Monthly Archives: July 2013

Spring’s Gift: A poem in praise of Prophet Muhemmed [PBUH] by Sheikh Hamza Yusuf


Masjid N sm (8)

I envy the sand that met his feet

I’m jealous of honey he tasted sweet

Of birds that hovered above his head

Of spiders who spun their sacred web

To save him from his enemies

I envy clouds formed from the seas

That gave him cover from the heat

Of a sun whose light could not compete

With his, whose face did shine so bright

That all was clear in blinding night

I envy sightless trees that gazed

Upon his form completely dazed

Not knowing if the sun had risen

But felt themselves in unison

With those who prayed, and fasted too

Simply because he told them to

With truth and kindness, charity

From God who gave such clarity

His mercy comes in one He sent

To mold our hearts more heaven bent

I envy all there at his side

Who watched the turning of the tide

As truth prevailed and falsehood fled

And hope restored life to the dead

Men and Women through him found grace

To seek together God’s noble face

I envy the cup that gave him drink

His thoughts that helped us all to think

To be one thought that passed his mind

Inspiring him to act so kind

For me this world is not one jot

If I could simply be a thought

From him to God throughout the ages

As revelation came in stages

I pity all who think it odd

To hear him say there is one God

Or he was sent by God to men

To hone their spirits’ acumen

It’s pride that blinds us from the sight

That helps good men to see his light

He taught us all to be God’s slaves

And he will be the one who saves

Humanity from sinful pride

Muhammad has God on his side

So on this day be blessed and sing

For he was born to grace our Spring

With lilies, flowers, life’s rebirth

In a dome of green like his on earth

http://tune.pk/video/192022/Springs-Gift-A-Poem-by-Sheikh-Hamza-Yusuf

Categories: Beliefs | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Arundhati puts forward 13 questions on the parliament attack of Dec 13




Arundhati puts forward 13 questions in her book on the parliament attack of Dec 13:

Question 1: For months before the Attack on Parliament, both the government and the police had been saying that Parliament could be attacked. On 12 December 2001, at an informal meeting the Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee warned of an imminent attack on Parliament. On 13 December Parliament was attacked. Given that there was an ‘improved security drill’, how did a car bomb packed with explosives enter the parliament complex?

Question 2: Within days of the Attack,the Special Cell of Delhi Police said it was a meticulously planned joint operation of Jaish-e-Mohammad and Lashkar-e- Toiba . They said the attack was led by a man called ‘Mohammad’ who was also involved
in the hijacking of IC-814 in 1998. (This was later refuted by the CBI.) None of this was ever proved in court. What evidence did the Special Cell have for its claim?

Question 3: The entire attack was recorded live on Close Circuit TV (CCTV). Congress Party MP Kapil Sibal demanded in Parliament that the CCTV recording be shown to the members. He was supported by the Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, Najma Heptullah, who said that there was confusion about the details of the event. The chief whip of the Congress Party, Priyaranjan Dasmunshi, said, ‘I counted six men getting out of the car. But only five were killed. The close circuit TV camera recording clearly showed the six men.’ If Dasmunshi was right, why did the police say that there were only five people in the car? Who was the the sixth person? Where is he now? Why was the CCTV recording not produced by the prosecution as evidence in the trial? Why was it not released for public viewing?

Question 4: Why was Parliament adjourned after some of these questions were raised?

Question 5: A few days after 13 December, the government declared that it had ‘incontrovertible evidence’ of Pakistan’s involvement in the attack,and announced a massive mobilization of almost  half a million soldiers to the Indo-Pakistan border. The subcontinent was pushed to the brink of nuclear war. Apart from Afzal’s ‘confession’, extracted under torture (and later set aside by the Supreme Court), what was the ‘incontrovertible evidence’?

Question 6: Is it true that the military mobilization to the Pakistan border had begun long before the 13 December Attack?

Question 7: How much did this military standoff, which lasted for nearly a year, cost?How many soldiers died in the process? How many soldiers and civilians died because of mishandled landmines, and how many peasants lost their homes and land because trucks and tanks were rolling through their villages, and landmines were being planted in their fields?

Question 8: In a criminal investigation it is vital for the police to show how the evidence gathered at the scene of theattack led them to the accused. How did the police reach Mohammad Afzal? The Special Cell says S.A.R. Geelani led them to Afzal. But the message to look out for Afzal was actually flashed to the Srinagar Police before Geelani was arrested. So how did the Special Cell connect Afzal to the 13 December Attack?

Question 9: The courts acknowledge that Afzal was a surrendered militant who was in regular contact with the security forces, particularly the Special Task Force (STF) of Jammu & Kashmir Police. How do the security forces explain the fact that a person under their surveillance was able to conspire in a major militant operation?

Question 10: Is it plausible that organizations like Lashkar-e- Toiba or Jaish-e-Mohammed would rely on a person who had been in and out of STF torture chambers, and was under constant police surveillance, as the principal link for a major operation?

Question 11: In his statement before the court, Afzal says that he was introduced to ‘Mohammed’ and instructed to take him to Delhi by a man called Tariq, who was working with the STF. Tariq was named in the police charge sheet. Who is Tariq and where is he now?

Question 12: On 19 December 2001, six days after the Parliament Attack, Police Commissioner, Thane (Maharashtra), S.M. Shangari identified one of the attackers killed in the Parliament Attack as Mohammad Yasin Fateh Mohammed (alias Abu Hamza) of the Lashkar-e-Toiba , who had been arrested in Mumbai in November 2000, and immediately handed over to the J&K Police. He gave detailed descriptions to support his statement. If Police Commissioner Shangari was right, how did Mohammad Yasin, a man in the custody of the J&K Police, end up participating in the Parliament Attack? If he was wrong, where is Mohammad Yasin now?

Question 13: Why is it that we still don’t know who the five dead ‘terrorists’ killed in the Parliament Attack are?

Courtesy: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2006/dec/15/india.kashmir

Categories: Current Affairs | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Tale of Two Holy Cities


بسم اللہ الرحمن الرحیم

اَللّٰھُمَّ صَلِّ عَلٰی مُحَمَّدٍ وَّعَلٰٓی اٰلِ مُحَمَّدٍ
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By Syeda Qudsia Mashhadi

For the first time, my pen is shy of words; how to express in words the special journey to the two of the holiest cities for Muslims, Madina Munawarah and Makkah Mukaramah? Can words do justice to the feelings, observations, thoughts, ambience of such sacred places as these? Hard feat indeed, but I will try my best. In this effort if I transgress somewhere, I seek pardon of my Creator and my Spiritual Guide, beloved Prophet [PBUH] and all the Muslims who read it. My intention is to objectively present everything as it happened and not gloss over some undesirable things that were observed during the course of the journey. Secondly, I want this account to be a helpful guide for the ones intending to make this journey to sacred lands.

This was not the first time I went to Haramain Kareemain but the fact that this second visit was after a gap of 11 years, had made every feeling new. There is not a Muslim in the world who does not have this pronounced desire of visiting these extraordinary cities and it would be true to say that this holy journey is an unlimited blessing of Allah upon Muslims. Sadly, not everyone is able to reap the benefits of these boundless blessings, but will come to that later.

When finally you go to Baitullah after coming to Makkah, the sight of it gives such pleasure that you forget all your woes or how physically tired you are. But this pleasure is not without a sense of majesty and grandeur of the House of the Lord of the Worlds. One can sense the all-engulfing might of Allah in Baitullah and the over-powering realization that one is just His humble servant and is present in His court to say Labbaik to His every order and wish. One truly understands the meaning of ‘Labbaik Allahuma Labbaik’ when one is sweating out there in 52 degrees C temperature and doing ‘Tawaf’ in an over-crowded place just for the sake of Allah. This is the journey of your mind, body and soul. Every iota of your being is on a holy pilgrimage. This is a labour of love for one’s Creator and this arduous task can be the most pleasurable thing for the ones who feel their connection with the Creator.

This connection is only felt by the ones, who are able to close their eyes to the world they have left behind, and close their eyes to the world which is around them even at that moment. In fact, the onslaught of huge crowds of vibrant humanity is not greater anywhere else than in Kaaba. One is overwhelmed with it all; so many faces, so many people from different nationalities and races; but you go there to renew your connection with Allah. One miracle that everyone witnesses in Khana Kaaba, and even in Masjid-e-Nabwi, is the constant provision of Zam Zam. Hundreds of years have passed since Bibi Hajra [AS] made that ‘Saee’ for her son Ismaeel [AS] and even now, the spring that sprung up for that blessed family, has not stopped. Cool and refreshing Zam Zam is available to Hajis in Baitullah and in Haram-e-Nabwi as well. After a Tawaf in scorching Sun, a glass of Zam Zam not only quenches the thirst but also seems to magically erase the effects of excessive heat as well. Credit must be given here to the Saudi govt. for constant availability of cooled Zam Zam water to the hajis in Haramain Shareefain. Not to mention the cleanliness, that is maintained actively around the clock at a place which is heavily crowded day and night.

Masjid e Nabwi

Then the traveller of this sacred journey reaches the city of the beloved Prophet [PBUH], Madina Munawarah. The ‘air’, the ambience of this city holy is different from Makkah Shareef. There is a feeling of awe in the air when one is in Makkah but in Madina that feeling is replaced with love. The sight of the Green Dome brings uncontrollable tears to the eyes of the ones who have not seen the beautiful visage of the Holiest of Prophets, Muhemmed [PBUH] and associate Gunbad-e-Khizra with him. Even those who consider themselves ‘weak’ Muslims, feel the utmost love and reverence for the Messenger [PBUH] of Allah and Masjid-e-Nabwi entices them. The exact resting place under the Green Dome is not easily accessible as it is heavily crowded all the time. Women especially have limited time to pay their respects to the Prophet [PBUH] as they are only allowed to go near the resting place of Prophet [PBUH] after 10 pm at night.

Muslims also say Salam to the two Khulafa-e-Rashideen, Hazrat Abu Bakr [RA] and Hazrat Umar [RA] buried beside the Holy Prophet [PBUH]. Adjacent to the gate of Masjid-e-Nabwi which faces the Green Dome, lies the most sacred graveyard, Jannat-ul-Baqee. Here rests the blessed daughter of the Prophet [PBUH], Bibi Fatima Zahra [SA]. It is also the resting place of some members of Ahlulbayt [AS] and Sahaba [RA] of the Prophet [PBUH]. Women are not allowed to enter but they also recite Fatiha and Quran near the boundary wall of Al-Baqee. In the times of Ottomans, no building taller than the Green Dome was built near Masjid-e-Nabwi out of respect for it. Now a days, one sees a lot of sky-scrapping five star hotels surrounding Masjid-e-Nabwi from all sides. But the Clock Tower in Makkah facing Khana Kaaba takes the cake for tall buildings. Personally, I don’t like a titanic sky scrapper towering above Khana Kaaba. It reminds me of the hadees of RasullAllah [PBUH] where he mentions the advent of tall buildings in the End of Times. It seems highly disrespectful to me, but people may differ from me on this point.

The place near the resting place of Prophet [PBUH] is called ‘Riyaz-ul-Jannah’ [a garden of paradise] and it is recommended to offer two rakkats there. But one should be careful not to push others or block the way for other pilgrims and only do so without being irksome. It is a great feeling to know that the Prophet [PBUH] used to offer prayers there, lived there and walked those blessed streets of Madina Munawarah. The close proximity of his physical body is a great gift for the pilgrims who come to Madina especially for saying Salam to their Prophet [PBUH]. The Hazari in Madina Shareef is not a part of Umrah or Hajj but who in their right mind would come to the House of Allah and then not go to the House of Prophet [PBUH] near it? The worshippers find solace in Baitullah and the lovers find peace in Masjid-e-Nabwi. Two wonderful Holy Cities, indeed.

This journey is made in this world and not in heaven; that is why one is tested by some troubles as well. After all, this is what life is about. Therefore, mentioning a few things I observed during my trip in the hope that the concerned people will try to become better. Without going into details, the passengers, especially Pakistanis, were made to wait for long, indefinite periods of time without any indication of their time of exit from the Jeddah Airport. People who had Saudi ‘Iqamahs’ were given swift exit, while the pilgrims, ‘the guests of Allah’ were made to wait. Despite being a huge international airport, it was ill-managed, especially washrooms, and also there was no one on the counters to guide the passengers arriving on the airport.

The main thing I learned from Umrah trip and which I also want to suggest to others is to never go to Umrah through an Umrah Agent. Most of the things they tell you about the arrangements of your trip are lies. From our tickets to the date of flying, to the hotel that he booked, our Umrah Agent lied about everything. J Then there is a ‘Mandoob’ assigned to you through the Umrah Agents and you become dependent on the Mandoob Sahib the moment you set foot in Saudia. The Mandoob guides you to your hotel and also manages your transport from Makkah to Madina and back. The attitude and lies of the Mandoob are also deplorable but let’s not talk about that.

One thing which I definitely want to talk about is the importance of lowering the gaze for men in Islam and how it was emphasized by our Holy Prophet [PBUH]. People spent a lot of money to make this holy pilgrimage but fail to follow this simple instruction in the Haramain. Look in your heart and find Allah; not the time or place to sit and stare at women pilgrims. Just like each good deed in Baitullah is rewarded manifold, similarly, every sin committed there is colossal in nature. Women being naturally modest try their best to avoid coming in contact with men while doing ‘Tawaf’. Most of the men are careless during Tawaf of Kaaba and roughly graze women in their unheeded stride. They should be as careful in avoiding contact with women as women are in avoiding contact with men. In this way, this holy duty can become easier for women folk.

Another amazing thing I observed during my Umrah, right from the beginning when I was boarding the plane, that majority of the people going for Umrah belonged to the lowest class of our society! The elite were rarely to be seen. Somehow these poorest of people had gathered enough money for pilgrimage due to their passion and will and this was really commendable. I also observed that almost half of the passengers were extremely old people. This was a painful fact, to be true. Somehow this has been ingrained in our collective psyche as a nation that one should only go to Umrah when one’s life is spent and one is retired, old and haggard. This is something that should be changed because the argument that these people are gathering funds all their lives for pilgrimage is rebutted by the fact that every year lot of poor people also go for Umrah! It is about the will and desire to go there and only then Allah makes it easy to make this sacred journey.

It is difficult to cover all the aspects of Umrah and things related to the two holy cities in one article. The essence of this journey to the two holy cities is love and ‘adab’ of Allah [swt] and Rasul Allah [PBUH]. The important thing is to have firm faith and belief that Allah will make it easy to travel to Harmain. I do hope and pray that all Muslims get this blessed opportunity and are also able to make themselves worthy of it. Aameen.

My article published in the July issue of ‘Voice of East‘ magazine

 

Categories: Ahle Bayt, Beliefs, History | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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