Priorities & Growth

In certain countries, you must learn the local language in order to work and learn there. Thousands of muslims put in a lot of effort to learn french, german, spanish, chinese and many other languages for their livelihood. They are motivated by the commitment they make to an objective or goal.

There are 1 billion muslims in this world. A huge number of them are not arabs. And, some of the non arabs are even masters of Arabic while a majority does not speak arabic. Muslims, meaning people that have submitted to Allah and follow His messenger Muhammad PBUH. If not love, then a muslim does have a serious commitment to his Allah and the Prophet of Islam PBUH.

We claim submission, are ready to die for Allah, we love Him. Yet, we cannot take out a few years from our lives to learn the language He chose to address us in! We are given time. Years. We are given opportunity. We let it all go by.

How many of us have been living in Saudi Arabia for over 10 years? How many of us can speak proper Arabic or read and write it? How many of us understand what Allah is saying in the Quran? A handful maybe?

The common excuses are:
1. We have no time.

Oh, so you have no time for the One who has given you time to begin with?

2. Saudis don’t accommodate.

A lie. Go to the imam of your mosque and tell him you want to learn arabic so that you can understand the Quran. Have you even tried this? Instead of paying for things you don’t really need, offer him a small compensation.

3. I am unable to because arabic is difficult..

So is German, Urdu, Farsi and Life in general. What else did you give up on?

I still have no clue why I was sent to an english medium school in KSA with arabic as a subject when I should have been sent to an Arabic school where English was a subject!

How are we such great muslims if we don’t willingly and enthusiastically work on absolute understanding of the language Allah and His Prophet PBUH spoke to us in? It is beyond me!

Most expatriate muslims blame the Saudis for their ignorance of Arabic. Why? Allah is everyone’s Allah and He revealed His book in Arabic. And, I want to master this language so I can fully comprehend His words and appreciate them And apply them in my life. This is MY commitment to Allah that I consider my duty too. Regardless of my location or any negative experiences with Arabs. Because, all that I have is from Allah so towards Him I look. Right?

Your commitment to religion, ritual and practice is nothing if you are not committed to Allah. That’s my view. Submission Needs to be total, not partial. Otherwise, you gain nothing. Thus, the status of this Ummah. We are given a language that could give us unity, we choose to be divided!

Friends, being a muslim is not like taking yoga classes! It is giving your whole life to a commitment you made upon submission!

Don’t you see those amazing men and women who were raised in the west or are westerners? They didn’t even know what Alif is! Yet, they dedicated time and effort and are scholars of the Arabic language and actually teach Arabs religion!

Where are we? Honestly folks, we are playing around wasting our lives. Job, money, kids, homes and all are given and granted by Allah. It is with this pure belief we prioritize and dedicate our time to learning. At any age. Just see how Allah compensates you for it. What you sacrifice for Him, He gives back much better and greater. Do you believe that?

Here is the formula: you submit, appreciate, learn about what Allah wants and then go deeper in this learning. Do you know what is the result of this? Let me share with you what a friend sent me today and you will realize what we were and what we ARE. Real achievements of Muslims, read below:

“From ‘coffee’ to ‘cheques’ and the three-course meal, the Muslim world has given us many innovations that we take for granted in daily life.

1 The story goes that a Muslim named Khalid was tending his goats in the Kaffa region of southern Ethiopia, when he noticed his animals became livelier after eating a certain berry. He boiled the berries to make the first coffee. Certainly the first record of the drink is of beans exported from Ethiopia to Yemen where Sufis drank it to stay awake all night to pray on special occasions. By the late 15th century it had arrived in Mecca and Turkey from where it made its way to Venice in 1645. It was brought to England in 1650 by a Turk named Pasqua Rosee who opened the first coffee house in Lombard Street in the City of London. The Arabic Qahwa(ghawa) became the Turkish kahve then the Italian caffé and then English coffee.

2 The ancient Greeks thought our eyes emitted rays, like a laser, which enabled us to see. The first person to realize that light enters the eye, rather than leaving it, was the 10th-century Muslim mathematician, astronomer and physicist Ibn al-Haitham. He invented the first pin-hole camera after noticing the way light came through a hole in window shutters. The smaller the hole, the better the picture, he worked out, and set up the first Camera Obscura (from the Arab word qamara for a dark or private room). He is also credited with being the first man to shift physics from a philosophical activity to an experimental one.

3 A form of chess was played in ancient India but the game was developed into the form we know it today in Persia. From there it spread westward to Europe – where it was introduced by the Moors in Spain in the 10th century – and eastward as far as Japan. The word rook comes from the Persian Rukh, which means chariot.

4 A thousand years before the Wright brothers a Muslim poet, astronomer, musician and engineer named Abbas ibn Firnas made several attempts to construct a flying machine. In 852 he jumped from the minaret of the Grand Mosque in Cordoba using a loose cloak stiffened with wooden struts. He hoped to glide like a bird. He didn’t. But the cloak slowed his fall, creating what is thought to be the first parachute, and leaving him with only minor injuries. In 875, aged 70, having perfected a machine of silk and eagles’ feathers he tried again, jumping from a mountain. He flew to a significant height and stayed aloft for about ten minutes but crashed on landing – concluding, correctly, that it was because he had not given his device a tail so it would stall on landing. Baghdad international airport and a crater on the Moon are named after him.

5 Washing and bathing are religious requirements for Muslims, which is perhaps why they perfected the recipe for soap which we still use today. The ancient Egyptians had soap of a kind, as did the Romans who used it more as a pomade. But it was the Arabs who combined vegetable oils with sodium hydroxide and aromatics such as thyme oil. One of the Crusaders’ most striking characteristics, to Arab nostrils, was that they did not wash. Shampoo was introduced to England by a Muslim who opened Mahomed’s Indian Vapour Baths on Brighton seafront in 1759 and was appointed Shampooing Surgeon to Kings George IV and William IV.

6 Distillation, the means of separating liquids through differences in their boiling points, was invented around the year 800 by Islam’s foremost scientist, Jabir ibn Hayyan, who transformed alchemy into chemistry, inventing many of the basic processes and apparatus still in use today – liquefaction, crystallization, distillation, purification, oxidization, evaporation and filtration. As well as discovering sulphuric and nitric acid, he invented the alembic still, giving the world intense rosewater and other perfumes and alcoholic spirits (although drinking them is haram, or forbidden, in Islam). Ibn Hayyan emphasized systematic experimentation and was the founder of modern chemistry.

7 The crank-shaft is a device which translates rotary into linear motion and is central to much of the machinery in the modern world, not least the internal combustion engine. One of the most important mechanical inventions in the history of humankind, it was created by an ingenious Muslim engineer called al-Jazari to raise water for irrigation. His 1206 Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices shows he also invented or refined the use of valves and pistons, devised some of the first mechanical clocks driven by water and weights, and was the father of robotics. Among his 50 other inventions was the combination lock.

8 Quilting is a method of sewing or tying two layers of cloth with a layer of insulating material in between. It is not clear whether it was invented in the Muslim world or whether it was imported there from India or China. But it certainly came to the West via the Crusaders. They saw it used by Saracen warriors, who wore straw-filled quilted canvas shirts instead of Armour. As well as a form of protection, it proved an effective guard against the chafing of the Crusaders’ metal Armour and was an effective form of insulation – so much so that it became a cottage industry back home in colder climates such as Britain and Holland.

9 The pointed arch so characteristic of Europe’s Gothic cathedrals was an invention borrowed from Islamic architecture. It was much stronger than the rounded arch used by the Romans and Normans, thus allowing the building of bigger, higher, more complex and grander buildings. Other borrowings from Muslim genius included ribbed vaulting, rose windows and dome-building techniques. Europe’s castles were also adapted to copy the Islamic world’s – with arrow slits, battlements, a barbican and parapets. Square towers and keeps gave way to more easily defended round ones. Henry V’s castle architect was a Muslim.

10 Many modern surgical instruments are of exactly the same design as those devised in the 10th century by a Muslim surgeon called al-Zahrawi. His scalpels, bone saws, forceps, fine scissors for eye surgery and many of the 200 instruments he devised are recognizable to a modern surgeon. It was he who discovered that catgut used for internal stitches dissolves away naturally (a discovery he made when his monkey ate his lute strings) and that it can be also used to make medicine capsules. In the 13th century, another Muslim medic named Ibn Nafis described the circulation of the blood, 300 years before William Harvey discovered it. Muslims doctors also invented anesthetics of opium and alcohol mixes and developed hollow needles to suck cataracts from eyes in a technique still used today.

11 The windmill was invented in 634 for a Persian caliph and was used to grind corn and draw up water for irrigation. In the vast deserts of Arabia, when the seasonal streams ran dry, the only source of power was the wind which blew steadily from one direction for months. Mills had six or 12 sails covered in fabric or palm leaves. It was 500 years before the first windmill was seen in Europe.

12 The technique of inoculation was not invented by Jenner and Pasteur but was devised in the Muslim world and brought to Europe from Turkey by the wife of the English ambassador to Istanbul in 1724. Children in Turkey were vaccinated with cowpox to fight the deadly smallpox at least 50 years before the West discovered it.

13 The fountain pen was invented for the Sultan of Egypt in 953 after he demanded a pen which would not stain his hands or clothes. It held ink in a reservoir and, as with modern pens, fed ink to the nib by a combination of gravity and capillary action.

14 The system of numbering in use all round the world is probably Indian in origin but the style of the numerals is Arabic and first appears in print in the work of the Muslim mathematicians al-Khwarizmi and al-Kindi around 825. Algebra was named after al-Khwarizmi’s book, Al-Jabr wa-al-Muqabilah, much of whose contents are still in use. The work of Muslim maths scholars was imported into Europe 300 years later by the Italian mathematician Fibonacci. Algorithms and much of the theory of trigonometry came from the Muslim world. And Al-Kindi’s discovery of frequency analysis rendered all the codes of the ancient world soluble and created the basis of modern cryptology.

15 Ali ibn Nafi, known by his nickname of Ziryab (Blackbird) came from Iraq to Cordoba(Spain) in the 9th century and brought with him the concept of the three-course meal – soup, followed by fish or meat, then fruit and nuts. He also introduced crystal glasses (which had been invented after experiments with rock crystal by Abbas ibn Firnas – see No 4).

16 Carpets were regarded as part of Paradise by medieval Muslims, thanks to their advanced weaving techniques, new tinctures from Islamic chemistry and highly developed sense of pattern and arabesque which were the basis of Islam’s non-representational art. In contrast, Europe’s floors were distinctly earthly, not to say earthy, until Arabian and Persian carpets were introduced. In England, as Erasmus recorded, floors were “covered in rushes, occasionally renewed, but so imperfectly that the bottom layer is left undisturbed, sometimes for 20 years, harboring expectoration, vomiting, the leakage of dogs and men, ale droppings, scraps of fish, and other abominations not fit to be mentioned”. Carpets, unsurprisingly, caught on quickly.

17 The modern cheque (Bank Check)comes from the Arabic ‘Saqq’, a written vow to pay for goods when they were delivered, to avoid money having to be transported across dangerous terrain. In the 9th century, a Muslim businessman could cash a cheque in China drawn on his bank in Baghdad.

18 By the 9th century, many Muslim scholars took it for granted that the Earth was a sphere. The proof, said astronomer Ibn Hazm, “is that the Sun is always vertical to a particular spot on Earth”. It was 500 years before that realization dawned on Galileo. The calculations of Muslim astronomers were so accurate that in the 9th century they reckoned the Earth’s circumference to be 40,253.4km – less than 200km out. The scholar al-Idrisi took a globe depicting the world to the court of King Roger of Sicily in 1139.

19 Though the Chinese invented saltpeter gunpowder, and used it in their fireworks, it was the Muslims who worked out that it could be purified using potassium nitrate for military use. Muslim incendiary devices terrified the Crusaders. By the 15th century they had invented both a rocket, which they called a “self-moving and combusting egg”, and a torpedo – a self-propelled pear-shaped bomb with a spear at the front which impaled itself in enemy ships and then blew up.

20 Medieval Europe had kitchen and herb gardens, but it was the Muslims who developed the idea of the garden as a place of beauty and meditation. The first royal pleasure gardens in Europe were opened in 11th-century Muslim Spain. Flowers which originated in Muslim gardens include the carnation and the tulip.”

So where are your priorities and where are you getting your learning from?

Your mind will open and discover so much more once you master arabic and let Quran penetrate your mind fully..

You can master the universe, start with mastering arabic after your submission.

Have a great day, inshallah!

8 thoughts on “Priorities & Growth

  1. After all these marvels of past times, I often wondered why did Muslims lose their ability for exploration and invention and started importing Western ideas. How do you explain that?

    • Well it will sound like a lame excuse, but the crusade on turkish empire was devastating and destructive. Muslims were tested with difficult and disturbed era. And they failed, once they lost the true faith in Allah and did not follow the guidelines of Islam.

    • Explanation: loss of territory, downturn in economics, decline of education.

      People import ideas from every culture with which they have contact. Western cultures have and should be importing ideas from Islamic cultures and vice versa. If a culture or civilization don’t they stagnate. Countries and cultures can no longer afford to be insular. A universal, growing religion such as Islam should be able to withstand outside influences. What this whole world needs are honest leaders. Are you willing to take a stand against corruption, injustice and poverty in your country, province, city or village? True change starts with the people.

      • Yes, but this trend has lasted for the past 600 years. I understand there are ups and downs in every culture – see the Chinese – but there must be another reason. Don’t you think that hundreds of years of teaching of the Koran by rote with exclusion of everything else has diminished the mental faculties of intellectual exploration and critical thinking? These are the very foudation of social and scientific progress.

      • The problem is, The Quran has NOT been taught nor practiced. Freedom of mind and development occurs if belief and perception is right and in accordance with Quran..which it has not been in the Muslim world for centuries because of clergy that failed to educate people and chose to use, interpret and present the book for their benefit..

      • I agree that rote learning of the Qur’an – or anything – may not be the most intellectual of pursuits but I am more worried about the rote interpretation of the Qur’an. I have spent the last 5 months trying to learn about Islam. As I understand it, a Muslim can interpret the Qur’an for themselves. Is this correct? Catholics and Protestants have priests, popes and archbishops to do the rote interpretation for them which is why I can’t follow any of these churches. However, I am reading a Qur’an with a Wahabbi, hence a very conservative interpretation, which is different from a Qur’an interpreted in other parts of the world. Is this correct? Is this a problem for the cohesiveness of Islam? A Saudi friend told me there are as many interpretations of the Qur’an as there are Muslims. That isn’t rote learning to me. Do you agree?

        I think that Islamic schools and universities have for years not educated women (improving in Saudi from what I understand) and have focused on religious education to the detriment of most other faculties of study. I think this is changing.

        I don’t think a group of people can have their mental faculties diminished as I believe all people are born intelligent. It’s up to their parents and society to nourish that intelligence with every experience possible, including religion. As more and more Saudis leave the country for higher education they are bringing back new (Western?) ideas. This is bound to change the society but I don’t think it needs to change the religion. I have difficulty understanding what is religious and what is cultural in Saudi. To me it is very complex.

        I’ve worked in China many times and they have shown great growth but when you see the unbelievable poverty in the villages, the pollution, the corruption, the police state mentality, and the ‘make money at any cost’ attitude you wouldn’t want this in Saudi. Your gov’t has the wealth already and the king seems willing to spend it on worthwhile projects. True?

        I started to learn about Islam while my daughter was at work. I am fascinated. There is much to admire and many untruths (mainly Western biases) I’m uncovering. It’s like peeling an onion. However, I have more questions than answers.

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