Tag Archives: Saudi Arabia

Is al-Azhar University Serious?!!!

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Azhar Fail

Author’s-Note:
Egypt, in all it’s incredible idiocy, with the assistance of al-Azhar University, the Oxford/Cambrige of Islamic-Learning within the conventional Muslim-World, pertaining to it’s reputation & academic stature, has decided to grant King Abdullah, of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, an honorary-degree from the university.

Ok, so let me get this straight:

Egypt decided to get the bright idea to grant King Abdullah, of the Kingdumb of Saudi Arabia which is really Saudi America, via al-Azhar University, an honorary-degree, but, didn’t think even once about granting the People of ‪‎Gaza some honorary-humanity, by granting them asylum within the boarders of Egypt, as opposed to maintaining a boarder-wall, which keeps them landlocked, and victimized by the Israeli-Military, which is really AmerIsrael while Egypt, headed by Sisi the Muslim/Arab nation with the largest military in the Middle-East just sits-back & has Lipton Tea, with the Kermit the Frog face, like, “But, that’s none of my business”…Now, I dare that Egyptian-Woman who was ranting, “Sisi yes, Morsi no!!!”, to complain about what’s happening in Palestine/Israel.

Gareth Bryant/2014

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Aside

The Peninsula

The blistering winds, stroking dunes of the Central-Region, known as an-Najd, cause many moods…
…They have always both whistled and swirled around these monstrous sands, for so many moons.

Northward, touching all of what’s Bilad-ish-Sham…
…We can see Cave-Dwellings of Thamud and Iram.

Towards the south, towards al-Yaman…
…The forestry there looks like Heaven.

The former residence of the People of `Ad…
…Punished by Tornadoes, for they were bad.

Eastward, you’ll find thousands of miles of Oil-Fields, which fuel the economies of the whole Planet…
…Its coast is host to such rich aquatic-life; who knew this such beauty lies in such a harsh environment?

And, Westward, there’s the most priceless treasure of all…

…al-Ka`bah, where all Men come to visit, great and small.

It used to be called the valley of Bakkah…
…But, Allah decided to name it al-Makkah.

It was built entirely for His pleasure…
…No one could ever plan it better.

Constructed by Abraham & Ishmael…
…Such a wonder is their arduous tale.

A father & son, who were separated and rejoined…
…At this very spot, they established Islam, rejoiced.

Just as our parents, Adam & Eve…
…After being separated on Earth.

They lost, and then, found one another in al-Jazirah, the Peninsula…
…An example that, even in sin, we can acquire the Mercy of Allah.

Gareth Bryant/2013

al-Jazirah/The Peninsula:

You’ll never find this on Salafi Publications: A Necessary Hujjah (Indictment/Refutation) against Saudi Arabia…a kingdom of Sectarian-Deviants, Tyrants, and Powermongers

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Author’s-Note:
Allah states, within His Noble-Book: “And, hold-on to the Rope of Allah altogether. But, do not divide/splinter-off (from) one another.”.(Noble Qur’an: Chpt.3, V.103)…regardless to how clear this verse from the Qur’an is, sadly, we, as Muslims (mainly stemming from our natural negative-quality of ingratitude), pathologically yearn to do the opposite of what Allah advises/commands us to do. And, here’s where we get these Sectarian-Groups, that Muslims foolishly invent, that we’re not only prohibited from inventing (Noble Qur’an: Chpt.6, V.159), but also are informed about Nations (specifically/especially the Children of Israel & the Jews & Christians) who came before us, who splintered themselves, by making sects between themselves & were punished/destroyed.(Noble Qur’an: Chpt.98, V.4 & 5) Ironically, no Sectarian-Group manifests this stubbornness & willingness to be sectarian more than the members of the Salafi-Movement, who are granted the full-support of the Saudi Kingdom, to attempt to enact religious dominance all throughout the Muslim-World, while blatantly being one of the leading causes of sectarian-division amongst fellow Muslims.

The Salafi-Movement is no different/better than the Catholic-Church: instead of Vatican City, they have Riyadh…instead of the College of Cardinals, they have the Permanent-Committee of Islamic Jurists…instead of a Pope, the reigning Monarchs of the Gulf-States (Saudi Arabia & Co.) are the Desert-Pontiffs of this “Saved-Group/Saved-Sect”:

Photo: King making dua with the rest of his salafi brothers , is he a salafi though?

Basically, these Rulers/Royals of the sands of the Arabian-Peninsula can waste the wealth of the Believers on unnecessary-extravagance, be Substance-Abusers, Fornicators/Adulterers, Homosexuals…Pimps…Prostitutes…Drug-Dealers…Human-Traffickers, investors in interest-based Financial-Institutions, the whole nine-yards-Their names are not mentioned at all in any Scholarly works, nor on any social-media outlets, nor on Salafi (religious) internet-tabloids (Salafi Publications being the tip-of-the-spear Salafi-Tabloid). Yet, ironically, when a brother takes his wife to a damn movie, the whole Salafi-World seems to just helplessly fall face-first off of it’s sectarian axis…There are so many ironically hypocritical nuanced/blatant, elements, of this, along with so many/too many other Sectarian-Groups among the Muslims.

The History of the Salafi-Movement, the Saudi-Kingdom, and how Saudi Arabia mimics the State of Israel almost identically:

The History of the Salafi-Movement-

All the Saud Kings Men pic

This movement, that everyone across the Muslim-World, who adheres to it, calling it “The Saved-Group/Saved-Sect”, “The Haqq/Truth”, “The Minhaj/Manhaj”, etc., really don’t know the true story behind how this movement started and/or evolved into what it has become today. Likewise, the opponents of the Salafi-Movement very unfairly attribute the founding of this movement to the wrong persons…don’t worry, I’ll explain. Now, in all fairness, most People, who know about the Salafi-Movement, either through name only, actually being Salafi, Former-Salafis (such as myself), etc., don’t know who’s actually the brain-child of it, they don’t know the true historical-architects of this movement.

So, here we go: whenever the origins of the Salafi-Movement are spoken about, the name Muhammad ibn `Abd-il-Wahhab always (unfairly) pops up. Now, why do I say “unfairly”? Because, historical-records clearly show (both religious & universal) that this man wasn’t the founder of this movement. But, I’ll get into, later, why he’s been branded falsely as the movement’s founder a lil’ later on. For now, let’s dig a lil’ deeper to the actual founders of it: Muhammad `Abduh & Rashid Ridha…these two men, originally from Egypt, had enormous influences on the original intent of the Salafi-Movement of that time, which was a political-movement, with religious-elements: the political-elements were meant to simply dispel the growing, uncontrollable tyranny of the failing Ottoman-Empire…the religious-elements were geared towards reforming the general understanding of Islamic-Teachings based upon the example of as-Salaf/the Ancestors (the 1st 3-Generations of Muslims, following the revelation of the Qur’an: as-Sahabah/the Companions [Muhammad] & at-Tabi`in/the Followers [of as-Sahabah]).(Muslim) Both Muhammad `Abduh & Rashid Ridha lived & were religio-socially/religio-politically active during a very hotbed period in the history of the Ottoman-Empire: this was a time that the Ottomans were showing the very first blatant signs of internal bureaucratic-decay & the Middle-East was a prize for European-Powers, ever since the Crusade-Era.(Encyclopedia Britannica) And, also, as a result of the degeneration of the Ottoman-Empire, the Arabs (mainly) started to faction-off & pick sides in what would be the precedents of long drawn-out conflicts, that would have dynamic & also disastrous results for the entire Muslim-World, more specifically the Arab-World, in the centuries, decades, to come, longer after the deaths of people like those whom I’ve mentioned.

The History of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia-
ibn Saud pic

You absolutely cannot speak about the history of Saudi Arabia, without first speaking about the leading causes for its inception. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, basically, evolved into 3-waves, the 1st 2-waves only limited Bani-Sa`ud (the ancestral clan of the current Saudi Royal-Family) to dominance over an-Najd, the central-region of the Arabian-Peninsula. Now, here’s where it gets interesting: Muhammad ibn `Abd-il-Wahhab, a native of an-Najd, who was a Muslim-Scholar, beginning his Islamic-Education very young, began to see the necessity to rid his people of the many long-practiced innovative practices which directly mimicked classic Pagan-Arab idolatry. So, of course, him being so young, so uncompromising in his convictions, he receives opposition rather swiftly, forced from his native hometown, `Uyaynah, into the interior of an-Najd, which is how he and the adherents to his religious-teachings began to be called Wahhabiyyun/Wahhabis (literally meaning: the Followers of Muhammad ibn `Abd-il-Wahhab…now, ironically, this term “Wahhabi” is made synonymous with the term “Salafi”). It is here that one of the most-important religio-political alliances ever forged in Human-History took place. Muhammad ibn-Sa`ud ibn-Muhammad ibn-Mijrin had agreed to protect Muhammad ibn `Abd-il-Wahhab, on the condition that he become the leading religious-figure of Al-is-Sa`ud/the House of Sa`ud (which of course he agreed to): here lies the pavement of the Saudi yellow-brick road, which led to the land of Sa`ud, some 2-centuries later, known forever as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia…for those who claim that Muhammad ibn `Abd-al-Wahhab founded the Salafi-Movement are actually, historically, incorrect. One of the historical-proofs that he wasn’t the founder of the movement is exactly what I’ve previously mentioned, concerning Muhammad `Abduh & Rashid Ridha. Also,  there were People within the Indian-Subcontinent who were teaching the exact same things which Muhammad ibn `Abd-il-Wahhab were & they never met one another, they are Ahmad ibn-`Abd-ir-Rahim, better known as “Shah Waliyyullah” & Muhammad Isma`il, better known as “Shah Isma`il Shahid”.(Encyclopedia Britannica)

Now, we’ll jump to about 2-centuries later: `Abd-ul-`Aziz ibn `Abd-ir-Rahman (commonly referred to as “ibn-Sa`ud”) of Al-is-Sa`ud (which would later be commonly known as simply the Saudi Royal-Family), one of many ancestors of the current Arab-World monarchs, rebelled against the Ottoman-Empire, much like the rest of his geo-political peers in the region, exclusively because the Ottomans were Non-Arabs (yes: contrary to popular opinion the rebellion of the Arabs against the Turks was exclusively racially-motivated & subsequently fueled by the support of the Allied-Powers). They felt ways about being ruled over by Non-Arabs.

So, with the help of the Allied-Powers, who were fighting the Central-Powers (which the Ottoman-Empire was a part of), anyway, they succeeded in destroying the last (globally) recognized Islamic ruling-body of the Muslim-World, al-Khilafah, which has resulted in about 90% percent of all of the atrocities that have plagued the Muslim-World for the past two centuries (both the 1900’s & the 2000’s). ibn-Sa`ud was one of (as a result of demolishing his Arab-Competition within the Arabian-Peninsula) the main boots-on-the-ground military-commanders of the entire duration of the armed-opposition against the Ottoman-Empire, in the Middle-East, which made it easier for the Allied-Powers to flank the forces of the Ottomans, as well as further weaken the strength of the other Central-Powers, during World War I. ibn-Sa`ud was a shrewd politician, who manipulated & maneuvered people at will. One of the proofs of this is the fact that he was able to convince the members of the religious-wing of his regime, Al-ush-Shaykh/the Family of the Shaykh (`Ulama’/Muslim [Religious] Scholars, mainly from Bani-Tamim, the ancestral-tribe of Muhammad ibn `Abd-il-Wahhab, many of whom were most-probably even his biological-descendants), to issue Fatawa/Edicts (sing. Fatwa) against fellow Muslims in the Ottoman-Army, as well as the Muslims in the region, loyal to the Khilafah, to justify fighting against them, killing them, in favor of supporting the agenda of the Allied-Powers, that he may acquire their support of his domain in the Arabian-Peninsula. He established a military-wing of his regime, specifically for this purpose, to decimate his political-opponents in the Arabian-Peninsula: al-Ikhwan/The Brotherhood was a desert-military, made-up of Arab-Tribesmen loyal to Al-is-Sa`ud. Then, after the consolidation of his power in the Arabian-Peninsula was completed, he turned on his own army, raising another army to crush al-Ikhwan, because they wanted to shed more blood of fellow Muslims in the region, like in modern-day Kuwait, and because, he had decided that the fighting was over, that wasn’t good enough for them. He then sought the necessity to destroy al-Ikhwan, in order to maintain order in the Arabian-Peninsula, as to not allow al-Ikhwan to tamper with the very fragile/delicate alliances that he was able to establish with other future Arab kingdoms of the Peninsula.(Encyclopedia Britannica, War in the Desert) And, after the formation of the (official) Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Al-us-Sa`ud decided to (basically) hijacked the Salafi-Movement (they completely converted this movement, turned it inside-out, and made it something completely different from the intent of its founders & early influencers). From the founding of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia & onward, this movement changed direction in a 180-Degree perspective: instead of the Salafi-Movement remaining a political-movement with religious elements, it became a religious-movement with political-elements. The Salafi-Movement converted from having almost exclusively a political-identity to a religious-identity, that is reliant upon the good-favor of its political-patrons (Saudi & Co.), to continue to support this movement financially. Likewise, this movement is also the most influencial element in maitaining the psuedo-legitimacy of Saudi Arabia (existing as a nation-state), religiously giving Al-as-Saud the religious-greenlight to rule the Arabian-Peninsula, and (by default) be the deFacto puppet-masters of the other Arab-Kingdoms/Gulf-States, via immense political, military, financial, influence/dominance.

Now, the last-time that I checked, Islamically, the killing of anyone, especially a fellow Muslim, is a serious Major-Sin; yet, ibn-Sa`ud was allowed to indiscriminately kill fellow Muslims, to promote a (selfish/narcissistic) political-agenda centered upon racism & the pursuit of absolute-power, to not only help abolish a legitimate Islamic ruling-body, but, to establish a kingdom, which isn’t even based upon any Islamic precepts, because there’s no allowances (Islamically: relative to the Revelation given to Muhammad) for Muslims to make themselves leaders, based upon man-made political-concepts (like Kingdoms). And, there’s no Islamic allowances for Muslims to rebel against Muslims in-power; moreover, there’s no allowances, Islamically, to side politically and/or militarily with Non-Muslims, against other Muslims.(al-Kaba’ir/The Major-Sins, al-Wala’ wal-Bara’/Loyalty & Disloyalty) The natural-resources, namely Petroleum, found in the Arabian-Peninsula were later appropriated, based upon national boundaries carved out by agreements between the newly-founded Arab-Kingdoms of the Persian-Gulf region & Great Britain/America, who guaranteed to protect them militarily (so long as the Oil keeps following from underneath the desert), among the future kingdoms of this region and became tightly controlled by the elites of these kingdoms (mainly the royal-families themselves, and those in their financial, military, political, religious, inner-circles).

Some ironic similarities between Saudi Arabia & Israel-
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Regarding Human-Rights…
…Saudi Arabia is notoriously known to not fully comply with the minimum standards of anti-trafficking enforcement & are currently not any making significant efforts to do so. Saudi Arabia is a destination for both men & women, from South East Asia & East Africa, to be trafficked for the purpose of labor exploitation. Also, children, from countries like Yemen & Afghanistan, have very often been trafficking victims, for forced begging. Hundreds of thousands of low-skilled workers from places like India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Kenya migrate travel to Saudi Arabia, some fall into conditions of involuntary servitude, suffering from physical and sexual abuse, non-payment or delayed payment of wages, withholding of identification & traveling documents, restrictions on their freedom to travel within Saudi itself and non-consensual contract alterations. According to international organizations, such as the Ansar Burney Trust, young children from Bangladesh and India are also smuggled into Saudi Arabia, to be used as camel-jockeys. These children are underfed, to reduce their weights, in order to lighten the load on the camels used for racing. Saudi Arabia has been classified as having a Human-Trafficking Tier-3 status, since 2005.

In Israel (according to the World Health Organization), Men and Women are trafficked & often used for forced-labor and commercial prostitution. Low-skilled workers from China, Romania, Turkey, Thailand, The Philippines, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and India flock to Israel for contract-labor in the Construction, Agriculture, and Health-Care industries. Israeli migrant-workers are often confronted with terrible conditions of forced-labor. Many labor recruitment agencies in Israel charges fees ranging from $1,000 to $10,000. This causes migrant workers in Israel to become highly vulnerable to trafficking once in the country, and in some cases, situations of debt-bondage are ever prevalent. Israel is also a destination country for women being trafficked from Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Uzbekistan, Belarus, China, South Korea and possibly the Philippines, for the exclusive purposes of sexual exploitation. In addition, NGO’s note an increase in the internal trafficking of Israeli-Nationals, for commercial Sexual-Exploitation, and report new instances of trafficking of Israeli-Women abroad to Canada, Ireland, and the United Kingdom.

Regarding Iran…
…Both Saudi Arabia & Israel are equally-concerned about the political-relevance & military-superiority of Iran. It sends a clear message to both nations, and their benevolent geo-political big-brothers (the United States & the United Kingdom) that there has to be some type of mutual alliance between the Zionist State of Israel and the Salafi-Patron state of Saudi Arabia. The only issue is that while both countries need an alliance against Iran, they’re not the best of friends either, for obvious reasons, namely, the fact that Palestine is under the foot of the Israeli-Regime, which is largely unpopular all across the Muslim-World, as well as the Middle-East & also that the state of Israel has dominance over the Mosque known as Masjid-il-Aqsa, the third highest-regard Mosque in Islam, behind al-Masjid-il-Haram/the Sacred-Mosque in al-Makkah & al-Masjid-in-Nabawi/the Prophetic-Mosque in al-Madinah, present-day Saudi Arabia. So, now, what both nations must do is to consolidate, put aside, their obvious religio-political differences, at the risk of upsetting their very important in-house national power-bases, to come to some type of agreement that as long as Iran stands strong, they’ll have to stand together.

Now, there’s a lot of hypocrisy here:
The state of Israel, with the outlandish support of the U.S., U.K., and basically the whole damn World, has been given the greenlight to do with the Palestinian-People what they will, without any serious, realistic, international intervention or prevention of the atrocities that occur on a day-to-day basis. Does anyone aside from me, whom is a Muslim, find it ironic that a nation like Saudi Arabia, which promotes/sponsors the establishment Islam, based upon the Salaf, is willing to consort/ally with a nation like Israel, that is very overtly Islamophobic, known for its atrocities against People, more specifically fellow Muslims, against another Muslim-Country, like Iran? The last time that I checked, siding with Non-Muslims against fellow Muslims is a serious crime & can even take someone outside of the boundaries of Islam, according to the work, “Nawaqidh-ul-Islam/The Nullifications of Islam”, authored by Muhammad ibn `Abd-il-Wahhab…Honestly, I’m truly surprised that this book, Nawqidh-ul-Islam isn’t banned in Saudi Arabia, because when studying this work, by a man whom is so revered in Saudi & amongst the Salafis generally/especially, it’s so easy to see that at least 1/2 of all of the points mentioned in this particular work apply directly to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, bureaucratically.

So, in conclusion, don’t give your loyalty to any Sectarian-Groups, no matter how much glamorous & glittery their sectarian-presentation…”Everything that glitters is not Gold.”

Gareth Bryant/2013

Rape is a Crime…no matter who does it!!!

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Fayhan al Ghamdi pic

I, as a Muslim, as a Man, am truly disgusted when I hear about rape, especially referring to cases of children being assaulted. Things like rape in the Muslim-World cause Islamophobes to reinforce all of the classic Islamophobic rhetoric against Islam. We, as Muslims, have a horrible habit of making the Islamophobe’s jobs easier, by doing things that will definitely be used against us. Now, a young girl has been violently abused & killed…and, for what?!!! There is something clearly wrong here.

There is no reason as to why this person, Fayhan al-Ghamdi can just shell-out money, and walk away from such a heinous-crime, as this. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have truly done a disservice to this young girl, Lama al-Ghamdi, the actual victim/child of this monster. To add insult to injury, this person is a religious-celebrity in Saudi itself. Now, what type of message does this really send to people all around the world?

I’ll tell you:

1. It reinforces the legitimacy of of Islamophobes, anywhere/everywhere in the world, to attack Islam & Muslims, and accuse us of being Misogynists & followers of a “Misogynistic-Religion”. We always tend to make attacks against Islam & Muslims so easy for Islamophobes to do, by doing exactly the opposite of what Islam teaches us.

2. It tells people that as long as you’re in good with the Saudi-Kingdom, you can basically get away with whatever you want, and only have to cash-out, in order to avoid any form of true justice. It reinforces the hypocrisy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, as a 1/2-ass religious-state, where in fact, it’s nothing more than an in-house, all-boys club of a country, hell-bent on religious domination within the Muslim-World, using al-Makkah, al-Madinah, Clerics, and Petroleum as their trump-cards.

3. It sends the message of as long as we do it, it’s okay; but no one else get do it, except us. If this person had not been a religious-cleric, had not been a native subject/national of Saudi Arabia, had not been an Arab, had not been a high-profile/wealthy/powerful foreigner, then this person would definitely had been executed…ASAP And, this shows you the extremities of how ethnic/family-connections, as well as race play out when it comes to administering “justice” in Saudi Arabia.

4. It sends a clear message to even the subjects/residents of the Kingdom that justice is extremely relative. And, as we all know that, as I say this quite often, “If Justice is relative, then it’s not Justice at all…it’s Hypocrisy.”.

May Allah forgive the Muslim-World, for dropping-the-ball, in regards to allowing Rape & any/all other atrocities to occur, unchecked, in this Mundane, around the world…May Allah give Muslims/Men the integrity & strength to thwart Rape & any/all other Sexual-Offenses that exist in our world…May Allah make us of those whom stand-up for those too weak & helpless to stand-up for themselves…May Allah make us of those whom truly live by what He has sent down via revelation (the Qur’an & Prophetic-Wisdom), to be firm upon that & let it guide our lives, so that we can improve both our lives & the lives of others…May Allah make us of those whom are gentle with the innocent & harsh with the guilty…May Allah make us of those whom are treat others justly & seek-out justice for all…AMEN

#IamLama…#MuslimsStandUp…#RealMenStandUp

Gareth Bryant/2013

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

Some Brief Islamic-History (the origins of `Id-il-Adha):

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Author’s note:
This post is based upon the narrations of the history of the most important Islamic holiday, based exclusively upon the work, Qasas-il-Anbiya’ (Stories of the Prophets), by Abil-Fida’ Isma`il ibn-Kathir ad-Dimashqi.

The story & history of the Celebration of Sacrifice (`Id-il-Adha) is such an important Islamic holiday, it is imperative that both Muslims & Non-Muslims know how this celebration became an Islamic holiday in the first place, and why it has such an important status in Islam. The story of the Celebration of the Sacrifice is based upon the stories of Abraham, Sarah, Hager and Ishmael (Peace be upon them).

It goes a lil’ somethin’ like this:

Abraham (the hated son)-
Imagine as a teenager, you’re given the greatest gift of all, guidance from Allah, through direct-revelation. Now, the only problem is that you live in a place where everyone except you worships other than Allah…how is one to deal with that? Well, those of us whom have accepted Islam can relate to this, in certain respects, to a certain degree. I mean none of us reverts are Prophets, or recipients of revelation from Allah. However, we have similar stories as Abraham, which is to decide whether to hold on to the guidance of Allah & turn against your own flesh-and-blood (as well as those whom you’ve known your whole life), or to oppose them in their rebellion against the oneness of Allah. Abraham decided to sacrifice the love of his father & people, in exchange for receiving the love of Allah, which never fades & is always sincere. And, this was not an easy thing for Abraham to go through: He faced being nearly burned-alive, by being catapulted into a blazing make-shift fire-pit, to be used as an example to not go against the grain, of not worshipping the pagan gods of his people, and without the protection of Allah, he surely would have been burned-alive.

Abraham, Sarah, and Hager (one not-so-happy family)-
Abraham & Sarah were married for a long time; yet, unfortunately, they were not able to produce any offspring. So, Sarah, decides to suggest to Abraham to take another wife to marry. He chooses Hager, the once slave of Sarah, as his wife. She gets pregnant, with whom would soon to be Ishmael. But, Hager has decided to hide her own pregnancy from Sarah, to prevent her from becoming jealous of the fact that Hager was able to get pregnant, while Sarah was not. Unfortunately, this plan fails-Sarah is not a happy-camper. When she in fact does find out, she is very angry, it is made well-known how angry she is. Now, Abraham is literally stuck in the middle, in between the joy of being a father-to-be, with his new-wife & being in the “dog-house”, sort of speak, with his first-wife.

So, after the birth of Ishmael, Allah decides to test Abraham, with a very important, yet heart-breaking test as well: Allah has made the decision for Abraham to abandon his new wife & child, and stay with his first wife, for the time being. Now, for any father, at least a good father, anyway, this would never, ever be an easy decision to make. But, then again, this is the Lord of the Universe telling you to do this, so you figure it out. Now, with this in mind, you have to at least try to appreciate what’s goin’ on here: He’s just had a baby, he has no idea where he is to send them, he has no idea how to tell Hager that Allah has commanded him to leave her, and he really has no idea, at the time, whether he’ll ever see either of them ever again.

Hager (the world’s first single-mother)-
So, Abraham decides to take Hager & the new-born, the first-born of Abraham, Ishmael, on a road-trip. Now, obviously, unbeknownst to the two of them (Hager & Ishamel), they’re gonna be left for dead, in a short while. They approach a valley, in what is now known as the Arabian-Peninsula (modern-day Saudi Arabia). It is here where they are commanded to be left. So, once they stop, Abraham leaves them some food & drink, then, starts walkin’-off-Obviously a strange thing to Hager, she calls out to him; yet there’s no response from him. She then asks him whether or not Allah has commanded him to do this, and his reply is yes, he affirms that what he is doing is in fact a direct order from Allah. So, upon that, she encourages him to leave. However, there’s a great dilemma in the midst: She’s ran outta food & drink, really fast, Abraham is nowhere around and she has an infant whose hungry & cranky, from being hungry…what’s a gal to do? Well, she starts doing what any mother would do…she starts running around, to try to find some signs of food, water, life, something, anything, for her child & herself. And, ironically, just as though she had thought her plight had no solution, instantly, a spring of water gushed from underground, underneath the feet of Ishmael. Excited & elated, of course, Hager begins to make a make-shift well, to control/conserve the water. Just as she’s doing this, a flock of birds see them, both Hager & Ishmael, from way up high in the sky. They begin to fly around them, and guess what, they were looking for food & what not in the middle of this wilderness as well. And, soon enough, a nomadic tribe, known as Banu-Jurhum, were traveling through the desert (as is typical of desert/nomadic peoples), in search of water, food, etc. Now, they begin to see the birds, who are swimming around Hager & Ishmael. And, they figured to themselves that there must be someone or something there for these birds to just stop & fly around that particular location. So, naturally, they follow the birds, who lead them indirectly to Hager & Ishmael. They ask for water; but, Hager asks for something much more important: that they do not bring any type of harm to her or her son. They agree, and so does she & these people founded the well of Zamzam & the city of Makkah, together.

Abraham comes back to Hager & Ishmael (the greatest family-reunion ever)-
Fortunately, some time later, when Ishmael becomes a pre-teen, basically, he, along with Hager, is reunited with Abraham-Sarah actually had a child of her own by this time; Isaac [Peace be upon him] had already been born. Abraham, Hager & Ishmael start to establish a beautiful relationship, and Abraham begins to make-up for lost-time, for not being there, for both Hager & Ishmael-Abraham & Ishmael had even built the Ka`bah & established the Hajj, together as father & son.

But, just when ya thought it was over, there’s more-
Everything seemed like happily ever after. Yet, there’s still one more thing that Allah commands Abraham to do: He is commanded to kill Ishmael, to slaughter him as a sacrifice to Allah-Now if this isn’t a test, I don’t know what is!!! But, guess what? Abraham, being the Muslim, the Prophet, the man he is, falls in line and proceeds to set out to do what Allah has commanded him to do. But, this time, he does it differently. He actually tells Ishmael what Allah has instructed him to do. Now, any of us, regardless to much of a Prophet our fathers may be, if we were to hear anything remotely close to this, we’re gettin’ the hell outta dodge; however, let’s find out what Ishmael had to say about this.
He tells his father Abraham, that he will endure whatever Allah has set out for him, and he will be patient (i.e. he’s willing to deal with having his young life snuffed out, simply because Allah says so). Now, this is what I call true faith in Allah, something that, unfortunately most of us will never achieve or acquire. But just then, as Abraham is about to strike the neck of Ishmael, with a sharp blade, suddenly, a ram appears, in a thorny bush, unable to escape, Abraham sees the ram, and immediately recognizes it as a sign from Allah, that this was only a test, to see how far he’d be willing to go to please his Lord, and he passed every single one of his tests, with “flying-colors”.

Now, one may ask, “What do this have to do with `Id-il-Adha?”-
I’ll go a lil’ deeper, for those who couldn’t make the connections for themselves-Since the term itself “`Id-ul-Adha” means the Celebration of Sacrifice (as was already, previously mentioned in this article), the stories which were detailed represent how far & deep a sacrifice can take a person, particularly & especially Prophets and/or family-members of Prophets. Abraham sacrificed a life of privilege & comfort among his people, Sarah had sacrificed her husband, and encouraged him to marry another woman, who was younger than she (to ensure that he could have a child), Hager sacrificed herself, possibly putting herself in danger, by agreeing with & encouraging Abraham to leave her & her infant-son, in the desert wilderness of the Arabian-Peninsula, Ishmael sacrificed his own life, to show dutifulness to Allah, then, to his father, a Prophet of Allah.

This is what `Id-ul-Adha represents-
We celebrate these great, righteous, persons, who sacrificed all that they had or wanted, simply to please Allah, the one who created them. And, Hajj (the annual sacred pilgrimage to Makkah, during the 12th month of the Islamic-Calendar, known as Dhil-Hijjah, literally meaning “the possessor of Hajj”), itself, is also directly tied into the origins of `Id-il-Adha.

Now, let’s talk a lil’ bit about Hajj itself-
1. The Zamzam water-well, possesses blessed water, which has quenched the thirst of untold millions of persons, whom have made pilgrimage, from the time that the spring was discovered, until the present-day.

2. The Ka`bah itself, the first building on Earth ever constructed, exclusively built, for the exclusive worship of Allah, originally being a simple altar, built by Adam (Peace be upon him), which is where the famous story of the sacrifices of Cain & Abel took place. After the great-flood, during the time of Noah (Peace be upon him), the altar, along with it’s foundation, were long-lost within the great sands of the Arabian desert. However, Allah (via His plan, which is greater than any & all other plans), had decided to bless Abraham & his descendants, with a Prophet from among them, long after his death, which is actually something that Abraham had actually asked Allah any way. This prayer was duly answered & that Prophet, from among the descendants of Abraham, was none other than Muhammad, the son of `Abdillah (Peace be upon him).

3. Of all of the days of Hajj (which are the 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th of Dhil-Hijjah), Allah has chosen the 9th of Dhil-Hijjah to be the best day of the entire year, for the Ummah (nation) of Muhammad, and it is said by Muhammad (Peace be upon him) that, “whoever fasts on this day is assured to have their sins, from the previous year & the following year automatically forgiven.”.(al-Muslim) And, he also mentioned that, “the Hajj itself is `Arafah.”(an-Nasa’i), and this is because the day of `Arafah, where the pilgrims go to the plain of `Arafah, is only to occur once during Hajj; so, if you don’t get to `Arafah, your Hajj is not accepted as such. So, for all you Muslims out there, make sure that you fast on the day of `Arafah

4. This place, where Hager was running to find food & water for her son & she, is actually in between the two mountain-hills of as-Safa & al-Marwah. She had ran back-and-forth, in between these two mountains, seven times. And, to commemorate her sacrifice of herself to find food & drink for her son & she, we, as Muslims, remember her, by doing this same back-and-forth running, in between as-Safa & al-Marwah, as part of the rites of Hajj, along with revolving around the Ka`bah, seven times, which was initiated by both Abraham & Ishmael, in commemoration of the building of the Ka`bah itself, as the very first building upon the Earth designated for the exclusive worship of Allah, the Lord of the Universe.

And, this, in my conclusion, is the history of the origins of `Id-il-Adha, Hajj, and the promise of Allah, to Abraham, of making Muhammad a messenger from among his own descendants.

Gareth Bryant/2012

My thoughts on Mohamed Mursi, the Muslim-Brotherhood & a potentially new Egypt:

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The Muslim Brotherhood has recently acquired, via one of their own, the reigns of the Presidency of Egypt. Now, the office of President, in the hands of Mohamed Mursi,  has caused a lot of concern, as well as controversy, within Egypt herself, within the Mideast, among her regional neighbors, as well as on the international political stage, by virtue of the Muslim Brotherhood’s history of being religiously radical, extremist, etc., or, in many cases, falsely accused of being religiously radical, extremist, etc. But, let’s look at the history of the Muslim Brotherhood, in a proper perspective, to see how the Muslim Brotherhood emerged, evolved, and, why are they such a feared political force in the Muslim/Arab-World, as well as in the eyes of the broader international-community.

The Muslims Brotherhood was actually formed as a result of the want, within Egypt, among its people, to rise against British influence/rule, during the waning years of Egypt’s last monarchy, the Mamlukes. Initially, the Muslim Brotherhood served as a revolutionary movement, to rout the Mamlukes, as well as the British shadow-rulers & kick them out of Egypt, leaving & letting Egyptians to write their own story, on the walls of time-The founder of the Muslim Brotherhood was known as Hassan al-Banna.(The Moderate Muslim Brotherhood, Robert S. Leiken & Steven Brooke, Foreign Affairs Magazine)

The Muslim Brotherhood is now, what it has always been: a religious movement, centralized, but, not limited to Egypt or the Muslim/Arab-World, geared towards making Islam the law of the land. Now, in theory, this seems great. However, if/when not applied correctly, actually based upon the Qur’an & Sunnah (Prophetic-Tradition), this objective & fervor, for the establishment of the Shari`ah (Islamic-Law), can/will have very dangerous & disastrous results. And, historically, unfortunately, the Muslim Brotherhood has deviated from its roots, at different times, from simply being a religious-movement, to lowering itself to more like a religious-gang, even to the extent of the Muslim Brotherhood being directly responsible for the assassinations of many prominent figures in Egypt, like Prime Minister  Mahmoud an-Nukrashi Pasha, as well as their own founder, Hassan al-Banna himself, in 1949.(BBC News: “Profile: Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood”, Passion for Islam: Shaping the Modern Middle East: the Egyptian Experience, Caryle Murphy)

After the expulsion of the Mamlukes & the British, in 1952, Egypt, was finally free to carve out her own political path. However, there were a lot of hurdles for the Muslim Brotherhood, mainly because of the fact that that they had directly supported a military-coup, lead by a secularist, with military strength, by the name of Gamal Abdel Nasser. He was very clear on making Egypt a secular state, which was in complete contradiction to the fundamental founding principles of the Muslim Brotherhood. The establishment of a secular Egypt really rubbed the Muslim Brotherhood the wrong way, to the extent that they, in 1954, began to openly oppose the newly formed constitution of Egypt, taking the stance that it was not in accordance to the Shari`ah.(BBC: “Power of Nightmares”)

Also, they openly opposed Gamal Abdel Nasser, whom, ironically, they had once willingly supported, against the Mamlukes & the British. The Muslim Brotherhood was actually blamed for an assassination-attempt, against Gamal Abdel Nasser, in 1954. And, this was definitely something that Nasser used, to his advantage, to marginalize his potential political competition-He immediately made moves, to hunt down, arrest, prosecute, torture, imprison, and, even execute members of the Muslim Brotherhood. In fact, the most famous member of the Muslim Brotherhood, even overshadowing its founder, Hassan al-Banna, Sayyid Qutb, was executed under the Nasser administration, in 1965. Qutb, a Muslim thinker, activist, and, anti-Nasser propagator, was famous, mainly, for issuing his work, Milestones.

At first, Qutb was imprisoned & tortured, after the assassination attempt on Nasser. Being a member of the Muslim Brotherhood made him an easy-target, among many other easy-targets. Then, after being released from prison, he committed himself to the writing of what would be his most famous work, Milestones, in 1964. Milestones laid the groundwork for what Qutb’s vision of how to recreate an Islamic-State should be approached, within the traditional & external Muslim-World, particularly, within the Arab-World. However, this work, in the text itself, is responsible for ideas that have given rise & justification, used by latter peoples, influenced by his works, to pronounce Takfir (Blasphemy) upon other Muslims, for not ruling their respective countries, according to the Shari`ah. Upon this, it seemed as though Qutb, within his work, Milestones was blatantly giving Muslims the green-light to assassinate their own leaders, because of the fact that they were governing over others, with secular/non-religious laws, thereby making it okay to declare them Non-Muslims & thus lawful to kill.(BBC: “Power of Nightmares”)

This placed Muslim leaders, within the Arab-World under immense fear, because if the common-people were to buy into this concept, that they were no longer Muslims, not only would they lose their power, but, they would also lose their lives. So, Nasser spared no expense to get rid of Qutb any way that he could, which he did. After the execution of Sayyid Qutb, in 1965, he became a Pan-Islamic/Pan-Arab icon, not only in Egypt, but all across the Muslim-World, as well as the Arab-World.  This act of the execution of Qutb, along with other prominent figures in the Muslim Brotherhood, at the time, charged up this movement to be even more radical against their government, in Egypt, and, their influence, which had been spreading to other parts of the Muslim-World, in other countries, had begun to expand rapidly.

Over the course of the next 4 decades, after the execution of Sayyid Qutb, the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood has shaped the revolutionary landscape & mindset of Muslims, in the Muslim-World, that has not reversed since. The Muslim Brotherhood has been credited, most notably, of inspiring the rise of various splinter movements & groups, such as Hamas, in Palestine & Syria, al-Qaeda, globally, Al Eslah Society, in Bahrain, Iraqi Islamic Party, Muslim Brotherhood Society, in Jordan & Palestine, National Islamic Front, in Sudan,  Movement for the Society of Peace, in Algeria, and Hadas, in Kuwait-As far as personalities go, the Muslim Brotherhood has also been credited in shaping the ideologies of people like Ayman al-Zawahri, the mentor of Osama bin-Laden.(BBC: “Power of Nightmares”,  Financial Times, Newsweek journalists Mark Hosenball & Michael Isikoff) Now, with all of this said, what should our conclusion be, and what do we learn from this, and, more specifically, what does this mean for a future Egypt?

My take on this is very simple:
The historical backdrop of the Muslim Brotherhood is very important to know, as to get a very clear sense of why some people may love them, as well as why some people may hate them, as well as knowing how they, as a group, as a movement have, for better or for worse, been a dominant factor in how politics in the Muslim/Arab-World has played out. Also, knowing the past gives us a better insight into how the future may develop. Egypt has a lot of problems, not saying not. However, maybe if given the chance, Mursi, along with his new administration, along with the support of Egyptians, themselves, may be able to pick up Egypt, by her bootstraps, and take her to a better place. I’m of the stance that Mohamed Mursi needs to be given a fair shot, to do the job right, before he is criticized, for causing instability & danger in the Mideast, by Egypt’s neighbors, or nations with particular interests, and/or alterior motives, to dominate the region.

Gareth Bryant/2012

My thoughts on Women & Women’s History Month (Part I):

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Author’s note:
Since the month March is Women’s History Month, I will be writing several things about women, at random times during this month. In this particular post, I plan to highlight some things about the unjust treatment of women all around the world, particularly & especially in the Muslim-World, more specifically in the Arab-World. I find it very relevant & important that we are made aware of the realities of the general mistreatment of women everywhere. The subject matter in which my discussion will be based upon highlights only one of many types of problems which women globally face.

Human-Trafficking & the hypocrisy of Politics which fuels it:
Human-Trafficking is a Human disease of the heart. It’s a disgusting industry, which ruins the lives of millions of Human beings each and every day, particularly the lives of women & young girls. It is my hope that this post will shed some knowledge and/or awareness of the reality of the ugliness of Human-Trafficking, whose involved & who profits from it.

What is Human-Trafficking?
Human-Trafficking-
The illegal trade, transportation of Human beings, for the exclusive purposes of reproductive slavery and/or commercial sexual exploitation (i.e. prostitution), forced labor, or a modern-day form of slavery.

The Evils of Human-Trafficking:
I won’t go through the ridiculously long lists of stats, which recall how sinister this trade is. It’s very obvious how inhumane & disgusting Human-Trafficking is. However, what I do plan to do is expose the incredible levels of hypocrisy, which are displayed, when countries like the United States condemns nations who indulge in Human-Trafficking, yet the ironic fact is that in countries which are red-flagged as being the lowest-tier Human-Trafficking countries (meaning the the nations with the highest reported cases of Human-Trafficking), are outright allies of the United States & vice-versa.

These countries which I plan to highlight for this discussion are the following:
Bahrain-
Bahrain is a country where both men & women from places like India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, Ethiopia, and Eritrea, migrate voluntarily to work as domestic workers or as unskilled laborers in the construction and service industries. But, unfortunately, they are often duped & coerced into forced labor & more specifically, forced prostitution. Some of the classic abuses that people who migrate to Bahrain, in search of greater economic opportunities for themselves & their families are the following: unlawful withholding of passports, restrictions on traveling through the country, under-handed contract substitution, non-payment of wages, threats, and even physical or sexual abuse.

According to a study, by the Bahraini government’s Labor Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA), 65% of average migrant workers in Bahrain had not seen their employment contracts, and 89% of migrant workers were unaware of their terms of employment upon arrival in Bahrain. Many labor recruitment agencies in Bahrain require workers to pay high recruitment fees, a practice which makes workers highly vulnerable to forced labor once in the country. This same LMRA study also revealed that 70% of migrant workers either borrowed money or sold property, in their countries of origin, in order to secure employment in Bahrain.

Some Bahraini employers illegally charge workers non-contractual fees in order to keep them in Bahrain, working for third-party employers, under the “free-visa” arrangement facade. The LMRA estimates that 10% of migrant workers in Bahrain work under illegal “free-visa” arrangements, a practice that can contribute to debt-bondage. The Bahraini Chamber of Commerce and Industry puts this statistic at 25%. Women whom are most likely forced into prostitution in Bahrain are from Thailand, the Philippines, Morocco, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Russia, China, Vietnam and Eastern European states.

Israel-
In Israel, men and women are trafficked & often used for forced labor and commercial prostitution. Low-skilled workers from China, Romania, Turkey, Thailand, the Philippines, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and India flock to Israel for contract labor in the construction, agriculture, and health care industries. Israeli migrant workers are often confronted terrible conditions of forced labor. Many labor recruitment agencies in Israel charge fees ranging from $1,000 to $10,000. This causes migrant workers in Israel to become highly vulnerable to trafficking once in the country, and in some cases, situations of debt-bondage are ever prevalent. Israel is also a destination country for women being trafficked from Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Uzbekistan, Belarus, China, South Korea and possibly the Philippines, for the exclusive purposes of sexual exploitation. In addition, NGO’s note an increase in the internal trafficking of Israeli nationals, for commercial sexual exploitation, and report new instances of trafficking of Israeli women abroad to Canada, Ireland, and the United Kingdom.

Kuwait-
Men and women readily migrate to Kuwait, from countries like Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Indonesia, and the Philippines, looking for employment as domestic servants or low-skilled laborers. Upon arrival, however, some are often subjected to conditions of forced labor, especially women, who are most often, once caught up in the web of Human-Trafficking,  forced into commercial sexual exploitation. For example, some female domestic workers are forced into prostitution after running away from abusive employers, or after being deceived with promises of employment in different sectors. Kuwait is also a transit country for South and East Asian workers recruited by Kuwaiti labor recruitment agencies for low-skilled work in Iraq. Oftentimes, these workers are deceived, as to the true location and nature of this work, while others willingly transit to Iraq through Kuwait, but endure conditions of involuntary servitude while in Iraq. Some Kuwaiti nationals have even reportedly traveled to foreign destinations, including Morocco, Egypt, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh to engage indulge commercial sexual exploitation.

Oman-
For men and women, primarily from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, and Indonesia, some of whom are subjected to being trafficked, specifically under conditions indicative of forced labor, Oman is a haven for Human-Trafficking. Most of these South and Southeast Asian migrants travel willingly to Oman, with the expectation of employment as either domestic servants, or as low-skilled workers in the country’s construction, agriculture, or service industries. Some of them face conditions indicative of working for long working hours without food or rest, threats, and physical or sexual abuse.

Recruitment agents, as well as labor brokers in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Oman, and Iran, very often deceive workers into accepting work, that in some instances constitutes forced labor. Many of these agencies produce falsified contracts for employment, either with fictitious employers or with fictitious wage rates, charging workers high recruitment fees (often exceeding $1,000), and urge workers to enter Oman with tourist-visas. Oman is also a destination and transit country for women from China, India, Morocco, Eastern Europe, and South Asia, who may be forced into commercial sexual exploitation, generally by nationals of their own countries. Male Pakistani laborers, and others from India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and East Asia, transit Oman en route to the UAE, are often exploited in situations of forced labor upon reaching their countries of destination.

Qatar-
People from Nepal, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Ethiopia, Sudan, Thailand, Egypt, Syria, Jordan, and China travel to Qatar as laborers and domestic servants, but some face very inhumane conditions once in Qatar, among many other things, predominately involuntary servitude. These conditions include threats of serious physical or financial harm, withholding wages, charging workers unnecessarily for employment benefits, which the employer is fully responsible for by default, traveling restrictions, including the confiscation of passports and identification documents, illegal detention, threats of deportation, as well as physical, mental, and sexual abuse. In some cases, arriving migrant workers have found that the terms of employment in Qatar are wholly different from those they had previously agreed to in their home countries. Individuals employed as domestic servants are particularly vulnerable to Human-Trafficking, since they are not covered under the provisions of the labor laws in Qatar. Small numbers of foreign workers transit Qatar and are forced to work on farms in Saudi Arabia. Qatar is also a destination for women who become caught up in prostitution-rings, but the extent to which these women are subjected to forced prostitution is unknown.

Saudi Arabia-
Regarding Human-Trafficking, Saudi Arabia is notoriously known to not fully comply with the minimum standards of anti-trafficking enforcement & are currently not any making significant efforts to do so. Saudi Arabia is a destination for both men & women, from South East Asia & East Africa, to be trafficked for the purpose of labor exploitation. Also, children, from countries like Yemen & Afghanistan, have very often been trafficking victims, for forced begging. Hundreds of thousands of low-skilled workers from places like India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Kenya migrate travel to Saudi Arabia, some fall into conditions of involuntary servitude, suffering from physical and sexual abuse, non-payment or delayed payment of wages, withholding of identification & traveling documents, restrictions on their freedom to travel within Saudi itself and non-consensual contract alterations. According to international organizations, such as the Ansar Burney Trust, young children from Bangladesh and India are also smuggled into Saudi Arabia, to be used as camel-jockeys. These children are underfed, to reduce their weights, in order to lighten the load on the camels used for racing. Saudi Arabia has been classified as having a Human-Trafficking Tier-3 status, since 2005.

United Arab Emirates-
Women from India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and the Philippines travel  to the U.A.E. to work as domestic servants, but some subsequently face conditions of involuntary servitude such as excessive work hours without pay, unlawful withholding of passports, restrictions on traveling, non-payment of wages, and physical or sexual abuse. Oftentimes, they are not even given legitimate employment, but rather, they’re smuggled into the sex trade in the U.A.E.
Similarly, men from India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Pakistan are drawn to the U.A.E. to work in the construction industry, but are often subjected to similar conditions of coercive labor, as we as debt-bondage, as they work to pay off recruitment costs, often exceeding the equivalent of a 2-year salary. Women from Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, Uganda, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, the Philippines, Iraq, Iran, and Morocco are reportedly trafficked to the U.A.E. for commercial prostitution.

Non-Emirate women are reportedly recruited to work as secretaries or hotel workers by third-party recruiters, perhaps even in their countries of origin. But, they were often coerced into prostitution or involuntary domestic servitude. The U.A.E. may also serve as a transit country for women trafficked into forced labor in Oman, and men deceived into working involuntarily in Iraq. And, much like the neighboring Tier-3, oil-rich Arab states, which border the U.A.E., the Emirate government does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of Human-Trafficking.

What all of these countries have in common-
What these countries have in common is their collective importance to U.S. interests in the Middle-East. each of these countries provide enormous resources, like petroleum, as well as influence & insight into the Muslim-World, the Arab-World, and the region known as the Middle-East generally, which is essential for America to maintain dominance in this part of the world. These particular countries are highly valued by the U.S. America has deeply vested interests in the economic sustainability as well as the geo-political survival of these nations, against any of their would-be rivals in the region. Likewise, these nations have also managed to acquire a substantial influential foot-hole into the economic fabric of the U.S., to such an extent that many of these countries have so much money invested into our economy, that if they were to remove their assets, America’s entire economy would collapse. And, because of this need for the U.S. to keep these countries invested in the American economy & to ensure the safety & security of these regimes to stay in power, they’re willing to turn blind-eyes when it comes to things like Human-Trafficking.

Honestly, if the U.S. really wanted to do something really substantial to these countries, for their lack of diligence in dealing with the issue of Human-Trafficking, they would put them on blast at U.N. meetings, commence economic-sanctions against these countries, decrease the amounts of foreign-aid given to these countries, decrease their consumption of foreign goods from these countries, thereby making the economies of these Human-Trafficking havens stronger via U.S.-patronage, etc. But, which should not be surprising, none of what I’ve mentioned is happening, and it won’t happen, so long as the symbiotic relationship between money & power exist in our world.

The U.S. thrives particularly upon maintaining its dominance & influence in the Middle-East, via supporting the following countries mentioned whom clearly, blatantly violate the sanctity of basic Human-Rights, on a daily basis; yet, they are left alone, to do as they please.