Monday, April 28, 2008

Mary, the Mother of Jesus.


By: Aisha Stacey

Mary, the Mother of Jesus (part 1 of 2): Who is Mary?

It may surprise many people to learn that Mary is one of the most esteemed and respected women in Islam and that the Quran gives her great importance. Maryam is the name of chapter 19 of the Quran, and Chapter 3 is Aali Imran, named after her family. Islam holds the entire family of Imran in very high regard. The Quran tells us that:
“God chose Adam and Noah, the family of Abraham and the family of Imran over all others of world’s of mankind and jinn.” (Quran 3:33)
God choose Adam and Noah individually, but He chose the family of Abraham and the family of Imran.
“Offspring of one another.” (Quran 3:34)
The family of Imran are from the descendents of Abraham, the family of Abraham are from the descendants of Noah and Noah is from the descendents of Adam. The family of Imran also includes many people known and respected in the Christian traditions – Prophets Zachary and John (known as the Baptist), Prophet and Messenger Jesus and his mother, Mary.
God chose Mary above all the women of the world. He said:
“And when the angels said: ‘O Mary! Verily, God has chosen you, purified you,and chosen you above the women of the worlds of mankind and jinn.’” (Quran 3:42)
Ali ibn Abu Talib said:
“I heard the Prophet of God saying Mary, the daughter of Imran was the best among women.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhari)
In Arabic the name Maryam means the maidservant of God, and as we shall see, Mary, the mother of Jesus, was dedicated to God even before she was even born.

The Birth of Mary
The Bible is unable to give us any details of Mary’s birth; however, the Quran informs us that the wife of Imran dedicated her unborn child to the service of God. Mary’s mother, the wife of Imran, was Hannah[1]. She was the sister of Prophet Zachary’s wife. Hannah and her husband Imran had believed they would never have children, but one day Hannah made a sincere and heartfelt supplication to God begging for a child, and vowing that her offspring would serve in God’s House in Jerusalem. God heard Hannah’s supplication and she fell pregnant. When Hannah realised the glorious news she turned to God and said:
“O my Lord! I have vowed to You what is in my womb to be dedicated for Your services, so accept this, from me. Verily, You are the All-Hearer, the All-Knowing.” (Quran 3:35)
There are lessons learned from Hannah’s vow to God, one of which is caring for the religious education of our children. Hannah was not thinking in terms of this world at all, she was trying to ensure that her child was close to God and in His service. These chosen friends of God, such as family of Imran, are the parents whom we should take as our role models. God says many times in the Quran that He is the One who supplies provision for us, and He warns us to save ourselves and our families from the fires of Hell.
In her supplication, Hannah asked that her child be free from all worldly work. By promising that her child would be the servant of God, Hannah was securing her child’s freedom. Freedom is a quality of life that every human being strives to attain, but Hannah understood that true freedom comes from complete submission to God. This is what she aspired to for her yet unborn child. Hannah wanted her child to be a free person, a slave to no man and no desire, but a slave only to God. In due time, Hannah gave birth to a girl, again she turned to God in prayer and said:
“‘O my Lord, I have delivered a female child,’ and the male is not like the female, and I have named her Mary, and I seek refuge with You for her and her offspring from Satan, the outcast.” (Quran 3:36)
Hannah named her child Mary. With reference to her vow to God, Hannah now found herself facing a dilemma. Serving in the House of Prayer was not acceptable for women. Mary’s father, Imran had died before she was born, so Hannah turned to her brother in law, Zachary. He comforted Hannah and helped her to understand that God knew that she had delivered a girl. This girl child, Mary, was from the best of creation. Prophet Mohammad mentioned[2] that whenever a child is born Satan pricks him or her and therefore the child cries loudly. This is a sign of the great enmity between mankind and Satan; however there were two exceptions to this rule. Satan neither pricked Mary nor her son Jesus[3], due to the the supplication of Mary’s mother.
When the time came for Mary to go into the House of Prayer, everybody wanted to take care of this pious daughter of Imran. As was the custom of the time, the men drew lots for the privilege, and God ensured that her guardian was Prophet Zachary.
“So her Lord accepted her with goodly acceptance, and made her grow in a good manner, and put her under the care of Zachary.” (Quran 3:37)
Prophet Zachary served in the House of God and was a wise and knowledgeable man devoted to teaching. He had a private room built for Mary so that she was able to worship God and go about her daily duties in private. As her guardian, Prophet Zachary visited Mary daily, and one day he was surprised to see fresh fruit in her room. It is said that in winter she would have the fresh fruits of summer and in the summer she would have the fresh fruits of winter.[4] Prophet Zachary inquired about how the fruit got there, to which Mary replied that it was indeed God who provided her for her sustenance. She said:
“It is from God. Verily, God provides sustenance to whom He wills without limit.” (Quran 3:37)
Mary’s devotion to God was at that time unparalleled, but her faith was about to be tested.
[1] From the Tafseer of Ibn Katheer.
[2] Saheeh Al-Bukhari.
[3] Saheeh Muslim.
[4] Based on the work of Al Imam ibn Katheer. The Stories of the Prophets.

Mary, the Mother of Jesus (part 2 of 2): The Birth of Jesus

Esteemed and loved by all Muslims and known as a pious and devout woman, Mary, the mother of Jesus was chosen above all other women. Islam rejects the Christian notion that Jesus is part of a trinity that is God, and denies emphatically that either Jesus or his mother, Mary, are worthy of worship. The Quran categorically states that there is no god but God.
“Such is God, your Lord! None has the right to be worshipped but He, the Creator of all things. So worship Him ...” (Quran 6:102)
Muslims are required, however, to believe in and love all of the Prophets, including Prophet Jesus, who holds a special place in the Islamic creed. His mother, Mary, holds a place of honour. As a young woman, Mary went into the House of Prayer in Jerusalem, her entire life dedicated to the worship and service of God.

Mary Hears the News of Jesus
While she was in seclusion from everybody, a man appeared before Mary. God said:
“She screened herself from them; We sent to her Our Spirit, and he appeared before her in the form of a man in all respects.” (Quran 19:17)
Mary was afraid and tried to flee. She appealed to God saying:
“Verily! I seek refuge with the Most Gracious (God) from you, if you do fear God.” The angel said: “I am only a Messenger from your Lord to you, announcing the gift of a righteous son.” (Quran 19:18-19)
Mary was amazed and puzzled by these words. She was not married, rather a virgin who kept chaste. She asked incredulously:
“‘O my Lord! How will I have a son when no man has touched me?’ He said, “So (it will be): for God creates what He wills; when He has decreed something, He says to it only ‘Be’ – and it is.” (Quran 3:47)
God created Adam from the dust of the earth, without either mother or father. He created Eve from Adam's rib; and Jesus, He created without a father, but with a mother, the pious Virgin Mary. God, who has only to say ‘Be’ to a thing in order to bring it into existence,, blew the spirit of Jesus into Mary via the Angel Gabriel.
“And We breathed into it[1] through Our Spirit, and she testified to the truth of the Words of her Lord ...” (Quran 66:12)
Although the stories of Mary in the Quran and in the Bible have many aspects in common, the view that Mary was betrothed or married is totally rejected by Islam. Time passed, and Mary became afraid of what the people around her would say. She wondered how they could possibly believe that no man had touched her. The majority of scholars in Islam agree that the duration of Mary’s pregnancy was normal.[2] Then, as the time came for her to give birth, Mary decided to leave Jerusalem, and travelled towards the city of Bethlehem. Even though Mary must have recalled the words of God, for her faith was strong and unwavering, this young woman was anxious and uneasy. But the angel Gabriel reassured her:
“O Mary, Verily God gives you glad tidings of a word from Him, whose name will be the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary – held in honour in this world and the Hereafter and will be one of those who are near to God.” (Quran 3:45)

Jesus is Born
The pains of childbirth drove her to clutch at the trunk of a date-palm tree and she cried out in anguish:
“Would that I had died before this, and had been forgotten and out of sight!” (Quran 19:23)
Mary delivered her child right there, at the foot of the date tree. Filled as she was with distress and fear, she nevertheless heard a voice calling out to her out to her as she tried to cope with the afterbirth.
“Grieve not! Your Lord has provided you a stream of clear water under you; and shake the trunk of palm tree towards you; it will let fall fresh ripe dates upon you. So eat and drink and be glad...” (Quran 19:24)
God provided Mary with water, as a stream suddenly appeared beneath the place she was sitting. He also provided her with food; all she had to do was shake the trunk of the date tree. Mary was scared and frightened; she felt so weak, having just given birth, so how could she possibly shake the immense trunk of a date tree? But God continued to provide Mary with sustenance.
The next event was indeed another miracle, and as human beings we learn a great lesson from this. Mary didn’t need to shake the date tree, which would have been impossible; she only had to make an effort. As she attempted to follow God’s command, fresh ripe dates fell from the tree and God said to Mary: “…eat, drink and be glad.” (Quran 19:26)
Mary now had to take her new born child and go back to face her family. Of course she was afraid, and God knew this well. Thus He directed her not to speak. It would not have been possible for Mary to explain how she had suddenly become the mother of a new born child. Since she was unmarried, her people would not believe her explanations. God said:
“And if you see any human being, say: ‘Verily! I have vowed a fast unto the Most Gracious (God) so I shall not speak to any human being this day.’” (Quran 19:26)
Mary came to her people carrying the child, and they immediately began accusing her; they exclaimed “What have you done? You are from a good family, and your parents were pious.”
As God had directed her, Mary did not speak, she merely pointed to the baby in her arms. Then Jesus, son of Mary, spoke. As a newborn baby, Jesus, the Prophet of God performed his first miracle. By the permission of God he said:
“Verily! I am a slave of God. He has given me the Scripture and made me a Prophet; and He has made me blessed wheresoever I be, and has enjoined on me prayer, and alms, as long as I live, and to be dutiful to my mother, and made me not arrogant, unblest. And peace be upon me the day I was born, and the day I die, and the day I shall be raised alive!” (Quran 19:30-34)
Mary is referred to in the Quran (5:75) as a siddeeqa (truthful one) but the Arabic word siddiqa implies more then just speaking the truth. It means that one has achieved a very high level of righteousness; It means that one is truthful, not only with themselves and those around them, but also with God. Mary was a woman who fulfilled her covenant with God, whom she worshiped with full submission. She was pious, chaste, and devout; the woman chosen above all other women to be the mother of Jesus was Mary, the daughter of Imran.
[1] This is explained in commentaries as an opening in her garment, though the verse itself speaks of “her chastity” (i.e. guarding herself from opening up to marriageable men). Thus God blew into what she guarded by means of the angel Gabriel.
[2] Sheikh al Shanqeeti in (Adwaa’ al-Bayaan, 4/264)

A Program For The Messiah.

By: Maged Taman

If you would read the literature about messiah particularly from Jewish literature you will get frustrated. How, why and by what all means all or most people will allow someone to be a messiah. The only acceptance people knew over the years is that silent acceptance in tyrannical countries of a certain leader or a dynasty or the localized acceptance of a democratically elected leader.

How and why all people would universally accept a single person to be that leader. Where the human cynic, jealous, corruption, selfishness ....Will go. For one person to be that one it became clear to people over thousands of years he is needed to be selected and guided by God.

For a program of that messiah to succeed he would need:

1- People to believe that he is really guided by God.
2- He has the signs that described to them in the holy books of that person.
3- He has the power of prophecy: that it is a done deal. God fulfills his will.
4- People believe that he is a genuine person.
5- They believe he suffered enough that they are willing to help him.
6- His sufferings are the injustices in the world that he will plan to solve.
7- A universal peace needs A universal justice that he would have to achieve.
8- Their well being in life and after-life would be his aim.
9- You will feel at the end of the day when you look at your family that he is beside you and thinks like you what is the best we can do for them?.
10- You will feel that he is not a superhuman and not dictating to others what they do but to reflect their most moral consensus.
11- He will live by example and his life would be his message.
12- He will have people he inspiration to participate in his big plan.
13- He will give them the hope that it is not only achievable but is sustainable and is also their destiny.
14- He will have God as his guide and the people as his consultants.
15- His plan will need all of us to unite through: God, humanity and our interests.
16- He will convince them that Utopia is not a boring existence but it provides peace, stability and justice that allow all of us to get the best of our minds and hearts.
17- It does not kill human ego but it directs it to the best of the interest of individuals and humanity.
18- Nothing boring in this utopia you have more peace to stop to worry and pray to God and enjoy your family.
19- He will stimulate their intellect and get the best of their heart and mind. They will enjoy his program both by their hearts and minds.
20- He will be ultimately the reflection of all what is good in their hearts in a single person. He will be every one's messiah.

As you see it is a very nice dream and it will continue to be so unless God would send such person.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

God Plan To The End of Time.

By: Maged Taman

We are at the end of time, not because I said so but because it looks so:

1- The Jews are in the promised land as prophesied in the three major religions.

2- We are close to the beginning of the seventh millennium. God created the world in six days or periods (a day for God is a thousand year) and the week is seven days. The last millennium is predicted over the centuries to be that God's day to usher the return of the Messiah and God 's kingdom.

3- At end of time Muslims will be oppressed everywhere before the return of Christ according to the Islamic prophecies. It does not take a rocket scientist to be able to see that happening now.

4- Explosion of knowledge predicted by the Bible to take place at the end of time. You see that at this second I can write this article and people all around the world can read it in same time instantly.

5- The four horses of the book of revelation. You can see them now spreading all over the world. The rise of food prices is one of these horses. The rider of the white horse is thought by some Christians to be the Antichrist and by some Muslims to be Al Mahdi Al Muntazer.

God plan to the end of time is simple but miserable and we are the one to be blamed:

1- Jesus will come to usher the kingdom of God in earth.

2- He will not come in a corrupted world we have to clean our mess before he comes.

3- He will not beg us like his first coming to follow God commandments.

4- We to prepare the earth for him.

5- The corrupted political, financial and religious systems of the world (Mystery Babylon of the book of revelation) will fight to keep the status quo and the public will just watch as by standers like they did at the time of Jesus Crucifixion ( Muslims believe Jesus ascent to heaven at this time unclear if someone looked like him or it was a visual illusion to look crucified).

6- However God would demand his commandments and eradication of injustices and tyranny to take place before Jesus second coming. How would I know read the book of revelation. The time of tribulation is upon all of us if we would not change.

7- Could God plan change, yes as it happened with Jonah 's people. The question is due you think the people who are controlling the world and the elites would wear tough cloth and humble themselves to God and ask his mercy and forgiveness. Imagine a modern day Noah will come today as in the movie Evan Almighty and tell the people to ride the ship of God and save themselves of the flood what do you think they will do. In the movie they were laughing and mocking the modern day Noah actor Steve Carell. The director of the movie was a nice guy he let them in the ship as the flood started to flood them, actually no single one died in the movie. It was meant to be a comedy movie after all.

8- I am not a prophet, I am just another guy in the web. It is just happened that I am more observational than a lot of people. I warn myself and all of us of God's wrath that is coming over our heads.

9- If we are smart is to know what would shorten the tribulation and trial period that will precede the Kingdom of God. God plan is to call us to submit to him whenever he will send us a prophet and in the end of time he promised us if we end transgression and establish ever lasting righteousness he will help us against Satan to end wars and establish one nation, one religion and one government that Jesus will be its king.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Read the Qur'an and find out for yourself

From: The Dispatcher.

Apr 24, 2008 By Chuck Flagg

Muslims believe the Qur'an was dictated to the Prophet Muhammad by the Angel Gabriel during the month of Ramadan beginning in 610 to about 632. It contains laws for society, as well as descriptions of heaven and hell and warnings on the end of the world. It also includes stories of figures found in the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures, but Muslims believe the Qur'an supersedes those holy writings.
Most of us have heard something about Islam, the world's second-largest religion; and most of us have heard about the contents of The Qur'an (sometimes spelled "Koran"), Islam's holy scripture. But few of us have any personal knowledge of either. Thus, a recent ABC News report intrigued me. It was an interview with Nader Talebzadeh, a filmmaker in Iran. His film, "The Messiah," depicts the life of Jesus of Nazareth from an Islamic perspective.
I had heard that Muslims venerate many figures from both the Old and New Testaments, considering them "prophets." According to Talebzadeh, "The Muslim reverence is very high for Jesus and Mary." Muslims believe Jesus was born of a virgin, but that he was not crucified. "Through the Gospel of Barnabas," they understand that it was "the person who betrayed Jesus (Judas Iscariot) who was crucified."
The film-maker insists that the New Testament is "one of the biggest censorships in history." "The Messiah" is an effort to set the record straight about Jesus: "Jesus talked about the Prophet Muhammad" many times, and Muslims read about many sermons and miracles that don't appear in the Christian scriptures.
But how accurate is this movie? How accurate are most Hollywood films about Jesus or Christianity? Misconceptions and false impressions about Islam can lead to unpleasant situations. Ignorance is the precursor to fear, stereotyping and prejudice. We see the results of this chain of causality frequently. For example, how many letters to the editor of this very newspaper have protested the plan to build a mosque in San Martin?
Apparently, some of our neighbors have forgotten what they learned in Government or Civics class. The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees freedom of religion, stating that "Congress shall make no law ... prohibiting the free exercise of religion." Supreme Court decisions have extended this prohibition to state and local governments. What gives us the right to prohibit a mosque in South Valley? The teachings of Muhammad? The evil actions of a few self-professed Muslims? President George W. Bush, the architect of our current War on Terror, has stated many times that "Islam is Peace."
Brent Walters, a religious studies professor at San Jose State University, recently stated on KGO Radio's Ronn Owens show that there is nothing in the Qur'an which Jews and Christians would find objectionable." Is this true?
My invitation to readers of The Dispatch, Times and Free Lance is to stop accepting secondhand information given by others concerning the Qur'an. Get a copy of the book and read it yourself. Various editions are available at the public library or online at Once you've read it, send me an e-mail at giving me your impressions of what you actually read for yourself, not what someone told you it says.
When I've finished reading my own copy and have received some responses, I will devote a future column to the views you've shared with me. Whether this experience changes your opinion of the youngest of the three Abrahamic, monotheistic religions or not, we should all learn much from this experiment.

Sura 53, The Stars (Al-Najm)


[53:0] In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
[53:1] As the stars fell away.* Footnote
[53:2] Your friend (Muhammad) was not astray, nor was he deceived.
[53:3] Nor was he speaking out of a personal desire.
[53:4] It was divine inspiration.
[53:5] Dictated by the Most Powerful.
[53:6] Possessor of all authority. From His highest height.
[53:7] At the highest horizon.
[53:8] He drew nearer by moving down.
[53:9] Until He became as close as possible.
[53:10] He then revealed to His servant what was to be revealed.
[53:11] The mind never made up what it saw.
[53:12] Are you doubting what he saw?
[53:13] He saw him in another descent.
[53:14] At the ultimate point.
[53:15] Where the eternal Paradise is located.
[53:16] The whole place was overwhelmed.
[53:17] The eyes did not waver, nor go blind.
[53:18] He saw great signs of his Lord.
The Flimsy Idols
[53:19] Compare this with the female idols Allaat and Al-`Uzzah.
[53:20] And Manaat, the third one.
[53:21] Do you have sons, while He has these as daughters?
[53:22] What a disgraceful distribution!
[53:23] These are but names that you made up, you and your forefathers. GOD never authorized such a blasphemy. They follow conjecture, and personal desire, when the true guidance has come to them herein from their Lord.
[53:24] What is it that the human being desires?
[53:25] To GOD belongs both the Hereafter, and this world.
[53:26] Not even the angels in heaven possess authority to intercede. The only ones permitted by GOD are those who act in accordance with His will and His approval.
[53:27] Those who disbelieve in the Hereafter have given the angels feminine names.
[53:28] They had no knowledge about this; they only conjectured. Conjecture is no substitute for the truth.
Choose Your Friends Carefully
[53:29] You shall disregard those who turn away from our message, and become preoccupied with this worldly life.
[53:30] This is the extent of their knowledge. Your Lord is fully aware of those who strayed away from His path, and He is fully aware of those who are guided.
[53:31] To GOD belongs everything in the heavens and everything on earth. He will requite those who commit evil for their works, and will reward the righteous for their righteousness.
[53:32] They avoid gross sins and transgressions, except for minor offenses. Your Lord's forgiveness is immense. He has been fully aware of you since He initiated you from the earth, and while you were embryos in your mothers' bellies. Therefore, do not exalt yourselves; He is fully aware of the righteous.
[53:33] Have you noted the one who turned away?
[53:34] Rarely did he give to charity, and then very little.
[53:35] Did he possess knowledge of the future? Could he see it?
[53:36] Was he not informed of the teachings in the scripture of Moses?
[53:37] And Abraham who fulfilled?
[53:38] No soul bears the sins of another soul.
[53:39] Every human being is responsible for his own works.
[53:40] And everyone's works will be shown.
[53:41] Then they will be paid fully for such works.
[53:42] To your Lord is the final destiny.
[53:43] He is the One who makes you laugh or cry.
[53:44] He is the One who controls death and life.
The Husband Determines The Baby's Gender
[53:45] He is the One who created the two kinds, male and female -
[53:46] from a tiny drop of semen.
[53:47] He will effect the recreation.
[53:48] He is the One who makes you rich or poor.
[53:49] He is the Lord of the galaxies.
[53:50] He is the One who annihilated ancient `Aad.
[53:51] And wiped out Thamoud.
[53:52] Also the people of Noah before that; they were evil transgressors.
[53:53] The evil communities (of Sodom and Gomorrah) were the lowliest.
[53:54] Consequently, they utterly vanished.
[53:55] Which of your Lord's marvels can you deny?
[53:56] This is a warning like the older ones.
[53:57] The inevitable is imminent.
[53:58] None beside GOD can relieve it.
[53:59] Are you questioning this matter?
[53:60] Are you laughing, instead of crying?
[53:61] Are you insisting on your ways?
[53:62] You shall fall prostrate before GOD, and worship.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Qualities of an Exemplary Leader


By: Zaid Shakir* -

"Owing to Mercy from God, you were gentle in dealing with them [your companions]. Were you harsh [and crude], hard of heart; they would have fled from you. Therefore, pardon their abuses, seek [God's] forgiveness for them, and consult them in the affair. Once you have resolved on a course of action [be decisive] and trust in God. Surely, God loves those who trust in Him." Qur'an 3:159 This verse contains a wealth of instruction to guide those who are leaders, and as Muslims we should all be leaders. The Prophet mentioned, "All of you are shepherds, and each of you will be asked concerning his flock."[1] Let us examine some of the implications of the verse relevant to leadership. Owing to Mercy from God... God is reminding His prophet, peace upon him, that the mercy he displays, in fact all of the virtues or favors that he enjoys are all from God. This is a critical point for any leader to realize, because of the propensity of those in positions of leadership to assume that they are in those positions because of something they have done. While it is certainly true that in many instances, hard work and perseverance have assisted a particular individual in his or her rise to the top, even the possession of those qualities is due to God. Acknowledging this at the very beginning of our affair is one of the keys to real power as it helps to render us humble, and humility before people unlock for that person the power of God. The Prophet Muhammad, peace upon him, mentioned in that regard, "No one humbles themselves for the sake of God except that God elevates him."[2] Those who doubt the efficacy of such an approach-forgetting this was the way of our Prophet Muhammad, peace and mercy of God upon him-should consider the insights offered by Jim Collins in his book, Good to Great. He mentions what he calls Type 5 Leaders. They are those exceptional leaders who lead companies in their transition from being good to great. [3] They combine personal humility, which is essential for gentleness in one's dealings, with intense will. This unique combination of virtues is the essence of the message this verse is presenting to us, as we shall see. Recognizing that everything comes from God is also one of the keys to gaining an increase in good things, for we can not give thanks for a blessing we do not recognize. In recognizing God for blessing us with the qualities that may have helped us to become capable leaders, we are able to thank Him for those blessings. Hence, we are subject to a rule He has established to govern our etiquettes in responding to a blessing, If you give thanks [for my blessings] I will increase you in them... (14:7) Recognizing that everything comes from God also helps us to realize our limitations. We come to understand that we must work hard to accomplish our goals. However, at the end of the day, we do not control the outcomes of our strivings. As soon as we can accept that fact we instantly gain peace of mind, for we do not endeavor to burden ourselves with things beyond our control. Furthermore, when in positions of leadership, we are less likely to look for oftentimes innocent parties to blame for failures that occur. This helps to create a healthier and more productive work environment for everyone. were gentle in dealing with them [your companions]. "Gentleness does not exist in anything except that it beautifies it, and it is not removed from anything except that it defiles it."[4] In many instances when we are in a leadership position we try to impose our authority on others. In some instances this only engenders stubborn rebellion and opposition. In others it brings about grudging compliance. Neither situation is healthy. Gentleness, on the other hand encourages willing compliance. Were you harsh [and crude], hard of heart; they would have fled from you. Here God is telling His prophet, peace upon him, that despite your charisma, your concern for the believers and all of your other positive characteristics, were you harsh and hard-hearted, your companions would have left you. Therefore, you must avoid those characteristics. This is a lesson for us in terms of how we should approach leadership and positions of authority. People who are harsh in their leadership styles oftentimes demand respect. They should be mindful of the fact that respect that is demanded is seldom lasting, and it is never sincere. People who are gentle in the appropriate situations, compassionate, empathetic and magnanimous command respect. Respect that is commanded is sincere and lasting. Leaders who are fair and gentle attract talented individuals, while those that are harsh are usually intimidated and threatened by talented people and generally repulse them. Their insecurity is sensed by talented people who are secure within themselves. This leads to them shying away from harsh individuals. This in turn leads to a corrupt or incompetent inner circle developing around leaders who demand respect through harsh treatment and crude mannerisms. The Prophet Muhammad, peace upon him, mentioned that when God desires good for a leader He gives him a good circle of advisers. The opposite is also true. [5] In the long run, magnanimity will always trump tyranny. Tyranny may achieve temporary victories, but the fruit of those victories is bitter and the season of its harvest is very short. This is true in interpersonal relations as well as in relations between nations. We have to strive to be people who at every level are committed to being open-hearted and magnanimous in our character. Therefore, pardon their abuses... We should be quick to pardon others, where our rights are involved, or where the transgressions we observe arise from ignorance. One of the greatest lessons we enforce upon ourselves when we are quick to pardon is that perfection is God's alone. Recognizing that, we do not expect perfection from ourselves, nor do we expect it from others. We do strive for perfection and constant improvement. However, we realize that perfection is simply not our lot in life. When our parents, spouses, children, employees, coworkers, and others understand that they have room for error in their dealing with us they are more relaxed and therefore less likely to err. This is a simple yet unappreciated truth.
Also, we have to understand that when we are merciful and forgiving, we invite God's mercy and forgiveness into our life. God mentions in the Qur'an, O believers! Verily, among your spouses and children are those that are enemies unto you. If you pardon them, overlook their faults and seek forgiveness for them; then you should know that God is Oft Forgiving and Most Merciful [to you]. (64:14) Our Prophet reminded us, "The merciful people are those God will show mercy to..."[6] This tradition involves a promise and a principle. It is especially relevant for leaders, for those leaders who show no mercy, will be shown no mercy-neither by God, nor by those they oppress if they ever gain the upper hand over them. One rare exception is the mercy our Prophet Muhammad, peace upon him, showed to the members of his tribe, Quraysh, once he was given authority over them. Seek God's forgiveness for them... When we seek God's forgiveness for someone we are acknowledging that there is only so much we can do for them. After that we are implicitly saying that we are deputing their affair to God, who can do so much more for them. We are also letting them know that we are concerned for their ultimate wellbeing and salvation. When this message is conveyed to our subordinates we will find them most happy and committed, ready to serve, for they understand that we do not just see them as an asset to be exploited, rather we see them as a servant of God who we can help along on the road to salvation. And consult them in the affair. Mutual consultation is one of the pillars of social relations in Islam. As the saying goes, "Two heads are better than one." The more people we can involve in a project or decision, the more thorough our approach to that project or decision will be. Islam has high respect for the idea of due diligence in public decision-making methodology. We should deliberate and consult before making what will sometimes be far-reaching decisions. One of the reasons for our contemporary weakness is that we have gotten away from this idea. Here the Prophet, peace upon him, who is divinely guided in religious affairs, in the broadest sense of religion, is encouraged to consult his companions because he is laying the foundation for effective rule and leadership to guide those succeeding him. However, we will only be the beneficiaries of the wisdom he bequeathed to us if we implement those teachings in our lives. This area of endeavor is no exception. We should also understand that a team will always accomplish more than a single individual. These instructions will help us to build strong teams. We should also understand that "good" can always be "better." One of the first things mentioned by Abu Bakr, may God be pleased with him, upon assuming the Caliphate, was, "If I do well help me to do better." Abu Bakr, may God be pleased with him, was sending out two messages. The first was that I can always do better but only with your help. The second was an invitation to get involved. Good leadership does not wait for involvement to happen, it actively encourages it. Once you have resolved on a course of action [be decisive]... Once a course of action has been chosen it must be accompanied by decisiveness. Great leaders are decisive, after due diligence has been exercised. The greatest of all leaders, the five great prophets, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad are described as Ulul ÔAzm the possessors of decisive resolve. No one will follow an indecisive leader. Decisiveness is a function of will. This is the second quality mentioned by Collins in, Good to Great. In confronting the challenges before us as Muslims in this country we should understand that resolve is one of the qualities we will need to have. God mentions in the Qur'an, You will surely be tested in your wealth and your lives and you will hear from those given the scripture before you and from the idolaters much abuse. If you patiently persevere and remain mindful of God, [you should know] that is a manifestation of resolve. (3:186) As we listen to the defamation of our religion and the slander of our Prophet, peace upon him, we should not allow that to dishearten us or turn us away from the good works we are doing. We should persevere, we should forge on, and we should realize that we are not violating any laws nor transgressing against any of the principles upon which this nation was founded-even thought the nation itself oftentimes does not honor those principles. And trust in God... God never disappoints. When we trust in Him, we will never be disappointed. People will eventually disappoint us, in real or perceived ways. Although those disappointments usually do not result in any permanent damage to our relationships they can be frustrating. When we place our trust in God we remove this great cause of our frustrations. When we trust in God, we also are less demanding of people. This is one of the ways to encourage others to do more for us in a spirit of willful volunteerism. What is given voluntarily is given sincerely. Sincerity is a quality that helps bring blessings to our actions. Ultimately, the value of our actions is associated to the blessings they contain, and not their abundance. God loves those who trust in Him. If God is for us no one can be against us. As leaders we want God on our side. This is one of the keys in moving from good to great, for when we ally ourselves with God we ally ourselves with the source of all strength and power. Trusting in God is just one of the things we can do to invite His love. He mentions in the Qur'an, Verily, God loves those who do good. (2:195) Surely, God loves those who turn to Him in repentance. (2:222) ...and God loves those who purify themselves. (2:222) God loves those conscious of him. (3:76) God loves those who manifest excellence in their faith. (3:134) God love those who are patient. (3:146) Verily, God loves those who rely on him. (3:159) God loves those who are just. (5:42) Hence, trusting in God, being good and excellent in all of our affairs for His sake, turning to him in repentance, being conscious of Him, purifying ourselves, patiently persevering and being just, these are all qualities and actions that invite God's love into our lives. When we are beloved to God then, as He mentions in a sacred tradition (hadith qudsi), "I become the hearing with which he hears, the sight with which he sees, the hand with which he grasps and the feet that convey him. [In this state] if he were to ask anything of Me, I would grant it. And were he to seek my protection, I would protect him."[7] This does not mean that God becomes a part of us. However, it does mean that He will bless us to use all of our faculties in ways that are pleasing to Him. What could be better or more beneficial for us than this? Notes: [1] Al-Bukhari #893 [2] Al-Tirmidhi, #2029 [3] Jim Collins, Good to Great (New York: Harper Collins, 2001), 17-40 [4] Abu Dawud, #2477 [5] Al-Bukhari, #7198 [6] Al-Tirmidhi, #1924 [7] Al-Bukhari, #6502

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Sura 45, Kneeling (Al-Jãtheyah)


[45:0] In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
[45:1] H. M.
[45:2] The revelation of this scripture is from GOD, the Almighty, Most Wise.
[45:3] The heavens and the earth are full of proofs for the believers.
[45:4] Also in your creation, and the creation of all the animals, there are proofs for people who are certain.
[45:5] Also, the alternation of the night and the day, and the provisions that GOD sends down from the sky to revive dead lands, and the manipulation of the winds; all these are proofs for people who understand.
Which Hadith?*
[45:6] These are GOD's revelations that we recite to you truthfully. In which Hadith other than GOD and His revelations do they believe? Footnote
[45:7] Woe to every fabricator, guilty.* Footnote
[45:8] The one who hears GOD's revelations recited to him, then insists arrogantly on his way, as if he never heard them. Promise him a painful retribution.
[45:9] When he learns anything about our revelations, he mocks them. These have incurred a shameful retribution.
[45:10] Awaiting them is Gehenna. Their earnings will not help them, nor the idols they had set up beside GOD. They have incurred a terrible retribution.
[45:11] This is a beacon, and those who disbelieve in these revelations of their Lord have incurred condemnation and a painful retribution.
[45:12] GOD is the One who committed the sea in your service, so that the ships can roam it in accordance with His laws. You thus seek His provisions, that you may be appreciative.
[45:13] He committed in your service everything in the heavens and the earth; all from Him. These are proofs for people who reflect.
[45:14] Tell those who believed to forgive those who do not expect the days of GOD. He will fully pay everyone for whatever they have earned.
[45:15] Whoever works righteousness does so for his own good, and whoever works evil does so to his own detriment. To your Lord you will be returned.
[45:16] We have given the Children of Israel the scripture, wisdom, and prophethood, and provided them with good provisions; we bestowed upon them more blessings than any other people.
[45:17] We have given them herein clear commandments. Ironically, they did not dispute this until the knowledge had come to them. This is due to jealousy on their part. Surely, your Lord will judge them on the Day of Resurrection regarding everything they have disputed.
[45:18] We then appointed you to establish the correct laws; you shall follow this, and do not follow the wishes of those who do not know.
[45:19] They cannot help you at all against GOD. It is the transgressors who ally themselves with one another, while GOD is the Lord of the righteous.
[45:20] This provides enlightenments for the people, and guidance, and mercy for those who are certain.
[45:21] Do those who work evil expect that we will treat them in the same manner as those who believe and lead a righteous life? Can their life and their death be the same?* Wrong indeed is their judgment. Footnote
[45:22] GOD created the heavens and the earth for a specific purpose, in order to pay each soul for whatever it earned, without the least injustice.* Footnote
Common Form of Idolatry: The Ego As A god
[45:23] Have you noted the one whose god is his ego? Consequently, GOD sends him astray, despite his knowledge, seals his hearing and his mind, and places a veil on his eyes. Who then can guide him, after such a decision by GOD? Would you not take heed?
[45:24] They said, "We only live this life; we live and die and only time causes our death!" They have no sure knowledge about this; they only conjecture.
[45:25] When our revelations are recited to them, clearly, their only argument is to say, "Bring back our forefathers, if you are truthful."
[45:26] Say, "GOD has granted you life, then He puts you to death, then He will summon you to the Day of Resurrection, which is inevitable. But most people do not know."
[45:27] To GOD belongs all sovereignty of the heavens and the earth. The day the Hour (Judgment) comes to pass, that is when the falsifiers lose.
[45:28] You will see every community kneeling. Every community will be called to view their record. Today, you get paid for everything you have done.
[45:29] This is our record; it utters the truth about you. We have been recording everything you did.
[45:30] As for those who believe and work righteousness, their Lord will admit them into His mercy. This is the great triumph.
[45:31] As for those who disbelieve: "Were not My revelations recited to you, but you turned arrogant and were wicked people?"
[45:32] When it is proclaimed that GOD's promise is the truth and that the Hour (of Judgment) is inevitable, you said, "We do not know what the Hour is! We are full of conjecture about it; we are not certain."
[45:33] The evils of their works will become evident to them, and the very things they mocked will come back and haunt them.
[45:34] It will be proclaimed: "Today we forget you, just as you forgot the meeting of this day. Your abode is the hellfire, and you will have no helpers.
[45:35] "This is because you took GOD's revelations in vain, and were preoccupied with the first life." Consequently, they will never exit therefrom, nor will they be excused.
[45:36] To GOD belongs all praise; Lord of the heavens, Lord of the earth, Lord of the universe.
[45:37] To Him belongs all supremacy in the heavens and the earth. He is the Almighty, Most Wise.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Doctors Who Kill Themselves

From: Newsweek

By: David Noonan

Every year, between 300 and 400 doctors take their own lives—roughly one a day. No other profession has a higher suicide rate.

I've met a lot of doctors over the years. I've interviewed them, watched them operate, observed them with patients and just plain hung out with them. Some were friendly, others cranky. Some were arrogant, others humble and selfless. As a group, they have impressed me with their confidence, intelligence and dedication to helping people in need. From the outside, the doctor's life seems a rich and rewarding one. And surely it is. But a new documentary, "Struggling in Silence" (airing next month on public-television stations), explores a dark side of the profession—the little-known and rarely discussed problem of depression and suicide among physicians. The unsettling truth is that doctors have the highest rate of suicide of any profession. Every year, between 300 and 400 physicians take their own lives—roughly one a day. And, in sharp contrast to the general population, where male suicides outnumber female suicides four to one, the suicide rate among male and female doctors is the same.
"Undiagnosed and untreated depression is the culprit here," says Dr. Charles Reynolds, professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, who appears in the film and was co-author of a 2003 paper (one of the few) on physician suicide, published in The Journal of the American Medical Association. While the rate of depression over a lifetime is basically the same for male physicians and the general population of men—about 12 percent—the doctors' suicide rate is 1.4 times higher. Female docs have double the rate of depression and 2.3 times the rate of suicide compared with the general population of women. (Some studies report equal rates of depression for women doctors; others report even higher suicide rates for physicians.)
So why aren't depressed docs seeking treatment for a common illness that millions of Americans have learned to manage with therapy and readily available medications? Because they worry—not without reason—that if they admit to a mental-health problem they could lose respect, referrals, income and even their licenses. Because, despite the steady increase in the number of women in the field, medicine is still very much a macho profession; physicians are supposed to be the strong ones who care for the sick, not the sick ones who need to be cared for. "I did not want it to go on my medical record that I had been treated for depression," says Dr. Robert Lehmberg, 60, whose moving account of his struggle with the condition—and the stigma it carries—is featured in the film. "Once I got treated, I realized how foolish all that was."

Lehmberg, a former plastic surgeon, now a fellow in palliative care at the University of Arkansas, did not become suicidal. But doctors who do are at increased risk, in part, because they have access to lethal drugs and know how to use them. (Docs have a high ratio of suicide completions to attempts.) Some depressed physicians also have substance-abuse problems, another major risk factor for suicide.
One way to address physician suicide, says Reynolds, is to focus on medical students and residents, since depression often starts in young adulthood. Medical schools across the country have launched programs that, among other things, guarantee students who seek help that it will not appear on their records. "What we're trying to do is say to these kids, 'Get help, get well, stay well'," Reynolds says.
The goal of "Struggling in Silence," and of the new Web site (both the work of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention), is to raise awareness, prevent suffering and even save some lives. There could be a bonus as well. "If we teach doctors to recognize depression in themselves," says Dr. Paula Clayton, the foundation's medical director, "they will recognize it in their patients." And then everybody will feel better.

Blogger Comment:

1- The last thing we need to see is a doctor who would kill himself.

2- For a civilized country like us keeping the doctors healthy and happy and healing the healers is one of our prime tasks.

3- 42% of doctors in America as studies showed are burnt out. Tell me what other profession has the same prevalence. The supposedly one of most celebrated profession is let down by the country.

4- Most of the causes of burn out are related to the poor health care we have: disorganized health care, confusing health plans, overwhelming policies and intimidating and unjust medico legal system.

5- 70% of law suits against doctors are related to problem a long the way of communication. Which if you are fair politicians should be sued for that and not doctors. They supposed to provide us with a deliverable health care that avoid these unnecessary mistakes that doctors get caught in. Please read my health care plan Taman Health plan can be ordered from

6- Depression is a real medical disease and doctors are not immune besides there are new and very effective medicines.

7- However it is not only depression that lead to doctors take their own lives it is the depressing health care system we have that likely play a role given the higher statistics of suicide in doctors. No one should take his life including doctors. If we have responsible politicians who care about people dying or living like dead every where we will have happy world. I am not blaming one or two but the system that put them in confrontation and animosity. Sometimes I feel that we need the Pope to be the president of UN and the Nuns and Fathers of Catholic hospitals to be the presidents of many countries but the kingdom of God is not due yet.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Pope worries that big powers control decision-making

From: Yahoo news

By VICTOR L. SIMPSON, Associated Press Writer 47 minutes ago

NEW YORK - Pope Benedict XVI warned diplomats at the United Nations on Friday that international cooperation needed to solve urgent problems is "in crisis" because decisions rest in the hands of a few powerful nations.

In a major speech on his U.S. trip, Benedict also said that respect for human rights, not violence, was the key to solving many of the world's problems.
While he didn't identify the countries that have a stranglehold on global power, the German pope — just the third pontiff to address the U.N. General Assembly — addressed long-standing Vatican concerns about the struggle to achieve world peace and the development of the poorest regions.
On the one hand, he said, collective action by the international community is needed to solve the planet's greatest challenges.
On the other, "we experience the obvious paradox of a multilateral consensus that continues to be in crisis because it is still subordinated to the decisions of a few."
The pope made no mention of the United States in his speech, though the Vatican did not support the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, which occurred despite the Bush administration's failure to gain Security Council approval for it. At other moments on his trip, Benedict has been overtly critical of the U.S., noting how opportunity and hope have not always been available to minorities.
The pope said questions of security, development and protection of the environment require international leaders to work together in good faith, particularly when dealing with Africa and other underdeveloped areas vulnerable to "the negative effects of globalization."
Benedict also insisted that the way to peace was by insuring respect for the dignity of human beings.
"The promotion of human rights remains the most effective strategy for eliminating inequalities between countries and social groups, and increasing security," the pope said.
Those whose rights are trampled, he said, "become easy prey to the call to violence and they then become violators of peace."
By contrast, the leader of the world's 1 billion Roman Catholics said, the recognition of human rights favors "conversion of heart, which then leads to a commitment to resist violence, terrorism and war."
While Benedict, a former university professor and theologian, has spoken out less on global conflicts than his predecessor, John Paul II, he too lived through the Second World War. He was drafted into the German army at war's end and later deserted.
After three days in Washington, the pope took an early morning flight from the nation's capital to New York City. Cardinal Edward Egan greeted Benedict, who was escorted to a helicopter for the ride into Manhattan.
Benedict did not address atonement for clergy sex abuse in his speech, which has developed into a major theme on the trip. He has been widely expected to broach the subject Saturday when he celebrates Mass for priests, deacons and members of religious orders at St. Patrick's Cathedral in Manhattan.
Some victims' advocates are pressing for bishops to be sanctioned for their role in the scandal that has cost the U.S. church more than $2 billion.
Cardinal William Levada, an American cleric who runs the Vatican agency that enforces church doctrine, said Friday he does not know of any bishops guilty of "aiding and abetting" pedophiles, and would respond if he did. Bishops who have made mistakes, he said, largely took advice that was accepted at the time but proved wrong.
Leveda said it was possible that canonical rules, or church rules, could be changed to better address the abuse scourge.
"It's possible," Levada said in a conversation with reporters. "There are some things under consideration that I'm not able to say."
Across from the U.N., several hundred supporters, many of them Hispanic, gathered behind metal police barricades as Benedict spoke.
"Benedetto!" many shouted in Spanish.
A group of New Jersey Catholics held up a banner for the German-born pope that combined German — "Willkommen Pope Benedict XVI" — and English sentiments: "You Rock!"
A small anti-pope contingent included a group calling itself Forum for Protection of Religious Pluralism. Financial consultant Padmanabh Rao, a Hindu from Woodbridge, N.J., complained that the Vatican is converting people in India to Catholicism.
Before the pontiff's speech, Benedict and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon met alone for 15 minutes for what the Vatican called a discussion on a range of international issues. No details were given.
Later, speaking to U.N. staff members, Benedict paid tribute to 42 civilians and peacekeepers killed in 2007. He said the United Nations plays a key role in monitoring how well governments protect their citizens.
"Indeed, this is coming to be recognized as the moral basis for a government's claim to authority," the pope said.
The pope's New York visit will also include a visit to ground zero, site of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, and a Mass at Yankee Stadium on Sunday. Later Friday, he was to visit an Orthodox synagogue on the eve of the Jewish Passover and meet with leaders of other Christian denominations.