Monday, 14 June 2010

Rajab, The Month Of Allah (SWT)

Peace and greetings to all of you on the arrival of the blessed month of Rajab. Find a message below from the team over at Ziyaraat.com re: the importance of this month and the blessings to be found within it, as well as info on amaal and rewards to be found/performed during the month.
My duas will be with you all during these blessed days, and I humbly request you to remember me in your own, aameen.

Start of 7th Islamic Month of Rajab al-Murajjab 1431 A.H.

Some important events of this month are as follows:

1st - Birth anniversary of Imam Mohammad Baqir(a.s.) - the 5th Holy Imam

3rd - Martyrdom anniversary of Imam Ali Naqi al-Hadi(a.s.) - the 10th Holy Imam

5th - Birth anniversary of Imam Ali Naqi al-Hadi(a.s.) - the 10th Holy Imam

10th - Birth anniversary of Imam Mohammad Taqi al-Jawwad(a.s.) - the 9th Holy Imam

12th - Martyrdom anniversary of Hazrat Abbas ibn-e-Abdul Muttalib - Uncle of Prophet Mohammad(sawaw)

13th - Birth anniversay of Ameer-ul-Momimeen, Imam-ul-Muttaqeen Imam Ali ibn-e-Abi Talib(a.s.) - the 1st Holy Imam – 30 years before Hijrah.

20th - Birth anniversary of Hazrat Sakina bint-al-Hussain(a.s.)

24th - Battle of Khayber – 7 A.H.

25th - Martyrdom anniversary of Imam Moosa al-Kazim(a.s.) - the 7th Holy Imam

26th - Death anniversary of Hazrat Abu Talib(a.s.) - Uncle of Prophet Mohammad(sawaw) and father of Imam Ali(a.s.)

27th - Event of Meraj - Ascension of Prophet Mohammad(sawaw) to heavens - (57 A.H.)

28th - Start of Journey of Imam Hussain(a.s.) towards Karbala – 60 A.H.

29th - Battle of Tabooq

Significance of Rajab
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Rajab is one of the four most sacred months of Islamic Calendar. Prophet Mohammad(sawaw) has said that whoever fasts one day in Rajab will earn the pleasure
of Allah(swt).

Imam Ali(a.s.) has said that whoever fasts on the first day, middle or last day of Rajab then his or her sins will be forgiven by Allah(swt).

Imam Jafer Sadiq(a.s.) has said that whoever fasts 3 days in Rajab he/she will be rewarded for one year of fasts for each day and whoever fasts for 8 days
in Rajab will have an easy day of judgment and whoever fasts for the entire month of Rajab then Allah(swt) will earn the everlasting pleasure of Allah(swt).

If one cannot fast then one should recite these tasbeehat every day 100 times:

SUBHANAL ILAHIL JALEELE SUBHANA MAN LA YANBAGHIT TASBEEHU
ILLA LAHU SUBHANAL AA-AZZIL AKRAMI
SUBHANA MAL LABISAL IZZA WA HUWA LAHU AHLUN

It is highly recommended to take bath on the 1st, 15th and last night of this month. There is a lot of reward for reciting Sura Tawheed (Qul ho allahu ahad)
100 times on the first Friday of this month.

A special namaz has been recommended on this night as follows: 20 rakats in sets of 2 each. In each rakat recite Sura Hamd and then Sura Tawheed.

Another special namaz is recommended for the night of the 15th Rajab as follows: 12 rakats in sets of 2 each. Recite Sura Hamd and any other sura after
it in each rakat. After completing each set recite 4 times each of Sura Hamd, Sura Tawheed, Sura Falaq, Sura Naas and Ayatul Kursi then recite 4 times
SUBHANALLAHE WAL HAMDO LILLAHE WA LA ILAHA IL ALLAHE WALLAHO AKBAR and finally recite ALLAHO ALLAHO RABBI LA USRIKU BIHI SHAYAN – MA SHA ALLAHU WA LA QUWWATA
ILLA BILLAH.

Aamal of Rajab
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Please visit the Rajab page at for more aamal :
http://www.ziaraat.com/aamal/rajab.php

There are many other special aamal for Rajab which can be found in the book “Mafatihul Jinnan” located in the Online Books Library at:
http://www.ziyaraat.net/findbook.asp?Escritor=All&Tema=All&orderby=titulo&idioma=All&srchwhat=mafateeh

Another special ziarat of Rajab is located at:
http://www.duas.org/rajab/rajab_ziyarat.htm

Friday, 11 June 2010

Radio Rules Forever!

Today’s one born every minute is not particularly humorous, .., well, I’m having a strange and very busy day so that’s what you get! …, and my advice? If you think something is going really well, in reality its not and will blow up in your face quicker than you can say sucker! So go lay down in a dark room and don’t take risks till the chaos subsides!
Back to the feature in question, while there is no humour, I think you’ll find it interesting though (one lives in hope!), and you should thank me, because, I’m trying to learn you something! (as they say in Glasgow).

While preparing for the Iran tour, I’ve been listening to allot of radio. Despite my background in the sector, its amazing how, when you are off the scene professionally speaking, you lose all track of what is going on, who is doing what and how much creativity is really out there. I always dreamt of working for BBC Radio 4, (and never made it sadly bar a couple of insignificant independent features), but listening to it reminds me of why I chose this sector, and every thing that is good and original about radio and how it will never be inferior to TV, no matter how much technology anoraks wish it to be so!

Any way, here are a couple of my recent finds for you!
Surf on to www.bbc.co.uk/radio4 and check out:
The Archers: I’ve listened to the Archers since I was a kid, it’s a beautiful radio drama, something of a legend here in the UK. Part of a dying tradition, radio dramas are stimulating and engaging, enabling the imagination to fly to new heights and dimensions at every turn. They are also incredibly helpful to writers who are looking for new techniques through which to convey pictures through the written word. Set in an English countryside village, The Archers explores country life and is based around the ups and downs of a rural farming community: love, loss, family and the price of milk; a lovely way to while away a Sunday morning!

The history of the world in 100 Objects (radio 4).
This series has been written and compiled by the head of the Natural History dept, British museum and is the most incredible and accessible study of humanitarian development I’ve ever come across. Spanning love, religion, industry, relationships, sport and more, the series will educate you and give you a unique perspective on where you came from and where you are going! Moreover, the entire collection of short 15-minute-broadcasts are available to download and keep, so do check them out!
Oh, and there is a lovely documentary on Radio 4 charting the meteoric rise to fame that A.R Rahman experienced in the West following the release of Slumdog Millionaire!

Finally, (and this is a radio 1 find). If you love world music, and indefinable soul/jazz, you will Love Gilles Peterson! I came across this guy during an insomnia moment 1 Tuesday night, and have never looked back! I think Peterson is the only genius in the UK who still plays vinyl on radio! He has my utmost respect: the only qualifying replacement for John Peel. Programmes are available via Radio 1 website, or else check out podcasts and more at www.gillespetersonworldwide.com

So there you go! Not much humour but, …, plenty to keep you busy while I’m gone!

Thursday, 10 June 2010

The Last Days.

This final week is passing me by in a strange mix of mania and oblivion! So much to do; so little I can be bothered doing! So many people to see, and so few of them feel worth it!! I don’t know how I got here, certainly, while I love travel, the lead-in time is always something I detest with all my being; the shopping, packing, fretting over health, vaccinations, visas and the like, and combining a marriage with a ziyerat trip is about as crazy as you can get! On top of that, some friends (1 friend in particular, and that too my best friend or so I thought), is acting decidedly strange with me. She met me on Sunday at a common Friend’s house warming, and was incredibly aloof and bitchy!! I don’t know where that came from either! I know I’ve been very stuck in family stuff lately (pensioner care etc), and my health has been pretty rough, plus the depression of unemployment has made me allot less sociable than I’d like to be, but all the same, do I deserve that? Others tell me not to worry, but I do: every one knows I worry, and part of me thinks she is probably getting some sort of perverted pleasure out of making me sad!! Why!! I wonder if it is my marriage? This is reminiscent of how it went the first time around, people I thought would support me, didn’t! I think they felt awkward, embarrassed and, dare I say, sour grapes? After all, lots of “normal”, and more attractive women are still on the shelf: how does a blind woman, with more diseases than a 70-year-old, no job and a divorce behind her, get herself settled! It just isn’t done! People say that major life events such as this display the true colours of another, and perhaps they are right!
And back here, back in the world of travel hysteria, I pack my bags and organise myself as best I can. Reza calls me intermittently, sometimes to tell me beautiful things, like the fact we’ve managed to take an apartment close to the haram in Mashhad for our ziyerat stay, other times to casually tell me that the guest list has doubled without either himself or his parents clocking on! (these conversations are always met with expletives and lots of tears on my part!).

Sometimes it all gets too much, way too overwhelming, like yesterday: I woke early, read fajar and had the day all planned out! I was going to visit the post office and collect a parcel I’d been meaning to lift for weeks! Then get some clothes washed, clean the bathroom and kitchen, and go to majliss in the evening to deposit sadqa and say alvida to a few close friends and my mowlana sahib. Things started well: I collected the packages, came home, did breakfast and a few other paperwork type jobs that needed doing, and then, without warning, just zoned out! I was reading Michael Palin’s diary from ‘around the world in 80 days. I’ve seen all of his travel documentaries, and love them, but this diary is phenomenal! It picks up on so many miniscule details that TV misses out on, and the surreal nature of his incredible journey makes mine seem like a dot on the landscape in comparison, and reading it calms my shattered nerves! So, I started reading, and figured I had a headache. I got up, ate a light meal, took tablets and woke up 15 hours later. When I woke I felt drunk, disorientated and with no recollection of who/what I was, and more importantly what day it was! The result was the masjid didn’t happen (which I’m gutted about), and neither did any thing else on my to-do list! I’ve done some more packing, and am still fretting over a box for my dress; I never would have believed that finding a travel box for clothes would be so dam difficult!! The mania continues! God bless Asifa for inviting me for dinner tonight, I’m looking forward to a laugh, a catch-up and the unique way she always calms me down! And thank God for Michael Palin: every one should read these diaries!

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Find Wives in Britain, not Pakistan!!

by Jasper Hamill - http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/muslim-leader-find-wives-in-britain-not-pakistan-and-india-1.1029860

23 May 2010

Muslim men have been told to marry women born in Scotland rather than import wives from Pakistan and India.

Shaykh Amer Jamil, a Glasgow-born Islamic scholar, warned that Asian women who have grown up in Scotland are being left on the shelf in favour of wives
from outside the country.

Parents often prefer their sons to have arranged marriages with women who grew up in the Indian sub-continent, as they are seen as better partners. But
this means there are increasing numbers of British women unable to find a husband.

Islamic dating events have been set up to try and address the situation, but the balance is so heavily weighted towards women that few marriages result
from these events.

Shaykh Jamil, an Islamic scholar who set up a family counselling service called Unity Family Services, said: “I would say the situation is at a critical
level. There are many well-educated women up and down the country who want to get married but are not finding the right match. There is an acute shortage
of suitable male options and the ones who are available are getting married from back home.

“Consequently, this leads to many women reluctantly having to bring someone over from south Asia and that can lead to problems. The men coming over have
a different mentality and are not used to seeing a female working or having a life outside of the home. It makes sense to marry from within the UK as both
partners will speak English and will be familiar with British culture. This will also make raising children much easier.”

There are also community cohesion implications to the trend, as women come over from Pakistan who cannot speak English and are unused to the culture.

Arranged marriages are often facilitated by an informal matchmaking network of women called Aunty Gees. Shaaista Yousaf is one of these women and she has
been arranging marriages for more than a decade. Currently, she knows 30 eligible males and 80 females.

She explained: “There are mothers who insist their daughters only marry within a specific caste. They don’t like them getting married outside of the biraderi
[extended clan affiliation]. Such an issue automatically narrows their choice.

“There are also girls who are not prepared to stay with the in-laws. They want their own home, their own privacy. Girls brought over from Pakistan know
how to live with the extended families and the family politics that come as a result of that. Girls from here are not used to that.”

Naseem Khan ran Muslim marriage events in Glasgow for five years. She said that attitudes are changing amongst the younger generation, who want different
things from a relationship.

She said: “Our mothers came here and brought with them some cultural baggage that led them to get their daughters married within the family, within the
same caste or someone who they had given their word to back in Pakistan. Such attitudes are not prevalent amongst me or my friends. We are more flexible.”

Figures from the Home Office show that 12,700 husbands or fiances were admitted in 2008, a 16% reduction from 2007. Almost twice the number of wives or
fiancees were admitted, with 24,100 in 2008, although this still represents a 14% decrease from 2007. A high proportion of these partners were from Asia.

CASE STUDY

Amina is a 38-year-old single woman from Glasgow. She is currently unemployed, but worked in accounts before retraining with a degree in music. Amina (not
her real name) then worked in London’s music industry for five years before returning to Glasgow.

“People ask questions if you don’t have a partner by my age,” she says. “They realise I’ve had a career and done other things, rather than brought up children.

“Parents want men to marry from back home – it is one of the biggest problems in the Asian community. Mothers think the girls [here] are not good enough;
they don’t have the attributes of girls back home, who will be better wives. They think girls here are too independent.”
***ends***

Interesting article, and sadly very true! The Glasgow situation that I live in is representative of a wider problem across the Muslim world in Europe, the US and almost all non-Muslim countries where the Diaspora have put down routes. I’d love to say it was an exclusively Asian problem, or that it existed primarily among one branch of Islam or another; but it doesn’t; its every where; all across the board and growing! There are multiple layers to the marriage problem facing young Muslims today. From the moment they learn to talk, the prejudices are taught; no black people, no white people, no disabled people, no one from outside our cast, no one unemployed, no one without a masters degree, no one older than you, .., and so on, and so on! Thus making the shortlist incredibly short, (maybe narrowed down to 2 cousins and a family friend in some cases). The youth are never given logical guidelines for finding a spouse, and little concern is given to what Islam says about marriage and the criterion for selecting a husband or wife. The result is that we have rising proportions of forced marriages in this country, and as the article describes, vast numbers of women in their thirties and forties who have been unable to marry despite their best efforts, and with every year that passes, their prospects dwindle further still!
Men, on the other hand, often get their cake and eat it so to speak! Many of them shack up with white women for a while, play the field and experiment with their own kind, before asking ami jaan to ship over a nice pure untouched virgin from the mother land to give them their jollies! There is no age bracket during which men are duty bound to do this; only last week, I heard of a 67-year-old man who brought over a 25-year-old bride from India, with no one batting an eyelid!
As well as the indigenous Muslim communities, reverts have their own marriage difficulties! No one wants a black/white revert in the family, they are not from their “own communities”, (you thought we were all Muslims? …, think again!!). The assumption also tends to be that reverts will have been quite loose and promiscuous, and therefore not worth taking a risk on. If reverts do marry, it is often to unscrupulous types from other countries (as happened with me), who soon hot foot it away when their visa papers come through and they have their red passports in their hands!

The majority of our UK based Muslim Scholars are in agreement with Shaykh Amer, in that men/women should marry from within the UK, and for 7 years I tried to do just that! 7 whole years, where I met more potential spouses than I could begin to count, each of them smiling awkwardly and recoiling nervously at the fact I am white, blind an divorced!! 7 years, where like all of my counterparts, I was losing faith in the very institution of marriage, that is, until I met my future husband!
While Reza and I are happy together, and I know I’ve finally found the right match for me, it would have been much easier for me to marry from within the UK, I would not have all the expense of travel, lawyers fees, immigration barriers and other assorted headaches. Neither of us would be forced to juggle conflicting family priorities on opposite sides of the world, while one constantly carries a burden of guilt for forcing the other away from their land and all that is familiar! Had I been able to marry in the UK, I might have found a man that my family could relate to, who would better understand the fact that my parents are not Muslims and help me work through that. We would both be near our parents and would be able to manage our responsibilities without resentment, expense and conflict! We would have more uniformity on how to raise our children, and would have a shared understanding of how things are done here and how to make this Non-Muslim society work for our Muslim offspring! But, I never had any of these advantages, was never given the option because I had non-Muslim parents, because I didn’t resemble a particular Indian actress or other, and wasn’t from the preferred Pind where my prospective husband’s Grandparents haled from! If British Muslim men are reading this, I hope they feel shame enough to do something about it! and as for the parents, if your children are suffering, wake up to the reality that is around you: its 2010, you have made a home here in Scotland rather than Pakistan, and perhaps you should embrace it for the sake of your kids and their kids! If you don’t like the diversity here, jump on the next banana boat and let us build the multi-ethnic community of Muslims we deserve rather than creating a miniature Pakistan fresh out of the sixties!

Monday, 7 June 2010

The Secrets of Al-Zahra (A.S)

This most moving and eloquent article was released today by ‘Etrat Internet University. Though rather lengthy, I felt it was important to post here for so many reasons: as we enjoy and honour the days of celebration that signify the birth anniversary of Lady Fatimah Zahra (A.S), this was one of the most fitting tributes I had ever read on her life, death and the invaluable legacy she left behind for all mankind. The article talks about the secrets left by Lady Fatimah (A.S), which, if written about in their entirety would fill this blog a billion times over! part of the spiritual journey one goes through when discovering lady Fatimah (A.S), is uncovering the secrets that are specific to you as an individual follower of her’s (A.S). I’ve recently been involved in preparing an interfaith conference celebrating the blessed life of Lady Fatimah (A.S), and we are blessed to have people from all of the main faith traditions taking part. Not only are they speaking about their own beliefs, but each of them will be reflecting on the life of lady Fatimah (A.S), from the perspective of their own religion. Few Muslims are even acutely aware of Lady Fatimah (A.S) in their own tradition, let alone within other faiths, but such an example illustrates to us that she is truly an example to follow, an unfaltering light for all people, all times and all faiths that dwell upon this earth. Lady Fatimah (A.S) left her great tasbih, a name that carries great comfort, tranquillity of heart and shifa from mental torture. She left behind the gate of knowledge, that is her husband, Imam Ali (A.S), she left a daughter, who embodied the grace, eloquence and confidence of both parents, and 2 sons who defined spirituality, sacrifice, and elevation in every sense.

What makes this article unique, is that most of the references used within it are taken from the suni sources, thus refuting claims that Fatimah (A.S) is no more than a myth fuelled by the shia. Moreover it is an accessible document, easily understood by non-Muslims, and also by those wishing to understand how/why the shia/suni divide came to be. For those of us who know Al-Zahra (A.S), this is an apt reminder of her rank, status and importance, and how we must honour and uphold her legacy in order to be considered worthy of being called her followers. For those of us who don’t know her, it is an opportunity to gain an overview of her extraordinary blessed life, and a chance to delve deeper in to her secrets for our betterment: both in this life and in the next, Insha Allah!

By Freda B. Stauffer.

Oh Allah send blessings on Fatimah and her father,
her husband and her sons, and the secret installed in her.

Abstract:
The secrets mentioned in this article are really no longer secrets; however, they were secrets at the time when Lady Fatimah and her family were still on
this earth, may Allah bless them. If it is still a secret from us, we are either her enemies or in need of further education. There are a few good ways
to begin refreshing our memories about her secrets. We may do this by recalling her positions in Islam, within her family, who are her enemies and who
are her friends. Her secrets are open, easy to discover, and an example for us all.

Keywords:
Lady Fatimah, The Hadith of The Cloak (Hadith al-KasA’), MubAhalah, Fadak, The Two Weighty Things (Thaqalain)

Introduction:
The position of Lady Fatimah in the Hadith of the cloak shows that her level of purity was equal to the four male members of her relatives, her father,
her husband and her two sons, al-Hasan and al-Hussein, peace be upon them all. Furthermore, the hadith of the cloak also proves a woman’s position in her
family as well as in Islam. Her inheritance, a property called Fadak, was a pivotal issue in defining who were her friends and who were her enemies after
her father passed away. After her father had departed from this life, and her inheritance was usurped, she gave a public sermon in the Mosque to remand
those who oppressed her. The biggest secret of all was that on his death bed her father bestowed in her the secret that she was the chief of all believing
women. The biggest secret is supported by the Hadith of the Cloak, The Event of MubAhalah and the Thaqalain (“The Two Weighty Things”) Hadith. Her participation
in The Event of MubAhala and her position in the Thaqalain Hadith also uphold her position in her family and in Islam. Her examples are lessons for us
all to learn from. We may especially learn what pious women’s positions in their families and societies should be. These are all topics we are generally
well acquainted with, never-the-less, each topic deserves to be repeated again. Recalling the merits and special attributes of this great Lady enriches
our relationship with Prophet Muhammad and his family and enhances our faith in Allah. May peace be upon her and her family.

HADITH OF THE CLOAK
The hadith of the cloak is narrated primarily by Aisha, one of the wives of the Prophet. This hadith is found in Sahih Muslim’s chapter on The Merits of
the Family of the Prophet (pbuh). It describes exactly who is Ahl ul-Bayt or Prophet Muhammad’s household. The members of Ahl ul-Bayt are five, Lady Fatimah;
her father, Prophet Muhammad; her husband, the first Imam, 'Ali; her first son, and the second Imam, al-Hasan; her second son, and the third Imam, al-Hussain.
The Hadith is translated as follows:

'A'isha reported that Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him) went out one morning wearing a striped cloak of the black camel's hair that there came Hasan
b. 'Ali. He wrapped him under it, then came al-Hussain and he wrapped him under it along with the other one (al-Hasan). Then came Fatimah and he took her
under it, then came 'Ali and he also took him under it and then said: Allah only desires to take away any uncleanliness from you, O people of the household,
and purify you a thorough purifying.(1)

An interesting detail of this hadith is that Lady Fatima was taken under the cloak before her husband, Imam 'Ali was invited under its umbrella. While this
point may or may not be relevant to any grand scheme of the picture, it does show that she was as important to the family as the men. Without her, her
husband would not have fathered the descendants of Prophet Muhammad. This brings another subtle subject to mind, that is, the significance of matrilineal
bloodlines in Islam. Lady Mary, mother of Jesus is another example of the significance of matrilineal bloodlines, peace be upon her and her son. The holy
bloodline of Islam, however, is a lengthy topic which deserves its own article. Nonetheless, it is hinted at through the order in which the members of
Ahl ul-Bayt were invited under the cloak. This may be one of the deeper secrets which permeate the history of Lady Fatimah.

This Sunni hadith of the cloak is further supported by a Quranic revelation. It is important to note that translations of the Quran vary slightly in their
choice of words, since they are largely based on the opinions of the translators. Therefore, it is commendable to compare two or three different translations
to get to the best possible understanding of its meaning when one does not understand Arabic. At any rate, the Hadith of the Cloak is so deeply entrenched
in Islam that it was mentioned in the following verse from the Quran:

33:33
YUSUFALI: And stay quietly in your houses, and make not a dazzling display, like that of the former Times of Ignorance; and establish regular Prayer, and
give regular Charity; and obey Allah and His Messenger. And Allah only wishes to remove all abomination from you, ye members of the Family, and to make
you pure and spotless.
PICKTHAL: And stay in your houses. Bedizen not yourselves with the bedizenment of the Time of Ignorance. Be regular in prayer, and pay the poor-due, and
obey Allah and His messenger. Allah's wish is but to remove uncleanness far from you, O Folk of the Household, and cleanse you with a thorough cleansing.
SHAKIR: And stay in your houses and do not display your finery like the displaying of the ignorance of yore; and keep up prayer, and pay the poor-rate,
and obey Allah and His Messenger. Allah only desires to keep away the uncleanness from you, O people of the House! and to purify you a (thorough) purifying.(2)

The fact that this hadith was dignified by being mentioned in the Quran means that believers may not ignore it. Like the hadith, it says that Allah intended
to purify the Prophet Muhammad’s family in a monumental and consequential manner, peace be upon him and his family. Therefore, believers who do not accept
the hadith are not accepting the Quran. This is one of the ways we may differentiate between the enemies and the friends of Lady Fatimah, peace and blessings
be upon her. Point-blank, her friends accept her special status and her enemies deny her special status.

THE EVENT OF MUBAHALAH:

Another meaningful hadith recorded by Ahl al-Sunnah can be found in Sahih Muslim’s chapter on the merits of Imam Ali, may Allah bless him. It mentions the
event of MubAhala, or the event of the challenge. “…when the (following) verse was revealed:" Let us summon our children and your children." Allah's Messenger
(may peace be upon him) called 'Ali, Fitima, Hasan and Husain and said: O Allah, they are my family.”(3) This hadith mentions the time when a community
of Christians from NajrAn challenged Prophet Muhammad’s teachings.(4) Prophet Muhammad recited the Quranic verse which states that Prophet Jesus’ relationship
with Allah is like the relationship of Adam, which is that Allah said to Prophet Jesus, “‘Be,’ and he was.”(5) The Christians did not accept this verse,
therefore, the challenge was issued.

003.061
YUSUFALI: If any one disputes in this matter with thee, now after (full) knowledge Hath come to thee, say: "Come! let us gather together,- our sons and
your sons, our women and your women, ourselves and yourselves: Then let us earnestly pray, and invoke the curse of Allah on those who lie!"
PICKTHAL: And whoso disputeth with thee concerning him, after the knowledge which hath come unto thee, say (unto him): Come! We will summon our sons and
your sons, and our women and your women, and ourselves and yourselves, then we will pray humbly (to our Lord) and (solemnly) invoke the curse of Allah
upon those who lie.
SHAKIR: But whoever disputes with you in this matter after what has come to you of knowledge, then say: Come let us call our sons and your sons and our
women and your women and our near people and your near people, then let us be earnest in prayer, and pray for the curse of Allah on the liars.(6)

In this verse, and throughout this event, Lady Fatimah, may Allah bless her, represented the Muslim women. She was our delegate, appointed in the Quran,
by Allah Himself. She was surrounded by her family again, her father and sons ahead and her husband behind her. In this way she was able to fully participate
in facing the Christians while being fully protected from the front and the back. One may say that their positions during their walk may not be of any
significance, or that it was a coincidence. However, this is probably not the case. Everything that Prophet Muhammad did had significance, especially on
an occasion as important as the Event of MubAhalah which involved bringing his family to pray against the Christians. The Christians had said to each other
that if Prophet Muhammad comes with his army then he is a liar, but if he brings his family then they would decline the challenge. When they saw the Holy
Family arriving together in this manner they became frightened because they knew that if such people prayed for a mountain to be moved, it would happen.
Therefore the Christians gave up the idea of a praying against the Muslims, and agreed to pay taxes to the Muslims for their protection.(7) The tax they
were required to pay was not so strange. Muslims are required to pay several different types of charity, which may also be viewed as a method of taxation.
Lady Fatimah, may Allah bless her, was the only woman qualified for this task, therefore she was the only one who was invited to participate in praying
against the Christians. If there had been women equal to or better than her, Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, would definitely have taken them also.(7)
The same is true about the men, Imam Ali was the most qualified man to accompany the Prophet in this great challenge. Had their been any man equal to
or better then Imam Ali, Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, would definitely have employed him for this enormous challenge. Asking God to curse the liars
in a public challenge is a monumental and consequential matter. Lady Fatima’s position in this event is no great secret, it is easy to discover and contemplate
if we are at all interested in the matter of her status and character.

TWO WEIGHTY THINGS

The Thaqalain Hadith (“Two Weighty Things”), from Sahih Muslim, provides the basis for two important concepts. One is the order to adhere to two things
after the Prophet, peace be upon him, is gone, the Holy book and his family. The Book of Allah here obviously refers to the Qur’an. His family here refers
to the ones whom he himself raised and trained in all the minute details of Islamic tenets. The second issue in this hadith refers to the fact that his
wives do not have the same religious merits as those related to him by blood. It refers to those who were born in his family and raised on his own knee,
so to speak. Therefore, when he reminded us of our special duties towards his family, he was talking about his blood relations.

“…I am leaving among you two weighty things: the one being the Book of Allah in which there is right guidance and light, so hold fast to the Book of Allah
and adhere to it. He exhorted (us) (to hold fast) to the Book of Allah and then said: The second are the members of my household I remind you (of your
duties) to the members of my family. He (Husain) said to Zaid: Who are the members of his household? Aren't his wives the members of his family? Thereupon
he said: His wives are the members of his family (but here) the members of his family are those for whom acceptance of Zakat is forbidden. And he said:
Who are they? Thereupon he said: 'Ali and the offspring of 'Ali, 'Aqil and the offspring of 'Aqil and the offspring of Ja'far and the offspring of 'Abbas.
Husain said: These are those for whom the acceptance of Zakat is forbidden. Zaid said: Yes.”(8)

Pages 90 to 92 in the chapter on Fatimah in the Qur’an and Sunnah, in Allamah Baqir Shareef al-Qurashi’s book, The Life of Fatima az-Zahra: the principle
of all women, study and analysis,
c provide many more references for this hadith.(9) It is a hadith that is found across the board in Islamic history. It is in the references of Ahl al-Sunnah
as well as Shia. Lady Fatimah is the one offspring of Prophet Muhammad who lived to maturity, peace be upon them both. Therefore she is the highest example
especially for Muslim women to follow, may Allah bless her. This is also not some deeply buried secret. It is only a secret from those who are satisfied
with being ignorant.

THE SECRET BESTOWED IN HER

There are several references in the collections of Ahl al-Sunnah which clarify the specific secret that Prophet Muhammad bestowed in Lady Fatimah, peace
be upon her. If there had not already been enough evidence of her status revealed, these hadith from `Aisha, would provide it. On his death bed Prophet
Muhammad, peace be upon him, whispered to Lady Fatimah, may Allah bless her and her family. He told her that she is the chief, principle, mistress or the
head of the believing women, depending on which translation one refers too.

Narrated 'Aisha:

Once Fatima came walking and her gait resembled the gait of the Prophet . The Prophet said, "Welcome, O my daughter!" Then he made her sit on his right
or on his left side, and then he told her a secret and she started weeping. I asked her, "Why are you weeping?" He again told her a secret and she started
laughing. I said, "I never saw happiness so near to sadness as I saw today." I asked her what the Prophet had told her. She said, "I would never disclose
the secret of Allah's Apostle ." When the Prophet died, I asked her about it. She replied. "The Prophet said.) 'Every year Gabriel used to review the Qur'an
with me once only, but this year he has done so twice. I think this portends my death, and you will be the first of my family to follow me.' So I started
weeping. Then he said. 'Don't you like to be the mistress of all the ladies of Paradise or the mistress of all the lady believers? So I laughed for that."(10)

Narrated 'Aisha:

He added, 'But this year he reviewed it with me twice, and therefore I think that my time of death has approached. So, be afraid of Allah, and be patient,
for I am the best predecessor for you (in the Hereafter).' " Fatima added, "So I wept as you ('Aisha) witnessed. And when the Prophet saw me in this sorrowful
state, he confided the second secret to me saying, 'O Fatima! Will you not be pleased that you will be chief of all the believing women (or chief of the
women of this nation i.e. my followers?") (11)

“…She said: Yes, now I can do that (so listen to it). When he talked to me secretly for the first time he informed me that Gabirel was in the habit of reciting
the Qur'an along with him once or twice every year, but this year it had been twice and so he perceived his death quite near, so fear Allah and be patient
(and he told me) that he would be a befitting forerunner for me and so I wept as you saw me. And when he saw me in grief he talked to me secretly for the
second time and said: Fatima, are you not pleased that you should be at the head of the believing women or the head of this Umma? I laughed and it was
that laughter which you saw.” (12)

These three hadith not only tell Lady Fatimah, peace be upon her, her direct status in Islam, it also tells her, and us, that she is the first believer
to follow Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, into the hereafter. These reports also show that the Prophet, peace be upon him and his progeny, selected
her from all the women in his family to tell her a special secret on his death bed. No other woman, no wife, aunt or anybody else, is reported to have
enjoyed such a distinguished experience. Lady Fatimah, peace be upon her, was the one honored thus. She, may Allah bless her, only lived a short time after
that, various historians believe she lived perhaps three months and no more than six months after her father passed away. She, may Allah bless her, was
martyred as narrated by Imam Sadiq, may Allah never give her murderers or their friends peace!

A PROPERTY CALLED FADAK, AND LADY FATIMAH’S SERMON

Muslims are familiar with hadiths such as the following, since it has been recorded many times, in different ways: Narrated Al-Miswar bin Makhrama: Allah's
Apostle said, "Fatima is a part of me, and he who makes her angry, makes me angry."(13) It is an important warning to all Muslims, not to offend Lady Fatimah,
peace be upon her. Not only because she is the Prophet’s, peace be upon him and his progeny, only daughter, but because she is also one of the purified
members of his household. As noted previously, their special purification is even mentioned in the Holy Quran itself. Therefore, angering her is not similar
to angering a random woman who would become angry for random and small reasons. It would take an atrocity to anger this great Lady and doing so would incite
the anger of her father, who was also not an ordinary father, but the pure Prophet of Allah!

The hadith below is significant to our case that Lady Fatimah, peace be upon her, had a right to an inheritance from her father. It establishes the fact
that a father must leave some of his property to his offspring, “leave his heirs prosperous is better than to leave them poor and begging from people,”
even if they have only one daughter. As far as the amount goes, the Holy Book always overrides hadith because narrations come from word of mouth, which
may or may not be one hundred percent correct.

Humaid b. 'Abd al-Rahman al-Himyari reported from three of the sons of Sa'd all of whom reported from their father that Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon
him) visited Sa'd as he was ill in Mecca. He (Sa'd) wept. He (the Holy Prophet) said: What makes you weep? He said: I am afraid I may die in the land from
where I migrated as Sa'd b. Khaula had died. Thereupon Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him) said: O Allah, grant health to Sa'd. O Allah, grant health
to Sad. He repeated it three times. He (Sa'd) said: Allah's Messenger, I own a large property and I have only one daughter as my inheritor. Should I not
will away the whole of my property? He (the Holy Prophet) said: No. He said: (Should I not will away, ) two-thirds of the property? he (the Holy Prophet)
said: No. He (Sa'd) (again) said: (Should I not will away) half (of my property)? He said: No. He (Sa'd) said: Then one-third? Thereupon he (the Holy Prophet)
said: (Yes), one-third, and one-third is quite substanial. And what you spend as charity from your property is Sadaqa and flour spending on your family
is also Sadaqa, and what your wife eats from your property is also Sadaqa, and that you leave your heirs well off (or he said: prospreous) is better than
to leave them (poor and) begging from people. He (the Holy Prophet) pointed this with his hands.(14)

Far is it from Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, to give advice he would not follow himself! Furthermore, the Quran establishes the amount of inheritance
that daughters should receive from their fathers. This is a very important point. Allah would not lay out a law in the Qur’an that the Prophet himself
was exempt from, especially not in regards to justice for his only surviving child, Lady Fatimah, peace be upon her. It is common knowledge that Prophet
Muhammad was the first man in obeying every single law laid out by the Holy Book. Lady Fatimah, peace be upon her, was entitled to an inheritance from
her father, especially because her father is a Prophet, peace be upon him, and also because he is the most obedient to Allah. Let’s have a look at some
examples in the Quran concerning the laws of inheritance. First, the verse that describes how much inheritance an only daughter should receive from her
father: at least half of his property! See the three different English translations in order to understand it more correctly.

004.011
YUSUFALI: Allah (thus) directs you as regards your Children's (Inheritance): to the male, a portion equal to that of two females: if only daughters, two
or more, their share is two-thirds of the inheritance; if only one, her share is a half. For parents, a sixth share of the inheritance to each, if the
deceased left children; if no children, and the parents are the (only) heirs, the mother has a third; if the deceased Left brothers (or sisters) the mother
has a sixth. (The distribution in all cases ('s) after the payment of legacies and debts. Ye know not whether your parents or your children are nearest
to you in benefit. These are settled portions ordained by Allah; and Allah is All-knowing, Al-wise.
PICKTHAL: Allah chargeth you concerning (the provision for) your children: to the male the equivalent of the portion of two females, and if there be women
more than two, then theirs is two-thirds of the inheritance, and if there be one (only) then the half. And to each of his parents a sixth of the inheritance,
if he have a son; and if he have no son and his parents are his heirs, then to his mother appertaineth the third; and if he have brethren, then to his
mother appertaineth the sixth, after any legacy he may have bequeathed, or debt (hath been paid). Your parents and your children: Ye know not which of
them is nearer unto you in usefulness. It is an injunction from Allah. Lo! Allah is Knower, Wise.
SHAKIR: Allah enjoins you concerning your children: The male shall have the equal of the portion of two females; then if they are more than two females,
they shall have two-thirds of what the deceased has left, and if there is one, she shall have the half; and as for his parents, each of them shall have
the sixth of what he has left if he has a child, but if he has no child and (only) his two parents inherit him, then his mother shall have the third; but
if he has brothers, then his mother shall have the sixth after (the payment of) a bequest he may have bequeathed or a debt; your parents and your children,
you know not which of them is the nearer to you in usefulness; this is an ordinance from Allah: Surely Allah is Knowing, Wise. (15)

No honest person would claim that this law should not apply to all women, including the Prophet’s own daughter, peace be upon them both. If there is an
obstacle prohibiting her from receiving an inheritance it would be most unjust, because leaving a man’s daughter to beg from people is not liked by Allah,
and especially not the daughter of the Prophet, peace be upon him, who was the best living example of how the Quran is to be implemented. Here are two
verses that show a specific example of a Prophet praying for an heir, because his wife was previously barren:

019.005
YUSUFALI: "Now I fear (what) my relatives (and colleagues) (will do) after me: but my wife is barren: so give me an heir as from Thyself,-
PICKTHAL: Lo! I fear my kinsfolk after me, since my wife is barren. Oh, give me from Thy presence a successor
SHAKIR: And surely I fear my cousins after me, and my wife is barren, therefore grant me from Thyself an heir,

019.006
YUSUFALI: "(One that) will (truly) represent me, and represent the posterity of Jacob; and make him, O my Lord! one with whom Thou art well-pleased!"
PICKTHAL: Who shall inherit of me and inherit (also) of the house of Jacob. And make him, my Lord, acceptable (unto Thee).
SHAKIR: Who should inherit me and inherit from the children of Yaqoub, and make him, my Lord, one in whom Thou art well pleased.(16)

If no one could inherit anything from a prophet, Prophet ZakariyA would not have prayed for an heir, furthermore, Allah would not have granted his wish
for an heir. However, Allah did grant Prophet ZakariyA’s, peace be upon him, wish for an heir in a son, named YahyA in Arabic, or John in English. Therefore,
the case is fully established that people could, and did, inherit from Prophets. The people who confiscated Lady Fatimah’s, peace be upon her, inheritance
were imposing on her the pre-Islamic practice of disinheriting female children.

One more spin on the subject of how we must deal with Lady Fatimah’s, peace be upon her, inheritance:

006.152
YUSUFALI: And come not nigh to the orphan's property, except to improve it, until he attain the age of full strength; give measure and weight with (full)
justice;- no burden do We place on any soul, but that which it can bear;- whenever ye speak, speak justly, even if a near relative is concerned; and fulfil
the covenant of Allah: thus doth He command you, that ye may remember.
PICKTHAL: And approach not the wealth of the orphan save with that which is better, till he reach maturity. Give full measure and full weight, in justice.
We task not any soul beyond its scope. And if ye give your word, do justice thereunto, even though it be (against) a kinsman; and fulfil the covenant of
Allah. This He commandeth you that haply ye may remember.
SHAKIR: And do not approach the property of the orphan except in the best manner until he attains his maturity, and give full measure and weight with justice--
We do not impose on any soul a duty except to the extent of its ability; and when you speak, then be just though it be (against) a relative, and fulfill
Allah's covenant; this He has enjoined you with that you may be mindful; (17)

She, peace be upon her, was an orphan. The Quran orders us never to encroach on the property of an orphan! Consequently, those who seized her property were
breaking the commandments tri-fold. First, they ignored her pure status in Islam and angered her. Second, they chose to overlook the commandment stipulating
the females’ share from her father’s inheritance. Third, her enemies dismissed the requirements, regarding an orphans’ property which are mandated in the
Holy Qur’an itself. The Prophet himself did not know all of the hypocrites that involved themselves with him:

009.101
YUSUFALI: Certain of the desert Arabs round about you are hypocrites, as well as (desert Arabs) among the Medina folk: they are obstinate in hypocrisy:
thou knowest them not: We know them: twice shall We punish them: and in addition shall they be sent to a grievous penalty.
PICKTHAL: And among those around you of the wandering Arabs there are hypocrites, and among the townspeople of Al-Madinah (there are some who) persist in
hypocrisy whom thou (O Muhammad) knowest not. We, We know them, and We shall chastise them twice; then they will be relegated to a painful doom.
SHAKIR: And from among those who are round about you of the dwellers of the desert there are hypocrites, and from among the people of Medina (also); they
are stubborn in hypocrisy; you do not know them; We know them; We will chastise them twice then shall they be turned back to a grievous chastisement (18)

This verse states that some people who appeared to be close to the Prophet, peace be upon him, were actually the vilest of hypocrites. Furthermore, he himself
was innocent of knowledge about their identities. Yet, their behavior after his passing away identified some of them very clearly (see Quran, Muhammad
(47):30).

A fourth dimension in the topic of Fadak is that of who can receive sadaqa, a charity Muslims pay in order to have their sins forgiven or to have specific
prayers answered. Sadaqah is usually given to poor Muslims who cannot afford to feed themselves. It is partially established in Hadith Thaqalain (“The
Two Weighty Things”) previously discussed, for whom sadaqa or zakat,
d is forbidden. It is considered unclean for the Prophet’s family, may peace be on them, because it is meant to purge the person making the donation of
his or her sins. Hence, it is not allowed for the purified family to accept a donation from a charity that was inspired to cleanse the impurities from
normal Muslim people. That is what is meant by these two hadiths: “…The Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) then lowered his head and said to us:
This sadaqah (zakat) is a dirt of the people. It is legal neither for Muhammad nor for the family of Muhammad…”(19) and “Sadaqah to the family of Muhammad
is not halAl. It is only people's impurities."(20) This means that the Muslims of that time were well aware of the illegality of sadaqah or zakat in regards
to Prophet Muhammad’s family.

Now we have a hadith which is similar to many others, stating exactly what was done to Lady Fatimah, peace be upon her. She approached Abu Bakr repeatedly
to ask for the deed to the property she was to inherit. If it was true that a portion of it was to be donated to charities, then who was more qualified
to perform this obligation than her and the other relatives of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon them?

Narrated `Aisha:

Fatimah was demanding (the property of) sadaqah of the Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) at Medina and Fadak, and what remained from the fifth of Khaybar.
Aisha quoted AbuBakr as saying: The Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) said: We are not inherited; whatever we leave is sadaqah. The family of Muhammad
will eat from this property, that is, from the property of Allah. They will not take more then their sustenance.(21)

We have already established the fact that blood relatives did, in fact, inherit from prophets. We have also established the fact that it is a very bad deed
for a man to leave his progeny to beg from people, and we have also established that taking the property of an orphan is a sin. Now we have another proof
that what was done to Lady Fatimah, peace be upon her, after Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, passed away was a grave act of oppression. Her inheritance
was confiscated and she was refused her property. This would have been bad enough if she was the ordinary daughter of an ordinary Muslim, but she was the
purified daughter from the purified household of the Prophet of Islam! May Allah compensate her for the horrendous tribulations which some members of her
own community, the Muslims, inflicted on her! Why? That is a subject which could fill an entire article by itself, but there is a short version of the
reason why she had to be thus subjugated by the first false caliph. It was mainly because if she had open access to her property she and her husband, Imam
Ali, the rightful first caliph, would potentially have had the financial autonomy with which to take back his rightful position as the first caliph. Knowing
everything he knew about their qualifications and divine appointments, he was forced to deprive them of their property to protect the position of political
power for himself. This is one of the first points at which the split in Islam occurred, it is not something which was invented by Shia later. It was the
initial split between hypocrites and true believers that took place before Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, was cold in his grave.

Lady Fatimah, peace be upon her, went so far as to issue a public sermon in the mosque about her plight, for men and women all to hear. A group of women
placed a type of barrier between Lady Fatimah, peace be upon her, and the male members of the audience, therefore the men could also hear what she had
to say without ogling her. Her sermon was very eloquent, carefully supported with Quranic references and her arguments were very clear and show an intellectual
alacrity which most people lack. Here is an excerpt from her famous sermon:

O Muslims! Will my inheritance be usurped? O son of Abu Quhafa! Where is it in the Book of Allah that you inherit your father and I do not inherit mine?
Surely you have come up with an unprecedented thing. Do you intentionally abandon the Book of Allah and cast it behind your back? Do you not read where
it says: And Sulaiman inherited Dawood'?
And when it narrates the story of Zakariya and says: `So give me an heir as from thyself (One that) will inherit me, and inherit the posterity of Yaqoob'
And: `But kindred by hood have prior rights against each other in the Book of Allah'
And: Allah (thus) directs you as regards your children's (inheritance) to the male, a portion equal to that of two females' And, If he leaves any goods,
that he make a bequest to parents and next of kin, according to reasonable usage; this is due from the pious ones.' You claim that I have no share! And
that I do not inherit my father! What! Did Allah reveal a (Quranic) verse regarding you, from which He excluded my father? Or do you say: `These (Fatimah
and her father) are the people of two faiths, they do not inherit each other?!' Are we not, me and my father, a people adhering to one faith? Or is it
that you have more knowledge about the specifications and generalizations of the Quran than my father and my cousin (Imam Ali)? So, here you are! Take
it! (22)

Her sermon proves her faith, intellect, and her willingness to speak the truth to her oppressors, rather than run and hide from them. It also underscores
women’s obligation and role in learning and disseminating the knowledge of religion. Muslim women are not meant to be voiceless, and timid subhuman beings.
The example of Lady Fatimah, daughter of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon them, tells us to speak the truth to our own oppressors.

HER SHAHADAT

Our dear beloved leader, head mistress of believing women, Lady Fatimah, may Allah compensate her, did not live long on this earth after her father, peace
be upon him, passed away. In spite of a proliferation of hadith such as the one below from Ahl al- Sunnah’s collection, the Sahih Muslim, the Prophet said:
“Fatima is a part of me. He in fact tortures me who tortures her.”(23) People who called themselves Muslims only for political purposes did just that,
they tortured her, which means they also tortured her father, Prophet Muhammad, may Allah bless them both. Lady Fatimah, peace be upon her, went to her
grave without forgiving those enemies of Allah who called themselves Muslims. May her murderers, their supporters, helpers, and friends, never know peace!
The enemies broke into her house, crushing her behind the door. The child in her womb was her fifth, the second Imam, al-Hasan, having been her first and
the second Imam, al-Hussein having been her second, and they had two younger sisters Zainab and Umm Kulthum, peace be upon each of them. Lady Fatimah,
peace be upon her, was approximately nineteen years old at the time when she was murdered (see: Inquiries about Shi’a Islam
e).

Her suffering increased day by day as a result of the injuries she sustained when one of the companions slammed the door on her, two days after her father's
death, causing her to mis-carry her son, Muhsin. When Lady Fatima died, her husband Imam Ali buried her in the night. Only a handful of sincere companions
participated in her funeral and he performed the prayers over her.(24)

As a result of this torture and subsequent miscarriage, Lady Fatimah, peace be upon her, became ill and suffered until she died. Until this day, no one
is sure exactly where is the grave of the chief mistress, the principle, the leader of believing women. There are a few opinions regarding the subject,
however, no one is absolutely certain. The secret of her burial has been well preserved in order to prevent her oppressors, the real enemies of Islam,
from visiting her grave.

CONCLUSIONS
All of these secrets are not deeply hidden from believers, they are like her grave, only deeply hidden from hypocrites and non-believers. There may be other,
more subtle secrets evident in her character, her example, her position in her family, and her position in Islam. However, one who sincerely seeks the
truth and desires to please Allah and the Prophet of Islam, peace be upon him, will certainly be informed of Lady Fatimah’s secrets, one by one. May Allah
compensate her for her miseries! In other words, if you are a hypocrite or a non-believer then enjoy your ignorance; but if you are a believer you will
either know Lady Fatimah, peace be upon her, very well already or you are busy seeking to know her better. Learning to know the important Islamic history
and personalities is not optional, it is a duty which all of us must engage in. Learning this history and these personalities will help us develop a relationship
with them and get closer to Allah, insha Allah. Getting closer to Allah is the aim of the efforts of every true believer. There are so many hadiths concerning
Lady Fatimah, peace be upon her, the Hadith of the Cloak, the Hadith Thaqalain, the Event of Mubahalah, the Hadith of Purification, to mention a few. All
of these are so tidily backed up by Quranic evidence, it is rather easy to learn some of the most profound Islamic lessons from her. Her secrets, her friends
and her enemies, and her special status are only a few of the truths that are apparent in her history. Peace be upon her.

All Praises are due to Allah. If there are any mistakes in this article, please forgive me, as my intentions are only to please Allah by learning more about
Islam and share what I have learned with others.

Javed Mohammed: one to watch!

Javed Mohammed is a Muslim writer, director and film maker. His moving struggle is reminiscent of all those who have left their home lands in search of a tinsel Town lifestyle in the states, only his journey is so much more distinguished and important: he is a Muslim, and he is a man with a mission! Haling from the UK, he moved to LA with nothing but his immense skill and incredible charm, coupled with a razor sharp belief that he would be able to cut it, and would be able to make a difference, and boy has he made a difference!
His articles and research are unique, thought-provoking and insightful, while his fiction and films are edgy, fresh and reflective. Many try to juggle the new “Islam genre” along-side more mainstream and contemporary styles of films; few get them right however! Javed experiments beautifully and comes out victorious almost every time, straddling Islam with modern-day struggle, while his fascination with the seemingly unorthodox blends perfectly with his ability to translate the business of living in to art in motion!
Directors like him have my utmost respect; the work they do is complicated and often shunned by the very Muslims who should be backing them. In truth, these directors will do more for Islam and its image in the mainstream than any so-called scholar or preacher will ever do!

His current focus is on his new book, from Bosnia with love (see below). The novel spans 2 continents, with a good blend of thrill, suspense, drama and romance that will keep any reader up all night desperate to get to the climax!
Chart his progress at www.muslimouttakes.wordpress.com
And watch this space for updates as well!
Well done Javed: keep it up: you rock, and need to keep on rocking!

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Thursday, 3 June 2010

One Born every minute: today's is a cracker!!

I’ve been pretty ill for the last couple of days, I don’t know whether it’s the weather changes, or my frantic pre-travel schedule, or something else entirely! But whatever it is, its horrible; and to make matters worse, I’ve got a meeting in an hour or so! Any way, imagine my delight when I received the below from Amjid: and the first thing I thought was, ‘one born every minute! The perfect Friday contribution from me to you!
Thank you Amjid; you are a real mate; only, as we say in Punjabi; Fitay moo Teray!! I’m no prude, but some of this was …., well, you know what it was! Needless to say, I’ve edited appropriately before publishing! If any one wants the unedited version, pay me enough and I’ll give it to you!

Halal chatup lines!

1. The first time I saw you I said mashallah, the second time I saw you I said Insha Allah!

2. I love the way your jilbab flows when you walk.

3. You are the reason Hijab became mandatory.

4. Marry me so that I don’t have to lower my gaze every time you walk in to the room!

5. Would you like me to help you wake up for fajr?

6. Are your feet tired? Cause you’ve been performing tawaaf in my mind all day long!

7. How would you like to help me fulfil half of my deen?

8. Allah created every thing in pairs, so what are you doing single?

9. I’d like to be more than just your brother in Islam.

10. Do you believe in the hereafter???

Oh you do??

Good! Then you know what I’m here after!!

My first Award!!

This super cute award was gifted to me by the legend that is
Kanwalful! I am honoured, not just because it is my first, but because
one of my favourite bloggers gave it to me! If you haven't checked out
Kanwal's blog, do so: she is funny, unique, creative, zany and all
things Karachi! (hence my love affair).

As for me, I'm passing this award to Selina over at Selina's world,
because she needs to get started on the award stakes; it will only
enhance her Olympic dreams! And, because I'm feeling generous and all
'fluffy family due to recent events, I also gift this to my cousin
Irena over at 'On our Journey, because she is an award-winner in my
eyes and her nurturing of little Yana will always make her a winner in
every thing she does!
Thank you again kanwalful! I'm not worthy and …, I love you all!

PS: if this post looks weird, its because I'm experimenting with
Remote posting, which is not only a skill to be acquired, but the only
way of visually impaired folks to add images; so don't laugh now will
you! Good! Now go make me some tea to help me recover from the shock
that I've actually accomplished something new and technical!

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Much to do about Zakir Naik!!

“Beware of Muslims saying Osama Bin Laden is right or wrong. I reject them ... we don’t know.

“But if you ask my view, if given the truth, if he is fighting the enemies of Islam, I am for him.

“I don’t know what he’s doing. I’m not in touch with him. I don’t know him personally. If he is terrorising the terrorists, if he is terrorising America
the terrorist ... I am with him. Every Muslim should be a terrorist.”

This is an extract taken from a recent speech delivered by Zakir Naik in his native Mumbai. Most of us have the misfortune to encounter Naik on an almost daily basis, pumped in to our homes either by the Ironically named Peace TV, the Islam Channel, or the multitude of sub-continental TV Networks who are either bribed (or just stupid enough) to air his speeches! While those of us who are genuinely peace loving try to avoid and disassociate from him at any cost, English residents will soon have little choice! Zakir Naik was thrust in to UK mainstream media this weekend, as a result of the home office decision to grant him a visa to visit, lecture and tour England later this month.
The mammoth convention, euphemistically titled ‘peace convention 2010, will take in London, Sheffield and Birmingham in an alleged effort to increase and enhance understanding between faith communities across the UK.
Little is known about the wider content of this programme and the speakers to be featured, but Naik certainly tops the bill, presumably the organisers believe that any publicity is good publicity, and they are pinning success on Naik’s rare ability to regurgitate those facts he has on recall re: world religion and his own Islam.
A doctor by profession, it is unclear how/where Naik gained his Islamic knowledge. He is one of a new group of medical professionals who “see the light”, ditching medicine for a career in religion, and they’ve certainly profited at every turn! DR Israr Ahmed and DR. Farhat Hussain hashmi are 2 of the most wealthy professionals on Pakistan’s rich list. Naik however, has an edge over them and others like them. From humble religious beginnings, what sparked his rise to fame was his apparent extensive studies in to world religions. Naik claimed to have studied the bible, the torah and the full pantheon of Hindu religious texts, and it showed!! Naik could rime off parrot fashion huge sections from the aforementioned texts, thus appearing able to take on religious scholars of the world with ease and skill! No one knows how he trained himself to do this, whether he went through NLP etc, but whether he did or didn’t, he sure does have a God-Given talent for recall, (But God help you should you try to deviate from the path/portions his memory can accommodate!).

What is that famous British saying, about how you can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can never fool all of the people all of the time!
Increasing numbers of Muslim faithful became aware of Naik’s strange debating techniques (for want of a better word!). His staple was to perpetually call the shots, he would name his opponent, venue and topics for discussion, and would never answer any question on the spot! He would also restrict his answering time to between 60/90 seconds, thus limiting any possibilities for a meaningful answer to be given! He held a number of “Dawa training sessions”, which appeared to be more about indoctrinating would-be activists in the art of indoctrinating others! As Muslims, we are taught that we have a responsibility to spread and share our faith with others, …., fine! But must we brain wash them in to taking the plunge? Can’t the facts speak for themselves!
Naik’s lectures stepped up a gear, he was speaking all over the world and generating new heights of interest! He was the favourite of extremist movements such as the Pakistan based Tabligi jamat, while his own TV Channel granted him 24/7 exposure to the masses, wherever they may be! But people noticed a palpable change in delivery: no longer were his lectures short, concise, punchy and with an interfaith focus, they became longer, more militant and very angry! The style changed too; Naik would often disappear off in to a long angry rant, spurting out unrelated threats and hate filled sweeping statements such as the one at the top of this post! The shia in particular (and a great many sunis) began to boycott Naik when in 2008 he was asked a question on the happenings during muherram, and in particular, who Yazeed (LA) was. Naik began by admitting that he didn’t really know who Yazeed was, but then added that he was a rightly guided khalifa, a peace-loving man who had got in to a “fight” with the Prophet Mohammed’s Grandson. According to Naik, the “fight” in question was nothing more than a tussle between princes, and while it physically appeared to pain Naik to take the name of Hussain (A.S), his every mention of the tyrant sparked the traditional wahabi refrain of (May Allah be pleased with him!).
The obvious contradictions, coupled with a blatant lack of knowledge and argument displayed here exposed naik to much greater criticism and scrutiny from his followers and from the mass media, and its fair to say that he’s been keeping his head down, restricting his rants to his own channel and those diehard devotees who hang on his every word! So, it came as quite a shock to most of us to learn that a UK Muslim charity had invited Naik to top the venue at their peace seminar!

The seminars have been organised and fronted by Al Khaire foundation, a UK based charity running several Islamic schools and co-ordinating a number of humanitarian projects across the middle East and south Asia. Though carrying some obvious wahabi undertones, the organisation has appeared harmless thus far, their accounts are in order, and they, like Naik, tend to keep themselves to themselves! But this new conference has elevated them well above the station they have previously been comfortable with! On one level they seem to be relishing the new found fame they are generating, while on another, their management of this event leaves almost every thing to be desired! Despite the obvious security threats that are part and parcel of bringing a controversial figure like Naik to the UK, Al Khaire Foundation have turned their own TV Network, Iqra TV, in to a training ground for the staff, volunteers and attendees for each conference! A pumped up religious leader spends hours a day preaching about their seating plans, seating allocation policies and the security arrangements for the day, practically giving trouble makers and protesters an open invitation to infiltrate their programme! He also informed us that Al Khaire had established a “disaster committee” (good job, seems like they’ll be needing it!), and they needed it allot sooner than initially anticipated, when news of Naik’s arrival hit the mainstream press! Al Khaire have gone out of their way to invite the media, dignitaries, MPs, government officials and other people with power to attend this event, presumably because they believe it will grant them the q-dos that a figure like Naik so desperately needs! Rather naively it seems, they assumed journalists would blindly take up this invite, not stopping to investigate Naik and the purpose behind such a programme. Before the unsuspecting volunteers knew it, a hate campaign against Naik had taken over the press, and now it appears questionable as to whether or not any of the events will go ahead after all (what will happen to that poor presenter’s seating plan!!).

While only time will tell how this particular drama will draw to a conclusion, one thing is certainly clear: there are plenty to benefit out of Naik, his hate, his controversy and his visit! His faithful benefit as they get a live chance to bask in his “wisdom” in real time. Al Khaire foundation definitely benefit, because despite the fact that they’ve wasted more than half a billion Pounds securing each venue Naik will speak at, they are selling tickets (very, VERY! Important Person’s tickets to be exact!), for 1000£ a piece, including a front roe seat at the show, individual attention, protocol and a back-stage pass to dinner with the man of the moment! Crazy you may say, but they are getting the money; and allot more besides! If only those with money to chuck away knew I could barely pay my fuel bills, maybe they’d chuck some my way as well!
Then there is the media: Naik’s plethora of TV channels will have material to play out for the next 6 months, and a great many of his staff based in India are getting a free holiday out of the tour as they travel to “support” him here. UK Muslim media will get their slice of the cake too, and if Peace TV have been slick about it, they are doubtless charging thousands for broadcast rights, which most of these channels are stupid enough to pay for!
Then there is the mainstream media here in the UK: they are not preaching against Naik for the sake of it! given that the conservatives appear to have secured Election victory purely on the basis of their barbaric immigration policies, Naik’s visit is the perfect opportunity for Tory hating journalists to put the boot in! and while the tories are rising to the challenge, it suits them to have Naik here: he is radical, but not violent (yet, any way!). He is definitely insightful, and thus fulfils a niche for the government; providing them with apparently justifiable ammunition on which they can build a case for banning Muslims (and in particular Islamic scholars) from visiting the UK overall.
It is the rest of us, the silent majority, sunis, shias, Muslims, committed to love, tolerance and harmony in our country, who are stuck in the middle of all these primary and secondary gains! When people ask me about Naik and figures like him, I am lost in a vile undercurrent which only looks set to ruin me; if I defend him, I am defending sectarian and interfaith hatred, which of course I’d never do, but if I shun him, I lose the support of a great many Muslims and face threats of violence and internet hate campaigns myself! My advice? Well, am not sure I have any! Other than keep your own head down, and pray that the home office have enough common sense to evoke his visa; God knows they have refused enough in the way of innocent activists over the past couple of years, now they have a chance to do right; save us from this hate mongering self-proclaimed terrorist who promises to bring nothing but destruction and tyranny to the Muslim community and beyond!
….., The drama continues!

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Gaza: the Least we can do!

I’m sure that, just like me, you were shocked and disgusted by the scenes of innocent activists being attacked by the Israeli military for having the edacity to try and bring humanitarian aid to those who need it. Watching pumped news images its hard to take in the full horror and enormity of what has gone on, as well as to identify how best to assist both the people of Gaza, and those who have suffered for trying to help them. For now, you might like to join me in adding your voice to the following:
"We call for an immediate, independent investigation into the flotilla assault, full accountability for those responsible, and the lifting of the Gaza blockade."

Please join me in signing here:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/gaza_flotilla_3/96.php

I will keep you posted: and if the rest of you source any other petitions/updates etc do add them in the comments section at the end of this post.

Coming of age: 1 today!

I am a day late with this, but, .., well, …, any one who knows the chaos I’m going through right now, will excuse me my few hours lateness! After all, I’m normally a control freak when it comes to time!
So, the thing is that the blog reached a mammoth 1 year in existence yesterday! In human terms it would barely be learning to walk, but 1 year feels like a very long time in blog land, at least for me at any rate! While there are allot of legendry dedicated bloggers out there, for every committed one there are 20 who have posted the odd thing, and then left their blogs to rot in to insignificance! I think this is sad, and although I know life can be busy, time can get in the way and some entries can be better than others, I’ve always tried, (and always will try Insha Allah), to maintain some kind of a presence over here, for you, for me, and for the promise I made on the 31st of May when I posted my first ever entry over here!
What a year it has been: the ziyerat trip, all the posts on muherram (I am delighted that Allah blessed me with enough wisdom to write those), then all the trials and tribulations over my job (even though I am still jobless and can barely afford to eat, when I read those posts, I am reminded of why I did what I did and still don’t regret it!). Then, there was the FGM series (that one sure did ruffle a few feathers! But it created allot of awareness too and I will continue to expand on it and keep FGM as a central campaigning issue for the blog). Apart from all that, there have been my own personal rants and raves, some deep reflective stuff, the odd news item here and there and a fair few funnies to boot! This blog has given me a live journal through which to reflect, improve and learn from life’s events; to celebrate the good and try to insure I don’t revisit the bad ever again. Its made me laugh and cry, and shown me that this world of ours really does get smaller every day! I never thought that any one would ever read this blog, and I made a conscious effort not to publicise it! I never thought my writing would be something any one would want to read, and somehow, telling friends to come and make my blog look interesting seemed rather pompous and egocentric! So, you can imagine my amazement when people started turning up here and following my little universe! 1 became 2, and now, not only do I have 9, but my followers list even contains legendry bloggers like Munawar and Kanwalful! I thank each and all of you (followers, and all those lurkers I know I have). I love the fact that you follow me, and that you drop by here when you can! I even love the abusive comments I often receive, for even if we disagree, you clearly care enough to take time out and post here!
As 1 year ends and another begins, the uncertainty and insecurity with which I started this blog remains, only for different reasons: I’ve been to ziyerat, and mashallah, about to make another ziyerat to Iran this time. I know what is happening with work (well, in so far as I don’t have any!). Health wise, I am getting worse and the future doesn’t look bright on that front! And family; well, there are many painful moments awaiting in the next 12 months I fear! But if there is 1 thing the pain of the last 12 months has reinforced for me, it really is that Allah (SWT) is the best of planners. I’ve written this many times here, but I am given reason to passionately affirm so on an almost daily basis! As a Virgo, I am terribly prone to stress, flapping and fretting! Yet in reality, I have learnt that I can only do my miniscule part, put in my best, and the rest is in his (SWT) hands. I’ve had all kinds of strange outcomes, (and not always the ones I’ve wanted!), and then, when I’ve got the ones I’ve wanted, I’ve hated myself for wishing for those things in the first place! My duas are quite different now, and I try to ask only for that which is good for me, (even if its not the outcome my being desires). I’m trying to submit more, to follow the real meaning of Islam, and reconcile to what being a Muslim is really about, i.e., submitting to the will of the divine, and placing my worries in his hands rather than loading my frail self up with them, and that too when I can’t do any thing about them! If there is any thing that you take from this blog, or from the last 12 months, it should surely be to do the same!
So, thank you for your support, may Allah (SWT) bless you, and reward you all for the support you all give me (those I know and those I don’t). Thank you for your duas, friendship, and just for the simple yet necessary smiles your presence brings when I see you’ve visited the blog! I pray you feel at home here, and that you keep coming back here; not just for me, but also in order that we can create a community that leaves a real lasting legacy to those who read it, and those who were inspired by it to do something useful Insha Allah!
Here’s to another 12 months blogging and beyond, Insha Allah!