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Quranic word of the day: 1. Al-Fatihah

Word: Al-Fatihah

Pronounciation: Ul-Faah*-Tih-Huh

Translation: 'The First One' or 'The Beginning'.

Explanation: Al-Fatihah is the name of the first chapter of the Quran (this chapter has many other names though). Imam Bukhari** (r) says this chapter is called 'The Beginning' because Allah (aw) has placed it at the beginning of the Quran and the beginning of all prayers.

*Bold text indicates stressed syllable.

**As mentioned in Tafsir Ibn Kathir.

Muslim. Humble. Thankful (poem)

I am a native of Kashan
My days are not so bad.
I own a loaf of bread, a bit of intelligence, a tiny bit of taste.
I possess a mother better than the leaves of trees.
Friends, better than the water of a running brook.

And a God who is this near:
Within these carnations, beneath that tall pine tree,
Hovering above the awareness of water, above the Law of Foliage.

Poem by Sohrab Sepehri.

Photo by Hamed Masoumi.

Islam's message, written in our blood

"A message written in our blood is one that people read." -Muhammad Qutb in his book, How Do We Call People?, in regards to courage in the face of oppression.

He mentions how the early Muslims in Makkah called people to Islam but never fought back when they were attacked, tortured and even murdered.

Photo by nyki m.

Sohrab's poem about the empty train of politics

I saw things on the face of Earth:

I saw a child, that was smelling the Moon.
I saw a door-less cage in which, brilliance was flapping its wings.
I saw a ladder on which, love ascended to the roof of heaven.
I saw a woman, who was pounding light in a mortar.
Lunch on their table was bread, was vegetables, was the distance of dew, was the hot bowl of affection.

I saw a lamb, that was eating a kite.
I saw a donkey, who understood hay.
In the meadow of 'advice' I saw a cow, satiated.

I saw a train, that was carrying brilliance.
I saw a train, that was carrying knowledge and so torrential it went.
I saw a train, that was carrying politics (and so empty it went.)
I saw a train, that was carrying seeds of lotus and the song of canaries.

And an air plane, which on that height of thousands of feet,
the soil through its windows was visible:
the topknot of hoopoes,
The spots on butterfly's wings,
The reflection of a frog in a pond


From The Footsteps of Water by Sohrab Sepehri, a Shi'i Muslim Iranian poet*. It is a reply to people who take life and facts too seriously. He calls for people to be humble and to respect and love nature.

*quranclub is a Sunni blog, but we respect and admire inspiration regardless of the source.

Michael Jackson died Muslim

According to the British newspaper, the Telegraph, Michael Jackson took Shahada in Los Angeles before he died.


Sayyid Qutb on eating

"I never ate a good meal without thinking I was stealing it from those who have nothing to eat." -Sayyid Qutb, Arab literary critic, social and political reformer, and Muslim da'ee.

Photo: Sayyid Qutb in prison.

Sheikh ibn Taymiyyah Man of God (part 2) by Dr. Ahmed al-Raysoni

Even though Ibn Taymiyyah reached lofty heights regarding his knowledge and acts of devotion, he remained humble; demolishing his self worth, denying himself [any status].

Ibn al-Qayyim said, “Many a times Sheikh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah would say, ‘I am nothing, and nothing [good] has come from me.’ If any one praised him to his face he would say, ‘By Allāh until now I am renewing my Islām at every moment and I have failed to enter into Islām properly.’

He used to sing, “I am poor, the son of a poor man. And that was the state of my father and grandfather.’”

Ibn al-Qayyim said, “I heard the Sheikh of Islām, Allāh sanctify his soul, say, “The one cognizant of Allāh does not assume he has a right over anyone, nor does he fancy himself better than others. For that reason, he does not ask others, does not burden them, nor does he harm others.’”

[Source and the rest of the article at: Suhaib Webb]

Volcanic blast makes a hole in the clouds

Volcanoes have always interested me. Not just because they look awesome, but also because they remind me of Allah AW's limitless power.

The picture is a recent one published by NASA of the Sarychev Peak Eruption that happened on June 12, 2009 in Japan Russia. Click picture to enlarge.

Kindness

"You forgave people's rudeness, even though you could easily retaliate, because you wanted it to be absolution for your sins on the Day of Judgment."*

*From The Life and Death of Sayyid Qutb by Salah Abdulfatah Al-Khalidi. Sayyid Qutb dedicated one of his books, The Signs of Qiyamah in the Quran, to his father, and wrote that about him.

Allah AW's absolute power

God is kind because He chose to be, not because we humans deserve it:

'Surely, in disbelief are they who say that God is the Messiah, son of Maryam (Mary) . Say (O Muhammad): "Who then has the least power against God, if He were to destroy the Messiah, son of Maryam (Mary), his mother, and all those who are on the earth together?" And to God belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth, and all that is between them. He creates what He wills. And God is Able to do all things.' [Quran, 5:17]

Look up a word in 5 of the best Arabic language dictionaries using one box

I have been using Baheth.info for months as my main tool for looking up Arabic words. It looks up words in these dictionaries: Lisaan Al-Arab (لسان العرب), Maqayees Al-Lugha (مقاييس اللغة), As-Sahah Fil Lugha (الصحاح في اللغة), Al-Qamoos Al-Muheet (القاموس المحيط) and Al-'Abab Az-Zakhir (العباب الزاخر).

Arabic dictionaries work differently from English ones. They need getting used to. It is normal to get a 50-page result by searching for a single word. Most complex words do not have their own entries. If you want to find the meaning of the word Mahmood, you'll find it explained in the entry for Hamd, which is the base word. Baheth.info makes a good job of highlighting the search word, making Arabic word lookup easier than ever.

One thing I like about Arabic dictionaries (except for the Munjid dictionary that was written by Christians) is that they refer to the Holy Quran and the Sunnah in most of their entries. This is not due to religious bias. The Quran's writing defines good Arabic writing. Arabic linguists have considered the Quran their reference point since linguistics became a science, which I heard happened a century after revelation.

One of the amazing things about Baheth.info is that the user can type in Latin characters (i.e. use an English keyboard). The box will suggest the Arabic spelling. For example writing ilm returns a suggestion for the word 'علم' in Arabic.



It also has its own Arabic keyboard that the user can access by clicking the keyboard icon in the above picture.

Fee qalbee, a blog about memorizing the Quran

Fee qalbee, which means 'in my heart' in Arabic, is a new blog with a lot of useful advice on memorizing the Holy Quran.

I looked at some of their articles and mashAllah, it was obvious that the content came from a Quran memorization pro.

This is what their about page says:
Fee Qalbee’ : A unique blog that seeks to inspire muslim women to memorise Al Qur’aan. Utilising textual, audio & visual information, our aim is to instill the love & ambition within each muslimah to make tahfeedhul Qur’aan an integral part of her spiritual quest to gain His Divine Pleasure.

In addition to this, we seek to provide a global support network for muslimahs worldwide, to share their experiences, challenges, memories & advice on memorizing Al Qur’aan.
The blog is maintained by someone who goes by the name Rayhaanah and describes herself as "Haafidhah. Student of Knowledge. Mentor. Teacher. Motivational speaker."

Photo by Capture Queen.

Alawfa.com, a Quran search engine

Today while looking for a Quran search engine I found Alawfa.com. It is an Arabic search engine for the Quran, hadith and Islamic sciences.

It is not very developed as it doesn't highlight the search word in the results.

If your computer can't type in Arabic use Arabic-Keyboard.org's keyboard to type with your curser. After which you can copy the text and paste it into Alawfa.com's search box.

The best way to lose weight, according to Prophet Muhammad's advice

If you are Muslim and you are able, it is worth it to give the Quranic diet a try

If you want to lose weight, go on a Quranic diet. Which means get most of your calories from meat, dairy, and fruit. Use olive oil and honey. Avoid sugar, white flour, and other processed foods. Don't eat grains or nuts if you can avoid them, because these are mentioned very little in the Quran. Meat is mentioned 100 times, while grains are mentioned only 7 times.

The Quranic diet is very similar to the recently popular paleolithic diet. It focuses on natural hunter-gatherer foods, the foods that our earliest ancestors enjoyed, which is mostly meat and fruit.

According to Why We Get Fat, the most scientific nutrition book written in recent history, the most important reason why people get fat is because of eating foods containing sugar and flour. The reason is that while humans cannot eat too much meat (because eating too much meat triggers human disgust responses), they can eat a lot more than they need of simple carbohydrates like sugar and flour because they do not trigger disgust responses.

Additionally, when we eat too much fat and protein, our bodies have mechanisms for throwing the unnecessary amounts we eat out. But our bodies have no such mechanism for getting rid of extra carbohydrates. When we eat too much carbohydrates, they get stored in our bodies as fat. They do not get thrown out. And this is the simple reason behind why we get fat.

Therefore a meat & fruit focused diet is a great way of keeping your weight in check. Note that fruit juice is fattening as well, you should eat the whole fruit, because fruit juice is a lot more concentrated in sugars than whole fruit. A glass of orange juice contains the concentrated sugars found in 10 oranges. You don't normally sit down and eat ten oranges (I hope).

Another important concept is not eating too much. This was the original focus of this article. Prophet Muhammad SAW says:
"Let people fill one third of their stomach with food, one third with drink and one third with nothing."*
People who are used to a non-Quranic diet can't imagine not eating until they feel full. The reason is what I mentioned above; bread and sugar do not trigger our satiation responses. Our bodies want to get infinite amounts of bread and sugar. But if you are on the Quranic diet, you will feel satiated earlier thanks to all the protein and fat found in meat, olives, and olive oil.

If you have read things opposite to what I recommend, please be aware that nutritional science is one of the least scientific branches of the sciences. The most important thing at the end of the day is the effect of your diet on you. If you are Muslim and you are able, it is worth it to give the Quranic diet a try.

*Narrated by al-Tirmidhi (1381), Ibn Maajah (3349); classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in al-Silsilah al-Saheehah (2265).

Men see bikini-clad women as objects, psychologists say

New research shows that, in men, the brain areas associated with handling tools and the intention to perform actions light up when viewing images of women in bikinis.

The research was presented this week by Susan Fiske, professor of psychology at Princeton University, at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

"This is just the first study which was focused on the idea that men of a certain age view sex as a highly desirable goal, and if you present them with a provocative woman, then that will tend to prime goal-related responses," she told CNN.

[Source and the rest of the article: CNN via Hegab Rehab]

Father, when will we ever relax?

Asked Abdullah, the son of Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal. He was one of the greatest revivers of the Sunnah and a role model for all Muslims. He looked his son in the eye and said, “With the first step we take into Jannah.”

From: Abi, when will we ever relax?

Free Islamic art series: Falling leaves from Suratul An'am

A beautiful verse that speaks of Allah's awareness of everything; "And with Him are the keys of the Ghaib (all that is hidden), none knows them but He. And He knows whatever there is in (or on) the earth and in the sea; not a leaf falls, but He knows it. There is not a grain in the darkness of the earth nor anything fresh or dry, but is written in a Clear Record."

I took the picture of the verse from Tajweed Quran. The picture might not be that usable, but it is still nice to look at and think of the verse.

We don't own the picture, so we can't say you can use it however you like. The owner of the original version is lakewentworth on Flickr. You can use it on your blog provided that you mention the Flickr owner. You don't have to mention us.

Make $5000 a month? The Google Biz Kit scams


Today I was sent an email about whether this Google Biz Kit thing was legit. This is what I found out.

There are many of these sites. They claim that by 'posting links on Google' (a very silly sounding statement), after using their kit, one can make thousands of dollars per month. They call their kits the Google Biz Kit or Google Home Business Kit.

The following is a screen shot of one of their bogus sites (dailytribunes[dot]com) which tries to look like a legit news site. It is a site that hosts one and only one article. I don't deny that at first glance even I thought it was legit. (Click picture to enlarge)


The following are articles from sites that have researched this particular scam:
First photo from Reviewopedia.

Islam in one word

"Islam in one word is freedom. Islam creates freedom by taking lordship from corruptable human lords, and human desires, and giving it to a just and merciful King; God." -Muhammad Qutb.

Photo by Pink Sherbet on Flickr.

Prayer

"Prayer does not change God, but it changes him who prays."

Photo: Hajs on Mount Arafat. I don't know the source.

Sweet hadith

"It is a fine thing when a believer praises and thanks God if good comes to him, and praises God and shows endurance if smitten by affliction. The believer is rewarded for (every good action), even for the morsel he raises to his wife's mouth." -Prophet Muhammad SAW. Reported by Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith 537Add Image.

Who is the weakest person?

The weakest man is the one who is able to correct his moral defects, but doesn't take action. -Ali bin Abi Talib (may Allah be pleased with him)

Free Islamic art: Prophet Muhammad SAW's name

Something I made in Photoshop. The Prophet Muhammad's beautiful name on a scenic sky. Click on the picture to see the original size. You are free to use this image wherever you like.

Don't be the man on the street

"The Muslims who created Islam's success in Madinah had heard Islam's call and entered it. They had purified their intentions for it, and had become vigilant guards defending it from its enemies. They weren't just excited mobs; people today's media calls "the man on the street".

The man on the street is someone whose features are indistinguishable, who doesn't have independent opinions, and who lacks a stable intellectual or spiritual direction.

Or he is the Im'Ah (yes-men, i.e. people of unquestioning obedience) that the Prophet (sallAllahu alaihi wa sallam) mentions in his saying;

Don't be Im'Ah, people who say; "If people do good, so will we. And if they do evil, so will we". Rather, keep your integrity and do not transgress whether people do good or bad. [Reported by Turmudhi]
The man on the street is the person whose mind the media creates by its various broadcasting outlets. And later, it asks him for his opinion, an opinion that was created by the media in the first place.

Islam cannot be helped by this person. Islam's success comes from people who give themselves up for its cause, whose intentions are purely directly toward Allah."
-Written by Muhammad Qutb in his book, Kaifa Nad'un Nasa.

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