Night at the Mosque

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Last ten days usher in all nighters
In search of the Night of Power
Reprimands and laughter
Communal bitings and conversations
Brief sleeps urged by monitors
Impromptu classes
Arabic and etiquette
Quran and enunciation

Strong personalities clash and coalesce
Prayer mats turned to temporary mattresses
Awoken from deep slumber by faith and devotion
Feet stand and rest follow
Beauty in humility
Submitting body and self to a higher Being

Allahu Akbar!

Upright bodies, side by side
Straight rows
Gaps mitigated with touching toes (sometimes incessantly so)
Waning concentration with wandering minds
Constantly being brought back to present
By melodic, rythmic verses

Ameen reverberating through the entire mosque
Countless voices
One chorus
Many bodies
Single movements
Diversity despite/amongst uniformity

Viewing through Geometric dimensions

Assalam u alaykum we rahmatullah…

Bidding farewell – EID Mubarek

EID Mubarek to my entire Muslim Ummah. As we sadly bid farewell to the blessed month of Ramadan, I’m reminded that like was said with the death of Prophet Muhammed (PBUH), “If you worship Muhammed (PBUH), he is dead. If you worship Allah, He is eternal.”

Similarly, if we worship Ramadan, it is gone. But if we worship Allah, He is always.

May the end of this month bring respite to the unrest, the injustice and the indignity raging across our globe – and the love that we need to counter all of this ugly.

In solidarity and struggle – today and always.

JUMAH WISDOM

‘He who has nothing has ALLAH, and he who has ALLAH, has everything.”

“His alms are vain who does not know that his need of the reward for giving is greater than the poor man’s need of the gift.”

Quran 33:37 …you did fear the people, but it is more fitting that you should fear Allah…

Do not waste a drop of water, even before a flowing river.
-Prophet Muhammed PBUH

“Whoever amongst you sees anything objectionable, change it with your hand, if you are not able, then with your tongue, and if you are not even able to do so, then with your heart, and the latter is the weakest form of faith.” – Prophet Muhammed (PBUH)

Be not so consumed by this fleeting world for there are more permanent things awaiting in the next

The greatest Jihad is within me, myself & I. Fight that battle before any other.

‘The ALMIGHTY places the heaviest burdens on those who can carry the weight.’

Greet with ‘assalam u alaikum’ and mean it. Who doesn’t need salutations of peace?

A true Muslim is the one who does not defame or abuse others; but the truly righteous becomes a refuge for humankind, their lives and their properties.
-Hadith The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), as narrated by Abd’Allah bin Amr

Knowledge is supposed to make one humble, not arrogant, if the husk is full of wheat, it is lowered.
-Shaykh Muhammad Bin Yahya Al Husayni An Ninowy

You can only do to me, what the Almighty has already decided for me.
-Omar Mukhtar

“…the ALMIGHTY demands of people only that which is within the possibilities of each of them.”

‘Don’t ask the ALMIGHTY to guide your steps, when you’re not willing to move your feet.’

“don’t be afraid for God is with us always, and God never lets down people who have faith and patience. We are righteous, and right will always prevail against injustice and wrong doers.”
-Thaer Halahleh, Palestinian imprisoned and undergoing a hunger strike, 75 days & counting

Those who are quick to judge others, must remember that a day will come when they too will be judged. And it may be that their deeds are far worse than that of those they judge.

Respect your children and cultivate in them the best of manners -Prophet Muhammed (PBUH)

Those who give of their wealth in the way of God are like grain that sprouts 7 ears with 100 kernels in each ear. -Quran 2:261

‘He is not a true believer until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself.’

Take one step towards ALLAH and He will take two steps towards you.

If it’s not meant to be, it will be. If it’s mine, nothing and no-one can take it. If it’s not, nothing and no-one can make it.

Proof, time and again that the plans of the ALMIGHTY are not in the hands of men and women though they may seem so.

Futile to resist truth. With the ALMIGHTY for us, who then can be against us and succeed? None.

Ramadan Rain

Ramadan Rain                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Source: SuhaibWebb – Yasmin Mogahed

Imagine for a moment that it’s raining. It is pouring, in fact. And imagine that you are inside your house, watching as it falls. But imagine that there is something very different about this rain. It is unlike any other you’ve ever seen. On this day, it is not raining water. It is raining something much more precious to you. Imagine that on this day it is raining hundred dollar bills.

What would you do? What would happen in your neighborhood on that day? What would happen in the world? Would we not run outside, falling all over ourselves, competing to gain as much of the raining money as we can? Would we not stand outside all night to gather as much as possible?

We would do this for money because money is precious. But imagine for a moment that it was raining something priceless. Not thousand dollar bills, not trillions, but the mercy of Allah , a currency that no human currency could even measure.

The Messenger of Allah, Muhammad , (peace be upon him) said, “Ramadan has come to you. (It is) a month of blessing, in which Allah covers you with blessing, for He sends down Mercy, decreases sins and answers prayers. In it, Allah looks at your competition (in good deeds), and boasts about you to His angels. So show Allah goodness from yourselves, for the unfortunate one is he who is deprived in (this month) of the mercy of Allah, the Mighty, the Exalted.” [Narrated by Tabarani]

In this month, we are shielded from hell-fire, protected from the shayateen (satins), and cleansed from our sins. The Prophet said: “Whoever fasts during Ramadan out of sincere faith, hoping to attain Allah’s rewards, then all of his past sins will be forgiven.” (Bukhari). In another hadith he said: “When the month of Ramadan starts, the gates of the heaven are opened and the gates of Hell are closed and the devils are chained.” [Bukhari]

Within this month, there is a night that is greater than a thousand months (97:1-5). “There is protection from hellfire, at least 70 times the reward for our deeds, and the chance to have all our sins erased.” (hadith) So, what greater loss can there be than to find ourselves standing in the middle of this massive downfall of blessings without collecting all we can of Allah’s mercy?

And while this mercy showers on us throughout the blessed month, the last ten days are like no other. Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) reported that with the start of the last ten days of Ramadan, the Prophet used to tighten his waist belt (meaning he would work hard) and used to pray all the night, and used to keep his family awake for the prayers [Bukhari].

But how can we fully take advantage of this blessed month, especially in the last ten days? Here are a few ways:

Reserve a Private Meeting with Allah:

Set a time before or after suhoor to be alone with Allah . Use this time to connect to Him by praying, making du`a’, or reading Qur’an. There is no other time like it. The Prophet said: “When the last one-third of the night remains, our Lord, the Glorious One, descends towards the lower heaven and proclaims: ‘Is there anyone supplicating to Me, so that I grant his supplication? Is there anyone begging of Me for anything so that I grant him his wish? Is there anyone who seeks My forgiveness, so that I forgive him?'” [Bukhari and Muslim].

Set a Time for Reflection:

In the midst of our busy schedule, we seldom find time to stop and relax, let alone reflect on the realities of life. Make time to do this. Take time to step outside of your daily routine and introspect about where you are and where you’re going. Reflect on the creation around you and on the reality of this life, death, and our final meeting with our Creator. Choose a time, such as the last third of the night, when there are no distractions.

Take a Trip to Allah:

We all need to get away sometimes. Use Ramadan as a chance to go away with Allah as your companion. ‘Aisha reported that the Messenger of Allah used to practice I`tikaf (seclusion) in the last ten nights of Ramadan and used to say, “Look for the Night of Qadr in the last ten nights of the month of Ramadan” [Bukhari].

Don’t Miss the Night of Power:

There is a night in the last ten nights of Ramadan that is greater than a lifetime (1000 months, 83.3 years). The Prophetsaid: “Whoever prays during the night of Qadr (power) with faith and hoping for its reward will have all of his previous sins forgiven.” [Bukhari and Muslim]

Aisha said: “I asked the Prophet , ‘O Messenger of Allah, if I know what night is the night of Qadr, what should I say during it?’ He said: ‘Say: O Allah, You are Oft-Pardoning and You love to pardon, so pardon me.'” [Ahmad, Ibn Majah, Tirmidhi

Bottom Line: Make the most of every minute of the remaining days of this holy month…we know not if we will make it to the next…

All is from Allah … and a little from Abdullah

#1 in the forthcoming Ramadan Series…RAMADAN KAREEM! May we make the most of every minute of every day during this blessed month, for we know not if we will live to see another one… may we maintain the good behaviours we adopt during this holy month throughout the years..may we also practice humility and empathy and as we fast, may we be mindful of the millions who don’t have the option of breaking their fasts as the sun sets…

All is from Allah … and a little from Abdullah
Excerpted from “The Inner Journey” essay by Carol Ring.

Kullu min Allah… u’shwaya min Abdullah. (All is from Allah… and a little from Abdullah.)

The first part of this saying is frequently spoken by elder Bedouin, usually in cases of misfortune, and is accompanied by a shrug of the shoulders. All is from Allah: fortune and adversity, joy and suffering, life and death. All is determined, all is written. There is an Intelligence at work that keeps this vast universe in order and determines the role and path of each particle of its infinitude. Like the cells in a body, we live and die in service of something incomparably larger.

And yet, we have become an odd type of cell that believes unshakably in its own existence as apart from the whole. Today, the “Kullu min Allah” view seems quaintly fatalistic and a disclaimer of personal responsibility. We have come to value above all else our power and our right to determine, if not the outcome of what we do, at least the direction and content of our lives. We believe firmly that we form our own fate. If things seem to go contrary to our wishes, it is because we have not been vocal enough in asserting them, or strong enough to conquer obstacles.

We are not ones to trust in blind forces, and certainly not in any divine representatives of those forces.
If “Kullu min Allah” were the whole story-and until about the end of the Middle Ages it seemed to be the whole story-the only empowerment that could manifest in our lives would come through the all-powerful One, and, on a lesser scale, through His representatives on earth: kings, priests, and other beings high in the hierarchy. When these were true representatives and their moral influence spread throughout society, the earth flourished, and presumably humankind’s suffering was alleviated (although a large part of our suffering seems to be inevitable, no matter how well the earth is yielding). But slowly humanity removed the crown from the hierarchy and placed it on its own head, giving consummate authority first to human will, and then eventually to human impulses, unhampered by either reason or conscience. And so, from the old belief in fate and invisible forces, we have swung around to a belief in ourselves as the sole force at work in the universe.

Throughout the ages the debate on fate versus free will has been ongoing, and each tradition has had its say on the way things work. Most have struck a wise compromise, giving the individual a chance to improve his or her lot by doing good while leaving fate in place for the big questions. But the compromise suggested by “and a little bit from Abdullah”-an addition uttered after an appropriate pause, and in a lower voice, generally by younger Bedouin-is particularly apt for all of us. First of all, it gets the relationship right. Everything is from Allah–not most things, not only the important things or the good things, but Everything. The grandeur and omnipotence of the Invisible retain their priority: we are under the influence of forces that we neither control nor see, but we have our place as an integral part of the whole. But though everything is still determined from above and perfect submission is our role, there is the addition of “a little bit” that is our own theater of action. It is as if the Everything expands just a little and makes room for a personal effort, which still remains part of the All. The exact nature of the little bit is not specified; each can project his own understanding.

And who does this little bit? Abdullah. The name is a joining of two words, “abd” and “Allah,” and means “servant of God.” It is not just any one of the myriad personages that inhabit our bodies who is called upon to contribute his share, but the part of us that truly tries to serve something higher.

It is difficult to know whether or not our lives have been determined in advance, whether it is foretold where and when we will be born, when and how we will die, and what we will do in the interim. Some believe, some guess, and some ignore the question. It is even more difficult to stand at one of life’s many crossroads, or even one of the little alleyways that are always running across our paths, and wait one second before turning left or right. Is there someone steering the course? Is it the winds of fate or only a momentary impulse? Perhaps it is Abdullah who holds the compass.

Carol Ring has a doctorate in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Pennsylvania. She lives and works in the hills of Galilee.

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