Ramadan Mubarak 2017! (emergency appeal donation links)

Ramadan Mubarak to all Muslims around the world. This month always catches me off guard, especially with exams just around the corner. But I hope for it to be one full of tranquility, hope, self reflection, knowledge, abstinence and charity. In light of recentQuram tragic events in the world, I pray that the spirit of Ramadan encourages people to not lead themselves astray from what is merciful and just and stay committed to tolerance and patience, as is taught by our faith. My heart goes out to the millions of Muslims who will find Ramadan difficult as a result of continued warfare, poverty/famine or personal grievances. I pray God gives them the sustenance and hope they need ❤

You can donate to Muslim Aid’s Syria Emergency Appeal here: https://www.muslimaid.org/campaigns/syria-emergency-appeal/syria-critical-emergency-appeal/

East Africa’s Famine: https://www.muslimaid.org/campaigns/current-emergencies/east-africa-emergency-appeal/

Bangladesh Emergency Appeal after a severe storm: https://www.muslimaid.org/campaigns/current-emergencies/bangladesh-emergency-appeal/

Myanmar Emergency Appeal: https://www.muslimaid.org/campaigns/current-emergencies/myanmar-burma-appeal/

Also Iraq, Yemen, Gaza, Europe’s refugee crisis, South Asia: https://www.muslimaid.org/campaigns/

Ramadan Mubarak!

Bushra 🙂

 

THE HYPOCRISY IN TRUMP’S DIVISIVE POLICIES – TORTURE, MEXICAN WALL, MUSLIM BAN!

I’ll be honest – for a split second I assumed Trump was probably being outrageously outspoken for the cameras and would probably realise that if elected President, he has to be a bit more diplomatic and wary of his approach. Especially in this age of fear.

Well, I can now confirm that I am not even American and feel the weight of his dangerous tactics, especially after Theresa’s May refusal to say if she condemns his stances on refugees, torture and democratic values on behalf of the British people.As Jeremy Corbyn recently tweeted, that clearly indicates that you have taken the side of the oppressor by refusing to condemn.

Some of Trump’s recent moves:

His reaction to the woman’s march and the media’s coverage of his donald-trump-grow-upInauguration’s crowd sizes: Trump needs to seriousely get over the crowd sizes dispute and accept that the protests and marches were far bigger than it. It’s worrying that a President has so much energy to put into the crowds than to listen to the legitimate concerns of many of the woman protesting in regards to woman’s reproductive rights, minority rights, disability rights and other vulnerable groups who have been demonised by Trump’s divisive election campaign and are yet to receive any reassurance that their rights will be guaranteed. Rather, Trump went straight to Twitter to slam the purpose of the march, stating that they should’ve voted and even signed an executive order soon after banning federal funding to international NGOs which can provide SAFE abortions, rather than resorting to dangerous means. I wonder what the desperation will now do to these woman.

His belief that torture such as WATERBOARDING should be permitted: This is quite clearly an ABSOLUTE violation of the human rights stated within the Geneva Conventions.  Trump states he will stick by his advisers who claim it works. It’s disgusting that the leader of the once free world cannot see through this practise and it’s implications. Firstly, it leads to the possibility of false allegations admitted to out of desperation which completely contradicts a fair trial, as seen multiple times in Guantanamo Bay. Also, what example will America set to the world by presenting the ludicrous idea that the use of torture, a barbaric practice, is permissible? It would be a slap to the US constitution at best.

The assumption that Mexico will pay for a wall on the Southern Border: If any nation, America must know the dangers of mistreating your neighbours. The Mexican President has made it clear,  that he will not pay for this wall and so Trump has no choice but to tax them for it, especially after making it clear to Mexico that the intended meeting between them should not happen if the payment of the wall cannot be agreed to. And therefore, the Mexican President cancelled it. It will therefore cost the American taxpayer billions. And increase food prices for Mexican imported goods. Oh, but screw federal funding of woman’s reproductive rights, or the medical care for those struggling to afford it.

AND MOST OUTRAGEOUSLY, Trump has executed an executive order for a total ban on citizens from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somali, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. I’m absolutely speechless. This is a clear manipulation of many American’s desire to control immigration sensibly and a clear attempt to appease those who like to pretend that this divisive policy will somehow protect them. Funnily enough, most of the banned nations have/have had direct American interference such as the bombing of Syria, Iraq and Libya which has ironically created the very many refugees which Trump now refuses any form of interaction with.

Secondly, this ‘ban’ appears to exclude the more prosperous Muslim nations which Trump has business dealings with AND includes the famous Saudi Arabia, where many terrorists have been bred including the majority of those who committed the 9/11 atrocities. The fact that Trump has appeared to pick on mainly third world countries plus Iran (who the US maintains no diplomatic ties to anyway) proves that this is an attempt to satisfy the ego of those who want to scapegoat the reality of where the true threat of terrorism lies. Because that’d hurt Trump’s wallet, you see.

It has also just been announced that this ban applies to those of dual nationality from those countries which is the sickening considering MANY American citizens hold dual nationality from such countries. What sort of message is this sending to Muslim-Americans? That they are not welcome? Because that sure reminds me of a time in history. It’s deeply disturbing that vulnerable people such as refugees, exiled citizens and people in fear of their life for defying the country with LEGITIMATE VISAS have simply been turned away. IT IS AN OUTRAGE and a MASS VIOLATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS AND INTERNATIONAL LAW. It is also a clear stereotype against the potential of citizens of those countries. Trump is deterring and preventing intellectuals, inspirations and those in search of the American dream from making their mark. ALL cases should be made on an individual basis, with vetting towards ALL, not a specific group of people. These are people, not a political bargaining tool!

Bushra

Don’t forget to LIKE, COMMENT YOUR VIEWS, AND SHARE!

TWITTER: @BushraSpeaks

Terrorism in 2016 #NotInMyName

I thought I’d make a post showing solidarity with the victims of not only the recent attacks in Iraq, Bangladesh, the United States, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and France, but in the rest of the world, where more terror attacks than the media has shown us have occurred simply in 2016. Amongst those who have been victims this year include: Somalia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Egypt, Israel, Gaza, Syria, Nigeria, Russia, Libya, Tunisia, Thailand, Sudan, India, Congo, Burundi, Germany, Bahrain, Niger.

I’m in no doubt that there are far more countries that have experienced some form of loss as a result of heartless souls who turn to terrorism to fulfill their twisted agendas. I don’t want to even think about the number of deaths and causalities they have amounted to over the years. Just reading the list of countries makes me so upset, as this is only referring to 2016, where terror attacks or some form of disruption caused by humans seems to have become the norm, which is so sad for the future generation to grow up in.notinmyname

The list of countries who have suffered just goes to show that no place is truly safe from these attacks, and while some countries have suffered considerably more, particularly where terrorism is far more normal than in the West, every single life lost is a tragedy, no matter their race, religion or background. Terrorism on any grounds is repulsive, whether it be for political or religious justifications. It has always horrified me that terror groups such as IS, who, in my disgust, pleasantly take responsibility for many of these attacks, having no clear regard for humanity.

While words won’t make a major difference in undoing the endless pain that the families of the victims will continue to suffer from their losses, I think it’s important to let the world know that the vast majority of Muslims stand with you in horror at their barbarism and solidarity always, as they continuously to target indiscriminately, killing both Muslims and non Muslims alike. The very thought that God demands the death of his people is absolutely absurd – their so called ‘jihad’ refers to a just war in a battlefield, with serving soldiers, NOT civilians. They continue to use religion as a scapegoat for some of their politicized aims which is why this sudden surge of the trend of ‘Islamism’ is on it’s rise. As so called ‘Muslims’, they have broken every rule of God.

As opposed to  feeding to the stereotypes and misunderstandings that occur, ALL good people, no matter their caste or creed must unite to defeat this phenomenon of terrorism, which has been seen to occur from lone wolf attacks to being part of a larger network, from terrorists of completely different backgrounds, such as in Bangladesh with the shooting of foreigners at a popular cafe in Dhaka, where the attackers were found to be very rich, and in other instances where some were not religious at all. Whatever the reasoning, terrorism is terrorism and we MUST fight it together before it continues it’s gains in a divided society.

#NotInMyName #PrayForHumanity

Don’t forget to SHARE, COMMENT and LIKE to get this important message across 🙂

Bushra x

TWITTER: @BushraSpeaks

EID MUBARAK 2016!!

It’s been agees since I last posted so I thought I’d return with a post wishing all Muslims Rüyada-Kuranı-Kerim-Görmek-1across the globe a very HAPPY AND GLORIOUS EID! The holy month of Ramadan is over, in which so many Muslims grasped the opportunity to spiritually reflect on themselves, as well as become conscious of the little things we do in daily life. While the month appears to have flown past for many, it’s important to remember that it’s not been the case for those living in war struck and poverty ridden countries. The month there has also been a struggle. Thankfully, this year so many people strived to make extra donations to aid their breaking of the fast. The month has also seen many recent terror attacks, such as the ones in Turkey, Iraq, Bangladesh, and even Medina, at the heart of the Prophet Muhammad’s home, which is something totally unprecedented in a month where empathy, tolerance and sanctuary is expected and rewarded. And so my heart goes out especially to those people suffering everywhere, whether it be due to poverty, war,or having lost a loved one. May God make your experience full of ease ❤

 

EID MUBARAK! x

TWITTER: @BushraSpeaks

What is Ramadan?

So you may have heard of Ramadan, which is the month annually that Muslims across the entire world fast for a period of 30 days. But it isn’t as simple as that, and so below are answers to common questions non – Muslims may have about it all!😀             know-ramadan

When does it all happen?

Ramadan happens once a year for 30 days, during the 9th month of the Islamic Calendar (hence why it varies yearly, and it depends on the sighting of the moon), in order to commemorate the first revelation of the Quraan to the Prophet Muhammad. During these days, fasting is maintained from dawn until sunset. At the end of the thirty days, it is Eid, a day of celebration and joy and Muslims’ main religious holiday/festival.

What happens in Ramadan?

During Ramadan, as mentioned above, the main thing is to abstain from eating and drinking from dawn till sunset, as well as abstaining from sexual relations, smoking or forms of medication. (unless essential, of course!) However, the idea of
reforming and becoming a better person comes by the fact that this is a month of great emphasis on the five pillars of Islam. Therefore, people make greater efforts in being aware of their actions, and gaining a sense of self discipline for actions which they would disregard as the norm in day to day life. The fast is broken upon sunset, after the call of prayer for Maghrib (4th prayer of the day) and may typically be done with dates and a glass of water, as this is what the Prophet would break his fast with. The breaking of the fast is known as  the ‘Iftar’, and many Mosques provide this for those breaking their fast immediately after the hearing of the call to prayer, as well as communities and families joining together to break their fast – this demonstrates the  strong sense of cohesion between people of all different races and walks of life, who come together through the same intention of becoming closer to God, and fasting.

In addition, things that people do throughout the month are:

Zakat – this is known as charity, as a Muslim is required, providing they have the means to do so, to give 2.5% of their wealth to charity, though some may choose to give more during the holy month of Ramadan.

Recitation of the Quraan – Many Muslims make the intention to complete the recitation of the entire Quraan throughout the month, with some completing it even two or three times, and some even more, considering it is the month we believe the Quraan was revealed to the Prophet by God.

Taraweeh Prayers – These are extra, optional prayers after the final prayer (Esha), which most Muslims do as a sign of extra commitment and  a time to repent.

Some Muslims may also choose to go on a pilgrimage to Mecca, the Prophet’s birthplace, during this time.

Why do you do it?

Well for a start, it’s not as simple as just fasting for the sake of God. It’s a way in which we spiritually cleanse our soul of impurities and sin. It’s also a strong way in becoming closer to God, as the month symbolizes the first revelation of the downloadQuraan to the Prophet Muhammad. However, alongside these main factors, it also gives us a first hand experience on the suffering of those in the poorer parts of the world, who do not have privileges like we may have, or even the means to break a fast, and so through fasting, alongside charity donations throughout the month, we become aware of just how fortunate we really are.

Many also believe it has health benefits too, though this is only in addition to the sole purpose in becoming closer to your spiritual sense, as well as fulfilling your purpose as a giving and stronger being, with qualities developed such as self discipline, empathy, generosity and a sense of spirituality, alongside important duties as a Muslim being committed to, such as Zakat (charity giving) and Saum (prayer), which are part of the five pillars of Islam and emphasized hugely in Ramadan. Furthermore, it allows us to build the key traits mentioned such as generosity, self discipline and empathy for the less fortunate. You abstain from acts which may seem casual in day to day life but are in actual fact morally wrong (eg. swearing, backbiting) and there is a strong focus to rid of these in Ramadan, in hope you can reflect on your character as a whole and become a better person at the end of the month, and continue after it.

Who has to fast?

It becomes compulsory for Muslims to start fasting when they reach puberty, so long as they are healthy and sane, and have no disabilities or illnesses, as well as pregnant/menstruating woman being exempt. Many children often, inspired by others and despite not being required to, may try and keep a few before reaching puberty. Often, it gives them a sense of being a part of it all!

Some Muslims with medical conditions may insist on fasting to satisfy their spiritual needs, although it is not recommended as it can have a severe toll on their health. Some, who take minor medication may adjust their medication to be taken during the non fasting hours, however for more serious conditions, fasting is not required and many make up for these outside of the month of Ramadan. In addition, some, (usually those who do not have a definite recovery) may pay to feed a poor family for the month of Ramadan instead, as is recommended.

If you are not Muslim, hopefully this post gave you some sort of insight on how the month of Ramadan will progress:) Feel completely free to ask any questions you may have:)

I would also like to take this opportunity to wish all Muslims across the globe a warm, spiritual and fulfilling Ramadan this year:) It’s beautiful how Muslims of all different races come together for the same cause and I truly hope you get what you want out of this time😀

Thanks for reading, please subscribe and share!

 

Bushra x

SUFISM: ISLAMIC MYSTICISM…

I’ve recently become fascinated by the culture and significance surrounding Sufism, which is not defined as being a ‘sect’ of Islam but rather a inner mystical dimension of it, which focuses solely on the purity of the heart in terms of how you conduct yourself with others, and your individual world/relationship with creation. It’s described by classic Sufi scholars as “a science whose objective is the reparation of the heart and turning it away from all else but God”.

Considering the amount of political violence and ‘religiously’ justified terrorism today which predates the foundation of morality and justice which Islam, alongside the other Abrahamic religions were built upon on, I feel like Sufism offers a fresh perspective on what faith really means. It has had a heavy influence on Islam in South Asia, where my heritage is and so directly supports the root message of Islam of kindness and justice, which is clear to have been deviated from by the rise of more literalist, over-scruptulous orders such as Salafism and Wahabism, which, while I don’t believe all members are directly associated with violence,  is being used to endorse and justify hate filled messages in parts of the world where the culture of ‘Jihadism’, as the media likes to call it is arising, which takes the Islamic teachings of war, called by a LEGITIMATE ruler of a GENUINE state as a last resort to fight oppression or long term persecution of people completely out of context and used as a means to achieve heavily politicized aims, while doing exactly what Islam calls against, governed by what they wrongly assume is ‘mainstream Islam’.

It’s no surprise that this misguided interpretation of Islam is so new, because it predates the core principles of the faith. Now this is why Sufi-Salafi relations are non existent. Many Salafis would oppose Sufism on the grounds of it’s association with using poetry/music/dance as a ways of expressing love for the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and God, or visiting the graves of famous Sufi saints and also on the basis that it’s somehow ‘not Islam’ and a part of a different culture entirely which is so wrong. Yes, Sufism has been embraced by many in the West such as the words of Rumi, as it’s poetry and articulation of words to paint a picture of the unimaginable is beautiful, but I stress once again that it is not some sort of seperate sect from Islam, but directly intertwined with the Prophet’s message.  You can have Sunni and Shia Sufis, and if anything, the most devout Sufi’s are in complete solitude, stricting adhering to the five pillars of Islam: the declaration of faith, prayer, charity, fasting and pilgrimage, encompassing compassion and tolerance towards humanity.

Out of all of the aspects of Islam, Sufism inspires me the most, and I feel their way of life, which is one of the most peaceful I’ve ever seen, deserves to have a platform over the typical ‘ISIS’ related article, in light of the persecution and terror many Muslims face from people apparently following the same faith, as well as the wrong use of religious scripture to attack innocent people practising their faith. These merciless, barbaric murderers must be condemned and ridiculed, while giving young Muslims today the mainstream version appreciated and followed by the majority instead of leaving a power vacuum in it’s place, giving rise for radical opportunists to misguide the youth. Purity, justice and love is what we should promote as the future generation, not turn to the twisted ideology presented to us by hardcore Salafists in the form of ‘compulsory Jihadism’. It’s misguided, wrong and not something our Prophet would be proud of today. This is merely how I see Sufism so far, but I am still learning more and there is so much to it, but I see it as the buffer we need today to fight the terror and atrocities committed in the name of Islam and it’s the youth who can look to our forefathers and truly drive it.

Thanks for reading, don’t forget to like and follow 😀

Bushra x

Charlie Hebdo Massacre in Paris

This is in the news everywhere at the moment, but if you are not sure of the details, yesterday, three Islamic extremists stormed into the Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris, killing four cartoonists, 6 others and two policemen. These men claimed to be ‘avenging the Prophet Muhammad’, after the satirical magazine published pictures depicting the Prophet in pretty offensive manners. However, the magazine is not targeted specifically at Islam and also regularly posts controversial and satirical cartoons of political leaders, as well as portraying an anti-religion stance. Sure, a lot of Muslims would find it pretty controversial, but death? That was highly uncalled for and an insult to a democratic state.

I would have to admit that I didn’t necessarily see the humor in depicting a man that moderate and peace loving Muslims respect as some joke, but if that’s what fulfilled his life, and what he enjoyed doing, despite the inevitable backlash, then I guess that was his will, and I wouldn’t confront his freedom of expression. I personally have never heard of him until yesterday, and have heard that the circulation of the newspaper was fairly moderate, at 40,000 copies per week,so I assume he was known to French Muslims, and not to Muslims across the rest of the world. Therefore, this massacre has only just increased his popularity. What I find so crazy about the attack is that it’s only just now that such an attack has occurred, despite having published for years, and so it goes to show the planning these gunmen must’ve established, before committing such a brutal act.

In my opinion, I think the Muslim fanatics who did this missed the whole point of Islam and the actions of the Prophet. He was brutally beaten and harmed for his founding of Islam, so I doubt a cartoon would knock him down. Wars and conflict across the world, including Muslims killing Muslims, as seen with the Peshwar Taliban attack, are far more traumatic than any cartoon will ever be, and religion may be all they have to get them through such struggles.The killing of a harmless person has offended the majority of Muslims far more than any cartoon. I do not agree with a lot of Charlie’s depictions, but I do not oppose democracy, and will ALWAYS fight for freedom of expression which doesn’t physically hurt anyone.

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “Religion is very easy, and whoever overburdens himself in his religion will not be able to continue in that way. So you should not be extremists, but try to be near to perfection and receive the good tidings that you will be rewarded.” Bukhari:V1N38

The misinterpretations of Jihad, as well as the wrong killings of innocent people has gotten to a point where Islam has been re-enforced as a religion of complete submission, war and violence, truly destroying the principles and basic foundations of peace and love it is based on, like many religions. It’s meanings seem to have been lost on it’s way, giving extremists the chance to make profit from religion and use it for their own political ends, seen across the world with groups like Al-Qaeda. This situation however, was worrying because those behind it seemed to genuinely believe that they were avenging the Prophet, when the Prophet himself would’ve walked away. In fact, the very idea of not drawing the Prophet is out of respect, alongside not keeping human figures in the home. There seems to be a distorted perception of Islamic values, and seem to commonly be given by those who have never studied the Quraan or Islamic history.

But, with all that aside, the fact that someone was killed so brutally, with no justification in Islam, and especially because it was in France,which is not an Islamic state, but a secular democracy, makes it intolerable and we shouldn’t have to accept these killings in the name of religion. Co-existence and unification between those of ALL religions, who uphold peaceful intentions and good morals should always be united. It should never be muslims vs everybody else, but rather extremists vs everybody else. Terrorism has NO religion, and no place in a democracy, and no place in Islam.

And on a final note, sticking to the idea of peaceful co-existence between moderates of ALL religions, twitter hashtags such as #KillAllMuslims are definitely not the way to go about it, and ironically, despite it supposedly being a ‘counter protest’ against supposed ‘islamic values’, it’s puts you into the same boat and mindset of the killers behind the Charlie Hebdo attack. The Sydney Siege recently, with the hashtag #IllRideWithYou was a far better example of those who will not allow fanatics with political or twisted religious justifications for violence come between anyone, associated with whatever religion to come between a united, democratic society.

Fight against extremism  – attack them with what they hate most – peace and unity.

Bushra x