04 December, 2009


A man dreamt that he went to Heaven and an angel was showing him around. They walked side-by-side inside a large workroom filled with angels. His angel guide stopped in front of the first section and said,
"This is the Receiving Section. Here, all petitions to God said in prayer are received."

The man looked around in this area, and it was terribly busy with so many angels sorting out petitions written on voluminous paper sheets and scraps from people all over the world.

Then they moved on down a long corridor until they reached the second section. The angel then said to him, "This is the Packaging and Delivery Section. Here, the graces and blessings the people asked for are processed and delivered to the living persons who asked for them."

The man noticed again how busy it was there. There were many angels working hard at that station, since so many blessings had been requested and were being packaged for delivery to Earth.

Finally at the farthest end of the long corridor they stopped at the door of a very small station.

To his great surprise, only one angel was seated there, idly doing nothing. "This is the Acknowledgment Section," the angel friend quietly admitted to him. The angel seemed embarrassed.

"How is it that? There's no work going on here?" the man asked.

"So sad," the angel sighed. "After people receive the blessings that they asked for, very few send back acknowledgments".

"How does one acknowledge God's blessings?" the man asked.

"If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead and a place to sleep you are richer than 75% of this world." If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish, you are among the top 8% of the worlds wealthy.

"And if you get this on your own computer, you are part of the 1% in the world who has that opportunity."

Also .....

"If you woke up this morning with more health than illness .... you are more blessed than the many who will not even survive this day.

"If you have never experienced the fear in battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation .. you are ahead of 700 million people in the world.

"If you can attend a prayer meeting without the fear of harassment, arrest, torture or death you are envied by, and more blessed than, three billion people in the world.

"If your parents are still alive and still married .. you are very rare.
If you can hold your head up and smile, you are not the norm, you're unique to all those in doubt and despair."

27 November, 2009

Fairy's Death

Life's been on a smooth track till 15th of October but a single sad incident had changed the whole scenario. The ruthless jaws of death had engulfed my fairy that was very dear to me. An orphan girl of age 6 who was struggling for her survival.

How I met her? That's the story.

Her orphanage was nearby my Medical school. She was a special child not 'coz she was a dumb or a deaf, the only thing which really pinched me that she never ever used to play with other children of her age. Until one day her care-taker told me that she's a blue baby having a hole in her heart. She was going to have a heart transplant. I was really shocked when heard this horrible fact but at the same time I got interested in her case. I really wanted to study her case as I was a Medical student and eager to become a cardiologist.

She was a Jew but I had nothing to do with her religion as I'm not a hard core Muslim. She was just an innocent child who was un-aware of this term "Religion''. Her father was a Jew but her mum was a Christian. Her father died in a road accident & after father's death, her mum got married to a Negro & as his step father wasn't ready to accept her as his daughter, she was sent to an orphanage.

She always used to ask me that why she can't run? 15th October was her operation's date. My aunt didn't allow me to be with her 'coz of her religion and she thought that I had nothing to do with her death or life as many Palestinians are dying due to Israelis. I was mentally turned and my heart was filled with anger but I was un-able to do anything. After sleepless night the dawn of 16th October was even more cruel. I went to the Dallas heart Center along-with my cousin. Doctors were just hoping to not have a tissue rejection. Next 48 hours were very crucial for her and what happened after 24 hours was even too horrible. Tissue rejection occurred and on 18th of October she lost her life.

I just lost hope in everything. I was a very jolly person but after that sad incident I forgot to smile. I lost interest in my studies. I don't wanna stay in Texas as this cruel city is gonna remind me of her. I still do remember her and her innocent questions about her disease. One day she asked me about her disease and I told her that I’m just a Student of Medicine and I don't know much; she said to me : “ You're plum”. I still do love her and I didn't forget to visit her grave.

At her funeral her mum was there with his hubby crying crocodile tears. I immensely hate her but what can I do?!

I'm helpless and I think each and every one of us has to bow before the nature and the rules Almighty has set for us. God rest her soul

Story by Saba.N

It's not important which religion do you believe in , being an obedient slave of the Creator is the main goal of creation .

02 November, 2009

Hijabed Like Me

A Non Muslim Woman Experiments with Hijab

I walked down the street in my long white dress and inch-long, black hair one afternoon, and truck drivers whistled and shouted obscenities at me. I felt defeated. I had just stepped out of a hair salon. I had cut my hair short, telling the hairdresser to trim it as she would a guy's. I sat numbly as my hairdresser skillfully sheared into my shoulder-length hair with her scissors, asking me with every inch she cut off if I was freaking out yet. I wasn't freaking out, but I felt self-mutilated.


One experience that was particularly educational was when I “dressed up” as a Muslim woman for a drive along Crenshaw Boulevard with three Muslim men as part of a newsmagazine project. I wore a white, long-sleeved cotton shirt, jeans, tennis shoes, and a flowery silk scarf that covered my head, which I borrowed from a Muslim woman. Not only did I look the part, I believed I felt the part. Of course, I wouldn't really know what it feels like to be Hijabed-I coined this word for the lack of a better term-everyday, because I was not raised with Islamic teachings. However, people perceived me as a Muslim woman and did not treat me as a sexual being by making cruel remarks. I noticed that men's eyes did not glide over my body as has happened when I wasn't Hijabed. I was fully clothed, exposing only my face. I remembered walking into an Islamic center and an African-American gentleman inside addressed me as “sister”, and asked where I came from. I told him I was originally from China. That didn't seem to matter. There was a sense of closeness between us because he assumed I was Muslim. I didn't know how to break the news to him because I wasn't sure if I was or not. I walked into the store that sold African jewelry and furniture and another gentleman asked me as I was walking out if I was Muslim. I looked at him and smiled, not knowing how to respond. I chose not to answer.


Outside the store, I asked one of the Muslim men I was with, “Am I Muslim?” He explained that everything that breathes and submits is. I have concluded that I may be and just don't know it. I haven't labeled myself as such yet. I don't know enough about Islam to assert that I am Muslim. Though I don't pray five times a day, go to a mosque, fast, nor cover my head with a scarf daily, this does not mean that I am not Muslim. These seem to be the natural manifestations of what is within. How I am inside does not directly change whether I am Hijabed or not. It is others' perception of me that was changed. Repeated experiences with others in turn creates a self-image.


I consciously chose to be Hijabed because I was searching for respect from men. Initially, as both a Women's Studies major and a thinking female, I bought into the Western view that the wearing of a scarf is oppressive. After this experience and much reflection, I have arrived at the conclusion that such a view is superficial and misguided: It is not if the act is motivated by conviction and understanding.


I covered up that day out of choice, and it was the most liberating experience of my life. I now see alternatives to being a woman. I discovered that the way I dress dictated others' reaction towards me. It saddens me that this is a reality. It is a reality that I have accepted, and chose to conquer rather than be conquered by it. It was my sexuality that I covered, not my femininity. The covering of the former allowed the liberation of the latter.

By Kathy Chin

16 October, 2009

The way I am dressed

You look at me and call me oppressed,
Simply because of the way I'm dressed,
You know me not for what's inside,
You judge the clothing I wear with pride,

My body's not for your eyes to hold,
You must speak to my mind, not my feminine mold,

I'm an individual, I'm no mans slave,
It's Allah's pleasure that I only crave,
I have a voice so I will be heard,
For in my heart I carry His word,

"O ye women, wrap close your cloak,
So you won't be bothered by ignorant folk",
Man doesn't tell me to dress this way,
It's a Law from God that I obey,

Oppressed is something I'm truly NOT,
For liberation is what I've got,
It was given to me many years ago,
With the right to prosper, the right to grow,

I can climb mountains or cross the seas,
Expand my mind in all degrees,
For God Himself gave us LIB-ER-TY,
When He sent Islam,
To You and Me!

20 September, 2009

The Muslim family in Western society: Confronting the challenges

In Islamic legislation, the family occupies the position of the first social cell that of the human incubator, and is distinguished by the warm emotional element that draws the person to his spouse, children, father, mother and brothers. This becomes a means to build a humanistic personality on a foundation of spiritual kindness, which nurtures the person, filling his mind heart with security, through the type of interaction that makes one spirit open to another. He should feel this emotional atmosphere overwhelming and surrounding him, in a humanistic way in which he experiences all its psychological, spiritual and intellectual details without any burden to his self or harm to his childhood, for it should make him breathe this (atmosphere) through his feeling as a matter of course, without it being imposed upon him.

Responsibility of care for the family:

In light of this, the Islamic responsibility of care for the family proceeds from a foundation of intellectual and psychological planning, which achieves for its members the opening up to Islamic concepts as a way of thinking and feeling and a way of life. Thus, the person will start his movement from an Islamic base, upon which stands his mental, emotional and dynamic building, this enables the Muslims who- from childhood -has to face an opposing reality with strength and firmness, to avoid becoming a feather in the wind or a piece of wood adrift in the current. This is what pushes an Islamic generation into the public arena, in which beliefs, steps and tendencies differ, to take its position on a basis of balance that protects it from all violent disturbances in an atmosphere of challenge?

The essential matter to address, as far as responsibility in the family is concerned, is the upbringing of the individual within it, and how to make him a person of God in his service to Him, his loyalty to Him and his relationship with Him through his belief, practice and feelings, through which he may experience the meaning of loving Allah and fearing Him. In this way, he will find his opportunity to acquire His satisfaction, to enter His Holy arena and to avoid the places of His wrath and Fire. This is what the gracious verse emphasizes:
"O Believers, guard your selves and your family against a Fire fuelled with men and stones, under the charge of fierce and mighty angels who never disobey Allah's command and how promptly do His bidding." 66:6.

We notice, in this verse, that Allah, the most Exalted, stirs the emotional side so as to proceed in planning, to achieve the internal and external preventive measures that prevent one from falling into the great Fire that is cruel in its nature and in those who are put in charge of it. It is exactly as if the father, husband or mother, in this life, is in a position where the other person -wife or child - is in danger of burning in fire: He stirs the depths of anxiety to make them do something to rescue them from an inescapable fate.

On the other hand, we find the other verse: "Gardens of Eden; they shall enter there, as well as the righteous among their father, their spouses and their offspring, and angels shall enter unto them fro every gate. "Peace unto you foe all that you have steadfastly endured, now how excellent is the (your) final home." 13:23,24.

This shows that familial atmosphere in Paradise, where the pious among fathers, wives and offspring meet once again in the place of God's satisfaction, because of their piety -in this life- in belief and practice and the fact that they stayed on the right path in the line of Oneness of God and obedience to Him. The Quran present these two pictures to people to stir resolve within them, and so they abandon the first picture for the second, reaching the happy ending that any person wants for himself and his family. This makes the matter one that concerns fate, and not a temporary situation that comes into his life every now and then.

In light of this, the matter requires collective effort, in addition to individual effort, so as to prepare the right atmospheres and conditions - which represent the environment in which the family can grow and archive for its individuals the guarantee of self-defense against deviation and succumbing. This can be achieved through preparation of different means, such as schools, 'incubators' and various programs that fill the soul with its needs in education, innocent leisure and spiritual development, all of which provide the individual with the necessary conditions for a normal life. Responsibility for solidarity The responsibility, perhaps, falls not only on families in their familial or local communities, but also on all those active in the Islamic field, the Islamic Grand Authorities, active movements and intellectual groups -thinkers, callers and conveyors, who move dynamically towards the integration of their endeavors, who move dynamically towards the integration of their endeavors to find the wise plan needed for an Islamic generation that is open to Islam and our era, making it an effective force in contemporary Islam's lift off towards the world.

The issue is not one of those issues that relate to the individual side, that of fathers and mothers with their children - everyone in his own family - but, rather, it relates to the new Islamic generation, in its general aspirations, and its open arena, and in dynamic struggle with the Islamic and intellectual challenges that it faces. And if the responsibility is big and embraces the social reality inside the Islamic countries, it is even stronger in infidel countries, when Muslims are forced to emigrate and reside in them. Here they may encounter a reality that does not represent a land, in which they can put down roots, and environment, which they cannot open up to, and a world in which they feel foreign - through its concepts, habits and traditions that are different to the ideas, habits and traditions, which they have inherited. The problem of the young generation If adults have started (their life in places of emigration) with deep roots of Islamic affiliations, in theory and practice, the younger generation will not necessarily have inherited these elements, since what it possesses may represent nothing beyond some passing words and foggy concepts which do not touch their true depth - even if they have touched some of their behavior.

The danger may lie in the Western school in which Muslim children are educated, where they breathe in the atmosphere of the West in all its emotions, conditions and aspirations, as if they were something natural to move around in, exactly like the natural aspects of their fellow pupils in play -grounds and classes. They may find it strange to hear the negative remarks of their fathers and mothers, as if these are outside the norm. They may confront the matter with increasing and unspoken rejection, which looks like a complex from the stance of the family. They will start to embody the bitter adolescent query: why do they prohibit us from dancing with out friends, or from swimming in mixed swimming pools, or from enjoying free and warm relationships etc? The difficult problem, in this situation, is that the new young generation does not have a sufficiently deep or clear conception of its personality to protect itself from the influences that move in the atmosphere into which is was thrown and the arena in which it was placed. What is its understanding of God, and His relationship with man, and man's position before Him? What is its understanding of personal freedom? What about morals in all of this? Some teaching may get through with recognition, but some things may create contradictions within it, leaving it in a state of deep puzzlement between its past that it has learnt from the family and the new that it has learnt from the school or the surrounding environment. It may not be able to confront the situation in a balanced way that permits answers to its puzzling questions, with the result that it becomes shattered psychologically, if not consciously. A suggestion for a remedial plan With children who have been implanted in a land that is not their own, their growth will be separated from the natural elements that provide them with the natural process of growing. This makes it essential that the remedy comes within the framework of a thoughtful, realistic plan, along the following lines:

1- Proceeding from the narrated word of Imam Ali (as): "Do not (try to) give your children your morals, for they have been created for a time other than yours", we may extrapolate from this by changing the idea of a change in place to a change in time.

This is justified, because the concept is not based on time in its absolute sense, but rather it means -in its intellectual implications -that dynamic morals are subject to different circumstances, for they may change according to their dynamic peculiarities, as we notice in the differences in morals regarding behavior in social etiquette, in food and drink, dress, different ways of expression, social dynamics, patterns of leisure etc; place may have a role in the differences between societies, habits and traditions, time may have a role as well. Therefore, we must study the reality in which children in the West live in order to make a comparison between the unchangeable morals which stretch across time and place -on the basis that they are man's morals as defined by his humanity, which represents truth that goes beyond time and place - and the changeable morals that are not related to the value but to circumstances, reality and the conditions surrounding a person. This enables us to observe the former and to plan to organize and guide their movement in the latter, for the problem is that fathers and mothers strive to make their children into an image (carbon copy) of themselves, without studying the circumstances that molded their image in its intellectual and practical dimensions, not with regard in its intellectual and practical dimensions, nor with regard to the new circumstances that may impose another image through new dimensions.

In a lot of situations people, including religious Muslims, may confuse what is tradition with what is religious adherence, and the result is confusion regarding moral concepts, deriving from a lack of religious Islamic awareness of the original Islamic morals on intellectual basis, which opens up to the behavioral dynamics. We are not calling for a moral and intellectual coup d'etat, but for re-looking at moral lines, including Islamic lines regarding rulings (fatwas) that prohibit Muslims from every leisure even if it is innocent, such as a ruling that prohibits clapping in a certain way, or any kind of leisure except what is proved to have been allowed. This has created the basis for the prohibition of leisure, with some as exceptions.

This may make a person think that there is a mentality which regards joy, in its deep movement within the self, as not recommended Islamically, and that (according to this mentality) a person must embody the sad feelings that link him with death, whilst he is in the heart of life! When pointing to such a jurisprudence mentality in regarding man's behavior, we do not want to talk in a negative way that rejects such an approach outright, for the matter must be subjected, in rejecting or accepting, to specialist research where the Islamic jurists have differed in their results. Rather, we want to point out that some jurisprudence opinions, in allowing and forbidding, may be subject to environmental influences which this or that Islamic jurist experienced, and these may be reflected in their understanding of the (sacred) text or the Islamic pillars in the minds of religious people, or not.
As we said, we do not want to abandon the jurisprudence way simply because there is a new reality to which we must open up, or that there is an intellectual development which we must face, but we want to study the reality according to its Islamic legal categories, through an objective formulation of rulings (ijtihad) that is open to the general Quranic lines regarding details in specific rulings, in both public and private lives.
2- It is essential to open modern scientific schools in which the new generation - in its initial stages of education -breathe Islam's spiritual, moral and social atmospheres. This will contribute greatly in protecting young Muslims from elements of spiritual and moral deviation and intense psychological complexities. We might perhaps emphasize that the school project in the West is more important than the mosque or Husainiyyah, not the Opposite. And perhaps executing this project is what can make it allowable for Muslims to stay in these countries, since negative results reflected in the new generation from the Islamic point of view may lead to making emigration out of these countries obligatory, for it is not allowed to stay in countries where a person's, or his family's, religion may weaken.

3- Opening sports, social and youth clubs for the young Muslim generation (is important), so that they find a natural release from the psychological suffocation and daily tiredness that come from schools or practical obligations. Also, starting dialogue forums for the Muslim youth (is useful), in a style through which we can discover their ideas, learn their views about the vital elements in belief and behavior, and to see the new concepts and feelings that they have acquired -all this to try to open up to this generation from within, to correct what has become corrupt and straighten out what has become deviant, in a way in which they do not feel the psychological pressure that may can create opposite reaction, especially if accompanied by physical pressure.

4- (It is also important to) prepare worship atmospheres that are open to the dynamic elements in religious and spiritual matters, and to abandon boring routines in the practice of worship, in order to encourage the desire in the young to go to theses places and partake in the spirituality of prayer and the dynamics of supplication.

5- (It is also important to) prepare religious social atmospheres by stirring Islamic memories, and trying to refresh their styles and methods with what fits in with the different mentalities of youth. This is to make them (the youth) open up to these memories on a level in which they feel strong and in close relationship with the historic personalities involved and the events in question, and through planning, to provide a bright picture which makes them store, within their consciousness, its spiritual features, moral elements and secrets about humanistic greatness. We are(currently) raising some general ideas with regard to initiating some experiments that are appropriate to the new reality, so that more ideas may be forthcoming and a lot more experiments are engaged in, and so that a comparative study may, in the end, achieve the integration needed to deal with this difficult problem.

We believe that the responsibility of staying in the West imposes on us the responsibility of preparing all means to preserve our Islamic identity, original moral values and Islamic adherence, so that we do not lose ourselves under the influence of deviant atmosphere, and do not lose our children through an -un-Islamic upbringing. Perhaps we cannot reach perfection in what is required; we have to accept this and use it to encourage experiments in the process of cooperation and integration, until we arrive at the better reality. The Muslim family in the West, as in any infidel country, is living with one of the most difficult problems, and our greatest responsibility is to work towards finding suitable solutions, especially since our great ambition is to proceed with the Islamic Message to guide the world to Islam. Therefore, we must not lose ourselves and our families whilst trying to bring benefit to others!

By Sayyed Muhammad Hussein Fadlullah

13 September, 2009

Beauty tips

For attractive lips , speak words of kindness.

For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.

For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.

For beautiful hair, let a child run his or her fingers through it once a day.

For poise, walk with the knowledge that you will never walk alone.

People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived,

reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anybody.

Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you'll find one at the end of your arm.

As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.

The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair.

The beauty of a woman must be seen from in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides.

The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mole, but true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul.

It is the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she shows.

And the beauty of a woman, with passing years, only grows!

04 September, 2009

Love in Islam (Al-Hubb Al-Islam)

Every heart that is not aflame is no heart;
A frozen heart is nothing but a handful of clay.
O God! Give me a breast that sets ablaze,
And in that breast a heart and that heart consumed with fire.

In Islam, the concept of love is one of the most important concepts. This fact manifests itself in Islamic philosophy, theology, mysticism and ethics; indeed, in some aspects, it plays the crucial role. For example, in defining the Islamic point of view on the relation between God and Universe in general, and between God and Mankind in particular, love has the most significant and profound place. Love is so central in Islam that it is seep as "the firmest handhold of faith" and "faith (Iman) is nothing but love for the sake of God and hate for the sake of God".

Ibn Abbas reported that Messenger of Allah (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: "The strongest faith is to be sincere for the sake of Allah, to hate for the sake of Allah (Tabarra), to love for the sake of Allah (Tawalla), and to discard for the sake of Allah."

There is a tendency among some people to think that there should be no hate at all. These people assume that excellence and nobility of character and "being sociable" consist of having all men one's friends. Certainly Islam recommends Muslims to love people and optimize compassionate and sincere relationship with them, even if they do not believe in Islam or in God. However, it is not feasible for a person who has principles in his life and has devoted his life to realize sacred values to be indifferent to evil and oppressive deeds of wrongdoers and make friendship with everybody. Such a person certainly will have some enemies, whether he likes it or not. There are always good people in the society and bad people. Good and bad are two opposite poles. Attraction towards the good is not possible without repulsion from the bad.

When two human beings attract each other and their hearts wish for them to be friends and companions with one another, we should look for a reason for that. The reason is nothing other than similarity and resemblance. Unless there is a similarity between these two persons, they cannot attract one another and move towards friendship with each other, as saying goes, Birds of same feather flock together.

Maulana Rumi in his Mathnavi mentions fine story that illustrate this fact.

The story relates to a wise man that saw a Raven who had formed affection for a Stork. They perched together and flew together! The wise man could not understand how two birds of two different species that had no similarity either in shape or in colour with each other could be friends. He went close and discovered that both of them had only one leg.

The same idea is emphasized by Imams of the Household (Ahlul Bayt) of Prophet Muhammad (saw). For example, Fudayl ibn Yasar, a disciple, asked Imam Jafar al-Sadiq (as) whether love and hatred derive from faith (Iman). Imam Jafar al-Sadiq (as) replied: "Is faith anything but love and hate?" It is also narrated that Imam al-Baqir (as), stated that: Religion (Deen) is love and love is religion. As these statements and traditions indicate, love plays an important and significant role. Hence it deserves our close attention in order that we may discover the real meaning of the concept of love in Islam.

First of all, some questions come to the mind. What is the kind of love that has been emphasized by Islam? Who is the object of this special kind of love? Why should the believers have this kind of love and what purpose does it serve?

In Islam Love can be broadly categorized into: Love for God, love for Prophet Muhammad (saw) and his Household (Ahlul Bayt), and love for the faithful. Love for Allah (SWT), Love for God is the foundation of Islamic belief .

The Noble Qur'an says: "The believers are stronger in their love for Allah." (Surah Al-Baqara, 2:165)

According to Islamic teaching, the minimum expectation from believers is that God should have the first place in their heart, in the sense that no other love may override one's love for God; God should be the highest and foremost object of love. The Noble Qur'an says: Say: If your fathers and your sons and your brethren and your mates and your kinsfolk and property which you have acquired, and the slackness of trade which you fear and dwellings which you like, are dearer to you than Allah and His Messenger and striving in His way, then wait till Allah brings about His command: and Allah does not guide the transgressing people. (Surah Al-Tawba, 9:24)

This verse clearly indicates that one's love for God has to be superior to one's love for everything else that one may come to love in one's life. This superiority shows itself when the love for God and for His religion comes in conflict with one's love for one's personal belongings. In this case, a believer should be able to sacrifice his personal favourite things for the sake of God. For example, if God asks us to give our lives to protect innocent lives or our territorial integrity or the like, we should not let our love for this world or any other distraction i.e. family, wealth, power, etc. prevent us from striving in His way. And nothing should come into conflict with our love for God. The Noble Qur'an says: Allah has not made for any man two hearts in his (one) body. (Surah Al-Ahzab, 33:4)

Imam Ali (as) would always spend time with his children. Once he was sitting in his house with his young children. Sayyida Zainab (sa) then asked, "Dear, father, do you love me?" Imam Ali (as) said, "Yes, of course, my children are like a part of my heart". On hearing this, she said, "You also love Allah (SWT). How can two loves be in one heart of a true believer, the love of Allah (SWT) and that of children?" Imam Ali (as) smiled and replied, "Love Allah (SWT) and for the sake of His love, you love His creatures; children and fellow beings too. I love you for the sake of Allah (SWT)." Hence love for God is the foundation of Islamic belief, the foundation on which man is to establish the principles of his faith (Iman). Hence with one heart one cannot choose two beloveds. Imam Jafar al-Sadiq (as) said once, "The heart is the sanctuary of God, therefore do not settle therein anything but God." Hadith Qudsi says, "Neither [the vastness of] My earth, nor [that of] My heaven can contain Me. Indeed it is the heart of the man of faith which can contain Me."

Urdu Couplet says: Kaba Kitna Khush Kismat Hai, Ke Yeh Allah (SWT) Ka Ghar Hai, Lekin Is Mein Allah Nahi Rehta, Momin Kaba Se Bhi Ziada Khush Kismat Hai, Jis Ke Dil Mein Allah (SWT) Rehta Hai.

The history of Islam is full of memories of those who embodied a sincere and overwhelming love for God and His religion. One of those who full-heatedly devoted himself to Islam was Bilal al-Habashi, a black slave. The pagans of Quraysh in Makkah subjected him to torture asking him to mention names of their idols express his belief in them and disbelieve in Islam. They tormented him under the burning Sun by laying him on scorching sand and putting heavy rocks on his chest. Abu Bakr, a rich companion (Sahabi) of Prophet Muhammad (saw), was passing by when he heard the cry of Bilal. He went close and advised him to hide his belief, but Bilal was not prepared to do so; since "love was ever rebellious becomes deadly." Another example is Imam Hussayn ibn Ali (sa), who said: "Oh God, I have left the world in Your love. Am ready to make my children orphans in Your love. My heart could not divert towards anybody but You. Even if You cut my body into pieces in Your love." Love the Sole Purpose of our Creation .

There is a famous divine saying (Hadith Qudsi) which can probably be found in all books written about the goal of creation in Islam. According to this Hadith Qudsi, Allah (SWT) says: "I was a hidden treasure; I loved to be known. Hence I created the world so that I would be known." Allah (SWT) has created the world out of love. Thus, a question arises: why did Allah (SWT) love to be known? Certainly, Allah (SWT) has no desire for fame. The purpose behind His love to be known is understandable by considering the fact that Allah (SWT) who is the Wise, the Compassionate and the Merciful creates the universe and particularly human beings to give them the maximum grace and perfection that they have the capacity for receiving. Of course, the perfection of any kind of being is decided by the degree of its similarity or closeness to Allah (SWT), and the most important factors in this are love of Allah (SWT), and prior to that knowledge of Allah (SWT), since there can be no love without knowing the beloved.

It is narrated in another Hadith Qudsi that when God loves someone, He becomes his ears, his eyes, his tongue, and his hands: "When I love him, then I shall be his ears with which he listens, his eyes with which he sees, his tongue with which he speaks, and his hands with which he holds; if he calls Me, I shall answer him, and if he asks Me, I shall give him."

Similarly the way man has physical needs in life which he strives and struggles to fulfill, the soul too has needs that must be satisfied. These spiritual needs and urges have been placed by the hands of the creator in the depths of the creation's soul. Man has a natural inclination to find love and love in any form towards any object has no valid reality except when it is for the sake of Allah (SWT). All love directly or indirectly in some way, shape, or form is a man's hope to be in reach of the ultimate perfection, which can be nobody but Allah (SWT) - the Almighty. God's love for the world in general and human beings in particular is unanimously believed and emphasized by all Muslims. Indeed, one of the God's names is al-Wadud, He who loves. Some non Muslims allege that God in Islam is very strict and cruel God who demands to be obeyed fully. He is not loving and kind. Nothing can be farther from truth than this allegation. It is enough to know that, with the exception of one, each of the 114 chapters of the Noble Qur'an begins with the verse: "In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate."

In one of the sayings of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) we are told that, "God is more loving and kinder than a mother to her dear child." Do You Want Allah (SWT) to Love You? Then develop the following qualities!
Allah loves Muhsineen (Good Doers) [2:195, 3:134, 3:148, 5:13, 5:93]
Allah loves Tawwabeen (Those who turn to rightfulness) [2:222]
Allah loves Mutahhareen (Those who keep their bodies free from filth) [2:222, 9:108]
Allah loves Muttaqeen (Those who guard themselves against evil) [3:76, 9:4, 9:7]
Allah loves Sabireen (Being Patient) [3:146]
Allah loves Mutawakkileen (Those who put their trust in Allah) [3:159]
Allah loves Muqsiteen (Those who act equitably and justly) [5:42, 49:9, 60:8]

It is noteworthy that although one of the things attributed to Allah (SWT) in Islam is the wrath (Ghadab), its application is much more limited compared to His mercifulness and love for His creatures. Indeed, His wrath is only for those who deliberately disbelieve or commit evil actions. Remember Allah (SWT) is also just. Hence evildoers and sinners must have their share of punishment and the virtuous, His bounties and favors. Wrath or anger is also out of His love and mercy. If His love or mercy did not exist He would not care at all. It is like a father who becomes angry with his son when he does something wrong, because he has care and concern for his son and his entire family, because he wants his son to correct his behaviour and set a lesson for other children not to copy that wrong act.

A rational and intelligent love is the one that involves the good and interest of whole mankind and not a limited number of people. One can do many things to bring good to individuals or groups which bring evil to society or mankind as a whole. For example, if a Judge releases a guilty criminal he might have done something good to that person, but a great harm has been inflicted upon the society and the ideal of justice. One should not let his affections hide the truth. If our beloved child needs injection or operation we should not let our love and passions for him to prevent us from doing so. This is exactly how wrath (Ghadab) of Allah (SWT) acts out of care and concern. Why should one love Allah (SWT)? According to Islam, one (1) reason for loving God, as said before lies in the fact that God is the most precious, absolute perfection and eternal beauty, that a man can ever conceive and therefore, man out of his nature that aspires to values, beauty and perfection loves God. The second (2) reason for loving God, men by nature love whoever does good to them, and they appreciate such favour and benevolence, as Imam Ali (as), said: "Generosity and magnanimity enslave men." Now, as God is the source of all being, of all generosity and benevolence, man, by virtue of his nature, loves God. Prophet Muhammad (saw), said: "Love Allah (SWT) because He has done good to you and He has bestowed favours upon you." A believer who has started his spiritual journey towards God first comes to recognize God's blessings upon him in providing him with lots of supports and helps that enabled him to act. Having continued his journey and been equipped with a mystical view of the world, he will realize that every good thing, indeed, comes from God himself. We read in the Noble Qur'an: "Whatever benefit comes to you (O man!), it is from God, and whatever misfortune befalls you, it is from yourself" (Surah An-Nisa, 4:79)

Aside from the fact that one who loves God is loved by Him (5:54), a real love for God prompts one to perform the best of deeds. Reason and nature dictate that if someone really loves God, he would act in a manner that is pleasing to God. In this regard, the Noble Qur'an says: Say: "If you love Allah, then follow me, and Allah will love you and forgive you your sins," and Allah is Forgiving and Merciful. (Surah Al-E-Imran, 3:31) This ayah indicates the interrelation between love, as an inner state, and emulating Prophet Muhammad (saw), which is an outward action. Moreover, it implies that no one may neglect his religious obligations under the pretext of love for God. Love for Prophet Muhammad (saw)

02 September, 2009

Ramadan recalls good memories of family reunion in I.R.Iran

The month of the Quran, a month of benevolence, a month of prayers and worship, a month of blessings, the holy month of Ramadan has arrived. And with it, all the warm childhood memories return; the memory of everyone getting together in the evenings at the grandparents’ home all around the Iftar spread, waiting anxiously to sample all the different delicious foods that grandmother had prepared.

The special ceremonies of giving Iftari to relatives, praying at nights and staying up late until sahari and recalling the wonderful memories all return once again with the arrival of this holy month.

Ramadan is celebrated in different regions across the country with ceremonies unique to each region. It is fascinating to get to know the ceremonies and the celebrations in each region and province.

Iranian Turkmen are very rich in culture and variety of ceremonies and traditions. They have special ceremonies for almost every individual event.

In the month of Ramadan, the elderly, the youth and even the children participate in all the special ceremonies that take place this month.

Turkmen usually begin preparations a week before the arrival of Ramadan. The women are busy cleaning their homes while the men purchase most of the necessary food to be used during this month.

One of the many traditions is that the females of each region usually get together and clean the neighborhood mosque on the last Friday prior to the arrival of Ramadan.

Observing the new moon of Ramadan in the sky is always accompanied with a great excitement. They believe anybody who sees the crescent will attain an extra heavenly award.

Another worthwhile custom before Ramadan’s arrival is to reconcile those who are not on speaking terms with each other. Usually, a respected elder from each district invites those who are not speaking to each other to his house for tea and tries to conciliate them.

In Ardebil, Ramadan brings lots of joy and excitement into their families and includes preparation of special food for Ramadan. Ashe-dough is very popular on these evenings and is usually served at the time of Iftar. It is a dish prepared with yoghurt, rice, chick peas, little meat balls and a very delicious regional vegetable which makes the food taste a little bit sour. It is white and is served like soup before the main course. Some eat bread with this food.

People in Shiraz have their special ceremony of kholukhandazun (feasting the month of Ramadan).

In the evening of last Friday in the month of Shaban (the month before Ramadan,) all the people of different ages pick up a dirt clod and stand facing the Qiblah and say, “God, we are breaking the bad habits and all our sins and preparing ourselves for the holy month of Ramadan and fasting” and then forcibly throw the clod to the ground to break it.

Sahari (the meal eaten before dawn) in Shiraz is also replete with colorful varieties of food, cooked rice and regional types of cookies.

People in the city of Khomein and the villages of Markazi Province, have the tradition to awaken their neighbors to eat sahari. Every night one young adult picks a basin, turns it upside down and then raps on it with a piece of wood at each door until they awake and turn on a light. An elderly man also accompanies the boy and shouts, “Wake up, it is Sahar (dawn)”. They continue to do this in front of every door.

Like other people across the country, people in Markazi Province also stay awake to pray on the nights of the 19th, 21st, and 23rd of Ramadan, which are known as the ‘grand nights’, on one of which the entire Quran was sent down to the Prophet Muhammad (S). It is believed that Allah is extremely merciful to his servants on these nights.

The tradition of kisehduzi is also popular among the women in Hamedan. On the 27th day of Ramadan women take a piece of cloth to the mosque and sew one or more small purses. Next, they put some money inside the purses, read some prayers, and then blow on them. Finally, they place the purse in an old chest at home. The purse is called the ‘purse of blessing’ and people believe that they will never experience poverty in the future (due to the purse.)

26 August, 2009

Muslim Women Power List

The inaugural Muslim Women Power List 2009 is a celebration of the 100,000 Muslim women currently working in Britain. It pays tribute to those who are on the way to - or have already reached - the top of their chosen field, be that business, civil service, arts, media or the public sector.

About the List

The Commission, in association with The Times and Emel magazine, has published the List this week, and it will be launched at a gala dinner in Manchester on 24 March.

What we hope to achieve

The aim of the List is to challenge some of the stereotypes about Muslim women, and to highlight the fact that they share the ambitions and challenges of all working women: to succeed at a good job and often to combine marriage and motherhood with a fulfilling career. We hope that the List will act as a professional social network for working Muslim women, allowing them to benefit from each other’s experiences in the workplace.

‘There aren’t many groups I can think of who are more stereotyped, yet less understood by the wider community, than working Muslim women,’ says Trevor Phillips, EHRC chairman. ‘I hope this list will make the rest of Britain sit up and take note – many members of the Muslim community are making a valuable economic and social contribution to our future.’

How the List was compiled

In January 2009 we issued a call to companies and organisations to nominate their employees. We received over 250 high quality nominations, from which our panel of judges - Baroness Sarah Hogg, Chairman of 3i; Trevor Phillips, chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission; Sarah Joseph, editor of Emel Magazine; Michael Binyon, diplomatic editor and leader writer for The Times and Sara Friend, Legal Director, British Olympic Association – selected the 50 remarkable women who make up the Power List 2009.

Quotes from women on the list

Mishal Husain, 36, presenter, BBC One and BBC World News

‘My faith is one aspect of my identity. I’m a wife, a mother, a journalist, a British citizen, someone who loves books… I’ve thought harder about my faith since 9/11 and since becoming a mother. I’m more conscious of passing on traditions to my children, because knowing who you are is a solid base for a child.’

Baroness Warsi, 37, Shadow Minister for Community Cohesion and Social Action

‘I’d prefer to work in a world where we didn’t have to single out Muslim women for their achievements in order to make a point. Having said that, I’m honoured to be on this list, because the man in the street simply doesn’t think of Muslim women as high achievers.’

Zahida Manzoor CBE, 50, legal services complaints commissioner and legal services ombudsman for England and Wales

‘I would like to think the stereotype of subservient women is changing. For women generally we talk about the glass ceiling, but for ethnic minority women, particularly Muslim women, we’re talking about breaking the concrete skirting board. It is that difficult.’

14 August, 2009

Marriage is one the goals of nature

The basic reality of sexual relation between man and woman is most clearly established by human—nay, even animal—nature; Islam being the religion of nature, confirms it without any doubt. Procreation—the goal nature wants to achieve with this union— is the basic factor and the only reason, which has transformed cohabitation into marriage, and raised it from mere carnal relation to a durable union. That is why we see that the species of animals in which both parents jointly bring up their offspring - like the birds in their guarding the eggs and feeding and bringing up the chicks, and those animals who need a den or lair for giving birth to and bringing up their offspring and for preparation and protection of which the female needs cooperation of the male - have opted for a constant attachment and exclusive relationship between the male and the female. In this manner they come together, and share the tasks of guarding and hatching the eggs, and this cooperation continues till the chicks grow up and go their own way; then the parents separate (if they separate at all), then a new cycle begins. It shows that the real cause of marriage and the rationale for matrimony is the instinct of procreation and bringing up the children. As for the satisfaction of sexual urge or joining hands in struggle of life, like earning and saving money preparation of food and drink, obtaining household effects and, in short, managing the domestic life—these things are not a part of the goal of nature; they are mere preliminaries of, or benefits accruing from, marriage. It is clear from the above that: Freedom and licentiousness shown by the couples—husband or wife cohabiting with other than his or her spouse without any restraint whenever and wherever he/she desires, like animals world where male mounts female wherever he gets the chance - as is the norm of the day in " civilized" countries, likewise fornication and particularly adultery; Treating the marriage as a permanent union, and prohibition of divorce and separation, not allowing either party to dissolve the marriage and marrying another spouse - as long as the couple is alive; Elimination of procreation and refusal to rear children; laying the foundation of marriage - tie on sharing the domestic life, as is prevalent in "advanced" countries; and consequently sending the newborn children to public nurseries established for their nursing and bringing up; All this goes against the laws of nature. The nature has equipped human being with instincts and organs, which totally oppose these "modern" habits, as we have mentioned above. Of course, there are animals in whose birth and rearing male's continued presence is not needed. Once the female becomes pregnant, she takes on herself all the duties of pregnancy, and of nursing and rearing the offspring. In such cases there is no natural need of durable union between male and female. Such animals are free to cohabit as and when they feel the urge, to the extent that does not disturb the nature's aim of preserving the species. It would be a folly to think that it won't harm man to disturb the system ordained by creation, to go against the dictates of nature, provided one compensated for the resulting defects with thought and deliberation; and that in this way he would freely enjoy the life and its blessings. But such thought is nothing short of madness. These natural structures — including the human personality - are composites made of innumerable parts. When each part is kept in its proper place, following the laid down conditions, it creates an overall effect agreeable to the goal of nature, the aim of creation. This effect leads the species to its perfection. It is not unlike the medical mixtures and compounds, which require particular ingredients with especial qualities and prescribed measure and weights, and are dispensed with laid down process; and if changes are made even slightly in its weight or quality it will lose its effects. Man is a being, naturally created of various parts compounded in a particular way; this especial process results in some inner qualities and psychological characteristics, which in their turn produce various actions and activities. If some of these actions are changed from their natural position, it will badly disturb the alignment of those qualities and characteristics, which in its turn will dislocate all the intrinsic characteristics and qualities from their natural position, will deviate the whole being from the path of nature; this would severe man's link with his natural perfection, and turn him from the destination the nature was urging him to reach. If we look at the general calamities mankind is submerged in nowadays, which render people's endeavors to achieve comfortable and happy life null and void, and which are threatening the humanity with downfall and ruination, we shall find that it has been caused, in the main part, by the total absence of piety, and by the mastery that stupidity and cruelty, violence and greed, have got over human psyche; and the biggest factor in this mastery is this licentiousness and permissiveness, this discarding of natural laws concerning marital responsibilities and rearing of children. The system adopted nowadays for domestic life and for bringing up the children, kills the instincts of mercy and kindness and erases the traits of chastity, modesty and humility from man's psyche, from the first moment of his awareness to his last breath. Can't we compensate for these deficiencies through our reason and contemplation? Forget it. Reason and understanding, like other faculties of life, is a tool acquired by nature as a means to bring the deviating factors back to the natural path. It is not meant to negate the endeavors of creation and dictates of nature; otherwise it would be tantamount to killing the nature by the very sword it had given in man's hand to defend himself. Moreover, if the reason (a tool of nature) is used to support the depravity and decay of other natural faculties, this tool also would be damaged and misaligned like those others. We are witnessing today that whenever man tries to remove, through his thinking, one of the catastrophes threatening the society, he opens the gate of a greater and more disastrous calamity; and sufferings and travails extend their tentacles some more. Someone among these people might say: The psychological traits like chastity, generosity, modesty, kindness and truthful - ness, which are called spiritual virtues, are relics of the era of superstition and barbarity; they are not good for the modern advanced man. Chastity puts fetters on man's many desires. Generosity negates man's endeavors for gathering money, and disregards all the troubles he had undergone in earning it; more- over, it encourages the poor to remain idle and degrade himself by begging here and there. Modesty is a bridle that prevents man from freely expressing his ideas or demanding his rights. Kindness weakens the heart; and truth does not agree with demands of today's life.

COMMENT: This talk in itself is an example of the deviated thinking, which we have mentioned above. This man is oblivious of the fact that these virtues are essential for a human society; if they are removed, the society cannot remain alive as society even for an hour. What will happen if these characteristics were removed from the society? Everyone will exceed his limits to snatch others' rights, properties and honor; nobody will offer any help to meet dire needs of society; nobody will feel any shame in breaking the laws of the land; no one will show any mercy to weaker groups — who cannot be held responsible for their weakness—like children and others; everyone will lie to everyone else, giving him wrong information and false promises. The society will disintegrate at once. This man should understand that these virtues have not gone, nor will they ever go, away from this world. Human nature adheres to them and it will keep them alive as long as it is calling the mankind to live in society. The most important thing is to arrange and moderate these traits, so that they conform with the goal of nature, which invites man to a happy life. If the attitudes reigning nowadays over the advanced societies were really virtuous or truly well balanced, they would not have pushed the society to such depravity and disaster; instead they would have led mankind to safety and peace, comfort and happiness. To come back to our original topic: Islam has put the institution of matrimony in its natural place—as we have mentioned earlier. It has allowed marriage and forbidden fornication and illicit sexual relations. It has established the marriage tie, putting up with possibility of its dissolution, that is, divorce; and made this bond exclusive to a certain extent, as we shall explain below. The foundation of this bond was laid on procreation and bringing up the children; there is a well-known saying of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.): "Marry, procreate, increase your number. . ." DOMINATION OF MALES OVER FEMALES Observation of animals' sexual behavior shows that the males have a sort of domination and authority over the females in this matter. It is as though the male considers himself to be the master of the female, possessing the right to mount her. That is why we see the males fighting each other for the females, but not vice versa; the fema1e does not stand up to fight another female if the male goes to the latter. Likewise, love-rites, the equivalent of proposals in our society, are initiated in animal kingdom by the males, not the females. It only means that the female is by nature aware that in this respect the male is the active and dominant agent, while she is only a passive receiver. Do not be mislead by occasional ingratiating behavior of the male with the female when he fawns on her by doing whatever would please her; it is but a part of love-play, which he does to heighten the desire and increase the pleasure. But as far as the domination and mastery is concerned, it springs from his virility and its natural function. The idea that strength and power are inseparable concomitants of the males, and softness and submissiveness, the characteristics of the females, is found more or less in all nations, and has filtered into various linguistic idioms and expressions. They call a tough unbendable thing as "male", and a tender pliable item as "female"; e.g., [in Arabic] they say: Male iron, male sword, male grass, male place, and so on. This idea is generally common to the whole human species, prevalent in different societies and various nations —although there might be some difference in degrees. Islam has kept this reality in view in its legislation. Allah says: Men are the maintainers of women, because of that with which Allah has made some of them to excel the other. . . (4:34). Islam has made it obligatory for a wife to submit to her husband if he wants to cohabit with her—whenever possible. POLYGAMY As far as we have observed, the question of "monogamy or polygamy" in the animal world is not definitely settled. In cases where the male and the female have to live together (because the male remains busy whole time in helping his mate in "domestic" affairs, raising the children and looking after them) "monogamy " is the rule, i.e.; the female remains exclusively attached to the male. Yet sometimes the system may be changed through skill, planning and guarantee of security, i.e., by domestication and training, as is seen between cock and hens and even pigeons, etc. Coming to our own species, polygamy was a custom prevalent in most of the ancient nations like Egypt, India, China and Persia; and even Rome and Greece, who supplemented the wife with concubines who lived with her in the same house. Some nations, like the Jews and the Arabs, observed no limit; some married ten, twenty or even more wives; reportedly the king Solomon had married hundred of women. Mostly, polygamy was prevalent in tribal and other similar communities, like villagers and highlanders. A head of family in such societies always felt a pressing need for a large coterie of followers Polygamy was his way of achieving this goal; increased births gave him a large number of sons, who in some years became a force for defending his interests—a necessary part of life in those communities — and raising him to the leadership of the community. Also, the increased number of marriages increased the circle of relatives through affinity. Some scholars have said that the main factor leading tribesmen or villagers to polygamy was their preoccupation with a lot of back-breaking jobs, like carrying and transporting loads; shepherding and cattle grazing; farming and irrigation; hunting, cooking and weaving; and things like that. This theory is correct to a certain extent; but contemplation of their psychological traits proves that these factors had a secondary importance in their eyes. What we have mentioned earlier was the primary and basic concern or a nomad. Also it was this factor which led them to gather adopted sons around themselves. There was one more basic reason which increased the number of wives in those societies, and that was the presence of women in much greater number than men. In those tribal societies battle and war was a never-ending phenomenon, as was assassination and murder. Such killings continued to decrease the male population, and women's number increased to a level where the only way to fulfill their natural needs was through polygamy. Think over it. Islam has ordained marriage with one wife, and allowed marrying up to four, provided the man is able to treat them equitably; it has at the same time taken steps to remove the difficulties and shortcomings found in polygamy, as we shall mention later. Allah says: and they (women) have rights similar to those upon them in a just manner (2:228). OBJECTIONS AGAINST POLYGAMY: First Objection: It creates evil effects in society. It hurts the feelings of women, frustrates their hopes and stops the fountainhead of love in their hearts. The love is transformed into a desire for revenge. They neglect the household, do not look after children's welfare, and pay their men in their own coin. Thus they indulge in adultery, embezzle their property, and tarnish their honor. The society immediately sinks to the lowest level possible. Second Objection: Polygamy goes against the system, which the nature has obviously established. Census figures, obtained from various communities generation after generation, show that the male and female populations are almost equal. It means that nature provides only one woman for one man. To disturb this balance goes against the nature's programmed. Third Objection: Allowing polygamy encourages men to lust and avidity, and gives boost to such tendencies in society. Fourth Objection: Polygamy degrades women in society, as it counts four women as equal to one man; and it is an unjust assessment, even from Islamic point of view which treats two women as equal to one man, e.g., in inheritance and evidence, etc. On that basis too, marriage with only two women should have been allowed—not with four. Marriage with four is deviation from justice, however we look at it. These objections have been written by Christians or by those sociologists who advocate equal rights for both sexes in society. Reply to the First Objection: We have repeatedly explained that Islam has laid the foundation of human society on rational, not emotional, life. In sociological field, it follows what is good for the society in reason, not what is desired by emotions or feelings. It does not mean that Islam kills the emotions and feelings, or negates the divine gift of natural instincts. It is accepted in the Psychology that difference in education and training creates difference quantitatively and qualitatively in psychological traits and inner feelings and emotions. For example, many rites and customs that are highly appreciated by the Orientals are looked down upon by the Occidentals, and vice versa. Every community differs from the others in one way or the other. Religious education and training in Islam raises the woman to a level where her feelings are not injured with such things. Of course, the Western woman has become accustomed since many centuries to being the only wife, and has been taught this idea generation after generation. This has created in her a psychological aversion against polygamy. Proof of this may be found in the shocking licentiousness and promiscuity of men and women prevalent in the "advanced" nations nowadays. Do not their men satisfy their lust with anyone they like and who responds favorably to their advances —no matter whether she is within prohibited degree or outside, is virgin or deflowered, is married or unmarried. It has reached a stage where one cannot find among them a single man or woman in a thousand who has not indulged in illicit sexual relations. Not only that; now they have plunged into sodomy to the extent that no one seems clean of it. The debauchery has become a norm of the day, so much so that just last year it was proposed in the British parliament to legalize the sodomy - after it had spread among them "illegally". As for the women, and especially virgins and spinsters, their affairs are even more amazing and more shocking. Would that I knew why the women in those countries are not sorry for this state of affairs? Why are they not embarrassed by it? Why are their hearts not broken by it? Why are their feelings not injured when they see all this debauchery from their men? Also, why is the man not annoyed when he marries a girl and finds her deflowered and comes to know that she had already been bedded not only by one or two men? Why does he start boasting in the morning that her bride had been so popular with men that tens, rather hundreds, had vied with each other to win her favors? Why this insensitivity? Is there any reason except that this wantonness and immorality has been going on for so long, and this licentiousness and lasciviousness has so captured their minds, that now it has become a second nature to them; now it neither hurts their feelings nor looks strange or objectionable to them. It is as we had mentioned earlier that the prevalent customs mould the feelings and emotions in their own mould, and do not let them take any other shape. As for the claim that polygamy makes the women neglect their house, ignore the children's education and incline towards illicit sexual relations and embezzlement, experience shows hollowness of such talks. This law was ordained and enforced in the early days of Islam, and no scholar of history can claim that it had caused any disturbance in the social order. The reality was poles apart from such claims. Moreover, the women who marry a man as his second, third or fourth wife—in Islamic or other polygamous societies—enter into marriage contract willingly, with their open eyes. They belong to the same society, they are not captured from other countries, nor have they been brought here for this purpose from outer space. Yet they willingly agree to such marriage for one or the other sociological reason. It follows that woman by nature is not against polygamous marriage; nor are her feelings injured by it. If there is any resentment it should be shown by the first wife; when a woman has remained alone with her husband, she would not like intrusion of another woman in her house, lest her husband show more attachment to the new wife, or the new wife acquire more authority, or differences raise their heads between the two wives' children, or things like that. It shows that unhappiness and resentment, if there be any, springs not from natural disposition, but from an incidental situation, that is, remaining for sometime alone with the husband. Reply to the Second Objection: The argument by the equality that nature supposedly maintains between numbers of males and females are untenable for many reasons: 1. Marriage does not depend on equa1 rates of birth alone; there are many other factors and conditions that control it. First of all, maturity of mind and capability of marriage appears sooner in girls than in boys. Girls, and especially in hot climates, are ready for marriage as soon as they reach the age of nine; while boys do not attain puberty before the age of sixteen (and this is what Islam has kept in view for deciding the age of marriage). Its evidence may be found in the behavior prevalent among the girls in the "civilized" countries: Rarely does a girl remain virgin up to the age of the "legal adulthood"; and the only reason is that nature makes her ready for marriage long before bestowing that ability on boys. Now, let us look at a group of boys and girls born during the last sixteen years—and supposedly both sexes are equal in number. How many marriageable boys will be there in the group? Only those who are sixteen years old, that is, those born in the first year of the period under study. But how many girls of marriageable age will be there in the group? All those who were born from the first to the seventh year of this period [i.e., the marriageable girls will be seven times more than the marriageable boys]. Increase the period under study to twenty-five years (the age when men usually reach their full maturity and strength). How many men and women of marriageable age you get in this group? The men who were born during the first ten years, and the women who were born during the first fifteen years. It gives us an average of two women for each man, by natural law. 2. Census reportedly shows that expectancy of life is greater in woman than in man. In other words, men die earlier, leaving some women who would remain alone, with no man to marry them if monogamy is to be the rule.* 3. The ability to procreate continues longer in men than in women. Usually women reach menopause at the age of fifty, while men's virility continues for years and years after that. Sometimes his ability to procreate continues to the end of his natural age, i.e., a hundred years. Accordingly a man's reproductive period, about 80 years, would be double of that of a woman (which is about 40 years). This premises in conjunction with the preceding one proves that the creative nature allows the man to marry more than one wife. How can nature bestows the ability to reproduce and then prohibit the use of receptacles suitable for that reproduction? Such contrariness is not the way natural causality works. 4. The carnages like battles and wars liquidate mainly the male population, compared to which women remain almost unaffected. As mentioned above, it was a strong factor in the spread of polygamy in the tribal societies. If those widows and spinsters are not cared for through polygamous marriages, then what are the alternative available to them? Either fornication or negation and nullification of their natural faculties! This problem had raised its head in West Germany a few months before writing these lines. There the spinster women spoke about the hardships and difficulties they were facing because they could not find any man free to marry them; they demanded from the government to allow them to contract polygamous marriage—in Islamic manner. The idea was to permit the men to marry more than one wife in order that those spinsters should not be deprived of their natural rights. But the government rejected the demand, and the Church refused to agree—although tacitly they agreed to the spreading of adultery and fornication and to the ruining of would-be generation. 5. Even if we close our eyes from all the above factors, the argument of equality of the numbers of both sexes would stand only if we suppose that every man in the society marries polygamous - up to four wives. But nature has not prepared every man for it; only a few, and not all, can marry more than one wife. Islam has not made it compulsory for every man to enter into many marriages; it has only made it lawful—for him who is able to treat all wives equitably. This permission does not create any difficulty or disturbance; and its clearest proof may be found in the Muslim and other polygamous societies where it has not created any shortage of women and no man fails to find a wife for him. In contrast with that, we find in the monogamous societies thousands of women who are left in the lurch, as they cannot find anyone to marry them and provide them a chance to settle in life; their only outlet is fornication. 6. Apart from that, this objection could only be advanced if Islam had not had provided this rule with checks and balances for keeping it safe from those imaginary defects. Islam has made it compulsory for a man who wants to marry more than one wife to behave with them with justice and equity, to live with them in fairness, and divide the nights between them; it has obliged him to maintain them and their children equitably. Obviously, not every man can easily spend on, let us say, four wives and their offspring, keeping within the circle of justice and fairness in his dealings with them; it may be done only by some of the well-to-do people. Moreover, there are some lawful Islamic ways which may be used by a woman to encourage and oblige her man not to marry another wife after her. Reply to the Third Objection: This objection springs from not looking attentively at the Islamic way of education and training or at the goals of this shari'ah. The education given to women in an Islamic society—as approved by religion—trains them to keep themselves covered, makes chastity and modesty their second nature, and protects them from breach of decency. Consequently, a Muslim woman grows up with far less sexual desire than is found in a man. This is in spite of common belief that sexual desire in a woman is stronger and greater. Why has this idea spread? Just because by nature a woman seems more concerned with her adornment and beauty. But the fact is otherwise; and no Muslim man (who has married women grown up in Islamic atmosphere) can have an iota of doubt about it. In reality, an average man's sexual desire far exceeds that of a single woman —even of two or three of them. Let us look at it from another angle. Islam is very concerned that none should be deprived of necessary natural desires or essential biological demands. From religious point of view, it is not good for a man to dam up his sexual desire and remain frustrated, as it would lead him to indecency and immorality. But a woman remains justifiably incapable of sexual relations for about a third of her married life, e.g., during monthly periods, advanced stages of pregnancy, delivery, breast-feeding and for similar other reasons. But it is necessary to provide for prompt satisfaction of the husband's desire. It is the necessary conclusion of the repeatedly mentioned principle that Islam has laid the society's foundation on rational, not emotional, basis. It is therefore a great danger from Islam's point of view to leave the man unmarried or in his above-mentioned sexual frustration, as it would lead him to lustful thoughts and immoral activities. Apart from that, the Law-giver of Islam considers it very important that the Muslims should have lots of offspring, in order that the Earth should flourish with goodly prosperity at the hands of a Muslim society, erasing polytheism and mischief from the World. It is these and similar other considerations which have led the Islam to legalize the institution of polygamy; it was not for spreading lustful ways or encouraging lecherous behavior. Had our detractors followed the dictates of justice, their own social customs—popular among them who have built their society on the foundation of material enjoyment — more deserving to be accused of spreading immorality and encouraging licentiousness, than the Islam which has based its social order on the foundation of religious bliss and felicity. Furthermore, just the fact, that man has the permission to marry other wives, pacifies and calms down the avidity, which a sense of deprivation could have agitated. Every deprived one is greedy; when one is forbidden a thing, his mind remains continually busy in devising plans to get that thing. Every Muslim — even if he has only one wife —is satisfied and contended that he is not prevented from satisfying his sexual desires if a need; arose in future to do so. This in a way calms down his such desires, and protects him from inclining towards indecency and tarnishing other's honors. A Western scholar has rightly said that the strongest factor that has contributed in spreading adultery and immorality in the Christian nations is the Church's prohibition of polygamy.** Reply to the Fourth Objection: This allegation is totally unacceptable. We have described in a previous discourse, when writing on the rights of women in Islam***, that no social system whatsoever —be it religious or secular, ancient or modern—has ever honored the women as much, and cared for their rights so comprehensively and perfectly, as the Islam has done; and we shall further explain it somewhere else. As for allowing a man to marry more than one woman, it is not intended to be a negation of women's social prestige, nullification of their rights or degradation of their status in life; it is founded on several underlying benefits, some of which have been mentioned above. A lot of the Western scholars—both men and women—have admitted the goodness and perfectness of this Islamic law, and the social disorder and dangers inherent in prohibition of polygamy. Interested readers should look for their comments in their books. The strongest argument used by the Western detractors of polygamy, which they offer before their audience with much embellishment, is the condition found in those Muslim families where there are two or more wives. Such houses are devoid of happy life and good living. No sooner do the two rival wives enter the house than they start envying each other. (People call envy, the disease of rival wives.) Thereafter all the kind of feelings and noble characteristics which are ingrained in woman's nature— love and tender-heartedness, kindness and gentleness, compassion and affection, good advice and looking after husband's honor in his absence, faithfulness and devotion, mercy and sincerity for husband and his children from other women, and care for the house and household — are changed to their opposites. The home — the place intended for man's comfort, where he expects to rest and relax after his daily toils and troubles, when he is dead tired in body and mind after the drudgery of earning his livelihood—is transformed into a battlefield where life and honor, wealth and prestige are freely attacked and violated; nothing is safe from any side; horizon of life becomes cloudy, pleasant existence, a thing of the past. In place of bliss and happiness, appear hitting and slapping, abuse, invective and curse, backbiting and tale bearing, spying, intrigue and trickery. Children quarrel and dispute with one another. Things sometimes reach a stage where the wife plans to kill the husband, and some children kill the others or even their father. Kinship is metamorphosed into a never-ending feud that for generations causes bloodshed, genocide and downfall of the house. Add to it the effects it brings to the society: unhappiness, moral corruption, cruelty, injustice, transgression, indecency and lack of security and trust. (There is also another dimension to this problem) when you add legality of divorce to the permission of polygamy. These two factors, combined together, create in the society connoisseurs, who live luxurious lives and whose interest is centered on satisfaction of their lust and avidity; their passion revolves around getting this woman and discarding that one, raising one's status and lowering the other's. It is nothing less than thwarting and frustrating a half of the mankind, i.e., the females, and submerging them into sorrow and grief. Their degradation results in depravity of the other half (and the whole society is demoralized). COMMENT: This was the gist of what they have said, and the objection is true—but its targets are the Muslims, not the Islam or its teachings. When have the Muslims truly followed the Islamic teachings, that Islam could be held responsible for the consequences of their misdeeds? Centuries have passed that there is no good government, which could train them with noble teachings of the shari'ah. On the contrary, the first people to rip apart the curtain put up by the religion, to break the laws of the shari'ah and to violate its limits were the very Muslim rulers and people in power—and people follow the customs of their rulers. It is not possible to narrate here even a small portion of the life style in the "Muslims " Kings' palaces, or the scandals indulged into by the sultans and governors, since the days the religious government fumed into monarchy and sultanate; otherwise we will have to write a complete book on this subject. In short, the objection, if valid, can be laid against the Muslims: that they adopted a way of life, which could not bring any happiness in their homes, and followed a policy, which they could not prevent from deviating from the straight path. The whole blame lies on the men, not on their women or children—although every soul is responsible for what it has earned of sin. Why? Because it was these men's behavior—they thought nothing of sacrificing their own happiness, and that of their families and children together with the clean environment of the society, on the altar of their greed, lust and ignorance — that was the root cause of all these disasters and fountain-head of all these destructive troubles. As for the Islam, it has not legislated polygamy as a compulsory and obligatory duty of every man. It looked at the people's nature and at the difficulties some of them faced now and again, and so it concluded that polygamy contained definite goodness [for solving those problems], as was described above in detail. Then it looked minutely at the negative effects of polygamy and its dangers. Consequently, it allowed polygamy for the underlying benefit of humanity, but at the same time imposed such a restriction on it as to remove the chances of all those disgraceful depravities—that the man should be confident that he would live with them in equity and treat them justly and fairly. Islam allows plurality of wives only to him who is sure of himself in this respect. As for those who do not care for their own or their families' and children's happiness and felicity, whose only mark of honor is satisfaction of their stomachs and genitals, and in whose eyes woman is only a means to satisfy man's lust and to give pleasure to him, Islam is not concerned with them, nor does it allow them to marry more than one—if we say that they are allowed to marry even the one, with that mentality of theirs! Moreover, there is a mix-up in this objection between two completely separate aspects of religion, i.e., the legislation and the governmental authority. It may be explained as follows: According to modern scholars the criterion to judge about a laid down law or prevalent tradition whether it is a good law and tradition or bad, is to look at the acceptable or unacceptable effects and results obtained from enforcement of that law in the societies, and whether or not the societies in the prevalent condition accept the law faithfully. I do not think they are oblivious of the fact that society sometimes is fettered by some customs, traditions or accidents that do not agree with the law under study; in such a condition, the society should be reformed in a manner as not to hamper or negate the said law or tradition, in order that it may be seen how the law works; and what effect it brings in its wake—whether it is good or bad, beneficial or harmful. The only difference is that their criterion for a laid down law is the currently prevailing desire and demand of the society—whatever that demand may be. Thus what agrees with their current wishes and demands is considered a good law, and what goes against it, is bad. That is why when those Westerners saw the Muslims wandering in the valley of error, steeped in immorality in this life and wickedness in the next, they attributed to the Islamic shari'ah (which the Muslims supposedly followed) all the evils found among the Muslims, e.g., falsehood and embezzlement, indecency and usurpation of rights, prevalent transgression and ruined homes, and in short the whole spectrum of corrupted social order. They thought that the Islamic tradition and system is like other social systems in its implementation and effects. The other systems conform with their members' desires and demands. So, those scholars thought that Islam too has the same quality, and that all these social disorders have been generated by Islam; that it is this religion that gives rise to depravity and corruption (and among them are found the most depraved and the most immoral persons; as they say, there are all kinds of game in the belly of the wild ass). Had it been a real religion and its laid down laws really good and containing people's welfare and felicity, it would have produced good and beautiful effects in the society, instead of becoming a curse for it. But these people have confused the nature of a good and beneficial law with the nature of a corrupt and harmful people. Islam is a composite unit of spiritual knowledge, moral teachings and practical laws—all of which are interrelated. If one part is damaged or tampered with, the whole is damaged, and its effects are changed. It is not unlike the medical compounds and mixtures, which require, for their health-restoring effects, their proper ingredients and a proper place to prepare them. If some ingredients are spoiled or adulterated, or if the directions for its use are not properly followed, it will not bring the desired effect; rather it may produce opposite result (and harm the patient). At this juncture let us admit for the sake of argument, that the Islamic system could not reform the people, and could not erase common social vices and depravities—because its legislative base was unsound. But why is it that the democratic system has not succeeded in our eastern countries as it has in Europe? Why is it that the more we try to go ahead on this path the farther back we fall? No one has any doubt that the vices and depravities have taken deeper roots in our society today (when we have become civilized and enlightened) than it was fifty years ago (when we were uncivilized barbarians!). Today our society is devoid of social justice; we trample on human rights; we do not give higher education to our masses; and we lack all the social benefits and blessings — for us these are merely names without substance, words without meaning. Ask them the reason, and they will say: This good system has not worked among you because you have not really put it into practice, have not tried to implement it properly. Well, why this excuse is acceptable in case of democracy, but not in case of Islam? Let us suppose that Islam, because of the weakness of its foundation (God forbid!), could not capture the people's hearts and could not take deep roots in the society; and consequently its rule could not continue, it lost its vitality in the Muslims' social order and was discarded at the first opportunity. But why did the democratic system—the universally appreciated system— go away, after the World War I, from Russia? Why were its trace lost there? Why was it replaced by the communist system? Again, why did it give way, after the World War II, to the communist system in China, Lithuania, Estonia, Albania, Rumania, Hungary, Yugoslavia, etc.? Why does it pose a danger to other countries, after having established considerable influence in them? Now let us look at the communist system. It flourished for about forty years; and spread to, and ruled over, nearly half of the mankind. Its rulers and champions are never tired of boasting of its excellence and superiority. According to them it is the only clean stream that is unpolluted by dictatorial tendencies and democracy's exploitation; the countries where it has taken roots have turned into Utopia. If this claim is correct, then why did the same rulers and champions, some two years back, stand up to condemn the rule of its matchless leader, Stalin, who had led and governed Russia for thirty years? Why did they announce that his rule was despotic and dictatorial, and that it was nothing but enslavement in the guise of communism? Everyone agrees that Stalin had great influence in legislation of the laid down laws and their enforcement and all that follows. In other words, all this was produced by the will of an enslaving dictator; it was a one man's rule, which revived thousands and killed thousands; made some people happy and kept others oppressed, deprived and unhappy. Only Allah knows who will come after these (present rulers) to condemn them as they had done with their predecessors. **** Look into history books and you will find mention of a lot of systems, civilizations and cultures that governed the societies for sometime; some were good, others bad; then they passed away because of various factors—the strongest being the treachery of the leaders and feeble will of the masses. Would that I knew what is the difference between Islam (as a social system) and those other transformed and changed systems, that the excuse (of leaders' treachery and followers' weak-willedness) is accepted in their case and rejected in the case of Islam? Yes, today the word of truth has fallen between a formidable western might and an imitative eastern ignorance; neither any sky shelters over it nor any earth raises it up. However, it should be clear from what we have mentioned above that whether a system is effective or not, and whether its hold on the people remains strong or it loosened, depends not so much on its correctness or incorrectness—so that this aspect could be used to prove its truth or falsity. It is rather affected by so many other causes and reasons. There was not a single system in the long human history but it produced results for sometimes and then became barren; it ruled over the society for a stretch of time and then passed away—all this for some factors acting for or against it; and We bring these days to men by turns, and that Allah may know those who believe and takes witnesses from among you (3: 140). In short, the Islamic shari'ah and its laws differ in their fundamental philosophy from all other social orders prevalent in various human societies. These [man-made] social systems go on changing with change of times and policies, but not so the Islamic laws. The Islamic laws — consisting of obligatory, prohibited, like, disliked and permissible—never change. Of course, those actions which a person has the choice to do or not to do, and every disposition which he has right to enact or leave, the Islamic ruler has got authority to order the people to do it or forbid them doing it; he can dispose such matters as if the society were a single body and the ruler its thinking mind and soul. Had there been an Islamic ruler there, he could have prevented the people from the inequities and injustices they commit in the name of polygamy or for other pretexts, without affecting any change in the divinely given permission. It would have been a general executive order based on an underlying benefit, just as a man might decide for his personal reasons not to marry more than one wife—not because the rule had changed but because it was only a permission which he had full right not to avail himself of.