ALL · REFLECTIONS · RELIGION · SELF HELP

Peace is Deep within

peace-1107538_1920.jpgWalk into your heart,
Sigh.. breathe, you’re in!
Fetch that eclipsed spot of light,
Reside therein!

This is where you belong,
Where you will complete the song,
Your heart knows best,
Your heart is the most honest!

Take refuge in it, feel at home,
Revive the long deserted connection,
With the One, your Creator, your home.
Lost is he who forsake the connection.

He knows who is in need of peace,
He is the Creator of peace
He is the one and only,
Bestower of peace.

Look into your heart,
For that clot therein.
Never turn your back to your heart,
For peace is, indeed, deep within.

maha.

ALL · RELIGION

My Heart Is in Mecca

mecca-397943_1920We’re about to celebrate the best days of the year, even better than the 10 concluding days of Ramadan. The blessed 1st Ten days of Dhul Hijjah are about to start, moving our hearts from a state of negligence to that of awareness and our condition from that of disobedience to that of complete submission to the One and Only Lord of the Universe,  Almighty Allah, Exalted be He. So if you cannot be in Mecca this year, allow your heart to fly to its Creator.

Continue reading “My Heart Is in Mecca”

ALL · MOST VIEWED · POLITICAL · REFLECTIONS · RELIGION

My Take on the Current Political Turmoil in Egypt!

duality-1003292_640I know I must speak up, I know I am expected to speak up, and aware of my responsibility to speak up, being affiliated with “Islamic Awareness” and what relates to it. Well yes I feel the urge to share my standpoint, even though I don’t know how to put it in words. But I’ve also grown so weary of the ranting political jabbering that’s been going on for two years or more, and worse than ever over the past year, since a figure representing an Islam-affiliated  group came to power, and I wish not to echo the repeatedly used and largely erroneous term “Political Islam”, for indeed there’s nothing called or should be called political Islam …

Continue reading “My Take on the Current Political Turmoil in Egypt!”

ALL · MEDITATION · MOST VIEWED · REFLECTIONS · RELIGION · SELF HELP

Inspirational Prayer

candle-471821_1280Praying is one activity telling you you’re alive. One that pours life into your life, connecting to your Creator, your Lord, asking of all that you want and need, and speaking your mind and heart out!  Here’s one prayer I have stumbled upon and have found very inspirational, regardless of the religion of its sayer, it’s an inspirational prayer to approach Almighty Allah…

Continue reading “Inspirational Prayer”

ALL · RELIGION

Voices from the Past- Huda Shaarawi

Huda Shaarawi
Huda Shaarawi

This post is a Tribute to the late Muslim Egyptian feminist Huda Shaarawi.

Huda is a woman who helped organize the largest women’s anti-British demonstration in Egypt. A woman who helped organising the historic Muhammad Ali’s hospital, known as Mubarrat Muhammad Ali. Huda is most famous for creating the first philanthropic society run by Egyptian women, offering social services for needy women and poor children. Continue reading “Voices from the Past- Huda Shaarawi”

ALL · MEDITATION · RELIGION · REVIEWS · SELF HELP

My view of the Law of Attraction: Interview on LOA Today

41eeUB5+M9L._SL500_SS500_Late in January, I was approached by LOA Today (Law of Attraction Today) who kindly asked to host me in an Interview on their Online Radio show carrying the same name to discuss my view of The Law of Attraction, Rhonda’s book “The Secret” as a Muslim and writer who wrote a lot about Islam and related subjects.

It was a good chance to put right much misconception that sprouted and spread with the massive debate the publication of “The Secret” stirred some 7 years ago or so.I’ve written twice about the Law of Attraction, once in 2008 and that was in a LIfestyle Magazine, and another on the online portal I launched a couple of years ago (The Muslim Tribune: http://www.muslimtribune.org). I found it interesting to present the Islamic view of the notion of the law of attraction and in which way does it fit within the Islamic doctrine and the Muslims’ perception of fate, life and divine wisdom.

The famous quote of The Secret: “What you think about you bring about”- reflects to a great extent the core of the Law of Attraction, the essence of the book and referred to by its authors as “the most powerful law in the universe”.

In my view, the foremost idea that represents the core of The Secret is that one should watch his thinking and avoid indulgence in negative thoughts and negative events; i.e. fear! I see it not contradicting the Islamic faith in anyway. On the contrary it demonstrates a very important idea in Islam, that is optimism and applying positive thinking. If one is focussing all the time on the upsetting thoughts and incidents in life life, he’ll continue receiving depressing things. Whereas if he’s focusing on the good things then he’s more exposed to the possibility of receiving more good events. I.e. his thoughts are like a magnet, and according to the Law of Attraction, “likes attract likes”.

The reason the law of attraction and The Secret were received with such harsh criticism among some Muslim communities is perhaps more related to the flawed assertion of an absolute power hidden in human beings and that they are, alone, responsible for the happenings befalling them.

According to The Secret, “your life is a mirror of your thoughts”, and thus you’re the one who’s responsible for what happens to you, whether it’s good or bad. Surely I oppose the absoluteness of this statements yet cannot deny the fact that it is to a great extent true and  can actually relate it to one beautiful Hadith Qudusi wherein Allah says:

“I am as My servant expects Me to be”.
Related by al-Buhkari (also by Muslim, at-Tirmidhi and Ibn-Majah)

Also the book explains that you first need to know what you want to happen to you then ask for it (step number one to enact the law of attraction), believe that it will be fulfilled (step number two), then prepare yourself to receive what you wished for and actually visualize yourself getting hold of it and it shall come to you; (step number three).

Replacing what The Secret calls the Universal Power with Allah, you’ll find what it says is somewhat conforming with what Allah commands us; i.e. that we supplicate with conviction and without having any doubts that He will answer our prayers. Allah commands us, Muslims, to avoid any doubtful feelings when supplicating to Him that He is listening and shall fulfil our prayers, as doubt hinders one’s prayers, and that’s the greatest reason our prayers are sometimes not fulfilled.

Another point discussed in The Secret is gratefulness and gratitude. Sure you should feel grateful for the good things in your life and busy your heart and mind with feeling joyous for the great things you already have instead of feeling sorry for those you don’t have. The Secret says that by so doing, you’re inviting more events to befall you. Again avoiding the absolute control of human power alluded to here, this is more or less conforms with what Allah says in the Quran;

“And when your Lord warned: If you are grateful I shall increase My favors upon you …” – Qur’an (14:7)

There is so much to Islam and its positive impact on life that needs to be explored and yet we miss out on by failing to recognise the great wisdom of Allah.

Have absolute faith in Allah and His power and wisdom. This is The Secret to a good life!!!

Listen to my interview on LOA Today Here

maha

RELIGION

How to Complete Recitation of the Quran Every Month?

“The likeness of the believer who recites the quran is that of a citron, the taste and smell of which are good. The likeness of the believer who does not read the quran is that of a date, the taste of which is good but it has no smell. The likeness of a hypocrite who reads the Qur’an is that of sweet basil, the smell of which is good but its taste is bitter. And the likeness of a hypocrite who does not read the quran is that of a colocynth (bitter apple), the taste of which is bitter and it has no smell.’” (1)

Now that you know and realize how crucial reciting the Quran is, have you ever thought of being among those whose mouth are always watered by the recitation of the Holy Quran?
Think of it, think of the reward and the light it shall provide for you in this Dunya and after your death.
Why don’t you make the Quran part of your daily life and commit to a program of concluding the recitation of the full Quran each month?

Bear in mind that reading the Quran as much will have a mental and spiritual impact that’s beyond that’s physical act itself- that, not to mention the reward.

Concluding the recitation of the full Quran each month, following the proper rules of recitation and contemplating the meaning of its verses, will decipher the keys of the wisdom meant to be delivered through it. It will acquaint you with commands and laws of Allah.
It shall also pour much peace and calmness into your heart, assert your faith, and attach your heart more to Allah, your Lord, the One and Only God and Creator of the Universe, the One and Only Lord of the Worlds.

It shall also help you memorize many portions of it, an act the reward of which is too immense to explain in this brief post.

Furthermore, constant recitation of the Holy Quran, i.e. fulfilling the recitation of its full text each month, will help you reflect on its meanings and understand it more easily.

How can you complete the recitation of the Whole Quran Each Month, making it hence, part of your everyday life?

Let me provide you with a simple calculation that will divide the whole chapters of the Quran amongst the month’s 30 days (+ or – a day ).
– The Quran comprises of 114 Surahs or Chapters, that is 30 Sections. Each section comprises of approximately 20 pages (according to the most commonly used Mus’hafs or codex)
– Each day, we, Muslims, are ordered to commit to Five main obligatory prayers: 1. The Dawn Prayer (Fajr), 2. The Noon Prayer (Zuhr), 3. The Afternoon Prayer (Asr), 4.The Evening Prayer (Maghreb), and 5. The Night Prayer (Ishaa).
After each of the Five prescribed prayers, if you took a few minutes to recite 4 pages of the Quran, by the end of the day, you’ll have finished reciting 20 pages of the Holy Quran, that is One Full section of the Quran’s 30 Sections.
If you did the same each day, that is 4 Pages X 5 Prayers (One Full Section) X 30 Days (one month), you’d complete the recitation of the whole Quran by the end of each month.

And for women, you can easily substitute for your menstruation period by dividing the Sections of the Quran you’re supposed to recite during each day of this expemted period among the month’s 4 weekends, particularly Fridays, where the reward is maximized.

Another option is reading through your PC using a authentic soft copy of the Quran, even during your menstruation period.

This is a simple change which, if applied to your normal daily life that will have an immense impact that you shall sense it in this Dunya (worldly life), and the Other.

So be wise, do not compromise such great reward and much needed guidance.
May Allah accept the best of your deeds- Amen!

Maha.–

(1)- A Sahih Hadith narrated by Abu Mousa Al Ashari, found in Sunan Ibn Majah, Chapter No: 1, The Book of the Sunnah. (Translation used is from (Ahadith.co.uk)

ALL · RELIGION

Munajah

Tonight, as before… I run to Thee
Amid Life’s submerge, I take refugee in Thee

I stand at the door of  Thou Mercy

In quest for Thou Munificence

Thou Divine Benevolence here I come to seek
I raise my hand and tilt my head earnestly
Over the shades of materialism incubating my heart
Taking over the purity which… herein I beseech You to reinstate

I come to Thee and seek Thou Connection,
The whole universe is void and sure squally
Never did I believe such abyss would contain me,

If not embraced by Thou Rahamat
A dark inclement is what to await me

Invited by Your Divinity I come to Thee
Called upon by intriguing need for the Link, I come to Thee

I appeal to You
Pleading for Your Guidance

Hoping for Your Divine illumination
Without which I roam endlessly seeking direction

Unless blessed by Thou blissful insight
Thou Will, Power… Thou Wisdom

For a sign to the Straight Path I shall continue the search
Thou art the Lone Light illuminating my stalk
Thou Art the Cloak of warmth shielding me
Me.. Thy poor Worshiper

I come to Thee
Implore for Thy Light

A sky-lit Life is dark
But for light offered by Thou Blessings

An inert heart is that,
Which is deprived of Thy Love
A sightless eye is that,
Which didn’t shed a tear of repentance before Thee

I come to Thee
Again I come to Thee
And forever I shall appeal to Thee
A soul that’s shredded by an incessant need for Thee
Maha.

ALL · RELIGION · SELF HELP

Open Letter to Sisters

Dear Sisters,

Know that you’re entrusted with a good share of responsibility and Know you’re up to it, only if you hit the right road.

You were assigned a dear legacy to pass on to future generations.

You were gifted with wisdom upon which depends the order of human societies.

God created you beautiful, so be grateful and take a good care of your beauty,

Maintain it and Protect it.

Act as a Lady,

Walk as a Lady,

Sit as a Lady,

And Talk as a Lady.

Be A Lady…

Serve your parents.

Keep your family connected.

Don’t forget to Supplicate,

It purifies your soul and instils in you a well-needed sense of security.

Be Beautiful, and you shall see beauty in everything,

Bring out beauty in things and people around you.

Always smile, it adds to your beauty.

Don’t shop for the sake of shopping.

Appreciate spirituality.

Have sometime for yourself.

Watch your cravings.

Don’t submit to depression.

Watch what you feed your mind and spirit.

Too much television blocks your creativity.

Be careful with who you seek out for guidance and advice.

Eat well,

Stay healthy,

Watch your weight,

Care for your skin.. hair

And be covered.

Be pious,

A pious mother equals a whole generation of pious men and women.

Be like a Gem, preserved and wrapped for protection

You know, more than anyone else what reveals your physical beauty and what covers it.

Let not sick souls steal evil looks of your beauty,

You’re much previous than that.

Lower your gaze.

Dress modestly, it makes you more valuable like a precious gift covered and not exposed.

Dream no more but rather Aspire

Trigger ambitions inside you and attend to them,

Dead is he/she who has no aim to live up to.

Think Great

Busy your mind with positive thinking,

And your heart with Love

Watch your talk

And chose your words,

Don’t joke much,

It waters down your elegance.

Avoid loud voice,

It bruises your gentleness.

Attend to God’s commands and never resist them,

Contemplate if you wish but never compromise,

Watch your manners.

Speak eloquently.

Be Truthful.

Read a lot.

Dare to speak your values and beliefs,

And don’t compromise,

Just chose the right platform

Be wise.

Accept your limitations

We’re more feelers than thinkers,

We’re emotional.. Nothing wrong about that

But we’re not lunatics, Allah gifted us with good thinking and influential skills,

Have you ever wondered why our wombs were entrusted with carrying humans for nine months, despite our feeble bodies compared to men?

That’s to establish the initial bond, humans’ foremost connection with their life to come.

It’s for us to spark this link which we shall need in raising them,

For we influence more, and indeed impact more.

Heed that and feel proud of it,

Make the best of it.

Embrace your nature and don’t resist it.

Be productive.

Shine…

And be a source of light for others.

Set a good model.

Feel cared for,

You’re in God’s eyes

Looked after, watched over, and Loved….

Dress well,

Have self-respect.

Value yourself.

Preserve your chastity and remain precious

Stay positive,

Speak positive,

And see the positive side of others.

Be like a flower,

Radiating nice fragrance

And I mean not perfume here,

But tenderness, modesty and purity.

Be calm, assured and help those in need.

Be like a mother, entrusted with the well-being of her child,

Providing care, wisdom, and support.

Be strong, yet gentle.

Don’t forget your’re a Lady.

Don’t mistake boldness with confidence.

Have self-confidence, but never Supercilious

Keep your boundaries and ensure their being respected.

Set the rules and watch them followed.

Don’t compromise a due distance when dealing with guys,

It’s protective for both of you,

Make sure such distance is never breached Or crisscrossed

Do not adhere to a so-called Guy-Lady intimate Friendship, if it ever existed, it brought confusion, problems and pain to one of the sides.

You do a better job stopping that form happening.

It might make them grow attached to you, how would you control that?

On the other hand, what if you developed some crush on one, friend, but he didn’t develop same feelings for you…

Put the distance and do not mind being criticized for keeping a distance.

Friendship has one of two possibilities..

1)Friends growing attached, which is the normal scenario, Or 2) Friends refraining and taking one another lightly.

Can you accept yourself growing attached to a male friend, whom you trust so much, admire his mentality so much, and end-up comparing him to your husband one day?

Or would you aspire for the other possibility? Then I advice you to save yourself the headache.

I see the prevailing confusion and depression among both genders as the outcome of breached boundaries between ladies and guys, despite good intentions.

However I don’t mean the society should split into male and female poles.

But distance is what I come to stress.

Keep the distance and boundaries watched.

Last but not least,

Sisters,

I beg you to please preserve and maintain your Fitra, it’s the best form upon which you were brought to life, so don’t mess with it.

Yours sincerely,
Maha.

ALL · MEDITATION · RELIGION

I Saw Allah through my Heartsight

This form of Munajah I use in here, and which differs a bit from my previous Munajat, sums up a great deal of my life in the search for an interpretation to many calls inside me, calls that may seem to have different voices but were all coming from the same destination, they were heavenly calls to know that my pursuit should be a seashore for the feeble heart and my path should be reaching out to Allah, in whichever way.

May we all find a way to Connect to the One, for it’s during those very precious moments when we vividly feel the presence of the Almighty around us as though we can see Him… when we feel the well-aspired Wasl, or Link that breathes life into our needy souls.

Oh Allah… It was during the early stages of my life when I started facing what I back then perceived as serious setbacks and I claimed to be strong enough not to refer to anybody for support but I knocked at Your door and I found You.

I stood before You exposing my vulnerability which I skillfully hid form others, yet again I found You, pouring Your Merciful Blessings to heal my wounds, shielding me with Your holy cloak of Kindness that made me seek no one else but You.

I was Young, weak and fearful, but I found You .. to fill the void that separated me from my being.

I sought out to You and I never ceased to find You.

I rose up again, lively triumphant and still I found You, happy to see me rejoicing the end of lengthy woes combat…

I rose up strong, yet growing more needy of You,

And yet again I found You.

As though there’s a vow, a deal we stuck together, that whenever I seek Thou help I’d find Thee

It was on that morning I woke up to the warmth of the Sunrays You ordered to reach me and rub my shoulders.

And I was lively happy again, like a flower watered by Thou Love.

Sometimes I asked why is it that You order destiny to stand in the way of me referring to a friend to open up in the seek out for comfort…

Some other times I found it hard to comprehend why You tend to prolong my cure.

And I knew, assured, that this was for me to know that there’s no soothing hand but Yours.

Now, as I stand at Your door, I confess, You are my sole Power.

People ask why I am overly secretive, rarely seek help, I guess here I provide the answer… I have found the Ultimate source of support, the ultimate power that transcends by order from You; The Supreme in Greatness… The Granter of Security… The Bestower of Honor and The Humiliator!

It just amazed me and still does how close You always be.

At the time I fell sad I found You..

And when I rose up healed I’d still find You

Who or what else I would need?

My heart went out for things, wishes and others, but it came back to find You.

When I feared I found You.

I got fulfilled to know You.

I wavered to seek out to You, and still.. found You.

The more You draw me near, the more I need You.

I traveled seeking a new homeland and I found You.

And when I felt this was not it I still found You.

I traveled all the distance back to start all over again, and I found You.

Everything changed but never You.

I sought out differently each time, and yet every time I found You.

I lived as a sincere introvert, and I found the great company in You

I got out to live among others, but then again I ran to You.

I grew up.. changed a bit.. got busier may be, but I always return to You,

To find You always watching over.

And at times when I got distracted and the distance between us grew bigger,

You sent gentle reminders upon me that it’s been a while since I last appealed to You.

And I’d heed the sign,

To come back again and still find You.

Running to You, I realize how I long for those dear moments of Connection You bestow upon me…

At times of extreme hardships I found You waiting for me to ask and You’d always Give.

And at merry times You never ceased to remind me that what I enjoy is from You,

So I’d thank and You’d Give.. even more.

Years have passed and I grew older and yet more needy of You.

I lived a lot, reaching a point where I wonder why I went all that long way and what for, the answer is yet to come,
And I’d continue to ask You.

Your Holy Words dictate that You created Mankind and Jinns to worship You,

And we’d still go astray,

And You’d still forgive,

I went to explore nature and I found You.

I found You among the graceful mountains,

Where you revealed Your Divine Self upon Your Messengers

And spoke to them.

I resorted to meditation,

But I found in You a better resort.

I read about human laws and flaws and I found You.

I found You in my words, thoughts and senses.

I met with great minds and dark hearts, pure and ailing souls.. those who’re successful and those still needy of Thou Guidance to show them the way, and I found them all on the seek out for Thou Mercy to beckon their footsteps, but each in his own way, even when they not the least realize it.

I met nobody who’s not in need of You.

I found You in all beauties.

And on every spot of land I found You.

Everything around me changes,

And yet continues to change,

But never You.

May You always instill Thou Love in my humble heart,

And never deny me those Wasl moments I live with Thee,

It’s those moments that breath life into my life,

Bless me with Your Love till my last breath.

Maha.

ALL · MOST VIEWED · REFLECTIONS · RELIGION · SELF HELP

The Power of Knowing

“You have to start knowing yourself so well that you begin to know other people. A piece of us is in every person we can ever meet.”
– John D. MacDonald

Right said Sir… Unlocking the keys of one’s persona, polarities, and complexities will guide you to comprehend the most convoluted lessons, facts, and what seem to be obscurities of life. And it helps you as well see through people and get to know them more sufficiently.

“Knowing”… It might seem like a very general word to the extent some of you may read a slight of confusion through the headline of my post. Well… It is general, general enough to stand as the core of any enlightenment, achievement, resolution, or end of any nuisance… Those who happen to appear in our lives taking the form of whatever you want to name it, friends, acquaintances, peers, clients, or even enemies and people we struggle as a result of their presence in our lives are actually carrying a message providing a glimpse of our share of knowing in this world, yes they are teachers in disguise.

Take a moment to scan through the most significant phases or situations in your live: moments of extreme melancholy or the opposite, moments of truth with thyself… emotional ebbs and flows. You’ll be amazed at how, compared to your sense of obscurity back then, you now feel things were very clear and made a lot of sense, it’s the quality of knowing through this situation on a deferred stage that put such analysis so appealing, austere, and shrewd now.

The situations you’re revisiting now haven’t changed, even people involved are the same, it’s your level of knowing that has changed, and I wish not to use the word knowledge here so that not get wrongly misinterpreted and mixed with the popular meaning of knowledge, commonly used to relate to having a wealth of information stored in your mind.

Knowing provides the reason for each and every step in your journey in life, you need a reason to act and you need a reason to direct your feelings and set a stance from all matters in life. That being said, you should now have no excuses for relapses over bad experiences and memories.

Just “know” that such situations were meant to take place that particular way for you to heed the message sent to you by the Divine. They’re sent to you to actually “know”, know more about life, about yourself, others, and above anything else, know more about Destiny.

You need to know to love- same way you need to know to hate. You need to know to set limits for your tolerance. Knowing yourself is the only way to know about other matters in life, it’s the gateway to know the true essence of life and the role you’re meant to claim and perfect to help others.

Another level of knowing is related to knowing more about matters and things to actually value them. You don’t value things you don’t know about. You won’t value your new car unless you know the variety of its functionalities, same way you wouldn’t value your new cell phone if you don’t know how to use its applications and work them to their best.

And you won’t value your surroundings: plants, mountains, skies and other nature’s wealth, unless you have at least the basic info about those. You wouldn’t even decide on which religion you should embrace unless you learn and “know” about the religion you want to follow.

And here I’m referring to mere knowledge in the exact meaning of the word, where the quality of knowing manifests at its best.

Also knowing about human nature helps you sort out many of the daily life confusions and dilemmas. You understand your flows and drawbacks same way you’ll know your true potential.

Knowing and learning about human nature soothes your worries, for you “know” that you’re not a unique case, and that whatever difficulty you may be facing in dealing with your mood plights and all uncertainties that haunt you every now and then are the same ones out battling everybody on planet earth, so you’re not alone.

Knowing also saves you a good deal of troubles and helps you get out of difficulties and many obstacles you’d come across because you “don’t know”. For instance, knowing the culture of the country you’re living in, whether your homeland or some foreign state you happen to be living in saves you the troubles you’d face if you violated the norms and traditions belonging to this country without knowing you’re doing so.

Likewise, knowing the laws enact and updated currently in the city you live in would definitely save you the trouble of becoming a criminal… again, without knowing so.

I shall end my post with another and may be the Chief level of knowing that reveals the magnificence of this POWER… It’s knowing The Creator.

Knowing The Creator of this massive Universe… Knowing Allah is the only way to feel connected to the Divine, to love Him, and feel safe and protected.

Knowing your Creator helps you know yourself, work on your drawbacks, using a hypothetical comparison to His supreme qualities and adjust to them. Knowing Allah, helps you minimize your faults and control your sense of guilt and not let it torment you, “knowing that he is “Al Rahman, the Merciful”.

It sets you free.

Knowing Allah and knowing each and every quality of His shall also help you stay confident and assured that with such qualities being enact, you are shielded against anything and anybody in the world, including yourself, for sometimes, you are your staunchest enemy.

In a word; knowing saves your life and adds to its splendor…

Now knowing the reimbursement of “knowing, I appeal to you to equip yourself with this POWER …

Maha Youssuf

ALL · REFLECTIONS · RELIGION

My Grandfather’s Biography

Youssuf Omar 1_0.previewDr. Youssuf Hassan Omar (Arabic: دكتور يوسف حسن عمر), (July 1907- April 1980) was an Egyptian Linguist and professor of Arabic Language who studied and taught at the prominent Al Azhar University for long years, during which he won a number of awards, held senior university and governmental positions and greatly contributed, through lectures and books he authored, to the overall development of Arabic Language studies and related sciences that left a credited impact in the religious teachings and education at the time.

He’s one of the many academics of Al Azhar University who influenced the religious, social and education realm not just in Egypt but in several other Arab and Muslim countries as well.

Dr. Youssuf was one of the key names in his specialty, who demonstrated unique skills in unlocking many of puzzling characteristics of the Arabic Language which helped interpreting Islamic statements and Qur’anic verses through relatively new approaches, given the close relation between the Arabic language and the statements communicated through the Qur’an.

Early life

Born into poverty in a primitive village in Souhaj in Upper Egypt, Dr Youssuf came as a divine reward to his parents, especially his father, a low-ranking soldier, whose optimum goal in life was to give his country effective offspring of men and women who’d score a lasting positive impact and help him leave an honorable legacy behind.

Unkind living conditions he had to put up with never broke him, but made him more resolute and determined to claim a position among the renowned big names of Al Azhar scholars and academics.

Despite the poor and primitive background he was born into, Youssuf was keen on scoring notable successes during the early years of his education, which started in the popular Kottabs; primitive schools wherein Egyptians, and most Arabs at that time used to send their children to memorize the Holy Qur’an and get a glimpse of Islamic teachings and basics of the Arabic language. And there, in the small classes of the Egyptian Kottabs, Dr Youssuf received his first certificate ever, officially declaring that he has fully memorized the Holly Qur’an.

This encouraged his father to give him special attention to proceed with more successes in his education and later on send him to complete his studies at Al Azhar University in the Egyptian capital; a new living hope for the family.

Youssuf was lucky to survive the harsh conditions he lived during his childhood, puberty and early youth. And finally made to Al Azhar University, where he decided to study Arabic Language and Linguistics.

Having conquered the callous challenges he faced since his birth, Youssuf set a good example to his eight brothers and sisters, most of which couldn’t make it to University. He was an encouragement to his younger brothers, especially, Saeed, the youngest, who looked up to him and decided to embark on another journey to success that’s quite similar to his elder brother’s.

Marriage and early career

Staying alone in Cairo at his early youth didn’t sit well with the relatively conservative nature of the family. Youssuf‘s father decided that he should get married before he moves to Cairo for a long settlement to continue his studies at Al Azhar.

Marrying a member of the family was an optimal characteristic of village communities and various sections of the Egyptian societies at the time, and Youssuf’s family was not an exception. Youssuf’s cousin was then selected as the wife of the Sheikh-to-be.

He might not have been a well-known public figure, but his unique, in-depth yet easy to grasp analysis of the Arabic Language rules and Linguistics earned him a special position among his counterparts, including key figures of religious scholars and academics in Egypt and across the Arab world, such as Sheikh Baqouri, Sheikh Sha’rawy and Sheikh kishk, some of the his close friends who accompanied him in a great portion of his life journey.

Family

Despite all challenges facing him and his family in general Dr Youssuf remained resolute and determined, digging is way up to a renowned position among reputable names of Egyptian linguists and scholars particularly in Al Azhar University.

Career achievements and awards

1932: Graduated from the Department of Arabic Language and Literature- Al Azhar University

– 1937: Acquired PHD in Arabic Language and Linguistics

– 1953: 1961- Member of Al Azhar University mission to Saudi Arabia, in which he was accompanied by the renowned Sheikh Mohamed Metwally Al Sha’rawy. Taught at the Saudi Arabian University as a professor of Arabic Language and Linguistics

– 1968: 1971- Member of Al Azhar University mission to Libya- Taught at Beni Ghazi University as a professor of Arabic Language and Linguistics

– 1965: 1966- Hired as the Dean of Faculty of Arabic Language and Linguistics, Al Azhar University upon his return from his mission in Libya

– 1967: Hired as the Head of Al Azhar Academies

– 1968: Acquired the National Badge of Honor.

Published works

Dr. Youssuf authored four books all dealing with Arabic Language and Linguistics shedding light on a variety of language principles and Linguistic approaches.

His published contribution were crowned by his last and probably the biggest venture “Al Radi’s Reply to Al Kafeya” (Arabic: شرح الرضى على الكافية). This massive publication comprised of five volumes provided a corpus of information and creative endeavour delving into many Linguistics principles and views which enriched and enhanced the mainstream approaches of many of his counterparts at the time and motivated many academics to take the lead in introducing more pragmatic and innovative approaches in unlocking Arabic language mysteries which was reflected in the evolvement of new theories interpreting underlying Islamic statements, with a particular focus on Qur’anic verses.

— To be continued on several stages…

Maha Youssuf

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Simplified Introduction to Sufism

Amidst the growing materialism of our modern societies, I found myself experiencing a growing attachment to Sufism and the spiritual experience of seeking truth about the essence of life, however, this doesn’t mean I’m considering becoming a Sufi.

But before going through details regarding the Sufi practice and doctrine, pros and cons and what’s been said about it, I need to stress one essential fact- that all Islamic traditions or schools, whether Sunnah, Shia, or Sufism should be regarded with equal respect.

A lot has been said about Sufism- and lot of people have actually deviated from truth in explaining Sufism- going so far as to label it a Bidaah- a term used to describe any un-Islamic practice that is being faultily linked to the religion of Islam.

A lot of those who strive to know what it really means to have inner peace and enjoy ultimate state of spiritual tranquility would like to gain insight into what Sufism entails.

The most commonly used explanation is that the term Sufism is derived from the word Suf, or wool in Arabic, referring to the primitive material of cloaks early Muslim ascetics used to wear, an emphasis on the Sufi followers’ rejection of the growing materialism of life.

Other scholars, in explaining Sufism, suggested that the word originated from the Arabic word Safa, stressing the process of spiritual purification and purgation of heart and soul a Sufi experiences.

There’s yet a third explanation to the term Sufism, offered by Al-Biruni, a 10th century Persian Muslim scientist, physicist, astronomer, chemist, historian, geographer,  mathematician,  and philosopher, who linked the word “Sufeya” to Sophia, or “wisdom” in Greek – But this explanation was refuted by the vast majority of  present Sufi scholars.

Bottom line, Sufism is not a cult or a sect that is separable from Islam as some mistakenly believe, it’s simply a practice of devotion linked to one’s (a Muslim’s) pursuit of the Traiqat (or path) to Allah through love, contemplation, and meditation. A Sufi’s heart is always occupied with Allah (SWT) and nothing but Allah, and this what the Almighty refers to as “Ihsan”.

To attain this goal, a Sufi is in a constant state of inner peace and harmony with his spiritual being, seeking the Ultimate Truth  and particular closeness to the Almighty, and this experience of devotion is what takes him eventually beyond this physical existence.

The Sufi doctrine and practice is usually referred to by scholars as the mystical branch of Islam.

At first Sufism sprang in a place near Iraq. Almost all traditional Sufi scholars or teachers trace their Tariqas or schools and so-called chains of transmission back to our beloved Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) through Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib, his cousin and son-in-law, but there’s one Sufi school, named Naqshbandi that traces its origin to Abu Bakr Al Siddiq. Later on, as it is commonly believed, the practice of Tasawwof or Sufism, quickly spread throughout different parts of the Arab region, including countries that had been ruled by the Byzantines.

Moreover, some scholars explained that  “Ahl Al Suffa”  are originally some of the companions of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) who decided to dedicate much of their lives to fasting, praying and pleading for salvation.

But corruption among present Sufi schools or Tariqas shouldn’t be overlooked or downplayed. There are Sufi schools, the masters of which defend deviant beliefs that have no links to Islam and actually elevated themselves to the state of Saints and Gods.

Allah describes such people in the Qur’an saying:

“Surely, those whom you invoke besides Allâh are slaves like you. So invoke them and let them answer you if you are truthful.” (Qur’an 7:194)

Maha Youssuf

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The Taqwacore: An Alternative Genre of Art Or a Scream of Suppressed Identity??!!

A cult, new culture, or just a new trend capturing the attention of Muslim Youths in the West?!

Regardless of the many issues and controversies this question may arise, Al Taqwacore is a “phenomenon” that has deeply penetrated through and rapidly  spread among Muslims living in Western societies in recent years that worth an accurate stopover to measure its impact and real magnitude. Their controversy arouses from the fact that they tend to infiltrate those foreign societies, wherein many Muslims feel they live as outcasts, arguing they represent their communities beyond the radical thinking of some modern thinkers and scholars.

From a novel authored by American convert Michael Muhammad Knight, who embraced Islam at the age of 16 after reading Malcolm X’s biography, to a new genre of music with its own styles and stars, and on a later stage a movie directed by Omar Majid,  and very soon a documentary, the Taqwacore, has evolved as a new culture, or as some like to refer to it a new cult that sprout and quickly spread among Western Muslims who seek a culture of art that speaks out against all biased interpretations spoken of by the mainstream medias and “radicals”.

Like the novel, the Taqwacore bands aim to break stereotypes their own way, always raising questions related to the identity of Muslims living in the West, and placing  Orthodox Islam in confrontation with contemporary life and hip-hop lifestyles and music.

One cannot help but appreciate the bands’stars’ attempt to invade the realm of music leaving an Islamic influence that cannot be overlooked, whether for its controversy or strong impact.

First let me explain for those who don’t have the scarce knowledge about the Arabic culture and language, what the term Taqwacore relates to. The word comprises of two sections, the first, Taqwa, is an Arabic noun meaning fear of Allah and piety, while the second half, core, is derived from the English word Hardcore, a sub-genre of punk rock music.

The Taqwacore music however scored the furthest outreach to Muslim Youths. Inspired by and tackling one dominating theme addressing challenges facing the Muslims, specifically Muslim Youth living in the U.S. and the West on a more general level.

Some critics, who closely followed up on the evolvement of AL Taqwacore musical bands and their momentum development, see this movement as a cry of anguish reflecting the suppression the Muslims living in the West struggle against.

Earlier this year, the novel was made into a movie starring Noureen DeWulf, Rasika Mathur, and Bobby Naderi. The movie is set to be released in a few months time.

It’s noteworthy that the novel was censored in the UK for limited period of time due to the sensitive issues it touches on, also to contain the backfire triggered by the blasphemous cartoons and published by Jylland Posten nearly three years ago ridiculing Prophet Muhammad (PBH).

Whether Taqwacore and similar initiative will reap their intended results I know not, but it seems to me that Muslims living in the West positively insist on engaging themselves in the convoy of modern achievements. This strong will power to create convenient alternatives that represents them, worth attention and consideration.

On the whole, I find continuous attempts by Muslims, regardless of all challenges and difficulties they face in their endless pursuit to integrate to the Western societies, and actually managing to score positive initiatives credited for relative understanding of the Westerners, quite remarkable.  Many attempts have succeeded in reaching out to the Western communities, calling on them to understand their needs and traditions, traditions of a minority section that rejects staying outcast or treated as an observing group of foreigners the presence of whom is not very much welcomed by the original citizens of those countries.

Taqwacores, this subculture, as they chose to refer to themselves, do not seek domination in the Music arena, they only seek being heard and accepted, by some Muslims who adopt “radical thinking” as they consider it on one hand, and Westerners, who do not welcome their wish to integrate into their home communities, on the other. It’s kind of a scream of resentment and rejection of much of what the Muslims have to face at those foreign nations.

This article is not intended to be a review of the Taqwacore, as a new school of art comprising several branches ranging from literature, music, movies, or documentaries, but rather to provide a glimpse of what this new culture or trend, entails and promotes, raising a set of simple questions with the aim of understanding the impact, conceptual ethics and controversy aroused by this phenomenon that infiltrated Muslim Americans, and is being sharply watched by rejecters from both sides, Muslims and Westerners across the world.

Whether The Taqwacore has fulfilled that efficiently or not I wish not to impose my own interpretation, leaving that question to your taste and to more informed scholars to answer.

Also where this trend or subculture is heading for, only time will tell.

Maha Youssuf

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Dear Troubled Soul… Where Are You from Divine Love?

silhouette-809145_1920The only way you can answer this critical question is to pause for a while, blackout from the noise of modern life we’re all trapped in, scan the world around you and contemplate- Delve deep into your hidden soul and browse through your most intricate dilemmas and spiritual conflicts to try and pinpoint your most powerful talent and values. How do you see the world and how far do you feel connected to this universe bursting with life around you? This, and only this will put your foot on the path leading to the ultimate truth about Life, and your intended role in it. It shall also tell you a lot about your self, how pure is your spirit- and if contaminated it shall also tell you what the cure would be so that you practice, embrace, and genuinely feel the Divine Love

Meditate…

Connect to your subconscious…

Listen to this fragile being inside you that is your soul…

Pray…

Make an appeal for Allah’s guidance .. for reconciliation with your spirit…

Plead for true connection with the Divine, seek His Love, ask for it..

Attempt to see the light…

The Divine light that carries remorse and leads to the truth ….

Couldn’t find words that would communicate the core meaning of what I intend to tackle here better than the beautiful poetic lines I’m quoting below by the revered Persian Sufi poet, Mevlana Jalaluddin Muhammad Rumi, may his soul rest in peace.

There is a Water that flows down from Heaven
To cleanse the world of sin by grace Divine.
At last, its whole stock spent, its virtue gone.
Dark with pollution not its own, it speeds
Back to the Fountain of all purities;
Whence, freshly bathed, earthward it sweeps again,
Trailing a robe of glory bright and pure.

Listen to your heart… Listen carefully and ponder over what it says, don’t predict the outcome, just listen…

Hasn’t our beloved Prophet, Muhammad Ibn Abdullah (PBUH), asked us to listen to what our hearts dictate us?

I recall one Hadith transmitted from the Musnads of the two Imams, Ahmad bin Hanbal and Al-Darimi mentioning that Wabisah bin Ma’bad, radiyallahu ‘anhu, said:

“I came to the Messenger of Allah, (PBUH), and he said: “You have come to ask about righteousness ?” ” Yes,” I answered. He said: “Consult your heart. Righteousness is that about which the soul feels tranquil and the heart feels tranquil, and sin is what creates restlessness in the soul and moves to and fro in the Heart, even though people give you their opinion (in your favour) and continue to do so.”

So your heart knows better than what other may advice you, and that because your heart’s originally connected to the Divine, it’s only been contaminated by materialism, so work hard on purifying it to receive the best it has for you.

Never downplay what your heart tells you, for it can, as said in the above Hadith, showing you what is or is not sinful… It protects you against sins, the most disturbing obstacle that would stand in your way of receiving and embracing Divine Love.

Your heart knows a lot, and as pure as it can be, it could be your guiding light in life… Just make sure you keep it pure all the way long…

A deeper look into your inner self, this quite and restless part of  you will whisper its aches, and its own perception and understanding of Life, it shall speak of its thrive for a once strong relation with God… this process known as Itisal… or being Mawsool, an Arabic term meaning being constantly connected to Allah… God, referred to in modern sciences as the Universal Power… And mind you, I’m not speaking of being a Sufi, but I’m calling on you to once again free your soul from a lockup of your own choice and will… Your suffering soul that has been drowned in materialistic needs, sorrows, unnecessary sadness and meaningless pleasures…wants and likes that never matched its nature, and constantly new desires that unconsciously creep into your life …

Unload this burden off your troubled soul to receive the Divine Love…

Replace this tormenting feeling of emptiness with that of worthiness… Your attempt may falter once, may be twice, but you’ll make it.

Rejuvenation of one’s soul may take place anywhere and any time, it doesn’t require a Yoga exercise or a spiritual healing session, and absolutely and it doesn’t need a psychiatric help… It just needs a strong and determined YOU…

You troubled soul… You need to pause for a while, you need to listen to your spiritual whispers that carry the answer to many unanswered questions inside you… You need to discover yourself, why were you brought to this life… What’s your intended role and how to uphold it… What are your hidden powers and embrace them… You troubled soul, you need sometime out from this never-resolved tension in your life… Take a break to comprehend the foremost truth about life- the truth that you failed to grasp throughout the course of your busy life, and part of which is your need for Divine Love to keep you going…

maha.