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Fasting New Muslims

Sha`ban: A Special Month with a Special Night

The month of Sha`ban is the eighth month of the Islamic lunar calendar, which has a special significance and a special night as well.

The Messenger in Sha`ban

Our Mother `Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) narrated that:

“The Messenger of Allah did not fast in any month of the year more than he did in Shaban. He used to fast all of Shaban.” (Al-Bukhari, Muslim, At-Tirmidhi, Ahmad, Abu Dawud, Nasa’i)

Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) reports that Prophet (peace be upon him) was asked:

“Which fast is the most meritorious after the fasts of Ramadan?”

He replied:

“Fasts of Sha`ban in honor of Ramadan.” (At-Tirmidhi)

So, what is special about this month? And what is significant about its 15th night?

Watch the video below to learn more from Sheikh Assim Al Hakeem about the virtues and significance of the precious month, the month before Ramadan,  and the 15th night of this month…

 

 

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New Muslims Pillars of Islam

The Muslim’s Rights towards the Prophet

Allah sent His Messenger and Prophet to guide mankind and if man believes and obeys him giving him all his due rights, Allah has promised success in this life and the Hereafter as a reward. These rights are summarized in the Testimony of Faith (There is no god worthy of being worshipped except Allah). Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the slave and Messenger of Allah).”

This declaration requires the following:

A Believer must comply with the commands of the Prophet and must strive to avoid acts of disobedience as Allah says in the Qur’an:

So take what the Messenger gives you, and abstain from that which he forbids you. And fear Allah, verily Allah is severe in Punishment. (Al-Hashr 59:7)

A Muslim must follow the authentic traditions of the Sunnah (way of the Prophet) to the best of his ability. No one has any authority to alter, add or omit any of the Sunnah traditions of the Messenger of Allah. Allah says in the Qur’an:

Say: ‘If you do love Allah, follow me: Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Aal `Imran 3:31)

A Believer must honor the special status and dignity bestowed by Allah to His Prophet (peace be upon him). No one must adulate or degrade this status. The Prophet said:

“Do not adulate me as the Christians adulated the son of Maryam; (as) I am no more than a salve of Allah…so  say: Allah’s slave and His Messenger.” (Al-Bukhari)

And he (peace be upon him) said:

“O people! Say what you have to say, and do not allow yourselves to be seduced by Satan. I am Muhammad, the slave and Messenger of Allah. I do not like you to elevate me above the status assigned to me by Allah the Almighty.” (An-Nasa’i)

And he is reported to have said:

Do not praise me more than I deserve. Allah (Exalted be He) created me as a slave before calling me a Prophet and Messenger.” (At-Tabarani)

A Muslim must show acceptance and satisfaction of any verdict passed by the Prophet of Allah as Allah (the Exalted) says in the Qur’an:

But no, by Your Lord, they can have no (real) Faith, until they make you judge in all disputes between them, and find in their souls no resistance against your decisions and accept them with full submission. (An-Nisaa’  4:65)

Belief in the universality of the Message of Prophet Muhammad to all humanity. Islam is not oriented to a specific category of people, as it was the case with previous Prophets and Messengers. This is derived from the verse of the Qur’an:

Say:  “O mankind! Verily, I am sent to you all as the Messenger of Allah – to Whom belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth. La ilaha illa Huwa (there is no god but He); It is He Who gives life and causes death. So believe in Allah and His Messenger, the Prophet who can neither read nor write, who believes in Allah and His Words, the Tawrah (Torah) and the Injeel (Gospel) and also Allah’s Word: “Be!” – and he was, i.e. `Isa (Jesus) son of Maryam (Mary), and follow him (Muhammad) so that you may be guided. (Al-A`raf 7:158)

Belief that Allah’s Prophet and Messenger Muhammad has been protected by Allah against possible human errors in relation to his mission to mankind. This includes the belief that the Prophet never omitted or added anything to the complete Message of Allah. This is based on the verse of the Qur’an:

Nor does he speak of (his own) desire. (An-Najm 53:3)

Belief that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the final Prophet and Messenger of Allah to mankind, and that no Prophet or Messenger will come after him. Allah says in the Qur’an:

Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but (he is) the Messenger of Allah, and the Last of the Prophets. (Al-Ahzab 33:40)

And the Messenger of Allah said: “…and there’s no prophet after me.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Belief that the religious duties and divine commands Allah sent to mankind are complete, and that the Prophet has delivered the Message of Allah in its entirety, and gave the best advice to his Ummah (nation) and the best guidance to do all good and to avoid all evil. This is based on the verse of the Qur’an:

This day, those who rejected Faith have given up all hopes of your religion, so fear them not, but fear Me. This day I have perfected your religion for you, completed My favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion. (Al-Ma’idah 5:3)

Belief that the laws legislated in Islam are approved by Allah, and that all the various types of worship are based upon and revolve around these divine laws. Independent human actions will not be accepted, Allah knows best, unless and until they are in conformity with these divine laws. This is based on the verse:

And whoever seeks a religion other than Islam (submission to Allah), never will it be accepted of him, and in the Hereafter he will be among the losers. (Aal `Imran 3:85)

A Muslim must offer the proper greeting to Allah’s Prophet and Messenger (peace be upon him) when his name is mentioned as a form of respect, as instructed in the verse of the Qur’an:

Allah and His Angels send blessings on the Prophet: O you who believe! Send your blessings on him, and salute him with all respect. (Al-Ahzab 33:56)

A Believer must have true love and affection for the Prophet and Messenger of Allah above the love of all others, since information and practices of the true religion of Allah and the many blessings that the Prophet (peace be upon him) brought as guidance, are the only means of salvation by the will of Allah. This is based on the instruction of Qur’an:

Say: If your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your wives, your kindred; the wealth that you have gained; the commerce in which you fear a decline; and the dwellings in which you delight -are dearer to you than Allah and His Messenger, and striving hard and fighting in His cause- then wait until Allah brings about His decision. And Allah guides not the rebellious. (At-Tawbah 9:24)

A Muslim must devote every possible effort and opportunity available to him to call, with wisdom and patience, all others to the Message of Muhammad (peace be upon him). He should strive to inform those who are unaware and misinformed and strengthen the faith of people with weak, wavering faith. As Allah (the Most Wise) says:

Invite (all) to the Way of your Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in a way that is better and most gracious. Truly, your Lord knows best who has gone astray from His Path, and He is the Most Aware of those who are guided. (An-Nahl 16:125)

This is also based on the statement of Allah’s Prophet and Messenger: “Propagate, on my behalf, even if one verse.” (Al-Bukhari & At-Tirmithi)

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Source: The article is an excerpt from the author’s book “Human Rights in Islam and Common Misconceptions”.

 

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Fasting New Muslims

Merits and the Virtues of Sha`ban

Sha`ban is a month of good that introduces the great month of Ramadan. The Prophet (peace be upon him) used to fast voluntarily during this month more so than in any other month.

One of the motivations for that, as we will mention below, is that Sha`ban is the month during which the deeds performed by the servant ascend to God. What follows is a discussion around fasting during the month of Sha`ban.

Usamah  ibn Zayd relates:  “The Prophet used to fast so many days in succession that we said, ‘He will never break his fast.’ At other times he would go without fasting for so long until we said, ‘He will never again fast;’ except for two days, which he would fast even if they occurred during the times he was not fasting consecutive days. Furthermore, he would not fast in any month as many days as he fasted during Sha`ban.

I said: ‘O Messenger of God! Sometimes you fast so much it is as if you will never break your fast, at other times you leave fasting for such a long stint it is as if you will never again fast (voluntarily); except for two days that you always fast.’ He asked: ‘Which two days are those?’ I replied: ‘Monday and Thursday.’ The Prophet said: ‘Those are two days in which the deeds are presented to the Lord of the Worlds. I love that my deeds are presented while I am fasting.’ I said: ‘I do not see you fasting in any month like you fast during Sha`ban.’ The Prophet said: “That is a month occurring between Rajab and Ramadan that many people neglect. It is a month in which the deeds ascend to the Lord of the worlds, be He Mighty and Majesty, and I love for my deeds to ascend while I am fasting.” (Ahmad and An-Nasa’i)

The narrations conveying this meaning are numerous. Among the important points conveyed by the tradition narrated by Usamah (may God be pleased with him) is that the Prophet frequently fasted during Sha`ban, as is supported by a tradition mentioned by `A’ishah (may God be pleased with her). She said: “I did not see the Messenger of God fast any month in its entirety except Ramadan, and I did not see him fast as frequently in any other month as he did during Sha’ban.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Among the reasons for that, as mentioned in the initial tradition, is that Sha`ban is the month in which the deeds done throughout the year ascend to God. The Prophet (peace upon him) wished for his deeds to ascend while he was fasting. This should be sufficient motivation for all of us to fast some days of this month.

Fasting purifies us of the physical dross that collects in our system and makes our spiritual faculties sharper. What could be a better state could we be in as our deeds are ascending to our Lord? However, there are other reasons to fast during this month, which we will present shortly.

Islam & Moderation

Another very important point that we can gain from these narrations is that the Prophet did not fast perpetually, even though it would not have weakened him to do so. In this is an important lesson for us. We should balance between the days that we fast and the days that we refrain from fasting. Ibn Rajab mentions many reasons for this. Among them are the following:

1- For many people, excessive fasting leads to languidness that in turn makes it difficult for them to supplicate or invoke God or to undertake intense study. All four of the Sunni Imams mention that studying sacred knowledge is better than supererogatory prayers, and that supererogatory prayers are better than voluntary fasting. Hence, pursuing sacred knowledge is naturally better than voluntary fasting.

2- Just as fasting may make some people languid and hence affect their worship, it may weaken them and thereby compromise their ability to provide for their families or jeopardize their ability to fully satisfy their wives. This latter meaning is implied in the saying of the Prophet: “Surely your wife has a right over you.”

3- Similarly, a person’s body has a right over him, as indicated by the Prophet’s saying: “Indeed your body has a right over you. Be sure to give everyone so deserving his right.”

4- Finally, a person’s life might be long, as indicated by the Prophet’s saying to `Abdullah ibn `Amr ibn Al-`Aas when the latter committed himself to fast every other day: “Perhaps you will live a long life”.

This means whoever commits to an overly strenuous regimen of worship during his youth might not be able to maintain that regimen during his old age. If he tries his utmost to do so he might exhaust his body.

On the other hand, if he abandons it he has left the best form of worship, that done most consistently. For this reason, the Prophet mentioned: “Undertake religious practices you can bear. I swear by God, God does not become bored with you, rather you bring boredom upon yourself”.

The important issue here is to understand that Islam does not demand that we torture our selves, and it places no virtue in doing so. When a desert Arab who had accepted Islam returned after a year’s absence to see the Prophet his entire appearance had changed to such an extent that the Prophet did not recognize him. When he finally realized who he was, the man said to him: “I have not eaten during the daytime since I entered Islam!” The Prophet asked him: “Who ordered you to torture yourself!?”  (Abu Dawud)

Another point mentioned by many of the scholars in that regard is that by fasting sometimes and then going some days without fasting, we never reach a state where we totally lose our appetite for food and thereby lose the physical challenge of fasting. For this reason the Fast of David, where the worshipper fasts every other day, is considered more virtuous than the fast of the individual who fasts perpetually, as the latter eventually feels no longing to eat during the day of his fast—he might even become sick were he to eat.

Sha`ban & Good Deeds

Sha`ban is the month in which the deeds done throughout the year ascend to God.

Therefore, the Prophet wished for his deeds to ascend while he was fasting.

The tradition of Usamah mentions that people’s deeds are presented to God on Mondays and Thursdays, and the Prophet loved to have his deeds presented while he was fasting. There are many narrations that affirm this reality.

Ibn Majah relates a tradition from the narrations of Abu Hurairah, where he mentions the Prophet saying: “God forgives every Muslim on Monday and Thursday, except those who have broken relations with each other. He says, ‘Leave them until they reconcile’.”

Imam Muslim mentions a similar narration from Abu Hurairah in which he mentions that the Prophet said: “The gates of Heaven are flung open on Monday and Thursday and every servant who has not ascribed partners to God is forgiven, except a man who harbors enmity against his brother. He (God) says, ’Leave these two until they makeup’”. A different version of this tradition mentions at the end of the narration: ”…and people who despise each other are left harboring their spite”.

These narrations emphasize the importance of maintaining good relations. There are other religiously significant actions where a reward is withheld from those who harbor enmity or have bad relations with their peers.

Therefore, it is extremely important that we work to maintain good relations with each other, and avoid petty bickering. The opportunity to do much good for our souls is missed when we fail to maintain good relations with each other.

The presentation of people’s deeds mentioned in these narrations is a specific one that occurs on these particular days. It does not contradict the general presentation that occurs on a daily basis, as related in the following tradition: “By night and by day the angels follow each other in visiting you. They gather (before God) at the time of the morning and evening prayers. God asks those who spent the night among you, and He knows best the answer, ‘In what state did you leave my servants?’ They say, ‘We came to them while they were praying, and we departed from them while they were praying.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

There are other reasons we are encouraged to fast in Sha`ban, Ibn Rajab mentions a few. Among them, in summary:

1- People tend to neglect Sha`ban as it occurs between Rajab, one of the sacred months, and Ramadan, the great month of fasting and Qur’an. Therefore, we are encouraged to fast it by way of reviving it and not neglecting it.

2- Fasting during it is easier to hide. All observant Muslims are fasting in Ramadan, and many place great emphasis on fasting during Rajab. Therefore, those who fast Sha`ban are doing so against the expectations of most people and can therefore more easily hide the fact that they are fasting.

There is great virtue, under normal circumstances in hiding our voluntary acts. One anecdote in this regard mentions a man who fasted voluntarily for forty years without anyone knowing it, even his family. Every morning he would leave home with two loaves of bread in his hand. He would give them away in charity. His family thought that he was eating them, and the people in the marketplace where he worked thought that he was selling them.

3- A third reason is related to the previous one. Because many people are fasting during Ramadan and Rajab, it is easier to fast then as large groups engaging in a particular act of worship make it easier for an individual to undertake that act. Hence, the increased difficulty of fasting during Sha`ban led the Prophet to place great emphasis on it.

In conclusion, we encourage everyone able to do so to fast as much as possible during this month. By so doing we will revive the Sunnah of our Prophet and bring much good to our souls and to our communities.

May everyone be blessed to use these days as a preparation for the great month of Ramadan, and may our deeds ascend to God while we are in the very best spiritual state.

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Source: newislamicdirections.com.

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His Life New Muslims

The Prophet’s Life and Mission As the Qur’an Depicts Them

By Abdur Raheem Kidwai

The Qur’an depicts a clear picture of the Prophet’s life and mission, his place in Islam, and his coveted position in the sight of Allah. So, what does the Qur’an say about that?

Those who believe and do good deeds and believe in the revelation sent down to Muhammad – for it is the truth from their Lord– He will remove from them their misdeeds and improve their condition. (Muhammad 47:2)

Although there exist many standard biographies of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in every major world language, the Qur’an itself brings out the outstanding features of his illustrious life and career.

Reading the Qur’an one gets a clear picture of his message and mission and the central place he occupies in Islam. In the above verse of the Qur’an Muslims are promised forgiveness for their sins, if they follow the divine message sent down to the Prophet. This underscores the Prophet’s coveted position in the sight of Allah. Without the pledge to abide by his teachings, no salvation is possible. His message is hailed as the truth revealed by Allah.

More remarkably, Allah promises that one’s commitment to it is bound to bring success in both worlds. For he is part of the chain of Allah’s messengers who conveyed divine guidance to mankind. Rather, he stands out as the final Messenger, marking the end of messengership:

And Zachariah and John and Jesus and Elias. Each one (of them) was of the righteous. And Ishmael and Elisha and Jonah and Lot. Each one (of them) did We prefer above (Our) creatures, with some of their forefathers and their offspring and their brethren; and We chose them and guided them unto a straight path. Such is the guidance of Allah wherewith He guides whom He will of His bondmen. (Al-An`am 6:85-88)

Muhammad is not the father of any man among you, but he is the messenger of Allah and the Seal of the Prophets; and Allah is ever Aware of all things. (Al-Ahzab 33:40)

To Teach & Purify

Muhammad (peace be upon him) belongs to the progeny of the Prophet Ishmael, son of the Prophet Abraham. His advent in seventh century Makkah marks Allah’s acceptance of the supplication made by the Prophets Abraham and Ishmael:

Our Lord! Raise up for them (the children of Ishmael) a Messenger from among them who will recite to them Your revelations and will teach them the Book and wisdom and will purify them (of sin and unbelief). Surely You alone are Almighty, the Wise. (Al-Baqarah 2:129)

There is ample evidence to prove that he accomplished his fourfold mission well. At the time he appeared on the scene, the Arabs had discarded and corrupted the divine message conveyed to them by the Prophet Abraham. All sorts of evil – social, moral and economic – had crept into their way of life.

They were given to drinking, causing bloodshed and sexual licentiousness. They had grown so callous that they used to bury their daughters alive. They had installed hundreds of idols in and around the Ka‘bah and openly indulged in polytheism. As a pious person even in his pre-prophetic life, Muhammad felt disturbed over the degeneration which he observed in his society.

When he was 40 years old, Allah appointed him His final Messenger, directing him to convey divine guidance in both word and deed. The Archangel Gabriel transmitted to him the opening verses of Surat Al-`Alaq (the 96th chapter of the Qur’an), which constitute the first installment of divine revelation.

Throughout the 23 years of his Prophetic career he received at intervals its other parts, which taken together comprise the Qur’an, the final Book of guidance for all mankind, regardless of time and place. His main assignment consisted in giving the good news to believers and warning unbelievers. At several places the Qur’an projects him in this role:

Lo! We have sent you (O Muhammad) with the truth, a bringer of glad tidings and a warner. And you wilt not be asked about the companions of hell-fire. (Al-Baqarah 2:119)

O Prophet! Lo! We have sent you as a witness and a bringer of good tidings and a warner. (Al-Ahzab 33:45)

Abraham’s Way

He made plain his adherence to the Prophet Abraham’s way with a view to reminding fellow Arabs of their original faith. So doing, he emphasized also the cardinal principles of monotheism in faith:

(Abraham declared) “As to me, I have set my face firmly and truly towards Him Who created the heavens and earth. Never shall I ascribe partners to Allah. (Al-An`am 6:79)

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) presented the essence of the creed of earlier messengers, asserting that he was there to confirm the Scriptures originally sent down to mankind. The Qur’an stresses the essential similarity between its message and that of the Books revealed to other messengers. For all of these originated from the same source – Allah. Since earlier Scriptures had been corrupted by the wicked beyond recognition, there was a need to revive the original divine message.

This task was performed by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

Life of a True Believer

Not only did he transmit faithfully the Word of Allah, he also demonstrated the way of life of a true believer. His distinguished life and conduct serve as the role model for all time and place. For example, Allah directed him to engage sincerely in worshipping Him in order to achieve closeness to Him.

Moreover, he displayed exemplary bravery, courage and tact in overcoming the unbelievers on the battleground:

When you climbed (the hill) and paid no heed to anyone, while the messenger, in your rear, was calling you (to fight). Therefor He rewarded you grief for (his) grief, that (He might teach) you not to sorrow either for that which you missed or for that which befell you. Allah is Informed of what you do. (Aal `Imran 3:153)

And if We had not strengthened you, you would have almost inclined to them a little. (Al-Israa’ 17:74)

These and many other points are cited in the Qur’an in order to vindicate his genuine Messengership. The following passages, in particular, adduce arguments in support of his designation as Allah’s Messenger:

Lo! those of mankind who have the best claim to Abraham are those who followed him, and this Prophet and those who believe (with him); and Allah is the Protecting Guardian of the believers. (Aal `Imran 3:68)

But Allah (Himself) testifies concerning that which He has revealed unto you; in His knowledge hath He revealed it; and the angels also testify. And Allah is sufficient Witness. (An-Nisaa’ 4:166)

Rather, Allah promised him the highest reward imaginable – that of elevating him to the station of praise and glory:

Your Lord will raise you to the rank of praise and glory. (Al-Israa’ 17:79)

And We have exalted your fame. (Al-Inshirah 94:4)

The Last Messenger

Another of his distinctions is that he is the last Messenger in the chain of Allah’s envoys. What this signifies is that Islam as revealed to and preached by him will serve as the final message for all time to come. The universality and timelessness of his mission are special to him:

Muhammad is not the father of any man among you, but he is the messenger of Allah and the Seal of the Prophets; and Allah is ever Aware of all things. (Al-Ahzab 33:40)

As part of His grand plan for the guidance of mankind, Allah sent the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) down as the mercy for all the worlds:

And We have not sent you, [O Muhammad], except as a mercy to the worlds. (Al-Anbiyaa’ 21:107)

Abiding by his directives amounts to obeying Allah. This underscores his pivotal position in matters of faith. Hadith and Sunnah, his sayings and deeds respectively, are therefore, of the utmost importance in Islam and constitute the primary sources of faith. The Qur’an commands Muslims to obey him unquestioningly:

And obey Allah and the Messenger, that you may obtain His mercy. (Aal `Imran 3:132)

He who obeys the Messenger, obeys Allah. (An-Nisaa’ 4:80)

A Human

Notwithstanding his many special features, the Prophet is a mortal human being, a servant of Allah, chosen by Him to convey His message to man. He does not share any trait of divinity. Nor does he have access to the realm of the Unseen which is only Allah’s prerogative. The Islamic concept of messengership is marked by balance and moderation.

Unlike Christianity, it does not elevate the Prophet to Godhead. And, unlike some other faiths, it does not project a tainted picture of messengers, given to worldliness and vice. In keeping with its cardinal principle of monotheism, the Qur’an denies any superhuman feature to him:

(O Muhammad) Say: “I do not tell you that the treasures of Allah are with me. Nor do I know what is hidden. Nor do I tell you that I am an angel. (Al-An`am 6:50)

They ask you concerning the Hour – when it is to come. Say: “Its knowledge is with my Lord alone. None can disclose its time but He” … Say: “I have no power over any good or harm to myself except as Allah wills. Had I knowledge of the Unseen, I would have amassed all good and no evil should have ever touched me. I am only a warner and bring glad tidings to the people who believe.” (Al-A`raf 7:187-188)

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The article is an excerpt from Abdur Raheem Kidwai’s book “The Qur’an: Essential Teachings”, published by the Islamic Foundation, 2005/1426 H.

 

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Building up Goodness: Lessons from the Prophet

The greatest, most profound change in history happened peacefully. Nevertheless, it was truly decisive. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) changed the people’s beliefs, their behavior, their customs, and their social norms, and he did so by convincing them with kindness and gentle persuasion.

He did not force people to agree with him. He did not resort to a show of strength except when absolutely necessary to protect his people.

For the first thirteen years of his mission, he lived in Makkah in a state of abject weakness, persecuted by his countrymen. After he emigrated to Madinah, his focus was on building and safeguarding his community.

Real Change

If we consider the landmark events of the Madinite era, we find that the battle of Badr was not pre-planned; the battle of Uhud was purely defensive as was the Battle of the Confederate tribes. The peace treaty of Hudaybiyah that the Prophet entered into with the Makkans was seen by many of the Muslims to be a humiliation for Islam, but the Prophet knew better.

Then, when the Muslims finally entered Makkah in victory, they did so peacefully. They took the city without fighting or bloodshed. Then the Prophet stood among the Makkans, who feared reprisals for the years of persecution they had meted out to the Muslims, and he said: “You may go as you please, for you are free.”

He restored to the weak and oppressed their rights, manumitted slaves, elevated the status of the people, and did away with oppressive practices against women. He likewise did away with the exploitative practices, pomp and influence of the city’s despots with the minimum of hardship for all parties concerned.

It is impressive how the Prophet rid Arabian society of the many deep-rooted and pernicious customs that they had during the times of ignorance. He was able to bring about a new mindset, freed from the rote, blind following of ancestral traditions. He made the people aware of the falsehood of their former customs, so this awareness could protect them from lapsing back into such modes of thought.

In this way, the Prophet brought them out of the darkness of superstition, fortune-telling and divination. He dispelled their wantonness and sexual exploitation. He did away with their tribal boasting and rivalries.

He rid their hearts of racism. When his own Companion Abu Dharr betrayed racist tendencies, he did not hesitate to tell him: “You are indeed a man possessed of some habits from the times of ignorance.”

Non-Negotiable Principle: Oneness of God

He never compromised on polytheism. He opposed it absolutely, regardless of the sacrifices and hardships this meant for him. He stove to dismantle polytheism in the minds and hearts of the people and bring them to monotheism. Nevertheless, when he went to Mecca after the Treaty of Hudaybiyah to perform the `umrah pilgrimage, there were three hundred and sixty idols around the Ka`bah.

He did not destroy the idols or interfere with them in any way. What would have been the point?

It is easy for people to recreate their idols as long as they believe in them. The only permanent way to dismantle them is to dismantle them in the people’s hearts and minds. Only after he entered Makkah as their leader, after the people entered into Islam in droves, did he remove the idols from the Ka`bah, restoring it as a place of worship for Allah alone.

At this time, a great majority of the people had been convinced of the falsehood of idol worship. Indeed, one of the Makkan leaders commented: “Had they been of any worth, they would not have forsaken us.”

The Prophet (peace be upon him) was an example of patience in how he coexisted with the pagans in Makkah, and in the fortitude he showed by responding gently and with an open heart to them, in spite of to their abuses and hostility towards him and towards the men and women who chose to follow him.

Peace & Coexistence

Then, after the emigration to Madinah, he lived alongside the Jews and the pagans from the local tribes, not to mention the hypocrites who concealed their animosity towards Islam and the Muslims who were weak in faith. These people were still in Madinah at the time of the Prophet’s death. The chapter of the Qur’an entitled Al-Hujurat, which addresses those who were being ill-mannered towards the Prophet and using spiteful names, was revealed in the ninth year after the emigration. One of its final verses reads:

The Bedouins say: “We have believed.” Say (to them): “You have not (yet) believed; but say (instead), ‘We have submitted’, for faith has not yet entered your hearts. And if you obey Allah and His Messenger, He will not deprive you from your deeds of anything. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful. (Al-Hujurat 49:14)

At the time of the Prophet’s death, his shield was being held by a Jewish man as collateral for a debt he owed him. The Prophet had borrowed the money to provide food for his family. The Prophet needed the money at the time, and the purchase of the shield was in the Jewish man’s interest at the time. This is the basis of coexistence, to realize that your own welfare and that of other people can be realized together.

In this way, the Prophet gave a practical lesson for future generations. Madinah, the first capital of Islam, had this diversity within it. In this way, the people could learn how to call others to Islam and how to conduct themselves in a society where they live with people of other faiths as fellow citizens.

Throughout History

During the many eras of Islamic rule throughout history, the rights of the various religious communities and denominations were upheld and protected within the context of a strong social fabric. They were not forced to change their religion or their denominational affiliation. The Muslims continued to engage them in polite debate and discussion.

This social fabric can be torn apart by conflicts spurred on by political interests who instigate the ignorant people and play on their prejudices. When this happens, when neighbor turns against neighbor, people abandon our Prophet’s teachings which stress neighborly rights even with those you disagree with.

At times of conflict, people behave irrationally and suspiciously. Sensible people know that this state of affairs is temporary and can –must– be surmounted. People can settle back into living together in peace and cooperation for their mutual wellbeing.

This is why `Amr ibn Al-`Aas praised the Roman people for being: “the quickest people to recover from a crisis.” He was referring to an aspect of their cultural mindset that allowed them to get past the times of strife and war and return to a productive state of dialogue and cooperation. This is what we see in Europe after the two world wars. The European people pulled themselves together and ultimately created the European common market, and ultimately the European Union with all of its impressive institutions.

By contrast, we find some Arab tribes holding on to their ancient feuds, passing the animosity down from one generation to the next, keeping them alive through their legends and poems as if the conflict began only yesterday.

These tensions can sometimes take on a sectarian or partisan character, spurred on by political rhetoric and ideology. We see this among both Islamist and secular factions, which shows that the particular ideology in the political theatre did not succeed in disciplining this trend, but instead channelled it one way or another.

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Source: Source: Source: Dawahskills.com

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His Life New Muslims

Life of the Prophet: The Message for Present Muslims

By Sheikh Abu Al-Hassan ‘Ali Nadwi

Obviously, the world was not a deserted place at the time of the upbringing of the Prophet (peace be upon him). It was not a graveyard. The wheels of life were moving at that time too with very little difference from what they are now. Business was carried on almost in the same manner, and the people, generally, were satisfied with the things around them and did not feel the need for change.

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The chief anxiety of the Prophet about the Muslims was that they would fall prey to the allurements of the world and forgot their mission.

But the Almighty did not like the state of the world. As it is mentioned in a prophetic tradition: “The Lord cast a glance at the dwellers of the earth, and felt highly displeased with them, whether Arabs or non-Arab. He was angry with all except for a few who believed in the revealed religions” (Muslim).

He, thereupon, sent down the Prophet Mohammad, and along with him, made provision for giving rise to a whole community. This community had evidently been created for a definite purpose which was not being fulfilled by others. There could be no need to raise a new community for something that was already being done or to produce the storm in the placid ocean of life that followed the emergence of the new Ummah.

For a Reason

When the Lord created Adam, the Angels asked: Were they not enough for His glorification? Why should this creature of clay be brought into being? The Lord replied: I know what you know not. (Al-Baqarah 2:30)

He, thereby, indicated that Adam had not been created to fulfill the function of the Angels, but He intended to take some other work from him.

If the Muslims were being raised merely for trade, the merchants of Mecca who took their caravans to Syria and Yemen, and the Jews of Madinah who had established large business houses had the right to ask whether they were not good enough that a new community was called for. And if it was agriculture, the farmers of Medina, Khyber, Najd, Syria, Yemen and Iraq could have complained why they were being overlooked. And so on.

But Muslims were being created for a new task which no one in the world was performing or could perform. A new community was required for it. Hence, it was said:

You are the best community that has been raised up for mankind. You enjoin right conduct and forbid indecency; and you believe in Allah. (Aal `Imran 3:110)

It was for this sake that people left their home for good, suffered loss in trade and agriculture, and shut their eyes to the comforts of the world. They shed their blood like water, preferred widowhood for their women, and the state of an orphan for their children.

Was all this strife, this struggle and sacrifice, aimed simply for the ends and activities with which the Muslims appear to be so contented today?

The way to their attainment was safe and even. There was no opposition from the contemporary world over it. Progress along it was not the bone of contention between the Arabs and the other people. They had repeatedly been offered the things the Muslims are hankering after now, but each time, the preacher of Islam, the Prophet, had firmly rejected all the proposals of power, wealth and luxury.

Now, were the Muslims to come down to the level of all the pagan communities subsisted at the time of the childhood of the Prophet, and come down to the level the entire non-Muslim population of the world is finding itself today, and plunge recklessly into worldly affairs and interests like the Arabs, Romans and Persians of those days, and then make the high aim of their existence the ends and advantages the sacred Prophet had  turned down with disdain, what could it denote save the repudiation and betrayal of the early history of Islam? Would it not show that the blood that was shed at Badr, Hunain, Al-Ahzab, Qadsia and Yarmouk had been in vain?

If the leaders of the Quraysh were able to speak today, they could rightfully tell the Muslims that the things they were craving for were exactly what they had offered to their Prophet. All these could be obtained without shedding a drop of blood. Was the net result of the whole struggle and the worth of all the sacrifices the way of life they had chosen and the moral standards that were so pleasing to them? What answer would we have then?

Man’s True Mission

The chief anxiety of the Prophet about the Muslims was that they would fall prey to the allurements of the world and forgot their mission. He had addressed this warning to them in the sermon he delivered during the last days of his life:

“It is not poverty that I fear for you, but what I really fear is that the earth should be spread for you, as it had spread for those who came before you, so that you could covet it as they had coveted, and, then, it destroyed you as it had destroyed them.”

As we learn from Abu Ayyub Al-Ansari, when it was felt by the Ansar of Madinah that they withdrew, for some time, from struggle in the path of Allah and paid attention to trade and agriculture which were suffering through neglect, they could not even think of exempting themselves from the principal duties like Salah, Fasting and Zakat, but had only expressed the intention of taking leave for a time from participation in the active endeavor for the glory of faith– this temporary withdrawal, too, was held to be nothing short of suicide, and the following verse of Surat Al-Baqarah was revealed:

Spend your wealth for the cause of Allah, and be not cast by your own hands to fitting destruction; and do good as it ought to be and carry it on. Lo! Allah loves those who do good deeds. (Al-Baqarah 2:195)

The particular mould of a Muslim’s life is such that he should either be engaged in the preaching and propagation of Faith and other practical endeavors in its path or lending help and support to those who are so engaged, and also, wishing, genuinely, to join in the task himself.

The life of a contented citizen or businessman is not the life of a Muslim. It can never be his aim and ideal. Legitimate concerns of life and lawful economic activity, of course, are not forbidden.

On the contrary, these are a form of worship and a means to the gaining of the propinquity of the Lord provided that the intention is pure and the eye is on the reward of the hereafter and such an occupation is carried on within the limits prescribed by Islam.

This is the chief message of the life of the Prophet for Muslims. To remain indifferent to it is to allow its purpose to be wasted and turn a blind eye to the fundamental reality the life of the Prophet presents to us.

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Source: ilmgate.org

The article is an excerpt from the author’s Pathway to Medina.

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His Legacy New Muslims

Prophet Muhammad: The Greatest Revolutionary Ever

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Prophet Muhammad’s great contribution to history lies in his being a philosopher and a seer as well as a living embodiment of his own teachings.

In the cavalcade of world history the sublime figure of this wonderful person towers so high above all others that they appear to be dwarfs when contrasted with him. None of them possessed a genius capable of making a deep impression on more than one or two aspects of human life. Some are brilliant theoreticians but are lacking when it comes to practical action. Some are men of action but with little knowledge. Some are renowned as statesmen only, others are masters of strategy.

Others again have devoted their energies to ethical and spiritual problems but have ignored economics and politics. In short, one comes across heroes who are expert in one walk of life only.

His is the only example where all the excellences have been blended into one personality. He is a philosopher and a seer as well as a living embodiment of his own teachings. He is a great statesman as well as a military genius. He is a legislator and also a teacher of morals.

He is a spiritual luminary as well as a religious guide. His vision penetrates every aspect of life. His orders and commandments cover a vast field from the regulation of international relations down to the habits of everyday life like eating, drinking and personal hygiene.

On the foundations of philosophy he established a civilization and a culture without the slightest trace of a flaw, deficiency or incompleteness. Can anyone point to another example of such a perfect and all round-personality?

Why that Unique?

Most of the famous personalities of the world are said to be the products of their environment. But his case is unique. His environment seems to have played no part in the making of his personality. At most one might accept in the light of Hegel’s philosophy of history or Marx’s historical materialism that the time and environment demanded the emergence of a leader who could create a nation and build an empire.

But Hegelian or Marxist philosophy cannot explain how such an environment could produce a man whose mission was to teach the highest morals, to purify humanity and to wipe out prejudice and superstition, who looked beyond the artificial compartments of race and nation-state, who laid the foundations of a moral, spiritual, cultural and political superstructure for the good of the whole world, who practically, not theoretically, placed business transactions, civics, politics and international relations on moral grounds and produced such a balanced synthesis between worldly life and spiritual advancement that even to this day it is considered to be a masterpiece of wisdom and foresight.

Can anyone honestly call such a person a product of all-pervading darkness of Arabia?

He does not only appear to be independent of his environment. When we look at his achievements we are irresistibly drawn to the conclusion that he actually transcends the limitations of time and space. His vision breaks through all temporal and physical barriers, passes beyond centuries and millenniums and encompasses within itself the whole of human history.

History Maker

He is not one of those whom history has cast into oblivion, and he is not praised only because he was a good leader in his own time. He is that unique and incomparable leader of humanity who marches with time, who is modern in every age and in every era.

Those whom people style ‘makers of history’ are only ‘creatures of history’. In fact, in the whole of history of mankind, he is the unique example of a ‘maker of history’.

One may scan the lives and circumstances of the great leaders of the world who brought about revolutions and one will find that on such occasions the forces of revolution were gathering momentum for the destined upheaval, were taking their course in certain directions and were only waiting for the right moment.

In harnessing these forces the revolutionary leader played the part of an actor for whom the stage and the role is set beforehand. On the other hand the Prophet is only a person who had to genuinely create a revolution; he had to mold and produce the kind of men he wanted because the spirit of revolution and its necessary conditions were nonexistent.

He made an indelible impression on the hearts of thousands of his disciples by his forceful personality and molded them to his way of thinking. By his iron will he prepared the ground for revolution and directed events into the channels he wanted. Can anyone cite another example of a maker of history of such distinction, another revolutionary of such brilliance and splendor?

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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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His Character New Muslims

Prophet Muhammad: The Embodiment of the Role and Features of Believers

By Abdur Raheem Kidwai

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) devoted himself heart and soul to the mission of Islam and achieved great success notwithstanding stiff opposition, in transforming the polytheistic Arabs into champions of monotheism. He drew upon every conceivable means for articulating the truth of Islam.

Prophet Muhammad: The Embodiment of the Role and Features of Believers

The Prophet was granted the following charter of social justice, which also spells out the role and features of believers.

His concern was so deep felt that he cried over the prospect of the inevitable divine punishment for those Arab unbelievers who refused to embrace Islam. The Qur’an, however, directed him not to grieve so much about the miserable fate of such unbelievers:

Perhaps you will kill yourself with grief because they do not become believers. (Ash-Shu`araa’ 26:3)

The Makkan unbelievers asked him to produce a miracle which they could see with their own eyes. They were told to look around them in that Allah’s distinct signs are scattered everywhere. He was, nonetheless, granted the miracle which we know as the Qur’an. For it embodies the light of Allah’s guidance and mercy.

Prophecies

The Qur’an recounts the prophecies about the Prophet Muhammad’s advent which featured in the earlier Scriptures, especially the Torah and the Gospels. Take this as illustrative:

And remember, Jesus, the son of Mary, said: “O Children of Israel! I am the Messenger of Allah sent to you, confirming the Torah, which came before me, and giving glad tidings of a Messenger to come after me. His name shall be Ahmad.” (As-Saff 61:6)

Even in the face of such clear pronouncements in their own holy Books about the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), the Jews and Christians of the day rejected and opposed him. They did so for their own selfish ends. For the radical message of Islam was set to destroy their vested interests, their degenerate way of life and their clergy that abused religion for pecuniary gain.

Overwhelming Victory

However, Allah promised and sent His help to the Prophet. For example, when the unbelieving Makkans mocked him for being without a son, Allah consoled and comforted him:

To you We have granted Al-Kawthar. Turn to your Lord in prayer and sacrifice. For he who hates you will be cut off (from future hope). (Al-Kawthar 108:1-4)

Allah blessed him with an overwhelming victory over the unbelievers, the Jews and Christians. Millions accepted Islam and country after country was won over to the Caliphs, who succeeded the Prophet, to lead the community of believers. As for the Prophet himself, he devoted more and more of his time to glorifying Allah and seeking Allah’s forgiveness.

As to the exalted rank which he enjoys in Allah’s sight, the following Qur’anic passage is instructive:

Allah and His angels send blessings on the Prophet. O Believers! Send your blessings upon him and salute him with all respect. (Al-Ahzab 33:56)

Allah also conferred another distinction on the Prophet – that of his Ascent and Night Journey to the heavens, which is recorded thus in the Qur’an:

Glory be to Allah Who took His servant (Muhammad) for the night journey from the sacred mosque to the farthest mosque, whose surroundings We have blessed in order that We might show him some of Our signs. (Al-Israa’ 17:1)

Our Role Model

More importantly, on that occasion, he was granted the following charter of social justice, which also spells out the role and features of believers:

Those who are constant in their prayer. And in their wealth there is a recognized right for the beggar and the deprived. (Al-Ma`arij 70:23-25)

And those who respect their trusts and covenants. They stand firm in their testimony. (Al-Ma`arij 70:32-33)

The same note of social justice permeates the Prophet’s sermon at `Arafat which he delivered on the occasion of his farewell pilgrimage.

It captures the essence of the mission which he professed and practiced throughout his illustrious life:

“No Arab is superior to a non-Arab and any non-Arab does not have superiority over an Arab. Piety alone confers honour on man. All men are from Adam and Adam was made of clay.

O people! Your lives, blood and property are sacred for one another … All of you will certainly appear before Allah and He will take you to account. Thus do I warn you. Whoever among you is entrusted with someone’s property shall return the trust to the rightful owner.

O people! Allah has laid down rights for everyone. No one should therefore, leave a will in favour of any of his heirs. Debt is to be repaid. Borrowed things are to be returned. It is not lawful to deprive anyone of what is due to him. Your wives have rights. They owe you obligations. Treat them well. For they are dependent upon you. If you follow the Book of Allah and my practice (Sunnah), which I leave behind with you, you will never go astray.”

This sermon stands out as his strong exhortation for cordial human relationships and a tension-free society.

This sermon stands out as his strong exhortation for cordial human relationships and a tension-free society. His assertions about shunning violence and bloodshed, not usurping others’ belongings and refraining from betraying the trust reposed in one re-echo the Qur’an:

No prophet could (ever) be false to his trust. If any person is so false, He shall, on the Day of Judgment, restore what he misappropriated; then shall every soul receive its due,- whatever it earned,- and none shall be dealt with unjustly. (Aal ‘Imran 3:161)

If a man kills a believer intentionally, his recompense is Hell, to abide therein (Forever): And the wrath and the curse of Allah are upon him, and a dreadful penalty is prepared for him. (An-Nisaa’ 4:93)

He is also seen reminding everyone of the need to discharge their obligations, especially those which they owe to fellow human beings in general and to their family members, friends and neighbors in particular. Man is asked to keep the trust placed with him as a responsible member of the society and as a good citizen.

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The article is an excerpt from Abdur Raheem Kidwai’s book “The Qur’an: Essential Teachings”, published by the Islamic Foundation, 2005/1426 H.

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