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!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Munajat of Imam 'Ali (as)

There is video for this below in an earlier post.

Allah, I am asking for your protection against the Day when
nothing like wealth or children will be of use and only that
person will benefit who will come with a pure heart.

And I am asking you for your protection against the Day when
a wrongdoer will be biting the back of his hands in regret
and will be saying, 'Oh, I wish I had chosen the way shown
by the Prophet (of Allah),"

And I am asking for your protection against the Day when the
sinners will be known by their faces, and will be taken by
their hair and feet.

And I am asking for your protection against the Day when a
father will not serve instead of his son nor will a son be
punished instead of his father for anything, since Allah had
promised thus and His promise is true.

And I am asking for your protection against the Day when
apologizing of the wrongdoers will not do then any good
because they will be cursed and will be put in the evil
abode (of Jahannam).

And I am asking for your protection against the Day when
nobody will have control over anybody and the power will
belong to Allah (alone) that Day.

And I am asking for your protection against the Day when a
person will run away from his brother, his mother, his
father, his wife, and children. That Day every person will
have what he has earned for himself.

And I am asking for your protection against the Day when the
sinner would wish that he could ransom the wrath of Allah
descending on him at that time with his children, his wife,
his brother and relatives who gave him shelter and all those
on earth, so that he be saved. No, never can he escape (the
wrath of Allah which will be in the form of) burning fire
roasting him.

My Lord, O my Lord, You are the Master and I am the Slave,
and who else can be merciful to the slave except the Master?

My Lord, O my Lord, You are the Owner and I am the one owned
by You, and who else can be merciful to the owned except the
My Lord, O my Lord, You are the Mighty and I am the low, and
who else can be merciful to low the except the Mighty?

My Lord, O my Lord, You are the Creator and I am the
creature, and who else can be merciful to creature the
except the Creator?

My Lord, O my Lord, You are the Glorious and I am the
miserable, and who else can be merciful to miserable the
except the Glorious?

My Lord, O my Lord, You are the Powerful and I am the weak,
and who else can be merciful to weak the except the

My Lord, O my Lord, You are the Wealthy and I am the Poor,
and who else can be merciful to poor the except the Wealthy?

My Lord, O my Lord, You are the Bestower and I am the
beggar, and who else can be merciful to the beggar except
the Bestower?

My Lord, O my Lord, You are the Living and I am the dead,
and who else can be merciful to the dead except the Living?

My Lord, O my Lord, You are the Eternal and I am the
transient, and who else can be merciful to the transient
except the Eternal?

My Lord, O my Lord, You are the Permanent and I am the
short-lived, and who else can be merciful to the short-lived
except the Permanent?

My Lord, O my Lord, You are the Provider and I am the
blessed, and who else can be merciful to the blessed except
the Provider?

My Lord, O my Lord, You are the Generous and I am the miser,
and who else can be merciful to the miser except the

My Lord, O my Lord, You are the Free and I am the afflicted,
and who else can be merciful to the afflicted except the

My Lord, O my Lord, You are the Great and I am the
insignificant, and who else can be merciful to the
insignificant except the Great?

My Lord, O my Lord, You are the Leading and I am the
straying, and who else can be merciful to the straying
except the Leading?

My Lord, O my Lord, You are the Merciful and I am the one
shown mercy, and who else can be merciful to the one shown
mercy except the Merciful?

My Lord, O my Lord, You are the Authority and I am the
tried, and who else can be merciful to the tried except the

My Lord, O my Lord, You are the Guide and I am the confused,
and who else can be merciful to the confused except the

My Lord, O my Lord, You are the Forgiver and I am the
sinner, and who else can be merciful to the sinner except
the Forgiver?

My Lord, O my Lord, You are the Victor and I am the
defeated, and who else can be merciful to the defeated
except the Victor?

My Lord, O my Lord, You are the Nourisher and I am the
nourished, and who else can be merciful to the nourished
except the Nourisher?

My Lord, O my Lord, You are the High-handed and I am the
humble, and who else can be merciful to humble the except
the High-handed?

My Lord, O my Lord, have mercy on me by Your kindness, and
be pleased with me by Your Generosity and Your Magnanimity
and Your Grace, O the Generous, and Beneficent, O the
Almighty and the Benefactor, by your Mercy, O the most Kind.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Dua Makarimul Akhlaq

His (Imam Zainul Abedeen (as)'s) Supplication on Noble Moral Traits (Makarimul Akhlaq) Acts Pleasing to God (Supplication - 20)

This Du'a has been taught by our fourth Imam (a) and is a clear indication of the loftiness of moral virtues expected of a believer. Islam believes in the elevation of the human being, that a human is a great and dignified creation, far above the animal world. One of the signs of this dignity is the possession of noble and magnanimous qualities.

In order to achieve this behavioural excellence, man needs to overcome his base and selfish attributes, and cultivate noble qualities. In this Du"a the Imam specifies these qualities, and shows how we can try to inculcate them in ourselves. Taken as a lesson in Akhlaq, the Du'a is a wonderful program for those who wish to excel in good manners.

"The most complete in faith among the believers is he who has the best manners." [Holy Prophet (s)]

"Habituate yourself to magnanimity, and choose for yourself the most excellent of all etiquettes, for virtuous behaviour is a habit. Avoid the most low of all etiquettes, and struggle with yourself to avoid it, for evil is stubborn." [Imam Ali (a)]


O God, bless Muhammad and his Household, cause my faith to reach the most perfect faith, make my certainty the most excellent certainty, and take my intention to the best of intentions and my works to the best of works!

O God, complete my intention through Thy gentleness, rectify my certainty through what is with Thee, and set right what is corrupt in me through Thy power!

O God, bless Muhammad and his Household, spare me the concerns which distract me, employ me in that about which Thou wilt ask me tomorrow, and let me pass my days in that for which Thou hast created me! Free me from need, expand Thy provision toward me, and tempt me not with ingratitude! Exalt me and afflict me not with pride! Make me worship Thee and corrupt not my worship with self-admiration! Let good flow out from my hands upon the people and efface it not by my making them feel obliged!98 Give me the highest moral traits and preserve me from vainglory!

O God, bless Muhammad and his Household, raise me not a single degree before the people without lowering me its like in myself and bring about no outward exaltation for me without an inward abasement in myself to the same measure!

O God, bless Muhammad and Muhammad’s Household, give me to enjoy a sound guidance which I seek not to replace, a path of truth from which I swerve not, and an intention of right conduct in which I have no doubts! Let me live as long as my life is a free gift in obeying Thee, but if my life should become a pasture for Satan, seize me to Thyself before Thy hatred overtakes me or Thy wrath against be becomes firm!

O God, deposit in me no quality for which I will be faulted, unless Thou settest it right, no flaw for which I will be blamed, unless Thou makest it beautiful, no deficient noble trait, unless Thou completest it!

O God, bless Muhammad and Muhammad’s Household and replace for me the animosity of the people of hatred with love, the envy of the people of insolence with affection, the suspicion of the people of righteousness with trust, the enmity of those close with friendship, the disrespect of womb relatives with devotion, the abandonment of relatives with help, the attachment of flatterers with love set right, the rejection of fellows with generous friendliness, and the bitterness of the fear of wrongdoers with the sweetness of security!

O God, bless Muhammad and his Household, appoint for me a hand against him who wrongs me, a tongue against him who disputes with me, and a victory over him who stubbornly resists me! Give me guile against him who schemes against me, power over him who oppresses me, refutation of him who reviles me, and safety from him who threatens me! Grant me success to obey him who points me straight and follow him who guides me right!

O God, bless Muhammad and his Household and point me straight to resist him who is dishonest toward me with good counsel, repay him who separates from me with gentle devotion, reward him who deprives me with free giving, recompense him who cuts me off with joining, oppose him who slanders me with excellent mention, give thanks for good, and shut my eyes to evil!

O God, bless Muhammad and his Household, adorn me with the adornment of the righteous, and clothe me in the ornaments of the godfearing, through spreading justice, restraining rage, quenching the flame of hate, bringing together the people of separation, correcting discord, spreading about good behaviour, covering faults, mildness of temper, lowering the wing,99 beauty of conduct, gravity of bearing, agreeableness in comportment, precedence in reaching excellence, preferring bounteousness, refraining from condemnation, bestowing bounty on the undeserving, speaking the truth, though it be painful, making little of the good in my words and deeds, though it be much, and making much of the evil in my words and deeds, though it be little! Perfect this for me through lasting obedience, holding fast to the community, and rejecting the people of innovation and those who act in accordance with original opinions!

O God, bless Muhammad and his Household, appoint for me Thy widest provision in my old age and Thy strongest strength when I am exhausted, try me not with laziness in worship of Thee, blindness toward Thy path, undertaking what opposes love for Thee, joining with him who has separated himself from Thee, and separating from him who has joined himself to Thee!

O God, make me leap to Thee in times of distress, ask from Thee in needs, and plead to Thee in misery! Tempt me not to seek help from other than Thee when I am distressed, to humble myself in asking from someone else when I am poor, or to plead with someone less than Thee when I fear, for then I would deserve Thy abandonment, Thy withholding, and Thy turning away, O Most Merciful of the merciful!

O God, make the wishing, the doubt, and the envy which Satan throws into my heart a remembrance of Thy mightiness, a reflection upon Thy power, and a devising against Thy enemy! Make everything he causes to pass over my tongue, - the indecent or ugly words, the maligning of good repute, the false witness, the speaking ill of an absent man of faith or the reviling of one present, and all things similar - a speech in praise of Thee, a pursual of eulogizing Thee, an excursion in magnifying Thee, a thanksgiving for Thy favour, an acknowledgement of Thy beneficence, and an enumeration of Thy kindnesses!

O God, bless Muhammad and his Household, let me not be wronged while Thou canst repel from me, let me not do wrong while Thou art powerful over holding me back, let me not be misguided while Thou art able to guide me, let me not be poor while with Thee is my plenty, let me not be insolent while from Thee comes my wealth!

O God, I come to Thy forgiveness, I go straight to Thy pardon, I yearn for Thy forbearance, and I trust in Thy bounty, but there is nothing with me to make me warrant Thy forgiveness, nothing in my works to make me merit Thy pardon, and nothing on my behalf after I judge my soul but Thy bounty, so bless Muhammad and his Household and bestow Thy bounty upon me!

O God, make my speech be guidance, inspire me with reverential fear, give me success in that which is most pure, and employ me in what is most pleasing to Thee! O God, let me tread the most exemplary path and make me live and die in Thy creed! O God, bless Muhammad and his Household, give me to enjoy moderation, make me into one of the people of right behaviour, the proofs of right conduct, and the servants of righteousness, and provide me with triumph at the place of Return100 and safety from the Ambush!101

O God, take to Thyself from my soul what will purify it and leave for my soul that of my soul that will set it right, for my soul will perish unless Thou preservest it!

O God, Thou art my stores when I sorrow, Thou art my recourse when I am deprived, from Thee I seek aid when troubled and with Thee is a substitute for everything gone by, a correction for everything corrupted, and a change from everything Thou disapprovest. So show kindness to me with well-being before affliction, wealth before asking, right conduct before misguidance; suffice me against the burden of shame toward the servants, give me security on the Day of Return, and grant me excellent right guidance!

O God, bless Muhammad and his Household, repel from me through Thy gentleness, feed me through Thy favour, set me right through Thy generosity, heal me through Thy benefaction, shade me in Thy shelter, wrap me in Thy good pleasure, and give me success to reach the most guided of affairs when affairs confuse me, the purest of works when works seem similar, and the most pleasing to Thee of creeds when creeds conflict!

O God, bless Muhammad and his Household, crown me with sufficiency, place in me excellent guardianship,102 give me to guide correctly, tempt me not with plenty, grant me excellent ease, make not my life toil and trouble, and refuse not my supplication in rejection, for I make none rival to Thee and I supplicate none with Thee as equal!

O God, bless Muhammad and his Household, hold me back from prodigality, fortify my provision against ruin, increase my possessions through blessing them, and set me upon the path of guidance through piety in what I spend!

O God, bless Muhammad and his Household, spare me the burden of earning, and provide for me without reckoning, lest I be distracted from Thy worship through seeking and carry the load of earning’s ill results!

O God, bestow upon me what I seek through Thy power and grant me sanctuary from what I fear through Thy might!

O God, bless Muhammad and his Household, save my face through ease, and demean not my dignity through neediness, lest I seek provision from those whom Thou hast provided and asks for bestowal from the worst of Thy creatures! Then I would be tried by praising him who gave to me and afflicted with blaming him who held back from me, while Thou - not they - art patron of giving and holding back.

O God, bless Muhammad and his Household and provide me with soundness in worship, detachment in renunciation, knowledge put into action, and abstinence in measure!

O God, seal my term with Thy pardon, verify my expectation in hoping for Thy mercy, smooth my paths to reach Thy good pleasure, and make my works good in all my states!

O God, bless Muhammad and his Household, incite me to remember Thee in times of heedlessness, employ me in Thy obedience in days of disregard, open a smooth road for me to Thy love, and complete for me thereby the good of this world and the next!

O God, and bless Muhammad and his Household the best Thou hast blessed any of Thy creatures before him and wilt bless any of them after him, and give to us in this World good, and in the next world good, and protect me through Thy mercy from the chastisement of the Fire!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

The purpose of the month of Ramadhan

"In the above verses, 3 purpose or results for fasting in Ramadan have been mentioned:

... 1. Taqwaa : learning self-restraint
... 2. Takbir : glorifying God Almighty because of being guided
... 3. Shukra : being grateful.

"In the above 3 terms, glorifying or praising God and being grateful is self-explanatory. Perhaps the first term, Taqwa holds the greatest significance and worth probing in details.

"The origin of the word taqwâ meaning "carefulness, Godfearing-ness" is from the Arabic root WQY from the 8th form verb, ittaqâ "be wary, godfearing".

"What does taqwa mean? Linguistically taqwa means protection and shield from what is "not good". Taqwa has multiple levels of meanings. In the exoteric dimension, taqwa means to save oneself from the illusion of this world which cause negative karma or punishment both in this world and in the hereafter. Taqwa provides the protection and shield which is established by true faith, which in return will cause great love and fear of God, that will lead to doing righteous deeds and avoiding the negative ones."

- from Br Sadiq Alam - read the rest here!

Laylatul Qadr

Dua Jawshan Kabeer (part 1)

Dua Faraj

Dua Kumayl

Surah Mulk

“In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. Verily We sent it (the Quran) down in the night of Qadr (power). What shall make you know what the night of predestination is? The night of Qadr is better than a thousand months. The angels and the (holy) spirit descend therein by the permission of their Lord, with (decrees) for all affairs. (It is all) peace, till the break of dawn”. (Surah al-Qadr: Chapter 97)

S V Mir Ahmad Ali writes in his Tafseer:

Laylatul-Qadr means the night of power or grandeur. As verses 2 and 3 suggest it is, in the spiritual sense, a secret kept hidden, and it transcends time because in it Allah’s power dispels the darkness of ignorance through His revelation. Jalal al Din al Suyuti, in Durr al-Manthur says: Laylatul-Qadr stands for the Holy Prophet (saww) and his Ahlul-Bayt (as).

Aqa Mahdi Puya says: The night of Qadr is in the month of Ramadhan wherein it is stated that the whole Quran was revealed in this night. The descension of the angels and the spirit is a regular occurance since Allah created till the day of resurrection, and the place of descent is a thoroughly purified heart (Ahzab:33). Therefore there should be such a purified heart in existence at all times. Imam Muhammad bin Ali al-Baqir (as) said: “Present this surah as a decisive arguement for the continuity of the divine vicegerency on the earth”.

On this night, the whole of Quran was revealed to the Holy Prophet (saww) but he used to recite or convey to the people only such passages and verses as he was commanded by Allah (SWT) through Jibrael. This is known as gradual revelation. It is a night which is better than 1000 months meaning that good actions performed on that night are better than those performed over a 1000 months.

On the night of Qadr , the fate of every believer for the coming year is also determined. It is reported from Imam Ja’ffar ibn Muhammad as-Sadiq (as): “During Laylatul-Qadr, the angels, the spirit and the trusted scribes, all descend to the lower heavens and write down whatever God decrees for that year. And if God wishes to advance something, or postpone it, or add thereto, He (SWT) orders the angel to erase it and replace it with whatever He decrees”. (Tafseer-e-Namoona)

However, destiny can be maintained or changed for better or worse by people with their own faith, deeds, intentions etc. A true believer should not rest a single moment on this blessed night and make the best use of it to bring into vision a better future for oneself. Some of the ways of doing that is to seek forgiveness from ones sins and vow to change for better.

If a person has annoyed his parents, he should vow to make and always keep them happy

If a person is proud and arrogant, he should vow to become humble and polite

If a person is stingy, he should vow to become generous

If a person is ignorant about religious matters, he should vow to acquire its knowledge

If a person has severed his relation with his kin, he should vow to re-establish it

If a person has rebelled against Allah (SWT), he should vow to become obedient to Him

If a person is selfish, he should vow to become selfless

If a person is malicious, he should vow to become kind and clean hearted

If a person has harmed others, he should vow to ammend his ways with them

And so on and so forth. This way a person will be entitled to receive the blessings of Allah (SWT) and get his destiny changed for better.

Allama Baqir al-Majlisi says that: Every faithful must beseech Allah in these nights for mercy and forgiveness for ones ownself, parents, relatives, living and dead brothers-in-faith.

Please remember in the nights of Qadr our Muslim brothers and sisters who are oppressed in the world particularly those who are continuously suffering at the hands of Zionist and imperialist regimes in occupied Palestine, ‘Iraq, Lebanon and Afghanistan.

iltimaase dua’

- by Mulla Mujaheedali Sheriff