Friday, May 28, 2010

Classification Of Mankind In Islam

Islam's communal ethics are against the hostile critics and stands up for the rights of all the righteous. H.G. Wells says: "Islam created a society more free from widespread cruelty and social oppression than any society that had ever been in the world before" (Outline of History).

Quran recitation tells us bout the rights of the mankind. They are all equal in the eyes of Allah. Islam aspires at the creation of a classless humanity by eradicating all likely communal confrontations (through rotating the distinct interests).

In the sphere of economics, Islam lays down the standard that riches should not be permitted to circulate amidst the rich only, and envisages, through its regulations.
Islam stands for the "Cooperative Commonwealth of the Pursuers of Righteousness".

Taken as a entire, the Islamic state is a "welfare state" where sovereignty pertains to Allah solely and no human being has a right to rule other human beings except in the title of Allah and as asserted by His Will, and where no one, not even the Head of the State, is overhead the law. Absolute Justice is the watchword and the Establishment of Righteousness is the goal.

H.A.R. Gibb says: "Within the Western world Islam still maintains the balance between exaggerated opposities. Opposed equally to the anarchy of European nationalism and the regimentation of Russian communism, it has not yet succumbed to that obsession with the economic side of life which is characteristic of present-day Russia alike." (Whither Islam?).

There is no one in this world that is not equal to the other and the only discriminating thing is factor called taqwa. On which human beings are classified in the eyes of Allah.


Thursday, May 27, 2010

Math TV

Lots of videos from basic math to calculus.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

I Was Wondering

Do you incorporate any type of organized physical fitness into your homeschool days? Read More...

Friday, May 21, 2010

Advice For Quran Recitation

With the advancement in technology many things have become easy for us; Online Quran Recitation is among the major advancements where Muslims can benefit from. Remember, Quran is the most holy and remarkable religious book you will ever find.

It is the pure word of Allah which cannot be matched or a comparison of the sort can be made, even after combining the minds of entire mankind. People who wish to consult and benefit from Quran has an option to read and understand for the adequate information which our Lord has made compulsory, the ultimate source of guidance which will help us to understand our religion better and more effectively follow the right path of forgiveness which concludes us to prosper in the life herein and hereafter.

To understand things in a more practical and clear form you are required to understand the Arabic language which our Lord revealed the Quran in, no doubt there are translations available in almost all languages for which you can read the and understand but the beauty, elegance, style, greatness and class of the words selected which do not have any other meaning but what our Lord want us to understand, thus making it important to understand the language to benefit from Quran at the most.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Knowing France, They Gave the Hostile Lawyer a Key to the City Read More...


To colds, that is! The weather was pretty hot and then, in typical Canadian fashion, it cooled off and my son got a cold. So, of course, it passed through our home and one by one, except my husband as usual, all have had our share of coughing and sneezing.

We're nearing the end of our sicknesses, InshaALLAH, so I should be posting regularly. Read More...

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Deoband’s Fatwas on Women

Visibly embarrassed by the angry reaction of the media, women’s groups and noted Muslim critics to its fatwa delivered more than a month ago on working Muslim women, the Dar ul-Uloom, Deoband, India’s largest seminary, has hastened to announce that the fatwa in question does not forbid Muslim women working outside their homes, as some have alleged. Rather, Maulvi Adnan Munshi, spokesperson of the Deoband madrasa, has claimed, it only insists that working women be ‘properly covered’.

Maulvi Adnan is not entirely wrong, for the fatwa, issued on 4th April 2010, reads (the clumsy English may please be excused):

‘It is unlawful for Muslim women to do job in government or private institutions where men and women work together and women have to talk with men frankly and without veil.’

In other words, what the fatwa suggests is that Muslim women can work only in such places where they can fully veil themselves and where they cannot ‘frankly’ (whatever that might mean) talk with men. These would, presumably, be women’s-only jobs, which involve entirely women staff and clients and which hermetically seal off women from any contact with males that require ‘frank’ conversation with the latter.

Obviously, though without explicitly stating this, this fatwa effectively debars Muslim women from all jobs in the public sector in India today—where they cannot veil fully and where, in order to fulfil their duties, they would need to ‘frankly’ converse with males, including their male colleagues. It effectively disallows them from working as elected representatives at various levels, from the panchayat to the Lok Sabha. In the context of moves to reserve a third of all electoral bodies in India for women, the disastrous implications of this for the already marginalised and beleaguered Muslim minority can scarcely be imagined. The fatwa also effectively bans Muslim women from a whole range of jobs in the private sector as well. After all, how many jobs in the private sector are there (even in the small Muslim-controlled sector of the Indian economy) which require fully-veiled women who cannot speak ‘frankly’ with males? In practical terms, the fatwa thus reduces the opportunity for jobs for Muslim women to just few girls’ schools and maktabs, tailoring centres and the like, where they can work fully covered-up and where they need not interact with male colleagues or clients. Hence, although Maulvi Adnan is technically right that the fatwa does not explicitly ban women from working outside their homes, in effect it certainly does rule out most jobs, and certainly the most well-paying, to Muslim women.

The disastrous implications of the fatwa for Muslim women from desperately poor families can hardly be imagined. The maulvi sahebs might not require their women to work outside and might easily afford to have them stay cloistered within their homes, for they are usually fairly well-off or else survive on zakat, chanda, sadqa and other forms of donations of the pious. But what about the millions of Muslim families whose economic conditions are so pathetic that their womenfolk are compelled, by sheer economic necessity, to toil outside their homes—as agricultural workers, labourers, petty retailers and so on? Covering-up completely and remaining confined within their homes is no option for them at all. The fatwa-hurling maulvis, it would seem, simply do not know about them and the harsh realities of their economic conditions (such things are, of course, not taught in the madrasas) , or, if they do, they probably could not care less. The fatwa can have brutal implications for the self-esteem of such women (that is, supposing they know about the fatwa and take it seriously), at least some of whom are bound to be constantly haunted by the fear that the work outside the home that they are compelled, by the demands of sheer survival, to engage in might actually be haram or completely forbidden in Islam.

That restricting to the maximum possible extent Muslim women’s access to jobs outside the home is indeed what the Deobandi clerics intend, Maulvi Adnan’s pious posturing to the contrary notwithstanding, comes out clearly if the above-mentioned fatwa is seen in conjunction with a host of other fatwas related to women issued over the years by the Deoband madrasa. Taken together, they effectively reduce women’s access to the public sphere, including jobs, to an absolute minimum. One such fatwa, issued on 25th June 2008, completely belies the claim of Maulvi Adnan. It explicitly states (using rather clumsy English again, which may be pardoned):

‘It is not a good thing for women to do jobs in offices. They will have to face strange men (non-mahram), though in veil. She will have to talk and deal with each other which are the things of fitna (evils). A father is committed to provide maintenance to his daughter and a husband is asked to provide maintenance to his wife. So, there is no need for women to do jobs which always pose harms and mischief.’

This and other fatwas, all hosted on the Deoband madrasa’s fatwa website, insist that Muslim women must fully cover themselves, including even their faces, in front of all non-mahram males (males other than certain close relatives whom they cannot marry); that it is ‘better’ to cover even their eyes, if they can; that they cannot travel alone, other than in the vicinity of their homes, without a mahram accompanying them; that they cannot drive in a vehicle alone driven by a non-mahram male; that they cannot drive cars; that they must observe purdah even with fellow women, Muslim and non-Muslim; that they cannot ‘speak loudly, read out something in melody and talk softly’; that their voices should be considered satr or something that must be concealed from non-mahram males; and that they and their spouses are forbidden from practising family planning on the alleged grounds that it is ‘haram and unlawful in Islam.’ Taken together, these fatwas clearly deny almost every avenue for employment outside the domestic sphere to Muslim women.


Deoband’s recent fatwa, as well as others that I have referred to above, can be critiqued on both Islamic as well as secular grounds. For instance, a fatwa issued by the Deoband madrasa that claims that ‘The Quran and Hadith have commanded women to cover their faces due to fear of mischief’ is quite untenable. The fact of the matter is that nowhere does the Quran command Muslim women to veil their faces. In fact, during the Haj pilgrimage, women are not meant to cover their faces, and they pray together in Mecca with men. In his published collection of fatwas, the world-renowned and widely-respected Egyptian Islamic scholar, Allama Yusuf al-Qaradawi, has adduced numerous instances of women who appeared before the Prophet without covering their faces. Nor does Islam prohibit women from working outside their homes, provided, of course, they can maintain their modesty. At the time of the Prophet, numerous Muslim women did so. Some even participated in battles. Others tended to the wounded, as nurses. The third Sunni Caliph, Umar, appointed a woman, Shifa bint Abdullah, as overseer of the market of Medina. Obviously, her job entailed not just coming out of her home but also interacting in a male-dominated space. As for Deoband’s fatwa declaring a Muslim woman’s voice as satr, or something to be concealed, the less said the better. The Quran discusses in considerable detail the conversation between Moses and a daughter of Shoeb, and that between the Queen of Sheba and the prophet Solomon. How would these women have talked to these unrelated men if their voices were ‘veiled’, as the Deobandi Muftis insist they should be? Much of the corpus of Sunni hadith, reports attributed to, or purportedly about, the Prophet Muhammad, were transmitted by a woman—his youngest wife Ayesha—who is said to have narrated them to a whole host of almost wholly male listeners.

An accepted principle of Islamic jurisprudence (usul al-fiqh) is that rulings might need to change with change in time (zaman) and space (makan). In other words, fatwas must be related, and responsive, to the social and temporal context which they intend to address. Based on this principle, numerous Islamic scholars outside India have unambiguously allowed for women to work outside their homes and to leave their faces uncovered, while also stressing that they must preserve their modesty. It is because the Deobandis, being hardened followers of the Hanafi school of Sunni jurisprudence, insist on blind imitation (taqlid) of past juridical precedent that they seem totally unwilling to understand the need for contextually-relevant fatwas on women’s issues. The training that they receive in their traditional madrasas leaves them simply unaware of the complexities and demands of the outside world, including the changing conditions and concerns of women. As numerous Muslim scholars have pointed out, a basic requirement for one to be considered a Mufti—an Islamic scholar qualified to issue fatwas—is deep knowledge of the social context that his fatwas are meant to apply to. Sadly, this quality seems missing in the authors of Deoband’s many patently patriarchal fatwas.

The fatwas I have referred to above not only greatly restrict Indian Muslim women’s access to employment but also effectively debar them from quality higher education. Almost all good institutions of higher learning in India are co-educational, and they would most certainly balk at admitting fully veiled Muslim women who cannot freely interact on an intellectual level with their male teachers—which is what the fatwas issued by Deoband insist they should be. Higher education and access to jobs thus largely ruled out for them, the ulema of Deoband would, it seems from their fatwas, ideally like Muslim women to remain cloistered within the four walls of their homes. Denied the space to harness and develop their skills and minds and to contribute to the overall development of their community, their potentials totally wasted, these brutally incapacitated women can hardly expect to become mothers of bright, talented Muslim children who can help bring their community out from the terrible morass it finds itself in today. Read More...

Monday, May 17, 2010

Islam In Respect Of Imitation And Modernity

There are many disbeliefs and uncertainty among us (Muslims) that have no true sense or meaning which can be changed in any sense. If we are involved in Quran Recitation on a regular basis we can learn from the great source to clear any ambiguities from our minds.

People who are forced or made to think that Muslims do not get along with western economical and social aspects, these disbeliefs are often added with the idea that Islam does not have or does not have an idea of progression which requires to be modified according to the western society. These are incorrect as we know the truth remains to be unquestioned while these superficial conclusions are made by those who ignore the fact of being Muslims and the lack of knowledge in them restrain them from understanding the importance and purpose if Islam.

Forgetting the purpose and basic idea behind Islam which we are expected to follow is lost and sense of betrayal is perceived by the followers for adopting western society just for the sake of being acceptable whereas the truth is that people who seek knowledge and search the difference between right and wrong will make a difference and Allah the almighty will help then to be guided in the right way.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Very Hungry Caterpillar PS3 Eye Stop Motion Animation

My kids love this because he's a little ugly, lol. Read More...

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A Flurry of Fatwas from Misogynist Mullahs

For over a decade now, I have been writing on the hotly-debated subject of madrasas or Islamic seminaries that train Islamic religious specialists. What ignited my interest in the subject was what I considered to be the wholly unfair charges against the madrasas of being ‘factories of terror’.

Over the years, I have read much material by and about the madrasas, and have visited several dozens of them across India and even abroad. Although charges about Indian madrasas being involved in training terrorists are unfounded and unfair, the allegation that, generally speaking, they teach, preach, and foment obscurantist and ultra-reactionary beliefs on a wide range of issues in the garb of Islam certainly cannot be dismissed easily. Nor can the assertion that, under certain circumstances, such beliefs can indeed lead to extremism and even violence, as the case of Pakistan so tragically illustrates, be ignored. Likewise, the argument that such beliefs, projected by the mullahs as normative and binding, constitute a major hurdle to Muslim progress and that they play a vital role in keeping Muslims shackled under the sway of a class of self-serving, patriarchal narrow-minded clerics, largely ignorant of the demands of the contemporary world, has to be recognized as legitimate.

Based on my reading of madrasa-related literature and personal observations, I must unhesitatingly state that certain views widely-shared among the ulema regarding such matters as women’s rights and relations with non-Muslims are simply unacceptable in any civilized society, and constitute a major challenge to Muslim advancement and to efforts to promote decent relations between Muslims and people of other faiths. Reformist Muslims might argue that these views represent a complete distortion of ‘true’ Islam, that they are based largely on fake stories wrongly attributed to the Prophet or patriarchal inventions of the fuqaha, specialists of fiqh or Islamic jurisprudence, but the ulema have a ready answer to shut them up: In accordance with a hadith which they attribute to the Prophet, it is they, so they insist, who are the ‘heirs of the prophets’ (waris-e anbiya), and, hence, entitled to speak on and about Islam. The madrasas that they run are, as they put it (note the militant metaphor) ‘the fortresses of the faith’ (deen ke qile). Hence, they pompously insist, they have the sole right to arbitrate on Islamic affairs. This they do through their pronouncements and a steady stream of fatwas, which, although technically only opinions, are taken as gospel Islamic truth by the hordes of their unthinking followers.


Probably the largest traditional madrasa not just in India but, indeed, in the entire world, the Dar ul-Uloom at Deoband styles itself as the Umm ul-Madaris or ‘The Mother of the Madrasas’, having birthed several thousand madrasas associated with the Deobandi school of thought across India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, and in various countries home to sizeable South Asian Muslim diasporic communities. The Deobandis are the most organized of all ulema groups, running a vast number of maktabs, madrasas, and publishing houses. They also control tens of thousands of mosques and other community institutions. In Pakistan and Bangladesh they are organized as political parties, while in Afghanistan they are represented by the Taliban. They present themselves (in the same manner as all the other, rival Islamic sectarian communities) as the sole upholders of what they regard as ‘true Islam’, considering other Muslim sects as deviant or, quite simply, outside the Islamic pale. Political parties vie with each other to appease the mullahs of Deoband, recognizing the immense political clout that they command among the largely illiterate Muslim electorate. In India, the Congress Party has for years enjoyed a cozy relationship with the Deobandis, and some Deobandi mullahs have even become Members of Parliament on Congress tickets. The All-India Muslim Personal Board, which styles itself as the authoritative body of all the 200 million or more Muslims of India, is almost completely under Deobandi hegemony.


Surfing the Internet last night, I chanced upon the website of the Dar ul-Ifta, the ‘House of Fatwas’ of the Deoband madrasa ( This fatwa-dispensing site hosts almost 4000 fatwas in English issued by the official Muftis of Deoband. The fatwas cover a wide range of topics. A special section of the website is devoted to fatwas about ‘Women’s Issues’. That there is no similar section for ‘Men’s Issues’ is hardly surprising. After all, men are not seen to need to be minutely monitored and carefully controlled.

A random search of the almost 90 fatwas listed in this section reveals some blood-curdling ‘gems’ of Deobandi ‘wisdom’ (the nauseatingly pathetic English of both the questioners and the Deoband Muftis may please be excused):

Question 1: Asalamu-Alikum: Can Muslim women in India do Govt. or Pvt. Jobs? Shall their salary be Halal or Haram or Prohibited?

Answer: It is unlawful for Muslim women to do job in government or private institutions where men and women work together and women have to talk with men frankly and without veil.

Question 2: Mufti Saab, please guide me on the issue that why woman have to cover the face? Kindly provide with proofs. May Allah reward you in abundon.

Answer: If a young lady comes in front of ghair mahram with open face there is fear of fitnah, hence it is necessary for her to cover her face.

Question 3: Can a man along with his mahram travel with a ghair mehram? If yes, upto what distance? Can a women travel with a male servant (driver) who is a ghair mehram in the city for educational reasons etc..? If yes, upto what distance?

Answer: She can travel within 78 kilometres observing hijab. She is not allowed to travel alone with non-mahram driver, even if it is within 78 km, then also it is unlawful; since she will be in privacy with a non-mahram.

Question 4: (a) Is it permissible for a woman to leave her house while unaccompanied by a mahram? (b) Is it permissible for a woman to drive a car?

Answer: (a) She can go in nearby places without a mahram observing hijab provided there is no fear of fitnah (evil/mischief). But for a journey, she should be accompanied by any mahram.

(b) It is not allowed.

Question 5: Is covering the face compulsory for women while wearing burqa?. In Malaysia it is a hot issue. Please give a detailed reply.

Answer: If she fears fitnah she should cover her face. In this age, there is no doubt that it causes fitnah, therefore it is regarded necessary.

Question 6: Is it compulsory to observe purdah when with another Muslim woman? Is it compulsory to observe purdah when with a non-Muslim woman?

Answer: It is necessary to observe purdah with the women whether Muslims and non-Muslims.

Question 7: Assalamualaykum. Please can you tell me is it fardh (compulsory) to cover the face of females when they go out? Or, if relatives come home, do they have to cover the face as well? I am confused on that. Wassalam.

Answer: When outside, it is absolutely obligatory; since the face is centre of attraction, the verses of the Holy Quran (Surah Ahzab 33:59, Surah Noor 24:31) indicate to the same. What do you mean by relatives? The non-Mahram relatives have the same ruling as mentioned in No 1.

Question 8: Assalamualeikum, I am a working woman and my job is compulsory for my family. I used to wear salwar-kameez with full sleeves, scarf fully covered my hair and neck,dupatta till stmouch. according shariah can i go out like this?

Answer: It is allowable for you to do job observing full hijab (with covering face) and provided you do not talk and mingle with non-mahram men unnecessarily.

Question 9: Assalamu alaykum w.w mufti shab My quistion is here in south africa they is radio station called radio islam and it is very beneficial for evry one.but my qustion is on that radio station evry hour women read out the news is that permissible?it is permissible for ger mahram man to listen to here voise ?because thru out the world 1000 of litsener and many of them ger mahram?so plz replay me with answerd as soon as possible is it permisseble for women to broadcast on radio whey she is not invoved with man or camera?please please replay me soon i'm waiting for your replay. Salam.

Answer: Women have bee prohibited to speak loudly, read out something in melody and talk softly. The scholars of Fiqh say that voice of a woman is also satr [something that needs to be ‘covered-up’ or ‘veiled’—YS]. That is why women have been stopped to call Azan and recite talbia loudly in Hajj. Yes, in cases of necessity, they can talk as they can have some words with a doctor etc. However, without any need, it is not right for women to broadcast news at radio stations as well it is not permissible for non-Mahram men to hear their voice without a need.

Question 10: I would like to know the views of the different school of thoughts regarding ladies covering their face in front of non-mahrams. If a school of thought different from the one i am following does not think it is necessery is that reason enough for me to say that its not really necessery for me either?

Answer: The Quran and Hadith have commanded women to cover their faces due to fear of mischief. This is what Hanafis believe. If you are a Hanafi then it is unlawful for you to follow other Fiqhi schools.

Question 11: As salamu alaikum, I would like to know if it is permissible for a muslimah to work as a translator for the tribunal. JazakAllah,

Answer: It is not a good thing for women to do jobs in offices. They will have to face strange men (non-mahram) though in veil. She will have to talk and deal with each other which are the things of fitna (evils). A father is committed to provide maintenance to his daughter and a husband is asked to provide maintenance to his wife. So, there is no need for women to do jobs which always pose harms and mischief.

Question 12: As-salmualykum I wanted to find out does a muslim women have to cover(cover arms etc) infront of a non muslim women?how much is she alowed to show? please answer my question in the light of qur'an & sunnah, and is there any strong prrof and evidence? jazzakallah may Allah reward you!

Answer: A woman should cover her entire body except her face, palms and feet, the matter of treatment is exceptional.

Question 13: How far is it permissible for a woman to go without a mehram? Can she go?

Answer: The Prophet (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم) said: "Any it is now allowed for a woman who has belief in Allah and His messenger that she travels to a destination of more than 78 kms alone. Yes, she can travel this distance or more with a mehram (immediate relatives like father, son, husband, nephew). Some traditions refer to a distance of only three miles while some absolutely prohibit from traveling. All these traditions differ as per the worsening conditions of different ages and times. As much the fitna (mischief, evil) will prevail as much the cautiousness will be required.

Question 14: I am married for 4 years and we are having a family planning as my wife is not doing well , she has got an injury in the head and the injury is 10 years old, she gets severe pain very frequently. Please advice.

Family planning is haram and unlawful in Islam. You should apprise your wife of the commandment of Shariah and get her head injury treated. If she faces unbearable pain due to conception or she fears her life or the life of the baby in case of pregnancy then in such conditions she can adopt any contraceptive measure temporarily.


Faced with mounting protests from women (including Muslim women, too) against the torrent of anti-women fatwas they have been churning out over the years, the mullahs of Deoband have the temerity to insist in their defence that [their peculiar version of] Islam not just guarantees women’s rights but, more than that, stands for the best and most perfect form of gender justice. If imprisoning women in their homes, grudgingly permitting them to step out only under very severe conditions, compelling them to spend their entire lives simply manufacturing children, forcing them to veil from head and face to toe, ‘veiling’ even their voices and thereby totally silencing them, insisting that they observe purdah even in front of other women—in short, reducing them to invisiblised, servile, repressed and hyper-sexualised beings—is Deobandi-style ‘Islamic justice’, is it any wonder if hardly any educated Muslim women take the Deobandi mullahs seriously? That non-Muslims, in general, are forced to think that Islam stands for raw, untamed patriarchy and male chauvinism? That increasing numbers of Muslims now consider the mullahs are a heavy burden on Muslim society and the major cause for Muslim backwardness the world over? That a whole new class of Muslim women (and some men) believe that they need to study and interpret Islam from a distinctive feminist perspective, cleansing it from the deep-rooted patriarchal, indeed misogynist, tradition of mullah scholarship?


Being now a hardened skeptic in all matters of religion (for which I must thank the mullahs, in particular) I am not in a position to opine on whose version of Islam as it relates to women—that of the mullahs or that of the progressive Islamic feminists—represents the sole ‘true’ or ‘authentic’ version or vision of the faith. As far as I am concerned, that question simply cannot be answered at all. For me it is meaningless, although, still, academically interesting. The same holds true with regard to the larger question of the Deobandi mullahs’ claims (as reflected in the numerous fatwas in the section on the Dar ul-Ifta’s website titled ‘Deviant Groups and Sects’ that brand other Muslim sectarian groups, both Sunni as well as Shia, as deviants or even as out of the Islamic fold) that they alone represent ‘true’ Islam. The Deobandis and their Muslim sectarian rivals will, one expects, continue to hurl fatwas of infidelity against each other and bandy about their respective claims of being the sole true Muslims till the Day of Judgment comes upon us. Given the nature of their absolutist claims, no consensus as to what precisely ‘true’ Islam is, and what exactly this ‘true’ Islam has to say about Islam, is ever possible.

Be that as it may, I would still argue that it is vital for Muslims concerned about their faith and its image and also about their co-religionists and their ability to function in the modern world to take the mullahs by their horns and immerse themselves in the discursive battle to promote more meaningful, humane and just understandings of Islam. There is simply no other way. Read More...

Science/Nature Study/Art

I recently purchased The Handbook of Nature Study to go along with lessons from the blog. Are any of you familiar with this massive text? It has over 700 pages! There's a lot of info inside and without the blog, I don't think I would want to organize it on my own.

I've been peeking at her blog for quite a while and sometimes I just do the activities without reading through all of the lessons, (she also has another blog with art lessons by the way).

Here, we are pressing flowers between pieces of cardboard,(not with the nature study book, lol). We pressed a leaf from the maple tree in our back yard too.

We've also bloomed some flowers from the forsythia in the front yard by bringing in some cuttings and putting them in water a few weeks before spring arrived. The kids got a kick out of that and so did I, lol.

You can also see all the other goodies that they brought inside, like the pine cones and pine needles.

This gets us outside to explore ALLAH's Creation and to spend quality time together. They go outside all the time to play but I feel like they really get a chance to appreciate their surroundings and learn about the place in which they live. It also gives us all a bit of exercise, (ahem, especially mommy). Read More...

New Books

We will be using Singapore Math 3A and 3B soon and we have the rest of our books already. As a filler,we are using Spectrum Math 5,(it was about $2 through Amazon), and she's able to do the work without any difficulty so far.

It's not really a big jump - Singapore Math seems to be ahead of other math programs anyway.

My daughter started homeschooling at three, so she's on grade 3/4 in math. She's multiplying and doing fractions and division, AlhamduLILLAH. I want to be consistent so I am sticking with the Singapore Math and we both like it very much.

I am also using Spectrum Language Arts Grade 4, Spectrum Reading Grade 4, and Spectrum Writing Grade 4.

She is doing well so far and she's getting plenty of practice with writing. What I've seen so far is that she can read and write, but needs to develop her imagination. I think that she has gotten so used to rules, (like phonics and math rules and spelling rules, etc) that she hasn't spent enough time being creative. I guess we should work on that, lol.

She's also reading book number 44 out of her 50 required chapter books. She has until August but I'm hoping that she does it sooner than later. Read More...

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Very Happy Children

The penpals of my children continue to brighten their faces and warm their hearts. JazakILLAH Khairin to all that participate.

By the way, if there is anyone else out there with a boy around 4 or 5, we would be glad to write to him, InshaALLAH. My son is just now learning to read and write but he loves getting mail! Read More...

Monday, May 10, 2010

Lack Of Knowledge And Rights Of Women

For many of us the lack of knowledge and fact of reality we are assumed to be left over in situations on which we do not know much about our religion and left over to believe on something’s that are told by someone who might or might not even have more information, but due to inappropriate knowledge we are somewhat forced to believe the convincing party.

This has came to my attention as I recently came across an article which mentioned women rights in Islam and tried to de-motivate the readers by pointing out the divorce issues between husband and wives. As read it through the content clearly said that in Islam a husband can just divorce his wife without any reason by just repeating the words “I divorce you”. Surprisingly I am forced to understand how modern age media and other Non-Muslims can make out of Islam and what is the picture that is being presented while the truth is opposing to many situations which you are not sure it is the utmost duty of one to consult Quran as an ultimate source of supreme guidance and if unable to find look thoroughly other sources.

While the truth remains to be worth knowing is that divorce is a mutual agreement to end their relationship of wife and husband. While after the delivery of those three particular words they are bound for approximately three months to decide and reconsider upon their decision before they actually can call out to be separate.


My Friend, The Maulana

It was around a decade ago that I first met Maulana Waris Mazhari or Waris-ji as I now call him) when I was researching for a book on madrasa education in India. Winding my way through the warren of clogged, narrow lanes in the congested Muslim ghetto of Batla House in New Delhi, I chanced upon a board planted outside a modest one-storeyed building. ‘Dar ul-Ulum Deoband old Boys’ Association’ it announced in bold Urdu and English letters. Hesitatingly, I knocked on the door.

‘Salam’, said the young man who opened the door and welcomed me in. He was not the grave-looking, white bearded maulvi I had expected. He was young—then hardly thirty—of middle-height and of slight built. He was dressed in a neat white kurta-pajama, and a neatly-clipped beard. ‘What can I do for you?’, he asked politely, as he ushered me to a sofa in a room cluttered with wooden cupboards stacked with Urdu and Arabic tomes.

I explained to him my project. I was visiting madrasas across India, I said, to personally meet with traditional Islamic scholars or ulema to see what they had to say on a whole host of issues to do with current debates about madrasa education that the mass media, political parties, and entire governments and international bodies seemed to be so worked up about. In contrast to some other ulema whom I had met in the course of my research, who, probably because of my Hindu or Sikh sounding name, assumed my intentions to be completely malafide, Waris-ji patiently heard me out, displaying no sign of doubt or suspicion. Moreover, and much to my pleasant surprise, he seemed to agree with me that while allegations about Indian madrasas being involved in terrorism were wholly bogus, there was much about the present system of madrasa education in India that was urgently in urgent need of change. Not stopping at that, he even went to the extent of insisting that in his own community of Deobandi ulema there was much that needed to be reformed. Unlike most of the ulema I had till then met, he insisted that the ulema urgently needed to introspect and engage in serious self-critique, and not take all criticism against them, whether by fellow Muslims or others, as motivated by ulterior motives of what they readily branded as ‘enemies of Islam’.

Waris-ji’s deep knowledge of his own faith and the tradition of madrasa-based Islamic learning, his large-heartedness (he provided me dozens of books and articles, which proved to be indispensable for the book I was writing), his open-mindedness about his own tradition and simply his being a wonderful human being soon won him a special place in my heart. It is truly an honour and a privilege for me to be his friend.

Over the years I have sought Waris-ji’s help for various articles and books on Muslim and Islamic issues that I have worked on. We have also collaborated on some specific projects, including a study of opinions about madrasa education of madrasa graduates now studying in universities (which we did for the short-lived Centre for Indian Muslim Studies at the Jamia Hamdard where I had worked for a while); an Urdu book that we jointly authored rebutting allegations about Indian madrasas as ‘dens of terrorism’; and an Urdu translation of a book of mine on Indian ulema and madrasa reforms. Waris writes in Urdu, and in order that his views on various issues of contemporary relevance relating to Islam and Muslims gain a wider audience, I have, over the years, translated several of his writings into English and hosted them on a blog that I have created for this purpose:

Through Waris-ji I have come to know of several other younger-generation Indian ulema, including graduates of some madrasas that are seen as extremely conservative, who are aware of the desperate need for reforms within the wider Muslim community and within the ulema class and their madrasas. They are cognizant of the urgent imperative to develop contextually-relevant understandings of Islam to deal with a host of issues of great importance today, such as women’s rights, relations with people of other faiths (or of no faith at all), politics, democracy, the state, international relations, war, peace and jihad, and so on. Unfortunately, their voices are not heard outside a very limited circle. Existing Islamic organizations might consider, and might even readily brand, their views as nothing short of heretical. Not surprisingly, they have no space in such organizations, or, if they do, they cannot voice their opinions on controversial subjects in their forums. Often, they are simply too afraid to speak out, fearful of losing their jobs, their reputations in the ulema community or even worse. Since it caters to public taste and prejudice, it is exceedingly rare, if not impossible, for their voices to find any place in the existing Muslim media. There are no Muslim institutions anywhere in the country to financially support such individuals to engage in research and outreach work. Many of them barely manage to eke out an existence, and so engrossed are they in seeking to do so that they cannot give the task of reforms that they regard as so vital today the attention that it sorely deserves.


Waris-ji is a self-made man. Born in Rampur, a remote village in Bihar, he lost both his parents and eldesr brother when he was barely six months old, in a fire that engulfed their home. Brought up by his sisters, he was the only one among his siblings to study in a madrasa and the only hafiz, someone who was memorized the entire Quran. He graduated from the Dar ul-Uloom at Deoband, possibly the largest traditional madrasa in the world, in 1994, after which he enrolled for a Master’s degree programme in Arabic at New Delhi’s Jamia Millia Islamia, where he is presently engaged in doctoral work in the Department of Islamic Studies on the issue of madrasa reforms in contemporary India. Since 2000, he has been the editor of the Urdu journal ‘Tarjuman Dar ul-Uloom’, the official organ of the Deoband madrasa’s Graduates’ Association.

People like Waris-ji would be considered a precious asset elsewhere, but, it would seem, existing Muslim organizations or institutions have little or no need for such people. Bereft of any institutional backing, he earns a modest income doing sundry translation work from English and Arabic into Urdu, from which he earns barely enough to provide for his family—his wife and two children. But, despite this, he has been able to produce an impressive body of knowledge over the last decade that is of immediate relevance to many of the issues about Islam and Muslims that are so heatedly debated and discussed all over the world today.

Although Waris-ji is a graduate of the Deoband madrasa, and edits the official journal of the Deoband Graduates’ Association, I would hesitate to call him a ‘Deobandi’, an appellation that perhaps he himself is not comfortable with, preferring to call himself a ‘Muslim’ pure and simple. In fact, on a great many issues he appears to depart considerably from the traditional Deobandi position. Admittedly, the Deobandi tradition is not a homogenous entity. For instance, in the years leading up to the Partition of India in 1947, a section of the Deobandi ulema, led by Shabbir Ahmad Usmani, Ashraf Ali Thanvi and Mufti Mohammad Shafi, lent their full-hearted support to the Muslim League’s demand for a separate Muslim state of Pakistan, based on the untenable thesis of the Muslims and Hindus of India constituting two wholly different, indeed antagonistic, ‘nations’. On the other hand, and based on their reading of the same set of Islamic texts, another group of Deobandi ulema, led by the then rector of the Deoband madrasa, Husain Ahmad Madani, passionately opposed the Pakistan scheme and called for a united India, insisting that the so-called ‘two nation; theory had no merit in Islam itself. According to their understanding of Islam (and in contrast to that of Usmani, Thanvi and Shafi), all Indians, including Hindus, Muslims and others, were a single nation. On the basis of this, they argued the case for a ‘united nationalism’ (muttahida qaumiyat) that would form the basis of an independent India, where all religious communities would have equal rights and duties. This faction of the Deobandi ulema, although in many ways socially conservative (especially as far as women were concerned) was remarkably politically progressive for its times.

Waris-ji’s deep concern for inter-faith dialogue, unity and solidarity, in particular between Hindus and Muslims in India, can be said to reflect the tradition established by Husain Ahmad Madni and his Deobandi followers. But, on a number of points he differs from them considerably. This is reflected particularly in his insistence on the need to revisit and reformulate, and even, if need be, reject prescriptions of the corpus of fiqh, the cumulative legal tradition developed by the ulema over the centuries, on a number of matters, including on peace, war and jihad, women’s rights and status, relations with non-Muslims and so on. In this regard, he is closer to various modernist Muslim scholars, who are generally regarded with scant regard, to put it mildly, by the traditionalist ulema. Some of his views on madrasa reforms and the ulema class, too, are in distinct contrast to those of many, if not most, ulema.

The chief merit of Waris-ji’s copious writings is that they offer sound Islamic arguments to pursue a socially progressive agenda on a whole range of fronts. At the same time, they offer valuable resources to develop and engage in an internal Islamic critique of the ideology and politics of extremism and violence, on the one hand, and Islamic traditionalism or conservatism, on the other, both of which are equally debilitating as far as the Muslim community at large is concerned. If voices like Waris-ji’s could get wider a wider hearing and acceptance, and even begin echoing in the portals of the madrasas, the fortresses of the ulema (a phrase that many ulema use to describe their institutions), it would be nothing short of revolutionary in enabling Muslims to deal in a more meaningful and productive way with some of the most crucial issues that they (and others, too) are confronted with today.

One need not agree with everything that Waris-ji writes. I, for instance, do not. But that much, indeed most, of what he writes is interesting, refreshing, valuable and of extreme relevance in today’s world, where Islam and Muslims are such a hotly-debated issue, cannot be denied. Read More...

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Interview: Akhtarul Wasey on Indian Muslim Leadership

Profesor Akhtarul Wasey is the head of the Department of Islamic Studies and the Director of the Zakir Husain Institute of Islamic Studies at the Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi. Editor of three Islamic journals, and member of numerous Muslim committees and organisastions, he is the author of numerous books on issues related to Islam and Muslims. In this interview with Yoginder Sikand, he discusses the vexed issue of Muslim community leadership in contemporary India.

Q: In pre-Partition late nineteenth and twentieth century India, the Muslim middle-class played a key role in providing leadership to the Indian Muslims in various spheres. This is in contrast to the situation, today. How do you account for this?

A; The Revolt of 1857 was a disaster as far as the Indian Muslims were concerned, and so was the Partition in 1947. But it also saw the emergence and development of the modern Muslim middle class, which proved to be a powerful motor for social change. This was best represented by Sir Syed Ahmad Khan and the movement that he spawned. Not all of those who were influenced by, or agreed with, him on the need for modern education agreed with his pro-British politics. Indeed, some of them were forceful champions of both modern education as well as Indian independence. Raja Mahendra Pratap, head of the first Indian government in exile, was from the Aligarh school, as were other confirmed anti-imperialists such as Hasrat Mohani, Syed Mahmud, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, and the Ali brothers. It is true that many Aligarhians were vociferous supporters of the Muslim League and its Pakistan demand, but there were many others who were with the Congress and even with the Communist Party as well.

It was not just in politics that this new Muslim middle class, largely a product of Syed Ahmad Khan’s Aligarh school, played a key role. It also made a powerful impact in the fields of literature, culture, and economic development.

But, with the Partition things changed drastically. It led to an exodus of a large section of the Indian Muslim middle-class that had been a crucial motor for social change to Pakistan. Their vested economic interests had made them firm backers of the Pakistan scheme, because they felt that there they would face no competition from the Hindus.

Partition was nothing short of a tragedy of momentous proportions for the Muslims, not just of India but of Pakistan as well. The Muslims who were left behind in India faced three choices. Firstly, they could forfeit all their rights since, as right-wing Hindutva forces argued, with the creation of Pakistan they had ‘got their due’. Secondly, they could have the rights of ‘tenants’ as concessions, which is to say they could live in India but not be co-owners of it and would have no role in its development, because it ‘belonged’ to others. Thirdly, they could be equal citizens, with the same rights and duties as other Indians. This third view was, and still is, we must recognize, shared by a large number of Hindus. Indeed, the Indian Constitution gave numerous guarantees to all its minorities, including Muslims. This, we must never forget, was possible only in India. Despite all the provocations of the Hindutva forces and the opposition of some Hindus, the Indian leadership did not agree to declaring India a Hindu state, although it could easily have done that as a reaction to the creation of a so-called ‘Islamic’ Pakistan.

Q: But my question was about the role of the Muslim middle-class in providing leadership to the community at large.

A: I am coming to that point. In post-47 India, Muslims were faced with a unique predicament, one that they had never faced before. They were not a ruling community, but nor were the a ruled community. Rather, they were, in theory, co-rulers, along with other communities. This new status, which they had never enjoyed before, demanded a new sort of community leadership.

Our leaders have a host of issues to tackle, some of which they have failed to address at all. One of these is the lamentable level of Muslim representation in various government services. There is an urgent need for the government to turn its attention to this. It must also do away with the discriminatory provisions that deny Muslim (and Christian) Dalits Scheduled Caste status. Today, Muslim youth want to have their share in the country’s development. They want to participate in the task of building the country. When you speak to government officials, they will tell you that Muslims have all the freedom to do so, but the ground realities are quite different. The Indian Muslims are like the twelfth player in a cricket team, who is kept simply as a ‘reserve’. He is part of the team but is not brought out onto the field along with the other eleven players. He simply sits in the dressing room in the stadium. The Indian Muslim is like that. He is forced to sit in a corner. Ignored, indeed shunned, he spends his time praying that at least one of the eleven players gets hurt so that he can then be called into the field where he can display his talent and make his team win.

But, the point is, we Indian Muslims are no longer willing to be non-playing or ‘reserve’ players in the process of building our country. We demand to be included in the team. And, whenever and wherever we have been included, we have proven our mettle beyond any shade of doubt.

Q: To come back to my question, how do you think that the marginalization of the modern Muslim middle-class in the wake of the Partition, especially in north India, where the bulk of the Indian Muslims live, impacted on the nature of the Indian Muslim community leadership?

A: The vacuum created by the exodus of a sizeable section of the north Indian Muslim feudal and middle class was filled by the ulema of the traditional madrasas. Many of these ulema, particularly a large number of Deobandis, had forcefully opposed the Partition. They condemned the Pakistan scheme and the so-called ‘two-nation theory’ it was based on as un-Islamic. They were passionate advocates for a united India. Following the Partition, they sought to lead the community. They were also the only forces who were able to do so, as they had a strong base among the Muslim masses. The first task they were faced with was to set aside the fears of the Muslims who remained behind in India, to persuade them not to migrate to Pakistan, to rehabilitate tens of thousands who had been displaced in the violence in the wake of the Partition, and to help them build bridges with the rest of the Indian society. This task they did with considerable success, despite the grave odds they faced. One has only to go through the records of the Jamiat ul-Ulema-i Hind in the late 40s and early 50s to see how valiantly these ulema struggled to do all this.

Another issue of immense concern to the Muslims who stayed behind in India after the Partition were the threats to their religious and cultural identity and their religious institutions. The ulema gave a great deal of attention to this vital task. This is something that we just cannot ignore. We cannot ignore the immense sacrifices the ulema made at such a critical juncture in our history. It would be uncharitable to ignore all of this.

Different periods of history have their own requirements and their own priorities. So, from the mid-1960s onwards, you have the emergence of a different set of people who sought to lead the Muslims, including many non-ulema. Many of their demands were also different. This process was reflected, for instance, in the short-lived experiment of the Muslim Majlis, led by Dr. Faridi. At the same time, Hyderabad witnessed the growing influence of the Majlis-e Ittihadul Muslimeen, again a largely non-ulema Muslim formation. This was a time when the Muslims were coming out of their ghettos, less encumbered by the burden of the Partition that had been thrust on them. They were no longer mesmerized by the Congress, which had failed to protect their interests and even their lives.

Q: And what about today? How do you see the role of the Muslim middle-class in terms of leading the community in various fields?

A: The Muslim middle-class in western and southern India is way ahead of its counterpart in the north. In western and southern India, middle-class Muslims are providing a more progressive, socially-engaged and socially-relevant form of leadership. They have set up a large number of institutions for a variety of purposes. Opportunities to do so exist in other parts of the country, but the initiative for doing so is less marked. And, then, the state also often does not provide enough such opportunities. In many places, it prefers to build police stations rather than schools in Muslim localities.

Today, even in ‘backward’ north India, there is a visible demand for modern education among Muslims. In a sense, this was a consequence of the destruction of the Babri Masjid in 1992, when Muslims were forced to realize that their extreme backwardness on the educational front had rendered them weak and ineffective, bereft of influence in the corridors of power. If you go to any Muslim ghetto today, you will be surprised at the number of Muslim-run ‘convent’ or so-called ‘English-medium’ schools that flourish there. Some people quickly dismiss them as ‘teaching-shops’ of woeful quality. Admittedly, their standards may be low and may leave much to be desired, but, then, from quantity comes quality in due course. As a minority, we must strive even harder than others to achieve quality in our institutions, for only then will we gain the respect of others. And only then, of course, can we survive and thrive in the market, which is now characterized by such fierce competition.

Q: What, in your view, should be the main issues that Muslim leaders should concentrate on?

A: Economic and educational advancement should be top priorities of the emerging Muslim leadership. This does not, however, mean that we should ignore politics. Rather, we must be politically active, but in a sensible way. We can’t, and shouldn’t, go it alone in the political sphere. We have to work with others for common interests and concerns. Even on the issue of countering Islamophobia and the targeting of Muslims, it has been found that brave non-Muslim activists, such as Teesta Setalvad and Manisha Sethi (both women) can be better spokespeople for Muslims than many of our so-called leaders.

On this let me add a point that we tend not to think about. Just as non-Muslim fellow Indians like Teesta and Manisha and many others are struggling for justice to Muslims, we Muslims, too, must raise our voice for, and work for and with, non-Muslims who face similar problems—Dalits, workers, Adivasis, and so on. Our leadership must not remain obsessed with specifically ‘Muslim’ issues, very narrowly defined. We need to wholeheartedly participate in movements on general issues, issues that affect everyone, as well as in the movements of other marginalized people. Only then can we be in a position to give, rather than just take. Only then can we win the respect and regard of others. We can’t keep demanding things and not helping others, or even ourselves. We have to recognize the urgent need to be much more inclusive and open.

Our Muslim organizations also need to be much more professional than they are. They cannot afford to carry on being individual-centric or starkly sectarian. The feudal ethos that characterizes most them is really appalling.

That said, I can somewhat understand why Muslim organizations tend to focus solely on Muslim-specific issues, although I do not condone this attitude. If your own house is on fire and our own life is under threat, you are simply unable to help others even if you want to. You can’t expect me to come rushing to douse the flames engulfing your house if my house, too, is on fire.

Q: What do you feel about the Muslim media’s role, if at all, in promoting a more relevant and progressive Muslim leadership?

A: It has done precious little at all in this regard. It has remained confined only to Muslim issues and has an impact only on some sections of the Muslims themselves. It does not have a wider, cross-community appeal or influence. Often, Muslim papers serve as vehicles for the personal economic and political interests of their owners and editors.

Q: And what about Muslim elected representatives in the Parliament and state assemblies?

A: On the whole, they do not appear very vocal about Muslim issues. Maybe this is because they are bound to follow the whip of their political parties. They cannot be called ‘Muslim’ leaders unless they are elected from exclusively Muslim constituencies, and even then they would themselves not, and indeed should not, claim that they represent Muslims alone. We do, however, have a new breed of Muslim political leaders who might be able to play a more meaningful role in highlighting issues that concern Muslims—people such as Omar Abdullah, Mahmooda Mufti, Salman Khurshid, Rashid Alavi, Haroon Yusuf and so on. I don’t expect or advocate that they should come on one platform and concern themselves solely with Muslim issues. After all, they are meant to respond to their constituencies, which include non-Muslims, too. However, I feel they should have a common minimum programme for the Muslim community across party lines. This programme should be based on the understanding that India’s interests coincide with those of its Muslim citizens and that as long as Muslims remain backward the country as a whole cannot advance as it should.

Q: How do you account for the fact that while the ulema (despite their limitations) are deeply involved in community issues, middle-class Muslims (notable exceptions notwithstanding) are not?

A: Our university-educated Muslims are so engrossed in their own personal issues and concerns that they simply don’t have any time for others. I think this seriously needs to be critiqued and changed. They, too, must be actively involved in community affairs, instead of leaving this task just to the ulema and some self-appointed Muslim politicians. I think universities such as the Aligarh Muslim University and the Jamia Millia Islamia must play a leading role in this regard. Their researchers must seriously study Muslim issues, to come up with prescriptions and to dialogue with agencies of the state and civil society groups. This is something that they have, I must say, largely failed to do.

Q: The lament is often heard that the ulema and modern-educated Muslim leaders and others are divided by a yawning gulf and that this dualism is a major problem that urgently needs to be solved. This is said to be one of the principal factors for the absence of a proper community leadership. What do you feel about this?

A: I think this issue of the divide between the ‘old’ and the ‘new’ systems of knowledge, represented by two different sets of leaders, is becoming increasingly irrelevant today. This is a very heartening development. We need both forms of education and both types of leaders. We need religious as well as modern education, because Islam is not just about the Hereafter. Rather, it gives equal stress to the this-world or duniya. As the Prophet Muhammad remarked, the world is the field of the Hereafter. This is to say, one will sow in the Hereafter what one reaps in this world. Islam stresses both worship (ibadat) and social affairs (muamilat).

The notion that in Islam there is a rigid distinction between ‘religious knowledge’ (ilm-e din) and ‘worldly knowledge’ (ilm-e duniya) is wholly tenable. It is the product of the period of Muslim decline. Admittedly, it has ruined us. The only distinction that Islam countenances in knowledge is between what is ‘useful’ (nafe) and ‘useless’ (ghair nafe). So insistent was the Prophet Muhammad that his followers should gain proper education that he even offered to release non-Muslim prisoners of war, taken in the aftermath of the battle of Badr, if they educated those of his followers who were illiterate, Now, these were no ordinary non-Muslims. Rather, they were fierce enemies of Islam and the Prophet, who had waged war against them. Obviously, not only did they know nothing about Islam, they were wholly against Islam. Naturally, therefore, what they taught the illiterate Muslims was not the Quran or the Hadith, but worldly knowledge, or what we today call ‘secular’ knowledge. So, if the Prophet considered this sort of knowledge perfectly legitimate, how can it be considered impermissible?

Let me end this by mentioning the Quranic story of the creation of Adam. When God told the angels that he was going to create Adam, the angels, who otherwise were always obedient to Him, objected. He asked them to explain the names of things, but they could not. However, Adam did so. Then, God ordered the angels to bow down before Adam. Accordingly, the rule was established that those who do not know must always defer to those who do. God decided this on the very day Adam was created. This is why till Muslims ‘knew’, till they embraced and promoted all forms of useful knowledge, others respected them. But, ever since they stopping ‘knowing’ and began wallowing in ignorance, they were forced to be subordinate to others. So, if today Muslims find themselves bowing before others, it is their own fault for having abandoned the pursuit of knowledge.

Hence, we must stop blaming others for all our ills and realize that for much of our present sorry plight we are ourselves responsible. The point, therefore, is that the pursuit of knowledge, including what is called ‘secular’ knowledge is indispensable if we Muslims are to drag ourselves from out of the morass we find ourselves stuck in today—not just in India, but all across the globe. Read More...

Welcoming the New Homeschoolers

We have some new Muslim neighbors a few houses away, AlhamduLILLAH and their children are similar in age to my own. They are planning to homeschool their children this fall for the first time, InshaALLAH.

Yesterday, while the oldest was in school, their mother brought the younger children over to sit in during our school session. My children completed minimal work due to the novelty of having guests, but I'm sure she got the idea. I did advise her that each child, each family and teacher for that matter is different, so her style will be her own.

Over time, many layers are added to each and every homeschool, and some of those layers may be peeled away, never to be used again while others become permanent, ongoing fixtures of one's routine.

Do any of you work with other families on a regular basis or have you done so in the past? How is it for you? Do you meet the entire day or only for specific subjects and how often?

For us, it would be too difficult to do this permanently because of our lack of space (my four kids fill the classroom and anyone extra makes it tough to move around), but I was thinking that we might meet once a week for arts and crafts or some type of Islamic studies activity. What do you think? Read More...

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Do You Feel Pride On Being A Muslim?

Muslims around the globe are experiencing criticism from the disbelievers, especially from those disbelievers who do not posses appropriate knowledge or lack the information about Islam as a religion and Muslims to be their followers. The perspective which Muslims are thought of nowadays is never the way Islam portray our social values. Nevertheless, several sorrow experiences have forced us to stand up against the allegations put on Muslims and the reaction has caused an offensive approach towards such issues while the better way to tackle things would be to show patience and unite against the ideology made by nonbelievers.

In addition we can learn further from the Quran "They ask you concerning fighting in the Sacred Months (these are the 1st, 7th, 11th and 12th months of the Islamic calendar). Say: `Fighting therein is a great transgression but a greater transgression in the Sight of Allah is to prevent mankind from following the Way of Allah, to disbelieve in Him, to prevent access to al-Masjid al-Haram (Makkah), and to drive out its inhabitants, and polytheism is worse than killing. And they will never cease fighting you until they turn you back from your religion if they can. And whosoever of you turns back from his religion and dies as a disbeliever, then his deeds will be lost in this life and in the Hereafter, and they will be the dwellers of the Fire. They will abide therein forever." (Qur'an 2:217) Remember, we as Muslims should hold on to faith and patience to an utmost situation and render and attacks a failure from the disbelievers.


Toronto public schools to Dump Paper Textbooks?

Toronto public schools to Dump Paper Textbooks?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

I Love to Catch the Blooming of the Trees

AlhamduLILLAH! Such beauty in ALLAH's creation.


How Can Quran Help You to Cure Stress

With all the benefits achievable in the modern world prior to old days there are certain drawbacks which we have developed with time and being a Muslim we should know how to tackle these in our daily basis. The most upfront and serious ailment that has become common nowadays is the “stress” factor, it can also said to be the ailment of modern age.

As said to be serious stress is known to cause hypertension, coronary heart disease, diabetes, ulcer disease, immune disease, peptic, depression and may be prone to cancer in some cases. The serious part does not end here as stress is also responsible to cause insomnia, headaches and obesity, there is no escape from such a condition as we all are influenced under stress, but yet Quran is an ultimate way to relive much stress and in order to help you understand further, the following quote from Quran mentions "Be sure we will test you with something of fear and hunger, some loss in goods or lives, but give glad tidings to those who are steadfast, who say when afflicted with calamity: To God we belong and to him is our return. They are those on who (DESCEND) blessings from God and mercy and they are the once that receive guidance. 2:155

These things should be understood and interpreted as a source of an ultimate guidance which helps us to live our lives in a much simpler manner without the need to make our lives stressful that may cause additional medical conditions. For better understanding and guidance you can always refer to online resources below.