Sunday, February 25, 2007

new beginnings

Salaam all!

Finally, braced myself to go out at night in this fresh, new environment. Still coming to terms with the use of language here. I'm starting to understand more as the days go by but still weak when I have to interact.

Alhamdulillah for this opportunity..alhamdulillah.. This is more than I could have asked for..more than I could have ever imagined. Sometimes, when I wake up, I feel like pinching myself.. am I dreaming? Its surreal..

I'm now at Makkah al-Mukarramah.. living within the area of tanah haram itself..subhanAllah. I've been given the opportunity to study arabic here at a language institute at a university..for free.. Alhamdulillah..

There's still so much to do so much to know and learn..arabic is one thing, at the Masjidil Haraam, there's so many avenues where you can find scholars, mastering in different areas of Islamic studies to learn from.. I hope than I can make my stay here as fruitful as possible, insya-Allah.. so yea, I think that will mean lesser entries in this ol blog of mine too. Internet access here is quite expensive anyway.. still scarce, hence the high cost at the cafes.. about S$5 an hour!

But maybe once in a while..just to chill a "riadhah".. maybe i'll still insert an entry or two if time permits, insya-Allah.

I've found out that instead of the 2 or 3 years of stay here as I had presumed, my stay here will be longer than that... about 5-6 years minimum, insya-Allah. I hope to finish with a degree from the university and it is possible, insya-Allah.

Any pps from SB-HV, if you're reading this.. there's starbucks in Makkah! Non-muslims are not allowed here by the way. There's burger king, KFC and pizza hut also. Hmm, I took some pics.. dunno if i'll be able to upload them cos the files may be too big.. i'll,lets see..ahah!!

Just these 2 pics for now.. uploading takes "years" using the internet speed here..Ok I guess thats it for now.. Miss all my family and friends, will always be in my heart and prayers..pls pray for me too yea... Take care pps.

Masjidil Haraam, ard fajr period.. 6am++

Starbucks Arabian style

Friday, February 16, 2007

The only capital city in the world without a sunni mosque.

"al-Qaradawi: Iran disallows the building of a sunni mosque."

Spotted from from Mufakkirah al-Islam site. Link in Malay Click here. Original link in Arabic Click here...

Dr. Yusuf al-Qaradawi in his dialogue session with Shi'ah(syiah) representative, Ali Akhbar Hasyimi Rafsanjani critisizes Iran's stand of not allowing Sunni mosques to be built in Iran.

According to the prominant sunni(ahli sunnah) scholar, president of The International Association of Muslim Scholars (IAMS), there are about 15 million sunnis in Iran. They plan to build a mosque in the capital city of Tehran at least, but even that was disallowed. At the same time, in contrast to how shi'ahs are treated in other countries where majority are sunnis, where some shi'ahs are given the liberty to hold high posts in the government.

al-Qaradhawi continues,"I've been to Indonesia and thier Kuwait ambassador is a shi'ah. Other than that, there are also a number of state ministers who are shi'ah in the Middle east region. However, there exist a large population of sunnis in Iran, around 15 million, maybe more than that, but there's not even one minister in Iran who is a sunni. In Egypt, according to statistics, the number of shi'ah living there is smaller compared to the number of sunnis living in Iran, yet there are 3 shi'ah ministers in Egypt."

Also see: "The Dismal Reality of Ahlus Sunnah in Iran" by Chairman of the Ahlus Sunnah Association in Iran, Dr. Abdul Rahman Albaloushy. Link here!

quotes from the site:

"Is there a single capital city in the world without a Sunni mosque, with the exception to Tehran -the capital of the Shi'ah-, which has forty Christian churches and a cemetery for the Baha'is. In all, even the minorities have their temples and places of worship and their freedom of worship, yet Ahlus Sunnah are not allowed to build any mosque or cemetery."

"There is no Sunni director in any of the government authorities, ministries, embassies, or local and provincial governments, hospitals or principalities; not even in the lowest government posts anywhere in Iran."

"Whilst we are living in the twentieth century, we find a third of the population of a nation deprived of their most basic rights. Is there any other country on the face of the earth which prevents its people from choosing names like Umar, A'ishah, Hafsah, Abu Bakr, Zubair, or most of the names of the companions amongst the ten foretold of Paradise?"

Thursday, February 15, 2007

The Fisabilillah Discount

Alhamdulillah.. New vid from!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Is Not God Great?

Spotted! Article from Link here

How Catholic Bishops Led Me to Islam
By Michael Byrne

I was born to devout Catholic parents and attended a Catholic school taught by devout priests and nuns. We learned thoroughly our religious knowledge by means of the question and answer method called "catechism". It consisted of 499 questions to which we memorized the 499 well-thought-out answers, word for word. Our catechism dealt with all aspects of faith, morality and prayer.

We attended Mass every Sunday and on seven other special yearly holidays. Every day at home we prayed the Rosary, a meditation on the 15 most important events in the life of Jesus and his mother, Mary. We dearly loved our parents, our teachers, and our religion. We had a happy childhood.

When I was a teenager, there was a meeting of all the Catholic bishops of the world, about 2500 of them, in Rome. After the meeting, they published a book which said, among other things,

The Church regards with esteem also the Muslims. They adore the one God, living and subsisting in Himself; merciful and all-powerful, the Creator of heaven and earth, who has spoken to men; they take pains to submit wholeheartedly to even His inscrutable decrees, just as Abraham, with whom the faith of Islam takes pleasure in linking itself, submitted to God. Though they do not acknowledge Jesus as God, they revere him as a prophet. They also honor Mary, his virgin Mother; at times they even call on her with devotion. In addition, they await the day of judgment when God will render their deserts to all those who have been raised up from the dead. Finally, they value the moral life and worship God especially through prayer, almsgiving and fasting. Since in the course of centuries not a few quarrels and hostilities have arisen between Christians and Muslims, this sacred synod urges all to forget the past and to work sincerely for mutual understanding and to preserve as well as to promote together for the benefit of all mankind social justice and moral welfare, as well as peace and freedom.

After reading what the bishops had written, I decided to learn more about Muslims and Islam.

I wrote to a mosque in our provincial capital. The imam sent me a copy of Yusuf Ali's translation of the Qur'an and a little book called Primer of Islam. I loved the little book, its simplicity, and its message: When you surrender to God's will, you find peace.

Thomas Aquinas, a great Catholic theologian, when asked how to become learned, wrote, "Read one book. Whatever you read or hear, take care to understand it well. Attain certainty in what is doubtful." I applied this advice to the Qur'an. I carefully read through Yusuf Ali's Qur'an translation twice, and studied his many footnotes.

A while later, our city's university hosted a three-day symposium on Islam, which I attended. The principal speaker was very intelligent, well-spoken, and gentle. Everything the bishops had written about the Muslims seemed to agree with what I was reading and hearing.

I began to attend weekly Arabic and Islamic lessons offered by local Muslims. The head teacher was very intelligent, a university professor of electrical engineering. I asked him many questions and he answered every one with great insight, patience, and clarity. Under his instruction, I soon learned the five pillars of Islam and how to recite some short surahs of the Qur'an, and within a few months, I attended my first Friday Prayers.

I attended Friday Prayers regularly at the university and made new friends from many countries. I took part in learning circles and made progress in my Qur'an recitation. I prayed the five daily prayers and found great joy in the new routines of my life.

Ramadan arrived, and I enjoyed fasting and attending Tarawih Prayers. When I saw the beautiful crescent moon and the planet shining in the sky on `Eid, my heart leaped with joy and I thanked God for such a favor as He had bestowed upon me.

Though surprised at my conversion to Islam, none of my Catholic family spoke against the published opinions of the world's Catholic bishops. They wished me well in my new faith.

But there was a separation in family activity. I no longer prayed with them at home or in the church, and they never considered praying with me, nor did they ever visit a mosque.

I moved to another city not far from home in order to teach at an Islamic school. I was able to visit home on weekends. Then I moved to another city in a nearby country to attend university. I was able to visit home only twice a year. I moved once again, this time to a city across the sea to attend another university. I was able to visit home once in two years.

Years have passed and I teach now at a school on the distant edge of my country, far from old friends and family. Nature is raw here. The sun, moon, and stars rise and set and the seasons come and go in due order. In summer the days are long; in winter, the nights. In summer, the days are never too hot; in winter, they are always cold. The sea-tides come in and go out exactly as God planned.

Wide open wilderness surrounds our town in all directions except to the east: There lies the ocean, wild and blue in summer, frozen solid in the bleak winter. Is not God great? To have created all this strong and wild beauty so that man may find peace in it, and out of this boundless peace chant the Qur'an in slow measured tones! One cannot thank Him enough for the blessings He has given me. Praise be to my Lord the Most High!

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Why the discrimination?

News on muslim affairs from across the border.. Islam is universal, why the discrimination? Link here!

KUALA LUMPUR: They are not asking the government for money or land; they are merely hoping for approval to build a mosque for the Chinese Muslim community. Yet certain state leaders’ lukewarm response is baffling.

There is also a question: Why do Chinese Muslims have to come up with their own money and land to build a mosque when it is the duty of state governments to provide places of worship for Muslims?

Malaysian Chinese Muslim Association (MCMA) national vice-president Mohd Ridhuan Tee Abdullah admitted that he had to accept political reality.

"That is why we don’t mind working hard to find money and land to build our mosque. In fact, our mosque will not be exclusive for Chinese as it will be open to everybody.

"All we want is an approval from the state government," he said.

Yet he was also sad when certain senior Muslim leaders failed to understand that Islam was beyond race, culture and geography.

Claiming that Selangor had about 20,000 Chinese Muslims, he said there were no reasons for the state authorities to deny the rights of their fellow Muslims to have a mosque.

"Think of dakwah, think of Chinese Muslims’ well-being taken care of and provided with counselling, think what non-Muslims and foreigners will say about Malaysia when they see the government’s commitment to Islam regardless of race," he added.

While some state leaders have expressed willingness to consider Chinese Muslims’ applications to build a mosque, they also appeared to be reluctant.

Malacca Chief Minister Datuk Mohd Ali Rustam, insisting that the state was not interested in allowing a Chinese mosque, had argued that it would segregate Muslims.

Refuting his claims, religious scholar Maszlee Malik said: "If segregation is an issue, why do all mosques in Malaysia only cater for the Malays and provide sermons and lectures in Malay? Isn’t that segregation?"

The MCMA Malacca branch, whose application to build a mosque was rejected three years ago, plans to submit a fresh application.

However, Mohd Ali’s argument that such a mosque would not be appropriate for a "small" state would hamper the hopes of some 3,000 Chinese Muslims living in Malacca.

Perlis mufti Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin who mooted the idea of a Chinese mosque recently said size did not matter.

Upset with certain Malay leaders who failed to grasp the universality of Islam, he said such an attitude gave a negative image about Islam being the exclusive right of Malays.

"It’s not about race or skin colour. This is about dakwah (propagation of Islam) and caring for all Muslims, including Chinese Muslims.

"I don’t know why some leaders expressed their reservations. Is Islam only for the Malays?"

To overcome the problem, Dr Mohd Asri called on the government to have the political will to provide such mosques. He also hoped state religious scholars would truthfully advise their state leaders to be "colour blind".