Tag Archives: Qur’an

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

Imaginative-Reasoning:

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Imagine a Chessboard, without pieces…
…or, a Dissertation, without a Thesis.

What if the Homeo had no stasis…
…the World’s weather no phases?

Try to picture the Arctic-Circle, with no Ice-Caps…
…and, all of the Animals extinct, not coming back.

Let’s think of a Planet without compliance…
…filled with hypocrisy, apathy and violence.

Be warned, these are realities yet to come…
…because, we forfeited Humanity being one.

1-God, 1-Destiny, 1-Purpose, 1-Plan…
…securing the welfare of our fellow man.

Just picture a cold Heart, with no Chambers…
…or, living our entire lives with just strangers.

Try to see in ya mind, Hustlers, without a grind…
…or, the 1-Eyed King deceiving & ruling the blind.

Let’s pretend that Poverty is at an end…
…that People selflessly give and spend.

Wouldn’t it be beautiful that a Woman didn’t have to sell her body, in order to seek a Man’s love…
…or, that a Man honor a Woman in marriage, instead of wrapping her round his hand, like a glove?

What if all People looked beyond the skin-color of another…
…and, that we only saw others as our sisters & our brothers?

How great would it be, if we were all were free…
…all People safe from the ugly claws of tyranny?

If only every Man were granted his due from his labor, his daily-bread…
…and, that he not resort to robbing, or shooting someone, in the head.

What if Muhammad had never ventured into the Cave of Hira’…
…to receive Revelation which made living life so much clearer?

What if the Children of Israel never attempted to kill Jesus…
…what if he stayed long enough for his miracles to reach us?

What if David didn’t have the courage to defeat Goliath…
…or, the Army of Saul hadn’t have received the triumph?

What if Moses never went atop Mount-Sinai & saw the Burning-Bush…
…or, if the one who took him from water never bothered to take a look?

Imagine Abraham never leaving Ishmael in the Arabian-Desert…
…would they’ve built the Ka`bah or learn joy after suffering hurt?

Think if Noah was never saved from the Great-Flood, by building the Ark…
…would Humanity have survived, or, would we have still been in the dark?

Think about how it would be, had Adam & Eve had never eaten from that Tree…
…would we know whether we’d spend our entire existence in Paradise with glee?

It would be wonderful, to witness the change that so many fought & died for…
…I guess that’s just wishful-thinking, unless we’re willing to fight & die for more.

Gareth Bryant/2014

Gareth Bryant vs. Cyrus McGoldrick:

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Author’s-Note:
Every month I’ll be conducting a Poetic-Challenge, challenging various poets, whom I personally know/interact with, just for the sake of sharpening/improving my own poetry, general-goodwill, respect for my fellow “Brethren of the Paper & Pen”, and to just see who from among us has the best “Poetry-Skillz”…Every month, I’ll be picking a brand-new Poetic-Challenger, via Facebook/Twitter, to compete with. This month, it’s Cyrus McGoldrick. Next month, it could very well be anyone of you. So, just be prepared, with some fresh-rhymes.

Topic: Yearning for something More

Gareth Bryant

Gareth Bryant

The Warmth We yearn from one another:

When the blistering Winter descends…
…We can no longer afford to pretend.

We get cold so quickly, it really hurts…
…We pursue warmth which takes work.

We all want the heat of Love, to warm our heart…
…Each of us wants a companion who’ll never part.

But, Life is sometimes a cruel Snow-Storm, covering all in its path, with the crispest & iciest harshness…
…However, we must make a Summer out of every Winter, protecting our hearts from a freezing-tempest.

We mustn’t succumb to the hypothermia of Loneliness…
…We all need someone to keep us from cold distress.

Being close, to the one who you love, is one of the greatest feelings of all…
…So, think about the one who keeps you warm during the heavy Snow-Fall.

Gareth Bryant/2014

Cyrus McGoldrick

Cyrus McGoldrick

ROARS OF THE RESTLESS:
Patterns of romances
low lights
private dances
signature strike timing
slow trances
Recital
thrown lances
light bites
the plight of the banished
without a standard
no understanding
a clan reprimanded
Plans
paths that never intersect
cattle gaining interest
calves that pay the rent
rattlesnakes in nets
Sweat
treasure in bared chests
reflections of red flares
messy confections
bred best
sleds sent
some bent and some went
Guns kept for your protection
legs stretched
rented apartments and tents
learned little and read best
roars of the restless
Wrapped in heavenly blessings
missing senses and tests
my second death
ascension that dents impressions
no bodies left

Cyrus McGoldrick/2014

Breast-Cancer Awareness: It’s not just a Women’s-Issue…It’s our Issue!!!

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With the permission of Allah, Muslims Giving Back will be participating, as volunteers, advocates, walkers, at this year’s annual Breast-Cancer Walk in Central Park in New York City.

These are the reasons why Gareth Bryant, National-Spokesperson, Muslims Giving Back, is participating:

1. For every Mother, who had Breast-Cancer, who never had a Son by her side.

2. For every Daughter, who had Breast-Cancer, who never had a Father by her side.

3. For every Sister, who had Breast-Cancer, who never had a Brother by her side.

4. For every Wife, who had Breast-Cancer, who never had a Husband by her side.

There’s one particular fact that people, whom don’t know, have to recognize/accept:

1. Breast-Cancer is like the Female version of Prostate-Cancer for Men: every Woman, within her respective lifetime, if she lives long enough, is going to have to come to terms with the fact that this will in fact impact her life, in some way…it’s one of the leading-causes of deaths among Women, particularly within the United States.

2. Statistically, although not nearly as common, Men have also been documented to have acquired Breast-Cancer; so, none of us, as Men, should ever dare think that this disease is Gyno-Centric, that it only affects Women.
Allah says, “Men are Responsible for (supporting) Women.”. (Noble Qur’an: Chpt.4, V.34)

These (4-types of) Women, that I’ve mentioned previously, are the most-important Women in any Man’s life, and these Women do so much, for us, yet we do very little/if nothing for them…we need to change that & it needs to start by supporting them via supporting Breast-Cancer awareness…Any/all Men, whom are able to make it to this walk, in New York City, must go…and, if you are going, think of your own, personal reasons why you’re participating in the Breast-Cancer Walk, in support of awareness concerning one of the most relevant health-crises effecting the most-important Women in our lives…no exceptions!!!

(Trust me when I tell you) Muhammad (Peace be upon him), the greatest, created-thing that Allah, the Creator/Lord of the Universe ever created, the greatest person whom was ever given Revelation, the greatest Prophet, he greatest Messenger, the greatest, Son, Father, Brother, Husband, that any Woman could ever want or ask for: if he were alive, today, among us, he would most-definitely attend a walk such as a Breast-Cancer Walk, because that was both his (Prophetic & personal) nature, that’s why Allah sent hm, with the Qur’an & Sunnah/Prophetic-Tradition, to show us how to work, strive, fight, help make the existence/lives of others better, via Community-Service, through service of one’s Fellow-Man.

For more info. about how to support the noble-efforts of Muslims Giving Back, in our efforts to spread Breast-Cancer Awareness, please, visit us online:

http://www.muslimsgivingback.org/

The Necessity to adhere to both the Qur’an & the Sunnah/Hadith jointly and indivisibly:

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It truly saddens me, so greatly, that there are Muslims whom dare say that it is not necessary to adhere to the Sunnah/Prophetic-Tradition of Muhammad (Peace be upon him) via Hadith/Ahadith (Prophetic-Statements, actions, allowances, prohibitions, etc. which have been recorded, codified, etc.), using the same “following the Qur’an is just enough” argument. Well, I’d really love to know what you’re actually able to implement, or achieve, Islamically, without the usage of the Sunnah/Hadith, because, the last time that I’ve check, there’s the necessity to adhere to the Sunnah/Hadith, in every single affair of ours, as Muslims, and I can definitely prove it.

Let’s get this convo rockin’ wit some “Fun-Facts”:

1. The word Hadith (pl. Ahadith), according to the Arabic-Language*, means the following:

a. Statement

b. Story

c. Relation

d. Narration

e. Declaration

f. Proclamation

g. Report

h. Message

*Lisan-il-`Arab/The Language of the Arab: Lexicon of the Arabic-Language

2. The Qur’an, itself, the entire canon of revelation, known as “The Book of Allah” is a Hadith…Allah states, within Surat-il-Kahf/the Chapter of the Cave, “Will you, yourself, grieve over their statements/lies, just because they do not believe in this Hadith?”(Chpt.18, V.6), also within Surat-id-Duha/the Chapter of the Morning, “And, proclaim the Favor of your Lord.”(Chpt.93, V.11)…In both of these verses, respectively, the word “Hadith” is directly used, as well as the verbal conjugative derivative of the verb which the word “Hadith” comes from is also used…the verb that the word “Hadith” comes from is “Haddatha”*, which means “To tell”.

*Lisan-ul-`Arab

3. Both the Qur’an & Hadith/Ahadith were recorded/preserved during the lifetime of Muhammad (Peace be upon him).(al-Bukhari, al-Hakim, Fadha’il-ul-Qur’an, ibn-Hisham, al-Mustadrak) The Companions/Followers of Muhammad (Peace be upon him [May Allah be pleased with them all-together]) whom were able to both read & write, were commissioned, personally, by Muhammad, to document both the Verses of the Primary-Revelation/the Qur’an, as well as the Existential-Revelation/Sunnah, not to be included in the Mushaf/Textual-Document of the Qur’an itself…these persons are known as the following individuals:

a. al-Khulafa’-ur-Rashidun (the 1st Khulafa’/Islamic-Rulers [of the Muslims] after the death of Muhammad [Peace be upon him]):

`Abdullah ibn Abi-Quhafah [Abu-Bakr], `Umar ibn-ul-Khattab, `Uthman ibn-`Affan, `Ali ibn Abi-Talib.

b. al-`Asharat-ul-Mubashshirun (the 10-Companions promised Paradise (by name) during the lifetime of Muhammad [Peace be upon him]):

`Abdullah ibn Abi-Quhafah (Abu-Bakr), `Umar ibn-ul-Khattab, `Uthman ibn-`Affan, `Ali ibn Abi-Talib, `Abd-ur-Rahman ibn-`Awf, Talhah ibn-`Ubaydillah, Sa`d ibn Abi-Waqqas, Sa`id ibn-Zayd, az-Zubayr ibn-al-`Awwam, Abu-`Ubaydah ibn-il-Jarrah.

c. Nisa’-un-Nabi/the Wives of the Prophet:

Khadijah bint-Khuwaylid, Hafsah bint-`Umar (ibn-il-Khattab), `Ai’shah bint Abi-Bakr, etc.

d. Ahl-ul-Bayt/Members of the Prophetic-Household:

`Abdullah ibn-al-`Abbas (ibn-`Abbas),  Khadijah bint-Khuwaylid, Hafsah bint-`Umar (ibn-il-Khattab), `Ai’shah bint Abi-Bakr (ibn Abi-Quahfah), `Abdullah ibn Abi-Quhafah (Abu-Bakr), `Umar ibn-ul-Khattab, `Uthman ibn-`Affan, `Ali ibn Abi-Talib, Sa`d ibn Abi-Waqqas, etc.

e. Other various Companions:

Zayd ibn-Thabit (the Official-Scribe of Muhammad), Ubay ibn-Ka`b, Abdullah, ibn-Mas`ud, etc.

f. There’s even an official-account, by Qatadah (May Allah be pleased with him), whom, personally, asked Anas ibn-Malik whom were the documenters of the Qur’an, during the lifetime of Muhammad & Malik replied, “There were 4 and they were all from among al-Ansar (the 2nd-wave of early followers of Muhammad who helped al-Muhajirin spread Islam throughout the rest of the Arabian-Peninsula, outside of al-Hijaz [the traditional-homeland of the Tribe of Muhammad al-Quraysh, consisting of modern-day Jiddah, Ta’if, al-Makkah, al-Madinah, basically, the entire western-coast of the Arabian-Peninsula]): Ubay ibn-Ka`b, Mu`adh ibn-Jabal, Zayd ibn-Thabit and Abu-Zayd.(al-Bukhari)  al-Muhajirun/the Immigrants, were the 1st-wave of early followers of Muhammad, whom were forced to flee from left al-Makkah, because of strict persecution, by the Pagan-Arabs during the lifetime of Muhammad. al-Ansar gave al-Muhajirin asylum, in their city, (originally) known as Yathrib (later renamed al-Madinah [lit. “The-City”]).(ar-Rahiq-ul-Makhtum/the Sealed-Nectar: Biography of Muhammad)

Now, since we’ve clarified, quite thoroughly, I may add, concerning the legitimacy of the Sunnah/Hadith, then, one has to ask one’s self:

1. How can I be a Muslim, a Muslim whom places his/her trust in the Qur’an, while the Qur’an recorded/preserved, in Humanized written, documented, form, yet I reject the Sunnah/Hadith, and ironically, both the Qur’an & Sunnah were recorded/preserved literarily, literally, by the same exact persons?!!!

2. If I trust those whom Muhammad (Peace be upon him) had trusted, to document/preserve the Qur’an, then, why would/should/do I have any such issue with trusting these same exact individuals, when it comes to the documentation/preservation of the Sunnah/Hadith?!!!

Yeah…I know…really good questions to ask one’s self, right…#ThinkAboutIt

I, personally, would really love to have some actual dialogue with these kinds of people, whom claim to be Muslims, and yet completely doubt/reject the entire validity of the Sunnah/Hadith.

Gareth Bryant/2013

Shari`ah & Women’s Rights in Islam: Who’s entitled to interpret it?

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In the past decade, we’ve seen a huge debate around the concept of “Sharia: in America “, what it means, as well as what it’s implications are on Americans as well as to women, on a more global scale.

I’ve known Carlin for a while and we’ve started to have some discussions on the matter. Discussions that I hope might lead to more posts like this over time – for as we can open dialogues, we begin to break down the walls that separate us.

So on to why I’m writing today:

Yesterday, Deutsche Welle (The German News Service) published an article that covered the issue of Women’s rights, specifically the holdup around  legalizing a Women’s Rights law in Afghanistan.

(http://www.dw.de/afghan-widows-would-rather-die/a-16562576)

So what’s the holdup you ask? In a country now redefined after almost 40 years of continuous war – first at the hands of the Russians, Civil war, Warlord fighting and US reparations post- 9/11 – you’re dealing with more uncertainty than certainty. Governments often last less than the years it takes for a child to grow into adolescence.  The family unit is the only sacrosanct thing and anything that could lead to divisiveness in the family is viewed as a threat by a lot of the old guard – especially Mullahs and  Leaders that are averse to change.

Then…there’s the whole Sharia issue: So what is it?

Simply put “Sharia” is a code of conduct that includes the practice of law (“Fiqh”) and is complimented more often than not by tribal law (“Wali”). Now, here’s where it becomes fuzzy for a lot of folks who’ve never dealt with this before. In most countries where you see the subversion of human rights or women by Mullahs – you’re dealing with Wali – a code of conduct and tribal law that often precedes Islam and Sharia by centuries.

So what does this do? It creates an environment where fear of change and fear of the loss of control by a few is used to limit the advancement of women. The use of Wali in this respect is rampant in countries that have been war-ravaged or where technology and change are viewed as potential harbingers of oppression by foreign forces.

What has this led to? Let me use an analogy – Countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan and parts of North African nations are dealing with a rise of fundamentalism tied to Wali that uses Sharia as a guise to keep Status Quo. Status Quo here means that if a Mullah or group of Mullahs or Elders or Local Civic leaders has grabbed control – they’re reluctant to share or give it away. Especially when sharing has unknown consequences and everyone is looking for their nickel out of any arrangement.

There’s also the big misunderstanding outside the “Muslim World” of what the Muslim World is. There is no Muslim World. The concept is a figment of policymakers imaginations – and a term that allows diverse groups of varying people to at least be comprehended.  Muslims in Afghanistan alone are divided by multiple ethnic groups and a myriad of languages and dialects. Often the Wali of one village can be at odds at the Wali of a neighboring Village – differing from National policy, National Law and how Sharia is interpreted on a local, state and National level.

So ultimately when Afghani (MP) (Member of Parliament) Masooda Karochi says “If a lunatic protests that this law is against Sharia you can imagine the consequences it can have.  .. these proponents make it impossible to have a constructive discussion.”

What she’s speaking to is the core issue that Muslim Nations will have to address, as they begin the long process of getting past Colonialism and being buffer states for foreign interests. It’s Fear. Fear of change. Fear of disrupting the Family unit (Under current mandates – victims of domestic violence can escape to shelters – often preventing further assault of death)..fear of political-uncertainty and fear of what an empowered Female populace might lead to (It wasn’t so long ago that in the US – we thought unrestrained female autonomy would lead to anarchy…or dancing).

So what to do?  Starting to understand that Sharia is a blanket moniker for a complicated system of National, Regional and Local laws that are coupled with the interpretation of law (Fiqh) and tribal law (Wali) is the beginning.

I worked with a few NATO campaigns in the past that used video to try and show Afghanis that US troops and Coalition forces were there to help and how. Engagement is key, if we’re to break the cycle of Fear that has pervaded these nations. Social Media and outreach allows us to interact to get involved with Women’s rights; Child Health and Domestic Abuse.

Lastly, we need to educate ourselves on the issues and find ways to engage. With over $1 Billion in aid going to many of these nations, it makes good sense for us to engage our lawmakers and give them our own mandate – A mandate to put Cultural Education of our policymakers on the agenda and earmarks, where our Foreign Aid spend is tied back to initiatives that will help raise the voices of our sisters – beyond the issues of domestic violence, towards more equality and participation in the decision-making of their own lives.

 Oz Sultan/2013

The Perils of MSA-Life, anywhere/everywhere:

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Author’s note:

This is an anonymous-advice, that someone, whom is a Muslim, would like to give, to Muslims generally, and also, to Muslims involved in MSA (Muslim Students Association) work, whether you’re in High School, or at the College level. I think that this advice is very commendable, and even anonymously, I’m sure that it took a lot for this person to write this, which displays an immense amount of courage, on her part.

This is their story:

“The only reason I’m writing this is because today I was being “haram” and thinking about a guy back in middle school. He read books all the time and knew things that our teachers didn’t expect anyone to know, let alone a Black male who hung out with the wrong crew. To be honest, I really liked him, and I wasn’t even in love with his clothes or his personality; it was his brain.

Something that struck me about him was that he never did his homework, yet on tests he’d score higher than any of us, and he never bragged about it. I remember hearing people ask him how he knew these things, and I remembering asking him that myself. I never realized what I was doing to him; I never would’ve asked a non-Black guy because that’s something I would’ve just expected; but now I realize how wrong it was to question him just because I expected him to be like the others who looked like him. I never really knew that what I was doing was wrong, and the proof is that I liked him all throughout middle school.

When I thought about him earlier today and started thinking why I liked him so much, I saw a reflection of him in me. I wear tight jeans, and my hijab is a mess. My shirts are never long enough and my relationship with my family isn’t even Islamic. Although I can go on and on about my negatives, I can say one good thing about myself without lying, I read; sometimes I act stupid or do things just because I’m expected to, and I know that people will question me if I say things I’m “not supposed” to know, similar to that guy. I started reflecting back on every time I interacted with a Muslim who seemed to be more religious then me (they probably were, I’m just saying “seemed” because only Allah knows what’s truly in our hearts). Every time I though about these interactions, I felt like I was being treated like that guy, and I really was. And when I thought about it I got really angry. It hurts to know that your brothers and sisters can expect so little from you; I was really angry because know one even knew how much or how little I read at home, and they simply expected so little from me. Even though  I’m still really angry at them, I’m just a little less angry because I remember asking that guy why he knew so much and I remember expecting so little from him. I guess that’s how some people think of a girl who doesn’t look as Muslim as them. The same way it was unintentional for me, I guess it was unintentional for those people, and this is why I am writing this. The words you say to someone can really hurt them. Please, don’t question how someone knows something and don’t give a fake smile and tell them that you’re so proud that they  are taking notes at an Islamic event – an event that they made it to earlier than you probably even left your house.

I remember back in Arabic school (something that I quit because I had to much “work” to do), the teacher was explaining to us how it’s important to treat people of all religions nicely. I had to share the story of how the Prophet got up when men passed him with a dead Jewish body. The people around him asked him why he got up for this man if he was a Jewish man, and the Prophet simply responded, “Is he not human”. I remember the look of surprise and the smile that she gave me, and at the moment I smiled, yo. I couldn’t believe this woman was complimenting me, and when she asked me how I knew that, I proudly replied I read. Now, I look back, and I’m angry that she would ask me something like that. If it was one of the other girls, whose parents were Arab, she would only be happy, not surprised,  to hear it from them. And, yeah, I still realize that she could’ve only said that because she wanted to know how she can get her teenage sons to read , but that still hurt.

Then, a few months ago, I went to one of the first Islamic events I went to in a few months. I was mad hype, it was a brother I listened to a lot, I loved when he made videos criticizing things I did as a young Muslim. Anyway, I’m there about 20 minutes early or whatever, and this girl that I go with tells me that I should pray. I casually try to shrug it off, and then I tell her that prayer isn’t important right now. She gave me this huge speech about how it’s so important to pray, and I know I needed that, but it just wasn’t the time- and also , I don’t just accept advice from anyone. I know I should fix that, but also if you’re giving advice to someone, make sure they like you enough to be willing to receive it (not that I didn’t like her, she’s really nice, but her speeches are just tooooo long). Anyway, the reason I didn’t want to pray was because I knew there was some pee on my pants. I can’t blame her, I know she didn‘t know, but please try to consider why a person might be doing something before assuming something and giving them a whole lecture.

Anyway, I’m at this lecture, and another girl, a board member of our MSA, comes up to me and tells me that she’s so happy I’m here. I know that you probably think I’m overreacting for getting angry, but I still feel like I deserve to feel angry. This girl greeted the people around me with “Salams!” and when she saw me, sure she said Salam! in that stupid voice, but she also told me that she was so proud that I had my notebook. Me, being the retard I am, smiled and felt so happy to hear someone complimenting me; but now when I think back, the first girl that she said Salam to had a paper in her hand also, and she didn’t say anything about that, but when she saw me, it was just unexpected. She probably didn’t mean it the way she said it, but I still have a hard time forgiving her. If there’s a group of people, don’t make one seem less than the rest, not even religiously speaking but just in general. I’m not saying that everyone should just say Salam with the same expression to every person, but we need to remember that it’s not cool to talk down to someone. I don’t know why it’s so hard to forgive her, I really don’t, but maybe its because that comment was given at a time when my Islam was already shaky.

 

The only reason I wrote this is because I feel like this is something we do unintentionally, but the feelings that we hurt may stay hurt one, two, five years later. Please, if your giving dawah don’t question people’s intelligence. I know that I barely know anything, but you don’t need to tell me that and treat others different while in front of me, and don’t think you know why someone does someone does something because you really don’t.

 

Also, this is to every MSA board member anywhere, if you don’t ask people what they want to here and if you aren’t willing to take suggestions, the MSA isn’t what its supposed to be. If someone doesn’t even pray, why not take to them individually instead of having meetings about the Sahaba or about a Prophet (I’m not saying that’s not important. I’m just saying that you guys don’t even know what we’re going through and instead of trying to find out, you tell us things that we’d be happy to learn If our Islam was stronger). I think our MSA’s focus way too much about facts, than on trying to understand things and apply them to our daily lives. Also, one more thing, please give us the chance to ask questions. Cut the meetings short a little, hear what we have to say. And try to instill family. I don’t even smile at the board members who are sisters because we all don’t try hard enough to make it a big family. Let’s do that.”

Gareth Bryant/2013

The Realities of Being a Hifzh-Kid:

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Roman Patwary

Author’s note:

I have chosen to ask some people, whom I know personally, to write about their thoughts, views on how it really is to be a Hafizh (a Memorizer of the Qur’an). I deem it necessary to relate how it truly is: many/most of us, Muslims, whom have not been able to commit Hizh (memorization the entire Qur’an to memory), for whatever reason (becoming a Muslim late in life, being preoccupied with the realities of mundane-living, tied-down by school/work, sheer laziness, etc.), really have know definitive idea, as to how strenuous, or challenging this is. We just think it’s as simple as on..two…three. But, my brother, friend, Roman Patwary, as Hafizh, himself, has written some of the real-deal realities in which most, if not all, Huffazh (sing. Hafizh) have ever, or will ever experience, at one time or another, within their respective lifetimes, as Huffazh.

Being among those who have memorized the Qur’an is an immense blessing, that none of us who have been granted this gift can ever fully appreciate or show enough gratitude for. This blessing however comes also with a great trial – the trial of sincerity. I have not been a Hafizh for very long, but in this short time, I’ve already found that one has to constantly remind himself to check his intentions. It seems to me that this corruption of intentions happens because of two main reasons: excessive praise or excessive criticism.

When a young person finishes memorizing the Quran, he is showered with praise by young and old alike. This especially happens during Ramadan when night in and night out, people praise you for what you accomplished and what you’re doing. This celebrity-status is horrible for the Nafs (Ego/Desires), as it loves to be complemented…If you don’t keep yourself in check, it becomes unclear as to whether you’re doing it for the praise of the people or the praise of your Lord alone.

Another way intentions can be corrupted by outside influences is excessive criticism from the outside. As soon as someone becomes a Hafizh they are seen as a role model in the community, and rightfully so. However, we are all human and can slip up. This can lead to someone avoiding sins not just for the sake of Allah, but also to be safe from the criticism of other people. Unfortunately, the latter can become the main reason in many cases. Yes, it is definitely worse when someone who memorized the Quran does something bad. But if people crucify him over it, it can lead to questionable intentions.

As with many things, the biggest trial of being a Hafizh is to keep your ego in check. Shaytaan comes at you from your weakest points, and it is easy for him to whisper to you and make you think you are above everyone else. But we just have to step back once in awhile, Huffazh and everyone else alike, and realize we’re all made from the ground we trample on, and we will all be returned to Him one day as helpless as we came into this world.
Roman Patwary/2013

The Muslim’s-Guide to converse with Atheists/Anti-Theists:

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Author’s note:
Unfortunately, usually, when it comes to the subject of having any form of intelligent, civil discourse, with any Atheist/Anti-Theist, concerning Theism vs. Atheism/Anti-Theism, it ends up being a conversation that always goes on tangents, which are the faults of both Theists & Atheists/Anti-Theists, who engage in these types of conversations, debates, arguments, etc. However, ironically, for Theists, Muslims especially, they never realize (until it’s too late, and when they’ve said all of the wrong things, either inaccurately or completely out-of-context) that it’s never about “winning” an argument with any Atheist/Anti-Theist. The objective is to simply not lose an argument with an Atheist/Anti-Theist. We, as Muslims, have to be very intelligent, tactful, and wise, whenever conversing with people of an Atheist/Anti-Theist disposition. However, one of the major things which Muslims, Theists, generally, get caught-up with, when conversing with Atheists/Anti-Theists, is the whole “Scientific-Fallacy”…I’ll explain what I mean by “Scientific-Fallacy”.

This is what I mean by the “Scientific-Fallacy”:

Whenever Atheists/Anti-Theists converse with those who are Theists, they always, in order to dominate the conversation, drag the issue into the realm of Science, and then challenge people like us to formulate a Divinity-Theory/Law, in which we’re then pigeon-holed into trying to prove the existence of Allah via the “Scientific-Method”. And, ironically, sadly, we fall for for this entrapment, every time/all of the time.

Now, the best way to counter this “Scientific-Fallacy” is simply the following:

Make the point that by using the “Scientific-Method”, to attempt to “prove” the existence of a “Divine-Creator”, is self-admission that the creator of the Universe thus exists within the confines of the Physical-Universe. Now, we as Muslims, we know, based upon what Allah teaches us, in the Qur’an, that the Universe has 2-dimensions: Physical & Non-Physical. Now, with Allah being who He is, we know that there is no way that He can possibly exist within either dimension of the Universe, because He is uncreated. Also, you can only use the “Scientific-Method” to detect the existence of things which exists within the confines of the Physical-Universe, and since this is the case, you cannot use the “Scientific-Method” to prove the existence of Allah, and Atheists/Anti-Theists know this fully well. But, they also know that it’s so easy to trap-up Theists, who are not on to their entrapment. So, because one cannot use the “Scientific-Method”, to prove the existence of Allah, that’s what revelation is for. However, the problem is that Atheists/Anti-Theists don’t recognize, respect, or accept revelation. Basically, it gets to the point of the Atheist/Anti-Theist point of view having nothing to do with anything Scientific.

One of the other things that they challenge us to do is to disprove all of the “Scientific-Proofs” of things like “Evolution”. Even though, ironically, there still isn’t any definitive proofs for almost all of the elements of “Evolution”, “Darwinian-Evolution”, particularly, which clearly explains why generally, largely, “Evolution” is still, til this very day, classified as merely a “Scientific-Theory” as opposed to a “Scientific-Law”. And, if a Theist, a Muslim, especially, says that they even accept all that they interpret Science to be, which would include “Evolution”, but, that Allah is the one who is responsible for all of what, “Evolution” teaches, takes place within the Universe, you will be plainly called “wrong” by any Atheist/Anti-Theist, just because you testify that a Divine-Creator is responsible for all that exists. And, this also proves that Atheism/Anti-Theism is an `Aqidah/Theology, because they believe in the non-existence of a Divine-Creator-even though they claim that Theists cannot provide proof for the existence of a Divine-Creator, they themselves do the exact opposite; but, ironically, they have no proof for what they claim is the non-existence of a Divine-Creator. Also, one of the key things which Muslims must be careful of are the classic “Spin-Off Arguments” which Atheists/Anti-Theists love to use to make Muslims, and Theists generally, look really stupid.

Typically, almost always, a Muslim/Theist in general, would say that nothing comes from nothing, that all which exists has an origin. But, then, an Atheist/Anti-Theist would attempt to trip you up, and spin that argument right back around towards you & then challenge you, as to why is it that Allah has no origin, yet everything else does. And, the only way to dispute that spin-off argument is to simply use revelation, which, unfortunately, they will deny. Honestly, that’s really the only edge that we, as Muslims, have over Atheists/Anti-Theists, the Qur’an, revelation itself. Simply from a Human-level, we’re only 50/50 when conversing with Atheists/Anti-Theists.

I say that for the following reasons:

Without the mercy & gift of revelation, it is not completely-possible to prove the existence of Allah, definitively. And, when it comes to the belief in a Divine-Creator, when compared to the disbelief of a Divine-Creator, with revelation aside, we’re only at 50/50 with Atheists/Anti-Theists…Meaning, they can only disbelieve in a Divine-Creator, but, they have absolutely no proof that a Divine-Creator doesn’t exist, it’s just that they’ve now replaced a Divine-Creator with their intellect, egos & desires as gods. While for us, without revelation to substantiate our belief, that’s all that it is, a belief. And, this is why knowledge of Islam is so important for us to learn, know & live.

My conclusion:

This is not the only ways to combat, ward-off Atheism/Anti-Theism. However, if one had no idea how to previous to reading this article, then, I’m pretty confident that, with Allah’s help & guidance, this will empower Muslims with the necessary tools to keep Atheists/Anti-Theists at bay, so as to not allow their corrupt beliefs, in the non-existence of a Divine-Creator, to cause doubts in the purity, authenticity of our Islamic-Beliefs.

Gareth Bryant/2013

2012 in review:

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The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 29,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 7 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.