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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

“And We have not sent you, [O Muhammad], except as a mercy to the worlds”. (Quran 21:107)

Once in 2003 i guess, i was visiting My uncle in Gujrat. We went out in night to get some bread for dinner and i noticed that the city was beautifully decorated with lights on all the buildings, with special heavy decoration on the mosques, there were temporary fountains set through out the city roads, It looked like a festival with colorful flags, Fireworks and Religious songs being played on a loud volume. There right next to a fountain, i noticed two men (dressed in white shalwar kameez and with green trubans) hugged and greeted each other "eid mubarak". I have lived all my life in Saudi Arabia and here i have never once seen any one celeberating any Eid other than two Eids advised in Islam, so i was surprised and asked my uncle which eid are they talking about.My uncle asked me with surprise dont you know Eid Milad, offcourse i knew. The surprising part for me was the way they were celeberating it, Never once i have seen any one celeberate this particular Eid in Saudi Arabia. Eid Milad-un-Nabi, celeberates the birth of our beloved Prophet Mohammad (P.B.U.H). First of all let me clear that this post is not about whether we should celeberate this eid or not. There is a majority of Muslim scholars who believe that it should be celeberated and there is enough material available on the validty of this Event. I just want to focus and shed light on how this event should be celeberated, if one wants to celeberate it.

I will talk about Pakistan in particular, a country with food crisis, energy crisis, water crisis, education crisis , you just name a crisis and we just have it.Yet every year i see alot of money wasted, which could have been used in so many productive ways . As Quran says that the birth of Our Prophet(P.B.U.H) is an act of mercy to the worlds, so why don't we make this as our theme for Eid celeberations. Instead of spending millions on useless lights, elaborate decorations and fireworks, we can buy food, education, welfare for those muslims who cannot afford all these basic needs for themselves and set an example for the world. Every religious scholar focus too much on having a beard and wearing pants/shalwar above the anckles just to differ from the rest of the world as muslim. Now tell me Can you differ between a man celeberating Diwali and Eid Milad below.

If we want to differ from non muslims , only appearance is not enough, we need to differ in our day to day tasks also. For example to celeberate we can have free food stalls in every mosque instead of wasting money on useless fireworks and provide free food for all,atleast for one day in the name of Eid Milad-un-Nabi. All the religious scholars either focus on celeberating this event or put all their energies in opposing it but no one focus on the money which is spent and how its spent on this event. We want to set an example for the world and i am pretty sure we cannot do that with extra ordinary fireworks and lavish arrangements.All over the world the birth of Christ, Buddha, Ram, Guru Nank and e.t.c is celeberated in the same manner. It is my request to Muslims every where who believe in celeberating Eid Milad, please think about the small kid in the picture(above,left ) before you waste any money on fireworks, lights e.t.c. To see how others are affecting positively on us check out the so called satanic NGOs food, education and welfare programs. For example, CIDA food program,to learn more about CIDA food program visit the link:http://www.acdi-cida.gc.ca/acdi-cida/acdi-cida.nsf/eng/REN-218132627-PN6

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

"Mercy, O Prophet of Allah. We expect nothing but good from you."

Conquest of Makkah:
Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) turning to the people of Makkah said:
"O Quraish, what do you think of the treatment that I should accord you?"
And they said, "Mercy, O Prophet of Allah. We expect nothing but good from you."
There upon Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) declared: "I speak to you in the same words as Joseph spoke to his brothers. This day there is no reproof against you; Go your way, for you are free."

Conquest of Jerusalem:
Despite the Crusaders' slaughter when they originally conquered Jerusalem in 1099, Saladin granted amnesty and free passage to all common Catholics and even to the defeated Christian army, as long as they were able to pay the aforementioned ransom (the Greek Orthodox Christians were treated even better, because they often opposed the western Crusaders).

I found this image on google while searching for images of muslims around the world. With this kind of image, i dont think any one will ever come near Islam. All the Islamic leaders and religious scholars should atleast denounce the ways of Taliban to atleast undo the damage they have caused to Muslim Image. I think Talibans and their Allies should also read Islamic Wars at least ones.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Close your mouth while eating to avoid unnecessary noises

There were times when others would just convert to Islam only by spending an evening that may or may not involve hardcore preaching.

When i was young PTV was the only television channel available in pakistan. I remember one scene (from a drama about british rule in India,) where british army officer is having dinner and his servant is standing next to him observing the way that british officer is eating , the servant gets so impressed by the manners that when he gets home he tries to teach his children all the manners. Conclusion: the servant is so impressed by the manners that now he wants his children to be like him. That is the power of table manners

There are few experiences that just got printed on my mind. I will share one that i feel is appropriate for my blog. Once we went to an Ameen function, Ameen is an event held when a kid completes his/her first complete reading of the quran or learns it by heart. And usually the chief guest in such events is the Quran teacher of that kid and if the kid goes to a religious school than all the teachers or selected few are also invited.
The one i am talking about had a buffet dinner at the end. I remember seeing one of the teachers from the religious school eating. He was a fat man with thick untrimed or even combed beard, he was wearing traditional saudi dress "thub". He first filled his plate with too much food, there was rice and then three different kind of gravy, with some cooked vegetables and on top of that he added a quarter barbecued chicken and than some more gravy and enough bread in his hand. Than he remove gutra from his head(you can google saudi traditional attire) put it on the table. Folded his sleeves up to elbow, He recited "Bismillah"(a dua to begin any thing) than started to eat his food with his hand, at times he was using both of his hands. He was chewing with his mouth open and the thing that just got printed on my mind how annoying his loud chewing sound was. When he was done eating , it was mess. there was some rice on his beard and on the table around his plate. He threw bones just like that on the table and believe me there were a lot of bones. He ate with an enormous speed and loud noise. Than after that he went for desert and mixed all the three different kinds of available in deserts in one plate and that he ate with a spoon. After that he cleaned his hand with his "Gutra". And then he closed his eating ceremony with a loud Burp and Saying "AlhamduLilah". and than he said small prayer and he was done.

This is definitely not a way a Muslim eats, the guy i mentioned ate like an animal only difference was he knew all the prayers a Muslim should know. For me if i want to impress a person i will invite him for dinner and show my best table manners and believe me good manners always leave an impact, i personally believe a person with good manners is always praised and respected more.

I am not gonna go in details regarding the table manners in Islam but if wish to read more about table manners in Islam read here: http://aabab01.multiply.com/reviews/item/124

I have realized after seeing him eat that in his mind he has three categories of table manners because i am sure he must be aware of all manners but chose to follow only few.

  1. First set of manners were prayer and duas one has to recite before after or during eating.
  2. Second set of manners were the things that distinguish him from non Muslims eating habits or in today world western standards, like using a spoon and eating with left hand when using knife, as he ate with fingers of his right hand.
  3. Third set of manners which neither involve prayers nor any contradiction with the western standards , like eating with mouth closed, eating slowly, eating in small proportions many times rather than big proportion in one go
That guy only followed the first 2 set of manners because those two in a way serve a purpose but completely ignored the 3rd set which is equally important , with equally important purpose.
The purpose is to portray that we are not animals but a civilized nation. In order to attract people toward Islam, we need to show the right picture of a muslim, and these minor details add a lot to the image. There is no wonder in early times Islam spread with the speed of light through out the world and now a days with all of our special communication technology and easy access to people around the world we are unable to do so.For sure i dont want any kid to learn any thing for him or even stay in his company, If i am being a Muslim thinks so than others may too.

“One of the worst people is a double-faced man, who come to one group with one face and to another group with a totally different face.”

Aren't we as a muslim nation , act like hypocrites these days. Before stating why i reached to this conclusion let me just tell you a story to better understand the kind of hypocricy we are dealing with.
There once was a boy who loved eating sweets. He always asked for sweets from his father. His father was a poor man. He could not always afford sweets for his son. But the little boy did not understand this, and demanded sweets all the time.
The boy's father thought hard about how to stop the child asking for so many sweets. There was a very holy man living nearby at that time. The boy's father had an idea. He decided to take the boy to the great man who might be able to persuade the child to stop asking for sweets all the time.
The boy and his father went along to the great man. The father said to him, "O great saint, could you ask my son to stop asking for sweets which I cannot afford?" The great man was in difficulty, because he liked sweets himself. How could he ask the boy to give up asking for sweets? The holy man told the father to bring his son back after one month.
During that month, the holy man gave up eating sweets, and when the boy and his father returned after a month, the holy man said to the boy "My dear child, will you stop asking for sweets which your father cannot afford to give you?"
From then on, the boy stopped asking for sweets.
The boy's father asked the saint, "Why did you not ask my son to give up asking for sweets when we came to you a month ago?" The saint replied, "How could I ask a boy to give up sweets when I loved sweets myself. In the last month I gave up eating sweets."
A person's example is much more powerful than just his words. When we ask someone to do something, we must do it ourselves also. We should not ask others to do what we do not do or believe ourselves. Always make sure that your actions and your words are same.
Now coming back to the Muslim world.

We protest when there is a ban on Hijab in europe, we protest when Swiss government bans new minarets to be built, we protest for religious freedom for muslims in America But why dont we protest when Non-Muslims are forced to wear hijab and Abaya(Muslim veil) in Saudi Arabia? why dont we protest when Saudi Arabia doesnot allow any Non-Muslim worship site to be built? (The prohibition is only in Hijaz province from islamic point of view not in whole Saudi Arabia) why dont we protest when Shia Muslims are not allowed to pray in their local mosques in Saudi Arabia? Why the muslim world stay silent on honor killings through out the muslim world?Why there is no government protests held when a 12 year old girl is married to a 80 year old man? the list just goes on and on.
I had a small discussion on this issue on facebook earlier and some friends of mine said that we protest only because its required by all muslims to stop some one from doing wrong deed by hand if not possible than atleast acknowledge that its wrong. Ok if this is the case than why dont we acknowledge all the problems that we have with in our society. I just simply dont get it, why we have double standards. We need to correct our selves first and than go asking others to correct their ways.

To read more about Religious freedom in Islam: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of_religion#Islam

Sunday, July 11, 2010

An Arab has no superiority over Non-Arab

40 years , Yes 40 years my uncle spent in Saudi Arabia and he is still a non saudi a foreign slave working for money whereas my cousin in just 15 years calls him self an American with an american passport and doesnot like to associate him self with Pakistan which is his origin or Saudi Arabia a place where he spent first 14 years of his life. What so good about America and bad about Saudi Arabia? If you look at it from Islamic point of view All Muslims are brothers and technically a muslim should be abe to associate him/her self 100% more to Saudi Arabia than any where else.

"All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good action."

This is what our Prophet(P.B.U.H) said. But what Saudis believe is a little different. White ppl are the most superior and even more superior if they have american passport, then comes the Arab because they know the same language and then comes the Philipinos, Indonesians,Indian, Pakistani and Bangla deshis. For a same job If American and European is getting 12000SR/Month , a Saudi or an Arab will get 9000SR/Month and the rest third grade people like Philipinos, Indonesians,Indian, Pakistani will get 3000sr/Month and if its bangladeshi than 1000 may be enough and Africans they dont deserve a salary or may be job. Obviously there are exceptionally good Saudis too but the truth is that the descrimination is at its peak in Saudi Arabia and yet this is the country that symbolizes Islamic Society and suppose to be center for muslims from across the world fails to implement a simple rule that our Prophet(P.B.U.H) emphasizes in his last Hajj. Saudis have some qualities like 90 percent of Saudis pray five times a day and one can simply trust them blindly when it comes to trading, but the descrimination that they have in them doesnot allow any one other than Saudi to call it home.On the other hand all the western and european countries have equal rights for everyone in their country and by simply integerating one simple rule of Islam, they have managed to keep all the brilliant minds of the world with in their society and its no wonder they are the super powers today.
The very first line in the Declaration of Independance of America is :
"We held these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal"

May the curse of Allah be upon the one who pays a bribe and the one who takes it

Todays standards of a complete Man includes owing a car, to drive a car one needs a license. So when i came to Jeddah in November 2007, among the first things i required was a license. The procedure to get a license in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia is very simple, there are private driving schools authorized by government to conduct driving test and if some body fails its required by the person to take driving lessons from the same school.
So in November 2007 after getting all documents ready, getting my permission from my sponsor and clearing the physical, I gave the driving test. The examiner(who was from Saudi Police) gave me rating 'D'(after i just perfectly drove on a straight road for 2 minutes only) which meant i need to take lessons for two weeks, but when i applied for admission the schedule i was given was after three months (too many Failures and good opportunity for money making), any way i couldnt do anything so i waited got my classes in April and unfortunately failed again got more classes after a delay of 2 months and than more bad luck failed again and repeated the same procedure. To cut short i failed twice, took total 4 weeks of classes and paid around 1200 SR to driving school. But in the end i had my license which felt like an achievement, my family celeberated like i just graduated again. The only problem in the whole process was it took almost 1 year for me to get the license, i applied in Nov 2007 and got my license in Oct 2008.
Everyone just cannot afford to wait 1 year only to get license like me , so there are other ways fast and expansive to get your self a legal license, thanks to the co ordination between Bengali cleaning staff and Saudi Police authorities taking test.
The procedure is you pay some amount to Bengali guy and he will make sure that the examiner will pass you regardless of your performance.
to pass the computer test, fees is 1000 SR.
to pass the driving test, fees is 1000 SR
and if you wanna pass both then the fees is 1500 SR.
well it was around what i paid in 1 year of classes and tests.

Any way this is not my problem, well in fact this is a big problem, but what disturbs me is when people use this illegal channel of bribe and even suggests others to do the same.
I have this guy working in Accounts department at work, He prays 5 times a day, in his car instead of songs he has Quran cassette playing and i have seen him reciting darood shareef and reading quran in his free time at office, all in all he is a very religious guy, one day he came to me and asked me how much did i pay during my driving lessons. I told him the figure, he laughed and said we paid only 1000 and his brother got license in 1 month, my instant reply was"but mine was through a legal channel and didn't involve any kind of bribe"
and Now it reminds me of his bribery act whenever he comes and asks me to go and pray. The problem is not the existence of these people with authority who accept bribes and make things easy, but the problem is when people claiming to be good Muslims use these people and help this system survives and on top of that does not even acknowledge it to be wrong. Praying five times a day is the basic requirement but to be a good Muslim we need to work on these minor details. And each Muslim should work on these smaller basic day to day things other wise the situation will stay the same and who knows in time of judgment saving some time in getting license may get you a little closer to the fire.