Archive for the 'Current Events' Category

Imran Khan: A Sound of Reason on the “War of Terror” and “Pakistani Taliban”

BismiAllah arRahman arRaheem

Interesting talk by Imran Khan on the War and Pakistani politics. He seems to lay out what is going on in Afghanistan (more or less). Somethign that most of the World leaders(those waging this war) don’t seem to understand, or if they do aren’t making the right decisions.

They probably aren’t willing to find a non-violent way to resolve this because, well – “We don’t negotiate with terrorists!”

Frontline’s report on the War in Afghanistan entitled “Obama’s War” is really informative as far as what the situation is over there from a mainstream US media source. You can watch the entire show here.

May Allah aid the oppressed and have mercy on our souls.

Allah All-Mighty Knows best.


Babar Ali: ‘Youngest Headmaster in the World’

Bismillah arRahman arRaheem

Interesting story. Ask yourself, how have you helped humanity?

Around the world millions of children are not getting a proper education because their families are too poor to afford to send them to school. In India, one schoolboy is trying to change that. In the first report in the BBC’s Hunger to Learn series, Damian Grammaticas meets Babar Ali, whose remarkable education project is transforming the lives of hundreds of poor children.

At 16 years old, Babar Ali must be the youngest headmaster in the world. He’s a teenager who is in charge of teaching hundreds of students in his family’s backyard, where he runs classes for poor children from his village.

The story of this young man from Murshidabad in West Bengal is a remarkable tale of the desire to learn amid the direst poverty.

Babar Ali's students

Babar Ali’s ‘school’ has some 800 students

Babar Ali’s day starts early. He wakes, pitches in with the household chores, then jumps on an auto-rickshaw which takes him part of the 10km (six mile) ride to the Raj Govinda school. The last couple of kilometres he has to walk.

The school is the best in this part of West Bengal. There are hundreds of students, boys and girls. The classrooms are neat, if bare. But there are desks, chairs, a blackboard, and the teachers are all dedicated and well-qualified.

As the class 12 roll-call is taken, Babar Ali is seated in the middle in the front row. He’s a tall, slim, gangly teenager, studious and smart in his blue and white uniform. He takes his notes carefully. He is the model student.

Babar Ali is the first member of his family ever to get a proper education.

“It’s not easy for me to come to school because I live so far away,” he says, “but the teachers are good and I love learning. And my parents believe I must get the best education possible that’s why I am here.”

Raj Govinda school is government-run so it is free, all Babar Ali has to pay for is his uniform, his books and the rickshaw ride to get there. But still that means his family has to find around 1,800 rupees a year ($40, £25) to send him to school. In this part of West Bengal that is a lot of money. Many poor families simply can’t afford to send their children to school, even when it is free.

Chumki Hajra is one who has never been to school. She is 14 years old and lives in a tiny shack with her grandmother. Their home is simple A-frame supporting a thatched roof next to the rice paddies and coconut palms at the edge of the village. Inside the hut there is just room for a bed and a few possessions.

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Chumki Hajra, a pupil at Babar Ali’s school, describes her day

Every morning, instead of going to school, she scrubs the dishes and cleans the homes of her neighbours. She’s done this ever since she was five. For her work she earns just 200 rupees a month ($5, £3). It’s not much, but it’s money her family desperately needs. And it means that she has to work as a servant everyday in the village.

“My father is handicapped and can’t work,” Chumki tells me as she scrubs a pot. “We need the money. If I don’t work, we can’t survive as a family. So I have no choice but to do this job.”

But Chumki is now getting an education, thanks to Babar Ali. The 16-year-old has made it his mission to help Chumki and hundreds of other poor children in his village. The minute his lessons are over at Raj Govinda school, Babar Ali doesn’t stop to play, he heads off to share what he’s learnt with other children from his village.

At four o’clock every afternoon after Babar Ali gets back to his family home a bell summons children to his house. They flood through the gate into the yard behind his house, where Babar Ali now acts as headmaster of his own, unofficial school.

Lined up in his back yard the children sing the national anthem. Standing on a podium, Babar Ali lectures them about discipline, then study begins.

Babar Ali gives lessons just the way he has heard them from his teachers. Some children are seated in the mud, others on rickety benches under a rough, homemade shelter. The family chickens scratch around nearby. In every corner of the yard are groups of children studying hard.

Babar Ali was just nine when he began teaching a few friends as a game. They were all eager to know what he learnt in school every morning and he liked playing at being their teacher.

Without this school many kids wouldn’t get an education, they’d never even be literate
Babar Ali

Now his afternoon school has 800 students, all from poor families, all taught for free. Most of the girls come here after working, like Chumki, as domestic helps in the village, and the boys after they have finished their day’s work labouring in the fields.

“In the beginning I was just play-acting, teaching my friends,” Babar Ali says, “but then I realised these children will never learn to read and write if they don’t have proper lessons. It’s my duty to educate them, to help our country build a better future.”

Including Babar Ali there are now 10 teachers at the school, all, like him are students at school or college, who give their time voluntarily. Babar Ali doesn’t charge for anything, even books and food are given free, funded by donations. It means even the poorest can come here.

“Our area is economically deprived,” he says. “Without this school many kids wouldn’t get an education, they’d never even be literate.”

Seated on a rough bench squeezed in with about a dozen other girls, Chumki Hajra is busy scribbling notes.

Her dedication to learning is incredible to see. Every day she works in homes in the village from six in the morning until half past two in the afternoon, then she heads to Babar Ali’s school. At seven every evening she heads back to do more cleaning work.

Chumki’s dream is to one day become a nurse, and Babar Ali’s classes might just make it possible.

The school has been recognised by the local authorities, it has helped increase literacy rates in the area, and Babar Ali has won awards for his work.

The youngest children are just four or five, and they are all squeezed in to a tiny veranda. There are just a couple of bare electric bulbs to give light as lessons stretch into the evening, and only if there is electricity.

And then the monsoon rain begins. Huge drops fall as the children scurry for cover, slipping in the mud. They crowd under a piece of plastic sheeting. Babar Ali shouts an order. Lessons are cancelled for the afternoon otherwise everyone will be soaked. Having no classrooms means lessons are at the mercy of the elements.

The children climb onto the porch of a nearby shop as the rain pours down. Then they hurry home through the downpour. Tomorrow they’ll be back though. Eight hundred poor children, unable to afford an education, but hungry for anything they can learn at Babar Ali’s school.

Source: BBC

1 in 4 are Muslim: Highlights from Pew Forum Study

Bismillahi arRahman arRaheem

The Pew Forum recently released its study on the size and distribution of the Muslim World population entitled: “Mapping the Global Muslim Population”. This comes about a year and a half after the Vatican released that about 1 in 5 people in the World are Muslim at 19.2%  compared with Catholics at 17.2%, back in March 2008 (Muslim Matters: Islam Surpasses Catholicism). The new study estimates the Muslim population 4% higher, making it approximately 1 in 4 people in the world are Muslims. The Christian(all denominations) estimate according to most studies is about 33% which is 1 in 3 people in the world, and has been stable for awhile.

The more likely reason for this rise is the number of kids Muslims have, which is usually higher than the rest of the world. The World fertility rate (birth per woman in her lifetime) is around 2.5-2.6, Muslims tend to have a rate substantially more than that (taking top 9 most populous muslim countries it would be close to 2.85). The population growth for Muslims from 2000-2006 according to one study was 2% while the rest of the world’s was 1.2%, otherwise read as: It would take 167 years for the world population to double while it would take about a 103 years. World Birth and fertility rates are mentioned here and here respectively. Muslim population has been growing but the birth/fertility rates have been dropping. Just shows us what lies ahead of us, meaning we need step up our game not only in birth rates but more importantly in spreading information about Islam aka Da’wah!

I heard Imam Siraj Wahhaj once say at a conference, “Everyone should carry an Almanac with them.” He was emphasizing how Muslims should be aware of the changes and trends occuring in the world. The results of the released study is only 62 pages and everyone should read it. And out of the 62 pages only about 30-35 pages consist of  relevant information, the rest includes methodogy, references, and sources. I have summarized and listed below some highlights, interesting facts,and comparisons mentioned in the study and some I noticed myself.

Two ahadith of the Prophet (salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) come to mind when reading studies like these:

1.Thauban reported that the Messenger of Allah (salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said:

“It is near that the nations will call one another against you just as the eaters call one another to their dishes.”

Somebody asked: “Is this because we will be few in numbers that day?”

He said: “Nay, but that day you shall be numerous, but you will be like the foam of the sea, and Allah will take the fear of you away from your enemies and will place weakness into your hearts.”

Somebody asked: “What is this weakness?”

He said: “The love of the world and the dislike of death.” (Abu Dawood)

2.Narrated Ma’qil ibn Yasaar:….

The Prophet (salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said:

‘…..for I will be proud of your great numbers before the other nations.”

(Abu Dawood)

The executive summary reads:

A comprehensive demographic study of more than 200 countries finds that there are 1.57 billion Muslims of all ages living in the world today, representing 23% of an estimated 2009 world population of 6.8 billion.

Interactive Map by Country and Territory

Interactive Map by Country and Territory

The Study was done for about 232 countries relying upon more than 1500 sources. It is possibly the most comprehensive amongst the more recent ones as they claim and possibly righfully so.

The Top Five Countries in Muslim population:

  1. Indonesia (203 Mil.*)
  2. Pakistan (174 Mil.)
  3. India (161 Mil.)
  4. Bangladesh (145 Mil.)
  5. Egypt (78.5 Mil.)
  • Nigeria (78 Mil.)

*Mil. = Million

Here are some highlights:

  • Estimated 2009 World population 6.8 Billion
  • 1 in 4 people in the world are Muslim (Approx. 23% – 1.57 Billiion)
  • 9 in 10 are Sunni as opposed to Shia (87%-90%)
  • Majority of Shia (about 80%) are found in only 4 countries: Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, India
  • 2 out of 3 Muslims live in Asia
  • Only 20% (1 in 5) of Muslims live in Arab world (N. Africa and Middle East)
  • 1 in 3 Muslims of the World live in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh
  • 1 in 5 Muslims live as minorities (300 Mil.)
  • More than 50% of those minority Muslims live in India

Muslims as Minorities and in the West:

  • India has the largest Muslim minority population, also is the third largest in the World (161 Million)
  • Followed by Ethiopia(28 Mil.), then China(21.6 Mil.), and then Russia(16.5 Mil.).
  • 2 out of the 10 top countries with Muslims as a minority are in the West: Russia and Germany
  • 11% of Russia and ~5% of Germany(4 Mil.) is Muslim, France comes in next with 3.5 Mil., then UK
  • Kosovo and Albania are the only 2 countries in Europe with more than 75% Muslims
  • US Muslim Population was estimated at 2.5 Mil.
  • and UK at 1.7 Mil.
  • and Canada at 0.65 Mil.
  • and South Africa 0.7 Mil.
  • and Australia only 0.4 Mil.
  • Suriname has the highest % of Muslims as minorities in the Americas at 16%
  • Bosnia has the has highest in the world at ~40%

Some interesting comparisons:

  • There as as many Muslims from the Arab World as there are living as Minorities (20%)
  • 17 of the 20 countries in the Arab World have more than 75% Muslim population in their countries.
  • Muslim minority population of Ethiopia is about as large as that of Afghanistan
  • and China has more Muslims than Syria
  • and Russia is home to more Muslims than Jordan and Libya combined
  • and Germany has more Muslims than Lebanon
  • Argentina has more Muslims than Canada
  • Canada’s Muslims compromise 2% of the population which is twice as much as the US according to the study.
  • There are three times more Muslims in Ethiopia than Somalia.
  • Nigeria’s Muslim population by % has slightly crossed 50% mark at 50.4%

Weighted Map Size relative to population (Click for Full Size)

Weighted Map Size relative to population (Click for Full Size)

Access the entire Study here or here (.pdf).

Some of the statistics might seem unusual and there might be a reason for that, to know why certain populations (Ex. USA) are lower than expected, look at the Methodology sections(specifically section IX, Pg. 38 in the pdf). That should suffice to explain the “discrepancies”. The study mentions its methodology and at the same time points out what part of their data-collection, and satistical calculations might cause the discrepancies. It also mentions that it will be addressing them in a future publication(in 2010) that is more thorough and accurate contigent upon ascertaining or having access to that information.

I really enjoy studies on religious and cultural demographics. Some of the upcoming studies from the PEw Forum seem interesting:

These findings on the world Muslim population lay the foundation for a forthcoming study by the Pew Forum, scheduled to be released in 2010, that will estimate growth rates among Muslim populations worldwide and project Muslim populations into the future. The Pew Forum plans to launch a similar study of global Christianity in 2010 as well. The Pew Forum also plans to conduct in-depth public opinion surveys on the intersection of religion and public life around the world, starting with a 19-country survey of sub-Saharan Africa scheduled to be released later this year. These forthcoming studies are part of a larger effort – the Global Religious Futures Project, jointly funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts and the John Templeton Foundation – that aims to increase people’s understanding of religion around the world.

Allah the All-Mighty Knows best.

William Kamkwamba: The Boy who Harnessed the Wind

About 3 years ago the story about the Malawian boy, William Kamkwamba, that rose to fame because he built windmills out of literally waste was circulated all over the internet. Since then he has spoken at TED and with many media outlets. Since his first windmills, he has built four more, and is now speakign at many shows, conferences, and this week will be on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

This past week, a book on this boys journey was released entitled “The Boy who Harnessed the Wind”.

Here’s a video:

Also watch his talk at TED here.

BBC: Egypt cleric ‘to ban full veils’

Bismillah arRahman arRaheem

La hawla wa la quwwata illa billah. It’s unfortunate.

Egypt’s highest Muslim authority has said he will issue a religious edict against the growing trend for full women’s veils, known as the niqab.

Sheikh Mohamed Tantawi, dean of al-Azhar university, called full-face veiling a custom that has nothing to do with the Islamic faith.

Although most Muslim women in Egypt wear the Islamic headscarf, increasing numbers are adopting the niqab as well.

The practice is widely associated with more radical trends of Islam.

The niqab question reportedly arose when Sheikh Tantawi was visiting a girls’ school in Cairo at the weekend and asked one of the students to remove her niqab.

The Egyptian newspaper al-Masri al-Yom quoted him expressing surprise at the girl’s attire and telling her it was merely a tradition, with no connection to religion or the Koran.

Source: BBC

I dont understand. Even if he was to consider this a cultural practice, how does it mean it should be banned?

May Allah Guide us and Keep us on the straight path.

Allahu ‘Alam

Hurricane Omar St.Kitts & Nevis Aftermath (Pics)

So I decided to do a little picture story on the Aftermath of Hurricane Omar. The Hurricane didn’t hit my island (St. Kitts) directly nor did it do very much damage (relative), but it did affect other caribbean island much worse. The following are some Hurricane Omar Aftermath Pictures, please click ont he images to see the full size image:

Crazy waves AFTER Hurricane Omar passed us by. This is the Carribean Sea, it’s usually much much calmer than the Atlantic Ocean side of the island.

This is supposed to be the main road that connects the main city on the island (Basseterre – as the locals refer to it “Town”) everything else besides the main city is a village except the tourist area and suburbs. The waves were so high it brought all the sand and sea debris onto the island’s roads and structures by the shoreline.

If you look closely at the left of this image there are soem waves hitting the rocks and going over. Right past those rocks is the main road which runs on the shoreline right in front of the Island’s main city. Again these waves are after the hurricane passed us by.

These two pictures are from the Bird Rock Beach Hotel. The Muslims have been praying Eid Salaah here for the past two Eids, we are just going to have to figure something out for our next Eid prayer. I happen to live one house down from his hotel, but I’m on a hill, so the elevation was good protect, after Allah’s Protection. I did step outside my house while the Hurricane was passing by just to see how strong it is, it wasn’t that strong, but because the water levels rose all the rocks, and sea debris came up onto the land and caused all this damage to the Hotel. This place is basically gone, dont knwo how long they’re going to take to get it back in business. In the left pic, in case you were wondering that is a boat on land, and to the right is what used to be the Hotel parking lot.

This is a picture of how the hurricane approached the island. You can see the dense clods approaching the island here. The landscape is of Frigate Bay, the tourist area of the island.

This is the crazy amount of water thsi hurricane left behind, The tourism area is on a fairly flat piece of land on the island, making it highly susceptible to flooding. Pictured above is what it did to the golf course. The large structure int he back is the Marriott Hotel & Resort. If anyone is coming, let me know, I think I can still get a student discount, which means rooms for like $100/night(compared to like $300).

This picture is actually from a friend’s Facebook Album, he lives in Dominica. Dominica is south of St. Kitts, a lot more south. Slight changes in water levels have huge impacts on small islands.

More pictures:

Nevis Blog‘s Picasa Album: Hurricane Omar Oct 2008

SKN Vibes(News and go-to website for St.Kitts&Nevis): Huricane Omar destroys St.Kitts & Nevis Coastline

Be the Brothers and Sisters no one expects us to be……

asSalaam’alaykum wa Rahmatullah

Here is an awesome heartfelt article by popular Muslim comedian Azhar Usman on his thoughts about Black-American Muslims and the passing of Imam WD Muhammad.

I strongly recommend everyone to read this article.

This was sent to me by a friend and he first saw it here :

The article is reproduced below. (please comment on above website)

Here is a picture story by SaqibSaab on the funeral of the Imam:

Continue reading ‘Be the Brothers and Sisters no one expects us to be……’


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Fiqh As Sawm

Islamic Rulings Surrounding Ramadhan and Fasting. Based on “Manar As Sabeel Fi Sharh Ad Daleel” Of Shaykh Ibraheem ibn Duwaiyan (d. 1353 AH) as explained by Br. Salim Morgan. Transcribed and Edited By Ibn Al Hyderabadee

Prologue Introduction

Chapter 1: Fasting in Ramadhaan
1. A pillar of Islam 2. Obligation of Fasting 3. Sighting of the Moon for start of Ramadhaan 4. One reliable witness' presence is sufficient 5. Conditions that make Ramadhan Obligatory for an Individual 6. Expiation for the inability to fast due to age or illness 7. Requirements of a valid fast 8. Obligations to fulfill during fasting 9. Recommended acts of fasting

Chapter 2: Permissions and Prohibitions

1. Impermissible to break fast during Ramadhan 2. Prohibited to fast for a woman in her menstrual or post-partum bleedin 3. Obligatory to break it when it is required to save a person’s life 4. Recommended to break fast for one who is ill and fears harm from fasting. 5. Recommended to break fast when one is traveling 6. Permissible for one to break fast who begins a journey while fasting 7. Permissible for a pregnant or nursing (breast feeding) woman 8. Change of condition of a person doesn’t obligate one to refrain from eating and drinking the rest of the day. 9. Prohibited to fast a voluntary fast instead of an obligatory one.

Chapter 3: That which Invalidates Your Fast

1. Intentional Intake of anything into the abdomen 2. Intention to break fast 3. Fluctuating Intention to fast 4. Vomiting intentionally 5. Menstruation or Post Partum Bleeding 6. Masturbation 7. Marital Relations 8. Cupping for both parties 9. Death 10. Apostasy 11. Above are Exempted in some cases

Chapter 4: Repayment
1. Missing a day of fast in Ramadhan
2. When does one make up a missed fast
3. If missed fast are not made up until few dats before next Ramadhan
4. Missed fasts first or voluntary?

Chapter 5: Recommended, Disliked, and Impermissible Days of Fasting
1. Recommended Every Other Day Sawn Dawood
2. The three white days of every Islamic month
3. Six days of Shawwaal
4. Month of Muharram and the 10th
5. Ten days of Dhil Hijja and that of Arafat
6. Disliking of the month of Rajab
7. Disliking of the day of Friday
8. Disliking of the 30th of Shabaan
9. Impermissibility of fasting on the two Eids
10. Completing of a voluntary fast is not Wajib