Podcast

Muslims in America – A Destiny Beyond Politics

Muslims and their reliance on politics to save us:

  • The Democratic Party/liberalism has failed the black family.
  • The GOP may have the outer appearance of moral conservatism, but they are still wed to white supremacy.

Can we realize our own genius independent of these two options?

Historically, the Prophet offered the pagans of Makkah an alternative, not in the sense of a salad bar (pick and chose this or that item), but in the sense of what you have to choose from isn’t good and thus no matter what choice you make, it’s a bad one.

He offered them healthy alternatives to: war, conflict, infanticide, tribalism, racism, cheating in business, etc. Are we presenting Islam as an alternative to that which America thus far hasn’t been able to find?

That can only come if we follow our own course.

فَلا تُطِعِ المُكَذِّبينَ

وَدّوا لَو تُدهِنُ فَيُدهِنونَ

“So do not obey those who deny the truth. They wish that you would conciliate them, then they too would be conciliating.”Qur’an, 68: 8-9

Podcast

Know the Qur’an and Know the World Around You

Surah al-Qalam counsels the Prophet to stay the course. To stand up for himself and his principles. He had to do it on his own.

“There is in us a tendency to locate the shaping forces of our existence outside ourselves. Success and failure are unavoidably related in our minds with the state of things around us. Hence it is that people with a sense of fulfillment think it a good world and would like to conserve it as it is, while the frustrated favor radical change.”

“…people with a sense of fulfillment think it a good world and would like to conserve it as it is…” — Eric Hoffer, The True Believer

Let us contemplate this in relation to the verses:

وَدّوا لَو تُدهِنُ فَيُدهِنونَ

وَلا تُطِع كُلَّ حَلّافٍ مَهينٍ

“They wish that you would conciliate them, then they too would be conciliating. But do not obey any vile swearer of oaths.”Qur’an, 68: 9-10

Ibn Juzayy says that Abu Jahl said to the Prophet,

لو عبدت آلهتنا لعبدنا إلهك

“If you worship our gods, we’ll worship you’re god in return.”Ibn Juzayy, al-Tashil li ‘Ulum al-Tanzil

“The tendency to look for all causes outside ourselves persists even when it is clear that our state of being is the product of personal qualities such as ability, character.”

“The self-confidence of even the consistently successful is never absolute. They are never sure that they know all the ingredients which go into the making of their success. The outside world seems to them a precariously balanced mechanism, and so long as it ticks in their favor they are afraid to tinker with it.” — Eric Hoffer, The True Believer

Podcast

Understanding Islam – Importance of Dhu al-Qa’idah

إِنَّ عِدَّةَ الشُّهورِ عِندَ اللَّهِ اثنا عَشَرَ شَهرًا في كِتابِ اللَّهِ يَومَ خَلَقَ السَّماواتِ وَالأَرضَ مِنها أَربَعَةٌ حُرُمٌ ۚ ذٰلِكَ الدّينُ القَيِّمُ ۚ فَلا تَظلِموا فيهِنَّ أَنفُسَكُم ۚ وَقاتِلُوا المُشرِكينَ كافَّةً كَما يُقاتِلونَكُم كافَّةً ۚ وَاعلَموا أَنَّ اللَّهَ مَعَ المُتَّقينَ

“There are twelve months with Allah in the Book of Allah, from the day He first created the heavens and earth. Four of them are sacred. That is the true religion and way of life. So do not wrong one another during them. However, fight the idolaters totally just as they fight you totally, and know that Allah is with those who have piety.”Qur’an 9: 36

وقال علي بن أبي طلحة، عن ابن عباس قوله {إِنَّ عِدَّةَ الشُّهُورِ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ اثْنَا عَشَرَ شَهْرًا} الآية {فَلا تَظْلِمُوا فِيهِنَّ أَنْفُسَكُمْ} في كلِّهن، ثم اختص من ذلك أربعة أشهر فجعلهن حراما، وعَظم حُرُماتهن، وجعل الذنب فيهن أعظم، والعمل الصالح والأجر أعظم

Ibn ‘Abbas reports concerning the verse “There are twelve months with Allah in the Book of Allah” until “So do not wrong one another during them”, meaning “in any of them”, and then He specified four months from those and he made them sacred, and He emphasized their sacredness, and made sins in them magnified, and righteous actions and the reward is likewise magnified. — Tafsir Ibn Kathir, #4/148

Dhu al-Qa’idah is the second to last month of Islamic calendar. It is taken from the word “qa’ada (قعد)” which means “to sit” or “take a seat”.

Dhu al-Qa’idah is also one of the sacred months in which fighting was prohibited unless one is provoked.

The individuals additionally used to stop their personal and business activities amid this month and sit and get ready for the Hajj.

Events Occur in Dhu al-Qa’idah:

  • In the year 5 A.H, The battle of Khandaq and Ahzab took place.
  • In the year 6 A.H the Treaty of Hudaybiyah.
  • In the year 7 A.H, The Prophet Muhammad and his Companions came to Makkah to perform Umrah.
Podcast

Time and Place Part II

Man is easily confused by time. We’re constantly battling against linear time because we’re at heart, non-linear creatures. And thus God swears by time we’re lost.

This Surah shows the way to salvation. The image of a declining day suggests the stage in the day, or in life, when only a short while is left for those wishing to make up for lost time.

وَالعَصرِ
إِنَّ الإِنسانَ لَفي خُسرٍ
إِلَّا الَّذينَ آمَنوا وَعَمِلُوا الصّالِحاتِ وَتَواصَوا بِالحَقِّ وَتَواصَوا بِالصَّبرِ

“By time (late afternoon), truly man is at a loss except for those who have strong faith and do right actions, urging each other to the truth, and urging each other to steadfastness.”Qur’an, 103: 1-3

The open book test is not a rigorous method of study and produces few lasting results. Lasting knowledge is gained through extensive reading, studying, and then testing.

كَذٰلِكَ ما أَتَى الَّذينَ مِن قَبلِهِم مِن رَسولٍ إِلّا قالوا ساحِرٌ أَو مَجنونٌ
أَتَواصَوا بِهِ ۚ بَل هُم قَومٌ طاغونَ

“Equally, no Messenger came to those before them without their saying, ‘A magician or a madman!’. Did they hand this down to one another? Indeed they are an unbridled people.”Qur’an, 51: 52-53

What are we handing down to the next generation of Muslims, be them our children or converts?

ابتُلينا معَ رسولِ اللَّهِ صلَّى اللَّهُ عليهِ وسلَّمَ بالضَّرَّاءِ فصَبَرنا ، ثمَّ ابتُلينا بالسَّرَّاءِ بعدَهُ فلم نصبِرْ

“We were tested while we were with the Messenger of God, peace and blessing upon him, with adversity (poverty, starvation, social hostility, etc.), and were persevered. Then we were tested with prosperity, and we weren’t able to bear (the test).”Isnad Sahih according to al-Albani, transmitted by ‘Abd al-Rahman bin ‘Awf in al-Tirmidhi’s Sahih, #2464

الرجلُ على دينِ خليلِه فلْينظر أحدُكم من يخالِلْ

“A person is on the religion and way of life that that confidant is upon so everyone of you should look carefully at who he takes as his confidant.”Sunan Abu Dawud, #4833

Podcast

If Life Is An Open Book Test, Will You Still Pass It?

تَبارَكَ الَّذي بِيَدِهِ المُلكُ وَهُوَ عَلىٰ كُلِّ شَيءٍ قَديرٌ

الَّذي خَلَقَ المَوتَ وَالحَياةَ لِيَبلُوَكُم أَيُّكُم أَحسَنُ عَمَلًا ۚ وَهُوَ العَزيزُ الغَفورُ

“Blessed be He who has the Kingdom in His Hand! He has power over all things. He who created death and life to test which of you is best in action. He is the Almighty, the Ever-Forgiving.”Qur’an, 67: 1-2

فَأَمَّا الإِنسانُ إِذا مَا ابتَلاهُ رَبُّهُ فَأَكرَمَهُ وَنَعَّمَهُ فَيَقولُ رَبّي أَكرَمَنِ

وَأَمّا إِذا مَا ابتَلاهُ فَقَدَرَ عَلَيهِ رِزقَهُ فَيَقولُ رَبّي أَهانَنِ

“Blessed be He who has the Kingdom in His Hand! He has power over all things. He who created death and life to test which of you is best in action. He is the Almighty, the Ever-Forgiving.”Qur’an, 89: 15-16

عن أبي هريرة رضي الله عنه يقول قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم يأتي على الناس زمان يخير فيه الرجل بين العجز والفجور فمن أدرك ذلك الزمان فليختر العجز على الفجور

“A time will come upon a person in which a he will have to choose which is better: between weakness and obscenity. Whoever should come upon that should choose weakness over obscenity.”Reported by Abu Hurayrah, recorded in al-Nisaburi’s al-Mustadrak al-Sahihayn, #8401

Podcast

Guarding Against Hypocrisy

خصلتانِ لا تجتمعانِ في منافقٍ حُسنُ سمتٍ ولا فقْهٌ في الدِّينِ

خُصْلَة وخَصْلَة

“There are two traits which will not be found in a hypocrite: a good disposition and comprehension of the Religion (i.e., Islam).”Abu Hurayrah, recorded in Jami’ al-Tirmidhi, #2684

السَّمْتُ: حُسْنُ النَّحْو في مَذْهَبِ الدِّينِ

“Samt: sound manner in religious affairs.”Ibn Mandhur, Lisan al-’Arab

كان يَدْعُو يقولُ اللهمَّ إنِّي أعوذُ بِكَ مِنَ الشِّقَاقِ والنِّفَاقِ وسُوءِ الأَخْلاَقِ

“The Prophet ﷺ used to supplicate: ‘O’ Allah, I seek protection with you from divisiveness, hypocrisy, and evil countenance’.”Abu Hurayrah, recorded in Sunan Abu Dawud, #1546

These three things have laid waste to the Ummah of Muhammad in modern times: divisiveness, hypocrisy, and evil countenance.

Podcast

Can We Come To Love Ritual Again?

In today’s world where efficiency and competitiveness create a culture of racing to the bottom, there’s a temptation to view everything in our lives through the lens of performance. As Elisha and Stefanie Goldstein write,

“Your practice isn’t a performance. Judgment about whether a meditation session was ’good’ or ‘bad,’ or whether mindfulness is ‘working’ or not, isn’t helpful. In fact, this performance-based mindset misses the point entirely. If there is a goal to any of the practices it’s simply to learn. Bringing a learning mindset to this practice is the fastest route to growth and mastery”1.

Similarly, the prayer (or du’a, or dhikr) is not performance. That is not to say that the how-to of it is inconsequential (number of raka’at, the order in which things are said, the times in which they may be performed, etc.). This is where Islam departs from mindfulness, or any other philosophy, in that the how-to does matter but it still should not be mistaken for being all about a particular emotional experience (such as happiness, for example) or that if the salah is executed properly that this will guarantee us safety, protection, or our heart’s desire.

1. Goldstein, Elisha. “An Invitation To Mindfulness”. Mindful, 21 July 2017, pp. 2-3.

Podcast

Eid al-Fitr Khutbah 1438

The following audio is the Eid al-Fitr khutbah delivered by Imam Marc Manley on the 1st of Shawwal, 1438 (June 25th, 2017).

Allah asks us an enduring question:

فَأَينَ تَذهَبونَ

“Where are you going?”Qur’an, 81: 26

As we say, “life is a journey”. Where is that journey headed to? There are many landmarks we’ll pass but where are we ultimately ending up at?

Having completed a month of fasting, we know what we’re capable of and we know where we’ve been. We’ve been through a trial and stayed the course but where do we go from here?

At times in our lives we attain great things and after those moments we sometimes lose confidence as to where the next hill, the next challenge, is.

The beautiful part of this chapter is it’s telling us things are literally “winding up”, or down, depending on how you look at it. The sun is going to collapse. The stars are going to become dull. We know these things now (the universe is expanding farther and farther apart): what was once familiar will now become distant and unfamiliar.

Everything points towards Allah and that Meeting with Him.

Stick together. We may lose sight of the sun and the stars, the world may become a strange and unfamiliar place, but we can become the signposts and rest stops along the way. We, not only through unity, but in unifying God, can point the way to one another when we feel lost or tired. We can also serve that function for others. In fact, we’ve already done it in the blessed month that just passed. Let us strive to keep its spirit alive in our hearts, homes, carrying that light as a beacon of light in dark times. Keep the faith and never fear the dark for “God is the Light of the Heavens and the Earth”.

اللَّهُ وَلِيُّ الَّذينَ آمَنو

ا يُخرِجُهُم مِنَ الظُّلُماتِ إِلَى النّورِ

“God is the protector of those who have faith taking them out of darkness to light.”Qur’an, 2: 257

اللَّهُ نورُ السَّماواتِ وَالأَرضِ

“God is the Light of the heavens and the earth.”Qur’an, 24: 35

This chapter was revealed after the defeated at Uhud and so Abu Sufyan tried to break the Muslim resolve by sending a man to spread rumors in Medina about how fearsome the Quraysh army would be, hoping to prevent the Muslims from accepting his challenge!

إِنَّما ذٰلِكُمُ الشَّيطانُ يُخَوِّفُ أَولِياءَهُ فَلا تَخافوهُم وَخافونِ إِن كُنتُم مُؤمِنينَ

“It’s only Satan who instills the fear of his minions in you, so don’t fear them.  Rather, fear Me if you (really) do believe.”Qur’an, 3: 175

If we have faith and courage, God will light the way for us.