28 May 2013

The reaction to the Woolwich murder denies British Muslims a political voice

Rachel Shabi argues that denying the right to discuss British foreign policy in the wake of the horrific murder in Woolwich is short-sighted and dangerous.

Rachel Shabi has written extensively on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Middle East. Her award-winning book, Not the Enemy: Israel's Jews from Arab Lands, was published in 2009. She received the International Media Awards Cutting Edge prize in 2013, the Anna Lindh Journalism Award for reporting across cultures in 2011, and was shortlisted for the Orwell Prize the same year. She tweets @rachshabi

The following article was published on The Guardian's website.


This debate isn't just sealed shut, it has round-the-clock protection. In the context of the Woolwich killers, there is to be no connection made to British foreign policy in the Middle East. That, we are told, is because the link is erroneous, an attempt to justify (as opposed to just understand), and an appeasement to terrorists. Oh, and also: those making the link only do so because of a tedious tendency to blame the west for everything.

All that's bad enough, but British Muslims also say that, for them, making this connection is even harder because of the fear that, despite being just as worried about the issue as anyone else, they will be viewed as having somehow stepped on to a conveyor belt that leads inexorably to violent extremism.

It is no surprise that those policing this closed debate should be politicians and the defenders of a disastrous series of invasions in the Middle East – for who would want to claim that the very policies they deployed or supported are the ones that even partly account for blowback terror? British politicians avoid saying it even as their own security officials warn that foreign policy in places such as Iraq has created a greater risk of terrorism on British soil. And meanwhile, the fact that violent extremists all cite the same thing – occupation and wars in Muslim lands – is hastily dismissed as a crazed coincidence.

Of course, only a really tiny proportion of this anger actually turns violent – but to stifle a discussion over any element of causality is essentially to dismiss the reasons why people might be confused, outraged or frustrated by Britain's foreign policy in the first place. And the anger over western policy is obvious; its causes both real and palpable. Corrosive, hypocritical western policy is one key subject that is constantly raised in conversations across the Middle East. There's the long-standing dishonesty in the way the west in effect endorses Israel's continued military occupation of the Palestinian people.

There's the agonising, deadly aftermath of the illegal invasion of Iraq, a nation that continues to bleed 10 years later. There is the occupation and lack of security in Afghanistan, the country that was meant to be freed from oppression by a western offensive. There's the constant reality of drone warfare, which continues to maim and kill civilians in Yemen, Pakistan and Afghanistan. And there is the constant, burning question: why are these deaths, these tragedies acceptable, while others aren't? So we know about and can understand the anger over British foreign policy because, bluntly, we have eyes and ears.

But the reluctance to discuss these issues now, in the aftermath of the horrific murder in Woolwich, isn't just blind – it is also profoundly dangerous. If violent, supposedly religious extremists use the justifiable frustration over foreign policy as the bait with which to lure followers, we are potentially handing them new recruits on a plate if we don't talk about these issues honestly, in the open. Legitimate anger that is both unacknowledged and unheard is one of the various ingredients that fundamentalist violence seeks to exploit.

And yet, British Muslims seem actively encouraged not to discuss British foreign policy – human rights issues such as Palestinian solidarity, or the war on Iraq, or opposition to drone strikes: issues that are obviously supported by the wider population, too. Projects that were supposed to foster inclusion, such as the past government's widely criticised Prevent scheme, would routinely glide over foreign policy, thereby squashing any healthy space for genuine concerns to be aired.

Those with experience of such schemes say that the Home Office deemed one potential "indicator" of violent extremism to be an interest in Palestine or Afghanistan – which is one reason why young, politically aware Muslims were worried about participating in such "inclusion" schemes, for fear of being placed on a watchlist (Those fears were real; Prevent schemes were used for surveillance. As a result of this approach, initiatives seeking to grow inclusion had the counterproductive effect of alienating some of the very people that might have been considered at risk of becoming marginalised and vulnerable.

Obviously, foreign policy is not the only factor, but the refusal to engage with it is part of a wider narrative over how to deal with extremism, one that places responsibility solely with Britain's Muslim communities. Now, with the launch of a new "anti-terror task force", one Muslim organisation head told me that it looks like we're "back to square one; you Muslims deal with it". It is in line with a painfully ironic theme seemingly intoned by politicians and media alike: that Muslim communities must integrate – but must do so on their own. They must do so while national newspapers still make distinctions between "Brits" and "foreign-born people".

And they must do so in a climate of rising Islamophobia and violent attacks against Muslims, all fuelled by a casually racist media that has framed Muslims in a positive light in only 2% of articles between 2000 and 2008 (and just yesterday, The Sun's Trevor Kavanagh unhelpfully equated Islam with guns).

Meanwhile, the government still underplays the violent extremism of far-right groups such as the English Defence League, whose sympathisers were involved in 40% of attacks on Muslims in Britain last year, according to the Tell Mama (measuring anti-Muslim attacks) project.

Shocking violence of the sort we saw in Woolwich last week isn't a Muslim problem: it is a collective problem. We can only begin to tackle it if we collectively address its causes – and part of that must involve listening to people even when you don't like what they're saying, and hearing complaints about foreign policy without branding those with genuine concerns as apologists for inexcusable, extremist violence

More of Rachel's articles can be found here: The Guardian - Rachel Shabi

Reaction to Woolwich - Russell Brand

I know what you're thinking, "What's an article by Russell Brand doing on your blog?!" For a moment put aside your image of the eccentric, new-age, manic personality that you've seen on TV and remember the idiom "Never judge a book by it's cover"! 

The following post was published on Russell's website. Although  the English comedian, actor and author is known for his eccentric and sometimes controversial personality he has written an interesting article in relation the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich.  The article gives a balanced and articulate answer to those who seek to use the tragic and sad events to sow division within society.  Perhaps there is some truth in the saying that, "Artists are the gatekeepers of truth".


May 25th, 2013

The news cycle moves so quickly now that often we learn of an event through other people’s reaction to it. So it was when I arrived in Los Angeles to find my twitter feed contorted with posts of fear and confusion.

I caught up with the sad malice in Woolwich and felt compelled to tweet in casual defense of the Muslim community who were being haphazardly condemned by a few people on my time line. Perhaps a bit glibly (but what isn’t glib in 140 characters) I put “That bloke is a nut. A nut who happens to be Muslim. Blaming Muslims for this is like blaming Hitler’s moustache for the Holocaust”.

26 May 2013

Woolwich Attack - Comment

Woolwich attack: MI5 'offered job to suspect' says friend

The shocking murder of Drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich has been deeply troubling and Muslims wholeheartedly condemn these abhorrent acts.  There is no validity or justification  in  the teachings of Islam and the Sunnah of our beloved Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) for indiscriminate and cold-blooded murder.  Kindness and compassion  without limitations is an  Attribute of Allah (swt), Allah is "ar-Rahman and ar-Rahim", He is merciful to both disbelievers and believers.  This mercy was manifested in its purest form by our beloved Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) and there are many narrations which exemplify this.  An oft quoted hadeeth states: "God is kind and likes kindness in all things" (Bukhari 6601).  

We live in testing and difficult times and these events have only given the opponents of Islam fuel with which to further inflame the climate of fear that has been created.


As Muslims we will witness our faith being demonised once again and portrayed as a violent, anti-western ideology.  There has been an alarming rise in anti-Muslim attacks both physical, verbal and through the social media and  Muslims in general but particularly reverts may feel antagonism from family and friends who are not Muslim.  

Undoubtedly the Muslim community has to seriously think about how it educates and supports not only those newly entered into the faith but also Muslims by birth; knowledge is the key, for a knowledgeable person does not make a fool of himself nor his faith.  We must be informed as to our Islamic rights and obligations  when living in a non-Muslim environment, so that we can rebut malicious untruths that are spread in the media and so that we reflect the true teachings of "mainstream" Islam in a logical and coherent manner.  The West's stereotypical image of a Muslim is one of angry, banner waiving men and women with contorted faces shouting "Death to the West".  We must counter these stereotypes through our acts and deeds in order to portray the true beauty of our faith, a faith that brings peace and tranquility to our daily lives.

We must also be mindful of the fact that we cannot trust the media as being impartial and non-partisan. The labeling of the incident in Woolwich as a "terrorist" act is totally unfounded and unjustified. These were the actions of misguided individuals and not that of an organised group.  Indeed recent reports of MI5's  knowledge and  efforts to recruit one of the individuals and his mistreatment whilst on a recent visit to Kenya brings into question whether we will ever know the entirety of this story.

Articles related to the Woolwich attack:

Hamza Yusuf:        Start Practicing or Stop Pretending

BBC :                    Woolwich attack: MI5 'offered job to suspect'

Support the People of Syria - Imam Zaid Shakir

BRICUP - British Committee for the Universities of Palestine

BRICUP is an organisation of UK based academics, set up in response to the Palestinian Call for Academic Boycott. Its twin missions are:

- to support Palestinian universities, staff and students.

- to oppose the continued illegal Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands with its concomitant breaches of international conventions of human rights, its refusal to accept UN resolutions or rulings of the International Court, and its persistent suppression of Palestinian academic freedom.

The construction of the Israeli wall across and through Palestinian land in flagrant violation of the rulings of the International Court and despite international condemnation, notably from the EU, is making everyday life, to say nothing of teaching and research, ever more difficult for our Palestinian colleagues.

23 May 2013

Deen Intensive Foundation, Rihla 2013/1434 - Konya, Turkey

    Living Islam

    The 2013 Rihla Program will continue its tradition of providing participants enrichment through a unique multidimensional summer intensive. Combining dependable, relevant education and dedicated devotional time in a spiritually inspiring historic setting, the Rihla program will provide a holistic experience to those seriously striving to learn their religion.

21 May 2013

"Salat" by Johannes Gees

Johannes Gees is a Swiss artist, who, for his work "Salat" created a public sound installation (sound bomb) for several cities and one mountain in Switzerland.

Sound bombs were made from megaphones, mp3 players, clocks and batteries. The sound  bombs were loaded with mp3 files of the muezzin's call for prayer from the Masjid al-Haram in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.

They were installed secretly by the artist on some of the most important church towers all over Switzerland. The call for prayer was programmed to sound at official prayer times.

What's interesting to note is the reaction of the some of the locals, who rather than running in a state of panic, seem to enjoy the change! 

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20 May 2013

*~~~Al Kauthar - Ruh~~~*

Recently whilst watching the documentary film, "From Tarim To Granada - There Is No Conqueror Except Allah (swt)" which I posted here: From Tarim to Granada - There Is No Conqueror Except Allah (swt), I came across the unique sounds of Al Kauthar.  Their sound is a mix of Western, Arabic, Andalucian  and Turkish influences with a Sufi soul. It truly reflects the multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, global influence of Islamic tradition that permeates Muslim (and non-Muslim) communities throughout the world.

The following description is taken from their Soundcloud page:

"Al Kauthar means abundance in Arabic. And is the name of a river in Paradise.

The unique sound of Al Kauthar is due to a synthesis of different musical styles: Original compositions of a more Western classical character with influences from both Celtic and Flamenco traditions. Arrangements of traditional songs from Arabic Andalusian and Turkish sources.

Music which has the power to touch the spirit of every person whatever their background, and nourish the soul."

17 May 2013

FEZ: City of Saints



With Shaykh Muhammad Abu Bakr Ba Shuaib, Shaykh Faid Muhammad Said, Dr Fuad Nahdi, Mansur Suleman & Special Guests










Following the Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) recommendation to journey to three Mosques (Makkah, Madinah and Jerusalem), This film sets out in the company of British bass player, Danny ‘Hamza’ Thompson to discover the reasons why the last of these three holds such an important place in the hearts of Muslims everywhere.

16 May 2013

The Prayer of the Oppressed (al-Du’a al-Nasiri)

About The Prayer of the Oppressed:

The power of this prayer of Imam Muhammad al-Dar’i lies in its simplicity, its purity, and its sincere supplication. It is essentially a plea to God that our transgressions be overlooked, that divine mercy be bestowed upon us, that social justice be restored in spite of us, that wrongs be righted, and that righteousness reign once again in our lands, so that the destitute may no longer be in need, the young may be educated, the animals’ purpose fulfilled, rain restored, and bounties poured forth. It is a plea to be freed from the aggression of foreigners in lands over which they have no right – a plea much needed in our modern world, rampant as it is with invasions and territorial occupations. Ultimately, it asks not that our enemies be destroyed, but simply that their plots, and the harm they cause, be halted. Its essence is mercy, which in turn is the essence of the Messenger of God, Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him: “And We have only sent you as a mercy to all the worlds.”

About the Translation and Recording of the Du’a al-Nasiri by Hamza Yusuf:

Imam al-Dar’i wrote this prayer in a simple yet enchanting style, using the rajaz meter known to the Arabs as the poet’s donkey because of its facile rhythm and the ease even tyros find in learning it. The desert cameleers, who led the caravans of old, traditionally sang in the rajaz meter and by it spurred on their beasts to move more swiftly toward their destination. Arab poets claim the rhythm of the rajaz imitates the rhythm of the camel’s trot and is, they believe, derived from it.

Rhetorically, the poem displays what the Arabs call, the easy impossible: deceptively simple thought and language which beguiles the listener into believing that such poetry is easy to write; yet upon any attempt at imitation, the aspirant is left thoroughly nonplussed. Poets know this magical aspect of the craft all too well. It would not be an exaggeration to say that there is no invocation in the Arabic language written in such simple yet subtle verse as Imam al-Dar’i's poetic prayer.

From Tarim To Granada - There Is No Conqueror Except Allah (swt)

About this film:

Granada, in Muslim imagination the mere name conjures up images of a magnificent city. A place where science and culture thrived during Europe's dark ages. A place where the streets were lit at night and ornate fountains fed verdant gardens of exquisite beauty. Where a tolerant convivencia brought the Abrahamic faiths together in a most remarkable coexistence. Granada and its iconic Alhambra Palace represents Islam's Andalucian legacy in Europe.

14 May 2013

Rajab: Sow The Seeds and The Blessings of Ramadan

*~Imam Zaid Shakir~*

Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali mentions in Lata’if al-Ma’arif:

The month of Rajab is the key to the months of goodness and blessings that follow it. Abu Bakr b. al-Warraq al-Balkhi said: “Rajab is the month to sow the seeds; Sha’ban is the month to irrigate the crop; and Ramadan is the month to reap the harvest.” It has similarly been related from him: “Rajab is like the wind; Sha’ban is like the water-laden clouds; and Ramadan is like the rain.” Someone else mentioned: “The year in its entirety is like a tree: during Rajab its buds sprout; during Sha’ban it sends forth its branches; during Ramadan its fruit ripens; and the believers are the farmhands who harvest that fruit.”

13 May 2013

Start Practicing or Stop Pretending

*~~Shaykh Hamza Yusuf~~*

A forthright, powerful and sobering khutbah (sermon) by Shaykh Hamza Yusuf regarding how the Muslim community should respond to the provocations that we are faced with, whether they be blasphemous cartoons about the Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) or deliberate misinterpretations of Islam and its teachings.  Although the khutbah  was  delivered in the wake of  the Embassy attacks in Libya in 2012, it nevertheless has relevance for the Ummah on a daily basis in these politically sensitive and delicate times.

9 May 2013

Images of the Syrian Conflict

The Seige of Aleppo - Photo by Javier Manzano

Two rebel soldiers in Syria guard their sniper's nest in the Karmel Jabl neighborhood of Aleppo as light streams through more than a dozen holes made by bullets and shrapnel in the tin wall behind them. The dust from more than one hundred days of shelling, bombing and firefights hung in the air. Karmel Jabl is strategically important because of its proximity to the main road that separates several of the main battlegrounds in the city. Both sides (the Free Syria Army and the regime) rely heavily on snipers in a cat and mouse game along Aleppo's frontlines. (Photo taken October 18, 2012)

8 May 2013

I Acknowledge That Apartheid Exists

The "I Acknowledge Apartheid Exists" group on Facebook seeks to raise awareness that Israel's occupation of and actions in Palestine constitute Apartheid; It seeks to bring recognition to the fact that Palestinians are subject to different laws and standards than Israelis.

I Acknowledge Apartheid Exists promotes the narrative that Palestinians deserve the same rights and liberties that Israeli's enjoy.

6 May 2013

Am I Fundamentalist?


Am I fundamentalist if I believe in creation and order?

That Allah (swt) is my Lord and Muhammed (pbuh) is the final messenger?

Am I a fundamentalist if I reject secularism and faith’s demonisation?

That religion is my wealth and in Islam is my salvation?


Am I a fundamentalist if I pursue sacred rather than profane?

Am I fundamentalist if I study Fard-al-Ayn?

Am I a fundamentalist if I perform Salah in the park?

Am I a fundamentalist if my heart gravitates towards light rather than dark?


5 May 2013

Questions for Democracy

Questions for Democracy


Pain and suffering,

What are you doing to your fellow human beings?

Taking away, when you should be giving?


Lies,deception, epidemics and infection,

Bombs and collateral damage,

You complain you can't manage?

Shopping for Prada and Armani while you export the carnage?


4 May 2013

Beauty and the Sunna

'Shall the reward of doing what is beautiful be other than doing what is beautiful?'
-Surah Ar-Rahman verse 60

In this khutba covering the topic of beauty, Sheikh Abdal Hakim Murad begins by noting that the connection linking us to Transcendent is the receptive affirmation of what is beautiful and indicates the Supernatural. To the extent that the sense of beauty, truth and order rules in our hearts, that is how in touch we are with reality. This apprehension is available to any person, no matter how young or unlettered they are.

3 May 2013

Old man at the Blue Mosque in Istanbul

Sidi Bilal and I with friend outside Blue Mosque, Istanbul

 Alhamdllillah, Sidi Bilal and I had just finished Salāt al-Jumu'ah at the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, when across the courtyard we caught sight of this old man looking serene in white. We just had to greet him and give him Salaam!

Rebirth - A Poem Dedicated to "New" Muslims


As-Salaamu-Alaikum, welcome to the fold,
Come into the warmth, from outside in the cold.
Blessed are you to venture down this sacred path,
Where faith is your future, heedlessness your past.
Fear not the challenges that lay ahead for you,
Brothers and Sisters are on hand,
To assist and support you when things don't go as planned.
Surrounded by temptation and the habits you want to leave,
Rejoice in the path you've chosen and for the past do not grieve.
Success comes to those who see life as a spiritual journey and not a materialistic game,
Would the sweet taste of Imaan feel quite the same, if with ease it finally came?
Allah (swt) is Merciful, Allah(swt) is full of Rahmah,
Follow the final Messenger (pbuh) and arrive at the gates of Jannah.

Can the West Live with Islam - Debate - Tim Winter Cambridge University vs Nigel Biggar Oxford University

Tim (Timothy John) Winter (born 1960), aka Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad, is a British Muslim thinker, professor, and translator. Winter has written about the interaction between Islam and secular issues spanning a wide range of disciplines. He has held a number of lectureships and administrative posts in British academia having to do with theology, the intellectual history of Islamic civilization, and international academic cooperation. He is the older brother of football writer Henry Winter.

Abdal Hakim Murad graduated from Cambridge University with a double-first in Arabic in 1983. He then lived in Cairo for three years, studying Islam under traditional teachers at Al-Azhar, one of the oldest universities in the world. He went on to reside for three years in Jeddah, where he administered a commercial translation office and maintained close contact with Habib Ahmad Mashhur al-Haddad and other ulama from Hadramaut, Yemen.

In 1989, Shaikh Abdal Hakim returned to England and spent two years at the University of London learning Turkish and Farsi. Since 1992 he has been a doctoral student at Oxford University, specializing in the religious life of the early Ottoman Empire. He is currently Secretary of the Muslim Academic Trust (London) and Director of the Sunna Project at the Centre of Middle Eastern Studies at Cambridge University, which issues the first-ever scholarly Arabic editions of the major Hadith collections.

Shaikh Abdal Hakim is the translator of a number of works, including two volumes from Imam al-Ghazali's Ihya Ulum al-Din. He gives durus and halaqas from time to time and taught the works of Imam al-Ghazali at the Winter 1995 Deen Intensive Program in New Haven, CT. He appears frequently on BBC Radio and writes occasionally for a number of publications, including The Independent; Q-News International, Britain's premier Muslim Magazine; and Seasons, the semiacademic journal of Zaytuna Institute.

As of 2007, Winter was a doctoral student at Oxford University. He simultaneously held several professional appointments and administrative offices at universities and in Islamic organizations, including: Shaykh Zayed Lecturer of Islamic Studies in the Faculty of Divinity at Cambridge University; Director of Studies in Theology at Wolfson College, Cambridge; secretary of the Muslim Academic Trust (London); Director of the Anglo-Muslim Fellowship for Eastern Europe; President of the UK Friends of Bosnia-Herzegovina; and Director of the Sunna Project (see external link), which has published some of the foremost scholarly Arabic editions of the major Sunni Hadith collections. In 2008 he served on the Steering Committee of the Cambridge Interfaith Program. He has been a participant in the Scriptural Reasoning project.   

Qasida Burda recited by Sheikh Hamza Yusuf and Moroccan Munshids

Download a copy of the Burda, including a brief biography of the great poet, Sufi Shaykh Imam Sharfuddin Abi Abdullah Mohammed bin Sa'eed al-Misree Rahmatullahi 'Alaih and a short commentry on the poem here:

2 May 2013

A Poem in Praise of Imam Abul Hasan ash-Shadhili By Shaykh Muhammad al-Yaqoubi

A poem in praise of al-Imam Abul Hasan ash-Shadhili Radiya Allah ‘anhu
As-Sayyid as-Shaykh Muhammad al-Yaqoubi

The Qutb of all Qutbs throughout times is
Abul Hasan ash-Shadhili;
An Ocean of Secrets and an Imam of Guidance
For whom the soul is the least price.

He lead to the Master and climbed
in virtue to highest peaks
And brought in this discipline what
Made it more august than all branches.

Knowing Allah is his End,
So follow him through this path
And the Messenger of Allah is his Means
So, stick to his Sunnas.

The foundation of his way is built
On the Purification of the Heart from all stains
So, journey with the Single Name O,
You, Sufi! And seek assistance from Allah.

Be absent, and annihilate from all beings, as
No one remains save he who is annihilated in Him;
And enter the doors of the Unseen and ask
Whatever you want, but guard the secrets.

Drink the glass of Gnosis and taste
The Secret of Tawheed and be not
Make due the love for the men of Allah
And the love for the Imam of all of them Abul Hasan.

Stick yourself to the pure thresholds
If you come to Humaithara, where is the home
And in ‘Aydhaab stop and sink your cheeks in the soil
And put your soul in the grave and a guarantee.

Be thankful to Allah and pray on
Taha in secret and in public
And on Ahlul bayt all,
O friend and give salutations while you humble yourself.

The son of al-Yaqoubi has come with
No claims, dressed only in the cloths of his coffin
So, turn to him O my master
And to all of us with your bounties.

Written (and translated into English from Arabic) by the noble Shaykh on his way to the shrine of Imam Abul Hasan ash-Shadhili in Egypt, 14th August 2004.

The Arabic and English translation can be downloaded here:

How To Read A Book by Mortimer J Adler and Charles Van Doren

How to Read a Book, originally published in 1940, has become a rare phenomenon, a living classic. It is the best and most successful guide to reading comprehension for the general reader. And now it has been completely rewritten and updated.

You are told about the various levels of reading and how to achieve them -- from elementary reading, through systematic skimming and inspectional reading, to speed reading, you learn how to pigeonhole a book, X-ray it, extract the author's message, criticize. You are taught the different reading techniques for reading practical books, imaginative literature, plays, poetry, history, science and mathematics, philosophy and social science.

Finally, the authors offer a recommended reading list and supply reading tests whereby you can measure your own progress in reading skills, comprehension and speed.

How to Read a Book, Parts 1 & 2 by Shaykh Hamza Yusuf

A Poem About the Dire Situation in Syria

A ssad Day

Bashar Al Assad you make me so sad,
Had a choice to be good, you opted for bad.
Like father like son you bring shame to Al Shaam,
Revel in goodnesss not in haraam.
A Doctor of Opthalmology, how can you be so blind,
To the agony and torment you inflict on your land?
Alawite, Twelver, which will it be?
Will you not listen to Allah's (swt) decree?
Closer to you than your jugular vein,
Allah (swt) knows what is hidden, Allah (swt) knows your shame.
Do you not fear the torment of fire?
That awaits tyrants who cling on to power?
Seek repentance and come into the fold,
Lest Allah's (swt) wrath destroy your world.
The ranks of the oppressed are amassed at the gates,
Yours is not the power to deny their fates!
Al Shaam will be liberated in the days to come,
This blessed land shall be returned to the people once more,
Like the sea reclaiming the sand on the shore.

Prayer and contemplation

1 May 2013

Beautiful Heart Trembling Adhaan

The Süleymaniye Mosque, built on the order of Sultan Süleyman (Süleyman the Magnificent).

Pictures from the convoy

"We pass through majestic Swiss mountains, set by Allah as pegs"

Holiday Inn car park, Switzerland

Dhikr of Allah

Rest stop at Italian service station

"Creation resplendent for all to see"

"Open vistas, blue skies, as far as the horizon"

"The Day has arrived to drive to the border"

Waiting at the Turkish/Syrian border

"With shouts of "Takbir" and "Allahu Akbar"

"They pass into the blessed lands of As Shaam"

A poem about the humanitarian convoy to Syria organised by SKT Welfare, that I took part in recently

*-----The Convoy-----*

The convoy is coming to town,

Full of smiles and laden with hope to replace the frowns.

Four wheels replace the four hooves that once traversed,

Ancient deserts, mouths parched with thirst.


Brothers and Sisters from distant nations,

Taking aid to serve the ailing patients.

From Felixstowe docks this dromedary arrives,

Fuel tank for humps, windscreen for eyes.


Rendezvous first at Beaconsfield services,

Ready to depart with CB transistors,

Dover docks is our first destination,

Full of hope and anticipation!


Arrive in Dunkirk in the dead of night,

The minaret of the masjid is a welcome sight,

Slumber in the great hall for a few hours of repose,

Wake up for Fajr, all lined up in rows.

With duas and Salaam we take once more to the roads,

Combats and jeans replace elegant thobes.


Diesel to quench our ambulances thirst,

Filled to the brim, release the brake and put her into first.

Proceed in formation through French rues,

As daylight brings with it wonderful views, Allah’s creation in all of its hues.


We pass through majestic Swiss mountains, set by Allah as pegs,

How could all this occur by chance?

A question for people of intellect this begs,

Harmony in nature for all to survey,

Day passes night and night passes day.


To Italy we proceed as our journey unfolds,

Preparing our currency for motorway tolls.

The smell of the sea greets us in the port of Ancona,

The ferry swallows the convoy like the whale swallowed Jonah.


Through zikr after salah, the Almighty did we praise,

To polish our hearts and remove our inner malaise.

The Burdah we chanted in praise of Rasullullah (pbuh),

Intrigued were the passengers, travelling from near and far.


To our cabins we retreat for much needed rest,

Ready in the morn to proceed on our quest.

From the sea onto land in Greece we have arrived,

With sunglasses and t-shirts, for sunnier climes we are attired.


Beauty abounds in every direction,

Open vistas, blues skies as far as the horizon.

Creation resplendent for all to see,

Cursed are those who do not believe.

Signs are there for all to ponder,

Faith is strengthened as hearts grow fonder.


Once more we stop to fill up our tanks,

As onlookers look at men lined up in ranks,

Praying salah, to Allah we give thanks.


As night falls, Greece we have crossed west to east,

At the Bulgarian border, once more do we meet.

Documents checked, we are waived swiftly onward,

To be part of this journey, we are truly honoured!


As Friday approaches, we reach Turkish soil,

For much needed sleep to our makeshift beds we recoil.

A new dawn brings with it a slight delay,

Whilst vehicles and aid are closely surveyed.


Beyond the perimeter a masjid can be seen,

For our ritual cleansing, in the courtyard we make our ablution,

Before praying Salat-ul-Juma in congregation.

The imam’s recitation is food for the soul,

Whilst the beauty of the masjid is a sight to behold!


Our duty to Allah having once been completed,

Cameras await, like heroes we are greeted!

Lenses trained from the back of a car,

Focused on ambulances that have come from afar.


Istanbul will be our next hop,

Our senses are ill-prepared for the shock!

As drivers weave recklessly in and out of lanes,

To take such risks one wonders what is gained?


In the ensuing melee the convoy is fragmented,

We wait on a side-road whilst assistance is requested.

The brief respite allows time for namaaz,

An island of calm in an ocean of cars.


Our helpers arrive and we continue with caution,

Diligently we proceed, this journey is an act of devotion.

A wonderful feast for us awaits,

Overwhelmed by the welcome, despite arriving late.


Words of solidarity are exchanged with our sister charity,

SKT Welfare is welcomed by Yardimeli.

Brother and Sisters sit making conversation,

The bond of Islam is not lost in translation.


A hotel bed is a welcome luxury,

As heads hit pillows we are rendered stress free.

Freshly bathed and clothed we continue after breakfast,

To Ankara with speed, proceed we must.


More press and interviews await on our arrival,

Later a sumptuous meal in a fortress on top of a hill.

Onward we march like an army of ants,

Like dervishes held in a mystical trance,

To Konya the city of the great Sufi Saint,

Maulana Rumi’s Maqaam awaits.


Fortunate are we to pay our respects,

Only here by their invitation one suspects.

Dawn is greeted by an orchestra of athans,

Refreshing it is to be in Muslim lands!


 To Adana we carry swiftly on,

For another press briefing in front of a throng,

Unaccustomed are we to a police escort,

With siren’s wailing, the local’s attention we caught!


Peace signs and flying flags are displayed,

A show of emotion as children smile and wave,

Touched are we by the welcome they gave,

The effort worthwhile if one life is saved.


No time to stop and take in the surroundings,

Move on we must to our next hotel lodgings,

The town of Reyhanli is our final destination,

Our efforts have almost reached culmination.


Dejected are we to hear our meeting with Sayyidi would not occur,

The presence of his Khalifa Shaykh Abu Muhammed, brings to our hearts succour,

A person who epitomises serenity and humbleness,

Dua’s and words of wisdom from Sayiddi they bring to us.


An unforgettable evening of Dhikr and recitation ensues,

With contentment and Sakina our hearts are infused,

Finally with our heartfelt respects we seek ijaza,

And retreat to our rooms for our final nights slumber.


The day has arrived to drive to the border,

Ambulances are cleaned and prepared before we deliver,

To our Syrian Brothers who keenly await,

Such a positive contribution to the dire situation they’ll make.


By late afternoon the paperwork finally complete,

The drivers impatiently awaiting their keys,

With shouts of Takbir and Allahu Akbar,

They pass into the blessed lands of As Shaam

As to Allah (swt) we pray for peace and calm.


Lifelong friends we have made and experiences we’ve had,

Pulling through all the good times and bad,

A miracle it is that we came so far,

With the dua’s of the Shuyukh and the Awliya,

 Thankful are we for the mercy of Allah (swt) and the protection of our beloved Rasullullah (pbuh).



A copy of the poem can be downloaded from here: