Photo gallery: Muslims praying in amazing places: http://islamicsunrays.com/muslims-praying-in-amazing-places/
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A federal judge in Wisconsin found the National Day of Prayer to be unconstitutional. The event was codified in US law after a campaign helmed by Billy Graham in 1952. In more recent years, the NDoP had pretty much been taken over by evangelical Christians to the exclusion of pretty much everyone else. The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) filed suit and this is the result (pdf of decision, 66 pages). One of my legal buddies said this was a Big Win for the FFRF.
The nut of the decision is found at the top of page 4:
Unfortunately, § 119 cannot meet that test. It goes beyond mere “acknowledgment” of religion because its sole purpose is to encourage all citizens to engage in prayer, an inherently religious exercise that serves no secular function in this context. In this instance, the government has taken sides on a matter that must be left to individual conscience.
Pages 57-60 of the decision is a laundry list of news articles from (mostly) the 2008 NDoP, generally pointing out that the NDoP has pretty much become a captive of the Christian Right here in the USA. Jews, Muslims, non-Evangelical Christians, Hindus, Mormons, you name it, they’re all complaining about this. The judge remarks on page 60:
It is true that much of the controversy has been generated by events of private organizations such as the National Day of Prayer Task Force. However, government officials, including former Presidents, have sometimes aligned themselves so closely with those exclusionary groups that it becomes difficult to tell the difference between the government’s message and that of the private group.
[I think this is a comment about how closely entwined the previous administration had become with evangelicals, at least as far as this is concerned.]
And, despite all the hue and cry throughout the evangelical blogosphere that the NDoP has been “cancelled,” this decision is NOT enforced immediately (pp. 65-66):
3. Defendants are ENJOINED from enforcing 36 U.S.C. § 119. The injunction shall take effect at the conclusion of any appeals filed by defendants or the expiration of defendants’ deadline for filing an appeal, whichever is later.
I believe this judge has handed all sorts of evangelical groups a big gift in the form of ready-made fundraising appeals.
You must have heard about this bus driver by now but thought we acknowledge the thoughtful response by the authorities. Different countries would react differently under the same situation (most likely).
Transport for London … said all Muslim drivers are being reminded that they should pray during statutory rest periods rather than hold up services.
‘We understand that there is some flexibility in the Muslim faith as to the times of day that drivers can pray.
‘TfL and the individual bus operating companies acknowledge and value the diversity of their staff.
‘As diverse employers, TfL and the bus operators provide suitable prayer or quiet rooms at garages and other key locations for staff who wish to practise their faith.
‘We have asked London General to remind drivers who have a requirement to pray to use these facilities during their rest periods.’
thabet is discussing. Toggle Comments
Some of the country’s top religious officials stressed on Wednesday that worshippers should not be overly concerned by reports that more than half of Indonesia’s mosques displayed incorrect kiblat, or direction toward Mecca.
“There is no problem in regard to kiblat, because in Islam, you may pray to God in any direction. God is not in Mecca. Remember that,” said Amidhan, head of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI).
Islamic scholar Mutoha Arkanuddin claimed recently that more than 50 percent and up to 80 percent of the country’s mosques and graves did not reflect the correct direction toward Mecca, but his claims have drawn fierce fire.
“Mutoha Arkanuddin’s research was only conducted at several mosques in Yogyakarta and it absolutely does not represent all the mosques in the country,” said Rohadi Abdul Fatah, director of Islam and Shariah law at the Ministry of Religious Affairs. “It is dangerous to publish such statements as it is invalid and can make the public feel uneasy. He is very reckless, and I am disappointed.”
BismillahirRahmanirRahim Salamu’alaykum, I went down to the DC to attend the annual http://oneprayer.org Prayer Vigil for the Earth… here is a short clip of the zikr and short talk our Shaykh Abdul Kerim gave. http://bit.ly/fuN5k
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A former military lawyer who served in the Reagan White House is suing a Dallas-based religious group for allegedly inciting harm upon him through prayers, The Dallas Morning News reports. [...]
The suit also asks the court to stop the defendants – Klingenschmitt and Jim Ammerman, the founders of the Chaplaincy of Full Gospel Churches – from “encouraging, soliciting, directing, abetting or attempting to induce others to engage in similar conduct.”
Weinstein, who is Jewish, said his family has received death threats, had a swastika daubed on their home, and feces thrown at the house. He said the harassment started several years ago when he began protesting Christian proselytizing at his alma mater, the Air Force Academy.
Weinstein’s attorney, Randal Mathis, said their biggest concern is that Klingenschmitt’s audience includes a “certain number of unstable people” who might act in the name of God.
johnpi’s already linked up an earlier incident in the string events that led to this suit being filed.
Muslim councillor ‘adjourned meeting for prayer’:
The development committee at Tower Hamlets stopped after five minutes to allow Muslim councillors a prayer break during its last meeting.
Cllr Rania Khan faced shouts of “disgusting” from the public gallery as she left to pray and on her return said she had been disturbed by the “abuse hurled at her”.
Obviously, I don’t have details of exactly what went on or what was said. But if she told them she wanted a break so she can pray (Maghrib based on the report), then I think she made a mistake. She should have simply asserted her right to a break (as per the standard working practices of her organisation, which we should remember is accountable to the public) given her work schedule, which she says ran from 2-7pm. What she did in her break then would then have been largely her business.
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I have a question I have been meaning to ask our Muslim readers.
Do the mosques in your area, or where you grew up, aim to complete the Qur’an during taravih (whether they do 8 or 20 rakat) in Ramazan? I grew up accustomed to this practice in mosques around London. It is only in the Gulf where I have noticed completion of the Qur’an is not done in many mosques, and was wondering if this is a very local feature of this area.
Note I am not really interested in the fiqh of this (but feel free to talk about it below if you want); more the practice people are familiar with where they grew up/currently live.
Saudi imam says Muslims should avoid prayers that call for the destruction of non-Muslims:
Many mosque Imams and preachers in some Muslim countries, including Saudi Arabia, close their Friday sermons with prayers that call for the destruction of Islam’s enemies, especially Israel and its allies.
“Praying for the ruin and the destruction of all infidels is not permitted because it goes against God’s law to call upon them … to take the righteous path,” Sheikh Salman al Awdah told Dubai-based MBC Television channel.
“Calling for their offspring and ancestors to be eradicated is not legitimate … (except) for the tyrants among the infidels and those who violate the sanctities and harm the faithful,” he said.
A good article in the Washington Post from a nutritionist who has researched the benefits of fasting. Best wishes to those who use the Holy Month of Ramazan to concentrate spiritual knowledge and benefit.
Better Health Through Fasting
By Zafar Nomani
professor emeritus of human nutrition and foods
West Virginia University
With the sighting of the crescent moon, the holy month of Ramadan has begun this year, marking the start of a spiritual boot camp in which Muslims fast without any food or water from sunup to sundown. To many, the rigor may seem too tasking, but, as a veteran scientist of clinical nutrition and as a 76-year-old Muslim man who has fasted since I was a boy, growing up in India, I can say that fasting can be a healthy practice not just for God but for you.
Fasting can be healthy for people of all faiths from Christians to Jews, Hindus, Buddhists and others who fast as a part of their spiritual practice. But it’s got to be done right.
Twenty-five years ago in the early 1980s, I started studying the biochemical and physiological impact of “restricted energy intake,” as we call fasting in the business, on the human body, using Ramadan fasting as a model for clinical trials that I ran in the United States and Pakistan. In my hometown of Morgantown, W.V., young Muslim students volunteered to be my guinea pigs, logging their daily meals. In the Middle East and in Lahore, Pakistan, volunteers let me study the effect of fasting on their bodies, analyzing the nutritional component of their diets using food composition tables and computer software.
What I and other researchers have discovered is that fasting has clear spiritual, physical, psychological and social benefits.