Saturday 10 December 2011

Hadith on Dawah: Bukhari 2783/Muslim 2406

The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said to ‘Ali (RA):

“If Allah guides a person through you, it is better for you than all that is on the earth.”

Bukhari No. 2783 & Muslim No. 2406)

Thursday 24 November 2011

Journey to Islam: Latino Muslims Share Their Story

Brother Mujahid Fletcher & Brother Isa Parada share their stories.

Saturday 12 November 2011

Why Would I Leave Islam? by Nancy Shehata

Nancy Shehat's beautiful blog post discusses some of the issues that reverts to Islam face (actually which all Muslims can face) and why she would make the choice to stay with or leave Islam:

Fast forward eighteen years and here I am, older, maybe wiser, maybe not, married for twelve years with five kids, living in suburbia and trying to help others have a bit of an easier time traveling the path I and so many other reverts have trod.  I’ve been through the many phases of Islam.  The “SuperConvertitis” phase, where I tried to out Islam everyone else.  The burnout phase, where I just wanted to not think about Islam at all, the barely doing the minimum phase where only guilt and fear of Hellfire kept me going, and the phase I’m in now.  It’s kind of a comfortable phase.  I’m steadfast in  my faith, I know where my weaknesses are and I don’t beat myself up for them anymore, and I try to maximize my strong points.  I’m not a “haraam alaik-er” and I’m not so easygoing that I’ll simply smile and nod if I see a Muslim eating a ham sandwich and drinking a beer outside the masjid on Friday.  I think I’ve found my niche as a Muslim and it is in writing and trying to be an uplifting presence – not a role model, I’m not good enough for that – for my brothers and sisters in Islam.  I also make it a point to occasionally poke the hornet’s nest of problems in the Ummah so that people realize that we have to be more proactive in living and teaching Islam.  I’m not Super Muslimah, and I’m okay with that.

I just read on one of my Facebook groups that one of our sisters has left Islam, and it got me to thinking.  Here I am, Muslim for eighteen years, well settled in my faith, knowledgeable to a degree, not prone to histrionics.  What could motivate a person, once guided, to abandon the faith?  What could make me consider leaving Islam, even for a moment?

Read the original post and her answer to the questions she asks here.

Tuesday 8 November 2011

Women & Islam: The Rise and Rise of the Convert in Britain

The Independent (6th November 2011) reports on a new study by Swansea University for Faith Matters called "A Minority Within a Minority" which reports on reverts to Islam in the UK:

"As Muslims celebrate the start of the religious holiday of Eid today and hundreds of thousands from around the world converge on Mecca for the haj, it emerged that of the 5,200 Britons who converted to Islam last year, more than half are white and 75 per cent of them women.

In the past 10 years some 100,000 British people have converted to Islam, of whom some three-quarters are women, according to the latest statistics. This is a significant increase on the 60,000 Britons in the previous decade, according to researchers based at Swansea University.

Kevin Brice, author of the Swansea study A Minority Within a Minority, said to be the most comprehensive study of British Muslim converts, added: "White Muslim converts are caught between two increasingly distant camps. Their best relationships remain with other converts, because of their shared experiences, while there is very little difference between the quality of their relationship with other Muslims or non-Muslims.

"My research also found converts came in two types: some are converts of convenience, who adopt the religion because of a life situation such as meeting a Muslim man, although the religion has little discernible impact on their day-to-day lives. For others it is a conversion of conviction where they feel a calling and embrace the religion robustly.

"That's not to say the two are mutually exclusive – sometimes converts start out on their religious path through convenience and become converts of conviction later on."

You can read the full article and same case studies about the experiences of some reverts here.
The original research report can be found here (PDF).

Tuesday 27 September 2011

Norway Shooting Spree Survivor Converts

The Fresh Air blog describes how one of the people who survived the Anders Breivik’s shooting spree converted to Islam:

"Just a fortnight ago, IERA, the Islamic Education and Research Academy travelled to Norway to attend the World Humanist Congress in Oslo.  Headed up by Hamza Tzortzis who was set to debate Dr Lars Gule, a leading Norwegian humanist, IERA made the trip in order to better educate the Norwegian public about Islam.
In a remarkable twist of fate following Anders Breivik’s right wing shooting spree last month, one of the Non-Muslim survivors from the Island made his way to the IERA dawah table.  Describing his story for the camera, he explained that he found himself praying to God as he hid fearfully from the bullets.  No sooner had he said Allahu Akbar, he felt at peace.  He took his Shahadah right there and then in front of the IERA brothers.
Ironic indeed that a right wing extremist who sought to eradicate the effects of Islam from Europe instead created the conditions for the opposite outcome completely.
‘They plot and plan, and Allah too plans; but the best of planners is Allah’ Quran - 8:30 "

Haji Malik El Shabazz: Letter from Makkah

Excerpt from a letter written by Haji Malik El Shabazz (formerly Malcolm X):

“Never have I witnessed such sincere hospitality and overwhelming spirit of true brotherhood as is practiced by people of all colors and races here in this ancient Holy Land, the home of Abraham, Muhammad and all the other Prophets of the Holy Scriptures.  For the past week, I have been utterly speechless and spellbound by the graciousness I see displayed all around me by people of all colors.

“I have been blessed to visit the Holy City of Mecca, I have made my seven circuits around the Ka’ba, led by a young Mutawaf named Muhammad, I drank water from the well of the Zam Zam.  I ran seven times back and forth between the hills of Mt. Al-Safa and Al Marwah.  I have prayed in the ancient city of Mina, and I have prayed on Mt. Arafat.

“There were tens of thousands of pilgrims, from all over the world.  They were of all colors, from blue-eyed blondes to black-skinned Africans.  But we were all participating in the same ritual, displaying a spirit of unity and brotherhood that my experiences in America had led me to believe never could exist between the white and non-white.

“America needs to understand Islam, because this is the one religion that erases from its society the race problem.  Throughout my travels in the Muslim world, I have met, talked to, and even eaten with people who in America would have been considered white - but the white attitude was removed from their minds by the religion of Islam.  I have never before seen sincere and true brotherhood practiced by all colors together, irrespective of their color.

“During the past eleven days here in the Muslim world, I have eaten from the same plate, drunk from the same glass, and slept on the same rug - while praying to the same God - with fellow Muslims, whose eyes were the bluest of blue, whose hair was the blondest of blond, and whose skin was the whitest of white.  And in the words and in the deeds of the white Muslims, I felt the same sincerity that I felt among the black African Muslims of Nigeria, Sudan and Ghana.

“We were truly all the same (brothers) - because their belief in one God had removed the white from their minds, the white from their behavior, and the white from their attitude.

“I could see from this, that perhaps if white Americans could accept the Oneness of God, then perhaps, too, they could accept in reality the Oneness of Man - and cease to measure, and hinder, and harm others in terms of their ‘differences’ in color.

“With racism plaguing America like an incurable cancer, the so-called ‘Christian’ white American heart should be more receptive to a proven solution to such a destructive problem.  Perhaps it could be in time to save America from imminent disaster - the same destruction brought upon Germany by racism that eventually destroyed the Germans themselves.

“Each hour here in the Holy Land enables me to have greater spiritual insights into what is happening in America between black and white.  The American Negro never can be blamed for his racial animosities - he is only reacting to four hundred years of the conscious racism of the American whites.  But as racism leads America up the suicide path, I do believe, from the experiences that I have had with them, that the whites of the younger generation, in the colleges and universities, will see the handwriting on the walls and many of them will turn to the spiritual path of truth - the only way left to America to ward off the disaster that racism inevitably must lead to.

“Never have I been so highly honored.  Never have I been made to feel more humble and unworthy.  Who would believe the blessings that have been heaped upon an American Negro?  A few nights ago, a man who would be called in America a white man, a United Nations diplomat, an ambassador, a companion of kings, gave me his hotel suite, his bed.  Never would I have even thought of dreaming that I would ever be a recipient of such honors - honors that in America would be bestowed upon a King - not a Negro.

“All praise is due to God, the Lord of all the Worlds.”

(Source: Islamreligion.com)

Sunday 7 August 2011

Giving Dawah to our Japanese Friends During Ramadan

Japanese Muslims has an article that gives some useful advice regarding dawah in Japan which is applicable to any society where atheism is strongly pursued:

"One way we can spread the message of Islam in a soft way is to get involved in our community wherever we live, in a positive way. The community does not need to be an Islamic community only. We can help the poor and the needy, the old and the orphan and the homeless and the people in suffering and the list goes on and on. These rightful acts of ours will Inshallah change the way we are looked by the non-Muslim community members around us.

 This becomes especially important in an atheist society like Japan where a certain stigma is involved in religious discussions. The Japanese people may not be very receptive to what you say about the Oneness of Allah, His most important attributes and Muhammad (May Allah be Pleased with him) being the final Messenger of Allah. However, they will be very positive if you become active in the community and extend help wherever it may be needed.

 This phenomenon has been especially very prevelant during the recent eqrthquake and the ensuing Tsunami and the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster."

Original article here.

Thursday 14 July 2011

A Christian Minister's Conversion to Islam: Dr. Jerald Dirks

Dr Dirks explains on the Deen Show what moved him to leave Christianity and accept Islam.

Dr. Jerald F. Dirks received his Bachelor of Arts (philosophy) from Harvard College in 1971, his Master of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School in 1974, his Master of Arts (clinical child psychology) from the University of Denver in 1976, his Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) degree in clinical psychology from the University of Denver in 1978, and his sessions program certificate in Islamic studies from Imam Muhammad ibn Saud Islamic University in 1998. In 1969, he obtained his License to Preach from the United Methodist Church and was ordained into the Christian ministry (deaconate) by the United Methodist Church in 1972. He converted to Islam in 1993 and completed the ‘Umrah and Hajj in 1999.

Dr Dirks Facebook page is here and profile and life story is here.

American University Professor Converted to Islam

Monday 4 July 2011

Why Justin from Texas accepted Islam

Justin from Texas, USA explains to Eddie of the Deen Show why he and his wife became Muslims.
Some of the messages that stood out for me were:
  • No matter what your situation, you will find true peace in Islam
  • If you are sincere in your search for the truth you will find Islam
  • Islam is nothing new, but actually consistent with what Adam, Moses, Jesus (peace be upon all of them) beleiveed before Muhammad (peace be upon him)

Four Principles of Dawah by Juan Galvan

Texas Muslim Juan Galvan has an article at Islam for Today's site entitled "Four Principles of Dawah":

Four Principles of Dawah

Earlier this year, I asked a local Imam advice about dawah. He replied, "Sincerity. Intention. Tension. Manners. First, you must be sincere. Your intentions and actions must be only for the sake of God. Expect tension. Have manners."

1. Sincerity
"Say, Verily my prayer, my sacrifice, my living, and my dying are for God, the Lord of the Worlds." (Qur'an 6:162).
All our actions should be acts of worship. Sincerity ensures that your intentions and actions are only for the sake of God. Our actions must not be tainted by our own desires.

The work you're doing doesn't have worldly returns. Don't expect any worldly returns. If you always expect things and are waiting for things, you'll never get work done. You will never the get recognition you deserve. All actions are only to gain pleasure from God.

By ensuring our intentions are purely for God, we free ourselves from expectations of worldly rewards. We don't expect acknowledgement, wealth, anything. We are sacrificing our time purely for the religion without expectations.
"[Do not follow] the lust (of thy heart), for it will mislead thee from the Path of God." (Qur'an 38:26).
Race to do good deeds. Friendly competition benefits everyone. Ultimately, we are on the same side. This attitude helps lessen stress and dangerous levels of competition. Sometimes, you will work with people you neither trust nor admire.

A sincere Muslim does not deny anything that is known by necessity to be part of Islam. We cannot make something Halal that is Haram, or something Haram that is Halal. Sincerely repent after committing sins and avoid telling others to avoid setting a bad example. Sincere Muslims practice their religion and educate themselves.

Sincerity requires consistent actions around others and when alone. Respect and good-manners toward others should be sincere. We must be sincere toward everyone. Sincere Muslims should care about current problems and issues within the entire community. Islam is the true, universal religion of our Creator. God is All-Hearing, All-Knowing, All-Aware.

2. Intention.

Prophet Mohammed said: "Actions are only by intention, and every man shall only have what he intended." (Al-Bukhari and Muslim). Actions begin with an intention.

Intention gives you direction. Intention also allows you to quantify your actions. Many new Muslims want to help but have no idea where to start. State your intentions in clear terms. Set deadlines when possible.
Intentions guide actions. What actions do you need to take? What are your strengths and weaknesses? What sacrifices will you need to make? Time. Economic. Emotional.

Always, check your intentions. You may need to modify them. Be flexible. Check your intentions for sincerity. First things first. Prioritize. Learn to think in terms of one year, five years, and fifteen years from now.
Educate yourself. You can only teach up to what you know. No more and no less.
Consider whom you befriend. People want you to follow them. Do not blindly follow people. You may never fully trust the people you follow and/or lead. Know when to lead and when to follow.
"To each is a goal to which God turns him; then strive together (as in a race) towards all that is good. Wheresoever ye are, God will bring you together. For God Hath power over all things." (Qur'an 2:148).
Race to do good deeds. Set your intentions. People with similar interests will miraculously enter your life. When you take a step toward God, He will come running toward you.
"Invite (all) to the Way of your Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious..." (Qur'an 16:124).
Analyze people and situations. Consider current knowledge, background, customs, and culture. Avoid using expressions and vocabulary unfamiliar to non-Muslims. Use little Arabic at first.

Begin by teaching the basics. Begin with Tawheed. Tawheed is the "Unification of Lordship, of Worship, and of His Names and Attributes." Don't confuse people. Explain what Tawheed means. We can't isolate ourselves from non-Latino Muslims and non-Muslims.

The three fundamental concepts of Islam are Tawheed, Prophethood, and Day of Judgment. Explain the Pillars of Faith. Explain the Pillars of Islam. Explain common misconceptions about Islam. People think you're a terrorist. Maybe.

3. Tension.
"How many of the prophets fought (in God's way), and with them (fought) large bands of godly men? But they never lost heart if they met with disaster in God's way, nor did they weaken (in will) nor give in. And God loves those who are firm and steadfast." (Qur'an 3:146).
Anyone who gives dawah will experience tension. You will be criticized. The more you do, the more criticism you will get. You will need to give advice, suggestions, and ask questions.

Expect tests and trials. Your patience will be tested. You will make mistakes. Learn from your mistakes. Don't give up. Read your tension. Tension often speaks to you.

Perform an action then leave the results in the hands of God. You can't control everything. God knows best. Patience. Everyone is busy; all the time. Only God knows what's in your heart.

Be committed. Make things happen. Next time, you'll get more volunteers. Remind people. We forget. Time is the most valuable asset you can give. People are your most valuable asset.

Prophet Mohammed would assign Muslims jobs according to their ability. We will not all be scholars, administrators, or heroes. Do your best with what is available.
"And in no wise covet those things in which God Hath bestowed His gifts more freely on some of you than on others." (Qur'an 4:32).
Don't be a hypocrite. You will be called a hypocrite. Don't burn bridges. You will burn bridges. Consequences come from our behavior. Don't be afraid to make decisions. Get advice and ask questions when appropriate. Listen.

We're on the same side. Seek to empower people rather than making them your slaves. The more you help others, the more they can do for themselves and others. That's freedom for everyone. Seek long-term friendships.

Everyone is a human with feelings and needs. Everyone thinks they are right. Watch your ego. Know when to let go of your pride.

4. Manners.

Abd Allah ibn 'Amr said, "Prophet Mohammed of God, upon him be peace, was never obscene or coarse. Rather, he used to tell us that the best among us were those with the best manners." (Bukhari).
I have emphasized manners throughout the other points.

Bad morals destroy society. People will avoid and humiliate you. No one will like your personality. Avoid people who have bad manners.
"Do good to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, those in need, neighbors who are of kin, neighbors who are strangers, the companion by your side, the wayfarer (ye meet), and what your right hands possess." (Qur'an 4:36).
People who follow the example of prophet Mohammed attract people. Be a role model. Be wise. Be patient. Be truthful. Be fair. Be courageous. Be considerate. Be just. Be generous. Be compassionate. Be forgiving. Be respectful.

May God guide us all. Surely, God is the best guide.

Friday 24 June 2011

The Deen Show: Rapper Accepts Islam

A Interview with a former Jamaican Hip hop star who was also a former Christian who accepted Islam. In this video Muslim Belal shares his story of how he came to Islam.

Brother Muslim Belal mentions a book her read by Harun Yahya called "The Truth Of The Life Of This World", you can download and read the book here.

Misbah Institute Event: The Practice and Spirit of Ramadan

The Misbah Institute is hosting an event called "The Practice and Spirit of Ramadan." This is a short talk by Shaykh Muhammad Yazdani on the most effective way for New Muslims to benefit from Ramadan, including key rulings and how to attain a spiritual month of fasting.

Imam Mohammad Yazdani Raza is an Islamic Jurist, who has received an abundance of knowledge through his study of Islamic Sciences, including theology, jurisprudence and prophetic narrations (hadeeth) amongst others. (For a comprehensive biography visit here).

This event is for New Muslims as well as those interested or involved in supporting New Muslims.

Friday 1st July, 6:45 - 9:00 pm
Muslim World League (Goodge Street Mosque)
46 Goodge Street, London, W1T 4LU (map)

You can register your attendance at http://misbahramadan.eventbrite.com

Full details are available on our the Misbah Institute website at http://www.misbah.org.uk/events.html

Sunday 29 May 2011

Characteristics of an Effective Da'ee

There is a useful article by Sister Amy at her blog Daughter of Guidance entitled 12 Characteristics of an Effective Da'ee. She discusses types or stages of dawah and also certain characteritics that she argues are essential in one who makes dawah. I found the article so useful I have re-posted in full, but do visit Sister Amy's blog and let her know if you found this useful:

12 Characteristics of an Effective Da'ee

When Muslims talk about Islamic Da'wah, or inviting people to the way of Islam, they are basically talking about three different stages of promoting Islam. The first (of three) is inviting people to Islam by conveying the message. That is only one stage, which is followed by teaching Islam to the people who accept the message. And the third stage is actually helping people to implement Islam in their lives. So when I talk about da'wah in this post, I am referring to all three of these stages collectively, and not only the first (as many people perceive.) Therefore da'wah is not directed only to non-Muslims but to Muslims as well, at various levels of knowledge and iman.

Now basically there are three pillars of da'wah. Just like there are pillars of Islam (5), pillars of iman (6), and pillars of salaat (I think there are 4?), there are pillars of da'wah, and they are three (3). This almost seems like a common sense breakdown, but is useful when trying to understand and analyze the concept of da'wah and methods of it. The three pillars of da'wah are first, the caller to Islaam, or the da'ee. The second pillar is the audience of the message, the people who are being called to Islam. And the third pillar is the message itself, what the da'ee is callign to--Islam. Although I'm reluctant to use this analogy, the pillars of da'wah can be likened to sales, where there exists a salesman, a buyer, and a product being sold. It's a useful analogy, but I don't like thinking of Islam as being literally 'sold,' especially as salesmen (analogous to the da'ees) are often considered to be liars in this culture. Or maybe it's just that I have a bad experience with salesmen. Anyway, these are the three essential pillars of da'wah.

Now, as was mentioned above, the da'ee is the person who is basically calling people to Islam, conveying the message, and trying to teach the people and help them to apply islam. The first da'ee or messenger was Nuh (i.e., Noah, pbuh), and the first da'ee in our ummah was Muhammad, saaws. Because the da'ee is calling to Allah SWT, he is in the highest and most honorable role, and is promised a great reward. But in order to be an effective da'ee, there are essential characteristics, even required attributes which a person must possess--they have been summarized here into 12, the 12 characteristics (or requirements) of an effective da'ee.

1. Iman - The first essential characteristic mentioned is to have a strong faith or belief in what the da'ee is calling to, which is Islam.

2. Good Relationship with Allah - The second characteristic is to have a good relationship with the One to whom the da'ee is calling, Allah SWT. This characteristic can be broken down into two parts: sincerity, and love.
  • Ikhlaas means sincerity, and the da'ee must be pure in his intentions. He should be worshiping Allah SWT with sincerity and purity, and not be maintaing what could be called merely a superficial relationship. It should be sincere.
  • Love for Allah SWT is the second part, and a da'ee should love Allah SWt in his heart in order to be an effective da'ee or even a strong Muslim. There are ways to cultivate love for Allah SWT which can be reviewed in my post entitled Loving Allah.
3. Knowledge - A person calling to Islam should also have strong, solid knowledge of what he is calling to, which means the da'ee should know Islam, and also know why Islam is better than any alternative paths.

4. Application - The da'ee must also implement what he calls for, as it is not appropriate to call people to do what he himself cannot apply in his own life. Sometimes this is called 'practicing what you preach.' It is very important for the da'ee to implement Islam in his own life before calling others to it.

5. Awareness - The da'ee should have awareness of basically three principles:
  • Awareness of the reality of da'wah in his lifetime and place, such that he knows the means of giving da'wah in his particular circumstances and time. 
  • Awareness of the reality of the condition of the people he is calling to Islam, such that he understands their experience and their options.
  • Awareness of his personal capabilities, as a person cannot give da'wah beyond his capabilities so he should be aware of his own limits.
6. Wisdom - Wisdom in the way of da'wah means that a da'ee can give the message gradually, at the level which people are able to understand. Giving them more information than they can grasp will lead to more confusion and fitnah, so it is better to give people only what they are capable of understanding. We can see of course that the message of Islam was delivered gradually, for over two decades, as the people were able to progress in their understanding and iman.

7. Good Manners - While good manners attract people, poor manners repel them, and manners attract people much more than speech, so it is essential that the da'ee has good manners. The most important of the good manners is patience, as Muhammad (saaws) was advised to have patience as the messengers before him had patience.

8. Giving Muslims the Benefit of the Doubt - The da'ee should give the Muslims the benefit of the doubt, and respect, because if he doesn't, people will always have the worst interpretation of a person's actions. The da'ee needs to show respect so that people will open their hearts.

9. Covering the Faults of People - When a doctor treats a patient, there is a strict rule of confidentiality, which is essential for a patient to be able to trust his physician. He needs to trust that the doctor will not reveal the person's shortcomings and weaknesses to others. Similarly, the da'ee should cover people's shortcomings so that they are able to trust him, not fearing that he will reveal their flaws to their friends or community.

10. Mixing and Isolating Appropriately - This characteristic means that the da'ee mixes with the people when it is best to mix with them, which is when he can help them. But at the same time, it means he refrains from mixing with them, or isolates himself, when mixing with them would be harmful. It is good to mix with the people, but isolation is preferred if the mixing would allow the group to bring down the da'ee.

11. Giving Due Respect - This implies that the da'ee gives everyone the respect which is due to their position, which means respect the scholars, the elderly, and people who have been given authority. This way the disrespect will not block the haqq from reaching their minds. We have an example of this behavior in the Prophet (saaws) who at the conquest of Mecca said that anyone inside the Haram or staying in their homes would be safe, as well as anyone staying in the House of Abu Sufyan--this showed respect to Abu Sufyan.

12. Cooperating with other Da'ees - This final characteristic is that the da'ee should cooperate with others who are calling to Islam (plural is du'aat by the way) and this is because they are working for the same objective, and working for the same ilaah. So they should help each other, give each other advice, and make consultation, instead of competing and trying to defeat each other.

Now it's important to note that just because a person might not have all of these characteristics doesn't mean he cannot be a da'ee, it just means that he won't be as effective, and perhaps that he is not giving da'wah correctly. So what a da'ee should do if he finds himself lacking in any of these attributes, is to improve himself. If he has bad manners, he should improve his manners. If he lacks knowledge, he should acquire knowledge. And if he has been accusing Muslims instead of covering their faults then he should try to give them the benefit of the doubt.

To give da'wah is to be on the sabeel or way of the Prophet Muhammad (saaws), as Allah SWT says in the Qur'an

Say, "This is my way; I invite to Allah with insight, I and those who follow me. And exalted is Allah ; and I am not of those who associate others with Him." (12:108)
So May Allah make us among those who follow this Sunnah of our beloved Prophet (saaws) and increase in those attributes where we are weak.

This post is based on my notes from a class with the imam on da'wah, but the commentary is pretty much my own words--so please forgive me for any mistakes as they are my own, while anything good is from Allah SWT and all praise is for Him.

Wednesday 30 March 2011

How Clean is Your Heart?

Yahya Ibrahim writes for Muslim Matters about the need for us to be more thoughtful in the way we deal with other Muslim's, taking care not to judge and dismiss anothers practise of Islam or be bullish in our approach to dawah:

"A young Muslim, who does not wear hijab, for instance, may be made to feel uncomfortable while attending an Islamic lecture or course. Condescending looks, snide smirks, rolled eyes, bullish “dawa” target her.

A young brother, never taught to pray properly at home, is scolded for “not following the Sunnah.”

A new Muslim is kissed and hugged after declaring his testimony of Faith. Years later, he struggles to find a family to accept his genuine interest in their daughter.

A community member delivers a Jum’ah Khutbah at a local mosque. He, for whatever reason misspoke, as a consequence the whole masjid is deemed a place of heresy and Bidah.

It happens all the time in our community. Not just to our community, but rather, within our domain of action and authority. In our Islamic Societies, MSAs, Musallah prayer halls, Islamic camps, and public lectures, Muslims at times make other Muslims feel insignificant and marginalised. At times, we can, through our insensitivity and bigotry, make other Muslims feel uncomfortable, unwelcome and unloved.

We, individually and collectively, judge people all the time. We do so, at times, as subtly and reflexively as a wave of our hand to shoo away an obnoxious fly.

Simply put, we break the golden rule. We do not treat others the way we want to be treated. We do not love for our brothers and sisters what we love for our self.

Why do we see in others what we fail to see in ourselves? How is it that we can overlook other person’s feelings so readily and easily? Why does it take us so long to admit to someone that we wronged them? How often do we misrepresent an occurrence or embellish a story? Why can we comment on others, and feel disheartened when we discover the same being done to us?

The answer, simple as it is, is that our heart is not truly attached to Allah. It is veiled behind self-praise, obscured by hate and clouded with jealousy.

The closer you draw to Allah, the more virtuous you become in your conduct with His creation. The more careful and precise you are in your dealings with Allah, the more reliable your character becomes. As a general principle – Tawheed builds character."

You can read the full article here.

Monday 14 March 2011

Revert Stories: Joshua Evans

This long, but immensely rewarding, talk by Brother Joshua Evans describes his journey from Christianity to Islam via the bible. Brother Joshua also goes onto to discuss the importance of dawah and the need for the beautiful message of Islam to be spread to as many people as possible.

Lowlier Than Thou – Naseeha tips from Ibn Rajab

Muslim Matters has an article entitled "Lowlier Than Thou – Naseeha tips from Ibn Rajab" which highlights the need to look at the intention behind naseeha, or advice. The Ibn Rajab in question is Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali (rahimuhullah) who wrote “The Difference Between Naseeha and Ta’eer”. The article by Saqib Saab states:

Always give Naseeha sincerely. From the get go, you want to have clear intent that the reason why you’re advising this person is to please Allah (SWT) and find the truth of the issue at hand. Naseeha is not about who’s right and who’s wrong, or if either side is better or “holier” than the other. Both the giver and receiver should be striving for the truth, not to beat the other in a debate. Ibn Rajab writes:

Even more amazing is where he (imam As Shafi’i) said, “I have never debated with someone except that I wished the truth becomes clear; regardless whether it comes from his tongue or mine”. This indicates that his intention was only that of to make the truth apparent, whether it is from himself or the from the person whom he differed with, and whoever thinks like this then there is no problem in refuting his statements by making clear his contradiction to the Sunnah, whether he is alive or dead.

You can read the full article here.

Friday 4 March 2011

Blind Revert to Islam: Blind Hearts or Blind Eyes

Quran on Dawah: Al Imran: 110

You are the best of people raised up, for you call to all that is right and righteous and you forbid the evil, and you believe in Allah. ~Qur'an 3:110

There is an explanataion of this verse from Tafsir Ibn Kathir here.

Friday 25 February 2011

IERA Research on Perception of Muslims and Islam

The Islamic Education and Research Academy (IERA) has published research on non-Muslim perceptions of Islam and Muslims. Researched and written by Hamza Andreas Tzortzis, Dr. Iman Khalaf & Sadia Salam, the summary of the research highlights facts such as:

5% described Islamic dawah material as quite positive and very positive.
71% had never come into contact with any dawah material.
70% did not change their perceptions about Islam after coming into contact with dawah material. 14% slightly worsened or significantly worsened.
76% had never spoken to a Muslim about Islam.
63% had no change in their perception after interacting with a Muslim. 13% had perceptions that significantly worsened or slightly worsened.
62% preferred not to receive any information about religion.
27% had negative perceptions regarding Muslims
75% believed Islam and Muslims had provided a negative contribution to society
32% believed that Muslims are a major cause of community tension
2% responded positively concerning perceptions about Islamic law
76% did not agree to the statement that Muslims positively engage in society
36% did not know who the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon
him) was
61% did not respond positively when asked about the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him)
71% of all participants did not agree that the media is negatively biased towards Islam and Muslims
63% did not disagree to the statement that “Muslims are terrorists”
70% did not disagree with the statement “Muslims preach hatred”
94% did not disagree with the statement “Islam oppresses women”
86% did not disagree with the statement “Islam is outdated”
72% did not agree with the statement “Muslims are law abiding”
85% did not disagree with the statement “Islam is irrational”
71% did not agree with the statement “Muslims are peaceful”
73% did not disagree with the statement “Islam cannot positively contribute to modern society”

You can read the full research paper here

image source

Saturday 19 February 2011

The Misbah Institute and Dr Aminah Coxon

The Misbah Insitute aims to become an institution that caters for the complete needs of new Muslims. The institute has a YouTube channel for the talks it arranges here, including a talk by eminent Harley Street neurosurgeon Dr Aminah Coxon.

There is an interview with Dr Coxon in emel magazine here.

Saturday 22 January 2011

Mayan Muslims

It's always inspiring to see people coming to Islam all over he world. This video from Aljazeeera is is about a community of converts from the Mayan monirity group in Mexico which has converted from Catholicism to Islam.

Mayans are perhaps not the first people who come to mind when we think of Islam, but this interesting article in German magazine Speigel Online (from 2005) by By Jens Glüsing discusses the conversions and speculates as to some reasons for them:

"About 300 Tzozil-Indians have converted to Islam in recent years and it's a development that is beginning to worry the Mexican government. Indeed, the government even suspects the new converts of subversive activity and has already set the secret service onto the track of the Mayan Muslims. Mexican President Vincente Fox has even gone so far as to say he fears the influence of the radical fundamentalists of al-Qaida.

But the Indians have no interest in political extremism. Rather, they belong to the Sunni, Murabitun sect that was founded by the Scotsman Ian Dallas and is seen as an offshoot of a Moroccan religious order. The Murabitun followers represent a sort of primal Islam: Earning interest profits through money lending is a no-no and they preach a literal interpretation of the Koran.

"The see themselves as restorers of Islam," says the anthropologist Gaspar Morquecho, author of a study of the Muslims of Chiapas. "Their defiance of capitalism is similar in many respects to the critique of globalization espoused by many left-wingers."

"In Islam, the Indians rediscover their original values," claims Esteban Lopez, the Spanish secretary general of the Muslim community. "The Christians destroyed their culture." He presents the use and abuse of alcohol as proof. Alcoholism is wide-spread under Tzotzil Indians and the strict ban on spirits in Islam helps many to break the vicious circle of addiction and poverty."

Sunday 9 January 2011

Finding Islam around the World

This video highlights how people from different countries have come to Islam and what has attracted to them to the faith.