05 November 2009

Tall Towers

It's in today's news that Barj Dubai is now the tallest man-made structure ever. One of the signs of the Hour, as the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) related, is that shepherds will start building tall towers. This should not be understood as a religious derision of the achievements of the desert Arabs to whom it particularly refers to, for achievements of man are commendable. Rather it is a very literal prophecy. Muslims who have criticised the superfluous building constructions in Mecca have used this narration to attack the Saudi establishment. This has been a traditionalist critique, which is quite valid, but short of looking at the effect this may have on local, small industries. In fact, the latter should be the primary concern. In the Dubai case, however, it is intended to attract tourism. On the other hand, the first argument unwittingly implies that faith is a treasured past which is being intruded upon by modernity. As such, faith becomes a relic, an identity rather than a timeless message from God. What's for sure is that the competition to build tall buildings is proof that humanity, indeed the entire earth, is in a new age which will lead to the Last Hour. Only God has the knowledge of its exact time and occurrence.

God separates the wheat from the chaff

Ah, woe unto worshippers
Who are heedless of their prayer;
Who would be seen (at worship)
Yet refuse small kindnesses!

- Al-Maun (4-7) , Qur'an

17 September 2009

The Most Irrelevant Question

In my view, the most irrelevant question we ask each other is: "Where are you from?"

My friend Ibrahim and I have never asked each other that. We are different colours but one race: human. We first met in the wudu room. I really feel the love on this one. It's that calm feeling of belief. It's who you are that matters and you only get it right if you don't have any reservations about your sister marrying this guy. It's who he is that counts: a God-fearing, good-natured person. All Ramadan he has been coming one hour early, for the sake of Allah, to arrange for our food and seating. This is not to say my sister is marrying Ibrahim but I pray she'll meet such a person. These are the jewels God has strewn -- to make it easier for the rest.

06 July 2009

Vegetarianism & Compassion

I am thinking of turning to vegetaranism or something close to it. I feel that the meat industry is against the teachings of Islam and the conscience. No, Islam does not prohibit eating meat, but the Last Prophet "has placed the killing of animals without a justifiable reason as one of the major sins".

Animals in Islam
Avoid ye the seven obnoxious things {deadly sins}: polytheism; magic; the killing breathing beings! Which God has forbidden except for rightful reason. (Narrated by Abu Huraira. Sahih Mulim - Kitab-ul-Imam (Ref. No. 46); Chapt. XXXIX, Vol.I; p. 52. Bukhari, 4:23. Also Awn, (Ref. No. 32); Hadith No. 2857.
The continual killing of animals as a food supply -- and the outward manifestation of faith lacking the particular teaching within Muslim circles is rather stupefying. Despite Islam's emphasis on good treatment of animals, Muslims -- like Christians and everybody else -- can be observed "living off " the suffering of animals. We are only allowed to eat meat in moderation. Now we have turned animals into an industry. This is what happens when you do that:

Action of the Month
Desperately sick and injured pigs were discovered at Longerong piggery with no attempt made to provide them with veterinary assistance. Footage of a moribund pig with thousands of maggots crawling out of a wound has shocked even the most experienced animal advocates.
This is happening at a piggery in Tasmania, and it's happening to all animals worldwide. In Islam we are fortunate to have the rules but there has been no application of those rules -- in fact, it is no coincidence that some of the Muslim countries that sell themselves out for being "Islamic" while breaking every single rule and enforcing twisted interpretations that directly target women, for one, do not enforce these basic yardsticks of faith, even a twisted one.

Our Holy Prophet(s)'s overwhelming concern for animal rights and their general welfare would certainly have condemned (La'ana) those who practice such methods (factory farming), in the same way as he condemned similar other cruelties in his days. He would have declared that there is no grace or blessing (Brakah) - neither in the consumption of such food nor in the profits from such trades.
As the meat certainly comes from factories, even Muslim ones, I think there is enough reason to go green. What do you think?

On a side-note: Regarding pigs, Dr. Rajab Abu Mleeh, Shari `ah consultant at Islamonline.net website, states that "we are required to show mercy to this animal and not to cause it pain or harm. Indeed, it did not commit any fault or offence. Rather, it is an animal which glorifies Almighty Allah Who has created it whereby to test us and see which of us is best in deeds..."

Related Post: Food for Thought by Tim.

12 May 2009

02 May 2009

Kindness in Islam/Views on the Taliban/A Message of Peace

There are a group of Muslims - fanatical, tribalist, nationalist - that are in the habit of telling other Muslims that they are not following Islam, and they're a general offence in the sense that they spread hatred and violence against non-Muslims. The most extreme example of this group is the Taliban: long bearded, short-sighted, fascist to say the least. And the most common trait of this group is that they are unkind. Seriously, you'll hear of them beating women, throwing acid into the faces of girls who want to get an education, torturing boys and men. In short, the Taliban and its like-minded followers love nothing more than raping humanity. In the Islamic view, if you show inhumanity and unkindness to others, you don't have faith. You have lost it. There is one thing that is fundamentally incompatible with Islam: inhumanity. Islam's last prophet, Muhammad (peace be upon him), has said: "Kindness is a mark of faith: and whoever hath not kindness hath not faith." How universal: "All God's creatures are His family; and he is the most beloved of God who doeth most good to God's creatures." How significant: "Who is the most favored of God? He from whom the greatest good cometh to His creatures." How lovely: "What actions are most excellent? To gladden the heart of a human being, to feed the hungry, to help the afflicted, to lighten the sorrow of the sorrowful, and to remove the wrongs of the injured." How wise: "Verily, God is mild, and is fond of mildness, and he giveth to the mild what he doth not to the harsh".

It will be hard for many non-Muslims to recognise Muhammad's voice in these messages - with his lament for God's creatures. But that's how it is. That's how he was. He was not like what the Danish cartoonists or Orientalist fantasists made him out to be or what al-Zawahiri makes himself out to be. The Prophet was not just an important figure in Islam but a great figure of humanity. By concentrating solely on the wars he fought against people who wished to kill him (and then blame him for their moral weaknesses) or making the Prophet a perfect deity of sorts - such as the false mystical belief that he was the first act of creation and a sort of inspiration for what followed - we do our faith a great injustice. We need the Prophet's words more than ever. He walked on earth and taught his brothers and sisters because he was human. Especially now that we find men in religious robes using a vulgar image of Islam to destroy the societies around them, brutalising countless innocent people.

We must listen to the Last Prophet (and the Prophets before him); to educated, intelligent Muslims; to wisdom and knowledge; to share our common legacy with all of God's creatures; to honour God (for to honour God you must first love your fellow man).

We don't need senseless violence; sectarian strife; terrorist atrocities against Muslims and non-Muslims; and trivialising "the West" as a darkened place of mere material longing (which is the sister of Orientalism: Occidentalism). Separating the world into the pure and impure is itself unacceptable. Who decides that? Good and bad people are dispersed in every land. There is nothing like "Islam and the West" in Islam. It's all God's beautiful earth. Do they ever pause by a rolling river or a mist-covered mountain? They madly say it's just "science". Respect others! Moreover, in Islam there is no room "for revolution, only evolution" (Muhammad Asad).

Let kindness be our first step, let faith be our heart's rest, let the conscience be the staff in our hands and let the everlasting rainbow of God - stretched from the East to the West, North to the South - humble us...before we say an unkind word or lift a callous hand to strike another human being. One day all of us will return to God and answer Him for what we said and did. It is the choice each one of us must make: to either be on the side of what's good or what's prohibited.

There is no system of honour killing or concept of revenge killings or holy war in Islam. "What the West did" is a popular refrain. I dare al-Qaeda to say this truly, for it has itself partaken in the retardation and destruction of decent Muslim societies. Muslims must address their own history of colonialism and distance themselves from the vain glories of the past. They must emulate the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), not the time in which he preached. Islam must not be confused with Jahiliyah, which is what the Prophet fought against. We must fight against it, too.

We must first build an ethical, God-fearing house, because it is well-known that murder and debauchery do not breed faith. They are an abuse of faith.

It's the Prophet Muhammad against the Taliban. It's Islam and humanity against superstitions, barbarity and thoughtlessness. And may the Taliban perish with the ashes it beholds for our future. May we fight them and regain the golden sands of learning, reason and knowledge. Where God is worshipped in peace, for that's what Islam means.

17 April 2009


God is the only one we may serve and praise....We may not act in this way toward anything beneath God, whether it be an angel, a star, or one of the elements.....There are no intermediaries between us and God. All our prayers should be directed towards God; nothing else should even be considered.

- Maimonides

Note: Anything that diverges from this is not monotheism. No prophet or pope or saint possesses the honour of Almighty Allah.