Saturday, January 8, 2011

"The believer's greatest argument is his face.

True religion lights up the face; false religion fills it with insecurity, rage and suspicion. This is perceptible not only to insiders, but to anyone who maintains some connection with unsullied primordial human nature in his heart. The early conversions to Islam often took place among  populations that had no access to the language of the Muslims who now lived among them; but they were no less profound in consequence. Religion is ultimately a matter of personal transformation, and no amount of missionary work will persuade people - with the occasional exception of the disturbed and the desperate - unless our own transformation is complete enough to be able to transform others.
— Tim Winter (Abdal Hakim Murad), "Tradition or Extradition?"

Arizona Orders Tucson to End Mexican-American Studies Program

via Shaykh Abdullah

John Gray on humanity's quest for immortality

NYT: Adding Islam to a Latino Identity

via Hamza

(Short Film) Forgotten Faces by Mustafa Davis


The New Yorker: The Truth Wears Off - Is there something wrong with the scientific method?

Thanks Khalid!

Imam Zaid: Qur'an defeats Muslim Barbarism

Friday, January 7, 2011

Living Islam with a Purpose by Dr. Umar Faruq Abd-Allah (part 3/4)

Living Islam with a Purpose by Dr. Umar Faruq Abd-Allah (part 3/4) from UH MSA on Vimeo.

Glenn Greenwald: U.S. teenager tortured in Kuwait and barred re-entry into the U.S.

Detained American Says He Was Beaten in Kuwait

Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic by Chalmers Johnson

Finished reading Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic (2008) by Chalmers Johnson last night. I didn't read the earlier books (The Sorrows of Empire (2005) & Blowback (2004)) by Johnson who recently passed away. This one was quite detailed in its documentation of military bases our country has around the world, the money that goes into 'defense' and space 'star wars' programs, the CIA...way too much power to the executive branch which is not checked at all, and the move in the direction of a dictatorship, if not in name, certainly in's all coming from this man who was a scholar, academic

"and professor emeritus of the University of California, San Diego. He served in the Korean war, was a consultant for the CIA from 1967–1973, and chaired the Center for Chinese Studies at the University of California, Berkeley from 1967 to 1972.[2] He was also president and co-founder of the Japan Policy Research Institute (now based at the University of San Francisco), an organization promoting public education about Japan and Asia.[3]" (

'Pentagon Seeks Biggest Military Cuts Since Before 9/11'


And when Abraham and Ishmael raised the foundations of the house, [they prayed]: "Our Lord! Accept from us [this act]; You are indeed the Hearing, the Knowing.

footnote 53:

When Adam and Eve (peace be upon them) were expelled from Heaven they met each other at the great plain known as 'Arafat, and walked until they came to the valley-floor where the present Ka'bah is located. Adam (peace be upon him) endeavored to thank his Lord, desiring to have a place similar to the column of light in heaven which was given to him to walk around (tawaf). After the great Deluge of the Prophet Noah (Nuh), this site was lost beneath the sands. The Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him), following a commandment from his Lord, left his bondmaid Hagar with their son, Ishmael, at the Ka'bah. Abraham and Ishmael (peace be upon them both) together dug the sands, found the foundations of the original edifice, and rebuilt the Ka'bah upon it. The Qur'anic reference to Abraham and Ishmael's "raising the foundations of the House" denotes the building of the present-day Ka'bah. He constructed a simple building of four walls, setting a black stone in one corner of this building. Today the black stone (al-Hagar al-Aswad) still remains from the original structure of Abraham (peace be upon him).

-The Majestic Qur'an: an English Rendition of its Meanings, pg. 20

"The House of God" from Martin Lings' "Muhammad: His life based on the earliest sources"

The Book of Genesis tells us that Abraham was childless, without hope of children, and that one night God summoned him out of his tent and said to him: "Look now towards heaven, and count the stars if thou art able to number them." And as Abraham gazed up at the stars he heard the voice say: "So shall thy seed be."1 Genesis 15:5
Abraham's wife Sarah was then seventy six years old, he being eighty-five, and long past the age of child bearing so she gave him her handmaid Hagar, an Egyptian that he might take her as his second wife. But bitterness of feeling arose between the mistress and the handmaid, and Hagar fled from the anger of Sarah and cried out to God in her distress, And He sent to her an Angel with the message: "I will multiply thy seed exceedingly that it shall not be numbered for multitude" The Angel also said to her: "Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the Lord hath heard thy affliction." 2 Genesis 16:10-11 Then Hagar returned to Abraham and Sarah and told them what the Angel had said; and when the birth took place, Abraham named his son Ishmael, which means "God shall hear".
When Abraham had reached his hundredth year, and Sarah Was ninety years old, God spoke again to Abraham and promised him that Sarah also should bear him a son who must be called Isaac. Fearing that his elder son might thereby lose favor in the sight of God, Abraham prayed: "O that Ishmael might live before Thee!" And God said to him: "As for Ishmael, I have heard thee Behold! have blessed him,... and I will make him a great nation, But My covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year."3 Genesis 17:20-21.
Sarah gave birth to Isaac and it was she herself who suckled him; and when he was weaned she told Abraham that Hagar and her son must no longer remain in their household And Abraham was deeply grieved at this, On account of his love for Ishmael; but again God spoke to him, and told him to follow the counsel of Sarah, and not to grieve; and again He promised him that Ishmael should be blessed.
Not one but two great nations were to look back to Abraham as their Father-two great nations, that is, two guided powers, two instruments to work the Will of Heaven, for God does not promise as a blessing that which is profane, nor is there any greatness before God except greatness in the Spirit. Abraham was thus the fountainhead of two spiritual streams, which must not flow together, but each in its own course; and he entrusted Hagar and Ishmael to the blessing of God and the care of His Angels in the certainty that all would be well with them.
Two spiritual streams, two religions, two worlds for God; two circles, therefore two centers. A place is never holy through the choice of man, but because it has been chosen in Heaven. There were two holy centers within the orbit of Abraham: one of these was at hand, the other perhaps he did not yet know; and it was to the other that Hagar and Ishmael were guided, in a barren valley of Arabia, some forty camel days south of Canaan. The valley was named Becca, some say on account of its narrowness: hills surround it on all sides except for three passes, one to the north, one to the south, and one opening towards the Red Sea which is fifty miles to the west. The Books do not tell us how Hagar and her son reached Becca;4 perhaps some traveler's took care of them, for the valley was on one of the great caravan routes, sometimes called "the incense route," because perfumes and incense and such wares were brought that way from South Arabia to the Mediterranean; and no doubt Hagar was guided to leave the caravan, once the place was reached. It was not long before both mother and son were overcome by thirst, to the point that Hagar feared Ishmael was dying. According to the traditions of theft descendants, he cried out to God from where he lay in the sand, and his mother stood on a rock at the foot of a nearby eminence to see if any help was in sight. Seeing no one, she hastened to another point of vantage, but from there likewise not a soul was to be seen. Half distraught, she passed seven times in all between the two points, until at the end of her seventh course, as she sat for rest on the further rock, the Angel spoke to her. In the words of Genesis:
And God heard the voice of the lad; and the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven and said to her: What aileth thee, Hagar? Fear not, for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is. Arise and lift up the lad and hold him in thy hand, for I will make him a great nation. And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water. 5 Genesis 21:17-20
The water was a spring which God caused to well up from the sand at the touch of Ishmael's heel; and thereafter the valley soon became a halt for caravans by reason of the excellence and abundance of the water; and the well was named Zamzam.
As to Genesis, it is the book of Isaac and his descendants, not of Abraham's other line. Of Ishmael it tells us: And God was with the lad; and he grew and dwelt in the wilderness and became an archer 6 (Genesis 21:20) After that it scarcely mentions his name, except to inform us that the two brothers Isaac and Ishmael together buried their father in Hebron, and that some years later Esau married his cousin, the daughter of Ishmael. But there is indirect praise of Ishmael and his mother in the Psalm that opens How amiable are Thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts, and that tells of the miracle of Zamzam as having been caused by their passing through the valley: Blessed is the man whose strength is in Thee; in whose heart are the ways of them who passing through the valley of Baca make it a well.7 Psalm 84:5-6
When Hagar and Ishmael reached their destination Abraham had still seventy-five years to live, and he visited his son in the holy place to which Hagar had been guided. The Koran tells us that God showed him the exact site, near to the well of Zamzam, upon which he and Ishmael must build a sanctuary;8 and they were told how it must be built. Its name, Ka'bah, cube, is in virtue of its shape which is approximately cubic; its four corners are towards the four points of the compass. But the most holy object in that holy place is a celestial stone which, it is said, was brought by an Angel to Abraham from the nearby hill Abu Qubays, where it had been preserved ever since it had reached the earth. "It descended from Paradise whiter than milk, but the sins of the sons of Adam made it black." 9 This black stone they built into the eastern corner of the Ka'bah; and when the sanctuary was completed, God spoke again to Abraham and bade him institute the rite of the Pilgrimage to Becca-or Mecca, as it later came to be called: Purify My House for those -who go the rounds of it and who stand beside it and bow and make prostration. And proclaim unto men the pilgrimage, that they may come unto thee on root and on every lean camel out of every deep ravine.10 Quran 22: 26-27
Now Hagar had told Abraham of her search for help, and he made it part of the rite of the Pilgrimage that the pilgrims should pass seven times between Safa and Marwah, for so the two eminences between which she had passed had come to be named.
And later Abraham prayed, perhaps in Canaan, looking around him at the rich pastures and fields of corn and wheat: Verily I have settled a line of mine offspring in a tilthless valley at Thy Holy House...Therefore incline unto them men's hearts, and sustain them with fruits that they may be thankful. 11 Quran 14: 37
This article was the first chapter from Martin Lings' Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources (Revised Edition).

Haroon Moghul: How to Meet Muslims: A (Cinematic) Primer

Achieving Taqwa

The only way to achieve the station of taqwa is through spiritual struggle (mujahadah).
Spiritual struggle is not something that miraculously comes into one's life. It is a move of the heart that beings to affect the limbs and then results in sincere repentance (tawbah), in which we seek to purify ourselves of prior wrongs and remove them from our present activities and make a strong commitment to a future free of the mistakes of the past.
 -Agenda to Change Our Condition by Hamza Yusuf and Zaid Shakir, pg. 4

Diseased hearts

As with so many of the other key concepts, the very narrative of the Qur'an reflects this emphasis on the connection between one's heart and faith in God. After the famed opening chapter of the Qur'an (the Fatiha), the second chapter of the Qur'an, the longest chapter in the whole book, starts out by talking about hearts - diseased hearts. Many who are reading through the Qur'an for the first time are put off by this discussion of diseased, troubled, and hypocritical hearts in the beginning pages of the second chapter. These pages describe the hearts of the people who, according to the Qur'an, claim that they have faith in God and the Last Day but in reality have not had their hearts illuminated by faith. These is a disease in their hearts, and they think that are cheating God - whereas in reality they are only cheating their own souls. These are stern and in some ways frightening words, yet the Qur'an has to start there because that is the starting place for most of humanity. We can start a journey only from where we are. We have to know that we are broken before we can be healed.
-Memories of Muhammad: Why the Prophet Matters by Omid Safi, pg. 69


One commonality among local Jews and Christians was that both groups spoke Arabic. As such, whenever Jews and Christians referred to the One God that they worshiped, the term they would have used in Arabic would have been Allah, derived from Al-ilah. Al is the definite article "the," and ilah is the Arabic word for "deity." In other words, Allah simply was the definitive noun meaning "the God." Today as in the past, Arabs (whether Muslim or Christian) use the term "Allah" to refer to the One God. Contrary to some assertions, Allah is not somehow the "Islamic" God as distinct from a Jewish or Christian deity. All Arabic speakers, both past and present, be they Christian, Jew or Muslim, use the term "Allah" to refer to God.
 -Memories of Muhammad: Why the Prophet Matters by Omid Safi, pg. 81

Qad Kafani Ilmu Rabbi


Thursday, January 6, 2011

More mass animal deaths...

via Zack

Zaheer Ali: It Will Take More than a 'Muslim Cosby Show'

Study: White Women in UK Converting to Islam More Than Men

Living Islam with a Purpose by Dr. Umar Faruq Abd-Allah (part 2/4)

Living Islam with a Purpose by Dr. Umar Faruq Abd-Allah (part 2/4) from UH MSA on Vimeo.

The ReMINDers: A Husband and Wife Duo

The College Debt Crisis: The Debt That Won't Go Away

The Historical Blindness of Turkey's Detractors

via Professor Fadel

"America's First Muslim President"..

CPAC: Agent of Sharia

Needs of a Stranger: Muslims Saving Jews During World War II

via Ammar

Riding the Wave of Islamophobia - The German Geert Wilders,1518,737676,00.html

via Haroon

Epiphanies from Tariq Ramadan

We Support WikiLeaks - Stand with Daniel Ellsberg, Barbara Ehrenreich, Arundhati Roy, Noam Chomsky and others

The Dimensions of the Religion - Excerpt from the Forthcoming Book “Being Muslim” by Asad Tarsin

via Jessica

Robert Reich: The Shameful Attack on Public Employees

'American Muslims in 2011: The Year We Start Looking in the Mirror'

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

"Where I’m Coming From" by Imam Zaid Shakir

Abraham's Children: Jews, Christians and Muslims in Conversation Edited by Richard Harries, Timothy Winter & Norman Solomon

Product Description

Abraham's Children brings together essays by leading scholars of each faith to address key issues for the faiths and to collaboratively identify common ground and pose challenges for the future. The book will inspire readers in the process of inter-faith dialogue, contribute clearly to vital religious issues of contemporary world concern and help readers to understand faiths that are different from their own.

About the Authors

The Rt Revd Richard Harries has been bishop of Oxford since 1987. Dr Tim Winter is Lecturer in Islamic Studies at the University of Cambridge. Rabbi Norman Solomon was Director of the Centre for the Study of Judaism and Jewish-Christian Relations in Birmingham.

Common Ground Between Islam and Buddhism (book published by Fons Vitae)

also available here in its entirety as a pdf:...

Chris Hedges: ‘The Left Has Nowhere to Go’

Juan Cole: Wikileaks: Israelis ‘Intend to Keep the Gazan Economy on the Brink of Collapse’

Turkey's universities drop Islamic headscarf ban

via Haroon

Yahiya Emerick: Building a Stable Foundation for Muslim Authors

Missing character in kids' literature: Muslims

via Ammar

Video: Living Islam with a Purpose by Dr. Umar Faruq Abd-Allah (Part 1/4)

Living Islam with a Purpose by Dr. Umar Faruq Abd-Allah (Part 1/4) from UH MSA on Vimeo.

You Shall Not Kill - Tariq Ramadan's Lecture at Reviving the Islamic Spirit (RIS) - Toronto (26th December 2010)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Sustainable Love - Tara Parker-Pope on Happy Marriages

via Khadijeh

NYT: "With Muslims, Europe Sees No Problem, and That's the Problem"

Faiz Ahmed: In Istanbul, the Mavi Marmara Ushers in the New Year

ma sha Allah

Dr. Timothy Winter: Qasida al-Burda: The Celebrated Poem of the Cloak (P...

Dr. Timothy Winter: Qasida al-Burda: The Celebrated Poem of the Cloak (P...

'SHAWN'S STORY' :: Ta'Leef Files

Deen Tight director Mustafa Davis releases the first of the Ta'leef Files film series with 'SHAWN'S STORY,' an intimate film about a Filipino American convert to Islam.


'SHAWN'S STORY' :: Ta'Leef Files from Mustafa Davis on Vimeo.

A 'secret' for memorizing the Qur'an :)

Understanding Laziness in Islam - Shaykh Abdallah Adhami

A Look At Fons Vitae

Counsels of Ibn Ata' Allah-Excerpts from "Cairo-1001 Years of Islamic Ar...