Tag Archives: Life

A Necessary Ramadhan Personal-Reflection In Mercy!!!

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Here’s a story for the Record-Books:

Ramadhan 1435 AH/2014 CE…I went to Masjid Ar-Rahman, on 29th St bet. 5th Ave & Broadway, in Manhattan, NYC-After making the congregational Maghrib/Sunset Prayer, my shoes go missing. I’m honestly mad as Hell: those Sneakers were brand-new & fresh out the box, I barely had them for a whole week, I got them for free…they were a gift. So, you can understand why I was duly pissed all the way off!!! I felt so violated that someone, a Muslim, would dare to steal something during Ramadhan in the Mosque no less. I was just thinking in my mind what I would do, and how would I hurt this Person who took what was mine, if I woulda caught-up to them. It even got to the point when I was yelling, and causing a scene, concerning what was taken from me. Some other Muslim-Brothers attempted to clam me down, but it just wasn’t working: I came in the Mosque with my Sneakers, and I had wanted to leave with my same Sneakers. But, guess what happens next?

Check-out how merciful Allah, the Creator/Lord of the Universe is:

1. He bestowed mercy upon the one who took my footwear, so I would not have acted out of anger against a fellow Muslim, during Ramadhan of all times.

2. He touched the heart of a Muslim brother who volunteered to give me his own shoes.

3. He touched the heart of another Muslim brother who actually drove me to a sneaker-store & bought me a brand-new pair of Sneakers…cash, which ironically were fresher & cheaper than the sneakers that I had gotten taken from me at this Mosque…the Sneakers which were taken from me were the Nike Andre Agassis, in Dead-stock/Brand-New condition. But, then the brother had bought me a pair of Nike ACGs, also in Dead-Stock/Brand-New condition.

4. Most importantly: the person who took my Sneakers actually did me a favor, because along with my shoes being taken, then perhaps a portion of my Sins have also been taken from me, which will make it easier to meet Allah on the Day-of-Standing, because the less Sins that a person has on their back, the better for them, when it comes to being judged by Allah on the Day of Days…So, I still considered myself a Winner.

Gareth Bryant/2016

Apathetic Times

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We live in the days of Malice…
…selfishness make us callous.

All we desire is to pursue our own wants…
…we live by immorality, demonic thoughts.

All day in, all day out…
…we complain & shout.

Forgetting just all too often…
…to be grateful for something.

We look down upon those who have less…
…thinking material things equal success.

It’s like we only concern ourselves with Fashion’s latest trends…
…or how many millions our favorite celebrity makes and spends.

We worry too much about when’s the next time we will eat Steak or Lobster…
…while millions of People on the Planet die because they lack clean Water.

But, in the end, we just chase the Illusion…
…to an dauntingly never ending conclusion.

We perceive that this is all there is to life…
…attaining things while causing others strife.

There will be a day when we will regret not caring for one another…
…we’ll be shamed for treating our fellow Man as less than a brother.

There will be fear, we will shed tears…
…and know that this day is very near.

Gareth Bryant/2015

Muslims Giving Back’s annual participation at the annual AFSP: Out Of the Darkness Overnight promoting Suicide-Awareness & Suicide-Prevention

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Donate to the efforts of Muslims Giving Back below…Support Project: #Walk4life:

http://www.theovernight.donordrive.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=donordrive.participant&participantID=13648

The Suddeness of Life & Death!!!

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I saw a beautiful Bird, just lying on the ground.
At first, I thought it injured, didn’t make a sound.

It wasn’t till I edged closer to it, that realized it dead.
My appreciation of the Bird’s beauty turned to dread.

It was a stark reminder, of the fact that Life is so short.
And, that Allah may take our lives, without any report.

He gives & makes Life so incredibly lovely.
But, then He imposes Death which is ugly.

It’s so painful, to witness the lifelessness of something once so elegant.
It stands as a sign that nothing lasts forever, lest we become arrogant.

The purpose of passing through life into Death, is to meet Allah on a higher plane.
But, if you choose to do what you wanna do, then, your Hereafter will be bane.

Gareth Bryant/2014

Y.O.Y.O.: Y.ou’re O.nly Y.oung O.nce

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Your youth is such a priceless treasure…
…don’t waste it on a worthless pleasure…

…If you so chose, to just let your desires run loose…
…you don’t get 2nd-chances with youth, you’ll lose…

When you dwell within the days of innocence’s bliss…
…don’t be deceived by the Devil, as he blows a kiss…

His lips are a dank, dark, toxin, which spews a harsh odor, from his twisted, doubled, tongue…
…he means to deceive us, when we 1st approach maturity: it’s easiest to misguide the young…

…Youth is the state of Life that our Lord allots…
…when we value & use it wisely, we can do lots…

…However, when we follow the crowd, chasing possession, power, fame…
…we’ll end up looking back, years later, regretting what was done in vain…

…From 10 to 20 & from 20 to 30: livin’ wild, rachet, carefree, dirty…
…from 30 to 40 & from then on you’re washed-up: no longer pretty…

You chose to do you; yet, deceived & oppressed yourself…
…only on your deathbed, do you realize Life’s true wealth.

Gareth Bryant/2014

 

My reflections on the first 3-Decades of my Life:

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#Swagger-Overload

#Swagger-Overload

You know, honestly, I’ve been thinking a lot lately, about the first 3-decades of my temporal, mundane, earthly existence, commonly called Life (May Allah grant me yet another 3-decades & more decades thereafter, Amen)…

…I’ve been thinking about fortunate I’ve been, thanks to the favors of Allah, the Creator/Lord of the Universe…the fact that my mother didn’t abort me, and that my father never abandoned me, makes me ever more grateful, and sentimental, as well as pensive, regarding the fact that these 32-years (according to the Islamic-Calendar)/31-years (according to the Gregorian-Calendar) of my life, upon this magnificent planet, called Earth, achieving what I’ve already achieved, and preparing for what I’ve yet to achieve…

…None of this, at all, is really my exclusive doing; rather, it is more so than anything manifestations of the bounties of Allah, descended upon me, even without me being deserving of them; yet, in spite of me not being worthy to live this long & to do so much, Allah, as a result of His magnanimous wisdom and mercy, has decided that He has great plans for me, and I just hope that His plans for me doesn’t expire, anytime soon…

…Oh, Allah…You are Greatest!!!

In Memorandum of Suicide-Victims: To those whom are gone

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Author’s note:

Allah states, within His Noble-Book, “And, do not kill someone, whom Allah has sanctified, except with justification.”.(Noble Qur’an: Chpt.6, V.151)

When it is mentioned, within this verse, “whom Allah has sanctified”, it also applies to one’s self…Each and every one of us has a life, given to us, by Allah, the Creator/Lord of the Universe, which is sanctified, sacred, full of relevance & purpose. Unfortunately, sadly, we allow ourselves to be negatively-influenced, to such a staggering degree, that we deem it necessary to terminate ourselves, to remove ourselves, via Suicide, from this Mundane-Life. My teacher/mentor, Jeffrey Kearse (AKA Imam Siraj Wahhaj), made a very poignant point, about the reality of Suicide: I heard him once say that, “Suicide is a ‘permanent-solution’, to a ‘temporary-problem’.”. I, myself, no longer want people to choose Suicide as “permanent-solutions” to their “temporary-problems”; rather, on the contrary, I, myself, as well as others who are of liked-mines, deem to establish putting a definitive end to Suicide, any way that we Humanly can. This also includes being sensitive to the sensitivities of others, to not make people feel low, to not berate them, that they no longer feel Human, or loved, or self-worthy of anything, or view Life as something that’s worth living any longer.

The following poem is a summation of all that has been mentioned previously:

We wish You were still with Us!!!

We love and miss you.

We wish that we knew.

We were too oblivious to the fact that you were in pain & needed our help.

Us losing you is like suffering from a beating, scared by a permanent welt.

Why didn’t we ask, “How are you doing?”, we should’ve looked for the signs.

We should’ve known that your laughs & smiles were hiding your many sighs.

You should’ve been told, by us, “I love you”, so much more often.

Now, we can’t say anything, but “good bye”, to you, from a coffin.

Alas, it’s just monumental regret, that you’re gone, today.

We could’ve & should’ve helped you to find another way.

You meant so much to so many.

Our hearts are sad and heavy.

I wish that I had never teased you.

I regret anytime I made you blue.

Should’ve never laughed, when no one wanted to go with you, to the Prom.

Mocking the fact that you never sat with the cool-kids at school was wrong.

You were full of life and love & it is so sad you’re not here.

I wish that you were still among us, that you were still near.

Gareth Bryant/2013

Connecting Sports & Islam:

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Author’s note:

Sports are some f the best forms of entertainment: they teach us how to strategize, organize, execute, implement discipline, teamwork, respect, humility, selflessness, goodwill, confidence, ambition, and all other types of positive-qualities necessary to properly function in this Mundane-Life. And, connecting Sports with Existence, there are so many innumerable parallels, which I plan to discuss with great-detail.

The best way to link Sports to Existence:

Imagine, life being like an actual sport, like Football, or Basketball, for instance, two of the most popular sports around, for obvious reasons. Now, link that to our lives. I know, it’s not necessarily something that people think about doing, but, check this gem out: Allah specifically says, in His noble book that this Mundane-Life is merely a game.(Noble Qur’an: Chpt.29, V.64)

But, for us playing the game of Life, we must decide whether we’re gonna play to win or play to loose. And, we also have to decide which playbook that we’ll use to get us through the game. At this point I’d like to delve deeper into the main point of this topic.

Basically, our existence is sectioned-off into three parts, just like a professional-sport: you have the Pre-Season, Regular-Season, and the Post-Season. I plan to expound upon all of these. Each of our aspects of existence reflects, directly, each phase of a sports-cycle.

Pre-Season/Pre-Puberty-

Anything & everything that occurs during this time, really isn’t counted, tallied, or mentioned on anyone’s record, regardless to how great or small an action is, or whether it’s positive or negative. During this time, it’s really a duration of grooming, to filter-out any negative elements to a person’s game, so that it doesn’t affect ones’ Regular-Season. It is at this time that you undergo significant practice, and acquire skills to take you to the next level.

Regular-Season/Puberty to Death-

Now, here’s when it all counts, this is the time to be serious, because everything, good, bad, or whatever, falls under your personal-stats. You have to play at the pinnacle of your abilities. There’s no room for error & there no excuses. No one can say,  “Well, it was because of this, that, and the 3rd…nah, ain’t nobody tryin’ to hear dat & ain’t nobody got time for dat…you’ve got to produce, or else. Every single thing that we do in the Pre-Season will have a direct affect on our ranking in the Post-Season. And, once the Regular-Season is finished, we can’t go back to improve or correct any errors, which were made, it’ll be too late for all of that. So, we gotta get things right, right now, while, our Regular-Season is still in play.(Noble Qur’an: Chpt.23, V.99 & 100)

The Post-Season/the Hereafter-

Known as Barzakh (mentioned directly in the Qur’an, as basically the realm of existence between ad-Dunya/the Mundane-Life & al-Akhirah/the Hereafter), the Post-Season of our existence will determine whether or not we make it to the championship game & whether we fall into the “winner takes all” category. Like any major sports (Footbal & Basketball most specifically), tere are 3-rounds of the playoffs. But, referring to the Hereafter, the 3-rounds are all played in the graves, where the Angels of Questioning will test you, as to what your Mundane religious-stauts was. They will aske you 3 specific questions: Who is your Lord?…What is your path/religion?…Who is your Prophet?

Now, depending upon how well you answer these 3-questions, respectively, this will determine whether or not you will successfully advance to the next round, if at all. And, ironically, it is your heart, your actions that will answer these questions for you, not necessarily your verbal-speech.(Abu-Dawud) With this being said, let me break down how the Post-Season works: Question #1 = 1st-Round, Question #2 = 2nd-Round, and Question # = 3rd-Round. Meaning, you will not/cannot advnce to the next-round, unless you answer each question correctly, in their exact orders.

Depending upon your answers to these questions, you’ll either advance, or be eliminated. But, unlike sports, within the Mundane, there’s no next-season; no one can ever say, “We’ll get em, next-year”…nah…that’s not happenin’, cause once your Mundane-Life, your Regular-Season of earthly-living is finished, there’s no turning back…We only get one season of Life, and we’ve only got one opportunity to be on the right team. And, Allah describes the qualities of the two most important teams to know about: Hizb-ush-Shaytan/the Team of the Devil, and Hizbullah/the Team of Allah. He describes them so very well, with such incredible clarity.(Noble Qur’an: Chpt.58, V.18-22) We dare not chose the wrong team. But, at the same time, our Free-Will is just like being a Free-Agent, we get to freely choose which team we wanna be on, without interference.

Then, we get to the final game, the championship game…just imagine that the NBA Finals champ game/NFL Super Bowl & the All-Star Game/NFL Pro Bowl were all the exact same event…Well, that kinda how the Day of Standing is gonna play out: Muhammad (Peace be upon him) has informed us of 7-types of persons, whom will be given the immense honor of being covered with the Shade of the Throne of Allah, from the the Sun, on the day where will be no shade from, it & that it will be a mile (or in other narrations, a foot above our heads) away, causing people to sweat, to the extent of sweating up to one’s ankles, or waists, or necks, or even drowning in one’s own sweat.(Bulugh-ul-Maram)

These 7-people are the all-stars & pro bowlers of Judgement-Day: they will be the best & brightest of the day, with Allah as their protector and ally, and they will have a most easy time, on this day, unlike some, or most. These are the persons whom we all must/should aspire to be, at all-times. So, all in all, knowing sporting-dynamics & relating them to Islam is very-important, so that we can better use a universal modality, which is universally beneficial, and be able to apply it to our spiritual-lives, in the hopes that it can help us achieve greater insight into the realities of the Mundane-Life, Life-after-Death, and what the Hereafter actually has in store for each/all of us.

Gareth Bryant/2013

Water: An Islamic-Treasure!!!

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All living things, essentially, rely on water for basic-existence on Earth, making it such a crucial part of our existence; yet, sadly, we take it for granted far too often & even once is one time too many. We, often times, are so quick to purposely ignore & forget the teaching of Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him), when he directed us to be conservative with the water and not wasteful. Also, the scarcity of water on this planet is a reality the affects all of us. Let us explore your role as a Muslim on conserving water.

First let’s present some basic statistics: 75% of our planet is water. We are technically a blue planet. 97% of all the water is sea water which cannot be used for cleaning, drinking, farming, irrigation, manufacturing, etc.  Of the 3% remaining freshwater 79% of it is frozen as icecaps, and 20% is groundwater. That leaves 0.0003% of the entire world water supply in rivers, lakes, etc. that can be claimed as clean, usable, and easily accessible water.

In other words, over 1 billion people do not have access to clean water. It is our duty as Muslims and human beings to protect the planet for our children and future generations. The majority of the 1 billion who suffer from not having access to clean water are in Muslim countries. Ensuring that our brothers and sisters in all parts of the world have easy access to safe drinking water is our responsibility as Muslims. The Prophet (PBUH) gave us a prime example of this by saying: “The Muslim Ummah is like one body. If the eye is in pain then the whole body is in pain and if the head is in pain then the whole body is in pain.”

How can we function if the majority of our Ummah is sick or dying?

The Prophet (PBUH) was reported to have told one of his wives, Ai’shah (May Allah be pleased with her): “The day you give water to people out of charity, and especially if it is the time when people are in dire need of water, or during the dry season when people are greatly suffering from scarcity of water, you will have the reward of one who sets a slave-girl free.”

There are several programs which help build wells in impoverished nations. These wells often last multiple decades, thus providing an entire generation within the area with clean water.

This reminds me of one of my favorite hadiths; Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet said, “A man felt very thirsty. While he was on the way, there he came across a well. He went down the well, quenched his thirst and came out. Meanwhile he saw a dog panting and licking mud because of excessive thirst. He said to himself, ‘this dog is suffering from thirst as I did.’ So, he went down the well again, filled his shoe with water, held it with his mouth and watered the dog. Allah appreciated him for that deed and forgave him.” The Companions said, “O Allah’s Messenger! Is there a reward for us in serving the animals?” He replied: “There is a reward for serving any living being.” (Bukhari)

This was about an animal; imagine 1.1 billion people if not more?

That is the severity of it. But our local masjids and congregation tend to believe wudu (ritual cleaning) is related to how much water we use. Abdullah ibn Amr ibn Al-`Aas (RA) reported that the Prophet passed one day by Sa`d ibn Abi Waqas (RA) while he was performing wudu’ (ritual cleaning of body parts in preparation for prayer). The prophet asked Sa`d, “Why is this wastage?” Sa`d replied “Is there wastage in wudu also?” The Prophet said, “Yes, even if you are at a flowing river.” (Ahmad and authenticated Ahmad Shakir)

So what is acceptable use of water for Wudu? Sayyidinah Safinah (RA) narrated that the Prophet (PBUH) performed ablution with a mu’dd of water and the purifying bath with a sa’ of water.Jami’i at Tirmidhi

These are the teachings of the Prophet (PBUH), who was helping us avoid a disaster before it was even considered. Our brothers and sisters in Indonesia, recently lost all of their freshwater reserves, and are left drinking ditch water. The threat is real so reflect on the guidance of the Prophet in this area as it proves ever helpful and relevant.

The Power of Generosity!!!

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Author’s note:

This article has been written by my good-brother, my good-friend, Jonathan Markis, who has invested a lot of his own time & resources, for a cause & movement that I take very seriously, as I, myself, have invested a lot personally to this same exact cause. I am very happy that he has thus chosen to write an article, for my blog, to demonstrate through the power of words, how important what he’s advocating truly is.

I’d like to share with you a little bit I’ve learned about the importance of helping others. Sometimes it takes a tragedy to bring us to a point in our lives to do things that others may benefit from InshAllah. In this case, I am referring to the importance of donating blood. Did you know that by one person donating, that person can save three lives?

I want to share now 9 reasons why you should donate, if you don’t already:

1. Blood transfusions saves life.

2.There’s no substitute for human blood.

3. Every three seconds, someone needs a blood transfusion.

4. About 60% of the population are eligible to donate blood, yet less than 5% do.

5. You’ll make your community a safer place.

6. Fulfills your desire to “Give back” to the community.

7. You’ll receive a mini physical (blood pressure, temperature, iron level).

8. You’ll learn your blood type.

9. Its safe, simple, and it saves lives.

I hope that these 9 reasons are motivating enough for each and everyone of you to donate, or at least, at the minimum, encourage others to donate. I would like to give some Islamic evidence on the importance of donating blood but the point of giving and receiving InshAllah. The Quran says that to save all humanity (Quran 5:32) And Allah says “Oh no soul does Allah place a burden greater than it can bear (Al-Baqarah, 286), the principal of fiqh states “Necessity makes prohibition lawful” (See Nujaym, Al-Ashbah wa Al-Naza’ir, P. 85)

The messenger of Allah (pbuh) advised the people of Urayna to consume the urine and milk of the camels due to them being affected by the climate of Madina (see Sahih Al-Bakhari, No.23)
I would like to share my story now for the reason I got involved in organizing blood drives I like to call Miracle Comeback. On August 3rd 2009, my two sons Elijah (16 years at the time) and Rasheed (13 years old at the time) were riding their bicycles late at night. This night would change many lives forever. My son Elijah at the intersection of South 16th street and Greenfield avenue decided to take his chances and ride his bicycle thru a changing red light and made it safe to the other side, Rasheed wasn’t so lucky. Rasheed stayed back with his friend Justin, but decided to ride thru the standing red light and didn’t make it to the other side. Rasheed was hit and run over by another Suv. The police report stated my son was in “fatal” accident. I immediately got on the hospital computer and asked my family and Facebook friends to make Dua for my son. Here is my exact email that I sent ..
“Salam, at around 11p.m. on 8-3-09 my son Rasheed who be 13 years old in 2 weeks InshAllah was hit by a truck while on his bicycle and is in serious condition with internal bleeding in his stomach, Sorry just got back from speaking with the surgeons and he is in very serious conditions. One of his kidneys were removed and half his liver from the impact. I am asking all to pray for my son that he survives and  if he does not that he goes to Jennah/Heaven, InshAllah God willing, thanks much”.

Once I got to see my son I was told that he had a very small chance to survive and I was also told, that if he does survive, he wont be the same. My son in total, lost; 1 kidney, ½ his liver, broke his liver, crushed 1 lung and lost 46 pints of blood in surgery. Saying this , my sons Dua’s were answered and my son went home on August 25th,2009 and started school only one week late on September 9th,2009. Today my son is living a totally normal life without any side effects Alhumdulilah. My sons Miracle of life inspired me to have a website created called www.miraclecomeback.com.

On my website you can see the many past updates to the new ones. I’ve organized 8 blood drives so far and will be working on my 9th one soon called ‘Miracle Comeback 9’ and this one will include my son Rasheed. It will be called ‘Giving Back’ as he for the first time will donate InshAllah. Anyone interested in organizing any Blood drives in your city and state? Please contact me at bilalmarkis@yahoo.com if interested. I would post this on my site. Don’t wait till something happens to you or someone you know before you decide its important. JazakAllah, your brother Jonathan Markis.

Jonathan Markis/2013