Common Word, Common Lord

Common Word, Common Lord

Most Americans Do Not Know Truth About Islam’s Values

In the Name of God: The Extremely and Eternally Loving and Caring

In a poll of Americans released by Public Religion Research Institute, a majority of Americans said that “The values of Islam are at odds with American values and way of life.”

Most Americans Feel Values of Islam Are At Odds With American Values


And this feeling is consistent across various religious and racial groups of Americans.

Yet, when I first came across the results of this study, my reaction was not, “Wow, how bigoted Americans are!” Rather, my feeling was that we need to teach the majority of my fellow Americans what the true values of Islam are.

I would suspect that the Americans surveyed gleaned the values of Islam from the incessantly negative coverage of all things Islamic and Muslim. Yet, the truth is quite different. Islam’s values are many, but – the opinions of Islamophobes and Islamist extremists notwithstanding – they have nothing to do with violence, terror, and death.

First and foremost, Islam is about peace. I am sure many a reader is rolling his or her eyes now. But, it is the absolute truth. Islam is about attaining inner peace through the willful submission of one’s will to that of God:


O you who have attained to faith! Surrender yourselves wholly unto God [or, enter wholeheartedly into peace], and follow not Satan’s footsteps, for, verily, he is your open foe. (2:208)

Verily in the remembrance of God hearts do find rest (13:28)

AND [know that] God invites [humanity] unto the abode of peace, and guides him that wills [to be guided] onto a straight way (10:25)

It is clear that Muslims make a universal brotherhood and sisterhood across the world. The Qur’an is explicit in saying so. Yet, Islam connects all humanity together through our common father and mother, Adam and Eve:

Humanity! Behold, We have created you all out of a male and a female, and have made you into nations and tribes, so that you might come to know one another. Verily, the noblest of you in the sight of God is the one who is most deeply conscious of Him. Behold, God is all-knowing, all-aware. (49:13)


Islam is also about piety, kindness, charity, and compassion:

True piety does not consist in turning your faces towards the east or the west – but truly pious is he who believes in God, and the Last Day; and the angels, and revelation, and the prophets; and spends his substance – however much he himself may cherish – it – upon his near of kin, and the orphans, and the needy, and the wayfarer, and the beggars, and for the freeing of human beings from bondage; and is constant in prayer, and renders the purifying dues; and [truly pious are] they who keep their promises whenever they promise, and are patient in misfortune and hardship and in time of peril: it is they that have proved themselves true, and it is they, they who are conscious of God. (2:177)


And as important as peace, Islam is about love: love for God; love for fellow humanity; love for the world; for the poor; love for you family; love for your spouse; love for everything. Every surah (“chapter”) of the Qur’an, except one, begins with the same phrase which I begin every blog post: “In the Name of God, the Extremely and Eternally Loving and Caring.” The Qur’an is full of the love and care and mercy of God, and there is not a page that is turned in the Qur’an without the love of God overflowing.

Now, of course, many can find in the very same Qur’an verse after verse that seem violent, intolerant, belligerent, and sectarian. Many a commenter on this blog has done just that. Yet, there has to be enough of a sophistication to understand that these tough verses have a context, a mainstream understanding, and an explanation. Every scripture has tough verses that can be used to justify unspeakable crimes; Islam is no different.


Yet, that is not what Islam has taught me. Violence, and death, and murder are not spiritually fulfilling, but rather, they defile one’s spirit and soul. If that was truly what Islam was all about, it would not have endured all these centuries; it would not have inspired a civilization that greatly contributed to human history; it would not provide comfort for billions of people around the world today.

The values of Islam fit perfectly with the values of America and the rest of the world. That is the truth. The fact that most Americans do not think this is true simply means that we have more teaching to do. And, God willing, I will continue to do my best to do just that.





Dr. Hassaballa Featured on PRI’s “The World”

In the Name of God: The Extremely and Eternally Loving and Caring

By the grace of God, I was featured on PRI’s “The World” radio show today. We were discussing the Muslim condemnation of ISIS, and I spoke about how their invoking God to justify their violence is blasphemy:

The fact that ISIS kills in the name of Islam is what disturbs Hesham Hassaballa the most. He’s a physician from Chicago who blogs at BeliefNet. In Hassaballa’s view, the extremists of ISIS are committing the sin of blasphemy.


“We live in a time when religious faith may not be important to many people. It still is to me. It’s still a very precious gem and jewel that I hold onto very strongly. So, if someone, some savage, tries to take that precious thing and defile it with murder … barbarism … coldhearted bloodthirstiness, that’s offensive,” Hassaballa says.

“I’m not going to fight [ISIS] on the battlefield, but what I can do is speak out against them in the strongest manner possible.”

May God rid us of the scourge of these savages once and for all. Amen.


Letter From An American Muslim Who Fell In Love With Paris

In the Name of God: The Extremely and Eternally Loving and Caring

Dearest France:

This summer, my wife and I were blessed to spend our vacation in Paris. Yet, I must admit that I had no small amount of hesitation. I was well aware of the issues of the Muslims in France, and how they face very real discrimination and alienation. I was worried about how we, as Muslims, would be received in a city that still felt the pain of the heinous attacks on Charlie Hebdo. Although I hate to admit it, I also was influenced by the common notion among many of my fellow Americans that the “French are rude.” And so, as we landed in Paris this past July, I was worried.


That worry, however, quickly melted away into sadness and regret. Not because something bad happened to me. On the contrary, I felt sadness and regret over how badly I misjudged Paris and her people. There was not a single person with whom we met and interacted that was not the nicest to us. From the driver who took us from CDG to our hotel, to the hotel clerks, to the waiters at the many cafes we visited, to the Metro information desk workers, and even to the Customs officers: everyone treated us with respect and courtesy.

And it did not take long after arriving in Paris to completely fall in love with the city. It has beautiful architecture, and so many of its rues and avenues brim with history and character. Its monuments and museums are breathtaking in their glory and majesty. Its parks are beautiful and serene, giving way to sight lines that are truly one-of-a-kind. And the cafes, and shops, and creperies, and boulangeries were so numerous, so wonderful in their diversity, that it was impossible to become bored.


Diversity. That was one of the things that struck us most about Paris. It is a microcosm of the world, with people from all over the globe living, and working, and eating, and sitting together. It was at once awe-inspiring and refreshing. Moreover, the laid back spirit of the people and the lifestyle was very refreshing, having come from a country where everyone is in an incredible hurry all of the time. Furthermore, I was inspired by the sight of everyone sitting in cafes with their friends and families without their mobile devices in their faces all the time. It is something I wish more of us Americans did here at home.

My experience in Paris completely changed my view of France, and it has made me a Francophile. I have embarked on learning French, so that I can say much more than “Bonjour,” “Merci beaucoup,” and “Combien ca coute?” and actually know what is being said to me in reply. Despite what happened on 11/13, I want to go back to Paris again, and because of this special feeling I have for Paris, the attacks on Paris have really devastated me, even though I am thousands of miles away.


Thus, dearest France, please do not succumb to those forces in your country that want to fundamentally change your beautiful nature which I experienced first hand this past summer. Do not listen to those who want to expel all immigrants, mass intern thousands, or pass draconinan laws that will fundamentally change what makes Paris and France so great and divide the country even further along religious and ethnic lines.

Please, dearest France, do not cease to be the country of the waiter who, when I ordered Beef Bourguignon, he said, “You know that has wine, right?” He knew that I was Muslim and was not allowed to have alcohol, and I was so appreciative of that gesture of respect for me and my faith. That is the true nature of France.


Please, dearest France, do not become like the mayor of Chalon-sur-Saône, who wants to force pork upon Muslim and Jewish schoolchildren. That is not who you are; that is not the beauty of the people and country I experienced and came to love.

No, I was not there on 11/13 when savage barbarians opened fire on hundreds of innocent people in an act of savage murder. Je deteste ces sauvages. I understand that the safety and security is paramount in any society. But I urge you not to follow the path of those in your midst who seek to divide and will ultimately destroy the beauty of France and her culture and way of life.


The French Muslims are not your enemy; they are part of you, and they love their country as much as all other Frenchmen and Frenchwomen. They have been saying this all along, and they do not need me – an American Muslim – to speak on their behalf. The horrors committed on 11/13 were done by savage criminals who tried, with their hatred and bullets and bombs, to tear apart what makes Paris, and by extension all of France, so wonderful. I urge you, dearest France, not to let those savages win.




I’m A Bears Fan, But I Really Like Aaron Rodgers

In the Name of God, the Extremely and Eternally Loving and Caring

I’m a Bears fan…a die-hard Bears fan. I was born in Chicago and raised in its suburbs, and I bleed blue and orange. And there is no team in the NFL I despise more than the Green Bay Packers. My revulsion for that team is in my blood, and I will never, ever root for that Team Which Shall Not Be Named to my north.

This fact makes it all the more difficult seeing that my wife is a fan of said team. She, you see, was born and raised in the suburbs of Milwaukee, and she bleeds that ugly green and gold. What’s worse…she has successfully corrupted my children into being fans of that Team Which Shall Not Be Named. It’s so very painful to watch…


Yet, despite my disdain for that team, I really like Aaron Rodgers. He is an excellent quarterback, one of the game’s elite, and it is really fun to watch him play (because I’m forced to sit through their games when they are on TV). His only flaw is that he plays that Team Which Shall Not Be Named.

My respect, admiration, and sheer awe for Mr. Rodgers increased exponentially this past weekend:

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers denounced a fan who yelled “Muslims suck!” during a moment of silence before Sunday’s game…One fan in Green Bay…shouted “Muslims suck” during the moment of silence, and it echoed clearly through the stadium…


Following the Packers’ 18-16 loss to the Lions, Rodgers addressed the fan’s comments during the post-game presser.

“I must admit though, I was very disappointed with whoever the fan was who made a comment during the moment of silence that I though was really inappropriate. It’s that kind of prejudicial ideology that I think puts us in the position we’re in today as a world.”

Wow. What an amazing thing to say, and – as an American Muslim – I really appreciate Mr. Rodgers for speaking out against such intolerance and bigotry. Muslims also were killed in those terrorist attacks, and it is wrong to say that all “Muslims suck.”

Thank you, Mr. Rodgers. If only you didn’t play for that team


“Mon Coeur Saigne Pour Paris”: An American Muslim’s Disgust

In the Name of God: The Extremely and Eternally Loving and Caring

Je suis si triste aujourd’hui. In a series of barbaric attacks on civilians, the savages of ISIS claimed responsibility for an attack that killed 129 people and injured hundreds more, including Americans. The city of Paris, the country of France, and the entire world – including its Muslims – mourns and expresses its outrage and anger at such vicious barbarity. Moreover, this attack has hit me personally.


First, the savages behind this attack claim to do so in the name of my faith. In fact, ISIS began its statement claiming responsbility saying, “In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Most Beneficent.” That is so offensive to me.

Our faith is too sacred, too holy, too beautiful to have these blood-thirsty monsters use it as justification. The Most Merciful God to whom they refer does not agree with what they did; the Most Merciful God to whom they refer has repeatedly said that such vicious killing is wrong; the Most Mericful God to whom they refer has made all life sacred, and what the savages of ISIS did will be punished by God, in this world or the next.

Yet, in addition, the fact that Paris was hit wounded me even more. This past summer, my wife and I were blessed to visit Paris on vacation. We were capitvated by all Paris had to offer: her history, her beauty, and her culture. Yet, I must admit that I was a bit nervous. I was nervous about how we would be received as Muslims, given the fact that savages in January killed 16 people at the offices of Charlie Hebdo. Soon after I arrived, however, I felt terrible, because I misjudged Paris and her people terribly.


Every single person, to a tee, could not have been nicer to us. We were treated with the utmost respect and courtesy. Everyone made us feel welcome, and it made our trip that much more enjoyable. I can’t wait to go back and visit Paris again.  Thus, to see that city – and her people – attacked in such a brutal matter hit me that much harder.

But, I also must admit that, in my multiple tweets condemning the attacks and expressing my sympathy, I fell short. Just the day before, the savages of ISIS killed over 40 people in twin bombings in Beirut, in a mostly Shi’ite neighboorhod. I did shake my head in digust after reading the news; I did pray for the victims of this horrific attack; but, I did not take to social media like I did after Paris. I ask the Lord for forgiveness for that.


No life is more important than another. An attack by ISIS in Beirut is just as heinous as an attack by those savages in Paris. While I can’t deny that the attacks in Paris hit me more at home than did the ones in Beirut, all violence against the innocent is wrong, and I stand perpetually against such violence – no matter who the perpetrator, and no matter who the victim.

Mon coeur saigne pour Paris aujourd’hui.

My heart bleeds for Paris today. But my heart also bleeds for all cities and all people who are ravaged by the vicious savages of our world. Beloved Lord our God, keep Paris safe today, tonight, and always. Beloved Lord our God, keep all of our cities, our towns, our homes, and our countries safe from the ill designs of those who seek to commit evil. Beloved Lord our God, destroy all those who kill and plunder and defile in Your Name, for Your Name is way too holy, way to sacred, way to beautiful to be used for such filth. Amen.


Ashura 2015: Remembering Moses and Praying For Peace

In the Name of God: The Extremely and Eternally Loving and Caring

Today is the tenth day of the first Islamic New Year, more commonly known as “Ashura.” This day has great significance for Muslims all over the world. For Shi’ite Muslims, this is a sad time. It is the anniversary of the brutal betrayal and murder of Imam Hussein, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). All over the world, Shi’ite Muslims commemorate this day in a number of ways, including self-flagellation as a means of penance and emulation of his suffering. More recently, some Shi’ite Muslim leaders have discouraged self-flagellation and instead encouraged blood donation.


For Sunni Muslims like me, this is a day of fasting. And it may come as a surprise to many why Muslims are encouraged to fast today:

The Prophet came to Medina and saw the Jews fasting on the day of Ashura. He asked them about that. They replied, “This is a good day, the day on which God rescued the Children of Israel from their enemy. So, Moses fasted this day.” The Prophet said, “We have more claim over Moses than you.” So, the Prophet fasted on that day and ordered (the Muslims) to fast (on that day). (Bukhari)

Narrated Ibn Abbas: I never saw the Prophet seeking to fast on a day more (preferable to him) than this day, the day of ‘Ashura’, or this month, i.e. the month of Ramadan. (Bukhari)

The day of Ashura was considered as a feast day by the Jews. So the Prophet ordered, “I recommend you (Muslims) to fast on this day.” (Bukhari)


Ever since, Sunni Muslims have fasted on the tenth day in celebration of the Exodus out of Egypt. This really should come as no surprise. Moses is very prominent in Islamic belief, with dozens upon dozens of passages in the Qur’an that speak specifically of Moses. The Prophet Moses (pbuh) is mentioned more by name than any other Prophet, much more than the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) himself.

The Qur’an tells of two miracles – Moses’ staff turning into a serpent and his hand glowing when he places it under his arm – that God permitted as proof of Moses’ prophethood. It also describes the plagues unleashed on the Egyptians for their refusal to believe in God and refusal to set the Hebrews free (7:133). It also relates the story of the golden calf and Moses’ anger with his people at their worshiping it as a god besides the Lord (20:85-97).


My favorite part of the story, the splitting of the Red Sea, is mentioned at least twice (2:50, 26:52-68). Furthermore, the Qur’an tells a story about Moses that I do not think is in the Bible: his encounter with the “Servant of God” in the desert of Sinai, who taught Moses an important lesson about the knowledge of God (18:60-82).

Now, just because I do not participate in some of the rituals of my Shi’ite brothers and sisters, it does not mean that I am unaware of or oblivious to the painful history of this day. The murder of Imam Hussein is terribly painful for me, and I pray for comfort for all my Shi’ite Muslim family on this day. How anyone could have the utter audacity to attack and kill the family of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) still boggles my mind to this day.


Nevertheless, it is quite notable that the followers of one major religion, Islam, fast to commemorate the central figure of another major religion, Judaism. The fact that the followers of Islam and Judaism in the Holy Land continue to fight – while worshiping the same God and honoring the same Prophet (i.e., Moses) – ceaselessly baffles me. I pray that peace will finally reach the holy earth of the Holy Land, so that all the children of Abraham – who all love the Prophet Moses (pbuh) dearly – can all live together in peace and security.

Furthermore, as Muslims all over the world commemorate this amazing day, I pray that peace reign within the Muslim world at large. In too many places, Muslims are fighting and killing each other for no good reason. In too many places, Muslim savages kill and maim in the name of the faith, defiling the beautiful faith that is Islam. In too many places, innocent people are forced to flee their homes and livelihoods to escape bombs, and terror, and war.

On this most special day, O Lord, I pray You bring peace to our most troubled world. Amen.


The New Year’s Personal Checklist in the Qur’an

In the Name of God: The Extremely and Eternally Loving and Caring

Happy New Year.

No, I am not confused as to the calendar. The new Islamic Year, 1437, just started this past week. The year, 1437, marks the time since the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) migrated from Mecca to Medina to escape the brutal persecution of his people.

As with any marker of the passage of time, the Islamic New Year gives Muslims the opportunity to reflect over their lives and their accomplishments in the previous year as well as set goals for what they wish to accomplish in the coming year. The Qur’an, in fact, helps Muslims in this personal reflection:

Truly, the believers shall attain a happy state:
Those who humble themselves in their prayer;
And who turn away from all that is frivolous;
And who are intent on inner purity;
And who are mindful of their chastity [not giving way to their desires] with any but their spouses – that is, those whom they rightfully possess [through wedlock]: for then, behold, they are free of all blame. Whereas such as seek to go beyond that [limit] are truly transgressors;
And who are faithful to their trusts and to their pledges;
And who guard their prayers. (23:1-9)


The Qur’an has a number of such lists of attributes which God finds commendable, and thus they are perfect checklists against which every individual can evaluate themselves and their character. Each of us can see whether we have any of these attributes:

Do we pray the ritual prayers in the first place? And if we do pray, are we humble before God? Do we realize that, while in prayer, we are standing before God?

Do we waste our time in frivolity? Or, do we spend our time wisely, doing things that are useful to ourselves and those around us. Now, this is not saying that entertainment and having a good time is frivolous. It is important to, sometimes, just rest and relax. 

But, frivolity can go overboard. We need to check ourselves and make sure we are not wasting our time doing silly things, especially since we have social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and the like right at our fingertips.


Are we constantly striving to make ourselves better people? This is what the verse, “and who are intent on inner purity,” actually means. It literally says, “And those who work towards achieving purity.” Thus, are we seeing what flaws we possess and then working to make those flaws better?

Indeed, the Qur’an is very stern about relationships outside of wedlock, and thus guarding one’s chastity outside of marriage is highlighted here. And in the age of websites like Ashley Madison, this message of chastity and loyalty is extremely important in my eyes.

Are we faithful to our pledges and trusts? Are we people of our word? Can people trust that we will do what we say? Can people trust us at all?


And, again, prayer is highlighted once again, indicating how important the ritual prayer is in Islam.

This is something that we can do, not only every year, but actually every month or even every week. And it is a personal checklist, which we can do with ourselves, without having anyone else accuse us of falling short and making us immediately defensive.

And if we see that we are lacking in one or more of these qualities, then we can set goals for ourselves: to become more mindful in prayer, or more honest with ourselves and others, or more pure, and the like. If more people worked on making themselves better, rather than worrying about how much everyone else is bad, our world would be such a better place.

May we all strive, each and every day, to make ourselves better people. Amen. And a very happy, healthy, and prosperous Islamic New Year to one and all. Amen.


Anti-Muslim Hate Rallies Fizzle: America’s Beauty Abounds

In the Name of God: The Extremely and Everlastingly Loving and Caring

“Patriots” declared a “Global Rally for Humanity,” with plans to protest – possibly armed – at mosques and other Islamic institutions across the country. American Muslims braced for the worst, and interfaith partners rallied for religious freedom all across the country. Thanks be to God, the rallies fizzled all across the country.

All over our nation, people who stood in solidarity with the American Muslim community showed up in the dozens, far outnumbering whatever protesters who bothered to show up. It showed me – and the rest of the world – the true beauty of our country and our people. It showed me – and the rest of the world – that we are much better than the hatred of some misguided fellow Americans.


What’s more, in a widely reported story, a protester even had a change of heart about Islam after she was hugged by a Muslim against whom she was protesting:

A protester who recently came with anti-Muslim signs to protest at an Islamic center and mosque in Columbus, Ohio, underwent a change of heart.

The protester, who only identified herself as “Annie,” arrived at Noor Islamic Cultural Center this past Saturday to picket with signs showing Islamophobic imagery, such as the word “Islam” inside a red circle with a line through it.



A nearly 50-minute video captured Annie’s attempted protest, and for the the first 40 or so minutes of it, Annie can be expressing her anti-Muslim opinions and refusing attempts made by mosque members and counter-protesters to welcome her into Noor and have some breakfast.

“I told them to make my bacon extra crispy,” Annie says sarcastically at one point of the video. At another point, she says she’d “never step foot in a mosque” because “the mosque may blow up” if she comes in.

Though things get heated a few times throughout the first 40 minutes, Annie appears to start relaxing after de Boutinkhar [an American Muslim] approaches her with open arms and goes in for a hug.


De Boutinkhar added that Annie even began “tearing up.”


According to de Boutinkhar’s Facebook, Annie’s parting words were, “You were all really nice. I don’t approve of the violence or killings (neither do we), but I’ll read this book. I had no idea Muslims could be nice to me, even after I stood out there with those signs. Sorry.”

I knew that America was better than the hatred of her bigots. I knew that, given the chance to get to know us, Americans would see that Muslims are not the monsters we are made out to be. I knew that, given the chance, the world will see how beautiful America truly is.


Anti-Muslim Hate Rallies Misguided and Hurt Us All

In the Name of God: The Extremely and Eternally Loving and Caring

Today and tomorrow, some of my fellow Americans – possibly armed – plan to hold a “Global Rally for Humanity” at dozens of mosques and other Islamic institutions across the country. Their slogan is “The World is saying No to Islam.” I find this curious because 20% of the world has actually said “Yes” to Islam by choosing to be Muslim. In any event, such rallies and protests are very disturbing.

First, if these Americans are protesting the violence committed in the name of Islam, then it would be understandable. In fact, fellow Americans who are Muslims should join them, because any violence committed in the name of Islam is offensive to Muslims as well. But, these rallies are not that: they are provocative protests – with some people wearing T-shirt saying, “F*** Islam” and ripping pages of the Qur’an – designed to terrorize the American Muslim community, who are innocent of the crimes committed in the name of their faith.


Have there been armed protesters in front of Catholic Churches across the country, decrying the sexual abuse of some Catholic priests? No. Have their been armed protesters in front of Jewish Synagogues protesting the violence in the West Bank? No, although, sadly, there continues to be vandalism and attacks against Jewish institutions across our country. So, how does this “Global Rally for Humanity” even make sense?

It does not. It is nothing more than a hate rally against fellow Americans who are Muslim.

One would think that, in 2015, such things would be unthinkable. Sadly, however, I am mistaken. Hate is still alive and well in America, as manifested by the shooting in Charleston and the continued African-American church burnings. And these armed “patriots” hurling insults to fellow Americans who are Muslim are simply showing their hatred in clear daylight for all in America to see.


If these protesters just stopped to think, for a moment, they would realize that these Muslims to whom they are shouting insults are very much like them: proud, patriotic Americans who love their country and work hard every day to positively contribute to its success. If these protesters just stopped to think, for a moment, they would realize that these Muslims also hate ISIS and other Muslim savages who commit unspeakable crimes in the name of Islam. If these protesters just stopped to think, for a moment, they would understand that such “rallies” in front of mosques are exactly the recruitment fodder savages such as ISIS salivate over, because it propagates their narrative that America is at war with Islam.

But we American Muslims know that America, and fellow Americans, are not at war with Islam. We know that, for every hateful “patriot” insulting Islam, there are scores more Americans who stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the American Muslim community, resisting such blatant racism and hatred. We know that this “Global Rally for Humanity” is not the real America that we love and for which we would gladly die.


Without question, these Americans – however misguided – have a right to peacefully express their hatred for Islam, even in front of a mosque. But, also without question, we American Muslims have a right to live and worship in peace. We American Muslims have a right not to be smeared by the crimes of the tiny fringe of extremist savages who are Muslim, just as all white males shouldn’t be tarnished by the crimes of the Oregon shooter Chris Harper-Mercer.

Hate hurts us all, and make no mistake about it, this “Global Rally for Humanity” is nothing more than a rally for hate, not humanity. I hope and pray it fizzles into nothingness, because I know my country – America – and my people – fellow Americans – are much better than this.


Hajj Stampede All Too Familiar: We Were Almost Killed Ourselves

In the Name of God: The Extremely and Eternally Loving and Caring

I still remember it as if it was yesterday: my wife and I were on our way back from the ritual “stoning of the Devil” during our pilgrimage in 2003. It was very, very crowded, and people were everywhere going in each and every direction. Literally thousands were trying to get out at the same time as others were trying to get in. Then, it happened: my wife lost her footing and fell on me. I mustered all the strength I had to keep us from falling down.

Thank God, we did not fall, and we were saved from a certain death. Yet, on that very same day, there were other pilgrims who were not as fortunate. Unless you have been there, it is really hard to imagine how many people are at the Hajj. The pictures simply do not do it justice.


Although authorities are still investigating the cause, I can totally understand how a stampede can occur. Only one person has to panic to cause a devastating chain reaction. It is actually a blessing that a major stampede does not occur every year. Yet, sadly, these sort of things do occur, and my heart and prayers go out to the families of the victims who are now dealing with the terrible pain of the loss of their loved ones.

Although I do understand that it is very difficult, if not totally impossible, to totally control a crowd of hundreds of thousands of people all converging on one place, I also do agree with some of the criticism that authorities should do more to protect the crowds:

These pilgrims are God’s guests, and as “Custodians of the Two Holy Mosques,” pilgrim safety should be absolutely top priority. It should be treated as an airline flight, where every effort is exerted to make sure passengers arrive to their destination safely and soundly.

And that should include “loosening” some of the rules with regards some of the rituals. For example, there are some scholars who insist that the stoning can only be done at a certain time of day. Consequently, there are huge crowds that then show up at the stoning area at that time. Why can’t scholars, in the interest of the preservation of life – which is paramount in Islam – come together and decree that the stoning ritual can occur throughout the day and night?


Look at what an Arab pilgrim told Reuters:

An Arab pilgrim who did not want to give his name said he had hoped to perform the stoning ritual later on Thursday afternoon but was now too frightened to risk doing so.

“I am very tired already and after this I can’t go. I will wait for the night and if it not resolved, I will see if maybe somebody else can do it on my behalf,” he said.

No one should be afraid to perform this ritual, which is so spiritually powerful. It re-enacts the time when the Prophet Abraham (pbuh) stoned Satan after he tried to dissuade him from sacrificing his son. I pray that Saudi Authorities can learn from this incident and do all that they can to prevent such a disaster from happening again. And I pray the Lord comforts all those in pain after this terrible incident.

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One Is Too Many, But "Islamic Terrorism" Threat Is Small
In the Name of God: The Extremely and Eternally Loving and Caring Don't get me wrong. Even one American Muslim either thinking about, or planning, or trying to commit an act of terror is too many. Each case is a failure, on multiple levels. ...

posted 1:25:28pm Feb. 03, 2016 | read full post »

ISIS Cannot Be Reading The Same Qur'an As The Rest Of Us
In the Name of God: The Extremely and Eternally Loving and Caring I could not believe my eyes when I read the headline: "ISIS Militant 'Kills His Own Mother' In Public Raqqa Execution." A member of the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) killed ...

posted 9:32:18pm Jan. 13, 2016 | read full post »

Let Scripture Be Your Guide To A Better You In The New Year
In the Name of God: The Extremely and Eternally Loving and Caring Whenever a transition in time occurs, such as the passing of the New Year, it is natural for human beings to reflect over the past and look forward to the future. Hence, many ...

posted 7:34:35pm Dec. 28, 2015 | read full post »


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