Real Men?

Yesterday as I drove home from work as usual I was listening to “The Power” on XM radio, and they were wrapping up a discussion about what is a real man. I began to think more and more on the subject and realized I never really pondered this myself. I mean after all, I’m a man, so what makes a “real man”? The most I ever heard about the subject came from my uncle when I was 15 or so. I distinctly remember him telling me and my cousins that a man isn’t defined by age, but more so by his responsibilities. He went on to add, once you have your own everything, and take care of it, then you begin to understand manhood. I knew that this was a covert criticism of one of my younger uncles, who at 26 or so, was still living home with grandma. Either way, I got the gist of the discussion, and to make a long story short, that was the last time I actually thought about it.

Over the years I have tried to be responsible and self-sufficient. I joined the Marine Corps fresh out of high school at 17 and I have been on my own ever since. I never borrowed money from my parents, and for the most part have been 100% self sufficient. It never once crossed my mind if these actions proved my “manhood” or not. Until yesterday that is.

Most have said and do say that I’m a “good” man. I mean, I’m on my second marriage, my 3rd serious relationship, and all the women I have ever been in a relationship with, well for the most part would agree that I have been honorable and took great care of them. I’m currently married with 5 little boys my marriage is happy and fun, we are doing good some would say great for a 25yr old with my “circumstances”. I’m not trying to toot my own horn, just reflecting and wondering aloud of course, if this defines manhood.

As I went into reflection, as I often do these days, I realized the best and only way to define manhood for me would be in the context of my religious beliefs. It should be of no surprise to the readers of the blog and those that know me personally, that I context everything in accordance with my religion. So I sought out the Quran and decided to see what is said about this subject. What I came up with was various passages, that I believe would clear this question up, or at least place me in the right direction.

Allah declares in the Quran:

“Men are the maintainers and protectors of Women”. 4:34

tell them that I have not created the invisible beings and men to any end other than that they may know and worship Me.” 51:56

“then He forms him in accordance with what he is meant to be, and breathes into him of His spirit: and thus, O men, He endows you with hearing, and sight, and feelings as well as minds: yet how seldom are you grateful!”32:9

So from this I derived these thoughts: A “real man” protects and maintains women, knows and worships God, and lives in accordance to that which God created him to be.

This is obviously a “meaty” subject, actually more so than I originally intended as I began typing these thoughts, so its probably easier if I handle these three verses separately.

Men are the Protectors and Maintainers of Women

In my opinion a “real man” ensures that women have the rights endowed upon them from God to be free. That means they should be free to worship how they want, study how they want, work how they want etc. The maintenance part comes in through our support physically, mentally, and spiritually. Anytime we are non-supportive to our wives, sisters, mothers, or women in general, we are not maintaining them. Anytime especially as married men, we don’t financially support our wives in a manner that gives her the freedom to choose or do what she pleases, we are not maintaining properly. Proper maintenance of a women to me, is when she is secure. Security means different things for different people and especially women, but the basics tend to be food, finances, and shelter. We must ensure women have places to live, food to eat, and the necessary finances to pursue her endeavours, whatever they may be. There really is no way around this, especially as a Muslim. That is why the Prophet of Islam(saw) instructed us men to only get married once we can afford it. A woman should only work when she wants to. She is our first teacher, leader, and guide, if we have her burdened because of our lack of maintenance, what happens to the next generation? Better yet, what has happened to the next generation? Protection of women is also physical, mental, and spiritual. Domestic violence is out of hand. There should never be a reason to put your hands on a woman. She is not your child, she is your equal and the mother of civilization. How can you put your hands on the woman God created as your direct equal? That’s a slight against God, for without the women, where would we be? Verbal abuse is just as bad. I’m not going to go too deep with this, but when you see her, you should see all that is right with creation, for without her, nothing could continue. It is only through her that we begin to unravel the mysteries of God, which is actually locked away in her womb. Would you disrespect God? We have allowed our women to become mere objects, some would debate the responsibilities in this matter, but I’m putting it on us. Let me be blunt for a moment: Turn on your TV. Do you think for one minute that Mary the Mother of Jesus(saw) would be caught looking like that on television? Would you want to see your mother, sister, niece, aunt, etc. on the television shaking there backsides? Then why would you allow or even tolerate someone else,s family doing it? The mark of the believer is that they want for their brother what they have for themselves. So if its not OK for your daughter, why should it be alright for mine? I used Mary as an example, because we are taught in Islam that she was the most righteous woman to have walked the Earth and is an example to women and the world. We should support our women in such a way that they want to emulate Mary who through her all nations were blessed, instead of wanting our women to only fulfill our carnal and low desires. You can judge a nation and civilization by the way they treat their women. If this is in fact the true criterion, how would we measure up?

Knowledge and Worship of God

Brief and to the point. You can’t know where your going until you understand where you have been. When we reflect on our origins, ancestry, etc. how can we not look back in awe. What’s even greater than that awe is that there is an Active force behind it all that make all that we imagine possible. Why shouldn’t you reverence that? Why shouldn’t you reverence the Creator and Origin of all that is? Leaders must also be lead and are judged by that which they follow. If the head of life is not that which Originated you, or you don’t even feel the need to respect and reverence your Origin, why should one follow you, if they rely on you to show them the way. If you don’t even reverence where you came from, who wants a leader who can’t possibly know where they are going? The study and knowledge of who we are and where we came from ends up with God. That knowledge should lead us to worship God. A “real man” in this instance, is one who has sense of direction, drive, and knows where he has been. Based off that knowledge, he knows where he is going. A “real man” has aim and purpose in life and has a plan, because we all know those who fail to plan, plan to fail. If God isn’t what you reverence, isn’t your center, or that which directs your life, than who or what is?

A “Real Man” lives in accordance to that which God created him to be

You have all read it before, maybe in different books, scriptures, etc. but the message in any form is consistent. From the Bible to the Quran and everywhere in between, we are told that God created us in His image and likeness, we should have the mind that was in Jesus(saw), or we were created to stand in the place of God on Earth. This is a great task and serious undertaking. What is this “image” of God that we are created in? What is this “mind” that Jesus(saw) had that we should have? What does it mean to stand in the place of God? I have been taught that God=force+power. Therefore, anything that exercises force and power over something else can for all intensive purposes, be a god. Anytime your environment controls you, whatever in that environment that exercises force and power over you is your god. If you can’t look at another without sexual intention, lust is your god. If you can’t be faithful to your spouse of significant other, sex has become your god. If you can’t function without the desire for more money and things, greed amongst others is your god. That addiction or habit you can’t seem to break, is your god. If we are created in the “image” of God then that means we have the ability to create and destroy within the context of our present reality. That means that our environment shouldn’t change us, but we should change our environment and create and destroy it according to our will. The mind we should have that Jesus(saw) had is that of submission. It was due to his submission and faith that all thing were possible by him and through him. If we had that mind, our potential would be limitless. We are are own worst enemies. When we start to act in accordance with these rules we become the men we were created to be. We can stand in the place of God on Earth in our homes, neighborhoods, and lives. We can be the masters of our universe. “Real Men” realize their potential, actively pursue it, and use it in such a way, to create and environment pleasing to God. Life is what we make it, literally. We have the power, but we have to recognize it and use it. We humans reverence or at least should, all that God created so it makes sense to follow Him, what do you suppose would happen if we became god in our lives? Do you think our homes would be broken? Do you think our neighborhoods would be filled with crime? Do you think society would be the way it is?


Religion in American Politics

OK, lets face the facts, the majority of Americans are religious. Granted, the extent of which is diverse, however, most identify themselves as being a member of a religion. The question remains how do you best utilize this information in politics? Or better yet, should we? I believe that we should use this information to bring people together on common ground and to make a better nation. However, I don’t believe we should use religion to divide people. The other fact is that while the majority is religious, there is still a minority who is not. The great thing about this nation is that the minority is given a voice and the same should ring true when it comes to religion in politics.

Why do I bring all this up? Well its quite simple, if you have been alive and aware the last five years, its become increasingly clear that certain elements have formed a radical religious movement that seeks to paint America in their image. The biggest problem with that is that they are very divisive, are against inclusion, and of course radical. The truth of the matter is that there are serious side effects of this “your either with us or against us” philosophy and one of the major effects is that people becoming more religious for the good and the bad of the country. I believe this trend is across the board without regard to political party affiliation, but its the manipulation of these trends that are at times scary.

Today, I was listening to CNN and they were talking about “Jesus Camp” a new documentary about a camp where Evangelical Christian kids go, and to be blunt about it, get indoctrinated. They represent the tomorrow of what we see today. This movement is anti anything that doesn’t believe how they believe, and whats worse, they wield political power.

Now I don’t like to take party sides, as my views are both conservative and liberal, but I have to admit the GOP has a strangle-hold on this issue and its been a successful advantage they have held over the heads of the democratic party. I believe that its high time democrats get a backbone and profess their religious beliefs to counter the republicans to at the very least, provide some balance where there is none.

Personally, I don’t think what the religious right does or believes is in accordance to the essence of what Jesus(saw) actually taught. They seem very zealous, however its a dangerous zeal that is void of knowledge, wisdom, and understanding. No one seems to have the courage in politics to ask questions like what would Jesus do?

Would Jesus be for divisive and dismissive behavior toward those that don’t believe the same? Would he be inclusive, compassionate, and understanding? How would he feel about going to war with countries that haven’t attacked us? What would he say about placing sanctions, embargoes, etc. on countries that weaken and kill, because we don’t like them? What would he say about the crime, homelessness, hunger, corruption, etc that we see in America?

We have a “leadership” that professes to be followers of Christ, yet their lip service doesn’t produce any actions that are scripturally sound. You have so-called Christian leaders calling for the assassination of heads of state, celebrating others illnesses, and calling others belief systems and Prophets evil and Satanic. You have mega churches now full of wealth, primarily for those that head them, in neighborhoods, where people can barely afford to eat or eat at all.

Now I don’t want people to think I’m beating up on Christians for two reasons: First and foremost, if there was a growing Jewish or Muslim movement that had such political power and leaders in place and were guilty of the same things, I would be just as critical.

Now some may raise the BS flag because I haven’t said a peep about AIPAC or the ADL for instance, and while I do hold strong opinions of their actions, as you know as a Muslim who is also black, the very moment I say a word against those groups, I will be labeled an Anti-Semite, so rather than go down that road, just know, that the same things I dish out about Evangelicals, I also hold these beliefs about other groups as well.

Secondly, these guys are not even Christians anyway in my humble opinion. I have been to Church, grew up in the Church, and was raised as a Christian by a Pastor, long enough to see in scripture that they are pseudo-Christians at best.

Lets be honest, if you care more about what others do and believe, rather than helping the poor, the sick, etc. you are already on that downward slope of being anti-Christ. The moment you can hate someone because they are different or believe different, the moment you believe in building bigger churches and helping the wealthy, the more you believe in racist and supremacist ideals, the moment you can not care about the loss of hundreds of thousands of lives because they believe something else or supposedly “hate you”, you are increasingly showing that you are adverse to that which you profess.

Its time for those in politics to not run from religion, but to embrace it, but embrace it in a way where truth is separated from falsehood. We should call people on their beliefs, especially when they use them to try and get some political advantage. If religion truly guided politicians we could be a prosperous, tolerant, peaceful society, for all citizens no matter what. But the proof is in the pudding and we see what the reality is.

Minister Farrakhan's Illness

Luke 6:45 NIV

The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.

I must admit that I’m saddened and hurt at what I have seen today on the Internet. I haven’t truly followed this story, but I decided to do a search and see what’s going on. I have witnessed so much hate and vile today that I can’t even think of a time that I had this much revulsion for the prospect of a better human mind and heart.

My main drive has always been my faith in God and my desire to serve Him by serving man. I know the road is rough and it is troubled. I know that sometimes I get weary, but most go on. And even though, I have been called many names, my beliefs and religion questioned, insults slung at me and my faith, etc. I have always took it in stride, because I believe in a God that transcends the wickedness present in the hearts of some men.

I always dust my self off and keep going with an optimism that many call too rosy in a time like this.

Every now and then my spirit is dragged down just a little by things like that I have read today.

From many corners on the net, all afternoon I have read nothing but cheering, jeering, insults, and outright hate speech from people of all colors and backgrounds as they celebrated the illness and possible death of NOI leader Minister Farrakhan. One has to question the morality of people that could cheer on someone else’s death in general let alone this man. Granted, Farrakhan is no saint, and I don’t agree with all that he says either, but here we are in a nation that people want to say is inhabited by “civilized” people, yet these same people mock and cheer on someones illness.

I know there is evil and wickedness in the world, some of it I viewed today, but what saddens me the most is that many of the comments come from those who by definition declare to be followers of Jesus(saw), Moses(saw), and even Muhammad(saw). I’m sorry I have to say it, but anyone who speaks in the manner some have spoken about Farrakhan and his illness do not represent these great messengers of God, nor are they in accordance with the will of God.

Words are a reflection of what is already in the heart and mind, if you can say these vile things about anyone let alone Farrakhan, as Solomon(saw) wrote in Proverbs “a fool’s mouth is his undoing”. These words reveal the wheat from the tares, and to claim God with a heart like this is utter hypocrisy. A true believer, wants for his/her brother or sister what he has for himself. No true believer wishes harm on any in the whole of humanity, even if it is there enemy.

Personally, I pray for the Minister that he gets well, Insha’ Allah(If it be the will of God). For I remember a time when I sat in NOI classrooms learning and becoming more disciplined as a man of faith, I remember drug addicts, felons, prostitutes, etc. reforming through the work of the NOI and becoming chaste, disciplined, respectful men and women of God. I saw this with my own eyes, I know their work, I have seen and heard the Minister in person, and even though I may disagree with his stance on my issues, there is no way, I could wish any harm on that man and to do so is not only sick and cowardly, it exposes the contempt not only for Farrakhan but also for his message and those who support him and were changed for the better because of him.

So when his illness is mocked and possible death cheered, I can only see it as a personal insult to me and an insult to the millions that have heard him speak and support him and I am obviously one of them.

So say what you will, but hypocrisy is hypocrisy, and I don’t mind calling a spade a spade, because I would rather die on truth than falsehood and injustice, and to call this man out like this especially at a time like this is wicked and evil, plain and simple.

So for those of you that wish the Minister goes to Hell, if that be Allah’s will, then you will soon be there with him.


Minister Farrakhan’s Illness

Luke 6:45 NIV

The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.

I must admit that I’m saddened and hurt at what I have seen today on the Internet. I haven’t truly followed this story, but I decided to do a search and see what’s going on. I have witnessed so much hate and vile today that I can’t even think of a time that I had this much revulsion for the prospect of a better human mind and heart.

My main drive has always been my faith in God and my desire to serve Him by serving man. I know the road is rough and it is troubled. I know that sometimes I get weary, but most go on. And even though, I have been called many names, my beliefs and religion questioned, insults slung at me and my faith, etc. I have always took it in stride, because I believe in a God that transcends the wickedness present in the hearts of some men.

I always dust my self off and keep going with an optimism that many call too rosy in a time like this.

Every now and then my spirit is dragged down just a little by things like that I have read today.

From many corners on the net, all afternoon I have read nothing but cheering, jeering, insults, and outright hate speech from people of all colors and backgrounds as they celebrated the illness and possible death of NOI leader Minister Farrakhan. One has to question the morality of people that could cheer on someone else’s death in general let alone this man. Granted, Farrakhan is no saint, and I don’t agree with all that he says either, but here we are in a nation that people want to say is inhabited by “civilized” people, yet these same people mock and cheer on someones illness.

I know there is evil and wickedness in the world, some of it I viewed today, but what saddens me the most is that many of the comments come from those who by definition declare to be followers of Jesus(saw), Moses(saw), and even Muhammad(saw). I’m sorry I have to say it, but anyone who speaks in the manner some have spoken about Farrakhan and his illness do not represent these great messengers of God, nor are they in accordance with the will of God.

Words are a reflection of what is already in the heart and mind, if you can say these vile things about anyone let alone Farrakhan, as Solomon(saw) wrote in Proverbs “a fool’s mouth is his undoing”. These words reveal the wheat from the tares, and to claim God with a heart like this is utter hypocrisy. A true believer, wants for his/her brother or sister what he has for himself. No true believer wishes harm on any in the whole of humanity, even if it is there enemy.

Personally, I pray for the Minister that he gets well, Insha’ Allah(If it be the will of God). For I remember a time when I sat in NOI classrooms learning and becoming more disciplined as a man of faith, I remember drug addicts, felons, prostitutes, etc. reforming through the work of the NOI and becoming chaste, disciplined, respectful men and women of God. I saw this with my own eyes, I know their work, I have seen and heard the Minister in person, and even though I may disagree with his stance on my issues, there is no way, I could wish any harm on that man and to do so is not only sick and cowardly, it exposes the contempt not only for Farrakhan but also for his message and those who support him and were changed for the better because of him.

So when his illness is mocked and possible death cheered, I can only see it as a personal insult to me and an insult to the millions that have heard him speak and support him and I am obviously one of them.

So say what you will, but hypocrisy is hypocrisy, and I don’t mind calling a spade a spade, because I would rather die on truth than falsehood and injustice, and to call this man out like this especially at a time like this is wicked and evil, plain and simple.

So for those of you that wish the Minister goes to Hell, if that be Allah’s will, then you will soon be there with him.


Lead, Follow, or Get out the way

I Can’t say why this phrase came into my mind today. Nevertheless, I’m certain that its an appropriate phrase to describe the current state of affairs, not just in religion, but also politics, and various other socio-economic idioms.

The first time I ever heard this phrase was in the Marine Corps, and to me it symbolizes the very essence of all that I believe as it relates to life.

To me, stagnation is equivalent to death, because something with no aim nor purpose is for all intensive purposes dead and void of life. We live in a universe full of motion and it would be unnatural to be beings that are against motion. Everything lives under the laws of cause and effect, pushing and pulling, ying and yang, etc. Therefore, our individual beliefs as it relates to our personal philosophies, choices, and life must follow these same laws.

Leadership is strongly needed in this world today especially, in the realm of politics and religion, two subjects I frequent if you haven’t noticed. But what kind of leadership is needed and how do we describe that leadership in the first place? I have been taught that leadership is the ability to effectively influence a unit or bloc of people and move them from one place to another in a variety of fashions or means. If this is in truth the definition of leadership, than what kind of “influence” must the said leader have and what kind of “people” will be moved by it?

A good leader is also a good follower. In order to lead, one must know how to follow. How can we expect others to be of service when we have never served ourselves? The true test and question is what are you following in the first place? An effective leader follows a principle or set of principles that instills within them with a sense of duty that makes them eager to serve in a capacity so great that this becomes the forethought of every action they take. These principles are so great that they manifest to such a degree that others pick up on this and want to follow this particular individual.

Granted, I’m just quoting and re-hashing things that many may already know and believe, but I think that in a time like this, we have to seriously engage this subject, because it effects our everyday lives.

There are core values and principles that I think we all should adhere to. In the Marine Corps, we identify these as Honor, Courage, and Commitment. A strong leader or I dare say a great leader, should exude these characteristics and or traits, and be a dedicated adherent to these as an everyday philosophy.

Honor can be summed up in two words: Justice and Integrity.

A leader must have the capacity to be able to see the world and people in such a way that they realize the universal need and urge for balance. Balance is only maintained by justice and integrity. In the political sphere, we see increasingly that things are neither just nor fair, and we all know that most politicians have thrown integrity out the window a long time ago. How can we continue to stomach the systems under which we subject ourselves to or associate ourselves with that no longer if ever, represents the needs of the people? What good is pseudo representation? The masses cry out in one direction, yet the “leadership” steers us in another direction, I don’t see the justice in that. In religion, especially my own, we have allowed wolves to lead the sheep. These wolves only seek to devour and conquer. How can we say we represent a God of Peace, and we do, if we allow these wolves to show and do otherwise? This is not just in Islam, but Christianity, Judaism, and many others. Peace, true peace can only reside in a world where there is justice and integrity. Any leader that doesn’t understand and actively engage in this, my dear friends isn’t just the opposite of a leader but is lacking seriously, in the honor department.

Courage is having the quality of mind or spirit that enables one to move forward, even in the face of adversity no matter how great or small the odds.

It should be of no surprise that all the characteristics and ideas I have expressed so far involve motion. A leader must move forward, if they plan on leading effectively. In order to move forward one must espouse courage. There are times in life when we feel too tired, we just want to give up, and we question the road ahead because of the difficulty that awaits us. It is in these times when we must press on. In the Bible, it is written that we should let this mind be in us as it was in Jesus. One of the first questions we should be asking as it relates to this verse, is what was the mind of Jesus that we should have? What we read of Jesus, whether we believe in him or not, was that he had the mind to move ahead, stay the course, and press on regardless of adversity. He believed in his mission so much that even at the threat of death he did not waver. His message was one of peace and paradise, he wanted to restore the balance of humanity, and at all costs he pressed on with this mission. Who are we, that we don’t have the courage and conviction to say what needs to be said in a time like this? Is our faith in our beliefs so weak, that we fall not only silent, but become prey for our enemies? Isn’t it about time that we choose or become leaders that have the courage to look adversity in the eye and speak the truth of peace and justice, no matter what? This is what we should earnestly seek and what we must earnestly demand. Any who compromise in this area, is not worthy of leadership.

Commitment is a pledge, promise, or obligation.

I don’t have to go in depth on this one, but what good is a leader that doesn’t keep their word? In politics especially here in America, our “leaders” swear an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. Any leader that does other than that isn’t worthy of their position, rank, or title. If I cant trust you to keep your oath, than how can I trust you to make decisions on my behalf? In religion, our “leaders” profess and sometimes take an oath that they will express and act in accordance with the teachings of their religion. I have yet to study a religion or system of belief that doesn’t believe that the Supreme Being, God is a Merciful, Just, and Peaceful God. Granted there are a few “fringe” groups like Satanists…but you get where I’m going with this. Any Rabbi, Priest, Minister, or Imam, that speaks or teaches anything other than Mercy, Justice, and Peace, is not only not of God, but are open adversaries of God. We should not allow for such leaders that openly break their commitment and yet say they act on our behalf or our beliefs. If we allow such, what does that say about us?

Everyone believe it or not, is a leader. There are just different levels in which we lead. Everyone is also a follower in which the same is also true. Just as we should examine who we allow to lead us, we must also examine ourselves to see why we are lead and if that “leader” is really representing us or what we believe. Either way, leading or following are paths of motion, even if it is backward, God forbid, but it is motion nevertheless, and where there is motion, their is life and the potential there of.

If we have become so content or so stagnant that we don’t do either, then we ought to get out the way, and just exist as the zombies we are, the living dead. We live in a culture of death that promotes the adverse of life and increases the lethargic activities that lead to physical and mental death.

We are a humanity in need of two things: Leaders and Followers. However, we have to be willing to do what is necessary to establish virtuous leadership and followers, we have to have the Honor to know which is which, the Courage to point out the difference, and the Commitment to follow through. Otherwise, we will just be as it is written in the scripture as tinkling brass and symbols, pleasant sounding entertainment.

For us Muslims this is Ramadan. Ramadan is supposed to be a time of introspection. The physical fast is in truth, more spiritual than anything else. This is the time when we are supposed to be training our minds to have the discipline to act in accordance with what we believe. Controlling ones lower desires, hunger, lust, etc. gives us the ability to express the higher desires or oneness with our Creator and exemplify Peace, which is the result of Freedom, Justice, and Equality for all Humanity. If these things aren’t on our agenda, its time to take a serious look in the mirror. These things have to be on our agenda.

If we aren’t for the oppressed, if we aren’t for the abused women and children, if we aren’t for the homeless, hungry, sick and shut in, if we are not for Justice, Freedom, and Equality for all of Humanity no matter the ethnicity, nationality, or ideology, then we must accept our choices and the consequences thereof, most importantly we have to decide to and recognize that its time to Lead, Follow, or Get out of the way…

Peace be with you and yours,

Ramadan Mubarak

God will not change the condition of a people until they change

13:10 It is all alike to Him whether any of you conceals his thought or brings it into the open, and whether he seeks to hide his evil deeds under the cover of night or walks boldly in the light of day,

13:11 thinking that he has hosts of helpers-both such as can be perceived by him and such as are hidden from him that could preserve him from whatever God may have willed. Verily, God does not change men’s condition unless they change their inner selves; and when God wills people to suffer evil in consequence of their own evil deeds, there is none who could avert it for they have none who could protect them from Him.

13:12 HE IT IS who displays before you the lightning, to give rise to both fear and hope,
and calls heavy clouds into being;


Above is the English translation of Surah(chapter) Ar-Ra’d(The Thunder) Ayah’s(verses) 10-13 from the Muhammad Asad translation.

My purpose for posting these scriptures is to give an in depth view into my perception as it relates to the plight of Muslims today in light of the current controversy that I spoke in length in my “Muslim Disappointment” blog 9/15/06. Now, my wife among others were a little “disturbed” about my expression:

“I cannot see why we are so upset with the Pope and are not upset with ourselves. In truth, I don’t blame the Pope. He should talk about us, somebody should, because we obviously don’t have the courage to talk about it. 1.5 billion weak individuals, we deserve what we get, “

In my wife’s defense, after explaining my understanding of the Quranic text, she could see where I was going with this. What many don’t know, is that I try with the best of my reasoning and knowledge to express myself in the context of the Quran whenever I speak or write. I rarely if ever, express a view that is not congruent with the intention or understanding of the Quran. The above expression, once taken apart, can be easily understood once you see the ayat.

My fellow Muslims, it has increasingly become clear that this is a time for action. We love to blame others for our shortcomings, but rarely look in the mirror. I was disheartened and very upset after learning about the reactions to the Pontiff’s speech. We, and I say we, because we are one Ummah, looked like complete idiots. Here you have the Pope, commenting in so many words what can be translated to mean that Islam produces violence, and how do we respond? Calling for the death of the Pope, riots, and the death of a Nun and God only knows what else wasn’t reported.

This is what I meant when I questioned our logic into getting upset in the first place. Benjamin Franklin once said “do not throw stones at your neighbor, especially if your house is made of glass”. Muslims, what kind of house are we keeping today? Is it clean? Is it made of brick? In Indonesia for instance, three Christians face execution, now one can debate why that is, but you and I both know that it might have more to do with the fact that they are Christians and less to do with the crime.

This mess, this garbage, that we have allowed to fester in our house is what is causing us to receive the eviction notice. Its the reason the lights are being cut off and the pests are roaming rampant.

Lets examine just the Ayats I posted:

13:10 It is all alike to Him whether any of you conceals his thought or brings it into the open, and whether he seeks to hide his evil deeds under the cover of night or walks boldly in the light of day,

We would be foolish and outright spreading falsehood if we didn’t acknowledge the evil among us. Do you think that just because we pretend or don’t acknowledge its presence that others don’t see it especially God? Muslims are commanded to destroy evil and falsehood and replace it with which is better. How many of us in the sight of Allah(swt) can say that we are guilty of doing this righteous deed?

13:11 thinking that he has hosts of helpers-both such as can be perceived by him and such as are hidden from him that could preserve him from whatever God may have willed. Verily, God does not change men’s condition unless they change their inner selves; and when God wills people to suffer evil in consequence of their own evil deeds, there is none who could avert it for they have none who could protect them from Him.

Look at our condition. Granted in some nations and countries around the world we live pretty well and comfortable. However, did not the Prophet(saw) say that a Muslim wants for his brother what he has for himself? We are ONE Ummah, with ONE faith, and submit to ONE Lord of ALL the Worlds. How can we live in peace while our brothers die daily in the streets? How can we allow the persecution of women and children. Much of the suffering comes from who? Not America, not the West, but ourselves.

I’m not denying the involvement of others nor the history of the world, but one has to start at home first. If we were a strong Ummah that reflected the best of mankind these things would not be able to exist! I can’t say it enough, look at Darfur!!!! Muslims killing Muslims brothers and sisters!!!! And this is not just in the Sudan, but all across Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. We have vast resources yet where does all this oil money go?

Here we are approaching Ramadan. How can we fast one day, without considering the children who don’t even have food at all? We are supposed to be a shining example, but we don’t exemplify the religion that was revealed that says women and men are equal. We don’t exemplify the religion that revealed that the taking of one life is like the killing of all mankind.

Why, Why, Why? Why do we allow this? This is a call to action.

Everyday we allow our brethren to protest against the West or some insult without protesting our own governments, everyday a Muslim woman is beaten, raped, or killed, everyday a child starves and dies, everyday a Muslim commits suicide in bombings, everyday a Muslim commits an act of terror, everyday we allow these things we are hastening our reward with Allah(swt).

Until we network and build the alliances needed to repair our house, until we make the effort to protect the rights of all men and women regardless of their ethnicity, religion, or nationality, until we truly live and represent this deen night and day, then and only then will Allah(swt) help us.

All we have to do is take one step. Every journey begins with the mind to go forward, then the head calls the body into motion, and one step becomes two, and an inch becomes a mile, and before you know it, Peace will cross the globe and the children of Abraham(saw) will establish that which was revealed to them, and we don’t have to agree, but we can live in respect and peace.

13:12 HE IT IS who displays before you the lightning, to give rise to both fear and hope,and calls heavy clouds into being;

Which of the favors of God will we continue to deny? Let us take this current turmoil, this current controversy, this current lightning and reflect on the Majesty of our Lord. Let us submit and call to remembrance our many blessings. Let us not only use these events as a warning to be feared, but let us also use it as a sign to give us hope. Lightening comes before the Thunder, and let us pray that we see this Light in this Darkness and make the righteous decisions that will allow us to advert the Thunder and the Storm. Ameen.

Brothers and sisters, the choice is ours. We can choose to be silent or we can choose to be heard. Whatever, our choice, know that we are rewarded not on just what we thought, but also what we actually did.

49:13 O men! Behold, We have created you all out of a male and a female,and have made you into nations and tribes, so that you might come to know one another. Verily, the noblest of you in the sight of God is the one who is most deeply conscious of Him. Behold, God is all-knowing, all-aware.

May Allah bless and keep you,

As Salaam Alaikum

Relations with Christians according to Muhammad

Now these are not my words, so Im not counting this as a second post today. Just an interesting article from an Islamic scholar that I felt I should add for any of those who still believe otherwise…

Under the guidance of Pope John Paul II the Catholic Church provided significant leadership in promoting peace, justice and harmony among religions. Now the new Pope, the most revered figure in the Catholic world, infallible to his followers and the representative of God to his co-religionist is choosing a path of dialogue with Muslims that seems disturbing.

In a recent speech he decided to quote a 14 century monarch in his argument about Jihad. The quote of the emperor was a political statement within the context of his relations with the emerging Ottoman dynasty, not worthy of giving any credibility. Yet, the Pope chose to repeat it.

If the speech writers of Pope Benedict XVI had looked at a book the “Spread of Islam in the World: A History of Peaceful Preaching”, written by a prominent 19th century historian Professor Thomas Arnold, they might not have quoted the passage of the emperor.
Stronger than the book are the words of Prophet Muhammad himself with regard to Christianity. In 628 CE he sent a charter of freedom to the monks of St. Catherine Monastery in Mt. Sinai. If Pope Benedict XVI or his speech writers had looked at this document they would have found a different image of the Prophet.

Here is the letter written to the monks. This letter was written at a time when no one was talking about freedom of religion, pluralism or protection of human life.

“This is a message from Muhammad ibn Abdullah, as a covenant to those who adopt Christianity, near and far, we are with them. Verily I, the servants, the helpers, and my followers defend them, because Christians are my citizens; and by Allah! I hold out against anything that displeases them.

No compulsion is to be on them. Neither are their judges to be removed from their jobs nor their monks from their monasteries.

No one is to destroy a house of their religion, to damage it, or to carry anything from it to the Muslims’ houses. Should anyone take any of these, he would spoil God’s covenant and disobey His Prophet. Verily, they are my allies and have my secure charter against all that they hate.
No one is to force them to travel or to oblige them to fight. The Muslims are to fight for them. If a female Christian is married to a Muslim, it is not to take place without her approval. She is not to be prevented from visiting her church to pray.

Their churches are to be respected. They are neither to be prevented from repairing them nor the sacredness of their covenants. No one of the nation (Muslims) is to disobey the covenant till the Last Day (end of the world).”

Such were the memorable words of Prophet Muhammad in the year 628 CE, when he granted this historic document, also known as the Charter of Privileges, to the monks of St. Catherine Monastery in Mt. Sinai. It consisted of several clauses covering all aspects of human rights including such topics as the protection of Christians living under Islamic rule, freedom of worship and movement, freedom to appoint their own judges and to own and maintain their property, exemption from military service, and the right to protection in war.

In the spirit of this and numerous other authoritative Islamic texts, one wonders why contemporary policy makers in the West insist on supporting the secular, corrupt, and authoritarian regimes of the predominantly Muslim nations. What is the wisdom of allocating billions of dollars to overthrow, through well-crafted public and covert operations, the popularly and legitimately elected Muslim governments? Have the West’s ‘experts’ on the Middle East, the Orientalists and the national security advisers hijacked Western political institutions as the latter hijacked the legitimate government of, for example, Iran’s democratic Mosadeq regime, or the Algerian peaceful election that guaranteed Muslim control, and many more cases? Should the predominantly Christian West fear and fight genuine Islamic regimes or should it change its outlook by trusting those who uphold God’s Words and Muhammad’s commands above secular and cultural values?

The English translated text of the Charter of Privileges was extracted from the Book ‘Muslim History: 570 – 1950 C.E.’ by Dr. A. Zahoor and Dr. Z. Haq, ZMD Corporation. P.O. Box 8231 – Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8231 – Copyright Akram Zahoor 2000. P. 167.

Saint Catherine Monastery is located in Egypt’s Sani desert. Saint Catherine city is famous for its various sites, e.g. Firon village. Firon is considered a garden rich with the best kinds of fruits of special taste, such as apricots, peach and cantaloupe in addition to the best kind of olives. Furthermore, the city houses Maktab Valleys that is located near Maghara Valleys, besides thousands of unique historical engravings. Saint Catherine area encompasses many significant sites including al-Tarfas site that dates back to more than 30,000 years, and abu-Madis site that dates back to 10,000 years. The latter enjoys a world-wide fame, particularly among specialists, as it witnessed one of the major civilizational transformations from hunting and shooting to agriculture and grazing. In addition, Saint Catherine area is famous for the matchless locations of residential villages, dating back to thousands of years. These villages include Prophet Saleh’s (PBUH) site, that is called al-Marwas, Sheikh Mohsens site, and Sheikh Awwads site. Alexandrian Saint.The Monastery was built in the 6th century A.D or the 4th century A.D., according to some sources. It is located at the foot of Mount Sinai on one of Wadi al-Sheikhs branches, and rises about 5012 feet above sea level. In 545 A.D, the Monastery was constructed by King Postilianos as a fortress for Sinai monks. It comprises several monuments that presumably date back to the Christ’s era. In addition, the monastery houses a large library that is south of the big Church.It consists of three adjacent rooms and which comprises about 6000 old historical, geographical and philosophic manuscripts, written in Greek, Syriac and Arabic. Many of the monastery manuscripts were written in different languages other than Arabic. As for most of the Christian heritage, it was written in Arabic, especially the copies of the Old Testament and the New Testament (The Bible).With the help of the Metropolitan Museum of New York, a new museum has been recently inaugurated inside Saint Catherine Monastery. The new museum houses distinguished collections of rare books and volumes written in Greek, Coptic, Syriac, Latin and Arabic, and they date back to the first seven centuries A.D. Among the major acquisitions is an important document, dating back to the year 2 A.H. It is al-‘Ohda al-Mohamadeyas; a document signed by Prophet Muhammad , to guarantee full protection for the monastery and Egypt’s Christians. In 625 AD, the Popes of the old monastery went to Prophet Muhammad in Al-Madina, for discussion. The result of this discussion was this document.

Fortunately, all these acquisitions and monumental treasures were kept in a dry clean weather in the heart of Sinai desert for long centuries. Thus, they are still in a good condition. Furthermore, the monastery is notable for being a huge artistic, historic and religious wealth, including Bizantine icons that were painted by the monastery monks, dating back to the period from the 6th to the 9th centuries A.D. In addition, it houses several other historical manuscripts that serve as references about emperors, chief monks, leaders and sultans.

All these manuscripts date back to the period from the 4th to the 7th centuries A.D. Among the treasures found in the library is the time-honoured Syriac-registers that dates back to the year 400 A.D that was rewritten during the 7th and 8th centuries. Collections of manuscripts that total about 5000 copies are preserved in the library, dating back to the early years after the invention of printing. It goes without saying that the document of al-O’hda al-Mohamadeias, signed by Prophet Muhammad , is one of the most significant acquisitions in the library.

Dr. Aslam Abdullah is Editor-in-Chief of the Muslim Observer, director of the Islamic society of Nevada, Las Vegas and acting president of the Muslim Council of America, a Washington-based newly formed groups of Muslim activists.