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You're not the same

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I'm not good at these kinds of things, so I'll just lay it down; I will no longer be using the forums, nor will I be making any more blog posts. I see this site going full speed in a direction I'm not comfortable with. The feeling seems mutual though, so this wasn't a tough decision for me to make. After the drastic rule change that happened, it was inevitable; it's more about insulting/trolling than it is about discussion (especially threads about morality/philosophy/religion, which were my favorite). It gets pretty dreary to be accused of supporting things like domestic abuse or other forms of violence day after day, but this kind of bigotry is deemed acceptable here.

I don't see the rules changing because they've already brought back tons of previously banned users. I don't want to see them get re-banned (because that's what would happen if the rules were changed back). I have started making blog posts on livejournal.com and I intend to be active on the forums of ummah.com, under the name 'drac16'. I'll still use this site for reviews though, so if for whatever reason you want to PM me, I'll probably see it relatively soon and will get back to you, inshAllah.

-Brent

Chunks

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I've been suffering from writer's block. Ideas for blog posts come to me out of the blue, but for whatever reason, I couldn't flesh these ideas out. I had some interesting thoughts that I wrote down that pertain to Islam, but since they have little to do with one another, it wouldn't make sense to put all of them into a single post. What I've done is seperate them into small chunks. I doubt that a non-muslim will get anything out of these chunks, but feel free to read, regardless. :P

Chunk #1: After Satan rebelled against God, Satan said, in surah 7:16-17 of the Qur'an, "Because thou has thrown me out of the way, lo! I will lie in wait for them on thy Straight Way: then I will assault them from before them and behind them, from their right and their left: nor wilt thou find, in most of them, graititude (for thy mercies)". Day in and day out, Satan is trying to make us crack. Because our personalities are different, not everyone falls to the same sin. In fact, I'll go one step further and say that not everyone is tempted [to the same degree] by the same things; the biggest ones for me are lust and discouragement, but Joe Schmoe down the street may be tempted heavily by gossip or mouthing off to his parents.

Chunk #2: The good news of Islam is not "Follow God and your life will get better"-- it's "God is so awesome that He's worth following regardless of what happens to you". You see, that's what Satan and other disbelievers don't understand-- they don't understand that sense of serenity and surrender that comes from saying "It's not about me". Surah 13:28 says "..in the rememberance of Allah do hearts find satisfaction".

Chunk #3: It doesn't matter how many times you're given a dirty look for wearing a hijab/thobe, nor does it matter how many times our Prophet [p.b.u.h] is accused of saying things he never said or doing things he never did. These evil tricks are like the chihuahua on your street that growls and barks at everyone that walks by. It thinks it's so big and bad, but it couldn't do any damage to you if it tried (barring a minor annoyance). I urge myself first, and then my brothers/sisters; keep running down the Straight Path and don't look back. :)

Holding On To The Inner Child

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Pokemon was absolutely everywhere when I was 10 years old; games, clothes, commercials, TV shows, action figures-- you name it. A few years after that, I was in the stage of life where it was no longer "cool" to like it. Now as an adult, I've fallen back in love with it. I've put in over 200 hours into HeartGold, with no sign of stopping. It's unbelievably adictive and there's a whole different dimension to it if you play it competitively. Yesterday I decided to get Black version, and though it does seem like a rehash [so far], I still love it.

That's Dragonite! (my favorite pokemon)

It makes me seem like an old geezer to say that I feel young again, but I do indeed feel young again! :oops:

Noah in Islam

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In my estimation, some of the most inspiring stories in the Qur'an are ones that involve a prophet named Noah [p.b.u.h]. Like every other prophet, we muslims believe that Noah [p.b.u.h] taught radical monotheism (that there is only one God who has no partners and is completely dissimilar to His creation). The Qur'an calls Noah [p.b.u.h] a prophet as well as a messenger, which means that he preached on older revelation as well as new revelation (although I'm not aware of any source that mentions Noah's book by name).

One of the nations/tribes he was sent to preach to was the equivalent of a bunch of self-absorbed rich people who drink their Red Bull like water, visit a local tanning salon on a weekly basis and are constantly on their iPhones or iPads. Imagine a people like that, seeing what was most likely an old, bearded, traveling preacher named Noah [p.b.u.h] who told them that the real treasure was to be found with God-- not in wealth. Their response was predictable. In surah 11:27, they say "We see (in) thee nothing but a man like ourselves: nor do we see that any follow thee but the meanest among us, in judgment immature: nor do we see in you (all) any merit above us: in fact we think ye are liars!"

Essentially, they said "Pffft! we don't have time for that religious stuff. Besides, your followers are all poor people who aren't nearly as splendid as we are. We're too intelligent to believe in your fairy tales!". Rather than considering Noah's teachings, they found fault with his followers. As a level headed, God-fearing prophet, Noah [p.b.u.h] tries to reason with them in surah 11:29, which says "And O my People! I ask you for no wealth in return: my reward is from none but Allah: but I will not drive away (in contempt) those who believe: for verily they are to meet their Lord, and ye, I see, are the ignorant ones!". He knew that despite being the outcasts of society, the muslims that followed him were on their way to Paradise. Noah [p.b.u.h] was well aware of the fact that, on Judgment Day, a person will not be judged based on how much money they had, how high their self-esteem was or how popular they were. God will be more pleased with a poor and humble believer than a rich and proud unbeliever.

We're not told the name of the nations/tribes that he was sent to, but in surah 29:14, the Qur'an says that Noah [p.b.u.h] lived to be 950 years old. You can get a lot done in 950 years, but despite being called to repentence, most of Noah's people rejected him. As the years went by, their corruption grew and grew until God stepped in and told Noah [p.b.u.h] to build an Ark big enough to accomadate himself, his family, his followers and two of every kind of animal. Those who rejected their prophet were killed in a flood that had waves "towering like mountains", according to surah 11:42. In the end, God worked things out for the greater good. The flood is a sign of both God's love and justice; He delivered the believers and punished the unbelievers.

Noah's Ark is one of the most famous stories in the Bible, but I don't trust the Biblical account as historically accurate. It says that the whole world was flooded, but it would've been unnecessary for God to kill the whole world [save a few] because prophet Noah [p.b.u.h] was only sent to minister to a certain people-- not the whole world. Most of the world didn't know who Noah [p.b.u.h] was, so how could the whole world have rejected him? I believe that it was merely a local flood. I believe that God's plan can never be thwarted and that, regardless of whether we rejoice or suffer, God ultimately uses it all for His glory. A person choosing to go astray can in no way hurt God or His plan-- they only hurt themselves.

Possible Source of Fred Phelps' Hatred

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The Westboro Baptist Church [or WBC] has caused quite a stir in the last few years. They're a group from Topeka, Kansas and they do a lot of protests outside funerals of soldiers, gays and others. In these protests, they hold up signs with despicable, evil slogans such as "F*gs doom nations", "God hates f*gs" and more. These men and women protested the funeral of Matthew Shepard; a young man who was murdered because of the fact that he was gay.

WBC often make videos in which they say that they thank God for things like the recent Norwegian shooting and 9/11. In their mind, these events were God's judgment against gays and anyone who isn't virulently opposed to homosexuality, whom they call 'f*g enablers'. While they do occasionally spew their venom at America's military or jewish people, time and time again they come back to blaming homosexuals for all the problems in the world.

WBC is run by a so-called pastor named Fred Phelps; out of all the members of the WBC, he displays the greatest hatred for everything related to homosexuality. What would drive someone to have such a sickeningly vicious hatred for homosexuals? Why is it that Fred Phelps can't go five minutes without vomiting out an anti-gay slur? why does he get angry at the mere mention of anything related to homosexuality? why does he focus on demonizing homosexuality far more than anything else? those are some questions that ran through my mind recently.

I think his endless amount of homophobia comes from something that hits close to home. I'm convinced that Fred Phelps is a gay man who's deeply repressed, rigid in denial and self-loathing. I think that, as a result of living by his interpretation of the Bible, he lives in such a way that it's killing him inside. He's been lead to believe that being gay is completely unacceptable; his own inner struggle would explain why he has such animosity towards homosexuality. I think he's perpetually angry because he's frustrated with his sexuality; a part of him that, despite his best efforts, will not go away.

This is just a belief though, and there's a difference between stating a belief and stating that you know what is. Despite the venom that he and his church spews, I can't help but feel that it's ultimately coming from the tortured mind of a man who lashes out at the world because of his own emptiness. This makes me feel a bit of empathy towards his situation.

What Is Love?

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Baby don't hurt me, don't hurt me, no more.

I just picked up this gem of a book. I've heard a lot about Love Wins and how controversial it is. A christian scholar named Dr. James White, who is a man that I highly respect, did a review of one of the chapters of Love Wins, and after watching it, I knew that I had to have it. Eventually, I'd like to do a review of Love Wins, inshallah. We'll see how it goes. :)

King Solomon in Islam

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Today I'll be writing a blog post about King Solomon [p.b.u.h], from the islamic perspective, of course. David had a son named Solomon [p.b.u.t], who, like his dad, was a king and a prophet. The Qur'an says, in surah 27:15-16: "We gave (in the past) knowledge to David and Solomon: and they both said 'Praise be to Allah, who has favoured us above many of His servants who believe! and Solomon was David's heir..'".

King David [p.b.u.h] was the Chuck Norris of the ancient world, so it only makes sense that his son was a blessed man. King Solomon [p.b.u.h] prayed for a kingdom that would be unlike anything after him. God gave him a huge palace, horses of the highest quality, the ability to control the wind, jinns that built things for him, jinns that dived for treasure and an army that had humans, jinns and animals in it. Like his dad, Solomon [p.b.u.h] was capable of communicating with animals. In surah 27:18, King Solomon [p.b.u.h] is walking with his army; he comes across an army of ants and understands the form of communication that the ants are using with one another. In verses 22-28 of the same chapter, he has a conversation with a hoopoe (a small, weird looking bird).

There was a group of jews who payed a sorcerer to teach them how to perform curses. These jews used the newly acquired knowledge to "sow discord between man and wife". In my estimation, this means that they performed a curse on a wife [or multiple wives] of King Solomon [p.b.u.h] that, either caused the marriage(s) to go downhill or caused the woman/women to die. You can read about this in surah 2:101-103. I don't believe that a God-fearing man like Solomon [p.b.u.h] blew his top over these curses, though; in surah 38:40, God says of Solomon "And he enjoyed, indeed, a near approach to Us, and a beautiful place of (final) return". Because of King Solomon's wealth, he must have faced an enormous amount temptation to fall into greed and self-sufficiency, but he kept a cool head. As a result of his mighty works and humble character, he's one of my favorite prophets. Thanks for reading! :)

Pancakes Are Evil!

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The other day I was watching hockey. During the intermissions, I usually go to the bathroom, come back and read until the game starts again. This time, for whatever reason, I decided to watch what some hockey analysts had to say; I can't remember if it was on TSN or Sportsnet, though. One of the guys mentioned that a player got injured while eating pancakes! I didn't know if it was a joke or not, so I looked it up. Turns out that it was true! a player named Dustin Penner from the Los Angeles Kings was injured after eating pancakes!

What do they put in the pancakes over there? I bet that when the coach found out about the injury, he sighed and then muttered "It's OK-- I understand. I've lost many men at the hands of pancakes". Now I know that before I do something physically demanding like eating pancakes, I should put on some equipment just in case. I bet now he's going to be reminded of a pancake whenever he lays eyes on a hockey puck. From now on, LA Kings fans ought to throw pancakes onto the ice whenever he scores.

Next time, eat waffles, son.

Mini Islamic Dictionary 2

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This is a follow-up to a past blog post that I did about common words/sayings that muslims use on a regular basis.

Dunya: A word that's used to refer to the temporary life on earth. It's often used in conjunction with the Hereafter because they're often compared; not because they're similar, but because there's such contrast between the two (e.g. "Do not be comformed to this dunya-- but only to God's law"

Kaafir: A disbeliever (someone who doesn't believe in God, the oneness of God, the prophets, etc). This word is often mispronounced as "koo-far", but is properly pronounced "calf-ear".

Sunnism: A denomination of Islam that 85-90% of muslims follow. People from Sunnism are called 'sunnis'.

Shiism: A denomination of Islam that 10-15% of muslims follow. People from Shiism are called 'shia' or 'shi'ites'.

Hadith: An oral tradition that muslims follow/believe in. Hadiths are not included in the Qur'an-- they are either passed down through Muhammad's companions in the case of Sunnism or passed down through the twelve imams in the case of Shiism. The reason why so many muslim men have beards is that there's a hadith where the prophet Muhammad [p.b.u.h] told every male muslim to let it grow. There are thousands of hadiths, so they were collected in books like Sahih Al-Bukhari, Sahih Muslim, etc.

Sheikh: An islamic scholar

Iman: Faith

Caliph: A leader of the islamic community that was elected after the death of Muhammad [p.b.u.h]. The first caliph was elected immediately after the prophet's death; the second caliph was the successor of the first, and so on. Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman and Ali [r.a] were the respective caliphs and they're sometimes called 'the four rightly guided caliphs'

The Mothers of The Believers: Muhammad's wives

Tafseer: A commentary of the Qur'an. Some of the most trusted tafseers were done by Ibn Kathir and Abdullah Yusuf Ali, respectively.

The People of The Book: Jews and christians

Less Whining, More Rejoicing

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This is a follow up to a blog post I did that was called "A young man's inner struggle". After much prayer and contemplation, I came to learn something that I should've known all along. I'll be preaching to myself, basically. :P

As I looked back on "A young man's inner struggle", I saw something in my demeanor that didn't seem right. I wrote it shortly after I ran into a bunch of sin, so the reason why I sounded a little whiny was that the remorse was still fresh in my mind. Living with humility is something I strive to do ever day, and even though there's a time and place for confessing my sins to others, am I behaving with humility if I make a big spectacle about how badly I've sinned? This is what I had to ask myself: has Allah called me to be a self-loathing drama queen who listens to indie-rock and wears nothing but black every day? Now I know that the answer is a resounding no. Muhammad [p.b.u.h] was probably the most humble person of his time, but in the oral traditions [aka 'hadiths'] that I read about his day-to-day life, I never see him confessing his sins to his wives, family members or companions (although he was often seen praying by himself).

Awwwww, how can I be sad after looking at that? :oops:

How can I consider him humble if I never read about him doing this? because he was always singing praises to Allah and telling people how merciful Allah is. Rather than doing what I did-- complaining about what a wretched man I am-- he chose to focus on what God had already done for Him (and others). He knew that his prophethood was a product of God's grace-- not his own merits. When I wrote 'A young man's inner struggle', I felt as though I had to overcome sexual sin on my own; an ungrateful, terribly self-reliant view to have.

There was no humility in trying to fight sexual sin alone. Rather than feeling hopeless, it would've been humble to say to myself "God's already pulled me out of the cesspool of sin that I once lived in, so who am I to think that He's not quite able to help me in the area of sexual sin?". It's possible to be humble without being sad all the time. Rather than whining and complaining about my own struggles, I should be hopeful that God'll help me out in the area of sexual temptation. :D

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