Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Rahma Salie, her name means mercy. She was my first friend in college; she and her husband, Micky, and their unborn baby died on 9/11.

I met her during international students orientation. Although she has thousands of friends all over the world, when she spoke to you, it felt like you were the only person that meant something to her.

I asked our mutual friend, Naho Kamikawa, to share some memories of Rahma-

But one day stands out clearly, and it is the day and moment we all met – at the International Student’s Orientation at Slater. I remember how I ran into Rahma and I think she was already with you and Sabene when I greeted her at the brunch buffet.

A couple of days later, we visited you and Sabene at your dorm room at Bates, beautifully done in newly laid out carpet. We hung at in your room and we talked about our exciting days to come.

I also remember how she became very involved and in touch with her religion at Wellesley. I also knew her very briefly back in Tokyo too, but I think it was at Wellesley where she embraced Muslim [Islam].

Away from home for the first time during Ramadan, we would try to figure out ways to sneak food into our dorm room for Suhoor. The dining hall  had a huge freezer with 6 flavors of ice cream, we sneaking in laughing and tripping- Suhoor with mint chocolate chip icecream was delicious. Our friends, Heather volunteered to fast with us, it was the first time either one of us had to explain why we fasted to anyone, we had always just done it- We started searching for answers so we could give them to her, talking with Heather was my first step towards practicing my deen.  I remember Jum’ah with Rahma, in a small room in Chapel, getting jealous because the Hillel room was so large . Apprehensively, going to our first AlMuslimat meeting not sure if we would be accepted.

She met Micheal while she was still in college. Micky, as he was lovingly called,  was raised as a Greek Orthodox Christian accepted Islam prior to his marriage to Rahma.

The last time I saw her was on Newbury Street in Boston, where her parents now run a café. We introduced our fiancées’ to each other, giddy in each other’s happiness.  She must have been glowing and happy when she boarded that American Flight 11, she was going to attend a friend’s wedding in Los Angeles. Her baby would have now been my daughter’s age. The lesson I learned from 9/11: never take a day for granted, for life is very fragile and very short.

My pain in her loss in no less than anyone else’s in America, just because we are Muslim. Her friends still miss her and mourn her, many are gathering together this weekend at the college campus where Rahma spent 4 years of her life. 9/11 was personal to me then as it is now.

Sometimes you can not explain all the pain and suffering which man experiences as a result of evil but if you see it as preparation for the experience and attainment of joy and contentment of good.  ‘Evil is not created or valued for its own sake, rather it is created for the necessary manifestation, realization and accomplishment of good. Hence, at the cosmic plane, evil which is limited and relative in nature contributes to the realization of the total good.’

She would not want to be remembered as a victim for she was such a positive ruh (soul) . Her friends still gather from all around the world every year to celebrate her life. Family and friends add pictures to a virtual memorial. There are photos of uncles and aunts from Sri Lanka, and cousins, best friends from her childhood in Japan, roommates from college, wedding pictures, a life interrupted. Inna lil lahi wa inna ilay ho rajioon. To Allah she belonged and to Him is surely her return. Please say a dua (prayer) for my friend. She really was a genuinely amazing person. May Allah SWT grant her Jannah tul Firdaus and give sabr Kamilah (divine patience) to her parents and siblings. The constant reminder of how she died, forces them to relive her death over and over again.







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This was my project- we need a push to turn off the screens, too.

Muslimatters.org is proud to endorse the Commercial-free childhood Screen-Free week.

Screen-Free Week is almost here! On April 18-24, children, families, schools, and communities around the country will turn off entertainment screen media (TV, video games, computer games, apps, etc.) and turn on life. It’s a chance to unplug and read, play, daydream, create, explore nature, and spend more time with family and friends.

Since 1996, millions of children and their families have participated in Screen-Free Week (formerly TV-Turnoff). Each year, thousands of parents, teachers, PTA members, librarians, scoutmasters, and clergy organize Screen-Free Weeks in their communities. This year, Screen-Free celebrations are being planned around the country, including Long Island, NY, where the Early Years Institute is working with local merchants and community organizations to provide wonderful screen-free activities for children and families for free or at discounted prices.

Read rest here and join us in limiting screen time next week in screenfree week. Tell me what you are planning to do.

My kids and I plan to visit an elder in our community instead of watching after school cartoons, go to the park more often and make cards for their grandparents and by the end of the week we will decide on pulling the plug.

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Image Credit: Illustration: Nino Jose Heredia/©Gulf News

Islam puts an emphasis on the environment like no other religion. It is not a foreign concept, a tree hugging fad or something to be done after we have acquired all other knowledge about Islam; it is an integral part of our deen. The branches of knowledge are all branches of a single tree whose roots are grounded in the belief in One God. From this we get our sense of unity and balance.  A Muslim has responsibility to this earth, to its environment.  As an ummah, Muslims have ignored this part of their deen.  Our emphasis in schools, khutbahs, lectures, Islamic courses is primarily on rituals, on spiritual growth at the expense of this very practical aspect of Islam.

If we believe that everything belongs to Allah and that we are just transiting then we have to treat the earth as His amanah – a trust of which we are the guardians, the khalifahs.  Abu Sa’id Khudri reported that Allah’s Messenger said: “The world is sweet and green and verily Allah is going to install you as vicegerent in it in order to see how you act.” (Muslim) Does this make you think? We have been placed on earth for the purpose of taking care of it.

According to Najma Mohamed, a lecturer and environmental journalist,  “Muslim environmental scholars interpret this to mean that men and women are custodians of creation and are provided with bounties to be enjoyed with limits. The interpretation of a khalifah as a vicegerent not master, trustee not tyrant is central to the environmental teachings of Islam. If a Muslim understands by trusteeship that he or she can exploit and abuse natural resources, then they fail to understand the concept khilafah. Humankind needs to carry out this role with compassion, kindness and sincerity – with justice and goodness. Our relationship with all of creation should reflect these qualities.”

Let’s reflect on this eloquent ayah from Surah Rahman:

The All-Merciful has taught the Qur’an.
He created man and He taught him the explanation.
The sun and the moon to a reckoning, and the stars and trees bow themselves;
and heaven – He raised it up and set the balance. Transgress not in the balance,
and weigh with justice, and skimp not in the balance. And earth – He set it down for all beings,
therein fruits and palm trees with sheaths, and grain in the blade, and fragrant herbs.

Which of your Lord’s favors will you then deny? (55: 1-12)

Frequently this verse is just used to deter us from cheating in business but look at the context here. Trangress not in the balance is an order from Allah the Almighty. So many ayahs of the Quran are devoted to reflecting on nature. If we cannot take care of the gardens of earth, how can we aspire to live in the garden of jannah?

“And it is He Who has made you successive (generations) in the earth. And He has raised you in ranks, some above others, so that He may try you in that which He has bestowed on you. Surely your Lord is Swift in retribution, and certainly He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”  (6:165)  This ayah is the crux of our relationship with this planet and all of creation in it.  It  is another test for us.

Nothing is more destructive than a khalifah who has stopped being an abd (slave) of Allah, disobedient to his commands. Why did the angels ask Allah (ta’ala), why He is sending humans as khalifahs?  Look at our state today? We have become so caught up in the consumerism, in gratuitous consumption, that we do forget that we will be held accountable in front of Allah for all our deeds.  We look for convenience over doing what is right.  This has caused disequilibrium in the balance that Allah has created and we see the consequence is the excess in the developed world and the deprivation and hunger in other parts of Allah’s world.

But somewhere inside us we have that ability to live up to the lofty maqam of a khalifah.  Allah knows us better than we know ourselves, we just need to find that in us and live up to the personal responsibility that every one of us has.  Look at the example of Prophet Muhammad, he slept on the ground close to the earth on a bed made of palm leaves, wrapped in his shawl. He sat on the floor to eat simple, wholesome food. He repaired his shoes and urged us to wear out our clothes until they had patches on them.  According to a hadith narrated by Tirmidhi, “The worldly comforts are not for me. I am like a traveler, who takes a rest under a tree in the shade and then goes on his way.” So lets use the symbolic tree for shade, to nourish our self, but let’s also follow the sunnah and leave the symbolic tree intact so that the next traveler can use it.

Some American scholars are cognizant of our state and speak of this issue. Imam Zaid Shakir reminds us that “as Muslims we are called on to be a community of conscience, and as such we should be leading the cries urging a cessation of this madness. The Qur’an is a book of nature that alerts us to the importance of our lives being integrated into the natural world given us by God to nurture and sustain us.” Imam Ammonette says “faith has 73 branches, you live your faith, it’s your life and the lowest part of faith is removing pollutants or harmful substances, whatever will cause harm to human beings, from the path… when you clean up whatever is dangerous or unhealthy, that is faith.”

These voices are few. Responding to environmental issues in the Islamic world and teaching its rulings is the imperative of our present ulema (scholars), especially now as we can see the ubiquitous results of the destruction caused by our prevailing way of life.  All the injunctions are in the classic books of fiqh distributed across the different babs (chapters), they need be gathered and taught to the layman.

“All the produce of the earth is duly proportioned (bi-qadarin mawzun-15:19), not just in what is evident but as to their internal composition of nutrients, water, minerals, salts, etc. God blessed the earth and made it safe such that you shall not see imperfection in the creation of the Most Merciful (67:13).”   “When man acts, instead of a trusted custodian and architect of the earth, as its most dangerous destroyer, driven by greed rather than need,” then the result is havoc. We are obliged not to do injustice to the rest of creation.  These will be witnesses for or against us on the Day of Judgment.

Dr. Soumaya Pernilla Ouis, a senior lecturer at Lund University, Sweden, coined the phrase Islamic ecocosmology.  The idea is that nature in itself is Muslim; that we look around us and recognize every organism as our Muslim fellow being. That really changes the relationship, doesn’t it?  We know that everything from thunder to ants hymn the glory of Allah, all beings therein, declare His glory; there is not a thing but celebrates his praise: and yet ye understand not how they declare His glory. (17:44)

Allah asks us, do you not see that to Allah bow down in worship all things that are in the heavens and on earth – the sun, the moon, the stars; the hills, the trees, the animals; and a great number of mankind? (22:18) It is harder to ignore and cause destruction.

Many of the already established Islamic legal principles can be applied within the environmental field, and it is actually argued by some ecotheologicans that the environmental perspective has traditionally always been a part of Shariah. Institutions within Shariah such as harim (preserved natural environments) and hima (protected land for grazing purposes) are used for natural conservation. The five principles of protection in shariah are religion, reason, life, property and descendants, which may not include the 20th century term environment but all lead to its protection.

An addition to Islamic law includes a specific category of contemporary jurisprudence called fiqh al-bi’ah, or jurisprudence of the environment. “Law-makers take a number of the foundational concepts of Islam such as rahmah (mercy), tawazun (harmony) and shukr (gratitude) and apply them to this ethico-juridical discipline which links ecological health to the psychological health of man. Environmental degradation is seen as a sickness of the human ego because man is unable to give up short-term gratification in favor of long-term prosperity.”

If we look back at our heritage, the principles of reuse, recycle, clean energy are NOT new – “Muslim potters heated their kilns by burning fruit husks, fruit stones, pine-cones and vegetable waste. Millers ground their corn in mills turned by the wind. Both windmills and animals were used to lift water into irrigation channels.”  The industrial uses of tidemills and watermills in the Islamic world date back to the 7th century.

This may be because “traditional Islamic society, no matter how rich in spiritual and aesthetic content, was slower, and simpler in its technology. The production of the artifacts and adornments did not wreak havoc on nature or strew debris over land and sea. Means were simpler, materials natural and even crude. Exquisite ceramics emerged from raw clay and textiles of unrivaled beauty were born from hand-looms and the hand of the embroiderer. Travel, although surprisingly extensive – consider the journeys of Ibn Battuta – was on foot, on beasts of burden or by sailing boat.”

As Muslim nations are going through industrial renaissance and calls for industrialization increase, let us not make the same mistakes, importing inappropriate technology, setting up industry without studying the environmental ramifications.  We have the opportunity to inculcate Islamic injunctions into eco-concsiouness, and to be leaders protecting our  planet.

Make your deen green is a series which will include small ways that our readers can make a difference in their daily lives to make it more earth-friendly as well as global environmental issues that affect the Muslim world. Surely changing a light bulb will not change the world, but what we need is a change in attitude to our eco-lives.  If we do these acts as forms of ibadah, of obeying Allah insha’Allah we can live up to the status that He has bestowed upon us.

‘Aisha (radiAllahu anha) narrated, that the Prophet was asked: “What deeds are loved most by Allah?” He said, “The most regular constant deeds even though they may be few.” He added, “Don’t take upon yourselves, except the deeds which are within your ability.” [Sahih al-Bukhari, 8:76:472]

PRINCIPLES INTO PRACTICE: Islamic Traditions – Ismail Peter Hobson

Environmental Care in Islam: A Qur’anic Perspective – Mohammad Hashim Kamali

Global Environmental Relations: Islamic Perspective – Dr. Soumaya Pernilla Ouis

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I love books. I have hundreds, as I suppose any aspiring academic should. I need to move out of Manhattan, because I can’t afford an apartment large enough to house all these books. (Ask my wife: There aren’t enough walls left and my attempt to shelve books on the ceiling has, one lawsuit later, failed.) If you ever invite me to speak at your library, mosque, Mediterranean cruise, church, temple, workshop, tropical resort or university, and you can’t give me an honorarium, an Amazon.com gift certificate will find its way into my heart in a non-surgical and non-disgusting way.

And now, for most Americans, it’s the season of gift-giving. Some love the season, while some protest its commercialization. I suggest making the best of it. This holiday season, why not share the gift of good books — and all the wisdom they can provide? When misinformation on Islam, Muslims, and America’s relationships to the Muslim-majority world is in oversupply, we need relevant and useful information. Conversations about Islam shape local, regional, and global affairs: to not know about Islam is to be left out of issues that deeply affect all of us.

In that holiday spirit, I’m sharing a list of great books about Islam and Muslims, in the hope that you’ll share them too, as profound (and affordable) presents. What better way to create excitement on Christmas morning than by watching your loved ones unwrap presents to reveal the word “Islam,” and the noticeable, measurable, visible jump in their heart rate that follows? (Ask their doctors if they’re healthy enough to unwrap books about Islam. Chances are, their doctors, being Muslim, will get it.)

Or you can just gift them to yourself.

Are Civilizations Clashing?

Do Muslims hate the West? If so, why? Why do some Muslims radicalize? What cultural incompatibilities exist between Islam and the West? Building off of works like Samuel Huntington’s The Clash of Civilizations and Bernard Lewis’ What Went Wrong?, too many analysts presume that there is a core conflict, and that this conflict, of which Afghanistan and Iraq are manifestations, is cultural, and therefore both essential and inevitable. Don’t believe the hype.

Mahmood Mamdani’s Good Muslim, Bad Muslim: America, the Cold War, and the Roots of Terror explains how and why radical Islam has become a threat, and how to comprehend radicalism not as an unavoidable cultural expression, but as a political grievance translated by the cultural world it emerges from. If you’re going to read one book on the “clash of civilizations,” read Mamdani’s.

Common Problems

Richard Bulliett’s The Case for Islamo-Christian Civilization should be on every bookshelf. (Embarrassingly, it is not yet on any of mine). Bulliett, who is, like Mamdani, a Columbia Professor — Go Lions! — has written a fantastic book. He’s not making a facile case for Muslim-Christian fusion; Bulliett’s pointing out that Islam and Christianity spread across the Earth almost simultaneously, and produced similar institutions through their periods of expansion and entrenchment. An easy, breezy, bright introduction to history over the long haul, Bulliett neatly explains how Islam and the West are in fact comparable and relatable. Because Islam isn’t immune to, or exempt from, history.

Who Let Shariah Through Passport Control?

You can’t have a conversation these days without worrying about Shariah. The term is complicated enough to explain in a soundbite, never mind what hundreds of millions of Muslims all over the world make of it. And, of course, Oklahoma’s out to fight back against Islam’s conquest of Middle America, and will bury the Ten Commandments in a panic over surreptitious Islamification, Muslimization, or whatever. Everybody needs to calm down.

Start your detoxification with Dalia Mogahed and John Esposito’s Who Speaks for Islam? What A Billion Muslims Really Think. It’ll make you unthink everything you might think about Shariah. Next up: The best explanation of the political attraction of Shariah to many in the Muslim-majority world has to be Noah Feldman’s The Fall and Rise of the Islamic State; Feldman explains how Muslim societies had been structured in the past, the political shortcomings of many Muslim-majority states today, and how Shariah has become a symbol of democratic and Islamic reform, trashing any simple opposition of Islam and modernity.

If the topic deeply interests you, you may want to dig deeper with Geneive Abdo’s No God but God: Egypt and the Triumph of Islam, and Caryle Murphy’s Passion for Islam: Shaping the Modern Middle East: The Egyptian Experience. While these latter two titles concentrate on Egypt, the experience of other Muslim societies is quite different. Maybe one day I’ll do an Islam outside the Arab world list. For Valentine’s Day.

The Forest for the Palm Trees

Of course, one of the primary reasons for ongoing tensions between the Muslim world and the West has been differing interpretations of current conflicts. Did it start with Bin Laden? Is it about the Taliban, too? Is it about radicalism more generally? How do other Middle Eastern conflicts factor in?

There have been a huge number of works about America after September 11th, but certainly one of the most enjoyable and thought-provoking is Karen Greenberg’s The Least Worst Place: Guantanamo’s First 100 Days. Greenberg is a fabulous writer, pointing out the larger issues at work while describing the day-to-day drama at Camp X-Ray and the decency of the men and women on the ground who pushed back against a dangerous direction in American policy.

Complement Greenberg’s work with a broader look at the future of the Muslim world, going beyond the attention-stealing headlines, to the actual trends at or just below the surface — what the overwhelming majority of Muslims are doing and experiencing. If you’ve got a special someone interested in business, trade, finance, or emerging markets, I’d unhesitatingly direct your attention to Vali Nasr’s The Rise of Islamic Capitalism: Why the New Muslim Middle Class is the Key to Defeating Extremism. I reviewed the hardcover edition of this work (which had a different title) some months ago; Christopher Schroeder’s recent op-ed may also be helpful in illuminating Nasr’s general thrust.

American Muslims

Are we well-educated, suburban, often brown folks actually trying to take over your country, which is also our country? Why do some Americans believe that a tremendously religiously and ethnically diverse and also very tiny minority actually has any chance of taking over the country? Never mind that many American Muslims came here to escape the religious and political persecution our haters allege we’re all about imposing.

Of course, Islam is far deeper and more profound than the events that have dominated the news over the past few decades. Don’t mind those “experts on Islam,” who make comments like “Islam has existed in Europe since the 1960’s” (clear-up: there have been European Muslims on that continent longer than there have been Protestants in existence). Islam in the West is very often an indigenous phenomenon. I must push you towards Geneive Abdo’s overview, From Mecca to Main Street: Muslim Life in America After 9/11, filled with great stories, and Mustafa Bayoumi’s troubling How Does It Feel to be a Problem?: Being Young and Arab in America. (It’s not about Islam per se, but does get to the heart of the conflation.)

There are voices from the inside that need to be heard. Wajahat Ali wowed audiences in New York last year with his hit play, Domestic Crusaders, now available in book form. His play takes you into a South Asian American family and the generational conflicts, cultural misunderstandings and religious tensions which shape what one Muslim family does and says at the kitchen table. How many artists can give you that intimacy? Comic book writer G. Willow Wilson traveled to Egypt, fell for Egypt (and an Egyptian); based on those experiences, she’s written the beautiful memoir The Butterfly Mosque: A Young American Woman’s Journey to Love and Islam. Through anecdotes, observations, and tiny moments, she can speak to expansive questions of identity, faith, and practice in ways that supposed specialists cannot communicate, not only because they can’t write nearly as well, but also because they don’t even try to understand. I can’t wait for her next book.

Fear of a Green Planet

What does Islam have to say about the environment? Does Islam have anything positive to offer the world? How do Muslims react to the same challenges that affect all people, because Muslims are people? Ibrahim Abdul-Matin’s Green Deen: What Islam Teaches About Protecting the Planet outlines the ways in which Islam encourages stewardship of the Earth, and the many means by which Muslims are living a green practice of the faith. Structured to encourage short readings, reflections, and inspire local and national activism, Abdul-Matin’s work suggests the ways in which religiosity and ecological consciousness are not just compatible, but mandatory. For the flipside, you won’t be disappointed by Tom Bissell’s amazing tour through Uzbekistan, Chasing the Sea: Lost Among the Ghosts of Empire in Central Asia. Witty, erudite, fascinating and at times hilarious, Bissell’s travelogue explores this young state as he trudges towards the disappearing Aral Sea, uncovering a social landscape ruined by Communism.

A Sound Heart

And, to end things, let us not forget that Islam is, at its heart, its beginning and in its ends, a religion. We hopefully don’t need the Department of Justice to remind us of this.

To better understand the Qur’an, Islam’s holy text, try Ingrid Mattson’s The Story of the Qur’an: Its History and Place in Muslim Life, and then check out the following translations: Tarif Khalidi’s (which is just a translation, without commentary and with minimal notes) and Abdullah Yusuf Ali’s (the most popular translation among Anglophone Muslims); if you’re looking for something inspirational, and easier to digest, Princeton Chaplain Sohaib Sultan’s The Qur’an and Sayings of the Prophet Muhammad is worth checking out (his The Koran for Dummies is, title aside, a wonderful introductory resource as well).

To understand the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, and his place in Muslim life, either read Martin Lings’ tremendously ambitious, but sometimes overwhelming study, Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources (only for the serious reader — it’s easy to get lost in the details), or go for Karen Armstrong’s much slimmer and more accessible biography, Muhammad: A Prophet for Our Time. To get a good sense of the place of Islam in the world, from its emergence to the contemporary, you’ll certainly love Reza Aslan’s book, also titled No God but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam. And to perceive Muslim spirituality through a more advanced text, which requires a fair amount of background knowledge, pick up Diseases of the Heart, by Hamza Yusuf, which does a good job explaining the core Islamic ideal of purification, which is central to the Islamic understanding of achieving nearness to God through a moral life.

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I had an odd lump in my throat when I dropped of LF2 and LF3 off at school; she sat wistfully on the sofa. ” Do you want to come with me to drop them off'” ” No, Mama.” It felt so weird like was I punishing her. ” I don’t want people to ask me why I am not coming to school.”

Her name was on the school list, I guess her withdrawal letter hadn’t been processed yet. No new backpack or lunchbox for her. LF2 got this whole set and I finally gave in got LF3 the Star Wars one he wanted. It was his first day of kindergarten (Am on an anti-brands promotion binge, would not get him Toy story 3 paraphernalia or Iron man 2 sneakers- meanest mommy in the world.) No back to school night, no first day of school pictures with shiny new shoes and a new outfit.

“Come on we will be late,” LF2 called. This will be interesting, may be she can learn some responsibility now. She is the second child but will be the eldest in the family at school.  Her older sister won’t be there to take care of her, to make sure that they weren’t running late.

I finally enrolled her in the K12 online school program. It didn’t help that her ‘school’ will start two weeks after her siblings- It’s done, I will  be her teacher … but they call me her “learning coach” and the lady who will guide us, the teacher??? I just received an email showing me then we can log in.

She is fasting almost everyday and she is only 9. I like having her around- I didn’t realize how much I missed her. And I am much calmer with her too. Maybe that’s just because I am fasting. Ya Allah, make this easy on me and even easier on her. Ameen.

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I watch in horror, the beautiful Swat Valley, a treasure of unparalleled natural beauty broken by the very same nature. Bahrain, Kalam, Madyan, Mingora, vacation spots from a childhood past, beaten, drowned by the 20-foot waves in the River Swat. The terrible force of Allah(swt)’s water destroying everything in sight, crumbling homes and bridges, made of cement and bricks. The monsoon season is in swing and, as it continues to rain, every river from the north down to the southern part of Pakistan has swollen and inundated its surroundings. So far 20 million people are affected by disease and displacement, entire villages (650,000 homes) destroyed.  The United Nations is calling this a worse disaster than the tsunami, the 2005 earthquake and the 2010 Haiti earthquake… all put together! These are not just statistics; these are people, our brothers and sisters.

Rain can be a mercy or a test from Allah(swt)  – they are surrounded by water yet they do not have a drop to drink. Inna lillahi wa innaa ilayhi raji’oon. Truly to Allah do we belong and to Him we shall return!

We hear so much bad news, courtesy of 24-hour news channels, that our hearts have become hard. We say a quick dua or shed a few tears and sometimes send in some money. As I sit here in my brother-in-law’s luxury condo overlooking the serene Potomac River in Washington D.C., do I even deserve to comment on these people’s suffering?  To be there and actually deliver bread and tents or shelter a family, to risk my life to rescue a human in the land of my birth, would I be worthy then? I want to be there, yet I feel so inadequate.

Besides clutching our own brood of kids, showing them pictures of the tragedy helpless children are suffering a few days before the merciful month of Ramadan, so they can learn to look beyond their own wants, what else can we do? As we get ready to fast, we can remember these people have not eaten for days. As we take our babies to the doctors, lets remember the water-borne diseases their babies may suffer. As we stock up our freezers from the Halal store and our overstuffed pantries from Costco, lets remember the true spirit of Ramadan and give as much as we can.  Maybe this is Allah’s way of reminding us that we are NOT giving enough in Sadaqah.

Give to fill his empty pots

In a Hadith, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “A man has sinned enough if he neglects to feed those in need.” (Related by Muslim and Abu Dawud)

Ya Rabbi, the advent of your blessed month is here, please remove the sufferings of our Pakistani brothers and sisters. O Allah, nothing is beyond your power. O Allah, send upon them helpful, wholesome and healthy rain, beneficial not harmful rain. Ameen!

We are more in need of the reward of our sadaqat that the flood victims are in need of our donations.

Having lived in New Orleans and seeing that beautiful city wrecked by Katrina and still trying to rebuild itself despite being in the wealthiest of nations, I wonder how Pakistan will survive this flood?  This clip was so heart-wrenching but reinforced the belief of a Muslim– the good brother says standing waist deep in water “by the grace of God we will reconstruct everything, we have courage to face this situation, we are Pakistani… we live here, we will face every problem inshaAllah”.  Alhamdulillah fi kulli haal. Lets help them rebuild.

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  1. Wake up for Suhoor. Have a healthy breakfast.
  2. Keep moving- it creates oxygen in your blood and keeps you energetic. Do not sleep the whole day. If you exercise regularly- go for a thirty minute walk (make dhikr)
  3. At iftaar time eat no more than you can fit on a saucer
  4. Keep yourself hydrated- drink 2-3 liter of water
  5. After taraweeh go to sleep.

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