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Monday, December 01, 2014

General manners when attending lectures



General manners when attending lectures

Please bear the following in mind:

1. Please park in place that is not obstructing anyones vehicle or driveway.

2. Please arrive on time with materials to take notes

3. Lower one's gaze in presence of the opposite gender in the car park and stall area.

4. Maintain ablution throughout lecture.

5. Turn phone off or silent if in needed (life or death).

6. Wait patiently with either reading ones notes or reading salawat.

7. Shoes should all be placed in lines in an orderly fashion.

8. Brothers should be sat in neat lines as in prayer.

9. Ideally white jubba and hat should be worn.

10. Use breaks to renew wudu, rest, review notes and avoid backbiting at all costs.

11. When lecture begins pay attention and do not be distracted by noises outside.

12. Children who cannot remain silent should be left with a carer. Do not let one's children to be a nuisance to others. Leave them in the crèche and do not allow them to disturb others.

13. If you have to leave for dire need then leave quietly and do not disturb others.

14. Do not speak to your neighbour when the teacher is speaking.

15. Come to the lecture with questions in your hearts and allow the answers to flow from the Sheikh's tongue.

16. Do not crowd to the front to greet the Sheikh. Come if Sheikh allows it and do not make unreasonable requests.

17. Do not eat in the prayer area rather in designated areas.

18. Leave when lectures are over as organisers may need to close the Masjid.

19. Beware of taking photos with your phones as some may flash.

20. Please allow audio and visual team space to do their job.

21. Learn, practice and enjoy!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

I condemn you all




I condemn you all

Why should I say anything?

Why should I condemn?

Because you told me to?

Because I should act for justice?

Then let me begin

Are you sitting comfortably?

I condemn those who fabricated a war for natural resources

I condemn those who engineer consent to genocide

I condemn those who invaded peaceful counties

I condemn those who encouraged others to invade

I condemn the racist media - a product of war propaganda

I condemn those who steal land from the massacred

I condemn those who support murderers

I condemn those who bring peace with guns and bombs

I condemn the war machine

I condemn those who with guns

I condemn those who kill and harm innocent civilians

I condemn those who point fingers at others for less

I condemn those who ignore their own criminals

I condemn those companies who exploit modern slaves

I condemn all who fund groups to destabilise sovereign nations

I condemn those who bomb civilians and send in the troops

I condemn those who torture people

I condemn you all who keep innocents behind bars

I condemn you all

I condemn all those who kill, maim, and harm innocents in any manner

I condemn you all repeatedly

Did you get all that?

Did I cover it all?

You wanted my condemnation

Here is my condemnation

I hope it makes you happy


Saturday, November 08, 2014

Bidyah Al-Sul fi Tafdil al-Rasul


Based on the text by Sheikh Izzuddin Abdussalam about the many virtues of the Blessed Prophet (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him)






Saturday, November 01, 2014

Ahl Al-Bayt - forty hadith Sheikh Yusuf Al-Nabahani

Correction on categories of Ahl Al-Bayt
According to Hanafis: five groups of the tribe of Hashim: the family of Ali, Jafar, 'Aqil, Al-Abbas and Al-Harath son of Abd Al-Muttalib.

Shafis: the tribe of Hashim and Al-Muttalib

Hanbalis and Malikis: the tribe Hashim (Source Commentry Jawhar Al-Tawheed)







Monday, October 20, 2014

The Ideal Masjid: my dream




For some time I have thought about the ideal masjid, how it would be and what would it be. Of course the perfect masjid is the masjid of the Prophet (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) in Medinah. Anything else is very far from perfection because of the fact that is the place that the blessed body of the Prophet (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) rests. 

Okay so what am I actually after then? What would the best masjid be like in the UK? What do we need in the UK?  We have major problems with politics in western masjids. There are just too many egos involved for any masjid to be considered in this post. So well done all those who are doing better job than disbelievers by turning people away from praying in the masjids because of the fireworks of the committees members!



Ethnic nonsense

Someone told me how different ethnic groups were fighting trying to take control of the masjid. If you are doing this then you are not worthy of serving the community. So whom are you serving? Your own inflated egos because Allah is not served except by worship for Him and not by putting your name on the committee list. 

People turn away from the masjids when they hear stories of the old people fighting in the masjids with their walking sticks! Let us get one thing straight now, the state of our masjids is nothing but deplorable. Maybe a few are getting close to what they should be but most are failing. 

So here, I would like to outline some things I would like to see. Some businesses have the policy that their staff reflect the people present in the surrounding location. Muslims have a lot to learn from the standards and service of non-Muslims. Many times, Muslims treat their own with disrespect and it is a sad fact of the times we live in.

Back to our subject at hand. Masjid committees must be made up of the attendees. In terms of age, background and nationality. All too often, we find people pretending to do for the sake of Allah but are really doing it for the sake of their nafs. As much as the building is impressive, the more depressing is how the committee works.  Money was taken by the committee members from family and others, in less than ethical manners. They are unconcerned where the money comes from or whether it was halal or not.


Tranquility

Masjids should be a place of security and serenity. Instead of what they are, a battle ground for old people with sticks. It is no wonder that people do not go to the masjids. The punishment for turning one person away from the masjid is almost as bad as enjoining disbelief. When they actually see the punishment only then they will realise their error. Until then its business as usual in the old boys club! Because a masjid is for the sake of Allah and not old men! If it is for the sake of your name and standing in society then you already have your reward which was your name on the building. So do not expect any reward for an old boys club or from Allah!


How should it look like?

Good question, traditionally when Muslims came into countries they would evaluate what was good about that country and give it a new lease of life. In things like the building of architecture and other good things. You will find masjids in India reflecting the architecture that was their previously. Masjids have some signs of being made from temples. In terms of domes but with minarets. Look at Chinese masjids and there is very little to differentiate them from the temples of the previous religious traditions. Look at the masjids in Morocco and how the minarets are different to other geographical areas in the Muslim world. Other minarets are circular and longer. So the masjids reflected the architecture of the people present in that area. It was not something very alien to that culture implanted there and looking at out of place as a banana tree in a park!


Purpose built

Interestingly enough most masjids were previously churches whose congregation no longer attend. So they go up for sale. So in terms of the exterior little can be changed without planning permission. Internally the structure is changed to suit the needs of the attendees. Often this means that extra space has to be found and more work needs to be done internally. Often all that is done externally is a change of signs. Having purpose built masjids is sometimes the answer but it is expensive and it can be an eyesore to non-Muslims locals.

So we have to bear this in mind at the design stage. Parking is another pain for local residents on Fridays, funerals and other events. So the masjid needs adequate parking and attendants at busy times. Alternatively, areas where they are allowed to park. Ideally, we would like to have parking attendants that would look and check where people park. Rather than have people park on pavements because, they cannot park on streets! Is it only me who thinks this is illogical! A purpose build masjid must have sufficient parking for at least one hundred cars or even more, but this depends on the size of the masjid. However, it is better for people to walk for long distances to get to jummah.


Exterior and Interior

Now there needs to be some reflection on the architecture here in this country. So that the indigenous non-Muslim population do not see the building as alien to their sensibilities, rather it should be seen as a fabric of that region. So the building itself is an act of Dawah. Please see the two following pictures explaining the ground floor of the masjid.




Abu Hanifah (may Allah show him mercy) recommended white washed walls without decoration. We see the opposite in many masjids in the UK, it is almost like doing to a disco and there are far too many pictures. This should be shocking for everyone because you do not see this in places they come from. But there must be some die hard disco lovers of the eighties on the committees! All signs must be outside on the walls before the prayer area, so there are no confusing lights for worshippers. I wonder about those who have reactions to strobe lighting, how do they pray in the discos?

Access for disabled must be taken into consideration when designing entrances and staircases, lifts etc.

I was thinking about the stained glass that is commonly found in churches, it was stolen from the Muslims! Heating and lighting should be by the means of solar power and water and other things should be recycled or environmentally friendly. As well as all cleaning, materials should be biodegradable. The building must be energy efficient and friendly to the environment. You can see the drawings of the possible floor plans. Additional 'student' flats should be part of the masjid properties. The reason for this is to provide revenue to the masjid. In addition, a shop that sells religious books and clothing should also be part of the building. These would make use of revenue that is entering the masjid is lawful and makes it less reliant on committee members seeking funding.
Essentially the exterior could be in any style but it does need a sign that helps is stand out as a masjid.


Committee members

As we said before we think committees members should be made up of the most knowledge members of the community. Not retired uncles who are ready to wield walking sticks when disagreement occurs. Alternatively, have no committee at all and just the Imam in charge. Ideally we need and Imam and a scholar who heads the committee and they make the final choice. The more I think about it dissolving the committee forever seems like the best option. Why because they many do not understand the importance of Islamic knowledge.

If they are to be kept in place then a code of conduct needs to be written up. Anyone trying to oust someone else loses his or her place and the place of their relatives for the foreseeable future. No two relatives can be on the board at any one time without exception. People can resign and the committee can dissolved if fighting occurs. These are some additional conditions and more can be added depending on circumstances.


General guidelines

We would like them to be clearly displayed before attendants enter the prayer:

1. No one is allowed to approach anyone because they think they are praying incorrectly. This issue causes many people not to return to masjids once they are approached by bearded individual who offends them.

2. Everyone is welcome and accepted. People must greet each other especially those who they do not know.

3. Only mainstream Sunni Islam can be taught here.

4. No one can disturb anyone's prayer or Quranic recitation.

5. Everyone must show respect to each other.

6. No one is better than anyone else except by Taqwa/piety and that is hidden.
If no committee, members agree to this then its better for the masjid to be a dictatorship with one leader and a set of volunteers.


Imam

This is the most important position of the masjid. He has to be a bilingual Imam and one of his languages must be English! There could be as many as four Imams, two part time and two full time. Also there needs to be a scholar who directs the teaching syllabus. As well as four callers to prayer. Ideally, they should all be paid but maybe the callers to prayers should voluntary. With specified tasks and times for each one. There is nothing wrong with having different languages but English is necessary. Speaking only in ones native tongue makes the masjid exclusive, which is one of the worst problems in our times.

Imams and scholars should also have more than another role or another lawful job outside the masjid.


Other services

The masjid has to have counselling services for the marital problems and drug addiction. We need to clean our own back yards. Either we charge for counselling services or they can be volunteers. We need to have a crèche for busy periods and maybe a nursery or a Muslim school. Having a Muslim school would make full use of the building. We do need qualified teachers or those who have been educated to degree level. They need to crb checked as do all those involved in the masjid.

Weddings could be held in the ground floor to raise money. Also finding compatible people to marry each other should also be priority.

The overflow in the masjid must be used in the basement or outside in the car park. Extra mats will be needed for this.


Masjid mortgage programme

This is something that could be a reality if done correctly. The plan for the masjid to raise funds locally for the project and when a million pounds is raised, we go to the next stage. Which is removing all the Muslims from interest based mortgages for their homes.

The programme buys the house that someone wants to buy. Then a separate agreement is made to give the house to the person after a fixed amount is paid. These programmes can free Muslims from this system with whole areas becoming mortgage free.

The same could be applied to insurance where people pay the going rate according to their situation without the debt of interest.


Women

This is also a big issue and the reason for including them in the design of the masjid is that every group except the Sunni's. If the Sunnis do not provide facilities for them then they will go elsewhere. You can pick up the groups from a hat. So the 'ladies area' is not classed as the masjid. They can enter the area in a state of menstruation or they can follow the Imam if they are praying.

The crèche in the masjid allows those with children to drop them off and attend functions or the prayer. As for attending prayers there are differences of opinion check your school but in Hanafi's fiqh women can attend prayers in no fitna is caused, fajr and Isha is mentioned. Yet we have to look at their safety but if they want to do then you cannot stop them. Their presence should not cause distress to her family, if she goes to prayer. There are other differences on what prayers they can attend.


Lessons

There needs to be general lessons for the public and specific lessons for seekers. General lessons are for everyone to enjoy and specific lessons are those who want to become scholars.

Knowledge is an important part of the masjid programme. Also deaf and blind should be considered when they attend classes or Khutbas.


Purpose

We want the masjid to be a place where people come together for the purpose of worship of Allah (the Exalted). Not a place of tribal loyalty and politics that resembles an old boys club. In other words a place that serves the committees members and not the needs of the community as they claim. Although not all this can be done but some of it can be.

We need some rich Muslims with insight to come together and do this. Maybe this may never come to fruition and it is just a dream. Who knows?

Rather than complain about the current situation of our masjids. I wanted to outline how the ideal masjid should be. Our towns and cities are full of masjids that are beautiful on the outside but ugly on the inside. If we do not change these problems then our children will face the same problems. Do we really want to see this awful problems passed on?

As usual, I am unable to change anything including myself but collectively we can change things. The vision is simple, make a masjid that serves Allah (the Exalted) by serving the needs of the people. It sounds simple but only a few masjids of the hundreds in this country actually do this. Most are just empty buildings except for twice a year. This is not progress, it is the exact opposite.

If those reading this are in a position of power then try to make small changes and ask the question. What are we not doing that needs to be done? This post holds all your answers but are there people brave enough to carry it out?