The Islamic Post Blog

Photo Essay: Boys’ Summer Camp 2008 by Khalida
July 26, 2008, 1:52 am
Filed under: July Volume II - 2008, Magazine/ Culture

Month-long from July 5
Sponsored by the International Qur’anic Open University, Holy Islamberg Campus, NY, [To view as a pdf file click here]

Correction: The name of the winner of the race to the top of the hill is Ali Caba, not Mansur Ali.


Poetry Corner: Rabbee, I Have No Complaint. by Khalida
July 26, 2008, 1:45 am
Filed under: July Volume II - 2008, Magazine/ Culture, Poetry | Tags:

*Rabbee/Cherisher and Sustainer, refers to the Almighty Creator

By Rasheeda Ameera Amatullah, Islamic Post Contributing Writer

In a world where they seek entertainment,
instead of the pleasure of their Lord;
where money is the priority,
Amidst chaos and disdain for accord:

This place is the proving ground
for those who truly believe,
to stay away from temptation
and the worlds deadly taint.
Rabbee, I have no complaint.

With so much to be thankful for:
each day of life,
the many opportunities to please you
in the midst of struggle and strife.
Rabbee, I have no complaint.

The bounty of your blessings:
infinite mercy, abounding grace,
the privilege of living on
Your beautiful earth, so full of space.
Rabbee, I have no complaint.

You provide for us everyday,
whether or not we see the way.
You gave us prayer to repent our sin, show patience with us again and again.
Rabbee, I have no complaint.

Through test and trial and adversity, from anger, show restraint.
We bear this for a little while.
Rabbee, I have no complaint.

With the gift of Kalima Shahada: the privilege to be your slave.
You guide us through the sea of truth;
from darkness, us You saved.
Rabbee, I have no complaint.

On the wave of certainty
we ride, in awe and hope,
holding fast with conviction
to Islam’s sturdy rope.
Rabbee, I have no complaint.

Thank you, Rabbee, for everything:
Your loving kindness, mercy and grace.
Without you we would be nothing,
lost and desolate in this place.
Rabbee, Rabbee, Rabbee,
You grant us so many things.
I truly have no complaint.

Mathnawi of Maulana Jami by Khalida
July 26, 2008, 1:39 am
Filed under: July Volume II - 2008, Magazine/ Culture, Religion | Tags:

In the book by Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi, Virtues of Salaat ‘Ala-n- Nabi (peace be upon him), which has all but disappeared from the shelves of Islamic book stores,  the Mathnawi of Maulana Jaami r.a. is quoted, a display of affection and love for the Holy Rasool, peace be upon him. An excerpt is displayed here on the most honorable occasion of Lailatul Mi’raj, the Night of Ascension.
Bestow your generous attention, oh Seal of the Messengers, for greatly bereaved is the world since your demise, oh Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him).

You who are indeed the Last of the Messengers and their Seal, sal Allahu alayhe wa sallam, how can you ignore us when drowned in wretchedness and ill of fortune we are?

Through your evergreen freshness, oh dearest one, grace now this world, and from your restful sleep awake, to fill us with guiding light.

Lift now your countenance from within your Yemeni shroud, for your blessed face is the very life and light of day.

Turn for us the darkness of our sorrowful night into blessed light of day, and crown for us our day with successful accomplishments.

And now do don your fragrant smelling garments, and on your head the white turban do place.

Let your dark and precious locks of hair hang down, that their shade fall upon your blessed feet.

Wrap your feet in your shoes from mountainous Ta’if, and make their straps bind our souls to you.

This entire universe desires to be spread out for your feet, and sincerely wishes for the honor that you tread upon her.

Come forth from your sepulchre into the Nabawi Mosque, that we may kiss and lay our heads on the dust under your feet where you do tread.

Oh Messenger of Allah, sal Allahu alayhe wa aalihe wa sallam, grant refuge and help for the needy, and console the hearts of those filled with love for you.

Sinners are we, drowned in the sea of our iniquity. Yet great is the thirst of our endeavor to follow your way.

You are the rain cloud of mercy, and your generosity demands that succor be granted to the thirsty seeker in search of you.

Reflections On The Sacred Month Of Rajab by Khalida
July 26, 2008, 1:34 am
Filed under: July Volume II - 2008, Magazine/ Culture, Religion | Tags:

“Glory be to the One who travelled at night with His slave from Masjid al-Haram to Masjid al-Aqsa, whose precincts We have blessed that We might show him some of Our signs. He is the Hearing, the Seeing.” –Holy Qur’an, Surah 17: Ayat 1. (Masjid al Aqsa, Jerusalem, is shown below.)

In the book Sufficient Provision for Seekers of the Path of Truth, by Hadrat Sheikh Syed Abdul Qadir Jilani, may Allah’s mercy be upon him, the manner in which to honor the 27th of Rajab, and the peculiarities of Rajab, Sha’baan, and Ramadaan, are all mentioned:
“Al Hasan al Basri, may Allah’s mercy be upon him, said: ‘When the 27th of Rajab came around, Abdullah ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, would start the day as a mutakif (i.e., as someone who follows the practice called i’tikaaf, meaning withdrawal into a state of seclusion in order to concentrate on religious devotions, especially while fasting). He would devote the whole morning to prayer, up to and including the obligatory ritual prayer at noon. After performing the noon prayer, he would stroll about for a little while to stretch his legs.’”
Peculiarites of Rajab, Sha’ban and Ramadaan.
From the same text, the following are some of the many traditional sayings in which Rajab is mentioned along with Sha’baan and Ramadaan:
“‘Rajab is for giving up crude behaviour (jafaa’), Sha’baan is for good work and redemption (wafaa’), and Ramadaan is for honesty and candor (safaa).’
“‘Rajab is the month of repentance (tawba), Sha’baan is the month of loving affection (mahabba), and Ramadaan is the month of nearness (qurba).’
“‘Rajab is the month of sanctity (hurma), Sha’baan is the month of service (khidma), and Ramadaan is the month of blessed grace (ni’ma).’
“‘Rajab is the month of worship (‘ibaada), Sha’baan is the month of abstinence (zahaada), and Ramadaan is the month of enhancement (ziyaada).’
“‘Rajab is the month in which Allah multiplies good deeds (hasanaat), Sha’baan is the month in which atonement is made for bad deeds (sayyi’aat), and Ramadaan is the month in which gifts of grace (karaamaat) [miraculous manifestations] can be expected.’
“‘Rajab is the month of those who race ahead (saabiqeen), Sha’baan is the month of those who practice moderation (muqtasideen), and Ramadaan is the month of disobedient sinners (‘aaseen).’
“It was Dhun Nun al Misri (the Egyptian, may Allah bestow His mercy upon him) who said: ‘Rajab is for giving up things that cause harm (aafaat), Sha’baan is for the active practice of worshipful obedience (taa’aat), and Ramadaan is for the expectation of gifts of grace (karaamaat). So, if a person fails to abstain from things that are harmful; if he does not engage in the active practice of worshipful obedience; and if he does not wait expectantly for the gifts of grace; he must be one of those folk who are only interested in trivial pursuits (ahl at turrahaat).’
“He also said (may Allah bestow His mercy upon him): ‘Rajab is the month of sowing, Sha’baan is the month of watering, and Ramadaan is the month of the harvest. Everyone reaps what he sows, and everyone is recompensed for what he does.’
“If a person wastes the time he should devote to cultivation, he will regret it on his day of harvesting. He will realize in retrospect that he was sowing nothing but a bleak future for himself.”
Night of Ascension a Physical Occurrence.
Ash Shifaa, the Book of Healing, by Qadi ‘Iyad, was written on the premise that by coming to know and understand the most blessed qualities of the Holy Last Messenger Muhammad, may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, a person’s worldly and next-worldly life is healed of all affliction, due to the love that the Almighty holds for our Master Muhammad, may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.
Qadi ‘Iyad writes: “Most of the early scholars agree, and the Muslims also believe, that the Holy Last Messenger Muhammad, peace be upon him, went on the Night Journey in his physical body while he was awake. This is the truth, and has been stated by (the holy personages of) Ibn ‘Abbas, Jabir, Anas, Hudhayfa, Abu Hurayra [and many more]…
“The true, sound position in this, Allah willing, is that the Night Journey was both in spirit and in body throughout the entire event. The ayaat (pl.), or signs contained in Holy Qur’an, the sound traditions and considered opinion all indicate this. One does not abandon the truth of the literal meaning [in Holy Quran] for interpretation [by analogy] except when nothing else is possible.
“That the Holy Last Messenger, peace be upon him, went on the Night Journey in body, while awake, is not impossible. If it had been a dream, Allah the Most High would have said, ‘with the spirit of His slave,’ instead of (here we quote the full ayat) ‘Glory be to the One who travelled at night with His slave from the Masjid al-Haram to the Further Mosque, whose precincts We have blessed that We might show him some of Our signs. He is the Hearing, the Seeing.’ (Surah 17: Ayat 1) Allah ta’ala also says, ‘The eye did not swerve, nor did it sweep away.’ (Surah 53:Ayat16)
“If it had only been a dream, then it would not have involved either a sign or a miracle. The unbelievers would not have thought it impossible and rejected it, and the weak Muslims would not have been doubtful about it and found it a test, since things like this are not unknown in dreams. This doubt only arose because they knew that the report of the Holy Last Messenger, peace be upon him, indicated it being his physical body, while awake…  Ibn ‘Abbas said, ‘It was a direct vision which he saw with his own eyes. It was not a dream.’”

Invitation: The Banaatun Noor International 2008 Ladies’ Summer Camp by Khalida
July 26, 2008, 1:23 am
Filed under: July Volume II - 2008, Magazine/ Culture, National, Religion, travel | Tags:

Under the auspices of His Eminence, El Sheikh Syed Mubarik Ali Shah Gilani, an invitation is extended for you to please join us at the Banaatun Noor International, Incorporated,
2008 Ladies’ Summer Camp,

From August 2nd through August 30th, 2008 in Holy Islamberg, New York.

As Salaamu Alaykum
Here lies an opportunity to strengthen Iman, culti­vate the spiritual self, and in so doing effect change within and without.
The 22nd Annual 2008 Ba­naatun Noor Ladies Summer Camp [Invitation] has been, and contin­ues to serve as, a retreat through which ladies can discover, then be­queath, an enriched Islamic identity with confidence and without reserve.
Come partici­pate in strengthening the bonds of love and unity that can only be found in coming together for Allah’s pleasure, and learning His Deen and the sunnah of the Holy Last Messenger, Our Master, Syedina Muhammad, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him.
Strength is Iman; and Iman is the foundation of life. We, the Banaatun Noor Staff, anticipate pro­viding a service that, Allah willing, will bring every participant success. Please take special care in preparing for this camp. Purify the inten­tions; open the heart and mind; and prepare to receive all that Allah, the Most High, has in store.
Make intentions clear to travel, study, and absorb the knowledge that will be made available to all for the pleasure of Allah, who is Glorified and the Most High. By seeking knowledge, one may then adhere to the commands of the Holy Quran, and sunnah of our Holy Master, Syedina Mu­hammad, peace be upon him and his family.
The BNI Camp Staff  sends its warmest regards, and is looking forward to your response.

For more information please contact Khadijah Smith or Tahirah Khaliq.

Touring: The Sisters of Naumaan by Khalida
July 25, 2008, 7:52 pm
Filed under: July Volume II - 2008, Magazine/ Culture, Touring, travel | Tags:

By Asma Younus, Special to the Islamic Post

To view the pdf of the print pversion of this paper, click here
The Shaqaiq al Naumaan (sisters of Naumaan) are waving at me. I stop to stare at them. In this wilderness of ruins of a powerful castle, I feel they want to tell me the story of Sultan Salahuddin.
This is what brings me here.
Salahuddin’s castle is on top of a mountain, flanked by two ravines.  You enter through the south gate by ascending 144 steps. It is approached by traveling up the mountain on hairpin bends, and looking down at the possibility of sure death with the slightest miscalculation of the road edge.
I think of Salahuddin and his family, emigrating on the night of his birth from Mosul to Aleppo.  He spends his first sixteen years being educated in Islam by the Sufis, those masters of the science whose objective is the reparation of the heart, and turning it away from all else but God.
Suddenly all the stories that I have heard about him come to life for me; that he possessed Ehsaan, a high level of Awareness of the Almighty and resulting good behavior, which is an integral part of Islam.  It is a virtue that is contained in the Holy Last Messenger, and Mercy to Mankind, Muhammad, (may the Peace of the Almighty and His blessings be upon him).
Ehsaan is a quality so difficult to imbue into one’s actions as a victor with the power to hurt or desecrate.
I see Salahuddin as a young boy, learning to forgive, to give more than is being asked, to take only what is needed, and to give away the rest for the pleasure of Allah. I can see the little boy who grows up to be a powerful strong soldier, and the Sultan that spares the Crusaders when he conquers Jerusalem. Those very Crusaders, whom, on conquering Jerusalem, had massacred so many, that it is recorded in history books that their horses waded in blood up to their knees. And yet when he (Salahuddin) enters Jerusalem as a conqueror, and has those very Crusaders at his mercy, he lets them go.
Extreme faith had entered his very being. He was the epitome of a true Muslim, one who surrenders his will to the Almighty, sincere faith exuding from every cell of his heart.
Why was he a soldier then? The thought occurs to me as I walk the paths in Salahuddin’s castle. Every Shaqaiq e Naumaan, as the red poppies of the desert are affectionately called, waves to me gently in the breeze, reminding me of their frailty and their temporary stay this spring, in this stronghold.
I look around; the scene is breathtaking. The breeze blows, laden with memories of the past glory of the Muslims.
There is an underlying assurance of the impermanence of life, power, and even, for some, sincere belief.
All things must end, good or bad, with the final judgment:  punishment and reward meted out by Allah, Glory be to Him, on The Day – the final Day of Judgment whence everything and every part of us will give witness to our past actions, and there will be no shade for the sinner.
Nowhere else am I more acutely aware of this than in Salahuddin’s powerful castle, now in ruins.
Something turned him into what he became: The knight for the defense of the defenseless.
As we roll back the pages of history, we realize that power changed hands when one king decided that he could attack Makkah and Madinah, the holiest of places for Muslims, and massacre a ship full of pilgrims.
Anyone with as strong an ego as most rulers and leaders possess would have punished Balian and the Franjs of Jerusalem with a vengeance, but not Salahuddin.  His earlier training of reining in the lower desires with prayer and fasting stood him in good faith.
Perhaps his leniency sprouted from the knowledge that there was outside incitement by the globalists of the day, who urged the Crusaders on, in an effort to annihilate both Christian and Muslim. Some things don’t change.
From The Crusades Through Arab Eyes by Amin Maalouf:
“He entered Jerusalem on Friday October 2, 1187 or Rajab 27, 583 by the Muslim calendar, the very day on which Muslims celebrate the Holy Last Messenger Muhammad’s( may the Peace of The Almighty and His blessing be upon him) nocturnal Journey to Jerusalem (Isra wal mi’raaj- when the Holy Last Messenger, peace be upon him, traveled during a part of one night to the ‘Aqsa Mosque, where he ascended into the heavens and was called into the Divine Presence).  The Sultan’s emirs and soldiers had strict orders: No Christian, whether Frankish or Oriental, was to be touched. And indeed there was neither massacre nor plunder.”
The fact that the Christian shrines and churches still stand today in Jerusalem bear witness to Salahuddin’s level of faith when entering as the Conqueror of Jerusalem.
“Most of the Franj (Frankish Crusaders) remained in the city after Salahuddin conquered it. He (Salahuddin), surrounded by a mass of companions, went from sanctuary to sanctuary weeping, praying, and prostrating himself. He allowed the rich to sell their property to Orthodox Christians and Jews who planned to continue to stay on.”
His extreme level of faith, and fulfilling his pact with the vanquished patriarch of Jerusalem, was demonstrated when the patriarch of Jerusalem drove out of the city accompanied by numerous chariots filled with gold, carpets and all sorts of precious goods. Imad al Din Asfahani was scandalized, and the treasurers of the Muslim state became angry:
I said to the Sultan (Salahuddin): “The patriarch is carrying off riches worth at least two hundred thousand dinars! We gave them permission to take their personal property with them but not the treasures of the churches and convents. You must not let them do it!” But Salahuddin answered, “We must apply the letter of the accords we have signed, so that no one will be able to accuse the believers of having violated their treaties. On the contrary, Christians everywhere will remember the kindness we have bestowed upon them.”
The red poppies swaying in the wind smile at me, baring their chests to show me the black covering on their hearts. Is the black cover on their hearts waiting to be polished by the Believers of the Muslim world? Their petals are deep red with the blood of Muslims soaking the earth all over.
I detect no sadness in their demeanor, as they sway with the breeze, their delicate petals red with the central black covering on their hearts.
They seem to say, as they gently wave to me, “Powers greater than those who are now bent on the destruction of Muslim homes and countries have perished in the past, by the power of the Almighty, without even one human being taking part.  Do not grieve, this too shall pass!”
-Always Ether

Always Ether

An Adaptation of “How Sing the Andalusian Poets,”
By Juan José Ceba

The subject of poetry is always ether to us.
It spells love, solitude, time, death or destruction.
It is known to inherit gorgeous richness in form, with the refinement and aesthetics of overflowing purification: metaphors, comparisons, hyperboles, personifications and an inexhaustible technical show.
Thus, our poetry sings on  a current of the light, the air, the aroma and the essence of beauty, thinking of Paradise, a garden that burns at night, the flowering of love; nature in its totality. These live on in the ardor of the soul of the poet, until oneness and aroma of the earth forms within him.
They urged on the free, wittingly powerful critic, with a fine humor that touched the core. They were loving in the end of an improvisation. It is from them, as it observed Garcia Gomez, that “everything can be turned into the matter of art.”
They go deep, and they find the route mystical. Into  fusion with the Loved one,  go these Sufis. They were the poets.

Late Summer Gardening by Khalida
July 25, 2008, 7:47 pm
Filed under: July Volume II - 2008, Magazine/ Culture, Science | Tags: ,

By Saudah Umm Nur, Islamic Post Contributing Writer

In gardening, planning is everything.  Here in Canada, where we consider ourselves lucky when we have 90 days of warm weather in the summer, gardeners must be especially strategic. But, even here, we can get 2 or 3 crops from a garden bed if we plan well.
For vegetables that have a short shelf life, such as lettuce, we have to focus on growing just what we know we will use.  In my early days of gardening, when I had 114 acres to work with, I grew a lot of plants just because I could.  But a lot of work goes into preparing and nurturing the soil, so prepare ahead of time to can your vegetables and store your grains and seeds properly. I soon found that a lot of veggies ended up on the compost pile and became a waste of energy and space. Growing what your family will eat and, more importantly, planning when your family will eat it, is the best policy. While preserving is a separate topic, we will start by talking about how to hold on to your seeds.
If you grew too many peas in the spring, or beans in the summer, don’t compost them just yet.  Let them continue to grow until the pods are dry. When they are completely dry, put the pods in a paper bag.  Put the paper bag in the freezer for a day or two to kill any bugs which will more than likely be on the plants since you grow chemical-free. Take the bag out of the freezer and store it in a cool, dry place. Use the dried peas in the winter for soup or grind them up to a powder and add it to your chicken feed to boost the protein and flavor of your eggs and meat.
Similarly, let one of each of your squash, melons, cucumbers and tomatoes and heads of corn grow to full maturity and harvest the seeds.  This should be no problem because you started off your sustainable gardening venture with non-hybrid, open-pollinated, organic seeds—right?
Late summer is a good time to assess the health of your soil. Every thing you grow takes something out of the soil, so it’s important to put nutrients and organic matter back into the soil late in the season because in high temperatures, with low moisture or with too much moisture, it is harder for plants to use the nutrients in the soil.
Look around and take notice of those spring-sown plants that didn’t thrive.  If they wilted quickly, were frequently attacked by bugs – as bugs crave the least healthy plants– or gave a low yield, it is probably time to amend the soil with compost and/ or manure.  Grow a cover crop in that area like clover or, better yet, oats.  Oats are easily dried and stored for the winter for your family and clover flowers can be harvested for tea. What you don’t use of the cover crop can be easily turned over into the soil so that next spring you can just till it in. Extra oats are also good for chicken or dog food; oats are the only grain dogs can digest raw.
I get the most enjoyment from my garden in the winter.  When the rest of the country is eating stale, irradiated, imported vegetables, I love to go in my garden and dig up fresh, healthy, delicious produce.  To have a winter harvest, you have to start in late summer.  Carrots, beets, parsnips, broccoli, cabbage, collards, kale and most of the Asian vegetables, like bok choi, all can be sown now in late summer and harvested in the dead of winter. Plant them now, and you will reap the benefits after the first frost –or the first snow fall in milder climates. Cover the plants with at least a foot of shredded paper, straw, or heap the soil up until just the very tip of the plant is visible.  Plant a tall stick or some other marker so you can find them in the winter.  Around December or January (or earlier) go out and dig up what you like, when you like.  The cold temperatures will have brought out the maximum sweetness in the vegetables.  Even the kids will like them! If you want to have enough onions or garlic through the winter, you should have started the seed last January or February, but if you can get onion or garlic sets this time of year, plant as many as you can now and leave them in the soil over the winter. You probably will be able to harvest some during the winter if you use mulch. They’ll continue to grow through the winter and they’ll be huge by the beginning of next summer, if Allah so wills.