Just to add one point: Be prepered for the unexpected. Once when I rang in they introduced someone else, another caller, into the converstation who was not very well informed abut his opinions on Islam. Keep your cool!
If you had any doubts, or thought the "jury was out" (as I was reading in the motoring section of the Times yesterday!) on Global warming, you'd be hard pushed to deny it if you had come skiing with me last weekend to Switzerland.
January is normally the coldest time of the year. Occasionally poor snowfall might mean the slopes were a little bare, but most of the people who we talked to just couldn't believe what they were seeing. They couldn't remember anything like it! This was more like spring skiing than January skiing! Birds were singing, the sun was so hot (and this was on the top of the mountain) you could ski in a thin fleece. At lunch on one day I was down to my base layer and that was just about right. Even at the top of the mountain where there was still, alhamdulillah, plenty of good skiing, the pistes were showing bare patches. Further down it started to become impassable. In fact it was only just possible to reach the half way station. Some intrepid skiers even managed to make it all the way down, but I was told that you needed to take your skis off and walk sections. I didn't bother trying!
In the gardens of Geneva flowers were out that normally only appear in May.
A sure sign that this is not some passing phase, or normal temperature fluctuation, is that banks are refusing loans to any ski resorts under 4,500ft. One regular to Crans, who, like my brother, has a flat there, said that the low level skiing is finished.
For Crans this is all compounded by the fact that its slopes are South facing, so it gets more sun and snow melts more quickly.
As for Crans the resort, it has a certain charm, but this is rich persons resort, and the shops down the winding high street have Gucci boutiques and £10,000 watches on display. The cheapest ski pants I could find for a certain teenage son who forgot that he had none inspite of asking him to check several times was £100! We hired a pair instead.
There are some fantastic runs that go on for miles, and as long as they are not crowded you can cane it down at blistering speeds. Although finding your way back across the slopes at the end of the day can be a mission as my son found out when a lift operator refused to let him on two minutes after the barrier was up and had to go down to an ajacent town. There is a free bus service though that links up the three resorts spread across the base of the mountians. A lot better than Trois Valleys though! If you miss a lift there and get stuck in the wrong valley its a 45 minute and expensive taxi ride back! As promised I did practiced some X-tremism to feed the RADICAL in me.
Video clips forth coming, inshallah, although don't expect to much.
Otherwise enjoy the pics, and understand why visiting the Alps, even if you don't ski, offers some real "subhanallah" moments!
If skiing tempts you a group of about 25 of us including wives and kids are heading off to Les2Alpes from 17th-24th Feb. Normally you wouldn't have a chance of booking anything by now, but I've heard bookings are down, and the chances of last minute bargains are big. There are stupidly cheep flights to Grenoble (the nearest airport) but I recommend for more flexibility and less environmental impact that you drive. Not as much hassle as you might think, especially with two drivers.
If you decide to take the plunge and join us let me know and we'll have a meet up point somewhere and make a jammah in the middle of slopes! Hey and if its hot enough we can even have a bar-b-q! There are plenty of Muslims in Grenoble and halal meat!
I'm off skiing today, inshallah! My dear brother has got himself a flat in the Alps so I baggsied this weekend. However, my passport expired in July and I still hadn't got round to renewing it until three days ago. Now why on earth would I leave it that long?
Not an endearing quality or a particularly Islamic one. I guess the ideal characteristic of a Muslim in this regard would fall somewhere between not being hasty (haste as we all know is from Shaitaan) and not procrastinating. All I can remember in regards to this is an advice that I remember being related to Umar, (raa) "Don't delay today what you might not be able to do tomorrow."
Now I have to admit, and I'll try not to get too gushing in these days when we as a nation are involved in some fairly atrocious matters as my ultra-radical friends will remind me...but, no, I do have to admit (reluctant radical sighs) its just one of those brilliant things about the UK! Now, I don't know about anywhere else, but how many places can you get your passport renewed in four hours! Not many Muslim counties that's for sure. Oh how easy "living the life" is made here.
Well anyway that's what they guarantee. Fours hours.
It didn't quite happen that way with me. I was of course half expecting it. Moi, "the Radical", having been stopped a couple of times, and most probably am on a watch list, was expecting some delay/interview/refusal.
When I met my brother last night to get the keys for the flat where we are skiing he wondered why they wouldn't give you, a British citizen a passport. Well exactly! And in fact I have done nothing wrong at all, I think! Still, it's really about perceptions. What was commendable years ago could be a crime today and vica verca. Well in the end, I didn't get my passport four hours later, because "there was something about my file! I'm really sorry! I'm sure you'll get it before you travel."
Well I did. The next day actually. Which is still pretty good.
My advice if you need to renew your passport is just prepare your self a little. It only takes a few weeks by post, and is so incredibly easy to renew a passport. I had this image of form after form, documents which I'd have to dig out etc..etc...It was making me ill just thinking about it! But in the end, it was all in my mind. If I'd realised it was that simple I'd have done months ago. Oh, another thing, it'll also save you about £50. A same day renewal costs around £110.
Now, I don't won't to leave this on toooo positive a note, because I have been thinking why do we need passports anyway? Hey, and boarders and countries for that matter! I mean really! I don't remember reading in the travels of ibn Battuta or students in search of ilm anything about passports and boarder controlls!OK maybe a bandit here and there, but subhanallah, imagine being able to travel from one end of the world to the other without any of that! And they complain that we want a Khalifa! Well that of course is another story! Better stop now before I get too radical. My God, I might even suggest that we Muslims need to rule ourselves so that people stop killing us! I mean how radical can you get? What's wrong with letting yourself get slaughtered here and there? I mean whatever next?
They got a de-tox diet, I think I need a de-radical diet.
Ah, what better that a nice week of X-treme skiing? Oh dear, there I go again. Just can't get away from it.
Gosh I think I'll never loose this extremist radical fundamentalist mind set!
Dr. Jimmy Jones will be lecturing here in London over the next week, and having had the pleasure of listening to him yesterday, I recommend that you try and catch some of his lectures. You can find details on the Masjid Al-Ansar web site.
Before the lecture I managed to gleam a small part of his journey to Islam between bites of lunch!
Dr. Jones embraced Islam in 1979. In 1967 he read autobiography of Malcolm X and, as a self confessed bibliophile from young age, he went on to read whatever he could, from where ever he could about the religion of Islam.
Dr Jones was raised a Southern Black Baptist church, a good atmosphere he says, to learn the love Allah. He went to Hampton University which was a black, conservative college.
This was during beginnings of the black civil rights movement. The only people active in dawa at the time were the Nation of Islam, but he knew from Malcolm X’s autobiography about their corrupted beliefs. He attended their meetings and those of other movements like the Black Panthers, but never joined any particular group. As a young black man witnessing racism and social injustice in the United States he remembers that he was not particularly impressed by the ideas of Martin Luther King, who was preaching that people should lie down and let themselves get attacked and shot at by the police. Malcolm’s “by any means necessary” seemed to make much more sense, although in retrospect he realizes something of the wisdom of King’s approach.
Islam attracted him because it seemed to offer a real and practical solution to the problems of racism and social injustice.
It wasn’t until he got married that he began to realize that he needed to take that matter of Islam seriously. It was a joint decision with his wife. They both decided to give the Church one last go. The food was good, the music was good, but the sermon wasn’t. It confirmed for both of them that the idea of the man/God just didn’t make any sense, and so they became Muslims and joined the World Wide Community of Muslims in the West, which was lead by Elijah Mohammed’s son, Warith deen.
A critical time came in his life when his son was shot by a policeman, and it was a great test as to whether he was going to follow his deen or his nafs! He talked about that more in the lecture which was on the topic of Islam and social justice.
He started by quoting the ayah:
Oh you who believe, be maintainers of justice and witnesses for Allah, even though it is against yourselves, your parents, or your kinsmen, whether he is rich or poor, Allah has more rights over both of them. So do not follow desires, so that you are (not) just. If you twist or turn, Allah is Aware of what you do.
Surah Number: 4, Ayah Number: 135
One of the short coming of Muslims today is that they are conspiracy orientated. It’s something he calls:
Post Victimization Ethical Exemption Syndrome
Rather like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, it’s a psychological condition that causes people to behave in an inerrant manner.
This PVEES seems to affect in particular African Americans and Muslims. The syndrome is rather like the golden rule turned on its head. So instead of “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”, its “They did it to us so we can do it to them!”
That, Dr Jones explained, is wrong and against Allah’s teachings for humanity. We should stand out for justice. We are supposed to be justice orientated, not victim/conspiracy orientated.
Two things happened in his life that bought all this into focus.
April 14 1997 Malik (named after Malik el Shabazz, i.e. Malcolm X) his only blood son was shot dead by the police.
Patience, Dr Jones reminded us, is at the beginning of calamity. What good is patience with those who are patient with you? You will always be good to those who are doing good to you. Even those with no Iman can manage that, so surely the manner of the believer is supposed to be superior!
After the murder of his son many people in his community where shouting that this was a crime motivated by race, and were calling for demonstrations and action.
Dr Jones said that the first thing they needed to do was to make janaza, then enquire what happened, but the fact was that he was never able to really establish the actual facts. For two months he put a gagging order on himself and he refused to speak to the press in case he inflamed the situation.
Dr Jones reflected that where ever we Muslims go we should make things better. The move from Mecca to Madina was a transformative experience. It was a lesson in merging. There were two different world views. The agricultural view of the Ansar and mercantile societies of the muhajiroon, but such was the skill of the Prophet and the greatness of Islam that these two different societies were so effectively joined.
So, after the death of his son Dr Jones immersed himself
further in the study and application of the Quran and Sunnah. Until now he has
never publicly condemned this police officer.
Instead Dr Jones and his wife got more involved in the community, opened a prisoners transition house and a centre for Middle East understanding, named after his son in the hope it will help to find a just way to make peace there.
A second important event took place on May 6th 2004.
On that day Brandon Mayfield was taken into custody as a material witness to the 2004 Madrid bombings. Brandon Mayfield is white, a US army veteran and a member of Organ Bar, yet his house was ransacked and family traumatized and it was all based on untenable evidence. ( Brandon also happened to be Muslim.)
All this made Dr Jones made realize just how vulnerable he was. Remember, Dr Jones continued, that all this is in the context of the fact that the average American Muslim is both better of financially than average American, and better educated. So, there are practical reasons also to stand up for justice, and to be in forefront of doing good in local communities, because this will bring the reality of Islam into to light in a practical, visible way.
For example the Jews in Andalusia revived Hebrew because they saw the practical benefits of the efforts Muslims made in preserving the Arabic language. Muslims should always Leaders in Khair (goodness) , and we must reclaim the moral high ground.
In these times when there is talk of world wide Muslim conspiracy for domination, Dr Jones suggests that what we really need is a World wide conspiracy for Khair! It is out duty to enjoin the right and forbid the evil, and Dr Jones implores all Muslims and especially the leaders of communities to exert their energies in doing this.
I received this question the other day and I thought the answer might be of benefit.
I am recent convert to Islam and I'm writing you today
to ask you advice on how I can make my family more open minded to Islam
and see it for what it is and not what they see in the media.
They barely talk to me anymore and now a days even my mom throws
negative remarks my way
It pains me so much that they don't see Islam’s message and beauty.
Well the approach I have taken with them is showing that Islam’s main
fate is to believe that there is only one god and no other above it and
so many other analogies that if I explain them I will never end this
Well that's all for me today I hope that you can provide your great
knowledge on this one
From a sister that seeks help
As salam alaikum,
All Praise is due to Allah, who has guided you to this noble and blessed
religion of Islam.
May His peace and blessing be upon the final messenger Mohammed, his family and followers. Ameem.
First you should take heart from the fact that such trials and test have been
faced by the Prophets and Messengers also. Look at the story of Prophet Ibrahim
that is so much in our hearts and minds over these days of Hajj. When he tried
to teach his father about the truth of Allah's oneness, his father threatened
him with death if he did not stop. Also the Prophet Mohammed's own uncles and
tribe rejected him. In fact one of his strongest enemies was Abu Lahab, who was
So this type of difficulty is to be expected, and inshallah (God willing) you could take this a sign that you are on the straight path.
There are a few things I recommend to new Muslims concerning their families.
The first is to take it easy. When you first become Muslim it is natural to feel full of enthusiasm and to feel that you want everyone to experience the wonderful feelings and knowledge that you are having right now. However, for others this only translates in their minds into a type of fanaticism. One thing that cannot be avoided is that fact that the truth of Islam is always going to be difficult for many people to accept simply because it contradicts much of what they have based their lives on.
Perhaps you should just get on with being a Muslim, and wait until they ask you questions. Act like being a Muslim is the most natural thing in the world (which in fact it is). Of course when they ask questions you can't be accused of shoving Islam down their throat.
When you do
get to talk to them, don't make it too long, and make sure you talk about the
most important issues, like the Oneness of Allah, and truth of the Quran and
Prophethood of Mohammad.
Secondly, try to show Islam through your example, especially kind treatment of parents and good manners.
Thirdly, leave books and videos and DVDs lying around so that can read/watch . Choose subjects that you know they will be curious about.
Fourthly, refuse to compromise on essential matters that Allah has forbidden us from, like worshipping others than Allah, and participating in that, or drinking, serving, carrying etc…alcohol, or not wearing hijab when you need to. People generally do not admire or respect weakness. People will respect you in the end for standing up for what you believe, even if it is hard in the beginning.
Remember that Allah has more right to be feared, and all is in His hands, and life is a test to see how we will behave.
Having said that you should not compromise, you should not also be too strict in front of your family on matters that are not so important. For example you might like to eat with your fingers as the Prophet did, but if your parents expect you to eat with a knife and fork you should do that, because it is not forbidden to do that. These are just some examples.
Finally remember that Shaitaan is doing his best to cause hatred and enmity between us and to take us away from Allah's straight path. So take refuge with Allah, and always ask Him for help in every situation. Indeed He is the best protector and the best helper.
yours in Islam