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December 26, 2004
Wake-up Call

by Gillette aka Hassan[uddin] Khaja

(I didn't intend for this article to be a commentary on race in America, so I don't expect people to take it as one).

I'm sorry, I had to narrate this before I forgot everything.

I recently bought the book Nigger, by Randall Kennedy. It traces the evolution of the word from the early 19th century to today. Actually buying it was quite an experience, because I got a ride to Barnes & Noble with a brother who wondered why I was buying the book. In addition, I recall few Black customers being on line while purchasing the book. However many Blacks there might have been in the store, I shudder to think what would have happened if the White cashier had to say the title over, say, an intercom.

The book also caught the attention of the people who came to my apartment that day. Among the people who came was a brother (we'll call him "Abdullah") who was giving me a ride back home, accompanied by his Black friend (here's the cover of the book). As I was driving home, we talked about the book, the "N-word," and, naturally, the Black man in America.

The conclusion that was reached was that, while Blacks are disadvantaged, it's crucial that they don't allow themselves to become helpless. Abdullah and his friend supplemented this with anecdotes of their own friends' lives, which are worth sharing.

All six of the men in the story are of similar economic backgrounds: suburban Teaneck, NJ. Bergen County, by the way, is quite wealthy. No one would dare call it underprivileged or poor. They all attended high school together, and were all assumed to be doomed to a slackers' lifestyles, as their grades weren't the best of grades. At some point in their lives, they were all prone to being kicked out (or actually were kicked out).

Abdullah is desi. Four of the other five are all non-Muslim (may Allah ta'ala guide them) and Black. The fifth one has an Arabic name, but one doesn't have to be Muslim to have such a name.

Abdullah's parents worried much. Few of his friends were Muslim, and he frequently stayed out late (which is typically a dangerous combination). He was among those who came close to being kicked out. After high school, he went to community college until he transferred out into Rutgers. He failed out, then went back to community college.

But, when he was there, he excelled and transferred out into William Paterson University, where he is currently studying and gets upset when he finds out he is among the best, not the best in his class. He is gainfully employed, and has very little trouble finding a second job because of his work experience.

One friend, after graduating a year late, did nothing with his life after high school except hang out with Abdullah. During my days on-campus, he would accompany him to pick me up from my dorm. However, he did occupy himself with one thing: impregnating his girlfriend. His kid was the finally wake-up call that he needed to force him to start making some money by enlisting in the army (say what you want, but, unfortunately, the army is the best shot that someone has when they're struggling).

A second also graduated a year late. He was among those who hung out with Abdullah frequently. He got kicked out of his house before, but was taken back in. He currently lives off of his parents, and sells drugs occasionally. The recent highlight of his life: a big-screen TV that his parents bought.

The third grew up in a single-parent household after his father died as a result of cancer. He enrolled in college, but he dropped out and enrolled in the local community college. More to come, insha 'allah.

The fourth was pampered, and spoiled. I specifically recall an obsession with video games. You know, it was one of those kids that we knew that spent way too much on video games, even though we envied him. He got into Penn State, but dropped out. He got into Nyack, but dropped out again. He's in a similar situation as the one with the big-screen. He attempted to apply to a college a day after the application deadline.

The fifth graduated from high school, but got locked up for attempted robbery. After being released, Abdullah encouraged him to enroll in the community college. He transferred to Delaware State, where he works and gets involved in extracurricular activities. He very frequently expresses his appreciation that he's getting his money legally now, and Abdullah is proud of him.

I hoped that this would motivate people to remember that anything can happen, and that it's never too late to start making changes. This applies to something as small as a failed exam (for those who just finished Fall semester), or something as major as the direction of one's life (which can be changed dramatically, for instance, after jail).

I'm sorry, I had to narrate this before I forgot everything.


of and relating to...
Justoju said

SubhanAllah waMashaAllah. Its really refreshing to read an article on man's ability to consciously, actively become empowered (with the grace and permission of Allah, Glorious and Exalted).

Most of us need reminders such as these so that we dont lose motivation to strive. Without that motivation to strive we would have neither Islam, nor Iman, nor Ihsan.

on December 26, 2004 2:43 AM
Rami said

Asalaam Aleikum Warahmatullah Wabarakatu,

I'm sure many of you have heard of the 10,000+ people killed in south asia today. I really couldn't take watching the footage and hearing the descriptions by eyewitness. You just saw people being swept away by tidal waves and others clutching for their lives in fright (you could see the look on their faces) right in front of you.

"To Allah do we originate and to him do we return".

Kind of just reminds me all over again how easy and comfortable we have it here and how little we know of the suffering of people outside of the bubble we call America.

Insha Allah, they will be able to rebuild their lives. Everyone please make du'a for them to pick up their lives, to give paradise to the believing men and women who passed away (and are still passing away)....and to never let them lose hope.

May Allah help them and bless them...and help us to help them. Ameen.

Wasalaam Warahmatullah Wabarakatu

on December 27, 2004 1:05 AM
Justoju said

Ameen.

I am away from home and have been living in a bubble for the past 24 hours. I had no idea of what had happened and just checked the news after reading your post.

May we all learn from and heed the signs of Allah, Glorious and Exalted. That could have been us, it could have been our families, it could have been our lives. We were not spared because we are 'special', but only so that we may be warned. Those people did not know that their death was literally a moment, a shudder, away. Let us not forget that there will come a time when natural catastrophes shall increase so much that no one will be left untouched.

No one will be left to report on the story.

Judgement day is now.

WasalaamuAlaikum and please remember to pray at least 2 rakah of nafl prayers in response to this 'sign' asking our Rabb to make us of those who get the point. To be of those who are not heedless of His signs and who make much remembrance of death and their needy dependence upon Him.

This was our real-life wake-up call.

on December 27, 2004 1:40 AM
Amani said

Subhan'Allah.

you don't know how sad I get when I hear stories like this. And I always wish for them to find Islam and find their way through the mercy of Allah. Insha'Allah may Allah guide them to the straight path.

And what's really sad is when people have endless slaps in the face and still don't wake up. I remember a woman telling me that her roommate in the hospital when she had her heart attack was telling her "I wish they would just let us go already, I'm dying for a cigarette" The woman asked her what she was in for (she herself had been a smoker but after the heart attack vowed to stop). Woman replied: Oh, this is my 4th (or 5th, not sure) Heart attack. Subhan'Allah.

on December 27, 2004 11:19 AM
Justoju said

In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

U.S. MUSLIMS URGED TO HELP TSUNAMI SURVIVORS

(Washington, D.C., 12/27/04) - The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)
today asked members of the American Muslim community and all people of
conscience worldwide to offer humanitarian assistance and pray for the victims
in Sundayís tsunamis in southern Asia.

The Washington-based Islamic civil rights and advocacy group also expressed
condolences to the families of the victims.

"We are deeply saddened by the news of the tragedy in southern Asia," said CAIR
Chairman Omar Ahmad. "We extend our sincerest condolences to the families of
those killed and pray for the speedy recovery of those injured as a result of
the earthquake. CAIR is working on identifying relief organizations that will
provide aid to the affected areas."

The underwater tremor - the world's biggest earthquake in 40 years - struck deep
in the Indian Ocean off the west coast of Sumatra, triggering tidal waves up to
30 feet high that obliterated villages and seaside resorts in six countries
across southern Asia.

An estimated 20,000 people have been reported killed thus far in the
devastation. As more information comes in from different countries, officials
are expecting the death toll to rise.

HOW TO HELP

The following organizations have announced that they will take part in relief
efforts to assist the victims of the earthquake:

ISLAMIC RELIEF WORLDWIDE RESPONSE launched an effort to get medical supplies,
tents and sanitations facilities for the victims of the earthquake. To donate,
send checks to Islamic Relief, 1919 W Magnolia Blvd, Burbank, CA 91506, call
(888) 479-4968, or visit: www.irw.org

ASIA RELIEF, a Maryland based nonprofit organization, is accepting donations of
nonperishable food items, clothing and toys for victims of the tsunami in Sri
Lanka. Cash donations are also being accepted. To contribute, drop off
donations anytime at 19409 Olive Tree Way, Gaithersburg, MD, 20879. Contact
Seyed Rizwan Mowlana at 301-672-9355 for more information.

ISLAMIC CIRCLE OF NORTH AMERICA (ICNA) Relief has established an Indonesia,
India & Seri Lanka Relief Fund to provide food, medicine, clothes, tents &
other urgently needed supplies. To donate, visit www.ReliefOnLine.org or send
checks to 166-26 89th Ave Jamaica, NY 11432, Tel.718-68-7028.

The INTERNATIONAL RED CROSS AND RED CRESCENT societies in south Asia have begun
to mobilize staff and volunteers to affected areas to assist with the immediate
needs. Emergency assessment and first-aid teams have already reached some of
the affected areas.

Call 1-800-435-7669. Contributions to the International Response Fund may be
sent to your local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross
International Response Fund, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013. Internet
users can make a secure online contribution by visiting www.redcross.org.

CARE Australia teams from Sri Lanka, Indonesia, India and Thailand are traveling
to affected areas to gauge the impact of the disaster. Donations can be made
through the CARE Australia website (www.careaustralia.org.au) or by phoning
1-800-020-046.

Other relief organizations that have established similar funds should notify
CAIR by sending an e-mail to: cair@cair-net.org. Additional names will be added
to a list on CAIRís website, www.cair.com.

CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, is headquartered in
Washington, D.C., and has 29 regional offices and chapters nationwide and in
Canada.
- END -

CONTACT: Rabiah Ahmed, 202-488-8787 or 202-439-1441, E-Mail:
rahmed@cair-net.org; Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail:
ihooper@cair-net.org.

on December 27, 2004 4:23 PM
asif said

Jazak Allah Khair for sharing the above info.
~24K+ people vanished in a matter of hours. Subhan'Allah.
We can only take this event as a sign, as a reminder for each one of us....and assist in any way we can...Insha'Allah.

This is sad...very sad news!

on December 27, 2004 7:03 PM
Rami said

Asalaam Aleikum Warahmatullah Wabaraktu,

About the article,

Whenever get really down or upset I usually listen to this ayah and it almost always gets me back to being content and hopeful. I listen to the whole surat and recited by sheikh ghamidi. He recites this chapter very very beautifully masha Allah

From Surat Al-Hadid (The Iron):

"20. Know ye (all), that the life of this world is but play and amusement, pomp and mutual boasting and multiplying, (in rivalry) among yourselves, riches and children. Here is a similitude: How rain and the growth which it brings forth, delight (the hearts of) the tillers; soon it withers; thou wilt see it grow yellow; then it becomes dry and crumbles away. But in the Hereafter is a Penalty severe (for the devotees of wrong). And Forgiveness from Allah and (His) Good Pleasure (for the devotees of Allah.. And what is the life of this world, but goods and chattels of deception?"

Wasalaam Warahmatullah Wabaraktu

on December 27, 2004 7:52 PM
Rami said

Asalaam Aleikum Warahmatullah Wabarkatu,

I just ran into this alhamdullilah. It was very a good and informative read.

"Sabr or Shukr ~ The Worry Stops Here":

http://khutbah.com/index.php?type=5&id=646&language=8


Wasalaam Warahmatullah Wabarakatu

on December 27, 2004 11:02 PM
Ibtisam said

Assalaamu Alaikum,
subhanallaah I feel this article was directed towards me and the khutbah. :O ) Alhamdulillah I passed my GI final(thanks and jazakumullaah to all the folks taht made dua for my final). Now I gotta worry about my midterm in shaa Allaah. I am gonna pray that I pass so taht I dont have to take it again,in shaa Allaah bi iznillaah.

By the way thanks to ISRU trailer Scrubs, i have a new found addiction: listening to Ahmed Bukhatir's various anasheed. Subhanallaah ;)

on December 28, 2004 12:46 AM
Rami said

Asalaam Aleikum Warahmatullah Wabarakatu,

It wasn't directed at you Sr. Ibtisam, but I think it benefits all that read it.

Alhamdullilah that you passed your exam. :)

Wasalaam Aleikum Warahmatullah Wabarakatu

on December 28, 2004 1:07 AM
Justoju said

SubhanAllah.

That ayah that you referenced was single-handedly the most influential factor in bringing about my islamic 'awakening' (though I am still for the most part very much asleep) many years ago. It is the most significant and influential ayah that has ever touched my life and I always felt it was 'my' ayah. It has carried me through hurricanes. I owe more than my life to it...its the most dog-eared part of my Quran...

its wierd hearing someone else be grateful for it...sometimes I forget that the Quran was not just revealed for me and that Allah, Glorious and Exalted, and His words are not my own personal property...its funny how you can get jealous knowing that someone else has a relationship with your Lord...which is a sad reflection of my state, astaghfirullah...a true believer and slave would want EVERYONE on the planet to have a super-tight relationship with the Rabb...not because they deserve it, but because HE deserves to be worshipped in that way. If I really loved Him I would not feel jealousy, I would want as many people to love Him and be loved by Him as is possible, even if they surpassed me by leagues, because HE and HIS pleasure is the goal...The goal is for Him to be pleased...by any means necessary...even if that means that I cant have Him all for myself. The slave must not forget his place. He will always be one of an infinite number of possessions, each equally being provided for and taken care of. Sometimes its hard to accept that one's intimate moments with Allah, Glorious and Exalted, are not exclusive.

WasalaamuAlaikum

on December 28, 2004 2:55 AM
asif said

Salaam:

I wonder if the Jerry Falwell's and the Hard core Right wing conservative/evangelist are looking at this Earthquake/Tsunami disaster as a Wrath from GOD on the Muslims, the Hindus, the Buddish and mainly to all non-christian followers?
I may sound facetious, but the earthquake happened on Dec 25-26th (around christmas), and secondly it happened in Sumatra which is part of Indonesia (largest muslim country with most deaths). And any Tele-Evangelist or Baptist Minister can use this disaster to make this point in their weekly sermon.

By the way, do you guys know about WND? World Net Daily, its a website by Joseph Farrah who is extremely Conservative and you will find news and links to all Right wing Nutter on his website, which includes Micheal Savage, Jack Wheeler, The Limbaughs and ofcourse the Dumb blonde Ann Coulter! Not everything is skewed on the website, there are some news and headlines as well.

Oh a side query for all the future doctors on this site: Would sking (or spending out time in snow) make any difference to flu sypmtomps, meaning accelerate/decelerate the process?
Or it doesn't matter whatever one does?

on January 1, 2005 12:40 AM
Ibitsam said

Flu is a virus but if you are going skiing, you will be wearing out the little energy you have left and not be able to get better as soon as possible. Viruses take their own course, but if you rest and take tylenol, eat soup, drink a lot of juices, water, etc and just become a coach potatoe that is better than going on a skii trip. The cold weather does not make a difference but your immune system is down because of the flu, and if yoiu exert yourself further you can catch a bacteria along with it like pneumonia etc. And if you have allergies, you can get non-productive pneumonia or bronchial irritation which is in fact exacerbated by cold weather and cold air.

Now as far as the tsunami incident goes, there are tons and tons of christians in Sri Lanka. I am not going to think they will say taht and quite frankly i dont give a care what a bunch of WASP-White Anglo-Saxon Protestan men have to say.
If anything, the resorts in Thialand that were destroyed were probably prone to exploiting children in child prostitution.
The masjid of Banda Aceh, one of the closest area to the epicenter was left STANDING bright, beautiful, modern and tall among all the ruins there was. The clock on the masjid stopped exactly at the time the earthquake/tsunami struck. If anything, this is a sign of Allaah's power and Allaah's will.
No one has control or power over this earth; a natural disaster killed 120,000 people, no war, no man-made activity did this, except the will of Allaah. For the atheists and disbelievers, the masjid of Aceh was left standing tall, this cannot be a mere coincidence.
The Exxon Mobile Oil employees that worked in Aceh would abuse the muslim commoners there. They all perished in this Tsunami.
Everyone died, muslim, christian, hindu, buddhist, it is a sign from Allaah that we should stop hating each other and fighting with each other. This is the lesson of the tsunami.

on January 1, 2005 5:41 PM
asif said

Jazak Allah Khair Ibtisaam San:

That was a bucket full of advice as far as Ski and flu goes. I will take heed and be a couch Potato!

Reagrding the Tsunami...You are 100% correct...Masha'Allah! Moreover, you also submitted some newer information about Banda Aceh that I wasn't aware off...I appreciate that.

Ma'Assalaama

on January 1, 2005 5:50 PM
asif said

Salaam Everyone!

Anyways, I hope you guys are all feeling well and high in spirits, Insha'Allah.

It sucks to be sick!!!
When I get under the weather I get philosophical...so all you bro and sis, make most of your health every hour of your day, cause it is a Naimah we so frequently overlook.
Khair Insha'Allah.

By the way, when you guys dont contribute to the comments section, all that is there to see in new postings are the frivilous links...
By the way, who is inline to post the next comment? Lets get it up there...Jazak'Allah Khair.

...And a special Thanks to Brother Gillette for being the editor of hidayaonline and keeping the comments section clean.

Ma'Assalaama

on January 2, 2005 1:32 PM
gillette said

justoju edits as well

on January 2, 2005 6:24 PM
Justoju said

rarely.

I have been dealing with incessant dawats the past few days and have been incorrigibly m.i.a. from my editorial responsibilities. May br. Gillette be rewarded for carrying my half of the weight.

on January 2, 2005 11:07 PM
asif said

Salaam:

Man, Dawats are awesome!!!

When I was in college I used to say (and still think...to some extent) that Best food is Free food!

hahahaha...we dont have "Aunty Pinto" in America...that was our nick name for crashing into a marriage hall (all dressed up) just to enjoy the free food and dinner in Karachi.

Being single has its upsides, but being single with no family is really not that great...take it from me. So, if you are single (like most of you), and have family, Alhamdulillah, then cherish each person or individual of your family. Your family wont be complete without each one of them.

Hey, who among you knows how to make a good Biryani (or any flavorful rice dish)? I have tried cooking Biryani from recipe out of a spice box...but I still couldn't get the water content right...Sometimes the rice comes up mushy and sometimes thay are not completely cooked!

Jazak'Allah khair for any inputs.
Ma'Assalaama

on January 3, 2005 2:36 AM
Rami said

Asalaam Aleikum Warahmatullah Wabarkatu,

Back to the indonesia quake; it might be benefical for us to take this into considerations(before we go back to our mundane lives and worries and forget all the reminders Allah gives us of our eventual destruction): supervolcanoes.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/horizon/1999/supervolcanoes.shtml

btw, Toba and Krakatoa lie along the same fault line that generated the recent Sumatra quake and tsunami.

Wasalaam Aleikum Warahmatullah Wabarkatu

on January 4, 2005 2:51 AM
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