Responding to Comments


As salaamu alaykum (Peace be with you and upon you),

Over the years I’ve received a number of questions from readers about studying in Damascus, and asking for suggestions, more information, and general advice.  Here are the reasons why, if you’ve asked a question in the comments, I most likely did not answer:

1. I feel that a blog gives a very skewed picture, or just a few snapshots of the reality of living in a place, and I have intentionally left many things unsaid about the day-to-day struggles of living in Syria as a foreigner and about being a student there.  To get a fuller and more comprehensive picture, one really must speak to someone in person about their experience, and get all the relevant information and details needed to make an informed decision about whether Syria is the right place for them.  I just don’t feel comfortable sometimes giving a yes/no, short response to some of the questions asked, without the person having that proper background and fuller picture in mind.

2. Each person is different and I think Syria is not the best place for everyone, so my recommendations about it would differ depending on the person asking, their background, way of thinking, and their understanding of Islam.  I remember very clearly meeting Western Muslims who were living in Syria solely because they could not get proper paperwork for ‘more Islamic’ countries.  Many seemed to have a sort of bitter attitude towards being there, and really overlooked many of the blessings and good in the place that they were in, which I don’t think is healthy.  Before going to Syria one really has to become familiar with the way Islam is taught there, and decide whether or not one is comfortable with learning and living in that environment. (Learning there does not mean one has to agree or absorb everything taught 100%, but that at the very least you are willing to humble and open yourself enough to be a student and learn and benefit from your time there). This preparation and information-gathering comes from, like I mentioned, talking to real people who have been there.

3. A big part of studying in Syria is through private teachers and shuyukh.  Obviously, these are not things that I can advertise on the web and it’s a matter of finding good connections who can help you find teachers to sit with and learn from.

4.  I have not been to Syria in more than three years now, so I really can’t answer questions about the current state of the schools there and the visa situation, etc.  From what I’ve heard, it’s a challenge these days for Westerners to enter the country as students, and many institutes which were open to foreigners in the past have officially closed their doors to accepting new foreign students.  Please note this and find out as much information as you can before going; I know people who actually traveled there and were unfortunately turned away when they tried to enroll in certain institutions.  From what I’ve read the government in Syria (which was never particularly friendly to students) has become even more stringent with the Islamic institutions there and the enrollment process. I am not trying to discourage anyone, but please be prepared.

In conclusion, please forgive me for not responding to the comments made in this vein over the years. I pray that you all find what you are seeking.

Since I no longer live in Syria (you can visit my recently built blog about Cairo, where I now live, here) this blog is officially closed, though I am leaving the material in tact for whoever may benefit, bi’ithnillah.

wasalaamu alaykum wa rahmatullah :)
damascus dreams

Published in: on May 12, 2010 at 7:19 pm  Comments (3)  

its all you

A while ago I attended a class at a masjid in which the sisters sat on a balcony overlooking the brothers’ area, and that has a microphone system set up so that everyone could hear.  A few minutes into the class a group of sisters came in with a number of children and starting having Quran lessons.  The noise they made effectively drowned out the voice of the shaykh, and I spent the majority of the class struggling to hear what I could from the lesson, and giving meaningful glances to the group to keep their voices down.

 

It was so frustrating to be there, ready to learn, with my book open, looking at the teacher and seeing him speak, knowing he was sharing beneficial knowledge with everyone, but not being able to access it because of the noise around me. 

 

It made me think about how often we must be in this same situation in terms of the spiritual realm… missed opportunities for knowledge, enlightenment, or remembrance due to inner static, distractions and noise… from sins, heedlessness, carelessness…  and we walk away from gatherings of knowledge wondering why we don’t feel any different.

 

I read an interesting phrase in my Mustalah book the other day, that knowledge is “fi butoon al kutub wa sudoor al ulema” (lit. in the stomachs of books and the chests of the scholars).  The last thing in this world I want to be is a book, just digesting information that I’m learning and storing it up like caloric intake, and without feeling.  I want it to be in my chest, my heart, pumping in my blood, felt like a human being.  But how can it be, if it’s drowned out by things that are already present there?

 

Ibn ‘Ataa’Illah said in his Hikam:

 

Rubamaa waradat ‘alayka al-anwaar

Fa wajadat il-qalbu mahshuwan bil-aathaar

Fartahalat min haythu nazalat

 

“Perhaps illuminations (ma’rifah…) passed by you and found your qalb (heart) filled, buried, occupied with vestiges of creation.  So it took off from whence it had come.”

 

Imam Shaf’ii said,

 

My knowledge is with me, and wherever I turn it follows me,

For my heart is its vessel, and not a ‘chest’ stored at home.

(Written June 2007)

 

Published in: on January 30, 2009 at 5:34 am  Comments (8)  

Sifat as-Safwa

 

Here are a few narrations from Sifat as-Safwa by Imam Ibn al-Jawzi, a book of short descriptions and stories of righteous men and women from the early generations of Muslims.

 

From the chapter on Notable Women Worshippers of Kufa:

 

Umm Hasaan al-Kufiyyah

 

Sufyan ath-Thawri and Ibn al-Mubarak and others used to visit her.

 

Abdullah ibn al-Mubarak related: Sufyan ath-Thawri mentioned a woman of Kufa who was called Umm Hasaan, a woman of great ijtihaad and worship.  So (we went to visit her) and entered her home, and we saw that there was nothing in it except a small worn-out mat.  Ath-Thawri said to her: “If you write a note to some of your relatives, they could help change your poor condition.” 

 

She said, “Sufyan, in my eyes you were better (than this) and in my heart you were greater before this moment.  I do not ask for things of this world from the One who controls it, owns it and rules over it, so how is it that I would ask those that have no control over it nor rule in it?  Sufyan, I swear by Allah, I dislike that a time comes upon me in which I am too busy for Allah, by being occupied with other than Him.”

 

Sufyan wept at these words.

 

Abdullah ibn al-Mubarak said: It has reached me that Sufyan married this woman.

 

(465)

 

Waki’ related from my father from Mansur from Ibrahim: (A worshipper named) Umm al-Aswad became crippled and lost the use of her legs.  A daughter of hers became concerned about her, but she said, “O Allah, if there is good in this, then increase it.”

 

(466)

 

 

From the chapter on Worshippers whose Names and Locations are Unknown:

 

Dhun Noon al-Misri related:  I was travelling through the desert of Bani Israeel when I came across a black slave woman, overwhelmed in rapture of love of the Most Merciful, her gaze fixed on the heavens above.

 

I said to her, “Peace be with you, my honorable sister.” 

 

She replied, “And peace be with you, Dhun Noon.”

 

I asked, “How do you know who I am?”

 

She replied, “Allah created the souls (of mankind) two thousand years before (their) bodies, and then made them circumambulate His Throne (in worship), and the ones who became acquainted there are (eternally) connected, while those who did not are (forever) divided.  My soul knew your soul when they roamed that realm together.”

 

I said, “I see that you are a woman of great wisdom.  Please, teach me something from what Allah has taught you.”

 

She said, “Abu Fayd, put upon your limbs a scale of justice (that will keep you from committing sin), until everything done for other than Allah leaves it, and your heart remains pure and free, with nothing remaining in it except the Lord (ar-Rabb), may He be Exalted.  After that, He will place you at His door, and He will befriend you anew, and will order that those who guard hidden treasures be in your obedience.”

 

I said, “My sister, increase me (with more knowledge).”

 

She said, “Abu Fayd, withhold from yourself for your own self’s sake, and obey Allah when you are alone, and He will respond to your prayers.”

 

(995)

 

Published in: on January 13, 2009 at 11:30 am  Comments (1)  

summertime and malaysian food

 

We’re sitting at a small plastic table next to a ‘restaurant’, which is actually a little too fancy a word for this tiny, glass enclosed square area with a counter out front, a small stove in the back and a huge picture of a shaykh on the wall, inside which a group of students somehow make delicious and ridiculously cheap Malaysian food.  It’s hidden away behind the women’s-only park a few steps down from Abu Nour, on the opposite, lesser-known side of some fast-food shwarma and fried chicken places. Its neighbors are a tire repair garage and another place that fixes engines. 

 

It’s a little before Maghrib time and there’s a sort of calmness that’s settling on the city as the sun cools down.  We’re sitting outside, the little restaurant behind us, facing a big generator and a fence that separates us from the park.  The table holds an antique looking silver pitcher sitting on a cylindrical container, which is an old fashioned means of washing your hands. We hear children playing.  A group of old men lounge on chairs a few steps down from us, their backs to the park, watching young men work on tire parts. 

 

An orange cat seats herself at a convenient location to watch us eat.  We drink water from plastic mugs, take in the green trees and a soft breeze and wait for our meal. The generator turns off and we hear quiet, the birds singing, and the murmur of the old men talking.

 

The food comes, beautifully displayed on simple blue dishes: rice with small pieces of chicken shaped into a perfect circle, with cucumber slices delicately placed on the side. Little potato filled samosas in another small plate, and another with squares of flaky, warm bread just made.  It’s homemade kind of food that instantly reminds me of my mom’s.  I look to the restaurant and see the Malaysian woman (‘auntie’) who’d cooked it, my mom’s age, wearing a long top and skirt printed with small flowers, a simple hijab with lacy edges… and her husband, a dignified older looking man, who could have been cast as a Malaysian shaykh, tidying things in the tiny kitchen.  Some younger brothers who study at Abu Nour also work there. I’ve seen them in the afternoons making bread sometimes, shaping the dough in what looked like an expert manner on a small marble counter, their Arabic books on the back shelf.

 

A cute Malaysian couple approaches from the same way we had come; he’s wearing one of those tall black caps and a goatee, and she has a big book bag on like she’d just come from school and is wearing a soft creamy colored hijab and niqab.  They’re holding hands.  They sit at another table, placed closer to the gate of the park and the generator, and drink some fresh juice.

 

I feel soothed by the calmness of this moment… relative quiet, baraka filled food, temperate weather, my husband giving the cat a wary eye as he eats.  It’s just a lovely summer day and the rush of the city, the worries and business of life and inner complexities seem somehow far removed.  Alhamdulillah for simple moments like these.

 

(Written June 2007)

Published in: on January 11, 2009 at 11:46 am  Comments (7)  

the beginning of the end

 

as salaamu alaykum wa rahmatullah

 

dear readers,

 

I’m not sure if there is anyone still out there (?) considering that I haven’t posted in ages… but for all my readers over the years I hope that you are well and I want to thank you for visiting this page and reading my writing.   I pray that you have benefited from it in some small way.

 

I’ve left Shaam and am presently living in another part of the Muslim world as my husband and I continue on this journey of life and – insha’Allah – on the path of seeking knowledge.  May Allah accept.  I’ve for the most part stopped writing or any type of creative expression for a little more than a year and I really feel the desire to begin again, but am unsure of the means I should use.  Another blog?  An unhealthy number of posts on themadina.com?  An attempt at publication?  What to do with the words falling out of my mind and onto the keyboard?  Any suggestions?  Do let me know :)

 

I’m going to post a few more pieces that I’ve written from my time in Damascus, insha’Allah.   I didn’t post these earlier for various reasons, but now that I’m drawing this blog to a close I’d like to share them with you and hope that they give you a more complete picture of my time there.  There are many more experiences that colored my stay in Shaam, including some that were difficult and hurtful, but I have for the most part tried to leave those experiences behind and those words unsaid.  There were also times of beauty and spiritual awakening that are beyond the words of this mediocre writer, not to be described but only felt with the heart and soul.

 

 

May Allah (swt) grant us tawfeeq and bless us with actions adorned with ikhlaas and ihsaan and free from the desire for other than Him.

 

Please forgive me for any offense I may have caused through anything I’ve said, and please ask Allah the Most High to forgive me too.

 

wasalaamu alaykum wa rahmatullah.

 

 

Published in: on January 10, 2009 at 10:43 am  Comments (5)  

A True Talib ul-‘Ilm [Student of Sacred Knowledge]

A story from the book “Safahaat min Sabr al-Ulama” [Glimpses of the Perseverance of the Scholars] by Sh. Abdul Fattah Abu Ghuddah:

…And here [we will mention] another account from among the most extraordinary of narratives, which occurred with an Andalusian scholar when he traveled from al-Andalus to the East. He traveled this great distance walking on his two legs [without the help of a horse or camel on which to ride] in order to meet with an imam from among the [great] imams and to acquire knowledge from him. When he arrived there he found that the imam had been put under house arrest and banned from teaching the people. In spite of this, by utilizing some secretive and artful means, the Andalusian scholar was able to learn from him… And history is replete with such strange and interesting occurrences…

….His name was Abu Abd ar-Rahman Baqiyy bin Makhlad Al-Andalusi al-Hafidh. He was born in the year 201 [after the Hijra] and passed away in the year 276, may Allah have mercy on him. He traveled to Baghdad by foot when he was about twenty years of age, and his deepest and most heart-felt desire was to meet with Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal and to study with him.

It is reported that he said:

“When I came close to Baghdad, the news reached me of the difficult trials that had encircled Ahmad bin Hanbal, and that meeting and communicating with him had been made prohibited. I was greatly grieved by this news. I lodged where I was, and the first thing I did after renting out a room for myself was go to the great masjid [of Baghdad]. I wanted to sit in the lessons there and hear what was being studied therein.

I came across a noble gathering for knowledge [at the masjid], in which a man was teaching about narrators of the hadith, elucidating upon the weaknesses of some narrators and the strength of others. I asked someone sitting next to me, ‘Who is that?’ and he replied, ‘That is Yahya bin Ma’een.’

I saw that a place had opened up [in the gathering] close to the teacher, so I moved to fill it and said to him, ‘Ya Aba Zakariyya, may Allah have mercy on you. [I am a] stranger [among you], whose home is in a far distant place. I have some questions, so do not disdain me.’ He said to me, ‘Speak.’ So I asked him about some of the narrators of ahadith I had met, and he praised some of them for their excellence, and warned about the weaknesses in others. I asked him a question about Hisham bin Ammar, and I had asked and gained a lot of knowledge from him [...] when the people of the gathering called out, ‘That’s enough for you, may Allah have mercy on you! Others have questions too!’

Finally, as I was standing up [to leave], I said, “Can you inform me about one other person: What about Ahmad bin Hanbal?”

Yahya ibn Ma’een looked at me astounded, and said, ‘Can such as us judge a person like Ahmad bin Hanbal! He is the Imam of the Muslims, the best among them and the most honorable of them.”

I left the masjid and asked to be directed to the home of Imam Ahmad. I knocked on his door, and he answered it. I said, “Ya Aba Abdillah, I am a stranger from a far distant place, and this is my first time entering upon this land. I am a student of hadith and one who is bound to the Sunnah. I made this journey only to meet you.”

He said, “Enter from the alleyway to the side, and let no eye fall upon you.”

He then said to me, “Where is your home?” I said, “The distant west.” He asked, “Africa?’ I said, “Further than that. I would have to travel across the sea to get from my home to Africa. It is al-Andalus.”

He said, “Your home is indeed a great distance from here. And there is nothing more beloved to me than to help someone like you attain what you are seeking, but for that I am being tried with this difficulty, which you may already be aware of…”

I replied, “Indeed the reached me as I was approaching the city and coming towards you… Ya Aba Abdillah, this is my first time in this land, and I am unknown to its people. If you allow me, I will come to you each day in the garb of a beggar, and I will speak the way that they speak, and you can come to the door. If you narrate to me only one hadith each day [in this way], it would suffice me.”

He agreed, on the condition that I did not attend the gatherings of knowledge and did not meet with the [local] scholars of hadith [so that I would remain unknown among the people].

So I would carry a walking stick in my hand and wrap an old rag around my head, and I would hide my papers and writing instruments in my sleeve, and I would go to his door and call out, “[Give in charity] for the reward of Allah, may Allah have mercy on you!” as the other beggars there used to do. He would come out and close the door behind him, and narrate to me two ahadith or three or sometimes more, until I had collected about three hundred ahadith in this way.

I remained constant in doing this until the ruler who was trying Imam Ahmad died, and in his place came someone who adhered to the madhab of the Sunnah. Imam Ahmad then returned to his teaching and his name became renowned, and he became honored and loved among the people. His rank was elevated, and many people flocked to him to study.

He would always remember my perseverance in seeking to learn from him. When I would attend his lessons he would make room for me to sit close to him, and he would say to the other students, ‘This is someone who has earned the title of Talib ul-‘Ilm!’ and he would tell them my story. He would narrate hadith to me, and I would recite them to him.

One day I became ill, and I was absent from his classes for some time. He asked [the other students] about me and when he heard that I was ill he rose immediately to visit me, and the students followed. I was laying down in the room which I rented, a [cheap] woolen blanket beneath me, a thin cloth covering me, my books near my head [so that I could study laying down].

The lodging literally shook with the sound of many people [entering], and I heard them say ‘That’s him over there…’ [...] The lodge-keeper rushed to me, saying ‘Ya Abd ar-Rahman, Abu Abdullah Ahmad bin Hanbal, Imam of the Muslims, has come to visit you!’

The Imam entered my room and sat at my bedside, and the lodging filled up with his students. It wasn’t large enough to fit all of them and a group of them had to remain standing, all of them with pens in hand. Imam Ahmad said to me, “Ya Abd ar-Rahman, have glad tidings of reward from Allah. In days of health we often fail to reflect upon illness, and in days of illness we don’t remember our health. I ask that Allah raise you to good health and wellbeing, and may He touch you with His right hand in healing.” And I saw every pen in the room moving to write down his words.

He left. The workers of my lodge were very kind to me after that, and were constantly in my service, one of them bringing me a mat to lay on, another bringing a good blanket and wholesome food for me to eat. They treated me better than family because such a righteous person came to visit me…”

He passed away in the year 276 [after Hijra] in al-Andalus. May Allah have mercy on him.

[...] His student Abu Abdul Malik Ahmad bin Muhammad al-Qurtubi said of him: ‘Baqiyy bin Makhlad was tall, strong, and had tough endurance in walking. I never saw him on a ride, ever. He was humble and unpretentious, and would always attend the funeral prayer.’

How excellent was his patience and his passion for sacred knowledge, and how beautiful his struggle to attain and collect it!

Published in: on November 25, 2007 at 4:29 pm  Comments (14)  

Ramadan Mubarak

as salaamu alaykum wa rahmatullah,

A Persian poet relates the story of a young man who was devoted to worship and who sincerely loved the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wa salam). This young man wished to see the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wa salam) in his dreams. But, night after night, even though he prayed and hoped for it, he was not blessed with this vision. He decided to visit a wise shaykh he had heard mention of who lived on the far reaches of town and seek his advice.

He made his way to his home one evening, and the shaykh invited him in for discussion and tea. After explaining his situation to him, the shaykh nodded sagely and said, “Be my guest for tonight, and tomorrow morning I will give you some advice.”

That night, the shaykh served the young man dinner. Everything in the simple meal was covered with salt or was dry. Salty fish, dry, hard bread… and not a drop to drink. The young man craved water, but was offered none. His parched throat made him yearn to ask the shaykh for something to drink, but his manners kept him quiet. He ate the food without complaint, his thirst increasing with each bite.

After the Isha prayers the shaykh unfolded a mat, offered it to the young man for his night’s rest, and bade him good night.

That night, the young man dreamed of nothing but water. Cascading fountains, gushing rivers and streams, oceans full of pure, delicious, thirst-quenching water. He dreamed of it until he felt he was swimming in it, drinking huge gulps, until it filled his every pore. He woke before daybreak, one word croaking from his lips: ‘Water….’

The next morning the shaykh asked him if he rested well. The young man then told him about his thirst and his dreams.

The shaykh smiled. He said, “When you begin to have thirst and desire for the Prophet, salAllahu alayhi wa salam, the way you had thirst for water last night, then you will be blessed with his vision.”

I pray to Allah (swt) that in this blessed month our minds and hearts are filled with thirst and desire for closeness to Him, for softer and purer hearts, for nufus that are effaced in love for Him and His obedience… and that being sincere and true, these desires are quenched and achieved.

Ramadan means wide open doors of forgiveness, mercy, opportunity, Paradise…. I pray to Allah (swt) that we are of the people that walk through them.

In another text the Prophet salAllahu alayhi wa salam is reported to have said, ‘Every day in the month of Ramadan an angel calls out: O seeker of good, step forward, come forward with ease, and receive the glad tidings of this month!’

My advice to you all and to myself: Ramadan is what you make of it… Be of the people that step up and step forward, that seek out goodness and spiritual betterment and the blessedness of these days… don’t let this opportunity slip away.

May Allah grant you a happy, blessed and beautiful Ramadan.

Sincerely and with love,

please pray for me and my family.

your sister.

Published in: on September 15, 2007 at 6:11 pm  Comments (6)  

ties that bind

I know of a bond that connects soul to soul, in a way much deeper than familiarity or blood.

Forged by Divine decree. Duly registered as apportioned Rizq.

The Teacher and the Student meet somewhere before time, and they are eternally connected.

A teacher of religion opens whole worlds to his pupil: the secrets of this life, the spiritual realm, the Divine and the self. Perfection and imperfection.

He is visionary, he is powerful. He is the guide, and you are the lost traveler.

If he is true, he will lead you to Paradise, step by careful step.

‘Empty your cup.’

Come blank, empty, open, so that you can receive.

You must take humility as your cloak.

But what of ties that strangle?

You believe that if you submit to him and his Way, you are guided.

You will no longer be lost.

The path to Allah is clear.  It is at his feet.

He will take you by the hand to safe shores.

His love for you is overwhelming. So he will shape you, mind and soul, and purge you of your evils.

Soul, did you not think, when you laid your whole being in his gentle hands: What if he missteps?

Is he not formed by his experiences, by the ties that bind him?

This deen is wide. Why do you narrow it?

You must craft your cup from the firm clay of knowledge, and bake it to solidity in the heat of courage, deep thinking, and dependence on Allah alone.

And engrave on its side, in a delicate script, the following words:

Beauty lies in intelligent, mindful devotion.

Every love has an adab.

Even dervishes must have ijaaza before they spin.

I am no feather in the wind, nor an unmoulded being.

I am an empty cup, with a solid base and a structured rim,

Firm against passion. Shaped for sacred words.

I fill with good, whatever its source, and pour out wrong.

Sidi Ahmed Zarruq (of the 9th century Hijri) said: There are no more perfect teachers. We benefit from the good in people, and we leave the rest.

Published in: on July 11, 2007 at 9:31 pm  Comments (5)  

Al-Qahira (Cairo) in Pictures

masjid-sultan-hassan.jpg

Lamps at Masjid Sultan Hassan

The masjid is more than six hundred and fifty years old, and once housed a hospital and a school.

I love the low hanging lamps on loooooong cords… they draw your eyes heavenwards.

 

sh-ali-jummah.jpg

Sh. Ali Jumaa

The Grand Mufti of Egypt Sh. Ali Jumaa (or Gumaa, if you’re Egyptian :)) giving a talk on Tafseer at Masjid Sultan Hassan.

 

window-at-masjid-ar-rifai.jpg

Sunlight through a Crafted Window

at the adjacent masjid, Masjid ar-Rifa’i.

 

shop-at-khan-al-khalili-souq.jpg

A shop in the Khan al-Khalili Souq

 

masjid-muhammad-ali.jpg

Masjid in Ottoman design built by Muhammad Ali, a former ruler of Egypt.

 

girls-at-the-masjid-of-muhammad-ali.jpg

Inside the masjid of Muhammad Ali.

A group of school-girls on a field trip listen to their teacher underneath the enormous chandelier.

 

salah-in-an-ancient-masjid.jpg

Prayer in an ancient masjid.

 

al-azhar-park.jpg

Al-Azhar Park

A cute couple take a walk through the gorgeous park.

That’s Masjid Muhammad Ali in the distance.

 

 masjid-al-azhar.jpg

The courtyard of the ancient Masjid al-Azhar.

There were hundreds of students sitting inside and reclining on its exterior walls, studying or memorizing Quran.

 

the-old-city.jpg

Outside the Maqam of Imam Shafa’ii, rahimahullah.

I love this picture because it shows a lot of the elements that make up the traditional lifestyle of cities like Cairo and Damascus: Fresh fruit sold on street corners, single-storey buildings and homes, cafes with tables and chairs right on the sidewalk, where old men drink coffee. The little girl in the blue jalabiyya is getting water from a type of fountain that’s common on many streets in ancient Muslim cities. For centuries it was a Muslim tradition for the wealthy to make awqaaf (endowments) of water fountains or spouts on the street, so that fresh, clean water could be made available for any thirsty passersby, as a type of continual charity.

 

 the-pyramids.jpg

The Pyramids.

A conversation I had in Cairo:

Me: You know Damascus is the oldest city in the world…

A Sis living in Cairo: Really? I think it has got to be Cairo… we have the Pyramids! The age of the Pharoahs!

Me: Well there’s a mountain in Damascus called Qasiyoun… and they say that on this mountain Cain killed Abel…

Sis: ………… Okay, you guys win.

hehe :)

Published in: on July 7, 2007 at 10:43 pm  Comments (14)  

some nice articles

as salaamu alaykum,

In the last few days I’ve had the opportunity to surf the net and read a number of Muslim blogs in a more thorough way than I’ve ever done before. There must be a million blogs out there, and after some time online, surfing from one to the next, reading here and there, I just felt tired and overwhelmed, like you do when you’ve spent too long in the mall jostled by too many people. It’s just an ocean of voices, ideas, experiences…

They seem to be an overwhelming mixture of many things, including what seems to be simple cathartic venting and opinionated ranting on various issues. My concern when reading these things are two fold; one, the development of a sort of intense self-focus that veils a person from seeing their life and their opinions in a wider context, which would help them put things in perspective; and secondly, the trend towards everyone in our community being content with their own reading and understanding of Islam, even if that understanding is formed without any reference point or basis in knowledge.

Alhamdulillah, however in the mix I also found some excellent creative writing, thoughtful reflection, insightful commentary and sharing of knowledge.

Here are some nice things I’ve read recently:

Imam Suhaib Webb’s answer to the heat wave :)

A beautiful response to the question, “How do I improve my Quranic recitation?” by Sidi Faraz Rabbani.

Some good (and funny) tips on learning Arabic on the Islamic Law Etc. Blog.

 — A thought provoking piece on knowledge.  (It gives a new shade of meaning to the Prophet’s (salAllahu alayhi wa salam) duaa, Allahumma innee a’udhubika min ‘ilmin la yanfa’ “O Allah, I seek refuge in You from knowledge that does not benefit.)

happy reading :)

wasalaamu alaykum wa rahmatullah.

Published in: on June 12, 2007 at 3:38 am  Leave a Comment  
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