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Open Thread 10-5-2008: Oh You Who Fasted, Answer These Questions

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Zainab bint Younus (AnonyMouse) is a Canadian Muslim woman who writes on Muslim women's issues, gender related injustice in the Muslim community, and Muslim women in Islamic history. She holds a diploma in Islamic Studies from Arees University, a diploma in History of Female Scholarship from Cambridge Islamic College, and has spent the last fifteen years involved in grassroots da'wah. She was also an original founder of MuslimMatters.org.

19 Comments

19 Comments

  1. AbuAbdAllah, the Houstonian

    October 5, 2008 at 8:11 AM

    bismillah. i thought this thread might be another quiz competition. :) alhamdolillah (alaa kulli haal), now i’ll listen to the audio.

  2. AbuAbdAllah, the Houstonian

    October 5, 2008 at 8:49 AM

    innalhamdolillah. sometimes we get reminders like this before Ramadan, sometimes during the month, and sometimes at the end. alhamdolillah, i heard reminders like this recording throughout the month and in the time before it, and now again. and alhamdolillah, they are among the best of reminders whenever you hear them. (and you have got to listen all the way to this one — that last section was a key for me in this Ramadan, alhamdolillah.)

    i pray that Allah will accept from all of you and from all of us, and i thank Him for what i feel has been my best Ramadan ever, and I ask Him to let the benefits of this Ramadan carry forward like the benefits of an accepted Hajj.

    immediately after my Hajj, before i had left Makkah, Allah permitted me to realize that washed of sins i may have been, but transformed into an angel i was not. that in order to be a better Muslim, i had to return to my life and give up the things that had distanced me from Allah. otherwise if i let myself return to the ways of my past, i would be no different in the end than if i had not gone.

    and He alone Guides. and i know that i am still on a long path, but i found great joy in this Ramadan because i felt at the end of it the way i did at the end of Hajj, cleansed and having learned (new) things about myself that i need to change.

    have you ever been to the dentist, and he has shown you a picture of tartar? tartar is a yellowish or whitish substance that hardens on your teeth, and its precedent is plaque. a careless person ignores the plaque which could be cleaned relatively easily. eventually he may look at his teeth in the mirror and not notice the tartar, and the whole while he thinks his teeth clean. sin accrues the same way on your heart in ever-hardening layers.

    and one thing i learned this Ramadan was that i had become a better Muslim since my Hajj, alhamdolillah. but i could still be a much better Muslim, and i wanted that for myself. may Allah guide me and you to the best character, and no one guides to the best character except Allah.

    and Allah Knows, and i do not know, but it will take as long as pleases Allah for me to wash away all the layers of rust on my heart. and i pray He makes it easy for me and makes me grateful to Him for it. and i pray that He will permit me and you to die only as Muslims in complete submission to Him alone. ameen.

  3. AbuAbdAllah, the Houstonian

    October 5, 2008 at 10:30 AM

    bismillah. forgive me for posting three times in a row in this thread, but this time, at least, it was by request from brother Amad.

    bismillah. as salamu alaykum. every once in a while i try out a firefox add-on. this one is called downloadhelper. at this moment, alhamdolillah, it is helping me download some 40+ mp3 files from the TDC download page. the plug queues the files and downloads them one at a time, and i can cancel any one of them, and edit the list of files in the queue, etc.

    it’s great for me, letting me spend time on other parts of the TDC page — like ansaar sign-up. and it’s good for TDC because i am not trying to download multiple streams at the same time.

    the site that sponsors the add-on — as you will see from the name — is aimed at videos, http://www.downloadhelper.net/partnership.php, but obviously the tool works well with audio files, too.

    i am sending the link to you for two reasons — like me, i think you probably also download a lot of content. and more important, each of you admins a web site that has dawah media on-line, and knows more people who do the same. so you may want to partner with them or have your site(s) listed. there seems to be every type of site listed, but i did see islamictube, too.

    please note: you can (also) get the download-helper plug-in for firefox via the “add-ons” link in firefox and web pages at mozilla sites. that’s where i found it after upgrading to firefox 3.

    and in the interests of not posting a fourth time in a row, here’s a link to a recipe for tomato soup that i just sent to my mom and my sisters — may Allah put it in one of their hearts to make this for me for iftar tonight. :) no, i am not expecting that one of you will send me some soup… :) just say ameen to my dua!

  4. amad

    October 5, 2008 at 11:20 AM

    So, what’s America going to do about these “Jewish taliban”?? Where is the outrage and the anger towards attacks on women in Israel, because of “modesty standards”?? How is it that American right-wing zionist support continues to flow to these radical Jews?

    A 17-year-old who moved to Israel from New York five years ago said she was hospitalized after being attacked with pepper spray by a crowd of men outraged that she was walking down a Jerusalem street with boys.

    [Source: amazingly Fox Noise]

  5. AbuAbdAllah, the Houstonian

    October 6, 2008 at 1:01 AM

    bismillah. i got a question. :)

    do more people participate in the sunday “open thread” when there is a lead-in topic like this week (and last week, too, right)? or do more participate when you just let the winds carry the thread at will?

  6. AbuAbdAllah, the Houstonian

    October 6, 2008 at 2:49 AM

    here’s an open-thread question: has anyone here ever actually gone with a tablighi-jamat group when they go “in the way of Allah”? almost since i first turned back to Islam in earnest, and especially after my Hajj, tablighi brothers keep coming up to me and inviting me to join them.

    and subhanAllah, in ‘itikaaf i prayed that Allah would let me be “awwal-ul-Muslimeen,” which Shaykh Waleed Basyouni would briefly translate as a first-responder and which Shaykh Naasir-ud-Deen al-Albaani described (per the translator of The Prophet’s Prayer Described) as (someone) competing in fulfilling (the) orders (to do good). so, certainly, i do not want to delay or forbid what is good. nor do i want to act on rumor and conjecture rather than on true knowledge and wisdom.

    if you have gone, what did you do? did you have any reservations about going?

    and if you would never go, and have knowledge and wisdom rather than rumor and conjecture, please enjoin what is good.

  7. AnonyMouse

    October 6, 2008 at 1:08 PM

    Masha’Allah, br. AbuAbdAllah, you’ve really jumped into this open thread… unfortunately, it seems you’re the only one! :)

    I think most people just post in the open thread when they have time, because it’s not a specific article “demanding” their attention.

  8. Joyhamza

    October 6, 2008 at 4:05 PM

    Salaam Alaikum,

    Shaykh Abu Aaliyah wrote an article on taqleed days back. It was supposed to be first part and the second part was promised to be talking abt following madh-hab. Can anybody tell when that part 2 will see light? and what happened to Shaykh Yasir’s salvific exclusivity series. Has the project been canceled?

    I should take the opportunity to say that I really like muslimmatters a lot. Though it primarily caters the need of western muslims, I as a non-westerner am benefiting immensely as well. I started reading this blog because of Shaykh Yasir and Shaykh Tawfique. But then gradually started reading all the authors and they all are really unique in their perspectives.

    I would suggest muslimmatters to broaden the horizon and cover east as well in the future.

  9. ilmsummitee

    October 6, 2008 at 11:54 PM

    I thought this was a quiz too, lol. I got so happy, SubhanAllah, but jazakumuAllahu khairan regardless.

  10. Osman

    October 7, 2008 at 1:59 AM

    brother abuabdallah, i’ve been in jamaat for 3 days, which is the smallest one I think and I have nothing bad to say about it. Good brotherhood and environment. Its less about actual learning and more spiritual. You go over the basics just to remind everyone, last 10 surahs, etc. I liked it.

    Never been on 10days/40 days/4years so cant comment on the longer ones but it obviously requires a larger commitment.

  11. ibnabeeomar

    October 7, 2008 at 12:09 PM

    must see video about palin:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QxGZ9mc5Rkw

  12. AbuAbdAllah, the Houstonian

    October 9, 2008 at 10:07 AM

    bismillah. jazak Allah khayr, brother Osman, for the reply.

    a local tabligh brother recently invited me to go on a two-day, in-Houston tabligh. he gave me about a 30-minute presentation, mashaAllah, on what tabligh groups do. he emphasized the same points that you did, going so far as to say at one point that he had been taught in tabligh that if you want to study knowledge just go to a madrassah don’t go on a tabligh. and one reason for that (it seemed to me) is that no ‘alim travels with the average tabligh group. a shortcoming i will address later.

    he gave me a breakdown of a typical day in tabligh, and indeed i would summarize it (the few-day trips at least) as a mini-retreat for spiritual/personal growth and reflection. almost every part of the day was focused on the individual, though there were also group activities. and only a small part of the day, between maghrib and isha, would normally be spent on visiting local Muslims to invite them to renew/reinvigorate (or start) their worship of Allah.

    i was frankly disappointed that outreach occupied such a tiny slice of the tabligh’s day because in my mind, tablighs should be dawah-regiments. tabligh was born in lands conquered (and still somewhat hamstrung) by imperial europe. it could be the Muslim’s reply to Christian missionaries. the brother did notice the disappointment when i asked him if that was the only time of day dawah was made. alhamdolillah. he told me that sometimes they also go out during the day when people request it. wAllaho’Alim.

    and he mentioned a local shaykh’s name and said that shaykh had benefited by time spent with the tabligh.

    but after asking the same local shaykh for his opinion, i have decided not to go.

    that shaykh was in a hurry, so i never discussed in detail what the tabligh brother had said. nor did i tell him he had been mentioned to me by name by that brother. inshaAllah, i may have that conversation with him if we both get the time.

    but the shaykh warned me in no uncertain words not to go with the tabligh because he said there is a lot of bidah. he strongly discouraged me from going.

    at first it might seem hard to reconcile the two conversations i had. but i do not think either person lied to me, may Allah protect us all from ever lying to someone about our Muslim brothers.

    instead, i focus on the facts from the first brother: that the average tabligh group does not travel with a scholar, and does not spend all its time simply making dawah to others. traveling with a scholar would obviously be a means of protecting tabligh groups from bidah.

    so, assuming both brothers spoke truthfully to me, whatever time the shaykh spent with the tabligh group probably benefited all of them. he would have enjoyed being with a group seeking tazkiyah, and they would have enjoyed the benefit of his knowledge, mashaAllah. and i am no scholar, so the shaykh warned me away from possible harm.

    maybe each tabligh group should raise money to fund the education of a scholar/student-of-knowledge on condition that the scholar then be available to travel with them for a certain number of years. “we paid for you to study for 3 years, so you owe us 30 weekends per year for 3 years” or something like that.

    imagine if we could take shaykh yasir qadhi with us on “tabligh?” would you be satisfied with just a few days? and then to go door-to-door or street-by-street with him making dawah? :) which is exactly why it might never happen (i am so going to feel robbed if it has happened, and i missed it! ) scholars like shaykh yasir do make dawah. they just don’t do it door-to-door a la Tabligh. (would dawah a la mode be dawah at baskin robbins? could we do that, shaykh yasir, next time you come to Houston? a daily maghrib-isha dawah tour of ice cream parlors? pleeeeaaaaaaazzzzzze??)

    if shuyukh and students of knowledge were not available (not even for ice cream?), another means of averting bidah might be to increase the time spent making dawah, so long as the brothers were committed to sharing only what they had learned — because that would become an incentive to learning more so as to respond to questions/responses/challenges that are naturally posed to the one making dawah.

    wAllaho’Alim.

  13. Ahmad AlFarsi

    October 9, 2008 at 11:05 AM

    assalaamu alaykum, ya aba abdillaah,

    A brother once told me of a Tablighi Jamaat in (I THINK) the Chicago area, that gained some knowledge, and when they went on Tabligh, instead of reading from Fada’il ulA’mal, they would read from Kitab ul-Tawhid! May sound strange, but such is rumored to have happened (and allegedly continues to happen). Any brothers that can corroborate this story :) ?

    wassalaam,
    Ahmad

  14. Hassan

    October 9, 2008 at 12:00 PM

    After Allah, I thank tablighi jamaat for bringing me to correct Islam. I am from religious family, but I wandered off (did not pray regularly), when I left my home for studying. Till in 2002 Allah guided me to start practicing Islam again, And I was looking for some lead, and some tablighi brothers showed up, so I decided they are the best. I decided to go for three days, and went, got hugely disappointed for their blindness (lakir kai faqir), treating their tablighi way as absolute only way, and rest would be doomed to hell. They used tablighi lingo, that has no basis in shariah (meaning they are not shari terms), and neither understandable by commoners. You have to be in their cult to understand it. Even brothers who were totally english speaking, were using difficult urdu words (I mean why can not you use simple english term, that everyone in america understands?). So I started questioning them, and they were totally displeased, as they wanted blind obedience of them. I left after 2 days, could not take narrow mindedness anymore.

    Then it was announced in our masjid, there is Texas Dawah Conference in Austin, TX. And I attended it and was totally impressed by knowledge, commitment to follow sunnah, and non-cult environment.

    Hence since then, I have never been with tablighi jamaat.

  15. Hassan

    October 9, 2008 at 12:04 PM

    BTW, I was with cream of Tablighi jamat in Houston. And during the two days, they had some texas wide meeting, and all elite of them were present in one of the meeting. And listening to them was one of the main turn off.

  16. AnonyMouse

    October 9, 2008 at 1:38 PM

    @ Ahmad
    Yep, the exact same thing happened to my dad, which is why he’s not fond of the Jamaat at-Tabligh at all.
    Actually, there’s a book that he recommends (which I haven’t read yet) called “The Jamaat Tableegh and the Deobandis: A Critical Analysis of their Beliefs, Books, and Da’wah” compiled by Sajid Abdul Kayum and published by AHYA Multimedia.

  17. Hassan

    October 9, 2008 at 2:49 PM

    Ahmad AlFarsi (Author) said:

    assalaamu alaykum, ya aba abdillaah,

    A brother once told me of a Tablighi Jamaat in (I THINK) the Chicago area, that gained some knowledge, and when they went on Tabligh, instead of reading from Fada’il ulA’mal, they would read from Kitab ul-Tawhid! May sound strange, but such is rumored to have happened (and allegedly continues to happen). Any brothers that can corroborate this story :) ?

    wassalaam,
    Ahmad

    Usually Arab tableeghis read Riyad-us-Saliheen, as shoving down Fazail-e-Amal is not possible even on them. Also propogating deobanism may be their integral aspect. When I was in jamaat, the guy told me to recite qunoot (for memorization purposes), as I said, you can make any dua in qunoot, and I make various dua in qunoot, but still I recited to him Allah-huma ahdinat fi man hadit.. and so on. But he said this is not qunoot, and he wanted me to recite hanafi qunoot (which is fine as far as I am concerned), but it shows that they do not like any deviation from their fiqh.

  18. Nihal A. Khan

    October 9, 2008 at 9:47 PM

    I just had to post this…

    Young Maulana in training – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fnzPLwCImcs

  19. Amad

    October 9, 2008 at 9:52 PM

    that’s more like a hard-core sufi hadhra training ;)

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