Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds, and peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, the Seal of the Prophets and Chief of the Messengers, and upon all his family and companions (The true followers of his Sunnah).

Allah's sacred month of Muharram is a blessed and important month. It is the first month of the Hijri calendar and is one of the four sacred months concerning which Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):

"Verily, the number of months with Allah is twelve months (in a year), so it was ordained by Allah on the Day when He created the heavens and the earth; of them, four are sacred. That is the right religion, so wrong not yourselves therein…" [al-Tawbah 9:36]

It was reported that Ibn 'Abbaas said that this phrase (so wrong not yourselves therein…) referred to all the months, then these four were singled out and made sacred, so that sin in these months is more serious and good deeds bring a greater reward.

The Virtue of observing more naafil fasts during Muharram:

Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) said: "The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: '

The best of fasting after Ramadaan is fasting Allah's month of Muharram.'" (reported by Muslim).

This hadeeth is probably meant to encourage increasing one's fasting during Muharram, without meaning that one should fast for the entire month.

Fasting on 'Aashooraa'

Ibn 'Abbaas (may Allah be pleased with him) said: "The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) came to Madeenah and saw the Jews fasting on the day of 'Aashooraa'. He said, 'What is this?' They said, 'This is a righteous day, it is the day when Allah saved the Children of Israel from their enemies, so Moosa fasted on this day.' He said, 'We have more right to Moosa than you,' so he fasted on that day and commanded [the Muslims] to fast on that day." (Reported by al-Bukhaari)

Fasting on the day of 'Aashooraa', was obligatory but when fasting Ramadaan was made obligatory, the obligation to fast 'Aashooraa' was lifted, i.e., it was no longer obligatory to fast on this day, but it is still desirable (mustahabb).

The virtues of fasting 'Aashooraa:

Ibn 'Abbaas (may Allah be pleased with them both) said: "I never saw the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) so keen to fast any day and give it priority over any other than this day, the day of#'Aashooraa', and this month, meaning Ramadaan." (Reported by al-Bukhaari).

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: "For fasting the day of 'Aashooraa', I hope that Allah will accept it as expiation for the year that went before." (Reported by Muslim).

This is from the bounty of Allah towards us: for fasting one day He gives us expiation for the sins of a whole year. And Allah is the Owner of Great Bounty.

Which day is 'Aashooraa'?

Ibn 'Abbaas, said: 'The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) commanded us to fast 'Aashooraa', the tenth day of Muharram.' (Reported by al-Tirmidhi). It is mustahabb (encouraged) to fast Taasoo'aa' with 'Aashooraa':

'Abd-Allah ibn 'Abbaas (may Allah be pleased with them both) said: "When the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) fasted on 'Aashooraa' and commanded the Muslims to fast as well, they said, 'O Messenger of Allah, it is a day that is venerated by the Jews and Christians.' The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, 'If I live to see the next year, insha' Allah, we will fast on the ninth day too.' But it so happened that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) passed away before the next year came." (Reported by Muslim)

Al-Shaafa'i and his companions, Ahmad, Is- haaq and others said: "It is mustahabb to fast on both the ninth and tenth days, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) fasted on the tenth, and intended to fast on the ninth."

On this basis it may be said that there are varying degrees of fasting 'Aashooraa', the least of which is to fast only on the tenth and the best of which is to fast the ninth as well. And the more one fasts in Muharram, the better it is.

We ask Allah to make us followers of the Sunnah of His Noble Prophet and may Allah bless our Prophet Muhammad and all his family and companions and his true followers.

Extracted from Booklet by Shaykh Saleh Munajjid

On the authority of Abu Saeed Al-Khudri, who said: I heard the messenger of Allah salallahu alayhi wa sallam say: "Whosoever of you sees an evil action, let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart; and that is the weakest of faith."

Related by Muslim.

For the past couple of days, I have been silently watching the news on television, and reading Internet and newspaper articles on the current massacre of innocent lives in Palestine. All of this perpetuated by the Israeli army, in the name of "retaliation". What I fail to understand is, why is it that this so-called retaliation is completely disproportionate to what was done to them in the first place? According to sources, at least 345 Gazans have been killed and another 1,450 wounded in three consecutive days of Israeli bombardment in the heavily-populated territory. All of this in an attempt to destroy Hamas. What they fail to explain is the reason why so many civilians have been killed in the process. Children have been killed, wounded and innocent people have suffered for no reason. What appalls me is that the majority of the leaders of the Muslim world have done nothing active about it. Alhamdulillah I learnt that Egyptians have opened their borders to the wounded and are also sending medical supplies, relief and other humanitarian aid to help their brothers and sisters, but I feel that it isn't enough, far from it. When a huge natural disaster hits any country, many of the Muslim leaders pledge millions of dollars in aid and medical supplies. However, when there's a calamity in Palestine and so many scores of people are dying, they don't do a single thing about it. It frustrates me to see the lack of compassion for Muslims by so many wealthy and powerful leaders, who are capable of doing so much, yet do so little. The GCC conference has just commenced in Muscat and according to the press, one of the topics on the agenda is to discuss the situation of Palestine.

America was the first to jump to the support of Israel as usual, and blame everything squarely on Hamas, justifying all the hideous atrocities perpetuated on the innocent civilians.
Everyone knows that the Israeli army only did this because it was their last opportunity to "legitimately" attack Palestine before the Bush administration leaves, especially since Obama's stance on Palestine is currently unknown.
Are world leaders totally ignorant of the events leading to the massive destruction of Palestinian life? Are they unaware of Israel’s provocations and shrewd manipulation of the facts which allowed them to seem innocent and carry out a diabolical plan to destroy the Palestinians? The facts are these: For two years Israel has illegally blockaded Gaza. The densest area of the world, which contains 1.5 million people, has received less than a quarter of the volume of imported supplies they received in December 2005 and has not been permitted to export many goods. A totally paralyzed economy has tried to exist with reduced fuel supplies, electrical outages and a lack of spare parts, all of which has caused hunger and severe psychological damage.

I know I'm ranting, but it is all I can do; I wish there was more, but unfortunately so far this is the most. All I can say is that everyone in the Ummah needs to make some serious dua for the Palestinians that are suffering, and Insha'allah, by the will and the mercy of Allah (swt), they will be the victorious ones at the end of the day.

Ilahana – Our Lord, Lord of the two Easts and the two Wests, Our Lord, Lord of the holy place (Jerusalem) and the two sacred places (Makkah & Madinah), Oh Allah correct the position of our brothers and sisters, the victims of the catastrophe in Palestine, Oh Allah secure their fear, reward them as You wish, Oh Allah swap their fear for peace, Oh Allah swap their fear for peace, Oh Allah swap their fear for peace.
Oh Protector of the fearful, Oh Hope of the needy, Oh Granter of the prayers of the oppressed, You are the Lord of the weak, And you are our Lord, there is no Deity worthy of worship except You.

All praise is due to Allah, who reminds his slaves that their lives have an appointed time and that the successful ones are those who are saved from the Fire and entered into Paradise, when He says:

"Everyone shall taste death. And only on the Day of Resurrection shall you be paid your wages in full. And whoever is removed away from the Fire and admitted to Paradise, he indeed is successful. The life of this world is only the enjoyment of deception." [Al-Qur'an 3:185]

And He reminds them that death will reach them no matter where they are when He says:

"Where ever you may be, death will overtake you even if you are in fortresses built up strong and high!" [Al-Qur'an 4:78]

And He reminds them that regardless of what their status in this world, they will face death. Even if they are from the greatest of warriors, or the most powerful of rulers, or even a Prophet when He addressed His Messenger, upon whom be peace, saying:

"Verily, you will die and indeed they shall die as well." [Al-Qur'an 39:30]

And reminds them that they should take heed, because a time will come where they will ask for respite to do more deeds yet shall not be granted this request when He says:

"And spend of that with which We have provided you, before death comes to one of you and he says: 'My Lord! If only You would give me respite for a little while (i.e. return to the worldly life), then I should give sadaqah of my wealth, and be among the righteous.' And Allah grants respite to none when his appointed time (death) comes. And Allah is All-Aware of what you do." [Al-Qur'an 63:10-11]

Death is indeed a reality that we all have to face one day. For most of us we will have to go through mourned times over our loved ones before we actually face our own destiny. And at that time, even though we may not realize it, Allah is bestowing a great favor upon us by reminding us that we too will one day face such a fate, so it is indeed time to be reminded.

"And your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him. And that you be dutiful to your parents. If one of them or both of them attain old age in your life, say not to them a word of disrespect, nor shout at them but address them in terms of honour. And lower unto them the wing of submission and humility through mercy, and say: 'My Lord! Bestow on them Your Mercy as they did bring me up when I was little.' " [Al-Qur'an 17:23-24]

by Abu 'Abdir-Rahman Navaid Aziz Al- Madeenah An-Nabaweyyah
A view from the Dhow as we cruised along the creek.
Another view of the creek side. The entrance of Atlantis Hotel in Palm Jumeira
another view of Atlantis Hotel
Festival City Mall, this is a view from the canal that runs outside it
Another view from the Canal by Festival City Mall
This is the view of the Burj al Arab hotel, from Madinatul Jumeira, which is right behind it.
Inside the Medinatul Jumeira Souk, I luv the beautiful architecture!
This is the Gold Souk which is located in the Dubai Mall, near the aquarium.
A view of the Gold Souk from the center, this is the meet up point, where there's always a live band playing and a nice cafe.
The Aquarium at Dubai Mall, this is a view from the outside.
A friendly shark swims past me in the tunnel of the Aquarium in Dubai Mall.
This is in Tunisia, a part of Ibn Battuta Mall
This is in Egypt, another part of Ibn Battuta Mall
This is the central dome in Persia, again in Ibn Battuta Mall.
The outside of Ibn Battuta mall, this picture shows the blue rocket trains that are being currently built around the city to accomodate the requirements of public transport. The trains aren't functional, as the tracks and stations haven't been completed yet.
Here's the inside of Mall of the Emirates, which shows the indoor ski resort

Another view of the ski resort, complete with Xmas trees and a ski-lift.
I've been away from blogging for a while, mainly due to Eid holidays and other family priorities, so I thought I'd blog about what's been going on lately!
We spent our Eid holidays in Dubai, which was Alhamdulillah very nice, and quite the refreshing change from the dreariness of the shopping scene in Oman. Since I've been away from the Middle East for about 4 years, I wasn't able to experience the explosion of malls in Dubai these past few years. Apparently, I'd been missing out!!!
In lieu of that, I was subjected to a whirlwind tour of all major malls in the vicinity of Dubai. Seriously though, it was mind blowing in all aspects of the word "blowing." I felt like a complete tourist as happily i snapped away and collected about 300 pictures of mall interiors and architecture in Dubai. I'll be posting a few of the many architectural wonders of Dubai for your viewing pleasure soon Insha'allah. Please bear with me, and my unusually slow Internet connection these days, it should be up and running soon.

Here's a quick description of what I saw:

1) Mall of the Emirates - This one's been around for a while actually, its famous for its indoor ski resort and Kempinski (sp?) Hotel. Since I've just arrived from Toronto, I wasn't very impressed with the ski resort, although it was a valiant attempt at reproducing real snow and snow-like conditions! My favorite part was watching all the abaya-clad women walking around with their kids, wearing ski jackets and boots! That's one sight u don't unfortunately see in Canada too often. Otherwise, good stores, and good stuff.

2) Ibn Battuta Mall - This is the best mall in Dubai, in terms of architectural splendour. Its not particularly famous for its stores or size, but for its ability to recreate an entire culture and civilisation based on architectural speciality. The mall is a single level creation, spanning 6 different continents (I think) and including everything from: Andulasia, Tunisia, China, India, Egypt and Persia. Each continental section is a world of its own, and completely awe-inspiring, with cleverly interwoven stories of the travels of Ibn Batutta. Shopping definitely is secondary in such a place, and really unnecessary after viewing it's internal beauty and complexity.

3) Dubai Mall - This is the latest mall, and still a work in progress. A normal mall in many ways, except that a part of it contains one of the largest indoor Aquariums in the world. I was amazed at its size and ability to recreate an underwater world, complete with sting rays, sharks, and other strange and creepy sea life. Along with the Aquarium, they have an indoor Discovery Centre, which houses otters, seals, penguins and a variety of various fish in different shapes, sizes and colors. Visitors are invited to go for a tour of the aquarium, which is massive and runs along one wall of the mall, built with a walk way/tunnel through it. Of course you have to pay for a ticket to walk through the tunnel, experience sharks swimming on either side of you, and sting rays zipping over your head. The whole time, I had only one thought: what happens when the glass wall gives way and millions of liters of water and sharks are dumped unceremoniously on your head.... SubhanAllah. The mall also has a huge indoor gold souk, which is rather beautifully decorated.

4) Wafi City - Once used to be a pyramid shaped centre, famous for containing upscale and top designer brand stores, it's currently being expanded to include another pyramid, as well as some other large buildings built in an Egyptian architectural style, a necropolis, a couple of sphinxes and other such monuments. Very pretty, nice architecture but unfortunately overpriced stores and I hated having to pay 5 Dirhams to use the washroom!

5) Dubai Festival City - This is a fairly new place as well. It's probably the biggest mall and is really amazing in all ways. Not only does it house every single store imaginable in Dubai, including some stores that bring back fond memories of Canada ( Le Chateau, Costa Blanca, Urban Behavior), it also has a canal running outside it, and its located next to the Marina, in between the Intercontinental Dubai and the new Four Seasons Sheraton. (Please don't quote me on that, I might have my facts wrong) It has some beautiful indoor waterfalls, fountains and similar types of creations.

6) Madinatul Jumeira - Situated right behind the Burj al Arab hotel, this is a mini-city that contains a large souk type arrangement of stores of different types, local and international. It has a nice large patio-style food court with good food and a beautiful view. I guess the best thing about this place is the view and the replica of old Arabian architecture.

That wraps up my mall review of Dubai. I also happened to visit the Palm Jumeira where the famous Atlantis hotel is, and i got a chance to look at all the new and somewhat empty properties that are springing up in that area. Quite magnificent and grand, but unfortunately, it gives an air of materialism that makes me feel quite uncomfortable. I'm glad I don't live there because I wouldn't be able to feel connected to the real world and that would be scary!

I'm back now, Alhamdulillah, and facing the arduous task of packing up for my impending marriage and move. More on that later!

Alhamdulillaah, the blessed days are here again, and I've found myself wanting to increase my Ibaadah in order to come closer to Allah (swt).

May Allah (swt) bless the pilgrims who heading towards Makkah and grant them all, Hajj Mabroor. Ameen.

Among the many blessings of Allah (swt), are that the Hajj season falls during a very cool and pleasant time of the year this year, and Inshallah next year as well.

During the first 10 days of Dhull Hijjah, rewards are multiplied many times, and sins are forgiven much more. These are the days in which Allah (swt) gives us yet another chance to worship Him, to ask for forgiveness and correct our faults and make up for our shortcomings.

Just like the last ten nights of Ramadan are the best ten nights out of the whole year, the Ulama tell us that out of the 365 days of the year, these first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah are the best days of the year and the most beloved to Allah (swt), as they combine acts of worship in a way unlike any other times.

The Prophet testified to that. He said: "There are no days in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah than these ten days." The people asked, "Not even going out to fight for the sake of Allah?" He said, "Not even, except in the case of a man who went out to fight giving himself and his wealth up for the cause, and came back with nothing." (Bukhaari)

The question is, what do I do on these magnificent days and how can I make the most of this perfect, golden, golden opportunity to earn rewards and Jannah?

Obviously, Hajj is one of the best deeds that one can do during these ten days. However for those of us who were not invited to His House this year, there are still many, many good deeds that one can do and earn the Pleasure of Allah (swt)

Some of these are:

1) Fast all nine days and especially fast the Day of 'Arafah:
The Prophet said: "Anyone who fasts for one day for Allah's pleasure, Allah will keep his face away from the (Hell) fire for (a distance covered by a journey of) seventy years." (Bukhari, Muslim)
Just imagine, if you fast these nine days (fasting on Eid is haram), how far your distance will be from hell!

The Prophet used to fast on the ninth day of Dhu'l-Hijjah and he said: "Fasting the Day of 'Arafah (ninth Dhul-hijjah) is an expiation for (all the sins of) the previous year and an expiation for (all the sins of) the coming year." (Muslim)

2) Do a lot of Dhikr and Takbeer:
The Prophet said: "There are no days on which good deeds are greater or more beloved to Allaah than on these ten days, so recite much Tahleel (saying Laa ilaaha ill-Allaah), Takbeer (saying Allaahu akbar) and Tahmeed (saying al-hamdu Lillaah)." (Ahmad -Saheeh)

Ibn 'Umar and Abu Hurayrah used to go out in the marketplace during the first ten days of Dhu'l-Hijjah, reciting Takbeer, and the people would recite Takbeer when they heard them. (Bukhari)

Takbeer at this time is a Sunnah that has mostly been forgotten, especially during the first few days. So say it in the masjid, in your home, on the street and every place where it is permitted to remember Allaah. Revive the Sunnah that have been virtually forgotten and earn great rewards for doing so.

The Prophet said: "Whoever revives an aspect of my Sunnah that is forgotten after my death, he will have a reward equivalent to that of the people who follow him, without it detracting in the least from their reward." (Tirmidhi- a hasan hadeeth)
Obviously, men should recite these phrases out loud, and women should recite them quietly.

3) Stand in Night Prayers:
Remember the virtues of spending the night in prayer, and its sweetness in Ramadan?! Why not revive this beautiful act of worship during these nights as well?!
Remember, how in the last third of every night, Allah Almighty calls out to us, His servants:
Is there anyone to invoke Me, so that I may respond to his invocation? Is there anyone to ask Me, so that I may grant him his request? Is there anyone seeking My forgiveness, so that I may forgive him? (Bukhari, Muslim)

Why do we miss this golden opportunity? So, seize the chance NOW and expose yourself to His Divine Generosity and Mercy, ask Him to forgive you and guide you and set things aright. He will surely listen.

4)Make Sincere Repentance:
One of the best and most important things to do during these ten days is to repent sincerely to Allah (swt) and to give up all kinds of disobedience and sin right away because we do not know when we will die, and also because one evil deed leads to another.

But what does 'repentance' exactly mean?
It means that you come back to Allah and give up all the deeds, open and secret, that He dislikes.... that you regret whatever you did in the past, giving it up immediately and be determined never ever, to return to it, and resolve to adhere firmly to the Truth by doing whatever Allah (swt) loves.

"But as for him who repented, believed and did righteous deeds, then he will be among those who are successful."
[al-Qasas 28:67]

5) Come back to the Qur'an:
It is time now to dust off your copy of the Qur'an and return to its refuge.Make it a daily habit, using these 10 days the beginning of a strong and beautiful relationship with it. Read it with meaning, understand it, and then implement it and change your lives for the better, as much as you can. Remember that reading one letter of the Qur'an earns you 10 rewards. In this way, reading Surat Al-Fatihah,which doesn't take more than two minutes will give you more than one thousand rewards! This is on ordinary days, so what about these magnificent days! Certainly the reward will be far greater, Insha Allaah.

6) Generally increase in doing ALL good deeds:
We should strive in doing more good deeds in general, because good deeds are beloved by Allaah and will bring us closer to Him. So if we are not able to go to Hajj this year, we should occupy ourselves during these blessed days by worshipping Allaah, praying extra prayers, reading Qur'aan, remembering Allah (swt), sending Salaams on the Prophet , making dua, giving charity, honoring our parents, upholding ties of kinship, enjoining what is good and forbidding what is evil, and other good deeds and acts of worship.

"So whosoever does good equal to the weight of an atom, shall see it; And whosoever does evil equal to the weight of an atom, shall see it."
[al-Zalzalah 99:7-8]

7) Get the reward of Hajj wherever you are:
You may be unable to do Hajj this year, and you may feel sad because you are deprived of the great reward of Hajj. But you can achieve a similar reward in whatever place you may be.
The Prophet said: "Whoever prays Fajr Prayer in congregation, and then sits and remembers Allah until the sun rises, then (after a while) prays two rak'as, he will gain a reward equal to that of making perfect Hajj and Umrah." [He repeated the word "perfect" thrice.] (At-Tirmidhi)
Isn't that easy, Alhamdulillah?

8) Slaughter an animal and distribute the meat:
Ibn Umar said: The Prophet lived in Madeenah for 10 years and every year he slaughtered an animal." (Ahmad-Saheeh by al-Albaani)

9) Attend Eid prayers:
But remember that Eid prayer is a form of worship and we shouldn't be doing things that are unIslaamic (especially) during these times.

10) Thank Allah (swt):
One of the biggest forms of worshipping Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta'ala is to thank Him, deeply, sincerely and continuously. After all, it is He who gave you every single thing that is in you, on you or around you. In fact, you wouldn't even be here if it wasn't for the Mercy of your Creator. So thank Him for ALL that He gave you, the Islaam that He gave you, the very life He gave you. And thank Him for the chance that He gives you in these ten days, to ask for forgiveness and guidance.

Alhamdulillah, there is much to be gained in these coming days. So make the most of this perfect opportunity offered by these invaluable and irreplaceable ten days. Hasten to do good deeds and appreciate this blessing and make the most of it, striving hard in worship.

"And worship your Lord until there comes unto you the certainty (death)." [al-Hijr 15:99]
إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَذُو فَضۡلٍ عَلَى ٱلنَّاسِ وَلَـٰكِنَّ أَڪۡثَرَ ٱلنَّاسِ لَا يَشۡڪُرُون
Indeed God is the possessor of bounty for all people but most people do not give thanks.
[Al-Baqara 2: 243.]

The past few days have been quite a roller coaster of emotions for me:

-I had to solve a big problem of getting my stuff to my final destination (Riyadh) in the fastest, easiest and cheapest way possible.

-My hub. has been apartment hunting, and after a week of looking he managed to chance upon the perfect place. However the perfect place was also a tad expensive and the landlord wanted the full rent for the year immediately. That caused a bit of a panic as well as the fact that the landlord said he wouldn't promise us the place till the cash was in his hand. Sooo, there was a lot of decision making and...

Everything worked out!! He included an extra month free because my hub. won't need the place till Jan. '09, and I'll be moving in Feb. '09 Inshallah, so it's a bit of a waste to start the lease in December.

The apartment issue is now resolved. We have the place, the landlord seems like really nice guy Mashallah, and everything worked out beautifully in the end. Alhamdulillah.

The issue regarding my stuff has been kinda solved, at least for the more important items, but getting my books across to Riyadh seem to still be a problem. Inshallah I'll be able to figure out a way.

As I was discussing the minor details of my apartment last night with my hub, I realised that Alhamdulillah, everything has been going very smoothly for me and I've been so blessed with everything according to my necessities. I've always been picky living in middle eastern climates because I can't be comfortable without AC, and this apartment comes fitted with not 2 or 3 but FIVE split ACs (including one in the kitchen). It saves us such a huge amount of money, a very rare find in Riyadh. Also, I can't stand living in places that have been used & abused badly by previous tenants. Alhamdulillah this place is brand spanking new, everything is sparkling white & freshly painted. It has beautiful ceramic floors, so no need for wall to wall carpeting and 2 large bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and 2 living rooms (one is more formal like a majlis room for gatherings) and the other is like a casual sitting room. Of course there's a kitchen as well as a pantry/storage room. The feeling I experience when I think about the place, is like an artist who is given a clean, white canvas to *work their magic* on. Alhamdulillah. The extra perks are that the building is new, the area is fantastic, very close to a nice compound, there are mainly Western Muslim families around us, extremely close to a very large masjid and my hub's colleagues and families live right around the corner so I won't feel isolated or alone.

The main topic of my post was actually to reflect on my many blessings:

Alhamdulillah, I've been so blessed throughout my life, I've been born into a wonderful family with amazing parents, and they gave me the best education and upbringing. In Canada I was blessed with wonderful friends and companions, and blessed with the protection of the Almighty. I was also blessed with the ability to acquire an Islamic education and with a very nice place of employment during my stay there. When I decided to leave Canada, I was blessed with a wonderful husband and now I've been blessed with the ability to live so close to the holiest sites of Islam and blessed with a beautiful home.

I can't even count my blessings because I've had so many that I can't even recall. I try to always praise Allah (swt) and to be grateful to my Creator for His generosity and mercy and kindness towards me, even though I'm not worthy of these many blessings. I realise that nothing and no one have the power to give me anything except Allah (swt). As He says in the Quran:

Is, then, He who creates comparable to any that cannot create? Will you not, then, take heed? For should you try to count Allah's blessings, you could never compute them. Allah is, indeed, All forgiving, All compassionate; and Allah knows all that you keep secret as well as all that you bring into the open. [an-Nahl 16:17-19]

And I keep on reminding myself of the hadith, in which the Prophet (saw) is reported to have said:
How wonderful is the case of a Believer! There is good for him in whatever happens to him -and none, apart from him, enjoys this blessing. If he receives some bounty, he is grateful to Allah and this bounty brings good to him. And if some adversity befalls him, he is patient, and this affliction, too, brings good to him. (Muslim.)

I try to remind myself of the importance of being grateful to Allah (swt), because it is a characteristic of those people who hold on to Allah (swt), and it's a sign of Imaan, because Imaan implies shukr (gratefulness) as opposed to kufr (ungratefulness). A disbeliever is ungrateful to the Being who has given him everything, whereas a believer is one who is ever thankful for all that Allah (swt) has given him.

Finally, I would like to remind myself as well as those reading that, Allah (swt) Himself says in the Quran:

وَإِذۡ تَأَذَّنَ رَبُّكُمۡ لَٮِٕن شَڪَرۡتُمۡ لَأَزِيدَنَّكُمۡ‌ۖ وَلَٮِٕن ڪَفَرۡتُمۡ إِنَّ عَذَابِى لَشَدِيدٌ۬

If you are grateful, I will surely give you more and more, but if you are thankless, verily my punishment is indeed severe.
[Ibrahim 14:7]

Part of my previous post, entitled "The Descent of Humanity...?" included a brief description of Prisoner 650 who has been held in Bagram Prison, Afghanistan and subjected to the most brutal of tortures and punishments. The description of her torture is spine chilling and brain numbing.

We should all include this unknown prisoner in our prayers and duas.

Recently Yvonne Ridley as well as many others claimed that it had been Dr. Afiya Siddiqui, but American authorities have admitted its not her; its another woman who might still be there, suffering.

With regards to this situation, Imam Anwar Al Awlaki has written a beautiful article that highlights the importance of the Muslim Ummah uniting to stop such atrocities from occurring.

Here is the article:

A Pakistani Muslim woman had been held in the notorious Bagram Prison in Afghanistan for years and now her current whereabouts unknown.
Have you heard about her? Most likely not.

A Muslim woman is lingering in such a torturous jail and no alarms have gone off in her country or in any part of the Muslim world. How low have we, as an Ummah, stooped to not only allow such a thing to happen, but to be so oblivious about it?

Not much is known about her. Why is she there? What crime has she committed? She is a ghost prisoner. If not for eyewitnesses, such as the former Guantanamo Bay prisoner Moazzam Begg and interest raised about her case by journalist Yvonne Ridley, we wouldn’t have heard anything about her.

When some Jews dared to uncover a Muslim woman, it didn’t take long for the banners of the Muslim armies led by the Messenger himself to hover around their fortresses. They where defeated by the Muslim forces, and the entire Jewish Community, (not just the perpetrators) where driven out from Madina — all of them, down to the last man. This is how serious such a matter is.

Centuries later, a Muslim woman was taken prisoner by the Roman Army and called for help from the Abassid Khalifah of the time, al Mu’tasim. He immediately ordered a mobilization of forces and led those forces himself in an attack of Roman territory in response to the call of a single Muslim woman. The response to her plea from the Muslims of that time was the complete severance of diplomatic relations, and Declaration of War against the superpower of the time.

But today, no one knows or even seems to care about this woman who has disappeared into US custody for years.

The Messenger of Allah, as narrated in Sahih al Bukhari, said: “Release the prisoner.”

It is a clear and direct order to Muslims until the end of time. The Scholars of Islam state that if a Muslim in the East is taken prisoner, it becomes mandatory on the Muslims of the West to seek his release, even if that would lead to them expending all of their wealth.

In addition to this sister being a prisoner, she is also a woman. Islam gives special protection for women and children, and the honor of the Muslim Ummah is in their protection of their women.

The first ayah that allowed fighting in the path of Allah justified it for the defense of women, children, and the weak.

Allah says: And why should ye not fight in the cause of Allah and of those who, being weak, are ill-treated (and oppressed)?- Men, women, and children, whose cry is: “Our Lord! Rescue us from this town, whose people are oppressors; and raise for us from thee one who will protect; and raise for us from thee one who will help!” (al Nisa 75)

I pray to Allah to release our sister and all our brothers and sisters from the prisons of the tyrants. Ameen

Courtesy of Anwar al Awlaki . Com
I love researching current world events and happenings.

Something that's been on my mind for a while is the situation in the US concerning the capture and detainment of an American-Pakistani woman, a PhD from MIT who was quietly captured in Pakistan by American authorities, smuggled off with her 3 young children to Bagram Prison in Afghanistan, and then eventually to America.
Her 2 children remain missing, no one knows where the American/Pakistani/Afghan authorities may have put them. SubhanAllah, what irks me the most is that her youngest child at that time was only 1 month old. Allah knows best if he's even alive or not.

Here's an excerpt from a few articles regarding her detainment:

"Dr. Afia Siddiqui left her mother's house in Karachi, Pakistan, along with her three children, in a cab on March 30, 2003 to catch a flight for Islamabad, but never reached the airport. The press reports claimed that Dr. Afia had been picked-up by Pakistani intelligence agencies while on her way to the airport and that she was handed over to the FBI. At the time of her arrest she was 30 years and the mother of three, the oldest of which was six and the youngest only one month.

Dr. Afia's whereabouts at that time remained unknown, however there were reports of a woman called 'Prisoner 650' being detained in Afghanistan's Bagram prison and that she has been tortured to the point where she has lost her mind. Britain's Lord Nazeer Ahmed, (of the House of Lords), asked questions in the House about the condition of Prisoner 650 who, according to him is physically tortured and continuously raped by the officers at prison. Lord Nazeer has also submitted that Prisoner 650 has no separate toilet facilities and has to attend to her bathing and movements in full view of the other prisoners.

In August 2008, she was charged in United States District Court with assaulting and attempting to kill US personnel whilst in detention in Afghanistan. As a result of the assault, she was shot in her chest and brought to America.

Newspaper reports all over the world say that Siddiqui's health is very frail, over and above her recent gun-shot wound. The reports state that: one of her kidneys had been removed while in captivity; her teeth had been removed; her nose had been broken, and improperly reset; that her recent gun-shot wound had been incompetently dressed, was oozing blood, leaving her clothes soaked with blood.

An August 11, 2008 Reuters report stated that she had appeared at her hearing in a wheelchair, and that her lawyers pleaded with the judge to make sure she received medical care.

In September of 2008, US authorities confirmed that the 11-year old boy they claim to have captured with Dr Aafia Siddiqui is her son Ahmed. According to a report in the Washington Post, in a letter to Siddiqui’s family, US authorities said that photos and DNA tests strongly suggest that the youngster in Afghan custody is Siddiqui’s son Ahmed. The boy is claimed to have been detained when police arrested Siddiqui in Karachi. Siddiqui and her three children disappeared in 2003 in Karachi. She had set out from her mother’s home on her way to the airport to take a flight to Islamabad, but she never arrived.

On September 3, Siddiqui was produced before a federal grand jury in New York, which indicted her for possession of handwritten notes referring to a 'mass casualty attack' at various prominent locations in the US, such as Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, Wall Street and the Brooklyn Bridge. However, activists and her family believe that she is being targeted. "An ordinary Pakistani has been wrongfully taken to a foreign country without established judicial processes," said Dr Fouzia Siddiqui, Aafia's elder sister. Even the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has insisted that she was picked up by a Pakistani intelligence agency and handed over to the US authorities.

The picture that was released when she was brought to the court in New York showed a woman who seemed to have experienced years of torture - a broken and badly fixed nose, made up teeth, and crumbled lips. The HRCP described her as a person "almost as if on the deathbed". Gaunt, wounded, she was unable to even walk by herself. Her resurfacing, and that too in such a frail condition, sent shock waves throughout Pakistan, which has demanded her immediate repatriation.

Aafiya's brother met her in October at a Psychiatric treatment centre, and afterwards he explained the situation to Aafiya's older sister Fouzia. She later gave a press conference in which she described her sister as being frail and bent after years of physical and mental torture and sexual assaults. “Aafia has no insight to the extent of allegations against her... she was paranoid and at times delusional” said Fouzia. “I have videotapes provided by her inmates about how she was physically tortured and abused during different searches conducted by the Psychiatric Centre." She added that Aafia was so tired of the torture and abuse that she had requested the facility authorities not to put her on DNR (artificial respiratory system) and let her die. Putting her on the artificial respiratory system once saved her life when she became unconscious during torture."

That's the gist of the story. American authorities obviously have differing versions of this story and their own beliefs, but clearly, regardless of what her crimes may or may not have been, what about the age old theory of "innocent until proven guilty" ? No one deserves such treatment; this is really a crime against all humanity. Have we as a species really sunk so low?

Truly shocking.
Hi speed Internet + no responsibilities = bliss

Or so I thought...

Imagining my life upon my return to Muscat, I dreamt of days relaxing on my couch, a bowl of snacks on my left, multiple remote controls on my right, and in front of me my best friend... (unfortunately that title has only been reserved for those in the 'gadget' category, currently my laptop)

After 3 months of the above, I am now BORED.

Coming back from Toronto was one of the best things I might have done since I left home about 7 and a half years ago, however, it brings with it a list of 'non-desirables'.
This being my first post, i find it prudent to introduce myself to the blogosphere.

A young woman of Pakistani descent, born in India, raised in Muscat (first 18 yrs of my life), spent my early adulthood in Toronto, and now back to Muscat for some good ol' fashioned R&R.

In approximately 96 days, I will be married and immediately thereafter will move to Riyadh Inshallah.

The details of my adventures/experiences in the above locations will be the topic of many-a-blogs in the upcoming future as well as my impending marriage. Following that, I will be blogging intensively about life in Riyadh from an Omani-Canadian-Pakistani perspective.

Please be patient as I learn the ins n outs of blogging !