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Acts of Worship New Muslims

The Sanctity of Life and the Legacy of Prophet Muhammad

By Dr. CRAIG CONSIDINE

“You shall not kill yourselves, for God is truly merciful” (َQuran 4:29).

What does it mean to be Muslim?

It is a striking question, especially when a Catholic – such as myself – considers it after years of research on Muslim-Christian relations. One matter which has struck me in my experiences with Muslims is the sanctity of life that so many of them hold dear in their hearts and minds.

Yet, many people are not able to view the Islamic tradition so favorably. In a country like the United States, the level of anti-Muslim sentiment has hit record highs.

Some U.S. citizens views acts like suicide bombings, carried out by Muslims worldwide, as true reflections of Qur’anic teachings and the life of Prophet Muhammad.

Are these beliefs correct? Where exactly did Muhammad stand on issues such as suicide and the preservation of human life? And what does Islamic scripture say about these matters?

Any discussion on the alleged permissibility of suicide bombings in the Islamic tradition must begin with the following verse of the Qur’an:

“You shall not kill yourselves, for God is truly merciful” (َQuran 4:29).

Another verse clearly states that killing – whether it is one’s self or another human being – is forbidden:

“… if anyone killed a person not in retaliation of murder, or (and) to spread mischief in the land – it would be as if he killed all mankind, and if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of all mankind” (Quran 5:32).

The Qur’an again makes it clear that there are rules to human conflict which must be followed:

“And fight in the way of God against those who fight you. But do not transgress the limits. God does not love transgressors” (Quran 2:190).

While we could explore more verses of the Qur’an which condemn suicide or killing in all forms, perhaps we are better served by looking at how Muhammad respected, preserved and cherished life over death.

During the pre-Islamic period of Muhammad’s life, violence and retaliation were commonplace on the peninsula of modern-day Arabia. Warfare between extended family networks in cities like Mecca caused great harm to many groups.

Muhammad struggled to end these kinds of divisions and tribal mentalities. He united the rivaling Arab tribes and brought together Jews, Christians and Muslims in several contracts including the Constitution of Medina and the Covenants with Christians. Above all else, Muhammad had focused on the divinity of all living things as the fundamental building block of his nation.

Prophet Muhammad laid out a set of points which are known today as “Muhammad’s Commands in Wars.” The list embodies the emphasis that he placed on the sanctity of life.

O people! I charge you with 10 rules; learn them well… for your guidance in the battlefield! Do not commit treachery, or deviate from the right path. You must not mutilate dead bodies. Neither kill a child, nor a woman, nor an aged man. Bring no harm to the trees, nor burn them with fire, especially those which are fruitful. Slay not any of the enemy’s flock, save for your food. You are likely to pass by people who have devoted their lives to monastic services; leave them alone.

Muhammad’s rules of war, as activist and human rights advocate Qasim Rashid notes, “permit defensive fighting against active combatants while forbidding harm to anyone or anything else – human, animal, property.” We can also assume that the Prophet would command his people that harming one’s self is strictly forbidden.

Perhaps my favorite story on the respect that Muhammad had for human life is noted in a hadith.

Muhammad and his companions were watching a funeral procession go down a street in Medina. In respect of the dead body, the Prophet stood up as the procession crossed in front of him. As he rose to his feet, a companion turned to Prophet Muhammad and commented: “This is a funeral of a Jew. He is not a Muslim.” Disappointed by those words, Muhammad responded back with a question: “Is he not a human soul?”

The message of this story is clear: Muhammad had a deep appreciation for life irrespective of race or creed, and he also hoped that human beings would not respond to injustice by doing further harm to themselves or others.

Prophet Muhammad’s life and legacy bring us to a natural concluding point – jihad, or the spiritual struggle against one’s self. My own lectures at Rice University in Houston, Texas, focus on jihad as a peaceful and humanitarian concept, and not a term which stands for suicide bombings or “holy war,” a frequent mistranslation which appears in the media. Considering the Qur’anic passages condemning suicide, and the Prophet’s own teachings on the sanctity of human life, it is reckless to place an act like suicide bombing within the realm of jihad. The greater jihad is to bring peace and justice without having to harm anyone.


About the author:

Dr. Craig Considine is a scholar, professor, global speaker, and media contributor based at the Department of Sociology at Rice University. He is the author of The Humanity of Muhammad: A Christian View (Blue Dome Press, 2020), and Islam in America: Exploring the Issues (ABC-CLIO 2019), among others.

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FEATURED New Muslims

What Is the Quran?

By Abu Zakariya

Muslims do not just believe that the Quran is from God based on blind faith. The Quran is a living miracle, one that we can all experience for ourselves.

What is the Qur’an, and how did it come about?

Muslims believe that the Quran was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, by God Almighty through the Angel Gabriel.

The Qur’an informs us that Muhammad is the final Messenger in a long line of Messengers that God sent before him, such as Abraham, Moses and Jesus, peace be upon them all.

This is one of the many unique aspects of the Quran: it acknowledges all of the Messengers sent by God.

The Quran’s impact on the world is immeasurable. Although the Quran was revealed in 7th century Arabia, it contains a universal message for the whole of mankind.

Because of the Quran, there are over 1.5 billion Muslims in the world today – nearly a quarter of humanity. They are people of all races, nationalities and back­grounds.

Just to give you a practical demonstration of how many Muslims there are in the world, at any given moment, on any day, someone, somewhere, is reciting the Quran.

It is estimated that there are many millions of Muslims alive today who have memorised the entire Quran.

One has to wonder, what is it about the Quran that has made such an imprint on the hearts of over a billion Muslims?

While the Quran is the most widely read book in the world, it is also arguably the most often misunderstood and misrepresented.

These days it seems that everyone is talking about the Quran. But how many have actually read it? How many have allowed it to speak for itself ?

Whether you have read the Quran or not, whether you have even heard of the Quran before or not, it has already shaped and influenced your life in ways you cannot imagine.

You may be thinking to yourself, do all religions not make fantastical claims? After all, if these ancient books were originally written in the past, and we were not there at the time to witness the events, then does not belief in them ultimately derive from blind faith?

Muslims do not just believe that the Quran is from God based on blind faith. The Quran is a living miracle, one that we can all experience for ourselves.

Bold claims need to be backed up by strong evidence. As you are going to see, the Qur’an challenges its reader and engages our intellect by providing many testable and verifiable proofs of its divine origin.

This book is going to challenge misconceptions and make some strong assertions. If you are a sceptic of religious books because you think that they are filled with too many fantastical claims and insuf­ficient evidence, then prepare to be surprised. If you have already read the Quran and think that you have seen everything it has to offer, think again!


The article is an excerpt from the author’s book “The Eternal Challenge: A Journey Through The Miraculous Qur’an” with some modifications.

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Conversion Stories New Muslims

A New Convert Becomes Interested in Teaching Islam 2

By Editorial Staff

I find Islam a learning religion. You don’t stop from learning new things when you’re Muslim.

Perhaps everywhere in the world, more and more people are converting to Islam and start learning about its teachings.

The reasons for this are many such as the sense of calmness that they would feel, the happiness, tranquility and inner peace that they achieve after conversion.

Life challenges often lead them to this point. Moreover, being a servant to the One True God liberates a person from slavery to everything other than God.

In short, every new Muslim has an inspiring story to tell. However, in this article, we have a new, simple and short message from someone who is not only a new convert, but also a teacher. Although he wishes to remain anonymous, the message may still be inspiring.

As-salam alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh (Peace, God’s mercy and blessings be upon you) brothers and sisters.

First, I would like to thank Allah (Subhana wa Ta’ala, highly exalted is He, and most high) for granting an opportunity to realize the true religion of Islam.

I would also want to thank my teachers who have been with me every step of the way. May Allah (Subhana wa Ta’ala) reward you handsomely.

I find Islam a learning religion. You don’t stop from learning new things when you’re Muslim. On this note, I know and believe it will be a wonderful opportunity if I can help my fellow brothers and sisters who would want to know more about the true religion of Islam.

Through teaching/guiding the new members, it will be of much benefit for me as I’ll be learning and keeping my faith strong.

I’m also attending Arabic language classes through social media links. So this will make it easy for me to be more perfect.

May Allah (Subhana wa Ta’ala) guide me and make me more knowledgeable about Islam as I start this noble course.

As-salam alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh.

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A New Convert Becomes Interested in Teaching Islam

By Editorial Staff

7 April, one of my unforgettable days, was the first time I went to the mosque. I was welcomed warmly during Asr (Afternoon) prayer.

Abu Bakr is now a junior teacher of Islam who wants to share his simple, short but touching story of conversion. Celebrating his first day of teaching, Abu Bakr wrote the following:

Al-Salam ‘Alaikum (Peace be upon you) my fellow Muslims. I am Abu Bakr, born Lovemore Vito from Christian family from Malawi.

My journey to Islam starts long back. In short, l was inspired by brothers and sisters l work with. Some of them were Muslims and were humble to me and everyone.

After some years l left them but l was still asking myself questions about their lifestyle. Luckily enough, l joined different groups on Facebook. Then, I started reading about Islam.

Luckily l joined Chat on faith. I was directed to Brother Fuhaid (May Allah bless him). He is the one who taught me all the doctrines on behalf of Chat of Faith. Though he was teaching me, l myself was working tirelessly reading different doctrines about Islam.

7 April, one of my unforgettable days, was the first time I went to the mosque. I was welcomed warmly during Asr (Afternoon) prayer.

About My Life after Converting to Islam

My life has totally changed because of this true and beautiful religion. I have met good and humble brothers and sisters.

Now I am always near Allah because most of my time is spent with my brothers in Islam discussing about Allah, the Last Day, life in the Hereafter and some good stories about Allah (God) and Muhammad (God bless him and grant him peace).

Why I Am Intrested in Teaching

Everything has a reward in the life of the Hereafter. If you do bad deeds you will not enter Paradise but if you do good deeds you will be rewarded with Jannatul Firdous (the Gardens of Paradise).

The Book(Quran) and Muhammad (God bless him and grant him peace)clarify clearly that the one who teaches other people about this true and beautiful religion will be rewarded after this painful world. So I am interested to impart knowledge to my fellow brothers and sisters regardless of culture, country and tribe so that Allah will reward me with Jannah (the Gardens of Paradise).

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ABC's of Islam New Muslims

Life After Life?

Your life is really like an hour of a day. A moment. In this moment that is your life you have a simple task. Acknowledge that there is only one God.

Imagine you find yourself imprisoned in a strange land. You have been imprisoned for several weeks.

 

One day, two guards come to your cell. With them is a man dressed in a suit carrying a brown briefcase. They stand in front of your cell door. The man in the suit pulls out a piece of paper from the briefcase. He mentions your name, then hands you the paper. It reads:

 

In about one hour from reading this, you will die. It might be a bit more or a bit less than an hour, but when your time is up you will not be able to escape the punishment, Death! No one has ever escaped from this punishment except through one way. Those who have completed a single simple task. If you complete this task you will live. Indeed, not only will you live but your life will be unimaginably better than it is right now.

This task will take no more than five minutes of the one hour you have left. The task is to call your mother and tell her that she’s the only mother you have, that you appreciate and are grateful for all that she has done for you and that you should ask her to forgive you for anything that you’ve done to upset her. That’s it. You will be given a smartphone. Your mother’s number is stored on it and all you need to do is turn it on, find the number and call her. You have one hour.

Having finished reading you look up. The man in the suit hands you a smartphone and leaves with the guards. What will you do?

It may seem obvious, but what you are not told is that this phone is also connected to your text messages and social media accounts, and when you turn it on, the email, text and social media notifications start appearing on the screen, including your lawyer who has been messaging you that he can get you out.

Barely thinking you begin to flick through the messages, reading and then responding to them! The distraction is instant, yet prolonged. At the back of your mind you remember that you only have an hour, but you keep telling yourself you have plenty of time. Half an hour later a guard comes. “Did you complete the task?” he asks.

You look up confused, barely remembering why you were given the phone in the first place. The guard leaves and calls start coming from your lawyer. You answer. He’s promising he can get you out, and at the same time he’s telling you that your modest investment that you made with him is making massive amounts of money.

Everyone is talking about how rich you are, and that surely no one would dare do anything to you, you’re worth more alive…then you hear the sound of marching feet…you look up and there are the guards again. Six of them this time, dressed in black. They are holding heavy chains…

The hour is up!

This is an example of the life of this world. Your life, however long, is really like an hour of a day. A moment. In this moment that is your life you have a simple task. Acknowledge that there is only one God.

To do so is natural and rational and obvious. Deep down you already know that there is great, wise and mighty being that has created you and this universe and that He provides for and controls all things. Acknowledge His blessings and ask for His forgiveness.

Thank Him and Him alone. Worship Him alone and do not make anything equal with Him. It won’t take much time in your life to do that. Not much time at all. Like five minutes of the hour that is your life. If you do this you will get an eternal life of bliss, Paradise. A place of complete peace, happiness and joy where everything you could dream of and hope for will be there and more. Things that your heart cannot even imagine, and your mind cannot even conceive.

You will never get old, or tired, or bored or hungry or thirsty or too hot or too cold. Every moment in that place will be better than the moment before it.

…but the life of the world distracts you!

It distracts you until that moment when your time is up, but by then its too late! Certainly, when you are in the grave you will come to know with absolute certainty the reality that this life distracted you from, that this life was just a test. Passing this test involved something incredibly simple, easy and natural.

To testify that there is one true source of success and happiness; the Creator, who has no equal and no rival. To ask your Creator for forgiveness for your mistakes and be thankful by trying to live your life according to the guidance that He has sent.

…but the life of the world distracts you!

Death is the reality that will confront us all. It is absolutely certain. You will not escape it.

The rich and poor, healthy and sick, young and old, men and women, black and white from the East or West, death will reach them all. So, what have you prepared for the life to come? What have you done to save yourself from its perils and trials?

Do you really imagine that you will be left and not held to account for all that you have done and for all that you have failed to do? No, certainly you will be asked. Every atom’s weight of good and ever atom’s weight of evil will be made known on a day about which there is no doubt.

This is a Day of Accounting. The Day of Reckoning. The Day of Judgment.

Every injustice and every wrong will be made right, and then you will be presented with your scroll of deeds. Whoever’s scale is heavy with good will go to the gardens of delights.

Whoever’s scale of deeds is heavy with evil, for them is the burning fire of endless pain and suffering where its inhabitants will neither live nor will they die, a suffering that will only increase eternally. Death will approach them from every side, but they will not die.

“Bear in mind that the present life is just a game, a diversion, an attraction, a cause of boasting among you, of rivalry in wealth and children. It is like plants that spring up after the rain: their growth at first delights the sowers, but then you see them wither away, turn yellow, and become stubble. There is terrible punishment in the next life as well as forgiveness and approval from God; the life of this world is only an illusory pleasure. (The Qur’an Chapter 57 , Verse 20)

Think about it.

Where would you want to spend your eternity?

The Day of Judgement is true

Hellfire is true

Paradise is true

This is the certain truth

…but the life of the world distracts you!


Source: onereason.org

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Ethics & Values New Muslims

Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the Deluding Behavior of Man

By Dr. Ahmad Al-Khalidi

Man’s Free Will

During the Coronavirus (COVID-19), the world realized that there is an absolute power that manages the whole world.

Allah (God) created Man and endowed him with the freedom of choice. So, unlike angels, who cannot disobey Allah (Exalted be He), Man can choose and decide what way to follow or what deed to do; however, he is responsible to Allah for what he does or for what he chooses whether good or evil.

Thus, Man will either be rewarded for his good deeds or punished as a result of his evil deeds. Nevertheless, Allah, the Most Merciful, does not leave Man without help or guidance.

He (Exalted be He) sends Messengers and Prophets to Mankind throughout Man-history to guide and enjoin them to follow the right path that leads to the pleasure of Allah and ultimately to Paradise, at the same time to warn Man against wrongdoing that may lead him to the wrath of Allah and eventually to torture in Hell.

Life Is a Test

If we trace Mankind history in this world, we notice that Allah (Exalted be He) tests Man by evil and by good.  We read in the Quran what means:

Every soul shall have a taste of death: and We test you by evil and by good by way of trial. to Us must you return. (Quran 21:35)

So, Allah blesses Man with the blessings of hearing, sight, and heart as well as so many blessings such as health and wealth to see if Man feels grateful or ungrateful to his Lord.

Allah says:

Say: “It is He Who has created you (and made you grow), and made for you the faculties of hearing, seeing, feeling and understanding: little thanks it is ye give. (Quran 67:23)

Trials and Tribulations

Likewise, Allah (Exalted be He) puts Man in clear and evident trials such as diseases, fear, hunger, loss of dear persons or loss of properties throughout lifetime to see if Man remembers his Lord, refuges to Him and seeks relief from Him or he forgets about his Lord depending only on his poor potentials. Allah says:

Be sure we shall test you with something of fear and hunger, some loss in goods or lives or the fruits (of your toil), but give glad tidings to those who patiently persevere, Who say, when afflicted with calamity: “To Allah We belong, and to Him is our return”: They are those on whom (Descend) blessings from Allah, and Mercy, and they are the ones that receive guidance. (Quran 2:155-157)

However, if Man passes these tests successfully through patience, gratitude, repentance and submission to His Creator, he, in this case, is successful and deserves guidance as well as the pleasure of his Lord.

On the other hand, if Man shows ingratitude to his Lord, challenge to His Will, and disobedience to His commands; he, in this case, shall be exposed to severer trials and ultimately to his Lord’s anger that may lead to his obliteration.

Man’s Ingratitude

Unfortunately, unlike believers, Man, in general, is often ungrateful to his Lord. Although Allah (Exalted be He) saves him from danger and destruction; he forgets his Lord’s Mercy and bounty, and instead of being thankful to Him, he shows ingratitude and wrongdoing.

That is why, when Man practices misconduct and betrayal like that; unluckily, he tastes its painful consequences during his lifetime before he tastes them in the Hereafter. Allah says:

When We make mankind taste of some mercy after adversity has touched them, behold! they take to plotting against Our Signs! Say: “Swifter to plan is Allah!” Verily, Our messengers record all the plots that you make! (Quran 10:21)

When Man is surrounded with danger, he supplicates the Almighty (Exalted be He) to save him from that danger promising Allah to be grateful and thankful for His Majesty. However, when he is saved and feels safe, he commits wrongdoing and transgresses himself forgetting his Lord’s favor upon him.

Allah says:

He it is Who enables you to traverse through land and sea; so that ye even board ships;- they sail with them with a favorable wind, and they rejoice thereat; then comes a stormy wind and the waves come to them from all sides, and they think they are being overwhelmed: they cry unto Allah, sincerely offering (their) duty unto Him saying, “If thou dost deliver us from this, we shall truly show our gratitude!”

But when he delivers them, behold! they transgress insolently through the earth in defiance of right! O mankind! your insolence is against your own souls,- an enjoyment of the life of the present: in the end, to Us is your return, and We shall show you the truth of all that ye did. (Quran 10:22-23)

Breaking Promises

This is the deluding nature of Man. As soon as he is saved by his Lord; he, being conning, does not keep his promise to his Lord Who saves him from danger and bestows blessings upon him.

On the contrary, he turns into a wrongdoer on the earth forgetting all his undertakings and pleas to Allah (Exalted be He) in time of danger thinking that he is quite safe from risk and he is no more in need to his Lord’s mercy and help.

Has not the ungrateful Man got that his Lord Who saves him from danger is able to place him again into risk where he shall find no protector nor helper to him except his Lord. Has not the obstinate and unwise man realized that Allah is capable in this case to destroy him as a punishment for his ingratitude.

Allah says:

When distress seizes you at sea, those that ye call upon – besides Himself – leave you in the lurch! but when He brings you back safe to land, you turn away (from Him). Most ungrateful is man

Do you then feel secure that He will not cause you to be swallowed up beneath the earth when ye are on land, or that He will not send against you a violent tornado (with showers of stones) so that ye shall find no one to carry out your affairs for you?

Or do you feel secure that He will not send you back a second time to sea and send against you a heavy gale to drown you because of your ingratitude, so that ye find no helper. Therein against Us? (Quran 17:67–69)

Conclusion

Strange is this human being! He does not remember Allah unless he is at a life-threatening situation; yet, he rarely returns to his innate pure nature, and cleans it from impurities and corruption except at time of distress, and as soon as he feels safe he either forgets his supplications and assurances to His Lord or becomes an ungrateful transgressor excluding the believer or the straightforward person whose innate nature is still alive, sound and always washed up with faith.

Nowadays, the whole world with all its various or different categories: the rich and the poor, the powerful and the weak, the easterner and the westerner, the progressive and the backward, they are all exposed to the same threat. That is why so many people all over the world have started to think of the absolute power that controls the whole world. So many apostates and unbelievers have started to look for the truth and they have realized through the evident universal signs and the current epidemic of Coronavirus (COVID-19) that there is an absolute power that manages the whole world. They realized that the super human powers stand unable to defend themselves against the Devine will of the Creator of the Universe.

Likewise, most people have realized that whatever Man plots, nothing takes place in this world except in accordance to what Allah the Almighty wills. Accordingly, so many non-Muslims have believed in the Oneness of the Creator who governs the whole world. They have believed in Allah and adopted the religion of Islam that calls for the Oneness of Allah the Almighty the Wise Who has neither a partner nor a son.


About the author:

Dr. Ahmad Muhammad Al khalidi is Researcher and translator, E L teacher and lecturer, an old member in the Islam Presentation Committee (IPC), Kuwait.

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FEATURED New Muslims

The Beginning of Salvation Is to Reflect on the Signs of the Quran

By Abu Zakariya

The Importance of Reason in Finding the Truth

“This is the Scripture in which there is no doubt, containing guidance for those who are mindful of God…” (Quran 2:2)

No one wants to dedicate their entire lives to a particular religion, philosophy or way of life only to find out when we die that we were wrong.

We only get one shot, we have only been given one life, and so the stakes are very high. The only way that we may find the truth about God, or anything for that matter, is to approach it objectively.

Other religions tell you to believe and not to think or question. The Qur’an is unique because it tells us that we must think and question so that we can reason our way to the truth.

The Qur’an constantly encourages its reader to think and reflect:

“Then do they not reflect upon the Qur’an, or are there locks upon [their] hearts?” (Quran 47:24)

Revelation can only benefit us if we reflect upon it, and the fact that God endowed every one of us with the ability
to reason is evidence that He does not want us to be blind followers.

The Qur’an in fact, admonishes those who follow blindly:

“Indeed, the worst of living creatures in the sight of God are the deaf and dumb who do not use reason.” (Quran 8:22)

If we reason about the nature of revelation, then what qualities would you expect to find in a book from God?

Would you not expect it to transcend human works?

If the work of God could not be distinguished from human works, then how could we be expected to distinguish truth from falsehood and identify God’s guidance?

The Qur’an is full of signs that it is the truth of God:

“We shall show them Our signs in every region of the earth and in themselves, until it becomes clear to them that this is the Truth…” (Quran 41:53)

Let us reflect on the different aspects of the Qur’an: its concept of God, preservation, timeless relevancy, literary features, structure, accurate future prophecy, revealing lost knowledge from history, the fact that it cannot be imitated and its impact on society.[i]

When a work excels in just one of these areas, they are rightly hailed as a masterpiece and revered across generations. What should we make of the Qur’an, a book that has achieved the inhuman feat of excelling in every area that it touches upon?
Muslims do not just believe that the Qur’an is from God based on blind faith. The Qur’an is a living miracle, one that we can all experience for ourselves just by opening it up and reading it.

As we have seen, the Qur’an challenges its reader and engages our intellect by providing many testable and verifiable proofs of its divine origin. Moreover, we should think about the purpose of these different aspects of the Qur’an. Are they present for the sake of our entertainment, or is there a grander and more meaningful purpose behind
them?

Each verse of the Qur’an is intended as a sign for mankind. Instead of viewing these different signs that we have focused on as isolated, unrelated wonders, we should look at their accumulated effect.

We should peer up to admire the sheer scale of this tower of evidence. This is a compass that points us to the heavens, and that is exactly what the Qur’an is – a guide for mankind:

“This is the Scripture in which there is no doubt, containing guidance for those who are mindful of God…” (Quran 2:2)


[i] These aspects are discussed in the author’s book.


The article is an excerpt from the author’s book “The Eternal Challenge: A Journey Through The Miraculous Qur’an” with some modifications.

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Ethics & Values New Muslims

Who Is the First Anti-Racist in Human History?

By Dr. Craig Considine

This video presents the story of the first anti-racist, from the 7th century, who set in motion universal principles that forever changed the discourse on racial equality.

Transcript

Bilal ibn Rabah was born into slavery, a condition that was compounded after he became one of the first believers to follow the teachings of Prophet Muhammad.

Bilal’s father was an Arab slave and his mother was a former princess of modern day Ethiopia, who was also enslaved.

Bilal was ruled by a master, who punished him for his conversion to Islam. He dragged Bilal around Makkah, encouraging people to mock him. He even tried to force him to renounce his faith by placing a large rock on his chest and pinning him on the ground.

But far from renouncing his faith, Bilal showed a defiance and strength in the face of persecution and violence.

Impressed by Bilal’s steadfastness to the Islamic faith, Prophet Muhammad sent one of his closest friends, Abu Bakr, to pay for Bilal’s freedom.

Bilal, the Muezzin of the Prophet Muhammad (God Bless Him and Grant Him Peace)

Once freed, Bilal rose to prominence in the early Muslim community. Prophet Muhammad appointed him to serve the mosque by using his melodious voice to call the believers to prayer.

Bilal was a black man, and, for some, his blackness made him unfit for such an honor.

On one occasion, a companion of the Prophet, a man named Abu Dhar, disparagingly said to Bilal, “You, son of a black woman.”

This drew a swift rebuke from Prophet Muhammad.

“Are you taunting him about his black mother?” asked the Prophet. “There is still some influence of ignorance in you.”

The ignorance the Prophet identified was rooted in the misguided view that a person’s race reflects his or her moral character or social status.

In fact, the Prophet Muhammad’s message of racial equality stood in stark contrast to the prevalent racial animosities of 7th century Arabia.

Scholars refer to the period prior to the advent of Islam as Jahiliyyah, a time of ignorance, which included racism.

The First Declaration of Racial Equality

Arguably, Prophet Muhammad was the first person in human history to declare, in no uncertain terms, that no person is above another by virtue of race or ethnicity.

This declaration is crystallized in one of the Prophet’s notable speeches: His Last Sermon, as it is known, which was delivered on Mount Arafat in 632 A.D.

In that sermon, the Prophet Muhammad unequivocally condemned racism when he said:

“All mankind is descended from Adam and Eve. An Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab. And a non-Arab has no superiority over an Arab. A white person has no superiority over a black person, nor a black person has any superiority over a white person, except by piety and good action.”

Ever since then, Prophet Muhammad’s teachings on racial equality have inspired human beings to strive for racial equality and justice for all.

Malcolm X’s Life-Changing Journey to Mecca

Consider the life of el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz, more commonly known as Malcolm X, the black, Muslim civil rights leader who battled racism in the 1950s and 1960s.

After performing the Hajj, or Islamic pilgrimage, to the city of Makkah, Malcolm wrote his famous letter from Makkah in which he said:

“There were tens of thousands of pilgrims from all over the world. They were of all colors, from blue eyed blondes, to black skinned Africans. But we were all participating in the same ritual, displaying a spirit of unity and brotherhood that my experiences in America had led me to believe never could exist between the white and the non-white.”

He added that he had never before seen sincere and true brotherhood practiced by all colors together, irrespective of their color.

The Hajj, for Malcolm, represented a shift away from racism and towards racial equality.

Striving Towards Anti-racism

The teachings of Prophet Muhammad encouraged all people to strive towards anti-racism, which is quite different than simply non-racism.

While non-racists do not openly express prejudiced views, they also do not work to dismantle racism in any given society.

The Prophet of Islam actively challenged and dismantled the covert, the overt, and the systematic racism around him. He identified racism as a symptom and identified its root cause as arrogance in the human heart.

As our world becomes more and more diverse and interconnected, it is imperative that we strive to follow the teachings of Prophet Muhammad.

I am not a Muslim myself, but I have to say that I am deeply inspired by the anti-racism of Prophet Muhammad, because he showed that a person is distinguished over another not by race, but, rather, by the quality of one’s character and conduct.

I am Craig Considine for the Emir Stein Center.

 


About the author:

Dr. Craig Considine is a scholar, professor, global speaker, and media contributor based at the Department of Sociology at Rice University. He is the author of The Humanity of Muhammad: A Christian View (Blue Dome Press, 2020), and Islam in America: Exploring the Issues (ABC-CLIO 2019), among others.

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Acts of Worship New Muslims

Performing the `Eid Prayer at Home Due to Coronavirus COVID-19, Allowed?

By Editorial Staff

May Allah accept our good deeds.
Eid Mubarak

`Eid al-Fitr (festival of fast-breaking) and `Eid al-Ad-ha (festival of sacrifice) are the two main festivals in Islam.

There are certain acts of worship and recommendable things that Muslims should observe on those days to express their gratitude to Allah.  Among these acts of worship is the ‘Eid prayer. Allah says,

“Rather, (He wills) for you to complete the number (of prescribed days) _ and that you shall extol God for (the blessing of faith to) which He has guided you, so that you may give thanks (to Him alone for easing its way and establishing you therein).” (Quran 2: 185)

The Legal Ruling Regarding the `Eid Prayer

Scholars hold different opinions concerning performing the `Eid prayer. There are three rulings as follows:

1. Individually Obligatory

This means that every Muslim must perform it. This is the opinion of Imam Abu Hanifah and Ibn Taimiyah. They quoted the following Hadith to support their opinion:

Umm ‘Atiyya reported: The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) commanded us to bring out on `Eid al-Fitr (festival of fast-breaking) and `Eid al-Ad-ha (festival of sacrifice) young women, menstruating women and purdah-observing ladies, menstruating women kept back from prayer, but participated in goodness and supplication of the Muslims. I said: Messenger of Allah, one of us does not have an outer garment (to cover her face and body). He said: Let her sister cover her with her outer garment. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

They interpret the commandment in the hadith to mean obligation. Although it is not obligatory for women to perform the prayer in congregation, the Prophet (peace be upon him) ordered them to witness the `Eid prayer. This, in turn, means that it is obligatory for men.

2. Collectively Obligatory

This means that the `Eid prayer must be performed. Here, not every single person falls under the obligation but a group can perform the obligation on behalf of others.

This opinion is, however, not that strong. If the `Eid prayer is collectively obligatory, women won’t fall under the obligation which is in contradiction with the above mentioned Hadith.

3. Sunnah or Recommended

If we take the following Hadith into consideration, we can understand the commandment in the above mentioned hadith to mean recommendation. This is the opinion of the majority of the scholars.

A man from Najd with unkempt hair came to Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) and we heard his loud voice but could not understand what he was saying, till he came near and then we came to know that he was asking about Islam. Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “You have to offer prayers perfectly five times in a day and night (24 hours).” The man asked, “Is there any more (praying)?” Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) replied, “No, but if you want to offer the Nawafil (voluntary) prayers (you can).” … And then that man retreated saying, “By Allah! I will neither do less nor more than this.” Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “If what he said is true, then he will be successful (i.e. he will be granted Paradise).”  (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

When to Perform the `Eid Prayer?

The `Eid prayer has the same time as Duha prayer. Duha means the morning sunshine. In the technical usage it refers to a specific time that starts about 10 or 15 minutes after the sunrise and finishes 10 or 15 minutes before the Dhuhr (noon) prayer or before it’s high noon i.e. when the sun starts to move from its highest point in the sky towards the direction of the sunset.

Where to Perform the `Eid Prayer?

The original legal ruling is that it is recommended to perform the `Eid prayer in the open, namely, outside mosques in a wide place. The Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) and his Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) used to perform it in the desert.

Is It Allowed to Perform the `Eid Prayer at Home Due to Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic?

In their reply to this legal issue, AMJA Resident Fatwa Committee issued the following legal ruling:

The`Eid prayer is one of the obvious symbols of Islam. The scholars’ rulings on it vary, deeming it a communal obligation, an individual obligation, or at least a highly stressed sunnah.

Because that which is easy is not voided due to difficulty, so long as it is possible, even in the most stringent of circumstances, it should not be neglected.

Similar to the Jumu’ah (Friday) prayer, which is performed within its permitted framework, even if only by the masjid administration, so too should the `Eid prayer be performed.

The issue of performing the `Eid prayer at home for those who missed it in congregation is rather lenient.

While the khutbah is a condition of validity for Jumu’ah, it is a recommendation (not mandatory) for both `Eids. This is supported by the narration of ʿAbdullāh b. al-Sa’ib who said, “I attended the Eid with Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) and he said, ‘We are going to deliver a sermon, so whoever wants to sit for the sermon should sit, and whoever wants to leave should leave’.” Therefore, neither the khutbah nor listening to it is a requirement of the Eid prayer.

Though the Friday prayer should be primarily performed in the masjid, the `Eidprayer is primarily performed outdoors, in an open space outside of the masjid.

Because of that, the majority of the jurists, with the exception of the Hanafis, have declared it permissible to perform it at home for whoever missed it in congregation. It has been narrated on the authority of Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) that if he missed the `Eid prayer with the imam, he would gather his family and servants, and ʿAbdullāh b. Abi Utbah would lead them in two rak’at, making takbir.

Al-Muzani related from al-Shāfi’i (may Allah have mercy on him) in Mukhtasar al-Umm, that “the individual should pray both `Eids in their home, and so should the traveler, the bondservant, and the woman.”

According to the Malikis, al-Khurashy, a Maliki jurist, said, “It is recommended for whoever misses the `Eid prayer with the imam to pray it. Should that be done in a congregation or alone? There are two opinions” (summarized from Sharh al-Khurashi, 2/104).

Al-Mardawi, a Hanbali jurist, said in al-Insaf, “If they miss the prayer (meaning `Eid) it is recommended to make it up in the manner it is normally prayed (just as the imam prays it).”

The fatwa of the Permanent Committee in Saudi Arabia is based on this.

Accordingly, there is no harm in performing the `Eid prayer at home, individually or in (one’s household) congregation, for those who miss the `Eid prayer in congregation or are unable to perform it in congregation due to some constraint.

There is also nothing wrong with listening to a sermon on TV, online, and so on, after performing the `Eidprayer at home, either alone or in a private congregation, as a general reminder; because general reminders are permitted regardless of the time or setting.

How to Perform the `Eid Prayer?

The `Eid Prayer is two rak’ahs (units of prayer).

First, you make the intention in your heart for the `Eid Prayer.

Second, while facing the Qibla (direction of the Ka`bah), start your prayer with the Opening Takbir (saying Allahu Akbar).

Third, recite the opening supplication. There are a few authentic supplications. However, the most authentic supplication in this regard is the following:

‘Allahumma, baa`id baini wa baina khatayaya kama baa`adta baina l-mashriqi wa l-maghrib.

Allahumma naqqini min khatayaya kama yunaqqa th-thawbu l-abyadu mina d-danas.

Allahumma ighsil khatayaya bi l-maa’i wa th-thalji wa l-barad

(O Allah! Set me apart from my sins (faults) as the East and West are set apart from each other and clean me from sins as a white garment is cleaned of dirt (after thorough washing). O Allah! Wash off my sins with water, snow and hail.)”

Fourth, recite the recommended extra takbirs (saying Allahu Akbar). There are many divergent opinions regarding the number of the extra takbirs. However, all the opinions are acceptable according to Imam Ahmad. The majority of scholars including the shafi’i school of fiqh are of the view that you say takbir seven times. Acoording to Maliki and Hanbali schools, the number of the extra takbirs is six. It is also recommended to raise your hands to your shoulder or ears level while saying the extra takbirs. If you make a mistake or forget any of the extra takbirs, the prayer is valid.

Fifth, recite Surat Al-Fatihah (the Opening chapter of the Quran), then Surat Al-A’la (The Most High).

Six, complete the first rak’ah as you do in your usual prayer i.e. to perform ruku’ (bowing) and sujud (prostration two times) then stand up for the second rak’ah while saying Allahu Akbar.

Seventh, recite the extra takbir for the second rak’ah. This time the number of takbirs is five not including takbir while standing for the second rak’ah.

Eighth, recite Surat Al-Fatihah, then Surat Al-Ghashiyah (The Whelming).

Ninth, Complete the `Eid Prayer as you do in usual prayer.

Some Recommended Acts of the Day of `Eid

1. Eating before `Eid Prayer on `Eid Al-Fitr

On `Eid al-Fitr, it is recommended to eat dates or something else if there are not any dates before performing the prayer. This shows how obedient Muslims are in hastening to fulfill Allah’s commands by breaking the fast.

Narrated Anas bin Malik: Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) never proceeded (for the prayer) on the Day of `Eid al-Fitr unless he had eaten some dates. Anas also narrated: The Prophet (ﷺ) used to eat odd number of dates.

2. Reciting Takbir in a Loud Voice

Allah says,

“Rather, (He wills) for you to complete the number (of prescribed days) _ and that you shall extol God for (the blessing of faith to) which He has guided you, so that you may give thanks (to Him alone for easing its way and establishing you therein).” (Quran 2: 185)

‘Extol God’ means to say takbir. The majority of scholars are of the opinion that the time for takbir on `Eid al-Fitr starts from after the dawn prayer until the time for performing the `Eid prayer. Others say that it starts immediately after seeing the new moon of the month of Shawwal.

There are many forms of takbir. The following is one of the most famous:

Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar,

laa ilaha ill-Allah,

wa Allahu akbar, Allah akbar, wa Lillaah il-hamd

(Allah is the Most Great, Allah is the Most Great, there is no god but Allah, Allah is the Most Great, Allah is the Most Great, and for Allah is all praise).

3. Offering Congratulations

People may offer congratulations through phone calls and messages, etc. Different expressions can be used here such as ‘may Allah accept our and your good deeds’ or `Eid Mubarak’ (I wish you a blessed `Eid), etc.

Soucre Link
Categories
Acts of Worship New Muslims

Performing the ‘Eid Prayer at Home Due to Coronavirus COVID-19, Allowed?

By Editorial Staff

May Allah accept our and your good deeds. Eid Mubarak!

‘Eid al-Fitr (festival of fast-breaking) and ‘Eid al-Ad-ha (festival of sacrifice) are the two main festivals in Islam.

There are certain acts of worship and etiquette Muslims should observe on those days to express their gratitude to Allah.  Among these acts of worship is the ‘Eid prayer. Allah says,

“Rather, (He wills) for you to complete the number (of prescribed days) _ and that you shall extol God for (the blessing of faith to) which He has guided you, so that you may give thanks (to Him alone for easing its way and establishing you therein).” (Quran 2: 185)

The Legal Ruling Regarding the `Eid Prayer

Scholars hold different opinions concerning performing the ‘Eid prayer. There are three rulings as follows:

1. Individually Obligatory

This means that every Muslim must perform it. This is the opinion of Imam Abu Hanifah and Shaikh al-Islam Ibn Taimiyah. They quoted the following Hadith to support their opinion:

Umm ‘Atiyya reported: The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) commanded us to bring out on ‘Eid al-Fitr (festival of fast-breaking) and ‘Eid al-Ad-ha (festival of sacrifice) young women, menstruating women and purdah-observing ladies, menstruating women kept back from prayer, but participated in goodness and supplication of the Muslims. I said: Messenger of Allah, one of us does not have an outer garment (to cover her face and body). He said: Let her sister cover her with her outer garment. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

They interpret the commandment in the hadith to mean obligation. Although it is not obligatory for women to perform the prayer in congregation, the Prophet (peace be upon him) ordered them to witness the ‘Eid prayer. This, in turn, means that it is obligatory for men.

2. Collectively Obligatory

This means that the ‘Eid prayer must be performed. Here, not every single person falls under the obligation. A group can perform the obligation on behalf of others.

This opinion is, however, not that strong. If the ‘Eid prayer is collectively obligatory, women won’t fall under the obligation which is in contradiction with the above mentioned Hadith.

3. Sunnah or Recommended

If we take the following Hadith into consideration, we can understand the commandment in the above mentioned hadith to mean recommendation. This is the opinion of the majority of the scholars.

A man from Najd with unkempt hair came to Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) and we heard his loud voice but could not understand what he was saying, till he came near and then we came to know that he was asking about Islam. Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “You have to offer prayers perfectly five times in a day and night (24 hours).” The man asked, “Is there any more (praying)?” Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) replied, “No, but if you want to offer the Nawafil (voluntary) prayers (you can).” … And then that man retreated saying, “By Allah! I will neither do less nor more than this.” Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “If what he said is true, then he will be successful (i.e. he will be granted Paradise).”  (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

When to Perform the ‘Eid Prayer?

The ‘Eid prayer has the same time as Duha prayer. Duha means the morning sunshine. In the technical usage it refers to a specific time that starts about 10 or 15 minutes after the sunrise and finishes 10 or 15 minutes before the Dhuhr (noon) prayer or before it’s high noon i.e. when the sun starts to move from its highest point in the sky towards the direction of the sunset.

Where to Perform the ‘Eid Prayer?

The original legal ruling is that it is recommended to perform the ‘Eid prayer in the open, namely, outside mosques in a wide place. The Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) and his Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) used to perform it in the desert.

Is It Allowed to Perform the ‘Eid Prayer at Home Due to Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic?

In their reply to this legal issue, AMJA Resident Fatwa Committee issued the following legal ruling:

The Eid prayer is one of the obvious symbols of Islam. The scholars’ rulings on it vary, deeming it a communal obligation, an individual obligation, or at least a highly stressed sunnah.

Because that which is easy is not voided due to difficulty, so long as it is possible, even in the most stringent of circumstances, it should not be neglected.

Similar to the Jumu’ah (Friday) prayer, which is performed within its permitted framework, even if only by the masjid administration, so too should the Eid prayer be performed.

The issue of performing the Eid prayer at home for those who missed it in congregation is rather lenient.

While the khutbah is a condition of validity for Jumu’ah, it is a recommendation (not mandatory) for both Eids. This is supported by the narration of ʿAbdullāh b. al-Sa’ib who said, “I attended the Eid with Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) and he said, ‘We are going to deliver a sermon, so whoever wants to sit for the sermon should sit, and whoever wants to leave should leave’.” Therefore, neither the khutbah nor listening to it is a requirement of the Eid prayer.

Though the Friday prayer should be primarily performed in the masjid, the Eid prayer is primarily performed outdoors, in an open space outside of the masjid.

Because of that, the majority of the jurists, with the exception of the Hanafis, have declared it permissible to perform it at home for whoever missed it in congregation. It has been narrated on the authority of Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) that if he missed the Eid prayer with the imam, he would gather his family and servants, and ʿAbdullāh b. Abi Utbah would lead them in two rak’at, making takbir.

Al-Muzani related from al-Shāfi’i (may Allah have mercy on him) in Mukhtasar al-Umm, that “the individual should pray both Eids in their home, and so should the traveler, the bondservant, and the woman.”

According to the Malikis, al-Khurashy, a Maliki jurist, said, “It is recommended for whoever misses the Eid prayer with the imam to pray it. Should that be done in a congregation or alone? There are two opinions” (summarized from Sharh al-Khurashi, 2/104).

Al-Mardawi, a Hanbali jurist, said in al-Insaf, “If they miss the prayer (meaning Eid) it is recommended to make it up in the manner it is normally prayed (just as the imam prays it).”

The fatwa of the Permanent Committee in Saudi Arabia is based on this.

Accordingly, there is no harm in performing the Eid prayer at home, individually or in (one’s household) congregation, for those who miss the Eid prayer in congregation or are unable to perform it in congregation due to some constraint.

There is also nothing wrong with listening to a sermon on TV, online, and so on, after performing the Eid prayer at home, either alone or in a private congregation, as a general reminder; because general reminders are permitted regardless of the time or setting.

How to Perform the ‘Eid Prayer?

The ‘Eid Prayer is two rak’ahs (units of prayer).

First, you make the intention in your heart for the ‘Eid Prayer.

Second, while facing the Qibla (direction of the Ka`bah), start your prayer with the Opening Takbir (saying Allahu Akbar).

Third, recite the opening supplication. There are a few authentic supplications. However, the most authentic supplication in this regard is the following:

‘Allahumma, baa`id baini wa baina khatayaya kama baa`adta baina l-mashriqi wa l-maghrib.

Allahumma naqqini min khatayaya kama yunaqqa th-thawbu l-abyadu mina d-danas.

Allahumma ighsil khatayaya bi l-maa’i wa th-thalji wa l-barad

(O Allah! Set me apart from my sins (faults) as the East and West are set apart from each other and clean me from sins as a white garment is cleaned of dirt (after thorough washing). O Allah! Wash off my sins with water, snow and hail.)”

Fourth, recite the recommended extra takbirs (saying Allahu Akbar). There are many divergent opinions regarding the number of the extra takbirs. However, all the opinions are acceptable according to Imam Ahmad. The majority of scholars including the shafi’i school of fiqh are of the view that you say takbir seven times. Acoording to Maliki and Hanbali schools, the number of the extra takbirs is six. It is also recommended to raise your hands to your shoulder or ears level while saying the extra takbirs. If you make a mistake or forget any of the extra takbirs, the prayer is valid.

Fifth, recite Surat Al-Fatihah (the Opening chapter of the Quran), then Surat Al-A’la (The Most High).

Six, complete the first rak’ah as you do in your usual prayer i.e. to perform ruku’ (bowing) and sujud (prostration two times) then stand up for the second rak’ah while saying Allahu Akbar.

Seventh, recite the extra takbir for the second rak’ah. This time the number of takbirs is five not including takbir while standing for the second rak’ah.

Eighth, recite Surat Al-Fatihah, then Surat Al-Ghashiyah (The Whelming).

Ninth, Complete the ‘Eid Prayer as you do in usual prayer.

Some Recommended Acts of the Day of ‘Eid

1. Eating before ‘Eid Prayer on ‘Eid Al-Fitr

On ‘Eid al-Fitr, it is recommended to eat dates or something else if there are not any dates before performing the prayer. This shows how obedient Muslims are in hastening to fulfill Allah’s commands by breaking the fast.

Narrated Anas bin Malik: Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) never proceeded (for the prayer) on the Day of ‘Eid al-Fitr unless he had eaten some dates. Anas also narrated: The Prophet (ﷺ) used to eat odd number of dates.

2. Reciting Takbir in a Loud Voice

Allah says,

“Rather, (He wills) for you to complete the number (of prescribed days) _ and that you shall extol God for (the blessing of faith to) which He has guided you, so that you may give thanks (to Him alone for easing its way and establishing you therein).” (Quran 2: 185)

‘Extol God’ means to say takbir. The majority of scholars are of the opinion that the time for takbir on ‘Eid al-Fitr starts from after the dawn prayer until the time for performing the ‘Eid prayer. Others say that it starts immediately after seeing the new moon of the month of Shawwal.

There are many forms of takbir. The following is one of the most famous:

Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar,

laa ilaha ill-Allah,

wa Allahu akbar, Allah akbar, wa Lillaah il-hamd

(Allah is the Most Great, Allah is the Most Great, there is no god but Allah, Allah is the Most Great, Allah is the Most Great, and for Allah is all praise).

3. Offering Congratulations

People may offer congratulations through phone calls and messages, etc. Different expressions can be used here such as ‘may Allah accept our and your good deeds’ or ‘Eid Mubarak’ (I wish you a blessed ‘Eid), etc.

Soucre Link