Things that make you go…

1. What’s up with people using “SubhanAllah, Alhumdulilah, Mashallah” interchangeably with every other sentence?

Guy: :Knocking incessantly:
Me: I think the room is locked.
Guy: SubhanAllah!!!
Me: HEH?
Guy: mashallah, I didn’t realize the room was locked, alhumdulilah.

I understand words like brother, sister, umm blank, abu blank, sidi, are part of an in-group's vocabulary. They’re used as a sign of respect among certain cultures and I have no problem using them myself, but when you see people mindlessly using words, that are used to describe the Divine and are used specifically for certain reasons, I can’t help but wonder, what the heck is going through their mind? It’s like saying: “My name is thank you nisa and I like bless you using Arabic words thank you.”

2. What’s up with Muslim Women Cliques in the masjids? As if there aren’t enough issues for women to dwell on, now you have to combat these rather angry GI JAMILAS that feel it is their God-Given right to talk down to strangers. They’ll scream in their loudest voice possible that screaming is not allowed in the masjid. Ok then why are you screaming? They’ll, make sure to stand at an angle just to let everyone know, the line is not straight. Well, maybe If you decided to come back and join the line it would be? What is this desperate need to be the QUEEN BEE and feed off the entrails of mankind? First of all it’s not your house but even if you persist on playing the hostess on behalf of God than at least play nice? Hasan (ra) and Hussein (ra) anyone?

I see two things happening here, first, the dire need of the new comer to be part of the in-group; and second the desperate attempts of the pseudo-leaders at instilling a submissive, subservient demeanor on the part of its members.

Is this a vicious cycle? Most American Junior High kids know that it is better to be part of a clique than an outcast. As they get older, poor kids form gangs, rich kids form fraternities. But does it stop there? Not really. Poor folks go to clubs, rich people join country clubs.

Obviously, we like the group setting and there’s nothing wrong with that, per se. but why oh why, most adults get stuck in the high school phase? Why do we feel the need to talk down to people in order to help them?

It's funny though, it's mostly kids - not adults- who stand up to this kind of behavior. i saw a kid running while eating his sandwich. he was stopped, scolded, and told it was haraam to eat while running. he calmly turned around and told the teacher, "its makrooh not haraam." ahaha, i loved that. ofcourse, its bad manners to run and eat but it surely isnt haraam and the teacher had no right to shame him the way he did.

well i say, next time someone tells you you’re stepping out of line, feel free to tell them, NO, it is you who is out of line!


True generosity transforms the mind

What we ourselves experience, reflects what we want others to experience. if we plot revenge and plan pain for others, we tend to reinforce emotions such as anger and hatred. Yet when we desire happiness for others we tend to feel it ourselves, an experience that Buddhists call 'sympathetic joy.'

Western psychologists are reaching similar conclusions. Generous people tend to be happier and psychologically healthier and to experience a "helpers high" (walsh; shapiro, 1983).

As people age, they increasingly find it is their legacies -- their contributions to the world and future generations -- that give meaning and satisfaction to our lives. The so called "paradox of pleasure" is that taking time to make others happy makes us happier than devoting all our efforts to our own pleasure (Myers, 1992).

These exercises make use of the Felt Sense to awaken, or put more accurately, to recover, the natural ability to be "present in the body."
[...]This can awaken or bring to life our feelings of "hamd" (praise) and "shukr" (thankfulness),to experience life less in a realm of abstract thought or ideas and more as an experiential reality.

There's a lot here so take your time with each one, one at a time.
1. Recall the last time you felt a strong emotion. Was it anger, joy, sorrow? How did you know you were angry or sad? We don't think sadness or anger, we feel sad or angry. We feel with our body, a simple truth often overlooked. Recall the experience of that strong emotion and pay attention to your felt sense, to what you feel in your body. Can you recall where in your body you felt angry or sad? What was the sensation that you interpreted as sad or angry? What do you feel now in your body?
6. When you are passing time such as waiting, observe what sensations are present in your body.Experiment with shifting attention to various parts of your body and observe the differences and how the part you are attending to may come into and out of focus. Note the strength of the sensory
Hakim Archuletta
April, 2005

Experiential Session in Recovering Sensation

A Blast From The Past...

This is a letter written to my mother-in-laws father from one of his friends, which he passed on to my husband. I found it so endearing. How come we dont write hand-written letters anymore? (although, thanks mudd for sending me a hand-written note!) ;)
time frame: uh,1960s? (unknown)

My Dear X

The other day at dinner in the Mess you made a reference to my talk in Abbottabad some years ago. I do not remember the exact words, but the theme, since it is an essential part of my Faith, is ever fresh in my mind.

I would therefore like to reaffirm that since we believe that God is the Embodiment and Fountainhead of all Absolute and Perfect Knowledge, a person with the maximum of learning is closest to God.

Every time we acquire new knowledge or make a fresh discovery we tear down a curtain of ignorance between us and The Creator and thus move a little close to the Fountainhead.

Therefore the only road to God is the path of knowledge, in the pursuit of which one should spend the whole of this eartly life.

Imperfection is the destiny of human knowledge as perfection belongs only to God. Any human being who considered himself perfect has only shut himself from acquisition of more knowledge and has thus become intellectually stagnant.

The glory of humanity lies in a constant and unquenchable thirst to seek wider horizons of knowledge and discovery in a ceaseless endeavour to create a better world.

Yours sincerely,


Another Favorite of Mine - Dr. Sherman Jackson

Only heard him couple of times but his genius is explicitly evident from his books and articles. Can we say, an indigenous American Shaykh in the making? Truly, the Muslim Scholarship in the States is one of a kind and hopefully the beginning of a legacy we'll read about in our history books. :yey, for Dr. Jackson:

one can live with a lot of broken rules of shari’ah. But what repentance can there be from a broken soul or psyche?

Self- definition: defining for oneself who one is and which actions are consistent with one's choice of self-hood.

Self- determination: how to gain the requisite control or influence over the social and political institution that affects ones life.

Self-definition <----> self- determination.

Goal of self definition: to affirm ones subjectivity vis-à-vis the world around one and to gain public recognition for one's subjectivity chosen self.

“double-consciousness,” i.e., the seemingly inescapable tendency to look at oneself through the eyes of some other, to “measure one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt...”

"In a real sense, the future of Islam in America will depend not on whether Muslims can arrive at an understanding of scripture and tradition that allows for home-mortgages or inheritance between Muslims and non-Muslims, but on whether that understanding will liberate the Muslim cultural imagination and allow it come into its own, here in America For the fact is - and every honest Muslim knows it - that one can live with a lot of broken rules of shari’ah. But what repentance can there be from a broken soul or psyche? And how can the latter be avoided if the world outside the masjid reflect nothing of the Muslim’s thoughts and creative spirit? If Muslims are to establish a real existence here in America, one that will enable them not only to consume but to shape American reality, the Muslim cultural imagination will have to be liberated. Once this is done, Muslims will be able to move beyond the relatively safe arena of sports (Hakeem Olajuwan, and until recently, Mahmud ‘Abd al-Ra’uf, etc.) into those of literature, poetry music, fashion design, comedy, interior decorating, etc., just as has existed throughout Islamic history, and just as exists in virtually every Muslim country in the world!"

Muslims, Islamic Law and Public Policy in the United States

By Sherman A. Jackson


Shaykh Abdullah Adhami

One of my all time Favorite Scholar!
btw, this was forwarded to me by a friend.

bismillahi al-rahman al-rahim

Laziness, or lethargy can come from running low on "spiritual reserves,"from being in uninspiring settings (tell me about that) -- but, you know,I really believe that for the (mu`min) the center of tranquility, the (sakina),the inspiration, all of that, is within. I know it is very hard -- but (by the grace and mercy of Allah (subhanahu wa ta'aala), it is in there).Sometimes what appears to be laziness could also be misinterpreted"burnout" or exhaustion because we're too hard on ourselves. May Allah(jalla thana`uhu) bless us with vision and wisdom to see the difference.The du`a that's specifically against laziness is the "Sahih" of Imam Bukhari(rahimahullah) on the authority of (sayyiduna)

Anas ibn Malik (radiyallahu'anhu):
"... Allahumma inni a'outhu bika {you know this part}mina al-hammi wa al-hazan, {from anxiety and sadness}
wa al-'ajzi wa al-kasal,* {and inability and laziness}
wa dhala'i al-dayni, {and the burden of debt}
wa ghalabati al-rijal ..." {and the "humiliation" of men}*

The word ('ajz) is not just inability or incapacity. It indicates a certain "lack" to act that comes from (inner) weakness. As in the hadith of Tirmidhi (rahimahullah), our beloved messenger (sallalahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said: "al-kayyisu man dana nafsahu wa 'amila lima ba'da al-maout. wa al-['ajizu] man atba'a nafsahu hawaha, wa tamanna 'ala Allahi al-amani." - - the intelligent or, vigilant servant is ever blameful of himself, and works for what comes after death; the ['ajiz] is the one who lets himself follow its whim, and then wishes for goodthings from Allah. Notice how the one who "follows his whim" is attributed to "weakness."

Abu al-Hasan al-Mada`ini related the following (du'a):
"Allahumma la takilna ila anfusina fa na'jaz, wa la ilan-naasi fa nadi'." -- Oh Allah! do not leave us to our own selves for we would weaken. And, do not leave us to the whims of people for we would be lost." When One is always concerned with how people think, that would ultimately affect her sincerity.(sayyiduna) "umar (radiyallahu 'anhu) said: "Whoever purifieshis intention to be sincere to Allah (subhanahu wa ta'aala), Allah would take care of what would be between him and people."

This is reminiscent of the (hadith) of Zayd ibn Aslam (rahimahullah)that I related to you from the "Muwatta`" where he said: "Fear Allah (have "taqwa"), and people would respect (or, have an affinity toward) you --- even if they hated to."('ajz) comes from being low on spiritual reserves and from the (ghaflah) -- or, absent-mindedness, that comes from being content with little deeds. al-imam al-Hasan al-Basri (rahimahullah) said: "the righteous 'salaf' were as fearful of their good deeds being squandered or not being accepted as the present generation is certain that their neglect would be forgiven." Please remember that al-Hasan passed away 110 A.H.

In this capacity, Rabi'ah al-Qaysiyah al-'Adawiayh (rahimahallah)said: "We need to repent to Allah (ta'aala) for the way that we repent to Him." In this capacity, (sayyiduna) Sa'id ibn al-Jubair (radiyallahu 'anhu) said: "The reward of a good deed, is a good deed after it. The 'reward' or, (jazaa`) of a bad deed is a bad deed after it. May Allah ('azza wa jall) save us from (ghaflah) here, and humiliation in the (akhira) -- amin.('ajz) is also synonymous to (dha'f), as in sura al-nisa`: "wa khuliqa al-insanu [dha'ifan]." Some scholars of language distinguish between (dha'f) -- with a (fatha); and (dhu'f) -- with a dhamma. The former is weakness in body or in intellect or opinion; the latter is weakness in body only. In surat Rum, Allah (jalla thana`uhu) said: "He created you from [dha'f], and provided you with strength after it ..."The word (kasal) implies a certain "heaviness" (or, tathaaqul) to do something, rather than inability. Since the ('ajz) is the more complex inner dynamic associated with defeatism, we are taught to seek refuge from it first, because it is the inner weakness that leads to outer laziness and lethargy. [likewise, we are taught to seek refuge from anxiety because it leads to sadness. . .]

Therefore, in the "Sunan" of Abu Dawud (rahimahullah), our beloved messenger (sallalahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said: ". . . Allah judges for ['ajz], so be "mentally vigilent" - - 'alayka bi al-kays - - and if something overwhlems or overcomes you, then say: 'hasbiyallahu wa ni'ma al-wakil'."Allah (jalla thana`uhu) describing the believers who were tested (in al-'imran): "fa ma wahanu lima asabahum fi sabili Allahi wa ma [dha'ufu] wa ma istakanu..." -- and they did not "act weak" in the face of what befell them in the path of Allah, and they neither exhibited (inner) weakness, nor acted as if humiliated..." Our beloved messenger (sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam) warns: "He is not among us -- i.e. does not embody our (adab), who willingly agrees to humiliate himself, without being coersed."When this happens on a communal level, you have a prevalent (wahn), or defeatism. It means "weakness of the sort that no longer enables its bearer to stay 'upright'."

And, so Allah (jallah thana`uhu) gives the believers the proper perspective and focus in surat al-'imran: "wa la [tahinu] wa la tahzanu wa antum al-a'laouna," --- do not become "weak," do not grieve, for you will be dominant (i.e. high) --- with the catch, however, "in kuntum mu`minin," --- (if) you would be believers. Surrender to Allah ('azza wa jall) first, and you rise, you transcend the need for anything, truly. This yearning to be with Allah (jalla thana`uhu) is what begets the inner (sakina) referred to in the beginning. Yahya ibn Mu'adh (rahimahullah) said: "The servant who is 'aware' of Allah (ta'aala) leaves this world not having done enough of two things: crying over himself -- and yearning to be closer to His Lord (subhaanahu wa ta'aala)." May Allah grant us awareness.


My Response to : Nine Parts of Desire (thus far)

Yes, there are many ailments present in countries we would deem predominately Muslim. Although, those problems are not the result of simply adhering to a book (The Holy Quran) but a complex web of social, economical, and cultural problems. “If we mean by Islam "what people calling themselves Muslim actually think, say and do", there is a huge spectrum of different realities.” (See Guardian Article attached hereto). According to one Muslim Professor, “ What blocks full participation of Muslim women today is not pious adherence to a patriarchal law-- although Verses and Traditions are sometimes used as sledge hammers--but it is that some men have vested interests in blocking women's rights and camouflage their self-interest by denying full access to our inspirational tradition." To some it is more of an issue of power and control than Islam and Veiling.

The Quran is a text, which means that different readers will interpret it differently. It is not very hard to manipulate a text. People have done it to the Bible, the Torah, the Gita, and various other scriptures to further their own agendas. The author here has a definite agenda and has made a poor attempt as disguising it as a concern for the liberation of Muslim women. In view of the extraordinary size and diversity of the Islamic world, this fantasy about a monolithic and aggressive Islam is not merely the outcome of ignorance but outright racism. She restricts images of the ‘other’ (MUSLIMS) by concealing individual characteristics of members of this group. Is it fair to reduce the living data base we have present in those lands as monolithic, authoritative and barbaric? Does she have any right to take out cultural practices out of context and view them within the construct of our own society?

While she has every right to her own opinion but as the author she also bears the responsibility of ‘accurately depicting’ glimpses of unknown cultures (for the mainstream) for they may be the only ‘snapshots’ the reader might have of that culture. As we’re aware when a book distorts or misinterprets information about a culture, such information can lead to misunderstanding of that culture.

I don’t understand why the author doesn’t point out that there’s a ongoing struggle between the masses and those in power in almost every so called Muslim country, that those corrupt governments are supported by the authors own country.

I don’t understand why she doesn’t point out there’re intellectual debates, on the very same issues she’s mentioned for over 1400 years, yet there isn’t a single study presented in the entire book.

I don’t understand why the author doesn’t address the question of politicizing Islam.

Throughout her book she uses symbols – for example, veiling - and shows a total disregard toward those who chose to adapt it. Why? To denounce the indigenous cultures or rather liberate them from their primitive ways to bring them into the more superior western way of life?

Her descriptions of things Islamic are filled with inflammatory adjectives and terms carefully chosen to elicit a negative response in the reader. The author seems more interested in the “Westernization” of Muslim women than their right to equality.

The author doesn’t address the real issues and problems of the Muslim societies, which by the way vary from one country to another. Rather she inflates Symbols over substance, adding yet another Islam phobic book to the ever-growing pile.

There are two great articles that might be of relevance:

Feminism as imperialism
George Bush is not the first empire-builder to wage war in the name of women

Six views of the west's problems with the Muslim world reveal as much about those who hold them as the conflict itself

A book on the Western World, according to her, would focus around spousal abuse victims and strip clubs of New York. As you’re taken through the life of three victims you’ll be asked to judge the complex culture of the entire Western World based on those two outlets. How absurd is that?

State Of Mind

Lately, I’ve been wondering about our ‘state of mind.’ The online dictionary defines it as “The collective conscious and unconscious processes in a sentient organism that direct and influence mental and physical behavior.” Ok, so what’s going on in our heads, anyway?

I find that most people are bored, unsatisfied, depressed, disillusioned, angry, hostile, argumentative, lethargic, jaded, and self-absorbed. (How can one make someone else feel better when their own insides stink of misery?)

According to Mr. Hakim Archuletta, “We don't think sadness or anger, we feel sad or angry. We feel with our body, a simple truth often overlooked.” So why do we choose to feel negative emotions with our bodies instead of positive ones? Why do we spend hours frustrating ourselves when we have the power to influence our MENTAL and PHYSICAL behavior?

If you think about it, we all really are a kingdom of our own. We decide how many toxins (look up healthy eating) enter our body and who can affect us emotionally, we decide which muscles to tense up while feeling angry and which muscles to relax when feeling exhilarated. Then why do we live in moments that make us feel “helpless?”

Of course, one can’t avoid tensing up to trials and downright abuse but did people of the past live in a ‘helpless vegetative state’ as we do? Even though we’re told their trials were far harsher (to the extent that even prophets cried out for help)? If God places only those burdens that a person can bear, then why don’t we love ourselves enough to get past negative emotions and bring relaxation back into our bodies, in our discussions, in our communities, in our families – in our state of mind?


The change that I seek is not around me but within me?

What a revelation it is to simply realize that every single agent of your environment is the way its supposed to be and is exactly in the right place at the right time. The initial disheartenment slowly changes to Submission once the Ultimate reality seeps in and you give yourself a rest from foolishly attempting to manage the affairs of God. I guess, that’s what makes content people so endearing, so glorious, and so darn attractive!

After all, we all belong to God and are struggling to go back home. We must subconsciously envy the will of those who haven’t been seduced by the cheap thrills this world has to offer. Adore the strength with which they let go of their deepest love. Envy the dignity with which they partake in this world, and the position they will hold in the Company of God. How ironic is the feat of most of us who spend our life exerting our utmost energy in failed attempts to manipulate our environment, never realizing the irony of it all, that everything is the way its supposed to be.


Just me and Him.

My favorite form of psychotherapy is reflecting on a small piece (yet so effective) by Ibn 'Ata'llah. I wonder why I find this chunk so appealing. Is it because it has helped me place my location in this universe; or because its made me realize that ‘Someone Else’ other than myself is Looking Out for me. Is it because it has helped me to Understand some of God’s Attributes and reflect on some of my own?

I’ve yet to figure out why I love this piece so much, but I do know, so far whoever has read this piece (irrespective of religious beliefs or the lack thereof) has agreed there’s something about Mr. Atallah words –- as they seem to stir the deepest, darkest, parts of the subconscious.

The Hikam Of Ibn 'Ata'llah I

The Hikam of Ibn 'Ata'llah II

Actions are merely propped-up shapes.
Their life-breath is the presence of the secret of sincerity in them.

The branches of abasement only grow from the seeds of greed.
Nothing leads you on like illusion.
You are free when you despair of it.
You are a slave when you are eager for it.
Whoever does not advance to Allah by the tenderness of His goodness
is chained to Him by the fetters of trial.

He made the Next World the place where He will reward His believing slaves
because this world is not vast enough to hold what He wants to give them
and because He thinks too much of them to reward them
in a dimension which lacks any permanence.


Wipe Wet

Finally, the west is catching on to the "LOTA" system. For years, we've had to endure baffled looks from strangers when wetting tissue paper in a public bathroom, i say "AHAAAAAAAAAAAAHH" to all of you. and you. I wonder, by what century "lotas" or "bidets" will become compulsory in public bathrooms.


"In Western culture, the theory goes, a man shakes with his right hand so he can't use it to grab his sword. You know what Eastern Culture says? We shake with the right because we know darn well you just wiped yourself with your left. Besides, Pilates, the best thing you can do for your bottom is to buy wet wipes. Why? if you accidentally got feces all over your hand, would you wash it off or wipe it off with dry toilet paper? Exactly.

You'd run over to the sink faster than a sprinter in an Olympic qualifier. So why do we wipe ourselves with dry, sandpaper like toilet paper after we go to the bathroom? It's also not the right cleaning system because it's irritating and increases the lilkihood of getting hemorrhoids. While we're not recommending you install a bidet. you can get the same effect by simply wetting toilet paper in the sink before using it, or using disposable wet wipes that are small versions of the ones you use on babies."

(You - The Owner's Manual by Dr. Roizen and Dr. Oz M.D)


Women Imams of China

"The history of Islam's spread into China is not well known. In the seventh century, after the caliph Otman set up his first embassy there, Arab and Persian traders, scholars and diplomats entered China as far as Canton via the Silk Road and by sea. They eventually formed their own class of high-ranking civil servants, especially under the Yuan Mongol dynasty. Later, erudite scholars well-versed in Chinese, Arabic and Persian (the language in which learning was passed on) confirmed the emergence of a Chinese Islam as a cultural and religious force.

From the 10th century on, these Muslims married Chinese women and founded families. Their descendants today are the Hui, Muslims who speak Mandarin and cannot be distinguished physically from the rest of the population. The Hui have melted into the ethnic landscape, unlike some other Chinese Muslims such as the Uighur, from Xinjiang region, who are descended from Central Asian tribes and speak a Turkic language.

The Hui would be just another Sunni community, albeit somewhat exotic compared with those in the Middle Eastern Islamic world, were it not for the fact that they have instituted a tradition that is almost unknown among Muslims: the setting up women's mosques, or nüsi, and the creation of female imams.
It is a fairly recent tradition: the first nüsi would seem to go back only to the 19th century and the reign of the Qing dynasty.
The women's mosque in Zhengzhou, which was built in 1912, is more than a holy place; it is a living space where dozens of women, most of them elderly, meet in a convivial atmosphere. They do not practise any form of ostracism against men, who have their own mosque next door but are not forbidden from entering the women's building except during the five daily prayer sessions.

Maryam feels that in China "equality between men and women is encouraged; that is why Muslim women are not discriminated against here as they sometimes are elsewhere. As a woman, I feel equal to men."

When asked if that is not one of the consequences of communism, which in theory advocates equality between the sexes, she replies: "Yes, here in China we practise an Islam that has Chinese characteristics" - a politically correct way of defining the concept. "The national ideology takes precedence over the doctrine of Islam. We live in a communist country, but we're free to practise our religion. No one is any longer forced to give up his or her beliefs. In our view it's important to live in peace with the system. The People's Republic of China doesn't force us to be communists and leaves us free to believe in God. Nor does Chinese communism force us to become the slaves of atheism."

Women Imams Of China


The Effect Of Colonialism On The Muslim Feminist Discourse

Who knew ‘Western Feminism’ was used as a weapon against the indigenous population of Egypt? Who knew it is still being used today. gulp. (Afghani women take off your veils! Cast off your veils, cast off islam?)

Lord Cromer seems more concerned with Westernization than womens rights. :grrr:

Excerpts taken from Feminism As Imperialism:

"The classic example of such a coloniser was Lord Cromer, British consul general in Egypt from 1883 to 1907, as described in Leila Ahmed's seminal Women and Gender in Islam. Cromer was convinced of the inferiority of Islamic religion and society, and had many critical things to say on the "mind of the Oriental". But his condemnation was most thunderous on the subject of how Islam treated women. It was Islam's degradation of women, its insistence on veiling and seclusion, which was the "fatal obstacle" to the Egyptian's "attainment of that elevation of thought and character which should accompany the introduction of Western civilisation," he said. The Egyptians should be "persuaded or forced" to become "civilised" by disposing of the veil.

And what did this forward-thinking, feminist-sounding veil-burner do when he got home to Britain? He founded and presided over the Men's League for Opposing Women's Suffrage, which tried, by any means possible, to stop women getting the vote.

[..] in Egypt, Cromer actively ensured that women's status was not improved: he raised school fees (so preventing girls' education) and discouraged the training of women doctors."

“But, like Bush, they stole feminist language in order to denounce the indigenous culture; and, says Ahmed, feminism thus served as a "handmaid to colonialism". "Whether in the hands of patriarchal men or feminists," she writes, "the ideas of western feminism essentially functioned to morally justify the attack on native societies and to support the notion of comprehensive superiority of Europe."

And heres what Dr. Umar Faruq has to say:

"What blocks full participation of Muslim women today is not pious adherence to a patriarchal law-- although Verses and Traditions are sometimes used as sledge hammers--but it is that some men have vested interests in blocking women's rights and camouflage their self-interest by denying full access to our inspirational tradition."


Overlooking Basic Principles

hmm, i feel jolted/inspired by these remarks from a dear friend. thought someone else may find them helpful:

"I barely have time to do anything nowadays especially to articulate my criticisms on websites of the many who do not realize that the many problems we face as an ummah derive from our overlooking the fundamentals of the faith)

You are more than welcome to use the quote (I prefer anonymity so there's no need to credit me), though I anticipate that most will see it as a banality. There is, however, a good deal most don't know about tawhid and what believing in His oneness actually entails; the layperson simply equates tawhid with avowing monotheism. And tawhid is a pillar of the faith. Speaking of another pillar, when is the last time fajr was prayed in a sizeable congregation? There's no need for me to pontificate further on the other pillars. We seek to tackle the intellectual hurdles, and constantly parrot the need for ijtihad - all the while ignoring the fundamentals."


Notes on Sophie's World

I've been surprised by Plato, he sounds very ibn irabi–esque to me. (although he came way before). I wonder what part, if any, did Arabs play in inculcating personal bias into Platos work, cough. or vice versa.

• Did Plato really believe that alternate forms of us existed in a completely different reality?
• Can we never have true knowledge of anything that is in a constant state of change? “We can only have opinions about things that belong to the world of the senses, tangible things. We can only have true knowledge of things that can be understood with our reason.” (Gaarder)

Plato believed that reality is divided into two regions:

One region is the world of the senses, about which one can only have approximate or incomplete knowledge by using our five (approximate or incomplete) senses. In this sensory world, ‘everything flows’ and nothing is permanent. Nothing in the sensory world is, there are only things that come to be and pass away.
The other region is the world of ideas, about which we can have true knowledge by using our reason. This world of ideas can’t be perceived by the senses, but the ideas (or forms) are eternal and immutable.

According to Plato, man is a dual creature. We have a body that “flows,” is inseparably bound to the world of the senses, and is subject to the same fate as everything else in this world – a soap bubble, for example. [..] But we also have an immortal soul – and this soul is the realm of reason. And not being physical, the soul can survey, the world of ideas.

Plato also believed that the soul existed before it inhabited the body. But as soon as the soul wakes up inside the human body, it has forgotten all the perfect ideas. ( hello, we’ll remember our covenant on the day of judgement??) Then something starts to happen. As the human being discovers the various forms in the natural world, a vague recollection stirs his soul. Plato call this yearning Eros – which means love. The soul, then experiences a ‘longing to return to its true origin.” From now on, the body and the whole sensory world is experienced as imperfect and insignificant/. The soul yearns to fly home on the wings of love to the world of ideas. It longs to be freed from the chains of the body. (85-88, Gaarder).

Sophie's World

For those of you with little or no background in history of western philosophy this would be a great intro: Sophie’s World

As I wait for my copy of I Saw Ramallah , I’ve been browsing through this one since last week (even though i bought it 5 years ago) and can’t seem to put it down. It covers the world from the Natural Philosophers to Democritus and Socrates, to Plato and Aristotle, and rolls through Hellenism and the Middle Ages, Kant and Darwin, blah blah…

The author cleverly attracts ADHS's like myself by setting the story within the genre of fantasy fiction. I say, it is simply brilliant! Thus far!
I remember taking philosophy 104 back in the day but I don’t remember learning as much as I did with succinct descriptions of each period by the author in this book.