Archive for April, 2011

Kutbah – 4/28/2011 – We make no distinctions

Saturday, April 30th, 2011
bismillahir rahmanir raheem

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

My dear brothers and sisters. Last week much of the world celebrated one of the prophets of Allah, Isa bin Maryam, allayhi salaam. Allah tells us in the Quran

qolo ‘aamannaa bi- ‘allaah wa- maa unzila ‘ilay -naa wa- maa unzila ‘ilaa ‘ibraahem wa- ‘ismaa’el wa- ‘ishaaq wa- yaqob wa- al- asbaat. wa- maa ‘otiya mosaa wa- isa- maa ‘otiya an- nabeyon min rabb -him laa nufarriq bayna ‘ah.ad min -hum wa- nah.nu la- -hu muslimon

Say “We believe in Allah and the revelation given to us and to Abraham Isma`il Isaac Jacob and the Tribes and that given to Moses and Jesus and that given to (all) Prophets from their Lord we make no difference between one and another of them and we bow to Allah (in Islam).”

And by this Allah (swt) is telling us his desire, his command for us and a reminder that one of the things we believe in as Muslims, as servants of Allah (swt) in peace surrendering to Him, is that we believe in all the books and the prophets of Allah (swt) and make no distinctions between them

And indeed Allah (swt) says further:

wa- ‘alladhena ‘aamano bi- ‘allaah wa- rusul -hi wa- lam yufarriqo bayna ‘ah.ad min -hum ‘olaa’ika sawfa yu’te -him ‘ujor -hum wa- kaana ‘allaah ghafor(an) rah.em(an)

To those who believe in Allah and His Apostles and make no distinction between any of the Apostles We shall soon give their (due) rewards: for Allah is Oft-Forgiving Most Merciful.

Brothers and sisters, the mercy of Allah is upon those who make no distinctions. We can learn from each of Allah’s (SWT) apostles and when we do we get the reward of Allah’s mercy.

During the time that the prophet (SAW) was still in Mecca before the migration to Medina, he sent some of his companions to Abyssinia to escape the religious discrimination they were facing in Mecca. When they got there the king of Abyssinia, who was a Christian, asked them questions about this faith they ascribed to. Specifically he asked them questions about Mary and about Jesus (Allahi salaam). He did this because some of the people of Mecca had arrived before them and had told the king that he should not shelter the companions because they did not believe in Jesus. He asked them about the virgin birth and they told him that Allah (SWT) says in the Quran

That an angel, Jibreel/Gabriel came to her in her seclusion and told her

qaala ‘inna-maa ‘anaa rasol rabb -ki li- ahab la- -ki ghulaam(an) zakey(an)

“Don’t be afraid, I am merely a messenger from your Rabb to tell you about the gift of a holy son”.

And then, in confusion she asks Jibreel

qaalat ‘annaa yakon li- -y ghulaam wa- lam yamsas -ne bashar wa- lam aku(n) baghey(an)

She said: “How shall I bear a son, no man has ever touched me nor am I unchaste?”

qaala ka- dhaaliki qaala rabb -ki huwa calay -ya hayyin wa- li- najcal -hu ‘aayah li- an- naas wa- rah.mah min -naa wa- kaana ‘amr(an) maqd.ey(an)

The angel replied: “So shall it be – Your Rabb says: `It is easy for Me. We wish to make him a Sign for mankind and a blessing from Us’ – and this matter has already been decreed”.

And after hearing this and other things from them, the king drew a line in the sand with his stick and said that the differences between them were less than the width of that line. And so he gave them refuge.

Surely there is an example of the mercy of Allah (swt) right then and their, they were given refuge and because they upheld the Quran and the Apostles of Allah (swt) without distinction they were protected. I have no doubt in my heart who was doing the protection, Allah (swt) showed the king of Abyssinia, through the words of the Quran as quoted by them his message of unity.

And if we look and listen to what Allah says in that last ayat he says A sign (ayat) and a blessing to mankind. This is the mercy of allah. He causes Muhamma (saw) and all the prophets to come into the world for the purpose of being a sign and a mercy for people and indeed.while he is still in the cradle and the people are questioning Mary about his birth Isa (as) tells them

Whereupon the baby spoke out: “I am indeed a servant of Allah. He has given me the Book and made me a Prophet. His blessing is with me wherever I go. He has commanded me to establish Salah and give Zakah as long as I shall live. He has exhorted me to honor my mother and has not made me domineering, hard to deal with. Peace be upon me the day I was born, the day I shall die and the Day I shall be raised to life again”. And he finishes by saying:

wa- ‘inna ‘allaah rabb -e wa- rabb -kum fa- ucbudo -hu haadhaa s.iraat. mustaqem

Isa declared, Verily Allah is my Rabb and your Rabb: therefore serve Him. This is a Right Way.

Isa (AS) declared himself a servant of Allah. Just as Ibrahim and Musa had done before him (as) And just as Muhammad (saw) was to do after. They drew their faith from Allah (swt) and asked those around them to do the same. To obey those things which were commanded to be done and to avoid those things which were put aside as haram. They each came bearing this same message, in a way that was understandable to the people of their time. They are each of them a sign for us and a mercy for us. We might go astray in our lives except for these books, these angels, these prophets which Allah (swt) has, in his rahma, sent down for us.

And for the mercy, they all came as mercy to humankind, and showed us how to act with one another. But what do we do with each other? How do we treat each other? We are unjust and greedy and etc, and we need a constant reminder to treat each other well. How can we show mercy unless we are given examples of it? Isa and the other prophets (as) were sent as a mercy. It is merciful to give us examples of how to act. To exemplify mercy. Isa says he was made not to be domineering or hard to deal with, other translations say not arrogant but it means the same thing, he showed people how to treat each other with mercy, just as all the prophets were.(as)

Part 2

What are we to take from this. For one I think we can see that over and over again through the grace of Allah (swt) he has sent us messengers with instructions from him as to how he wants us to live. For those came to us as human beings to live amongst us and give us the signs and the mercy.

We can soften our hearts to these messages all from Allah (swt). In a hadith related from Malik Ibn Anas in the Muwatta it is said that Rasul Allah (swt) said that Isa (as) said

“Do not speak much without the mention of Allah for you will harden your hearts. A hard heart is far from Allah, but you do not know. Do not look at the wrong actions of people as if you were lords. Look at your wrong actions as if you were slaves. Some people are afflicted by wrong action and some people are protected from it. Be merciful to the people of affliction and praise Allah for His protection.”

Do we not want to be among those that are protected from affliction? The protection we are seeking is only available from Allah (swt) and true faith in his uniqueness and his power and refuge. I say each week here, “La howla wa la quwete ‘illa billah” There is no power and no protection except in allah. So surround yourself, immerse yourselves in this power and protection and practice mercy just as you have seen your rabb and Rasool Allah (swt) doing.

Brother and sisters I remind myself as I remind you, if there is a message in this, if there is a message in prophethood at all some of it may be in this, that Allah (swt) is arahmanir raheem. He is compassionate and merciful and wants to guide us on the straight path. And he has sent these books and these prophets to help us.

We are not here on this earth to do anything other than find this. To avoid what we are told to avoid and to do what we are told to do.

Isa specifically mentions two things he is bound to do establish prayers and to pay zakat. These two acts of worship, which we consistently find mentioned together in the Quran are practices of purification. Through Salat we purify our hearts and our actions and through zakat we purify our possessions and our wealth. And he declared Allah to be his rabb, making sure that we understand that these actions come from Allah (swt) that our possessions and our life and our death come from Allah (swt)

Brothers and sisters let us go from here today, remembering the meaning of these prophets of Allah (swt) coming to this world as a sign and a mercy for humanity. And let us also remember that we should follow their examples, follow the examples of all the anabiyya the prophets of god, treat each other with the compassion and mercy we are shown and remember Allah (swt) in all we do.

Wa allahu alim.

Memorial Day Weekend Zikr Retreat – Early Bird Deadline Approaching

Thursday, April 28th, 2011
Memorial Day Weekend Zikr Retreat at the Abode of the Message in New Lebanon, NY

Memorial Day Weekend Zikr Retreat

The early bird discount price for the Memorial Day Weekend Zikr Retreat at the Abode of the Message in New Lebanon, NY expires on May 1. The discount price for tuition is $75.00. After May 1 the price for tuition is $99.00. If you are planning on coming please take advantage of this early pricing. Information about the retreat, lead by Imam Salim Chishti and Tara Inayat Chishti can be found by clicking here. If you have more questions you can email zikrretreat@imamsalim.com. Registrations can be made by calling the Abode of the Message programs office at 518-794-8095 extension 114. Link to the event flier.

In memory of Ramana Smallen, New Lebanon, April 24, 2011CE

Sunday, April 24th, 2011

Ramana Smallen, center, a member of our community passed away at 3:30AM on 4/24/2011. Inna allahi wa inna allahi rajayun.

Earth Day 2011 | Earthday.org | GreenDeenBook.com

Friday, April 22nd, 2011
Earthday April 22, 2011

Earth Day April 22, 2011

GreenDeenBook.com.

Earth Day.

Something for everyone to think about on the Earth Day 2011.

Qur’an 2:60 And [remember] when Moses prayed for water for his people and We replied, “Strike the rock with thy staff!”-whereupon twelve springs gushed forth from it, so that all the people knew whence to drink.  [And Moses said:] “Eat and drink the sustenance provided by God, and do not act wickedly on earth by spreading corruption.”


 

Jahan e Khusrau’s magic Sufi music | Music | guardian.co.uk

Friday, April 22nd, 2011

Modern ancients ... Victoria Bergsman of Taken by Trees, whose last album was recorded in Pakistan with Sufi musicians

The annual Sufi Music Festival, usually held in India is being held in England this year as part of the Alchemy Festival. The festival is going on until April 25th so if you are nearby you may want to attend the last few days.

For more go to Jahan e Khusrau’s magic Sufi music | Music | guardian.co.uk.

Jahan e Khusrau’s magic Sufi music

An ancient music whose purpose is to make listeners more gentle, the World Sufi Music festival was in England this year

Posted by Anita Sethi Thursday 21 April 2011 16.00 BST guardian.co.uk

The enchanting sound of one the oldest instruments in the world, a ney, or reed flute, is echoing into the candlelit air, while on stage a woman adorned in beautiful scarves spins, imitating whirling dervishes. Welcome to Jahan e Khusrau, the ninth World Sufi Music festival. Staged annually in India, this is the first time it’s been held in England, at the Southbank Center’s magnificent Alchemy festival.

What is it about this ancient music that cuts across geography as well as time, inspiring artists all over the world, from Taken by Trees to Mercan Dede, Youssou N’Dour to the Master Musicians of Joujouka? According to Muzaffar Ali, the festival’s director:

The essential thing about Sufi music is that it can bridge the gulf between east and west. The philosophy of [13th century Sufi mystic] Rumi is that the soul is universal. You can’t confront Sufism with fundamentalism. It is a delicate thing, like the colours of a rainbow; you can’t touch it or it vanishes. Its purpose is to make you more gentle and tolerant; beyond that it has no purpose.

Even if you don’t understand the lyrics, the music needs no translation. Its great emotional force conveys love in all its shades, from the yearning for love to the anguish of love lost, from human to divine love, expressed in the impressively versatile voices of singers such as Hans Raj Hans and Azalea Ray, and in the haunting sounds of the instruments.

In Sufi Soul: the Mystic Music of Islam, a fascinating film screened at the festival, it is emphasised that Sufism is “peace-loving, pluralistic and tolerant”, an antidote to negative stereotypes about Islam. Although Islamic hardliners condemn music as a distraction from God, forcing Sufis underground, music and poetry are intrinsic to Sufism. In the film, Mercan Dede explains how during his first gig, he put the sound of the ney against techno beats, and realised how the sound of the ancient instrument could reach any audience.  Both the style and content of Sufi music cut across boundaries: the rhythms of Sufi drums, for instance, lend themselves to mixing with a variety of other musical styles.

The Sufi creed is to bring solace to the human heart and a few days spent at Jahan e Khusrau does indeed inspire a sense of fellow-feeling. When someone pushes into me on the tube ride home, I smile instead of scowl.

The Alchemy festival continues at the South Bank until 25 April.