Monday, February 20, 2006

In Honor of the Prophet

Muhammad (peace and blessings upon him) by Mohammad Zakariyya

Salaam alaikum,


Welcome to the online carnival dedicated to the best of all creation and a mercy to mankind, the finest and most excellent example of human behavior and the seal of all Messengers. His name is Muhammad (sallalahu alayhi wa salaam). In light of the increasing controversy with the Danish cartoons, many Muslims felt that we should respond to the insults upon the Prophet (sallalahu alayhi wa salaam). We felt that this was the perfect opportunity to reflect on his life and his example. We as Muslims rely on his excellent example to guide us in our everyday lives and it is our hope that the Muslims of the world will take to heart the Sunnah of the Messenger (sallalahu alayhi wa salaam). We must remember that he was insulted, beaten and had his life threathened many times only to have many of his enemies become Muslim.

Once again, the media has ampilified the voices of those calling for death and destruction while most of the rallies and responses to the controversy have been peaceful. The only way to combat their ignorance is with truth and knowledge. And while we may be saddened or angered at their harsh words against the Beloved of Allah (alayhi salatu wa salaam), the greatest tragedy is that these hard hearts may never know what Truth and Love really is and they will never know what it is to love the Prophet (sallalahu alayhi wa salaam). Praise is all due to the Lord of the all the worlds, exalted and high is He, for giving us the Messenger (sallalahu alayhi wa salaam).
Taslim Rashid (better know as Bint-eh-Adam of Tranquilart) was produced a wonderful piece of art entitled The Beloved along with a poem on the subject of our Messenger (sallalahu alayhi wa salaam).
Seal of Perfection by Aaminah Hernandez

A blessing upon mankind
Prophet Muhammad
Conveying the Truth for all

Born of a noble lineage
In a land of ignorance

Bearing signs of purity
Known as trustworthy
Solitude, meditation

Orphaned but never alone
Respected leader in town

Kind to relatives and tribe
Gentle with children
Patient with all Allah's creatures

Illiterate, unlettered
But wisdom recognized early

Exceptional man before
Prophet Muhammad
Given true revelation

Teaching sincere charity
Preaching purification

A reminder to mankind
Of Allah's Oneness
And a promise before birth

Enjoining a pure worship
You, a righteous example

Bearing the Qur'an, a seal
Perfecting our deen
Exemplifying Islam

Creating community
Brotherhood away from hate

Showing us te honored path
Prophet Muhammad
Guiding us in submission

Prayer and repentance at night
Governance of nafs in day

Reciting beautiful ayat
Proclaiming Only One
Bringing us true religion

Remembrance and submission
Worship in every action

Warning away from dunya
Guiding, inshaAllah
To the one path to Allah

Attesting to His Greatness
Commanding all that is good

Delivering pure Islam
Prophet Muhammad
The final Seal of Prophets
Baraka of Truth and Beauty has a wonderful entry on 'Ashura Reflections. "
"The Prophet's (sallalahu alayhi wa salaam) attempt to bring the message to the people of Taif provoked insults & abuse - he returned with wounds all over his body & blood filling his shoes. This, after over a decade of ill-received preaching in Makkah, & during a three-year boycott by the Quraysh, in which Muslims were reduced to eating grass and leaves off of trees. How exhausted & humiliated he must have felt.But instead of asking for Taif's destruction, he chose to pray for its salvation. He also made the following supplication:"O God! I complain to You of my weakness, my scarcity of resources and my humiliation before the people. O Most Merciful of those who are merciful. O Lord of the weak and my Lord too. To whom have you entrusted me? To a distant person who receives me with hostility? Or to an enemy to whom you have granted authority over my affair? So long as You are not angry with me, I do not care. Your favor is of more abundance to me. I seek refuge in the light of Your Face by which all darkness is dispelled and every affair of this world and the next is set right, lest Your anger or your displeasure descend upon me. I desire your pleasure and satisfaction until you are pleased. There is no power and no might except by You."
Yusuf Misdaq has written an interestng short story on the Danish cartoon controversy.
Umm Ibrahim has a lovely post entitled, Blessed Days of Hajj
A poem from Tiel Aisha Ansari
Walk In His Traces

I dreamed I was walking in the desert
there were footprints in the dust of the trail.
I stepped in them and found myself dancing.

One gate stood open in an iron fence
on it, the mark of a hand.
When I touched it sparks flew.

In the noise and confusion of the crowd
I heard a voice whisper:
"La illaha il Allah."I turned and saw no-one, only footprints
and the city shone with brilliant light.

The world bears witness to the presence of a few--
walk in their traces.
MeccaOne Media Press Release
San Jose, CA - February 6th, 2006

The display of violence and flag burning is not the way of the Prophet Muhammad and the teachings of Islam. Islamic traditions include a number of instances of the Prophet having the opportunity to strike back at those who attacked him, but he refrained from doing so.
“You do not do evil to those who do evil to you, but you deal with them with forgiveness and kindness.” - The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)

That description of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad is a summary of how he reacted to personal attacks and abuse.Listen to the program from MeccaOne Radio, "Prophet Muhammad, Mercy To Humanity" to get a better understanding of how Muslims display their love for the Prophet Muhammad.
And Muhammad is His Messenger

By Aiman S. Ahmed

O Muhammad, my hand is inept to draw your life
Your graces, your jihad for His Word and your love!
Each dewdrop, each beauty in affair you champion
You gave to humanity, you returned to Allah
As wonderful and triumphant as a pen breathing in an ocean of ink
Your path straight in its depth, your belief unfaltering
By fountains and mirages of this fleeting Pasture
Making me believe of your trust in the Beloved
And how the children would sing for you
Their eyes bright and their smiles wide
How you received them in your arms, your cause
To clothe them, to feed them, to teach them
That they grow to be like you and to act like you
Thoughts of love, kindnesses and worship of Allah
Alone, and in this humanity your footprints lie
And how sadness would cling to your heart
When the whisperer seduced man to err
Your life is a mirror of divine mercy
And Allah be thanked; lo, Allah be thanked!
You bled in Tai'f for the sake of the Recitation
That cleaved to your tongue, your heart and your mark of the Seal
Pressed to the breast of the universe, spate of burning stars!
O Muhammad, my tears are few to write of your conquests
Ink is plenty though no education moves me
Solitary reflections of your victories, losses and spiritual ascensions
Birthed in the Year of the Elephant, living in the Year of Sadness
You split the stones and clay for therein the infant girl lay
Her soul wailing: "For what crime was I slain?" *
The Qur'an has come down from the Lord and Muhammad is His Messenger
And you displaced their gods and altars into the Waste
Only before Allah we must prostrate, no more shirk and hate!
The poets disputed the verses that you spoke
But none could imagine the flow; yield to Gabriel!
They didn't realise that you bore heaven's yoke
You were unlettered, and yet a sign unto jinn and mankind
Tracing the Word to Abraham and Moses and Jesus son of Mary
Prophets also of the Jews and Christians, People of the Book
Leaning on my spirit, I saw your inheritance in the storm
Ever magnificent, peaceable, gentle and human
To pardon the knives that cut your feet, but you leave the trail behind
For humanity to follow, in Allah's service we must wallow
Slowly but surely all creatures shall perish and die
But for the good-hearted and pious, Paradise is nigh!
Entrust us with your example to prepare for our tomorrow

* Qur’an 81:8-9 (“And when the girl-child that was buried alive is asked for what sin she was slain”)
Our brother Aiman and sister Rym have started a wonderful blog all for the honor and love of the Prophet (sallalahu alayhi wa salaam). O Muhammad!
Imam Zaid Shakir has a wonderful response to the controversy.
"As the crisis that has emerged in the aftermath of the publication of the infamous cartoons that claim to depict the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of God upon him, escalates, we would do well by stepping back and attempting to analyze the situation as dispassionately as possible. By doing so, as Muslims, we can hopefully formulate a more productive and meaningful response, and avoid being exploited by either side in the ongoing conflict. Saying this, I do not mean to imply that Muslims are not justifiably angry over the caricatures. However, I would agree with those who argue that responses that involve wild outbreaks of frenzied violence are inappropriate, and they only affirm what the cartoonist is trying to imply. Namely, that Islam is a religion that encourages obscurantist violence and terrorism".
The Respect of a Cousin by Edward Miller
"For Muslims, the mere rendering of an image of Muhammad is sacrilege. The portrayal of Muhammad in a pejorative fashion is to them an inconceivably offensive desecration, on the level of what would be for us the defilement of a Torah scroll. Because it was done in newspapers across Europe, it was a slap in the face repeated thousands of times."
by Fareena Alam
"As a result, the standard-bearers for Western civilisation are now a bunch of untalented, ignorant and previously unknown Danish cartoonists. The editors at Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten did what they did simply because they could. Little attention was paid to the value of these images or the impact their publication would have. It was the worst kind of arrogance. The revelation that the same newspaper rejected cartoons lampooning Jesus three years ago on the grounds that they would offend their readers made their protestations of free speech seem cynical. Freedom of speech is not absolute. It has to be in service of something, like peace or social justice. How have these cartoons, and the hypocritical defence of them, served these ideals?"
An Abyssinian Story in Honour of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings upon him)

I, Asma', wife of Ja'far Ibn Abu Talib, have found refuge in a land that is friendly to those of us who are Muslim, the ones who willingly surrender to the One God. Our Prophet, the Trustworthy, whose calling Khadija first recognized, has sent us here for our protection. My husband, harassed so unjustly by his family, has been appointed by Muhammad, peace and blessings upon him, to lead this small contingent ofthe most severely persecuted of our brothers and sisters. These are the people who have no recourse to powerful clan affiliations that would be embarrassed by the torture of one of their own members. So the unbelievers, more interested in the concerns of tradeand the economic position of Makkah, target the least influential amongst us in the attempt to usurp the Prophet's calling and refute the revelations that come upon him.
Discover Prophet Muhammad
Let these words flow like a stream
Just listen well and be the judge
The facts will shine in the darkest mind
For he was truly one of a kind
He was the Prophet Muhammad
The seal of all Prophets
He came with the final message
Chosen and sent by the Divine
Honest and Trustworthy he was called
From the time he was young
Long before the revelation came
Depicting his morals, so sublime
Left an orphan in tender years
Living with grandfather, then uncle
He learned and worked with them
Responsible and mature
Muhammad, beloved by many
From a young age he questioned society
Their idols didn’t enter his heart
In contemplation he thought of the One
In Cave of Hira he used to sit
Way up in the mountain, just to think
Then came the Divine revelation
A sacred event, a turning point
“Read! In the Name of your Lord”
Angel Jibreel embraced Muhammad
So tightly, while he was scared
“Read! In the name of your Lord”, he said
An angel sent by Almighty God
O Muhammad you have been chosen
A mission so great for all mankind
Spread the Light, spread the Truth
Ibrahim, Isa, Musa, and others
Were chosen to convey the message
Now your turn O Muhammad
With the final Divine message
People will listen, people will ignore
Some will follow, some will attack
A challenging mission O Muhammad
But God is always with you
Muhammad received the revelations
Telling people about the Creator
One God created us all
Those idols are nothing but stone
Love each other, be merciful
Enjoin good, forbid evil
Worship the One Creator
A message of peace and justice
Twenty-three years as the Messenger
A perfect example in every step
Elevating morals and society
Conveying the Message of God
Also a husband, father, and more
Lessons learnt from all his roles
A life rich with Truth and Wisdom
Uniting people for righteousness
Islam a religion for all
No matter what race or tribe
The Final Message
A Mercy to all humanity
My words will end, yet more to know
Learn about Muhammad and Islam
Closer to the truth and enlightenment
Discover our love for Prophet Muhammad
(Peace Be Upon Him)
And finally, my little entry entitled Do you know what it means to love the Prophet (sallalahu alayhi wa salaam)? [by Kelly Izdihar]
Tala 'al Badru 'Alayna

The white moon rose over us

From the valley of Wada

It has become obligatory upon us to be grateful

Whenever an invoker invokes Allah

You are the sun, you are a full moon

You are light upon light

You are the light of the sky

O my beloved, O Messenger!

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Thank You

Salaam 'Alaikum

Brass Crescent Awards

On behalf of the writers of Living Tradition -- AJ Suhail, Dr. Max, Kelly Izdihar, Abdur Rahman, and myself, Umm Zaid, -- I would like to say thank you and Jazakh Allah Khair for those who nominated us for the Brass Crescent awards and those who voted for us for Best Group Blog! Insha'Allah, we will be able to bring you more interesting items, analysis, commentary, etc. this year (or do you come for the commentary and stay for the sarcasm?).

You can read the results here.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Film about Mukhtar Mai

Somy Ali turns filmmaker

By: Sarita Tanwar

February 6, 2006

After turning journalist and taking up social issues in America, one-time Bollywood actress Somy Ali has now turned filmmaker after her recent attempt at making a documentary on the life of the now-famous Mukhtaran Mai, the Pakistaniwoman who was punished by a 'village council' in Pakistan by subjecting her to a gang rape. The gutsy Mai gathered global attention when she dragged her rapists to court and was granted justice and monetary compensation, which she distributed in charity.On 20th January, Mai was invited by the United Nations, who called her 'The Bravest Woman On Earth', to give a speech but it was cancelled it at the last minute since the Pakistan Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz was at the UN the same day and the organizers didn't want to embarrass him.

The US-based group Asian-American Network Against Abuse of Human Rights (ANAA),which Somy is actively a part of, has been supporting Mukhtaran's cause. Somy was placed in charge of filming Mukhtaran while in the US and also being her interpreter, since Mukhtaran cannot speak English.Says Somy about the experience, "It was very enriching. We took her (Mukhtaran) to the Glamour magazine office since they want to do a feature with her next year.

After that, it was NASDAQ where she gave the closing bell. Following that, we went to the IWHC (International Women's Health Coalition) gala where we met dignitaries like UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and actress-activist Glenn Close," reveals Somy.The next day, Somy accompanied Mukhtaran Mai to Las Vegas for a fundraising event. Somy says, "Over there, I was there in the capacity of being a spokesperson for ANAA and a translator to Mukhtaran." Somy was also on the discussion panel along with Mukhtaran, answering questions from the audience.From Hindi films to social and human rights issues to filmmaking, Somy is quite happy with the changing sequence of events in her life. "I'm proud of my stint in the Hindi film industry and that was my priority then. Today, it's something else. I have to find meaning in what I do and right now, this is what is of primary significance to me."Somy's film on Mukhtaran can soon be seen on ANAA's official website.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Blogging for the Prophet (sallalahu alayhi wa salaam)

Blogging for the Prophet (sallalahu alayhi wa salaam)

In Honor of the Prophet (sallalahu alayhi wa salaam)In these controversial times when Muslims are feeling quite helpless, I think there's one person in particular that we need to reflect on. Who else knows more about trials, suffering, pressure, stress and tribulations other than our Messenger (sallalahu alayhi wa salaam). In the face of crises, he never lost his serenity. While being attacked and maligned, he prayed for his enemies. It's time to cultivate such qualities in ourselves instead of falling into the traps of violence and slander.

Umm Zee and Baraka are hosting blog carnivals. I've decided to host one, too. Brother Aiman came up with the idea of an artistic response. The Islamic Artists Society is representing an artistic response to this latest controversy. We will avoid reactionism and focus on Habib Allah (peace and blessings upon him). February 19th, 2005, two weeks from now, is the deadline for any creative expression in praise and honor of the Prophet (sallalahu alayhi wa salaam). We have every right as Muslims and as human beings to defend ourselves. A mosque was bombed in Tennessee. We have to defend our right to existance and to our religion. We shouldn't suffer for the actions of a few. Every other religious and ethnic group has this privilege accept us. And while we still have power to speak, we should take advantage of it because it is common to spill our blood with no remorse.

We must fight back, but not with violence, not with vigilantism or oppression towards innocent people. We don't deserve the help of Allah ta'ala if we are willing to trangress His laws for the sake of temporal justice. Our justice is ultimately in the afterlife, if it's lived in fear and awe of Him. Please turn in any essays, artwork, online short films, graphic design, poetry, etc. to mosaicsmag (@) or if you have my personal email address, you can use that, too. If possible and if it's okay with UZ, Abdul-Halim and Altaf, we can use the Progressive Muslims blog, the Living Tradition blog and 3rd Resurrection for this purpose. Consider it as a way of reflecting on his life to help us get through post 9-11 society. If you want, you can turn posts written on your blog from the past. It doesn't have to be anything new. Link this event on your blogs if you want.


Kelly Izdihar

2nd Annual Brass Crescent Awards

Salaam 'Alaikum

Brass Crescent Awards

Living Tradition is nominated for a Brass Crescent Award, in the category of Best Group Blog. On behalf of all the contributors: Kelly Izdihar, Dr. Max, AJ Suhail, and Abdur Rahman Squires, I'd like to thank everyone who nominated us and ... urge you to vote for us. I figure we're along shot for this, but I hope that someone besides us votes for us! Alhamdulillah, Kelly, Dr. Max, Abdur Rahman, and I are also nominated in other categories for things from our individual blogs.

Vote for the 2nd Annual Brass Crescent Awards

-- Umm Zaid