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Blessed to Be Muslim

At every stage of his enquiry his God-consciousness will save him from making evil and destructive uses of science and the scientific methods.

At every stage of his enquiry his God-consciousness will save him from making evil and destructive uses of science and the scientific methods.

You find in the world around you and in the small kingdom of your own self innumerable manifestations of God’s divine power. This grand universe, which ceaselessly works with matchless order and in accordance with unalterable laws, is in itself a witness to the fact that its Designer, Creator and Governor is an Omnipotent, All-Powerful Being with infinite power, knowledge and resources, a Being of perfect wisdom, Whom nothing in the universe dares to disobey.

Besides endowing man with the capacity to acquire knowledge, the faculty to think and reflect, and the ability to distinguish right from wrong, God has granted man a certain amount of freedom of will and action. In this freedom lies man’s real trial; his knowledge, his wisdom, his power of discrimination and his freedom of will and action are all being tried and tested.

Man has not been obliged to adopt any particular course, for by compulsion the very purpose of the trial would have been in vain. If in an examination you are compelled to write a certain answer to a question, the examination will be of no use.

Your merit can be properly judged only if you are allowed to answer questions freely, according to your own knowledge and understanding. If your answer is correct you will succeed; if it is wrong you will fail, and your failure will bar the way to further progress.

The situation which man faces is similar. God has given him freedom of will and action so that he may choose whatever attitude in life he likes and considers proper for himself; Islam or kufr (disbelief).

By the correct use of his knowledge and intellect a man recognizes his Creator, reposes belief in Him, and, in spite of being under no compulsion to do so, chooses the path of obedience to Him. He understands both his own nature and the laws and realities of nature itself; despite the power and freedom to adopt any course, he adopts the way of obedience and loyalty to God, the Creator.

The Successful

He is successful in his trial because he has used his intellect and all other faculties properly. He uses his eyes to see the reality, his ears to listen to the truth and his mind to form right opinions. He puts all his heart and soul into following the right way he has so chosen. He chooses truth, sees the reality, and willingly and joyfully submits to his Lord and Master. He is intelligent, truthful and dutiful, for he has chosen light over darkness.

Thus, he has proved by his conduct that he is not only a seeker after truth but is the knower and worshipper as well. Such a man is on the right path, and is destined to succeed in this world and in the world to come.

Such a man will always choose the right path in every field of knowledge and action. The man who knows God with all His attributes knows the beginning as well as the ultimate end of reality.

He can never be led astray, for his first step is on the right path, and he is sure of the direction and destination of his journey in life. He will reflect on the secrets of the universe, and will try to fathom the mysteries of nature, but he will not lose his way in mazes of doubt and skepticism. His path being illumined with divine vision, his every step will be in the right direction.

In science he will endeavor to learn the laws of nature and uncover the hidden treasures of the earth for the betterment of humanity. He will try his best to explore all avenues of knowledge and power and to harness all that exists on earth and in the heavens in the interests of mankind.

Against Suspicion and Illusion

At every stage of his enquiry his God-consciousness will save him from making evil and destructive uses of science and the scientific methods. He will never think of himself as the master of all these objects, boasting to be the conqueror of nature, arrogating to himself godly and sovereign powers and nourishing the ambition of subverting the world, subduing the human race and establishing his supremacy over all and sundry by fair means or foul.

Such an attitude of revolt and defiance can never be entertained by a Muslim scientist -only a kafir (disbeliever) scientist can fall prey to such illusions and, by submitting to them, expose the entire human race to the danger of total destruction and annihilation.

A Muslim scientist, on the other hand, will behave in an altogether different way. The deeper his insight into the world of science, the stronger will be his faith in God. His head will bow down before His God in gratitude. His feelings will be that as his Master has blessed him with greater power and knowledge so he must exert himself for his own good and for the good of humanity.

Instead of arrogance there will be humility. Instead of power drunkenness there will be a strong realization of the need to serve humanity. His freedom will not be unbridled. He will be guided by the tenets of morality and divine revelation.

The Criteria

Thus science will in his hands, instead of becoming an instrument of destruction, become an agency for human welfare and moral regeneration. And this is the way in which he will express his gratitude to his Master for the gifts and blessings He has bestowed on man.

Similarly, in history, economics, politics, law and other branches of arts and science, a Muslim will nowhere lag behind a Kafir in the fields of inquiry and struggle, but their angles of view and consequently their modus operandi will be widely different. A Muslim will study every branch of knowledge in its true perspective. He will strive to arrive at the right conclusions.

In history he will draw correct lessons from the past experiences of man, and will uncover the true causes of the rise and fall of civilizations. He will try to benefit from all that was good and right in the past and will scrupulously avoid all that led to the decline and fall of nations.

In politics his sole objective will be to strive for the establishment of policies where peace, justice, fraternity and goodness reign, where man is a brother of man and respects his humanity, where no exploitation or slavery is rampant, where the rights of the individual are upheld, and where the powers of the state are considered as a sacred trust from God and are used for the common welfare of all.

In the field of law, the endeavor of a Muslim will be to make it the true embodiment of justice and the real protector of the rights of all particularly of the weak. He will see that everybody gets his due share and no injustice or oppression is inflicted on anyone. He will respect the law, make others respect it, and will see that it is administered equitably.

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The article is an excerpt from the book “Towards Understanding Islam” by Abul A`la Al-Mawdudi.

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Articles of Faith New Muslims

Shari`ah (Islamic Law): The Whole Picture of Islam

By Abul A`la Mawdudi

Shari`ah Law

God has provided man with all the means and resources to make his natural faculties function and to achieve the fulfillment of his needs.

Our discussion of the fundamentals of Islam will remain incomplete if we do not cast a glance over the law of Islam, study its basic principles, and try to visualize the type of man and society which Islam wants to produce. Here we undertake a study of the principles of the Shari`ah (Islamic Law) so that our picture of Islam may become complete and we may be able to appreciate the superiority of the Islamic way of life.

Shari`ah… Its Nature and Purport

Man has been endowed with countless powers and faculties and providence has been very bountiful to him in this respect. He possesses intellect and wisdom, will and volition, faculties of sight, speech, taste, touch and hearing, powers of hand and feet, passions of love, fear, anger and so on. These faculties have been bestowed on him because they are indispensable to him.

His very life and success depend on the proper use of these powers for the fulfillment of his needs and requirements. These God-given powers are meant for his service and unless they are used in full measure life cannot become worth living.

God has also provided man with all those means and resources to make his natural faculties function and to achieve the fulfillment of his needs. The human body has been so made that it has become man’s greatest instrument in his struggle for the fulfillment of his life’s goal.

Then there is the world in which man lives. His environment and surroundings contain resources of every description: resources which he uses as a means for the achievement of his ends. Nature and all that belongs to it have been harnessed for him and he can make every conceivable use of them.

And there are other men of his own kind, so that they may co-operate with each other in the construction of a better and prosperous life.

These powers and resources have been conferred so that they may be used for the good of others. They have been created for your good and are not meant to harm and destroy you.

The proper use of these powers is that which makes them beneficial to you; and even if there be some harm, it must not exceed the unavoidable minimum. That alone is the proper utilization of these powers. Every other use which results in waste or destruction is wrong, unreasonable and unjustified.

For instance, if you do something that causes you harm or injury, that would be a mistake, pure and simple. If your actions harm others and make you a nuisance to them, that would be sheer folly and an utter misuse of God-given powers. If you waste resources, spoil them for nothing or destroy them that too is a gross mistake.

Such activities are flagrantly unreasonable, for it is human reason which suggests that destruction and injury must be avoided and the path of gain and profit be pursued. And if any harm be countenanced, it must be only in such cases where it is unavoidable and where it is bound to yield a greater benefit.

Any deviation from this is self-evidently wrong. Keeping this basic consideration in view, when we look at human beings, we find that there are two kinds of people: first, those who knowingly misuse their powers and resources and through this misuse waste the resources, injure their own vital interests, and cause harm to other people; and, second, those who are sincere and earnest but err because of ignorance.

Those who intentionally misuse their powers are wicked and evil and deserve to feel the full weight of the law. Those who err because of ignorance, need proper knowledge and guidance so that they see the Right Path and make the best use of their powers and resources. And the code of behavior, the Shari`ah – which God has revealed to man – meets this very need.

The Ultimate Goal

The Shari`ah stipulates the law of God and provides guidance for the regulation of life in the best interests of man. Its objective is to show the best way to man and provide him with the ways and means to fulfill his needs in the most successful and most beneficial way.

The law of God is out and out for your benefit. There is nothing in it which tends to waste your powers, or to suppress your natural needs and desires, or to kill your moral urges and emotions. It does not plead for asceticism. It does not say: abandon the world, give up all ease and comfort of life, leave your homes and wander about on plains and mountains and in jungles without bread or cloth, putting yourself to inconvenience and self-annihilation.

This viewpoint has no relevance to the law of Islam, a law that has been formulated by God Who has created this world for the benefit of mankind.

The Shari`ah has been revealed by that very God Who has harnessed everything for man. He would hardly want to ruin His creation. He has not given man any power that is useless or unnecessary, nor has He created anything in the heavens and the earth which may not be of service to man.

It is His explicit will that the universe – this grand workshop with its multifarious activities – should go on functioning smoothly and graciously so that man – the prize of creation – should make the best and most productive use of all his powers and resources, of everything that has been harnessed for him on earth and in the high heavens. He should use them in such a way that he and his fellow human beings may reap handsome prizes from them and should never, intentionally or unintentionally, be of any harm to God’s creation.

The Shari`ah is meant to guide the steps of man in this respect. It forbids all that is harmful to man, and allows or ordains all that is useful and beneficial to him.

The fundamental principle of the Law is that man has the right, and in some cases the bounden duty, to fulfill all his genuine needs and desires and make every conceivable effort to promote his interests and achieve success and happiness – but (and it is an important ‘but’) he should do all this in such a way that not only are the interests of other people not jeopardized and no harm is caused to their strivings towards the fulfillment of their rights and duties, but there should be all possible social cohesion, mutual assistance and co-operation among human beings in the achievement of their objectives.

In respect of those things in which good and evil, gain and loss are inextricably mixed up, the tenet of this law is to choose a little harm for the sake of greater benefit and sacrifice a little benefit, so avoiding a greater harm. This is the basic approach of the Shari`ah.

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The article is an excerpt from the book “Towards Understanding Islam” by Abul A`la Al-Mawdudi.

 

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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 Prayer

What Qur’an and Sunnah Say about Those Who Ignore Their Prayers

By: Sayyid Saabiq

Prayer is one of the most important acts in Islam, and thus it requires a special guidance. Ibrahim asked his Lord to give him descendants who abided by their prayers:

What Qur’an and Sunnah Say about Those Who Ignore Their Prayers

Not praying and denying its obligation is seen as disbelief.

My Lord! Cause me and (some) of my offspring to remain constant in prayer. And O our Lord! Accept my supplication. (Ibrahim 14:40)

Those Who Tamper with Their Prayers

Allah also strongly warns those who tamper with their prayers or are heedless. Allah says in the Qur’an:

Now there has succeeded them a later generation who have ruined their prayers and have followed lusts. But they will meet deception. (Maryam 19:59)

Ah, woe unto worshipers who are heedless of their prayers. (Al-Ma`un 107:4-5)

One Who Ignores His Prayers

Not praying and denying its obligation is seen as disbelief and places the person outside the religion of Islam. All scholars agree on this point. They base their opinion on several hadiths, some of which are:

Jabir reports that the Prophet (peace be on him) said, “Between a person and disbelief is discarding prayer.” (Ahmad, Muslim, Abu Dawud, At-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah)

Buraidah reported that the Prophet (peace be on him) said, “The pact between us and them is prayer. Whoever abandons it is a disbeliever.” (Ahmad, Abu Dawud, At-Tirmidhi, An-Nas’i and Ibn Majah)

`Abdullah ibn `Amr ibn Al-`Aas reported that the Prophet one day mentioned the prayer and said, “Whoever guards and observes his prayer, they will be a light and a proof and a savior for him on the Day of Resurrection. Whoever does not guard and obvserve them, they will not be a light or a proof or a savior for him. On the Day of Resurrection, he will be with Qarun (Korah), Fir`awn, Haman and Ubay ibn Khalaf.” (Ahmad, At-Tabarani and Ibn Hibban)

That one who does not pray will be with the leaders of the unbelievers in the Hereafter makes it evident that such a person is an unbeliever. Says Ibn Al-Qayyim,

“The one who does not pray may be preoccupied with his wealth, kingdom, position or business. If one is kept away from his prayers by his wealth, he will be with Qarun. One whose kingdom keeps him away from the prayers will be with Haman, and one whose business keeps him away from the prayers will be with Ubay ibn Khalaf.”

Says `Abdullah ibn Shaqiq Al-`Aqeely, “The Companions of Muhammad (peace be upon him) did not consider the abandonment of any act, with the exception of prayer, as being disbelief.” (At-Tirmidhi and Al-Hakim, who said it met Al-Bukahri’s and Muslim’s conditions)

Says Muhammad ibn Nasr Al-Mirwazi, “I heard Ishaq say, ‘It is authentic (that) the Prophet (said or ruled): One who does not pray is an unbeliever.” It is from the Prophet himself that one who intentionally does not pray until the time for the prayer is over is an unbeliever.

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The article is an excerpt from the author’s translated book “Fiqh Us Sunnah”.

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Divine Unity New Muslims

God’s Plan for Man: Why Are We Here?

What is God’s plan for our lives? From among all creation why was man created? What are we meant to be and do on earth? What is the essence and vision of our identity as human beings?

plan

It was this religion (Islam) which Adam, the first man, passed down to posterity.

Allah Who is the Creator, the Ruler and the Lord of the entire universe has created man and provided him with temporary station in that part of His vast kingdom (cosmos) which is known as the earth.

He has endowed man with the faculties of thinking and understanding, and has given him the power to distinguish right from wrong. Man has also been invested with freedom of will and choice and the power to use the resources of the world in any manner he likes. In short, man has been given a sort of autonomy while being appointed by God on earth as a successor to the beings that had previously populated it.

The Plan…

Before assigning to man the inheritance of the earth, God made it explicitly clear to him that He alone is the Lord, the Ruler and the Deity. As such, the entire universe and all the creatures in it (including man) must submit to Him alone. Man must not think himself totally free and should know that this earth is not his permanent abode.

He has been made to live upon it only during the period of his probation, and in due course, he will return to his Lord, to be judged according to the way he has utilized the period of probation. The only right course for man is to acknowledge Allah as the only Lord, the Sustainer and the Deity and to follow His guidance and His commands in all walks of life.

Man must live this life with the realization that he is to be judged and his sole objective should be to merit the pleasure of Allah so as to emerge successful in the final test. Conduct which is contrary to this would lead man astray.

If man follows the course of piety and godliness (which he is free to choose and follow) he will succeed in this world and in the next, in this world he will live a life of peace and contentment, and in the Hereafter he will qualify himself for the heaven of eternal bliss, Al-Jannah (Paradise).

And if he chooses to follow the other course, i.e., that of Godlessness and evil (which he is equally free to choose and follow) his life will be one of corruption, disruption and frustration in this world and he will meet colossal misfortune in the life to come – that abode of pain and misery which is called Jahannam (Hell).

After administering the warning, God set man upon the earth and provided the very first human beings (Adam and Eve) with guidance in accordance with which men were to live on the earth.

Origin of Deviation

Thus, man’s life on this earth did not begin in utter darkness. The very first man was provided with a burning torch of light and guidance so that humanity might attain its glorious destiny. The very first man received revealed knowledge from God Himself. He had knowledge of the reality and was given the code of life by following which he could live a life of bliss and success.

This code of life was Islam, the attitude of complete submission to Allah, the Creator of man and of the whole universe. It was this religion which Adam, the first man, passed down to posterity. But later generations gradually drifted away from the right path and adopted different erroneous paths.

Because of negligence, they lost the original teachings, or due to folly or mischief they adulterated and perverted them. They associated with God innumerable human beings, non-human objects and imaginary entities as deities and indulged in shirk (polytheism) of the worst type.

They mixed up the pure teachings of God with strange myths, ideas and philosophies and thus produced a jungle of religions and cults. They discarded the God-given principles of social ethics and collective morality, the Shari’ah, and deprived the human life of peace and tranquility.

The Guidance.. the Message

Although men departed from the path of truth, disregarded and distorted the Shari`ah and some of them even revolted against the code of divine guidance, yet God did not destroy them or force them to the right course. Forced conversion to the right path was not in keeping with the autonomy He had given to man.

Instead, God appointed certain virtuous persons from amongst the people themselves, to discharge the responsibility of recalling and guiding men to the right path during their sojourn on the earth.

These men believed in God, and lived a life of obedience to Him. He honored them by His revelations and gave them the knowledge of reality. These men, known as prophets (peace be upon all of them), were assigned the task of presenting the message of truth to humanity and of asking the people to come to the path of the Lord.

These prophets were raised in all epochs, in all lands and in all nations. Out of numerous prophets sent by God, the Qur’an explicitly mentions twenty-five. All of them brought the same message, all of them advocated the same way of life (deen) i.e., the way which was revealed to man on the first day of his existence.

All of them followed the same guidance: the guidance which was prescribed by the Lord for man at the outset of his career on the earth. All of them stood for the same mission: they called men to the religion if Islam, asked those who accepted the divine guidance to live in accordance with it: and organized them into a movement for the establishment of the divine law, and for putting an end to all deviations from the right path.

Every prophet tried to fulfill this mission in the best possible way. But quite a number of people never accepted this guidance and many of those who accepted it gradually drifted astray and, al lapse of time, lost the guidance or distorted it through innovations and perversions.

The Last Message

At last, God raised Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in the land of Arabia and assigned to him the completion of the mission for which earlier prophets were ordained.

The message of Muhammad was for the whole of mankind. He presented anew the teachings of Islam in their pristine form and provided mankind once again, with the divine guidance which they had lost in its original form.

He organized all those who accepted his message into one Ummah (nation) which was charged with reconstructing its own life in accordance with the teachings of Islam, by calling mankind to the path of righteousness and with establishing the supremacy of the word of God on the earth. This guidance is enshrined in the Qur’an which constitutes the only right code of conduct for mankind.

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The article is excerpted from the author’s book “The Islamic Way of Life”. 

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Messengers of Allah: How Did It All Begin?

Allah blessed the descendants of Adam (peace be upon him), his children and grandchildren, and they spread the multiplied. If Adam had come back and  seen them all, and someone had said to him, ‘These are your descendants, Adam, he would have been astonished. He would have said ‘Glory be to Allah! These are all my descendants!’ But what happened to Adam’s descendants? Why did they need messengers?

messengers of Alah_light

Only Allah can choose the person who will receive His message to give to the people.

Adam’s descendants founded many villages. They built many houses. They ploughed the land, grew crops and lived in comfort and contentment. They followed the way of their ancestor, Adam. They worshipped only Allah and didn’t worship anything else besides Him.

They were one united community. Adam was the one father of all of them, and Allah was their One Lord.

Satan’s Envy

Satan hadn’t bowed down to Adam when Allah had commanded him to do so. So, he was driven out and damned forever. But how could Satan and his descendants be content with this?  Were not people still worshipping Allah? Were not people still a single community with no differences? That couldn’t be! Shouldn’t he take revenge on the sons of Adam so that they would go to the Fire with him?

Satan’s Idea

But how could Satan do that when people were worshipping Allah?

He decided to call them to worship idols so that they would go to the fire and never get to the garden. He knows Allah forgives people all sins, if He so wills, except one. Allah never forgives people worshipping other things besides Him or as well as Him.

So Satan decided to call the people to associate other things with Allah so that they would never go to the Garden (Jannah). But how could he persuade them?

If he went to the people and said to them ‘Worship idols. Don’t worship Allah,’ they would curse him and close him off. They would say ‘Allah forbid! How can we associate other things with our Lord? How can we worship idols? You are a cursed Satan! You are a foul Satan!’

So Satan had to look for another way, a cleverer way, to get the people to do as he wanted.

Satan’s Trick

Here had been men who feared Allah and worshipped Him night and day and who remembered Him often.

They had loved Allah, so Allah had loved them and answered their prayers. People loved them and spoke of them with respect long after they had died and gone to Allah’s mercy.

Satan was well aware of this. So he went to the people and mentioned those men. He said, ‘what do you think of so-and-so and of so-and-so?

They said, ‘Glory be to Allah. They were men of Allah and His friends. When those men prayed, He answered them.  When they asked, He gave to them.’

Pictures of Righteous Men

Satan asked, ‘How great is your sorrow for them?’ They replied, ‘Very great indeed.’

He asked, ‘How great is your longing for them?’ They replied, ‘Very great indeed.’

He asked, ‘Why don’t you look at them every day then?’ They said, ‘How can we do that when they are dead?’ He said, ‘Make pictures of them and look at them every morning.’

People liked Satan’s idea and made such pictures and looked at them every day. Whenever they saw the pictures, they remembered how those holly men had lived.

From Pictures to Statues

In time, the people moved on from making pictures to making statues. They made many statues of the holly men and put them in their houses and their mosques.

They still worshipped Allah and didn’t associate anything with Him. They knew these were only statues of holy men and that they could neither help nor hurt them nor provide for them. They showed them respect because they were reminders of the holy men.

As time passed, the number of statues increased. The people respected them more and more. They got used to having them around and looked for blessings in them. Now whenever one of their holy men died, they would make a statue of him and name it after him.

From Statues to Idols

Sons saw their fathers looking for blessings through the statues and saw how much respect they had for them. They saw them kiss the statues, dress them and pray to Allah in their presence. They saw them lower their heads and bow down in their presence.

When the fathers passed away, the sons added what their fathers had done. They began to prostate themselves before them, to ask the statues for things and to sacrifice animals for them. In this way the statues were turned into idols.

People began to worship them as they had worshipped Allah before. They had a lot of these idols. One was Wadd. Another was Suwa`. This was Yaghuth. That was Ya`uq. Another was Nasr.

 Allah’s Anger

Allah became very angry with the people. He cursed them. How could Allah not be angry with the people because of what they were doing? Was this what they were created for? Was this what they were given provision for?

They walked on Allah’s earth, but rejected Allah! They ate Allah’s provisions, but associated others with Allah! How terrible a sin!

Allah was so angry with the people that he held back the rain and made things hard for them. Their harvests were small and few children were born for them.

But the people didn’t learn the lesson from that, they didn’t understand. They didn’t turn to Allah in repentance. They needed good counsel.

The Messengers

Allah does not speak to each person individually or tell each one to do this or do that. The angles are a race just like mankind. It is possible to see them and hear what they say, if Allah wills. But the angels don’t speak to each person individually either, or tell each one to do this or do that.

Only Allah can choose the person who will receive His message to give to the people. Allah wanted to send  messengers to the people who could speak to them and counsel them. Allah chose to send the children of Adam a man from among themselves to speak to them and give them good counsel.

Man or Angel?

Allah wanted His messenger to be a man and to be one of the people. That way they would recognize him and understand what he said.

If the messengers had been angels, the people might say, ‘What has he got to do with us? He is an angel and we are mortals! We eat and and drink and we have wives and children. How can we worship Allah?’

But if the messenger were a man, he could answer, ‘I eat and drink; I have a wife and children. But I worship Allah. Why don’t you worship Allah?’ If the messengers had been an angels, the people might say to him, ‘You don’t get hungry or thirty. You don’t get ill or die. So you can worship Allah and remember Him always!’

But if the messengers were human, he could answer, ‘I am just like you. I get hungry and thirsty. I get ill and will die. But I worship Allah and I remember Him. So why don’t you worship Allah? Why don’t you remember Him? In this way the people would not be able to make up excuses.

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The article is excerpted from the book “Stories of the Prophets”, by Sayyed Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi, published by UK Islamic Academy.

 

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Articles of Faith New Muslims

How Islam Regulates Our Life

By Abul A`La Mawdudi

In Islam, man’s entire individuals and social life is an exercise in developing and strengthening his relationship with God. Belief (iman) the starting point of our religion, consists in the acceptance of this relationship by man’s intellect and will; Islam means submission to the will of God in all aspects of life.

How Islam Regulates Our Life

Islam means submission to the will of God in all aspects of life.

Shari`ah

The Islamic code of conduct is known as the Shari`ah. Its sources are the Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace be on him).

The final Book of God and His final Messenger stand today as the repositories of this truth. Everyone who aggrees that the concept of ‘reality’ stated by the prophet, and the Book of Allah is true, should step forward and surrender himself to the will of God. It is this submission which is called Islam, the result of iman in actual life.

And those who of their own free will accept God as their Sovereign, surrender to His Divine will and undertake to regulate their lives in accordance with His commandments, are called Muslims.

All those persons who thus surrender themselves are welded into a community and that is how the ‘Muslim society’ comes into being. It is an ideological society, radically different from those which are founded on the basis of race, colour or territory. It is the result of a deliberate choice, the outcome of a ‘contract’ which takes place between human beings and their Creator.

Law of God

Those who enter into this contract undertake to recognize God as their Sovereign, His guidance as supreme and His injunctions as absolute Law. They also undertake to accept, without question, His word as to what is good or evil, right or wrong, permissible or prohibited. In short, freedoms of the Islamic society are limited by the commandments of the Omniscient God.

In other words, it is God and not man whose will is the primary source of Law in a Muslim society.

When such a society comes into existence, the Book and the Messenger prescribe for it a code of life called the Shari ‘ah, and this society is bound to conform to it by virtue of the contract it has entered into.

Un-Islamic

It is, therefore, inconceivable that a real Muslim society can deliberately adopt any other system of life than that based on the Shari ‘ah. If it does so, its contract is ipso facto broken and its becomes ‘un-Islamic’.

But we must clearly distinguish between the everyday sins of the individual and a deliberate revolt against the Shari ‘ah. The former may not mean a breaking up of the contract, while the latter most certainly would.

The point that should be clearly understood is that if an Islamic society consciously resolves not to accept the Shari ‘ah, and decides to enact its own constitution and laws or borrows them from any other source in disregard of the Shari ‘ah, such a society breaks its contract with God and forfeits its right to be called ‘Islam’.

Why?

The main objectives of the Shari ‘ah are to ensure that human life is based on ma `ruf (good) and to cleanse it of munkar (evils). The terms ma `ruf denotes all the qualities that have always been accepted as ‘good’ by the human conscience.

Conversely, the word munkar denotes all those qualities that have always been condemned by human nature as ‘evil’. In short, the ma `ruf is in harmony with human nature and the munkar is against nature.

The Shari ‘ah gives precise definitions of ma `ruf and munkar, clearly indicating the standards of goodness to which individuals and society should aspire.

It does not, however, limit itself to an inventory of good and evil deeds; rather, it lays down an entire scheme of life whose aim is to make sure that good flourishes and evils do not destroy or harm human life.

To achieve this, the Shari ‘ah has embraced in its scheme everything that encourages the growth of good and has recommended ways to remove obstacles that might prevent this growth.

This process gives rise to a subsidiary series of ma `ruf consisting of ways of initiating and nurturing the good, and yet another set of ma `ruf consisting of prohibitions in relation to those things which act as impediments to good. Similarly, there is a subsidiary list of munkar which might initiate or allow the growth of evil.

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The article is excerpted from the author’s book “The Islamic Way of Life”.

 

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Major Sins New Muslims

Shirk: Its Meaning and Punishment in Islam?

By: Muhammad Bin Ibrahim Bin `Abdullah Al-Tuwayjiri

Shirk is to set up a partner with Allah (Exalted be He) in His rububiyyah (Oneness of Allah’s Lordship), or His uluhiyyah (Oneness of worship) or His attributes.

So if a person believes that there is a creator or helper with Allah then he is a mushrik; whoever believes that someone besides Allah is worthy of worship then he is a mushrik; and whoever believes that Allah has an equal in His names and attributes then he is a mushrik.

Danger of Shirk

1- Committing shirk is great injustice because it is a violation of the exclusive right of Allah, which is tawheed (Oneness of Allah). Hence, tawheed is the most fair of justices, and shirk is the most unfair of injustices and the most abominable of offences; because it is defaming the Lord of the worlds, directing what is exclusively His right to other than Him and equating Him with others.

Moreover, due to the great danger of shirk whoever meets Allah as a mushrik Allah will not forgive him, as Allah says:

Indeed, Allah does not forgive setting up partners with Him, but He forgives what is less than that for whom He wills. And whoever sets up partners with Allah has certainly fabricated a tremendous sin. (An-Nisaa’ 4:48)

2- Committing shirk is the greatest of sins, for whoever worships other than Allah has placed worship in other than its rightful place and directed it to other than who is worthy of it; and that is great injustice and a heinous offence, as Allah says:

Indeed, shirk is great injustice. (Luqman 31:13)

3- Major shirk renders all deeds worthless, necessitates destruction and loss, and is the greatest of major sins:

1– Allah says:

And it was already revealed to you and to those before you: ‘If you set up partners with Allah, your deeds would surely become worthless, and you would surely be among the losers.’ Rather, worship Allah alone and be among the grateful. (Az-Zumar 39:65-66)

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

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said thrice, “Shall I not inform you of the greatest of major sins?” They said, “Yes, O Messenger of Allah!” He said, “Committing shirk and disobedience to parents.” He sat up after he had been reclining and added, “And giving false witness.” He continued to repeat it until we said, “We wish he would be quiet.” (AL-Bukhari and Muslim)

Abominable Characteristics of Shirk

Allah has mentioned four abominable characteristics of shirk in four verses. They are:

1 –Allah says:

Indeed, Allah does not forgive setting up partners with Him, but He forgives what is less than that for whom He wills. And whoever sets up partners with Allah has certainly fabricated a tremendous sin. (An-Nisaa’ 4:48)

2– Allah says:

And whoever sets up partners with Allah has certainly gone far astray. (An-Nisaa’ 4:116)

3– Allah says:

Indeed, whoever sets up partners with Allah – Allah has forbidden him Paradise, and his abode is the Fire. And there are no helpers for the wrongdoers. (Al-Ma’idah 5:72)

4– Allah says:

And whoever sets up partners with Allah – it is as though he had fallen from the sky and was snatched by the birds, or the wind had thrown him to a far off place. (Al-Hajj 22:31)

Punishment for Those Who Commit Shirk

1– Allah says:

Indeed, those who disbelieve among the People of the Scripture and the polytheists will be in the Fire of Hell, abiding eternally therein. They are the worst of creatures. (Al-Bayyinah 98:6)

2– `Abdullah Ibn Mas`ud (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated:

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Whoever dies while calling on something besides Allah, as a rival to Him, will enter the Fire.”

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

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Major Sins New Muslims

Polytheism: Its Meaning and Categories

Polytheism or ascribing partners to Allah (the Exalted) nullifies faith in the Oneness of Allah and since the most important and greatest obligation in Islam is to have faith in the Oneness of Allah and to single Him out for worship alone, then clearly the worst sin possible is to ascribe partners to Him.

Polytheism.. Its Meaning and Categories

Polytheism corrupts and invalidates acts of obedience.

It is the only sin that Allah, the Most Merciful, never forgives, as stated in the Qur’an:

Verily! Allah forgives not (the sin of) setting up partners in worship with Him, but He forgives whom He pleases sins other than that, and whoever sets up partners in worship with Allah, has indeed strayed far away. (An-Nisaa’ 4:116)

Worst Sin

And when the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was asked which sin is the worst in the sight of Allah, he replied:

“To ascribe partners to Allah while He created you.”

Polytheism corrupts and invalidates acts of obedience, thus an act of obedience is not accepted and the slave is not rewarded when accompanied by the occurrence of polytheism, as Allah has stated in the Qur’an:

If they had joined In Worship others with Allah, All that they used to do would have been of no benefit to them. (Al-An`am 6:88)

Polytheism requires that its perpetrator be doomed to Hell forever if he dies as a polytheist, as Allah the Most High has stated in the Qur’an:

Verily, whosoever sets up partners in worship with Allah, then Allah has forbidden Paradise for him, and the Fire will be his abode. (Al-Ma’idah 5:72)

Categories of Polytheism

Polytheism is divided into two categories:

First: Major Polytheism which is in opposition to the very foundation of faith in the Oneness of Allah and expels a person from the religion of Islam.

Second: Minor Polytheism which is in opposition to having complete faith in the Oneness of Allah, however it does not expel a person from the religion of Islam.

First Category: Major Polytheism

It is to divert any form of worship to anyone beside Allah such as calling upon someone other than Allah- for something that only Allah is able to do- entrusting one’s affairs to someone other than Him, or prostrating to anything as a form of worship. Allah has said in the Qur’an:

And invoke not besides Allah, any that will neither profit you, nor hurt you, but if (in case) you did so, you shall certainly be one of the wrong-doers. (Yunus 10:106)

“Wrong-doers” here means ‘polytheists’. And Allah said:

And put your trust in Allah if you are believers indeed. (Al-Ma’idah 5:23)

And Allah said:

So fall you down in prostration to Allah, and Worship Him (Alone). (An-Najm 53:62)

Since calling upon, entrusting one’s affairs, and prostrating are acts of worship that Allah has commanded, whoever diverts them to Allah is someone who has faith in the Oneness of Allah, and whoever diverts them to anything besides Allah is a polytheist.

Moreover assigning partners to Allah by obeying them in what they make permissible and prohibited falls under this category of polytheism, as Allah informs us in the Qur’an:

They (Jews and Christians) took their rabbis and their monks to be their lords besides Allah (by obeying them in things which they made lawful or unlawful according to their own desires without being ordered by Allah and (They also took as their Lord) Messiah, son of Mary, while they (Jews and Christians) were commanded in the Torah and the Gospel) to worship none but one God (none has the Right to be worshiped but He) Praise and Glory be to him, (Far above is He) from having the partners they associate (with Him). (At-Tawbah 9:31)

This verse was revealed in regards to the Jews and Christians who obey their rabbis and priests regarding their making permissible what Allah forbids and their prohibiting what Allah permits. On the authority of `Adi ibn Hatim (may Allah be pleased with him):

I came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) wearing a golden cross around my neck. He said:

“`Adi! Throw away this idol,” and I heard him recite the verse:

“They (Jews and Christians) took their rabbis and their monks to be their lords besides Allah” (At-Tawbah 9:31)

He said: “Verily they were not worshiping them, however when their monks and rabbis made something lawful for them, they deemed it permissible; and when their monks and rabbis made something unlawful, they deemed it as forbidden.” (At-Tirmidhi)

Second Category: Minor Polytheism

It is anything that leads to the major polytheism and it is divided into two parts:

1- Apparent Polytheism

Apparent Polytheism can be committed with words or actions. It is committed with words by doing things like swearing oaths by other than Allah, such as swearing by the Prophet Mohammed or Jesus (peace be upon them), and by saying ‘Things will happen according to whatever Allah and you will’. For indeed the Prophet (peace be upon him) has said:

“Whoever swears by other than Allah then he has fallen into disbelief or polytheism.” (At-Tirmidhi)

And the Prophet (peace be upon him) replied to the one who said: “Whatever Allah wills and you will”:

“Have you made me equal to Allah? Rather say, what Allah wills alone.” (Ahmad)

Apparent polytheism is committed through actions such as wearing amulets and threads used as charms to ward off misfortune, and believing that they are a reason nfor that happening.

2- Hidden Polytheism

It is the polytheism that is related to intentions and wishes such as doing something to show off and for the sake of reputation, such that the act is not done for the sake of Allah the Exalted, rather it is done seeking praise or compliments from people. For example, a person might pray or fast so that people will say how upright or excellent his religious commitment is. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:

“The thing that I fear most for you is Minor Polytheism.” They said: “O Messenger of Allah, what is Minor Polytheism?” He said: “Showing off. Allah will say to them on the Day of Judgment when people are being rewarded for their deeds: ‘Go to those for whom you were showing off in the worldly life, and see if you find a reward with them.” (Ahmad)

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The article is excerpted from the book “A Beneficial Summary of Rulings for New Muslim”, published by The Ministry of Endowments & Islamic Affairs, Kuwait- 2nd Edition 1436/2015.

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Islam and the Meaning of Deen

By Abul A`la Al-Mawdudi 

The word ‘deen’ is used in several meanings. The first is sovereignty, power, lordship, kingship, or rulership. The second is the opposite of this, i.e. submission, obedience, service or slavery. The third is to bring to account, to judge, or to dispense reward and punishment for actions. All those three uses are found in the Qur’an.

Allah says:

The only (true) Deen in the sight of God is (man’s) self-surrender (to Him). (Aal `Imran 3:19)

Here, deen is that way of life in which we recognize Allah alone as the possessor of all power and majesty and surrender ourselves to Him. We must not abase or humble ourselves before anybody save Him. We must regard only Allah as Master, Lord, and Sovereign, and must not be slaves or servants to anybody but Him. We must accept only Allah as the Lord of reward and punishment. We should covet no reward, fear no punishment, except His. Islam is the name of this deen.

Deen is that way of life in which we recognize Allah alone as the possessor of all power and majesty and surrender ourselves to Him.

False Deen

False deen arises when you ascribe real powers to anyone besides Allah, when you take anyone as a real ruler and master, as a dispenser of real reward and punishment, when you bow your heads before him in humility, when you serve him and obey his orders, when you covet his reward and fear his punishment more than Allah’s. This kind of deen Allah never accepts because it is totally contrary to reality.

No other being in the whole universe except God possesses any power and might, nor does anybody else’s sovereignty and kingship exist. We have not been created to be servants and slaves of anyone or anything but God, nor is there anyone else except that real Master who can judge us and award reward and punishment.

In many places in the Qur’an these facts have been explained.

And whoso seeks a Deen other than Islam, it will not be accepted from him. (Aal `Imran 3:85)

Thus, anyone who disregards the sovereignty and kingship of God, acknowledges someone else as his master and ruler, becomes his servant and slave, and considers anyone as a dispenser of reward and punishment in his own right, will never have his Deen or conduct accepted by God because:

They were not enjoined anything but that they should serve God, making submission exclusively His, turning away (from all false gods). (Al-Bayyinah 98:5)

God has not created human beings to serve anyone except Himself. It is, therefore, incumbent on them to turn away from all false gods and reserve their submission, or their true deen, for Allah alone. They should single-mindedly devote themselves to His service and consider themselves as being accountable only to Him:

What! Do they seek a deen other than God’s, whereas unto Him surrenders whatever is in the heavens and on earth, willingly or unwillingly, and unto Him all must return? (Aal `Imran 3:83)

How can we human beings incline to be servants and to submit to someone other than God, when all other things on earth and in the heavens are slaves and obedient servants of God alone, accounting for their deeds to no other authority than God? Does man want to adopt a deviant way for himself, some kind of independent and autonomous existence, in defiance of the entire universe?

He it is Who has sent forth His Messenger with the Guidance and the way of Truth, so that he makes it prevail over all ways (religions), however much mushriks (who take gods besides God) may dislike it. (At-Tawbah 9:33)

God’s Deen

Allah has sent His Messenger with the true deen for the purpose of ending the sovereignty of all false gods and granting us immense freedom so that we live as servants of none but the Lord of the universe, no matter how much the idolaters and polytheists may dislike or oppose such a course.

And fight them, until there is no rebellion (against God) and all submission is to God alone. (Al-Anfal 8:39)

The lesson is clear: we must fight until the sovereignty of all beings other than Allah is brought to an end, until only the law of God rules in the world, until the sovereignty of God alone is acknowledged, until we serve only Him.

Thus these three meanings of deen stand out:

– To acknowledge God as Lord, Master and Ruler.

– To obey and serve only Him.

– To be accountable to Him, to fear only His punishment and to covet only His reward.

Deen also includes obedience to God’s Messengers. For the commandments of God have been given to human beings through His Books and His Messengers.

Children of Adam! If there should come to you Messengers from among you, who convey My revelations unto you, then whosoever refrains from evil and lives rightly no fear shall be on them, and neither shall they sorrow. (Al-A`raf 7:35)

No individual receives Allah’s commandments directly.

Hence, whoever acknowledges Allah as Ruler can be accepted as obedient to Him only when he becomes obedient to His Messengers and lives by the guidance received through them.

Deen consists of these fundamental principles.

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The article is an excerpt from Abul A`la Al-Mawdudi’s Let Us Be Muslims.

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