Poem: A Prayer for Today

Shaykh Zayed Mosque, Abu Dhabi

Shaykh Zayed Mosque, Abu Dhabi

By Wael Abdelgawad | IslamicSunrays.com

Today I say no prayers for myself.
As for my enemies, I wish them well
in the truest sense – well hearts
and minds, and a well of light.
Today, on this day of spring sunshine
and headlines full of death
– ISIS leaving heads on the roadside
and young Muslim leaders
gunned down in the USA –
it’s for the Ummah that I pray.
I pray for the Muslim people
to rediscover the merciful heart
of their deen; and to find their power,
science, architecture, art,
and the quiet joy of ‘ibadah
and Allah’s love.
Let them step into the century
free from tyranny, standing tall
with Islam as hope and call.
Let them drink from the bubbling spring
of the Quran.
Let them breathe.
Let them free themselves
and transform the world.

Islam is a Game Changer

Poppy flower leaning toward the light

By Wael Abdelgawad | IslamicSunrays.com

Islam is a game changer. Every other system, every human-made “ism” – feudalism, tribalism, nationalism, monarchism, capitalism, communism, fascism – treats human beings like commodities or less. Every other system simply plays around with variables like distribution of wealth and labor, or elevates one group of human beings based on lineage or geography, while devaluing others to less-than-human status.

All these systems are fundamentally uncivilized, even barbaric.

Islam changes everything. Islam says, we’re going to uphold the fundamental dignity of all human beings.

“And We have certainly honored the children of Adam and carried them on the land and sea and provided for them of the good things and preferred them over much of what We have created, with [definite] preference.” – Quran, 17:70

Allah has honored all the children of Adam. Not only Muslims, not only men, not one race or nation, not only the wealthy or beautiful, but all humans. As for the nature of man, Allah says, “[So mention] when your Lord said to the angels, ‘Indeed, I am going to create a human being from clay. So when I have proportioned him and breathed into him of My [created] soul, then fall down to him in prostration.'” – Quran, 38:71-72

A being into whom Allah breathed cannot help but be noble by nature. Yes, we humans are corruptible and shortsighted, but we don’t have to be. Our nature is pure. We can, at times, rise above our own foolishness and become great.

When it comes to morality, Islam takes the approach of trusting human beings to live by values like compassion, justice, fairness, help for the poor, brotherhood and sisterhood, devotion to God, and non-attachment to material luxuries.

That’s what Islam is supposed to be!

This is why certain oppressive cultural practices found in parts of the Muslim world are so abominable. I’m talking about  so-called honor killings, female genital mutilation, denial of education to women, violence against religious minorities, etc. These practices must be abolished. They are anathema to everything Islam represents.

Islam came to promote an idea of human dignity based on:

1- Our relationship with Allah;

2- The love and mercy we show one another;

3- The utilization of our free will for a higher purpose.

All human beings are created in the best of molds (You Are Perfectly Created). All human beings are born on the fitrah, the pure and natural way, with an inborn inclination to recognize the Creator and do good. Racism and nationalism are abhorred and abolished. Women are recognized as intellectual and spiritual beings, not property, objects, or vassals.

That’s Islam as it should be. It’s a revolutionary system. Rather than a limited material or tribal system, it is for the first time in history a human system. If we’re practicing anything less then we’re not practicing Islam. If we look down on certain races, if we hate people because of their nationality or religion, if we subjugate women, then we’re practicing a fraud, and shaming ourselves before the world.

Islam rises above everything that came before. Islam came to change the world, and to elevate the essential nobility all human beings, a nobility not based on nation or tribe, but on our eternal souls. That’s the call of Islam. That’s the path we must follow.

Freedom for Egypt and the Ummah


By Wael Abdelgawad | IslamicSunrays.com

O Allah, make Egypt a beacon of freedom for the Arab world and all of Africa. Bring relief to the Ummah, and let them breathe. Guide them and keep them on the light. Subhanaka wa bihamdik, Glory to You Allah and praise to You.

Power to the people!!!

Mubarak the dictator is gone. But the January 25th revolution must continue until all the corrupt old guard are gone. The killers and torturers of Khaled Said and so many other innocents must be brought to justice. The voice of the people must be respected, and their freedom assured.

What has happened is a huge first step, a historic moment. It is a tremendous victory for the people and the youth. A new age has dawned on Egypt. Now ahead lies the journey.

Alhamdulillah, wa Allahu Akbar.

Women of Egypt: 120 Amazing Photos

Compiled by Leil-Zahra Mortada, AlJazeera and others. May God bless the people of Egypt, and make this a moment of change for Egypt and all the Arab world. Let’s always remember the contribution of women, in this moment and throughout Arab and Islamic history.

Palestine On My Mind: 28 Photos

Free Palestine

"Free Palestine" by Ash Bahrain

By Wael Abdelgawad | IslamicSunrays.com

I know this is supposed to be a website of inspiring and hopeful thoughts. But everything in the world has two sides. Inspiration and hope without the knowledge of suffering are empty. Today is Christmas, and the New Year is coming up. I thought about writing something about spiritual renewal and purification. But I don’t have it in me right now.

Palestine is on my mind today. It is never far from my thoughts, but I’m thinking about the material frenzy that surrounds Christmas here in the West, with stores open 24 hours a day, and Christmas music and advertising everywhere, while our brothers and sisters in Palestine continue in their agony and loss, day after day, month after month, year after year.

And yet, these are a people who will not surrender, who will never give up.

When the entire world cuts Palestine off and tries to starve them in their camps and homes, the Palestinians build miles-long tunnels under the border and smuggle in everything from live goats and sheep, to cooking oil, to entire cars, piece by piece. They don’t lay down and die. They struggle. They survive because they know where to turn for strength.

Bilal Mustafa, an acquaintance of mine and founder of the Ummah1.com forum says, “Asking the question “Why?” is life changing only if you turn to God for the answer. An answer from anywhere else is catastrophic…”

People of corruption turn to physical pleasure. People of addiction and failure turn to drink and drugs. People of despair turn to suicide. People of hopelessness take no action but simply wait and suffer, doing nothing to bring about change because they have given up on the possibility of something better.

The believers turn to Allah. In those moments of confusion and pain, Allah is our refuge. In Allah there is comfort and strength.

It’s been said that man can live about forty days without food, three days without water, eight minutes without air, but only for one second without hope. I would add that without Allah we would not survive for a millionth of a second.

The Palestinians know this, and for that reason they will survive, and in the end – Insha’Allah, Insha’Allah! – they will have their victory, and their freedom.

I don’t have any more words about this. It has all been said. So I will simply post some photos.

I have not posted the most terrible photos. I have not posted the photos of children wailing beside dead parents, or the victims stacked up like cordwood after an Israeli bombing. I have not posted the photos of entire families dead on top of each other, or children missing limbs, or families buried alive as their homes were demolished by Israeli bulldozers. I did not have the heart to burden you with those photos. I am not willing to make the choice to sear your eyes and boil your heart in your chest.

If you have the heart and the guts to see those photos, to be confronted with the reality of an act of terrorism that has been continuing for 62 years, you can find them easily. They are everywhere, for example:

I WANT TO TELL THE WORLD! – a photo essay of Palestinian oppression

I have chosen only to post the “non-violent” photos that do not depict explicit death and injury.

Be warned, oppressors! The dua’ of the oppressed is accepted. Be warned, be warned.

What can we do? Pray for them, protest, vote, educate. Don’t let the world forget.

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Pieces of a Dream