Saturday, December 17, 2011

on the islamicity index

There's an interesting study in the Global Economy Journal by two scholars from George Washington University. It's called "How islamic are islamic countries?"

There's a whole lot of indicators taken into account, from economic opportunities to political rights to international relations. Basically, which countries are the best in terms of applying islamic values, regardless of whether they're actually muslim.

Here's the list (for the actual study, click

Countries Overall Islamicity Index Rank
{208} (OIC countries are highlighted)
New Zealand 1
Luxembourg 2
Ireland 3
Iceland 4
Finland 5
Denmark 6
Canada 7
U.K. 8
Australia 9
Netherlands 9
Austria 11
Norway 12
Switzerland 13
Belgium 14
Sweden 15
Portugal 16
Germany 17
Bahamas 18
France 18
Czech Rep 20
Estonia 21
Costa Rica 22
Spain 23
Barbados 24
U. S. 25
Slovenia 26
Hong Kong, China 27
Latvia 28
Japan 29
Malta 30
Hungary 31
Slovak Republic 31
Italy 33
Chile 34
Lithuania 35
Cyprus 36
Singapore 37
Malaysia 38
Panama 39
Trinidad and Tobago 40
Poland 41
Mauritius 42
Croatia 43
St. Vincent and the
Gren 44
Namibia 45
Greece 46
Jamaica 47
Kuwait 48
Uruguay 48
South Africa 50
Botswana 51
St. Lucia 52
Ghana 53
Argentina 54
Brazil 55
Mexico 55
Bulgaria 57
El Salvador 58
Philippines 59
Dominica 60
Israel 61
Monaco 62
Lesotho 63
Bahrain 64
Brunei 65
Romania 66
United Arab Emirates 66
Belize 68
Andorra 69
Cayman Islands 70
Seychelles 71
Fiji 72
Uganda   73
Tanzania   74
Antigua and Barbuda   75
Gabon 75
Jordan 77
Thailand 78
Grenada 79
San Marino 79
China 81
Nicaragua 81
Cape Verde 83
Macao, China 83
Tunisia 83
Colombia 86
Dominican Republic 87
Peru 88
India 89
Aruba 90
Russian Federation 91
Honduras 92
Greenland 93
Guyana 94
Netherlands Antilles 95
Mozambique 96
Mongolia 97
Macedonia, FYR 98
Oman 99
Suriname 100
Bosnia and
Herzegovina 101
Ukraine 102
Turkey 103
Maldives 104
Liechtenstein 105
Korea, Rep. 106
Kazakhstan 107
Timor‐Leste 107
Senegal 109
Albania 110
Moldova 110
Qatar 112
Puerto Rico 113
Armenia 114
Kiribati 115
Sri Lanka 116
Georgia 117
St. Kitts and Nevis 117
Morocco 119
Northern Mariana
Islands 119
Papua New Guinea 119
Zambia 119
Bolivia 123
Gambia, The 124
Azerbaijan 125
Ecuador 125
Guatemala 127
Belarus 128
Malawi 129
Mali 130
Saudi Arabia 131
Burkina Faso 132
Vanuatu 133
Vietnam 134
Rwanda 135
Paraguay 136
Kyrgyz Republic 137
Korea, Dem. Rep. 138
Virgin Islands (U.S.) 139
Indonesia 140
Venezuela, RB 141
Madagascar 142
Palau 143
Kenya 144
Guinea 145
Samoa 146
Benin 147
Pakistan 147
Cuba 149
New Caledonia 150
Nepal 151
Bangladesh 152
Egypt, Arab Rep. 153
Cambodia 154
Tonga 155
Burundi 156
Swaziland 156
Lebanon 158
Zimbabwe 159
Algeria 160
Micronesia, Fed. Sts. 161
Cameroon 162
Iran, Islamic Rep. 163
Myanmar 164
Central African
Republic 165
Bermuda 166
Bhutan 167
Sierra Leone 168
Afghanistan 169
Guam 170
Congo, Dem. Rep. 171
Togo 172
Turkmenistan 173
Nigeria 174
Uzbekistan 174
Haiti 176
Tajikistan 176
American Samoa 178
Cote d'Ivoire 179
Ethiopia 180
French Polynesia 181
Congo, Rep. 182
Equatorial Guinea 183
Lao PDR 183
Serbia and
Montenegro 185
Syrian Arab Republic 186
Marshall Islands 187
Faeroe Islands 188
Niger 189
Guinea‐Bissau 190
Solomon Islands 190
Sao Tome and Principe 192
Djibouti 193
Liberia 194
Mauritania 195
Libya 196
Chad 197
Yemen, Rep. 198
Angola 199
Comoros 200
Iraq 201
Channel Islands 202
Sudan 202
Eritrea 204
Isle of Man 205
Somalia 206
West Bank and Gaza 207
Mayotte 208

Of course, this has to be taken with a pinch of salt. But its a good indicator of the pitiful state of 'islamic countries'

And a typical malaysian would say "wow, we're highest at 38!" 


if Malaysia Boleh, then we should be top-ranked in terms of islamic values. 

Friday, December 16, 2011

on real superheroes

Yesterday's role models:

Today's role models:

Who should we take as role models?

Allah has given us at least 25 men in the Qur'an, men who are exemplary in their belief and conduct. These are his prophets and messengers, and they are the ones who we should take because:

1) they believed strongly and deeply in Allah, and
2) they spread that belief no matter what came in their way, and their conduct in this mission is an example to this very day.

They are the real superheroes.

Allah sent us prophets and messengers who found themselves in all sorts of situations.

Some people say, "I can't do D&T, i'm too busy with my business and my wealth."

Well you can't be wealthier than prophet Sulaiman a.s. He was given the greatest kingdom, that no one after him was given. But he used that power to make other kingdoms submit to Allah. And when the queen of Saba' gave him a gift, he said

فَلَمَّا جَاءَ سُلَيْمَانَ قَالَ أَتُمِدُّونَنِ بِمَالٍ فَمَا آتَانِيَ اللَّهُ خَيْرٌ مِمَّا آتَاكُمْ بَلْ أَنْتُمْ بِهَدِيَّتِكُمْ تَفْرَحُونَ

So when (the messengers with the present) came to Sulaimân, he said: "Will you help me in wealth? What Allâh has given me is better than that which He has given you! Nay, you rejoice in your gift!" (27:36)

In modern language, that's like saying "are you trying to bribe me? nay! What Allah gave is better!" (i love the word 'nay', sounds so classical-ish). 

Some people say, "I can't do D&T, i can't even pray, i'm too sick *coughcough*"

You can't be sicker than prophet Ayub. He had a long life, a lot of wealth and a lot of children. Then Allah tested him, and took away his health, his wealth and his children died. But he never comlplained. After 7 years of severe disease, his wife complained. But he said

"Tell me how long did I enjoy good health and riches?"

"Eighty years."

"How long am I suffering like this?"

"Seven years."

"In that case I am ashamed to call on my Lord to remove the hardship, for I have not suffered longer than the years of good health and plenty."

And even when his wife left, he did not complain. He prayed to Allah for mercy.

وَأَيُّوبَ إِذْ نَادَى رَبَّهُ أَنِّي مَسَّنِيَ الضُّرُّ وَأَنْتَ أَرْحَمُ الرَّاحِمِينَ

And (remember) Ayûb, when he cried to his Lord: "Verily, distress has seized me, and You are the Most Merciful of all those who show mercy." (21:83)

If it was us today, we would say "urghh! curse this disease!" but prophet Ayub praised Allah, "O most Merciful of the merciful".

There are countless other examples for all our excuses not to do D&T.

Family problems? Troubled childhood? Prophet Yusuf's brothers threw him down a well, but he forgave them when he grew up and became a ruler.

Too many past sins? Prophet Adam got himself out of heaven, but he sincerely asked Allah for forgiveness.

No one listening to our D&T? Prophet Nuh called to his people for 950 years, and according to narrations less than a 100 people accepted Islam. 

So you see, there are no reasons not to do D&T. Our prophets and messengers have been in all types of trials and tribulations, but they persevered. And in the books of seerah, we have the complete life of prophet Muhammad SAW, down to every last detail, so we know what to do in every part of our life.

So what are we waiting for?

Just DU-IT. (Doa' Usaha Ikhtiar Tawakkal). 

Monday, December 12, 2011

on being good to one another

i learnt a very profound hadith of Rasulullah SAW.

“Do not be envious of one another; do not artificially inflate prices against one another; do not hate one another; do not shun one another; and do not undercut one another in business transactions; 

and be as fellow-brothers and servants of Allah.

A Muslim is the brother of a Muslim. He neither oppresses him nor humiliates him nor looks down upon him. Piety is here – and he pointed to his chest three times. It is evil enough for a Muslim to hold his brother Muslim in contempt. All things of a Muslim are inviolable for another Muslim: his blood, his property and his honour.”

And in the evening,

Saturday, December 3, 2011

on the old man who wouldn't give up

There are no coincidences in life. Yesterday we were talking about falling down and getting up, and in today's khutbah there was the story of the man who refused to fall, who refused to let anything get in the way between him and Allah. Subhanallah.

*dialogues re-created for added effect*

The story goes like this. The khatib went to hajj recently, and in his hajj group there was an old man. He was very old, frail and ailing, suffering from lots of diseases. He must be 80 years old or more.

But there was something special about this old man. He wasn't born muslim. Even those of us who were born muslim take it for granted that we're muslim.

4 years ago, this old man happened to hear the azan, and something struck his heart. After that its all history. He became muslim, and at a ripe old age. Who says its too late for you to change. So this old man made a dream to save the little money he had from his meagre pension, so that he could go to hajj.

After he had saved enough (and it happened this year, so he could meet the khatib, who could tell this story to us, and i could tell the story to you. Allah is the best of planners), he went to hajj. This man had a wheelchair, and he brought it along. But disaster struck! When the plane landed in Jeddah, the wheelchair had not arrived.   

"It's OK uncle, we'll try and search for your wheelchair."

Did the old man say "sure, i don't feel so good either. Biasalah, dah tua (I'm an old man, you see)." ?

No, he did not. Instead, he said something like "If Allah wants me to go without my wheelchair, then i am pleased with what he has determined."

And the old man continued his journey, using a walking stick to move around. 

And before the day of 'Arafah, the old man's health deteriorated. His leg was painful, his back was painful, he had fever, and all sorts of afflictions. 'Arafah is the most important rite of the hajj. If you did not go to 'Arafah on the day of 'Arafah, your hajj was null and void. But the old man was very weak indeed. Unable to move, he just laid down in the hotel. 

And the whole of Makkah was starting to make their way to 'Arafah. He was alone. He wanted to go really badly.

Then the night before 'Arafah, he had a dream. He dreamt that he was on a motorcycle, heading towards 'Arafah. When he woke up, a miracle happened. He no longer felt any pain. No leg pain. No back pain. Nothing.

And coincidentally, another man from his hajj group came back to Makkah to check up on the old man. And guess what?

He brought a motorcycle along to carry the old man to 'Arafah. Subhanallah.

Like we said before, there'll be whispers all the time, asking us to go astray, to follow the easy way out. The old man had everything against him. He was in poor health, he was alone, he had no relatives.

But he made a firm intention to please Allah, and Allah helped him. May Allah grant him paradise. Amin.

Friday, December 2, 2011

on falling down and getting up

One thing that amazes me about the Qur'an is this: no matter how many times you repeat the same verse over and over again, you're bound to learn something new.

Maybe the first time you listened to a commentary on the verse, you were like "yeah, uhuh, if you don't mind i'd like to call my mum" and you don't actually learn anything.

Then the next time something happens and you're all alone and there's no one to turn to but Allah. Now you listen more, and probably think "wow..these verses are really comforting".

Then the next time you maybe feeling down because you preach day and night, write blogs, post nice statuses on facebook, like every single good comment, and still no one listens to what you say. Now the verses have even more impact. "Allah is with me, as long as im with Him."

So recently i listened to a commentary on surah an-Naas, and learnt something. Or you might say i re-learnt it, because as humans we forget.

Its a simple surah, and even preschool kids memorise this surah.

As i was saying. Some of you will know how it feels when we get that spark, that motivation. That feeling of closeness to Allah, that you are willing to do anything for Him, that you want to improve yourself, that you hate being in sin.

And as the ocean tide rises and falls, so does our iman. Maybe we were too busy with our worldly affairs and forgot to remember Allah. Maybe we saw all the good things that life has to offer, and suddenly we're thinking "Why am i choosing this life? I could be carefree, hakuna matata, i don't need to think about D&T..i want to enjoy hanging out, i want to spend however i like, i want this, i want that.."

Well brother, in heaven we can hang out with the coolest people. People who never talk bad about you, never say frivolous stuff, you love them without the slightest envy, and they love you right back.

And in heaven you can have anything you want. And there's a whole eternity to enjoy all that. Not a bad deal at all, if you ask me.

We get up, we fall down. And in surah an-Naas, Allah tells us about the dangerous enemy that tries to steer us away from the true path.

مِنْ شَرِّ الْوَسْوَاسِ الْخَنَّاسِ الَّذِي يُوَسْوِسُ فِي صُدُورِ النَّاسِ مِنَ الْجِنَّةِ وَالنَّاسِ

"From the evil of the whisperer who withdraws (from his whispering in one's heart after one remembers Allâh). Who whispers in the breasts of mankind, Of jinns and men." (An Naas:4-6)

There are a lot of whisperers, asking us to stay away from the straight path. But remember, they are khannaas, they are like the stars that appear at night and disappear by day. They'll be there to ask you to go astray. Once you do the evil deed, they'll say 'arrivederci' and leave you to bear the consequences alone.

But this surah also teaches us a powerful lesson : who do we ask for help in dealing with all these whispers, and who will get us on our feet again.

 قُلْ أَعُوذُ بِرَبِّ النَّاسِ مَلِكِ النَّاسِ إِلَهِ النَّاسِ
Say: "I seek refuge with (Allâh) the Lord of mankind, The King of mankind, The Ilâh (God) of mankind, (An-Naas:1-3)

The whisperers, they come and go. But Allah is always there, he never gets tired and never sleeps. 

Its normal to fall. But do get up soon. It'll be good if we're neighbours in heaven.