Saturday, September 29, 2007

2nd Part of Ramadhan

Assalamu Aleikum Brothers and Sisters,

Did you know that Ramadhan is divided into three important parts. The first 1o days of Ramadhan bring Allah's mercy, the second 10 days bring Allah's forgiveness and the last 10 days bring emancipation from Hell fire. Since we are still within the last few days of the 2nd part of Ramadhan I wanted to explore the concept of forgiveness.

In the course of my life there are many things I have done. I am human and I err. I accept that flaw in myself for it is a human condition and we all suffer from it. A week ago I was discussing with my friend, the concept of forgiveness circulated among Muslims. Let me clarify this now, this concept seems to be prevalent in Muslims who have basic or general knowledge of Islam. Our discussion centered on the unforgiveables i.e shirk, zina and murder. This post will be an account of what was said and what I learnt from research.

One of Allah's attributes is Al-Ghaffar, The Forgiver. Why then when people talk of the unforgiveables most of them believe that these are acts that cannot be forgiven? Allah is the only one who knows what is forgiveable and what isn't. Furthermore he knows who he forgives and who he doesn't. Who are we to pass judgment on others by saying "So and so is going to hell." ? We are liking ourselves to knowing what Allah knows. One of my fondest hadeeths is one I kept bringing back in the discussion. In the hadeeth it is said that when a believer asks for forgiveness Allah comes running. That in my mind says that Allah will forgive anything as long as the repenter is sincere.

The requirements for forgiveness are simple. First, you have to be sincere in the intentions then, you give up and avoid the sin you are repenting. You are also supposed to regret the sin and sincerely resolve to not repeat it for Allah's sake and from the fear of punishment. Allah will turn your bad deeds into good deeds if following the repentance, the believer engages in righteous deed. The last condition is restoring people's rights and property if the sin involved wrongdoing unto others. All these conditions, it goes without saying, have to happen before death.
“The torment will be doubled to him on the Day of Resurrection, and he will abide therein in disgrace; Except those who repent and believe (in Islamic Monotheism), and do righteous deeds; for those, Allaah will change their sins into good deeds, and Allaah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful” [al-Furqaan 25:69-70]
The best time to ask for repentance, according to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), is during the last 1/3 of the night. Allah is said to be in the lowest part of heaven, "Who will call upon Me so that I may answer him? Who will ask Me so that I may give to him? Who will seek My forgiveness so that I may forgive him?’” (Narrated by Muslim, no. 758).

So my dear brothers and sisters, use this time (second part of Ramadhan) and ask for forgiveness because Allah is Oft-Forgiving and more so during this Holy Month. He alone knows what sincerity lies in our hearts when we beg for forgiveness. Inshallah may we be protected from any sins we commit and be forgiven for any we have commited. Amin.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Making Manda

  • 4 cups of flour
  • 4 tablespoons of oil
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 2-3 cups of water
  • Add the dry ingredients together in a bowl. (i.e flour and salt)
  • Make a well in the middle and add the oil.
  • Slowly incorporate the water while kneading the dough to achieve a consistency of "rolling off your fingers."
Note: Do not feel you have to use all 2-3 cups of water. Exercise judgement!
  • Section the dough into balls.
  • Take each ball and roll it like a "chapati/sabayad"
  • Lubricating the top of the rolled out dough with oil (1-2 tablespoons) and a pinch of flour, stack another rolled out dough on top of it.
  • Keep stacking till you have five stacks of dough.
  • Roll out the stacked dough in a circular shape to fit the pan.
  • Heat up pan till its hot to the touch.
  • Lay the stacked dough on pan and watch for the dough to dry out. Careful not to let the dough brown.
  • Dry out the other side of the stacked dough and remove from heat.
  • Lay dough on counter top and cut dough into four quadrants of a circle.
  • Carefully separate each dough from stack and lay separate to air out.
  • Leave in bowl with towelette (to avoid drying) till ready to fold samosas.

Congratulations you have now made your own manda!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Today is six years since the twin towers went down and we still don't know the complete truth about the events of 9/11, but what we do know are the events after 9/11. General Patreaus today faced his second day of questioning in Washington,DC. Off course there were the usual grilling by the presidential candidates declaring the Iraq surge as a "foreign policy disaster", if we were slanted to Mr Obama. Amidst all this I found it amusing that the puppet that is in charge of Iraq was shoved into the spotlight. Mr Al Maliki was tainted by talks of him siding with the shias and falling short of expectations to bringing the country back to its feet. He is also said to be getting cozy with Iran. Really? I don't see how picking someone from one sect of Islam to lead a country torn by a civil war was supposed to be successful. To add oil to an already heated situation, US decides to arm some Sunni leaders in hopes of driving a wedge between Al Qaeda and Sunni leaders in Iraq. They call this the "Anbar model" since it was professed to work in Anbar province.

What exactly is US playing at? This is just a repeat of history. Afghanistan was armed to fight against the Russian by the US not that long ago. After Russia was defeated, the Taliban took over and gave refuge to all sorts of short men with beards. When Saddam was fighting against Iran, who did the US give arms to? Then Saddam committed genocide against the Kurds to which US turned a blind eye. Whenever US gets involved in a conflict, it never turns out well for the civilians who live in those areas. Arming sunnis against shias and expecting them to come to the negotiating table is preposterous. History has shown that there is no love lost between these two sects especially since Shias have lived under the thumb of Saddam Hussein for decades.

Everyday, Iraq people live events just like 9/11. Everyday, they see loved ones die for no other reason other than hatred. There is nothing the US can do to right the wrongs they have committed in this region but they can start by leaving the country to its citizens. Iraq used to be a metropolitan city like others in the region and given time the citizens will rebuild it. Leaders in the Arab world and the Muslim world should take a more active role in the rebuilding of Iraq. A country that is unstable is never good for the region and hence it would be beneficial for them to ensure the security and rebuilding of this once great nation.