Haikus for the Hujjaj

I went on Hajj in 2007 and every year around the time of Yawm al-Arafah I have a real visceral feeling and a deep yearning to return, all the memories of my trip resurface. This year, I decided to channel to give those feelings an outlet and composed a series of Haikus. I may not win any awards for poetry but I thought I would share them with you.

Returning from Mina 2007
Our return from Mina in 2007

I stand before you // my ego broken and bruised // grant me Your Mercy

As I stand hands raised // my Lord forgive me my sins // show me Your Mercy

On Mount Arafah // they gather and raise their hands // and beseech their Lord!

The pilgrimage ends // washed of sins, new lives begin // the hard work now starts!

The Devil is stoned // Ihram removed, head shaved // the pilgrims rejoice!

Can we please our Lord // in our normal daily life? // rise to the challenge!

Question: Is An Islamic State Just a Form of Muslim Zionism?

An excellent and timely answer by Dr. Khalid Blankinship.

The Question:

Question: Assalamu alaykum Dr. Blankinship. I was watching a lecture by you titled “The Life of the Prophet Muhammad,” and towards the end of it there was a discussion on the concept of a Muslim state. Just as a clarification on your stance on the topic, do you negate the idea of a state that governs according to the dictates of sharia’ or a state that becomes affiliated with the religion (as per Iran, for example)? You have stated that historically Muslims opposed the concept, viewing the institution of a state as “profane” and that you think that what is happening today is a form of Muslim Zionism. I feel like I may have misunderstood your statements, and a clarification would be much appreciated. Thank you.

Response (Dr. Khalid Blankinship):

Dear Br,

Al-salamu `alaykum. This is a historical question (see original questions below) that can only be addressed with reference to actual history. The answer does not preclude the possibility of an acceptable or even an ideal state, but one does need to attend to the details.

The state established by the Prophet Muhammad (SAAS) in al-Madinah was extremely rudimentary and lacked any of the institutionalization connected with the modern state. That is, while the Prophet (SAAS) was clearly and absolutely in charge, because of his direct connection with Allah through revelation and because of his good example, as amply proven in the Qur’an through frequent direct commands to obey him, no other offices seem to have existed until quite late in the Prophet’s career, and these were few.

See the complete answer: http://www.masud.co.uk for the full article.

The article first appeared on the Lamppost Productions website and is reproduced with permission.

Mars Chocolate Red Dot symbol in Egypt

Just saw a Facebook post about a little red dot symbol on Mars chocolate bars sold in Egypt. The post stated:

“Be aware of the Red dot inside a red square symbol which shown on chocolate bars like : Bounty Chocolate bar / Mars/ sneakers … it’s shown specifically at the back beside the weight numbers.
That mark means that these products contains gelatin which is derived from PORK!!
They put that mark to warn vegetarian people that the chocolate bar have non-vegetarian contents/ingredients in it.
PLZ share this info with all your friends and remember that “The One Who Guides Others to Good Deeds is Like the One Who Does Them”
Jazakomullah kolla khair”
Once again we have Muslims who just circulate false information without engaging their minds or without doing a basic search on Google to find the truth. The first thing I did when I saw this was to do a search “mars chocolate red dot symbol statement” knowing full well that when something like this pops up the target company usually puts out a statement. I was not mistaken. The first three hits are from Mars and clearly explains the situation:
Statement on “red dot” label on Mars chocolate products in Egypt
Mars products always comply to the legal and cultural norms of all the markets it does business in. Mars products, including Snickers, Bounty and Mars bars do not contain pork nor pork derivatives. Mars products are exported to a number of markets, of which India is one; the red dot that may appear on some of our packaging is a legal requirement for the Indian Market. It indicates that the product may contain egg, which is not suitable for some vegetarians in India. Still, to further clarify the matter, we are currently completing the process of separating the packaging for the two markets which will minimize future misunderstanding.”
I wrote the following in response to the original post:
A little bit of commonsense would make you think “why would a company like Mars deliberately send pork laced products to Muslims countries, knowing full well that when the information got out it would damage their reputation and their sales in the Muslim market, which by all accounts is massive?” Anyone one with any sense or any basic research in emerging markets will know that the Muslim consumer and halal markets are the fastest growing and one of the most lucrative in spite of the current economic climate. Even if you are a conspiracy nut, conspiracy is all about money and resource and rarely about religion.
So if you get this message, please DO NOT forward it and reply back to the send with the link to this blog post.
How is it that we have gone from being and an Ummah of learning, knowledge and critical thinking to just lazy forwarders of unsubstantiated messages?