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History and Seerah

BBC Documentary: Islamic History of Europe

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The documentary below – An Islamic History of Europe- was originally shown on BBC.

It is NOT my intention, by posting this, to romanticize or to live in the past This documentary – to me – shows that we can learn or reaffirm that we can achieve great things when we reject backwardness, ignorance and tribalism. We can be Muslims, have educational high standards and work with people of other faiths in peace. We don’t have to dump one for the other and I hope that we can draw some inspiration from it and show our children

Part One
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8eXHQME6DkA]

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Part Two
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_och2_pOQU]

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17 Comments

17 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Scorpius

    March 18, 2007 at 1:43 PM

    Propaganda of the worst sort.

    Muslims “set down roots here in Spain”

    Next this bizarre Orwellian propagandist will tell us that in the 1930s Nazi “Set down roots” in Poland and France.

  2. Avatar

    ExEx Blogger

    March 18, 2007 at 10:16 PM

    The same reporter did a show on BBC regarding Iran. It was strange to see “hip”, “nose-studded” people live in Tehran.

  3. Avatar

    abu ameerah

    March 19, 2007 at 1:19 AM

    Scorpius…you sound somewhat bitter to be quite honest.

    I doubt the host of this program is an “Orwellian propagandist” …. a Marxist…. or a trade-unionist… for that matter. The “propoganda” that you refer to is nothing more than the truth. Get over it.

  4. Avatar

    ExEx Blogger

    March 19, 2007 at 9:33 AM

    Truth hurts.

    Lalala Dubidubidooo

  5. Avatar

    anonymous

    March 19, 2007 at 3:09 PM

    The video won’t load on my computer for some reason. My computers probably just old and slow, but oh well.
    The phrase “set down roots” I will admit is more of a euphemism for what actually happened:) They did invade and conquer the territory, but to compare that to the Nazis is a bit of a stretch:)

  6. Avatar

    nuqtah

    March 19, 2007 at 5:33 PM

    mr. tariq nelson, care to explain what you mean by ‘tribalism’? I don’t know if you realize that your ethno-centric and clearly biased rants, ranging from persistent self victimization to blaming everything to ‘those immigrants’ does no justice to being Just?

    I’m also not sure (so forgive my assumptions), if you have taken any basic courses in sociology and anthropology? If you had then you would realize that societies function on varied models, depending on their environment, conditions and the cultures that develop. Thus, we have farm-based societies, industrial societies…the resulting culture which develops is indicative of the way the society actually is. Tribal societies are one such example. In many parts of the world ‘tribal traditions’ are an intrinsic part of society’s existence, and without such a structure, those societies are bound to disintegrate.

    Ofcourse, there are practices in tribal societies that you should be abhorred, just like there are things in western that are abhorrent.

    This in no way means that the whole concept of tribalism is backward and something that needs to be shunned. As if you are the epitome of civilaztion! This is a seriously ethno-centric, arrogant, and supermacist take.

    The self-inflicted analysts, [b]atleast [/b]on a website that is dedicated to ‘muslim matters’ (as oppossed to blackmuslim matters or whitemuslim matters or revert muslims etc…), should be fair with their use of words…and grow up

    Barak Allahu feekum.

  7. Avatar

    nuqtah

    March 19, 2007 at 5:33 PM

    should be abhorred*

  8. Amad

    Amad

    March 19, 2007 at 6:41 PM

    I would urge the respected commentators to maintain mutual respect and humility when responding to each other and to the posters. Our house rules are very clear on personal attacks, so please help us maintain an Islamic quorum inshallah.

    If we want to respond to a post, let’s respond to and about the content, not about the poster. Ad hominem arguments do not help the cause, instead it reduces the argument to futile finger-pointing.

    jazakumAllah khair.

  9. Avatar

    TariqN

    March 19, 2007 at 7:06 PM

    Nuqtah,

    Calm down. In general, when one says ‘tribalism’ they mean something that is blameworthy. When I say “tribalism’, I mean the practice of unjustly preferring one’s tribe over someone else. For example: If one is appointed to a gov’t position, they fill all of the assistant positions with their tribe members regardless of qualification. This is not good for that nation in general. I think most people know exactly what I am referring to here.

    Can you show me specifically where I have blamed everything on “those immigrants” or have engaged in “self victimization”?

    It is funny because I get email telling me that I am far too hard on *African Americans*. Now you are saying the exact opposite.

    The point is that – though we may hate to say it – we all have problems and all of us need to do some self introspection. That involved being truthful with ourselves.

    The great thing about the truth is that if you follow one it will lead to another. On the other hand, lies and wishful thinking lead only to dead ends.

    Until we recognize our problems, we won’t acomplish very much.

  10. Avatar

    Umar

    March 19, 2007 at 8:35 PM

    LOL @ Nuqtah.

  11. Avatar

    ِAbu Bakr

    March 19, 2007 at 8:54 PM

    Personally, brother Tariq, I think most of your critiques of both the African-Americans and the immigrants, are right on. I think that’s why so many find them scathing. Also, many people are only used to seeing things from one side of the coin. You have to be able to understand the perspectives of people on both sides to see how bad certain things may come off to a third party.

  12. Avatar

    nuqtah

    March 19, 2007 at 8:56 PM

    lol jzak Allahu khair for the response, i think i commented based on what i gather from your posts…no offence. And yeah, i tend to be sensational with my words, now and then.

    Thanks for the clarification; your context was not at all clear.

  13. Avatar

    nuqtah

    March 19, 2007 at 9:01 PM

    abu bakr: good thing you commented; my only contention is that the critique seems to be ‘one-sided’ infact. Although, the critique of immigrant community may be valid, however, how the whole ‘immigrant community’ is portrayed as the ‘other’, and painted in one color is not a balanced perspective.

  14. Avatar

    ِAbu Bakr

    March 19, 2007 at 10:39 PM

    As br. Tariq has pointed out, he oftentimes says things which gets the African American brothers riled up too. Those things may perhaps slip under the radar of others because they are not so tuned to the sensitivities of AA to realize the things that they might find offensive. Of course, Br. Tariq is African American himself, and he is human, so no doubt his critiques will be colored by his perspective, but I dont think he intends anything by it except to bring attention to problems that need to be addressed. If he sometimes falls short in the way he does that or errs, we as his brothers should try to help him and correct him.

    Just my two cents…

  15. Avatar

    Tariq Nelson

    March 20, 2007 at 6:51 AM

    Jazak Allah Khair Abu Bakr

  16. Avatar

    Moiez

    March 22, 2007 at 3:41 PM

    Asalaamualaikum,
    Subhanallah, that was great, very intellectual. I love that the ummah was doing so great intellectually and politically and we still are hundreds of muslims that have degrees and vast amounts of knowledge and power are with us now. Today the difference is the credit goes to what ever country they are in, which would be the western countries. We have the people and the experts but not the land or power and those who do are not realy muslims and until then the true muslims are just intellectual people of society.

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Aqeedah and Fiqh

Prosperity Islam And The Coronavirus Problem

Hadith: “Hasten to perform good deeds before seven events: Are you waiting for poverty that makes you forgetful? Or wealth that burdens you? Or a debilitating disease or senility? Or an unexpected death or the False Messiah? Or is it evil in the unseen you are waiting for? Or the Hour itself? The Hour will be bitter and terrible.

Islam encompasses all of human experience. We believe in the good and bad from divine decree. The ‘problem of evil’ is not a Muslim dilemma because the abode of this world is a test, and the next life is the abode of recompense. Those who do evil in this world may enjoy comfortable and pleasurable lives. Pious Muslims on the other hand may live in immense suffering and oppression.

One’s state with Allah is not known through worldly position.

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The Quran has lots of mention of suffering in this world and the reward for the pious is constantly in the hereafter. Distance from the Quran distances us from what our Creator told us about living in His world.

Habituation to feel-good religious programs and motivational talks has left us unable to know how to be serious. The Coronavirus pandemic should be all the motivation we need for serious learning and hasten to good deeds.

New-age religion and the prosperity gospel

Modern Islamic discourse intertwines notions of sulook (spiritual wayfaring) with new-age spiritual ideas which make spiritual progression a self-centering endeavor of ‘personal development.’ Missing from this discourse is submission to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), which entails doing what one is obliged to do- even if there is no apparent personal win. A self-centering religious perspective is antithetical to true religion, and ironically a spiritual pursuit becomes a selfish pursuit.

Within this approach, we see our practice of Islam not in terms of fulfilling obligations or understanding we must develop virtues we lack; rather we approach Islam as consumers and form identities around how we choose to be Muslim. This is visible on marriage apps where Muslims will brand themselves around how often they pray, whether or not they eat halal, and how practicing they are. Once this identity is formed, such Muslims are less likely to experience contrition and ultimately improve. The self is then a commodity on the marriage market.

When it comes to worship, for example, giving charity becomes an ‘act of kindness’ to fill the quota of selfless acts to becoming a better person. In other instances, acts of worship are articulated in worldly language, such as fasting in Ramadan being a weight-loss opportunity. One can make multiple intentions, but health benefits of fasting should not be used to articulate the primary benefit of fasting. In other instances, some opt to not pray, simply because they don’t feel spiritual enough to pray. This prioritizes feelings over servitude, but follows from a ‘self’ focused religious mentality.

Much like the prosperity Gospel, Muslims have fallen into the trap of teaching religion as a means of worldly success. While it is true that the discipline, commitment, and work ethic of religious progression can be used for material success, it is utterly false that religious status is on any parallel with material status.

Too many Sunday schools and conferences have taught generations that being a good Muslim means being the best student, having the best jobs, and then displaying the power of Islam to non-Muslims via worldly success and a character that is most compliant to rules. Not only does this type of religion cater to the prosperous and ignore those suffering, it leaves everyone ill prepared for the realities of life. It comes as a shock to many Muslims then that bad things can happen even when you work hard to live a good life. The prosperity gospel has tainted our religious teachings, and the pandemic of COVID19 is coming as a shock difficult for many to process in religious terms. There will be a crisis when bad things happen to good people if we are not in touch with our scripture and favor a teaching focused on worldly gains.

Why it leads to misunderstanding religion

Tribulations, persecution, and events that are outside of our control do not fit the popular self-help form of religion that is pervasive today. Islam means submission, and while we must avoid fatalism, we cannot delude ourselves into idolatry of the self. An Islam that focuses on our individual life journey and finding ourselves has no room for the ‘bad stuff.’ This type of religion favors well-to-do Muslims who are used to the illusion of control and the luxuries of self-improvement. Those who believe that if you are good then God will give you good things in this world will have a false belief shattered and understand the world is not the abode of recompense for the believer.

Islam means submission, and while we must avoid fatalism, we cannot delude ourselves into idolatry of the self.Click To Tweet

Tribulations may then effect faith because it questions the often subconscious teachings of prosperity gospel versions of Islam that we are in control of our own destiny, if we are good enough we will succeed. If this is the basis of a person’s faith, it can be proven “wrong” by any level of tribulation. Having one’s ‘faith’ disproven is terrifying but it should make us ask the question: “Does this mean that Islam is not true, or does this mean that my understanding and my way of living Islam are not true?”

My advice is do not avoid struggle or pain by ignoring it or practicing “patience” just thinking that you are a strong Muslim because you can conquer this pain without complaint. Running from pain and not feeling pain will catch up to us later. Learn from it. Sometimes when we are challenged, we falter. We ask why, we question, we complain, and we struggle. We don’t understand because it doesn’t fit our understanding of Islam. We need a new understanding and that understanding will only come by living through the pain and not being afraid of the questions or the emptiness.

Our faith needs to be able to encompass reality in its good and bad, not shelter us from reality because, ultimately, only God is Real.

Unlearn false teachings

Prosperity religion makes it much easier to blame the person who is suffering and for the one suffering to blame himself. As believers we take the means for a good life in this world and the next, but recognize that acceptance of good actions is only something Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) knows, and that life is unpredictable.

Favor from God is not reflected through prosperity. It is a form of idolatry to believe that you can control God or get what you want from God, and this belief cannot even stand up to a distanced tragedy.

Responding appropriately requires good habits.

Tribulations are supposed to push us towards God and remind us to take life very seriously. Even with widespread calamity and suffering, many of us still have a very self-centered way of understanding events and do not hasten to good actions.

For example, reaching old age is supposed to be an opportunity to repent, spend more time in prayer, and to expatiate for shortcomings. Old age itself is a reminder that one will soon return to his Lord.

However, we see many of today’s elders not knowing how to grow old and prepare for death. Most continue in habits such as watching television or even pick up new habits and stay glued to smart phones. This is unfortunate but natural progression to a life void of an Islamic education and edification.

Similarly we are seeing that Muslims do not know what to do in the midst of a global crisis. Even the elderly are spending hours reading and forwarding articles related to Covid-19 on different WhatsApp groups. This raises the question of what more is needed to wake us up. This problem is natural progression of a shallow Islamic culture that caters to affluence, prosperity, and feel-good messaging. Previous generations had practices such as doing readings of the Quran, As-Shifa of Qadi Iyad, Sahih al-Bukhari, or the Burda when afflicted with tribulations.

If we are playing video games, watching movies, or engaging in idle activities there is something very wrong with our state. We need to build good habits and be persistent regardless of how spiritual those habits feel, because as we are seeing, sudden tribulations will not just bestow upon us the ability to repent and worship. The point of being regimented in prayer and invocations is that these practices themselves draw one closer to God, and persisting when one does not feel spiritual as well as when one does is itself a milestone in religious progression.

While its scale is something we haven’t seen in our lifetime, it’s important to recognize the coronavirus pandemic as a tribulation.  The response to tribulation should be worship and repentance, and a reminder that ‘self-improvement’ should not be a path to becoming more likable or confident only, but to adorn our hearts with praiseworthy qualities and rid them of blameworthy qualities. Death can take any of us at any moment without notice, and we will be resurrected on a day where only a sound heart benefits.

Our religious education and practice should be a preparation for our afterlife first and foremost. Modeling our religious teachings in a worldly lens has left many of us unable to deal with tribulations to the point where we just feel anxiety from the possibility of suffering. This anxiety is causing people to seek therapy. It is praiseworthy for those who need to seek therapy, and noble of therapists to give the service, but my point is the need itself serves as a poignant gauge for how much our discourse has failed generations.

Benefit from Solitude

We should use solitude to our benefit, reflect more, and ponder the meanings of the Quran.  Completing courses on Seerah, Shamail, Arabic, or Fiqh would also be good uses of time. What should be left out however are motivational talks or short lectures that were given in communal events. In such gatherings, meeting in a wholesome environment is often the goal, and talks are compliments to the overall atmosphere. When that atmosphere is removed, it would be wise to use that normally allotted time for more beneficial actions. Instead of listening to webinars, which are not generally building an actual knowledge base that the previously mentioned courses would, nor is it a major act of worship like reading and reflecting upon the Quran. In other words, our inspirational talks should lead us to action, and studying is one of the highest devotional acts.

The pandemic should serve as sufficient inspiration and we need to learn how to be serious. I urge Muslims to ignore motivational and feel-good lectures that are now feel-good webinars, and focus on studying and worshipping. We should really ask if we just lack the capacity to move beyond motivational lectures if we still need motivation in the midst of a global pandemic.  The fact that after years of programming the destination is not the Quran for ‘processing events’ or studying texts for learning is symptomatic of a consciously personality oriented structure.

Muslims struggling to process a pandemic (opposed to coping with associated tragedies, such as loved ones dying or suffering) show the lack of edification feel good talks can produce.

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Podcast: The Prophet ﷺ and Secrets To A Good Death | Dr. Muhammad Wajid Akhter

The patient couldn’t speak now, but she motioned to my pen. I handed it to her with her. She scribbled words that broke my heart.

“Doctor, I’m dying aren’t I?”

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I whispered back “Yes.”

She nodded; a large tear fell down the side of her face. I tried hard to stop my own tears falling too.

“If you don’t have a legacy, start building one now, and think about who should continue it after you’re gone.'Click To Tweet

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Prophetic Guidance on Epidemic Disease: Coronavirus 2020

Empty Kaaba

In light of the spread of COVID-19, Muslims especially in this time are in need of guidance. The Legacy Institute has released a research paper by Shaykh Hasib Noor in order to expound on Prophetic Guidance on Epidemic Disease: Coronavirus 2020.

The paper highlights what the Islamic theodicy of understanding epidemic disease is, Divine wisdoms as defined by Islamic theology, the jurisprudence (fiqh) related to epidemics and plague, a brief historical timeline of epidemics in Makkah and Madinah, an analytical breakdown of a plague prophesied by the Prophet Muhammad peace be on him that occurred at the time of the companions and how they dealt with it, explaining the notion of Divine Decree in the case of epidemics, examples of notable scholars in dealing with epidemics of their time and their writings, the Prophetic method of handling epidemics: preventative measures, spiritual aspects of overcoming calamities and difficulties, prophetic prayers for epidemics and sickness, and defining our view of how Muslims confront afflictions from the words of Bediuzzaman Said Nursi and Imam Al Ghazali.

The story of Umar raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) is also narrated and explained in detail in the paper: Download Here

‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) narrates the events when ‘Umar ibn AlKhattab raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) set out for Sham (Levant: Palestine, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, etc). When he got as far as a place called ‘Sargh’, the commanders of the army, Abu ‘Ubaydah ibn Jarrah and his companions met ‘Umar raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him)and told him that a plague had broken out in Sham. ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas said, ‘Umar said to me, ‘Call the early Muhajirun (the earliest Muslims and those who were the immigrants to Madinah) for me,’ I called them, sought their consultation and informed them that a plague had broken out in Sham. They disagreed. Some of them said, ‘You have set out on a matter and we do not think that you should retreat from it.’ Others said, ‘You have the rest of the people as well as the Companions of the Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), and we do not think that you should expose them to this plague.’ ‘Umar then said, ‘Leave.’ Then he said, ‘Call the Ansar (the helpers, the citizens of Madinah that gave refuge to all the migrants that came to the city) for me,’ and I called them and he consulted them. 18 Ibn Majah 4042 and Bukhari 3176

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Their reaction was as the Muhajirun and disagreed as they had disagreed. He said, ‘Leave.’ Then he said, ‘Call those who are here of the elders of Quraysh who emigrated the year of the Conquest of Makkah.’ So I called them, and none among them disagreed about it. They said, ‘We think that you should return with the people and not expose them to this plague.’

So ‘Umar made an announcement among the people: ‘I am returning in the morning, so return as well.’ Abu ‘Ubaydah ibn Jarrah said, ‘Are you fleeing from the decree of Allah?’ ‘Umar said, ‘If only someone other than you had said that, Abu ‘Ubaydah!’

Yes, ‘we are fleeing from the decree of Allah to the decree of Allah‘. Do you think that if you had camels and they went down into a valley which had two sides, one of which was fertile and the other barren. Is it not that if you grazed them on the fertile side, then that grazing would be by the decree of Allah, and if you grazed them on the barren side, then that grazing would also be by the decree of Allah?’ ‘Abdul Rahman ibn ‘Awf -who had been absent on some errand- then came and said, ‘I have some knowledge regarding this issue. I heard the Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) say, “When you hear that [a plague] is in a land, do not go to it and if it occurs in a land that you are already in, then do not leave it, fleeing from it.’”

‘Umar praised Allah [due to him making the correct decision] and then left.”21

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