Monthly Archives: November 2012

Enough with this ridiculous “Gay-Mosques” business!!!

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Author’s note:
This phenomenon of “Gay-Mosques” or “Gay-Friendly Mosques” has been plaguing the Muslim-Community, in the United States, for some time. Now, this phenomenon has spread elsewhere, like in Paris, France, for example. This entire concept of a “Gay-Mosques” or “Gay-Friendly Mosque” is not only utterly ridiculous, but, misleading & deceptive as well…don’t worry, I’ll get into why.

So, for Muslims, of liked-minds, whom also find this notion just as ridiculous as I do, the best way to respond to something like this would be the following:

If some group of Muslims who happen to be Child-Molesters, or Rapists, who want to open a Mosque, which cater to Child-Molesters, or Rapists, let’s see how many people would be up-in-arms in support of that. I mean, really, intelligently observe, reflect upon how ridiculous that would sound, a “Pedophile/Pedophile-Friendly Mosque”, or a “Rapist/Rapist-Friendly Mosque”.

Would any Muslim, Non-Muslim, or any morally-sound and/or intelligent Human being, whom you know, actually take a notion such as that seriously?!!! Well, then, what in the Hell would make anyone think that a “Homo-Mosque/Homo-Friendly-Mosque”, or a “Gay/Gay-Friendly-Mosque” would be something that is a thing to establish?!!!

The Mosques are the properties of Allah(Noble Qur’an: Chpt.72, V.18). And as such, are required to be established upon certain things, mainly, the following:

1. They have to be places where only Allah is worshipped

2. They have to be places where all of the 5-prayers are made, 24/7.

3. They have to be places where the Muslims are in complete-control over & cannot be converted into something other than Mosques.

Now, Imma just concentrate on the first condition that I’ve just mentioned:
Allah clearly states, “Have you not seen one, whom after Allah has guided, take his own desires as a god, then Allah, knowingly, left him astray, as well as sealing his hearing, heart & sight as a punishment? Do you not reflect?”.(Noble Qur’an: Chpt.45, V.23)

As Muslims, we’ve all been given divine-guidance from Allah. However, unfortunately, instead of cherishing this great favor & blessing, from the Lord of the Universe, we blatantly insult this guidance, by rebelling against the commandments of Allah & His Messenger, Muhammad (Peace be upon him). To put it even more plainly: Homosexuality, like any & every other sin, in Islam, is not acceptable to Allah, at all. But, sadly, the Muslims, in order to continue to be accepted by those whom are Non-Muslims, in Non-Islamic societies, and/or as a result of just falling for the deception of the Devil, have decided to compromise on everything & stand-up for nothing. And, this issue is not very different than any other issue that Muslims have sold-out on.

Now, going back to what I had mentioned, concerning, the Mosques being the properties of Allah, this is something that has to be taken very seriously. How can a Muslim really respect the sanctity of the Mosques of Allah by attributing things which Allah clearly hates with these places of exclusive-worship to Him? You cannot serve Allah, as your god, and your desires, at the same time, you have to pick who/what you’re going to devote yourself to. A Muslim cannot, in Islamic-Conscience, justify their desires or whims, which directly contradict what Allah has prohibited, it just doesn’t work that way. You can’t mix something pure with something impure & expect to yield a pure-result: best-case scenario, they, the pure & impure cancel one another out, while the worse-case scenario, the impure completely dominates the pure…either way, you’re not winning. Furthermore, Allah clearly mentions how He had destroyed & erased the entire existence of the first people in Human-History whom were Homosexuals(Qasa-ul-Anbiya’/Stories of the Prophets, by Abul-Fida’ Isma`il ibn-Kathir ad-Dimashqi); so, what makes you think that this “Homo-Mosque” idea is acceptable at all to Allah, when He had specifically chose to destroy a people for being Homosexual?

Basically, the Muslims have become the religious-versions of whores of a male-prison, ready willing & able to drop-the-soap, in the shower-room, in front of anyone/everyone, on purpose. Now, if you drop the soap in the shower-room of a prison, what do you think/expect to happen? You figure it out!!! It’s very sad, how Muslims feel that they have to compromise everything, that is Islamically mandatory/prohibitory, just to fit into the circles of the in-crowds of their peers or societies. And, ironically (as you’d think that the Muslims would’ve learned this by now), nobody respects a sell-out, even the person/persons, society/societies whom you’re selling-out to.

And, now, ironically, sadly, shamefully, in the the present-day, we as Muslims, think that it’s “progressive”, or “politically-correct”, or “cute” to have a “Gay/Gay-Friendly Mosque”, to show people that we’re inclusive-News-Flash: THAT’S NOT HOW YOU SHOW PEOPLE INCLUSIVITY!!! We show people inclusivity by giving anyone/everyone their rights as creations of Allah & as Human beings, and equal, fair opportunities to learn about Islam, to make their own choices whether to to accept Islam or not. We don’t show inclusivity by accepting the sins of people & passing them off as something that’s “not a big-deal”, or “not important”, or “small-issues”. Anything that either Allah or His Messenger made prohibited needs to be treated as such, and it is not okay, Islamically, to pretend, or to water-down the severity & ugliness of those prohibitions, just to be seen as “modern”, or “progressive”, or “pluralistic”, or in the eyes of our current societies.

Gareth Bryant/2012

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My Desperate-Outcry to my Noble-Savior!!!

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Oh…Allah!!! My heart is in pain, it hurts.
I know that, in your sight, I’m the worse.

You have given me my faith, and correct-guidance, while I still rebel.
I’m so afraid to meet You, because, I feel that I’ll go straight to Hell.

I know that disobeying You is not at all in my interest.
And, I know that I have no excuse to not do my best.

It is, clearly, myself and not You, to blame.
My weak religiosity is a sham and a shame.

I’m so weak, You are so strong & am fully aware that I do wrong.
But, I still sin; and, I know that I won’t get away with this, for long.

My only chance is for You to overlook my disgusting disobedience to You.
I need You to give me the strength to commit and keep Your covenant true.

Why You’ve chosen to preserve me, while I disobey You, for so long, I may never know.
I can only think & speculate, that, in spite of my impetuous behavior, You still love me so.

I must Love You in return & stop rebelling; be dutiful to You only, to start caring.
My reckless actions are unacceptable; but, I know I can change & I am capable.

It’s up to me, because You have given me the choice & tools to get better.
You have given me the abilities to survive in any terrain and in any weather.

It is my obligation, to You, to improve, and to always move forward.

Gareth Bryant/2012

Thanksgiving is all the time, every day!!!

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I’m thankful all of the time, not just for Thanksgiving:

I’m thankful for Allah turning my heart away from the love & pursuit of the streets.
I’m thankful for Him grant me the opportunity to find Islam as well as finding true peace.

I’m amazed that every year people claim to be thankful; yet, are only appreciative when things are going easy.
Whenever tested with trials & tribulations, people often forget that Allah’s in control, then, to Him they act sleazy.

They ignore, and forget, that throughout the year, Allah provides for them too.
It’s so much easier to neglect the regular, day-to-day bounties, given to you.

We always thank Allah for what we have, but not for what he’s kept from us.
Whenever we’re denied something, we get angry and uptight, ready to fus.

Complaining is a hallmark of a Human being.
We’ve been like this from the very beginning.

But, the next time that you wanna complain, turn on the T.V. & watch the news.
Read the paper about people world-wide, who have nothing, no food, nor shoes.

Gareth Bryant/2012

Yasmin Mogahed: Enough said!!!

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Author’s note:
I have had the honorable privilege of meeting Yasmin Mogahed, learning from her, when she came to lecture at the Islamic-Center of New York University-To put it very plainly, she’s amazing: she has inspired, empowered & educated so many people in the Muslim-Community, in NYC, in the U.S., and really, anywhere & everywhere that Allah has allowed her to be. Yasmin Mogahed is someone whom I would want my daughters (Allah were to grant me to be the father of any daughters) to grow-up to be like. Not only is she a firm Islamic-Academic, who has a magnificent understanding of Islam, as well as a very sophisticated way of conveying the authentic, beautiful teachings of Islam, she’s a great literary-artist. She has recently agreed to be a guest writer for my writing page, which is like super-awesome…for real!!!

So, without further adieu, the very insightful, inspiring, empowering words of my sister, in Islam, Yasmin Mogahed:

I Grieve:

I lifted my head
Once more
Only to see
The sun had set,
The trees had slept,
And they’d all gone home

I grieve.

The sky that was clear
is now covered with fog.
My path, I no longer see.
Why try…when it’s all so gray?

I grieve.

Today I grieve
For what’s been lost.
My forgotten people,
still on their knees
before a snow god in spring

I grieve.

They’ve forgotten that prayer
And to whom they should call.
The Essence replaced
by mundane ritual,
empty symbols.
Their hearts… so tired,
jaded and worn

I grieve.

We are a people
defeated…but not conquered.
And somehow
I feel my blood return.
I will stand.
I will try.
And from beyond my grief,
I will see…

There are a people you can’t enslave.
A loyalty…you can’t buy.
For a land may be occupied…
but never a soul.
From beyond my tears
I’ll understand…

Today my people weep.
But tomorrow…Death will die,
as their tears give birth to a land
where…“on them shall be no fear
nor shall they grieve” (2:262).

Yasmin Mogahed/2012

For more info. about Yasmin Mogahed, please check out her website:

http://www.yasminmogahed.com


al-Husayn & the Massacre of Karbala’:

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Author’s note:
It’s a must that I mention that the events, known today as the Massacre of Karbala’, which caused the execution of the maternal-grandson of Muhammad (Peace be upon him), al-Husayn ibn-`Ali ibn Abi-Talib (May Allah be pleased with him), was indeed a true tragedy, and is globally, Islamically, recognized, among all Muslim sectarian-lines, as something that should not have happened, and as well, didn’t even have to happen; but, unfortunately, it did happen, and we, as Muslims have to acknowledge this, objectively examine why it happened & move on in order to move forward, and unify one another, and to cease & desist some of the many unnecessary divisions between the Muslims, because of this issue alone.

Now, obviously, this subject has caused great controversy, both historically, as well as in the present-day still, because of the magnitude of this event, even to the extent as to how this event should or should not be commemorated, among Muslims from various & all sectarian-persuasions-This event has grabbed the attention, emotions, and guilt of so many Muslims, that there are even celebrations, literally around the world, commemorating this event, with people doing things which are completely contrary to Islamic-Teachings. What I attempt to do is to bring some unbiased-light, as a Muslim, loyal to no religious-sect, to this event & the events surrounding & influencing it.

The following is based (primarily but not exclusively) upon the historical writings of Maqtal-il-Husayn/The Murder of al-Husayn, by Abi-Mikhnaf Lut ibn-Yahya ibn-Sa`id ibn-Mikhnaf al-Kufi & Tarikh-il-Rusul wal-Muluk/The History of Messengers & Rulers, by Abi-Ja`far Muhammad ibn-Jarir at-Tabari, two of some of the foremost Islamic-Historians of their time, as well as al-Khulafa’-ir-Rashidin/The Rightly-Guided Islamic-Rulers, by the famous Islamic-Historian, Jalal-id-din as-Suyuti, which chronicles the Khilafat/Islamic-Rulerships of the following persons: `Abdullah ibn Abi-Quhafah/Abu-Bakr as-Siddiq, `Umar ibn-il-Khattab, `Uthman ibn-`Affan, `Ali ibn Abi-Talib, al-Hasan ibn-`Ali, Mu`awiyah ibn Abi-Sufyan (May Allah be pleased with them).

`Uthman ibn-`Affan: His assassination & Civil-War-
Realistically, it would be unfair to mention the Massacre of Karbala’, without first mentioning & examining, with an unbiased-lens, all of the events which not only influenced what happened at Karbala’, but, what had directly caused it. Let’s start with the martyrdom of `Uthman ibn-`Affan (a Companion, twice Son-in-Law of Muhammad [making him a legitimate-member of Ahl-il-Bayt/Members of the Prophetic-Household of Muhammad] and 3rd-Khalifah [the globally-recognized/accepted leader of the Muslims] of Islam); after the vicious torture/assassination of `Uthman, at the hands of three cowardly assailants, from among the Khawarij (the 1st recognized sectarian-group from among the Muslims, thus personally prophesied by Muhammad, during his own lifetime [al-Bukhari & ibn-Majah]), `Ali ibn Abi-Talib (a Companion, paternal 1st-cousin, son-in-law of Muhammad [making him a legitimate-member of Ahl-il-Bayt ] and 4th-Khalifah) had been selected & nominated, by the senior-leadership of the Companions of Muhammad, to succeed `Uthman, as the Khalifah; he accepted the appointment.

Upon this confirmation of `Ali’s ascension to the helm of the Muslim-World, immediately, Mu`awiyah ibn Abi-Sufyan (a Companion, brother-in-law [making him a legitimate-member of Ahl-il-Bayt] and 6th Khalifah of Islam, known historically as Mu`awiyah I) had petitioned that the murderers of `Uthman be brought to justice. However, `Ali had thought it wiser to suspend the pursuit of the assassins of `Uthman and bring political-stability back to the Islamic-Empire first. Unfortunately, that wasn’t good enough for Mu`awiyah & as a direct-result, when `Ali had commanded all the current governors of the provinces, of the Islamic-Empire, serving under `Uthman, to resign from their positions, he refused to step-down from his current position as the governor of Syria.

Now, of course, this was a major-problem-At this particular time, Syria was the wealthiest province, with the largest army within the Islamic-Empire; so, as we all know, unfortunate, bloody civil-war took place. The most historically famous military confrontation during this period was none other than the Battle of Siffin-The painful, shameful, irony is that even many of the Companions of Muhammad (May Allah be pleased with them all-together), who had all fought together, side-by-side, nearly 40-years prior, had taken sides between `Ali & Mu`awiyah, and were fighting, even killing one another. After the Battle of Siffin, a much-need peace-treaty, as well as territorial-partition, was established, between `Ali & Mu`awiyah: basically, as a result of this treaty & partition, all of the territories north & west of the Arabian-Peninsula went under the jurisdiction of Mu`awiyah & all of the territories south & east of the Levant went under the jurisdiction of `Ali.(For more info. concerning the true members of Ahl-il-Bayt: http://www.garethbryant.wordpress.com/2012/11/04/theperfectsolutiontothewholeahlulbaytissue)

`Ali is betrayed & slain, and Mu`awiyah stands alone-
There is immediate dissent, as a result of `Ali agreeing to the terms of this treaty with Mu`awiyah, and many of his supporters turn-tail on him & defect to the already-established sectarian-group, the Khawarij, who end up plotting, and unfortunately are successful in their assassination-attempt upon him. So, after the assassination of `Ali, naturally, the still-loyal-supporters of `Ali, looked to al-Hasan ibn-`Ali (the eldest maternal grandchild of Muhammad & older-brother of al-Husayn) for leadership & to lay claim to head the Khilafah (the Islamic ruling position & government over the Muslim-World). With the support of his followers, he in fact was nominated/selected and confirmed to be the 5th-Khalifah.

However, al-Hasan (very shortly after becoming the next Khalifah) made a very noble decision: he decided to completely end this political/military stalemate with Mu`awiyah, and in the same year as the death of his father (which was actually `Ali’s 6th & final year as the Khalifah), popularly known as “The Year of Unity”, al-Hasan had abdicated his power & claim as the Khalifah & there was a legitimate transfer of power from al-Hasan to Mu`awiyah, thereby making Mu`awiayh the 6th-Khalifah-Shortly after this abdication, al-Hasan ends up dead, in a very straight-forward, sad, manner. It has long be eluded, assumed, speculated, believed, etc., that Mu`awiyah had a direct-hand in the death of al-Hasan; yet, to date, there is no standing, surviving, legitimate, credible, evidence supporting this (controversial) claim. At any rate, as a result of all that went down, Mu`awiyah was the last-man-standing, in this first of many unfortunate political-upheavals within the 1400 year-old history of the Khilafah.

al-Husayn, Yazid, and Karbala’-
Now, to our main point of discussion: Mu`awiyah by this time is dead, after surviving one of the bloodiest in-house political-periods the Muslim-World had ever known, having been the Khalifah for the last 2-decades of his life; his son, upon his request, Yazid (known historically as Yazid I) becomes nominated/appointed as the Khalifah, which sets a trend, that had remained until the end of the `Uthmani-Period/Ottoman-Empire, of having one’s family member (typically father-to-son) be a succeeding Khalifah, thus replacing a former Khalifah. There were still a great deal of understandable animosity between Bani-Hashim (the sub-tribe of `Ali ibn Abi-Talib) & Bani-Umayyah (the sub-tribe of Mu`awiyah ibn Abi-Sufyan). However, the consolidation of the Umayyi-Period/Umayyad-Dynasty was set, and, honestly, there were no serious military-threat to the authority of the rule of Yazid.

However, al-Husayn, based upon his conviction, as well as tension between the himself & Yazid, fueled by the deaths of both his father & brother, caused him to rebel against Yazid, a decision which cost him his life. Yazid being the new Khalifah & all (the 7th Khalifah generally & the 2nd Umayyi-Khalifah), in my opinion handled the situation between himself & al-Husayn very prematurely, as well as foolishly. Likewise, I also view al-Husayn’s decision to pursue a military confrontation against Yazid, against the advice of many still-surviving Companions, including his own cousin, `Abdullah ibn-`Abbas, one of, if not the single most respected religious figure of his lifetime, after the death of Muhammad, equally as foolish & reckless.

He was out-manned, out-weaponed and out-supported. Even as he had made preparations to meet the forces of Yazid, headed by the then governor of `Iraq, `Ubaydullah ibn-Ziyad, it was very clear that from the start, it would’ve been a losing-battle, even before it had began. However, like his father & brother before him, he stuck to ideals that he had deep-conviction in, and was not fearful of the consequences thereof. He was initially welcomed by some factions in `Iraq to establish resistance beginning in Kufa & make this city his base. However, this plan was immediately scrapped, as a result of `Ubaydullah executing several messengers of al-Husayn, including one of the sons of `Aqil ibn Abi-Talib, one of the brothers of `Ali, Muslim ibn-`Aqil-Muslim was savagely executed at the hands of `Ubaydullah, after even Yazid had ordered that the rebellion stirring up in `Iraq be quelled without bloodshed, particularly, without the bloodshed of either al-Husayn or Muslim. By this point, al-Husayn had officially made up his mind that he would descend upon Kufa and lead his insurrection against Yazid from there.

Unfortunately, what he did not expect was for the people of Kufa to abandon him, when he needed them the most. In fact, one of the most (notoriously) infamous statements of the betrayal of al-Husayn, by the people of Kufa particularly, was the following, “Our hearts are with you; but, our swords are not with you.”. This was a most devastating blow to the morale of what was left of the ever-dwindling forces of al-Husayn, and there was no turning back: he couldn’t get any help, from anyone else in `Iraq, by virtue of them either being too cowardly to support al-Husayn & stand-up to Yazid, too far away to reach him in time, turned-tail on al-Husayn, or were just tired of fighting other Muslims generally & wanted this on-going conflict to come to an immediate end.

For whatever the reasons, for people bailing on al-Husayn last-minute, it happened; also, there was no way that he could’ve went back to Makkah or Madinah, to get support or refuge, because he was just too far away. Alas, his fate was sealed, and his life came to a tragic end. His final-stand, against Yazid, was at Karbala’, this was truly about one of the most unfairly matched military battles ever: the official accounts of the attendees of this battle vary greatly; but, it’s safe to assume that the forces of al-Husayn were outnumbered by at least 1,000-1; not only was al-Husayn slain at this battle, in a most inhuman way, but, also a whole slew of his own family-members, whom were with him, at Karbala’. along with his entire (what was left of that is) army. This was truly a sad event indeed.

Now, how can we learn & heal from this?
One particular suggestion is to not deny that the atrocities of this day actually happened: these events actually happened, to people beloved by Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah. At the same time, we must also keep this event in its proper context: this was purly politically-driven, power & control were the ultimate prize, let’s not be blinded by this fact, let’s not deny this. People wanted power, and others got it; people pursued what they deemed as justice, and ended up causing more harm than good; there were a lot of betrayals, sides-switching, loyalty-changing, and the like. However, as Muslims, we must not embody these political-events as though they are our burdens to bear: one, we weren’t there to prevent or promote any various political-agendas; if we were there we have absolutely no idea whose side we’d actually be on; it’s really easy to say, “Yea…yea…Ahl-ul-Bayt…all-day!!!”, outside of reality. But, in all reality, many of us may have very well been from among those who wanted `Uthman dead, `Ali dead, al-Hasan & al-Huasayn dead, we really don’t have a clue what conditions our hearts would’ve been in or what decisions that we would’ve made as a result of that.

So, in conclusion, before you attend any Muharram festival, any Muharram event, visit any gravesites of any members of Ahl-il-Bayt: one, make sure that your heart is right with Allah, by making sure that you’re not participating in any celebration, commemoration, festival, act of worship, which is completely against what Allah & His Messenger has allowed for us, as Muslims to partake in; two, make sure that you heart is right with Allah, in regards to your criticisms of either `Uthman, `Ali, Mu`awiyah, al-Hasan or al-Husayn or any other Companion of Muhammad involved in this conflict, leading up to the Massacre of Karbala’, because for whatever they may have did wrong, they are still among the Companions of Muhammad, the greatest generation of Humans to ever walk the face of this earth(al-Kaba’ir), those whom Allah is pleased with & they are pleased with him(Noble Qur’an: Chpt.98, V.8), and many of those who were a part of these conflicts were even promised paradise during their own lifetimes by Muhammad, personally(at-Tirmidhi, Abu-Dawud, ibn-Majah), as well as by virtue of the fact that they had given all that the had for Allah’s service by preserving Islam for us to inherit today, just so that we can have something to debate/argue about, concerning who was more right than who, or who was more wrong than who.(al-Bukhari)

Gareth Bryant/2012

Oppression: What the World needs to be constantly reminded of:

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In light of what has recently been happening in Palestine, let’s look at some historical examples of the same type of oppression, that’s just as vile as what we’ve witnessed in the Levant during our very own lifetimes:

1. The Crusades, the Christian invasions of the Muslim-World, during the Middle-Ages (1095-1456 C.E.)

2. The Spanish & Portuguese-Inquisitions (1478-1821 C.E.)

3. Chattel-Enslavement of Africans & Native-Americans, in the Western-Hemisphere (circa. 1500-1900 C.E.)4. The Indian-Removal & Indian-War tactics & policies of the United States, against the Native-Americans of the continental U.S. (circa. 1781-1901 C.E.)5. The Pogroms of Russia (circa. 1881-1919)

6. The Holocaust of Nazi Germany & Fascist Italy, in Europe, as well as North Africa (circa. 1938-1944 C.E.)

7. The occupation of Palestine & the decimation of the Palestinian people (circa. 1947-present).

Now, is it just me, or are these few examples manifestations of some very pathological behavioral-patterns, that have been a recurring theme within our Human-existence; also, isn’t it most ironic that these same atrocities, that have been imposed upon the Jewish people (#’s 5 & 6) are now, at the hands of a Jewish-State government, imposing very similar acts of terror, strife, rape, murder, destruction, robbery, and torture upon the Palestinian people (#7)?

The perfect solution to the whole “Ahl-ul-Bayt” issue:

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Author’s-note:
I hear Muslims all-the-damn-time, debate about this issue, so unnecessarily. So, what I’ve decided to do is the following: do some actual, honest, unbiased, historically true, research as to who the Ahl-ul-Bayt truly are. And, once you embark upon this type of research, you’ll learn so much about the actual Ahl-ul-Bayt, as well as significant aspects of Islam, generally, historically, and, as to why people have been at odds over this one singular issue, for so many centuries.

So, without any further adieu, here’s what I’ve got:
Ahl-ul-Bayt (literally meaning, “The People of the House”, referring to the Prophetic-Household of Muhammad [Peace be upon him]) isn’t just a group of four persons (Fatimah, `Ali, al-Hasan & al-Husayn [May Allah be pleased with them]), and their familial-descendants. Rather, Ahl-al-Bayt, based upon its strongest Islamic understanding, according to as-Salaf (as-Sahabah/the Companions of Muhammad [May Allah be pleased with them altogether] & generations 1 & 2 of at-Tabi`in/the followers of as-Sahabah [May Allah mercify them altogether]), are persons whom were Muslims, during the lifetime of Muhammad (Peace be upon him) & were either related to him through blood or through marriage.

Ahl-al-Bayt are specifically categorized as 3-Tier categories:

1st-Tier-
The actual blood-relatives, both paternal & maternal, of Muhammad, who became Muslims during his own lifetime-Among them are, but not limited to, the following: `Abbas/al-`Abbas ibn-`Abd-il-Muttalib, Hamzah ibn-`Abd-il-Muttalib, Harith/al-Harith ibn `Abd-il-Mutalib (all of them were Paternal-Uncles of Muhammad, the brothers of his father, `Abdullah ibn `Abd-il-Muttalib), `Abdullah ibn-`Abbas, Fadhl ibn-`Abbas, `Ali ibn Abi-Talib, Ja`far ibn Abi-Talib,`Aqil ibn Abi-Talib, `Ubaydah ibn-il-Harith (the first Companion of Muhammad to be killed in battle [the Battle of Badr]), Rabi`ah ibn-il-Harith, Abu-Sufyan ibn-il-Harith (both of whom were among 8-persons whom did not flee during the Battle of Hunayn), Arwah bint-il-Harith, Hind bint Abi-Umayyah & Zaynab bint-Jash (who were both cousins of Muhammad & two of his wives), Waraqah ibn-Nawfal (the Christian-Priest, who died as a Muslim & Companion, on account of him believing in the legitimacy of the Prophethood of Muhammad [a paternal-cousin of Khadijah bint-Khuwaylid, the 1st wife of Muhammad]), etc. This has actually been proven, through a Hadith/Narration of Muhammad in which he was specifically asked, “Who are Ahl-ul-Bayt?”. Muhammad had mentioned that, “Ahl-ul-Bayt are persons whom Zakah (not Saqaqah/Optional-Charity, but the annual Zakah/Obligatory-Charity) is Mahrum for (meaning that it is Islamically-Prohibited for them to be recipients of it). From among them are: `Abbas (ibn `Abd-il-Muttalib) & the descendants of `Abbas, `Ali (ibn Abi-Talib) & the descendants of `Ali, Ja`far (ibn Abi-Talib) & the descendants of Ja`far, and `Aqil (ibn Abi-Talib) & the descendants of `Aqil.”.(Muslim) In addition to this: it’s important to note that all of al-`Asharat-ul-Mubashshirin (the 10-Companions of Muhammad [Peace be upon him] who were promised Paradise in their lifetimes, by name) were all in  fact blood-related to Muhammad via their Common-Ancestor `Abd-Manaf.(ar-Rahiq-ul-Makhtum, Hayat-us-Sahabah)

2nd-Tier-
The Wives of Muhammad, the Mothers of the Believers and his In-Laws (Relatives via Marriage)-We know, for a fact, that these women are among Ahl-il-Bayt, just because, in Surat-il-Ahzab/the Chapter of the Partisans (Chpt.3, V.61 & Chpt.33, V.33), Allah mentions the Wives of Muhammad, as a group, and gives them the honorable title, “Ahl-ul-Bayt”. And, among his In-Laws are, but not limited to, the following: `Abdullah ibn Abi-Quhafah/Abu-Bakr as-Siddiq (father-in-law), `Umar ibn-ul-Khattab (father-in-law), `Uthman ibn-`Affan (son-in-law), `Ali ibn Abi-Talib (son-in-law), Abu-Sufyan ibn-Harb (father-in-law), Hind bint-`Utbah (mother-in-law), Yazid ibn Abi-Sufyan (the brother of Mu`awiyah whom also accepted Islam [brother-in-law]) Hudhayfah ibn-`Utbah (uncle-in-law), Mu`awiyah ibn Abi-Sufyan (brother-in-law), Yazid ibn-Mu`awiyah (nephew-in-law), etc.(ar-Rahiq-ul-Makhtum/The Sealed-Nectar)

3rd-Tier-
The Children & Grand-Children, Step-Children & Adopted-Children of Muhammad-Among the Children of Muhammad are the following: Fatimah, Ruqayyah, Zaynab, Umm-Kulthum, `Abdullah, al-Qasim, Ibrahim-Among his Grand-Children are, but not limited to, the following: al-Hasan ibn-`Ali, al-Husayn ibn-`Ali, Among his Step-Children are, but not limited to, the following: `Umar ibn Abi-Salamah (his mother, Hind bint Abi-Umayyah, had married Muhammad, after his father, `Abdallah ibn-`Abd-il-Asad, had been martyred during the Battle of Uhud), Sakran ibn-is-Sakran ibn`Amr (his mother, Sawda’ bint-Zam`ah had married Muhammad, after her husband, as-Sakran ibn`Amr ibn `Abd-ish-Shams had died when on route to al-Madinah, from the 1st-Hijrah, from al-Makkah, to Abyssinia), etc. The Adoptive-Children of Muhammad were only Zayd ibn-il-Harithah.(ar-Rahiq-ul-Makhtum)

Now, as we can all clearly see, there are at the very least, up to about 50 individuals, who can easily be classified as Ahl-al-Bayt, just from the names of persons whom I’ve already mentioned. Now, with that being said, for someone to say that they “only take knowledge from members of Ahl-il-Bayt”, or that they “prefer to only take from Ahl-il-Bayt”, or that they “trust Ahl-al-Bayt more”, then, they will seriously have to change their perspectives on a lot of individuals, because most of the individuals whom I’ve mentioned most-definitely have the most-rightful claims to being from among Ahl-il-Bayt, yet among certain sectarian-groups, they’re just not acknowledged as such.

And, also, when you observe/study the authentic narrations in which the names of any, some, most of these persons are mentioned in, you find that not only are those narrations are classified as Sahih/Authentic, by the vast majority of well-known/well-trusted Hadith-Scholars, from among the Salaf, but that these same narrations can be & are found within some of the most highly-regarded & respected collections of Prophetic-Statements. And, more importantly, these same persons, most of them, those who could read & write, were in fact persons, trusted & commissioned by Muhammad to document not only the Qur’an itself, but also Prophetic-Statements.

So, with that being said, it’s pretty clear that Ahl-al-Bayt is so much more extensive, than most people give it credit for.

Gareth Bryant/2012

Hurricane-Sandy: The Storm that took us all by surprise:

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For an entire week, New York City was hit with the effects of a hurricane, that knocked it clear off of its feet. Hurricane Sandy, not only rocked NYC, but the entire Eastern-Seaboard of the United States to its very core. Thousands of people without water, heat, or electricity, hundreds who have no place to call home, in the (New York-New Jersey-Connecticut) tri-state area alone. This event, which took place over the last weekend in October, has really brought a brand-new sense of both realty & vulnerability, that none of us could’ve ever anticipated, nor were willing to accept, prior to it.

I mean, even I, myself, who has suffered very little, other than missing a whole week of work, couldn’t have possibly imagined that things would’ve turned out this bad, mainly because the effects of last-year’s Hurricane-Irene was nothing, in comparison to the damage witnessed by this-year’s Hurricane-Sandy-The entire city of New York was at a complete stand-still, the subway-system was completely non-functioning, due to immense underground-flooding, in Lower-Manhattan, South-Brooklyn, and in the Rockaways, Queens, and this has not only been the 1st time in my own lifetime, but the 1st time in the entire century-long history of the New York City subway-system, that it was forced to shut-down completely, as a result of a disaster-Whole blocks & sections of NYC, as well as other parts of the Eastern-Seaboard, look just like war-zones, in war-torn, 3rd-World nations, like Breezy Point, Queens, for example: No exaggeration…it looks as though 20 Hellfire-Missiles descended upon this neighborhood. It’s really sad, how damaging this storm has really become. There are people, whom I even know personally, from NYC itself, who have to re-build their lives, all the way from scratch, literally starting from nothing…from zero.

Now, not to down-play the severity of this natural-disaster, but, there are some serious questions, which must & should be on everyone’s minds, regardless to the severity of how, or if, at all, we were affected by this hurricane:

1. Are we, generally, grateful to Allah, our creator, for our lives & possessions?

2. Are we grateful for surviving the effects of this natural-disaster?

3. Are we of among those whom have been affected, by this natural-disaster, yet, are grateful for things not being worse?

4. Are we empathetic and/or sympathetic towards those who may have either lost life and/or possession?

5. Have we done, or are we going to do anything to offer some type of help to those whom we no who have been affected by this natural-disaster?

If the answer to any of the above questions are no, then, we as individuals, as well as a society at large, have some serious problems-There should not be any one of us whom is not grateful to our creator, for everything that we’ve ever acquired or anything which has been denied us-There should never be any of us whom are not grateful for surviving any mishap or tragedy that befalls us-There should not be anyone among us whom are not reflecting upon the plight of either persons whom we know or don’t know, whom have become victims of this natural-disaster-There should not be any of us whom are not willing & able, or whom have not already stared to, help anyone, whom we know or don’t know love, or despise, in need of any form of assistance.

There are actually several things which this natural-disaster should’ve have taught us all:

1. The recognition & acceptance that Allah, the Creator & Lord of the Universe, is, in all reality, in control of everything & we, as created-things, in all reality, are in control of nothing, we merely have the illusion of control.

2. The recognition & acceptance that just because Allah has chosen to spare us, this year from any form of death or destruction, is absolutely no guarantee that we will continue to be spared, from death or destruction in the next years to come, from becoming a victim to this type & magnitude of a natural-disaster.

3. The dire need to be concerned about, how the “other-half” lives, the condition of the other.

4. The recognition of the severity of what has happened & the need to enact action, in regards to volunteer ourselves for the other, in the path of public-service, during this most tumultuous time, during the aftermath & rebuilding of the regions of America hit by this hurricane.

In closing, this is just a simple advice, primarily to myself & then, to others, that we, as Human beings are obligated by Allah, to be of sincere help to others, in any & every way that we can. So, let us truly do that, starting helping those directly within our midsts, wherever we may be in this world-Just be a person of conscience & positive-action for others.

Thanks for reading,

Gareth Bryant/2012

The Muslims need to take Ownership of our own Political-Destiny:

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Author’s Note:

Good-News, guys!!!

I’ve started the first, of many guest blogposting articles, on my site. The first of what I hope to be many blogposting article is a brother, named, Mohammad Humayun Khan, and he has written something very noteworthy to read-Mohammad Humayun Khan has written about the upcoming presidential-election, that is going to be a very crucial, perhaps the most crucial presidential-election to date.

This is his stance, in his own words:

I have wanted to write this article/note for a while but never had the chance to get around to it. However since it’s only a week away, I thought the elections would be an appropriate context in which to write this.

Just so you know, this piece is not intended to be political-I am not advocating for or endorsing a candidate-The purpose of bringing in the election, and current politics, is to illustrate the broader points I am trying to make.

Throughout this election-season, and up to the recent presidential-debates, I have noticed that most American Muslims (AMs for the remainder of this writing) lean heavily in support towards the incumbent, President Obama. Through conversations with most AMs (including both fervent Obama supporters and the ho-hum ones), I’ve noticed that the reasons, presented, for supporting him can be described as nothing less than narrow & linear. The most often-cited reasons are his rhetoric of inclusion (at least as compared to many in the Republican camp), as well as his anti-war stances (i.e. Iraq). Basically, it seems like most AMs have a goody-goody feeling about President Obama. Reasons, both on a conscious level and subconscious level, may include that he is non-white, his middle name is Hussain, he looks foreign, he goes to the Middle East and gives inspiring speeches, has a less hawkish sounding stance on the Israeli-Palestine issue, or he says Pakistan like any authentic, biryani-loving, tea-drinking, tobacco-chewing Pakistani, from Karachi, would.

If these are, in fact, the only reasons AMs support him, then this is a very disturbing phenomenon and points to broader issues we have in the AM community. The two broadest issues it points to is that of Muslims not taking ownership of this country and Muslims’ linear and unsystematic way of thinking. These two broad issues are the point of emphasis of this note.

The point of this note is not to take sides of who is a better candidate for this country. Obviously, AMs, like any other American group, will and should vote for the candidate whom they think will best represent their interests. For AMs, this includes issues on foreign-policy, related to Muslim-Countries, Islamophobia, civil-liberties, etc.  However, why is it that most Muslims seem to virtually ignore the rest of the issues that affect the United States, as a whole? Issues related to the economy, deficit/debt, healthcare, and education, seem to be neatly tucked under the rug. From my conversations, with the average AM, they seem to be very ignorant about the facts and circumstances around these other challenges we face as Americans.

For example, we know that the deficit/debt problem is probably the number-one problem we have in this country; yet, I have not heard any AM or AM organization, in the US, take this issue very seriously. Look, if you are an American Muslim and looked at these other issues in depth, and have concluded that Obama is in fact a better choice for this country, I have no problem with that! What I do have a problem with are AMs totally ignoring the issues that are not exclusively tied to their sectarian interests. And, I honestly don’t think if all AMs objectively looked at these other issues, all or even most, would conclude that Obama’s policies are worth trumpeting for (i.e. Obamacare, high government spending, failed stimulus, drone-attacks, killing US citizens abroad without evidence, or due-process/trial, invasion of sovereignty of Muslim-Countries).

Of course, many would still favor some of his policies over the challenger, Mitt Romney; but, I don’t think all AMs would agree that his policies are unanimously better than Romney’s.  Sadly, most AMs have not even taken a chance to read Romney’s nor Paul Ryan’s economic-plans; yet, they somehow spew-off the same extreme left-leaning rhetoric, of how it would be hurtful to the economy. If you did read it, and you think it would, that is fine! But most AMs have not, and yet, still ignorantly reject anything that comes from that alternative political-voice.

Shouldn’t we, as American Muslims, who live, work and reap the benefits of this country, start at the very least, weigh-in these broader issues, as heavily as those that only affect our narrow and exclusive interests? Or, at the very least start talking about the other issues?

Sadly, this phenomenon of exclusively concentrating on Muslim-centric issues sort of indicates that AMs are not taking real ownership of this country. Many AMs will say that they do not truly feel part of this country. To that I say, how could you not? Have we not been blessed to be able to come into this country, settle-down & settle-in, live with peace and security, obtain a better life than any of our relatives back home can ever dream of, practice our religion openly, send our kids (both boys and girls) to school, and live in a society that provides us opportunity after opportunity? Many will point to the growing tide of Islamophobia and the damage it has taken on their psyche. No doubt, that Islamophobia is a major concern-My response to that is if AMs genuinely and proactively start finding solutions, to the broader challenges that the country faces as a whole, Islamophobia will naturally start to dissipate.

What’s most-amazing is that there are a few issues that dominate the AM political-discourse, to such an extent, that most AMs who don’t even have a clue or genuine concern about these issues will vote for a candidate solely based on the stance the candidate takes on it.

I hate to bring this up, but the best example of this is the Israeli-Palestine problem. Now, this is one area that actually seems to unify Muslims around the world and AMs should care about this issue as it speaks to one of the most atrocious forms of injustice and divisiveness in Human-History. But most AMs, who are not even knowledgeable about the situation, completely write-off a candidate, just because they feel a candidate may be on the wrong side of the issue.

I mean, honestly, ask yourselves these questions: Do you really lose sleep at night, thinking about what’s going on in Palestine? I mean, really, wouldn’t the impending loss of your job or health-problems of your children, cause more consternation to you than some of these other Muslim-centric issues? If so, then, why should we not vote along the lines which actually has direct-affects on our day-to-day lives? Or, why not at least, start weighing-in on these broader issues proportionally?

I am not saying that we shouldn’t care about the Israeli-Palestine issue; but, we need to be more rational, in the way in which we make our voting-decisions, or at the very least, the way we direct our discourse!

Unfortunately, thinking in such an exclusively centered way also shows AMs’ unsystematic thinking-process which leads to counter-intuitive results. What I mean by this is that if AMs start becoming authentic participants in this society, and start finding solutions to the problems posed to this great nation, it would translate into better outcomes for Muslims around the world-Holding seats in Congress, or beings heads of major corporations/institutions bring a more dramatic change to the status-quo in both the Muslim-World, as well as the Western-World-A more robust US economy (with all else being equal) would, naturally, translate into more wealth for AMs, which can be used towards charitable-causes and more importantly, in the building of institutions and infrastructure of positive change in both the Muslim-World & the Western-World.

As a tangible example-
In the past couple of years, I have had the privilege of attending a few charitable-dinners, aimed at raising money, for greater causes in Pakistan, such as the renovation of hospitals or the development of schools. At one of these events, as I sat and watched my fellow, generous, Pakistani-Americans, pour out money for these worthy-causes, I couldn’t help to wonder how we became so blessed to have the opportunities to give back in the first place. For whatever the reason, Allah has chosen us, to be these most-fortunate individuals. But, I’ve also found myself pondering about the future of AMs (in this case Pakistani AMs) in this country, and the possibility of AMs being enormously wealthy and simultaneously being positive agents of change in our societies. So, I’ve imagined the same fundraising dinner, 10 years from now, and couldn’t contain my excitement on thinking about how we would be able to generate 5,10 or 20 times more funds, for all of these various worthy-causes!  I mean, really think about that!

However, the success of AMs cannot come at the detriment of the United States of America. In other words, the success of AMs is intractability tied to the success of this great country of ours. Therefore, AMs need to become authentic stake-holders of this country, and, in turn, have to find and develop solutions to the problems that the US is currently faces. Moreover, some of the current problems the US faces are ones which Islam, itself, has the ability to solve. I mean, think about the fact that our National Debt sits at over $16 Trillion; how are we to pay interest on this Debt based on its enormous size?!!! Even rudimentary knowledge of Islam reveals the abhorrence of interest-based debt. Thus, we, as AMs, should be at the forefront, spear-heading the solutions to this financial-issue!

To end, I just want to thank everyone who has read this note, with an open mind.  Again, this was never meant to be a political-piece; rather, I am just hoping to bring a change in peoples thinking methodology. Whether you vote Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, other, or even neither, please weigh-in ALL issues, which we all face, as Americans. Start taking ownership of this country, which means not just taking the benefits and hiding, but also sharing in the problems, being active-participants in the solutions, start thinking systematically and reasonably, because we know a community is doomed to fail if it fails to reason.

And please let me know your guys thoughts on this!

Mohammad Humayun Khan/2012