September 22, 2009
By Aishah Schwartz
Sept. 21, 2009
In my days of reflection this Ramadan I experienced and felt many things, one of which, of course, was hunger! While feeling hungry may have caused some to think of, pray for, or extend a random act of charity for the hungry in this world, for me the awareness of hunger brought to mind something completely different altogether.
I paused to reflect on the countless other people in the world sitting very much alone, like me, taking every suhoor alone and breaking their fast alone…in fact, when I first came to Egypt, I met a woman who had done just that – for TWENTY YEARS after her husband died and her four children had all gone on with their own lives, raising their own families. They visited her, of course, but in those notable hours of Ramadan – she, like me, like so many others – was "home alone".
So, while many remembered the hungry in Ramadan; I remembered the lonely.
In remembering the lonely, I also paused to reflect on the state of the Muslim Ummah, asking myself again and again – how? Why? Can it truly be that we are so preoccupied with our own lives that we either cannot or refuse to see what is in front of our eyes?
One of the most talked about teachings of Islam is to be a good neighbor; something that, particularly in Ramadan, we should strive all the more to be.
However, as one day moved into the next throughout Ramadan – my neighbors and friends were all so preoccupied with their own lives that nary a one stepped up-to-the plate in inviting me for Iftar or to join them for taraweeh at the mosque. I even asked five different people (via sms) if anyone could let me know what time the Eid prayer would be - and you guessed it; no replies.
How could that be?!? One might ask.
Indeed, we should ask.
We should ask ourselves – are we truly good neighbors?
And closer to home – to all who are reading – do you know a new Muslim?
Many new Muslims come from backgrounds in Christianity, where, like myself, we spent our congregational time in warm, inviting environments, despite that fact that we ultimately felt that somehow there was something missing in our religious experiences; thus we came to Islam.
But after coming to Islam, the "trouble with new Muslims" – as I have so often heard – is that we take things quite literally; like the teaching to be a good neighbor; like the message of charity and of doing good deeds.
Now, I am not going to offer a listing here of those things that I did in Ramadan for the sake of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala, but I am going to implore each and every one of you, for the sake of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala; take off the blinders – and reach out to your neighbor – reach out to a new Muslim; it's never too late – and the reward is oh, so great, insha'Allah.
How the Grinch Stole Ramadan (the poem)
Do YOU Know a New Muslim?
September 20, 2009
This is really beautiful, but there is no replacing the experience of hearing it LIVE as Muslims march to the mosque for the Eid prayer - with the sound echoing off the walls of the surrounding apartment buildings laced along narrow streets in Alexandria, Egypt - it is surreal to say the least.
September 19, 2009
September 15, 2009
September 14, 2009
September 13, 2009
Isn't Ramadan about more than just having to wait a little longer between meals? We are in the last days of Ramadan; it is my dua that we will all reflect a little on what it is really all about... It is reported from Abu Hurairah that he said: "When the month of Ramadan came, the Messenger of Allah sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam said: "The month of Ramadan has come, a blessed month in which Allah has made it obligatory for you to fast; in it the gates of Paradise are opened and the gates of hell are closed and the devils are chained. In it is a night better than a thousand months, whoever loses the benefit of it has lost something irreplaceable." (Narrated by Imaam Ahmad. This was also narrated by An-Nasaa’i.) It is reported on the authority of Abu Hurairah, that Allah’s Messenger sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam said: "Whoever stood in prayer on the night of Al-Qadr, in faith and hoping for a reward from Allah, he will have all of his previous sins forgiven." (Narrated by Al-Bukhaari and Muslim). Dare we think that we haven't sinned so much that we are not in need of the rewards and blessings of the night of Al-Qadr? May Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala forgive us and guide us. Amin. Please listen to this beautiful recitation Suratul Qadr - and pass it on, insha'Allah!
September 02, 2009
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MAS Media Foundation presents, "On the MAP", The Muslim American Perspective - An online News Magazine Show featuring community stories told by community members. Muslim Jewish Art Festival - Raleigh, NC http://www.masraleigh.org watch more performances from the Artfest: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zsmuik... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EQmmtT... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bf3iEE... Americans for Palestine with George Galloway - Dallas, TX http://www.vivapalestina.org http://www.masnet.org/freedomfoundation For full speech of George Galloway in Dallas - http://www.youtube.com/wavesproductions The Muslim Green Team - Santa Clara, CA http://www.masbayarea.org/GreenTeam.aspx To get involved or to share your community stories contact us at: MAP@masmediafoundation.org http://www.masmediafoundation.org