Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Turn to Allah

"O you who believe! Seek help in patience and the Prayer."
[Surah al-Baqarah; 2:153.]

Anytime you feel yourself full of fear or anxiety – pray and pray with a wakeful heart.

It has been reported that whenever our Prophet (Peace and Blessings Upon Him) found himself dealing with difficult issues, he turned to Bilal (Radhiallahu Anhu) and say
'O Bilal! Give us comfort and call for the prayer.'

In the many stories I have read, our Prophet (Peace and Blessings Upon Him) relied on the prayer in times of hardship and difficulty in addition to the obligatory prayers. There are some many righteous persons in the history of Islam who, when surrounded by difficulty, turn to prayer with all their strength, will and resolution. Thus, putting their despairs in the hands of our Almighty Allah.

We live in a different kind of generation and the type of despair we face is different and stronger than that faced by generations before us. In order to heal, we must return to our mosques (or even in the privacy of our homes) and seek Allah’s pleasure in prayer. The five required daily prayers allow us to achieve the greatest of Allah’s blessings: atonement for our sins and an increase in rank with our creator, the Almighty Allah. For those of us who choose to forget our prayers, Allah will not be pleased as He cannot help us if we do not put our trust and faith in Him.

"For them is destruction, and Allah will make their deeds vain."
[Surah Muhammad – Ayah 8.]

By allowing Allah to see our concerns and our fears, we depend on Him, we trust in Him, and we think highly of Him, and by patiently waiting for His guidance, we show we are true believers. Moreover, we should incorporate this in our actions and in our everyday lives so that Allah will care for us and protect us.

None of us can completely fight misfortunates alone nor can we fend off the disaster when it strikes. Allah did not create us with power that only exists in Greek mythology. In times of difficulty, Allah can give us that power and that strength if we trust in Him and seek His guidance through prayer.

"And put your trust in Allah if you are believers indeed."
[Surah Al-Ma’idah – Ayah 23.]

Monday, October 12, 2009

Islamic Recipes from Medieval Times:Jazariyyah

Ibn al-Mabrad p. 18

Meat is boiled with a little water. Carrots, garlic cloves and peeled onions are put with it, then crushed garlic is put with it. Some people put spinach with it also; some make it without spinach. Walnuts and parsley are put in.

2 lb meat (lamb)
4 carrots
6 whole garlic cloves (about .6 oz)
4 small onions (5 ounces)2 cloves crushed garlic
2 c spinach
1/4 c walnuts
1/4 c parsley
[1/2 t cinnamon]
[1/4 t pepper]
[1/4 t coriander]
[1/4 t salt]

Cut the lamb up small and put it in 1 1/2 c water with cinnamon, pepper, coriander and salt. Simmer 10 minutes. Add carrots cut up, whole garlic cloves, and small onions. Simmer 10 minutes. Add crushed garlic. Simmer 20 minutes. Add spinach. Simmer 10 minutes. Garnish with walnuts and parsley. The spices are based on similar recipes in al-Bagdadi.

Source: Badinjan Muhassa. Cariadoc's Miscellany, The Miscellany is Copyright (c) by David Friedman and Elizabeth Cook, 1988, 1990, 1992.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Ayat Al-Kursi #3: The Meaning

Ayat Al-Kursi is named because of the world “Kursi”. However, many people do not know the significance or meaning of the term “Kursi.” Iman Tabari wrote that the Companions (May Allah be pleased with them)of our Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings Upon Him) and the students of the Companions (May Allah be pleased with them) held strong and different opinions about the meaning of the word “Kursi” and many scholars feel that no one knows the actual meaning except for Allah Ta’Ala. Other scholars believe that the word “Kursi” refers to the Knowledge of Allah Ta’Ala and that his knowledge encompasses all that is the heavens and the earth. Some of the Companions (May Allah be pleased with them) and their students (May Allah be pleased with them) held the opinion that the word “Kursi” is another name for “throne” and the verse refers to the “Thorne of Allah the Most High.” Moreover, the Throne comprises the heavens and the earth.

Hafiz Ibn Kathir writes that ‘Abdullah bin ‘Abbas (Allah be well pleased with him) narrates that the meaning of the word Kursi in this verse is the Knowledge of Allah Most High, and His Knowledge encompasses the earth. Another opinion is that the Kursi is a creation of Allah Most High whose magnitude makes that of the heavens and the earth insignificant. Another opinion is, that due to the Throne praising Allah Most High it makes a “creaking” sound. This hadith has been recorded in many books, but in the chain of narrators, a narrator is unknown and therefore this narration cannot be authentic.

[Tafsir Ibn Kathir: Under Ayat al-Kursi. Hafiz Ibn Kathir]

Qadi Shawkani writes that the hadith, which mentions the creaking of the Throne, contains, in its chain of transmission, a narrator called ‘Abdullah bin Khalifah. He is unknown, and has heard nothing from ‘Umar (Allah be well pleased with him). The chain of narration does not even reach back to ‘Umar (Allah be well pleased with him). The hadith, which mentions a “Resting place of the two feet”, contains a narrator called al-Hakam al-Kufi, in its chain of transmission, who has been rejected (by the scholars of hadith).

[Fath al-Qadir: Under Ayat al-Kursi. Qadi Shawkani]

Allamah al-Allusi al-Hanafi writes that no one knows the true meaning of the word Kursi in this verse, except Allah Most High. Matters such as these are known as the mutashabihat.

[Ruh al-Mani: Under Ayat al-Kursi. Allamah al-Allusi al-Hanafi]
Source: Islamic Information Online

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Ayat al-Kursi #2: The translation

In the name of Allah the Most Merciful, and Compassionate Allah

There is no god but He,
The Living, the Everlasting,
Slumber seizes Him not, neither sleep,
To Him belongs all that is in the heavens and the earth.
Who is there that can intercede with His, except by His leave?
He knows what lies before them and what is after them,
And they comprehend not anything of His Knowledge save as He wills.
His throne comprises the heavens and the earth,
The preserving of them fatigues Him not,
And He is the All-High, All-Glorious.

[Al-Quran: Surat al-Baqarah, Ayah 255]

Friday, October 9, 2009

Islamic Recipes from Medieval Times: Eggplant Pancakes

Many recipes that come out the Middle East actually date back to the Middle Ages (the 10th through the 15th centuries). Many of them have, of course, changed over times, but there are books out there are offer authentic Islamic recipes, many of those come from Islamic cookbooks that have survived since the Middle Ages.

Here is a sweet eggplant recipe that involves cooking the eggplant and turning it into batter for eggplant pancakes. I would have to make my own version of this recipe as I am not sure if I can locate all the ingredients. I am an eggplant fan, and this should be an interesting twist to pancakes and eggplant.

Recipe of Eggplant Pancakes
1 large eggplant (1 lb 3 oz)
~2 qts water
~2 t salt
1/2 c bread crumbs
2-3 eggs1 T oil
1 1/4 t coriander
1 1/2 t cinnamon
2 T vinegar
2 T oil
2 t murri
2 large clove garlic
about 6 T oil for frying

Peel and quarter eggplant, boil 30 minutes. Drain, mash and mix with bread crumbs, eggs, oil, coriander and cinnamon. Crush garlic in a garlic press and mix up sauce. Fry in oil at medium high, about 1-2 minutes a side. Pour sauce over pancakes before serving.

Source: Badinjan Muhassa. Cariadoc's Miscellany, The Miscellany is Copyright (c) by David Friedman and Elizabeth Cook, 1988, 1990, 1992.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Ayat al Kursi #1: The Virtues

Recite Ayat al Kursi before going to sleep to seek Allah’s protect against all evils.

Recite Ayat al Kursi after every required prayer and you will be under Allah’s care and protection until you have completed your next prayer.

Our Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings upon Him) is reported to have said that “The one who recites it after each of the obligatory prayers, then death will be the only thing preventing him from entering al-Jannah.”

Abu-Harairah (RadAllhu Annhu) said that: “In Surah al-Baqaraah there is verse which is the best of all the verses of the Quran.” When recited in a home, Shaytan (Satan) leaves. “That verse is Ayat al Kursi.”

Source: Quran Study

Friday, October 2, 2009

Islam and Marriage #3: Rights and Duties of Spouses Part 2: The Husband’s Rights, The Wife’s Obligations

One of the main duties of a wife in Islam is to contribute to the success and happiness of the marriage. She must attend to the comfort and well-being her husband, as prescribed in this verse of the Quran: "Our Lord! Grant unto us wives and offspring who will be the comfort of our eyes and give us (the grace) to lead the righteous." (Quran 25:74)

An Islamic wife must be faithful, honest and trustworthy towards her husband. Moreover, she must not deceive her husband. She must not let strange males in her home without his knowledge or consent, and she must not be alone with strange males. Additionally, she should not accept gifts from other men without his approval.

An Islamic wife should not do anything to make her husband jealous or suspicious of her in any way. Moreover, she may not dispose of any of his belongs with his permission as this would violate the trust between the two.

A wife should try to make herself sexually attractive to her husband and respond to his advances. She must not refuse her husband as this will only lead to marriage problems and cause the husband to look for companionship outside of the home. However, a husband should consider his wife’s health, and more importantly, her needs.

There is much criticism about obedience in the marriage especially amongst western society and the media. Obedience is not meant to oppress but to keep the family unit together in an efficient manner. The husband and father, as the patriarch of the family, has the right to be obeyed, but not in a blind fashion. Obedience is something that must fall within the husband’s rights as well as the wife’s.

As noted in the previous post, wives are entitled to certain rights under Islam. First and foremost, it is the duty of the husband to provide for his wife and second, he must treat her with fairness, respect and kindness. Any rights owed to the husband arise out the duties of the husband. To distinguish between stereotypes and Islamic law, remind yourself that our Prophet’s (PBUH) was reported to have said: “The best Muslim is one who is the best husband.” In essence, the best husband is the one who respects the rights of his wife, and understands and prescribes towards the duties he owes to her first because as the patriarch of the family, his duties stand out.

The Quran Says:

"And thus preach joy to My servants.Those who listen to the word and follow the best of it. Those are the ones whom Allah has guided and they are the wise people." (39:17-18)