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City of Brass

City of Brass

The Pillars of Faith Archives

Ramadan Pearls 05 – objective

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

As for the men of knowledge of the hereafter, what they mean by the correctness of fasting is its acceptability; and the acceptability of the fast is whether or not it has enabled one to reach one’s objective. They understand […]

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Ramadan Pearls 04 – angels

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

He who has fasted for Allah, the Glorious and Mighty, and is in the discomfort of heat and struck by thirst, will have his face wiped and be given the good news by a thousand angels whom Allah has entrusted […]

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ibadat in Ramadan – process as piety

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

There are a lot of articles written during Ramadan about what Ramadan means, about what we as Muslims should be “getting out” of Ramadan, what the benefits of Ramadan should be. But I think that these sorts of articles miss […]

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Ramadan Pearls 03 – mystery

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Know that the goal in fasting is for the veil of appetite and anger to be lifted from the heart’s eye so that the heart may see the mystery of the dominion of heaven and earth. (The Easy Roads of […]

Ramadan Pearls 02 – non-existence

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Fasting leads to non-existence, for, after all, the joys are there. God is with those who patiently persevere (2:249) (Jalaluddin Rumi, compilation The Essential Rumi)

Ramadan Pearls 01 – criterion

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

It was the month of Ramadan in which the Qur’an was first bestowed from on High as a guidance unto Man and a self-evident proof of that guidance, and as a Criterion by which to discern the true from the […]

Proof denies faith

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

On Reddit, someone posted the following question: “What convinces you that the Quran is the literal Word of God?” I think this is precisely the wrong question. The book/movie Life of Pi directly and elegantly addresses this question. In the […]

Merry Milad and Happy New Year

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This year, Milad al Nabi is closer to the New Year than Christmas! By the Fatimid calendar, Milad (or Mawlid) is today, 3rd January 2015 – which fittingly also coincides with the perihelion of the Earth. However you reckon the […]

Saudis propose to relocate the Prophet’s (saw) tomb from Masjid al-Nabawi

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The above photo of the Mecca clock tower, or as I like to call it, “Big Bin”, was during my hajj a few years ago. It is part of my general observations of the “Meccahattan”-ization of the holiest place in […]

Post-Ramadan reflections

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Welcome back, readers My apologies for being so AWOL from blogging. This past Ramadan I had genuinely been able to ramp up my ibadat and one of the ways I achieved that was by letting go of digital distractions. A […]

Tweeting the Qur’an #ttQuran

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

My friend Hussein Rashid launched the idea of Tweeting the Qur’an a few years ago and the idea has steadily caught on, and even attracted press attention. To participate, just tweet an excerpt from the Qur’an that moved you and […]

The Criterion: reading the Qur’an is the foundation of ibadat in Ramadan

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Ramadan is one-third over. Unlike past years, I’ve not written as much about my observances this year because I’ve been dedicated to improving my ibadat (worship). I completely concur with my friend Shahed Amanullah’s concerns that Ramadan is beginning to […]

Ramadan is coming – or has already arrived

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Ramadan Mubarak! By the lunar Fatimid calendar, today (Saturday 28th June) is the 1st of Ramadan. The Mecca-centric calculations of The Fiqh Council of North America (affiliated with the Islamic Society of North America) also concur with the lunar calendar […]

Creekstone beef is certified halal – and supplies top tier restaurants around the United States

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

A new blog has just burst onto the Muslim blogsphere scene, Muslim Eater (http://muslimeater.com) – with a magnificent debut post about how a major, top-tier beef supplier in Kansas is actually fully halal certified. That supplier is Creekstone Beef and […]

Video: (muslim) Mehdi Hasan interviews (atheist) Richard Dawkins at the Oxford Union

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is an excellent debate between the most emphatic atheist of our time, Richard Dawkins, and political journalist Mehdi Hasan. Hasan is brilliantly prepared for the debate and treats Dawkins with utmost respect, but methodically defends belief and religion as […]

Farewell to Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin (RA)

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

On Friday, January 17th, his holiness Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin RA passed away in Mumbai. Syedna Burhanuddin RA was a visionary intellect and pious guardian of the Deen of his followers, the Dawoodi Bohra community, to which I proudly belong. In […]

Have yourself a very Merry Mawlid al-Nabi

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Mawlid, also known as Milad al-Nabi, is the celebration of the birth of the Prophet Mohammed SAW. In celebrating Mawlid, Muslims express their love for the Prophet SAW, with recitation of salawat, processions, and congregating with family and friends, as […]

Merry Christmas, Isa Nabi milad mubarak!

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

It is Christmas Eve, and it is time to put the Christ back in Christmas. The title “Christ” is derived from a greek word, Khristos, which means “to anoint” – anointing being the process of pouring perfume, oil or water […]

beautiful crescent moon and evening star

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

As Muslims, we are instructed in the Qur’an to contemplate the beauty of Creation… To Allah belongeth the dominion of the heavens and the earth; and Allah hath power over all things. Behold! in the creation of the heavens and […]

Gulf muslims almost had a 28-day Ramadan this year

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Arguably there is more drama surrounding when Eid starts than when Ramadan starts, because after a month of fasting the issue is a little more urgent This year was no different, but there was added drama in the Gulf region […]

Ramadan wanes: The Final Countdown

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

There are just a handful of prayers left. These are the last hours and days of Ramadan, the end of the appointed time when our prayers and acts of piety are amplified. Our consciences weigh heavily with the thought of […]

teaching the message of Ramadan by example – at 3:40am

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by Fatema Baldiwala. “Aw, mom, I cant get up says my younger son, snuggling more deeply into his blanket, shielding his eyes from the bright light. “Its too hard”, mumbles my elder son, as he […]

Laylatul Qadr: The Night of Power, Ramadan 1434

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

We have indeed revealed this (Message) in the Night of Power; And what will explain to thee what the night of Power is? The Night of Power is better than a thousand months. Therein come down the angels and the […]

VIDEO: Qira’at of Sura al-Rahman recited by Al-Shaikh Murtaza Ga’far Ali

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Yesterday, 27th July 2013, Egyptian National Television aired Qira’at of Sura Al- Rahman recited by Al- Shaikh Murtaza Ga’far Ali. Here is a video of his beautiful recitation. Shaikh Murtaza bhai is an ustaad at Jamea tus Saifiyah, in Surat […]

Ramadan 1434: inflection point, reflection point

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

In mathematics, an inflection point is a point on a curve at which the curvature or concavity changes sign from plus to minus or from minus to plus. What better description of the midpoint of Ramadan? Regardless of your reckoning, […]

Ramadan as a meditation on nothingness (essence vs existence)

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Most of the religious obligations of a Muslim are positive actions: pray, strive, donate, go. Prayer is a physical action of movement, zakat is a positive action of donation, jihad is an explicit struggle towards a difficult ideal, and the […]

Tisha B’av: Jews fasting in Ramadan

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I’d like to wish my Jewish friends Tzom kal (easy fast) on the occasion of Tisha B’av, which is a day Jews are obligated to fast in observance of the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem. Here’s […]

Ramadan Mubarak

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The Day of Elevation – 27th Rajab

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

We are almost done with the holy month of Rajab al-Asab, which as I noted a few years ago is a herald for the impending arrival of Ramadan. Today is the 27th of Rajab, which means last night was the […]

Milad al-Nabi Mubarak!

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

By the Fatimid calendar, Mawlid al-Nabi (also known as Milad al-Nabi) starts tonight at sunset. Mawlid is the celebration of the birth of the Prophet Mohammed SAW, and is an occasion to express our mohabbat (love) for him and our […]

honoring Jesus as a Muslim

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Merry Christmas! In honor of the Prophet Issa AS, on this day where my Christian cousins in faith celebrate the life and Message of the Lord, I will share this excerpt from a new piece by my friend Haroon Mogul […]

giving thanks on Ashura

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I am currently in Surat, India for the annual observances of the martyrdom of Imam Husain AS. Imam Husain AS sacrificed himself and his family for the cause of Islam, against the hypocrisy and perversion of the tyrant Yazid LA. […]

Arafat: a rebirth

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Today I am fasting in observance of the Day of Arafat, as are hundreds of millions of muslims worldwide, with the notable exception of those lucky few million who are performing the hajj. On this day, the hajjis stand in […]

Mumbai muslims’ Eid confusion

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

My position on moonsighting vs calculation has always been simple: to you be your way, to me mine. Muslims should not squabble over the differences that arise every year about the start of Ramadan and the date of Eid, but […]

an Imperial Eid

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Eid al Fitr Mubarak! The Empire State Building in New York City is lit green in honor of Eid from August 16-19th, as they traditionally do every year: The most beautiful building in the world, in the greatest city in […]

The Final Fast

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

As per the Fatimid calendar, it is the 30th of Ramadan, and my final fast has begun. I spent the night engaged in ibadat – praying Nisf al-Layl and the tahajjud, doing tasbih (also known as dhikr) and Qur’an, praying […]

Laylatul Qadr 1433 is upon us

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Once again, the apex of Ramadan is upon us – the Night of Power, Laylatul Qadr. The Holy Qur’an describes this night in just five verses – We have indeed revealed this (Message) in the Night of Power; And what […]

Enchanting crescent moon photo with Jupiter system conjunction

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a gorgeous photo of a conjunction of the crescent moon with the Jovian system. It’s from NASA’s Astronomy Photo of the Day (APOD). Everything in this photo, including the clouds, is brilliant solely due to reflected light from […]

Fasting for Ramadan with Diabetes

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

If you’re Muslim, and you have diabetes, can you still fast? That’s a question that more and more Muslims ask themselves each year, as the diabetes epidemic in America and worldwide continues. According to a 2011 report by the Centers […]

my plans and Allah’s plans

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by Taher Suratwala. On my commute home this week, I passed a warning sign that read “503 traffic deaths this year”. That is just for the short stretch of road on my daily trip. I […]

Photos from around the world on the beginning of Ramadan

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Every year, the Boston Globe does a photo feature on the start of Ramadan, as part of their “Big Picture” series. They pick photos that really try to capture teh diversity of muslims and Islam around the world, engaged in […]

The fasts are slow

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Regardless of when most muslims began Ramadan this year, everyone has been fasting for a few days and today everyone is fasting together. Since we are still early in the month, most of the Internet chitchat about Ramadan still centers […]

Oh Allah! This is the month of Ramadan

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Ramadan mubarak to everyone starting their fasts today (and advance mubarak to those beginning their fasts tomorrow!). Still related: My primer on the moonsighting vs calendar debate that happens every year, and my contribution to that debate in favor of […]

Tweeting the Qur’an 2012/1433 #ttQuran

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Join me in another annual Islamsphere tradition: Tweeting the Qur’an: Anyone is welcome. You do not have to be Muslim. The point is to provide greater access to the Qur’an, so please tweet in English, regardless of the language you […]

Preparing for Ramadan

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The entire Islamsphere is focused upon the imminent arrival of Ramadan – I follow the Fatimid calendar, so my first fast will be Thursday, as will most moonsighters; those muslims following the the FCNA calculation will begin on Friday. This […]

27th Rajab al Asab: The Night of Ascent and the Day of Elevation

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The holy month of Rajab al Asab draws to a close – by the Fatimi calendar this is the night of 27th Rajab, which is when the Prophet Mohammed SAW ascended for a tour of Heaven. For more details about […]

Liam Neeson is (not) converting to Islam

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Yes, it’s true that famed Irish (and Catholic) actor Liam Neeson said the following while filming a movie in Istanbul: The Call to Prayer happens five times a day and for the first week it drives you crazy, and then […]

Eid Forever

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Eid al Fitr mubarak! I spent literally the last 15 minutes of Ramadan, furiously reading Qur’an at top speed, trying to eke out as much of the barakat amplification factor as I could before the azaan sounded and the last […]

Zakat – in God we Trust

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by Aamer H. Jamali. By now, the regular reader of this space knows that Ramadaan is about a lot more than fasting. Prayers, purity, and the reading of the Quran all play a role. But […]

Ramadan endgame

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

There’s just a week left in Ramadan. In reading my earlier posts, I realize I give an impression that Ramadan is like a vacation from the real world, but of course it isn’t – the additional demands of prayer, Qur’an, […]

Laylatul Qadr, the Night of Power

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The Night of Power is described in just five brief, magnificent verses of the Qur’an: We have indeed revealed this (Message) in the Night of Power; And what will explain to thee what the night of Power is? The Night […]

Who is Ali (as), the universal hero of Islam?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by Hussein Rashid. Thinking about the beginning of Ramadan. Thinking about the beginning of the Qur’an. Thinking about the line of Imams. Everything has a beginning. The Qur’an begins with the fatihah. There is a […]

Ramadan in 1955

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by Mertze Dahlin. Does the first experience of Ramadan begin the same for everyone? It all depends on the time and where this all takes place. Consider the time to be during the year 1955 […]

Inflection Point, Reflection Point

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Regardless of your reckoning, Ramadan is about halfway over. This means that we are now leaving, not entering Ramadan – that the divine window is closing, not opening wider. The believer must ask themselves, how have they spent Ramadan thus […]

Ramadan: the month of Jihad

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Jihad is one of those words that we Moderate MuslimTM types tend to shy away from. This is a shame, and a self-imposed tragedy, because jihad is a beautiful word and an inspiring, noble concept. It is the embodiment of […]

Fasting in the sky

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I suppose it’s inevitable that most blog posts during Ramadan focus on food and fasting in some way. After all, that is the defining act of piety in Ramadan. The act of fasting also tends to dominate most news stories […]

What I do During Ramadan

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by Irfan Rydhan. For the past 25 + years, I have been participating in the holy month of fasting – called Ramadan in Arabic, for Muslims. Of course my levels of participation have increased over […]

The athlete in Ramadan: working out, training and diet

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by Kulsoom Abdullah. Ramadan 1432/2011 is here. It makes me reflect to last year, which has similar themes to years before that which is I workout and train during Ramadan. Many think I am insane, […]

Fast, Pray, Cook: Ramadan in the Kitchen

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by G. Willow Wilson. The week before Ramadan, I ordered a $65 jumbo box of medjool dates. “By the grace of God, 100% organic,” the advertisement read. “Highest quality.” I find myself thinking ‘at that […]

3 Stages of 30 Days – My Journey Through Ramadhan

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by Taha M. Raja. Here we are in the middle of summer, dog days of August knocking on my door step and with it Ramadhan! For the past decade plus, living in Houston, we have […]

#TTQ #Quran

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

My friend Hussein Rashid launched the idea of Tweeting the Qur’an a few years ago and the idea has steadily caught on. To participate, just tweet an excerpt from the Qur’an that moved you and include the hashtags #TTQ and […]

the paradox of time in Ramadan

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

One fast down, 29 to go! Fasting certainly makes a day crawl past. During a fast, every hour is magnified and elongated. This is why the days are long… but suddenly after Iftar, it seems as though there was no […]

The days are long, the days are short

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by Taher Suratwala. This week marks the beginning of Ramadan, a month of fasting. I have been dreading the impending fast full of long, long summer days, the absence of coffee and missed summer lunches. […]

Ramadan 1432 – the longest days, the shortest month

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Ramadan unfolds! By the Fatimi calendar, today (Sunday) is the first of Ramadan 1432 and the first fast, though by other methods Ramadan begins either tomorrow (Monday) or the day after (Tuesday). I am observing the first fast myself, with […]

why a muslim welcomes the summer solstice

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I was surprised and then pleased to see today’s Google Doodle: It commemorates the Summer Solstice, which is today (June 21 2011). The occasion of the summer solstice was of course important to all those pagans of antiquity, exactly the […]

1st of Rajab al Asab

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I am fasting today for the first day of the holy month of Rajab al Asab. Rajab is the month in which the Prophet SAW ascended for a tour of Heaven from the Rock in Jerusalem, called the Night of […]

Big Bin – the Royal Clock Tower of Mecca

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I’ve been meaning to post these photos for months, but recent events reminded me of it, even though of course this has absolutely nothing to do with the death of Osama bin Laden. These are photos of the Abraj al-Bait […]

a Valentine Milad

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This year sees a happy convergence – it is Valentine’s Day and also the birthday of the Prophet SAW*. Sadly, both occasions are burdened by controversy in the muslim world. Valentine’s Day is seen by some as a Western plot […]

a agnostic Jew reads the Qur’an

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a great, great TED talk by Lesley Hazleton, who in the course of researching an upcoming biography of the Prophet Mohammed SAW decided to undertake a reading of the Qur’an. It is a marvelous (and brief) talk, only […]

I, Pilgrim

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

If you’ve wondered why I’ve been even more distracted of late, it is in preparation for the most important trip I’ve ever made in my life: “Behold! We gave the site, to Abraham, of the (Sacred) House, (saying):  Associate not […]

observing Eid, unobserving 9-11

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Apologies for my long hiatus here – I spent the last third of Ramadan and Eid day (which we observed on Thursday) in Houston with family, blissfully immersing myself in the rhythms of worship. I’d already decided I wouldn’t have […]

my contribution to the moonsighting debate

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

My friend Wajahat Ali is hosting the GOATMILK DEBATE series, and asked me to contribute against the motion that “muslims should adopt monsighting for Ramadan”. The initial entry, in favor of the motion, was posted earlier by Irfan Rydhan and […]

The dog days of Ramadan

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Depending on your reckoning, Ramadan is now about a third of the way complete. The fasting tends to get easier over the course of the month, because we physically acclimate to the routine, and also because the days get somewhat […]

Has Ramadan begun yet?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This year, there’s been more divergence than usual about the beginning of Ramadan, since the visibility of the moon has been very poor (especially in the Western Hemisphere). You can get a sense of the problem from calculated visibility maps […]

PHOTO: Mike Tyson at Mecca

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I had no idea that Mike Tyson was a muslim until I heard last week that he had traveled to Mecca for umrah (the minor pilgrimage, identical to the Hajj except that umrah can be performed anytime during the year […]

the shared source

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The second excerpt from the book Between Allah and Jesus is up at Beliefnet and it continues the debate between the characters Isa (a Sunni muslim), Evan (a evangelical Christian), and Father Hereema (A Jesuit priest). The dialogue continues the […]

the Word of God

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I have been asked why I am engaging in this dialogue with Robert about the book, Between Allah and Jesus, which if you think about it is really a book written by a Christian intended for a Christian audience, in […]

my letter to the editors at Reason.com about Draw Muhammad Day

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Below is the text of an email I sent to Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch, urging them to make public all the nearly 200 entries to the Draw Mohammed Day contest at Reason magazine. If they consent, I will also […]

Draw “Mohammed” Day

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Since today is apparently “Draw Mohammed Day“, conceived as an expression of the right of free speech in our society, as a response to that tiny minority of muslims worldwide (and essentially negligible minority of muslims in the United States), […]

Reflection on Milad al Nabi

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Milad mubarak! Like hundreds of millions of muslims worldwide, I honored the Prophet Mohammed SAW last week, finding the anniversary of his birth (by most authoritative sources, 12 Rabi ul Awwal) a time to reflect on my love for him […]

Malaysia’s Monopoly on Allah

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Over the course of the past week, nine churches in Malaysia have been firebombed, by muslim extremists who object to the Christian community’s use of the word “Allah” in their prayers. The dispute came to a head on Dec 31st […]

Muharram – Headed to Marol, Mumbai for Ashara

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The Islamic New Year is almost upon us – by the Fatimid calendar, the month of Muharram al Haram begins tonight at sunset. For Shi’a muslims, the new year marks the start of the Ashara 10-day period of mourning for […]

a convergence of thanksgiving, renewal, and sacrifice

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Today again marks the Day of Arafat, a day of spiritual renewal and rebirth. In honor of this day I am observing the fast from sunrise to sundown, with members of my family who have traveled thousands of miles to […]

Hajj tidbits

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Preparations for Hajj continue in Saudi Arabia – with measures both great: On Sunday, security forces sent a clear message to would-be saboteurs by staging a huge military demonstration involving thousands of troops, armored vehicles, helicopters, and first response teams. […]

Hajj: The Opening

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

[22:27–8] And proclaim the Pilgrimage among men: they will come to thee on foot and (mounted) on every kind of camel, lean on account of journeys through deep and distant mountain highways; That they may witness the benefits (provided) for […]

the final fast of Ramadan

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

???? ?????? ?? ??? ?????! Today is the final fast of Ramadan. Unlike last year, it looks like almost everyone will be celebrating Eid al Fitr together on Sunday, a happy convergence of the Ummah. But talking about Eid is […]

China’s Uyghurs: forbidden to fast

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

As I alluded in my earlier primer on the oppression of the Uyghurs in Xinjiang province, China, the Chinese authorities are engaged in what amounts to a cultural genocide against the Uyghur people. One of the ways this is done […]

Radio Ramadan

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Every year, the profile of Ramadan observances by muslims in the West is raised higher, and invariably reflects the amazing diversity of the muslim community. As a recent Pew Research Center poll found, the more Americans learn about Islam and […]

Laylatul Qadr and 9-11

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The past few years, the anniversary of 9-11 has coincided with Ramadan. As I wrote last year, 9-11 usually elicits a defensive posture in muslim Americans, because of the lingering suspicion and distrust by our fellow citizens. But with the […]

Ramadan mubarak!

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

As sunset creeps westward across the globe today, Ramadan follows – already the vast majority of the muslim world has already fallen into night, including India, Indonesia, and China. It is the verge of sunset in the Middle East as […]

Receiving Ramadan, the esteemed guest

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by Taha M. Raja. Ramadhan arrives like a guest, an esteemed guest. Families prepare to receive the guest in many ways. Houses get cleaned, talk of fasting and prayers are abound, preparation to go to […]

Tweeting the Qur’an

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Ramadan is an opportunity for me to reacquaint myself with the Qur’an. This is really an admission of failure on my part, as I really should be familiar with the Qur’an year-round rather than need Ramadan to renew my commitment […]

Rendezvous with Ramadan

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Today is the last day, in which I can indulge my body and my mind in their petty habits and frivolities. Today is the last day in which being simply human suffices as an excuse not to seek transcendence towards […]

Laylatul Me’raj – The Night of Ascent

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is the holy month of Rajab al Asab in the Islamic calendar,a month that holds a great deal of meaning for muslims. In particular, the 27th of Rajab is significant because this is when, according to muslim lore, the […]

On Hadith and righteousness: a debate

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

A few years ago, blogger Yursil had an interesting and provocative post about hadith and the theological methodology of the Salafi and Wahabi sects of Islam: The opposite of Taqlid is the approach taken by the Ahl ul Hadith (People […]

sky gods

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

In an unrelated post at Talk Islam, my friend (and staunch atheist) Razib of GNXP blog made an off-hand reference to “sky gods”. This is a term that atheists often use, in the context of dismissing belief in the divine. […]

What is Shi’ism?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by Hussein Rashid In the contemporary period Shi’ah is the standard short form for Shi’ah Ali, the Partisans of Ali. The Shi’ah have a history that goes back as far as the time of Prophet […]

to dawah or not to dawah?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The term Dawah (more correctly spelled Da’wah in transliteration from Arabic) means to prosletyze Islam. The term literally means “invitation”. There are different forms of da’wah, the main types being passive and active. Passive da’wah is the belief that living […]

Dawah on the bus goes round and round

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

My apologies to my few remaining readers for my delayed absence – I was in the Bay Area from thursday morning until late last night and have rather enjoyed the hiatus from my electronic overlords. My email inboxes have certainly […]

reflections on technology and the hajj II

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by my friend Aamer Jamali. This is the second post in a series. Having just returned from Hajj, a number of anecdotes stick out in my mind which best serve to illustrate the role that modern […]

The God Bus

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

An atheist group has taken out ads on buses in the UK with catchy slogans poking some good-natured fun at believers. While these have predictably generated some anger and tension, I am entranced by the free speech and market ingenuity […]

reflections on technology and the hajj

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by my friend Taha Raja. Part one in a series. How has technology affected the Hajj? For many hard core believers, Hajj represents a pilgrimage that needs to be preserved for what it was envisioned […]

Pastor Joel Osteen warns about pork

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Pastor Joel Osteen gives an amazing sermon about pork and shellfish. He made changes to his own diet, not just for health reasons, but also to honor God: It’s a compelling and educational lecture about why pigs and shellfish are […]

Hajj: a near-death experience

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The following is a guest post by my friend Aamer Jamali. Having recently returned from Hajj, I am bombarded by that well meaning question by all of my friends and loved ones… “How was it?”  Unfortunately, all I can answer […]

Obama and Ummah: healing 1400 year-old wounds

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The following anecdote is written by my friend Aamer Jamali, via email a few weeks ago (prior to the Inauguration). I have his permission to reprint it here. Of all the things to remember about my Hajj trip (and there […]

Fasting…yet Sad As Well

Typically, it is quite difficult for me to fast outside of the month of Ramadan…I love my coffee WAY too much (it’s now decaffeinated, though). But, there are a few days during which I am happy to do so. Two […]

an introduction to Ashura

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

(guest post by Hussein Rashid) A thanks to Aziz for opening the doors to his house to me. I shall endeavor to put everything back where I found it, and replace the juice. It seems appropriate to talk about Ashura, […]

Incredible photos of Hajj and Eid ul Adha worldwide

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The Boston Globe has an astounding collection of high-resolution photographs from the Hajj in Saudi Arabia, as well as Eid ul Adha observances from throughout the muslim world. These photos are breathtaking, humbling, inspiring, and beautiful. It’s impossible to pick […]

mubarak! hajjis come home – including a Congressman

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The hajjis have begun to arrive home. Among them were Rep. Keith Ellison, the first muslim elected to Congress and now the first US elected official to have ever performed Hajj. The Democrat from Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District traveled to […]

(un) making Mecca

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

In the year 2020, the Grand Mosque complex housing the Ka’aba might look something like this: This is just one possible design that will be floated by star architects Norman Foster and Zaha Hadid, recruited by King Abdullah to vastly […]

Eid ul Adha mubarak – ??? ?????

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Eid is by tradition a happy affair, but in India it is muted this year, in the wake of the Mumbai attacks. In addition to forgoing the slaughter of cows for the sacrifice (out of respect for the sentiments of […]

Hajj ends – Zabihat and Jamarat

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Eid is by tradition a happy affair, but in India it is muted this year, in the wake of the Mumbai attacks. In addition to forgoing the slaughter of cows for the sacrifice (out of respect for the sentiments of […]

Aerial view of the tent city of Mina

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

While engaged in the rituals at Arafat and Mina, the pilgrims live in a vast tent city constructed exclusively for their use. Here’s an aerial view of that tent city from Google maps: View Larger Map (via Shi’a Pundit)

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Ramadan Pearls 05 - objective
As for the men of knowledge of the hereafter, what they mean by the correctness of fasting is its acceptability; and the acceptability of the fast is whether or not it has enabled one to reach one's objective. They understand the objective of ...

posted 7:26:32am Jul. 05, 2015 | read full post »

The Fourth and the First
This evening, just prior to sunrise, members of my mosque in Los Angeles gathered round to raise the flag of the United States of America. Due to fortuitous timing, just as the flag was unfurled, a squadron of planes flew overhead in formation, ...

posted 12:38:00am Jul. 05, 2015 | read full post »

Ramadan Pearls 04 - angels
He who has fasted for Allah, the Glorious and Mighty, and is in the discomfort of heat and struck by thirst, will have his face wiped and be given the good news by a thousand angels whom Allah has entrusted to him until he breaks his fast; at ...

posted 8:16:29am Jul. 03, 2015 | read full post »

ibadat in Ramadan - process as piety
There are a lot of articles written during Ramadan about what Ramadan means, about what we as Muslims should be "getting out" of Ramadan, what the benefits of Ramadan should be. But I think that these sorts of articles miss the point of ibadat. ...

posted 10:20:36am Jul. 02, 2015 | read full post »

Ramadan Pearls 03 - mystery
Know that the goal in fasting is for the veil of appetite and anger to be lifted from the heart's eye so that the heart may see the mystery of the dominion of heaven and earth. (The Easy Roads of Sayf al-Din, as translated by William Chittick ...

posted 8:57:01am Jul. 01, 2015 | read full post »

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