Ramadhan Reflections Day 28

- “We will rise up to face our destiny of becoming a greater Ummah. Allah (SWT) is without and we will make our place a peaceful, progressive, and pluralistic society. We will do this all together, Muslims, Christians, Mystics, and Indigenous Peoples of Mindanao.” As I slept last night, these thoughts linger into my head over and over again. We are no longer scared because we do not have time to be scared anymore. We are angry, a bit, but we must not react. We must proactively work together and reflect on all these things that are happening in our place. We have torrent flooding, arm conflict that displaced thousands of families, and now we grieve to those who died and were affected by the recent bombing in Cotabato City.

 

- We must remember that “Rome is not build in a day.” The same thing with the “Bangsamoro” vision. It is not that easy to go back to our natural state as peaceful and loving human beings. This will take time. This will test our patience and perseverance.

 

 

- The concept of justice in Islam can best be described as follows:

 

-“If you want Allah to improve your condition, improve yourself first. If you turn away from Allah’s path, beware of facing Allah’s punishment.

 

Quran 13:11- “Verily, Allaah will not change the condition of a people as long as they do not change their state themselves”

 

Quran 8:53- “That is so because Allaah will never change a grace which He has bestowed on a people until they change what is in their ownselves”

 

Allah, the Most Just, does not change the condition of the people from good to bad or from bad to good, from ease to hardship or from hardship to ease, unless they change their condition themselves.

 

If they are in a state of righteousness, and then they change to bad, Allaah will change their good condition to punishment, calamities, hardship etc.

 

If they are in a state of evil and sin, and then they repent to Allaah and turn back to His obedience, Allaah will change their state of wretchedness and hardship to righteousness and comfort because of their good deeds and their repentance to Allaah. Or He may delay their punishment so that they may return to the right path, but if they do not then they will be seized unexpectedly, as in verse 6:44.

 

And, this is the perfect justice of Allah.”

 

- We need to put these verses from the Holy Quran into hearts and minds. Someday soon, we will gain back our freedom from want and fear.


Ramadhan Reflections Day 27

- The last 10 days of the month of Ramadhan is believed to be the period of Laylatul Qadr. “Laylat al-Qadr (Arabic: لیلة القدر), “variously rendered in English as the Night of Destiny, Night of Power, Night of Value, the Night of Decree or Night of Measures. It is the anniversary of two very important dates in Islam that occurred in the month of Ramadan.

 

It is the anniversary of the night where we believe the first verses of the Holy Quran were revealed to Prophet Muhammad (SAW).

 

- What happened to Prophet (SAW) when this event occured in his life. We have learned in our study of Islam that before the Holy Quran was revealed to him, his society was in a period of “jahiliyah” or a period of ignorance.

Before the Prophet receieved the revelation he was “still living among an extremely backward people who were devoid of any traces of civilization and humanity. These hard conditions severely tormented his pure soul.

He observed nothing in that society but the darkness of ignorance.

He would go to the Ka’aba, but instead of witnessing the worship of God,

he witnessed, idolatry. He would then leave the Ka’aba and go among the people. But there, too, he was troubled by what he saw. He was pained by the ugly customs and false thoughts of his people. The pitiable condition of

the poor and the destitute caused him great anguish. The deplorable situation of women, who were treated worse than animals, as well as the prevalence of gambling, wine drinking and murder, these tortured his blessed heart.

 

“When he dealt with people as a merchant, their immoral behavior gave so

severe an emotional shock to him that he had to go to a lonely place

where he would not be tormented by people’s inhuman behavior. For these

reasons and to find peace of mind, he would go to Mount Hira and there

think deeply about the amazing phenomena of nature and the vestiges of

God’s All-Embracing Compassion.

 

- He spent most of his time doing a spiritual retreat or “itikaf” in a cave.

This Cave of Hira, the sanctum of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW), the place of his devotions and meditations and the sacred spot where the Holy Quran began to be revealed. The Cave is situated on mount Al-Noor on way to Mina near Makkah and its peak is visible from a great distance. Prophet Muhammad (SAW) had just stepped into the forty-first year of his life, when during a night in the month of Ramadan the first 5 verses of the Surah Al-Alaq (96) were Revealed to him.

 

- By the time the Holy Prophet of Islam reached the age of 40, he was ready for his divine mission. One day suddenly, the Angel of Revelation, appeared to him and said, `Recite!’ He said in surprise, `What shall I recite?’ Again the divine voice very clearly and openly called out, `Recite, O Muhammad!’And a third time Gabriel repeated,

“Recite in the Name of Your Lord Who created.

He created the human being from a clot [of blood]. Recite

and your Lord is Most Honorable, Who taught (to write) with the pen,

taught the human being what he knew not…” Holy Quran (Alaq 96: 1-5)

 

- After this, Islam was born.

 

- In another verse, Laylatul Qadr was described as:

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 Spirit by Allah’s permission, on every errand: Peace!…This until the rise of dawn!

Sura 97 (Al-Qadr), āyāt 1-5.

 

- These verses are among the beautiful verses in Holy Quran. If one would study the language, the message, and the context when and how the Surahs (Chpaters) and Ayats (verses) you may see the divine power of such revelations.

 

- History books about Prophet Muhammad (SAW) all agree that the he was was unlettered. Thus, we may ask, “Is it logical to believe that an uneducated, unlettered person, brought up in an ignorant, backward society that was devoid of any knowledge, learning or scholarly books could offer such an amazing book, full of startling facts and extremely advanced learning? “How was the Holy Prophet of Islam able to study the Old and New Testaments? How is it possible for an unlettered man who has not been taught by any teacher nor gone to any school, to make predictions

of the future and relate events of the past?” Very interesting questions, but I found the answers when I learned Islam through my own spiritual journey and time spent in helping people (Muslims and Non Muslims) and communities to help themselves. I hope most of us will do the same.


Ramadhan Reflections Day 26.

- What makes us human? We heard this over and over again,

“if you want to serve God, serve humanity.” Let us try

to reflect on this line of thought.

 

- We are born with a heart of compassion which reacts in

accordance to our feelings and our heart and mind defines how we deal with fellow humans beings. Whether you agree or not, but compassion, love,

affection, and care are the innate qualities in us that defines our humanity.

 

The Holy Qur’an says in Chapter 16 verse 90,

“Surely Allah enjoins the doing of justice and the doing

of good (to others) and the giving to the kindred, and

He forbids indecency and evil and rebellion;

He admonishes you that you may be mindful.”

 

Based on this verse of the Holy Qur’an, Islam then put much emphasis

on serving our fellow human beings, however this service is not limited by providing

merely food and shelter to others. It is inappropriate to

think that we are serving mankind as a whole by simply spending

a huge amount in charity, where most of us think this way.

 

If we define the different stages of service, we may find the following:

1. service to Allah (SWT);

2. service to family;

3. service to humanity and one’s country.

 

Once we give our acceptance of the oneness of Allah,

we are expected to obey Him in a way that He has prescribed to us.

This is the stage where man fulfills all the mandatory acts like prayers,

Hajj, and paying of Zakat and assistance to our religious scholars.

It is the stage where man develops the bondage between himself and Allah directly.

 

Then we have the service to our family by providing their needs and security.

 

Then we have service to humanity which we may need to define further.

But the main question is, in what way should the fellow human beings be served,

so that the service could be termed as service to Allah as a whole? A religious scholar said that:

“Serving people is fine and we should serve them. But if we provide them with

food and clothes alone, we would be treating them like animals,

especially if we suppose no higher values exist for them.” Definitely, mere provision

of food and shelter does not fulfill the purpose. There has to be an

additional form of service. Every Muslim is expected to render his

duties towards the society in which he lives.

 

The actual service to human beings lies in treating them as human beings first.

 

We can fulfill our responsibility of serving mankind by educating the people,

laying more emphasis on Islamic education, arranging educational and awareness

campaigns about Islam, helping the people – especially the youth – understand

the true meaning behind the message brought by the Prophet (SAW) and his

households and descendants. We must encourage them to spread this knowledge and

we become ambassadors of our religion to our fellow human beings.

 

We are expected to treat our fellow beings with love and honesty,

to respect them and always be available to them whenever they are in need,

whatever may be the kind of their need.

The Prophet (SAW) has said: “Allah has made seven rights obligatory

upon a believer towards another believer:

1. To respect him

2. To love him

3. To share his property with him

4. To consider it prohibited to backbite about him

5. To visit him when he is sick

6. To escort his funeral procession

7. To say nothing but good about him after his death.”

 

- This I believe is what the mainstream Muslim majority believes and practices.

We have so many problems of the world alread, we must surely know how to be

part of the solution of the problems of humanity. And this is very much similar to the principle and value of the Ateneo way as “men and women for others”.


Ramadhan Reflections Day 25

- We are always reminded from the Holy Quran to live a life

in accordance of Islam. In Chapter 3:102, “Die not except in

a state of Islam.” (3:102)

 

- This has been in my mind ever since. But there are times that

I commit sin, I make mistakes, I may have hurt people, thus, I

always ask forgiveness to Him (SWT).

 

- The verse is a strong reminder to us to guard our actions and

do our best to insure that our deeds are pure as we can possibly

render them. “God is good and pure and He only accepts that which is

good and pure.”

 

- I was given this reflection lately, “Think of how disastrous

it would be for us to die while drinking alcohol, fornicating,

engaged in a profanity-laced tirade, or viewing pornography.

Then, possibly, despite a lifetime of good deeds, that is the

act we meet God with, then all our good deeds may no longer

be valued”. But if we reverse the situation. What if more than

90% of our life were spent in doing bad deeds, and at the moment

of our death, we firmly repent?

 

- The basic criterion of God’s will of forgiveness is

that those who commit all sorts of sins,

exceeded all sorts of limits, then decide to return to God,

ask Him for forgiveness and repent a firm repentance

(reform) are promised to be admitted into His mercy

and should rejoice in His full forgiveness.

When God says He forgives whomever He wills, he explains

that His will is to forgive those who repent, reform,

lead a righteous life and die as righteous believers,

with no exceptions.

 

- Verses in the Holy Quran states that:

[Quran 19:60] Only those who repent, believe, and lead a

righteous life will enter Paradise, without the least injustice.

[Quran 4:110] Anyone who commits evil, or wrongs his soul, then

implores God for forgiveness, will find God Forgiving, Most Merciful.

[Quran 25:70] Exempted are those who repent, believe, and lead a

righteous life. God transforms their sins into credits.

God is Forgiver, Most Merciful.

[Quran 25:71] Those who repent and lead a righteous life,

God redeems them; a complete redemption.

[Quran 66:8] O you who believe, you shall repent to God a

firm repentance. Your Lord will then remit your sins and admit

you into gardens with flowing streams…..

[Quran 6:54] ….. Your Lord has decreed that mercy is His attribute.

Thus, anyone among you who commits a transgression out of ignorance,

and repents thereafter and reforms, then He is Forgiving, Most Merciful.”

 

- I ask this question then, why some of us, and some Ulamas act more

than Allah(SWT)? They condemn people as if they are perfect? Few weeks

ago, there as a Muslim revert who is now an Ulama, went to our university as a speaker

for a forum. He acts as if he is the holder of truth and only the real truth.

Condemns all other religion and other schools of thought in Islam. Who

gave him such right to do that? If Allah (SWT) is the Most Forgiving, how can

a fallible man act more than Allah?

 

- Our view of Allah (SWT) reflects our way of life and our treatment to others. If Allah is the Most Compassionate, then we too must have compassion in our life.


Ramadhan Reflections Day 24

- I guess today is the last Friday for this month of Ramadhan.

I hope most of us could find time to pray in the mosques.

 

- Last night, I got a very sad news from a classmate in highschool.

One of our batchmates, who was a high ranking officer in the

AFP was found dead in his room in their camp in Nueva Ecija.

A highly decorated military officer, a friend, and a batchmate

passed away living his wife and daughter. So sad to hear about this.

 

- Because of this sad news, it took me time to reflect on the essence of Tawheed/Tawhid. We all experienced death in a family and friends. Most of the

time, our faith of God is the only thing that keeps us alive and moving on.

 

- There are three types of Tawhid, and these are

(1) Tawheed Ur Ruboobyah

(2) Tawheed Ul Uloohiyyah and

(3) Tawheed Asma Wa Sifaat.

 

Tawheed ur-Ruboobiyah is to believe in the Absolute Oneness

of Allah Subhanah as the One and Only Rabb in the worlds!

He Alone is The Creator, The Sustainer, The Cherisher,

The All Mighty, The Provider, The Bestower, and The Originator!

Tawheed ur-Ruboobiyah is to believe that there is absolutely

no doubt in Allah Subhanah being the One and Only Rabb or Lord

of the Worlds, and He has absolutely no partners in his Lordship

or Ruboobiyah.

 

Tawheed ul-Uloohiyah is to believe in the Absolute Oneness

of Allah Subhanah as the One and Only ‘Ilaah’ of the worlds!

When Allah Alone is the Creator, and Sustainer, and Cherisher

of the worlds, then He ALONE deserves to be worshiped.

Worship is the exclusive and sole right of Allah Subhanah

due from His Mu-meen. All rites, all rituals, and absolutely

all forms of worship are due to none, but the One and Only

Ilaah or True God of the Worlds, Allah Subhanah wa Taala.

 

‘Asma’ means ‘names’, and ‘Sifaat’ means Attributes; thus Tawheed Asma was-Sifaat means to believe in all the Exclusive and Noble Names and Attributes of Allah Subhanah, and not share any of His Exclusive Attributes with anyone or anything in His creation!

None of Allah Subhanah’s Exclusive Attributes or Sifaats can be denied, nor can their meaning be lowered or humbled, nor can they be shared with anyone and anything in creation: this belief in the Noble and Exclusive Names and Attributes of Allah Subhanah, in their absolute sense and tense of Perfection, is known as Tawheed Asma was-Sifaat.

 

- Allah says: “Every soul must taste of death, and We try you

with evil and with good, for ordeal. And unto Us you will

be returned.” [Sûrah al-Anbiyâ’: 35]

 

- We may ask why? Why the need to test us? The Holy Quran tells us the story of Moses.

“We should consider the incident when Khidr,

while traveling with Moses (peace be upon him) ,

killed the young boy. Allah tells us : “So the two of them

journeyed on until, when they met a lad, he slew him.

(Moses) said: “What! Have you slain an innocent soul who

has slain no man? Verily you have done a horrid thing’.”

[Sûrah al-Kahf: 74]

 

There can be no doubt that the child’s parents

must have thought the death of their son to be a great

tragedy and misfortune. However, Khidr explains his action

to Moses (peace be upon him) as follows: “And as for the lad,

his parents were believers and we feared lest he should oppress

them by rebellion and disbelief. And we intended that their

Lord should change him for them for one better in purity and

nearer to mercy.” [Sûrah al-Kahf: 80-81]

 

How often do we regard something that befalls us to

be a great misfortune, when in fact it is really Allah

showing His mercy to us. The opposite is equally true.

Allah says: “Perhaps you hate a thing that is best for you,

and you love a thing that is bad for you. Allah knows,

while you know not.” [Sûrah al-Baqarah: 216]

 

“Allah’s decree in the world is known to Him alone.

Therefore, it is wrong for us to take the general texts

that show a cause and effect relationship between virtue and

worldly consequences and try to apply them to specific people

and circumstances. We should certainly not make decisive

judgments about ourselves or others on such a basis,

saying things like “Allah is punishing that person” or

“Allah is pleased with him”.

 

“A Muslim should always be patient in adversity, thankful in prosperity.

To be sure to achieve this state of mind, he should be conscious of

Allah’s wisdom in testing us with every blessing and hardship.”

Such a Muslim will then show fortitude in sorrow and when his

means are straitened. He will not regard his misfortune as Allah disgracing him. He will, instead, accuse himself, saying:

“This is on account of my sins.” He will do so in order to better

himself an inculcate humility in his heart, recalling Allah’s words:

“Whatever of good befalls you, it is from Allah; and whatever of ill befalls you, it is from yourself.” [Sûrah al-Nisâ’: 79]


Ramadhan Reflections Day 23

- We are almost finished with the month of Ramadhan. Some of us are happy and some are sad. Others will just be “business as usual” and they are back to their old deeds. I have some Muslim friends who say that their faith is with Allah (SWT) and that it is okay if they may not be fully a practicing Muslim, they do not pray at least one sallat each day nor observe Sawm(fasting) during this Holy Month. I am not pre-judging them. I respect their views and I always believe also that faith is a personal relationship with our Creator. But why do we have the Five Pillars of Islam?

 

- I have learned that “the true strength of a believer lies in the strength of his or her connection to God. That connection is in turn nurtured by our devotional acts.” What are these devotional acts? This includes our prayer, fasting, litanies, supplication and invocations. Also, we are reminded to be consistent in conveying our obligatory prayers on time and try not to miss the highly encouraged voluntary prayers associated with them. The purpose of which is the maintain the connection with God.

 

- Everyday, we will face series of trials and tests from Allah (SWT). It is mentioned in the Holy Quran, 2: 286, that

“On no soul doth Allah Place a burden greater than it can bear. It gets every good that it earns, and it suffers every ill that it earns. (Pray:) “Our Lord! Condemn us not if we forget or fall into error; our Lord! Lay not on us a burden Like that which Thou didst lay on those before us; Our Lord! Lay not on us a burden greater than we have strength to bear. Blot out our sins, and grant us forgiveness. Have mercy on us. Thou art our Protector; Help us against those who stand against faith.”

 

- Doing our obligations to Islam is for our own good. Allah’s whole existence is not dependent to our prayers nor worship of Him. But it is our need to stay connected with Him, to be a good person and do good to others.


Ramadhan Reflections Day 22

- I receives txt yesterday about the possible attacks of the different armed groups in ARMM. According to the txt, they will attack major cities and will target civilian areas. I said to myself, “this is crazy!”

 

- Unfortunately, these armed groups are claiming thay they are fighting for the cause of Islam and the Muslims in Mindanao for our expression of right to self determination, establishment of independence, so on and so forth.

 

Isnt that the words of the MNLF during the time of Martial Law when we had a dictator and a state that was truly oppresive to us? But that was two to three decades ago. What really is our problem?

 

We “elected” our leaders just recently, right? We saw how our people wants peace and how they long to bring their kids to school and have a better future.

 

It seems to me the so called ” freedom fighters” have become our oppressors.

 

After the 1996 Peace Accord with the MNLF, and now the FAB with the MILF, how many acronyms or letters in the alphabet do we need to call ourselves just to bring peace? Or maybe after using all the letters, we may start using numbers then just to fight and kill one another.

 

Do our government really know what they are doing in this peace process?

 

Do we know that Islam is actually taken as hostage by these armed groups? Why are we not condemning their acts? It is about time we make a stand. Enough is enough! Stop this madness. Stop this conflict.


Ramadhan Reflections Day 21

- The Tahajud prayer started past midnight. I was fortunate enough to

wake up just in time for this prayer.

 

- What is then the meaning of Tahadjjud?

- Allah (SWT) in the Holy Qur’an has said, “And during the night,

wake up for salah, an additional prayer for you. It is very likely

that your Lord places you at a praised station.” (Surah Bani Israeel

v.79)

The word “Tahajud” has been derived from Hujud. It means in this

context ‘being awake with the Qur’an;” which indicates to a nightly

salah called the prayer of tahajud. Speaking generally, the prayer

said after waking up from a short sleep is called tahajud. But,

according to Tafsir Mazhari, the sense of the verse is no more than

sacrificing sleep to make salah during some part of the night. Very

similarly, it is also good if one begins by postponing the sleep for

tahajud and makes the salah. The condition that one has to sleep

before doing the prayer of tahajud is not found in the words used by

the Qur’an.

 

Hasan Basri (RA) says; “the prayer of tahajud holds good for every

prayer that is said after Isha and, it will be applied to that which

is said after some sleep. (Extracted from Maariful Qur’an p.533 –

p.538 v.5)

 

- Also, in the book of Sahih Bukhari, Volume 2, Book 21, Number 221:

Narrated Ibn Abbas:

When the Prophet got up at night to offer the Tahajjud prayer, he

used to say:

Oh Allah! All the praises are for you, You are the Holder of the

Heavens and the Earth, And whatever is in them. All the praises are

for You; You have the possession of the Heavens and the Earth And

whatever is in them. All the praises are for You; You are the Light

of the Heavens and the Earth And all the praises are for You; You are

the King of the Heavens and the Earth; And all the praises are for

You; You are the Truth and Your Promise is the truth, And to meet You

is true, Your Word is the truth And Paradise is true And Hell is true

And all the Prophets (Peace be upon them) are true; And Muhammad is

true, And the Day of Resurrection is true. O Allah ! I surrender (my

will) to You; I believe in You and depend on You. And repent to You,

And with Your help I argue (with my opponents, the non-believers) And

I take You as a judge (to judge between us). Please forgive me my

previous And future sins; And whatever I concealed or revealed And

You are the One who make (some people) forward And (some) backward.

There is none to be worshipped but you . Sufyan said that ‘Abdul

Karim Abu Umaiya added to the above,

 

‘Wala haula Wala quwata illa billah’ (There is neither might nor

power except with Allah).

 

- Brothers and sisters in Islam, lets spend more time in prayers for the last

remaining days of the Holy Month. May Allah (SWT) grant our prayers

that we will have peace and prosperity in our land. That Muslims and

Christians would respect and recognize the dignity of one another.

That we will work together to help our people who are suffering from

poverty, oppression, and social injustice…

 

‘Wala haula Wala quwata illa billah’ (There is neither might nor

 

power except with Allah).


Women Affairs Committee participates in FGD on FAB

By Farida P. Dalandan COTABATO City (September 23, 2013) —The Women Affairs Committee (WAC) of the United Youth for Peace and Development, Inc. (UNYPAD) participated in a Focus Group Discussion conducted by the Alternate Forum for Research in Mindanao, Inc. (AFRIM) last September 19, 2013 at the Kadtuntaya Foundation Incorporated (KFI) Conference Hall. “The output of

Republic Act No. 10627: The Anti-Bullying Act of 2013

Just last week, our firstborn Abdul Rashid got bullied in school. I had a talk with the principal and I was told that all measures are being done to make sure it won’t  happen again.

Ironically, it was also the same day when President Aquino signed the Anti-Bullying Act of 2013. Once I got the full text of the law, I immediately tried dissecting it into its salient parts and I came up with a short powerpoint presentation on these important provisions. I’m posting all the slides here. I hope this presentation is helpful to other parents and I dearly hope that elementary schools and high schools all over the country follow it strictly.

The Department of Education has been tasked to come up with the Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA No. 10627. I am looking forward to reading the rules and regulations once they’re out.

You can view the full PDF version of this presentation here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/169961335/Philippine-Anti-Bullying-Act-of-2013

 

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