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Archive for April, 2008

No this post is not about Barack Obama (sorry Obamanation, you’ll have to go elsewhere to get your fill). What it is about is a lecture that I had the fortune of attending roughly three years ago. At the time, I was an officer in the MSA helping organize an Islam Awareness Week and the theme of the week was surrounded around the statement of Ibn al-Qayyum Al-Jowziyyah (rahimahullah) in madaarij as-salikeen concerning the heart:

The Heart, in its journey to Allah (subhan wa ta’ala) is like that of a bird:
Love is its head, and fear and hope are its two wings. When the
head and two wings are sound the bird flies gracefully; if the
head is severed, the bird dies; if the bird loses one of its wings, it
then becomes a target for every hunter or predator.”

So we decided to hold three lectures that week, one on love, another on fear, and the last one on hope. Alhamdulillah, all three lectures were incredible, but the one lecture from that week that really got to me was the lecture on hope.

Shaykh Safi Khan (may Allah preserve him) delivered the speech and even though he went over time, I don’t think anyone in the room cared because it was such an awesome lecture. There are days when I still remember his lecture and rather than just talking about it, I am going to post the notes from his lecture below for everyone’s benefit. These notes are strictly based on my memory because unfortunately, the brother who recorded the lecture accidentally deleted the lecture when trying to download it to his PC. If anyone remembers anything that I missed, feel free to let me know.

Bismillah…

The shaykh began by talking about how its so common today that Muslims, particularly practicing Muslims, make statements that reflect a lack of hope in the Mercy of Allah. This is apparent when people persist in sin thinking that there is no opportunity for forgiveness or think that they are all but destined for hell.

He mentioned how some of the sahabah before Islam felt they would never be forgiven because they sinned so much, and Allah Azza wa Jal addressed that concern in the Quran:

“Say: O `Ibadi (My slaves) who have transgressed against themselves (by committing evil deeds and sins)! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah: verily, Allah forgives all sins. Truly, He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful”. (39:53)

He also encouraged us to look at how merciful Allah Azza wa Jal truly is. When a person sins that sin is only counted once, whereas a good deed is multiplied so many times. In fact, even having the intention to do good is counted as a good deed and having the intention to do something bad but not following through with it is counted as a good deed.
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Ali Asad Chandia will be back in District Court on April 25 in his continued quest for justice following his conviction in 2006 on charges of conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization. The popular third-grade teacher from the Al-Huda School in College Park, Maryland, will appear before Judge Claude Hilton, this time to more fully challenge the application of the terrorism enhancement to his sentence. The original 15-year sentence was challenged by Ali Asad in a formal appeal argued before the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond on October 30, 2007. At issue at the hearing will be whether the evidence provided by the government warrants the application of the terrorism enhancement to the sentence.

For more info go to www.aliasad.org for details

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|Tariq Sohrab Ghazipuri|
Philosophers have often held certain essential qualities to be ideals for what exists in the world. A mirror is something that presents qualities. It does not bring about any distortion to the essence of the person whose image it reflects.

This is why Muslim scholars encourage people to adopt the mirror’s qualities into their behavior.

Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) says, “A Muslim is the mirror for his fellow Muslim.”

In this article, I would like to highlight some of the mirror’s qualities and then explore the implications of the Prophet’s statement.

The Mirror…at a Glance:

A mirror presents you with your real form, without any embellishment or omission.

It does not hesitate at all in doing its job. It provides its services promptly, and immediately presents you with your reflection.

It does not take any wages for the services that it renders. It remains sincere to you by showing you how you truly appear.
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by Stacy Rapacon
Thursday, April 10, 2008provided by

Kiplinger'sPersonalFinance

It seems every day, gas pump prices hit another record high. The latest record national average for regular unleaded, as of April 9, was $3.34 per gallon, up 20% (or 55 cents) over the past year.

Prices are expected to top the $4 mark this summer. But don’t let $80.00 fill-ups pump the fun out of your warm, sunny days. Here are five ways to score solid savings when you pull into the service station.

1. Find the Lowest Gas Prices

Search GasBuddy.com or GasPriceWatch.com by zip code or city and state to get the lowest prices in your area.

GasBuddy links you to 181 local websites, each focused on a U.S. state, metro area, Canadian province or city. For example, search for Piscataway, N.J. on GasBuddy.com and get sent to NewJerseyGasPrices.com, where results reveal a price range from $3.01 to $3.23 within that area. (The Garden State sports the lowest prices on average, coming in at $3.07 versus the national high in California at $3.75.)

Prices are updated constantly and are dropped from the site after 72 hours — it’s assumed spotters will have updated information by then. And with the site’s 124 million registered users keeping an eye out for you, you’re bound to benefit.

GasPriceWatch.com hosts data from only about 162,000 volunteer tipsters. But it collects pricing info directly from fuel providers and gas station companies. By Memorial Day weekend, the site plans to roll out a Certified Pricing Program, which will guarantee you a specific price if you get to the station within one hour of seeing it on the site. Additionally, it offers a tool called MyPage that allows you to track prices at specific stations along your regular routes.

Both sites include prices from Costco and other big-box retailers that sell gasoline to customers at discounted prices. Brad Proctor, founder of GasPriceWatch.com, says Midwest retail supercenter Meijer is particularly “proactive about gas.”

It provides text message alerts to customers’ cell phones when gas prices are expected to rise — promising to not raise Meijer prices until after 1:30pm. Proctor recently received one such alert when prices jumped one morning in Dayton, Ohio, to $3.25 from $3.03. He drove the extra block to Meijer and saved 22 cents per gallon.
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I’m not sure how many people had the opportunity to see the op-ed section of today’s Washington Post, but its a must read. In it there are two articles of significance with regards to the current conflict in the middle east. The first is written by Mahmoud al-Zahar, a surgeon and one of the founders of Hamas. The article focuses on the need for the world to understand the Palestinian plight and the tremendous double standards being applied by the media.

The second article is written by an unnamed source, pretty much lambasting al-Zahar and the Palestinian cause as typical terrorist rhetoric. In any case, I have pasted excerpts from both articles as well as provided the links for anyone who’s interested:

No Peace Without Hamas by Mahmoud al-Zahar

Israel’s escalation of violence since the staged Annapolis “peace conference” in November has been consistent with its policy of illegal, often deadly collective punishment — in violation of international conventions. Israeli military strikes on Gaza have killed hundreds of Palestinians since then with unwavering White House approval; in 2007 alone the ratio of Palestinians to Israelis killed was 40 to 1, up from 4 to 1 during the period from 2000 to 2005.

Only three months ago I buried my son Hussam, who studied finance at college and wanted to be an accountant; he was killed by an Israeli airstrike. In 2003, I buried Khaled — my first-born — after an Israeli F-16 targeting me wounded my daughter and my wife and flattened the apartment building where we lived, injuring and killing many of our neighbors. Last year, my son-in-law was killed.

Hussam was only 21, but like most young men in Gaza he had grown up fast out of necessity. When I was his age, I wanted to be a surgeon; in the 1960s, we were already refugees, but there was no humiliating blockade then. But now, after decades of imprisonment, killing, statelessness and impoverishment, we ask: What peace can there be if there is no dignity first? And where does dignity come from if not from justice?”

Mr. Zahar and Mr. Carter by Unnamed Author

Mr. Zahar lauds Mr. Carter for the “welcome tonic” of saying that no peace process can succeed “unless we are sitting at the negotiating table and without any preconditions.” Yet Mr. Zahar has his own preconditions: Before any peace process can “take even its first tiny step,” he says, Israel must withdraw to the 1967 borders and evacuate Jerusalem while preparing for the “return of millions of refugees.” In fact, as Mr. Zahar makes clear, Hamas is not at all interested in a negotiated peace with the Jewish state, whose existence it refuses to accept: “Our fight to redress the material crimes of 1948 is scarcely begun,” he concludes.

In that fight, no act of terrorism is out of bounds for the Hamas leader, who endorses the group’s recent ambush of Israeli civilians working at a fuel depot that supplies Gaza. The “total war” of which he speaks was initiated and has been sustained by Hamas itself through its deliberate targeting of civilians, such as the residents of the Israeli town of Sderot, who suffer daily rocket attacks.

These facts would hardly need restating were it not for actors such as Mr. Carter, who portray Hamas as rational and reasonable.”

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Bismillah, Was Salaatu Was Salaam Ala’ Rasool Allah.

I remember hearing a tape by Shaykh Muhammad AlShareef (may Allah preserve him) years ago. He was talking about how, when in Madinah, there was a brother who wanted to learn Quran from him and although I dont remember all the details, the moral of the story was pretty much that many students expect teachers to be waiting on them hand and feet while they themselves have little commitment towards programs.

Alhamdulillah, a few weeks ago I received an email informing me of my application acceptance to Ilmsummit. In all honesty, I wasnt sure whether or not I’d be accepted and even now I’m worried that I wont be able to live up to the standards of a true student of knowledge. Having an opportunity to study with shuyukh in this country with an intensive curriculum is not only exciting, but also worrisome: what if I dont utilize my time effectively preparing for the program? what if I squander valuable time during the program? what if I let my nafs get the better of me?

Earlier this week when thinking about everything that I have to do to prepare, I was writing down books that I need to read, topics I need to study, Imams I need to sit with, and surahs that I need to revise. Then I thought to myself, ‘what about working on myself ?’ I have to become more patient with people, increase my athkaar, and monitor my akhlaaq. Above all, I have to make sure that my heart is in the right place because the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) said

“….Truly in the body there is a morsel of flesh which, if it be whole, all the body is whole and which, if it be diseased, all of it is diseased. Truly it is the heart.” -Bukhari and Muslim

may Allah make us amongst those who monitor our hearts always and Allow us to learn His Religion.  Ameen.

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Sahih Bukhari: Volume 8, Book 73, Number 61:
Narrated Masruq:
We were sitting with ‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr who was narrating to us (Hadith): He said,
“Allah’s Messenger was neither a Fahish nor a Mutafahhish, and he used to say, ‘The best among you are the best in character (having good manners).”‘

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