Kargador at Dawn

Kargador at Dawn
Work in the Vineyard

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Dhikr for the 1st week of Advent (C)

Text: "Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life, and that day catch you by surprise
like a trap. For that day will assault everyone who lives on the face of the earth. (Luke 21: 34-35)

Meditation: To have a longing heart and a vigilant spirit else we are caught by surprise like a trap…

PRAYER for the 1st week of Advent...

Above the clamor of our violence
your word of truth resounds,
O God of majesty and power.
Over nations enshrouded in despair, your justice dawns.
Grant your household a discerning spirit and a watchful eye
to perceive the hour in which we live.

Hasten the advent of that day
when the weapons of war shall be banished,
our deeds of darkness cast off,
and all your scattered children gathered into one.
We ask this through him whose coming is certain, whose day draws near:
Your son, our Lord Jesus Christ,
who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever. Amen

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Torit, Southern Sudan: Listening to people's stories of persecution and trials, because of their belief and ethnicity... Posted by Picasa

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Understanding Some Features of Militant Islamism...

The militant brands of "Islamism" (others refer to this as "Political Islam") cover a broad spectrum from A to Z. While these movements are diverse, there are discernable common features that identify them from the “old” or yet “older” schools and reform movements in the history of Islam. These are the following:

1. The BOOK (Qur'an) and the TRADITION (Hadith) provide the complete and perfect “blueprint” for socio political activism as well as a guide to public and private life.

2. The commitment to remake/refashion the world and community by strictly applying their beliefs with the use of violence.

3. Such endeavor/undertaking usually requires a charismatic and authoritarian leadership.

4. Boundaries are set… the enemy identified, converts are sought, institutions are created and the reconstruction of society becomes the MISSION.

5. Acute patriarchal structure… the leader is the all-powerful Father.

6. Hatred or Anger for the Power that dominates… that insludes among others,
Ø Sacred vs. Profane
Ø Religions vs. Secular
Ø Poor vs. the Rich
Ø Powerless vs. Power
Ø Oppressed vs. Oppressor

Matrix of this Religious Revivalism

There is a need to go into the matrix of this spectacular phenomenon to be able to appreciate both their significance as well as impact not only in the world but also on the relationship between and among our faith-communities.

Within the circle of these movements they believe that a new “dark ages” or Jahiliyya (age of “Ignorance”) has taken roots in the modern world. The world has been transformed into “al-nizam al-jahili (a decadent and ignorant order). Materialism and individualism have become the defining characteristics of our modern culture.

Moreover, the secularist leaders in the modern world have failed miserably to establish a legitimate, effective public order and to adequately address the profound socioeconomic disparities in wealth and class in most 3rd world countries, including the poor in the developed and industrialized ones.

The disillusionment with the secular and modern world coupled by the arrogance of power by the powerful nations have alienated not only the UMMAH (the Community of believers) but also the entire humanity from God.

(A portion of a Talk delivered by E. Mercado, OMI)

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Dhikr for the Feast of Christ the King (B)

Text: Jesus answered, "My kingdom does not belong to this world. If my kingdom did belong to this world, my attendants (would) be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not here." (John 18: 38)

Meditation: In Jesus’ utter powerlessness… he proclaims that He is King… It is NOT a reign that the world usually sees and recognizes…

Visit: www.omigen.org/jpic

Dhikr is an Arabic word for remembrance. In the “tariqa” (the way) movement, dhikr developed into a form of prayer… It is a prayer of the heart… following three simple steps:

1. Write in one’s heart a certain passage of the Holy Writ…
2. Make the same passage ever present in one’s lips.
3. Then wait for God’s disclosure on the meaning of the passage…that interprets one’s life NOW…!

It takes a week of remembering (dhikr)…or even more days to relish the beauty of this method…

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Head Cover for Women in Islam...

Is Head Cover For Women Mandatory In Islam?
by Ibrahim B. Syed, Ph.D

Hijab (head cover) for Muslim women is not mandated in the Qur’an. If it is, it is only the subjective interpretation of an ayah (verse) on the part of the reader. Hence, many Islamic scholars say that according to hadith, a woman should cover her whole body, except her face and hands. The majority of Muslims do not know in which hadith this is mentioned. A very limited number of Muslims know that this is in Sunan Abu Dawud. The English translation of Sunan Abu Dawud is in three volumes. Again, nobody ever mentions that it is in Volume Three. Actually, it is in Volume 3, Book XXVII, Chapter 1535, and Hadith number 4092, titled: "How Much Beauty Can A Woman Display?" For the benefit of the readers, the exact hadith is reproduced below:

(4092) 'Aisha said: Asthma', daughter of Abu Bakr, entered upon the Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) wearing thin clothes. The Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) turned his attention from her. He said: O Asthma', when a woman reaches the age of menstruation, it does not suit her that she displays her parts of the body except this and this, and he pointed to her face and hands. (Note 3523)

Abu Dawud said: This is a mursal tradition (i.e. the narrator who transmitted it from 'Aisha is missing) Khalid B. Duraik did not see 'Aisha.

[3523. When a woman reaches the age of puberty, she must observe purdah and have a thick veil which conceals her beauty. She may unveil her face and hands up to the wrists. In modern times, some scholars have prohibited unveiling the face out of precaution.]

It is very interesting to note that no one - neither the Muslim scholars nor the Muslim ummah, ever pointed out that this is a mursal (weak) hadith. It is imperative that when one uses a weak hadith for any reason, then one should explain to the people that it is such. What is a mursal hadith? But first of all, what is hadith?

Hadith is an Arabic word which in its real sense means a tale, speech, chat, conversation, or communication. In a technical sense, hadith or tradition means all the sayings, deeds, decisions of the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.a.w), his silent approval of the behavior of his companions, and descriptions of his personality. Each hadith is prefaced by a chain of narrators called al-'isnad. Al-'isnad was the chain of people through whom the hadith was transmitted. The second part of the hadith is al-matn, the content, which reports the teaching or the incident. Every hadith or tradition must have a chain ('isnad), as well as the text (matn).

There are three main categories of the hadith called (1) as-sahih or the authentic hadith, (2) al-hasan or the good, as some of its narrators have been found to have a weaker memory in comparison to the narrators of sahih hadith, and (3) ad-da'if or the weak. This refers to traditions in which there is some problem in the chain of transmission, in the proper understanding of the transmitter, or in its contents, which may be in disagreement with Islamic belief and practice.

Ad-da'if traditions are further divided according to the degree of problems with their reporter (ruwaat), or in the text (al-matn) of the reports. A few of these divisions are as follows:

1. Al-mursal: A hadith in which a tab'i (those who succeeded the sahabah or companions of the Prophet) transmits from Rasulullah (s.a.w), directly dropping the sahabi from the 'isnad.

2. Al-munqati: A hadith going back to the tab'i only.

3. Al-mu'dal: A hadith in which two continuous narrators are missing in one or more places in the 'isnad.

4. Al-mu'allaq: A hadith in which one or two transmitters are omitted in the beginning of the 'isnad.

In Shari'ah or Islamic law, only the authentic (sahih) and good (hasan) ahadith (plural of hadith) are used in deriving rules. The weak (da'if) ahadith have no value for the purpose of Shari'ah.

As stated above, Imam Abu Dawud himself said that this is a mursal tradition (i.e. the narrator who transmitted it from 'Aisha is missing). What I interpret is that the narrator of this hadith is Khalid B. Duraik, who did not see 'Aisha (radhi Allahu anha, may Allah be pleased with her). Since this is a weak hadith, it has no value for the purpose of Shari'ah. That means that no Muslim, Islamic Republic, or government can pass laws punishing a Muslim woman who does not observe hijab, particularly covering the hair on her head. This is not being practiced in the so-called Islamic countries, where religious police with their canes are threatening and punishing Muslim women who do not observe hijab.

All along, I have maintained in my arguments that Islam emphasizes modesty in the dress of a Muslim woman, but nowhere does it mandate the wearing of the hijab (head cover). As a matter of fact, modesty in dress is also required on the part of Muslim men.

Readers are invited to subscribe to the Aalim (Scholar), which is published quarterly by the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF). Phone: 502-423-1988 or email IslamicResearch@yahoo.com

Friday, November 17, 2006

Dhikr for the 33rd week of the ordinary time (B)

Text: "Learn a lesson from the fig tree. When its branch becomes tender and sprouts leaves, you know that summer is near. In the same way, when you see these things happening, know that he is near, at the gates.” (Mark 13: 28-29)

Meditation: Pray that we, too, may be able to discern God’s “coming” and “going” in our daily life…

Visit: www.omigen.org/jpic

Dhikr is an Arabic word for remembrance. In the “tariqa” (the way) movement, dhikr developed into a form of prayer… It is a prayer of the heart… following three simple steps:

1. Write in one’s heart a certain passage of the Holy Writ…
2. Make the same passage ever present in one’s lips.
3. Then wait for God’s disclosure on the meaning of the passage…that interprets one’s life NOW…!

It takes a week of remembering (dhikr)…or even more days to relish the beauty of this method…

Friday, November 10, 2006

The heart of the matter...

The heart of the Badaliyya movement… is loving solidarity with all believers…

“And God, who knows the heart, bore witness by granting them the Holy Spirit just as he did us. He made no distinction between us and them, for by faith he purified their hearts (Acts 15: 8-9)

Many spiritual masters and directors claim that Spiritual Life is a matter of the heart. These are some of the famous phrases that point to this reality:
  • Being single-hearted…
  • A clean/purified heart...
  • The heart of the matter…
  • Religion of the heart…
  • God dwelling in the heart...

We invite our readers to add to the enumeration…

DR Congo in the post election wait..., the people look forward for a better future with hope... Simply to express our solidarity with the people of the DR Congo...! Posted by Picasa

Monday, November 06, 2006

World Religions and Peace...

  • No Peace among the nations without Peace among the religions.
  • No Peace among the religions without dialogue between the religions.
  • No dialogue between the religions without global ethical standards.
  • No survival of our globe without a global ethic.
    (Hans Kung)

Friday, November 03, 2006


What is at the core of Interreligious Relations? My long years living in the Muslim communities have taught me that the real key or the path to any kind of true relationship with a Muslim neighbor is through the heart.

The HEART, in fact, is not only the key or path to each other… but it is also the way we encounter God. The Spanish Mystic ‘Ibn ‘Arabi gave us this legacy…

* God is extraordinarily closes and proximate to the human heart (e.g., at S 8:24, "He passes between the man and his heart"). What truly matters is God’s uniquely all-encompassing divine knowledge of "what is in their hearts" (S 4:66, 33:51, etc.).

* The divine awareness of what is in the heart extends in particular to people's innermost intentions (especially in contrast to their words and ostensible actions). In consequence, ‘Ibn “Arabi speaks of the heart (as more commonly of the soul, al-nafs) as the enduring "self" or ongoing seat of our moral and spiritual responsibility, as at S 2:225: "...He will call you to account for what your hearts have earned...."

* The most obvious in his work is the consistent stress on the divine "responsibility", indeed the ongoing divine Activity, expressed in all the different states of our hearts, including especially our recurrent failures to "remember" God.

* The enlightened or divinely supported heart (whether in this world or the next) is said to be the locus of true Remembrance of God (dhikr Allâh, at S13:28).

* We also see God's sealing, veiling, hardening, locking, binding, closing, or frightening hearts - to hearts that as a result (of their own misdeeds or the divine reaction) are "sick" or "blind" and "suffering."

* There are also references to hearts that "fail to understand" (lâ yafqahûn), far more frequently than those who do perceive the divine "Signs," whose hearts are 'âqilûn (attentive).

* Thus there is the need to move from these "negative" or perverse states of the human heart to full awareness of God and the corresponding divine Peace and understanding - "softening" and "humbling" or "purification" and "strengthening" of hearts, to the necessity of a "sound" or "repentant" or "mindful" heart (qalb salîm or munîb).

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Worn out sandals and a stick symbols of our brokenness as we continue to journey together in our diverse paths to God... Posted by Picasa

Making sense of the reality of other faith traditions...

Many Christians have found it difficult to make sense of, or relate creatively to, the reality of other religious traditions. However, as Christians we believe that the Spirit of God is at work in ways beyond our understanding (cf. John 3. 8). The activity of the Spirit is beyond our definitions, descriptions and limitations. We should seek to discern the Spirit's presence where there is "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control" (Gal. 5. 22-23). The Spirit of God is groaning with our spirit. The Spirit is at work to bring about the redemption of the whole created order (Rom. 8. 18 - 27).

We are witnesses in a world where God has not been absent and to people who do have something to say about God. We meet people who already live by faiths that rule their lives and with which they are at home. We witness among them in a spirit and spirituality informed by our Christian faith. Christians need to open themselves to the witness of others, which is made not just in words but also in faithful deeds, in devotion to God, in selfless service and in commitment to love and non-violence.