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Saturday, February 26, 2011

the guard who convert to islam

Saturday, February 26, 2011

By Dan Ephron - NEWSWEEK
From the magazine issue dated Mar 30, 2009 (islamcan.com)

Army specialist Terry Holdbrooks had been a guard at Guantanamo for about six months the night he had his life-altering conversation with detainee 590, a Moroccan also known as "the General." This was early 2004, about halfway through Holdbrooks's stint at Guantanamo with the 463rd Military Police Company. Until then, he'd spent most of his day shifts just doing his duty. He'd escort prisoners to interrogations or walk up and down the cellblock making sure they weren't passing notes. But the midnight shifts were slow. "The only thing you really had to do was mop the center floor," he says. So Holdbrooks began spending part of the night sitting cross-legged on the ground, talking to detainees through the metal mesh of their cell doors.


He developed a strong relationship with the General, whose real name is Ahmed Errachidi. Their late-night conversations led Holdbrooks to be more skeptical about the prison, he says, and made him think harder about his own life. Soon, Holdbrooks was ordering books on Arabic and Islam. During an evening talk with Errachidi in early 2004, the conversation turned to the shahada, the one-line statement of faith that marks the single requirement for converting to Islam ("There is no God but God and Muhammad is his prophet"). Holdbrooks pushed a pen and an index card through the mesh, and asked Errachidi to write out the shahada in English and transliterated Arabic. He then uttered the words aloud and, there on the floor of Guantanamo's Camp Delta, became a Muslim.

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Thursday, February 3, 2011

University of Birmingham Postgraduate Scholarships for International Students

Thursday, February 3, 2011

University of Birmingham offers a number of international postgraduate scholarships. For over a century the University of Birmingham has been recognised as one of the world’s leading universities for the quality of our teaching and research. We attract students of the highest calibre from around the world and have been welcoming international students to the University for over 100 years.



Applicants must have an excellent academic background obtaining a good 2:1 equivalent bachelors degree as a minimum.

Applicants must also demonstrate excellence in an area of their life. This might be outstanding academic achievement, exceptional achievement in extra curricular activities (such as sport, music, managing events or societies) or significant achievement gained either in their working life or through volunteering and service to others.

Applicants must also outline the contribution they will make to the University of Birmingham as a student and what they expect to gain from studying here.



In order to apply candidates must:

  • be overseas for fee purposes
  • have applied for a one year full time masters course and have been issued with a student id number
  • must not be in receipt of a full fee scholarship from any other source
  • Any application received without an id number will not be considered
  • Have made adequate financial provision to study in the UK.

Please be aware that you must have made an application to study at the University of Birmingham before submitting a scholarship application.

For information on living cost for the UK please visit the International student Advisory Service website http://www.undergraduate.bham.ac.uk/finance/livingcosts.shtml

For details on how to apply, please visit the official scholarship website:

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University of Adelaide Scholarships International (ASI) for Students from Any Country


University of Adelaide Scholarships International (ASI) for Students from Any Country

Up to 10 scholarships may be available for outstanding international students from any country, to undertake postgraduate research at the University of Adelaide in 2011.


The University of Adelaide offers a scholarships scheme for international students undertaking postgraduate research study. Its purpose is to attract high quality overseas postgraduate students to areas of research strength in the University of Adelaide to support its research effort. The selection for scholarships is extremely competitive.

Up to 10 prestigious scholarships may be available in the mid year round of scholarships for 2011 to outstanding international students from any country undertaking postgraduate research in any academic discipline.


  • ASI Scholarship will be awarded strictly on academic merit. Extra-curricular
    achievements will not be considered.
  • Citizens and Permanent Residents of Australia, and citizens of New Zealand
    are ineligible.
  • Those undertaking research via remote candidature are ineligible.
  • International applicants are not eligible for an ASI if they have already commenced the degree for which they are seeking an award, unless they can establish that they were unable to apply for an ASI in the last round of the previous calendar year.
  • International applicants who have not provided evidence of their meeting English language proficiency requirements by the closing date are not eligible for an ASI.
  • International applicants must not hold a research qualification regarded by the University of Adelaide to be equivalent to an Australian Research Doctorate degree or, if undertaking a Research Masters degree, not hold a research qualification regarded by the University of Adelaide to be equivalent to or higher than an Australian Research Masters degree.
  • Candidates are required to enrol in the University of Adelaide as ‘international students’ and must maintain ‘international student’ status for the duration of their enrolment in the University.
  • Scholarships holders must commence study at The University of Adelaide in
    Semester 2, 2011. No ASI may be commenced after 30 November.
  • Scholarship winners will not be permitted to defer commencement until 2012.
  • Applicants who applied in previous international scholarship rounds are not eligible to apply again.

Further Adelaide Scholarships International (ASI) information and application:



Adelaide Graduate Centre
Level 6
115 Grenfell Street
SA 5005

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Korean Government Scholarships for International Master and Doctoral Students


Korean Government Scholarships for International Master and Doctoral Students


The Korean Government Scholarship Program is designed to provide higher education in Korea for international students in order to promote international exchange in education and mutual friendship between the participating countries.


Scholarship value/inclusions:

  • Airfare: A round-trip economy class ticket
  • Monthly Allowance: 900,000 won(KRW) per month
  • Research Allowance: 210,000 won for students in human and social sciences; 240,000 won for students in natural and mechanic sciences per semester
  • Relocation (Settlement) Allowance: 200,000 won upon arrival
  • Language Training Fee : The full costs up to 1 year
  • Tuition: All admission fees are waived by the host institution. The full tuition is paid by NIIED.
  • Dissertation Printing Costs: 500,000 ~ 800,000 won for the costs related to a printing dissertation
  • Medical Insurance: 15,000 won per month(limited insurance coverage) will be provided to the university for students.
  • Special fund for students proficient in Korean language (TOPIK level 5 or 6): 100,000 won per month(Commencing from the main program)


  • Both applicant and his/her parents must be citizens of the foreign country.
  • Applicants cannot have Korean citizenship.
  • Applicants should be in good health, both mentally and physically, to stay in Korea for a long period of time.
  • Should be under 40 years of age as of 1 September 2011.
  • Hold a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree as of 1 September 2011.
  • Applicants who are enrolling or have already enrolled in the same academic program in Korea as the one they are applying for will not be admitted.
  • For Master’s program (or Integrated Master’s & Doctoral program): students who hold a Bachelor’s degree or a diploma that is equivalent to or higher than Bachelor’s degree
  • For Doctoral program: students who hold a Master’s degree or a diploma that is equivalent to or higher than Master’s degree.
  • Applicants who are expecting the adequate diploma should present their diploma by September 1, 2010 before entry.
  • Should have a grade point average (G.P.A.) at least 2.64 on a 4.0 scale, 2.80 on a 4. 3 scale, 2.91 on a 4.5 scale or grades/marks/score of 80% or higher from the previous attended institution.
  • If the grade is difficult to convert to percentage, official explanatory documents from the attended university are required.

Further Korean Government Scholarships information and application:
Scholarship Website http://www.niied.go.kr
and visit the Korean Embassy (Consulate) website in your country.

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Thursday, January 20, 2011

A Muslim’s Character: Perfection of Moral

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Chapter 1
Pillars Of Islam And Moral Values.  Purpose of  Prophethood -- Perfection of Morals

The holy Prophet has stated the foremost purpose of his being sent down in this world and the method of his call to the people in these words:


"I have been sent only for the purpose of perfecting good morals."



That great message which has left an indelible impression on the history of life, and for propagating which and for bringing people under whose influence Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) worked ceaselessly. Its purpose was nothing else but to strengthen the moral character of the people so that the world of beauty and perfection may be illuminated before their eyes and they may try to achieve it consciously and with knowledge.


Worshiping has been made compulsory in Islam, and it has been included in the basic pillars of faith. But the Islamic forms of worship are not some sort of mystic exercises that link men with some unknown, mysterious being, and which subject men to perform useless acts and meaningless movements. All the Islamic compulsory forms of worship are designed as exercises and training to enable people to acquire correct morals and habits and to live righteously, and to adhere to these virtues till the end, whatever be the changes in their circumstances.


Prayer prevents commitment of Evil Salat (prayer) is a compulsory form of worship, which is like an exercise towards which man is attracted with interest and willingness. He offers it continually, so that his life may be free from all diseases and the body may be healthy and strong.


The holy Qur'an and the Sunnah of the Prophet-both are the open proofs of these realities.


When Allah commanded the compulsory prayers to be established, He stated its wisdom in this way:

"Prayer prohibits obscenity and evil."


To keep away from evil, wickedness and to purify from bad deeds are also realities of the prayer. In a Hadith-e-Qudsi it is stated:


"I accept the prayers of the person who adopts the policy of humility with it on account of My greatness, obliges My creatures, does not insist on sinning against Me, spends his day in remembering Me, and is kind to the poor, travelers, weak and the suffering people.


Zakat is a means of purification Zakat has been made compulsory on the eligible 'scheduled' ( sahibe Nisab ) persons. It is not merely a tax that is collected from the pockets of the people, but its foremost purpose is to sow the seeds of kindness. sympathy and benevolence, and to provide a chance of introduction among the various sections of the society and to establish the relationship of love and friendliness.


The purpose of paying Zakat has been stated in the Qur'an in the following words:

"O Prophet ! Take charity from their property so that if may clean them and purify them."

--(Tauba: 103)


To clean the self of the worldly impurities and to raise the standard of the society to the heights of decency and purity are the wisdom behind the levy of Zakat.

For this reason the Prophet has taken it in a very wide sense, and to pay Zakat has been made compulsory for every eligible Muslim. The Prophet has said:

"To smile in the company of your brother is charity. To command to do good deeds and to prevent others from doing evil is charity. To guide a person in a place where he can go astray is charity. To remove troublesome things like thorns and bones from the road is charity. To pour water from your jug into the jug of your brother is charity. To guide a person with defective vision is charity for you.''



The environment of desert and the Bedouin life--an environment which had its basis on internal bickerings and fights--in such an environment the teachings of Islam were presented to the world and they show what aims and purpose these teachings had, and it shows where these teachings led the Arabs in that dark and dismal environment.


Fasting is a stepping stone to Righteousness Similarly Islam has made fasting compulsory. But it is not envisaged that men should keep away from their carnal desires and other prohibited things for a fixed period only. The Prophet has said:

"Pasting is not the name of merely keeping away from eating and drinking, but it is keeping away from wicked and obscene things. If in the state of fasting, someone abuses you or picks up a quarrel with you, say: "I am fasting."

Qur'an states the purpose of the imposition of fasting in these words:

"Fasting has been made compulsory for you, as it was made compulsory for those (followers of earlier prophets) who preceded you, so that you may become righteous."

(Baqarah: 183)


Hajj is a compulsory pilgrimage to weaken the love for the world Sometimes man thinks that to travel to the holy places and to perform pilgrimage, which has been made compulsory for every rich Muslim, and which is included in the basic pillars of Islam, is merely a form of worship that has no relation with the world of morality and character. This is a clear misunderstanding. Giving commands about this compulsory worship, Allah states:

"The months of Hajj are well-known. In these months whoever intends to perform Hajj should not indulge in sexual act, wicked act, and Fighting during the Hajj. Whatever righteous act you will perform will be known to Allah. Take with you provision for the journey (for Hajj), and the best provision is righteousness. So fear me, 0 men of understanding !"

-(Baqarah: 197)


This is merely the main outline of the forms of worship which are well known and generally practiced in Islam and they are its basic pillars. They show us what a deep relationship is there between religion and morality and how strong and lasting is this relationship. How varying are these forms of worship in their spirit and appearance from one another, but in those aim and purpose how close they are, which the holy Prophet declared his main objective.


Therefore, saint (prayer), sawm (fasting), zakat, Hajj and other forms of worship like these are the stepping stones for real perfection, and are the means of cleanliness and purity that make life secure and magnificent. On account of high attributes and noble qualities that are the inalienable parts and the consequences of these forms of worship, they have been given a very high and important place in Allah's religion.


If these forms of worship do not purify the hearts of men, if they do not nourish best qualities in those who observe them, and if they do not improve and make firm the relationship between Allah and His slaves, then there is nothing left for men but destruction and devastation.


Allah says:

"Surely, he who appears before his Lord as a criminal, there is hell for him, in which he will neither die nor will he live. And he who will appear before Him as a faithful, who has performed good deeds--for all such people there are high positions, ever green paradise, beneath which canals will be flowing; they will live in them for ever. who adopts purity."

This is the reward for him (Taha: 74-76)


Chapter 2
Weakness Of Morals--Proof Of Lack Of Faith
Faith is imperfect without morality Faith is such a power that it keeps men away from low attributes and mean acts, and encourages him to achieve high attributes and clean morals. That is why whenever Allah called his slaves towards virtue or whenever He wanted them to hate evil, He declared it as an essential requirement of the Faith in their hearts. For example when He, in Surah Tauba, commands men to adopt righteousness and to speak truth, He addresses them as ''0 you who have faith" (or "O you who believe"): "0 you, who have faith ! Fear Allah and be with the truthful people."

(Tauba: 119)


Allah's Messenger has nicely explained it that when faith is firm and belief is strong, then strong and lasting moral will be developed, and if the moral character is low then faith will accordingly be weak.


A man, who is immodest and ill-mannered and who adopts bad habits without caring for others, is like the person about whom the holy Prophet has said:

"Modesty and faith are twins. One who gives up one has to lose the other too."

Once the Prophet passed by an Ansari who was scolding his brother about his immodesty. The Prophet advised him to let him go as modesty was a branch of faith.

A man who harasses his neighbor and makes him suffer any kind of damage is called cruel and stone hearted by the religion. In this connection the decision of the Prophet is:

"By God, he cannot be a Momin ;by God, he cannot be a Momin; by God, he cannot be a Momin. He was asked: 'who"? He answered: 'He from whose misdeeds his neighbor is not safe."



The holy Prophet advises his companions to keep away from the talk that is trash, the acts that are wicked, and the deeds that are senseless. He says:

"A person who believes in Allah and the Hereafter should speak about good things or else should keep quiet."



In this way through the truth of faith and by means of its perfection noble qualities are nurtured and developed and they are guarded and kept secure till they bear fruits.


Rows disrupted, hearts sad, prayers tasteless However, you will also find such people, who will be calling themselves Muslims, yet they will be lazy in offering compulsory prayers, and will be posing in the public as if they are very keen on establishing these prayers. But they will not lag behind at the same time in acting in such a way that will be contrary to the demands of the noble character and perfect faith. Such people have been warned by the holy Prophet and the Ummah has been asked to be careful of them.


A man who commits the mistake of performing the various forms of worship without understanding their significance can only be a man who had not understood the spirit of the worshiper has been unable to rise to that standard.


Many times even a child can copy the movements of salat and is able to repeat what is recited during the prayer. Sometimes an actor also offers prayer with all humility and concentration, and performs all the necessary rites.


But these kinds of movements do not benefit belief or meet the purpose. There is only one way of offering prayers in the best manner or performing other forms of worship that will never bring out wrong results, and that is: high moral character. Any person who has this attribute in him, his prayer is useful. But one who is deprived of this attribute, his worshiping is useless.


It is narrated by Imam Ahmed: "One person asked the Prophet: 'O Messenger of Allah ! a certain woman is very famous for her prayers, fasting and many charities, but she talks rudely with her neighbors. Tell me, what will be her fate ?' He replied that she would go to Hell. Then that person asked: "O Messenger of Allah! Another woman does not do much by way of prayers and fasting ; gives pieces of cheese in charity and does not harm her neighbors. He replied: 'She is of the Paradise.' "


This reply gives an idea of the high value attached to good character. It also shows that charity is a collective prayer whose benefit reaches the society. For this reason there is no room for any reduction in them. As salat and fasting are apparently individual forms of worship, a little relaxation--to a very little extent--is allowed in not making very elaborate arrangements about them.


The holy Prophet did not merely answer a casual question that explains the relationship between morality and the religion, shows its connection with the correct forms of worship, and forms the basis of reform and improvement in the world and salvation in the next world.


The problem of morality was much more important. It was necessary that he should have continually provided guidance to his followers. He should have persisted in giving good advice to them so that its importance takes root in the mind and heart and it becomes quite clear that faith, goodness and morality are all dependent on each other. They are connected with each other and none can separate them.


Who is poor ? One day the Prophet asked his dear companions whether they knew who was poor. They answered that poor was one who had no dirham or dinar (money)' He said:

"In my Ummah, the poor is that man who would appear on the Day of the Judgment before Allah; he had offered prayer; he had paid Zakat ;he had observed fast; but he would have abused somebody, he would have falsely accused some one; he would have unauthorizedly taken some one else's property; he would have murdered some one; would have hit some body. All his virtues would be given to his victims. If his Virtues are finished before his wicked deeds are finished, then the errors and sins of the victims would be given to him and he would be thrown into the Hell.''


Such a man is really poor. His condition is like that trader who has goods worth one thousand rupees but he is a debtor for two thousand rupees. How can such a man be called rich ?


A religious man who offers certain prayers or performs certain forms of worship, but even after that performs certain evil deeds, behaves rudely with the people, treats poor and helpless people cruelly, how then such a man will be called righteous ?


The Prophet has explained by quoting an example. He said that the best moral character melts errors like water and bad morals spoil man's record as vinegar spoils honey.


Identification of a hypocrite When wickedness is nourished in the self, and the loss caused by it has become manifest and the danger has increased, then that man has come out of his religion like a nude who has come out of his garments. At that time his claim of righteousness or faith would be false.


What will be the value of religiousness without good morality ? How is it possible that a man should belong to Allah and at the same he should be a victim of corruption ?


This relationship between faith and morality is clearly shown in the hadith of the holy Prophet:

"The man who has these three habits is a hypocrite even if he observes fast, offers prayers, performs umra (pilgrimage), and calls himself a Muslim: when he talks he speaks untruth, when he makes a promise he does not keep it, and when he is given something in trust, he commits dishonesty."

-( Muslim ).


In another tradition, he has said:

"There are three signs of a hypocrite: when he talks he speaks untruth, when he makes a pro mise he does not keep it, and when he makes a contract he deceives, although he may be offering prayers, observing fast and calling himself a Muslim."


He has also said:

"There are four habits, in whosoever they are found, he will be a complete hypocrite. If any one of these habits is found in a man, he will have one habit of disruption till he gives it up, when something is given to him in trust he commits dishonesty, when he talks he tells lies, when he makes a contract he deceives, and when he quarrels he starts abusing. -( Bukhari )(Sheikh Muhammad Al-Ghazali)

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