BRIEFS

Today is 23rd day of Ramadan, and I hope to visit Carrollton Masjid for Iftar.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, I will be in Washington DC

This blog will become a website in a few days as www.RamadanNews.com

Thank you
Mike
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Friday, July 4, 2014

July 4th Celebrations, Muslims and Ramadan. American Muslim Agenda, a new beginning for Muslim Americans

Let this 4th day of July 2014 be a historic beginning for Muslim Americans.
http://images.huffingtonpost.com/2014-07-02-July4th.AmericaTogetherFoundation.com3.jpgMany of you may not know this, but upon Declaration of our Independence on July 4, 1776, two of the first three heads of states who recognized the sovereignty of the United States were Muslim.

Despite a few, who have painted Muslims in a negative light for their own gains; Muslims have always been well wishers of America and will continue to do that. The Journey began with the birth of our nation, and I am pleased to make a recommendation to my fellow Muslims to take this relationship further deeper.
What will I do on July 4th? 2nd of 3 articles on American Muslim Agenda
( to be published at  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-ghouse/ )

Continued:

Let this 4th day of July 2014 be a historic beginning for Muslim Americans
It is time for Muslims to set their agenda, and develop short and long term plans. We have to debate, discuss and work on developing a final agenda that is good for the Muslims and good for fellow Americans. Here is a 3 part series of initiating such agenda. 
In the first part of the series at Huffington Post, we shared;
1. What does it take to be the Amins “trust keepers” of our society?
2. Why should we stand up for the rights of others? 
3. No American should live in apprehension or fear of the other.
It is at - http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-ghouse/american-muslim-agenda-a-_b_5528706.html 
Now, we will address the need for engagement with the society, July 4th, and the others celebrations and commemorations.
July 4th and Muslims
Many of you may not know this, but upon Declaration of our Independence on July 4, 1776, two of the first three heads of states who recognized the sovereignty of the United States were Muslim. 
Morocco was the first state and signed the Moroccan-American Treaty of Friendship; first of its kind. Friesland, one of the seven United Provinces of the Dutch Republic was the next, and Tippu Sultan, the King of Mysore State (India) was the third. According to Dr. Range Gowda, Tippu Sultan’s historiographer, the congratulatory letter to America is preserved in a French Library.
Despite a few, who have painted Muslims in a negative light for their own gains; Muslims have always been well wishers of America and will continue to do that. The Journey began with the birth of our nation, and I am pleased to make a recommendation to my fellow Muslims to take this relationship further deeper.
Muslim Americans reaching out to every American.
Let’s take a conservative number of 3, 150,000 Muslims in America, even though a 6-7 millions figure is thrown without any substantiation. This number is roughly 1% of the American Population – one out of 100 Americans is a Muslim.
If each Muslim sends 100 invitations to fellow Americans to join him or her for a grilled Hot Dog, Hamburger or Barbeque at the backyard, public park or a Mosque parking lot with appropriate permissions, about five to seven neighbors may show up, and it may not cost more than $25.00 to serve them. If this is done consistently, in about 10 years, most of Americans would know each other as fellow celebrators of the festivity together. This is not the responsibility of Muslims alone; all of us have to learn about each other to be good neighbors.
Do you know what Quran says about it? In 49:13 God says, he has created mankind into many tribes, communities, nations and people, and he fully understands that conflicts are bound to happen with such diversity, and then he says, the best ones among you are the ones who get to know each other. Indeed, knowledge leads to understanding, and understanding to acceptance and appreciation of the other and when that happens, conflicts fade and solutions emerge. This is how we create safe societies for our children.
Caution: No matter how tempting it is to flaunt your religiosity, religion is your personal belief. Please do not discuss religion and politics with your guests. it will ruin the relationship – get to know your neighbors as folks with common interests. No matter how smart you are, the moment you suggest your religion is superior in any form shape or innuendos; you will be causing conflict off the bat, and that is not friendship. You don’t tell your friend that your wife is more beautiful than his or your husband is more handsome than her husband.
Be a caring neighbor and be there for them in their celebrations, birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, funerals and other commemorations, after all they are your neighbors. 
This is the month of Ramadan, and celebration of July 4th should be a joy while fasting, indeed your personal faith becomes stronger when you let your will power gain control over temptations, fasting is not about being hungry, it is about the sacrifice you make for the sake of God and the common Good. More about it at www.RamadanExclusive.com
This Ramadan, you do not have the time to send the invitations, but have the time knock on ten doors on your street and invite people to hot dogs at your place. Do the invitations next year.
Happy July 4th – if you are driving, carry a lot of water bottles and stop and share some with the stranded ones on the road. What Muslims need most is a lot of Goodwill.
What does engagement mean to Muslims?
It simply means you are invited to your neighbor’s birthday party, Mayor’s inauguration, a political rally of the party you belong to, an interfaith prayer, neighborhood watch meeting, a town hall meeting, celebration of Independence Day, veterans’ day parade, Christmas party, Passover gathering, Diwali, Chinese New year, (Iftar parties) and other community based activities.
If you are not invited, it is not because you are a Hindu, Muslim, Chinese, African American, Arab, Latino, or the other, but precisely because no one knows about you. You have never been a part of any group, other than your own.
Over the years, I have watched with admiration the efforts made by the City and community service organizations to reach out and include all minorities, but sadly, a handful of us respond to it, it’s not only Muslims, the story is same with all minorities.
A few will make an effort and serve on a committee, but drop out quickly because they did not see the fruit on the very same day they planted the seed. Everything takes time, nurturing and development of relationships. The sense of belonging it generates is priceless. You feel confident of your being and your place in the society.
Each one of us rises from the basic level of taking care of the needs of our families to self-fulfillment. We want to give it back to the community and we want to volunteer. Indeed we can contribute towards the overall betterment of the community we live in by engaging with the people.
The power of engagement.
On the individual level, I have been able to diffuse many possible conflicts simply by engaging with people. One such example happened in 2007, there was a rumor that Muslims in France have pushed the Government to ban Holocaust Studies, this rumor was designed to humiliate Muslims. Thanks to Maria Arita at Fox News, she called me up to find out my take. What did I do? I asked her to give me three hours and called my friend late Elliot Dlin, director of Dallas Holocaust Museum, he verified that to be untrue and thanks to Maria, the rumor stopped right there.
On a national level, engaging with Sean Hannity at Fox News has produced significant results for the common good of America, and Muslims. If someone knows you, and you have earned his or her respect over a period of time, going through the full cycle of humiliation, acceptance and appreciation, then he accommodates you.
Thanks to Sean Hannity, he has clarified his position time and again with me that he is not against Muslims or Islam, but against the radical elements. That he will consciously use the term ‘Radicals among Muslim’ instead of ‘Radical Muslims’ was a significant rational improvement and I am glad to be an instrument in that development. I was advised against engaging with Hannity and have been screamed at and ridiculed as well, it would have been easy for me to run from the double edged sword, but I chose to stick with it, as I believe in engagement has its own miracles of mitigating conflicts and nurturing goodwill. Mahatma Gandhi had suggested if you want to see good beneficial changes in the society, be a part of it. More about Hannity at: http://theghousediary.blogspot.com/2014/06/youre-dangerous-sparks-fly-between.html
On the flip side of the engagement, Huffington Post stands out as a great example of active engagement. No other newspaper had bothered to deal with the minorities, as the coverage was not profitable for them. Huffpost paved the way; they believed that engagement with different Americans was necessary in moving the nation forward. What is good for America eventually became good for them. Today, I am glad to be a part of Huffington Post’s guest writers, and I am glad it is a profitable business.
Engagement works both ways.
http://images.huffingtonpost.com/2014-07-02-AmericanMuslimAgendaCopy.jpgThere are innumerable situations where getting engaged with the “other” causes the “other” to join and become “together’, and together as Americans we can achieve a lot, one among them is freedom from tensions about each other.

In the next installment, we will be talking about Engagement, Pluralism, Volunteerism and participation. 
--
Mike Ghouse is a Muslim speaker, thinker and a writer, and presides over the World Muslim congress, a think tank, and a forum with the express goals of nurturing pluralistic values embedded in Islam to build cohesive societies.

American Muslim Agenda, a new beginning for Muslim Americans on this 4th day of July - 1 of 3


Let this 4th day of July 2014 be a historic beginning for American Muslims, where they will put together a clear agenda to participate and contribute towards the well being of America.

God created an integrated and interconnected world in harmony and balance, and all he wants from us is to maintain that balance. That is simply the God’s will.
The World Muslim Congress, a twelve year old think tank, has worked on presenting an “initial agenda” for Muslims in America based on Quran and Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) guidance. We hope this will spur debates, followed by discussions and emergence of a Muslim agenda within the framework of American Agenda.
Due to the length of the plan, it is presented in 3 installments.

Ramadan’s pluralism message for Muslims - Saudi Gazette

Ramadan’s pluralism message for Muslims
http://www.saudigazette.com.sa/index.cfm?method=home.regcon&contentid=20140702210187


Tariq A. Al-Maeena 



Mike Ghouse is from the World Muslim Congress, a think tank committed to nurturing the pluralistic values of Islam. This group is about Muslims and their civic responsibilities; it is not about religious practices but simply about learning and creating a religious, social and civic space for Muslims in the community of faiths.

For this Ramadan, Mike would like to get the following message out: “By the end of 2020, there will not be a major city in America, and perhaps in the world, where you will not find people of different faiths, cultures, ethnicities, races, nationalities and social backgrounds working, eating, praying, playing, marrying, and doing things together. This is bound to create conflicts, and thus we need to prepare ourselves to deal with such eventualities.

“The guidance can be found in every religious tradition; all of them were committed to creating cohesive societies where no one had to live in apprehension or fear of the other.

“I am pleased to reiterate the Islamic tradition in this essay. The Holy Qur’an 49:13 says that God has created us into different tribes, communities and nations. It was indeed His choice to create each one of us to be unique with our own thumbprint, eye print, DNA, color and taste buds. Yet, the whole creation was put together in perfect balance and harmony (55:7).

“That brings us to pluralism which is defined as, ‘respecting the otherness of the others and accepting the (God-given) uniqueness of each one of us.’ ‘You are who you are, and I am who I am.’ Q109:6 (Yousef Ali). ‘To you be your way, and to me mine.’  Your faith is dear to you as mine is to me, together, we have to live and work on maintaining that harmony for our good and for the Creator’s joy. God’s religion is peace.

“Such diversity is bound to create conflict and mess up the delicate balance, so the Holy Qur’an encourages that the best among you are the ones who know each other. Indeed, knowledge leads to understanding and understanding to acceptance and appreciation of the God-given uniqueness of each one of us, and with that conflicts fade and solutions emerge.

“Pluralism is your choice to have good manners, and a good attitude toward fellow beings as guided by the Holy Qur’an, the Prophet (peace be upon him) and common sense. My focus of this essay is application of God’s recommendation ‘to know each other’ within the fold of Islam and with members of the diverse family of faiths.

“A majority of us are saddened with the day-to-day events in the Muslim world, calling each other infidels and killing each other in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Pakistan and elsewhere. The Holy Qur’an says killing one person is like killing the whole of humanity. You are not to kill a single soul unless it is in self-defense. We talk about unity, and spew so much hate for the other in the same breath; it needs to stop as God wants peace.

“I am appealing to those Muslims who have the integrity to match their words with their actions, and pray for the integrity of others who lack it.

“During this Ramadan, please make an effort to do your Iftar (breaking fast) in every mosque of varying denominations, or at least seek God’s guidance to remove hate and bias from our hearts for each other. Invite each other, not to discuss differences but to know each other to learn to respect the otherness of others, and accept each other, so that conflicts fade and solutions emerge.

“Take some fruits and dates and just go there and let the imam or the volunteers know that you are from a different tradition and are making a sincere effort to be part of the larger community in every which way you can.

“Over the last four years, I have been to almost every mosque of every denomination in the United States. I have chronicled the uniqueness of each tradition with full respect at RamadanDaily.com.

“When you visit your friend’s house, you don’t criticize how they have arranged their furniture; in fact you may reluctantly praise it, but never put it down. You don’t dare criticize how their kids keep their rooms, eat or talk. For God’s sake go to other mosques with the same attitude, the attitude of pluralism.

“This year, we have four Fridays in Ramadan; make an effort to attend at least four major denominations on each Friday.

“Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was called Amin, the trustworthy, truthful and just and the person around whom people felt secure. We need to follow similar principles within our society. We need to have comfortable working relationships with everyone from all faiths including fellow Muslims of different denominations.

“The life of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is a bold example of living civility, with openness and confidence. The greater value he taught was to respect the otherness of others. Let’s follow him and build friendships with people of faiths and no faiths and become Amins of society.

“Together as Muslims, let’s make the world a safe and secure place for every one of God’s seven billion to live cohesively. Let’s not blame others, but do our share of good in our own mosques, neighborhoods, communities and towns on a smaller level. This is our home. M. Ghouse”

Just think what the world would be like if we did just a little bit of that?

— The author can be reached at talmaeena@aol.com. Follow him on Twitter@talmaeena

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Ramadan’s Pluralism Message | Intrafaith and Interfaith goals

By the end of 2020, there will not be a major city in America, and perhaps in the world, where you will not find people of different faiths, cultures, ethnicities, races, nationalities and social backgrounds working, eating, praying, playing, marrying, and doing things together.  This is bound to create conflicts, and thus we need to prepare ourselves to deal with such eventualities.

The guidance can be found in every religious tradition; all of them were committed to creating cohesive societies where no one had to live in apprehension or fear of the other.  

I am pleased to reiterate the Islamic tradition in this essay.  

Quran 49:13 says that God has created us into different tribes, communities and nations. It was indeed his choice to create each one of us to be unique with our own thumbprint, eye print, DNA, color and taste buds. Yet, the whole creation was put together in perfect balance and harmony (55:7); Planets and plants were programmed to operate with precision (Q55:5) year after year, and humans were given a free will with the responsibility to maintain that balance for their own good or perish like the earlier species through climate changes or conflicts.
 

That brings us to Pluralism which is defined as, “respecting the otherness of the others and accepting the (God-given) uniqueness of each one of us.”  You are who you are, and I am who I am. Q
109:6 (Y. Ali), “To you be your Way, and to me mine.”  Your faith is dear to you as mine is to me,  together, we have to live and work on maintaining that harmony for our good and for the creator’s joy. God’s religion is peace.

God knew such diversity is bound to create conflict and mess up the delicate balance, so he encourages us in the same verse 49:13, that the best among you are the ones who know each other. Indeed, knowledge leads to understanding and understanding to acceptance and appreciation of the God given uniqueness of each one of us, and with that conflicts fade and solutions emerge.

Pluralism is not a regulatory system like Secularism, or theocratic governance, but  your choice to have good manners, and  a good attitude towards fellow being as guided by Quran, the Prophet and common sense.

My focus of this essay is application of God’s recommendation “to know each other” within the fold of Islam and with members of diverse family of faiths.

Within the fold of Islam

A majority of us are saddened with the day to day events in the Muslim world, calling each other infidels and killing the other in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Pakistan and elsewhere.  Quran says killing one person is like killing the whole humanity.  You are not to kill a single soul unless it is in self defense. We talk about unity, and spew so much hate for the other in the same breath; it needs to go as God wants peace.

I am appealing to those Muslims who have the integrity to match their words with their actions, and pray for the integrity of others who lack it.

During this Ramadan, please make an effort to do your Iftaar (breaking fast) in every mosque, particularly in the Shia, Sunni, Ahmadiyya and WD Muhammad or at least seek God’s guidance to remove hate and bias from our hearts for each other.  Invite each other, not to discuss differences but to know each other to learn to respect the otherness of others, and accept each other, so that conflicts fade and solutions emerge.

 Take some fruits and dates if you have a few dollars or just go there and let the Imam or the volunteers know that you are from a different tradition and making a sincere effort to be part of the larger community in every which way you can. 

Over the last four years, I have been to every mosque of every denomination in the United States, except the Nation of Islam, and the Progressive Muslims. Insha Allah, I intend to make the trip to Washington DC or New York.  I have chronicled the uniqueness of each tradition with full respect at RamadanDaily.com.

When you visit your friend’s house, you don’t criticize how they have arranged their furniture; in fact you may reluctantly praise it, but never put it down.  You don’t dare criticize how their kids keep their rooms, eat, wear or talk.  For God’s sake go to other Mosques with the same attitude, the attitude of pluralism. 

This year, we have 4 Fridays in Ramadan; make an effort to attend at least four major denominations on each Friday.
Dealing with fellow members of diverse family of faiths;
 
Prophet Muhammad was called Amin, the trustworthy, truthful, just and around whom people felt secure. We need to be Amins of the society.  We need to have comfortable working relationships with everyone from Atheists to Baha’i, Buddhist, Christians, Hindus, Jains, Jewish, Native Americans, Pagans, Sikh, Wiccan, Zoroastrians and every one in between including fellow Muslims of different denominations. We should not be dumbfounded when it comes to the right knowledge about others, preferably as they express it and not what is dished out to us about them. We ought to take pride in knowing all of God’s creation expressed in different faiths and traditions.    

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) life is a bold example to live civility, openness and with confidence.  He had offered a space in his Mosque for the visiting Christians of Najran to pray after the interfaith dialogue.  Had they prayed, they would have called on Jesus as son of God and Prophet would not have objected it. The greater value he taught was to respect the otherness of others. Remember he also had his signature revised in Hudaybiyyah treaty – From Muhammad (pbuh) Rasool Allah to Muhammad (pbuh) bin Abdullah.  It was to respect the otherness of others.  Let’s follow him and build friendships with people of faiths or no faiths, and become Amins of the Society.

Together as Muslims, let’s make the world a safe and secure place for every one of God’s 7 billion to live cohesively.  Let’s not blame others, but do our share of good in our own Masjids, neighborhoods, communities and towns on a smaller level.  This is our home.

Please study:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-ghouse/american-muslim-agenda-a-_b_5528706.html 

Additional Reading:

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Ramadan Message

I have visited every mosque of every denomination of Islam for Iftaar during Ramadan including Ahmadiyya, Bohra, Ismaili, Shia, Sunni, WD Muhammad and within Sunni many branches.  Thanks to the blessing of Allah, I have prayed in all the three Mosques that are dear to us; Kaaba, Masjid Al-Nabwi and Masjid Al-Aqsa. I have chronicled the practices of each place, both the rituals of fasting and prayers.  Each Mosque has its own culture and practices.  None of them are dramatically different but are significantly different to notice.

You will find plenty of pictures of different Mosques I have visited as well.

We have to respect each tradition and not look down or up or have the arrogance to believe that mine is the right way. Indeed arrogance is inversely proportional to piety and God consciousness where as Humility take you closer to God. 

 If we can learn to respect the otherness of others and respect the God given uniqueness of each one of us, then conflicts fade and solutions emerge. Then we would truly understand the vastness and diversity of Islam. It would help us look to the other with respect, and that is what Islam expects us to do.

God says, I have created all of you from the same couple, and have made you into many communities, tribes and nations.  Each one is unique and bound to have conflicts. Then he says, the best ones among you are those who take the time to understand each other, and when you understand each other, conflicts fade and solutions emerge.  Thus creating a society where no one has to live in fear of the other.  That is Islam!
God gave us  freedom, but the need to feel secure makes us violate the common good tenet and resort to “my” good causing an imbalance in the society and fear between people. However, God assures us, that because he loves us (more below), he sends us someone among us to guide us back on the righteous path, and that guidance is called Religion.

Today is the first day of Ramadan, the 9th month in the Muslim Hijri (Migration) Calendar, which began with the Muslim exodus from Mecca to the city of Madinah.

Ramadan is one of the 12 months of lunar calendar with 354.37 days in a year, as opposed to the Solar Calendar with 364+days.  However, every 33 years, the the Solar and Lunar Calendar coincide on the same day.

Like the Jewish and Hindu Festivals, Muslim festivals are based on lunar calendar, and usually begin 11 days earlier each successive year, as the lunar year has 354.37 days, roughly 11 days less than the Solar Calendar. It will take six more years for Ramadan to occur in Spring time, right now the fasting will be long for more than 14 hours a day without any intake in the body.

Ramadan should not be understood by Muslims alone, it is an observance that all can relate with. I  have put together different thoughts about Ramadan from an universal perspective, so our Hindu, Jewish, Christian, Zoroastrian, Bahai, Buddhist, Native Americans, Jain, Sikh and other  members of the family of faiths can relate with. Even those friends who do not believe in God, can at least get an idea about Ramadan, so, together we can create societies where we know each other,  and with that fewer conflicts and greater goodwill to sustain for all of us.

What does God want from us?

Like a mother who wants her children to live well, like a teacher who wants his students to do well, and like a chef who wants his patrons to enjoy his food…. God wants every one of his creation to live in harmony and do well.  

No one is deprived of God’s love; he has reached every human through a peace maker, messenger, prophet, reformer or simply a wise man or a good friend that brings sense to living. The creator offers a variety of guidance to the mankind, no matter where you live, the guidance is there, the guidance that leads to live in peace, and without fear of the other.
Religion is a beautiful instrument that God guides us through, and there are many of them, at least 250 traditions including a dozen major ones. Each tradition does well for the believer in bringing peace to oneself.

Today, the one tradition I am talking about is Islam, and one of its beautiful aspects that helps build cohesive societies is the month of Ramadan.

Ramadan Cohesion
May this Ramadan bring blessings to humanity, Amen! It is time for us to begin addressing the unity within the Muslim community and with the communities of the world for building cohesive societies, where no human has to live in apprehension or fear of the other. Let's start cleaning our hearts from prejudice and judgment against our own and everyone else. If the self appointed guardians of Islam cannot unite us to do good for humanity, let them not divide us either. Let there be no politics in religion. Let us fulfill a major task God assigns to humanity, the best among you is the one who knows each other and cares for the other. 
For the last 4 years, I have been chronicling Ramadan Daily - iftar a Masjid, visiting every denomination of Muslims without prejudice.

More about it at http://ramadanexclusive.blogspot.com/2011/07/ramadan-cohesion-2011.html


Ramadan Mubarak

Welcome to Ramadan, it begins today, July 9th, 2013. It is the month of fasting, a month of learning about others, connecting with others, developing empathy with fellow beings and above all reaching new heights in piety and spirituality,  Taqwa as it is called. It is to become closer to God and emulate his qualities of unselfishness, forgiveness and love. It is a month of practicing service to fellow beings and developing self discipline to learn to live they way we want, and being conscious of every moment of the day for 30 days.  
The Politics of Ramadan at Washington Post

Politics plays a crucial role in our Temples, Synagogues or Churches, Mosques are no different. A few scientifically-inclined-Muslims have adopted NASA’s calculations believed to be precise. However, four different traditions are operating concurrently; i) Strictly Calendar, ii) NASA and iii) Sighting with bare eyes and iv) sighting by others in the community.

Muslims around the world will begin fasting from Tuesday, July 9th, and for a whole month thereafter, however, for some of them it will begin (only) if the moon is sighted. The story is same with the Jewish and other traditions that follow lunar calendar. Rosh Hashanah like Ramadan comes 11 or 12 days earlier each successive year. Continued at - http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/guestvoices/2010/08/the_essence_of_ramadan_is_to_become_humble.html
The Spirit of Ramadan at Huffington Post

The spiritual masters have captured the human gravity towards rituals and have molded it with the art and science of self-discipline in their respective religions. The noble purpose of each one of them was to bring a balance in our lives and a balance with our environment.
Every faith is composed of a set of unique rituals to bring discipline and peace to human life. Fasting is one of the five key rituals that Muslims around the world observe. Rituals signify the milestones of our daily life. Every significant moment of the day is a ritual. It is an unwritten way of measuring our progression, a memory pattern to bring discipline to our actions. Continued http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-ghouse/spirit-of-ramadan_b_939961.html
The Traditions of Ramadan at Ramadan Exclusive

its celebration time when Muslims around the world anxiously wait for the first moon of the ninth Lunar month to appear on the sky. The families gather in their backyards, or get on the nearest hillock or climb on the top of their homes and wait for the pencil thin moon to appear on the horizon, and when it does, jubilation begins. Continued at: http://ramadanexclusive.blogspot.com/2010/09/traditions-of-ramadan.html


Welcome to Ramadan at Ramadan Exclusive

Insha’Allah, the first day of Ramadan will begin on Tuesday, July 09, 2013 and Eid al-Fitr on Sunday, August 19, 2012 per the announcement from ISNA. Continued at: http://ramadanexclusive.blogspot.com/2012/06/welcome-to-ramadan-2012.html
Quraan says, had God willed, he would have made every one of us alike - then he says, he chose to make us into different tribes and nations from the same couple (or the same source). Then he goes on to challenge us to know each other - he knows that our conflicts stem from not knowing each other, and living with misinformation about others,  when we know each other,  conflicts fade and solutions will emerge.

Every religion means peace and Justice and that is acceptable to God. He says, you need not worry who you are, as long as you take care of your neighbor, I will recompense you. Each one of us is responsible for our Karma.

He concludes ( Quraan 49:13) that the best among us is the one who knows each other, learns about each other and respects each other. If we take the time, to learn, every religion is out there to bring goodness to humanity.

Be good to yourselves and every one around you. Happy Ramadan.

Mike Ghouse is committed to nurturing the pluralistic values of Islam and welcomes everyone to explore Www.worldMuslimCongress.org and several related sites listed at www.MikeGhouse.net and www.TheGhousediary.com

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Thank God, I am alive today - its' a new Ramadan experience for me

THANK GOD, I AM ALIVE TODAY - ITS NEW LEASE ON MY LIFE 

On Tuesday morning, the Farmers Branch paramedics team responded to my 911 call, and within 30 minutes they had me on the ER table, and the good doctors unclogged the artery and placed a stent to keep the blood flowing. Doctor Siddiqi said another 30 minutes would have been too late, and I would have gone!

It was the severe chest pain coupled with sweating that got me alarmed. I didn't want to call any one that early, but texted my friend Adil,  he was driving out of town and thanks to him for suggesting to call 911, and after debating within, I reluctantly made the call,  it was the right thing to do. If you or your loved ones were in a similar situation, please don't hesitate to call 911. 

Father Daughter
God willing, I will be active in a few days, meanwhile I ask you to strengthen your existing relationships with your loved ones. Don't know who is going to go when. Let’s be good to fellow beings and live a regret free life, at least from here forwards. I request you to forgive my shortcomings and excesses.

Thank you for your friendship.


Thanks to Yasmeen for her persistent push for me to lose weight, indeed, I owe her a big thank you for getting me down from 215# to 190#, at one time I had gone down to 179#, today I'm 189. She has set a goal of 175# for me, and I will listen to her dutifully now, and enjoy the dieted delicious foods she will be fixing for me.

One of the best things that has happened to me is the time I am getting to spend with my grown up daughter, son, daughter in law and my 15 day old grand baby Jayden. Mina, my daughter is with me for the last four days, and will be with me for another week. I did not realize she is so caring, loving and responsible to keep me on tract from medicine to food to driving me around. I am looking forward to two weeks of heaven with my kids; this is one of the biggest joys of my life. Then I will be heading to Yasmeen and spend another week or two with her before I get back to normal working, speaking and writing. 

Thanks to Dr. Amer Shakil for treating me some five years ago, and then Dr. Asifa Ijaz. I wish I had listened to them, and continued with the medication they had prescribed. If you are like me, don't act like me, please listen to your doctor.  

On Tuesday morning on July 9, cold sweat flipped me upside down.  I got up earlier than I had planned on getting up for my first suhoor (early meal to commence fasting) of Ramadan due to massive chest pain, it was early in the morning and did not want to call anyone, and I thought it would go away from aspirin... It did not. So, I reluctantly called 911.

While waiting for the ambulance, an old scene returned to my mind, way back in mid sixties, I had fallen from a tree and had recited a few verses from Qur’an (Ayatul Kursi, Fatiha, and Ikhlas) thrice in less than thirty seconds while I was unconscious (my friends told me that).  Even though I consider myself a rationalist, I still cannot figure out how I was able to recite all that in such a short period of time. Once again, on Tuesday morning, I repeated that recitation while waiting for the paramedics. 

At 11:13 PM on Monday night, I "started" the 1st day of Ramadan note and posted at www.ramadandaily.com, this would have been the 4th year of writing about Ramadan, everything you wanted to know about Ramadan.  Thank God, I have been able to visit every mosque of every denomination during Ramadan with a determined purpose of learning and sharing the uniqueness of each tradition with the other without prejudice. The more we know about the other, the lesser biased we would be, and subsequently free ourselves from the evil of prejudice. 

I urge every religious person of every faith, particularly the ones who are biased towards others, or the ones hung up with others to make an effort to enjoy true freedom and liberation from hate and ill will by learning about the other, until you find good positive information. 

My first Iftaar (breaking of fast) was going to be with Dr. Imam Yusuf Zia Kavakci at the Richardson Mosque. Dr Kavakci is a man I greatly respect and have consistently mentioned and written about him for the great qualities of a Muslim he is blessed with. The last time we met was about two weeks ago at Zahra Khan's funeral (my friend Adil's 19 year old angel, who is considered Shaheed, God's favorite person as she died with cancer) a week ago, Dr. Kavakci gave me a special hug, a very affectionate one like my father, and said a lot of nice things in public prior to the prayer, it meant a lot to me.  

This is my first RAMADAN in four years; I won't be able to do anything. However,  if you have an interest in learning about the spirituality, traditions and politics of Ramadan, please visit www.RamadanDaily.com. Even though I won't be fasting and visiting mosques this season, I'll still continue to write about different aspects of Ramadan. 

Thru the grace of God, I am alive today with a renewed mission to follow the teachings of my mentors; Prophet Muhammad, Jesus, Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. 

I am committed to do the following to the best of my ability;

1. To be the Amin - the truthful, trustworthy and an instrument of safeness to fellow Americans. 

2. To be a conflict mitigater and a goodwill nurturer 

3. To be “just" in every aspect of life 

4. To live with an open heart and an open mind towards fellow beings, 

5. To Stand up for others.

6. To work on fixing the ill practices of individuals within my religion; Islam

7. To work on fixing the ill practices of individuals within my Party; GOP

May Allah guide me to remain on the path and I appreciate your support in moving forward. Thank God, I have no religious, political or national walls between me and another individual, and it's good to be free.

The Spiritual freedom is indeed the greatest achievement in one’s life and it sticks to you. Those of us, who can free ourselves from ill-will, malice, hate, tension, pain, anxiety, apprehension, hostility, stress, strain and conflicts, are showered with blessings of peace and joy.  It is good to be free. 

Blessed are the peacemakers.

Mike Ghouse

Mike
(214) 325-1916
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Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralismpolitics, peace, IslamIsraelIndiainterfaith, and cohesion at work and social settings. He is committed to building a Cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day at www.TheGhousediary.com. Mike has a strong presence on national and local TV, Radio and Print Media. He is a frequent guest on Sean Hannity show and the O'Reilly Factor on Fox TV, and a commentator on national radio networks, he contributes weekly to the Texas Faith Column at Dallas Morning News, fortnightly at Huffington post, and several other periodicals across the world. His personal site www.MikeGhouse.net indexes everything you want to know about him. 

Friday, July 12, 2013