By: Robert Scheer
For democracy, privacy is the ball game. Without the assurance of a zone of inviolate space, both physical and mental, that a citizen can inhabit without fear of observation by others, there is no guarantee of the essential sovereignty of the individual promised in the First and Fourth Amendments to the US Constitution. That should be clear, as it is to most people who have been oppressed by the tyranny of authoritarian regimes. Indeed, as Aldous Huxley and George Orwell brilliantly established in their classic writing on this subject, the totality of societal observation over the individual is the defining antithesis of freedom, even when that observation is gained through hidden and subtle persuasion.
By: A. A. Mawdudi
The frequency and timings of the Prayers never let the object and mission of life be lost sight of in the maze of worldly activities.
Ibadah (act of worship) is an Arabic word derived from `abd (a slave) and it means submission. It portrays that God is your master and you are His slave and whatever a slave does in obedience to and for the pleasure of his master is worship.
The Islamic concept of worship is very wide. If you free your speech from filth, falsehood, malice, and abuse and speak the truth and talk goodly things and do all these only because God has so ordained to do, they constitute `ibadah, however secular they may look in semblance.
If you obey the law of God in letter and spirit in your commercial and economic affairs and abide by it in your dealings with your parents, relatives, friends, and all those who come in contact with you, then all these activities of yours are worship. If you help the poor and the destitute, give food to the hungry, and serve the ailing and the afflicted persons, and do all this not for any personal gain of yours but only to seek the pleasure of God, they are nothing short of worship. Even your economic activities, the activities you undertake to earn your living and to feed your dependants, are worship if you remain honest and truthful in them and observe the law of God.
“Those who believe and do deeds of righteousness, and establish regular prayers and regular charity — they will have their reward with their Lord. On them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.”
— Surah al-Baqarah (Holy Quran, 2:277)
Consistent and daily prayer practice constitutes one of the Five Pillars of Islam, holding a place of such importance and benefit that the Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) stated that it is the observance of daily prayers that delineates belief from disbelief.
And it is one of the great gifts of Islam that Allah Almighty has enjoined prayers upon believers, in effect providing a means to fortify and continually reinforce faith and belief, and to continually remember, for indeed, “faith without works is dead.”
By actively and consciously engaging one’s daily prayers, one can benefit greatly from this unique spiritual practice. Islamic prayer, or salah, provides the following three key benefits.
Families fear the worst after flight QZ8501 disappears over the Java Sea en route to Singapore with 162 people on board.
With tensions rising in Jerusalem, hate crimes against Palestinians have increased in recent months. Mohammed lost his cousin to one such incident a while ago, and now he is one of the newest victims. Like others, he fears for his life. This is the story of Palestinians living in East Jerusalem and negotiating their security each day.
By: Nasmira Firdous
My heart beats vehemently against my chest, almost ripping my ribs apart. My breathing gets heavier and I look around to see everything happening in a jiffy. Amidst the swarms of people hustling and bustling all at once, I look forward to spot my train which is yet to arrive.
Given my very rare train-traveling experiences, I constantly look at others around me, trying to figure out how they manage to remain calm and peaceful amidst the incessant noise that is deafening to my ears. Everything around me was calm, except my heart. A flight of steps to take me up and down with a bag to carry; and then, comes a series of strange thoughts that keep me occupied for the next hour or so.
By: Yasmin Mogahed
Why is it that we refuse to accept the full human experience, the full design of the human experiment? We want the happiness without the sadness. The light, without the dark. The ease without the hardship. We want to learn to walk, without struggling through the falls. When a child learns to walk, the falls are part of the process. The fall is just as important as the rise. The slip of Adam was a lesson, not an oversight of God. God gives us the strength and the weakness. Not as an oversight, not as a flaw in the design. He gives us both because each part plays a purpose in our development, and our ultimate success. Don’t stunt the process of your growth but trying to limit the spectrum of the human plan. So many of us fear failure so much, that we are afraid to try. But reflect on this: was it through your successes or was it through your failures that you learned your deepest lessons? Our successes encourage us. But it is our failures that teach us. In life, we need both. Success gives us the encouragement and motivation to keep going, while failure, teaches us the difficult, often painful, but necessary, lessons we need to grow and fulfill our ultimate purpose.