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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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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.

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Source: www.islamfortoday.com

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Moral Teachings of Muhammad: Lessons from the Sunnah

By Editorial Staff

Prophet Muhammad had possessed an exceptionally moral character among his people from the very beginning of his life. God selected such a man to convey the message of Islam.

morals sunrays

The Prophet’s life mirrored the due harmony between faith and actions.

Muhammad perfectly fulfilled his message of responsibility of leading Arabia from the darkness and ignorance of Jahiliyyah to the light of Islam and its moral teachings which are actually offered to all humanity.

It was by the mercy of Allah that you deal gently with them (O Muhammad), for if you had been severe or harsh-hearted, they would have dispersed from round about you. So pardon them and ask forgiveness for them and consult with them upon the conduct of affairs. And when you are resolved, then put your trust in Allah. Lo! Allah loves those who put their trust (in Him). (Aal `Imran 3:159)

The Prophet’s life mirrored the due harmony between faith and actions. He is the exemplary and the prime model of conduct for all Muslims to follow.

The Qur’an emphasizes the exalted moral character of the Prophet (peace be upon him):

Nun. By the pen and by what you write, (Muhammad), you are not insane, thanks to the bounty of your Lord. You will certainly receive a never-ending reward. You have a sublime morality. (Al-Qalam 68:1-4)

Lessons from the Sunnah

The Prophet’s hadiths about righteousness, tolerance and moral conduct are the embodiment of his noble character.

Morality and moral conduct constitute a basic principle of Islam and one cannot be a true Muslims without good moral qualities.

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

“There are two characteristics which are not combined in a believer; miserliness and bad morals.” (At-Tirmidhi)

Abu Ad-Darda’ (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said:

“The heaviest thing which will be put on the believer’s scale (on the Day of Resurrection) will be good morals.” (Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi)

Also, Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah  said: “The fear of Allah and good morals (akhlaq) are the two major characteristics which lead to Paradise.” (At-Tirmidhi and Al-Hakim)

The Best Believer

Allah’s Messenger also said: “The best amongst you are those who are best in morals.”  (Muslim)

An-Nawwas ibn Sam`an narrated, ‘I asked the Messenger of Allah about virtue and sin and he replied:

“The essence of virtue is (manifested in) good morals (akhlaq) whereas sinful conduct is that which turns in your heart (making you feel uncomfortable) and you dislike that it would be disclosed to other people.” (Muslim)

Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah said:

“You (people) cannot satisfy people with your wealth, but satisfy them with your cheerful faces and good morals.” (Abu Ya`la and Al-Hakim)

Moral Conduct in Daily Life

Once the Prophet passed by an Ansari who was scolding his brother about his immodesty. The Prophet advised him to let him go as modesty was a branch of faith.

A man who harasses his neighbor and makes him suffer any kind of damage is called cruel and stonehearted by the religion. In this connection the decision of the Prophet is:

“By God, he cannot be a believer; by God, he cannot be a believer; by God, he cannot be a believer. He was asked: ‘who’, He answered: ‘He from whose misdeeds his neighbor is not safe’.“ (Al-Bukhari)

The Prophet advises his companions to keep away from the talk that is trash, the acts that are wicked, and the deeds that are senseless. He says:

“A person who believes in Allah and the Hereafter should speak about good things or else should keep quiet.” (Al-Bukhari)

The Prophet’s Du`aa’ for Perfect Morality

Ibn Mas`ud (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “O Allah You have made my creation perfect, so make my moral characteristics also be the best.” (Ahmad)

Also, Qutbah bin Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated, the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) used to say:

“O Allah, I seek refuge in you from evil morals, deeds, passions and diseases.” (At-Tirmidhi and Al-Hakim)

 

_________________________

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The Hijrah: History and Living Lessons

By Dr. Ibrahim B. Syed

The significance of Hijrah (the migration of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, to Madinah) is not limited to the Islamic history or to the Muslims. The Hijrah not only reshaped – socially and politically – the Arab Peninsula, but also had its impact on worldwide civilizations.

God says in the Qur’an:

Those who believe, and have emigrated, and have struggled in the way of God with their possessions and their lives are greater in degree with God; and those, they are the triumphant.
Their Lord gives them good tidings of mercy from Him and beatitude; for them shall be gardens wherein is enduring bliss, therein they shall abide forever. Surely with God is a tremendous reward.
(At-Tawbah 9: 20-2)

Meaning of Hijrah

Throughout the history of Islam, the migration was a transitional line between the two major eras, regarding to the message of Islam; the era of Makkah and the era of Madinah. In its essence, this signified a transition from one phase to another, as follows:

– Transition from the position of weakness, where the non-believers of Makkah – particularly the people of Quraysh- humiliated, tortured and killed Muslims, to the position of strength. This is where Muslims were allowed to defend themselves and were able to defeat their adversaries.

– Transition from spreading Islam through individual Da`wah (inviting others to Islam) to the spreading of Islam through institutionalized Da’wah, initiated by the state.

– Transition from a position where Muslims represented a small group of people, surrounded by enemies and threatened by death, to the position of a regional power with a strong central leadership. This was one that was surrounded by a large number of followers and allies.

– Transition of Da`wah from regionalism, in which the focus was only on Quraysh and the tribes surrounding Makkah, to the phase of universalism. This is where the Muslim State began reaching out to Persia, Egypt, and the Byzantine Empire.

– Transition from being a simple Islamic group of believers, to being the Islamic nation. This was an organized Islamic state, with a central leadership and other organizations.

– Transition, which is most significantly for early Muslims, to the phase in which Islam was not only the act of worship, but a way of life. This was encompassing (surrounding) politics, economy, social interactions and every other aspect of life. This was the first time when Islam was looked upon as a comprehensive religion.

This contrast between the two periods is clearly noticeable in the Qur’anic discourse. Muslim scholars describe the part of Qur’an that was revealed in Makkah as the Makkan Qur’an, and that which was revealed in Madinah as the Madani Qur’an.

Although both parts are intermingled in the Qur’an and constitute one divine script, the discourse of both parts is clearly distinguishable. Whereas the part revealed in Makkah concentrated on Tawheed (the Oneness of God/monotheism), the part revealed in Madinah covered rules regarding Islamic life in general.

There is no doubt whatsoever that the migration of Prophet Muhammad to Madinah was the crucial event, which established the Islamic civilization. This was a civilization that thrived for many centuries.

Hijrah, the Turning Point in Islamic History

Hijrah (Immigration to Madinah), no doubt, kindled the light of hope in the hearts of the early Muslims who set a shining example for all Muslims, in every generation, to emulate.

Hijrah, in essence, is a process of transfer to a better situation. It is not meant to find a comfortable place where one would relax and stop endeavor (attempt). Rather, it is a search for an environment more favorable to continuous and constructive effort. Immediately after reaching Madinah, the Prophet undertook an all-embracing process to establish a faithful and strong society. This is a significant aspect and important lesson to learn from hijrah.

Hijrah was one of the most important events in the history of Islam. It is for this reason the Caliph `Umar adopted hijrah date to calculate years. Muslims chose hijrah as the focal point to reckon their chronology.

In physical terms, hijrah was a journey between two cities about 200 miles apart, but in its grand significance it marked the beginning of an era, a civilization, a culture and a history for the whole mankind. Islam progressed not only from the physical Hijrah, but because Muslims took Hijrah seriously in all its aspects and dimensions.

When Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) immigrated from Makkah to Madinah, he did not just transfer his residence or took shelter in another city, but as soon as he arrived to Madinah he began the transformation of that city in every aspect:

Masjid (Mosque): The Prophet first established a mosque to worship God. He himself worked in carrying the stones and building that small, humble but most powerful structure. That was the beginning, but soon other mosques were established in Madinah.

Brotherhood: He established brotherly relations between the Muslims who migrated from Makkah and the residents of Madinah who helped the Prophet and his companions. What was important was to have good relations between Muslims. They should have their brotherhood on the basis of faith, not on the basis of tribes as they used to have prior to Islam.

Intercommunity and Interfaith Relations: Prophet Muhammad also established good relations with other communities living in Madinah. There was a large Jewish community as well as some other Arab tribes who had not accepted Islam. The Prophet prepared a covenant for relations between these communities.

Cleaning the City: Yathrib, previous name of Madinah, was a dirty city. When the Companions came from Makkah to Madinah, many of them got sick and did not like that city. The Prophet asked them to clean the city and remove its dirt and filth. Aisha said: “We came to Madinah and it was the most polluted land of Allah. The water there was most stinking. (Al-Bukhari)

Water System in the City: The Prophet asked the companions to dig wells in different parts of the city. It is mentioned that more than 50 wells were opened in the city of Madinah and there was enough clean water for everyone.

Agriculture and Gardening: The Prophet encouraged the Companions to cultivate the land and make gardens. He told them that anyone who would cultivate any dead land, would own it. Many people started working and cultivating and soon there was enough food for everyone.

Poverty Eradication: In a short period of time it happened that there were no poor people in Madinah. Everyone had enough food and shelter and the Prophet used to give gifts to coming delegations.

Safety, Security, Law and Order: Madinah became the safest city in the world. There were very few incidents of theft, rape, drunkenness or murder and they were immediately taken care of.

In short, Hijrah teaches that wherever Muslims go, they should bring goodness to that land. Muslims should work for both moral and material goodness of the society.

Did Other Prophets Perform Hijrah?

A hijrah was not something special for Prophet Muhammad. Rather, other Prophets emigrated before Prophet Muhammad. Yet, the hijrah of Prophet Muhammad differed from those of other Prophets because it was not intended as a flight from torture but as the beginning of the Islamic state. The eminent Muslim scholar, Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, states the following:

Most of Allah’s Messengers, if not all, emigrated. However, their emigrations differed from that of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). For example, Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) emigrated, as related in the Qur’an : “And Lot believed him, and said: Lo! I am a fugitive unto my Lord. Lo! He, only He, is the Mighty, the Wise” (Al-`Ankabut 29: 26). In another verse, God says:  “And he said: Lo! I am going unto my Lord Who will guide me” (As-Saffat 37: 99). So, Prophet Abraham migrated from place to place till he settled at a town in Palestine, where he was then buried. That town, Al-Khalil Ibrahim (Hebron) is now named after him.

Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) also emigrated before he was assigned with the divine mission. He fled from Egypt after he had mistakenly killed an Egyptian. He sought God’s forgiveness for that, and a man advised him to get out of Egypt in order to escape people’s revenge. God says:  “And a man came from the uttermost part of the city, running. He said: O Moses! Lo! the chiefs take counsel against thee to slay thee; therefore escape. Lo! I am of those who give thee good advice. So he escaped from thence, fearing, vigilant. He said: My Lord! Deliver me from the wrongdoing folk” (Al-Qasas 28: 20-21)

Then Prophet Moses went to a country called Madyan, where he married the daughter of a righteous old man (Prophet Shu`aib, peace be upon him) and stayed with him for ten years. Throughout that period, Moses had no divine mission. He lived as a righteous man, a good husband, and a generous son-in-law; however, he had no prominent role to perform. That is to say, Prophet Moses emigrated for fear of revenge. He said, as related in the Qur’an: “Then I fled from you when I feared you, and my Lord vouchsafed me a command and appointed me (of the number) of those sent (by Him)” (Ash-Shu`ara’ 26:21).

On the other hand, the hijrah of Prophet Muhammad was not only to escape temptation and torture of his people. It was the starting point to establish the Muslim nation, a new Muslim community based on Islam, the universal divine message that calls for morality and human rights. That was the very purpose of Prophet Muhammad’s hijrah to Madinah, and he performed his role as best as possible. He put the foundation of a sound Muslim community and established the best nation ever created.

What Is the Hijrah Calendar?

Muslims measure the passage of time using the Islamic (hijrah) calendar. This calendar has twelve lunar months, the beginnings and endings of which are determined by the sighting of the crescent moon. Years are counted since the hijrah, which is when the Prophet Muhammad migrated from Makkah to Madinah (approximately July 622 CE).

The Islamic calendar was first introduced by the close companion of the Prophet, `Umar ibn Al-Khattab. During his leadership of the Muslim community, in approximately 638 CE, he consulted with his advisors in order to come to a decision regarding the various dating systems used at that time. It was agreed that the most appropriate reference point for the Islamic calendar was the hijrah, since it was an important turning point for the Muslim community.

After the emigration to Madinah, the Muslims were able to organize and establish the first real Muslim “community,” with social, political, and economic independence. Life in Madinah allowed the Muslim community to mature and strengthen, and the people developed an entire society based on Islamic principles.

The Islamic calendar is the official calendar in many Muslim countries, especially Saudi Arabia. Other Muslim countries use the Gregorian calendar for civil purposes and only turn to the Islamic calendar for religious purposes.

Lunar Months Each Year

The Islamic year has twelve months that are based on a lunar cycle. God says in the Qur’an:

The number of months in the sight of Allah is twelve (in a year) – so ordained by Him the day He created the heavens and the earth…. (At-Tawbah, 9: 36)

It is He Who made the sun to be a shining glory, and the moon to be a light of beauty, and measured out stages for it, that you might know the number of years and the count of time. Allah did not create this except in truth and righteousness. And He explains His signs in detail, for those who understand (Yunus, 10: 5)

And in his final sermon before his death, the Prophet Muhammad said, among other things: “With Allah the months are twelve; four of them are holy; three of these are successive and one occurs singly between the months of Jumada and Sha`ban.” (Al Bukhari)

Islamic months begin at sunset of the first day, the day when the lunar crescent is visually sighted. The lunar year is approximately 354 days long, so the months rotate backward through the seasons and are not fixed to the Gregorian calendar.

The months of the Islamic year are:

1. Muharram (“Forbidden” – it is one of the four months during which it is forbidden to wage war or fight)

2. Safar (“Empty” or “Yellow”)

3. Rabi` Awwal (“First spring”)

4. Rabi` Thani (“Second spring”)

5. Jumada Awwal (“First freeze”)

6. Jumada Thani (“Second freeze”)

7. Rajab (“To respect” – this is another holy month when fighting is prohibited)

8. Sha`ban (“To spread and distribute”)

9. Ramadan (“Parched thirst” – this is the month of daytime fasting)

10. Shawwal (“To be light and vigorous”)

11. Dhul-Qi`dah (“The month of rest” – another month when no warfare or fighting is allowed)

12. Dhul-Hijjah (“The month of Hajj” – this is the month of the annual pilgrimage to Makkah, again when no warfare or fighting is allowed)

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Source: Islamic Research Foundation International – www.irfi.org.

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Mosques in Islam: Purpose and Role

The masajid should be places wherein Muslims learn how to prostrate their hearts before Allah.

The masajid should be places wherein Muslims learn how to prostrate their hearts before Allah.

As the primary religious institution, the masjid has the greatest role in community building, and its success in performing this role is essential for the wellbeing of the community, particularly where Muslims live as minorities.

Sadly, the role of the masjid in many Muslim communities around the globe has recently been reduced to being a physical place where prayers are offered. It is time to reverse that trend and revive the role of this institution to what it was in the early history of Islam. Such a revival cannot be fully realized without first developing a clear understanding from the revelation, the Qur’an and Sunnah, about the importance, virtue, and role of the masjid in Islam.

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “The best patches (of earth) are the masajid (mosques) and the worst are the markets.” (Ibn Hibban)

Thus, Allah chose His Prophets to establish them, He said:

And (mention) when Abraham was raising the foundations of the House and (with him) Ishmael. (Al-Baqarah 2:127)

And He commanded them to purify them and keep them clean, He said:

And We charged Abraham and Ishmael, (saying), “Purify My House”… (Al-Baqarah 2:125)

Furthermore, Allah made the reward of building the masajid most abundant. Regarding this, the Messenger of Allah said:

“Whoever builds a mosque for Allah, though it be the size of the ground nest of a sand-grouse, Allah will build for him a house in Paradise.” (Ibn Majah)

Refuge for Hearts

Allah made the masajid a refuge for the hearts of His righteous servants, as the Prophet said:

“There are seven (types of people) whom Allah will protect with His Shade, on the Day (of Resurrection) when there will be no shade except His Shade.” Of them is, “A person whose heart is attached to the masjid.”

It should suffice the caretakers of the masajid that Allah praised them with this description,

The mosques of Allah are only to be maintained by those who believe in Allah and the Last Day and establish prayer and give zakah and do not fear except Allah, for it is expected that those will be of the (rightly) guided. (At-Tawbah 9:18)

It was not a coincidence that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) started his mission in Madinah by building the masjid, which he made in its center.

The masjid takes its name from one of the actions of salah (prayer), which is sujud (prostration). It is the action wherein the believer shows the utmost humility to Allah. The salah is the best of our actions, as the Prophet told us in the hadith of Thawban.

Beyond Prayer

However, the role of the masjid is not limited to the performance of salah. The masajid should be places wherein Muslims learn how to prostrate their hearts before Allah, and not only their bodies. They are places of tarbiyah (refinement) of the Muslim character.

To the Prophet  and his Companions, the masjid was not only a place where they prayed, but it was also a place where they learned, recited the Qur’an, made dhikr (remembrance) and du`aa’ (supplication), met with each other, socialized, received the delegations, prepared the expeditions and raised funds for various good causes.

In fact, it was sometimes even a place for tending to the sick, and a shelter for the homeless. In the physical world, it was at the center of their lives. At the same time, it was the cradle of their learning and spiritual growth.

Whatever can be said about the importance of the masjid for Muslim communities throughout the world it is even more magnified when we talk about the Muslim minorities, to whom the masjid is truly the ark of Noah. In America, for example, Muslims are a small minority scattered throughout a large continent. For some of them, weeks or months may pass by without getting a chance to see another Muslim except in the masjid.

The masjid, therefore, constitutes the link between them and their deen (religion). In it, they develop that emotional bond with their community, which is vital to the wellbeing of their allegiance to the Ummah and faith in Allah. Many youth may find in the masjid the role models they lack at home.

In addition to this, for Muslims to see a masjid– especially the youth who did not grow up in Muslim countries– is vital because it’s the most evident symbol of Islam in their tangible world.

What Else?

The pressing question now is how to revive the role of the masjid in our times, particularly where Muslims live as minorities? Here are some of the things we need to do as a community.

We need to educate ourselves regarding what may be done at the masjid…

To begin with, one must emphasize that the primary actions in the masjid are salah (prayers), dhikr (mention of Allah), du`aa’ (supplication), tilawah (recitation), and education.

In light of that, priority must be given to the main jama`ah (congregants) of the masjid and activities led by the designated imam. Those who do anything else, or do something other than what the main jama`ah does, should not cause disruption. Abu Sa`eed narrated that the Prophet was in i`tikaf and heard them raising their voices with recitation, so he said:

“Each one of you is in munajah (soft conversation) with his Lord, so don’t bother one another, and don’t raise your voices above each other in recitation (or salah).” (Abu Dawud)

If it is prohibited for someone who is praying or reciting the Qur’an to bother the other worshipers, then it is more prohibited for someone doing something inferior to that to bother them.

Having said that, there is still room for much to be done at the masjid, and while many actions are prohibited in it, such as conducting business, advertising, announcing lost items, many other practices are thought to be prohibited when they are not.

Some of us Muslims have this mental image of the masjid as a sterile, extremely quiet place where people pray together and disperse thereafter. This causes some to enforce many restrictions in the masjid that would eventually make it an unwelcoming place for children and families, and even to adult men. However, a tour through the masjid of the Prophet (peace be upon him) during his time may help us rid ourselves of this false conviction.

To be continued…

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Source: muslimmatters.org

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Why Do Muslim Women Cover Their Heads?

By Saulat Pervez

Islam’s code of modesty extends to all aspects of one’s life, including attire. b, the head-covering worn by Muslim women, is an outer manifestation of an inner commitment to worship God. But why actually do Muslim women cover their heads?

cover

More than a dress code, the hijab encompasses modest behaviors, manners and speech.

This brochure explores the different dimensions hijab brings to the lives of women and the responsibility men and women share in upholding modesty in society. Along the way, it debunks common stereotypes and celebrates the voices of women who practice hijab with pride!

One of the questions often asked by people is, “Why do Muslim women cover their heads?” The answer lies in understanding the essence of one’s existence as explained in Islam.

Act of Worship

Muslims believe that their true purpose in life is to worship God according to His instructions, as revealed in the Qur’an and through the teachings of Muhammad(peace be upon him), the final prophet of Islam.

Worship in Islam is a holistic concept which encourages God-consciousness in every facet of daily life, from charity and neighborliness to prayer and honest dealings in business. Modest clothing is an integral aspect of worship in Islam as well.

In the Qur’an, God says,

And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms… (An-Nur 24:31)

When God revealed this verse, the female companions of the Prophet Muhammad promptly adopted these guidelines. In a similar spirit of obedience, Muslim women have maintained modest covering (hijab) ever since.

Hence, the primary motivation for covering/wearing the hijab is to obey God.

A Personal Journey

Wearing hijab is a personal and independent decision that comes from a sincere yearning to please God while appreciating the wisdom underlying His command. Many people mistakenly believe that women are forced to cover their heads/wear the hijab. This concept is not based on Islamic teachings as God says in the Qur’an, “Let there be no compulsion in religion” (Al-Baqarah 2:256).

Likewise, Prophet Muhammad never forced religion upon anyone. If a woman is being forced to cover, it is contrary to this clear Islamic principle and might be due to cultural or social pressure. According to Islam, a woman willfully chooses to commit to this act of worship.

Days of contemplation, an inevitable fear of consequences as well as reactions and, ultimately, plenty of courage weigh heavily in making the leap.

Katherine Bullock, a Canadian convert to Islam, stated, “For me, the lead up to the decision to wear hijab was more difficult than actually wearing it. I found that, praise be to God, although I did receive negative comments from people, I appreciated the feeling of modesty that wearing the hijab gave me.”

Further, many people make the error of thinking that the hijab is a definitive statement of a woman’s religiosity, as if it is a clear indicator of her spiritual commitment. While veiling is a reflection of one’s beliefs, the hijab simultaneously becomes a tangible reminder to the woman herself: to embody the modesty and dignity it represents and to carry one’s self in a way that pleases God. In that sense, the hijab symbolizes a journey of devotion rather than the end-result of piety.

“After I started wearing hijab,” continued Bullock, “I noticed that people would often behave more cautiously with me, like apologizing if they swore. I appreciated that. I feel that wearing hijab has given me an insight into a decent and upright lifestyle.”

Saba Baig, an American woman converted to Islam, stated, “Before I started wearing hijab my self-perception was rooted in other people’s perceptions of me. I dressed to elicit compliments, keep up with the latest trend, wearing the most desired brand name – which had very little to do with me, and more importantly, what God thought of me.

Before hijab I was in bondage to the surrounding society. After hijab, I became attached to God. With that connection to God came an enormous amount of freedom. Confidence and self-respect were just some of the benefits.”

Ambassadors of Faith

Generalizations and stereotypes about Islam and Muslims are rampant in today’s society and, by extension, in the minds of many people whose worldview is shaped by the media. Muslim women in hijab are frequently stigmatized; they are regarded on the one hand as oppressed and, on the other, as religious fanatics. Due to such misconceptions, unfortunately, the larger society fails to acknowledge and appreciate Muslim women’s courage in standing up to societal norms in their determination to preserve their modesty.

Hijab clearly identifies women as followers of Islam, which can have its disadvantages in a land where misinformation about the faith and its adherents abounds. For instance, some Muslim women are discriminated against in the workplace while others are emotionally abused through insensitive remarks. Yet, drawing on inner strength and resolve, Muslim women take these incidents in stride. Their love for God and commitment to modesty empower them in the face of challenges.

Indeed, Muslim women identify themselves with Mary who is commemorated for her piety and modesty. Aminah Assilmi, who converted to Islam in 1977, was once asked about going out in public without her hijab and she responded, “I cannot help but wonder if they would have ordered Mary, the mother of Jesus, to uncover her hair.”

“By focusing on what God wants from me, and thinks of me, I am no longer a prisoner of other people’s desires,” declared Baig. “Knowing that I am doing what God, my Creator, has ordained for me gives me a contentment and happiness like no other.”

Despite all the odds, Muslim women in hijab have managed to carve a niche for themselves while upholding their Islamic identities. They actively participate in their surroundings, be it as homemakers or professionals, on the sports field or in the artistic arena, in public service or in charitable activities. Conspicuous in their head-coverings, these women have become ambassadors of the Islamic faith.

Cover…Mutual Modesty

More than a dress code, the hijab encompasses modest behaviors, manners and speech. The inner humility as exhibited through etiquettes and morals completes the significance of the physical veil. However, contrary to popular belief, these characteristics are not limited to women alone.

God also commands men to maintain their modesty in the Qur’an:

Tell believing men to lower their glances and guard their private parts: that is purer for them. God is well aware of everything they do. (An-Nur 24:30)

In Islam, the responsibility falls on each gender to protect their own modesty and to control their own desires. Whether a woman dresses modestly or not, it is the obligation of each man to guard his own chastity.

While many people may think that hijab is worn primarily to restrain men’s illicit desires, this is another misconception. Indeed, it is not women’s duty to regulate the behavior of men. Men are accountable for their own conduct; they are equally required to be modest and to handle themselves responsibly in every sphere of their lives.

In reality, Muslim women cover/wear the hijab to seek the pleasure of God and to uphold Islam’s code of modesty. The majority of women who cover consider it a constant reminder that they do not adorn their bodies for men:

“Hijab forces someone to look past the external and focus on the internal. How many women do we know that feel they have to sexualize themselves to gain attention; why don’t we see as many men wearing short bottoms and tighter tops? Because we have always given men a pass on their looks, demanding from them success and intellect instead,” reflected Baig.

“Women however, are valued for their looks, their beauty. We have entire industries built upon making a woman feel that she isn’t pretty enough, or thin enough,” she added. “Hijab, on the other hand, takes one beyond the superficial. It elevates her in society by desexualizing her, and individuating her instead.”

Islam is a religion of moderation and balance; it does not expect women alone to uphold society’s morality and dignity.

Rather, Islam asks men and women to strive mutually to create a healthy social environment of practical values and morality. In short, the concept of modesty in Islam is holistic, and applies to both men and women. The ultimate goal is to please God and to maintain a wholesome and stable society:

…In God’s eyes, the most honored of you are the ones most mindful of Him: God is all knowing, all aware. (Al-Hujurat 49:13)

Islam clearly establishes that men and women are equal in front of God. At the same time, it does recognize that they are not identical. God created men and women with unique physiological and psychological attributes. In Islam, these differences are embraced as vital components to a healthy family and community structure with each individual contributing their own distinctive talents to society.

Hence, God’s rules apply to both genders, but in diverse ways. For example, men are also required to cover parts of their body out of modesty, but not in the same way as women. Similarly, men are prohibited from wearing silk clothing and gold ornaments whereas women have no such restrictions. Therefore, God has ordained different commands for men and women while encouraging both to be modest.

As more and more Muslim women embrace hijab, they renew their commitment to God through their appearance as they continue their lifelong spiritual journey. Unfortunately, such women often seem mysterious to those not acquainted with the religious significance of hijab.

Understanding the beliefs and lifestyle choices of Muslims, and the emphasis Islam places on modesty, eliminates the stereotypes associated with hijab. People of many different faiths and beliefs make up this patchwork world of ours. Muslims are an integral part of this diversity. It’s time we overcome our fears and bridge our distances. So, the next time you see a Muslim, stop and chat with them – and decide for yourself!

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Source: whyislam.org

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What Are the First Steps a New Muslim Should Take?

What Are the First Steps a New Muslim Should Take?

Embracing Islam and coming back to the true religion of Allah (Exalted be He) is truly a blessing. Becoming a Muslim is not just an ideological change but a lifetime change. One who accepts Islam is said to have all their past sins erased.

What should a new Muslim’s first steps be right after accepting Islam? How should he deal with their new life as Muslim?

Sheikh Abdullah Hakim Quick, History Specialist, answers in the video below…



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Source: Faith IQ

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The Social System in Islam: Foundations and Practices

By Abul A`La Mawdudi

The foundations of the social system of Islam rest on the belief that all human beings are equal and constitute one single fraternity.

The Social System in Islam

In Islam, if there is any real difference between man and man it cannot be one of race, color, or language, but of ideas, beliefs and principles.

Equality of Mankind

God created a human couple to herald the beginning of the life of mankind on earth, and everybody living in the world today originates from this couple. The progeny of this couple were initially a single group with one religion and the same language.

But as their numbers gradually increased, they spread all over the earth and, as a natural result of their diversification and growth, were divided into various tribes and nationalities. They came to speak different languages; their modes of dress varied; and their ways of living also differed widely. Climates and environments affected their color and physical features.

All these differences exist in the world of reality and Islam does not seek to ignore them. But it disapproves of the prejudices which have arisen among mankind because of these differences in race, color, language and nationality.

Islam makes clear to all men that they have come from the same parents and are therefore brothers and equal as human beings.

Islam says that if there is any real difference between man and man it cannot be one of race, color, country or language, but of ideas, beliefs and principles.

Two children of the same mother, though they may be equal from the point of view of a common ancestry, will have to go their different ways in life if their beliefs and moral conduct differ.

On the contrary, two people, one in the East and the other in the West, even though geographically and outwardly separated by vast distances, will tread the same path in life if they share the same code of moral behaviour.

On the basis of this fundamental tenet, Islam seeks to build a principled and ideological society very different from the racial, nationalistic and parochial societies existing in the world today.

The basis of co-operative effort among men in such a society is not the place of one’s birth but a creed and a moral principle. Anyone, if he believes in God as his Master and Lord and accepts the guidance of the Prophets as the law of his life, can join this community, whether he is a resident of America or Africa, whether he belongs to the Semitic race or the Aryan, whether he is black or fair-skinned, whether he speaks a European language or Arabic.

All those who join this community will have the same rights and social status. They will not be subjects to any racial, national or class distinctions. No one will be regarded as high or low. There will be no untouchability. There will be no special restrictions upon them in making marriages, eating and drinking and social contacts. No one will be looked down upon because of his birth of work. No one will claim any distinctive rights by virtue of his caste, community or ancestry.

Islamic Criterion

Man’s merit will not depend on his family connections or riches, but only on whether he is better than others in moral conduct or excels others in piety and righteousness.

Such social order, transcending as it does geographical boundaries and the barriers of race, color and language, is appropriate for all parts of the world; on its foundations can be raised the universal brotherhood of man.

In societies based on race or nationality only those people can join who belong to a particular race or nation, but in Islam anyone who accepts its creed and moral standards can become a member, possessing equal rights with everyone else.

Those who do not accept this creed, while obviously not being received into the community, are treated with tolerance and humanity and guaranteed all the basic human rights.

It is clear that if two children of the same mother differ in their ideas, their ways of life will be different; but this does not mean that they cease to be brothers.

In the same way, if two nations or two groups of people living in the same country differ in their fundamental beliefs, principles and ideology, their societies will also certainly differ; yet they will continue to share the common ties of humanity.

Hence, the Islamic society offers to non-Muslim societies and group the maximum social and cultural rights that can possibly be accorded.

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

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The Qur’an and Social Stability

The Qur'an and Social Stability

First of all, the Qur’an gives us the main objective of our existence.

 

When we talk about understanding the Qur’an, we talk about the Angels asking Allah in Surat Al-Baqarah: “Will You place upon it (the world) one who causes corruption therein and sheds blood… ?” (Al-Baqarah 2:30)

This is one of the jobs of the Qur’an: to make society civil. The opposite of spilling blood and oppression and sin is to live a civil life. So, one of the objectives of the Qur’an is a social-political reality of stability in society.

That’s why many of the great scholars, such as Ibn Taymiyah, Imam Ash-Shatibi, Sheikh `Abdullah ibn Bayyah, said that the entire Islamic legislative system came for the benefit of the servants of Allah; to make life good for us. That’s why Allah said in the Qur’an: “Those people who believe and do righteousness, We are going to give them a good life”. (An-Nahl 16:97)

Now specifically, we want to talk about how we should understand the Qur’an in the concept of our lives. What does the Qur’an do for us?

First of all, the Qur’an gives us the main objective of our existence. And those of you who studied philosophy and other similar disciplines, this is what people talk about all the time. Subhan Allah (Glory be to Allah), I went to the library the other day and you can find countless books on the purpose of human beings. Why are we here? What’s our purpose? What’s our cause?

Allah is Al-`Alim (the All Knowing), Al-Hakeem (the Most Wise) and whenever Allah mentions these attributes, He emphasizes that He is the One Who is Knowledgeable and He has wisdom in His knowledge. In one verse of the Qur’an Allah identified the purpose of humanity; the reason that we’re here, the objective of life. Allah said:

And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me. (Adh-Dhariyat 51:56)

Our purpose is `ibadah (worship); to worship Allah. In one verse! There’s no need for a long discourse on this. We have been created to worship.

Maybe in your classes, especially the classes that you’re taking in philosophy, you have some atheists and maybe someone would say to you: ‘Well, I don’t believe in this. I don’t believe that we’re here to be servants’.

Tell them: ‘Okay, don’t use the restroom. Don’t sleep. Don’t eat. Don’t get tired. Don’t pick your nose when nobody’s looking. Don’t blink your eyes’.

They’re going to tell you: ‘I can’t. I cannot do that’.

‘Yes, because you are the slave of something. You are enslaved’.

They’re going to say: ‘Oh, this is physics’.

’You can call it what you want to call it, man. We call it enslavement. Stephen Hawking calls it physics. But we call it `ibadah.’

Allah said everything is going to submit to Allah whether by choice or by force -force meaning in the physical realm of life, not in the intellectual realm:

And whoever is in the heavens and the earth makes obeisance to Allah only, willingly and unwillingly, and their shadows too at morn and eve. (Ar-Ra`d 13:15)

So the Qur’an identified the purpose of creation. And there are many logical arguments mentioned in the Qur’an as to why human beings have been created for this purpose.

We should know that in the Qur’an Allah made this `ibadah comprehensive when He said:

Say, ‘Indeed, my prayer, my rites of sacrifice, my living and my dying are for Allah, Lord of the worlds’. (Al-An`am 6:162)

This is the purpose of our existence; to be the servants of Allah.

Why? Because if somebody is not the servant of Allah, what will they be? They will be the servant of something else.

I remember, subhan Allah, before I was Muslim I used to be a member of the Bloods and I came into a swap meet wearing all my red and stuff, with my boys. And we ran into these Muslim guys, you know with big turbans and beards, in Oklahoma of all places. So, I went to this brother and I said: ‘You, what’s up, man?’ (I don’t talk like that anymore, al-hamdulillah, thanks to Allah)

So, he responded to me and said: ‘Yeah, what’s up?’ And I was amazed, thinking, ‘This foreign cat can really speak English’. Little did I know that that guy was from Brooklyn, NY. He was an American. And subhan Allah he started giving me da`wah (call to Islam).

He said: ‘You see that money you have in your pocket from selling dime bags? You see that pager you have? You see that car you drive with the Dayton and the beats? You see these girls you’re trying to rap on? All of this is your ilah’.

I said to him: ’What’s an ilah?’

He said: ‘Your god’.

I said: ‘You’re right. You’re correct, this is my god’. At that time, if somebody scratched my car I’d put a cap in their…foot. If somebody tried to talk to my girl we were going to go outside. I said: ‘These are the emotions that should be attached to a deity’.

He said: ‘Exactly, and this is the message of Islam. To attach these emotions, as well as physical actions, to the one who deserves it. La ilaha illa Allah (there is no god but God)’.

So Islam identified this purpose in our lives for us. For thirteen years in Makkah, this was the message of the Qur’an: submission to and worship of the One Who deserves to be worshiped.

The other thing that we should know about the Qur’an is that it is comprehensive. And in university you’re going to be pounded with something called secularism, maybe directly or indirectly. But it will be implanted into your hard-drive. If you use anti-virus it will not work. You have to use the Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him).

This is our anti-virus system. When something comes in to us, and it doesn’t fit our understanding of the world around us, we apply the anti-virus system of the Qur’an. But if we’re not reading the Qur’an, if we’re not studying the Qur’an, if we’re not thinking about the Qur’an, it’s the same as if you leave your computer open without ever using anti-virus on it. What’s going to happen to your computer after six months? So, subhan Allah, how many of us for many years have not used the anti-virus system of the Qur’an? How many? There are so many of us.

Do we have a day-to-day relationship with the Qur’an? Do we have a monthly relationship with the Qur’an? Do we have a yearly relationship with the Qur’an? If not, we are going to be infected cognitively and eventually it will affect al-jawarih (the limbs).

Look at the Qur’an. You’re going to find penal law in the Qur’an. For example, Allah mentioned in the Qur’an that if somebody kills someone you have the right to blood money, or that they should also be killed according to the government system: “O you who believe! The law of equality is prescribed to you in cases of murder”. (2:178)

We have in the Qur’an inheritance (4:11). We have in the Qur’an charity (zakah). We have in the Qur’an family issues: for example, for our brothers, how did Allah order us to live with women? He said to live with women in a nice, nice way (4:19).

Even bringing up children is mentioned in the Qur’an. One page of Surat Luqman is dedicated to raising children. Allah says: “Oh you who believe, protect yourselves and your families from the hellfire…” (66:6).

Even fun is mentioned in the Qur’an. Allah said: “In the bounty of Allah and in His mercy – in that let them rejoice” (Yunus 10:58). Every aspect of life has been covered in the Qur’an, maybe not in specifics. Because the Qur’an does not deal with specifics, it deals with general principles.

Like, for example, the verse where Allah said to live with your wife nicely. Allah didn’t say: ’Buy her a Gucci handbag’. Allah didn’t say: ‘Bring her roses’. Allah didn’t say: ‘Bring her these clothes’. Why didn’t Allah specify?

Because not every woman is the same. Maybe some women don’t like roses (I haven’t met one yet!) Maybe some women don’t like Gucci (possibly). So Allah left it open with a general principle, ’Live with your families nicely’. Because niceness is wide, and everybody has their own things that they like. The Qur’an gave general principles, very rarely does it deal with specifics; it left the specifics to the Sunnah of the Prophet.

We see the Qur’an is comprehensive, it addresses the individual, it addresses the family, it addresses the social system (the society), it addresses the state, and it even addresses the nation. If you want to know how to build a nation, go to the story of Moses and you’ll find five periods in which a nation is built: that he took them from Egypt when they were nothing, then they went to the next phase. It’s interesting; Allah sent the older people to the desert for forty years to get them out of the way and then brought the youth in to bring out the nation. Then after a battle and struggle you had the birth of Bani Israel (Children of Israel).

Being a just leader is also mentioned in the Quran. Why do you think in the 18th chapter we see the story of Dhul Qarnayn (18:83-98)? Why, in many Muslim countries, do the presidents of those countries not want the quraa’ (those who recite Qur’an) to read these verses about Dhul Qarnayn?  Because it’s going to remind them about being just rulers.

Everything is addressed in the Qur’an. Allah says:

We have not neglected in the Book a thing. (Al-An`am 6:38)

Nothing has been left out of the Book of Allah. That’s why they used to say that the Sahabah (Companions of the Prophet), even if they lost the string on their camel, they would go to the Qur’an for the answer. Us, we have to wait until our professor comes and says: ‘Well, you know Abdul it looks like you’re going to get a D’. This is our relationship with the Qur’an.

Whereas the Companions of the Prophet, for the most minute, insignificant problems they would refer to the Qur’an. As Allah mentioned in Surat An-Nisaa’: “…return back to Allah and His Messenger…” (An-Nisaa’4:83)

So how can you return back to Allah, now? It’s by going to the Qur’an.

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Source: suhaibwebb.com

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The Prophet’s Guidance for New Muslim Youth

Prophet Muhammad came through with the message of Islam, and his target audience, so to speak, revolved around the youth of the time.

Prophet Muhammad came through with the message of Islam, and his target audience, so to speak, revolved around the youth of the time.

By Maria Zain

For new Muslims, it is vital to read up on how Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) kept the teenagers around him in good company, enjoining them in doing good deeds. Embracing Islam can be a life-changing experience.

Some new Muslims come to Islam alone, whereas others revert together with their whole family. If a couple decides to embrace Islam and have young children, it is most likely that their children will also become Muslims. For those with older children, especially those well in their teens, the transition can be trickier.

Some teenagers may very well follow in their parents’ footsteps whole heartedly, others may embrace Islam with a certain amount of wariness and there are probably many others who would prefer not to make the change.

However for family members who decide to come to Islam and who join them on their journey in becoming observing Muslims, it is worth to note the Sunnah on how Prophet Muhammad treated the youth. This will enable the transition to become smoother and more of a positive challenge for the family as a whole.

When Prophet Muhammad was given the first revelation in the cave of Mount Hira’, it was well known that he was 40 years old. As many men at that age, he had reached a certain pinnacle of leadership qualities. Men at the age of forty are often seen running their own corporations and enterprises, have attained successful marriages and raised teenage children.

What differentiates the Prophet’s leadership qualities, though, was that an important majority of followers were at the time new Muslim youth.

In the most important mission of any man’s plight, Prophet Muhammad was commanded to change the mindset of the pagan Arabs, to do away with waylay practices, oppressive behavior, corrupted attitudes, and to embrace Islam as their comprehensive way of life.

Islamic history relays that this was a gruelling attempt at changing the culture of stone-cold pagans who were deeply rooted in their traditions. Prophet Muhammad came through with the message of Islam, and his target audience, so to speak, revolved around the youth of the time.

Anas ibn Malik (may God be pleased with him) was one of the young men who grew very close to the Prophet. Anas mentioned that the Prophet never once uttered a word of disgrace upon him, neither any other member of the youth of society. He had worked for the Prophet and grew up observing and learning through the Prophet’s actions and behavior. Anas was recognized as one of the most fluent narrators of hadiths of his time.

Prophet Muhammad had other young companions who flocked with him like feathers of a bird. He often joked with them, calling ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib (may God be pleased with him) ‘AbuTuraab’ (father of the dust), for sleeping on the dusty ground. He was also very close to his family members, in particular his youngest daughter Fatimah, and was known to show his affection for her in public.

On several occasions, when Fatimah entered a room where the Prophet was, he would rush over to her, take her by her hands, kiss her and offer her his seat. Fatimah was also known to reciprocate in kind. But as much as the Prophet kept affectionate and jovial relations with the youth, he continuously moulded them to be the leaders of the future.

There is no doubt that ‘A’ishah, Prophet Muhammad’s wife, rose to the ranks of leadership at a very young age and as she outlived her husband for half a century, she became a teacher like no other woman seen in history. Until this very day, Muslims around the world read of her narrations and regard her with the highest respect as one of the feistiest women of the companions. Another young wife, Hafsah, daughter of Umar, was appointed as the keeper of the Holy Qur’an, a grave responsibility for any youth. This shows that though many companions were teens during the Prophet’s lifetime, adulthood was only a stone-throw away.

 How the Prophet did it?

The Prophet (peace be upon him) was also adamant in protecting the youth in public, honoring their opinions during debates, even against the wisest of Muslims.

‘Ali once narrated that youth between the age of fourteen and twenty-one needed to be befriended – treated as friends. Do we teach the Muslim youth the same way? Do we earn their trust by befriending them, respecting their opinions and helping them through difficulty much like good friends would do? Or do we continue to berate them for their mistakes; chastise them for their ignorance; and ignore them when they are in need, with the excuse that they are just ’troubled teenagers’?

The youth face a plethora of social ills today. From drugs to prostitution, from school drop-outs to poor qualifications; from obsession with pop culture to over-indulgences in peer pressure– it can be difficult for the Muslim youth to stand by Islamic principles with so many distractions surrounding them.

As parents of the youth of this chosen religion, we have to realize that education spans further than the walls of the classroom. The youth surrounding the Prophet were continuously surrounded by adults, not by their peers. They learned hands on how to deal with business transactions, travelling for da`wah (calling to God), teaching those who were illiterate (regardless of age) and engaged in household chores the way adults would do.

The Prophet would have frowned at those who removed the autonomy of the youth in making their own decisions, partaking in society, learning from real life scenarios and exploring their own interests and strengths that will eventually help them excel as adults in the real world. The Prophet was also adamant in protecting the youth in public, honoring their opinions during debates, even against the wisest of Muslims and allowing them to join him on even the most dangerous entourages. The youth surrounding the Prophet were definitely very involved in society.

Parents nowadays should not just categorize their teens as hormonal teenagers. For new Muslims, it is vital to read up on how Prophet Muhammad kept the teenagers around him in good company, always enjoining them in doing good deeds and encouraging them gently to ward off evil.

Embracing Islam as a family may be difficult, especially with elder children in tow, but showing how well they are appreciated within the realm of Islam, reinforces individualism, independence and autonomy in making decisions. The upside of a Muslim family coming together to Islam is that parents and children can learn together and teach each other as they journey along to becoming better Muslims. Even if older children decide not to follow their parents’ choice in faith, they still need to be treated with love and respect in light of the Sunnah, as in time they may open up to the beautiful faith and its stance on the importance of the youth.

Prophet Muhammad recognized the youth as important individuals of society. They were encouraged to learn and grow by participating in business trades, much like Anas ibn Malik; scholarly discussions, much like `Ali; and negotiations across nations, much like Usamah ibn Zayd; who led the Muslim army, including men who were old enough to be his grandfathers, at the tender age of fifteen.

The female youth of the time were not excluded from such responsibility. Ruqayyah (daughter of Prophet Muhammad) co-lead the first emigration to Abyssinia during the worst chapter of oppression upon the Muslims. Asmaa’ (daughter of Abu Bakr, may God be pleased with them all) risked her life during the Prophet’s and Abu Bakr’s plight to Madinah. She could have been killed, but due to her strong upbringing based on love for and fear of God, she took it upon her duty to protect the Prophet and her father when they were being hunted down by the Quraish.

Prophet Muhammad always perused kindness and patience in dealing with youngsters, treating them with respect, valuing their opinions and allowing them autonomy to make their own decisions.

Becoming a Muslim family, together, changes a person’s mindset on how they view teenagers. Instead of individuals who are either too young to make their own decision; or individuals who should be doing homework in order to earn straight A’s that will determine their success; or individuals who should be ‘enjoying’ life through partying and gossiping about celebrities, or being obsessed about reality television stars; the youth should be encouraged to be strong and active members of society.

The youth of today do not face the challenges of the youth of the companions. But they do definitely face a whole suite of fitnah (temptations) and conflicting identities in their own right. There are plenty of ways for the youth to become active members in the community; they just need to be befriended and encouraged by adults who wish to raise them as God-fearing adults rather than allow them to be trapped in the confusion of hormonal changes.

However, this has to be done in accordance with the Sunnah. Prophet Muhammad always perused kindness and patience in dealing with youngsters, treating them with respect, valuing their opinions and allowing them autonomy to make their own decisions.

For new Muslims, it is also important for their teenagers to find comrades of a feather, regardless of age and culture. As long as the new Muslim youth find a strong sense of belonging in Islam and a thriving Muslim community, their priorities as Muslims will be set on the right track and they will be able to achieve the same glory as the youth who surrounded Prophet Muhammad in the golden years of Islam.

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Source: islammessage.com

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