Assumptions Make an… You Know the Phrase.

Assumptions in the traditional sense are simply an emotional based opinion or suspicion about a particular event or individual. Assumptions are just tidbits of information that often come from our imagination because of a thought or perceived experience. These informational tidbits convey very little about anything except how ignorant we actually are about the subject. This simply means that we formulate a response and a belief based on virtually nothing at all. We have no evidence to support what we think, we have no evidence to base any kind of intellectual response on and we generally have no reason to have any opinion at all. Even if we recognize the fact that we have little to no knowledge on a matter we still seem to have a strong and misguided opinion about it.

It is this approach to “Tidbit Education” that has pushed us further towards a world that promotes blatant ignorance, and general contempt for others and their views. Tidbit Education is the lazy mans system of study that future generations will suffer from far more than they will from any dictator or global pandemic. For example if we look to our legal system we have allowed assumptions to be reason enough to arrest and incarcerate thousands and hold them for decades without being able to provide any evidence to prove even the basis for the initial assumption.

Imagine accusing an individual of stealing then appearing in a court of law to testify. We are asked by the prosecution about the alleged criminal who on a particularly hot day was standing on a corner near an ice cream parlour. We explain to the court that we witnessed the accused enter the store and return moments later smiling while devouring a tasty looking chocolate ice cream that he did not even bother to share with anyone. Based on what we witness of the mans appearance and behaviour; combined with his general lack of generosity we can only assume he did not pay for the ice cream, and is in fact a criminal who should be convicted of theft.

What do we think will happen with such a testimony that lacks anything in the form of actual evidence? Do we think this is enough information to even accuse an individual of a crime let alone have a trial? For discussions sake let us imagine based on this single tidbit of information we arrested, convicted and punished the accused for the crime of theft. Would we accept this as a fair and just trial?

Imagine if we went a little further and decided to question other possible witness’s to the alleged crime, but we chose the witness’s in a selective way. What if our approach was to choose individuals that we knew had a negative bias towards the accused while limiting those who had a positive or even neutral view. What if we ignored the individuals who had the best possible view of events like the parlour employees and its patrons. Would we consider this to be a fair and objective approach to determining one guilty of a crime? In principle most would agree that such an approach is far from being built on justice, but when we look to reality it is clear that we prefer the tidbit approach to life over one based on actual effort to find truth.

The ice cream scenario may seem odd and over simplified, but what if we changed it up a bit. What if we decided to take a comparative study class on world religions and we approached it in a similar fashion. What kind of grade do we think we would get if we ignored the comparative study aspect to the class and only showed up when our chosen faith was being discussed? What if we decided to only read books written by individuals who had the same belief as us? What if the methodology to our reading assignments was to randomly open a book, read a single page and then moved on? Would we call this an honest comparison of world religions? Can we call ourselves experts or even be remotely qualified to even discuss the belief system of others after we took such an approach to study?

Most would agree that such an approach is ludicrous. A method of behaviour that accomplishes very little except to reinforce our personal bias, but are these examples really that far fetched? Time and again we are faced with tidbit experts who may present a beautiful case, but when their assertions are put to the test they tend to lack any real substance. If we examine further we quickly find that the educated individuals begin their study using numerous faulty approaches starting with: assumptions, false assertions, lack of honest effort, use of limited resources, subjective bias towards what material is acceptable, an individualized attitude toward various opinions, and of course a motivation that is based solely on the acquisition of bragging rights due to proving another view to be invalid.

Where is all this leading you might ask? Simply, we need to change. We need to change how we think, we need to change how we act and we definitely need to change how we learn. The longer we continue to look at the world in such a limited and individualized context the more complacent we become in our approach to gaining knowledge. Real knowledge is what we need to prevent us from suffering from the delusional side effects of feeling superior to the other members of the human race. We are not now nor have we ever been superior to any other individual, but we do have the ability to make superior choices.

[49:13] O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنَّا خَلَقْنَاكُم مِّن ذَكَرٍ وَأُنثَىٰ وَجَعَلْنَاكُمْ شُعُوبًا وَقَبَائِلَ لِتَعَارَفُوا ۚ إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِندَ اللَّهِ أَتْقَاكُمْ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ خَبِيرٌ

Don’t wait, make the intention to change now. Make the intention to be honest and humble in our approach to seeking knowledge. Make the intention to sincerely seek truth even if it goes against our current sensibilities and against our emotional attachments. Make the intention to remove our personal bias because truth is not subjective. Truth does not always fit our lives the way we like, but it is the best option for the best possible future. The truth is there, unfortunately because of how we seek knowledge very few of us will actually find it.

O’Allah guide us to all that is beneficial and help us to abstain from all that leads to harm. ameen!

My New Title – Abu Jahl, The Father of Ignorance

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Recently I have been given a new title. A title that had the ability to shake the hearts of many of the believers at the time of the the Prophet (ﷺ). Jahiliyyah simply means ignorance, but for those who believe in The One Divine Creator it refers to the Ignorance of Divine Guidance which is the ultimate form of Jahil. Throughout history there are individuals that exemplify this trait and the time of the Prophet (ﷺ) had its individual. There was one who was known as the father of Jahiliyyah due to his ability to openly strive and express his ignorance of the divine. The unfortunate side of this story is that the Father of Ignorance was a man of character and strength in the Meccan community. His ability to lead and inspire his people was a gift the Prophet (ﷺ) prayed would become a strength to Islam. A leader of the community who in all his status, and with all his strength came to a sad demise in the Battle of Badr at the hands of a simple shepherd by the name of Abdullah ibn Mas’ud (رضي الله عنه).

Many know this great enemy of Islam by his kunya, by his nickname the Father of Ignorance Abu Jahl. Amr ibn Hisham was just like anyone else. He had the same opportunities to do something good with his future, but like so many of us he chose to waste it. He lived up to his kunya of ignorance not because he believed Islam was false, but because his pride and of course the whispers of Shaytan in his heart told him that he was deserving of far more than the likes of a number of the early believers. Many of which were simple shepherds, slaves and the down trodden of Meccan society. It was inconceivable to Abu Jahl that such people could be raised above him or be given a status equal to the members of his great tribe Banu Makhzum. It was this way of thinking and his response to Islam that simply reinforced the title of Abu Jahl.

So now that we know a little about the origin of such an affectionate title we need to ask. Is this a name one one believer should use and direct towards another believe? Is this a title to be used by one who claims to know and follow the example of the best of character we know and love in the Prophet Muhammad? Does such an accusation reflect the teachings of Islam as Allah presents in his literal word the Quran? Of course it does not. A Muslim is not simply one who submits to Allah. He is one who understands what that submission means. To truly submit to Allah means that we behave in the best of ways. To truly submit to Allah means that we work towards what is good. To truly submit to Allah means we do not assume, condemn and accuse, based on our personal disagreements or dislike.

So why all the hoopla? Why not simply ignore the real ignorance and its source? Generally I place these items on top of the ever growing ignorance pile I keep in my closet, but occasionally we need to take such incidents and reflect to better learn from the experience. Even the worst of situations is an opportunity to learn. An opportunity to grow and to adapt to our surroundings. As vile and difficult as some things seem in life they are often not as difficult as we make them out to be. I see these issues as Allah’s way of turning me back to Him. Back to His word and His guidance. He is reminding me that it is simply a trial like any other.

Do the people think that they will be left to say, “We believe” and they will not be tried? [29:2]

أَحَسِبَ النَّاسُ أَن يُتْرَكُوا أَن يَقُولُوا آمَنَّا وَهُمْ لَا يُفْتَنُونَ

I do put my own personal spin on things to ease the emotional annoyance that does get stirred up when people choose such playful labels and direct them towards another. For example in this case I see Abu Jahl as a character of strength who had the opportunity to be one of the greatest companions of the Prophet (ﷺ). A label I would be more than willing to accept and strive for. I have to make a slightly exaggerated manipulation of the quote to come to a conclusion that it is in anyway a compliment, but it is a better approach than to dwell on such open ignorance. I prefer to have a simple laugh about the act followed by a sincerely empathetic tear or two for those who do not see where the true ignorance is actually lies.

If I am wrong in sharing the words I ask Allah to forgive me and I seek refuge in Him from suffering the same disease of the heart. I pray Allah forgives all those who speak in such ways and gives the targets of these ignorant statements the greatest of patience. I pray Allah softens the hearts of those who think and utter such words. I pray Allah guides us all to the example of the Prophet (ﷺ), and I pray Allah grants us refuge from our kibr (pride) Ameen!

On a side note I do have to admit that it is one of the most entertaining comments I have received in some time.

GARY HAS PRODUCED ANTİBODİES AGAİNST MY THOUGHTS NEVER MİND HE İS MY EBU JAHL! ARROGANT, DESPISEFULL. IF YOU DONT ASK FOR FORGİVENEESS ON THE DAY OF JUDGMENT ILL GET ALL MY RİGHTS AND YOU WİLL BE EMBARASSED A LOT WHİLE YOU CAN NOT TODAY. STOP ACTİNG LİKE A DRUGG ABUSER, LİKE AN ALCHOLİC, LİKE AN ENEMY OF ISLAM.

As salaamu alaikum,

New Muslim Alert – Patience In Dawah

It was Halaqah Wednesday in the spring of 2013. A special day that became a ritualistic get away for my wife. She would venture from the chaos of home management to visit the local Masjid for her sisters only get together. It also became that brief moment of alone time where we would stop being parents and  indulge ourselves in our weekly Shawarma Sneak Out. Kids love Shawarma, but parents love it more when the kids are at home not getting any. Insert mischievous grin.

It was around 4:30 pm when I received the call. A phone call during meal time is something I would generally ignore especially during our special husband and wife Shawarma Sneak Out, but I was expecting a call about some Dawah opportunities. I was confident that the call would be no more than two minutes so I am sure my wife will not mind the intrusion.

Note to self, very few conversations actually come anywhere close to the short period of two minutes.

So with wifely permission to encroach on our limited and valuable child free private time I answered the call. Not the call I was expecting and not the conversation my wife had approved, but there was no turning back now, the phone had been answered. After a few moments of conversation my wife could hear that it  was not the call I was waiting for and her expression of approval turned to one of, “Oh great, so much for two minutes.”

A few questions into the conversation my extremely beautiful and oh so understanding companion in life reconsidered her view as she listened to me speak about Islam. Even hearing only one side of the conversation, a good Dawah session can still be exciting for any Muslim.

Note to sell, be sure wife reads above paragraph especially during moments of husband error and moments of manly forgetfulness.

So my Shawarma was cold when I got off the phone and was going to get colder because of the eager listener sitting across from me. “So who was it?”, she inquired to which I responded, “Get me a warm Shawarma and maybe I will tell you!” Ok! I didn’t actually say what I was thinking especially after I had quickly assessed the consequences of such a remark. A remark that may be light hearted in my eyes, but when weighed against the consumption of her special time and the rights she has over me as a wife, well it was not worth taking the chance.

So I explained to my wife that I did not know who it was. I further explained that they had received my number because of a request to speak not just to a Muslim, but to a Muslim who had embraced Islam from another faith. Someone who would be more familiar with the potential trials that one might face from friends and family after rejecting their former Christian life.

Outside of a number of common questions about various views in Islam along with my attempts to focus on the importance of belief in Allah alone without partners as the foundation of a Muslims belief the call was short. It ended on a positive note with a request to meet in person to speak more in depth. Cha ching!

Over the next few months we arranged to meet. Starting at one Masjid, then another to give him a sense of the diversity in the community. We would sit and discuss various aspects of Islam. I would ask what his belief was concerning a Divine Designer, as well as the occasional small talk to lighten the mood. People often get quite stressed  when discussing religion so it is good to be relaxed about it. On occasion an excited brother would over hear our conversation and invite themselves to sit and listen. This new visitors presence changed the tonne of the conversation along with comfort level of our guest which was readily apparent in his sudden fidgeting. It was at this moment I knew it was time to take a break. I thanked him for his visit, quickly made dua and asked him if he would like to meet again to which he replied in the affirmative. Score! I mean Alhamdulillah!

With each visit the excitement of the possible shahada was a bit nerve racking. At times I felt I wanted to jump up and scream at him in excitement, “Say it! Say it now!” was my thought, but of course this was his moment and not mine so I had to be patient. I had to remind myself that he would be guided when and if Allah wills and I had no power to change that.

Over the next year he would occasionally text me to meet at the Masjid or for a brief call. He showed no firm interest in accepting Islam, but was always full of questions. Questions that reminded me of the stages I had gone through on my journey to learn about Islam. He was close, “Say it!”.

2014 begin much slower. Texts became less frequent. Meeting attempts were unsuccessful due to conflicting schedules and his overseas travels. Virtually a quiet year for our discussions until June 11th. Nothing much, just a simple text at 4:41pm, “Hi, can we meet?”

All giddy like a child on Eid, I first reminded myself Allah guides whom He wills, then I responded at 4:42pm, “Sure where?”

Staring at my phone eagerly waiting a response until 4:43pm, I smirked at what was displaying, “The Masjid!”

Note to self, the irony of my two minute conversation statement.

So it begins. The meeting place, the local Masjid. A simple greeting, an introduction to the Masjid administrator and a little casual conversation. In my head I am screaming with excitement, “Let’s get down to business already!”, but I needed to be patient. A computer in the office provided further discussion because of a news feed displayed. Croatia had just scored against Brazil in the opener of the World Cup.  A minor distraction, but one we indulged as it clearly helped to ease his stress about what was going to happen to him. Insert evil laugh.

After a few moments of sports chatter we began the important conversation starting with, “So do you still have some questions?”

He quickly  responded, “No, I want to change my life!”

Alhamdulillah, all praise is to Allah. Finally, lets begin.  Excited!

Ash hadu an la illaha illullah, wa ash hadu anna muhammadar rasullallah. I bear witness that there is no god worthy of worship except Allah alone without partner and I bear witness that Muhammad is His Messenger.

Finally… Just Kidding!

Takbir, Allahu akbar, God is Great

One day or one thousand days the reward is the same. It is about the effort even if it does not always bear fruit. Don’t believe me, read the story of Nuh in the Qur’an.

Congratulations my new brother in Islam. May Allah make your journey easy and fruitful.

My Action is My Own. Not My Religions

Every act belongs to an individual. An act is a choice that an individual makes. Every choice is influenced by various reasons, motivations or excuses. Some justifiable influences and some not justifiable. Many choices are NOT justifiable yet we find a way to perform the act in the name of something in an attempt to justify it. The most popular “In the Name of’s” are Freedom, Democracy, and Ideology/Religion.

Now a question arises. Why do we never do anything in the name of ourselves? The reason being is because if we do something wrong and it is in the name of something else then it is not our fault. Unfortunately many actually believe this and use it as an argument against others and their beliefs. I am sure all you people have faith have heard it before… ;)

So in the spirit of “In the Name of’s” I have decided to write this little post “in the Name of” the Pizza Delivery Guy. I am pretty confident he does not condone this post in his name and it really does not matter since it is his fault none the less. Why is it not my fault you ask, because I did it in his name and so many will actually believe it with out thinking and verifying it for themselves.

And we wonder why we go nowhere as a species. :(

O’Allah please guide us to objective thinking, kind words and good actions. Ameen

TSPDawah and RetroFest 2014

Dawah is an invitation to good morals, a better lifestyle, virtue, truth and to worship God (Allah) Dawah is simply an invitation, but when it comes to Islam it is an invitation to what is best. Dawah is a challenge, a matter of patience and an obligation for each and every Muslim.

The Straight Path Dawah Team believes in this obligation and is ready for the challenge starting with our first booth of the season at the 12th annual RetroFest in Chatham Ontario Canada. Look for us this Saturday May 24th, 2014.

“Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and good instruction, and argue with them in a way that is best.” Qur’an [16:125]

For directions and details about the event you can visit their site RetroFest

Please support our team

We always start with the intention to please Allah in everything we do. We can support those around us through our du’a and of course your donations will help us to continue to be a presence in the numerous events across Ontario this summer.

Our Goal for May is $500.

Please support the Dawah through donation and by reminding our brothers and sisters of the opportunity for their reward as well. May Allah reward you for your intentions and good deeds. Ameen.

Questions, Principles and Exceptions in Islam. A Simple Start!

We often ask questions that are not important. Questions that are just small details or exceptions to everyday life. We begin to search and question things that do not come together as we hope so we dig for more details which lead us to confusion, doubt and at times rejection.

We all have questions and we all want answers. Sometimes the answers we get are not always what we like, but, “They are answers!” When it comes to questions about truth, one of the keys for success is in truly wanting answers and not just the answers we personally want. One of the warning signs of the personal approach to questioning is in how we ask the question. We may ask a subjective question leading towards our desires because we have already made up our mind but are seeking validation or we can take the other beneficial approach which is to ask an objective question that we might not like the answer to however we have the simple intention of just wanting a better understanding.

One of the ways to help us with the objective approach to questions in Islam is to remember a few important details for seeking knowledge. Everything we do starts with our intention to please Allah alone without partner. It is not an intention to please our personal desires. Those things we want, but do not really need. After we have checked our intention and made it all about pleasing our Creator we then move on to a reminder that everything in Islam has a base principle that leads to an exception to that principle based on circumstance.

Simply put we need to understand that every rule can be bent and some can even be broken depending on Necessity. Thank you Morpheus!

One extra point before we move on is that we need to understand how things are defined from the teachings of Submission (Islam). We all have definitions in our head that we are personally attached to, but as Muslims we make the choice to reject our personal understanding for a better understanding that was given to us by our Creator since it is He that knows and we do not.

[6:162] Say, “Indeed, my prayer, my rites of sacrifice, my living and my dying are for Allah , Lord of the worlds.

قُلْ إِنَّ صَلَاتِي وَنُسُكِي وَمَحْيَايَ وَمَمَاتِي لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ

We then can get further insight by knowing the actions of the Prophet and Messenger of Allah (ﷺ).

So lets define Necessity in Islam. Necessity is not based on our own personal comparisons of needs vs wants, and it is not based on how we feel or how we rationalize how we feel. Necessity in Islam is simply defined as a situation of definite harm and even death in which we can approach those things that are forbidden to prevent such undesirable outcomes.

For example the general principle in Islam is that eating flesh of swine is Haraam (forbidden). Now what about circumstance? What if one will die without food and nothing is available except swine? Prevention of death falls within the realm of Necessity so to survive we can break the rule of eating swine to prevent starvation and it is not counted as a sin on our record on the day of Judgement. We have even been given permission to commit the greatest of sins upon our tongue which is to associate partners with Allah (Shirk). This means that if ones life is on the line and the only way out is to reject Islam or face harm and possible death then under the principle of Necessity we can reject Islam, reject the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ), and even reject Allah Himself.

There is one more very important detail about Necessity that we have to mention to prevent its misuse. Everything we do starts in the heart and when a situation of Necessity arises we start by seeking forgiveness for the act we are about to commit out of “Necessity”. It is very, very, very important not to confuse Necessity with our daily wants and weakness as Muslims. Like the excuses for missing prayer, having rude speech, and our frequent overtly poor behaviour. Did I forget to mention that this is, “Very important!”

Why does this all mean? Well, when a question comes to mind we have a tendency to approach Islam by looking for the exceptions. Those details that will benefit us and conform to our way of thinking. It is an approach that we subconsciously manipulate to fit our needs, but we often fall in the trap of not understanding the foundation of the principles which makes the details strange and incomprehensible. It is this “jump to the end approach” that leads us to confusion, leads us to doubt and leads many of us to the outright rejection of submission (Islam) to our Creator.

So the next time a question comes up we need to make a clear intention to proceed in the best way possible that is pleasing to Allah. We need to make supplication (du’a) that Allah grants us knowledge of benefit and the strength to accept what comes even if we do not like it.

This is a very simple way to look at things and is only intended as a starting point on the topic. It does require way more study than a few Google searches or Facebook comments, but it is an important principle that will help us so much if we understand it.

It was narrated from Umm Salamah that when the Prophet (ﷺ) performed the Subh (morning prayer), while he said the Salam, he would say: ‘Allahumma inni as’aluka ‘ilman nafi’an, wa rizqan tayyiban, wa ‘amalan mutaqabbalan (O Allah, I ask You for beneficial knowledge, goodly provision and acceptable deeds).’”

حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو بَكْرِ بْنُ أَبِي شَيْبَةَ، حَدَّثَنَا شَبَابَةُ، حَدَّثَنَا شُعْبَةُ، عَنْ مُوسَى بْنِ أَبِي عَائِشَةَ، عَنْ مَوْلًى، لأُمِّ سَلَمَةَ عَنْ أُمِّ سَلَمَةَ، أَنَّ النَّبِيَّ ـ صلى الله عليه وسلم ـ كَانَ يَقُولُ إِذَا صَلَّى الصُّبْحَ حِينَ يُسَلِّمُ ‏ “‏ اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَسْأَلُكَ عِلْمًا نَافِعًا وَرِزْقًا طَيِّبًا وَعَمَلاً مُتَقَبَّلاً

Hadith Reference

Love Does Not Make a Marriage

Marriage can be a wonderful thing, but it can also be one the biggest mistakes of ones life. Success in marriage all depend on how you approach it. One good lesson is to remember that marriage is not love, love, love. Marriage is hard work, patience, hard work and patience. It also includes patience, more patience and a little patience.

Get what I am saying folks. If you are not married learn to be patient now. If your married start being patient now. No time to waste and as we know there is no time like the present. Oui?

Forgiving in Islam

Thought of the Day:

We often ask, “Why is it so Hard to forgive in Islam” but is it really that hard?

Forgiving is easy it is us that make it hard. We forget that we forgive for our sake and not theirs. We need to be selfish in our drive to forgive and we will see the benefits.

We should not complain about a soft heart and that is what forgiveness creates.

Allah forgive us and help us forgive others as we should. Ameen

Qur’an [2:37] “Then Adam received from his Lord Words . And his Lord pardoned him (accepted his repentance). Verily, He is the One Who forgives (accepts repentance), the Most Merciful.”

فَتَلَقَّىٰ آدَمُ مِن رَّبِّهِ كَلِمَاتٍ فَتَابَ عَلَيْهِ ۚ إِنَّهُ هُوَ التَّوَّابُ الرَّحِيمُ

Dawah, An Invitation to Truth

Dawah is not about praise, pats on the back or bragging about how many shahada’s one has. It is about the blessing of helping one find truth and accepting it for their sake.

O Allāh, make me better than what they think of me, and forgive me for what they do not know about me, and do not take me to account for what they say about me.

اللهمَ اجْعَلْنِى خَيْرًا مِمَّا يَظُنُّونَ وَاغْفِرْ لِى مَا لَا يَعْلَمُونَ وَلَا تُؤَاخِذْنِى بِمَا يَقُولُون