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Shamoun's Lowly Character

Sam thinks he can beat everyone in a debate and that he has already done so. Things have not even happened yet he can predict with certainty outcomes. He thinks no one can answer him. Check out a list of answers right here.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Christian Arab Converts to Islam

HOW I CAME TO ISLAM

by

Fouad Haddad (Lebanon)

Written on the 19th of Ramadan 1417 (28 January 1997)



I was born and raised in a typical middle-class Lebanese Catholic family in Beirut, Lebanon. Two years into the war I was forced to leave, and completed high school in England. Then I went to Columbia College in New York. After my BA I went back to Lebanon and taught at my old school. Two years later I left Lebanon again, this time of my own free will, although it was a more wrenching separation than the first. I left behind my war-torn country and made for my new land of opportunities. I was demoralized, and spiritually at a complete impass. With my uncle's support I went back to graduate studies at Columbia. This is the brief story of my conversion to Islam while there.



While in Lebanon I had come to realize that I was a nominal Christian who did not really live according to what he knew were the norms of his faith. I decided than whenever the chance came I would try my best to live according to my idea of Christian standards for one year, no matter the cost. I took this challenge while at Columbia. A graduate student's life is blessed with the leisure necessary for spiritual and intellectual exploration. In the process I read and meditated abundantly, and I prayed earnestly for dear guidance. My time was shared literally between the church and the library, and I gradually got rid of all that stood in the way of my experiment, especially social attachments or activities that threatened to steal my time and concentration. I only left campus to visit my mother every now and then.



Certain meetings and experiences had set me on the road of inquiry about Islam. During a scholarship year spent in Paris I had bought a complete set of tapes of the holy Qur'an. Back in New York I listened to its recitation for the first time, as I read simultaneously the translation, drinking in its awesome beauty. I paid particular attention to the passages that concerned Christians. I felt an inviting familiarity to it because undoubtedly the One I addressed in my prayers was the same One that spoke this speech, even as I squirmed at some of the "verses of threat". After some time I knew that this was my path, since I had become convinced of the heavenly origin of the Qur'an.



I was reading many books at the same time. Two of them were Martin Lings' "Life of Muhammad" and Fariduddin Attar's "Book of Secrets" (Persian "Asrar-Nama", in French translation). I found extremely inspiring Lings' account of Shaykh Ahmad `Alawi's life in his book "A Sufi Saint of the Twentieth Century." I did not finish the latter before I became a Muslim; but I am jumping ahead. At any rate, it now seemed my previous experience of religion had been like learning the alphabet in comparison, even my early morning and late night Bible readings and my past studies in the original Latin of Saint Augustine, who had once towered in my life as a spiritual giant.



I began to long almost physically for a kind of prayer closer to the Islamic way, which to me held promises of great spiritual fulfillment, although I had grown completely dependent on certain spiritual habits -- particularly communion and prayer -- and could hardly do without them. And yet I had unmistakable signs pointing me in a further direction. One of them I considered almost a slap in the face in its frankness: when I told my local priest about the attraction I felt towards Islam he responded as he should, but then closed his talk with the words: allahu akbar. "Allahu akbar"? An Italian-American priest?!



I went to two New York mosques but the imams there wanted to talk about the Bible or about the Middle East conflict, I suppose to make polite conversation with me. I realized they did not necessarily see what drove me to them and yet I did not find an avenue where I would pluck up the courage to declare my intention. Then I would go home and tell myself: Another day has passed, and you are still not Muslim. Finally I went to the Muslim student group at Columbia and announced my intention, and declared the two shahada: The Arabic formula that consists in saying "I bear witness that there is no god but Allah" -- the Arabic name for God -- "and I bear witness that Muhammad is His Prophet." They taught me ablution and salat (prayer), and I gained a dear friend among them. Those days are marked in my life with letters of light.



Another close friend of mine played a role in this conversion. This devout American Christian friend had entered Islam years before me. At the time I felt in my silly pride that it was wrong for an American to enter into the religion of the Arabs and for me, an Arab, to stand like a mule in complete ignorance of it. It had a great effect on me from both sides: the cultural one and the spiritual, because he was -- is -- an honest and upright person whose major move meant a great deal to me.



I had also come to realize that my early education in Lebanon had carefully sheltered me from Islam, even though I lived in a mixed neighborhood in the middle of Beirut. I went to my father's and grandfather's Jesuit school. The following incident is proof that there is no turning away of Allah's gift when He decides to give it. One year, when I was 12, a strange religious education teacher gave us as an assignment the task of learning the Fatiha -- the first chapter of the Qur'an -- by heart. I went home and did, and it stayed with me all my life. After parents complained he was fired -- "we do not send our children to a Christian school in order for them to learn the religion of Muslims" -- but the seed had been sown, right there in the staunch Christian heartland, inside its prize school. Now here I was in the United States, knocking at the door of the religion of the Prophet, peace be upon him!



Days after I took shahada I met my teacher and the light on my path, Shaykh Hisham Kabbani of Tripoli, after which I met his own teacher, Shaykh Nazim al-Haqqani of Cyprus. May Allah bless and grant them long life. Through them, after some years, my mother also took shahada and I hope and pray every day that my two brothers and stepfather will soon follow in Allah's immense generosity. Allah's blessings and peace on the Prophet, his Family, his Companions, and all Prophets.



http://www.sunnah.org/history/Scholars/fouad1.htm

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Guard who found Islam

The Guard Who Found Islam

By Dan Ephron | NEWSWEEK
Army specialist Terry Holdbrooks had been a guard at Guantánamo for about six months the night he had his life-altering conversation with detainee 590, a Moroccan also known as “the General.” This was early 2004, about halfway through Holdbrooks’s stint at Guantánamo with the 463rd Military Police Company. Until then, he’d spent most of his day shifts just doing his duty. He’d escort prisoners to interrogations or walk up and down the cellblock making sure they weren’t passing notes. But the midnight shifts were slow. “The only thing you really had to do was mop the center floor,” he says. So Holdbrooks began spending part of the night sitting cross-legged on the ground, talking to detainees through the metal mesh of their cell doors.
He developed a strong relationship with the General, whose real name is Ahmed Errachidi. Their late-night conversations led Holdbrooks to be more skeptical about the prison, he says, and made him think harder about his own life. Soon, Holdbrooks was ordering books on Arabic and Islam. During an evening talk with Errachidi in early 2004, the conversation turned to the shahada, the one-line statement of faith that marks the single requirement for converting to Islam (”There is no God but God and Muhammad is his prophet”). Holdbrooks pushed a pen and an index card through the mesh, and asked Errachidi to write out the shahada in English and transliterated Arabic. He then uttered the words aloud and, there on the floor of Guantánamo’s Camp Delta, became a Muslim.
When historians look back on Guantánamo, the harsh treatment of detainees and the trampling of due process will likely dominate the narrative. Holdbrooks, who left the military in 2005, saw his share. In interviews over recent weeks, he and another former guard told NEWSWEEK about degrading and sometimes sadistic acts against prisoners committed by soldiers, medics and interrogators who wanted revenge for the 9/11 attacks on America. But as the fog of secrecy slowly lifts from Guantánamo, other scenes are starting to emerge as well, including surprising interactions between guards and detainees on subjects like politics, religion and even music. The exchanges reveal curiosity on both sides—sometimes even empathy. “The detainees used to have conversations with the guards who showed some common respect toward them,” says Errachidi, who spent five years in Guantánamo and was released in 2007. “We talked about everything, normal things, and things [we had] in common,” he wrote to NEWSWEEK in an e-mail from his home in Morocco.
Holdbrooks’s level of identification with the other side was exceptional. No other guard has volunteered that he embraced Islam at the prison (though Errachidi says others expressed interest). His experience runs counter to academic studies, which show that guards and inmates at ordinary prisons tend to develop mutual hostility. But then, Holdbrooks is a contrarian by nature. He can also be conspiratorial. When his company visited the site of the 9/11 attacks in New York, Holdbrooks remembers thinking there had to be a broader explanation, and that the Bush administration must have colluded somehow in the plot.
But his misgivings about Guantánamo—including doubts that the detainees were the “worst of the worst”—were shared by other guards as early as 2002. A few such guards are coming forward for the first time. Specialist Brandon Neely, who was at Guantánamo when the first detainees arrived that year, says his enthusiasm for the mission soured quickly. “There were a couple of us guards who asked ourselves why these guys are being treated so badly and if they’re actually terrorists at all,” he told NEWSWEEK. Neely remembers having long conversations with detainee Ruhal Ahmed, who loved Eminem and James Bond and would often rap or sing to the other prisoners. Another former guard, Christopher Arendt, went on a speaking tour with former detainees in Europe earlier this year to talk critically about the prison.
Holdbrooks says growing up hard in Phoenix—his parents were junkies and he himself was a heavy drinker before joining the military in 2002—helps explain what he calls his “anti-everything views.” He has holes the size of quarters in both earlobes, stretched-out piercings that he plugs with wooden discs. At his Phoenix apartment, bedecked with horror-film memorabilia, he rolls up both sleeves to reveal wrist-to-shoulder tattoos. He describes the ink work as a narrative of his mistakes and addictions. They include religious symbols and Nazi SS bolts, track marks and, in large letters, the words BY DEMONS BE DRIVEN. He says the line, from a heavy-metal song, reminds him to be a better person.
Holdbrooks—TJ to his friends—says he joined the military to avoid winding up like his parents. He was an impulsive young man searching for stability. On his first home leave, he got engaged to a woman he’d known for just eight days and married her three months later. With little prior exposure to religion, Holdbrooks was struck at Gitmo by the devotion detainees showed to their faith. “A lot of Americans have abandoned God, but even in this place, [the detainees] were determined to pray,” he says.
Holdbrooks was also taken by the prisoners’ resourcefulness. He says detainees would pluck individual threads from their jumpsuits or prayer mats and spin them into long stretches of twine, which they would use to pass notes from cell to cell. He noticed that one detainee with a bad skin rash would smear peanut butter on his windowsill until the oil separated from the paste, then would use the oil on his rash.
Errachidi’s detention seemed particularly suspect to Holdbrooks. The Moroccan detainee had worked as a chef in Britain for almost 18 years and spoke fluent English. He told Holdbrooks he had traveled to Pakistan on a business venture in late September 2001 to help pay for his son’s surgery. When he crossed into Afghanistan, he said, he was picked up by the Northern Alliance and sold to American troops for $5,000. At Guantánamo, Errachidi was accused of attending a Qaeda training camp. But a 2007 investigation by the London Times newspaper appears to have corroborated his story; it eventually helped lead to his release.
In prison, Errachidi was an agitator. “Because I spoke English, I was always in the face of the soldiers,” he wrote NEWSWEEK in an e-mail. Errachidi said an American colonel at Guantánamo gave him his nickname, and warned him that generals “get hurt” if they don’t cooperate. He said his defiance cost him 23 days of abuse, including sleep deprivation, exposure to very cold temperatures and being shackled in stress positions. “I always believed the soldiers were doing illegal stuff and I was not ready to keep quiet.” (Navy Cmdr. Jeffrey Gordon, a Pentagon spokesman, said in response: “Detainees have often made claims of abuse that are simply not supported by the facts.”) The Moroccan spent four of his five years at Gitmo in the punishment block, where detainees were denied “comfort items” like paper and prayer beads along with access to the recreation yard and the library.
Errachidi says he does not remember details of the night Holdbrooks converted. Over the years, he says, he discussed a range of religious topics with guards: “I spoke to them about subjects like Father Christmas and Ishac and Ibrahim [Isaac and Abraham] and the sacrifice. About Jesus.” Holdbrooks recalls that when he announced he wanted to embrace Islam, Errachidi warned him that converting would be a serious undertaking and, at Guantánamo, a messy affair. “He wanted to make sure I knew what I was getting myself into.” Holdbrooks later told his two roommates about the conversion, and no one else.
But other guards noticed changes in him. They heard detainees calling him Mustapha, and saw that Holdbrooks was studying Arabic openly. (At his Phoenix apartment, he displays the books he had amassed. They include a leather-bound, six-volume set of Muslim sacred texts and “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Understanding Islam.”) One night his squad leader took him to a yard behind his living quarters, where five guards were waiting to stage a kind of intervention. “They started yelling at me,” he recalls, “asking if I was a traitor, if I was switching sides.” At one point a squad leader pulled back his fist and the two men traded blows, Holdbrooks says.
Holdbrooks spent the rest of his time at Guantánamo mainly keeping to himself, and nobody bothered him further. Another Muslim who served there around the same time had a different experience. Capt. James Yee, a Gitmo chaplain for much of 2003, was arrested in September of that year on suspicion of aiding the enemy and other crimes—charges that were eventually dropped. Yee had become a Muslim years earlier. He says the Muslims on staff at Gitmo—mainly translators—often felt beleaguered. “There was an overall atmosphere by the command to vilify Islam.” (Commander Gordon’s response: “We strongly disagree with the assertions made by Chaplain Yee”).
At Holdbrooks’s next station, in Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., he says things began to unravel. The only place to kill time within miles of the base was a Wal-Mart and two strip clubs—Big Daddy’s and Big Louie’s. “I’ve never been a fan of strip clubs, so I hung out at Wal-Mart,” he says. Within months, Holdbrooks was released from the military—two years before the end of his commitment. The Army gave him an honorable discharge with no explanation, but the events at Gitmo seemed to loom over the decision. The Army said it would not comment on the matter.
Back in Phoenix, Holdbrooks returned to drinking, in part to suppress what he describes as the anger that consumed him. (Neely, the other ex-guard who spoke to NEWSWEEK, said Guantánamo had made him so depressed he spent up to $60 a day on alcohol during a monthlong leave from the detention center in 2002.) Holdbrooks divorced his wife and spiraled further. Eventually his addictions landed him in the hospital. He suffered a series of seizures, as well as a fall that resulted in a bad skull fracture and the insertion of a titanium plate in his head.
Recently, Holdbrooks has been back in touch with Errachidi, who has suffered his own ordeal since leaving the detention center. Errachidi told NEWSWEEK he had trouble adjusting to his freedom, “trying to learn how to walk without shackles and trying to sleep at night with the lights off.” He signed each of the dozen e-mails he sent to NEWSWEEK with the impersonal ID that his captors had given him: Ahmed 590.
Holdbrooks, now 25, says he quit drinking three months ago and began attending regular prayers at the Tempe Islamic Center, a mosque near the University of Phoenix, where he works as an enrollment counselor. The long scar on his head is now mostly hidden under the lace of his Muslim kufi cap. When the imam at Tempe introduced Holdbrooks to the congregation and explained he’d converted at Guantánamo, a few dozen worshipers rushed over to shake his hand. “I would have thought they had the most savage soldiers serving there,” says the imam, Amr Elsamny, an Egyptian. “I never thought it would be someone like TJ.”

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Re: Pastor Tony Smith: Muhammad Loves the Children

We have lost our mind and have become arrogant on every field. May God guide us to truth

Friday, March 20, 2009

Children and Muhammad (SAW) 2/8

Please watch this lecture, and part 1 and 3
Amazing look at the prophets life
I suggest you take two hours and listen fully

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Words of Wisdom from a non Muslim who died

People are often unreasonable and self centered.... Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives... Be kind anyway. If you are honest, people may cheat you... Be honest anyway. The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow... Be good anyway. Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough...Give your best anyway, for in the end, it is between you and God, it never was between you and them anyway..

Mother Theresa

p.s some people might question why do I quote her, well even though she was a non Muslim, she put many Muslims to shame with her work, let's look at the good things people do and try to do better insh Alalh.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Did God Create Evil?

Is God Pure, Good, Loving and Fair?

If so, then where does evil, hatred and injustice
come from?

Allah tells us He is Pure, Loving, and absolutely Just in every respect. He says He is the Best of Judges. He also tells us the life we are in here is a test. He has created everything existing and He created whatever happens as well. There is nothing in this existence except what He has created. He also says in the Quran He created evil (although He is not evil). He is using this as one of the many tests for us.

Consider people who do so much evil in the earth and then live to a ripe old age in the splendor and wealth of their ill-gotten gains and die without ever being taken to task for their deeds. Where is the justice or fairness in this? Allah provides a clear answer for us in Quran as to what is in store for these most evil of people:

A brief enjoyment in this world! - and then unto Us will be their return, then We shall make them taste the severest torment because they used to disbelieve [in Allah, belie His Messengers, deny and challenge His proofs, signs, verses, etc.] [Noble Quran 10:70]

That Day mankind will proceed in scattered groups that they may be shown their deeds.
So whoever does good equal to the weight of an atom, shall see it.
And whoever does evil equal to the weight of an atom, shall see it. [Noble Quran 99:6-8]

Do people think that they will be left alone because they say: "We believe," and will not be tested.
And We indeed tested those who were before them. And Allah will certainly make (it) known (the truth of) those who are true, and will certainly make (it) known (the falsehood of) those who are liars, (although Allah knows all that before putting them to test).
Or those who do evil deeds think that they can outstrip Us (i.e. escape Our Punishment)? Evil is that which they judge!
Whoever hopes for the Meeting with Allah, then Allah's Term is surely coming. And He is the All-Hearer, the All-Knower.
And whosoever strives, he strives only for himself. Verily, Allah is free of all wants from the 'Alamin (mankind, jinns, and all that exists).
Those who believe [in the Oneness of Allah (Monotheism) and in Messenger Muhammad peace be upon him , and do not apostate because of the harm they receive from the polytheists], and do righteous good deeds, surely, We shall remit from them their evil deeds and shall reward them according to the best of that which they used to do.
And We have enjoined on man to be good and dutiful to his parents, but if they strive to make you join with Me (in worship) anything (as a partner) of which you have no knowledge, then obey them not. Unto Me is your return, and I shall tell you what you used to do.
And for those who believe (in the Oneness of Allah and other items of Faith) and do righteous good deeds, surely, We shall make them enter in (the entrance of) the righteous (i.e. in Paradise).
Of mankind are some who say: "We believe in Allah," but if they are made to suffer for the sake of Allah, they consider the trial of mankind as Allah's punishment, and if victory comes from your Lord, (the hypocrites) will say: "Verily! We were with you (helping you)." Is not Allah Best Aware of what is in the breast of the 'Alamin (mankind and jinns)?
Verily, Allah knows those who believe, and verily, He knows the hypocrites [i.e. Allah will test the people with good and hard days to discriminate the good from the wicked (although Allah knows all that before putting them to test)].
[Noble Quran 29:2-11]

Reward and punishment are definitely a part of the Next Life on a very permanent basis. Those who suffer in this life and seemly have nothing to show for all their hard works, good deeds and sacrifices and maintaining the faith can look forward to a far greater reward in a place where these things will not be temporary but rather they will be for eternity. Those who corrupt, violate, injure and do evil and destruction seem to escape any justice here, yet in the Next Life they too will see the fruits of their labors, and certainly they will be paid according to what they have done as well.

As regards oppression, this is something Allah forbids for Himself to do to anyone and He hates it when anyone oppresses someone else. He does have absolute power over everything. He allows sickness, disease, death and even oppression so we can all be tested in what we do.

from www.GodAllah.com

Can we prove that Quran is from God?

Can we Prove Quran is From God?

Muslims have something that offers the clearest proof of all - The Holy Quran. There is no other book like it anywhere on earth. It is absolutely perfect in the Arabic language. It has no mistakes in grammar, meanings or context. The scientific evidences are well known around the entire world, even amongst non-Muslim scholars. Predictions in the Quran have come true; and its teachings are clearly for all people, all places and all times.

Surprisingly enough, the Quran itself provides us with the test of authenticity and offers challenges against itself to prove its veracity. Allah tells us in the Quran:

Haven't the unbelievers considered if this was from other than Allah, they would find within it many contradictions?

Another amazing challenge from Allah's Book:

If you are in doubt about it, bring a book like it.

And Allah challenges us with:

Bring ten chapters like it.

And finally:

Bring one chapter like it.

No one has been able to produce a book like it, nor ten chapters like it, nor even one chapter like it. It was memorized by thousands of people during the lifetime of Muhammad (peace be upon him) and then this memorization was passed down from teacher to student for generation after generation, from mouth to ear and from one nation to another. Today every single Muslim has memorized some part of the Quran in the original Arabic language that it was revealed in over 1,400 years ago, even though most of them are not Arabs. There are over nine million (9,000,000) Muslims living on the earth today who have totally memorized the entire Quran, word for word, and can recite the entire Quran, in Arabic just as Muhammad (peace be upon him) did 14 centuries ago.

from www.GodAllah.com

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