New Zealand Rugby Player Ofa Tu’ungafasi Converts to Islam

New Zealand Rugby Player Ofa Tu’ungafasi Converts to Islam

New Zealand’s All Blacks rugby player Ofa Tu’ungafasi has reverted to Islam and has taken the Shahadah, confirmed fellow Muslim convert John Fontaini on social media.

“Allahu akbar today Sonny Bill William’s mother and his teammate Offa Tuungafasi accepted Islam. May Allah make it easy for them and grant them firdous ameen. Podcast coming soon inshallah,” John Fontain wrote on Twitter.

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The conversion came after Ofa’s visit accompanied by his Muslim best friend and teammate Sonny Bill Williams to Christchurch Hospital, where they spent time with the injured, less than two weeks after the terrorist Christchurch mosque massacre.

Tu’ungafasi described how the survivors inspired him and prayed for their speedy recovery.

“Verily, with every hardship comes ease. Had the most amazing experience visiting the Muslim Brothers in hospital on the weekend. Am inspired and have drawn so much strength from you all. May the Almighty bless you all with quick recovery. Love and Duas,” he wrote on wrote on Instagram and Twitter.

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All Black star Sonny Bill Williams grew up as a Christian before famously converting to Islam in 2008, what turned his life around.

Muslim Worldwide Welcome

Muslim community around the world has welcomed the ‘positive news’ and showed their support.

“We just simply can’t get enough of the glad tidings that continue to come out of New Zealand since that tragic Christchurch massacre,” the Muslim Council of Hong Kong wrote in response.

“Though the Islamophobic incidents sadly continue worldwide, there are plenty of positive news too, this being one of them.”

“Just came across great news that the mother of our brother @SonnyBWilliams accepted Islam, along with his best friend and teammate. All praises belong to Allah alone. He is most kind. Even though I’m far away; I am genuinely pleased for my brother. Allah has honored him”, tweeted Zimbabwean-based imam Sajid `Umar.

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Source: Newspapers

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To Those Responsible for Christchurch Mosque Terror Attacks…

To Those Responsible for Christchurch Mosque Terror Attacks…

It is written to the killer who attacked Muslims in Christ Church, New Zealand.

We appreciate that you made the effort to find out the timing of our noon prayer.

To Those Responsible for Christchurch Mosque Terror Attacks…

We appreciate you for showing that our mosques have no locks or gates, and are unguarded because everyone and anyone is welcome .

We appreciate that you learnt more about our religion to know that Fridays are the days the men go to the Mosques for their congregational prayers.

But I guess there were some things you, rather unfortunately, didn’t get to learn.

Perhaps you didn’t know that what you did made them martyrs.

And how you have single-handedly raised the statuses of our brothers and sisters in the eyes of their beloved Creator with your actions. And how, through your actions, they will be raised as the most righteous and pious of Muslims.

Perhaps you didn’t know that doing what you did, at the time and place you chose, it actually meant that the last words that escaped their lips were probably words of remembrance and praise of Allah. Which is a noble end many Muslims could only dream of.

And perhaps you didn’t know, but what you did would almost guarantee them paradise.

Appreciate that you showed the world how Muslims welcome, with open arms, even people like yourself into our mosques, which is our second home.

We appreciate you for showing that our mosques have no locks or gates, and are unguarded because everyone and anyone is welcome to be with us.

We appreciate you for allowing the world to see the powerful image of a man you injured, lying on back on the stretcher with his index finger raised high, as a declaration of his faith and complete trust in Allah.

We appreciate how you brought the Churches and communities together to stand with us Muslims.

We appreciate that you made countless New Zealanders come out of their homes to visit the mosques nearest to them with flowers with beautiful messages of peace and love.

You have broken many, many hearts and you have made the world weep. You have left a huge void.

But what you also have done have brought us closer together. And it has strengthened our faith and resolve.

In the coming weeks, more people will turn up in the Mosques, a place you hate so much, fortified by the strength in their faith, and inspired by their fallen brothers and sisters.

In the coming weeks, more non-Muslims will turn up at the gates of mosques with fresh flowers and beautifully handwritten notes. They may not have known where the mosques in their area was. But now, they do. All because of you.

You may have achieved your aim of intended destruction, but I guess you failed to incite hatred, fear and despair in all of us.

And while I understand that it may have been your objective, I hate to say that after all of that elaborate planning, and the perverse and wretched efforts on your part, you still failed to drive a divide among the Muslims and non-Muslims in the world.

For that, I can’t say that I’m sorry.

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By Nur Jihan Li, a Chinese revert sister.

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Telling People about Their Lord: 25th Stop of Your Spiritual Journey to God

Telling People about Their Lord: 25th Stop of Your Spiritual Journey to God

By Dr. Jasser Auda

Every speech comes out with a cover from the heart of the speaker. If God allows a speaker to express himself, people will understand his words and comprehend his gestures.

Telling People about Their Lord 25th Stop of Your Spiritual Journey to God

Their speech deserved to be recorded by God in His Glorious Book, the Qur’an.

This stage on our journey to God relates to the servant’s speech in which he tells people about God. Every servant has a responsibility to call people to their Creator, to remind them of their Lord, and to set things right in the universe:

I desire no more than to set things to rights in so far as it lies within my power… (Hud 11:88)

Say (O Prophet): “This is my way: Resting upon conscious insight accessible to reason, I am calling (you all) unto God – I and they who follow me. (Yusuf 12:108)

There are different kinds of speech. God says: “However, man is, above all else, always given to contention…” (Al-Kahf 18:54) There is a certain type of speech which has a considerable influence on people. This speech, as the Sheikh explains, is not the fluent speech that comes out from an intelligent mind or an eloquent tongue, but it is the speech that comes out directly from one’s heart.

Here I recall the speech of the prophets, messengers, and righteous people. Their speech came out form pure hearts. Their speech deserved to be recorded by God in the Qur’an. There are many examples of this speech.

Read the speech of prophet Abraham (peace be upon him): {Said (Abraham): “Have you, then, ever considered what it is that you have been worshiping – you and those ancient forebears of yours? “Now (as for me, I know that,) verily, these [false deities] are my enemies, (and that none is my helper) save the Sustainer of all the worlds, who has created me and is the One who guides me, and is the One who gives me to eat and to drink, and when I fall ill, is the One who restores me to health, and who will cause me to die and then will bring me back to life, and who, (hope, will forgive me my faults on Judgment Day! “O my Sustainer! Endow me with the ability to judge (between right and wrong), and make me one with the righteous, and grant me the power to convey the truth unto those who will come after me, and place me among those who shall inherit the garden of bliss!

And forgive my father for, verily, he is among those who have gone astray and do not put me to shame on the Day when all shall be raised from the dead: (and when) only he (will be happy) who comes before God with a heart free of evil! (Ash-Shu`araa’ 26:75-89)

Read also the speech of Prophet Noah (peace be upon him):

And convey unto them the story of Noah-when he said unto his people: “O my people! If my presence (among you] and my announcement of God’s messages are repugnant to you -well, in God have I placed my trust. Decide, then, upon what you are going to do (against me), and (call to your aid) those beings to whom you ascribe a share in God’s divinity; and once you have chosen your course of action, let no hesitation deflect you from it; and then carry out against me (whatever you may have decided), and give me no respite! But if you turn away (from the message which I bear, remember that) I have asked no reward whatever of you: my reward rests with none but God, for I have been bidden to be among those who have surrendered themselves unto Him. (Yunus 10:71-72)

All these speeches came out with a cover from the heart of the speakers.

The same holds true for Prophet Muhammad’s speech. Read, for example, his speech in the Battle of Tabuk:

“Verily the most veracious discourse is the book of God (the Quran). The most trustworthy handhold is the word of piety (taqwa). The best of religions is the religion of Abraham. The best of the sunan is the Sunnah of Muhammad. The noblest speech is the mentioning of God. The finest of narratives is this Qur’an. The best of affairs is that which has been firmly resolved upon. The worst religions are those which are created without sanction. The best of ways is the one trodden by the prophets. The noblest death is the death of a martyr. The most miserable blindness is waywardness after guidance. The best of knowledge is that which is beneficent. The best guidance is that which is put into practice. The worst blindness is the blindness of the heart. The upper hand is better than the lower (i.e. it is better to give than to receive). The little that suffices is better than the abundant and alluring. The worst apology is that which is tendered when death stares one in the face. The worst remorse is that which is felt on the Day of Resurrection. Some men do not come to the Friday prayer, but with hesitance and delay. And some of them do not remember God but with reluctance. The tongue that is addicted to false expression is a bubbling spring of sins. The most valuable possession is contentment of the heart. The best provision is that of piety. The highest wisdom is the awe of God. The best thing to be cherished in the hearts is faith and conviction; doubt is part of infidelity. Impatient wailing and fulsome praise of the dead is an act of ignorance. Betrayal leads one to the fire of Hell. Wine (alcohol) is the mother of evils. Each one of you must resort to a place of four cubits (the grave). Your affairs will be decided ultimately in the next life. He who pardons is himself granted pardon. He who forgives others, is forgiven by God for his sins. He who represses anger, God rewards him. He who faces misfortunes with perseverance, God compensates him. He who shows patience and forbearance, God gives him a double reward. He who disobeys God, God chastises him.”

This is a speech which came out from the Prophet’s heart so that it reached the people easily and it had a considerable influence on them. It is a prerequisite for anyone who tells the people about their Creator that his speech should come out from the heart.

If you want to offer advice to any one, you should mend your hear first. When you have a sincere intention in your heart, your influence on people will be stronger, i.e. people will understand your words and comprehend your gestures as the Sheikh says in this word of wisdom.

The Prophet’s companions also gave very fluent speeches which did not change the people only but changed the history. Abu Bakr As-Siddiq (may God be pleased with him) said: “I have been given the authority over you, and I am not the best of you. If I do well, help me; and if I do wrong, set me right.” `Umar ibn Al-Khattab (may God be pleased with him) said: “When did you enslave people whose mothers bore them free?”  `Uthman ibn `Affan ((may God be pleased with him) said: “O people, you need a credible and an active ruler not a useless ruler.” Ali ibn Abi Talib (may God be pleased with him) said: “The keeper of a safe dies and what he guards and the treasures remain, however, a man of knowledge lives throughout the ages.”

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The article is excerpted from “Some of Al-Hikam Al-Ataiyyah” (The Path to God: A Journey with Ibn `Ata’illah’s Words of Wisdom In the Light of the Quran, the Prophetic Tradition, and Universal Laws of God- By Dr. Jasser Auda

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The Incredible Journey of “The Fortunate Slave: Ayuba Suleiman Diallo

The Incredible Journey of “The Fortunate Slave: Ayuba Suleiman Diallo

“The Fortunate Slave” is a famous painting painted by William Hoare in 1734. What makes this painting extraordinary is that among all the paintings of the famous English men and women of the 18th century, this is the very first in which the subject is black. So, who is this man?

He is Ayuba Suleiman Diallo (1701-1773).

Diallo was born and raised in Eastern Senegal to a prominent Muslim family. Always known for his great intelligence and memory from a young age, by the time he was fifteen  Ayuba had memorized the entire Qur’an and familiarized himself with the Malaki School of Islamic Law.

Unfortunately for Diallo, his life critically changed; from one of study and scholarship to the horrors of slavery. Sinegal was a major victim to the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. By the age of forty he was captured, enslaved and shipped to the United States.

Despite the cruelty and abuse he faced he always remained devoted to his Islamic identity and rituals, going to nearby woods to pray five times a day. After his owners humiliated him he flee the plantation before being recaptured and prisoned. By his own enterprise, and assisted by a series of spectacular strokes of fortune, Diallo arrived in London in 1733.

What happened to him after that? How did he remain stable and committed to his Islamic identity? How was depicted in this famous painting? What about the red book hung around his neck in the painting?

How did he impact Britain’s understanding of West African culture, black identity and, most importantly, of Islam? WHat do we learn from his life journey?

Learn about this and listen to the Story of “The Fortunate Slave”…

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Source: Digital Mimbar

 

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Witnessing God’s Bounty and Your Shortcomings: 23rd Stop of Your Spiritual Journey to God

Witnessing God’s Bounty and Your Shortcomings: 23rd Stop of Your Spiritual Journey to God

By Dr. Jasser Auda

The twenty third stop of your spiritual journey to God: “If you want the doors of hope opened, recall what He offers you, and if the doors of awe opened, recall what you offer Him.”

Hope & Owe

Sometimes our sins, forgetfulness, and lusts block our ways to God. Therefore, we do not feel an overwhelming longing to Him. The Sheikh here guides us to two doors which can be opened by reason, the tool that God granted us and that can be used at any time. The two doors are that of hope and awe.

The questions that the Sheikh is answering here are: how can the door of hope be opened while I do not feel this hope in my heart? How can the door of awe be opened for me while I do not feel this awe in my heart?

The answer is: try to calculate the bounties that God bestowed on you, and calculate the acts of worship and the good deeds that you offered for Him.

As for God’s bounties, they cannot be counted in any way. God says: “For, should you try to count God’s blessings, you could never compute them!” (An-Nahl 16:18) When you remember one of God’s bounties, you will realize how generous, merciful, and most forbearing He is. When you are preoccupied by these meanings, the door of hope in God’s generosity, forbearing, and mercy will be opened for you.

When you remember your shortcomings to ascend to the level of thankfulness, the level of mentioning God or the level of worship, then the door of awe will be opened in your heart.

A servant’s condition should vary between hope and awe so that he will become, as Ibn Al-Qayyim describes, like a bird with two wings; one wing for hope and the other for awe.

Striking a balance between the opposites is one of the invariable universal laws of God. Here we should strike a balance between hope and awe so that the bird can fly because it cannot fly with one wing.

One should be cautious that his hope does not turn to a feeling of being secured, i.e. one feels that he is saved from God’s punishment:

And they say, ‘The fire will most certainly not touch us for more than a limited number of days.’ (Aal `Imran 3:24)

The verse was revealed regarding some of the previous nations who had a belief that they are God’s chosen people, regardless of their actions. Nowadays, some Muslims think that as long as they are Muslims, they can do whatever they want and they will not be harmed. God says: “But none feels secure from God’s deep devising save people who are (already) lost.” (Al-A`raf 7:99)

Hope should not become a state of being secured or that there is a guarantee that God will bestow His mercy on you. The only guarantee is your actual admission to Paradise.

Without Despair

Awe should not lead one to a feeling of despair. God says: “Say: ‘Thus speaks God:’ ‘O you servants of Mine who have transgressed against your own selves! Despair not of God’s mercy: behold, God forgives all sins – for, verily, He alone is much-forgiving, a dispenser of grace!’” (Az-Zumar 39:53) In another verse, we read, “… and do not lose hope of God’s life-giving mercy: verily, none but people who deny the truth can ever lose hope of God’s life-giving mercy.” (Yusuf 12:87)

What we need is to strike a balance between hope and awe. We have to repent to God and seek His forgiveness. At the same time, we should worry that God may not accept our deeds or that He will not grant us forgiveness because of our sins and shortcomings. Our sins should not turn us away from having hope in God’s mercy. Likewise, hope should not keep us away from fearing Him.

We pray to God to grant us the good understanding and open for us the doors of hope and awe in order that our spiritual status is improved and that we follow the right path and do not go astray.

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The article is excerpted from “Some of Al-Hikam Al-Ataiyyah” (The Path to God: A Journey with Ibn `Ata’illah’s Words of Wisdom In the Light of the Quran, the Prophetic Tradition, and Universal Laws of God- By Dr. Jasser Auda

 

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New Reverts’ Christmas Dilemma

New Reverts’ Christmas Dilemma

By Diva Allott

So you’re a new Muslim and it’s that time of year again, Christmas.

As a child it was one of our most awaited days of the year, to run downstairs and find all the beautifully wrapped gifts under the luminous Christmas tree.

Helping to prepare the dinner was a crucial part of this awaited day, we would then settle down on the sofa watching ‘Miracle on 34th. Street’ and then we would all pull our crackers and wear our Christmas hats.

As Muslims, we can’t celebrate Christmas as it is a Christian celebration. We believe that Jesus (peace be upon him) is a Prophet and not the son of God and that Allah is the only God, and we do not associate any others with Him. For many of you this can be a very difficult time as new Muslims, as your family may not understand and appreciate your new found beliefs.

In my first year as a Muslim I found Christmas very difficult, I had never celebrated Christmas in a religious way but just enjoyed all the traditions of sharing food, watching films and exchanging gifts with my family.

Also, I felt very bad as my mother is a widow and to leave her to celebrate Christmas alone pained me so much, I felt guilty. I knew that I couldn’t celebrate it so I tried my best to stay away over Christmas day.

I didn’t buy any gifts for any of my family as that is equivalent to celebrating it, and I struggled as I love seeing people’s joy when receiving an anticipated gift. I often went down a week or so before Christmas so my mother didn’t feel alone and she and other members of my family would always leave me gifts.

It is fine to accept the gifts on the grounds that it is not a religious emblem representing Christmas, or alcohol, or meat slaughtered purposely for Christmas or statues. I would accept the gifts and give thanks to them. The Prophet (peace be upon him) never used to refuse a gift from the Banu Israel (Jews) or from the Christians during their attributed festivities.

How to Cope with Christmas

Just think how much money you will save!

Now you know that you are not alone in your struggle and that al-hamdu lillah there are many more reverts experiencing a similar journey to you. Let’s focus on how to cope with Christmas.

First of all, don’t be sad that you have left Christmas behind in your new journey as a Muslim as God has blessed you with two celebrations Eid Al-Fitr and Eid Al-Adha. Just think how much money you will save! While everybody is running around like headless chickens worrying whether they have remembered everything on the Christmas list, sent all the cards and bought all the food, you can sit back and take the back seat. It is strange how funny the panic of Christmas is when you’re outside, watching all the fuss for just one day of the year.

Although Christmas may be difficult for you when you think how your family must be feeling having to continue their celebrations without you. Let them know why you can’t celebrate Christmas but that you are still the same person they know and love. Try avoiding going to visit family on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day or Boxing Day to avoid getting roped into the celebrations. Maybe you can go a few days before or after the celebrations just to let them know you’re there.

Another way of coping with Christmas is to use the holidays as a chance to improve on your Islamic knowledge, perhaps read some Quran, books of Hadith or just spend time making du`aa’ (prayer) and thanking God for the life He has given you as a Muslim.

This year, I decided to buy my family present for `Eid and try to involve them in my festivities to soften their hearts and in sha’ Allah (God willing) one day they will see the beauty of Islam and embrace it. For Eid al-Fitr I bought my mum and myself a trip to an all-women’s SPA for a chance for us to spend time together and to relax. She really appreciated the present as I don’t buy her gifts for Christmas, she felt like I had made an attempt to include her. For my aunt, I bought her a massive basket full of fresh fruit and decorated with ribbons. She loved the present and the feeling of being included. The first time I bought my mum a present for Eid I didn’t know whether she would be happy or offended. At first she said I don’t want anything for Eid because I don’t celebrate it. I said then: ‘I give you this present with the intention for `Eid, and if you wish to save it for Christmas then do as you will.’

Children & Christmas

Dealing with children in Christmas can also be difficult as they may feel jealous of their peers at school knowing they will return after the holiday bestowed with new gifts, toys and clothes. Teach your children the origins of Christmas and explain to them why Muslims do not celebrate it and that although the children have been offered many gifts for their celebrations that as Muslims, God has promised us much more in the afterlife and has blessed us with two `Eids.

When `Eid comes around, create your own family atmosphere as your family did with you at Christmas, build up the excitement and the anticipation of `Eid, but emphasize that it is not about gifts but about spending time with family and giving thanks to God on this special day. A good idea is to buy advent calendars around the Christmas period and keep them until `Eid and allow your children to begin opening them on the countdown to `Eid.

During this festive time, remember that you are not alone and that many others are on the same journey as you. Remember God and give thanks to Him for all that He has blessed you with at this time, don’t be envious of those celebrating Christmas as God has promised us so much more. Just be thankful for being shown the true light.

In sha’ Allah I hope that none of you struggle too much during this time and find the strength and faith to get through this busy period of the year.

You are all in my thoughts and my du`aa’ and may Allah bless each and every one of you for reading this article and seeking further knowledge.

Ameen.

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Source: onislam.net

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