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Ethics & Values New Muslims

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

By Dr. Ahmad Al-Khalidi

Man’s Free Will

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

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

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

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

Life Is a Test

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

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

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

Allah says:

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

Trials and Tribulations

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

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

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

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

Man’s Ingratitude

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

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

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

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

Allah says:

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

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

Breaking Promises

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

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

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

Allah says:

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

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


About the author:

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

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Acts of Worship New Muslims

British Muslims find new ways to be together for Ramadan under lockdown

With mosques closed, prayers are moving online and video conferencing apps will be used for iftar parties at sunset.

Finsbury Park mosque, north London. Islamic centres across the country have suspended activities during lockdown.

At Finsbury Park mosque in north London – once a byword for extremism, now a model of tolerance and community outreach – the first night of Ramadan heralds a month of communal praying, eating and charity work. About 2,000 people attend prayers each day. Volunteers cram into its kitchen to prepare iftar, the meal that breaks the Ramadan fast at sunset, for 300 people each night.

Not this year. “We will miss all that,” said Mohammed Kozbar, the mosque’s general secretary. The building’s gates are locked, with only security guards patrolling its prayer halls and community spaces. “I visited last week. It was heartbreaking to see it empty and silent,” said Kozbar.

The world’s 1.8bn Muslims are facing the most important period of the Islamic year, the holy month of Ramadan, which starts this week, under lockdown because of the global coronavirus pandemic.

Mosques in most countries are shut and gatherings forbidden. The holy sites of Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia are under curfew. The al-Aqsa mosque and Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem’s Old City are closed and prayers suspended.

In the UK, the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) called for the suspension of all congregational activities at mosques and Islamic centres on 16 March, a week before the government announced all places of worship must close under the lockdown order.

On Friday, the Mosques and Imams National Advisory Board said Islamic buildings would remain closed during Ramadan until the lockdown is lifted. “It would be deemed extremely irresponsible to congregate for night prayers or hold religious gatherings during this Ramadan in any mosque or houses with people who are not members of the immediate household,” said Qari Asim, a Leeds imam and chair of the board.

“During the epidemic, the desire to perform prayers with a congregation in a mosque comes second to saving lives.”

For Muslims, to be unable to take part in congregational prayers and break the fast with family and friends during Ramadan was “emotionally challenging, frustrating and culturally alien”, he added.

Shelina Janmohamed, the author of Generation M: Young Muslims Changing the World and vice-president of Islamic marketing at Ogilvy Consulting, said: “This is going to be the most unusual Ramadan of my lifetime and I think in the living memory of Muslims across the UK.”

The Islamic holy month was “a time of togetherness and spiritual congregation. Those are the two anchors [of Ramadan], and built into that is a nostalgia around traditions and rituals. Even those who might not normally classify themselves as observant Muslims feel drawn to Ramadan because those feelings of togetherness and community are built into us from childhood.”

Like other faiths, Muslims are using technology to meet the challenges of lockdown. Ramadan prayers and the nightly recitation of the Qur’an will move online, and fundraising for charities will also be digital. Platforms such as Zoom are expected to host iftar parties.

Guidance is being drawn up by Islamic scholars on exemptions from fasting for people who are vulnerable to coronavirus. Muslims working long shifts in essential services will “need to be pragmatic in their approach” to fasting, said Harun Khan, secretary general of the MCB.

“This Ramadan will be at a slower pace. It will give us more time for reflection and the opportunity to be closer to God,” he said. Instead of visiting different mosques every day, Khan will be spending Ramadan at home with his immediate family.

According to Asim: “There is likely to be a tiny group of zealous people who may try to organise iftar events or congregational night prayers in their homes. My message to them is that selfishness has no place with God.”

He also warned that extreme rightwing groups were “trying to use the pandemic to create division” and were scapegoating Muslims for the spread of the virus.

At Finsbury Park mosque, there are plans to distribute iftar meals to people in need or alone who would normally come in person. “People who volunteer with us every Ramadan are calling to say, ‘Please, how can we help?’,” said Kozbar.

The mosque will be streaming lectures and prayers, offering online counselling and organising members to take food to staff at nearby hospitals. “This lockdown is something new for us, like everyone else. It’s a very difficult time, but we want to do our bit.”


Source: The Guardian

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ABC's of Islam New Muslims

Juristic Rulings on Congregational Prayer Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

By Editorial Staff

The spread of the novel coronavirus (covid-19) has affected people’s lives worldwide. In their attempt to limit the spread of the virus, governments are banning public gatherings. The outbreak of the virus has led to the suspension of congregational prayer including the Jumu’ah (Friday Prayer) at mosques in most countries.

However, family members still have the opportunity to perform prayer in congregation at home. This article will address this recent juristic issue.

“The congregational prayer is twenty seven times superior to the prayer offered by person alone.”

The General Ruling on Congregational Prayer

Scholars have divergent opinions regarding the legal ruling of congregational prayer. It is highly recommend according to the majority of the shafi’i and maliki scholars. On the other hand, the hanbali scholars hold the opinion that it is compulsory. The following hadith may serve as evidence for the first opinion.

Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said, “The congregational prayer is twenty seven times superior to the prayer offered by person alone.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

As for the second opinion, there is evidence from the Quran and the Sunnah to support it. Allah says,

…and you shall bow (to God in Prayer) along with those who bow (to Him). (Quran 2:43)

Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:

A blind man came to the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) and said: “O Messenger of Allah! I have no one to guide me to the mosque”. He, therefore, sought his permission to perform Salah (prayer) in his house. He (ﷺ) granted him permission. When the man turned away, he called him back, and said, “Do you hear the Adhan (call to prayer)?” He replied in the affirmative. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) then commanded him to respond to it. (Muslim)

Suspension of Congregational Prayer during the Pandemic

Today, there is an exceptional situation which requires a new legal ruling. Since covid-19 is highly contagious, it is allowed to suspend congregational acts of worship especially prayer.

In fact, scholars have mentioned a good number of legal excuses that allow a person not to perform prayer at the mosque. The fear that harm can befall oneself, one’s property or one’s honor is one of these excuses. This includes the fear to contract covid-19 or pass it to others. In this situation the fear has prevailed. So, it is right to suspend the congregational prayer at mosques. Narrated Hudhaifa:

The Prophet (ﷺ) said (to us), “List the names of those people who have announced that they are Muslims.” So, we listed one thousand and five hundred men. Then we wondered, “Should we be afraid (of infidels) although we are one thousand and five hundred in number?” No doubt, we witnessed ourselves being afflicted with such bad trials that one would have to offer the prayer alone in fear. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

In addition, the general juristic rule is that the repelling of harm takes presence over the procurement of good.

There are a few countries where people can still perform prayer at mosques. They have taken different precautions to contain the spread of the virus. Although people can attend the congregational prayer at mosques, everyone must keep a space between himself and the person next to him. Other precautions include avoiding shaking hands, using private prayer mat, allowing a few number to attend, etc. If covid-19 did not spread easily in closed spaces, such measures might be a good solution.

How to Perform Congregational Prayer at Home?

If you live in a country where the congregational prayers are suspended, you can perform them with your family members. In this way, you can get the reward of performing prayers in congregation.

As for the Jumu’ah prayer, there is a substitute for it i.e. the Dhuhr (Noon) Prayer. The preferred opinion is that Jumu’ah may not be performed at home.

Besides, you may not follow the imam in prayer through broadcast while you are at home. This is by no means in accordance with the prerequisites of congregational prayer.

Who may be the imam?

According to the majority of scholars, youngsters may lead the prayer in presence of the older family members. This is especially recommended if youngsters are more knowledgeable about recitation of the Quran and the rulings of prayer. If the older members are more knowledgeable, it is better that they lead the prayer.

A male person can lead both men and women. On the other hand, a female person may lead only females.

 

 

 

In case there is a father and a son, one of them can lead the prayer with the other following him while standing next to him on his right side.

Second, if the family members are three or more males, one of them can be the imam while the others standing behind him in a row.

Third, the family members may be one male and one female such as husband and a wife, a son and his mother, a father and his daughter, etc. Here, the male must be the imam and the female follows him in prayer while standing behind him.

Fourth, in case there are two males and one female, one of the two males may be the imam and the other male stands next to him on his right side. As for the female, she stands behind the imam.

Fifth, if there are three or more males and one female or more, one of the males can lead the prayer. The other two or more males stand behind him in a row. Then, the female stands behind the row alone. In case there are two or more females, they stand in a row behind the row/rows of the males.

Sixth, the family members may all be females. In this case one of them can lead the prayer. The more knowledgeable one in this regard is the best. However, according to the majority of scholars, the female imam stands in the middle of the first row among other women and girls.

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FEATURED New Muslims

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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