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I write this letter with deep pain in my heart that no doctor, no psychiatrist, no psychologist can cure. I am not the same person I was one year ago and never will I be ever again. I write this letter so that the whole world can know my story. So that the whole world can know the plain truth…the truth that I am no terrorist…to know that Islam has never encouraged terrorism…

 I remember how I walked in the international airport of the foreign land. I was happy like never before. This was my opportunity to raise myself from scratch and I was going to help my mother get her treatment at last. When I just arrived, I took my mother to her room and let her rest before going to meet the ones who had requested my coming to this beautiful new land. The old men had big dreams and they wanted me to be the fulfiller of those dreams. I readily accepted, after all, that was what I came for….
We started a large project of building the biggest masjid, library and madrassa in that entire land. We had big dreams of educating the muslim children that never had the chance to know their religion well. We made big progress in few months and we had people of all sorts getting attracted to our library that had all sorts of books. I soon started teaching the youngsters in the madrassa and we grew very first. We had accomplished what we wanted. People were now flowing in and out of the library and we were requested to increase the opening hours. In few more months we had people converting to Islam…

I finally took my mother for the treatment of the blood cancer she had. I was pleased with myself for I had achieved what I always wanted. During my free time, I did what I loved most-taking pictures of the nature and architectural buildings for that was what I had studied in my home land. Everything went on well and after one complete year, we started having public peace conferences about Islam. We moved to different states of the continent and our name was heard all over…we were spiritually conquering the hearts of the people.

That one night, everything changed and my life was completely destroyed. I was seated with my mother having dinner in our house when the door bell rang. I stood to open the door and there, in front of me were more than five policemen. I stood still for a moment waiting for them to start talking.

“Is this Sheikh Ahmad’s residence?”One of them asked.

“Yes, how may I help you?” but before any one of them could answer, three of the police officers pushed me aside and broke in the house.

“What is happening here?” I quickly asked but there was no answer. The three policemen ransacked the house, breaking everything around.

“Ahmad, what do these people want from you?” my mum hurried to me, fear all over her face.

“You can’t do this. What have I done?” my voice rose up.

“Here’s a search warrant. May you shut up while we do our work!?” one of them snapped.

I stood there helplessly as they threw down all the furniture, books, everything they got hold of. Then one of them suddenly held the Quran and was about to throw it down when my mother, without thinking twice, gave him a hefty slap on the face. The policeman stood up, red with anger and pushed my old mother to the farthest end. Everything happened so fast and my mother was now lying down, very still.

I rushed to my mother and blood was oozing from her head.

“What have you done?! What have you done!?” I shouted loudly.

“Sir, we got them. Here they are,” another policeman said, coming from my room. I raised my eyes to see him holding the pictures of the buildings that I had taken.

The one, who seemed to be the head came to me and boldly said,

“You are under arrest. May you follow us to the station right now.”

“But what have I done?”I asked, panicking.

“You will know everything once we get there,” he said as he handcuffed me.

“But what about my mother? She’s still unconscious.”

“We’ll take care of her. Hey! Call the ambulance,” he said to another policeman. They then took me into their car and I was taken to the station. I was interrogated for hours-why had I taken those pictures from the beginning. It w ent on and on until I finally realized why I was being held. I was a suspect of terrorism. It went from being hours to days and I never was given the chance to rest. I was electrocuted, kept in the darkest of places, denied food and more and more. They were never going to let me go unless I said that I was guilty of having terroristic plans.

Then one day, one of the interrogators came and announced,

“I guess you were surviving until now for the sake of your mother. She is dead now. She died last night in the hospital. You can now speak up.”

The news came as a blow to me and I felt so shattered. Things didn’t get any better in the following months. After some terrible time, I overheard two police officers talking about my case.

“The man is so lucky. This is the fourth day since the people started the demonstrations for his release. I guess he won’t stay any longer. The people have refused to stop the demonstrations…” I didn’t hear the end of that conversation but soon enough, I was released by the court of law after finding me innocent.

I was once more a free man but that didn’t help me at all. My life was completely shattered. I was so weak, so much afraid and I could no longer be the same eloquent man. It is now one year later but I still couldn’t recover my old self and I don’t think I ever will.

So that’s why I am writing this letter to the world. So that they can realize that I never was a terrorist and never has my religion-Islam, ever encouraged any kind of violence. I hope my letter will make things clear- that Islam is a peaceful religion and will always be….

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A pretty woman I am,

I proudly boast to myself,

With my beautiful tattoo on my arm,

And my blond hair artificially fixed

I proudly walk on the streets.

My eyebrows are shaped

And my fabulous body is exposed.

The perfume on me is wafting all over

And all men’s eyes are on me.

Exactly what I want!

Everyone to admire this girl

To have everyone say hi to me,

And get several dates each week.

I don’t really understand myself,

Sometimes I claim to be a Muslim,

I get dressed up but with my hijab halfway

Oh! This is just a disturbance!

I decide to be a Christian,

I try to wear decently but I can’t,

I have to go to church with a micro mini.

Nothing of this fits me!

What makes me happy,

Is seeing myself in a tight jeans,

And a blouse to the belly button

With my fixed hair flying in the air,

And strong perfume smell coming from me.

But then I think well and hard,

I think none of this makes good sense,

All I get is a two day game with a guy,

And the next day I’m already dumped.

Worse of it all, I could myself in a fix,

Whereby a group of men could come and have me raped.

The tattoo and the fixed hair will send me to hell

Just like the shaped eyebrows and the perfume.

I think only my husband deserves to see my beauty,

For I can trust him without a say.

For everything that I’ve done,

I’ve always been the gossip of the town.

I don’t think that’s what a pretty woman deserves,

So the best thing is to be a reserved woman

because a pretty woman is, a reserved woman!

Photo Courtesy: Unknown

TAP…TAP TAP TAP… can you hear those sounds? TAP TAP TAP TAP can you hear those fading footsteps? How comes? How comes, I only hear them?? The place is too cold, too dark, too narrow. I look around and I see no one. The walls beside me are of sand and a piece of wood is above me. I look around once more in bewilderment. Where am i?? I try to call out my mother’s name, my father’s, my best friend’s name but my throat is totally dry. What’s happening? Two strange creatures appear-none I’ve ever seen. Can you see them? I’m petrified and I try to run away but I can’t move. There’s no space at all. The creatures stare at me, glaring hard at me. They make me sit upright.

“What did you say about this man Muhammad?” they suddenly ask me with voices I’ve never heard.

“I don’t know. I used to say what the people used to say about him.” I answer, but that’s not what I want to say. I want to say, I know Muhammad(PBUH) and I only said good about him-I even followed him, but my mouth says the exact opposite words.

“You claimed to be a Muslim, you vowed into Islam but neither did you pray nor did you fast nor did you respect nor did you obey…” the two creatures say.

They hit me with a metal hammer and my mouth screams out a loud bawl. Can you hear it? I think the animals do, for I hear the dogs bark and the donkeys braying. Can you hear them?

The place suddenly comes close together, tightening me…aaaah! My ribs…and now I realize something that stupefies me. I am in my grave!! Oh no! my mother is still mad at me and…all of yesterdays prayers I didn’t pray. Oh my Lord! Those girls I disrespected…and the phone that I stole…and my teacher, Lord please have mercy on me, I insulted him.

I cry in agony as the place grows darker and much much more narrow.

The two creatures appear once more again and I’m exposed to a huge screen. I see a large raging inferno and they say to me, “that will then be your home.”

I cry in pain, horror and shock. I wish that day never comes…I wish…I wish I had one more day on earth. I wish…I JUST WISH…
Note: Pray before you are prayed for, give before you have nothing to give, obey before everyone disobeys you, respect before your respect is stained and help before anyone offers you help. Care, care to the fullest, care to every word you say, each action you take, care for everything around you, everyone about you. Care for there is no other place you will ever care. This is the time to change for this could be your only opportunity. It’s never too late to repent a sin done…

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With the beginning of the Ramadan season among’st the Muslims, all we see around is the food stalls all over the roads in the evenings with very diverse kinds of foods on display. It is at this time that many of the forgotten foods in our homes are actually cooked once again and I bet the children wait for the breaking of the fast so impatiently.

Ramadan is the month whereby Muslims are required to fast such that they may be able to feel the pangs of hunger of the poor and thus remember them. Yet, it is rather ironical how our tables at home get filled to the brim when it comes to breaking the fast. You may find almost ten different foods have been cooked for a family of three? And you wonder what happens to all that food that will obviously remain.

Many consider this month the time to feast and it can get to a very ugly scenario where one eats and eats till they can’t breathe well anymore leaving alone not being able to stand up from the place they are seated. This is obviously not the agenda of this season for it is meant to keep us healthy and not deteriorate our health even more. People with diabetes, high blood pressure and many other diseases break their diets while the rest eat a lot of oily and sugary foods that are obviously unhealthy.

It is even more ironical that during this season, the food stuffs in the markets double and triple in their prices instead of going lower. This happens because the business personnel have realized how much people eat quite more in this month. This beats the expected because initially, this season is meant for people to eat less but it is very evident everywhere how food has been made a priority.

Extravagance is a very unlikeable behavior and however much we may want to eat a variety of foods, it is very important that people set a limit to the amount of food they cook or buy. Let us not cook too much such that the extra ends up in dustbins while many people out there have nothing to eat. I really admire the people who barely change their food menus in such a season or maybe just add single food stuff on the table.

We all have to understand that this is not a month of eating nor is it an eating competition such that we act on the food with so much vengeance. It is important to keep healthy by not over eating or eating too much of oily and excessive sugary foods. Let’s avoid extravagance by sharing the extra food with the poor and needy rather than throwing it away.

As William Londer said, ‘to ensure good health: eat lightly, breathe deeply, live moderately, cultivate cheerfulness and maintain an interest in life.’

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There is so much in Ramadhan that I love. Apart from God’s grace, mercy and blessings there is much more spiritual uplifting that automatically comes with the month. Maybe it is because this is the time that Satan is locked away from human reach or maybe that people decide to focus on straightening themselves in this month. But definitely what I love most is the change!

It is in Ramadhan that the boy, who doesn’t pray, prays. The girl who yells at her mother, watches her mouth a bit. The man who stays all night at maskani eating all the illegalities and drinks, comes back home early to his family. The woman who is always gossiping around and spying on people’s lives is settled in her home. The person who is always abusing and vulgar in their talk, learns to speak kind words instead. The meanest of them all, gives charity willingly. The one who commits adultery on normal occasions, controls himself/herself. The lady who is always in full time shouting make up and cologne walking aimlessly in the street with hair exposed in styles, is now as natural as ever without a scent from her and fully covered. The boy who is a thief restrains from it. The person who doesn’t even remember when last they read the quran, is now yearning to complete it several times. The prostitute is out of the roads. The liar is now encouraging others to speak the truth. The ones who never steps in the masjid to pray jama’a is now going there many a times and even praying the sunnah prayers. The masjids are now over loaded past the entries. The hard hearted ones are now forgiving each other and so much more. Glory be to God for the wonderful twist but then the question here comes, isn’t the Lord of Ramadhan, the same God you run away in all the other eleven months in the year?

This may be termed as temporary hypocrisy by some but I will call it the chance of a lifetime that such a Muslim is wasting. It may be wrong for anyone to change just for the one month, clear his sins account with God in this month and just by the coming of Eid, one is back to their old ways in full force. But maybe we should be more encouraging to them and to each other. Maybe the religious leaders and imams shouldn’t just concentrate on criticizing them but instead give them moral that they are doing great work and should continue on the same spirit. Tell the lady that she is more beautiful as natural as she is, fully covered. Tell the abusive lad that the kind words suit his tongue more. Tell the man he looks happier going home early to spend time with his family. Tell the prostitute she looks gorgeous as she is at the time…tell them so that one day one time after Ramadhan, they might remember the sweetness of Ramadhan and decide to change for good.

We might never live to see the chances Ramadhan gives us ever again. That is why I love Ramadhan and that is why I wish all year was Ramadhan!

Photo Courtesy: https://victorianmuslimah.files.wordpress.com/

It is rather sad, I must say, that there are people who show the world that they have fasted and someone would think no one could fast better than this person. It is all over their facebook account, twitter, instagram, whatsapp and all other applications we may know of, that they have really fasted. They would post of how tough the fast is and complain everywhere possible. They would make a fuss out of it even at the work place just to show that they are weak and can’t possibly work well. We have probably met such individuals who keep whining about the fast to the extent of irritating others. One would think they would pass out and die just the next moment.Fasting is more of a one to one thing between mankind and His God. It is rather a personal affair that only God can reward for. It is a sacrifice that really needs a believing heart to strictly follow. Even the Christians who fast will agree with me on this. There are acts that people tend to do just as a trend or like a ritual to them but that shouldn’t be the case with fasting because fasting really shows your extent of willingness to submit to your God.

 

Others are those that claim to have fasted and then eat secretly in unknown places and the question remains; whom are we cheating if not ourselves? Telling the world that you have fasted while you haven’t doesn’t really add or deduct anything from any other person’s life. This is a matter of personal relationship with your God. How you handle it just depends on your faith and dedication. This is not meant to be a punishment but rather a wise and beneficial program to make us feel the pangs of hunger the less fortunate feel everyday. It is to make us as human beings remember the poor and needy through charity and appreciate the bounties we have.

 

A food for thought for all of us is that, if some few countable days of not eating for mere twelve hours make us complain and whine and sleep all day, maybe we should imagine how these poor people really survive without eating for three or more consecutive days and nights plus with tough work to do. Smaller children are actually fasting at their own choice and playing around without complaining about it so why should we? Let us not be lazy and act too delicate to the extent that people have to say ‘sorry’ to us for fasting! I have previously heard this saying quite many times whereby the others who are not fasting feel sorry for us. This just shows how wrongly we portray ourselves in fasting. As I said it before, fasting is not meant to be a punishment and should never be.

 

Let us stop complaining and creating too much chaos about it on social media but rather appreciate the bounties we take for granted all through out the year. No one out there wants to know or really cares if you have fasted or not, because in the end of the day, no one knows the value of the sacrifice you’ve done except you and your Lord. Keep it real!

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Eid is the happy day. The day we go meet our families and have a get together for the day. It is the day we value each other as brothers and sisters, and as family, and enjoy our time together. It is also the day we make time to visit the sick in the hospitals and go to the orphanages to give charity to the less able so that they may as well have a chance to eat and wear well and be happy on this particular day.

Every child anticipates the wearing of a new dress or cloth for the event and not only the children, but the adults as well. Majority of the people save money for this special occasion and ensure they have beautiful clothes and accessories to wear. But there is always a limit to everything and God doesn’t like the spendthrifts. Some people go to the extents of getting big loans for the occasion and yet they know very well it will be difficult to pay back the amount. You can still celebrate and be happy just as simple as you are.

More on this festive season, most people organize parties with friends or families to celebrate. But are we doing it the right way? Are we going to have fun and have the limits as per God wants from us or are we going to start doing all those acts that annoy God. Are we going to forget that just the previous days we were crying humbly so we may be granted the mercy and forgiveness of God and now just two days after, we are back to our old ways as if the God of Ramadhan is not the same God of all the other months?

Muslims should work to ensure they celebrate the right way. There are a lot of good deeds one can still do in this festive season. Apart from what I previously mentioned, Muslims can go to the graveyards and make a dua for their dead relatives so God may have mercy on them. Muslims shouldn’t get too engrossed in the eid excitement and forget to pay zakatul fitr to the needy which is to be paid before swalatul Eid.

Eid does not, and I emphasis, does NOT mark the return to our old bad, evil habits which we restrained from during the month of Ramadhan. It does not mark the day for the ladies to start walking around with their over worn make up, fancy hair styles exposed and meeting with boys and men who are non mahram in secrecy. This day neither marks the day for anyone to start chewing miraa again or get their lose tongue into action or anything else. We are not celebrating the return of Shaitan, are we?? Because if this is what we do, then we are definitely making him a welcome back home party!The end of Ramadhan is always a saddening moment, since we are forced to wave it goodbye till next year if God wills but God gave us a joyful event to mark the end of it so we may be happy for the completion of the holy month. Eid comes with its own anticipation and excitement, with everyone having their own way and plans to celebrate the grand day, but the important question is, do we do it the right way?

Remember, sinning on the day of eid is like sinning on yaumul waeed (yaumul qiyamah), so, are we going to risk it to sin on such a day really?? This is food for thought for everyone. Wishing you all a happy festive season and in sha Allah we all try to fast the six days of Shawwal for more blessings. May Allah guide us always, ameen. As for Ramadhan, we will be anxiously awaiting for your next visit and we hope to live and see you again in shaa Allah!