lundi 31 décembre 2007

Map of Mauritania

If you can see Nouakchot capital on the coast, 'The Road of Hope' that goes east to Boutelimit. The mahdhara of Shaykh Bah, Nabbaghiya, is a bit before that town. Much further down that road, you have the town of Kiffa, where the mahdhara of Shaykh Salik from Zaytuna Institute California. From Kiffa, you are only 60 or 80 km from Murabit al Hajj. I would tell you were it was if I knew! It is not far, but inside the region of Tagant.

And from Nouakchot on the road that goes south to Senegal, after maybe 100 km, you have the mahdhara of Muhammad Hassan al Khadim, the grandson of Muhammad Mawlud, who wrote 'Purification of the heart' that Hamza Yusuf has translated. Muhammad Hassan al Khadim has also written an excellent sharh of that book, as well as most book of Muhammad Mawlud, all available in print, from UAE.
I had the chance to sit and study with that honourable shaykh who is the humblest shaykh I have ever seen. You would have to go to understand; words could not describe his station.


This little kid on the photo above is none other than the youngest son of Shaykh Hademin! While his eldest brother is teaching maliki brothers in Dar al Mustapha in Hadramaut in Yemen with the Haba'ib, that kid -Muhammad Mahmood- is learning Qu'ran. He was learning the alphabet when I first arrived there a year ago. Now he is memorizing Qu'ran; mashallah he finished with hizb sabih already, and he is 4 years old!!
I don't need to add that he is one big cheaky monkey mashallah!

Above is a photo of some of the students in Tuemret. The second one from the left is Muhammad Yahya, a nice brother mashallah, and as the photo suggest, he is quite a character mashallah! Very funny brother, memorizing Qu'ran for the second time. The third from the left is brother Zidane (not the football player!); he memorised Qu'ran at the feet of a Tijjani shaykh, and came recently in Tuemret to learn fiqh. The rest in the photo study Qur'an.

On the way out from the mahdhara to the main road, we passed some beautiful palmgroves mashallah and some tiny villages with round huts made from mud and roofs from straws absolutely mind blowing!

Back on the main road, heading toward the city of Gueru, we came accross this truck -one among many- with too much weight on it. Every second you wait for the accident to happened. Allah is merciful beyond expectations sometimes...

Tuemret last October

My blog is going backward!! I have to go back in time a little and show you some of the shots I got from the camera of Dawud, a Norwegian brother who visited Tuemret after Ramadan 2007.
Above, you can see brother Mokhtar holding a tablet, or lawh,used widely in West Africa to memorise texts, may it be Quran, grammar or jurisprudence, everything in Mauritania is memorized!
In Tuemret running water is available alhamdulillah. Some students have a tap installed next to their tents. And some don't; thus transporting water in jerikan becomes part of one's daily life. Day of duty for brothers Ibrahim and Sayiduna.
This is an overview of the "centre" of Tuemeret. You can see the new mosque in the middle, with its minaret. On its right, the house of Shaykh Hademine, the senior teacher and imam of the mosque (May God give him long life and make us benefit from his teachings). On the left of the mosque, in front of that white building (library of Murabit al Hajj), you have a blue tent. This is where our honnourable shaykh Murabit al Hajj bin Salek bin Fahfu lives. He is a living wali according to people who had the chance to study with him. Yet, look where he lives! In the middle of the desert under a tent!
That person (May Allah extend his life and give him good health) has renounced this world and has taught, so I heard, over 30.000 people! All his life was dedicated to teaching and anticipation to meet his Lord; yet today, his earthly provision comes to him almost on a daily basis, through donnations of his numerous Mauritanian visitors. Even the prime minister of Mauritania - visited the place this year.
Most of the students in Tuemret are kids... Mauritania is a tribal country. Thus when a student comes to a school -mahdhara- he joins the people from his own tribe, study, sleep and eat with them.

dimanche 30 décembre 2007

Goodbye Leeds

To finish off with my Leeds aventure... Here are two precious photos of the muslims in Leeds.

The first one was taken on the 23.12, at the Leeds New Muslim eid party. The people behind this organisation are doing a great job to give new muslims a social environment. Because as new muslims sometime it is a bit difficult to do a transition; especially on the social aspect, because we do not drink anymore for example, and a lot of social activities in the west is centered around a glass of beer, or wine, in a pub...
But the thing is the transition is hard because we often have no substitution to our previous social context.
In that line of thought, I heard Abdelhakim Murad saying that 50% of people who converts to Islam go back to disbelief.
This percentage is alarming, really, and if the muslims do not focus in following through new muslims in a sensible and soft manner, many people who see the truth in Islam will soon reject it.
Ok we can say mashallah, qadrullah, true; but we we have to look from inside... The muslim community is one body; and if a member is aching, then the whole body is ...aching. Imagine a body where part of it just detached themselves... Man we end up looking like a zombie from Resident Evil: a horror movie! That is exactly how lots of people see Islam and the muslims: a nightmare (O God forgive us!)!! God will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves!
I really would like to thank LNM for their support and dedication they have offered me. And how pleasing it is to come back after a year and see new faces, like brother Umar (tall brother top right in the picture) who recently converted after living in hiding for sometime under Israeli siege in Lebanon, during the last year events. Allah guides who he wants to His light. This is one of the strenghts of Islam. Everytime something bad happened (9.11, 7.7), people convert because of it!
The picture above was taken on that same day, between maghreb and isha, in Leeds Grand Mosque. Brother Asif leads 2 brothers in salah... People in real connection with their Lord, beautiful!

samedi 29 décembre 2007

Brother Noogy...

On the following evening (Fri 21.12), brother Noogy reached exctasy! And it was not through an intense and spiritual session of dhikr, but rather through seeing a brother with a camera. I know it is a bit strange, but at the end of the day, that brother is Egyptian, and his name is Noogy.

He did prepared a super fish dinner for the brothers mashallah! This photo was taken before it was cooked. Noogy you are the best fishy person in the UK. By the way that guy has lived 23 years in England but goes to the 'fishies' and not the 'chippies'... Allah only knows why he says such things, plus he's got such an accent that people congratulate him on his excellency in speaking English, thinking he's only been in UK for a few years, if not months... We love you Noogy!

Power cuts are amazing!

On that same evening, in the same restaurant (Thurs 20.12)... Ismael, with his beautiful Ba Alawi turban, was feeling a bit down. I guess it is not always easy to reajust oneself when one have been amongst amasing people and scholars such as Omar bin Hafiz (make Allah give him long life and may we benefit from his teachings).

You see the restaurant appeared suddenly abit superficial, with all those people, showing up and showing off. Modernity has compelled us to go and eat outside on special occasions, as if the food from inside is only good enough for an ordinary day... So we were both seating in that restaurant, him from Hadramaut and me fromMauritania, semi-happy semi-deppressed, when a power cut occured! Subhanallah! I mean how are the chances to go out in England and you experience a powercut (very little!)?? Yet it happened. Bradford in a restaurant with no electricity! Of course it only happened to make us feel at home... ie in our adoptive countries, Mauritania and Yemen, where electricity is non-existent! God is Great! There were only the stars missing, and if you want to see the sky in UK as we both see it in our respective place of study, well, you need to go to the Planetarium near Tussaud's museum I'm afraid!

This is the Milky-Way for real!!

It's all good

I can't get rid of that feeling: what is the point of my blog?? Ok I have already decided it's not going to be about calling people to Islam (at least not obviously, I'm clever you see...).

Until I find what I really want to do with that blog, I will use it just to write about my daily life, and of course to publish photos.

I would like to start with the photo of Noogy, Ismael and me, you can see above:

I came back from Morocco after a year of abscence from England (I am studying in Mauritania, look at my profile). I landed in Luton on Wednesday 19, early afternoon. Little I knew I was going to jump on a bus the following morning for Leeds!

Thank you Noogy! Anyway alhamdulillah, finally got there at 1 pm; this photo was taken in Bradford on that Thursday 20 eid evening (at least according to the corect opinion, hahaha just teasing!). Noogy and Ismael are two dear brothers of mine. They are the nicest brothers in Yorshire to say the least!

As we came out of a friend's house, where we ate some delicious Pakistani food (can't bit it), Noogy got his new camera out of the car; this photo was taken by a passer by (he was probably freaked out poor thing) at 23.33 pm. It was the first photo of that amazing photo album that I called Eid 2007, and that I will share in parts with you lot.

Shortly after that photo, we headed for an extraordinary dinner meeting of some members of the United Nations and Arab League (from right to left: France, India, Egypt, Iraq and two delegates from the Pakistani comittee for intellectuals of Pakistan)

The mango milkshake was amazing!

vendredi 28 décembre 2007

The whole point is... I don't know actually...

Dear Everyone,
As-Salam Aleikum wa Rahmatullah,
Once again the main pressure group that has compelled me to write articles and publish photos again (I apologize for those who thinks photographs is not right) is my mum. So if you like this blog and think it was worth it, please pray for her that God Almighty guide her to the path of rightousness (now my mum is thinking: 'what is he on about? I am happy as I am).

Well you see, Islam is something that is beyond that kind of thinking... It is about the Truth: throughout history, Almighty God has sent messengers to tell people how they should live their lives, centered around the worship of the one true God, the Truth, one of His 99 names in the Islamic tradition. Anyone who aspire to find eternal peace (ever heard of Paradise??) should follow the teachings of those messengers, or prophets.

Each prophet came with 2 things: a creed, and a law. The creed, as we muslims believe, has not changed at all: God is one with no partners, ever-living and almighty, ressembling nothing a mind could imagine. As for the law, it has been dictated to the prophets in accordance with the need of the people and the time it was revealed to.
The last prophet and messenger, Muhammad, the illiterate Arab prophet, has come with a final message to mankind before Judgement Day, calling people to worship the one true God, the God of Moses and Jesus. The Muhammadan law has obliterated the previous laws brought by previous prophets.But then again, this is beside the point, because my blog is not about preaching Islam.