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Archive for November, 2010

Here Is What It Means to Be Working for Allah
[Quote – 217]

Nov 28, 2010 | Section: Articles | 510 reads

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“Working for Allah is what you do for living – meaning, that is what you do as the overriding purpose and preoccupation of your life.

All else – your job, career, education, family, friends, everything – is part of the support network you need to be able to do Allah’s work.

What is Allah’s work? Let me try and explain, even though it is by no means an easy undertaking.

Or, maybe, on the other hand, it is the simplest and easiest thing to do. So here goes:

Working for Allah is living and dying for Allah, as the Qur’an quotes Prophet Abraham (May God Bless Him!) as saying.

Working for Allah is living every moment as if you see Allah and he sees you, as Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, said.

Working for Allah is helping and serving all of God’s creation everywhere and in every form.

Working for Allah is living and working in this world as if this life will last forever.

Working for Allah is preparing to leave this world as if it will happen tomorrow.

Working for Allah is doing all that Allah requires of you as if this were your last day on earth.

Working for Allah is honoring your parents; it is showing kindness, respect and affection to your spouse; and it is loving and providing the best for your children.

Working for Allah is loving your neighbor like yourself; and it is treating others how you would want them to treat you.

Working for Allah is offering a blessing and a greeting of peace and joy to everyone: those you know as well as those you don’t know.

Allah’s work is helping friends; forgiving enemies; and showing compassion to the afflicted and the needy, regardless of who or what they are.

Working for Allah is being generous almost to a fault; it is giving even when you have nothing much to give.

Working for Allah is feeding others when you go hungry yourself.

Allah’s work is educating the world and inviting people to God.

Working for Allah is ensuring peace, security, justice and stability around the world.

And it is fighting tyranny, injustice, cruelty and oppression against anyone anywhere.

And it is working tirelessly to make sure that God’s world is better tomorrow for everyone of God’s creation than it is today – and that means every Jew, Christian, Hindu and Muslim on the one hand and every bird, beast, fish and plant on the other hand.

It is for this that God created us: to work for him; to work for his world.

And it is to invite us all to do this – to work for him; to work for his world – that he sent his noble prophets, may Allah Bless Them All, into this world.

To paraphrase what God All-Mighty says in the Qur’an: “I created human beings so they would serve me.”

How can anyone – Muslim or non-Muslim – say no to something like this?

And how can anyone go wrong with a life full of commitment to something like this?

And anyone with any sense, if they won’t work for Allah, who will they work for?” (Dr. Pasha)

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Added: Nov 28, 2010 | Read Full »

Working for Allah Is Not Part-Time Work
[Quote – 216]

Nov 28, 2010 | Section: Articles | 348 reads

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“Working for Allah is not part-time work.

Nor should it be way down on your To-Do List.

In fact, all your other work, if there is such a thing, derives its legitimacy, and its blessings from God, from how committed you are to do Allah’s work and how seriously you take that commitment and try to fulfil it.” (Dr. Pasha)

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Added: Nov 28, 2010 | Read Full »

True Dimensions of Muslim Identity [Quote – 215]

Nov 28, 2010 | Section: Articles | 366 reads

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“Time was when most Muslims used to worry about their Islamic Identity.

Islam, interpreted in a very broad, inclusive and proactive sense, defined who the Muslims were; what they did; and what some of their fundamental orientations and priorities in life were.

Muslims were by and large grateful, happy and proud that God’s mercy had rescued them from their mindless enslavement to narrow and often pagan tribal, ethnic, regional, linguistic, nationalistic and materialistic identities of the past – what the Qur’an calls “Jaahiliyyah” – and given them instead an overarching new identity of global and timeless dimensions of the kind that no one can imagine and nothing can rival, and called it “Muslim.

It was he, God said in the Qur’an, who gave you, the Muslims, the new identity of “Muslimeen.” 

Huwa sammaakumul Muslimeen, is how the Qur’an phrased this fact.

Paraphrase: “It was he who gave you the name Muslims.”

And that glorious and comprehensive new identity, and a faithful and robust adherence to its implications and responsibilities on the part of Muslims for generations, took the Muslims – and the world – from one success, achievement, glory and joyous experience to another.

And it served them well for one glorious century after another for a very long period of time.

But Muslims, being human, began to get weary and confused about their divinely conferred identity of “Muslim.” And they started craving a new outlook on life.

They began to secretly covet some of the excitement and fun that other people around them, many of them non-Muslims, seem to be having.

“Why can’t we be like all these other people,” they asked themselves, “because they seem to be having so much fun?”

And they began to act a little bit like the Jews had acted with Moses, may God bless him, after he had rescued them from captivity in Egypt.

The Jews had remained more or less devoted to the worship of one God even during slavery in Egypt.

But freshly saved from bondage by Musa, Alaihis Salaam, and free to roam the earth without fear of persecution, they saw how the pagan communities around them worshipped all kinds of idols.

And the Jews then said to Moses, God bless him: “Moses, can you make some gods for us to worship, as these other people have their own idols to worship?”

And then God’s punishment overtook them.

So, the Muslims too walked down the same path of stark idolatry and Shirk and Kufr that Jews did after their miraculous escape from the tyrannical clutches of the Pharaoh. 

Buffeted by winds of rapid change around them, demoralized by repeated military and political setbacks, and yet, paradoxically, overtaken and dazzled by the instantaneous flooding of their coffers with incalculable new wealth, many of them started looking for ways to replace or graft their divine “Muslim” identity with all kinds of other Arab and non-Arab identities.

While some Muslims did all this fairly crudely and blatantly, some others did it with a great deal of subtlety and sophistication.

But by and large, the farther and faster the Muslims wandered off from their God-given identity of “Muslim” – and from their commitment to human equality and universal peace and justice inherent in their Muslim character and tradition – and re-embraced old Pagan (Jaahiliyy) values and identities based on the blind worship of race, ethnicity, language, tribe and territory, and the parochialisms and fanaticisms associated with them, from which God had miraculously rescued them, the more decidedly did God Almighty pry away from their dying hands the sceptre of leadership that he had given them and condemned and cursed many of them to a life of humiliation, shame, dishonour and helplessness.

Everyone could see it except the misguided Muslims themselves.

The Qur’an summarizes this state of Fall from Grace in two words: Dhillah and Maskanah – humiliation and lowliness.

As time went by, every passing day brought evermore flagrant new evidence of Muslims in different parts of the world trying to break away from the identity of “Muslim” that Islam conferred upon them and seeking refuge, glory and honour – ‘Izzat, as the Qur’an calls it – in the same old Pagan ways, culture, connections and identity of race, territory and tribe from which God had so miraculously set them free 1400 years ago.

And the Qur’an clearly warns – And how sad and terrible and hopeless that warning sounds! – that there is only one source for all glory and honor and that is God All-mighty.

Listen to the following words of the Qur’an and see how clear and conclusive they are: A-yabtaghoona ‘indahumul ‘izzat?

Paraphrase: “Is that where they expect to find honor and name and fame and dignity for themselves?”

And then the Qur’an answers its own question in the following words: Fa-innal ‘izzata lillahi jamee-‘aa.

Paraphrase: “Surely, all honor and glory belongs to Allah and it is from him that it is all derived.”

Elsewhere in the Qur’an Allah All-Mighty states the same truth in the form of a general principle: Man kaana yureedul ‘izzata, fa-innal ‘izzata lillahi jamee-‘aa.

Paraphrase: “Whoever is looking for honor and glory, they should know that Allah is the only source of all name, fame, honor and glory.”

Will all Muslims, punch-drunk on their new bedazzlement with sundry Arab and non-Arab Identities, wake up while there may still be some time left on the divine chronometer and reclaim their true “Muslim” and Islamic Identity so that they may still be saved from the most terrible and irreversible wrath of their God, which is sure to come if they continue on their dubious paths of self-delusion and self-destruction?” (Dr. Pasha)

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Added: Nov 28, 2010 | Read Full »

Working for Allah Is the Best Way to Cope with Life’s Challenges
[Quote – 214]

Nov 28, 2010 | Section: Articles | 329 reads

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“The world is full of problems – some small, some big; some comparatively easy to solve and some that defy solution.

One solution to many of the problems we face – and certainly one way of coping with life and its challenges in general – is to move forward with the work of Allah that we have chosen to do, and that has been given to us, which includes:

  • Our production and distribution of literature;
  • Our meetings and Dhikr sessions;
  • Our service activities;
  • Our aid and humanitarian projects;
  • Our time with the Qur’an;
  • Our outreach efforts;
  • Our activities to invite people to Allah;

And everything else that we do of that nature.” (Dr. Pasha) 

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Added: Nov 28, 2010 | Read Full »

Seize the Moment, and Move with Allah’s Light, Your Wonders to Perform
[Quote – 213]

Nov 28, 2010 | Section: Articles | 318 reads

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“Every moment in your life is a wonder. And every breath you take is a miracle from God.

And your heart is constantly changing and vibrating with the power and majesty of Allah to reflect his will in and through you.

And the light of Allah, while eternal and constant, strikes the prism of human hearts differently at different times.

We need to hold on to the moments of light and clarity Allah brings us, and move forward along the paths illumined for us, and not allow ourselves to stagnate or regress.” (Dr. Pasha)

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Added: Nov 28, 2010 | Read Full »

Those Who Look for Truth Hard Enough Shall Find It
[Quote – 212]

Nov 27, 2010 | Section: Articles | 401 reads

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“Those who look for God shall find him.

Provided they look for him hard enough and well enough and seriously enough.

And those that seek the truth in this world shall find it.

For, that is God’s way in his world.

Provided:

  • They are sincere;
  • Have a measure of humility;
  • Are truly committed to their goal;
  • And remain steadfast and persistent in their search.

If they are all that, truth then shall come to them in God’s own good time, place and scale – as everything else would and does.

As the Qur’an says, “Everything God does is most meticulously measured.”

Kullu shai-y-in indahu bi-miqdaar.

Another little miracle of an Aayat – passage of the Qur’an – in your hands.” (Dr. Pasha) 

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Added: Nov 27, 2010 | Read Full »

Invariance of Inviting People to Allah and Constancy of Allah’s Way
[Quote – 211]

Nov 27, 2010 | Section: Articles | 317 reads

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“Sometimes those working for Allah may wonder why we have to keep doing the same thing over and over again.

Why, they may ask themselves, do we keep working so hard and see such minimal results.

Why do we all follow the same old style of doing things, they may say?

Why do we, they could ask themselves, for example:

  • Keep on preparing and distributing literature the way we do;
  • Keep on producing the same old-fashioned audio and video and computer material;
  • Keep on designing and populating the websites the same old-fashioned way;
  • And keep on doing everything as it was done over 1000 years ago?

And why do we, they could say for example, keep on trying to:

  • Reach out to people;
  • Invite them to Allah;
  • Give them the message of Islam;
  • Answer the same old questions over and over;
  • Show them the miracles of the Qur’an;
  • And try to share with them the joy, beauty and practicality of the teachings of Islam?

And it is perfectly normal and natural for them to feel and wonder about things in this way and to ask these questions of themselves and others.

After all, they are human beings – are they not? – even though they have chosen to be in the special category of those who have dedicated their lives to work for Allah and to serve his creation without asking for anything in return.

As for results, regardless of whether those results are a lot or a little, I will leave that question for another day. But I do want to make clear the role of seemingly dull and redundant routine activity in Islam and in nature.

Sheer repetitivity.

While in many ways things in the world change and evolve, by and large the universe is a giant amalgam of mini and mega structures and processes that pretty much perform the same routine functions repetitively, over and over, billions of times.

I wish someone would tell me how many times a human heart pumps blood during the course of a 60-year life span – all the same way.

Or how many times the sun rises and sets the same way in a 1000-year period.

And how I wish some learned scholar of Islam will explain to me how the way of doing prayers (Salaat) has changed in Islam over the past 1400 years, because it has not.

Not even an iota.

Because even today Salaat or Islamic Prayer is the same old process of:

  • Making intention;
  • Facing Ka’abah in Makkah;
  • Standing upright;
  • Making intention;
  • Reciting from the Qur’an;
  • Bending from the waist;
  • Prostrating halfway;
  • Sitting on bended knees;
  • Chanting all the prayers and chants;
  • And turning left and right to say to the whole world on each side:
  • God Bless You!”
  • God Bless You!”

Isn’t that how the Salaat or Prayer has gone on since the time of the Prophet, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, 14 long centuries ago?

Isn’t that how it has been repeated, day after day, night after night, and in place after place, in what is perhaps the greatest ongoing and living miracle of all time, for all these one thousand four hundred years – the way Muslims perform their daily prayers called Salaat?

Isn’t that in itself a most amazing miracle that anyone can see with their own eyes anywhere, anytime?

So why should those working for Allah, at any time or in any place, complain or feel bad about the constancy of their method, or the invariance of their message, or the redundancy of what they do in the path of Allah?

For, their message is eternal and immortal.

And it is simplicity itself: God is one and Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, is God’s messenger and prophet.

That message never changes.

That is how it has been and that is how it shall be – till the end of time.

And repeating it is what keep the world going.

And their method is the best that anyone can devise: purity of motives and intentions on the one hand and, on the other hand, utilization of means and methods that are the best and finest and noblest in the entire world.

That approach to the choice of methods does not change either.

So, why should a message and a method like that ever change?

Or how can those with a message and a methodology like that ever fail or falter?

For their message and method has the same constancy and durability as the rising of the sun in the sky and the leaping and splashing of the waves in the ocean.

And their success also is just as assured as the rising of the sun in the sky and the soaring of the waves in the ocean and the blowing of the winds between heaven and earth.”

Wa Lan Tajida Lisunnatillahi Tabdeela, says God Almighty in the Qur’an.

Paraphrase: You shall not find Allah’s way changing or faltering.” (Dr. Pasha)

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Added: Nov 27, 2010 | Read Full »

Love of Game vs. Love of God: Is There an Organic Connection between The Two?
[Quote – 210]

Nov 27, 2010 | Section: Articles | 400 reads

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“Those who love football find football.

And those who love soccer or baseball find soccer and baseball.

In the same way, those who love God find God.

So, it is a question of what it is that you love or seek most in life.

And how well and how hard you do so.

And in what contexts and places.

It would be interesting to know how Love of God intersects with Love of Game in the lives of many, or at least some, of the high-end football, soccer and baseball players in the world.” (Dr. Pasha)

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Added: Nov 27, 2010 | Read Full »

Looking Past Muslims to Islam [Quote – 209]

Nov 27, 2010 | Section: Articles | 445 reads

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But it is hard: ignoring reality and going by some ideas in a book.

It is hard but it needs to be done.

It is in our interest, and it is in the interest of the world, to do so.

And then there is another thing: That Book, the Qur’an, is also a part of our reality.

In fact, that book is much more real than anything and everything that we consider to be real in this world.

Empirically speaking, there perhaps never was a better system of belief and behaviour than Islam.

Nor was there perhaps a worse set of its exemplars and spokespeople than modern-day Muslims.

So, the burden falls on those outside the fold of Islam to look past the Muslims and evaluate Islam on the basis of what Islam itself really teaches and promotes and claims to be.

And they are most fortunate in this respect, I mean the non-Muslims.

And so are Muslim peripheralists and borderliners who may have been born into Islam, but who may then have drifted away from Islam and Muslims in later life.

For, they have available to them the original word of God in the Qur’an – pure and unadulterated.

They do not need to depend on hearsay or cultural accretions and traditions, but they all can go directly to the pure and pristine teachings of the Qur’an.

At the same time, they also have available to them the unadulterated words and deeds of Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, in the Hadith.

In the form of raw data and basic facts.

And, both the Qur’an and the Hadith are more reliable, more authentic and more true than any other material they would be able to lay their eyes upon, whether that is a newspaper; a magazine; a popular or scholarly book or journal; a historic document; a computer output of some description; or just about anything else in this world.

So, non-Muslims, as well as Muslim peripheralists and borderliners, must look past the somewhat less than ideal Muslim reality of today at the original purity and higher reality of the Qur’an and the Hadith and make their reasoned and pragmatic choices – about life and about Islam – based on them.  

In this way, they will not only choose and act wisely in this world, but they will also open themselves to divine grace and blessings to come pouring down on them from Heaven.

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Added: Nov 27, 2010 | Read Full »

Imagine a Household That Lives Right in the Heart of Islam – and Does Not Know It
[Quote – 208]

Nov 25, 2010 | Section: Articles | 328 reads

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“Imagine a household.

Imagine a household in which:

  • The father works hard to provide for the family;
  • The daughter works hard to give herself the best education she can;
  • And the mother works hard to keep the entire household running as smoothly as possible.

Imagine such a household.

And then ask yourself: How far can such a household be from Islam?

From that most amazing system of belief and behaviour that God sent down into this world to help human beings live a good life on earth, both as individuals and as groups, collectives and societies.

All you need to do thereafter is throw in some other fundamentals of Islam in this equation such as the ones below and you have built a solid foundation of Islam around such a household:

  • Belief in one God;
  • Belief in Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, as the last and final messenger of God;
  • Belief in the Qur’an as God’s full and final guidance to humanity;
  • Belief in all of God’s prophets and messengers and books;
  • And belief in the Day of Judgment as a reality and a certainty.

After that, all that remains to be attended to are some practical requirements of daily living such as prayer and fasting and cleanliness and you have got yourself as complete a picture of Islam as you may wish.

Imagine such a household and then ask yourself how far such a household can be from God and from Islam.” (Dr. Pasha)

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Added: Nov 25, 2010 | Read Full »