Amazing Airshow, Living Islam 2014.

I had the good fortune to experience an amazing airshow after Jumu’ah prayers at the Living Islam festival on 1. August, 2014, at the Lincolnshire Showground. Here are a couple of short videos I took with my phone.

More daring aerial acrobatics…

Happy Eid Al Fitr! (1435/2014)

Wishing everyone a most blessed Eid al Fitr 1435! Whichever day you are celebrating on, may your Eid be joyous and full of Grace!

Eid Blessings - Eid al Fitr 1435/2014

Eid Al Fitr 1435 / 2014

In the UK if you started fasting on 30 June, Eid al Fitr should be on Wednesday, 30 July. If you started on the 29 June, Eid will be on Tuesday, 29 July. People in the Americas might be celebrating Eid as early as Monday, if they started fasting on the 27 June.

As for reports of the moon’s sighting before then, no need to over react! :)

The only people who are going to change us, IS OURSELVES!

Bism’Allah al Rahman al Raheem.

In Ramadan, through fasts and prayers, we focus on remembering Allah SWT, purifying our souls and transcending our baser desires to become better Human Beings.

However, when we look around the world today, how many Muslim role models do we see in all fields of life?

For sure, there are some… but is that number really representative of the 1.9 billion of us, compared to people of other faiths and backgrounds?

Brothers and Sisters, it’s time to wake up, the only people who are going to change us, IS OURSELVES!

When instead of blaming others, we strive to be better, do the best for ourselves and others, Allah SWT will support us and turn our situation around.

We must take the first steps; that my brothers and sisters is the test!

Think about it, why else do we fast and pray? Allah SWT is in need of nothing! No, these are the first steps prescribed for us, training ourselves towards success!

We must make the same effort in all areas of life, not just in matters of religion, and not just in Ramadan.

Islam is not just religion, it’s a WAY OF LIFE!

Salam.

Shaykh Paul Salahuddin Armstrong
Director, KhilafahOnline

Fatwa On Fasting In Ramadan In The UK During Summer

kalima

There is no god but God, Muhammad is the messenger of God.

FATWA (RULING) ON FASTING IN RAMADAN IN THE UNITED KINGDOM DURING SUMMER

Bismillah.

1. A number of people have asked me since last year about the excessive length of fasting during UK summer months.

2. This has included those new to the practice of fasting, elderly and middle-aged people, who wish to fast but simply cannot manage the very long days. Since last year, I’ve heard reports of such people in hospital, as well as of children falling seriously ill, due to fasting more than 18 hours per day.

3. The day length in London this year during Ramadan is almost 17 hours *sunrise-sunset*. Since there is no agreed beginning of dawn, the dawn-sunset timings vary from 19 to 20.5 hours.

4. The timings increase as we go further north, especially in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

a) E.g. I visited Dublin in June 2000: sunset prayers at the Dublin Islamic Centre (Clonskeagh Mosque) were held at 10.30pm, followed by night prayers at 12am and dawn prayers at 2am. Assuming dawn at 1am, this gives a 21.5-hour dawn-sunset fast.

b) On the other hand, I visited Stockholm in December 1999: sunrise was at 10.30am and sunset at 3.30pm. In winter there, the dawn-sunset fast is barely 6-7 hours, whereas it is 9-10 hours in the southern UK.

5. To reduce the fasting length, note that some of the Sahaba (Prophet’s Companions), including Hudhayfa bin al-Yaman, and Successors ate until sunrise or just before. Tabari and Ibn Kathir mention numerous narrations proving this under Qur’an 2:187, although both of them reject the practice based on a literalist reading of the verse (they lived in moderate climes). Ibn Hazm also approves the practice in his Al-Muhalla.

6. The jurists have discussed this matter for high latitudes. As Sheikh Muhammad Abduh, Grand Mufti of Egypt, mentions in Tafsir al-Manar, classically they mentioned two possibilities to follow more moderate timings:

a) follow timings of the lands of revelation, viz. Mecca and Medina (Hijaz) – throughout the year, the dawn-sunset fast here is 12-15 hours

b) follow timings of the nearest “moderate land”

Abduh adds, “Both of these are valid, since it is a matter of judgment (ijtihad), and there is no unequivocal text (nass) about it.”

7. Note that following timings of the nearest “moderate land” is similar to following timings of the nearest “moderate time” in your own land, e.g. spring or autumn timings, when the days and nights are approximately of equal length.

8. Abduh is not alone in the above fatwa: he is quoting from centuries of earlier jurists. After him, his fatwa has been echoed by Muhammad Hamidullah, Mustafa Zarqa, Sayyid Tantawi, Jad al-Haqq, and Ali Gomaa amongst others. Texts and discussions of these fatwas may be found on the internet, e.g. see: http://alrukn.com/long-fasts-fiqh/

9. The above fatwa implies partially decoupling fasting from dawn/sunset.

10. The spirit of fasting is clearly “from morning until evening” and to focus on its inner aspects, without hair-splitting about external matters.

11. The famous Qur’anic passage about fasting 2:183-7 begins and ends with taqwa (God-consciousness), and includes the memorable wisdom, “God wishes ease for you, not hardship … that you complete the course, magnify God for guiding you, and that you give thanks.”

This verse is in fact the basis of the numerous hadiths about making matters in religion relatively easy and not difficult, of the classical Hanafi principle of istihsan (attaining goodness, even if opposed to analogical reasoning) along with 39:17-18, cf. the first page of Kitab al-Istihsan in Al-Mabsut of al-Sarakhsi, and of contemporary jurists’ emphasis on taysir (easing matters), part of the Prophetic spirit and one of the principles of jurisprudence.

12. In exceptional circumstances, the Prophet (peace be upon him) understood that “morning” and “evening” were relative to people’s habits and culture.

Hadith: Safwan bin Mu’attal, who as a virgin was caught up with Aisha, Mother of the Believers, in the scandalous rumours that rocked Medina after the Mustaliq expedition, eventually got married. His wife once came to the Prophet and complained about her husband on three counts. (The Prophet defended and made excuses for him regarding all three matters.) One of these was that “he does not get up for the dawn prayer, and only offers it after sunrise when he rises.” When the Prophet asked him about this, he replied that his people or tribe customarily rose after sunrise, and not at the crack of dawn. The Prophet’s wise answer was, “In that case, pray when you wake up.” (Fa idha-stayqazta fa salli, a sound hadith in the Sunan, rated as authentic by Albani in his evaluation of the hadiths of Mishkat al-Masabih.)

Thus, for example, those who work night-shifts, working throughout the night and sleeping during the day, should fast during the night. This is because night has become day for them and vice-versa. The Qur’an that encourages fasting during the day also states that night is for sleep whilst the day is for work (e.g. 78:9-11).

13. An Azhari sheikh recently suggested to me that 12 hours’ fasting was sufficient, based on the average length of a day over a whole year: this is true of the sunrise-sunset day, for every place on earth. If we use dawn-sunset instead, we get 13-14 hours’ fasting. Note that this approach implies keeping a similar-length fast irrespective of the season in which Ramadan falls: in the winter, fasting would be much longer than the dawn-sunset timing, and some of us do follow that approach. This has an element of “continuous fasting” (sawm al-wisal, where fasting continues by night) about it: the Prophet practiced this regularly for several days at a time, but disallowed it for his followers, unless they were sure they could manage it.

14. I am reliably informed that Muslims in Norway use a 14-hour fasting timetable in the summer.

15. A case may be made for 16-hour fasts, based on Imam Ghazzali’s view that the maximum a person should sleep at night is a third of the day and night, i.e. 8 hours.

16. Insisting that those unable to complete long fasts should make them up at another time is practically equivalent to moving Ramadan out of the summer and into the seasons of autumn, winter or spring.

CONCLUSION / FATWA

All Praise belongs to God. Peace and Blessings be upon the Messengers of God.

1. Those who wish to follow dawn-sunset timings of 18-21 hour fasts and can do so safely, are free to do so.

2. Those who find this genuinely unbearable, or are convinced of the non-literalist approach of “morning to evening” rather than the literalist “dawn to sunset”, may wish to fast for 12 or preferably 14-16 hours, beginning from dawn, sunrise or even their usual morning meal (breakfast!). Such moderate timings are based on the fatwas of jurists over many centuries for high latitudes.

3. Whatever length a person fasts, they should not feel superior to others. The spirit of Ramadan and fasting includes God-consciousness, patience, perseverance, gratitude, prayer, worship, charity, generosity, humility, self-purification, self-development, helping others, mercy, compassion, forgiveness, lowering the gaze (of the eyes from lustful glances and of the heart from other than God)  and the remembrance and love of God.

May Allah, the One and Unique having Infinite Beautiful Names, bless all of humanity during this month, and shower upon us its internal and external grace.

Sheikh Dr. Usama Hasan (London, UK)

1st Ramadan 1435 / 29th June 2014 (updated: 4th Ramadan / 2ndJuly)

Website: http://unity1.wordpress.com/

The truest wealth is Wisdom.

Granting wisdom unto whom He wills

Ramadan Blessings! 1435 / 2014

Ramadan Kareem 1435 / 2014

Ramadan 1435 / 2014

Reliable astronomical data from HM Nautical Almanac Office and Crescentwatch.org indicates the crescent moon is likely to be visible in the Americas, Africa and parts of Australia on Saturday night, 28th June, and in all regions on Sunday night, 29th June.

Hence, the first day of fasting in the Americas and Africa should be on Sunday, 29th June, while in the United Kingdom, most of Europe and Asia, the first day of fasting will be Monday, 30th June.

http://astro.ukho.gov.uk/moonwatch/nextnewmoon.html
http://www.crescentwatch.org/cgi-bin/cw.cgi

Filming, “Why can’t I be a sushi?” in Wembley.

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Scholars, Sufis and Diamonds…

“But now in our time, we may say – and we are hearing and seeing, also – that the scholars, ulama, who came before our time were stronger than we are; they could understand more than we do. Yes, it is so. Therefore, our writers or thinkers can do only a translation from their books, changing some words and giving them back to us. They are not making their hearts work; therefore, they are taking an easy way instead of a difficult way, saying, ‘To take from those is easy.’ But to take by the way of their faith – that is difficult, so that in our time you may find so many doctors, but all of them are taking their texts, their material, from this book, from that book, making a dissertation and giving it, and when that is written and signed, they are said to be doctors. Yes, nothing from themselves. Bring something from yourself, because you have something, also.

The Prophet (s) brought something for common people so that they could understand. Then he also brought a kind of knowledge which is only for those who can understand by their faith, according to their faith, and the Prophet gave it to them. Each time, each century may be different; a lot of people’s understandings may improve, and the Prophet is giving to them so that they may understand.

A grandshaykh, Muhiyuddin ibn al-Arabi, may Allah bless him, brought such meanings that people were astonished. They were saying, ‘From where does he bring this? We are looking, looking in books, looking in the Quran. Not the same; we don’t see this. From where does he bring it?’ As at the time of beloved Muhammad (s) the unbelievers were saying, ‘We never knew of such things and no one has ever said them. From where does he bring such kinds of things (not saying ‘knowledge’)?’ Also in our time, so many scholars are objecting to Muhiyuddin ibn al-Arabi, may Allah bless him, and they are never saying that what he brought is knowledge.

That understanding – from where did it come to Muhiyuddin? Because he had very bright faith, like a very powerful light; not like a searchlight, no – like a laser. A searchlight a little boy may have.

Where was it, that laser light, before? Was it absent and then created, coming into existence, or was it already in existence? Do you think that?

No, Allah Almighty made that person to appear and make it clear. It was on earth, that power. Muhiyuddin ibn al-Arabi had such a powerful faith-light in his heart, and he saw.

And another, Mawlana Jalaluddin Rumi, and Bayazid Bistami; then Naqshbandi and Daghestani – don’t be astonished about where they brought that from. The Prophet kept a special kind of knowledge for those people, as Allah Almighty was ordering him: ‘You must give that to some people, not to all.’ It is private, because if someone speaks of it generally, it will be an unknowable, un-understandable thing. And if a person does not understand a thing, he may throw it away.

There is a famous diamond in Istanbul; perhaps it is one of the biggest diamonds on earth. It was found by a street sweeper. He found a stone in a dustbin, looking at it like this like that, and taking it to a maker of wooden spoons, saying ‘See what this is.’

He looked at it and saw that it was a important thing. ‘Give it to me and take this spoon,’ the spoonmaker said, giving this big spoon, wooden spoon and the sweeper put it like this. (It was important to carry a spoon in case there was rice or soup to eat. In earlier times, everyone would carry around a spoon, as one might carry a pistol.)

The sweeper gave that diamond worth millions of pounds for one spoon, a wooden spoon. And that spoonmaker took the diamond to a jeweler, and the jeweler gave a lot of money and took it from him, and then cut and polished it. Then the Wazir, the chief minister, heard that there was such a diamond, and paying money to the jeweler, he bought it.

Then the sultan asked for it and the wazir gave it to the sultan as a gift. Now people are looking at it, astonished at such a beautiful diamond. But it was with a sweeper at the beginning and he never knew its value. To him, its value was only one spoon, a wooden spoon.

Therefore, don’t think that wisdoms may given easily to those who do not understand their value. Therefore, Allah Almighty ordered His beloved Prophet Muhammed (s), ‘You must keep those diamonds, and to whomever can understand their value you must give.’ And it is written on the Preserved Tablet who may given.”

~ Mawlana Shaykh Muhammad Nazim Adil an-Naqshbandi

Source: Liberating the Soul, A Guide For Spiritual Growth: Volume 2, page 133-5.

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