Pakistan Flood Relief – Please Donate Generously and Encourage Others To Donate…

 

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al-salam `alaykum everyone

Everyone is aware that there is a major humanitarian crisis in Pakistan due to the flooding. Many might not know that the flooding is not expected to let up for some time, with further rains predicted. The situation will likely continue to deteriorate during this time. Already, a recent appeal from UNICEF put it rather bluntly:

“… the scale of this disaster is unimaginable. Millions more need help. Already the first cases of cholera have been reported. Without additional funding, the grim reality is that thousands of children – smaller, weaker, more vulnerable – will succumb to spreading water-borne disease, malnutrition and death.”


We all have an opportunity to contribute to the relief efforts currently underway to help. There are several US-based aid organizations supporting relief in efforts in Pakistan listed below from which to choose (see attached image) and it is sometimes advantageous to “spread the wealth around.”

The Hidaya Foundation
http://www.hidaya.org/

Islamic Relief
http://www.islamicreliefusa.org/pakistan-floods

ICNA Relief USA
http://icnarelief.org/site/

Helping Hand for Relief and Development
http://www.helpinghandonline.org/

The UN high commissioner for refugees
http://www.unhcr.org/cgi-bin/texis/vtx/home

The UN Childrens Fund (UNICEF)
http://www.unicefusa.org/

The American Red Cross
https://american.redcross.org/site/Donation2?idb=232424268&df_id=4932&4932.donation=form1


thank you and salam

justin

 

More Information regarding the flooding

2010 Pakistan floods
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010_Pakistan_floods

Severe flooding in Pakistan (a powerful and moving photographic news story showing numerous flood victims)
http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2010/08/severe_flooding_in_pakistan.html

Continuing Pakistani floods (part two of the above article)
http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2010/08/continuing_pakistani_floods.html

Pakistan floods ‘worst disaster ever’
http://www.vancouversun.com/cars/Pakistan+floods+worst+disaster+ever/3376314/story.html

UN says Pakistan floods worst disaster in history
http://www.examiner.com/geopolitics-in-national/un-says-pakistan-floods-worst-disaster-history

UN: Pakistan flood misery exceeds tsunami, Haiti
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2012574441_apaspakistanfloods.html

Pakistan floods expected to get worse, officials say as up to 14 million people affected by disaster
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/2010/08/13/2010-08-13_pakistan_floods_expected_to_get_worse_officials_say_as_up_to_14_million_people_a.html

 

Is Marriage Haram For Some People? by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

At a recent dinner invitation, I noticed that most of those present had business relationships with each other. I feared that if there wasn’t some radical intervention, the conversation would center on things like guerrilla marketing and such—not my cup of tea. So I decided to say something radical, hoping to shift the flow of conversation to human relationships instead. I said, “You know, I think that it is haram for many people to marry.”

Heads turned very fast. Some asked me whether I’d lost my mind. Others simply asked me what I meant.

I wasn’t joking, I said. No, I was very serious.

Many people fall into sin by marrying.

Why? Because they enter marriage without understanding the serious responsibility that marriage entails. Then they fail to fulfill their duty as husband or wife, and end up wronging their spouse. Such failure is sinful, even if one’s spouse is similarly remiss.

This returns to an important principle in the Shari‘a that hurting another is worse than hurting oneself. In fact, you have the full right to hurt yourself—in effect, you have the right to go to Hell, if you so wish. However, you have absolutely no right to hurt another—whether materially, emotionally, or in any other way. In marriages, spouses do amazing things to hurt each other, both directly and indirectly—through remissness in fulfilling their rights; and through simple inability to maintain a healthy marital relationship.

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So, what can be done about it?

The answer to this returns to individuals, parents, and society at large. As individuals, we have to develop an understanding of the keys to healthy human relationships in general and healthy marriages in particular—before and after marriage. Parents have to inculcate an understanding in their children, especially in the later teen years and after, of good character, of taking the rights of others seriously, and of how to maintain strong relationships. With that, as parents we ourselves have a duty to be examples of successful marital life for our children. In society, we have a communal responsibility to raise awareness of what is needed to make marriages work—practical manner, not just through yet more lecturing on “The Importance of Early Marriage,” because early marriage without sufficient preparedness is as likely to fail as late marriage, if not more.

We need to train our community leaders, imams, and activists in marriage counseling. Seminars and programs must be held within the community for those seeking to get married and for those married. Trained counseling and suitable literature needs should be made available in accessible ways for those married, especially for those having trouble in their marriages.

There Is Help Out There

People have to be made aware of the (often many) resources available in the wider society on marriage. Often, Muslims are wary of going outside the community for counseling (and yet fail to find capable counseling within the community). We need develop lists of reliable counseling services—services that uphold the core marital values Muslims hold dear (and which they fear for when seeking outside counseling). Likewise, there is a lot of good literature on marriage that those marrying and married should seriously consider reading.

As Dr. Ibrahim Kreps and other leading Muslim counselors concur, one of the very best books on marriage is John Gottman’s The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work. This or similar books give practical guidance on improving marriage relationships in our times.

With this, as Muslims we have to look at the radiant example of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) himself. He reminded us that, “The best of you are those best to their spouses, and I am the best of you to their spouse” (Tirmidhi, on the authority of ‘A’isha, God be pleased with her)). We should look regularly and with reflection at the life and example of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), as these give us beautiful examples and clear principles on how to have a successful marriage built on the Qur’anic paradigm of love and mercy, and of striving to live together with a mutual commitment to excellence in dealings.

Originally published in Islamica Magazine

 

Love, Marriage and Relationships in Islam: All Your Questions Answered in this comprehensive reader.

Guidance of the Prophet Muhammad on the Virtues of Patience (and Thankfulness) in Tribulation and Hardship

muhammed_arabicThese are a few hadiths of the Beloved Messenger of Allah (peace & blessings be upon him & his folk) on the great honor that trials, hardships, and tribulations can represent for a true believer, and how these are opportunities to exhibit one’s patience, trust, reliance, contentment, and thankfulness to Allah Most High.

34. Anas said, “I heard the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, say, ‘Allah the Mighty and Exalted says, ‘When I test My slave regarding the two things he loves and he shows fortitude, I repay him for them with the Garden.'” He meant his eyes. [al-Bukhari]

35. ‘Ata’ ibn Abi Rabah said, “Ibn ‘Abbas said to me, ‘Shall I show you a woman who is one of the people of the Garden?’ I replied, ‘Please do.’ He said, ‘This black woman came to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and said, “I have fits during which I expose myself. Pray to Allah Almighty for me.” He said, “If you wish, you can show fortitude and you will receive the Garden, and if you wish, I will pray to Allah Almighty to heal you.” She said, “I will show fortitude.” She said, “I expose myself so pray to Allah that I do not expose myself.” So he prayed for her.'” [Agreed upon]

36. Abu ‘Abdu’r-Rahman ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud said, “It is as if I could still see the Messenger of Allah talking about one of the Prophets, may the blessings and peace of Allah be upon them, whose people beat him, making his blood flow. While he was wiping the blood from his face, he said, ‘O Allah, forgive my people. They do not know.'” [Agreed upon]

37. Abu Sa’id and Abu Hurayra reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “No fatigue, illness, anxiety, sorrow, harm or sadness afflicts any Muslim, even to the extent of a thorn pricking him, without Allah wiping out his mistakes by it.” [Agreed upon]

38. Ibn Mas’ud said, “I visited the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, when he had a fever. I said, “Messenger of Allah, you have a very high fever!’ He replied, ‘Yes. I have the fever of two of you.’ I asked, ‘Is that because you will have two rewards?’ He said, ‘Yes, it is like that. No Muslim is afflicted by harm, whether it is a thorn or something worse, without Allah expiating his evil deeds on that account and his sins fall away from him like leaves from a tree.'” [Agreed upon]

39. Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “When Allah desires good for someone, He afflicts him.” [Al-Bukhari]

Source: Chapter on Steadfastness (sabr) from Imam Nawawi’s Gardens of the Righteous (tr. Ayesha Bewley)

A warning we should heed – Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad

The message of Islam is that pursuit of money for its own sake is unnatural, inhumane, and will lead us to catastrophe, argues Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad.

O you who believe! Let not your wealth nor your children distract you from remembrance of Allah. Those who do so, they are the losers. (63:9)

This verse in the Qur’an is an invitation for humanity to make a relatively small effort in this world, in return for the eternal reward of the hereafter. It is a call to save ourselves from becoming fixated on our wealth and on providing our children with the latest gadget and games, which ultimately are mere distractions from our remembrance of the creator.

But humans are short-termist; we think primarily of our pleasures now rather than the harmony and serenity of the world to come. Chapter 102 of the Qur’an says that we are distracted by competing in worldly increase, until we finally end up in our graves where we will be questioned about our excesses.

Does this mean that it is wrong to own things? Of course not, as money and offspring can be positive things in the life of a believer, and we do of course have basic needs which need to be met. But we must remember that the pleasures of consumption are quickly gone, while lasting benefit comes only from using our wealth to uphold the rights of others; namely the orphan, the traveller, and the needy. Wealth is thus truly ours only once it has been given away.

Those who are genuinely distracted by worldly increase, and who make it an end in and of itself rather than as a means towards something better are in effect guilty of a form of idolatry. Ours is an age that has made idols of the great banks and finance houses, driven to frenzy by competition amongst billionaires who are kept awake at night by the thought that a rival might make a business deal more quickly than them. A banker who can asset strip companies and throw its employees out onto the street is someone who is in the grip of an obsession that has thrown him beyond of the normal frontiers of humanity.
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Neo-classical economics has traditionally focused on four things: land, labour, capital and money, the first three of which are finite, while the fourth, money, is theoretically infinite, and is therefore where human greed has been particularly focussed. Thus arose a system where someone could, with approval, set up a bank with only £1, and then lend £100 using property and other assets promised by others as security.

The lender now has £100 including interest, which they earned by just sitting there and doing nothing. On the basis of this £100, they can then lend £1000, and on and on, until the cancerous growth lubricated by greed becomes so huge that it leads to a fundamental breakdown in the system. Such a system based on usury, with interest as the bizarre “price of money” which itself becomes a commodity, was once prohibited by all faiths. People had a simple and natural intuition that the commoditisation of a measurement of value would open the door to trading in unreal assets, and ultimately to a model of finance that would destroy natural restraints and even, potentially, the planet.

In the classical Islamic system, by contrast, money is the substance of either gold or silver. With a tangible and finite asset being the only measure of value, there is a great deal more certainty about the value of assets and the price of money. This basic wisdom was though not just a theoretical ideal; it succeeded. Muslim society at its height was mercantile, and it was successful. Never was money assigned its own value and never was it seen as an end in and of itself.

Since the abolition of the gold standard however, theoretical limits on the price of money were removed. Last year’s meltdown, whose final consequences were unguessable, was a sign of the inbuilt dangers of a usurious world. Humans are naturally short-termist but in times of crisis we must take stock. As with the related environmental crisis, now is the time to be smarter and more self-restrained. The believer is in any case allergic to the mad amassing of wealth, since he or she expects true happiness and peace only in the remembering of God and in the next world.

Now is the time to think seriously about finding an economic system to replace the one whose dangers have just been revealed. Upon the conquest of Mecca, a verse of the Qur’an was revealed commanding people to give up what remained of their interest-based transactions, upon which a new system based on the value of gold and silver was initiated.

Those who relied so heavily on the old system would of course have been unable to understand a system without banking charges, but not only was such a system created but a successful civilisation was created using these ideas.

Last year we peered into the abyss; now we must apply self-restraint and wisdom, before complete catastrophe ensues.

Cover photo by alexcoitus.

Restraint in an Age of Excess – by Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad

In this sermon, the shaykh relates a sound hadith in which the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said that what he feared most for his community was the following of the uncontrolled urges of gluttony and lust. Although we often hear important warnings in sermons and elsewhere against the influence of the sad and tawdry modern culture of immodesty and sexual permissiveness, less attention is paid to the greedy and dysfunctional attitude toward food that the Western monoculture promotes. Yet not only is it a problem against which the the Blessed Prophet strongly warned us (peace be upon him), but one which is increasingly and obviously widespread among Muslims. The shaykh therefore reminds us of the importance of the prophetic virtue of restraint, which has so many important benefits, both spiritual and physical, and discusses how we can attempt to imitate it.

Listen to this sermon or download this sermon (24.0 MB, MP3)

The Requisites of Leadership, by Imam Zaid Shakir

imam_zaid_shakirimage18“This lecture examines the requisites of leadership at both the individual and the communal level. It emphasizes the importance of good followers as one of the greatest factors aiding good leadership. Imam Zaid mentions some of the trials leaders will encounter at various levels of endeavor. This lecture will prove insightful for community leaders and organizers as well as for the generality of the community.”

Listen in full on Imam Zaid Shakir’s New Islamic Directions blog.