June Vol. 1, 2009
(IP)- This year is known as the International Year of Natural Fibres 2009, in honor of the virtues of cotton, wool, silk and linen/flax among other lesser-known varieties of cloth derived from animal and plant sources.
In the Medicine of the Prophet, Ibn Qayyim Al Jawziyya quotes Al- Raazee on the properties of silk, in particular, which is used for women: “Raw silk (ibreesim) is warmer than flax but cooler than cotton; it nourishes the flesh. Every coarse clothing makes the body lean and the skin firm, and so the reverse is true.”
Al Jawziyya continues: “Clothing is of three kinds: one kind that heats and warms the body, one kind that warms it but does not heat it, and one kind that neither heats nor warms it. There is none that heats but does not warm it, for whatever heats it is even more likely to warm it. Clothing of hair and woollen material [like sheep’s wool, alpaca, camel hair, angora and cashmere] heats and warms, while clothing of linen, silk and cotton warms but does not heat. For garments of linen are cold and dry, those of wool are warm and dry, those of cotton are of moderate warmth, and those of silk are softer and have less heat than cotton.
“The author of the Minhaaj said: Clothing from silk does not heat as cotton does, but it is moderate. All soft and smooth clothing is less heating to the body, gives less aid to the dissolving of such matters as are to be dissolved, and is more suitable for wearing in summer and in hot lands.”
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations touts natural fibres above synthetic varieties as fabrics made from plant fibre or animal hair have served to boost the economies of economically developing countries. Some 30 million tons of natural fibres are farmed from animals and plants across the globe. The biggest crop is cotton, with an annual production of some 25 million tons, while 2.2 million tons of wool is produced every year in almost 100 countries, with Australia accounting for roughly a quarter of that. There is also flax, sisal, henequen, coir (from the husk of the coconut,) and hemp (although, for Muslims, even the form of hemp purified of the THC intoxicant should not be used on the head.) Jute, which comes from the skin of Corchorus plants, is the world’s second biggest fibre crop (2.3-2.8 million tons, main producers are India and Bangladesh) but is worth far less than cotton, or wool. Hafez Ghanem, FAO Assistant Director-General for Social and Economic Development, said production of animal and vegetable fibres is a major agricultural sector, worth some $40 billion annually to the world’s farmers and, in some cases, accounts for up to 50 percent of a developing country’s exports.
Care for your clothes, naturally.
In addition to the natural detergent formulas Hakimah Raziya A. Mu’min gives above, as a natural Islamic medicine practitioner, the hakimah also has added a few tips on the preferred use of natural fabrics, and ways to maintain the freshness and life of your clothing without the use of chemical laundering products.
“Wool and cotton fibres which are in turn made into muslin, terry cloth, corduroy, and flannel are the best to use for clothing. Synthetic fabrics hold bacteria longer, and can contribute to yeast infections. Laundry detergents are full of perfumes, petroleum, and chemicals; they can also be very expensive. The same applies to perfumed body soaps. You can grate a bar of regular Castile soap, and use it for laundry soap, adding borax and baking soda. Stain removers can be made using 2 tbsp. cream of tartar and water, making a paste of the two and rubbing into stain. Allow it to dry before washing. For clothes brighteners, add 1 to 2 tablespoons Epsom salts to the wash cycle. Add ¼ cup baking soda to your wash cycle as a fabric softener, or a ¼ cup or less borax. A ¼ cup of vinegar added to the wash cycle will prevent static cling.
Sources: FAO, Hakimah Razia A. Mu’min
June Vol. 1, 2009
Oh Lovers of the Holy Last Messenger, Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him):
The Holy Last Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “When people emerge from their graves, I shall be the first to emerge, and when three people will assemble, I shall be their leader; and when people become silent, I shall be their orator; and when people come forth for accountability, I shall be their intercessor; and when all are bereft of hope, I shall bring them hope; and on that Day, I shall be holding the Flag of Karamat, and I shall be the possessor of the keys of Heaven, and I shall be the most revered of the human beings before Almighty Allah. I shall be surrounded by thousands upon thousands of servants as if they were protecting a precious jewel. And no supplication can soar to its target without the recitation of Durood Shareef* on me, and when Durood Shareef has been recited, the obstruction is removed and the prayer soars high for acceptance.” (From the texts Aab-e-Kauthar and Sa’adat-ud-Darain)
Oh Lovers of the Holy Last Messenger, Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him):
The Holy Last Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “If a person is beset by worries, he should recite Durood Shareef for me abundantly because it removes worries, sufferings, misfortunes, increases subsistence, and fulfills wishes.” (From the texts Aab-E-Kauthar, Dalail-ul-Khairat Cawnpuri, and Nuzhat-un-Nazireen)
*Durood Shareef implies praying for peace and blessings upon the Holy Last Messenger, Muhammad, may God’s peace be upon him.
June Vol. 1, 2009
By Jannah A. Malik
Recently the House passed a bill for the purpose of modernizing, renovating, and repairing public school facilities. The bill, which encourages the creation of clean and healthy environments for schoolchildren, would also promote energy conservation, while at the same time producing thousands of jobs. Passing 275 to 155, the bill will now go to the Senate. If approved it would allot a starting amount of $6.4 billion within the first year and similar amounts throughout the next five years.
The bill states that the Secretary of Education, in consultation with the Secretary of Labor, shall work with recipients of funds under this Act to promote appropriate opportunities for participants in a YouthBuild program, as well as using existing Job Corps members and individuals enrolled in a junior or community college. The text of the bill cites the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 and the Higher Education Act of 1965 as justification to offer “employment experience on modernization, renovation, repair, and construction projects” funded under the bill.
A separate $600 million would be approved under the act within a six year period for public schools in Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi that were damaged by hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005.
By the year 2015, 100% of funds available for green building projects would have to meet ‘green standards’ for energy sources as well as construction materials. Amongst the companies that provide the necessary materials according to these standards or guidelines are: EnergyStar, Green Globes, and the Leadership and Environmental Design (Leed) Green building rating system.
Supporters of the bill spoke about the pressing need for funds for repairs in schools. Rep. John Hall (D-NY) stated: “America’s aging schools are in dire need of assistance. I am a former trustee and school board president. I have seen it. Buildings are crumbling while school districts are having trouble paying their energy bills. This bill would help school districts invest in repairs, construction and green modernization without passing the burden on to local taxpayers who in New York, I know, can’t afford any more property tax.”
In opposition some expressed great concern over the cost of the bill. “No one is going to argue in favor of a less-than-perfect physical structure for students,” said Rep. David Dreier (R-CA) “But what I believe we need to argue is how do you pay for that. And again, I believe very strongly that we, as a federal government, have reached way too far into so many different areas.”
Allowing for oversight, however, the bill states in its text that: “Not later than one year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Comptroller General of the United States shall conduct a study to determine, and report to the Congress on, the extent and types of projects in keeping with the uses of funds authorized under this Act being undertaken in schools around the United States, the geographic distribution of green, high-performing schools in the United States, including by urban, suburban, and rural areas, and the relative access to such schools of the demographic groups described in section 1111(b)(2)(C)(v) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965.”
Objecting to the cost of the new school construction plan, former President George W. Bush threatened to veto the bill last year. Similar legislation was also not passed by the Senate. The bill’s sponsors, however, are more hopeful of its enactment due to President Barack Obama’s making school improvement projects one of his many priorities.
Filed under: Uncategorized
Filed under: Front Page News, Interfaith, May Volume I - 2009, National, Uncategorized
Last month, President Barack Obama announced additional members of the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, including Dalia Mogahed, the executive director for the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies in Washington, DC. The President’s advisory council is composed of religious and secular leaders and scholars from different backgrounds.
While Mrs Moghahed is the first American Muslim appointed to the task, it is expected that others will follow. The advisory council currently has 17 members.
“This is wonderful. The Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships represent a great deal of compassion, understanding and tolerance for the American people,” says Muhammad Ahmad, a Latin American Muslim and Sufi. “Hopefully this will open the door to understand Islam more here.” While Islam is the fastest growing religion in the West, the majority of Muslims in America are converts (and their descendents) of indigenous roots – mixed Native American and African American ancestry. Whereas according to Arab American historian Nabeel Abraham, the majority of Arabs in the United States are Christian.
Sources: The Development of Arab-American Identity (Univ. Mich. Press 1994), WhiteHouse.gov
(IP) –The US Defense Department recently announced disaster preparedness exercises that would trains 500 guardsmen in Puerto Rico. The announcement came just after the Pentagon announced a “new yearlong program [which] for the first time allows foreigners who are studying or working in the United States on a temporary visa to join [the military] if they meet certain requirements,” as reported by Bryan Bender of the Boston Globe. “There are already about 29,000 legal immigrants serving in the US military in return for expedited citizenship,” the Globe noted. The program has been designated by Defense Secretary Robert Gates to be “vital to the national interest,” and “is being managed by the Army, which is seeking to recruit up to 557 individuals with certain foreign language and cultural skills, and another 330 who are doctors, nurses, or other medical technicians,” the Globe reported.
Also of note to the region, Dominican Today reported the participation of 88 members of the naval forces of Dominican Republic, Panama, Honduras and Nicaragua in regional training excercises by the United States Southern Command, “at a time when drug trafficking and organized crime surge as Central America and the Caribbean’s main security threats.”
Filed under: February Volume I- 2009, Front Page News, National, Uncategorized | Tags: Lobby, Revolving Door
By Mubeen Khaleel
Islamic Post Staff Writer
One of the first executive orders signed by President Barack Obama commits every appointee in every executive agency appointed on or after January 20 to sign an ethics pledge disallowing them from receiving gifts from lobbyists or engaging in lobbying activities for two years after their employment. While the order stops unethical lobbying in its tracks this point forward, it does not pertain to government officials of former administrations from becoming lobbyists for corporate interests related to their former field of work.
The U.S. Senate defines lobbying as the practice of trying to persuade legislators to propose, pass, or defeat legislation or to change existing laws. A lobbyist may work for a group, organization, or industry, and presents information on legislative proposals to support his or her clients’ interests.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) recently published a report titled “Revolving Door” which details the lobbying opportunities that have been availed by 24 former cabinet members. Although the Obama Administration has stopped the rotation in its tracks from its inception, CREW reports on those who have already passed through the highly unethical process and perhaps still retain a good deal of power in Washington:
“After leaving their government positions, many of these top officials joined the ranks of the companies they once regulated where they are highly compensated. In several instances, they have helped their new employers obtain lucrative government grants and contracts.
“The report names the companies these former officials have joined and the private interests for which they have advocated. Perhaps more importantly, it also reveals the power they continue to wield within the halls of government.
“To compile this information CREW staff reviewed news articles, press releases, websites, lobbying disclosure forms, and other public records. While aiming to be exhaustive, because information is not always readily available, CREW may not have uncovered every position held by these former officials.
“Similarly, CREW relied on the Senate Open Public Records website for information on lobbying activities. Under the Lobbying Disclosure Act [of 1995], however, a number of threshold requirements must be met before registration is required. Therefore, it is possible that an organization or individual lobbied, but was not required to file a registration form and, accordingly, was not included here.”
The key findings of the CREW were as follows:
Seventeen former cabinet officials hold positions with a total of 119 companies.
Seventeen former officials hold positions with 65 companies that lobby the federal government.
Fifteen former officials hold positions with 40 companies that lobby those officials’ former agencies.
Nine former cabinet members hold positions with 15 companies that began or resumed lobbying the former officials’ agencies after those officials joined the companies.
The most prodigious corporate advisor appears to be former Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson, who has worked for 42 different companies since leaving the Bush administration.
Five former officials founded lobbying firms. Combined, these firms have represented at least 48 clients.
Ten former cabinet officials work with 39 different non-profit organizations.
President Obama has issued waivers to some lobbyists, notably to Bill Lynn, who was nominated as deputy defense secretary after having been listed as a lobbyist in the defense industry for the defense contractor, Raytheon Company. Testifying before a Senate panel in support of Mr. Lynn, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said stringent ethics rules are a major reason it is difficult to fill top posts at the Pentagon.
Capitol News reported the focus on Mr. Lynn is misplaced, according to John Hamre, president of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Hamre asserts Lynn registered as a lobbyist out of an abundance of caution, and while he did oversee Raytheon’s government affairs operations, “he didn’t roam the Capitol or the Pentagon,” according to Hamre., who himself held the position of deputy defense secretary between 1997 and 2000.
Critics like Senator John McCain, however, disagree with the waiver. “It’s a bit disingenuous to announce strict rules and then nominate someone with a waiver from the rules that you just announced,” he told Fox News. But Hamre feels Lynn’s experience is more important. What Mr. Bill Lynn did was work “with people like me in think tanks,” he said. “That’s not lobbying.”