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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

{Quick Reflections 24} Home... 1

Posted by Badeea at 11:45 AM

The meaning and concept of the word "home" for me has always been ever changing since I was a little child, until a few years ago when I finally reached the true meaning of the word. This is just like many other basic meanings and concepts that we were taught as children, and hence took for granted, that turned out to be completely different and distorted and have been so amongst most people for the past 200-500 years.

Many true and absolute meanings of words and concepts are not the ones defined by humans but are actually those defined by either Allaah (SWT) or Prophet Muhammad (SAWS).

For example we were all taught that the meaning of "intelligent" or "smart" is "displaying or characterized by quickness of understanding, sound thought, or good judgment" or someone with an IQ higher than average, above 110. On the other hand the true meaning of the word "intelligent" or "smart" as defined by Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) is, " The intelligent (one with sound thought) is the one who calls himself to account and does (noble) deeds to benefit him after death; and the feeble is the one who subdues himself to his desires and then wishes for Allaah's forgiveness (without due repentance)." [1]

For instance my physics teacher while I was in high school in Bangladesh was a Hindu. He was a very "intelligent" man as per the human definition of the word. If he is that smart at physics and makes sense out of very difficult and complicated physical concepts and equations but yet sees that a cow is holy, which does not make any sense, then he definitely is not "intelligent".

Similarly we will now analyze the meaning of the word "home" until we reach its true meaning. The reason for me remembering this issue now is that a few days ago I felt "home-sick" for a few minutes. So I had to stop and evaluate the situation in order not to let my emotions and personal inclinations take over my thinking and decision making. I had to reflect over the meaning that I had reached a few years earlier and make sure it was still valid and will not need further modifications as per my new experiences in life. Alhamdu lEllaah the latest evaluation proved that that meaning is indeed very true and remains valid until this moment in my life.

For many people who travel around a lot and do not settle down in a certain country for long for various reasons, the word "home" means their nationality, the country they were born in or sometimes where his or her parents originally come from. This also applies to people living in one country all their lives. They call it their "home-land" or sometimes just "home".

As my father was a diplomat we used to travel back and forth from Egypt to other countries never settling down in one place for more than a few years. I always felt as a stranger and wanted to go "home" once and for all. However even when I used to stay in Egypt for a while I felt as a stranger there too.

In the beginning when I tried to analyze it I thought of it in the following way. Amongst my colleagues when I was abroad I was a foreigner and when I was in Egypt I was that "strange" guy coming from abroad. Accordingly although I loved all people so much regardless of their back grounds I had so few true friends as to most my acquaintances I was a "stranger".

Accordingly I kept looking for "home" and tried to find a meaning for the word other than the one commonly known to people as I have seen for myself that it is not true.

Four years ago, after I had been in Egypt for 10 years in a row, many of my close friends, whom I believe are truly intelligent people as per our Prophet's definition of true intelligence, started immigrating to different corners of the globe. One of them had spent all his life in Egypt (and thus was much more stable than me) so I believed his judgment would be more accurate than mine. After he had settled in the USA for 2 years, got married and had kids, I asked him if he has found "home" or not yet because he too did not believe the common definition of home was true. He affirmed that he has not found it yet.

That intrigued me to actually stop and fully investigate the true meaning of "home".

First came the hadeeth, ""What would concern me about this life! My similitude and that of this life is that of a traveler who took a rest at mid-day under a shade of a tree for some time and then left it." [2] Accordingly our true "home" is not in this life which is just a journey. May Paradise be our true home, all of us.

However this did not solve the definition of a temporary "home" for this life. So I turned to how Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) identified himself and what was his "home" in this life. The hadeeth commonly narrated in this situation was, "By Allaah, I know that you are the best and dearest of Allaah's lands to Him. Had your people not expelled me, I would never have left." [3]

If you look carefully into the words of the hadeeth you will find that he (SAWS) declared very clearly that his love for the city of Makkah, (at that time it could be defined as his country) arose from the fact that it was the most beloved city (country) to Allaah. Why did his people expel him from his home "country"?! It was because he had a different "idea" and "belief". He (SAWS) chose to stick to the "idea" and "belief" when it contradicted with the "country". He never identified himself as a "Makkan". Accordingly his "home" became "Islam" where ever it is. His "home" (SAWS) is an "idea" or a "belief" where ever it is. It is not the "place" or the "people". Later on he went into war against Makkah and Makkan's. He went into war against his "country" and "people" if you wish to say. He fought for the "idea" and "belief" not for the country and people. He fought for the "truth" where ever it is and against whoever defies it be that his country or people.

Accordingly one should never identify him or herself to a certain country, nationality or people because they might be mistaken. Being born and living in a certain place should not blind us to the truth. Countries and people change but the "truth" is the same all the time. It is the "truth" that one should identify oneself with all the time. The only absolute truth that never changes with time and according to different people's inclinations is Islam, the "idea", the "belief", rather than the country or the people.

As I thought more about this I found that our belief that our "home" is our country, or any group of people we identify ourselves with, is the true reason for lack of unity amongst Muslims. One has only one predominant identity that controls one's feelings and reasoning. If you identify yourself as an Egyptian then there are non-Egyptians who hence will mater less to you. But that is not the way Allaah (SWT) wants us to think and feel. He wants us to think and feel as Muslims, full stop. No further identities or "homes" are needed.

Allaah (SWT) says, ""Was not the earth of Allah wide so that you (could) have emigrated in it?" (TMQ, 4:97). [4] Since we are the worshippers of Allaah and the earth is that of Allaah, then our "home" is the earth, all of it.

Muslims around the world will never be able to unite until they think of themselves as Muslims, full stop, with no further identities or associations. Allaah (TWT) says, "Surely this nation of yours is one nation, and I am your Lord, so worship Me"(TMQ, 21:92). [5] Since our Lord is Allaah then our home is Islam. Then, only then, we will be able to be united in one Ummah that truly worships only one God.

See how Allaah (SWT) defines the difference between true unity and true diversity, "you reckon that they are all together (as a whole), (but) (Literally: and) their hearts are diverse ; that is for that they are a people who do not consider(TMQ, 59:14)". [6]

If in our hearts we are united and see Islam as our only "home" then we are truly united. On the other hand if in our hearts we see anything else as our "home", be that a country, a place or a group of people, then we are truly diverse although we seem united under any other "flag", "name" or "identity" as per the ayah.

I pray for all of us that our "home" in this life is Islam and in the next it is al-Firdaws al-A`laa.


[1] « الْكَيِّسُ مَنْ دَانَ نَفْسَهُ وَعَمِلَ لِمَا بَعْدَ الْمَوْتِ وَالْعَاجِزُ مَنْ أَتْبَعَ نَفْسَهُ هَوَاهَا ثُمَّ تَمَنَّى عَلَى اللَّهِ

Good hadeeth reported by Ibn-Maajah in Sunan Ibn-Maajah page/number 4401 and narrated by shaddaad Ibn-Aws Ibn-Thaabit al-Ansaariyy.

[2] مالي وللدنيا ، ما مثلي ومثل الدنيا إلا كراكب سافر في يوم صائف ، فاستظل تحت شجرة ساعة ، ثم راح وتركها

Authentic hadeeth reported by al-Albaaniyy in Saheeh at-Targheeb page/number 3283 and narrated by Abdullah-Ibn-Abbas (RA).

[3] والله إني أعلم أنك خير أرض الله وأحبها إلى الله ولولا أن أهلك أخرجوني منك ما خرجت

Authentic hadeeth reported by Ibn-`Abdul-Barr in at-Tamheed page/number 2/28 and narrated by Abu-Hurayrah and `Abdull`ah Ibn-`Adiyy Ibnul-Hamraa'.

[4] أَلَمْ تَكُنْ أَرْضُ اللَّهِ وَاسِعَةً فَتُهَاجِرُوا فِيهَا

[5]

إِنَّ هَذِهِ أُمَّتُكُمْ أُمَّةً وَاحِدَةً وَأَنَا رَبُّكُمْ فَاعْبُدُونِ

[6] تَحْسَبُهُمْ جَمِيعًا وَقُلُوبُهُمْ شَتَّى ذَلِكَ بِأَنَّهُمْ قَوْمٌ لا يَعْقِلُونَ

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2009 THEME: Islam in the West and Our Children (Discussion & Resources regularly updated)

There is increasing concern that second and third generation Muslims in the West are mostly no longer Muslims so they actually end up adding to the Christian or Atheist population of the West, albeit racially from a non-Western origin. Accordingly, the ratios mentioned in the video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6-3X5hIFXYU) would be correct in regards to race or ethnicity but not necessarily to religion.

It is a grave danger facing our children and grand children from a real life stand point as statistically only 1/5 of the second generation stay really Muslims when they grow up and are independent and almost non from the third generation are Muslims. And that is why the Western authorities are still permitting the immigration of Muslims inspite of the figures provided in the above video. They know that on the long term the descendants of Muslims in the West leave Islam because their parents raised them up with an Eastern mentality in a Western society instead of an Islamic mentality that encompasses all cultures.

You can see more about that by Jeffrey Lang; an ex-atheist American Mathematics University Professor who reverted to Islam in 1982. He has also written 3 books that I highly recommend; "Struggling to Surrender", "Even Angels Ask" and "Losing my Religion; A Call for Help".
Now I will leave you to enjoy 2 short excerpts from one of his lectures followed by links to his most important full presentation regarding our children.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EmqN75NI0xg
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XT1KGyxBXC0

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xMANKaX8khw
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YgivQJKtQME
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ga2rIUWcPPs
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HYb2v3Yx1LY
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YhMN_TZavW0
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bHeM0H0EMAw
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WD-YefJH9x0
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D2eVOKjOqHE
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qBQp7aZjxjc
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y4_xxQVGU44

Here is a solution that is yet to be implemented.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=geRM4AlFBOU&NR=1

Raising children here is not an easy task ofcourse but if we do it the right way they will be true Muslims in shaa Allaah who are "Informed Muslims" rather than "Muslims by inheritance" like their counterparts in the East. Hopefully they will then be a much better generation than ours.

Quickly, I do believe that the best 4 authors (for example, there are many others but these are my favorite) who could guide us through this difficult process are Yahiya Emerick, Jeffrey Lang, Jamal Badawi and Dalia Mogahed.

Here are some links for future reference and for an ongoing learning process that I have started collecting slowly.
Please spread the below information to all your Muslim contacts in the West.

Jeffrey Lang:
http://meccacentric.com/jeffrey_lang.html I highly recommend the lecture titled "The Purpose of Life". It has true meanings that I have not come across in any Arabic literature.

Yahiya Emerick:
Articles:
http://www.islamicedfoundation.com/articles/articles.htm
http://www.islamfortoday.com/yahiyaemerick.htm I highly recommend reading and spreading the last article in this link by the name of "The Confusion of the Scholars"
Books:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/search/ref=sr_adv_b/?search-alias=stripbooks&unfiltered=1&field-keywords=&field-author=Yahiya+Emerick&field-title=&field-isbn=&field-publisher=&node=&url=&field-feature_browse-bin=&field-binding_browse-bin=&field-subject=&field-language=&field-dateop=&field-datemod=&field-dateyear=&sort=relevancerank&Adv-Srch-Books-Submit.x=29&Adv-Srch-Books-Submit.y=8 There are only 14 books, about half for adults and the other half for kids. The extra are just repetitions.

Jamal Badawi:
Many products including books, articles and lectures mostly for adults. You can find them by searching his name online. My favorite is;
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yMfWURGcvBI
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1HXGRYaUy6g
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iyMD_tE6U68
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AixgiXpAFTY
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_WUgbgLgMXM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n3VLRoQ3qUw
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y5UvvkCDrm4

Dalia Mogahed: (Obama's adviser)
Has one book so far but has a great potential. "Who Speaks for Islam".
You can watch her debate with Irshad Manji (an openly Lesbian Canadian Muslim who is distorting the picture of Islam in the name of "Progressive Islam")http://fora.tv/2008/07/01/Irshad_Manji_and_Dalia_Mogahed_-_Who_Speaks_for_Islam

Finally here is a website for a store that sells lots of Islamic products including Islamic cartoon DVDs in English and Arabic for kids.
http://www.astrolabe.com/category/17/Cartoons_and_KidVid.html?sid=ceb7c5cf8de15b8f1cb92ad29e183a44
 

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