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Pasha Hour International:
Live From America!
December 8, 2007
Welcome to another edition of PASHA HOUR INTERNATIONAL: LIVE FROM AMERICA! A Program about Islam, Muslims and the World — Unlike Any. Every Saturday 9:00 A.M. Caribbean Time 8:00 A.M. Eastern Time. And 6:30 P.M. Delhi Time. To listen to Pasha Hour International go to www.IslamicSolutions.Com and click on Pasha Hour International on the menu bar.
All the Names People Used to Call Us
And those of you, in the media or anywhere else, for whatever reasons, want to call us “Mawzlems,” go ahead and say it.
Those of you who want to call our Deen “Izlam,” go ahead and say it.
Beat up on Islam and Muslims all you want. Distort the name. Distort the pronunciation. Distort the meaning and content. Call us all the names you want.
That has been our history. We have no complaints. But when you are done badmouthing us and twisting and distorting everything about us, do sit down for a second or two and listen to what we have to say.
Make some kind of an effort to find out who we really are and what we stand for. I am not saying you don’t know right now, but make an effort. You never know.
There was a time, people used to call us “Mohammedans.” Their logic was everybody worships their own man. Christians worship Christ, Buddhists maybe worship Buddha and so on.
And these fellows, who believe in Mohammed, must be worshipping him. So let us call them “Mohammedans.” That is how the logic went.
Some folks even called us “Mohametans.”
It is God Almighty Who Gave Us the Name Muslims
So there was a time when television people used to say “Mawzlems” and “Izlam.” Then they hired some instant “experts” — drive-by experts I call them — to look into it. Nowadays you can get these drive-by Islam experts dime a dozen.
Finally folks learned to say Islam and Muslims.
Our situation is that we did not happen to pick the name Muslims by ourselves. It was not decided upon by a committee. It is Allah, God Almighty, who actually named us Muslims.
You may not believe it, but that is what the Qur’an says.
Huwa sammaakumul Muslimeen1, is how the Qur’an puts it. Paraphrase: He named you Muslims.
Huwa — he. Who’s he now? I would say God, for that is what the context seems to suggest.
Or maybe Abraham, if you read the context somewhat differently.
I am speaking to all of you now — Jews, Christians, Hindus, Atheists, even the Muslims. That is who came up with this name: Muslims. God himself, I mean. Anybody got a problem with that name, take it up with God.
Muslims are on their Path to Paradise
Are the Muslims going to Jannah — Paradise I mean? Absolutely!
Once you die believing and saying Laa Ilaaha Illallah! — No god but God — then surely you are on your way to Jannat, Paradise that is.
And if you add to that Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, is God’s prophet; and if you die believing that firmly in your heart, then surely and absolutely you will enter paradise sooner or later.
And nothing and no one can stop you.
But the question is what about the status of Muslims in this world?
The problem is that the Muslims themselves are as clueless as the rest of humanity about Islam and Muslims.
Some of us Muslims might have read all kinds of books on Islam and worked with all kinds of Imams, leaders or Sheikhs, some white and some black, and some of them decked out in all kinds of fancy clothes and costumes.
But in spite of all that stuff, many of you my dear, beloved, respected, honored Muslims, sometimes are as pathetically, heartbreakingly, agonizingly clueless as the rest of humanity. You yourself know so little about Islam and Muslims.
You seem to know so little about whom you really are and what your Deen really is.
Sometimes the sheer wealth of Islam seems to overwhelm you. It is a bit like that little fellow who found himself in the Ali Baba cave and didn’t know what to do. So you are in this granddaddy of all Ali Baba’s caves. You don’t know where to look.
There isn’t anybody telling you these things in a clear and coherent fashion. Fellows are giving you little nuggets on how to wash your hands; how to tie your turbans; what the women should be doing; how long your pajamas should be and all sorts of other stuff, some of it real, some of it fanciful.
But no one is giving you the real thing.
Muslims and the Real
Perspective on Islam
But you, my dear Muslims, often seem to miss the real story about Islam and Muslims in the midst of all this confusion of detail.
And when someone dares to bring it up with you, you pretend to be too busy with other things. It just does not come to you naturally to pay attention to some of these serious questions that get raised.
Yes, you are supposed to go to Paradise but that is not the issue now. Your responsibility now is to make this world a better place when you leave it.
You are born into this world and you live here and you die here, however you die, but you are supposed to leave it better than you found it. That is what God Almighty created you for.
And that’s Islam for you in a nutshell.
If that is what you are doing, I am tempted to say Hallelujah. Or Alhamdu lillah, if that is what you want me to say. But the tragedy is many of you don’t even know what Alhamdulillah means.
Islam Bashing Feeds a Lot of Mouths
We talk about Islam and Muslims. We beat up on Muslims. Nowadays everyone and their cat and dog seem to be in the game of Islam and Muslim bashing.
And that seems to feed a lot of mouths and put bread on the table for a lot of folks. So much so that you turn off even a traditional critic of the Muslims like me.
Some of these attacks have been so egregious and outlandish that I now find myself in the position of having to defend the Muslims, even though I would be happier pointing out their shortcomings to them, as I have been doing for so long in the past.
And right now this is what I have to say to the Muslims: You Muslims may be clueless about a lot of things in this world, but you are not all that bad. You are not half as bad as some of these drive-by mercenaries say you are.
We Say Abraham
But What Do We Get In Return?
“Muslim” is a name then given to Muslims by God Almighty himself.
Or by Prophet Abraham, Allah bless him. You may call him a Jewish or a Christian or a Biblical prophet. God bless him. I call him a Muslim prophet, because that is what the Qur’an calls him.
But why Abraham?
Here are people talking about how Muslims behave. And how bad or intolerant or narrow-minded the Muslims are. I am no custodian of the behavior and conduct of the Muslims, but I do have a bit of a sports and country background. In the country environment you can’t talk around things or beat about the bush.
That just doesn’t work. Country folks are usually direct and even blunt.
So, when you talk about Islam and Muslims, and you talk about Abraham in that context and claim Abraham to be our man, what the Muslims should have learnt a long time ago is, once they put out the Abraham card on the table, then you should be able to say to the folks at the other end of the table: Ok, what are you putting on the table in return?
I am giving you Abraham, God bless him, what are you giving me in return? I say “God bless him!” every time I mention his name. What honorific titles, for example, are you willing to confer on, let us say, my man, Muhammad, God bless him?
Allah bless the Muslims. They never got to that stage. Poor Muslims! They never got to the stage of picking the kind of leaders that will look their tormentors in the eye and make them blink.
But, you see, the greater tragedy is that Muslims are not in the business of picking their leaders. Many of them are still debating if elections are Halaal or Haraam? It is mostly those who lead them — dominate them, should I say? —who pick and co-opt them.
Return of the Prodigal
Like so many Muslims around the world, I too was born in a Muslim family. Allah bless them. And what a family it was. Allah gave them the best in this world and may he also give them the best in the next world.
But then I took a long walk and went round and round and finally ended up in Islam. I was driven and hounded by the realities of the world. And by my own thinking and measure of rationality and this persistent quest for knowledge and answers that God had placed in my bosom.
But ultimately, due to the Grace of God Almighty of course, I now know and realize, I ended up in Islam — deep and firm and fairly satisfied.
So I am a Muslim now. Not just because I have nowhere else to go but because God Almighty shows me everyday how absolutely brilliant and wonderful Islam really is.
The Prodigal never had a happier homecoming.
As a result, when I talk about Islam now, I am not just shooting breeze, I know exactly what I am talking about. And even though at every step I throw out the Pasha Challenge about this or that beautiful and spectacular teaching or tenet of Islam and say “Bring It On!” my tone is not triumphal or boastful but most humble and earnest.
A Fair Exchange
But the point is this: We should be able to say to the world “We are not giving you anything till you give us something in return.”
How does that sound as a way of living? Isn’t it a fair exchange? This is reciprocity, as they call it.
I give you Abraham, God bless him, and nobody taught the Muslims how to make the most of that proposition. They should have asked, “What are you giving us reciprocally? What are you putting on the table in return?”
Therefore whether it was Abraham or it was God who called them Muslims, what matters is, the name Muslim didn’t grow on trees and it was not excavated in a cave.
And that makes a difference.
It came from the Qur’an which came from God Almighty, whether you believe it or not.
In that Qur’an, God Almighty said, Huwa sammaakumul Muslimeen1 — He it was who named you Muslims.
The world tied itself into knots trying to figure out what to do with the Muslims. But the answer is simple: they are Muslims and Islam is from God and it was he who called them Muslims.
Trying to Catch Up
With Little Trinidad
Let us not forget the greetings from Paradise: Salaaman Salaamaa.
Don’t look for Trinidad on God’s beautiful earth but look for it on water. It is that little speck on God’s beautiful Atlantic Ocean, near the Venezuelan coast. That is Trinidad. And somewhere in the neighborhood is Tobago. Each one more wonderful than the other.
It is 9:00 A.M. in Trinidad and 8:00 A.M. in Miami, New York and Toronto. How does it feel in Trinidad and Tobago that America and Canada are trying to catch up with us as we are ahead of them? We are ahead of America and Canada and they are racing to catch up with us. Wow! And they will never be able to overtake us or even catch up with us. Not for all these months till the Daylight Saving Time changes.
World trying to catch up with Trinidad and Tobago is a wonderful feeling. And a wonderful feeling is what Islam is all about.
Searching for Answers
The more I know the more I seem to realize that I know absolutely nothing. That’s why this program is not a learned discourse about any particular topic. I am speaking about important things in my life and they continue to be important in my life. If there are parallels in your life, and I suspect there are, we must be able to connect.
Sometimes it took days, weeks, months, years, and sometimes even decades, to be able to resolve some things in my mind, but I was finally able to resolve some of them.
And it was God’s grace, nothing more, nothing less, that did it — that made it all happen.
And it is now by the grace of God Almighty that I want to sit around and talk about those things: about the breathtaking journey of my life and all the most amazing experiences along the way. Nursing all kinds of questions and searching for all kinds of answers.
That is what finally became Pasha Hour International. And it is a wonderful feeling.
You want to be around the camp fire. What a wonderful feeling it is. That is, if you have finally come to realize some of the following things:
- Who you are;
- Who your master and friend is;
- What your place in this world is;
- What your origin is;
- Where you are headed to and what your destiny is;
- How you should live your life in this world;
- And how you should prepare yourself for life in the next world?
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