Jahiliyyah Strikes Back

Days of Jahiliyyah was characterized by an oppression and exploitation. People were in absolute darkness (ignorance) groping like a blind man in the dark unaware of the pitfalls before him. Human values were ignored. People did not know the meaning of justice and respect. Morality was trodden under foot; innocent blood was split through arrogance and lack of reason. How low can man sink! Honor among people did not exist – in fact, all goodness were precieved as being detrimental to progress. They were arrogant, proud and ruthless. They worshipped power and wealth – these were the only gods they knew. People fought over petty issues. Disunity, suspension, enmity, hatred and harming others were the order of the day. They were cunning and shrewd. They spoke the worst of lies with the straightest of faces. There was no honesty, no modesty, no dignity, no shame, no values, and no principles.

All these are visibly seen at the present time. All these decadences with which our Prophet Nabi (saw) had to contend are back with us and threaten to devour us as individual, families and as an Ummah. Fellow Bangsamoro Brethren! If we look at our society alone leaving aside non-Muslim communities, do we not find something familiar with these practices of JAHILIYYAH?

Do we not see the wealthy Maranaos puffed up with arrogance and pride? Their disdainful attitude toward the less wealthy is so glaring! How they flaunt their wealth whilst thousands of fellow Maranaos around them are groveling and debilitating poverty. They squander huge sums of money in frivolous and vain pursuits and pleasure. Look at the wasteful week-long wedding ceremonies of today in Noramis Convention, Sahara Function Hall and many other function halls in Marawi City, the election expenditures during campaign period. There is a mad frenzy to outdo one another in lavishness and extravagance. This is how the wealthy behaved in the days of Jahiliyyah.

See how the public funds are being misappropriated today. This loot is not confined only to the rulers, but influential men from among the public also plunder these funds as when they are able to do so. We do so many things without thinking that these are also sets of stealing funds (e.g. illegal electric connection). The theft of public money is more serious than ordinary cases of theft. If a man commits theft in the house of anyone, it is possible to return the amount stolen. The theft ever feels inclined to repent of his act of theft. The thief’s crime will thus be washed off, but this is not possible in the case of theft of public money because it belongs not to one man but to innumerable men of the public. In such a case, repentance becomes impossible.

In the olden days, it was known who was the killer, but it could be known why the victim was killed (i.e he was killed by robbers for robbing the victim of his money or by enemies). Anyway, the cause of the murder became known. What is happening now-a-days? A man is sitting or standing in front of his door, he has no enemies nor involved in politics, yet some hooligan shoots at him and kills him without any apparent cause. The Holy Prophet Nabi (saw) has predicted this event in clear words: “A time will come upon the people in whom the killer will not know why he killed the victim nor the victim killed knows why he was killed”. Look at the situation happening today in our society which fully confirms the truth of the Prophet Nabi’s (saw) predictions.

How the wealth is earned? The sad reality is in many cases, it is earned through exploitation, cunningness, dishonesty, unscrupulous and unethical ways. How many scams and scandals are not being uncovered in which Muslim names feature prominently nowadays. How many have very knowingly bought and profited from stolen goods without a care in the world? How many are ruthless and merciless in making their claims and demands? How many a debt remains unpaid but the debtors have built a huge mansion and gone for Umrah? All of these are done without a tinge of guilty conscience. In fact, people are quite proud and pleased about their achievements in making money like this! This is how it was in the days of Jahiliyyah!

See what has actually happened today under the frenzy of fashion. It is difficult to distinguish between men and women from a distance. In other words, men and women adopt each others guise and appearance.

Look at the craving for fun, pleasure and entertainment that consumes the lives and energies of the Muslim Ummah. Parties, shows, outings, dining out, movies, functions and go forth night after night, week after week are now the norm for many. The insatiable crave for gadgets and toys of entertainment have overtaken young and old. Video games, PSP’s, fancy mobile phones, DVD players, MP3 players, ipods, and hand-held devices are the fashionable thing that consumes unlimited hours of time leaving no time even for essential tasks in the lives of the youth. The vices of these devices are too well-known. Indulgence in haram through these toys in the form of pornography, music, vulgarity, images, etc is the most beloved pastime of the youth. The behavior of young boys and girls is so disgusting. All vestiges of modesty and shame are gone. Is this not what happened in Jahiliyyah?

Nowadays, we are now making usury lawful by declaring it to be a business transaction. They said that bank interest is the form of a business transaction. If this is declared unlawful, the business activities will be greatly handicapped. This is also true in making bribery lawful by giving it the name of a gift. The giver of bribery will give and the taker of bribe will take the bribe under the name of a gift even though the offer is nothing but bribery. All these sins, crimes, and vices are present in our society.

Long standing family relationships are shredded for petty reasons. Blood brothers and sisters are not on talking terms for months and years for political matters. Disunity, suspicion, malice, and hatred have become the norm in many families. Even when there is no enmity, family relationships are weak and superficial. Nobody has time to visit his family and those who do were not welcome anyway. Preference is given to friends over family. Long established traditions based on sound values and principles such as Kaphamagawida, kathatabanga, Khaseselai have been thrown out of the window and replaced with an artificial, vain and hollow lifestyle. Simplicity, hospitality, generosity, honesty, modesty, dignity, piety and other wonderful values and brushed aside as unimportant and even scoffed at as being orthodox and old-fashioned just as it was in the days of Jahiliyyah.

The solution and remedy for these Jahiliyyah was offered fourteen hundred years ago and still remains the same today. The answer all lies with the Qur’an, the hadiths , the Sunnah of the Prophet Nabi (saw), and the guidance of the pious predecessors and their righteous followers. If only the Muslim Ummah would seriously turn to this treasure, we will be rescued from the crushing grip of this modern-day Jahiliyyah and we will be able to take up our rightful position of helping mankind to escape from its clutches as well, Inshaallah! This is what Allah (swt) wants from us and this is what the world expects from us.

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Balikatan Exercises: War on Islam not terrorism

From the daily bloodshed in Palestine to the continued bombing in Afghanistan to the threat of a new war against Iraq, to the attacks on Muslims in India and the harassment of peaceful, law-abiding Muslims in the USA, we should be left in no doubt as to what is meant by the so called “War on Terrorism” It is no less than a war on Islam and Muslims whatever the cost. It is a war that seeks to ensure America’s domination in every corner of the world. It is a war that seeks to eliminate any possible threat to this domination.

Sometimes in March 2002, FBI agents raided several Muslim homes in the US, harassing the women and showing no respect for ordinary citizen’s rights. They say they were merely “searching for terrorists”. But their methods fall far short of what we expect of a tolerant and a civilized country. In South Africa under Apartheid, ordinary people were forced to endure government-sponsored terrorism purely because of the color of their skin. Same thing happened on innocent Palestinian families just because they are Palestinians. The victims were demonized as terrorists and under international pressure, tiny concessions were made. These concessions were dressed up in clever sounding terms like “humanitarian mission”, engineering works involving road openings, school buildings construction in order to get the allusion of fairness and generosity. And this is just the same kind of state terrorism that is being launched here in Lanao del Sur and Marawi City on February 18, 2008.

If the aim of the American troops is the emasculation of the aqeedah of the Bangsamoro people and the erosion of our unique character in order to make us the “ass of the chosen people” then the urgency of this issue should become clear to every Bangsamoro people.

We should all take heed for ourselves and for those who are with us so that we may warn all the Bangsamoro who are slipping away into the abyss of apostasy,warn them of the treacherous call of the Americans (disbelievers) to what they call “humanitarian mission”; warn them of the false claim that religion is for Allah (swt) but that nationhood is for the masses.

The common misconception here is that it is these governments in the Western world that are providing for us sustenance, development projects. Hence, we should therefore, reciprocally befriend them and treat them with courteousness. The consequence of this is that when this government attack and kill Muslims in other parts of the country, we are in no way objective of it and accept their decision to do so without resistance. We are also begun to see Muslims taking positions within these governments believing that what they are doing is for the benefit of the Muslims. Eventually, this had lead to apostasy without then even knowing it.

It must be clear that in the minds of the Muslims that to love, support, ally. Accompany, help, respect, elevate and befriend are attributes that should be directed solely to the Muslims and in no way towards the Kuffar as Allah (swt) states in the Qur’an:” Let not the believers take for friends or helpers unbelievers rather than believers: if any do that, in nothing will there be help from Allah, except by way of precaution, that ye may guard yourselves from them. But Allah cautions you (To remember) Himself; for the final goal is to Allah” [3:28].

Furthermore, Allah (swt) warns us of the danger in taking the Kuffar as our friends or allies: “O ye who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians for your friends and protector. They are but friends and protectors to each other. And he amongst you that turns to them (for friendship) is for of them” [5:51-57].

Undoubtedly, this is a problem from which the Bangsamoro people suffers from time to time, especially when it is faced with trials and tribulations and these hypocrites feel secure and feel that they will not be punished if they help in the realization of the proposed RP-US Joint Military Exercises. The damage that these people do is greater than these caused by the Kuffar whose Kuffar is obvious as Allah (swt) says (interpretation and meaning) “They are the enemies so beware of them. May Allah curse them! How are they denying (or deviating from) the right path?” [63:4]. Because of that, it is prescribed to wage Jihad against them and to treat them harshly.

Undoubtedly, waging Jihad against these people is one of the greatest acts of obedience and most important obligatory actions. It is better than waging Jihad against those Mushrikeen and people of the Book who do not fight the Muslims, for waging Jihad against these comes under the same heading as waging Jihad against the apostates. Abu Bakr As-Siddique and all the Sahaba started with Jihad against the apostates before they engaged in Jihad against the Kuffar of the people of the Book for Jihad against (the apostates) is a means to protect the lands that re already under Muslims rule and to deter anyone who wants to apostatize. Protecting the capital takes precedence over making profit.

Moreover, the harm that these people (hypocrites) cause to the Muslims is greater than that caused by others (Kaffirs), indeed their harm is like that caused by the Mushrikeen and the people of the Book who fight the Muslims. The damage that they do the religious commitment of many people is worse than the damage done by the Mushrikeen and people of the Book who wage war on us. Every Muslim must as much as he can of his duty. It is not permissible for any one to keep quite about anything that he knows about them; rather he must broadcast it so that the Muslims will know what they really are. It is not permissible for anyone to help them to remain among the troops and government employees, or for anyone to keep quite and refrain from carrying out against them that which Allah (swt) and His Messenger have enjoined. It is not permissible to speak against carrying out what Allah (swt) and His Messenger have enjoined. This is one of the greatest types of enjoining what is good and forbidding what is evil, and of striving in Jihad for the sake of Allah (swt). Allah (swt) said to His Prophet: “O Prophet (Muhammad) Strive hard against the disbelievers and the hypocrites, and be harsh against them” [9:73].

These people are included in this phrase “the disbelievers and the hypocrites” The one who helps to put a stop to their evil and to guide them as much as he can will have enough of reward that which is known only to Allah (swt), for the primary purpose is to guide them as Allah says (interpretation and meaning): “You are the best of people ever raised for mankind” [Al-Imran 3:110].

The purpose of Jihad and enjoining what is good and forbidding what is evil (da’wah) is to guide people to what is best for them in this world and in the Hereafter as much as possible, then whomsoever Allah guides will find happiness in this world and in the Hereafter, and whomsoever He does not guide, his evil will be contined.

Shiek “Abd Al-‘Azeez ibn Baaz (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “The Muslim Ummah must respond in kind when it is attacked. So with regard to those who fight Islam with ideas and words, we must explain to them the falseness of what they say using rational evidence as well as Shariah evidence, so that the falseness of what they say will become apparent”.

“With regard to those who fight Islam by economic means, we must ward them off and attack them if possible by using the same means which they attack Islam. We must explain that the best way to strengthen the economy in a just manner is the Islam way” he added.

He further said that Jihad against the hypocrites is not like Jihad against the Kuffar because Jihad against the hypocrites is fought with knowledge and argument, whilst Jihad against the Kuffar is fought with swords and arrows.

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Bangsamoro Plight: Who’s to blame?

The Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society (CBCS) has called the various non-government organizations and the Ulama leaders to discuss and analyze the Bangsamoro situation and the peace process on December 29, 2007 at Crossroads Diner, Saduc, Marawi City.
Beyond the issue on GRP-MNLF/MILF peace process being raised by the CBCS as the current plight of the Bangsamoro, several concrete and long-term plans of actions have been drawn. However, it is lamentable the real cause of our distress has been given less attention. It’s like a doctor prescribing a medicine to a patient without even diagnosing the cause of patient’s illness. Thus, it keeps from coming back over and again.

 

The Bangsamoro people must deeply reflect on causes of much our distress before anything else. It is unfortunate that too many of us refuse or neglect to look at ourselves as the chief reason for our failures and shortcomings. We are often more content to pinpoint the oppression or unjust policies of the government as the root of our problems. Do we ever, stop to reflect upon how the Arroyo administration could have any control over us or oppress us with impunity? Do we stop to take a long hard look in the mirror before seeking outside factors as the cause of our misery, dissatisfaction, or may other complaint?

The well-respected contemporary scholar Muhammad Ibn Saalih Ibn Al-‘Uthaimen once stated that we all need to admit: that whatever harm and hardship has befallen the Muslim in their wealth, security, individuals or societies is due to their sins and having neglected the commands of Allah (swt) and His prescribed laws and their seeking judgment amongst the people by other than the presecribed laws of Allah (swt). He also stated that by Allah (swt) sins affect the security of land. They affect its ease, its prosperity, its economy, and in the hearts of its people. Sins cause alienation between the peole. Sins cause one Muslim to regard his Muslim brother as if he were upon a separate religion other than Islam.

Very importantly, he went on to say about the proper perspective regarding the condition of Muslims. It is binding upon us, being Muslims that we see the occurrences from the Islamic perspective as shown by the Book of Allah (swt), the Sunnah of His Messenger (saw). Since if we look at them from a materialistic perspective by the way of the Book and the Sunnah, then we will abandon all that is a cause of these misfortunes.

Fellow Bangsamoro! The Book of Allah (swt) and the Sunnah of His Messenger (saw) contains causes of weaknesses that befall the Muslims. These causes are not peculiar with a particular generation of the Muslim but apply to all generations from past, present to future. Allah (swt) explains in the Qur’an His method of dealing with disbelievers and those who slip away from their religion under false pretexts at all times and in all places.

If we sincerely return to Allah and aid His Deen then Allah says in Qur’an: “Verily Allah will help those who help His cause. Truly, Allah is all Powerful, Al-Mighty” [Al-Hajj 22:40].

Allah (swt) explains the above verse that He has sworn to help and give victory to those who help Him. Then He explains the characteristics of those whom He has promised would receive His help and victory distinguishing from others. He said: “Those who, if we establish them in the Earth, establish the prayer, give the zakaah, enjoin the good, and forbid the evil” [Al-Hajj 22:41]. In another verse, He says: “O you who Believe, If you Help Allah, Allah will help you, and establish your feet firmly, but those who disbelieve. For them is destruction and Allah will make their deeds vain” [Al-Muhammad 47:7].

It is also worth recalling the story of the battle of Uhud to give us important lessons by which we can benefit on our lives, which is that: when Muslims suffer defeat in Jihad or da’wah, then they should blame themselves and straighten their course; and they should weigh their actions with true scales. Since Allah (swt) has informed the Muslims the reason for their defeat in the battle of Uhud was themselves, and this was the same reason on the day of Hunayn.

During the battle of Uhud , the unbelievers were able to inflict great harm upon the believers. At that time, some of the Muslims themselves asked how could that occur while they were following the truth and the unbelievers were following falsehood. It was in response to that situation that Allah (swt) revealed the verse: “When a single disaster strikes you, although you struck (your enemies) with one twice as great, do you say, “From where is this”? Say (O! Muhammad to them), “It is from yourselves, for Allah has power over all things “[Al-Imran 3:165]

In this verse, Allah (swt) did not explain exactly what was from their own doings. However, another verse in the same surah makes the complete picture: “Allah did indeed fulfill His promise to you when you, by His permission, were about to annihilate your enemy, until you flinched and feel to disputing about the order, and disobeyed it after He brought you in sight (of the booty) which you covet. Amongst you are some that hanker after this world and some that desire the Hereafter. Then did He divert you from your foes in order to test you” [Al-Imran 3:152].

This shows that the reason the unbelievers were able to get the upper hand over the believers was because the believers themselves disputed and disobeyed the command from the Messenger of Allah (swt) as some of them were tempted by the things of this world. They sought the goods of this world and they gave that preference to obeying Allah (swt) and His Messenger (saw). That is why Allah (swt) allowed the unbelievers to afflict harm to them. Are we not in this state? Let’s reflect!

At this point, let’s ask ourselves: Are our intentions alright? Are we doing it for Allah’s (swt) sake? When we’re looking deep down inside, do we have the right niyyah?

In all the battles of the Prophet (saw), the Muslims werea single rank and single jum’aah (united body), taking orders from a single leader. Allah (swt) says: “O you who believe! When you meet an enemy, be firm against them and remember Allah a lot so that you may be successful! And obey Allah and His Messenger and do not dispute lest you lose courage and your strength departs. And have patience, indeed, Allah is with the patient ones” [Al-Anfal 8:45-46].

So, obedience for Allah means free form defect and blemish in both aqeedah (belief) and manhajj (methodology), just as it means agreement in direction and where instructions are taken. However, defeat is the result of disunity and disagreements between the hearts and in having many leaders and many jum’aahs (groups or parties). In surah Al-Hashr, Allah describes a people whose hearts are divided. Allah (swt) says: “You would think them united but their hearts are divided that is because they are people devoid of reasoning” [Al-Hashr 59:14].

In our present time, there have been no battles in which we have participated except that in it were differing and disputing parties, having different leadership and having mutual hatred. So how it is possible to achieve victory and establishment? Indeed, everyone talks about bringing unity. However, the results are sorrowful and frustrate our hopes after every attempt.

It is a time to increase sense of unity and brotherhood, and our commitment to Allah and His religion. There is no doubt that this sense of unity necessitates that: we all work together as sincere brothers – not due to party and political affiliations, nor sectarianism – in order to realize that which is of benefit to the Bangsamoro people and to establish Islamic society that every Bangsamoro aspires for.

So we must examine ourselves and ask: what is my role? Each of us has a role – in helping the precious Bangsamoro Ummah to regain its honor and return to the Ummah its comprehensive unity and strength and the victory that has been promised to it. Likewise, we should reflect upon our character and actions and ask: Are they aiding the process of unity and brotherhood, or are they a hindrance to it?

So we ask Allah (swt) to grant us the ability to change ourselves for the better and not to be of those who are prevented from His mercy and forgiveness. Indeed, He is the One who Hears and He is the One to Respond. Ameen!

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Education progresses but morality retrogresses

Education is the birth right of every Muslim. Islam puts considerable emphasis on its followers to acquire knowledge. Investment in education is the best investment one can make, because it eventually leads to intellectual property. As Muslims, our educational aim is to develop the personalities of our children to the end that they will be conscious of their responsibility to God and to follow humans. This has been defined in the recommendation of the Committee of the First World Conference on Muslim Education as:

“Education should aim at the balanced growth of the total personally of man through training of the human, spirit, intellect, rational self, feelings and senses. The training imparted to a Muslim must be such that faith is infused into the whole of his/her personality and creates in him/her an emotional attachment to Islam and enables him to follow the Qur’an and Sunnah and be governed by Islamic System of values willingly and joyfully so that she/he may proceed to the realization of his/her status as Khalifatullah to whom God has promised the authority of the universe”.

Due to colonialism and Western influence, Muslim parents concentrated on imparting only Secular Education to their children. Most parents would go all through all forms of sacrifices just to send their children to school and probably earn a high school or even a college diploma. They regard schooling as a means to earn a high income and social status in our success-oriented society. To these parents, it is the only hope for their children to join the middle upper class in society. So when a son or daughter has gone to school, he is expected to have access to a slice of the economic and social pie. This claim is anchored on the Human Capital Theory which views education money as a form of investment. Without really teaching the true significance of money, the youth of today has misconception of values. He believes that it is not how much he has learned , how a good student he is, and how deserving he is of his diploma, but rather how many influential people he knows, how much capital or money he has, or how much money his parents could put up for him.

This problem started with the copying of foreign curricula which have been developed far away from Islamic teachings and adopting various disciplines which have no connection with Islam. It is, therefore, high time for our educational planners to take a look at the problem so that necessary reforms maybe instituted before it’s too late because our students are headed for ignorance.

In Science, for instance, we are teaching our students to look at the universe from the viewpoint of a person who does not know God. “And how many Signs in the Heavens and the Earth do they pass by? Yet, they turn their faces away form them” [Yusuf, 12:105]. A proper study of Science would one make appreciate both the Power, Majesty, and Grandeur of Allah’s creations and humbleness and limitations of human knowledge and abilities. Today, our Science Education, in its best form, gives exactly the opposite message. It also fails to enable students to separate scientist’s opinions from their facts. Is there any Islamic school teaching Science whose graduates can challenge Darwin’s Theory of Evolution on scientific grounds? Darwin’s theory of evolution is an attempt to explain the evolution of life and its form from lifeless matter without the intervention of God. One of the leading Darwinists of this century, Sir Aldous Huxley expressed his thought as follows: “Darwinism removed the whole idea of God as the creator of organism from the sphere of national discussion”.

Einstein’s Theory of Relativity [(E=mc2)] taught in all schools is in fact an expression of Shirk. The theory states that energy can neither be created nor destroyed, it merely transforms into matter and vice. However, both matter and energy are created entities and they both will be destroyed as Allah (swt) clearly states: “Allah is the creator of all things . . . Everything (in the world) will perish”. (I am not arguing against the mathematical relationship between matter and energy that are eternal, but rather against their independence from Allah’s (swt) encompassing power – both creative and destructive.)
As we teach Science, are we teaching our children to put Science in its proper place, to know its limitations? Can they competently question the “technological imperative”? A medical doctor would not be considered competent if he did not know the limitations of the medicines and procedures he used. An engineer would be considered unqualified if he did not know the limitations of his tools. Why then our teaching of Science does not include a discussion of its limitations? Because of the secular mindset, Science is the ultimate tool, the supreme arbiter of Truth and Falsehood. Without even realizing it, we have accepted the proposition and our Science Education reflects that assumptions.

While Muslims are permitted and urged to acquire knowledge of Science and Technology, we are not permitted to acquire knowledge, which are not ruled by a strict sense of accountability to God. Learning Science and Technology does not necessarily mean giving up our Islamic values and principles. Whatever practical and scientific knowledge we acquire, whether from the West or form the East, must be subjected to the Islamic criteria and standard to apply whatever is appropriate and beneficial towards the building of an Islamic society governed by God’s law in all aspects of life.

The problem is not limited to Science and Technology. The best of our MBA’s have learned that the goal of a business is to maximize profits; the goal of marketing is to create demand, and the proper way of making business decision is trough cost-benefit analysis. In Economics, we have been teaching that human beings are utility-maximizing animals governed by Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs. In our teaching of History, we see random of events without a moral calculus driving them. We do not see Allah’s (swt) laws that govern the rise and fall of nations. In Sociology, we were taught about cultural assimilation and diffusion. In Chemistry and Physics, we were not urged to meditate over the creation of the universe, and to study how the heavens and earth have been made subservient to man. Therefore, there has never been a conflict between faith and reason in Islam.

In fact, our school and colleges have been the main agency for secularization of Islamic societies. They have been effectively teaching that Islam is irrelevant to undertaking this world or to solving its problem. Many of their graduates develop misunderstandings and doubts about their faith. But even when they are strong practicing Muslims, they have not been trained and educated to detect and challenge the secular dogmas that have been integrated into their curriculum. This is not only questionable fact that our schools and colleges, and textbooks and teachers have been dispensing. In every field of study, they have been passing of “facts”, ideas values, assumptions, perspectives, explanations, “truths” and principles that are questionable, secular by promoting education. (Don’t misunderstand me. I am not ungrateful for what they have done and surely their reward is with Allah).

But the challenge for us still remains: What kind of citizens do we expect to produce with such kind of teachers? What kind of society do we wish to have in the future with students produced by such kind of teachers?

With the upgrading of education, morality and values have downgraded instead of following the real objective of education in our society with the deterioration of morality. Values went down the sink to swallow us in the muddle we are in.

This dichotomy must end. We cannot move forward without revamping our education. We cannot fully establish Islam in our societies without producing educated citizens and leaders needed for an Islamic society. The time is now to develop integrated Islamic curriculum and remove secular biases from all of our education. Merely establishing more schools is not the answer. Developing educational institutions that can teach every subject in the wholesome Islamic context is a monumental task. But without it, we will continue to spread ignorance in the name of education. If these Western educated Muslims, cannot by any means be reformed and transformed into real, pious, inspired Muslims, there is no future for Muslims and Islam.

If providing sound knowledge and developing critical thinking capabilities are any goals of an education system, the answer highlights the miserable future of the education system prevalent in our society. For no one asks the obvious: How can anyone be credited while discovering a land that was already heavily populated? Ferdinand Magellan was the first Spaniard to discover Philippines not the first man to discover the Philippine island. Several Shariefs from Borneo had reached the island before him and had been living for centuries. The assertion about Magellan reveals secular bias that goes undetected and unquestioned.

These are the challenges to our government and its various agencies like the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) – ARMM. They should conduct a very careful analysis of our educational system because it can make or unmake the society. The citizens we produce through the educational system will man the government machinery in the future, so let us do something now, not tomorrow. Tomorrow may be too late!

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‘Eidel Ad-ha Feast: To love is to sacrifice

‘Eid’l Ad-ha, otherwise known as the great event of sacrifice, is recognized by Islam as the second great festival next to ‘Eid’l Fitr (the Feast of Nature or Self-Purification). This occurs on the day following the Hajj, the 10th day of the lunar month of Zul-Haj of the Hijrah Calendar. This is celebrated by the Muslim world-wide in commemoration of the fulfillment of one religious pillar and obligation, known as Hajj or Pilgrimage.

The Muslims’ preparation for and during the ‘Eid’l Ad-ha is similar to the preparation of ‘Eid’l Fitr and Jum’ah Prayers. A bath must be taken; new if not elegant clothes if available must be worn, and scent may be applied especially for men. The Muslim must appear as neat, clean and tidy in rejoicing and thanksgiving. The main acts of this occasion are the recital of Takbeer Mursal, Salaatul ‘Eid’l Ad-ha and the sacrifice of an animal preferably sheep or goat and the like.The spirit of sacrifice is an inherent part of Islam.

Through sacrifice, we can truly learn to love Allah (swt), to live and die for Him. We need to attain greater heights of sacrifice and self-discipline to succeed in seeking His pleasure while walking on our personal way to Him. Every act of sacrifice nourishes our Imaan for it transforms a verbal confession into a living reality.Sacrifice means giving up of things which are valued or desired. Those things may be tangible, countable like out time, wealth or life or intangible, immeasurable like our feelings, attitudes, opinions or aspirations. They are given up for the sake of something that is more worthy or more urgent to us (Qur’an 6:162).

Without sacrifice, our lives would be devoid of harmony and cooperation, full of conflict, a prey to self-centeredness and immediate gratification of desires.To understand what true sacrifice is, it would be enough for us to ponder the selfless response of Prophet Ibrahim (Alaihisalam) when he heard the extraordinary call of Allah (swt) to willingly give up his greatest love and hope for the future, his son for His sake. In view of the ardent wish of Prophet Ibrahim (alaihisalam) to construct the First House of Allah (swt), he made a solemn promise that should he be given a chance to have a child, he would offer it for sacrifice. Years thereafter, his second wife Hajar became pregnant. Consequently, a baby boy was born. Prophet Ibrahim (Alaihisalam) named the first begotten child Ishmael.

At the time when Ishmael (Alaihisalam), who had grown up to become a young boy of 13, began to learn the tender love and care of his father and mother, a message from Heaven was inspired unto Prophet Ibrahim (Alaihisalam) commanding him to fulfill his avowed promise. Allah (swt) ordered Ibrahim (Alaihisalam) to sacrifice his only son Ishmael (Alaihisalam). He did this to examine Prophet Ibrahim’s (Alaihisalam) patience and obedience to Allah (swt).

As an act of obedience and faithfulness to the commandment of Allah (swt), Prophet Ishmael and his mother Hajar never protested. Instead, they completely submitted spontaneously their faith to the will of the Divine Providence. It was indeed a great test of faith and a decisive moment of history. Between the love for his first child and love for Allah (swt), Prophet Ibrahim (Alaihisalam) preferred the latter.Prophet Ibrahim (Alaihisalam) took his son to the Mina (the place of sacrifice), sharpened the knife and then binding Ishmael’s (Alaihisalam) hands and legs, and laid him with his face towards the ground. He then raised his head towards the heaven and placed the knife on his son’s throat. But as he did so, he realized that the knife did not cut. Looking at it, he noticed that the sharp knife had turned blunt. This occurrence was repeated several times, when suddenly a heavenly voice was heard saying: “O! Ibrahim, Indeed, You have acted as you had dreamt and have complied with the commandment given to you”.

As a substitute for the sacrifice of Ishmael (Alaihisalam), Jibraeel (Alaihisalam) brought a goat which Ibrahim (Alaihisalam) had subsequently sacrificed. In recognition of this great and momentous episode, this day was declared by Allah (swt) as a landmark festival of all the Muslims in the world. From here, it becomes a custom that those performing the Hajj every year should offer a sacrifice at Mina.

One of the distinct features of the ‘Eid’l Ad-ha Festival is the sacrifice of an animal. This has both religious and historical significance in the evolution and transformation of the history of mankind. The act of sacrifice and the animals to be sacrificed is clarified by Allah (swt) when He says: “For every community We have prescribed a way of sacrifice so that the people (of that community) should pronounce the name of Allah over the cattle which He has provided for them, (but one and the same object underlies all the different ways). So your piety is one diety: surrender to Him alone. And, O Prophet, give good news to those who adopt a humble way, whose hearts are filled with awe when Allah is mentioned before them: who endure with fortitude any affliction that befalls them: And who establish Salah and expend of what We have given them” [22:34-35].

Categories: Culture & Heritage | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

The Wisdom behind Fasting

In the month of Ramadhan, it is very important that we spend a few moments to take a stock of and understand the real purpose for this month of fasting. Unfortunately, many Muslims come into this month without even contemplating of the real objective of fasting. No wonder our beloved Prophet Nabi (saw) said: “Let it not be the day that you fast and the day that you break fast be equal.” Meaning, one’s behavior, attitude or outlook are the same whether one fasts or not (i.e. fasting has no effect upon that person.) This is why we need to reflect on the very pinnacle of fasting.Fasting has been legislated in order that we may gain TAQWA. Allah (swt) said: “O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed upon those before you in order that you may gain Taqwa” [2:183]. In other words, Qur’an describes attainment of Taqwa to be the real purpose of fasting.
WHAT IS TAQWA?
Umar Ibn al-Khattab (radiallahu anhu) said: ” A person with the quality of Taqwa is like a person walking with a caution on a thorny road. The way he would take care to save his clothes from getting entangled in the thorns, so is a person with Taqwa conscious of every action he does (for fear of falling into wrong).

On the other hand, Ali Ibn Abi Talib (radiallahu anhu) said: ” Taqwa means fearing Allah, acting in accordance with the Qur’an, contentment with whatever little you have, and preparing for the day of departure (death).”
Taqwa in this case means learning self-restraint and God-fearing. So, we should ask ourselves when we break our fasts: “Has this fasting day made us more fearful and more obedient to Allah? Has it resulted to restrain ourselves from the “thorns” that our way in the form of worldly temptations in the society in general? Has it aided in distancing ourselves from sins and disobedience?Fasting is extremely efficient for the acquisition of Taqwa without which a Muslims cannot gain closeness to Allah (swt). The prime benefit in the pursuit of Taqwa is the suppression of the erratic desires and demands of the nafs (based carnal desire), which is always working in collusion with Shaytaan, to spiritually and morally ruin the believer. If the nafs is allowed freedom, then it will succeed in making man a slave of lust, passion and base emotions, due to which his Imaan will suffer.By fasting, a Muslim learns to suppress his lowly desire. Thus, the ability of inculcating Taqwa is created. Further, fasting purifies the soul, and creates gratification in worship, making the heart conducive for worship. The bond with Allah (swt) is also strengthened. Once our beloved Prophet Nabi (saw) supplicated: “O! Lord of the Universe! When does the servant become closest to You? The Divine Reply came, “When the servant is hungry and when he is in sadjah (prostration).

The concept of Taqwa is always linked to Ibaadah in the Qur’an. Ibaadah can be defined as doing what Allah (swt) has commanded and what He has prohibited. Ibaadah has also been defined as a concept that includes all actions that Allah (swt) loves and approves of whatever they are actions of the heart, the tongue or the limbs. Taqwa is the fruit of doing the actions of Ibaadah. In other words, if one does what Allah (swt) has commanded Him to do, and abstains from that which Allah (swt) has forbidden, he will achieve Taqwa.

WRONG CONCEPT OF IBAADAH

The greatest mistake of all is to regard Salah and Fasting and their outward shape as real Ibaadah and we suffer from the delusion that whoever fulfilled those requirements performed the “Ibaadah” of Allah (swt). We think that mere abstention from eating and drinking throughout the day is called fasting and that this alone is “Ibaadah”. Therefore, we observe it meticulously. We feel the fear of Allah (swt) to the extent that we avoid every transgression which even slightly endangers the break-up of the fast so much so that eve if our life is at stake, we are not prepared to break the fast. But we do not know that being merely hungry and thirsty is not real “Ibaadah” but only a form of it. And the wisdom of prescribing this form is to create in us the fear of Allah and love of Allah or simply called TAQWA. And thereby develop in us so much strength that by repressing ourselves, we are enabled to avoid the seemingly profitable things but which actually displease Allah (swt), while on the other had, by controlling ourselves we made ourselves agreeable to those things which possibly entail risks and losses but definitely please Allah (swt).

This strength can be developed only when we understand the purpose or wisdom behind fasting and make use of the practice we have gone through for curbing the corporeal urges, under fear of Allah (swt) and love for Allah (swt), and then making these urges work according to the pleasure of Allah (swt).

THE REAL PURPOSE OF FASTING

Contemporary scholar Sayyed Abul ‘Ala Al-Maududi in his article entitle “Let Us Be Muslim” strongly emphasized the real purpose of fasting by making a comparison of the purpose of fasting to eating. He stressed that the purpose of eating in the case of food, for instance, is to remain alive and maintain our strength. The method of achieving this purpose is that we take a morsel, put it in our mouth, masticate it and push it below the throat. This method is adopted by us since it is the most effective and proper one to achieve this purpose. But every one of us knows that the main thing is the purpose for which food is taken and not the form and procedure of this action.

But what will say if anybody were to make a morsel of saw-dust or cinder or mud, put it in his mouth, chew and gulp it? You will say that this man is out of his mind. Why? Because this idiot man did not understand the real purpose of eating and is suffering from the misunderstanding that only the aforesaid four component actions constitute eating. Likewise, you will call that person also mad who after taking the food vomits it by thrusting his fingers into his throat.

If we have a little sense then how could we fast and engaged in the Ibaadah of Allah from morning till evening and at the same time in the midst of that Ibaadah, we utter a lie and indulge in backbiting? Why do we quarrel at the slightest pretext and utter abuses from our mouth? How dare we encroach on other people’s right? How do we acquiring illicit money and giving money to others illicitly? And having done all those things, we still think that we have performed Ibaadah of Allah (swt). Does this not resemble the work of that person who eats cinder and mud, and think that by merely completing the four requirements of eating, he has actually done the job of eating.

Prophet Nabi (saw) has drawn attention in various ways towards the real purpose and wisdom behind fasting. He (saw) has also explained that to be hungry and thirsty without keeping in view of the objective is in no way useful. He said: “Whoever did not give up falsehood in speech and action, Allah is no need of his giving up food and water.” In another hadith, he said: “Many are fasters whose fasting does not bring them anything except hunger and thirst and many are those who keep standing in the night but their standing does not bring anything except being awake in the night”.

The purpose of these hadiths is quite plain. It means that being merely hungry and thirsty is not by itself “Ibaadah” but an instrument of performing the real “Ibaadah”. The real Ibaadah consists in not violating the law of Allah (swt) for fear and love for Him and lastly avoidance of satisfying corporeal urges as far as possible. Why should Allah (swt) need to make us merely give up food and water for twelve to fourteen hours?

Categories: Ramadhan | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Banker’s better Offer … DEAL OR NO DEAL?

Imagine the Banker credits your account each morning with P 86,400. It carries over no balance from day to day. Every evening it deletes whatever part of the balance you failed to use during the day. What would you prefer? Keep the money in the bank and save it or invest it in the stock market so that your money will be compounded? You will earn multiple times what you put in. IS IT A DEAL OR NO DEAL? Continue reading

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Disasters and Calamities: From where will the help come?

Our country is faced with many calamities. There is a drought that resulted to energy and crisis. President Gloria Macapagal – Arroyo asked for emergency powers to mitigate a dry spell that could lead to an energy crisis in the country. She has directed agencies to implement measures to mitigate the effects of drought as well as other actions to conserve water and power. In Sorsogon, Mt. Bulusan is emitting ash fall posing severe threats to the health condition amongst nearby communities. Continue reading

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Dr. Ahmad “Domocao” Alonto: Great Muslim Leader of the 20th Century

In a rural dwelling town in Ditsaan-Ramain virtually blessed with its lush greenery of vast land and crystal blue lake complimented with cool and pleasant weather all year through, the future senator of the Philippines began his life – to influence the peoples of the world. Continue reading

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Which Star Are You From? Angel or Devil?

Maranaos from all ages and class glued to their TV sets for thirty minutes to see the famous Koreanovela drama “Which Star Are You From?” They would crowd around their much-prized TV set at 9:30 ever Monday to Friday. Students would study and prepare their assignments before nine o’clock and would not sleep early just to catch Jeremy and Aning or Angeline whispering sweet nothings to each other. Continue reading

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Taritib ago Igma: Cherished or Perished?

In the past, Maranao society used to preserve and conserved its traditional laws. Granting of honorary titles was based on blood lineage under the Salsila and Taritib or ancient order of customs, traditions and usages observed in the community. It was assumed that such customary laws are still applicable and cherished up to the present time. Continue reading

Categories: Culture & Heritage | 3 Comments

Our Sole Purpose Defeated

Before one deals with the secondary matter of mankind’s actions, one must remember the very purpose why mankind has been created and his duty. By knowing our purpose, we will be cognizant of our cause and what our actions should be. We have been taught that the only purpose Allah (swt) created us was for His worship and the pinnacle of worship is to declare belief in the Tawheed (oneness) of Allah (swt) in His names, actions, attributes and disbelief and rejection of all forms of gods and laws. Continue reading

Categories: Politics | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

What Every Muslim Must Know About Voting

Election is just around the corner. This will take place on the 14th of May 2007. The issue is often reduced to the question: Is voting halal as far as Islam is concerned? As a Muslim, when it comes to voting, we must know the Shariah ruling related to it so that we can adopt and act upon it.

Unfortunately, some of us did not care what Islam said on this matter. We became too confused especially in matters related to laws of Islam governing political action. What we learn is the appearances or the forms rather than substances of religious teachings. Continue reading

Categories: Politics | 2 Comments

Proposed Catholic Church in MSU: No Constitutional Basis

A Maranao local populace reacted in uproar when Dr. Ricardo F. De Leon who replaced Dr. Camar Umpa as MSU president, entered into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the university campus Catholic minority thereby giving a thousand square meters of vacant lot in MSU. The agreement was signed by De Leon on behalf and a certain Edwin Dela Pena, a Roman Catholic Bishop.

Signing the agreement without the prior consent of the university’s Board of Regents (BOR) is seen as De Leon’s selfishly taking advantage of his position to hurt the sentiment of the Maranaos. In an open letter De Leon, local Muslims strongly appealed to the MSU president to “listen and heed to what we thought is best for Muslims and Christians relationship”. It said MSU has been an instrument to dispel prejudices, misconceptions and distrust among Muslims and Christians.

The practice of religion is a basic freedom of every Filipino. Goes with this freedom is the right to establish a house of worship. But to use a government property to build such a house is illegal. The law requires that no government property be used for private purposes even if it’s for religious intent.

While there is religious freedom, there is also the doctrine of the separation of Church and State. This is a basic democratic tenet every person living in a democratic country is duty-bound to learn. But leaders of religious and sects take advantage of this freedom and at the same time violate the separation of religion from the government. Many churches, mosques, temples and other houses of worship mushroom everywhere. Some stand in wrong places.

The thousand of hectares of land donated by the good people of the Islamic City of Marawi was for the purpose of educating the cultural minorities and equip them as active partners in nation-building. No way would they allow it to be used for any religious purposes directly or indirectly, consciously or unconsciously converting their generations to a religion other than their own. No sane Maranao would ever do that.

On the other hand, De Leon’s Maranao sympathizers are worried on the antagonistic sentiment against the establishment of a Catholic center. They invoked that mosques are being established all over the country and such hostile sentiment may affect them in Christian areas.

I don’t beg to disagree with that line of thinking. Aren’t they not aware that the Muslims never built a mosque anywhere in the Philippines owned by the government. True, mosques proliferated everywhere but every piece of land where there stands a mosque is bought by the Muslims from non-government persons. Or don’t they understand that the Muslims were never allowed to build a mosque within the UP campus in Diliman, Quezon City because UP authorities said it would be a violation of the separation of Church and State doctrine. If it couldn’t be done at UP, how and why could De Leon do that in MSU?

The said open letter also accused De Leon of exploiting some members of respectable families in Lanao and Marawi City and using them of justifying hi dark motives by driving away from the dormitory Muslim women who were performing Islamic teachings and even branding them as “terrorists”; dictating the way Islam celebrate Eidel-Fitr and Eidel-Adha by having consultations with Ulama done in divide and rule manner; making innocent students and coward Muslims celebrate Christmas by parading with big lanterns and burning the night with dances and wine; wanting to destroy the Great Attributes of Allah (swt) by making ninety-nine ascending steps going to the King Faisal Mosque so that every passer will step on each of the names of Allah (swt): converting the highly regarded Maranao cultures to an “Ati-Atihan” Festival, and establishing a Catholic Cathedral under the guise of an interfaith center inside the campus.

If all these accusations are true then we must utterly condemn these actions. We would be hypocrites if we remain silent over these dark motives. Allah (swt) will not approve if we turned a blind eye and a deaf ear. This is going to be familiar story of the failure of Maranao leadership at the very highest level in Lanao del Sur and Islamic City of Marawi.
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This article was written with the report from Masiding Nooryahya
Categories: Culture & Heritage | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Environmental Genocide: Ever wonder why are Maranaos in such a state?

“Stop environmental genocide!”

This was the contention of Maranao protesters spearheaded by RCAPPers after they staged a one-day peace rally on August 9, 2006 at Banggolo Plaza Cabili, Marawi City. The rally’s objective was to unanimously voice out their sentiment against state-owned National Power Corporation (NPC) concerning environmental problem plaguing Lake Lanao.

In a written manifesto, Ranao Claim against the Power Plant (RCAPP) blamed the NPC on the economic deprivation of the Maranaos.It said that the hydroelectric power plants earned (for 2005) P7 Billion (US14.5 Million). Unfortunately, ninety-nine percent of this power revenue is sent to imperial Manila while the poor Maranaos got only floods, pollution and diseases. It further said that the tragic economic situation of the Maranaos is compounded by the NPC’s, built from Jewish Funds, defective infrastructure that caused insurmountable fears and damages of the innocent Maranao people.

Document shows that there are 45,000 hectares of farmlands inundated (in the Basak areas and Baloi plains) resulting from irregular openings and closures of NPC’s built Agus Dams while the Department of Health – Marawi City revealed 43,000 were sick and 403 died (2002-2003) after drinking polluted or contaminated waters. Over 45,000 of Maranaos were forcibly uprooted their homes and migrated to Northern parts of the country to find foods and shelter.

What led to this?

If the Maranaos are oppressed and haunted like animals sometimes, it is because we have not taken the struggles of the Prophet Nabi (saw) as our guide, as an example of how to overcome adversity and how to succeed. By and large, we have not adhered to the true teachings of Islam.

On the authority of Abdullah ibn Omar in which he said: “the Messenger of Allah (swt) said: If people should breakthier covenant with Allah and His Messenger, you should realize that this has never happened without Allah sending an enemy against them to take some of their possessions by force.

It is worth recalling when Muslims neglected the obedience to Allah; He gave the Jews the power and took Palestine. And when they were negligent about that which they were reminded of, Allah established the Christians over them and took Spain. And when they were negligent again, Allah (swt) put the Christians in control over Bosnia.

This is why the strength of Muslims is not in their greatest numbers- weapons or wealth – but it is in their aqeeda (belief) and their adhering to it. For today, there are plenty of Maranaos, but we are like a foam, like the foam carried by the waves. Our riches cannot be for us. Rather, it has become the possession of our enemies. The Maranaos today approximately over 1.2 million and we grow in number everyday. However, at the same time, we are like the weakest of nations of our country we are in being oppressed. Why?

Because we have become like the foam on the waves. Also our lands possess many riches and minerals but where does it all end up? It goes to the disbelievers in Manila. The Maranao’s Lake Lanao whose water resources feed the Agus hydroelectric power plant constitutely supplies eighty percent (80%) of the power requirements of 21 million consumers of the island of Mindanao. Yet, the Maranaos are the poorest of the people – why?

Because we do not possess anything from our deen (religion) escept a name. So we call to it but all our riches belong to our enemies.

We are enjoined to seek hassanah in this world and in the Hereafter but clearly we are not striving hard enough for hassanah in this world or else why are we in such a terrible state now. Allah (swt) wants us to achieve a balance between dunya and akhirat.

Then there is the brotherhood of the Muslim Maranaos which Islam enjoins upon us. Can we say that we Maranaos are brothers? Every time a proposal is made to solve a problem, we cannot unanimously agree to the proposal and if we make a counter proposal the others will not agree either. And so we remain divided and have never achieved the unity of the Muslim brotherhood. In fact, when we call ourselves the Muslim brotherhood, the first thing we do is to condemn other Muslims. Yet, we know that the first thing the Prophet Nabi (saw) did was to unite the warring Arab tribes through Islam to make them brother of each other and to start the spread of Islam aided by the previously warring tribes.

We all know this of course. We all know the Qur’an and Hadith and we can quote the passages at anytime. But can we honestly say we practice what is taught in the Qur’an and Sunnah?

Today the image of the Maranaos is far from the way of the Prophet Nabi (saw). Despite 1.2 million Maranaos in the country, we are unable to do anything. We live at the mercy of others. If they want to, they can wipe us out with the nuclear bombs they have.

Categories: Lake Lanao | Tags: , , | 6 Comments
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