Common Word, Common Lord

Common Word, Common Lord

The Protesters in Texas Would Have Learned So Much If They Just Spoke to the Muslims Across the Street

In The Name of God: The Infinitely Merciful and Compassionate Beloved Lord

I watched with dismay a video of the hundreds of protesters that gathered outside a conference of Muslims entitled, “Stand With the Prophet Against Terror and Hate” in Texas this past weekend. Whenever fellow Americans gather to “protest” the presence of Muslims – who are also Americans like them – it is quite hurtful. Yet, what I found fascinating – all the while truly sad – was that there was a counter-protest of Muslims just across the street. And I wonder about the great things that could have happened if the protesters had simply walked across the street and talked to their fellow Americans who are Muslim.


One of the many signs carried by protesters read: “No Allah in America.” I found that quite odd because, Allah – which is to say, “God” – is everywhere, including America. Now, I assume this person holding the sign is a Christian. I wonder at his amazement if he learned that, in the many churches in America which cater to Arab faithful, God is called “Allah.” I wonder at his amazement when he learns that Jesus Christ himself called God by the name “Allah”:

Beyond this fact, however, is that “Allah” is also the name that Jesus Christ called God. “Allah” is the Arabic equivalent of “Elohim,” which is Hebrew for God. The “im” is a plural appendage of respect, and so the wordis “Eloh,” which is very similar to “Allah.” In addition, the Aramaic word for God is “Alaha,” and Aramaic was the language which Jesus himself spoke. Moreover, the word “Allah” is found in the English version of the Bible which we read today. In Matthew 27:46 we read: “About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?’ – which means, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?'” The word “Eloi” is the Aramaic form of the Arabic “Allah.”


He could have learned this if he just walked across the street and talked with his fellow Americans who were Muslim. Many of the protesters would have likely been quite surprised at how similar they are to American Muslims; how American Muslims believe in and worship the very same God as they; how American Muslims honor and revere the very same Prophets as they, including Jesus Christ; how American Muslims have the same aspirations and dreams as they; how American Muslims love and believe in this amazing place called America, just like they do.

They would have learned all this if they simply crossed the street and joined their fellow Americans in dialogue. Although it could not be seen, there was a huge wall between the protest and the counter-protest. But that wall would have come crashing down if the “patriots” protesting against Islam would have crossed the street.


I know this to be true because of a personal experience I recently had. I was at a gathering of one of my neighbors when another guest walked up to my wife and me and asked, “You guys are Muslim, right?” Nervously, we both answered, “Yes.” He then proceeded to ask us what was the matter with “the Muslims.” He wasn’t particularly mean-spirited, but he was sincerely wondering based on the snippets he sees all over the media.

Frankly, given the horrific press Islam and Muslims get on a regular basis, I don’t necessarily blame him for the question. But, what I appreciated was that he came up to us and asked the question, all the while qualifying it by saying, “I see that you guys are here and having a good time.” And after my wife and I calmly explained to him that what he sees is not the reality, he hugged the both of us, in true sincerity.

That is the sort of dialogue that needs to happen more and more, all across our country. When we learn about one another, we will realize that we are much more similar than we are different. And the forces of hate and discord that seek to keep us divided will fail miserably.


An Important Story That Was Not As Prominent In The Charlie Hebdo Saga

In the Name of God: The Infinitely Merciful and Compassionate Beloved Lord

There has been so much talk about Muslims and Islam in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo massacre. This talk will most certainly continue. Yet, I wanted to highlight a very important story that may have gotten lost in the wake of the attack and subsequent show of support in France:

Lassana Bathily, a young Muslim deli clerk who was working at Hyper Cacher store in Paris during Friday’s deadly hostage-taking, is being hailed as a hero. People in Paris and around the world took to social media to sing Bathily’s praises and credit him for saving six people’s lives by hiding them in a walk-in freezer. Bathily, 24, hid the customers when gunman Amedy Coulibaly, 32, stormed the market on Friday, took 15 people hostage and murdered four more. “I turned off the light. I turned off the freezer. Once we were inside, I closed the door, and I told them, ‘Stay here, stay calm. I’m going out,’ the Mali-born Parisian told BFMTV.


Although he was initially handcuffed by police when he went out to tell them about the gunman, it was his information to the police that led to the end of the siege. This man, Lassana Bathily, represents the truth about Islam and Muslims. This man, along with Muslim police officer Ahmed Merabat, tells the real story of how Muslims contribute to the greatness of each society in which they live.

Yes, I did tweet “Je Suis Charlie” in the immediate aftermath of the attack, out of sheer repugnance for the crime. But, I am disgusted by their cartoons, all the while condemning the violent response to it. In reality, “Je Suis Ahmed” and “Je Suis Lassana.” That is to say, “I am Ahmed” and “I am Lassana.”


“Je Suis Charlie”: The Paris Attackers Did Not ‘Avenge’ The Prophet Muhammad…They Spat In His Face

In The Name Of God: The Infinitely Merciful And Compassionate Beloved Lord

When I heard the news of the horrific attack on the offices of satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo, my heart sank in terrible grief. Two masked gunmen, in a military-style attack, burst into the editorial offices and murdered 12 people in cold blood. And what made it worse for me is the fact that they did it in the name of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), shouting “We have avenged the Prophet Muhammad!” Charlie Hebdo was well known for publishing unflattering cartoons and other pieces mocking the Prophet Muhammad specifically and religious extremists in general, often bringing upon it and its journalists death threats.


Apart from the revulsion I have to the murder of any innocent life, the fact that this act of terror was committed in the name of God and His Prophet is doubly painful. And what I still cannot understand is how people like this can even think that our religion gives sanction to do something like this. Of course, an insult to the Prophet Muhammad is painful for most – if not all – Muslims across the globe. Yet, no matter the attack on the Prophet, nothing justifies such a terrible crime that was seen in Paris yesterday.

Moreover, in the Qur’an, it specifically states what should be done when people mock God and His Prophet:

And, indeed, He has enjoined upon you in this divine write that, whenever you hear people deny the truth of God’s messages and mock at them, you shall avoid their company until they begin to talk of other things  – or else, you will become like them. Behold, God will gather together those who deny the truth and the hypocrites in Hell. (4:140)


The Qur’an also says:

Now, whenever you meet such as indulge in [blasphemous] talk about Our messages, turn your back upon them until they begin to talk of other things, and if Satan should ever cause you to forget [yourself], remain not, after recollection, in the company of such evildoing folk. (6:68)

Nowhere does it say that you have the right or even permission to kill such people. Nowhere does it say that you can threaten anyone who insults the Prophet Muhammad, however painful such an insult may be to hear. That anyone can justify such heinous acts of barbarity – such as that seen in Paris – is beyond my comprehension.

In addition, since childhood, Muslims have been taught that – throughout the Prophet’s life – he was the subject of countless insults and ridicule, and he never ordered anyone to kill those who insulted him. Since childhood, I was taught the story of how the Prophet’s neighbor threw trash on his front door every day, and he did nothing to that person. In fact, when that neighbor stopped placing trash, he visited her to see what was the matter. Time and time again, the Prophet forgave those who personally attacked and maligned him.


That is the example we ought to follow. That is what Islam teaches. There are so many other ways that Muslims – who truly love the Prophet – can speak out against those who mock him: they could write a letter to the editor; they can hold a candle light vigil in front of the office, speaking about all the wonderful things the Prophet has done; they can meet with the editorial board and teach them how important the Prophet is to the lives of ordinary Muslims. Anything but violence and murder.

The gunmen in Paris did not “avenge” the Prophet Muhammad; they spat in his face.

I pray that the gunmen are caught and brought to justice. I pray that, if convicted, these murderers are punished in the severest manner possible. I pray for the families of the victims and all the people of Paris: may our Lord be with you, and may He comfort you in this time of terrible grief and sadness.


Je Suis Charlie. I am indeed Charlie. I do not support the mocking of the Prophet Muhammad – any more than I support the mocking of Jesus Christ, or Moses, or Abraham – may God’s peace be upon them all. Yet, I also condemn and revile – in the severest manner possible – this barbaric act of murder supposedly carried out in his name. In no way, shape, or form is this a way to show love for the Prophet Muhammad. No way.


She Would Have Been Eighteen Today

In the Name Of God: The Infinitely Merciful And Compassionate Beloved Lord

She would have been eighteen-years-old today. Eighteen. It is hard for me to even fathom what that would have been like. Today would have been her first day of adulthood; the first day of the rest of her life; her first day of being the woman she always wanted to be, the woman I had always hoped she would be.

Yet, sadly, it will never come to pass.

I always wonder what kind of woman she would have been. What kind of adult would she have been? Would she have wanted to become a doctor like me? An interior designer like her mother? A lawyer? A writer? An artist? What would she have done to make her mother and me so very proud?


Sadly, we will never come to know.

There is one thing, however, I do know: she would have been a most beautiful eighteen-year-old. Not only did the Lord grace her with physical beauty, but she also had a profound beauty of her soul. There was not a person who interacted with her that did not immediately love her; did not immediately fall in love with her beautiful spirit; did not immediately fall in love with her gorgeous smile.

She was something truly special, and although I am so very grateful for every waking moment we had with her, it is killing me that I will never know what kind of woman she would have become. It is killing me that I will never watch her graduate from high school or college; never walk her down the aisle at her wedding; never see the beautiful grandchildren she would have had. I know that her passing was the will of my Beloved, but it does not cease to hurt all the same.


She would have been eighteen today, and although my heart cries out that I can’t celebrate her birthday with her here on earth, I know that they are throwing her an amazing party in Heaven: with Angels all decked out in pink like she loves.

Lord, Beloved Lord, please tell my Booboo that I wish her — with all my heart — a very Happy Eighteenth Birthday. Lord, Beloved Lord, please tell my Booboo to have an extra piece of heavenly cake for her father who loves her so very much. Lord, Beloved Lord, please tell my Booboo that her Baba misses her…so very much.


“Christmas in the Qur’an”

In the Name of God: The Infinitely Merciful and Compassionate Beloved Lord

In my last post, we discussed how Jesus Christ is part of my life, even if I am not celebrating the religious festival marking his birth.  Yet, the verses in the Qur’an regarding the birth of Jesus Christ were only quickly mentioned. Here they are in detail.

Chapter 3, verses 45-49:

Lo! The angels said: “O Mary! Behold, God sends thee the glad tiding, through a word from Him, [of a son] who shall become known as the Christ Jesus, son of Mary, of great honor in this world and in the life to come, and [shall be] of those who are drawn near unto God. And he shall speak unto men in his cradle, and as a grown man, and shall be of the righteous.


Said she: “O my Sustainer! How can I have a son when no man has ever touched me?” [The angel] answered: “Thus it is: God creates what He wills when He wills a thing to be, He but says unto it, ‘Be’ – and it is. And he will impart unto thy son revelation, and wisdom, and the Torah, and the Gospel, and [will make him] an apostle unto the children of Israel .”

Yet, by far, the most eloquent verses regarding Jesus’ birth come in Chapter 19, verses 16-33:

AND CALL to mind, through this divine writ, Mary. Lo! She withdrew from her family to an eastern place and kept herself in seclusion from them,  whereupon We sent unto her Our angel of revelation, who appeared to her in the shape of a well-made human being. She exclaimed: “Verily, ‘I seek refuge from thee with the Most Gracious! [Approach me not] if thou art conscious of Him!” [The angel] answered: “I’ am but a messenger of thy Lord, [who says,] `I shall bestow upon thee the gift of a son endowed with purity.'” Said she: “How can I have a son when no man has ever touched me? – for, never have I been unchaste?” [The angel] answered: “Thus it is; [but] thy Sustainer says, `This is easy for Me; and [thou shalt have a son,] so that We might make him a symbol unto mankind and an act of grace from US. And it was a thing decreed [by God]:


and in time she conceived him, and then she withdrew with him to a far-off place. And [when] the throes of childbirth drove her to the trunk of a palm-tree, she exclaimed: “Oh, would that I had died before this, and had become a thing forgotten, utterly forgotten!” Thereupon [a voice] called out to her from beneath that [palm-tree]: “Grieve not! Thy Sustainer has provided a rivulet [running] beneath thee; and shake the trunk of the palm-tree towards thee: it will drop fresh, ripe dates upon thee. Eat, then, and drink, and let thine eye be gladdened! And if thou should see any human being, convey this unto him: `Behold, abstinence from speech have I vowed unto the Most Gracious; hence, I may not speak today to any mortal.


And in time she returned to her people, carrying the child with her. They said: “O Mary! Thou hast indeed done an amazing thing! O sister of Aaron! Thy father was not a wicked man, nor was thy mother unchaste!” Thereupon she pointed to him. They exclaimed: “How can we talk to one who [as yet] is a little boy in the cradle?”

[But] he [Jesus] said: “Behold, I am a servant of God. He has vouchsafed unto me revelation and made me a prophet, and made me blessed wherever I may be; and He has enjoined upon me prayer and charity as long as I live, and [has endowed me with] piety towards my mother; and He has not made me haughty or bereft of grace. “Hence, peace was upon me on the day when I was born, and [will be upon me] on the day of my death, and on the day when I shall be raised to life [again]!”


These are the verses about Jesus with which I was raised. These are the verses I have read countless times, in all parts of the year. Theses are the verses which, along with other Prophetic traditions, have made me love, revere, and honor Jesus Christ in my life. They are indeed beautiful, recounting a beautiful and special event in the history of humanity, for both Christians and Muslims alike.

And just as Jesus Christ himself said – “Peace was upon me on the day when I was born, and [will be upon me] on the day of my death and on the day when I shall be raised to life [again]!” – thus, O Lord, I pray that this very same peace reign over our world and over all of us who live on it. Amen.


Though Not Technically Celebrating Christmas, Jesus Is Still On My Mind As A Muslim

In the Name of God: the Infinitely Compassionate and Merciful Beloved Lord

I must admit: at this time of year, sometimes it feels lonely. Practically the whole country is gearing up for the Christmas holiday, which is less than two weeks away. And while technically I do not celebrate the religious festival that is Christmas, it would be nice to feel included. I mean, some people are even afraid of saying, “Merry Christmas,” fearing that it would “offend” me. Nothing is farther from the truth. What is more nice than wishing me a happy day on December 25?

Still, as a Muslim, the religious celebration of Christmas is not one of my religious holidays. Yet, that does not mean that Jesus Christ is not on my mind. Far from it. Christ, in fact, is all over my Scripture. There are dozens of verses in the Quran that speak about Jesus, including his birth (3:45-49), his miracles (5:110), the Last Supper (5:113-115), among many others. Chapter 19 of the Quran is named “Mary,” after his mother, who I revere and honor just the same.


Jesus, as the Quran says, “shall be of the righteous” (3:46). “Peace be upon me the day I was born,” says Jesus in the Quran, “and [will be upon me] on the day of my death, and on the day when I shall be raised to life [again]!” (19:33). The Quran also calls upon its readers to remember “she who guarded her chastity, whereupon We breathed into her of Our spirit and caused her, together with her son, to become a symbol [of Our grace] unto all people” (21:91), referring to Mary and Jesus. Many will be surprised to know that Jesus Christ is mentioned by name in the Qur’an many more times than the Prophet Muhammad himself, peace and blessings be upon them both.

Yet, more than Jesus (and Muhammad, of course), many of the Prophets of God are part and parcel of my daily life.


Every day I utter the prayer of Moses, as recounted in the Quran, when he was charged by God to take the Children of Israel out of slavery:

O my Lord! Open up my heart to [Thy Light]; And make my task easy for me; And loosen the knot from my tongue, so that they might fully understand my speech. (20:25-28)

It brings me comfort as I start my day at the hospital.

I utter the same prayer as Joseph, after he was reunited with his family in Egypt after all those years:

Originator of the heavens and the earth! You are near to me in this world and in the life to come. Let me die as one who has surrendered himself to You, and make me one with the righteous. (12:101)

I even turn the praise of God by Jesus Christ, as mentioned in the Quran, into a prayer:


Behold, I am a servant of God. He has vouchsafed unto me revelation and made me a Prophet. And [He has] made me blessed wherever I may be…” (19:30-31).

Thus, there is hardly a day that goes by that I do not ask the Lord: “Make me blessed wherever I may be.”

This is one of the most beautiful things, as far as I am concerned, about being a Muslim: not only am I directly connected to the Lord our God, my Creator and Sustainer, but also to His many Prophets that He sent throughout the millennia, including Jesus Christ. I follow their footsteps as I take this journey back towards to the Lord our God, hoping and praying that I do as good a job as possible. I follow a tradition, starting with my Creator, that dates back to the very beginning of history itself.


That is why I am so utterly outraged at the rabid barbarians – “extremists” is too kind a word – of groups such as Boko Haram, the Taliban, and KIL (a.k.a., “ISIS”). They have resurrected centuries old barbarism – one that Islam came to eradicate – and cloak it with the garbs of faith and righteousness. In the process, they defile Islam with their filth. I hate them, and I pray that they be destroyed once and for all.

But, as far as Christmas Day is concerned, it is likely that I will not be exchanging gifts with my friends and family or having a formal Christmas dinner. Yet, do not think for one second that Jesus Christ will not be on my mind.

A very Merry Christmas to one and all!


“No Male Could Ever Be Like This Female”

In the Name of God: The Infinitely Merciful and Compassionate Beloved Lord

Throughout my childhood, I have grown up listening to this story being recited out loud:

When the wife of ‘Imran said, “My Lord, indeed I have pledged to You what is in my womb, consecrated [for Your service], so accept this from me. Indeed, You are the Hearing, the Knowing.” But when she delivered her, she said, “My Lord, I have delivered a female.” And God was most knowing of what she delivered, “And the male is not like the female. And I have named her Mary, and I seek refuge for her in You and [for] her descendants from Satan, the expelled [from the mercy of God ].”


So her Lord accepted her with good acceptance and caused her to grow in a good manner and put her in the care of Zechariah. Every time Zechariah entered upon her in the prayer chamber, he found with her provision. He said, “O Mary, from where is this [coming] to you?” She said, “It is from God . Indeed, God provides for whom He wills without account.”

This is not from the Bible, but the Qur’an (verses 35-37 of Chapter 3). It is the story of the birth of the Virgin Mary, mother of Christ (peace be upon them both). This event is what is celebrated by the Catholic Church on December 8: the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. When I attended Marquette University, a Jesuit institution, I would get the day off from school (always a welcome occurrence). I always thought it was the conception of Jesus. Only recently, however, did I learn that it was actually the conception of Mary. Yet, this fact only made me happier, for Mary is very special to me as a Muslim.


This should come as no surprise. The Mother of Christ is highly regarded and praised in the Qur’an:

And [mention] when the angels said, “O Mary, indeed Allah has chosen you and purified you and chosen you above the women of the worlds. (3:42)

The Qur’an mentions that the Virgin Mary and her son Jesus are a sign of God’s grace:

And [remember] she who guarded her chastity, so We breathed into her of Our Spirit, and caused her, together with her son, to be a symbol [of Our Grace] unto all people (21:91).

In fact, the Qur’an makes the Virgin Mary an example of the ideal believer:


And [We have propounded yet another parable of God-consciousness in the story of] Mary, the daughter of Imran, who guarded her chastity, whereupon We breathed of Our spirit into that [which was in her womb], and who accepted the truth of her Lord’s words – and [thus,] of His revelations – and was one of the truly devout. (66:12)

Moreover, in 3:35-37, most translators of the Qur’an interpret the saying of Mary’s mother, when she was born, that “the male is not like the female,” as it is stated above. Yet, there is another interpretation which I like better: “no male child [she might have hoped for] could ever have been like this female.” When the mother of Mary had dedicated the child in her womb to God’s service, she thought it was going to be a male child. When Mary was born, this was not possible at the time. But God is saying in the Qur’an that no male child could ever be like this amazing female child, Mary.


How true a statement that is. What an amazing reward it would be for me to be able to greet the Virgin Mary, kiss her hand, and express to her the love I have for her in my heart. What an amazing reward it would be for me to dwell in Paradise with the Virgin Mary and be in her company. What an amazing reward it would be for me to be able to enjoy her company in highest of Gardens.

Precious Beloved Lord, please make this dream of mine a reality. Amen.





Running For My Angel (And Chocolate) And Being Grateful The Whole…Painful…Way

In the Name of God: The Infinitely Merciful and Compassionate Beloved Lord

On November 9, I was blessed to run in the annual Hot Chocolate 5K run in Chicago. It is a fun, relaxed race that takes you through the heart of Downtown Chicago, and my wife, daughter, and I ran the race in honor of our Angel, who passed away in 2009 from cancer. Thanks be to God, I finished the race (the 5K one…not the 15K), and I thoroughly enjoyed the hot chocolate waiting for me at the end of the race.

And throughout the race – and reflecting afterwards – I could not help but be grateful.


I was grateful to have the day off from work, so I could enjoy running a fun 5K with my wife and daughter. I was grateful to even have a job, something which many fellow Americans still do not have. I was grateful to God to be given the strength to run in the first place, as there are so many others who are afflicted with physical impairments that would make running such a race, even as short as a 5K, nearly impossible.

I was grateful for the great city of Chicago through which I ran, with all of its wonderful people, and architecture, and culture, and activities. I was grateful for such a fun day in the city after the race, hanging out with my sister and her family who live not that far from the finish line. I was grateful for the safety I felt running through the city, because such safety – as too many know far too well – is something that is not always had in many cities in our world today. Such safety, in fact, is elusive in the very same city of Chicago, not that far away from where the race was run.


I was grateful for the plenty with which I have been blessed by God, so that I could spend the money for the entrance fee into the race. Although our economy is much better, there are still so many people who still struggle to make ends meet each and every day. Indeed, my left knee began to hurt not that far into the race, but I was grateful not to have suffered a more severe injury, one that could have landed me in the hospital or on an operating table.

I was – and still am – grateful for the wonderful memories of that day, and the fun I had running with my wife and daughter in the city of Chicago, which I love so dearly. There were a number of Syrian-Americans who were running that day, raising both money and awareness for the terrible tragedy in that country. That made me grateful that our country – although afflicted by forces that seek to tear it apart – is not in the midst of a civil war like that of Syria; grateful that our government – although far from perfect – is not bombing us in our cities like the horrific government of Syria does to its own people each and every day.


I could go on and on about all the things for which I am grateful, simply by reflecting over running a 5K race on a cold, autumn day in Chicago, IL.

There is so much tragedy in our world, and there are so many that suffer terrible things each and every day. I pray for them, that their suffering is relieved, and that they are given a better day soon. Yet, as we all gather together and commemorate Thanksgiving, let us all go through such an exercise: to take one event in our lives and reflect over the things surrounding that event for which we are grateful.

I pray that such an exercise will make us increase our gratitude toward our Beloved, Who has blessed us with so much which we take for granted. And I pray that such gratitude will increase us in righteousness and perhaps motivate us further to help those who are in need. For that is the true fruit of gratitude.

May you all have a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving. Amen.


Fellow Muslims: Please Say Funeral Prayers For Abdul-Rahman Peter Kassig

In the Name of God: The Infinitely Merciful and Compassionate Beloved Lord

The barbarians of KIL (aka ISIS) have done it again: the U.S. has confirmed the beheading of Abdul-Rahman Peter Kassig, an American who went to Syria to help the victims of the civil war and was then captured by KIL. Here is some background about Kassig from the New York Times:

An Indianapolis native, Mr. Kassig turned to humanitarian work after a tour as an Army Ranger in Iraq in 2007. He was certified as an emergency technician, and by 2012 he returned to the battlefield, this time helping bandage the victims of Syria’s civil war who were flooding into Lebanon. He moved to Lebanon’s capital, Beirut, where he founded a small aid group and initially used his savings to buy supplies, like diapers, which he distributed to the Syrian refugees in Lebanon.


In the summer of 2013, he relocated to Gaziantep in southern Turkey, roughly an hour from the border, and began making regular trips into Syria to offer medical care to the wounded.

He disappeared on Oct. 1, 2013, when the ambulance he and a colleague were driving was stopped at a checkpoint on the road to Deir al-Zour, Syria. He was transferred late last year to a prison beneath the basement of the Children’s Hospital in Aleppo, and then to a network of jails in Raqqa, the capital of the extremist group’s self-declared caliphate, where he became one of at least 23 Western hostages held by the group.

It seems that something must have went wrong with the execution, as it was not shown in full barbarity as the other beheadings of Western hostages. Some suggest that he may have fought his captors. Whatever the case may be, Abdul-Rahman Kassig is the latest victim in the KIL’s reign of horror in Iraq and Syria.


My heart, my thoughts, and my prayers go out to the Kassig family. As a parent who has lost his own child, I know all too well the horror and pain of such a loss. I pray that our Beloved showers his family with the strength, love, can comfort that only He can provide.

And I ask my fellow Muslims – in America and beyond – to all say Islamic funeral prayers for him. I don’t think these evil people gave him the decency of a proper burial, let alone an Islamic funeral prayer service (Mr. Kassig converted to Islam during his captivity). Thus, as his brothers and sisters all across the world, let us do it. Let us raise our hands in prayer to the Lord for his forgiveness; that whatever suffering he may have endured elevate his status in Paradise; that he be given the status of a martyr, which he clearly is.


Peter Kassig’s adopted Islamic first name, Abdul-Rahman, means, “Servant of the Most Merciful.” And his actions of late truly showed it: he sacrificed a comfortable life in America to go to one of the most dangerous places on earth to help complete strangers; to help ease their suffering in the midst of a barbaric conflict:

Kassig was kidnapped delivering medical aid to people affected by the civil war in Syria. He had been a soldier, a Ranger in Iraq, then a college student, and, very briefly, a husband. (The marriage ended in divorce.) Along the way, the Army trained him as a medic, and he took classes to learn to be an emergency medical technician. On a vacation to Lebanon, where he encountered Syrian refugees, he realized that his medical knowledge was an asset, a gift he could hand to desperate people. Just before he was supposed to go home, he had, as he wrote in an e-mail to family and friends, “the best conversation that I have ever had with my mom. From 4,000 miles away in a shelled out parking lot in Beirut I told her about what I had been involved in over the last week.” He had found his “calling”:


Yesterday my life was laid out on a table in front of me. With only hours left before my scheduled flight back to the United States, I watched people dying right in front of me. I had seen it before and I had walked away before.… I’m just not going to turn my back this time, it’s as simple as that.

“My whole life has led me to this point in time,” he wrote. He stayed, and bandaged wounds, cared for people in clinics, and, just generally, helped.

Our Lord’s Mercy shown bright and clear through both his words and the help he tried to give to those in need. And his actions are in stark and vivid contrast to those of his killers, who claim to be acting in the name of God but do everything but. There will be a Day of Reckoning; they will have to answer to the Lord for the death of Abdul-Rahman Kassig, as well as all the others they have killed. There will be a Day of Reckoning, and of this fact the barbarians of KIL should be terrified.


Ashura: The “Muslim Passover”

In the Name of God: the Infinitely Merciful and Compassionate Beloved Lord

Happy New Year. The Islamic New Year, that is. And the tenth day of the first month of the Islamic year is a very special. It is called Ashura, and this year, it falls on Monday, November 3. For Shia Muslims, it is a day of painful commemoration of the murder of Hussein, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). No doubt, although I am a Sunni Muslim, the murder of Hussein is also very painful for me, but I don’t commemorate it the way some Shia Muslims do.

Rather, following the tradition of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), I will spend the day in fasting:


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)


Now, fasting is difficult for me in general, and fasting outside of the month of Ramadan is even more difficult. But I plan to fast on Monday anyway, because the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) recommended it, and it commemorates a very special moment in our sacred history: the freeing of the Children of Israel from the brutal bondage in Egypt.

This should come as no surprise that Muslims, millions of Muslims all over the world, are forgoing food and drink in commemoration of the Exodus out of Egypt. The story of Moses figures very prominently in the Qur’an. 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).

It is truly remarkable 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. But the fact remains: one of the religious rituals of Muslims is fasting to commemorate the Exodus of the Children of Israel out of Egypt; a “Muslim Passover,” if you will.


This is true Islam, not the barbarism of KIL (aka, “ISIS”). This is the essence of what Islam is all about, even though Muslims around the world hold troubling (and largely un-Islamic) views about many different things. Loving God with all your heart; worshiping Him and doing good to all His creation because of that love; and, yes, fasting a day in celebration of the Exodus: that is Islam. My only hope and prayer is that more people come to see this reality.

And so, Monday, I will likely not stop for a cup of coffee on my way to work: all for the sake of God and His Prophet Moses (and Muhammad). My only saving grace is…the day will be an hour shorter. It is probably the only time I will appreciate the short days of winter.


Previous Posts

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 ...

posted 9:24:54am Nov. 19, 2015 | read full post »

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 ...

posted 8:37:39pm Nov. 18, 2015 | read full post »

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 ...

posted 3:22:37pm Nov. 17, 2015 | read full post »

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 ...

posted 6:07:13pm Nov. 16, 2015 | read full post »

"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 ...

posted 3:50:47pm Nov. 14, 2015 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.