All posts by sheenmeem

The Chase

The show I eagerly wait to see from Monday till Friday is The Chase on Game Show Network. It’s a quiz show, and participants who win, earn a lot of money 💰. The show host is Brooke, who is really endearing, and all her sympathies are with the contestants appearing on the show.

A team of three contestants attempt to amass as much money as possible for a team kitty by answering quick-fire questions in a 60-second round. The Chaser’s job is to catch each contestant and make sure the players are not able to put the money into the kitty which the team must collectively play for in “The Final Chase”.

Some participants are really strange. While many of them are highly intelligent, most of them least bother themselves to have a strategy to win against Mark Labbet aka The Beast. Their intelligence fails them, because they are ill prepared to play the game.

They fail to realize that if all three participants are there against the Beast, they are more likely to win. They are three steps ahead of him in the final chase which gives them a great advantage. The Beast tries to lure each of them in the first round with more offer of money in playing nearer to him. The partners will foolishly tell each other to go for the highest offer, and then fail miserably against the Beast. It’s so irritating 😠.

They have a greater chance of winning if they are twenty steps ahead of the Beast in the final round. The participants second mistake is that they are slow in answering. They waste their valuable time. If they practice in answering quickly, they will be more steps ahead. Every time the Beast trounces his opponents, it shows how amazing, and awesome he is.

Day Fifty Two (A Journey with Quran)

Surah An Nisa: Ayats 141 — 151

They’re the ones who bide their time and watch you, (looking for any signs of weakness). If you gain a victory from Allah, they say, “Weren’t we on your side all along?” but if the faithless gain (the upper hand), they say (to their allies), “Aren’t we more valuable to you now, because we protected you from the believers?” Allah will judge among all of you on the Day of Assembly, and Allah will never give those who suppress (their faith) a way (to succeed completely) over the believers. [141]

The hypocrites think that they’re out-smarting Allah, but He’s the One out-smarting them! When they stand up to pray, they stand sluggishly, only wanting to have people see them. They don’t remember Allah very much at all! [142]

(They’re) distracted all throughout (their prayer), not being (completely loyal) to one side or the other. You’ll never find the way for someone whom Allah leaves astray. [143]

All you who believe! Don’t take those who suppress (their faith) as best friends in preference to other believers. Do you want to give Allah the very evidence to use against you? [144]

The hypocrites will be in the lowest depths of the Fire, and you’ll find no one to help them. [145]

(They’re all doomed) except for those who repent and reform themselves and who then hold firmly to Allah and purify their way of life in Allah’s sight. If they do all of that, then they’ll be (counted) among the believers, and Allah will soon grant a valuable reward to the believers. [146]

(All you people,) what would it do for Allah to punish you if you’re thankful and you believe? (Know that) Allah is appreciative (of the good you do) and that He knows (about all things). [147]

Allah doesn’t like for bad news to be announced in public, except where injustice has been done, for Allah hears and knows (all things). [148]

Whether you publicize a good deed or hide it or pardon a (personal) offense (done against you), know that Allah has the power to pardon (all sins). [149]

Those who seek to suppress (the true knowledge of) Allah and His messengers and who want to separate Allah from His messengers by saying, “We believe in some but reject the rest,” and those who try to take a (compromising) middle course [150] – they’re all equally suppressing (the light of faith within their hearts). We’ve prepared a humiliating punishment for those who suppress (their faith)! [151]

Translation: Yahiya Emerick

Footnote:

Giving in charity never decreases wealth.

Day Fifty One (A Journey with Quran)

Surah An Nisa: Ayats 131 — 140

All that is within the heavens and on the earth belongs to Allah. And so it was that. We directed those who received revelation before you that they should be mindful of Allah, just as We’ve also directed you (Muslims) to do likewise. If you reject (Him, just remember) that all things within the heavens and on the earth belong to Allah and that Allah is free of all needs and (is the only One) worthy of being praised. [131]

Again, everything in the heavens and on the earth belongs to Allah, and Allah is enough to take care of all affairs! [132]

If He ever wanted to, He could destroy all you people and create another species, because Allah has the power to do that. If anyone desires a reward in this life, (remember) that in Allah’s (hands) are the rewards [133] both of this life and of the next, and Allah hears and watches (over all things). [134]

All you who believe! Stand up firmly for justice as witnesses before Allah, and (be fair witnesses even if it’s) against your own selves, your parents or your relatives, as well. (Also, be fair), whether it’s (against) the rich or the poor, for Allah can best protect (the legitimate interests) of both sides. Don’t follow your own whims, for only then can you (judge) with fairness. If you distort (the truth) or fail to do justice, then know that Allah is well-informed of whatever you do. [135]

All you who believe! Believe in Allah and His Messenger and in the Book that He sent down to His Messenger, and believe in the books that He sent down to those who came before (your time, as well.) Whoever rejects Allah, His angels, His books, His messengers or the Last Day has made a huge mistake and gone far off into error. [136]

Those who believe, but who then suppress (their faith), then believe again, and then again suppress (their faith) – and go on increasing in their rejection, Allah won’t forgive them nor will He guide them on the path (of truth). [137]

Inform the hypocrites that there’s (nothing) for them to look forward to (in the next life other than) painful punishment. [138]

So those who take as their best friends (people) who’ve rejected (Allah) in preference to the believers – are they looking for high status among them? Yet, all high status belongs to Allah! [139]

He’s already sent down to you (the instructions) in the Book that when you hear the (revealed) verses of Allah being mocked and ridiculed, you’re not allowed to sit with (such people) until they turn to a different topic. If you did (stay there, while insults were being hurled against Allah’s revelations), then you would be no better than they. (Know that) Allah will collect the hypocrites and all those who suppressed (their faith, and He will throw them) all together into Hellfire. [140]

Translation: Yahiya Emerick

Day Fifty (A Journey with Quran)

Surah An Nisa: Ayats 121 — 130

(His followers) will have their dwelling in Hellfire, and they’ll find no way out. [121]

However, We’re soon going to admit those who believed and did what was morally right into gardens beneath which rivers flow – and there they shall remain forever! Allah’s promise is true, and whose word can be more honest than Allah’s? [122]

Neither your desires nor the desires of the Followers of Earlier Revelation (can prevail). Whoever does wrong will be repaid accordingly, and he’ll find neither a best friend nor helper besides Allah. [123]

Whether they’re male or female, whoever does what’s morally right and has faith will enter the Garden, and not the least bit of injustice will be done to them. [124]

Whose way of life can be better than the one who submits himself to Allah, does what’s morally right and follows the creed of Abraham, the natural monotheist? Indeed, Allah even took Abraham as a friend. [125]

Everything in the heavens and on the earth belongs to Allah, and He embraces all things. [126]

They’re asking you for instructions (on how to treat) women, so tell them, “Allah (Himself) gives you (men) instructions on (how to treat) them. (Follow) what’s been recited to you in (this) book concerning women who have orphaned children, and from whom you’re withholding their rightful property – and yet you seek to marry them (to get at their wealth or you avoid marrying them without letting them marry others in order to keep control of their property)! And also (follow the rules that you have been given concerning) the helpless children (in your midst). Your (duty) is to do justice to orphans, (so you must be fair and give widowed women and their orphaned children their inheritance)! There’s not any good deed that you can do, without Allah knowing all about it.” [127]

If a wife fears aggressively defiant behavior from her husband or is afraid he will abandon her, it isn’t wrong for them if they arrange a fair settlement between themselves (to mutually alter the stipulations of the marriage contract or initiate a divorce). A (fair) settlement is best, even though people’s souls are swayed by greed. If you do good and guard yourselves (against committing injustice, remember that) Allah is well-informed of whatever you do. [128]

You’ll never be able to achieve fairness between women, (if you happen to have more than one wife), no matter how hard you try, though don’t turn away (from one wife) altogether, as if you were leaving her to languish. If you come to a friendly understanding and remain aware (of your duty to Allah, know that) He’s forgiving and merciful. [129]

However, if (a married couple) has irreconcilable differences (and must separate), Allah will provide for all concerned from His abundance, for Allah is the One Who cares for all things and is wise. [130]

Translation: Yahiya Emerick

Eid al Adha

Today is Eid al Adha. Wishing my Muslim Readers a very happy Eid.

We came to Dallas yesterday to celebrate Eid with Nola, (daughter) and family. IB (grandson) came with us. Eid al Adha is celebrated at the end of Haj (pilgrimage to Mecca).

Ibrahim, known as Abraham in the Christian and Jewish traditions, was commanded by God to sacrifice his elder son. He obeyed and took Ishmael (Ismail or Ismael) to Mount Moriah. Just as he was to sacrifice his son, an angel stopped him and gave him a ram to sacrifice in place of his son. Some people dispute that the son of sacrifice was Isaac (Isḥāq). However by looking at the chain of events detailed in Quran: Surah 37, Versus 100 to 113 it is clear that Isaac was younger than Ishmael. Abraham receives the good news of Isaac soon after he almost sacrifices Ishmael.

Surah As Saffat (Chapter 37), Ayats (Verses) 100 – 113.

(In later years, Abraham prayed,) “My Lord! Grant me a righteous son!” * Then We gave him the good news of a resolute boy. * At length, when (the boy) was old enough to work alongside of him, (Abraham said), “My son! I saw in a dream that I offered you as a sacrifice. What do you see in that?” (The boy) answered, “My father! Do what you’ve been ordered to do. You’ll find that, by God’s will, I’ll be patient.” [100-102] When they both resolved to submit (to the ritual, Abraham) laid his (son bound) and prostrate on his forehead. * (However, just as he was about to sacrifice him), We called out to him, saying, “Abraham! * You’ve already fulfilled the dream!” That’s how We reward the good, * and this was clearly a difficult trial. * Then We substituted in his (son’s) place the substantial sacrifice (of a ram). [103-107] We left his (story) among the generations that followed after him, * so, “Peace be upon Abraham!” * That’s how We reward the good, * for he was one of our faithful servants. [108-111] We also gave him the good news about Isaac, that he would (one day) become a righteous prophet. * We blessed both him and Isaac, and while some of their descendants (remained on the right path and were) good, (others, however), were unjust to the detriment of their own souls. [112-113] Translation: Yahiya Emerick.

IB at the mosque today. Social distancing is followed there too.

A Rabbit vs a Mouse

IB (grandson). This image of him was made by TJ (my daughter’s son)

I have Masha’Allah four grandsons, three belonging to Son, and one belongs to daughter. IB is going through the phase which is really annoying, having a haircut in which one eye is covered all the time. He looks at you through that curtain of hair.

Son, and I had IB for a month stay, in which Son was mostly absent from home, and I had IB to myself. I wanted IB to extend his stay to one more week. Although he wouldn’t get out of his room, except for numerous forays to the pantry, (where all his goodies procured by Son were) or the fridge. I would get the feeling I wasn’t alone.

After my asking him to stay, a phone message was received by Son to return him to his Mom the same evening. Another disappointment to face!

Believe me, before going he wasn’t worried 😟 about me on my own, but he was worried sick about the fate of the resident mouse in our garage. Son was laying traps for the blighter before leaving for LA for another case. I wanted IB to remove it (I’m very squeamish) once we were lucky enough to catch it. I know I will cower with fright, and scream when I see it, and If no one is there to remove it I will be frantically waiting for Son to come back.

IB put a question to me, “Would you kill a bunny (rabbit)”?

If I had known what was coming next I would have thought over my answer. “No never”.

“Then how can you think of killing a mouse 🐁. It’s so cute. Have you looked at its’ face. It looks just like a bunny”.

My answer was that he couldn’t compare a rabbit with a mouse. In his effort to convert me to his point of view, he wanted me to look over his mouse photos on his iPhone which I refused to see.

Day Forty Nine (A Journey with Quran)

Surah An Nisa: Ayats 111 — 120

If anyone earns a sin, he earns it against his own soul. Allah is full of knowledge and wisdom. [111]

If anyone earns a fault or a sin and then blames it on someone else who is innocent, he will carry (upon himself both) the lie and an obvious sin. [112]

If it wasn’t for Allah’s favor and mercy towards you, a group of (the hypocrites) would’ve certainly schemed to lead you astray, but they’ve only succeeded in leading their own souls astray. They’re incapable of causing you any real harm, for Allah has sent down the Book to you and (the standard of prophetic) wisdom, and He taught you) what you didn’t know (before). Allah’s favor is powerfully inclined towards you. [113]

In most of their secret discussions there’s nothing good (being said or planned). However, if someone is encouraging a charitable deed, (planning) an exemplary (act that will help many) or (devising ways to) make peace between people, (then being secretive is allowed). Whoever engages (in secret discussions) for these (ends), while looking only for the pleasure of Allah, soon shall We give him a valuable reward. [114]

If anyone works against the Messenger, even after guidance has been clearly conveyed to him, and follows a path other than that of a believer, We’ll leave him on the path he’s chosen and then lead him into Hellfire – what a terrible destination! [115]

Allah doesn’t forgive (the sin of) making others equal with Him, but He forgives any other sins besides this for whomever He wants. Whoever makes others equal with Allah has made a huge mistake and gone far off into error. [116]

They (the idol-worshippers) call upon goddesses (for favors) in place of Him, but they’re really calling upon a relentless devil! [117]

Allah had cursed Satan, but he (was defiant and challenged Allah), saying, “I will ensnare a certain number of Your servants. [118]

I’ll mislead them and urge them (to sin). I’ll order them to slit the ears of cattle (for the sake of mindless superstition) and to disfigure what Allah created.” Whoever takes Satan for a protector in place of Allah is clearly lost in bewilderment! [119]

Satan makes them promises and urges them (to commit sins), but Satan’s promises are nothing more than deception. [120]

Translation: Yahiya Emerick

Background on verse 115:

The brother of a man named Maqees ibn Dubabah was killed in the countryside in a district known as an-Najjar, and Maqees went to the Prophet seeking justice. The Prophet sent him along with a representative to the tribe of Fihr to ask them to produce the murderer, so he could be brought to justice. The tribal elders said they didn’t know who killed Maqees’s brother, but they would pay the penalty or blood-money to him to compensate him for his loss. Maqees was given one hundred camels. As he was riding back with them towards Medina, he thought that it wouldn’t look honorable in the eyes of the Arabs to accept the blood-money and that someone had to die for the killing of his brother. He looked at the Prophet’s representative who was riding with him and concluded that since he was also a man of the Fihr tribe, he could revenge himself upon him. So, he beat the man to death with a rock and took his camels to Mecca where he renounced Islam and boasted of his exploits to the approving idol-worshippers. Some years later, when the Muslims compelled the bloodless surrender of Mecca, Maqees was found, arrested and executed for the brazen murder. This verse references that man and his actions.

Footnote to verse 119

Arab superstitions caused them to follow a great many odd, and even macabre customs. Slitting the ears of cattle to mark their sacred status was just one of them.

This custom has echoes today in the modern world where slitting a portion of cow’s ears, and tagging them is used as a way to identify them. The term earmarked is derived from this practice.

Verse 119: Disfigure

This refers to the practice of castration, and people tattooing their bodies. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) forbade people from doing both practices.

Getting a tattoo was a common pre Islamic custom. A tattoo defaces the physical appearance with which Allah has graced a person. Having a tattoo means the appearance Allah give is not good enough, and must be masked over.

Those who had them were not sanctioned for it upon conversion to Islam, as conversion caused a person’s record of deeds to be wiped clean.

Too Clever for Me

One evening I was late in watering my vegetable plot. As I aimed the spray at the 🍅 plants, I noticed a black thing rushing out. It jumped right into a hole in the side wall of our home. It quickly disappeared into it.

I had noticed this hole, and had asked Son to close it. Previously I had seen a winged bug disappearing into it, and had stuffed a foam into it. It wasn’t a deterrent obviously 🙄.

Son, as usual was away from home. He was in Seattle for a case. That evening when he phoned I told him about our unwanted furry friend which had taken residence in the wall. I reminded him about the hole, and couldn’t hide my annoyance over his inability to take it seriously, and do something about it. I had been harping about it for the past five months.

Son was in one of his black moods, and answered, “How can I close a hole when I’m miles away?” Wrong answer! I was expecting that he would promise (an oft repeated promise) to seal it when he would be home.

Disappointed ☹️! I ranted to Nola (daughter) about the situation. She told me to keep a cat. I’m not a cat lady, and besides where would I keep it? There wasn’t any covered place in the backyard. Besides a cat, Nola had other suggestions: get mothballs (mice dislike the smell), and to stuff the hole with steel wool.

I forgot to mention that one , or two of them had taken to venturing into our garage. I often found its’ droppings on the floor of the garage beside the door leading into our home, and elsewhere. I had mentioned this to Son, but as usual nothing was done by him.

I dropped quite a few whole, and crushed mothballs into the hole in the wall. Waited an hour, or so for the dreaded thing to get out, and then firmly pressed steel wool into the opening. It took about eight of them to do the job.

When Son was back, he placed sticky traps in the garage for the creature. The only things they caught was a tiny lizard, and some bugs. Apparently it’s too clever for us.

Day Forty Eight (A Journey with Quran)

Surah An Nisa: Ayats 101— 110

When you travel through the open countryside, it isn’t wrong if you shorten your prayers out of the fear that the faithless might ambush you, for those who cover over (their ability to have faith) are clearly your enemies. [101]

When you’re with (other Muslims on a journey), and you stand up to lead them in prayer, assign one group of the (believers) to stand (for prayer) with you, taking their weapons with them, (while the others stand guard). When they finish their prostrations, let them set up (their guard-positions) in the rear, and let the other group which didn’t pray yet come forward and pray with you – taking all precautions and holding their weapons. The faithless would eagerly attack you in a single rush, if they (saw that) you were without your weapons or away from your gear. It isn’t wrong, however, if you pack your weapons away when it’s raining or if you’re too ill to carry them, but even still take every precaution for yourselves. Truly, Allah has prepared a humiliating punishment for those who suppress (their awareness of the truth). [102]

When you’ve concluded the prayer, remember Allah while standing, sitting or lying down on your sides, and when you’re free from danger, perform the prayer-ritual (in the normal way), for prayers are a duty upon the faithful at set times. [103]

Don’t hesitate in pursuing the enemy. If you’re suffering from hardship, (know that) they’re suffering similar hardships, too. (Remember that) you have hope in Allah, while they have hope in nothing. Allah is full of knowledge and wisdom. [104]

We sent the Book down to you in all truth, so you can judge between people as directed by Allah. Therefore, don’t let yourself be (used) as an advocate by traitors. [105]

Rather, seek the forgiveness of Allah, for Allah is forgiving and merciful. [106]

Offer no defense on behalf of those who’ve betrayed their own souls, for truly Allah has no love for underhanded sinners. [107]

They may hide (their intentions) from other people, but they can’t hide (them) from Allah, for He’s in their midst when they plot in the night – using the kinds (of vile) words that He detests! Allah surrounds them in everything they do! [108]

They’re the kind of people on whose behalf you may offer a defense in this world, but who is going to defend them against Allah on the Day of Assembly, and who will take care of things for them then? [109]

If anyone commits an offense or otherwise wrongs his own soul, but then later seeks Allah’s forgiveness, he will find Allah to be forgiving and merciful. [110]

Translation: Yahiya Emerick

Background on verses 101-104: The Prophet led a group of Muslims on patrol near a place named Asafan. The time for the early afternoon prayer arrived, and the Muslims were praying in congregation when a party of Meccan raiders (led by Khalid ibn Waleed) appeared in the distance. One of the pagans counseled that this was the best time to attack the Muslims, while another suggested that there was a second prayer (the late afternoon) in which the Muslims took even more interest, and the man suggested that that would be a better time to strike. While the idol-worshippers were debating when to strike, the Prophet concluded the group prayer and recited this newly revealed passage, explaining what the idol-worshippers were plotting. When the next prayer time came, the Prophet ordered his men to pray while holding their weapons, and the two rows of men alternated standing and bowing, so there would always be one line able to respond to the enemy if need be.

Day Forty Seven (A Journey with Quran)

Surah An Nisa: Ayats 91 – 100

You’ll find other (hypocrites) who want to gain your confidence and the confidence of their own people. However, every time they’re tempted (by their twisted desires), they fall into them. If they neither leave you (to openly join your enemy) nor give you any peace (while remaining among you), other than merely not (attacking you at the moment), then you may capture them and kill them wherever you encounter them. In their case, We’ve given you clear permission (to fight) against them. [91]

A believer should never kill another believer, though if it happens by mistake, (then a penalty must still be paid). If someone kills a believer (accidentally), then he must free a believing servant and pay monetary damages to the family of the deceased, unless they decline it freely. If the deceased belonged to a community that is hostile to you and he was a believer, the freeing of a believing servant (is enough). If he belonged to a community with which you have a treaty, then again monetary-damages must be paid to his family, and a believing servant must be freed. If someone cannot procure (a servant to free because of a financial hardship or some other reason), then a fast of two consecutive months must be observed by him, and this is a concession from Allah, for Allah has all knowledge and wisdom. [92]

If someone kills a believer on purpose, then his reward is in Hellfire, and that’s where he’s going to stay! The wrath and curse of Allah will be upon him, and a harsh punishment will be prepared for him. [93]

All you who believe! When you go abroad (to fight) in the cause of Allah, check carefully (before taking action against those whom you meet on the battlefield, and about whose intentions you’re uncertain). Don’t say to an (enemy soldier) who (seems to pause) to offer you the greetings of peace, “You aren’t a believer,” (wanting to kill him) in your greed for the temporary riches of this life. There’s plenty of profits and prizes with Allah. You used to (kill for profit) like that before (accepting Islam), until Allah placed His favor upon you. So check carefully (whom it is you’re confronting), for Allah is aware of everything you do. [94]

The believers who sit (at home) without a valid excuse and who never get hurt are not equal to those who struggle in the cause of Allah with their money and their persons. Allah has granted a higher grade to those who struggle and use their money and their persons over those who sit (at home). Allah has promised good to both, but those who struggle are distinguished by Him with a valuable reward above those who remain (at home). [95]

That’s a special designation given especially by Him, along with His forgiveness and mercy, for Allah is forgiving and merciful. [96]

When the angels take the souls of those who died while in a state of injustice against their own selves (through their constant mingling with the hostile among the faithless), they’re going to ask (the sinful souls), “What was your situation in the world?” They’ll answer by saying, “We were weak and oppressed in the land, (and that’s why we never left the enemy’s territory.)” The (angels will answer them,) saying, “Wasn’t Allah’s earth big enough for you to move yourselves away (to some place safer)?” They’re the ones who will find their resting place in Hellfire, and oh what an evil destination it is! [97]

However, those who were (truly) weak and oppressed, the men, women and children who had neither the means nor the ability (to flee) nor (who found a leader) to direct their way [98] (are not to blame), for Allah shall forgive them, for Allah pardons and forgives. [99]

Whoever forsakes his home in the cause of Allah can find in the world many safe hideouts, for it’s a wide and spacious place. If he dies as a refugee far away from home for (the sake) of Allah and His Messenger, his reward is due with Allah, and Allah is forgiving and merciful. [100]

Translation: Yahiya Emerick