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Man On The Moon

Talha Ghannam:

Perhaps one of the most powerful thing I’ve read in a while. So much of it resonates deeply as each of us go through our own struggles and tribulations. May Allah preserve and increase the writer and all those struggling with their own difficulties. Ameen!

Originally posted on thegatesofparadise:

‘God is manifest, the veil is with us.’

I was diagnosed with Depression in October 2012. It took a severe form which left me unable to leave my bed for 6 months at a time. I denied anything was really wrong even through this debilitating period. After a lengthy healing process which included Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Depression Alliance Group meetings, I saw that I had had a tussle with something tangible and spiritually invasive. I believe coming out at the other side (although I’m not quite there completely) is and perhaps always will be my proudest achievement. I regained the will to live. 

I was unable to to be productive or ‘strive’. Unable to envision changes, set goals or grow in the conventional sense. I was paralyzed by almost every meaning of the word. My love for my family and friends evaporated, any concern for my own well being disappeared. Instead I lived…

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Posted by on July 29, 2014 in Main Posts

 

Aspiration

“The aspirant needs four things:

1) A luxurious mount,
2) An expansive house,
3) A fine garment, and
4) A radiant lamp.

The luxurious mount is patience; the expansive house, intelligence; the fine garment, modesty and piety; and the radiant lamp, knowledge that benefits.

My counsel to you is to uphold oaths, allegiances and promises. Guard the door and the remembrance of Allah in every circumstance. Conceal poverty and sit with the truth, by the tongue of truth, on the path of truth until you arrive at the Truth by the Truth, if Allah so wills, and He is the Exalted. May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon our Master Muhammad and upon his family and companions.”

- Ibn Khafif

Door of Kabah

 

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The Next Ghazali?

I pray you are well and Ramadan is going blessed for you!
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I have written an email below about a project that is dear to my heart and a great opportunity for you! Ive also made a video in case the text is too long to read :) Let me know your thoughts!
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“If I have seen further, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants”
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Many of us will know of and have benefited from the work of our great scholars of the past. From Imam Ghazali to Ibn Sina, West and East have benefited from the knowledge and contribution they put forward in the fields of Islam, medicine, philosophy and countless other subjects! Imagine the reward they receive with Allah masha’allah.
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But here’s a question: Who funded them?
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Just imagine you were that person. Every drop of ink these scholars shed in writing and educating us will go back to them. Imam Ghazali wrote in his own biography “Munkidh min al-Dalal (Deliverance from Error)” how he was brought in from poverty to study Islam. Imagine there were no institutions to do that, his brilliance may never have been harnessed. What a brilliant ROI (Return on Investment)!
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(The collection of Ihyaa Uloom Al-Deen by Imam Ghazali in Arabic and English)
In light of this, one of the things I often think about is how the earlier generations were fortunate to be in that position of being the “first ever” to start something up and hence they receive all the subsequent reward. This is unfortunately something we can never precede them in, but what is interesting is that when you look at the estimates of the total number of people who have ever lived in the world, 30% of them are expected to live from 2014-2100.
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i.e. if you count every single person that has ever live and will ever live, 30% of them will be after our lifetime and can hence potentially benefit from our work!
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The following graph may make more sense!
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Of course, reward is known only by Allah and their value is in their sincerity, but its still interesting nontheless!
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The CIM
Myself and some fellow brothers & sisters recently launch the Centre for Islam and Medicine (CIM) back on March 1st. The key focus of the organisation is three fold:
  1. To develop an academic platform which scholars and doctors can engage on both within the Muslim community and the wider British community.
  2. Develop high quality research material on issues of Islam and Medicine
  3. To create a central hub which the wider community can access for information on issues of Islam and Medicine, as well as actively educating the public on issues which affect them
If the CIM model succeeds, we hope to replicate it across a number of other fields such as Economics, Social Policy, Politics etc. Our choice to begin with medicine is primarily because the field is quite clearly defined with the scholarship and expertise widely recognised within the field.
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Since then, we have made significant strides towards these goals, for example our new official partnership with the Cambridge Muslim College (CMC), providing the organisation a home for its work alhamdulillah.
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Alongside this, we have a number of other projects we are running including our workshops and stalls at this years Living Islam Festival! If you haven’t already, book your tickets and hopefully we will see you there!
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On top of this, the organisation now has its first full time employee – ME! I believe in this project so much that I have sacrificed a comfortable job to do this alhamdulillah. We haven’t announced it publicly yet so keep it to yourself, but since I’m emailing you this personally I thought I would let you know.
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So – whats my point?
Ramadan is the season of multiplication. Everything we do now is multiplied many times over. As such, I wanted to offer you the opportunity to be part of something special.
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Our aim over the coming months is to get the organisation set up and sustainable so that we can focus on the work at hand. To do this, we need funding that gives us the independence to do what we feel is right as our income is independent. It will be the backbone of our work alongside the grants and other income we receive from our business pursuits.
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… and its not even that much. Just look at the calculations below. £1/month is like giving 3p a day!
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How to donate
Before anything, we ask you to first and foremost make dua for us, especially in this blessed month of Ramadan.
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After that, we advise people to set up regular donations (or give the equivalent amount now) as they support the long term aspirations of our organisation. The prophet ﷺ said
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“The best actions are those which are small and consistent”
[Bukhari and Muslim]
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All we want from you is to set up just:
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1000 people giving
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+ the giftaid is enough for us to be financially independent for our research.
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1000 people giving  
+ gift aid will allow us to hire 2 full time researchers to systematically work through all the issues within Islamic medical ethics and develop the material we so desperately need!
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And the best thing is, setting up a standing order couldn’t be easier
These option cost us nothing and gives us 25% giftaid!!
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Directly through your bank:
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Account name: C FOR I & M
Bank: HSBC
Sort Code: 40-07-13
Account Number: 92089424
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Remember, if you set it up this way, make sure you email with permission to collect giftaid on your behalf!
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Donation Form:
Fill in and send us back the following form (available by clicking below or here)
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These options cost a small amount, but something is better than nothing!
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Believe.in
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Talha Ghannam

The Centre for Islam & Medicine Registered Charity Number: 1154937     Join us on Facebook   Follow us on Twitter

 
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Posted by on July 15, 2014 in Main Posts

 

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Irrational Faith?

Who said religion was irrational?

Proposition 1: You cannot disprove the existence of an eternal heaven and hell. The most you can do is say is that it is ‘unlikely’.
Proposition 2: Every human will die, hence happiness in this world is finite.
Proposition 3: Every human being seeks to maximise their own happiness.

Conclusion 1: The cost of believing in and acting for heaven is finite as life itself if finite.
Conclusion 2: Maximising your happiness is done by working towards a hereafter and not this world as both the infinite reward of heaven and the punishment of hell are greater than any cost one could sacrifice in this world, regardless of how improbable they are.

Discuss :)

Universe

 
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Posted by on July 13, 2014 in General Wisdoms, Logic

 

Dear Narcissus

A few months ago I was invited to attend a spoken word gathering to fundraise for Syria. The crowd was came from all ages, race and religion, but it was striking to see how similar the poems were.

One particular poem that struck me was one about Narcissus, a man from greek mythology who was led to a pool where he saw his own reflection in the water and fell in love with it, not realizing it was merely an image. Unable to leave the beauty of his reflection, Narcissus died. Narcissus is the origin of the term narcissism, a fixation with oneself. The writer, non-muslim, described how she saw todays society suffering the same disease which plagued Narcissus, writing this poem as a reflection on those things.

Below is the transcription of the poem along with the reflection and recitation by its author.

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A poem inspired by the Greek myth of Narcissus, a man who fell in love with his own reflection in some water and drowned because of this obsessive fascination with himself. More importantly, the poem is inspired by how Narcissus’s story lives on in today’s society, people becoming more and more consumed by their own image until they eventually drown…in a metaphorical / spiritual sense.

Dear Narcissus
Why didn’t you look up?
Amazed by your own face
You found yourself stuck

Locked into the gaze of your own two eyes
Obsession with self brought on your demise

There is so much beauty to be seen in this world
But you couldn’t even be distracted by a girl

In pure water you found a lover that was toxic
Observing laws of symmetry, defied the realms of logic

What of personality, knowledge and heart
Is it only your features that you will ever see as art

Never became a father, never bonded with a wife
Before you had a chance to try, vanity took your life

Now there is a piece of you in a lot of these people
Your tragic existence, they are just as feeble

As you were, faced with your own reflection
Combine that with insecurity and warped perceptions
You breed a race that from its own self needs protection

Dear Narcissus
How can you forget them

Your spirit should rise from its watery grave
To show them they don’t need to go the same way

They won’t physically drown or actually die
But their souls are consumed by this visual lie

Call it beauty, sexiness, some call it swagger
I call it aiming at God with a dagger

Valuing yourself, what you wear or how you look
How many friends on your twitter or holy Facebook

Narcissus, your legacy lives on today
They’re no different than you were when you lost your way

And it’s not like this comparison came out of the blue
A personality disorder is named after you

But their egos thrive on more than just appearance
It’s status or prowess or how many people fear them

Its clothing and cars as well as their faces
Wearing other people’s names on tops jeans and trainers

Just to appear like they are better than you
They can’t think of anything better to do

Than earn, and spend, and pose and lie
To themselves, the parts that they chose to hide

Narcissus, you started this fatal trend
Now it’s grown and evolved, where will it end

Drowned simply in the water you saw yourself in
These days we can choose from a number of things

Our iPhones, cameras and computer screens
Our downfall the only thing we refuse to see

We thrive on the abundant superficial attention
While they thrive on our innate fear or rejection

Through vanity some seek to be more secure
Narcissus, please show them their reflection is false

Dear Narcissus, please help them break the glass
And shatter their own image to a 1000 shining shards

Just like your face dispersed its own double
As you fell through the water and up rose the bubble

Admiring the way that your outer shell was made
So beautiful, it literally took your breath away

https://soundcloud.com/estartist/narcissus

Narcissus – A man from greek mythology. He was led by a fellow Greek to a pool where he saw his own reflection in the water and fell in love with it, not realizing it was merely an image. Unable to leave the beauty of his reflection, Narcissus died. Narcissus is the origin of the term narcissism, a fixation with oneself.

 
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Posted by on June 23, 2014 in Poetry, Reblogs

 

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Sacred Lands

My last few hours in these blessed lands before my month of travel comes to an end. Seems soooo long ago since I headed off to Morocco, and there have been so many adventures along the way.

I remember telling my friend as we were setting off “I want to visit people, not places”. For a while I have felt that our lifestyles in the UK seems to miss the point. We have everything yet nothing at the same time. In my short time travelling, I wanted to see what life is like for those in other parts of the world.

Subhanallah, in every place I have met people who I will never forget. Whilst each has their own personalities and circumstances, the contentment in their life is beautiful. This is the beauty Islam has to offer: a peace a mind and soul as all questions and concerns are laid to rest by this faith. From the blind man who dedicates his days to worship, the gentleman who sweeps the streets by day and leads the praises upon the prophet ﷺ by night to the wealthy businessman who sacrificed all his wealth to feed the poor on a daily basis for at least 33 years of his life (although I think the number is 50+), each have shown me in their own way that this world is just a means, not an ends.

Makkah and Madinah are the icing on the cake, symbolising the shariah (law) and haqeeqah (reality) respectively which Islam affirms in one’s heart. The kabah itself is a symbol of the world, to share just a few thoughts:

- just as people circle the house of Allah, Allah should be the central focus of our lives in everything we do

- each individual circling the kabah comes with their own prayers and hopes and Allah gives each and every one of them accordingly toll they feel on top of the world. Yet, when you look at it from afar, each disappears into insignificance and only the kabah remains. Its like couplet I wrote

“How loud the drums of life beat
Yet silence is what fills the street”

- the black stone: the struggle which this ummah faces. Only a hand full of people are involved in reaching it yet the whole crowd feels it’s effects as crowds cause traffic. Many make it the central focus of the intention. Some who go for it can be reckless of other people despite seeking a righteous outcome – a typical case of the end justifying the means.

- The kabah walls – The suffering off the oppressed. Each coming and begging Allah for mercy with the severest hardship culminating at the muktazam

- The Sacred – this place isn’t for tourism, it’s for worship and only those with that intention will be allowed in to appreciate it’s beauty. As much as you try and show the beauty of this place through a picture, the reality is far greater. I met a convert from Christianity who said how the spirituality of the Vatican was ruined as worship was complemented by bus loads of tourist just coming for the photos.

- Emptiness – The kabah is 4 walls and hollow inside. The shariah (law) is important but it’s just the outer cover. The green dome in madinah however contains a moon and 2 stars, and it is described as a piece of paradise. Following the prophet ﷺ and his example is the essence of our faith. I could write a whole essay on madinah!

(there’s a lot more to say, but I’ll leave those for later)

Tomorrow I’ll be back in the UK and trying to bring some of this buzz back to my life. Small and steady is the trick! I’ll leave you with the answer my friend gave me to my initial ambitions which became the moto of our trip

“The least you get is what you ask for”

KaabahGreen Dome

 
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Posted by on June 5, 2014 in Continuing the path, Main Posts

 

A battle lost

by Umaymah Hewitt

The air hung heavy with grief, loss and the stench of death. The battle was lost.

The fallen were gathered from the battlefield. The commander of the defeated army was heavy of heart. He had lost over 70 men. Good, strong, faithful men were dead due to the folly of a few who had abandoned their post prematurely. Their bloodied garments were not enough to shroud them.

Among the dead was one whose loss the commander felt most acutely. He was an incredibly brave, skillful warrior, and a great and noble man – he was the commander’s own uncle. He had been hunted down, killed and spitefully mutilated by the slave of a woman bent on avenging her father and brother, who he had fought and killed in a previous battle.

His sister quickly learnt of his death. She made her way through the wails of the mourning families and the silence of the defeated soldiers, intent on seeing her brother. The commander, whose own grief ran deep and painfully raw, forbade her from coming close. He was a gentle man, and desperately wanted to save his aunt from the terrible distress of seeing her brother’s body in such a state.

But she was not to be deterred. She ignored all attempts to stop her, and pushed forwards until she reached the fallen warrior.

She did not cry out or wail. As she gazed at the torn, broken body of her beloved brother, her unwavering faith pierced through the pain-filled haze of loss and gave her strength. “To God we belong, and to Him we return” were her simple words.

(Visualising History – Aftermath of the Battle of Uhud)

The courage and patience of the noble lady Safiyya – descendant of the Prophet Ibrahim; daughter of the chieftain and Keeper of the Keys to God’s House, Abdul Muttalib; sister of the mighty warrior, Hamza; aunt of the greatest man who ever lived, Commander of the Muslims, Seal of God’s Prophets, Muhammad, may God’s peace and blessings be upon him and his family.

In a moment of extreme, unimaginable pain and grief, the sheer strength and faith of this woman is awe-inspiring and a lesson for us all. No declarations of revenge or utterances of hate – she maintained her dignity and that of her family, and placed all her trust in the only One who has power over life and death. She knew that her patience and her brother’s bravery would be rewarded by God, and God alone.

desert sunset

 
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Posted by on April 25, 2014 in Reblogs

 

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