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Messages - HOPE

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Discussions / perception
« on: May 26, 2014, 10:30:06 AM »
Peace to all,

In a mother's womb were two babies. One asked the other: "Do you believe in life after delivery?" The other replies, "why, of course. There has to be something after delivery. Maybe we are here to prepare ourselves for what we will be later. "Nonsense," says the other. "There is no life after delivery. What would that life be?" "I don't know, but there will be more light than here. Maybe we will walk with our legs and eat from our mouths." The other says "This is absurd! Walking is impossible. And eat with our mouths? Ridiculous. The umbilical cord supplies nutrition. Life after delivery is to be excluded. The umbilical cord is too short." "I think there is something and maybe it's different than it is here." the other replies, "No one has ever come back from there. Delivery is the end of life, and in the after-delivery it is nothing but darkness and anxiety and it takes us nowhere." "Well, I don't know," says the other, "but certainly we will see mother and she will take care of us." "Mother??" You believe in mother? Where is she now? "She is all around us. It is in her that we live. Without her there would not be this world." "I don't see her, so it's only logical that she doesn't exist." To which the other replied, "sometimes when you're in silence you can hear her, you can perceive her." I believe there is a reality after delivery and we are here to prepare ourselves for that reality.... ~Unknown

Discussions / fatwa
« on: February 28, 2014, 11:02:59 PM »

Discussions / reflection
« on: February 14, 2014, 04:14:32 AM »

Prophets and Messengers / Re: Solomon and animal communication
« on: February 05, 2014, 03:57:19 AM »

I am glad you enjoyed the video.  It opens a portal for you to experience the other cosmic beings we share this life with.  Talking to not only the animal beings but to the plants as well is very fascinating.  Very long time ago, I read a very interesting book titled "The Secret Life of Plants".  It clearly showed the plants were sentient beings and exhibit humanlike behavior.  There were experiments done on plant stimuli using a polygraph and it showed that they could detect your intentions and respond to you accordingly.

Prophets and Messengers / Solomon and animal communication
« on: February 05, 2014, 01:33:42 AM »

Peace to all,

I stand corrected regarding the Quranic verses concerning Solomon.  After all Mr. Hudhud was not a human for constructing value judgments!

General Discussions / Re: Angel of Death
« on: January 20, 2014, 02:06:14 AM »
Salam all,

Thanks for the replies.   Of course, it is God Who makes people die.  The Angel of Death is charged with this task per 32:11. 
Ali Unal 39:42 "God takes the spirits at the time of the death of (the souls), and in their sleep those (of the ones) that have not died. He withholds (the spirits of) those for whom He has decreed death, and the rest He sends back (to their bodies to live on) for a term appointed by Him. Surely in that are signs (important lessons) for people who reflect and are mindful."   

The aides are to the Angel of Death, if I am not mistaken.  The correct question should have been:  Is it sometimes God Himself, other times the Angel of Death and some other times  angel's helpers who are engaged in the task depending on the spiritual level of the deceased?   During sleep, soul and body are intact, spirit is  released a bit.  In death, both spirit and nafs are removed.  Nafs is removed by the angel and the spirit is by God, since the spirit comes direct from God?  What do you think?

General Discussions / Angel of Death
« on: January 18, 2014, 06:36:19 AM »
 Salam brother Joseph,

 Enjoyed reading your FB post but I need further elaboration on the subject in light of the verses: 6:61; 16:28; 39:42.  Under which conditions does the Almighty delegate this task to the Angel of Death?

Thank you,

Discussions / Mawlid al-Nabi
« on: January 13, 2014, 03:39:29 AM »
Peace and greetings to all,

How do we celebrate prophet Muhammad's birthday?

The best way to honor Muhammad is by learning, living and teaching the Quran he has conveyed to us.

We are trying . . . yet we could try harder!

Islamic Duties / Re: salat
« on: January 12, 2014, 05:17:51 AM »
Peace Wakas,

Thank you for listing the "additional information on salat according to the Quran" which satisfy the needs of my 'body and mind'. What I posted satisfy my spiritual needs.

Islamic Duties / salat
« on: January 12, 2014, 01:50:47 AM »
Salaam all,

This is the best tafsir of salat, for me so far.

"Our five daily prayers are a way to curb over-attachment to anything material. The five prayers regulate our lives with their specific timings to teach us that indeed Allah is greater than anything else that we might be occupied in at that moment. The dawn prayer teaches us that the most beloved thing to us, comfort and sleep, should not control us – so we rise up in the cold morning, wash ourselves and pray in an acknowledgement that Allah is greater than our love of comfort and sleep. The midday and afternoon prayer teaches us that no matter how engrossed we are with work or the short lunch hour that we so highly value, it’s not the purpose of our existence. So we leave it for a few minutes and stand and pray testifying that Allah is indeed greater. On Friday, we dedicate most, if not all of our lunch hour to attend the Friday sermon and prayer. The dusk prayer, that time when we’re finally home and about to spend time with our family, eat dinner or simply relax – we get up and pray together to confirm that Allah is Greater than any of that. Finally the night prayer, Isha’ – when we’re tired after a long day of work and responsibilities ready to fall into bed and sleep, we pray again proving that submitting to Allah is greater than falling into the warm bed. All these serve as constant reminders to us that as much as we love life, we live for a higher purpose."

(Mansoor Ahmed)

Discussions / al-Birr
« on: December 18, 2013, 06:18:30 AM »

Peace to you all,

What Is 'True Piety' According to the Qur'an?

Editor's Note: Huffington Post Religion has launched a scripture commentary/reflection series, which will bring together leading voices from different religious traditions to offer their wisdom on selected religious texts. We are pleased to announce a series of reflections for the Holy Month of Ramadan featuring posts by HM Queen Noor, Dalia Mogahed, Eboo Patel, Kabir Helminski, and Rami Nashashibi. They will all be reflecting on a passage from the Qur'an, Sura 2:177, which appears below. Last month we featured Christian reflections on the Gospel by Rev. Jim Wallis, Dr. Serene Jones, Dr. Emilie Townes, Sister Joan Chittister, and Rev. James Martin, S.J. Coming in September we will feature Jewish commentaries for the High Holidays and in October Hindu commentary for Diwali. We hope all readers, Muslim and non-Muslim, will gain wisdom from the insights of our writers on the Holy Qur'an:

True piety does not consist in turning your faces towards the east or the west -- but truly pious is he who believes in God, and the Last Day; and the angels, and revelation, and the prophets; and spends his substance -- however much he himself may cherish -- it -- upon his near of kin, and the orphans, and the needy, and the wayfarer, and the beggars, and for the freeing of human beings from bondage; and is constant in prayer, and renders the purifying dues; and [truly pious are] they who keep their promises whenever they promise, and are patient in misfortune and hardship and in time of peril: it is they that have proved themselves true, and it is they, they who are conscious of God. (2:177 [Asad])

The Qur'an is the record of 23 years of messages given to the Prophet Muhammad by a source which he believed to be the very same God who addressed all previous human communities, as well as the Prophets Abraham, Moses, and Jesus (among others). From the Muslim perspective, the verses (ayats) of the Qur'an are both an intimate dialog between God and Muhammad and a source of guidance for human beings in general. Non-Muslims, and especially Westerners, bring their own expectations, and sometimes their own prejudices, to their attempts at understanding this "book." The great American classicist Norman O. Brown began a study of Islam late in his life and offered some extraordinary insights in a series of lectures which have been recently published as The Challenge of Islam. Brown once reflected that the West was not ready to appreciate the Qur'an before James Joyce's avant-garde Finnegan's Wake was published.

Both texts are many-layered, non-linear language events. Just as Ulysses is not quite a novel about Ireland but an experiment that probes the very possibilities and limits of language, so, too, the Qur'an challenges human sensibilities. It describes itself as "a sublime Book. No falsehood can ever enter it from in front or behind. It is a bestowal from on high by the One who is All-Wise, and to whom belongs all praise" (41:41-42). It does not, however, claim a monopoly on the truth, but rather "sets forth the Truth, confirming the Truth of whatever remains of earlier revelations" (5:48), affirming, for instance, that the Torah of the Jews is "a guidance and a light" (5:44).
Some of what gets in the way of Westerners reading it for the first time includes:
A tendency to project meanings from our own religious conditioning onto the Qur'an.
Numerous unspoken assumptions about how we think the Divine should speak and what it should say.
A tendency to absolutize statements out of context, while willfully ignoring the comprehensive meaning derived from a broad knowledge of the text.
Needless to say, all of these things can get in the way of an openhearted, sensitive reading of the text. Since most English translations have adopted Biblical terms to translate the Qur'an, the linguistic originality and uniqueness has been obscured. In some translations we encounter the terms "believers" and "unbelievers" and we think of those who do or do not subscribe to an exclusive doctrine or dogma dictated to them by a religious authority. The root meanings of these words are not about "belief" at all, but about a perception of spiritual reality, a trust that life has meaning and purpose, a certainty of the heart that has little to do with theology. The Arabic term which has been translated as unbeliever is kafir which would better be understood as someone in denial, someone who willfully "covers" (i.e., denies) the spiritual dimension of life -- no matter what their nominal, purported religion or lack thereof.

For reference, the most respected translation and the most comprehensive linguistic analysis and commentary on the Qur'an is The Message of the Qur'an by Muhammad Asad. Asad was born Leopold Weiss, son of a Rabbi in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, who was, among other things, Pakistan's first Ambassador to the United Nations.
Much of the Qur'an is about getting beyond man-made beliefs and dogmas, about becoming vigilant about the ways spirituality degenerates into self-serving orthodoxies and power structures, about returning us to the simple awe and wonder of a pure heart, about doing the work that supports human dignity and well-being. I know what some people are now thinking: what this really means is setting up a religious dictatorship. History shows otherwise. Islamic societies were typically multi-cultural and multi-religious, as witnessed by the Ottoman world, Spain in the Middle Ages, and Jerusalem over 12 centuries of Muslim rule.

The quotation we are looking at here is a good example of this valuing of essential goodness over religious doctrine and form, because it tells us that true and sincere goodness is not the result of merely conforming to the outer forms of religious rituals, but consists of doing good to others, living a life of service, bearing suffering with patience, and overcoming fear. To say that "piety" (Arabic birr, literally "goodness") is not about facing east or west is significant in the Islamic context, where the direction of Mecca is always kept in mind for establishing the direction in which one will prostrate during the five-times-per-day ritual prayer. As important as that is, it is not as important as being a good person, "sharing one's substance" with those who are near to us, with wayfarers, with anyone needing refuge, and the freeing of other people from all sorts of "bondage." It is to embody the essence of religion, which includes not "believing in" but being "faithful to" God, His angels, His Prophets (without distinguishing some as more important than others), and recognizing an external accountability for our actions.

Discussions / relevance of religion
« on: October 25, 2013, 12:20:30 PM »
Peace to you all,

“It is customary to blame secular science and anti-religious philosophy for the eclipse of religion in modern society. It would be more honest to blame religion for its own defeats. Religion declined not because it was refuted, but because it became irrelevant, dull, oppressive, insipid. When faith is completely replaced by creed, worship by discipline, love by habit; when the crisis of today is ignored because of the splendor of the past; when faith becomes an heirloom rather than a living fountain; when religion speaks only in the name of authority rather than with the voice of compassion--its message becomes meaningless.”
― Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, God in Search of Man: A Philosophy of Judaism

Discussions / recovering from Jahaliyya
« on: October 03, 2013, 05:07:44 AM »

Great reflection by Usama Canon on "Recovering from Jahaliyya."

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