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Letters to the Editor

lettersDear Editor,

Assalamu Alaikum,

I just wanted to thank the writers of the Islamic Bulletin for publishing a beautiful and uplifting newsletter. I read the Ramadan issue and Alhamdulillah, as always, I learn something new every time. The articles provide plenty of interesting and informative topics that keep both young and old very satisfied. Although I enjoy every section of the Islamic Bulletin, my favorites are always "Why I Embraced Islam" and "Cook's Corner." I have read every single one of your issues since they first were produced in 1991. I read my first issue of the Islamic Bulletin at the Masjid in San Francisco. I was a young student at the time and SubanAllah, now 18 years later, I am a mother and have a wonderful family. The Islamic Bulletin continues to grow with me as I get older. Inshallah, I hope to see more issues of the Islamic Bulletin so I can share and pass them along with my children as they are growing up.

Asma El Ghasseyn
Santa Clara, California


Dear friend in Islam,

It is very kind of you to write to me and reply also with the resources mentioned. I will also carefully read these. My wife and I talked more about Islam this evening. Sometimes when I care for our cats, I think of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), for I've read he loved animals and had a cat of his own. Had I known him, I think I would have loved him as a friend and brother.

See responses in italics by Imam Taher

I was raised Christian and went to Christian High School in USA. Am now 44 years old, and worked previously as a Christian radio announcer. Also lived in Christian and Messianic-Jewish type communal groups, seeking to more closely follow what is recorded of the teachings of Isa/Jesus. I have been greatly troubled by some of the teachings of Isa, such as giving up everything to follow him and forsaking family and friends, even children, to obey him. I have friends in a communal group called the Twelve Tribes who believe this way, but I am not totally convinced about their life in seeking to be New Israel or what they feel Christianity should have been etc. It's a long story.

I find when I follow Christianity or a hybrid form of it, I have a tendency to pray and talk with Isa/Jesus, but I have always questioned this. Some people think he is God, I think this is false and agree with Islam that Allah is One and only One. Others think he is not God, yet still pray to him. Very very much confusion. Troubling. And for many Christians they feel much guilt to even question these matters. It also troubles me that after reading the Bible for years, I sense the Roman Christians may have edited heavily and censored. I cannot prove this, but something in me says yes, the whole story is not told, and Isa's childhood and teenage years is mostly missing.

For a time, I also prayed to a Heavenly Father and Mother, who are two but one. Have since stopped. So, Islam seems to want people to carefully question and examine to find Truth, and this seems good. I feel Islam can answer many of societies problems and abuses. It has something to say about government, and banking, and taking care of one's family. I stand firmly with what I understand in Islam against the sale of drugs and alcohol and it is completely Satanic that pornography is allowed to flow to homes through the Internet. I also greatly respect the modesty in clothing by sincere Muslim women. Is Islam firm about the above matters?

Islam is quite firm about such things, and has many teachings in each of these areas.

On a personal spiritual prayer level, the daily prayer times seem very honorable to the Creator. No religion I have known does this, except some monastic groups. Very important, I feel idolatry is in most other religions. Very troubling. Islam takes special precautions it would seem to keep it out. But these concerns I also have. I realize you may be very busy. But if you wish to answer/comment, anything you say is very valuable to me:

- It seems a daunting task for me to learn the language of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Does Allah accept prayers in English? Should I walk the Muslim path, I think I could very gradually learn with help, but it would be a challenge.

Allah accepts prayers in ANY language. You will only be required to learn the (small) prayers done in ritual prayer (Salat), but you can take your time learning them.

- I find it hard to know if the shedding of animal, or Isa's blood is required by Allah so that human sins can be forgiven. Very troubling.

I am not sure I understand. The only thing REQUIRED for forgiveness for ones sins, is to ask God (in any language), and we believe He forgives.

- I have no real Muslim friends, and I wonder if in general, are Muslim men kind and loving to their wives, and are the women happy and live lives of meaning in Islam.

Muslim men and women are generally very happy people. Of course, like all others, there are some troubled cases, but it is not even close to what the media portrays. Islam places great emphasis on good treatment of ones spouses (wives and husbands), so you'd be surprised how happy Muslim families are.

- Human slavery concerns me, and I've heard in some Muslim countries that people buy and sell other humans. It doesn't seem like the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) or Allah would want this to go on.

Human slavery still exists in America and the west in many forms. In the pre-Islamic days, slaves were bought/sold and had NO rights. Islam came and gave them rights. The right to eat, religion, fair treatment, fair wage, etc.
- Islam also encouraged the freeing of slaves, hence you will read that the companions of the Prophet bought and freed hundreds, if not thousands of slaves.
- Gradually, slavery was eradicated.
- Allah and the Prophet do NOT encourage slavery. Just placed rules for fair treatment.

- I also wonder if I became Muslim if I would be accepted in other countries by Muslim men since I am American and because of what happened with Iraq.

There are so many (white) American/British Muslim men who live, work and tour the Middle East. They love it there, and the locals there are thrilled to see a westener to visit their country and choose to work/visit there. If they happen to be Muslim, you'll be having dinner at a new home everyday!!

- I cannot understand what day of the week is holy to Allah. Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. Very confusing. Or none at all?

All days are holy. No one is better than the other. But Friday is the one He chose for the congregational prayer.

Well these are things that come to mind, and I am grateful for you reaching out to me in this way. It is obvious that we share a world in which evil dwells and affects humanity in very bad ways. I have hoped for a long time to find the right way to follow the Creator that goodness might be more full in me and in the world. The way society/culture is headed is extremely wicked, and what is coming will be far worse. Most disturbing is the destruction of a child's natural innocence by the media and Internet. I have hoped that if Islam is the Truth, that I would know 100% and that Islam could truly change cultures to be more in line with Allah's will and be more pleasing to Him. I should get a Koran sometime. I appreciate your help and any insights you wish to share. I did think of another question and that is how do Muslims relate to Jewish people and how will the Israel/Palestine issues ever be resolved to what is pleasing to Allah.

They have no problems with the Jewish faith. They don't have issues with Jews either. They only have issues with people who oppress, regardless of their faith.

One final question, I feel bad for Hagar and Ishmael who were forced to leave their home with Abraham (pbuh). I feel sometimes that Jews and Christians have sometimes been against Ishmael and his mother. What actually happened in the home. Was it really justified for Abraham (pbuh) to ask them to leave? Did Ishmael really show great disrespect to Abraham's wife Sarah and her son?

We don't believe they were forced, rather they left at the inspiration given to them by God. We dont believe that there was any disrespect.

Thank you for your patience with me, I have no one to talk about these things. Most people I know have no interest in Islam. Why me? I do want to be a better person, to one day live with the Creator, and that the world would be a more holy place. I regret much of the life I've lived. I continue to be challenged in my heart concerning Islam. Perhaps you may say a pray for me that I would truly know the Truth and be set free by it.

Thank you for your kind help,

Eric Christopherson
Syracuse, New York

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Dear Editors of the Islamic Bulletin,

First of all I would like to say Assalamu Alaikum and may this letter reach you in the best of health. Second, I would like to thank all of you for an excellent newsletter. I subscribe to many magazines, but never has a newsletter such as yours made me feel so spiritually connected to Islam (my Deen) and Allah. When I read your newsletter, I feel so calm and at peace. I also love that you add stories about the Prophet(S) and his companions because I love learning more about our beloved Prophet(S).

Writing this letter, in this month of Ramadan, I am grateful that Allah (SWT) has allowed me to experience another Ramadan. I am grateful that I can experience all the beautiful joys of Ramadan, such as fasting and Taraweeh. Another thing for which I am extremely grateful for is that my grandmother, who is Italian and was formerly Catholic, has Alhamdulillah embraced Islam at the age of 68.

My grandmother used to be a very strict Catholic and had statues and pictures of Jesus and saints all over her house. In fact, she was as such a strict Catholic that not only would she go to church on Sundays, but she would go every day of the week. Once, I remember her getting extremely angry if I or my sisters ever started mentioning Islam to her. Even though we were maybe 10, 11 years old at the time, we still tried to speak to her about Islam. But her religion was hers and mine was mine. Yet she was always respectful and loving. I knew that I could not ask for a more loving grandmother and I loved her very much (as I do today).

Alhamdulillah, my grandmother started slowly asking more questions about Islam and one day announced that she wanted to become a Muslim. This Ramadan is extra special since both my grandmother and I will be fasting together and praying Taraweeh. I have been encouraging my grandmother and she has just started writing a story about why she embraced Islam.

I was wondering when my grandmother has finished writing her story, if I could submit it to the Islamic Bulletin to be placed in a future issue? I would really like to share with your Readers my grandmother's spiritual path to Islam.

Salaams,
RB, San Francisco, California

Response:

Asalamu Alaikum, Thank you so much for your touching letter. We are happy to know that your grandmother found Islam. We always encourage all our readers to participate in our Newsletter.

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All correspondence should be addressed to:

The Editor of the Islamic Bulletin
P.O. Box 410186, San Francisco, CA 94141-0186

September 2009
Ramadan 1430
Note from the Editor
Letters to the Editor
Everyday Dua'a
Islamic World News
How I Embraced Islam
Let's Make A Change
A Sad Passing
Islamic Beliefs
and Practices
Common Mistakes
In Ramadan
Istikhara...
Feeling Confused?
Day Of Judgment
How Not To Miss Fajr
You Can Do It
A Love Story
Cook's Corner
Women in Islam
The Qur'an & Science
Kids' Corner
Parent's Corner
A Request
Beauty Tips for Sisters
Who Is Your Best Friend?
How to Concentrate
In Your Prayers