Monthly Archives: May 2008

China Sichuan Province Earthquake Tragedy

“Do you feel secure that He Who is in heaven will not cause you to be swallowed up by the earth when it shakes in an earthquake?” (Quran 67:16)

Click here to hear the live sad story of two parents finding their son in the rubble after the earthquake.

Read about their story here.

The believer’s attitude towards calamities

Firstly:

Calamities and disasters are a test, and they are a sign of Allaah’s love for a person, because they are like medicine: even though it is bitter, despite its bitterness you give it to the one whom you love – and for Allaah is the highest description.

In the saheeh hadeeth it says: “The greatest reward comes with the greatest trial. When Allaah loves a people He tests them. Whoever accepts that wins His pleasure but whoever is discontent with that earns His wrath.” Narrated by al-Tirmidhi (2396) and Ibn Maajah (4031); classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi.

Calamities are good for the believer in the sense that reward is stored up for him the Hereafter thereby; how can it be otherwise when he is raised in status thereby and his bad deeds are expiated? The Prophet (saw) (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “When Allaah wills good for His slave, He hastens the punishment for him in this world, and when Allaah wills ill for His slave, he withholds the punishment for his sins from him until he comes with all his sins on the Day of Resurrection.”
Narrated by al-Tirmidhi (2396); classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi.

Al-Hasan al-Basri (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “Do not resent the calamities that come and the disasters that occur, for perhaps in something that you dislike will be your salvation, and perhaps in something that you prefer will be your doom.”

Al-Fadl ibn Sahl said: “There is a blessing in calamity that the wise man should not ignore, for it erases sins, gives one the opportunity to attain the reward for patience, dispels negligence, reminds one of blessings at the time of health, calls one to repent and encourages one to give charity.

Through calamity the believer seeks reward, and there is no way to attain it but patience, and there is no way to be patient except with resolute faith and strong will.

Remember the words of the Messenger (saw) (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him): “How wonderful is the affair of the believer, for his affairs are all good, and this applies to no one but the believer. If something good happens to him, he is thankful for it and that is good for him. If something bad happens to him, he bears it with patience and that is good for him.”
(Narrated by Muslim, 2999).

So if calamity befalls a Muslim, he must say Inna Lillaahi wa inna ilayhi raaji’oon (Verily to Allah we belong and unto Him is our return), and say the du’aa’s that have been narrated from the Prophet (saw) (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).

How wonderful are those moments in which a person turns to his Lord and knows that He alone is the One Who grants relief from distress. How great is the relief when it comes after hardship.

Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“but give glad tidings to As‑ Saabiroon (the patient).

156. Who, when afflicted with calamity, say: ‘Truly, to Allaah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return.’

157. They are those on whom are the Salawaat (i.e. who are blessed and will be forgiven) from their Lord, and (they are those who) receive His Mercy, and it is they who are the guided ones”

[al-Baqarah 2:155-157]

Muslim [918] narrated that Umm Salamah (may Allaah be pleased with her) said: I heard the Messenger of Allaah (saw) (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say: I heard the Messenger of Allaah ()(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say: “There is no Muslim who is stricken with a calamity and says what Allaah has enjoined – ‘Verily to Allaah we belong and unto Him is our return. O Allaah, reward me for my affliction and compensate me with something better’ – but Allaah will compensate him with something better.”

She said: When Abu Salamah died, I said: Who among the Muslims is better than Abu Salamah, the first household to migrate to join the Messenger of Allaah (saw) (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)? Then I said it, and Allaah compensated me with the Messenger of Allaah (saw) (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).

Secondly:

There are things which, if the one who is stricken with calamity thinks about them, that will make the calamity easier for him to bear.

Ibn al-Qayyim in his valuable book Zaad al-Ma’aad (4/189-195), has mentioned several things, including the following:

1 – If he looks at what has befallen him, he will find that what his Lord has left for him is similar to it or better than it, and if he is patient and accepts it, He has stored up for him something that is many times greater than what he has lost through this calamity, and if He willed He could have made the calamity even greater.

2 – The fire of calamity can be extinguished by thinking of those who have been hit even harder. Let him look to his right, does he see anything but calamity? Then let him look to his left, does he see anything but loss? If he were to look at the people around him, he would not see anything but people who are tested, either by missing out on something that they like, or by having happen to them that which they dislike. The pains of this world are like dreams or like a passing shadow. If you laugh a little you will weep a lot, and if you are happy for a day you will be miserable for a lifetime, and if you have what you want for a little while, you will be deprived for a long time. There is no day of happiness but it is followed by a day of pain.
Ibn Mas’ood (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: For every moment of joy there is a moment of sorrow, and no house is filled with joy but it will be filled with sorrow. And Ibn Sireen said: There is never any laughter but there comes weeping after it.

3 – It should be noted that panicking will not make the calamity go away, and in fact it makes it worse.

4 – It should be noted that missing out on the reward for patience and surrender, which is mercy and guidance that Allaah has granted as the reward for patience and turning to Him (by saying Inna Lillaahi wa inna ilayhi raaji’oon (Verily to Allah we belong and unto Him is our return)), is worse than the calamity itself.

5 – It should be noted that panicking makes one’s enemy rejoice and makes one’s friend feel sad; it makes Allaah angry and makes the shaytaan happy; it destroys reward and weakens resolve. If he is patient, seeks reward, strives to please Allaah, to make his friend happy and to make his enemy sad, and seeks to relieve his brothers of their burdens and to console them before they console him, this is steadfastness and a sign of perfection – not slapping one’s cheeks, rending one’s garment, wishing for death and being discontent with the divine decree.

6 – It should be noted that what comes after being patient and seeking reward is pleasure and joy that is many times greater than what he could have got from keeping what he lost. Sufficient for him is the “house of praise” that will be built for him in Paradise as a reward for his praising his Lord and turning to Him (by saying Inna Lillaahi wa inna ilayhi raaji’oon (Verily to Allah we belong and unto Him is our return)). So let him decide which of the two calamities is greater: a calamity in this world, or the calamity of missing out on the house of praise in eternal Paradise.

In al-Tirmidhi it is narrated in a marfoo’ report: “On the Day of Resurrection people will wish that their skins had been cut with scissors in this world, when they see the reward of those who were struck with calamity.”

One of the salaf said: Were it not for the calamities of this world, we would come empty-handed on the Day of Resurrection.

7 – It should be noted that the One Who is testing him is the Most Wise and the Most Merciful, and that He – may He be glorified – did not send this calamity in order to destroy him or cause him pain or finish him off, rather He is checking on him, testing his patience, acceptance and faith; it is so that He may hear his du’aa’ and supplication, so that He may see him standing before Him, seeking protection, filled with humility and complaining to Him.

8 – It should be noted that were it not for the trials and tribulations of this world, a person could develop arrogance, self-admiration, a pharaonic attitude and hardheartedness which would lead to his doom in this world and in the Hereafter. It is a sign of the mercy of the Most Merciful that He checks on him from time to time with the remedy of calamity so as to protect him from these diseases, to keep his submission and servitude sound, and to eliminate all bad elements that may lead to his doom. Glory be to the One Who shows mercy by means of testing, and tests by means of blessing, as it is said:

Allaah may bless us with calamities even if that is hard, and Allaah may test some people with blessings.

9 – It should be noted that the bitterness of this world is the essence of sweetness in the Hereafter, as Allaah will turn the former into the latter. Similarly the sweetness of this world is the essence of bitterness in the Hereafter. It is better to move from temporary bitterness to eternal sweetness than the other way round. If this is still not clear to you, then think of what the Prophet (saw) (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Paradise is surrounded with difficulties, and Hell is surrounded with desires.” End quote.

Secondly:

In many cases, if a person responds well to calamity, they understand that it is a blessing and a gift, not a test.

Shaykh al-Islam [Ibn Taymiyah] (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: A calamity that makes you turn to Allaah is better for you than a blessing which makes you forget the remembrance of Allaah.”

Sufyaan said: What a person dislikes may be better for him than what he likes, because what he dislikes causes him to call upon Allaah, whereas what he likes may make him heedless.

Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) regarded his imprisonment as a blessing that had been caused by his enemies.

Ibn al-Qayyim said: One day he – meaning Ibn Taymiyah – said to me: What can my enemies do to me? My garden is in my heart; wherever I go it is with me and never leaves me. My detainment is seclusion (an opportunity for worship), my being killed is martyrdom, and being expelled from my city is a journey.

He used to say of his detainment in the citadel: If I were to spend the fill of this citadel in gold, that would not be sufficient to express my gratitude for this blessing. Or he said: That would not be sufficient to reward them for what they have brought to me of goodness.

When he was imprisoned, he used to say when prostrating: “O Allaah, help me to remember You, give thanks to You and to worship You well. Ma sha Allaah. He said to me (Ibn al-Qayyim) one day: The one who is really detained is the one who keeps his heart away from his Lord, and the real prisoner is the one is captive to his whims and desires. When he entered the citadel and was within its walls, he looked at it and said: “So a wall will be put up between them, with a gate therein. Inside it will be mercy, and outside it will be torment” [al-Hadeed 57:13]. Allaah knows that I have never seen anyone who was more content with his life than him, despite all the hardship that he experienced, and the lack of luxury and comfort, in fact the opposite of that, and despite the imprisonment, threats and exhaustion that he faced; despite all of that, he was the happiest of people with his life, the most content, the most courageous, the most satisfied. You could see the signs of joy and happiness in his face. When we felt afraid and were expecting calamity, and we had nowhere to turn, we would go to him and as soon as we saw him and heard his voice, all those fears disappeared and were replaced with contentment, courage, certainty and tranquillity. Glory be to the One who showed some of His slaves His Paradise before they met Him, and opened its gates to them when they were still in this world of deeds and actions, so some of its breezes and fragrance came to them, which made them devote their energy to seeking it and competing in attaining it. End quote.

Al-Waabil al-Sayyib (p. 110).

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Global Deaf Muslim

 

Global Deaf Muslim website

 

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Yasir Qadhi – Progress with the Progressives

An extremely important and relevant lecture by Sheikh Yasir Qadhi, especially for us living in the US.

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Lions for Lambs

I question how it is possible to disillusion these individuals that are forcibly pushing forward this unjust war since they are oblivious to the fact that being in a position of power requires a far greater need for ethical judgment and reasoning. Simply relegating the onerous responsibility of deciding the fate of generations has been widdled away to rationalizing what decisions are best for their own career growth. What I personally understand to be the origin of the dichotomy that I am witnessing is the stark difference between the commonly repeated jargon that politicians use throughout the media and the truth behind the original motives and current “war” that our country is fighting. This cognitive dissonance that has been on display has only revealed a discrepancy between the beliefs that we are inculcated to stand for as Americans and the behavior of those that are supposed to act as leaders. This self-serving attributional bias, which claims that our successes in this fight are squarely due to personal dispositions of our national leaders and our failures are solely due to the nature of the situation we are faced with, has only humiliated our country and exposed those who falsely claim to be sending our troops to fight for a just cause.

The nebulous new military plan that was introduced in Lions for Lambs almost perfectly mirrored the implementation of new strategies that are taken without any considerations of the human and financial costs in the actual combat by decision makers that never “bled in a fight”. The need for success is not for ending the violence, but for public support of increased violence. This is more important than the need for the ethical acknowledgment of utterly abject failures and attempts of rectification with not only the American people, not only the innocent “collateral damage” in Afghanistan and Iraq, not only the petrified global community, but with our leaders responsible for this crisis first and foremost. In the movie it was stated that what is clearly happening is that the enemy is bent on establishing themselves as a legitimate fighting force for the people. Is that not what our “leaders” persuaded us that our military was doing as well, and are still attempting to do? The fear and the resulting mistakes were not simply a result of the emotional response to the attacks on our own country. They were because of the forced outward support of the majority opinion, with threats of “unpatriotic” labels, instead of support for the thought out ethical opinion.

The most troubling aspect to deal with is how the film described how both politicians and the media bank on the public’s apathy and willful ignorance. The lurid neglect of providing factual evidence and concern for revealing the truth that typified both the politicians’ and media’s disposition towards the general public was clearly shown in the movie. When trying to relate the book How Good People Make Tough Choices to the politicians in the White House, I feel that it would be much easier for me if the book was instead titled How Bad People Make Terrible Choices. Politicians, such as the Senator in the move, that are supporting this unjust war are completely under the guise of what I would describe as a handicapped version of utilitarianism. The so-called ends justify the means, but the problem with that thought process is that there is, as the title of a previous film described, no end in sight. Nor do we as the public know what the constantly changing “end” is defined as. Why did we go in the first place? Why are we still there? As the Senator vaguely stated in the movie, “We are launching this new strategy using the military as the opening punch. Taking the high ground is key. Whoever takes it has the ability to observe, the prerogative to attack, and the opportunity to preside. That’s why the Romans built forts. You establish constant presence or you will have constant violence.” I don’t want to sound cynical, but wonder at times if there would be less opposition if instead of the vague claims and obvious lies, there was a clear and honest description of attempting to establish a permanent domicile for political, social, and military dominance in the region. It might actually be easier for those pushing this war forward to admit to the foolhardy truth that has been hidden and then continue with their ways.

Although, not all blame should be placed on the shoulders of the policymakers and media. As a nation, we have loved to put ourselves in a sort of self-induced euphoria about the intentions of our military dominance, colonialism, and intimidation. I am pleased to see that now there is a growing questioning of our foreign policies, which Lions for Lambs was an obvious example of, but doubt that any of these ethical questions would have been raised if we had “won” this shameful war. We are blameworthy of egocentrism because it’s hard for us to put ourselves in the shoes of others in order to reasonably and logically understand why there exists conflict to begin with. If those in other parts of the world don’t agree with our current, and rapidly changing, societal norms they are presumed to be in need of “democratization”. We as a people need to be cognizant of the fact that although some of our country’s leaders are beyond any sort of redeemable recompense for the damage they have inspired, we too are not completely innocuous and free of any blame.

Although I personally have never categorically defined my ethical choices based on anything other than my religious beliefs, I would argue that I am closest to the rules-based principles. However, this is not in a complete sense because I don’t want to be blinded from having the sagacious wisdom to understand the overall consequences and repercussions my actions will have on the long term well being of others. Having said that, I feel the most crucial statement in the movie was, “Don’t you think it might be critical to examine how we got to this point?” How and why we are here are the quintessential questions, not the answer to whether we are willing to blindly do whatever it takes to win this war. Otherwise we will only repeat the exact same mistakes made in the past and put future generations in more danger.

The quote by Theodoore Roosevelt in the office of the Senator stated, “If I must choose between righteousness and peace, I choose righteousness”. This is a very powerful quote, and I somewhat agree with it, but feel it can easily be taken out of context and misused. What bothers me are empty lines like, “You are either with us or against us”, as if there is no middle path. It seems to me as if they don’t want us to think on our own and use our intelligence to find a peaceful solution. Stating that you don’t agree with someone’s opinion doesn’t automatically imply you are criticizing that person for speaking his/her mind. It was Aristotle that said, “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it”. I can only hope that our future leaders and fellow citizens will attempt to use educated minds to bring an end to this global onslaught, and not have to choose between either but rather promote both righteousness and peace.

Click here for movie information

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Morph: Nanotechnology Device

Here is a video of a very cool possible nanotechnology communications device.

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Awww, nobody likes him :(

  • President Bush’s disapproval rating hits all-time high in polling
  • More than 70 percent disapprove in CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll
  • Survey indicates support for Iraq war has never been lower
  • Low approval numbers come five years after “Mission Accomplished” moment

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    Kids Enactment – Peace Conference 2007 Mumbai India

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