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The Faith Revival (13): Guidance After Iman

Every day this Ramadan Sheikh Omar Suleiman is going to us through a saying, a verse, a tip on how we can revive, renew our faith, on how to maintain it and keep it strong.

The Faith Revival (13): Guidance After Iman

We’re always asking God for guidance. But what comes first – guidance or faith?

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Source: Yaqeen Institute of Islamic Research

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Ethics & Values New Muslims

How to Be Muslim and Modest? (Part 1)

By Naiyerah Kolkailah

Allah’s Love of Modesty

When we have modesty with Allah, our manners and behavior with His creation will naturally exude more modesty.

Think about haya’ (modesty), what comes to mind? It could be wearing hijab and dressing modestly. Or maybe it is using decent and clean speech. Or it might be conducting ourselves with dignity and self-respect around the opposite gender.

If we know we’ve fallen short in our modesty, we feel the need to change in some way. So, we try to wear more loose-fitting clothes, for example, or wear less make-up. Or we might try to curse a little less, look at lewd images less often, or flirt a little less with a guy friend or girls at work. But sometimes we find it difficult to change these habits and behaviors. Why is that?

Part of the reason is that we overlook the inner spiritual dimensions of modesty; we try to cure the symptoms without dealing with the problem at its root. It is almost like trying to save a dried out plant by dipping its leaves in water or fertilizer.

Maybe what needs our attention is less apparent. Maybe it is our attitude towards Allah (Exalted is He), or the purity of our hearts, or the depth and strength of our faith in Allah. If we develop modesty and shamefulness in our hearts, it becomes easier for our thoughts, desires, conversations, and actions to reflect that modesty. When we have modesty with Allah, our manners and behavior with His creation will naturally exude more modesty. So, outer modesty is a byproduct and manifestation of the God-consciousness and modesty we nurture within.

I recently read a book almost entirely on the inner dimensions of modesty. It is called Fiqh Al-Haya’ (Understanding Modesty) by Muhammad Al-Muqaddim. I’ve translated some excerpts that I felt capture the essence of haya’ and how it relates to imān and our relationship with Allah. The last translated portion includes ways to adorn our character with more modesty, both internally and externally. May it be of benefit to all Insha’Allah (God-willing).

What is Haya’?

Linguistically, haya’ is derived from the root hayiy, which comes from the word hayah (life). Heavy rain is referred to as hayyan because with it comes the life of the earth, and plants and animals. Similarly, the worldly life and the afterlife are defined through haya’; whoever does not have haya’ would be (spiritually) dead in this life, and also miserable in the afterlife. Some linguists have said: ‘The life in one’s face comes from its haya’, just as the life of a planted seed comes from watering it’.

The level of one’s haya’ is based on how much life is in the heart…so the more alive the heart, the more complete the haya’.

Technically, haya’ is defined as a change or a state of humility that overtakes a person out of fear of being blameworthy. Ibn Al-Qayyim says: ‘haya’ is a state that emerges from combining exaltation with love, so when the two are coupled, haya’ is born’. Some scholars say that it stems from feeling shameful in the heart about something and feeling averse to it.

It can also emerge when the servants know that Allah (the Truth) is looking at them, making them more patient with a certain struggle, or making them feel uncomfortable with their own sin, or making them refrain from complaining.

Haya’ can also come from recognizing the bounty and graciousness one receives. This is because a generous person would not return favorable treatment with mistreatment.

Imam Al-Junayd (may Allah have mercy on him) said: ‘Haya’ is seeing the signs, and being aware of one’s shortcomings. Out of these two will arise a state of haya’. In reality, haya’ is a character trait that encourages a person to avoid shameful things and prevents one from neglecting the rights of the One Who deserves them most’.

Haya’ and Iman

It is narrated that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “Haya’ and iman are two companions, so when one increases, the other also increases”. (Al-Hakim)

He also said: “Haya’ is a part of iman (faith)”. (Muslim)

Imam An-Nawawi (may Allah have mercy on him) reported that Al-Qadi `Iyad said: ‘Haya’ was made to be a part of iman– even if it is innate- because it can either be acquired and adopted like all other acts of righteousness, or it can be one’s natural disposition.

However, practicing haya’ according to Islamic legislation requires that being acquired with the right intention and with sound knowledge. That is why haya’ is a part of iman. Another reason is that haya’ encourages one to do acts of righteousness and it prevents one from committing sins’. (An-Nawawi’s Commentary on Sahih Muslim)

Allah’s Love of Modesty

It is narrated that the Prophet said: “Verily, Allah the Exalted is Modest and Concealing (Sittīr); and He loves modesty and concealment. So, when any of you bathe, let him conceal himself”. (Abu Dawud, An-Nasa’i, Al-Baihaqi, and Ahmad)

Al-Mubarakfuri said: ‘(The Prophet’s statement’s ”Allah is Modest” means He is Modest in practice, or shows a lot of Modesty. Describing Allah with the Attribute of Modesty is to be understood in a way most befitting for Allah, just like all His other Attributes; we believe in them but do not delve into how (the traits are manifested)’.

Imam Ibn Al-Qayyim Al-Jawziyyah (may Allah have mercy on him) said:

‘…Whoever has a trait similar to one of Allah’s attributes, that trait will lead him to Allah, and will bring him closer to Allah’s Mercy, and will make him/her beloved to Allah; for Allah is Most-Merciful, and He loves the merciful; He is Most Generous, and He loves the generous; He is All-Knowing, and He loves the knowledgeable; He is strong, and He loves the strong believer, who is more beloved to Him than the weak believer; He is Modest, and he loves the people of modesty; He is Beautiful and He loves the people of beauty; He is One (witr) and he loves the people of the witr (Witr Prayer)’.

Who Deserves Our Modesty?

A person should be modest with Allah (the All-Mighty and Exalted) with the angels, and with oneself. Whoever is modest with people but not with oneself has belittled his self because he does not see it as worthy of his own modesty. Whoever is modest with oneself but not with Allah does not truly know Allah, the All-Mighty and Exalted.

As such, the Prophet told a man he was advising: “I advise you to have shame with Allah as you would have shame (in the presence) of a righteous man from your people”. (Ahmad)

In the words of Allah (the All-Mighty and Exalted): “Does he not know that Allah sees (everything)?” (Al-`Alaq 96:14) there is an implied warning to the servant; if he knows that Allah sees him, then he should be ashamed of committing sin.

Whoever knows that the One he worships is observing his worship will be more inclined to adorn it externally with humble reverence and internally with sincerity and presence. Surely, Allah knows the secret glance of the eyes and what the hearts conceal.

To be continued…

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Source: suhaibwebb.com.

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How to Be Muslim and Modest? (Part 2)

By Naiyerah Kolkailah

How could a Muslim develop a modest character?

Islamic legislation calls for adopting beautiful moral traits and eliminating bad character traits.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) has made modesty a standard and measure for a person’s actions. An-Nawwas ibn Sam`an (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that he asked the Messenger of Allah about righteousness and wrongdoing. So the Prophet responded: “Righteousness is good character and wrongdoing is what makes you feel discomfort, and that you would hate for people to see (what you are doing)”. (Muslim)

One of the areas where modesty, i.e. shamefulness, should be avoided is in seeking knowledge and in educating. `Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “One who does not know should not be ashamed of asking until he has knowledge, and one who is asked about something he does not know should not be ashamed to say ‘I do not know’”. (Ibn Hajar, Fath Al-Bari; commentary on Sahih Al-Bukhari)

Al-Bukhari said that Mujahid said: “The one who is shy or arrogant does not gain knowledge”. `A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said: “How great were the women of the Ansar; their modesty did not prevent them from seeking knowledge about their religion”. (Ahmad)

How Do We Become More Modest?

If a person’s character traits were completely innate, they would be difficult to change, or replace, or adjust.

Islamic legislation calls for adopting beautiful moral traits and eliminating bad character traits. If it was not possible to do so, Islamic legislation would not obligate it. Allah (the Most-High) says:

He has succeeded; the one who purifies it, and he has failed; the one who corrupts it. (Ash-Shams 91:9, 10)

Despite that, people vary in their ability, capability, or willingness to adopt or change certain character traits. So, if a person is naturally disposed to express a specific quality, it is easier to develop that character trait even further. This is because his fitrah (innate disposition) is assisting him. As related to modesty as a character trait, it can be innate, and it can also be acquired. These are some ways to help in acquiring and developing modesty:

1- Refrain from shameless words or actions, such as foul or evil speech. This will aggravate Satan, who beautifies these actions, and tempts people with them. So, not engaging in such actions would actually make him hopeless, and he would in turn retract in disgrace.

2- Continuously learn about the benefits of modesty, and expose one’s heart to them repeatedly. Also, make a commitment to gaining the highest levels of modesty, and actively adorning oneself with it.

3- Strengthen iman and belief in the heart, because modesty is a fruit of iman and knowing Allah (the All-Mighty and Exalted).

4- Worship Allah (Exalted is He) by reflecting on His beautiful names and attributes, which bring about Allah-consciousness and excellent (character and behavior). Examples of such names would be: the Witness, the Overseer, the All-Knowing, the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing, the All-Encompassing, and the Protector.

Hatim Al-Asam said: “Make a pact with yourself in three (areas): when you do something, remember that Allah sees you, and when you speak, remember that Allah hears you, and when you are silent, remember Allah’s knowledge of your inner (thoughts, feelings, and being)”.

5- Consistently observe the obligatory and recommended worship, like prayer. Allah said: “Verily, prayer prevents lewdness and evil deeds”. (Al-`Ankabut 29:45)

It was said to the Messenger of Allah: “So and so prays all night, but when he wakes up he steals!” So, he said: “What you mentioned (i.e. his prayers) will (eventually) prevent him from that”. Or he said: “His prayers will prevent him”. (Ahmad)

Zakah is another example. Allah says regarding zakah: “Take a portion of their wealth as charity [zakah] to purify them and increase them with it”. (At-Tawbah 9:103)

6- Always be truthful and avoid dishonesty. This is because truthfulness will guide a person to righteousness, and modesty is a part of righteousness. The Prophet said: “You should be truthful, for truthfulness leads to righteousness, and righteousness leads to paradise…” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

7- Actively practice modesty on a regular basis so that it becomes a natural disposition. This will require beautifying oneself with patience.

8- See righteous people, intermingle with them, listen to them, and learn from their modesty. Some scholars have said: “Enliven your modesty by sitting with those whom you would feel shameful around”. Mujahid said: “If all that a Muslim benefits from his brother is that his feeling of shame with him prevents him from sinning, then that would suffice him”. (Makarim Al-Akhlaq)

9- Bring to mind the modesty of the greatest example for mankind, the Messenger of Allah, and learn about his Seerah (biography of the Prophet) and his noble traits.

Also, bring to mind the modesty of his Companions and their lives, especially the righteous caliphs, the ten given glad tidings of paradise, those who witnessed Badr, and the Bay`at Ar-Ridwan (a covenant of fealty), and the rest of the Muhajireen and the Ansar, and those who followed in their footsteps from the people of knowledge and faith.

10- Remove oneself from a corrupted environment that keeps one away from good character. Do not accompany those who show little modesty; befriend righteous people instead. In the Prophetic narration about the man who killed one hundred souls, the knowledgeable man said: “…And who can stand between you and a sincere repentance? Go to so and so land, for you will find people there who worship Allah. So, worship Allah with them, and do not return to your land because it is a land of evil…” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

We seek Allah’s forgiveness for every misstep, and for every mistake we made with the pen; and we seek His forgiveness for any words that do not match our actions; we seek His forgiveness for anything we showed or revealed of knowledge despite our shortcomings; we ask that He makes us act upon what we know, for His sake only, and that He places this knowledge on our scale of righteous deeds when our deeds are presented before us. Verily, He is Most-Benevolent and Generous.

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Source: suhaibwebb.com.

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How Do We Know the True Religion?

By Hammudah Abd Al-Ati

Throughout history religion has been abused and misunderstood. Some people use it as a means of exploitation and suppression, as a pretext for prejudice and persecution. Some other people use it as a source of power and domination over the elite and the masses alike. But is that the true religion?

In the name of religion unjustifiable wars have been launched, freedom of thought and conscience has been oppressed, science has been persecuted, the right of the individual to maturity has been denied, and man’ s dignity and honor have been flagrantly debased. And in the name of religion an injustice has been inflicted upon humanity with the result that religion itself has suffered many losses.

These are historical facts which no one can deny. But is this the proper function of religion or the right approach to religion? Could this be the purpose of religion?

The indisputable answer is an emphatic no. There are many religions in the world, and each one claims to be the one and only true religion. Each religion is supposed to have come from God for the right guidance of man.

But these claims contradict each other and have caused dissensions among people and vehement reactions to religion – instead of welding mankind into one universal brotherhood under the One Universal Benevolent God.

This situation makes any neutral observer confused and perhaps averse to all kinds of religion.

The Islamic …”Religion”

The Islamic concept of religion is unique in the broadest sense of the word. It is true that genuine religion must come from God for the right guidance of man. And it is equally true that human nature and major human needs are basically the same at all times.

This conception leads to one conclusion, and that is: There is only one true religion coming from the One and the Same God, to deal with the outstanding human problems of all times.

This religion is “Islam”. But it should be borne in mind that Islam was taught by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) alone. On the contrary, Islam had been taught by all the prophets before Muhammad, and the true followers of Abraham and Moses as well as those of Jesus and the rest were all called “Muslims”.

So Islam has been, and will continue to be, the true universal religion of God, because God is one and changeless, and because human nature and major human needs are fundamentally the same, irrespective of time and place, of race and age, and of any other considerations.

The True Religion

Bearing this in mind, the Islamic concept maintains that religion is not only a spiritual and intellectual necessity but also a social and universal need. It is not to bewilder man but to guide him. It is not to debase him but to elevate his moral nature.

It is not to deprive him of anything useful, or to burden him, or to oppress his qualities but to open for him inexhaustible treasures of sound thinking and right action. It is not confine him to narrow limits but to launch him into wide horizons of truth and goodness.

In short, true religion is to acquaint man with God as well as with himself and the rest of the universe. This is by no means an oversimplification of the function of religion. Here is what it means.

When the purpose of true religion is carefully examined, it will be found that religion satisfies the spiritual and moderate material needs of man. It unties his psychological knots and complexes, sublimates his instincts and aspirations, and disciplines his desires and the whole course of life. It improves his knowledge of God – the Highest Truth in the universe, and of his own self.

It teaches him about the secrets of life and the nature of man and how to treat them, about good and evil, about right and wrong.

It purifies the soul from evil, clears the mind from doubts, strengthens the character and corrects the thinking and convictions of man. All this can be achieved only when man faithfully observes the spiritual duties and physical regulations introduced by religion.

The True Purpose

On the other hand, true religion educates man and trains him in hope and patience, in truthfulness and honesty, in love for the right and good, in courage and endurance, all of which are required for the mastery of the great art of living.

Moreover, true religion insures man against fears and spiritual losses, and assures him of God’s aid and unbreakable alliance. It provides man with peace and security and makes his life meaningful.

That is what true religion can do for humanity, and that is the concept of religion in Islam.

Any religion which fails to bear these fruits is not Islam or rather, is not religion at all, and any man who fails to draw these benefits from religion is not religious or God-minded. God is absolutely true when He says in the Qur’an:

Verily the religion with God is Islam. Nor did the People of the Book dissent therefrom except through envy of each other, after knowledge had come to them. But if any deny the Signs of God, God is swift in calling to account. (Aal `Imran 3:19).

And if anyone desires a religion other than Islam, never will it be accepted of him; and in the Hereafter he will be in the ranks of those who have lost (all spiritual good). (Aal `Imran 3:85)

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The article is excerpted from Dr. Hammudah’s well-known book “Islam in Focus”.

 

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New Muslims Pillars of Islam

The Testimony of Faith

The Shahada is the Muslim profession of faith and the first of the ‘Five Pillars’ of Islam. The word shahada in Arabic means ‘testimony.’ It must be recited by every Muslim at least once in a lifetime with a full understanding of its meaning and with an assent of the heart.

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The First Pillar of Islam: Testimony of Faith

All practicing Muslims accept belief in the ‘Six Articles of Faith’ and are obliged to follow the ‘Five Pillars.’  They are:

1.    Muslim profession of faith or shahada.

2.    Ritual Prayer or salah.

3.    Obligatory Charity or zakah.

4.    Fasting or sawm.

5.    Pilgrimage or hajj.

The First Pillar

Muslim Profession of Faith

The Shahada is the Muslim profession of faith and the first of the ‘Five Pillars’ of Islam.  The word shahada in Arabic means ‘testimony.’  The shahada is to testify to two things:

(a)   Nothing deserves worship except God (Allah).

(b)  Muhammad is the Messenger of God (Allah).

A Muslim is simply one who bears witness and testifies that “nothing deserves worship except God and Muhammad is the messenger of God.” One becomes a Muslim by making this simple declaration.


It must be recited by every Muslim at least once in a lifetime with a full understanding of its meaning and with an assent of the heart.  Muslims say this when they wake up in the morning, and before they go to sleep at night.  It is repeated five times in the call to prayer in every mosque.  A person who utters the shahada as their last words in this life has been promised Paradise.

Many people ignorant of Islam have misconceived notions about the Allah, used by Muslims to denote God. Allah is the proper name for God in Arabic, just as “Elah”, or often “Elohim”, is the proper name for God in Aramaic mentioned in the Old Testament.  Allah is also His personal name in Islam, as “YHWH” is His personal name in Judaism. However, rather than the specific Hebrew denotation of “YHWH” as “He Who Is“, in Arabic Allah denotes the aspect of being “The One True Deity worthy of all worship”.  Arabic speaking Jews and Christians also refer to the Supreme Being as Allah.

 

(a)   Nothing deserves worship except God (Allah).

The first part of this testimony states that God has the exclusive right to be worshipped inwardly and outwardly, by one’s heart and limbs.  In Islamic doctrine, not only can no one be worshipped apart from Him, absolutely no one else can be worshipped along with Him.  He has no partners or associates in worship.  Worship, in its comprehensive sense and all its aspects, is for Him alone.  God’s right to be worshipped is the essential meaning of Islam’s testimony of faith: Lā ‘ilāha ‘illā llāh.  A person becomes Muslim by testifying to the divine right to worship.  It is the crux of Islamic belief in God, even all of Islam.  It is considered the central message of all prophets and messengers sent by God – the message of Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael, Moses, the Hebrew prophets, Jesus, and Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon them.  For instance, Moses declared:

“Hear, O Israel The Lord our God is one Lord.” (Deuteronomy 6:4)

Jesus repeated the same message 1500 years later when he said:

“The first of all the commandments is, “Hear, O Israel; the Lord our God is one Lord.” (Mark 12:29)

…and reminded Satan:

“Away from me, Satan!  For it is written: Worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.” (Matthew 4:10)

Finally, the call of Muhammad, some 600 years after Jesus, reverberated across the hills of Mecca,

‘And your God is OneGod: there is no god but He.’ (Quran 2:163).

They all declared clearly:

“Worship God!  You have no other god but Him.” (Quran 7:59, 7:73; 11:50, 11:84; 23:32)

But by a mere verbal profession alone, one does not become a complete Muslim.  To become a complete Muslim one has to fully carry out in practice the instruction given by Prophet Muhammad as ordained by God.  This brings us to the second part of the testimony.


(b)  Muhammad is the Messenger of God (Allah).

Muhammad was born in Mecca in Arabia in the year 570 CE.  His ancestry goes back to Ishmael, a son of Prophet Abraham.  The second part of the confession of faith asserts that he is not only a prophet but also a messenger of God, a higher role also played by Moses and Jesus before him.  Like all prophets before him, he was a human being, but chosen by God to convey His message to all humanity rather than one tribe or nation from among the many that exist.  For Muslims, Muhammad brought the last and final revelation.  In accepting Muhammad as the “last of the prophets,” they believe that his prophecy confirms and completes all of the revealed messages, beginning with that of Adam.  In addition, Muhammad serves as the preeminent role model through his life example.  The believer’s effort to follow Muhammad’s example reflects the emphasis of Islam on practice and action.

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Belief in the Last Day

sunrise_nature

Everyone from all parts of the world, from the time of Adam (peace be upon him) until the end of time, will be resurrected.

To have iman (belief) in the Last Day is to believe that the life of this world will one day come to an end. Allah (Exalted be He) says:

Whatsoever is on it (the earth) will perish. (Ar-Rahman 55:26)

When Allah wills this world to come to an end, Allah will order an angel called Israfil to blow a horn. At that point, everything in the heavens and earth will perish, except who Allah wills. Then He will order him to blow it again, and upon that, all people will rise from their graves, alive and in their own bodies. Everyone from all parts of the world, from the time of Adam (peace be upon him) until the end of time, will be resurrected. Allah says:

And the Trumpet will be blown, and all who are in the heavens and all who are on the earth will collapse and die, except him whom Allah will. Then it will blow a second time and behold, they will be standing, looking on (waiting). (Az-Zumar 39:68)

To have iman in the Last Day means to have iman in all of what Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him) informed us of what will occur after death. From these things is the following:

1- To Believe in the Life of the Barzakh

This life is the time after one’s death until the Last Day. In it the believer will live a life of pleasure while the rejecting disbelievers will be punished. Allah says:

The Fire; they are exposed to it, morning and afternoon, and on the Day when the Hour will be established (it will be said to the angels): ‘Cause Pharaoh people to enter the severest torment!’ (Ghafir 40:46)

2- To Believe in the Resurrection

This is the Day on which Allah will resurrect the whole creation, naked, barefoot, and uncircumcised just as they were born. Allah says:

The disbelievers falsely think that they will never be resurrected (for the Account). Say: ‘Yes! By my Lord, you will certainly be resurrected, then you will be informed of (and recompensed for) what you did, and that is easy for Allah’. (At-Taghabun 64:7)

3- To Believe in the Gathering

Allah will gather all of the creation together and call them to account. Allah says:

And (remember) the Day We shall cause the mountains to pass away (like clouds of dust), and you will see the earth as a leveled plain, and We shall gather them all together so as to leave not one of them behind. (Al-Kahf 18:47)

4- To believe that People Will be Set before Allah

Allah says:

And they will be set before your Lord in (lines as) rows, (and Allah will say): ‘Now indeed, you have come to Us as We created you the first time’. (Al-Kahf 18:48)

5- To believe that One’s Limbs Will Bear Witness

Allah says:

Till, when they reach it (Hellfire), their hearing (ears) and their eyes, and their skins will testify against them as to what they used to do. And they will say to their skins, ‘Why do you testify against us?’ They will say: ‘Allah has caused us to speak, He causes all things to speak: and He created you the first time, and to Him you are made to return.’ And you have not been hiding yourselves (in the world), lest your ears, and your eyes, and your skins testify against you; but you thought that Allah knew not much of what you were doing. (Fussilat 41:20-22)

scale_justice

On that day Allah will call people to account and pay them their exact dues for their deeds.

6- To Believe in the Questioning

Allah says:

‘But stop them, verily they are to be questioned. What is the matter with you? Why do you not help one another (as you used to do in the world)?’ Nay, but that Day they shall surrender. (As-Saaffaat 37:24-26)

7- To Believe in the Sirat and that everyone must pass over it.

The Sirat is a bridge set over the Hellfire over which all must pass, thinner than a strand of hair and sharper than a sword. Some will cross it as fast as lighting, some like a gust of wind, some like the speed of a fast horse, while others will cross it crawling, each according to his deeds. Allah says:

There is not one of you but will pass over it (Hell); this is with your Lord a decree which must be accomplished. (Maryam 19:71)

8- To Believe in the Weighing of Deeds on the Scale

Allah will call people to account and pay them their exact dues for their deeds.

He will reward those who did well with what they deserve, due to their righteous deeds, their iman, and following the messengers, and He will punish those who did evil, as a payback for what they committed of evil, disbelief, and disobedience to their messengers.

Allah says:

And We shall set up balances of justice on the Day of Resurrection, then none will be dealt with unjustly in anything. And if there be the weight of a mustard seed, We will bring it. And Sufficient are We as Reckoners. (Al-Anbiyaa’ 21:47)

9- To Believe in the Handing out of Scrolls and Books

Allah says:

Then, as for him who will be given his Record in his right hand, he surely will receive an easy reckoning. And he will return to his family in joy! But whosoever is given his Record behind his back. He will invoke (his) destruction. And he shall enter a blazing Fire and made to taste its burning. (Al-Inshiqaq 84:7-12)

10- To Believe that People will be Rewarded with either Jannah (Paradise) or Hellfire in an everlasting and eternal life which will never end. Allah says:

Verily those who disbelieve from among the people of the Book (Jews and Christians) and the pagans will abide in the Fire of Hell. They are the worst of creatures. Verily, those who believe and do righteous deeds, they are the best of creatures. Their reward with their Lord is the Paradise of Eden (Gardens of Eternity), underneath which rivers flow. They will abide therein forever, Allah will be pleased with them, and they with Him. That is for him who fears his Lord. (Al-Bayyinah 98:6-8)

11- To believe in the Hawd, Intercession and all other things which the Messenger of Allah informed us.

The Hawd Literally means pool; the pool from which the true followers of Muhammad will drink, after which they will never feel thirst again.

And by intercession (or shafa`ah) Allah will allow certain people to intercede for others, and from those will be the intercession of the Prophet (peace be upon Him).

The Fruits of Iman in the Last Day

Through the belief in Last Day, one benefits in the following ways:

1- In preparing for that Day, by continually performing good deeds and competing in doing so, hoping for its reward, and abstaining from sins and removing oneself from them, fearing Allah’s punishment.

2- In comforting the believers, that whatever they leave from the entertainment of this life will be exchanged with a better reward in the Hereafter.

3- To distinguish the believers truthful in their faith from others.

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The article is an excerpt from the author’s book “How to Become a Muslim”. 

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The Muslim and the Belief in Qadar

By Abdul-Rahman Al Sheha

Qadaa´ and Qadar are two Arabic words usually translated as ‘fate’, ‘destiny’, or ‘pre-ordainment’. Many of these English words lead to incorrect belief in this concept, so the original Arabic terms have been retained in order that one understand them in their true sense.

The Muslim and the Belief in Qadar

This is to believe that whatever Allah wills comes to be, and whatever He does not will does not come to be.

To have iman (belief) in Qadaa´ and Qadar is to believe that Allah always knew everything before its came into being, and what will happen to them afterwards. He then brought them into existence, all in accordance to His Knowledge and Measure. Allah says:

Verily, We have created all things with Qadar. (Al-Qamr 54:49)

Everything which occurred in the past, is occurring in the present, and will occur in the future in this universe was known to Allah before it came to be. Then Allah brought it into being, all in accordance to His Will and Measure. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said:

“A person is not a Muslim until he believes in Qadar, its good and its evil effects – until he knows that whatever happened to him would have never missed him, and what did not happen to him would never have occurred.” (At-Tirmidhi)

The belief in Qadar means to believe in four things:

1- To believe that Allah always knew everything the creation would do, and there was never a time in which He did not know.

2- To believe that Allah wrote all of this in the ‘Preserved Tablet’ (Al-Lawh Al-Mahfudh). The Prophet said:

“The first thing which Allah created was the Pen, and He said to it, ‘Write.’ It responded, ‘What should I write?’ He said, ‘Write everything that will occur until the Day of Resurrection.’” (Abu Dawud)

3- The belief in the Will of Allah which always comes to be, and his Absolute Ability and Power over all things. This is to believe that whatever Allah wills comes to be, and whatever He does not will does not come to be.

4- The belief that there is no creation in the earth or in the heavens except that Allah created it. There is no Creator, Lord or Sovereign other than Him.

This belief is not in opposition to the fact that one must do everything in his means to achieve things. For example, if someone wants children, he must fulfill those means which allow him to achieve this goal, such as marriage. But after fulfilling these means, he may be granted the results he hoped for –which are children – or he may not, all according to the Will of Allah.

The reason for this is that the means are not the true causes of things, but rather the true cause is the Will of Allah. These means that we strive to fulfill are also from the Qadar of Allah, and for this reason, the Prophet explained to the Companions when they asked him:

“‘O Messenger of Allah, do the verses and supplications we recite, the medicine we take to cure ourselves, and the various shields we use to ward harm change the Qadar of Allah?’ (He replied,) ‘They are from the Qadar of Allah.’” (At-ta`liqat Ar-Radiyah)

Fruits of Belief in Qadaa´ & Qadar

Through the belief in Qadaa´ and Qadar, one benefits in the following ways:

1- It strengthens his dependence upon Allah (in achieving results) after fulfilling its means.

2- One becomes pleased with whatever results, which in turn produces peace of heart and spiritual satisfaction. There is no room left for stress, worry, or sadness felt due to the outcomes of affairs. Allah says:

No calamity befalls on the earth or in yourselves but is inscribed in the Book of Decrees, before We bring it into existence. Verily, that is easy for Allah. In order that you may not be sad over matters that you fail to get, nor rejoice because of that which has been given to you. And Allah likes not prideful boasters. (Al-Hadid 54:22-23)

3- It eases the effects of calamities faced by humans. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

“The strong believer is better and more beloved to Allah than a weak believer, and in each one there is good. Be keen to do what benefits you and seek help in Allah, and do not be neglectful in doing so. And if any mishap befalls you, do not say, ‘If only I had only done such and such,’ but rather say, ‘This is the Qadar of Allah, and whatever He Wills He does,’ for indeed (the saying of) ‘if’ opens the door for Satan’s works.” (Muslim)

4- It increases one’s reward and wipes away sins. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

“No Muslim is fatigued, is stricken with illness, feels stress, worry, sadness, or harm, not even a thorn which pricks him, except that Allah forgives sins through it.” (Al-Bukhari)

Belief in Qadar is not, as some mistakenly think, a call to put one trust in Allah without striving or fulfilling the means, for as the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him ) himself replied to a person who asked him:

“‘Should I leave my camel untied and trust in Allah?’ He said, ‘Tie it and trust in Allah.’” (Ibn Hibban)

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The article is an excerpt from the author’s book “How to Become a Muslim”.

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What Does It Mean to Believe in Allah? (Part One)

By Muhammad bin Ibrahim bin `Abdullah Al-Tuwayjiri 

What does it mean to believe in Allah?

Belief (iman) in Allah consists of four matters:

The First: Belief in the Existence of Allah

– Allah created all of mankind to have belief in their Creator, as He  says:

So direct your face toward the religion, inclining to truth. (Adhere to) the disposition of Allah upon which He has created all people. No change should there be in the creation of Allah. That is the correct religion, but most of the people do not know. (Ar-Rum 30:30)

Human intellect has proven that this universe has a Creator, for indeed all of creation, from its beginning and afterwards, must have a Creator that brought it into existence. A part of creation cannot bring itself into existence by itself, nor can it be created by chance. This leads one to realize that there is a Creator, and He is Allah, the Lord of the Worlds, as He says:

Or were they created by nothing, or were they the creators (of themselves)? Or did they create the heavens and the earth? Rather, they are not certain. (At-Tur 52:35-36)

– One’s senses also prove the existence of Allah, for we witness the alternating of the day and night, provision for every human and animal, and the management of the affairs of all creation; all of which prove His existence by clear-cut evidences:

Allah alternates the night and the day. Indeed, in that is a lesson for those who have vision. (An-Nur 24:44)

And Allah has supported His messengers and prophets by sending them with signs and miracles that their people either saw or heard.

These are affairs that are beyond human capacity and Allah used them to bestow victory on His messengers and aid them by them. This is clear-cut evidence for the existence of a Sender, who is none other than Allah. For example, Allah made the fire cold and safe for Ibrahim split the sea for Musa, brought the dead back to life for ʿIsa and split the moon for Muhammad ((peace be upon them all). So there is no doubt of His existence:

Their messengers said, ‘Can there be doubt about Allah, Creator of the heavens and earth? He invites you that He may forgive you of your sins.’ (Ibrahim 14:10)

How many has Allah answered from those who call upon Him? How many has He given to those who asked of Him? How many has He relieved from anguish? This, without a doubt, proves His existence, knowledge and ability.

1– Allah says:

(Remember) when you asked help of your Lord, and He answered you, ‘Indeed, I will reinforce you with a thousand from the angels, following one another.’ (Al-Anfal 8:9)

2– And Allah says:

And (mention) Ayyub, when he called on his Lord, ‘Indeed, adversity has touched me, and you are the Most Merciful of the merciful.’ So We responded to him and removed what afflicted him of adversity. And We gave him back his family and the like thereof with them, as mercy from Us and a reminder for the worshippers (of Allah). (Al-Anbiya’ 21:83-84)

– Legislation also proves the existence of Allah, for the great and just rulings that comprise of what benefits the creation, and which He has revealed to His prophets and messengers in His books; is evidence that these rulings are from a Wise, Omnipotent Lord, that knows what is beneficial for His slaves.

The Second: Belief that Allah Alone Is the Lord, without Any Partners

The Lord who deserved to be worshipped is the King within Whose Hand is the sovereignty. All affairs and creation belong to Him.

So there is no Creator or Sovereign except Allah, and indeed all affairs belong to Him alone, the creation is His creation, the sovereignty is His sovereignty and the command is His command. He is the All Mighty and the Most Merciful, the Self-Sufficient and the Praiseworthy, the All Knowing and the All Powerful. He showers His mercy upon those who seek His mercy, forgives those who seek His forgiveness, gives when asked, answers when called upon and does whatever He wills. He is the Ever Living and the Sustainer who is never overtaken by drowsiness or sleep. To Him alone belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth, to Him belongs everything in the heavens and the earth, to Him belong the treasures of the heavens and the earth, to Him belong the unseen matters of the heavens and the earth and to Him belong the troops of the heavens and the earth.

1– Allah says:

Indeed, your Lord is Allah, who created the heavens and earth in six days and then established Himself above the Throne. He covers the night with the day, [another night] chasing it rapidly; and [He created] the sun, the moon, and the stars, subjected by His command. Unquestionably, His is the creation and the command; blessed is Allah, Lord of the worlds. (Al-A`raf 7:54)

2– And Allah says:

To Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth and whatever is within them. And He is over all things competent. (Al-Ma’idah 5:120)

Thus, we know and have full conviction that Allah is the Lord who created all the creatures, brought about all forms of creation, fashioned all that exists and created the heavens and the earth:

That is Allah, your Lord, so worship Him. Then will you not remember? (Yunus 10:3)

He created the sun and the moon, the day and the night, water and plants, man and animal, soil, the mountains, and the seas:

He to whom belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth, and who has not taken a son and has not had a partner in dominion, and has created each thing and determined it with (precise) determination. (Al-Furqan 25:2)

– Allah has created everything with his Own ability. He does not have any adviser, consultant or assistant. Glory be to Him, the Lord, the One, the Dominant. He rose above the throne by His mercy, holds the heavens and the earth by His ability, flattened the earth by His will, created all things by His will and subdued His slaves by His strength.

He is the Lord of the east and the west. There is no deity worthy of worship except Him, the Ever Living, the Sustainer:

Allah is the Creator of all things, and He is the Disposer of affairs over all things. To Him belong the keys of the heavens and the earth. And they who disbelieve in the verses of Allah- it is they who are the losers. (Az-Zumar 39:62)

We also know and have full conviction that Allah  is the Lord and is Able to do all things, encompassing all matters, Owner of everything, Knowledgeable of all things and Dominant over everything. Heads are humbled due to His greatness, voices are stilled in fear of Him, the mighty are humbled due to His might. Vision perceives Him not, but He perceives all vision. He is the Subtle One and the Most Aware. He does what He pleases and decrees whatever He wills:

His command is only when He intends a thing that He says to it, ‘Be,’ and it is. (Ya-Sin 36:82)

– He knows of all matters in the heavens and upon earth, and knows of the world of the unseen and the witnessed. He is the Most Great, the Most Exalted. He knows the weight of mountains, the measure of the seas, the number of drops from rainfall, the number of leaves on trees, the number of grains of sand, what the darkness conceals, and what the night time covers in darkness and what the daytime shines forth upon:

And with Him are the keys of the unseen; none knows them except Him. And He knows what is on the land and in the sea. Not a leaf falls but that He knows it. And no grain is there within the darknesses of the earth and no moist or dry thing but that it is (written) in a clear record. (Al-An`am 6:59)

– We further know and have full conviction that every day Allah is bringing about a matter. Nothing is hidden from Him in the heavens and earth. He controls all affairs, sends the winds, brings forth the rain and gives life to the earth after its lifelessness. He honors whom He wills and He degrades whom He wills. He gives life and causes death. He gives and restrains from giving, and raises the ranks of some and brings down others:

Say, ‘O Allah, Owner of Sovereignty, You give sovereignty to whom You will and You take sovereignty away from whom You will. You honor whom You will and You humble whom You will. In Your hand is all good. Indeed, You are over all things competent. You cause the night to enter the day, and You cause the day to enter the night; and You bring the living out of the dead, and You bring the dead out of the living. And You give provision to whom You will without account.’ (Aal `Imran 3:26-27)

– We also know and have full conviction that the treasures of all things are with Allah alone, and that the treasures within the heavens and the earth all belong to Allah alone. In fact, the treasures of everything in existence belong to Allah: The treasures of water, plants, air, minerals, health, safety, blessings, punishment, mercy, guidance, strength and honor; all of these and others are with Allah and in His Hand alone:

And there is not a thing but that with Us are its treasures, and We do not send it down except according to a known measure. (Al-Hijr 15:21)

Thus, if we know that and have full conviction of Allah’s ability, greatness, strength, grandeur, sovereignty, treasures, mercy and Oneness; the hearts would draw nearer to Him, the chests would open to His worship, the limbs would submit to His obedience, and the tongues would be in constant remembrance of Him through reverence, glorification, exaltation and praise.

So do not ask of anyone except Him, do not beseech anyone except Him, do not truly rely upon anyone other than Him, do not fear anyone but Him and do not worship anything other than Him:

That is Allah, your Lord; there is no deity except Him, the Creator of all things, so worship Him. And He is Disposer of all things. (Al-An`am 6:102)

 

To be continued….

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

 

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What Does It Mean to Believe in Allah? (Part Two)

By Muhammad bin Ibrahim bin `Abdullah Al-Tuwayjiri 

Part One

What does it mean to believe in Allah?

Belief in His Servitude

We know and have full conviction that Allah alone is the true deity Who has no partners and that He alone is the One who deserves to be worshiped. So He is the Lord of the worlds, and we worship Him with what He has legislated with complete humbleness, love and reverence for Him.

What Does It Mean to Believe in Allah

We have full conviction that to Allah alone belong the most beautiful Names and lofty Attributes.

Just as we have humbled to His Lordship in creation and maintenance, we must humble to His servitude in commandment and legislation.

We also know and have full conviction that just as He is One in His Lordship without any partner, He is also One in His servitude without any partner. So we worship Him alone without any partner, and stay away from worship of everything besides Him:

And your god is one God. There is no deity worthy of worship except Him, the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful. (Al-Baqarah 2:163)

So Allah (Exalted be He) is the true deity, and the servitude of anything worshiped other than Him is false, as well as their worship:

That is because Allah is the Truth, and that which they call upon other than Him is falsehood, and because Allah is the Most High, the Grand. (Al-Hajj 22:62)

Belief in His Names and Attributes

This means understanding, memorizing and acknowledging them, using them as a means of worshipping ah and acting in accordance to them.

Thus, knowledge All of Allah’s Attributes pertaining to His grandeur, glory and majesty, fill the hearts of the slaves with reverence and awe for Him. Knowledge of the Attributes pertaining to honor, strength, ability and omnipotence, fill the hearts with humbleness and submissiveness to Him.

Knowledge of the Attributes pertaining to mercy, beneficence, kindness and generosity, fill the hearts with love of Allah, as well as desire and craving for Allah’s bounties, kindness and generosity. Knowledge of the Attributes pertaining to knowledge and encompassment necessitate for the slave to be aware of Allah’s constant observance of him in all his movements and situations.

Finally, knowledge of all these attributes necessitate for the slave to have reverence, love, desire, delight, reliance and nearness to Him by worship of Him alone without any partner.

* We also affirm for Allah what He has affirmed for Himself or what His Messenger (peace be upon him) has affirmed for Him in regards to His most beautiful Names and lofty Attributes. Likewise, we negate from Him what He has negated from Himself or what His Messenger negated from Him. We also believe in Allah’s Names and Attributes, and that which they indicate of meanings and effects. So, for example, we believe that Allah is the Most Merciful. This means that He is the possessor of mercy. From the effects of this name is that He has mercy upon whom He wills. And the same can be said with the rest of His Names and Attributes.

We affirm all of that for Him in a manner that is befitting to His Majesty, without changing their meaning, without negating them, without specifying the exact nature of them and without resembling them to the creation, based on what He says:

There is nothing like unto Him, and He is the Hearing, the Seeing. (Ash-Shura 42:11)

* We further know and have full conviction that to Allah alone belong the most beautiful Names and lofty Attributes, and we invoke Him with them:

1– Allah says:

And to Allah belong the best names, so invoke Him by them. And leave (the company of) those who practice deviation concerning His names. They will be recompensed for what they have been doing. (Al-A`raf 7:180)

2– And Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated:

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “Allah has ninety-nine names, i.e. one-hundred minus one; whoever enumerates them will go to Paradise.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Fundamental Principles of Belief in Allah’s Names and Attributes

Belief in Allah’s Names and Attributes are built upon three fundamental principles:

The first: Exalting the Creator from any similarity to the creation in His Essence, Names, Attributes and Actions.

The second: Having iman (belief) in what Allah has described for Himself or what His Messenger (peace be upon him) described for Him of Names and Attributes.

The third: Cutting off any desire to try to specify the exact nature of Allah’s Names, Attributes and Actions. Just as we do not know the exact nature of His Essence, we also do not know of the exact nature of His Names, Attributes and Actions, as He says:

There is nothing like unto Him, and He is the Hearing, the Seeing. (Ash-Shura 42:11)

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

 

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