December 16, 2018

Our guest was Sheikh Ramadhan Mufakkir Abdullah. He preached about the status of Mary in the Quran.

Sheikh Ramadhan Abdullah was born and raised in the US territory of St Thomas in the Virgin islands. His immediate and extended family live in the US Virgin Islands, in Puerto Rico and in the continental US. He grew up in a Catholic/Christian household, in an environment where many of his family members were practicing but not all of them. As a young boy, Sheikh Ramadhan found some problems with the Christian belief system so when he was a teenager he became a Rastafarian, which is a way of life in the Caribbean.

Although some of the answers provided by Rastafarians initially gave him contentment, Sheikh Ramadhan eventually started to feel that he was lacking satisfaction of the heart (itminaan) with regards to his spirituality. That led him to continue in his spiritual search which led him one day to a copy of the holy Quran in a library. After reading the first few verses of Surah Baqarah, he felt so touched by the words that he decided to become a Muslim. Further reading later led him to the teachings of Ahlul Bayt (as).

Shortly after embracing Islam, Sheikh Ramadhan enrolled in the Imam Ali school in Orlando Florida, which was led by Sheikh Mirza Mohammed Baig. Two years later, Sheikh Ramadhan completed his studies at that school. Then, he moved to the holy city of Najaf to pursue his Islamic studies in the howza. For the past 4 years, Sheikh Ramadhan has been studying different Islamic subjects under the guidance of different teachers in Najaf. With Allah’s permission, he hopes to stay in the howza for some years. He is also hoping he can continue serving the community back in the US to the best of his ability. Sheikh Ramadhan is married and he is the father of two sons.

Sheikh Ramadhan in front of the Imam Hussein Shrine, Karbala, Iraq.

Me with Sheikh Ramadhan and Maulana Baig

MUSIC

“Do You Hear What I Hear?” Racho/Koeman Family

“Gesù Bambino” Bell Choir

COVER

A Qajar Tile Featuring The Virgin Mary and Child, 19th Century Persia.

Mary represents a unique point of connection between Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. She was born into a priestly Jewish family and dedicated to service in the Temple, but she was also the mother of Jesus and thus plays a central and miraculous role in the establishment of Christianity. In the Quran, Mary’s importance is indicated by the fairly substantial detail with which her story is recounted. She also plays a role of significance in certain forms of Islamic piety.

“And remember when the angels said, ’O Mary, truly God has chosen thee and purified thee, and has chosen thee above the women of the worlds. O Mary! Be devoutly obedient to thy Lord, prostrate, and bow with those who bow.’” Quran 3:42-3.
–Seyyed Hossein Nasr, editor in chief, The Study Quran

CALL TO WORSHIP Luke 1:39-45
At that time Mary set out in haste for a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s house and greeted Elizabeth. And it came to pass, when Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, that the baby jumped in her womb. Elizabeth was filled with holy spirit and proclaimed at the top of her voice:

“Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! Who am I that the mother of my master should visit me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby jumped for joy in my womb. Congratulations to her who trusted that what the Lord promised her would come true.”

HYMN – My Soul Gives Glory to My God #99

LIGHTING OF THE ADVENT CANDLE Luke 1:46-55
And Mary said:
“My soul extols the Lord,
And my spirit rejoices in God my savior,
For he has taken notice of the low status of his slave girl.
So behold, from now on every generation will congratulate me.
The Mighty one has done great things for me,
And holy is his name,
And his mercy will come to generation after generation
Of those who fear him.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
He has routed the arrogant, along with their private schemes;
He has pulled the mighty down from their thrones,
And exalted the lowly;
He has filled the hungry with good things,
And sent the rich away empty.
He has come to the aid of his servant Israel,
Remembering his mercy,
As he spoke to our ancestors,
To Abraham and to his descendants forever.

We light the third Advent Candle in honor of Mary and her willingness to say to God:
“Here I am. Let it be with me according to your word.”

SPECIAL MUSIC Do You Hear What I Hear? Racho/Koeman Family

READING Quran 19:16-34
And remember Mary in the Book, when she withdrew from her family to an eastern place. And she veiled herself from them. Then We sent unto her our Spirit, and it assumed for her the likeness of a perfect man.

She said, “I seek refuge from thee in the Compassionate, if you are reverent!”

He said, I am but a messenger of thy Lord, to bestow upon thee a pure boy.”

She said, “How shall I have a boy when no man has touched me, nor have I been unchaste?”

He said, “Thus shall it be. Thy Lord says, ‘It is easy for Me.’”

And it is thus that We might make him a sign unto mankind, and a mercy from Us. And it is a matter decreed. So she conceived him and withdrew him to a place far off. And the pangs of childbirth drove her to the trunk of a date palm.

She said, “Would that I had died before this and was a thing forgotten, utterly forgotten!”

So he called out to her from below her, “Grieve not! Thy Lord has placed a rivulet beneath thee. And shake toward thyself the trunk of the date palm; fresh, ripe dates shall fall upon thee. So eat and drink and cool thine eye. And if thou seest any human being, say, ‘Verily I have vowed a fast unto the Compassionate, so I shall not speak this day to any man.’”

Then she came with him unto her people, carrying him.

They said, “O Mary! Thou has brought an amazing thing! O sister of Aaron! Thy father was not an evil man, nor was thy mother unchaste.”

The she pointed to him. They said, “How shall we speak to one who is yet a child in the cradle?”

He said, “Truly I am a servant of God. He has given me the Book and made me a prophet. He has made me blessed wheresoever I may be, and has enjoined upon me prayer and almsgiving so long as I live, and has made me dutiful toward my mother. And He has not made me domineering, wretched. Peace upon me the day I was born, the day I die, and the day I am raised alive!”

That is Jesus son of Mary—a statement of the truth.