Thursday, February 26, 2009

Cell Phone Vs. Qur'an

I received the below in my email inbox. I'm not sure who the author is (not attributed) but I thought it was very motivational.

So, in the interest of "Fair Use", I share it with you:


Ever wonder what would happen if we treated our Quran like we treat
our cell phone?

What if we carried it around in our purses or pockets?

What if we flipped through it several time a day?

What if we turned back to go get it if we forgot it?

What if we used it to receive messages from the text?

What if we treated it like we couldn't live without it?

What if we gave it to kids as gifts?

What if we used it when we traveled?

What if we used it in case of emergency?

This is something to make you go....hmm...where is my Quran?

Oh, and one more thing.

Unlike our cell phone, we don't have to worry about our Quran being disconnected.

Makes you stop and think 'where are my priorities? And no dropped calls!

P. S. DO WHAT YOU THINK GOD WOULD WANT YOU TO DO WITH THIS EMAIL. Trust in the Lord and "ASAP" (Always Say A Prayer)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Is This A Moth?

Does anyone know what kind of insect this is?

I think it's a species of moth.

We moved into this house last June but I have been seeing these things most of the winter. It surprises me; I thought they are supposed to hibernate?

Can anyone identify it? I'd like to know so I can look up how to get rid of them.

One thing I can tell you is that it has a hard shell.

This one is deceased - on the end of my fly swatter.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Prophet's Methods of Correcting People's Mistakes

One of the most important duties of a Muslim prison chaplain is to correct mistakes.

Many Muslims in prison have re-verted to Islam while incarcerated. Just because they say the Shahadah doesn't mean that they are automatically a pious Muslim!

They lack basic knowledge and information about Islam. They depend upon the Muslim chaplain to provide them with correct Islamic knowledge. Often they make mistakes because they act upon information they have been given by other inmates, incorrect information, although it may have been given with sincere intention. After all, if one is taught incorrectly, they will teach others incorrectly.

Yet other inmates may have been Muslims on the "streets" but may not have been "deening" out there as they call it.

To be an effective amirah (leader), a Muslim prison chaplain must develop effective methods for correcting mistakes that do not compromise the already fragile ego of most inmates. One of the most important goals of the Muslim prison chaplain is to help and educate the incarcerated Muslim. Not to destroy or shame her.

Who better to look to for examples, no matter what the situation, than our beloved Messenger (saw)!

Sh. Muhammad Salih Al-Munajjid, may Allah (swt) reward him, has written as excellent book that will help the Muslim prison chaplain. The title is The Prophet's Methods for Correcting People's Mistakes.

His methods can also help us as individuals: parents, teachers, friends, etc.

And especially THE BLOGGER!

How many times have we gone to the comments section of someone's blog only to stumble into the flames of fitnah!

In this post, I will highlight some of the methods that the sheikh has compiled. Insha Allah you will buy his most beneficial book for your library and to obtain detailed reference from Quran and Sunnah for the methods:

1. Hastening to deal with people's mistakes and not putting that off.

2. Dealing with mistakes by explaining the ruling (hukm).

3. Referring people back to Islam when they make mistakes, and pointing out to them the principle that they are breaking.

4. Correcting misconceptions that are due to something for being clear in people's minds.

5. Dealing with mistakes by repeatedly reminding people to fear Allah.

6. Showing compassion to the one who is making a mistake.

7. Not hastening to tell someone he is wrong.

8. Remaining calm when dealing with people's mistakes.

9. Explaining the seriousness of the mistake.

10. Explaining the harmful effects of a mistake.

11. Practical teaching of the one who is making a mistake.

12. Offering a sound alternative.

13. Guiding people to what will prevent them from making mistakes.

14. Not confronting people directly with their mistakes and addressing the issue in general terms may be sufficient.

15. Provoking public opinion against the one who has made the mistake.

(Disclaimer: I would be very careful with number 15. Insha Allah when I get some more time, I will expound this method from the sheikh's references.)

16. Avoiding helping the Shaytan against the one who is making the mistake.

17. Asking the person to stop doing the wrong action.

18. Explaining to the person who is making a mistake how to put things right.

19. Denouncing only the mistake whilst accepting the rest.

20. Restoring rights and preserving positions.

21. Addressing both parties in cases where the blame is shared.

22. Asking a person to forgive the one who wronged him.

23. Reminding a person of he good qualities of the one whom he has wronged, so that he will regret what he has done and will apologize.

24. Intervening to calm people down and put an end to the fitnah (discord) between those who are making mistakes.

25. Showing one's anger about a mistake.

26. Turning away from the one who has made a mistake and avoiding argument with him, in the hope that he may come back to the right way.

27. Rebuking the one who has made a mistake.

28. Blaming the person who has made a mistake.

29. Shunning the one who has made a mistake.
(Same as number 15)

30. Boycotting the one who has made a mistake.

(Same as number 15)

31. Praying against someone who stubbornly persists in making mistakes.

(Same as number 15)

32. Turning a blind eye to some mistakes and being content to just hint about them, out of respect to the person who is making the mistake.

33. Helping a Muslim to correct his mistake.

34. Meeting with the person who has made a mistake to talk it over.

35. Speaking bluntly to a person about the mistake he made.

36. Persuading a person that he is making a mistake.

37. Making a person understand that his flimsy excuse is not acceptable.

38. Paying attention to things that are inherent in human nature.

Among the sheikh's conclusion is that "correcting mistakes is obligatory ... part an-naseehah (giving sincere advice) and forbidding what it evil, but it should be remembered that Islam is not only about forbidding what is evil, we are also commanded to enjoin what is good."

So think of this next time another blogger tells you that you are being judgmental, lecturing, etc. As if it is YOU who is making the mistake!

He also said that along with educating and training, we must show "the basic principles of religion and the rules of sharee'ah" using various methods. The Prophet (saw) used different methods for correcting mistakes depending upon the situation and depending upon the person he was dealing with.

I have found that using the Prophet's (saw) methods in dealing with people helps. After all, everyone, including the Muslim chaplain, benefits when all the affairs are conducted according to Quran and Sunnah

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Back in the Day!

I was going through some pictures today looking for some pics for Sister Brooke.

Ha ha ... I ran across the one above.

It's one of me, around age 3 or so, on a bench in the Bronx.

Notice I was "packing heat" even back then!

OK ... it was probably a squirt gun (my mom was to fill them with Kool Aid or juice).

Monday, February 16, 2009

Israeli Tennis Player Refused Visa to Play Tournament in Dubai

I think this story sucks.

And they waited until the last minute before denying this player's visa.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Heros and Heroines

This morning on CNN, I watched the mayor of New York City give the "keys to the city" to the crew of the airplane that landed safely in the Hudson River, saving the lives of everyone on board.

The captain and crew have made their way around all the major news outlets, giving interviews, getting their pictures taken, and receiving all kinds of praise and gratitude.

The captain is being called a hero and the whole affair is referred to as the "Miracle on the Hudson".

Do these people really feel like heros and heroines though? Intellectually, I guess they do, but emotionally, it is clear to me that they are suffering. Perhaps they feel more like victims? Do they welcome all the attention lavished upon them?

I saw one interview where one of the flight attendants said that she has not been able to put on her uniform since the Miracle. She just can't. Others said that they haven't returned to work. They just can't ... yet. In most interviews with the captain, he appears to be on the verge of tears.

Something that happened to me recently made me feel sad for the crew of the Miracle as I watched them on television this morning.

As some of you know, I am a Muslim chaplain in a prison. Chaplains often see things and hear things that most correctional staff (except the guards) do not. Being a chaplain can be emotionally and spiritually traumatic.

A few weeks ago, I was making my rounds in one of the restricted housing units. Part of my job is to pass each cell and make myself available to any inmate who may want to "talk". For the Muslims, I hand out prayer schedules and Islamic articles. Mostly, I provide supportive counseling and encouragement.

One particular afternoon, I passed a cell in a section that houses the acutely mentally ill who are in a therapeutic community program. As I passed the cell, I saw the inmate laying on the floor with her neck suspended in a homemade type of ligature.

This type of suicide attempt in prison is technically death by strangulation because it is usually very difficult to "hang up" due to the construction of prison cells (i.e., removing anything they can swing from). So, it is common for inmates to strangle themselves by putting a ligature around their neck and then leaning forward. If undiscovered, the inmate will pass out in a very short time and eventually die.

This inmate had rigged up a shirt or a pillowcase to the metal frame of the bed in the form of a "u", then laid on the floor face down and slipped her neck through it ... and then I came along.

I immediately called the guard over and a team went into the cell and resolved the situation. The inmate, Alhamdulillah, did not die. In no time, she was cussing everybody out and banging her head on the cell door.

The staff told me that "she does this all the time." Apparently, she does these things when she knows that staff are in the unit. She knows that someone will intervene.

They were used to her suicide gestures that she does for attention. After all, for some people, negative attention is better than no attention.

But the purpose of my post ...

When I left the prison, I was extremely upset. You see, in all my years in corrections, I have never seen anything like that. I have seen plenty of things, believe me. But never a suicide attempt. Even if it was "just for attention". It was pretty traumatic for me.

I did share about it with my husband and with two of my best Muslim sisters. Everyone agreed that Allah (swt) placed me in that situation for a reason. "Alhamdulillah, that you came by when you did, Safiyyah" I was told. "She could have died."

I was kind of like a hero.

But like the crew of the Miracle, I didn't feel like one.

The mental vision of the inmate laying on the floor like that played over and over in my head, the horrible image intruding when I least expected it. I still think about it.

There are no keys to the city for me, no TV shows. My husband and two friends have not mentioned it to me since, no one has asked me how I am, how I'm dealing with it, wondering if I'm OK.

Perhaps it's the tough image I portray to people. Like I can take it. Like I can handle it.

After all, I'm a chaplain. Sometimes I think people think that I have a special pipeline to God, Astaghfurallah. I think they think I'm extra spiritual or something. But I'm not. I'm like everyone else.

Every airplane pilot and crew attendant is trained for the possibility of perhaps one day having to deal with the unthinkable emergency.

Likewise, everyone who works in corrections, including the chaplain, is trained for the unthinkable emergencies.

It's part of our job.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Gaza - Atfaluna Society for Deaf Children

Sister Laila at Raising Yousuf and Noor: Diary of Palestinian Mother has put up a very beneficial post about ways to continue to help the Palestinians. Her major point is that there is SOMETHING that EVERYONE can do for Gaza if they chose.

One of the awesome projects she posted about is the Atfaluna Society for Deaf Children.

From Atfaluna's website:

"Atfaluna is the main referral and resource center for most institutions, clinics, and hospitals in the Gaza Strip. The Society serves as the Gaza coordinator of the Community Development Society for the Hearing Impaired, a coordinating body of 21 member organizations in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip working in the field of hearing loss."

How can we help this terrific organization?

Well, they have a fantastic online boutique. All these things are made by the Society and are of high quality. There's something for everyone and it's not too early to start your Eid shopping!

Please check it out and buy something. I know I'm going to, Insha Allah!