Categories
ABC's of Islam New Muslims

Islam: Guidance to the Straight Path

Description of the Straight Path

Religious guidance is the greatest gift that a person can possess. It is something that we do not control or own, but rather it is bestowed upon us.

Muslims plead to be guided to the straight path at least seventeen times a day while reciting Surat Al-Fatihah (the first chapter of the Qur’an) in the five daily prayers. How many of us have reflected on the nature of this guidance and the path that we are supposed to be upon?

“Guide us” (Ihdina)

In Arabic the word hidayah does not simply mean guidance, but it means to guide gently. The word “gift” (hadiyyah) in Arabic also comes from the same root letters as the word for guidance (hidayah). Religious guidance is the greatest gift that a person can possess. It is also something that we do not control or own, but rather it is bestowed upon us in an act of infinite mercy and grace of Allah (Exalted is He).

Notice how it is in the plural- not ‘guide me’ but “guide us”. This instills in us a sense of brotherhood by making this request on behalf of fellow Muslims, especially as we stand in prayer as a group.

Types of Hidayah Mentioned in the Qur’an

There are four types of hidayah mentioned in the Qur’an, according to (Ibn Al-Qayyim).

1- General hidayah that is given to all creation. This type of guidance and knowledge is given by Allah to all created things. By this guidance, animals, plants and even inanimate objects fulfill the purpose for which they were created. This also includes the general intellect, wits and inherent intuitive knowledge given to all responsible beings regardless of their faith. This is referred to in the following verse:

He said, “Our Lord is He Who gave each thing its form and then guided (it)”. (Ta-Ha 20:50)

2- Hidayah that is in the form of explanation and education by way of defining the two paths of good and evil. It is when someone guides you by explaining that which is good and warns you from that which is evil according to Islam. This is the type of hidayah referred to in this verse::

And indeed, (O Muhammad), you guide to a straight path. (Ash-Shura 42:52)

3- Hidayah that is tawfiq (a specific type of divine guidance) and inspiration (ilham) from Allah to be guided to the truth of iman (faith), Islam (submission), etc. The following verses refer to this type.

…Thus does Allah leave astray whom He wills and guides whom He wills. (Al-Muddaththir 74:31)

No disaster strikes except by permission of Allah. And whoever believes in Allah He will guide his heart. And Allah is Knowing of all things. (At-Taghabun 64:11)

4- Hidayah that is in the next life, by which one shall be guided to Paradise.

And We will have removed whatever is within their breasts of resentment, (while) flowing beneath them are rivers. And they will say, “Praise to Allah, who has guided us to this”. (Al-A`raf 7:43)

Each one of the above types of hidayah has a sequential connection and relationship. Without the first level of guidance you will not have the capacity to attain the second and without the second you cannot attain the third and fourth levels.

We have absolutely no power to guide anyone using any of the above types of guidance except for the second type of hidayah that is explanation and education.  This type of guidance is what is referred to in the following verses.

And indeed, (O Muhammad), you guide to a straight path. (Ash-Shura 42:52)

You are only a warner, and for every people is a guide. (Ar-Ra`d 13:7)

The remaining types of guidance, particularly the third type which is tawfiq from Allah to have iman, are what are referred to in the following verse of the Qur’an, again addressing the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him):

Indeed, (O Muhammad), you do not guide whom you like, but Allah guides whom He wills. And He is most knowing of the (rightly) guided. (Al-Qasas 28:56)

In other words even the Prophets cannot guide whom they choose to become believers in the sense of actually putting faith in a person’s heart.  They can only guide in terms of explanation, exhortation, clarification and instruction regarding the truth.

The first lesson here is that we should seek guidance in every matter with Allah first and foremost before turning to others. Secondly, it should humble those of us who are inviting or ‘guiding’ others to Islam to acknowledge and internalize the fact that we have no real power over this matter, and that true guidance is the sole dominion of Allah, the ‘turner of the hearts’.

However, that should not make us despair of the work we do, for which our reward is with Allah. But rather it should increase our confidence in inviting others knowing that the result is not dependent on ‘my da`wah’ or speech, which is full of weakness and defects, but is in the hands of Allah Who can instantly change the hearts of the most wicked and tyrannical into the most pure and righteous.

The Ten Levels of Guidance

A Muslim may question why he or she has to ask for guidance at least seventeen times a day whilst they have already been guided to Islam. Scholars have explained that it is because firstly we ask for constancy (thabat) on guidance and secondly because there are so many levels and aspects of guidance that we are in need of in every detail of our daily life.

The following will help to clarify. For example, there are a further ten levels of guidance that need to be attained for one to be truly guided. (Ibn Al-Qayyim)

Therefore one should bear in mind when asking for guidance that one is asking Allah to:

1- Be granted guidance of knowledge and clarity, in order for one to know and reach the truth.

2- For the capacity to be guided

3- Make one desirous of guidance

4- Make one act upon the guidance

5- Make one remain steadfast on guidance

6- Remove all barriers and obstructions that impede guidance

7- Be granted a distinctive and detailed level of guidance on the path itself and its stations

8- Be granted sight of one’s ultimate goal along the path, to be alerted to it so that one can perceive it on the journey, catching sight of it without being blocked from seeing it.

9- Make one aware of one’s own destitution and desperate need for guidance (from Allah) over and above all other necessities.

10- Make one see the two misguided paths that veer off from the path of guidance; firstly the path of the people of wrath- those who intentionally, out of rebellion, turned away from following the truth; secondly the path of the people of misguidance- those who turned away out of ignorance and misguidance. One then sees the straight path upon which are all the Prophets and Messengers (peace be upon them) along with their followers from the truthful (siddiqeen), the martyrs and the righteous.

We are instructed by Allah to ask for guidance to the straight path (as-sirat al-mustaqim). What then is the nature of this path?

Description of the Straight Path

In the language of the Arabs a path (sirat) needs to possess five qualities for it to be called a sirat. The path needs to be:

1- Straight

2- Easy to travel upon

3- A familiar well-trodden path

4- Wide and spacious

5- Leading one to the desired destination

Since the path that we are asking guidance to is Islam itself, notice and reflect on how these qualities apply to Islam. Islam is straight in that it is a correct and firmly established way, pure and protected from any crookedness or deviation from the truth.  Allah describes those who want to block people on the path of Allah:

…Who averted (people) from the way of Allah and sought to make it (seem) deviant while they were, concerning the Hereafter, disbelievers. (Al-A`raf 7:45)

Islam is also easy as Allah has said:

Allah intends for you ease, and does not want to make things difficult for you, (Al-Baqarah 2:185))

and as the Prophet said, “The deen (Islam/religion) is easy…” (Al-Bukhari).

Allah does not burden a soul beyond its capacity. There will be challenges, temptations and difficulties in living as a Muslim but they are things that we ultimately have the capacity to bear. Everything in Shari`ah (Islamic law) benefits us or wards off harm for us in this world and/or the next.

Islam, which is submission to the commands of Allah, is also a familiar and well-trodden path, the path of all the Prophets and their followers. As Allah says:

And whoever obeys Allah and the Messenger – those will be with the ones upon whom Allah has bestowed favour of the prophets, the steadfast affirmers of truth, the martyrs and the righteous. And excellent are those as companions. (An-Nisaa’ 4:69)

The final, universal revelation of Islam is wide and spacious and accommodates all, regardless of color, race or social status. It is us with our parochial attitudes that restrict the vastness of this path to our favorite ‘saved’ group, way of thinking, sheikh or a specific allegiance that excludes others that Islam hasn’t excluded.

Ibn Majah records that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “I have left you on a (wide, spacious) clear (white) path, its night is like its day, whoever deviates from this after me will be destroyed….”

Indeed, the path of Islam leads to the desired destination, which is Allah’s Pleasure gained by obeying Him. Allah says:

So those who believe in Allah and hold fast to Him – He will admit them to mercy from Himself and bounty and guide them to Himself on a straight path. (An-Nisaa’ 4:175)

You will also notice that the word as-sirat (path) in the surah (chapter) has the definite article “Al”. The definite article is close to the meaning of ‘the’ which renders it ‘the straight path’ in English and has several possible meanings in Arabic. Here it is said that it denotes something definite which is in the mind as well as in reality.

For example, when students waiting for their teacher to arrive say ‘the teacher is late.’ The teacher they are referring to is known amongst them and in their minds they know exactly who they are referring to. In that sense, grammatically, ‘the teacher’ is a definite noun phrase and not an indefinite one. They would not say a teacher is late in this case.

Similarly, in this case, it is a specific and definite known path that we are seeking guidance to. It is the path that Allah has ordained for the people that He has favored, the path that leads to His Pleasure and His Paradise, which is in fact His deen (religion) – besides which nothing is acceptable to Him.

It is said that it is also the path that we intuitively know in the deepest core of our hearts that must exist because as human beings we were affirmed, when we were created, that Allah is our Rabb (Lord).

All praise is to Allah Who has gently guided us to the straight path, described to us with crystal clarity its features and guided us to pray for it every day of our lives.

_________________________

Source: suhaibwebb.com

Soucre Link
Categories
ABC's of Islam New Muslims

Noah and His People: The Flood and the Ark

Noah’s Prayer

Noah's ark

When what Allah willed had happened and the unbelievers were drowned, the rain stopped and the water sank away.

Noah stayed with his people for nine hundred and fifty years, calling them to Allah, but his people would not believe. They would not stop worshipping idols. They refused to return to Allah.

How long could Noah wait? How long could he watch the earth and its people being ruined? How long could he put up with his people worshipping stones? How long could he watch them eat from Allan’s provisions while they worshipped something else?

Why did Noah not get angry? He was more patient than anyone else could have been! Nine hundred and fifty years: Glory be to Allah!

Then Allah revealed to Noah: “None of your people will believe except those who have already believed.” (Hud 11:36)

When Noah called his people again, “they said, ’Noah! You have disputed with us and you have disputed often with us, so bring us what you promised us if you are speaking the truth’.” (Hud 11:32)

Noah became angry for Allah and despaired of those people. He called upon Allah not to leave even one of the unbelievers on the earth!

And Noah said: My Lord! Leave not one of the disbelievers in the land. (Nuh 71:26)

The Ark

Allah answered Noah’s prayer and He decided what the fate of the unbelievers would be. All of them would be drowned in a great flood.

Allah wanted to save Noah and the believers. He commanded Noah to build a great ship, and Noah began straightaway.

The unbelievers from his people saw him working busily and they mocked: ‘What is this, Noah? Since when have you become a carpenter? Didn’t we tell you not to sit with the carpenters and ironsmiths and now you have really become a carpenter!

‘Where is this ship going, Noah? Everything about you is unbelievable! Is it going to sail in the sand or climb up the mountains? The sea is a long way from here. Will the jinn carry it or will oxen pull it?‘

Noah heard all that and was patient. He had heard worse things and had been patient. But sometimes he would say to them, “If you mock us, we will mock you as you mock.” (Hud 11:38)

The Flood

The promise of Allah came. We seek refuge with Allah!

It rained and rained until the sky was like a sieve which could not hold the water. Water poured down and gushed up and flowed in until it surrounded the people on every side.

Then Allah revealed to Noah, Take with you those of your people and family who believe.’

Allah revealed to Noah to take with him a pair of every animal and bird, a male and a female, because the flood would cover the earth. Neither man nor beast would be saved from it. Noah did so. With him in the Ark were those of his people who believed in him and a pair of every bird and animal.

The Ark rode with them on waves like mountains. The people outside the Ark climbed onto every high place and every hill, fleeing from Allah’s punishment.

But there is no refuge from Allah except in Him.

Noah’s Son

Noan had a son who was with the unbelievers. Noah saw his son in the flood and said, “‘My son, embark with us and do not be with the unbelievers.’ He said, ‘I will seek refuge on a mountain that will protect me from the water.’

Noah said, ‘Today there is no protector from Allah’s command except for the one to whom He shows mercy.’

The waves came between them and Noah’s son was among the drowned.” (Hud 11: 42, 43)

Noah was sad about his son; How could he not be sad about his own son? He wanted to save him from the Fire on the Day of Judgment since he was not able to save him from the water. The Fire is worse than the water.

The punishment of the Next World is harsher. Did not Allah promise that He would save his family? Yes! And Allah’s promise is true. He wanted to speak to Allah on behalf of his son.

“He Is Not One of Your Family”

Noah called on his Lord and said, ‘My son is part of my family and Your promise is true. You are the most just of those that judge.’ (Hud 11:45)

But Allah does not look at people’s family trees. He looks at their actions. Allah does not accept pleas on behalf of idol-worshippers. The idol-worshipper is not part of a Prophet’s family, even if he is his son.

Allah made Noan aware of that. He said,”Noah, he is not part of your family; he is of evil conduct Do not ask of Me that about which you do not know, I warn you lest you be one of the ignorant.” (Hud 11:46)

Nun became aware and turned to Allah, repentant. He said; “My Lord, I take refuge with You lest I should ask of You something about which i have no knowledge. If you do not forgive me and show mercy to me, I will he among the losers.” (Hud 11:47)

After the Flood

When what Allah willed had happened and the unbelievers were drowned, the rain stopped and the water sank away.

The unbelievers of the people of Noah were destroyed. Neither the heavens nor the earth wept for them. It was said, “Away with the wrong-doing people!“ (Hud 11:44)

The Ark stopped on Mount Judi. It was said, ”Noah, get down in peace.” (Hud 11:48)

Noah and the people of the Ark got down and walked on the earth in peace. Allah blessed the descendants of Noah and they spread in the land and filled the earth.

There were communities among them and there were Prophets and kings among them.

Peace be upon Noah among all beings!

Peace be upon Noah among all the worlds! (As-Saffat 37:79)

_________________________

 The article is an excerpt from the author’s Stories of the Prophets, UK Islamic Academy publications.

Read Also:

Prophet Noah’s Call and Message

From Adam to Noah: The Need for Guidance

Soucre Link
Categories
ABC's of Islam New Muslims

Worldly Life: Meaning & Purpose

Introduction

‘What is the meaning and purpose of life?’  This is, perhaps, the most important question that has ever been asked.  Throughout the ages, philosophers have considered it to be the most fundamental question.  Scientists, historians, philosophers, writers, psychologists and the common man all wrestle with the question at some point in their lives.

Is Reason a Sufficient Guide?

‘Why do we eat?’  ‘Why do we sleep?’  ‘Why do we work?’  The answers we would get to these questions would be similar.  ‘I eat to live.’  ‘I sleep to rest.’  ‘I work to support myself and my family.’  But when it comes to what the purpose of life is, people are confused.  We see their confusion by the type of answers we receive.  Youths may say, “I live for booze and bikinis.”  The middle aged professional might say, “I live to save enough for a comfortable retirement.”  The old man would probably say, “I’ve been asking why I’m here most of my life.  If there’s a purpose, I don’t care anymore.”  And perhaps the most common answer will be, “I really don’t know!”

How, then, do you discover the purpose of life?  We basically have two options.  The first is to let ‘human reason’ – the celebrated achievement of the Enlightenment – guide us.  After all, the Enlightenment gave us modern science based on careful observation of the natural world.  But have post-Enlightenment philosophers figured it out?  Camus described life as “absurd”; Sartre spoke of “anguish, abandonment and despair.”  To these Existentialists, life has no meaning.  Darwinians thought the meaning of life was to reproduce.  Will Durant, capturing the predicament of postmodern man, wrote, “Faith and hope disappear; doubt and despair are the order of the day… it is not our homes and our treasuries that are empty, it is our ‘hearts’.”  When it comes to meaning of life, even the wisest philosophers are just guessing.  Will Durant, the most noted philosopher of the last century, and Dr. Hugh Moorhead, a philosophy professor at Northeastern Illinois University, both wrote separate books titled ‘The Meaning of Life.’[1] They wrote to the best-known philosophers, scientists, writers, politicians, and intellectuals of their time in the world, asking them, “What is the meaning of life?”  Then they published their responses.  Some offered their best guesses, some admitted that they just made up a purpose for life, and others were honest enough to say they were clueless.  In fact, a number of famous intellectuals asked the authors to write back and tell them if the purpose of life was discovered!

Let the Heavens “Speak”

If the philosopher has no definitive answer, perhaps the answer can be found within the heart and mind that we ourselves possess.  Have you ever looked at the open sky on a clear night?  You will see an incalculable number of stars.  Look through a telescope and you will see gigantic spiral galaxies, beautiful nebula where new stars are being formed, the remnants of ancient supernova explosion created in a star’s final death throes, the magnificent rings of Saturn and the moons of Jupiter.  Is it possible not to be moved by the sight of these countless stars in the night sky shining like diamond dust on a bed of black velvet?  Multitudes of stars beyond stars, stretching back; becoming so dense that they appear to merge into delicate wisps of sparkling mist.  The grandeur humbles us, thrills us, inspires a craving for investigation, and calls for our contemplation.  How did it come into being?  How are we related to it, and what is our place in it?  Can we hear the heavens “speak” to us?

“In the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alternation of the night and the day, there are surely signs for all who are endowed with insight, who remember God when they stand, and when they sit, and when they lie down to sleep, and reflect on the creation of the heavens and the earth: “O our Lord, You have not created this without meaning and purpose.  Limitless art You in Your glory…” (Quran 3:190-191)

 

 

When we read a book, we accept that an author exists.  When we see a house, we accept that a builder exists.  Both of these things were made with a purpose by those who made them.  The design, order, and complexity of the universe as well as the world around us are evidence of the existence of a supreme intelligence, a perfect designer.  All the heavenly bodies are controlled by precise laws of physics.  Can there be laws without a lawmaker?  Rocket scientist Dr. von Braun said: “The natural laws of the universe are so precise that we have no difficulty building a spaceship to fly to the moon and can time the flight with the precision of a fraction of a second.  These laws must have been set by somebody.”  Paul Davies, a professor of physics, concludes that man’s existence is not a mere quirk of fate.  He states: “We are truly meant to be here.”  And he says regarding the universe: “Through my scientific work, I have come to believe more and more strongly that the physical universe is put together with an ingenuity so astonishing that I cannot accept it merely as a brute fact.  There must, it seems to me, be a deeper level of explanation.”  The universe, the earth, and living things on the earth all give silent testimony to an intelligent, powerful Creator.

 

 

 

Figure 2 Central region of the Trifid Nebula taken by the Gemini Telescope on Mauna Kea on the Big Island of Hawaii, June 5, 2002.  Located in the constellation of Sagittarius, the beautiful nebula is a much-photographed, dynamic cloud of gas and dust where stars are being born.  One of the massive stars at the nebula’s center was born approximately 100,000 years ago.  The nebula’s distance from the Solar System is generally agreed to be somewhere between 2,200 to 9,000 light years away.

Image courtesy of Gemini Observatory Image/GMOS Commissioning Team.

If we were made by a Creator, then surely that Creator must have had a reason, a purpose, in creating us.  Thus, it is important that seek to know God’s purpose for our existence.  After coming to the realization of this purpose, we can choose whether we want to live in harmony with it.  But is it possible to know what is expected from us left to our own devices without any communication from the Creator?  It is natural that God Himself would inform us of this purpose, especially if we are expected to fulfill it..

 

Alternative to Speculation: Ask God

This brings us to the second option: the alternative to speculation about the meaning and purpose of life is revelation.  The easiest way to discover the purpose of an invention is to ask the inventor.  To discover the purpose of your life, ask God.

 

Can Christianity Answer the Question?

In Christianity, the meaning of life is rooted in faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ, in finding Jesus as Savior.  “For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”  However, the proposition is not without serious problems.  First, if this is the purpose of creation and the precondition for eternal life, why was it not taught by the prophets to all the nations of the world?  Second, had God turned into man close to the time of Adam all mankind would have had an equal chance to eternal life, unless those before the time of Jesus had another purpose for their existence!  Third, how can people today who have not heard of Jesus fulfill the Christian purpose of creation?  Naturally, such a purpose is too narrow and goes against divine justice.

The Answer

Islam is the response to humanity’s search for meaning.  The purpose of creation for all men and women for all times has been one: to know and worship God.

The Quran teaches us that every human being is born conscious of God,

“(Remember) when your Lord extracted from the loins of Adam’s children their descendants and made them testify [saying]: ‘Am I not your Lord?’  They said: ‘Yes, we testify to it.’  (This was) in case you say on the Day of Judgment: ‘We were unaware of this.’  Or you say: ‘It was our ancestors who worshipped others besides God and we are only their descendants.  Will you then destroy us for what those liars did?’”(Quran 7:172-173)

The Prophet of Islam teaches us that God created this primordial need in human nature at the time Adam was made.  God took a covenant from Adam when He created him.  God extracted all of Adam’s descendants who were yet to be born, generation after generation, spread them out, and took a covenant from them.  He addressed their souls directly, making them bear witness that He was their Lord.  Since God made all human beings swear to His Lordship when He created Adam, this oath is imprinted on the human soul even before it enters the fetus, and so a child is born with a natural belief in the Oneness of God.  This natural belief is called fitra in Arabic.  Consequently, every person carries the seed of belief in the Oneness of God that lies deeply buried under layers of negligence and dampened by social conditioning.  If the child were left alone, it would grow up conscious of God – a single Creator – but all children are affected by their environment.  The Prophet of God said,

“Each child is born in a state of ‘fitra’, but his parents make him a Jew or a Christian.  It is like the way an animal gives birth to a normal offspring.  Have you noticed any young born mutilated before you mutilate them?”[2]

 

Figure 1 The marvel of life.  An unborn fetus sucking its thumb.

So, just as the child’s body submits to physical laws, set by God in nature, its soul submits naturally to the fact that God is its Lord and Creator.  However, its parents condition it to follow their own way, and the child is not mentally capable of resisting it.  The religion which the child follows at this stage is one of custom and upbringing, and God does not hold it to account for this religion.  When a child matures into an adult, he or she must now follow the religion of knowledge and reason.  As adults, people must now struggle between their natural disposition towards God and their desires in order to find the correct path.  The call of Islam is directed to this primordial nature, the natural disposition, the imprint of God on the soul, the fitra, which caused the souls of every living being to agree that He Who made them was their Lord, even before the heavens and earth were created,

“I did not create the jinn and mankind except for My worship.” (Quran 51:56)

According to Islam, there has been a basic message which God has revealed through all prophets, from the time of Adam to the last of the prophets, Muhammad, may God praise them all.  All the prophets sent by God came with the same essential message:

“Indeed, We have sent a messenger to every nation (saying), ‘Worship God and avoid false gods…’” (Quran 16:36)

The prophets brought the same answer to mankind’s most troubling question, an answer that addresses the yearning of the soul for God.

 

What is Worship?

‘Islam’ means ‘submission’, and worship, in Islam, means ‘obedient submission to the will of God.’

Every created being ‘submits’ to the Creator by following the physical laws created by God,

“To Him belongs whosoever is in the heavens and the earth; all obey His will.” (Quran 30:26)

They, however, are neither rewarded nor punished for their ‘submission’, for it involves no will.  Reward and punishment are for those who worship God, who submit to the moral and religious Law of God of their own free will.  This worship is the essence of the message of all the prophets sent by God to mankind.  For example, this understanding of worship was emphatically expressed by Jesus Christ,

“None of those who call me ‘Lord’ will enter the kingdom of God, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.”

‘Will’ means ‘what God wants human beings to do.’  This ‘Will of God’ is contained in the divinely revealed laws which the prophets taught their followers.  Consequently, obedience to divine law is the foundation of worship.  Only when human beings worship their God by submitting to His religious law can they have peace and harmony in their lives and the hope for heaven, just like the universe runs in harmony by submitting to the physical laws set by its Lord.  When you remove the hope of heaven, you remove the ultimate value and purpose of life.  Otherwise, what difference would it really make whether we live a life of virtue or vice?  Everyone’s fate would be the same anyway.

Who Needs Worship?

God is in no need of our worship, it is mankind that needs to worship God.  If no-one were to worship God, it would not take away from His glory in any way, and if all of mankind were to worship Him, it would not add to His glory.  It is we, who are in need of God:

“I need no provision from them, neither do I need that they should feed Me for, surely, God Himself is the Provider of all sustenance, the Possessor of mighty power.” (Quran 51:57-58)

“…But God is Rich, and it is you that are poor…” (Quran 47:38)

How to Worship God: And Why.

God is worshipped by obeying the laws He revealed through the prophets.  For example, in the Bible, Prophet Jesus made obedience to the divine laws the key to paradise:

“If you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.” (Matthew 19:17).

Also Prophet Jesus is reported in the Bible to have insisted on strict obedience to the commandments, saying:

“Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:19)

Why do human beings need to worship God by obeying the divinely revealed laws?  The answer is simple.  Obedience to divine law brings peace to this life and salvation in the next.

Divine laws provide human beings a clear code to guide every sphere of human life and interaction.  Since the Creator alone knows best what is best for His creation, His laws protect the human soul, body, and society from harm.  In order for human beings to fulfill their purpose of creation, they must worship God by obeying His commandments.

The False Gods of Modernity

God is Who gives meaning and orientation to life.  On the other hand, modern life lacks a single center, a single orientation, a single goal, a single purpose.  It has no common principle or guideline.

Since Islam considers a god to be an entity that is served out of love, deep respect, and anticipation of reward, one can say that the modern world serves many gods.  The gods of modernity give meaning and context to the life of modern man.

We live in a house of language, and our words and expressions are the windows through which we look out at the world.  Evolution, nationalism, feminism, socialism, Marxism, and, depending on how they are employed, democracy, freedom, and equality can be listed among the indefinable ideologies of modern times.  “Plastic words,” to borrow the words of Uwe Poerksen, a German linguist, have been used to usurp God’s power and authority to shape and define the goal of society, or even of humanity itself.  These words have connotations with a ‘feel good’ aura.  Indefinable words become a limitless ideal.  By making the ideal limitless, unlimited needs are awakened, and once these needs are awakened, they appear to be ‘self-evident.’

As it is easy to fall into the habit of worshipping false gods, people then have no protection against the multiplicity of gods that modern ways of thinking demand that they serve.  The “plastic words” give great power to those ‘prophets’ who speak on their behalf, because they speak in the name of ‘self-evident’ truths, so other people keep silent.  We must follow their authority; the axiomatic pundits who lay down the Law for our health, welfare, well-being, and education.

The window of modernity through which we perceive reality today is marked by cracks, smudges, blind spots, and filters.  It covers the reality.  And the reality is that people have no real need except toward God.  But nowadays, these empty ‘idols’ have become the objects of people’s devotion and worship, as the Quran states:

“Have you not seen the one who takes his desires as his god?…” (Quran 45:23)

Each of these “plastic words” makes other words appear primitive and out-of-date.  ‘Believers’ in idols of modernity are proud of worshipping these gods; friends and colleagues consider them enlightened for doing so.  Those who still insist on holding onto the “old” God can cover up the embarrassment of doing so by worshipping the new ‘modern’ gods along with Him.  Obviously, many people who claim to worship the “old-fashioned” God will twist His teachings in this event, so that He also seems to be telling us to serve these “plastic words.”

The worship of false gods entails the corruption not only of individuals and society, but also of the natural world.  When people refuse to serve and worship God as He has asked them to serve Him, they cannot fulfill the functions for which He has created them.  The result is that our world becomes ever more chaotic, just as the Quran tells us:

“Corruption has appeared in the land and the sea because of what the hands of people have earned.” (Quran 30:41)

Islam’s answer to the meaning and purpose of life fulfills the fundamental human need: a return to God.  However, everyone is going back to God willy-nilly, so the question is not merely going back, but how one goes back.  Will it be in shameful agonizing chains awaiting punishment, or joyful and grateful humility for that which God has promised?  If you await the latter, then through the Quran and the teachings of Prophet Muhammad, God guides people back to Him in a manner that will ensure their eternal happiness.


Footnotes:

[1] “On the Meaning of Life”  by Will Durant. Pub: Ray Long & Richard R. Smith, Inc. New York 1932 and “The Meaning of Life”  by Hugh S. Moorhead (ed.). Pub: Chicago Review Press, 1988.

[2] Saheeh Al-Bukhari, Saheeh Muslim. The Arabs would cut the ears of camels and the likes as a service to their gods in pre-Islamic times.

——————————————————————————————————————————————————

Related Video

The Purpose of Life By Khalid Yasin

Soucre Link
Categories
ABC's of Islam New Muslims

Why Do We Worship and Obey God?

nature way

By walking on the straight of God you will receive dignity in this world as well as in the Hereafter.

Brothers in Islam! I have frequently emphasized that ‘Islam‘ means total surrender to Allah and the Messenger, and that no one can become truly Muslim unless he gives up obedience to anyone or anything apart from God.

But why is so much stress laid on obedience to God and His Messenger? You may ask: Does God need our obedience so badly that He has to demand it so insistently from us? Is He, too, like the rulers of the world so power-hungry that He has to insist His rule cannot be sustained without subjugating us?

Let us try to examine these questions.

Our Well-being

Essentially, the demand for obedience to Allah is intended for the well-being and betterment of man himself. He is not like the rulers of the world. They subjugate people to benefit themselves, but Allah needs nothing from anybody.

He is not in need of taxes from you, nor does He require to build mansions, buy cars and amass luxury articles at your expense. He is not dependent on anyone for anything. Whatever is in the world belongs to Him alone and He alone is the Master of all treasures.

He demands obedience from you only because He does not want man – that creation of His whom He has declared to be the noblest – to be the servant of another man like him, or of Satan or bow his head before unworthy things.

He does not desire that His vicegerents on earth grope in the darkness of ignorance and, like animals, become slaves to their desires and thus degrade themselves to the level of the lowest of the low. Therefore He urges: You obey Me and walk by the light I have sent through My Messengers. You will find the straight path. By walking on it you will receive dignity in this world as well as in the Hereafter.

No coercion is there in religion. Distinct has become the right way from [the way of] error. So whosoever rejects false gods and believes in God has indeed taken hold of the most firm handle which shall never break. God is All-hearing, All-knowing. God is the Friend of those who have faith; He brings them out of darkness into the light. And the disbelievers their friends are false gods that bring them out of the light into darkness; those are the inhabitants of the Fire, therein to abide forever. (Al-Baqarah 2:256, 257)

Obeying Others Besides Allah

Why will a man plunge into darkness by obeying others besides Allah and why is it that only by obeying Allah can his life be illumined?

Let us look into this important question…

Our lives are made up of countless relations and transactions. Our first relationship is with our own bodies: these hands, these feet, these eyes, these ears, this tongue, this heart, the mind, this belly – all these have been entrusted to you by Allah to serve you. You have also been given freedom to decide to what end to employ them.

What to put in your bellies, and what to avoid. What to make your hands do, and what to keep them away from.

Where to let your feet walk, and when to hold back. What to let your eyes see and ears hear, and what to refrain from.

What to allow your tongues to say, and when to fall silent. What kind of thoughts to make your hearts and minds reflect upon, and what to shun. These servants of yours you can make do good work or bad, as you choose. In return, they can make you ascend great heights or plunge you into abysmal depths.

Then you have relationships with the members of your family; with your fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, wives, children and other relatives with whom you have to deal continuously.

You have to decide how to behave with these people, what rights you have over them, and what rights they have over you. Your comfort, your happiness and your success in this world as well as in the Hereafter depend very much on how correctly you behave with them. If you behave wrongly, you will make this world a Hell for yourselves. And in the Hereafter, too, you will have to answer to God.

You have relationships with many other people. They are your neighbours, friends and enemies. There are also many who work for you in various ways. To some you have to give something and from others you have to receive something.

Some entrust you with their works while you entrust Your works to others. You are in command over some people and others are in command over you. In this world, your happiness, your honour and your good names all depend entirely on your ability to maintain these relationships properly.

In the Hereafter, too, you can acquire places of honor near God only by scrupulously avoiding abusing the rights of others and doing them injustices. There, let no one charge you with having ruined his life or having illegally harmed his honour, life or property.

You therefore have to maintain these relationships in a proper manner; actions which may spoil or disrupt these relations should be avoided.

open book before the sun

If you try to find this knowledge with the help of your reason and feelings alone, you will not find it.

Following One’s Desires

Now consider: in order to maintain proper relationships with your own bodies, with the members of your families and with all other people, you need the light of knowledge at every step.

You have to know what is right and what is wrong; what is true and what is false; what is just and what is unjust; what rights you have over others and what rights others have over you; in what there is real benefit and in what lies real harm.

If you try to find this knowledge with the help of your reason and feelings alone, you will not find it. Because yourself is overpowered by the urge to immediate gratification of desires. Your reason and feelings are therefore ruled by physical pleasure and immediate temptations.

They will tempt you to earn money by doing illegal things, drink alcohol and commit adultery. They will lead you to usurp the rights of others and withhold things due to them on the grounds that such behaviour will profit you: take everything and give nothing. They will also make you exploit others to serve your ends while avoiding the doing of any service to anybody, arguing that this will make life easy and comfortable.

If you allow yourselves to be led by a self which gropes in such darkness, it will drag you down to the level of selfish, depraved, and corrupt persons and your lives both on earth and in the Hereafter will be ruined.

Alternatively, instead of following the self, you may rely on other human beings like yourselves, and place yourselves in their hands to take you in whichever direction they like.

The dangers in such a course are obvious: selfish persons may make you slaves of their own desires, and ignorant men, who have themselves gone astray, may mislead you also. Tyrants may use you to perpetrate oppression and injustice on others.

From human beings like yourselves, too, you cannot get that light of knowledge which can guide you to distinguish between right and wrong, between good and bad, and direct you on the right path.

_________________________

The article is an excerpt from the author’s book Let Us Be Muslims.

 

Soucre Link
Categories
ABC's of Islam New Muslims

Tawheed: Its Meaning and Categories

By Muhammad bin Ibrahim bin `Abdullah Al-Tuwayjiri 

Tawheed is to single out Allah (Exalted be He) in what is distinct to Him and obligatory for Him. That is, for the slave to know for certain that Allah is One with no partner in His rububiyyah (lordship), His uluhiyyah (servitude) and His Names and Attributes.

Tawheed: Its Meaning and Categories

Allah is One with no partner; One unparalleled in His essence, His names, His attributes and His actions.

It further means that: The slave knows for certain and acknowledges that Allah alone is the Lord and Sovereign of everything; that He alone is the Creator, the Ever-Living and the Sustainer of all that exists who alone maintains the whole universe; that He alone is worthy of worship with no partner; that everything which is worshipped besides Him is false; and that He possesses attributes of perfection, free of every imperfection and deficiency, and to Him alone belong the best names and loftiest attributes:

Allah – there is no god (worthy of worship) except Him. To Him belong the best names. (Ta-Ha 20:8)

The Fiqh of Tawheed

Allah is One with no partner; One unparalleled in His essence, His names, His attributes and His actions; to Him alone belong the dominion, creation and command with no partner. He is the Sovereign and everything besides Him belongs to Him; He is the Lord and everything besides Him is His slave; and He is the Creator and everything besides Him is created:

Say, ‘He is Allah, (Who is) One; Allah, the Self-Sufficient Master; He neither begets nor is He begotten; nor is there any equivalent to Him.’ (Al-Ikhlas 112:1-4)

He (Exalted be He) is the Most Strong and everything besides Him is weak; He is the Most Powerful and everything besides Him is powerless; He is the Most Great and everything besides Him is minute; He is the Self-Sufficient and everything besides Him is in need of Him; He is the All-Mighty and everything besides Him is subservient; and He is the Truth and all that is worshipped besides Him is false:

That is because Allah is the Truth, and that which they call upon besides Him is falsehood, and that Allah is the Most High, the Most Great. (Luqman 31:30)

He is the Most Magnificent of which there is nothing more magnificent than Him; the Most High of which there is nothing higher than Him; the Most Great of which there is nothing greater than Him; and the Most Merciful of which there is nothing more merciful than Him.

He is the Most Strong who has created strength in every strong one; the Most Powerful who has created power in every powerful one; the Most Merciful who has created mercy in every merciful one; the Most Knowledgeable who has taught every creature; and the All-Provider who has created all sustenance and those who receive it:

That is Allah, your Lord; there is no god (worthy of worship) except Him, the Creator of all things, so worship Him. And He is Disposer of all things. No vision can grasp Him, but His Grasp is over all vision; and He is the Most Subtle, the Well-Acquainted. (Al-An`am 6:102-103)

He is the True God who alone is worthy of worship besides everything else due to the perfection of His essence, His majesty, His beauty and His graceful kindness; and to Him alone belong the best names and loftiest attributes:

There is nothing like unto Him, and He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer. (Ash-Shura 42:11)

He is the All-Wise, the All-Knowing who does what He wills and commands what He desires:

Surely, His is the creation and the command; blessed is Allah, Lord of the worlds. (Al-A`raf 7:54)

He is the First before everything else; the Last after everything else; the Most High above everything; the Most Near closer to everything; and the All-Knower of everything, alone with no partner:

He is the First and the Last, the Most High and the Most Near; and He is the All-Knower of everything. (Al-Hadid 57:3)

He is the True Sovereign in whose hand is everything, while nothing is in the hand of anything besides Him. So turn to Him alone with no partner:

Say, ‘O Allah! Owner of Sovereignty, You give sovereignty to whom You will and You take sovereignty away from whom You will; You honor whom You will and You humiliate whom You will. In Your hand is (all) good. Indeed, You are Able to do all things.’ (Aal `Imran 3:26)

He alone is the Owner of all things, the All-Powerful over all things, the All-Knowledgeable of all things and the Granter of all things. He alone is the All-Encompassing of every encompassing one, the All-Powerful over every powerful one, the Subjugator of every subjugating one, the One and the Owner of everyone:

Blessed is He in Whose Hand is the dominion, and He is Able to do all things. (Al-Mulk 67:1)

_________________________

The article is an excerpt from the author’s book “Summarized Islamic Fiqh In Light of the Qur’an and Sunnah”, translated by Kamil Ahmad & Jawad Beg

Soucre Link
Categories
ABC's of Islam New Muslims

The Miracle of the Coccyx and Resurrection

By Dr. Ahmad Muhammad Al khalidi

Throughout history, the question of resurrection has been a matter of controversy, as it has been clarified in several Quranic narrative dialogues, especially between Prophets and disbelievers. However, the evidence before Prophet Mohammad (Peace be upon him) was mostly concrete and tangible, whereas the evidence during Prophet Mohammad’s era (Peace be upon him) was mostly mental and intellectual. The Holy Quran reports a part of such controversy, in Surat ‘Ya- Sin’, and points out the mental proof that Allah reveals verses of the Quran to Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) so that he can convince the disbelievers who deny resurrection. For instance, (Saboni Vol. III:24) reports that one day ‘Ubay Bin Khalaf’, a hypocrite, came to the  Messenger of Allah Mohammad (PBUH) with old bones in his hand and rubbed them out in front of  the  Holy Prophet’s face and said mockingly: “Oh Mohammad! do you claim that Allah is able to revive us after we’ll be ashes like these?”

So glory to Him in Whose hands is the dominion of all things: and to Him will ye be all brought back.

Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), realizing that Ubay is a challenging hypocrite, said: “Yes, and He will place you in Fire”. Then Allah (Exalted be He) revealed the following verses: (Ya Sin: 77-83)

(77) Doth not man see that it is We Who created him from sperm? yet behold! he (stands forth) as an open adversary!

(78) And he makes comparisons for Us, and forgets his own (origin and) Creation: He says: “Who can give life to (dry) bones and decomposed ones (at that)?”

(79) Say, “He will give them life Who created them for the first time! for He is Well-versed in every kind of creation!-

(80) “The same Who produces for you fire out of the green tree, when behold! ye kindle therewith (your own fires)!

(81) “Is not He Who created the heavens and the earth able to create the like thereof?” – Yea, indeed! for He is the Creator Supreme, of skill and knowledge (infinite)!

(82) Verily, when He intends a thing, His Command is, “be”, and it is!

(83) So glory to Him in Whose hands is the dominion of all things: and to Him will ye be all brought back.

Though man’s power is too limited to enable him to know many things inside and around himself; he disputes with his Creator Allah (the All- knowing); whose power is so absolute that“His Throne doth extend over the heavens and the earth and He feels no fatigue in guarding and preserving them for He is the most high, the supreme (in glory)”. ( Baqara: 255)

This Divine address to mankind guides Muslims, as Baz brings forth, to: “contemplate about Allah’s absolute ability of creation”, to be thankful and grateful to Allah, to recognize the foolishness of disbelief and the deterioration of disbelievers, and to call well for worshipping Allah.

Ali (1934:1187) wonders of “man’s disobedience and folly” He adds that man who is “created out of something that is less than a drop in the vast ocean of existence has the hardihood to stand and dispute with his maker, and institute idle comparisons.” See (Yasin:78)“He says: “Who can give life to (dry) bones and decomposed ones (at that)?”Ali adds, “Man certainly cannot, and no power in nature can do that”.  Does he forget that the One (the Creator) who created them for the first time is able to recreate them in the Hereafter. Allah (Exalted be He) reveals to Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) to answer the disbelievers in a rational, convincing manner:“Say, He will give them life Who created them for the first time! for He is Well-versed in every kind of creation! (Yasin: 79)

Allah (Exalted be He) answers man’s query concerning resurrection who says:

(3)”Does man think that We Cannot assemble his bones?

(4)Nay, We are able to put together in perfect order The very tips of his fingers”.(Qiyamah: 3-4)

So, Man should not strike such an example that equalizes between the creature and the Creator,“And he makes comparisons for Us, and forgets his own (origin and) Creation”.(Yasin:78)

Sa’di (1985) objects to such comparison and says that nobody should strike such example which compares the ability of the creature to the ability of the Creator, thinking that what is impossible for the creature is impossible for the Creator.

Nothing is impossible or difficult to Allah; as His power is absolute,“Verily, when He intends a thing, His Command is, “Be”, and it is!” (Yasin:82)

Al Baz (2007) states that there is nothing difficult or easy, and there is nothing near or distant in front of the word of Allah ‘Be’, weather it is heaven or earth, ant or mosquito. Just when the will of Allah is directed toward creating something, it is quite sufficient to exist whatsoever it is.

“So glory to Him in Whose hands is the dominion of all things: and to Him will ye be all brought back” (Yasin: 83), for reckoning and reward. Thus Allah (Exalted be He) closed Surat ‘Ya- Sin’ with such powerful seal that denotes the perfection of the Might and the greatness of the dominion only possessed by the Creator of Universe.

Evidences on Resurrection:

a) Quranic evidence

It can be concluded out of this Holy Quranic didactic dialogue that there are six Quranic proofs on the ability of Allah to give life to dead people on the day of resurrection:

First,

“He will give them life Who created them for the first time!”

Second,

” He is well-versed in every kind of creation!”

Third,

“Who produces for you fire out of the green tree, when behold! ye kindle there with (your own fires)!”

Fourth,

“Is not He Who created the heavens and the earth able to create the like thereof?”

Fifth,

“Verily, when He intends a thing, His Command is, “Be”, and it is!”

Sixth,

“So glory to Him in Whose hands is the dominion of all things”

 b) Prophetic evidence

On the authority of Abu Hurairah, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) says “Whole Adam’s son is eaten by earth except the tailbone, from it he was created and out of it he will be constructed.” (Sahih Muslim)

c) Scientific evidence (The miracle of tailbone)

Those who deny resurrection claim that once man dies and his body starts to decay and changes into soil, the whole body will vanish and it will never come back to life again. However, the modern scientific researchers prove clearly the possibility of life after death as they have carried out several scientific researches on human tailbone.

Answering–Christianity.com reports that the scientists tested the human tailbone and exposed it to the strongest factors of radiation, grinding, pressure and heat and other factors, yet this part of human body remained consistent with the same chemical construction despite all the circumstances. Thus, the most recent scientific researches prove that the first cipher or genetic code from which man has been already created exists in the very finite tiny part of the coccyx.

It is quite clear that the scientific evidence of the coccyx matches with both the Quranic and the Prophetic evidences; which drives those who deny resurrection to open their minds and hearts to the truth and realize that what the Quran states is true and what Prophet Muhammad points out is also true. In view of that, the way to belief in Allah (Exalted be He) and in his Prophet (PBUH), as well as in resurrection has become quite paved and easy for normal and sensible people.


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.

Soucre Link
Categories
ABC's of Islam New Muslims

What Do the Prophet’s Traditions Say about Jesus?

Allah (Exalted be He) selected the finest amongst humanity as messengers whom He sent to His creation with specific legislations: for them to worship and obey Allah and to establish His Religion and His tawheed (Oneness of Allah) in His Lordship, Worship, and Names and Attributes. This is how the Muslim believes in Allah’s messengers.

jesus

Muslims believe that Jesus will return before the Day of Judgment to bring justice and peace to the world.

And We sent not before you (O Muhammad) but men to whom We inspired, so ask the people of the reminder (Scriptures) if you do not know. And We did not create them (the messengers, with) bodies that ate not food, nor were they immortal. (Al-Anbiyaa’ 21:7-8)

Therefore, one must believe in all of God’s prophets and that they were purely and truly only human in nature; they were not supernatural beings.

`Umar ibn Al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Faith is to believe in Allah and His angels and His Books and His Messengers and in the Last Day, and in divine destiny, both in its good and in its evil aspects.” (Muslim)

Allah says:

Lo! those who disbelieve in Allah and His messengers, and seek to make distinction between Allah and His messengers, and say: We believe in some and disbelieve in others, and seek to choose a way in between; Such are disbelievers in truth; and for disbelievers We prepare a shameful doom. (An-Nisaa’ 4:150,151)

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Send peace and blessings upon the Prophets and Messengers of Allah, for He (Allah) has sent them (to people) as He (Glory be to Him) sent me.” (Al-Albani)

God’s Word

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “He who bears witness that there is no true god except Allah, alone having no partner with Him, that Muhammad is His slave and His Messenger, that `Isa (Jesus) is His slave and Messenger and he (Jesus) is His Word which He communicated to Maryam (Mary) and His spirit which He sent to her, that Paradise is true and Hell is true; Allah will make him enter Jannah (Paradise) accepting whatever deeds he accomplished”. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Between Jesus and Muhammad

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “Both in this world and in the Hereafter, I am the nearest of all the people to Jesus, the son of Mary. The prophets are paternal brothers; their mothers are different, but their religion is one.” (Al-Bukhari)

Ibn `Abbas narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “I saw Moses, Jesus and Abraham (on the night of my Ascension to the heavens). Jesus was of red complexion, curly hair and a broad chest. Moses was of brown complexion, straight hair and tall stature as if he was from the people of Az-Zutt.” (Al-Bukhari)

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: There is no prophet between me and him, that is, Jesus (peace be upon him). He will descent (to the earth). When you see him, recognize him: a man of medium height, reddish fair, wearing two light yellow garments, looking as if drops were falling down from his head though it will not be wet. He will fight the people for the cause of Islam. He will break the cross, kill swine, and abolish jizyah. Allah will perish all religions except Islam. He will destroy the Antichrist and will live on the earth for forty years and then he will die. The Muslims will pray over him. (Abu Dawud)

Virtues of Jesus

Abu Hurairah narrated that the Messenger of Allah said, ‘I am the most close to Jesus, son of Mary, from among the whole of mankind in this worldly life and the next life.’ ‘They said: Allah’s Messenger how is it?’ Thereupon he said: ‘Prophets are brothers in faith, having different mothers. Their religion is, however, one, and there is no Prophet between us (between me and Jesus Christ).” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “When any human being is born. Satan touches him at both sides of the body with his two fingers, except Jesus, the son of Mary, whom Satan tried to touch but failed, for he touched the placenta-cover instead.”

About Maryam (Mary), the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Many a man achieved perfection, but no woman achieved perfection except for Maryam (Mary), the daughter of `Imran, and Asiyah, the wife of Pharaoh…” (At-Tirmidhi)

Jesus’ Return

Muslims believe that Jesus will return before the Day of Judgment to bring justice and peace to the world.

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon) said, “Dajjal (the Antichrist) will appear in my Ummah and he will stay in the world for forty. I do not know whether this will be forty days or forty months or forty years. Allah will then send (Prophet) ‘Isa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary). ‘Isa will pursue him and slaughter him. Then people will survive for seven years (i.e., after the demise of ‘Isa) in the state that there will be no rancour between two persons…. (Muslim)

This Islamic belief about Jesus is similar to the belief of some of the early Christians.

In the Qur’an, God addresses the Christians about Jesus in the following way:

O People of the Book, do not commit excesses in your religion, and do not say anything about God except the truth: the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, was nothing more than a messenger of God, His word, directed to Mary and a spirit from Him. So believe in God and His Messengers and do not speak of a ‘Trinity’– stop (this), that is better for you– God is only one God, He is far above having a son, everything in the heavens and earth belongs to Him and He is the best one to trust. (An-Nisaa’ 4:171)

 

_____________________

Soucre Link
Categories
ABC's of Islam New Muslims

Jesus in Islam and Other Religions

One cannot be a Muslim if he does not believe in Jesus as well as all other prophets sent by God- the Qur’an names twenty-five prophets and messengers and suggests that there were many more- including Adam, Noah, Abraham, David, Solomon, Moses and Muhammad (peace be upon them all).

jesus

Islam considers Jesus Christ, the son of Mary, as one of the great prophets of God, worthy of respect and honor but not worship.

Muslims have the highest regard for Jesus and await his second coming. The Islamic view of Jesus is one between two extremes. The Jews rejected his prophethood and called him an impostor, while many Christians regard him as the son of God and worship him as such.

Jesus in Islam

Islam considers Jesus Christ, the son of Mary, as one of the great prophets of God, worthy of respect and honor but not worship. He was sent to confirm and renew the basic doctrine of belief in God alone and obedience to Him.

According to the Qur’an, he was born miraculously without a father:

Relate in the Book (the story of) Mary, when she withdrew from her family to a place in the East. She placed a screen (to screen herself) from them; then We sent her our angel, and he appeared before her as a man in all respects. She said: “I seek refuge from you to (Allah) Most Gracious: (come not near) if you does fear Allah.” He said: “Nay, I am only a messenger from thy Lord, (to announce) to you the gift of a pure boy”…. (Maryam 19:16-19)

And he was not crucified but raised up to God.

(And remember) when Allah said: O Jesus! Lo! I am gathering you and causing you to ascend unto Me, and am cleansing you of those who disbelieve and am setting those who follow thee above those who disbelieve until the Day of Resurrection. Then unto Me you will (all) return, and I shall judge between you as to that wherein you used to differ. (Aal `Imran 3:55)

And because of their saying: We slew the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, Allah’s messenger – they slew him not nor crucified him, but it appeared so unto them; and lo! those who disagree concerning it are in doubt thereof; they have no knowledge thereof save pursuit of a conjecture; they slew him not for certain. But Allah took him up unto Himself. Allah was ever Mighty, Wise. (An-Nisaa’ 4:157-158)

The Qur’an attributes to him miracles that are not even mentioned in the Bible. However, Islam sees the deification of Jesus as a reversion to paganism, and the divinity of Jesus is categorically rejected within the Qur’anic text:

They surely disbelieve who say: Lo! Allah is the Messiah, son of Mary. The Messiah (himself) said: O Children of Israel, worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord. Lo! who ascribes partners unto Allah, for him Allah has forbidden paradise. His abode is the Fire. For evil-doers there will be no helpers. (Al-Ma’idah 5:72)

 “Various” Gospels

Such doctrines as the «trinity», «divine sonship» and «atonement» are not accepted by Muslims simply because they did not originate from Prophet Jesus himself.

It is known that most of the Gospels were written by men long after the time of Jesus and that much of the New Testament was compiled from the writings of Paul and his students. Unmistakable contradictions have appeared in the various «modern,» «revised» and «amplified» versions of the Bible.

The once purely divine message conveyed by Jesus has obviously been corrupted by human input and altered through numerous translations; the original texts no longer exist.

The Gospels were written several decades after Jesus’ departure, and none of their authors had actually seen Jesus or heard him speak. Moreover, they were written in Greek whi

le Jesus spoke Aramaic. Those Gospels presently in circulation were not selected from among the others and authorized by the Church until the decisions of the ecumenical Council of Nicea in the year 325 CE.

Nevertheless, belief in the divine scripture, not in its present form but as it was originally revealed to Prophet Jesus, is an article of Islamic faith.

The final revelation from God is the only criterion by which information in previous scriptures can be evaluated. Therefore, whatever the Bible says about Jesus that agrees with the Qur’an is accepted by Muslims, and what is contrary to it is rejected as a product of human intervention.

_______________________

The article is excerpted from the book Clear Your Doubts about Islam, Compiled by Saheeh international.

Soucre Link
Categories
ABC's of Islam New Muslims

Excellence of the Five Pillars of Islam

These are the five fundamental acts of worship Islam has been based on

Allah’s favors are countless, yet the greatest and the most important one is the divine guidance to Islam. Once a person accepts Islam, they receive the first good tiding which is the forgiveness of all their past sins. Muslims should always thank and praise Allah that He guided them to Islam because Islam’s teachings and principles give a true meaning to this life and the Hereafter.

Islam encourages its followers to start, step by step, to learn those teachings so that they can worship Allah correctly and gain the great reward specified for them. The more they learn the more reward they will get.

Among those teachings and principles are the five pillars of Islam whose correct application helps a Muslim to better perfect their faith, behavior and manners and the reward for abiding by them is so great. Now, let’s have a look at these five pillars.

1. The Shahada, the Declaration of Faith

For a person to be a Muslim, he or she has to bear witness that there is no god but Allah and to bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and Messenger and that Jesus (Isa) is a servant and messenger of Allah. Having believed and pronounced that, one is, then, a Muslim who has performed the first pillar of Islam: the Shahada (the Declaration of Faith). Moreover, these are the best and the greatest words ever pronounced.

The believers in this Declaration of Faith have taken with Allah a binding covenant that He shall admit them into the Paradise and save them from the Hellfire or bring them out of it if they were to enter it. The Shahada is also the firmest handhold. Should the Shahada be the last words pronounced before a person’s death, he or she will enter the Paradise.

All Allah’s Prophets and Messengers, including Abraham (Ibrahim), Noah (Nu’), Moses (Musa), Jesus (Isa) and Muhammad (blessings and peace of Allah be upon them all), were sent to call people to believe in the Oneness of Allah. Allah, the Sole Creator, is One Who has no father, no mother, no consort and no son. Thus, anyone who claims Jesus or any other prophet to be god or son of god is a disbeliever.

Indeed, Allah Himself, His angels, messengers, including Jesus (peace be upon him), and people with deep knowledge bear witness that there is no god but Allah. In addition, one of the purposes of sending messengers and revealing down Scriptures is warning people who say Allah has a son or associate false deities with Allah.

2. Salah, the Prayer

As well as being the second pillar of Islam, the Salah (performing prayer) is the first practical pillar. It is the most beloved act of worship by Allah. When a Muslim performs the five daily prayers, all the minor sins he or she committed in that day will be forgiven.

The Salah is the link between Allah and His servant. For the person who performs it, Salah is the proof of faith, and it brings light for them in this world, in the grave and in the Hereafter. It guards one against immorality and evil, too. When trials and tribulations afflict people, they are encouraged to resort to it.

Reciting the Gracious Qur’an in prayer reassures the hearts of the believers and reminds them of the Hereafter and meeting with Allah on the Day of Judgment. This is what gives them strength and makes the acts of worship easy to perform. During prayer, the Muslim enters into intimate dialogue with Allah through reciting the best and the greatest sura (chapter) of the Qur’an i.e. Chapter of Al-Fatihah (the Opening).

To stress the importance of the Salah in Islam we have to say that it is the bequest of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) before his death. Besides, it is the first thing people shall be held accountable for on the Day of Judgment.

It is worth mentioning that when Sarah, the wife of Abraham (Ibrahim), (peace and blessings of Allah be upon them both) was captured by an unjust ruler, Abraham performed prayer. Then, Allah protected her and she was released safely.

3. Zakat, the Obligatory Charity

Zakat is the third pillar of Islam. There are a lot of verses in the Qur’an and sayings of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) that orders people to pay Zakat. If the wealth of a Muslim meets certain criteria, it is obligatory for them to pay a mere 2.5% of their wealth.

Zakat carries many benefits for the Muslim community for it purifies money, hearts and souls. Allah blesses the wealth of the givers. In fact, it is Allah who nurtures His creation and sustains it. Allah is the True Owner of all that is there in the earth and in the heavens.  It is right that rich people help the poor as an act of thankfulness to Allah.

Every morning, an angel invokes Allah to increase the wealth of the people who pay Zakat. Not only is it an act of worship, it is also one of the forms of humanitarian aids and social solidarity among the Muslim community. Zakat puts an end to the problems of poverty, homelessness, food and water shortage, etc.

4. Siyam, Fasting

Siyam (Fasting) is the fourth pillar of Islam. It means abstinence from food, drink and sexual intercourse from dawn to sunset during Ramadan, the ninth month in the lunar Islamic calendar.

The obligation of Fasting is meant to achieve certain goals. Allah does not want to torture us by obligating this kind of worship. On the contrary, He wants us to reach the highest degree of faith i.e. the degree of benevolence. This degree of faith, which is better than the two other degrees: Islam and Iman (Faith), is easily realized through fasting. What is meant by ‘benevolence’ here is the technical meaning of the term which is to worship Allah as if you see Him, but if you cannot see Him, He sees you.

Another good advantage of Siyam is to achieve piety or Allah-fearing. It nurtures patience and that is the reason why it is known as the Month of Patience.  On the other hand, Fasting helps people purify their souls and keep themselves away from indulging into or committing acts of disobedience.

The reward from Allah for performing Siyam in Ramadan is the forgiveness of all past sins. Moreover, fasting one day equals ten days whose reward is only known to Allah. Thus, we can say fasting the month of Ramadan equals ten months in reward. In general, any good deed is rewarded by ten times the like of it. On the Day of Judgment, the Paradise has a gate specified for those who fast.

If fasting causes any harm to the worshipper, they do not fast and feed an indigent person instead. In the month of Ramadan, there is the Night of Majesty on which Allah first revealed the Qur’an. The worship of Allah during this night is better than the worship during a thousand months without that night.

5. Hajj, Pilgrimage

Hajj (Pilgrimage) is the fifth pillar of Islam. Muslims from all over the world travel to Makka (mecca) to perform Hajj at the end of the lunar year. It’s obligatory for only those who can afford it and for only once in a lifetime. The reward for the accepted Pilgrimage is entering the Paradise.

Like the other pillars of Islam, the Pilgrimage is an exercise to the soul so that it can succeed in staying away from mischief, disputation, ungodliness, etc. If the pilgrim succeeds in keeping away from those bad manners, they will be back home with no sin at all.

Hajj teaches us to always remember Allah as all the rites in Hajj is mainly based on the remembrance of Allah. In Hajj, there is no difference that can be seen between a rich person and a poor one as all people dress the same.

In fact, there, here, is a lesson to be taught i.e. the unity of the Muslim nation that should be based on justice and benevolence. During Hajj, millions of Muslims can be seen worshipping Allah in one certain place where they fast at the same time, break their fast at the same time, pray to Allah at the same time and practice the other rites of Hajj at the same time.  Thus, on the ninth day of Dhul-Hijjah, the last month of the lunar year, Allah draws near the pilgrims, then praises them to the angels. This is called the Day of ‘Arafah on which Allah sets free too many of His servants from the Hellfire.

Finally, the acts of worship are so many. They include removing harm from the road, speaking to people nicely, helping the old and the weak, modesty and so on. However, the pillars of Islam are the greatest and the most important. The Declaration of faith is the most important at all.

Soucre Link
Categories
ABC's of Islam New Muslims

The Supererogatory Prayers

By Editorial Staff

The more one performs supererogatory acts of worship, the more beloved by Allah he or she is. Of these supererogatory acts of worship are the supererogatory prayers whose performance makes up for any performance deficiencies in obligatory prayers.

Indeed, there are supererogatory prayers which may be performed before and/ or after the obligatory prayers. Secondly, there are others which have their own specified time of performance such as the Night Prayers. Thirdly, there are the absolute voluntary prayers that may be performed at any time except those times at which this kind of prayer is reprehensible to perform.

This article discusses the first kind of these supererogatory prayers. We wrote an article called, “The Two Supererogatory Rak’ahs of the Dawn Prayer”. We continue in this article to write about the other supererogatory prayers.

The more one performs supererogatory acts of worship, the more beloved by Allah he or she is.

Al-Dhuhr (The Noon Prayer)

Between every Adhan (the call to prayer) and Iqamah (the second call to prayer), it is recommended to perform two rak’ahs (units of prayer) or more. Muslims perform them individually before the congregational prayer.

Before and after the obligatory congregational Noon prayer, there are supererogatory prayers which are regarded as sunnah mu’akkadah, whose performance is stressed or highly recommended.

Before Al-Dhuhr

There are reports or hadiths that denote that one is recommended to perform two rak’ahs and others denoting that they are four. Ibn ‘Umar (May Allah be pleased with them) reported:

I performed with the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) two rak’ahs before and two after Dhuhr prayer. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

In another hadith related by ‘A’ishah (Allah be pleased with her) in which she said, ‘The Prophet (ﷺ) never omitted four rak’ah prayer before the Dhuhr prayer and two rak’ah prayer before dawn (Fajr) prayer. (Al-Bukhari)

Scholars hold different opinions concerning how to reconcile both hadiths. To act according to both hadiths, some scholars give preference to the hadith related by ‘A’ishah (Allah be pleased with her). However, others prefer to perform sometimes four rak’ahs and sometimes two. This latter opinion is more preferred as both hadiths mentioned above are authentic.

The legal ruling concerning the person who misses the two or four supererogatory rak’ahs before al-Dhuhr

The person can make them up after al-Dhuhr Prayer as this time is not one when prayer is reprehensible.

May the four rak’ahs be performed in pairs or four rak’ahs without separation?

The following hadith supports performing the four rak’ahs consecutively without taslim (uttering salutation) in the middle. Narrated Abu Ayyub:

The Prophet (ﷺ) said: The gates of heaven are opened for four rak’ahs containing no taslim (salutation) before the noon prayer. (Abu Dawud and Ibn Majah)

However, the early scholars of hadith are in agreement that this hadith is weak. There is also another hadith which supports the other opinion. Ibn ‘Umar narrated that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:

“Prayers at night and during the day are to be offered two by two.” (Abu Dawud, Al-Tirmidhi, Al-Nasa’I and Ibn Majah)

After relating this hadith, Al-Tirmidhi pointed out that the words “during the day” in this hadith are shadhah (anomalous). He added that the majority of scholars of Hadith had related it without these words.

In sum, a Muslim can choose either to perform four rak’ahs or to perform two ending them with taslim then performing another two separately.

After Al-Dhuhr

The famous hadiths found in Al-Bukhari and Muslim indicate that the supererogatory prayer after the congregational prayer of Al-Dhuhr are only two rak’ahs. The following hadith which state that they are four is not authentic. Umm Habibah narrated that:

Allah’s Messenger (S) said: “Whoever prays four before al-Dhuhr and four after, Allah makes him prohibited for the Fire.” (Al-Tirmidhi and Al-Nasa’i)

Al-‘Asr (The Afternoon Prayer)

Before Al-‘Asr Prayer

Some scholars hold the opinion that the supererogatory prayer before al-‘Asr is four rak’ahs. To support their opinion they quote the following hadith: Ibn ‘Umar (May Allah be pleased with them) reported:

The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “May Allah have mercy on a man who performs four rak’ahs before the ‘Asr Prayer.” (Abu Dawud and Al-Tirmidhi)

However, scholars of hadith are of the opinion that the hadiths stating that the supererogatory prayer before al-‘Asr is four are not authentic.

This does not mean the person may not perform supererogatory prayer before the obligatory congregational prayer of al-‘Asr. The following hadith is a proof to the contrary:

‘Abdullah bin Mughaffal (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “There is a Salat (prayer) between every Adhan and Iqamah; there is a Salat between every Adhan and Iqamah.” (While saying the same for the) third time (he (ﷺ) added), “It is for him who desires (to perform it).” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

According to this hadith, the person may perform voluntary prayer. This prayer is regarded as sunnah ghair mu’akkadah, whose performance is less recommended or not stressed.

After Al-‘Asr Prayer

Scholars are in agreement that a person cannot perform supererogatory prayers after the al-‘Asr Prayer except in the case of making up a missed prayer. Um Salamah (Allah be pleased with her) said, “I sent a slave-girl to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) asking her to stand by his side and say to him that Umm Salama says:

Messenger of Allah, I heard you prohibiting these two rak’ahs, whereas I saw you observing them; and if he (the Holy Prophet) points with his hand (to wait), then do wait.

The slave-girl did like that. He (the Holy Prophet) pointed out with his hand and she got aside and waited, and when he had finished (the prayer) he said:

O Daughter of Abu Umayya! You have asked about the two rak’ahs after the ‘Asr prayer. Some people of ‘Abd al-Qais came to me for embracing Islam and hindered me from observing the two rak’ahs which come after the noon prayer. So those are the two I have been praying. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Al-Maghrib (The Sunset Prayer)

Before Al-Maghrib

The supererogatory prayer before the congregational al-Maghrib Prayer is regarded as sunnah ghair mu’akkadah. Narrated `Abdullah Al-Muzni:

The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Pray before the Maghrib (compulsory) prayer.” He (said it thrice) and in the third time, he said, “Whoever wants to offer it can do so.” He said so because he did not like the people to take it as a tradition. (Al-Bukhari)

After Al-Maghrib

Generally the supererogatory prayers may be performed at home or at the mosque; however, the two supererogatory rak’ahs after al-Maghrib Prayer is especially recommended to be performed at home.

What verses to recite during the two supererogatory rak’ahs of Al-Maghrib?

It is an act of the sunnah to recite surat al-Kafirun (Chapter of The Disbelievers) after reciting surat al-Fatihah (Chapter of the Opening) at the first rak’ah and surat al-Ikhlas (Chapter of the Pure Sincerity) at the second one.

Al-‘Isha’ (The Evening Prayer)

Also the prayars performed here between Adhan and Iqamah are sunnah ghair mu’akkadah. On the other hand, it is sunnah mu’akkadah to perform two rak’ahs after al-‘Isha’ Prayer.

In short, the following two hadiths summarizes the supererogatory prayers a Muslim is recommended to perform before and/ or after the five obligatory prayers.

Hadith 1:

Ibn ‘Umar (May Allah be pleased with them) reported:

I performed along with the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) two rak’ahs of optional prayers before Dhuhr and two after the Dhuhr (Noon prayer), and two after the Friday prayer, and two after the Maghrib (Sunset) prayer, and two after the ‘Isha‘ (Evening) prayer.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Hadith 2:

‘Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her) reported:

Whenever the Prophet (ﷺ) stayed in my house, he would perform four rak’ahs (supererogatory prayer) before al-Dhuhr prayer. Then he would go out and lead the Salah (the obligatory congregational prayer). He (ﷺ) would then come back and perform two rak’ahs (supererogatory prayer). He would lead the Maghrib prayer and come back and perform two rak’ahs (supererogatory prayer). When he (ﷺ) had led the ‘Isha‘ prayer, he would enter the house and perform two rak’ahs (supererogatory prayer). (Muslim)

Soucre Link