Monday, November 19, 2012

A Jewish American Embraces Islam

I saw her radiant face in a mosque that is located on a hill in a small American state, reciting a translation of the Noble Quran. I greeted her and she returned the greeting warmly and cheerfully; we got talking and became good friends in no time. One night, we were on the shore of a beautiful lake, where she related to me the story of her conversion to Islam. I want to share her experience with you, dear readers, so we can deduce some wisdom from it.
The sister, who was a new Muslim, related, 
"I grew up in the Jewish American home of a dysfunctional and broken family; after my parents' divorce, my father married another woman. My stepmother tortured and mistreated me a lot; this drove me to run away from home when I was seventeen. I moved to another state where I met some young Arab men who were, as my homeless friends told me, 'generous'. All a girl needed to do was to give one of them a smile and she would find someone to buy her dinner and offer her a cozy place and a comfortable bed to spend the night.
“I followed in the footsteps of my homeless girlfriends, but at the end of each night I would run away; for I did not like such illicit relationships and I hated Arabs. Nonetheless, I was not happy with my life at all and I never felt safe or secure; I was haunted all the time by distress and a sense of loss.
“At this stage of my life I resorted to religion, to relish the sweetness and warmth of spirituality, hoping to find in it the motivation to keep me going in my harsh life; however, I found my religion, Judaism, unconvincing. I found it a religion that does not respect women or humanity. I realized that Judaism is a selfish religion that fosters backwardness; I did not find in it my objective, for I do not believe in superstition or myths, so I embraced Christianity. 
"However, in Christianity I found even more contradictions and unbelievable things which Christians were expected to believe in without questioning. I frequently asked questions such as: how could the Lord kill His son? How could the Lord have a son in the first place? How can one believe in three gods and not even be able to see any of them?I was bewildered and perplexed at all these unanswerable questions, so I gave up Christianity, yet I always believed that this universe, definitely, has a Creator. I used to spend my nights thinking and pondering on this thought until morning. 
"One bleak and gloomy night when it was almost dawn, I was about to commit suicide due to my state of depression. I hit rock bottom and nothing in the world made sense to me anymore. It was raining heavily that night and thick clouds had gathered, enveloping my universe as if they were imprisoning me. Watching the trees around me, I felt as if the crowding trees were looking at me furiously and the drops on rain were playing a hideous and dull melody, as I peered out of the window of an abandoned house. 
"For some reason I found myself praying to God, saying: ‘O my Lord, I know that You are out there… I know that You love me… I am a prisoner… I am one of your weak creatures; guide me to the right path. O my Lord, either guide me or let me die.’ I kept praying and crying bitterly that night until I fell asleep and in the morning, I woke up with a cheerful heart, but I did not know the reason behind this unfamiliar feeling. I went out on my daily pursuit of livelihood. Perhaps I would find a young man to pay for my breakfast, or wash his dishes and earn some money.
"Then, I met a young Arab man and we talked and talked for a very long time. After breakfast, he asked me to go with him to his home and live with him. I accepted his offer and went with him. 
“While we were having lunch, drinking and laughing, a bearded young man named Sa’d – as I came to know later when my Arab friend called out his name in surprise – visited us. This bearded young man took my friend by the hand and drove him away. I stayed there shaking; there I was, face to face with a terrorist! However, he did not do anything scary but politely asked me to go home. I told him that I had no home; he looked at me sadly and I saw on his face how he pitied me, and said, ‘Alright, you can stay here for tonight’ – since it was bitterly cold outside – ‘but you should leave tomorrow. Take this money to live on until you find a job.’
"He headed towards the door, so I asked him to stop and said, ‘Thank you! Please stay; I will leave, but I want to ask you a favor: could you tell me why you did what you did with me and your friend?" He lowered his gaze while he spoke to me, saying, ‘It is Islam; it forbids what is unlawful and makes permissible what is lawful. It also forbids sitting in seclusion with a non-Mahram (marriageable) woman and drinking alcohol, and Muslims are enjoined to treat people kindly and adopt high morals.’
“I was perplexed and surprised at his answer; were these the Muslims who were being called terrorists? I thought they carried guns and killed everybody they met; for this was the image drawn by the American media of Muslims. I told him, ‘I would like to know more about Islam, can you tell me?’ He responded, ‘I will take you to a religious Muslim family and I know that they will teach you Islam in the best way.’
“The next day at ten o'clock, he took me to this Muslim family who welcomed me warmly. I kept asking them about Islam and Dr. Sulaymaan, the head of the family, answered me until I was totally satisfied and convinced with everything he said about Islam. At that moment, I knew that I had found what I was looking for: a clear and straightforward religion that is compatible with common sense and I did not find any difficulty in believing what I heard about it; it was the truth.
“That day, I felt ecstatic and savored a sense of bliss when I announced I had embraced Islam, and wore the Hijaab immediately on the same day!
“Late that evening, Dr. Sulaymaan's wife took me to the best room in the house and told me, ‘This is your room and you are welcome to stay here as long as you wish.’ She saw me looking out of the window, smiling with tears running down my cheeks. She inquired about the reason behind my tears. I said, 'Yesterday, exactly at this time, I was standing next to a window, praying to Allaah The Almighty and imploring Him either to show me the right way or let me die. He guided me to the Right Path and now I am an honorable Muslim woman who knows her Lord, her Creator and knows the path that leads to Him; Islam is the path to Allaah.’ Dr. Sulaymaan's wife burst into tears and hugged me affectionately."

What Islam offers the Earth

One of the amazing things that strike the reader of the Quran is its significant and multifaceted emphasis on the relationship of man to the environment. This is not merely about self, family and surroundings. It’s about the whole universe—heavens and earth—and all of Allaah’s magnificent creation in them. I'm talking about all the constituents of what some call "nature," and down to the details: It’s geological foundations, waters, steady and violent shifts and movements, and its countless, varied forms of life and existence, and how it cycles and sustains them.
I know many scientists whom the Quran simply over-awed once they realized what it says about life, nature, and the universe. They were seized by the literally hundreds of Quranic verses that discuss and give guidance about the issues of the environment—all the ones we are suddenly talking about today, and plenty more that haven’t even come into view yet. What grabbed them was the realization that Allaah Almighty clearly knew how abusive unguided man would be to his planetary home.
Just look at what we have brought upon ourselves and our innocent fellows in creation in but the last handful of decades. Perhaps this is why I too now find reading the Quran's beautiful, moving, and harrowing "environmental" verses so spiritually and intellectually uplifting. Allaah Almighty Says what means: “The creation of the heavens and earth is greater than the creation of mankind, but most of the people do not know.” [Quran 40:57] Or: “And there is no creature on [or within] the earth or bird that flies with its wings except [that they are] communities like you. We have not neglected in the Register a thing. Then unto their Lord they will be gathered.” [Quran 6:38]
In light of the unprecedented environmental crises we are facing today, I thought to speak to a bit of what Islam has to offer man to help him get the balance back in his life and restore his intimate and timeless relationship with creation. I call them Islam’s Five Environmental Commandments:
One: Man is part of the environment
Man, literally in sum and substance, is of the environment. Thus he must feel and live in harmony with it. Both man and his environment are the creation of the God—and both are worshippers of Him—with the technical exception that man has the will to refuse to worship and obey God willingly, though he does it unwillingly from moment to moment. Allaah Says what means “The seven heavens and the earth and whatever is in them exalt Him. And there is not a thing except that it exalts [Allaah] by His praise, but you do not understand their [way of] exalting. Indeed, He is ever Forbearing and Forgiving.” [Quran 17:44] And even though the earth and surroundings were created long before man, the end of both is virtually synchronous—the end of time—hence, the implicit benefit to man for leading an environmentally friendly lifestyle. A corollary of this determinant is that the environmental crisis is a human matter and cooperation on meeting its challenges should, therefore, not be hampered by religious or other differences.
Two: Man is trustee of the environment
Man has accepted God's decree of Khilaafah (vicegerency, read verse 2:30), which makes him responsible to use the environment to achieve his God-given purpose in this life, with the condition that he maintains it for future generations, which have as much right to it as their predecessors. The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: “People (past and future generations included) share alike in water, air, and herbage." [Abu Daawood]
Three: Man shall be fair to the environment
Man cannot, and will not, fulfill or be true to his custodianship of the earth without creation-wide fairness. The Quran could not be more unequivocal when it comes to this principle. Man shall be fair in leading his life in this world because God created it in a balanced state. Should he fail, unwarranted injustice will lead to creation's disruption and its inability to continue supporting man's needs for a hospitable habitation. Read and ponder the import of verses which mean: “The sun and the moon [move] by precise calculation, and the stars and trees prostrate. And the heaven He raised and imposed the balance. That you not transgress within the balance. And establish weight in justice and do not make deficient the balance.” [Quran 55:5-9]
Four: Man shall not spread mischief in the Land
Man must realize that God forbids harm, big and small, to one's self and all others. The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: “There is no reason to) harm or reciprocate harm.” [Ibn Maajah] And Allaah Says (what means): “And cause not corruption upon the earth after its reformation. And invoke Him in fear and aspiration. Indeed, the mercy of Allaah is near to the doers of good.” [Quran 7:56] Many scientists and activists believe that efforts to restore a healthy balance to the environment will never be achieved to any viable degree in the face of the unfathomable destruction of our wars of greed.
Five: Man shall follow a model of moderation and conservation
Most people do not grasp that much of the pollution comes from a culture of consumerism, whose primary effect is waste. It is unfortunate that people in the underdeveloped world, including Muslims, have embraced being consumers and wasters. The Quran is true in depicting this tendency of man, especially when resources become abundant. Allaah Says (what means): “Competition in [worldly] increase diverts you. Until you visit the graveyards.” [Quran 102:1-2] But abundance does not justify wastage. God Almighty prohibits this. He Almighty Says what means: “Indeed, the wasteful are brothers of the devils, and ever has Satan been to his Lord ungrateful.” [Quran 17:27] Insatiable pursuit of increased materials combined with technological advancement has given some nations unprecedented control over man and his environment. But history tells us that these are signs that civilizations are doomed to perish.

The facts of life, confirmed by science

Materialist philosophy lies at the basis of the theory of evolution. Materialism rests on the supposition that everything that exists is matter. According to this philosophy, matter has existed since eternity, will continue to exist forever and there is nothing but matter. In order to provide support for their claim, materialists use logic called “reductionism”. This is the idea that things which are not observable, can also be explained by material causes.
To make matters clearer, let us take the example of the human mind. It is evident that the mind cannot be touched or seen. Moreover, it has no center in the human brain. This situation unavoidably leads us to the conclusion that the mind is a concept beyond matter. Therefore, the being which we refer to as “I,” who thinks, loves, gets nervous, worries, feels pleasure or pain, is not a material being in the same way as a sofa, a table or a stone.
Materialists, however, claim that mind is “reducible to matter.”  According to the materialist claim, thinking, loving, worrying and all our mental activities are nothing but chemical reactions taking place between the atoms in the brain. Feelings of love and fear are merely chemical reactions in some cells in our brain. The famous materialist philosopher Karl Vogt stressed this logic with his famous words: “Just as the liver secretes gall, so do our brains, secrete thought.” (Encyclopedia Britannica). However, gall is matter, whereas there is no evidence that thought is the same.
One of the most prominent features of this picture is “information” which is present in nature and can never be reduced to matter.
Matter cannot produce information
There is incredibly comprehensive information contained in the DNA of living things. Something as small as a hundred thousandth of a millimeter contains a sort of “data bank” that specifies all the physical details of the body of a living thing. Moreover, the body also contains a system that reads this information, interprets it and carries out “production” in line with it. In all living cells, the information in the DNA is “read” by various enzymes and proteins are produced according to this information. This system makes the production of millions of proteins possible every second, with the required type of protein for specific places needed in our bodies. In this way, dead eye cells are replaced by living ones and old blood cells by new ones.
At this point, let us consider the claim of Materialism: Is it possible that the information in DNA could be reduced to matter, as materialists suggest? Or, in other words, can it be accepted that DNA is merely a collection of matter, and the information it contains came about as a result of the random interactions of such pieces of matter?
All the scientific research, experiments and observations carried out in the 20th century CE show that the answer to this question is a definite “No.” The director of the German Federal Physics and Technology Institute, Professor Dr. Werner Gitt has this to say on the issue: “A coding system always entails a nonmaterial intellectual process. A physical matter cannot produce an information code. All experiences show that every piece of creative information represents some mental idea-giver who exercised his own free will, and who is endowed with an intelligent mind. There is no known law of nature, no known process and no known sequence of events which can cause information to originate by itself in matter.” (Werner Gitt. In the Beginning Was Information).
Werner Gitt’s words summarize the conclusions of the “information theory” which has been developed in the last 50 years and is accepted as a part of thermodynamics. Information theory investigates the origin and nature of the information in the universe. The conclusion reached by information theoreticians as a result of long studies is that “Information is something different from matter. It can never be reduced to matter. The origin of information and physical matter must be investigated separately.”
For instance, let us think of the source of a book. A book consists of paper, ink and the information it contains. Paper and ink are material elements. Their source is matter: Paper is made of cellulose and ink of certain chemicals. However, the information in the book is non-material and cannot have a material source. The source of the information in each book is the mind of the person who wrote it.
Moreover, this mind determines how paper and ink will be used. A book initially forms in the mind of the writer. The writer builds a chain of logic in his mind and orders his sentences. As a second step, he puts them into a material form, which is to say that he translates the information in his mind into letters, using a pen, a typewriter or a computer. Later, these letters are printed in a publishing house and take the shape of a book made up of papers and ink.
We can therefore state this general conclusion: “If physical matter contains information, then that matter must have been designed by a mind that possessed the information in question. First, there is the mind. That mind translates the information it possesses into matter, which constitutes the act of design.”
The origin of information in Nature 
When we apply this scientific definition of information to Nature, a very important result ensues. This is because Nature overflows with an immense body of information (for example in the case of DNA, and since this information cannot be reduced to matter, it therefore comes from a source beyond matter.) This fact is revealed as in the following verse in the Quran (which means): “They said: ‘Exalted are You! We have no knowledge except what You have taught us. Indeed, it is You who is the Knowing, the Wise.’” [Quran 2: 32]
One of the foremost advocates of the theory of evolution, George C. Williams, admits this reality, which most materialists and evolutionists are reluctant to see. Williams has strongly defended Materialism for years, but in an article he wrote in 1995, he states the incorrectness of the materialist (reductionist) approach which holds everything is matter: “Evolutionary biologists have failed to realize that they work with two more or less incommensurable domains: that of information and that of matter. These two domains will never be brought together in any kind of the sense usually implied by the term “reductionism.” The gene is a package of information, not an object. In biology, when you are talking about things like genes and genotypes and gene pools, you are talking about information, not physical objective reality. This dearth of shared descriptors makes matter and information two separate domains of existence, which have to be discussed separately, in their own terms.” (George C. Williams. The Third Culture: Beyond the Scientific Revolution).
Therefore, contrary to the supposition of materialists, the source of the information in nature cannot be matter itself. The source of information is not matter, but a superior Wisdom beyond matter. This Wisdom existed prior to matter. Matter was brought into existence, given form and organized by the Creator of the Heavens, the Earth and all that exists.

Harvesting the Chaff

Despite the improvement of the economic conditions of workers in Europe, the socio-economic status of the woman is still critical. The woman still earns half of the salary of the man in most fields of work, if not all. If a woman wants to marry, she has to relinquish her name and the name of her father to become a subordinate to her husband even if in terms of name. In many cases, she has no right to dispose of her property except with the permission of her husband. Many readers will be astonished to know that it is the woman in many cultures who pays the dowry to the man, not vice versa -- although many Westerners nowadays do not follow this practice. Moreover, the man is not responsible for the financial maintenance of his wife.
On the other hand, Islam gave the woman her independent character and identity. She cannot be married except after her permission and consent. She does not change her name, but keeps her father's name and family name after marriage. She has the complete authority to dispose of her property without taking her husband’s permission. She does not have to support herself or her children financially even if she is rich and her husband is poor. If she spends any money, then it is considered as charity given to her husband or a debt that he has to pay back when he has the means to do so.
The status of the Western woman, who still struggles to earn her living in return for mean wages that men would not usually accept, is pathetic.
Because of the deteriorating economic and social conditions, she has become an easy prey to the middlemen of the international prostitution trade. She is also used to promote goods. We always find the photo of a charming woman in advertisements even if the advertisement has nothing to do with women.
The commercial mind thinks actively and employs a group of women in stores and offices under the supervision of a man or two men in order to regulate work and intellectually, physically and sexually dominate the women.Because of these deteriorating conditions, the woman suffers from loneliness, from which she escapes into the arms of any man, who soon gets bored with her and takes another. The woman has to take contraceptive pills early. As a result, officials in the West have found themselves obliged to teach schoolgirls how to use contraceptives. Nevertheless, there are thousands of young girls who become pregnant every year due to their inadequate knowledge about contraceptives. Therefore, mentors and officials instituted programs to teach the use of contraceptives in secondary schools, then in preparatory schools and finally in primary schools when they found that very young girls fall prey to pregnancy the most. Officials are not concerned with the spread of fornication and prostitution; rather, their concern is focused on circulating contraceptives among children.
Western laws had to legalize abortion, even if they did so reluctantly. Cases of abortion spread to the extent that a million cases of abortion take place every year in the US. About the same number of abortions takes place in Europe.
Statistics reveal that most suicide cases take place among young girls who live an anxious desperate life. For the first time in the history of medicine, collective cases of cruel battering of young children have appeared. These cases mostly end up in death or in physical and mental damage.
The woman brought all these calamities and afflictions upon herself through the misfortune of her going out of her home to work in offices and factories. Actually, we are doing the European woman an injustice, because she did not work outside her home willingly. She was forced to go outside her home to work in search of a living after the capitalists demolished the family by taking the father to the furnace of the factories and the cellars of mines. The woman, at that time, had to go out searching for provision. Hands received her and desires exploited her. In order to achieve the goals of the Jews, all means of treachery, apparent and hidden means of crime were used to demolish values and morals and increase the unending greed of the capitalists.

Oxidation in the blood

Allaah Almighty Says (what means): “No! Rather, what they have earned has rusted up their hearts." [Quran 83:14]
The term ‘rusted’ used to describe hearts in verse of the chapter Al-Mutaffifeen may be a reference to biochemical reaction that takes place in the heart—Allaah knows the truth. Rust is the result of iron reacting with oxygen – oxidation.
The oxygen we absorb from the air is carried through the body thanks to the iron in the hemoglobin in the blood. During this process, the oxygen reacts with the iron in the blood. This means there is a constant process resembling rusting in the blood in the human body, and therefore in the heart, the center of the circulation system.
An excess of iron in the blood can even lead to premature aging in all the body's cells by causing rust-like oxidation. In the disease known as `hemochromatosis,' caused by excess iron accumulating in the body, iron produces toxic effects and causes organs such as the liver to collapse. Since this is the result of iron oxidation, this phenomenon is often described as organs `rusting' or `rust accumulation' in organs. In the journal Science News, Dr. Sharon McDonnell describes the iron oxidation in cells making up organs as `rusting'.
Another reference says this about the disease: "...those with hemochromatosis absorb iron, storing it in their organs. Over time, it accumulates in toxic amounts, causing organs to fail because they literally rust."
It is only possible to identify the reaction of iron with oxygen in the body—oxidation in the blood—in laboratories with highly advanced equipment. The fact that such a comparison, so compatible with the scientific data, appears in the Quran is an evident miracle, given the time when the Quran was revealed. The fact that the Quran also contains countless other pieces of information all in agreement with modern science is another sign that it is the revelation of Omniscient Allaah, our Lord and the Creator of all things.

The mother’s womb with its secure protection
Allaah Almighty Says (what means): "Did We not create you from a liquid disdained? And We placed it in a firm lodging for a known extent. And We determined [it], and excellent [are We] to determine.” [Quran 77: 20-23]
And, "And certainly did We create man from an extract of clay. Then We placed him as a sperm-drop in a firm lodging. Then We made the sperm-drop into a clinging clot, and We made the clot into a lump [of flesh], and We made [from] the lump, bones, and We covered the bones with flesh; then We developed him into another creation. So blessed is Allaah, the best of creators.” [Quran 23: 12-14]
The above verses about the creation of human beings contain fundamental information from the field of embryology. The description of the womb as a "secure receptacle" indicates an important feature that has been better understood through modern science—Allaah knows the truth. The process that begins with the zygote, produced by the sperm and egg cells coming together and continues until the emergence of a complete human being, made up of trillions of cells all working in harmony, takes. The word "makeen," translated as `secure' above, also suggests such meanings as `unshakeable, sound, resolute, powerful, fixed and safely put in place.' The word "karaar" also means `location, stability, permanence and place of settlement: These words very wisely describe the womb as a sound and safe location. The mother's womb provides insulation against external agents, light and sound, and particularly protects the baby against shock and pressure.
Located in the pelvic cavity, the womb is well protected by the thick and strong bones that surround' endometrium’ on the inside, helping bear the weight of the embryo until the end of pregnancy. This structure made up of powerful muscles is ideally constructed for the baby's growth and development. During pregnancy, the ligaments attaching the bones in the region together become thicker and longer. These ligaments that attach the top of the womb to the strong pelvic bones make the womb strong and stable.
The embryo also has a source of the heat, water, oxygen and nutrients it needs during the course of its development. The mother's womb undergoes many changes that enhance its strength during pregnancy. Together with the muscles, ligaments and elastic tissues it contains, there is also an increase in the number of blood vessels and nerves. The womb is thus able to increase 20 times in more elasticity. The constant changes in the womb continue even after the embryo has grown into a healthy baby many hundreds of times larger than its initial state. The womb now changes in such a way as to permit the baby to exit in a healthy manner.
During pregnancy, another most miraculous state of affairs regarding the protection of the baby comes about. The baby is also protected against internal threats. When a foreign body enters the body, such as during an organ or bone—arrow transplant, the host's defense system begins reacting, and this can sometimes lead to fatal consequences. But that never happens to the fetus, and the mother's immune system does not regard it as a foreign body. It is extraordinary how the mother's immune system tolerates foreign genes from the father; because the baby is 50 percent foreign body. Marianne van den Heuvel, a scientist from Guelph University, describes this as `fascinating' and continues: `That was always a puzzle from an immunology standpoint because the fetus is actually foreign. It's part of the mother and "It's part of the mother and also part of the father. It should be rejected by the body...,” but, by the will of Allaah, no such thing happens, and the womb remains a very safe and secure place.
All the information about embryology provided in the Quran is in full agreement with modern medicine. This information, which has emerged through advanced technology, is one of the clearest proofs that the Quran is the revelation of our Lord, the Creator of all. It is also revealed in the Quran, which is full of information from hundreds of years ago that sheds light on the scientific world of today, that: Allaah Almighty Says what means: "And in the creation of yourselves and what He disperses of moving creatures are signs for people who are certain [in faith]." [Quran 45:04]

The myth of 'self organization of matter'

Quite aware that the Second Law of Thermodynamics renders evolution impossible, some evolutionist scientists have made speculative attempts to close the gap between the two, so as to render evolution possible. As usual, even those endeavors show that the theory of evolution faces an inescapable impasse.
One person distinguished by his efforts to marry thermodynamics and evolution is the Belgian scientist Ilya Prigogine. Starting out from the 'Chaos Theory', Prigogine proposed a number of hypotheses in which ordered forms come into existence from chaos (disorder). He argued that some open systems can portray a decrease in entropy due to an influx of outer energy and the resultant outcome “ordering”, is a proof that “matter can organize itself.” Since then, the concept of the “self-organization of matter” has been quite popular among evolutionists and materialists. They act like they have found a materialistic origin for the complexity of life and a materialistic solution for the problem of life’s origin.
But a closer look reveals that this argument is totally abstract and in fact just wishful thinking. Moreover, it includes a very na├»ve deception. The deception is the deliberate confusion of two distinct concepts, “self organization” and “self ordering.”
We can explain it by an example. Imagine a sea shore with different types of stones mixed with each other -- big stones, smaller stones and very tiny ones. When a strong wave hits the shore, there may appear an “ordering” among the stones. The water will raise the ones with equal weights in equal amounts. When the wave goes back, the stones may possibly be ordered from the smallest to the biggest towards the sea.
This is a “self ordering” process: the seashore is an open system and an influx of energy (the wave) may cause an “ordering”. But note that the same process can not make a castle of sand in the seashore. If we see a castle made of sand, we are sure that someone has made it. The difference between the castle and the “ordered” stones is that the former includes a very unique complexity, while the latter includes only repetitive order. It is like a typewriter typing “aaaaaaaaaaaaaaa” for hundreds of times – because an object (an influx of energy) fell onto the letter “a” on the keyboard. Of course, such a repetitive order of “a” s does not include any information and thus any complexity. You need a conscious mind to have a complex sequence of letters that includes information.
The same thing applies when wind enters a room full of dust. Before this influx, the dust may be scattered around. When the wind comes in, the dust may be collected in a corner of the room. This is “self ordering”. But the dust never “self organizes” itself and creates a picture of a man on the floor of the room.
These examples are quite similar to the ‘self organization' scenarios of evolutionists. They argue that matter has a tendency for self organization, then give examples of self ordering and then try to confuse both concepts. Prigogine himself gave examples of self ordering molecules during influx of energy. The American scientists Thaxton, Bradley and Olsen, in their book titled The Mystery of Life’s Origin, explain this fact as follows:
 “…In each case random movements of molecules in a fluid are spontaneously replaced by a highly ordered behavior." Prigogine, Eigen and others have suggested that a similar sort of self-organization may be intrinsic in organic chemistry and can potentially account for the highly complex macromolecules essential for living systems, but such analogies have scant relevance to the origin-of-life question. A major reason is that they fail to distinguish between order and complexity.
"… Regularity or order cannot serve to store the large amount of information required by living systems. A highly irregular, but specified structure is required rather than an ordered structure. This is a serious flaw in the analogy offered. There is no apparent connection between the kind of spontaneous ordering that occurs from energy flow through such systems and the work required to build a periodic information-intensive macromolecule like DNA protein.”
In fact, Prigogine himself had to accept that his arguments do no count for the origin of life. He said:
“The problem of biological order involves the transition from the molecular activity to the supermolecular order of the cell. This problem is far from being solved.”
Then, why do evolutionists still try to believe in unscientific scenarios like “self organization of matter”? Why do they insist on rejecting the manifest intelligence in living systems? The answer is that they have a dogmatic faith in materialism and they believe that matter has some mysterious power to create life. A professor of chemistry from New YorkUniversity and  DNA expert, Robert Shapiro explains this belief of evolutionists and the materialist dogma lying at its base as follows:
“Another evolutionary principle is therefore needed to take us across the gap from mixtures of simple natural chemicals to the first effective replicator. This principle has not yet been described in detail or demonstrated, but it is anticipated, and given names such as chemical evolution and self-organization of matter. The existence of the principle is taken for granted in the philosophy of dialectical materialism, as applied to the origin of life by Alexander Oparin.”
This situation makes it clear that evolution is a dogma that is against empirical science and the origin of living beings can only be explained by the intervention of a supernatural power. That supernatural power is Allaah (God), who created the entire universe from nothing. Science has proven that evolution is still impossible as far as thermodynamics is concerned and the existence of life has no explanation but Creation. 

Evolutionist claims and the facts

In this article, we will address a number of biological phenomena and concepts presented as theoretical evidence by evolutionists. These topics are particularly important for they show that there is no scientific finding that supports evolution, instead they reveal the extent of the distortion employed by evolutionists. 
Variations and Species
Variation is a term used in genetics to refer to a genetic event that causes individuals or groups of a certain species to harbor different characteristics from one another. For example, all the people on earth carry basically the same genetic information, yet some have slanted eyes, some have red hair, some have long noses, or some are short or tall depending on the extent of the variation potential of this genetic information.   

Evolutionists predict the variations within a species as evidence of the theory. However, variation does not constitute evidence for evolution, because variations are merely the outcomes of different combinations of the already existing genetic information and they do not add any new characteristic to the genetic information.

Variation always takes place within the limits of genetic information. In the science of genetics, this limit is called the “gene pool”. All the characteristics present in the gene pool of a species may come into view in various ways due to variation. For example, as a result of variation in a reptile species, there may appear varieties that have relatively longer tails or shorter legs, since the information for both long and short legs already exists in the gene pool. However, these variations do not transform reptiles into birds by adding wings or feathers to them, or by changing their metabolism. Such a change requires an increase in the genetic information of the living thing, which is by no means possible in variations.

Darwin was not aware of this fact when he formulated his theory. He thought that there was no limit to variations. In an article written in 1844 CE he had stated: “That a limit to variation does exist in nature is assumed by most authors, though I am unable to discover a single fact on which this belief is grounded”. In The Origin of Species he cited different examples of variations as the most important evidence for his theory.

For instance, according to Darwin animal breeders who mated different varieties of cattle in order to bring about new varieties that produced more milk, were ultimately going to transform them into a different species. Darwin’s notion of “unlimited variation” is best seen in the following sentence from The Origin of Species: “I can see no difficulty in a race of bears being rendered, by natural selection, more and more aquatic in their habits, with larger and larger mouths, till a creature was produced as monstrous as a whale.”
The reason Darwin cited such a far-fetched example was the primitive understanding of science in his day. Since then, in the 20th century CE, Science has posited the principle of “genetic stability” (genetic homeostasis) based on the result of experiments conducted on living things. This principle holds that all mating attempts carried out to produce new variations were inconclusive and that there are strict barriers among different species of living things. This meant that it was absolutely impossible for animal breeders to convert cattle into a different species by mating different variations of them as Darwin had postulated.
Norman Macbeth, who disproved Darwinism in his book Darwin Retired, states: “The heart of the problem is whether living things do indeed vary to an unlimited extent…The species look stable. We have all heard of disappointed breeders who carried their work to a certain point only to see the animals or plants revert to where they had started. Despite strenuous efforts for two or three centuries, it has never been possible to produce a blue rose or a black tulip.”

Luther Burbank, considered the most competent breeder of all time, expressed this fact when he said that: “there are limits to the development possible and these limits follow a law.” In addressing this subject the Danish scientist W.L. Johannsen commented:
“The variations upon which Darwin and Wallace had placed their emphasis cannot be selectively pushed beyond a certain point, that such variability does not contain the secret of indefinite departure.”

It is time that evolutionists were honest with themselves and realized that Science has its limits; it can only be a means of understanding the complex design underlying all Creation, it can never be a Creator itself.

The water cycle and the seas in the Quran

When the verses of the Quran concerning the role of water in man’s existence are read in succession today, they appear to express ideas that are obvious. The reason for this is simple: in our day and age, we all know about the water cycle in nature to a greater or lesser extent.
However, if we consider the various ancient concepts on this subject, it becomes clear that the data in the Quran does not embody the mythical concepts prevalent at the time of Revelation, that had developed more according to philosophical speculation than observed phenomena. Although it was empirically possible to acquire the useful practical knowledge necessary to improve irrigation, the concepts held on the water cycle in general would hardly be acceptable today.
Thus, it would have been easy to imagine that underground water could have come from the infiltration of precipitation in the soil. In ancient times however, this idea, held by Virtuvius Polio Marcus in Rome 1st century CE, was cited as an exception. Thereafter, for many centuries (and the Quranic Revelation occurred during this period) man held completely inaccurate views on the water cycle.
Two specialists on this subject, G. Gastany and B. Blavoux, in their entry in the Encyclopedia Universalis under the heading ‘Hydrogeology’, give an edifying history of this problem.
“In the 7th century CE, Thales of Miletus held the theory whereby the waters of the oceans, under the effect of winds, were thrust towards the interior of the continents; so the water fell upon the earth and penetrated into the soil. Plato shared these views and thought that the return of the waters to the oceans was via a great abyss, the ‘Tartarus’. Until the 18th century CE, this theory had many supporters, one of whom was Descartes. Aristotle imagined that the water vapour from the soil condensed in cool mountain caverns and formed underground lakes that fed springs. He was followed by Seneca (1st century CE) and many others, until 1877 CE, among them O. Volger …”
The first clear formulation of the water cycle must be attributed to Bernard Palissy in 1580 CE. He claimed that underground water came from rainwater infiltrating into the soil. This theory was confirmed by E. Mariotte and P. Perrault in the 17th century CE.
In the following passages from the Quran, there is no trace of the mistaken ideas that were current at the time of Prophet Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) .
The Quran says (what means): “We sent down water from the sky, blessed water whereby We caused to grow gardens, grains for harvest, tall palm-trees with their spathes, piled one above the other – sustenance for (Our) servants. Therewith We gave (new) life to a dead land. So will be the emergence (from the tombs).” [Quran 50:9-11]
And (what means): “We sent down water from the sky in measure and lodged it  in the ground. And We certainly are able to withdraw it. Therewith for you We gave rise to gardens of palm-trees and vineyards where for you are abundant fruits and of them you eat.” [Quran 23: 18-19]
And (what means): “We sent forth the winds that fecundate. We cause the water to descend from the sky. We provide you with the water – you (could) not be the guardians of its reserves.” [Quran 15:22]
There are two possible interpretations of this last verse. The fecundating winds may be taken to be the fertilizers of plants because they carry pollen. However, this may be a figurative expression referring by analogy to the role the wind plays in the process, whereby a non-raincarrying cloud is turned into one that produces a shower of rain.
The Quran says (what means): “Allaah is the One Who sends forth the winds which raised up the clouds. He spreads them in the sky as He wills and breaks them into fragments. Then thou seest raindrops issuing from within them. He makes them reach such of His servants as He wills. And they are rejoicing.” [Quran 30:48]
And  (what means): “(Allaah) is the One Who sends forth the winds like heralds of His Mercy. When they have carried the heavy-laden clouds, We drive them to a dead land. Then We cause water to descend and thereby bring forth fruits of every kind. Thus We will bring forth the dead. Maybe you will remember.” [Quran 7:57]
And (what means): “Hast thou not seen that Allaah sent water down from the sky and led it through sources into the ground? Then He caused sown fields of different colors to grow.”  [Quran 39:21]
And (what means): “Therein We placed gardens of palm-trees and vineyards and We caused water springs to gush forth.” [Quran 36:34]
The importance of springs and the way they are fed by rainwater conducted into them is stressed in the last three verses. It is worth pausing to examine this fact and call to mind the predominance in the Middle Ages of views such as those held by Aristotle, according to whom springs were fed by underground lakes. In his entry on Hydrology in the Encyclopedia Universalis, M.R. Remenieras, a teacher at the French National School of Agronomy (Ecole nationale du Genie rural, des Eaux et Forets), describes the main stages of hydrology and refers to the magnificent irrigation works of the ancients, particularly in the Middle East. However, he notes that an empirical outlook ruled over everything, since the ideas of the time proceeded from mistaken concepts. He continues as follows:
“It was not until the Renaissance (between circa 1400 and 1600 CE) that purely philosophical concepts gave way to research based on the objective observation of hydrologic phenomena. Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519 CE) rebelled against Aristotle’s statements. Bernard Palissy, in his Wonderful Discourse on the Nature of Waters and Fountains both Natural and Artificial (Discours admirable de la nature des eaux et fontaines tant naturelles qu’artificielles; Paris, 1570) gives a correct interpretation of the water cycle and especially of the way springs are fed by rainwater.”
This last statement is surely exactly what is mentioned in the Quran (chapter 39, verse 21) describing the way rainwater is conducted into sources in the ground.
The subject of chapter 24, verse 43, is rain and hail (which means):
 “Hast thou not seen that God makes the clouds move gently, then joins them together, then makes them a heap. And thou seest raindrops issuing from within it. He sends down from the sky mountains of hail, He strikes therewith whom He wills and He turns it away from whom He wills. The flashing of its lightning almost snatches away the sight.”
The following passage requires some comment (which means):
 “Have you observed the water you drink? Do you bring it down from the rainclouds? Or do We? If it were Our will, We could make it salty. Then why are you not thankful?” [Quran 56: 68-70]
This reference to the fact that God could have made fresh water salty is a way of expressing Divine Omnipotence. Another means of reminding us of the same Omnipotence is the challenge to man to make rainfall from the clouds. In modern times however, technology has surely made it possible to create rain artificially. Can one therefore oppose the statement in the Quran to man’s ability to produce precipitations?
The answer is no, because it seems clear that one must take account of man’s limitations in this field. M.A. Facy, an expert at the French Meteorological Office, wrote the following in the Encyclopedia Universalis under the heading Precipitations: “It will never be possible to make rain fall from a cloud that does not have the suitable characteristics of a raincloud or one that has not yet reached the appropriate stage of evolution (maturity).” Therefore, man can never hasten the precipitation process by technical means, when the natural conditions for it are not present. If this were not the case, droughts would never occur in practice – which they obviously do. Thus, to have control over rain and fine weather still remains a dream.
Man cannot willfully break the established cycle that maintains the circulation of water in nature. This cycle may be outlined as follows, according to modern ideas on hydrology:
The heat from the sun’s rays causes the water from the sea and other water surfaces on Earth to evaporate. The water vapour that is given off rises into the atmosphere and, by condensation, forms clouds. The winds then intervene and move the clouds thus formed over varying distances. The clouds can then either disperse without producing rain, or combine their mass with others to create even greater condensation, or they can fragment and produce rain at some stages in their evolution. When rain reaches the sea (70 percent  of the Earth’s surface is covered by water), the cycle is soon repeated. When rain falls on the land, it may be absorbed by vegetation aid its growth; the vegetation in its turn gives off water and thus returns some water to the atmosphere. The rest, to a lesser or greater extent, infiltrates into the soil, from where it is either conducted through channels into the sea, or comes back to the Earth’s surface network through springs or resurgences.
When one compares the modern data of hydrology to what is contained in the numerous verses of the Quran quoted in this paragraph, one has to admit that there is a remarkable degree of agreement between them.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Media and the Islamic Identity of the Muslim Child - II

1- The importance of protecting children from the media invasion and the obliteration of identity:
Childhood is one of the most important stages in one’s life, because his personality and tendencies are formed during this time, in addition to physical and mental growth.

Psychological and educational studies prove that this is the most critical stage in a person’s development, and that the child stores the majority of the experiences and information that affect his life in the future during this stage.
The child, as described by Al-Ghazzaali  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him is a “blank sheet in which we may write down good or evil. So, if we habituate him to be good, he will be a good, and vice versa.”
Therefore, it is vital that we pay attention to the child and ensure that what is introduced to him in his social environment is intellectually beneficial to reflect positively on the young child, his behavior and development.
Today, our children face an intellectual invasion in a world dominated by influential cultures that own the most influential mass media.
Hence, there must be practical means to protect children from the bad and negative programs that are presented to them.
Ismaa‘eel ‘Abd Al-Kaafi, says, "We must preserve the Islamic identity of our generations through providing them with suitable cultural and media production alternatives to exist side by side with foreign media and cultural products in this age of information technology.

The family, school, mosque, mass media and the society as a whole should participate in guiding and directing this process. The society must be aware of the danger of mass media against our children if they are not directed rightly under the supervision of different educational institutions."
2- Types of educational means and their influence on the child’s identity and culture:
1- TV as a means of media: There is no doubt that watching TV daily occupies the spare time of the children and adults as well. They acquire information and are introduced to different cultures through it. One of the negative impacts of TV, to which we should pay attention, is that the children spend many hours in front of it. This affects their social life and relations as well as their behavior with their playmates.
TV also affects their studies and the negative effect of the violence and crime on TV programs cannot be denied.
This shows us the role of the TV in sowing the seeds of fear and worry in our children through horror movies and movies featuring ghosts and devils.

2- Computer as a means for developing the culture of the young:
PC and video games are among the most influential factors in guiding and directing children. Educational studies reveal that computer programs can have negative and positive effects on the culture of the Muslim child.
The positive effects include strengthening the child’s ability to read, write, express himself orally, listen, and pay attention.
They also provide the child with general culture, teach him some scientific principles, help him to learn foreign languages, and help him to develop his artistic and mathematical abilities.
These programs also strengthen the child’s ability to solve problems, improve his social adjustment, develop his skills and hobbies, and make use of his spare time.
On the other hand, these programs have negative effects, because they weaken the child’s ability to perform social activities and duties. They also distract the child from playing physical games. Negative health effects include habituating the child to laziness and may cause obesity due to lack of movement, in addition to deterioration of general health.
Despite the benefits of these programs, their use as a means of education and culture ‎is still limited in comparison to direct social interaction. Their role in education and culture is still weaker than the printed and visual mass media in poorer communities and among lower classes.
The Internet absorbs the child’s attention and makes many children lose their ability to talk and communicate with others.
3- Printed mass media and stories as sources of the child’s culture:
Printed materials such as books and magazines still play an important role in developing children’s culture, because they encourage creative abilities, entertain the child, occupy his spare time and develop his hobbies.
Printed media refines behavior and instills good morals, corrects deviant characters and loosens the shackles of blind imitation and foreign destructive ideas.
We want to transform the printed media and all mass media into resources that enrich the child’s culture away from all the materials that do not accord with our social environment and culture.
Stories are considered a vital resource that can implant correct beliefs in the child’s mind, provides him with facts, and reinforce the educational process. Children’s literature is a positive means that forms the religious creed and develops cultural experiences.
A story is still considered a beacon and an important educational method and its content has always played a key educational role because of its psychological and educational advantages. 

Media and the Islamic Identity of the Muslim Child - I

1- The meaning of the child’s culture:
Culture refers to a combination of beliefs, morals, traditions, laws, knowledge and behavioral patterns that one acquires within society.
Children have their special and distinguished vocabularies, as well as special values and methods that they use in playing, expressing themselves and satisfying their needs. They also have special reactions, stances, trends, emotions and lifestyle. We call all this the “child’s culture”.
2- Mass media as a source of the child’s culture and experiences:
Today all cultural borders between nations have disappeared and we live now amidst a massive technological and scientific revolution within which the mass media plays a very important role in forming the child’s psychology religiously, culturally and socially. To have a child with a distinct and integrated personality, there should be a specific vision to preserve his cultural and religious identity.
In this respect, the mass media including TV, the Internet, electronic games, and so on, play a key role in building the Muslim child culturally. It should be determined what is introduced to him from the other cultures.
Studies all over the world show that the child between the ages of six to sixteen spends about 12-24 hours a week in front of screens.

Influence of the mass media on the child:
The mass media provides a small child with different cultures while he is still unable to differentiate between what is good and what is bad. This transforms the mass media into a double-edged weapon with its positive and negative influences. This should draw our attention to the fact that the mass media and media institutions that are directed to the child and that are concerned with childhood should be the center of attention of the whole society.
We do not deny the importance of print, audio, and visual mass media in forming learning experiences, and defining, modifying and dispersing attitudes. Similarly, we do not deny the role of the mass media in developing the child’s personality, polishing his skills, and developing his mental, emotional and social abilities. The media for the child is a method for guidance and entertainment, as well as a means for transferring and establishing traditions. However, where are the mass media that cover all that interests the child?
The media materials that our children watch on TV or other mass media can be divided into three categories:
The first category:
Disney films, which are made in the West and that aim at serving the American culture in particular. The theme of these films is derived from their Western values, which contradict our own Islamic traditions and values. So-called "love" dominates every single word of these stories, which aim to mold the child’s mentality in a certain way. If we contemplate the appearance, we will find that they fulfill the criteria of material beauty.
Therefore, a child who watches such films will grow up knowing nothing but the Western concept of beauty, not to mention that these films aim at making profits in the first place. This attitude transforms the child into a consumer, because once he sees the story, he hurries to buy pens and notebooks that carry the pictures of its heroes.
The second category:
The Far East dubbed cartoon films that are characterized by wild imagination and featuring violent electronic aliens that walk in the streets to destroy and kill. These films are introduced to the Arab child through the local mass media.
The third category:
This category is represented in the local materials that are produced by private and public media establishments. They are mostly in audio or video format. However, they are artistically and technically weak and cannot compete with the other alternatives. Nevertheless, some successful and beneficial works appear from time to time. Some institutions also produce stories derived from the Quran and Islamic history in addition to Nasheeds (Islamic poetry). However, such materials are too few to meet the Muslim child’s needs.
3- Mass media and their influence on the identity and culture of the Muslim child:
The issue of the mass media and the Muslim child’s culture is critical, given the important role of the mass media in transferring the Ummah’s culture from generation to generation. The mass media are also considered cultural means that help in supporting stances, encouraging desired behaviors and warning against undesired ones. This shows us the greatness of the responsibility of the mass media that target the Muslim child and those who run them.
The majority of studies and researches in this field show that belonging to a strong and civilized environment with a distinct identity since early childhood is one of the most influential factors in the child’s upbringing and culture. Hence, the mass media shoulder a great responsibility regarding focusing on the Islamic values that should be implanted in the child to form a set of beliefs that express his Islamic identity.

Guided to Faith by a Blind Boy - II

I wiped away his tears with my hands and held his hand. I wanted to take him to the mosque by car but he refused, arguing that it was close by and that he wanted to walk to the mosque. I felt ashamed because I could not even remember the last time I had entered the mosque. However, it was the first time I was feeling fear and regret for my negligence over the past years.
The mosque was full of worshippers, but I managed to find a place for Saalim in the first row. We listened to the Friday Khutbah (sermon) together and he prayed beside me; actually, no, I prayed beside him.
After the end of the prayer, Saalim asked me to hand him a copy of the Quran. I was surprised: how could he read when he was blind?
I was about to ignore his request, but I responded for fear of hurting his feelings. I handed him the copy of the Quran.

He asked me to open it and get the beginning of Chapter Al-Kahf. I kept on turning the pages one time and searching for the page number in the index another time until I finally found it.
He took it from me, put it before him and started to recite the Chapter while his eyes were closed. He had memorized the whole Chapter!
I was ashamed of myself. I picked up another copy of the Quran.
I felt a shiver going through my body as I read more and more of it. I asked Allaah The Almighty to forgive and guide me and began crying like a child. I kept reading the Quran and asked Allaah The Almighty to forgive and guide me.
There were still some people at the mosque performing the voluntary prayer. I was embarrassed and tried to hold back my tears, but my crying turned into weeping and sobbing.
I did not feel a small hand touching my face and wiping away my tears. It was Saalim. I embraced him, looked at him and said to myself: "You are not the blind; rather, I was the blind one when I followed some dissolute persons who were dragging me to Hell."
We returned home to my wife, who was very worried about Saalim. Her worry turned into tears of joy when she came to know that I had performed the Friday prayer with Saalim.
From that day on, I did not miss any congregational prayer in the mosque. I deserted my bad companions and had righteous companions whom I befriended at the mosque. I tasted the sweetness of faith with my new friends and learnt things from them that I had been too preoccupied by worldly pleasures to know. I never missed a gathering of knowledge or a Witr prayer and completed the recitation of the Quran many times within one month, by the grace of Allaah The Almighty. I kept my tongue often busy with remembrance of Allaah The Almighty, hoping that He would forgive me for past habit of backbiting and mocking people. I felt that I got closer to my family. The look of fear and pity that always loomed in my wife's eyes disappeared.
Now, a smile never leaves Saalim’s face. Anyone who sees him would feel as if he owns the whole world with everything in it. I praised Allaah The Almighty so much for His favors.
One day, my righteous friends decided to visit a remote area in order to give Da‘wah. I was hesitating about going with them. I performed the Istikhaarah prayer and consulted my wife. I had expected that she would refuse but her answer was the opposite!
She was very happy and even encouraged me. She used to see me traveling for dissolute purposes to commit lewd acts in the past without consulting her. I went to Saalim and told him that I was going away for a few days, and he embraced me with his small arms and bid me farewell. I left home for three months and a half. During that period, I used to call my family whenever I had the chance. I missed them so much! I missed Saalim so much!
I wished to hear his voice. He was the only one who I could not speak with since I had traveled for he was either in school or the mosque whenever I called them.
Whenever I told my wife how I missed him, she laughed from sheer joy and happiness. The last time I called her, however, she did not sound her normal self and I did not hear her expected laugh.
I asked her to convey my greetings to Saalim. She replied, “In shaa’ Allaah (God Willing)” and kept silent.
Finally I went back home. I knocked on the door, hoping to see Saalim opening the door, but I was surprised when my son Khaalid, who was less than four years old, opened the door. I carried him in my arms while he cried out in joy, “Father! Father!”
I do not know why I felt a sense of distress when I entered the house. I sought refuge in Allaah The Almighty from the accursed devil. My wife came forward with an unusually strained face: it was as if she was faking her joy and happiness.
I looked at her carefully and then asked her, “What is the matter?” She said, “Nothing.” Suddenly I remembered Saalim and said, “Where is Saalim?”
She lowered her head and did not answer and some tears fell on her cheeks. I cried out, “Saalim! Where is Saalim?” Thereupon, I heard only the voice of my son, Khaalid, saying in a childish tone, “Saalim went to Paradise...he is with Allaah…”
My wife could not bear her sorrow in silence anymore and burst into tears. She was about to fall unconscious on the ground, and left the room.
Later, I came to know that Saalim had contracted fever two weeks before my return. My wife took him to the hospital but his fever got worse and he died.

Guided to Faith by a Blind Boy - I

I still remember the night my wife gave birth to my first son. I was not yet thirty years of age and had stayed out with my friends in a restaurant all night. It was an evening full of vain talk, not to mention backbiting and vulgar comments. I was often the one who instigated the comments and backbiting that made them laugh.
I remember that I made them laugh a lot that night. I had the unique talent of mimicking others to an uncanny degree. I could change the tone of my voice so that it became exactly like the person I was mocking. Yes, it was my habit to mock all people, even my friends. Some people avoided me in order to be safe from my tongue.
I remember that night I mocked a blind person I saw begging in the market. What is even worse is that I put my foot in his way and he tripped and fell to the ground. He kept on turning his head this way and that, not knowing what to say. I laughed in a loud voice and my laugh echoed throughout the market. I went back home late as usual and found my wife waiting for me. She was in a pathetic condition.
With a quavering voice, she said, “Raashid… where were you?”
I said sarcastically, “On Mars! I was with my friends of course.”

She appeared very tired and fatigued. She was overcome with tears and said, “Raashid... I am exhausted…it seems like I am about to give birth.” Then a silent tear fell on her cheek.
I felt that I had neglected my wife. I was supposed to take care of her and stop my evenings out, particularly as she was in her ninth month.

I quickly accompanied her to the hospital.
She entered the delivery room and was in labor pains for several hours, while I waited impatiently for the birth. She suffered from a difficult delivery. I waited for a long time until I got tired, then I went home and left my phone number in order for them to call me and give me the good news.
An hour later, they called me in order to give me the good news of the birth of Saalim. I immediately went to the hospital. When they saw me asking about my wife’s room, they asked me to meet the doctor first. I shouted, “What doctor? I want to see my son, Saalim.” They said, “You have to meet the doctor first.”
I entered upon the doctor and she started talking to me about afflictions and being satisfied with fate. Then she said, “Your child suffers from a serious deformity in his eyes and it appears that he is blind!”
I lowered my head, trying to conceal my tears. I remembered the blind beggar I had tripped up in the market and made people laugh at.
Glory be to Allaah! What goes around comes around! I kept silent for a while and did not know what to say. Then I remembered my wife and son. I thanked the doctor for her kindness and then went to see my wife.
My wife was not sad because she believed in and was satisfied with the divine decree of Allaah The Almighty. She had often advised me to stop mocking people. She had often repeated: do not backbite people.
We came out of the hospital with my son Saalim. The fact was that I did not care much about him much and ignored his presence at home. When he cried, I would flee to the living room to sleep. My wife, however, showered him with love and care. As for me, I did not hate him, but I could not love him either!
Saalim started growing and he started to crawl like all babies, but in a strange abnormal way. When he was almost one year old, he tried to walk but we discovered that he was disabled. This affected me a great deal.
Later, my wife gave birth to my other sons, Khaalid and ‘Umar.
Years passed and Saalim and his brothers grew up. I did not like to stay at home and spent most of my time with my friends; I was like a toy in their hands and completely under their influence. My wife, however, did not despair of reforming me; she was always supplicating Allaah The Almighty to guide me. She never got angry at my irrational actions, but she was greatly grieved when she saw me ignoring Saalim and taking care of his brothers.
Saalim grew up and my pain grew as well. I did not object when my wife asked to enroll him in a school for the disabled. I did not feel the passing of years. The routine in which I spent my days was: work, sleep, eating and enjoyment in the evenings.
One Friday, I woke up at eleven o'clock in the morning. It was too early by my usual standards. I has been invited to a wedding banquet, so I put on my clothes, applied perfume and went out.
I passed by the living room – but I stopped when I saw that Saalim was weeping bitterly!
It was the first time I had paid attention to Saalim’s weeping since he was a child. Ten years had passed and I had never given him any attention. I tried to ignore him but I could not. I heard his voice calling his mother while I was in the room.
I turned and then approached him. I said, “Saalim, Why are you crying?”
When he heard my voice, he stopped crying. When he felt me approaching him, he started trying to feel around him with his small hands. Why was he doing that? I saw that he was trying to move away from me! It is as if he was saying, “Now you deign to take notice of my presence! Where were you ten years ago?”

I followed him and he entered his room. In the beginning, he refused to tell my why he was weeping. It was only when I spoke gently to him that he ventured to mention the reason behind his weeping. As I listened to him, I began trembling. Do you know why?
His brother ‘Umar, who used to accompany him to the mosque (Masjid) was late and because it was Friday, he was afraid of not finding a place in the first row. Saalim called ‘Umar and his mother but neither of them answered. Thus, he began weeping. I looked at the tears falling from his blind eyes and could not bear the sight, and so, I put my hand on his mouth and said, “Are you weeping for this reason, O Saalim!” He replied, “Yes…”
I forgot my friends. I forgot the banquet. I said, “Saalim, don’t be sad. Do you know who will accompany you to the mosque today?” He said, “‘Umar, of course. But he is always late.” I said, “No. I will accompany you.” Saalim was surprised and could not believe his ears. He thought that I was mocking him, and continued to weep.