Islamic Writer Alliance Poetry Contest 2010

February 19, 2010

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

The Islamic Writers Alliance is sponsoring its Annual Poetry Contest for  2010 in April to coincide with National Poetry Month in the US. The theme of this year’s contest is ibadah, or worship. Submissions will be accepted from April 1st through April 30th 2010. For complete information about the Poetry contest and its guidelines, go to http://www.IslamicWritersAlliance.net and scroll down to the middle of the page.

Ya Haqq!

Note: The poetry is usually quite good, and inshallah  I will enter this year also :)


Rumi’s Ramadan Poem

August 24, 2009

O moon-faced Beloved,
the month of Ramadan has arrived
Cover the table
and open the path of praise.

O fickle busybody,
it’s time to change your ways.
Can you see the one who’s selling the halvah
how long will it be the halvah you desire?

Just a glimpse of the halvah-maker
has made you so sweet even honey says,
“I’ll put myself beneath your feet, like soil;
I’ll worship at your shrine.”

Your chick frets within the egg
with all your eating and choking.
Break out of your shell that your wings may grow.
Let yourself fly.

The lips of the Master are parched
from calling the Beloved.
The sound of your call resounds
through the horn of your empty belly.

Let nothing be inside of you.
Be empty:  give your lips to the lips of the reed.
When like a reed you fill with His breath,
then you’ll taste sweetness.

Sweetness is hidden in the Breath
that fills the reed.
Be like Mary – by that sweet breath
a child grew within her.

- Rumi


Love what God Loves

April 15, 2009

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

Love what God loves. Love God with all your hearts and weary not of the Word of God and its mention. Harden not your hearts from it. Worship God and associate naught with Him; fear Him as he ought to be feared; carry out loyally towards God what you say with your mouths. Love one another in the Spirit of God.

- a portion of one of the first orations of the blessed Prophet (pbuh) delivered in Medina.

Ya Haqq!


Benefits of Acquiring Knowledge

February 14, 2009

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

Acquire knowledge because doing so is good. Seeking it is worship. Reviewing it is glorifying Allah. Researching it is jihad. Teaching it to the ignorant is charity.

- Mu’adh Ibn Jabal (ra)

Ya Haqq!


St. Francis meets Sultan Malik al-Kamil

December 23, 2008


Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

St. Francis di Bernadone, born in 1182 in Northern Italy, is popularly known and loved as the poor, generous, traveling friar who talked with birds, tamed wild beasts and sang the “Canticle of Creation.”  But Francis was once also an inter-religious emissary of peace and nonviolence.

Francis lived in the political turmoil of the 13th Century “Holy Roman Empire,” locked in a culture of war, fought both within the empire as city fought city and without, as the empire united in a series of Crusades against Moslems, Jews and “heretics.” It was during the fifth crusade, in 1219, that Francis began an amazing journey that directly opposed this culture of war and enmity. Christians in his time viewed The Crusades as holy; a complete reversal of the first 300 years of Christianity when disciples of Jesus would not participate in any killing.

In response, the Sultan of Egypt had decreed that anyone who brought him the head of a Christian should be rewarded with a Byzantine gold piece.

Francis began his prophetic resistance to the violence of the Crusades by meeting first with his own religious leaders, begging Cardinal Pelagius, the Christian commander, to stop the fighting. Pelagius refused.

Francis then took a companion, Brother Illuminatus, and set out, unarmed and filled with love for his “enemy” brother, to visit the Sultan of Egypt, Malik-al-Kamil, the nephew of Saladin. The men of the Sultan’s army captured Francis and Illuminatus and dragged them, beaten and exhausted, before the Sultan – just as Francis had wished.

The Sultan was receptive to these two unarmed messengers from the enemy camp. St. Bonaventure, in his Major Life of St. Francis, described the event, “The sultan asked them by whom and why and in what capacity they had been sent, and how they got there; but Francis replied that they had been sent by God, not by men, to show him and his subjects the way of salvation and proclaim the truth of the Gospel message. When the sultan saw his enthusiasm and courage, he listened to him willingly and pressed him to stay with him.”

Francis’ enthusiastic desire to share his “good news” with the Sultan, without insulting Islam or refuting Mohammed, was unique and disarming.

In the encounter between them, both Francis and the Sultan were changed. When Francis finally left to return to Italy, the Sultan showered him with many gifts and treasures. Because he had no interest in worldly wealth, Francis refused them all, except one special gift: an ivory horn used by the muezzin to call the faithful to prayer. On his return, Francis used it to call people for prayer or for preaching.

Francis also shared with his community his new and deep respect for his Moslem brothers and sisters, breaking down the cycle of enmity and misunderstanding that fueled the Crusades. Francis was especially struck by the Moslem five times daily prayer, and the practice of prostrations in worship of God; his letters urged Christians to adopt a similar practice: To make prayer a part of everyday life, in effect to remember God in everything you do, as in the Sufi zekr.

Stories of the time told about the change in the Sultan after his encounter with Francis. He placed Francis under his personal security and provided safe-conduct through Muslim states. From then on, several accounts relate that he treated Christian prisoners of war with unprecedented kindness and generosity.

Francis lives out the core of the Christian mandate: to love one’s enemies, to reach out in respect to those of other religions and cultures.

Meeting the sultan confirmed to Francis that we are all brothers and sisters. Neither converted the other and yet they met each other as men of God.

And their meeting appears to have changed more than Francis and the sultan.

Almost immediately we see some iconography in the eastern world showing these two men. One of the sultan’s own spiritual counselors (a Sufi), it was said, had engraved on his tomb that what changed his life was the meeting between a Christian monk and the sultan in his tent.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, and Joyous Kwanza to all :)

Ya Haqq!


Isa ibn Mariyam – Jesus, the Son of Mary

March 22, 2008

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

Happy Easter to all my Christian brothers and sisters :)

Most people in the West do not know that Hazrat Muhammad al-Ghazali (may Allah keep his secret), who was called The Proof of The Faith, collected and authenticated several of the original saying of Isa ibn Mariyam (Jesus the son of Mary) in Aramaic (the language that Jesus spoke) and translated them into Arabic.

In al Ghazali’s time, 10th -11th century CE, there were still Christians who were unaffected by the doctrines of Paul. The Church founded by Judas Thomas for instance, was still strong in Syria and protected by the Khalifate.

It was written in the original Gospel:

Isa ibn Mariyam (AS) said:
Seek what you do not Know only after you
have put into practice what you do Know.

The disciples of Isa ibn Mariyam (AS) came to him and asked;
“O spirit of Allah, is there anyone else like you alive in our time?”
He replied: “Yes indeed, Whoever has the dhikr of Allah in his heart,
and is silent in thought, and who learns from what is given,
surely that one is like me.”

Isa ibn Mariyam (AS), asked his people:
“Where do you find a plant growing?”
They replied: “In the dust of the earth.”
He said: “By Al Haqq, I will tell you,
Marifat (Gnosis) does not grow except in a heart
that is like the dust of the earth.”

Isa ibn Mariyam (AS) met a man and asked him what his profession was.
The man replied: “I worship Allah.”
Isa (AS) then asked: ‘Who feeds and clothes you while you worship?”
“My brother,” The man replied.
Isa (AS) said: “Your brother’s worship is better than your own.”

Isa ibn Mariyam (AS) met three people while traveling,
They were pale and thin with fasting.
He asked them: “What has caused this state in you?”
They said: “Fear of the punishment of Allah”
Isa (AS) replied: “Allah has taken it upon Himself to lessen your fear.”
He continued on a ways and came across three more
who were pale and thin with fasting, even more than the last.
He asked them: “What has caused this state in you?”
They answered: “Desire for Allah’s rewards”
Isa (AS) said: “Allah has taken it upon Himself to give you what you long for.”
Once again in his travels Isa ibn Mariyam (AS) came across yet another three who were pale and thin with fasting. Their faces shone as if they were lit from within.
So he asked them: “What is the cause of your state?”
They answered: “We love Allah, the Mighty, the Glorious.”
Whereupon he replied: “You are the nearest, and nearer still!”

The companions of Isa ibn Mariyam (AS) said to him:
“Look at this temple, is it not beautiful?”
Isa (AS) replied: “My people,
by al Haqq I tell you, Allah does not leave this temple standing
except to destroy it by the sins of it’s inhabitants.
Surely, Allah does not care about gold and silver,
He does not care about this building that you admire so.
What Allah, the Most High loves are good hearts.
Allah inhabits the heart that remembers Him and He desolates
the heart that does not.”

Isa ibn Mariyam (AS),
passed by a group of men who shouted evil things at him.
In return Isa (AS) spoke to them with kindness.
His companions asked:
“Why did you reply to these men with kindness when they spoke evil to you?”
Isa (AS) replied: “Everyone spends from the coin he has.”

The song of Isa ibn Mariyam (AS)

My meal is fasting,
my standard is awe of Allah.
My clothing is of simple wool,
my prayer in winter is at suns rise.
My lamp is moonlight,
My steed is my legs.
My meal is whatever the earth gives me.
I lay down to sleep at night and have nothing,
I awake in the morning and have nothing,
yet there is no one richer than I.

– From The Traceless Warrior Blog. Commentary and English versions translated by Mushtaq Ali al Ansari. Copyright 1999. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Ya Haqq!


The Prophet (pbuh) and the Blind Man

March 10, 2008

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

“He frowned and turned away when a blind man came his way. How do you know if (his heart) might be purified or recall (God) and by recollection be rectified? For those who are called wealthy, you attend to them closely and don’t bother if they are purified! Yet from one who comes to you hopeful, fearful and clearly humble, you let your attention be shunted aside.” - (Qur’an 80:1-12)

This Quranic verse, directed toward the Prophet himself (pbuh), is the harshest reminder in the revelation itself of allowing oneself to be distracted by the affairs of the world, and thereby, even momentarily, losing the insight of its true teachings of love and compassion, kindness and guidance in the worship of Allah, the One who has no partners.

It is further related that Aisha, the wife of the Prophet (pbuh), said that if any chapter of the Qur’an could be wiped out, he had wished it would be this short chapter entitled, He Frowned, that addresses him as the one who frowned and chastises him for his treatment of the blind man.

The old and feeble blind man came seeking some knowledge about the new religion of Islam, but his arrival interrupted an important meeting of Arab tribal elders, powerful and rich men, who, if they had embraced the religion, would have greatly strengthened the community, which was under constant threat.

The Prophet (pbuh) had done what almost any other leader would do in looking out for his community through practical means; he ignored the blind man and continued to talk to the powerful tribal elders.

Alhamdulillah! He admonishes even His own Prophet (pbuh) for ignoring the true seeker, for not taking a moment to answer the old blind man. Most certainly this would have been a real lesson to the tribal elders about the new religion of Islam.

Allah knows the truth.

May Allah bless us and grant us all the insight of this lesson and guide us to what is truly important in life.

Ameen.

 

Ya Haqq!


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