Thursday, December 21, 2006

A Battle for Values

This essay was written by British Prime Minister Tony Blair and published in the journal Foreign Affairs. Found at DeenPort

An excerpt:

To me, the most remarkable thing about the Koran is how progressive it is. I write with great humility as a member of another faith. As an outsider, the Koran strikes me as a reforming book, trying to return Judaism and Christianity to their origins, much as reformers attempted to do with the Christian church centuries later. The Koran is inclusive. It extols science and knowledge and abhors superstition. It is practical and far ahead of its time in attitudes toward marriage, women, and governance.

Under its guidance, the spread of Islam and its dominance over previously Christian or pagan lands were breathtaking. Over centuries, Islam founded an empire and led the world in discovery, art, and culture. The standard-bearers of tolerance in the early Middle Ages were far more likely to be found in Muslim lands than in Christian ones.

What is Islamic spirituality?

Summed up in the following story found at the blog zanjabil

Two Wolves

One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.

He said, "My son, the battle is between two “wolves” inside us all. One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority and ego.

The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: “Which wolf wins?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Book Recommendations

In my SunniPath class with Sheikh Faraz Rabbani, we were urged by our lumionous teacher to obtain several books, including these two:

Friday, December 08, 2006

Uneasy Havens Await Those Who Flee Iraq

From the New York Times

AMMAN, Jordan, Dec. 6 — Every day at dusk as the streets of this brooding city empty, people like Halima Reyahi scramble to become invisible again.

She sticks to side streets, her eyes scanning for the increasingly frequent police dragnets and checkpoints set up in search of illegal Iraqi immigrants like her. The loneliness of her exile is magnified by the fact that all four of her sons have been turned away repeatedly at the Jordanian border.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

South Africa Update #1

Alhumdulilah, my first trip to South Africa began in Johannesburg where I was stopped at the Oliver Tambo International Airport for about five hours and almost deported because I had (and still have) a full passport. It is a violation of South African immigration law to enter the country without at least one full, empty page in ones passport to receive a South African visa.

As soon as I handed my passport to the immigration official issuing visas, she told me my passport was full and needed to speak to her boss. That's really not a good sign. I've heard that before, especially when trying to enter the occupied West Bank from Jordan. I was detained last year by the Israeli army for seven hours when trying to re-enter the West Bank. So ... I was a bit nervous. I was thereafter escorted to a back hallway in the airport that housed the immigration official offices and was told quite curtly that I would be deported immediately because of my noncompliance with South African law. After a few hours of waiting and nimble negotiating by my professor, I was finally released, but the airline I was flying on was charged a hefty fine for not catching my full passport in the U.S.

But, aside from my passport dilemma, which was of course my fault, I have had an amazing stay on the Eastern Cape. I was a bit worried about whom I would stay with when arriving into East London, because I wasn't sure how I was going to figure out a prayer schedule and decline host family meals because of zabiha issues, but, alhumdulilah, I was told I was staying with a Muslim family and they were absolutely amazing. And they owned a butcher shop! I haven't eaten so much meat, especially sausage and hot dogs, for quite some time. They took me to the local mosques and I was able to meet the small, but very tight-nit East London Muslim community that was affected quite interestingly by apartheid.

After being in East London for a week and Morgan Bay for a few days, which is rather close to East London and occurred in between my stay in East London, I am now in Port Elizabeth for a day and a half. After PE, we will head to Cape Town for a week and then back to Jo'burg to fly from there back to the U.S. insha'Allah.

More updates later isha'Allah.