Mir Ali of Tabriz

February 24, 2008


He was born in Herat, in the year 881 Hijri or 1476 AD. He is nicknamed the Qibla of the calligraphers. He was an Imam in a class of calligraphers, a skilled, highly important artist, he defined the rules of Taaliq (Farisi). Sultan Ali al Katib al-Mashady said in his poem in Farsi:

نسخ تعليق اكر خفي وجليست واضع الأصل خواجه مير عليست

Taaliq is also called “Nastaaliq” which means that at Mir Ali’s time, they were using Taaliq to copy most writings and letters, so it became known as Naskh Taaliq, and then many started calling it Nastaaliq, lightening it by omitting the foreign letter khaa.

It is said that the reason behind his invention of the new script was that he asked the Most High one day to favor him with the gift to create a new script. That night Ali bin Abi Talib (may God be pleased with him) visited him in his sleep, and told him to look carefully at a flock of a particular type of fowl, a duck in fact. And he took from their forms the rules of the new script he is known for.

Mir Ali derived Taaliq script from all the parts of the duck, making each letter a suitable shape: turning, hollowing out, curving, and extending the length, width, and breadth, the thick and the thin, the close and the near, where to grow, where to shrink etc… He was in fact unique in his time, alone in his era in this fine art. He has a lofty position and a deserved fame. Of course, he also introducted to this style many of the calligraphic geniuses that would come after him.

Mir Ali of Herat was a writer of poetry and prose, attracting attention. He stopped writing poetry under the name Katib because he was of Turkish origin and had some Turkish verse. He prepared the most calligraphers in Nastaliq before artistic support came, and he used to sign his writings or his calligraphy scattered here and there in the museums of the world as “Ali,” “poor Ali,” “Mir Ali,” “Ali al-Katib,” “Ali Sultani,” “Ali Husseini,” “Mir Ali al-Katib,” “Mir Ali Sultani,” “Ali Harwi (Herati),” “Ali Husseini Harwi,” “Ali al-Katib al-Sultani,” and that of course paved the way for a mix-up with him and other calligraphers.

He had many students that were raised by his hand. Among the names worth mentioning are Mir Mahmoud Baqir, Sir Mahmoud Shahabi, Mir Said Ahmed, Mir Hussein Bukhari, and Mir Jumla.

He died 951 Hijri, 1544 AD and was buried in Bukhara.

Taken from the book “Tarikh al-Khat al-Arabi wa Ialaam al-Khatateen” History of Arabic Calligraphy and Information About Calligraphers, by Ahmed Sabry. Translated by Josh Berer.


Men in the Sun Intro

February 21, 2008

This is the beginning of Ghassan Kanafani’s Men in the Sun. It follows Abu Qays, a Palestinian refugee from Yafa as he tries to make it to the oil fields of Kuwait for work. This excerpt from the beginning of the book was taken from Bassam K. Frangieh’s An Anthology of Arabic Literature, Culture, and Thought, From Pre-Islamic Times to the Present.

Men in the Sun 1

February 21, 2008


Abu Qays rested his chest on the damp ground, and the earth started to beat underneath him: the beats of a tired heart moving through the grains of shaking sand, then crossing into his cells. Every time he layed his body on the dirt, he felt that heartbeat, as though the heart of the Earth was still, since he layed there the first time, blazing a difficult path to light, from the deepest depths of hell. When he said that, once, to his neighbor with whom he shared a field, there in the land he left ten years ago, he answered him sarcastically:
“That’s the sound of your heart you hear when you stick your body to the ground.” What nonsense. And the smell, then? The smell that, if he inhaled, would swell in his brow and then disappate into his veins? Anyone who smelled the smell of the earth as he layed upon it would imagine he was smelling the hair of his wife, after she had come out of the shower, and washed her hair with cold water. That smell, the smell of a woman washed with cold water who has then spread her hair out over his face, no longer wet.
The heartbeat itself, it’s as though you’re holding a small bird between your two curving hands.
The damp earth, he thought, is no doubt whats left of yesterday’s rains. No, it didn’t rain yesterday. These days, the sky can’t rain anything but heat and dust. Have you forgotten where you are? Have you forgotten?

Men in the Sun 2

February 21, 2008


He turned his body around and laid on his back, cradling his head in his hands, and looked to the sky. It was white, and shining. There was a lone black bird soaring high in the sky, aimlessly. He didnt know why he was filled, suddenly with the stagnant feelings of the solitude of exile. It seemed, for a moment, that he was about to cry. No, it didn’t rain yesterday. We’re in Aab now. Have you forgotten? This flowing empty road, like a black eternity. Did you forget it? The bird was still sailing alone in the sky, a black dot on the glowing expanse above him. We’re in Aab! So, then, why is this moisture in the ground? It must be the coast! Did you not see it extended out as far as you can see in front of you?
“And where the two great rivers meet to form one great river that is the Shatt al-Arab, starting a little before Basra and extending to…”
Professor Saleem, the wizened, gaunt, and grey, said that ten times in his loud voice to a small child standing at the blackboard. He was a passerby, then, in front of the school in his village. He climbed a rock and started listening in at the window. Professor Saleem stood facing the small pupil and shouting at the top of his voice while shaking a long stick in his outstreched arm. “And when the two great rivers meet, the Tigris and Euprates…” The child was shaking with fright, which amused the rest of the students, who were laughing. He put out his hand and tapped a student on his head, who turned to see where he had been eavesdropping at the window. “What happened?”
The student laughed and answered him whispering, “Goat!”
He turned around and got down off the rock, finished his trip, the words of Professor Saleem still ringing in his ears, over and over: “and when the two great rivers meet…”

Men in the Sun 3

February 21, 2008


That night he saw Professor Saleem sitting in the hall of the headman, smoking a hookah. He had been sent to their village in Yaffo to teach the children. He had spent so much of his life teaching that the word ‘professor’ had become an inseperable part of his name. One of the men there that evening asked him, “You’re going to lead prayers this Friday, right?”
Professor Saleem answered him simply, “No, I am a teacher, not an Imam.”
The headman said to him, “What’s the difference? Our Teacher was an Imam.”
“He was a teacher of writers, I am a school teacher”
The headman replied, “What’s the difference?”

Professor Saleem didn’t answer, but glanced around the room as if calling for the help of someone present, despite the fact that all seated seemed confused by this, like the headman. After a long silent period, Professor Saleem cleared his throat and said in a clear voice, “Fine, I don’t know how to pray.”
“Don’t know how?”
The group gasped and Professor Saleem reiterated himself: “I dont know how!”

Men in the Sun 4

February 21, 2008


The people seated exchanged glances and then settled their gazes on the headman, who felt he must say something, so he pressed out without thinking, “So what do you know then?
It seemed as though Professor Saleem had been expecting a question such as this, but he replied quickly while getting up, “Many things. How to shoot, for example.” He got to the door and turned around. His gaunt face was shaking. “If you are attacked, wake me up. You may find me useful.”


Here was the coast Professor Saleem had spoken of 10 years ago!
May you rest in peace, Professor Saleem, may you rest in peace. No doubt it was God favoring you when he took you one night before the fall of the poor city at the hands of the Jews. One night only, my God.

Is there divine comfort greater than this? It’s true that men were working at burying you, and welcoming your death, but you stayed there, stayed there, you saved yourself humiliation and debasement, and saved your years from shame. May you rest in peace, Professor Saleem. You see that if you lived poverty would sink you like it sunk me. Would you do what I’m doing now? Would you be carrying all your years over your back and escaping across the desert to Kuwait just to find a morsel of bread?

-Ghassan Kanafani

from the book An Anthology of Arabic Literature, Culture, and Thought, From Pre-Islamic Times to the Present, by Bassam K. Frangieh

Translated by Josh Berer


Q: I’m a girl and I hate gossip and trashtalk. Sometimes I’m with a group of people talking about others and they start gossiping and trashtalking them. I personally hate and despise this, but I am extremely shy, and I can’t stop them from doing it, and also theres nowhere I can go to get away from them. God knows I wish they would talk about something else. It there any sin upon me for sitting with them? What should I do? May God give you success in that which benefits Islam and Muslims.

A: It is a sin upon you unless you denounce that which is wrong, and if they accept [what you say] then praise God, otherwise stop hanging out with them. As God said, “If you see those who mock our revelations, you shall avoid them until they delve into another subject.” [Al-Ana3m 68]. And the Prophet (PBUH) said, “Whoever among you sees reprehensible acts should change it by his own hand, and if he can’t then by his tongue, and if he can’t then by his heart, and that is the weakest faith.” Taken from Muslim’s Sahih and there are many verses with this meaning. God is the Arbitrating Authority.

Sheikh Ibn Baz

Taken from Fataawa al-Maraa “Fatwas on Women” by Sheikh Ibn Baz, Sheikh Authimein, and Sheikh Jabreen. Riyadh, Dar al-Watan lil-Nashr, 1993/1414. Translated by Josh Berer

They Say I’m Complicated

December 1, 2007


Q: I’m a girl living in a girls dorm. God had guided me with the truth and I’ve become embraced by it, thank God. But I’ve gotten very annoyed with some of the disobedient and reprehensible behavior among my fellow students, such as listening to songs, gossip, and trashtalking. I’ve told them many times but some of them just laugh at me and mock me. They say I’m complicated. Your excellence, please help me, what do I do, and may God bless you.

A: What you need to do is denounce these reprehensible acts to the best of your energy, in friendly and nice words, according to the way mentioned in the verses and sayings of the Prophet (PBUH) you’re aware of. Don’t participate in the music or other prohibited words or deeds, stand aloof from it as best you can, until they change subjects, as God said: “If you see those who mock our revelations, you shall avoid them until they delve into another subject.” [Al-Ana3m 68] When you’ve verbally denounced them as best you can, and remained aloof from their actions, their actions won’t hurt you, and their shame is not on you. As God Almighty said, “O you who believe! take care of your souls; he who errs cannot hurt you when you are on the right way; to Allah is your return, of all (of you), so He will inform you of what you did.” [Al-Maeda 105] So He, the Almighty, has explained that a believer is not harmed by those who err, if he sticks to the truth and follows the right guidance. This is done through denouncing that which is reprehensible, establishing the truth, and inviting them to it nicely and politely. God will give you a release from grief and a way out [of this situation], and will have them benefit from your righteousness if you’re patient and resolved [with God’s favor of you]. God willing, you’ll be extremely happy with a praiseworthy result as long as you’re firm with the truth and denounce that which conflicts with it. As God said, “Good things come to those with faith” [Al-Qasas 83] and, “And those who strive in Our (cause),- We will certainly guide them to our Paths: For verily Allah is with those who do right.” [Al-Ankaboot, 69] . God will give you success when he is pleased, and reward your patience and resolve, and reward your sisters and family, and colleagues when they please him, for he is always listening and he is the guide to a straight path.

Sheikh Ibn Baz

Taken from Fataawa al-Maraa “Fatwas on Women” by Sheikh Ibn Baz, Sheikh Authimein, and Sheikh Jabreen. Riyadh, Dar al-Watan lil-Nashr, 1993/1414. Translated by Josh Berer


Q: I have three boys and a girl, and my husband is a drunk, God save me, and had been imprisoned previously. He’s addicted to drinking, and it tortures me and my children. I left him, and my children and I are now staying with my family. He doesn’t pay for a single thing and I have no desire to go back to him, and he’s threatening to take the children away from me. I can’t bear that, as I am a mother before everything else. Please help me.

A: There is no doubt the Islamic courts have jurisdiction over this, and one should not stay with those who are addicted to alcohol, as he harms his wife and children. You should distance yourself from him until God guides him back to the right way. If the court separated [the parents], in most cases it will side with the mother and give her custody, as she is qualified for that and he is not. As long as the problem is alcohol addiction he is not worthy of children because he will ruin them and corrupt them, whereas she is more suited for them than he is, regardless of the children’s gender. This is what the court will rule. This is what is necessary. The kids will be with her because she is better than he is, as he is immoral. If she refuses to return to him she’s better off, because he is a danger to her. If he doesn’t pray, it’s necessary to never go back to him, because whoever leaves prayer has disbelieved, God forbid. The Prophet (PBUH) said, “The difference between us and them is prayer, and so whoever leaves it has disbelieved.” So you don’t have to stay with someone who doesn’t pray. “They are not lawful (wives) for the Unbelievers, nor are the (Unbelievers) lawful (husbands) for them” [al-Mumtahina 60] Until God guides him and he repents, she’ll go to her family or her children and refuse to have anything to do with him, until God forgives him and he returns to what is right. If he prays but drinks alcohol, that is a huge sin and a huge crime, but he’s not an unbeliever, just immoral. She needs to break off contact with him and get away from him. She’s not responsible, and if she’s patient with him and can be patient, that’s ok.

Sheikh Ibn Baz

Taken from Fataawa al-Maraa “Fatwas on Women” by Sheikh Ibn Baz, Sheikh Authimein, and Sheikh Jabreen. Riyadh, Dar al-Watan lil-Nashr, 1993/1414. Translated by Josh Berer



سكير – Drunkard

والعياذ الله – God Forbid!

مدمن – Addict

إدمان – Addiction

رغبة – Desire

هدّد – Threat

ينبغي – One should, it is recommended that, it behooves one to

الصواب – The correct [path]

أهل – To be qualified to

أولى – More suited

فاسق – Immoral, someone with lousy integrity

أبت – To refuse, turn down

ذنب – To be guilty of

معذور –  Excused from

A Very Important Announcement

November 11, 2007


Very Important Announcement!

O Good Father, O Loving Mother! May God protect you and look after you and crown you with a safe life.

Be careful of getting separated from your children, especially when you go in any of the markets of our city of security and faith. Be careful, be careful, for this issue is seriously dangerous.

Yesterday shortly after ‘Asr prayers on 23 Shawal 1428 H, I went with my wife and daughter to to Zahrawi Market to do do some shopping. While we were preoccupied our only daughter, a month away from her second birthday, was kidnapped from us. A few minutes later God sent me a child, one of the kids wandering around selling things in the
market, who said to me he saw a girl outside the market screaming in the hands of a woman who wore signs of uneasiness. I ran without feelings of panic outside the market, and there I found my daughter. There I found my soul, and there I returned to life again. My major concern in this unfair world was my daughter. I didn’t bother with the veiled woman, as she escaped and infiltrated a large group of women. I beg all my brother fathers and my sister mothers to not find themselves in that situation, lethal and suffocating for any happy soul, for death is easier than having one’s child taken from your hands. This is what I want to say: the Prophet, (PBUH) said, “None of you believe, until you love your brother as you love yourself.” Praise God who, in his kindness, completes good deeds, and I urge those in authority to be on the lookout for dangerous occurrences such as this. The responsibility of safety is upon the shepherd and the sheep alike.

Finally, watch out for your children, for we live in bad times, but good things come to those with faith, and by God I ask that you be safe from hunger and fear, and all distress and tribulations, and peace be upon you, with the mercy and blessings of God.

By Dirham al-Ahmadi, Translated by Josh Berer

Vocabulary and Translation Notes

الموافق – Falling on [date]

المبايعة – ٍShopping, buying

تجول – Walking around, wandering

صرخ – To scream, shriek

ارتباك – Uneasiness, distress, discomfort

مذعور – Panic

ملثمة – Veiled

مندسّة – Infiltrator

غفير – Large, numerous

خانق – Strangling, suffocating

أهون – Easier, easiest

صالحات – Good deeds, great things

مآسي – Drama, tragedy

محنة / محن – Ordeal, calamity

Translation Notes

تبلغ العمر سنتان إلا شهراً
A month away from her second birthday, Lit: she reached the age of two, except for a month.

من بين كل هذا العالم الظالم – In this unfair/oppressive world, Lit: from between all this oppressive world.

جهات الاختصاص – The government, those with power or authority

عنق الراعي و الراعية – Upon the shepherd and the sheep Lit: The neck of the Shepard and the sheep. I.e. everyone’s responsibility

على حد سواء –Alike, both,

وقت غير الوفق وزمن غير الزمن – Untimely, bad times

عاقبة للمتقين –Good things come to those with faith, Lit: the result for a God-fearer


Q: What Is the Purpose of the Creation of Humanity?

A: Before I answer that question, I’d like to call attention to a general foundation, upon which God, praised and exalted, created [all things] and defined his laws. This foundation is taken from his word, blessed and most high: “For He is wise and all-knowing” [Yusuf, 83] and also, “For Allah was knowledgeable and wise.” [Al-Ahzab 1] and many other significant verses that are proof of the God’s wisdom, praised and exalted, with which he created all things, and defined his laws, namely universal laws, and Islamic laws. There is nothing God, praised and exalted, created without wisdom, whether that is through its presence or its absence, and there is no law God, praised and exalted, defined without wisdom, be it through its obligation, prohibition, or permissibility.

However, this wisdom, which includes both universal and Islamic laws, may be known to us, or it may be unknown. And, it may be known to some but not others, depending on the knowledge and understanding God, praised and exalted, gave them. If this is established, then we can say: For God, praised and exalted, created the Jinn and the human with great wisdom, and praiseworthy intentions. Worshiping Him is blessed and most high, as God, praised and exalted, said: “I have only created Jinns and men, that they may serve Me.” [Al-Dhiriyat, 56], and “Did you think that We had created you in play (without any purpose), and that you would not be brought back to Us?” [Al muminun – 115] and “Does man think that he is to be left to wander without an aim?” [Al-Qiyama 36] and other significant verses that [show] God Almighty’s far-reaching wisdom in the creation of Jinns and people, and that is his worship.

Taken from Fiqh al-Ebadaat “Jurisprudence of Belief” by Sheikh Muhammad bin Saalih Al-Authaymin, Dar al-Baseera, Alexandria. Translated by Josh Berer


غاية – Purpose

شرع – To make lawful, to establish as law

مأخوذ – Taken, obtained

دّالة – Proof, indication

كونية – Universal

إعدام – Lack of, non-existence

تحريم – Prohibition, making something Haram

إباحة – Permission, permissibility

تضمن – To include

بالغة – Far-reaching, substantial, enormous

تذلل – Servility, humility


Worship is servility to God, praised and exalted, and love and veneration in doing his commands, and avoiding that which he has prohibited, and thus following the laws he defined. God, Most High, said: “And they have been commanded no more than this: To worship Allah” [Al-Bayina, 5], and this is the wisdom with which he created the Jinn and the human. Therefore anyone who disobeys his Lord, and considers himself above His worship has parted with this wisdom for which the worshiper was created, and his action testifies to the fact that God Almighty created his creation unknowing and in suda [neglected without being punished or rewarded for the obligatory duties enjoined by God on him]. He may not have stated that [he has disobeyed], but this is a result of his disobedience and arrogance in regard to God’s commandments.

Taken from Fiqh al-Aqeeda “Jurisprudence of Belief” by Sheikh Muhammad bin Saalih Al-Authaymin, Dar al-Baseera, Alexandria. Translated by Josh Berer


تعظيم – Glorification, exaltation

تمرد – To rebel against, to disobey

استكبر – To be arrogant

نابذ – To part with, to separate from

عبث – Without benefit, without knowing

سدى – A state in which one has neglected the obligatory duties enjoined by God on him but is not punished or rewarded, for he was never told about them.



There’s No Forcing a Daughter On a Husband She Doesn’t Want
Q: Is it acceptable for the father to force his daughter on a husband she doesn’t like?
A: It’s not for the father, or anyone else, to force his daughter [lit charge] on a husband she doesn’t like. Rather, you need her her permission, as the Messenger (PBUH) said: “Do not marry a young woman without her counsel, and do not marry a virgin without her permission.” They said [the people of Medina] “O Messenger of Allah, how does she give her permission?” and he said “She stays silent.” In another phrasing he said, “Her permission is her silence.” and in a third phrasing: “The virgin gives her consent to her father, and that consent is her silence.” So it is necessary for the father to seek her permission if she has reached nine and above. Similarly, those responsible for finding her a husband can not marry her off without her consent. This is obligatory for everyone. If one marries without consent, the marriage is invalid. This is because the condition of marriage is the pleasure of both bride and groom. So if she married without permission and was coerced under severe threats or by beatings, then the marriage is invalid, except for the father of a girl under nine. If you marry her off and she is younger than nine, there’s no objection to the validity [of the marriage], because the Messenger (PBUH) married Aisha without her permission and she was under nine. We have in a Sahih Hadith, As for when she has reached nine and above, there’s no marrying her except with her permission, and that goes for the father. As for the husband, if he knew she didn’t like him, he needs to not continue with it, even if the father is on his side [lit: tolerant towards him], its necessary to fear God and not pursue the woman who doesn’t like him. If the father claims he wasn’t forcing her, he needs to be wary of what God has forbidden him to do, because the Messenger (PBUH), ordered the seeking of consent and that we recommend the engaged girl to fear God and consent, if the father saw it fit for his daughter to marry, and if the suitor was of good faith and morals. [This is also true] if the person who arranged the marriage was someone other than the father. Marriage is very good and very beneficial, and there’s danger in bachelorhood. For that we recommend generally that young women agree when they are presented with a decent man, and not give excuses of studying or teaching or some such thing.
God is the Arbitrating Authority.

Sheikh Ibn Baz

Taken from Fataawa al-Maraa “Fatwas on Women” by Sheikh Ibn Baz, Sheikh Authimein, and Sheikh Jabreen. Riyadh, Dar al-Watan lil-Nashr, 1993/1414. Translated by Josh Berer

Vocabulary and Translation Notes

مولية Protector, charge

نكح – Marry

أيم – Unmarried young woman

بكر – Virgin

لفظ – Phrasing, wording

ولي / أولياء – Relative, friend, legal guardian

قهر – Coerce, force

وعيد – Threats

حرج – Prohibition, confinement, restriction

زعم – To claim

وصّى – To recommend, to entrust

مصلحة / مصالح –Matter, requirement, that which is beneficial

عزوبة – Bachelorhood, single-ness

كفء – Capable, competent, suitable

Translation Notes

فلا يزوّجها إلا بإذنها ولو أبه أبوها – “So don’t marry her off except with her permission, and that goes for the father.” That last clause confused me a bit.

لما في النكاح من الخير…-“Marriage is good…” Also a confusing wording, as literally it reads “Whereas in marriage is from good…”


Q: We have a non-Muslim servant, is it alright to leave her to wash the clothes I pray in, and is it alright to eat what she cooks? And should I denounce her religion and explain to her the futility of it?

A: It’s alright to use unbelieving servants in cooking and cleaning, and similarly to eat what they cook and wear the clothes they sew and wash, if the main part [lit. body] appears to be clean. Her impurity is spiritual, and the Companions used non-Muslim servant women and slaves, and ate what they brought from their native non-believing countries, so as to learn from them, for their bodies seemed to be in good shape [lit pure feeling]. However, there is a Hadith that mentions washing their cooking utensils before cooking with them, if they have been used to drink alcohol or cook non-Halal meat or pork, and washing the clothing which touched their private areas. As for denouncing their religions and showing them the futility of them, that is allowed and desired of those following the current religion [ie Islam], be it heresy like paganism, or the abrogated and updated religions, like Christianity. The shame falls on those abrogated and updated religions [not the servant herself], but you need to invite her to Islam and explain its teachings and merits and what it contains, while showing the differences between it and the other religions.
Sheik Ibn Jabreen.

Taken from Fataawa al-Maraa “Fatwas on Women” by Sheikh Ibn Baz, Sheikh Authimein, and Sheikh Jabreen. Riyadh, Dar al-Watan lil-Nashr, 1993/1414. Translated by Josh Berer

Vocabulary and Translation Notes


غسّل To wash

عاب /  يعيب To denounce – from ‘shame’

بطلان – Futility

خاط / يخيط To sew

نجاسة That which impurifies and necessitates wudu’

معنوية Spiritual, based on meaning, rather than substance

طاهر clean, pure

ميتة Non-Halal meat.

عورة – Private area, part of the body not shown in public

منسوخ – Abrogated



How do we deal with a relative who does not pray?
Q: My husband has a brother who doesn’t pray, except very rarely. I live with my husband’s family, and they sit by him, even while the Imam is praying, so what must I do, for I am not among his close relatives, so is there a sin upon me if I can’t correct him?

A: If he doesn’t pray, he needs to be abandoned. Don’t say hello to him, and don’t respond to his greetings, until he repents, because leaving prayer is the greatest blasphemy. Even if he has not denied its obligation, according to the most scholarly opinion, the Prophet (PBUH) said, “The difference between us and them is prayer, and whoever leaves it is a disbeliever.” This was taken from Imam Ahmed and the authors of the Sunans, and has a solid chain of transmission. The Prophet (PBUH) said, “[The difference] between men and unbelievers and polytheists is the leaving of prayer.” This was taken from Imam Muslim in his book of Hadiths. And if he renounced the necessity [of prayer], then he is a disbeliever according to the consensus of the learned scholars. It is incumbent upon his family to admonish him and abandon him if he does not return to the fold, [lit repent, do penitence], and it is necessary to bring the issue to a religious authority in order that he may call him to repent. If he does not repent he will be killed, for God Almighty said “If they repent and stand in prayer, and give charity, leave him be.” And the Prophet (PBUH) said “Killing those who pray is forbidden.” So this indicates that if he does not pray, do not leave him be, and there is no prohibition on killing him, if you bring the issue to a religious authority and he still doesn’t repent.
God is the Arbitrating Authority.
Sheikh Ibn Baz

Taken from Fataawa al-Maraa “Fatwas on Women” by Sheikh Ibn Baz, Sheikh Authimein, and Sheikh Jabreen. Riyadh, Dar al-Watan lil-Nashr, 1993/1414. Translated by Josh Berer

Vocabulary and Translation Notes

إثم- Sin

استحق- Need to, become necessary to

تاب / يتوب- Repent, offer penitence

استتاب- To make one repent

Translation Notes

حتى ولو كان- Even during…This was a very confusing phrase to deal with.

العهد- In this context it means “difference” as opposed to contract, agreement, or era.

إن لم يجحد وجوبها- “If he did not deny its obligation”

إجماع Consensus, one of the four major sources of jurisprudence.

لم يتب- “He did not repent” The verb is hollow, so in the Jussive (majzoom) case, the weak root is dropped.

خلو السبيل- Let him free, leave him be.

My Country

October 28, 2007


This poem was written by the Lebanese poet Elia Abu Maadi in the 1920s. Abu Maadi came to America in 1911 and along with Khalil Gibran, Ameen Rihani, and Mikhail Naimy formed the “al-Mahjar” “The Emigrants” group of Arab-American poets. Translated by Josh Berer.



I was strolling in a beautiful garden,
And I heard the songs of singing birds
I was delighted, yet my heart did not love it
Like the birds of my land, or the flowers of my country

I drank the water of the Nile, the Sheikh of rivers,
It was as though I had tasted the water of the Kouthar,
A river blessed since ancient times,
Sweet, but not like the water of my country.

I drew a picture in my head,
Of beauty, for it is the master of the poet
I went to recite it, but my mind didn’t know how,
Until I saw the women of my country.

-Elia Abu Maadi


شادي Singing

طرب To be delighted

فؤاد Heart

الكوثر The river that runs through Paradise

عذب Sweet, said of non-salty water


انشدTo look for, to recite (poetry)

أعيا To be at a loss, to be weak, to be unable to express