Saturday, December 29, 2007


I had thought he was lost in Gambia, but after nearly two years he turned up, and moved on to Finland! What a great traveler he is, it would be great to see the places he has been.

But Blue Bear actually has the most miles of my geocaching travelbugs because someone took him to Tahiti and New South Wales and then he came back to the Americas.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Eid Ghadeer (insha'allah this Saturday)

Eid Ghadeer

As a revert to Islam, Eid Ghadeer is the one Eid that always has made the most sense to me and been the most significant in my worldview. Part of me has found Eid ul Fitr tempered by the loss of the holy days of the month of Ramadhan, and Eid ul Adha significant if you or a loved one is performing the hajj, but otherwise less so. But the Eid al-Ghadeer has always been special to me because it is a celebration of the culmination of Islam - a celebration of the very events that first enabled me to know the status of Imam ‘Ali (as) and the crucial role of Ahlulbayt (as) in the preservation of the True Religion so that I, in 1994, had the blessed chance to discover true Islam for myself. It is only because of Ahlulbayt (as) that I had that chance – without them, the True Religion would have long ago been lost in corruption and time.

I remember feeling exhausted after becoming Muslim. I had spent a year in intensive research, questioning the entire framework of my existence, engaging in deep self-evaluation so that in the end I had turned my life upside down and accepted all the conflict and challenges that would bring my way. But I had yet to scratch the surface of Islamic knowledge and had so far yet to go. I had become aware of the sects and divisions between Muslims, much to my sadness. As a Christian, I had been dismayed by all the man-made churches, none of them holding God’s Truth more than any other. I regretted that I might again find nothing in Islam that provided complete access to Reality.

But then, I read about Ghadeer Khum. The more I read, the lighter my burden became. Here was what I had known must exist – the evidence that God had protected His message from corruption. Every time a revelation from God has come down, man has corrupted it. But the Qur’an has survived because God has protected it, and in Ghadeer Khum I found the means. I felt tears of deep joy and gratitude to find the protectors of the Qur’an, the ones who have lived the real Islam; for without them, I would have no chance of ever finding the truth, I would have remained a deprived wayfarer, unsatisfied with the religions of man’s making.

If I had not been blessed to know about Ghadeer and appreciate the status and role of Ahlulbayt (as), I would have been left very disappointed after my struggle to find the Truth. While I would have gained the clarity of Tawhid that is in Islam, I would yet know I was stuck in a quagmire of man-made distortions that rip apart the Truth and replace it with ignorance and oppression.

In the Qur’an it is written, "And hold fast, all together, by the Rope which God (stretches out for you), and be not divided among yourselves; and remember with gratitude God's favor on you; for you were enemies and He joined your hearts in love, so that by His Grace, you became brethren; and you were on the brink of the Pit of Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus does God make His Signs clear to you, that you may be guided." (3:103)
Numerous hadith inform us that the Rope is none other than the blessed Ahlulbayt (as).

I feel this ayah resonating deep in the very fiber of my existence. Without the rope, I would have nothing to hold to, no hope for access to God’s Truth. It is a great favor from God for which I owe immeasurable gratitude that I was able to find this rope and try with my best effort to cling to it. I cling to this rope with the love of Ahlulbayt (as) who made my journey to Islam possible, and who have provided me the means to hope for progress on the journey of Truth and salvation from the Fire of Hell. For without Ahlulbayt (as), I could only be on the brink of the Pit of Fire, but by clinging to their Rope I might be pulled away from it.

The Ahlulbayt (as) have given me, and have given all of us, the chance to realize our potentials, the ability to hope, and the opportunity for the complete peace that can only be found in one who has glimpsed the Truth. Therefore, the Eid of Ghadeer is the most joyous and meaningful Eid to me, It is the Eid of hope and opportunity for all of us. May Allah swt bless Muhammad and the family of Muhammad with His greatest blessings and grant them the most fulfilling peace, and may more and more of humanity come to realize the great gift given to all of us when Allah swt perfected religion by securing the role of Ahlulbayt (as).

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Ziyarat Warith

Ziyarat Warith

Salaams upon you, O inheritor of Adam, the chosen one of Allah

اَلسَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ يا وارِثَ آدَمَ صِفْوَةِ اللهِ

Salaams upon you, O inheritor of Nuh, the Prophet of Allah

اَلسَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ يا وارِثَ نُوح نَبِىِّ اللهِ

Salaams upon you, O inheritor of Ibrahim, the friend of Allah

اَلسَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ يا وارِثَ اِبْراهيمَ خَليلِ اللهِ

Salaams upon you. O inheritor of Musa, the one who talked to Allah

اَلسَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ يا وارِثَ مُوسى كَليمِ اللهِ

Salaams upon you, O inheritor of 'Isa, the spirit of Allah

اَلسَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ يا وارِثَ عيسى رُوحِ اللهِ

Salaams upon you, O inheritor of Muhammad, the beloved friend of Allah

اَلسَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ يا وارِثَ مُحَمَّد حَبيبِ اللهِ

Salaams upon you, O inheritor of Ali, the commander of the faithful and the friend of Allah

اَلسَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ يا وارِثَ عَلِىٍّ اَميرِ الْمُؤْمِنينَ وَلِىِّ اللهِ

Salaams upon you, O inheritor of Hasan, the shaheed, grandson of the messenger of Allah

اَلسَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ يا وارِثَ الْحَسَنِ الشَّهيدِ سِبْطِ رَسُولِ اللهِ

Salaams upon you, O son of the Prophet

اَلسَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ يَا بْنَ رَسُولِ اللهِ

Salaams upon you, O son of the one who brought good tidings and warning, and the son of the leader of successors

اَلسَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ يَا بْنَ الْبَشيرِ النَّذيرِ وَابْنَ سَيِّدِ الْوَصِيِّينَ

Salaams upon you, O son of Fatema, leader of the women of the worlds

اَلسَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ يَابْنَ فاطِمَةَ سَيِّدَةِ نِسآءِ الْعالَمينَ

Salaams upon you, O Aba Abdillah

اَلسَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ يا اَبا عَبْدِ اللهِ

Salaams upon you, O the best with Allah and the son of the best

اَلسَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ يا خِيَرَةَ اللهِ وَابْنَ خِيَرَتِهِ

Salaams upon you, O he who fought in the way of Allah and the son of one who fought in the way of Allah

اَلسَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ يا ثارَ اللهِ وَابْنَ ثارِهِ

Salaams upon you, O he who was

isolated and attacked with vengeance

اَلسَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ اَيُّهَا الْوِتْرَ الْمَوْتُورَ

Salaams upon you, O the Imam, the just guide

اَلسَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ اَيُّهَا الاِْمامُ الْهادِى الزَّكِىُّ

And (salaams upon) those on your side
And those who stayed with you
And those who joined

وَعَلى الاَرْواح حَلَّتْ بِفِنآئِكَ وَاَقامَتْ فى جِوارِكَ وَوَفَدَتْ مَعَ زُوّارِكَ

Salaams upon you from me for the rest of my nights and days

اَلسَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ مِنِّى ما بَقيتُ وَبَقِىَ اللَّيْلُ وَالنَّهارُ

Indeed great was your test And it greatly moved the mu'mineen, the Muslims and the dwellers of the heavens and the earth

فَلَقَدْ عَظُمَتِ بِكَ الرَّزِيَّةُ وَجَلَّ الْمُصابُ فِى الْمُؤْمِنينَ وَالْمُسْلِمينَ وَفى اَهْلِ السَّمواتِ اَجْمَعينَ وَفى سُكّـانِ الاَْرَضينَ

Indeed we are from Allah and to Him we return

فَاِنّا للهِ وَاِنّا اِلَيْهِ راجِعُونَ

And blessings, and greetings of Allah be upon you and on your forefathers
The pure, the pious and the outstanding and their rightly guided descendants

وَصَلَواتُ اللهِ وَبَرَكاتُهُ وَتَحِيّاتُهُ عَلَيْكَ وَعَلى آبآئِكَ الطّاهِرينَ الطَّيِّبينَ الْمُنْتَجَبَينَ وَعَلى ذَراريهِمُ الْهُداةِ الْمَهْدِيّينَ

Salaams upon you, O my mawla and on them, tranquillity be upon your soul and their souls

اَلسَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ يا مَوْلاىَ وَعَلَيْهِمْ وَعَلى رُوحِكَ وَعَلى اَرْواحِهِمْ

And on your resting places

وَعَلى تُرْبَتِكَ وَعَلى تُرْبَتِهِمْ

O Allah! Let Your mercy, pleasure and tranquillity be on them

اَللّـهُمَّ لَقِّهِمْ رَحْمَةً وَرِضْواناً وَرَوْحاً وَرَيْحاناً

Salaams upon you, O my mawla, O Aba Abdillah, Son of the last of the messengers and son of the first of the successors and son of the leader of the women of the worlds

اَلسَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ يا مَوْلاىَ يا اَبا عَبْدِاللهِ يَا بْنَ خاتَمِ النَّبِيّينَ وَيَا بْنَ سَيِّدِ الْوَصِيّينَ وَيَا بْنَ سَيِّدَةَ نِسآءِ الْعالَمينَ

Salaams upon you, O the shaheed son of the shaheed O brother of the shaheed, and O father of the shuhada

اَلسَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ يا شَهيدُ يَا بْنَ الشَّهيدِ يا اَخَ الشَّهيدِ يا اَبَا الشُّهَدآءِ

O Allah! I send to him in this hour, and this day and this moment and in every moment, lots of greetings And salaams of Allah be upon you and His mercy and blessings O son of the leader of the worlds and on the shuhada with you Forever, for as long as the nights and days follow each other

اَللّـهُمَّ بَلِّغْهُ عَنّى فى هذِهِ السّاعَةِ وَفى هذَا الْيَوْمِ وَفى هذَا الْوَقْتِ وَفى كُلِّ وَقْت تَحِيَّةً كَثيرَةً وَسَلاماً سَلامُ اللهِ عَلَيْكِ وَرَحْمَةُ اللهِ وَبَرَكاتُهُ يَا بْنَ سَيِّدِ الْعالَمينَ وَعَلَى الْمُسْتَشْهَدينَ مَعَكَ سَلاماً مُتَّصِلاً مَا اتَّصَلَ اللَّيْلُ وَالنَّهارُ

Salaams upon you, Husein, son of Ali - the shaheed

السَّلامُ عَلَى الْحُسَيْنِ بْنِ عَلِىّ الشَّهيدِ

Salaams upon you, Ali son of Husayn - the shaheed

السَّلامُ عَلى عَلِىِّ بْنِ الْحُسَيْنِ الشَّهيدِ

Salaams upon you, Abbas son of Amirul Mu'mineen - the shaheed

اَلسَّلامُ عَلَى الْعَبّاسِ بْنِ اَميرِ الْمُؤْمِنينَ الشَّهيدِ

Salaams upon all the shuhada from the sons of Amirul Mu'mineen

السَّلامُ عَلَى الشُّهَدآءِ مِنْ وُلْدِ اَمِيرِ الْمُؤْمِنينَ

Salaams upon all the shuhada from the sons of Hasan

اَلسَّلامُ عَلَى الشُّهَدآءِ مِنْ وُلْدِ الْحَسَنِ

Salaams upon all the shuhada from the sons of Husein
Salaams upon all the shuhada from the sons of Jafer and Aqeel

اَلسَّلامُ عَلَى الشُّهَدآءِ مِنْ وُلْدِ الْحُسَيْنِ

السَّلامُ عَلَى الشُّهَدآءِ مِنْ وُلْدِ جَعْفَر وَعَقِيل

Salaams upon all the shuhada with you from the mu'mineen

اَلسَّلامُ عَلى كُلِّ مُسْتَشْهَد مَعَهُمْ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنين

O Allah! send Your blessings on Muhammad and his Ahlulbayt and I send to them lots of greetings and salaams

اَللّـهُمَّ صَلِّ عَلى مُحَمَّد وَآلِ مُحَمَّد وَبَلِّغْهُمْ عَنّى تَحِيَّةً كَثيرَةً وَسَلاماً

Salaams upon you, O Messenger of Allah May Allah give the best of condolences to you to bear that which happened to your son Husein

اَلسَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ يا رَسُولَ اللهِ اَحْسَنَ اللهُ لَكَ الْعَزآءَ فى وَلَدِكَ الْحُسَيْنِ

Salaams upon you, O Fatema May Allah give the best of condolences to you to bear that which happened to your son Husein

اَلسَّلامُ عَلَيْكِ يا فاطِمَةُ اَحْسَنَ اللهُ لَكَ الْعَزآءَ فى وَلَدِكَ الْحُسَيْنِ

Salaams upon you, O Amirul Mu'mineen May Allah give the best of condolences to you to bear with that which happened to your son Husein

اَلسَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ يا اَميرَ الْمُؤْمِنينَ اَحْسَنَ اللهُ لَكَ الْعَزآءَ فِى وَلَدِكَ الْحُسَيْنِ

Salaams upon you O Abu Muhammad - Hasan May Allah give the best of condolences to you to bear that which happened to your brother Husein

اَلسَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ يا اَبا مُحَمَّد الْحَسَنَ اَحْسَنَ اللهُ لَكَ الْعَزآءِ فى اَخيكَ الْحُسَيْنِ

O my mawla, O Aba Abdillah

يا مَوْلاىَ يا اَبا عَبْدِاللهِ

I have taken refuge with Allah and with you

اَنَا َضْيُف اِلله َوضَيْفُكَ

I am near Allah and near you

وَجارُ اللهِ وَجارُكَ

As every guest and friend receives hospitality,

وَلِكُلِّ ضَيْف وَجار قِرىً

I too request it at this moment That you ask Allah, the Glorified and high, that He grant me freedom from the fire Indeed He hears Dua and answers immediately.

وَقِراىَ فى هذَا الْوَقْتِ اَنْ تَسْئَلَ اللهَ سُبْحانَهُ وَتَعالى اَنْ يَرْزُقَنى فَكاكَ رَقَبَتى مِنَ النّارِ اِنَّهُ سَميعُ الدُّعآءِ قَريبُ مُجيبُ .

Movies for the year

I posted a brief reflection of the movies seen this year at the Muslim Movie Review blog.

I think my favorite few of the year were Bourne Ultimatum, The Astronaut Farmer, and Transformers. But there were some other good ones, too, as well as bad. Do you have any favorites for the year?

Monday, December 17, 2007

The Whispered Prayer of the Hopeful

In the Name of God, the All-merciful, the All-compassionate

1. O He who gives to a servant who asks from Him, takes him to his wish when he expectantly hopes for what is with Him, brings him near and close when he approaches Him, covers over his sin and cloaks it when he shows it openly, and satisfies and suffices him when he has confidence in Him!

2. My God, who is the one who has come before Thee seeking hospitality, and whom Thou hast not received hospitably? Who is the one who has dismounted at Thy door hoping for magnanimity, and to whom Thou hast not shown it? Is it good that I come back from Thy door, turned away in disappointment, while I know of no patron qualified by beneficence but Thee? How should I have hope in other than Thee, when the good - all of it - is in Thy hand? How should I expect from others, when Thine are the creation and the command? Should I cut off my hope for Thee, when Thou hast shown me of Thy bounty that for which I have not asked? Wouldst Thou make me have need for my like? But I hold fast to Thy cord! O He through whose mercy the strivers reach felicity and through whose vengeance the seekers of forgiveness are not made wretched! How should I forget Thee, while Thou never ceasest remembering me? How should I be diverted from Thee while Thou art my constant watcher?

3. My God, I have fastened my hand to the skirt of Thy generosity, I have stretched forth my expectation toward reaching Thy gifts, so render me pure through the purest profession of Thy Unity, and appoint me one of Thy choice servants! O He who is the asylum of every fleer, the hope of every seeker! O Best Object of hope! O Most Generous Object of supplication! O He who does not reject His asker or disappoint the expectant! O He whose door is open to His supplicators and whose veil is lifted for those who hope in Him! I ask Thee by Thy generosity to show kindness toward me through Thy gifts, with that which will gladden my eye, through hope in Thee, with that which will give serenity to my soul, and through certainty with that which will make easy for me the afflictions of this world and lift from my insight the veils of blindness! By Thy mercy, O Most Merciful of the merciful!

Friday, November 30, 2007

"Off with her Head!"

‘“Off with her head!” the Queen shouted at the top of her voice. Nobody moved.’ – Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland.

Gillian Gibbons received a 15-day jail sentence and deportation from Sudan for allowing young students to name a teddy bear Muhammad, after a popular student. But after Friday prayers on November 30, protesters in Sudan took to the streets, demanding her execution by firing squad. Her supporters, Muslim and non-Muslim alike, find the allegation of blasphemy and the reaction of Sudanese protestors both ridiculous. According to the BBC, a great many Muslim scholars and laypersons have come forward saying there is no problem with a teddy bear named Muhammad. Many have noted that she had no intent to insult in any way, and wasn’t even using the name to represent the Prophet of Islam (saw). Further, it is not uncommon for Muslim children all over the world to name pets and toys after the Prophet (saw) or other key figures in Islamic history they admire. This fiasco begs the question of what Islam really says about blasphemy. Do the Sudanese have any ground to stand on, or are they just uneducated radicals? It turns out that Islam does take a very strong stance against blasphemy, but cultural misunderstandings, political climate, poor practice of ethics, and undue attention to intent have led to this horrible situation.

In the now defunct ‘Aalim Network, Dr. Liyakatali Takim explained the Shia position in regards to blasphemy. “Blasphemy, by definition, refers to uttering profane language, insulting or abusing … that which is sacred to religion.” This includes God, the Prophet (saw), and the Ahlulbayt (sa). He cites the fatwa of Ayatullah al-Khu’i on the punishment for blasphemy. “…it is incumbent (wajib) to kill one who insults … the Prophet when one hears the insults provided there is no danger to his self, reputation or wealth. Agha also extends this ruling to cover insults against the Imams and Bibi Fatima (as).” In the same discussion, Dr. Takim goes on to explain rulings regarding apostasy and how punishments are drastically different depending on if one is born Muslim, and what one’s intent had been.
Therefore the Sudanese protesters understand correctly that the punishment for blasphemy can be execution. However, according to Ayatullah al-Khu’i, female blasphemers are not to be executed and people must be given the opportunity to repent. If they do, no punishment should be delivered. But no blasphemy occurred in this case. Blasphemy requires an intention to insult or defame as well as knowledge, and there is no doubt that Ms. Gibbons had neither. Her actions are no more blasphemous than those of the students she taught who suggested the name in the first place, because she, being non-Muslim, unaware of the potential damaging interpretations of her actions, and having no bad intent, is no more culpable than they. Further, her words and actions since the incident undoubtedly would indicate repentance, even if one insisted on interpreting the incident as blasphemy. Ayatullah al-Khu’i’s ruling also seems to indicate that the wajib punishment is on condition of an ‘adl adult having witnessed the insults. It is not clear that that happened. It seems likely and unfortunate that politics are at play here and Ms. Gibbons is an unwitting victim.

It is extremely frustrating to watch Muslims react with unrestrained and unjustified anger time and time again. It seems the people explode under misguidance and frustration from oppression and difficulties that have little or nothing to do with the incidents at hand. These bad-mannered and inappropriate actions only further spread misunderstanding, hatred and oppression, harming the entire Ummah and the whole of humanity. The Prophet (saw) and Ahlulbayt (as) endured abuse repeatedly without harming the perpetrators or getting angry, because they always had in mind to preserve and further God’s gift of Islam to us all. “To control your anger is praiseworthy in the eyes of Allah, whether you control your anger by patience or politeness.” (Mustadrak 2, p. 87) Further, if nothing else, we should see the screaming need for us to take great effort in emphasizing proper education and demonstration of ethics and fiqh for ourselves and our children.

Don’t be the Queen, shouting “Off with her head!” The Queen is a disgraced, foolish tyrant for losing her own head and heart.

The Ka'bah

The Ka’bah – What is it really?

The Hajj season is upon us, when millions of Muslims journey to Mecca and circumambulate the Ka’bah, that simple square building that we face toward when we pray. How strange it is that an insignificant structure such as this is the center of our hajj rites and the direction of our prayers! Why is this tiny stone cubic house so important? The Ka’bah has great cosmological significance that we all should understand in order to make better sense of our rites and prayers. The Ka’bah is the physical correspondence of the highest heaven.

The Ka’bah is called the Bait al Allah or Kaba e Allah, meaning House of God. But we know God needs no house, and is not confined to any space. It is also called the first house of mankind. Yet no human is known to have ever lived in it, so what does that mean? It is certain that Abraham (as) constructed the Ka’bah. But, before he built it, when he moved Hagar and Ishmael (as) to the empty desert, he said, “O our Lord! I have made some of my offspring to dwell in a valley without cultivation, by Thy Sacred House….” (Qur’an 14:37) So he was already aware of the Ka’bah before he built it! Many scholars say that the Ka’bah was first built by Adam (as) but the structure had wasted away. All agree at least that it existed somehow prior to Abraham (as).

The Ka’bah is like the Bait ul Mamur (the Oft-Frequented House) and is said to be built directly under it. The Bait ul Mamur is a house located in the fourth heaven that angels circumambulate and enter. Several traditions state that Adam (as) had prayed at that house, as well. So to understand the Ka’bah, we need to understand the Bait ul Mamur. So what is the significance of Bait ul Mamur? Both the Ka’bah and the Bait ul Mamur are symbols of how God brings about and attends to His creation.
To understand that, we have to first understand how the decrees of Allah swt come to reality. The Qur’an says, “And your Cherisher-Lord creates what He wishes….” (28:68) and “Surely His commanding is such that, when He desires a thing, He just says to it, “Become!” and it becomes.” (36:82) These two ayahs describe creation as mashi’ah (wishing), iradah (desiring), and amr (commanding), as well as symbolizing it by speech of Allah swt. All of these indicate that creation is the production of the outcome of Allah’s mashi’ah. A hadith of Ahlulbayt (as) says, “Allah created the Wish through itself, then He created the things through the Wish.” The Wish is symbolized as “the Water” or “Waters” in Qur’an and hadith. For example, “And from the Water We made everything alive.” (21:30) The scholars tell us this ayah also shows that every created thing is alive in some fashion. The fact that water (H2O) is repeatedly described as Mercy from Allah swt contributes to the symbolism of the Wish from which creation begins as the ultimate Mercy of the Creator.

The Creator-created relationship is a polar one, with the Creator in the seat of guardianship and authority. This position of guardianship is in the Qur’an called ‘arsh, which is translated most often as “throne (raised, shaded seat of authority)” or “empyrean” (the highest heaven). As Allah swt is not confined to a body, it does not mean a literal chair throne. The Arabic verbal root meaning of ‘arsh is a pillared structure raised from the ground. The Wish descends from and is beneath the empyrean “… and His empyrean was over the Water.” (Qur’an 11:7) Imam Ali bin Husain (as) said that in the ‘arsh or empyrean is a likeness of every created thing, and this is the meaning of “And there is not a thing except that its treasuries are with Us.” (15:21) The empyrean is also the gate of Allah’s administration over Creation: “He projects His guardianship uniformly to all creation over the empyrean; He administers the command.” (10:3)

Imam ‘Ali (as) has said that the empyrean is a cubical structure made of four pillars of light – one white, one yellow, one green and one red. The white light is the light of consciousness (‘aql) and knowledge and is the first, foundational pillar. Its symbol in the Qur’an is the pen (qalam). The green light is the Preserved Tablet (Lawh Mahfuz), the record or soul (31:28) of creation in the empyrean. The yellow light pillar is the Spirit (Ruh) as mentioned in Qur’an 17:85. It is through the Spirit that prophets and those close to Allah swt receive their knowledge and power. Ruh is related to rih, the wind. Thus, according to Imam Baqir (as), just was the Wish is symbolized by water, the Spirit is symbolized by wind - a movement and energy that effuses everything. The red light of the empyrean is the blood line that connects the empyrean to the physical universe or nature; it carries all the vibrations of created things.

So the Ka’bah is itself an ‘arsh, representing the ‘arsh of Allah swt, the highest heaven. Like the empyrean, it is a cube, with four corners mirroring the four corners of the empyrean. Imam Sadiq (as) quoted the Prophet (saw) about this correspondence. “The Ka’bah is called the Ka’bah because it is square-based. It is square-based because it is in correspondence to the Bayt ul Mamur. The Bayt ul Mamur is square-based because the empyrean is square-based. The empyrean is square-based because the phrases upon which Islam is based are four: Subhanallah, Alhumdulillah, La ilaha illa allahu, and Allahu akbar!” The corner with the black stone corresponds to the corner of the empyrean of the white light (consciousness). Incidentally, some hadith say that the black stone is actually white, but blackened by repeated touching. As pilgrims move around the Ka’bah, the move past the pillars of consciousness (white), then Spirit (yellow), then Soul (green), then nature (red).
With this knowledge, we can understand why we face toward the Ka’bah when we pray. We are facing toward the symbol of the highest heaven where Allah’s swt guidance, mercy and creation are all projected from. So facing toward the Ka’bah symbolizes facing towards the gateway between the physical Universe and Allah swt. This does not imply that Allah swt is confined out of the physical Universe, but rather refers to the methodology of creation, guardianship, and bestowal of mercy.

Scholars have noted that the Ka’bah is empty and has in its cubic shape all cardinal directions in three dimensions. All to be seen there is absoluteness, eternity. It is not a shrine. It is a symbol, a projection, a source of connection to the highest heaven, and an opening for the descent of Allah swt’s Wish into manifestation in the physical Universe. Some hadith indicate that the creation of the land of the Earth began at the location of the Ka’bah, as it is the Origin of physical creation. It is the symbol of our original home as we manifest from Wish in the empyrean, and that is why when we go for pilgrimage, we do not pray shortened prayers like travelers. We are going back to our source.

The hajj rites all are steeped in symbolism. We recreate the actions of Abraham (as) and Hagar (ra) to represent and learn from their deeds. Therefore, it is probable that the symbolism of the Ka’bah as the ‘arsh has a significant meaning in the context of those rites and our understanding of our roles in the Universe and in the Ummah. Knowing that the Ka’bah is itself a symbol can give us much to ponder about the possible meanings of events in history such as Imam ‘Ali (as) being born in the Ka’bah. At the very least, the Ka’bah as a symbol of the ‘arsh has very deep implications about the direction we face when we pray.


The History of Ka’bah by Hasan Zafar Naqvi
Islam Dynamic: The Cosmology, Spirituality and Practice of Walayah by Idris Samawi Hamid
Hajj: Reflections on its Rituals by Ali Shariati

Thursday, November 22, 2007

The Box

I think there's a box in the shed with his stuff. He hadn't ever had a lot of stuff with me, but there were a few objects. I long ago got rid of the stuff I knew he wouldn't care about, but what about the other things? -- his diploma, a few pictures of his nieces. They're not mine. I don't know how to give them to him. No one else would want them. Yet it seems wrong to dispose of them. So they sit in the box, mostly forgotten.

I'm not sure why I'm writing this post - I haven't been planning it, but I woke up at 4 a.m. to a sound like a book or something falling over in the closet and the heater having turned on and blowing a bit too hot, and as I got up, gradually the urge was there. I find it hard just to say or write the word sometimes. And to mention his name, or to remember any memory that has him in it, no matter how mundane, because I don't know how I should feel about them, and especially to speak those memories, because I think most people don't want to hear about it. I'm normally a very calm person. So when I'm suddenly crying I am so surprised and shocked and confused as to why. I have to try to figure it out, why am I feeling this way? My life is just fine, and while I'm sorry over many horrible affairs going on in the world past and present, they're not the ultimate cause. Some of it is just chemistry, but some of it is things long past and not part of my life anymore, so it is amazing to me how it can suddenly be there when I thought it was resolved. And then leave against just as quickly, for no apparent reason either way. However a large part of my past in reality is something hidden away in a forgotten box.

I've never really talked about my divorce with anyone, no family or friend. It feels like you did something very wrong, like you had a great failure, like your worth to the world has become less, to have that descriptor attached to your name. I feel bad when I fill out all those various demographic forms for various things and the marital status box comes up, trying to figure out which box I should check. If single is an option, I always pick that one, but some of them that isn't an option, only "never married". Then I think of my family. My mother loves to talk about her children, but what mother wants to tell people about her daughter's situation like that? Unfortunately, my mother's friends know about it well, because one of them helped me in the end.

We had met in college. I wasn't looking, but it happened nonetheless. Eventually we got married. The nikah was pronounced by some people I knew up in British Columbia and they phoned to tell us it was done. The U.S. legal marriage was done before a judge here in town. I had just started a new job in Denver and he was still living in Oklahoma. I had to drive down from work on a Friday afternoon, no time to get ready, and stand before the judge with him and my parents. Then we went to dinner somewhere and that was it. I don't like being the center of a spectacle, but was the understatedness of our wedding not just because of that, but because of some underlying current of its impending failure?

Afterward, plans that were made for us to unite in one place never happened. There was always a reason that he couldn't finish his degree or that he couldn't tell his family. I had taken the job in Denver for him because he had said he preferred to live there, but when he never showed up, I tired of being away from anyone I knew if I didn't have to and went back to Colorado Springs to work. Still he didn't come, but I waited. He finished his two year degree in about five years if I remember correctly. He said he was coming. He showed up without his stuff, and having missed the deadline to file papers to start a new degree here. He didn't have a work visa and said he didn't want to sit around and do nothing for 6 months until the next school term, so he went home to visit his family. I never saw him again. Eventually I did hear from him, but I waited months. He said his family had taken his passport and he was trying to get a new one to come back. I often wondered what it was that made him stay away all those years and then leave and never come back. What was it I did or didn't do, had or didn't have? I realize this truth at least - his going or staying was never in my control. Nothing I might have been or done would've mattered.

He had disappeared once long before we had our nikah, shortly after we first met, saying that his embassy had transferred him to a new school against his wishes and he had been trying to figure out a way to tell me. I never had thought it wasn't the truth, but later looking back I was so confused over what was true and what wasn't that I have no idea anymore. Later, I often wondered how much of a gullible fool I was, or how much I should continue to believe and trust - after all, he was my husband. At the time, I believed everything,and thought there were just some unfortunate circumstances. It didn't occur to me that perhaps his intentions all along had been to just take a companion while he studied here and then leave. It was clearly more complicated than he realized at the beginning, because he made himself seriously physically and mentally ill, incapacitated and unable to function, over what was happening in his life. He told me it was because his family was pressuring him. He couldn't wash whatever he was going through off his skin, after spending half a day in the shower, ice cold, with his skin rubbed red raw. Half the things he owned he couldn't touch because to him they were najis. He had mold growing thick on his apartment walls from water that he poured or spilled in his obsession, but he couldn't stop his obsession nor get clean.

After he had gone home, I had no way of contacting him there for most of that time - he would give me no number or address because he didn't want his family to have contact with me at all. After a considerable time he got a cell phone and might call me or allow me to call him on his cell. I knew that sometimes I was being lied to, because his stories changed. But I just didn't know what the truth was. I suspected that if he wanted to come back he could. But he didn't want to. But he said he did - maybe he was telling the truth. Yet he didn't want me to go there, either, in my own best interest, although at the very end he waffled a bit about that. And at that point, I didn't even feel safe to consider going there - I felt he would never stand up for me and I wasn't even sure who he really was anymore. He showed no movement toward coming back, but he didn't want to divorce me. I waited even longer because I couldn't bring myself to be the bad guy, the one who doomed it all after in the very end what was ten years - all of my adult life - invested with him.

But eventually, after several years, I reached my breaking point. I felt I couldn't stand to live another day in limbo and needed finality. What's more, I needed to have hope for myself. It took great effort, because it was never spoken of in my family, but one night I told my mom I wanted to get a divorce. She works with lawyers and knows a lot more about many aspects of the world than I do, so I knew she would be able to tell me what I had to do. One of her friends at work who really cares for my mom took my case pro bono. He had never done a divorce case before as he is in a different legal field. I had to file an intent to divorce notice in the local paper of my husband's last known address in Oklahoma, because I didn't know where he was. I did manage to get one phone call through to my husband before all this, telling him of my need for closure that was overwhelming me. He eventually said his permission for divorce but that he would not have anything to do with it himself. From then on, I had lost all contact with him. I had to appear in court before a judge and appear on a witness stand and be questioned about the circumstances in front of my mom by her friend while the judge also questioned and listened. My mom's friend told me it was most likely only a formality, but still it felt so humiliating. The judge granted the divorce. As far as my mom was concerned, I was free.

But I wasn't. The nikah was still in effect. In some ways I felt worse than before. Before I could say I was married. That was how things were supposed to be. Now, to some people I was divorced but I was really not free to move on. It took me a long time to find an 'alim who would address the case. I don't know many 'alims to begin with, living in a rather isolated place, never having been an integral part of any Muslim community. It wasn't a case people wanted to deal with because my husband was not around to answer their questions or give/verify permission for divorce. All I had was an old cell phone number that was never answered, but that's what I gave the 'alim. The 'alim's actions were to every now and then try to contact my husband. I waited again. It was less than a year later when I got the news. I felt like I had waited a lifetime but at the same time I felt lucky because I heard stories of some women who waited many, many years. Somehow the 'alim had found my husband, and he had given permission for divorce. I never heard any more about what happened, except that the 'alim had done the divorce.

I felt both relief and grief, and felt the future looming before me. I had no idea how to go forward from that place. I was ready to start looking - I had been alone essentially all of the time that I was married, especially the last several years as most of it he wasn't even in the same country. But I also felt damaged. I had never intimately seen a good marriage. Before I went to college, I was frightened of marriage because what I had seen had been truly terrorizing. But I did it anyway, and it failed, and now I was thirty. Is it possible to do something right without having seen it or done it before?

One day I was going through some papers and found my ex-husband's cell phone number. I called, still seeking more closure, still wanting to know the truth. And he answered. He wouldn't answer all those other times, but now he did. He said he had not remarried. He told me about his job. He said his English language skills were helping him a lot. He told me his brother married a non-Muslim European girl he had dated for years. But I couldn't confront him about all the things that he said and all that happened, and so I guess I'll never know the truth of what really happened - what was truth and what was fiction; I'm not sure he would've been willing to tell me anyway. I don't have the number anymore.

So since then I've lived my life and sought a soul mate. While I have looked, I have not enjoyed the process. It is too messy to think of someone as a potential spouse, and then have things not work out for one reason or another. I never wanted more than one man in my life, ever. Just the right one. Maybe I was the reason - was I too picky, too impatient, or too damaged? Lots of people started telling me I had better hurry and get married. I only have so many childbearing years left. Every year that passes I become less desirable to a decent suitor. I was told that I should give up everything in my life - my family, my work, my home, my belongings, my stability, to marry someone I didn't know and wasn't sure about. This is what is expected of women and if I felt any reluctance to do so, there was a problem with my deen. But I didn't feel secure enough to do so. And after trying so hard to restore my relationship with my family after my conversion and succeeding, I didn't want to risk tearing that down again if I didn't have to. I was also told that I should not choose a suitor based on my heart at all, but only my head. If he looked good on paper, get married, then get to know him, and maybe love will follow. I looked for truth in all these comments and tried to learn and tried to see if I was off base, always questioning myself. Sometimes I listened even though my instinct said different than what I was reading or being told, and later I would wish I had trusted my instinct.

I also didn't know what to think about some of the interest I did get - lots of people half my age or twice my age overseas. Lots of married men. Lots of people not too serious but looking to have fun. But also lots of people who were not too different from me, yet my heart just didn't feel the way I thought it should in order to marry someone. Many times I have posted a profile and then removed it, finding it too much to manage. Then put it back after awhile, then taken it down again. I felt a lot of mistakes in this process - especially when things got further in process before deciding to move on. While sometimes I have felt failure, I still don't believe I ultimately failed; I am used to success in what I try to do, by the grace of God - I believe things happen for a reason and that I have always done my best and tried to do right, and I keep learning. So I don't think I would change anything even though I may still feel pain and confusion sometimes.

I feel hope. Maybe through this I am learning to understand what I want and need and will be better able to appreciate true love in my life and appreciate the person who may love me and I love him, too. Just as we are, imperfect, but great together. For I have seen that such a thing is truly a blessing and wonderful gift. Sometimes I have doubted - being pragmatic. In reality I know that not everyone ends up with a good marriage, a loving husband, and healthy, happy, good children. And I also know that I could lead a good enough life no matter what happens for me about marriage. After all, my life right now is "good enough" for me - I have a lot to be thankful for.

But deep inside me, I always felt everything good would happen to me - deep inside me I expect it from God and believe it will happen when and how it is supposed to. And although I have at times doubted, I also expect and believe that I can still freely give my love, and that this is more important to me than getting it back. And although sometimes giving love ends up with hurt, giving love has the best possible returns. Giving love is liberating for the heart and soul, it is elevating. I am hopeful that I will give lots of love and make someone know he is loved, and make children know love - insha'allah. Miracles have unfolded in my life before - how else would I be Shia today, would my father be alive, would I have received the money to go to college, and so much more? Thank you God for your great blessings in my life that continue always. I am very grateful for the guidance and blessings I have received and continue to receive. I pray that I may be a blessing in someone else's life, more so with every passing day, as long as I live.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Zip Skinny

Here's the 'skinny' on my zip code: Zip Skinny

How does yours compare?

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving


With every breath you take, a thanksgiving is incumbent upon you, indeed, a thousand thanks or more. The lowest level of gratitude is to see that the blessing comes from Allah irrespective of the cause for it, and without the heart being attached to that cause. It consists of being satisfied with what is given; it means not disobeying Him with regard to His blessing, or opposing Him in any of His commands and prohibitions because of His blessing.

Be a grateful bondsman to Allah in every way, and you will find that Allah is a generous Lord in every way. If there were a way of worshipping Allah for His sincerest bondsman to follow more excellent than giving thanks at every instance, He would have ascribed to them the name of this worship above the rest of creation. Since there is no form of worship better than that, He has singled out this kind of worship from other kinds of worship, and has singled out those who practise this kind of worship, saying,

وَقَلِيلٌ مِّنْ عِبَادِيَ الشَّكُورُ

Very few of my servants are grateful. (34:13)

Complete thankfulness is to sincerely repent your inability to convey the least amount of gratitude, and expressing this by means of your sincere glorification of Allah. This is because fitting thanks is itself a blessing bestowed upon the bondsman for which he must also give thanks; it is of greater merit and of a higher state than the original blessing which caused him to respond with thanks in the first place. Therefore, every time one gives thanks one is obliged to give yet greater thanks, and so on ad infinitum, and this while absorbed in His blessings and unable to achieve the ultimate state of gratitude. For how can the bondsman match with gratitude the blessings of Allah, and when will he match his own action with Allah's while all along the bondsman is weak and has no power whatsoever, except from Allah?

Allah is not in need of the obedience of His bondsmen, for He has the power to increase blessings forever. Therefore be a grateful bondsman to Allah, and in this manner you will see wonders.

--From Imam Sadiq (as) in Lantern of the Path.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

NOVA Intelligent Design On Trial

Nova's latest episode was a two-hour documentary of the court case in Dover, Pennsylvania about teaching Intelligent Design as an alternative to evolutionary theory. I used to teach science in middle school - biology- and this issue came up for me then. I taught at a school with a good portion of its clientele being Christians who believe that Earth is a few thousand years old, fossils were put into the Earth as they are and were never living creatures, and that other galaxies cannot be billions of light years away because the universe is also only a few thousand years old. I'm a religious person myself and also a lover of science and the pursuit of Truth, and like many other people, I think that if both religion and science are accurate on a certain point that they both happen to speak about in some way, then there will be no conflict. But some people thrive on creating fitna and conflict. On this and many other issues, I have experienced that first hand and yet I am still always a bit shocked by it, and deeply saddened.

Anyway, I watched the episode and found it to be very interesting. I've always been a fan of NOVA - I was one of those lucky kids who grew up with much of her early years in the absence of cable TV so we watched PBS instead. But, now that I have cable I still watch the same kind of shows I did then for the most part. I do find it interesting how there are a lot of science-light or pseudo-science shows out there that present as science but aren't really quite there, because ultimately they're about entertainment. And the same thing for shows on religion - I see the same phenomenon in that arena, too.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Free Rice

This is cool! A novel take on the general idea started by the Hunger Site years ago....

You can improve your vocabulary and maybe help someone at the same time.

Saturday, November 10, 2007


I swear to Allah that He achieves His victory using you (the Shia) just as He used the stones.
Imam Ja’far Sadiq (as), Amaali of Tousi 1:167 and Bihar Al-Anwar 42:121

- ‘using stones’ refers to the Year of the Elephant when Abraha was trying to destroy the Kaaba. Allah sent an army of birds who carried stones and destroyed Abraha and his army of elephants.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


This guy is the best pumpkin carver I think I've ever seen - check out his carving!

I haven't carved a pumpkin in a long time. I remember the slimy guts and roasting the pumpkin seeds (yum!).

Tonight I'm manning the door (who else is there to do it?) giving out candy. A lot of kids take big handfuls these days if you let 'em. I have an assortment of Kit Kats, Hershey bars, Twizzlers and Jolly Ranchers. Oh, and halloween-themed plastic rings. Not as many kids as last year so far, and mostly younger ones. The best so far was a teenage boy dressed as a grandma who was acting the part, using an old lady voice, etc. But the older ones come later anyway. At the same time I'm watching Ghost Hunters live for a kick - they're revisiting the Waverly Sanatorium.

This weekend, insha'allah, I'm off to Atlanta for a weekend conference. Leaving Friday and coming back Monday. It has been a lot of work to try to get ready and take care of the usual work business as well. I have to leave right from school on Friday to the airport. I hope the conference will be useful. I'm giving tests for the sub to proctor on Monday. It is almost impossible to get a sub who can do math so we always have to write our plans accordingly. I will be hip deep in grading when I get back. I'm also out next Friday for another meeting of the same group going to Atlanta, and trying to make plans for a sub to handle then, as well, without getting behind. The days of not having every second scheduled in schools is long gone. Ten minutes misspent can mess you up for a semester if you're not careful.

I'm also, insha'allah, getting to meet a special friend in Atlanta on the evenings when I'm not in meetings, and I'm looking forward to that!

So anyway, have a great weekend if you don't hear from me sooner.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Love of God - Sayyid Baqr al-Sadr

The Love of Allah
Written by Ayat. Muhammad Baqir as-Sadr
"One can either love Allah or love the world. But both the loves cannot be contained in one heart. Let us submit our hearts to test. Let us examine our hearts to see whether the love of Allah or the love of this world prevails over them. If the love of Allah prevails over our hearts, let us make it deeper. If, Allah forbid, the love of this world prevails, let us try to save ourselves from this dreadful malady."
"Every love which occupies the centre of the heart of a person is of either of the two kinds. We call the perfect love the double grade love and the love which is not so perfect, the single grade love. To begin with, (single grade) love becomes the basis of man's sentiments, feelings, emotions and desires. After attending to his job or immediate need, man soon returns to his object of love, because love occupies the centre of his thoughts, feelings and sentiments."
"In the case of double grade love, man's entire attention is drawn by the object of his love and nothing can divert his attention from it. He is never inattentive to the thought of his beloved."
"Both these kinds of love are found in the case of the noble love of Allah. Single grade love appears in the hearts of the pious believers whose hearts are free from the impurities of the base affairs of this world. As soon as they are free from their immediate engagements, they return to the question which is the object of their love."
"As for double grade love, it is found in the hearts of the Prophets and Imams. You all know Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib, in the vicinity of whose tomb we live (Najaf). This great man has said "I never saw a thing but I saw Allah before it, after it and along with it". (Qablahu, wa ba'dahu wa ma'ahu)."
"In fact, this was because love of Allah occupied his great heart and conscience in such a way that it concealed everything else from him. Even when he saw human beings, he saw Allah. When he looked at Allah's bounties, he remembered Him. This bond with Allah was always present before his eyes, for it was Allah alone whom he truly loved and to whom his hopes and aspirations were directed. He never allowed anyone to divert his attention from Allah".
"Love of the world also reaches the stage where man does not see anything but the world before it, after it and along with it. Whatever he does, he does it for some wordly gain. He cannot devote himself to pious deeds for more than a few days. This is double grade love of the world. Imam Sadiq has said, "This world is like sea water. The more one drinks of it, the more one gets thirsty."
"It was love of Allah that was the basis of Imam Ali's courage and bravery. His courage was not that of a ferocious beast. It was the courage produced by the faith and love of Allah. He was over 60 when he fought against the Khwarij and in a single engagement killed 4000 of them. He was also at the height of bravery in regard to being patient and not pressing his rightful claim. He kept quiet when he was required by Allah to overlook his right. At that time, he was in the prime of his life. His conscience was aflame with the fire of youth. But Islam had told him to keep quiet and be patient, despite the violation of his rights."
"After all what is this world of ours? It is a collection of imaginery and fictional things. Harun-al-Rashid's world was very imposing. We curse him day and night. We say that we are better, more pious and more God-fearing than Harun was. Has the world of Harun-al-Rashid been offered to us and have we rejected it? If not, how can we claim to be more pious than him. The world offered to us is not that of Harun. It is much less limited and comparably insignificant. It is transient and shorter and not as vast and extensive as that of Harun. For the sake of this world, he imprisoned Imam Musa-e-Kazim. Are we sure that if we get that world, we would not throw the Imam into prison? Have we tested ourselves and put this question to ourselves? Has the world of Harun ever been offered to us so that we know we are more pious?"
"In our world, there can be no truth except that of Allah's good pleasure. Had the Imam worked for worldly gains, he would have been the most miserable person. Yet when he worked for Allah, he said on his deathbed "By the God of the Ka'aba, I am a successful person". This world is not for the students of theology. A student looking for this world can get neither this world nor the next. Therefore, it is incumbent upon us, as students, to confine our efforts to seeking the next world for this world has no value to us".
"We should think any moment as possible for our death. At the time of his death, my father was not as old as I was (1). My brother died at a younger age than I did. I have now completed the span of my lifetime (2)."
"We ask Allah to purify our hearts, and to brighten them with faith. May He turn our mind more towards seeking His pleasure and fill or hearts with His love, His fear and belief in Him. May he help us according to the teachings of his book, Ameen."
Ayatullah Baqir Sadr.
- 1 Sayyid Sadr was 47 to 48 years old when he said this.
- 2 Sayyid Sadr was executed, along with his sister Bint-al-Huda, a few months later.


Love is something pondered, sought after, and written about from time immemorial. It affects every person's view of the world and the affairs of his daily life.

The ancient Greeks had three words for different kinds of love:

philia - brotherly love (as seen in the name of the City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia); this love is the loyalty and love between friends, or to one's community, etc.

eros - passionate attraction or love with desire and longing, although it can be platonic and does not have to be physical in nature.

agape - a general affection; may be associated with love of God, but also one's "love" of a hobby or food, as well as relationships between people.

In Arabic, there are similar words of love: hubb, which seems comparable to to agape, 'ishq, akin to eros, and wudd, most like philia.

One of Allah's names is al-Wadud, He who loves - related to wudd. It is written that God gives a general encompassing love to all His creation, demonstrated through many gifts of mercy, guidance, and providing. He also reserves a special, deeper love for those who turn to Him: He loves those who love Him (Qur'an 5:54), the doers of justice (5:42, 8:60, 9:49), and those who do good to others (5:13, 5:93, 3:134, 3:148, 2:195) in an ever-deepening return. I wrote in a previous post a few months back about the walayah love relationship between God and mankind.

Today I'm thinking about love between people, or between creatures.

"At last comes love which ousts all else:
Love undoes all sense of 'two';
Love makes all One,
Until no 'mine'
Nor 'thine'
- Mahmud Shabistari

This is a sufi mystic interpretation of love - between a person and God, or between two people. The goal of the wayfarers is to lose themselves in God, to become metaphysically united with their Creator, so that there is no distinction between the person's desires and wants and the will of God.

In the love between people, the personhood of each individual remains distinct, for it is a partnership between relative equals, unlike the absolutely unequal relationship between God and man. God has no need from us. But we all have need of a manifestation of God's blessing through love of one another.

If two people love each other, then they make a decision and a commitment to serve one another, to pursue the happiness and pleasure of each other, to accept one another in reality and not just the ideal, to help one another, and to give and receive kindness between one another - all for the sake of the other, for the sake of the love itself, and most importantly for the sake and love of God - but not for the sake of wanting something in return, as if it is a price to be paid or a bargain to be made, for love is free for the giving and receiving.

Love is infinite - it doesn't run out when it is given. In fact, giving love makes love grow even more abundant. So why should we hold it back? Why should we withhold our affection from someone else, aside from the requirements of societal norms, gender relation boundaries, and ethics? Often, we fear rejection. But what is really lost in sharing one's love even if it is not returned? We can love selfishly or selflessly. The selfless love does not push itself on its intended but delights in an opportunity for genuine expression.

A movie I saw the other day (Dan in Real Life) had an interesting quote about love. A character said that love is not a feeling, it is an ability.

It is an ability we all have received from our Maker, but we have to choose to allow it space in our hearts. I do not know what determines the ultimate chemistry between two people, but I think aside from that chemistry, loving someone is a choice to allow the expression and reciprocation of affection and kindness. When I feel love for someone, I relish and enjoy and care for the entire being of that person. At no other time is living fully in the present so easy as in a moment of loving. Love is timeless.

There are many of you that I love and care about and I treasure your friendship. And this post is for all of you, and for someone special in mind as well. Praise be to God for love! :)

Monday, October 22, 2007

Cotopaxi man found

Direct quote from

"Cotopaxi Man Missing Since September Found Dead

By Jenn DeHaan

COTOPAXI - A man who has been the subject of a massive search since September 24 has been discovered dead. NEWSCHANNEL 13 has confirmed that the body of 63-year-old Gary Lorenz was found, reportedly sometime in the last few days.

While the Fremont County Sheriff's Office has now confirmed Lorenz's death, it was a NEWSCHANNEL 13 viewer that called in with the original tip. The viewer, who is being kept anonymous, says he was found on Saturday on a neighbor's property by a hunter. He tells NEWSCHANNEL 13 Lorenz's two golden retrievers, who were both last seen with him the day he disappeared, were still with the man, alive.

All of his information has proven accurate. Lorenz was found about 7 miles northwest of his home. His dogs were, in fact, still with him. His body was found by a hunter from Texas. The Sheriff's Office also reports that Lorenz apparently died from dehydration and exposure.

Lorenz was reported missing shortly after he was last seen as he was going out to check on some of his horses. His family had reported that Lorenz suffered from Alzheimer's Disease and could be in trouble. By the end of the first week, the search had grown to a 150-square-mile area with more than 70 volunteers and search team members. The search was then called off on October 10th, when Sheriff's deputies decided to take a more 'investigative' approach and examine other possibilities such as foul play."

So his dogs survived a month in the wild and stayed with him, that is pretty amazing. I'm glad he is found.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Amanah - Divine Trust

"God does not entrust anyone with intelligence without saving him thereby someday."
- Imam 'Ali, quoted in Living and Dying with Grace: Counsels of Hadrat Ali.

"Peace is absence of dissipation. Love is absence of hardness. Fallen man is hardness and dissipation...In the peace of the Lord, the waves of this dissipation are calmed and the soul is at rest in its primordial nature, in its center. Through love, the outer shell of the heart is melted like snow and the heart awakens from its death; hard, opaque and cold in the fallen state, it becomes liquid, transparent and aflame in the Divine life." Frithjof Schuon, Spiritual Perspectives and Human Facts

"The Islamic concept of Amanah or the Divine Trust derives scripturally from the following Qur'anic Verse, Al-Ahzab, 33:72 - 'We offered the Trust to the heavens and the earth and the mountains, but they refused to carry it and were afraid of it. And the human being carried it. Surely he is very ignorant, a great wrongdoer.' Humanity, being privileged by the grace of revelation and intellection to know the transcendent and to recognize creation as a manifestation of transcendence, also bears the responsibility of stewardship towards creation. This is an aspect of the principle of noblesse oblige. To know God is also to know all things in God, and God in all things, and to treat all God's creatures as sacred. The origin of morality is predicated on the discernment that 'all that lives is holy' (William Blake), which in turn is premised on the discernment of the sacred as the radiance of the divine That humanity in general is content to accept the privilege of its creaturely superiority without accepting the responsibility that such superiority confers, explains the Qur'anic comment at the end of the quoted verse." - Metaphysics of Human Governance: Imam 'Ali, Truth and Justice by M. Ali Lakhani in The Sacred Foundations of Justice in Islam: The Teachings of 'Ali ibn Abi Talib.

"Transmitted [naqli] knowledge is characterized by the fact that it needs to be passed from generation to generation. The only possible way to learn it is to receive it from someone else. In contrast, intellectual ['aqli] knowledge cannot be passed on, even though teachers are needed for its guidance in the right direction. The way to achieve it is to find it within oneself, by training the mind or, as many of the texts put it, 'polishing the heart.' Without uncovering such knowledge through self-discovery, one will depend on others in everything one knows." - Science of the Cosmos, Science of the Soul by William Chittick (I could go into a whole long aside about the politics of modern public education in this country and how people push for naqli, as opposed to 'aqli, teaching because it is 'traditional', not 'reform' and 'more efficient' - pushing for a society of citizens who possess passed-on knowledge and skills but lack training of mind, constructivist or creative thought, or the independence of self-discovery and discovery of nature. The students are to be deprived of discovering science and mathematics to truly own it and have the potential to lead in it in the future, but instead to acquire what the discoverers disseminate and follow them.)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Baseball is a very different kind of sport.

In many ways, it is more game or pastime than sport.

For one, any method of cheating you can get away with to get an advantage is encouraged and often considered part of the game.

stealing bases
pitchers and catchers covering their mouths when they talk so their lips won't be read
using secret hand signs and stealing signs of the other team
using pinch hitters
using designated hitters
pine tar on bats
corking bats
sliding to hit someone

It also has hilarious terminology.

screw ball
spit ball
fly ball
foul ball
home plate
short stop
you get out of an inning by getting outs
If a pitcher throws a ball, you don't want to swing at it
but if you fail to strike a ball with your bat, it's called a strike

It has very interesting behaviors and traditions you won't find in any other sport.

readjusting yourself
chewing bubblegum
eating sunflower seeds
tapping your feet with the bat

It is a very egalitarian, flexible and relaxed sport for player and fan alike.

organ music
seventh-inning stretch
foul ball do-overs
keep the homerun ball if you catch it
everyone from 4 to 80 can play
deep rosters and regular call-ups from the minor leagues during a season
different rules for different leagues depending on where you play- one league has designated hitters, the other doesn't
you get three outs and three strikes and four balls
no replay - just umpires and judges who say strange things like 'steeeerike!'
no field is the same as any other - different outfields, different backstops, etc.
no timeouts, just take the time you need and have a meeting on the mound
play 162 games a season (compare to football's 16!)
play other teams in series not just single games all the time
pretty much every town has a ball field
you don't need to be in great shape or wear tons of protection to play
you can play while standing around in a pretty green field on a beautiful day

It has so many ways to get into the game.

baseball cards and memorabilia
relatively cheap tickets
great fans
family friendly
physics of baseball
fantasy leagues
little leagues
park and rec leagues
minor leagues
major leagues
school teams
work teams

I don't know a great deal about the game so I'm missing a lot. But it's clear there's so much going into the game beyond athleticism.

Go Rockies World Series 2007

We're Excited Today

Colorado Rockies are going to the World Series!!! :)

Sunday, October 14, 2007

2nd Shawwal 1428

I’m beginning this on 2nd Shawwal 1428 or October 14, 2007. It is now 13 years since I pronounced and committed to my belief in One God, the message of the Qur’an , the role of the one who came with it, Prophet Muhammad (saw), and the impending Day of Judgment.

In many ways, it was not a large step from how I was raised, but in others, it was crossing a great chasm. In my core, I already believed in the Oneness of God and recognized that Truth, but until I found Islam that knowledge was confused and muddled by my Christian upbringing. The Qur’an was the primary factor that led to my choice to adopt Islam as my religion. When I read it, my heart resonated with the clarity of its message of Tawhid. Here, finally, was a scripture that was understandable, made sense and did not muddle the Truth. When I completed it, I knew that I had no choice but to be Muslim. To me, anything else from that point forward would be hypocrisy against what my mind and heart recognized.

I was young, just embarking on adulthood, and I was afraid of how my decision would play out in my future. I knew it would bring some difficulty with my family and society in general. But I made the decision to trust God with my affairs – Who better to trust?

Now, the month of Ramadan has just completed and in its nights I read a translation of Qur’an. At the same time, but at a slower pace, I have been re-reading the Bible. The Qur’an brings peace to my heart always – it is a meditation, a spiritual salve, a deep communion. By contrast, reading the Bible has reinforced my love of the Qur’an because of the former’s confusions. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry reading the story of Adam and Eve in Genesis when it mentions God walking through the Garden looking for the pair – God, with a human body, with His Creation able to hide from Him. Thus, I am made all the more grateful for Islam.

I still live in my hometown, which has grown around me, but which remains, to my knowledge, devoid of others trying to follow the path of a Shia Muslim. I have spiritual friendships cultivated primarily online with Shias in many places, and they are very dear to me and highly valued. I feel rooted here, in love with the natural beauty of this place, and maintain strong connections to my family.

My family underwent its own journey these past 13 years. For some time, my change in religion was a source of conflict and heartache for a family that already had enough of both. But ultimately, my mother’s powerful love and the behavioral consequences of my faith have helped bring my family together, so that we are, at least, a family.

I have occasionally looked back at parts of what I wrote in Seeking the Straight Path: Reflections of a New Muslim. It remains an accurate reflection of my early journey in Islam. But I have continued on the journey and am now at a different place than I was then. Meanwhile, many others have also found Islam and some of them, like me, no longer classify themselves as “new” Muslims. For me, the “coming of age” in Islam occurred when I went for hajj in late winter of 1999. Effectually, my whole adult life has been lived as a Muslim. I am comfortable in my new shoes. However, I am ever more humbled by my faults and inadequacies and made ever more cognizant of my total reliance on Allah for any success in anything. I used to harbor a sense of accomplishment for whatever education I obtained, for improved relations with family, for success in work, for finding Islam, etc. Now I understand that had the will of God been otherwise, the outcomes in my affairs could have been different at any turn. Therefore, all praise and immeasurable gratitude is due to the Creator.

One thing that has evolved over the past 13 years is my view of knowledge. There were some things I used to think I knew. But now, there are very things I would feel comfortable saying I know. It is a joke with my brother that if he asks something and I reply, “I don’t know,” that he says back, “You sure don’t know much, do you?” All I can do is agree with him. I regard much knowledge as fluid in nature. If you think you know something, you are often later confronted with new knowledge that makes you realize you didn’t know it as well as you thought you did. But I am comfortable to say there are many things that I cognize, or of which I have recognition (ma’arifah). I cognize the unity of God, the prophethood of the prophets, the imamate of the imams (peace be upon them), the dependency of all creation on the Creator, the truth in the message of the Qur’an, and I cognize the temporary nature of this world and the reality of the Day of Judgment.

Another evolution is my view of myself in relation to others. In the beginning stages after my conversion, I sought out answers, often by turning to people who might have them. I felt needy of others to help me find that knowledge I sought. Yet, I recognized that the filter of that knowledge, the decision of what to keep and what to reject, was a responsibility squarely on my own shoulders. Today I feel largely independent of other people, but totally dependent on God. I see myself as a journeyer among journeyers. Each of us has his own path to tread. My status or place amongst fellow journeyers ought to be irrelevant; what really matters is the status of my progress on the journey. But to achieve progress on the journey, I have to behave in the context of the interconnected nature of all our journeys. You and I are not competitors for rank such that for one to move ahead the other must move back. To the contrary, if one moves forward, it opens a way for another to move forward. If one moves forward, it is often due to helping another.

In the early period of my conversion to Islam there were a few questions that were most important to me – particularly how and why questions. “What?” - What is the din, what is our duty, what is hijab, what is prayer…. “How?” - How do I pray, how do I wear hijab, how do I eat…. “Why?” – Why do we pray the way we do, why do some women wear hijab, why do we avoid certain foods…. Those are important questions, many of which I found answers for to the extent that I needed, and many of which seeking answers to is part of a continuing quest. I am trying to make reality of ideals, to conquer the nafs, to fulfill duty with the best manners to fellow man and creature, to pursue the expansion of my heart, to chase the illumination of the enlightened, to save myself by losing myself. All of these things are the same thing – the same as what I started out on and the same as one another.

The Straight Path is a metaphor for the way of life for which we are created – that way of life that is just to ourselves and to others, that is in completely harmony with Truth. As we seek that path, we often find that our own journeys are anything but straight – they meander, they go forward and backward - and that we cannot clearly see the path ahead. We make mistakes, we harm ourselves and others, we get distracted, we waste time, we pursue that which won’t benefit us, we put our foots in our mouths, we are ungrateful, we lack humility but have too much pride. If there is one thing this world doesn’t need more of, it is self-righteousness. Few things hold us back from progress more than that digging-in-the-heels stubborn attitude that we’re right, that we know what we’re doing, that we have nothing to learn from certain people, and that we won’t concede an error, even privately to ourselves.

Much has happened in the world since 1994 when I said my shahada, and not all for the good. In the context of the Muslim Ummah and mankind at large, what I see is the need for people to dedicate themselves sincerely to the behavior of those people who are the best of creation, and to accept nothing less from themselves in all spheres of life.

In al Siraj: The Lantern on the Path To Allah Almighty
Husain ibn 'Ali ibn Sadiq al Bahrani wrote,

“Be informed, may Allah assist you, that the Prophet (s) has said,

“‘I was sent (to mankind) in order to perfect the virtues of ethics’ (Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 68, p. 382).

“There is no confusion in this statement, for anything relevant to the Hereafter and to our sustenance cannot be in order, nor can its seeker be happy, except through good manners. Much of a good deed does not help without cultivating and correcting one’s conduct. Actually, a bad conduct only spoils a good deed just as vinegar spoils honey (Usul Al-Kafi, Vol. 2, p. 32). What benefit is there in anything the outcome of which is spoilage?

“Do not be misled into thinking that a great deal of knowledge without correcting and cultivating one’s conduct can be of any use. Never! Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) have said,

“‘Do not be tyrannical scholars so your falsehood may wipe out your righteousness (al-Saduq’s Amali, Vol. 9, p. 294).

“‘Nor should you be misled into thinking that a bad mannered person can be happy in the company of a father, a son, a spouse, a friend, a companion, a family, a teacher or a student. Nay! They all are harmed by him, and they find his conduct offensive; so, how can he attain the means of perfection which are scattered among the people while those who are perfect shun and run away from him?! And be further informed that anyone who discerns the path of Ahl al-Bayt, peace be upon them, studying their legacy, will find how they guided mankind, attracted people to the creed, all through their good manners, ordering their followers to do likewise saying, ‘Invite people [to your creed] but not with your tongues.’ (Al-Kafi, Vol. 2, p. 46), meaning through good manners and beautiful deeds, so that they may be role models for those who emulate.

“So, if it becomes obvious that seeking this life or the life to come can both be complete through good manners, and that complementing the code of ethics is the benefit of the Message without which life can never be good, it becomes also obvious that cultivating manners has a precedence over any other obligation and is more important than any obligation. It is the key to everything good, the source of everything beautiful, the one which brings about every fruit, the basis of any objective. “

I have repeatedly witnessed good deeds spoiled with bad conduct. I have seen people so obsessed with their rights and entitlements that they expect people to bend like reeds to accommodate their gruff personalities and lack of tact, with the excuse of, “I am who I am and people need to just deal with it – I don’t have to change for anyone! They just need to grow thick skins and not be so easily offended when I point out their flaws; after all, I am only doing my duty to advise them.” With behavior like that, it doesn’t matter if you have the best advice in the world, for you have made it ugly, and succeeded in turning people off to it rather than inviting them by your conduct.

Whatever vision I may have had for life as I graduated high school in 1993, I am sure this wasn’t it. I would never have predicted that before the end of my sophomore year at college, I’d be a Muslim. I could not have predicted that I’d love and marry a Muslim man, that he would break apart under the stress of the conflict between his love for me and the pressures of his family to return home and marry someone of their choosing, or that he would ultimately decide to leave me by returning to his country and disappearing, leaving me to wait for him and eventually decide not to wait anymore and find a way to divorce. I would not have predicted that I’d still be here in my hometown, living less than 3 miles from my parents and teaching high school math.

Nor can I predict now what my future holds. I do not know if I will live to the end of the day let alone what will have transpired in my life should I arrive at the age of my parents. But I am satisfied with the direction of my life, so that if I leave the world today, I could make no complaint to God about how He has cared for me.

One day a few years ago, I had an encounter with a minister of a new age church. She was at a fair doing things like tarot cards or palm reading. She said to me, “You have an old soul. You have things figured out already while most of us are wandering around lost. You are only partly here; you have one foot in this world, but your other foot and your vision is in the next.” My mother was standing there and I think she was slightly disturbed by the last statement, as if it were a harbinger of death. I regarded the lady’s statement with some skepticism due to her trade but considered it anyway. My thought was simply that this world is a test, a temporary illusion. We are not created for this world. I should see the next world better than this one, for it is the reality. I should act in this world with constant awareness of building my abode in the real world. I am here and there. So are we all. We need to remember it – in fact, there are few things more important to remember than that.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Booming Sands

A few sand dunes in the world make a booming sound. The sounds are actually decreasing over time the past few centuries due to pollution.

Friday, October 12, 2007


I received this in e-mail today and it struck me in the moment as beautiful.

Everything you see has its roots in the unseen world. The forms may change,
yet the essence remains the same.

Every wonderful sight will vanish, every sweet word will fade, but do not be
disheartened, the source they come from is eternal, growing, branching out,
giving new life and new joy.

Why do you weep? The source is within you and this whole world is springing
up from it.

On a completely different note - GO ROCKIES! Game two NLCS tonight. Update: I stayed up until a quarter to one, but it was worth it for another win!

Moon Sighting Reports

The sightings below are posted on . Those following Ayatollah Seestani, if you share a common horizon with these places then it is Eid tomorrow. Those to the north will need to fast tomorrow also, and they also started the month a day later than those to the south, so then all will complete 30 days, insha'allah.

Mohamedraza H. Janmohamed (MCW member) from Sanford, FL reported: Seen
Moon was sighted in Tampa & Orlando, Florida. The FIRST DAY of Mahe Shawaal 1428 AH is therefore established as SATURDAY, OCTOBER 13, 2007

Javad Torabinejad (MCW member) from Blacksburg, VA, reported: Seen w/Binoculars only
This evening (Friday Oct 12), using a pair of binoculars (7X50) I was able to sight the moon in Pilot Mountain State Park, NC. The actual sunset was at 6:48 behind low clouds, close to the horizon. The stated sunset for that location for today was 6:50. I started scanning the WSW around sunset looking for Mercury when at 6:53, I saw the moon itself for a short time. The crescent was very thin with its horns located around 12:30 and 6:00 O'clock. I could not see the moon with naked eye, however.

Shahryar M. Naqvi from Mississippi reported: Seen
The moon was sighted in Starkville, Mississippi by four individuals: Shahryar Naqvi, Sarah Naqvi, Ali Mehdi Naqvi, and Sufia Naqvi. Moon was sighted on Friday, October 12, 2007, approximately at 6:45pm. The moon was only seen for two or three minutes.

Paul Burnham (MCW member) from Chino Valley, Arizona, reported: Seen w/Binoculars only
The new Crescent moon was sighted briefly from Chino Valley, Arizona this evening of October 12. Observation was at 1818 MST through binoculars only as the moon passed by a gap in locally broken clouds. The upper cusp was at approximately 2 O'clock, the lower cusp was not observed. Observation continued to locally advertised moonset of 1831 MST without further sighting due to clouds to the horizon.

AliReza Baig (MCW member) from Upland California reported: Seen w/Binoculars only
On October 12 - around 6:10pm PDT, I along with my son, Mehdi, positioned ourselves to a vantage point in Upland, California where we could see the sunset. It was cloudy in the Greater Los Angeles area, and we were unable to view the crescent with an unaided eye. As we were leaving (around 6:30pm PDT), my son was able to spot the crescent between clouds, with the help of our 10x50 Bushnell binocular. He lost track of it after 2 minutes. Mehdi & I tried to view it without the binocular but were unable to see it.

Kazim Mamdani from San Diego, California reported: Seen w/Binoculars only
Moon sighted in San Diego.I saw it with binoculars, conditions were not suitable for sighting. It became visible from behind clouds for about a minute twice, at 6:30 and 6:35 from where I was. I was not able to see with naked eye though.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

What do we celebrate on Eid?

On the day of Eid-ul-Fitr, Hazrat Ali (A.S.) delivered a sermon in which he said:

"O people! Verily this day of yours is the day when the righteous are awarded and the wretched are losers. It is a day which is similar to the one on which you shall be standing (before your Lord). Therefore, when you come out of your homes to go to places of your prayer, remind yourselves about the day when you (your souls) shall come out of your bodies to go to your Lord. When you stand on places of your prayer, remind yourselves of your standing in presence of your Lord (on the day of Judgement). And when you return to your homes (after prayer), remind yourselves about your returning to your homes in Paradise." (Nahjul-Balaghah)

Eid is not a celebration about an end to fasting and prayers, but a celebration of gratitude around the spiritual renewal and purification that we had the opportunity to be granted during the month.

Did we get nearer to God? Did we remove a bad habit? Did we find joy in Qur'an? Did we abstain from a temptation? Did we acquire humility and patience? Did we enjoy secret conversations with our Maker? Did we increase taqwa and will-power? Did we, perhaps, find forgiveness? Did we open our hearts with charity? If we experienced any of these, there is the cause of celebration. Eid can be a day of great loss if we let the month pass without improving ourselves and without turning to our God. It can be the end of wasted fasting if we return back from any gain of the month to former bad habits and celebrate the relaxing of our hearts to vanity, waste and sin.

What do we celebrate on Eid?

Imam Sajjad's Supplication in Bidding Farewell to the Month of Ramadan

1 O God, O He who desires no repayment!

2 O He who shows no remorse at bestowal!

3 O He who rewards not His servant tit for tat!

4 Thy kindness is a new beginning, Thy pardon gratuitous bounty, Thy punishment justice, Thy decree a choice for the best!

5 If Thou bestowest, Thou stainest not Thy bestowal with obligation, and if Thou withholdest, Thou withholdest not in transgression.

6 Thou showest gratitude to him who thanks Thee, while Thou hast inspired him to thank Thee.

7 Thou rewardest him who praises Thee, while though Thou hast taught him Thy praise.

8 Thou coverest him whom, if Thou willed, Thou wouldst expose, and Thou art generous toward him from whom, if Thou willed, Thou wouldst withhold. Both are worthy of Thy exposure and withholding, but Thou hast founded Thy acts upon gratuitous bounty, channelled Thy power into forbearance,

9 received him who disobeyed Thee with clemency, and disregarded him who intended wrongdoing against himself. Thou awaitest their turning back without haste and refrainest from rushing them toward repentance, so that the perisher among them may not perish because of Thee and the wretched may not be wretched through Thy favour, but only after Thy prolonged excusing him and successive arguments against him, as an act of generosity through Thy pardon, O Generous, and an act of kindliness through Thy tenderness, O Clement!

10 It is Thou who hast opened for Thy servants a door to Thy pardon, which Thou hast named 'repentance'. Thou hast placed upon that door a pointer from Thy revelation, lest they stray from it: Thou hast said (blessed are Thy names), Repent toward God with unswerving repentance! It may be that Thy Lord will acquit of your evil deeds and will admit you into gardens beneath which rivers flow,

11 upon the day when God will not degrade the Prophet and those who have faith along with him, their light running before them and on their right hands, and they say: 'Our Lord, complete for us our light, and forgive us! Surely Thou art powerful over everything.' What is the excuse of him who remains heedless of entering that house after the opening of the door and the setting up of the pointer?

12 It is Thou who hast raised the price against Thyself to the advantage of Thy servants, desiring their profit in their trade with Thee, their triumph through reaching Thee, and their increase on account of Thee, for Thou hast said (blessed is Thy Name and high art Thou exalted), Whoso brings a good deed shall have ten the like of it, and whoso brings an evil deed shall only be recompensed the like of it.

13 Thou hast said, The likeness of those who expend their wealth in the way of God is as the likeness of a grain of corn that sprouts seven ears, in every ear a hundred grains; so God multiplies unto whom He wills. Thou hast said, Who is he that will lend to God a good loan, and He will multiply it for him manifold? And Thou hast sent down in the Qur'an similar verses on the multiplying of good deeds.

14 It is Thou who hast pointed them through Thy speech from Thy Unseen and Thy encouragement in which lies their good fortune toward that which - hadst Thou covered it from them - their eyes would not have perceived, their ears would not have heard, and their imaginations would not have grasped, for Thou hast said, Remember Me and I will remember you be thankful to Me, and be you not thankless towards Me! Thou hast said, If you are thankful, surely I will increase you, but if you are thankless, My chastisement is surely terrible;

15 And Thou hast said, Supplicate Me and I will respond to you, surely those who wax too proud to worship Me shall enter Gehennam utterly abject. Hence Thou hast named supplicating Thee 'worship' and refraining from it 'waxing proud', and Thou hast threatened that the refraining from it would yield entrance into Gehennam in utter abjection.

16 So they remember Thee for Thy kindness, they thank Thee for Thy bounty, they supplicate Thee by Thy command, and they donate for Thee in order to seek Thy increase; in all this lies their deliverance from Thy wrath and their triumph through Thy good pleasure.

17 Were any creature himself to direct another creature to the like of that to which Thou Thyself hast directed Thy servants, he would be described by beneficence, qualified by kindness, and praised by every tongue. So to Thee belongs praise as long as there is found a way to praise Thee and as long as there remains for praising words by which Thou may be praised and meanings which may be spent in praise!

18 O He who shows Himself praiseworthy to His servants through beneficence and bounty, flooding them with kindness and graciousness! How much Thy favour has been spread about among us, Thy kindness lavished upon us, and Thy goodness singled out for us!

19 Thou hast guided us to Thy religion which Thou hast chosen, Thy creed with which Thou art pleased, and Thy path which Thou hast made smooth, and Thou hast shown us proximity to Thee and arrival at Thy generosity!

20 O God, among the choicest of those duties and the most special of those obligations Thou hast appointed the month of Ramadan, which Thou hast singled out from other months, chosen from among all periods and eras, and preferred over all times of the year through the Qur'an and the Light which Thou sent down within it, the faith which Thou multiplied by means of it, the fasting which Thou obligated therein, the standing in prayer which Thou encouraged at its time, and the Night of Decree which Thou magnified therein, the night which is better than a thousand months.

21 Through it Thou hast preferred us over the other communities and through its excellence Thou hast chosen us to the exclusion of the people of the creeds. We fasted by Thy command in its daylight, we stood in prayer with Thy help in its night, presenting ourselves by its fasting and its standing to the mercy which Thou hast held up before us, and we found through it the means to Thy reward. And Thou art full of what is sought from Thee, munificent with what is asked of Thy bounty, and near to him who strives for Thy nearness.

22 This month stood among us in a standing place of praise, accompanied us with the companionship of one approved, and profited us with the most excellent profit of the world's creatures. Then it parted from us at the completion of its time, the end of its term, and the fulfilment of its number.

23 So we bid farewell to it with the farewell of one whose parting pains us, whose leaving fills us with gloom and loneliness, and to whom we have come to owe a safeguarded claim, an observed inviolability, and a discharged right. We say: Peace be upon thee, O greatest month of God! O festival of His friends!

24 Peace be upon thee, O most noble of accompanying times! O best of months in days and hours!

25 Peace be upon thee, month in which expectations come near and good works are scattered about!

26 Peace be upon thee, comrade who is great in worth when found and who torments through absence when lost, anticipated friend whose parting gives pain!

27 Peace be upon thee, familiar who brought comfort in coming, thus making happy, who left loneliness in going, thus giving anguish!

28 Peace be upon thee, neighbour in whom hearts became tender and sins became few!

29 Peace be upon thee, helper who aided against Satan, companion who made easy the paths of good-doing!

30 Peace be upon thee - How many became freedmen of God within thee! How happy those who observed the respect due to thee!

31 Peace be upon thee - How many the sins thou erased! How many the kinds of faults thou covered over!

32 Peace be upon thee - How drawn out wert thou for the sinners! How awesome wert thou in the hearts of the faithful!

33 Peace be upon thee, month with which no days compete!

34 Peace be upon thee, month which is peace in all affairs!

35 Peace be upon thee, thou whose companionship is not disliked, thou whose friendly mixing is not blamed!

36 Peace be upon thee, just as thou hast entered upon us with blessings and cleansed us of the defilement of offenses!

37 Peace be upon thee - Thou art not bid farewell in annoyance nor is thy fasting left in weariness! font face=arial size=3>

38 Peace be upon thee, object of seeking before thy time, object of sorrow before thy passing!

39 Peace be upon thee - How much evil was turned away from us through thee! How much good flowed upon us because of thee!

40 Peace be upon thee and upon the Night of Decree which is better than a thousand months!

41 Peace be upon thee - How much we craved thee yesterday! How intensely we shall yearn for thee tomorrow!

42 Peace be upon thee and upon thy bounty which has now been made unlawful to us and upon thy blessings gone by which have now been stripped away from us!

43 O God, we are the people of this month. Through it Thou hast ennobled us and given us success because of Thy kindness, while the wretched are ignorant of its time. Made unlawful to them is its bounty because of their wretchedness.

44 Thou art the patron of the knowledge of it by which Thou hast preferred us, and its prescribed practices to which Thou hast guided us. We have undertaken, through Thy giving success, its fasting and its standing in prayer, but with shortcomings, and we have performed little of much.

45 O God, so to Thee belongs praise, in admission of evil doing and confession of negligence, and to Thee belongs remorse firmly knitted in our hearts and seeking of pardon sincerely uttered by our tongues. Reward us, in spite of the neglect that befell us in this month, with a reward through which we may reach the bounty desired from it and win the varieties of its craved stores!

46 Make incumbent upon us Thy pardon for our falling short of Thy right in this month and make our lives which lie before us reach the coming month of Ramadan! Once Thou hast made us reach it, help us perform the worship of which Thou art worthy, cause us to undertake the obedience which Thou deservest, and grant us righteous works that we may fulfil Thy right in these two months of the months of time.

47 O God, as for the small and large sins which we have committed in this our month, the misdeeds into which we have fallen, and the offenses which we have earned purposefully or in forgetfulness, wronging ourselves thereby or violating the respect due to others, bless Muhammad and his Household, cover us over with Thy covering, pardon us through Thy pardoning, place us not before the eyes of the gloaters because of that, stretch not toward us the tongues of the defamers, and employ us in that which will alleviate and expiate whatever Thou disapprovest from us within it through Thy clemency which does not run out, and Thy bounty which does not diminish!

48 O God, bless Muhammad and his Household, redress our being afflicted by our month, bless us in this day of our festival and our fast-breaking, make it one of the best of days that have passed over us, the greatest in attracting Thy pardon, and the most effacing toward sins, and forgive us our sins, both the concealed and the public!

49 O God, with the passing of this month make us pass forth from our offenses, with its departure make us depart from our evil deeds, and appoint us thereby among its most felicitous people, the most plentiful of them in portion, and the fullest of them in share!

50 O God, when any person observes this month as it should be observed, safeguards its inviolability as it should be safeguarded, attends to its bounds as they should be attended to, fears its misdeeds as they should be feared, or seeks nearness to Thee with any act of nearness-seeking which makes incumbent upon him Thy good pleasure and bends toward him Thy mercy, give to us the like [of that] from Thy wealth and bestow it upon us in multiples through Thy bounty, for Thy bounty does not diminish, Thy treasuries do not decrease but overflow, the mines of Thy beneficence are not exhausted, and Thy bestowal is the bestowal full of delight!

51 O God, bless Muhammad and his Household and write for us the like of the wages of him who fasted in it or worshipped Thee within it until the Day of Resurrection!

52 O God, we repent to Thee in our day of fast-breaking, which Thou hast appointed for the faithful a festival and a joy and for the people of Thy creed a time of assembly and gathering, from every misdeed we did, ill work we sent ahead, or evil thought we secretly conceived, the repentance of one who does not harbour a return to sin and who afterwards will not go back to offense, an unswerving repentance rid of doubt and wavering. So accept it from us, be pleased with us, and fix us within it!

53 O God, provide us with fear of the threatened punishment and yearning for the promised reward, so that we may find the pleasure of that for which we supplicate Thee and the sorrow of that from which we seek sanctuary in Thee!

54 And place us with Thee among the repenters, those upon whom Thou hast made Thy love obligatory and from whom Thou hast accepted the return to obeying Thee! O Most Just of the just!

55 O God, show forbearance toward our fathers and our mothers and all the people of our religion, those who have gone and those who will pass by, until the Day of Resurrection!

56 O God, bless our prophet Muhammad and his Household, as Thou hast blessed Thy angels brought nigh, bless him and his Household, as Thou hast blessed Thy prophets sent out, bless him and his Household, as Thou hast blessed Thy righteous servants - and better than that, O Lord of the worlds! - a blessing whose benediction will reach us, whose benefit will attain to us, and through which our supplication may be granted! Thou art the most generous of those who are beseeched, the most sufficient of those in whom confidence is had, the most bestowing of those from whom bounty is asked, and Thou art powerful over everything!