Is Mesut Ozil Shia or Sunni Muslim?

Muslim world and its leading Ulama should take responsibility for committing a grave crime against God and Humanity. Sectarianism, lets break this down to its pieces. We had lunch yesterday on 6th Avenue with my friends from Yemen. We sat at the newly opened Persian restaurant owned by Mr Hosseini. Besides good food, we Muslims specially like that it serves Halal meat.

We just came out of the small faith room situated right next to the eatery. Its called Ondine, a strange name for a college dormitory, the favorite for foreign students for its room rates. In the faith room, I could recall during lunch, we hardly noticed the different styles of performing the Muslim prayer. Some had their hands to the side, some above the belly, some on the chest and some just below the chest.

Here comes Mr Hosseini with the dish of the town, Persian pulao rice cooked with saffron and pistachio, fragrant, mild, dreamy shades of smoke rising from the neatly placed Basmati. Interestingly, he is the only person in the entire joint. He does everything with such admirable efficiency, cooking, cleaning, serving, washing, and cleaning again.

Going back to the prayer hall. Did it really matter how each of us folded our hands that much when the most important acts of prayer, for all of us, as in bowing and prostrating, was exactly the same. At the restaurant, we have something common between all of us, Mr Hosseini included, we eat Halal food. What does it matter what name we give to the dish, its still halal and that is what really counts, the essential, not the externalities.

Muslim Ulama need to point out the fact that any kind of division, schism, sectarianism, racism, supremacism (and other such things) are not only disliked but they are indeed HARAM. Here is my evidence.

“….Uphold the Faith and Do NOT DIVIDE into factions within it” (Q.42.13)

Dear Reader, sweet reader, please open your heart and see from the inner sight that God has blessed you with. Above Holy Verse from surah no 42 of the Majestic Quran al Kareem is a simple and direct command, not at all complicated. Is it not binding upon the Believers to Not violate the basic commands of God?

Suppose you just got hired at your dream company for which you had prepared yourself for years, going to college, grad school, internship, research, publications, hard hitting interviews, tests, medical exams, criminal check, and then finally you get the job. You are about to sign the contract, the owner looks at you and tells you very clearly, “Do Not make divisions and groups in the company” before you cheerfully signed and handed back the contract. Welcome aboard, partner!

The next moment you start plotting how to create a division in the company so that your group’s interest can be best forwarded to the senior management. You form a group, in violation of the contract you just signed, and quite obviously betraying the man who hired you in the first place, the owner of the company. What should the company management do with you? Should you be corrected or rewarded?

Treacherous actions get rewards only as much as their stab in the back can get them which should not amount to much respect from the self or outside. Enduring admiration has often found a humble, kind, honest, hard working individual who remains thankful for the little and big rewards of life. Indeed, life itself is the single greatest reward for any human being.

I cant imagine why it might be any different in God’s universe. He created everything, you and me, black man, white man, China man, Danish, Nigerian, German what have you. We are all from Him and we all go back to Him. It does make sense that He would want us to bond together under His Guidance, Protection, Mercy and Forgiveness, and that we all should hold on to each other and NOT BE DIVIDED into this faction and that faction, this sect and that sect.

Ask the Syrian girl, 9 years old why her father was killed, why she couldn’t eat for days. Is it because she was Shia or Sunni or Zaidi or Ismaili or Jew or Christian? For her, what  does it matter, it doesn’t. Millions of little boys and girls like her loose either a father, or a mother, or a brother or a sister due to our actions. We bring down upon ourselves rain of fire, death and tears, lots and lots of innocent tears as we continue to act arrogantly against the Divine command of God. Our vision shortened by our racist shades and our hearts covered with iron masks of sectarianism and our ears dumbed by the music of deathly winds.

Mesut Ozil might be Sunni just as much as he might be shia. It doesn’t matter. What matters are two things. He was devastated by the racist treatment in his national team. It should have not boiled down to this in a country which leads the EU in promoting integration, and has taken in millions of refugees from the Muslim world. But Mesut’s hurt is of greater importance because it has a special kind of bonding with the hearts of millions of people (at least 31 million fb  followers) who looked up to him as the success story of a Muslim boy in Germany from Turkish background.

The second most important matter is that he has fans from all religions. His fame pushed him also to be a role model for the youth. He was a symbol of hope and motivation for millions of young men who may feel the need to be identified with someone as great as Mesut was when he was in the National team. Also, for these millions of youth, it doesn’t matter if Mesut tilted towards shia or sunni beliefs. Not only does it not matter but it is totally irrelevant.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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You, the Great Achiever

One who finds the Truth, finds peace, a peaceful life is what all of us are really after, I should hope. To begin that journey, to seek peace, one needs to reconfigure his mindset, not his society at large. You can change your thoughts if you try but not the thoughts of the person sitting next to you, let alone changing cultures and social beliefs. A seeker has only one ambition, to find the truth, to know how to separate right from wrong, and through this journey a Seeker will find happiness along the way.
Would you like to become a seeker? I am happy to offer a path for you.

First, get yourself a copy of the Holy Quran, “the Qur’an” by Abdel Haleem highly recommended! https://www.amazon.com/Quran-Oxford-Worlds-Classics/dp/0199535957
You’re not a Muslim, no problem. The first Muslims 1400 years ago weren’t Muslims by birth either. You choose which belief system (or un-belief system) suits you best. Regardless of that choice, you still can go to the Quran as a Seeker of Truth and Justice. No power can hold you back from the divine wisdom that awaits to welcome your curious eyes!
You’re a Muslim but you feel embarrassed because you never bothered to read the holy Book. No problem. This is why you didn’t read it for so long. You were waiting for the right moment which is knocking on your spiritual doors right now. Go ahead open the door and welcome your heavenly guest.
You don’t know Arabic. No problem there either. The holy Book has been translated into dozens of language, allowing you to choose the language most comfortable for you.
Basic idea is this: get a copy of the Holy Quran.

Next step, take a piece of paper, write down what’s bothering you. Next, Open the Quran and just sift through the pages randomly until you come to a page you “feel” you should read, intuitively. Stop. Relax. Close your eyes.

Third step, open your eyes and start reading. You will find sooner or later, the Holy Quran will have something to say to you connecting the divine message with what you wrote down just minutes ago.

Let me share my recent experience. For some time I was struggling with these questions, “is life all about working and paying bills? Is this it? I give my life to a company for a few thousand dollars, I retire and get sent off to some lonely boring place to wait for the arrival of the angel of death. Do you call this “destiny” or “fate”?” How sad. I felt broken, devastated, reduced, defeated? I reached out to my Book, The Holy Quran, skimmed through a few pages and then I come across the following.

Its from the Holy Quran, chapter 40, The Forgiver, or also known as the Believer. It says:

Those [angels] who carry the Throne and those around it exalt [ Allah ] with praise of their Lord and believe in Him and ask forgiveness for those who have believed, [saying], “Our Lord, You have encompassed all things in mercy and knowledge, so forgive those who have repented and followed Your way and protect them from the punishment of Hellfire.

Angels, hang on – its not just ANY angel, we’re talking about very special ones ones who keep the Throne of God, how wonderful is that, and its these angels who beg the Almighty to forgive some people. Who are these lucky people for whom such elite angels plead with God the Glorious? As the verse tells us, these are people who have repented. What does that mean? Who repents? a sinner or a non-sinner? Obviously its people like me, sinners, men and women who committ wrongs and become aware of their short cummings. These are ordinary people with jobs, families, kids, social and financial problems. These are ordinary common folks from your everyday life. When they repent, something so great happens that the VIP angels near the Throne of God beg for His Mercy!! And this is what the angels say:

Our Lord, and admit them to gardens of perpetual residence which You have promised them and whoever was righteous among their fathers, their spouses and their offspring. Indeed, it is You who is the Exalted in Might, the Wise.

Did you read that carefully? Angels ask the Lord God, to forgive the seekers, to have mercy upon them, admit them, their parents, their spouses and their children into paradise. Think about that. Would you like it, on the Final Day, if you were forgiven but then you see your family members being taken away to the fire? Or would you like to see that because of you, your dear and beloved family also receives the Good News of Paradise? How lovely would that be? Yes, this is what the Throne Angels beg of God Almighty for those who repent. Paradise for the seekers, their families.

How did this marvelous imagery of the Final Day answer my problem? Let me quote from the next verse:
And protect them from the evil consequences [of their deeds]. And he whom You protect from evil consequences that Day – You will have given him mercy. And that is the great attainment.”

All Praise and Thanks be to God, ALLAH SWT, the Almighty. Receiving God’s Mercy and Forgiveness on the Final Day would be the “great attainment”. That’s what I wanted to know all along, how can I achieve greatness without being forced into the materialistic rat race of our crazy money loving world. Alhamdulillah, all thanks and praises for Allah, who revealed the Holy Book to His Prophet (Peace be Upon Him) as a Mercy and a Guide for all Human beings..

Learning About Islam – What is Bismillah

IN the name of God (Bismillah), the Lord of Mercy, the Giver of Mercy! Praise belongs to God, Lord of the Worlds, the Lord of Mercy, the Giver of Mercy, Master of the Day of Judgment.
It is You we worship, it is You we ask for help. Guide us to the straight path; the path of those You have blessed, those who incur no anger and who have not gone stray. (AL-Quran, chapter 1).

Seven Verses from the HOLY QURAN define the Islamic faith. Muslims memorize these seven verses (also called Ayats) in the original Arabic and recite it during prayers 5 times a day. For those of you who want to learn about Islam, and also for those Muslims who want to clarify thoughts on Islam, this is the starting place, the opening verses of the MAJESTIC AL QURAN AL KAREEM.

Lets get started. How do we know these Ayats were not made up by a man? What is the proof that the verses were “revealed” from the Heavens?
Belief can be of two types, either one believes its truly from the heavens or one believes it was written by a man or a team of men and women. Lets say we have the belief that it was written by humans. Fair enough, who were these men and women? Were they Arabs or non Arabs? Were they followers of One God or multiple gods? Did they have a portfolio of written or oral literature as was the custom in Arabia in the 6th century? It is very natural for humans to want to pen their names (real or fake) on their works, and even more so when they gather together to write the verses for a new religion. Who were these “humans” who acquired PhD level linguistic, historical, scientific, psychological and above all civilization knowledge. Surely they must have left behind track record of discussions and debates with their locals before embarking on such an advanced form of philosophical cum literary adventure that would go on to become a watershed in human history of civilization. I understand, for 1400 years not a single convincing idea could prove human intervention behind the formulation of the Ayats. So, lets leave it at that.

Wait a minute, what about the Prophet of Islam, the Holy Messenger Nabi Muhammad (sallillahu alihi wa alihi wa sallam, Peace be Upon Him, PBUH) wrote the verses. He (PBUH) recited the verses to his companions which makes the idea convincing that he must have drafted the verses himself. Lets look at that more closely. First of all, Prophet Muhammad (Sallillahu alihi wa alihi wa sallam) was known as the un-lettered prophet, that is at the start of his mission he had not acquired the skills for reading and writing. For 40 years he (PBUH) lived in Makkah with very high honor and prestige, he was called Sadeq and Amin (the truthful and the trustworthy) by the Makkans due to his honest personality without ever being credited for reciting any kind of poetry or prose, let alone writing Ayats of the highest classical (Fushat) Arabic language which would become the standard for Arabic grammar.

Would you believe it if I told you that the greatest work of English language was written by someone who was not only un-lettered but had never written or expressed English literary or grammatical skills ever in his life? Obviously not. You might call it an “obnoxious idea”. Lets be fair and apply the same thought for the author of the Verses above. It could not have been written by any man or woman, therefore the only author must be other than what we know or understand as humans. Lets stop here, and move on with the verses.

The opening verses have combined two important ideas of our age. Science and Philosophy. Science because we know from Quantum Physics about time, space and matter. The first cause behind these three has to be the will of God. It is only after the First Cause has been established that the process of matter and antimatter, evolution and the development of human civilization can be discovered scientifically. Let say then today is the very first day for the first cause, the starting point of Time itself, how would the beginning look like, what would it begin by, under whose authority would the beginning take place? These questions are generally asked for any major event. Its like a person while inaugurating a ceremony says “on the authority given to me by and so and so….”.

Should Time, space and matter (humans, the milky way, the solar system, the galaxies, the nebula etc) start its journey by the will of God, by the authority given to the properties of matter and atoms and by the Power of God, then it makes absolute sense that this journey should start by the name of God. That is “BISMILLAH”. the starting point of all that we know on Earth, in the Oceans and in Space.

Muslims will thus say BISMILLAH at the start of anything. At the time of waking up, before a meal, before starting a journey, before starting work, before getting into a transport, before take off, before reading and so on.

Thanks for reading. Take care…