#muslim

Ben Affleck defends Islam

Ben Affleck as Batman? This is a joke right? Affleck as the fighter of injustice? Well it seems like that casting may have been spot on. As per the video a visibly disgusted Affleck reigned in on Bill maher and Sam Harris’s ‘bigoted’ view on Islam.

He argued that the acts of a minority under so called religious pretences can not lead them to generalise all Muslims. As Affleck said: “how about more than a billion people who aren’t fanatical, who don’t punch women, who just want to go to school, have some sandwiches, pray five times a day.. ‘.

Fighter for justice indeed. It’s an interesting point that we seem to cross a lot. Do the act of a minority, lead us to a judgment on an entire group of people as a whole? Do the actions of Al Qaeda and ISIS lead people to believe that all Muslims hold similar values? Some of the other panelists on Maher’s show also made a valid point that there are Muslims who are doing great positive work – but where is the media coverage?

One poll which Maher mentioned was that in Egypt “90% believe death is the appropriate response to leaving the religion “. First of all Egypt does not speak for Islam, it speaks for Egyptians. Secondly the poll fact was incorrect and was actually 64%. Still a high percentage and in complete contradiction to the teachings of Islam.

In a world were the majority are not heard and the minority are sensionalised, it’s perhaps a sign of the times that sometimes it takes a Hollywood celebrity to defend Islam and be heard! And hats of, defend he did…we now know who we’l be supporting when Superman takes on Batman.

See the video below

 

Should we show more Loyalty to our country?

The Sun Newspaper this week launched its ‘United against IS’ campaign, showing The Union Jack draped in a hijab. This was seen to highlight how British Muslims are standing up and saying ‘no’ to -extremism.

Is this an image promoting solidarity against extremism or as Journalist Nesrine Malik in the Guardian suggests, the Sun’s way of saying your either with us or against us.

Nesrine says Muslims should condemn the Islamic State ‘but not have it demanded’ of them, at the risk of being seen as terrorist sympathisers. So as Muslims do we sometimes have to go out of our way to prove we are against IS or are we comfortable in our own skin to let people judge us by our words and actions?

A brother from the mosque shared an experience where his work colleague jokingly said to him don’t let us be the ones on the news saying ‘he was such a nice guy, we didn’t think he’d do something like that!’ Tongue and cheek comment on how British Muslim terrorists happen to be the last person friends suspect to turn out like that. A joke perhaps but with a tinge of paranoia and suggestion of ‘how well do we really know you’.

You may talk about the mosque activities your involved in but to them this could mean anything depending on what newspaper they read. With this in mind there is no harm in finding an appropriate time to explain that loyalty to one’s nation is in fact an Islamic principle. In doing so in the past I have experienced that undertone of ‘we wish all Muslims thought like this’.Not knowing that in fact most Muslims already do!

We have to accept that the general public do have a genuine confusion and fear of the unknown fuelled by media sensationalism. As Muslims citizens we may feel loyal to our country but what’s the harm in saying it or displaying it now and again. It may not change some of the stigma attached to us but will go a long way in attempting to teach the peaceful and tolerate message of Islam which is often misconstrued. …..now let me learn those words for the national anthem : )

Malala Yousafzai makes History

Today, Friday 10th October 2014 represents a significant landmark in the 57 year history of the state of Pakistan. For the 2nd time only, a Pakistani has been awarded the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize. At the age of just 17, Malala Yousafzai stands as the youngest ever recipient of the prize for her internationally renowned contribution to child education.

The overall literacy rate in Pakistan is 46 per cent, while only 26 per cent of girls are literate. Malala Yousafzai while living in Pakistan generated considerable attention for promoting the need of education for Pakistani girls. Having being blacklisted by the Taliban, she miraculously survived an assassination attempt, following a gunshot wound to her head.

Despite this, since arriving in England, Malala has continued to actively speak out against the extremist voices in Pakistan that go as far as calling female education ‘haram’. Her speech in July 2013 at the United Nations General Assembly brought international acclaim for her defiance in the face of death threats and attempts – to instead speak out for female education in a country emboldened by extremism through a hardline interpretation of Islam.

Malala’s path has not been an easy one. She encapsulates Malcolm X’s statement that “if you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything.” This is reflected in her own words, where Malala says “We realize the importance of our voices only when we are silenced”. We at thevoicetoday, appreciate the power and value of this statement, where we believe everyone of us has an obligation to stand up and use our voices to create a better today so we can build a promising future for tomorrow.

Quick Marriage Tips

Islam clearly defines the purpose of marriage and the path towards a successful union. Todays society has however somewhat blurred the lines and has arguablly got us caught up in a web of cultural and social pressures. Reality of todays world plays against the expectations of yesteryear. This is a wider subject but what we would like to concentrate on are attributes towards a successful relationship. Attributes which stand the test of time and most importantly are relayed to us through the teachings of the Holy Prophet of Islam (Peace and Blessings of Allah be Upon Him).

Listen and consult with her

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Even the King of the Jungle knows that it’s best to just listen sometimes. All jokes aside many a marital issues stems from not having the time to listen to your wife or simply not involving her in any consultation. Allah says towards one’s wife “and live with them honourably” [al-Nisa’ 4:19] And the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “And treat women with kindness, and treat women with kindness.” Undoubtedly consulting one’s wife and listening to her advice and accepting it is part of living with them honourably and treating them with kindness.

Protect her

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Reviewing the Islamic responsibilities of a husband it has been stated that he should act as a ‘guardian’ towards his wife (see Holy Qur’an, 4:35) This does not give him the right to dominate or abuse her in any way. It simply means that he is responsible for her well-being and that he has to spend out of his earnings to maintain the family and the household, “They are a garment for you, and you are a garment for them…” (Holy Qur’an, 2:188) The Holy Qur’an mentions the marriage contract (nikah) by the word ihsan, which means a fortress. The man who contracts marriage is a muhsin, that is he builds a fortress. The woman who marries him is a muhsinah, which means that she has come into the protection of that fort, in order to protect herself and their morals. This metaphorical fortress is not one to hide your wife away as sometimes alleged, but instead one where you protect her, build a union which promotes good morals, a happy home and a healthy society.

Don’t make it complicated

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“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” I Corinthians 13: 4-8 (Bible)

From time immemorial, God has provided guidance to all of his messengers on how to build peace and foster love in society. Central to this has been developing peace within the home. The Holy Prophet of Islam proclaimed that the best of all people was not the one who was most intellectual, or the most powerful or affluent, but far closer to home – the best person was the one who was best in the treatment of his wives, and he, The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) was the best of the people due to being the best husband among all husbands in his treatment towards his wives.

 

 

Quick Guide to Umrah – A personal Account

If you are planning to go Umrah for the first time and you are slightly unsure what to expect, then we hope this quick guide will help you out based on our personal experiences.

Where to Start?

Read up about Umrah!

Before you set off on this blessed journey please take your time to study and understand the rituals of Umrah. In addition read up a little on both Mecca and Medina so that when you see the historic sites you can appreciate it more. Don’t rely on just the tour guides to tell you about the history as many are just taxi drivers doubling up and possessing only basic knowledge.

Umrah Prayers

You can download apps on your mobile phone or print of a guide via the internet. Prep yourself on this so that you maximise your Umrah. You don’t want to be learning prayers whilst doing your Umrah. See below link for further help on this.

http://www.qiblahajjandumra.com/umraguide.pdf

Write a List of who to pray for

Note down all the people u want to pray for so you don’t forget when you are there. You will no doubt have many people who will request for prayers so rather then just paying them lip service and saying you will, make sure you do. There is no better gift for them to know there names where mentioned to Allah in both Mecca and Medina

Recording your experience

Take a notepad and write down your thoughts while you are there. If you are not a writer take a video diary using your phone. Its great to be able to note your thoughts during this blessed journey so you can reflect on them when you are back home and share your experience.

How much money to take

Take about £300 cash/per Adult for your food, shopping and taxi costs. That’s more then enough really for a 7 day stay. However all depends on what your shopping plans are!

General Tips

Safety for Ladies going in Taxis

When you are in the taxi, for safety reasons women should always get out the car before their male partner/family member. You hear of scare stories on how drivers have driven away with just the girl in the car. No doubt it is a very rare occurrence, but don’t take chances.

Discipline in Saudi

‘Biddah’ which relates to anything seen as Islamic innovation in the eyes of the Saudi authorities is a big No No! This mainly revolves around worshipping at graves. Some may have the desire to pray towards the grave of the Holy Prophet (pbuh); this will be stopped. Simply read Durood and convey your Salams without going through the motions of prayer facing the grave of the Prophet (Pbuh).

Prayer Discipline for Ladies

Sisters, before Salat don’t argue with the on-duty Hijabi security (not sure what they are officially called) if they ask you to move. They will take you out! I have seen them get physical and even take your possessions if you do not listen. Respect there position as they have to uphold a system of segregation in amongst 1000’s of people. Hence don’t get upset if they shout at you to move from your current location to where they want you to move. Make sure you pick a meeting point before Salat as you could be moved where you don’t want to be.

Zam Zam Water

If you are brining back bottles of Zam Zam, go for the 20 litre bottles and make sure they are boxed when you buy it. Two 20 litre bottles are generally enough to bring back and distribute out with the use of smaller bottles.

When you get to the airport these bottled containers will need to be shrink wrapped and labelled for delivery and collection at the airport. You can not pack these in your suitcase as it will exceed your luggage limit. In addition you don’t want to risk water damage in your suitcase!

Taking Pictures

Taking pictures is frowned upon in the sacred places and worst case your camera can be confiscated. That said and done I did not see this happen and plenty were using their phones for pictures with just the odd warning from the Saudi security teams.

Customs at Jeddah

If you are travelling first time to Saudi then expect long queues at the customs. Annoyingly people can try and cut in meaning it seems its not even moving. If you have a connecting flight to Medina then make sure you let any guards know so they can get you into a quicker queue.

Where to fly first, Mecca or Medina?

I suggest you go to Medina first – This means flying to Jeddah and then a connecting flight to Medina. Once your in Medina u can relax and recover from your journey and then soak up the vibe before you prepare for Umrah.

The other option is to fly to Mecca first and complete your Umrah on the same day you set off. For something so important I personally feel it will be nice to be mentally relaxed as opposed to exhausted from the journey. Especially if this is the first time you are going.

How many days to stay in Medina?

3/4 days will be sufficient. This will give you time to recover, absorb the historical city and prepare for Umrah.

Going for a Tour (Ziarat)

For Non Arab speaking Brothers and Sisters, my recommendation is book it via hotel and ask for a driver who can speak English. Many don’t speak English so as a back up check they speak your native language ie Urdu/Hindi/Bengali.

Ihram

When it comes to wearing the white cloth for ihram make sure you got your system locked down as you don’t want it slipping off in anyway. There are youtube videos to show how to wear this and it is very easy.

Heres a very useful guide

Medina

Al-Masjid al-Nabawi

This place has a presence as its steeped in history. Allows you to switch of from the world and take you back to where it all started. Find the green dome to visit the final resting place of the Holy Prophet (pbuh).

Meeting Points in Al-Masjid al-Nabawi

Just look for a gate number and use that as your meeting point.

Note, if you have small children I suggest you label them with a contact name and phone number in case they wonder of during Salat or in any rush. Kids rarely get lost but when it happens there is nothing worse then a frantic father or mother shouting there childs name amongst the massive crowds.

Market in Medina

Walking around and hitting the markets is fun and you can haggle down to get gifts and souvenirs.

Medina is famous for its dates. There is a vast variety of which the most popular would be the Ajwa Dates. These dates where the favourite of the Holy Prophet (pbuh). Beware of imitation versions.

Hotels in Medina

Ensure you get a hotel near the Masjid so its walking distance. Most of the hotels around Masjid al-Nabawi are 5 star.

Food in Medina

Mostly Arab and Indian sub continent type eating places. For any western brothers or sisters missing home, never fear, there is a KFC and Hardees.

Places you must visit in Medina

Book a tour of Medina and see Masjid Quba (1st mosque), Masjid Qibalateen,(Prayer direction changed to Kaaba), Uhad (where Muslims lost their 1st battle), 7 mosques (where the battle of the Trench took place).

Expect to pay upto £50 for this if you are booking via Hotel. Other option is to find a taxi driver and haggle a price.

Mecca

How many days to stay in Mecca

4/5 days minimum so you can complete Umrah and utilise your remaining time in supplication and reflecting on life. Who knows if this time will come again so make the most of it.

Masjid al-Haram

This is where the Kaaba is situated and also encompasses Al-Safah and Al-Marwa as part of your Umrah. Currently going through a massive construction project so don’t be startled by the beauty of the Kaaba amongst a backdrop of cranes and the eye opening Clock Tower.

Massive tip is to carry a bag for any sandals or take some spare with you. Don’t risk your Versace sandals, keep it simple.

Tawaf

Expect hustle and bustle but do not get agitated. I have seen people get frustrated whilst doing Tawaf due to the momentum of people pushing forward or trying to cut across to get closer to Kaaba. Don’t get frustrated, expect a little hustle and just enjoy this moment by absorbing yourself in prayer.

Salat Timings in Masjid al-Haram

If you wish to pray inside the mosque or anywhere close to the Kaaba you need to plan your time well in advance. Simply walking down 5 minutes after adhan means you will probably end up praying inside Fairmount shopping center!

Meeting Points in Masjid al-Haram

Plenty of meeting points inside and outside of the mosque. Inside I would use the shoe racks as they were numbered. Outside it was Zam Zam water point or just the entrance gate number.

Hotels in Mecca

Make sure you book a hotel near the Haram so its all walking distance.

Food in Mecca

You got a shopping centre there with a food court, but recommend you eat a big breakfast in your hotel and skip lunch to save a bit of money. Perhaps stock up on some water and those Pringles you packed before you left UK.

What to visit in Mecca

Must goto Jabal al-Nour and climb upto the Cave Hira. This is where The Holy Prophet (pbuh) used to retreat and Islam was first revealed. It’s a good climb so put them trainers on! You will find beggars on route to the climb so depending on how you feel, you may want to keep some dollars handy.

Note, don’t get upset when you see an old man with a walking stick climbing up with more ease then you! I was amazed to see the energy levels of our Muslim elders knowing they were tracing the steps of the Holy Prophet (pbuh).

If you still have strength to climb then goto Ghar Thor, the cave where the Holy Prophet (pbuh) escaped and hid during Migration.

Finally please goto Mount Arafat which is part of the Hajj ritual and is where you pray for forgiveness. It’s also the site where The Holy Prophet (pbuh) read his farewell sermon.

This is a personal view so if you have been to Umrah before and notice any errors in this article then appreciate if you can send a comment with what needs to be corrected.

Feedback with any of your personal experiences or questions.

Follow us on @thevoicetodayuk

UK a-levels results – what to do

Post A- Levels – what now?

Once your A levels are over you’ve got all kinds of options. Make sure you explore all your options so you can make an informative decision. Speak to subject teachers and your family who will have your best interest at heart.

Got your place?

You will be sent a letter confirming your place.

Make sure you check your Confirmation letter – it will say if there’s anything else you need to do, or if your university/college will be in touch with further instructions, maybe to provide proof of your qualifications or medical requirements for example. Then all that’s left is making sure any student finance arrangements are sorted, and prepare to start your studies.

The idea is you identify courses (with vacancies) that interest you and contact the course providers directly to see if they will offer you a place. You’ll know you’re in Clearing if your Track status says ‘You are in Clearing’ or ‘Clearing has started’.
If your Track doesn’t say either of these yet, it might just be waiting for your results to update – get in touch with the universities/colleges if it’s taking a while – they might still be considering you, even if your results are a bit lower than required.

 Ask for advice

Talk to an adviser at your school, college, centre or careers office – they can talk you through alternative courses/subjects.
Consider different subjects – you don’t have to stick with your original ideas.

Call them don’t wait

Give them your Clearing number (located on the welcome and choices pages in Track), and your Personal ID number which will let them see your application online.

Ask if they’d accept you – they might reconsider you (maybe even for the same course) even if you applied to them earlier in the year.

Get informal offers over the phone – maybe from a variety of universities and colleges – then decide which you want to accept.

Add a Clearing course in Track

Click Add clearing choice and fill in the course details by the date the university/college gave you on the phone.

This counts as you definitely accepting the offer, so if they confirm it’ll show as an acceptance on the choices page of Track and they will send you a confirmation letter

What is HND & DIPHE?

A Higher National Diploma and a Diploma of Higher Education are vocational qualifications which are usually studied full time (two years) but can be studied part time (three years) as well. You can change to a full undergraduate degree course in the relevant subject once you have successfully completed the Higher National Diploma or Diploma of Higher Education at a Pass grade or higher. To find out more information and courses you can visit

http://www.hnccourses.co.uk

If university isn’t for you?
Apprenticeships

If you want to earn while you learn then an apprenticeship may be the perfect option for you. You work towards a recognised. You will spend most of your time in work, training on the job with the rest of your time spent at your local College.  The length of your apprenticeship will take between one and four years to complete but this depends on the type and level of apprenticeship.  You can find apprenticeship vacancies at

https://apprenticeshipvacancy
matchingservice.lsc.gov.uk/

And more information at

http://www.apprenticeships.org.uk/

Remain Steadfast

Whether we assess the loss of innocent lives in the Muslim world of Palestine, Syria, Iraq or whether we are battling against our own personal hardships, you should always remember that it is Allah the Exalted we take refuge with and no one else. Hardships can hit us sometimes when we least expect and when it hits it can overcome us. In these times in particular Allah the Exalted reminds us that he is right here with us if you choose to find him so look upon him first for any support. ‘There is neither any might, nor any power Except with Allah’ Remember this prayer and may it serve you well. Inshallah

Ramadhan 2014 / Vlog / #10

Ramadan Diary Day 10 | by @mubzymalone ‘Third of the way through already! Ramadhan is going well Alhumdoliallah but it is flying by! Starting to feel the lack of sleep at work but it’s for a blessed purpose. My workplace has many prayer rooms Alhumdoliallah so manage to read Zohr salat in the afternoon with some additional nawafil. Hoping I can intensify my nawafil, Dhikr and Durood in the remaining 20 days Inshallah.’ Feel free to comment and share your experiences.