Sunday, August 31, 2008

Largest Congregational Taraweeh Prayer in USA

My son just called. He is in Ohio at the ISNA Annual Conference and just attended that landmark event in the title - the largest congregational Taraweeh prayer ever in the US. He was excited - and I am excited that he is excited. Isn't that what every parent hopes for - that their kids get excited about things like community and/or worship rather than isolated and on drugs? (mashallah)

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Ramadan Begins - Monday is the First Fast

It has already been announced, pretty much all over the world, that Ramadan will begin on "Monday" (Sept.1 2008). That actually means that it begins after sunset the night before Monday (Sunday night). (for more info on that visit my article on The Islamic Concept of Time, which can be reach via clicking on the articles section to the right side of the page or just going to

Tomorrow night, Muslims will begin the rites of Ramadan by praying special prayers at night called Taraweeh, in addition to the usual 5 obligatory ones. Okay Muslims, we know what this means...
(hint: read the sign)

On a serious note, the Taraweeh prayers are a way to show reverence and worship, and done together, a sense of unification towards that same goal, although it did not start out to be a group thing in the early days of Islam (covered that in an earlier posting).

For those of you planning to attend Taraweeh prayers in masjids around the world this Ramadan, please try to avoid onions and garlic. If you are a burp-meister, by all means, take Beano with your Iftar (Fast-breaking meal). Nothing smells worse than recycled Sambosa/Samosa/Sambusik mixed with curried goat and a side of garlic dipping sauce while you are in the middle of a prayer and cannot escape it. Besides, Muslims shouldn't even be eating anything with onion or garlic in it when going to the masjid anytime during the year - that is the Sunnah.
I suggest everyone have a glance at "Baba Ali's" video on the right side of this page. He has some interesting observations on Ramadan as well.

Lastly, I would like to say:


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

My New Hejiri Calender Widget!

This post is just to direct your attention to the Hejiri calender on the right side of the Blog. I thought it was tres "sweet", as the kids say. You can click on it to get one of your own.

For you non-Muslims reading this, I know you have just been dying to know what a Hejiri calender is? Am I right? No, it is not a countdown to some nuclear event - shame on you!

The Hejiri calender's year one began at the time that the Muslims migrated to Madina from Mecca, well 1429 years ago, to be exact. The migration to Madina was a pivotal point in the beginning of Muslim society breaking free from the oppression of the Quraish of Mecca. That's pretty much it in a nutshell. (Okay, it's a lot more than that, but I am sure if you want to know more you will either ask or Google it anyway).

Can you tell by my post it is almost midnight?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

About this Blog

First of all, I would like to thank everyone who gave me input - positive or negative - on my Blog. As it states at the top - the postings are simply the musings of my Muslim mind at any given time.

Why? Well, frankly there are a lot of people out there that wonder "What are those Muslims thinking?" Maybe they think we spend our days and nights thinking about and building Katushya rockets or set in a permanent state of Sujud (prostration).

I simply wanted to provide a place for the curious to peek in and perchance learn something - even if it is only to learn that we are just as normal or as weird as everyone else in the world. What sets us apart is our own words, thoughts and actions.

Some times I might be posting an interesting article someone sent me that I think deserves some exposure (like the one below). Other times, I may just feel I have to rant about something - whether silly or compelling, political or religious, funny or serious.

For those who want just the serious stuff, I do write for in various departments and I welcome you to check those out. They are in the areas of Islam, Environmentalism, Religious Intolerance, Politics and probably other areas I can't think of right now.

I make no apologies for seeing the world with a Muslim world view - but it is a fair and just view. As a freelance writer and journalist, I promise that all of the available facts have been examined and reviewed in my articles.

Hence, this Blog. This Blog is just me being me, most of the time - something I cannot do in my articles. So have fun with it - get mad at it - learn something from it - or hit control-alt-delete if it pleases you more.

Have a wonderful evening (or day)!

SS Free Gaza and SS Liberty Take Off

International Flotilla Breaks Israeli Siege of Gaza

2008: Sixty Years On (from

May 2008 marks the 60-year anniversary of the Nakba, "the catastrophe", when the overwhelming majority of Palestinians were forcibly evicted from their ancestral homeland to create the state of Israel. In contravention of International law, human rights, and basic principles of morality, Israel continues to deny these refugees and their descendants their right to return home. Israel has neither acknowledged nor attempted to amend this historic injustice that gave birth to the Jewish state. Instead, more than 5 million Palestinian refugees languish in refugee camps, while their homes, farms, and properties are inhabited by Jewish immigrants who arrived in Palestine from around the globe.

The historic illegal appropriation of Palestinian land, home and heritage is at the heart of the Middle East conflict. It has given rise to the largest ongoing refugee population in the world. It paved the way for subsequent land theft in 1967, and the ongoing ethnic cleansing that has squeezed Palestinians in the West Bank into ghettos and bantustans surrounded by 27-foot walls, sniper towers, and military guards. It has created the open-air prison of Gaza with an impoverished and overcrowded population of 1.4 million inhabitants.

This tragic event has dispossessed and disinherited Palestinians all over the world; and a destitute population of refugees with only their memories of Palestine, crumbling property deeds, and an undaunted will to return.

Mission Statement
We want to break the siege of Gaza. We want to raise international awareness about the prison-like closure of the Gaza Strip and pressure the international community to review its sanctions policy and end its support for continued Israeli occupation. We want to uphold Palestine's right to welcome internationals as visitors, human rights observers, humanitarian aid workers, journalists, or otherwise.

Who are we?
We are these human rights observers, aid workers, and journalists. We have years of experience volunteering in Gaza and the West Bank at the invitation of Palestinians. But now, because of the increasing stranglehold of Israel's illegal occupation of Palestine, many of us find it almost impossible to enter Gaza, and an increasing number have been refused entry to Israel and the West Bank as well. Despite the great need for our work, the Israeli Government will not allow us in to do it.

We are of all ages and backgrounds. Back home, we are teachers, doctors, nurses, engineers, truck drivers, youth workers, musicians, secretaries, parents, grandparents, lawyers, students, activists, actors, playwrights, politicians, web designers, authors, international training consultants, and we even include a former Hollywood film industry worker, a former Marine, an aviator, and an explorer. We are Italian, Irish, Canadian, Greek, Tunisian, German, Australian, American, English, Scottish, Danish, Israeli, and Palestinian.

What are we going to do?
We've tried to enter Palestine by land. We've tried to arrive by air. Now we're getting serious. We're taking a ship.

Listen to the story on Democracy Now

Two converted fishing boats set sail from Cyprus today carrying more than forty activists and humanitarian workers who are part of the Free Gaza movement that is trying to break the Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip. The Israeli foreign ministry said in an open letter to the participants, “We assume that your intentions are good but, in fact, the result of your action is that you are supporting the regime of a terrorist organization in Gaza.” We speak with three of the activists at sea: Huwaida Arraf, co-founder of the International Solidarity Movement; Lauren Booth, a journalist and sister-in-law of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair; and Israeli anthropology professor Jeff Halper of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions. [includes rush transcript]

To read, listen to, or watch the whole story:

Monday, August 25, 2008

I Stand Corrected - Maybe

(You might want to make sure to read the Obamiden post before this one, so it will make sense). I was corrected a while ago regarding the possibilities of conjoining Obama and Clinton's names - while all I could think of was Clobama, he came up with "Obomery" (Obama + Hillary). I still don't think they could have gone with that though - sounds too much like "tom-foolery". I guess what I am trying to say is all of this Obomery is giving me a headache.

Some are speculating that McCain may pick Powell - are we looking at a possible McPowell?

How many decades has this campaign lasted again?


As if we weren't already inundated with the cutesy names of celebrity couples such as Brangelina, here we come with.... are you ready for it? OBAMIDEN!!! Can you believe it? This adds proof to the pudding that this whole campaign is nothing more than a big celebrity circus.

Sure we had "Billary" while Bill Clinton was president - but that was not during campaigning, it was pretty much a result of how the White House was viewed while "they" were in office (not to say that it didn't work for them).

I had already made my decision not to participate in the election - I refuse to hold any responsibility for the mess that follows of evil versus evil. After seeing the conjoined name, "Obamiden", in the headlines this morning, I don't know how anyone can take it seriously now.

I did a search of "Obamiden" this morning and was surprised to see that some people were now going to vote for "Obamiden" just because they thought that it was a cute and clever name! I think that proves my point.

It makes me wonder if the only reason Obama picked Biden is because if he picked Clinton the only workable conjoining of the names would have put her first: "Clobama". *Sigh*

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Unprepared for Ramadan???

With one week left for Ramadan (for more info about Ramadan fasting, Google my article Significance of Fasting in Ramadan, if the link doesn't work) I find myself rather unprepared. It seems just yesterday that I was saying to someone, "Ramadan is only two months away. It'll be here before you know it!" Lo, here it is - and me, caught unawares.

One might ask what there is to prepare for. I guess it is just a psychological preparedness. After all, most Muslims, including myself, look forward to Ramadan and embrace the fast wholeheartedly. I guess it is like that nervous tingle that one gets before giving a speech, or taking a flight to see relatives or a beautiful destination. Are my bags packed? Do they weigh the correct amount? Are my handbags free of no more than 3 bottled and bagged liquids?

Yes, Ramadan is a time for spiritual focus and awakening. However, there are also a lot of cultural activities associated with it as well. For instance there are huge group gatherings for breaking fast, where families compete for the honor of providing the meals. Believe me... that can get highly competitive!

In addition to issues associated with meal preparation for breaking fast and preparing for fast before the pre-dawn, one must prepare himself to be able to control the inner self. Will I be able to hold my temper? Just how patient can I be? The fast-breaking meal I described above can actually lead to arguments, etc. that are easy to get caught up in. One has to be careful to refocus what Ramadan is about.

It is not the Sunnah (Tradition of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him) to partake of such large meals to break the fast. Sometimes he broke it with milk, sometimes 3 dates - not these tables and tables of banquet feasts we see today that make one so full that it is hard to bend to pray.

And the Suhur... well the Suhur is supposed to be an actual meal, it is the meal that is to sustain us throughout the day taken before the pre-dawn beginning of the fast. To the contrary many of us nowadays wake up for 5 minutes, drink a glass of water and maybe eat a piece of cheese and go back to sleep until Fajr prayer time - or even sleep through Fajr time (morning prayers).

Ramadan is the month in which the Qur'an was revealed and it is preferred to try to finish reading the whole Qur'an during this month. We all start off with that wonderful one Juz (1/30) a day, sometimes more. Then, well, we have this errand and that errand - have to cook for the group iftar, have a doctor's appointment - sure we will make up what we missed tomorrow. Then tomorrow becomes the next day and the next day. Soon we are behind and trying to catch up.

We strive to pray the Taraweeh prayers (also, you can see my article for this info, too) for the whole month. Are we prepared to give up our nights to prayer and worship for Allah? Are we prepared to give up our TV shows and X-Box's, and movie theatres, bowling outings, and jam sessions? This is our true test.

There is a night in Ramadan in which it is described that the skies will be open and all who are in sincere prayer and have fasted sincerely through Ramadan shall have their prayers answered during that time. What if we are mindful all month and were off our guards that one night? We know that the devil (Shaytaan) is chained during Ramadan - so we cannot blame him. We have only ourselves to blame for our neglectfulness of the One who sustains us day in and day out.

Shaytaan is leaving and Ramadan is coming. What we make out of it is what we will get out of it. Let us remember to pray for all of mankind this Ramadan - that True guidance and tolerance and love and understanding will envelope the world. Lord, grant us Patience. Lord, grant us Patience. Lord grant us Patience!

Post-Midnight Madness

After just completing 3 full-length articles in a row (yes, fun-seekers, you can read them by clicking on my name on the right side of this page), I just realized it is after 2:00am. I don't know if Hurricane Fay is in Florida or in my backyard. I don't know what is going on with Russia and Georgia. It has been a research and writing frenzy.

I wouldn't have even known that Biden was chosen by Obama had it not been headlined as I entered into my e-mail servers opening page. (Honestly, of all the things that I could have stumbled upon that I missed during my writing frenzy, Obama's new romance with Biden was not what I would have hoped for!)

In the end, I guess I have to ask myself - "Did I lose today as a result of writing or did I gain something by putting something out there that might be useful to someone?"

I really have to wonder that as I sit here under the only lit light in the house, suddenly realizing that everyone has long gone to sleep, everything shut off and locked down. The worst part? I didn't even notice!

Did I robotically answer questions that were asked of me and just don't remember? Gosh I hate that when people do that to me!

Tomorrow will be a better day Inshallah (God-willing). I will post a note above my computer that says "Don't forget to stop and smell the roses today".