What is it?
The followers of Islam consider Id-ul-Fitr as one of the most auspicious festivals following Ramadan fasting. It is a celebration of the end of fasting.
When is it?
It is the end of the month of fasting, at the end of Ramjan (Ramzan/Ramadan), by Muslims all over the world. It is usually celebrated on the first day of the month of Shawwal. This tenth month in the Muslim lunar calendar begins when people sight the new moon.
In 2017 that date falls on Monday 26th June.
How is it celebrated?
The Muslim devotees put on new clothes and at the mosque or in the open courtyard to offer namaz. After prayer, devotees participate in the feasts and fairs. Rich people give zakaat or charity to the poor. The elders distribute gifts and money to children. This is called ‘Idi’. A typical sweet dish called Sewaiyan is also prepared.
This traditional festival combines the rituals and traditions of the religion as well as addding fun and festivities to the occasion.
Shawwāl means to ‘lift or carry’. Named because a female camel normally would be carrying a fetus at this time of year.
Namaz (Persian) or Salah/ṣalāt/ṣalawāt called namāz (‘Muslim prayer’) is one of the Five Pillars in the faith of Islam and an obligatory religious duty for every Muslim. It is a physical, mental, and spiritual act of worship that is observed five times every day at prescribed times. In this ritual, the worshiper starts standing, bows, prostrates themself, and concludes while sitting on the ground. During each posture, the worshiper recites or reads certain verses, phrases and prayers.
Zakat/Zakaat means ‘that which purifies’ and is a form of alms-giving treated in Islam as a religious obligation or tax which, by Quranic ranking, is next after prayer (salat) in importance. As one of the Five Pillars of Islam, zakat is a religious obligation for all Muslims who meet the necessary criteria of wealth. It is not a charitable contribution and is considered to be a tax or obligatory alms. Zakat is based on income and the value of all of one’s possessions and is customarily 2.5% (or 1/40th) of a Muslim’s total savings and wealth above a minimum amount known as nisab.
Shaykh ’Uthaymeen, may Allaah have mercy on him, said:
“When they see a person sinning, many brothers hate the sin and this is something correct, but they [also] hate the sinner, and then they deal with him harshly as someone who hates him would, like someone who wants to take revenge on him, and this is a huge mistake.
You must cure the sinner as a gentle doctor who treats a wound in order for it to heal does, he doesn’t treat the wound in order for it to get worse, so he treats this person with gentleness and a desire for good for him and out of mercy for him … this is how the scholars who nurture are, they look at the creation with a view to reform, not to seek revenge and out of hatred—I hate the sin which this person does, but this person is a believer so he is my brother, even if he fornicated and stole, he is still my brother, the believers are but brothers.”
[Majmoo’ Fataawaa wa Rasaa’il Fadilatish-Shaikh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-’Uthaimeen, vol. 27, pp. 311-312]
Eid al-Fitr is being celebrated today. A festival which is a celebration after a 30 day pious cleansing of the soul, that marks the end of Ramadan. We would be bringing you more news from Jama Masjid, New Delhi in the afternoon. Here’s few pictures to exhilarate you this fine morning :
A very warm Eid Mubarak to all of our Muslim friends and family around the world.
May the Almighty accept all of your efforts and attempts in the holy month of Ramadan that has just passed and may all the little changes made become permanent insha’allah (if he wills) aaameen.
May we get awarded the opportunity to see this month again, by the permission and the will of the almighty.
Biologically speaking, what makes a woman a woman is her ability to procreate. Additionally, what makes a woman a woman is her ability to attract a mate for purposes of copulation – her smooth skin, curves, supple breasts, a strong, healthy limber body that would support a baby well – all designed to attract a male. Men are hardwired to be attracted to those things.
When women age past the point of procreation, when they age past the point of being alluring to men, they are no longer women: they are, on biologically level, matter taking up space.
Men’s biological purpose doesn’t end. Biologically, when one woman becomes useless, men are supposed to move on to the next younger, ovulating woman and continue procreation. Women should then retire somewhere in a gated territory of all genderless people.
If being gay is unnatural temptation, so is attraction to elderly “woman.” It defeats the purpose of why women are attractive. At that point it’s no different than dating a man. Sometimes elderly men will marry an elderly woman after their first spouses die, but at that point, it’s just for show. He isn’t really sexually attracted to her, he is just marrying her companionship, to adapt to society’s rule that men must marry women.
It’s an anomaly that women live so long since their entire biological purpose for existing ends before middle-age.
However, I consider it a good thing we do not base societal norms on a strictly biological standard.
Kisah ini terjadi di zaman Abu Hanifah, dari Hasan bin Ziyad menceritakan, “Seorang pria memendam uangnya di suatu tempat. Kemudian ia lupa tempatnya. Orang tersebut berusaha keras mencarinya, tetapi ia tetap tidak menemukannya. Dia lantas menemui Abu Hanifah dan mengatakan, “Aku mengubur uang sebesar 3.000 dirham, tapi aku sekarang lupa di mana tempatnya.’
Ini memang bukan perkara fikih tapi aku akan membantumu,” kata Abu Hanifah. “shalatlah malam ini!’ sarannya.
Pria itu pulang dan tidur setelah shalat Isya’. Kemudian dia bangun di tengah malam dan mengerjakan shalat dua rakaat. Dan ajaib, sebelum selesai shalat, ia sudah teringat tempat uangnya. Dia langsung bergegas menghadap Abu Hanifah dan memberitahunya. Abu Hanifah mengatakan, “Aku tahu setan tak akan membiarkanmu shalat. Untuk itu, dia pasti mengingatkanmu pada tempatnya. Alangkah baiknya jika kamu meneruskan sholatmu untuk mensyukuri nikmat ini!”
Abdul Aziz Asy-Syinawi, Biografi Empat Imam Mazhab, (Beirut Publishing, Jakarta; 2013) h.44
CNN It’s not the first time the center was attacked or vandalized. In January, police said 30-year-old Lauren Kirk-Coehlo broke windows, damaged property and placed bacon on door handles at the Davis center. She was sentenced to five years’ probation on June 15 after pleading guilty to a felony hate crime, CNN affiliate KVOR reported. The Sacramento chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations called both incidents “apparent acts of intimidation” and thanked law enforcement for their response. “Decisive action by law enforcement authorities sends a strong message of deterrence to anyone who contemplates turning their bigoted views into acts of intimidation,” said Basim Elkarra, the group’s executive director.
We are seeing religious strains throughout the world in small or large amount.The issue is rising everywhere and one can see it like unwanted plants springing up in your garden and none of your pesticides are able to stop them.
As we have already seen this blast in middle-east when USA tried to impose democracy there. And the kind of leadership emerging in major countries, there is fear that it could grow. With Trump becoming president of USA and Modi leading India who has been accused of communal hatred in past. But India still is in far better situation even though holding a large number of Muslim population and is keeping them from joining extremism. But people on both sides – Muslim and non-Muslim ,are being pushed and made to feel insecure and unsafe.
Let’s first talk about USA. The country has been largely flooded by immigrants in past few decades. This has actually evolved the culture and taught them to live together. But things changed after USA invaded middle-east. This led to 9/11 and USA being over-protective than just protective. There were communal tensions in the country but they were able to dilute them as they were able to prevent any further escalation by their strict immigration policies and national protection.
I don’t have much knowledge about the situation in Africa and eastern Asian countries on this issue so Indian subcontinent is next.
The major country known as non-Muslim in this area is India although it is one of the countries having maximum Muslim population. The country is Hindu dominant with Sikhs, Jains, Buddhs and Christians also. India has also seen many terrorist attacks. Most of which Pakistan is being accused. The problem only starts when you try to impose your beliefs on others. In India after the end of 1980s there were some right wing politicians who were pushing the buttons, although there are hate-full speakers on both sides. Being a poor state in past British already feasted on Hindu-Muslim hatred and so did the leaders after them. And this comes in fashion whenever the government fails to deliver the promises.
Europe is the region who has faced terrorism in the recent times. With immigrants flowing in from middle east, the stable region is now facing some rigor. In Europe against the trend the minority is the one pushing i.e. few small groups are raising their voice demanding Sharia law. With such protests and some youngsters joining ISIS from this region. Britishers are feeling insecure and few have come out to protest.
This is a big problem which rises just because of few personal beliefs and fears. When every second person looks different than you, how can you expect him/her to have beliefs as your’s. If you feel democracy is right, no matter what religion or race be where it holds good. If you feel Sharia is right, go to the place where people abide by it. Do not try to change others, at least not their religion.
listen to Jill Scott’s
i want to eat,
taste the salt
of Galveston Bay…
i want to don
a brightly colored scarf,
i want to
hold the hands
of my grandchildren
smell their innocent
and be pleased.
i want to walk strong
i want to hear
the wings of angels
What is Islam?
It is a religion that was born in the Arabian Peninsula at the beginning of the 7th century. In Arabia Preislamic many of major clans and the tribes were nomadic. Bedouines that traveled through the desert on their camels. Nomadic tribes that received the hospitality of the different arabian tribes. This is the the reason why the new religion spread so fast, because Islam collect this precepts of hospitality, protection, help and charity. Desert´s conditions are hard (climate, dryness, etc.) and people along the Arabian peninsula welcome this bedouines and travelling.
It spread quickly through Asia, Africa, and some parts of Europe. To expand their religion, Muslims fought against the Byzantine Empire, the Persian Sassanid Empire and the Christian West. But they didn´t use a lot of violence, because they could take the new religion with capitulations (pact of surrender) and convincing native people with less taxes.1.1. The Arabian Peninsula before Islam
It is a desert peninsula that was inhabited by Bedouin nomadic tribes that lived from shepherding and trade.
There was just agriculture on some coastal lands, mainly in the southwest (the region of Hejaz), where the only sedentary settlements existed. Mecca (Makkah) and Yathrib (Medina) were the main caravan cities.
There was neither a political nor religious unity. Most of Arabs were polytheistic.The main shrine was Kaaba (Black stone) in Mecca. There were small Jewish and Christian communities in Arabia.1.2. Muhammad (c. 570-632)
He was the founder and prophet of Islam. He belonged to a major Meccan trade family. Muhammad lived a religious experience when he was around 40.
Islam expanded quickly throughout Arabia after having conquered Mecca. Muhammad died in 632 and all Arabia was already Islamic.1.3. Islamic religious pillars
Islam was a revealed religion, such as Christianity and Judaism, and it constitutes the last great religion.
Muslims must be submissive to Allah. Like the other monotheistic religions, Muslims believe in the Last Judgment, when everybody will be judged, condemned or saved.
Islam has five main pillars, around which goes all its doctrine.
Islamic principles are collected in the Koran (Muslim Holy Book)
The sunna are the Islamic traditions respected by most of the Muslims:
What is a Caliph?
Caliph is an arab Word that means “sent by the Prophet to the Earth”. This title has both senses, political and religious. The Caliph is the leader of the Islamic community, the spiritual and political guide.
Once Muhammad died a Caliph was elected to hold the political and religious leadership of the Islamic community (umma). The first four caliphs were Muhammad’s followers and disciples. (They were so-called the Righteous Caliphs, Rightly Guided Caliphs, or Rashidun Caliphs):
These caliphs had both political and religious powers. They promoted conquests since they were really fervent to the new religion and they were eager to plunder (sack):
They fought against the Persian Sassanid Empire (637-651), so they spread eastwards:
The spreading of Islam during the 7th century on Arabia.Umayyad Caliphate (661-750)
Ali’s caliphate was instable, so a Civil War broke out.
Umayyads defeated Shiites in 661, hence Muawiyah was proclaimed as the new caliph. A new dynasty was established in the Umayyad family. The capital of the Empire was moved from Medina to Damascus.
A new expansion took place during this caliphate:
Arabs held most of the charges of the imperial administration, which was criticised by non-Arabic communities, who demanded more equality.
In 750 in a rebellion against the Ummayads assassinated all of them. Only Abd al-Rahman managed to flee from the massacre and hid in the Iberian Peninsula, in there established an emirate in al- Andalus, whose capital was fixed in Cordova (Córdoba).Abbasid Caliphate (750-1258)
The capital of the new caliphate was moved to the newly founded city of Baghdad (762). Persians influenced greatly over the empire. Viziers held the main charges in administration and they ruled the empire. The caliphs did not govern any longer. There were still some conquests, like Crete and Sicily (827). Culture lived a period of splendour.
Seljuq Turkish mercenaries were contracted to protect the empire. Abbasid religious authority was respected until the conquest of Baghdad by Moghuls (1258), moment in which the Abbasid Caliphate ended.Orthodox Caliphate (632-661) Ummayah Caliphate (661-750) Abbasid Caliphate (750 -1258) Muhammad´s disciples from Arabian Peninsula.
– Internal fights. Weakness that provoked the Ummayah took the power.
Ummayads established an Arabic empire ruled by the Caliph, who held religious and political powers.
The Empire established new taxes to sustain it. These taxes were paid according to the lands owned. Jews and Christians could have their own worships in exchange for paying taxes.
There were many regions and cultures throughout the Empire since it stretched from Spain to India.
A social division was established according to the ethnic group:
Moreover, there was a social division according to classes:
The Empire suffered the Islamisation through which a common culture grew among Muslims and Arabic became the only language for all the inhabitants. Most of the people in the Empire were peasants.
4.1. Islamic cities
They were major centres of Islamic life. Old cities were re-vitalised and new ones were founded: Cairo (Egypt), Kairouan (Tunisia), Baghdad (Iraq)… They were the administrative and political centres. Muslim cities had an irregular plan (they are maze-like) with some major parts:
Medina, it was within the city walls and was the core of the city.
Agriculture was the main economic source in the Islamic empire.
New techniques were adopted by the peasants: they could farm arid lands thanks to the use of wells, waterwheels, cisterns, subterranean canals and watermills.
New crops imported from other countries spread within the Empire:
New vegetables were grown: Aubergines (India), spinach (Persia).
New cereals: Rice (China), durum wheat (Ethiopia) basic for couscous.
Fruit trees: Citrus (orange tree, lemon tree, mandarine tree, lime tree) that came from China.
Other crops were saffron (from Persia), cotton and sugarcane (they came from India).
Stockbreeding adapted to the desert lands of the Empire:
Nomadic shepherding was typical among Muslims:
Dromedaries, camels, horses, and donkeys were essential for transportation.
Trade was eased thanks to excellent communications:
These routes had caravans of camels.
Merchants rested in oasis and caravanserais.
The Silk Road was one the major routes in the Islamic world:
Sea routes developed:
River routes existed in the Nile Valley to get gold, slaves or ivory.
Trade permitted the entrance of eastern traditions and techniques: Paper, numeral system, gunpowder, and chess.
Muslims had a strong currency that eased trade: golden dinar and silver dirham.
Most of the rulers (caliphs, emirs) stimulated culture. Baghdad and Cairo were the most important cultural centres in Islam. Cordova in al-Andalus. There were several religious schools that grew around mosques:
Science was studied by Muslims:
The first author of a book on algebra was Al-Khwarizmi.
Astronomy and optics:
Arts were also protected and promoted:
Religious texts based on the Koran.
Historical chronicles told as tales, like One Thousand and One Nights.
They loved poetry. It used to have love themes. Arabic, Persian or Turkish were the languages used to write it.
Most important buildings in religious architecture:
Golden dome Ribbed dome.
The mosque of the Rock (Jerusalem) Mosque of Kairouan (Tunisia).
The mosque of Cordova (Córdoba)
Parts of a mosque (Look at the book pg. 34):
Islamic art is Iconophobe: Not representation of human beings or animals in religious buildings. Not representation of Allah or Muhammad (It´s forbidden).
Miniatures and decorative paintings. Decorated written Works and civil buildings such as palaces.
Plasterwork and tiles:
Islamic buildings were richly decorated with:
They were made by carving or moulding gypsum to form plasterwork or painted onto ceramic tiles.
CAUSES OF RAPID MUSLIM EXPASION
Muslims entered Iberian Penisula in 711. Started a rapid conquest due to the following causes
The Islamic Empire had expanded during the Umayyad Caliphate. The Visigothic Kingdom was the political power that existed in Spain before Muslims’ arrival. There was not a real state structure. Kings fought to dominate the still independent territories in the Peninsula, such as Suebi (Northwest), Vascones (North) or Byzantines (Southeast). Nobility and monarchs had internal struggles to hold the power:
Musa joint the military campaign in 712 with more Arab soldiers and he conquered cities like Seville, Merida or Zaragoza. The whole peninsula was controlled in 714 and there were continuous raids in the north. There was just some resistance in few cities, like Mérida and Cordova. Muslims signed capitulations (amman) with the local population in the cities that surrendered.
(Look at this timeline in your book pg. 37)Dependant emirate (711-756)
From the conquest until the middle of the 8th century, the Andalusian territory was organised as another province or emirate of the Umayyad Empire. During this stage, the emirate, dependent on Damascus, was led by an emir, who ruled assisted by a diwan.
After the conquest of the peninsula, Tariq and Musa went to Damascus to have an audience granted by the caliph.
During this period most of the Visigothic local population converted into Islam because they had economic and social advantages. (Muslims payed less taxes that Christians)Independant emirate (756-929)
In 756, after the rise of the Abbasid dynasty in Damascus, a member of the Umayyad family took refuge in al-Andalus and formed an emirate independent of the Caliphate of Baghdad. The emir, Abd al-Rahman I, founded a very successful dynasty. The emir divided his territory into provinces or kurahs (koras) that were led by a governor (wali). He was also helped by the diwan.
The inhabitants of Al-Andalus did not accept the new caliph after the Abbasid rebellion and there was a new Berber rebellion:
Some regions in Al-Andalus tried to get their independence from Cordova taking advantage of the situation:
Abd al-Rahman I put down all the revolts and organised the territory. Al-Andalus was divided into koras (provinces) ruled by walis who would depend on the emir:
The border lands were divided into three regions ruled by military chiefs, cadis. After Abd al-Rahman I’s death there was a hereditary emirate ruled by the Umayyad family (Omeyas)Caliphate of Cordoba (929-1031)
Caliphate of Cordoba was the most splendorous period in al-Andalus.
In 929, Abd al-Rahman III (Umayyad) broke all ties with Baghdad and proclaimed himself caliph. This was the start of the Caliphate of Córdoba, which was the period of greatest splendour for al-Andalus due to its political, economic and cultural importance. Its capital, Córdoba, became the most important city in Western Europe. However, the caliphs faced internal divisions: rivalry between Arabs and Berbers, on one hand, and problems with the Mozarabs and muladis on the other. These conflicts caused the Caliphate of Córdoba to divide into various kingdoms called taifa kingdoms in 1031.
Abd al-Rahman III ascended the throne in 912. In 929 Abd al-Rahman III took the decision of self-crowning as a Caliph and getting the religious independence from Baghdad:
Abd al-Rahman commanded the construction of a new capital in 936: Madinat al-Zahra. It was the residence of the caliphs.
In 1031 the Caliphate disintegrated and a new historical stage began in Al-Andalus: the Taifa Kingdoms.
Andalusian society was complex and stratificated. Social differences were motivated both by wealth and religion.
The most powerful groups were those who professed Islam:
Below them were Muslims of Berber origin and, finally, the muladis, who made up the majority of the population.
(In your book.Pg. 33 and 35)
Look at this presentation: http://es.slideshare.net/Gemae/05-economy-of-al-andalus or have a look at Power Point.3. CULTURE AND ART (PROJECT) *
Mosque of Cordoba (pg. 34)
The Mosque of Cordoba is the most important monument of all the Western Islamic world, and one of the most amazing in the world. The evolution of the “Omeya” style in Spain is resumed in the history of the Mosque of Cordoba. Abderraman I, who destroyed an ancient Christian basilica to construct the first “Mosque Alhama” or main Mosque of the city. Nowadays, some of the constructive elements of the Visigoth building are integrated in the first part of Abderraman I.
The Great Mosque has two different areas: the courtyard or “arcade sahn“, where the “alminar” (minaret) is constructed (beneath the Renaissance tower) by Abd al-Rahman III, and the “haram” or praying hall. The interior space consists of a forest of columns and red and white arches giving a strong chromatic effect. The site is divided into 5 different areas, corresponding each one of them to the different expansions that have occurred on it.
Madinat al-Zahra (Medina Azahara)
It was an Arab Muslim medieval town and the de facto capital of al-Andalus, or Muslim Spain, as the heart of the administration and government was within its walls. Built beginning in 936-940, the city included ceremonial reception halls, mosques, administrative and government offices, gardens, a mint, workshops, barracks, residences, and baths. Water was supplied through aqueducts.
Islamic culture developed during this period, living a high ans splendourous time, related to Literature and Philosophy, Science (Medicine, Astronomy, Mathematics) and art as well. The same as in Islamic caliphates througout the Empire (Dar al-Islam), al-Andalus played an important role in Culture.
During this period arabisation (use of arab language) was extended through population. The culture was a fusión of different elements from Western (Greek and Rome) and Eastern as well (India, China)
Most famous people during this period were:
It’s Eid. Today is the first of three days of celebration following an arduous month of fasting from sunrise to sunset. No food or fluids are ingested between those times.
Muslims love Ramadan. It’s a month of self-discipline, which is difficult. But it’s also traditionally a month when families and friends gather in the evenings around the table to share food. It’s also a month of spirituality, prayers and re-connecting with God.
Muslims love Ramadan, but we’re also happy when Eid arrives and we can get back to our creature comforts and normal daily routines.
During Eid, families get together. Friends stop by for biscuits and tea. Children receive gifts and money in-hand. Fun outings are organized. But before all that is the congregational Eid prayer.
I haven’t been going to mosques for years, with only a few exceptions. When mosques do have a place for women to pray, it’s squeezed into the back, often behind an ugly green curtain, or it’s on a second floor in the mosque. Sometimes you can hear the prayers happening downstairs, always led by the men. Sometimes it’s difficult to hear them. Sometimes there is a glass wall that allows you to see the men’s area downstairs. Sometimes there isn’t. Always I feel like a second-class citizen in a mosque, even though the common narrative is that it’s to make us more comfortable. I feel like I’m just too old to be hidden away in some corner lest I distract Godly men from their prayers; or, as we are often told, so that men do not look at our bums while we prostrate to God in prayer.
There are other reasons why I have avoided mosques for years, but that’s one of the main ones.
Today, missing family and friends and the general Eid vibes one gets by living in a Muslim-majority country, I thought it would be nice to go to the Eid prayer. I knew what to expect. I’d just suck it up in return for being in the midst of other Muslims celebrating. Besides, I love watching happy and excited little children. At the very least, I’d get that.
I did. I could have sat in that cramped upstairs prayer room for hours watching the children, all dressed up in fancy dresses and traditional garb from their parents’ countries of origin. They were all so cute. So happy. So excited. So playful. That was all I needed, really.
We prayed the Eid prayer. Then came the Eid sermon. I’m horrible when it comes to having the ability to focus on what is being said during any sort of lecture. For me, lectures are the worst kind of communication. Words turn into gobbledygook, and go through one ear and out the other. But I caught a few of the words that were said. Ramadan is a month when we hold ourselves back from eating, drinking and sex, he said. Well, he didn’t use the word sex, but he meant it. The word he used was lust. Be good to your parents, was also one of his messages. Treat them well. I couldn’t focus my mind on the sermon much more than that. Women were holding little kids’ hands and passing through the rows of female prayers with their children, handing out sweets. I was more intent on seeing the kids’ eyes light up when it came their turn to take some sweets.
And then it was time to raise our hands, for the imam, who gave the sermon and led the congregational prayer, to make some duas, or supplications. These are words to God along the lines of, “Oh Allah, bless our families.” Or, “Oh God, grant us good in this world and good in the life to come and keep us safe from the torment of the hellfire.” The imam says the supplication and the congregation, hands raised, says amen.
I raised my hands like everyone else and I began mindlessly saying amen after each supplication. I want good things in life. I want good things in the afterlife. Why wouldn’t I say amen?
But then, my mindlessness was snapped into a mindful focus.
What did he just say?
The imam had just made a supplication to God, asking Him to take care of “the enemies of religion”.
Wait. What? Who?
This dua is so common that most people won’t think twice about it. It’s said in mosques around the world on almost any and all occasions. The only reason it snapped me back into focus, I think, is that I hadn’t been to a mosque in quite some time so the words had become just that little bit more alien.
I began thinking: who are these “enemies of religion” that Muslims ask God to take care of all the time? Who do we mean by that exactly? What makes someone an enemy of a whole religion? What are the criteria? Who is in the imam’s head when he’s asking us to say amen to his dua? Who does he think these enemies are? Why doesn’t he give us some details so we can decide for ourselves whether or not we also think these people are enemies of the whole religion before we say amen? Why are we thinking about enemies of religion on the day of our Eid celebrations? And since we’re at it, why aren’t we making any supplications against those who commit acts of terror against innocent civilians in the name of our religion?
All these questions went through my mind in an instance. Then I was snapped back to “the now” by a follow-up to that supplication: something along the lines of “Oh God, allow the flag of Islam to wave high”.
Huh? The flag? It’s a euphemism, of course. But for what? Who is going to plant that flag so that it waves high? What needs to happen for the flag to wave high? Once it’s up there, what happens next? What kind of a world will we be living in in which Islam’s flag waves high?
My mind stopped there. I wasn’t able to follow the rest. I was lost in thought.
These supplications were not at all foreign to my ears. I’ve heard them my whole life. I’ve heard them in mosques all over the world. They are so commonplace that congregants say amen to them without thinking, without pondering what is actually meant by these words. They are so commonplace that I’ll bet even many of the imams who say these duas don’t really think about the possible implications of their words.
I think the implications are huge. When you grow up hearing over and over and over again about the enemies of your religion needing to be taken care of, and the flag of your religion needing to be raised, it becomes part of who you are even if you’re not entirely sure what it all means. But it is often mindless words like these that open the door later on in life for other people to come in and convince you that there actually is something you can do to raise that flag and take care of those “enemies”. The enemies are always out there. If they weren’t, why are we constantly making supplications against them? There is always an “us” and “them”.
We’re so often told that terrorism does not start in the mosques. People are groomed to become terrorists on the Internet. That’s the narrative we’re so often told, isn’t it? I don’t agree with that one bit. There are so many “little” things we hear in mosques, things that are so commonplace we don’t even recognize them, that plant the first seeds of terrorism.
We, as Muslims, need to be so much more mindful of what we say, what we mean, and what might be implied from our words.
I didn’t stay for the English translation of the sermon. Maybe something was said in English after I left, condemning the acts of terror recently committed in the United Kingdom and the ideologies that lead to them. Or maybe the imam felt completely disconnected from those sorts of people and ideologies. Maybe he felt so disconnected that they aren’t on his mind. The enemies of religion were, however. Whoever they are.
Growing up, I was raised Muslim in a house located in an orthodox Jewish neighborhood, which is a separate post in itself. My father was quite religious and taught me the different pillars of Islam and just general moral instruction. My mother was less religious, and probably not religious at all (she would go on to spur my future existential plummet into atheism). As a kid, although I believed in God, I wasn’t really interested in the physical aspects of following a religion such as going to prayer.
I am sure anyone reading who has had a remotely religious upbringing can relate to absolutely looking forward to waking up early in the morning to go to the mosque, temple, church, or synagogue with your family. As a kid, I didn’t care or even understand the religious motivation for going for prayer. It was something that was I just had to do, like my algebra homework or cleaning my room. It involved wearing traditional clothing that wasn’t particularly comfortable, and leaving in the morning to go pray in a small local mosque that would be tightly packed and not well ventilated. All of this was coupled with the fact that my father is obsessive-compulsive about being on time – meaning that we’d show up 30 minutes early for no reason. Fun times.
Once I got into my late teens, I stopped going to the mosque every year for Eid al-Fitr, one of the largest holidays celebrated by Muslims all over the world signalling the end of Ramadan. My father was a little disappointed, but it wasn’t a big deal. I got to sleep in late and stay home with my mother as he went to pray.
Today is Eid al-Fitr. It is an important one because it will be the last one I can spend comfortably at home with my parents as I will be moving away in the Fall. It has been so long since I last went to pray that I cannot even remember when it was. Appreciating the sentimentality of the occasion, I told my father I wanted to go pray with him in the morning. We woke up super early (seems that tradition has held up well), put on our special clothes, and left home. These were my observations.
From the moment we left our home, there was practically a spring in my father’s step. He was smiling (a big no-no for the men in our family) and beaming with pride. The morning lag made me struggle to grasp it at first, but I realized that my father was galvanized because I was there. In Islamic culture (and in Asian culture in general), there is a specific valuing and pride that comes with sons. Without commentary on the inherent sexism of this, my father was excited to be able to take his son to the mosque on the biggest religious occasion of the year. Going together is an unspoken message that says to people: we are united as a family, this is my son. As a kid, I didn’t care for meeting and greeting all the older men there that my father knew. I just wanted to go home and eat the delicious food my mother had been laboriously working on! What I never noticed was how much satisfaction and happiness my going had brought my father.
Today when I prayed, I started to relive little moments from my childhood like ripples upon a river stream. From wondering when the Imam (often the head of the mosque leading the prayer) would stop talking to being annoyed about the extreme proximity to strangers. I realized that while numerous aspects of going to prayer bothered me as a child, I enjoyed them to a different capacity now.
Maybe I’ve grown up and someone forgot to tell me. I certainly didn’t become religious again. So what changed? As the Imam began the ritual prayer and I bowed my head with my hands to the side, I carefully glanced with the corners of my eye to the rows and rows of fellow Muslims united in prayer. In that moment, I felt that I was a part of something greater and much bigger than myself. That was the problem, it had always been all about me as a kid. Praying there with my local neighbors, acquaintances, and the barber who had cut my hair since I was 5, there was a sense of spiritual tranquility. I was a small part of all that was going on and I felt connected, like supporting your favorite team at a sports game.
Then I looked to my right where my father stood tall, feet firmly planted, praying in benevolent grace. He was always there, on the right side, just as it had been when I was younger. My father had been my anchor of moral instruction throughout my entire life. He taught me about basic respect that was due to every man and woman, regardless of creed. He would always make me feel safe and protected as a child, and I felt just as safe now. Then I began thinking about how I would be moving and wouldn’t be able to see my parents anywhere near as often anymore and it started to get emotional.
That’s when I felt a sharp nudge to my arm. I opened my eyes (as they were closed throughout the prayer) and noticed my father looking at me from the corner of his eye and I realized the prayer position had changed. You see, there’s a specific physical ritual to go about the prayer and my old man was always a stickler for the details. He knew that I didn’t have all the exact protocols memorized, so he was constantly looking out for me even in the midst of his zealous prayers. Just like he would do every year when I would go with him. Unlike me perhaps, he hadn’t changed a tick.
Walking home after the prayers concluded (which took forever, that hasn’t changed either), there was a spring in my step too. It was ironic that I never fully appreciated the experience when I was actually religious, but could do so now. It had always been very meaningful for my father, praying together and meeting all his friends afterwards. The nitty-gritty details of the tradition never mattered; the upholding of the tradition, the willing immersion into the culture and sharing it with loved ones was what made the whole thing spiritual and significant for me.
While I didn’t realize it when I was younger, those experiences were some of the most meaningful that my father had shared with me. And I fully intend to continue the tradition.
FRONT PAGE MAG
Yes, It Is All About Islam
by Bruce Bawer
June 23, 2017
Douglas Murray, whose book The Strange Death of Europe I applauded here the other day, has called him “one of the great heroes of our time.” I fully agree. His name – or, at least, his pen name – is Ibn Warraq, and he’s the author of such important and eloquent works as Why I Am Not a Muslim (which I wrote about here eleven years ago), Why the West Is Best (which I reviewed here five years ago), and What the Koran Really Says. Born in India and educated in Britain, Warraq began criticizing Islam in print during the 1988-89 Satanic Verses controversy, when he was appalled by the failure of celebrated writers and intellectuals to defend Salman Rushdie’s freedom of speech. READ MORE
Eid Mubarak guys have a blast…Today I’m gonna write about what it feels to have a Muslim Friend. Seriously I’m very lucky in this.From my childhood till now, my Muslim friends are still there for me. Someone who doesn’t know or ever met any Muslim think that they are evil creatures that oppress their women, walk around in long gowns with beards and head scarves, or incognito… Ready to strike!
The truth is, you just need to get to know Muslims!
DIVIDED BY RELIGIONS UNITED BY FESTIVALS…
Here are some of my views what I loved and feel privileged to have a ‘Muslim Friend’….
Hinduism and Islam are actually quite similar. Now, before you get defensive, hear what I said a second time: Hinduism and Islam are actually QUITE similar. That doesn’t mean they are the same thing. That doesn’t mean that we believe or follow the same practices or theology. What it does mean is that at the core of who we are, we have more similarities than differences. AND YET, how easy is it for us to only focus on what makes us different? At the very root of both our religions is a desire to serve and love others. At the very root of both of our religions is the desire to bring peace to this world.
Muslims are deeply committed to their faith.
When you consider how many Muslims actually take the injunctions not to eat pork or to drink alcohol seriously and how important prayer is in the Islamic faith – dare I say it, but we could certainly learn a lot from them. I have seen some of them compromising coaching classes, games just for prayers. Commendable it is.
Not that everyone follows the same criterion, and they don’t have to live same as the mainstream.
Their way of speaking.
Personally, I love the way most of them speak. I’m a very big fan of Urdu too. They speak with so much humbleness and graciousness enterprising their culture and tradition extensively. That LEHZA and TEHZIB wins the heart every time.
Food you’d love to have anytime
People might think that they can cook a very good food and are already at the benchmark. But … But.. But… I’ll myself give a thousand bucks if anyone could match their SEWAINYA. Man, they are outstanding. And that pathbreaking BIRIYANI. Oh ho ho ho… ultimate stuff. This is not done yet, Did I talk about the Sugar feast yet? FOOD EVERYWHERE! And because Muslims are known for their hospitality, you’re also invited!
“MIYAN BHAI KI DARING”
I don’t know for all, but for me, this dialogue is very true. Man, I have friends who are crazy AF. They are truly daring. That LET IT BE attitude sometimes turns things around. Most of them have got a superpower of JUGAAD for every problem. No fear, no worries they’ll do it when they want to do it. And there’s nothing bad in this. Sometimes , ya things will not be under us. But having a li’ll attitude is better to have none…
“I don’t worry. I don’t doubt.
I’m daring. I’m a rebel…’’
Fear is a bad advisor.
It’s okay to admit that, by all the messages from the media about Muslims, it’s possible to become afraid. But this is unnecessary! Fear is mainly caused by misunderstandings. The best cure from fear is simply to face your fears. Get out of your comfort zone and get to know the ‘other’! Go to lunch with your Muslim classmates or pay a visit to your Muslim neighbours. You’ll be surprised by their ‘normality’.
Do you have a Muslim friend? Or ever had any? You have the hipster hijabi, the bearded brothas, the arty Muslim, the Muslim geeks, the cool Muslims, the weirdo head Muslim, the Muslim hipsters, the clean eating Muslims, the foodie Muslims, the hippie Muslims, the sporty Muslims, the funny bunny Muslim, the vegetarian Muslim, the vegan Muslim, etc.. So there’s something for everyone! Or the best thing maybe you should call an old friend , wish them Eid Mubarak or can plan for a reunion. Believe me he/she will feel grear../
IT’s NEVER TOO LATE…
“As different streams, having their sources in different places, all mingle their water in the sea, so, O Lord, the different paths which men take through different tendencies, various though they appear, crooked or straight, all lead to Thee.”
– Swami Vivekananda
|||… EID MUBARAK… |||