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.

“Go And Cling To Her Feet, Because Paradise Is There”


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

The title of this post is the response of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) to a man who expressed a desire to perform jihad in the path of God. It is likely that this man was thinking about a military battle. The Prophet (pbuh) instead asked him, “Is your mother alive?” When the man replied in the affirmative, the Prophet (pbuh) replied, “Go and cling to her feet, because Paradise is there.”

The duty we have to our parents in general, but to our mothers in particular, is enormous in Islam. The Qur’an is full of references to the duty we have to our parents:

For your Lord has ordained that you shall worship none but Him. And do good unto [your] parents. Should one of them, or both, attain to old age in your care, never say [even] “Ugh” to them or scold them, but [always] speak unto them with reverent speech and spread over them humbly the wings of your tenderness, and say: “O my Lord! Bestow Your grace upon them, even as they cherished and reared me when I was a child!” (17:23-24)Now [among the best of righteous deeds which] We have enjoined upon humanity [is] goodness towards parents…(29:8)

AND WORSHIP God [alone], and do not ascribe divinity, in any way, to aught beside Him. And do good unto your parents…(4:36)

Say: “Come, let me convey unto you what God has [really] forbidden to you: “Do not ascribe divinity, in any way, to aught beside Him; and [do not offend against but, rather,] do good unto your parents…(6:151)



Read more:  http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/commonwordcommonlord#ixzz3ZeQrXItA



Between God’s Love And Mercy


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

This was first published in The Muslim Observer.

Although it is true that God’s Mercy is balanced by God’s Justice, it is still very important to remember the very first thing God highlighted when introducing us to Himself:

All praise and thanks is simultaneously and perpetually due to God, the Extremely, Eternally, and Perpetually Loving and Caring. (1:1-2)

God could have used anything to describe Himself in the Fatihah. Yet, He purposefully used these two beautiful words: Al Rahman, Al Raheem. Because of these two attributes of God, we get food to eat and water to drink. We get the warmth of the Sun, the cool breath of the breeze, the soft feel of grass on our bare feet.

Because God is Al Rahman and Al Raheem, we wake up each day and live our lives to the fullest. We stand breathless at the majesty of the blue ocean, its waves gently breaking on the soft sand. We marvel at the unlimited expanse of the Universe, wondering about other worlds that have yet to be discovered.

It is impossible to avoid living and breathing God’s attributes of Al Rahman, Al Raheem.

Thus, the most natural response to all this goodness is gratitude. When one realizes how much she benefits from the goodness of God’s Love and Caring, she cannot help but be grateful. In fact, one can look at the first two verses of Al Fatihah in that manner: “All praise and thanks is due to God” [because He is] The Extremely, Eternally, and Perpetually Loving and Caring.”

And out of this gratitude come our ritual worship and good works. The Prophet (pubh) said this to his wife A’isha, saying that he stood in prayer until his feet swelled because he wanted to be a “grateful servant.”

We pray five times a day because it reminds us of Him, the One to Whom we are so grateful. We refrain from doing what He prohibited, because we are so grateful to Him for all His wondrous gifts. We spend out of the wealth with which He blessed us, because we are so grateful for His blessing us with that wealth in the first place. And it can go on and on.

In fact, when one is grateful, then God has no need for punishing that person. He said it himself in the Qur’an:

What purpose does God fulfill in punishing you if you are grateful and believe, seeing that God is always responsive to gratitude (or, Grateful) and all knowing? (4:147)

The order of the words in the verse is not an accident: God purposefully put gratitude before belief, further indicating that our belief (and subsequent actions) directly come out of our gratitude. When one is grateful to his Lord, then doing what He asks is not a burden. And when one is grateful to her Lord, her love for Him will only grow and blossom.

That is why, truly, “All Praise and Thanks is simultaneously and perpetually due to God.” And we praise and thank Him always because we are so grateful to Him for all that He has done; we are so grateful for His being Al Rahman, Al Raheem.

In The Cradle of God’s Mercy


In the Name of God: The Extremely, Eternally, Infinitely, and Perpetually Mericful 

This was first published in The Muslim Observer 

Photo credit: photodune

By Hesham Hassaballa

For many years, I have written and preached about the fact that the love of God can be read in and inferred from many verses in the Qur’an. Yet, after I was exposed to the classes at Bayyinah Institute, I realized that – despite my being a native Arabic speaker – I really did not understand the book of God. For all these years, I was staring at the love of God in the Qur’an and had absolutely no idea.

In the first chapter of the Qur’an, Al Fatihah (“The Opening”), God introduces Himself to the world:

“All Praise and Thanks belong to God, The Lord and Master of all nations of people
The Extremely, Eternally, Perpetually? and Infinitely Merciful
Master and King of the Day of Judgment”

This chapter was the first one revealed in totality to the Prophet, and in it, God describes Himself in terms of love and mercy. The root of the words, Al Rahman and Al Raheem, is “rhm,” which denotes love, care, and mercy. From it comes the word for mother’s womb, which is the ultimate manifestation of love and care.

And the words themselves are deeply profound in meaning. Al Rahman has three elements of mercy: first, it is extreme in nature; second, it is immediate; and third, it is temporary, meaning that something can take it away. Al Raheem has two qualities: first, it is eternal and perpetual; and second, it is not necessarily occurring right at this second.

Thus, with the two being paired together, it has the meaning which is roughly translated at “The Extremely, Eternally, Perpetually and Infinitely Merciful.” His Mercy is extreme and occurs right at this second, when we need it most, and it is there perpetually and eternally when we need it later.

And within those two words are God’s love for us. For more than two decades of my life, I was reciting in the prayer these words and had no idea that God was telling me, directly, that He loves me. For too many times in my life, I have had preachers and Imams focus on God’s wrath, and punishment, and anger, and power.

Indeed, He has all of these things. And we all pray that He never shows us those things. Yet, when He chose to introduce Himself to the world, and introduce Himself to those who seek guidance in His Word, He chose to focus on His love and mercy; His beauty and goodness; His care and benevolence. Out of all His infinite qualities, He chose to tell us that He is Al Rahman, Al Raheem.

Now, of course, whenever one has a benevolent master, employer, or manager, those in his responsibility are liable to take advantage of this benevolence. There is a risk that, knowing that our God is a loving and merciful Lord, we may take advantage of this fact and willfully sin against Him saying, “He is Merciful.” That is why He said that He is “Master and King of the Day of Judgment.” There will be a day when we will face Him and be taken to account for all that we have done.

Yet, still, despite this, the first thing He said about Himself is that He is Al Rahman, Al Raheem. This means that His mercy is extreme, immediate, eternal, and perpetual. And this is because He loves us more than we will ever know. I never knew that this amazing chapter told me this from the very beginning. And I am so very grateful to my Lord that I now do.