Keepin’ It One Hunned – Challenges Facing the Continuity of the American Muslim Community

The following are some audio clips from conversations we have at Middle Ground Muslim Center often after our Understanding Islam class.

“We all want our du’ah answered.”

[Direct download]

مَا مِنْ دَاعٍ يَدْعُو إِلاَّ كَانَ بَيْنَ إِحْدَى ثَلاَثٍ إِمَّا أَنْ يُسْتَجَابَ لَهُ وَإِمَّا أَنْ يُدَّخَرَ لَهُ وَإِمَّا أَنْ يُكَفَّرَ عَنْهُ

Yahya related to me from Malik that Zayd ibn Aslam used to say, “No one makes du’ah without one of three things happening: either it is answered, it is stored up for him, or wrong actions are atoned for by it”. [al-Muwatta’]

The concerns of converts. How to reconcile ultimate justice?

[Direct download]

وَنَضَعُ المَوازينَ القِسطَ لِيَومِ القِيامَةِ فَلا تُظلَمُ نَفسٌ شَيئًا ۖ وَإِن كانَ مِثقالَ حَبَّةٍ مِن خَردَلٍ أَتَينا بِها ۗ وَكَفىٰ بِنا حاسِبينَ

“We will set up the Just Balance on the Day of Rising and no self will be wronged in any way. Even if it is no more than the weight of a grain of mustard-seed, We will produce it. We are sufficient as a Reckoner.” Qur’an, 21: 47

The concerns of converts. How to reconcile ultimate justice?

[Direct download]

لا يكن تأخر العطاء مع الإلحاح في الدعاء موجبا ليأسك، فهو ضمن لك الإجابة فيما يختاره لك لا فيما تختاره لنفسك

“If, in spite of persistent supplication (du’ah), there is delay in the timing of the Gift, do not allow yourself to despair, for He has guaranteed you a response in what He chooses for you—not in what you choose for yourself—at the time He desires, not the time you desire.” Ibn ‘Ata’Allah, al-Hikam #6

[Direct download]

“Hypocrisy, or the perception of hypocrisy, will fully undermine the confidence of a Muslim child in the choice of Islam.”

Further reading: “The Impact of Liberalism, Secularism and Atheism On The American Mosque” from ALIM.

Are You Coachable – A Khutbah

al-Hamdulillah, today was the first khutbah (sermon) delivered at Middle Ground Muslim Center. The summary was, “are you coachable”? Can you learn from a master? Can you submit yourself to a process? When we explore piety, devotion, and self improvement, often we’re handed various litanies (dhikrs, du’as, etc.) that for many of us after a time (especially if we’re not improving) feels a bit like Harry Potter. In this khutbah I tried to draw parallels to learning from a coach, in how we might learn from the Qur’an and from the Prophet.

“It was at that point that it was a decision: am I either going to trust my coach, who has put out umteen number of great players besides myself, or am I going to rely on my own ego.”

Full notes and audio here.

Starting 2014 (Not A New Year’s Resolution)

I’m not really for New Year’s resolutions. My objection is not religiously based (I’m sure the bid’ah police have this covered), but more pragmatic: I see most so-called New Year’s resolutions little more than to-do lists for the first week of January (perhaps I’m projecting). But nonetheless, I am reminded of a beautiful supplication the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم made, as transmitted to us by ‘Ali bin Abi Talib—may God be pleased with him—in his witr prayer, to start 2014 off for me (as I was praying witr when the ball dropped, causing some number of crazy people to start screaming somewhere outside my front door):

اللهم إني أعوذ بك برضاك من سخطك وبمعافاتك من عقوبتك وأعوذ بك منك لا أحصي ثناء عليك أنت كما أثنيت على نفسك

“O’ God!, I ask protection with You, by your pleasure, from Your wrath, by your clemency, from your punishment. I am incapable of enumerating Your praises, for you are as you have lauded Yourself.”

This hadith can be found, amongst many other places, in Sunan Abu Dawud, #1427.

Khutbah at Drexel University: Knowing the Story of Islam – The Du’ah

Du’ah is the narration of our story called Islam:

يَا ابْنَ آدَمَ! إِنَّكَ مَا دَعَوْتنِي وَرَجَوْتنِي غَفَرْتُ لَك عَلَى مَا كَانَ مِنْك وَلَا أُبَالِي

‘O son of Adam, I forgive you as long as you pray to Me and hope for My forgiveness, whatever sins you have committed.

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep

It is inevitable that during the “holidays”, even the ones that I don’t celebrate, that I often think about my family. Sadly, I did not get a chance to visit my parents but I was reminded last night of two things: 1) a “du’ah” my mother taught me as a young child (my mother would sing “Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep” every night as a child and then we’d say our prayers and go to sleep) and 2) the du’ah the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم teaches before bed time. It was a really nice bringing together of something from my past and having it coincide with Islam, my chosen religion (as the Qur’an says, نَزَّلَ عَلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ بِالْحَقِّ مُصَدِّقًا لِمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ وَأَنْزَلَ التَّوْرَاةَ وَالْإِنْجِيلَ/”[God] has sent down the Book to you with truth, confirming what was there before it. And He sent down the Torah and the Gospel.”1)

أَنَّ النَّبِيَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ لَهُ ‏”‏ أَلاَ أُعَلِّمُكَ كَلِمَاتٍ تَقُولُهَا إِذَا أَوَيْتَ إِلَى فِرَاشِكَ فَإِنْ مُتَّ مِنْ لَيْلَتِكَ مُتَّ عَلَى الْفِطْرَةِ وَإِنْ أَصْبَحْتَ أَصْبَحْتَ وَقَدْ أَصَبْتَ خَيْرًا تَقُولُ اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَسْلَمْتُ نَفْسِي إِلَيْكَ وَوَجَّهْتُ وَجْهِي إِلَيْكَ وَفَوَّضْتُ أَمْرِي إِلَيْكَ رَغْبَةً وَرَهْبَةً إِلَيْكَ وَأَلْجَأْتُ ظَهْرِي إِلَيْكَ لاَ مَلْجَأَ وَلاَ مَنْجَا مِنْكَ إِلاَّ إِلَيْكَ آمَنْتُ بِكِتَابِكَ الَّذِي أَنْزَلْتَ وَبِنَبِيِّكَ الَّذِي أَرْسَلْتَ

Prophet said to him: “Should I not teach you some words to say when you go to your bed, so if you died, you will die upon the Fitrah, and if you reach the morning, you will reach it in good? You say: ‘O Allah, verily, I submit myself to You, and I turn my face to You, and I entrust my affair to You, hoping in Your and fearing in You. And I lay myself down depending upon You, there is no refuge [nor escape] from You except to You. I believe in Your Book which You have revealed, and in Your Prophet whom You have sent.”

Transliteration of the du’ah: (Allahumma Inni Aslamtu Nafsi Ilaika Wa Wajjahtu Wajhi Ilaika, Wa Fawwadtu Amri Ilaika, Raghbatan Wa Rahbatan Ilaika Wa Alja’tu Zahri Ilaika, La Malja [Wa La Manja] Minka Illa Ilaik. Amantu Bikitabikal-ladhi Anzalta Wa Binabiyyikal-ladhi Arsalt)

The hadith can be found in numerous locations, quoting here from al-Bara’ bin ‘Azib. Collected in al-Tirmidhi (sahih). I look forward to teaching my daughter both of them.

1. Qur’an, Al ‘Imran (3), verse 3.