Author: syucel

The forgotten Sunnah of Khutbah: the duration

Khutbah or sermon is one of the requisites for Salat-al-Juma, the Friday congregational prayers. According to fiqh books, the aim of khutbah is to remember Allah first and then advise the congregation about issues related to faith, social and moral values. The jurists state that the time of recitation of the Qur’an during the fard (obligatory prayer) should be longer than the khutbah. Prophet Muhammed (s) delivered the khutbah in five to ten minutes. However, research concluded in February 2018 shows that the duration principle of khutbah is not being applied by most khatibs and imams at Friday prayers being...

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The making of the ‘Civilisation of the Heart’ in South East Asia

The Middle Eastern Muslims, mostly Arabs, arrived in the Archipelago (in modern day Indonesia) in the late 7th century. According to a Chinese source, an Arab Shaikh was running a small town in the West coast of Sumatra in 674. Until the mid-twelfth century, individuals’ or small groups’  continued to their migration to South East Asia mainly for da’wah or trade purposes. However, Orientalist Snouck Hurgronje argues that the twelfth century is the earliest possible date for the Islamisation of the Malay world. He also states that “the early, mostly the descendants of the Prophet Muhammad, bearing the title...

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Ramadan stories from Muslim inmates

It was in the mid-90s. I was working as a Muslim chaplain in NSW Correctional Centres. A conflict broke out in one of the correctional centres in NSW a few days before Ramadan. The management had to collect all unnecessary belongings of inmates for safety and security reasons. I recall a story of a Muslim inmate. It is bit mysterious, but I found it interesting particularly to those who are fasting. I wanted to share this unique story with AMUST readers. The Muslim inmate related his story during my visit after Ramadan to the facility in my capacity as...

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Why ethnic cleansing of Rohingya continues unabated

I visited Myanmar two years ago. There were a few Muslims NGOs which were working for different people including Muslims. There were no other networks.  Turkish government had put pressure on the Myanmar government to close four Muslim schools and a soup kitchen which was operated by a Turkish NGO  before the ethnic cleansing began. The schools which were educating thousands of students and the soup kitchen that was providing meals for 750 orphans in Rohingya were consequently closed. The leaders of Muslim majority countries are only speaking to satisfy their public opinion. Some leaders are making thunder-like noises but without any indication of rain. If over 60 Muslim countries cannot prevent or cease ethnic cleansing of Rohingya, this indicates that Muslim leaders are taking steps only for exploiting the situation for their self-interest. The taxpayer’s money which they allocate for Rohingya’s Muslims is not reaching the victims because none of the Muslim countries have infrastructure network in place to help Rohingyas. In Islam, there is no leadership but public servanthood which is based on the hadith of the Prophet who states, “The leader of the tribe is the one who serves them.” When the Muslims leaders applied this principle, Muslims had a balance of power globally which prevented many wars and conflicts. Of course, when unjust Muslims rulers were on the throne, things were different. The human era...

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Correct Islamic response to hate and injustice

The editor of The New Republic, Leon Wieseltier, aptly said, ‘No faith has suffered more at the hands of the improper usage than Islam.’  Since the beginning of the twentieth century and onward, especially post late 1970s, Islam has been presented by some groups as a form of human-made revolutionary ideology operating under the flag of Islamism. The word Islamism appeared in the late 19th century and was used mainly by Orientalists to divide Muslims. It has no place in the Islamic sacred text and in scholarly works before the 19th century at all. Just like other faiths, Islam is no stranger suffering from assaults. However no other religion has been attacked as much as Islam during the last three decades, particularly since 9/11. The Muslim reaction to these assaults, injustice and tyranny have included various acts in the guise of Islamic defence such as radical speeches, burning of flags and effigies and condemning entire nations and non Muslims, which have created more enemies than friends Such defensive acts by Muslims have been viewed as religious obligations or holy struggles, and therefore a necessary display of Muslims in defence of Islam and Muslims. Sometimes these acts have turned into incidents of violence. However such behaviour has been reactionary more so than proactive and it has provided ammunition to be used against Islam and Muslims. This reactionary response justified in...

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