Archive for category News
I am not going to apply a hyperbolic nickname like “Snowpocalypse” or “Snowmageddon” to the blizzard which has just his Chicagoland, but I will say this is the biggest snow disaster I have seen in my life. I have lived in Chicagoland for all of my twenty eight years.
It has shut down nearly everything. Private schools, public schools, and universities are closed today. It does not take a whole lot to shut down a suburban private school but CPS (Chicago Public Schools) only closes when public transportation in Chicago shuts down. CPS is closed today for the first time since 1999. Shops and restaurants are closed. Courts in Cook, DuPage, and Will County are closed. The only facilities I know to be open are hospitals, police stations, fire departments, and homeless shelters.
The estimated tally for inches of snow in Downers Grove is 23. Some of my readers may reside outside the snow-exporting states, so they may have a hard time comprehending what nearly two feet of snow looks like. It’s sort of like a freezer that hasn’t been defrosted for ten years. Except it’s your house and your driveway. Three people are at home today at my house and we have all been on snow duty. It’s nearly 2 p.m. as I write this and we can’t even get one car out of the driveway. Though it’s not much of a loss because our street is unplowed and even if it were clear, as mentioned before, just about everything is closed.
This is one for the record books to be sure. Perhaps someday I will tell my grandchildren about the Great Chicago Blizzard of 2011. The news stations say this is the worst blizzard since 1967, though my mother, an Illinois resident since 1976, insists that the 1979 Blizzard was worse.
I suppose this is an appropriate time for religious reflection. It is amazing that Allah has endowed this planet and its surrounding atmosphere with the power to produce precipitation (the power to produce precipitation; try saying it five times fast) of this magnitude. But I already credit Allah with creating the entire universe ex nihilo so the fact that he can muster two feet of snow doesn’t tell me anything I didn’t elready know. I am grateful that Allah has decided in His Mercy to spare myself and my family from the potential calamities that such a storm could have brought. Alhamdulillah. (All praise is to Allah).
“Say (O Muhammad) : ‘This is my way; I invite unto Allâh …” (Yusuf 12:108)
Yahya related to me from Malik that he had heard that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “I was sent to perfect good character.”
Muwatta of Imam Malik, Chapter 47, “Good Character.”
“And We have not sent you except as a mercy to mankind” (Surah Al-Anbiyah 21:107)
“His similitude is that of one who built a house, managed for a feast there and sent a person to invite the people to the same. Then the one who accepted the invitation, would enter the house and have food. But the one who rejects his invitation would not enter the house and get no food”. . . Then the angels said: (In the above similitude) the house represents Paradise, the caller is Muhammad. One who accepts his call stands for the one who obeys Muhammad and thus obeys Allâh; and the one who rejects his call disobeys Muhammad and thus disobeys Allâh. Muhammad thus distinguishes between people in respect of truth and falsehood’. (Bukhâri)
Abu Huraira narrated that the Prophet said:
“My similitude is of the one who lit up a fire and when the fire lighted the surroundings, moths started falling into it. He then began to prevent these from falling into the fire, but instead of his efforts they kept on dropping in the fire. I (Prophet Muhammad) am like the one who prevents you from fire while you persist on entering into it’. (Bukhâri)
Abu Hurayra said, “The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was asked, “Messenger of Allah, invoke a curse for us against the idolaters.’ He replied, ‘I was not sent as a curser. I was sent as a mercy.'”
Ustadha Aisha Bewley (trans.), Imam Bukhari, Al-Adab al-Mufrad Al-Bukhari, http://www.sunnipath.com/library/Hadith/H0003P0015.aspx
My parable among the Prophets is that of a man who built a house and did a good and complete job, apart from the space of one brick which he did not put in its place. The people started to walk around the building, admiring it and saying, “If only that brick were put in its place. ” Among the Prophets, I am like that brick.) It was also recorded by At-Tirmidhi, who said “Hasan Sahih.’
This is one of the most beautiful and elegant of the traditions of our Beloved Messenger, Prophet Muhammad, (S). Look at the humility that it illustrates. He does not call himself the best of humanity. He does not call himself the Beloved of Allah. He would be perfectly entitled to say these things. But instead, witnessing the unity and continuity of Prophethood, he says he is just one brick in the wall. Or if you like, one more link in the chain. Not the strongest link, or the weakest link, but just a link. It’s as if he’s saying as we might today, “I’m just happy to be part of the team.”
I would like to end with a short dua (invocation) and I hope you will join me. May Allah empower and encourage those who spread the uplifting message of Prophet Muhammad, salla allahu alaihi wa sallam. May Allah reward the people of Rasulullah, who love him, praise him, follow his message and teach the message to others. And may Allah punish and discourage those who publish libel, commit slander or draw insulting pictures of Rasulullah, salla allahu alaihi wa sallam. And may Allah guide and instruct those who are unaware of Rasulullah, salla allahu alaihi wa sallam, who are unaware of the truth of Islam so they can see the beauty of Islam and taste the sweetness of Iman (belief). Ameen. (Amen)
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Science tells us that plate tectonics is crucial to the survival of life. The carbon cycle requires the crust to sink to the inner earth as it does in earthquakes. Then lava must come back up through volcanoes. No carbon cycle would mean an unreliable supply of the building blocks of life.
Is this comforting when you’ve lost your family? Definitely not. And what about the idea that this is part of a Divine plan? It may be comforting to some, but to many it will be unsatisfying.
What do we lose when we lose a human? We lose a universe in miniature. We lose a masterpiece that never existed before and will not exist again until the Resurrection. We lose a node in the interconnected web of life. We lose a source of ideas, solutions, and passions. We lose a being that God loves with the love of a thousand mothers.
As hard as it is to reconcile God’s love with God’s capacity for destruction, we must try. I cannot accept that God ravaged Haiti out of hatred. How can anyone love Haiti more than the One who created them, who gave them eternal souls, who formed them in the womb, who sustained them in life and who will resurrect them after death?
Some will say that God is dying in Haiti. I cannot say that Allah is dying and dead because I believe He is Al- Hayy, the Living, and As-Samad, the Eternal. And yet I also think that He feels the loss of the Haitians far more acutely than any mortal ever could. In one sense, they are not lost to Him because they have returned to Him. But He knows more than anyone that the living are different from the dead. He knows that they have lost the capacity to earn reward in His Paradise (except for continuous charity and the like).
As for the Haitians that He chose to live, they have received a gift and a test. The gift is the chance to live with the certainty that life is finite and precious. The test is the combination of poverty and fear that they are experiencing now. The aid that is coming from around the world is also a test. Will Haiti’s citizens show gratitude or will they be ungrateful? Will they allow foreigners to repossess their country or will they fight for independence?
I know you, my readers, don’t agree with a lot of this. I hope this doesn’t make you angry. But this is what I believe. This is who I am. And this inspires me to first, pray to Allah that He protects the Haitians. And second, it inspires me to give what I can to uplift Haiti as well as to encourage my friends to do the same. I know your heart will lead you to do likewise, even if your reasons are entirely different.