Monday, December 31, 2007
Sunday, December 30, 2007
My brothers and sisters everywhere! With this essay, I am not singling out the adherents of Islam - to which I ascribe - but rather I am writing this essay to every man and woman throughout the whole world.
I ask Allah that He facilitates tat this essay reaches every ear, falls under the sight of every eye, and is understood by every heart...
Muhammad the son of `Abdullah is Allah's Prophet and the Final Messenger Sent by Allah to the Inhabitants of Earth.
My brothers and sisters everywhere! You should know that the Messenger, Muhammad the son of `Abdullah (may Allah's blessings and peace be upon him) is Allah's Messenger in reality and truth. The evidences that show his veracity are abundant. None but an infidel, who out of arrogance alone, could deny these signs.
Among these proofs:
1. Muhammad (may Allah's blessings and peace be upon him) was raised illiterate, unable to read or write, and remained like that till his death. Among all his people, he was known as being truthful and trustworthy. Before receiving revelation, he had no prior knowledge of Religion or any previously sent Message. He remained like that for his first forty years. Revelation then came to Muhammad with the Koran that we now have between our hands. This Koran mentioned most of the accounts found in the previous scriptures, telling us about these events in the greatest detail as if he witnessed them. These accounts came precisely as they were found in the Torah sent down to Moses and in the Gospel sent down to Jesus. Neither the Jews or Christians were able to belie him regarding anything that he said.
2. Muhammad (may Allah's blessings and peace be upon him) also foretold of everything that would occur to him and his community after him, pertaining to victory, the removal of the tyrannical kingdoms of Chosroes [the royal title for the Zoroastrian kings of Persia] and Caesar, and the establishment of the religion of Islam throughout the earth. These events occurred exactly as Muhammad foretold, as if he was reading the future from an open book.
3. Muhammad (may Allah's blessings and peace be upon him) also brought an Arabic Koran that is the peak of eloquence and clarity. The Koran challenged those eloquent and fluent Arabs of his time, who initially belied him, to bring forth a single chapter like the Koran. The eloquent Arabs of his day were unable to contest this Koran.
Indeed, till our day, none has ever dared to claim that he has been able to compose words that equal-or even approach-the order, grace, beauty, and splendor of this Glorious Koran.
4. The life history of this Noble Prophet was a perfect example of being upright, merciful, compassionate, truthful, brave, generous, distant from all evil character, and ascetic in all worldly matters, while striving solely for the reward of the Hereafter. Moreover, in all his actions and dealings, he was ever mindful and fearful of Allah.
5. Allah instilled great love for Muhammad (may Allah's blessings and peace be upon him) in the hearts of all who believed in and met him. This love reached such a degree that any of his companions would willingly sacrifice his (or her) self, mother or father for him.
Till today, those who believe in Muhammad honor and love him. Anyone of those who believe in him would ransom his own family and wealth to see him, even if but once.
6. All of history has not preserved the biography of any person in the manner it has preserved the life of Muhammad, who is the most influential human in history.
Nor has the entire earth known of anyone whom every morning and evening, and many times thereafter throughout the day, is thought of by those who believe in him. Upon remembering Muhammad, the believers in him will greet him and ask Allah to bless him. They do such with full hearts and true love for him.
7. Nor has there every been a man on earth whom is still followed in all his doings by those who believe in him.
Those who believe in Muhammad, sleep in the manner he slept; purify themselves (through ablution and ritual washing) in the manner he purified himself; and adhere to his practice in the way they eat, drink, and clothe themselves.
Indeed in all aspects of their lives, the believers in Muhammad adhere to the teachings he spread among them and the path that he traveled upon during his life.
During every generation, from his day till our time, the believers in this Noble Prophet have fully adhered to his teachings. With some, this has reached the degree that they desire to follow and adhere to the Prophet's way in his personal matters regarding which Allah has not sought of them to adhere to in worship. For example, some will only eat those specific foods or only wear those specific garments that the Messenger liked.
Let alone all that, all those who believe in Muhammad repeat those praises of Allah, special prayers, and invocations that he would say during each of his actions during day and night, like: what he would say when he greeted people, upon entering and leaving the house, entering and leaving the mosque, entering and leaving the bathroom, going to sleep and awaking from sleep, observing the new crescent, observing the new fruit on trees, eating, drinking, dressing, riding, traveling and returning from travel, etc.
Let alone all that, all those who believe in Muhammad fully perform-even to the minute detail-every act of worship-like prayer, fasting, charity, and pilgrimage-as this Noble Messenger (may Allah's blessings and peace be upon him) taught and as he himself performed.
All of this allows those who believe in him, to live their lives in all aspects with this Noble Messenger as their example, as if he was standing before them, for them to follow in all their doings.
8. There has never been nor will there ever be a man anywhere upon this earth who has received such love, respect, honor, and obedience in all matters-small and large alike-as has this Noble Prophet.
9. Since his day, in every region of the earth and during every period, this Noble Prophet has been followed by individuals from all races, colors and peoples. Many of those who followed him were previously Christians, Jews, pagans, idolaters, or without any religion. Among those who chose to follow him, were those who were known for their sound judgment, wisdom, reflection, and foresight. They chose to follow this Noble Prophet after they witnessed the signs of his truthfulness and the evidences of his miracles. They did not choose to follow Muhammad out of compulsion or coercion or because they had adopted the ways of their fathers and mothers.
Indeed many of the followers of this Prophet (may Allah's blessings peace be upon him), chose to follow him during the time when Islam was weak, when there were few Muslims, and when there was severe persecution of his followers on earth. Most people who have followed this Prophet (may Allah's blessings and peace be upon him) have done so not to acquire some material benefits. Indeed many of his followers have suffered the greatest forms of harm and persecution as a result of following this Prophet. Despite all this harm and persecution, this did not turn them back from his religion.
My brethren! All of this clearly indicates to anyone possessing any sense, that this Prophet was truly and really Allah's messenger and that he was not just a man who claimed prophethood or spoke about Allah without knowledge.
10. With all this, Muhammad came with a great religion in its credal and legal make-up.
Muhammad described Allah with qualities of complete perfection, and at the same time in a manner that is free of ascribing to Him any imperfection. Neither the philosophers or the wise could ever describe Allah like such. Indeed it is impossible to imagine that any human mind could conceive of an existing being that possesses such complete ability, knowledge, and greatness; Who has subdued the creation; Who has encompassed everything in the universe, small or large; and Who possesses such perfect mercy.
Nor is it in the ability of any human being to place a perfect law based upon justice, equality, mercy and objectivity for all human activity on earth like the laws that Muhammad brought for all spheres of human activity - like buying and selling, marriage and divorce, renting, testimony, custody, and all other contracts that are necessary to uphold life and civilization on earth.
11. It is impossible that any person conceive wisdom,, morals, good manners, nobleness of characters as what this honorable Prophet (may Allah's blessings and peace be upon him) brought.
In a full and complete manner, Muhammad spread a teaching regarding character and manners toward one' parents, relatives, fiends, family, humanity, animals, plants and inanimate objects. It is impossible for the human mind alone to grasp all of that teaching or come with a similar teaching.
All of that unequivocally indicates that this Messenger did not bring an) of this religion from his own accord, but that it was rather a teaching and inspiration that he received from the One Who created the earth and the high heavens above and created this universe in its miraculous architecture and perfection.
12. The legal and credal make-up of the religion that the Messenger, Muhammad, (may Allah's blessings and peace be upon him) brought resembles the engineering of the heavens and the earth. All of that indicates that He who created the heavens and the earth is the One Who sent down this great law and upright religion.
The degree of inimitability of the Divine law that was sent down upon Muhammad is to the same degree of inimitability of the Divine creation of the heavens and earth. For just as humanity cannot create this universe, in the same manner humanity cannot bring forth a law like Allah's law that He sent down upon His servant and messenger Muhammad (may Allah's blessings and peace be upon him).
Saturday, December 29, 2007
I would like to open up the discussion as to whether Malcolm X (El Hajj) Malik Ash-Shabazz, ramatullahi `alaihi, was more influential during his life or during his death? Also he more remember for his NOI days or his true-Islam days?
Thursday, December 27, 2007
By, Khalil Al-Puerto Rikani
Nigger: The Strange Career of a Troublesome Word by Randall Kennedy for more on the history of this word and its usage).
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Question: What is the ruling if the mu.adhdhin forgets to say ((prayer is better than sleep)) [during the adhaan of the Fajr prayer)?
Response: The ruling regarding the one who forgot to say ((prayer is better than sleep)) during the adhaan of the Fajr prayer is that it is known to the people of knowledge that his adhaan is correct, because the saying of ((prayer is better than sleep)) during the adhaan of the Fajr prayer is a Sunnah and not obligatory, the evidence being that when `Abdullaah ibn Zayd (radhi-yAllaahu 'anhu) saw the adhaan in his dream, it did not contain the words ((prayer is better than sleep)) [transmitted by Abu Daawood No.449, Ahmad No.4/43]. Therefore, the saying of these words [((prayer is better than sleep))] is not a condition (for the correctness of the adhaan of the Fajr prayer]; So if a person said it during the adhaan of the Fajr prayer, then that is better, and if he did not, then there is no harm.
Shaykh Ibn 'Uthaymeen, I`laam al-Mu`aasireen bi-Fataawa Ibn `Uthaymeen - Page 51
Friday, December 21, 2007
Monday, December 17, 2007
A time comes in everyone's life, or at least I hope it comes, when they realize that they have to not only believe what they believe in, whatever it may be, but get out there and proclaim it to the world. Luckily, that time came early for me. I am 17, and Islam is the belief that I’m proclaiming.
I was raised Catholic. Not internally as much as externally. I went to Catholic Sunday school, called CCD, but the Catholic view of God never played a major roll in my childhood. It was a Sunday thing. Anyhow, I started to enjoy Mass around 7th grade. It made me feel good to do the right thing. I was always a rather moral person, but I never really studied the fundamentals of Catholicism. I just knew that I felt good worshipping my creator.
I really liked Catholicism, but I always saw it as us (the Catholics) with Jesus worshipping God, not us worshipping God and Jesus as one. I saw Jesus (peace be upon him) as my example on how to be a good follower of and submitter to God's will, but not as God himself.
Before I was confirmed in 8th grade, in the fall of 1999, I learned a lot about what Catholicism was. The Catholicism of the Church had a lot on viewing Jesus as God in it. Nothing like my “undivided God being worshipped by me with Jesus as an example” train of thought. It was like they just opened up a can of cold, illogical confusion and tried to feed it to me. It didn’t feel right.
I continued with Catholic church, and kept on worshipping. But I talked to many in the church about my feelings that Jesus wasn't God but more of a Prophet, an example. They told me that I had to accept him as God and as a sacrifice, and so on. I just wasn't buying it. I tried to buy it but I guess God withhold the sale for my own benefit. There was a better car out there for me. I continued at the church.
Sometime in mid-December of 1999, for no reason that I can recall I started reading up on Islam in encyclopedias. I remember making a list of bolded words in the entry for "Islam" in an old 1964 Grolier World Book that I found in my closet, and studying them. For some reason I was amazed by this faith and that it was all about God and that it was everything that I believed all my life - right here. Previously, I had accepted that there was no faith like I felt inside of me. But I was amazed that I had found this faith. I found out that "my" faith had a name, and millions of other adherents!
Without ever reading a Qur'an or talking to another Muslim, I said shahada (declaring your belief in no god but God) on 31 December 1999. As the months passed, I learned more. I went through many periods of confusion, happiness, doubt and amazement. Islam took me on an enlightening tour of me, everyone else, and God.
The transition was slow. I was still attending Mass five months into my change of faith. Each time I went, I felt more and more distant from the congregation, but closer and closer to Prophet Jesus and God.
During Ramadan 2001, the second time I fasted (the first year, I converted during Ramadan and did not fast), I went to the library during lunch period. It was better than sitting at a table with my friends, because I got work done in the library. I swear my grades went up. Anyways, I started talking to the only other Muslim at my school, John. We talked about Islam a little more each day. He's an awesome brother and he took me to the mosque on the last Friday of Ramadan. Going was one of the best things I ever made in my life. God really answered my prayers this time. I thought I would be nervous, but I wasn't at all. It was the most natural thing I ever did in my life. I felt home. I realized something before leaving. As I sat there on the floor, praying to God, I realized that the room was full of others but it was OK. See, at home when someone asks me what I am doing, I never say I am praying. I never admit it to anyone. It is too awkward. But there, at the masjid, I was praying to God in front of a score of other Muslims and I felt perfectly fine. Better than fine! I felt secure and safe. It was the most liberating thing since I accepted God into my heart that cold New Year's Eve almost two years ago.
I never told my parents right out. In fact, I don't plan to. The most significant clue that I gave came around 1:00 AM on 16 December 2001, when I finally told my dad I was going to the mosque in the morning with a friend when he asked me why I was setting my alarm. He told me how he can't wait for me to move out of the house, how displeased he is with me and how stupid the choices I make are to him. I never told them straight out because I figured it was best to test the waters by revealing clues bit by bit; I didn't want to send a shockwave through the family. I can only imagine what my dad would do if he knew I was actually a practicing Muslim. He seems to hate my guts just for studying the faith, which he thinks is all I am doing. I understand that my dad is a depressed man, so I don't really hold this all against him. I mean, it is his fault for thinking himself so smart that he doesn't need God. That thought is what got him so depressed. But I don't think he realized how hard one's heart can be when you deny your human need for a relationship with your Creator. So I don't hold it all against him. He didn't know what he was getting into. My mom doesn't know that I am a Muslim, but at least she hasn't shown her anger over me going to the mosque. She is upset over it but never told me that I displease her, at least. As God commands, I'll continue to try my best to be nice to my parents as long as they don't attempt to take away my Islam. The best thing that I can do for them is to be a good example so that maybe one day, inshallah, they can see that there is a better way of living than living in the dark world of God-denial.
I've never been to the Mid-East, but I am studying Islam every day. I read books from every point of view. Sufi, Shia, Sunni, books on the Qur'an alone... The Muslims view sects as haram, so no matter what you believe you are always a Muslim and nothing extra. You may have completely different views than another Muslim, but as long as you both believe that there is no god but God, you are both Muslims and that's that. I read a lot on-line, and discuss a lot with other Muslims on-line and on the phone. I've met some really great people on-line who have taught me a lot about life, Islam and God.
Right now, I am 100% a Muslim and that will never change, inshallah. I thank God that I've gone through so many periods of doubt. When I look back I see that it was not God leaving me but God telling me that it was time that I asked myself how much I loved God, and what I was willing to go through to understand my faith. A week of crying, depression, prayer, reading to the extreme, and ignoring most other things in life sounds harsh...but the reward - knowing so much more about yourself, God, and the relationship between you (Islam) - is worth more than any material things. Through my interrogation of Islam I gained God’s most precious gift - Islam, or surrender to the peace. I've heard Christians say that with Christianity you "know God on a personal level." In Islam, your relationship with God is so much deeper than that. God is with me every moment, guiding me, teaching me, loving me, protecting me, liberating me, enlightening me, comforting me... Alhamdulilah for Islam!
Islam has done a lot for me. More than I could have ever guessed. And every day, it just gets better. I went from living my life on a trial-and-error basis to embracing guidance, and now knowing what the best choices are for me to make. From seeking who I am and spending a life in confusion, I am being guided. I can't find the words to say what its like, but I'll try again: God reveals to me what life is. I don't have to guess anymore.
- -- -
Sura 93, “The Morning Hours”
By the morning hours
Did he not find you orphaned and give you shelterFind you lost and guide youFind you in hunger and provide for you
As for the orphan, do not oppress himAnd one who asks, do not turn him awayAnd the grace of your lord -- proclaim
- -- -
That is what I went through, what God did for me - what I am. So here is my proclamation to the world. Islam is more than you think it is, in fact more liberal than most would wish it to be. But do not only listen. Study all views for yourself...and come to your own conclusion. God says “let there be no compulsion in religion” because faith in God is a choice made by the heart, and it can't be forced.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Saturday, December 15, 2007
I have a bit to say about the cab industry in New York City, since I have driven cab there. In the summers when I would come home from studying in Saudi, I would go drive cab on the streets of NYC. I did not have time to go to all these conference, translate books, or give classes like other brothers were doing. I was too busy trying to feed my family. I drove yellow cab which is based mainly in the street of Manhattan.
While the "cabbie" of the past consisted of working-class White people, most today are non-White and Muslim. I could not help but stigmatized with being an other from passengers. Most of my customers were professional upper-class White who came to NY from some other part of the country. They would always ask me, "Where are you from?" When I would reply New York there would be a shock and sort of confusion. There would also be some denial on the part of others. Here I am a native New Yorker and simply because I may "look like a foreigner" whatever that means, and I had outsiders from other states denying my authentic New Yorkness.
As most Puerto Rican, my family has been in New York since the 40s. Puerto Ricans have contributed so much to New York’s economy, culture, music, and society. They helped to bring salsa (actually Afro-Cuban jazz) to the world and are co-originators of Hip-Hop. So because was rocking a beard I have somehow become a "foreigner," an "Arab," a "Pakistani," i.e. THE OTHER. What right do these people have to question my American nationality or my New York authenticity? Most yellow cab drivers are Muslim West Africans, Pakistanis, Haitian, and leftover Puerto Rican and working-class White from the 80s. In the outer-boroughs the cab industry is quite different. In the Bronx and East & Central Harlem most cab drivers are Muslim West Africans, Puerto Rican, Dominican, and a growing number of Mexicans.
In Manhattan’s Lower East Side (Loisaida) there are various Latino cab drivers. Queens has a lot of Arab and Pakistani drivers. Brooklyn also has a lot of Arab, Caribbean, and Latino drivers. Throughout the cab industry, you hardly see any African-American drivers despite the fact that they are one the largest ethnic groups in New York City. In Yonkers (a city just north of the Bronx), where I am from, Latinos represent about 85% of the drivers. Dominicans used to dominate but now Mexicans do.
Despite the fact that non-Whites are the "cream of the crop" of the industry; they do not run the industry. The industry is runned by one of the most draconic and oppressive government agencies in the U.S. - the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC). Ethnically Jews have a big say on the direction of the industry. I can only assume that this is because must own medallions. That is another thing; most yellow cab drivers do not own the actual medallion and pay about $100 for a 12-hour shift. The industry is highly regulated. Most of these regulations originated during Rudy "Adolph" Giuliani’s dictatorship. He messed up the industry. I no longer have my license, due to some complications I won't get into, but I still remember driving around the streets of NYC.
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
I know I do not post much for the culture aspect of my blog. That is basically because there are a lot things in culture which contradict Islam. Music, according to my understanding is haram (forbidden). So here goes some poetry from a friend of mine, Bonafide. Hope ya'll like it. Please ignore the comment about acid. I think he was joking about that.
Khalil Al-Puerto Rikani