By: Omar Shahid
One of the signs of the end times, according to Islam, is the inversion of reality – in other words, things being upside-down. For Muslims, there is nothing that more obviously illustrates this than Islam being made to appear bad to the world. For the first time in the history of our faith, an extremist fringe has hijacked the religion and is dominating the headlines, causing havoc and creating a global crisis.
By: Alex Bellos
To paraphrase Monty Python, what has Islam ever done for us? You know, apart from the algebra, the trigonometry, the optics, the astronomy and the many other scientific advances and inventions of the Islamic Golden Age.
Well, if you like art and interiors, there’s always the stunning patterns that grace mosques, madrasas and palaces around the world.
Islamic craftsmen and artists – who were prohibited from making representations of people in holy sites – developed an instantly recognizable aesthetic based on repeated geometrical shapes.
The mathematical elegance of these designs is that no matter how elaborate they are, they are always based on grids constructed using only a ruler and a pair of compasses.
Islamic design is based on Greek geometry, which teaches us that starting with very basic assumptions, we can build up a remarkable number of proofs about shapes. Islamic patterns provide a visual confirmation of the complexity that can be achieved with such simple tools.
Dust off your old geometry set, and let’s see how.
February 21 2015 marked 50 years since the assassination of outspoken African-American Muslim stalwart Malik al Shabazz. Malcolm X, as he was also known, was gunned down at the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem in 1965 while preparing to give a speech.
As an NPR blog notes, Al Shabazz can be considered as one of the great public speakers of all-time.
And while Malcolm X may have had a natural leaning toward dramatic interpretation, for him public speaking was a learned skill. At the age of 21, he was a middle school dropout and prison inmate who, “didn’t know a verb from a house.” Three months shy of his 40th birthday, he was an international media presence, a voracious reader, tough debater and a leading proponent of black nationalism.”
Below we reproduce some of al Shabazz’s iconic words, many of which may still ring a poignant bell today.
Regarding raising the hands when making du’aa:
It is important to note that du’aa’ is an act of worship, and every act of worship should only be done on the basis of evidence (daleel). The basic principle here is that the hands should be raised when making du’aa’, except when the du’aa’ is part of another act of worship, in which case raising the hands is regarded as an additional action (and should not be done). Examples of such acts of worship include salaah (prayer), khutbah (sermon), tawaaf (circumambulation of the Ka’bah), sa’ee (running between al-Safaa and Marwah), etc. Salaah includes du’aa’ at the beginning of the prayer, in rukoo’ (bowing), when standing up from rukoo’, in the two sajdahs (prostrations) and in the sitting between the two prostrations — but whoever raises his hands in these places is considered to have committed an act of bid’ah (reprehensible innovation). The same applies to raising the hands when making du’aa’ on the minbar, except in the case of istisqaa’ (praying for rain). And the same applies when making du’aa’ when doing tawaaf or sa’ee.
When there is evidence to show that it is permissible to raise the hands in certain situation, then there is no dispute. Any du’aa’ which has not been narrated in a report and which is not part of another act of worship is regarded as general du’aa'; in this case there is nothing wrong with raising the hands. It was narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) spoke of a man who raised his hands to the sky and said, “O Lord, O Lord,” whilst his food was haraam, his drink was haraam, his clothing was haraam, he had been nourished with haraam, so how could his du’aa’ be answered?
And the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Allaah feels shy to let His slave raise his hands to Him and bring them back empty.” — and other ahaadeeth.
With regard to raising the hands after a naafil prayer, if that is not a du’aa’ that is regularly offered, such as when a man is faced with some emergency, and he calls upon Allaah at that moment, there is nothing wrong with that. But if he regularly makes du’aa’ and raises his hands after praying an obligatory prayer, there is no clear daleel to support doing so.