Friday, September 29, 2006

A Must Read - Being Muslim by Haroon Siddiqui

Being Muslim is a short work by journalist
Haroon Siddiqui, a writer for the Toronto Star. I have often linked to his articles (for recent articles, click here). I really believe he is one of the ummah's greatest assets, especially here in Canada -- a clear thinker, he has a real talent for simply presenting the facts in a way that is understandable to all. Journalists with integrity are harder and harder to find, but Haroon Siddiqui is definately among the best.

I wholeheartedly recommend that everyone buy this short book...a good digest of what has led to current world dynamics.

Salik and I were looking at the cover and wondering why it is what it is. His theory (and it makes good sense to me) is that the young Muslim girl is shown in a dark scarf, positioned such that we cannot see her facial expression -- she represents the hidden, the unknown, the mystery that Islam and Muslims are on the current global stage. The other girl however, looks like a typical young western girl, smiling -- only she is positioned such that she can see what to us is hidden -- and seeing what is unknown to us in its true light, the young girls is smiling -- she is enjoying the company of the young Muslim girl. They can co-exist, they are friends, and they are happy.

Anyhow, do get yourself a copy and read it...

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

To benefit from changes in life...

To benefit from changes in life, spiritual travelers must be with Allah, not their own story line. When a young woman marries, for example, she suddenly finds herself not only with another ego in the house to live with, but within a short space, that the comparative ease and calm of her younger days have been swept away by the sheer work needed to keep up and think of everything in a real home. When she has her first baby, she must manage for another life even more dependent on her personal sacrifices. By the second, third, or fourth child, her days and nights belong almost entirely to others. Whether she has a spiritual path or not, such a mother can seldom resist a glance at the past, when there were more prayers, more meanings, more spiritual company, and more serenity. When Allah opens her understanding, she will see that she is engaged in one of the highest forms of worship, that of producing new believers who love and worship Allah. She is effectively worshipping Allah for as many lifetimes she has children, for the reward of every spiritual work her children do will be hers, without this diminishing anything of their own rewards: every ablution, every prayer, every Ramadan, every hajj, and even the works her children will in turn pass on to their offspring, and, so on till the end of time. Even if her children do not turn out as she wishes, she shall be requited in paradise forever according to her intention in raising them, which was that they should be godly. Aside from the tremendous reward, within the path itself it is noticeable that many of those who benefit most from the khalwa or “solitary retreat of dhikr” are women who have raised children. With only a little daily dhikr and worship over the years, but much toil and sacrifice for others, they surpass many a younger person who has had more free time, effort, and “spiritual works.” What they find is greater because their state with Allah is greater; namely, the awe, hope, and love of the Divine they have realized by years of sincerity to Him.

To summarize, the traveller who is grateful to Allah for everything cannot be veiled from Allah by anything, whether living in the world or doing without it, and it is such a person who most benefits from the spiritual path. Abu Yazid al-Bustami was once asked, “Can the servant reach Him in a single moment?” and he replied, “He can, though he is returned with profit and benefit in the measure of his journey.”

To read the entire commentary on Hikam No. 3 by Shaykh Nuh Keller, click here

Fasting & Ramadan: A Course on SunniPath

Friday, September 22, 2006

...and upward we shall go...

On our way to Turkiye, we had a short stopover in Athens. At the airport in Rome Salik turned to me and said, "I say we have to check out the Acropolis in Athens" -- "you're serious?" -- "yes! come on, it'll be great!". So with that enthusiasm, how could I refuse to see one of the most famous buildings in all of history? On the plane I asked the lady sitting beside me if this was a plausible idea, and she told me that if we got a cab we could do it...

...So the second we landed, we went straight out to the cabs, cut a deal with a cabby who drove us to the Acropolis, waited over an hour there, and drove us back -- showing us sites along the way!

I spotted a church on our way there that seemed as though it may have once been a masjid because it had what looked distinctly like a minaret that was topped with a cross when it was transformed into a church -- likely after the end of Ottoman rule...but that is just my theory...see for yourself...

...and then when we got to the Acropolis, we looked at one another..."and upward we shall go...again!" A long climb later, having avoided dog after dog for fear of our wudu and our lives, we made to the top of the Acropolis! Again, how amazing it is to stand in a place that one has seen so many a time in textbooks, movies, photos...

...tired, dehydrated, and sun-burned...we made our way all the way down and to the airport to head to Turkiye!

NOTE: All images on this blog are copyrighted and cannot be used without the express permission of Salikah Al-Tariq. All rights reserved.

Sunday, September 17, 2006 long ascent...

Next we went to St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City...the place is huge! One's immediate feeling as a Muslim is how different the atmosphere becomes with the addition of statues everywhere....aside from which architecturally it is beautiful, especially the courtyard.

...just prior to entrance you have to pass a security check...

...sadly, many women would temporarily cover their skin with a handkerchief and remove it once they were allowed in and they were out of the eyes of security. That really had us wonder how much respect some people actually do not have, for the very place they deem so sacred. Perhaps another wonder of the modern world, "no one shall tell me what I will wear!". In any case, the main reason we went in was to climb to the top of the dome to see the spectacular view of Rome that it has to offer. In the two hours that it took, there were many contemplations of turning around and just leaving...but we stuck it out...and well, the view, as our Lonely Planet guidebook promised, was well worth it...

After that two hour climb, we made our way to the Sistine Chapel. As we were going up the road, I turned to Salik and said, "why is it that everywhere we go, there's a long, steep, upward climb of one sort or the other?"...he looked at me with a smile and a raised eyebrow, and before he could answer, I put forth my own theory, "I suppose all the ancients, when they made these sites that were of religious significance to them, they wanted to put them as high up as possible. That way, when pilgrims visit, they feel as though they are going up towards that which is Good, Holy, and Pure. I mean, imagine if all these sites were downhill, it would feel as though one was going to the 'underworld'. Yeah, that's probably it." That won be the biggest smile yet from Salik, who exclaimed "did you read that somewhere?" -- "No? Why?" -- "Do you know that that theory has been put forth by some of the greatest of scholars?" -- "No, but I guess that means someone's probably beat me to publishing it, eh? :)". Then we got into a discussion about how if one looks at modern architecture, it consists of flat buildings, whereas older ones always had something pointing upward because they believed in a Higher Reality, but in the modern world, there is this feeling that this is it, that there is nothing higher.

La hawla wa la quwwata illa bi'Llah.

Then came the highlight of our tour of Roma...the Masjid -- the biggest masjid in all of Europe! What we got from the Arabs living there was that the Saudis funded the building of this HUGE Islamic Centre which houses a masjid, a library, a school, board-rooms, and beautiful lush green exterior grounds.

Earlier we found our way to another tiny little masjid tucked away behind some stores. The sisters' side was empty, but Salik managed to make a few friends on the brothers' side -- the Muslims there seemed always pleased and excited to see fellow Muslims.

...and our last stop in Roma were the Spanish Steps and the Trevi Fountain, a nice place to just sit down and have some yummy Italian icecream!

...and that was it for our time in Roma!

NOTE: All images on this blog are copyrighted and cannot be used without the express permission of Salikah Al-Tariq. All rights reserved.

Thursday, September 14, 2006


We started our journey in Roma, Italia and it turned out to be quite different from what we had imagined. No fancy villas, just apartment buildings and streets that were quite littered for a nation with the reputation that it has...the subway trains had so much graffitti that we couldn't see out the windows to know what stop we were at! The odd part of the transportation system was that aside from the underground metro, we never saw people pay a fare, there was nobody collecting a fare (in fact, on the buses the driver was sealed off from the passengers)...there were just these odd yellow ticket 'stampers' that everyone it was pretty much a free ride -- it wasn't until we got back home that we found out Italy's been running on an 'honour system'...and all that time we thought the yellow ticket stampers were just some guy's really bad idea that the country gave up on!
The first place to see was, of course, the Roman Colosseum...and oh, what a site! It's quite the feeling to stand inside something so ancient, so large, so famous -- something one has seen many a time in photos and history textbooks -- and suddenly one has been transported to it and is standing in it! We could not help it but wonder how human beings could have built something so sophisticated, so long ago, without any of the technology we have today...and yet they produced a far better architectural piece than anything in the modern world...
A view from the outside on a clear, blue summer day...

A magnificent view of the interior. In the centre are what used to be dungeons that held gladiators and animals...the floor has eroded to expose the place of much cruelty that lay beneath the far back one can see the floor being restored.

To be continued, bi idhnillah

NOTE: All images on this blog are copyrighted and cannot be used without the express permission of Salikah Al-Tariq. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

SunniPath Fall 2006...Sign up now!

Register now for the Fall 2006 Semester at SunniPath...awesome new courses in addition to the excellent ones previously offered!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006



Assalamu'alaykum wa Rahmatullah wa Barakatuhu,

Alhamdulillah, back from my summer off...visited Rome, Athens, Istanbul and coming shortly insha'Allah!

A breathtakingly beautiful view of the Aya Sofya at Sunrise.

All praise is due to Allah. Peace and Blessings on the Chosen One, his family, companions and all those who follow him until the last day.