Watching the watchers

When news media chooses to give coverage to divisive organizations, it only further legitimizes said organization. Without media coverage, it’s just background noise.

Daily Mirror (mainly, among others) was my go to source for news in Sri Lanka. It used to be. Then I switched to Asian Mirror. Now, I’m considering switching away from Ada Derana.  Why?

In Sri Lanka, we have notoriously divisive organizations stirring up communal violence, now and again. And, I’d like to NOT contribute to the presence of articles that give coverage to such organizations, which in turn give legitimacy.

When news media chooses to give coverage to divisive organizations, it only further legitimizes said organization. Without media coverage, it’s just background noise.

In the past three years, Daily Mirror, Asian Mirror, and now Ada Derana (among English medium sites) have been increasingly, giving voice (a.k.a coverage) to otherwise non existent extremist organizations.

During my short stint in the news media, I was able to understand how the industry operates. It all boils down to profit for the company. And like the sale of a printed copy of a newspaper counts as profit, so too, does a page view.  I don’t want to be counted on as a page view, which in turn drives up revenue due to advertising on these sites.

Why would news sites carry articles of such a nature? Well, it sells (more views, shares, etc…).

A decade ago, expressing negative sentiments regarding a particular religion or community would have been seen as uncivilized, or uneducated. What changed?

The next time you see a link to an article about some fellow claiming that Muslims are becoming extremists or that Muslim culture is against national interests, please, think twice before clicking on it or sharing. Most likely, the headline is just click bait.

In this age where information is freely available at the press of a button, we need to be more responsible in the information we choose to consume. I haven’t visited the Daily Mirror site in three years. I have chosen to not visit such news sites. And if enough of us start doing this…. Insha Allah.

In a crowd of people, who are all talking, the one that gets the most attention ends up influencing the rest.

 

PS. Insha Allah, I hope to post another article on alternative sources for staying up to date with current events.

 

Who created Allah?

Allah SWT has no end and no beginning, since, He is the creator of all things, including time. For lack of better words, he is without (as opposed to ‘within’) time.

Warning: This article might cause headaches. (Knowledge of cosmology might lessen the headaches.)

Context (Al Big Bang)

The Big Bang Theory puts forward that 13.7 BILLION years ago, all the matter in the universe (watch the video) was concentrated into a single INCREDIBLY TINY point. This began to enlarge rapidly in a hot explosion, and it is still expanding today.

Also, when watching the video, notice that there’s an edge (boundary) to the expanding universe. Whether we can observe it or not, there’s going to be an edge to the universe (because it’s finite).

Here’s the question, though. “Where was this blob of matter in/on before Al Big Bang?”

Space and Time

So, there’s thing concept of space and time (space-time). For us to say that, the book is on the table means, among many things, that there is something beyond the thing called the book, and that it is currently there (i.e., present tense) = space and time.

Okay, close your eyes and imagine what this ‘space’ or ‘time’ is beyond our universe. Imagine that you’re at the borders of this universe (which is continually expanding). Like on the tip of the waves of a sea that is expanding. Now, picture what you see beyond this universe (whats the sea expanding onto?). Can you?

What images you end up imaging will most probably be a result of what you know and have experienced in your life AND WHAT YOUR BIOLOGY ALLOWS YOU TO IMAGINE.

No Space No Time

All of us can entertain the possibility of ‘no space’ and ‘no time’, but what that will ‘look’ like is something beyond our comprehension/capacity.

So, when people ask questions like, “Who created God” or ‘Who created Allah” they are only using cognitive capacities limited by our biology.

It’s impossible to ‘imagine’ a situation where (or how?) time doesn’t exist.

“Nor There is to Him any equivalent” (Holy Quran 112:4)

So, the answer to the question, ‘Who created Allah,” is that the question, in itself, is invalid.

Allah SWT has no end and no beginning, since, He is the creator of all things, including time. For lack of better words, he is without (as opposed to ‘within’) time.

Why is praying obligatory?

There are many benefits to performing obligatory acts, and they fall under spiritual and material categories. But why make some things obligatory over others?

Allah is Ar Rahman, Ar Raheem.

Have you ever wondered what the wisdom is behind certain things being Wajib/Fard (obligatory) in Islam? For example, why are the five times prayers wajib? Or why is it obligatory to fast in Ramadhan?

Note: What is a wajib? Wajib/Fard is any action that you are rewarded for performing, and punished for abstaining from. i.e., obligatory.

There are many benefits to performing obligatory acts, and they fall under spiritual and material categories. But why make some things obligatory over others?

The answer is connected to the first line in this post. It’s because, Allah (SWT) is Ar Rahman, Ar Raheem.

Allah loves these actions so much, He wants every Muslim to perform it, to the extent that He has made it a point of disbelief if anyone was to deny it (a Fard). What this means is that, performing fard acts draws a believer close to Allah (SWT). Isn’t this a blessing? On the other hand, to deny an obligatory act is just plain spiteful, arrogant and shows ingratitude. Hence, it being a point of disbelief.

The All Mighty loves us so much that, He has made it the bare minimum that we, as believers, get on his good side by performing acts that he loves A LOT! If you, O believer, wish to reciprocate that love (which is impossible, but it’s the intention that matters), then the mustahab/sunnah is the way to go to make Him love you even more.

So my brothers and sisters in Islam, the next time you stand for a Fard salat (prayer), fast in Ramadhan, tell the truth, obey your parents, earn honestly, lower your gaze and guard your chastity, give charity, or perform Hajj, give thanks to Allah (SWT) for making these obligatory on you in His infinite mercy (*hint: Sajdah Shukr).

Relax

I encourage you to share something that makes you feel as relaxed as these cats.

Life is full of tests. Family responsibilities, neighborhood responsibilities, work commitments, debts, social media posts which test sabr, and the list goes on.

That’s why it’s important to relax. And as this post suggests, I’ve decided to share a photo that makes me feel relaxed.

Ihsan, in Islam, is the ability to see Allah SWT through His attributes (Asma ul Husna), e.g., His creations and the qualities that He’s blessed each with.

Rahma (mercy) is one of the greatest Blessings of Allah (and probably one of the most importatnt attribute of Allah SWT) that He could have bestowed on his creations.

This word is derived from the root letters ra, ha, meem, which means the the womb of the mother. When he hear Rahma, what ought to come to mind is the protection, compassion, mercy, and providence that we all experience in the womb.

So, when I feel Rahma towards my family, fellow humans, and animals it is indeed a Blessing that Allah SWT has bestowed me with. When I see these two cats sleeping next to each other, and experience the love and compassion in my heart it helps me relax. It is a sign of Allah SWT.

What would the world be without Ar Rahman and His Rahma?

I encourage you to share something that makes you feel as relaxed as these cats.

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Where is the ‘salam’ in Assalamu Alaykkum?

One of the biggest fears the Rasoolullah (SAW) had for his Ummah (a.k.a us) is that we would fight amongst ourselves based on differences of opinion. This is why he said that Islam has come to liberate the people from the ignorance of tribalism, nationalism, etc… Islam is about diversity, and tolerance.

assalamu alaykkum.” It’s something you hear from another Muslim (or from a savvy non-Muslim). But what does it mean actually? Are you parroting it just because it’s expected? Or do you actually mean it?

And what does it mean to actually mean it?

At the least, it means you don’t mean any harm to your brother/sister in Islam. At the most you are making dua that this person should be blessed with peace.

It a world filled with fear, mistrust, and hate, it is important to understand the hikmah (wisdom) behind this prayer to one another.

Why did the Rasoolullah (SAW) instruct his followers to use this instead of an Arabic equivalent of ‘Hello’ or ‘Greetings’?

When you actively train your heart to intend well to another person, you develop tolerance and unity, and, ultimately, brotherhood.

One of the biggest fears the Rasoolullah (SAW) had for his Ummah (a.k.a us) is that we would fight amongst ourselves based on differences of opinion. This is why he said that Islam has come to liberate the people from the ignorance of tribalism, nationalism, etc… Islam is about diversity, and tolerance.

But, wait.

Isn’t that exactly what we have fallen into, as an Ummah? Each group with one ideology is at each others’ throats. Islam doesn’t need enemies from the outside, Muslims themselves have become the enemy to each other. Even shaythan might feel envious of this state.

Please, for the sake of Allah (SWT), let go of any animosity you may have towards another point of view among Muslims. So long as they believe the Fard (compulsory) as Fard, and mustahab as mustahab, and nafl and nafl, then see them as someone who has said the same shahaadah (“la ilaha illallah muhammadur rasoolullah”) as you have, and belonging to your extended family. Don’t do shaythan’s work for him.

I speak from experience when I say, the day you intend salam on another person (Muslim or not) is the day you will begin to see salam in your own life.

We say salam to one another, but where’s the salam?

Don’t we want Allah SWT to judge us with Mercy? So, show mercy and compassion to one another in this life.

surely Allah does not change the condition of a people until they change their own condition; and when Allah intends evil to a people, there is no averting it, and besides Him they have no protector.” (13:11)

Believe it or not, but you might be following the Sharia

To protect the rights of non-muslims living in a Sharia state, it (Sharia) even has separate laws for non-muslims. Talk about built in diversity and tolerance.

Are you someone who firmly believes in the rights of women? human beings? Have ever given out money in charity? took care of an orphan? an elderly person? Have you spent time with your parents? or spent equally on your children? have you helped out your relatives in some way? do you keep in touch with them?

Do you believe that animals deserve to be treated humanely? That they need to be taken care of properly?

As a female, do you own money or property? have you been educated like your male counterparts? Do you think female circumcision is barbaric? Do you believe that all children, even daughters, need to be treated equally in a family?

Do you dislike to be cheated in a transaction? Do you feel that monopolies shouldn’t exist in markets? Do you want transparency to exist in systems? Do you feel that the rich should be taxed and the poor should be taken care of by the state?

Do you dislike being lied to?

If you can relate to any of these questions chances are that you’re following the Sharia of Islam.

Islam, as it happens, is more than a religion (i.e., a set of beliefs). It’s a way of life (i.e., laws for the individual and state) like Judaism.

To protect the rights of non-muslims living in a Sharia state, it (Sharia) even has separate laws for non-muslims. Talk about built in diversity and tolerance.

The key to understanding the Sharia is learning about objectives of Sharia and how jurists have the flexibility in applying the fixed principles of Islam.

One thing that everyone should be aware about Islamic law is that, in general, it is more focused on deterrent theory of justice than a retributive or reformative, or any other form of justice system. At time, many Western systems have also focused on deterrent justice (Wikipedia is your friend here).

Want to know more about the Sharia? read the first answer here.

Dear reader, it’s easy to go with the flow. However, it’s better to know why you’re going with the flow? and, much better to know why the flow is even going in a given direction.

GSP+ and Muslim Personal Laws?

the definition of ‘civilized’ has changed from religion to secularism and political correctness

As early as the 1500s Europe felt it had the great burden of spreading ‘civilization’ to the pagan barbaric cultures that was the rest of the world. Fast forward a few hundred years and our tiny island saw the spread of this ‘civilization’ on our very own shores. First came the benevolent Dutch, then the Portugese, and finally the Victorian British during the 1800s.

Back then, it was a fairly simple, upfront matter, this colonization business (though not so with the wily British). They came, they saw, they converted conquered spread ‘civilization’ to us backward Sri Lankans. And, of course, their efforts would have been in vain if not for our own local espousers of Western ideals. Once we ‘gained’ our independence from our former colonial masters, local history books would mention the pivotal role these ‘sole distributors’, of what a civilized society was, played in the perpetuation of colonial laws in this island during colonial rule. I’ve always wondered what motivated these fellow Lankans to change their values to such an extent as to be a completely new identity.

Then, there were the blessed missionaries, who either spread the message by way of sword/musket or wealth and status. Of course, these days, it’s mostly done by providing ‘financial’ opportunities in various forms.

I admit, it’s a better way to spread an ideology, rather than at gunpoint (refer European colonization, WWII, Cold War, Vietnam War, Korean War, etc…). This ‘economical’ method is just that. It’s economical: not a single soldier sets foot abroad, not a bullet is fired, and best of all, no lives are lost. It’s less expensive. Note that as of late, the definition of ‘civilized’ has changed from religion to secularism and political correctness, disguised as (and please don’t hate me for saying this) democracy/civil liberties.

These days, it’s backwards to believe in God and practice one’s religion. It’s blasphemous to not support homosexual behavior. ‘Islamic’, ‘Jihad’, ‘Sharia’, ‘Burqa’, and ‘Tawheed’ have negative associations. And, it’s downright suspicious to speak in Arabic.

So, now we have the same salesmen with the same product, but with a new package with a new sales (economical) pitch.

When I first heard about how one of the stipulations for Sri Lanka to receive GSP+ status was to amend the Muslim Personal Law, namely, the Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act of 1951, I was like, ‘GSP+ and what??’

Now, I haven’t personally read the Act so I really don’t know EVERYTHING that’s in it. So, I really can’t comment on it. However, it seems the issue is the minimum age for marriage. One could argue for or against it, and again, not the point of the article.

But what strikes as odd, indeed disturbing, is the amount of stir it’s creating in social circles. Really disturbing. If you’re Sri Lankan and haven’t come across such posts in social media, then consider yourself blessed. Again, not the point.

However, upon some reflection on the matter, I happened to draw some interesting insights.

Now, how the world operates, at least for us so called ‘developing countries’ is like this:

  • As a ‘developing nation’ (I fail to see how we still have this term, considering the amount of luxury vehicles that are driving on the roads, and how super luxury condominiums seem to grow faster than trees and in greater numbers, etc…) and thanks to successive corrupt governments, we have to depend on loans, trade concessions for exports/imports from ‘developed’ nations (again puzzling, considering amount of debt most Westerners are in, student loans, mortgages, credit cards, etc…)
  • Change local policies to curry international favor to receive monetary aid.

In light of this, it seems rather interesting, nay, extremely fishy, for the European Union to stipulate that SL makes changes to its Muslim Personal Law. And I’m sure some of you out there have voiced your opinions regarding this matter. Kudos to you.

Muslim personal law aside, these EU stipulations smell a whole lot like we’re in a new wave of colonization, and what’s worse, most aren’t even aware of it!

 

On a side note, have you ever wondered why the Muslims (and Islam) are being targeted, and not just here, but on a global scale?