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THE MONTH OF MONTHS

My heart sings with joy
The month of months has arrived
For many have yearned for it
But not all have survived

Such euphoria I get
When the warm air of my lungs
Caress my dry lips in supplication
As I pray the taraweh

In this miraculous month
Even the crooked find their way
Rich or poor no eating in the day
What a precious month I say

In it the night of nights
The night to better a thousand months
A night peaceful in nature
In it Quran descended to the greatest teacher

In it mosques fill to the brim
And everyone seems to be in the same team
We share, we care
Satan is chained he can only stare…

By: Imran Abdallah Saeed via https://mylitcorner.wordpress.com

I finished watching the fourth season of 24 the other day.
As if I wasn’t already a big fan of the series, this season just went above and beyond to hook me in even further. Jack. Bauer. What’s not to like about this guy?

The narrative around which the show 24 usually revolves is that a lot can happen in a single day. And boy doesn’t a lot happen in Jack’s life in those 24 hours. His hobbies during the day include kicking butt and running around a lot without, seemingly, stopping once to catch his second wind. He kicks off with staging a store robbery, then single-handedly storms a compound chokeful of terrorists to rescue a government official, then saunters off to the headquarters of an arms dealership to gather intel where he wards off an army of mercenaries, then leads a black-ops mission to retrieve an informant from the Chinese embassy, all while looking as fresh as a November chrysanthemum (I don’t know what that word means either).

And he does all this while constantly being pressured and second-guessed by his bosses who include quite possibly the most incompetent US president ever depicted on a TV or cinema screen.

He is hands-down the embodiment of all our fantasies of resilience and invincibility. Jason Bourne and wimpy James Bond have nothing on him at all.

Perhaps it’s just as well that Jack Bauer is not a very complicated man. He has no philosophies to preach or grand prophecies to narrate to his audience. His dialogue does not include confounding parabole with deep life lessons a la Master Yoda. When a character is that ‘simple’ but fights for his country and innocent people, everyone can relate to him.

His adversaries, on the other hand, are the ones with complicated philosophies and big words, which is why they are so blindly committed to their causes they are willing to die for them. In this season, true to form of most TV and cinema presentations in the recent decade, and of particular interest to this article, Jack’s adversaries happen to be…well…“Muslim” terrorists.

When the first few episodes of season four came out, there was such a huge uproar over the portrayal of Muslims in the show that the Muslim Council of Britain lodged a formal complaint, and it’s hard not to see why. The show depicts a Turkish Muslim family so modern and assimilated in a foreign culture that the mother doesn’t wear a hijab, and the teenage son begins dating a non-Muslim local girl. Which is a big problem because frowny daddy has plans to turn continental US into a radioactive wasteland and his son’s girlfriend jeopardizes that…I think? What follows is borderline sinister and truly heartbreaking.

Feirouz, the teenage son, is pressured by his parents to kill his American girlfriend, because ‘she saw the darn warehouse’ where the father and other terrorists have been hiding a kidnapped government official. Feirouz chickens out and tries to rush his girlfriend away to safety, but she dies in his hands as it dawns on him that his mother poisoned the girl’s drink. You’d expect Feirouz would break down in tears and cry a river, but somehow, he manages to pull himself together immediately and doesn’t seem that distressed. No biggy, mum and dad were right anyway. Then, in a curious turn of events, mother turns against father to protect Feirouz, husband shoots mother, proceeds to kill an uncle and is on the verge of killing Feirouz when Jack Bauer swoops in once again to put an end to the madness. Just a troubled, messed-up family from start to end.

When the complaints began flooding in, the show’s creators promised that Muslims would be cast in better light towards the middle of the season. When that anticipated moment finally came it manifested in an underwhelming, in my opinion, cameo of two scrawny Muslim gun-store owners who helped Jack Bauer fight that army of mercenaries, further propagating the idea that Muslims are always ready for a fight, whether it’s to actively start one or to simply join in.

Alright, so maybe that’s what 24 is all about, gritty scenes with bad guys and good guys gleefully exchanging bullets every chance they get, so maybe that was the best we could have hoped for, but then I remember watching another show, the X-files, where one episode follows two very normal looking (and to some extent timid) Muslim teenagers cruising through an American town in their car until they park besides a building. Then to my genuine, but premature, delight they begin reciting together, a dua so familiar, in accent-free Arabic, I almost joined in. I remember thinking check out these two poor guys shaking and praying, are they going for a job interview or something? I hope they get it, I really do. I felt stupid seconds later when they walked into the building and it went up in one of those colourful explosions Hollywood is famed for.

It put me off so terribly, I watched the rest of the episode with my hand half reaching for the remote, but still curious to see if there would be some redemption for the Muslim community to come later.

It’s really depressing, I tell you, watching a TV show depicting people who claim to share spiritual beliefs with you, speak flawless Arabic and recite verses of the book we recite every day and regard as our life-manual, only for them to later on draw out their AK47s from thin air or don a bomb vest. You look at those people, when they are presented to you initially, hoping to see elements of your own life reflected back to you, but nothing of the sort is forthcoming.

We, Muslims, are people too.

We make embarrassing mistakes, small and big, throughout our lives, like every other human being.

We have an unhealthy habit of crying too much when we lose someone close to us, like most human beings.

We have our moments of comic awkwardness.

Like when we cant decide what to do with our hands while greeting the elderly who are our non-Mahrams (those we are eligible to marry). Our norms dictate it’s more respectful to extend your arm, yet at the same time tell us we shouldn’t when it’s a non-Mahram. Biiig dilemma.

Or that famed three-part Eid hug moment, when visiting relatives and you can’t remember whether you’re supposed to start on the right side or the left, or whether to end it with a kiss on the cheek or not. And if we do finish it that way, then who goes first? And then, you have that scene where both of you try to do it together and end up going around in circles and your necks wrap around each other and give rise to a clumsy two-headed monster.

Or how about the curious glances we contend with when we shout “Allah Akbar” in public after hearing good news. ‘Allah Akbar’ means ‘God is Great’ by the way, not ‘Death to the West’, for anyone here as yet unaware of that fact. In my mind I sometimes imagine a scene where a traditional middle-eastern mother visits her son in the US or Europe where he’s been studying and recently started working, and when the son pulls up at the arrivals terminal in his shiny brand new car, the overjoyed mother breaks into a khaleejy dance singing, “Allahu Akbar, my son’s made it. Allahu Akbar. Allahu Akbar.”

The son jumps outside, fidgeting and smiling nervously and tries desperately to get her to stop, “Ma, mama, ya ummi! Here in the states we say, ‘Yay!’ and sort of jiggle our feet. Quick now, get in the car, before mysterious men in dark suits pull black bags over our heads and throw us in an FBI van, shukran.”

Are none of the above moments or similar worthy of joining the ranks of those classical “famous TV scenes”?

How much longer are we going to have to wait for that modern Muslim family sitcom the world so desperately needs right now?

I don’t know, something’s got to give. Am almost sure of it. That there will come a time in the future when someone in the upper echelons of the entertainment industry will look at the culture of a people who make up a quarter of the world’s population, see past the layers of stereotypes and into the humor and romance in it and finally produce a critically acclaimed, fan-adored show that really, actually captures the life of the modern Muslim.

Until that happens though, this angry “Muslim” on my TV screen, with his bloodshot eyes and his sharp tongue and his gun-trigger-seducing fingers, will remain as strange to me as the mission he dedicates his life –and death­ – to.

Photo Courtesy: http://assets.lbc.co.uk/

You just GOTTA watch this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IxhGjDyBT30 to the very end! 😀 😀 Kindly excuse the foul language used though 😛 (Couldn’t post it here due to copyright issues)

Well, we all know what is happening right now around the world and how Trump is trying to act like a mini-god. It was expected, but still, never to this extent.

Nonetheless, like Hassan said up there in the video, I don’t really know if I hate Trump. I mean, look at all these protests, all these people standing up for Muslims, all the leaders, influential people and the minorities standing together for people they once very much hated. It used to be Islamophobia. Muslims living in such a strained manner (as we say it here, wanapimiwa pumzi lol). Ladies being insulted for their hijab. Men having a difficult time to even perform salah. They couldn’t even comfortably say ‘Allahu akbar (which by the way just means God is great) or ‘Ya Shabaab’ (young men) in public without being arrested or insulted or looked at in a bizarre manner. They couldn’t board the planes, trains and buses like other citizens because the beard and the hijab always appear on the spotlight. They couldn’t give their opinions because ‘hey, you look like Al-qaeda’.

And here we are now. ISLOVERIA IT IS. (Should I call it the extreme Love for Islam and Muslims? I just made it up 😀


Photo Courtesy: http://i2.cdn.cnn.com/

Non Muslim ladies wearing hijab to show solidarity with the refugees. Here we are, people asking more about Islam like never before, just because ‘If the hateful Trump goes to these far extents to bring down Muslims, then there must be something powerful about them’. Here we are, all kind of people from all walks of life coming together to stand against the ban. People losing their jobs for standing against the ban. Here we are, powerful people speaking for the minority groups. Here we are, Muslims praying openly at the airport! Did you hear that?!! OPENLY. Yes, saying Allahu akbar at every rakaa of the prayer while many non Muslims stand behind them. God! Isn’t that what we’ve wanted in like forever? The co-existence, the love, the harmony, the solidarity!

Trump may be bringing a lot of chaos, nonetheless, he is doing the world more good than he even comprehends. This reminds me of the aya in the holy qur’an: “And it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allah knows but you do not know.” (AI-Baqarah, 2:216).

Let’s hope that we (the citizens of the world) can keep coming together for the sake of peace and humanity. Let’s hope that we are never shaken by Trump’s storms and instead, make the best out of it all. Let’s hope that we can keep restoring each other’s faith in humanity. God! I just love this! <3

By: Jin Khan

The Islamic world influenced the renaissance as well. The origins of the renaissance are generally believed to lie in Italy where renewed interest in classics had a huge impact on art and culture, but the foundation of the renaissance were laid much earlier and not in Italy but in a town called Toledo in an Islamic Spain. When Toledo fell to the Christians it’s doors were open led for people all over Europe. These people mixed with the Muslims who initially lived in the city. Learning their language and reading their books.

1) In 872, Ahmad Ibn Tulun built the first mental hospital in cairo which included music therapy. Bimaristans were described by European travellers, who wrote about their wonder at the care and Kindness shown to lunatics.

2) chemistry

Jabir Ibn Hayyan known as the father of chemistry or Alchemy which actually an Arabic word of Al-Kimiya invented many scientific methods including methods of separation such as filtration, crystallization, pure distillation.

3) Ibn Sinna  known in Latin as Avicenna, his books his two books were an authority on medicine throughout the world for 500 years.

4) Ibn Al Haytham known as the father of optics. He was the first one to explain how the eyes see and first one to perform eye surgery. His work with lenses eventual led to the discovery of the camera. The camera is an Arabic word “Qamar” which means the moon or light entering a room in small processions  “Qamra” or “Qamara”

5) The first practical Windmills ever used were in the 9th century invented in Eastern Persia however an earlier anecdote involving the second Caliph mentions about Windmills having been used in 634-644 A. D

6) When we talk about bulbs and electricity it would have never existed without Abbas Ibn Firnas.

He designed one of the first ever water clocks  and devised a means of manufacturing colourless glass. He also  was the first person to make a room which conducted electricity simulating lightning.

7) Influenced Western architecture.

The Great Roman Catholic cathedral in the middle of Cordoba town in Spain was first built as a Mosque by Muslims and from its design a century later similar designs were adapted by Northern Europeans, in Lincoln cathedral and gothic cathedrals in northern Europe.

8) Al Khawarizmy known as Algorizmi or Algoritmi,   invented algebra and was instrumental on the calculus and in the development of trigonometry and the Use of Algorithm. His name itself was Latin of Algorithm. Without it we would have never been able to make computers or even phones.

9) Al – Zahrawi known in Latin as Abulcasis. Recognised as the father of modern surgery. He invented 200 tools of surgery and many of them are still in use today. He was also the first physician to describe an ectopic pregnancy and the first to identify the hereditary nature of haemophilia

10) “Amr Ibn Bahr” was the first man to discuss foodchains in his famous work ” The book of animals in the 9th century much earlier than Charles Elton who popularised it in his book in 1927

11) In 796 A.D the first brass astrolabe was built by Muhammad Al – Fazari. The astrolabe was a complicated astronomical devise that served many purposes such as telling time,  compass direction and showing the position of the stars.

 

Photo Courtesy: iface cover

We all have flaws, mistakes, things we are not so proud of. We all have things within us that remain buried; secrets we wouldn’t want people to know about. But sometimes we feel so helpless so we let people into our dark world, we tell them our secrets, our fears and our regrets. We allow them to see the real us by being vulnerably honest. And sometimes people get to know our flaws just by chance. They perhaps weren’t supposed to know… but the risk here is; are they going to keep your secret?

There are people who look so angelic, so pious, so good then you somehow get to know of their flaw, their bad habit that could ruin their CV, what do you do with that information? Call a press conference? Do an exposé or perhaps get a live footage to crucify them? Do you go around saying, ‘I always knew these pious people are hypocrites?’ And if the person was never pious in the first place do you go about saying, ‘look at the mate of shaitan?’ It doesn’t really matter how you do it; whether you just bad mouth them or go to worst extents of exposing them on social media or the internet, it just isn’t right.

You know people keep forgetting one important thing; that even the best of people fall in the trap of shaitan and the worst people eventually change to be wonderful people. We forget that Iblis was once the most pious creature in the heavens then what happened to him? We forget that we are all so vulnerable to fall in that same ugly trap that we crucify others for.

How do we forget the story of the very pious man who was approached by 3 brothers who were travelling for a very long time. They trusted him with their younger sister and that he be’s her guardian while they were are away. The pious man was as pure as ever. He protected the girl and would always take food to her place, knock the door and leave the food at the door before she came out. But shaitan started whispering in his ears, he started talking to the girl and that went on until he slept with her. The girl became pregnant and gave birth. The pious man was not yet set free from shaitan’s trap for he was convinced to go on and kill both the child and the girl. That once very pious man became a zannii, a murderer, a betrayer. How then are we so confident of ourselves when we wash others publicly and mock them for their misdeeds? How many times have we heard of very arrogant, very ignorant, very bad people who turned back to Allah? So who are we to judge and spread word of the misdeeds of others? Doesn’t it scare you that someday you could fall in the same trap or even worse? That perhaps the best way to do this is approach someone nicely and correct them, guide them, pray for them, help them and be there for them when they need to change? It’s true sometimes they don’t see the mistakes they are making. They see nothing wrong with themselves so they get rebellious when told the bitter truth about what they do. They may not accept your help. All you have to do is pray for them and keep trying. Give them space when they need one…but just don’t stop praying for them.

There are so many stories around us and since the time of the prophet of how people have greatly changed their ways. We are not better than those that we talk about. We are not any more pious or holy for pointing out people’s mistakes. Not unless it is very necessary and you are perhaps looking for help from other people to join in helping the person then it just isn’t right.

Human Beings are imperfect, we are prone to commit sins but the Worst sin is exposing your brother. In the Literal Meaning of Ali Ibn Abi Talib’s quote he says Never look down upon a Sinner because You never Know if he repents. Yes we are in Dark Ages (Akhir Zamaan) where Sinning Openly has been the order of the day but that does NOT qualify us to Uncover the Sinners. Look how the Prophet taught us: Ibn ‘Umar (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: Messenger of Allah (ﷺ ) said, “A Muslim is a brother of (another) Muslim, he neither wrongs him nor does hand him over to one who does him wrong. If anyone fulfills his brother’s needs, Allah will fulfill his needs; if one relieves a Muslim of his troubles, Allah will relieve his troubles on the Day of Resurrection; and if anyone covers up a Muslim (his sins), Allah will cover him up (his sins) on the Resurrection Day”. [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

One other very scary thing about life is that you just don’t know at what state you are going to die. You don’t know how low or high your imaan will be at sakratul maut. You don’t know how much you’d have changed by then. So before you crucify anyone for their sins, remember you have your own to repent for. This doesn’t mean it is okay what they are doing. Sins are sins. There is no justification. It also doesn’t mean they can get away with their dirty secrets. It just means you are going to give them the benefit of doubt where there is no proof, you are going to correct them but in a nice way and separately not in front of other people. That you are going to help them correct themselves when they need it. That you are only going to talk about it when it is very necessary to do so. Otherwise, when your brother lets you see their flaws and mistakes be sure to tell them, ‘Bro, i’m going to help you. I got it covered.’

Always remember this:

من ستر مسلما ستره الله يوم القيامة
Man satara musliman satarahullaahu yaumal qiyama (Muslim)
Translation: Whoever covered the disgrace of a Muslim then Allah will cover her shame on the Day of Judgement…