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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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Family New Muslims

The Distorted Image of Muslim Women

By Sister Naasira bint Ellison

Since the height of the feminist movement in the late 70`s there has been a magnifying glass placed over the status of Muslim women.

Unfortunately, the magnifying glass that has been used is an unusual one. Unusual in the sense that it is very selective about which items it will magnify; other items it will distort to such a degree that they will no longer look familiar.

Islam has the most humane and most just system of divorce that exists.

I remember once reading an “in depth” article about the lives of Muslim women. This article “explained” that at any time a man can divorce his wife by simply stating “I divorce you, I divorce you, I divorce you”.

This article can lead anyone ignorant of the Islamic ruling regarding divorce to believe that in less than five seconds the woman is left with no husband and is left to care for herself (and possibly children) by any means necessary.

The question that immediately popped up in my mind was, “Did the author innocently write that out of sincere ignorance or was it another of the many attempts to degrade the religion of Islam and its followers (Muslims)?” It may be out of paranoia, but I tend to believe it was the latter of the two.

The Islamic System of Divorce

The truth of the matter is that Islam has the most humane and most just system of divorce that exists. Firstly, many options are taken and tried before coming to the decision of divorce. If the man and woman decide that they can no longer live together successfully as a husband and wife, the husband (in most cases, not always) pronounces the divorce by saying “I divorce you”. At this point the waiting period begins.

The Purposes of the Waiting Period

The waiting period lasts for three menstrual cycles to assure the woman is not pregnant. This period allows the couple time to think about what they are doing and if this is what they really want to do. There are no lawyers involved to antagonize an already delicate situation.

In the case that it is realized, that the woman is pregnant, the waiting period lasts the entire time she is pregnant. During the waiting period (whether the woman is pregnant or not) the man is obligated to provide food, clothing and shelter to the woman as he did before the divorce pronouncement.

If the couple carries the divorce through to the birth of the child and the woman suckles the baby, the man is obligated to feed and clothe both his ex-wife for the time the woman suckles (the maximum being two years). After his weaning, the child will be provided for by the father until he/she is no longer in need of support.

It is quite ironic that in such an “advanced society” as America, there are divorce cases in which women are being forced to pay alimony to their ex-husbands. Can this and many other things we know about the American system of divorce compare to the Islamic system of divorce?

Are Women Forced to Marry Men without Their Consent?

I have also read stories wherein it is stated that women are forced to marry men without their consent. This in no way resembles the marriage system in Islam. In Islam the woman marries the man of her choice. She may even marry someone that her mother and/or father objects to. The point is that it is the woman who makes the final decision as to whom she will marry.

Dowry

Once the man and the woman decide that they are interested in one another for marriage, a dowry is decided upon. A dowry is not a bride’s price but it is a gift from the groom to the bride.

They agree upon a gift that is affordable by the groom. In the time of the Prophet (PBUH) , often things such as livestock and money were given. This is a wise decision in the event that a woman becomes divorced or widowed, she has some financial security to fall back on even if it is for a limited amount of time.

The Wife’s Basic Rights

Once the man and woman are married, the man is required to clothe, feed, shelter and educate her (or allow her to be educated) in the same manner as he does himself.

Muslim Women’s Dress Code

The last distorted image that I will cover is that of the Muslim women`s dress. The western-influenced media portrays our dress to be outdated and oppressive. Needless to say, I differ with these adjectives. Our dress code does not hinder us from doing anything productive in our lives.

Muslim women maintain a variety of jobs, none of which are devalued nor hampered due to their dress code. And as for the timing of Muslim women`s dress during these contemporary times, it seems most appropriate due to decreasing morals in the world today.

For those who say that Islamic dress is outdated, they speak from great ignorance. The decreasing morality and trials of this time makes Hijab even more in need. More than ever before sex crimes are rampant.

Although this society tells women they can wear what they want to wear, anytime a rape occurs the woman is the one put on trial and one of the first questions is, “What were you wearing?” This concept seems as though it is a set up directed against the so-called contemporary woman. Also there is a direct correlation between the respect a man has for a woman and the amount of her body she displays flauntingly.

In conclusion, I hope this article helps to clear up some distorted/misunderstood aspects of Islam and women. Women in Islam are respected and held in high regard. We will never find success and/or solutions to our problems until we realize that Allah knows best and that this disbelieving society will ruin itself.


Sources:

Taken from Hudaa magazine, Jamaica, New York (as cited in http://www.iupui.edu).

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ABC's of Islam New Muslims

AMJA Declaration Regarding Coronavirus and Congregational Prayer

The World Health Organization (WHO) says the new coronavirus could spread worldwide. More and more countries are banning major public events to try to limit the spread of the virus. Last Thursday, Saudi Arabia announced a temporary ban on Muslims from entering the country to perform ‘Umrah (the Lesser Pilgrimage).

On the other hand, many Muslims are asking about congregational prayer. Is it allowed to suspend the congregational  prayers in Masjids? Here is AMJA Declaration Regarding this issue.

People with symptoms of the disease (which are like those of flu) should avoid coming to the masjids if they suspect that they may be infected until they check with their healthcare providers and ensure they are not.

All Praise Be to Allah, and May His Blessings and Peace Be on the Messenger of Allah,

The Assembly of Muslim Jurists in America (AMJA) received several inquiries regarding the current outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and the proper response by the masjids and individual Muslims. In response, AMJA issued the following statement:

First: concerning the managements of the Islamic centers

It is not permissible for the masjids and Islamic centers to suspend the congregational prayers and jumuah because of the spread of the virus in the United States, unless the local public health authorities in a particular city advise the suspension of services at the houses of worship and avoidance of large public gatherings. In the event of that development, the masjid managements should comply with such instructions. This would be a sufficient excuse to pray jumuah at home (as dhuhr) until the restriction is removed.

It is permissible for the masjid managements to demand those with flu symptoms to wear masks during the congregational prayers. It is also permissible to assign a room for them or a designated area in the prayer hall, and to advise them to avoid handshaking with the other worshippers and follow the proper precautions to prevent the transmission of the disease.

The masjid managements should follow the updates that are periodically issued by the public health agencies like CDC and comply with their instructions.

Second: concerning the Muslim public

The permissibility of missing jumuah and congregational prayers out of fear of the disease depends on several variables. As for the daily congregational prayers, the matter is simpler since they are not obligatory according to the majority. The majority of those who considered them obligatory did not demand their performance at a masjid. As for the jumuah, it is not permissible for adult men who are otherwise required to attend it to miss it except in the case of justifiable, not conjectural, fear. What matters in this regard is the instructions of the public health authorities. If they advise the avoidance of all public gatherings, then the epidemic has reached a level making that fear justifiable. As for the higher risk groups, such as old people and those with chronic disease, they should follow the advice of their primary healthcare providers. They are most entitled to concessions.

People with symptoms of the disease (which are like those of flu) should avoid coming to the masjids if they suspect that they may be infected until they check with their healthcare providers and ensure they are not. This is because the harm of spreading this virus is much greater than that of bothering the people with the odor of garlic; and the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, “He who eats of this plant (garlic) should not come near our masjid and should not bother us with the odor of garlic.”

We ask Allah for safety and wellbeing for ourselves and all people.

AMJA Resident Fatwa Committee


Source: amjaonline.org

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Acts of Worship New Muslims

The Wicked Slander against the Mother of the Believers

By Editorial Staff

Today’s story is about one particular incident of ‘A’ishah’s life. It was actually a very severe trial for her and for our dear Prophet, Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace). It is important to know that the Mother of the Believers, ‘A’ishah (Allah be pleased with her) was the most beloved person by the Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace).

The Beginning of the Story

On one occasion, the Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace) went out on an expedition with the Companions.

He took his wife ‘A’ishah (Allah be pleased with her) with him. Upon returning to Madinah, the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) decided to take camp and to rest because it was night. In the early morning, ‘A’ishah (Allah be pleased with her) went away to answer the call of nature. When she returned, she found that she had dropped her necklace. So, she went back to look for it. Next, when she returned, she found that the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) and the caravan had left.

‘A’ishah (Allah be pleased with her) remained in the same place they were camping the previous night. She thought that they would look for her in that place if they found out she was not with the caravan.

Coming after the caravan, the Companion, Safwan ibn Al-Mu’attal Al-Sulami, saw ‘A’ishah (Allah be pleased with her)from a distance. He gave her his camel.

In the following video, Shaikh Wasim Kempson talks about this story and the lessons to be taught from it.

The Quranic Verses Related to This Incident

Indeed, those who have come (to you) with the wicked slander (against the mother of the believers) are a band (of hypocrites) among you. Do not consider it evil for you. But, rather, it is good for you. Each one of them shall be charged with the sin he has earned. Moreover, whoever of them took upon himself the greater part of (spreading) it, for him there shall be a great torment (in the Hereafter). (Quran 24:11)

If only when you (first) heard it (uttered), the believing men and the believing women (among you) thought good of (the believers among) themselves, and said: This is clearly wicked slander! (Quran 24:12)

And if only they (who uttered the slander) had produced, (under obligation from you believers,) four witnesses (to attest) to it! But since they could not produce any witnesses, it is these, in the sight of God, who are (to have been adjudged as) the liars (in this matter). (Quran 24:13)

Yet were it not for the grace of God upon you, and His mercy in this world and in the Hereafter, a great torment would, most surely, have afflicted you for that (gossip) in which you have indulged, (Quran 24:14)

when you relayed (the wicked slander among one another) with your (own) tongues. Thus with your own mouths you uttered that of which you had no sure knowledge. Yet you think it a light thing, while before God it is enormous. (Quran 24:15)

And if only when you heard of it you said: It is not (lawful) for us to speak about this. Highly exalted are You! This is an enormous calumny. (Quran 24:16)

God admonishes you never to repeat the likes of this (sin), if you are truly believers. (Quran 24:17)

Thus does God make clear to you the (commandments in His revealed) verses. And God is all-knowing, all-wise. (Quran 24:18)

As for those who love to spread about obscenity among the believers, there shall be for them a most painful torment (in) this world and in the Hereafter. For God knows (every hidden intent), and you do not know. (Quran 24:19)

Then (what would become of you, O believers), were it not for the grace of God upon you, and His mercy, and (were it not) that God is, indeed, all-kind, mercy-giving! (Quran 24:20)

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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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Acts of Worship New Muslims

Taking a Closer Look at the Virtues of the Month of Rajab

By Editorial Staff

The Four Sacred Months

Out of Allah’s wisdom, He gives preference to some of His creatures over others. This applies to almost all creatures. The Islamic lunar months are not an exception. There are four lunar months which Allah favored and made sacred. Allah says,

“Indeed, the (ordained) number of the months with God is twelve (lunar) months, (as was decreed) in the (Preserved Heavenly) Book of God on the day He created the heavens and the earth. Four of them are sacred – (and) that is the upright religion- so do not wrong yourselves (or others) in them.” (Quran 9:36)

The term Rajab is derived from a word that means glorification. It was so called because in the pre-Islamic period of Ignorance, Arabs used to respect and glorify this month especially the tribe of Mudar.

The Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace) makes it clearer which four months they are. These are the last two months of the year, Dhul-Qa’dah and Dhul-Hajjah (or Dhul-Hijjah), the first month, Al-Muharram, and the seventh month, Rajab. Narrated Abu Bakrah:

The Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, “Time has come back to its original state which it had when Allah created the Heavens and the Earth; the year is twelve months, four of which are sacred. Three of them are in succession; Dhul-Qa’da, Dhul-Hijja and Al-Muharram, and (the fourth being) Rajab Mudar (named after the tribe of Mudar as they used to respect this month) which stands between Jumada (Al-Akhirah) and Sha’ban.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

These months are sacred so that people can perform the rites of Hajj (Pilgrimage to Makkah) and ‘Umrah (Lesser Pilgrimage) safely. Committing a sin in such months is much more severely punishable than other months. On the other hand, the reward for acts of obedience performed in them is greater. Also, starting a fight in these months is prohibited except only in case of defense.

The Month of Rajab

In his book, Tabyin al-‘Ajab bi-ma Warada fi Shahr Rajab[i], the great Imam and scholar Ibn Hajar mentioned eighteen names for the month of Rajab. The term Rajab is derived from a word that means glorification. It was so called because in the pre-Islamic period of Ignorance, Arabs used to respect and glorify this month especially the tribe of Mudar.

Speaking or writing about the month of Rajab, some people claim some characteristics or acts of worship specific to the month. However, many of the acts of worship that they mention are based on weak evidence.

“Concerning the excellence of the month of Rajab, fasting it (in full) or specific days of it, or performing the night prayer at a specific night of it, there is no authentic hadith to serve as evidence,” Ibn Hajar said[ii].

To better understand the words of Ibn Hajar, we can say that no act of worship to be performed in Rajab on its own. However, the four sacred months still share a few virtues.

Now, Let us discuss if there is an act of worship specific to the month of Rajab. The reason why we do this is that the acceptance of deeds depends on two main prerequisites: sincerity and emulating the Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace) in worship. So, we should learn which acts of worship are authentic and which are not.

Salah (Prayer)

There is no specific or extra prayer to be performed only in Rajab. All the hadiths that prove this are not authentic. Rajab is like all other months regarding this.

Some people claim that it is recommended to perform Salat Al-Ragha’ib on the first Thursday of Rajab between Maghrib (Sunset) and ‘Isha (Evening) prayers. Indeed, it is one of the innovations in religion which scholars have warned against.

Fasting

It is recommended to fast on Mondays and Thursdays, three days of every lunar month (i.e. the 13th, 14th and 15th days), etc. However, this applies to all lunar months.

Concerning Rajab, fasting the whole month, the first three days, the first Thursday, etc. are mentioned in weak hadiths.

Moreover, ‘Umar, Ibn ‘Abbas and other companions (Allah be pleased with them) were reported to have commanded people not to fast the (whole) month.

Offering a Sacrificial Animal (Al-‘Atirah)

During the pre-Islamic period of Ignorance, people used to offer a sacrificial animal in Rajab and they called it Al-‘Atirah. Some scholars say that this custom continued for a while after the advent of Islam.

Scholars have divergent opinions concerning it. However, the correct opinion is that the ruling of offering Al-‘Atirah is abrogated.  Narrated Abu Huraira:

The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Neither Fara’ nor ‘Atira (is permissible)”. Al- Fara’ was the first offspring (of camels or sheep) which the pagans used to offer (as a sacrifice) to their idols. And Al-`Atira was (a sheep which was to be slaughtered) during the month of Rajab. (Al-Bukhari)

‘Umrah (The Lesser Pilgrimage)

Performing the ‘Umrah is recommended all the year round especially during the months of Hajj and the month of Ramadan. So, it is wrong to think that performing it in Rajab is better. Moreover, the Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace) never performed ‘Umrah in Rajab. Narrated Mujahid:

`Urwa and I entered the Mosque and found `Abdullah bin `Umar sitting beside the dwelling place of `Aisha.

`Urwa asked (Ibn `Umar), “How many `Umras did the Prophet (ﷺ) perform?”

Ibn `Umar replied, “Four, one of which was in Rajab.”

Then we heard `Aisha brushing her teeth whereupon `Urwa said, “O mother of the believers! Don’t you hear what Abu `Abdur-Rahman is saying? He is saying that the Prophet performed four `Umra, one of which was in Rajab.”

`Aisha said, “The Prophet (ﷺ) did not perform any `Umra but he (i.e. Ibn `Umar) witnessed it. And he (the Prophet (ﷺ)) never did any `Umra in (the month of) Rajab.” (Al-Bukhari)

The Night Journey and Ascension

There are divergent opinions concerning the exact date of the miracles of Al-Isra’ wal Mi’raj (the Night Journey and Ascension).

The first opinion is that it occurred a year before the Hijrah. Concerning the month, Ibn Hajar said that some storytellers had claimed that Al-Isra’ occurred in Rajab. “It’s a lie,” he commented.

Furthermore, He reprted that Abu Ishaq ibn Harbi said Al-Israa occurred at the 27th night of Rabi’ Al-Awwal[iii].

The second opinion is that Al-Isra’ wal Mi’raj occurred a year and a half before the Hijrah. This opinion can be understood from the words of Ibn Qutaibah[iv].

In sum, there is no authentic evidence to prove the night or month when it occurred. I think the Companions (Allah be pleased with them) kept silent about such date so that people would not attach specific acts of worship to such night. This, in turn, would be an innovation in religion.


References:

[i] HajarAl-‘Asqalani, A. i. (852). Tabyin al-‘Ajab bi-ma Warada fi shahr Rajab (Vol. 1). (T. i. ‘Awad-Allah, Ed.) Cairo, Egypt: Mu’assasat Qortobah.

[ii] Ibid.

[iii] Ibid.

[iv] Ibid.

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