What do you emanate to the world?

A Sun’s inherent quality is that it gives of light. If I hid the sun underneath my bed it would still brighten up the entire room. If I placed a rose in the dirtiest bathroom in the world, it would still fill its surroundings with its fragrance. These objects carry something inherent in them that make them give off a ‘certain something,’ no matter what extraneous factors are placed on them.

So what is my inherent quality? How does my existence make someone else’s life just a little bit easier?

The first three months of my pregnancy put me into a new and unfamiliar territory. I unleashed a monster that lurked beneath the surface for many years yet was restrained for reasons still unknown to me. For the first time in my life, I felt physically, hormonally, and emotionally imbalanced. I was depressed, tired, and cranky. Mind you, I’ve been cranky before but not like this. I’ve been sick before but not like this. Not to toot my own horn but I’d never lost clarity until this moment in time. No matter what I’ve been through I’ve always firmly believed that everything in my life was significant and meaningful. Every moment was meant to produce something meaningful. But something happened during this period and I became a different person.

I don’t want to forget this person because it showed me; I can be something more, something better. This person reminded me that we’re all here to tell a story and that I want to be an excellent storyteller (someday) (like Brother Irving!). That we’re all here to emanate something and I want to emanate something beautiful to the world. I learned that my existence not only affects other people but also my fetus. I learned to be a little un-selfish. (Still working on it, it is very hard to not just think about myself).


The Etiquette of Disagreement

The Etiquette of Disagreement
Dr Abdulhakim Jackson

Associate Professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies,
In the Name of Allah, The Beneficent, The Merciful. Peace be upon you, and The Mercy and Blessings of Allah.

Islamic Civics

My topic tonight is entitled "The Etiquette of Disagreement", and I think that sometimes the titles to things have everything to do with how they are understood. Some of us believe that a topic like "The Etiquette of Disagreement" is one of those topics that scholars and the ulamaa up in some ivory tower discuss and that it has very little to do with our everyday life, on the level of our everyday activities. What I want to propose to you tonight is that what we’re really talking about is a lesson in Islamic Civics. Where I come from in the United States public education is compulsory still in many states up until the age of sixteen. In some states its not compulsory but only because in those states they allow for private education, you can arrange for the education of your own child in your own home; but education is compulsory. Part of that education is what we call Civics (in some schools they call it Government while in other schools it is called Social Studies).

These are lessons that are designed to prepare students to grow up to be citizens; to live in a society in such a way that they will be productive. That they will be able to contribute to the society — they will be a positive addition to the society and that they will promote the interest of the society as defined by the society’s leaders. What I want to propose tonight is that we need to get back to Islamic Civics, of how we as Muslims can function as productive individuals in groups in society in such a way that we promote the interests of Islam. We further the integrity of the religion and that we support the furthering of our interests both in terms of our activities among ourselves and what we deliver to the rest of the world. Now I think it’s a forgone conclusion with all of those ayat that we have in the Quran that Allah (swt) has not asked, but commanded us as a community to love one another and to promote unity. And there are many ayat in the Quran just to name a few: "Those who divide up their religion and become groups unto themselves you have nothing to do with them Muhammad"; "And do not be like those who divided themselves up and differed among themselves after clear signs have come to them and these are the people whom will receive a grievous penalty."

The Jama‘ah
Allah (swt) says in another verse: "And hold fast to the rope of Allah all together and do not be divided and remember Allah’s bounty upon you when you were divided and He made you brothers out of His blessing to you". It is related on the authority of Abdullah ibn Masud, the famous companion, that he once said, "Being together as a jamaa’ah, being united as a jamaa’ah, this is the Hablullah (the Rope of Allah) that Allah is talking about in this verse", and he (ra) goes on to say that, "That which you do not like in the jamaa’ah is better than that which you love in your own little separate group." So being with the jamaa’ah is preferred over being in your own little separate group. This is all well and good, to talk about being a jamaa’ah, but what about the fact that there are people who have ideas that we don’t agree with. What about the fact that there are people who endorse notions that we believe to be haram, what about the fact that there are people who advocate doctrines that we believe to be antithetical to Islam, that we believe to be against Islam? How can we maintain a jamaa’ah with these kinds of ideas in our midst? And it’s here that we come to the whole point of Islamic Civics, and what all of us in this room, in fact all of us who say laa ilaaha illallah Muhamadu rasulullah, what all of us have to remember is that this Deen is not our personal property. This Deen is the Deen of Allah (swt). And it is supposed to be practiced as Allah (swt) has commanded us to practice it. And Allah has commanded us, not asked us, commanded us in many ayat to be united, to have love and compassion among us. We are going to differ in our interpretations. We are going to differ in what some of us hold to be priorities from what others hold to be priorities. How could that not be the case?

The Companions Differed

The companions themselves differed on their understandings of various things that the Prophet (s) said, or that the Prophet (s) did. We are no better than the companions. We are human beings just like them and so we will differ. But the point becomes how do we manage our differences? How do we differ in such a way that while our ideas may differ and be separate, our hearts are united and we recognise each other as brothers and sisters involved in one mission? How do we do that? This is the Etiquette of Disagreement that I am talking about as Islamic Civics.

Rules of Discussion

One of our main problems, if I might be permitted to say so, because I did not come all the way to Australia to add to the problems of the Muslims in Australia. I came inshaAllah, if anything, to lesson those problems and I asked Allah (swt) to grant me the taufiq that will enable me to do that inshaAllah. By my humble estimation one of the reasons that we often times fall into disagreement with each other, the kind of disagreement that leads to hatred, distrust, mutual accusations, is that we attempt to go into discussions of issues with no rules of discussion. We’re playing without rules of interpretation, and this is one of the things that separates us from our pious ancestors. They had rules for interpretation.

We all know that the Prophet (s) passed away and his companions succeeded him and went to the various parts of the Muslim world where they began to encounter realities that were unknown to the Arabian Peninsula. All kinds of new people started coming into Islam. We have to remember that during the Prophet’s (s) lifetime Syria was not an Arab country. It became Arab after the Muslims went their with Islam — they were not forced to be Arabs, nor forced to be Muslims, Islam won the hearts of the Syrians. Egypt was not an Arab country, it became an Arab country, it became a Muslim country. Likewise with Iran, North Africa — you have all these people coming into Islam from different backgrounds and histories. How was it that they were able to maintain a sense of unity?

We all know that Imam Ash-Shafi’i (r) came on the scene in the 2nd century of Islam, and Imam Ash-Shafi’i wrote an important book called Ar-Risalah; and this was the book that started the Muslims to develop rules of engagement. Rules of Engagement — that is to say brother you have a hadith and I have a hadith. Okay, what does the hadith say. The hadith says ‘do this’, what does ‘do’ mean in Arabic? ‘Do this’ is what they call in Arabic seeghat al amr. It’s a command. Imam Ash-Shafi’i sat down and said command can mean a number of things - it could mean that something is waajib (you must do it) or that something is mandoob (you should do it) or that something is mubaah (you may do it). And so now when Muslims come together and they discuss commands, if one of them says this means you have to do it and the other one says you should do it, they both know now what that command could mean; it could mean you must, or you should. And he who says that it means you must, has he corrupted the hadith of the rasul? No, this is consistent with what commands could mean, and vice versa. And this was the way in which the Muslims were able to accommodate all these different people and it kept them talking about Islam among themselves and debating the issues without dividing into sects and schisms.

This is the first lesson that we need to learn. And in these Islamic schools that we have, we need to put into the curriculum this Islamic Civics because often times especially among young people, we have young people who go home and read Quran and with the best of intentions they come back and they have an opinion and they don’t know that there may be another way to understand that ayah, and they say therefore that anybody who does not see it as I see it, he must not be serious about deen. Therefore we fall into schism and distrust and we become disunited and can’t get very much done. So one of the main things we need to do, and I’m going to plead from this podium tonight with the ulama of Australia, that they get together and develop a program for Rules of Engagement among the Muslims. The Muslims used to call this Usool-ul-Fiqh. How not only to understand, but how to discuss our issues? If we don’t have rules of engagement there’s only going to be one opinion I’m going to recognise, you know what that opinion is? It’s my opinion and anybody who disagrees with that opinion I’m not going to recognise. I’m going to accuse them of being either insincere or not wanting to accept the truth. So this is one of the first things we need to do.

The Jama‘ah and ‘Ismah

The second thing we need to do in this Islamic Civics, is recognise that in Islam there is no church. We don’t have a pope or vatican. In Islam we have what is known as ‘ismah or infallibility — that the Prophet (s) had a perfect understanding of the revelation and this is why any time we go to the Prophet (s) and we asked him a question and he gives us an answer we know that is a correct answer. Because the Prophet (s) is ma’sum min al khata (protected from error in interpretation). This is one of the basic characteristics of being a prophet. All of the prophets were ma’sumeen min al khata. But what happens after the Prophet (s) dies? What happens to this ‘ismah? Who gets this ‘ismah? Do I get it? Do you get it? According to Ahlis Sunnah wal Jamaa’ah it is the jamaa’ah who gets this ‘ismah. The Prophet (s) is reported to have said that his community (ummah) will not universally agree on an error. In other words everything his (s) community universally agrees upon is true, and therefore is binding on every believer; but that which his (s) community does not agree upon is subject to debate and there are many things that the community disagrees upon. And where the community disagrees no one party can accuse the other party of being in error in the absolute sense. The most that they can do is what the Imam Ash-Shafi’i did. Al-Imam Ash-Shafi’i said, "I believe my opinion is right with the possibility that it is wrong and I believe the opinion of those who disagree with me is wrong with the possibility that it is right." This is the spirit with which the Muslim approaches those issues on which there is no consensus in the community.

When we try to make everything in Islam a matter of consensus, we are going against the way of our pious ancestors no matter what we call ourselves. This is a fact, and another fact is that our pious ancestors differed on more than they agreed on. There was one scholar named ibn Al-Mundhir who died in the year 310H. Ibn Al-Mundhir wrote a book called Kitabul-Ijmaa’, this was a book that included everything that the ulamaa agreed upon up until his death. This book is only about 250 pages big. The rest was all subject to ongoing debate, ongoing discussion. But the Muslims then had rules for discussion and that is why they could discuss and continue to debate and even change their minds without it leading to hatred and distrust and someone accusing the other of not being a pious Muslim.

They came in fact to Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal who used to say that if your nose bleeds then you have to renew your wudu. Imam Malik said that if your nose bleeds you do not have to renew your wudu. So they went to Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal and they said what if you were praying behind somebody and they have a nose bleed and they don’t renew there wudu, do you continue to pray behind them? And Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal said, "How can I refuse to pray behind somebody like Imam Malik? I have daleel (evidence), he has daleel; I have solid daleel, he has solid daleel." The companions of the Prophet (s) took different things from him and went out to the various parts of the Muslim world and they taught those different things in those various parts. All of them got what they taught from the Prophet (s) so Imam Malik has his point of view and Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal has his point of view. This was the spirit of our pious ancestors, and this is what we have to get back to.

Get Priorities Straight

One of the things that we have to do if we’re going to have this Islamic Civics, this Etiquette of Disagreement, is that we are going to have to get our priorities straight. We are going to have to understand that there are some things in Islam that are not subject to any compromise. I’m reminding you in this regard that the Prophet (s) in the 9th year of the Hijra (Makkah was conquered in the 8th year) went back to Madina and in that year a whole bunch of tribes came to Madina to pledge their allegiance to the Prophet, to accept Islam. There was one tribe by the name of Bani Thaqeef from Taif, and they came to Prophet (s) and said that they did not want to make salah. The Prophet (s) said to them there is no good in any religion that does not have salah. They then said that they wanted to keep our idols. The Prophet (s) told them: "No, you are going to get rid of those idols now." They said that if they were to destroy the idols their people would go bizirk. The Prophet (s) said that he would send somebody to break the idols for them. And then they said they did not want to fight any jihad. The Prophet (s) said okay. Then they said that they like women and wine. The Prophet (s) said that these things are forbidden. Then they said that they didn’t want to pay any zakat. The Prophet (s) said you’ll pay. What is the point here? When they said "we want to keep our idols" what did the Prophet (s) say? "You are going to get rid of those idols now" — cause this is a violation of Tawhid and this is something we cannot compromise on but when they said "we don’t want to fight any jihad" what did the Prophet (s) say? He (s) is reported to have said: "We’ll work with/on that". Did he (s) give everything the same priority? No he (s) didn’t.

Allah (swt) doesn’t give everything the same priority. "Do you make giving the pilgrims water and taking care of the Ka’ba like somebody who believes in Allah and the Last Day and fights in the path of Allah", these things are not equal. Wallahi (By Allah) sometimes we take a brother who says laa ilaaha illallah Muhammadu rasullallah and then he doesn’t have a beard and we treat him like he is a kaafir, subhanallah! What priority does this have? We know the hadith of rasullallah (s), he said on the Day of Judgement there’s one man who took a card written on it Laa illaha illallah, on one side of the scale, put all his other bad deeds on the other side of the scale and what happened? This card outweighed all the other deeds. This is not my words, this is the word of the Prophet (s), whether we like it or not, this is the deen that the Prophet (s) taught us. And he taught us that for a reason.

This is the last chance that humanity has for salvation. There are over one billion Muslims in the world today, and they come from all different kinds of backgrounds, with all different kinds of histories, with all different kinds of problems. We are very aware of what’s going on in Palestine and we see the carnage and it disgusts us. It hurts us and makes us angry at ourselves that we are so weak that we can’t do anything. But let me tell you something brothers and sisters, there are Muslims in this world who are starving and whose situation is so bad, that they don’t have a television to watch what’s going on in Palestine. We have people who have all kinds of different realities confronting them, and they have different timetables. If we are going to remain one ummah we going to have to learn how to accommodate each other. That means getting the essentials straight and agreeing to continue to work on those things that are non-essentials.

There is a hadith of the Prophet (s) in Sahih Muslim, Shaikh ul Islam Ibn Taymiya talks about this hadith in some detail. A man at the time of the Prophet (s) used to drink wine and would get caught and was whipped. He would drink again and be whipped again. One day they caught him drunk again and brought him before the Prophet (s) and after punishing began to curse him. Do you know what the Prophet (s) said to them? He (s) said: "Do not curse him because he loves Allah and the Prophet." There are weak Believers and strong Believers and not all Believers are strong. This does not mean that they are not Believers. And this is what the Prophet (s) has taught us. If we continue to act in the way that the Prophet (s) taught us to act toward our brothers and our sisters may be next year, five years or ten years from now they will evolve into a much better Muslim. And the Prophet (s) said, "Gentleness and kindness was never a part of anything except that it made it beautiful, and harshness was never a part of anything except that it made it ugly." This is our model, our teacher, our uswah hasanah and this is what we are going to have to learn if we are going to get rid of this ‘adaawa wal baghdaa that is among us as an ummah and we have to know this is a curse. When Allah (swt) talks about al ‘adaawa wal baghdaa in the Quran who does He talk about? He talks about ahlul kitab for things that they did that contravened the revelation as a punishment for them. So let us not look at our division and blame somebody else. This is a problem of this ummah as a whole. And we must get back to an etiquette of disagreement if we are to overcome this.

Trying to make Mustahab Waajib

Another reason that sometimes we fall into needless fights and schisms is that we dispute about things that are either mustahab or makruh and we try to make the mustahab wajib. Or we try to make the makruh haram. And then we go on fighting about these things. In Islam the ulama, not Abdulhakim Jackson’s Islam from America, agree there are five rulings in Islam. These are haram, makruh, mubah, mustahab, wajib, and most of our disagreements come in these two areas of makruh and mustahab. What does wajib mean? It means that if you do it Allah will reward you, if you don’t do it He will punish you. Haram means that if you do it Allah will punish and you if you don’t do it He will reward you. Mustahab means that if you do it Allah will reward you and if you don’t do He won’t do anything to you. Makruh means that if you do it Allah will not punish you but if you don’t He will reward you.

The two rak’aat before Fajr is mustahab. A brother just accepted Islam or a sister married to a Muslim man all her life but just came back to Islam recently and they come to the masjid for Fajr and do not pray the two rak’aat of Fajr. What do I say to them? Do I start accusing/abusing them? Why should I since the two rak’aat are mustahab! Give that person time to evolve and develop. What did the Prophet (s) say to Bani Thaqeef about jihad, he (s) said we’ll work on this jihad — Omar (ra) went bizirk, he could not understand the Prophet’s (s) response. The Prophet (s) said to Omar (ra) they will come around — they will accept it eventually. After the Prophet’s (s) death a number of tribes in Arabia left Islam; one of the tribes who did not leave Islam was Bani Thaqeef. Those same people who just a few years earlier who said they did not want to fight any jihad. Do you see the wisdom of the Prophet (s). And he said: "I know that there will come out of these people some who will defend Islam and who will take it to the horizons."

A Matter of Education

Why are we going to get into a fight over how to position the hands during salaah and forget the fact that I am praying despite having my hands on my chest or by my sides. Which is more important, the fact that I’m praying or the fact that I’m not praying the way you’re used to? This is part of our problem and a big part of the problem is a matter of education. And this is why in our Islamic schools we must get back to our Islamic Civics because if we don’t we will be repeating the same old song over and over again. If we teach our children this now, then by the time they are young men and women they will know better. If we can put aside all these kind of minor arguments then we have time and energy and love to put into our real issues — building a future for our youth, making our society a place in which our veiled women can walk with a sense of pride. Getting into society and taking it back from the people who want to direct people toward the path to hell. That’s what we could do, but not if we’re sitting around arguing over things that we don’t need to argue over, and this is a matter of education.

This is even more important in a place like Australia than it is in Lebanon or Syria or Pakistan. This is so because in Australia you’ll have Muslims from all over the world and all these people saw one Islam all their lives. Now they come to Australia and they see other Muslims doing things differently, so now they’re going to have to show who is the "right Muslim".

I respect all ulamaa, whether I agree with them or not; and the only person who doesn’t respect an ‘alim is a jahil — he doesn’t know what knowledge is all about. Ibn Taymiya said that part of our problem is that many of our ulamaa don’t teach the people that there is more than one way of doing things. Instead they leave the people to think that there is only one way of doing things and therefore whenever they see someone doing something different they think the person is involved in the biggest bid’ah (innovation) that entered planet earth. And this is a problem. Ibn Taymiya (r) said, (from kitab Risalat al ulfah baina al Muslimeen) not only should the ulamaa teach their people that there is more than one way of doing things they should even model that from time to time.

The prophet (s) said that his ummah will not agree on an error. He (s) did not say that you will never make a mistake, or that I will never make a mistake, we make mistakes all the time, he said the whole ummah is not going to make a mistake. This is something that we need to remember. We need to come back to the sunnah of the Prophet (s) in Islamic Civics — how to live together. In Spain they used to say, man aslama faqad tahadara, meaning whoever becomes a Muslim acquires hadaarah (civilisation), the ability to live with each other. To know that in this room nobody is ma’sum (infallible) and in the absence of the Prophet (s), who was ma‘sum, we have no choice but to continue to talk about these differences.

Issues that are Clear

Let’s get something straight. The Prophet (s) has spoken and in some areas he has spoken very clearly. If he (s) has spoken clearly then the ummah will know that. The ummah will not disagree on it. This is why we don’t find any ‘aalim who says that you don’t have to pray for example on a Tuesday afternoon. Any ‘aalim who says riba (usury) is halal is wrong, it is haram! Stealing is haram, zakat is fard — there is no disagreement on these issues.

But there are many things that the Prophet (s) said that are subject to interpretation and we learned this from the companions. We all know the famous story of the Prophet (s) when he told the companions (ra); "There is no prayer to be offered until you reach the camp of Bani Quraizah." Some of the companions said what he meant was to hurry up and get to Bani Quraizah because you don’t want the salat time to be missed. The other companions said no that’s not what he meant, he meant don’t make salat until you get to Bani Quraizah. So one group made salat on time while the other group prayed when they got to Bani Quraizah (after the time of Asr had elapsed). When this incident reached the Prophet (s) he did not rebuke either of them. Both groups took the Prophet’s (s) words and with complete integrity, not trying to undermine his (s) mission, not trying to get out of what they were commanded to do, but with the best of intentions trying to fulfill their duty to obey the Prophet (s) — both will get their reward. These were the companions of Rasullallah (s). Are we better than they are? Subhanallah, this is where our problem is. That is what we have to get back to Islamic Civics.

Levels of Disagreement

There is one other area that I want to touch upon because sometimes a lot of the poison in our discussion comes from the fact that we’re not even clear on what we’re differing about. There are at least three levels that we can disagree on.

1. The level of revelation: Is this ayah from the Quran or is this hadith sahih can we accept it?

2. The level of interpretation: After accepting that an ayah is from Allah or a hadith is from Rasulullah, what is our interpretation of it?

3. The level of application: Sometimes when we agree on the levels of revelation and interpretation, we might disagree on the level of application.
For example, during the time of the Prophet (s) their was a group who were known as al mu’allafatul qulub — either new Muslims or even non-Muslims whom the Prophet (s) was attempting to open up some psychological space. These were people who were not opposed to Islam but were afraid that when they became Muslim their lives would change in ways that they were uncertain about. So what the Prophet (s) wanted to do was soothe their hearts by givinge them gifts, money, camels and all kinds of things. And once they got these they might consider Islam and think it not bad. After the Prophet (s) died and Umar (ra) became caliph (Abu Bakr was only caliph for 2 years) one of the tribes that the Prophet used to give money to came to Umar and requested the money that the Prophet used to give to them. Umar responded by saying that: "I’ll give you this (sword) and that’s all you’re going to get." The companions questioned Umar saying that the Prophet (s) used to do that. Umar replied that the Prophet (s) used to do that in our time of need, "I know why he did it I was there. He (s) did it when we needed to — when we were weak and afraid of the tribes around Arabia. Now there is no longer any cause to do this, I will give them nothing but this (sword). " The question arises, did Umar accept the ayah? Yes! Did Umar accept the Prophet (s) interpretation of the ayah? Yes! Where did Umar differ? With the application of this ayah.

What are not Daleels (Proofs)

"Astagfirullah," is not a daleel. Anger is not a daleel. Yelling is not a daleel. Even takfeer (calling someone a kaafir) is not a daleel. What do I mean by this? Sometimes when I can’t convince you about my point of view, rather than give you daleel I yell and scream. I start out with "astaghfirallah hil atheem", this is not daleel. What is needed is proof from Quran, sunnah, qiyas, and ijmaa’. Let us not terrorise our brothers and sisters.

Things we should not be arguing about

If we’re arguing about an issue of tauhid/shirk, or whether the Prophet (s) always spoke the truth or not, or whether there is a Day of Judgement or not — then we have a problem. We are not supposed to be arguing about these essential things — we’re supposed to be agreeing on them. But if we’re talking about something that is not fundamental, then either I can convince or I can’t and let us leave it at that.

The Ignorant and the Hypocrite

We have to get to know our people because sometimes a person may hold a view, and they may hold that view because they are ignorant. Let us try to tell the difference between someone who is arrogant, who has no regard for the truth and who doesn’t care whether you are right or not, they just want to hold on to their opinion - that’s one kind of person. Then there is another kind of person who if you convince him he may see your point of view. So we should be careful about holding everybody who makes a mistake as a person who rejects Quran and Sunnah. He might just have made a mistake.

Ibn Taymiyyah (r) said that many people who hold wrong ideas may be believing wrong minded, erring Muslims (Mumin mukhti, daal ‘an ba’di ma ja’a bihi rasullullah). Or he may be munaafiqun zindeeq, a hypocrite who wants to hide behind fancy words and doesn’t really believe in Allah and the Last Day. Therefore, we have know the differences between people in order for us to get back to Islamic Civics, inshaAllah.

Transcribed by Sr. Faiza Abdullatif
The Etiquette of Disagreement


Benefits of Tribulation...?

I came to a realization the other day. I think God wants most of us to be exceptional spiritual beings, but most of us just want to be below average Neanderthals. While God wants to uplift us we just want to mop and compare ourselves to the pomp and glitter of those who are themselves hollow.

We can look back at the low points of our lives and feel sorry for ourselves; or we can feel lucky that God deemed us worthy for such trials. Can you imagine the Prophet (saw) sitting down with his peeps and complaining about how he was humiliated at the hands of children who pelted him with rocks while others in his family were enjoying wealth and power? What was it that made the Prophet (saw) forgive and forget those who wronged him? What made him pray for those who humiliated him at every given point?

Perhaps, he was someone who knew God wanted him to be Exceptional.

Opening into the Tongue

"One of the branches of the heart channel directly connects with the tongue. So physiologically the tongue has a close relationship with the heart. The qi and the heart blood all flow up to the tongue in order to assist its normal physiological functions. If there is a pathological change in the heart, it will be reflected in the changes of the tongue. For example, an insufficient supply of heart blood may be manifested by pale tongue proper; heart fire flaring up is reflected by red tongue proper, or even by ulcers of the tongue; blood stagnation in the vessels in presented by a purple tongue or purpura; pathogenic heat invading the pericardium or pathogenic phlegm obstructing the heart orifice, will produce coma, delirium, and stiffness of the tongue. Thus it is said, "The heart opens to the tongue," or "The tongue is the sprout of the heart."

Traditional Chinese Medicine



"...The point I want to make, then, is that once we look deeply into Rumi’s teachings and get beyond the sentimentalities that are too often presented in his name, we will see that he has a rather harsh message for modern man. He is saying that not only the general public, but also the experts, scientists, specialists, and scholars, who are supposed to know what they are talking about, are in fact happily singing the song, khar biraft u khar biraft u khar biraft. The donkeys of all of us have been sold, and we are being entertained by the proceeds. We revel in our taqlīd, singing songs that we don’t understand. We imagine that we know so much more than our benighted ancestors. We no longer grasp the significance of our own embodiment. We live in bāṭil. Not only do we fail to see the ḥaqq of the world and our own souls, but we even deny that anything at all can have a ḥaqq. We are satisfied with the information fed to us by schools, governments, and the media. We accept all our knowledge on the basis of hearsay, faith, and blind imitation. Our only attempt at taḥqīq is to prefer some sources over other sources (let’s say, the The Guardian over the tabloids). We are completely unaware that we are muqallids—not imitators of the prophets and saints, but of other imitators like ourselves. It is only a matter of time before we wake up and begin to lament, daw sad la‘nat bar īn taqlīd bād—“two hundred curses on that imitation!”

The goal of Rumi’s path of realization is to know the ḥaqq of one’s own selfhood and thereby to know the ḥaqq of God, society, and the world. It is to know these with a certainty that bubbles up from the source of all knowledge, the God-given intelligence that lies at the root of the soul.

I conclude with two quotations that suggest the nature of the path of taḥqīq. The first is from Rumi’s Fīhi mī fīhi. He is talking about the knowledge of the experts.

The worthy scholars of the time split hairs in the sciences. They have gained utmost knowledge and total comprehension of things that have nothing to do with them. What is important and closer to them than anything else is their own selfhood, but this they do not know.[iii]

The second quotation is from the Maqālāt or “sayings” of Rumi’s companion, Shams i Tabrīzī.

These people study in the madrasahs because, they think, “We’ll become teachers, we’ll run madrasahs.” They say, “You must do good deeds.” They talk of such things in these assemblies so that they can gain positions.

Why do you study knowledge for the sake of worldly mouthfuls? This rope is for you to come out of the well, not for you to come out of this well and go into some other well.

You must dedicate yourself to knowing this: Who am I? What substance am I? Why have I come? Where am I going? From whence is my root? At this moment what am I doing? Toward what have I turned my face."

William C. Chittick

Atikah & Sukayna

Atikah bint Nafil
The Sahabiyat by Jameelah Jones

During the early years of Islam, women encouraged their husbands to go forward for the cause of Islam. These women, like their men, were courageous, strong and thoroughly ready to give all for the sake of truth. The Sahabiyat (female companions of the Prophet - sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) had personalities which cannot be scoffed at. Here is a story of one such early women of Islam.

Atikah bint Amr ibn Nafil was one of the most beautiful women of Quraysh. She married AbdurRahman ibn Abu Bakr, who was extremely fearful of Allah, handsome and considerate of his parents. AbdurRahman was very much in love with Atikah. One day his father passed by and visited him in his home. When he saw how taken his son was with Atikah, he advised him to divorce her, as she had run away with his reason and overcome his senses. AbdurRahman told his father that he was not able to do this. His father said, "I endure you to do so!" Since AbdurRahman was not humanly able to oppose his father, he divorced his wife. However, after the divorce, he became extremely unhappy and even stopped eating and drinking. Abu Bakr went to him one day, but his son didn't even notice him. He realized that his son was totally devastated by the divorce. AbdurRahman was lying in the sun reciting the following: "I swear by Allah that I will never forget you as long as the sun rises, and as long as the ring-necked dove coos. I cannot imagine one such as me divorcing one like her, nor one like her being divorced without any reason. She is chaste, religious, and noble. She has a balanced personality and a logical mind." After hearing this, Abu Bakr advised his son to take her back. AbdurRahman obeyed his father, and they were reunited. Atikah remained with him until he was killed by an arrow while out with the Prophet -sallallahu alahi wasallam- on the day of Ta'if.

Atikah later married Umar during his Khilafah. Their union ended with his death at the hands of an assassin. Some time passed, then Az-Zubayr ibn Al-Awwam proposed to her and subsequently married her.

It was Atikah's custom to leave the house so that she could pray in the mosque. Az-Zubayr was possessive. It upset him to see her leaving the house to pray in the mosque. He appealed to her to stop, but she saw no reason to give up praying in the mosque in which she had prayed behind behind the Prophet -sallallahu alaihi wasallam, Abu Bakr, and Umar. Az-Zubayr knew that he should not forbid her from praying in the Prophet's mosque, because he knew the hadith in which the Prophet -sallallahu alaihi wasallam had said, "Do not forbid Allah's female slaves (from attending) His mosque".

Then Az-Zubayr was martyred, and she subsequently married Muhammad ibn Abu Bakr, who was killed in Egypt. At this point, she decided that she would never marry anyone else after him, for fear that he too would be martyred. She once said, "If I were to marry all the inhabitants of the earth, they would all be killed." She was given the affectionate name "Zawjah Ash-Shuhada" - the wife of the martyrs.


Sukayna (raa) One of the notable women in Islamic history is Sukayna (raa), the daughter of Husayn (raa), grandson of the Prophet (saaw).

"Some women tried to resist the changes imposed on them after the death of the Prophet. They claimed the right to go out barza (unveiled), a word that they added to the Lisan al-‘Arab dictionary: "A barza woman is one who does not hide her face and does not lower her head." And the dictionary adds that a barza woman is one who "is seen by people and who receives visitors at home" – men, obviously. A barza woman is also a woman who has "sound judgement." A barz man or woman is someone "known for their ‘aql [reasoning]." Who are they, these Muslim women who have resisted the hijab? The most famous was Sukayna, one of the great-granddaughters of the Prophet through his daughter Fatima, the wife of ‘Ali, the famous ‘Ali, the ill-fated fourth orthodox caliph who abandoned power to Mu’awiya and was assassinated by the first Muslim political terrorist. His sons’ fates were as tragic as his own, and Sukayna was present at the killing of her father at Karbala. That tragedy partly explains her revolt against political, oppressive, despotic Islam and against everything that hinders the individual’s freedom – including the hijab.

Sukayna was born in year 49 of the Hejira (about AD 671). She was celebrated for her beauty, for what the Arabs call beauty – an explosive mixture of physical attractiveness, critical intelligence, and caustic wit. The most powerful men debated with her; caliphs and princes proposed marriage to her, which she disdained for political reasons. Nevertheless, she ended marrying five, some say six, husbands. She quarreled with some of them, made passionate declarations of love to others, brought one to court for infidelity, and never pledged ta’a (obedience, the key principle of Muslim marriage) to any of them. In her marriage contracts she stipulated that she would not obey her husband, but would do as she pleased, and that she did not acknowledge that her husband had the right to practice polygyny. All this was the result of her interest in political affairs and poetry. She continued to receive visits from poets and, despite her several marriages, to attend the meetings of the Qurashi tribal council, the equivalent of today’s democratic municipal councils. Her personality has fascinated the historians, who have devoted pages and pages, sometimes whole biographies, to her. Her character was deeply affected by history’s harsh reality – particularly the killing of her father, Husayn Ibn ‘Ali, at Karbala, one of the most outrageous massacres in Muslim political history. Husayn was a man of peace who had declared to Mu’awiya in a written contract his decision to renounce the caliphate, provided he be allowed to live in safety with his family. A poet, he celebrated the women he adored: Rabab, his wife, and Sukayna, his daughter. After the death of Mu’awiya, when he refused to swear allegiance to Mu’awiya’s son, Husayn was killed at Karbala in the midst of his family, including Sukayna. It happened on the Day of Ashura (the Day of Atonement), October 10, AD 680. All her life Sukayna harboured feelings of contempt, which she never hesitated to express, for the Umayyad dynasty and its bloody methods. She attacked the dynasty in the mosques and insulted its governors and representatives every time she had the opportunity, even arranging occasions for this purpose.

She made one of her husbands sign a marriage contract that officially specified her right to nushuz, that rebellion against marital control that so tormented the fuqaha. She claimed the right to be nashiz, and paraded it, like her beauty and her talent, to assert the importance and vitality of women in the Arab tradition. Admiring and respectful, the historians delight in evoking her family dramas – for instance, the case that she brought against one of her husbands who had violated the rule of monogamy that she had imposed on him in the marriage contract. Dumbfounded by the conditions in the contract, the judge nevertheless was obliged to hear the case, with his own wife attending this trial of the century and the caliph sending an emissary to keep him au courant with the course of the trial.

Fatima Mernissi,"The Veil and The Male Elite." (Pg 191-193)


Reality Check?

We live in an artificial world with artificial means. It’s as if were almost part of a fictious world that is at odds with the real world. We live in cities that blot out the skies yet bedazzle casinos and ad campaigns. We live in secluded homes and watch reality through the eyes of the few who decide what is moral or immoral for us. We’ve built artificial cities over deserts all the while forgetting that the desert itself was a city full of people at some time. Ask a child and he won’t know how his food grows. Ask an adult and he won’t know how many artificial toxins are in the fruit he’s eating.

Does living in this artificial world affect our thinking-- our being? Do we make dumb assertions because of our environment? Is it because we’re so consumed with our slavery to consumption that we don’t have time to think in real terms? Can we pretend to understand people who are still in touch with nature, who haven’t destroyed nature to build a fake sense of reality?


The Mouse and the Camel

Funny how situations rarely change throughout history. I wonder who was being checked by Rumi here. Did he too live in a time where mere rats...erm mice... wanted to lead camels?
The Mouse and the Camel

A mouse caught hold of a camel's lead rope
in his two forelegs and walked off with it,
imitating the camel drivers.

The camel went along,
letting the mouse feel heroic.
"Enjoy yourself,"
he thought, " I have something to teach you, presently."

They came to the edge of a great river.
The mouse was dumbfounded.

Step forward into the river. You are my leader.
Don't stop here."
"I'm afraid of being drowned."

The camel walked into the water. "It's only just about the knee."
"Your knee! Your knee
is a hundred times over my head!"

"Well, maybe you shouldn't
be leading a camel, Stay with those like yourself.
A Mouse has nothing really to say to a camel."

"Would you help me get across?"

You are not a prophet, but go humble on the way of the prophets,
and you can arrive where they are. Don't try to steer the boat.
don't open up a shop by yourself. Listen. Keep silent.
you are not God's mouthpiece. Try to be an ear,and if you do speak, ask for explanations.

The source of your arrogance and anger is your lust
and the rootedness of that is in your habits.

Someone who makes habit of eating clay
gets made when you try to keep him from it.
Being a leader can also be a poisonous habit,
so that when someone questions your authority,
you think, "He's trying to take over."
You may respond courteously, but inside you rage.

Always check your inner state
with the Lord of your heart.
Copper doesn't know it copper,
until its change to gold.

Your loving doesn't know its majesty
until it knows its helplessness.

The Essential Rumi, p. 142-144
Translated by Coleman Barks


The Hikam of Ibn 'Ata'llah

I. A feeling of discouragement when you slip up
is a sure sign that you put your faith in deeds.

Your desire to withdraw from everything
when Allah has involved you in the world of means
is a hidden appetite.

Your desire for involvement with the world of means
when Allah has withdrawn you from it
is a fall from high aspiration.

Aspiration which rushes on ahead
cannot break through the walls of destiny.

Give yourself a rest from managing!
When Someone Else is doing it for you,
don't you start doing it for yourself!

Your striving for what is absolutely guaranteed to you
and your laxness in what is required of you
are evidence that your inner eye is dull.

If you make intense supplication
and the timing of the answer is delayed,
do not despair of it.
His reply to you is guaranteed;
but in the way He chooses,
not the way you choose,
and at the moment He desires,
not the moment you desire.

If something that is promised does not happen
even though the time for it is set,
do not doubt the promise!
If you do, that will dim your inner eye
and put out the light of your secret.

When He opens a way for you and makes Himself known to you,
then do not worry about your lack of deeds.
He only opened the way for you
because He desired to make Himself known to you.
Do you not see that while He grants gnosis of Himself to you,
you have only deeds to offer Him?
What He brings you -
What you bring Him -
What a difference there is between them!

Different states have different outcomes.
This accounts for the variety of types of action.

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

Bury your existence in the earth of obscurity.
If something sprouts before it is buried,
its fruits will never ripen.

Withdraw the heart into the arena of reflection
- nothing helps the heart more than that!
The Hikam of Ibn 'Ata'llah



Innovation & Creativity in Islam

This article examines two fundamental concepts essential to the dynamic application of Islam: bid‘a (innovation) and ijtihad (critical thinking for solutions to new problems). Both concepts are meant to preserve continuity with Islam’s original sources while renewing the religion’s vitality as a dynamic faith. Correct understanding of bid‘a and ijtihad is an essential element of Islamic literacy, the basic understanding of Islam that all members of the Muslim community must have. Bid‘a serves as a regulatory mechanism for the elaboration of the religious law but is not meant to be an obstructive force, impeding new ideas and silencing open discourse. Bid‘a has different shades of meaning and is not always negative; it applies equally to innovations that are obligatory, recommended, or merely neutral. Ijtihad, on the other hand, is the creative dimension of Islamic law. The obligation to perform it falls on each Muslim community in the context of its particular time and place. Ijtihad is not solely an obligation of scholars; it also is incumbent on the Muslim rank and file, who are required to think critically about which scholars to follow.
Read Full Article
PDF file

Islam & the Cultural Imperative

This article addresses the fundamental need for American Muslims - among the most promising, wealthiest and educated Muslim minorities in history - to consciously establish a new, unique cultural identity. To lay down roots and survive, Islam must reflect the good in America’s diverse races and ethnicities. Historically, Islamic jurists have upheld the Prophet’s legal precedent for respecting non-Arabs’ ethnic and cultural differences as long as they did not contravene his teaching. Islam’s spread and triumphant past reflects this glorious global culture. Like a crystal clear river, Islam and sacred law are pure but colorless, until they reflect the Chinese, African, & other bedrock over which they flow.
Read Full Article
PDF file

Mercy, The Stamp of Creation

This paper examines the role of mercy in the Islamic tradition and eternal salvation, and its imprint on all affairs of the universe. Although Islam is often proclaimed as the ‘religion of peace,’ theologically, it is more accurate to refer to it as the ‘religion of mercy.’ God has designated mercy as his primary relation to the universe and sent his greatest prophet, Muhammad, as its emissary. Following this, Muslims are commanded to be vanguards of mercy to the world in fostering benefit and averting harm. Islam enjoins a healthy and spiritually alive heart and teaches a law of universal reciprocity by which God shows mercy to the merciful and withholds it from the unmerciful.
Read Full Article
PDF file

One God, Many Names

This paper addresses the primordial origin of the divine names of God in order to establish the equivalency of the Biblical ‘God’ to Islam’s ‘Allah’ and the need for American Muslims to embrace both. While Muslims affirm that they worship the ‘God of Abraham,’ recently America’s religious right has denied this common ground. This point is aided by English-speaking Muslims’ avoidance of the word ‘God,’ due to an erroneous assumption that ‘Allah’ alone carries legitimacy.
Read Full Article
PDF file


What the Bleep Do We Know?

I'm amazed by how little we know as a human race. I'm amazed that we're as arrogant as we are despite the fact that we know so little. We still don't know where electrons go when they disappear and reappear, we still don't know if at our most basic level we're particles or waves, we still don't know who or what is the observer that determines the location of the particle? We still don't know how the first heart beat is initiated.

Where did we come from? Why are we here? Where are we going?
Science, believe it or not, doesn't have the answers either. There are only theories. But that's not my point of interest. I'm more interested in the way we think and learn.

What makes us, a small carbon unit, to believe we're capable enough, that we're conscious enough to construct and understand the multi-layered realities of this vast and for the most part, unseen universe? (Dark Matter anyone?) We don't know who or what we are yet we claim to understand GOD -- the Ultimate Observer.

A crazy lady who claims to channel a 4,000 year old spirit actually said something very profound in the documentary "What the bleep do we know"? (A must see! You'll find the work of Dr. Emoto alongside theories of Quantum Mechanics and How to control your dumb self among other interesting models, which you might or might not agree on), when she said, "The height of arrogance is the height of control of those who create God in their own image!"

I don't know exactly what she was implying but I know what that means for me and my synaptic connections, mainly that, we come to understand what we deem reality through our measly and imperfect minds. Minds that are incapable of understanding Dark Matter yet arrogant enough to claim to understand God. We impart images of God through our arrogant and incomplete understanding making the lot that's actually seeking Him, sick to their stomach.

I don't know what the heck I really am, where I come from, or where im going, (that is, if im a spiritual being trying to be human, not a human being trying to be spiritual, as eloquently quoted by Sheikh Abdullah Adhami), then how can I claim to be the only one who understands the meaning of life and further dictate how everyone should live according to my feeble model of reality.

Perhaps reality is best designed through the minds of many rather than just one. Perhaps the suggestion of loving the Prophet (saw) (and enlightened beings) is so that we humble ourselves and realize that we're incapable of understanding the meaning of reality without Divine help and each other. The Prophet (saw) was endowed with an excellent character, an existence that perhaps understood God more than any of us losers. Enlightened beings too understand reality in a way unfamiliar to our learning models and thus it is crucial to tap into as many minds, as many ways of thinking one is capable of. That is, if one already understands how she learns to learn.

More on this later...

Meanwhile, munch on the following:

"The smallest units of matter are, in fact, not physical objects in the
ordinary sense of the word; they are forms, structures or in Plato's
sense, Ideas, which can be unambiguously spoken of only in the
language of mathematics."
Werner Heisenberg

"We have to remember that what we observe is not nature in itself but
nature exposed to our method of questioning."
Werner Heisenberg

"Observation plays a decisive role in the event and . . . the reality
varies, depending upon whether we observe it or not."
Werner Heisenberg

The Particle Adventure: An interactive tour of fundamental particles and forces
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
The Particle Adventure

Watch it free on Google. (Large file; some sexual content; viewer discreation is advised)
What the Bleep Do We Know?

Double Split Experiment - What is Matter?


Can words affect physical reality?

There was an Eastern Doctor who believed in the healing power of words. In addition to his regular practice he devoted a lot of time praying and motivating his patients. He would sit for hours with those of his patients suffering from grave brain injuries.

One fine day another brilliant surgeon, an expert in his field, heard about this weird practice of the foreign doctor. He decided to confront his mumbo jumbo and to put him in his place for showing such blatant disrespect to the fine profession of medicine!

Sure enough the next day the surgeon found the Eastern Doctor with one of his patients, whispering sweet words of encouragement. He walked up to him and said,

“You know this will not help a bit. You are wasting your time!”

No response.

“How can you call yourself a doctor and believe that mere words can aid the condition of a patient”? The surgeon tried one more time.

“Basta**!” came the first response.

“What?!?” asked the surgeon in disbelief.

“A**hole!” came the second response.

“How dare you speak to me like that, I will kill you? Do you know who are speaking with, I will destroy you, you Son of a Beech!!!” screamed the surgeon.

“Stop right there.” said the Eastern Doctor calmly.

“HUH? What? How dare you tell me to …” panted still a very angry surgeon.

“I’ve only said two words to you and suddenly your heart rate has increased, your body is producing sweat, and you are out of breath. Surely, words must have some mysterious power?”

I can’t remember where I originally heard or read this story. Re-heard it last night from a friend. If you know the source let me know.


Can thoughts and feelings affect physical reality?

"...each word has its own particular vibration, and therefore its own particular energy."

Dr. Masaru Emoto was born in Japan and is a graduate of the Yokohama Municipal University and the Open International University as a Doctor of Alternative Medicine. His photographs were first featured in his self-published books Messages from Water 1 and 2. The Hidden Messages in Water was first published in Japan, with over 400,000 copies sold internationally.

Love and Gratitude

What has put Dr. Emoto at the forefront of the study of water is his proof that thoughts and feelings affect physical reality. By producing different focused intentions through written and spoken words and music and literally presenting it to the same water samples, the water appears to "change its expression".

You Make Me Sick
Essentially, Dr. Emoto captured water's 'expressions.' He developed a technique using a very powerful microscope in a very cold room along with high-speed photography, to photograph newly formed crystals of frozen water samples. Not all water samples crystallize however. Water samples from extremely polluted rivers directly seem to express the 'state' the water is in.

Dr. Masaru Emoto discovered that crystals formed in frozen water reveal changes when specific, concentrated thoughts are directed toward them. He found that water from clear springs and water that has been exposed to loving words shows brilliant, complex, and colorful snowflake patterns. In contrast, polluted water, or water exposed to negative thoughts, forms incomplete, asymmetrical patterns with dull colors.

Power of Prayer

The implications of this research create a new awareness of how we can positively impact the earth and our personal health. The success of his books outside Japan has been remarkable. Dr. Emoto has been called to lecture around the world as a result and has conducted live experiments both in Japan and Europe as well as in the US to show how indeed our thoughts, attitudes, and emotions as humans deeply impact the environment.

Dr. Masaru Emoto
Hado Prject
Researcher Reveals Mysteries Of Water

[I wonder if there has been replication done by other scientists. Were there control groups? And are there similar studies and/or publications in reputable scientific journals. Who knows? But this is still cool!]

The Maharishi Effect

Is there something wrong with the prayers of Muslims these days or are the prayers actually averting greater harm at some level. I believe in the power of collective prayer. I believe!!! Interesting study, isn't it?

The Maharishi Effect
In 1960, Maharishi predicted that one percent of a population practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique would produce measurable improvements in the quality of life for the whole population.

Effects of Group Practice of the Transcendental Meditation Program on Preventing Violent Crime in Washington, DC:
Results of the National Demonstration Project,
June–July 1993


Every action is based on intention...

Paralyzed man masters thought control
Brain power used to control computer, operate robotic limb

Updated: 3:27 p.m. ET July 12, 2006
LONDON - A paralyzed man using a new brain sensor has been able to move a computer cursor, open e-mail and control a robotic device simply by thinking about doing it, a team of scientists said Wednesday.

They believe the BrainGate sensor, which involves implanting electrodes in the brain, could offer new hope to people paralyzed by injuries or illnesses.

“This is the first step in an ongoing clinical trial of a device that is encouraging for its potential to help people with paralysis,” Dr. Leigh Hochberg of Massachusetts General Hospital said in an interview.

The 25-year-old man, who suffered paralysis of all four limbs three years earlier, completed tasks such as moving a cursor on a screen and controlling a robotic arm.

He is the first of four patients with spinal cord injuries, muscular dystrophy, stroke or motor neuron disease testing the brain-to-movement system developed by Cyberkinetics Neurotechnology Systems Inc. in Masschusetts.

“This is the dawn of major neurotechnology, where the ability to take signals out of the brain has taken a big step forward. We have the ability to put signals into the brain, but getting signals out is a real challenge. I think this represents a landmark event,” said John Donoghue, a professor at Brown University and the chief scientific officer of Cyberkinetics.

The scientists implanted a tiny silicon chip with 100 electrodes into an area of the brain responsible for movement. The activity of the cells was recorded and sent to a computer, which translated the commands and enabled the patient to move and control the external device.

“This part of the brain, the motor cortex, which usually sends its signals down the spinal cord and out to the limbs to control movement, can still be used by this participant to control an external device, even after years had gone by since his spinal cord injury,” added Hochberg, a co-author of the study published in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature.

Although it is not the first time brain activity has been used to control a cursor, Stephen Scott of Queen’s University in Ontario said it advances the technology.

“This research suggests that implanted prosthetics are a viable approach for assisting severely impaired individuals to communicate and interact with the environment,” he said in a commentary in the journal.

In a separate study, researchers from Stanford University Schools of Medicine and Engineering described a faster way to process signals from the brain to control a computer or prosthetic device.

“Our research is starting to show that, from a performance perspective, this type of prosthetic system is clinically viable,” Stephen Ryu, an assistant professor of neurosurgery at Stanford, said in a statement.

Copyright 2006 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters.


Its like rraaiiin.

The world is six things: its something you eat, its something you drink, its something you wear, its something you ride, its something you smell, or its something you marry.
The highest thing that you will eat in this world is the vomit of bees. (honey)
The highest thing that you will drink is water [and every animal drinks that].
The highest thing that you will wear is the excretion of a worm. (silk)
The highest thing that you will smell is the mucus of a gazelle. (musk)
The highest thing that you will ride is a horse (upon which men are killed),
and the thing you will derive pleasure from your marriage is the meeting place of where you urinate.

So don't get depressed.

- attributed to Hazret Ali (ra)


Life is ten percent what happens to you and ninety percent how you respond to it.

Why do we assume we are complete? That we are a finished form, evovled to the fullest, in our short stay on Earth. Who knows we just might be in the larva stage within an egg shell. Perhaps we're feeding on deeds (good or bad) in this world because that will help us become who we really are meant to be. The egg shell is penetrated only through death. and our real self leaves this body and prepares itself for the next stage?

Sounds magical? But its so hard to grasp because i know nothing else. I know i exist as long as my body is alive and once it stops functioning -- i'm no more. my accomplishments, my power, my loved ones are gone.

Perhaps I've invested "myself" in the wrong stock. Perhaps if i explored my real self within, maybe just maybe, im more than just flesh. i know what the greedy flesh wants but what about the rest of me (if there is more to me)?

Who am I and what the heck do I really want?


I like my internet friends, snort.

As nerdy and as freaky as it sounds, some of the best human beings ive met -- i met from the internet. In case, you freaks happen to be in New York in July or in Houston in December, dont try to contact me. Ok fine, contact me. Lets do all the things YOU WANT.

much love,


Don't cry for me Argentina...

On Sunday, I came home to find my computer crashed. I was shocked! But more importantly I was sad for having lost all the pictures, notes, files, and links from the past few years. Why oh why didn’t I back up my hard-drive?

I thought I would be angry but im a bit indifferent at this point, given I’ve been watching people helplessly dance around death for the past few weeks. I dont know how doctors do it. whew.

Anywho, my situation reminded me of Mr.Ghazali's story:

Ghazali and the Robbers
Author Unknown

Ghazali, the renowned Muslim scholar, was born in Tus, a small village near Mashhad. He lived in the fifth century hijrah.

In those days, students wishing to acquire higher knowledge of Islam travelled to Nishapur, which boasted several centres of learning and many teachers of repute. Ghazall, after completing his preliminary education at home, arrived in Nishapur to pursue further studies. He was brilliant and was soon acclaimed by his tutors as the most studious and painstaking student. In order not to forget any finer points of erudition, he formed the habit of noting down all that he heard and learnt from his teachers. And then he meticulously rewrote them under various headings and chapters.

He treasured these notes as dearly as his life, or perhaps more.
Years later, he decided to return to his village. He tied all his prepared notes into a neat bundle and set forth in the company of a caravan. On the way, they were held up by a gang of highway thieves who robbed each traveller of all his valuables. And then it was Ghazali's turn. They searched him thoroughly, snatching away all that they wanted, and then laid hands on the tied bundle of notes.

"Take all that you want, but please do not touch this bundle," Ghazali pleaded. And the waylayers thought that there must be something very precious hidden in the bundle which Ghazali was trying to save.

So they untied the bundle and ransacked the pages. What did they find? Nothing but a few written papers.

They asked: "What are these? Of what use are they?"

"Well, they may be of no use to you, but they are of great use to me," Ghazali answered.

"But of what use are they?" the robbers insisted.

"These are the fruits of my labour. If you destroy them, I am also ruinously destroyed.

All the years of my attainment go down the drain," Ghazali replied.

"So whatever you know is in here, isn't it?" one of them said.

"Yes," Ghazali replied.

"Well, knowledge confined in a few papers, vulnerable to theft, is no knowledge at all.

Go and think about it and about yourself"

This casual but pungent remark by a commoner shook Ghazali to the core. He realised that he had studied as a parrot, jotted down all that he learned and crammed in into his mind. He found that he knew more, but he thought less. If he wanted to be a true student and a good scholar, he had to assimilate knowledge, think, ponder, deduce and then form his own judgement.

He set out seriously to learn the way he should, and became one of the greatest ulema in Islam. But in his advanced age, when he summarised his achievements, he said:

"The best counsel and admonition which changed my thinking, came to me from a highway robber."

On how to read... this blog/other people/ the world...

"Schema theory explains how our previous experiences, knowledge, emotions, and understandings affect what and how we learn (Harvey & Goudvis, 2000). Schema is the background knowledge and experience readers bring to the text. Good readers draw on prior knowledge and experience to help them understand what they are reading and are thus able to use that knowledge to make connections. Struggling readers often move directly through a text without stopping to consider whether the text makes sense based on their own background knowledge, or whether their knowledge can be used to help them understand confusing or challenging materials. By teaching students how to connect to text they are able to better understand what they are reading (Harvey & Goudvis, 2000). Accessing prior knowledge and experiences is a good starting place when teaching strategies because every student has experiences, knowledge, opinions, and emotions that they can draw upon.

Keene and Zimmerman (1997) concluded that students comprehend better when they make different kinds of connections:


Text-to-self connections are highly personal connections that a reader makes between a piece of reading material and the reader’s own experiences or life. An example of a text-to-self connection might be, "This story reminds me of a vacation we took to my grandfather’s farm."

Sometimes when reading, readers are reminded of other things that they have read, other books by the same author, stories from a similar genre, or perhaps on the same topic. These types of connections are text-to-text connections. Readers gain insight during reading by thinking about how the information they are reading connects to other familiar text. “This character has the same problem that I read about in a story last year,” would be an example of a text-to-text connection.

Text-to-world connections are the larger connections that a reader brings to a reading situation. We all have ideas about how the world works that goes far beyond our own personal experiences. We learn about things through television, movies, magazines, and newspapers. Often it is the text-to-world connections that teachers are trying to enhance when they teach lessons in science, social studies, and literature. An example of a text-to-world connection would be when a reader says, "I saw a program on television that talked about things described in this article."

Cris Tovani (2000) offers reasons why connecting to text helps readers:

It helps readers understand how characters feel and the motivation behind their actions.
It helps readers have a clearer picture in their head as they read thus making the reader more engaged.
It keeps the reader from becoming bored while reading.
It sets a purpose for reading and keeps the reader focused.
Readers can see how other readers connected to the reading.
It forces readers to become actively involved.
It helps readers remember what they have read and ask questions about the text.

How to Use the Strategy:
To effectively use this strategy, teachers should spend time modeling for students how to make meaningful connections. The easiest connection to teach is text-to-self. Teachers should model text-to-self connections initially with selections that are relatively close to the student's personal experiences. A key phrase that prompts text-to-self connections is, "this reminds me of...." Next, teachers should model how to make text-to-text connections. Sometimes when we read, we are reminded of other texts we have read. Encourage students to consider the variety of texts they have experienced which will help them understand the new selection. Finally, teachers should model how to make text-to-world connections. When teachers suspect that students may lack the ability to make meaningful connections, classroom instruction will be necessary to bridge the gap between reading experiences and author assumptions. Building the necessary background knowledge is a crucial means for providing text-to-world support and may be used to pre-empt reading failure. Harvey and Goudvis (2000) caution that merely making connections is not sufficient. Students may make tangential connections that can distract them from the text. Throughout instruction, students need to be challenged to analyze how their connections are contributing to their understanding of the text. Text connections should lead to text comprehension.

Below are some examples of connecting statements for students to use as a reference or teachers can use them as prompts for classroom discussion.

This part reminds me of....
I felt like...(character) when I....
If that happened to me I would....
This book reminds me of...(another text) because....
I can relate to...(part of text) because one time....
Something similar happened to me when....

Below are some examples of questions that can be used to facilitate student connections:

What does this remind me of in my life?
What is this similar to in my life?
How is this different from my life?
Has something like this ever happened to me?
How does this relate to my life?
What were my feelings when I read this?

Text-to-text:What does this remind me of in another book I’ve read?
How is this text similar to other things I’ve read?
How is this different from other books I’ve read?
Have I read about something like this before?

Text-to-world:What does this remind me of in the real world?
How is this text similar to things that happen in the real world?
How is this different from things that happen in the real world?
How did that part relate to the world around me?"

courtesy of: Making Connections

Schema theory of learning

"All human beings possess categorical rules or scripts that they use to interpret the world. New information is processed according to how it fits into these rules, called schema. These schema can be used not only to interpret but also to predict situation occurring in our environment. Think, for example, of a situation where you were able to finish another person’s thoughts, or when someone asked you to pass that "thingamabob." Schema Theorists suggest that you used your schema to predict what you conversation partner was going to say and to correctly interpret "thingamabob" as the hammer needed to nail something into the wall.

Information that does not fit into these schema may not be comprehended, or may not be comprehended correctly. This is the reason why readers have a difficult time comprehending a text on a subject they are not familiar with even if the person comprehends the meaning of the individual words in the passage. If the waiter in a restaurant, for example, asked you if you would prefer to sing, you may have a difficult time interpreting what he was asking and why, since singing is not something that patrons in a restaurant normally do. However, if you had been to the restaurant in the past and knew that it was frequented by opera students who liked to entertain the clouds, you would have incorporated that information into your schema and not be confused when the waiter asked if you’d prefer to sing.

In contrast to Ausubel’s Meaningful Receptive Learning Theory, the learner in schema theory actively builds schema and revises them in light on new information. Each individual’s schema is unique and depended on that individual’s experiences and cognitive processes.

Ausubel postulated a hierarchical organization of knowledge where the learner more or less attached new knowledge to the existing hierarchy. In this representation, memory is driven by structure as well as meaning. Knowledge in Schema Theory, however, is not necessarily stored hierarchically. In fact, it is meaning-driven and probably represented propositionally, and these networks of propositions are actively constructed by the learner. For example, when we are asked to recall a story that we were told, we are able to reconstruct the meaning of the story, but usually not the exact sentences– or even often the exact order– that we told. We have remembered the story by actively constructing a meaningful representation of the story in our memory..."

Schema theory
Sharon Alayne Widmayer


The Ratib of Imam Al Haddad


1. The Ratib of Imam Al Haddad (pdf file)
2. The Ratib of Imam Al Haddad

Ratib al-Haddad is a Zikr (additional voluntary invocation) to be recited every night after Magrib or Salât al-'Ishâ. It is a collection of Surahs and verses from the Holy Qur'an Kareem as well as the Kalimaat (declarations of belief), Tasbeehaat (praise of Allah Ta'ala) and Duas (invocations) which the beloved Prophet Muhammad Mustafa Sallallahu alaihi as Sallam recommended in his blessed sayings or Hadith Shareef.

Wisdom isn't yours or mine.

"bahadur shah zafar writes to his beloved/shaikh:

main ne puuchhaa kyaa huaa vo aap kaa husn-o-shabaab
haNs ke bolaa vo sanam shaan-e-Khudaa thii main na thaa

i enquired 'what happened to your beauty and youthfulness'?
laughingly, he said, oh dear, that was the splendour of God, not me."



You were created to adore God

Love (mahaba) is the highest religious virtue in Islam. Imam Ghazali said that it is the highest maqam or spiritual station. It is so because trust, zhud (doing without), fear, and hope are stations of this world and so long as you are in this world these stations are relevant, but once you die they can no longer serve you. Love is eternal because love is the reason you were created. You were created to adore God. That’s why in Latin the word adore which is used for worship in English is also a word for love, adoration. You were created to worship God, in other words, to love Him because you can’t truly adore something or worship something that you don’t love. If you are worshipping out of fear, like Imam A1-Ghazali says, it’s not the highest level of worship, but its lowest.

Hamza Yusuf

I was born to die.

People mock religion but in times of tribulation it is the believers whose mind and bodies are repaired with their hearts.

This past week has brought a rollercoaster of emotions and unrest into my consciousness, which isn’t exactly a bad thing but it is uncomfortable. For the past few years, I’ve done quite well with personal conflicts and found myself at peace with my self and my surroundings. I mind my own business, I do what I deem correct, and I try my best to cater to those around me.

I, however, have never made an effort to discuss my beliefs with those of my friends and relatives who don’t know much about Islam (or those who don’t care to know); mainly because I would never want to force another human being into discussing something they weren’t interested in. That somehow the way I am would serve enough proof of my inclinations and beliefs. I was wrong.

The past week has made me realize that I not only need to work on myself but that I need to engage more with those around me. I need to talk about life, meaning, goals, and death. I should not shy away from discussing my views for they might benefit someone else. Yes, I can take care of me but I don’t know how to take care of other people. What good is knowledge or understanding if it can’t be of use to those we love?

This past week I found myself surrounded by people who wanted me to pray with them and for them. How wrong was I to assume that they didn’t believe in God. Yes, they said they didn’t believe in religion but that’s when they were happy. They were drunk on happiness; but what was wrong with me. Since when did I take ‘drunk’ people seriously?

Of course I prayed with everyone else. And I asked for prayers just liked them. But I felt so inadequate and guilty. I felt like a fraud. Why couldn’t I have explained some of my beliefs before this calamity hit them? Why had I not made an effort?

I saw people in despair. I saw them without hope.

I could taste their pain yet I didn’t know how to comfort them. Didn’t know how to explain that “tribulations” are a blessing in disguise; that death is only the beginning; that God Loves us more than we love Him; and that we should make our hearts content with God’s decree. How to say all of this in an out of context vacuum?

When my father passed away, I was sad. In fact, I was heartbroken. But I never for a moment despaired of God’s Mercy. I understood that he had returned home; his test was complete; and that I too was born to die. And perhaps by God’s Mercy I will see him again.

I recall feeling pain but not like the pain I’ve felt this week. I wish I could transfer some of the peace I feel in my heart to those who are in pain, right now.

Learn from my mistakes and please take a moment everyday to say something good to your loved ones, or to pray for someone in pain, for it not only helps them but it also helps to cleanse our hearts.

May God Forgive us and show Mercy on us, For He is the Best to Forgive and the Best to Show Mercy.

Whose Dream Is this?

Chuang Tzu, a Chinese poet and philosopher, once has a wonderful dream. As he lay comfortably in his bed, he dreamed that he was a butterfly dancing from one flower to another, tasting sweet nector. Drifting with the light summer breezes, he blissfully fluttered with other rainbow-colored butterflies.

Suddenly, he woke up. Finding himself sitting on his own bed, he realized that he had been dreaming.

"The dream seemed so real," he thought. He looked about his crude cottage and sleepily wondered, "Well am I a man who has been dreaming that he a butterfly? Or am I a butterfly who is now dreaming that his is a man?

"Wisdom Tales"
Heather Forest

Quotes to Note:


"A key thing, however, may be to understand what 'difference' actually is, if that makes sense. That there are many varying levels of "Muslim", from the non-practising peeps who have even the tiniest spark of faith in their heart, to those who walk around chewing on wood all day etc. That these things, and whatever in-between, is still within the bounds of Islam; though some are in a better position than others, doctrinally."

"Regardless of levels of understanding and practise, regardless of current or past "sins", there is a place for everyone within the community, at some level, which enriches our capability to grow."


"I'm becoming convinced (and it is difficult to think this) that most of the ungodliness in the world (and perhaps manifested within ourselves if we don't begin to open our eyes) is not an active defiance of fitra but a passive conformity to the fitna which is hallmark of the progression of history."

"One of ahm's contentions is that 'the divine name of our time is al-sabur.' look at surah asr. as history 'progresses', we are all in a state of loss except the ones that attempt to actualize the divine name al-sabur and are the patient."

Mathnawi VI: 2955-2962

The spirit is like an ant, and the body like a grain of wheat
which the ant carries to and fro continually.
The ant knows that the grains of which it has taken charge
will change and become assimilated.
One ant picks up a grain of barley on the road;
another ant picks up a grain of wheat and runs away.
The barley doesn't hurry to the wheat,
but the ant comes to the ant, yes it does.
The going of the barley to the wheat is merely consequential:
it's the ant that returns to its own kind.
Don't say, "Why did the wheat go to the barley?"
Fix your eye on the holder, not on that which is held.
As when a black ant moves along on a black felt cloth:
the ant is hidden from view; only the grain is visible on its way.
But Reason says: "Look well to your eye:
when does a grain ever move along without a carrier?"

"Rumi: Jewels of Remembrance"
Camille and Kabir Helminski
Threshold Books, 1996


You are a blessing to the world.

"If you don't give what nobody in the world has to give - which is yourself - the world will not have it. In other words, if you don’t give, you rob the world of you."
Ellen Burstyn
How interesting. We all strive to be different and unique - whether we admit it or not- all the while overlooking the reality that we really are created as one of a kind. Yes, i'm special! [But then again, everyone else is special too. Does that cancel out the special-ness?]

Makes one think though... why didn't God create us all the same? Why give each one of us a unique perspective, a unique filter, a unique mind, to process external stimuli.

Imagine a world where everyone was the same. Who will we pick on then? [Do we pick on other souls because we're different, or is it because it is an inherent human trait?] We were sent to this world to work on ourselves, maybe if everyone was the same, we won’t have time to pick on other people, and instead we will devote our entire being to bettering our own sense of self. No?

Imagine a world without Ali (ra), Umar (ra), Uthman (ra), and Abu Bakr (ra). Imagine the world with only One Prophet, with only one school of thought, with only one perfect man, with only one pretty woman, with just one chance at life. Boring?

Unity doesn’t necessitate monotony. Then why do we insist upon amalgamating everyone into a glob of monolithic consistency? Worse, our criteria for this sameness is shallow and goes no farther than attire and group lingo.

Why can't I look to where My God, My Rabb, has placed me and take life from there. Yes, it would be dishonest of me to claim to understand the life, beliefs, and experience of everyone that I encounter, but I can use my personal experience and beliefs to affect another person, in a positive or negative manner.

I can just be me; I can’t be everyone else and me. God wants me to work on me, in a place where He’s placed me, and with factors He’s set up around me. mememe. sorry. i like saying me.

The way in which we behave shows us something of our own self. If I’m attracted to people who bash others, who believe their 'experience' and 'understanding' is somehow divine, and not because they’ve studied the shariah on a scholarly level but because they dress and speak and look a certain way or belong to a certain 'group,' then it shows me something of my own inclination and drive rather than their sheer ignorance.

it all comes back to me, doesnt it. and what i have to offer the world.

In any case,
Shaykh Hakim Murad beautifully expresses the need to re-establish our Reliance on Allah through the virtue of Ridaa here. He's so cool. awww. ok. serious mode.

Here are some blurbs:


***"[...]One thing most communities have in common now is that the people are in a state of agitation. One of the things that attracted me was the genuine sense of tranquility, calmness, and serenity in the masjids. People are starting to lose the virute of Ridaa – tranquil serene acceptance of Allahs will. It’s alarming that Muslims should feel so disturbed or agitated by today’s world.

We complain about negative stereotypes but that’s always been the attitude toward the believers by the non-comprehending world. True religion is about akhira, it’s about transcending the self; it’s not about gratifying or discovering the self. We should be proud the modern world doesn’t like us because it’s a sign of authenticity. Nonetheless, it’s also the case when Muslims when they view this hostility don’t find solace in the traditional virtue of Ridaa."

"[...] we find forms of agitation, we find insecurity and the necessary consequence of that -- which is that instead of being so relaxed and forgiving and inclusive and that we see the best in everybody, we increasingly judge because the slightest difference between ourselves and the doctrine or the practice of another Muslim somehow makes us feel even more insecure. We want the religion to be a monolithic consistency that gratifies our sense of insecurity."

"[...]One implication of this loss of ridaa is that we tend to judge others, perhaps we're not content with the way Allah is arranging history at this particular moment. We get jumpy and like to attack others and are extremely judgmental. And one of the greatest errors one can make in this time - according to the ulema- is the error of assuming this is the time for Perfection, for rigorism; that the harder the work becomes for the believers the more perfect we have to demand everybody is."

"[...]There is too much judgment of others but not enough judgment of ourselves. There is too much self-righteousness but not enough self knowledge."


Don't pat yourself on the back just yet....

Wealth has no permanence: it comes in the morning,
and at night it is scattered to the winds.
Physical beauty too has no importance,
for a rosy face is made pale by the scratch of a single thorn.
Noble birth also is of small account,
for many become fools of money and horses.
Many a nobleman's son has disgraced his father by his wicked deeds.

Don't court a person full of talent either,
even if he seems exquisite in that respect:
take warning from the example of Iblis.
Iblis had knowledge, but since his love was not pure,
he saw in Adam nothing but a figure of clay.
Mathnawi VI: 255-260

"Rumi: Jewels of Remembrance"
Threshold Books, 1996