Sunday, May 25, 2008

Shiites in Ashkelon?!

The city of Ashkelon has been in the headlines lately, and not for its pretty beaches. The city of 110,000 has sadly joined Israel's southern front line as rockets fired from the Gaza Strip improve in range and technology.

Last week, a rocket hit a shopping mall in city; the dozens of injured treated at the Barzilai Medical Center.

It turns out the hospital grounds contain a remarkably interesting bit of history: a site holy to certain Shiite Muslims, thousands of whom have come to pray there over the years. Ashkelon itself has 5,000 years of recorded history, but when the hospital was first built in 1961, nothing indicated that the hill out back was anything special.

The consecration of the site dates back to the early days of Islam. The decades that followed the death of the prophet Muhammad in 632 were marked by a bitter and bloody dispute over succession, a conflict that ultimately marked the split between Sunni and Shiite Muslims.

In a nutshell, Ali, Muhammad's cousin and son-in-law, was repeatedly passed over for the position of caliph -- leader of the young Muslim nation. Ali's followers (the word Shiite means "partisans") eventually rebelled, touching off years of conflict.

After Ali was assassinated in 661, his sons Hasan and Hussein carried on his struggle. Hussein and his small rebel army were slaughtered in 680 in what is now the Iraqi holy city of Karbala. His head was delivered as a trophy to Yazid, the victorious caliph, in Damascus, while his body remained in Karbala. Shiites commemorate Hussein's death annually in the intense day of mourning known as Ashura.

Both Karbala and Damascus became sites of Shiite pilgrimages. Sunni rulers, displeased with the phenomenon, decided to relocate Hussein's head to the far edge of the kingdom -- Ashkelon. It remained there for several centuries, when when legendary Muslim leader Saladin sent the head to Egypt for safekeeping from the invading Crusaders.

What was once the far end of an ancient Muslim kingdom is now a grassy mound behind the delivery rooms of an Israeli hospital.

A millennium after Hussein's head was removed from Ashkelon, the site is still revered by an offshoot of Shiites mostly from India and Pakistan. The pilgrims who have come to visit include some from countries with no diplomatic relations with Israel, hospital officials say.

About a decade ago, a Shiite spiritual leader arrived at the hospital with an unusual request: to be allowed to erect a prayer area for the pilgrims.

"How do you know this is the site?" asked Dr. Ron Lobel, deputy director of the medical center.

"I walked out to the mound with him," Lobel said. "He took out a shovel and started digging. To my astonishment, a meter or so deep, he exposed the cornerstone of the ancient mosque that had been built where the head had been buried, and was later destroyed by the Crusaders."

With the hospital’s blessing, the worshipers imported the most valued marble in India, the kind used to build the Taj Mahal. The prayer area, built seven or eight years ago, is open to the pilgrims. They arrive in buses, coordinate with the center's security, park in the lot and walk to the mound to pray.

"They are quiet, peaceful people. They come in silence, sometimes barely uttering a sound," said Lobel, who has become the resident expert on the subject over the years. "An island of Shiite Muslim prayer in an Israeli hospital in a Jewish state," said Lobel of his unusual charge, satisfaction in his voice. "It really is unique."

—Batsheva Sobelman in Jerusalem.

Photo: The marble prayer area on the hospital grounds. Credit: David Avioz/Barzilai Medical Center


Notes: Asqalaan has been a sacred ground for the fatimids since a very long time. During the era of Imam Mustansir (AS), the Commander in Cheif of the Fatemi Empire Molana Badrul Jamali has built a masjid in the area that has been mentioned in the above article. The entire incident of Rasul Husain (AS) being revealed during this era in the presence of the mentioned commander has been inscribed on a pulpit that is now present in the masjid of Baytul laham (Bethlelem) where the shrine of Nabiullah Ibrahim is. The inscription is in Fatemi Kufic and it is said that Syedna Taher Saifuddin (RA) was the first to decipher the entire scripture that is written on the said pulpit during his visit to al-Quds. The text of which is present in one of his Rasail Sharifa. Later Syedna Taher Saifuddin (RA) visited the location in Asqalan and pin pointed the exact location where the masjid was built nearby which was the burial shrine of Rasul Imam al-Husain (AS), that was later shifted to Qahera. The entire incident of its being shifted to Qahera was narrated by the person who brought the wooden box containing the Raas Mubarak from the gates of Qahera into the Fatemi Palace, carried on his head. The said boxes are currently placed on display in one of the Museums of Cairo.

The open to air masjid, shown above, was built by Mumineen upon special permission given to them by the authorities.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Shz Kalimuddin Saheb at our Residence in Ajman

Shz Aliwaqar Aliasger Bs Kalimuddin DM graced our home with qadam mubarak today. Syedi Saheb also enquired about our business and did alamat on our brochure as he guided us further for the planned expansion and increase production in the coming months. Shz Saheb advised us on crucial points while he granted raza for procurement of new machinery and further expansion. May Allah Subhanahu bless Shz Saheb with good health by the Wasila of Aqa Maula (TUS).

al-Syed al-Ajal Shz Aliasger BS kalimuddin Saheb DM

Shz Saheb did nazar at the brochure and our products as well as the Brand granted to us by Aqa Maula (TUS).

Shk Yusuf bhai Noorani
Mulla Juzar Noorani Mulla Aliasger Noorani, Shz Saheb pointing to us not to leave the current factory premises even if we had to move procure another location, to which he said that it should preferably be closer to the current location
Dr. Tahir Noorani Mohammed doing Talaqqi

Jamila Mulla Aliasger Noorani

She was born on Saturday at 2:30 PM at the Khalifa Hospital in Ajman. She is cute and everyone says that she looks like her Uncle. Well at least the first alphabets of our names are same. Her chhatti (Naming Ceremony) is on Laylatal Jumoa and Kaki Maria called her Jamila, the name off course had been given by Aqa Maula (TUS).

Maria (Her Kaki), Aliasger and Fatemi (Her sister)

Aqiqa on Yaumal Jumoa.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

40 Tips for a Better Life

1. Take a 10-30 minute walk every day. And while you walk, smile. It is the ultimate anti-depressant.

2. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day.

3. Buy a DVR and tape your late night shows and get more sleep.

4. When you wake up in the morning complete the following statement, 'My purpose is to __________ today.'

5. Live with the 3 E's -- Energy, Enthusiasm, and Empathy.

6. Play more games and read more books than you did during the past year.

7. Make time to practice meditation, and prayer. They provide us with daily fuel for our busy lives.

8. Spend time with people over the age of 70 and under the age of 6.

9. Dream more while you are awake.

10. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is manufactured in plants.

11. Drink green tea and plenty of water. Eat blueberries, wild Alaskan salmon, broccoli, almonds & walnuts.

12. Try to make at least three people smile each day.

13. Clear clutter from your house, your car, your desk and let new and flowing energy into your life.

14. Don't waste your precious energy on gossip, OR issues of the past, negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.

15. Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.

16. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a college kid with a maxed out charge card.

17. Smile and laugh more. It will keep the NEGATIVE BLUES away.

18. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.

19. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

20. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

21. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

22. Make peace with your past so it won't spoil the present.

23. Don't compare your life to others'. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

24. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.

25. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: 'In five years, will this matter?'

26. Forgive everyone for everything.

27. What other people think of you is none of your business.

28. REMEMBER GOD heals everything.

29. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

30. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.

31. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.

32. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

33. The best is yet to come.

34. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

35. Do the right thing!

36. Call your family often. (Or email them to death!!!)

37. Each night before you go to bed complete the following statements: I am thankful for __________. Today I accomplished _________.

38. Remember that you are too blessed to be stressed.

39. Enjoy the ride. Remember this is not Disney World and you certainly don't want a fast pass. You only have one ride through life so make the most of it and enjoy the ride.

40. Please Forward this to everyone you care about. I just did. May your troubles be less, May your blessings be more, May nothing but happiness come through your door!

Friday, May 09, 2008

Why Learn Tae Kwon Do

For Self-defense: One never knows when he or she may be attacked. Since we normally do not carry side arms, a most effective way to defend ourselves and our loved ones is "empty hand fighting" and Tae Kwon Do reveals the ancient secrets. Knowledge of these secrets can be life savings in times of danger.

For Health: Tae Kwon Do is far more than just defensive methods. It is a superb means of mental and physical development. Tae Kwon Do practitioners are noted for their excellent health gained from the discipline and patience required by the art.

For Self Confidence and Poise: Tae Kwon Do first and foremost requires that all students be polite and respectful and never use their knowledge for frivolous purposes or wanton harm. Yet a true student is able to dispel fear.

What can be achieved through Tae Kwon Do training? The student of Tae Kwon Do develops an unbeatable self-defense through rigid training and professional supervised instruction. In addition Tae Kwon Do builds dynamic tension and makes balanced use of a large number of body muscles. It provides excellent all around exercise and develops coordination and agility. Tae Kwon Do trains students in character, sincerity, effort, etiquette and self-control.

Who may learn Tae Kwon Do? Classes are open to men, women and children as Tae Kwon Do is one of the only true family sports. All can learn and participate together. The degree of progress for any student is based on the individual coordination and attentiveness. Physical fitness is essential for a happy, productive life, and invariably, people who are capable of defending themselves are less troublesome and better citizens.

Taher Tambawala (email: tahertambawala(at)

Sports Martial Arts Teacher (MSB – Kolkata)