Friday, November 30, 2007,2:43 am
Disciplines of the Prayer - II

Prayers are an integral part of a muslim's life. We are told to establish prayers, to give charity and to obey the Prophet of Allah [pbuh] in the Quranic repeatedly. The Prayer of a Momin is known as the Meraj of a Momin. One can establish the lofty status that worship holds in Islam. However rather than talking about the spiritual aspect of the Prayer have we ever considered the physical concept of the Prayer? Islam is a religion which encompasses all entities be it physical, spiritual, social, economical or political hence one cannot take one aspect in its entirety and disregard the other aspects for then you have only taken what you feel sufficient and disregard the rest.
Below are the physical actions within Prayer and their meanings found in the books of different Scholars:

There are a few explanations regarding this action. When one puts their hands up for takbeer it is as if one has surrendered to Allah. It is a gesture to show that one has completely submitted to the will of Allah. Another explanation found is that takbeer is symbolising that God is greater than what we describe and nothing matters other than Allah. The takbeer represents the fact that one is leaving the world behind and submitting to God.

When one goes into the position of ruku, the act symbolises that one is expressing that if even one's head is chopped off in the path of God then so be it. It is an act which symbolises that one submits to the will of Allah in every way.

Every step of the sajda is significant. The first sajda symbolises our creation from dirt, then when we get up it symbolises that God gave us life from this dirt and then when we prostrate again it symbolises our death - knowing that one day we will be buried in this dirt and it is all what will be around us. The smell of the dirt at that moment in prostration is the smell that we remain with us when we die.

Another explanation of Sajda is that when one goes down into sajda - one cannot get any lower - the rising symbolises God giving life and the second sajda is a reminder of the return to God, death. In between the sajdas it symbolises the life - and shows that God wants one to spend it seeking forgiveness.

It is said that Imam Ali [as] was asked about Sujood and the reason we do two Sujoods.
Imam Ali [as] replied that the Sujood was the most humbling act of humans towards their God. In Sujood, a man puts him most precious part of his body which is the head that holds the brain, on mud as a sign of slavery to Allah.

منها خلقناكم وفيها نعيدكم ومنها نخرجكم تارةً أخرى

(From the (earth) did We create you, and into it shall We return you, and from it shall We bring you out once again.) (20:55).

Hence, the first Sujood signifies that we are created from this earth. The second signifies our return to the earth. And on the day of judgement we will rise again from the earth.

May Allah accept our worship. . .
posted by Ya_Baqiyatullah
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,2:24 am
An Evening with the US Ambassador
On Thursday 15th Nov the US Ambassador to UK visited Dundee. His name Robert Holmes Tuttle, served under Reegan and now under Bush. I decided to go to the talk to listen first hand and notice first hand the behaviour how the US politicians present their views to the public. To say the least I was disappointed, the talk was nothing but the usual release of hot air about Iran, Terrorism and Extremism and a whole sermon about the virtues of US and their policies. The talk by the Ambassador was divided into three parts as he referred to it, one part about the Poverty, the second about the Climate while the third one being about the Terrorism and Extremism yet the main point that stood out in all three of them was Terrorism. Somehow the Ambassador connected everything to Extremism .

The start of his speech was quite interesting. He started with the point about talking about Democracy and how Democracy as a form of rulership has quadruple over the last decade in the world where 120 nations have adopted that. Crticially one has to ask what form of Democracy are we discussing here. Democracy as defined in its true entirety or the one defined according to US and their allies.

I read somewhere once that 'Artists use lies to reveal truth while Politicians use lies to hide truth' and it seemed that this person was living by this statement. In the part about Poverty, this personnel took the liberty to mention that US is providing mass aid to Africa, the figures mentioned by him were somewhere in around $20 million yet let us take the parallel to how much money has been spend in the so called war on terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan, a massive $1.3 trillion which makes the aid to Africa looks miserly not to mention it makes the US looks stupid as a country or rather a super power like US should be able to give more to the nations which are down trodden with poverty. If the aid is really helping the African nations countering Malaria and HIV then why is it that Darfur region is still suffering? The thought that came to my mind was that the only aid the people of Sudan received is the B52 bombing the region.

If you think the above example was dubious then wait till you read about the one in regards to Climate. He had the audacity to compare a population of 300 million [US population] with a population of nearly 1.3 billion [China population]. He made out that US was doing more in regards to controlling the environment than China. Somehow it all felt like a propoganda technique given that how can one make the comparison between US and China? Greater population does not automatically means that the country is the highest green gas producer or rather they are lacking in their efforts to control Climate change. Given the amount of fossil fuels burned and used by US is certainly greater in comparison to China. Did he even take in consideration the amount of oil that is consumed by US which is imported from the Middle East? I think not.

Last but not least the topic of Extremism, always an interesting topic given the times of today. He started off by implying that the Iranian Nation had no justification to have nuclear weapons, note the subtle hint. Anyone who is aware of the Iranian Political System or rather the laws of the country would know that the nuclear weapons are forbidden, not to mention how he has twisted the whole nuclear issue and implied that it is all about the weapons and not the technology itself. Then he goes on to talk about his visit to the Glasgow Mosque in the Afternoon where he met with the Muslim Leaders there and discussed extremism. The example in itself was a very bad one, which was later pointed out in one of the questions. The fact that in his speech he talked about the Muslim Leaders has indicated subtly that extremism is only found in the Muslim Communities - giving the wrong message to the audience. It should always be implied that extremism is found in all walks of life and in all forms which he failed to do.

His speech ended with a quote from Winston Churchill about Democracy where he quoted him saying 'Democracy is the worst form of administration but not as worse as the other forms of rulership' [not the exact wording]

So after the talk it was time for the heat to be turned on the Ambassador. The topic was always going to be the US foreign policy, given the nature of his talk. The first question was incidentally from the person sitting next to me. Hardly to say I instantly knew what the question would be about, as referred to in my last post I pointed out that the flawed point about the Ambassador meeting the Muslim Leaders in Glasgow about Extremism. The question was in relation to discussing Extremism or rather the Terrorism acts of Israelis ie whether the Ambassador in all his years had ever taken the oppurtunity to imply or rather taken the discussion about terrorism with his Israeli counterparts and no not about the bombings from Hamas rather about the oppression of Israelis on Palestinians. Suffice to say the question was answered in the least convincing manner. He shrugged off the label of Israeli oppression by suggesting that it is a debate which can continue long into the night and hence it is a seperate topic in itself. On the issue of using the example of his meeting Muslim Leaders, he by passed that bit of the question by implying that he has met leaders from all walks of life. Even if we take his word for that there is still the possibility of misleading the audience by the example of Muslim Leaders meeting. Something which I doubt many in the audience picked up.

Most probably the best question of the evening came next from this lady, who was a lecturer from the politics department. Her questioned started off talking about how Hitler and the Nazis had prisoned all the Jews in the concentration camp regardless of any charges and kept them there with the label of threat to national security which she drew a parallel to the current situation of Guantanamo bay where more than 300 prisoners are detained without a trial or any charges to their name hence implying that it is no different than a concentration camp. Furthermore, in the lecture the Ambassador had mentioned that US is great friends with democratic nations around the world, a very interesting point nonetheless what followed by the questioner made this statement look ridiculous. She put to the Ambassador how does US take Saudi Arabia to be great friends given that there is no concept of democracy in the country not to mention the terrorism that flows out from there.

Suffice to say what was coming did not even do justice to the question at all. The Ambassador declined to answer the question in relation to Saudi Arabia - which says alot about their friendship. As for the question about Guantanamo bay, the Ambassador really believes that there has been progress given that these people, who according to him, belonged to no nation and were deemed to be greatest threat to the World have been blessed with the right to have their case represented by a civil attorney in a federal court. Given the accounts of torture at Guantanamo as well as the fact that these people have not been tried under a federal court or rather it would be better to say that their cases has not even reached federal court shows that the comments of the Ambassador are very far fetched. If indeed these prisoners were given the right to civil attorney to present their cases then why the need to keep them there for more than 5 years without trial? If they really believed that these people are a threat and terrorists so why not go on trial and see the result? Remember those brits who were freed from Guantanamo without any charges a few years ago, I guess the transatlantic relation were really beneficial for their release.

'Nuclear Non Profileration Treaty' - something which is thrown about alot these days given the nuclear hype in the World was at the heart of the next question. The questioner made a true comparison between Iran and Israel by indicating that it is fruitless pushing Iran on the nuclear issue given that on the other hand Israel is a more volatile entity given that it has nuclear arms - something which was met with a few scoffs around the audience. The answer was laughable to say the least, the Ambassador indicated that given that Iran signed the Nuclear Non Profileration Treaty they had clearly broken the terms of the treaty and hence should be accountable. As for the part of Israel being volatile with the nuclear weapons he dismissed that saying that they are not binding to the treaty hence they are fully justified in having them - he stated that in not so many words but it was clear what he was implying. What the Ambassador forgot to take into consideration again as pointed out before is that Iran only wishes to enrich Uranium for energy purposes and civilian projects but clearly the propoganda notes are handed down to the lower delegates too. His views were no different that of Mr Bush about the Iran nuclear issue. To me there were two interesting points to note about this answer which relate back to his speech; firstly if Israel attacks a country with nuclear weapons they are not held accountable given that they are not binding to the treaty which in turn gives them a green light to do as they wish, quite hypocritical is it not? Well what is it to follow is even more hypocritical, in his speech the Ambassador suggested that US is not all perfect and all wise yet the actions of the US Administration suggest otherwise for example take the Iran nuclear issue. The findings of IAEA, the experts on this issue, have been rejected by US and France as well as open calls for Al Baradaei resignation suggest a big contradiction to the words of the Ambassador. One has to wonder are they holding out for another for intel on Iran by dismissing the experts on the issue. The information by 'Curveball'has left the nation of Iraq in turmoil one can only wonder what would happen in Iran, if such a situation arises again.

Let me conclude this post by talking about the thoughts of the Ambassador on the issue of Palestine-Israel conflict. The Ambassador in response to a question about the involvement of Tony Blair in the peace process outlined that the 'two state' settlement is probably the best solution for the region given that the Palestinians are dying in poverty and he believes that Tony Blair is the perfect man to the job because of his relationship with the US President George Bush and with the other ME States. For starters, the Ambassador completely ignores the issue of Palestinians in Gaza which means that this 'two state' solution would probably not involve them and secondly, is the whole 'two state' solution theory not too little too late given that Mr Bush is in his penultimate year and two years late on the implementation of the soluion. One has to question why then is Tony Blair there? The answer is a simple one and I think the questioner put it beautifully, albeit in the question form but nevertheless there is no two ways about it, 'Is Tony Blair there for nothing but to act as a gatekeeper for big daddy US?'
posted by Ya_Baqiyatullah
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