Tuesday, March 31, 2009


On the authority of Umar ibn al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him), who said:

One day while we were sitting with the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) there appeared before us a man whose clothes were exceedingly white and whose hair was exceedingly black; no signs of journey were to be seen on him and none of us knew him. He walked up and sat down in front of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), with his knees touching against the Prophet’s (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and placing the palms of his hands on his thighs he said,

“O Muhammad, tell me about Islam.”

The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “Islam is to testify that there is no deity worthy of worship but Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, to perform prayers, to give zakat, to fast in Ramadhan, and to make the pilgrimage to the House if you are able to do so.” He said, “You have spoken rightly”; and we were amazed at him asking him and saying that he had spoken rightly.

He [the man] then said, “Tell me about iman.”

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “It is to believe in Allah, His Angels, His Books, His Messengers, and the Last Day, and to believe in divine destiny (qadr), both the good and the evil of it.” He said, “You have spoken rightly.”

He [the man] said, “Then tell me about ihsan.”

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “It is to worship Allah as though you see Him, and if you do not see Him, then (knowing that) truly He sees you.”

He said, “Then tell me about the Hour.”

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “The one questioned about it knows no better than the questioner.”

He said, “Then tell me about its signs.”

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “That the slave-girl will give birth to her mistress, and that you will see barefooted, naked destitute shepherds
competing in constructing lofty buildings.”

Then he [the man] left, and I stayed for a time. Then he [the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)] said, “O Umar, do you know who the questioner was?” I said, “Allah and His Messenger know best.” He said, “It was Jibreel, who came to teach you your religion.”

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Praise be to Allah Lord of all beings.

Often we do take many things for granted, that we have just gotten used to being around us or of our belongings. We only appreciate something when it is lost or when we see others whom don’t have it, got stripped away from or struggling to attain it or something of its nature.

Yet there are those whom Allah bestows his mercy upon and opens their chests to the great deen of Islam. And with the renewal of their lives they renew our worn out faiths and raise our eman in ranks.

أَوَمَنْ كَانَ مَيْتًا فَأَحْيَيْنَاهُ وَجَعَلْنَا لَهُ نُورًا يَمْشِي بِهِ فِي النَّاسِ كَمَنْ مَثَلُهُ فِي الظُّلُمَاتِ لَيْسَ بِخَارِجٍ مِنْهَا كَذَلِكَ زُيِّنَ لِلْكَافِرِينَ مَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ
Is he who was dead, to whom We gave life, and a Light whereby he can walk amongst men, be like him who is in the depths of darkness, from which he can never come out? Thus it is made fair-seeming to the disbelivers that which they used to do.

[Quran; 6: 122]

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Is There a "Middle East" ?

We are starting to hear of things like a “Middle Eastern” cuisine, people from the “Middle East” a “Middle Easterner” “Middle Eastern Societies” Middle East this Middle East That.
So what is the Middle East ?

Apparently there is not a consensus among social scientists on what does constitute the Middle East Some include Afghanistan in it other don’t. and we also have heard of “the Greater Middle East” initiative by George Bush which is a big farce just as its name.
Obviously The “Middle East” is supposed to be chunk of land and all what’s in it. Yet this is not a term coined by the inhabitants of those lands nor was it out of the academic and intellectual traditions of its people. It is an occidental term imposed on the region with its contexts and implicit interests.

Regardless of how conscious or unconscious the term is used it serves several functions
1- to imply that Israel is a natural member of this geographical location
2- to imply similarities between all these states that are not shared elsewhere.
3- it strips the region from its identity, Namely Islamic. And thus the term intrinsically fragments the Islamic world.
4- it Dissolves differences between Arab and non Arab states thus inherently down playing the distinction.

It Is Ironic that when we say the West we also imply Australia and New Zealand but also not Mexico (which is technically in the west). so the West is actually an identity not just a relative geographic location but when we say the Middle East?….. Nothing is implied but a geographical location (Arab states Plus Turkey Israel and Iran). This is at least the proposition in social sciences and namely Political Science with all of its branches.

The Term finds itself in the inherit difference in power relations. The West is in dominance and so it chooses the way in which it wants to coin the world around it and address peoples the way it wants to address them the way it wants to view them, in the way it wants them to view themselves. The term finds its way through academic imperialism which then finds its way in westernized and conforming academic institutions in the region. And that is why before the Gulf War ( Final Blow to Arab Nationalism) we never heard of Arabs saying the “Middle East” (ash-Sharq al Awsat). Similarly you don’t hear the term being used on Alajazeera ( more Arabist/Islam sympathetic) or perhaps rarely, unlike Alarabiyah (secular fundamentalists/ “liberalists”/westernized) which uses it frequently.

In other words