ZCSS – The Difference it Can Make

Mohamed Abbas Burmawalla – (Dubai, UAE)

I am not sure if this is the right forum for an autobiography like this one. But I am sure that the message conveyed through this article is as profound and inspirational as any other article in the newsletter. So, I invite you to read on.

Born and brought up in a small city of Gujarat, India (called Mahuva) I was the youngest child of my parents after 7 daughters. My father, a simple accountant (muneem) by profession at a local private company, had to struggle to make both ends meet. Feeding eight children and getting seven daughters married was indeed a daunting task for him.

Given these circumstances, it would never have been possible for me to go for good education – or even going further than the primary schooling. But Alhamdulillah, Greatest is the Allah who is the cause of the means. I got an unprecedented opportunity to excel as the ZCSS of the World federation came to my rescue, through the Council of Gujarat.

Having realized that without outstanding academics, my fate would most probably be similar to my father’s, I put all my efforts in studies. And with Allah (SWT)’s help, I continued performing and the WF continued supporting me.

That was it. Alhamdulillah, today I am a software engineer with the Dubai Immigration Department.  Prior to this, I was with the Oracle Corp. at its India Development Center. And financial life has changed – completely – for me, my family and my relatives’ families. Looking back, I am afraid to imagine what would have been my life without education, due to the lack of finance. I would have been like my other friends/young relatives doing a mere clerical job fetching around 100 USD per month. And perhaps would have continued to do such work for lifetime.

Can you imagine what change that small amount from my sponsor (Till date I don’t know his/her name – Is anybody listening?) has made in my life? It has literally shaped my life – completely. The journey from small town of Mahuva – to Oracle – to Dubai – has been made possible only because Allah (SWT) rescued me through my sponsor. What else can be a better example of thawab-e-jariya (the continuing reward)?

I am grateful to my sponsor for my lifetime. And every time whenever I raise my hands for dua – whether it is Eid or whether it is Ashura – whether it is after Subha or after Isha – I first pray for the wellbeing and bounties for my sponsor and then I pray for my family, for it is s/he who, for the sake of Allah, committed to do something good, selflessly helped me to stand wherever I am today. Perhaps, even s/he would not know for sure, what difference the 10,000 USD or less that s/he has spent behind my whole career (I have already started repaying the loan to WF, Alhamdulillah) has made. May Allah (SWT) grant him/her and all in the chain, the best in this world and the hereafter. Ameen.

There are many such and more potential students in the country; most of them in financial troubles. Together we can save at least a few lives and a few families to gift better careers to these youth. Let us do our BEST for this, impartially and selflessly joining hands to work for these people, forgetting all our differences and leaving aside all our personal interests, with true spirit of brotherhood and sincerity, seeking the pleasure of Almighty (SWT).

Great job done by WF & ZCSS. “Thanks” is a very small word to my sponsor

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Importance of Early Marriage in Islam

Yusuf G Kermali– (Sanford, USA)

The institution of marriage has been given tremendous importance in Islam. Generally, in the terms of jurisprudence it is highly recommended, but in many cases due to extraordinary circumstances, it becomes obligatory and a religious duty. For instance, marriage becoming obligatory when there is a chance of adultery or any other similar sin. Thus, the Holy Qur’an commands:

“And marry those among you who are single and those who are fit among your male slaves and female slaves. If they are needy, Allah will make them needless out of His Grace…” (Noor : 32)

The Holy Prophet (SAW) said, “The best people of my Ummat are those who get married and have chosen their wives and the worst people of my nations are those who have kept away from marriage and are passing their lives as bachelors.” (Mustadrakul Wasail by Muhaddith Noori, Vol. 2, Pg. 531).

As one matures physically, sexual desires make their way in the individual and gradually both girls and boys start getting attracted to each other, which slowly develops into some sort of psychological pressure. This natural and undirected emotion gradually seeks solace in whatever possible form. Unfortunately more often than not, it results in the youngsters deviating from the right path and indulging in some unwanted and undesired habits. Before becoming victims of ill-directed lust, it is better for them to get married and settle down. Therefore, the leaders of Islam have advised their followers to follow this most important Sunnah. As the Holy Prophet (SAW) states:

“O youths, whosoever among you can marry he should do so because marriage protects your eyes (from indulging in sin by looking lustfully at others in privacy.” (Makaaremul Akhlaq).

Imam Sadiq (AS) narrates that one day the Holy Prophet (SAW.) went on the pulpit and said, “O people, Jibraeel has brought unto me a divine command stating that girls are like fruits from a tree. If they are not plucked in time then they get rotten by the rays of the sun and a slight blow of the wind will result in their falling down from the tree. Similarly, when girls attain maturity, then like other women they develop emotions related to sex and there is no cure for it except her husband. If they are not married, prevention of character corruption becomes a remote possibility because after all they are human beings and no human is free from vice.” (Furoo-e-Kafi, Vol. 5, Pg. 337).

In yet another tradition from Mustadrakul Wasail it is narrated that “When a youngster marries early in his youth, Shaitaan cries out of desperation and says, Alas! This person has protected one third of his religion, now he will protect the remaining two thirds also.”

Imam Sadiq (a.s.) narrates from the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.w.) that he said, “Those believers who marry, protect half of their religion from danger.” In yet another tradition, Imam Sadiq (a.s.) says, “Two Rak’ats of a married person is better than seventy Rak’ats of an unmarried one.” (Wasailush Shia, Vol. 5, Pg. 1)

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.w.) once said, “Whoever marries, protects half of his religion, then for the remaining half he must only fear God.” (La’alil Akhbar).

The sixth Imam, Imam Sadiq (a.s.) says, “A sleeping married man is better than a fasting unmarried man.” (La’alil Akhbar).

The Messenger of Islam (s.a.w.w.) said, “Do not marry a woman for the following four reasons: Wealth, beauty, ancestry and lust. It is obligatory upon you to marry a woman on account of her religion.” (Jaame ul Akhbar).

In yet another tradition, the Messenger of Islam (SAW) has prohibited his followers from marrying a beautiful woman from a disgraceful background. (Bihar ul Anwar, Vol. 23, Pg. 54).

To get a good, modest and chaste wife is among the good fortunes and good luck of a person according to the leaders of Islam and is also considered as one of the sources by which the religion of a person can be protected. They have conveyed this message quite often that the worship of a married person is much more significant and important before Allah than that of a bachelor or a spinster.

The Holy Prophet (SAW) says: “Among the good fortunes of a man is to have a good wife.” (Furoo-e-Kafi, Vol. 5, Pg. 327).

Source: Excerpt from An Article by Sajjad Ali

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In the Name of God: The Dark Side of Religion

By Akber Kassam – (Minnesota, USA)

Religion is often found at the heart of hate, and is at the core of many conflicts and wars. People seem willing to kill, maim and die for a religious or spiritual belief:

“In the name of God, Shiites and Sunnis are at each others throats in Iraq, as are Arabs and Jews in the Middle-East.”

“In the name of God, the bombing of the World Trade Center in New-York City, on September 11, 2001, this was the worst terrorist attack in the history of the United  States.”

How quickly and easily religion and faith become handy tools to use in constructing a moral high ground – a justification, if you will-to kill in the name of all that is Holy and good.  That is not to say that religious belief itself causes death; guns do not kill people, people use guns to kill people.  Faith in God by itself kills no one. It can save lives. Religious belief when rightly applied can and should always be a force for good.

If we honor the God who made us and sustains us, then we must also respect what He has made. We must treat His creation, as he would have it treated it. That includes every other person as well as the environment.  There can be no more dangerous misuse of religious faith than its use in justifying hate and violence towards others.  How can religious belief and murderous actions come to be tied together? A message of peace is at the heart of Islam and Christianity.

The misuse of religion in the name of God is to be found everywhere, in all nations, in all towns, and hamlets and cities. We need to be careful about how we act on what we believe.  We need to be sure we are not among those who harm others in the name of God and to justify our actions.  Hatred and bitterness can never cure the disease of fear; only love can do that. Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it.

We are all creatures of the same God, Let us try to someday embrace each other as brothers and sisters.

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It is not the Crown…

Mohamedarif M Suleman – (Nairobi, Kenya)

Imam Husain (AS)’s decisive sacrifice that we commemorate each year in different ways is loaded with multiple messages.  It should be our concrete belief that Kerbala was indeed a tutorial for humankind on various fronts.  The front that particularly interests some is the leadership angle to the whole epic battle.

 

Living in an age of big leadership talk and enormous hype about “How to lead…”, etc, we infrequently remember the style of leadership demonstrated by this valiant soldier, this glorious Imam (AS) and his small but loyal and dedicated battalion.

 

Before we analyze in brief the one pertinent lesson that we should be looking at microscopically, let us think of the words that we tend to associate when we talk about leadership.  For once, the names of good leaders come into mind, then some traits of objectivity, stealthy management, visionary planning and the ability to stay calm and composed in adversities tentatively storm our thoughts.  We also tend to associate leadership with survival.  In other words, when leaders persistently survive attacks on their throne, we think of such leaders as robust and stable leaders.  In like manner, each one of us might then have a whole list of criteria on what they associate leadership with.

 

In fact, due to the element of charisma that we forge on the heads of “good” leaders, the world today is faced with a dire dilemma of what is good leadership and who is a good leader.  Subsequently, in the face of democracy, a Western propaganda of politics, it is virtually unbearable to think about rational and visionary leadership for every Tom, Dick and Harry, which people in Kenya have translated as “every Njuguna, Njoroge and Kamau”, is being dubbed a leader in their field.  Not that this is a bad thing to happen, only that it has robbed of our ability to discern between right and wrong, and what emerges as truth nowadays is what is popularly accepted by people (demo in the democracy).

 

Some radical examples come to my mind as I venture into this sensitive subject.  Both relate to countries that are touted as missionaries of democracy and the biggest democracy respectively.  In the US, animals seem to enjoy equal rights with human beings or unless I have failed to understand these public outcries that were recently shown on TV of a bygone court case in which an enraged father of a 10-month old baby, who was mauled by a pet dog, decided to bash “man’s best friend” to death.  The public was divided on whether the man should be chastised or let to walk free.  In the ensuing confusion, perhaps lost to the minds was the damning frustration that the man had for having almost lost his son.

 

The other case is that of India, a haven of sexual exploitation and promiscuous violence.  In the midst of alarming rates of violence against women, newscasters and networks are abuzz with sympathy for women without understanding the fundamentals of the problem.  Whereas the whole country is being piloted into a new found under-dressing liberation and aggressiveness into the so-called fast lane of media and fashion industries, one wonders if you need professors of science, or making use of the old adage “you need to be a rocket scientist” to understand that these things are breeding restlessness and anxiety in people who now want it whichever way.  In the previous instance, animal training experts had vehemently defended the dog for having been frustrated on account of domestication and noosed.  In the latter case, the animal temptation of man in view of the open culture has not been understood.

 

But should we be so naïve as to believe that no one understands the real problem? The truth may be uglier than we wish it to be.  For it is in the incessant existence of such problems that politics can survive.  Leaders today, themselves flaunting laws and leading selfish lives, must not be expected to troubleshoot these issues at all.  And in the melee, leaders will try the balancing act ever so more for fear of losing their positions.  Because now, it is the people who decide.  On grave matters such as same-sex marriages, leaders of today are not scared of the Church as they used to be, they are scared of the powerful electorate.  For them, leadership is the chair; it is their position, their place.

 

Imam Husain (AS)’s message of leadership was quite apart from what we popularly envisage nowadays.  He taught that a leader should be fearless in pursuit of the truth.  He should be ready to give up his all in order to secure truth.  He taught us that it is not the crown that makes the queen, for if that was the case, would Yazid not have been the paramour of many a historians today?

 

And one addendum, when we lead we must not be “caught with our pants down”, borrowing another of the many weird sayings.  A Muslim leader must not openly flirt with matters that are firm in faith, and then rationalize his actions in public.  On the day of judgment, he will be called on to account for he dissuaded people from the right vide his actions.  On account of his social eminence, people followed him like a flock…

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Dear Parent…

 

Mohamedarif Suleman (Nairobi, Kenya)

“Yes, of course your child is the best and this is why I am writing to you – to compliment you on this wonderful being that you have brought about, and for whom I am sure you are ever-so-grateful to Allah (SWT).  I know that you must understand that just as Allah (SWT) has tested those parents with a big test by not adorning them with children, He has as well tested you greatly by endowing you with one.  For in this bounty lies your practical paper.  How you groom your child, how you prepare them, not only for this life but the eternal life in the hereafter, will immensely determine your success in passing this difficult paper.

“And yes, I do understand your challenges – to try and bring up an individual who is not only an excellent person, but is a shining example for others is a daunting, yet enviable task, for the rewards will be great, I am sure.  I know that you fear the external environment whereby the world and its leaders are advocating something totally apart from what you may have envisaged for your child, but this is a true test that you must perform in.  As a parent, you must stand up to these immense challenges and face them with a resolve that is unparalleled and a strength that is unmatched.  Allah (SWT) will, no doubt, come to your aid whenever you are stuck on account of a surmounting issue, provided that your plan of grooming is not simply to make your child a secular genius and a social animal, but something more actual, a substance much deeper.

“You are caught between meeting the economics of your home, I appreciate it, for without the extra buck, your dreams may never translate into reality, your child may never even see High School, and you may have to go around asking for loans, but do you remember the time when you had just started off yourself? I hope you do, for that past experience was cast on you by Divine Wisdom so that you may understand the issues of your child, so that you may rest your entire faith in Allah (SWT) as the only saviour from both worldly and heavenly challenges.

“As your child grows, I am delighted that you have tried your utmost by working hard to provide for good education, you have even sent your child to the Madrasah, but remember that these are simply polishing institutions, they will never replace your own input as a parent.  Now that your child has blossomed into an adolescent, you are ever-so excited about the life that is knocking at your child’s doorstep.  You are, I know, making all the prerequisite efforts in facilitating your child’s easy and convenient access into higher learning.  In doing so, I earnestly hope that you realize that this will pose an even graver challenge for you, as the chances of being inflicted with external malice and vices have just shot up multifarously.  Your vigilance now, more than ever, is paramount to the ultimate arrival at the goal you had charted out as a Muslim parent many many years ago.  Do not be conned by your colleagues in letting loose the rope of freedom lest you throw away all that you have so far done.  Naturally, you love your child more than anything else in this world, but remember that Allah (SWT) loves your child more than you can ever imagine.  And He has prescribed not the late night outings to places of vice.  Remember that the night is pregnant with untold horror – even the boldest and firmest of individuals are susceptible at this unearthly hour at the hands of Satanic agents out to fulfil Azazeel’s promise to Allah (SWT) at the moment of expulsion.  Be helpful to your child, extend deeper love by restricting nightly, unsupervised movements, ensure that you still chaperone your child so that predators of sin do not cast an unfriendly eye on them.

“Dear Parent, all that you have worked for so far, all that you have slogged over and spent sleepless nights for, will be confined to naught, should you let your guard off at this crucial moment in your child’s life.  Look at your friends, some of their children are not only chained by the habit of drinking, but some also succumbed to the potent addiction of hard drugs.  Modern day peer pressure, my friend, is not something even stalwarts of society can sometimes withstand, so do not expect your children – however smart and trustworthy you may deem them to be, to be able to cope with this crushing experience.  Engross your child in productive activity not in events of fantasy that will only help to reduce their spiritual power.  Prepare your child, my friend, for if it is not now, it never will be.

“Do engrave in your mind that in reality, our capital is not our cash value, our belongings and estates.  Good deeds will be our assets while sour ones will be our liabilities.  I find it useful to remind you of part of Imam ‘Ali (AS)’ will in which he said: ‘The wealth which is left to the heirs if properly utlised, will benefit them in the hereafter, but if they misuse it, you (parent) will be the one to bear its punishment.’

 

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