I just finished reading “Journey Through Ten Thousand Veils” by Sheikha Maryam Kabeer Faye.
It was one of those few books that compel you to read it till the end, mark certain paragraphs, reflect on sentences and take notes. To read a good book, internalize it’s message and take notes, that is the “ Sufi” way.
I never thought of “Sufism” as an exercise in reading with a purpose and a presence.
When I first heard Sheikh Nuh Keller verbalizes the art of reading as an exercise in spiritual excellence, I was struck by its simplicity and truthfulness.
Simple and easy to remember. Implementation is a different matter.
Reading a good book is the way we should conduct our daily lives. Reflect on every word, term, and sentence, their meanings before we move on to the next paragraph. Keep an open mind and never judge a book by its cover.
Reflect on our actions and even our thoughts. Audit ourselves before we are judged by the Creator.
Take notes and review the material. Self-quiz every few pages and always strive to improve understanding. It is a process, a beautiful journey that is full of wonderful friendships, opportunities, and wonders. Keep reading. One day, we will turn the last page.
No wonder the first revealed word: IQRA (READ).
Journey Through Ten Thousand Veils - is out of print. One copy is available at the store for in-store use only.
"Food for thought"
THE ART OF CREATING CODES OF CONDUCT FOR ISLAMIC INSTITUTIONS
By Danish Qasim, Founder | October 23, 2018 | Comments0 Comment
When our team at In Shaykh’s Clothing makes policies for organizations, we use corresponding national standards as a guide and work with organizations to determine their best practices and ethical expectations based on their Islamic understanding. This is the only way to have concepts such as inappropriate behavior and unethical behavior clearly defined and actionable.
The diversity in the Muslim community in North America cannot be overstated. Sharia (Islamic Law) is our common denominator, however, there is significant diversity and differences of opinion on rulings that make universal standards in most areas impossible.
Religious communities have different conceptions of appropriate behavior, having various degrees of evidence from the sharia. Not all are necessarily equal, but they are valid. There is no Islamic qadi (judge) to throw out unfavorable opinions nor is there an enforcement mechanism for which views should be practiced. This creates a free-for-all that is used to justify abuse which reduces ‘bad’ to only something that is haram by consensus. Sharia minimums are not how any functioning society or group should decide what is appropriate. Sharia recognizes local customs and regional standards (called “Urf”) and is flexible to accommodate them in matters which are not forbidden. What is culturally unacceptable and what we deem ‘wrong’ even if not universally haram (forbidden) has more to do with awareness of our own context. For example, understanding that certain behavior is bad based on experience that shows these actions are known to lead to the illicit. Also, in terms of sexual harassment or flirtatious behavior, sexually suggestive actions such as gestures, expressions, and signals are mostly culturally defined. What is considered an inappropriate gesture in one culture may not be in another, but cannot be justified vis-a-vis a different culture. For example using the middle-finger in America wouldn’t be justified as not offensive due to it being a positive symbol in Japan. The clarity that is supposed to come with culture ends up being a source of confusion, since we have many different cultures, subcultures, and religious approaches which makes appropriate behavior difficult to standardize.
‘Urf is also important in setting up professional expectations. These expectations should be congruent with the corresponding American profession. For example, an Islamic teacher in an Islamic school has similar professional expectations as a math teacher in a public school. This matters because when parents send their children to school, they expect the same professional standards any other parent expects in a public school.
No annual event on the face of the globe, religious or non-religious, compares to hajj in terms of the sheer number of participants, duration of the event and the breadth of agenda. In spite of this fact, it has always remained equally fascinating and mysterious to not only non-Muslims, who are not allowed to enter the area, but also to millions of Muslims, who had not performed Hajj.
What then is Hajj? In essence, hajj is man's evolution toward Allah; his return to Him. It is a symbolic demonstration of the philosophy of creation of Adam , the first man. To further illustrate this, it may be stated that the performance of Hajj is a simultaneous show or exhibit of many things. It is a show of creation. It is a show about history. It is a show of unity. It is a show of Islamic ideology. It is a show of Ummah, the community of Muslims. That is why it is said in the Quran: "And proclaim unto mankind the Hajj. ... That they may witness things that are of benefit to them." (Quran 22:27-8)
Just as in any other good show or movie or theatre-play, the following conditions prevail in Hajj. Allah is the Stage Manager. The theme portrayed is the actions of these main characters - Adam, Haw'a (Eve), Ibrahim, Hajera, Isma'il , and Shaytan. The main scenes are - Masjid al-Haram, 'Arafat, Mas'a (space between the mountains - Safa and Marwa), Mash'ar (area between 'Arafat and Mina) and Mina. Important symbols are - Kaba, Safa, Marwa, day, night, sunshine, sunset, idols and rituals of sacrifice. The dress and make-up are - 'Ihram, halq, and taqseer (part of ceremonies of hajj involving cutting of hair and nails, afterward). Lastly, the player in the show is - YOU - the Hajji. You are the main feature of the performance. The role of Adam, Ibrahim, Isma'il and Hajera in a confrontation between Allah and Satan is all played by you. As a result, you are the hero of the show!
Hajj is a duty unto Allah for mankind, for him or her who can find a way or means to get there (Quran 3:97). It is not a tax on your wealth, but a duty. Thus, to qualify, you must be sane and wise to understand what you are getting into, and able-bodied to go through this task, and lastly, have the means or resources to perform Hajj. READ MORE
Local writers explain Islamic observances
MWAP Eid Al-Adha Literary Pick:
Reflections and Recollections of the Fifth Pillar
In 2001 a group of 12 Muslims from Pittsburgh embarked on a Journey to Saudi Arabis. This journey is required once in a life time if the Muslim is able to make it. The group included Muslims form all walks of life including an electrician, a psychologist, an Imam, two bus drivers, a school administrator, a student, a receptionist and others. This group was the largest group of African American Muslims form Pittsburgh to make the journey as a group. This group included 3 sisters would remain together through out the pilgrimage. One of this threesome penned her journey in a self published book "Reflections and Recollections of the Fifth Pillar." The book examines the various aspects of Hajj in narratives that inform, educate and entertain the reader. It will will be part of MWAP's literary suggestions leading up to Eid Al-Adha. Readmore
What does your name mean to you?
Empowering Muslim Women through Charitable Works
Muslim Women's Association of Pittsburgh
THE MONTH OF RAJAB IS ALMOST HERE
In just a week, we will enter the month of Rajab inshaAllah. This is the 7th month of the Islamic calendar, and also one of the four months that Allah declared sacred in His words, "Indeed, the number of months with Allah is twelve months (in a year), so was it ordained by Allah on the Day when He created the heavens and the earth; of them four are Sacred. That is the right religion, so wrong not yourselves therein."(Tawbah 9:36)
The Prophet (saw) further explained, "The year is twelve months, of which four are sacred: three consecutive months, Dhu'l-Qa'dah, Dhu'l-Hijjah and Muharram, and Rajab Mudar which comes between Jumaada and Shabaan." (Reported in Bukhari and Muslim)
While there are no authentic narrations pointing to specific acts of worship during month, indeed when we enter Rajab, it is a great reminder of that our beloved guest Ramadan is truly on the way.
If we have not already started preparing our hearts and minds, now is the time to begin. After all, good habits take time to establish - when we begin early, we can build consistency and greatly increase our ability to succeed bi-idhniAllah.
In these coming months, let us set concrete goals, change our mindset, and adopt beneficial habits, consciously investing our time and energy into various acts of worship.
Muslim Women's Association of Pittsburgh
Empowering Muslim Women through Charitable Works
@ Muslim Women's Association of Pittsburgh 2021