Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Letter from a Mother in Gaza

My dear sisters and brothers

I wanted to take this opportunity to send you a message from the sisters and brothers in Gaza. Please hear our situation and tell everyone that you know and don't know. When the Zionists attacked us on 27th December 2008, they not only attacked Hamas, they not only attacked the Muslims of Gaza, they attacked Muslims everywhere. They attacked Islam in the hope that they will weaken it and ultimately destroy it and ummah of Muhammad صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم.And they will never stop here. They want the beloved Al Aqsa, they want the West Bank and believe me when I tell you that they want the whole of the Middle East.But they will never succeed. They will never remove the light of Allah inshAllah.

Our situation is dire but our iman is strong Alhamdulillah, even though we have no water to speak of, and when we do, it is polluted and diseased. We have no money to buy mineral water. When we find the money those that sell it say that it is too dangerous for them to travel out to get new supplies. We have no gas, and have not had for the last four months. We cook the little food we have on real fires that we have learned to prepare.Our men have lost all of their jobs. They spend their days at home now. My husband can spend a day just going from place to place just for the basic need of water. He usually returns empty handed. There are no schools, no banks from which we can withdraw our money. Few hospitals are open for our wounded. You are constantly aware that you risk your life when you go out and when you are indoors. They give us a curfew between 1-4pm. We can go out, they say, in safety to get your supplies, but that is a lie. They have often used that opportunity to add more shuhadaa to their list.We eat one day rice and one day bread. Meat and milk are a luxury. They are using chemical warfare in the areas which are on the borders. They are killing us by bullets and tanks and B52s, but they are also killing us slowly by starving our children, inflicting indescribable diseases with their chemical warfare and laughing as our suffering becomes prolonged and unbearable.

All this and we are being told that people demonstrate all over the world. MashAllah the fact that you go to embassies and leave your homes makes us feel truly that we are not alone in our struggle.But you go home at night and lock your door. We cannot do that. I have to leave my home on the second floor every night and stay with my sister on the ground floor. Should there be an attack, it's quicker to leave from the ground floor.

But the ummah is asking where are the Muslim armies? Where is the victory? And where is our true leader who will save us from this death? Where are the armies of Salahadeen Ayubi? Do not look to the UN, they recognised Israel in 1949 as a state and sealed our fate as it is today. Do not turn to America or Britain, did they not invade our ummah in Iraq and Afghanistan. Call the armies in Egypt, in Syria, in Turkey, in Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan. In Bangladesh, in the Gulf, in Indonesia and in Libya where are they? Are they content to watch women scream for their help as they bury their young children? Are the screams of their sisters and brothers falling on deaf ears? We have a right to eat and drink in safety and security. We have a right to laugh and live in hope, do we not?Yes we are tired. When we hear rockets and bombs and see planes that fly too close to our building, I scream with my young son and my husband feels helpless. The brothers will know what it must be like to feel helpless to protect the honour and lives of your family. It kills something of him inside. We often wonder when will they sell our land cheaply, will it take one thousand or two thousand deaths. We wait to see.

The Israelis have started to plan where their settlements will be in Gaza. This is what we have become.In all this there is no one but Allah سبحانه وتعالى that can save us. Don't forget us because you are all that we have now. Your sadaqaat is not reaching us, and when they open borders it only reaches a few who can do nothing with it because we risk our lives just to buy food. They will kill anyone, anyone even if he is a five year old child carrying food for his family. We want to live from the sweat of our men, not from the sweat of others because we are dying.Keep up the work of Allah and pray and work for the victory that will come soon and rescue our ummah everywhere inshAllah.May Allah سبحانه وتعالى make us steadfast in our deen, during struggle and during ease. Ya Allah bring us the victory soon and re-establish Islam as the authority by which we live, Ya Allah send us the sons of Salahudeen, the army of Islam to rescue Mohammed's صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم ummah from the oppression under which we live. Ya Allah protect our children and remove the zionists from our land. Ya Allah witness today that we account our rulers, we pray that you return our true leader the Khaleefah soon.

والسلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاتهYour sister umm Taqi

Monday, 26 January 2009

Death is the most definite thing you will ever do

Death, is by far, the only definite thing, you will do in your life. You may plan to go on holiday, plan to move to a new house, or plan to sit an exam; but all these things are subject to change. Airports could be closed, mortgages could fall through and exam halls could even start leaking. But the end of your life, is the one thing that can never change or be amended, as Allah SWT has told us that the ajal is fixed.
'For each community, there is a predetermined life span. Once their ajal comes to an end, they cannot delay it by one hour, nor advance it. ' (TMQ 7:34)

So if there is anything we should prepare for in life, should it not be the most definite thing? Rather we prepare endlessly for all those things in our life which have no certainty, and avoid the sole event that is certain.

Today our sister in Islam, a devout servant of Allah, a dutiful wife, beloved mother of three and devoted dawah carrier of Allah's deen, returned to our Rabb. Her death has sent ripples of shock through the community that lived around her - not because death is something unexpected, but because it has been a reminder that we too, despite how young we feel, despite how dependent are children still are on us, or how attached our family are to us, are all also hanging by the string of Allah's beckoning.

To lose a sister in Islam, is like losing a limb, or part of your body. We feel the loss as our own. But alhumdulilah more than anything we know she has actually returned to the place of her creation and real birth, where we will all to return. We just pray that her children and her family have the patience to live through her absence in their lives, and inshaAllah are able to get used to life without her a soon as is possible. Our love, duas are with them.

An event like this, reinforces the thought that we really are here for a fleeting moment and may face Allah anytime soon. And it is this thought that energises us to continue with full zeal with the things that will matter, in this context.

Ya Allah, enable us to live only for you, worship only you, and sacrifice as much as is possible for you, so that we may face you knowing that our time here was worth it...


Friday, 16 January 2009

Is the Prophet's SAW vision, our vision?

A noble and beloved man sat in the remote Arabian peninsula, hundreds of years ago, and talked to his companions about a vision he had. A vision which he and his 30 odd followers would work to carry out. A vision of conquering the world.

This man if you hadn't already guessed it, was Muhammad SAW. Our noble and beloved Prophet had upto 40 companions during his dawah work in Makkah, but this did not constrict the vision that he had. He SAW had a vision, that one day inshaAllah the Islam that he was propagating, which only a small group of people in the world had accepted; would one day rule on every inch of the globe.

The Prophet SAW and his companions were being persecuted to the extent in Makkah, that they were incessantly starved, tortured and humiliated and made up only a small minority of the society; as the Quraysh had their own plan to stamp out this deviant little new craze. Thus when the Quraysh heard about the Prophet SAW's vision, that Islam would one day not only rule over Makkah, but over the globe, they thought it was nothing more than a big joke. In fact people thought his 'phase' of Islam would definitely come to some sort of end sooner rather than later, and it was Abu Talib, his very beloved Uncle who came to him, with love and affection, insinuating this and asking him to give up, sooner rather than later. But the response of the Prophet SAW, in a time, when it looked like not only would Islam never spread, but its followers may not even survive, was:

'If you put the sun in my right hand, and the moon in my left, I would not leave the struggle (for this deen) until either it is victorious, or I perish therein.'

For the Prophet SAW non-pursuance of this Deen was never an option. Whether it seemed easy or not, realistic or not, Islam was to be taken to humanity and offered as the alternative system by which it should live. We would say many wonderful things about this beloved Prophet of ours, but one thing we would never say, astighfirullah, was that he was a dreamer. An idealistic dreamer. But this was definitely how the Qurayshi society around him saw him.

For those of us living in this dark and painful world of the 21st century, who have decided that the Islamic vision is the only way, the label of idealistic dreamer is all too familiar. We live in a world where Muslim lives are cheap, in many parts of the globe. Muslim blood was a small price to play for oil in Iraq, a pipeline and domination in Afganistan, and today for the strength of Israel. Today the Muslim Ummah have no less love for their Muslim brethren across the world, and everytime we are hit, we feel impulsed to respond. But it is how we respond that is key. We have taken up a certain mentality that we have to respond to such atrocities in a way which will reap most result, in the most pragmatic way. Hence it is easy for us to send over some charity, stop buying from Starbucks and M&S, and even make that all important dua to Allah SWT. These avenues of seeking a solution for our brethren, make us feel good perhaps, are instantaneous, easy to carry out and most of all we think have the most immediate impact. But we just need to look to the life of our Prophet SAW to see how he reacted to situations and crises in his Prophethood.

When the Prophet SAW was offered to share the rule in Makkah with the Quraysh, his refusal was stark. When tribes, which he approached for the military support for Islam, may have had the military capability but either wanted to share the rule with him or had particualr treaties with nations which meant they could not fight them in any event; his refusal was stark. Rather the Prophet SAW continued to work tirelessly, still trying to change the society in Makkah, and still approaching tribe after tribe for the military support, without any type of impatience or need for an instantaneous, pragmatic compromised result. Rather he had the trust that the full result, in its entirety, would come from Allah.

If the noble Prophet SAW is our example, then should our method be any different? We are working for the same Ummah he worked for, to protect the same Deen he sought to protect. If the Prophet SAW did not at all compromise or feel the need to pursue avenues which were most palatable and perceivably 'realistic' then why should we? After all we just need to put in the effort to try and implement the solution Allah SWT gives us for our problems, and doesn't the result come from him SWT?

Alhumdulilah we must make dua, we must give charity for the needy, but we must also realise that we need to work for a viable, sustainable solution for the oppressed Muslims of the world which will protect them, and of course protect Islam. This in the past, always was the Islamic rule, led by a sincere Islamic ruler. And if the Prophet SAW with his handful of comapnions could have a vision of this being the solution for the world, us, with our 1.5 billion Ummah; shouldn't we too?

It is time the Muslims realise that practicality, realism, pragmatism, mean nothing without the blessing of Allah. It is Allah who can bring forth life from a stone and it is Allah who gives us all the barakah in our lives. Thus instead of worrying about what is practical and realistic or not, shouldn't we just channel our efforts into what is obligatory upon us or not? After all, we have been born with the blessing of this time, by the mercy of Allah. Allah chose, throughout the entire history of this world, to bring us into this dunya during the short few years when the Islamic Khilafah has not been in existence, by default giving us all the blessing and opportunity to partake in this work, just as the noble Sahabah and the Prophet SAW himself did.

It is high time we abandon the thoughts of what we think is realistic, practical and palatable for the rest of the world in how we conduct our politics. Rather we should work for what we think is right for humanity and will bring them back the mercy and ease of a just rule. This may mean that as others are busy doing the rounds to raise money for Gaza, and you write, discuss and propagate the idea of Khilafah, the label of 'unrealistic, idealistic dreamer without any sense of urgency' may come your way. But to those I would say than none is more unrealistic, idealistic and complacent, than those who believe that their solutions are better than Allah's, for our politics; and sit in the comfort of this thought. Rather it is the most brave and reliant on Allah who will strive forth, eager to carry the word of Islam, uncompromisingly, to the world, just waiting for his SWT victory.

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Our precious jewels

This is the third time I'm editing this post. I write it, look at the picture, and keep coming back.

Our sweet precious jewels,

You lie there with such innocent and peaceful looks on your faces. Indeed, your souls must be safe with Allah SWT, in Allah's firm grasp. You have been taken from us, in the midst of a storm, but we cannot forget you. Because you have been the sacrifice of our inactivity, our complacency and the need for our rulers to save their own thrones, before they save your sweet hearts.

You remind us that we have no rest in our day, no peace in our quiet moments and no ease in our lives, until justice descends this world. Justice which allows your brothers and sisters still in this dunya, to play and breathe in safety, under the shield of a sincere Khalif.

I wish you a sweet journey to Almighty Allah SWT as I'm sure Jannah awaits, impatiently, for you.

I wanted to share with you the thoughts that passed as I saw this - That that could have been my children... And moreover they ARE my children.

More than a third of those killed in Gaza have been children - crushed by the rubble of their house collapsing upon them, having their arm, leg or head blown off by an airstrike or being sprayed incessantly by shrapnel, they are suffering it all. March this Sunday, for the Children of Gaza. Marble Arch, Zuhr Salah.

'The Ummah (Muslim community) is like one body. If one part of it hurts, then the rest of it reacts with restlessness and fever. ' The Prophet SAW (Muslim)

Thursday, 8 January 2009

The real crisis for Gaza

On 27th December 2008, Israel began its latest intense offensive against the people of Gaza, claiming a need to protect their citizens from Hamas rockets.

The entire region is being targeted, everyone a potential threat to Israel's thunderous campaign and although Israel claims to be fighting Hamas, it is evident that the targets and victims of Israel's war are innocent women and children. In fact, over a third of the deaths in Gaza to date in this current conflict, have been children. Israel has additionally kept its forced blockade in place, meaning the 1.5 million living in Gaza - men women and children – are imprisoned in this killing field.

And as the world's media focussed upon this region, questioning what would happen, all the Israeli Government officials can say, is that they were just protecting themselves from Hamas' offensive. Tzipi Livni, the Israeli Foreign Minister said, when questioned about the evident dis-proportionality in how Israel was reacting to Hamas’ few and far between rockets, 'This is the expression of self-defense, the right of self-defense of a state.' However this seems absurd when everyone knows that the rockets Hamas fire, are nothing in comparison with the latest technology Israel uses in their warfare and the effect is evident in the fact that a few days into the offensive 430 Palestinians had been killed, whilst number of Israelis killed were 4.

Even though the treachery of Israel is so clear to see, the international community still do not act. All the UN Secretary General could say, after the first few days of the conflict, was that the violence was ‘deeply saddening’ and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown called it, ‘appalling’ – and it was not even clear who this was exactly directed at. Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, in his new role representing the West as their Middle East envoy, called for a ceasefire which would firstly ‘protect Israel’ and almost as a sidepoint(!) end the violence for those in Gaza.

We would think that the Muslim rulers may have been better in protecting the brethren of their deen. But not surprisingly, their inaction is even worse. The Egyptian people have become frustrated with Hosni Mubarak’s inability to even break ties with Israel and there are rumours of rifts in the Egyptian army due to this. King Abdullah and Queen Rania of Jordan have been passionately donating their blood for the injured in Gaza, but cannot donate their words of opposition or actions to deal with their transgressing Israeli neighbour. Even Assad of Syria, who is supposed to be the most anti-Israeli has been having tea with the French President ambling through discussions on how both parties can stop the violence. The ability for Israel to do as they please is clearly protected by the entire international community, which comes before their need to actually stop the bloodbath being created in Gaza.

Moreover the discussions happening within the international community are all about how to end the current bout of violence. This is clearly evading the real issue as trying to get Israel to stop the current intense violence, still does not solve the fact that the people in Gaza are subject to the curfews and blockades of Israel in their everyday daily lives, food supplies and all other imports or exports in and out of Palestine will always be subject to Israeli control, and the ability to run Palestine like a puppet will still be in the hands of Israel. Whether the current violence ends or not, Israel will still be free to apply all of its injustices and controls to Palestine as it has done for the past 60 years. Just because the current conflict has been forced onto the media and political stage, does not mean that when other stories have dominated people’s minds in the past 60 years, the suffering in Palestine even if less intense, has not been as acute.

Therefore we need to be clear that the problem is not just the current violence, it’s the reason for why the current violence can occur in the first place and this is the very existence of Israel. From 1948, when the land on which Israel sits was stolen from the Muslims and given to the Israelis for them to establish their state on, was the day the green light was given for the Muslims in that region to live under occupation, oppression and tyranny.

Therefore we need to understand very succinctly that this problem is not a problem of violence and killing in itself, but is the fact that the very existence of Israel is illegitimate and came about from the theft of Muslim land. This is the bottom line, and unless we deal with the problem from the roots, we will forever be trying to deal with the problems which manifest as a result, such as the current offensive.

And although people call this crisis a humanitarian crisis, or a national struggle; it is more than anything, an Islamic crisis. As the land of Palestine was stolen from the Muslim Ummah and the theft of Muslim land, is indeed a serious issue in Islam. The Prophet SAW said, ‘That he who gives one hands span of Muslim land away, will experience a hand span of the hellfire.’ It is therefore clear that the theft of Muslim land is an issue that should shake our souls, just as our souls were shaken when the Prophet SAW’s name was defamed in recent books and cartoons, and when the Quran was flushed down the toilet in Guantanamo Bay.

And before any bond, it is the bond of Iman between the Muslims which makes us a strong unit who feel each others sorrow and pain like our own. The Prophet SAW said, ‘The Ummah is like a body, when one part of it hurts, the rest of it reacts with restlessness and fever.’ So whatever nationality we are, Bangladeshi, Pakistani or Chinese, the suffering of our brothers and sisters is definitely our problem, that we need to seek a solution for. But some of us feel that by donating charity to the victims in Gaza, we have fulfilled their right over us - Charity is indeed a rewardable action, in the eyes of Allah SWT, but this is not the solution for the actual problem of the occupation of Palestine as charity will keep the people alive and feed and clothe them, but it will in no way change their situation. Even if they are fed and clothed, tomorrow they will still be subject to Israeli tyranny, as they had been today. And if we believe that by giving charity we have done our bit for our brothers and sisters in that region, then we do them a great disservice. As they do not want to be kept alive in this living hell, they want to be liberated from it.

It is without the doubt that the Capitalist ideology with its premise of seeking benefit and economic interest has enabled the Palestinian people to remain in the situation that they are. For the Western world, having a key ally such as Israel in the heart of the Muslim world, where they fear Muslim unity and independence; is of paramount benefit. Thus it is ludicrous for us to hope that by protesting and appealing to the Western world with a humanitarian plea, we can achieve change and justice. As capitalism puts benefit of its nation states first, before the wellbeing of people. The state of poverty in the world in places such as Africa, today is testimount to the fact that the wellbeing of people is of lesser importance to those nations who hold the Capitalist ideology, over the need to usurp and accumulate wealth and power. Therefore it is a futile action to try and get Capitalist nations to solve the problem of Palestine, as they will never see the occupation of the region as something they need to set right as there is not benefit in it for them, moreover Israel’s existence is in their benefit. Therefore if there is no room for uncompromising justice within capitalism, then we clearly need to seek an alternative system to live by which does have this as its cornerstone.

The Islamic ideology is the only alternative option for the world today, if we wish for the return of uncompromising justice. It is an Islamic government, led by a sincere Khalif, which will care about the bloodshed of the Palestinians and ensure that the occupation of the land is a priority to be dealt with. The Islamic Khilafah will put the wellbeing of its Ummah and the lands of Islam, before the accumulation of wealth or the need to be arrogant and powerful. The Prophet SAW said, ‘The Imam is a shield for the Ummah, from behind which they fight and are protected.’

Many years after the Rightly Guided Khalifs, even during the period of intense decline for the Islamic Khilafah, the Khalif Sultan Abdul Hamid II in the late 19th century, when asked by the father of Zionism Dr Hertzel whether he would sell Palestine, his response was very stark:
‘Palestine is not mine to give. My people have fought with blood
and sweat to protect this land. Let the Jews keep their millions
and once the Khilafah is torn apart one day, they can have Palestine
without a price’

My dear sisters in Islam! The blessed rule of Allah has been torn to shreds in our lands today, and Palestine today it is true, has no price for our rulers. It will only be the Islamic Khilafah, led by a sincere Khalif, who can deal with the transgressing Israel and protect our Muslim brothers and sisters in Palestine. It is a sincere Khalif who will gather together all the soldiers he can find and all the resources he can muster to march forth in order to retrieve back the land of Al Quds and restore to this noble Ummah what is rightfully theirs, under the most rightful rule.

So my dear sisters in Islam! Work towards this solution which will relieve our suffering Ummah, and do not prolong their pain by engaging yourself in other futile acts, in the hope that they will alleviate the suffering of your Muslim brethren, as surely any other ceasefire, roadmap or compromise will end as being a mirage and return us to our degraded position. Rather be part of the work to bring back a righteous ruler who rules by what Allah revealed and return justice to the face of this earth:

Allâh has promised those among you who believe, and do righteous good deeds, that He will certainly grant them succession to (the present rulers) in the earth, as He granted it to those before them, and that He will grant them the authority to practise their religion, that which He has chosen for them (i.e. Islâm). And He will surely give them in exchange a safe security after their fear (provided) they (believers) worship Me and do not associate anything (in worship) with Me. But whoever disbelieved after this, they are the Fâsiqûn (rebellious, disobedient to Allâh). (TMQ 24:55)

A forward I received on practical actions we can do for Gaza

The massacre and genocide in Gaza still continues and our brothers and sisters are in a dire situation, with nothing apart from stones and rockets to protect them. Please constantly call and email the egyptian embassy, Egypt has an army of 450,000 soldiers compared to 180,000 israeli troops. Call on the arab-muslim armies to defend Gaza.

Sunday 11th January 2009 - Is a demonstration going to the Egyptian, Syrian and Saudi Embassy. GATHERING AT MARBLE ARCH 12.30pm (nearest tube Marble arch station), and ending with a congregation prayer insha'Allah.

phone and email these embassies on a daily basis and ask why they have supported Israel's massacre in Gaza, why they did nothing to defend the muslims in Gaza? and why they continue their TREATIES WITH ISRAEL?

Egyptian Embassy Tel: 020 7499 3304/2401

Jordanian Embassy Tel 020 79373685

Syrian Embassy Tel 020 72459012

Saudi Embassy Tel 020 79173000

Egypt alone has 450,000 regular troops to Israel's 180,000; and comparable levels of tanks and aircrafts. Combined these countries are overwhelmingly more powerful. Yet they do nothing.

Below is an action plan that we sisters can insha'Allah try and follow up:



3) ATTEND DEMONSTRATIONS WHICH ARE INLINE WITH ISLAM...OUR ARMIES IN THE MUSLIM LANDS SHOULD DEFEND THE PEOPLE OF PALESTINE LIKE SALAH UD DIN DID!!! BE VERY CLEAR, WHAT THE OBJECTIVE OF THE ORGANISER IS? AS WE ARE ACCOUNTABLE FOR WHAT WE BECOME PART OF! WHY DO WE DEMONSTRATE OUTSIDE ISRAELI EMBASSY? We must also not fool ourselves in to thinking that foreign powers and institutions such solve this current crisis or indeed any other in the Muslim world. These powers look after their own interests only and are themselves guilty of wars and massacres against Muslims. They show their double standards by invading and occupying Muslim lands on false pretences, yet are reduced to issuing hollow words of chastisement to Israel over its current acts of barbarism.




Monday, 5 January 2009

Do the Muslims of Gaza cry for blankets and gourmet cuisine?

I switched on my TV to try and get the latest news on the terrible situation of our brethren in Gaza. Although I attended the big demonstration today in London, calling all the Arab rulers to account for their inaction, I still find that after the cooking, cleaning, wiping runny noses and picking up toys, the thoughts of Gaza start escaping me. So in a worried flurry I feel I need to feel what's happening again - I mean if it was my mother, sister and own children, would I just switch off just because I'd been to a demo for a couple of hours that day? It might have made me feel like I'd done my bit today, and I could go to sleep content tonight, but it's not about me is it? It's all about them. And their suffering doesn't end, even though I can switch my TV off... Anyway having found some actual footage of Gaza which seemed to vaguely reflect what might be happening, I found a very pleasant brother inshaAllah I pray, earnestly raising funds for his Muslim brethren in Gaza on this particular channel. He pleaded with the Ummah to remember their brothers and sisters, and their relationship to them, and empty their pockets so the charity could send food and other necessities in this trying time. It was the emergency 'Gaza crisis appeal' and the harrowing images on the side of the screen accompanied the bank details of the Islamic charity who were conducting this noble cause.

I really pray Allah SWT rewards the brother and all those who assisted him on that programme for his efforts, and for reminding us all that those people out there are our people, just as much as the very people we live with in our home. However it made me think - when I have watched footage of an absolutely devestated mother, mourning the death of her 3 children, the thought about how she would feed herself, or even keep herself warm that night, really wasn't the first thought to strike me. All I could think about was how could her three innocent children be slaughtered in this way in the first place? Of course I pray the woman is fed and clothed properly, after the ordeal she has been through, but much more than that - I pray that no other woman like her has to go through what she went through.

It is without a doubt the people of Gaza will need emergency provisions over the coming days, as they always have, and many charities have been dedicated and committed to accomplishing this. Nobody would deny this is a weighty and noble cause. However food, shelter and clothing has no bearing on the occupation, oppression and absolute injustice the people of Gaza are subject to, day in day out, not just over the last few days, but since the establishment of Israel. There was a grandmother giving a television interview a while back and she was talking about how she has lived in the muddy squalor of a refugee camp, in a makeshift tent for so many years, and now her grandchildren have the honour of experiencing this too. Food and clothing from charities was what largely fed this woman and her family, and may Allah give the people who provided this for them, much reward. However no amount of food and clothing has been able to enable this woman, her children and her grandchildren to return to their rightful home, occupied by Israelis. Charity has kept her alive, but not at all changed her situation.

Making ourselves feel better, I think, is something key. Because in the society we live in, often charity - be it Children in Need, comic relief - is often plugged by reminding people how good it feels to help others. And this is natural within human beings, that we like to help others like ourselves, but this shouldn't be why we do it. As if this is the case, we may do the action which makes us feel better, but is not in the best interest of those we are helping. The emotion of seeing the dead and injured in Gaza, makes us want to have some sort of release - Emptying your pocket there and then, has an instantaneous result and can give us the feeling that we have done our bit. We can then brush our hands and walk away to get on with our lives. However if we have the wellbeing and best interests of the people at heart, then we will realise that giving charity helps, but is in no way the solution for the problem in Palestine and if we do give charity, we can in no way feel that we have done our bit period.

The solution for the tanks and ground forces which have recently wormed their way into Gaza is of course not blankets and food. It's resistance, as strong as the offensive is. It's a resistance that has the capacity and capabilities to fight the likes of tanks and state of the art phosphorus bombs, led by a just ruler who does not have revenge or personal power at his heart - But has the oppressed people, and the stolen land as his central drive. Unless we call for this, we will just be feeding and clothing the people in Gaza to keep them alive and well, and as better bait, for the Israeli soldiers to come and kill. A bit crude, but that's it really, isn't it?

A Muslim does not act by emotion or by the rage of his heart, he is higher than this. He is led by his mind and its thinking to undertake the correct actions, in line with Islam. Thus let us not be like those who act purely by base desires, doing things because it makes us feel good, regardless of what the consequences and impact is. As let's face it - as the tanks roll in through the thick of the night, and the bombs illuminate the black, still sky as I write, do the people of Gaza really cry for a wide variety of foods and a selection of clothes?

Thursday, 1 January 2009

Do you live by Islam, or Live for it?

I'm in the midst of my routine visit to my parents home these Christmas hols. It really has become routine, as as the Christmas holidays have dawned over the last few years, we have packed up our belongings, our woolly scarfs and several warm jumpers, jumped into our car ready for our relaxing break in the Welsh plains. The period of time here has come to characterise excesses of wonderful food, all the Christmas television and most of all rich amounts of family time as everyone is home, cuddled around the coffee table and blazing heaters. The ritual sale shopping where I try to buy all the things I need for the coming year, along with the wonderful time I spend with my family, who appreciate it to the nth degree, always brings with it a urging question for me on what life really is about. Without getting to mushily philosophical, every year I get a window into the world which could possibly be if I didn't have the central hearth of Islam in my life.

Alhumdulilah I can put my hand on my heart and say the time with my family, all the practical things I need to buy and do, has for me a strong link to my Creator; as clearly we all know the weight Islam places on pleasing the parents and keeping ties with kin. My ritual shopping even has a link (however tenuously some may assume!) it's all the stuff I need to get for my family and my kids to keep us going for a while inshaAllah. But it's that link that keeps me feeling cool. As without that link, I contemplate how would I really feel?

For me this link is what keeps me feeling content that the actions I do have some sort of weight and value, as Allah SWT has clearly told us in Surah AdhDhuriyat that the purpose of the creation of mankind, is for the sole purpose of us to worship him - not to shop, chill or let our life drift away trying to just even be happy.

But I think alhumdulilah alot of us, many of us who have had the honour to re-find Islam again, can intellectuslise this link. The understanding that unless our lives are led in accordance with Allah's rules and laws, then there is no meaning or use for us. But my understanding of this deen tells me that the Islamic purpose in life means more than this, and this is something I think we all find a battle to embed in life. And what concerns me more for the Muslim community I see living around me, is a more recent phenomenan which I feel challenges the desire for us to live purely for Islam.

A sister I remember once said to me that the biggest obstacle for the Muslim community in the West to regaining and working for the vision to resestablish just Islamic rule in the Muslim world, is that we have been lured by a lifestyle, the British Muslim lifestyle which acts as separating us and our aspirations from the rest of the Ummah. The fact that we now have supermarket halal meat, even halal organic meat now I hear, a growing abundance of masjids, the mushrooming of Islamic fashion, the whole new ethos of Islamic shopping, Islamic entertainment - both music and TV(!!) and even the opportunities to engage in British politics with your Islamic(ish) agenda; has meant for many Muslims who live by Islam today that we feel that this is it. We have an Islamicised version of almost everything on the mainstream British market. We have everything we need just around us and our goals become to develop this British Islamic lifestyle over anything else, whichI feel replicates the concepts of escapist entertainment culture we see in the West. We bury ourselves in material things and ideas which give us our kicks and take up our time, and ultimately help us escape the stark realities of this world and life. Things happening abroad then aren't really our problem as much, as we feel we belong here in the West and this is where our allegiances, worries and goals should lie. Alhumdulilah many of these things are good for the Muslim community in one sense as they have aided us to live by Islam and retain our Deen, but I fear that there are more dangers in this phenomenan than can be at first perceived, if the community do not treat this whole new revolution appropriately. I fear that we will just become hijab wearing and salah practising versions of our British counterparts we live with and amongst.

I'm not a traditional isolationist, if that's what you are now thinking. I don't believe in shunning everything with a taint of what is Western, but what I do believe is that we not only have to distinguish between the haram and halal in this society, but also the key ideas and concepts. Our Prophet SAW, throughout his entire Prophethood never sought comfort, whether material or emotional as his goal in life and neither did his Sahabah. Rather his goal throughout his life was always to make Islam superior and to protect his Ummah, as he famously said to Abu Talib 'If you put the sun in my right hand and the moon in my left, I would not leave this struggle until it is victorious or I perish therein'. For him SAW, not only would he sacrifice his comfort and the comfort of his family for Islam, but even his SAW life he SAW was willing to give. And if this is the example, of our best example, then is this not we should follow?

The beauty of the Deen of Islam is that it does not require us to follow a life of asceticism where we renounce everything and anything material, it does not even view wealth as something which is innately evil; but what Allah always does ask us to question, is why we are in this world in the first place. That are we here to seek comforts, pursue an individualistic lifestyle as our non-Muslim counterparts are urged to, looking out and living for ourselves and only those close to us; and getting our kicks in life out of material things? Just because some of these things maybe cloaked in an Islamic appearance, does not mean our use of them are not any less dangerous than the popular culture and fashion races of the West.

The abundance of evidences in the Quran and Sunnah highlight that the reason why we wake in the morning, all the kicks and what we dedicate the most important parts of our day to, what we get excited about - all that - should be for Islam, nothing else. As the Prophet SAW said 'None of you truly believes, until your desires conform with what I have brought.' We must therefore take the time out from our all engulfing lives to think. Think about what being a Muslim really means, that we live to carry Allah's word to the world and make Islam superior. That we are a vanguard of Islam and the Ummah and that this brings a duty and responsibility. It's not just about praying, fasting, having your Islamic mortgage and getting your kids into Islamic schools. We need to contemplate about this beautiful Deen of Allah SWT and how it is gathering dust in the auspicious Qurans on our shelves and is deemed, astaghfirullah, not good enough to rule over us in this so-called modern world we live in. And the effects of this being manifold - we have a global economics which has gone past breaking point, social systems where rape, crime, murder are in their multitude, and a world where abusing and oppressing the Ummah is just part of life.
With this turbulent reality around us, it is not normal for any follower of Islam or servant of Allah SWT to be able to live a life of comfort, content with all the Islamicised provisions we have gained and that's about it. The fact that even one mother of this Ummah yesterday in Gaza experienced the death of all her children should be cause for us all to dedicate our efforts and energy and time and sweat to work in the correct manner for the reestablishment of Allah's law and the shield of a righteous ruler for this Ummah. The Prophet SAW said: 'The imam is a shield from behind which the Ummah fight and are defended.' And the pain of this should be as sharp as the pain we would feel for our own mother or sister, as the Prophet SAW likened our relationship with the Ummah, wherever they are, as being part of the same body - if they hurt, we inevitably feel it too.

To live in this dunya is right and good as our bodies, our families all do have a right over us, as prescribed by our Creator. However this should not become our sole purpose in life as this was never the mission Allah SWT set for us, from the moment he set mankind onto this earth. Rather Allah's pleasure, and the promise of Jannah, we know only is rewarded to those who live to make Allah's deen the highest, sacrificing as much as we possibly can of this dunya - Not those who simply live by the basics of what Allah has forbidden and enjoined. It is living for Islam, not simply by Islam which is the pathway into Jannah, and who would want to risk it being any other way?
'Say: If it be that your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your mates, or your kindred; the wealth that ye have gained; the commerce in which ye fear a decline: or the dwellings in which ye delight - are dearer to you than Allah, or His Messenger, or the striving in His cause;- then wait until Allah brings about His decision: and Allah guides not the rebellious.' (9:24)