Saturday, March 10, 2007


Discourses in the Intellectual Traditions, Political Situation, and Social Ethics of Muslim Life

Editorial Staff:
  • Ruth (formerly blogged on Houston Chronicle)
  • Ibn Abee Omar
  • Amad (formerly of “Musings of a Muslim Mind”)
  • AnonyMouse (formerly of “Musings of a Muslim Mouse”)
  • Ahmad AlFarsi, pursuing his Masters at MIT.

Guest Writers:

  • Yasir Qadhi (you know him)
  • Tawfique Chowdhury is the founder of AlKawthar Institute
  • Amir Bulter, who writes for Austrolabe
  • Abu Bakr, who writes for Islamicsciences blog

Thursday, March 08, 2007

A New Era of Blogging

Inshallah, this weekend will mark the beginning (hopefully) of something special, and I and others will be moving on with this era. So, stay tuned... more details will be forthcoming (yes, still on this blog).

I should add that over the past 3 months, since I started blogging, I have learned so many things, and I have really have undergone a somewhat radical change in my outlook (perhaps you have noticed it too). Overall, I would say that I have MORE good feelings for MORE Muslims than I had before, so if this is the only positive I can take out of this, then that would mark a huge triumph for me. So, if perchance, you were turned off by my the 'old-me', perhaps you will give the 'new-me' another chance! I should mention that my principles have not changed, alhamdulilah, rather the style is what has changed and is still metamorphosing.

I do have ONE small assignment for my readers: CRITICIZE ME. Ok, I should add a qualifier...constructively criticize me... tell me what you like about the blog, and what you don't like; so in the "new era", I can persist in what I have done good (if any), and change/adjust in what I am not doing so good.

Until the weekend then, here is a list of the best of this blog (not that the best is so great either), which will eventually become inactive:

Monday, March 05, 2007

Let's Count...

How many lives were destroyed or have the high potential to be destroyed (Islamically -speaking) :

Father: In prison probably forever <--- destroyed
Mother: Dead <--- destroyed
Child#1: Will be raised by non-Muslim grand-parents <--- high potential
Child#2: Ditto
Child#3: Ditto

That would be five lives. And why? Because some idiot(s), some fanatic(s), probably someone or more, who would never do it himself or themselves, convinced a young convert to go to Somalia for a "greater cause". Great job dude(s)... now be prepared to answer to Allah for destroying five lives.

Mr. Maldonado, it won't be easy for you either, whoever set you up will be asked about five lives, but you followed them in destroying four; well I should say one plus potentially three, unless Allah protects the children's Islam. I doubt that the grandparents would have much sympathy left for our faith, and I dare say rightfully so... after all, their daughter was killed for this "cause", why would they teach their grand-children about the faith that Maldonado claimed for the "cause"? Allahu Musta'aan... may Allah raise these children as Muslims and not punish them for the grave errors of their father.

That was my 2 cents after reading about this story on Tariq Nelson's and Umar Lee's blogs.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Wafa Sultan: The Bubble is Bursting

I am sure many of the readers have heard of Wafa Sultan, the secularist 'humanist', the neither Muslim nor Christian nor Jew, the one who still describes herself a Muslim, but insists that "I don't even believe in Islam". No surprise there, after all it is more profitable to bash Islam while still claiming "Muslimship", ask Irshad Manji.

Originally Syrian, she is from an Alawi family, which kind of explains how she could be still a Muslim, yet not believe in Islam. I am glad that she admits this, in a sort of self-incriminating way, that Alawites are only Muslim by name, not really by their belief in Islam. After all, could this 'Alawite-Islam', which includes believing in Ali's (RD) divinity, almost similar to Christian belief in Jesus, be the Islam delivered by the Messenger of Allah (S)? I think not.

Last year, Wafa's claim to fame was via her appearance on Al-Jazeera, a piece of which was aired by the neo-con, Israeli-planted web-channel, MEMRI opposite Dr. Ibrahim Al-Khouli. Unfortunately, as with most of our Shayookh, they are good in what they do (Islamic education), but not good in what they don't (appearing in the media). Coupled with the fact that this was a MEMRI hit-job (apparently the Al Jazeera clip was edited out of context as per the transcript of the interview at the Annaqed website), Dr. Ibrahim didn't do too well. And the video resulted in pushing Wafa to a pedestal that she deserves not the least bit, not because she is an Islamaphobe, but because she doesn't have any real credentials, or any intellectual arguments. Amazingly, and this is an utter testimony to the media bias against Islam, she was named one of Time Magazine's 100 most influential people. Perhaps, I should start the list of the 100 most successful liars, and she definitely will get a ticket to the top 10!

Wafa claims that said she was shocked into secularism (from Alawism-- not sure what is really worse, hmm...) by the 1979 atrocities committed by Islamic extremists of the Muslim Brotherhood against innocent Syrian people, including the machine-gun assassination of her professor, Dr. Yusef al Yusef. Well, that is what she CLAIMED. Of course, the media does not care about checking facts... any self-described Muslim 'refuse-nik' is immediately elevated to media-darling status. But, fortunately for the sake of truth, someone did, and it seems that Ms. Sultan's story is full of holes, and her image is (hopefully sooner than later) imploding. Here is a catch from CAIR's email:
[See also this scathing post from Dr.M, the master of pro-regressive analysis!]


By Abdussalam Mohamed, InFocus, March 2007

While Sultan's admirers have nothing but praise for her, detractors charge that many of her public claims do not corroborate with facts. Moreover, they assert that the reasons behind her rise to fame have more to do with her personal life than with her desire to reform Islam.

Adnan Halabi*, a Syrian expatriate who met and got to know the Sultans when they first came to the United States, spoke at length about the Wafa Sultan that very few people know.

According to Halabi, Dr. Wafa Ahmad (her maiden name) arrived in California with her husband Moufid (now changed to David) in the late 80s on a tourist visa. Contrary to what she told the New York Times, they came as a couple, leaving their two children back in Syria.

Another source named Nabil Mustafa, also Syrian, told InFocus that he was introduced to Moufid Sultan through a personal friend who knew the family well, and both ended up having tea at the Sultans' one-bedroom apartment one evening in 1989. It was then that Moufid told Mustafa the story of how he was reunited with his two children. According to Mustafa, Moufid Sultan told him that a short time after they arrived in the country, his wife, Dr. Wafa Sultan, mailed her passport back to her sister Ilham Ahmad in Syria (while the passport still carried a valid U.S. tourist visa). With Ilham bearing a resemblance to her sister Wafa, the plan was to go to the Mexican Embassy in Damascus and obtain a visa to Mexico, making sure that the airline carrier they would book a flight on would have a layover somewhere in the Continental United States.

With an existing U.S. visa on Wafa Sultan's passport, Ilham Ahmad had no trouble obtaining an entry permit to Mexico. Shortly after, Ilham and Wafa's two children landed in Houston, Texas. She and the children then allegedly made their way through customs and were picked up by Moufid and brought to California.

Taking advantage of an amnesty law for farmers, the Sultans applied for permanent residency through a Mexican lady who worked as a farm hand. She helped Moufid with the paperwork by claiming he had worked as a farmer for four years. The application went through and the Sultans obtained their green cards.

As incredible as the story sounds, Mustafa told InFocus that to the best of his recollection, this was the exact account he heard from Moufid Sultan. Halabi, who is not acquainted with Mustafa, corroborated the story, which he heard from Dr. Wafa Sultan herself but with fewer details. Dr. Wafa Sultan declined InFocus' repeated requests to be interviewed or comment on the allegations. InFocus contacted the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to check on the veracity of the story but an official said that they would look into the allegations, which could take months to investigate.

Halabi alleges that Ilham Ahmad lived as illegal resident with her sister Wafa for years until she met an Arab Christian named Khalid Musa Shihadeh whom she ended up marrying (they were married in Nevada on 12/8/1991 and filed for divorce in 2002). It was during that time that Halabi got to know the Sultans well.

Halabi alleges that the Sultans lived in dire poverty. "Their rent was over $1,000 per month and Moufid was only making $800," he said. Dr. Wafa Sultan was forced to rent out a room in her apartment and work at a pizza parlor in Norwalk, Calif. where a personal friend used to pick her up and drop her off daily. This same friend used to help the Sultans out with groceries and occasionally loaned them money just so they could make it through the month. "It was a serious struggle," Halabi recalled. "The Sultans lived hand to mouth for years on end." Further, Halabi said that at no point during the period he knew the family did Sultan ever discuss religion, politics or any topic relevant to her current activities. "She is a smart woman, articulate and forceful, but she never meddled in religion or politics to the extent she is doing now," Halabi said.

As to the claim that her professor (thought to be Yusef Al-Yusef) was gunned down before her eyes in a faculty classroom at the University of Aleppo, Halabi said the incident never took place. "There was a professor who was killed around 1979, that is true, but it was off-campus and Sultan was not even around when it happened," he added.

InFocus contacted the University of Aleppo and spoke to Dr. Riyad Asfari, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, who confirmed Halabi's account. "Yes, the assassination took place off-campus," he said. Dr. Asfari was keen to add that no one had ever been killed in a classroom anytime or anywhere at the university.

Syrian expatriate Ghada Moezzin, who attended the University of Aleppo in 1979 as a sophomore, told InFocus that she never heard of the assassination. "We would've known about the killing if it had happened," she said. "It would have been big news on campus and I do not recall ever hearing about it." Moezzin, who lives in Glendora, Calif., added that government security was always present around the university given the political climate in Syria at the time.

What are perceived as inconsistencies and half-truths like these convince Sultan's critics that the motive behind her invectives against Islam and Muslims is other than her alleged desire for reform. (MORE)

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Is There Any Doubt Left??

After watching this video, please tell me if there is any doubt left that Mr. Baker is motivated by prejudice and bigotry in his fight against the Katy Islamic Association (KIA) that is trying to build a mosque? I mean after having been in discussions with some of his more intelligent and reasonable neighbors, I was beginning to feel that may be we had misjudged these poor, peaceful country folk. Not any more. These 'supporters' are a bunch of red-necks who don't want their children to be in school next to "them" (with few exceptions like gb). Don't miss the statement by one of the 'supporters', who is openly threatening lynching by hanging if he is called a liar.

This short take by Jon Stewart show was hilarious... it shed a humorous light on how absurd the anti-KIA (Katy Islamic Association) crowd is, and that their 'official' position that this is not about Muslims is as big of a joke as they themselves became last night.

Check it out for yourself: Click here (its a little slow loading)

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The Intrigue of Snow

For newcomers to old man winter's areas, snow is indeed new, and for the kids, its also intriguing and an opportunity to have a blast... so this winter is their first one in the Northeast, and they are savoring every moment. Forget that dad has to shovel the driveway. Forget that the dreary winter seems to be dragging on almost forever, bringing with it not only bitter cold on the outside, but also affecting internal human systems (is it only me or does winter depress moods a bit??).

Forget all that! Aboodi and Reemo have a snowman to keep up with... Check it out for yourself, he looks pretty cool!

And we Thought we Had it Hard...

I came across this post/blog of a family that lost a 12-year girl; a sister and a daughter named Asma. As I read the story posted by the brother a few days after her death, I could not control my tears as I imagined the pain this brother and his family went through and have been going through. Losing a family member at such a tender age, right at the cusp of adulthood, is so devastating emotionally. And I can only imagine, because I have never had to live through it. And I ask Allah's mercy and forgiveness against such a calamity.

When we read these true moments of heart-felt pain, it should remind us of our weakness, our mortality, and should put our own griefs, troubles and difficulties in perspective. We have so much thank for, and so little to be aggrieved for.

Take a moment to read this story, and other entries on Br. Omar Haq's blog and Asma/Omar's sister's blog. Make dua' for their little sister, for their family and for all the Muslims who have encountered such a loss or have a terminally sick family member. Leave a comment if you wish. After that, let's reflect on our own state, and thank Allah for everything we have.

The link to Omar's post around Asma's death
The link to Omar's post "after 2 years"
The link to Asma's sister's post "oh Asmi"

Friday, February 23, 2007

JUST (don't) DO IT!

With the approach of Rabi-ul-Awal, the topic of mawlid (celebrating the Prophet S's birthday) is heating up again. Since it has been made into a controversial issue (while the facts would seemingly say that this should be a non-issue), I will try to stick to my goal of 'keep it simple, stupid' in matters of relevance to the average layman.

Let's look at mawlid ('Milaad an-nabee' in Urdu) from three perspectives:
1) Did the Prophet (S), Sahabah, Tabiyeen (the generation proceeding Sahaba), Tabe-Tabiyeen (the next generation), or any of the 4 Imams condone it or practice it?
*Answer: No, there is absolutely no evidence of the mawlid practice from these generations.

2) Were the people who started mawlid upon the mainstream Ahl-Sunnah methodology?
*Answer: No, in fact they were not even Sunnis! The first recorded celebrations of his birth occurred during the latter part of Shia Fatimid rule in Egypt (909–1171).

3) What do the scholars say?
*Answer: This is where some of the controversy has taken shape. Opinions of scholars vary from the celebrations being disallowed (e.g. Sh. Bin Baz and Mufti Taqi Uthmani) to mubah (e.g. a recent eloquent fatwa from Sh. Ibn Bayyah) all the way to mustahab (mostly braelwis and more extreme sufis).

Based on (1) and (2), it should be sufficient to raise MAJOR flags against the celebration. In fact, those two should be sufficient for us. Even if we were to consider (3), it is still perfectly clear that there are no scholars (even among extremes that I could find) who says that it is waajib (obligation). So, why risk it?

I admit that we depend on our scholars to guide us, since they are indeed the inheritors of the Prophets. And I have already shown that the 4 greatest scholars, the 4 Imams did not practice this either. However, many great scholars and Imams afterwards did allow it, so that should be considered. For this purpose, I'd like for us to use some simple logic to locate the "safe" choice. Sometimes, when we see differences of opinions, it is to our advantage to stay away from the doubtful matters, for the purposes of avoiding sin, even at the sake of losing risky reward.

First, lets assume Mawlid was indeed a sin and a blameworthy innovation:
(a) By not doing it, you have earned yourself some ajr (reward by avoiding sin).
(b) By doing it, you may be sinful (since blameworthy innovations are worse than sins, the sin may be of a greater level).

Now lets assume Mawlid was the extreme opposite, i.e. mustahab (recommended):
(c) By not doing it, you have earned yourself neither sin nor reward.
(d) By doing it, you have earned yourself reward.

Conclusion: The person who does not partake in the celebration of mawlid is subject to either (a) reward or (c) nothing. While the person who does partake in mawlid is subject to either (b) possible sin or (d) reward. So, the logical SAFE choice is the first one, which avoids all chances of sin, and has the possibility of reward, so JUST (don't) DO IT!

We can also discuss innovations for a bit. Pretty much everyone admits that the mawlid is indeed an bidah (innovation). Sh. Ibn Bayyah in the fatwa clearly states that it is NOT the sunnah, which means it is a bidah. The question comes down to whether this is a blameworthy bidah or not. The scholars that allow it consider this to be a bidah hasanah or a good bidah, while other scholars do not believe that something like 'bidah hasanah' in matters of religion exists. For the latter, bidah in deen (as opposed to the 'worldly' innovation such as cars, etc. that are ok) is blameworthy regardless of intentions. Ibn Taymiyyah gives some room for intentions as seen in the entirety of fatwa here (skip to #9 post). Here are a couple of other good reads on innovation being blameworthy (#1 and #2).

As for intentions, this is another gray area. We know that all actions are by intentions (Hadith), however, we also know that the act has to be in accordance with the Shariah to have it accepted, regardless of intention. For instance, can I choose to pray 3 rakah for tahiyat-ul-masjid (instead of the 2 rakahs sunnah) for the sake of 'increasing' reward; indeed a good intention? Everyone will respond with 'of course not'. Thus, that is a simple proof for intentions not being sufficient to make an act praiseworthy.

Bottom-line, in a confusing world, it is best to be safe. To be safe in deen is to be cool :) ! So, my dear brothers and sisters, JUST (don't) DO IT!

Injustice, Injustice, Injustice!

He [Paul Cortez], James Barker and Steven Green had their eye on a farmhouse near their checkpoint in Mahmudiya, near Baghdad. They visited it before the attack and behaved so lasciviously around Abeer Qasim al-Janabi that she was sent to sleep at a neighbour's house. They made their move in broad daylight, when Abeer's parents and five-year-old sister were also home. Cortez told the court that Green took the three into a bedroom while Cortez and Barker took turns raping Abeer in the living room.

"She kept trying to keep her legs closed and saying stuff in Arabic," Cortez said. "During the time me and Barker were raping Abeer, I heard gunshots that came from the bedroom. After Barker was done, Green came out and said that he had killed them all... Green then placed himself between Abeer's legs to rape her."

Green shot the girl dead too, at which point the soldiers set her on fire.
[From the Independent]

Sgt. Paul Cortez, one of the five men, being court-martialled for raping a 14-year-old Iraqi girl and killing her family in March 2006 received what would be an unjust outrageously light sentence, by any standard of fairness. While the papers and news tickers are screaming "Soldier sentenced to 100 years in prison", the truth in fact is that Cortez could be free on parole in only 10 years!

Consider for a minute the circumstances of this brutal rape and murder. And then tell me, doesn't this deserve human outrage? Not just Muslims, but especially Muslims. How can it be that a rape of a 12-year old Japanese girl justified what was called a 'light' sentence of 7 years in Japanese prisons, while the gang-rape, murder of this 14-year old Iraqi girl and the murder of her father, her mother, and her 5-year old sister wasn't enough to justify a life-sentence at the least, let alone the death penalty? How will America justify this light treatment of the heinous crime to the rest of the world, especially to the Iraqis? What a farce! What Injustice!
Inna lillahi wa innah alehi raajioon.