Thursday, December 27, 2007


This is my buddy and Arabic teacher, Samer. The best friend to have!!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


In the Khaleej Times of Wednesday, 19 December, 2007, it is reported that the Grand Mufti, Sheikh Abdel Aziz Al Shaikh, called on Muslims in his khutbah to reject terrorism and extremism in these words: "O Muslims, reject this terrorism. Young people should be careful not to become a means for ruining your countries and your people".
The full article can be found at:
May all Muslims heed these wise words!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


Het vanmiddag met 'n kollega gaan eet by Paradise, om die hoek van waar ek woon. Hierdie vergilde houtkisse is waarin die rekening aangebied was!

'n Pragtige wierookbrander in my woonstel. Dis mees asemrowende geure word hierin gebrand. Dis gebruiklik om gaste te wierook voordat hulle huistoe gaan - simbolies van die begeerte om hulle 'n soete en vredevolle tog toe te bid. Die prag van hierdie gebruik word weerspieel in die woorde van die Profeet (sallalahu alehi wasallam) in hierdie goddelike woorde van die volgende hadeeth: He who believes in God and the Last Day should honour his guest; he who believes in God and the Last Day should not annoy his neighbours; and he who believes in God and the Last Day should say what is good or keep silent. (Bukhari, Muslim)

Monday, December 17, 2007


Wa`alaykum As-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger. Dear Muslim brother, may you have a happy and blessed `Eid! We whole-heartedly implore Allah to please our hearts with the long-waited victory of Islam and the spread of its message all over the world. `Eid, in Islam, is a day of joy, thanksgiving, worship, brotherhood, solidarity, and morality. A Muslim should take the advantage of this day to bring himself nearer to Allah, Most High.As regards your question, we'd like to cite the following comprehensive fatwa issued by Sheikh M. S. Al-Munajjid, a prominent Saudi Islamic lecturer and author: The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said:
"Every nation has its festival, and this is your festival." Here, he referred to the fact that these two `Eids are exclusively for the Muslims.The Muslims have no festivals apart from `Eidul-Fitr and `Eidul-Adha. Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) said: "The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) came to Al-Madinah, the people of Madinah used to have two festivals. On those two days they had carnivals and festivity. The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) asked the Ansar (the Muslims of Madinah) about it. They replied that before Islam they used to have carnivals on those two joyous days. The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) told them: " In stead of those two days, Allah has appointed two other days which are better, the days of `Eidul-Fitr and `Eidul-Adha." (Reported by Abu Dawud) These two `Eids are among the signs of Allah, to which we must show consideration and understand their objectives. Below, we will elaborate the rulings and etiquette of `Eid. Rulings of `Eid:
1. Fasting: It is haram to fast on the days of `Eid because of the hadith of Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri (may Allah be pleased with him) in which he said that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) forbade fasting on the day of Fitr and the day of Adha. (Reported by Muslim)
2. Offering `Eid Prayers: Some of the scholars say that `Eid Prayers are Wajib (obligatory) – this is the view of the Hanafi scholars and of Sheikh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah. Some scholars say that `Eid Prayer is Fard Kifayah (a communal duty, binding on the Muslims as a group, and it is fulfilled if a sufficient number of people perform it, thereby absolving the rest of sin). This is the view of the Hanbalis. A third group say that `Eid Prayer is Sunnah Mu'akkadah. This is the view of the Malikis and Shafi`is.
3. Offering Supererogatory Prayers: There are no Supererogatory Prayers to be offered either before or after the `Eid Prayer, as Ibn `Abbas reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) used to come out on the day of `Eid and pray two Rak`ahs, with nothing before or after them. This is the case if the Prayer is offered in an open area. If, however, the people pray the `Eid Prayer in a mosque, then they should pray two Rak`ahs for Tahiyat Al-Masjid.
4. Women attending the `Eid Prayers: According to the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) everyone is urged to attend `Eid Prayer, and to co-operate with one another in righteousness and piety. The menstruating woman should not forsake the remembrance of Allah or places of goodness such as gatherings for the purpose of seeking knowledge and remembering Allah – apart from mosques. Women, undoubtedly, should not go out without the Hijab.
Etiquette of `Eid:
1. Ghusl (taking a bath): One of the good manners of `Eid is to take bath before going out to the Prayer. It was reported that Sa`id ibn Jubayr said: "Three things are Sunnah on `Eid: to walk (to the prayer-place), to take a bath, and to eat before coming out (if it's `Eidul-Fitr)."
2. Eating before coming out: One should not come out to the prayer-place on `Eidul-Fitr before eating some dates, because of the hadith narrated by Al-Bukhari from Anas ibn Malik who said: "The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) would not go out in the morning of `Eidul-Fitr until he had eaten some dates… and he would eat an odd number." On `Eidul-Adha, on the other hand, it is Mustahab (recommended) not to eat until after the Prayer, when one should eat from the meat of one's sacrifice.
3. Takbir on the day of `Eid: This is one of the greatest Sunnahs of this day. Al-Daraqutni and others reported that when Ibn `Umar came out on `Eidul-Fitr and `Eidul-Adha, he would strive hard in making Takbir until he reached the prayer-place, then he would continue making Takbir until the Imam came.
4. Congratulating one another: People may exchange congratulations and good greetings on `Eid , no matter what form the words take. For example they may say to one another, "Taqabbal Allahu minnaa wa minkum (may Allah accept from us and from you our good deeds!)". Jubayr ibn Nufayr said: "At the time of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) when people met one another on the day of `Eid, they would say, 'Taqabbal Allahu minnaa wa minka.'" (Reported by Ibn Hajar)
5. Wearing one's best clothes for `Eid: Jabir (may Allah be pleased with him) said: "The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) had a Jubbah (cloak) that he would wear on `Eid and on Fridays." Al-Bayhaqi reported that Ibn `Umar used to wear his best clothes on `Eid, so men should wear the best clothes they have when they go out for `Eid.
6. Changing route on returning from Prayer-place: Jabir ibn `Abdullah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) used to change his routes on the day of `Eid. (Reported by Al-Bukhari)

Friday, November 9, 2007

AL FATIHA - first chapter of the Holy Qur'an

Al-Fatiha 7 verses The Opening
سورة الفاتحة Sura #1 Makkah
بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيمِ
Transliteration 1:
Bismi Allahi alrrahmani alrraheemi
Yusuf Ali 1:
In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
Shakir 1:
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.
Pickthal 1:
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.
M. Khan 1:
In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.
French 1:
Au nom d'Allah, le Tout Miséricordieux, le Très Miséricordieux.
Spanish 1:
¡En el nombre de Alá, el Compasivo, el Misericordioso!
Indonesian 1:
Dengan menyebut nama Allah Yang Maha Pemurah lagi Maha Penyayang
Melayu 1:
Dengan nama Allah, Yang Maha Pemurah, lagi Maha Mengasihani.
German 1:
Im Namen Allahs, des Allerbarmers, des Barmherzigen!
Urdu 1:
شروع الله کا نام لے کر جو بڑا مہربان نہایت رحم والا ہے
الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ
Transliteration 2:
Alhamdu lillahi rabbi alAAalameena
Yusuf Ali 2:
Praise be to Allah, the Cherisher and Sustainer of the worlds;
Shakir 2:
All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds.
Pickthal 2:
Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds,
M. Khan 2:
All the praises and thanks be to Allah, the Lord of the Alameen (mankind, jinns and all that exists).
French 2:
Louange à Allah, Seigneur de l'univers.
Spanish 2:
Alabado sea Alá, Señor del universo,
Indonesian 2:
Segala puji bagi Allah, Tuhan semesta alam
Melayu 2:
Segala puji tertentu bagi Allah, Tuhan yang Memelihara dan Mentadbirkan sekalian alam.
German 2:
Alles Lob gebührt Allah, dem Herrn der Welten,
Urdu 2:
سب تعریفیں الله کے لیے ہیں جو سب جہانوں کا پالنے والا ہے
الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيمِ
Transliteration 3:
Alrrahmani alrraheemi
Yusuf Ali 3:
Most Gracious, Most Merciful;
Shakir 3:
The Beneficent, the Merciful.
Pickthal 3:
The Beneficent, the Merciful.
M. Khan 3:
The Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.
French 3:
Le Tout Miséricordieux, le Très Miséricordieux,
Spanish 3:
el Compasivo, el Misericordioso,
Indonesian 3:
Maha Pemurah lagi Maha Penyayang,
Melayu 3:
Yang Maha Pemurah, lagi Maha Mengasihani.
German 3:
dem Allerbarmer, dem Barmherzigen,
Urdu 3:
بڑا مہربان نہایت رحم والا
مَالِكِ يَوْمِ الدِّينِ
Transliteration 4:
Maliki yawmi alddeeni
Yusuf Ali 4:
Master of the Day of Judgment.
Shakir 4:
Master of the Day of Judgment.
Pickthal 4:
Master of the Day of Judgment,
M. Khan 4:
The Only Owner (and the Only Ruling Judge) of the Day of Recompense (i.e. the Day of Resurrection)
French 4:
Maître du Jour de la rétribution.
Spanish 4:
Dueño del día del Juicio,
Indonesian 4:
Yang menguasai hari pembalasan
Melayu 4:
Yang Menguasai pemerintahan hari Pembalasan (hari akhirat).
German 4:
dem Herrscher am Tage des Gerichts!
Urdu 4:
جزا کے دن کا مالک
إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ
Transliteration 5:
Iyyaka naAAbudu waiyyaka nastaAAeenu
Yusuf Ali 5:
Thee do we worship, and Thine aid we seek.
Shakir 5:
Thee do we serve and Thee do we beseech for help.
Pickthal 5:
Thee (alone) we worship; Thee (alone) we ask for help.
M. Khan 5:
You (Alone) we worship, and You (Alone) we ask for help (for each and everything).
French 5:
C'est Toi [Seul] que nous adorons, et c'est Toi [Seul] dont nous implorons secours.
Spanish 5:
A Ti solo servimos y a Ti solo imploramos ayuda.
Indonesian 5:
Hanya kepada Engkaulah kami menyembah dan hanya kepada Engkaulah kami mohon pertolongan
Melayu 5:
Engkaulah sahaja (Ya Allah) Yang Kami sembah dan kepada Engkaulah sahaja kami memohon pertolongan.
German 5:
Dir (allein) dienen wir, und Dich (allein) bitten wir um Hilfe.
Urdu 5:
ہم تیری ہی عبادت کرتے ہیں اور تجھ ہی سے مدد مانگتے ہیں
اهْدِنَا الصِّرَاطَ المُسْتَقِيمَ
Transliteration 6:
Ihdina alssirata almustaqeema
Yusuf Ali 6:
Show us the straight way,
Shakir 6:
Keep us on the right path.
Pickthal 6:
Show us the straight path,
M. Khan 6:
Guide us to the Straight Way
French 6:
Guide-nous dans le droit chemin,
Spanish 6:
Dirígenos por la vía recta,
Indonesian 6:
Tunjukilah kami jalan yang lurus,
Melayu 6:
Tunjukilah kami jalan yang lurus.
German 6:
Führe uns den geraden Weg,
Urdu 6:
ہمیں سیدھا راستہ دکھا
صِرَاطَ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيْهِمْ غَيْرِ المَغْضُوبِ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلاَ الضَّالِّينَ
Transliteration 7:
Sirata allatheena anAAamta AAalayhim ghayri almaghdoobi AAalayhim wala alddalleena
Yusuf Ali 7:
The way of those on whom Thou hast bestowed Thy Grace, those whose (portion) is not wrath, and who go not astray.
Shakir 7:
The path of those upon whom Thou hast bestowed favors. Not (the path) of those upon whom Thy wrath is brought down, nor of those who go astray.
Pickthal 7:
The path of those whom Thou hast favoured; Not the (path) of those who earn Thine anger nor of those who go astray.
M. Khan 7:
The Way of those on whom You have bestowed Your Grace , not (the way) of those who earned Your Anger (such as the Jews), nor of those who went astray (such as the Christians).
French 7:
le chemin de ceux que Tu as comblés de faveurs, non pas de ceux qui ont encouru Ta colère, ni des égarés.
Spanish 7:
la vía de los que Tú has agraciado, no de los que han incurrido en la ira, ni de los extraviados.
Indonesian 7:
(yaitu) jalan orang-orang yang telah Engkau anugerahkan ni'mat kepada mereka; bukan (jalan) mereka yang dimurkai (orang-orang yang mengetahui kebenaran dan meninggalkannya), dan bukan (pula jalan) mereka yang sesat (orang-orang yang meninggalkan kebenaran karena ketidaktahuan dan kejahilan).
Melayu 7:
Iaitu jalan orang-orang yang Engkau telah kurniakan nikmat kepada mereka, bukan (jalan) orang-orang yang Engkau telah murkai dan bukan pula (jalan) orang-orang yang sesat.
German 7:
den Weg derer, denen Du Gnade erwiesen hast, nicht (den Weg) derer, die (Deinen) Zorn erregt haben, und nicht (den Weg) der Irregehenden.
Urdu 7:
ان لوگوں کا راستہ جن پر تو نے انعام کیا نہ جن پر تیرا غضب نازل ہوا اور نہ وہ گمراہ ہوئے

Saturday, November 3, 2007

BRIDGING THE RELIGIOUS DIVIDE - another Islamic initiative for peace

In today's edition of the Gulf News, there is an interesting article that once again demonstrates that Islam is truly a religion of peace that seeks good relationships with Jews and Christians with whom we share a common prophetic heritage and a common deposit of Sacred Scriptures. Here is the URL where you can read more about it:
Professor Ebrahim Saleh Al Naimi, Head of the Board of the Doha International Centre for Interfaith Dialogue (DICID) remarked about the purpose of the centre: "The centre represents an important project that challenges misconceptions about the three monotheistic religions and extremism. There is a need for dialogue among the three main faiths and the centre will be a focal point in the region of this purpose".
The centre was launched in May of this year at the Fifth Interfaith Conference that was organised by the Qatar University. Of particular importance in the context of Muslim initiative is the fact that this centre is run with a grant of the Emir of Qatar, Shaikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani.
Here are more URLs about the same story:

Friday, November 2, 2007


Here is an electronic copy [PDF] of my last research project for the degree MPhil in Personal and Professional Leadership.

JUMMA - the Islamic Congregation on Fridays

Today, across the world, hundreds of millions of Muslims gather in sacred congregation to hear the Word of Allah and to tangibly express their unity of faith and kinship. The Holy Quran says about Jumma on Friday:
O ye who believe! When the call is proclaimed to prayer on Friday (the Day of Assembly), hasten earnestly to the remembrance of Allah, and leave off business (and traffic): That is best for you if ye but knew! [62:9]
This day is the criterion of the week, as Ramadaan is the criterion of the year and as Hajj is the criterion of a lifetime. The injunction is to "hasten earnestly", that is, be eager and prepared to join wholeheartedly and with all your mind in the prayers of the congregation of the Ummah at Jumma. Furthermore, the injunction is to do all of this for the sole purpose of "the remembrance of Allah". The gathering of the faithful at Jumma is not a gathering for the sake of gathering, but a gathering for the sake of worship and remembrance of Allah! There are many opportunities in the week for the faithful to gather for social activities, but the Jumma on Friday is the gathering of the faithful to turn their attention exclusively to Allah in thought, word and deed. The two verbs of this ayya express the spirit of Jumma: [1] hasten, [2] remember!
May Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala reward all Muslims for hastening to the Jumma on this special day and for remembering Him!
Allahu akbar!!

Friday, October 26, 2007


We went up to Jebel Hafeet last night (26 October 2007) to see the world from way up there. In the first photo are Abdullah, Hasan and me, drinking some Arabic coffee in the parking area at the last stop. In the second photo is Abdullah pouring more coffee with Amnah eagerly reaching for more.
Afterward we went to Al Bazarah at the foot of Hafeet and had a picnic on the beautiful green lawns in full view of the awesome majesty of the mountain. Youngsters were driving by on their motorcycles, people walking around chatting and just having a good time. Barbeque fires burning, children swimming and playing soccer, some climbing the grassy slopes. I watched the smartest sports cars imaginable driving past. This is the good life.
We sat talking about our school, Arabic culture and our Islamic faith. We marvelled at Allah's beautiful creation and at how privileged we are to be able to enjoy it all in good health. Walakal hamd!!

Thursday, October 25, 2007


Here is another response from someone who has read my blog. My responses follow.

Good Morning Haaike,This is a really good post on this subject, and I'm glad that you have presented your side so well. I absolutely agree that there needs to be respectful and open dialog between Muslims and Christians without preconditions of the type that John argues for. We all worship the same God, the Creator of the Universe. Obviously there are big differences in our theologies and beliefs, and those are important. It should not be necessary for either of us to compromise our beliefs for the sake of an artificial unity. But we should be able to respect each other as fellow believers.In that spirit, let me address some of the other issues that you raise. I agree, here in the UAE we Christians are more free to worship than in many Muslim countries, and for that I'm grateful. However, that is not quite the same thing as saying we are free here. Maybe you haven't seen Christians worshiping under cover for fear of persecution, but others have. I imagine that if a non-Muslim friend or co-worker asks you questions about Islam, you have no fear of answering them. The same cannot be said for Christians. We have to be careful that we are not accused of trying to spread our "unpleasant heresy", even if we are not the ones who initiated the discussion and are only responding.As an aside, can I point out that calling each other heretics or infidels or terrorists or other names isn't helpful. I have no problems with you pointing out Christian theology that you disagree with, even in strong terms. But such name calling also makes it easy to question how sincere you are. I agree with you that we need "hearts that are truly open toward each other, and minds that are willing to critically evaluate personal prejudice". Name calling does not really demonstrate such an open heart or mind.Moreover, even if that were not true, it still doesn't negate the fact that non-Muslims even here in the UAE are not treated like minority religions are in the USA. It is true that the larger Christian denominations (Catholic, Episcopalian, Orthodox, etc) have been able to build churches, but I also know that many of the smaller, less well-known denominations have been turned down and have had to worship in members homes.I cannot speak for the entire world, but I can tell you from experience living both here and in the US that Muslims in there are much freer there than Christians are here. For that matter, Muslims are freer to worship there than Muslims are here (e.g. There is no government department that monitors sermons in the US). None of this should stop us from dialoging, however.As to Iraq, I don't think that you can fairly say that the US and UK have "murdered" innocent civilians. Murder requires intent. If you believe that George Bush and Tony Blair sent troops there with the intent of killing civilians, then they are murderers. That doesn't make the war itself right. But we should be accurate in our statements. There have been US servicemen who have committed murder while in Iraq. But that is not the same as saying that the US and UK are led by murderers.I also think that your question "Who is killing whom?" is very appropriate and almost never answered. If you visit the Iraq Body Count site and examine this month's figures, you will see that as of Tuesday the 23rd, the US forces have caused the death of 87 civilians in October. But there have been 863 reported civilian deaths in October. This means that almost 90% of the civilians that have been killed in October have been killed by fellow Muslims. Now, you can argue that those Muslim-on-Muslim killings only took place because of the war and the removal of Saddam. But, in a like way, I can just as easily say that those US-on-Muslim killings only took place because of the insurgency.Sorry for going on so long. Again, I think that we definitely need an open and respectful dialog, and I'm glad that you brought this subject up.
Let me just respond to a few matters:
[1] Do we all worship the same god? This is where a Muslim cannot agree, ever. There is no uncertainty in a Muslim's mind about the identity of God - laa illaha illa'llah! Whatever the commonality is that exists between Christians and Muslims, it is most certainly not the fact that we worhip "the same god". The Holy Qur'an states: And you will find the nearest of them in affection to those who believe (to be) those who say: We are Christians [5:82]. And yet the Holy Qur'an also warns Muslims: O you who believe, don't take the Jews and Christians for friends, they are friends one to another [5:51]. This prohibition necessitates caution in Muslims' interaction with Christians because of the latter's proximity with and affinity for the Jews who have rejected both Jesus (peace be upon him!) and Mohammad (peace be upon him!). In other words, Muslims have some commonality of faith with Christians because of the importance of the person of Jesus, the Messiah, and not because we share in a common worship of the same god. The problem with Christian faith, from a Qur'anic perspective is simple: And with those who say: "We are Christians," We made a covenant, but they forgot a part of that whereof they were admonished [5:14]. Christians have not embraced the fullness of Islam and have wandered off into shirk. Not only have Christians departed from the revelation that God gave them through the Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him!), but they also insist that others follow their ways: And the Jews will not be pleased with you, nor will the Christians, till you follow their creed [2:120]. This naturally leads me to the following point in response - what my blog reader referred to as "name calling".
[2] Are Christians "believers"? It is true indeed that we are all creatures of the same God, but it is not true that we are all worshippers of this same God. About this the Holy Qur'an is very clear: He who chooses disbelief instead of faith, verily he has gone astray from a plain road [2:108]. Disbelievers have certain specific characteristics: Those who disbelieve in Allah and His messengers, and seek to make distinction between Allah and His messengers, and say: "We believe in some and disbelieve in others, and seek to choose a way in between." Such are disbelievers in truth [4:150-151]. The irony never escapes Muslims that we accept the prophets of Judaism and Christianity, but Judaism rejects any prophets after their own, so do Christians. The essence of Christian heresy is the fact that they have rejected the final revelation of God through the Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him!) and hence they reject the Holy Qur'an. The term "al kafireen" [deniers/disbelievers] is used 93 times in the Holy Qur'an and many of these references are to Christians and Jews. Especially Christians get the whole thing wrong when they view Jesus (peace be upon him!) as some kind of "god" and a companion for God: They indeed have disbelieved who say: Allah is the Messiah, son of Mary [5:17; 5:72]. The mere thought of some kind of "trinity" proposes that God has companions, and this is utterly reprehensible to Muslims: They surely disbelieve who say: Lo! Allah is the third of three [5:73]. As I pointed out above - Muslims are very clear about the fact that we do not worship the god of the Jews or the god of the Christians - laa illaha illa'llah, wahdahu wa sharikalah! The penalty for this Christian heresy is severe: Lo! Those who disbelieve the revelations of Allah, theirs will be a severe punishment [3:4]...And those who disbelieve the revelations of their Lord, for them there is painful doom and wrath [45;11]. The Holy Qur'an makes no ambiguous statements about the lot of those, like Christians, who reject the truth. In fact: Indeed Allah has cursed the disbelievers and for them is a flaming fire [Al Ahzab:64]. And so I can go on and on.
The point I am making above is that it is not "name calling" to call Christians "disbelievers" and "heretics" since they have indeed departed from the revelation of God to them through the Prophet Jesus (peace be upon them!). There is no commonality of worship between Christians and Muslims, and there will never be.
[3] The reader makes a good point about the Muslim-to-Muslim violence that takes place in Iraq. Of this Holy Qur'an says: Whoever kills a believer of set purpose, his reward is hell forever. Allah is angry witih him and He has cursed him and prepared for him an awful doom [4:93]. A Muslim who kills another Muslim has his or her fate cast in concrete, and the curse of Allah rests on that person. However, let us not trivialise the murder of innocent Iraqis by "coalition forces" as if some "oops!" happened. How on earth does one "mistakenly kill" 85,000 innocent people, oops? The same fate awaits those coalition forces who kill innocent Muslims as awaits those Muslims who kill innocent Muslims. Thing is - it is the so-called Christian "West" that perpetrates these hideous murders in the name of "civilised values" that are based on Judaeo-Christian doctrine.
[4] Do Christians have religious freedom in Islamic countries? What is often forgotten by Christians is that Islamic jurisprudence is not the result of intellectual and democratic processes, but the application of the laws of God. The way we choose to govern ourselves is a direct expression of the way we worship. Shari'ah law is the application of Qur'anic revelation and not the application of "mob insight". Thus, the democratic values that underpin the sentiments of my blog reader are not exactly relevant in an Islamic society, and the mistake is made to assume that democratic jurisprudence is inherently superior to Islamic jurisprudence. My reader assumes that in Islamic countries it is not a tit-for-tat that reciprocates the kindness and "freedom" of Muslims in non-Islamic countries. But this assumes, again, that Islamic jurisprudence is fundamentally flawed because it does not attain to the lofty morals and ideals of a secular democracy. Muslims expect the freedom to worship as Muslims in non-Islamic, democratic countries since those who shaped and uphold those societies pride themselves of their inclusive permissiveness. Thus, Muslims expect only what those societies themselves set out to achieve! No Islamic country has ever suggested that Christians (and other religionists) are free to do as they please in an Islamic country. Christians who visit or live in an Islamic country should expect only what that Islamic country has set out to do: to uphold and apply the Divine Law of God, as found in the Holy Qur'an and the authentic ahadeeth.
In summary: let us explore commonality where this exists (in our mutual prophetic heritage), but let us, likewise, be clear about our differences. Just as Christians wish and pray for Jews to embrace the fullness of the Christian faith, so Muslims wish and pray for Jews and Christians to embrace the fullness of Islam.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Below is a reply from someone who had read my blog. I tried to respond to the message, but the blogger is not identifiable. So, I decided to post his message here (evidently his name is John).
There can be no dialogue with Islam until Muslims start treating other religions with respect in those countries where they dominate.When Non-Muslims have the freedom to preach, worship, build temples and churches in Islamic countries, we can talk.When Muslims quit preaching hate toward other religions in the mosques, schools and media, we can talk.When Muslims apologize for the hate and violence against Non-Muslims in the Quran and ahadith, we can talk.

Let me point out a few interesting observations I have about this message:

[1] "There can be no dialogue until..." - This is exactly the kind of thing that makes Muslims sincerely doubt the intentions of Christians. Dialogue starts with hearts that are truly open toward each other, and minds that are willing to critically evaluate personal prejudice. The point is valid, never the less, but it is enormously frustrating for me as a Muslim (and ex-Christian!) to have these Christians sentiments in my face from the start as if it were the Christian agenda that were truly important here. It is so easy to respond with something like: "There can be no dialogue until Christians change their Muslim=terrorist equation." Maybe John has never been to the UAE, because here he would find that the Government grants Christian communities land free of charge so that they can build their churches. Just recently, for example, President Vladimir Putin visited Abu Dhabi and attended the ground-breaking ceremony of a Russian Orthodox Church there. Muslim dignitories were there too. I ain't seen no Christians having to worship under cover here or hide for fear of persecution. They worship as openly as Muslims do, provided they do not actively spread among Muslims the unpleasant heresy that they profess.
[2] I'm not sure whether John forgot the awful sin that was committed by George Bush and Tony Blair in their murdering of inccocent Iraqis. The current body count is over 82,000 innocent civilians who were killed by the hate-inspired speech and military action of so-called "Christians". Who is hating whom here? Who is killing whom? Are there Islamic armies in the USA or in the UK that are killing innocent civilians? Check out some of these websites for a sobering view:
Estimates are that around 55% of those killed so brutally by these "peace-loving" Christians are women and children under the age of 12.
John - salaam aleikum warachmatu'llah wabarakatuh! May the peace, mercy and blessing of Allah be upon you!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


I have been experiencing inner peace and contentment like seldom before in my life. I have become a critical judge of my own experience so that I am always able to distinguish authentic spiritual growth from some kind of emotional hype that is the result of the novelty of having become a Muslim. I have made my shahadah and in it, essentially, I have done two things: [1] I have rejected the shirk and polytheistic faith of my past as a Christian - laa illaha - there is no god, [2] and I have also embraced and accepted Allah's Religion and my faith in one God - illa'llah. My Muslim faith is a constant expression of this dual act of rejection-acceptance. Every time I say these holy words I renew my rejection of my polytheistic past, and I embrace my acceptance of my monotheistic present.
It is simply not possible to write about an experience that has to be experienced in order for it to be understood. There is only one way to know what an orange tastes like - taste it! There is only one way to know what Islam tastes like - reject all other gods and accept Allah only. Some people may read these words and have no resonance with them. This is to be expected because they will only be reading about someone else's experience of tasting an orange, but this will not enable them to know what an orange tastes like. Tonight, as I write these words, I am filled with inexpressible praise to Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala for drawing me closer to His light and His truth. Here is a verse from the Holy Qur'an that two of my Muslim brothers shared with me earlier tonight:
Never will the Jews or the Christians be satisfied with you unless you follow their form of religion. Say: the guidance of Allah, is the (only) guidance. If you were to follow their desires after the knowledge which has reached you, then you would find neither protector nor helper against Allah [2:12].
Having become a Muslim was not some trivial and unimportant thing to me, neither was it an after-thought or an impulsive indulgence. It was and is an informed, heart-felt, mind-willed, spirit-intended and body-expressing decision that enables me to be fully alive and available to Allah and His ummah. It is my joy to surround myself with those who know and who speak the words of Allah. Here is what the Qur'an says about those who do not know Allah:
And when they [the believers] hear vain talk, they turn away therefrom and say: To us our deeds, and to you yours. Peace be to you: we seek not the ignorant [28:55].
It is clear to me that, as a Muslim, my path is the straight path - ihdinas siratal mustaqeem, siratal ladhina an amta ala'yim - the path of those whose portion is not wrath [the Jews] or those who have gone astray [the Christians] [Al Fatihah:6-7]. I have chosen to walk the straight path because I have chosen to reject the path that led me astray. Every time I make salat, when I recite Al Fatihah, I choose anew, freely and fully, to reject the shirk that I had embraced in the past, and I choose anew, also, to accept the straight path of Allah's Religion which has brought me so much joy and peace. Here is a beautiful verse from the Holy Qur'an that tells what happens when one who was astray returns home to the only Religion that brings truth and peace:
Those who sustain the throne [of Allah] and those around it sing the glory and praise of their Lord; believe in Him, and implore forgiveness for those who believe: Our Lord! Your reach is over all things, in mercy and knowledge forgive, then, those who turn in repentance, and follow Your path; and preserve them from the penalty of the blazing fire [40:7].
As Muslim, I am covered by the prayers of those who sustain the throne of Allah, those who plead for mercy for all Muslims, and for those who return to the straight path of Allah. May Allah be praised for ever for leading me to the straight path!

Saturday, October 20, 2007


I am pensive today. Have been here in the UAE almost 2 months and yet it feels like a lifetime, a good lifetime. I cannot believe how time has flown, how settled I feel, how happy I am. We've had our short Eid holiday and tomorrow it is back to school for the next stretch that will take us to the December vacation. All is well and to Allah be all praise.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


Here is the foyer of the hotel and a photo of the roof. What you can see in these photos is just the visual impact - you have to also EXPERIENCE the impact of this on the senses.


Now, here is something you simply have to see. The Emirates Palace Hotel is a feast for the eyes. Every square inch is sheer delight. The gold that is used in the opulent splendour is an unqualified pleasure. From the lawns outside, to the carpets, to the friendly faces of the staff - an absolute MUST SEE!!


Here is a photo of the Chamber of Commerce (first photo) and the main street leading into Abu Dhabi.


OK, here's the problem - I always fall in love too fast, but I can't help falling in love with Abu Dhabi. What an awesome place it is! A colleague took a few of us in her Jeep to Abu Dhabi yesterday (15 October, 2007).

Saturday, October 13, 2007


Here is one of my students on ice. Wow! He's an expert, and he knows it. He was happy to show me and his other English teacher how good he really is. Well done Nasr!


A truly awesome place to be this Al Ain Mall. The spirit is festive with Eid. Below these banners is the ice skating area where I bumped into a student - photos above. The second photo shows you how beautiful the marble floors are in this place.