“Shining Bright” in God’s Love


In the Name of God: The Eternally and Everlastingly Loving and Caring 

There are many times that the songs I may happen to hear will cause me to frown. So much of popular music today is comprised of lyrics that are questionable (at the absolute best) in their morality and message. Yet, sometimes, a song will come along that strikes a deep chord in me. Such is the case with Echosmith’s song, “Bright”:

I think the Universe is on my side/Heaven and Earth have finally aligned/Days are good, and that’s the way it should be

You sprinkle stardust on my pillowcase/It’s like a moonbeam brushed across my face/Nights are good, and that’s the way it should be

And I see colors in a different way/You make what doesn’t matter fade to gray/Life is good, and that’s the way it should be

I also really like the chorus: 

Did you see that shooting star tonight?/Were you dazzled by the same constellation?/Did you and Jupiter conspire to get me?

I think you and the moon and Neptune got it right, ‘cuz now I’m shining bright/So Bright. Bright, so bright.

Now, the song’s narrator feels this way because she is in love. In fact, she says to her lover: “I get lost in your eyes.” When I hear this song, however, I think of my “shining bright” in the love of God.

Read more: http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/commonwordcommonlord/2015/08/shining-bright-in-gods-love.html#ixzz3kPQ8Rg1h

Here, Here, Harry J. Bentham!


In the Name of God: The Extremely, Eternally, and Everlastingly Loving and Caring

It was so refreshing to read Harry J. Bentham’s post, “Islam is part of the West now, live with it.”

I will let Mr. Bentham speak for himself:

One type of misinformation that should be watched vigilantly is the way Islam is endlessly singled out as a violent religion. This is done by selective coverage of events and constant emphasis on any connection to Islam when talking about violence.

As I have written before, it takes a very selective memory of history and even recent events to see Islam as a violent religion. Not only is Christianity’s own history marred by the Crusades and the Inquisition, both of which were carried out in Christ’s name, but there are warlords alive today who committed unspeakable atrocities in the name of Christ and even Gautama Buddha.

We are told stories such as the recent one in France, where a girl in a bikini was assaulted by apparent Muslim women attackers offended by her choice of dress. However, we are not told of the comparable stories of the Muslim women threatened and attacked by racists in France or Britain even though we know such attacks are equally real.

My Friend The Hero


In the Name of God: The Extremely, Eternally, and Everlastingly Loving and Caring

A woman in Chicago was pulled from her burning car by a Good Samaritan who stopped to help. He saved her life. That Good Samaritan was my very good friend.

Ahmed Elsayed, an engineer from Aurora, was on his way to an appointment with his 9-year-old son when he saw the smoke. He pulled over and ran to her window.

“I was just screaming for her to get out of the car, get out of the car. So when she did, I kind of grabbed her by the arm and pulled her towards my car and we got in and moved further away,” Elsayed said.

The car went up in flames.

Ahmed gave me more detail about the incident:

I originally stopped to simply help her, thinking her car was overheating and then noticed the flames as I was walking towards her.

His walk then turned to a “frantic run to get her out of the car.”

The woman said afterwards: “I feel that I’m alive today because of him. And I owe him a great deal.”

After seeing this story, I wanted to post about how such stories about Muslims do not get enough play. I wanted to post about how, all over the world, Muslims do good like this, and no one hears about it. All anyone ever hears is the barbarity of savages who act in the name of Islam.

When I posed the post idea to Ahmed, he refused…
Read more at http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/commonwordcommonlord/2015/08/my-friend-the-hero.html#up0rKkJ4KWVrqkJl.99

Muslims in Tunisia Form Human Shields To Protect Others From Being Killed


In the Name of God: The Extremely, Eternally, and Everlastingly Loving and Caring

In the aftermath of the terrible attack on innocent vacationers in Tunisia, there was a photo of “onlookers” who appeared to be watching the gunman kill innocent people on the beach. The truth, however, has come out. Tunisian workers actually formed a human shield to prevent the terrorist from killing more people. One of them, 18-year-old Ibrahim Al Ghoul, told the Guardian:

At that point, we opened our breasts against the bullets. I felt he wouldn’t shoot at so many Arabic people in front of him.

British citizens who escaped the attack corroborate this story:

John Yeoman, who was on holiday with his wife at a neighbouring resort when the shooting began, tweeted: “Those in the background formed a human shield to protect another hotel they are not watching they saved many lives.”

Another man spoke of a similar experience:

This man told her that he and his girlfriend were on the beach on Friday when the attack started. A hotel chef came running towards them, telling them to run for their lives.

“He was the one who told them that the line of people they could see ahead of them were staff from the hotel,” Mrs Yeoman said.

“He said to this couple that they were telling the gunman ‘you’ll have to get past us and we’re Muslims’. Obviously I don’t know the exact words but that was pretty much what they were saying.

“They’d actually made a human barricade – ‘you’re not going to get past us, you’ll have to kill us.’”

In fact, the savage was only killed after a local man dropped roof tiles on his head:

Local builder Mayel Moncef told Channel4News he could see Rezgui from the roof of a building as the gunman ran from the beach to an alleyway in an attempt to escape.

Moncef grabbed loose tiles from the roof of the building and threw them down onto the head of Rezgui, who began to fire his gun erratically in the street. It was at this point that police shot and killed Rezgui.

Moncef told the broadcaster that he saw a grenade roll out of Rezgui’s hand after he was shot by police.

“All I did was my duty, the duty of any Tunisian and any Muslim,” he told Channel 4 News.

This is the truth and reality of Islam and Muslims. So many want to point to the actions of this savage and other terrorists as the reality of Islam and Muslims. Yet, their crimes are the very antithesis of everything Islam teaches. ISIS is not Islam. This savage in Tunisia is not the reality of the vast, vast, vast majority of Muslims around the world.

No matter how many times the lie about Islam being “violent” get peddled around, the truth is quite different. The truth about Islam and Muslims is embodied in the actions of these brave Tunisians who risked their lives to save others. May God bless them, and may God comfort all those who suffered loss in this terrible attack.

Charleston Attack Was Nothing Less Than Satanic


In the Name of God: The Extremely, Eternally, and Everlastingly Loving and Caring

This was first published in the Muslim Observer.

There was a deep pit in my stomach when I learned of the horrific terrorist attack on the Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in South Carolina. I took the attack personally, even though I am neither African-American nor Christian. When anyone attacks a house of worship with such brutality, then all people of faith should take offense. After all, the Qur’an says:

“For, if God had not enabled people to defend themselves against one another, [all] monasteries and churches and synagogues and mosques – in [all of] which Gods name is abundantly extolled – would surely have been destroyed [before now].” (22:40)

A house of worship is sacred ground, and no matter the faith, it should not be the subject of vicious violence such as we witnessed.

It is clear that this young man was filled with racist rage, and what he did was an act of terrorism. Yet, more than just this, what Dylann Roof is accused of doing was satanic in nature. Not because of how evil it was, although that is indeed true. Rather, it is satanic because it was Satan himself who introduced us to the whole notion of racism.

In the Qur’an, which we commemorate by our fasts and vigils in this month of Ramadan, God ordered the angels to bow in prostration to our father Adam. Satan arrogantly refused:

“[And God] said: ‘What has kept you from prostrating yourself when I commanded you?’ Answered [Satan]: ‘I am better than he: You have created me out of fire, whereas him You have created out of clay.’” (7:12)

“Said He: ‘O [Satan]! What has kept you from prostrating yourself before that [being] which I have created with My hands? Are you too proud [to bow down before another created being], or are you of those who think [only] of themselves as high?’ Answered [Satan]: ‘I am better than he: Thou hast created me out of fire, whereas him You have created out of clay.’” (38:75-76)

“AND LO! We said unto the angels, ‘Prostrate yourselves before Adam’-whereupon they all prostrated themselves, save [Satan]. Said he: ‘Shall I prostrate myself before one whom You have created out of clay?’” (17:61)

It was Satan who was the first racist. Satan refused to bow to Adam because he felt superior to him, since Satan was created out of fire and Adam out of clay. This is racism, plain and simple.

And the human race has been plagued with the scourge of racism ever since. Satan has whispered to countless people throughout the ages that they are better than others because of the color of their skin, or the tongue they speak, or the land from which they hail. So much evil has been wrought because of racism: Slavery, the Holocaust, the Rwandan genocide, among many, many others. Rivers of blood have been spilled throughout our history because of the stain of racism.

Yet, all of us are from Adam, and Adam was from dust, as our Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) taught us. The Qur’an tells us that no one of us is better than another, except in piety and God-consciousness. You would think that people of faith, especially those of the Abrahamic tradition, would understand this the best and be saved from the effects of racism.

Yet, sadly, the virus of racism has infected many communities of faith, even in the Muslim community as well. But it is never too late. God Himself said in the Qur’an,

“(And yet), behold, you [Satan] shall have no power over [such of] My servants [as place their trust in Me]: for none is as worthy of trust as your Lord.” (17:65)

We are never doomed to fall victim to the whispers of Satan. We can resist whatever feelings of racial or ethnic superiority that may come into our hearts. Although too many have fallen – and will continue to fall –  into Satan’s trap of racist hatred, we should at least recognize from where this ugliness came in the first instance. Maybe this will help us rid whatever feelings may stray into our hearts and prevent those feelings from turning into any vile action.

Calling Out The Double Standard: Christian Terror Against Muslims Ignored By Media


In the Name of God: The Extremely, Eternally, and Everlastingly Loving and Caring

My good friend Dean Obeidallah wrote an excellent piece at the Daily Beast about this little-known terror plot that was foiled:

Have you heard about the Christian terrorist Robert Doggart, who was plotting a violent attack against a Muslim-American community in New York state? Probably not, because as opposed to when U.S. law-enforcement officials arrest a Muslim for planning a violent assault, they didn’t send out a press release or hold a press conference publicizing Doggart’s arrest.

So let me tell you about Doggart and his deadly plan to use guns and even a machete to attack American Muslims in upstate New York. Doggart, a 63-year-old Tennessee resident, is an ordained Christian minister in the Christian National Church. In 2014, he unsuccessfully ran for Congress as an independent, espousing far right-wing views.

Read the rest of the chilling details of the plot here.

What if this was the other way around: a Muslim caught plotting an attack on Christians and their churches? There would have been round-the-clock coverage. As Dean wrote:

It goes without saying that if Doggart had been Muslim and had planned to kill Christians in America, we would have seen wall-to-wall media coverage. Fox News would have cut into its already-daily coverage of demonizing Muslims to do a special report really demonizing Muslims. And few can doubt that a Muslim would’ve been charged with terrorism-related crimes.

Shockingly, Doggart was not charged with terrorism-related offenses. This is wrong. This is hypocritical. This is a terrible double standard, and it has to be called out every single time.

Whenever anyone – Muslim or Christian – plots to kill innocents, it is news, and it deserves adequate coverage. American Muslims had to shout at the tops of their lungs after the three young Muslims in Chapel Hill were brutally murdered to get any sort of media coverage. Yet, whenever any Muslim anywhere commits a crime, it is headline news.

This is a terrible double standard, and it has be called out every single time.

Islam Teaches Patience In The Face of Bigotry


In the Name of God: The Extremely, Eternally, Everlastingly Loving and Caring

This was first published in the Muslim Observer.

I had no idea that this gathering about drawing the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) even existed. That is, until news of the shootings surfaced. Now, authorities have identified the gunmen, Elton Simpson and his roommate Nadir Soofi. These “holy warriors” were killed by police as soon as they opened fire as the event was ending.

What continues to boggle the mind about the criminals who undertake such actions to “defend the Prophet (pbuh)” is how brazenly they neglect the Qur’an. This is not the first – and most certainly will not be the last – time that the Prophet (pbuh) has been insulted. In fact, because of an act such as this shooting, it will guarantee that other such events mocking the Prophet (pbuh) will be held in the future.

But, again, what does the Qur’an say about facing the mockery of the Prophet (pbuh)? Plenty, actually:

“And, indeed, He has enjoined upon you in this divine writ that whenever you hear people deny the truth of God’s messages and mock at them, you shall avoid their company until they begin to talk of other things – or else, verily, you will become like them. Behold, together with those who deny the truth God will gather in hell the hypocrites.” (4:140)

“Now, whenever thou meet such as indulge in [blasphemous] talk about Our messages, turn thy back upon them until they begin to talk of other things and if Satan should ever cause thee to forget [thyself], remain not, after recollection, in the company of such evildoing folk.” (6:68)

Two revelations, revealed years apart, saying the same thing: walk away from those who mock the signs of God. Nowhere does it say that these people should be attacked, harmed, or killed.
People will mock the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), just like other Prophets were mocked before. The Qur’an says so, in fact, multiple times:

“Mocked were (many) apostles before thee; but their scoffers were hemmed in by the thing that they mocked.” (6:10)

“Mocked were (many) apostles before thee: but I granted respite to the unbelievers, and finally I punished them: Then how (terrible) was my requital!” (13:32)

“Mocked were (many) apostle before thee; But their scoffers were hemmed in by the thing that they mocked.” (21:41)

Again, God said that He took care of those who mocked His Messengers, and no where does it say attack and kill those that mock. This is a satanic delusion of some criminals who are Muslim and think they are doing “good.” They are not doing good, but a tremendous evil.

What’s more, the Qur’an comforted the Prophet (pbuh) with regards to the mockery he faced:

“And well do We know that thy bosom is constricted by the [blasphemous] things that they say.” (15:97)

And what does the next verse say to do? Kill them? Attack them? Absolutely not:

“But extol thou thy Sustainer’s limitless glory and praise Him, and be of those who prostrate themselves [before Him] in adoration, and worship thy Lord till death comes to thee.” (15:98-99)

The Qur’an is clear: leave those who mock and malign, and God will take care of them, just like He has in the past.

That is why it is quite clear that people such as Simpson and Soofi have absolutely no knowledge of Islam and the Qur’an. If they did, they would have known better not to engage in acts of criminality that will only do harm to Islam, the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), and the larger Muslim community, which will certainly face an unjust and unjustifiable backlash.

Criminals such as Simpson and Soofi, like the criminals behind the attach on Charlie Hebdo, do not represent Islam, and they do not defend the Prophet in the way he should be defended, no matter how much those who hate Islam may say so.

Thank God that Simpson and Soofi were stopped before they could commit worse crimes, and may God protect us all from criminal deviants such as these from ever striking again.