Clips from when I did a talk on what is Islam at my university.  It goes over the 5 pillars of Islam.  Somewhere in the middle I go into a brief discussion on what is the purpose of life, what is the definition of worship, what is salvation, etc:

Part 1:

Part 2:

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Assalam Alaikum wa Rahmatullah,

Insha Allah, I hope and plan to start producing short (say like 4 minutes long) biweekly (every 2 weeks) YouTube videos that deal with topics related to us in the Muslim community.  If you are interested, please subscribe at www.youtube.com/coolguymuslim Here’s the first episode that I produced this week:

Here are also other CoolGuyMuslim videos that were made in the past, please check em out iA:

The Bad Things that Happen in Life

The Fiqh of Priorities

Muslim vs. Mumin vs. Muhsin

Which Hand will YOU Receive Your Book In?

JazakAllahkhair for your time and attention!
-Bilal

Islam and Racism

November 14, 2009

Does Islam promote racism?  Check out the following narrations from the life of the Rasoolullah (SAW):

1. Prophet’s response to racist comments:

A man once visited the Prophet’s mosque in Madinah. There he saw a group of people sitting and discussing their faith together. Among them were Salman (who came from Persia), Suhayb who grew up in the Eastern Roman empire and was regarded as a Greek, and Bilal who was an African. The man then said:

“If the (Madinan) tribes of Aws and Khazraj support Muhammad, they are his people (that is, Arabs like him). But what are these people doing here?”

The Prophet became very angry when this was reported to him. Straightaway, he went to the mosque and summoned people to a Salat. He then addressed them saying:

“O people, know that the Lord and Sustainer is One. Your ancestor is one, your faith is one. The Arabism of anyone of you is not from your mother or father. It is no more than a tongue (language). Whoever speaks Arabic is an Arab.” (As quoted in Islam The Natural Way by Abdul Wahid Hamid p. 125)

2. Statement of the universal brotherhood in the last Sermon:

O people, Remember that your Lord is One. An Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a black has no superiority over white, nor a white has any superiority over black, except by piety and good action (Taqwa). Indeed the best among you is the one with the best character (Taqwa). Listen to me. Did I convey this to you properly? People responded, Yes. O messenger of God, The Prophet then said, then each one of you who is there must convey this to everyone not present. (Excerpt from the Prophet’s Last Sermon as in Baihiqi)

3. Don’t take pride in ancestry:

The Prophet said: Let people stop boasting about their ancestors. One is only a pious believer or a miserable sinner. All men are sons of Adam, and Adam came from dust (Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi).

4. Looking down upon other people will stop you from entering the Jannah:

The Prophet said: Whoever has pride in his heart equal to the weight of an atom shall not enter Paradise. A man inquired about a person who likes to wear beautiful clothes and fine shoes, and he answered: God is beautiful and likes beauty. Then he explained pride means rejecting the truth because of self-esteem and looking down on other people (Muslim).

5. The Prophet condemnation of Arab racial pride:

There are many hadith, which repeatedly strike on the Arab pride of jahiliyyah. Arabs before Islam used to look down upon others specially blacks. The Prophet repeatedly contrasted the believing Africans versus non-believing Arab nobles.

The Prophet said: You should listen to and obey your ruler even if he was an Ethiopian slave whose head looked like a raisin (Bukhari).

Getting Involved!

November 3, 2009

Many of us encounter individuals who talk a lot.  They make takfeer on many Muslims and are often times labelled as jihadi or takfeeri Muslims.  These Muslims are quite active on the internet with their online forums and what not.  However, they keep themselves distance from the jama’ and the Muslim community.  As Muslims, we need to be active and involved in our community.  I’m not saying do not be a part of the online dawah scene.  The online scene is amazing opportunity for us to reach out (after all, where are you reading this?).  However, at the same time, we need to be a part of the Masjid scene in our respective cities.  We need to be building for the future.  Moreover, we are the future, right?

Take a look at your Masjid community right now.  What does it look like?  If you look at the Masjid Shoora council (or Board of Trustees), how many people on that council were born in the same country as the one you currently reside in? If you live in an Arab or Desi community, chances are, very few, if any of the board members grew up in the culture in which the Masjid activities should be trying to relate to.  Why are you and your friends not stepping-up?  If you’re trying and gettin shot down, why aren’t you trying harder or running other projects in the area?

As young American and British youth, it’s our turn to step-up to the plate and become a part of something wonderful.  We need to become active and always be involved in various different dawah projects.  We should always be involved in some activity in our locality where we aim to try to make a difference.  The project doesn’t have to be something monumental, but it should be something that’s real.  You can be a Sunday school teacher for the youth teaching them how to pray or you can be a member of Project Downtown feeding the hungry and homeless.  Alternatively, you could be an active member of your MSA/ISOC promoting the good and forbidding the evil.  You can help with projects aimed at conveying knowledge like the AlMaghrib Institute or the local halaca series going on at your Masjid.  Just imagine of teaching one youth at a Sunday school Surat al-Fatiha.  InshAllah you would benefit every time that child then prays and recites Surat al-Fatiha for the rest of his or her life.  Making the difference in just one person’s life as a mentor, teacher, friend could potentially be the difference between heaven and hell, couldn’t it?

Not everyone is in the position to teach, but everyone is in the position to do something whether it’s A-V work, organizing events, cleaning the Masjid area, mentoring the youth, etc.  Ask yourself, what am I actively involved in?  What is my current project(s)? Shaytan often comes to us and gives us excuses that seem reasonable.  He may tell us that we only plan on being in our locality another six months so why not wait until our next community or you’re too busy right now as a newly-wed or it’ll be better to start after Eid or after our current project at work, etc.  However, these are satanic ploys for us to keep procrastinating.  We need to step-up and be involved now.  So what if you’re going somewhere in three months, start something and begin to establish it now and it will take care of itself as a sadaqa jariya (continuous charity) on your behalf even after someone else takes it over for you.  You don’t have to start a new project; you can always help out the other visionaries in your community with theirs. 

Our communities are seriously lacking in man-power and it’s time for the new generation to step-up and take control, inshAllah. Get involved now!

Working Through Obstacles

October 15, 2009

My last post, Companionship, discussed the importance of who are our friends and how we are very much similar to those people whom we love and spend time with.  After all, Rasoolullah (SAW) said “Shall I tell you who is the best of you?”  “Yes,” replied the Sahaba.  He (SAW) said, “Those who remind you of Allah when you see them.”  He (SAW) went on to say, “Shall I tell you who is the worst of you?”  “Yes,” they replied.  He said, “Those who go about slandering, causing mischief between friends in order to separate them, and desiring to lead the innocent into wrong action” (Bukhari).  However, does this mean we isolate and polarize ourselves from society?  No, in general, we should strive and struggle to benefit ourselves and others around us.  Consider the benefical words of Ibn al-Qayyim:

Know that the greatest of losses for YOU is to be pre-occupied with ONE who will bring you nothing but a loss in your time with Allah – the Mighty, the Majestic – and being cut-off from Him.  Wasting your time with such a person.  Weakening of your energy, and the dispersing [disbanding, separating] of your resolve [steadfastness, determination].  When you are tested with this – and you must be tested with this – deal with this person according to how Allah would wish, and be patient with him as much as possible.  Get closer to Allah and His Pleasure by way of this person.  Make your getting together with him something to benefit from, NOT  something to incur a loss from.

Be with him as if you are a man who is on a road who was stopped by another man, who then asks you to take him on your journey.  Make sure that you are the one who gives him a ride, and that he is not the one giving you the ride.  If he refuses, and there is nothing to gain from travelling with him, DO NOT stop for him.  Bid him farewell, and do not even turn back to look at him, as he is a highway robber, regardless of who he really is.  Save your heart, be wary [cautious, guarded] of how you spend your days and nights.

DO NOT let the Sun set [death approach] before you arrive at your DESTINATION.

Excerpts taken from Imam Ibn al-Qayyim’s book Al-Waabil as-Sayyib

Many of us, though we may have sincere and righteous intentions, have recently misplaced our ahklaq (i.e. we have lost our manners).  This message is not directed towards one specific incident, but rather I’ve noticed a culmination of different events where many of our brothers (and sisters!), inlcuding myself perhaps have forgotten the proper way to advise our fellow muslims (an act known as irshad or islah).  When we advise our brothers and sisters if they are doing something incorrectly, we must remember to do it for the sake of Allah (SWT) with the best of intentions.  The believer looks for excuses, not blame for his brother.  We want the best for our brothers and sisters and hence we advise them because we love them, not because we think we are better than them.  For if think we are better than them, then this is arrogance and pride and arrogance and pride was the sin that got the rejected and accursed devil kicked out of paradise and doomed for eternity.  We should not think we are better than others.  We need to humble ourselves and be thankful that we are in a position to advise others.  We shouldn’t advise people harshly, rather we need to be gentle, yet firm.  The Messenger of Allah was the best of examples sent to mankind and he would be gentle with others.  We have heard the hadith of the man who urinated in the masjid and the Prophet (SAW) handled the situation in the most eloquent of ways.  Nowadays, if a brother is praying without a kufi (head-covering) or his pants below his ankles in the masjid, we may berate him, but is this really the best way, will he continue coming to this masjid?  There may be a time for harshness, but many of us are not in the situation to handle it as we are the laymen.

With that being said, we need give advice in private.  None of us likes being called out in public and hence we should treat others the way we would want to be treated.  With that being said, when we receive advice, regardless of who it is from, we need to be thankful and considerate of it.  It takes courage to give advice and when one receives it, we should pray for that brother or sister that advised us becaus they love us, regardless of whether they are correct or not.

We need to be on our best behaviour at all times for our akhlaq may be what draws people to our beautiful and truthful religion and way of life.  Nowadays, the brothers with the big beards or the sisters with niqaab are the ones that seem to be the most intimidating, but this is incorrect.  We should set good examples.  Who said to be religious means to be stern and harsh?  Often times, harshness by our brothers and sisters may scare off those people that are young and new to the religion.  Wasn’t there one point in our lives not long ago where we may not have turned out the way we have if it wasn’t for someone who was gentle and kind to us in their teachings?

The salaf (our pious predecessors) used to study ahklaq (good manners) twice as long as they studied knowledge.  How much time have we personally devoted to purifying our souls and being steadfast in our manners and characteristics.  The Prophet (SAW) said, “I guarantee a house in the highest part of Jannah for one who has good manners” (Abu Dawud) so why not aim for the highest part of paradise.  We need to be gentle, honest, and sincere in our character and manners.

I just felt the need to write this short piece up as a reminder to myself first and foremost and then to all of you for we know the reminder benefits the believer.  May Allah (SWT) allow us all to have the best of manners, to attain the highest part of Jannah, and to love one another for the sake of Allah (SWT).  Ameen.

Residual Ajr

January 24, 2009

Subhan’Allah, how people chase after money in this world and attempt to set-up residual incomes for themselves and their families.  However, how many of us attempt to set-up residual hassanah (reward) for our hereafter?  Just reflect on the follow hadith:

Jarir bin ‘Abdullah al-Bajali narrated that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: “Whoever introduces some good practice in Islam will have the reward of it, as well as the reward of those who act on it after him, without their rewards being diminished in any respect. And whoever introduces some evil practice in Islam will bear the burden of it as well as the burden of those who act on it after him, without theirs being diminished in any respect.” (Bukhari)

How can we take advantage of such ‘residual ajr’?  Subhan’Allah, there are multiple ways as Rasoolullah (SAW) said, “When a human dies, his good deeds stop, except three: a sadaqa jariyya (continuous charity), a beneficial knowledge, or a righteous child that prays for him” (Muslim).

One way is through our wealth by giving in a cause that will work for us continuously, insh’Allah.  These projects could include the building of a masjid or a school.  We can also donate to a dawah project or buy books and  donate them to a library amongst many different things.

Another way is through knowledge.  We can teach at a weekend school little children how to read the Quran.  We can give dawah (to Muslims and non-Muslims).  We can teach a new Muslim how to pray.  We can establish a weekly-halaqa in our community.  We can set-up a dawah project at our MSAs that will continue to run even after we’ve graduated.

And another way is through righteous children.  We can raise on children upon the truth.  We can help them in memorizing the Book of Allah.  We can give them a proper Islamc education and upbringing and insh’Allah everytime they do good b/c our actions, we will see the fruit of it in the Hereafter.  May Allah (SWT) bless us all with beautiful, pious children.  Ameen.