Tag Archives: unity

The Egyptian Third Camp


I finally finished and deposited my thesis :), back to writing blogs…
I had a dream today morning that I was in Cairo, Egypt. More specifically I was near the Presidential Palace and the recently formed barricades. I was with a motley group of Muslims; Men and women; very religious men with nice looking beards on one side, to women who did not wear hijab. We were all wearing white or light colored cloth.

On our left were the so called “secular” protestors who were marching to the palace. Egypt-protests-007On our right were the so called “Islamists” who were marching to protect the palace. We immediately stood in the middle and formed a barricade wall between both groups. We were not many and the line was only one person deep. Nevertheless, we formed the line between these two groups. As the two groups descended upon us we shouted
“We are all Muslims”; “Hit us and leave the other side alone”, and other chants along those lines.

We did get beaten by some perverted men on both sides. However, we kept the line rigid and refused to allow the two sides to mix and fight each other. In the end both sides withdrew and left us in the center of the square all alone.

The dream ends with us setting up camp and discussing what we found in the square, including the palace key, which we believed the protesters had with them to storm the palace. This reminded us about the time of Uthman, where his house was surrounded by a hostile group that eventually entered and killed him. We remembered all the strife that happened and how the Islamic nation had its first civil war due to this event. We decided that we will never let that happen.
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This dream left me with more questions than answers:

Where is the third camp of Egyptians? Who will stand up to the excesses of both sides ? Who will rise up to protect each side from each other and help change the atmosphere in Egypt from one of strife to one of dialogue?

We have reached a dangerous place were both sides consider each other as evil and must be dealt with. How do we expect them to have dialogue with each other?
The reason I used the word so-called secularist and islamists earlier, is because for the most part they are all Muslims and they all care about Egypt.

I am not Egyptian or in Egypt and I cannot do anything to affect change. However, I hope by writing about this, maybe I can raise awareness of those who do and can have an impact directly in Egypt.

Quilt of Humanity – Picture of the Egyptian Protest Movement


I love this picture. I found it in Al-Jazeera English and they own this picture

To me this picture represents humanity, who by working and supporting each other can accomplish impossible deeds. This fact that this was taken while all were praying is extremely symbolic to me as it signifies that Islam can and should act as a unifying element amongst people and should never be accepted as a tool for division. Finally seeing the Egyptian flag in the middle, represents gives me hope that the focus is upon improving the nation as a whole, by the people for the people, and not just helping a few. In the quote area, I placed a quote that describes my fears and hopes for Egypt very well.

My first Khutbah


Salam All,

This is my first official Khutbah (sermon) that I researched, wrote and presented to my fellow brothers and sisters in the Islamic Society of Greater Lafayette (ISGL; www.isglonline.com) at the Purdue Campus in West Lafayette, Indiana.

Enjoy and let me know what you think… my first humble attempt 🙂

For the sake of beverity I removed the prayers that are said at the beginning, middle and end of the Khutbah (sermon)

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PART ONE

(The believers are nothing else than brothers (in Islamic religion). So make reconciliation between your brothers, and fear Allah, that you may receive mercy) Quran (49:10)

Brothers and sisters look around you, look around you and you will see Muslims from every race, color and language. The only thing that holds us all together is the bond of faith in Allah.  During the month of Ramadan, we focus all our energy and strength to develop and strengthen our bonds with Allah and that’s excellent but we must now extend these bonds that we formed to build the bonds amongst us.

Sisters, please excuse in this Khutbaah I will be mostly using the words brother and brotherhood, but this applies equally to sisters and sisterhood.

Listen to the following hadith “There are three things that whoever attains them will find the sweetness of faith: if Allah and his messenger are dearer to him than anyone else; if he loves a person solely for the sake of Allah; and if he would hate to return to kufr after Allah has rescued him from it, as much as he would hate to be thrown into the fire” (Narrated in Bukhari and Muslim)

Look at what a high status it is to love one another for the sake of Allah. But it does not stop there and there are many ahadith that describe the status of those who love each other for the sake of Allah including the hadith which describes the seven believers who will be shaded by Allah during the day where there is no shade but His and they are “ a just leader; a youth who grows up worshipping Allah; a man who is deeply attached to his mosque; two men who love one another for the sake of Allah, meeting for His sake and parting for His sake; a man who is called by a beautiful woman and says, ‘I fear Allah’; a man who gives charity in secret such that his left hand does not know what his right hand is doing; and a man who remembers Allah when he is alone and his eyes fill with tears” (Narrated in Bukhari and Muslim)

Those who love each other for the sake of Allah clearly are among those who are shaded. The question becomes what does it mean to love one another for the sake of Allah? How can it be attained? It is not something that is easily attainable and none can attain it except those who are pure of heart. It means loving someone without any greed, desire or interest. Just for the sake of Allah. It not lip service, it something that comes directly from your heart.
 
One of the definitions of Love is “A deep, tender, ineffable feeling of affection and solicitude toward a person arising from a sense of underlying oneness”. Oneness to me means that whatever you want for yourself you want for him, it hurts you to see him suffer and makes you happy to see him succeed. To the best of my knowledge this is the Love for the Sake of Allah. It is loving a person without expecting anything in return, helping him without even expecting thanks, visiting him without needing anything from him, helping him achieve his future without expecting a return. This is the love for the sake of Allah. When you love for the sake of Allah, you do all these selfless acts to please Allah alone; in which you develop a deep respect and feeling for your brother and a sense of unity matures among both of you

Sadly, this love for the sake of Allah, is endangered by our lack of ability to forgive each other among other things. I have seen this issue in our community here and that is why I am raising this topic today.

The prophet (Sala Allah alaihi wa salam) said “ No two people who love one another for the sake of Allah or for the sake of Islam will let the first minor offence of either of them come between them” (Reported by Bukhari in al-adab al-Mufrad). How many times have we abandoned our brothers due to the first offence they commit against us, or we put the relationship on hold until they come to us and apologize.

Abu Hyrayrah said “ I heard the Prophet (Sala Allah alaihi wa salam) say : ‘ It is not permissible for a Muslim to be estranged from a believer for more than three days. If three days have passed, then he should go and give salam to him; if he returns the salam then both of them will have a share in the reward, and if he does not respond then the one who gave salam will be absolved of the sin of estrangement”

Carrying Grudges, picture courtesy of Clip Art

How many times we held these grudges and anger way past three days and sometime we continue to hold them for years. How many times have we as Muslims, stopped contact with our brothers, with our leaders, with our mosques, because we felt that they made some sort of offence towards us.  Brothers, again I have seen it happen in this community. I have talked to brothers who are estranged from each other and they told me that they have forgiven each other, or that they have not committed any offence. Yet when you ask them whether they visit each other, talk to each other or even say salam to each other they tell you no! So many of us learn to restrain our anger, yet we hold that anger in our hearts and let the resentment build until it is such a huge burden we can barely carry. Hardly, do we follow this anger with forgiveness; true forgiveness that comes deep from the heart, instead we hold grudges until the next time they upset us or we avoid our brothers, masjid or wherever they go.

Brothers if these three days pass and you do not hear from him then go to him. There is a high probability that he does not even know that he offended you. I have seen this arise in my own family where a member of my family got offended by some members of a masjid and they responded by reducing the times they attend the masjid to the degree that my family member would go to jumaa as soon as it starts and leaves as soon as it ends to avoid interaction with the community. Make sure that this DOES not happen to you.

If someone offends you go to him and please do not start describing to him all the ways this person was offensive to you. They might just brush you off. Instead go to him and ask him to forgive you and ask him to Ask Allah to forgive you for any offense you might have committed against you. Then based on his response let him know that you did get offended and that you also forgive him.

Remember the prophet (Sala Allah alaihi wa salam) said “Allah will not increase his servant except in honor. No-one humbles himself for the sake of Allah, but Allah will raise his status” (Muslim)

I know it is the hardest thing in the world to ask for forgiveness when you believe that you deserve an apology 100%. Swallow you pride and do it, you will find out it was well worth it.

The prophet said “Whoever is estranged from his brother for a year, it is as if he has shed his blood” (Reported by Bukhari in al-Adab al-Mufrad), do you really want to wait that long?

If you are still doubting the importance of forgiving your brother, remember the following sayings of the prophet (Sala Allah alaihi wa salam)

“There are three sins, whoever dies free of these sins will be forgiven for anything else if Allah wills: associating anything with Allah; practicing magic or witchcraft; and bearing resentment towards his brother” (reported by Bukhari in al-Adab al-Mufrad).

Notice the prophet (Sala Allah alaihi wa salam) said holding resentment towards your brother. He did not specify who the offending partner was, be very careful of not asking for forgiveness for your brothers.

Finally Allah says in the Quran “Those who spend [in the cause of Allah ] during ease and hardship and who restrain anger and who pardon the people – and Allah loves the doers of good”. (Quran 3:134). In the end true forgiveness and love comes from the heart alone.

Spend the next minute asking for forgiveness from Allah and asking for forgiveness for your fellow brothers.

PART TWO:

In the previous part, we talked about love for the sake of Allah and one of the major struggles we have in reaching that status and that is forgiving each other.

Forgiving is hard especially when you feel that you did not initiate the argument. We should be forgiving of others just for the sake of Allah. Forgiving is not lip service, you do not just say I forgave this brother and just like that he is forgiven. Like everything else it comes from the heart and your heart is the one that tells you whether you forgave him or not.

To forgive a person you need to spend every night, while in bed or doing Ibadaah asking Allah to forgive the person who offended you.  You need to do it continuously and sincerely. Once your heart softens and tears swell into your eyes then you are finally on your way to forgiving him. After that, keep doing it for a few more nights until there truly remains nothing in your heart.

Finally, I want to remind you of the Day of Judgment and this is of my opinion based on the books I have read. When they day comes and your good and bad deeds are counted, and you are just barely going to enter heaven. Do you want the people you offended come and seek your good deeds until you are left with nothing? The sad truth is that most people we offend never tell us. If we cannot forgive those who offended us, how can we expect those who we offended to forgive us? How can we expect forgiveness from Allah, if we fail to show any forgiveness to our fellow brothers? Make sure that when you leave this earth, that you have forgiven everyone for any sin they might have committed against you and then we can hope for Allah forgiveness and mercy.

The Prophet (Sala Allah alaihi wa salam) knew the importance of spreading love among the believers in building communities, societies and nations and left us many tips on how we can achieve this. Let learn and follow what he told us and lets build one of the strongest communities in this nation.

One of his tips is “Do not think little of any good deed even if it is just greeting your brother with a cheerful countenance” (Muslim). Let me tell you something, I usually try to smile to all the brothers, however, when I am doing a major MSA event I am usually all frowns due to stress in trying to hold a successful event. Do not come and tell me not to stress out, because I sincerely believe it is my duty to stress out. Instead come to me look me in the eyes and smile to me and maybe pat my back. That all I need, you have no idea how much of impact that little smile has.

“None of you truly believe until he likes for his brother what he likes for himself” (Bukhari and Muslim) and “The believer is the mirror of his brother. If he sees any fault in him he corrects it” (Reported by Bukhari in al-Adab al-Mufrad). Which means help me and your brother improve ourselves, we all want the hereafter, yet sadly we sometimes cannot see our own actions.

Finally “Do not argue with your brother, do not joke excessively with him, do not make a promise to him then break it” (Reported by Bukhari in al-Adab al-Mufrad) and  “If a man loves his brother, let him tell him that he loves him” (Reported by Abu Dawud and al-Tirmidhi, who said it is a sahih hadith) .

In summary, smile to you brothers, help them improve themselves and assist them if they need any help, avoid arguing with them or using hurtful jokes and make sure you tell them that you love them.

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