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LANALLAH __Islamic BlogZine__
Saturday, December 25, 2004

How should Muslims Behave in a University?

When a Muslim enters an university or college for the first time, he or
she comes into contact with a community whose culture and
lifestyle are diametrically opposed to the Islâmic way of life.

The culture of Western universities can only be described as
hedonistic, nihilistic and narcissistic. That is to say, many
inhibitions are let loose and individual whims and fancies run wild.

The freshman year itself begins with orientation, which while supposed
to be a process of introduction and transition to the university for
the first-year student, is an opportunity for most participants to
drown themselves (sometimes literally) in alcohol and pursue sexual

This sets the stage for the school year. On any given school day, a
student can choose to go to class, sleep in and skip the whole day,
drink, party, or study, all depending on how he or she feels at that

Individual desires become the first priority and everything else takes
a back seat. The uncontested reign of individualism is also reflected
in the values promoted by student councils and governments.

All lifestyles, especially those furthest from religion, are promoted.
Illicit, unlimited sex is seen as something to be sought and a basis
for building a macho reputation (as long you can avoid sexually
transmitted diseases for which purpose condoms and condom machines

Homosexuality is something promoted as a viable alternative.

Student campaigns and marches are organised against those who dare to
speak out and challenge this value structure; these challengers are
regarded as reactionary, undemocratic and, of course, religious
extremists and fundamentalists.

In the university community, therefore, the self is God, and everyone
loves this God and engages in daily worship, and obeys the laws that
this God creates, and everyone adjusts as these law, change on a daily

Into this atmosphere arrives the Muslim, who may or may not be
practising Islâm to the best of their ability.

The practising Muslim (and even the not so observant Muslim) knows that
Allah is the Creator and that the Holy Qur'ân is His Word.

And according to that Word, He has created death and life, that He may
test you which of you is best in deed.' (67:2)

Also, He says, 'And I created not the jinns and humans except to
worship Me.' (51:56)

So the purpose of the Muslim's existence is clear.

The conscious Muslim makes every attempt to, while pursuing his or her
studies, increase their knowledge of the Holy Qur'ân and Sunnah, so
that they may better understand and apply the faith.

The structure of this Muslim's day is around Salâh, and this person
juggles and adjusts their daily schedule and makes every effort to
insure that the five daily Salâh are performed on time.

Similarly, this individual understands the approach of Ramadân and
prepares for it, again making the necessary adjustments in order to
make sure that they are on top of their studies, that assignments are
being handed in, that the best marks are being achieved, all while the
requirements of the daily fasts are being met.

For the Muslim, Islâm is never an excuse for slacking off, whether in
academics or with respect to other responsibilities.

As well, the observant Muslim may choose to participate in those
activities and aspects of university life that neither contradicts the
Islâmic teachings nor distracts him from the responsibilities laid down
by the Holy Qur'ân and Sunnah and do not place the Muslim in positions
where he or she must compromise the faith.

Thus, the conscientious Muslim enters the University atmosphere and
struggles constantly to maintain structured set of priorities. He or
she follows Allâh's order: "So strive as in a race in good deeds."

On the other hand, there is also the borderline Muslim, who knows his
or her identity but whose consciousness of Islâm, due to upbringing or
experience, is not terribly strong.

This individual is on the 'borderline' because they are pulled one way
by their understanding of Islâm and in the opposite direction by the
powerful pressures of the university culture.

Is it at all surprising that many Muslims who are on the borderline
succumb to the pressures, of the atmosphere around them and become, at
best, part-time Muslims? At the end, the challenge is great.

All the Muslims in the university community have to struggle in order
to maintain their Islâm.

Those who are practising, committed and understand the objective of
their existence have, further duties:

· They must invite the borderliners with wisdom, intelligence
and understanding but with firmness as well; and
· They must inform the university community at large about Islâm
in the different ways that are available.

Yes, of course, the challenge is great. But insha-Allâh, with the
blessing of Allâh, the reward of that will be much greater than what we

O Allâh!, save us from all the deeds You do not like. O Allâh! Save us
from getting apart from Islâm.

Ar Rasheed, Vol.: 5, No.: 3, Page 3
Jamiatul Ulama Transvaal
Friday, December 10, 2004

Nice people don't go to hell

Adam Gorlick, Associated Press
November 13, 2004 MARINESUICIDE14

BELCHERTOWN, Mass. - Jeffrey Lucey was just an ordinary kid from small-town America. He grew up loving his parents, his high school sweetheart and backyard ballgames in this quiet, picturesque community bordering the Quabbin Reservoir.

Even his decision to enlist in the Marine Reserves - two years before the burst of patriotism following the 2001 terrorist attacks - was run-of-the-mill.

``He just wanted to prove he could cut it,'' his mother, Joyce Lucey, said.

But when Jeff returned to his parents' home in July 2003 after serving six months in Iraq as a truck driver, there was nothing ordinary left about him.

He started drinking too much. He became withdrawn, depressed and distant.

In June, after what his parents describe as months of mental and emotional torment, the lance corporal went down to the basement and hanged himself.

He was 23.

Just a few feet from where his father, Kevin, found him with a garden hose wrapped around his neck, Jeff had arranged a semicircle of family photos on the floor. The note he left said he could no longer deal with his emotional pain.

Upstairs, a pair of dog tags rested on his bed. His Marine-issue boots stood next to them.

Now, five months after his suicide, the Luceys are trying to make sense of how Jeff unraveled.

Shaun Lamory, one of Jeff's friends since high school, figures it this way: ``He was always the happiest kid in the world - he was too nice. And he was put into hell. And nice people don't go to hell.''

As of late October, 31 troops serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom had killed themselves while in Iraq. Figures for suicides soon after coming home from duty in Iraq or Afghanistan are less clear, but the Marines count 12.

``Military people are heavily vetted for any psychological problems before they enter the service,'' said Steve Robinson, executive director of the National Gulf War Resource Center. ``They're screened very well when they come in, and they're supposed to be screened very well when they leave. So when a Marine takes the ultimate step of checking out by taking his own life, it should make the hair on the back of your neck stand up. These are the guys who aren't supposed to do that.''

Military officials say the mental health of all troops is a major concern.

``We're always on the lookout for symptoms of anxiety, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and any symptoms that might predispose someone to PTSD,'' said Dr. Thomas Burke, programs director for the Defense Department's mental health policy. In the field, he added, troops are reminded that help is available.

Dr. Alfonso Batres, the VA's national director for readjustment counseling, said the stresses faced by soldiers in Iraq are greater than those that weighed on military personnel in the 1991 Gulf War.

``This is urban warfare,'' Batres said. ``There's no place to hide in Iraq. Whether you're driving a truck or you're a cook, everyone is exposed to extreme stress on a daily basis.''

With the help of their daughters - Debbie, 21 and Kelly, 25 - the Luceys have compiled a five-page timeline of key moments in Jeff's life from the time he enlisted in December 1999 to his death on June 22, 2004.

Jeff was the first to recognize he wasn't feeling right. When he left Iraq, he had to fill out forms asking if he had any traumatic experiences and whether he felt he needed help to deal with them.

On the first few forms he filled out, his parents say, Jeff wrote that he had memories of seeing ``dead people.'' Military buddies told him to stop saying that, his parents say, unless he wanted to be kept at Camp Pendleton for weeks of psychiatric evaluation.

His older sister's wedding was coming up, and he didn't want to risk missing it. When Jeff had the chance to ask for help before going back home, he didn't take it.

``We don't have the capacity to read minds,'' Burke said. ``We depend strongly on the willingness of the soldier to be forthcoming and seek out help if it's needed.''

Depression set in, and Jeff dealt with it by going on drinking binges. On Christmas Eve, he sat down with Debbie and, for the first time, told a chilling story.

In it, Jeff was about five feet away from two unarmed Iraqi soldier-prisoners - each about his own age - when he was ordered to shoot them. He said he looked them in their eyes before closing his own, then pulled the trigger.

``He took off two dog tags around his neck, threw them at me and said, 'Don't you understand? Your brother is a murderer,''' Debbie said.

The dog tags, which she said had Arabic letters scratched in them, were the ones her brother claimed he took from the soldiers he said he shot.

Debbie said she was too stunned - and her brother seemed too despondent - to ask any questions. She just listened.

Capt. Patrick Kerr, a spokesman for the Marine Forces Reserve, said the military's investigation found nothing at all to back up Jeff's claims that he shot the prisoners.

``There was no documented evidence to support that he had any engagement with the enemy, whatsoever,'' Kerr said.

If Jeff was indeed delusional, it's unlikely he realized his ``memories'' were false.

``When people start having delusions, they're very believable,'' said Michael Addis, an associate professor of psychology at Clark University in Worcester.

He said psychotic episodes such as hallucinations and delusions are often triggered by stressful situations. Those who experience them are usually around Jeff's age - somewhere between late adolescence and early adulthood - and have a genetic vulnerability to mental illness, Addis said.

In the weeks after telling his sister the story, he showed other signs of a breakdown: ducking for cover at the sound of someone dropping a book at Holyoke Community College, where he was taking classes; having nightmares and paranoid hallucinations, imagining he saw people following him. Eventually, he stopped going to school.

A friend, Shaun Lamory, saw other changes in the once-outgoing, friendly kid he'd known in high school - ``the type of guy who was friends with everybody'' and not a drinker back then.

When he returned from Iraq, his drinking became ``disgusting.'' During a chat one day between classes at the college, Lucey pulled out a whiskey bottle filled with wine and started drinking.

``What's going on, man?'' Lamory says he asked his friend. ``What are you doing to yourself?''

As he drank, Lucey told him about a small Iraqi boy he saw, riddled with bullets and lying dead in the street with an American flag clutched in his hand. Jeff said his truck was being shot at while he was driving by the boy, but he jumped out and brought the boy's body into an alley - sparing it from more bullet holes. He said he brought the bloodstained flag with him.

``He said whenever he goes home at night he just goes into his room and cries and stares at the flag,'' Lamory said.

He believed his friend was working through his war experience, and the last time he saw Lucey, in May, ``He seemed totally hopeful and happy. I got the feeling he worked it all out.''

But other signs pointed in a different direction, including childlike behavior - coaxing his sisters into Whiffle ball games and asking his father if he could sit in his lap. The last time he did that was the night before he died.

In early May, Jeff told Debbie the only thing preventing him from killing himself was that he didn't want to hurt their parents.

He began seeing a private therapist, but his family was also urging him to go to the Veterans Affairs Hospital, about 20 miles away in Northampton.

He refused. He expected that his Marine Reserve unit would be activated again, and he didn't want anyone to find out he was having problems. Neither Jeff nor his parents realized that the military would never be told about any treatment he received at the VA.

``He pleaded with us not to contact his unit or the VA,'' his father said. ``Here he is, hurting like hell, and he was caught between his humanity to help himself and his training to not show weakness.''

On the Friday before Memorial Day, his family finally persuaded him to go to the VA, where they had him involuntarily committed because he was showing violent and suicidal tendencies. Four days later, the Luceys received a call from Jeff asking to be picked up at the hospital. He had just been discharged, he told them.

``Nobody from the VA said anything to us,'' Kevin Lucey said. ``Jeff said a counselor spoke to him for a little bit before he was discharged, and that was it. We didn't meet with anyone during his discharge meeting. We put our blind faith in the VA, and they just let him leave without telling us anything about his condition.''

Dr. Gonzalo Vera, chief of inpatient mental health at the Northampton VA, said confidentiality laws prevent him from discussing the case. But he said families that are actively involved with a veteran's care are usually involved in their treatment.

``That includes involving them in the discharge planning,'' he said.

However, if a patient who has been involuntarily committed requests to be discharged and the hospital staff finds that he is no longer at risk, they are required to let him leave as soon as possible.

A few days later - on Debbie's graduation day from Holyoke Community College - Jeff deteriorated even more. He insisted on driving to the graduation alone, and was drunk when he got there.

``Jeff was totally gone,'' Debbie said.

Back at the Luceys' home, Jeff became more despondent and his family brought him back to the VA that evening. But he wouldn't admit himself, and because he didn't appear to be a danger to himself or others, the VA refused to take him as an involuntary commitment.

In mid-June, Jeff had learned through the Northampton hospital about a counseling service called the Vet Center in Springfield run by the VA.

He met with a counselor and set up some more sessions. The Luceys took it as a sign of progress.

But about a week after getting in touch with the counselor, Jeff laced a garden hose around the wooden rafters in his parents' basement and hanged himself.

``Maybe we should've done so many different things,'' Kevin Lucey said. ``But you start rationalizing things - we thought that if he stopped drinking, he'd be OK. You don't want to admit there's a problem. And then it's just too late.''

Crimes in Iraq
How America Wages War in Iraq
By Firas Al-Atraqchi
Freelance Columnist
US marine pointing his rifle at a wounded Iraqi in a mosque
Millions of viewers around the world were horrified when their local news media broadcast footage of a US soldier killing at point blank range a wounded Iraqi man lying in a mosque.
Pool journalist Kevin Sites, an embed traveling with US marines, shot the footage and later said the man appeared unarmed and unthreatening. This is what the footage showed.
“He's (expletive) faking he's dead!”
“Yeah, he's breathing,” another Marine is heard saying.
“He's faking he's (expletive) dead!” the first Marine says.
A Marine raises his rifle toward the wounded prisoner lying on the floor and umps a bullet into his head. US networks blurred the image or blacked it out. The BBC showed it. So did Aljazeera. As the wounded man is shot, his legs rise in the air in reaction to the impact of the bullet to his skull. Blood is spattered on the mosque wall behind him.
“He's dead now,” a Marine is heard saying.
There is no escaping this was a war crime. Now the world can see for itself that the torture and murderof Iraqis while in detention at Abu Ghraib was not an isolated matter.
How many more Iraqis were killed in this way that video cameras were not able to capture?
Hello America. This is your US army, valiant and proud. Today we will review the finer merits of military strategy when taking and maintaining a hold on a vibrant city of some 300,000 men, women and children.
Step 1: The Media.
This has to fully comply with our strategic goals by ensuring that key words are repeated thoroughly when referring to a certain subject matter. In Fallujah’s case, we will allow the media to repeat words like “bastion,” “stronghold,” “insurgent base,” “insurgent center of Iraq,” “terrorist heart of the Sunni triangle,” and so on, until all semblance that this was once a city bustling with civilian life is erased from the psyche and the reader is fully engrossed in the mandated logic that the US military is fighting insurgents in their terrorist base.
Furthermore, ensure that the local and world media toe the line when it comes to reporting about Fallujah and any other military campaigns:
Iraq’s media regulator has warned news organisations to stick to the government line on the US-led attack in Falluja or face legal action.
“We hope you comply ... otherwise we regret we will be forced to take all the legal measures to guarantee higher national interests,” the statement said, without elaborating.
Count on a media blackout and our ordinary citizens’ ignorance to ensure they do not realize that our tactics are as terrorist and inhumane as those of countries we previously condemned on the world stage:
The fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood seized Hama as the first step towards its goal of a national uprising against the secular Baathist regime. The Syrian President demanded their surrender. His army shelled the city, and special forces went in to kill or capture the militants. The Syrians employed the same strategy that the US is using now. Its tanks and artillery waited outside the city; they fired on militants and civilians alike. Its elite units, like the American Marines surrounding Falluja today, braced themselves for a bloody battle.
The US condemned Syria for the assault that is believed to have cost 10,000 civilian lives. The Syrian army destroyed the historic centre of Hama, and it rounded up Muslim rebels for imprisonment or execution. Syria's actions against Hama came to form part of the American case that Syria was a terrorist state. Partly because of Hama, Syria is on a list of countries in the Middle East whose regimes the US wants to change (Charles Glass in Sulaymaniyah, The Independent, November 9, 2004).
Step 2: Public relations. Tell the world the city we are about to storm has been emptied of civilians:
Mohammed Abboud said he watched his nine-year-old son bleed to death at their Falluja home yesterday, unable to take him to hospital as fighting raged in the streets and bombs rained down.
“My son got shrapnel in his stomach when our house was hit at dawn, but we couldn't take him for treatment,” said Mr Abboud, a teacher.
“We buried him in the garden because it was too dangerous to go out” (Fadel al-Badrani for the BBC in Fallujah, November 10, 2004).
Make sure our soldiers know that they aren't fighting for the people of Iraq but for cold revenge:
I'm not sure it will be better when we're gone, but it's gotten to the point of retribution for all the things that have happened. The beheadings, the bombings and everything (Tom Lasseter Knight Ridder/Tribune news – November 13).
Even if Fallujah has to go the way of Carthage, reduced to shards, the price will be worth it. We need to demonstrate our strength of will to the world, to show that there is only one possible result when madmen take on America (Ralph Peters, New York Post, November 4).
“This is for the Americans of Blackwater that were murdered here in 2004 Semper Fidelis (always faithful),” is scrawled in black print on a section of the bridge across the Euphrates where the remains of two out of four Americans, killed by a mob in Fallujah at the end of March, were hung.
The graffiti is signed “3-5”, an abbreviation of the 3rd Battalion 5th Marines, one of the units that is taking part in a massive US-Iraqi assault on the rebel stronghold to regain control of the city.
It finished with: “PS, Fuck You” (AFP, November 14).
“I see the little kids in the cars and I feel sorry for them, but when they turn 16 they’re evil.” (Lindsey Hilsum, with the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force in Fallujah, November 14, 2004)
Tell enough lies to our troops until even our own spokesman starts to believe them:
The goals are simple: to win the gratitude of Fallujah civilians who will no longer have to cope with Iraqi and foreign fighters in their midst; and to demonstrate to other insurgent-dominated towns and cities what can happen if they refuse to participate peacefully in the Iraqi political process (John Diamond, Steve Komarow and Tom Squitieri, USA TODAY, November 12).
Let our troops know that God wants them to kill Iraqis in Fallujah, that US President George Bush received direct orders from the Divine that war was sanctioned in Fallujah:
The marines that I have had wounded over the past five months have been attacked by a faceless enemy,” said Colonel Gareth Brandl. “But the enemy has got a face. He's called Satan. He lives in Falluja. And we're going to destroy him” (Paul Wood, BBC News, embedded with US Marines near Fallujah, November 7).
We must not be afraid to make an example of Fallujah. While we always seek to fight humanely, the most humane thing we can do in that tormented city is just to win, to burn out the plague of fanaticism and prove to Iraq's people that the forces of terror will not be allowed to enslave them (Ralph Peters, New York Post, November 4).
Tell the Iraqi people that their own representatives in the interim government are negotiating a peaceful settlement, while in reality, we are preparing for a major assault:
Although the Fallujah operation has lasted less than a week, it was several weeks in the planning and the forces involved may be tied down establishing stability for some time to come (John Diamond, Steve Komarow and Tom Squitieri, USA TODAY – November 12).
Make the fighting seem like a video game our young soldiers may have played a few years ago, or even better, a Hollywood production:
“A psychological operations Humvee drove by, blaring Richard Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries,” the music used in a famous helicopter attack scene in the movie “Apocalypse Now” (James Janega, Chicago Tribune staff reporter, November 10).
Step 3: Kill everything in sight.
Fire at everything that moves. This will guarantee that we save our own skins. Fire before you even know what you are firing at:
“Jump out. Kick in door. Spray machine-gun fire. Run to rooftop. Kill enemy. Jump back into armored vehicle. Move to new location” (Tom Lasseter, Knight Ridder/Tribune news, November 13).
To disarm possible booby traps, mines, and other explosives, the advancing forces fired rockets charged with plastic explosives down the empty streets and alleys, which detonated a number of jury-rigged bombs (Anne Barnard, Boston Globe Staff, November 9, 2004).
“I'm supposed to shoot into the houses before our troops go in”, a weary Porter told an Agence France-Presse correspondent in this dusty, devastated city that was once home to around 300,000 Sunni Muslims.
Shoot unarmed Iraqi soldiers. It’s okay; we’ll probably get a few Purple Hearts for it:
Jeff was about five feet away from two unarmed Iraqi soldier-prisoners - each about his own age - when he was ordered to shoot them. He said he looked them in their eyes before closing his own, then pulled the trigger.
He took off two dog tags around his neck, threw them at me and said, ‘Don't you understand? Your brother is a murderer,’ Debbie said (Adam Gorlick, Associated Press, November 13).
A US marine has sparked world-wide revulsion after being seen shooting an injured and helpless Iraqi. The sickening scene was broadcast by Channel 4 News after a fire-fight in the rebel stronghold of Falluja.
The trigger-happy soldier had been asked to get nearer to the injured man. But instead of trying to capture him, the marine is seen leaning over a wall and cold-bloodedly shooting him (Paul Gilfeather, Political Editor, Sunday Mirror, November 14).
“I decided to swim … but I changed my mind after seeing U.S. helicopters firing on and killing people who tried to cross the river.”
He watched horrified as a family of five was shot dead as they tried to cross. Then, he “helped bury a man by the river bank, with my own hands.”
“I kept walking along the river for two hours and I could still see some U.S. snipers ready to shoot anyone who might swim. I quit the idea of crossing the river and walked for about five hours through orchards” (AP, ABCNews.com, from accounts by AP photographer Bilal Hussein, November 14).
The morbid gallery of quotes, facts, and figures above printed and published in Western media by verifiable and veritable sources can stream on endlessly. But these testimonials are enough to conjure the reality of the US onslaught in Iraq. It is not humanitarian, nor is it compassionate. It bears the mark of skull ‘n’ bones—the more killed the better.
It is the taste of hatred and brutality, one that has been equalled by the razing armies of history—the Nazis, the Romans, the Visigoths, the Mongols—but rarely exceeded.
This article is not endowing the reader with fuel for hatred. It is not about wanton violence or revenge. It is about truth, the truth that has been kept from a majority of readers and viewers. Insulated and protected from the way war is waged, they refuse to believe that a Western army can execute people in cold blood and fire on unarmed civilians, that a free press is actually less free than many presume.

Firas Al-Atraqchi is a Canadian journalist of Iraqi heritage. Holding an MA in Journalism and Mass Communication, he has eleven years of experience covering Middle East issues, oil and gas markets, and the telecom industry. You can reach him at firascape@hotmail.com .

Justice for all!

Uniting Humanity

The message of Islam is for the entire human race. According to Islam, Allah is the God of the entire world and Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) is a messenger for the whole of mankind.

According to Islam, all men are equal, whatever be their color, language, race or nationality. Islam addresses itself to the conscience of humanity and banishes all false barriers of race, status and wealth. There can be no denying the fact that such barriers have always existed, and do exist even today in this so-called enlightened age. Islam, however, removes all these impediments and proclaims the idea of the whole of humanity being one family of God.

Islam is international in its outlook and approach. It does not admit barriers and distinctions based on color, clan, blood or territory such as were prevalent before the advent of Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). These are rampant in different forms, even in this modern age.

Islam is a way of life that transcends race and ethnicity. The Glorious Qur’an repeatedly reminds us of our common origin:

(O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise (each other). Verily the most honored of you in the sight of God is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And God has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things).) (Al-Hujrat: 13)

The eradication of race consciousness is one of the outstanding moral achievements of Islam. In the contemporary world there is, as it happens, a crying need for the propagation of this Islamic virtue. It is conceivable that the spirit of Islam might be the timely reinforcement, which would decide this issue in favor of tolerance and peace, the historian A.J. Toynbee wrote in his book Civilization on Trial.

Islam unites the entire human race under one banner. To a world torn by national rivalries and feuds, it presents a message of life and hope, and of a glorious future.


Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Forgiveness: Islamic Perspective

A lecture by Dr Muzzamil Siddiqi...

Part of our being human is that we make mistakes, no body is perfect. Sometime we make mistakes without deliberation and intention. But sometime we deliberately sin and do wrong to others. It is said, “to err is human and to forgive is divine.” Both parts of this statement are very true. As human beings we are responsible, but we do also make mistakes and we are constantly in need of forgiveness.

Islam states two aspects of forgiveness:

a) Allah’s forgiveness;
b) Human forgiveness.

We need both, because we do wrong in our relations to Allah as well as in our relations to each other.

Allah’s Forgiveness:
Allah the Almighty is the most Forgiving. There are many names of Allah given in the Qur’an. Some of which are related to His mercy and forgiveness. Let me mention some of these names.

Al Ghafoor (The Most Forgiving):
The most Forgiving. This name occurs in the Qur’an more than seventy times. There are other names from the same root.The meaning of the “ghafar” is to cover, to hide and from it comes the meaning “to excuse”, “to pardon”, “to remit” and “to forgive”. Allah the Almighty does all these things. In the Qur’an, it is mentioned that Allah does not forgive shirk (without repentance) but He may forgive every other sin for whomsoever He wills.

As Allah says in the Qur'an:

"Indeed! God does not forgive the sin of ascribing partners to Him, but He forgives anything else to whom He pleases, and whoever takes partners with God has gone astray into far error".Qur'an (4:116)

We must turn to Allah to seek His forgiveness.

This is another aspect of forgiveness. This name occurs in the Qur’an five times. Literally the word ‘Afuw means “to release” “to heal”, “to restore”, “to remit”. It means that Allah “ releases us from the burden of punishment due to our sins and mistakes”, “to restore our honor after we have dishonored ourselves by committing sins and making mistakes.” In some verses in the Qur’an both names: ‘Afuw and Ghafoor occur together.

This name means The Acceptor of repentance. This name of Allah is mentioned in the Qur’an about 11 times. Allah accepts the repentance of those who sincerely repent and turn to him for forgiveness. The word “Tawwab” gives the sense of “oft-returning” which means that Allah again and again accepts the repentance. We make sins and mistakes then we repent, He accepts our repentance. Then again we commit sins and make mistakes and when we repent, He again very kindly accepts us and gives us another chance. It is important to mention that we have to repent from our sins quickly and turn to God and ask for His forgiveness.

The Clement. This name is mentioned fifteen times in the Qur’an. It means that Allah The Almighty is not quick to judgment. He gives us time. He forebears and is patient with us till we return to Him.

Al-Rahman and al-Rahim:
The most Merciful and Compassionate. These names are the most frequently mentioned in the Qur’an. Al-Rahman is mentioned 57 times and Al-Raheem is mentioned 115 times. Al-Rahman indicates that Allah’s mercy is abundant and plenty and Al-Raheem indicates that this is always the case with Allah.

The Qur’an states that Allah is a Judge and He also punishes, but Allah is not bound to punish. The justice of Allah, according to Qur’an is that Allah does not and will not inflict undue punishment on any person. He will not ignore the good of any person. But if He wishes to forgive any sinner, He has full freedom to do that. His mercy is unlimited and infinite.

There are many verses in the Qur’an and sayings of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) that emphasises the mercy and forgiveness of Allah. In one of the prayers that the Prophet taught, he said:

“O Allah, You are most Forgiving One, You love to forgive, so forgive me.” (Narrated by Al-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah).

Thus we all need Allah’s mercy and forgiveness all the time.

Human Forgiveness in Islam:
Just as it is important to believe in the mercy and forgiveness of Allah, it is also necessary to base all human relations on forgiveness. How should we expect Allah’s forgiveness while we do not forgive those who do wrong to us?! Forgiving each other, even forgiving one’s enemies is one of the most important Islamic teaching. In the Qur’an Allah has described the Believers as:

“Those who avoid major sins and acts of indecencies and when they are angry they forgive.” Qur'an ( 42:37)

Later in the same Surrah Allah says:

“The reward of the evil is the evil thereof, but whosoever forgives and makes amends, his reward is upon Allah.”Qur'an ( 42:40)

In another Surrahs in the Qur’an, Allah The Almighty says:

“If you punish, then punish with the like of that wherewith you were afflicted. But if you endure patiently, indeed it is better for the patient. Endure you patiently. Your patience is not except through the help of Allah."Qur'an (16:126-127)

In one Hadith Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) said that Allah has commanded him with nine things. One of them he mentioned was “that I forgive those who do wrong to me.”

The Prophet (PBUH) was the most forgiving person. He was ever ready to forgive his enemies. When he went to Ta’if to preach the message of Allah, its people mistreated him, abused him and hit him with stones. He left the city humiliated and wounded. When he took shelter under a tree, the angel of Allah visited him and told him that Allah sent him to destroy the people of Ta’if because of their sin of maltreating their Prophet. Mohammad (PBUH) prayed to Allah to save the people of Taif, because what they did was out of their ignorance.

He (PBUH) said:

“O Allah, guide these people, as they did not know what they were doing.”

When he entered the city of Mekkah after the victory, the Prophet -peace be upon him- had in front of him some of his staunchest enemies. Those who fought him for many years, persecuted his followers and killed many of them. Now he had full power to pay back and punish them for their crimes and for what they did to him and to the Muslims. Instead the Prophet (PBUH) asked them:

“What do you think I shall do to you now?” They pleaded for mercy. The Prophet (PBUH) said, “Today I shall say to you what Joseph (referring to Prophet Youssuf (PBUH) as mentioned in the Qur’an, (Youssuf 12:92) Prophet Youssuf (PBUH) said to his brothers, ‘No blame on you today. Go, you are all free.” Soon they all came and embraced Islam at his hands. He forgave even Hind who had caused the murder of his uncle Hamza -may Allah be pleased with him. After killing him she had his body mutilated and chewed his liver. When she embraced Islam, the Prophet even forgave her.

A very striking example of forgiveness we find in the Qur’an in reference to the most unfortunate event of “Slander of Sayeda Aicha” (one Prophet Mohammed's wives). Some hypocrites of Madinah tried unrightfully to put dirt on her noble character. One of the slanderers turned out to be Mistah, the cousin of ‘Aicha's father Abu Bakr’s. Abu Bakr -may Allah be pleased with him- used to give financial help to this young man. After he slandered his daughter, Abu Bakr vowed not to help him any more. But Allah reminded Abu Bakr and through him all the Believers saying:

“Let not those among you who are endued with grace and amplitude of means resolve by oath against helping their kinsmen, those in want and those who migrated in the path of Allah. Let them forgive and overlook. Do you not wish that Allah should forgive you? Indeed Allah is oft-Forgiving, most Merciful.”Qur'an (24:22)

Abu Bakr (May Allah be pleased with him) came out of his home and said, “Yes, indeed, I want Allah’s forgiveness. He not only continued to help and support Mistah but he gave him more. Islam emphasises justice and punishment of the wrong doers, but it equally strongly emphasizes mercy, kindness and love. Justice, law and order are necessary for the maintenance of a social order, but there is also a need for forgiveness to heal the wounds and to restore good relations between the people.

Thus must not forget that as much as we need Allah’s forgiveness for our sins and mistakes, we must forgive those who do wrong to us.

Are We Muslims Only in Ramadan?

It is now time for us to re-evaluate our Eemaan. Question yourselves, and in process improve yourselves.

We claim to be Muslims, we claim to believe in Allah, but do we really believe in it with a firm heart, or is it just something we say? We claim to ?believe? in the Unseen God, but we see the harmful effects of drinking, clubbing and smoking, yet we don?t avoid them. Ask yourselves that if we don?t even believe in what can be seen, do we really believe in the Unseen? Just ?believing? in the existence of Allah does not make us Muslims, Shaitaan also, by the way, ?believes? in Allah. We must act like Muslims also.

We must also do in actions that what we say in words and that what we know in thoughts. We say we?re Muslims, but are we really? He is not a true Muslim whose hands and tongue are violent. Several of us stopped cursing and backbiting and lying during the month of Ramadan, but now what? Since Ramadan is over, should we return to those faults? Are we Muslims only in Ramadan???

Every Muslim is to pray 5 times a day, every day, no exceptions. Several of us did that very promptly during Ramadan. Now that Ramadan is over, now what? Should we give up those prayers just because Ramadan is over? Are we Muslims only in Ramadan???

We made duas because we understood that indeed it is Allah who listens and grants. We sought forgiveness from Allah because we realized our faults and felt guilty. We improved our conducts and lowered our voices and controlled our tempers because we realized that a Muslim is he whose actions represent peace and nobility. Now that Ramadan is over, will we go back to our same old self? Are we Muslims only in Ramadan???

We tried our best to close our ears to that which was not permissible to hear, we tried our best to stop our tongues at times when we were about to say something which we are not allowed to say, we tried our best to lower our gazes at sights which we are not allowed to see. Now that Ramadan is over, do those things become permissible to us? Are we Muslims only in Ramadan???

We refrained from going to clubs and watching movies and listening to songs during Ramadan because we realized these attributes do not represent Muslims. Now that Ramadan is over, should we return to our previous lifestyle? Are we Muslims only in Ramadan???

We were awake at nights, not spending time in clubs or with friends, but instead we were awake at nights to do ibaadat for the Will and Pleasure of Allah. Now that Ramadan is over, are we relieved of our responsibilities? Are we Muslims only in Ramadan???

We refrained from dawn to dusk, not only from the Haraam, but also the Halaal. The purpose of this abstinence was to create patience and virtue, and realize that if you want you can even stay away from the Halaal, so why can you not avoid the Haraam? Sure you can. You just need the will. Now that Ramadan is over, can we go back to eating, talking, watching, doing, and thinking Haraam? Are we Are we Muslims only in Ramadan??????