Saturday, June 27, 2015

Expose yourself to the gentle breezes of your Lord’s mercy.

It is related in a prophetic tradition, “Seek goodness in all the time you spend on earth…” [2: Ibn Abi al-Dunya, al-Faraj ba’da al-Shiddah, no. 27] 
Expose yourself to the gentle breezes of your Lord’s mercy. Verily Allah has gentle breezes of mercy that He touches with whosoever He wills. Whoever is touched by [one of those breezes] experiences happiness so intense that he will never know sadness for the rest of eternity. Among the greatest of His (Allah’s) breezes of mercy is to be blessed to pray at a moment when the prayer is instantly answered, and during that moment the supplicant is asking Allah for Paradise and protection from Hell ̶ and his prayer is answered and he attains to eternal bliss! God says: Whoever is pulled back from Hell and entered into Paradise has achieved the great victory. (3:185)

Friday, June 26, 2015

Kalief Browder and Black Suicide

Kalief Browder committed suicide this past Saturday in his home after losing a battle against depression that intensified during years of abuse inflicted upon him by guards and fellow inmates at Rikers Prison in New York.

NYT: "For Ramadan, Courting the Muslim Shopper" (6/24/2015)

A time of fasting and contemplation alternating in the evenings with festive gatherings of family and friends, it has emerged in recent years as a month of extravagant spending that is rivaled, some say, only by Christmas....
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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Dr. Jackson: On the Back-Breaking Jihad of Speaking Truth to Pain

The truth of the matter is that when God says, “We will try you with something of fear and hunger and depletion of money, souls and foodstuffs,” [2:156] this is real: some of us will be visited with these afflictions. Of course, our infatuation with modern utopias makes this extremely difficult to accept. For if we worship a God who is supposed to be all-powerful, we should be able to guarantee at least as much wellbeing as scientism, secularism or Marxism do. 
And many of us believe that we can, if only we are pious enough to keep God on our side. But the legacy of the Prophet teaches us that this is simply not the way things work: “Say, I control the ability to bring neither benefit nor harm to myself, except as God wills. And if I but knew the unseen I would augment nothing but good for myself and bad would never touch me…” [7:188] All of the Prophet’s children except Fāṭimah died before him! Yet, he remained the most certain of men. 
Such truths are hard to express in times of tragedy. For it is easy to mistake them for a fatalism that leaves us asking, “What’s the point?” But instead of fatalism what this should point us to is that life is a mysterious gift from God. And we worship God not as divine Santa Claus who gives us everything we want as long as we are “nice” but because we recognize the fundamental truth that God is the Gifter of Life. 
This fact alone, however, is not what gives life “meaning”: children, money, sex, our reputations and the Super Bowl give life meaning. This fact gives life urgency, hope, passion, value, fear and mystery beyond the pale of mere “meaning.” Tragedy, like good fortune, reminds us that life is ultimately not governed by fixed, unchangeable laws. It is governed by the irresistible will of God, who disposes as He pleases. And “We will show them our signs on the horizons and in their souls until it is clear to them that this is the truth.” [41:54]

Tsarnaev speaks: 'I am sorry for the lives I have taken'

BOSTON — Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev spoke publicly for the first time since his arrest, telling a packed courtroom at his sentencing hearing Wednesday that he was sorry for his role in the 2013 attacks that that killed three people and injured nearly 300. 
"I would like to now apologize to victims and survivors," Tsarnaev said. "Immediately after the bombing that I am guilty of... I learned of some of the victims, their names, their faces, their age. And throughout this trial, more of those victims were given names, more of those victims had faces, and they had burdened souls." [...]

"If there is any lingering doubt, I did it, along with my brother," Tsarnaev said, choking up as he spoke. "I am sorry for the lives I have taken, for the suffering I have caused you, and for the damage I have done, the irreparable damage."
At several moments, Tsarnaev, who was criticized for showing little emotion during his trial, seemed to be on the brink of tears. His voice became choked, and at several points, he paused to clear his throat and regain control. He did not look back at the victims who sat behind him in court as he addressed them. 
"I pray to Allah to bestow his mercy on you," Tsarnaev said. "I pray for your relief, for your healing, for your well-being, for your strength."

He concluded by asking "Allah to have mercy upon me, my brother and my family" and for those "present here today."

Diffused Congruence: The American Muslim Experience: Episode 21: Professor Sherman Jackson

This month we're honored to be joined by Dr. Sherman Jackson, professor of Religion and American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California, for our lengthiest conversation yet as he shares his personal story, going deep and wide into the amazing journey he's been on throughout his life. Listen to the show via the embed below, or via iTunes or Stitcher.