Islam and Our Actions – Part 1

Deeni vs Duniya (Religious vs Worldly) Actions

A friend shared this incident:

I was studying A Levels and used to attend a tuition centre 30 minutes drive away from my home. One day I had a test so I arrived half an hour early to avoid being late. Seeing a mosque nearby, I decided to sit inside it and start revising my physics book. It was after zohar payer time (afternoon).
 After 10 minutes Imam sahib came up to me and enquired “what are you doing”? I explained that I come for tuition nearby but it is not time yet so I decided to sit here and read my book.
Sorry you cannot read a dunyavee (worldly) book in the Mosque, close it or leave the mosque, I was ordered. So I left without arguing with ‘imam sahib’.”

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Can you imagine this was done by a person who was representing Islam as Imam? The way of life whose Prophet Muhammad (SAW) was taught reading as first thing by the angel Jibraael AS. And Who (SAW) freed the prisoners of war on the condition that they teach few illiterate Muslims. Now think about this for a moment; what a non-Muslim prisoner can teach a Muslim? Deen?? No way; so was it duniya??

Forget about ordinary people, even Imam sahibs don’t carry right understanding of actions; there is no such distinction as deen or duniya (deen or world) actions. Islam has a simple criteria of right or wrong; allowed or disallowed. And this covers ALL Actions; be it reading Quran, doing trade in bazaar or reading Physics.

What is Important?

We perform many tasks daily which include ibadaats and other life actions. While doing so we give preference to few over others; or in other words we prioritise these actions as ‘we’ understand their importance. Islam has provided us with a proper order of importance for actions. We generally know this order from Islamic point of view but at times it gets ignored while performing actions.

This is especially true when it comes to ibadaat VS so called worldly actions. This is also true when it comes to comparing Fard (obligations) & Sunnah (Mustahabat, Mandubaat). Let me give few examples:

  • Is it not common that many Muslims pray Taravih prayer regularly during Ramadhan but would miss Fard prayers on Eid day or during the rest of the year; an example of misunderstanding the importance of Fard over a mandoub/sunnah?
  • Is it not common that many Muslims would fulfil all obligations but won’t care about dealing in Interest (Riba)?
  • Is it not common that many traders would pray regularly and perform Hajj and umrah but continue lying and cheating in their dealings?
  • Is it not common that all the stolen cars are taken to northern areas of Pakistan? Then these are either given back to the owner on payment of ransom money or dismantled and sold as parts. Many people from other parts of the country visit markets there and buy cheaper spare parts knowingly that these come from stolen cars. How can you buy an engine for 2000 Rs where as its original price is 20,000 Rs? Yet majority people in northern area pray regularly and are considered more religious.
  • Is it not common that we spend huge amount of money on Mosque decorations, celebrations? Yet there are 1000’s around us staying hungry every night?

I can wirte 100’s of example but to summarise, if we want to spend this life according to Islam, we need to understand All of our actions from Islam’s point of view. This is the most important subject, and requires be understood from two important aspects. One, the concept of Reward and Punishment, and second, all actions are just ‘Action’, neither good nor bad. Let me explain.

Read 2nd Part Here

Help Poor Survive Winter

Till now I had not turned the heating on. I woke up yesterday feeling cold, though I live in a modern house; double glazed (double glass) windows, insulated walls. While driving to school to drop kids I noticed that temperature gauge is displaying a temperature of 5 degrees Centigrade. Winter has really started I thought; time to switch on the heating, so I did as soon as I entered home. I am one of the blessed by Allah who have roof above head, food to feed, clothes to cover and heaters to heat anytime I will. I am grateful to Almighty God for this.

(Click on Photo)

Family Living on Footpath

My mind started wondering about the people like above. They have nothing; no shelter, no protection. Sun shine or rain, winter or summer – all are equally hard.

Poorer Going Poorer & Rich Getting……

This is the greedy Capitalist system that is transforming poor to poorer and rich to richer. We need to work to remove it and bring back the just Islamic system that ensured the distribution of resources. I remember the incident of Umar (RA) when He was the leader of Muslims (khalifah); once there was shortage of food in Madina. He refused food till famine was over. He would eat only enough to survive, so much so that his skin darkened.

Food, Clothes & Shelter is Every Human’s Right

ACT NOW – DONATE BEFORE IT’s LATE

We cannot bring that just system overnight; it requires a bit of work. But in the mean time we can donate; our closets are filled with warm (& other) clothes and shoes that we don’t / rarely use. Search through your wardrobes, take these out and give to poor. There are plenty of them around you. Or, pack these and take to charitable organisations such as Edhi, SOS Village, Save the Children, etc, or drop the articles into donation boxes. But please don’t delay, do it today.

I myself do it every few months as a habit. I would pack stuff and take it to poor countries when I travel there.

 

I Don’t Want to Eat – I Don’t Have Food

Lastly, when children waste food, just show them this picture:

Needs No Words – They are Human Too.

Enough said,   Act Now. As Actions Speak Louder

Cairo Visit Sept 11 (Part II)

(Read Part 1 here)

Click on Photo to Enlarge

A Street in Islamic Cairo

PMs Meeting at Sofitel

I was surprised to see the hotel entrance filled with many big black cars and police as we reached the hotel. There were camera crew also. I discovered that the Ethiopian and Egyptian Prime Ministers were meeting at the same hotel to discuss the construction of a dam on river Nile. This was strange to arrange such a meeting so close Tahrir Square which was hosting demonstrations day & night. Anyhow I could not join the two PMs, I was busy. I had planned to visit old Islamic Cairo.

 

Amir Shaykhu Mosque

 

Let’s Visit Islamic Cairo

Eastern part of Cairo is referred to as Islamic Cairo.  Starting from North East, it extends well into south and has a wealth of Muslim heritage. To name few, Al Azhar University, Imam Hussain Mosque where Imam Hussein RA’s head believed to be buried (read it here – though some historians dispute it), Al Qala (built by Salah un Din Ayubi), Ibn Talun Mosque, Syeda Zainab Mosque (where bibi Zainab, sister of Hassan & Hussein RA believes to be resting, but some historians dispute it) and many many more. You can spend days here. I wanted to start from Syeda Zainab mosque this time and walk up to Al Qala (Citadel).

Salahudin Ayubi Castle (Al Qala)

Khusari Again

On the way back from office, I took a taxi (I forgot driver’s name, let’s say he was Muhammad). I couldn’t resist as we passed near the famous Kushari restaurant “Kushari Al-Tahrir” see Kuhsari food here, I offered Muhammad to join. After lunch I asked him if he could drop me at Syeda Zainab. There is a mosque in south east of Cairo called Syeda Zainab mosque. It houses the grave of bibi Zainab RA. The area around is commonly known as Zainab.

Mystery Mosque

Mystery Mosque

Muhammad accidentally missed the Syeda Zainab Mosque and dropped me in front of another Mosque. It was a marvellous piece of architecture; unfortunately I forgot the name. Walking through the door and alleyway, I landed in the courtyard. A great feeling of tranquillity encompassed my soul; I felt as I have gone back in time. There was a rectangular courtyard all around the mosque. Mosque was almost empty. There were two little reading Quran in the back veranda. There was a fountain covered with a dome like architecture. A person was placing food & water for pigeons; ah this is why the courtyard was filled with droppings.

I had planned to stay little since there was a lot to cover but I could not leave; I was mesmerised by the peace & splendour of this place. After walking around I sat near few people reading Quran. Soon it was Asar time; I prayed and then moved on as time was short.

Food for Pigeons in Mystery Mosque

Sense of Belonging

Walking along Shara-e-Tabanna I saw many mosques, old Madrassas (schools), palaces, sabils (drinking water fountains) and lots of other historical architecture. Time was limited so I just browsed through. I felt so at home while there; as if I belonged here. You will feel the same if you visit any Muslim country. Sense of belonging is such a big thing. I can’t explain my feelings as feelings are to be felt not explained. I turned into small little alleyways, people looked at me curiously but as soon as I said “Assalam o Alaikum”, they replied and calmly accepted me.

These old historical buildings were damaged by an earthquake in 1991. Restoration work was done by the then government. Buildings had marble plaques displaying Mubarak’s name as inaugurator but his name was defaced with paint. Few inside the buildings were saved such as I found one untouched plaque inside Shaykhu Mosque.

Defaced Plaque – Masjid Qanibari

Qala was Closed

I walked along the old dusty street towards Midan Salah Udin (Salahuddin Ayubi Square). The square has famous buildings on one side (e.g. Sultan Hassan & Mahmood Pasha Mosques) and Qala (castle) built by Salahuddin on the other side. I quickly rushed to Citadil (Qala) ignoring the elegant buildings; I wanted to enter the Qala and visit Muhammad Ali Mosque but Qala was closed.

Sultan Hassan and Mahmood Pasha Mosques

Disappointed, I decided to take bus and head back. A young Egyptian man Ahmad was sitting on a footpath with his family waiting for the bus and munching on aish (bread) & falafel. I sat beside him and enquired how I could go back to Midan Tahrir? He was going in the same direction so advised me to stick around, and offered me food. As I was not hungry, I thanked him. He insisted and gave me some. After food, we had a bit of conversation. He was from Alexandria & was visiting Cairo to show heritage to his children. He was very pleased on finding out that I am a Muslim brother from Pakistan.

Sabil Qutab – A Real Beauty

On the way back, he offered me his seat. Despite insistence he did not sit, and even paid my fare. Ordinary Egyptians are very loving and caring. And this is true for all the Muslim countries I visited. There is a general love among ummah. By the way, I visited many other non-Muslims countries and was always welcomed as a human. I found no hate or resentment anywhere at all. All people are generally loving & caring.

Egyptians are funny people when it comes to speaking Arabic. They pronounce ‘j’ as ‘g’, and ‘q’ as ‘a’. So juma is Guma, fajr is Fagar, Qahva is Ahva, Qala is Ala. This makes understanding them awfully difficult but delicious. This special pronunciation helps Egyptians to distinguish Arabic speaking non-Egyptians.

Elegant Mohammad Ali Mosque

Anyway, soon I was back at my hotel. I left Cairo the next day, knowing I have a lot more to see; let’s see when Allah takes me back. I miss you Cairo, I miss you Egypt.

The End