Monday, 30 November 2015

How Islam defines true happiness and peace at heart.

Real happiness and peace can be found in submitting to the commands of the Creator and the Sustainer of this world.  God has said in the Quran:
“Truly, in remembering God do hearts find rest.” (Quran 13:28)
On the other hand, the one who turns away from the Quran will have a life of hardship in this world.  God has said:
“But whoever turns away from the Quran,[1]  he will have a hard life, and We will raise him up blind on the Day of Judgment.” (Quran 20:124)
This may explain why some people commit suicide while they enjoy the material comfort money can buy.  For example, look at Cat Stevens (now Yusuf Islam), formerly a famous pop singer who used to earn sometimes more than $150,000 a night.  After he converted to Islam, he found true happiness and peace, which he had not found in material success.[2]

[1] i.e. neither believes in the Quran nor acts on its orders.
[2] The present mailing address of Cat Stevens (Yusuf Islam), in case you would like to ask him about his feelings after he converted to Islam, is: 2 Digswell Street, London N7 8JX, United Kingdom.

Islam is a “complete way of life”.

Image result for islam
Islam is not a religion in the common, distorted meaning of the word, confining its scope only to the private life of man. By saying that it is a complete way of life, we mean that it caters for all the fields of human existence. In fact, Islam provides guidance for all walks of life – individual and social, material and moral, economic and political, legal and cultural, national and international.
The Qur’an enjoins Man to enter the fold of Islam without any reservation and to follow God’s guidance in all fields of life. As a matter of fact, it was an unfortunate day when the scope of religion was confined to the private life of man, while its social and cultural role was reduced to naught. No other factor has, perhaps, been more important in causing the decline of religion in the modern age than its retreat into the realm of the private life.
In the words of a modern philosopher:
“Religion asks us to separate things of God from those of Caesar. Such a judicial separation between the two means the degrading of both the secular and the sacred… That religion is worth little, if the conscience of its followers is not disturbed when war clouds are hanging over us all and industrial conflicts are threatening social peace. Religion has weakened Man’s social conscience and moral sensitivity, by separating the things of God from those of Caesar.”
As for Islam, it totally denounces this concept of religion and clearly states that its objectives are purification of the soul and the reform and reconstruction of the society.
The Qur’an says in Surah 57, verse 25:
*{We verily sent Our messengers with clear proofs and revealed with them the scripture and the balance [i.e. the authority to establish justice], that mankind may observe justice and the right measure…}*
Then in Surah 12, verse 40:
*{The command is for none but Allah; He has commanded that you obey none but Him; that is the right path.}*
Also, in Surah 22, verse 41:
*{[Muslims are] those who if We give them power in the land, establish [the system of]salat (prayers and worship) and zakat (poor due) and enjoin virtue and forbid vice and evil.}*
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
“Everyone of you is a keeper or a guardian and will be questioned about the well-being of the people of the State. Every man is a guardian to his family and will be answerable about every member of it. Every woman is a guardian to the family of her husband and will be accountable for every member of it. And every servant is a guardian to his master and will be questioned about the property of his master.”
Thus, even a cursory study of the teachings of Islam shows that it is an all-embracing way of life and does not leave out any field of human existence to become a playground for satanic forces.
* Adapted with slight modifications from Basic Characteristics of Islamic Ideology – By Khurshid Ahmad.

Why Do I Love Allah?

To Him belong the most beautiful Names and Attributes. He accepts what is little and forgives a lot

The more I know Allah, the more my love for Him grows and my desire to have more knowledge of His Perfect Names and Attributes increases.
If I spend my entire lifetime pondering His Attributes, I will never feel bored or satiated. Drawing closer to Him dispels the darkness of ignorance prevailing within my soul.
True knowledge of Him is the key to the security and bliss of my inner being. It is beyond my control not to love Him Who is Almighty, All-Powerful and also All-Just, All-Merciful, and Oft-Forgiving.
I love Him because if I draw near to Him a hand span, He draws near to me an arm’s length, and if I draw near to Him an arm’s length, He draws near to me a fathom’s length. By contrast, I ought to consider my steps carefully before drawing close to humankind.
I do love Him because He is the Eternal, the Everlasting. No matter how deeply my heart becomes attached to Him, there is no fear whatsoever that one day I will be distressed by His death, Glorified be He.If I love a human being overly, he or she mayhumiliate me and even grow more averse to me, rather than reciprocate my sincere love.
I do love Him Who shows affection to us while He is self-sufficient, rich beyond need, and we stand in need of Him.
His door is constantly wide open, whereas the doors of kings are closed, and even if opened, we will be met by so many chamberlains before we can meet a king, if we ever do.
As for the Almighty Creator, we can meet Him whenever we like, day and night, through Prayer and supplication. He never gets bored with our frequent invocations. He grants our requests and even rewards us for asking.
My Love Grew When…
My love for the King of kings grew when I read the hadith quoting Him as saying,
“O My servants! Indeed, I have prohibited injustice for Myself and (also) prohibited it amongst you. So, be not unjust to one another” (Muslim).
How far different is the attitude of the earthly kings who make lawful for themselves what they forbid their subjects from.
My love for the Oft-Forgiving, the Acceptor of Repentance grew when I knew that Heholds out His Hand by night to accept the repentance of the one who sinned during the day, and He holds out His hand during the day to accept the repentance of the one who sinned by night. And my heart overflew with love for Him when I knew that-as the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said:
The heart of a poor person like me cannot help but love a Majestic God Who is All-Compassionate.
“Verily, Allah is more pleased with the repentance of His slave than a person whohas his camel in a waterless desert carryinghis provision of food and drink and it is lost.
He, having lost all hopes (to get that back), lies down in the shade of a tree full of despair about his camel; when all of a sudden he finds that camel standing before him. He takes hold of its reins and then out of boundless joy blurts out: ‘O Allah, You are my slave and I am Your Lord.’ He commits this mistake out of extreme joy. (Muslim)
The heart of a poor, powerless, and humble person like me cannot help but love a Majestic God Who is All-Compassionate, All-Relenting. In a Qur’anic verse, He announces the following:
{Say: “O my Servants who have transgressed against their souls! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah: for Allah forgives all sins: for He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”}(Az-Zumar 39:53)
I Love Him … So, I Find Love Everywhere
With my love for the Almighty growing, I feel sweetness in my heart and find overwhelming joy and happiness everywhere. And I live in harmony and love withthe world and all creatures around me, all praising and glorifying Him.
Out of my love for Allah’s creatures, I shudder to think of doing any harm to them. In response to my love, I can also feel their love for me. Verily, I cannot take credit for this love. Yet, it is only by the grace of Almighty Allah Who conceals my demerits and imperfections that they –the creatures- do love me; otherwise, they never would.

I do love Him Whose love is a cure and healing, and which I do not fear overdoses thereof or any potential side effects. Contrarily, the more I take it, the more healthy and comfortable I will be, ever asking for additional doses.
I truly love Him, glorified be He. All poems of love cannot tell of the extent of my love for Him. If I were to spend my whole life in prostration to Him, shedding tears of humility and longing, I would never give due thanks to Him.
Yet, He is the All-Thankful, All-Praiseworthy, and All-Loving. To Him belong the most beautiful Names and Attributes. He accepts what is little and forgives a lot. He shows what is good in me and covers what is ugly. Let me declare it: I cannot help but love Him
O Allah! Grant me Your love, the love of those who love You, and the love of every deed that leads me to Your love.

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Forgiveness - An Islamic Virtue

Islam attaches great importance to the concept of pardoning of sins by Allah so that one may be saved from Hellfire. On several occasions, The Holy Quran gives such prayers as "Pardon us, forgive us our sins, and have mercy upon us" (Quran 2/286).

Allah assures us that no matter what our sin, if we truly repent and seek His forgiveness, and take steps to put right our wrongs, He will forgive us. The Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) said, "My heart is clouded until I have asked God’s forgiveness seventy times during the day and night."

We are likewise asked to show mercy to our fellow men. (Quran 90/17) Since God is Himself forgiving, He desires that people should cultivate this attribute and show forgiveness to other human beings. (Quran 24/22; 64/14).

The Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) taught his followers that the individual who pardons his enemy, even while having the power to extract revenge, will be nearest to God in the Hereafter. Once the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) was asked, "How many times are we to forgive our servants’ faults?" He remained silent. The questioner repeated his question. But the Prophet gave no answer. But when the person asked a third time, he said, "Forgive your servant seventy times a day."

The Holy Quran makes it clear that a strong, adverse, emotional reaction such as anger does not befit the true believer, and instead cites as a mark of excellence the quality of forgiveness: "When they become angry, they are forgiving." (Quran 42/37)

Why should a Muslim wife obey her husband?

Why is it that when people get married the women has to do what the man says ?
Praise be to Allaah.  
What the Muslim has to do when he learns the ruling of Islam is to submit to it and believe in it even if he does not know the wisdom behind it. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): 
“It is not for a believer, man or woman, when Allaah and His Messenger have decreed a matter that they should have any option in their decision. And whoever disobeys Allaah and His Messenger, he has indeed strayed into a plain error”
[al-Ahzaab 33:36] 
He should be certain that there is the utmost wisdom behind all the rulings of Islam, but that wisdom may be hidden and he may not understand it. In that case he should realize that this is due to his lack of knowledge and the shortcomings of human intellect, which is not free of defects. 
When a man and a woman come together in marriage and live together, there are bound to be differences in opinion between them, and one party must have the final say in order to resolve the issue, otherwise the differences will multiply and disputes will increase. So there has to be someone in charge, otherwise the marriage will founder. 
Hence Islam made the husband the protector and maintainer of the wife and gave him the responsibility of heading the household, because he is more perfect in rational thinking than her in most cases. This means that it is obligatory for her to obey him. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): 
“Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allaah has made one of them to excel the other, and because they spend (to support them) from their means” [al-Nisaa’ 4:34] 
Among the reasons for that are the following: 
1 – Men are more able to bear this responsibility, just as women are more able than men to take care of the children and the household affairs. So each of them has his or her natural role and position. 
2 – In Islam, men are obliged to spend on their wives; the wife does not have to work or earn a living. Even if she has an independent income or she becomes rich, the husband is still obliged to spend on her as much as she needs. Because he bears the responsibility of spending, he is made the protector and maintainer of his wife and is put in charge (of the household). 
Hence we see chaos in the societies which go against that: men do not shoulder the responsibility of spending on their wives, and wives are not obliged to obey their husbands; they go out of the home whenever they want and leave the marital nest empty and neglect their children. A woman has to work hard even if that is at the expense of her house and family. 
We should also take note of the following points: 
1 – The woman will be rewarded by Allaah for her obedience to her husband. 
2 – This obedience should not involve disobeying Allaah. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “There is no obedience to any created being if it involves disobedience towards the Creator.” 
3 – Just as the husband has the right to be obeyed, Islam also tells him to treat his wife kindly. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): 
“And they (women) have rights (over their husbands as regards living expenses) similar (to those of their husbands) over them (as regards obedience and respect) to what is reasonable”
[al-Baqarah 2:228] 
So he should not mistreat or oppress her, or issue harsh commands to her. Rather he should deal with her in a wise manner, and tell her to do things which are in her interests, his interests and the interests of the household, in a kind and gentle manner. 
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The best of you is the one who is best to his wife, and I am the best of you to my wives.”.

It is important for Muslims to only eat halal meat

"Halal Meat"
The Quranic Truth
Many Muslims speak about what they call halal meat without even knowing the Quranic definition for this term! In addition, most of those who arrive to the USA or Europe from other countries, or those who convert to Islam in western countries, are often bombarded with the phrase: do not eat except the halal meat. So what do they really mean by halal meat and how does their concept agree with the Quranic meaning of this term?
The Quran teaches that God is extremely displeased with those who prohibit anything that was not specifically prohibited in the Quran (16:116). The upholding of any prohibitions not specifically mentioned in the Quran is tantamount to idolatry (6:148-150). Such prohibitions represent some other god(s) beside God. Worshipping God Alone means upholding His Laws alone.
The prohibited food and meat is detailed in 2:173, 5:3, 6:145 and 16:115. From these verses we have a clear account of what is halal (lawful) and what is haram (prohibited).
"He only prohibits for you the eating of animals that die of themselves (without human interference), blood, the meat of pigs, and animals dedicated to other than God. If one is forced (to eat these), without being malicious or deliberate, he incurs no sin. God is Forgiver, Most Merciful." 2:173
Further details of animals found dead, and thus prohibited, are found in 5:3 and they include those strangled, struck with an object, fallen from a height, gored, attacked by a wild animal - unless the animal is saved before it dies - and animals sacrificed on altars.
Halal meat as is understood these days is a term used more often for commercial profits than religious observance. Those who call their meat halal, are in some way insinuating that any other meat is not halal, or specifically that other meat sold in other butchers or supermarket (in the western countries) is not halal. But when we analyse the Quranic verses (below) we find that these sellers are in fact deceiving the uninformed Muslims into believing that their meat is the only halal meat for the Muslims.
God knows that many Muslims will be living in the middle of Christians and Jews and will be sharing their food and for this reason God made it perfectly lawful for Muslims to eat the food of the people of the Scripture (Jews/Christians):
"Today, all good food is made lawful for you. The food of the people of the Scripture (Jews & Christians) is lawful (halal) for you ......" 5:5
The Quranic law is for all times and thus this concession applied when the Quran was first revealed as well as it does today.
Moreover, God has also specified a very important criteria for His true believers with regards to food: Mention God's nameon everything you are going to eat. See 5:4, & 6:118-119,
"You shall eat from that upon which God's name has been pronounced, if you truly believe in His revelation." 6:118
"Why should you not eat from that upon which God's name has been mentioned ? He has detailed for you what is prohibited for you, unless you are forced. Indeed, many people mislead others with their personal opinions, without knowledge. Your Lord is fully aware of the transgressors." 6:119
Sadly, Muslims scholars have substituted God's condition for making food lawful (which is through uttering God's name on it before eating it) by a new un-Quranic condition of their own making. Somehow they have made slaughtering the onlylawful method of killing an animal for its meat. Needless to say, there is no such restriction in the Quran. As a result of this un-quranic requirement, they insist that to make food halal the name of God must be uttered on it before slaughtering it. The following arguments all show that this imposed restriction is false and that it is not part of God's law in the Quran:
1- The first reason is that (unless you are a butcher) you are not the person who has slaughtered the animal on your dinner table, and since the Quran is clear in holding people accountable only to their own work, then the only certain way to confirm that the name of God has been uttered on the meat is for each person to utter God's name on the food before eating it.
"Every human being is responsible only for his own works." 53:39
The Quran makes it clear that the utterance of God's name should be before eating and not before killing the animal .
2- The spiritual reason behind uttering God's name on our food before eating it is given in 16:114. This is to constantly remember and be appreciative of God's blessings on us:
"Therefore, you shall eat from God's provisions everything that is lawful and good, and be appreciative of God's blessings, if you do worship Him alone." 16:114
This act of appreciation for God's blessings would not belong to us if we rely on someone else, in a slaughter house, uttering God's name.
3- By reading 6:118, we note that the command of uttering God's name is related to what we eat in general and not just meat. Thus this equally applies to fruit, vegetables, biscuits, peanuts ... etc ... plus all types of drinks. Consequently, and since we cannot slaughter an apple nor a glass of orange juice, then the only method to obey God's law is to utter His name before eating all foods (and not just meat).
4- If we read 5:5, we note that God made it lawful for us to eat the food of the people of the Scripture (Jews, Christians). But as non Muslims may not utter the name of God before killing the animal, yet their food is still lawful for us (5:5), this would only prove that the utterance of God's name before slaughtering an animal is not a requirement as far as God is concerned. It also confirms that the duty is laid on each of us (to utter God's name) before eating our food and nothing else.
5- God knows that one day slaughter houses will be run by stun guns and machines, which once again emphasises the fact that it is our own responsibility to utter His name on all food before eating it.
Sadly, we see many Muslims today, and because of their obsession with the restriction of slaughtering, buying and eating what they are told is halal meat, yet when they eat other food (e.g. fruit or vegetables) they ignore God's command to utter His name on it. Hence, and since they ignored God's commands and followed man made innovations, they are in fact eating a lot of food that is unlawful according to the Quranic rules. 

Special reference to 
Some scholars refer to 22:36 and say that since it includes a command to utter God’s name on animals before they are slaughtered, thus it provides support for the rule that without this pre-slaughter utterance the meat of the animal would not be halal.
On first impression this may be a valid claim, but a closer look at 22:36 suggests otherwise. The following is a verification of this claim and an analysis of 22:36. The words in 22:36 are:

The animal offerings are among the rites decreed by God for your own good. You shall mention God's name on them while they are “sawaf” standing in line. Then once they are offered for sacrifice, you shall eat there from and feed the poor and the needy. This is why we subdued them for you, that you may show your appreciation.”22:36

The word 
“sawaf” means standing in line, or lined up (before being sacrificed).

 This verse speaks about the ritual of animal sacrifice during hajj.
The whole sura is called Hajj and if we start reading from verse 27 we would see that the subject is hajj and the rituals of hajj. What this means is that the rules given in these verses are applicable only to the time of hajj.

 During hajj, and while the animals are lined up, those performing hajj should commemorate the name of God on these animals.

 We note that the command to utter God’s name is while the animals are lined up, and not necessarily associated with the actual slaughtering. Slaughtering could happen immediately after or a number of hours later. Further proof to that is found in the words: ”then once they are offered for sacrifice”, which indicates that the mentioning of God’s name is an independent act and not associated with the slaughtering itself, it is only associated to the time when the animals are being lined up.

 More important, and also to confirm that uttering God’s name on these animals during hajj has nothing to do with what makes meat halal, we see that this command (to utter God’s name) is not any different from the constant command from God for all those performing hajj to constantly utter and commemorate God’s name throughout hajj, and not only when the animal are lined up. The following verses confirm this truth:

"And proclaim that the people shall observe Hajj pilgrimage …… 
they shall commemorate God’s name during the specified days for providing them with the livestock"22:27-28

"You shall 
commemorate God for a number of days" 2:203

"While you file from ‘Arafat’ you shall 
commemorate God" 2:198

"As you complete your rites, you shall 
continue to commemorate God2:200

As we can see, every step we take during hajj we are commanded to commemorate God’s name, so commemorating God’s name on the animals when they are lined up is just a continuation of the constant rule of commemorating God’s name in every step and every ritual during hajj. The whole purpose of hajj is to commemorate God name. This is also the only purpose of all our worship practices:

Say, "My Salat, 
all my worship practices, my life and my death, are all devoted absolutely to God alone, the Lord of the universe.” 6:162


All the above, confirms that the ritual in 22:36 (commemorating God’s name on animals lined up for sacrifice) is exclusive to the hajj rituals and has nothing to do with what makes meat halal. -

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Why do mosques have separate areas for women and men? And does this mean that men and women can't pray together at home?

Image result for muslim men and women pray separately at mosque - MalaysiaImage result for muslim men and women pray separately at mosque - Malaysia

Let me explain first that it's totally fine in Islam for men and women to pray together in one area. This is proven by seeing our holy mosque in Mecca where Muslims from all over the world gather and conduct their prayers and rituals. Another point that many people don't know is that Muslim women are not obliged to pray at the mosque. This is nothing but a great example of how Islam shows respect and appreciation to women by making conducting a prayer much easier than for a man who is more obliged to conduct the prayer at a mosque. Some women are pregnant, others would be living far away without the ability to drive or walk alone to a mosque, elderly women have more things to take care of at home, and therefore again Islam takes all these factors into consideration. Also, we as Muslims go to the mosque for many reasons but mainly to conduct our prayers and it's more appreciated to attend the "Jama'ah" prayer which means the congregational prayer. When men and women are together in the Masjid then we should have first, men's lines behind the imam, then children and then women. This is the way Muslims used to pray behind the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon Him). He did not make or ask his companions to have a curtain or wall between the lines of men and women. And if you are wondering why women would be lined up behind men, that's nothing to do with showing less respect but actually respect to their being. Muslims pray with actions, such as bowing, as well as prostrating so you could imagine how men would react to a lady in front of them bowing and so on, hence the men in front, kids and then women.
So to clear any wrong thoughts about Islam, it's totally fine for men and women to pray in one place, but with the guidelines mentioned above, however, it's very important that Muslim women come to public gatherings wearing proper Islamic dress, for it is haram (forbidden) for a Muslim woman to attend a public gathering without a full Islamic dress. She must cover her hair and neck with a scarf, which should also go over her bosom. Her dress should be modest and loose enough not to reveal her body shape.
Due to many reasons of modesty and tradition, it became common to see segregated walls. So those who don't know about Islam might view this negatively. You would see mosques where they would have a small area being allocated for women to pray, which would be separated with some curtain or portable low rise wall and some bigger mosques would have a complete hall allocated for women. Please note that this is not really considered a separate place from the mosques but simply a partition, which has its own entrance and walk-in area for the worshippers to enter and they pray behind the same imam that conducts the prayers for all Muslims who attend the mosque.
As far as home, rest assured we all pray with our families and this is the tradition. I still remember how my beloved father, during our trips overseas, would call to the prayer and then we would all stand - him, me, then my sisters and mother - all behind my father, and pray.
Having your sisters, wife, aunts, grandmother and mother praying behind the male members of the family is totally embraced in Islam and appreciated. But again the members of the family and not strange women.
God bless!

Islamic beliefs

What is the key to the truth? #islam

Beliefs are important in Islam. Right beliefs about God, the universe, and humanity is of primary concern to Muslims. The Quran, the sacred text of Islam states, "Righteous is he who believes in Allah and the Last Day and the Angels and the Scriptures and the Prophets" (2:177). Belief in these doctrines, as well as many others, are important to Muhammad's followers, both past and present.
Like Judaism and Christianity, Islam teaches that there is one God in the universe, giving Muslims a monotheistic worldview. Also like Judaism and Christianity, Islam holds to the ministerial office of prophet, although not all of these faiths agree on who is, and who isn't, a prophet. For example, Christians believe John the Baptist was a prophet and Jews and Muslims don't. And Muslims believe that Muhammad was a prophet, yet Jews and Christians don't. All three faiths also believe in an afterlife, although the makeup of those destinations are immensely different in nature from each other.
Islamic beliefs are focus on these matters:

Muslim Beliefs about Allah

The single most important belief in Islam, and arguably the central theme of the religion, is that there is only one God. The name of God is Allah, which is simply Arabic for "the (al) God (Ilah)."

Muslim Beliefs about the Prophets

Muhammad, the founder of Islam, is revered as "the Seal of the Prophets" - the last and greatest of the messengers of God. He is not divine in any way, for the strict monotheism that characterizes Islam (as well as Judaism) does not allow for such an interpretation. Other prophets are important in Islam as well, all of which are shared with the Jews or the Christians.

Muslim Beliefs about Human Nature

According to the Quran, Allah "created man from a clot of blood" at the same time he created the jinn from fire. Humans are the greatest of all creatures, created with free will for the purpose of obeying and serving God.

Muslim Beliefs about Life and Salvation

For a Muslim, the object of life is to live in a way that is pleasing to Allah so that one may gain Paradise. It is believed that at puberty, an account of each person's deeds is opened, and this will be used at the Day of Judgment to determine his eternal fate.

Muslim Beliefs about the Afterlife

Like Christianity, Islam teaches the continued existence of the soul and a transformed physical existence after death. There will be a day of judgment and humanity will be divided between the eternal destinations of Paradise and Hell.

Six Articles of Faith

There is no official creed to which one must adhere to be considered a Muslim. All that is required is to believe and recite the Shahada: "There is no God but God, and Muhammad is his Prophet." Beyond this core belief, however, Muslim doctrine is often summarized in "Six Articles of Faith." Many Muslims believe that one must adhere to the six articles to be considered a Muslim.

Muslim Views of Other Religions

The Quran is clear that there must be "no compulsion in religion" (2:256). Yet Islam is not indifferent to conversion either - Muslims consider their religion to the be the one true religion, and invite people of all races, nationalities and religions to be part of it.

Friday, 27 November 2015

Concept of God

It is a known fact that every language has one or more terms that are used in reference to God and sometimes to lesser deities. This is not the case with Allah. Allah is the personal name of the One true God. Nothing else can be called Allah. The term has no plural or gender. This shows its uniqueness when compared with the word god which can be made plural, gods, or feminine, goddess. It is interesting to notice that Allah is the personal name of God in Aramaic, the language of Jesus and a sister language of Arabic. The One true God is a reflection of the unique concept that Islam associates with God. To a Muslim, Allah is the Almighty, Creator and Sustainer of the universe, Who is similar to nothing and nothing is comparable to Him. The Prophet Muhammad was asked by his contemporaries about Allah; the answer came directly from God Himself in the form of a short chapter of the Quran, which is considered the essence of the unity or the motto of monotheism. This is chapter 112 which reads:

"In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate. Say (O Muhammad) He is God the One God, the Everlasting Refuge, who has not begotten, nor has been begotten, and equal to Him is not anyone."

Some non Muslims allege that God in Islam is a stern and cruel God who demands to be obeyed fully. He is not loving and kind. Nothing can be farther from truth than this allegation. It is enough to know that, with the exception of one, each of the 114 chapters of the Quran begins with the verse: "In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate." In one of the sayings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) we are told that "God is more loving and kinder than a mother to her dear child." But God is also Just. Hence evildoers and sinners must have their share of punishment and the virtuous, His bounties and favors. Actually God's attribute of Mercy has full manifestation in His attribute of Justice. People suffering throughout their lives for His sake and people oppressing and exploiting other people all their lives should not receive similar treatment from their Lord. Expecting similar treatment for them will amount to negating the very belief in the accountability of man in the Hereafter and thereby negating all the incentives for a moral and virtuous life in this world. The following Quranic verses are very clear and straightforward in this respect:

"Verily, for the Righteous are gardens of Delight, in the Presence of their Lord. Shall We then treat the people of Faith like the people of Sin? What is the matter with you? How judge you?" (68:34-36)

Islam rejects characterizing God in any human form or depicting Him as favoring certain individuals or nations on the basis of wealth, power or race. He created the human beings as equals. They may distinguish themselves and get His favor through virtue and piety only. The concept that God rested in the seventh day of creation, that God wrestled with one of His soldiers, that God is an envious plotter against mankind, or that God is incarnate in any human being are considered blasphemy from the Islamic point of view. The unique usage of Allah as a personal name of God is a reflection of Islam's emphasis on the purity of the belief in God which is the essence of the message of all God's messengers. Because of this, Islam considers associating any deity or personality with God as a deadly sin which God will never forgive, despite the fact He may forgive all other sins.

The Creator must be of a different nature from the things created because if he is of the same nature as they are, he will be temporal and will therefore need a maker. It follows that nothing is like Him. If the maker is not temporal, then he must be eternal. But if he is eternal, he cannot be caused, and if nothing outside him causes him to continue to exist, which means that he must be Self-Sufficient.

And if He does not depend on anything for the continuance of His own existence, then this existence can have no end. The Creator is therefore eternal and everlasting: 'He is the First and the Last.' He is Self-Sufficient or Self-Subsistent or, to use a Quranic term, Al-Qayyum. The Creator does not create only in the sense of bringing things into being, He also preserves them and takes them out of existence and is the ultimate cause of whatever happens to them.

"God is the Creator of everything. He is the guardian over everything. Unto Him belong the keys of the heavens and the earth." (39:62, 63) "No creature is there crawling on the earth, but its provision rests on God. He knows its lodging place and its repository." (11:6)

God's Attributes

If the Creator is Eternal and Everlasting, then His attributes must also be eternal and everlasting. He should not lose any of His attributes nor acquire new ones. If this is so, then His attributes are absolute. Can there be more than one Creator with such absolute attributes? Can there be for example, two absolutely powerful Creators? A moment's thought shows that this is not feasible. The Quran summarizes this argument in the following verses:

"God has not taken to Himself any son, nor is there any god with Him: For then each god would have taken of that which he created and some of them would have risen up over others." (23:91)
And Why, were there gods in earth and heaven other than God, they (heaven and earth) would surely go to ruin." (21:22)

The Oneness of God

The Quran reminds us of the falsity of all alleged gods. To the worshippers of man-made objects, it asks:

"Do you worship what you have carved yourself?" (37:95) "Or have you taken unto you others beside Him to be your protectors, even such as have no power either for good or for harm to themselves?" (13:16)

To the worshippers of heavenly bodies it cites the story of Abraham:

"When night outspread over him he say a star and said, 'This is my Lord.' But when it set he said, 'I love not the setters.' When he saw the moon rising, he said, 'This is my Lord.' But when it set he said, 'If my Lord does not guide me I shall surely be of the people gone astray.' When he say the sun rising, he said, 'This is my Lord; this is greater.' But when it set he said, 'O my people, surely I quit that which you associate, I have turned my face to Him Who originated the heavens and the earth; a man of pure faith, I am not of the idolaters.'" (6:76-79)

The Believer's Attitude

In order to be a Muslim, i.e., to surrender oneself to God, it is necessary to believe in the oneness of God, in the sense of His being the only Creator, Preserver, Nourisher, etc. But this belief - later on called "Tawhid Ar-Rububiyyah is not enough." Many of the idolaters knew and believed that only the Supreme God could do all this. but that was not enough to make them Muslims. To tawhid ar-rububiyyah one must add tawhid al'uluhiyyah, i.e., one acknowledges the fact that is God alone Who deserves to be worshipped, and thus abstains from worshipping any other thing or being. Having achieved this knowledge of the one true God, man should constantly have faith in Him, and should allow nothing to induce him to deny truth. When faith enters a person's heart, it causes certain mental states which result in certain actions. Taken together these mental states and actions are the proof for the true faith. The Prophet said,

"Faith is that which resides firmly in the heart and which is proved by deeds."

Foremost among those mental states is the feeling of gratitude towards God, which could be said to be the essence of 'ibada' (worship). The feeling of gratitude is so important that a non-believer is called 'kafir,' which means 'one who denies a truth' and also 'one who is ungrateful.' A believer loves, and is grateful to God for the bounties He bestowed upon him, but being aware of the fact that his good deeds, whether mental or physical, are far from being commensurate with Divine favors, he is always anxious lest God should punish him, here or in the Hereafter. He, therefore, fears Him, surrenders himself to Him and serves Him with great humility. One cannot be in such a mental state without being almost all the time mindful of God. Remembering God is thus the life force of faith, without which it fades and withers away. The Quran tries to promote this feeling of gratitude by repeating the attributes of God very frequently. We find most of these attributes mentioned together in the following verses of the Quran:

"He is God; there is no god but He, He is the Knower of the unseen and the visible; He is the All-Merciful, the All-Compassionate. He is God, there is no God but He. He is the King, the All-Holy, the All-Peace, the Guardian of Faith, the All-Preserver, the All-Mighty, the All-Compeller, the All-Sublime. Glory be to God, above that they associate! He is God the Creator, the Maker, the Shaper. To Him belong the Names Most Beautiful. All that is in the heavens and the earth magnifies Him; He is the All-Mighty, the All-Wise." (59:22-24)

"There is no god but He, the Living, the Everlasting. Slumber seizes Him not, neither sleep; to Him belongs all that is in the heavens and the earth. Who is there that shall intercede with Him save by His leave? He knows what lies before them and what is after them, and they comprehend not anything of His knowledge save such as He wills. His throne comprises the heavens and earth; the preserving of them oppresses Him not; He is the All-High, the All-Glorious." (2:255)

"People of the Book, go not beyond the bounds in your religion, and say not as to God but the truth. The Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, was only the Messenger of God, and His Word that He committed to Mary, and a Spirit from Him. So believe in God and His Messengers, and say not, 'Three.' Refrain; better is it for you. God is only one God. Glory be to Him - (He is) above having a son." (4:171)

The article is from World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY), P.O. Box 10845, Riyadh 11443, Saudi Arabia

When the Prophet Did Not Do Something

We receive Islamic legal rulings from the Prophet (peace be upon him) in three ways: his words, his deeds, and his tacit approvals. Ibn Rushd asserts in Bidâyah al-Mujtahid that this is one of the undisputed principles of Islamic jurisprudence. As for the Prophet abstaining from something, that is not one of the three ways. 

So what are the legal implications of the Prophet (peace be upon him) not performing an act? 

A faulty assumption some people have is that if the Prophet did not do something, then it should not be done by his followers. This can create great hardships for people in their practice of Islam. For one thing, such people reject the approach of making concessions for the purpose of facilitation. They argue that if the Prophet did not apply a certain concession in a certain way, though the need for doing so would have been present, this is proof it is unlawful to do so. However, this is contradicted by a considerable body of evidence. 

1. The unlawfulness of something must be established by a specific prohibition or by what encompasses evidence of a prohibition in its general import. The Prophet said: “Whatever I prohibit you, you must avoid it.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (2788) and Sahîh Muslim (1337)] 

The Prophet’s abstaining from something is not a prohibition nor is it something that encompasses evidence of a prohibition in its general import. Quite the contrary, the general evidence in Islamic Law indicates that hardships are to be avoided. 

2. There are many authentic hadîth that show the Companions initiating actions and saying things that the Prophet (peace be upon him) did not himself do or say. They were never criticized for this. The talbiyah is a case in point. The people followed the Companions in the wording of the talbiyah, as indicated by the hadîth of Jâbir, and no one objected to their doing so. [Musnad Ahmad (14440) andSunan Abî Dâwûd (1813)] 

Their wording of the talbiyah was different than the Prophet’s wording, which shows that the Prophet’s abstaining from something does not prevent anyone else from doing so. Indeed, The Prophet at times praised the Companions’ for their actions and at times remained silent without criticizing them. This shows there is flexibility in such things. 

Another example is where a desert dweller beseeched Allah saying: “O You who no eyes can see, and no speculation can encompass, and no one can describe, and who is not altered by the course of events…” The Prophet (peace be upon him) heard this and asked someone to summon the man to him after prayer. The Prophet (peace be upon him) had with him some gold which had been given to his as a gift. 

The desert dweller came to him after prayer. The Prophet gave him the gold and asked him: “Which clan do you come from?” 

He replied: “I am from the clan of Banî Âmir b. Sa`sa`ah, O Messenger of Allah.” 

The Prophet then asked him: “Do you know why I gave you this gift of gold?” 

He said: “Because if the kinship that we share, O Messenger of Allah.” 

The Prophet said: “Indeed, kinship has its rights, but that is not why I gave you the gold. I gave it to you for how eloquently you praised Allah.” [Mu`jam al-Tabarânî al-Awsat (9448)] 

The same can be seen with the Companion who used to always recite Sûrah al-Ikhlâs in every prayer. He was one of the people of Madinah and he used to lead prayer at the Qubâ Mosque, and in each unit of every prayer he led would recite Sûrah al-Ikhlâs first before reciting another chapter of the Qur’an, The people who were with him said: “You always recite this chapter, but it seems that is not enough for you and you go on to recite another. Either recite that chapter on its own, or recite something else instead.” 

He replied: “I will not stop reciting it. If you are happy to have me continue leading you in prayer like this, I will do so. If you are displeased with it, I will stop leading you in prayer.” 

They considered him to be the best person among them, so they did not wish for someone else to lead them. When the Prophet (peace be upon him) visited them, they told him about it. 

The Prophet turned to the man and asked him: “What prevents you from complying with your people’s wishes? Why do you insist on reciting this chapter in every unit of prayer?” 

The man replied: “I love it.” 

Then the Prophet said: “Your love for it will bring you Paradise.” [Musnad Ahmad (11982) and Sahîh al-Bukhârî as a hung narration in the Book of the Call to Prayer] 

There is also the hadîth where `Abd Allah b. `Umar narrates: “We were with Allah’s Messenger on Hajj going from Minâ to `Arafât, some of us saying the talbiyah while others were saying the takbîr. No one was criticized anyone for what they did.” [Sahîh Muslim(1284)] The same thing is related from Anas b. Mâlik. [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (1659) and Sahîh Muslim (1285)] 

3. The Companions compiled the Qur’an into one volume only after the Prophet’s time. The same can be said for their congregating for tarâwîh prayer and increasing the number of prayer units they offered which took place during `Umar’s reign. Likewise, `Uthmân added an additional early call for the Jumu`ah prayer when the city’s population increased. He also standardized the Qur’an which was compiled during his predecessor’s time and abandoned the practice of shortening his prayers during the Hajj. 

4. A number of legal scholars have addressed the legal implications of the Prophet refraining from an activity. For instance, Ibn Qudâmah writes that it is permissible to offer multiple sets of voluntary tawâf in succession without offering a prayer in between them. He adds: “The fact that the Prophet did not do so is not an indication that it is disliked.” [al-Mughnî (3/404] 

Ibn Hazm makes this clear on a number of occasions in his legal encyclopedia al-Muhallâ. For instance, he writes: “It is only evidence that there is no harm in doing likewise. For instance, he never fasted for an entire month (outside of Ramadan), but it is agreed that it is permissible to do so.” [al-Muhallâ (1/78)] 

He also writes regarding leaving off two units of voluntary prayer before the Maghrib prayer: “Proof of prohibition cannot be deduced from their not doing so, since they did not prohibit it.” [al-Muhallâ (2/252, 271)] 

Likewise, Abû Sa`îd b. Lubb al-Shaykh al-Shâtibî writes: “His abstaining from something merely indicates there is no problem for someone to abstain from it.” [Taqrîb al-Amal (200-201)] 

5. There is no implication that what took place at the Prophet’s time indicates abandoning everything else and that nothing is open to increase or decrease. Such a notion is very imprecise and suspect. Its logic is faulty. The circumstances at the Prophet’s time called for certain things, but circumstances differ at other times, sometimes becoming more intense, which requires Muslim jurists to exercise juristic reasoning (ijtihâd) in accordance with the general precepts of Islamic Law. 

A good example of this is the compilation of the Qur’an into a single volume. The Prophet (peace be upon him) never commanded his followers to do so. There was no need to do so during his lifetime. However circumstances changed after his time when many of the people who had committed the Qur’an to memory began to die off. This is why Abu Bakr ordered that the Qur’an be compiled in one volume. The Companions unanimously agreed to it. 

The general principle in operation here is that whenever new developments arrive, the qualified Muslim jurists of that era must exercise ijtihâd and adopt the appropriate measures. Can it be disputed that the need to make accommodations and concessions with respect to the Hajj is more acute today than at any time in the past? 

Ibn Taymiyah pointed this out when he said regarding the tawâf of a menstruating woman: “This is based on the diligent exercise ofijtihâd, because the problem in this age is more severe than it was at the Prophet’s time. 

Those who have insight into Islamic Law make a distinction between the Prophet’s tacit approval of someone else’s action, which can be used to deduce a ruling that must be upheld, and the Prophet abstaining from an action, which only indicates that there is no objection to someone abstaining from it. There can be no further binding ruling, since circumstances govern such matters.

Thursday, 26 November 2015

The principles of taking bath (Ghusl)

A brief summary of the principles of taking bath (Ghuslis) as follows:

First, A Muslim should make his/her intention for purification, then wash the privateparts. Then make Wudhoo' (ablution) like the Wudhoo' done for prayer, then pour water on hisright side, then the left side. Then water should be poured on his head,covering the entire body with water. It is also reported in the Sunnah (narrations of the Prophet Muhammad, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, may Allaah exalt his mention) that washing the feet should be delayed until the end of the Ghusl.

It is reported onthe authority of Aa'ishah, may Allaah be pleased with her, who said that theMessenger of Allaahsallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, when performingGhusl from Janaabah (ritual impurity), used to wash his hands, then wash his private parts with hisleft hand. After that he performed Wudhoo' like that for prayer. Next, he took somewater and ran his fingers in the roots of his hair until he used three handfulsof water on his head. He would then go on pouring water on the rest of his bodyand wash his legs. [Muslim]

1. The person taking a bath should first of all wash both hands up to the wrists, and then wash the private parts. The hands and private parts should be washed irrespective of whether there is any impurity on them or not. Both these have to be washed under all conditions. Thereafter, any impurity found on the rest of the body should be washed. Then make Wudhoo'. If one is sitting on a stool or stone while bathing, then the feet should also be washed when making Wudhoo'. But if one is sitting in a place where the water accumulates and he will have to wash the feet again after completing the Ghusl, then the entire Wudhoo' should be made but the feet should not be washed.

After performing Wudhoo', pour water on the head three times. Thereafter pour water over the right and left shoulders three times each in such a way that water reaches the entire body. Thereafter move from this place and go to a clean spot and wash the feet. If the feet were washed when making Wudhoo' there will be no need to wash them again.

2. Whilst pouring water over the body the first time, rub the body well so that water reaches everywhere properly and no place remains dry.

3. The above method of Ghusl is according to the Sunnah. Some of the items explained above are Fardh (obligatory) without which Ghusl will not be complete and the person will remain impure. Some other items are Sunnah (recommended but not obligatory). Observing them entails reward, and by not carrying them out, Ghusl will still be complete. The Fardh acts are only three:

(a) To gargle the mouth in such a way that water reaches everywhere.
(b) To wash the nose up to the soft bone.
(c) To pour water over the entire body.

4. While bathing, one should not face the Qiblah (direction of the Ka'bah). Too much water should not be used, nor should so little be used that one is unable to wash thoroughly. The bath should be taken at such a place that no one can see the bather. One should not talk while bathing; he should cover himself up first and then wash the feet.

5. If the bathing place is secluded where no one can see, then it is permissible to bathe naked, irrespective of whether one is standing or sitting and irrespective of whether the roof is covered or not. However, it is better to sit and bathe because there is more modesty in this. To expose the body from the navel to the knees before anyone is a sin. Many women bath completely naked in the presence of other women. This is a very evil and shameful act.

6. Even if an area equal to a hair's breadth is left dry, Ghusl will not be complete. In the same way, if one forgets to gargle the mouth or wash the nose, Ghusl will not be complete.

7. If a woman pours water on her head three times, that will be sufficient and she does not need to undo the braids. This is based on the Hadeeth (narration) of Umm Salamah, may Allaah be pleased with her. It is narrated that she asked the Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam: "I am a woman with braided hair; should I undo it when doing Ghusl for Janaabah?" He, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, answeredNo, rather it will be sufficient for you to pour three handfuls of water on your head, then pour water over yourself and you will be purified. [Muslim].Unless the Ghusl is after the menses, then she has to undo the braids and wash her hair thoroughly.