Tuesday, October 16, 2007

New blog

I've set up a new blog with WordPress here: http://peacebruv.wordpress.com

If anyone is linking to this one, please update the link to point to the new one.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

zakatul-fitr

For the first time, i had the opportunity this year to give zakatul-fitr as food instead of money. I dropped the food off to the family last night and I have a few thoughts regarding the whole thing:

1) For those of us who take the opinion that you don't have to give the same food types that were given in the time of the Prophet sallallahu alaihi wa sallam, we should produce a list which is appropriate for our own environment, and which extends to more than just giving rice and flour. One brother told me that he visited a poor brother who had something like 200kg of rice donated to him! What I gave is the following:
- rice
- pasta
- cereals
- packs of frozen chips (hey if chips aren't a stable food in the UK, nothing is)
- meat (after speaking to my teacher about it)

2) Do we have organisations that make a concerted effort to distribute zakah here in the UK before sending it abroad? I'm only aware of one: JIMAS. There are certainly people here in the UK to give it to. A few years ago a brother told me that he went to visit a convert, and found the brother cupping his hands round a lit candle to stay warm because he didn't have enough money to pay the gas/electricity bill.

3) Generosity. When i was collecting the food (before i'd decided to give the meat) i thought that if someone gave me x kilos of rice and pasta, that would be nice but it would be quite bland tasting. What would be great would be to provide the spices and all that other stuff that would make it taste fabulous. Well, i wasn't going to go spice shopping so in addition, i gave some money to the family so that they could buy what additional ingredients they needed, and which might not fall under the category of "staple foods". And i'm sure there are brothers out there who have enough wealth that if they get the chance to give zakatul fitr as food, would be able to give some extra money as well. After all, Ramadan is the month of charity right?

Click here for an excellent post on the subject by Sh. Yasir Qadhi

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Two links

Two posts from Tariq Nelson discussing the phenomenon of anti-muslim people often being anti-black racists too.

Here and here.

Friday, September 21, 2007

So thats why...

At the time i couldn't think why the Americans had re-elected Dubya. Hadn't they been watching the news? Didn't they know how unpopular he was all around the world?

Today i found out why he got re-elected...

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Taraweeh prayers

I'd been ill since the start of the week so i wasn't able to make it to taraweeh prayers until Friday night. Not exactly the start to Ramadan that i was hoping for, but there are still 26 days to gain reward from.

Over the years i've found that the best Imams to pray taraweeh behind are the trained Imams who are ethnically Arab. Since they've grown up speaking the language of the Qur'an, their recitation has all the correct inflections, and the emphases are made in all the right places. A great example is the Egyptian Imam who is leading at East London Mosque this year. It really is a joy to pray behind him and if anyone is able to make it there I really recommend that you head out there one evening.

The worst recitors are the desi Imams in most Hanafi mosques here who don't understand Arabic. Their sole aim seems to be to finish their recitation and get the hell out of the mosque as quick as possible. The recitation combines between bad tajweed and being incomprehensible and unfortunately tonight i found myself behind one such Imam. After two rak'aat i was thinking, what the hell am i doing here? It wasn't a pleasure to listen the recitation because it was going at 100mph, and because it was so fast, i couldn't understand what he was reading - and I'm talking about parts of the Qur'an i've memorised. I'm not going to be praying taraweeh at that mosque again. But i am looking forward to visiting the Moroccan Mosque in Ladbroke Grove to pray behind the Imam who follows the recitation of Warsh. I'll extract a portion of his recitation from a couple of years ago and stick it up here later.

Update: Here is the promised audio clip [~3 Mb]

Friday, September 07, 2007

He didn't drop out of the clear blue sky

Over the last year or so, i've read with some unease a growing number of attacks on people like Bin Laden, and in particular these attacks come from our American brothers.

The unease isn't because i agree with Bin Laden or his wayward understanding of jihad (as i've mentioned several times before); the unease is because the attacks on him have now descended to nothing more than what you'd expect from a Robert Spencer fan. Previously he was referred to just as a maniac, but Umar Lee in his most recent post likens him to a turd. hmm...

Some of his readers are no better. Abu Sinan also has a bone to pick with bin Laden: apparently he is vain for dyeing his beard black. Solaimaan calls bin Laden a wild baboon and so on.

Worst of all is the affirmation of these usually intelligent bloggers (Solaimaan excluded) that all Bin Laden wants to do is "to see the streets flow red with the blood of millions." It seems that the FOX news they despise so much isn't without effect on them. I think its foolish to believe that Bin Laden is that one-dimensional. Even a cursory glance over his speeches shows that there is more to the man then what the right-wing media would have us believe.

In a country where many brothers are now too frightened to write to innocent imprisoned Muslims for fear of getting a knock at the door, could it be that these American brothers feel they have something to prove?

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Lawless Britain




Its with great sadness that i read the story of another young victim of UK gun crime. Rhys Jones, a young boy only 11 years old was gunned down for no reason at all whilst walking home from football training.

I've said it before, and i'll say it again: crime in the UK is only going to get worse until we bring in more punitive justice for these crimes. The UK prison population has never been higher and is struggling to cope with the daily intake of criminals, and a complacent government is letting those who committed "softer" crimes out earlier and earlier (though even paedophiles are in with a chance of early release). In short, criminals have got nothing to fear when committing a crime because for them, the consequences aren't too bad.

Growing numbers of the indigenous population of this country are leaving these shores citing crime being out of control as one of their main reasons for leaving. I've even been thinking of it myself!

A work colleague told me the other day that when he was a kid he used to stay busy after school
with basketball practise and other sports and that way he wasn't drawn into the wrong crowd. He tells me that he keeps his son busy with football practise after school in the hope that he will follow his father into a professional career.

The problem in the UK today is that if you're fortunate enough not to be drawn into the wrong crowd when you were young, as with Rhys Jones, the wrong crowd might come looking for you. Rest in peace Rhys, and may Allah give comfort to your family.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Imam @ Regents Park Mosque attacked

Just a quick post to bring to your attention a grizzly attack on the Imam of London's Central Mosque. Reports suggest that the Imam was repeatedly punched in the face, and an attempt was made to gouge out his eyes resulting in him losing a lot of blood and hospitalisation.

The police are keeping an "open mind" about the incident, as they always do. The Independent plots a timeline at the bottom of this article highlighting attacks on Muslims and Muslim businesses since the end of July and it doesn't make for pretty reading.

In any case, keep the Imam in your du'as. Regents Park Mosque has a tradition of hiring amiable Imams from Egypt, and i have no reason to believe that he was otherwise, despite not having met him personally.

Before i finish off, i also wanted to comment on a local news story. The Christian People's Alliance, a small political party, have a few councillors elected around the borough, and while its usually no problem working alongside Christians, its different with the CPA who are headed up by Alan Craig. Craig is famous for his numerous inaccurate statements about the "mega-mosque" project and has cast doubt on the good character of the group behind the project, the tablighi jamaat.

The story is that one of their councillors, Simeon Ademolake, displayed some rather un-Christian behaviour (unless you're thinking about the Crusades) by assaulting two police officers who came to assist a bailiff at Ademolake's residence collecting an unpaid parking fine.

The Newham Recorder reports that the judge rejected Ademolake's evidence and was "scathing" of his and his wife's testimony. The CPA distorting facts again? Nooooo! This is the same group that attacks Muslims for being homophobic, while fighting equal rights for homosexuals.

Tellingly, neither Ademolake, nor big boss Alan Craig swore on the Bible before giving evidence... guilty conscience, perhaps?

Related link: You know times are bad...

Sunday, July 29, 2007

If you sell your soul to the devil, don't be surprised when he betrays you

Today's Observer newspaper carries an article that highlights a dilemma for practising Muslims. It describes the story of Bisher al-Rawi, an Iraqi refugee who was bundled off to Guantanamo by way of CIA extraordinary rendition.

Whats the big deal (if that wasn't big enough) you might ask. The big deal is that al-Rawi was at one time working for MI5 and keeping tabs on the likes of Abu Qatada.

I know that in some circles it would be deemed unacceptable to be allying oneself with the security services of this country, and its seen as equivalent to selling your soul to the devil.

Despite al-Rawi receiving assurances from MI5 that if he ever got into trouble they would come to his aid, when the CIA took him into custody MI5 didn't lift a finger, and in fact were complicit in his rendition.

So what's the message? The message is that you can denounce the lunatics as much as you want. You can even work for the security services if you want. But you'd be foolish if you believe that counts for anything if the Americans come knocking.

I'll end with this quote from the article which all Muslims and informants need to reflect on:

"He (al-Rawi) said an MI5 lawyer had given him 'cast iron' assurances that anything he told them would be treated in the strictest confidence and, if he ever got into trouble, MI5 would do everything in its power to help him."

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

I came across this old article about the Hindu caste system - a really backward, discriminating system, which has a lot in common with racism, and apparently its alive and kicking here in the West, imported by the brahmins and rajputs when they migrated here from India.

Unfortunately, something akin to the caste system exists amongst some Pakistani Muslims in the West too. Most often you hear about it in the context of the father of a girl refusing to allow his daughter to marry a certain brother because he comes from a "lower-status" family.

I remember speaking to a guy several years ago about this whole family status thing, and he told me that he was a Rajput, and that he would never allow his daughter to marry someone from a different social level and that this was not in contradiction to any of the teachings of Islam. And, this was a man who sat on the committee of our local mosque!

Just in case you're wondering... no, i wasn't interested in marrying his daughter :)

Thankfully my own parents were never into this whole caste/family thing, despite both coming from "high-class" families from back home, and thats good, because not only does it show good sense, but these traditions don't really mean anything here in the West. The second and especially third generation of desis here have generally embraced the idea of the equality of human beings and pour scorn on the whole idea of caste and "zaat" and it is no longer rare to see a desi man or woman in a relationship with someone who is non-desi. In another generation or two, i bet this whole system will have died out here.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Making new friends

I received the following Q & A in an email from the super-salafis over in Canada. The unoriginal title of the email was: "Pulling the Carpet from Under the Feet of the Takfeerist Cells that Exist in the West" and the fatwa is issued by Ahmed An-Najmi.

Question: Firstly, I love you for the sake of Allah and I ask Allah to preserve you just as He preserves all of His righteous servants. Here (in France), the French Government is appealing to the Salafis for their cooperation in capturing the Takfeerists[1]. In all actuality they are requesting that we work alongside them to catch these individuals. Is this something that the religion of Islam deems permissible or not -may Allah bless you?

Answer: Truthfully, the Takfeerists are considered to be enemies of Islam and enemies of the Muslims as they are responsible for actions that have harmed the Muslims. It is ok for (the Muslims) to point the (authorities) in their direction and to clarify what they are upon if they are certain about these people.[2]

The question that comes to my mind is that these super-salafis are so damn narrow-minded, they are likely to list Sayyid Qutb as a takfeeri, and by extension anyone who reads his works. So are they going to point the police to investigate brothers from Ikhwan al-Muslimeen?

An even more interesting question is, will the UK super-salafis use this fatwa as proof that they can co-operate with MI5, the same guys responsible for the murder of Jean Charles de Menezes and the Forest Gate debacle? I guess time will tell.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Thanks for the memories Thierry (sob)...

Arsenal have confirmed that Thierry is leaving. I am even more concerned now that Wenger will be heading for the exit gates at the end of next season. Failure to sign any significant players this summer can only mean that Wenger himself won't be at the club for too long, so how will he get major players to pledge their futures to the club?

Link: An open letter by Thierry Henry
Link: All fans should shed a tear
Link: Henry's last interview

Friday, June 22, 2007

Difficult few days ahead

The hearts of all Gooners must be in their mouths this evening with multiple reports coming from Spain that Arsenal captain, and legend, Thierry Henry is on the brink of signing for Barcelona.

Losing Henry is bad enough, but there are real fears that his exit will spark a stampede to the exit door by the club's other stars. First off, Arsene Wenger, the builder of two generations of great Arsenal sides looks like he will be off at the end of next season. I can't think of anyone in the world who could replace him (except perhaps Fabio Capello, and what are the chances of him coming to Ashburton Grove?) And after him Cesc Fabregas, arguably one of the world's best midfield talents.

So what then will become of Arsenal? I'm worried that the departure of David Dein earlier this season was the first in a line of dominos to fall and which will end Arsenal being in the football wilderness for years to come. In two years we have lost Vieira, Pires, Bergkamp, Cole, Lauren and Campbell. If we now lose Henry and Fabregas the club will be in utter ruins, and i don't think that the likes of Alexander "don't-know-how-to-shoot" Hleb or Tomas "i-like-to-party-with-call-girls" Rosicky are going to bring glory days back to Arsenal.

I hope the board aren't sitting on their arses doing nothing. They've got to stop this!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Ugly bastard gets knighted

They're in a battle to try and win our hearts and minds. The British government that is.

Salman Rushdie has been awarded a Knighthood, and as a British Muslim i find this news quite hard to stomach. Not only is this another demonstration of what a shambles the whole honours system is, but by honouring a man who so gravely insulted Muslims by his portrayal of revered Muslim figures, the government, yes its the government, not the Queen, who decides who is honoured, have caused God knows what damage to relations between the Muslims and government.

The question that British Muslims have to ask themselves is, how does it sit with you that on the one hand, the Government says time and again that they're with the moderate Muslims, and then gives this detestable man, not just a CBE or an MBE, but a Knighthood? For surely, there isn't a Muslim anywhere who could feel pleased that the slanderer of the Messenger of Allah is given a prestigious award?

Now of course some will argue, that we here in the West have certain liberties and freedoms, and one of those is freedom of speech. And if you don't like that, well that's tough, you're just going to have to live with it.

I just wonder where these people were when David Irving was recently imprisoned in Austria for denying the holocaust. Is freedom of speech only for people whose views we don't really mind?

Not only have the government shot themselves in the foot by honouring this idiot, but in the battle for the hearts and minds of young Muslims, they've armed the real extremists with another bullet. Another argument that will be used by those who seek to convince Muslims that integrating with British society is a bum deal, because no matter how integrated you do become, they will not cease to insult your religion.

From a Muslim's point of view, i also have to note how shameful it is that the first country to stand up to speak against Rushdie being honoured is Iran, followed four days later by Pakistan. Where are the rest of them?

Link: The battle for hearts and minds in Iraq
**Update** Joseph Corre turns down an MBE