for one month, sure you can sacrifice your wants after that.  I am not suggesting separating ourselves from the world completely. What I am suggesting is that sure we can limit our self-indulgences and instead focus on deeds that bring us closer to Allah in the times other than Ramadan. Who knows whether we will see the next Ramadan or not.

So getting back to the original point of this, not eating food during the day is not hard. Even stopping yourself from using bad language is not hard for one month; it is the commitment that makes it hard. Will we  take this challenge this year and see if we can stay committed to what Ramadan has transformed us until next Ramadan? I sure hope so.

Our Lord! Let not our hearts deviate (from the truth) after You have guided us, and grant us mercy from You. Truly, You are the Bestower.” [Al-Qur’an 3:8]