By: Nabila Ikram Detroit, MI
Over 3,000 Muslim athletes and officials are said to be present at the Olympics taking place in London this year. As in every Olympic game, there are a couple of significant aspects of this year’s events.
The first and foremost, is the mere fact that the games are taking place during Ramadan. All the athletes are managing their time in different ways. For example, some athletes are continuing to fast, such as those on the Moroccan team. Others, such as the Egyptian team, have been advised by religious counselors that they are exempt due to the fact that they are traveling and in a foreign land. Yet, others plan on giving to charity enough for 60 needy people to make up for their voluntary missing of their fasts. The organizers of the Olympics have also been accommodating athletes by providing snack packs to the athletes that include items such as dates.
Another significant attribute of this year’s games is the continued involvement of Muslim women. Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Brunei have sent female athletes to the Olympics for the first time ever. The women faced incredible political and social difficulties as they fought for the honor to represent themselves and their nations. For example, Wojdan Shaherkani, 16, who competed in Judo was labeled the “Prostitute of the Olympics” by ultra-conservatives in her home country of Saudi Arabia.
Many of the athletes wore hijab, or the headscarf, and modest clothing, which in itself was a challenge for some women as their home countries required them to wear traditional attire, while the Olympics Committee required them not to. Therefore, after much discussion, a compromise had been made between the two to allow athletes to continue wearing the scarf or modest attire, but with some modifications to meet sport safety and other rules. Regardless of the obstacles, the women made it to the games and although most did not last long, their efforts and appearances were noted by the international community and have begun to pave the way for future female athletes.
The diversity of the games in which Muslims, males and females, are competing range from track, swimming, rifle competition, weightlifting, and many other areas.
The BBC has been covering the Olympics in much detail. The website has a comprehensive list of all the participating countries with profiles of their athletes and Olympic-related stories. Visit http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/olympics/2012/countries/
By: Noor Salahuddin Chicago, IL
Surah Furqaan in Quran – e – Majeed is the 25th surah (chapter) with 77 ayaat (verses). Furqaan means the “criterion” or the “standard”, and the meaning of this word is to distinguish between good and bad. In this surah, Allah taala (the Greatest) helps us distinguish between the two so we may become better at judging our own actions.
And the servants of the Most Gracious are those who walk on the earth Hawna, and when the foolish address them they say; "Salama (peace).'' And those who spend the night in worship of their Lord, prostrate and standing. And those who say: "Our Lord! Avert from us the torment of Hell. Verily, its torment is ever an inseparable, permanent punishment. Hell is described as an evil abode and as a place to rest in. And those who, when they spend, are neither extravagant nor stingy, but are in a just balance between them [Surah alFurqaan 25:63-67]. Allah taala dislikes extremes in anything and that is evident in this ayah. What is meant here by Hawn is serenity and dignity, as the Messenger of Allah said: When you come to the prayer, do not come rushing in haste. Come calmly and with tranquility, and whatever you catch up with, pray, and whatever you miss, make it up.
These are the attributes of the believing servants of Allah, those who walk on the earth Hawna, meaning that they walk with dignity and humility, not with arrogance and pride; similar to the Ayah: And walk not on the earth with conceit and arrogance... [17:37]. One should always be humble and fear Allah, as we are reminded in this ayah.
As mentioned, these people do not walk with conceit or arrogance or pride. This does not mean that they should walk like sick people, making a show of their humility, but rather that they should not be overbearing. It is said that the Prophet Adam used to walk as if he was coming downhill, and as if the earth were folded up beneath him.
Moving on to the next part, and when the foolish address them they say: “Salama”). If the ignorant people insult them with bad words, they should not respond in kind, but they forgive and overlook, and say nothing but good words. This is what the Messenger of Allah did: the more ignorant the people, the more patient he would be. This is as Allah says: And when they hear Al-Laghw (evil or vain talk), they withdraw from it [28:55]. Allah rewards patience and perseverance and this ayah reminds us that we must not lose patience or hope in times of adversity.
Then Allah says that their nights are the best of nights, as He says: And those who spend the night in worship of their Lord, prostrate and standing. This means worshipping and obeying Him. This is like the Ayat: They used to sleep but little by night. And in the hours before dawn, they were asking for forgiveness [51:17-18]. Their sides forsake their beds... [32:16]. Is one who is obedient to Allah, prostrating himself or standing during the hours of the night, fearing the Hereafter and hoping for the mercy of his Lord... [39:9].
Allah says: And those who say: "Our Lord! Avert from us the torment of Hell. Verily, its torment is ever an inseparable punishment” meaning, ever-present and never ending. Al-Hasan said concerning the Ayah, Verily, its torment is ever an inseparable, permanent punishment. Everything that strikes the son of Adam, and then disappears, does not constitute an inseparable, permanent punishment. The inseparable, permanent punishment is that which lasts as long as heaven and earth.
This was also the view of Sulayman At-Taymi: Evil indeed it is as an abode and as a place to rest in, meaning how evil it looks as a place to dwell and how evil it is as a place to rest.
And those who, when they spend, are neither extravagant nor stingy... The best Muslims are not extravagant, spending more than they need, nor are they miserly towards their families, not spending enough on their needs. But they follow the best and fairest way.
The best of matters are those which are moderate, neither one extreme nor the other, but are in a just balance between them. This is like the Ayah, And let not your hand be tied to your neck, nor stretch it forth to its utmost reach. [17:29]
Source: Tafseer Ibn Kathir
By: Nabila Ikram Detroit, MI
On Sunday, May 20th, the Muslim Enrichment Project (MEP) held a fundraising dinner at Tawheed Center in Farmington Hills. It was an informative event for an up and coming organization and a diverse audience was visible, reflecting one of the desired outcomes of the organization.
The MEP is a very inclusive and collaborative organization. Its purpose, as described by Executive Director Br. Saleem Khalid, is not to create a “separate group of its own followers” but rather to welcome and support new and returning Muslims. It does so by offering education and spiritual guidance and by helping them socialize and assimilate into their home communities. Therefore, the MEP is working on collaborations and partnerships with local mosques and community centers such as Tawheed Center, The Muslim Unity Center, The Muslim Center, Masjid Al-Falah, and more.
The four main areas of concentration of the MEP is to provide hands-on guidance or assistance by means of social support, educational support, referral to proper sources (i.e. family services, counseling, job assistance, etc.), a mentoring/buddy system so that there is always a person following up on the well being and welfare of a new/returning Muslim, and collaboration with mosques and other centers of resources.
Several examples were given throughout the event by Br. Saleem Khalid and fundraiser, Dr. Abdelmajid Katranji, to emphasize the importance and need of the services and programs the MEP is providing. A story was shared of a woman who converted to Islam and described her first Eid as the loneliest day of her life because she did not know anyone and no one invited her to any of the celebrations or festivities occurring on the day. Another story dealt with inmates who convert to Islam in jail, but when they are released they do not know where to go or what to do and can often end up returning to their original faith. As one such person, who is now currently an active pastor at a church, said, “Muslims are very good about telling people about Islam, but that’s as far as it goes.”
More prominent examples were also given, such as President Obama and Steve Jobs. Both were born to Muslim fathers, but for one reason or another – with a lack of Muslim community support certainly being a factor – have gone along their own ways. As Dr. Katranji stated, “We missed the boat when it came to the opportunity to say ‘the first Muslim president.’”
Thankfully, the MEP has made much progress by being able to establish classes in several locations such as Tawheed Center and the Muslim Center. They are also receiving increased invites to promote the organization at places such as the Unity Center, MCWS, and in Ann Arbor.
The MEP has several upcoming events planned. These include a community Jumah on Belle Isle on June 22nd followed by a community picnic. On June 23rd, the “Strengthening the Family” workshops will be hosted, featuring Muslim professionals. On the same day, there will be an International Dinner at 7PM at the Muslim Center. Everyone is encouraged to come and represent their heritages.
Part of the MEP’s future plans is to continue its monthly dinners and start bi-monthly dinners. It also aims to increase its class offerings at various locations. Br. Saleem also mentioned the importance of transparency and how all financial information regarding the use of donations is open to the public and copies can be retrieved simply by inquiry.
Before dinner, Sister Amirah also gave a few words on the importance of groups such as MEP and another organization called Project Unity, which emphasize unity and support amongst Muslims. She mentioned how it is easier for American youth growing up in this society to “relate to the dunya (world
) than to Islam” and how we as the Ummah have the obligation to create an atmosphere that guides the youth and others along the right path.
For more information on the Muslim Enrichment Project, visit www.mepusa.org
By Faiz Ahmed
The Muslim Unity Center of Bloomfield Hills held an ‘Ice Cream Social Event this weekend. Approximately 50 people attended the event.
There were several flavors among which most popular were chocolate, vanilla and strawberry.
There were many different toppings one could choose from as well which included Fresh cut strawberries, kiwis, pineapples and cherries, along with whipped cream, pecans, and m&m chocolates.
The ice creams were delicious and many people went in for second servings.