Welcome to President Obama’s Initiative
Dr. Abidullah Ghazi: Chairman
IQRA’ International Educational Foundation
IQRA’ International Educational Foundation heartily appreciates the initiative of President Obama to visit Baltimore Masjid and deliver a candid and much needed message of Hope. The Muslims must respond to this initiative with:
- Study of American history and historical experiences of other minority groups and in the light of Islam’s message of hope participate in the total national enterprise-political, social, economic creating coalition with the majority of Americans who are law abiding and fair minded.
- We as Muslims must remember that in this unique homeland every four years we get an opportunity to bring about a change. That time has come now.
- It is our social, political and religious responsibility to go to the polls and defeat these messengers of hate and support the harbingers of hope.
- Let us learn lesson from Iowa elections, where even Republican Party has administered a shameful defeat to the protagonists of hate.
- And finally keep faith in the basic goodness of this country, our own responsibility and Allah swt Who is ever watchful on what we think, plan and do.
The Prophet Muhammad (S) – A Mercy to the Worlds
-Dr. Tasneema Ghazi-
As Pope Francis “Opened a Holy Door and a Year of Mercy” in a yearlong celebration dedicated to the theme of mercy, I began to think of the month of the birth of the “Mercy to the Worlds.” This is the month of Rabi’ ul-Awwal, the month of the birth of Prophet Muhammad (S) who was sent as “th Mercy to the Worlds.” It is time for all of us his Ummah to begin to plan and deliver various kind words and deeds of mercy to all of Allah’s creations. Let us plan activities of service, sharing caring and mercy with our Catholic friends and neighbors, and with everyone.
Let us work together to bring the healing power of mercy and service to our country and the world! The Qur’an says about Prophet Muhammad (S):
“We have not sent you except as a mercy for all the Worlds.”
Prophet Muhammad (S) himself is a true model of the Mercy of Allah. He practiced what he taught others. His mercy extended to all humanity and to everything that Allah has created. Indeed Allah had given Prophet Muhammad (S) had a very kind heart. The Qur’an says:
“It is the Mercy of Allah that you are kind to them; if you were harsh,
They would have left you. So overlook their mistakes, ask for Allah’s forgiveness
For them, and consult them in your affairs.”
The Messenger of Allah’s kindness and compassion attracted people to him. Most of the people who met him believed in him and became faithful Sahabah. Even before he became a prophet he was well-known for his honesty, good character and kindness. When Allah honored him with the revelation, he was given a very special mission to perform. Love and Mercy always guided his mission.
Prophet Muhammad (S) was kind and merciful to those who opposed him. He was tormented, made fun of and laughed at, but he never complained. He never felt hatred towards those who hated him. In fact, his whole being was a manifestation of the divine injunction to repay evil with goodness.
Allah made him head of a new community in Yathrib. Most of the people of Yathrib accepted Islam. He combined justice with mercy. He cared about all people living in Madinah not just the Muslims. He was considerate to all of his neighbors, many of whom Jewish. He treated prisoners of war with respect and dignity. He even released all the prisoners of the Battle of Badr and forgave the prisoners of the Battle of Hunain and returned all their property to them.
The Messenger of Allah (S) loved peace. When he returned to Makkah eight years after the Hijrah, he showed exceptional mercy towards those who opposed him. He forgave his enemies. He did not even allow the Muhajirun to reclaim their stolen property.
Prophet Muhammad’s Mercy with children, orphans, widows and the sick:
The Messenger of Allah (S) was specially kind and loving to children. Anas RA has reported that said, “I start the prayers, intending to lengthen them. Then, I hear a child crying so I make them shorter, knowing how emotional a child’s mother gets.” (Bukhari & Muslim). He used to stroke the heads of the children and kiss them. He said, “He who does not have mercy will not have mercy upon him.”
He will help the poor and widow and will not eat until he has fed a hungry person. If he saw someone in a state of stress and pain he would be deeply affected by it and try to help ease the pain.
Mercy to Animals
The Messenger of Allah (S) was kind and merciful to all creatures. He taught us to be kind to all animals. Domestic animals must be fed properly, handle carefully and loaded lightly. He forbade games in which animals made to fight, injured and often killed each other. He told us that if we have to kill an animal we must do so in the least painful way. In fact, he told us that causing pain on other creatures is wrong.
Mercy with the Environment
The Messenger of Allah (S) forbade cutting the trees and destroying vegetation without a valid reason. Even during the wars he had instructed safeguarding the plants and the trees, encouraged cultivation and plantation. He said: “If someone has a sapling in hand to plant and he discovers the Day of Judgment is only one day away, he must still plant it.” (Abu Dawud)
The Messenger of Allah (S) encouraged us to use water carefully. He advised us not waste food. He taught us that we should share the resources of the earth so that our communities grow strong and happy. He said: “When we share, the food of two is enough for three and food for three is enough for four.” (Al-Muwatta)
He was full of mercy and treated all hum beings equally. The Qur’an teaches us to cooperate with others to build a better society.
“And cooperate with each other in doing good and do not
Cooperate with each other in sin and transgression.”
Let us do just that and cooperate with people who are merciful and peace loving and stand against those who spread hatred and mischief on our beautiful earth.
It is with heavy heart that we announce the passing of IQRA’s devoted and long-time writer, scholar, worker, and dear friend – Mr. Fadel Ibrahim Abdallah. Mr. Abdallah’s passion in life was the Arabic language, and without his tireless efforts we could not have produced our popular IQRA’ Arabic Reader series. Countless children, young adults and grownups have benefited from his lifelong eagerness to promote the language of Islam. We pray that his reward for that endures forever, and that he finds unfailing peace and happiness in the presence of his Creator.
Al-Fatihah for his soul!
Inna Lillahi wa inna ilaihi raji’un
Salat ul Janaza will held on Sat, Dec – 5th – 2015 after Zuhr prayer at ICCI
At: Islamic Community Center of Illinois (ICCI)
Zuhr Iqama: 1:00pm – CST
Address: 6435 W Belmont Ave, Chicago, IL 60634
Phone: (773) 637-3755
Dr. Ahmad Sakr returns to his Lord
by Dr. Tasneema Ghazi
IQRA’ International Education Foundation
It is with heavy-heart and tear-filled eyes that the IQRA’ team has to relay the news of the passing of our beloved friend and longtime associate, Dr. Ahmad Sakr. So many beautiful memories of Dr. Sakr and his family pass through my eyes as I think of his time with us as well as the important and inspirational role he played in the founding of many Islamic institutions and centers, such as the first Islamic college in the United States, the American Islamic College of Chicago, the Islamic Food and Nutrition Council, and the Muslim Students Association. In fact, his academic background in nutritional health compelled him to write the first guide to Halal and Haram food products in America, a very valuable tool in those days when the Muslim community was still quite small. The guide was kept close by Muslims making a trip to the grocery stores.
Dr. Sakr’s selfless and continuous travels in establishing Islamic centers, Islamic schools and Da’wah institutes had always impressed me, all the more so since we often ran in to each other at different airports around the nation and Canada. He was regularly invited to help fundraise for different community projects and he did so without compensation. He happily accepted his role in serving communities around the country and beyond.
Dr. Sakr was so involved in offering his sage advice and guidance to individuals facing personal problems, be the Muslim or non-Muslim. Often people would call him about their personal and family problems. I remember the telephone in his Chicago home constantly ringing and Dr. Sakr once having two different phones in his hands trying to comfort two different individuals!
Dr. Sakr’s wife and companion, Mrs. Zuhar Sakr, and children have supported him through the years in his great work. May Allah bless them all!
Once during Fifth International Islamic Education Conference in South Africa many elders of the community mentioned Dr. Sakr as being the inspiration behind all of their work in community building. This is how far-reaching his influence was. He was a man who motivated young Muslims around the world to help build their community.
All of us at IQRA’ are going to miss him dearly. We pray that Allah grant him the highest station in Jannah and give patience to our Sister Zuhar and their family to endure this loss.
“Few hearts are selected to love This song cannot be played on every instrument”
Such was the heart of dear brother, Ahmad Sakr – very special and very generous.
By Dr. Tasneema Ghazi
My seven years old thinker-daughter said this to me in 1973. We had just moved from Harvard to San Diego where my husband got a teaching job at the university.
We bought our first house in the United States and decided to settle in this lovely land instead of returning to India. America was home now; and it has been ever since.
We all sat down and talked about the history and the significance of this special national holiday for all Americans, both recent immigrants and longstanding natives. We reckoned that Thanksgiving is not holiday centered on religious beliefs, like Christmas or Easter, but it is a national holiday where the citizens of this great nation together offer thanks to their Creator for giving them this land of bounty and keeping it thriving and prosperous.
If anything we can even find in the origins of Thanksgiving the very Islamic principles of migration for the sake of faith, as well as helping those in need. This Pilgrims fled their native England rather than compromise their beliefs. They struggled for existence in the first years of their life in the Plymouth Colony, and if it weren’t for the assistance of the indigenous Wampanoag people the Old World immigrants would not have survived. Does such a story ring a bell with Muslims?
Thanksgiving is about offering thanks to Allah (SWT) for bestowing His grace and blessings upon all of us living in this country. For our first Thanksgiving we invited our dear friend Qiaser Jahan, a graduate student from Pakistan, and Mr. Bari whose grandfather had migrated to California from Punjab in the early 1900. Dr. and Mrs. Dill, both professors at the university also joined us in the celebrations.
We decided that our first Thanksgiving would be in typical American-style, complete with turkey, corn, green beans, pumpkin pie and of course gravy. In the center of the table was a tray with the sign “Prophet Muhammad’s favorite Foods.” This tray contained olives, bread, finely sliced meat, watermelon etc. Dr. Dill offered the du’a before the meal and everyone enjoyed the delicious food.
Since then we have celebrated this most American holiday every year. Sometimes we cooked the turkey on Thanksgiving Day, while at other times it was on a Friday or Saturday, depending on the schedules of family members and guests over the long weekend. In Chicago we once invited a number of visiting poets from India and Pakistan who were in town for a poetry symposium and they asked for a turkey dinner. I prepared the dinner along with a roasted leg of lamb – Indian style. My daughter invited a dozen of her friends from University of Chicago International House. The guest poets sat on the dining table and spread the traditional dastarkhwan/sofrah on our living room floor for the rest of us. The joy of meeting with family and friends and having warm get together was so very important, and it continues to be so.
Parliament of the World Religions 2015
IQRA’ participated in the 2015 Parliament of the World Religions held in Salt Lake City, Utah on October 15-19. Thanks to relentless commitments of its organizers and Chairman of the Board of Trustee, Imam Malik Mujahid the event was a great success full of hope and enthusiasm for the common good of humanity and safety of our dear planet.
IQRA’s Chairman, Dr. Abidullah Ghazi addressed the audience in two sessions. In the first session he presented the universal position of Islam and talked about the Tawhid, Oneness of God and that we believe as Qur’an says Allah is The Lord of all worlds and Muhammad saw is Mercy to all creations of Allah swt. Dr. Ghazi also talked about the beliefs of the Muslims that every human being belongs to the human family through Adam As and Hawwa RA. We are all brothers and sisters, one big family.
Dr. Ghazi’s talk started an interesting discussion among the curious audience. He summarized by saying that “Muslims are Interfaith community.”
In the second session Dr. Ghazi shared IQRA”s unique experience of developing and implementing an integrated program of Madrasah education in Singapore. Citing the history of education in Islam he emphasized the fact that separation of ‘ILM, (Knowledge) between the secular and sacred was never the trend in educating Muslim children. The focus of education in Islam had always been the acquisition of knowledge of the Deen of Allah swt and also the knowledge of the things created by Allah swt. This holistic and integrated approach to knowledge acquisition is only Islamic approach and must be revived in our schools and Madaris.
Dr. Ghazi presented the successful model of Singapore /IQRA’ Madrasah curriculum and teachers’ training (human resource development) to be adopted by all full time Islamic schools and Madaris.
Dr. Ghazis’ presentation made the audience thinking about the importance of a unifying approach to curriculum development and methods of teachings.
Dr. Ghazi also chaired two other sessions during the conference.
IQRA’s Book Service Director, Mr. Shahab Khan was represented IQRA’ in the Conference. He remained busy sharing with the conference guests IQRA’s many projects and its unique publications. He related to everyone the story of IARA’s unique pioneering work in the field of education for children, especially Muslim children. Mr. Salman Ghazi, Director of IQRA’ India also attended the conference and shared IQRA” India’s work and services to the community.