Saturday, 30 September 2017

Imam Ja’far asw-Swadiq (q.s.) on Using the Intellect

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Imam Ja’far asw-Swadiq (q.s.) said, “One who does not use his intelligence will not succeed and one who does not use his knowledge will have no intellect.  One who understands will attain nobility and excellence, and one who is tolerant will triumph.  Knowledge is a shield, truth begets honour and ignorance disgrace, understanding is distinction, generosity is salvation and good manners command love and respect.”

Normalisation of Takfir against the Shi'ah in Singapore

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

More Muslims in Singapore should come out against discrimination and hate rhetoric against the Shi’ah community.  When there is some disagreement online or offline, one of the phrases trotted out is some version, often less polite, of “That person is Shi'ah”.

Who said the Shi’ah are out of Islam?  They go for hajj and ‘umrah, pray five times, fast in Ramadhan, and give zakat, in addition to holding on to the shahadah.  This normalisation of prejudice is unacceptable.  This takfir is a Wahhabi disease that should not be tolerated.  And so what if someone is Shi’ah?  I know a certain Muslim students’ organisation that excludes them.  I know of two couples who had problems at ROMM because one of them is Shi’ah.  I know entire groups in Singapore which make takfir of them.  I never noticed any Muslim organisation, or major ustadz come out against this.  In fact, I know of several who perpetrate this.

This shameful behaviour within our community has to end, and I hope more Muslims come out publicly against this.

Stumbling into Islam by Logic

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

I did not come to Islam because of someone I met, or some video, or even a book.  Rather, I stumbled upon it.  Like any young adult, I decided to relook my theological beliefs.  If the afterlife is so important, why should I leave it to the lottery of birth?  And so, over the course of the next several years, I tried to establish my conception of the Divine, and then find a religion that most closely met it, or simply have none.  It was a philosophical exercise before it was a theological one.

As such, after much thinking and consideration, I came to the conclusion that Creation was Created, therefore, there had to be a Creator.  And such a Creator had to be One, Unique and Absolute to account for the consistency of Divine Laws.  That meant He had to be Omnipotent, and Omnipotence requires Omniscience.  And He has to be Omnipresence, meaning not only beyond space, but time as well.  And it built from there.  As such, I was left with either the theology of Islam or Judaism.  This precluded my prior Christian faith because I was critical of many aspects of the theology.  And this included the belief in the Trinity, as there is no basis of it in the Old Testament.

I ended up with Islam because the Old Testament, in Song of Solomon, mentioned “Muhammadim”, and it all pointed to the advent of an eschatological prophet.  And in the Gospels, John (a.s.) told Jesus (a.s.) that another would come.  It was mainly an exercise in logic, and learning.

And now, after almost 20 years, Muslims tell me to leave aside that logic and reasoning and “submit”?  To whom?  To the ideas of men, and their limitations?  To dead scholars and living ones?  To cultural assumption and historical baggage?  I think not.  If a doctrine cannot be explained, then it is not worth following.  If belief is without reason, then it is superstition.  Everything and everyone should be questioned.  Nothing and no one should be so sacred that awe prevents dissection and discernment.  It does not matter the text, or who wrote it.  I respect scholarship, but if it does not convince me, I have no use for it.  That is my conception of Islam.

About Getting Older

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

What no one told me about getting older, is that we reach a stage in our lives where we just do what we think needs to be done, and not give a damn what anybody thinks.  The people who are our friends are our friends regardless.  The people who hate us are unlikely to matter.

When we consider that life is like a caravan of hope moving through the deserts of temporal existence, traversing from one oasis to another, returning to that ocean of Divine Unity, what else matters?  There will be barking dogs, but the caravan moves on.  It is the nature of rabid dogs to bark.  It should never be our nature to leave the caravan and bark back at the dogs.

The Car or the Driver

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

It has been said that sometimes the rules and obligations within organised religion can in fact turn someone away from God.  But without organised religion, there will only be organised materialism.  That is the inadequacy of the people, never the philosophy.  Many people own cars.  Some fancy, some not.  Some drive every day and some drive less often.  It does not mean that they are automatically better drivers with more expensive cars.  Or, that those who drive often have better records or vice versa.  When there are accidents, we blame the driver.  We seldom blame the car unless the car is obviously defective for such a car would cease to be produced.  We are those drivers and religions are cars.  Some religions are not appropriate.  Those defective cars are eventually part of failed production lines.  What are left are the ones we see now: Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and so forth.  All are more than a thousand years.  There has not been a distinct major, new faith after Islam.  Religions such as Sikhism and Baha’ism are reactions of Islam and do not have hundreds of millions of followers.  That these major faiths have been around for so long means that there has to be something in them, some truth.  So, people on the highway of life are arguing about who has the better car when they should be more concerned about who is the better driver.

A Mature Democracy

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Ideally, in a mature democracy, we are not for or against parties or ideologies.  Rather, we are for or against specific policies and their instruments of implementation.  We are not labels, but people with needs, ideas and aspirations.  Crafting legislation and formulating policy direction is not a zero-sum equation, but a compromise for a win-win.

Practically, there is no such thing as a mature democracy.  The larger the demographic, the lower the ability to think critically.  This is because people are gregarious by nature, and it is our biological imperative to groupthink, and conform.

It either takes extraordinary foolishness, or extreme courage or colossal arrogance, or a combination of these factors, to break that biological programming, and be different.  History tends to celebrate these individuals, while contemporary societies vilify them.  This is logical.  People want their fantasies of empowerment, but few want to move out of that comfort zone.

"Cohabitation outside Marriage" in the Administration of Muslim Law Act

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The Administration of Muslim Law Act should be further amended, and the government should consider repealing the following:

Cohabitation outside marriage
134.—(1)  Any man who cohabits and lives with a woman, whether a Muslim or not, to whom he is not lawfully married, shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $500 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or to both.
(2)  Any woman who cohabits and lives with a man, whether a Muslim or not, to whom she is not lawfully married, shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $500 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or to both.
(3)  The court may, instead of sentencing a woman under subsection (2), order that she be detained in a place of safety established under any written law for such period not exceeding 12 months as it may determine.
Enticing unmarried woman from wali
135.  Any person who takes or entices any unmarried woman out of the keeping of the wali of the unmarried woman without the consent of the wali shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 years and shall also be liable to a fine.

In a secular state, enforcing this would be problematic.  I can imagine all sorts of complications bringing this to court.  How do we define cohabitation?  Does this preclude unmarried Muslims from renting rooms from single people?

And in the 21st century, would not the issue of the wali come into conflict with the Women’s Charter?  Are women not their own persons, and not someone else’s property?  These sections are outdated.

Friday, 29 September 2017

"Non-Payment of Zakat or Fithrah" in the Administration of Muslim Law Act

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

This portion of the Administration of Muslim Law Act is essentially unenforceable:

Non-payment of zakat or fitrah
137.—(1)  Whoever, being liable to pay any zakat and having failed to procure, in accordance with section 70, the cancellation or modification of such liability, refuses or wilfully fails to pay the same, shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $500 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or to both.
(2)  Whoever, being liable to pay any fitrah and having failed to procure, in accordance with section 70, the cancellation or modification of such liability, refuses or wilfully fails to pay the same, shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $50 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one month or to both.
(3)  A conviction under this section shall not operate to extinguish the debt.
(4)  Any zakat or fitrah due by any person or the value of the same may be recovered as if the value thereof were recoverable as a fine imposed under the provisions of this Act.

How is MUIS going to know who did or did not pay zakat, and how much they are liable for?  The expense of auditing and enforcement just over 10% of the population would likely cost more than the zakat collected.

Also, how much money does MUIS need to collect anyway?  They have more than enough locked away, and there should be greater debate on how that money should be utilised.

The third issue is many families give zakat to those who qualify within their circle, or overseas.  If we enforce this, they are now breaking the law, and that should not be the intent.

"Failure to Report Conversion" in the Administration of Muslim Law Act

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

This portion of the Administration of Muslim Law Act is problematic:

Neglect or failure to report conversion
138.  Whoever, being under a duty to report to the Majlis a conversion to the Muslim religion under the provisions of this Act, wilfully neglects or fails to do so shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $500 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or to both.

There are people who decide to be Muslim, but for various reasons, do not want the world to know, let alone be put on some registrar.  This needs to be adjusted.

"False Doctrine" in the Administration of Muslim Law Act

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

When they propose further amendments to the Administration of Muslim Law Act, I sincerely hope this section is defined better:

False doctrine
139.—(1)  Whoever shall teach or publicly expound any doctrine or perform any ceremony or act relating to the Muslim religion in any manner contrary to the Muslim law shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $2,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or to both.

How do we define a false doctrine?  We have a lot of people espousing the positions of the Wahhabi sect, many of them registered in the ARS, teaching in our mosques and present in our Muslim organisations.  Should not a theology that states explicitly that Allah (s.w.t.) has a form, that other Muslims are kuffar, and is the underlying ideology of ISIS, JI, Al-Qaeda and almost every other terrorist group be considered a false doctrine?

On the other hand, we have these same people with extremist ideas making takfir of Shi'ah, Sufis, and anybody who espouses a position that is different to theirs.  Are we saying that the Shi'ah fall under this “false doctrine”?  What about certain Sufi doctrines or the more esoteric positions of taswawwuf?

When this sections talks about “false doctrines”, does it refer to theological positions or jurisprudential ones?  If theological, what are the accepted schools of creed, and what are the parameters that “take someone out of Islam”?  If jurisprudential, that is even more problematic, since it makes differences in legal opinion sufficient cause for takfir.  Are we going to have a new mihna and relive the Mu’tazilah persecution of the Hanbalis, for example?  We need to relook this and define it.  Otherwise, remove it.

Malay Issues are Not Necessarily Muslim Issues

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

When it comes to our public discourse on Islam and Muslims and policy directions in Singapore, it is time that we decouple Malay issues from Muslim issues.  This “Malay-Muslim” catchall label is not helpful.  Malay issues are not necessarily Muslim issues, and vice versa.

Firstly, a growing number of Muslims in Singapore are not Malay.  Many are not even Singaporean.  Dialogue with the Malay community should focus on their specific needs to better address them.

Secondly, as much as many would prefer to think otherwise, a growing number of young Malays, even graduates from religious schools, self-identify as agnostic or atheist.  There is a significant number who have formally apostatised and joined other faiths, notably Christianity.  They deserve to have their voices heard.

Thirdly, there are anywhere between 20,000 to 30,000 converts.  It is obviously difficult to have precise statistics for various reasons.  Our issues and concerns are not Malay issues.  Most converts are not involved in the community, our needs and concerns are not actually addressed by MUIS or even PERGAS.  These are essentially bastions of Malay concerns, not Muslim convert concerns.  Darul Arqam does not advance actual policy issues that affect converts.

In summary, we need a more expansive dialogue within the Muslim community and a recognition that we are all not the same.  At the same time, I advocate that Malays who are not Muslim have their voices heard and recognised.  Converts to Islam and converts out of Islam have a lot more in common with each other than people simply born into the religion.  It seems paradoxical, but we have to remember that both groups experienced a similar spiritual and theological journey, undergoing the same challenges in their social network, and both experience a strained relationship with the primary body of Muslims.

Shari'ah is Not Fiqh

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Shari’ah is simply Divine Law.  It consists of two portions, regulating the relationship between Creation and the Creator, and the relationship among Creation.  If shari’ah were a house, its foundation is mercy, its walls are justice and its roof is God-consciousness.  When it leaves any of this, it ceases to be shari’ah.

What people often mistake for shari’ah is jurisprudence, fiqh.  Whilst shari’ah is Divine, jurisprudence is human commentary, and is not.  Whilst shari’ah cannot be wrong, jurisprudence can, and can also be corrected.

And that is why the Prophet (s.a.w.) said that we are all born upon fithrah, that God-consciousness and connection to the Divine inherent in all when Allah (s.w.t.) Blew His Ruh into Adam (a.s.).  Shari’ah is within us and calls us to acts of mercy, that outrages us at miscarriages of justice, and causes us to seek knowledge.  If there is a doubt in a ruling, then do as the Prophet (s.a.w.) says “istafta qalbak,” “question your heart.”  And if our heart says it is wrong, we should listen to it, no matter the legal opinion of mortals, and that is shari’ah.

Creeping Islamisation in Singapore

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

As a Muslim, I am very wary of creeping Islamisation in Singapore.  I equate it with intolerance.  Today, it is about the hijab in secular schools.  Tomorrow, special prayer places.  And the day after, dictating our foreign policy.  I look across the Causeway, in Malaysia, where ridiculous fatawa are gazetted and made into law, politicians are justifying child marriage, and aggressive intolerance of non-Muslims is becoming a norm.  Is that really the direction we want the Muslim community here to go?  This is not the Islam I converted to.

I think we should consider scaling back the AMLA and removing entire sections of it.  I think the Mosque Building Fund should be abolished; they already have enough money.  I think we should consider moving away from a rigid interpretation of shari’ah, migrating from an emphasis in Shafi’i fiqh to Hanafi fiqh to better address the challenges of the time in terms of our fiqh al-mu’amalah.

I think Muslim leaders, particularly the asatidzah, should engage in more dialogue with the Shi’ah, as well as the Ahmadi community.  And after that, building actual relationships with the Jewish and Christian community.  We have too much lip service.  None of these are popular ideas, but they should be considered.

And beyond that, a litany of actual issues within the Muslim, not just Malay, community we really need to look at.  We need to consider the fact that a lot of converts do not stay, or they simply stop practicing, after a few years.  We need to consider that a lot of young heritage Muslims leave the religion outright, or simply stop practicing.  We need to consider that there is a huge gulf between the religious and the secularised sections of the community.  We need to consider the fact that the Wahhabi ideology is not only accepted, but also propagated, and these calls against extremism are lip service.  We need to relook the fara’idh, particularly when many families are multi-religious.  We need to relook some of our fatawa on zakat, especially on the CPF.  We need to consider how to address increasing interfaith marriages.  We need to admit that more and more Muslims do not use Malay and the mosques must adapt.  We need greater accountability in many of our Muslim organisations, particularly in finance and fund management.  We need to better police extremist ideology and hate preachers, and work towards an outright ban on entry.  Instead of all this, we have people championing a piece of cloth on the head.

My Personality is Incompatible with the General Ummah

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

I have had to take many personality tests and psychological profiles over the years, mainly due to work requirements.  And my personality is the rare sort, especially in Singapore.  I am a form of disemphatetic sociopath.  I am a hyper aggressive dominant type personality.  In summary, I like animals better than people.  I can empathise with people I am close with, but treat others as objects or pieces to be moved.  I have far above normal intelligence, an almost eidetic memory and do not lack self-belief.  I do not believe there is anything wrong with me; I like what I am.

On the other hand, I think people are strange, weak.  I never understood, for example, sentimentality.   People stay in relationships longer than they are worth, for example.  If someone is not worth the investment in time and intimacy, get rid of them.  If people are dishonest, disloyal or incompetent, discount them.  There are always replacements.

I never understood jingoism and exceptionalism.  Why should we treat someone better simply because we happen to be related?  This is the lottery of genetics.  If they have no values, if they betray, get rid of them.  Even if it is a sibling or a child.  In the same vein, why should we support someone solely on the basis of religion, ethnicity or nationality?  If they are wrong, oppose them.

Another thing, particularly prevalent in social media, is this need to be popular or liked.  Why is it important for people to like us?  “Like” is ephemeral and unstable.  It is preferable for people to respect or fear us.  People who depend on popularity are slaves to a segment of society and bound by their expectations.  We do not need to belong to anyone.  What we need is a network of people with capabilities we can benefit from, and values we are congruent with.

In large groups, humanity becomes more emotional and less rational.  People are easily manipulated by feelings.  This is how nations go to war, and communities justify genocide.  This is the basis of sectarianism and racism, of prejudice and conflict.  I think people are far too easily moved by emotions.

Islam is unusual among modern faith traditions in that there is this persistent belief in some sort of global ummah.  This is a dangerous illusion.  It ignores the fact that there are over a billion adherents with over a billion levels of understanding.  This belief in an ummah compels Muslims to defend other Muslims even when they are wrong, and justify oppression of non-Muslims.  It diminishes the intellectual traditions of Islam, and subsumes it into some sort of emotive prison.

Since I am not an emotional man, I am not bound by the historical baggage of looking back at our history and believing that Muslims were the best civilisation and perpetual victims of non-Muslim powers.  I see it as it is: the same politicking, conspiracies, aggression and failings of any civilisation.  We all had triumphs and achievements.  But Muslims also participated in genocides, colonialisation, oppression, occupation and the global slave trade.  And this, from the time of the Salaf; they were not all sinless.

I certainly do not believe that Islam is simply “submission”; I am not here to submit and follow.  Submission is to God Alone, not the interpretations of men, whether saint or sinner, unless I can subscribe to it.  Our scholars have also said some ridiculous things; they were humans with human mistakes.

The future of Islam is not found in following the remnants of dead civilisations but in learning lessons from their failures and successes, and taking it further.  The future of Islam is not found in the heritage Muslim community but with the converts, the independent thinkers, the rebels, the progressives.  It is time more Muslims are less emotional about everything, and more discerning and rationally brutal.

I am Neither For or Against the Hijab

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

I am neither pro-hijab nor anti-hijab.  I do not believe it is compulsory.  That makes me pro-choice.  If a woman wants to wear it, fine.  And if she does not want to, fine.  But just as I do not believe women should be forced to take it off, it is equally hypocritical to believe she must wear it.

The Roots of Radicalisation

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

When it comes to terrorism, we cannot deny that the majority of attacks are perpetrated by those who profess to be Muslims.  Has anyone ever considered what sort of mindset is required for a person to deliberately target civilians, tourists, children, ordinary people going about their lives?  It is this mindset we must address.  Without that internal justification, all the opportunities would pass by.

It begins with the way Islam is taught in many communities, even in Singapore.  Muslims are taught that we are different from the non-Muslims in terms of our morals and this bleeds into a form of exceptionalism.  Many Muslims casually refer to all non-Muslims as “kuffar”, “disbelievers”.  A kafir is someone who knows the truth of Islam and then chooses to oppose it.  Such a person is damned.

Many Muslims buy into all sorts of historical revisionism and conspiracy theories.  Essentially, there has been a confluence of events throughout history where “righteous” Muslim polities and communities were defeated and oppressed by a range of enemies, the Crusaders, the Jews, the Illuminati, and the forces of Dajjal, the Anti-Christ.  This creates a mindset of perpetual conflict with non-Muslims.

In our textbooks, in talks by popular preachers, in websites and elsewhere, verses of the Qur’an are taken out of context, forbidding taking Christians, Jews and other “undesirables” as friends, greeting them on their festivities, attending functions, having any sort of relationship and seeing them as equals.  This is normalisation of alienation of non-Muslims as the other.

All it needs is for these ideas to gain traction in the wider community.  So, the secular government is a “kuffar” government, the non-Muslims a collectively blamed for the “humiliation” of the ummah, and all that is justified with Scripture.

From this wider community, there will be groups with their various agendas, from the ridiculous to the sinister.  There are groups who believe evolution is an atheist conspiracy, or the banking system is a form of oppression and other mildly amusing absurdities.  And there will be other groups that seek to dictate the local community’s positions on issues of jurisprudence such as the hijab, or voting rights.  And then there will be groups who believe that Islam is in an existential state of conflict with the “kuffar”.

Sometimes, people graduate from one cause to another.  Sometimes, they are radicalised by alienation, disenfranchisement and oppression, real or imagined.  Sometimes, people just define themselves by their opposites.  But beneath it all, it still comes down to the root cause: that it is acceptable to believe non-Muslims are enemies of Islam.  No religious group celebrates its converts like the acquisition of trophies, nor advocates violence against apostates as much as the Muslims.

It is time we stop treating our religion as some sort of a cult, and more as a theological tradition.  It is time we stand more firmly against this sort of hate indoctrination and emphasise our relationships with non-Muslims more.  This is not a call for Reformation; it is a call to return the religion to its prophetic roots.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

The NRA's "Jesus"

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

A people that glorify violence and war cannot claim to be Christian.

Missionaries & the Oppression of Christianity

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Dr. John Henrik Clarke was an African American activist, and later professor of Black & Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College of the City University of New York from 1969 to 1986, where he served as founding chairman of the department.  He said, “To hold a people in oppression, you have to convince them first that they are supposed to be oppressed.”  And that is exactly what Christianity did to many nations and tribes in the Age of Colonialisation.

Albert Einstein on Zionists

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Albert Einstein said, “It would be my greatest sadness to see Zionists do to Palestinian Arabs much of what Nazis did to Jews.”

The Bible in the Wrong Hands

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The Christian Religious Right will have a legacy of being on the wrong side of many issues of our time, from slavery to segregation to economic disparity.  They are the epitome of those who have sold their afterlife for this world.

Syria Once Welcomed Greek Refugees

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

There was a time when Greeks sought refuge in Syria.  The Asia Minor Catastrophe occurred in 1923.  It was the forced exchange of populations between Greece and Turkey, as agreed upon under the Lausanne Treaty.  After the end of World War II, thousands of Greek refugees travelled to Syria and Lebanon, areas that were under French occupation.  At least 17,000 Greeks from Asia Minor sought refuge in Syrian cities alone after being expelled from the newly created Turkish Republic.

Imam ibn Hajr al-‘Asqalani's (r.a.) Poem Seeking the Intercession of the Prophet (s.a.w.)

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Imam ibn Hajr al-‘Asqalani (r.a.) wrote:

“By the gate of your generosity stands a sinner, who is mad with love,
O Best of Mankind in radiance of face and countenance!
Through you, he seeks a means,
Hoping for Allah’s Forgiveness of slips;
From fear of Him, his eyelid is wet with pouring tears.
Although his genealogy attributes him to a stone,
How often tears have flowed, sweet, pure and fresh!
Praise of you does not do you justice, but perhaps,
In eternity, its verses will be transformed into mansions.
My praise of you shall continue for as long as I live,
For I see nothing that could ever deflect me from your praise.”

In this poem, the line, “Although his genealogy attributes him to a stone,” is a double entendre since “stone”, in Arabic, is “hajr”.

The Quest for Education

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

This is a school in Afghanistan.  Nelson Mandela said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”