Archive for January, 2010

John Smith column 1/30/10: Speaker offers insights into Sufi way of Islam

Saturday, January 30th, 2010

The link takes you to an article about a lecture given in Pennsylvania (I believe in Reading).

I am hopefull that more mainstream Americans and American Muslims will be able to access this kind of information. I have been requested many times to participate in interfaith worship services and to give talks on spirituality in Islam. I see this as a positive direction.

John Smith column 1/30/10: Speaker offers insights into Sufi way of Islam

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Ya Sin #5 (ayat 26-32)

Friday, January 29th, 2010

Continuing our look into the Sura Ya-Sin. The man from the far reaches of the city has told the people to listen to the prophets, and he himself says he believes so the people should listen to him. And because of his perception because of his ‘abd he is given a reward.

36.26 قِيلَ ادْخُلِ الْجَنَّةَ قَالَ يَا لَيْتَ قَوْمِي يَعْلَمُونَ

qela udkhul al-jannah qaala yaa layta qawm-e ya’lamon

It was said to him Enter Paradise. He said: Would that my people knew

And somehow he knew, either through the words of these apostles or by his own insight that the road, the way to paradise is through this ‘abd, and through the guidance of Allah through His Prophet and signs and kitaba. And his sincere wish that the other people knew just as the true believing minority in any religion wishes to educate and inform and help their brothers and sisters

36.27 بِمَا غَفَرَ لِي رَبِّي وَجَعَلَنِي مِنَ الْمُكْرَمِينَ

bi-maa ghafara li-y rabb-e wa-ja’ala-ne min al-mukramen

“For that my Lord has granted me Forgiveness and has enrolled me among those held in honor!”

This man was just a simple and honest soul but he heard and obeyed the call of the prophets and obtained his spiritual desire for himself and did his best to obtain salvation for his people. For he loved his people and traditions but he had no hesitation in accepting the new Light of Guidance when it came to him, all his past was forgiven and he was raised to honor and dignity in Jannah.

And we take this into ourselves? Every moment of our lives this choice is given to us anew. Do we hold on to this world, dunya? Grasping and greedy and self interested? Or do we open our hearts and our lives to Allah (SWT) and Rasool Allah (SAW), ready to give them our humble service and to help others that we find in our lives?

وَمَا أَنْزَلْنَا عَلَى قَوْمِهِ مِنْ بَعْدِهِ مِنْ جُنْدٍ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ وَمَا كُنَّا مُنْزِلِينَ 36.28

wam[a] anzaln[a] aaal[a] qawmihi min baaadihi min jundin mina a(l)ssam[a]-i wam[a] kunn[a] munzileen(a)

And We did not send down any hosts from heaven against his People, after him, nor was it needful for Us so to do.

إِنْ كَانَتْ إِلا صَيْحَةً وَاحِدَةً فَإِذَا هُمْ خَامِدُونَ 36.29

in k[a]nat ill[a] [s]ay[h]atan w[ah]idatan fa-i[tha] hum kh[a]midoon(a)

It was no more than a single mighty Blast, and behold! they were (like ashes) quenched and silent.

يَا حَسْرَةً عَلَى الْعِبَادِ مَا يَأْتِيهِمْ مِنْ رَسُولٍ إِلا كَانُوا بِهِ يَسْتَهْزِئُونَ 36.30

y[a] [h]asratan aaal[a] alaaib[a]di m[a] ya/teehim min rasoolin ill[a] k[a]noo bihi yastahzi-oon(a)

Ah! Alas for (My) Servants! There comes not a messenger to them but they mock him!

أَلَمْ يَرَوْا كَمْ أَهْلَكْنَا قَبْلَهُمْ مِنَ الْقُرُونِ أَنَّهُمْ إِلَيْهِمْ لا يَرْجِعُونَ 36.31

alam yaraw kam ahlakn[a] qablahum mina alqurooni annahum ilayhim l[a] yarjiaaoon(a)

See they not how many generations before them we destroyed? Not to them will they return:

وَإِنْ كُلٌّ لَمَّا جَمِيعٌ لَدَيْنَا مُحْضَرُونَ 36.32

wa-in kullun lamm[a] jameeaaun ladayn[a] mu[hd]aroon(a)

But each one of them all – will be brought before Us (for judgment).

And so for these, they have transgressed beyond the time they have on this earth. There came to each of these peoples messengers with a clear message but they chose to ignore it and even to reject it and call it evil. And Allah (SWT) has brought them to him for them to be judged by him. It is such a clear and understandable message. And, as we learned at the beginning of studying this sura, this message is brought to us in stark and sometimes hard to take lessons. It may agitate us, we hear always that Allah’s mercy is over his wrath. But yet that does not preclude the existence of his wrath. It is just where does it begin. What line do we have to cross in order to begin to deserve it?

Remember this is also a lesson for each one of us individually. We are each responsible for our own ‘abd, our own Taqwa. I cannot stand up here and magically fill your heart with awe and love for Allah and Muhammad (SAW). You have to search within yourself and find the far reaches of the city within you and find the place where you believe, where the love for Allah is so overwhelming that you cannot hold back.

For surely, without that you may find yourself as dust and ashes just as these people did, and to your surprise you will be standing before Him awaiting your judgement.

Part 2.

Rasool Allah (SAW) at the battle of Badr forbid his troops from corrupting and mutilating the corpses of their enemies. Even though this had been done to them in battles before. There are other instances of his (SAW) mercy upon prisoners and clear instructions from him (SAW) regarding times of war.

Torture by the anyone is deplorable, I condemn it and those who have perpetrated it, no matter how high, and I have no doubt that there are those for whom this is an intentional and more common practice than the US government would have us believe. It is disgusting and against US and international laws and I believe it is a symptom of the sicknesses of this society that each of us has had to deal with in our lives in a much more subdued level here in the US. But it proves the point of the shortcomings and the perversity of a society that allows people to transgress all bounds of morality and ethical behavior, it is these things that we, as Muslims, know to be against the will of Allah (SWT) whether they come from within us in our nafs, or from Shaytan.

At the same time, I condemn those who have perpetrated or encouraged suicide bombings and the killing of innocents. This also is unethical, immoral and against the sunnah of rasool allah (SAW). And to do it in the public forum as they do, proves to me that their intention has nothing to do with justice and only to do with self promotion and aggrandizement. I separate myself from them and denounce them in the strongest terms. It is time for the Muslim Ummah to stand up for Islam, Allah and rasool allah (SAW) and begin to bring forth the images of mercy and compassion and justice. I pray that it starts now, here in this room and spreads to the world. Amin

Wa allahu alim.

New TV channel to give Sufism a voice – The National Newspaper

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

An interesting idea out of Egypt. I wonder if the satellite compaines in the US will carry this?

New TV channel to give Sufism a voice – The National Newspaper.

Ya Sin #4 (ayat 20-25)

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

Today we continue with our look into the inner meanings of Surah Ya Sin, the heart of the Quran. And after the three prophets had come to the city and the people they met at first rejected them and threatened them with stones there came another voice as Allah (SWT) says in the Quran

36.20 وَجَاءَ مِنْ أَقْصَى الْمَدِينَةِ رَجُلٌ يَسْعَى قَالَ يَا قَوْمِ اتَّبِعُوا الْمُرْسَلِينَ

wa- jaa’a min aqs.aa al- madenah rajul yas’aa qaala yaa qawm -e ittabi’o al- mursalen

And there came a man from the uttermost part of the city. He said: O my people! Follow these messengers.

Two ways to look at this. The Quraish were at the center of the city, Makkah. Those from the outskirts were in Madinah and welcomed him. But also if the city is within us, is this a story of each of us personally in our lives then we cannot ignore what we usually think of as our own “outskirts”.

36.21 اتَّبِعُوا مَنْ لا يَسْأَلُكُمْ أَجْرًا وَهُمْ مُهْتَدُونَ

ittabi’o man laa yas’al -kum ‘ajr(an) wa- hum muhtadon

Follow the ones who ask no reward of you for themselves and are rightly guided.

These messengers seek no reward for themselves but rather they seek that you should reap the great rewards of heeding the message.

36.22 وَمَا لِيَ لا أَعْبُدُ الَّذِي فَطَرَنِي وَإِلَيْهِ تُرْجَعُونَ

wa-maa li- -y laa a’bud ‘alladhe fat.ara-ne wa-‘ilay-hi turja’on

For what cause should I not serve Him Who created me, and to Whom you will be brought back?

This is the individual’s wisdom. The most basic of the message.

36.23 أَأَتَّخِذُ مِنْ دُونِهِ آلِهَةً إِنْ يُرِدْنِ الرَّحْمَنُ بِضُرٍّ لا تُغْنِ عَنِّي شَفَاعَتُهُمْ شَيْئًا وَلا يُنْقِذُونِ

‘a- attakhidh min donihi ‘aalihah’in yuridni ar-rah.maan bi-d.urr laa tughni ‘an-ne shafaaah-hum shay’an wa-laa yun-qidhon

Shall I take (other) gods in place of Him when, if the Beneficent should wish me any harm, their intercession will avail me naught, nor can they save?

Knowing that Allah (SWT) is our maker and the most merciful why should we worship any other? When we know that there really is not other, so it is to no avail. It is a waste of our time and it is wandering from the path of guidance.

36.24 إِنِّي إِذًا لَفِي ضَلالٍ مُبِينٍ

‘inni-y ‘idhan la-fe d.alaal muben

Then truly I should be in clear error.

36.25 إِنِّي آمَنْتُ بِرَبِّكُمْ فَاسْمَعُونِ

‘inni-y ‘aamantu bi-rabb-kum fa-isma’o-ni

I have believed in your Lord, so listen to me!

This man, this part of ourselves, has found true peace, true forgiveness, mercy, kindness and true worship in Allah (SWT) and wants to be heard. This is for our benefit and for the benefit of all those around us. When we believe, worship and act as Muslims our lives are better.

Part 2.

We must remember the dividing line between what we can do for ourselves and what we can do for others. Remember that an important part of this section in Ya Sin is the identification of the messengers. One of the characteristics is that they sought no reward for themselves. What they did they did purely for the sake of Allah and for the betterment of those to whom they were to deliver the message.

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “Help your brother, whether he is an oppressor or he is oppressed.” The people asked: “…It is right to help him if he is oppressed, but how should we help him if he is an oppressor?” The Prophet replied: “By preventing him from oppressing others.”

Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 3, Hadith 624

A person once asked the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) to offer some advice. The Prophet said: “Do not abuse anyone…And if someone abuses and shames you for something that he finds in you, then do not shame him for something that you find in him.”

Sunan of Abu-Dawood, Hadith 1889

So let us go from here today willing to help our brothers and sisters and willing to listen to the “man” from the far corners of the city when we are in doubt. For surely it is in times of doubt that we need even more than ever to hear the clear message that will guide us on the straight path.

Wa allahu alim

Hall of Musical Heritage in Pakistan

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

Instruments‘Hall of Musical Heritage’ inaugurated

By Mahtab Bashir

ISLAMABAD: Lok Virsa Executive Director (ED) Khalid Javaid on Tuesday inaugurated the documentation of ‘Hall of Musical Heritage’ set up at the Heritage Museum to depict the history of classical, folk and contemporary music in the Sub-Continent.

Talking to Daily Times, Javaid said Indo-Pakistani music not only gave birth to the first musical instrument called “Borindo”, but also absorbed the influences of the contemporary trends in this field.

He said the display had been named as Hall of Musical Heritage, which describes the beginning of the tradition of music. The Lok Virsa ED said excavations of the ancient civilisation of Moenjodaro revealed that shepherds used a clay ball known as “Borindo”, which is still in practice in Sindh province. “This instrument can be regarded as the most ancient musical instrument in the Sub-continent. Our classical music can be traced from the Indo-Aryan Vedic traditions where Pundits sat in deep meditation contemplating in nature of god and reality. They expressed this transcendental vision in Sur and raga. The Raga expressed human moods, emotions of union and separation or simply joy relating to nature and various ragas are still named after ancient deities,” Khalid Javaid explained.

Talking about another section of the display that is dedicated to the contributions of the Muslims in music, Javaid said many Muslim rulers and Sufis encouraged music. Philosophers like Al-Kindi, Al Farabi, Bu Ali Sina, Ameer Khusro, Saif al Din and many others researched and wrote extensively on music, he said, adding, Pakistani Sufi saints enriched the music through innovations in raga and musical instruments and further took the art to the masses evolving many popular forms of music.

The valuable contributions rendered by Khusro, who was born in more than 700 years ago and is credited with the creation of Qawaali by modifying Dhurpad adding Persian melody and beat to it, is also highlighted in the Hall, the ED said. Javaid said Qawwali was a musical genre – a devotional assembly of Islamic mysticism or Sufism in the Sub-continent. Khusro is also credited for inventions of musical instruments like Sitar and Tabla, the ED said.

Javaid said a research based information about traditional schools of music commonly called “Gharanas” including Dehli Gharana, Kirana Gharana, Agra Gharana, Gwaliar Gharana, Jaipur Gharana, Patiala Gharana and Sham Churasi Gharana, who were at the peak in the field of music, had also been provided in the Hall.

The hall of musical heritage also presents display of musical instruments such as Tabla, Pakhawaj, Tumbaknari, Dhol, Naqqara, Shehnai, Flute, Alghoza, Borrindo, Narr, Galarh, Majira, Khartaal, Chimta, Chang, Sitar, Vichtarvina, Surmandal and Sarod.

Other panels in the Hall highlight different aspects relating to the traditional music such as music and nature, time for every raga, evolution of Indian and Pakistani music, difference between western and eastern music and music as a therapy, he said.

This article first appeared in The Daily Times, Islamabad, Pakistan on January 20, 2010.