More and more I realize that Free will is the biggest blessing and curse known to Man. 

Being responsible for every one of your actions, and determining your fate is… a hefty responsibility.

You don’t get the option of floating around like an obedient angel, nor are you freed from the intellect as the creatures are in the animal kingdom.

You have to live with every one of your dark, euphoric, or insane thoughts and the intellect and ration you are given that can be honed or suppressed to govern every one of your devious or righteous acts.

It’s no wonder, no entity in the universe accepted this responsibility but humankind. We have the light of our souls similar to the angels, we have the desires of lions and wolves, and we are made of the same elements as mountains and volcanoes. 

We are a mixture of Divine ingredients that can either be a catastrophic or a miraculous structure, and there’s billions of us…

Our immortality can be dominated with pain and agony or heavenly abodes…and it’s all up to us to determine which path we take. 

Anonymous asked: im sorry, but I didnt condemn anyone to hell astaghfirullah, nor I was judging any1, nor I expressed my original opinion. I simply worded to u what I knew. The ayahs that u showed are all referring to the ppl b4 prophet PBUH. Totally make sense. I noticed one that refers to Christians, but Christians around prophet PBUH's time and the ones now are different. Back then they followed the Old Testament, now they don't.

What you should get out of the verses is that God doesn’t condemn Jews or Christians to hell because of that virtue alone, it is our responsibility as Muslims to present Islam in a very attractive manner and do our part.

If they do not choose to accept it, that ultimately lies on God to see their good deeds in this life, and gauge if they are going to heaven or not; there is no singular rule that condemns any person to hell. It is not up to us.

The Christians of today or yesterday are really not significantly different; that is a misconception brought upon by modern Muslims.

The Jews of Medinah may not have been Orthodox Jews or defined as Jews in the full sense by Modern Judaic standards, but that didn’t mean every religious group that ascribed to the “People of the Book” were a significantly different group then we see today.

The Quran is filled with verses that challenge the Trinity, the Crucifixion and other Christian doctrines that are still prevalent today in modern Christianity.

The Bible of today is a translated version of a combination of the Old Testament from Hebrew, and the New Testament in Greek. It really hasn’t changed too much nor are the Christians or Jews of today a different group of people than in the Prophet’s time. 

Anonymous asked: do you believe that believing nothing but Allah and having jannah as your ultimate goal will remove stress and anxiety?

Believing in God should be the reference point of your life, it can ultimately remove the burden that you are responsible for every decision or incident that happens to you but there’s a reason God put you here, and you are responsible for improving the environment around you as a Muslim rather than take a passive approach. 

The most calamity laden lives were of the Prophets, and they were the closest to God and knew that they had a guaranteed place in heaven, but they never for one minute believed that this world was going to be easy. 

Faith alone won’t carry you through life, as the famous Sufi saying goes:

“Trust in God, but don’t forget to tie your camel”. 

Allow your faith to guide you and relieve your anxiety, but it won’t remove it ultimately. Anxiety and stress is a common factor to every human being. 

Anonymous asked: I disagree with your sentence: "God grants several righteous individuals from several religious backgrounds to enter heaven due to their efforts". It's clear in the Qur'an that (unless you aren't exposed to Islam, for that wallahu 'alam) one is not to achieve heaven if he doesn't believe in Allah & His prophet PBUH (even though you're good as a person), as it's shirk. It's up to you if you believe it to be that way, but I'm pretty sure the Qur'an never said as such. You're a pluralist aren't you

It is clear that you have jumped to conclusions and have not given me the benefit of the doubt. Furthermore, taking the Quran in fragments and assuming the worst of your Muslim brother by derailing his credentials is absolutely disrespectful. 

The Qura’n is to be taken holistically, and should not be taken in pieces. As you could have read, I go out of my way to not only define Islamic terms like Shirk or Kufr in their puritanical Arabic sense, but also their reclaimed meanings as used by Muslims later on. Shirk literally means to willingly ascribe with God a partner, albeit knowing that Islam is the truth. From an extended sense, you can use this to anyone that ascribes with God a partner linguistically, but the meaning of the term is focused on the Polytheist Qurashites that denied Islam and made Kufr(Or as known in Arabic to bury the truth). 

You probably have to brush up more on the Quranic chapters as it reveals knowledge contradictory to your rhetoric that anyone that doesn’t believe in God will go to hell. 

As we see in the Quran:

1. إِنَّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَالَّذِينَ هَادُوا وَالصَّابِئُونَ وَالنَّصَارَىٰ مَنْ آمَنَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ وَعَمِلَ صَالِحًا فَلَا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ

Indeed, those who have believed [in Prophet Muhammad] and those [before Him] who were Jews or Sabeans or Christians - those [among them] who believed in Allah and the Last Day and did righteousness - no fear will there be concerning them, nor will they grieve.[Quran 5:69]

2.

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَالَّذِينَ هَادُوا وَالنَّصَارَىٰ وَالصَّابِئِينَ مَنْ آمَنَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ وَعَمِلَ صَالِحًا فَلَهُمْ أَجْرُهُمْ عِندَ رَبِّهِمْ وَلَا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ

Indeed, those who believed and those who were Jews or Christians or Sabeans [before Prophet Muhammad] - those [among them] who believed in Allah and the Last Day and did righteousness - will have their reward with their Lord, and no fear will there be concerning them, nor will they grieve. [Quran 2:62]

3. لَتَجِدَنَّ أَشَدَّ النَّاسِ عَدَاوَةً لِّلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا الْيَهُودَ وَالَّذِينَ أَشْرَكُوا ۖ وَلَتَجِدَنَّ أَقْرَبَهُم مَّوَدَّةً لِّلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا الَّذِينَ قَالُوا إِنَّا نَصَارَىٰ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ بِأَنَّ مِنْهُمْ قِسِّيسِينَ وَرُهْبَانًا وَأَنَّهُمْ لَا يَسْتَكْبِرُونَ

"You will surely find the most intense of the people in animosity toward the believers [to be] the Jews and those who associate others with Allah ; and you will find the nearest of them in affection to the believers those who say, "We are Christians." That is because among them are priests and monks and because they are not arrogant." [Quran 5:69]

4. يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُونُوا أَنصَارَ اللَّهِ كَمَا قَالَ عِيسَى ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ لِلْحَوَارِيِّينَ مَنْ أَنصَارِي إِلَى اللَّهِ ۖ قَالَ الْحَوَارِيُّونَ نَحْنُ أَنصَارُ اللَّهِ ۖ فَآمَنَت طَّائِفَةٌ مِّن بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ وَكَفَرَت طَّائِفَةٌ ۖ فَأَيَّدْنَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا عَلَىٰ عَدُوِّهِمْ فَأَصْبَحُوا ظَاهِرِينَ

O you who have believed, be supporters of Allah , as when Jesus, the son of Mary, said to the disciples, “Who are my supporters for Allah ?” The disciples said, “We are supporters of Allah .” And a faction of the Children of Israel believed and a faction disbelieved. So We supported those who believed against their enemy, and they became dominant. [Quran 61:14] 

Now you can obviously quote verses that explicitly condemn disbelievers to hell, but the context behind every verse is that the Disbelieving Christians or Jews or Polytheists at the time were well-aware of the Prophethood of Muhammad, had seen the miracles, and had willingly opposed him for their own hedonistic purposes, by which the verses are directed to them.

You cannot simply believe that someone that has a very vague idea of Islam is going to be thrown into hell because of their rudimentary image of it, while it requires people like you to go out of their way to actually educate them.

On the day of Judgement, people will latch onto you and lament about how you had given them a bad image of Islam and they had gotten a distorted image.

Ultimately, there are many Hadiths as well, that also indicate that God grants whomever he wills access to Heaven through his mercy, and that it is actually considered a minor Shirk to play the role of God in condemning peoples to hell. 

I would watch my words before condemning someone to hell if I were you.

Your body is made of the same elements that lionesses are built from. Three quarters of you is the same kind of water that beats rocks to rubble, wears stones away. Your DNA translates into the same twenty amino acids that wolf genes code for. When you look in the mirror and feel weak, remember, the air you breathe in fuels forest fires capable of destroying everything they touch. On the days you feel ugly, remember: diamonds are only carbon. You are so much more.

We’re never alone in anything:  

Anonymous asked: The Maghrib athan was at 8:05 (Chicago time), it didnt even look like the correct time for Maghrib. And what about the verse in the Quran: "and eat and drink until the white thread (light) of dawn appears to you distinct from the black thread (darkness of night), then complete your fast till the nightfall."

I think a lot of people mistake the idea of what the various Prayer times mean.

Fajr refers to the dawn before Sunrise, and this was distinguished by the Muetthin by differentiating the black thread from the white thread in the night(a varying definition of what stage the night was in), and this was merely a method used before the use of technology to see when Fajr came in. Obviously, this doesn’t mean that every person should take a white thread with a black thread, because that’s referring to a specific method in Arabia to differentiate between different shades of night.

Dhuhr refers to the time exactly when the Sun is in the middle of the Sky. And before scientific and astronomical measurements, this was done by a Sun-dial. 

Asr refers to the time when the sun has begun to set and is the time before the full sunset of Maghrib. Abu Hanifa disagreed with the 3 other Major Imams in that his definition of Asr was 30 minutes to an hour after what most Sheikhs referred to Asr as being the measurement when one’s shadow was as large as them. All Chicago Masjid(s) follow the Hanafi time in measurement. 

Maghrib doesn’t refer to night, it refers to the time when the entire disk of the sun has been gone, and although this might feel that one is still in the daytime it still refers to the “Sunset” or Maghrib in Arabic.

Isha’ is the time where the sun has been completely gone and it is complete darkness. 

One has to be very careful on the definitions of these prayer times my friend. 

Anonymous asked: This is gonna sound like a stupid question but when are you supposed to open your fast. I was at an iftari yesterday and everybody started eating at 8pm because that's the time listed on the prayer time table. It was clearly light outside. They kept telling me to eat or my fast will be "makrooh".. Is there really a such thing?

You are supposed to break your fast immediately after the Maghrib athan begins. Just break your fast ceremonially with a date, even if you aren’t hungry. 

If it’s both terrifying and amazing then you should definitely pursue it.

Erada (via chasing-equilibrium)

(Source: thedailygrit, via iamnothingwithoutmywords-deacti)

Anonymous asked: Hi. From my understanding, shirk is an unforgivable sin in Islam but doesn't the Quran also say that people who don't know Islam is the truth will be forgiven? Also whats the difference between a kuffar/nonbeliever (someone who knows Islam is true but chooses not to follow it) and a Muslim who doesn't practice all of islam( like doesnt wear hijab or dates etc but still believes in one god and the prophets)?

In Islam, the concept of belief or non-belief is a complex matter. We do not believe that being Muslim is the only method to go to heaven, nor is even being Muslim by itself a virtue that takes you to heaven in its sole meaning: Islam is a lifestyle that can enable one to better this earth and themselves by which they can be rewarded heaven by their righteous efforts in the this life. 

God grants several righteous individuals from several religious backgrounds to enter heaven due to their efforts; but Islam is seen as the most secure and perfect path by which one can achieve the height of spirituality and awareness of God. 

That being said, the “unforgivable sin of Shirk” is directed towards those who know Islam’s tenants inside and out, are presented it in a fair and balanced fashion, and yet for their own hedonistic purposes willingly leave Islam or associate with God a partner or deny his existence altogether. 

This doesn’t mean someone that was not exposed to Islam, or was raised in a hostile environment to Islamic ideals will be punished for denying God’s kingdom. Moreover, those who weren’t properly exposed to Islam can include born Muslims or non-Muslims; because both individuals could be presented Islam in the wrong fashion. I don’t believe a Muslim that commits Shirk or leaves Islam is to be punished if they were presented Islam in a very horrible manner; that responsibility lies on the educator they had that had pushed them away from it. 

Now a Kaafir/Kuffar, in its strictest meaning, refers to the Polytheists of Quraysh; the earliest opponents of Muhammad(S). A Kaafir in the Arabic language referred to the farmers or Bedouins that used to hide or bury something, and this was reclaimed by the Muslims to refer to the non-believing Qurashi Arabs that denied Muhammad’s message and tried to hide or bury it. The word non-Muslim or non-believer is the proper way to refer to anyone else that doesn’t believe in Islam; the word Kaafir is derogatory in a sense out of context since it claims that everyone is trying to bury the truth, which is not the case. 

Now as for a Muslim that doesn’t practice all of Islam, this includes literally every Muslim. No Muslim is perfect, nor is any Muslim a proper manifestation of all Islamic tenants; that can only be seen through the Prophet and his Companions, who do not live among us today. 

Furthermore, many Muslims believe in different theological points of view, schools of law, and other interpretations, so what could be forbidden to one person, could be lawful for the next. Islam has a massive academic rigor dedicated to it, to translate all of its principles to our day to day lives; so there is a wealth of information on how certain individuals interpret its tenants into their respective environments. 

قبلتها و رشفت خمرة ريـقـهـا فـوجـدت نـارَ صبابةٍ فـي كـوثـــر
Kissing her was like sipping the wine of her essence, and as I did, I found a burning passion in her soul, of much abundance.

Unknown Arab Poet (via arabswagger)

Back when I was obsessed with fiction novels I read this book series called Pendragon. Essentially the book details the life of some chosen one that fights off a demonic type figure in a series of multiple worlds and dimensions, and having an entire team to support him in these various worlds and dimensions. To teleport between these worlds, (and these worlds even included three versions of our earth, in different time periods), he had to enter this type of wormhole or gate, and it only allowed a certain amount of people to enter or else the gates would crumble around the universe and the channels to enter through would be sealed forever; sealing the fate of a demonic type domination on these lands.

The biggest theme of the book, was the main character had to stop the Demon from tipping off the “turning point” of events in that world or else the course of their histories would change forever.

In one of the worlds, there was a systematic full dictatorship that had a Farenheit 451 type environment in an Orwellian style environment, but kept people distracted by virtual reality machines.

People had literally become so depressed with their lives, they entered into this little mind portal, and lived in their dreams that they lucidly changed through this little piece of technology. It really boggled my mind that this type of technology could enslave our entire planet into living into a fantasy, or at least it’s attempted here in America to a figurative degree in distracting them from the world due to their high luxury. 

Although it was a Young Teens novel, I feel it had a very deep meaning. It had a religious theme that there are several chosen Prophets that are sent to prevent a catastrophe on our planet; whether it’s the complete annihilation of the Jewish people that were saved by Moses, or the collapse of all humanity at the time of Muhammad. I guess it takes a complete fictional world with heavy symbolism to begin to appreciate ours.

Anonymous asked: Which type of Arabic would you recommend to me if I were to travel/work in the Arab world? Just Classical Arabic? I know that most schools teach the Egyptian dialect anyway?

All my biases aside, Egyptian Arabic due to the popularity of its Media and Film is obviously the most commonly understood in the Arab World, but I am a strong advocate of only learning Classical Arabic. 

Anonymous asked: I am soon going to college and I plan on applying to a dual program of International Studies and Business. It's mandatory that I declare a language that coordinates with my region of expertise. I have no formal training in Arabic besides reading the Quran. Would it be manageable to learn casual conversation in Arabic by the four years I'm done with college if I put in a lot of effort?

Here’s the thing: Do you want to learn Classical Arabic to access Islamic texts and most academic works? Or do you want to simply converse in Arabic for travel or tourist purposes?

If you want to learn Classical Arabic, which I strongly encourage to every non-Arab, since I see no use in learning colloquial whatsoever, then yeah, you can learn Arabic very well in 4 years.

If you want to get the short end of the stick and learn Colloquial Arabic (which restricts you in a dialect among 100 dialects) then go for it, but you won’t be able to read written works, scholarly articles, or anything since colloquial Arabic is literally reserved in speech and is never formal or even useful. 

Anonymous asked: Peace. Would you say that Islam, back in the Prophet's (saw) time was more of a socialist movement (from a political standpoint) rather than a communist?

Hello. 

This is a really loaded question and I don’t think I’m relatively an authority on certain political or economic systems that range from Communism, Socialism to Capitalism and their relation or inspiration from the earlier Islamic Model and Economic systems. Therefore, my answer to this is going to be rudimentary and even will do injustice to the definitions of Socialism and their visions in societies.

For the most part, I think I would have to paraphrase from Muhammad Asad in his book “Islam at a Crossroads” that the systems of Socialism, Communism, and Capitalism; whether economic or political are rooted in the acquisition of material comfort and tend to isolate the spiritual realm for material gain and replenishment. They both have essentially the same end, but different means to acquire it. 

Furthermore, Socialism has a broad meaning that often includes Communism in its several offshoots and inspired movements.

Now, to address what Islam has in relation to all of this, from an economic and political point of view has to be divided into two parts: The vision of Islam on Earth through economic prosperity and the vision of Islam on Earth through Political and religious implementation.

As we all know, both Socialism and Communism are secular movements that employ that every person has an equal share of economic prosperity and that the material comfort, whether obtained or not, has to be equally divided among the citizens, since collectively the citizens are one big bloc of an organization that owns everything: the State. 

Capitalism is obviously a complete opposite, since it advocates the laissez-faire model in letting free markets flow, and allowing everyone to obtain material success through their individual efforts and merits: even if that means that one portion of the population is much richer than the rest.

Now both of these economic and political models are completely based on the idea of “living and prospering in the now” and are rooted in the latter portion of a few centuries, while Islam is rooted in a millennium and a half of a Legal and Economic system with deep rooted precedents and historical trends of its success. Both of these systems do not concern themselves with the spirit, the idea of a higher being, nor a collective morality to govern them, but rather a very rudimentary survival mechanism that emphasizes material success and tangible ideals as the end all of human existence. This mentality was prevalent in the Greco-Roman Empires and was only re-established through more sophisticated systems like Socialism or Capitalism that had broken free from the Spiritual nihilism or hatred of this earth and its prohibition of understanding or appreciating of it by the Catholic Church that had kept Europe in the Dark Ages. 

Islam generally is a system that not only creates a perfect model to appreciate the afterlife, one’s spiritual affairs, and the positivity of the human spirit in improving our quality of life, but also allowing it to be understood through material means and acquisition of earthly affairs. 

That being said, many of the systems of Proto-Capitalism and Socialism were inspired by sophisticated Islamic models that advocated the free markets of the long extended Souks and Silk Roads but also made very sure of a centralized authority that had a central budget that took care of its citizens, represented by Bayt Al Maal.

I think a good way to understand the early Islamic model from what we have in the West, is try to imagine that the Catholic Church in Europe had advocated people to seek knowledge and scientific achievements and considering such acts as worship. Now pair that with a great Central Treasury that was collected from responsibly investing and distributing natural resources like Coal, Petroleum or Natural Gas so that every person has an equal opportunity to share in the wealth of a nation (as seen by Communism). Finally, give that prototype and opportunity for every citizen to be able to create their own business and earn their money through merit rather than suspending their funds to a government that believes in unmerited equality. You would have a country with nearly no taxes to constantly pay, the opportunity to create any business and thrive from it, and spiritual fulfillment to give one peace of mind; all opportunities that are not granted all at the same time by the exclusive emulation of Communism, Capitalism, or the Catholic Church.  

You see that prototype? That’s just a small glimpse into the beauty of the Islamic system and how sophisticated it is. Then you can begin to appreciate the Islamic system and how it is timeless. 

Anonymous asked: Salam Alaikom. My Pre-cal professor said at the beginning of this summer course that no make up tests are allowed...but if Eid truly is when everyone is saying it will be, then I have a test that day. Do you think if I talk to him he will let me take it a day prior? I mean does he have to let me or is that even stupid to ask now that I'm in college...

Waleikum Al Salam.

He probably won’t let you since taking it before or after the test you have an advantage or you give an advantage to your classmates since you had access to the test. If he’s nice enough he’d give you a special test, but there’s no harm in trying.

Honestly, don’t apologize or be meek about your religious beliefs, I fought tooth and nail for all my professors to accomodate Ramadan, Eid, and every holiday possible; I’m not selling my soul to them. If anything, the University should accomodate Muslims, and that’s not even a stretch to ask for.