The LADO Group - Latino Muslims

In the name of Allah SWT

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The Latino Muslim Voice

The April-June 2005 newsletter features:

1. Quotes of the Month
2. "The LADO Genesis" By Juan Alvarado
3. "The Qur'an Saved Me" By Daoud S. Ali
4. "Tres Shahadahs" Por Omar Weston
5. "Cinco de Mayo Parade" By Ilyas Hasan Choudry
6. "Public Schools versus Private Schools" By Taqwa Dilek
7. "La Orden Social Islámica" Por Maulana Abul Ala Maududi
8. "The Islamic Social Order" By Maulana Abul Ala Maududi
9. "Andalusian Muslims Recall Painful Mass Exodus" By Al-Amin Andalusi
10. "A Picture With My Family" By Zulayka Martinez

Quotes of the Month

"Indeed in the Messenger of Allah (Muhammad PBUH) you have a good example to follow for him who hopes for (the Meeting with) Allah and the Last Day, and remember Allah much." - Quran 33:21.

"O you who believe! If you help the cause of Allah, then Allah will help you and make your foothold firm." - Quran 47:7.

A person asked Allah's Apostle, "What (sort of) deeds in or (what qualities of) Islam are good?" He replied, "To feed (the poor) and greet those whom you know and those whom you don't know." - Sahih Bukhari 1.2.27. Narrated 'Abdullah bin 'Amr.

When the Prophet sent Muadh to Yemen, he said to him, "You are going to a nation from the people of the Scripture, so let the first thing to which you will invite them, be the Tauhid of Allah. If they learn that, tell them that Allah has enjoined on them, five prayers to be offered in one day and one night. And if they pray, tell them that Allah has enjoined on them Zakat of their properties and it is to be taken from the rich among them and given to the poor. And if they agree to that, then take from them Zakat but avoid the best property of the people." - Sahih Bukhari 9.93.469. Narrated Ibn Abbas.

"The man who has no imagination has no wings." - Muhammad Ali.

The LADO Genesis

By Juan Alvarado

Evolution of the Latino American Dawah Organization

Since childhood I always noticed that I was spiritual to say the least. I was baptized, did my communion and confirmation. I was even an altar boy. By the time I was 19, I renounced Christianity once and for all due to my lack of belief in the basic teachings of Christianity. However, I continued my search for truth. This search led me to read on a non-stop basis, something that I still do. After studying Islam for a couple of years, I was sufficiently comfortable that I decided to convert in 1992. The only twist in my conversion story is that I took two shahadas rather than one because of my experience with a Black Nationalist movement called the Ansar cult, or the Nubian Islamic Hebrews. Thankfully, a Latino Muslim brother noted my error and gave me a book by Bilal Philips about the Ansars called, "The Ansar Cult in America." I lasted two years in this movement before taking my shahada with Alianza Islamica in El Barrio in Spanish Harlem.

In the late nineties, I was a savvy Internet chatterbox. I would look for any Islamic chat rooms and message boards on AOL. Their message boards were very active at that time. The Islam message boards used to have 100 posts a day - from Muslims, talking about Islam, which is certainly not the case now. I'd say the year was 1996. There were many people online; each person had many opinions. We would discuss Middle Eastern and world politics and all aspects about Islam - the permissible and forbidden, questions and answers, rebuttals, etc. In this melee of ideas, many non-Muslims visited just to disrespect Islam saying some of the most audacious things. However, many non-Muslims were interested in Islam or at the very least were tolerant and respectful of our different beliefs. They were there to learn about Islam, Muslims, Islamic culture, the Middle East and/or specific Islamic countries.

During those times, I was happy to have met many, very good people. I learned much about Islam from many knowledgeable Muslims. I also learned about the bad things that happen within cultures that claim to be Islamic but are not. As a Muslim revert, I can only hope to show others the beauty of Islam and somehow incline them toward Islam. In the Qur'an 16:125, Allah SWT states, "Invite (all) to the Way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious: for thy Lord knoweth best, who have strayed from His Path, and who receive guidance." Allah SWT guides whom He wills. I love Islam, and I would like others to love Islam, too. As such, I have tried to find ways to disseminate Islam. I have come across non-Muslims interested in Islam, and I have spoken with them at length trying to answer all of their questions. I have had some great online/written conversations, too.

Among the good people that I met was a young lady interested in Islam. She was a Bronx native like myself named Samantha Sanchez. She was not yet a Muslim. She was a graduate student writing her master's thesis about Hispanics coming to Islam. I was one of her thesis interviewees. Samantha's inspiration to seriously begin learning more about Islam happened after coming across an acquaintance on campus. Samantha couldn't believe her eyes. While standing in the middle of a Jesuit college campus, she was dressed in modest clothing with her hair covered. "How? When? Why?" Samantha asked herself. From that moment on, she was hooked, but not on Islam. She was hooked on finding out why a Latina would choose Islam.

After answering those questions, the Latina Muslimah told Samantha that she would give her a book about Islam. They promised to stay in touch. After reading that book, she made an intense study of the Qur'an and Islam. She also contacted various new Muslims online including myself. After many conversations, I noted that Samantha was clearly seeing the light of Islam. I don't remember exactly when she decided to become a Muslim. There is no doubt she was on a quest for the truth. I encouraged her in her quest as I would anyone interested in Islam. We must in any case thank Allah SWT for opening her heart and giving our Ummah such an educated lady. We continued our online friendship and conversations for more than a year.

Saraji Umm Zaid met Samantha through another sister who had met her on the AOL message boards. Saraji was very active on the Islam message boards. She was one of the most intelligent Muslims on the boards. She would answer tough questions, respond to various misconceptions, and give advice to anyone interested in Islam. Although Saraji made her shahada as a teen in private, someone insisted that her first shahada needed witnesses for it to be valid with Allah SWT. She renewed her shahada with a Latina sister from New Jersey in 1997. A few days later Saraji found out that Samantha had made her shahada on the same day at the large Islamic Center in Queens.

Little by little, a group of Muslims had developed, which had the ambition of spreading this deen to others. Together, we immediately recognized the need for some type of group that would cater Islam to the unique Hispanic community within the United States. We were not quite sure how we could accomplish this. Nevertheless, we exchanged thoughts, articles, and topics of interest through e-mail. This was in effect our first Latino Muslims e-mail newslist. We all recognized that communication would be a prerequisite for the cooperation needed to begin a national grassroots organization among Hispanics. In the beginning, we were in a quandary as to what we could do. Many ideas were up in the air. We came to an agreement that we needed an organization that would encourage Latino Muslims from around the United States to work together to fulfill their common needs. By identifying those needs, the organization would struggle diligently to fill the void. Consequently, the organization and anyone interested in dawah to Latinos would have a sense of direction.

Our hope was to establish an organization that would give credence and assistance needed to succeed. Insh'Allah. For example, an organization of this scope would help bring more participants into dawah work. Our requests about the need for Spanish Islamic literature would also be more likely to be acknowledged. At the time, very little attention was paid to any converts to Islam, let alone Latinos. We wanted it to be an organization where Latinos could speak for themselves. As Saraji said, "I wanted something established so that by the time my daughter was old enough to think for herself and notice how the world works, she would see Latinos represented in the Ummah." On a more personal level, we hoped that by working with this type of organization we would become better Muslims, as our ideals would be put into practice. Each of us could contribute our own unique skills and knowledge.

Next, we needed to come up with a name. We wanted to choose something that would express our ethnic and religious identity as Latinos/Hispanics and as Muslims. We also wanted to emphasize that this would be an Islamic organization whose primary purpose would be dawah and education to Latinos. The word 'lado' came to Saraji's mind after a few hours of trying to think of an acronym that would mean something in Spanish. From the word 'lado', she came up with Latino American Dawah Organization. Today, our organization is known by most Muslims as simply "LADO" and as "The LADO Group." In Spanish, LADO is known as "El Grupo LADO." The acronym LADO means 'side' in Spanish.

Samantha came up with "¡A su LADO!" as a motto, which in English means "At your side!" By 2001, the motto evolved to become the following: "¡Puro Latino! ¡Puro Islam! ¡A su LADO!" Far from being an exclusive club, membership is open to all Muslims regardless of race. Members are also actively encouraged to assist, join, and even begin other Muslim organizations. LADO emphasizes a full-fledged, comprehensive dawah effort toward Latinos. Encouraging Latino Muslims to organize to enhance dawah opportunities is one aspect of that effort. Hence, "¡Puro Latino!" With dawah, though, comes responsibility. By continuously learning and practicing Islam, we seek to become better Muslims and hence preserve the teachings of the Qur'an and Sunnah. Hence, "¡Puro Islam!" And of course, LADO is at your side!

LADO is a grassroots organization founded in September 1997 by a handful of Latino converts to Islam in New York City. "¡A su LADO!" is the essence of our mission statement. LADO's mission is "to promote Islam among the Latino community within the United States by becoming better-educated Muslims and by working with like-minded Muslims." We openly acknowledge and emphasize the importance of education and cooperation as a prerequisite to dawah efforts. In Islam, the most important way of identifying ourselves is by belief. Therefore, part of our mission statement includes a statement of Islamic faith. Patiently, we will work with what we have today, actively working for a better tomorrow. As stated in the Qur'an 13:11, "Verily Allah will not change the condition of people until they change it themselves."

Thousands of miles away, a person with a similar story to ours became interested in LADO. Juan Galvan was introduced to Islam after seeing a Hispanic Muslim in prostration. Juan wondered, "What's this Hispanic guy doing praying to Allah?" Juan had many questions, which the brother patiently answered. Juan instinctively knew that this was what he was looking for because it answered life's unanswerable questions. However, he would continue studying Islam for three more years before officially embracing Islam. After taking his shahada, he pondered why there seemed to be few Latino Muslims in Texas. From these types of questions came his eagerness to serve Allah SWT.

After deciding to work with LADO in 2001, Juan Galvan began finding Muslims to work with him by contacting various Muslims from Texas and around the United States. One Latina Muslimah from Oklahoma couldn't believe Juan wanted to be part of a national Muslim organization. She sent him an e-mail stating that Islam is about beauty in small deeds. She said that the best way to be a good caller to Islam is to be a good Muslim. Like most new Muslims, her conversion was marked with small, good deeds along the way. Her journey toward Islam began in college when a classmate answered her questions about Islam. Her questions led to deeper discussions about Islam. She was given Islamic literature. She was invited and later driven to a mosque. She was taught how to wear hijab. After taking shahada, she was taught how to pray. She has received and continues to receive many words of encouragement. Most Muslims consider the conversion of each non-Muslim special and beautiful. This Latina was concerned that large Muslim organizations would cheapen that beauty. Our intention is not to make conversion less special but rather to show the beauty of Islam to more people, so that they may also see the beauty of Islam. And, there are many things that one person cannot do alone.

As LADO members, we seek only the pleasure of Allah. We pursue opportunities only for Allah, not for LADO or for our own selves. Like the disciples of Jesus PBUH said in the Qur'an, "We are Allah's helpers. We believe in Allah. And do bear witness that we are Muslims." (3:52). We seek to aid all Muslims and non-Muslims by sharing the beauty of Islam as expressed in our mission statement. LADO disseminates Islam by providing Islamic literature in the form of books, brochures, and other media in English, Spanish and whenever possible, Portuguese. Because few materials are available to the Spanish-speaking and Portuguese-speaking communities, we emphasize this aspect of Islamic diffusion. In addition to educating anyone about Islam, we will also guide whom we can to the right resources. As a way of educating our own selves and others, we are committed to attending, visiting, and working with mosques, attending special Islamic events, interfaith talks, various lectures, translating existing literature, and writing articles and editorials among other things.

In addition to its other dawah contributions, LADO has been recognized for its very beneficial website. Our first attempt at a website was really Samantha's. We thought a website would be the most cost efficient way of offering free information about Islam. She used her free personal AOL homepage as our preliminary website. We then added information to the website as we saw fit. Today, the LADO website is available at www.latinodawah.org. The website contains LADO's online newsletter, useful links on Islamic information and websites, and a library with Islamic resources for beginners in English, Spanish, and Portuguese. From the LADO 'Contact Us' page, you can find Latino Muslims from around the country. From the LADO website, you can join the LADO Yahoogroup. The purpose of our newslist is to provide a way for networking, discussing Islam, current events, and Latino Muslim issues and upcoming events.

We have always believed that there was more to dawah to Latinos than simply translating some pamphlets into Spanish. Certainly, Islamic literature in the Spanish language is extremely important. Who can, for example, deny the importance of Spanish Islamic audio literature? However, we also need to address the emotional needs of new or potential Muslims. Our dawah efforts have attempted to address these needs in various ways. For example, Saraji offers practical advice for new Muslims in her article: "How do I tell my parents and family I've become a Muslim?" I attempt to address common misconceptions about Islam in a lighthearted way in my article: "Is Your God Black?" Saraji recalls that the mother of one Latina Muslimah complained because her daughter stopped eating her pastels. Pastels and tortillas do not necessarily have to be haram, or prohibited in Islam. We have been fortunate to address these kinds of misconceptions among Latinos. Many articles by Latino Muslims can be found on LADO's online newsletter.

Life's twists and turns are strange. After some time, I lost touch with Samantha and the other LADO people. After regaining Internet service, I either forgot all of the people's e-mail addresses or they had been changed. Years later, while working for the Los Angeles Times, I came across an article in the New York Times mentioning LADO and Samantha. Alhamdulillah, I was able to contact her and Juan to find that LADO continued. I have found a good 'virtual' friend and brother with Galvan. I am only one of the many Latino Muslims who are grateful for the opportunity to have met other Latino Muslims through LADO. We will continue to emphasize the universal principle of brotherhood and sisterhood in Islam. Insha'Allah. We are trying to break down the barriers that separate Latino Muslims, Latino non-Muslims, and the general Muslim community. This is certainly a great endeavor. I have since contributed to LADO whenever I can. And, the rest as they say is history.

Since it's founding, the Latino American Dawah Organization has had its focus on promoting Islam to anyone interested with emphasis on the Hispanic community. Since then LADO has had the opportunity to speak with many non-Muslims interested in Islam. We have also had the opportunity to work with Muslims from all walks of life. Insha'Allah (or ojalá), we will continue to encourage potential Muslims to learn more about Islam and provide information about Islam. Insha'Allah, we will also become better Muslims while we're at it. In Qur'an 110: 2-3, Allah SWT states, "When God's help and victory have arrived, and you have seen people entering God's religion in droves, then glorify your Lord's praise and ask His forgiveness." Every Hispanic Muslim hopes that their lost Islamic heritage, which was taken from them, can once again be revived, rekindled, and reborn.

The Qur'an Saved Me

By Daoud S. Ali

I was born in Los Angeles and then lived in Mexico for eight years. When my parents divorced, my mother brought my brother and me back to the United States. We settled again in Los Angeles.

I had a very modest upbringing. As a single parent, my mother did her best to provide for us. She worked as a seamstress in a sweatshop making minimum wage for 13 years.

Like many Mexican-Americans, I grew up as a Roman Catholic. I only went as far as my first communion and was not particularly devout. By the time I entered college, I was not thinking very much about religion.

During my first year in college, I read critiques of Christianity by Nietzsche, Feuerbach, and others, and this moved me further away from faith.

Then during my senior year, I met a beautiful young lady I found irresistible. She told me she was Muslim and answered some of my questions about Islam. I fell in love with her.

She told me that the only way we could marry was if I was a Muslim. By this point, I was more familiar with Islam, and the idea did not frighten me.

We married in 1994 following my college graduation. For the next four years, I was a nominal Muslim. I was not practicing as I should be. I was absorbed by a high-paying, high stress job at an IT firm and made little time, if any, for worship.

This all changed one night while driving home from work after a 36 hour shift. I began to feel dizzy, my heart was pounding, and my chest constricted, so I couldn't breathe. I pulled over at the nearest exit and miraculously a hospital was right across the street.

That night, six years ago began my battle with panic attacks and anxiety. At the beginning, there were days when I could not imagine how I'd live until the following day.

During the darkest moments, it was the Qur'an and Allah's mercy that pulled me through. I could not sleep and could barely eat for weeks on end.

As I lay awake every night, I would read the Qur'an. I read it cover to cover several times, each time seeing something new that touched my heart and made me reflect. Since then I have not abandoned prayer. While the panic attacks are gone, my love of this Deen remains.

Today, I live in Springfield, Massachusetts with my wife and two daughters. There are a lot of Latinos, mostly Puerto Rican. In the recent fire that burned Masjid Al-Baqi in Springfield, three Latino youth are the prime suspects.

Now more than ever, it is time for us to help present the message to Latinos. I launched Al-Mizaan (The Balance) Newspaper because I want to do something meaningful with my life for the sake of Allah SWT.

Daoud Ali is founder and Editor of Al-Mizaan Newspaper, a Muslim paper serving the New England Muslim community and its neighbors.

Tres Shahadahs

Por Omar Weston

15 Junio, 2005

Assalaam A\'laikum

Ayer Martes por la noche despues de la clase con el Sheikh Isa Garcia tres Mexicanas de varias partes de la republica aceptaron el Islam. Alhamdulillah. A continuacion estan los dialogos.

Sala de Chat: Martes/Tuesday
http://www.islam.com.mx/chat
http://www.islam.com.mx

Dear brothers, I am glad to inform you that last night after our class via Internet with Sheikh Isa Garcia, we had three shahadats from Mexican ladies from various parts of Mexico. Alhamdulillah. Here is the discourse in Spanish.

[admin] Bienvenida Ana monica de Chetumal

[ll_MEXI_ll] wa3likum assalam

[anamonica] gracias,me encantaria platicar mas contigo y claro con alguien de ustedes que puedan orientarme

[gely] yo tambien los e leido, pero me gustaria aprender aun mas, es por eso que estoy aqui, tampoco soy musulman

[isagarcia] desde ya, cualquier duda que tenga sobre algun topico del islam, estoy a su disposicion

[anamonica] gracias y te envio mi mail

[admin] Ana Monica en base a nuestra conversasion telefoncio (soy Omar) te gustaria hacer tu shahada testimonio de fe hoy con nostros

[ll_MEXI_ll] hermano Isa para cuando es el trabajo?

[isagarcia] de todas formas,, con respecto al monoteismo islamico, es decir la unicidad de Allah, tienen alguna duda que pueda ayudrles?

[gely] con gran tristesa, le digo isagarcia que me gustaria hacistir a las mezquitas pero en mi ciudad no hay ninguna, e recibido informacion en ingles, desafortunadamente para mi no lo domino

[isagarcia] donde vive gely?

[ll_MEXI_ll] gely tienes messenger de yahoo o hotmail?

[anamonica] si claro Omar si me gustaria

[gely] en ciudad juarez chihuahua

[gely] y ralmente me interesa saber mas del islam

[admin] Akhii Isa podrias tomarle la Shahadah a Ana

[isagarcia] los hermanos y hermanas presentes de Mexico podran decirte cual es la mezquita o centro islamico mas cercano

[isagarcia] para que los visites o ellos te visiten

[vanesaud4] Hermano una pregunta que me hicieron, y no estuve segura al responder: Si el Islam busca el equilibrio en todos los aspectos, como es que es tan tajante al momento de una prohibición como cuando prohibe hasta el alcohol al cocinar , el cual es muy poquito?

[gely] me gustaria profesar el islam como mi religion

[isagarcia] si, es una bendicion para mi

[admin] No hay tanto Gely y Ana viven en los dos extremos de Mexico una al norte y otra al sur (chetumal)

[isagarcia] hermanas gely y anamonica,

[anamonica] bien, empiezo: No soy musulmana me gustaria serlo y por eso quiero prepararme

[yamila_nur] a vanesaud: sos musulmana?

[isagarcia] ingresar al islam es muy sencillo

[isagarcia] a continuacion mencionare el testimonio de fe que hace falta pronunciar

[gely] tambien a mi me gustaria serlo y prepararme para ser una buena musulmana

[isagarcia] junto a su significado, y pronunciandolo ustedes, escribiendolo para nosotros, habran dado ese gran paso

[yamila_nur] Gracias a Allah

[isagarcia] el testimonio tiene dos partes esenciales

[isagarcia] el primero es el testimonio de que nada ni nadie tiene derecho a ser adorado sino Allah, quien es el Unico creador, y tiene sublimes atributos

[isagarcia] este testimonio debe pronunciarse en arabe, y dice:

[isagarcia] Ash hadu, an la ilaha illah Allah

[isagarcia] que significa literalmente, no hay dios sino Allah,

[isagarcia] y el cual les invito a que pronuncien y escriban para nosotros

[vanesaud4] (si soy musulmana, disculpa hermana)

[gely] Ash hadu, an la ilaha Allah

[gely] no hay Dios sino Allah

[isagarcia] y el segundo testimonio es que atestiguen que Muhammad es el Profeta de Allah, enviado a toda la humanidad, como sello de la cadena profetica enviada por Dios

[yamila_nur] Allahu Akbar,!!!!

[anamonica] Ash hadu,an la ilaha illah Allah

[yamila_nur] Allah es grande

[isagarcia] este testimonio debe tambien pronunciarse en arabe y dice:

[isagarcia] wa ash hadu anna Muhammadan rasulu Allah

[isagarcia] y tambien las invito a que lo pronuncien ahora y lo escriban para nosotros

[gely] wa ash hadu anna Muhammadan rasulu Allah

[anamonica] wa ash hadu anna Muhammadan rasulu Allah

[isagarcia] bien venidas hermanas al Islam

[Amirahabib] Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar!

[isagarcia] quiera Allah inundar sus corazones de fe

[AbuYassir] Allahu Akbar

[anamonica] gracias

[IGNACIO] Allahu akbar

[admin] Alhamdulillah, felicidades hermanas

[yamila_nur] Allahu Akbar

[AbuYassir] Insha Allah

[isagarcia] y fortalecerlas con la luz de la guia

[yamila_nur] Que Allah las bendiga

[admin] Aqui en Tequesquitengo, Morelos tienen a un hermano y una Mezquita cuando gusten

[verobravo] Allahhu Akbar, felicidades hermanas

[gely] gracias a Allah

[ummyusef] Allahu Akbar!

[isagarcia] esta paso que han dado es importantisimo

[ll_MEXI_ll] Allahu Akbar

[Amirahabib] felicidades a ambas, bienvenidas hermanas en el Din (f) que Allah les facilite el camino del conocimiento y nos una en el Siratal Mustaqim.

[ummyusef] bienvenidas al Islam hermanas, que Allah les guie por el camino correcto y fortalesca su FE

[isagarcia] El profeta saw dijo: \"Allah los ha guiado al Islam a causa de sus buenas obras\".

[vanesaud4] Hermanos

[ummkareem] Alhamdullilah

[vanesaud4] Aqui tengo a waxy queme ha comunicado que tambien desea haccer su shahada

[isagarcia] Un regalo que Allah nos hace al ingresar al Islam, es borrar todas nuestras faltas pasadas, y darnos un libro nuevo, para empezar una vida nueva

[vanesaud4] alhamdulillah

[isagarcia] y mas aun, nos cambia todas nuestras malas obras en buenas obras

[ll_MEXI_ll] quiera Allah bendecirlas y ayudarlas a amar el islam dia con dia ameen

[isagarcia] como regalo especial para aquellos que aceptan el Islam

[isagarcia] felicidades hermanas

[gely] amen

[vanesaud4] ella ha permanecido callada toda la clase, pero me ha preguntado muchas cosas por el msn. Entro asi mismo interesada en el islam

[vanesaud4] y desea hacer su shahada ahora

[isagarcia] El profeta saw dijo: \"Allah los ha guiado al Islam a causa de sus buenas obras\".

[vanesaud4] Hermanos

[ummkareem] Alhamdullilah

[vanesaud4] Aqui tengo a waxy queme ha comunicado que tambien desea haccer su shahada

[isagarcia] Un regalo que Allah nos hace al ingresar al Islam, es borrar todas nuestras faltas pasadas, y darnos un libro nuevo, para empezar una vida nueva

[vanesaud4] alhamdulillah

[isagarcia] y mas aun, nos cambia todas nuestras malas obras en buenas obras

[ll_MEXI_ll] quiera Allah bendecirlas y ayudarlas a amar el islam dia con dia ameen

[isagarcia] como regalo especial para aquellos que aceptan el Islam

[isagarcia] felicidades hermanas

[gely] amen

[vanesaud4] ella ha permanecido callada toda la clase, pero me ha preguntado muchas cosas por el msn. Entro asi mismo interesada en el islam

[vanesaud4] y desea hacer su shahada ahora

21:13:06 [yamila_nur] la hermana pregunto la importancia de no cocinar con alcohol y porque?

[isagarcia] El profeta saw dijo: \"Crean y luego sean rectos\".

[anamonica] a mi me encantaria al igual preguntarte muchas cosas

[isagarcia] quien hermana vanessa?

sandra salió de esta sala

[Amirahabib] Waxy sheij

[waxy] yo

[vanesaud4] waxy

[isagarcia] bienvenido

[gely] al igual ue ella me encantaia preguntarte muchas cosas

[isagarcia] quieres que te escriba nuevamente los testimonios?

[waxy] si porfavor

[isagarcia] el primer testimonio es que nada ni nadie tiene derecho a ser adorado sino Allah

[isagarcia] y en arabe es

[isagarcia] Ash hadu an la ilaha illa Allah

[isagarcia] y te invito a que lo pronuncies y lo escribas para nosotros

[waxy] Ash hadu an la ilaha illa Allah

[isagarcia] y el segundo testimonio es que Muhammad es el Profeta de Allah

[isagarcia] y en arabe es:

[isagarcia] Wa ash hadu anna Muhammadan Rasulu Allah

[waxy] Wa ash hadu anna Muhammadan Rasulu Allah

[isagarcia] que Allah te guie siempre!!

[isagarcia] bienvenido al Islam

[waxy] gracias

[AbuYassir] Allahu Akbar

[ll_MEXI_ll] Allahu Akbar!!!!!!

[admin] Alhamdulillah, bienvenida al Islam hermana Waxy

[IGNACIO] Alhamdullilah

[yamila_nur] Allah Akbar !!!!!

[ummyusef] Allahu Akbar!

[ummyusef] bienvenida al Islam hermanita Waxy

http://www.islam.com.mx/chat
http://www.islam.com.mx

Cinco de Mayo Parade

Houstonian Muslims Part of Cinco de Mayo Parade Downtown Houston

By Ilyas Hasan Choudry

http://www.cairhouston.org/CU60.htm

The Council on American-Islamic Relations Houston Chapter (CAIR-Houston) in collaboration with the Islam Public Outreach Department (Dawah) of the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA-Houston) organized the Muslim cavalcade at the famous Cinco de Mayo Parade in Houston . This occasion is celebrated to honor the 1862 Battle of Puebla, where Mexican forces overcame better-equipped French forces, who invaded the country demanding repayment of loans from 1846-48 Mexican-American War.

CAIR-Houston created a special banner on this occasion of
Cinco De Mayo Parade, which read in Spanish:

"¡ VIVA LA DIVERSIDAD! / ¡Musulmanes Latinos Por La Paz!"
meaning "Let's Celebrate the Diversity / Latino Muslims for Peace".

Another banner said: "MUSULMANES LATINOS"
meaning Latino Muslims.

This occasion was very significant since the very fact that many Muslims carrying flags, banners and distributing brochures were mostly of Latino backgrounds speaking Mexican to the cheering crowds plus presence of Muslims of other background demonstrated the true diversity and universality of Islam, the true picture of peace.

In order to commemorate this victory, Mexican Communities in various cities across the world especially in USA organize the Cinco de Mayo Parades followed by a Festival. In Houston , this Parade has been organized by the famous organization formed to preserve the Civil Liberties of people from Latin America called he League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC).

The 12th Annual LULAC District VIII (Houston) Cinco de Mayo Parade was held this year on Saturday, May 06, 2005 between 9:30AM.-11:30AM . It started at the intersection of Hamilton and Texas just besides the famous Minute Maid Baseball Stadium and took about this route: Texas to La Branch / La Brach to Lamar / Lamar to Austin / Austin to Preston / Preston to La Branch / La Branch Hamilton and Hamilton to Texas .

Over the past few years, (CAIR-Houston) has been working in close coordination with several community organizations involved in maintaining the civil liberties of all Americans and in social services. Based on the partnership created with LULAC Houston District VIII, CAIR-Houston was invited to be part of this year parade.

This Years' Parade was inaugurated by Mayor Bill White of Houston . Also in their open motorcade were US Congresspersons Sheila Jackson Lee and Al-Green. City Councilperson Adrian Garcia, who used to be a cop, came mounted on a horse. Several other City Councilpersons, Sheriffs, Constables and other elected officials were also in the procession. Many Middle and High Schools, the Houston Community College , the Texas Southern University and major businesses like Fiesta, Washington Mutual Bank were part of the procession.

As many are aware, CAIR's vision is to be a leading advocate for justice and mutual understanding. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding. It is a nonprofit 501(c)(4), grassroots civil rights and advocacy group, since its inception in 1994. CAIR seeks to empower the American Muslim community and encourage their participation in political and social activism. Please visit these two websites: http://www.cair-net.org - http://www.cairhouston.org

ICNA is also a nonprofit 501(c)(4), non-ethnic, non-sectarian, open to all, independent, North America wide, grass root organization. The main goal of ICNA is to seek the Pleasure of Allah (SWT) with the formulation of several programs so as to convey to all the mankind the Message of submission to One Creator Allah SWT by using all means of communications. ICNA's programs also intend to motivate Muslims to perform their duty of being witnesses unto mankind by their words and deeds, offer educational and training opportunities to increase Islamic knowledge and enhance character. ICNA opposes immorality and oppression in all forms, and support efforts for civil liberties and socio-economic justice in the society. Idea is to strengthen the bond of humanity by serving all those in need anywhere in the world, with special focus on our neighborhood across North America and to cooperate with other organizations for the implementation of this program and unity in the Ummah. For more information on ICNA activities, please visit these two websites: www.icna.org - www.icna.org/Houston

Ilyas Hasan Choudry is the Secretary of ICNA-Houston

ORIGINAL ADVERTISEMENT

May 7, 2005 - Build Bridges, Help show Islam's diversity

Latino Muslims to participate in LULAC's Annual Cinco de Mayo Parade.

When: Saturday, May 7, 2005
Time: 9:30 a.m. (please arrive at 9:15)
Where: Hamilton Street (by Minute Made Park) on the 500-600 blocks

The parade route goes through downtown approximately 16 blocks.

Sponsored by: CAIR-Houston
Co-Sponsored by: ICNA-Houston

For more information, please visit: http://www.lulac8.org/CINCODEMAYO_2005.htm

Public Schools versus Private Schools

By Taqwa Dilek

Salaam alaaykum Brothers and Sisters,

Insha'Allah you are all doing well and strengthening your Imaan daily as we all move through uncertain times. I hope that you all have moments daily to reflect upon those things that are blessings in our lives and give thanks to Allah swt for those things.

In my years as a Muslim I have met many sisters who worried about their children's social and academic education in public schools. As a result of this concern many brothers and sisters are opting to send their students to private schools. As an educator, administrator and now mother, I wonder where I will place my son when he is of age, insha'Allah.

As a parent, you worry about the academic content of what is presented to students, how they interact with the staff, and what they are learning from their peers. This is the concern of most involved parents. But as Muslims, we must also give thought to what view of this Dunya children are exposed to and will they be able to maintain their Islamic identity. With all things being equal, (both with the same resources and trained staff) I believe that an Islamic school is best for our children. Unfortunately, in this world things are not equal, and so I will attempt to give you a quick inside look into public and private schools.

What you should know...

As a parent you have the right and obligation to see the rating of your school district. In Texas, schools and districts receive a "report card" from the state. This document (Academic Excellence Indicator System) is available online through the Texas Education Agency http://www.tea.state.tx.us/perfreport/aeis. Through this document you can learn how your child's school district ranked academically and how they performed on state mandated tests. While you are online take a moment to "Google" your child's school district. Most district websites will provide you with information on your child's school as well as important information within the district. Another important website that you can use to learn statistics about the school is: http://www.schools-data.com.

With all the information that you can gather online nothing can compare to actually visiting the school. This is your right as a parent and a taxpayer. If it's a new school, visit before the school year begins or before your child transfers. Take time to schedule an appointment with the principal to "get a feel" for their attitudes and outlooks on education. Learn if any of the teachers available are Muslim and whether or not your child will be able to be in that teacher's class. If not, then perhaps you can be introduced to that teacher or staff member. Forming an alliance with a fellow Muslim on campus can be extremely beneficial.

For example, there are two Muslimahs on my campus. We have met to locate the Muslim students in our population and basically "made it our business" to keep abreast of these students and their progress. I have helped students with getting time off for Eid, made inquiries about school lunches, and helped with peer pressure from other students. This is no more than another Muslim would do to help your child as well, insha'Allah. I know that in older grades they have MSA (Muslim Students Association) on campus and that students meet for Dhur prayer. Many other campuses are less fortunate.

Once school has begun, make a habit of spending time on campus, especially with students in the younger grades. I have told sisters time and time again that schools love volunteers, and many teachers have never met a Muslim person. What a wonderful way to make Dawah and also support your child's learning! I especially ask that sisters in hijab or brothers who wear "more ethnic" Islamic clothing spend time on campus. You have no idea how this will impact and help the climate at your child's school. I have learned that the more that people are exposed to something the more "normal" it becomes. Basically the more non-Muslims see hijab, the more accepting they will become. This will not only lift the self-esteem of your child, especially if they wear these types of clothes, but also the lurking teacher who is worried about wearing hijab at work.

You also have the right to have certain concessions made for your child. Students in public school are not generally segregated by sex. Boys and girls are educated together. My students are young, before puberty, so this is not a real issue. However, I had a student in my class that was Muslim. Her father requested that she not be seated near boys. If your daughter is older, then you will definitely want to make sure that her teacher knows that she is not to have group work with boys.

There was also her lunch preference on file, so that she was not sold anything containing pork. She participated in Music and Physical Education (PE) but if you would like for your child to not participate they can be given other activities to do. Holiday parties and the pledge of allegiance are optional and other religious groups opt for their children to not be a part. For the two Eids, you child will not be marked absent because it is a religious holiday. Generally, only a note is needed marking the days.

Muslim students are in the minority. In fact, most are double minorities ethnic and religious. Because of this fact, they are not in consideration when it come to planning for meals on lunch calendars. In most districts there is at least one option that does not contain pork. It is important for you, as a parent, to find out what is available for your child. In many cases, there are vegetable dishes that are not prepared with pork, and each side dish has its own serving spoon. You will have to make your food preferences known to the school because the cafeteria workers will insist that your child have an entrée, which many contain pork or meat. Their insistence is due to state dietary law compliance.

Most of our readers are bilingual, and this can actually be of benefit. In my experience as a bilingual, ESL and general education teacher, I have learned that ESL and Bilingual classes have FAR fewer discipline referrals. The students, who many times are immigrants, are far more accepting of students who are "different" than themselves. ESL and Bilingual class sizes are, generally smaller, and they are privy to more technological opportunities than students in general education. The thought behind this is that these students need extra assistance to gain English language skills; therefore, they are given every chance to be successful in their native language and English. Rest assured ESL and Bilingual students are not "behind" other students. They are responsible for the exact same curriculum that all the other students are responsible for. In fact, they have more objectives that they cover in the same amount of time. The teachers are able to accomplish this because they have the aforementioned resources plus teaching assistants that visit the class and work with students in a small group setting. Your child can be eligible for ESL or Bilingual classes if there is a second language spoken in the home, not necessarily if your child is fluent in a second language.

Schools in public education have budgets that allow them to afford teachers who are degreed and certified. Beyond this, the states in which they are certified require them to attend professional development seminars or take college classes to keep their certification. Each teacher is evaluated by their principal. This evaluation system varies from state to state but the one in Texas covers nine domains with at least 15 sub-headings. The teacher must remain proficient in these domains to be assured of another contract. Our tax dollars purchase computers, library books, text books, supplementary materials, and pays for in school tutors.

As a counselor, I am aware of the social issues that arise on campus and am privy to other schools through counselor meetings. In elementary school, kindergarten through 4th grade, I am comfortable with the number of behavior incidents that occur on my campus. The children, for the most part, are innocent. Basically, I would not be overly concerned about my child's social development or exposure at this school. Remember, I work at an inner city school in Houston, TX. I do not view the student's awareness of adult vocabulary or issues to be more advanced than my students from my days in a smaller, rural area.

The concerns that have been brought to me are predominately divorce-related, concerning a parent in the military or overseas, and anger management. These topics are not very different from those that have been mentioned to me in the Islamic community.

Many parents do not know about the voucher system. The voucher system allows a parent to request admission for their student into another school. If the public school near your home is sub-standard (low test scores or behavior issues), you can request that your child be moved to another school, and the district will have to provide transportation for them. There is also the option of the magnet school. My district has an international school, science and performing arts academy, and a foreign language school. You may enter your child in a drawing to be selected to attend that type of school. Your child will receive door-to-door bus service.

Junior and Senior High Schools have their own dynamics, and each one is different. As young men and women are coming of age during those academic years, I feel that parents are completely justified for wanting to send their child to a private school. From my experience, the Shaytaan is working hard to extinguish the light of our Muslim youth at this level.

Each school and situation is different, so the schools in your area maybe completely different. The only way to know is to visit and assess the situation for yourself.

Pros

  • Degreed and Certified Staff
  • Professional Development for Teachers
  • Textbooks are provided
  • Technology is available
  • Transportation
  • Free
  • Lunch is provided (depends on income)
  • Science and Math Manipulative Equipment
  • Accredited by State

Cons

  • Classes are not Segregated (boys and girls together)
  • No Islamic Classes
  • Student may have to Pray Alone
  • Lunch must be Investigated
  • Behavior of some other Students may be Questionable
  • Student may Experience Peer Pressure with Islamic dress

Private Schools

In Houston we have several Islamic schools. I have visited three of the academies and have had the pleasure of visiting with teachers in a few of the remaining. I must say that I have never worked at a private school, hence, I cannot really comment on the dynamics of the students. I was; however, impressed with the class sizes. Most academies have very small classes - no more than 15 in a class. That helps with one-on-one interaction between the students and teachers.

The students appear to be better behaved. The major complaint that I have heard from teachers in Islamic academies is that the students are "spoiled". Meaning that some parents do not discipline their children, and this carries over to the school environment. I can quickly say that this is a problem that can come regardless of the placement of the child whether it be public or private.

Private schools either have Halal lunches or the parents pack their own lunches for their child. With this you can be assured that your child is not eating something haraam accidentally.

Since Islamic schools are not eligible for state funds, they are sometimes lacking technologically and in the area of text books and supplies. Parents are required to purchase text books for students who attend private schools. In many cases, everything extra (borders, supplies, paper etc.) is the responsibility of the teachers. The school does not provide math manipulative or science supplies for the students. So, for your child to have a comparable education with a public school student, someone has to make up the difference.

Beyond this, many teachers in Islamic schools, although well-meaning, are not degreed or certified. Because of this, most Islamic schools are not accredited by the state. This means that your child will have to pass an exam that will access what they learned in school in order for them to have their diploma to be considered by a university. There is always the option of charter schools. Charter schools do not receive the exact same amount of funds from the state that public schools do, but they are accredited. I know of two schools in the Houston area that have a very large Muslim staff and student population. A drawback to these schools is that they not only have a large Muslim population but also they have students that have been asked to leave neighborhood schools for behavior. Other students attend whose parents have opted to remove them from a public school.

And, of course, there is the invaluable Islamic and Quranic instruction. Many of us are converts and have to now, as adults, learn about Islam and have the jihad of learning Arabic. In an Islamic academy, your child can learn Arabic and learn about Islam from knowledgeable brothers and sisters. They will have time off during Ramadan for fasting and also to be available on Fridays for Jummah prayer. This is wonderful way to have Islam as a part of your child's every day life. Many parents whose children are not enrolled in an Islamic school have them participate in Saturday school where they can learn Quran.

Beyond this, classes are segregated by sex after a certain age. Whereas a public school parent must be concerned about the separation of young men and women, an Islamic school understands our values and will insure no inappropriate contact occurs between the sexes. Our young brothers and sisters are also encouraged to wear hijab and dress in a way that is pleasing to Allah swt. Hijab is the norm in an Islamic Academy - not the exception.

Pros

  • Islamic Education
  • Positive Islamic Environment
  • Adherence to Islamic Values
  • Islamic Identity Maintained
  • Sense of Belonging to the Ummah
  • Positive Research on Private Schools
  • Less Peer Pressure and Social Problems
  • Small Class Size
  • One-on-One Instruction
  • Time off during Ramadan and Eid

Cons
  • Limited Technology
  • No Accreditation (in many cases)
  • Parents must buy Textbooks
  • No Transportation to and from School
  • Teachers not Degreed or Certified
  • No Professional Development for Teachers

Insha'Allah something I have said can be of assistance to you and your decision of where your child will be educated. Please remember that I speak to you with most of my experience being in public schools. I cannot be in every school, so I am certain that there are exceptions to the facts that I have presented in the piece.

Taqwa Dilek is a elementary school counselor with over a decade's experience in education. She holds a M.A in school counseling and is pursuing a PhD in Educational Psychology from Texas A&M University.

La Orden Social Islámica

Por Maulana Abul Ala Maududi

http://www.whyislam.org/877/Espanol

La Igualdad de la humanidad

Alá creó un par de humanos para anunciar el principio de la vida humana en la tierra, y todos que vive en el mundo hoy origina de este par. La progenie de este par era inicialmente un solo grupo con una religión y una misma lengua. Pero como sus números aumentaron gradualmente, se separaron todos sobre la tierra y, como resultado natural de su diversificación y crecimiento, fueron divididos entre varias tribus y nacionalidades. Vinieron hablar diversos idiomas; sus modelos del vestido vino a variar; y sus maneras de vivir también eran extensamente diferentes. El clima y el ambiente afectaron su color y características físicas. Todas estas diferencias existen en el mundo real y el Islám no intenta no hacerle caso. Pero desaprueba los prejuicios que se han presentado entre la humanidad debido a estas diferencias en raza, color, lengua y nacionalidad. El Islám dice claramente a todas personas que vienen de los mismos padres y por lo tanto son hermanos e igual como seres humanos.

Islám dice que si hay cualquier diferencia verdadera entre personas no puede ser de raza, de color, de país o de la lengua, pero de ideas, de creencias y de principios. Dos niños de la misma madre, aunque pueden ser iguales desde el punto de vista de una ascendencia común, tendrán que ir sus diversas maneras en vida si diferencian en su creencia y conducta moral. Al contrario, dos personas, uno en el este y el otro en el oeste, aunque geográficamente separado por distancias extensas, pisarán la misma trayectoria en vida si comparten el mismo código del comportamiento moral. En base de este principio fundamental, el Islám trata de construir una sociedad ideológica con principios muy diferentes de las sociedades raciales, nacionalistas y parroquiales que existen en el mundo de hoy.

La base del esfuerzo cooperativo entre hombres en tal sociedad no es el lugar de su nacimiento sino de un credo y de un principio moral. Cualquier persona, si él cree en Alá como su amo y señor y acepta la dirección de los profetas como la ley de su vida, puede ser parte de esta comunidad, aunque sea un residente de América o de África, si pertenece a la raza Semita o Ariano, si él es negro o blanco, si habla una lengua europea o el árabe. Todos que participan en esta comunidad tendrán los mismos derechos y estado social. No lo sujetarán a ninguna distinciones raciales, nacionales o de clases. Nadie serán mirados como altos o bajo. No habrá intocabilidad. No habrá restricciones especiales sobre ellos en la fabricación de uniones, comidas, bebidas y contratos sociales. Nadie serán mirados como inferior debido a su nacimiento o trabajo. Nadie demandarán derechos distintos en virtud de su casta, comunidad o ascendencia. El mérito del hombre no dependerá de sus conexiones, su familia o riquezas, pero solo si él es mejor que otros en conducta moral o sobresale otros en rectitud y piedad.

Tal orden social supera límites geográficos y las barreras de la raza, del color y de idioma, es apropiado para todas partes del mundo; en sus fundaciones la fraternidad universal del hombre puede ser hecho. En las sociedades basados en la raza o la nacionalidad solamente esas personas quienes pertenecen a tal razas o nación pueden entrar, pero en el Islám cualquier persona que acepta su credo y los estándares morales pueden ser miembros, poseyendo los derechos iguales de todos. Ellos que no aceptan este credo, aun no recibido entre la comunidad, son tratado con tolerancia y humanidad y garantizaron los todos derechos básico del ser humano.

Está claro que si dos niños de la misma madre diferencian en sus ideas, sus maneras de vida serán diferentes; pero esto no significa que dejan de ser hermanos. De la misma manera, si dos naciones o dos grupos de gente viviendo en el mismo país diferencian en su creencia, principios e ideología fundamentales, sus sociedades también diferenciarán ciertamente; pero continuarán compartiendo los lazos comunes de la humanidad. Por lo tanto, la sociedad islámica ofrece a las sociedades no-Musulmanes los derechos máximo culturales y sociales que pueden posiblemente ser dado.

La Institución de la Familia

La institución primera y fundamental de la sociedad humana es la familia. Una familia se establece con la unión de un hombre y de una mujer, y su contacto trae la existencia de una nueva generación. Esto entonces produce los lazos de parentesco y comunidad, que, alternadamente, desarrollan gradualmente otras relaciones. La familia es un instrumento de continuidad que prepara la generación que tiene éxito para servir la civilización humana y para descargar sus obligaciones sociales con dedicación, sinceridad y entusiasmo. Esta institución no recluta simplemente los cadetes para el mantenimiento de la cultura humana, sino positivamente desea que los que vienen serán miembros mejores de la sociedad. En este respecto la familia puede verdaderamente ser llamada la fuente del progreso, desarrollo, prosperidad y de la fuerza de la civilización humana. El Islám por lo tanto dedica mucha atención a los temas referente a la familia y se esfuerza establecerla en las fundaciones más sano y más fuerte.

Según el Islám la relación correcta entre el hombre y la mujer es el matrimonio, una relación en la cual las responsabilidades sociales se aceptan completamente y que resulta en una familia. La permisividad sexual y otros tipos similares de comportamiento irresponsable no son despedidos por Islám como pasatiempos inocentes o transgresiones ordinarias. Mejor dicho, son actos que pegan a las raíces de la sociedad. De ahí, el Islám considera el sexo fuera del matrimonio como pecaminoso y prohibido (haram) y la marca como una ofensa criminal. Castigos severos se prescriben para disuadir delincuentes aspirantes.

El velo regula la asociación libre de los hombres y de las mujeres. También hay restricciones en cuadros obscenos y música eróticas y desanima por extensión todas formas de pornografía. Estas restricciones son armas usadas en la lucha para proteger y fortalecer la institución de la familia.

El Islám no mira al celibato del adulto simplemente con desaprobación, él invita a cada joven a tomar las responsabilidades sociales de la vida casada apenas como sus padres hicieron en su tiempo. El Islam ve al ascético y el celibato como estando sin ninguna ventaja; los ve saliendo de la naturaleza del hombre y como actos de rebelión contra el esquema divino.

El Islá también desaprueba fuertemente esos ritos, ceremonias o restricciones que tiendan para hacer la unión matrimonial un asunto difícil. El Islám intenta hacer la unión matrimonial el más fácil y la fornicación la cosa más difícil de la sociedad, y no viceversa como está en la mayoría de las sociedades hoy. Por lo tanto, después de excluir a ciertos parientes de sangre de entrar al matrimonio uno con el otro, ha legalizado la unión con los restos de los parentescos cercanos y distantes. Ha quitado todas las distinciones de castas y de comunidades, y ha permitido matrimonios de cualquier musulmán con cualesquiera otros musulmanes. Ha impulsado que el dote (majr) debe ser fijo en una figura que se pueda llevar fácilmente por ambos lados. Ha dispensado con la necesidad de sacerdotes y de oficinas de registro. En la sociedad islámica una unión es una ceremonia simple y sencillo que se puede realizar dondequiera antes de dos testigos, aunque es esencial que los procedimientos no se deben mantener secretos. La sociedad debe saber que los pares ahora van a vivir como marido y mujer.

Parentescos y Vecinos

Después del círculo limitado de la familia, la esfera social siguiente es la del parentesco y de otras relaciones de sangre. El Islám desea todo el que sea relacionado por padres comunes, hermanos y hermanas comunes o la unión matrimonial ser cariñosos, cooperativos y provechosos uno al otro. En muchos lugares en el Corán, el buen tratamiento de las relaciones cercanas (Dhawi-al-qurba) se impone. En el Hadiz del profeta, las bendiciones y la paz estén con él, el tratamiento apropiado de sus relaciones ha sido enfatizado y se ha contado fuertemente entre las virtudes más altas. La persona que trata sus relaciones con frialdad o los trata con indiferencia es mirado por el Islám con gran desaprobación.

Pero esto no significa que es una virtud preferir sus familiares. Si tal apoyo o preferencia hacia sus relaciones da lugar a injusticia, es repugnante al Islám, y se condena como acto de ignorancia (yahiliah). Semejantemente, está completamente contra los principios del Islám para que un oficial del gobierno apoye sus relaciones al costo público o favorezca a su parentescos en sus decisiones oficiales: esto sería realmente un acto pecaminoso. El tratamiento justo de sus relaciones, según impuesto por el Islám, debe ser de su propio costo y dentro de los límites de la justicia y de la honestidad.

Después de las relaciones vienen sus vecinos. El Corán los ha dividido en tres categorías: un vecino que también es una relación; un vecino que es un extranjero; y un vecino ocasional o temporal con quien uno sucede vivir o viajar por cierto tiempo. Todos merecen de compasión, cariño, amabilidad y tratamiento justo. El profeta, las bendiciones y la paz estén con él, una vez dijo que el derecho del vecino fue acentuada tan fuertemente por el ángel Gabriel que él pensó que los vecinos podían incluso compartir su herencia. (Bukhari y Muslim)

En un Hadiz el profeta, las bendiciones y la paz estén con él, dijo: Cualquier persona que tiene un vecino quien no esta seguro de sus fechorías no es un creyente verdadero. (Bukhari y Muslim) En otro Hadiz, él dijo: Una persona que goza de una comida mientras que su vecino esta muerto de hambre no es un creyente verdadero. (Ahmad, Baihaqi). El profeta, las bendiciones y la paz estén con él, fue preguntado una vez por el destino de una mujer que realizaba muchos rezos y ayunaba extensivamente y que daba limosna frecuente, pero que vecinos se quejaban de su lengeta abusiva. Él dijo: Tal mujer estará en el fuego del Infierno. Él después fue preguntado sobre otra mujer que no poseyó estas virtudes pero no preocupó sus vecinos tampoco, y él dijo: Ella estaría en el paraíso. (Ahmad, Baihaqi) El profeta, las bendiciones y la paz estén con él, ha puesto tanto énfasis en ser considerado a los vecinos que él ha aconsejado que siempre que un musulmán traiga una fruta casera para sus niños, él debería enviar algunos a sus vecinos como regalo, o tomar por lo menos cuidado para no ofenderlos lanzando las peladuras fuera de su puerta. En otra ocasión él dijo: Un hombre es realmente bueno si sus vecinos lo miran como tal, y malo si lo consideran asi. (Ibn Majah)

Islám, por lo tanto, requiere a todos los vecinos ser cariñosos y provechosos y compartir cada cuales dolores y felicidades. Los impone para establecer relaciones sociales en las cuales uno puede depender en el otro y considerar la vida, el honor y la propiedad seguro entre sus vecinos. Una sociedad adonde dos personas, separadas solamente por una pared, permanecen desconocidos por años, y en cuál no tienen ningún interés ni confían en ésos que viven en la misma área, nunca puede ser llamada Islámica.

Después de éstos vienen las relaciones más amplias que cubrían al conjunto de la sociedad. Los amplios principios en cuales el Islám quisiera que la gente estructurara sus vidas sociales son:

A cooperar en actos de calidad y de rectitud y no cooperar en actos del pecado y de la injusticia (al-Maidah 5:2)

La amistad de uno debe de ser solamente para buscar el placer de Alá (Dios): lo que usted da debe ser dado porque Alá tiene gusto en él ser dado, y lo que usted retiene debe ser retenido porque Alá lo desea. (Tirmidhi) Sois la mejor comunidad humana que jamás se haya suscitado: ordenáis lo que está bien, prohibís lo que está mal y creéis en Alá. Si la gente de la Escritura creyera, les iría mejor. Hay entre ellos creyentes, pero la mayoría son perversos. (Al- 'Imran 3:110)

No piense mal uno al otro, ni sonda en los asuntos de otros, ni incite uno contra el otro. Evite el odio y los celos. No se opongan innecesariamente. Permanezcan siempre siervos de Alá, y vivan como hermanos uno con el otro. (Muslim)

No ayude un tirano, conociéndolo como tal. (Abu Daud)

Apoyando la comunidad cuando está mal es como caer en un pozo mientras que coge la cola de su camello que estaba a punto de caer en ella. (Abu Daud; Mishkawt)

Ninguno de ustedes serán creyentes verdaderos a menos que él quiera para otros lo qué él quisiera para él. (Bukhari y Muslim)

Este artículo tiene extractos de un discurso dado por Maulana Abul Ala Maududi.

The Islamic Social Order

By Maulana Abul Ala Maududi

Equality of Mankind

Allah created a human couple to herald the beginning of the life of mankind on earth, and everybody living in the world today originates from this couple. The progeny of this couple were initially a single group with one religion and the same language. But as their numbers gradually increased, they spread all over the earth and, as a natural result of their diversification and growth, were divided into various tribes and nationalities. They came to speak different languages; their models of dress varied; and their ways of living also differed widely. climates and environments affected their color and physical features. All these differences exist in the world of reality and Islam does not seek to ignore them. But it disapproves of the prejudices which have arisen among mankind because of these differences in race, color, language and nationality. Islam makes clear to all men that they have come from the same parents and are therefore brothers and equal as human beings. Allah created a human couple to herald the beginning of the life of mankind on earth, and everybody living in the world today originates from this couple. The progeny of this couple were initially a single group with one religion and the same language. But as their numbers gradually increased, they spread all over the earth and, as a natural result of their diversification and growth, were divided into various tribes and nationalities. They came to speak different languages; their models of dress varied; and their ways of living also differed widely. climates and environments affected their color and physical features. All these differences exist in the world of reality and Islam does not seek to ignore them. But it disapproves of the prejudices which have arisen among mankind because of these differences in race, color, language and nationality.

Islam makes clear to all men that they have come from the same parents and are therefore brothers and equal as human beings. Allah created a human couple to herald the beginning of the life of mankind on earth, and everybody living in the world today originates from this couple. The progeny of this couple were initially a single group with one religion and the same language. But as their numbers gradually increased, they spread all over the earth and, as a natural result of their diversification and growth, were divided into various tribes and nationalities. They came to speak different languages; their models of dress varied; and their ways of living also differed widely. climates and environments affected their color and physical features. All these differences exist in the world of reality and Islam does not seek to ignore them. But it disapproves of the prejudices which have arisen among mankind because of these differences in race, color, language and nationality. Islam makes clear to all men that they have come from the same parents and are therefore brothers and equal as human beings.

Islam says that if there is any real difference between man and man it cannot be one of race, color, country or language, but of ideas, beliefs and principles. Two children of the same mother, though they may be equal from the point of view of a common ancestry, will have to go their different ways in life if their beliefs and moral conduct differ. On the contrary, two people, one in the East and the other in the West, even though geographically and outwardly separated by vast distances, will tread the same path in life if they share the same code of moral behavior. On the basis of this fundamental tenet, Islam seeks to build a principled and ideological society very different from the racial, nationalistic and parochial societies existing in the world today.

The basis of co-operative effort among men in such a society is not the place of one’s birth but a creed and a moral principle. Anyone, if he believes in Allah as his Master and Lord and accepts the guidance of the Prophets as the law of his life, can join this community, whether he is a resident of America or Africa, whether he belongs to the Semitic race or the Aryan, whether he is black or fair-skinned, whether he speaks a European language or Arabic. All those who join this community will have the same rights and social status. They will not be subjected to any racial, national or class distinctions. No one will be regarded as high or low. There will be no untouchability. There will be no special restrictions upon them in making marriages, eating and drinking and social contracts. No one will be looked down upon because of his birth or work. No one will claim any distinctive rights by virtue of his caste, community or ancestry. Man’s merit will not depend on his family connections or riches, but only on whether he is better than others in moral conduct or excels others in piety and righteousness.

Such social order, transcending as it does geographical boundaries and the barriers of race, color and language, is appropriate for all parts of the world; on its foundations can be raised the universal brotherhood of man. In societies based on race or nationality only those people can join who belong to a particular race or nation, but in Islam anyone who accepts its creed and moral standards can become a member, possessing equal rights with everyone else. Those who do not accept this creed, while obviously not being received into the community, are treated with tolerance and humanity and guaranteed all the basic human rights.

It is clear that if two children of the same mother differ in their ideas, their ways of life will be different; but this does not mean that they cease to be brothers. In the same way, if two nations or two groups of people living in the same country differ in their fundamental beliefs, principles and ideology, their societies will also certainly differ; yet they will continue to share the common ties of humanity. Hence, the Islamic society offers to non-Muslims societies and groups the maximum social and cultural rights that can possibly be accorded.

Institution of the Family

The foremost and fundamental institution of human society is the family unit. A family is established by the coming together of a man and a woman, and their contact brings into existence a new generation. This then produces ties of kinship and community, which, in turn, gradually develop further ties. The family is an instrument of continuity which prepares the succeeding generation to serve human civilization and to discharge its social obligations with devotion, sincerity and enthusiasm. This institution does not merely recruit cadets for the maintenance of human culture, but positively desires that those who are to come will be better members of society. In this respect the family can be truly called the source of the progress, development, prosperity and strength of human civilization. Islam therefore devotes much attention to the issues relating to the family and strives to establish it on the healthiest and strongest possible foundations.

According to Islam the correct relationship between man and woman is marriage, a relationship in which social responsibilities are fully accepted and which results in the emergence of a family. Sexual permissiveness and other similar types of irresponsible behavior are not dismissed by Islam as mere innocent pastimes or ordinary transgressions. Rather, they are acts which strike at the very roots of society. hence, Islam holds all extra-marital sex as sinful and forbidden (haram) and makes it a criminal offence. Severe punishments are prescribed to deter would-be offenders.

Veil, which regulates the free association of men and women, restriction on erotic music and obscene pictures and the discouragement of the spread of all forms of pornography, are other weapons used in the fight to protect and strengthen the institution of the family.

Islam does not look on adult celibacy simply with disfavor, it calls on every young man to take upon himself the social responsibilities of married life just as his parents did in their time. Nor does Islam regard asceticism and lifelong celibacy merely as being of no benefit; it sees them as departures from the nature of man and as acts of revolt against the Divine scheme of things.

It also strongly disapproves of those rites, ceremonies or restrictions which tend to make marriage a difficult affair. Islam tries to make marriage the easiest and fornication the most difficult thing in society, and not vice versa as it is in most societies today. Hence, after debarring certain blood relatives from entering into matrimony with one another, it has legalized marriage with all other near and distant kith and kin. It has removed all distinctions of caste and community, and permitted matrimony of any Muslim with any other Muslim. It has urged that the mehr (dower) should be fixed at a figure which can be easily borne by both sides. it has dispensed with the necessity of priests and register offices. In an Islamic society marriage is a plain and simple ceremony which can be performed anywhere before two witnesses, though it is essential that the proceedings should not be kept secret. Society must know that the couple are now going to live as husband and wife.

Within the family itself Islam has assigned to the man a position of authority so that he can maintain order and discipline as the head of the household. Islam expects the wife to obey her husband and look after his well-being; and it expects the children to behave accordingly to their parents. Islam does not favor a loose and disjointed family system devoid of proper authority, control and discipline. Discipline can only be maintained through a central authority and, in the view of Islam, the position of father in the family is such that it makes him the fittest person to have this responsibility.

But this does not mean that man has been made a house-hold tyrant and woman has been handed over to him as a helpless chattel. According to Islam the real spirit of material life is love, understanding and mutual respect. If woman has been asked to obey her husband, the latter has been called on make the welfare of his family his top priority.

Although Islam places great emphasis on the marital bond, it only wants it to remain intact as long as it is founded on the sweetness of love or there exists at least the possibility of lasting companionship. If neither of these two conditions obtain, it gives man the right of divorce and woman the right of separation; and under certain conditions, where married life has become a source of misery, the Islamic courts of justice have the authority to annul the marriage.

Relatives and Neighbors

After the limited circle of the family, the next social sphere is that of kinship and blood relationship. Islam wants all those who are related through common parents, common brothers and sisters or marriage to be affectionate, cooperative and helpful to each other. In many places in the Qur’an good treatment of the near relations (Dhawi-al-qurba) is enjoined. In the Hadith of the Prophet, blessings and peace be on him, proper treatment of one’s blood relations has been strongly emphasized and counted among the highest virtues. A person who cold-shoulders his relations or treats them indifferently is looked on by Islam with great disfavor.

But this does not mean that it is an Islamic virtue to favor one’s relations. If such support or bias towards one’s relations results in injustice, it is repugnant to Islam, and is condemned as an act of Jahiliyyah (ignorance). Similarly, it is utterly against the principles of Islam for a government official or public servant to support his relations at public expense or to favor his kith and kin in his official decisions: this would actually be a sinful act. Fair treatment of one’s relations, as enjoined by Islam, should be at one’s own expense and within the limits of justice and fair-play.

After relations come one’s neighbors. The Qur’an has divided them into three categories: a neighbor who is also a relation; a neighbor who is a stranger; and a casual or temporary neighbor with whom one happens to live or travel for a certain time. All of them are deserving of sympathy, affection, kindness and fair treatment. The Prophet, blessings and peace be on him, once said that the right of the neighbor were so strongly emphasized by the angel Gabriel that he thought neighbors might even share one’s inheritance. (Bukhari and Muslim)

In one Hadith the Prophet, blessings and peace be on him, said: Anyone whose neighbor is not safe from his misdeeds is not a true Believer. (Bukhari and Muslim) Again, he said: A person who enjoys a meal while his neighbor is starving is not a true Believer. (Ahmad, Baihaqi). The Prophet, blessings and peace be on him, was once asked about the fate of a woman who performed many Prayers and fasted extensively and who was a frequent almsgiver, but whose neighbors complained of her abusive tongue. He said: Such a woman shall be in the Hell-fire. He was, then, asked about another woman who did not possess these virtues but did not trouble her neighbors either, and he said: She would be in Paradise. (Ahmad, Baihaqi) The Prophet, blessings and peace be on him, has laid so much emphasis on being considerate to neighbors that he has advised that whenever a Muslim brings home fruit for his children he should either send some to his neighbors as a gift, or at least take care not to offend them by throwing the peelings away outside their door. On another occasion he said: A man is really good if his neighbors regard him as such, and bad if they consider him so. (Ibn Majah)

Islam, therefore, requires all neighbors to be loving and helpful and to share each other’s sorrows and happiness. It enjoins them to establish social relations in which one can depend upon the other and regard his life, honor and property safe among his neighbors. A society in which two people, separated only by a wall, remain unacquainted with one another for years, and in which those living in the same area of a town have no interest or trust in one another, can never be called Islamic.

Next to these come the wider relationships covering the whole of society. The broad principles on which Islam wants people to structure their social lives are:

To co-operate in acts of goodness and righteousness and not to co-operate in acts of sin and injustice. (al-Maidah 5: 2)

One’s friendship should be only for seeking the pleasure of Allah: whatever you give should be given because Allah likes it to be given, and whatever you withhold should be withheld because Allah wishes to. (Trimidhi)

You are the best community ever raised among mankind; your duty is to command people to do good and prevent them from committing evil. (Al- ‘Imran 3:110)

Do not think evil of each other, nor probe into each other’s affairs, nor incite one against the other. Avoid hatred and jealousy. Do not unnecessarily oppose each other. Always remain the slaves of Allah, and live as brothers to each other. (Muslim)

Do not help a tyrant, knowing him to be such. (Abu Daud)

To support the community when it is in the wrong is like falling into a well while catching the tail of your camel which was about to fall into it. (Abu Daud; Mishkawt)

No one among you shall be a true believer unless he likes for others what he likes for himself. (Bukhari and Muslim)

This article has excerpts from a talk given by Maulana Abul Ala Maududi.

Andalusian Muslims Recall Painful Mass Exodus

By Al-Amin Andalusi
IslamOnline Correspondent

http://www.islam-online.net/English/News/2005-02/27/article02.shtml

RABAT, February 27, 2005 (IslamOnline.net) " After more than five centuries, Muslims of Al-Andalus (now Spain) still mark every year in anguish the mass exodus of their ancestors by Spanish authorities to North Africa.

The Moriscos, the name given to Muslims who were living in Spain after the fall of the last Muslim stronghold of Granada in 1492, were subjected to an array of persecution, torture, mass killings, forced conversions to Christianity, the notorious Spanish Inquisition and mass exodus that started in February 1502.

Today, up to four million grandsons of the Moriscos are living in North African countries like Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia.

"They used to commemorate every year these painful memories to keep the agonies of their forebears vivid," Moroccan historian Bin Azouz Hakim, a specialist in the history of the Moriscos, told IslamOnline.net Sunday, February 27.

Morsicos’s descendants in Morocco, who are concentrated in cities like Tangier, Fes, Marrakesh and Rabat, mark every year the fall of Granada and Al-Andalus, which was regained in 1492 by Spanish troops in the long process known as the Reconquista under the Catholic monarchs Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon.

The descendants, many of whom still have Spanish surnames, mark the anniversary with symposiums, Andalusian music and shows portraying the sufferings of their ancestors.

The northern city of Shafshoun, which was built by the Moriscos when they were forced to Morocco, still have the Moriscan aura with its Andalusian architecture and traditional Moriscan costumes.

"Apology"

In 2002, Hakim sent a message, inked by an elite of Moriscos, to Spanish King Juan Carlos asking for a public apology to the descendants.

The message, however, fell on deaf ears.

Hakim; nevertheless, sent another message to the king, asking him to explain why he rejected his call while he apologized to the Jews in a visit to Israel in 1992 for the mass exodus from Al-Andalus.

"I think because we don’t have a powerful lobby like the Jews, who make the best use of the past to get financial gains," Hakim said.

"But the Muslims only want a moral compensation and that’s why, ironically, Spain is adamant," he added.

The expert also opposed a Moroccan mediation effort to get the much-hoped apology.

"It is an inalienable right to the Moriscos. It makes no sense that the Spanish king had apologized to the Jews of what is now Israel, who have nothing to do with the Sephardim (the Jews of Al-Andalus), while is reluctant to say sorry to the Moriscos’s descendants."

After an absence of almost 500 years, the Adhan (call to prayer) and the muezzin’s cry of 'Allahu akbar' (God is greatest) rang on July 10, 2003, from the minaret of the Great Mosque of Granada.

The site of the mosque was bought 22 years ago, when it was still a small plot of farmland squeezed between a convent and a church on the crest of the Albaicin, the last Muslim quarter of Granada.

A Picture With My Family

By Zulayka Martinez

I'm a native Mexican. Yes, I was born in Mexico and came to the United States when I was only seven years old. I still live in Houston. My family came here for a better life. Don't get me wrong though, not for one second would I ever, ever deny that I'm a Mexican. I'm proud of my culture and heritage. But Mexico could never had given me what the United States has. This is where I went to school, where I work, and basically where I built my life. Most importantly, this is where I found ISLAM.

I was introduced to Islam by my ex-boss. He was one of my closest friends. We used to argue about religion. One day he gave me a Qur'an and asked me to read it. He said, "Here read this before you speak about something you are not aware of." I remember him telling me, "If your heart is pure and clean once you read the Qur'an, it will touch and open your heart. It will make you cry but if God knows that you don't care he will blind your heart and soul the moment you open this Holy Book." That's when I started reading the Quran. But once the Quran began to open my heart, I felt more peace and tranquility than I had ever felt before. Yes, I was confused and scared at first not knowing if I had done this out of curiosity or confusion.

I am in the following picture with nooooo-where near half my family. I am the baby out of thirteen children. This picture was taken in Houston, Texas. Two of my nieces graduated from high school at the same time.

Zulayka Martinez

Shahada
 

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