The Ka'baa with all its splendor and glory.

Umrah 1435: Observations, Thoughts, and Discoveries

Observations

Street Vendors of Madinah:

Thoughts
01. If possible, it would have been better if the government of Saudi Arabia made separate arrangements of tawaf for men and women. Such arrangement would have been purer for hearts.

02. I wish the women pilgrims at haram observed hijab in the proper manner, at least out of respect for the House of Allah.

03. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, especially the streets are way more dirty compared to the streets of Qatar. This has resulted from the culture of irresponsibly disposing wastes almost anywhere without any concern for environment and cleanliness. Majority of the Saudis and expats at KSA do not have the habit of disposing wastes at designated waste bins. That is why you will see polythene bags and plastic bottles even in the middle of deserts. To the locals and residents of KSA: The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) has described removing harmful things from the streets as part of eeman. So, how can you so carelessly litter your streets?

04. Before going for umrah, we often harbor dreams like making lots of dua and tawaf and so on. What we forget while dreaming is umrah has been described by the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) as a jihad for the weak. Since it is a jihad, after reaching there, we often do not find the perfect utopian setting of worship we imagine. We discover a place of hardship. Often due to overcrowding, noise level, struggle like lowering the gaze, grasshoppers, and many other factors, we struggle to accomplish what we plan to accomplish. That is why before we go for umrah, or hajj, we have to have a different expectation. Just because we are going to the holiest sites of Islam, we should not expect a utopian setting where we will be able to worship effortlessly. Rather, since umrah has been described as a smaller jihad, we must mentally prepare to struggle and endure a lot of hardship, and only if we prepare with such a mindset, we will able to accomplish our goals while we are there.  Otherwise, umrah will turn like visits to other places, and we will return only with lots of complaints against Saudi government, service providers, and so on, and we will not attain our goals of supererogatory worship at the haram.

Discovery
I was passing by an audio store when the recitation of a Qari captivated me. I came to learn that this was Shaykh Khalid Al-Jaleel.

Verily, have we ever wondered what our life would be without the Quran?

“Praise to Allah , who has guided us to this; and we would never have been guided if Allah had not guided us. Certainly the messengers of our Lord had come with the truth.” [The Noble Quran 7:43]

Here is a clip:

COllage

Heart Trembling Recitation: Surah Ale Imran (186-200)

Heart trembling recitation of the last part of Surah Ale Imran by three famous qurras of our time:

Shaykh Saud Ibraheem Al-Shuraim: This is a fajr prayer clip recorded in the good old days, when Shaykh Shuraim would lead the fajr prayer in the Haram everyday. The shaykh recited with his usual deep voice.

Shaykh Abdul Wali Al-Arkani: I had the fortune to hear this recitation live at Qatar State Mosque on the 4th night of Ramadan 1434 H. Absolutely amazing recitation.

Shaykh Abdur Rahman Al-Sudais: I was blessed to hear this recitation live in the Haram on the 24th night of Ramadan 1433 H. The way the shaykh raised and lowered his voice was just heart melting.

qalarge

Old is Gold: 90′s Childhood in Qatar

(All the images have been collected from Facebook. If you have objection to any of these images, please let me know so that I can remove it.)

The fancier box you had, the more popular you would be in the class.

The fancier box you had, the more popular you would be in the class.

The objective of buying toys was to break it and remove motors like these.

The objective of buying toys was to break them and remove motors like these.

Old notes.

Old notes.

In supermarket, whenever we would pass by this Nido color box set, it was difficult for us to take our eyes away from it.

In supermarket, whenever we would pass by this Nido color box set, we would struggle to take our eyes away from it.

Istimara time.

Istimara time.

View master.

View master.

Best snack ever.

Best snack ever.

Only the kids of 90's will know the relationship between this cassette and a pen.

Only the kids of 90′s will know the relationship between this cassette and a pen.

Old Qatari taxi.

Old Qatari taxi.

Our dream fountain pen.

Our dream fountain pen.

Before the cricket days, our attention was in football.

Before the cricket days, our attention was in football.

This roundabout does not exist anymore.

This roundabout does not exist anymore.

QTV logo.

QTV logo.

Tiffin time.

Tiffin time.

Aladdin Kingdom.

Aladdin Kingdom.

Old currency of Qatar.

Old currency of Qatar.

Legendary Chips Oman.

Legendary Chips Oman.

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Trademark iron.

Trademark iron.

Brick game.

Brick game.

Water gun.

Water gun.

If you have lived in Qatar in the 90's, I am sure you have seen notebooks like this.

If you have lived in Qatar in the 90′s, I am sure you have seen notebooks like this.

Common notebooks of Qatar. They are still available in the market.

Common notebooks of Qatar. They are still available in the market.

Old five riyal notes.

Old five riyal notes.

Popeye the sailor.

Popeye the sailor.

Fan speed regulator.

Fan speed regulator.

Old Q-Tel phone.

Old Q-Tel phone.

Hamad General Hospital.

Hamad General Hospital.

Souq Faleh. To buy school back packs, uniform, or blanket, we would go to this market.

Souq Faleh. To buy school back packs, uniform, or blanket, we would go to this market.

Nothing could beat Tom and Jerry.

Nothing could beat Tom and Jerry.

The are supposed to aid you in writing, but we would use them to fight against each other.

The are supposed to aid you in writing, but we would use them to fight against each other.

My first watch.

My first watch.

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This is how our tables and chairs looked like in school.

This is how our tables and chairs looked like in school.

Qatar women's hospital.

Qatar women’s hospital.

Computer.

First Pentium II Computer.

Pure Ghee.

Pure Ghee.

Carom board. I played it a lot but I was never very good in it.

Carom board. I played it a lot but I was never very good in it.

Brief case. My father had a brief case like this and we would often jump on it like kids jump on a trampoline.

Brief case. My father had a brief case like this and we would often jump on it like kids jump on a trampoline.

Old Qatar museum. Our favorite was the aquarium. This museum was not boring like the present Museum of Islamic Arts.

Old Qatar museum. Our favorite was the aquarium. This museum was not boring like the present Museum of Islamic Arts.

On the way to Umm Ghuwalina.

On the way to Umm Ghuwalina.

We came to Qatar with this a Gulf Air that had livery like this.

We came to Qatar with this a Gulf Air plane that had livery like this.

The watch with calculator. The guy who first brought this watch in the class was a hero.

The watch with calculator. The guy who first brought this watch in the class was a hero.

I guess this was in Wadi Al Sail.

I guess this was in Wadi Al Sail.

Thunder, thunder, thudercats. We were ever fascinated about the fight between Mamra and Thundercats.

Thunder, thunder, thudercats. We were ever fascinated about the fight between Mamra and Thundercats.

Air tickets-this is how they used to look like back then.

Air tickets-this is how they used to look like back then.

Yan Yan- it is still my favorite.

Yan Yan- it is still my favorite.

WWF-World Wrestling Federation. Our young mind was fascinated with this belt. Often after making a symbolic belt like it, I would wrestle with my brother to win the belt. Also in the 90's, there was a sumo wrestler named Yokozona, and because of being overweight, I used to be bullied as Yokozona during my kindergarten days.

WWF-World Wrestling Federation. Our young mind was fascinated with this belt. Often after making a symbolic belt like it, I would wrestle with my brother to win the belt. Also in the 90′s, there was a sumo wrestler named Yokozona, and because of being overweight, I used to be bullied as Yokozona during my kindergarten days.

Y have made it and you know it.

You have made it and you know it.

Harees. During Ramadan, we would often receive harees from as iftaar from Qatari neighbors. Lived in Doha for more than two decades and still cannot eat harees.

Harees. During Ramadan, we would often receive harees as iftaar from Qatari neighbors. Lived in Doha for more than two decades and still cannot eat harees.

Old orange colored taxis of Doha. We did not have a car for about a decade and taxi was the mean to get around.

Old orange colored taxis of Doha. We did not have a car for about a decade and taxi was the mean to get around.

Quality street chocolate.

Quality street chocolate.

Radio. During Ramadan, our hobby was listening to taraweeh prayers led by Shaykh Sudais and Shaykh Shuraim.

Radio. During Ramadan, our hobby was listening to taraweeh prayers led by Shaykh Sudais and Shaykh Shuraim in radio.

Cookies. Whenever guests (mehmans) would bring this cookies, we would be excited.

Cookies. Whenever guests (mehmans) would bring these cookies, we would be excited.

Do you know the word bleep? Whenever we would see a person with bleep, we would think of him as a very important person.

Do you know the word bleep? Whenever we would see a person with bleep, we would think of him as a very important person.

Abu Bakr Al-Siddique Mosque. We had an acquaintance living near this mosque. Whenever we would visit her house, we would be excited about praying in this mosque. That acquaintance of ours has passed away. O Allah! Have mercy on her. Still today whenever we pass by this mosque, we remember her.

Abu Bakr Al-Siddique Mosque. We had an acquaintance living near this mosque. Whenever we would visit her house, we would be excited about praying in this mosque. That acquaintance of ours has passed away. O Allah! Have mercy on her. Still today whenever we pass by this mosque, we remember her.

Vending machine.

Vending machine.

A must have for Asian mothers.

A must have for Asian mothers.

Shaykh Khalifa bin Hamad- he was the emir of Qatar when I arrived in Doha in 1992.

Shaykh Khalifa bin Hamad- he was the emir of Qatar when I arrived in Doha in 1992.

Old Souq Waqif.

This is old Souq Waqif I guess.

The first NOKIA mobile.

The first NOKIA mobile.

Walkman.

Walkman.

I still like LEGO.

I still like LEGO.

kafir_infidel_sticker-r112be2d3779f4191910f8f50a00ce844_v9waf_8byvr_512

Non-Muslims are Kaafirs

Shaykh Yasir Qadhi has recently endorsed and published an article authored by Umm Zakiyyah about the usage of the word ‘kaafir’ in his website muslimmatters.org. The article is titled Kaafir, the New F-word. Although the article is replete with verses from the Quran and sayings from the sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ), and appears to teach us about the word kaafir, an apparent objective of the article is to urge Muslims to refrain from labeling people as kaafir, including self-professed non-Muslims, especially after their death, based on the argument that it is not possible to know the ‘state of anyone’s soul’.

Here are the main points of the article:

  • The article says that the word kaafir is a not a word of profanity, because Allah does not use profane language. The author then quotes some verses from the Quran where Allah defined who the disbelievers are. The author followed up these verses with the hadith of Jibreel (peace be upon him), where the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) mentioned that anyone who dies in faith other than Islam after his (ﷺ) prophethood, including the Jews and the Christians, will be of the inhabitants of the Hell Fire.
  • The article then presents a discussion about who will go to hell and who will go to paradise. This discussion is brief and ambiguous.
  • Next, the article discusses about Islamic prohibition to pray for the non-Muslims, who we may happen to admire because of their certain traits or because of them being our family members, and presents the example of Abu Taalib and the parents of Messenger of Allah (ﷺ), whom the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) was not allowed to pray upon after their death.
  • Finally, the article presents us through the following two paragraphs the guideline about how the word kaafir should be used:

The Qur’an is quite unambiguous regarding who is a mu’min (believer) and who is a kaafir (disbeliever), and this is clear to anyone who has read Allāh’s Book in full. Nevertheless, it is not our job to carelessly toss around the label kaafir. Just as it is against Islam to label non-Muslims believers and give them the rights reserved only for Muslims, it is also against Islam to claim knowledge of the Unseen and carelessly label people kaafir, especially in reference to someone’s soul after death.

A person can live his or her life as a disbeliever then accept Islam in private before death. A person can also live his or her life as a believer then reject Islam in private before death. Thus, ultimately, we don’t know the state of anyone’s soul—even that of professed Muslims.

Here are my reservations about the above two paragraphs:

  • It is not proper to say that the Quran is quite unambiguous regarding the definition of believers and disbelievers. Rather the Quran is not ambiguous at all in this regard.
  • Regarding the claim that it is not from Islam to carelessly tag people with the word kaafir, then this is true if the statement is about takfeer, which is labeling other Muslims as kaafir. However, the article advises Muslims that they should remain silent and stay away from labeling anyone as kaafir, including those who profess non-Islamic faith, based on the principle that it is not possible to know the ultimate state of someone’s soul, which is the knowledge of unseen, and I disagree with this opinion. If someone claims that he is a Christian, Jew, Hindu, agnostic, atheist, or follower of any religion or way of life other than Islam, then he has already self-pronounced kufr upon him, and thereafter as a Muslim, it is my duty to declare that this person is a kaafir if there is a need to make such declaration. For example, I say that Richard Dawkins, the self-proclaimed atheist, is a kaafir. Also for example, I say that Rabindranath Tagore, a Hindu poet, and Steve Jobs, a Buddhist, were kaafirs. I will not cease to say that they were kaafirs based on the argument that I do not exactly know the faith that resided in their soul. I do not need to know that. Outwardly Tagore and Jobs professed and appeared as Hindu and Buddhist, respectively, and this is enough for me to say that they were kaafirs. Umar bin Al-Khattab (May Allah be pleased with him) reported saying: “In the lifetime of Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) some people were called to account through Revelation. Now Revelation has discontinued and we shall judge you by your apparent acts. Whoever displays to us good, we shall grant him peace and security, and treat him as a near one. We have nothing to do with his insight. Allah will call him to account for that. But whosoever shows evil to us, we shall not grant him security nor shall we believe him, even if he professed that his intention is good.”
  • Saying that a non-Muslim person is a kaafir is not same as saying that a non-Muslim person is going to be in the Fire of Hell. For the latter, it is a knowledge that belongs to Allah, but for the former, we see what is apparent, and if a person apparently claims to be a non-Muslim, then we have no problem in saying that he is a kaafir. The author has unnecessarily coupled these two different statements.
  • If the word kaafir is not a language of profanity, and it is not a language of profanity, especially since Allah and His Messenger (ﷺ) numerous times referred non-Muslims as kaafirs, then there is no problem with labeling non-Muslims as kaafirs.
  • The author contradicts herself when she says that Muslims should treat disbelievers the way they are supposed to be treated (i.e. not praying for them after their death and not giving them rights they are not entitled to receive) but follows it with the advice that Muslims should stay away from labeling people as kaafir, including non-Muslims, especially after their death. If what is apparent from them, i.e. their profession of non-Islamic faith, is adequate to treat them as disbelievers during their life and after their death, then why what is apparent of them is not adequate to label them as kaafirs during their lifetime and after their death? Why the extra condition of knowing what is in the soul is necessary for labeling disbelievers as kaafirs, but the outward self-profession of disbelief is more than enough to give them the treatment of a kaafir?
  • If I accede to the author’s argument that it is not possible to know the faith residing in a non-Muslim’s soul or the faith a non-Muslim dies upon, and thus not possible to label him as a kaafir, then by using the same logic, it can be said that I cannot call a Muslim brother of mine a Muslim, because ultimately I do not know the faith in his heart, and I do not know the faith he will die upon either. However, we accept someone’s testimony of faith without questioning or asking what is in the heart, and when a Muslim dies, we consider him as our brother, and we never bring the affairs of heart. Shouldn’t the same be applied for disbelievers too? Their testimony of disbelief is enough to say that they are kaafirs, both during their life and after death.
  • Also if I accede to her argument that it is not possible to label non-Muslims as kaafirs, because of not being able to know what is in their hearts or the faith they may die upon, then who did Allah address when He used the word kaafir or kuffar in His book?
  • The argument of the affairs of heart is primarily misused. For example, someone might not pray, and when reminded to pray, he may say, “You do not know the affairs of my heart.” Someone may not wear hijab, and may easily defend herself by saying, “You do not know the affairs of my heart.” Unfortunately, the author brought this wrong argument, and deters Muslims from saying that non-Muslims are kaafirs. Since we do not know the affairs of his heart or the faith he died upon, can we say that we should refrain from saying that Mut’im ibn Adi, for example, was a kaafir?
  • It is no hidden fact that the word kaafir is a taboo word among many non-Muslims and among the modernist Muslims. They want to avoid this word at all cost. In such circumstances, vaguely advising Muslims to refrain from labeling self-professed non-Muslims as kaafirs will only reinforce the claim that kaafir is a taboo word. There is no denying here that the author has appropriately quoted verses from the Noble Quran and ahadith of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ), but the soft advice at the end of the article, which discourages Muslims from labeling non-Muslims as kaafirs based on our inability to know their inner faith, gives the whole article the following vibe: “We have quoted what Allah and His Messenger (ﷺ) said and we do not deny anything. However, we will not say on our tongues that you are kaafirs despite your profession of disbelief, because we do not know what is in your hearts.”
  • According to Shykh Saleh Al Fawzaan, anyone who does not declare (and re-read the word declare) the disbelievers to be kaafirs or doubts their disbelief, then he or she has disbelieved. As Muslims, it is obligatory upon us to declare the disbelievers as kaafirs.

Shaykh Saleh al-Fawzaan حفظه الله said:

من لم يُـكَــفِّـر المُشرِكينَ أَوْ شَكَّ في كُـفْرِهِم أَوْ صَـحَّـحَ مَذْهَـبَـهُمْ كَفَر

Whoever does not declare the polytheists to be disbelievers, or he doubts their disbelief or approves of their way, then he has disbelieved.

This issue is very grave indeed. Many people who ascribe themselves to Islam fall into it, not declaring the polytheist to be disbelievers, saying, “I do not commit any shirk, and all praise is for Allah, and I have not ever committed shirk, however, I will not declare the people to be disbelievers.”

We say to him: Since you know the religion, then it is obligatory on you to declare those whom Allah has declared disbelievers to be disbelievers, and those who ascribe partners to Allah, the Mighty and the Majestic. And it is obligatory on you to declare yourself free from them as Ibraaheem عليه السلام did with his father and tribe:

43_26 43_27

And [mention, O Muhammad], when Abraham said to his father and his people, “Indeed, I am disassociated from that which you worship. Except for He who created me; and indeed, He will guide me.” [The Noble Quran 43:26-27]

Shaykh Abdul Azeez bin Abdullaah al-Raajihee provided a similar explanation. He said:

من لم يُـكَــفِّـر المُشرِكينَ أَوْ شَكَّ في كُـفْرِهِم أَوْ صَـحَّـحَ مَذْهَـبَـهُمْ كَفَر

Whoever does not hold the polytheists to be disbelievers, or has doubts about their disbelief or considers their ways and beliefs to be correct, has committed disbelief.

What this Nullifier means is: that one does not believe that the polytheists are upon disbelief.  The term “polytheists” is general and includes all of the various types of disbelievers.  Therefore, every disbeliever is a polytheist.  So whoever does not hold a disbeliever to be as such, then he himself is a disbeliever, just like him.  Whoever does not consider the Jews or the Christians or the Magians (Majoos) or the idol worshippers or the hypocrites or the Communists to be disbelievers then he himself is a disbeliever.

The quotes and respective explanations of Shaykh Saleh al-Fawzaan and Shaykh Abdul Azeez bin Abdullaah al-Raajihee have been provided from an article titled Removing the Doubts: Doubting the Kufr of a Kaafir? from website Ilm4All. Please visit the link to read full explanation.

I would like to end this discussion with the following verse from the noble Quran:

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O you who have believed, fear Allah and speak words of appropriate justice. [The Noble Quran 33:70]

cute-boy (1)

Why I Wish I Could Become a Child Again

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They do not have responsibility.
They do not understand sin.
Pen is lifted from their shoulders.
They do not understand the dirty things of this world.
They have not lost their natural disposition through sinning.
They do not understand gender differences and sex.
They do not have jealousy, hatred, and other ill feelings.
They do not have to fight their lower self.
They have no worries except for playing.
They possess the simplicity, which we have lost after growing up.
They exude innocence.

My dua for every Muslim child:

O Allah! Keep our children away from sin, disobedience, transgression, shamelessness, and all the ugliness of this world, and keep them upright upon their fitrah and make them grow upon guidance.
Ameen!

no-jokes

Revilo Jokes

no-jokes

I have had a co-worker, let’s say his name is Revilo, who used to make jokes almost out of anything. Unfortunately, he is leaving soon, and the thing that I am going to miss most about him is his jokes. He was the comedian of our team, and no matter what the situation was, he would always find a way or other to entertain us and cheer up our mood. Here are some of his jokes: let’s call them Revilo Jokes.

1. Job Family
Our company had rolled out a career progression plan for the employees of all disciplines. Career progression was supposed to happen according to the competencies and many other criteria mentioned in the job family. However, as it happens in every company, successions were still happening through inner connections and politics.

One day, while having a discussion about job family, Revilo remarked:

“What is the point of wasting time discussing job family? I can define it in one line.”

“Define.”

“If you are part of the family, you get something. If you are not part of the family, you get nothing. Therefore, don’t discuss job family requirements. Rather focus on how you can become a family member (whether it is through connection or whatever).”

2. Nothing is Easier than Taking Salary
One day, we were planning a complex job. One of our colleagues said, “Man, this is really going to be a difficult task.”

“Well, everything is difficult, except for taking salary,” said Revilo.

3. Competency Requirement: Need Married People
One day we were replacing a power cell of a Variable Frequency Drive. This drive has a very bad design, which makes cell replacement a sweating task. Especially difficult is fixing nuts and bolts through narrow passages, and some young fellas who were doing the job, were frequently dropping the nuts and bolts.

“Are you married?” asked Revilo.

“No.”

“Next time, I don’t wanna see any unmarried guy fixing these nuts and bolts.”

4. Be Near the Kitchen if You Want to Get the Food First
A girl was promoted in our company and everyone was surprised. Everyone believed that she did not possess the competency required for the position she was promoted to.

“Are you surprised?” Revilo asked me.

“Of course I am.”

“Where is her office?”

“Near our boss’ office.”

“So there is no surprise here. If you are near the kitchen, you will get the food first.”

5. User Friendly vs. Friendly User
One day someone came to me and asked for some help. After he left, Revilo warned me, “Beware of friendly users and do not be user friendly.”

According to Revilo, you will always find some people in any company who are opportunist, and they are the ‘friendly users’. When they need something, they will come to see you, and they will suddenly become very friendly with you. Needless to say, this sudden friendliness is fake and has selfish motives. Once you help them out, they immediately forget you, and they broadcast your help to them as their own accomplishment. Therefore, if you want to deny them, do not be a ‘user friendly’ person, like a user friendly software or interface. Otherwise, you will be used.

6. Innate Intellect
One day we were having a serious discussion about the existence of God.

“Science cannot explain many things. An example is innate intellect. For example, after a duckling is born, and if you give it grains, it starts eating. How does it understand that grain is its food? Another example is human babies. After they are born, they know how to suckle. No one has to teach them. Definitely they are born with an innate intellect and science cannot explain the source or beginning of this intellect.”

The discussion lost all its seriousness when Revilo answered, “I do not know about ducklings, but for human babies, they attain the innate intellect from their fathers while residing in their mothers’ bellies.”

Observations, Thoughts, Random Reflections…

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