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Ethics & Values New Muslims

Equality: Its Meaning and Roots in Islam

By Abdul-Rahman Al Sheha

Men and women are created equal in their basic humanity, and have all the shared linage and dignity of Allah’s creation and privilege of man over the other creatures of His creation. What does Islam say about equality?

Discrimination due to race, sex, color, lineage, class, region or language is vehemently prohibited in Islam to avoid the artificial barriers between the privileged and underprivileged.

Equality does not mean that all are exactly alike since there is no denial about natural differences. The two genders complement and complete each other. Allah says in the Qur’an:

O mankind! Fear and revere your Lord, Who created you from a single person, created from it its mate, and from them scattered (like seeds) countless men and women; so fear Allah, through Whom you demand your mutual (rights), and (reverence) the wombs (that bore you): for Allah ever watches over you. (An-Nisaa’ 4:1)

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said:

“O Mankind! Your Lord is One. Your father is one. All of you belong to Adam (peace be upon him). And Adam is created of soil. Truly, the most honorable person in the Sight of Your Lord, the Almighty Allah, is the most pious among you. There is no superiority for an Arab over a non-Arab. There is no superiority for a non-Arab over an Arab. There is no superiority for a red (race) person over a white person. Likewise, there is no superiority of a white over a red (race) person, except for the piety and God consciousness.” (Ahmad)

Human-based

All humanity, according to Islam, with all its races, has one original source, so how can some exploit others claiming superiority or special privilege? Islam does not tolerate false pride in lineage and social status. The Messenger of Allah said:

“The Almighty Allah has removed the false pride which was practiced in the pre-Islamic period wherein individuals took false pride in their ancestors. All mankind belongs to Adam. And Adam is created of soil.” (Abu Dawud)

Pride of race and class are rampant in some societies. For example, some Jews and Christians have considered themselves of a higher status, breed, race or class of people.

Allah the Exalted and Almighty has exposed the truth of this arrogance, as He states in the Qur’an:

The Jews and the Christians say: “We are sons of Allah, and His beloved.”  Say: “Why then does He punish you for your sins? Nay, you are but men, of the men He has created: He forgives whom He pleases, and He punishes whom He pleases: and to Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth, and all that is between: and unto Him is the return (of all). (Al-Ma’idah 5:18)

Islam & Racism

The laws of Islam eradicate any misguided basis of racism. For instance, Abu Dharr (may Allah be pleased with him) once said to a black slave “O the son of a black lady!” Upon hearing this, the Messenger of Allah turned to Abu Dharr, and said to him:

“Are you insulting this man with his mother? Truly you possess some of the qualities of the era of Ignorance (pre-Islamic times). That time is finished and over. There is no virtue or merit for the son of a white woman over the son of a black woman, except through piety and righteousness, or by good deeds and actions.” (Ahmad)

It is reported that Abu Dharr upon hearing the comment of the Prophet, put his head down on the ground in humility for the slave to come and step on his head with his foot, as an expiation for his misdeed, although the Prophet did not command him to do so. Abu Dharr wanted to discipline himself by self-humiliation so that he would never repeat such a sin in the future.

In the Sight of Allah

All people in Islam are completely alike and equal in terms of the obligation to perform various acts of worship to Allah. The rich and the poor, the leader and the peasant, the white and the black, the one of dignified means and the one of lower means, all are alike and equal as humans before Allah; the most noble is the most righteous and most sincere and steadfast in worship and good deeds. As the Prophet said:

Allah doesn’t look at your bodies and your colors but at your acts and your hearts (i.e. outward deeds and inward intentions and sincerity.” (Muslim)

All commands of obligation and prohibition are applicable to all without any distinction because of class, social status or race:

Whoever works righteousness benefits his own soul; whoever works evil, it is against his own soul: nor is Your Lord ever unjust (in the least) to His slaves. (Fussilat 41:46)

The differentiation between individuals in the Sight of Allah is based on their levels of piety, righteousness, and compliance to the Commands of Allah, the Most Beneficent:

O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know each other (not that you may despise each other). Verily the most honored of you in the Sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you. In addition, Allah has full Knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things). (Al-Hujurat 49:13)

All individuals are equal before the Islamic code of law and the appointed Muslim judge. The penalties, judgments and legal sentences are applicable to all races and classes of people without any distinction and without any privileged person acquiring immunity.

Equality in Punishment

One outstanding example will be cited reported that the Quraysh were deeply concerned when a noble woman of the Makhzum clan stole, and Allah’s Messenger wanted to apply the due punishment in her case by amputating her hand. The Quraysh consulted among themselves and said: ‘the best person to talk to the Prophet about the Makhzumi woman thief is his beloved Companion (and the son of his beloved Companion) Usamah ibn Zayd (may Allah be pleased with him).’

Therefore they sent Usamah to speak to the Prophet to intercede on behalf of this Makhzumi woman. Upon listening to Usamah, the Prophet  said:

“O Usamah! Are you coming to intercede concerning a punishment set by Allah?” Allah’s Messenger  stood up, as soon as he finished his conversation with Usamah and delivered a speech saying: “The people (or nations) before you were destroyed due to the fact that when a noble person among them would steal, they let him go unpunished, but if a poor, weak and insignificant person among them stole, they would apply the punishment on him. By Allah! If Fatimah ; the daughter of Muhammad stole, I shall cut off her hand.”

None has the right to monopolize, abuse or act for his personal Interest on national resources. All members of the nation have the right to benefit from the national resources, each according to just and equitable rights and obligations.

However, they will not be equal in terms of the work and the benefit they present for the public good. The Islamic government must exert every effort to secure job opportunities for its constituents and organize the utilization of national resources.

Islam declares all people equal in terms of human values yet every individual is rewarded according to what he presents to his society and community. The only distinction between people is on the basis of service that they offer. For instance, it does not look at a hardworking individual and a sluggish individual on equal footing in terms of pay and financial rewards:

To all are degrees (or ranks) according to their deeds: for Your Lord is not unmindful of anything that they do. (Al-An`am 6:132)

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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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What Drives People to Convert to Islam?

What is that drives people to convert to Islam? What are the social challenges that new Muslims face? What are the concerns, issues, and struggles that those who converted to Islam have?

Imam Yasin Dwyer, former chaplain at Corrections Canada, shares the experience of being a convert to Islam.

Born in Canada to Jamaican parents, he went through a process of creating and developing his Muslim Canadian identity, giving insight into how to deal with problems of identity building and integration.

He shares with us stories of his own work with other converts in prison with many men and women who were offenders before becoming Muslims.

What did they see in Islam? What did they find? How do they live as Muslims in a prison context?

Watch the video below to learn about that…

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Source: Quran Speaks YouTube Channel

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Family New Muslims

How to Raise Truthful Children

By Muhammad Al-Ghazali

Islam commands that in the hearts of the children the seeds of the greatness and importance of truth be sown, so that they may grow up and develop on truth and may become young in its lap; and they may give it its due place in their talks.

How to Raise Truthful Children

Adoption of straight dealing and telling the truth has been very strictly insisted upon in Islam.

`Abdullah ibn `Aamir said: “once my mother called me when the Prophet was present in my house. My mother asked me to come and said that she would give me a certain thing. He asked what did she want to give? She said that she wanted to give me a date (fruit). The Prophet said: “If you had not given him this date, then the committing of a falsehood would have been entered into your record of deeds”. (Abu Dawud)

Abu Hurayrah says that the Prophet has said:

“Anybody who called a child saying that he would give him a certain thing, and did not give it, then it is a lie.” (Ahmad)

It is worth noting that in what a wise way the Prophet has instructed his followers to train their children in such a manner that they should consider truth and straight dealing respectable things and should avoid telling lies. Had the Prophet ignored these things and had not emphatically reminded about them, then there was a danger that the children on growing up would not have considered telling lies as sin.

Adoption of straight dealing and telling the truth has been very strictly insisted upon, so much so that it has been enjoined upon to take care about this in even small household matters.

Asmaa’ bint Yazid narrates that she once asked the Messenger of Allah:

“If someone of us women stated that she had no desire to have a certain thing even though she had that desire, then would it be considered a lie?”

He replied: “Falsehood is written as falsehood, and a small falsehood is written as a small falsehood.” (Muslim)

Not to Tell a Lie Even in a Joke

The establisher of the Shari`ah (peace be upon him) has warned of all the occasions where falsehood can be used and the adverse consequences of the same, so much so that it is not possible for even an ordinary enforcer to misguide the people about the reality or to lessen its importance.

A man tends to make false statements in cutting jokes, thinking that on the occasions of entertaining people there is nothing wrong if baseless information is given or false and imaginary events are related. But Islam, which considers providing relief to hearts as permissible, has fixed only those methods proper and permissible which are within that: limits of truth, because halal is much broader than haram and that truth is independent of falsehood. Allah’s Messenger has said:

“Death for the man who indulges in story-telling in order to make some people laugh and for that he relies on falsehood. There is death for him, there is destruction for him.” (At-Tirmidhi)

In another hadith it is stated:

“I give guarantee of a house in the middle of Paradise for the man who has given up falsehood, though he was required to indulge in humor.” (Al-Bayhaqi)

The Prophet has said:

“A believer cannot have complete faith unless he gives up falsehood in his jokes and debates though in all other matters he speaks the truth.” (Ahmad)

This is our daily observation that people give full rein to their tongues in the matter of humorous talks to make others laugh, and do not hesitate to spread the tales and stories invented by friends or foes only for the purpose of getting some pleasure or for pulling some one’s leg, when the world has absolutely prohibited such a wrong policy, and this is a fact that this kind of entertainment and amusements and false acts create enmities and rivalries,

Avoid Exaggeration in Praise

Some peoples when they praise somebody, go to the extent of exaggerating and making false statements. For a Muslim it is necessary that when he praises somebody he should do it to the extent to which he knows about that man, he should avoid exaggeration and falsehood in showering praises of the praised one, although he may be deserving of the praises, for exaggeration is a kind of falsehood which has been forbidden,

To a person who was praising the Prophet, he said: “Do not indulge in exaggeration while praising me, as the Christians did in the case of Ibn Maryam (Christ). I am only a slave. So only say that he is a slave of Allah and His Messenger.” (Al-Bukhari)

A group of such people is always found who lick the boots of the leaders and rulers of the country and praise them to heaven. The main purpose of their lives is to compose very lengthy panegyric poems or to write long-drawn essays in praise of their benefactors.

Thus, they try to make a mountain of the molehill and place an unknown person in the palace of fame. Sometimes they do not even hesitate to call the tyrant rulers as standard bearers of justice and coward and chicken hearted soldiers as brave and lion-hearted fighters. Their only purpose in this is to earn wealth.

This is the worst kind of falsehood. Allah’s Messenger has counseled us to totally reject them and expose them till they give up their wrong practices.

Abu Hurayrah says that the Prophet has commanded us that we should throw dust in the face of those who indulge in exaggeration in their praises. (At-Tirmidhi)

The commentators have pointed out that the persons mentioned here are those who make exaggeration as their habit and through this try to earn gifts and presents from the praised ones but those persons who praise the performers of good acts with a view to encouraging them and to inciting others to follow their example are not meant.

The limits where a Muslim stops and which keep him distinct from the bootlickers and the exaggerators are: that he praises his benefactor or a good person, but he does not let him indulge in vanity and pride. These limits have been clarified by the Prophet.

Abu Bakr narrates that a man praised someone in the presence of Allah’s Messenger and the Prophet told him:

“Fie on you, you have separated the head of your companion,” He repeated these words and then said: “If someone wants to praise his brothers then if he is aware of the facts then he should say that I think he is such and such and Allah is the real Knower, and there is none purer and innocent than Allah; I consider him bearer of these qualities.” (Al-Bukhari)

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The article is excerpted from the book  “Muslim Character” , an American-English translation of Muhammad Al-Ghazali’s Khuluq Al-Muslim

 

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`Ammar Ibn Yasir: A Man of Paradise (Part 1)

If there were people born in Paradise, reared and brought to maturity there, and then brought to earth to adorn and enlighten it, then `Ammar, his mother Sumayyah and his father Yasir would be of them!

But why do we say “if” and why do we make that condition when Yasir’s family were really of Paradise?

steadfastness_consistency_belief_sunrise

Ammar’s tranquility was restored, he no longer felt pain when they punished him, and he no longer cared about it

Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) was not merely pacifying them when he said, “Patience, O Yasir’s family. Verily, your meeting place will be in Paradise.”  He was declaring a fact which he knew and reiterating an actuality perceived by him.

Under Quraish’s Torture

`Ammar’s father, Yasir lbn `Aamir, left his native place in Yemen seeking a brother of his. In Makkah he found an appealing place, so he settled there and was in alliance with Abu Hudhaifah ibn Al-Mughirah, who married him to one of his slave women, Sumayiyah Bint Khayyat.

Out of this blessed marriage Allah granted the parents a son, Ammar. Their embracing of Islam was early, like that of the righteous ones guided by Allah. And like the early righteous Muslims as well, they had their good share of the Quraish’s persecution and terror.

The Quraish used to waylay the believers to attack them. If the believers were among the honorable and noble people in their community, the Quraish would pursue them with threats and menace. Abu Jahl would meet one of the believers and tell him, “You abandoned your forefathers’ religion and they were better than you. We will spoil your character, degrade your honor, reduce your trade, and exhaust your money.”

They would then launch a heated war of nerves upon him.

If the believers were among the weak, poor, or slaves of Makkah, then the Quraish would burn them with the fire of persecution.

Yasir’s family belonged to that class. The order for their persecution was handed to Bani Makhzum. They used to take them all – Yasir, SumayyahSumayyah and `Ammar – to the burning desert of Makkah, where they would pour upon them different kinds of the hell of torture.

Sumayyah’s share of that torment was colossal and terrible. We shall not elaborate about her now, since we shall have – Allah willing – another encounter with her and her likes during those immortal days to talk about the grace of sacrifice and the glory of her firmness.

Suffice it to mention now, without any exaggeration, that Sumayyah, the martyred one, maintained a firm stance that day which gives the whole of humanity an everlasting honor and an ever glorious dignity. Her stance made of her a great mother to believers in all ages, and to the honorable people of all times.

Real Test of Belief

It was a way of life for the whole humanity of believers who had to inherit along with the religion all its history of heroism, sacrifices, and risks. These abundant noble sacrifices are the cement and the foundation that grant an everlasting firmness and immortality to the faith and the creed. It is the fragrance that fills the hearts of believers with loyalty, joy, and happiness. It is the lighthouse that guides the coming generations to the reality of religion, to its truth and greatness.

Therefore, Islam had to make its sacrifices and have its victims, the meaning of which is illustrated and illuminated in more than one verse of the Qur’an for the Muslims. Allah says:

Do the people think that they will be left to say: “We believe”, and they shall not be tried? (Al-`Ankabut 29:2)

Do you think that you will enter Paradise before Allah tests those of you who fought (in His Cause) and (also) tests those who remained patient? (Aal `Imran 3:142)

And we indeed tested those who were before them. And Allah will certainly make (it) known (the truth of) those who are true, and will certainly make (it) known (the falsehood of) those who are liars, (although Allah knows all that before putting them to test). (Al-`Ankabut 29:3)

Do you think you shall be left alone while Allah has not yet tested those among you who have striven hard… (At-Tawbah 9:16)

Allah will not leave the believers in the state in which you are now, until He distinguishes the wicked from the good. (Aal `Imran 3: 179)

And what you suffered (of the disaster) on the day (of the Battle of Uhud when) the two armies met, was by the leave of Allah, in order that He might test the believers. (Aal `Imran 3:166)

Models of Islam

That is true. This was the way the Qur’an taught its bearers and descendants that sacrifice is the essence of faith and that resistance of unjust, oppressive challenges is through firmness, patience, and persistence, which form the best and the most superb virtues of faith.

Therefore, this religion of Allah, when it was laying down its foundation, establishing its principles, and giving its models and examples, had to support and purify itself with sacrifice. In carrying out this great mission, a number of its disciples, supporters, and righteous people were chosen to be lofty models and elevated examples for the coming believers.

Sumayyah, Yasir and `Ammar were of this great and blessed group, chosen by Islam’s destiny to make of their sacrifices, firmness, and persistence a document of Islam’s greatness and immortality.

Unbearable Torture

Allah’s Messenger used to go out every day to Yasir’s family, commending their fortitude and heroism. His big heart was melting out of mercy and kindness to see them so severely tortured. One day while he was looking for them, `Ammar called to him, “O Messenger of Allah, we are suffering from extreme torment.” The Messenger called to him saying, “Patience, Abu Yaqdhan, patience O Yasir’s family. Verily, your meeting place will be in Paradise.”

`Ammar’s companions described the torture that was inflicted upon him in many of their reports. `Amr lbn Al-jiakam, for instance, said, “`Ammar used to be tortured so much that he would not be aware of what he was saying.” `Amr lbn Maimun said, “The polytheists scorched `Ammar lbn Yasir with fire, and Allah’s Messenger used to pass by him, pass his hand over Yaasir’s head and say,. “O fire, be cool and peaceful on `Ammar, as you were cool and peaceful on Ibrahim.”

Despite that overwhelming terror, it did not vanquish `Ammar’s spirit, though it overburdened his back and strained his strength.

`Ammar did not feel utterly ruined except on that day when his executioners employed all their devilry in crime and injustice. They burned his skin with fire, laid him on the heated sands of the desert under the burning stones, ducked him in water until he could hardly breathe and until his wounds and gashes were skinned.

`Ammar .. Pure Steadfastness

On that day, when he fell unconscious under the effect of that horror, they said to him, “Say something good about our gods.” They kept saying things which he repeated without being conscious of what he was saying.

When he became slightly conscious after he had fainted due to their torture, he remembered what he had said and was mad about it. This slip became so concrete to him that he saw it as an unforgivable sin which could not be atoned for. In a few moments his feeling of guilt made him suffer so much that the torture of the polytheists seemed to him a blessing and a balm.

If he had been left to such feelings for a few hours, they would have destroyed him. He was enduring the dreadful anguish of the body because his spirit was lofty, but now when he thought defeat had reached his spirit, he was overburdened with worries and fear of death and destruction. But Allah willed that the final, exciting scene would come to its dignified end. An angel stretched out its blessed right hand, shook the hand of `Ammar and called to him, “Get up, O hero! There is no blame or embarrassment for you.”

When Allah’s Messenger met him, he found him crying. He kept wiping his tears and telling Ammar, “The polytheists took you, ducked your head in water, and you said such and such a thing?”

`Ammar answered him, still crying, “Ye, O Messenger of Allah.” Allah’s Messenger said then while smiling, “If they repeat it, say the same thing.” Then he recited: “. . . except him who is forced thereto and whose heart is at rest with Faith.” (An-Nahl 16:106)

Ammar’s tranquility was restored, he no longer felt pain when they punished him, and he no longer cared about it. His spirit conquered and his faith conquered. The Qur’an had included this blessed transaction, so whatever happened, happened.

`Ammar remained steadfast until his tormenters were exhausted and they retreated, yielding to his determination.

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The article is excerpted from the book Men Around the Messenger, which is a translation based on Khalid Muhammad Khalid’s celebrated work in Arabic “Rijal Hawla Ar-Rasul” which represents the real inspirational stories of sixty-four Companions of the Prophet.

Khalid Muhammad Khalid (1920-1996) is a modern Egyptian Muslim thinker. He is most known for his book Rijal Hawla al-Rasul (Men Around the Messenger). He wrote many books about the life and the companions of the Prophet, peace be upon him.

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Peace, Security and Other Basic Human Rights in Islam

By Abdul-Rahman Al Sheha

The right of security and protection to a person and all his family is the most basic of all human rights. All citizens in the Muslim society legally must not be frightened or threatened by words, actions or weapons of any type.

Peace, Security and Other Basic Human Rights in Islam

The right of security and protection to a person and all his family is the most basic of all human rights.

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) says:

“It is not allowed for a Muslim to frighten another Muslim.” (Abu Dawud and Ahmad)

Feeling secure enables individuals of a society to have freedom of mobility and movement in order to work and earn an honest living. Corporal and capital punishment have been laid down and established in order to impose strict penalties on those who attempt to cause disruption to the peace, security and stability of a Muslim’s society. Allah’s Messenger stated in his farewell speech:

“Truly, your body, honor, and your wealth are unlawful to one another. They are unlawful to tamper with like it is unlawful to tamper with this (honorable and sacred) Day (the Day of `Arafah during Hajj), in this Sacred Month (the month of hajj “Dthul-Hijjah”), and in this Sacred Town (the city of Makkah). (Al-Bukhari)

Sustenance, Wholesome Food & Drink for All

Wholesome sustenance is to be secured for all people in an Islamic society by availing decent and suitable work opportunities for the work force in the society.

Availability of  suitable opportunities of trades and work is crucial for people in order to satisfy their basic needs. Those who cannot work due to old age, disabilities, chronic disease, or the lack of bread-earner in the family, become entitled to public aid from the Islamic government.

Zakah, (obligatory alms and charity) given by the wealthier people of the society, is to be made available to the needy that cannot earn a decent income because of legitimate reasons. Zakah is an obligatory charity that is taken from the rich and given to specific categories of the society.

This is based on the hadith of Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) in his advice to his Companion Mu`adh ibn Jabal (may Allah be pleased with him) while sending him on the mission to call to Islam in Yemen saying,

“…Tell the people of Yemen … that Allah has prescribed a certain percentage of their wealth as zakah (obligatory charity) to be taken from the rich members among them and given to the poor and needy ones. (Muslim)

Other voluntary donations, gifts, financial commitments and the like are given in good cause to please the Almighty Allah, and extended willingly to the poor and needy members of the society. This is also based on many scriptures including the hadith of the Prophet (peace be upon him),

“One is not a believer who satisfies himself while his neighbor is hungry.” (Al-Bukhari)

These poor and needy people are also entitled to a fair right and share of the Islamic Treasury. This is also based on the hadith of the Prophet:

“Whoever leaves behind a legacy (wealth and estates), will become the right of his heirs. As for the person who leaves behind poor and needy members of his family, Allah, and His Messenger will take care of them.” (Al-Bukhari)

Proper & Adequate Health Facilities

Islam prohibits all such reasons that may cause detrimental effect to public health. Islam bans all types of harmful drugs and intoxicants. Islam bans eating blood, carrion, unclean animals, unwholesome meats like swine, and all their byproducts, etc.

Islam bans all immoral acts such as fornication, adultery, and homosexual activities. Islam imposes a quarantine in the time of plague for both incoming and outgoing traffic of people in order to make sure that no epidemic or harmful diseases are spread in the wider community. Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said:

“If you hear about an epidemic in a country, do not enter it, and if you are in a place that has an epidemic disease, do not leave it.” (Ahmad)

And he (peace be upon him) said:

“A sick person must not be brought to visit a recovering person.” (Al-Bukhari)

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The article is an excerpt from the author’s Human Rights in Islam and Common Misconceptions.

 

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Is There Any Qur’anic Evidence the Hadith is a Valid Part of Islam?

By Sheikh Ahmad Kutty

I have recently begun to ponder the validity of Hadith in Islam. If Allah had intended for us to follow the Hadith, He would have included them in the Qur’an. Since I’m pretty sure He didn’t forget to do so, is there any Qur’anic evidence that the Hadith is a valid part of Islam?

Is There Any Qur’anic Evidence the Hadith is a Valid Part of Islam

The Quran tells us to obey the Messenger and abide by his decision.

Between Hadith & Qur’an

Hadith is integral to the Qur’an; since they are inseparably linked to each other, it is impossible to understand the Qur’an without reference to the Hadith. The Qur’an is the message, and the Hadith is the explanation of the message by the Messenger himself (peace be upon him). I mention the following points to clarify the issue:

1- The Qur’an makes it abundantly clear that the function of the Messenger is not merely that of delivery man who simply delivered the revelation from Allah to us; rather he has been entrusted with the most important task of explaining and illustrating the same. This is a point mentioned in a number of verses in the Qur’an:

…and We have sent down unto you (also) the Message; that you may explain clearly to men what is sent for them, and that they may give thought. (An-Nahl 16:44)

And We sent down the Book to you for the express purpose, that you should make clear to them those things in which they differ, and that it should be a guide and a mercy to those who believe. (An-Nahl 16:64)

Therefore, the Hadith explains, clarifies, and removes ambiguities about the Qur’an. Hence, once we reject the Hadith, we may never be able to figure out the whole meaning of the Qur’an.

The Illustrative Hadith

Much of Islam will remain mere abstract concepts without the Hadith: We would never know how to pray, fast or pay Zakah or make pilgrimage without the illustration found in Hadith, for they remain as abstract imperatives in the Qur’an.

…The Wisdom

The Qur’an tells us the Prophet (peace be upon him) has taught not only the Book but also the wisdom:

It is He Who has sent amongst the Unlettered a messenger from among themselves, to rehearse to them His Signs, to sanctify them, and to instruct them in Scripture and Wisdom,- although they had been, before, in manifest error. (Al-Jumu`ah 62:2)

And recite what is rehearsed to you in your homes, of the Signs of Allah and Wisdom: for Allah understands the finest mysteries and is well-acquainted (with them). (Al-Ahzab 33:34)

But for the Grace of Allah to you (O Muhammad) and His Mercy, a party of them would certainly have plotted to lead you astray. But (in fact) they will only Lead their own souls astray, and to you they can do no harm in the least. For Allah has sent down to you the Book and wisdom and taught you what you did not know (before): And great is the Grace of Allah unto you. (An-Nisaa’ 4:113)

As Imam Shafi`i stated the wisdom mentioned here is the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him) so if we were to reject the Hadith, we would be rejecting the Qur’an itself.

Obeying the Messenger

The Quran tells us to obey the Messenger and abide by his decision:

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

And this (He commands): Judge (O Muhammad) between them by what Allah has revealed, and follow not their vain desires, but beware of them lest they beguile you from any of that (teaching) which Allah has sent down to you. And if they turn away, be assured that for some of their crime it is Allah’s purpose to punish them. And truly most men are rebellious. (Al-Ma’idah 5:49)

Where we do we find such decisions except in the Hadith?

Our Exemplar

Last but not least, the Qur’an orders the faithful to emulate the role model of the Messenger (peace be upon him) and reckons it as the only way to gain the pleasure of Allah.

It is therefore imperative that we look up to his morals and behavior and emulate them in our lives. We can never do so without studying the Hadith. It is most illuminating in this respect to learn that when `A’ishah was asked to describe the character of the Prophet (peace be upon him) her definite answer was, “His character was the Qur’an” (Muslim).

In other words, he personified the best ideals and values of the Qur’an. How could we then neglect the Hadith which alone can lead us to the precise ways in which the Prophet, peace be upon him, exemplified the Qur’anic ideals?

Authentic

Having said this, however, we must never fall into the temptation of taking all that which is found in the works of Hadith as being authentic or genuine. Hadith at all times must be evaluated by the well-established rules of validation as established by the great scholars.

Such firm criteria include the following: If a certain hadith is contrary to the well-established principles of the Qur’an or sound reason, it must be rejected.

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Source: askthescholar.com

Sheikh Ahmad Kutty is a senior lecturer and an Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

 

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Muslim Lifestyle New Muslims

New Muslims: Where and How to Learn Arabic?

There are a few things that one should do when trying to learn the Arabic language:

Arabic quran

Arabic is the language of revelation. Thus, it’s study should be taken very seriously.

Understand that this is the language of revelation. Thus, it’s study should be taken very seriously. The signs of this understanding are the following:

1- A checked intention; meaning, constantly observe your inner state. I’ve seen a lot of Western students show off their latest understanding of tamyiz (discernment). Beware of this quality because the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said about this type of person, “The Fire! The Fire.”

2- Have a lot of patience. Ibn Malik, the great scholar of grammar (may Allah have mercy upon him) began his famous book the Alfiya (a thousand line poem on grammar) with the line, “Kalamun Lafdhun Mufidun Kastaqim”.

Kastaqim” means to be firm and upright. He opened his blessed poem with that line to say to the student, “Istaqim upon the learning of this language”.

In other words, Arabic, if you really want to grasp its secrets, is not hard, but takes time.

A scholar used to say, “The entrance to Arabic is hard and it’s exit is easy”. Thus, don’t try and over-do things. Once a man had studied for 19 years. He said, “I’ve failed to become a scholar. “What have I learned?” Finally, he decided to leave being a student of knowledge and went back to his village. He sat on a stone well and noticed the rope that held the bucket had warn its way through the stone well.

Suddenly he realized something and said to himself, “Seeking knowledge is like this rope. It takes time, but with patience and focus, a rope can rub through stone”.

3- A lot of supplication: Allah says, “He (Allah) taught men expression”. (Ar-Rahman 55:4)

Thus, you must beg Allah to give you this language.

Remember that learning this language is a means of improving your servitude to Allah. Thus, implore Allah to give it to you.

4- Learning Arabic has a few components:

1) Grammar (Nahw) , Rhetoric (Balagha) and Morphology (Sarf). These are the internal organs of the language, however, know- may Allah have mercy on you, that learning these sciences will give you a technical understanding of the language. Especially if you learn from the classical texts (mutun) in the beginning. Thus, most teachers advise students to start with more basic books, which are current in content, and then later move on to the mutun.

2) Speaking, writing and expression: This is usually the last thing to come.

Arabic letters

Remember that learning this language is a means of improving your servitude to Allah.

But, once one has it, they should praise Allah in abundance because they are expressing themselves in the language of the Qur’an, the language of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and the language of “ahl al-Jannah” (the people of Paradise).

I would advise our brothers to begin and communicate with others as often as possible. Although you’ll make mistakes, and we all do, keep trying. Once, I was sitting with a group of Malaysian students from Al-Azhar. They were very strong in the Arabic and I noticed that they only spoke Arabic. I asked one of them, “Mashallah, what is going on with you brothers?” He told me, “We love to make mistakes in Arabic more than speaking our own language correctly.” Thus, you must practice, practice, practice. What you fail to use, will fail you when you need it.

As per your study I would do the following:

1- Leave the classical books until you can understand them and read them with a teacher. The best books I’ve found for learning how to talk are, believe it or not, children’s books. Their language is always great and there are a lot of conversations which will serve as a great assistant for you in the future.

2- Use a common text book that teaches Arabic such as Kitabul Asassi, the University of Medina series and many others.

3- Try to study in a center in an Arab country. It is very important to remember that a language is a culture. Thus, while living in the culture you will learn the expression of the language in its natural state.

4- Work hard

Finally, I would try and memorize some Qur’an and Hadith. Both, and the Qur’an more so, are a means of giving you fasaha (eloquence).

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Source: Suhaibwebb.com

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FEATURED New Muslims

Prophet Muhammad: The Emancipator of Women’s Rights

In the seventh century Arabia women didn’t have a ranked status or any rights. After Islam, and because the Prophet’s intervention they were treated as equals, given rights.

He (peace be upon him) is a raw model for all Muslims around the world, including women.

The Inspired by Muhammad campaign was designed to improve the public understanding of Islam and Muslims. It showcased Britons demonstrating how Muhammad inspired them to contribute to society, with a focus on women’s rights, social justice and the environment.

In this video, Shaista Aziz, a writer and journalist, talks about how the Prophet’s significant contribution to women’s rights inspired her…

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Acts of Worship New Muslims

The Ka`bah: History and Significance

Kabah

The Ka`bah was the focal point from where this preaching was spread across the world, and the worship rites of Hajj were introduced

 

It was in Makkah that Ibrahim and his son built the holy Ka`bah, the center of the Islamic movement, on a site chosen by Allah Himself. This building was not intended for worship only, as mosques are; its purpose was to act as the center for spreading the universal movement of Islam, a world-wide gathering point for believers in the One God to assemble to worship Allah in congregation and go back to their respective countries carrying with them the message of Islam.

This was the assembly which was named Hajj. Exactly how this center was constructed, with what hopes and prayers both father and son raised its walls, and how Hajj was initiated are described thus in the Qur’an:

The first House ever set up for mankind was indeed that at Bakkah (Makkah), a blessed place, and a guidance unto all beings; wherein are clear signs – the place whereon Ibrahim stood; and whosoever enters it finds peace. (Aal `Imran 3:96, 97)

Have they not seen that We have made the sanctuary immune (from violence), while men are being carried away by force all around them. (Al-`Ankabut 29:67)

Peace always reigned in and around the Ka`bah, when all around it were rampant plunder, murder, devastation, conflict, and warfare – such was its sanctity that even the Bedouins who respected no law, if they detected in its precincts the murderer of even their father, did not dare to touch him.

Prayers of Ibrahim

Look at Ibrahim’s prayers to find out what the real purpose and significance of Hajj is:

And when We made the House (at Makkah) a resort for mankind and sanctuary, (saying): Take as your place of worship the place where Abraham stood (to pray). And We imposed a duty upon Abraham and Ishmael, (saying): Purify My house for those who go around and those who meditate therein and those who bow down and prostrate themselves (in worship), and when Abraham prayed: My Lord! Make this a region of security and bestow upon its people fruits, such of them as believe in Allah and the Last Day…

And remember Abraham and Isma`il raised the foundations of the House (With this prayer): “Our Lord! Accept (this service) from us: For You are the All-Hearing, the All-knowing.

Our Lord! Make of us Muslims, bowing to You, and of our progeny a people Muslim, bowing to You; and show us our place for the celebration of (due) rites; and turn unto us (in Mercy); for You are the Oft-Returning, Most Merciful.

Our Lord! Send amongst them a Messenger of their own, who shall rehearse Thy Signs to them and instruct them in scripture and wisdom, and sanctify them: For Thou art the Exalted in Might, the Wise.” (Al-Baqarah 2:125-129)

And in another surah:

Remember Abraham said: “O my Lord! make this city one of peace and security: and preserve me and my sons from worshipping idols.

O my Lord! They have indeed led astray many among mankind; He then who follows my (ways) is of me, and he that disobeys me,- but You are indeed Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.

O our Lord! I have made some of my offspring to dwell in a valley without cultivation, by Your Sacred House; in order, O our Lord, that they may establish regular prayer: so fill the hearts of some among men with love towards them, and feed them with fruits: so that they may give thanks.” (Ibrahim 14:35-37)

And when We assigned unto Ibrahim the place of the House, (We said): You shall not take any god beside Me, and purify My House for those who will walk around it and those who will stand, and those who will bow down and prostrate themselves. And proclaim unto mankind the Pilgrimage; and they will come unto you on foot and on every lean mount, they will come from every deep ravine, so that they may witness things that are of benefit to them, and mention God’s name during the days appointed over such heads of cattle He has provided them. Eat, then, thereof, and feed therewith the unfortunate poor. (Al-Hajj 22:26-28)

Brothers in Islam! This is the story of the beginning of that Hajj which is the fifth pillar of Islam. You now understand that Makkah was the headquarters for the mission of the first Prophet appointed to propagate the message of Islam.

The Ka`bah was the focal point from where this preaching was spread across the world, and the worship rites of Hajj were introduced so that all those who chose to live in surrender to God alone should belong to one center where they could assemble every year, and go around it again and again. Their lives of faith were to be like the wheel tied to and revolving around its axle.

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

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Acts of Worship New Muslims

Women’s Prayer in Mosques: Allowed or Not? (Part 2)

By Dr. Salih Al-Fawzan

Our religion is a perfect one that comprehensively covers our welfare and interests in this world and in the Hereafter, Islam came with good to all Muslims, whether male or female as Allah says:

Whosoever does right, whether male or female, and is a believer, him verily we shall quicken with good life, and We shall pay them a recompense in proportion to the best of what they used to do. (An-Nahl 16:97)

Islam takes an interest in women, conferring honor and respect upon them as long as they abide by its rulings and adorn themselves with its virtues.

Concerning going to mosques, does Islam allow women to attend the mosques to witness congregational prayer and assemblies for remembering God? What do the Qur’an and Sunnah say about that? (Read Part 1)

Permissible

Women’s Prayer in Mosques: Allowed or Not? Part 2

When a woman adheres to the high moral standards of Islam it becomes permissible for her then to go to the mosque.

When a woman adheres to the high moral standards of Islam, such as bashfulness, covering herself, keeping away from attractive adornment and perfume (when going out) and keeping away from mingling with men, it becomes permissible for her then to go to the mosque for prayer and attend gatherings for the remembrance of Allah. However, it is better for her to stay at home, because the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

“ … Yet their houses are better for them (to perform prayer therein).” (ِAhmad and Abu Dawud)

Moreover, scholars unanimously agree that it is better for women to perform prayer in their houses than in the mosque, to keep away from any satanic seduction, and for purpose of safety and for uprooting any source of evil.

Prohibited

If a woman does not adhere to the high moral standards of Islam and does not avoid whatever the Messenger (peace be upon him) forbids of adornment and perfume when going out, then it is prohibited for her to go to the mosque, and she must be prevented from going out by her guardian or those in authority. It is stated on the authority of `A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) that she said:

“Had Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) witnessed what the women were doing, he would have forbidden them from going to the mosque as the women of the Children of Israel had been forbidden.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

When a woman goes to the mosque, both the benefit gained behind this (for her and for the whole community) and the avoiding of any cause of evil are to be taken into account (by the Lawgiver). If the cause of evil is greater than the benefit gained, a woman, in this case, must be prevented from going to the mosque.

If a woman is asked to observe these high moral standards, when going out to the mosque, then it is more worthy for her, to be cautious and to keep away from any cause of temptation when going anywhere other than the mosque.

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The article is an excerpt from the author’s book “A Summary of Islamic Jurisprudence”.

Dr. Salih Al-Fawzan is a Professor of Islamic Jurisprudence, Member of the Board of Senior Ulema & Member of the Permanent Committee for Fatwa and Research.

 

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