In the last ten days of Ramadan any of the odd nights could be laylatul-qadr, "Night of Power and Salvation". The night when God the Merciful started to reveal His Mercy, in the form of Quran the book of guidance to Prophet Muhammad, who was sent as a Mercy to all humanity. The night when Muslims believe that God will not reject any sincere prayers, so we try to "find" it during the holy month.
It is not possible for us to mount a month long night vigil during Ramadan praying and contemplating. Instead Muslims have evolved an easier path which is to limit our vigil to the last five odd nights of the holy month since it is also reported that lailatul qadr falls on one of these nights.
We gather to offer our nightly congregational prayers in a peaceful and affluent suburb of New York, protected by a police cruiser, a mercy bought from the county officials, prominently stationed at the entrance of our Mosque. But we are all thinking of Fallujah the "City of Mosques" because of the news reports that the much-anticipated invasion of Fallujah has finally begun. I am thinking of the terrified mothers of Fallujah and the worried military-moms all across the US. The "liberation" and "pacification" of Fallujah is going to be as transient as that of Samarra was. So why all this bloodshed? I ask myself.
We stand up to pray, shoulder to shoulder irrespective of our social status, people of different races from distant lands and diverse cultures who speak different languages in their homes. Our prayer service is led by an "American-born " teenager who has memorized the entire Quran. As we glorify God rising, bowing down and prostrating in unison we find scarce if any mercy in the world around. When I prostrate, my head touches the feet of a cabdriver who is praying in front of me. His flimsy socks have holes in them and the autumn night is chilly. I am filled with guilt about my relative affluence. As I think of the collateral damage in Fallujah the guilt trip then takes me from the realm of wealth to the realm of security and safety. The Imam concludes this round of Quranic recitation with prayers for peace and justice to reign in the world, a reign that cannot start soon enough for me, for all of us.
Innocent civilians are beheaded in the name of religion and liberation struggle. Innocent citizens are pulverized to pieces with the most devastating weapons by armies that "soften up" entire cities from a safe distance. They are directed by politicians who dread having to deal with body counts of their soldiers but have no compunctions about the body count of the civilians living in the targeted cities.
No there is no mercy to be seen or experienced today nor truth and courage. The air we breathe is infested with lies, greed, fear, hatred, cowardice and a million other negative energies that have benumbed our senses.
We shed tears when a pet is run over by a gas guzzling SUV but we do not notice when a hundred children are blown to bits by suicide bombs and by air to surface missiles.
We do not care if we are misled into war nor when the dictators we support in Uzbekistan and Tunisia boil the dissidents alive. We help these tyrants come to power and stay in power because they serve the interests, just as we the consumers do, of our military-industrial establishment. We do not want to know of the fate of hundreds of thousands who are killed and raped by these dictators and of the millions living who fare only slightly better. We choose to ignore the consequences of occupation that our allies have imposed on fellow humans. We do not think of long term effects of sustained persecution and despair on human psychology. We are rudely jolted into noticing these effects only when they start to manifest as suicide bombers.
But even these awakenings do not last long. We are lullabied back to our slumber by repeated hypnotic incantations that suicide bombers are born into and brought up by their religion. We do not care to use the same analytical prowess to examine the causes of terrorism that we use to predict our favorite team's or our most valuable stock's performance. We do not ask ourselves what is the commonality between the biblical Sampson, the kamikazes from Japan, the Hindu suicide bombers from Sri Lanka and the Muslim suicide bombers of the Middle East? If we do then we will certainly find out that it is neither religion nor economy. It is despair and anger and at times it is a tactical response in an asymmetrical war.
We are awaken from our stupor to take notice only if and when one of these self-aggrandizing dictators gets too carried away by his delusion of power and starts to defy our military industrial establishment. We are kept awake only long enough for us to give our manufactured consent to send our young men and young women from the inner cities to "free" the long forgotten but now suddenly remembered masses in distant lands. In our twilight state of consciousness, between ostentation and sudden wakefulness, we are too confused to ask if it is really a noble mission that we are going to engage in then why not send the cream of our society to win the laurels and fame?
The drowsy state of our minds robs us of the competence to analyze the effect of an asymmetrical war, fought from a safe distance and with overwhelming military superiority that creates more civilian casualties and more anger and hence more suicide bombers and more butchers of human lambs.
Similarly, the anguished cries of the victims of these angry hijackers of our faith do not penetrate our consciousness that has gone into a state of permanent denial.
So while the Imam is praying for Peace and Justice, I will pray for pain. A deep, piercing and constant moral pain that we all must feel and that which cannot be dulled by consumerist anesthesia. That alone can awaken us sufficiently enough and long enough to strive to break the cycle of violence, hatred and more violence. Only then can we redeem our religion from those who have hijacked it. Only then can we have the capacity to hold our governments accountable, a prerequisite of having a truly functional democracy. Only then can Justice and Peace begin to reign.
Dr. Shaik Ubaid is the president of Indian Muslim Council-USA, an advocacy group that promotes pluralism in India and the US.
Dear Dr. I want to pass a comment to Islamicity.com but i donot know their email address so iam writng here. Its regarding the Zakatul fitr which written 5.5 pounds but as far as my knowledge its 2.5 pounds of grains what we eat. pls pass it the islamicity.com. thanku.
Who wants the "freedom" of liars, murderers, rapists and war criminals ?
Nobody with an IQ above room temperature buys your lies pat, if democratic governments came to power in the Middle East, every dictatorship you've built and supported would be history, not to mention the end of American terrorism in the region.
The Shiite "dubious" silence over the massacre or its military wing, the Badr Brigades fighting alongside US forces in Sunni city of Fallujah, is not surprising. For political reasons, they will do anything - even at the expanse of "the skulls of Sunni Iraqis". Moreover, it should not surpirize anyone that their Grand Ayatollahas are also silent and may have given tacit support or blessings.
According to news reports, there is "the overall sense that people are not paying that close attention to the fighting". Media blackout, the banning of Al-Jazeera satellite channel and subjective embedded journalists are playing well into the hands of the US military. Meanwhile, the massacre continues undeterred.
Shame on you the leadership of the Muslim world. Shame on you!
Sounds really terrific. Have you given any thought to
the hundreds, if not thousands of terrorists and saddam
faithful, who don't want a free and democratic Iraq?
Might be something else to ask yourself. Although, I'm
sure you have no intention of facing that reality.
ALLAHUMMA saleem ikhwanana fiil falujjah
ALLAHUMMA saleem ikhwanana fiil falujjah
ninal kafir assalibiyah
for every moslem reading qunut nazillah in your fajr sholat
This is an excellent article. May Allah have mercy on us all. Truly, mankind is in a terrible state indeed. Oh Allah, have mercy on us! Ameen
piece with statements about the Night Of
Power and ends with a personal prayer for
pain in order to wake up minds that are
sleeping. Wake up minds that can begin
making gov'ts acccounatble and stop the war
in Iraq. There also seemed a bias against
praying behind an "American Born" teenager
in his statements too. I think the author
missed the opportunity and is off track in his
basic foundation. Here it is in the Blessed
Month of Ramadan and he boldly annouces
he going to pray for pain? That's not the way of
our Prophet! Besides... Is'nt there enough pain
in the world already? No we should pray for
peace, for mercy, for forgiveness, for
guidance, for understanding, for more faith, for
good leaders, to lead the world to have peace
on earth. No more pain, Please! Khalid
Wow. That statement is so ridiculous that I probably shouldn't even respond to it. But I will...
The easiest way to gauge 'the best' system of governance is by market forces. In other words, how do people vote with their feet. With that in mind, do a little research on the numbers of people leaving the Middle East and ending up in a Democracy versus people leaving a Democracy to live in any other kind of country. Even in a post-911 world, you'll still find that way more people go to the US from the Middle East than the other way around,and this is without considering those going to Canada, Europe, Australia, etc.
Feel free to mention a Muslim nation that doesn't oppress its minorities. Bonus points if you can name one in the Middle East.
I notice that you yourself have voted with your feet, and are a resident of the USA.
I can see why your students believe lies, because its convinient and you're the aggressors in this conflict. Its as simple as that.
Get over yourself and realize that Iraqi people dont want your grunts in their country. Is that really so difficult too understand. Or are you all stupid beyond measure ?
Whos bombing hospitals and Mosques ?! Who killed over 100000 Iraqi men, woman and children ?! Who fabricated the lies in favor of attacking Iraq ?!
You damned hypocrites have blood on your hands and may you rot in the lowest craters of hell for it.
If you really want to stop this maddness, then suck it up and stand with those who are fighting your fight for you! If the so-called peaceful muslims stood shoulder to shoulder with th U.S. and others fighting terrorism, it would be vanquished from the earth. Then all Jews, Muslims and Christians could live in PEACE. It is your silence and hatered for non-muslims that keeps violent extremists going. Or perhaps secretly in your heart you approve of it. TAKE A STAND!
The military-industrial establishment is not responsible for what is happening. We are ourselves responsible for this. We have broken our covenants, we have disegarded our responsiblities, we are into multifarious schisms. The love for the material benefits of this world has hijacked us from our true calling. Our striving each and every day ought to be for the hereafter,which is nothing but sacrifices and hard work. Work for us ought to be worship which is obedience of Allah,in every aspect, every day and night of our lives. Truely, that is our calling. Whereas we work day in day out for our and our children,s material benefits in this world and this takes us away from our covenent with Allah and when we break the covenent, the wrath of Allah becomes merciless and this is reflected in the misery our people suffer from our own hands and from that of the others. Has not Allah destroyed mercillessly previous generations? Has he not promised such annihilations to the present and future generations? Is this all not written very explicitly? The Al-
Quraan Al-Hakim is sure witness of this. So, remorse alone is not enough. Blaming others is no solution. May be all this is designed to drive us back to our solemn duties. Better late than never. Get togther. Please Allah and not anyone else. Work, live and die for his pleasure. We are but his slaves. Are not Muslims slaves of Allah? Then, whom are we trying to please? The tastebuds of our pilates, the craving of our physical organs - the eyes, the ears and the skin? A luxurious home, fine beds and linens, sleek sedans? Come on, realsie this. All these are not for us. Realise this, Food or Rizq for us is not our reponsibility. This Allah has promised for us. Has he not? or we dont believe in his promise? we are made, we are created for some other purpose, not to earn our livlihood. We are created to lead others in every sphere? But then, where are w
As an instructor who teaches about Islam, it is hard for my students to believe that Islam, as Christianity, is based on love and respect when beheadings are common place. We know, as in any religion, there are those who claim to be believers who aren't.
Ramadan and Eid Mubarak to everyone.
I pray for us Muslims to come out of our slumber and to deepen our emaan and to be united. ameen.
During the election I saw an American woman who lives in Canada and voted for Bush,she made the comment that 100,000 of them (meaning the Iraqis) had died but it was worth it.Now Bob,imagine if was reversed and 100,000 Americans had died and a Muslim had made the comment, How would you feel?
Doesn't it seem like the Pot is calling the Kettle black.This is the reason the Bin Laden
said that "Americans see their blood as blood and Muslim blood as water"
I once heard a story of a Big Bully who told a little guy "if we fight I will surely kill you and the little guy replied "sure but when I am finished with you, you will be crippled for life"
Sure seems like Bin Laden has got the US sucked into the real life version of this story.
May Allah help the Muslim Ummah to unite against all aggression.Ameen
I had been hoping that the people of Iraq would decide to provide a home for honorable fighters with nowhere else to go. It now appears that those sort of fighters (the ones worth having) are likely to have the best home anyway.
Boycott whatever elections you wish to boycott. My guess is that anyone who calls for such a boycott would even wish that there were no elections to boycott. Insha'Allah the choice would still be yours to make. And peace.
ohh that was a nice article..
and your points was nice 2..
i don`t know if i should say this but next time start with BISMILLAH RAHMANIRAHIM.... SORRY
The author doesn't like tyrants who boil dissidents alive. The author refers to "our military industrial establishment" twice. The author refers to overwhelming military superiority. The author seems critical of relying on the arrogance of dictators in starting the wars which undo them.
The author refers to hijackers of our faith. The author wants to see a cycle of violence broken. The author doesn't seem to have confidence in war or at least perhaps as war is currently waged. The author seems to be hoping that on the Night of Power the Muslim might be awakend from some kind of slumber.
Should we be striving for peace with justice or simply preventing anyone the hijackers don't like from bringing it? I pray that regardless of whose side anyone is on they would not be endangered by the manner in which they choose to submit to Allah unless they themselves would choose to be endangered as part of their submission to Allah.
May Allah preserve or receive combatants and non-combatants in Fallujah. All of them. And the surrounding areas. All of them. Ameen.
That being said, the aggressors will burn in hell for their transgressions against the people of Iraq, and no amount of lies and deceit will ever change that.
Nobody buys your petty lies. It is indeed a big world, one where Americans are isolated and rightly hated for their crimes against humanity.
May God Almighty protect the heroic people of Fallujah against the evil murderous invaders.
What a great country? Ha Ha.. Ambassador Negroponte in Bagdad hosts Iftaar and praise the muslims, Bush offers Ramadan greetings from White House ! (SWEET TALK)
While their army is killing and terrorising innocent civilians (mostly women and children), that in last ten days of Ramadan and near the Eid-ul-FITR.
They talk about the freedom and liberty in Middle-East? What is this then with Iraqis and Palestinians? ALLAH (GOD) is watching and knows the BEST.
May ALLAH give strength to muslims and give VICTORY.
Terrorism cannot function without state support.
I am afraid....Very afraid of where we are heading with the conflicts that have going on involving radical muslims throughout the world..
This is a large planet....WE should all be able to live peacefully.........
What happened in Russia in that school was terrible....
Simply terrible.......And am sure the russian govt was guilty of committing atrocities, as well as infringing upon the civil rights of others..
But, two rights don't make a wrong....
It must end...............Somebody must take the initutive..................
Before it is too late........I hope and pray that the world can get along with its neighbor..