Monthly Archives: February 2012

Some Brief Islamic-History (Gareth Bryant’s Top-5 most important Muslims of African-descent):

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Author’s note:
Here’s my take on some individual Muslims of African-Descent whom are near & dear to my heart, as people whom have made powerful & relevant contributions to Islam & the world.

Bilal ibn-Rabah-
One of the best-known companions of Muhammad (Peace be upon him), Bilal (May Allah be pleased with him) was the first person designated to sound the Adhan (the traditional Islamic vocal prayer-call), informing the Muslims of the times of the prayers. He was originally a slave of one of the fiercest enemies of Islam at that time, Umayyah ibn-Khalaf-Although his Father, Rabah, being an `Arab by birth from Bani-Jumah (one of the Families of the Tribe of Quraysh, making Bilal a Tribal-Relative of the Messenger of Allah) his status as a Slave is what the Pagan-Arabs used to deny Bilal of his right to claim his Arab Lineage/Heritage. Once Bilal had heard of Muhammad, and his message of Islam, which provides justice for all, through the true worship of Allah, he didn’t hesitate to accept Islam. He believed strongly in the oneness of Allah, as well as the sense of justice that Muhammad was well-known for, everywhere, by everyone who knew him or knew anything about him. He was however, unfortunately, severely tortured by his slave master, for accepting Islam, and was repeatedly abused by Umayyah, before finally being ransomed by Abi-Bakr (May Allah be pleased with him), and thus freed upon Umayyah accepting payment for Bilal’s freedom. He fought in all of the major battles that the Muslims face military opposition, and was actually quite crucial on the battlefield. He eventually moved from al-Madinah to Syria, after the death of Muhammad, and settled in Syria, as a soldier on the Syrian frontier until his death.

Barakah-
Also known as Umm-Ayman, Barakah (May Allah be pleased with her) was a slave, who became a Muslim, after being freed. She was chosen to care for the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him), while he was young. She was one of the strongest influences in his entire life, being almost like a mother-figure to him. She is arguably, with the exception of `Abbas (May Allah be pleased with him), one of only two uncles of Muhammad, who became Muslims, to be the only person to ever know and or be in the company of Muhammad, from the day that he was born, until the day that he died. She became the wife of Zayd ibn-Harithah (May Allah be pleased with him), the adopted-son of Muhammad & the only companion of Muhammad to be mentioned, by name, in the Qur’an itself. She was the mother of Usamah ibn-Zayd (May Allah be pleased with him), the adopted-grandson of Muhammad, and according to historical record, one of the youngest generals in Human history.

Ashama ibn-Abjar-
Also known as An-Najashi & Negus, the official title of the Kings of the Christian kingdom of Aksum (also referred to as ancient Ethiopia), Ashama (May Allah be pleased with him) gave immense help & support to the early Muslim-Community, during the life time of Muhammad (Peace be upon him). Even though he was a one point a Christian, as the then King of Axsum, he still offered the contingency of Muslims, who arrived in Aksum , led by Ja`far ibn-Abi-Talib (May Allah be pleased with him), a cousin of Muhammad, solace & protection, against their pursuers, the pagan Quraysh. This act of providing protection for the Muslims helped to establish a much-needed alliance with people outside of the Arabian Peninsula, which proved to be invaluable, from an Islamic propagation perspective, as well as from simply a geo-political perspective. Muhammad & Ashama would correspond with one another through letters and emissaries. When the news of the death of Ashama reached al-Madinah, the then capitol of the Muslim-World, during the lifetime of Muhammad, Muhammad ordered the Muslims, immediately, to prayer the Funeral-Prayer for him, thus indicating that he had in fact died as a Muslim.

Musa I-
Often known as Mansa Musa, Mansa being the actual title of the rulers of his native Mali, Musa I is arguably considered the wealthiest individual Muslim of all time & the wealthiest ruler in recorded history. He is most famous for making pilgrimage to Makkah, in a way that hadn’t been done before him or after him: He traveled from Mali to the Arabian Peninsula, via the Saharah Desert, with an estimated 60,000 soldiers, 12,000 slaves, 80 camels (each camel carrying between 50-300lbs. of gold dust), innumerable amounts of horses, and enough food & water to nourish all who accompanied him. It was said about him, that on his journey from Mali to Arabia, that everywhere that he went, every city or town that he passed through, he would just indiscriminately give gold away in charity, or as gifts & would supply money to build Mosques anywhere that he had went every Friday. When he went to Egypt, he given away so much gold, he had single-handed crippled the gold-market for a decade, the price of gold had plummeted, because everyone had it. His empire of Mali was the most geo-politically stable, military secure & most prosperous state during his lifetime.

`Uthman dan Fodio-
As the recognized founder of the Sokoto Sultanate, `Uthman dan Fodio was a very powerful figure in African geo-politics. Aside from this, he was also very influential religiously, among his empire and beyond. He is most noted as being a scholar & author, as opposed to being a ruler or politician, although he was very dominant in both scholarly academics & politics. He is most famous for his religious works, about religious purification & ethical governmental practices of rulers. The Fulani War, which initially began as simply commoners protesting about being overtaxed by their rulers, ended up being the most geo-politically significant event in `Uthman’s life. With him at the helm of this war, he emerged not only as the victor, but the sole ruler of the largest Muslim-led empire in West & Sub-Saharan Africa.

Gareth Bryant/2012

My thoughts on Muhammad, the Beloved of Allah (Peace be upon him):

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Author’s note:
I purposely chose to release this poem after the Islamic month of Rabi`ul-Awwal, which has just past, because of people celebrating the birthday of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him), during that particular month, which is a religiously innovated practice, which I personally did not want to partake in anyway. However, since this month has passed, I’ve thus decided to release this poem, expressing my thoughts about the last Prophet & Messenger.

Muhammad, the Beloved of Allah:

He is…
…the Mercy to the worlds, sent to be a guide for us, from the punishment of the Fire.

He is…
…the savior of Humanity, teaching us to live in this Dunya according to Allah’s desire.

He was…
…the best husband; always a help to his wives, never treating them bad.

He was…
…the best father; when around his children, always made them feel glad.

He was…
…the best friend that anyone could ever have.

He had…
…such a wonderful smile, an incredible laugh.

He has…
…the most followers anyone could ever wish for.

He has…
…given us the gift of the Qur’an & so much more.

He could have…
…kept the guidance all to himself; but, wanted to share it with others.

He was blessed…
…by Allah, to turn the worst of enemies into sincere, loving brothers.

He will…
…forever be known as the best of all of Allah’s Creation.

He has..
…the best place in Paradise & the most honored station.

He will…
…be the one whom Allah will allow to intercede for other people.

He will…
…be our aid on the Day of Standing, when we are weak and feeble.

Because of the love that Allah has for him, may He shed His mercy upon us.

Gareth Bryant/2012

Some Brief Islamic-History (Malcolm Little AKA: Malcolm X):

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Author’s note:

Every year, in both February & May, people have celebrations, concerts, grave-visits, lectures, and the whole nine-yards, in homage to this one man, Malcolm Little (May Allah mercify him). It’s still very obvious that the life of Malcolm Little (May Allah mercify him) still grabs our attention, and intrigue, even after his death. In light of that fact, I’ve written some very short points about the evolution of his life.

The Preacher’s son-
His father, Earl Little, was a preacher, in their hometown of Omaha Nebraska. Unfortunately, he was savagely murdered by Klu Klux Klan members, marking one of his first negative memories of racist-inspired violence, against him, his family, or his people.

The Goon-
As a result of emerging from a broken-home (because of his father being killed & his mother being driven to insanity, via external-pressures, to shuffle both Malcolm & his many siblings into the foster-care system), discouraged to academically excel in school, because of his ethnic-background, he eventually turned to a life of crime. He began to sell drugs, became a racketeer, larcenist, and a pimp, operating mainly between New York City & Boston.

The Inmate-
In 1946, Malcolm was eventually caught, as a result of a high-profile robbery heists, that he was directly involved in, while operating in Boston. He was sentenced to 8-10 years in prison, but ended up only serving 6 years out of his bid, being released in 1952.

The Minister-
At the behest of several of his family-members, he eventually joined the Nation of Islam, a pseudo-Islamic group, founded by Wali Farad (AKA Fard Muhammad), and at that time, under the leadership of Elijah Poole (AKA Elijah Muhammad), which inherently taught that the founder of the Nation of Islam, Wali Fard, is Allah incarnate (basically hijacking the classic Christian belief of Jesus, the Son of Mary [Peace be upon him] as being Allah incarnate), the Black man is a “god” & that the White man is a “devil”, even though, ironically, Wali Farad, himself, had an Indian father (Subcontinental-Indian, not Native-American) & a White mother, according to the teachings of the Nation itself. Initially, he was not privy to be a part of any religion, as a result of his general mistrust of institutions, based upon his life-experience. But, one of his brothers, Reginald Little, had been corresponding with him, about the teachings of the Nation. The particular teachings of the Nation that appealed to Malcolm were the falsified rhetoric that White people are inherently “Devils”. But, it was something that Malcolm gravitated towards, because, in all honesty, he never had a concrete positive experience with anyone who had been White. So, it would be very easy for someone like him, with his life-experiences, to accept these teachings, which he did. And, this was his initial entry-point into the Nation of Islam.

From 1952 to 1963, Malcolm was an active member of the Nation of Islam, flying through the ranks rather quickly, surpassing members of the Nation, who had been with Elijah Poole since he assumed leadership of the Nation of Islam, from Wali Farad, becoming a top-seed Minister, and eventually the Nation’s national representative. In those days, he’s most remembered for his outspoken, belligerent rants, about the racist-inspired power-structure of the United States, as well as other nations, his callous historical references to the atrocities of the “White-Race”, thus justifying the Nation of Islam’s brand of reverse-racism, labeling all Whites as evil, and his will & want for Blacks to be treated with the respect that is owed to them.

The Muslim-
What initially drove Malcolm to become a Muslim was his growing popularity within the Nation, and in the public-eye, which caused envy in the hearts of those who were in Elijah’s inner-circle, who were insinuating that he wanted to replace Elijah, as the leader of the Nation of Islam. His popularity in the Nation, however, came to an ironically abrupt end, in 1963, with the death of President JFK. This, of course, being a great loss to the country, the ministers of the Nation had been given specific orders to not make any negative statements against President Kennedy. Malcolm, of course broke rank, and went on as business as usual, making his infamous public “Chickens Coming Home To Roost” speech while interviewed by the press, shortly after the assassination of JFK. As a result, of the negative backlash of his actions, he was barred from speaking, publicly, anywhere, on behalf of the Nation of Islam, for 90-days.

There was also the constant, and ever-growing popularity of rumors floating around, that Elijah was getting several of his secretaries, from different parts of the United States pregnant. He was not married to any of these women, by the way, so of course, this is something of a big deal. With him claiming to be a Prophet & all, it would’ve been essential for him to have a squeaky-clean reputation & without one, how could anyone buy into one’s claim to Prophethood. So, of course, coming from a scam-artists background, began to investigate as to whether these accusations had any truth behind them. It turns out that one of Elijah Poole’s sons, Wallace Poole (AKA Warith-ud-Din Muhammad [May Allah mercify him]), whom at the time was at the top of the food-chain in the Nation, and a member of his father’s inner-circle, actually confirmed the accusations made against his own father to Malcolm. Malcolm had actually went to Elijah & pressed him for the truth, which Elijah actually admitted that he did conduct the affairs with these secretaries. Upon this, he was heart-broken, disenchanted, and betrayed.

All of these happenings occurring at once in such a short time-period drove him far away from the Nation, to the extent that he had felt that he needed something more, something greater than the Nation of Islam, both for spiritual-evolution, as well as for social-activism. He eventually became acquainted with some leaders of Orthodox-Sunni Muslim groups in New York, at the encouragement of Wallace Poole, the son of Elijah Poole, to did deeper into the classical teachings of Islam. He did & upon that, he discovered true Islam, this becoming an actual Muslim, in 1964 & in this same year, Malcolm embarked upon the Pilgrimage to Makkah, the fifth Pillar of Islam. While there, his entire perception of what Islam really was, what White & Black was, and how Humans, generally, can co-exist together made a huge impact upon how he evolved as a Muslim, a man, a Human being.

Lessons learned from the Legacy of Malcolm Little-
Ever since his death, 1965, until now, regardless of your religious-orientation, ethnic-background, political-affiliation, social-status, or gender, Malcolm Little has made his mark upon all of us. However, there is one very important thing that people always forget whenever mentioning him, that I must address: He was a Muslim, this is who he was, this is how he died, as a Muslim, worshipping Allah, the Lord of the Universe. And, honestly, it really pisses me the hell off, when  people, especially so-called Muslims, always focus upon other aspects of his life, which are not as important as him dying as a Muslim. Now, clearly, his life is relevant to him being who he was, no doubt. But, the fact is that the last 11 months of his life as a Muslim must be explored & appreciated much more, especially by fellow Muslims, than any other aspect of his life, because within these 11 months of his life, he was able to correct the connection & relationship with his Lord, and follow the true path that Allah wanted for him, as well as for all Human beings.

Gareth Bryant/2012

My thoughts on the NYPD (Narcissistic…Yellow-Bellied…Power-Hungry…Derelicts):

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As many of you, whom are about to read this may already know, the New York City Police Department has been consistently conducting strings of illegal probing & out-right spying on Mosques, Islamic Centers, MSA’s (Muslim Student Associations), as well as other auxiliary Muslim-led or Muslim-majority student-groups, in Colleges & Universities, all over New York City, as well as in other institutions of higher-learning in the New York tri-state area & even as far away as the state of Pennsylvania, as reported by the Associated Press. This has, thus far, been completely unchallenged, by both the New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, and the New York City Council, as a collective governing-body. Obviously, you’ve noticed the title of my post. So, therefore, I will explain, within the post itself, why I’ve chosen to title my post the way that I did.

Here’s the reason why:

Narcissism-
n. inordinate fascination with oneself.

The NYPD is pathologically self-serving & self-absorbed, to the extent that they no longer fulfil their initial purpose to protect & serve. Rather, what they really do is terrorize, and harass, via illegal stop-and-frisks, deliberate support by NYPD Commissioner & Deputy-Commissioner, Raymond Kelly & Paul Browne, of Islamophobic/Xenophobic material being used to train NYPD personnel, etc. They’re so ridiculously egotistical, self-centered, and arrogant, that they let their authority, being mainly just their guns, to get to their heads. For the most part, if it weren’t for firearms, most NYC police officers, who are cops right now, wouldn’t be, because they’d be just too pussy for the job. Since people know that they won’t hesitate to shot first & ask questions later, that’s what puts the battery in their backs, to function, with autonomy & absolute power, and to freely abuse their authority.

Yellow-Bellied-
adj., Slang. cowardly

For the most part, if it weren’t for firearms, most NYC police officers, who are cops right now, wouldn’t be, because they’d be just too pussy for the job-They walk around, throwin’ their weight around, like they’re all of that in neighborhoods & communities, which are prime targets of religious, ethnic, socio-economic & socio-political discrimination, fresh out of the gate; but, in all reality, their toughness is just a facade, to intimidate those without badges & guns. I doubt very seriously, if their would be as many NYPD sweeps, for stops-and-frisks, in neighborhoods like Soundview, the Bronx, Harlem, Manhattan, Bedstuy, Brooklyn, Jamaica, Queens, or Stapelton, Staten Island, if NYPD officers didn’t have firearms, to give them the edge over those whom they’re immorally, unethically & illegally profiling. I mean, when’s the last time that the NYPD probed, spied on, or conducted random stops-and-frisks on Wall Street, socio-economically profiling all of the top financiers, like the boys from Goldman Sachs, whom with the help of people like Henry Paulson, former Goldman exec. & Secretary of the U.S. Treasury, rob the American people blind, skating off with $700Billion worth of American tax-dollars?

Power-Hunger-
n. a drive to acquire power

The NYPD has been more focused upon absolute power than ever before. They’re now willing to pick on any demographic, just to flex their authoritative muscles, to show people who really runs this city, which are not the City Council; rather, it’s the bums in blue, who are pullin’ every body’s strings in this town. They’ve got everybody on-edge…well, not everybody: If you’re not whom they’re witch-hunting (i.e. Non-Muslim, rich, White, etc.), you still have some limited-freedoms privileges, for now. But, before you know it, even these people, at least many of them, will fall victim to the totalitarian machine which is the NYPD.

Derelction-
n. an intentional abandonment; intentional or conscious neglect

The NYPD, as a law-enforcement body, as an institution,  has systematically & deliberately abandoned their duties, to protect & serve the citizens of New York City. They’ve become volatile walking, talking time-bombs, with firepower, ready to left-off & explode, at any moments notice, with neither consequence, nor concern. It’s very sad to see how the same persons whom we pay, to protect our rights as local citizens of New York City, are the same ones who treat the bulk of us whom like common-criminals. They’re whole sense of civic-duty is lost, and it’s difficult to say whether the NYPD will ever find it’s way.

Gareth Bryant/2012

My thoughts on Jeremy Lin AKA Linderella (New York City’s Mandarin Miracle on 34th St.):

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He’s got a six-game winning-streak under his belt thus far, in the absence of both Amare Stoudemire & Carmelo Anthony. He’s everything that the New York Knicks wanted & needed to get some team synergy established, and he’s also Chinese-American. It’s very refreshing, in a city like New York, to have some ethnic representation of other people, on the team of the city of the world. Madison Square Garden is the world’s sport stage, and deservingly enough, its teams which grace this sports arena should very well reflect the diversity which this city prides itself upon.

The Knicks’ Linderella-season couldn’t have possibly been perceived nor anticipated by anyone in the sports-world. No one would’ve ever dreamed of an Asian dude, Harvard-grad, and fresh off of the bench, as a result of back-to-back injuries of Stoudemire & Anthony, the two most popular & until now dominant players on the Knicks’ roster. But, then, out of the blue, here’s comes Lin-He’s graceful on the court, knows how to control & dish out the ball to the open man, has confidence in his own shot, can drive to the basket, I mean, he’s the total-package.

He’s really shown & proved that he can play this game & deserves the recognition shown to him as of late. His recent rise to fame in the sports-world has the whole world buzzing, from Beijing to Berlin. He’s been instantly been made a figure that millions of Chinese & Asian youth, around the globe, can look to someone like Jeremy Lin & inspired, as he creates a platform, in a sport that’s always been seen as a sport for only certain types of people. Yao Ming was first; but, Jeremy Lin has surpassed Yao in such a drastic & explosive way. And not just as an Asian player, but as a player period-Afterall, when’s the last time that a player, fresh off of the bench, in the NBA, or any other professional team-sport, for that matter, has carried his or her team to a six-game winning-steak?

Things like this don’t just randomly happen out of mid-air. Rather, this is the direct result of tenacious drive, coupled with tremendous work-ethic, and the urge to prove to everyone who doubts you that you can do whatever others say that you can’t. He’s definitely proven himself to be a force to be reckoned with in the NBA, and has established himself as a serious player who knows how to take care of business.

My thoughts on al-Hajjaj ibn-Yusuf & Bashar al-Assad (The tale of two tyrants):

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These two men have a lot in common: al-Hajjaj lived over a thousand years ago; but, apparently, tyranny in the Muslim-World, unfortunately, didn’t die with him. Bashar has seemed to be the geo-political reincarnation of al-Hajjaj, basically picking up where he left off. And, the irony is that they’ve both been leaders in the same region of  the world. al-Hajjaj was once the Governor of Iraq, during the Umayyi-period, the neighboring country to Syria, which Bashar is now the current President of, more than a millennium later. What makes these two men so distant from one another historically, yet character-wise, so similar, referring to their thirst for absolute-power, bloodshed & ruthless-tactics in the administration of government?
Let’s take a look into each of their respective lives to learn more about what drove them to the madness of their reigns of terror:al-Hajjaj ibn-Yusuf-
Originally named Kulayb, changing his name to al-Hajjaj, he was basically, a soldier his whole life, began his political & military career under the Khilafah (Islamic-Rulership) of `Abd-il-Malik ibn-Marwan, the 5th of the Umayyi-Khulafa’ (Islamic-Rulers of the Umayyi-period). His first official governmental-post was in being part of Ash-Shurtah (the official police force of the Khilafah at this time). He received recognition, by being a stern disciplinarian towards those in his command. During the battle of Maskin, in 72, A.H./691, C.E., in which the forces of the Khalifah were victorious over those who supported a rebel, named Mus`ab ibn-az-Zubayr, he was recommended to be transferred to al-Hijaz (the western coast of the Arabian-Peninsula, which is the home of the cities of al-Makkah, al-Madinah, at-Ta’if, Jiddah, etc.), to crush yet another rebellion there.  His first official crime was massacring the Hujjaj (Pilgrims to Makkah), during Hajj (Pilgrimage), in 73, A.H./692, C.E. Two years after that massacre, he was transferred to Iraq, to take the post of Governor, a position that held from 75, A.H./695, C.E., until his death, in 95, A.H./714, C.E.

He was originally only commissioned to negotiate with the people of Makkah, whom were rebelling against the current Khalifah, under the banner of `Abdillah ibn-iz-Zubayr (May Allah be pleased with him), a companion of Muhammad (Peace be upon him). However, as a result of being banned from making Hajj, al-Hajjaj decided to storm the city of Makkah, which resulted in one of the bloodiest episodes that city ever saw, in which `Abdallah ibn-az-Zubayr was also among those whom were mercilessly & brutally murdered, during al-Hajjaj’s storming of Makkah, two years before he accepted the post of being the Governor of Iraq. Now, you’d think that his taste for bloodshed would’ve at least ended there; but, it did not-It only became more insatiable.

Once he became the Governor of Iraq, all hell broke loose. He is officially documented, by the Muslim historian,  Abu-Mansur `Abd il-Malik ibn-Muhammad ibn-Isma`il ath-Tha`alibi, as being one of four men whom were personally responsible for the deaths of at least 100Thousand people. His killing-spree was notorious, to say the least. He was by far, the most feared Muslim political-figure of his lifetime. He was a shrewd & ruthless politician, a butcher of the righteous, and an all-around derelict. Whatever accomplishments which occurred during his reign as an official would never be able to clean up the blood that he had spilled all in the name of ultimate-control.

Bashar al-Assad-
Since the year 2000, C.E., Bashar Hafizh al-Assad has ruled Syria as President, using his political charm to hide & deceive the world-community, until recently, of his iron-fist dominance of his native Syria. Born into a powerful political family, Bashar was groomed for power, by his father, Hafez al-Assad, after the untimely death of his older brother, Basil, whom was expected to succeed Hafez, as the leader of Syria. For six years, from 1996, until 2000, Bashar was made & cultivated to take a foot-hole into Syrian politics, in preparation to take his father’s place. The main highlights of Syria’s oppression, with Bashar at the helm, had began in 2011.

The Arab-Spring, the revolution-spree, which rocked the Arab-World to its core, had affected every country in the Middle-East, Syria particularly. However, unlike most of the Arab-States Syria is very unique, as Syria has established permanent alliances, via their supporters who are of the `Alawi-Shi`i sect, whom have entrenched their influence within the Syrian political & military hierarchy at the highest levels, to the extent that it is nearly impossible for the ruling Assad’s to separate themselves from the connection which they have with the military-In other words, if one fails the others fail as well. The `Alawi-Shi`i’s & the Assads, as well as the military-machine of Syria must, at all cost, support one another, for the safety and preservation of them all.

So, naturally, when the Arab-Spring started to catch ground in the Arab-World, the Assad-regime decided that this needed to be quelled once it reached Syria, at all costs. This resulted in mass crackdowns of Syrian protests of governmental corruption and the will of Syrian citizens to want political reformation in their country, such as murder, detainment, and beatings by Syrian security forces. In total, in 2011 alone, about 5,000 Syrians are estimated to have been killed by the onslaught of Syrian oppression, with Bashar at the helm. On one end, Bashar had given speeches portraying himself as a progressive leader, who really wants to reform his country; then, on the other hand, when his people want reform to be something tangible, he’s using military-muscle to crush their attempts to be a part of the reforms.

What makes people like al-Hajjaj & Bashar tick?
The major incentive I would say, to keep people suppressed, the way these two individuals have, is to maintain constant control. You can’t dominate someone you can’t control. And,  to people like them, it’s very obvious that absolute-power is their only goal in life. However, there is one thing that people like them always forget, it’s called the Hereafter. We look at al-Hajjaj, whom people actually made prayers against, to his face. Of course, they were dealt with severely by him for it. But, the point is that when you’re oppressing people, eventually the wrath of Allah is going to crash upon you like a ton of bricks. As our Prophet, Muhammad (Peace be upon him) has said, “The supplication of…an oppressed person are never rejected/always answered (by Allah).”(Tirmidhi)

al-Hajjaj eventually meet his end & he will most definitely have to give an account to Allah for what he did in this world. Assad still has a chance to change his ways, but, unfortunately, that looks doubtful that he ever will. This is why knowing history is oh so important, because it teaches you about the past & how to either repeat the positive of the past, to not repeat the negative of the past, or both. Yet, sadly, most of us do not learn from history, and that’s why when it is time to meet Allah, it will not be pleasant. Meeting Allah as an oppressor will be a very painful experience, as mentioned by the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) that, “Verily, Allah Most High gives rope to the oppressor so that when He seizes him, he does not get away.”(Bukhari)

The lesson which me must learn:
We must firstly, always, be dutiful to Allah & not be ungrateful. Next, we are to never pursue the acquisition of authority or responsibility in the land. This is because we will be held into strict account for what is within the bounds of our responsibilities or control, as the Messenger of Allah has warned us that, “Everyone of you is a shepherd & everyone of you will be questioned concerning whom he shepherded.”(Agreed upon [by all of the classic authentic collectors & documentors of Prophetic-Statements as being authentic]) He also said, “You will covet leadership, but it will be a source of regret on the Day of Rising.”(Bukhari)

This obviously means that we will regret the very day that we voluntarily agreed to lead people or to be responsible over others. People like al-Hajjaj ibn-Yusuf & Bashar al-Assad are truly sad individuals, because al-Hajjaj has already made his bed, which he’s now sleeping in , in his grave & if Bashar doesn’t turn his life around & turn back to Allah, he will be in the same predicament. We need to seriously learn from their errors & be stern with ourselves to be dutiful to Allah, in all things before our meeting with him, because once we take our last breath, that’s it. Once we’re dead, we will never be here again, and that means that we have to get it right the first (and only) time around.

My thoughts on Aafia Siddiqui & Joseph (Peace be upon him): Two different people of two different times, yet tested by Allah with the same trial:

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Author’s note:
The stories of both Joseph (Peace be upon him) & Aafia Siddiqui are very similar in nature, in spite of the fact that they lived in different time-periods. Their tests were sent by Allah to them to test their faith to see how they would react to the onslaught of opposition.
Joseph-
The son of a Prophet Jacob (Peace be upon him), as well as being a Prophet himself, Joseph (Peace be upon him), was deceived by his own brothers, sold into slavery, sent away from his homeland to be in bondage in a foreign land where he had no family, no friends, no knowledge of the native language, and no idea what would happen to him. But, of course, as Allah would have it, he was taken into the home of an Ancient-Egyptian official, presumably during the Hyksos-period of Ancient-Egyptian history, where he was initially treated relatively well, considering the fact that he was now another man’s property. But, then, once in his late-teens or maybe early twenties, he gets accused of raping the wife of his master, based upon falsified charges fro the actual wife of his master. She was in-love (more accurately in-lust) with Joseph, but, obviously as a Muslim & Prophet he refuses her sexual-invitations. This infuriates her to the point of claiming that he tried to rape her. When the official hears of this, naturally as a result of his ego being bruised, because his wife wants a younger guy, who’s actually his slave, initially wants to have him executed. But, out of her affection for Joseph, she manages to convinces him to not execute Joseph, but instead imprison him. So, that’s what happens, he’s locked up, for a crime that he didn’t commit, and never would’ve committed, yet he suffers as a result of a blatant lie, which brings us now to our sister, Aafia Siddiqui.Aafia Siddiqui-
Unlike her counterpart in this simile, Joseph, her story however is just as relevant regarding the general point of discussion. Her, much like Joseph was accused of trumped-up charges that were in no way credibly linked to her. Yet, she has been made to suffer, as the result of a witch-hunt to further spread a sadistic global agenda known as the “War-on-Terror”. To give you some background on Aafia, she is a Neuroscience, Ph.D. recipient, was until she left the U.S. in 2002, an active Muslim-Community member who had done good work with a non-profit that she founded, promoting Islam, a reputation for being a devout Muslim & all-around. All of a sudden, from 2003-2008, she has been subjected to a life on the lamb, witnessed the unjust killing of one of her own children, being betrayed by her own fellow Muslims & countrymen, handed over to Pakistani, Afghan & U.S. personnel, for charges that have been proven in a court of law that she had little or nothing to do with. Yet, she was still ruined as a result of a lie, that’s costing her the rest of her life in prison, being accused of having ties to Al-Qaeda & attacking U.S. military-personnel with an assault-rifle, while officially in custody. The reports on he alleged connections and/or involvement in any form of terrorism has been proven to be ridiculously sketchy, from the both U.S & Pakistani sources. Even during her court-proceedings, there were forensics, ballistics, and crime-scene experts, who stood up on the witness-stand, and expressed their doubt of the validity of Aafia even firing a weapon at anyone, let alone any seasoned military-personnel. Moreover, her fingerprints were not even present on any weapons, yet, the accusation, along with jurors, whom have already had in their minds, based upon severe pathological exposure to Islamophobic propaganda, that this woman, who is a Muslim is already guilty.Now, what can we learn, if anything from these two individuals?
One, we can learn that having belief in Allah and the Last-Day will not be easy. There is opposition everywhere, especially in this post-9/11 world that we live in, which spares no expense to accuse any Muslim of heinous crimes, based upon non-credible evidence, that even a blind person would be able to dessern is falsehood.

Two, we see that even in the face of adversity, these two displayed mass amounts of integrity, as well as resolve. These qualities are truly gifts from Allah, that are not to be taken lightly. They both have remained steadfast during their respective trials & have dealt with the realities of their circumstances, without being ungrateful to Allah, for placing them in such predicaments.

These are very valuable life-lessons for all of us to benefit from.

My thoughts on Whitney Houston (A serious lesson to be learned):

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Author’s note:
Please, keep in-mind that this post is not a personal-attack or a personal put-down, by any stretch of the imagination against Whitney Houston, nor should it be taken as such. I’m just expressing what my views are about her.Whitney Houston has been one of the most celebrated songstresses of the 20th century. She’s set standards of vocal excellence almost unparalleled by any other performer of her generation. She’s nearly peerless in her skill as a singer, or in her popularity. Yet, in spite of all her accomplishments, there’s the ugly truth of her battles with substance-abuse that had not only almost ruined her career as an entertainer, but could’ve very well been the cause of her demise, and to add insult-to injury, she wasn’t really that old-She was in fact only two years shy of becoming 50.And, I know that a lot of people wanna blame Bobby Brown for her fall from grace & all of that. But, in all fairness she had her own choices in life, that she willingly made herself. So, regardless of whatever influences that Bobby may have had over her, she still had her own free-will-You can realistically only blame Bobby for so much. I can say this, whatever negativity that Bobby had exposed her to, he will most definitely be held accountable in front of Allah for it, and at the same time, Whitney herself will also be held into account, for whatever choices that she made, based upon her own volition. I want all of you out there, who may end up reading this, to seriously look at someone whom however accomplished they were materially, still got caught up in the illusion that is this Material-Life. This Material-Life is full of distractions, glitter & glam. But, we all know that all that glitters is not gold. It is crucial that we learn from her life what she was not able to learn from her own life, during her own lifetime.

What we learn is the following:
1. Become well-acquainted with the existence of Allah, the Lord of the Universe & become a Muslim, in order to save your soul, in this Material-Life as well as in the Hereafter.

2. Recognize your own personal weaknesses & frailties & learn to control them & to prevent them from controlling you.

3. Be mindful of the company that you keep, because those whom you may associate yourself with, or indulge in various things with, may be the very same persons who lead you towards the path of destruction & when you’re gone, they will live out the rest of their lives without you, forgetting about you.

Whitney Houston was a best-selling entertainer, with loyal fans who truly respected & loved her, from every corner of the globe. She was adored  by millions, amassed large amounts of accolades & wealth. But, where will all of that go, now that she’s dead? It won’t be going with her, it will stay right here, in this Material-Life, and now she is with her Lord. It’s sadly too late for her to go back in time & fix whatever flaw that she had, or to do more good work. It’s too late for regret, for not doing enough good, or for doing too much bad-It’s all over now, unfortunately.

What we, whom are still living, must take from the tragic & untimely death of someone so talented, so well-known in the world, as Whitney Houston, is to never let the glamour of this Material-Life drive us away from the remembrance of our Creator, Allah, nor our appointment with death, nor our appointment with Allah to be judged for all things, in the Hereafter.

My thoughts on the Mawlid (Celebration of the birthday of Muhammad [Peace be upon him]):

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Author’s note:
I know people are gonna be kinda pissed with me on this one, but, like I always say, “Sometimes, you just gotta say somethin'”.So, here it goes:
During the month of Rabi`-ul-Awwal, the fourth month on the Islamic-Calendar, Muslims, from all over the Muslim-World, are celebrating the birth of Muhammad (Peace be upon him). This celebration of his date of birth has been an annual, staple celebration for centuries. However, for Muslims, there’s a very crucial question that they must seriously ask themselves: What justification do they have in celebrating the birthday of a dead person, regardless of whether they’re a Prophet or not?Now, as I’ve said in the author’s note, I know that there are gonna be some people whom will not necessarily take very kindly to my reservations against the celebration of the birthday of Muhammad (Peace be upon him).

But, let it be…
…I’m more than willing & able to deal with any & all backlash that can/will come with this article.

Anyway, there’s yet additional question that Muslims, who commit themselves to the celebration of the birthday of a dead person, must ask themselves: Where did this practice originate from? Whom from among the Muslims originated this practice? Did they adopt this practice from peoples of a foreign religion, that celebrates the birthdays of the dead, “holy-men”, righteous people, etc.?
Now, Islamically, based upon principle, which is based upon classic text, any & all actions to & for a dead person are automatically considered acts of worship, and Islamically, any & all acts of worship are automatically prohibited, unless there is specific, non-abrogated evidence, directly from either the book of Allah (the Qur’an), or the Prophetic-Tradition (the Sunnah), which warrants the Islamic lawfulness of such an action.

And, I can say, very confidently in fact, that there is no such evidence, from neither the Qur’an nor the Prophetic-Tradition, which gives credence for Muslims to celebrate the birthdays of either prophetic or non-prophetic individuals whom are dead. And, I simply say this, because there is direct evidence in both the Qur’an & Sunnah which give detail as to how Human beings began to deviate from the purity of Islamic-Monotheism.

This historical path to Shirk (Ascribing false qualities to Allah/Polytheism) actually begins with the deaths of 5 righteous persons from among the people of Noah (Peace be upon him), their names are the following: Wadd, Suwa`, Yaghuth, Yau`q, and Nasr. (Qur’an: Chpt.71, V.23) After their deaths, the Devil came to the people of Noah, in an evil attempt, which unfortunately, worked, to lure them away from worshipping Allah, and to begin worshipping idols. The people of Noah had begun to build monuments in honor of the righteousness of these 5 individuAls. But, as time went on, they were inspired by the Devil, to deviate further & even further from the path of Allah, until they had eventually began to commit full-throttle polytheism.(Qasas-ul-Anbiya’ [Stories of the Prophets], Ibn-Kathir)

So, it was because of the people of Noah, that we as Muslims are in no position to do anything to or for the dead, unless it is Islamically legislated, for fear that it may very well lead to Shirk. However, unfortunately, most Muslims are not concerned with the danger in celebrating the birthday of a dead person, in spite of the fact that there are no Islamic justifications for it to occur. Even Muhammad (Peace be upon him) himself, once said, “And do not exaggerate in praising me, like the Christians exaggerate in the praise of Jesus the Son of Mary.”.(al-Bukhari)

Now, in knowing the general character of Muhammad, and his eagerness to prevent anyone from his nation, especially during his respective lifetime, would he even tolerate the celebration of his own birthday. I can confidently say that he would never tolerate such a thing. So, in closing, my final statement is the following: People claim to celebrate the birthday of Muhammad (Peace be upon him) out of some type of respect or that they have for him. But, check this out: How can a person celebrate the birthday of Muhammad (Peace be upon him), claiming to respect him & love him, when they don’t live their lives according to the standards that he lived his life?

First & foremost, he worshipped Allah, exclusively, he was respectful to all of creation, even towards those who oppressed him, even when it came to fight in battle, he protected the innocent & never abused his authority over anyone, he was a loving father, husband, leader, teacher, man, and Human.
If we truly claim to respect & love Muhammad (Peace be upon him) we had better live our lives according to how he lived his, as opposed to celebrating something that is not Islamically sanctioned, which can potentially be the cause for being placed in the Fire, if Allah so chooses to not forgive us for doing something that is a Bid`ah (an unsanctioned religious action).

Gareth Bryant/2012