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Violence At The US Capitol And Hateful Ideologies

Charles de Gaulle, the French President who led his country against Nazi Germany once famously said,”Patriotism is when love of your own people comes first; nationalism, when hate for people other than your own comes first.”

This stark contrast between patriotism and nationalism is now more apparent than ever, with the latter resurgent around the world in a way that calls into question the sentiments millions of people who love their respective countries, races and religions have for each other. Is it love for “our people,” or hate for “others?”

The events at Capitol Hill on January 6 have been called an assault on democracy by a riotous mob and a fascist act incited by a rogue President. While these descriptions may be accurate, they do not identify the emotion that motivated hundreds of people from around the country to assemble at Capitol Hill, to engage in violence while on camera, and to put their own lives and livelihoods on the line in order to prevent what they were led to believe was a grave injustice. That underlying emotion was one of hate and indignation, and it was building up long before Donald Trump became President. Trump only accelerated its growth, serving as a catalyst to help it reach a tipping point until it found expression in the violence last Wednesday that claimed five lives.

The Capitol Hill attack, while rightfully considered as a dark chapter in US history, did not happen in isolation. The mainstreaming of far-right ideas once espoused only by fringe groups, is part of a global pattern of several countries gravitating towards virulent forms of nationalism. From the popularity of the rabid Hindu nationalist government in India and the rise of Buddhist “nationalist” forces cheerleading the genocide of the Rohingya in Myanmar to the Ku Klux Klan finding common cause with the US President, hundreds of millions of people around the world are now increasingly identifying with (and voting for) a narrative that involves somehow restoring a “national glory” whose loss can be attributed to the “others,” usually immigrants, minorities and people of color.

The fact that millions of Trump voters continue to believe the election was rigged is not unrelated to the fact that the QAnon conspiracy theory movement, regarded by the FBI to pose a domestic terrorism threat now has their first elected representative to the US House of Representatives. Like the canard perpetuated by Hindu nationalist forces that 200 million Indian Muslims are “traitors” to their country, some of whom were marrying Hindu women as part of a “Love Jihad” campaign to subvert Hindu society, the QAnon movement has managed to get an online following of people who believe Trump is up against a cabal of Satan-worshipping, cannibalistic pedophiles that is running a global child sex-trafficking ring. In the age of fake news and social media, the megaphones of falsehoods and smear campaigns are louder and more powerful than ever, and they threaten not only law and order, but the very idea of what is meant by popular will.

Should we be intimidated by the support that “strong men” like Trump and Modi enjoy in their respective countries, or question the underlying falsehoods that catapulted these men to power?

Is Aung San Suu Kyi’s tacit support for the Rohingya genocide, including a defense of Myanmar at the International Court, somehow less alarming because she continues to be extremely popular in Myanmar?

In so much as these leaders came to power through democratic elections, with each having an ardent following of millions willing to take to the streets for them, they represent the will of their supporters. In that sense, even the shameful assault on the Capitol was, in the words of John Harris of Politico, “a perverse expression of democracy.”

There is one thread that is common to all nationalist movements, from Nazism in World II Germany and Hindutva in India to the white supremacist forces in the West.Click To Tweet

However there is one thread that is common to all nationalist movements, from Nazism in World II Germany and Hindutva in India to the white supremacist forces in the West. It is a reliance on narratives that weaponize real or perceived grievances, on a revisionism of history that holds the “other” responsible for practically everything that ails the Republic and that falsely claims that the solutions to the country’s complex problems are predicated on a subjugation of its minorities.

Unfettered social media has amplified these hateful ideologies that have each been built around a web of lies and deceit. While these have varied causes, the effects on their victims follow very similar trajectories. Alienation, discrimination, demonization and far too often, horrific mass violence. Hate speech may be as old as the human race, but the means to amplify and disseminate it to a global audience have never been as powerful and its effects never as lethal as they are today. There exists ample evidence in the public domain that incendiary rhetoric online, especially by influential groups and individuals, has led to actual violence that has destroyed countless lives in India, Myanmar and other countries. It is not surprising that the “aggrieved” majorities in these countries are joining hands, as outlined in a New York Times article in 2014 titled “Deadly Alliances against Muslims.”

While people of conscience around the world agree on the need to challenge these false narratives, it is important we discuss the terms of such a challenge, if it is to even make a dent in the trajectory of these hate movements. To say that the rioting “nationalist” mob at Capitol Hill last Wednesday was driven by sentiments of hate is stating the obvious. The harder question is how we can rise above hating them! To retreat into our safe spaces where our perspectives are driven by a shared set of facts is easy. To confront the larger problem, of how fake news and the widespread abuse of social media are pushing false narratives which in turn fuel hate and anger, is hard.

Thanks to exposes of Facebook’s corrupt handling of hate and Islamophobia, two of which were published in the Wall Street Journal and one in Time, the public is now aware of the multiple failures of ethics and legality at the social media giant. However, this is not even scratching the surface in terms of how false narratives are purposefully disseminated over time, in ways that they become part of the discourse. A massive study of fake news undertaken by MIT found that falsehoods consistently dominate the truth on Twitter. The study analyzed 126,000 stories, tweeted by 3 million users over 10 years. “We must redesign our information ecosystem in the 21st century,” declared a group of 16 political scientists and legal scholars in an essay published in Science.  

There are no winners when hate and falsehood become pervasive. The genocide of Rohingya has not brought prosperity to Myanmar, and the demonization of Muslims in India along with countless lynchings has not helped the country avert a record fall in its GDP.  It is therefore important for people of conscience around the world to rally around the goal of defending every citizen’s right to the truth. Fake news, social media and hate are a lethal combination, and left unchecked, they can collectively devour everything that defines our humanity, including our God-given mandate to discern truth from falsehood.

Hating and demonizing those who attacked Capitol Hill may help some of us let steam out in order to deal with the trauma of recent events. In the larger scheme of things however, it is our ability to strategize around long term initiatives and effective coalitions and to use our limited resources in ways that can have the most impact that will determine how this challenge to humanity is ultimately defeated. In other words, it is our tenacity in defending the truth and courage in taking on falsehoods that is facing a test.

The post Violence At The US Capitol And Hateful Ideologies appeared first on MuslimMatters.org.


Source: Muslim Matters

How to Find Comfort and Sweetness in Prayer (Salah)?

Comfort and Sweetness in Prayer (Salah)

Question:

I do not pray the obligatory salah (the five daily prayers) on regular basis and when I pray, I do so because I fear the consequences. I want to know how to maintain my prayer?

Answer:

In the name of Allah, we praise Him, seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and whoever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright.

It was narrated that a man said, I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) as saying: “O Bilal, call iqamah for prayer: give us comfort by it.” (Authenticated by Al-Albani)

This hadith declares that if we are serious about wanting to achieve tranquility of the heart, we need to start with prayer. We should not look at the prayer as a burden or the consequences of not offering prayer. We should look at it as a source of comfort, peace of mind and coolness of one’s eyes.

In this short video, Dr. Muhammad Salah gives us some precious advice in how to feel comfort and sweetness in prayer.

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Source: Huda Youtube Channel. 

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Rulings of Istihadah and Postnatal Bleeding

Rulings of Istihadah and Postnatal Bleeding

By Dr. Salih Al-Fawzan

Istihadah is an irregular vaginal bleeding other than menstruation. It is caused by a vein called in Arabic ‘Al-‘Adhil’. The case of mustahadah[i] is so confusing, for the blood of menstruation resembles that of Istihadah.

The question here is: Since the mustahadah is legally considered pure, how can she distinguish between menstruation and bleeding of istihadah when her bleeding continues all the time?

Istihadah is an irregular vaginal bleeding other than menstruation. It is caused by a vein called in Arabic ‘Al-‘Adhil’.

In fact, there are three cases of the mustahadah:

1. Regular Period

When a woman used to have a stable, regular menstrual period (i.e. having certain duration of menstrual period) before she had istihadah. In such a case, a woman can distinguish between both states relying on her stable menstrual period, (i.e. the bleeding that contradicts the duration of her menstrual period is regarded as that of istihadah).

Thus, such a woman can wait until her usual period ends, then deem any other bleeding as istihadah, as the Prophet (PBUH) said to Umm Habibah in this regard:

“Remain away (from prayer) equal (to the length of time) that your menstrual period used to prevent you. After that (after the period of usual courses), bathe yourself and perform prayer.” (Muslim)

Moreover, the Prophet (PBUH) said to Fatimah Bint Abu Hubaysh:

“This (i.e. istihadah) is from a blood vein, not (usual) menstruation. So, when your real menstrual period begins, give up performing prayer.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

2. Distinguishable Blood

When a woman does not have a regular menstrual period, but her bleeding is always distinguishable; sometimes she bleeds malodorous, thick, and black blood (i.e. having the characteristics of menstruation blood), and some other times she bleeds red blood which is neither thick nor malodorous.

Such a woman is to consider the former kind of blood as that of her menstrual period, during which she gives up prayer and fasting, regards the other kind of blood as that of istihadah, the period in which she can perform prayer and observe fasting, for she is considered ritually pure in this case.

3. The Perplexed Woman

When a woman has neither a regular menstrual period nor a distinguishable kind of blood (e.g. the perplexed woman).

Such a woman must follow the prevalent womanly menstrual period (i.e. average of six or seven days a month) and deem whatever discharge after this period as istihadah.

To sum up, we can say:

  • A woman with a stable, regular menstrual period distinguishes istihadah according to her habit.
  • A woman with a distinguishable blood depends on her own judgment and her ability to distinguish between her menstruation and istihadah.
  • A woman that has neither (a regular period nor distinguishable blood) is to consider six or seven days a month and then take a ritual path.

Obligatory Acts to Be Observed by a Mustahddah in Case She Is Deemed Ritually Pure

  1. She has to take a ritual bath when her estimated period for menstruation ends, as mentioned above.
  2. She has to wash her vulva upon every performance of prayer, put a piece of cotton or the like in there to prevent bleeding, tie it well so as not to fall, and perform ablution for every prayer. Narrated `Aisha:

    Fatima bint Abi Hubaish asked the Prophet, “I got persistent bleeding (in between the periods) and do not become clean. Shall I give up prayers?” He replied, “No, this is from a blood vessel. Give up the prayers only for the days on which you usually get the menses and then take a bath and offer your prayers.” (Al-Bukhari)

Women also can use the sanitary napkins available nowadays.

Postnatal Bleeding

The ruling on a woman in a state of postnatal bleeding is like that of a menstruating one concerning the permissibility of the husband to enjoy her without sexual intercourse.

They also have the same rulings regarding the prohibition of sexual intercourse, observing Fast, performing prayer, divorce, performing tawaf,  and staying in a mosque.

Moreover, the rulings on both cases are the same regarding the obligation of taking a ritual bath when bleeding stops, and making up for the missed days of Fast, but not the missed prayers, just like the menstruating women.

The womb of a woman in a state of postnatal bleeding discharges blood during and after giving birth, and this is the blood accumulated during pregnancy. The maximum period of postnatal bleeding is forty days, according to the majority of scholars. At-Tirmidhi slates:

“People of religious knowledge among the Companions of the Prophet (PBUH) and their successors uniformly agree that a woman in a state of postnatal bleeding must give up prayer for forty days unless her bleeding stops before that; in this case, she has to take a ritual bath and perform prayer.”

So, if the bleeding of a woman in a state of postnatal bleeding stops before the fortieth day, her period of postnatal bleeding ends, and she must have a ritual bath, perform prayer, and practice all acts of worship that have been prohibited for her during her postnatal bleeding period.

Miscarriage

If a pregnant woman miscarries and starts discharging, and the stillborn has reached a distinctively recognizable form, she is considered a woman in a state of postnatal bleeding. An embryo takes about eighty-one days to three months in order to have a distinctively recognizable shape.

If the embryo is a mere lump of flesh or a clinging clot (without a distinctively recognizable form), the woman is not considered in a state of postnatal bleeding, even if she starts discharging; she is not to give up prayer or fasting, and none of the rulings on postnatal bleeding is applicable in this case.

Taking Medicine to Delay Your Period

It seems suitable to thoroughly complete our discussion at this point by mentioning that some women may take some kinds of medicine that prevents menstrual bleeding in order to observe fasting in the month of Ramadan, or to perform Hajj (Pilgrimage).

Such medications are permissible if they prevent blood only for a period of time, not forever. If this medicine prevents menstruation forever, a woman is not permitted to take it without her husband’s permission, since her ability to give birth is also prevented as a result of taking this medicine.


[i] Mustahadah: A woman in a state of istihadah (i.e. a woman having vaginal bleeding other than menstruation)


The article is an excerpt from the author’s book “A Summary of Islamic Jurisprudence” with some modifications.

Dr. Salih Al-Fawzan is a Professor of Islamic Jurisprudence, Member of the Board of Senior Ulema & Member of the Permanent Committee for Fatwa and Research.

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Muslim In Germany: European High Court Legalizes The Banning Of Halal And Kosher Animal Slaughter

Muslim In Germany: European High Court Legalizes The Banning Of Halal And Kosher Animal Slaughter

Just a few weeks ago, the Highest Court of the European Union ruled that member states can ban halal and kosher animal slaughtering; or allow it only under the condition that the animals have been stunned before their throat is cut (which is the requirement for slaughtering animals for food in both, the Muslim and Jewish religions). The case came up to the highest court of the Union because Belgium (Flanders) had passed a law banning this type of ritual slaughter in spite of protests from both religious communities who say this is a deep infringement of their right to follow their own religious obligations.

This ruling might affect Muslims living in Germany even more than before. It should be known that banning kosher slaughtering had been first put into law at the beginning of the 1930’s, i.e., as a part of persecution of the Jewish minority (there were almost no Muslims living in Germany at the time). It either made Jewish life difficult for those wanting to live kosher, or forced practicing Jews into breaking an official religious obligation. The latter was one of the intentions of the ruling towards starting the legal persecution of Jews.

Of course, this law was among the first to be abolished after the end of the 2nd World War, and until late in the 1990s the topic was more or less no point of discussion despite a growing Muslim community. A community whose members increasingly sought to slaughter their own meat and sell in their own shops – a right that would have otherwise not been possible during the first decades of immigration, as opening shops was not allowed to new immigrants. Animal protection societies were still interested in the topic, but -owing to the fact that any protest in this direction would go against Jewish communities-, not too energetically.

With growing enmity against Islam and Muslims in general — although during the 1980s and beginning of the 1990s it was more a general xenophobia – which expressed itself most loudly in the debate about hijab, the question of halal slaughtering also came up. In 1995, slaughtering without stunning was forbidden, and it was necessary to apply for special permission not to stun animals before slaughtering. It was never questioned when a permit was required for kosher slaughter, but was more often than not refused to Muslims. Long fights at court ensued, and only the German constitutional court (Bundesverfassungsgericht) decided at last in 2002 that of course the Muslim slaughter of animals also had the right to this permission.

In reaction to this in 2006, an amendment was added to the German constitution (Grundgesetz) to declare the protection of animals as a main national objective. As a result, the authorities pretended this would negate the decision of 2002 and that they could again refuse this permission. Following more legal fighting, the current status stands that again the highest German court has decided that a special permission has to be granted if it is proved that the religious law is mandatory not to stun the animals first, and that the meat will only be sold to those members of the religious community who also hold on to this belief. Currently it can be observed that it is nearly impossible to slaughter for the halal market under this condition, with the authorities putting up more and more obstacles when a permission is applied for.

Close up shot of the goat with bunch of green lush grass on the summer meadow

Meanwhile, there were two ways to procure halal meat for the market in Germany: either import it from neighboring states where halal slaughter was not a problem, or follow the opinion laid down in some fatwas from different scholars that stated that meat could be considered halal if the animal was only put to sleep in a way that this would not kill it (unlike the shots animals get in German non-halal slaughterhouses) and, if the throat was not cut it would wake up unharmed. The Jewish communities however, declared this as not kosher, which meant that this regulation would restrict them to slaughtering completely.

This is a question of Islamic Law that I cannot decide, but it makes it very difficult for the average Muslim to know what they are buying or eating, even if food items are marked “halal” and/or are sold by Muslims as such. Whoever does not share the opinion that this is halal meat, must inquire doubly and triply when sourcing their meats, and invest in buying more imported goods from countries where you can be guaranteed of a more reliable certificate.

The new decision will not change too much in German law, but it leads to growing suspicions that the highest authorities in Europe consider religious laws and living as less important even than the rights of animals.Click To Tweet

The new decision will not change too much in German law, but it leads to growing suspicions that the highest authorities in Europe consider religious laws and living as less important even than the rights of animals. This might often give the strongly atheist, the right-wing (but not only) eagerness and help when they want to push against other facets of Muslim life. Keep in mind that the ban of niqab is legal according to this court (although not all countries want to get ridiculed for making laws against a two or three figure minority of Muslim women) as is a ban on hijab in schools, and like in France, for teachers and other government employees, etc. Discrimination against visible Muslims -again, mostly muhajjabas- is common, and getting jobs and finding housing are two of the most common problems, besides a rising number of attacks. Praying at a workplace is often as good as impossible, or at least a known reason for mobbing. All of this will be encouraged by decisions of high courts who treat Muslim laws and lifestyle as irrelevant.

The post Muslim In Germany: European High Court Legalizes The Banning Of Halal And Kosher Animal Slaughter appeared first on MuslimMatters.org.


Source: Muslim Matters

Examples of Righteousness

Examples of Righteousness

 Aisha Stacey

On the authority of Abu Hurairah (Allah be pleased with him) who said: the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said:

Whoever relieves the grief of a believer in this world, God will relieve his grief in the Hereafter.  Whoever relieves the difficulties of a person in debt in this world, God will relieve his difficulties in this world and the Hereafter.  Whoever conceals the faults of a believer, God will conceal his faults in this world and the Hereafter.  God will aid His servant so long as the servant aids his fellow believers.  Whoever follows a path to seek knowledge, God will make the path to Paradise easy for him.  When people gather together, in one of the houses of God, to recite the Book of God and study it, tranquility descends upon them, mercy covers them, the angels surround them, and God mentions them to those who are in His presence.  Whoever is slowed down by his deeds will not be hastened forward by his lineage. (Muslim)

This is a hadith from among a collection of the sayings of Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, compiled by Imam An-Nawawi.  It is a very famous and well-studied collection of forty-two hadiths known as An-Nawawi’s Forty Hadith.  Its value lies in the fact that the hadiths in this collection cover fundamental aspects of the religion of Islam.  Hadith number thirty-six is often referred to as the hadith of righteousness.

However, while it does list comprehensively a number of qualities one would expect to find in a righteous person, it also deals with virtues, rulings, principles, and manners.  There are several lessons embedded in this hadith, and each sentence adds an in-depth feature to one very basic principle; that believers are like family to one another.  There are certain obligations that believers have towards each other and this hadith, in a different version, states it very succinctly as, ‘Whoever is fulfilling the needs of his brother, God is fulfilling his needs.’ (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

1. Relieving the grief of a believer

‘Whoever is fulfilling the needs of his brother, God is fulfilling his needs.’

This is a lesson in how to attain the help of God by helping one of His servants. Sometimes when a person feels as if he is swamped with difficulty, God, in answer to his supplication, will send help from an unexpected source. Often this source is in the form of another Muslim. The word grief in this hadith refers to a great difficulty or a hardship. If a believer relieves the grief of another believer, God recognizes that act and will reward the person in the Hereafter by relieving the grief, fear, and distress that he or she feels on the Day of Judgment.

2. Alleviating the difficulties of those in debt

Being indebted to somebody is a terrible feeling. That debt is usually of a financial nature and Prophet Muhammad explains to us that alleviating the debt of somebody, who is having difficulties meeting the terms of his debt is an act that is loved by God, so much so that He says He will alleviate that person’s difficulties in this world and in the Hereafter. Helping those in debt can be achieved in several ways, including giving extra time or canceling the debt completely.

3. Concealing the faults of a believer

The general rule that scholars derive from this section of the hadith is that believers should not reveal the faults of their fellow believers. Nowadays we often see or hear some people taking other’s faults as a type of amusement. They mock and ridicule, revealing perceived minor transgressions that may or may not be true. As Muslims, we should be concerned about our own faults not the faults of others and constantly try to improve ourselves. The one who conceals faults rather than reveals them will have his or her own faults concealed by God in this world and in the Hereafter.

4. God will come to the aid of the one who aids his fellow believer

Coming to the aid of fellow believers is something that Muslims should take very seriously.  Prophet Muhammad reminded us many times that we should love for our brother or sister what we would love for ourselves.(Al-Bukhari)

If we truly cared about each other, there would be very few needy people in Muslim communities.

5. Seeking knowledge

Seeking beneficial knowledge is a very rewarding act.  God might make the path to Paradise easy for those seeking knowledge in several ways.  They might be guided to Paradise through knowledge, or God might make it easy for a person to benefit what they learn, thus they will walk a path to Paradise, or make crossing the bridge above the Hellfire easy and thus enter Paradise.[1]  There are many people who seek knowledge but find no blessings in the knowledge they gain.  Therefore the believer should seek knowledge with good and sincere intentions.

6. The virtue of gathering in the mosque

This lesson informs us about a very rewardable and preferred act; gathering in the mosques to recite, listen and study the Quran or to attend lectures and classes. This can result in very specific rewards.  They are imbued with tranquility, resulting in relief from the stress and strife that plague modern-day societies, the mercy of God descends as the angels surround them, and God mentions them to whoever is in His presence. 

7. Lineage is of no benefit to the one who lags behind in his good deeds

Behaving well and doing good deeds and actions is the key to rewards leading to Paradise.  If the believer is lacking in this area, his lineage, meaning his family name, tribe or ancestry will not be of any benefit regardless of their wealth or status.

This hadith a very comprehensive and contains at least seven important lessons.  It outlines the morals and manners that should be embedded in the behavior of every believer.  It outlines some of the obligations we have towards each other and emphasizes that Islam expects us to treat one another as if we were close family members.  Whatever we can do to alleviate the difficulties of another person we should do, with the pure intention to please God.


[1] There is a bridge that will be established over Hell extending to Paradise that everyone has to cross. Some will not make it and fall into the Hellfire whilst others will successfully cross it.

Source: islamreligion.com

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