Sunday, February 05, 2012

Aqeedah with Sh. Waleed Basyouni

Alhumdulillah, this whole weekend I attended a seminar on Aqeedah titled 'Light to Darkness' from the Al Maghrib Institute learning. I learned a lot and still have to review my notes for all things I thought about that I want to review for the future from this seminar.

I thought about a few things this weekend when I was sitting in the seminar. The first being that this Qabeelah Tayybah did not exist when I was in college. I remember meeting with brothers when we thought about getting Al Maghrib seminars going in NYC... and now it's a reality. I disappeared from NYC for 3 years while I went to law school. It's good to be back and attending seminars - especially with someone I respect like Sh. Basyouni... the man is knowledgeable, dedicated teacher, very prepared for his students, humble, and light hearted; all traits that I was able to observe first hand when I sat with him Saturday night for a brief dinner.

I've been lost for the last few months... lost in my work as a lawyer - trying to make sense of my life and sad by the condition of my eman and the mistakes I've made... but a part of me is tired of that state and wants to improve myself again.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention

In my mind, Malcolm X stood for justice, humanity, and confidence. I read his 'Autobiography' book as fourteen year old and it made a lasting impression on my thinking. Almost no Muslim leaders existed in the early 90s or were visible on a national scale.

I'd like to share some excerpts of from the Malcolm X biography by Manning Marble that was released last year.

This first section is Malcolm's experience during Hajj...

Still, the powerful sight of thousands of people of different nationalities and ethnicities praying in unison to the same God deeply moved Malcolm, as he struggled to reconcile the few remaining fragments of NOI dogma he still believed in with the universalism he saw embodied in the hajj. Like many tourists, Malcolm purchased dozens of postcards and send them to acquaintances back home. These letters revealed the profound shift in his attitudes about white people. Writing to Alex Haley on April 25, Malcolm confessed, "I began to perceive that 'white man,' as commonly used, means complexion only secondarily; primarily it describes attitudes and actions." In the Muslim world he had witnessed individuals who in the United States would be classified as white but who "were more genuinely brotherly than anyone else had ever been." Malcolm was quick to credit Islam with the power of transform whites into nonracists. This revelation reinforced Mlacolm's newfound decision to separate himself completely from the Nation of Islam, not simply from its leadership, but froom its theology."

The near 500 page biography of Malcolm briefly covers his Hajj but Marble aptly notes how the experience was a shift in way of thinking about white and black. Was Malcolm still a black nationalist? Irrefutably yes, but his thinking of what 'black power' meant was not simplistic as 'hate' of white people just on the basis of them having white complexion skin but the embodiment of denying others, like blacks in America or non-whites internationally, their rights - be it civil rights in America or self rule internationally.

One final excerpt I must share...

[After the Hajj] Malcolm then flew to Medina, Saudia Arabia on April 25, and en route he continued to make detailed notes on his travel diary. He was convinced on the pilgrimage "everyone forgets Self and turns to God and out this submission to the One God comes a brotherhood in which all are equals." He embraced an inner peace he had not known since the years he was incarcerated in Massachusetts . "there is no greater serenity of mind." Malcolm reflected, "than when one can shut the hectic noise and pace of the materialistic outside world, and seek inner peace within one-self." Late that evening Malcolm wrote, "The very essences of the Islam religion in teaching the Oneness of God, gives the Believer genuine, voluntary obligations towards his fellow man (all of whom are One Human Family, brothers and sisters to each other) ... the True Believer recognizes the Oneness of all Humanity."

I think Malcolm captured the beauty of Islam: that submission to One God helps us realize that were all God's creation and to be respected and treated equally.


Saturday, December 24, 2011

New Endings

Just as there are new beginnings, there are new endings...

The year is closing out and I'm ending a few chapters in my life. Some painful and some pleasant, but this year one in particular that was painful.

Earlier this year, I blogged through a post titled 'new beginnings' where I spoke about how I was beginning to look for my spouse and it brought a few surprises from my parents and family members. I'll elaborate more on the surprises. Essentially, my parents and family members always presumed that I would be passive in choosing my spouse and let them rather select the sisters that would be presented to me and then choose from their pre-approved 'pool' of sisters. I wasn't interested in that and found a sister I was interested in and whom I considered to be a good match for me. She didn't fit the bill my parents would have liked and most of this year was spent with me building my case for my interest in this sister.

I had put many hours of labor - physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual (yes, I made duaa' for the best) in trying to reach my goal: Marriage; specifically to this sister.

The outcome was different than what I hoped. I have learned much about myself and life in this process that I wish to pen down but I'll do that in another place more private.

I will say that for about three weeks, I was upset and felt miserable - melancholic. I walked around as a hollow being mechanically carrying out my work, knowing that inside of me I was wounded and hurt from the process.

Of course, I could not continue of wallow in remorse indefinitely and in the last 2-3 days I've been returning to normalcy.

I made a few decisions. InshAllah this 2012, I plan to make Umrah - I need to revitalize my soul and deen, and the best thing I can think of is visiting Bait'ul Allah in Mecca and visiting Madinah.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

One of My Favorite Hadiths

I just wanted to share this hadith I heard and my sister shared with via email:

The Messenger of Allah SallAllahu alaihi wasallam said, “I was made to love three things from this world – perfume, women, and prayer.’

The companions were sitting with him and Abu Bakr RadhiAllahu anhu said, “You have spoken the truth, O Messenger of Allah! I was made to love three things from this world – looking at the face of the Messenger of Allah SallAllahu alaihi wasallam, spending my wealth for the the Messenger of Allah SallAllahu alaihi wasallam, and giving my daughter in marriage to the Messenger of Allah SallAllahu alaihi wasallam.

‘Umar RadhiAllahu anhu said, “You have spoken truthfully, O Abu Bakr! I was made to love three things from this world – commanding good, forbidding evil, and worn garments.”

‘Uthman said, “You have spoken truthfully, O ‘Umar! And I was made to love three things from this world – feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and reading the Qur’an.”

‘Ali said, “You have spoken truthfully, O ‘Uthman! I was made to love three things from this world -serving the guest, fasting in summer, and fighting with the sword.”

As they were discoursing, Jibreel Alaihis Salam came and said, “Allah the Exalted sent me when He heard your discussion and has ordered you to ask me what I would have loved if I were to be from the people of this world. The Messenger of Allah SallAllahu alaihi wasallam asked, “If you were to be from the people of this world what would you have loved?”

Jibreel Alaihis Salam replied, “Guiding those led astray, keeping the company of contented strangers, and helping families afflicted with hardship.”

He continued, “The Lord of Honour loves three things from His servants – giving one’s utmost, crying when in regret, and being patient in times of poverty.”

I usually like to cite the hadith but I don't know where it's from but I'm willing to share it regardless since I've heard different scholars cite it. If anyone knows who narrated this hadith and which book of hadith contains it - please leave a response in the comments section.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

New Beginnings

Much has changed since I've last posted. I went on a hiatus for a while for many reasons. One of them being that my new career as lawyer in NY really was overwhelming in terms of work and time management. The other being that much of my family settings were changing as well. My father's mother passed away and my father went back home to the old country to settle family affairs. My little sister moved back into the house after being away for medical school and is trying to study for the USMLE Step 1 (may Allah make it easy for her).

Even for me personally, I've started going in new directions. I've become more open in terms of speaking with my parents as to how I'm looking for spouse. It's a little of a surprise for them but it is what it is.

I don't know if anyone comes around checking my blog since I've been inactive for a long time but I appreciate all visitors and drop a line or a hello.

peace my brothers & sisters

Friday, September 10, 2010

Eid Mubarak & Thoughts of Another Language

Eid Mubarak to all my fellow Muslims. May our worship in Ramadan be accepted.

Today, I was thinking that I feel strange to the English language... a language that I speak better than any other, as well as think, dream, and pray in, but for some reason today I wanted to it to be foreign to me... I wanted to submerge myself in my Urdu language.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Currently Reading

I've been reading a few books lately: (1) The Last Moughal and (2) Logicomix

The Last Moughal is one of the best south Asian history books I've read - in fact, I haven't read that many south Asian history books, so that statement doesn't mean much but the book is very good and has impressed me in many ways with it attention to interesting bits of information and structure.

Logicomix is comic book with the aim of teaching philosophy. Its a comic book on the life of English philosopher Bertrand Russell and his quest for the truth through philosophy.

I'll admit that I personally didn't like Russell's 'The History of Western Philosophy' since it marginalized Islamic philosophers of Spain and left me with a negative view of Russell but I the authors of Logicomix cast him as an interesting protagonist, much more interesting, than I though he could be.

I'll add more then I'm done with the 2 books InshAllah.