Voting, the Muslim stance, and less than 100 hours remaining....

God bless.

After interviewing with a reporter from the Houston Chronicle mid last week on the Muslim community's reaction to recent racial uproar in both campaigns, I got to thinking, thinking a lot to where I felt a bit trapped. And now I've decided to speak or rather explain to everyone who is confused as to why I support who I do and why it matters.

(Side note: For those of you who would like to read a critique of Obama and his campaign addressing each issue area please let me know. I have a great thorough email sent from a friend titled "Obama and the Muslim vote")

Maybe it's not about the lost vote, maybe it's about a sincere vote that is lost yet again.

We live in a bi-world. Bi-partisan to be more specific. It is so because well we didn't really do anything and more importantly because we chose not to. Ross Perot, as is well known, a 3rd party candidate came really close to being in the main race, but yet he was polling below 10percent. Ralph Nader, who is running as an independent this year and a fourth time in national polls. He polled above 5 percent and event reached 10percent at one time. Therefore, a vote like Ralph Nader's isn't wasted or 'lost'...That's just a myth what we're taught. The democrats even wrongly blamed, Nader for Bush's victory in 2000 (with logic in mind that if Nader's voters would have voted for Kerry maybe he would have won stepping aside all other significant reasons why Gore lost). Furthermore, Bush defeated Al Gore in FL by around 500 votes and Nader received close to 100k votes in Florida. Many other 3rd party candidates also received more than those 500 or so votes... A point to just let flush through your mind, so your vote is not lost, it's not unheard, its not overlooked. Those who do stand up for their principles, well its seen.
More is here
In eight years, everyone seems to have been worked up and passionate about this election. We seem to be taking no more of Bush-it. So the word change resonates throughout our political thought processes. And yet really its just not change, just a tweek in how things were and a beacon of hope that seems to shift and sway to where it almost obliterated concept of reliability and consistency. Whether it be the children from Ron Clark elementary, or the pyscho 'kill him' chanters at McCains rally's, or the man who names his baby Sarah McCain Palin, or even the movie Obsessions, or even Republican leadership changing their stance or shifting out of the scene because "Palin is like a cancer", or any of the enthused Obama supporters and all their interesting actions, or maybe even all the Muslims who vote together.

Your best teacher is your last mistake.

Vote together for a man who knows he has gotten our vote; who understands he doesn't have to step into ONE MOSQUE, because he already has our vote. He doesn't have to stay consistent and can unconditionally support Isreal and offer more than 3billion in aid annually, create tension and talk about proactive action for Pakistan insurgencies, or the many other issues a Muslim vote would be 'concerned' with and seem to have always been a bit too concerned with. He has our vote, and he will regardless. Not because we love Obama, but because we choose to be involved to not get another Bush or McCain, who God forbid wins. The thought of that makes us cringe. Expediency or sincere voting?

What about the issues that McCain doesn't mention? Obama does? What about the issues neither mentions? The one's that affect us first and foremost? What about the military budget? Alternative Energy? Corporate welfare and crime? the Justice system? US Policy on Middle East? Etc. All these affect us but yet Obama doesn't address them.
Address the real issues He's a writer, a professor, a lawyer, a politician, a activist, a journalist, a speaker, a trooper, a hero. A man who started more than 10 nonprofits, one who broke Guiness book of world records for most speeches given in a day, whose one of multiple books was ranked 38th amongst 100 top pieces of Journalist for 20th century, who both Life and Time magazine named 100 most influential Americans in 20th century and even in history. Not to mention his running mate, Matt Gonzalez, who is also phenomenal in a myriad of ways, that this email would only drag on, but most of us know him as the one who almost won mayoral race in San Francisco in 2003. Other campaigns are driven by organizations and political action committees and platforms that definitely have their own agenda. Their money is supporting within both campaigns. Has anyone really stopped to think about this, in depth or even on surface level? It's almost as if you pay and you get your voice heard. So then what is change? Because the people putting money in don't seem to be wanting it. Nader only accepts money from individuals and in turn for the last 30+ or so years Nader puts interest of the people at the front. "Nader raiders" didn't just come and go, they came and stayed, they wrote books about him, their hero, they worked to continue to establish his non profits, they amongst everything else voted for him, and shifted the trend. The only difference between the Republican and Democratic parties is the velocities with which their knees hit the floor when corporations knock on their door. That's the only difference. One's not sure what to say, let's just say Obama is Muslim, its a disgust for him to ever admit maybe 1% of him was or could be. It would hurt his campaign which is honestly understandable, because he is all about change and voting for the people. If those who are voting on more shallower terms on basis of surface level and minority status, well maybe there is some triggering factor for doing so. On a shallow note, Nader is first Arab American presidential candidate (his parents were from Lebanon and Catholic) and not only is his stance pro Palestine but he's also not hiding in corners erasing his identity and rather embracing it amongst other things. Random point that doesn't really matter unless your voting on a 'I vote minority' basis. At his fourth round of elections, there is some merit and sincerity in Nader, a trooper. It's about challenging the status quo, and about not giving up. And now he is on the ballot in 45 states.

A leader has the vision and conviction that a dream can be achieved. He inspires the power and energy to get it done.

So the biggest, most comprehensive, overall argument remains: If We don't want McCain, so we vote Obama. Expediency at it's best. However, this doesn't seem to hold immense amounts of logical thought or firmness it just seems to be to some, borderline jargon. As those of us who are Muslim peoples, we come from our ideals. Rather we are our ideals. And our religion and it's fundamental concepts were strived for, even if they weren't achievable within a short time. It was the ideal that mattered, the overall message, and the true values we stood for, that was what kept Muslim thought alive. Never ending struggle now, and the never ending struggle then. We aren't a people to trade off in the least, rather we have patience to the most. So even on an "Islamic" note this doesn't have much standing. What isn't a reality now in four years, isn't going to be a reality ever really if we don't start to make it one and mold things. For those who aren't voting and seem to be a more political Islamic inclined kind of ideology, its because you don't support these candidates because they are both evil. This also to some is flawed logic, however there is an alternative? Yes,

Once you don't vote your ideals... that has serious undermining affects. It erodes the moral basis of our democracy

So as Americans we believe in democracy, what was once brought up as democratic ideals and values, but what is not. And not only what has not been but what will not become if we as a people aren't proactive. Change is there, change is real. and if you let it be change is possible. However it is not through the avenues of Mu-Barack. There is no really blessing in that, if we vote for him out of the dislike for McCain.

As Nader explains in an
interview, "One feels an obligation, Tim, to try to open the doorways, to try to get better ballot access, to respect dissent in America in the terms of third parties and, and independent candidates; to recognize historically that great issues have come in our history against slavery and women rights to vote and worker and farmer progressives, through little parties that never ran--won any national election. Dissent is the mother of ascent. And in that context, I have decided to run for president." Be real with yourself. Be a trooper. Be a true American and holdup democratic ideals, in whichever candidate you find it in and God bless. But today only Ralph Nader seems to be real and about change.

Do not let another
vote be lost yet again,

(ps ... all italics where Nader quotes. Glad you enjoyed)


post Ike reflections


I have no power, but I am happy.

The hurricane...

I didn't really keep up with the news, assuming like Gustav or other hurricanes of the season, it would be nothing dramatic.

On Friday, as work was canceled and school was closed we met, together at the mosque. If smiles had been painted on people's faces and their outfits sparkled in sunlight and sung out in color, I would have thought it was Eid. The mosque was packed, the skies turned gray and I shook hands with my friends, with sincerity instead of formality and wished them the best.

As we prayed night prayer at mosque, it got windier and windier, at only half intensity, wind would later escalate to double in its mph. Then with three families in one house, Friday night seemed like a mini hangout. The kids jumped off sofas onto bean bags, we sat around throwing jokes and enjoying the company. Eventually, drained out, we slept, spread out in rooms around the house. Storm heightened and winds continued to roar through the night. At 4am we awoke, watching through windows outside, scared. After eating morning meal prior to starting our fast the hurricane got nearer and after morning prayer, we watched as rain and wind slammed against our windows and wind made trees and power lines dance back and forth as if they would fly off and away with the weather, which played its own nightmarish symphony.

We fell back asleep every couple of hours and closer to noon the wind died down half way and rain fell down straight, in consistency. Driving back home we dodged fallen trees, gutter flooding and natural debris. In our zip, we say fences broken, power lines down, but we were happy, all the damage was minor. Houses still stood, with their windows, and families were still together, in our zip, 379. Thank God.

The reflections...

We were scared, but the least damage befell upon us. We expected worse, and with the hurricane, worse also was swept away.

The power hasn't come back yet. They say next week maybe, as our power lines, fell to the roads and need to be restored. We have water; clean water. I hate Houston at times, because there is no wind. But after Saturday nights storm, the wind continues to make curtains back and forth into and out of our windows, with its grace.

I am happy. I don't like when the lady at the mosque, makes duah for power. I feel in spirit of the month and our endeavors we in our zip, are better without it. For our siblings to joke that Eid will come like this, now seems true. We may celebrate in candles.

People in Galveston lost their homes, a lady in Texas city lost her son as the transformer fell and lead to his death, Trees destroyed cars, sides of houses. Flooding entrapped people. All over Galveston the scene, from what we hear on radio and through others who have power, is bad. For them, they may not be happy. For them, the only water is contaminated and their are hanging on to a string of hope for life to be even slightly the same as it could have been.

So why are we suffering then without power? When water and food at still available. How much realization did we come to? When we are so dependent on internet and television? On cell phones and online chat? On all these things that for many serve as distractions. Where is our sense of detachment from the world? Especially now, especially in these 30 days where our only focus is to arrive at a nearer station to God? For some, the last few days, without electricity are too much to handle.

What did Ike do for you? Did you develop or mature at all? Did you even notice a wake up call? How much did you realize about yourself? We're still sleeping...too many of us.

Please pause, and remember those who lost too much in your prayers.
Be the good samaritan, put yourself aside.

As peace corps motto goes, "Life is calling, how far will you go?"

Life of Ike; eye capturing dramatic shots

ABC photos
Pre Ike
ike early days
ike aftermath


Ramadan Preparation Notes

Ramadan Notes: Halaqa 8/16

Notes derived From -
"Moving into Ramadan" lecture by Sh. Hussain Abdul Sattar

-Prior to an event there is excitement, anticipation- the event is talked up
- Same with Ramadan.
- Talk about the occasion, the benefits, what is recommended
-We must enter the company of those who are excited, in order to save ourselves

-The whole universe is about to enter Ramadan - earth, moon, universe has to align
- Allah twists the whole universe into Ramadan
- In turn, all blessings associated with Ramadan begin to fall upon the community

- Only lasts for a limited amount of time.
- Therefore only have a limited amount of time to prepare, lots of work must be done
- Just like big companies plan for big success, (ie apple produces i-phone, rushes to come out with it even though the product isn't perfect) ; as such we must prepare -- time is limited

We are sleeping, Ramadan is coming
-God has given us a chance to REDEEM ourseves

-Nowadays words jannah/jahanum don't create any feelings, ideas within people
-We have become indifferent --> this is a dangerous state

-Meaning of word - Ramadan - "hot, scorching earth" - root
- two meanings -
a) purify
- ie just as extreme heat is used to purify metals by removing impurities
-Heat, is discomforting at first, but brings purity
- First fasts are hard, second 10 are harder - no motivation, hype in beg and end days
b) bend
- Soul is hard to bend, heat the soul then let it cool, mold it into hsape
- Do this by inculcating a schedule
- Think of schedule of prophet, alay'hissalaam, what did he do? how did he use his time?
his asset was his time, alay'his salaam

Notes derived From - "Checking into Ramadan" lecture by Sh. Hussain Abdul Sattar

- How much have you screwed up in last 11 months? Think about this, ponder upon it, realize it

Chemotherapy analogy -
-Just like cancer patient goes into hospital, for treatment as their last hope for a cure, so must we go into Ramadan, and check in, as a cure for our dying states
-Give everything up, leave everything behind them and designate entire time to their cure, their treatment within the hospital.
- Even on free, off days, they rest
- Cancer patient doesnt' ask doctor to reschedule or say he cannot do so because he has this or that obligation, his full focus is his treatment

Check into Ramadan the same way, it is our last hope, we are so sick.
Go into Ramadan, "dead", meaning enter month with nothing, put everything else away and behind you
- Ramadan should not become a social festival of gatherings
-You are being given a chance to cure yourself, cure yourself by chemo
-Establish a routine, first 20 days are preparation for the last.

-Ramadan instead becomes like a festival
-Five years ago it was a lot easier to fast than it is today, life is continuing to become more complex and difficult
-For those who eventually give up, this is death, interal death.

-What you can accomplish in Ramadan in 30 days, you cannot accomplish outside Ramadan in 30 years, this is a guarantee

Notes derived From - "Retaining Blessing of Ramadan" lecture by Sh. Hussain Abdul Sattar

-Kabaa is central point, from which all prayer is subdvided out of into rest of the world, as believed by many scholars.
-Allah swt invites you to the mosque in Ramadan, his mosque, to which all mosques are connected.
-He wants to offer you something

-Ayaat about fasting, "Fasting is written upon you, as it has been written upon those before you, perchance that you may gain taqwa"

-Everything is independents of Allah swt, he is dependant upon nothing
- We are completely dependent on Allah swt, and he is completely independent of us
-Activities in Ramadan -- Allah swt bestowing a blessing.
-By fasting we are not doing him a favor, rather he did us a favor by giving us Ramadan.
-Allah swt fulfills his promise, a sign he wants to offer you something, a chance.
-What Allah swt gives us is beyond mercy of any human being
- (ie just as when someone invites you to thier house for dinner, their promise is fulfilled; in same way Allah swt fulfills his promise to you)

-Hope that remains inside heart the believer, 'perchance ye may gain taqwa' being given a chance

Post Ramadan -
-Essential fact - survival to 11 months after Ramadan is in the company that you take
- Establish a connection with a) the righteous, b) the Quran, c) keeping with one another
-For even if you stumble, the rest of the gathering will pick you up; if you leave you will fail

-Ramadan provides a cure for your diseases , diseases which are deeply buried in our hearts
- Don't challenge the diseases, don't go back.
- If the disease is fed it will grow, if given the opportunity it will take you over
- Seek protection of Allah swt
- In Ramadan these diseases are cured, yet you have very low to bank on, if you don't benefit in Ramadan

*All Notes for the halaqa were taken from Ramadan collection audio, Sh. Hussain Abdul Sattar


Lets pack

On arrival of Sha'ban...soon to be Ramadan...

Bis'millah ...

Happiness: is a universal need shared by all of mankind. Just as without basic necessities of life man cannot survive, without happiness man cannot move forward and only regress into a state of the 'living dead'. Just as one commits a wrongdoing, he does so for happiness, either a personal pleasurable feeling he gains, acceptance by peers within society, etc. In contrast, just as the altruist may drop a few coins or slide a dollar onto the can of a homeless wanderer, he does so for personal pleasure, for in doing such an act he personally benefits by feeling good about himself. Therefore if happiness is something necessitated by man then how is it that we do not strive for it ourselves? From last Fall to this one, how far have we walked towards happiness? Within our society the concept of happiness is associated with green and the need to grow more money trees and exist within our own materialistic havens. However how often do we strive towards the green and material and how often are we let down? Just as fast as birthday candles are blown out these doses of happiness die out as well.

When is it that we worked on our never ending candle? A flame that when lit from within only grows and continues to brighten and create light within us and eventually around us. When will we work on our flames? When is it that we will realize within weeks how elated we feel with the blessed month of Ramadan in our lives. And that soon it will leave and what we felt, that one moment of bliss will not remain and our flames, if they were there, will die out just as fast. Within 11 months how much have we transgressed, regressed and worked backwards from what we had? or what we could have had?

Has our relationship with God been pondered upon? Have we looked in retrospect? Or in wonderment? How low have we felt? And for those who feel as if relationship is satisfying, how incorrectly do we perceive reality and why have we settled for nothing except nothing itself. Regardless of our lowly state, or a higher one which we may have gained with rigorous effort, or our feelings of happiness, or lack thereof, or our aspirations or our deeds, or transgressions, how does this affect our Creator? Indeed, they does not. Our Lord is our Lord and in all his attributes, He, Allah swt, does not change nor is affected by our states. Yet it is us who in every way, shape and form are affected by our relationship with him, our need for him, our aspiring need for love to love him, our dependence.....our everything.

So just as cancer patients when they have minimal hope of survival check into hospital for final treatment, why do we not check in to Ramadan? Why do we not put away our deceiving, worldly aspirations in exchange for what may be our only hope for restoration? When everything is working in our favor, and yet we choose to work against it or settle for nothing because within our heads we justify our intentions with our sloppy deeds and settle for apathy and become lethargic in our actions.

In last 11 months have we been preparing? Realizing Ramadan had left us then, were we eager to get it back, to restore ourselves to work against our nafs which throughout the years trod back to path of corruption? And yet within our tradition, people would fast 4 months into Ramadan if not more and set such rich goals months in advance, so they could walk right into Ramadan, ready to go, with all their luggage. Instead of try to scrummage around for belongings like us and by the time the last 10 days arrived we felt a moment or two of bliss, but it was too late; there was only a week left. We walked away heads drooping from what could have been revolutionary to our own states. And again we left what could have been and then unpacked our suitcases so fast as if Ramadan was a coincidental detour not a stop in the clinic to rejuvenate our souls and our states.

The month of Shaban started, we have less than 30 days left and yet our preparations again may be materialistic as we bubble in social events with which to break our fasts, and cook extravagant meals and bring alive happiness, again happiness that is only temporary, surreal and unfulfillable.

So then what are we living for? And what have we been living for, if it isn't happiness itself? And when moments arrive to redefine our definition and to work towards truth, how do we treat it? How do we treat an entire 30 days? How shall we treat it...? Now? when there's only 30 days to go until our optimal chance to check into the clinic... Sadly, the thought of packing hasn't even crossed our minds.

*side note - readers discretion - these are just my thoughts on the matter...a lot of what I've stated I've heard from recent speeches, audio tracks-a ll of which I'm most willing to share to those interested


hi hello