Friday, 23 January 2015

Chaplain is a Heir of Prophets

Chaplain Habeeb- what do you do?

People ask me what do I do?

What’s a Chaplain and am I working for the beast?

Some of my friends say I’m the Imam for the criminals

They usually say con lover and yeah we embrace and Salam each other!

Others think I’m on the govt underground payroll

Stinking of selling out to the Intel yo

But you don’t know

Yet when I pass through the iron gates

I feel I get the stares

Who is this guy walking through with maddening stares?

But this is what I do six years and hours out of TO

I make my brothers stop seeing bars

And my sisters to ride inside the heart

I learn to navigate dangerous snow storms

While offering Quran and Sunnah on the blocked up dorms

With every lockdown

Or drug overdose I feel a piece of my soul

Gets crushed esp when my people gets judged

Because I ain’t only serving Muslims, Ismailis and Shias and Sunnis

But Rastas, Christians, Jews, Atheists, Hindus, Sikhs, LGBTs, have all walked through

And yes what do I really do?

I peddle hope

I hustle love

I shoot faith in the lives of those innocent and those guilty alike

Because doing time is not about counting your days

Is not about getting parole or getting on the halal or hijab list only

It’s about making your time count

By seeking forgiveness and seeking a skill

By seeing yourself as one ready for dignity and not play victimology

So when people say what I do?

I say a chaplain is a Christian word for Prophets and Messengers

It’s a word used in the World war that would mean heirs of Ambiya, modern day Imams

And the Apostles’, alaihim salam, posts would have had countless likes, reposts and reshares were they alive

Because we serve for God sake when the light go out

Those who deserve second chances in life

Cuz We Breathe His Love!

You breathe His Love!

Habeeb Alli

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Muhammad: Prophet of all Humanity

Dear Editor


I know it’s the new years and millions have just celebrated Christmas, as the birth anniversary of Jesus. However, 1.7 billion Muslims are celebrating the birth of Jesus’ brother from another mother- their Prophet Muhammad, on whom be peace. Despite having lived 1400 years ago in Arabia and followed by almost a quarter of the world so little is known about this man.


Born as an orphan to a struggling mother,  Amina, with ten children and living in the ghettoes of Mecca, Ahmed, his nickname meaning praiseworthy, was particularly inclined to do good and stand up to injustice in his formative years. As a matter of fact he was born 570 years after Christ, in the most barbaric lands of Arabia and ironically in the precincts of the famous Kaba, a sanctuary built centuries before by Abraham and his son Ishmael. Muhammad is an immediate descendant of Ishmael and appears from early childhood that he  disliked the worship of idols and participation in the nomadic rampant vices of wine, wars, gambling, women, stealing, killing and usury.


He soon earned a name in his neighbourhood as the Honest Guy- Al Amin and would later solve the crisis among his tribe’s clamour to control the main turf  at the Kaba, by suggesting a unique strategy. The Kaba, the top destination for religious tourism, was rebuilt by the honest earnings of the Quraish tribe and was about to be inaugurated. However, the clamour was around who would have the honor of placing the Black Stone in its rightful place among Arabia’s feuding tribes. He, Muhammad, on whom be peace, suggested the stone be placed in a special cloth and a executive member from each stakeholder hold unto his end, while placing it into position!

Hurray- end to war!


Soon he was married to Khadija, a corporate giant of Mecca, after serving her faithfully as a business associate. Their marriage bore the sacred fruits of four beautiful daughters and two wonderful boys, who soon passed away. The girls proved to be erstwhile supporters of his cause till the end.


Later on, the vileness of society were beginning to pain his soul so much that he sought refuge in the distant Cave Hira, meditating in this mountainous retreat for days, wishing for a sign to relieve his restlessness. At the prime age of forty, God sent the long standing servant, Arch Angel Gabriel, to reveal the beginning of the Quran to him. Of course, he was shocked and repelled the first divine encounter by saying “I cannot obey your command to read as I don’t read”!


For the next twenty three years the son of Abdullah, on whom be peace, would spend his precious moments memorising the some six thousand six hundred plus verses, reciting them and teaching these divine aphorisms to his followers. Today the Quran is memorised by millions as is and ‘retweeted’ in five times daily prayers around the globe without crashing anything!


Muhammad was a Messenger of God and his favourite post is he is sent as mercy to all humankind. As an example of how he responded to his enemies, there is

Abdullah bin Ubayy, the chief adversary of Islam in Medina. One day Abdullah passed away with his all mischief. The Prophet participated in his funeral, condoled with the family, performed the funeral prayer asking God forgiveness for the dead, even gave his garment to be put on the body as a cause for divine mercy, and left the funeral in sadness.


Among the life struggles of Muhammad, were the facts that he grew up an orphan and lost his mother soon after his birth and then his grandfather who had nurtured him, as well an uncle who cared for him, made him resilient to grief. Later, in a single year he lost his wife and uncle together, besides the battles he faced with the staunch opposing Quraish, made him even more heartbroken. God favoured him that year with an exclusive journey into the heavens, miraculously, called the Miraj. This strengthened his resolve to continue preaching the message of peace with humanity and submission to the Will of the Creator. Muhammad was the epitome of empathy. He lived in the ghettoes of Arabia, fought for the ghetto youths as girls were buried alive and boys were bred to be child soldiers. The Prophet of Humanity, on whom be peace, breathed hope in the ghettoes of the world before he passed on!


Do you know the ruling Quraish had sentenced him and his tribe to three years of banishment in the Abi Talib valley outside Mecca but he survived his isolation like  a triumphant Yusuf, who had sat within the prison walls of Egypt for seven years? Are you aware that when prisoners of war were taken to his mosque he fed them better than he own household and ensured equitable exchange of POWs?


The remaining twenty three years of his adventurous life as The Final Messenger of God was crisscrossed with victories and defeat, happiness and sorrow, wealth and poverty, marriage and lost and mostly making  a difference to every heart that came in contact with him.


Finally he passed away at the age of sixty three in his newly immigrated city of Medina and is buried under the famous green dome of his mosque. He made Medina his home forever!


I believe that Muhammad would care for orphans and fight for the poor as any ancient Mandela or modern saint Francis that we know. Among those deprived of our love and care are the incarcerated. They are condemned by the law and worse yet by society, they stand poorly in the court of public opinion. Notwithstanding the heinous nature of their crime or sometimes their proven innocence, the benedictions and prayers of Muhammad, on whom be peace, stands for the shattered hearts of men and women incarcerated when he had prayed for the Meccans, much like his brethren Prophet Joseph did for his brothers- I forgive you; there is no beef on you- on the occasion of entering Mecca successfully, after being driven out his hometown and persecuted for years.


In the words of Dr Karen Armstrong, author of Prophet Muhammad and his legacy- if he was alive today he would be considered a modern Prophet and a man of the 21st century!


*And we ask God to send peace on all of his Noble prophets and Messengers.


Habeeb Alli