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Newsletter for February 2008


Article 1    The Holy Quran Translated by Abdullah Yusuf Ali

In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

25:1 Blessed is He who sent down the criterion to His servant, that it may be an admonition to all creatures;

25:2 He to whom belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth: no son has He begotten, nor has He a partner in His dominion: it is He who created all things, and ordered them in due proportions.     More.....

Article 2    Karbala and the Imam Husayn in Persian and Indo-Muslim literature

                 Annemarie Schimmel / Harvard University / Al-Serat, Vol XII (1986)

I still remember the deep impression which the first Persian poem I ever read in connection with the tragic events of Karbala' left on me. It was Qaani's elegy which begins with the words:

What is raining? Blood.
Who? The eyes.
How? Day and night.
Why? From grief.
Grief for whom?
Grief for the king of Karbala'

This poem, in its marvelous style of question and answer, conveys much of the dramatic events and of the feelings a pious Muslim experiences when thinking of the martyrdom of the Prophet's beloved grandson at the hands of the Umayyad troops.

The theme of suffering and martyrdom occupies a central role in the history of religion from the earliest time. Already, in the myths of the ancient Near East, we hear of the hero who is slain but whose death, then, guarantees the revival of life: the names of Attis and Osiris from the Babylonian and Egyptian traditions respectively are the best examples for the insight of ancient people that without death there can be no continuation of life, and that the blood shed for a sacred cause is more precious than anything else. Sacrifices are a means for reaching higher and loftier stages of life; to give away parts of one's fortune, or to sacrifice members of one's family enhances one's religious standing; the Biblical and Qur'anic story of Abraham who so deeply trusted in God that he, without questioning, was willing to sacrifice his only son, points to the importance of such sacrifice. Iqbal was certainly right when he combined, in a well known poem in Bal-i Jibril (1936), the sacrifice of Ismail and the martyrdom of Husayn, both of which make up the beginning and the end of the story of the Ka'ba.  More.....



Article 3    Some Common Misconceptions about Shi'ism by Shahid Athar M.D.

The centuries-old Shia-Sunni differences are the major obstacle to Muslim unity. These differences have always been fanned by the enemies of Islam to their benefit. Unfortunately, some so-called Muslim scholars on their payroll have also played a key role in keeping these differences alive.

Although I was born into a Sayyid Sunni family, I did not know of many differences while growing up as a child. Our families always respected Imam Hussain (peace be upon him) and his parents and participated in ceremonies marking the anniversary of his martyrdom (the 10th day of the month of Muharram which is called Ashura) by reciting the first chapter of the Quran (al-Fatihah) and other chapters and verses of the Quran and fasted on the ninth and tenth days of that month.

Now when I give lectures on Islam to non-Muslims, one of the questions they always ask me is if I am Shia or Sunni. I ask them if they know the difference. They have no knowledge, other than what has been given to them by the media. So they say Shias are the ones who are the bad guys, the militant version of Islam, and cause all the trouble in the Middle East these days.   More.....



Article 4    Tests for your health By Randolph Fillmore

Thanks to Katie Couric, we know that by age 50 we should have a colonoscopy to screen for colon cancer.

The Today show host lost her 42-year-old husband to colon cancer in 1998 and has since been on a campaign to educate Americans about detection and prevention.

But not every disease or malady has such a famous spokesperson, and that's why it's important to know as we age what screenings are needed and when.     More.....




I was shocked to read the advertised claims of a certain pill that "ends depression and anxiety in less than 15 minutes."

Equally alarming is the study published by the New England Journal of Medicine in its January 2008 issue, which reveals how 88 per cent of clinical trials which showed that 12 widely-circulated antidepressants did not work, either were not published in medical journals, or were presented as positive findings.        More.....



Article 6    A Sense of Urgency! an essential trait to get things done on time

If you could add one personality trait to improve yourself, what would you choose? Courage? Wisdom? Enthusiasm? Confidence?

We could go on and on and still probably miss the one you might choose.

I heard a speaker say it was important to be inspired but still more important to have the desire, the will to want to. I most heartily agree
with him.

I also like Dr. Norman Vincent Peale's six-point success formula:
1) Work. 2) Work. 3) Work. 4) Forget Self. 5) Set Goals; and 6) Get along with others.    More.....




Article 7   

The Two Blessed Cities By Owais Jafrey, Seattle, WA

Makkah Al-Mukarramah …..

The blessed city Makkah Al-Mukarramah mirrors the history of human progress through different stages. It was a branch of Sayyidina Hazrat Ibrahim (AS)’s family which turned it into a center of Islamic invitation and propagation. Later Sayyidina Ismail’s kinsmen lived here in tents and hamlets.

Gradually it acquired the status of a religious city in the Arab world. Still later when our beloved Prophet (SAW) was sent as a final Messenger, the city became nucleus of the Islamic world. It continues and will continue to enjoy a unique status and has no place as its rival in the world. Allah (SWT) has called it “Balad-i-Ameen”, the city of the peace and safety, also interpreted as the city of the Trustworthy as mentioned in Surah Al-Balad, Aayah 1-2 in these words: “I swear by this city, and you [Prophet SAW] are an inhabitant in this city…” Swearing by the City of Makkah is to show its superiority over all other cities.

Hazrat Abdullah bin Addi (RA) relates that while migrating from Makkah to Madinah, Prophet (SAW) addressed the city thus: “By Allah thou is the best and most beloved (city) in the sight of Allah; I should not have left, had I not been forced to leave thee.” (Tirmidhi). Makkah is itself a respected city, and it became more so because of its association with Prophet (SAW). It is obvious that the respect and value of a house is enhanced by the status of its occupant. The prestige of Makkah doubled for being the birth place of Allah’s last and final Messenger.

The Holy Qur’an in Aayah 3 of Surah Teen Allah (SWT) swears in these words: “By this safe town…”    More.....




Article 8    Seven Habits of Highly Successful Muslim Youth  By  Altaf Husain

                  1. Be Truthful 

                  2. Be Trustworthy

                  3. Have Self-Restraint and Be God-Conscious 

                  4. Be Thorough

                  5. Be Focused

                  6. Be Punctual

                  7.   Be Consistent




Article 9    Am I Enough?  By Mark Ivar Myhre

That used to be my unspoken question - "Am I enough?"

I say 'unspoken' because I didn't dare come out and ask myself. Because the answer was an obvious "NO!"

Here's why it's obvious: It's a trick question. See, it's impossible to not be enough. That's a state of being which never has nor never will exist. No one is not enough.

And yet, almost everyone feels like they're not enough.

It's always a lie to tell yourself you're not enough. So why do it; and why believe the lie?




Article 10    The Bridge with Islam By Rabbi Haim Ovadia

I am a Jew of Islam.
Not an Arab Jew, mind you, since that term makes as much sense as Slavic or Baltic or Arian Jew, but a Jew of Islam.
It is not only because in my family's veins runs the blood of people who lived in Iraq, Syria, Morocco, Tunisia and Turkey, 
nor because among mycongregants there are natives of Bahrain and Indonesia.
It is true that my I-pod is packed with Abdul Wahab, Sabah Fakhri and Farid Al Atrache and the Shabbat songs and liturgy 
borrows freely from generations of Islamic, Sufi and secular Arabic music, but the connection runs much deeper.
I am a Jew of Islam because Judaism under the rule of the crescent took a different course than that under the rule of the 
cross. The Jews of Islam, although decreed by the Pact of Omar as dhimmis, or second class citizens, never experienced 
the same level of hatred, anti-Semitism and persecution which were their daily bread in Christendom. They were not 
demonized as god killers and did not have to defend their religion in public disputations.
They were not expelled en-masse on religious grounds from a Muslim country as they were from England, France and 
Catholic Spain.  More.....



Article 11    Setting Your Goals! by Bethea Jenner

This is where I can help!  Why should we sit back, waiting for life to happen as it will, when we have the power to set our own goals and the energy and desire to make our dreams a reality ? 

Setting goals puts you squarely in charge of your own life, and that is a very desirable situation.

A few simple tips will be helpful in making goal setting even easier and more successful.  More.....



Article 12   Look this is love! by Rumi

  Look! This is love ---– to fly toward the heavens,
To tear a hundred veils in ev'ry wink,
To tear a hundred veils at the beginning,
To travel in the end without a foot,
And to regard this world as something hidden
And not to see with one's own seeing eye!
I said: "O heart, may it for you be blessed
To enter in the circle of the lovers,
To look from far beyond the range of eyesight,
To wander in the corners of the bosom!
O soul, from where has come to you this new breath?
O heart, from where has come this heavy throbbing?
O bird, speak now the language of the birds









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