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The Qur’an and Social Stability

The Qur'an and Social Stability

First of all, the Qur’an gives us the main objective of our existence.

 

When we talk about understanding the Qur’an, we talk about the Angels asking Allah in Surat Al-Baqarah: “Will You place upon it (the world) one who causes corruption therein and sheds blood… ?” (Al-Baqarah 2:30)

This is one of the jobs of the Qur’an: to make society civil. The opposite of spilling blood and oppression and sin is to live a civil life. So, one of the objectives of the Qur’an is a social-political reality of stability in society.

That’s why many of the great scholars, such as Ibn Taymiyah, Imam Ash-Shatibi, Sheikh `Abdullah ibn Bayyah, said that the entire Islamic legislative system came for the benefit of the servants of Allah; to make life good for us. That’s why Allah said in the Qur’an: “Those people who believe and do righteousness, We are going to give them a good life”. (An-Nahl 16:97)

Now specifically, we want to talk about how we should understand the Qur’an in the concept of our lives. What does the Qur’an do for us?

First of all, the Qur’an gives us the main objective of our existence. And those of you who studied philosophy and other similar disciplines, this is what people talk about all the time. Subhan Allah (Glory be to Allah), I went to the library the other day and you can find countless books on the purpose of human beings. Why are we here? What’s our purpose? What’s our cause?

Allah is Al-`Alim (the All Knowing), Al-Hakeem (the Most Wise) and whenever Allah mentions these attributes, He emphasizes that He is the One Who is Knowledgeable and He has wisdom in His knowledge. In one verse of the Qur’an Allah identified the purpose of humanity; the reason that we’re here, the objective of life. Allah said:

And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me. (Adh-Dhariyat 51:56)

Our purpose is `ibadah (worship); to worship Allah. In one verse! There’s no need for a long discourse on this. We have been created to worship.

Maybe in your classes, especially the classes that you’re taking in philosophy, you have some atheists and maybe someone would say to you: ‘Well, I don’t believe in this. I don’t believe that we’re here to be servants’.

Tell them: ‘Okay, don’t use the restroom. Don’t sleep. Don’t eat. Don’t get tired. Don’t pick your nose when nobody’s looking. Don’t blink your eyes’.

They’re going to tell you: ‘I can’t. I cannot do that’.

‘Yes, because you are the slave of something. You are enslaved’.

They’re going to say: ‘Oh, this is physics’.

’You can call it what you want to call it, man. We call it enslavement. Stephen Hawking calls it physics. But we call it `ibadah.’

Allah said everything is going to submit to Allah whether by choice or by force -force meaning in the physical realm of life, not in the intellectual realm:

And whoever is in the heavens and the earth makes obeisance to Allah only, willingly and unwillingly, and their shadows too at morn and eve. (Ar-Ra`d 13:15)

So the Qur’an identified the purpose of creation. And there are many logical arguments mentioned in the Qur’an as to why human beings have been created for this purpose.

We should know that in the Qur’an Allah made this `ibadah comprehensive when He said:

Say, ‘Indeed, my prayer, my rites of sacrifice, my living and my dying are for Allah, Lord of the worlds’. (Al-An`am 6:162)

This is the purpose of our existence; to be the servants of Allah.

Why? Because if somebody is not the servant of Allah, what will they be? They will be the servant of something else.

I remember, subhan Allah, before I was Muslim I used to be a member of the Bloods and I came into a swap meet wearing all my red and stuff, with my boys. And we ran into these Muslim guys, you know with big turbans and beards, in Oklahoma of all places. So, I went to this brother and I said: ‘You, what’s up, man?’ (I don’t talk like that anymore, al-hamdulillah, thanks to Allah)

So, he responded to me and said: ‘Yeah, what’s up?’ And I was amazed, thinking, ‘This foreign cat can really speak English’. Little did I know that that guy was from Brooklyn, NY. He was an American. And subhan Allah he started giving me da`wah (call to Islam).

He said: ‘You see that money you have in your pocket from selling dime bags? You see that pager you have? You see that car you drive with the Dayton and the beats? You see these girls you’re trying to rap on? All of this is your ilah’.

I said to him: ’What’s an ilah?’

He said: ‘Your god’.

I said: ‘You’re right. You’re correct, this is my god’. At that time, if somebody scratched my car I’d put a cap in their…foot. If somebody tried to talk to my girl we were going to go outside. I said: ‘These are the emotions that should be attached to a deity’.

He said: ‘Exactly, and this is the message of Islam. To attach these emotions, as well as physical actions, to the one who deserves it. La ilaha illa Allah (there is no god but God)’.

So Islam identified this purpose in our lives for us. For thirteen years in Makkah, this was the message of the Qur’an: submission to and worship of the One Who deserves to be worshiped.

The other thing that we should know about the Qur’an is that it is comprehensive. And in university you’re going to be pounded with something called secularism, maybe directly or indirectly. But it will be implanted into your hard-drive. If you use anti-virus it will not work. You have to use the Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him).

This is our anti-virus system. When something comes in to us, and it doesn’t fit our understanding of the world around us, we apply the anti-virus system of the Qur’an. But if we’re not reading the Qur’an, if we’re not studying the Qur’an, if we’re not thinking about the Qur’an, it’s the same as if you leave your computer open without ever using anti-virus on it. What’s going to happen to your computer after six months? So, subhan Allah, how many of us for many years have not used the anti-virus system of the Qur’an? How many? There are so many of us.

Do we have a day-to-day relationship with the Qur’an? Do we have a monthly relationship with the Qur’an? Do we have a yearly relationship with the Qur’an? If not, we are going to be infected cognitively and eventually it will affect al-jawarih (the limbs).

Look at the Qur’an. You’re going to find penal law in the Qur’an. For example, Allah mentioned in the Qur’an that if somebody kills someone you have the right to blood money, or that they should also be killed according to the government system: “O you who believe! The law of equality is prescribed to you in cases of murder”. (2:178)

We have in the Qur’an inheritance (4:11). We have in the Qur’an charity (zakah). We have in the Qur’an family issues: for example, for our brothers, how did Allah order us to live with women? He said to live with women in a nice, nice way (4:19).

Even bringing up children is mentioned in the Qur’an. One page of Surat Luqman is dedicated to raising children. Allah says: “Oh you who believe, protect yourselves and your families from the hellfire…” (66:6).

Even fun is mentioned in the Qur’an. Allah said: “In the bounty of Allah and in His mercy – in that let them rejoice” (Yunus 10:58). Every aspect of life has been covered in the Qur’an, maybe not in specifics. Because the Qur’an does not deal with specifics, it deals with general principles.

Like, for example, the verse where Allah said to live with your wife nicely. Allah didn’t say: ’Buy her a Gucci handbag’. Allah didn’t say: ‘Bring her roses’. Allah didn’t say: ‘Bring her these clothes’. Why didn’t Allah specify?

Because not every woman is the same. Maybe some women don’t like roses (I haven’t met one yet!) Maybe some women don’t like Gucci (possibly). So Allah left it open with a general principle, ’Live with your families nicely’. Because niceness is wide, and everybody has their own things that they like. The Qur’an gave general principles, very rarely does it deal with specifics; it left the specifics to the Sunnah of the Prophet.

We see the Qur’an is comprehensive, it addresses the individual, it addresses the family, it addresses the social system (the society), it addresses the state, and it even addresses the nation. If you want to know how to build a nation, go to the story of Moses and you’ll find five periods in which a nation is built: that he took them from Egypt when they were nothing, then they went to the next phase. It’s interesting; Allah sent the older people to the desert for forty years to get them out of the way and then brought the youth in to bring out the nation. Then after a battle and struggle you had the birth of Bani Israel (Children of Israel).

Being a just leader is also mentioned in the Quran. Why do you think in the 18th chapter we see the story of Dhul Qarnayn (18:83-98)? Why, in many Muslim countries, do the presidents of those countries not want the quraa’ (those who recite Qur’an) to read these verses about Dhul Qarnayn?  Because it’s going to remind them about being just rulers.

Everything is addressed in the Qur’an. Allah says:

We have not neglected in the Book a thing. (Al-An`am 6:38)

Nothing has been left out of the Book of Allah. That’s why they used to say that the Sahabah (Companions of the Prophet), even if they lost the string on their camel, they would go to the Qur’an for the answer. Us, we have to wait until our professor comes and says: ‘Well, you know Abdul it looks like you’re going to get a D’. This is our relationship with the Qur’an.

Whereas the Companions of the Prophet, for the most minute, insignificant problems they would refer to the Qur’an. As Allah mentioned in Surat An-Nisaa’: “…return back to Allah and His Messenger…” (An-Nisaa’4:83)

So how can you return back to Allah, now? It’s by going to the Qur’an.

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Source: suhaibwebb.com

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The Prophet’s Guidance for New Muslim Youth

Prophet Muhammad came through with the message of Islam, and his target audience, so to speak, revolved around the youth of the time.

Prophet Muhammad came through with the message of Islam, and his target audience, so to speak, revolved around the youth of the time.

By Maria Zain

For new Muslims, it is vital to read up on how Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) kept the teenagers around him in good company, enjoining them in doing good deeds. Embracing Islam can be a life-changing experience.

Some new Muslims come to Islam alone, whereas others revert together with their whole family. If a couple decides to embrace Islam and have young children, it is most likely that their children will also become Muslims. For those with older children, especially those well in their teens, the transition can be trickier.

Some teenagers may very well follow in their parents’ footsteps whole heartedly, others may embrace Islam with a certain amount of wariness and there are probably many others who would prefer not to make the change.

However for family members who decide to come to Islam and who join them on their journey in becoming observing Muslims, it is worth to note the Sunnah on how Prophet Muhammad treated the youth. This will enable the transition to become smoother and more of a positive challenge for the family as a whole.

When Prophet Muhammad was given the first revelation in the cave of Mount Hira’, it was well known that he was 40 years old. As many men at that age, he had reached a certain pinnacle of leadership qualities. Men at the age of forty are often seen running their own corporations and enterprises, have attained successful marriages and raised teenage children.

What differentiates the Prophet’s leadership qualities, though, was that an important majority of followers were at the time new Muslim youth.

In the most important mission of any man’s plight, Prophet Muhammad was commanded to change the mindset of the pagan Arabs, to do away with waylay practices, oppressive behavior, corrupted attitudes, and to embrace Islam as their comprehensive way of life.

Islamic history relays that this was a gruelling attempt at changing the culture of stone-cold pagans who were deeply rooted in their traditions. Prophet Muhammad came through with the message of Islam, and his target audience, so to speak, revolved around the youth of the time.

Anas ibn Malik (may God be pleased with him) was one of the young men who grew very close to the Prophet. Anas mentioned that the Prophet never once uttered a word of disgrace upon him, neither any other member of the youth of society. He had worked for the Prophet and grew up observing and learning through the Prophet’s actions and behavior. Anas was recognized as one of the most fluent narrators of hadiths of his time.

Prophet Muhammad had other young companions who flocked with him like feathers of a bird. He often joked with them, calling ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib (may God be pleased with him) ‘AbuTuraab’ (father of the dust), for sleeping on the dusty ground. He was also very close to his family members, in particular his youngest daughter Fatimah, and was known to show his affection for her in public.

On several occasions, when Fatimah entered a room where the Prophet was, he would rush over to her, take her by her hands, kiss her and offer her his seat. Fatimah was also known to reciprocate in kind. But as much as the Prophet kept affectionate and jovial relations with the youth, he continuously moulded them to be the leaders of the future.

There is no doubt that ‘A’ishah, Prophet Muhammad’s wife, rose to the ranks of leadership at a very young age and as she outlived her husband for half a century, she became a teacher like no other woman seen in history. Until this very day, Muslims around the world read of her narrations and regard her with the highest respect as one of the feistiest women of the companions. Another young wife, Hafsah, daughter of Umar, was appointed as the keeper of the Holy Qur’an, a grave responsibility for any youth. This shows that though many companions were teens during the Prophet’s lifetime, adulthood was only a stone-throw away.

 How the Prophet did it?

The Prophet (peace be upon him) was also adamant in protecting the youth in public, honoring their opinions during debates, even against the wisest of Muslims.

‘Ali once narrated that youth between the age of fourteen and twenty-one needed to be befriended – treated as friends. Do we teach the Muslim youth the same way? Do we earn their trust by befriending them, respecting their opinions and helping them through difficulty much like good friends would do? Or do we continue to berate them for their mistakes; chastise them for their ignorance; and ignore them when they are in need, with the excuse that they are just ’troubled teenagers’?

The youth face a plethora of social ills today. From drugs to prostitution, from school drop-outs to poor qualifications; from obsession with pop culture to over-indulgences in peer pressure– it can be difficult for the Muslim youth to stand by Islamic principles with so many distractions surrounding them.

As parents of the youth of this chosen religion, we have to realize that education spans further than the walls of the classroom. The youth surrounding the Prophet were continuously surrounded by adults, not by their peers. They learned hands on how to deal with business transactions, travelling for da`wah (calling to God), teaching those who were illiterate (regardless of age) and engaged in household chores the way adults would do.

The Prophet would have frowned at those who removed the autonomy of the youth in making their own decisions, partaking in society, learning from real life scenarios and exploring their own interests and strengths that will eventually help them excel as adults in the real world. The Prophet was also adamant in protecting the youth in public, honoring their opinions during debates, even against the wisest of Muslims and allowing them to join him on even the most dangerous entourages. The youth surrounding the Prophet were definitely very involved in society.

Parents nowadays should not just categorize their teens as hormonal teenagers. For new Muslims, it is vital to read up on how Prophet Muhammad kept the teenagers around him in good company, always enjoining them in doing good deeds and encouraging them gently to ward off evil.

Embracing Islam as a family may be difficult, especially with elder children in tow, but showing how well they are appreciated within the realm of Islam, reinforces individualism, independence and autonomy in making decisions. The upside of a Muslim family coming together to Islam is that parents and children can learn together and teach each other as they journey along to becoming better Muslims. Even if older children decide not to follow their parents’ choice in faith, they still need to be treated with love and respect in light of the Sunnah, as in time they may open up to the beautiful faith and its stance on the importance of the youth.

Prophet Muhammad recognized the youth as important individuals of society. They were encouraged to learn and grow by participating in business trades, much like Anas ibn Malik; scholarly discussions, much like `Ali; and negotiations across nations, much like Usamah ibn Zayd; who led the Muslim army, including men who were old enough to be his grandfathers, at the tender age of fifteen.

The female youth of the time were not excluded from such responsibility. Ruqayyah (daughter of Prophet Muhammad) co-lead the first emigration to Abyssinia during the worst chapter of oppression upon the Muslims. Asmaa’ (daughter of Abu Bakr, may God be pleased with them all) risked her life during the Prophet’s and Abu Bakr’s plight to Madinah. She could have been killed, but due to her strong upbringing based on love for and fear of God, she took it upon her duty to protect the Prophet and her father when they were being hunted down by the Quraish.

Prophet Muhammad always perused kindness and patience in dealing with youngsters, treating them with respect, valuing their opinions and allowing them autonomy to make their own decisions.

Becoming a Muslim family, together, changes a person’s mindset on how they view teenagers. Instead of individuals who are either too young to make their own decision; or individuals who should be doing homework in order to earn straight A’s that will determine their success; or individuals who should be ‘enjoying’ life through partying and gossiping about celebrities, or being obsessed about reality television stars; the youth should be encouraged to be strong and active members of society.

The youth of today do not face the challenges of the youth of the companions. But they do definitely face a whole suite of fitnah (temptations) and conflicting identities in their own right. There are plenty of ways for the youth to become active members in the community; they just need to be befriended and encouraged by adults who wish to raise them as God-fearing adults rather than allow them to be trapped in the confusion of hormonal changes.

However, this has to be done in accordance with the Sunnah. Prophet Muhammad always perused kindness and patience in dealing with youngsters, treating them with respect, valuing their opinions and allowing them autonomy to make their own decisions.

For new Muslims, it is also important for their teenagers to find comrades of a feather, regardless of age and culture. As long as the new Muslim youth find a strong sense of belonging in Islam and a thriving Muslim community, their priorities as Muslims will be set on the right track and they will be able to achieve the same glory as the youth who surrounded Prophet Muhammad in the golden years of Islam.

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Source: islammessage.com

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Islam and Preservation of Human Life

Physical Security and Protection

life nature-flower

One’s soul or own body is a sacred entity entrusted to him by God on a temporary basis.

Human life is sacred and a gift from Allah, the Creator. For the protection of human life Islam has legislated capital and corporal punishments and retribution unto those transgressing criminals who murder and physically harm others. Killing falls into three types: intentional and/or premeditated murder,manslaughter, and total mistake.

Islam commands the execution of anyone who commits premeditated murder of an innocent person, seeking to place as strong a deterrent as possible to eradicate the temptation of intentional murder.

Unintentional manslaughter and mistaken killings are separate categories with separate lesser sentences and blood money is paid to the close relatives of the victim. The family or the heirs of the killed victim are given a diyyah (blood money) unless they choose to forgive the killer. The killer must repent to Allah and make atonement by the freeing a Muslim slave, and if this is not possible, by fasting for two consecutive months.

All such penalties are for preservation of life. No one has the right to possessions or estate without legitimate cause. All oppressive or abusive must be warned against unjust killing, victimizing or harassing other innocent members of the Islamic society, and these strict punishments should be made clear. If the retaliation is not similar to the crime itself, criminals become emboldened in their criminal activities.

All other corporal punishments have the same rationale, wherein the punishment is proportionate to the crime with specific measurements of retribution predetermined to stop all arguments and confusion.

All capital and corporal punishments are oriented for the preservation of human life and property in an Islamic society. Allah, the Exalted, states in the Qur’an:

And there is (a saving of) life for you in al-qisas (the law of equality in punishment), O men of understanding,that you may become pious. (Al-Baqarah 2:179)

The penalty of the Hereafter for the intentional murderer who does not repent will be the wrath of Allah. Allah, the Exalted, states in the Qur’an:

If a man kills a believer intentionally, his recompense is Hell, to abide therein (forever): and the wrath and the curse of Allah are upon him, and a dreadful penalty is prepared for him. (An-Nisaa’ 4:9)

Prescribed Duties

Islam has imposed certain specific duties on everyone in respect to protection of human life. The following are some of these duties:

1-Man does not own his soul or his own body: rather it is a sacred entity entrusted to him on a temporary basis. It is not allowed for anyone to intentionally torture or harm himself, or carry-out any type of suicidal crime or reckless act leading to his destruction.

Life is only given in sacrifice for the cause of Allah. Allah says:

O you who believe! Eat not up your property among yourselves unjustly: but let there be among you trade by mutual good-will: nor kill (or destroy) yourselves: for verily Allah has been to you Most Merciful! (An-Nisaa’ 4:29)

2-Man must maintain proper nutritional care to satisfy the minimum requirements essential for decent health. He is not allowed to deprive himself of permissible food, drink, clothing, marriage and proper care under any pretexts, if that causes him harm. Allah, the Exalted, states in the Qur’an:

Say: Who has forbidden the beautiful (gifts) of Allah,which He has produced for His servants, and the things,clean and pure, (which He has provided) for sustenance?
Say, they are, in the life of this world, for those who believe, (and) purely for them on the Day of Requital.
Thus do We explain the signs in detail for those who understand.
(Al-A`raf 7:32)

flowers-nature

Man may enjoy the lawful bounties offered by Allah to man on earth in moderation within the limits of the Islamic laws and without wastage

Halal in Moderation

Allah, the Exalted, admonished the Prophet (peace be upon him) when he abstained from eating honey in order to please one of his wives, and this became an eternal lesson for all Muslims. Allah states in the Qur’an:

O Prophet! Why do you make forbidden that which Allah has made lawful to you? You seek to please your wives but Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (At-Tahrim 66:1)

Moderation is between stinginess and extravagance. Man may enjoy the lawful bounties offered by Allah to man on earth in moderation within the limits of the Islamic laws and without wastage. Allah states in the Qur’an:

O Children of Adam! Wear your beautiful apparel at every time and place of prayer: eat and drink: but waste not by excess, for Allah loves not the wasters. (Al-A`raf 7:31)

It is forbidden to neglect the physical needs of the body and cause harm through negligence or self-torture:

On no soul does Allah place a burden greater than itcan bear. It gets every good that it earns, and it suffers every ill that it earns. (Al-Baqarah 2:286)

It is reported that Anas ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) said that, “Three men came to the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) mosque to inquire about the worship of the Prophet. When they were informed, they considered their worship insignificant and said: ”Where are we in comparison with the Prophet while Allah has forgiven his past sins and future sins“. One of them said: ”As for me, I shall offer salah all night long.” Another said:”I shall observe sawm (fasting) continuously and shall not break it”. The third one said: ”I shall abstain from women and shall never marry.”

The Prophet came to them and said,“Are you the people who said such and such things? By Allah, I fear Allah more than you do, and I am the most obedient and dutiful among you to Him, but still I observe fasting and break it; perform salah and sleep at night and take wives. So whoever turns away from my Sunnah does not belong to me.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

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The article is an excerpt from the author’s Human Rights in Islam and Common Misconceptions.

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What Is the Quran?

By Abu Zakariya

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

By Abu Zakariya

The Importance of Reason in Finding the Truth

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Would you not expect it to transcend human works?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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Can the Power of Prayer Alone Stop a Pandemic like the Coronavirus? Even the Prophet Muhammad Thought Otherwise

By CRAIG CONSIDINE

The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing governments and news sources to provide the most accurate and helpful advice to the world’s population, as the disease is indeed global in reach. Health care professionals are in high demand, and so too are scientists who study the transmission and effect of pandemics.

Muhammad said: “If you hear of an outbreak of plague in a land, do not enter it; but if the plague outbreaks out in a place while you are in it, do not leave that place.”

Experts like immunologist Dr. Anthony Fauci and medical reporter Dr. Sanjay Gupta are saying that good hygiene and quarantining, or the practice of isolating from others in the hope of preventing the spread of contagious diseases, are the most effective tools to contain COVID-19.

Do you know who else suggested good hygiene and quarantining during a pandemic?

Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, over 1,300 years ago.

While he is by no means a “traditional” expert on matters of deadly diseases, Muhammad nonetheless had sound advice to prevent and combat a development like COVID-19.

Muhammad said: “If you hear of an outbreak of plague in a land, do not enter it; but if the plague outbreaks out in a place while you are in it, do not leave that place.”

He also said: “Those with contagious diseases should be kept away from those who are healthy.”

Muhammad also strongly encouraged human beings to adhere to hygienic practices that would keep people safe from infection. Consider the following hadiths, or sayings of Prophet Muhammad:

“Cleanliness is part of faith.”

“Wash your hands after you wake up; you do not know where your hands have moved while you sleep.”

“The blessings of food lie in washing hands before and after eating.”[i]

And what if someone does fall ill? What kind of advice would Muhammad provide to his fellow human beings who are suffering from pain?

He would encourage people to always seek medical treatment and medication: “Make use of medical treatment,” he said, “for God has not made a disease without appointing a remedy for it, with the exception of one disease—old age.”

 

Perhaps most importantly, he knew when to balance faith with reason. In recent weeks, some have gone so far as to suggest that prayer would be better at keeping you from the coronavirus than adhering to basic rules of social distancing and quarantine. How would Prophet Muhammad respond to the idea of prayer as the chief—or only—form of medicine?

Consider the following story, related to us by ninth-century Persian scholar Al-Tirmidhi: One day, Prophet Muhammad noticed a Bedouin man leaving his camel without tying it. He asked the Bedouin, “Why don’t you tie down your camel?” The Bedouin answered, “I put my trust in God.” The Prophet then said, “Tie your camel first, then put your trust in God.”[ii]

Muhammad encouraged people to seek guidance in their religion, but he hoped they take basic precautionary measures for the stability, safety and well-being of all.

In other words, he hoped people would use their common sense.


Source: Newsweek website

Editorial notes:

[i] This hadith is not authentic. However, a number of scholars hold the opinion that washing hands before and after eating is recommended.

[ii] Although the story is not authentic, it gives a good explanation to the concept of tawakkul (to put your trust in God)


About the author:

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

 

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Coronavirus – an Islamic Perspective

Allah has blessed us with a religion that is complete and perfect for all times and places.  Allah tells us in the Qur’ān:

“This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed My favour upon you and have approved for you Islam as your religion” (Quran 5:3)

Whatever problem or issue a Muslim is facing, he returns back to Allah and his Messenger for guidance; there is nothing that happens in the life of a Muslim except that his religion has a solution to it.

The coronavirus is a reminder to us all of our weak state. Regardless of our social standing and our financial position, we are helpless.

We recently heard about the coronavirus which is spreading to a number of countries, affecting the lives of many people, causing death to others.

There are a number of thoughts that should cross the mind of a Muslim when they hear something like this. Below are some points that a person must remember and internalise when they see or hear of such incidents:

Trials and tribulations

Trials and tribulations are part of life, this is something that Allah informs us of and warns us so that when we are afflicted, we remember that it is ultimately Allah who controls of our affairs. It is He who will provide help and His knowledge of our affairs surpasses our restricted intellect. As He says in the Qur’an:

“Do you think you that you will enter Paradise without such [trials] as came to those who passed away before you? They were afflicted with severe poverty and ailments and were so shaken that even the Messenger and those who believed along with him said, ‘When [will] the Help of Allah [come]?’ Yes! Certainly, the Help of Allah is near!” (Quran 2:214)

Allah sends us tests to see how we will react and handle them. How are we going to respond? When you hear the news that your umrah trip is cancelled because of this virus, how will you respond? When you hear your flights have been cancelled, your loved ones have fallen ill, how will you respond?

Allah says in the Qur’an:

“And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient” (Quran 2:155)

 So how do we respond to a calamity? Allah tells us immediately after the previous āyah:

“Who, when disaster strikes them, say, ‘Indeed we belong to Allah , and indeed to Him we will return.’” (Quran 2:156)

A Muslim is patient in trials; he knows Allah will never forsake him, nor will Allah burden him with a trial that is more than what he can handle.

This is not something new

Illnesses and viruses such as the coronavirus are not something new, nor is the fact that people are afflicted with illnesses.

The companions once asked the Prophet (peace be upon him):

“Oh Messenger of Allah, who from amongst the people were tested the most? The Prophet (peace be upon him) responded and said, the Prophets, then the next best and then the next best.”

We see the great Prophet of Allah, Ayyūb (peace be upon him),اwas tested with a great illness.  His story is synonymous with patience. He lost everything; his family, wealth, and health. Some narrations say he was bedridden for 18 years, tested with a great illness, yet we find he did not give up hope in Allah and turned to him in this great trial.

Allah tells us his story in the Qur’an:

And Ayyūb, when he called to his Lord, saying ‘Harm has inflicted me and You are the Most Merciful” (Quran 21:83)

“So We answered him and removed his affliction and We gave him his family and the like of them with them, as a mercy from Us and a reminder to Worshippers.” (Quran 21:84)

The story of Prophet Ayyūb (peace be upon him) is one filled with lessons for us to ponder over. The virtue of patience is shown to us in the Prophet Ayyūb (ʿalayhi al-Salām) through some of the most dire situations that one can come across in life.

Qadar

The concept of pre-destination is extremely important for a Muslim to understand.  When incidents such as the coronavirus occur, a Muslim should know that this is what Allah had decreed 50,000 years before the creation of the universe. The Prophet (peace be upon him) explained:

“Allah had written the ordained measures (and due proportions) of the creation, fifty thousand years before the creation of the heavens and the earth…” (Muslim)

All good and bad is from Allah, as is mentioned in the Hadeeth of Jabir: ‘No slave of Allah will truly believe until he believes in al-Qadr; its good and bad from Allāh, and until he knows that what has befallen him was not going to miss him and that what missed him was not going to befallen him.’ (Al-Tirmidhi)

Allah will never harm us nor does he want evil to befall us. We may think something is bad for us due to our restricted view of life, but there is always good in a situation. Allah tells us that perhaps you hate a thing but it is in fact good for you, and perhaps you love a thing when in reality and it is bad for you, yet Allah knows while you know not!

A believer has two positions when it comes to pre-destination: one is before the situation occurs, and one is after. Before the situation he seeks help from Allah, makes dua to him, and relies upon him; he asks Allah for good to come from it.

After the situation, if the result was positive and good the person thanks Allah.  If the event had a negative outcome the person is patient because he knows that Allah will never forsake him even if it seems the result is negative, because indeed Allah is the best of planners.

Taking necessary precautions

A Muslim should not overreact; at the same time he should not be oblivious about a situation and do nothing!

Taking the necessary means and then relying upon Allah is something which is emphasised in Islam.

“One day Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), noticed a Bedouin leaving his camel without tying it. He asked the Bedouin, ‘Why don’t you tie down your camel?’ The Bedouin answered, ‘I put my trust in Allah ’ The Prophet then said, ‘Tie your camel first, then put your trust in Allah ’ (Al-Tirmidhi)

We also find in the incident of Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) taking necessary precautions is a must when you know of a harm or potential danger that could afflict you.

Umar ibn al-Khattab was traveling with a group of companions during his reign. They approached a town in which it was said had a contagious/infectious disease. Umar asked his group whether they should proceed or return (to Madinah). The majority of the companions said they should go back but some said they should proceed. Then one companion said he knew a hadith where the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “If you hear that this disease (plague) exists in a country, do not travel to that country.” So Umar decided that they should go back. Another companion asked him whether he was running away from qadar. Umar replied that they were moving away from one qadar to another qadar.

Whenever there is a problem, a challenge, or any hardship which we can remove, overcome, solve, or minimise, we must do so.

Many of the health guidelines given by the NHS are in fact normal practices for Muslims, some of which are as follows:

1. Washing hands: this is a part of ablution, a Muslim’s daily ritual of purity.

2. General cleanliness

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

“Cleanliness is part of faith” (Muslim)

Keeping our surroundings tidy, cleaning up after ourselves, and wiping surfaces down are all aspects of cleanliness which must be adhered to in these situations.

3. Covering your mouth when sneezing

The Prophet would cover his mouth when he sneezed. This basic etiquette can take big part in the stopping of the spread of viruses

“Whenever the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) sneezed, he would cover his mouth with his hand or a piece of cloth.” (Abu Dawud and Al-Tirmidhi)

4. Quarantine in times of viruses which can spread.

The Prophet gave instructions on what to do if there is an outbreak. Abd al-Rahmān ibn ‘Awf  that he said:

“I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) say: “If you hear that it (the plague) is in a land, do not go there, and if it breaks out in a land where you are, do not leave, fleeing from it.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

The Prophet (peace be upon him) also taught us how to protect ourselves by maintaining our adhkar from the Sunnah. One such dua that he taught us was:

“In the name of Allah with Whose name nothing can harm on earth or in heaven, and He is the All-Hearing, All-Knowing” (Abu Dawud, Al-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah)

Being positive and having an optimistic outlook

Always have a positive outlook regardless of the situation you’re in, this is what our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) taught us, when he told us

Amazing is the affair of the believer, verily all of his affairs are good and this is not for no one except the believer. If something of good/happiness befalls him, he is grateful and that is good for him. If something of harm befalls him, he is patient and that is good for him.” (Muslim)

He also said:

“There are no omens, but the best of it is optimism” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

When we look through the seerah we find many examples of the Prophet (peace be upon him) being optimistic event though he was in a dire situation.

We should also not blame others or ridicule them because they are from a certain country or they have come from a part of the world that has been affected by the virus. Unfortunately, we have seen physical attacks on people, racist remarks made, and people making a joke and mocking the situation people are in.

Conclusion

The coronavirus is a reminder to us all of our weak state. Regardless of our social standing and our financial position, we are helpless. Allah says:

“Mankind was created weak” (Quran 4:28)

Situations like this remind us to turn back to Allah.  Allah controls everything and he is the one that can relieve us from our difficulties, we must return to Allah and seek refuge in him and ask his protection.


Source: www.islam21c.com with some modifications

 

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Ten Reasons to Be a Muslim

By Editorial Staff

The following video provides ten reasons why you should be a Muslim. These reasons and many others prove that Islam is the most rational religion. In addition, it is in harmony with human nature. Thus, it’s one of the fastest growing religions in the world.

Transcript

Give me a reason to be a Muslim!

Just one reason? Come on! Let’s see what you have here! I’ll give you ten.

1. Islam gives clear and rational answers to the important questions on everyone’s mind like:

Why were we created?

What is our purpose in life?

And what will happen to us after death?

2. Islam takes human nature into consideration. Thus, it puts neither the spiritual side before the physical side nor the physical side before the spiritual side. Islam creates a balance between the two that is enough to reform all aspects of human life.

3. Islam does not actually recognize blind submission and does not call for it. It elevates the value of the mind and intellect. There are no prohibited areas or taboos in thought. It rather tells its followers to think as a way to strengthen their faith in God.

4. Islam refuses worshipping creations. It rather focuses on worshipping the Creator solely, The Mighty Lord who is described by all attributes of perfection.

5. Islam does not allow confusion in the day-to-day life. It presents a set of legislations to organize society, economy, politics and even personal relationships. Its laws call for high values without disregarding human nature.

6. While religions are different in how they perceive the Creator, Islam announces it clearly.

“There is nothing like Him.” (Quran 42:11)

And there is nothing that could be compared to Him. He has all the attributes of perfection that make Him worthy of worship.

7. Islam respects all prophets and describes them as the most reformed and pious of humans worshipping God, Almighty, whom He chose to deliver His message.

8. Islam refuses alleged mediators between man and God like priests, clergymen or idols, etc. It connects you directly to the Creator because all men are equal before the Creator and no one is above the other except by their piety.

9. Islam does not force anybody to embrace it. You have to think for yourself to finally be chosen by God to enter His Paradise. Almighty God says,

“There shall be no compulsion in acceptance of the religion. The right course has become clear from the wrong.” (Quran 2:256)

10. By testimony of all those who embrace it, Islam changes the life of the new adherent 180 degrees to the better. And this is why it’s one of the fastest growing religions in the world according to Guinness actually.

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Revelation and How It Came to the Prophet Muhammad

By Ahmad von Denffer

God guides His Creation

Allah, the Creator, has not only brought about the creation, but continues to sustain and direct it, in the way that He has created us and all that is around us. He has provided many forms of guidance, indeed, a system of guiding principles, of which the laws of ‘nature’ are a part.

The word awha, from which ‘wahy’ (revelation) is derived, occurs in a number of shades of meaning in the Qur’an, each of them indicating the main underlying idea of inspiration, directing or guiding someone.

But Allah has also granted a special form of guidance for mankind from the outset of its occupancy of the earth. He promised to Adam and his descendants:

‘Get ye down all from here; and if, as is sure, there comes to you guidance from Me, whosoever follows guidance, on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve’ (Quran 2: 38).

[The word here used for guidance is hudan.] This guidance comes through the prophets, whom Allah continuously sent to mankind, until the last messenger, Muhammad received His final guidance.

Guidance through Revelation

We call a man to whom God in His own way communicates His guidance, a prophet or messenger (nabi, rasul). Prophets receive the word of God through revelation and then communicate it to their fellow human beings:

‘Indeed, We have given REVELATION to you, (O Muhammad,) even as We gave REVELATION to Noah and the prophets after him- and (as) We have given REVELATION to Abraham, and Ishmael, and Isaac, and Jacob, and (to) the (prophets of the) Tribes (of Israel), and (to) Jesus, and Job, and Jonah, and Aaron, and Solomon. And We gave David the Psalms (as a revelation).

Thus there are messengers of whom We have told you before and other messengers of whom We have not told you. And (it is true that) God spoke (directly) to Moses His very word, indeed!

They were messengers- bearers of glad tidings and forewarners- so that after (the coming of) the messengers people would have no argument before God (to justify their misdeeds). Indeed, ever is God overpowering, all-wise.’ (Quran 4: 163-5).

The three words italicized (capitalized) in the above translation are both derived from the Arabic root ‘wahy‘.

The Meaning of Wahy

The word awha, from which ‘wahy‘ (revelation) is derived, occurs in a number of shades of meaning in the Qur’an, each of them indicating the main underlying idea of inspiration, directing or guiding someone. In each example below, the italicised words in the translation are forms of the root word wahy in the original text of the Qur’an:

  • Guidance in natural intuition:

‘so we sent this inspiration to the mother of Moses . . .’ (Quran 28: 7)

  • Guidance in natural instinct:

‘and thy Lord taught the bee to build its cells in hills, on trees and in (man’s) habitations’ (Quran 16: 68)

  • Guidance by signs:

‘So Zakaria came out to his people from his chamber: he told them by signs to celebrate God’s praises in the morning and in the evening’ (Quran 19: 11)

  • Guidance from evil:

‘Likewise did we make for every messenger an enemy evil ones among men and jinns, inspiring each other with flowery discourses by way of deception …’ (Quran 6: 112)

  • Guidance from God:

‘Remember thy Lord inspired the angels (with the message) …’ (8: 12)

Means of Revelation

Wahy in the sense of ‘revelation’ is guidance from God for His creation, brought by the Prophets, who received the word from God through one of the means mentioned in the following Qur’anic verse:

‘It is not fitting for a man that God should speak to him except by inspiration, or from behind a veil, or by sending of a messenger to reveal with God’s permission what God wills: for He is Most High, Most Wise’ (Quran 42: 51)

Means of revelation are:

  • Inspiration, e.g. in a dream (see Quran 37:102, where it is related that Ibrahim receives guidance in a vision, while asleep, to sacrifice his son).
  • Speech hidden away (see Quran 27:8, where it is related that God spoke to Musa from the fire).
  • Words (speech) sent through a special messenger from God (see Quran 2:97, where it is related that God sent the Angel Gabriel as the messenger to Muhammad to reveal His message).

The Qur’an revealed to Muhammad

Prophet Muhammad, the last of God’s messengers, received the revelation of the Qur’an through a special messenger sent by God for this purpose: the Angel Gabriel, who recited to him God’s words exactly.

The Descent of the Qur’an

According to Suyuti’ [al Itqan fi ulum al quran, Beirut, 1973, Vol. I pp. 39-40] on the basis of three reports from ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Abbas, in Hakim, Baihaqi and Nasa’i, the Qur’an descended in two stages:

  • From the lauh al-mahfuz, the ‘well-preserved tablet’, to the lowest of the heavens (bait al-‘izza) of the world, all together, in the laila al-qadr.
  • From the heavens to earth in stages throughout the twenty-three years of Muhammad’s Prophethood, and first in the laila al-qadr of Ramadan, through the Angel Gabriel.

This second descent from the heaven to the heart of the Prophet is referred to in Sura al-isra’ (17) and Sura al-furqan (25).


The article is an excerpt from the author’s book “Ulum al-Quran: An Introduction to the Sciences of the Quran” with some modifications.

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