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FEATURED New Muslims

New Muslim Guide

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We would like to welcome all the brothers and sisters who have taken the decision and found their way to Islam. We welcome you all to the fold of Islam.

At this critical and turning point in your life, we present you this “New Muslim Guide” which will help you live your life as a true Muslim and embrace Islam in your daily life.

Have taken the courageous step of submitting to the will of God, you , through devotion to Him alone, are truly free and able to fill the void in your life; to lead a life of devotion to Him, and still enjoy life.

The New Muslim Guide includes materials in the form of PDF books, audio and video files which will help you get to know more about Islam.

Click here to DOWNLOAD the guide.

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FEATURED New Muslims

Hijab Story

By Tara Dahane

I want to share my story about my journey to wear hijab in the hope that some aspiring sisters will glean strength from it. Sisters, you can do it! Just keep in mind that you need to please Almighty Allah before you please anybody.

I converted to Islam in May 1996 after having been reading about it for almost 6 years. I have never regretted it only wish that I had took shahadah sooner. I did not wear hijab at first, only to wear to the mosque and during prayer times. I was aware that the condition of being a Muslimah required covering modestly yet I couldn’t act on it because of my fear of other people. I was afraid of how they would treat me such as looking upon me in pity, in utter disgust, or just plain hatred.

Actually my first bad encounter with hijab happened with my sister. She picked me up from the mosque one day and when I got inside the car she told me to “take that “s***” off my head” I am so glad that the people standing out in front of the mosque and especially my hubby did NOT hear what she said. Needless to say, I refused to take off my hijab until I got home.

Over the next three years my faith would increase gradually as I pursued knowledge in Islam more. In 1999 my faith was even stronger than the preceding years so much so that the hijab issue began to trouble me. It worried me so much because I actually thought of myself as “sinning” I had a choice to make, who was I supposed to be afraid of Allah or other people? Of course Allah is number one so my next step was the issue between head covering and face covering. I researched the Qur’an, Hadith, articles, and spoke with other sisters who wore hijab, even to the brothers. My conclusion was based on the fact that yes hijab is obligatory based on two verses in the Qur’an, Al-Ahzab 33:59 and An-Nur 24:30-31, as well as the hadith of Asma (may Allah be pleased with her) the daughter of Abu Bakr came to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) while wearing thin clothing. He approached her and said: “O Asma! When a girl reaches the menstrual age, it is not proper that anything should remain exposed except this and this.” And he pointed to the face and hands. I believe face veiling is optional as you are striving to emulate the Mothers of the Believers who by the way were special and no one can ever be like them. I believe that
there is no sin for not wearing the face veil but rather it is a symbol of more modesty and a higher reward.

Armed with this I planned to wear my hijab in to work the first day of Ramadan. I had even laid out my veil and pins the night before so I didn’t have the excuse of “forgetting” to wear it. Once I arrived at work I became more nervous because there were people looking at me in the parking lot already! With each step I got closer and closer to the building where I worked and strangely more and more calm. Until I was on the elevator and in my office in no time. I breathed a sigh of relief that I hadn’t run into anyone in the halls though. And my did I have a surprise waiting for me. Each co-worker that passed me by just treated me like they always did on a normal day. One even remarked that my veil was beautiful and at least two asked me if it was a special occasion (I had to laugh at that one). At the end of the day, I couldn’t believe that I had worked myself up about nothing all of these years!

It was truly a success to wear hijab and I feel beautiful because I am doing a thing that pleases Almighty Allah I even get more respect when I am out. I don’t care what people think anymore. If I find them staring at me I look back and smile. I am more often than not surprised to see them smiling back at me. For the ones that consider me a source of amusement, the feeling is mutual!

I recommend this book on hijab: “Dearest sister: why not cover your modesty” by Abdul Hameed Al-Balali translated by Wael F Tabba That’s all folks! Tara.

___________________________

Source: www.islamfortoday.com

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Ethics & Values New Muslims

The Neglected Value of Greeting

How important is greeting? What moral and social impacts does it have? How do Muslims greet each other?  How can we make it a habit?

In this age of technology and science, moral values and religious teachings taught in order to promote a refined society largely are neglected by all nations, and most unfortunately, Muslims are one of them.

Islamic greeting

Greeting in Islam not only increases friendship, harmony and respect, it simultaneously signifies fulfilling the rights of du`aa’

These moral downfalls are leading the Ummah toward the ditch of destruction; thus, it’s time we examine our attitude and improve it. Each community has words of greeting that are used when members of a community meet. Such greetings are to express courtesy and promote positive feelings.

The Islamic Greeting

The greetings granted to Muslims by the Qur’an hold the highest spiritual as well as moral values among the greetings of other nations.

Prior to Islam, it was common among the dwellers of the Arabian Peninsula to say, “Hayak Allah” (May Allah grant you life) and “Sabah Al-khair” (Good morning).

A person once came into the presence of Al-Husayn ibn `Ali and said, “Kayfa anta? `Aafak Allah” (How are you? May Allah keep you safe). Al-Husayn immediately corrected him in the best manner, nicely giving him the basic teaching of Islam and responding with the following words, “Assalamu qabal al-kalaamu, `aafak Allah” (Say Salam prior to talking, may Allah protect you). He then taught: Don’t give permission to anyone until he says Salam.

At another place, Al-Husayn described the reward of Salam very precisely in these words: “There are 70 good deeds in Salam: 69 for the one who says it and only one for the person who responds. One who doesn’t reply to Salam is a miser” (Bihaar Al-Anwaar, Vol. 17, Qum).

The Qur’an directs us to respond Salam in a more courteous manner:

And when you are greeted with a greeting, greet with a better (greeting) than it or return it; surely Allah takes account of all things. (An-Nisaa’ 4:86)

Proud and arrogant people never initiate saying Salam, considering it below their dignity to reply. They only slightly move their head and smile instead of saying “Wa`alaykum assalam” They are misers of the worst class, as per Prophetic traditions.

Al-Husayn said, “The greater miser is the one who displays misery in reciting Salam”. Not only this, but the Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) declared in crystal clear terms, “Whoever does not reply ‘Salam’ is not from us,” while one hadith notes, “The principal of humility begins with Salam.”

Greeting in Islam not only increases friendship, harmony and respect, it simultaneously signifies fulfilling the rights of du`aa’ (supplicatory prayer) for Muslims. Additionally, As-Salam is one of the Names of Allah.

Salam is highly recommended when visiting the graves:

Salaam upon you, O people of the graves, from the believers. You preceded us and we shall meet you, Insha’Allah).

How to Say Salam?

One hadith recommends reciting Salam in a manner that each one can hear clearly. The one who initiates the Salam first is closest to Allah. Hadith literature provides us with glorious teachings in this regards.

When someone questioned who should initiate Salam, the Prophet answered, “The one who (wish to) is closer to Allah. A rider should greet a pedestrian, a pedestrian should greet one who is sitting and a small group should greet a large number.”

Salam should be offered to all Muslims, irrespective of whether they are acquaintances or strangers. Saying Salam aloud to everyone in a gathering is sufficient, as it’s unnecessary to greet each person individually. However, it’s incorrect to greet only a particular person in a gathering. Additionally, always convey Salam cheerfully.

In this regard, the following conversation is worth mentioning and available in the sacred scriptures. When Yahya met Isa (peace be upon them), he began by saying, “Salam,” and was answered with, “Salam.” Whenever Yahya met `Isa, Yahya always was happy and smiling, but `Isa was sorrowful, as if he resembled a crying person.

`Isa asked Yahya, “You smile like a happy person, as if you’re secure and protected,” to which Yahya replied, “You display such sorrow, as if you’ve given up all hope.” Then the commandment appeared, “The one who smiles the most is the dearest to Me.”

If a person is at a distance where Salam may not be heard, then Salam can be offered with a hand signal.

When?

However, it’s undesirable to recite Salam when a person is engaged in the following activities:

  • While performing salah (prayers)
  • While one is engaged in tasbeeh (glorifying and praising Allah) or dhikr; gathering for remembering and thanking Allah.
  • During khutbah (sermon), sitting together to study or listen to lectures.
  • While one is busy in reciting the Qur’an
  • During adhan; to repeat the wordings of adhan at the beginning of each prayer. It is a call to pray together in the Mosque.
  • While doing du`aa’ (supplicatory prayer)
  • While occupied in discussion or research of religious sciences
  • While a judge is delivering a verdict
  • While eating or drinking
  • While reciting talbiyah during the Hajj .

Unpleasant Practices

If one says, “Convey my Salam to your parents,” don’t reply on behalf of your parents, as you aren’t authorized and have no right to do that. An amazing practice prevalent on written invitations is, “Salam from our late parents.”

Does anyone have the power to visit, meet and hear Salam from the deceased and then forward it to others? All credit goes to the silly writer who designed such a text and which others blindly follow.

Another unpleasant practice very common today is using “Hi” instead of Salam in email and SMS prior to beginning a conversation.

Salam is also done by embracing a person and drawing him close to you upon meeting him after returning from a journey or after a long absence. Using both arms, hug the person around the neck and shoulders and draw him toward your chest. Men may practice this Sunnah with men and women can do it with women.

Always say Salam when visiting or telephoning others and care should be taken not to visit or phone anyone during times of rest or salah.

Additionally, never enter a home – no matter whose it is – without permission. To ask permission to enter, ring the bell and when the person of the house enquires as to who’s there, say Salam aloud and give your name, instead of saying, “Me,” as the Prophet instructed.

If you realize the one inside has heard your ring or voice and is purposely ignoring it, then repeat the ring three times. If there’s no permission or answer, then as per the Hadith, you must return.

_________________________

Source: www.irfi.org

Dr. Qazi Shaikh Abbas Borhany is an attorney, a religious scholar and a member of Pakistan’s Ulama Council. He received a doctorate in the United States at NDI and a Shahadat Al-Aalamiyah in Najaf, Iraq.

 

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Muslim Lifestyle New Muslims

Islam and the Right of Privacy

By Zeinab Hassan Ashry

In Islam, the right of privacy for every individual is highly respected.

Prying into people’s private affairs and spying on their secrets are not permitted even if they are engaged in sins as long as they do it privately and not openly.

Respect People’s Privacy

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, ”Whosoever listens to people’s conversation against their wishes will have molten lead poured into his ears on the Day of Resurrection.” (Abu Dawud and others)

The Prophet (peace be upon him) also said:

“Beware of suspicion (about others), as suspicion is the most dishonest talk, and do not spy upon each other, and do not listen to the evil talk of the people about others’ affairs, and do not have enmity with one another, but be brothers. And none should ask for the hand of a girl who is already engaged to his (Muslim) brother, but one should wait till the first suitor marries her or leaves her.” (Al-Bukhari)

Be a Big Brother/Sister

Islam builds its community on mutual love, brother-hood co-operation. Muslims are but brothers and sisters. The Qur’an states:

The believers are but a single Brotherhood. So make peace and reconciliation between your brothers. And fear Allah so that you may receive Mercy.

A Muslim should guard the rights of brotherhood. He should do his best to show sympathy toward people and remove their difficulties.

He must strive to overcome his pride, anger, hatred, ill feelings, and jealousy toward people and humble himself toward them.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “A Muslim is a brother of another Muslim, so he should not oppress him, nor should he hand him over to an oppressor. Whoever fulfilled the needs of his brother, Allah will fulfill his needs; whoever brought his (Muslim) brother out of a discomfort, Allah will bring him out of the discomforts of the Day of Resurrection, and whoever covered a Muslim, Allah will cover him on the Day of Resurrection.” (Al-Bukhari)

The Prophet also said:

“Do not envy one another, and do not inflate prices one to another, and do not turn away from one another, and do not undercut one another, but be you, O servants of Allah, brothers. A Muslim is the brother of a Muslim: he neither lies to him nor does he hold him in contempt.

Piety is right here,” and he pointed to his breast three times. “It is evil enough for a man to hold his Muslim brother in contempt. The whole of a Muslim for another Muslim is inviolable: his blood, his property, and his honor.” (Muslim)

_________________________

The article is excerpted from the author’s  The True Muslim, published by Islam Presentation Committee (IPC), Kuwait.

 

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Conversion Stories New Muslims

This Is How Islam Stole My Heart…

What she had thought all her life about Islam has nothing to do with the true religion and the real Muslims she met with. How did the new Muslim convert find her way to the truth? How did Islam steal her heart?

Heart in nature

Before Islam I kept wondering why am I not happy?

Here’s the story in her own words…

I’m very excited today to share my conversion story to Islam with you through this video.

I have been wanting to share this video with you for such a long a time. And finally I got the chance to sit down and record it.

While learning about Islam, it helped me tremendously to watch other revert/converts stories. So I hope this video will be of benefit to you….

Away from Religion

I’d like to start by saying that I came from a normal religious family. My parents do believe in God but they don’t believe in religion. And there’re reasons for that as my grandparents witnessed communism.

My parents were born and grown up  under communism. Also my country was one of the most accelerated countries at the time and religion was banned by the constitution. Basically people have more derailed from religion. It doesn’t mean my parents were not spiritual, but this was the case in my family.

So I grew up without any religious education whatsoever; no religious lessons or schools. So, basically no one ever spoke to me about God or what is going to happen to me when I die.

However, I was very spiritual ever since I was a little girl. I used to always ponder about life and the purpose of my existence, why I’m in this world, what’s going to happen to me after I die, why the world is so complex, and who created it, what the purpose of us being here, etc.

With these questions in my mind, I used to meditate a lot; going out in the garden and just looking at the stars at night and just think… who created these stars. It’s just such a perfect creation.

When I was nine I started going to church when nobody in my family wanted to go to church. My father really didn’t like that. He used to ask me all the time “How can you believe that God has a son?

He just did not like that. God is independent. God needs no son. I was very stubborn and curious. I wanted to learn things. So I kept going to the church and my parents never stopped me from doing this. They raised me to be independent and to investigate myself.

So basically my father showed me what was wrong and what was then let me make the decision.

Later on I moved to the States, and there I continued going to the church.

Dissatisfaction

So, I kept going to church from two to three times a week, and I loved people there. But then there was always a void in my heart that I couldn’t explain it… something like ‘why I have this religion. I’m reading the Bible but they’re still things that I keep wondering about and I cannot find answers to.

I went to an Orthodox church, than a Protestant church. I tried different churches. However I had questions I couldn’t find the answers, the Trinity for example. I couldn’t wrap my head around that. I couldn’t understand it and how it works

Every time I ask questions the answers are not satisfying. It’s always like, ‘Oh, well that’s the way it is. You just believe in it.’

However, for me to believe something it has to make sense for me. It has to make a logical sense. It has to be something rational.

I used to see friends from all over the world, I used to go to parties with them.

While seeing all these colleague drinking, smoking and doing all these crazy things, I felt really uncomfortable. Every time they offered me drink I replied I don’t want it. “Why don’t you want it? Don’t you want to have fun?”, they asked me. My reply to them was: “Couldn’t I have fun without drinking?”

I wanted to stay away from my friends, and from the whole world.

I felt much pressure, felt uncomfortable in this kind of environment-even with my many activities in different aspects of life.

Struggle

I was going through a lot of struggles, thinking about the people that surrounded me, life in the States which was very individualistic to me. I saw people running all the time. I see them going to work, drinking in the weekends.

I kept asking myself “what is the purpose of doing all this?

And although they are doing all these things but I see they are not happy. Girls who dress up to feel accepted and loved by friends or by guys. Guys who are on drugs. There’s a big void in such a life, I felt. I kept wondering about all these things.

And at the same time I kept wondering why am I not happy?

There were a lot of Muslim people around campus. I met friends from work and from school. And one time some Muslim girls invited me to their house- these girls were wearing the scarves. It was during Ramadan.

At that  time, I had a very negative image about Islam mainly because of the media.

With that bad image of Islam I never thought about converting to Islam or anything like that. Just hearing the Qur’an, I’d gotten scared. I didn’t have anything to do with the religion. But I had no problem going with Muslim people as long as they don’t talk to me about Islam.

So, I went to their place and they were fasting. I didn’t know then that was called fasting, but they were not eating or drinking at daytime. And at the same time, they were doing a lot of things that I thought Muslim women are not supposed to do by religion. I was shocked because I had a completely different image of Muslim women. I kept wondering, “Is this how Muslim women actually are?”

Finding My Heart …

So, I just went home, I wanted to know what Islam is all about. I went home and researched…

And this is was the first step towards Islam…

Learn what happened after that; what she found in Islam, how Islam stole her heart and changed her life upside down…

_________________________

Source: youtube/Dadashka’s World Channel

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Acts of Worship New Muslims

What is a Mosque?

Muslims in the past and even today have made use of local artisans and architects to create beautiful, magnificent mosques.

Muslims in the past and even today have made use of local artisans and architects to create beautiful, magnificent mosques.

A mosque is the building in which Muslims worship God. Throughout Islamic history, the mosque was the centre of the community and towns formed around this pivotal building. Nowadays, especially in Muslim countries, mosques are found on nearly every street corner, making it a simple matter for Muslims to attend the five daily prayers. In the West mosques are integral parts of Islamic centers that also contain teaching and community facilities.

Mosques come in all shapes and sizes; they differ from region to region based on the density of the Muslim population in a certain area. Muslims in the past and even today have made use of local artisans and architects to create beautiful, magnificent mosques.

There are however, certain features that are common to all mosques. Every mosque has a mihrab, a niche in the wall that indicates the direction of Makkah; the direction towards which Muslims pray. Most mosques have a minbar (pulpit) from which an Islamic scholar is able to deliver a sermon or speech.

Other common features include, minarets, tall towers used to call the congregation to prayer. Minarets are highly visible and are closely identified with mosques.  Normally there is a large rectangular or square prayer area. It often takes the form of a flat roof supported by columns or a system of horizontal beams supported by architraves. In other common mosque designs, the roof consists of a single large dome on pendentives (an Islamic contribution to architecture that allows the placing of a circular dome over a square room or an elliptical dome over a rectangular room). There are usually separate prayer areas, with separate entrances for both men and women.

Mosques have developed significantly over the past 1400 years. Many have courtyards containing decorative pools and fountains, which originally supplied water for ablution before prayer. Nowadays however, more private bathroom and toilet facilities are provided.

Originally simple structures with earthen floors, now, mosque floors are usually covered with plush carpet.  They are more often than not decorated with straight lines of geometric designs that ensure Muslims stand in straight rows to perform their five daily prayers.

There are never any images of life or statues in mosques, for in Islam it is forbidden that such things are kept or displayed. At times, the interior walls of the mosque are decorated with verses from the Qur’an in Arabic calligraphy, or with intricate geometric designs. The patterns are made from a variety of materials including mosaics, stucco, stone, ceramics, and wood. The more classical designs are referred to as arabesque, and they take the form of a radial grid in which circle and star shapes are prominent. Designs can be both two, and three-dimensional.

More often than not, even in arid desert countries mosques are cool, serene havens.  When a person enters a mosque he or she would have left the hustle and bustle of the material world and retreated into a calm shelter or sanctuary.

Mosques are houses of worship. Men are expected to pray all five daily obligatory prayers in a mosque, in congregation. Although women are welcome to pray in the mosque it is more praiseworthy for them to pray in their homes. Nonetheless, Muslims are permitted to pray anywhere, excluding filthy or impure places such as toilets or in graveyards. Prophet Muhammad, (peace be upon him) said: “The entire earth was made a masjid for me”.  (Al-Bukhari)

Masjid is the Arabic word for mosque. However, while the term mosque has come to mean a building specifically for prayer the word masjid has retained several layers of meaning.

In the very literal sense, masjid means place of prostration. The Arabic word comes from the root ‘sa-ja-da’ meaning to prostrate. When a Muslim’s forehead touches the ground, he or she is close to God. Prayer establishes the connection between the believer and his Lord and prostration symbolizes complete submission.

Many people have incorrectly stated that the word mosque is not a translation of the word masjid. They claim that the word mosque comes from the word mosquito and attribute it to Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand of 15th century Spain. However, the words mosque and mosquito are totally unrelated.

The word ‘mosque’ was introduced into the English language in the late 14th or early 15th century from the French.  It comes from the French word mosquée from the old French word mousquaie. The French, in turn, derived the word from the Italian word moschea from moscheta. The Italians got it either directly from the Arabic word masjid or from the old Spanish mesquite, according to the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language.

Thus we can see that the translation of the Arabic word Masjid, into English becomes mosque. A mosque is a house of prayer, and a place of prostration. It is a building designed and built specifically for the worship of Allah. It is where Muslims stand shoulder to shoulder, united in their love for God and their desire to please Him.

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Source: islamreligion.com

 

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ABC's of Islam New Muslims

The Life of a Muslim: How Islam Shapes Our Lives?

dawn light

In every age, in every country and among every people, all God-knowing and truth-loving men have believed and lived this very religion.

The life of a Muslim will always be filled with godliness, piety, righteousness and truthfulness. How and why should it be?

He will live in the belief that God alone is the Master of all, that whatever he and other men possess has been given by God, that the powers he wields are only a trust from God, that the freedom he has been endowed with is not to be used indiscriminately, and that it is in his own interest to use it in accordance with God’s will.

He will constantly keep in view that one day he will have to return to the Lord and submit an account of his entire life. The sense of accountability will always remain implanted in’ his mind and he will never behave irresponsibly.

A Life Wrapped in Morality

Think of the moral excellence of the man who lives with this mental attitude – his will be a life of purity and piety and love and altruism. He will be a blessing unto mankind. His thinking will not be polluted with evil thoughts and perverted ambitions. He will abstain from seeing evil, hearing evil, and doing evil.

He will guard his tongue and will never utter a word of lie. He will earn his living through just and fair means and will prefer hunger to a food acquired unfairly through exploitation or injustice. He will never be a party to any form of oppression or violation of human life and honor. He will never yield to evil, whatever the cost of defiance.

He will be an embodiment of goodness and nobility and will defend right and truth even at the cost of his life. Such a man will be a power to be reckoned with. He is bound to succeed.

An Honorable Life

He will be highly honored and respected. How can humiliation ever visit a person who is not prepared to bow his head before anyone except God the Almighty, the Sovereign of the universe?

No one can be more powerful than he – for he fears none but God and seeks blessings from none but Him. What power can make him deviate from the right path? What wealth can buy his faith? What force can shape his conscience? What power can compel him to behave as he does not want to?

He will be the most wealthy. No one in the world can be richer or more independent than he – for he will live a life of austerity and contentment. He will be neither a sensualist, nor indulgent, nor greedy.

He will be contented with whatever he earns fairly and honestly and however much ill-gotten wealth is heaped before him he will not even look at it. He will have peace and contentment of heart and what can be a greater wealth than this?

He will be the most revered, popular and beloved. No one can be more lovable than he – for he lives a life of charity and benevolence. He will be just to everyone, discharge his duties honestly, and work for the good of others. People’s hearts will be naturally drawn towards him.

No one can be more trustworthy than he – for he will not betray his trust, nor will he stray from righteousness: he will be true to his word, and straightforward and honest in his dealings. He will be fair and just in all his affairs, for he is sure that God is Ever-Present, Ever-Vigilant. Words fail to describe the credit and goodwill which such a man commands. Can there be anyone who will not trust him? Such is the life and character of a Muslim.

If you understand the true character of a Muslim, you will be convinced that he cannot live in humiliation, abasement or subjugation. He is bound to prevail and no power on earth can overwhelm him. For Islam inculcates in him the qualities which cannot be driven out.

And after living a respectable and honorable life on this earth, he will return to his Creator Who will shower on him the choicest of His blessings – for he will have discharged his duty ably, fulfilled his mission successfully and emerged from his trial triumphantly. He is successful in life in this world and in the hereafter will live in eternal peace, joy and bliss.

This is Islam, the natural religion of man, the religion which is not associated with any person, people, period or place. It is the way of nature, the religion of man. In every age, in every country and among every people, all God-knowing and truth-loving men have believed and lived this very religion. They were all Muslims, irrespective of whether they called that way Islam. Whatever its name was, it signified Islam and nothing but Islam.

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The article is excerpted from the author’s book “Towards Understanding Islam”.

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ABC's of Islam New Muslims

Islam is Not Merely Ideas

Islam does not draw a distinction between the ‘inner’ and ‘outer’ aspects of life, between belief and actions

No Muslim can accept the categorization of Islam as merely an “idea”. Islam is based on the word of God, revealed syllable by syllable to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) 1400 years ago. Thus, it is not merely idea; rather it is an idea, ideology, the truth and a complete way of life. As the Qur’an states:

Whoever wishes for a way of life other that Islam, never will it be accepted from him and in the Hereafter he will be amongst the losers. (Aal `Imran 3: 85)

God mentions that this religion has been completed and perfected, and has no need for alteration or adjustment:

This day I completed your religion for you and perfected My favor upon you and chosen for your way of life Islam. (Aal `Imran 3:85)

The Prophet also said: “There is not one thing that shall bring you closer to the Paradise and away from the Fire without me having informed you of it, and there is not one thing that will take you away from Paradise and towards the Fire except that I have warned you about it.” (Musnad Ash- Shafi`i and others)

It is true that Islam does not draw a distinction between the ‘inner’ and ‘outer’ aspects of life, between belief and actions, religion and politics; in reality, such distinctions are fallacious. Man’s beliefs are the foundations and prime motivators for actions, for what is held to be true on the inside must manifest itself outwardly.

Indeed, the very first task given to Prophet Muhammad was to correct the false beliefs. It was not that the pagan Arabs did not believe in God, the Creator. In fact, the Qur’an tells the Prophet:

If you ask them who sends down rain from the sky, and gives life therewith to the earth after its death? They would certainly say ‘Allah!’ Say: ‘All praise and thanks be to Allah!’ Nay! Most of them have no sense. (Al-`Ankabut 29:63)

The pagan Arabs used to worship Allah, pray to Him and sacrifice to Him in times of need and distress, as did the Jews and Christians, and they even claimed to love Him, but Allah rejected their actions  and referred to them as ‘senseless’, ‘astray’ and ‘disbelievers’. Hence, this is the reality concerning most of the men and Jinn; they claim to believe in Allah and worship Allah, but what they believe about Him is incorrect and the way they worship Him is incorrect.

Most of them do not believe in Allah except while joining partners with Him (Yusuf 12:106)

There is one common cause for this rejection, that is, thinking and speaking about God without knowledge, and thus ascribing to Him that which should not be ascribed to Him, such as sons, or daughters, or human qualities and weaknesses; claiming that some of the creation possess His powers and abilities, or by claiming that He, the Majestic, is pleased by some action that in fact angers Him, or that He is angered by some action that in fact pleases Him.

Thus,  the idol worshippers call upon that which can neither benefit nor harm them; the Christians call upon Jesus ; the Jews believe their racial origins guarantee His good pleasure; and there are those who believe that power and wealth are means of success — all have put their faith and trust in something in vain. This in itself is a great evil, for they have only wasted their time and effort, yet this is least of the evil consequences.

As for that which is most severe- those who have fallen into associating partners with God, have earned His anger and wrath, and upon them shall fall humiliation in this life and a most terrible fate in the next:

Surely Allah will not forgive al-Shirk (the association of partners with Him), but He forgives sins less than that of whomever He wishes. (An-Nisaa’ 4:48)

So Shirk or ascribing partners to God (whatever form it may take) is an unforgivable sin, because it is the source of all evil, the greatest injustice, the worst oppression and wrongdoing. For, if one is unafraid of speaking about Allah without knowledge (and this knowledge is attained only through Him, for He is the best knower of Himself and His will) and that which pleases and displeases Him, then what will one be afraid of speaking about ignorantly?

Witnessing the destructive forces of nature and the untold misfortunes and miseries over which God alone has ultimate power and control, both in this life and the next, anyone would realize that God is the most worthy of being feared. Similarly, anyone contemplating the miraculous order, precision and symbiosis within the earth and universe, must realize the unparalleled knowledge and wisdom of its Creator.

If one is heedless of transgressing the laws of Allah, and attaches little or no importance to them, or worse considers them bad, evil, and outdated, then what of the laws conceived in the limited minds of men? If one is ungrateful to his Lord, the Provider of all, then of what little consequence to such a one is ingratitude to the creation? If one denies the rights and dues of Allah, which are the most worthy of being fulfilled, then what rights and dues will such a person be fearful of denying?

Imagine the case of a fictional worker in a company owned and run by you, who believes you are the lavatory cleaner and the lavatory cleaner is the director! Would there not be evil results? Would you tolerate such a person? If so, for how long?

Now envisage this fool teaching this to others and insisting on it, so that the majority of the company came to believe it, ignoring your orders and prohibitions and inventing their own rules, making the lavatory cleaner who is deaf and dumb their guide!

The true causes of the evils that beset mankind are disbelief, sinfulness and ingratitude to God:

And whatever of misfortune befalls you, it is because of what your hands have earned. And He pardons much. (Ash-Shura 42:30)

The Prophet said: “There is none who has a greater sense of ghayrah (a feeling of great fury and anger when one’s honor and prestige is injured or challenged) than Allah, and so He has forbidden shameful deeds and sins. And there is none who likes to be praised more than Allah does.” (Al-Bukhari)

Allah is more infuriated by the disobedience of His slave than a man of honor who finds his wife fornicating with another man. So how is His fury with those who insult Him by ascribing rivals and partners with Him, while He is Glorious above such things! In addition, the evil consequences are not limited to this life, as the Qur’an says:

Verily, those who disbelieved and die while they are disbelievers, the whole earth full of gold will not be accepted from anyone of them even if they offered it as a ransom. For them is a painful torment and they will have no helpers. (Aal `Imran 3:91)

The Prophet explained:

“On the Day of Judgment, the disbeliever will be asked: ‘Suppose you had as much gold as to fill the earth, would you offer it to ransom yourself from the hell-fire?’ He will reply: ‘Yes!’ Then it will be said to him: ‘You were asked for something easier than that; that you should join none in worship with Allah, and submit yourself to Him, but you refused.’”  (Al-Bukhari)

The message of all the Prophets (peace be upon them) is one and the same:

Verily, We have sent to every nation a Messenger, saying: ‘Worship Allaah and avoid false objects of worship.’ (An-Nahl 16:36)

Indeed this is the very purpose for which Allah created mankind, as He says:

I did not create the Jinn and mankind except for My worship (Adh-Dhariyat 51:56)

Hence,  shirk (ascribing partners to God) is in contradiction to the reason for which we exist- which is to single out God for worship, avoiding all false deities and to worship Him completely, with sacrifice, supplication, submission, subjugation, obedience, compliance; and with love, fear, hope, trust and reliance upon Him, seeking only His pleasure and not the admiration of His creatures; and to do all of that according to that which was revealed to His last and final Messenger Muhammad and not according to whims, desires and mere conjecture.

Furthermore, of immediate relevance to the discussion, are those qualities unique to Allah that single Him out, such as Al-Hakam (The Judge); Al-Hakeem (The Wise) and Al -‘Alim (The All-Knowing). Not only is Allah the Creator, Controller and Sustainer, He is also the Sole Possessor of the wisdom and knowledge, to legislate for mankind and to determine what is good and what is evil, what is right and what is wrong, what is lawful and what is prohibited; thus extending to the laws we should judge by and the social, economic and political system we should utilize:

And no partner in legislating has He – He is Alone. (Al-Kahf 18:60)

Allah admonished the Jews and Christians and called them disbelievers:

…taking their priests and rabbis as lords besides Allah. (At-Tawbah 9:31)

If God blamed the Jews and Christians for accepting changes and alterations made by the men learned in the Scripture and Divine legislation, for making the forbidden allowed and vice versa, then how about those who accept such actions from every Tom, Dick and Harry, who have no scripture, no wisdom and only pure speculation, whims and desires?

Islam makes no distinction between outward and inner, private and public life. People should not adopt ways of the worst error: disobedience to and rebellion against Allaah and not commit the unforgivable sin of ascribing partners to Him.

 

 

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Source: Islamweb.net

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ABC's of Islam New Muslims

How to Acquire Knowledge of God?

By: Abul A`la Mawdudi 

How does one acquire knowledge of and belief in God, His Attributes, His Law and the Day of Judgment?

How to Acquire Knowledge of God

There are countless manifestations of God around us and in our own selves, which bear witness to the fact that there is One and only One Creator.

There are countless manifestations of God around us and in our own selves, which bear witness to the fact that there is One and only One Creator and Governor of this Universe and it is He Who controls and directs it.

These manifestations reflect the divine attributes of the Creator: His great wisdom, His all-embracing knowledge, His omnipotence, His mercy, His all-sustaining power – in short His attributes can be traced everywhere in His works. But man’s intellect and capacity for knowledge have erred in observing and understanding them.

Searching for Balanced Code of Life

Some men have argued that there are two gods, others have professed belief in a trinity, and still others have succumbed to polytheism. Some have worshiped nature and others divided the Creator into the gods of rain, air, fire, life, death and so on.

Similarly, men have put forward many erroneous notions about life after death; for instance, that man is reduced to dust after death and will not rise to life again; or that man is subject to a process of continuous regeneration in this world and is punished or rewarded in future cycles of life.

Even greater difficulty arises when we come to the question of a code of living. To formulate a complete and balanced code that conforms to God’s pleasure merely using human reason is an extremely difficult task.

Even if a man is equipped with the highest faculties of reason and intellect and possesses matchless wisdom and experience, the chances of his formulating the correct views on existence are slight.

And even if, after a lifetime of reflection, he does in fact succeed he will still lack the confidence that he has really discovered the truth and adopted the right path.

Need for Guidance

The fullest and fairest test of man’s wisdom, reason and knowledge might have been to have left him to his own resources without any external guidance. But this would have meant that only those with the determination and ability to find the path of truth would find salvation.

God, therefore, spared His human creatures such a hard test. Through His Grace and Benevolence He raised for mankind men from among themselves to whom He imparted the true knowledge of His attributes, revealed to them His Law and the Right Code of Living, gave them the knowledge of the meaning and purpose of life and of life after death and thus showed them the way by which man can achieve success and eternal bliss.

These chosen men are the Messengers of God – His Prophets. God has communicated knowledge and wisdom to them by means of revelation, and the book containing the Divine Communications is called the Book of God, or the Word of God.

The test of man’s wisdom and intellect therefore lies in this: does he recognize God’s Messengers after observing their pure and pious lives and carefully studying their noble and flawless teachings? A man of wisdom and common sense would accept instructions given by the Messengers of truth.

If he denies the Messengers of God and their teachings, his denial would signify that he was devoid of the capacity to discover truth and righteousness. He would fail his test. Such a man will never be able to discover the truth about God and His Law and life after death.

Faith in the Unknown

It is an everyday experience that when you do not know a thing, you look for somebody who does know. If you get ill and you cannot treat and cure yourself, you go to a doctor and follow his instructions without question. Why? Because he is properly qualified to give medical advice, possesses experience and has treated and cured a number of patients.

Similarly, in matters of law you accept whatever a legal expert says and act accordingly.

In educational matters you trust in your teacher. When you want to go to some place and do not know the way, you ask somebody who knows it, and follow the way he points out. In short, the course that you adopt in your day-to-day life about matters which you do not or cannot know is that you approach someone who does know about them, accept his advice and act accordingly. You make every effort to select the proper person.

But from then on you accept his advice unquestioningly. This kind of belief is called “belief in the unknown (Al-Ghayb)”.

The Prophets

Belief in Al-Ghayb signifies that you get knowledge of what was not known to you from one who knows. You do not know God and His real attributes. You are not aware that His angels are directing the machinery of the whole Universe according to His orders, and that they surround you on all sides. You have not the proper knowledge of the way of life through which you can seek the pleasure of your Creator. And you are in the dark about the life to come.

Such knowledge is given to you by the Prophets, who have had direct contact with the Divine Being. They are the persons whose sincerity, integrity, trustworthiness, godliness and absolute purity stand as irrevocable witnesses to the truth of their claim to knowledge.

And above all, the wisdom and force of their message makes you admit that they speak the truth and deserve to be believed and followed.

This conviction of yours is Belief in Al-Ghayb. Such a truth-discerning and truth acknowledging attitude is essential for obedience to God and for acting in accordance with His pleasure; for you have no other medium than God’s Messengers for the achievement of true knowledge, and without true knowledge you cannot proceed on the path of Islam.

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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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Acts of Worship New Muslims

Women’s Prayer in Mosques: Allowed or Not?

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:

Women’s Prayer in Mosques

One of the things by which Islam honors woman is allowing her to attend the mosques.

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.

Allowed

One of the things by which Islam honors woman is allowing her to attend the mosques to witness the congregational prayers and the assemblies for remembering Allah in order to win reward. However, at the same time the woman must do that with due decency and precautions that keep her away from any satanic seduction and preserve her dignity as well.

With Men’s Permission!

It is detestable to prevent women from going to the mosque if they ask permission. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

“Do not prevent the female servants of Allah (women) from (going to) the mosques of Allah, but they should go while they are not perfumed.” (Ahmad and Abu Dawud)

This is because performing the prescribed prayers in congregation has a great reward for both men and women: moreover, walking to the mosque has a great reward.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

“If your women ask permission to go to the mosque at night, allow them.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Why?

The wisdom behind asking their husbands’ permission is that it is among the rights of men upon their women (wives) to stay at home. Thus, going to the mosque, in this case, is only permissible, and they art not to abandon what is obligatory for the sake of what is permissible. When the husband gives permission to his wife to go to the mosque, he then gives up his right (upon his wife to stay at home).

The Prophet said:

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

The Prophet (peace be upon him) means that it is better for women to perform prayer in their houses to avoid any satanic temptation. The Prophet also said:

“… But they should go while they are not perfumed”

On this Condition

This means that women are allowed to go to the mosque (to perform prayer) on the condition that they should not be perfumed, lest they might tempt men with their perfume, thus diverting men’s eyes to them. The intended meaning here is that perfume is something that tempts men towards women. Joined to perfume (in prohibition) is what resembles it (with regard to temptation) like wearing attracting clothes, jewels and adornments.

Thereupon, if a woman perfumes herself or puts on attractive clothes, then she is prohibited to go to the mosque and must be forbidden from going out of her home. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

“Whoever woman perfumes herself should not join us in the `Isha’ (Night) Prayer.” (Muslim)

Besides, if a woman went out to the mosque (for prayer), she should keep away from crowded gatherings of men, Imam Ibn Al-Qayyim (may Allah have mercy on him) said:

Thus, those in authority must forbid mingling between men and women in marketplaces and  gathering of men. The responsibility for this is upon those in authority since mingling between men and women brings about a great affliction. This is according to the hadith in which the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, ‘After me I have not left any affliction more harmful to men than women.’” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Ibn Al-Qayyim added:

“Thus, those in authority must forbid women from going out adorned and beautified (in a seducing way). They must also forbid women from talking to men in streets and forbid men as well from doing the same.”

                                                                                                                                                                      To be continued

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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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