Mohamedarif Suleman – Nairobi, Kenya
For the benefits of the non-Gujrati readers (which I am afraid may constitute a large percentage of our community), here are excerpts from Marhum Mulla Asgherali M M Jaffer’s last counsel published in a recent edition of the Gujrati magazine “ithnasheri” that quotes Marhum’s last visit to Bhuj and Kutchh.
During informal conversations, Mulla engaged his host Janab Yusufali Bhojani and his collegues in a discussion related to youths and the influence of the omnipotent media on their minds.
It is recalled in the article that Mulla lamented at the overpowering role of the 24-hour cable and digital TV and the internet. He said that in the guise of harmless entertainment and depiction of the lives of people, such networks and indeed the World Wide Web was a source of conveying a materialist culture deviod of Islamic values, and in many instances directly opposing matters of faith. He said that the professional packaging of such channels was so sophisticated that it attracts the youth but simultaneously trains them for skills of living a materialist life. Not only do they cause mental anguish but also physical agony.
When we reflect at his last thoughts, we perhaps cannot feel anything else but agreement. For not only are we all surrounded by such problems today, for most parents it seems almost impossible to correct the situation because the risk of being labeled old fashioned by the young generation is looming large. But Mulla preaches bravery. He felt that if parents do not reverse the situation, the time would not be far that our children would finally change their names as well to fall in line with the pressuring demands of their generation. Shying away from the problem will guarantee parents of distress in this life and punishment in the hereafter.
Watching a TV pop show in which women bare their bodies and men swarm all over them, or for that matter being bombarded by a commercial in which the brand sellers claim sexual attraction as a primary reason to wear, say, a certain perfume or shirt, is a desperate attempt by the sellers to target a vulnerable age group using basic instincts which need no further persuasion. After all, telling people that a certain washing power washes well than its competitors is one thing, and telling them that if used, it would guarantee sexual favours from members of the opposite sex, is something else.
It is about time, we stood up to our times and said to the new generation that it was fine if they desired sex, et al. But as Muslims, we were brought to create change for humanity. To show the world, that unlike animals, who attract others’ mates by smell, strength or charm, human beings are meant to live a life in which sex has to be enjoyed as a means of gratitude to Allah and as per His commandements.
Beyond the man-woman relationship, which seems to be the theme in most new genre soaps, ads and films, other attributes such as scant dressing, rebellious haircut or disobedience to the elders are all traits that favours general trade and commerce because it enhanced customer spending.
By Mohamedarif Suleman
Jowaibir left the house murmuring, “By God, whatever the Qur’an teaches and whatever is the purpose of the Prophet Hood of Muhammad is totally against what Ziad says.”
Those nearby heard the murmurings of Jowaibir. Zalfa, the lovely daughter if Ziad, and the beauty queen of Medina, heard those words of Jowaibir. She came to her father and asked, “Father, what was that man who just went out saying? And what did he mean?” “He had come to ask for your hand in marriage and was claiming that the Prophet had sent him for this purpose.” “Isn’t it possible that he had really sent him, and thus your rejection may amount to the disobedience of the Prophet’s order?” “What do you feel about it?” “I feel you should bring him back before he reaches to the Prophet, and then go yourself to find out the truth.”
He brought Jowaibir back to his house with due respect, and then himself hurried up to the Prophet. When he saw him, he said, “O Messenger of God, Jowaibir came to my house and brought such a message from you. I would like to inform you that our custom is to give our daughters to persons of equal status and belonging to our tribe, who are all your helpers and companions.” “O Ziad, Jowaibir is a faithful man. That dignity and honour which you are talking about has now been abrogated. Every believer man is equal (for marriage purpose) to every believer women.”
Ziad turned to his house and explained the situation to his daughter. She said, “Please do not reject the proposal put by the Prophet. This matter concerns me. I accept Jowaibir whatever his condition may be. If the Prophet is pleased with it, I am also pleased.”
The wedding was duly solemnized. Ziad paid ‘Mahr’ from his own wealth and offered good articles to the couple. They asked the bridegroom, “Have you got a house where to take the bride?” He said, “No, I had never thought that I would get a wife and settle in domestic life. It was the Prophet who came suddenly and had a talk with me and sent me to Ziad’s house.” Ziad arranged for him a house equipped with complete necessities, and transferred the bride superbly adorned with ornaments and perfumes. Night came. Jowaibir did not know where was the house meant for him. He was guided to the house and led to the bridal chamber. When he saw the house and its equipment and looked at the dazzling bride, his past came to his mind and he said to himself, “How poor was I when I entered this city. I had nothing, neither lineage nor family, now God made these affluences available to me through Islam. Indeed it is Islam that has brought such changes in the social outlook of the people beyond any imagination. How grateful I am to God for bestowing upon me all the blessings.” In spiritual ecstasy, he went to a corner of the room; spent the night in recitation of the Qur’an and prayer. It was dawn when he came to himself and decided to fast in gratitude to God. When women came to see Zalfa in the morning, they found her untouched. They kept the matter secret from Ziad. Two nights and days passed in the same manner. He was fasting during days and praying in the nights. The women of the family of the bride were worried. They thought perhaps Jowaibir was impotent and had no need for a women,. At last, they put the matter before Ziad. He informed the Prophet, who then called Jowaibir. “Don’t you have any desire for women?” “Incidentally, I have a very intense desire of that kind.” “Then why didn’t you go near your bride?” “O Prophet of God, when I entered the house, I found myself amidst that affluence. A state of gratitude and devotion took me over. I thought it is necessary to offer thanks and prayers to Allah before anything. Tonight, I shall go near my wife.”
Jowaibir and Zalfa lived a very happy life.
Mohamedarif Suleman (Nairobi, Kenya)
Asmaa ul Husna, as we commonly know them, have various benefits. This week, let us look at a few and the benefits attached to them upon recitation. Material for this edition has been sourced from various primary and secondary materials but most prominently from the book “The Beautiful names of Allah” by Mohamedhussein G Somji.
“Allah” is the first of these beautiful names. It is the Name Proper, if you may. If recited 66 times at the time of Asr prayers or at the time of the setting of the sun prayers will be granted and legitimate desires will be fulfilled. It is said that this name has been repeated 2,607 times in the Holy Qur’an. Also, if it is recited 200 times on Fridays in the state of ablution the Almighty will fulfill one’s legitimate desires. And if recited 1,000 times daily, a person will become pious and the worldly love will vanish from the heart of the reciter, and the cognizance of Allah (SWT) will be achieved.
“Ahad” is another name. It means “the Unique”. If this is recited 1,000 times in solitude, it will be felt that angels are with the reciter. If recited 100 times, it is useful to combat snake bites. If recited many times, one will develop love and friendship for others.
“Awwalu”, or the “Foremost” is third in line. If this is recited prior to any task before hand, it will assist the reciter in completing it nicely with the blessings of the Almighty. If recited regularly, people will be kind to the person and will reunite with departed and separated persons and relatives through dreams.
“Aakihiru” means “Everlasting”. if this is recited regularly, there will be everlasting success in all works undertaken. The person will be loved by all and respected in all aspects of life. It will also help attain success in unfinished or hopeless missions.
“Aliyyu” (The Highest). When recited frequently, the person will be respected and honoured by all, and will be promoted in rank. If kept with oneself in writing, one becomes prosperous.
“Aleemu”. This means “all knowing”. If recited 6 times after the obligatory prayer, the person will be aware of the secrets of nature. If recited frequently, the person will recognise the Almighty. If recited 21 times daily, the person will become a learned man.
“Azeezu” or “Predominant” is yet another of these glorious names. If recited 13 times everyday, a person will acquire great wealth. If recited 94 times, it will be useful to gain the knowledge of alchemy or chemistry. If recited in infinite numbers, a person will gain spiritual powers.
“Aadilu” is of course “Equitable”. When recited regularly, a person will do justice in all cases. Also reciting this name reveals secrets.
“Afuwwu” (Forgiver). This is useful for removing and avoiding of sins and achieving the blessings of the Almighty.
“Akramu” or the Gracious, is instrumental in attaining grandeur. It should be recited after every obligatory prayer and at bed time. If recited for a great number of times at the time of sleeping, angels will be detailed by Allah, who will ask for pardon for the person throughout the night.
An important observation is the exclusion of intentional sinning for any such mystical forces to positively act upon a person. It is evident that when in deep agony or dire distress, we tend to remember the only Being who can free us from the chains of trouble. Very few people form the routine habit of reciting these names so that they become a part of one’s daily life. Understanding and believing in the meaning of each of His names is paramount before any results can be expected, for if one doesn’t believe in His justice, merely chanting the name is wasteful.
By Mohamedarif Suleman (Nairobi, Kenya)
Connected? I am sure you are, for if you are not, you may just have missed being “literate” this century. Whether you are an infant (!) or a very aged person, make no mistake about the omnipotence of this new gadget to go with the cell phones and surround sound TVs already with us.
The pen and paper of this century? Absolutely. Or if you may, the Keyboard and the Mouse of our times. However, while the euphoria about this new acquisition is just about settling, it may be interesting to check out the pros and cons of the new medium.
Firstly, we must realize that the e-mail is a medium for communication, and the Internet a global pin up board where marketers place publicity material and individuals post information (educational) or messages (personal). For us to be able to use this medium effectively, we must appreciate that, like any other gadget, the super highway has the positives as well as the negatives.
Let us look at both sides. Faster communication, cheaper communication, access to information. An individual based in New York does not have to necessarily phone a relative in Dar Es Salaam (although 2 net phone is now available as well). He can simply send a typed message and it will be read, almost instantaneously by the intended recipient in a matter of seconds. With this strength of reach, the ground is open for both genuine users and mischief-makers to spread a word by merely pressing the “Send “button. In this regard, it is imperative to understand that email messages are not to gospel truth and are not any different from the ancient telegrams that were sent out in those days. The intention is to pass a message.
On the aspect of cost, monetarily there is no argument. Web based transfer of messages is the cheapest form of communication available today.
Information: There are hundreds or maybe thousands of websites (chapters in a book). All you have to know is the name of the site, and you are comfortably accessing information. Because of the magnitude of the reach and extent of the Internet, marketers have ably made their powerful presence felt. The challenge to the user is to be able to discern between information and publicity. This line is very thin and everything seems like new information whereas it is not the case.
But while on information, further obstacles or prerequisites line the way. The user, if devoid of responsibility – moral, financial, etc. is bound to suffer irreparable loss. A minor using this powerful tool and intrigued by the mystics of adolescent life, no longer has to sneak into a movie theater to view pornographic material, he simply has to type in the key word in a search engine and a whole lot of sites will be listed. Therefore, the nature of usage is immensely important. The story of the traditional knife still applies, with options to use available to the user.
Again, there is another more serious aspect: authenticity. One must understand that messages or information pinned on the WWW need not always be truthful and free of commercial motive. 9 times out of 10, they will have been guided by the profit motive and so users must beware of the way in which troublemakers may influence sound minds.
As Muslims, we are expected to join in the super highway but continued to exhibit the conduct characteristics of the Shia of the Ahlulbayt. When discussions corrupt into mud swinging, and when undue political importance is hyped up by a few individuals in the name of a global forum we may not have entirely appreciated the potent nature of the medium we are now using. The responsibility comes back to us whether it is restricting or guiding our children to independently use it for educational reason or conducting mature and advantageous discussions.