A Cure for Sadness and Fear!

January 29, 2012

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

A Muslim Sister in a far country wrote this to me recently:

I am very sad tonight. Say something. I felt very insulted and did not feel safe, but I cannot decide to go, I can not do anything to change it.

I wrote this in reply:

Make Allah your armor and the Qur’an your shield, and nothing can harm you or make you sad or frightened. Begin to read out loud from the Qur’an, and all sadness will be forced to retreat before the fierce light of love and truth. Alhamdulillah! Read until you feel safe, or you decide to go, or it changes. With every hardship comes ease, my dear Sister :) And know that my love and my prayers are with you. Ya Haqq!

What would you have written?

Ya Haqq!

Love, InshAllah: The Secret Love Lives of American Muslim Women – A Book Review

January 23, 2012

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

Deeply touching and intimate, the 25 stories in Love, InshAllah: The Secret Love Lives of American Muslim Women, reveal the elegance and universality of love and faith. Written by American Muslim women of all ages, races and nationalities, many of them first generation Americans struggling to bridge the cultural gap, they tell of love found and love lost, of arranged marriages that work and those that do not, of coming out and  staying in the closet; the full range of human experience for women of every country and religion, and no doubt shocking for more orthodox Muslims.

It is above all an honest book of  love stories that transcend religion, a perfect book to upend the stereotypical Western misconceptions of veiled and abused Muslim women. These tales are filled with hope and humor and life, and I confess that I laughed and cried by turns with these brave and amazing women. Ayesha Mattu and Nura Maznavi, who collected and edited the stories and wrote two of them, are owed a debt of gratitude, and I pray that the day will soon come when love stories by the millions of American Muslim women will be less a secret and just another part of everyday American life. I loved it!

Ya Haqq!

Note:  To pre-order the book, read more reviews and interviews with the writers, or to find future book-signing events, visit the Love, InshAllah website HERE.

Note:  To read the New York Times article on the backstory of Love, InshAllah, click HERE.

Happy 70th Birthday, Muhammed Ali – and a Lesson on Modesty

January 17, 2012

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

Happy 70th Birthday to Muhammed Ali, the greatest boxer of my generation, and also a role model for character and honor as a Muslim.  In his honor, therefore, I am repeating this post from several years ago.

The following true incident took place years ago, when former Heavyweight Boxing Champion Muhammed Ali was visited by his daughters, who arrived at his home wearing clothes that were immodest. Here is the story as told by one of his daughters:

“When we arrived, the chauffer escorted my youngest sister, Laila, and me to my father’s suite. As usual, he was hiding behind the door waiting to scare us. And we exchanged as many hugs and kisses as we could possibly give in one day.

“My father then took a good look at us. He sat me down in his lap and said something I will never forget. He looked me straight in the eyes and said: ‘Hana, everything that God made valuable in the world is covered and hard to get to. Where do you find diamonds? Deep down in the ground, covered and protected. Where do you find pearls? Deep down at the bottom of the ocean, covered up and protected in a beautiful shell. Where do you find gold? Way down and in the mine, covered over with layers and layers of rock. You’ve got to work hard to get them.’

“He looked at me again with serious eyes and said, ‘Your body is sacred. You’re far more precious than diamonds and pearls, and you should be covered too.’”

Ya Haqq!

Note: It is worth noting that Muhammed Ali now follows the Sufi path of Hazrat Inayat Khan, according to Hana Yasmeen Ali. An interview with her, where she mentions that fact, can be found HERE.

Second Note: Because of the response, here are links to two previous posts on Hijab:  Wearing Hijab – A Spiritual Concept and Wearing Hijab in Mecca.

Third Note:  The Prophet, peace be unto him, also said: “Faith is naked, but its clothes are modest.”

In Memorium – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

January 16, 2012

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

Today in the United States is the National Holiday of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, (which falls every year on the first Monday after his birthday, January 15, 1929). I do not have the words to do justice to his life and work, and so I will quote only two paragraphs that may help explain why he is one of this nation’s heroes.

“The gospel at its best deals with the whole man, not only his soul but his body, not only his spiritual well-being, but his material well being. Any religion that professes to be concerned about the souls of men and is not concerned about the slums that damn them, the economic conditions that strangle them and the social conditions that cripple them is a spiritually moribund religion awaiting burial.”  Pilgrimage to Non-Violence, 1960

“Nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral questions of our time: the need for man to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to oppression and violence. Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.”Nobel Prize acceptance speech, Stockholm, Sweden, December 11, 1964.

God bless his soul and memory, and may we as a people learn from his example.  Amen!

Ya Haqq!


Happy 83rd Birthday, Dr. King!

January 15, 2012

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Happy 83rd Birthday, Dr. King!

May God bless your soul.


Ya Haqq!

10 Methods of the Heavenly Dragon – Book Review!

January 9, 2012

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

A truly remarkable book, Ten Methods of the Heavenly Dragon is profound and deeply moving! This first person account of a lifelong seeker Robert Sheaffer’s apprenticeship with Shun Yuan, a gentle, Western-born Adept of the Tao and Taiji martial arts, enthralls the reader both as a teaching story and an introduction to as remarkable a man as any hero out of fiction. In the end, though I did not want it to end, I was left with a sublime sense of inevitability and peace. A truly amazing achievement!

The unfolding of the 10 Methods of the Heavenly Dragon are beautifully told within the intricacies of Bagua, the “eight symbols” used in Taoist cosmology and the elegant, deadly forms of Chinese martial arts, each method translated into hard learned lessons of everyday life. The Tao emphasizes getting past your preconceptions and your ego; in effect, getting out of your own way. I for one am very grateful for the lesson.

Ya Haqq!

Note:  The book has also won the Gold Medal in the Living Now Book Awards for 2013.  Congratulation!



The Great Puzzle

January 7, 2012

The Kingdom of the Lost
grows every moment.

This daydream of Existence
fills itself continuously
with the needy
like a rain-barrel
in the monsoon season-
while all the while-
the barrel bobs
upon an Ocean!

That is the great puzzle
of the human heart
that even our Saints
have given up trying
to solve.


– Roger Loff