Categories
Ethics & Values New Muslims

Self-development between Purity of Heart & Worldly Conduct

road_nature

Even though spiritual purification is important seclusion and neglect of worldly responsibilities are not condoned by Islam.

Islam is a way of life that teaches Muslims to focus on bettering themselves by following the Qur’an, the holy book of Islam, and the teachings of the final Prophet, Muhammad (peace be upon him).

Prophet Muhammad once said, “Truly I was sent as a Prophet for the purpose of perfecting human character.” (Ahmad) This prophetic tradition defines a very important aspect of Islam: self-improvement through spiritual and physical purity.

An old Arab proverb aptly states: “The one who lacks something cannot give it to others.” This saying establishes the fact that in order for one to spread “good” in terms of his or her character, manners, words or actions, he or she must first strive to possess it. One should not neglect to improve one’s own faults even as they attempt to assist others.

Of course, this does not mean that one has to be perfect in order to be of benefit to others; for instance, some people think that they cannot spread knowledge because they are not scholars. Instead, this adage goes hand in hand with the English saying, “Practice before you preach.” As Prophet Muhammad said, “Who are the learned? Those who practice what they know.”

In Islam, it is of utmost importance for Muslims to seek self-improvement in regards to every aspect of their lives. As a result, one’s good character will impact others and therefore improve society as a whole. This dynamic change all begins at the individual level. In this regard, God says:

Truly God does not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves. (Ar-Ra`d 13:11)

Pure Intentions

Before an individual consciously embarks on this journey, he or she must define and cleanse their intention. A pivotal teaching of Islam is derived from the prophetic statement, “All actions are judged by their intentions, and each person will be rewarded according to his or her intention.”

Hence, a desire to genuinely improve oneself, please God, and provide benefit is paramount. On the other hand, having impure intentions such as seeking the admiration of other people or showing off is counterproductive. For these reasons, purifying one’s intentions is critical to the success of one’s pursuit of self-development.

Cleansing of the heart is also a large component of self-improvement because it directly impacts one’s actions. God says in the Qur’an:

God did confer a great favor on the believers when He sent among them an apostle from among themselves, rehearsing unto them the signs of God, sanctifying them, and instructing them in scripture and wisdom, while, before that, they had been in manifest error. (Aal `Imran 3:164)

This verse demonstrates the role of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and the importance of self-improvement in Islam. Prophet Muhammad taught the pagan Arabs of Makkah to believe in the One God and to live righteously; he implored them to renounce idolatry and their impulsive lifestyles. Over the course of 23 years, his message uplifted the status of women, brought God-consciousness among people, and safeguarded the poor and needy.

In doing so, not only did he help individuals to attain self-improvement, he rehabilitated an entire society: racial discrimination was practically eliminated, tribal warfare was replaced with united ties of brotherhood, usury and alcohol were completely forbidden.

Righteous Actions

Self-development begins at the individual level and requires a vast amount of discipline. Along with striving to become more physically pure by maintaining a healthy and clean body, it is equally important for an individual to maintain his or her spiritual health through righteous actions. Purification of the soul allow an individual to become closer to God and exhibit more positive behavior which will translate into his or her deeds.

In order to purify and enhance oneself, Islam outlines several pragmatic steps:

Core worship, such as prayer, fasting, supplication, etc. Performing these allows Muslims to draw closer to God by increasing the individual’s awareness of God throughout the day.

This will, in turn, decrease his or her likelihood to commit acts that would displease God, enabling people to raise their moral and ethical standards.

Smiling, being kind, and staying positive when interacting with others. This leads to mercifulness and forgiveness, which are attributes which God loves in human beings.

Prophetic traditions mention that smiling is an act of charity and removing obstacles from the road is a sign of faith; others encourage people to spread good news and exchange gifts as a way of increasing love between people.

Having self-discipline and managing one’s time so that the person is more productive throughout the day:

By (the token of) time (through the ages), verily man is in loss, except such as have faith, and do righteous deeds, and (join together) in the mutual teaching of truth, and of patience and constancy. (Al-`Asr 103:1-3)

Lending a helping hand to those in need. Once Prophet Muhammad was asked: “What actions are most excellent?” He answered: “To gladden the heart of human beings, to feed the hungry, to help the afflicted, to lighten the sorrow of the sorrowful, and to remove the sufferings of the injured.”

Striving to increase one’s knowledge whether it be religious or academic. Working towards becoming an informed and proactive citizen.

According to Prophet Muhammad, “The seeking of knowledge is obligatory for every Muslim.” (Ibn Majah)

Maintaining good company and friends that will influence the individual in a positive manner.

Prophet Muhammad has stated, “It is better to sit alone than in company with the bad; and it is better still to sit with the good than alone. It is better to speak to a seeker of knowledge than to remain silent; but silence is better than idle words.”

Performing sincere repentance for one’s sins and seeking the mercy and forgiveness of God. Feeling guilty for transgressions that one has made, and then making an active effort to learn from one’s mistakes and never repeat them again:

Your Lord has inscribed for Himself (the rule of) mercy: verily, if any of you did evil in ignorance, and thereafter repented, and amend (his conduct), lo! He is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful. (Al-An`am 6:54)

As you may have noticed, many of these steps involve interacting with others. Even though spiritual purification is important, it is critical to note that seclusion and neglect of worldly responsibilities are not condoned by Islam.

Prolonged seclusion for the purpose of spiritual purification is in fact inconsistent with Islamic teachings. A large component of self enhancement involves treating others with compassion and respect, and helping the less fortunate. This is not possible if one leads the life of a recluse.

One of the prophetic traditions encourages people to look at those less privileged when making worldly comparisons with others: “When you see a person who has been given more than you in money and beauty, look to those who have been given less.”

This advice is very important because it enables us to be grateful for the blessings we have and be less greedy or miserly. Such an attitude allows one to remain focused on the quest of attaining self-improvement and eternal success in the hereafter rather than the transient materials of this temporary life.

The Virtues of Selfishness!

Self-improvement plays a significant role in the lives of Muslims also due to another key Islamic concept: that every individual will be held accountable for only him/her self in the hereafter. On the Day of Judgment, God will question each soul on its actions, and how it spent time on earth. On that day, each person will solely be concerned about the magnitude of his or her deeds.

The importance of self-development cannot be overemphasized in Islam although it may seem like a selfish endeavor on the surface. However, such “selfishness” may actually be considered a virtue rather than a vice. When one is constantly struggling for self-improvement, he or she becomes more willing to help others and disperse the good that he or she has gained to society at large.

As a result, one person’s efforts contribute towards collective development. Such commitment is not possible in the individual who is self-absorbed for the sake of self-gratification. Therefore, “selfishness” for the purpose of self-improvement and the greater good is the first step to selflessness.

Indeed, the essence of all good deeds stems from a pure and tranquil soul.

_________________________

Source: whyislam.org.

Soucre Link
Categories
Ethics & Values New Muslims

Moderation in the Light of the Qur’an

The quran

Moderation is a separator between excessiveness and remissness, between extremism and extravagance, and between normality and abnormality.

By Editorial Staff

What Is Moderation?

As we discuss the concept of moderation and its implications in Islam, it is essential to examine the places where the concept of moderation or any of it uses is highlighted in the religious texts. The importance of this review stems from the fact that the religious texts stand for the source of rulings and concepts shaping the Islamic view of principles and codes of ethics. But, before going on it is worthy to mention that moderation means to adopt a middle way between both extremes, in all the various walks of life. Moderation is a separator between excessiveness and remissness, between extremism and extravagance, and between normality and abnormality. Islam stresses moderation and equity in everything; in relationships, acts of worship, customs, transactions, social life and human desires.

Direct References to Moderation in the Qur’an

Moderation has been reiterated in the Qur’an whether explicitly or implicitly, but in all its uses it confirms equitable and balanced situation in beliefs, conduct and even worship. It covered the man’s relationship with God, people and universe as a whole. In the following lines, we will review the Qur’anic use of the term moderation which is expressed by the term wastiyyah and its derivatives. We will discover how the Qur’an manifested the concept of moderation as being an essential characteristic and element of the Islamic Shari`ah and creed.

First: Almighty Allah says:

Thus We have mad you a wasat (middle) nation… (Al-Baqarah 2:143)

This verse was explained by the Prophet (peace be upon him) himself as narrated by Al-Bukhari from Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet Muhammad said, “Noah will be called on the Day of Resurrection and he will say, ‘Labbaik and Sa`dayk, O my Lord!’ Allah will say, ‘Did you convey the Message?’ Noah will say, ‘Yes.’ His nation will then be asked, ‘Did he convey the Message to you?’ They will say, ‘No Warner came to us.’ Then Allah will say (to Noah), ‘Who will bear witness in your favor?’ He will say, ‘Muhammad and his followers. So they (i.e. Muslims) will testify that he conveyed the Message. And the Prophet (Muhammad) will be a witness over yourselves, and that is what is meant by the Statement of Allah:

Thus We have made of you a wasat (middle and just) nation that you may be witnesses over mankind and the Prophet (Muhammad) will be a witness over yourselves. (Al-Baqarah 2:143)

Imam At-Tabari said, “I believe that ‘wasat’ here refers to the center of the thing that lies between its two ends such as the center of the house… I think that Allah gave them this description because of their being of a middle approach in religion; neither they went to extremes like Christians who innovated monasticism and exaggerated in the appreciation of Jesus taking him as a God, nor they show negligence towards their religion as the Jews did when they distorted the Scriptures of God, killed His Prophets, and disbelieved Him. Allah characterized Muslims by moderation and equity because they adopted a moderate way between these extremes of exaggeration and negligence.

Second: Almighty Allah says,

Maintain with care the [obligatory] prayers and [in particular] the middle prayer and stand before Allah , devoutly obedient. (Al-Baqarah 2:238)

The Prophet (peace be upon him) explained this verse in his saying on the battle of the Trench as he said, “They have diverted us from (offering) the middle prayer, the `Asr (Afternoon) prayer. May Allah fill their bellies and their graves with fire, or he said: May Allah stuff their bellies and their graves with fire.” (Muslim)

Third: Allah says,

So its expiation is the feeding of ten needy people from the average of that which you feed your [own] families or clothing them or the freeing of a slave. (Al-Ma’idah 5:89)

The Qur’an asks the person who pays expiation for breaking his oath to offer food to the poor as one choice. However, this food must be an average food that is not too bad or too expensive. It should be a moderate one; an appropriate food.

Fourth: Almighty Allah says,

The most moderate of them said, “Did I not say to you, ‘Why do you not exalt [ Allah ]?’” (Al-Qalam 68:28)

The verse makes mention of the middle one from among the group referring to the one with better reason and opinion or the best or the fairest one from among them.

Indirect References to Moderation in the Qur’an

These verses cited the term moderation explicitly with its uses that do not overstep the linguistic meaning of the origin of the word, namely moderateness. This meaning is approved by the Shari`ah and coincides with other related Qur’anic texts. However, there are many other texts that shed light on the meaning of moderation through other words that refer to this meaning within a Qur’anic approach with clear and established proofs. We will mention some of them as follows:

Almighty Allah says,

Guide us to the straight path. The path of those upon whom You have bestowed favor, not of those who have evoked [Your] anger or of those who are astray. (Al-Fatihah 1:6-7)

The verse states that Allah has described the path with two things: being straight and inconsistent with the path of those who have evoked the anger of God (the Jews) and also the way of Christians who went to extremes in monasticism and worship until they overstep the boundaries of their religion, not only in worship but also in conviction. Thus, since the straight path is contrary to the way of those who committed negligence or extremism, it must be a moderate path. This indicates that the straight path which God has enacted is free from extremism and negligence, which is the core of the Islamic approach of moderation.

The same meaning is also shown clearly in Allah’s saying,

Mankind was [of] one religion [before their deviation]; then Allah sent the prophets as bringers of good tidings and warners and sent down with them the Scripture in truth to judge between the people concerning that in which they differed. And none differed over the Scripture except those who were given it – after the clear proofs came to them – out of jealous animosity among themselves. And Allah guided those who believed to the truth concerning that over which they had differed, by His permission. And Allah guides whom He wills to a straight path. (Al-Baqarah 2:213)

The above mentioned verses prove and lay the grounds of the moderate approach established by the Qur’an.

However, the whole verses and chapters of the Qur’an call to moderation, justice, equity and other related concepts. Almighty Allah says,

Indeed! This Qur’an guides to that which is straightest. (Al-Israa’ 17:9)

The word ‘straightest’ refers to the safety valve of the Muslim nation, the nation of the Qur’an, which protects it from swerving from the straight path. It is the guidance of the Glorious Qur’an with its proper commands and regulations that conflicts not with sound minds and natural inclinations. Rather, the discourse of the Qur’an, in all its issues, goes in line with the soundest views and theories and observes both the material and spiritual sides on equal levels.

Soucre Link
Categories
Ethics & Values New Muslims

Thanksgiving: The Essence of Belief

How does thanksgiving contribute to one’s belief? Is it just a faith requirement or just moral development? How can we reach the state of thankfulness?

The hadith of Jibreel (Angel Gabriel) is considered by most Muslim scholars to be one of the fundamental texts of our religion. It presents, in a comprehensive way, the foundations of Islam.

the essence of Islam

The spiritual path is not a philosophical picnic. It requires action; the action of the heart, the tongue and the limbs.

This is made clear by the fact that the Prophet (blessings and peace upon him) mentions to `Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) at the conclusion of the hadith: “’O `Umar! Do you know who the questioner was?’ Umar replied: ‘Allah and His Messenger know best’. The Prophet replied: ‘Verily, it was the Angel Gabriel. He came to teach you your religion’”. (Muslim)

This narration focuses on four things that are essential to our religion: Islam (Muslim practice), Iman (Muslim dogma), ihsan (states of inner excellence) and the Sa`ah (Doomsday).

To rephrase the focal points of this hadith, we can say that Islam is a religion that demands of its adherents that they do something, that they believe something, that they embody something and that they prepare for something. What we do involves the devotional acts that are enjoined by the religion. This is the essence of Islam, in this particular context.

What we believe involves the dogma that we affirm as agreed upon by the scholars who have mastered the prophetic message and distilled from it the essential beliefs whose affirmation is necessary if a person is to be considered a Muslim. This is the essence of iman, again, in the context of the hadith.

The states of being that a believer embodies are illustrated, in the immediate context of the hadith of Gabriel, by the saying of the Prophet: “…that you worship Allah as if you see Him. If you fail to see Him, be mindful that He observes you”. This is the essence of ihsan.

Finally, by living a life, which encompasses in a real way all of the aforementioned elements, we are preparing for the end of things in the world, or Doomsday.

To expound further on the idea of a Muslim embodying something, we can add that this is an aspect of our religion that many Muslims fail to adequately consider. Specifically, the idea that we are to embody the prophetic virtues is lost by many. Those virtues, which the Prophet embodied, are an articulation of the ontological stations he attained to.

In other words, his very being, for example, embodied the station of patience. This ontological reality then manifested itself in his character as he displayed unmatched patience in his dealings with others. This is what ihsan is about.

Imam al-Qushayri, in his Risala, mentions some of the states a believer should strive to embody: repentance or penitence (tawbah); sincere exertion in worship (mujahada); spiritual insularity (khalwah or `uzlah); God-consciousness (taqwa); religious scrupulousness (wara`); worldly detachment (zuhd); silence (samt); fear of God (khawf); hope for God’s Mercy (raja’); sobriety of heart (huzn); suppression of the appetite for food and drink (Ju`); humility (tawadu`); opposing the whims of one’s ego (mukhalafa an-nafs); avoiding envy (hasad); avoiding backbiting (ghaybah); contentment (qana`ah); trusting in Allah (tawakkul); thankfulness (shukr); being certain of divine truths (yaqeen); patience (sabr); being mindful of Allah’s observation of one (muraqabah); being pleased with Allah’s decree (rida); willing servitude to Allah (`ubudiyyah); strong conviction for truth and religion (iradah); consistency (istiqamah); sincerity in all of the relevant realms (ikhlas); honesty (sidq); shyness (haya’); freedom from the weight of worldly engagements (hurriyyah); constant remembrance of Allah (dhikr); concern for others (al-Futuwwa); viewing things in the light of truth (firasa); good character (khuluq); generosity (jud) and many others. (Abi Al-Qasim Al-Qushayri, Al-Risala)

Thanksgiving: How?

One of the loftiest of stations mentioned by Imam Al-Qushayri, and others, is that of thankfulness (shukr). To fully strive for the actualization of this station in our lives we must know its meaning. The linguistic meaning of shukr is from sha-ka-ra, which means an animal attaining to pasture and then fattening on it.

Thus, the Arabs say, sha-ka-tat al-ibilu, meaning the camels attained to pasture and became fat. The expression hisan shakur means a horse that is fattened up by very little fodder. In general, an animal that is shakur eats little but grows much.

This definition gives us insight into the nature of a thankful person. It does not take much to please them. We find that a person that is truly thankful is appreciative of very little. When we give them the smallest gift they are deeply grateful and seek to express their gratitude in the warmest terms and kindest actions. As for the ingrate, no matter how much they receive they desire more and fail to express any gratitude for what they have received.

Thus, the effect of a blessing, be it pasture or fodder, is seen on the animal who receives that blessing, in its increased size. Likewise, the effect of a blessing given by Allah to His servant manifests itself on the tongue, heart and limbs of a thankful person. Hence, in the technical usage of the religious scholars, as expressed by Ibn Al-Qayyim Al-Jawziyya, thankfulness means ‘to manifest one’s appreciation for the blessings bestowed by Allah on the tongue, through praise and acknowledgment; in the heart by witnessing the giver of the blessing and loving Him; and on the limbs by willingly accepting His guidance and obeying Him’.

This definition helps us to understand that the spiritual path is not a philosophical picnic. It requires action; the action of the heart, the tongue and the limbs. Knowledge though, does play its part, in fact, as emphasized by Imam Al-Ghazali in the Ihya’, it is the foundation of the subsequent acts of thankfulness. He says:

‘You should know that thankfulness is among the stations of those journeying to Allah. It is also (like other stations) organized around the categories of knowledge (`ilm), state (hal) and action (`Amal). Knowledge is the foundation and it bequeaths the state, while the state (in turn) bequeaths action. As for knowledge it is the knowledge that the blessing is from the giver of blessings (Allah: Al-Mun`im).The ensuing state is the happiness resulting from His bestowing the blessing. The action is undertaking what is intended and loved by the giver of the blessing’. (Al Ghazali, Ihya’ `Ulum Ad-Deen)

Imam Al-Ghazali outlines a process whereby thankfulness can become actualized in our lives. The foundation of this process is the knowledge that every blessing we have ultimately comes from Allah. In our increasingly ’material’ world people are losing touch with this great reality. Many view their hard work, intellect or creativity as the source of the good they enjoy. They cannot conceive of the role played by the divine in their good fortune.

Hence, we witness the growing disinclination on the part of the wealthy to share their wealth with the less fortunate members of our society. In the face of appeals for greater charity we increasingly hear retorts such as, ’Poor people should work hard as I did…’ ‘Those people should pick themselves up by their bootstraps like we did…’ People uttering such statements may recognize the blessings they enjoy, but they fail to see the giver of those blessings, and because they do not see or acknowledge the giver of the blessing, they neither see nor acknowledge the rights He has established in their wealth.

The various sayings of the scholars we have considered let us know that to really be people of thankfulness we must be people who praise and worship our Lord. When the Prophet, peace and blessing of Allah upon him, was asked why he was standing in prayer at night until his feet were swollen, he replied, as the tears flowed down his cheeks, ”Should I not then be a thankful servant?” (Al-Bukhari) His thankfulness was expressed in his worship. This should be our case.

A final way we can express our thankfulness in indicated by the name of Allah, Ash-Shakur. One of the meanings of this name is one who rewards a small amount of human effort with a great amount of grace. A vile criminal can enter into Islam one moment and then die the next. Having done only one righteous deed, uttering the Testimony of Faith, he is rewarded with eternal bliss in Paradise. How small was his action compared to the magnitude of Allah’s grace?

This should remind us that in all of our relations and dealings in the world we should try to give far more than we take. This is especially important when the dominant ethos is becoming ‘take as much as you can and give as little as possible’.

Let us take time to reflect on what it truly means to be thankful, and let us work to the extent of our capabilities to extend the blessings we enjoy to others, not just on one day, but every day.

_________________________

Source: newislamicdirections.com.

Soucre Link
Categories
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.

Soucre Link
Categories
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.

Soucre Link
Categories
Ethics & Values New Muslims

How to Be Patient?

By Editorial Staff

Definition

Sabr (patience) is an Arabic word that means in language to restrain. The month of Ramadan is called the month of al-Sabr because it is self-restraint from food, drink and sexual intercourse.

In the technical usage of the term, it means to restrain oneself from neglecting Allah’s commands, indulging in prohibitions and being impatient in cases of afflictions. These are the three kinds of patience mentioned by most scholars.

The first kind: being patient with Allah’s obedience

“O you who believe! Be patient. And have outlasting patience.”

Some kinds of worship may be hard to perform. This hardship can be physical or spiritual. The physical hardship may take place when a person is weak, tired or ill.

On the other hand, the pillars of Islam may be divided into physical and financial or both of them. The physical pillars include prayer and fasting. Paying zakat (almsgiving) is an example of the financial acts of worship. The Hajj (pilgrimage to Makka) is the third kind which requires physical effort and money. The acts of worship are various to test people whether they will do what they only like and find easy or they will abide by Allah’s commands and do them all.

You may find it easy for some people to perform as many prayers as they can; however, it is very hard for them to give even a small sum of money to charity. On the contrary, there are others who can pay zakat and give to charity easily but it hard for them to perform prayer or fasting. To pass the test, one needs to be patient enough to be able to obey Allah’s commands without any differentiation between them. The hardship one may find needs patience and endurance. Allah says,

“O you who believe! Be patient. And have outlasting patience. And be ever at the ready. And be ever God-fearing, so that you may be successful.” (Quran 3:200)

The second kind: Patience with avoiding the prohibited matters

In this kind of patience, one must restrain oneself from committing acts of disobedience. Indeed, the self and the Satan often bids to evil such as telling lies, committing adultery and fornication, drinking alcohol, stealing, etc. Everyone needs to restrain and prevent oneself from committing such sins and crimes. Exercising self-restraint may constitute a hardship for the person who finds it easy to perform such sins or crimes. In case the person does not think of the sin or it does not even come to his or her mind, this person will not be called patient. However, if one finds it hard to do so, then he or she needs to be patient.

The third kind: Patience on the occasions of trials and afflictions

Indeed, man is always tested so long as he or she is alive. Allah says,

“The One who created death and life to test you, (and to reveal) which of you is best in deeds. For He (alone) is the Overpowering (One), the All-Forgiving” (Quran 67:2)

Allah tries His servants with calamites to test their patience and tries them with benefits to test their thankfulness. Allah says,

“For We (but) test you (in life) with evil and good as a trial. And it is to Us you shall all be returned (for recompense).” (Quran 21:35)

One may be ill, lose his or her money or something bad may happen to his or her family, etc. In all these cases and others one should endure them patiently. Moreover, the Muslim must withhold him or herself from impatience, his or her tongue from complaint and his or her limbs from broil. Allah says,

“And, most surely, We shall test (all of) you (believers) with something of fear and (with) hunger and (with) loss of wealth and life and crops. So give glad tidings (of everlasting delight in Paradise) to those who are (enduringly) patient” (Quran 2:155)

People’s reactions to trials and tribulations may be one of the following:

1. Showing discontent

Some people may be discontent in the heart, namely, they may be angry or displeased with Allah. Such people feel as if Allah did injustice to them. Secondly, others may express discontent with their tongue. For instance, they may say unsuitable words, use swear words, utter cries of woe and doom, etc. Thirdly, there are others who may show discontent with limbs, namely, to slap one’s cheeks or to tear one’s clothes, break cups, throw things away, etc.

In fact, all these acts that denote discontent are forbidden.

Narrated `Abdullah: the Prophet (ﷺ) said, “He who slaps his cheeks, tears his clothes and follows the ways and traditions of the Days of Ignorance is not one of us.” (Al-Bukhari)

Indeed, this person who shows discontent cannot change what has already happened. There is no use of being angry. On the contrary, behaving this way deprives such person from the rewards he or she will get in case of being content and patient.

2. Being patient

Everyone hates calamities and afflictions and like that they do not befall or hurt people. Although it is allowed to hate calamities, it is prohibited to show discontent. One’s heart must not harbor any bad feelings towards Allah. In addition, Muslims must not say or do anything that displeases Allah. they must remember that they are in a test and have to be patient and content with Allah to pass the test. Moreover, the Muslim should remember that he or she will be rewarded for whatever afflictions that befall him or her. Allah says,

“For, indeed, those who are patient shall be rendered their reward in full, without measure.” (Quran 39:10)

Abu Yahya Suhaib bin Sinan (May Allah be pleased with him) reported that:

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “How wonderful is the case of a believer; there is good for him in everything and this applies only to a believer. If prosperity attends him, he expresses gratitude to Allah and that is good for him; and if adversity befalls him, he endures it patiently and that is better for him”. (Muslim)

3. Being content

When the Muslim harbors good thoughts concerning Allah, he or she knows very well that everything that happens to him or her is good. Whenever an affliction befalls him or her, he or she should know well enough that he or she will be rewarded or many of his or her sins will be forgiven according to the hadith mentioned above. This is what may help the Muslim feel content and pleased with Allah whenever an affliction befalls him or her.

4. Being thankful

This is the most excellent kind. Here, the Muslim thanks and praises Allah for the rewards given by Allah is far greater than the pain caused by such calamities.

 

Soucre Link
Categories
Ethics & Values New Muslims

Migrating without Moving: Performing Hijrah in Your Daily Life

By Brian Wright

As a Muslim at any stage in your spiritual development, you will almost certainly come across the most-cited hadith ever:

Indeed actions are [judged] by their intentions, and to every person [the reward for] which he intends.

Narrated through what Hadith scholars refer to as the “Golden Chain,” the hadith of intentions is one of the most authentic hadiths around.

What many of us miss, however, is the not-so-often-cited second half:

Whoever migrates with an intention for Allah and His messenger, the migration will be for the sake of Allah and His messenger. And who ever migrates for worldly gain or to marry a woman, then his migration will be for the sake of whatever he migrated for. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Mini-hijrahs are removing yourself from negative and detrimental non-Muslim influences and surrounding yourself with true submission (Islam) in as many aspects of life as possible.

Migration here is the translation of the Arabic term “hijrah,” often referred to the events when the Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace) left Makkah to establish the first Muslim community in Yathrib, renamed Madinah or the “City of the Prophet.”

Some movements have taken this meaning to heart, suggesting that Muslims must physically leave non-Muslim majority societies and move to majority-Muslim countries.

However, most scholars believe that leaving your society is not a requirement as long as you are not in physical danger and are able to comfortably practice your faith.

But the meaning of hijrah goes much deeper than this; and there are several things that you can do that will both improve your faith and make you a better Muslim. These are what I like to call the “mini-hijrahs:” removing yourself from negative and detrimental non-Muslim influences and surrounding yourself with true submission (Islam) in as many aspects of life as possible.

Hijrah of the Eyes

The first and most obvious of these is to work towards the perfection of that which you see around you. In typical discussions, this means diverting your gaze from things that are forbidden. Not staring at the opposite sex, changing the channel when inappropriate content comes on the television, and avoiding reading material that drives you away from your faith are all parts of this.

There are also positive changes that you can make. Clean up your home, neighborhood, mosque, and work-space. Remember that hadith: “Cleanliness is half of faith.” (Muslim)

It doesn’t just mean having wudu’ but can also be achieved by not littering, cleaning up trash in your neighborhood, or having an organized home and office space.

Another positive hijrah for the eyes is to remember to take time to step away from your daily grind. Take your family to the park or re-connect with nature. Plant a garden, paint, and surround yourself with the beauty of God’s creation.

Hijrah of the Ears

We often pass-off the terrible things we hear every day. Swearing, explicit music, and just overall annoying sounds are things we have become accustomed to.

What we don’t realize, however, is that no matter how much we try, these sounds shape our mood. Do what you can to be aware of these negative sounds and try to avoid them as much as possible.

Take a step back from that friend who swears too much or talks about coworkers behind their backs. Turn down the music at work and avoid areas of town that are known for heavy street noise.

Surround yourself with positive sounds. Listening to the Quran and religious lessons throughout the day are a good start but be careful as even these typically beautiful and beneficial sounds can turn negative.

Anyone who has suffered through a crushingly-loud Quranic recitation or call to prayer can relate, and even the best of us can be turned away from God’s words when they are delivered through a nasty sound system or a lesson given by someone not properly trained.

Combine this hijrah with connecting to nature and listen to the birds or the calming sounds of the ocean. Sometimes, however, the most positive sounds you can hear are nothing, isolating yourself from the sensory overload of our daily lives to reflect in silence.

Hijrah of the Tongue

We’ve all let our tongues get away from us. Gossiping about a co-worker, spreading rumors about extended family members, or even just speaking your feelings when you should have kept your mouth shut. These are problems of the tongue and, as Muslims, we have a responsibility and duty to watch what we say to others as it affects both our well-being and that of others. Remember the Prophet’s words here:

He who believes in Allah and the Last Day must either speak good or remain silent. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Think before you say something the next time you feel you just have to say something and hold in those feelings to speak out no matter how honest it really is. This doesn’t mean that you should lie, but silence is often better than brutal honesty.

These days, the hijrah of the tongue could be extended to that of our fingers as well, as negative social media posts are just as dangerous as strong words.

On the other side of the equation, utilize the positive meaning of the Hadith and speak “good” to others. A good word can really go a long way and positive statements, even those that are sometimes hard to make, can change lives.

Hijrah of the Mind

By combining these “mini-hijrahs,” you will find that it is not just your eyes, ears, and tongue that benefit, but also your mind and heart. Your mind is at the core of all these systems, and training it to be in better submission to its Lord is the first and most important step to being a better Muslim.

Likewise, by being a better member of your community, you can fulfill the deeper meaning of the hijrah as explained by the Prophet Muhammad without taking one step outside your home.


About the author:

Brian Wright is a PhD candidate at the Institute of Islamic Studies, McGill University. His dissertation is on the development of Islamic criminal law in Egypt, India, and Ottoman Turkey during the 19th century. He has studied fiqh with a number of traditional scholars in Egypt and India.

source: aboutislam.net

Soucre Link
Categories
Ethics & Values New Muslims

Examples of Righteousness

 Aisha Stacey

On the authority of Abu Hurairah (Allah be pleased with him) who said: the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said:

Whoever relieves the grief of a believer in this world, God will relieve his grief in the Hereafter.  Whoever relieves the difficulties of a person in debt in this world, God will relieve his difficulties in this world and the Hereafter.  Whoever conceals the faults of a believer, God will conceal his faults in this world and the Hereafter.  God will aid His servant so long as the servant aids his fellow believers.  Whoever follows a path to seek knowledge, God will make the path to Paradise easy for him.  When people gather together, in one of the houses of God, to recite the Book of God and study it, tranquility descends upon them, mercy covers them, the angels surround them, and God mentions them to those who are in His presence.  Whoever is slowed down by his deeds will not be hastened forward by his lineage. (Muslim)

This is a hadith from among a collection of the sayings of Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, compiled by Imam An-Nawawi.  It is a very famous and well-studied collection of forty-two hadiths known as An-Nawawi’s Forty Hadith.  Its value lies in the fact that the hadiths in this collection cover fundamental aspects of the religion of Islam.  Hadith number thirty-six is often referred to as the hadith of righteousness.

However, while it does list comprehensively a number of qualities one would expect to find in a righteous person, it also deals with virtues, rulings, principles, and manners.  There are several lessons embedded in this hadith, and each sentence adds an in-depth feature to one very basic principle; that believers are like family to one another.  There are certain obligations that believers have towards each other and this hadith, in a different version, states it very succinctly as, ‘Whoever is fulfilling the needs of his brother, God is fulfilling his needs.’ (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

1. Relieving the grief of a believer

‘Whoever is fulfilling the needs of his brother, God is fulfilling his needs.’

This is a lesson in how to attain the help of God by helping one of His servants. Sometimes when a person feels as if he is swamped with difficulty, God, in answer to his supplication, will send help from an unexpected source. Often this source is in the form of another Muslim. The word grief in this hadith refers to a great difficulty or a hardship. If a believer relieves the grief of another believer, God recognizes that act and will reward the person in the Hereafter by relieving the grief, fear, and distress that he or she feels on the Day of Judgment.

2. Alleviating the difficulties of those in debt

Being indebted to somebody is a terrible feeling. That debt is usually of a financial nature and Prophet Muhammad explains to us that alleviating the debt of somebody, who is having difficulties meeting the terms of his debt is an act that is loved by God, so much so that He says He will alleviate that person’s difficulties in this world and in the Hereafter. Helping those in debt can be achieved in several ways, including giving extra time or canceling the debt completely.

3. Concealing the faults of a believer

The general rule that scholars derive from this section of the hadith is that believers should not reveal the faults of their fellow believers. Nowadays we often see or hear some people taking other’s faults as a type of amusement. They mock and ridicule, revealing perceived minor transgressions that may or may not be true. As Muslims, we should be concerned about our own faults not the faults of others and constantly try to improve ourselves. The one who conceals faults rather than reveals them will have his or her own faults concealed by God in this world and in the Hereafter.

4. God will come to the aid of the one who aids his fellow believer

Coming to the aid of fellow believers is something that Muslims should take very seriously.  Prophet Muhammad reminded us many times that we should love for our brother or sister what we would love for ourselves.(Al-Bukhari)

If we truly cared about each other, there would be very few needy people in Muslim communities.

5. Seeking knowledge

Seeking beneficial knowledge is a very rewarding act.  God might make the path to Paradise easy for those seeking knowledge in several ways.  They might be guided to Paradise through knowledge, or God might make it easy for a person to benefit what they learn, thus they will walk a path to Paradise, or make crossing the bridge above the Hellfire easy and thus enter Paradise.[1]  There are many people who seek knowledge but find no blessings in the knowledge they gain.  Therefore the believer should seek knowledge with good and sincere intentions.

6. The virtue of gathering in the mosque

This lesson informs us about a very rewardable and preferred act; gathering in the mosques to recite, listen and study the Quran or to attend lectures and classes. This can result in very specific rewards.  They are imbued with tranquility, resulting in relief from the stress and strife that plague modern-day societies, the mercy of God descends as the angels surround them, and God mentions them to whoever is in His presence. 

7. Lineage is of no benefit to the one who lags behind in his good deeds

Behaving well and doing good deeds and actions is the key to rewards leading to Paradise.  If the believer is lacking in this area, his lineage, meaning his family name, tribe or ancestry will not be of any benefit regardless of their wealth or status.

This hadith a very comprehensive and contains at least seven important lessons.  It outlines the morals and manners that should be embedded in the behavior of every believer.  It outlines some of the obligations we have towards each other and emphasizes that Islam expects us to treat one another as if we were close family members.  Whatever we can do to alleviate the difficulties of another person we should do, with the pure intention to please God.


[1] There is a bridge that will be established over Hell extending to Paradise that everyone has to cross. Some will not make it and fall into the Hellfire whilst others will successfully cross it.

Source: islamreligion.com

Soucre Link
Categories
Ethics & Values New Muslims

Domestic Violence – A Friday Speech

In this month of October, Domestic Violence Awareness Month, I think it will be a good idea if we listen to this beneficial speech.

In his Friday Speech, Shaykh Waleed Basyouni talks about domestic violence. He starts with a hadith in which Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace) says as part of this hadith: “So, fear Allah when you deal with women“. (This sentence of the hadith is related by Muslim)

In a another hadith, the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said: “The best of you is the one who is best to his wife, and I am the best of you to my wives.” (Al-Tirmidhi and Al-Darimi)

Then, he continues to talk about how Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace) dealt with his wives.

Here is the full sermon

Soucre Link
Categories
Ethics & Values New Muslims

How Did a Muslim Woman Defend Jewish Children from Antisemitic Abuse?

A man has been arrested after antisemitic abuse was directed towards a Jewish family on the London Underground.

The suspect, whose name and age has not been released by police, was held in Birmingham on Saturday night on suspicion of committing a racially aggravated public order offence and he remains in custody.

His arrest came after a man was filmed reading anti-Jewish Bible passages to two young boys in skullcaps while they were travelling with their family on the Northern Line.

Wearing a cap and hoody, the man is seen in the video threatening a man off-camera after he tries to intervene before a woman in a hijab – Asma Shuweikh – confronts him.

The mother-of-two, from London, told the PA news agency she “wouldn’t hesitate to do it again

“I would have loved more people to come up and say something, because if everyone did, I do not think it would have escalated in the way that it did,” she said.

She said when she saw what was happening she knew she “had to confront him”.

“Being a mother-of-two, I know what it’s like to be in that situation and I would want someone to help if I was in that situation,” she said.

She said the couple was travelling with three children, and she wanted to deflect the man’s attention away from them.

She said: “He was quite aggressive and was getting in my face.”

Fellow commuter Chris Atkins took the video after catching the Tube heading south on the Charing Cross branch of the line at midday on Friday.

“The Muslim woman didn’t take any shit from him and really, really took him to task, very firmly and persistently,” Mr Atkins said.

“In this day and age we are told how intolerant everyone is and all religions hate each other and there you had a Muslim woman sticking up for some Jewish children.”

Twitter users hailed Shuweikh a “hero”.

Reported by the Press Association, Shuweikh said she got off the Underground after two stops and did not realise the video was going viral until a friend texted her to say she had seen her on Twitter.

She created a Twitter account so she could see the reaction.

She said:

“It was so heartwarming to see the responses and see what people were saying. I can’t take all the credit because a lot of other people were involved.

I would not hesitate to do it again.”


Press Association/ Independent

Soucre Link