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Falling in Love

Posted by Admin on March 15, 2010

By Amatullah Kareem

I was a typical teenager and believed in everything my friends did. I grew up reading magical fairytales that always had a handsome prince falling in love with a princess and carrying her off into the sunset to live happily ever after. I watched Snow White and Cinderella that all focused on “falling in love” and “having a good life.”
And I too grew up believing this is what life is all about. This is why we are here – to find the perfect soul mate and live happily ever after. I was addicted to reading novels that told me an exciting, romantic life was the essence of our existence, that spoke of gorgeous women, enticing dashing men before they zoomed away in their private yacht to an exotic island.

The songs I heard would tell me “love was waiting for me,” I would find it or die of a heartbreak in the process. How beautiful it all seemed. It would take me some time to come back into the real world that seemed mundane in comparison. Then too, I would keep thinking about some scene stuck in my mind from a book or a movie, “the way he looked into her eyes,” “the way she swirled in a breath-taking dress as she danced.” I wanted to be like that – to be beautiful and happy and madly in love. Every movie, every song, every cartoon and book led me to believe that “love is all around me” and “to live without love is not to have lived at all.”

Valentine’s Day would see all our friends discussing clandestine stories, gifts or cards or flowers from a secret admirer, declarations of long hidden love. Those who had no one would hope and wait for the next year. We all felt the compulsion to fall in love at least once – or face the prospect of having experienced nothing “exciting” in life. Most of us succumbed to this compulsion.

Well all this was until one day I woke up. Yes, I woke up and came out of the fake world around me to realize that reality was much more vivid and lasting than its celluloid version. The culture of romanticism that had captured our hearts and brains was a ploy to keep us away from reality.

Ironically, that too happened through a book. But it wasn’t like any book I had read before. It spoke in a way that made shivers run down my spine, made me cry as if my heart would break, as if the words were coming not from a book because they struck so deep within my soul. It was the Book of Allah, my Creator. It was more powerful than all the fantasies I had been fettered with. I broke free at last.
Today I dislike Valentine’s Day not just because it is an un-Islamic, innovated celebration – and a lewd one at that. But because it is part of the culture of lust that has betrayed us all. That created in our impressionable minds a false image, that drugged us with the sweetest drug of romanticism, and made us forget the real reason why we are here in this world.

Just like in the movies, a hero would be assigned the mission to save the world and would go to a planet on a mission to destroy the enemies and retrieve a precious life-saving potion. But the enemies have a deadly weapon – an illusion. They show him a beautiful place with the woman of his dreams and he goes into a stupor completely forgetting his mission. The planet is full of temptations and illusions that are projected according to his most coveted desires. He loses all track of time, even the fact that the world will be blown up any second and all that matters to him now will not exist anymore. Lost in an imaginary, transient world, he forgets his purpose and hence loses everything.

That’s exactly what our greatest enemy has done. He has duped our minds into thinking that the images we see on TV are real, the glamorous lifestyles of superstars are achievable, the Valentine’s Day hotspots are desirable, the romance in tear-jerker movies is the greatest and that we must have a huge amount of fun in this world because that is what will make us happy. While the clock ticks, Shaytan takes away our life before we can do anything productive with it. He has made us forget why we are here in this world and that our mission is like that of a space hero. What could be worse than that because it means we are losing the battle. We have laid down our arms and chose to watch “the reality show” while reality is passing us by.

That is why we are told of a future scenario in the Qur’an:

(The hypocrites) will call the believers: “Were we not with you?” The believers will reply: “Yes! But you led yourself into temptations, you looked forward for our destruction; you doubted (in Faith); and you were deceived by false desires, till the Command of Allah came to pass. And the chief deceiver (Satan) deceived you in respect of Allah. (Qur’an, 57:14)

I thank Allah that He gave me a husband who taught me the true meaning of love and caring for the sake of Allah. This kind of love transcends all boundaries of space and time and is truly everlasting as it continues even after death into the next life. There is no happily ever after yet, because we are still in this world of test and deception. –

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Death Cannot Do Us Part

Posted by Admin on February 17, 2010

By an anonymous sister

Every year, on 14th February, the month I happened to come into this world, I sometimes receive Valentine’s day messages or mails from people wishing me love and good cheer. Apparently, they have not heard I have gone ‘extremist.’ I take it as an opportunity to inform them of my ‘extremist’ views that have no room for birthdays, New Year or Valentine’s Day. Sometimes I do it apprehensively, as I do not want to hurt the feelings of loved ones. Sometimes, I do it hesitatingly, knowing I was amongst the ones who found no harm in it a while back. It makes me reassess my feelings: why is it that I do not want to celebrate it any more; why do I feel that it is wrong, and what’s the big deal about it anyway?

I grew up in a house, which thought Birthdays and the like were wrong, but I was a typical teenager and believed in everything my friends did. At that time, I could not understand what the big deal was about people getting together to clap and watch someone cut their cake and open their gifts.

I, too, grew up reading magical fairytales that always had a handsome prince falling in love with a princess and carrying her off into the sunset to live happily ever after. I watched Snowwhite and Cinderella that all focused on ‘falling in love’ and ‘having a good life.’

And I, too, grew up believing this is what life is all about. This is why we are here –to find the perfect soul mate and live happily ever after. I was addicted to reading novels that told me an exciting, romantic life was the essence of our existence, that spoke of gorgeous women enticing dashing men before they zoomed away in their private yacht to an exotic island.

The songs I heard would tell me love was waiting for me, I would find it or die of heartbreak in the process – how beautiful it all seemed. It would take me some time to come back into the real world that seemed mundane in comparison. Then too, I would keep thinking about some scene stuck in my mind from a book or a movie, ‘the way he looked into her eyes’, ‘the way she swirled in a breath taking dress as she danced’. I wanted to be like that – to be beautiful and happy and madly in love. Every movie, every song, every cartoon and book led me to believe that ‘love is all around me’ and ‘to live without love is not to have lived at all.’

Valentine’s Day would see all our friends discussing clandestine stories, gifts or cards or flowers from a secret admirer, declarations of long hidden love. Those who had no one would hope and wait for the next year. We all felt the compulsion to fall in love atleast once – or face the prospect of  having experienced nothing exciting in life. Most of us succumbed to this compulsion.

Well, all this was until one day I woke up. I came out of the fake world around me and realized that reality was much more vivid and lasting than its celluloid version. The culture of romanticism that had captured our hearts and brains was a ploy to keep us away from reality. Ironically, that too happened through a book. But it wasn’t like any book I had read before. It spoke in a way that made shivers run down my spine, made me cry as if my heart would break; as if the words were coming not from a book but from deep within my soul. It was the Book of Allah, my Creator, and it was more powerful than all the fantasies that I had been fettered with. I broke free at last.

Today I don’t dislike Valentine’s day (or Basant or whatever) just because it is an unIslamic, innovated celebration – and a lewd one at that – but because it is part of the culture of lust that has betrayed us all. That created in our impressionable minds a false image, that drugged us with the sweetest drug of romanticism, and made us forget the real reason why we are here in this world.

Just like in the movies, a space hero would be assigned the mission to save the world and would go to a planet on a mission to destroy the enemies and retrieve a precious life-saving potion. But the enemies have a deadly weapon, they project an illusion on a screen. They show him a beautiful place with the woman of his dreams and he goes into a stupor completely forgetting his mission. The planet is full of temptations and illusions that are projected according to his most coveted desires. He loses all track of time, even the fact that the world will be blown up any second, and all that matters to him now will not exist anymore. Lost in an imaginary, transient world, he forgets his purpose and hence loses everything.

That’s exactly what our greatest enemy has done. He has duped our minds into thinking that the images we see on TV are real; the glamorous lifestyles of superstars are achievable; the Valentine’s Day hotspots on our PCs are desirable; the romance in tear jerker movies is the greatest and that we must have a huge amount of fun in this world, because that is what will make us happy. While the clock ticks, Shaytan takes away our life before we can do anything productive with it. He has made us forget why we are here in this world and what our mission is, like the space hero. And what could be worse than that, because that means we have already lost the battle, we have laid down our arms and chose to watch ‘the reality show’ while reality passed us by. That is why we are told of a future scenario in the Quran:

(The hypocrites) will call the believers: “Were we not with you?” The believers will reply: “Yes! But you led yourself into temptations, you looked forward for our destruction; you doubted (in Faith); and you were deceived by false desires, till the Command of Allah came to pass. And the chief deceiver (Satan) deceived you in respect of Allah.’ (Al-Hadid: 14)

I thank Allah that He gave me a husband who taught me the true meaning of love and caring for the sake of Allah. This kind of love transcends all boundaries of space and time, and is truly everlasting, as it continues even after death, into the next life. Yet, the TV tells me that caring, sacrificing men are boring and Hugh Grant-like playboys are what we really want – so I got rid of the TV set.

We did not live happily ever after, because we are still in this world of test and deception and our battle with Shaytan and our own selves continues. Sometimes we win, but at times, we lose this battle.  Yet, at the end of the day, I am glad I have my husband fighting by my side.

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Muslim Strategies for Halloween

Posted by Admin on October 13, 2009

A letter from a student of Dr.Farhat Hashmi regarding Halloween

Bismillah

Assalamo Alaikum WRWB dear Ustadhah,

May Allah SWT bless you for all your hard work and dedication to help us live our lives as Muslims.Alhamdulillah, my children never went trick or treating on halloween ever,instead we always tried to educate ourselves and others about this event. We tried different strategies every year. Couple of times I gathered my children and invited their friends to share the reality of Halloween on that evening that helped them stay away from the influence of this event. Alhamdulillah, children respondedvery well and they were shocked as well as disgusted when they found out the
reality behind this tradition. They were so exited that they even wanted to tell all this information to the children that were coming to the door for candy.

About the candy giving issue we tried different strategies as well. One year we just went to the Masjid during that time and came home after it was over. One year my children made different signs and put them on the entrance door facing outside. They had different messages like “sorry! No candy, your dentist will be mad! Etc.

Last year we tried a different approach as we are always apprehensive and  skeptical whether to give candy or not because generally it is not a good manner to let someone go empty handed when they come  to your door for whatever reason. So along side the candy we gave books. The book was “An illustrated guide to understanding Islam”, which we have been distributing in our community for some time now, Alhamdulillah.

Tonight, Insha Allah we plan to give the book  “One Message” along side the candy. Alhamdulillah, I believe this is a blessing from Allah SWT because the people are already coming to our door so we can do dawah work instead of letting this opportunity slip by or just get mad at them. We are fortunate in this way that we have a facility here which provides us with books for dawah in large quantity, Alhamdulillah. People can look for similar options in their areas, e.g. masaajid, Islamic libraries or dawah centers to provide them with materials or just print out something good and relevant to the occasion from the internet if possible.

I hope that we can all learn and practice our beautiful Deen the way we are supposed to and help others do the same. I hope and pray that this can be beneficial for others as well. Any ideas or comments to improve our ways further will be greatly appreciated.

I will insha Allah print out the pamphlet that Alhuda has sent us about Halloween and share it with other Muslims too.
JAK
Your student

Posted in Halloween, Islam, Muslim Matters, Non Muslim Festivals, Religion | 2 Comments »

What is Halloween?

Posted by Admin on October 13, 2009

Halloween today is defined by children going house to house on the night of October 31st, dressed up in a variety of costumes collecting treats. Although Halloween may seem like a time for children to have fun carving pumpkins and collecting candy, not many know the origins of this ‘festival’ and its traditions that date back centuries.

The origins of Halloween date back to the time of the Celtics or ‘Celts’.They were a group occupying the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom, and Northern France about 2,000 years ago. This group celebrated

their new year on November 1st. This day marked the end of the summer and was reflected upon as a time of darkness and cold as winter approached. The Celtics associated this dark time of year with death.

On October 31st (the Celtic new year’s eve) they celebrated a festival called Samhain. This celebration was supported by the belief that the ghostsof the dead roamed the earth. Priests (‘Druids’) were believed to be able to
communicate with these ghostly spirits and tell the future by doing so; by telling the ‘future’ many were given hope for the long, dark winter ahead. The Priests built large fires on this night and the people gathered to burn crops and animals as sacrifices to the Celtic deities/gods. During the festival they wore animal heads and skins as costumes.

Customs
Dressing up in costumes: This was done so that the ‘spirits of the dead’ would not recognize people. It was also done by people imitating supernatural beings that were believed to roam the earth at that time.

Trick-or-treating: The Priests/Druids would go from house to house on October 31st and demand specific types of food (to offer to the spirits in order to calm them). If their demands were not met, it was believed the people and their homes would be cursed with trouble, sickness, and death. Prosperity was promised to those who generously donated (hence the phrase, ‘trick or treat’, implying a demand for treats or else a certain consequence would have to be given).

Jack-o’-lantern: This started off as a legend associated with a man of Irish origin named Jack who supposedly enjoyed playing pranks on the Devil. The legend states that after his death, Jack did not go to Heaven or Hell and therefore, had to wander the earth carrying a lantern, providing him with some light to see where he was going. Pumpkins that were hollowed out and had candles lit inside were representative of this legend. They were also
supposed to scare evil spirits away (this is why odd looking faces are carved on the pumpkins).

Bats & Black cats: These animals were believed to communicate with the dead. It is also believed black cats were able to house the souls of witches.

How Halloween came into Christianity
By the 800s A.D., the influence of Christianity had spread into Celtic lands. In the seventh century, Pope Boniface IV designated November 1st as All Saints’ Day, a time to honor saints and martyrs. It is widely believed today that the pope was attempting to replace the Celtic festival of the dead with a related, but church-sanctioned holiday. The
celebration was also called All-hallows or All-hallowmas, (from Middle English Alholowmesse meaning All Saints’ Day) and the night before it, the night of Samhain, began to be known as All-hallows Eve or Holly Eve (because it was the eve of a holy celebration the next day) and eventually, Halloween.

Quick Fact: The word Halloween does not appear in the bible at all. Jeremiah 10:02 clearly warns: “Do not follow the ways of other heathens (pagans)”.

Halloween Today
Each year people spend billions of dollars on candy and costumes at this time of year. A survey conducted by BIGresearch found that an estimated $3.29 billion was spent on this holiday in 2005. In a world stricken with poverty and malnutrition in many underprivileged countries, this amount seems rather Ridiculous to be spent on candy and costumes.

Quick Facts: In 2003, the major pumpkin producing states in America produced an estimated 805 million pounds, valued at $81 million.

United Nations World Food Program
– more than 800 million people go to bed without food everyday
– one child dies every five seconds in the world form hunger and other related causes

Many devil worshippers and occult groups now ritualistically recognize Halloween as the Devil’s Day. Over 60% of costumes are sold to adults who become outrageous exhibitionists.

The Islamic Perspective

“We have sent them the truth, but they indeed practice falsehood” (Quran 23:10)

“You must keep to my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the Rightly Guided Caliphs; cling to it firmly. Beware of newly invented matters, for every new matter is an innovation, and every innovation is misleading.” (Bukhari).

In order to save one self from falling into and following the practices of a society,one must have firm knowledge of the teachings and rulings of ones own religion and belief system. Clearly all that deviates from the Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh) and leads to wrong practices is contrary to the beliefs of Islam.

Halloween is a celebration that rejoices in all things magical and evil. In the Quran Allah says of magic that it only harms and brings no benefit (Surah Al-Baqarah, V.102).

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said: “The final hour will not come until my followers copy the deeds of the previous nations and follow them very closely, span by span, and cubit by cubit” (Bukhari).

“Whoever imitates a nation is one of them” (Abu Dawud).

Islam propagates the idea of conscious living, and upon the advent of Islam, it served to cleanse ignorant and superstitious practices. Muslims have been ordered to work for a purposeful, beneficial cause for mankind. Indulging in prehistoric and ignorant practices can only lead to frittering away ones life and thus making one an ultimate loser in the Hereafter.

References:
http://www.agday.org/tc/tc-funfacts.html
http://islam.about.com/library/weekly/aa103098.htm
http://www.witness-pioneer.org/vil/Articles/misc/halloween_an_islamic_perspective.htm

Posted in Halloween, Islam, Non Muslim Festivals, Non Muslims, Religion | 1 Comment »