Saturday, April 26, 2008

In the aftermath of blasphemous cartoons

Article by Dr. Khaled Tawfik

After the republication of the blasphemous cartoons ridiculing Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and after Geert Wilders, the Dutch Member of Parliament, of the far right party, produced a movie ridiculing and attacking Islam and the Holy Qur'an, the people who supported such campaigns under the pretext of the freedom of expression hoping that such vicious campaigns might distort the image of Islam, received the biggest shock of their life.

In Denmark, the people who embraced Islam since the first publication of the sacrilegious cartoons numbered around 5,000, while now each day a Danish national embraces Islam.

The newspapers have published the story of a man from the Philippines who entered the fold of Islam. Asked about the reason that made him embrace Islam, the man said that the reason was that he saw the other people persistently on attacking Islam although Islam respects all the other religions and that Muslims respect all Divine Faiths and believe in all Allah's Prophets and Holy Books.

There is a growing interest in Islam in Europe and translations of the Qur'an in all European languages are the bestsellers nowadays.

Recent studies indicate that European non-Muslim women when marrying Muslim men usually embrace Islam because they discover the greatness of this Faith through their husbands' uprightness, faithfulness, truthfulness and noble morals.

What really shocked people in the West is that prisoners in Europe and the United States are embracing Islam in large numbers. A recent report in France indicates that every week, a prisoner, after embracing Islam, comes to ask for halal meat.

When asked about the reasons that made them embrace Islam, prisoners' answers revolved around many things: finding true peace in that religion, it provides man with a kind of psychological balance that makes him bear the misfortunes of life, it advocates the idea of equality, all people being equal regardless of their color, race, language, wealth, education... etc.

What is more astonishing is that one of the Israeli newspapers expressed its concern as 80% of the French people who have recently embraced Islam are Jews. Jewish organizations feel that such a trend threatens their very existence.

Not only that, all efforts exerted by these organisations to prevent people from embracing Islam are going in vain. It was also discovered that some of those French people embraced Islam in secret till they find the right moment to declare that.

The idea that I would like to stress is that Muslims all over the world have to realise that such anti-Islam campaigns usually yield results in favour of Islam because Allah is always there to defend and protect Islam and His Prophet (peace be upon him).

Monday, April 21, 2008


As I sat on a sofa during a class-break, I wondered about me being here experiencing the so-called 'Wahabbism' first hand.

I wondered why people back home or outside Saudi are worried about it. Is it true, that it is the source of extremism, cause for terrorism, backwardness in modernity and cause for disunity among the Muslim Ummah, as what have been pointed out by Liberal Islam and some conservative groups?

The fact is that there is nothing of that sort and only Allah knows what their motives are behind such thwarted facts.

What is mainly taught here is about the importance of Monotheism and to be aware about anything that may jeopardise it, to stay away from innovation in religion and to embrace innovation that is allowed according to Islam i.e. Modernity, progress and advancement in science and technolgy etc.. and to live with the guidance of the Qur'an the Sunnah and the values and way of life shown by the Prophet's companions and scholars who lived shortly after.

Islam is simple and should not be made harder than it is or interpreted excessively and should be left as it is understood by the 'salafussoleh' as they have the best understanding of it. This is also the way that our Prophet (peace be upon him) recommended and the understanding of many other scholars even the four main Muslim scholars.

This way, Muslims will then have more time and energy to focus on other important issues in life on earth and to practice Islam moderately as recommended; to be able to strike a good balance between life for here and the hereafter.

If this way of understanding is practiced, the Ummah will be stronger and possibly, insya Allah, will lead a successful life.

Now the question is, why then, aren't many of those who are practicing this form of understanding, which can be termed as 'salafism'(following the ways of Prophet's companions and scholars who lived shortly after), especially here in Saudi, do not portray excellence or a progressive way of life?

There are many factors to this and they all point to the same reason of not applying what they are representing as a whole i.e. Salafis who portray values that don't reflect the sunnah or in other words, not practicing what they have learnt, in all aspects of life..They may excel at some good attributes but sorely lack in others.

For instance, a lack of success or progress in science and technology, poor work ethics, being backward in most industries and business is not due to Salafism and what it teaches, but due to humans and their imperfections..

A country with citizens having a negative mindset, poor work ethics and habits will never improve even with a correct understanding of Islam without applying it. If the people themselves won't change and the government generally neglects their part in trying harder to act on it and improve, then they will never change.

We can't blame Salafism and what it teaches if people go around accusing others of apostasy, show bad manners, live backwardly, hold an extreme view towards anything that is against or towards it and decided to terrorize others!

These are all negative values that are disliked and condemned in Islam.

Here, condemnation against terrorism and poor, unhealthy values, to always live up to the sunnah and to practice moderation at all times, is always propagated in schools, newspapers etc.

Now where is the consistency in the reports and views that 'Liberal Islam' groups or some conservatives claimed which are totally opposite?

They even made use of the misgivings of some 'black sheeps' in Salafism and propagated as if that is truly what it stands for.

It is a fact that even Saudis themselves are puzzled as to how the term 'Wahabbism' have been plastered on them!? The term is somewhat negative and history shows that it was formerly a term used for a group of 'Khawaarij' muslims (a devient sect which holds extreme views and have a dark history) which have no links whatsoever to thier stand and creed.

It is also important to note that many who accuse Salafism as negative are plainly ignorant about it. We may have found out a little about it through people or sources that hold similar views as us, but if we only find out from a one-sided point of view, how much of it is actually true? What do we know of the history behind all of this? What was the situation then, that started it in Saudi? What does it stand for? How and when did the term Wahabbism came up? Does all the negative points that are said to happen in Saudi or propagated by Salafis true?

If all these are taken into context and extent research is done on views from both sides, only then, a fair judgement can be made and whether you agree with any sides or not after that, then that will be your own choice and not a blind one, following others' perceptions.

So, I'm inviting all to keep an open mind and research if whatever that i've stated here have some truth in it. It's not about sparking off a debate or to say 'hey, i'm right!' but for all, to seek a clear view and truth for ourselves towards gaining a better understanding of Islam, to be sure in our choices and hopefully, to eventually practice Islam the way Allah would like us to..insya Allah.

May we all be guided to the right path, Ameen, insya Allah.

And Allah Almighty knows best.

Misinformation about Islam in the West

Article by Dr. Khalid Tawfik

The repeated anti-Islam campaigns in the West makes one pause and reflect on the reasons for such campaigns. After a careful reading on many sources about Islam, I discovered a lot of misinformation about Islam, some of this information is really shocking and totally unbelievable. In this article, I shall discuss some of this misinformation trying to draw Muslims' attention to correct such distorted facts about Islam or about Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

¤ Muhammedanism: Until recently, a lot of people in the West believed that Muslims, God forbid, worship Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), and this is why they used to refer to Islam as Muhammedanism.

¤ Turkish Religion; Also people in the West used to refer to Islam as Turkish Religion (you will find examples in William Shakespeare's Othello and in the introduction to the first English translation of the Qur'an produced by Alexander Ross in 1649). Some of the people who belonged to the Ottoman Empire ill-treated the Europeans who associated the religion of those people with violence and ill-treatment and this is why they referred to Islam as the Turkish Religion.

¤ During my visits to the USA and European countries, I came to discover that many people living there believed that the Holy Qur'an was written by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), especially that they read and gain such information or misinformation from some of the books written by some biased orientalists.

¤ Many of the people in the West believe that all Muslims should marry four women, that is, it is a religious obligation that they should do that!

¤ Most of the people in the West misunderstand the real meaning of Jihad: they think that Jihad means that all Muslims should wage war against whoever does not embrace Islam.

¤ The most shocking piece of information that I read is that Abu Lahab, the Prophet's polytheist uncle, who remained a disbeliever till his death and was a staunch enemy of the Noble Prophet (peace be upon him) is the one who lead the Prophet (peace be upon him) to monotheism and the Prophet (peace be upon him) was ungrateful to his uncle who guided him!!

¤ A lot of people in the West believed that Islam was spread by the sword, i.e. through fighting and war. They ignore the fact that most of the Muslims live in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Indonesia (countries located far away from the Arabian Peninsula where most of the wars between Muslims and disbelievers took place).

After this brief survey of some of this prevalent misinformation, I feel it is our duty as Muslims to work vigorously to correct this distorted information.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

I Love Both Jesus and Muhammad

Article from Link Here!


I recently received an email from my friend asking opinion about a comparative list between Jesus and Muhammad. The email concluded that there is no comparison between Jesus and Muhammad. Muhammad falls so far short, that he cannot be held on any level remotely close to Jesus. Muhammad is clearly inferior to Christ.

The whole thing could not be responded in a simple manner because the list can endlessly continue. But let the sender ask himself, what is the purpose of highlighting the list?

When we discuss about Jesus - peace be upon him - and Muhammad - peace be upon him -, the intention is the first and foremost.

Me myself, I learn about Muhammad and his religion for me to clarify my own purpose of life, why God created me, why I am here, where am I heading to after this worldly transit? I found my answer best through the teaching of Muhammad. I learn about religion to answer my own Questions, and not to question others!

As a historian, I believe that Muhammad was the only prophet that was born under the light of history. Every single thing about him, I can identify the source and even the source can be evaluated scientifically for the authentication. But the case was not with all other Prophets including Jesus Christ.

Can the existence of Jesus Christ be proven historically and scientifically? Maybe yes, but it would not be an easy task. As far as the history concern, this was the major issue why the scholars of the Enlightenment rejected Christianity because empirical studies could not find solution in proving the existence of Jesus himself. In 325CE the Bishops gathered in Constantinople to decide if Jesus was a son of God or a man. It was that crucial if history involves.

But as a Muslim, the Quran was the source for me to know and believe in Jesus. Al-Quran helped me to believe in him. It was even a part of my faith. I cannot be a Muslim without believing in Jesus Christ. Jesus was better explained in the Quran, at least for my own level of understanding.

So, if the sender believe that his idea about Christianity gave him satisfaction in finding the absolute truth, then let him be with his Christianity. Islam stands with its own strength and Christianity should be confident with what it has. There is no need to prove who is better than who, if the intention is to find what is good for us in this temporary life.

All the claims made by the list can be answered by reading more about Muhammad. Keep aside the pre-conceived idea he had about him, and be open to read properly. I would not suggesting him to read any book written by Muslims, but why not spend sometime reading books about Muhammad written by someone like Karen Armstrong in her book “Muhammad: A Biography of The Prophet“.

I found peace and had full of tranquility by believing and loving both Jesus and Muhammad and I cannot do anything to help someone who find peace in hating any of these great men.

God knows the best.


How to get close to Allah?

Article taken from 'Saudi Gazette', Islam section..

By Laila Sultan

- Start off each day with the waking up supplications, thanking Allah for waking up in good shape.

- Put Allah first in your life.

- Broaden your horizens - learn 5 new verses from the Holy Qur'an every day, try to pray Fajr in the morning in the mosque to brighten your day, take up a booklet having supplications and read them.

- Pray Salaat ad-Dhuha after sunrise.

- If someone says something mean to you, just shrug it off and dismiss it in a friendly, laid-back manner, and pray that Allah shall forgive him.

- When you get angry, remember Allah, and think how short and worthless life is to waste in being angry.

- Remember that you can never have too many friends, but you can have few quality friends that help you fulfill the purpose of your creation (i.e. live for Allah).

- When you're happy, try to share your happiness with others. Thank Allah for that, and pray for its continuation.

- When something bad or embarrassing happens to you, just think it could always be worse, remember the reward of patience, and thank Allah that it's not worse than it is.

- Do something extra of goodness once in a while, like feeding a poor person, or caressing an orphan's head.

- Never stop believing that you can win Allah's love and thus work for it. Then you can win the love of Allah's slaves.

- Spend some time thinking of Allah's amazing creation.

- Always love those who love Allah unconditionally. This way, you will ensure that you live for Him, love for Him, and hate for Him (those who are enemies of Him).

- Find the righteous ways to express yourself, and if you think that what you are about to say shall cause no benefit, maintain silence (this is tough!!)

- Every now and then, give yourself a break. Give time to your family and friends, but always remember Allah and watch that he is watching you.

- Pray for blessing to come to those who are lost, and pray to Allah to guide them to the true path.

- Hug your parents, kiss their hands and always obey them except when they order to disobey Allah.

- Smile to everyone, for your smile makes a big difference to him or her and you are rewarded.

- Forgive, forget and smile.

- Tears are not for women only... tears are for all human beings with feelings remaining in them. Don't restrain your tears when remembering Allah.

- When people criticize your actions and effort, revise your actions and see if they please Allah or not. If they do; then ignore and remember how the Noble Prophet (peace be upon him) and the Sahabah (Allah be pleased with them) were criticized, made fun of and even physically harmed, so have patience.

- Read the Holy Qur'an daily and try to have a schedule for completing it as much as you could. As you open the Holy Qur'an daily, read with attention not just passing through the words.

- Don't let popularity go to your head, for it never lasts and you may lose from it more than you gain.

- Never look down on anybody, for, to Allah, they may be better than you.

- Convey this to all with the intention of having a healthy society living for Allah, as Allah said: "Invite (mankind, O Muhammad) to the way of your Lord (i.e., Islam) with wisdom (with Divine Revelation and the Qur'an) and fair preaching, and argue with them in a way that is better. Truly, your Lord knows best who has gone astray from His path, and He is Best Aware of those who are guided."(An-Nahl:125)

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

RM8.1 Million wasted on Kokka

Excerpt from article below.. Link here!

Just to add - Are there people in Singapore who were influenced by the 'kokka' phenomenon? From what I know, the answer is yes. Regretfully, I was one of those influenced. Back then I was quite ignorant about my own religion and alhamdulillah, not long after, while I was researching and relearning about Islam, I realized that the 'kokka' tasbih(zikr beads) is misleading in a sense that people actually believe that it has traces of 'berkat' or some sort of good charm as it is said to have come from the wood of Prophet Noah's ark. That was one of the main reasons why people would pay a hefty sum for a 100 beads 'tasbih'(zikr beads) of good quality. If it has the ability to bring you closer to Allah or make your supplications granted why not, right? Furthermore, the belief in its use is made greater due to a number of influential religious leaders who were leading the way of its use and even promoting it!

First and foremost, we have to ask ourselves this.. even if the 'tasbih'(zikr beads) are made from wood of Prophet Noah's ark, why would it have some sort of charm? It is plainly just a piece of wood. Its 'ancestors' possibly had a hand in the Ark but what's the link? It is just linked by name and that's the end of it. There's not even a source from the hadith, saying about the benefits of "the wood of the ark"!

Think about Prophet Noah's ark. What made Prophet Noah choose that sort of wood? What made the ark float and withstand the great flood? What saved Prophet Noah and his followers?

Is it the ark? Or the wood that it is made out of? Or Prophet Noah's intelligence?

The answer is NONE OF THE ABOVE.. All of it is due to Allah Almighty. Nothing is possible without Allah's help.

Even if we talk about Prophet Moses's cane, is it the magical cane or Allah that helped Prophet Moses dividing the sea, creating an escape path thus saving them from Pharoah? The cane is just used as a means and Allah is behind all of it.

Whenever we need help from Allah, we don't have to use any form of medium to make our prayers more heard or granted.. we just supplicate directly to Allah s.w.t.. As explained in an article by Dr MAZA entitled,"Allah Tidak Jauh, Doa Sentiasa Mustajab" Link here!

...Allah itu sentiasa hampir dengan kita, mendengar dan memperkenankan doa kita. Sesiapapun boleh sampai kepada-Nya. Tiada pengawal atau orang tengah yang menghalang seorang hamba untuk merintih dan merayu kepada Tuhannya. Siapapun hamba itu..

...Dia menyuruh kita berdoa dan membanyakkan doa. Ini kerana doa adalah lambang kehambaan diri kepada zat yang Maha Agung. Allah berfirman (maksudnya): Dan apabila hamba-hamba-Ku bertanya kepadamu mengenai Aku maka (beritahu kepada mereka): Sesungguhnya Aku (Allah) sentiasa hampir (kepada mereka); Aku perkenankan permohonan orang yang berdoa apabila dia berdoa kepada-Ku. Maka hendaklah mereka menyahut seruan-Ku (dengan mematuhi perintah-Ku), dan hendaklah mereka beriman kepada-Ku supaya mereka mendapat petunjuk (surah al-Baqarah: 186)

...Namun doa tidak sia-sia. Pahala tetap diberikan, kebaikan yang lain pula akan diganti di dunia dan di akhirat. Sabda Nabi: Tiada seorang muslim yang berdoa dengan suatu doa yang tiada dalamnya dosa, atau memutuskan silaturahim melainkan Allah akan memberikan kepadanya salah satu dari tiga perkara: sama ada disegerakan kemakbulan atau disimpan untuk diberikan pada hari akhirat, ataupun dijauhkan keburukan yang sepandan dengannya. (Riwayat Ahmad, al-Bazzar dan Abu Ya'la dengan sanad yang sahih). Maka, ada doa kita kepada Allah diterima olehnya di dunia. Ada yang tidak diberi disebabkan hikmat yang Allah lebih mengetahuinya, lalu disimpan doa itu di sisi-Nya untuk diberikan pada hari akhirat dengan yang lebih baik dan lebih utama untuk kita. Atau doa itu ditukar dengan kebaikan-kebaikan yang lain seperti diselamatkan kita dari pelbagai bahaya yang sebahagian besarnya tidak pernah read more, Link here!

, alhamdulillah, with Allah's help, I managed to realize my mistake and stopped using the 'kokka zikr beads' about two years before this article came out, as soon as I realized its misleading facts. However, it was quite hard back then to convince others to stop from believing about its 'usefulness'. I hope that now, they will realize and practice a more accurate form of ibadah, Ameen, insya Allah. And since now, we know that Prophet Noah's Ark is probably made from "Pine Cypress" wood, I hope that zikr beads made from "Pine Cypress" wood doesn't surface in the near future.. Hmm..

And Allah(s.w.t) knows best.


KUALA LUMPUR: Sepuluh tahun, RM8.1 juta ($3.5 juta).

Secara purata, begitulah banyaknya wang rakyat Malaysia yang 'lebur' gara-gara memiliki kayu kokka, lapor akhbar Metro Ahad semalam.

Menurut akhbar itu, kayu kokka sepatutnya diubah namanya kepada 'kayu kokak' (tidak berguna) kerana kajian terperinci mendapati kayu kokka sebenarnya tidak wujud dan sengaja diperkenalkan semata-mata untuk tujuan perniagaan.

Seorang peniaga kayu kokka, Encik Abdul Jasman Ahmad, 38 tahun, berkata kayu kokka mula dibawa masuk ke Malaysia menerusi seorang warga Turki pada 1998.

'Ketika itu nilainya sangat mahal. Seutas tasbih kayu kokka yang mempunyai 33 biji boleh dijual dengan harga sehingga RM1,800, manakala tasbih 100 biji boleh dijual sehingga RM2,500,' kata beliau.

Encik Abdul Jasman berkata pada 2003, sambutan terhadap kayu kokka sangat luar biasa sehingga rakannya berhasil menjual sehingga RM1 juta.

Kepalsuan kayu kokka dibongkar seorang Ahli Etnologi, Dr Abdul Manan Embong, yang melakukan kajian selama setahun bersama pakarpakar antarabangsa.

Mereka ialah Pakar Geomologi dan Mineral Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), Dr Hisham Hashim; Pakar Botani dari Mesir, Profesor Dr Mohammad Shakran Shuhatah; Profesor Ali Akbar Zurillah dari Bahagian Kajian Penyelidikan Geologi Turki dan penceramah bebas serta penulis, Ahmad Shukri Ghazali Siraj.

Kajian di negara yang dikatakan mempunyai pokok kokka seperti Mesir, Jordan, Turki dan Iran itu mendapati tidak pernah wujud nama kokka.

Menurut Abdul Manan, kayu kokka sebenarnya diperolehi daripada spesies pokok palma Attalea funifera yang tumbuh di Brazil.

'Tiada bukti kayu kokka ada khasiat tertentu,' kata beliau.

Ia juga tiada kaitan dengan bahtera
kerana yang digunakan Nabi Nuh bagi membina bahtera ialah daripada pokok Pine Cypress yang tumbuh di pergunungan Ararat, Turki.

Sunday, April 06, 2008


The weather's getting hotter by the day. Even at night, you could feel the difference in temperature compared to a few weeks back. Thankfully for something called the air-conditioner. Available at almost every building. Summer's approaching, which means the holidays are nearing too. Which will mean a ticket back to 'Sin-gha'-fu-rah'. One of the questions in my mind would be how has everything changed. What of the family, friends, the cat, the neighbourhood, the public in general, the rockclimbing scene, the chill-out areas.. Three months of holiday will pass by in a flash, so I had better plan to make the most out of it.

On a different note
, had been given the opportunity to teach English as a second language here. There's no money in it but the experience would be priceless. I have always wanted to teach. Had to jump at the opportunity when it was proposed to me. My English is not so 'powderful', however, teaching basics would do just fine for now. It has been 2 days of classes now with students ranging between the age of 18 to early 20s and I've enjoyed it so far. More importantly, I hope that my students would be able to gain from my teaching methods and improve as time goes by. Hope that the motivation and the positivity of it stays. Maybe it is due to the small, 15-seater classroom setting and the energy from the students. And it is also easier to teach when the students are motivated to learn. Alhamdulillah for this opportunity.