Human Rite or Human Right

Adielah enjoys baking in her free time. She has a positive outlook on things and intends pursuing a career that will enable her to help people. She is currently enrolled in the Madina Institute Usul Al Din One Year Intensive Program.

“To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity.” – Nelson Mandela 

Human Rights Day is celebrated on 21 March every year in South Africa to acknowledge the significance of our past and the lessons that were learnt to make a change. This day is celebrated to mark the remembrance of the Sharpesville massacre which coincided with the 21 March 1960. This sacredness marks the occurrence of the protests against the Apartheid regime, where 69 people were killed, of which 29 were children. However, this day also celebrates the advancements made over the years to promote human rights and persistent avocation and continual education.

The important question everyone needs an answer to is, what is a human right? A human right is a right (entitlement) which is believed to belong to every person; in simple terms, each individual is entitled to something, whether it be education, health care or shelter. A right forms the part of the foundation of our necessities in life, which benefit us in the long run. Another question which needs an answer to is whether it is a human rite or a human right. Word play has a significant role on how people take something into context, and this can either be seen in a positive or negative light. A rite is commonly used as a ‘rite of passage’ which refers to a ritual an individual goes through in the next stage of life. Does this coincide with what human right means? 

The Apartheid regime was an even that consisted of a system of institutionalised racial segregation that existed in South Africa from 1948 -1994. Apartheid Laws were put in place from 1950 onwards for various things which included The Population Registration Act in 1950, The Group Areas Act in 1950, Bantu Education Act in 1953 and The Separate Amenities Act in 1953; which are just a few of the many laws that were implemented and affected people’s rights.

In 1960, in the township of Sharpesville, the police opened fire on a group of unarmed people associated with the Pan-African Congress, which was an offshoot of the ANC. This group arrived at the police station carrying no passes which allowed them to be there, opening the opportunity of arrest as an act of resistance. At least 69 people were killed and more than 180 were wounded. The township convinced many anti-apartheid leaders that they could not achieve their goals by peaceful means, causing the PAC and ANC to establish military wings, which was never seen a serious threat. This event in the township of Sharpesville marks Human Rights Day in South Africa. 

These laws caused extreme segregation at the time, that people even put signs up to exclude those of another race. This was a violation of the rights of people from other races, as it made them feel less than, which is a universal problem in society today. 

After nearly 50 years, the protests and government elimination that followed, combined with a national economic recession, drew great international attention to South Africa and shattered all illusions that Apartheid had brought peace and prosperity to the nation. The United Nations General Assembly had denounced Apartheid in 1973.
Eventually a new constitution, which enfranchised all racial groups, took charge in 1994 when elections took place to lead an alliance with an inclusive racial majority, marking the official end of the apartheid system.

However, looking at South Africa as a country that faced Apartheid, there are many places in the world today that are suffering because of how society defines us. Taking the recent New Zealand shooting to thought, shows discrimination of race, stereotypes and fascism. Due to self proclamation into supremacy, individuals feel as if they are doing the world a favour by committing mass murder due to how certain groups are perceived to the world. This violates the rights of individuals as they are put in danger for something they did not do, which gives the person doing the act some sort of satisfaction which does not link to how human rights are acknowledged world wide.

Human Rights Day is not only celebrated in South Africa. It is celebrated internationally as well, this year’s date being 10 December 2019. This day honours the United Nations General Assembly’s adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on 10 December 1948. This declaration that was drafted 71 years ago and is available in over 500 languages, setting out the universal values for people of all nations. 

There are many ways in which people see human rights; from an Islamic perspective, a foundation has been laid for the fundamental rights of humanity which is observed and respected universally. An ayah in the Quran, surah 5 – Al-Maidah verse 8 states:
“O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm for Allah, witnesses in justice, and do not let the hatred of a people prevent you from being just. Be just; that is nearer to righteousness. And fear Allah; indeed, Allah is Acquainted with what you do.” 
When referring to human rights in Islam, the rights humans are granted are that which is granted by God and not a legislation, therefore no human is allowed to amend the rights granted by God. This shows how justly people need to act in order to acknowledge that we all have the same rights, despite our culture, religion and what society has defined us as. 

“To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity.” – Nelson Mandela. 
By referring to this quote used in the beginning, emphasises the importance of people, their rights and humanity that should not go unnoticed. This powerful quote, by the late Nelson Mandela, should allow us to reflect on what happened in our country 25 years ago when we were given the opportunity to vote for the first time, and how each person was involved to make a difference in the post-Apartheid Era, but it should also give us the opportunity to notice what goes on in the world and how we as individuals can make small changes to make huge differences, which will not only benefit ourselves, but benefit humanity for the effort we’ve made. 

Written by:
Aadielah Solomon
Usul al Din 2019

Student blog: A Successful Marriage

Imtithaal Sampson is a 20-year-old student who recently completed Matric at Al-Azhar High School in Athlone. After spending three years in  Hifth, she felt drawn to the spiritual environment of the institute and found herself longing to learn more about Islam. She is currently first year in the B.A. degree at Madina Institute.
Imtithaal shares her thoughts on Shaykh Muhammad Al Ninowy’s “The essential ingredients for a successful marriage” which took place on the 8th February 2019 at Masjidul Quds, Gatesville*
In today’s society we find so many young couples getting divorced. This often is due to the misconception of what marriage truly is and what it entails.
Shaykh Muhammad Al-Ninowy, shared some valuable references from the Holy Quran and Hadith on the essential ingredients to a successful marriage.
What is marriage?
 In Islam, marriage is an act of worship. It is an act of obedience; therefore, marriage is something pleasing to Allah. Marriage is not the end goal. However, it is a means to the end, where the end goal is Allah. You should however, remember that you and your spouse are from the same Nafs. No one spouse is better than the other in origin.
There are various reasons for marriage and companionship. One of the main reasons is to bring tranquility within your home. It is imperative that spouses become a home for one another.
Love and Mercy
Shaykh Ninowy names two simple ingredients to make your marriage a home. He mentions love and mercy. You use love so that you may see the good in the other side. When you look with the eye of love you only see the good. The eye of love looks at every imperfect thing and sees it as perfect. Mercy is important because it eases the gaps during the tough days. One should remember that a home without love is not a home and a home without mercy is not a home.
What should one look for in a partner?
There are four main characteristics that people tend to look at when choosing a spouse. They look at lineage, money, beauty and religiosity/deen.
Shaykh Ninowy mentions that if you like somebody’s character and Deen, you should marry them. Many agree that it is difficult to judge whether a person has Deen before marriage as Deen is not always outward. However, impeccable character is something everyone is familiar with or is able to notice. You can see through a person’s character, whether they are conscious of Allah.
No two people are alike, therefore if the outward of a person may seem rough you can look at the person’s human decency.
These four characteristics are similar to the raw materials used when building. After you have looked at the person’s ‘raw materials’, look at their willingness to change. Everyone has imperfections. Therefore, establish whether the person is willing to improve or remain stagnant.
The decision
Once two people have decided to go ahead and unite in marriage, they should adopt a standard of Quran and Sunnah. They should agree that the Quran and Sunnah be their foundation. They should agree on what to agree on and how to agree. Similarly, they should agree on what to disagree on and how to disagree. Figuring out how to disagree is just as important as agreements themselves. It should never be ‘It is my way or your way’.
When two people are considering a union of marriage, they should be absolutely frank and transparent about their expectations. They should not be rigid but instead, willing to compromise.
Shaykh Ninowy then goes on to mention seventeen points on how to become happy during a marriage. He mentions that men should live with women in decency. Spouses should try and neutralize negativity. They should not treat bad with bad nor evil with evil. It is essential that each spouse establishes a connection with Allah because through that connection, Allah will connect them together. You should realize that severing your connection with Allah, severs and disconnects many things.
The importance of symbolic gifts is also mentioned. Gifts are important as it increases love between spouses and it need not necessarily be an expensive gift.
 Children are quick to fight and quick to love again. It is therefore healthy to live your lives together as children. Children do not hold grudges. If a disagreement arises, you should quickly defuse the situation and go back to being children.
Hazards of Routine
It is crucial that spouses partner up in killing their routine. We often find ourselves becoming bored due to the same old routine. Couples should therefore come together in murdering the routine. They should not deny any good in the other. It is important that they acknowledge each other’s good traits. Only people of virtue recognize virtue in others.
Arguments can often become heated between spouses. It is vital that during solvable problems, things are kept private. If you are used to acting like children with one another and you involve adults (such as parents), you will be playing in a game out of your league.
When you make mistakes, do not be afraid to admit it but instead stand for correction because perfection is impossible for humans. It is important to be open and honest when upset, but never lose respect for your partner and scream at them. If you are always transparent, you are bound to be happy.
It is inevitable that your lives will become busy. However, do not just come together for meal times and sleep. Ensure that you make time for one another. Keep that fire burning.
Many people say that opposites attract. When one of you are positive, the other should be a negative. Both spouses cannot always be stubborn and uncompromising. It is all about give and take. You should remember that words are sharper than the sword. Therefore, it is imperative that you watch what you say, especially in anger. Wounds of the sword may heal but wounds of the heart may never.
 You should have mutual respect in your marriage. Ensure that you never loose respect, even in disagreements. Do not disrespect what the other holds dear. When you love something the other loves, it will increase your love and respect for each other.
Many people find it hard to speak to other’s when angry. You should however, remember to never neglect each other, not even with silent treatment. Patience is truly a virtue. Remember that married life is what you put in to it. If you put in good, it will give you good. If you put in love, you will get love. If you put in hate, you will get hate.
Do not always wait for your spouse to initiate something, whether it be plans for date night or even a conversation. You initiate too as it is your life as well. Remember to never count the good you do for each other. You are one unit.
Marriage can be a fruitful experience. Yes, all things in life has the good and challenging times but, you can make your marriage what you want it to be. Just remember that in life; what you put in is what you get out.
Make love not war
*Imtithaal is a student, and has included her observations and opinions. 

Midnight Meditation – a Ramadaan youth program

On the 18th July 2014 Madina Institute SA hosted a youth evening at Darul Karaar Masjid, Wynberg. The 18th of July, also known as Mandela Day, coincided with the 21st night of Ramdaan – a night that may have been Laylatul Qadr, the night of the Shahaadah of Amir ul Mu’mineen, Ali Ibn Talib (May Allah ta’ala be pleased with him)

The program was organized and presented by volunteers and students of Madina Institute – young individuals, striving to be closer to their Creator. The program director, Aboobaker Kalla (Ameer of the Madina Institute SA Usul Ud Din Class of 2014), together with Sidi Liyaqat Mugjenker (Project Manager of the volunteer team), ensured that the evening ran smoothly, keeping everyone interested and wanting more Alhamdulilah. After the introductions and opening Qira, Ustadh Isa Husayn (who is from Sweden, and part of the Usul Ud Din 2014 class) led a short beautiful Dhikr, calling on Allah ta’ala, Al-Lateef. Ustadh Isa explained that “when we call on Allah subhaanahu wa ta’ala by the name Lateef, it is The Subtle One, The Gentle One, the Kind One, so we asking Allah subhaanahu wa ta’ala to grant us His Lutf, in our hearts, to soften our hearts, and especially now, we asking Allah subhaanahu wa ta’ala to be gentle with us, in whatever hardships may befall us, that He is always gentle with us”

Sidi Ahmad Deeb (who is from the USA, and part of the Usul Ud Din 2014 class) gave a beautiful Nasiha. His casual manner in which he explained, “We live in a time where religion itself is not seen in the right form…religion is not the very cool thing to be in…that’s just a fact…you don’t have to, you know, beat around the bush” opened up the hearts and minds of many young people, capturing everyone’s undivided attention.

Ahmad asked the question “why did Allah give us Ramadaan?” and then explained that “Because it is our nature to fluctuate, to sometimes become lazy, maybe even to stagnate. So out of His Mercy, He gave us Ramadaan, the month in which we should exert the most amount of effort. Every muslim, whether religious or not, gets a little more serious in Ramadaan…Allah knows we will slip up, and if we do, He gave us these 10 nights…to gain His Mercy, His Forgiveness, to find yourself” He urged everyone to make the most of the last 10 nights of Ramadaan, saying “Finish strong…the things that happen in the middle, the slip ups, become no longer relevant…if you finish strong, you forget…but if you slip up, and you dragging your feet at the end of the race, you feel like it’s a waste.” He also reminded everyone that good company is very important. It makes you try harder to be a better person and to do more ibadah and serves as a motivation and encouragement when you feel you are slacking.

Another thing many youth struggle with is feeling connected to Allah ta’ala. Ahmad ended his Nasiha tackling this very simply, explaining that we always say one should have ‘khushu’ which we often translate as being able to concentrate or focus in prayer. “ How do we develop ‘khushu’?”, he asked, and then explained, “What it really means is Awe of Allah….they say dance like no one’s watching….one quick tip for prayer….pray like no one’s watching….pray as if no one’s there – and then it’s just you and your thoughts. And then you have two options – you either deal with your thoughts, or you just let them keep flowing…. Deal with your thoughts, what is keeping you from focussing? Reflect on what it means to say ‘Allahu Akbar’….what does it mean to say ‘Allah hears the one who praises Him’ ”

With Ahmad’s words still fresh in everyone’s minds, Hafith Abdullah Francis lead the Qiyaamul Layl, his beautiful voice leaving everyone feeling calm, content and connected to Allah ta’ala Alhamdullilah. Hafith Abdullah Francis is from Mitchell’s Plain Cape Town, and also part of the Usul Ud Din Class of 2014.

The Qiyaamul Layl was followed by meditation facilitation by Sarwar Nassiry (who is from the USA, and part of the Usul Ud Din 2014 class). Last year Sarwar spent some time in Tarim, Yemen and has a blog ‘Experience Meaning’ where he promotes meditation of Qura’nic Ayahs. Sarwar explained that in many other faiths, meditation is used to clear one’s mind, and empty one’s head. As a muslim, mediation can be used to control one’s thoughts. He compared it to an untrained horse, which runs wild – explaining that it’s important to be able to rein in our thoughts, and prevent them from running, so that we may develop consciousness of our Lord at all times.

Sarwar explained, based on what he was taught by Shaykh Muhammad Mendes (Director of Madina Institute USA), that we should try and “knock from the inside”. He compared this to being inside a car on a very cold night, where you cannot clear the windscreen by simply wiping the outside – you have to put the defrost or demist on – which works silently, with no one really being aware that is working, improving visibility dramatically. He advised that we need to shake up our ‘inside’ and awaken our spirit. The meditation was simple – close your eyes, realise nothing exists without Allah ta’ala, accept that everything we experience is the manifestation of His attributes, and say Bismillahi Rahmani Raheem, not with your tongue, but with your heart. It was a simple instruction with a magnificent effect MashAllah. 

The program ended soul stirring qasa’id by Sidi Safdar Ali Ajmoodien and the’ Voices of Madina’ after which everyone enjoyed pizza and drinks Alhamdulillah. The program was a bit longer than the traditional “67 minutes of doing good on Nelson Mandela’s birthday” but Alhamdulillah, the feedback was that the timing was perfect!  Everyone left the masjid smiling, feeling spiritually uplifted, the promise of “finish strong” firmly in the hearts of many – ready to tackle the last days of Ramadaan!