Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The Corner Has Moved!

Peace, one and all...
Please note that the Corner has moved to the following address: http://thecorner.wordpress.com/. Please update your bookmarks, etc.
Ma'as salama,
Abdur Rahman

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

New Technology: Who Benefits?

Peace, one and all,
I was watching an Open University programme this morning after Fajr. The subject was the development of new communication technologies. Specifically, they were referring mainly to newly emerging technologies such as VSDL and a range of mobile and satellite networks. Now it has to be said that I'm no techie: wyzywig (if I've spelt it correctly) sounds like a tellytubby to me!
However, one thing that did interest me was the idea that new handheld computers could use each other to develop a network, thereby making communication much cheaper. The programme raised the possibility that these computers could make education much more freely available for school children in the developing world. An interesting and noble thought for sure. Would it really happen though?
Such technological revolutions often seem (to me) to be in some way dependent upon the poverty of the developing world. In other words, if we were spending much more money helping our brethren to develop themselves, would we have had the money to develop these new technologies? I don't know, but I do seriously doubt that multinational corporations are really altruistic enough to give such gadgets away. Well, perhaps I'm just being cynical (though I hope not).
This reminds of another programme I watched recently about new ecologically sound housing. You know, the kind that has its own solar panels, low water-use toilets and so on. It looked absolutely fantastic and I'd be really interested in having such an advanced home myself. However, as useful as such new homes are in showing the way forward, how much impact do they really have? That is, if these remain isolated examples then how much good are they doing?
Such homes seem to be mainly for a certain wealthy elite. Things will really start to change when such technology becomes cheap enough for most people (or even all people) to use. I'd love to have such gadgets; but, I simply cannot afford them (al hamdu lillah, I'm happy with the rizq which Allah has given me).
Organic food often seems the same. Vastly over-priced (when using less stuff) and it always seems to look like its been kicked around the warehouse floor. Make it cheaper and more people will buy it.
I think I'll get off my soapbox now!
Ma'as salama,
Abdur Rahman

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

A New Home?

Peace, one and all...
This is a quick note to say that I'm currently trying out wordpress.com. It seems to have nicer templates and fonts. So, if you're interested, you'll find my new blog here. I'll still be posting here, though, until I've made up my mind.
Ma'as salama,
Abdur Rahman

Monday, June 26, 2006

England Win (Though Only Just)!

Peace, one and all...
England go marching on! England's 1-0 win over Ecuador was hardly the most invigorating display, but we're still in the tournament. We'll be playing Portugal on Saturday, led by 'Big Phil'. Should be a good game. Insha Allah, England will be up for the game and put in a good performance. The strange thing about England is that we usually do put in a decent performance for difficult games, it's the 'easy' ones we struggle with. So, optimistically, I predict a 2-1 win on Saturday, insha Allah of course.
Ma'as salama,
Abdur Rahman

Sunday, June 25, 2006

World Cup Highlights

Peace, one and all...
If World Cup fatigue has already set in, you won't find a cure here...! Joking aside, it's proving to be an amazing tournament, full of excitement, incident and great football. Al hamdu lillah.
It's England's turn today. England play Ecuador in their first knock-out match. Now we'll see what England have to offer, insha Allah. England's performance so far hasn't exctly set the world on fire, though they're undefeated. But, I'm hoping that England finally come out their shell. Insha Allah, they will. If they win, there's the prospect of a quarter final game against either Portugal or Holland. If England go through today (insha Allah), either team would be difficult; but I fancy England to take revenge on Portugal for Euro 2004.
I watched both matches yesterday. Germany destroyed Sweden, who seemed to lack belief and purpose. Argentina narrowly beat Mexico with an absolutely brilliant goal in extra time: amazing. I fancy Argentina to win the tournament after that win: they just seem to have that extra edge. Their match against Germany should be good.
Come on England!!!!!!
Ma'as salama,
Abdur Rahman

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Sincerity in Worship

Peace, one and all...
Bismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim wa al-salatu wa al-salamu `ala rasul Allah...
In tonight's post, I wanted to offer a few Quranic ayat (verses) on the subject of sincerity in worship. Sincerity, or ikhlas, is an absolutely fundamental concept in Islam. The sincerity of one's worship relates directly to the intention behind it. Allah Subhanahu wa Ta`ala says in the Quran regarding ikhlas:
'And they have been commanded no more than this: to worship Allah, offering Him sincere devotion, being true (in faith); to establish regular prayer; and to practise regular charity; and that is the religion right and straight' (98:5)
This verse is beautiful in its simplicity: true religion is not complicated theology, nor is it detached philosophy; it is righteous action, or practice. And again...
'It is not their meat nor their blood that reaches Allah. It is your piety that reaches Him' (22:37)
These verses relate to sacrifice I believe. In the pagan faiths of the ancient world (as in pre-Islamic Arabia), 'deities' were believed to derive sustenance from the sacrifices of their worshippers. The 'gods' of ancient Sumer (Mesopotamia) for example would be given special meals and drinks. Here, we discover that God is far exalted above such things.
'Cancel not your charity by reminders of your generosity or by hurting [others] - like those who spend their substance to be seen of men' (2:264)
And finally...
'Is it not to Allah that sincere devotion is due?' (39: 3)
Indeed, sincere devotion is due to God, the Lord of all the Worlds (there is none worthy of worship except Him). These ayat were drawn from Tahdhib al-Akhlaq, compiled by Sayyed `Abd al-Hayy al-Hasani.
Imam Hamza Yusuf, in his commentary on Imam al-Mawlud's excellent Matharat al-Qulub, has this to say regarding sincerity:
'It is recommended to recite often Surat al-Ikhlas (the 112th sura of the Quran), which affirms the oneness of God and negates the possibility of their being anything comparable to Him. The Arabic word for sincerity, ikhlas, comes from the root khalusa, which means to be pure, as in pure honey or pure milk. As for one's piety, it can never be pure unless free of ostentation' (page 60)
One one level, we all know what sincerity is; we know when we really mean it, when we really feel it. However, understanding the deeper workings of the heart takes subtlety, insight and a piety which is beyond me (may Allah grant me the tawfiq to understand my own intentions clearly and then to follow the best of them).
Ya Rabb! The road is long and I have no hope of reahing Home, if you do not lead me.
Wa akhiru da`wana an il hamdu lillahi rabbil alameen...
Ma'as salama,
Abdur Rahman

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

What is True Value?

Peace, one and all...
I was listening to a talk by Shaykh Nazim al-Haqqani al-Kibrisi recently (provided by the excellent Mind, Body & Soul) and an interesting question occured to me. What is true value?
Shaykh Nazim pointed out that living a life for Allah brings blessings, whilst living for other than Allah brings nothing but curses. How true!
How then can I see the truly valuable within my own life? Hmmm...now that's the real question.
Ma'as salama,
Abdur Rahman