The Book of Negroes
Thursday, October 30, 2008
As-salaamu'alaykum wa Rahmatu Llahi wa Barakatuhu

AlhumduliLlah, this Eid I received something special.. a book! Books are special.. aren't they? Although I don't really like to read fictional* books, because I feel I'm wasting time if I can't get anything useful out of it.. this one is different. It's amazing yet depressing. Very depressing.. but I finished it with a heart of gratitude. Allah has made our life so easy, alhumduliLlah.

Title: The Book of Negroes (note: this books also goes under the name "Someone Knows My Name ")
Author: Lawrence Hill
Available: Amazon
Type: History (fictional)

What's it about? A little girl forced into slavery... (that's all I'm saying)

Is it worth reading? Definitely! It's so well written, you wouldn't put it down until it's done. Not everything in this book is fictional. The 'Book of Negroes' unfortunately really does exist, and so does a lot of the other information.

Is the book easy to understand? Yes, yes, very easy to understand.. the history isn't that deep that you'll get lost, but enough to understand what's going on. Whether you care to know a little about slavery or not, do yourself a favour and read it.

Notable pages? Not really, but there isn't a single page you'll get bored reading.
I was however drawn to this sentence: "I wondered for a time how a person who considered himself a good Muslim could treat other humans in such a way, but it occurred to me that the same question could be asked of Christians and Jews." [pg. 434] - maybe because it's something I wonder about as well.

Out of 5: 5 most definitely!

I'd love to hear what others think about it. And if you've read any other books written by Lawrence Hill.

Note: * I have absolutely no problem with fictional work (I still read it).


posted by Sketched Soul at 10:04 AM | Permalink 17 comments
Pick Your Brain
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
As-salamu'alaykum wa Rahmatu Llahi wa Barakatuh

My dear readers, I need to pick your brain, please.

Can you please help me with some fundraising ideas! Yes.. Farhana needs money.. haha. Ideas can be from fundraisers you've attended, or organized or just think it'll be a really cool idea to try. Low budget, high budget.. anything!

I hope my comments are not as short as this post!


posted by Sketched Soul at 9:32 AM | Permalink 18 comments
Poverty - 2008
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
As-salaamu'alaykum wa Rahmatu Llahi wa Barakatuh

Today is ! By all of us posting something pertaining to poverty today, insha'Allah we'll be able to raise awareness, start a global discussion and add momentum to this very important cause. And if that doesn't go as hoped for, at least you made the intention and effort to try and get something good going.

Mural by Mohammed Ali

There are a countless number of verses in the Qur'an and sayings of the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wa-salaam) about taking care and feeding the poor - this should come as no surprise to any Believer. However, what we know and what we do are two different things...

Narrated 'Abdullah bin 'Amr (radiAllahu anhu):
A man asked the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wa-salaam), "What sort of deeds or (what qualities of) Islam are good?" The Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wa-salaam) replied, 'To feed (the poor) and greet those whom you know and those whom you do not know.
... so are we doing what we know?

AlhumduliLlah, I've managed to work with a few organizations in Toronto to know they are unfortunately A LOT of individuals living way below the poverty line. Yes, you get poor in the West; yes, they are Muslim, Jew, Christian - and from every other religion out there; yes, they are very old and very young - and in between; ... and yes, we will one day be asked if we did anything to help.

Do you want to one of those that helped? Donate a dollar.
Would a dollar really make any difference? No.
Would it make a difference collectively? Not really, unless I have 100 readers.
Then why donate? Because it's really about the intention, making the effort.. AND making sure you are consistant in the good that you do (even if it's small). - so don't make this the last dollar you ever give, keep striving to continue this small deed, and THEN your dollar will make a difference, insha'Allah.

All funds and dua's collected will be put together to purchase food for 75 homeless people. I will personally be taking care of putting the packages together, and they will be distributed through a soup kitchen run here. May Allah count them from among the righteous. Ameen.

Last day to donate: Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008.

Note: anyone who is unable to donate through Paypal, but would like to be part of this, please email me ( I have an idea!

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posted by Sketched Soul at 9:33 AM | Permalink 13 comments
3 Riddles
Monday, October 13, 2008
As-salaamu'alaykum wa Rahmatu Llahi wa Barakatuh

Do good, and leave behind you a monument of virtue that the storms of time can never destroy. Write your name in kindness, love, and mercy on the hearts of thousands you come in contact with year by year, and you will never be forgotten. Your name and your good deeds will shine as the stars of heaven.

Once the Prophet of God, Muhammed (salAllahu alayhi wa-salaam) was sitting amidst his Sahaba (companions) in the mosque when all of a sudden he said "Today I shall narrate a story to you all which will reveal three riddles for all of you to solve". This hushed the crowd and they all listened to what the Prophet had to say.

Mohammed (salAllahu alayhi wa-salaam) continued by saying that once a man got to know that the days in his life was numbered and very soon he would be confronted with death. With this knowledge he feared his loneliness in the grave and went searching for true friends who would help and accompany him.

He knocked on the door of his first friend and asked whether he would help. To this the friend said, "of course, what are we here for." But then the man went on to say that he had very few days to live after which he required help. As soon as he uttered this statement, the friend said "I am sorry but when death does us apart, there is nothing we can do for you but buy you a place in the graveyard and some cloth (Kafan) to cover your dead body." Grieved but looking forward to his next friend, the man moved on.

On the second door, when he came face to face with his friend, and after narrating the entire story of his death and asked for help, the same answer was his fate again. The second friend said "I have been there with you all your life and can help you here. But there's nothing I can do for you after you die except take your corpse to the graveyard and bury you."

Lost in agony and despair, he headed for the third friend, very sure that he would receive the same answer but there was a tinge of hope left. When he confronted the third friend, and told him that he required help, the friend eagerly volunteered to help. But the man continued to say that I need help after I die. To which the third friend replied, "Do not worry, my dear friend! I shall accompany you to the grave, be there with you in the grave, even when the angels arrive for questioning (Munkar-o-Nakeer) , then assist you on the Pul-e-Sirat (bridge) and then lead you to heaven. "To this the man heaved a sigh of relief and then passed away in peace."

The Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wa-salaam) then turned and asked his companions if anybody could identify the three friends and the man. When the prevailing silence didn't dissolve, the Prophet continued to say, "The man in the anecdote is any other human being." The first friend is "money/wealth" , things that help us only in life and not after we die.

The second family/friend were the "children/sons and daughters", we strive for them all our life and all they give us is a shoulder to the grave.

And the third and most important friend is "Aamal (deeds)". Who accompany us all the way through.

Moral: Do not strive for materialistic values that will give you nothing and help you in no way in your eternal life. But work and pray and ask forgiveness from Allah for only the good deeds assist mankind where every other thing loses value in the life hereafter!


posted by Sketched Soul at 2:04 PM | Permalink 10 comments
Don't worry, about a thing...
Monday, October 06, 2008
As-salaamu'alaykum wa Rahmatu Llahi wa Barakatuhu

..'cause every little thing is gonna be alright. Rise up this mornin'... okay I'll stop.

Before I introduce this wonderful book.. take note, you do not need to be in a state of sadness to read it.. it's filled with much more, three little birds scattered about.

Personally, I'm still in awe at how Allah used this book to help me. There were times I put it down, only to find that the next time I picked it up to read, it applied to the circumstances in my life, right at that very moment, alhumduliLlah. I made better decisions because of it.. much better, ones I could have regretted. Now I know.. it may not touch others in the same way, but it does have information that we could all use (even if we claim to already know it).

Title: Don't Be Sad
Author: 'Aaidh ibn Abdullah al-Qarni
Available: IIPH
Ebook: PDF file

Have I learned anything from it, or was it all review? A mixture. Well.. I found a lot of things I already know, but whether I had actually reflected upon it and I applied it to my life is a different story. AlhumduliLlah, I don't know if it is the way the book is written, my circumstances, etc. but there was a lot to think about.

Does the author use Qur'anic and authentic hadith texts? Lots, lots!.. as well as quotes from other people, poems, sayings, etc. Everything is clearly stated/sourced. I really liked how the Qur'anic verses were used. It makes you reflect upon them 'differently'. (ie: not with a different meaning - but in context, - more tafseer like.. does that make sense?)

Is the book easy to understand? Easy to understand. The author suggests not to read it all at one sitting, which I agree with. Chapters are short, but packed with valuable lessons. This makes a greatttt gift by the way!

Notable pages? With all the pages that made an impact, this one stood out the most:
"Allah's slaves are always swaying from the first state (losing all hope) to the second (having trust and hope in Allah). During the period of a single hour, one can have his share of both. So he obeys Allah and pleases Him, he remembers Him and thanks Him - and he is only able to do these through His help. Shortly afterwards, though, he disobeys Allah, goes against His commands, earns His anger, and is generally in a state of forgetfulness - all because Allah has left him to himself. Therefore Allah's slave is always oscillating between His divine care and between being forsaken.

Whenever one of Allah's slaves witnesses this phenomenon - that of changing from one state to the other - he should appreciate the dubious nature of his situation and his extreme need of being guided by Allah in every breath he breathes and in every moment he lives. His faith and belief are in Allah's hand. If Allah were to leave him alone for even the blinking of an eye, his faith would plunge to the ground. You should therefore realize that the One who is protecting your faith is the One Who is preventing the sky from falling to the earth." [pg. 233]

Extra: Video clip based on the book: Don't Be Sad

Out of 5: Definitely 5 and above. AlhumduliLlah, I'm so happy I read it.

I know there are a lot of people who have had the opportunity to read this book, I'd really like to hear what you thought. Has it made a difference in your life? Anything that stood out above the rest?

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posted by Sketched Soul at 11:49 AM | Permalink 18 comments
Subhan'Allah - SEVEN!
Thursday, October 02, 2008
As-salaamu'alaykum wa Rahmatu Llahi wa Barakatuh

Just giving you a short update on how things are going with the Islam In Colombia project.

AlhumduliLlah, this Eid 7 people took the shahada! Please keep them in your prayers.. as well as those who aren't Muslim. May Allah guide us and keep us on the straight path. Ameen.

A short clip of a few of the shahadas, Allahu akhbar! These are prior to the ones on Eid.

Brother Dawd has also managed to open a small HALAL restaurant named 'Barakah'. AlhumduliLlah. What a fitting name.. not only does it benefit the growing Muslim community in having halal meals available, but it helps with employment (ie. of those Muslims without a job), generates an income to help with the Masjid, and is a means of dawa'ah. They've already had a few shahada's in the restaurant, from curious people who Allah guided to walk in.

As for the books we have sent.. alhumduliLlah, our list is growing slowly. Insha'Allah in the next few days we will send out a large shipment from IIPH.

Jazakum'Allahu khair to all the brothers and sisters who have helped financially, by sending books, Islamic products, dawa'ah material, and by spreading the word... please continue what you are doing, for Allah's pleasure.


posted by Sketched Soul at 4:18 PM | Permalink 12 comments
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