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Fasting New Muslims

Ramadan Daily: Get Closer to the Qur’an

How can we build and strengthen our relationship with the Qur’an during Ramadan?

How can we get closer to the Book of God, why?

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Fasting New Muslims

Worship in Islam: True Purpose and Motives

God-consciousness

What does make a Muslim say their prayers at places where there is no one to ask them to offer them or even to see them offering them?  Isn’t it so because of their belief that God is ever looking at you?  What does make them leave their important business and other occupations and rush towards the mosque for Prayers?

What does make them terminate your sweet sleep in the early hours of the morning, go to the mosque in the heat of the noon, and  leave their evening entertainments for the sake of prayers?

Is it anything other than sense of duty; their realization that they must fulfill your responsibility to the Lord, come what may?  And why are they afraid of any mistake in prayer?

Congregational prayer arouses in Muslims the sense of their collective unity and fosters among them national fraternity.

Because their heart is filled with the fear of God and they know that they have to appear before Him on the Day of Judgment and give an account of their entire life.

Now look!  Can there be a better course of moral and spiritual training than Prayer?  It is this training which makes a man a perfect Muslim.  It reminds him of his covenant with God, refreshes his faith in Him, and keeps the belief in the Day of Judgment alive and ever present before his mind’s eye.  It makes him follow the Prophet (peace and blessings of God be upon him) and trains him in the observance of his duties.

This is indeed a strict training for conforming one’s practice to one’s ideals.  Obviously if a man’s consciousness of his duties towards his Creator is so acute that he prizes it above all worldly gains and keeps refreshing it through prayers, he would certainly not be inviting the displeasure of God that he all along has striven to avoid.

He will abide by the law of God in the entire gamut of life in the same way as he follows it in the five prayers every day.  This man can be relied upon in other fields of activity as well, for if the shadows of sin or deceit approach him, he will try to avoid them for fear of the Lord that would be ever present in his heart.  And if even after such a vital training a man misbehaves himself in other fields of life and disobeys the law of God, it can only be because of some intrinsic depravity of his self.

Then again, a Muslim should say their prayers in congregation and especially so the Friday Prayer.  This creates among the Muslims a bond of love and mutual understanding.  This arouses in them the sense of their collective unity and fosters among them national fraternity.  All of them say their prayers in one congregation and this inculcates in them a deep feeling of brotherhood.

Prayers are also a symbol of equality, for the poor and the rich, the low and the high, the rulers and the ruled, the educated and the unlettered, the black and the white all stand in one row and prostrate before their Lord.  Prayers also inculcate in Muslims a strong sense of discipline and obedience to the elected leader.

In short, prayers train them in all those virtues that make possible the development of a rich individual and collective life.

These are a few of the myriad of benefits Muslims derive from the daily Prayers.  If we refuse to avail ourselves of them we, and only we, are the losers.

If you see that some Muslims shirk the prayers, this can only mean one of two things: Either they do not recognize Prayers as our duty or they recognize them.  In the first case, their claim to faith shall be a shameless lie, for if they refuse to take orders from Allah they no longer acknowledge His authority.

In the second case, if they recognize Allah’s authority and still flout His commands, then they are the most unreliable of creatures that ever trod the earth.  For if they can do this to the highest authority in the universe, what guarantee is there that they shall not do the same in their dealings with other human beings?  And if duplicity overwhelms a society, what a hell of discord it is bound to become!

Fasting

What the prayers seek to serve five times a day, fasting in the month of Ramadan (ninth month of the lunar year) does once a year.  During this period from dawn to dusk, Muslims eat not a grain of food nor drink a drop of water, no matter how delicious the dish or how hungry or thirsty they feel.  What is it that makes them voluntarily undergo such rigors?  It is nothing but faith in God and the fear of Him and of the Day of Judgment.

Each and every moment during the fast, Muslims suppress their passions and desires, and proclaim by their doing so the supremacy of the Law of God.  This consciousness of duty and the spirit of patience that incessant fasting for full one month inculcates in Muslims help them to strengthen their faith.

ramadan

fasting has an immense impact on society, for all Muslims, irrespective of their status, must observe fasting during the same month.

Rigor and discipline during this month bring us face to face with the realities of life, and help them make their life during the rest of the year a life of true subservience to His will.

From yet another point of view, fasting has an immense impact on society, for all Muslims, irrespective of their status, must observe fasting during the same month.  This brings to prominence the essential equality of men, and thus goes a long way towards creating in them sentiments of love and brotherhood.

During Ramadan evil conceals itself while good comes to the fore, and the whole atmosphere is filled with piety and purity.  This discipline has been imposed on Muslims to their own advantage.  Those who do not fulfill this cannot be relied upon in the discharge of their duties.

But the worst are those who, during this holy month, do not hesitate to eat or drink in public.  They are the people who by their conduct show that they care not a trifle for the commands of Allah, in Whom they profess their belief as their Creator and Sustainer.

Not only this, they also show that they are not loyal members of the Muslim community; rather, they have nothing to do with it.  It is evident that in so far as obedience to law and regard for a trust reposed in them goes, only the worst could be expected of such hypocrites.

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Fasting New Muslims

Why Are You Really Fasting?

The reason most of you behave as you do is that the very meaning and purport of  `ibadah has become distorted in your minds. You think that mere abstention from eating and drinking throughout the day is the Fasting.

fasting

To go hungry and thirsty while ignoring the spirit carries no value in the sight of God.

You therefore are very particular to observe the minutest details about it. You fear God to the extent that you avoid even the slightest violation of these rules; but you do not appreciate that merely being hungry and thirsty is not the purpose but only the form.

This form has been prescribed to create in you such fear of God and love, such strength of will and character, that, even against your desire, you avoid seemingly profitable things which in fact displease Allah and do those things which possibly entail risks and losses but definitely please God.

Wrong View of Worship

This strength can be developed only when you understand the purpose of the Fasting and desire to put to use the training you have undergone of curbing your physical desires for the fear and love of God only.

But what happens as soon as Ramadan is over?

You throw to the winds all that you gain from the Fasting, just as a man who has eaten food vomits it up by thrusting his fingers down his throat. Just as physical strength cannot be obtained from bread until it is digested, transformed into blood, which spreads through every vein, so spiritual strength cannot be obtained from the Fasting until the person who keeps fast is conscious of its purpose and allows it to permeate his heart and mind and dominate his thoughts, motives and deeds.

Fasting as a Way to Piety

This is why Allah, after ordaining the Fasting, has said that Fasting is made obligatory on you, “so that you may attain to God-consciousness” (Al-Baqarah 2:183).

Note that there is no guarantee that you will definitely become God-conscious and righteous. Only someone who recognizes the purpose of the Fasting and strives to achieve it will receive its blessings; someone who does not, cannot hope to gain anything from it.

Conditions of True Fasting

The Prophet (peace be on him) has in various ways pointed out the real spirit of fasting and has explained that to go hungry and thirsty while ignoring the spirit carries no value in the sight of God.

Abstention From Falsehood

The Prophet once said:

“If one does not give up speaking falsehood and acting by it, God does not require him to give up eating and drinking.” (Al-Bukhari)

On another occasion, he said: “Many are the people who fast but who gain nothing from their fast except hunger and thirst; and many are those who stand praying all night but gain nothing except sleeplessness.” (Ad-Darimi)

The lessons are clear and unequivocal: merely being hungry and thirsty is not by itself worship, but a means for performing real worship. Real worship means desisting from violating the law of God out of this fear and this love of God, pursuing activities that please Him, and refraining from the indiscriminate satisfaction of physical desires. If you fast while ignoring this essence of the Fasting, you are simply causing unnecessary inconvenience to your stomachs.

Faith and Self-scrutiny

The Prophet, blessings and peace be on him, draws attention to another aim of fasting thus:

Whoever observes the Fast, believing and counting, has all his past sins forgiven. (Al-Bukhari & Muslim)

Believing means that faith in God should remain alive in the consciousness of a Muslim. Counting means that you should seek only Allah’s pleasure, constantly watching over your thoughts and actions to make sure you are doing nothing contrary to His pleasure, and trusting and expecting the rewards promised by Allah and the Messenger.

Observing these two principles brings the rich reward of all your past sins being forgiven. The reason is obvious: even if you were once disobedient, you will have now turned, fully repentant, to your Master – and ‘a penitent is like one who has, as it were, never committed a sin at all’, as said the Prophet, blessings and peace be on him (Ibn Majah).

Shield Against Sins

On another occasion, the Prophet, blessings and peace be on him, said:

The Fast is like a shield (for protection from Satan’s attack). Therefore when one observes the Fast he should (use this shield and) abstain from quarrelling. If anybody abuses him or quarrels with him, he should simply say: Brother, I am fasting (do not expect me to indulge in similar conduct). (Al-Bukhari & Muslim)

Hunger for Goodness

The Prophet (peace be on him) once directed that a man, while fasting, ought to do more good works than usual and ardently desire to perform acts of kindness. Compassion and sympathy for his brothers should intensify in his heart because, being himself in the throes of hunger and thirst, he will all the more be able to realize the misery of other servants of God who are destitute.

In Ramadan, whoever provides food to a person who is fasting to break that Fast will earn forgiveness for his sins, deliverance from the Fire and as much reward as the one who is fasting, without any reduction in the recompense of the latter (Baihaqi).

`Abdullah ibn `Abbas tells that the Prophet (peace be on him) used to become unusually kind and generous during Ramadan. No beggar in that period went empty-handed from his door, and as many slaves as possible were set free (Baihaqi).

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The article is an excerpt from the author’s Let Us Be Muslims.

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Articles of Faith New Muslims

Life & Beyond in the Qur’an

By Muhammad Abdel Haleem

Life & Beyond in the Qur’an

Belief in the afterlife is an article of faith which has a bearing on every aspect of the present life and manifests itself in the discussion of the creed, rituals, ethics and laws of Islam.

In the Qur’an life in this world is an inseparable part of a continuum, a unified whole (life, death, life) which gives our life a context and relevance. In this context, the life of the individual is made meaningful and enriched inasmuch as it is full of ‘good works’.

Life in this world leads to the afterlife, a belief which is fundamental in the Qur’an. The afterlife is not treated in the Qur’an in a separate chapter, or as something on its own, for its own sake, but always in relation to life in this world.

Linguistically it is not possible in the Qur’an to talk about this life without semantic reference to the next since every term used for each is comparative with the other. Thus: al-ula and al-akhira (the first and the last life), al-dunya and al-akhira (the nearer and the further/latter life). Neither has a name specific to itself, or independent of the other. Consequently, the frequency of the terms in the Qur’an is the same, in the case of dunya and akhira, each appears 115 times.

There is a reference, direct or indirect, to one aspect or another of the afterlife on almost every single page of the Qur’an. This follows from the fact that belief in the afterlife is an article of faith which has a bearing on every aspect of the present life and manifests itself in the discussion of the creed, the rituals, the ethics and the laws of Islam.

In discussing the afterlife, moreover, the Qur’an addresses both believers and non-believers. The plan of two worlds and the relationship between them has been, from the beginning, part of the divine scheme of things:

It is God who created you, then He provided sustenance for you, then He will cause you to die, then He will give life back to you. (Ar-Rum 30:40)

It is We who give life and make to die and to Us is the homecoming. (Qaf 50:43)

He created death and life that He might try you according to which of you is best in works. (Al-Mulk 67:2)

According to the Qur’an, belief in the afterlife, which is an issue fundamental to the mission of Muhammad (peace be upon him), was also central to the mission of all prophets before him.

Belief in the afterlife is often referred to in conjunction with belief in God, as in the expression: “If you believe in God and the Last Day” (An-Nisaa’ 59).

Believers are frequently reminded in the Qur’an, “Be mindful of God and know that you shall meet Him” (Al-Baqarah 2:233) (used in this instance to urge fitting treatment of one’s wife in intimate situations), “To Him is the homecoming/ the return” (Ya-Sin 36:83, Ghafir 40:3, and passim).

As a belief in the afterlife is so fundamental to Islam, it is only right that Muslims should regularly be reminded of it not only throughout the pages of the Qur’an but also in their daily life. Practicing Muslims in their five daily prayers repeat their praise of God at least seventeen times a day, “The Master of the Day of Judgment”. (Al-Fatihah 1:4)

Being inattentive to the afterlife: “They only know the superficial realities of the worldly life and they are unaware of the life to come” (Ar-Rum 30:7) or to the prospect of coming to judgment “They will be told, “Suffer on this Day of Judgment. For your having ignored it, We have ignored you. Suffer everlasting torment for your evil deeds.” (32:14) are signs of the unbeliever.

All this heightens the believer’s sense of responsibility for actions in this life. In fact the principles and details of religion are meant to be seen within the framework of the interdependence of this life and the afterlife and to color the Muslims’ conception of life and the universe and have a bearing on their actions in this life.

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Source: islamicity.com.

 

The article is an excerpt from “Understanding The Quran” by Muhammad Abdel Haleem.

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Ethics & Values New Muslims

The Moral System of Islam

Whatever leads to the welfare of the individual or the society is morally good in Islam.

Whatever leads to the welfare of the individual or the society is morally good in Islam.

Islam has laid down some universal fundamental rights for humanity as a whole, which are to be observed and respected under all circumstances. To achieve these rights, Islam provides not only legal safeguards, but also a very effective moral system.

Thus, whatever leads to the welfare of the individual or the society is morally good in Islam and whatever is injurious is morally bad. Islam attaches so much importance to the love of God and love of man that it warns against too much formalism. We read in the Qur’an:

It is not righteousness that you turn your faces towards the East or West; but it is righteousness to believe in God and the Last Day and the Angels, and the Book, and the Messengers; to spend of your substance, out of love for Him, for your kin, for orphans, for the needy, for the wayfarer, for those who ask, and for the freeing of captives; to be steadfast in prayers, and practice regular charity; to fulfill the contracts which you made; and to be firm and patient in pain and adversity and throughout all periods of panic. Such are the people of truth, the God-conscious. (Al-Baqarah 2:177)

We are given a beautiful description of the righteous and God-conscious man in these verses. He should obey salutary regulations, but he should fix his gaze on the love of God and the love of his fellow-men.

We are given four directions:

a) Our faith should be true and sincere,

b) We must be prepared to show it in deeds of charity to our fellow-men,

c) We must be good citizens, supporting social organizations, and

d) Our own individual soul must be firm and unshaken in all circumstances.

This is the standard by which a particular mode of conduct is judged and classified as good or bad. This standard of judgment provides the nucleus around which the whole moral conduct should revolve. Before laying down any moral injunctions, Islam seeks to firmly implant in man’s heart the conviction that his dealings are with God, who sees him at all times and in all places; that he may hide himself form the whole world, but not from Him; that he may deceive everyone but cannot deceive God; that he can flee from the clutches of anyone else, but not from God’s.

Thus, by setting God’s pleasure as the objective of man’s life, Islam has furnished the highest possible standard of morality. This is bound to provide limitless avenues for the moral evolution of humanity.

By making divine revelations as the primary source of knowledge, it gives permanence and stability to the moral standards which afford reasonable scope for genuine adjustments, adaptations and innovations though not for perversions, wild variation, atomistic relativism or moral fluidity. It provides a sanction to morality in the love and fear of God, which will impel man to obey the moral law even without any external pressure. Through belief in God and the Day of Judgment, it furnishes a force which enables a person to adopt the moral conduct with earnestness and sincerity, with all the devotion of heart and soul.

It does not, through a false sense of originality and innovation, provide any novel moral virtues, nor does it seek to minimize the importance of the well-known moral norms, nor does it give exaggerated importance to some and neglect others without cause.

Rather, it takes up all the commonly known moral virtues and with a sense of balance and proportion it assigns a suitable place and function to each one of them in the total scheme of life. It widens the scope of man’s individual and collective life – his domestic associations, his civic conduct, and his activities in the political, economic, legal, educational, and social realms. It covers his life from home to society, from the dining-table to the battle-field and peace conferences, literally from the cradle to the grave. In short, no sphere of life is exempt from the universal and comprehensive application of the moral principles of Islam. It makes morality reign supreme and ensures that the affairs of life, instead of dominated by selfish desires and petty interests, should be regulated by norms of morality.

It stipulates for man a system of life that is based on all good and is free from all evil. It encourages the people not only to practice virtue, but also to establish virtue and eradicate vice, to bid good and to forbid wrong. It wants that their verdict of conscience should prevail and virtue must be subdued to play second fiddle to evil. Those who not respond to this call are gathered together into a community and given the name Muslim. And the singular object underlying the formation of this Ummah (community of Muslims) is that it should make an organized effort to establish and enforce goodness and suppress and eradicate evil.

Here we furnish some basic moral teachings of Islam for various aspects of a Muslim’s life. They cover the broad spectrum of personal moral conduct of a Muslim as well as his social responsibilities.

God-Consciousness

The Qur’an mentions this as the highest quality of a Muslim:

The most honorable among you in the sight of God is the one who is most God-conscious. (Al-Hujurat 49:13)

Humility, modesty, control of passions and desires, truthfulness, integrity, patience, steadfastness, and fulfilling one’s promises are moral values that are emphasized again and again in the Qur’an:

And God loves those who are firm and steadfast. (Aal `Imran 3:146)

And vie with one another to attain to your Sustainer’s forgiveness and to a Paradise as vast as the heavens and the earth, which awaits the God-conscious, who spend for charity in time of plenty and in times of hardship, and restrain their anger, and pardon their fellow men, for God loves those who do good. (Aal `Imran 3:133-134)

Establish regular prayer, enjoin what is just, and forbid what is wrong; and bear patiently whatever may befall you; for this is true constancy. And do not swell your cheek (with pride) at men, nor walk in insolence on the earth, for God does not love any man proud and boastful. And be moderate in your pace and lower your voice; for the harshest of sounds, indeed, is the braying of the ass. (Luqman 31:18-19)

In a way which summarizes the moral behavior of a Muslim, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

“My Sustainer has given me nine commands: to remain conscious of God, whether in private or public; to speak justly, whether angry or pleased; to show moderation both when poor and when rich; to reunite friendship with those who have broken off with me; to give to him who refuses me; that my silence should be occupied with thought; that my looking should be an admonition; and that I should command what is right.”

Social Responsibility

The teachings of Islam concerning social responsibilities are based on kindness and consideration of others. Since a broad injunction to be kind is likely to be ignored in specific situations, Islam lays emphasis on specific acts of kindness and defines the responsibilities and rights within various relationships. In a widening circle of relationships, then, our first obligation is to our immediate family – parents, spouse, and children – and then to other relatives, neighbors, friends and acquaintances, orphans and widows, the needy of the community, our fellow Muslims, all fellow human beings, and animals.

Parents

Respect and care for parents is very much stressed in the Islamic teaching and is a very important part of a Muslim’s expression of faith.

Your Sustainer has decreed that you worship none but Him, and that you be kind to your parents. whether one or both of them attain old age in your life time, do not say to them a word of contempt nor repel them, but address them in terms of honor. And, out of kindness, lower to them the wing of humility and say: My Sustainer! Bestow on them Your mercy, even as they cherished me in childhood. (Al-Israa’ 17:23-24)

Other Relatives

And render to the relatives their due rights, as (also) to those in need, and to the traveler; and do not squander your wealth in the manner of a spendthrift.(Al-Israa’ 17:26)

Neighbors

The Prophet has said: “He is not a believer who eats his fill when his neighbor beside him is hungry”, and: “He does not believe whose neighbors are not safe from his injurious conduct.” (Al-Bukhari)

Actually, according to the Qur’an and Sunnah, a Muslim has to discharge his moral responsibility not only to his parents, relatives and neighbors, but to the entire mankind, animals and trees and plants. For example, hunting of birds and animals for the sake of game is not permitted. Similarly, cutting down trees and plants which yield fruit is forbidden unless there is a pressing need for it.

Thus, on the basic moral characteristics, Islam builds a higher system of morality by virtue of which mankind can realize its greatest potential. Islam purifies the soul from self-seeking egotism, tyranny, wantonness and indiscipline. It creates God-conscious men, devoted to their ideals, possessed of piety, abstinence, discipline and uncompromising with falsehood. It induces feelings of moral responsibility and fosters the capacity for self-control.

Islam generates kindness, generosity, mercy, sympathy, peace, disinterested goodwill, scrupulous fairness and truthfulness towards all creation in all situations. It nourishes noble qualities from which only good may be expected.

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Source: islamweb.net

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Ethics & Values New Muslims

How to Be Muslim and Modest? (Part 2)

By Naiyerah Kolkailah

How could a Muslim develop a modest character?

Islamic legislation calls for adopting beautiful moral traits and eliminating bad character traits.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) has made modesty a standard and measure for a person’s actions. An-Nawwas ibn Sam`an (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that he asked the Messenger of Allah about righteousness and wrongdoing. So the Prophet responded: “Righteousness is good character and wrongdoing is what makes you feel discomfort, and that you would hate for people to see (what you are doing)”. (Muslim)

One of the areas where modesty, i.e. shamefulness, should be avoided is in seeking knowledge and in educating. `Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “One who does not know should not be ashamed of asking until he has knowledge, and one who is asked about something he does not know should not be ashamed to say ‘I do not know’”. (Ibn Hajar, Fath Al-Bari; commentary on Sahih Al-Bukhari)

Al-Bukhari said that Mujahid said: “The one who is shy or arrogant does not gain knowledge”. `A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said: “How great were the women of the Ansar; their modesty did not prevent them from seeking knowledge about their religion”. (Ahmad)

How Do We Become More Modest?

If a person’s character traits were completely innate, they would be difficult to change, or replace, or adjust.

Islamic legislation calls for adopting beautiful moral traits and eliminating bad character traits. If it was not possible to do so, Islamic legislation would not obligate it. Allah (the Most-High) says:

He has succeeded; the one who purifies it, and he has failed; the one who corrupts it. (Ash-Shams 91:9, 10)

Despite that, people vary in their ability, capability, or willingness to adopt or change certain character traits. So, if a person is naturally disposed to express a specific quality, it is easier to develop that character trait even further. This is because his fitrah (innate disposition) is assisting him. As related to modesty as a character trait, it can be innate, and it can also be acquired. These are some ways to help in acquiring and developing modesty:

1- Refrain from shameless words or actions, such as foul or evil speech. This will aggravate Satan, who beautifies these actions, and tempts people with them. So, not engaging in such actions would actually make him hopeless, and he would in turn retract in disgrace.

2- Continuously learn about the benefits of modesty, and expose one’s heart to them repeatedly. Also, make a commitment to gaining the highest levels of modesty, and actively adorning oneself with it.

3- Strengthen iman and belief in the heart, because modesty is a fruit of iman and knowing Allah (the All-Mighty and Exalted).

4- Worship Allah (Exalted is He) by reflecting on His beautiful names and attributes, which bring about Allah-consciousness and excellent (character and behavior). Examples of such names would be: the Witness, the Overseer, the All-Knowing, the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing, the All-Encompassing, and the Protector.

Hatim Al-Asam said: “Make a pact with yourself in three (areas): when you do something, remember that Allah sees you, and when you speak, remember that Allah hears you, and when you are silent, remember Allah’s knowledge of your inner (thoughts, feelings, and being)”.

5- Consistently observe the obligatory and recommended worship, like prayer. Allah said: “Verily, prayer prevents lewdness and evil deeds”. (Al-`Ankabut 29:45)

It was said to the Messenger of Allah: “So and so prays all night, but when he wakes up he steals!” So, he said: “What you mentioned (i.e. his prayers) will (eventually) prevent him from that”. Or he said: “His prayers will prevent him”. (Ahmad)

Zakah is another example. Allah says regarding zakah: “Take a portion of their wealth as charity [zakah] to purify them and increase them with it”. (At-Tawbah 9:103)

6- Always be truthful and avoid dishonesty. This is because truthfulness will guide a person to righteousness, and modesty is a part of righteousness. The Prophet said: “You should be truthful, for truthfulness leads to righteousness, and righteousness leads to paradise…” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

7- Actively practice modesty on a regular basis so that it becomes a natural disposition. This will require beautifying oneself with patience.

8- See righteous people, intermingle with them, listen to them, and learn from their modesty. Some scholars have said: “Enliven your modesty by sitting with those whom you would feel shameful around”. Mujahid said: “If all that a Muslim benefits from his brother is that his feeling of shame with him prevents him from sinning, then that would suffice him”. (Makarim Al-Akhlaq)

9- Bring to mind the modesty of the greatest example for mankind, the Messenger of Allah, and learn about his Seerah (biography of the Prophet) and his noble traits.

Also, bring to mind the modesty of his Companions and their lives, especially the righteous caliphs, the ten given glad tidings of paradise, those who witnessed Badr, and the Bay`at Ar-Ridwan (a covenant of fealty), and the rest of the Muhajireen and the Ansar, and those who followed in their footsteps from the people of knowledge and faith.

10- Remove oneself from a corrupted environment that keeps one away from good character. Do not accompany those who show little modesty; befriend righteous people instead. In the Prophetic narration about the man who killed one hundred souls, the knowledgeable man said: “…And who can stand between you and a sincere repentance? Go to so and so land, for you will find people there who worship Allah. So, worship Allah with them, and do not return to your land because it is a land of evil…” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

We seek Allah’s forgiveness for every misstep, and for every mistake we made with the pen; and we seek His forgiveness for any words that do not match our actions; we seek His forgiveness for anything we showed or revealed of knowledge despite our shortcomings; we ask that He makes us act upon what we know, for His sake only, and that He places this knowledge on our scale of righteous deeds when our deeds are presented before us. Verily, He is Most-Benevolent and Generous.

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Source: suhaibwebb.com.

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Ethics & Values New Muslims

New Muslims & Loneliness

believer

When the person truly obeys Allah, he is overcome with the feeling that he and all the forces of this creation are acting as one in worshipping the One and only true God.

When many Muslims think of Ramadan they can remember beautiful moments spent together as a family: eating suhoor (pre-fast meal) and iftar (meal to break the fast), bustling into the car to make it to the masjid for Tarawih (late night congregational prayer), celebrating `Eid together.

Yet speaking to some reverts will reveal the deep sense of loneliness they can experience at iftar or on `Eid day. This article had initially been intended for any revert brothers or sisters experiencing loneliness during Ramadan. However as I came to realize, this feeling of loneliness is not restricted to reverts or the month of Ramadan, so I hope it will be of benefit to whomever and whenever they feel utterly alone. So here’s an ayah (verse) to reflect upon from the Book of Allah, a mercy, healing, and source of peace for the believers.

Whatever is in the heavens and earth exalts Allah, and He is the Exalted in might, the Wise. (Al-Hadid 57:1)

“Whatever is in the heavens and earth”

We should not feel we’re alone in worshipping our Creator and try to fulfill our sole purpose on this earth. You may be the only Muslim in your house, neighborhood, or even town, but remember that everything in the heavens and earth – the trees, birds, plants, animals, and so on – are also declaring the perfection of Allah, subhanahu wa ta`ala (Exalted is He).

The seven heavens and the earth and whatever is in them exalt Him. And there is not a thing except that it exalts (Allah) by His praise, but you do not understand their (way of) exalting. Indeed, He is ever Forbearing and Forgiving. (Al-Israa’ 17:44)

Do you not see that to Allah prostrates whoever is in the heavens and whoever is on the earth, and the sun, and the moon, and the stars, and the mountains, and the trees, the moving creatures, and many of the people? But upon many the punishment has been justified. And he whom Allah humiliates – for him there is no bestower of honor. Indeed, Allah does what He wills. (Al-Hajj 22:18)

So let’s remember that the greatest blessing that Allah bestowed us with, out of His bounty, kindness, and mercy towards us, is that He guided us to be Muslims. Whether the people and environment around us do not know, realize, or fulfill their purpose, let’s remember that we are in the company of all that is in the heavens and earth exalting Allah and declaring His perfection—from the noble angels to tiny ants. (There is no deity worthy of worship but God).

The Angels

Beyond the creatures visible to us, the angels that belong to the realm of the unseen are in the constant worship of Allah.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) informed us: “The sky creaked and it had the right to creak: it had not a single space of four fingers on which an angel was not prostrating (in worship).” (Al-Bukhari)

Subhan Allah (Glory be to God)! We can also obtain a sense of blessed company by pushing ourselves to remain in our place after prayer:

“The angels supplicate in favor of one of you so long as he remains in the place where he has performed prayer and does not break his ablution or leave. They (the angels) say: ‘O Allah! Forgive him, O Allah! Have mercy on him.”’ (Malik, Ahmad, Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

We can use this time to say the sunnah adhkar (remembrances of Allah; specific du`a’, supplications, in this context) after salah (prayer) and do dhikr (remembrance of Allah). This quiet time and space to remember Allah has great spiritual benefit. It brings calmness and contentment of the heart as well as provides us with renewed spiritual strength and endurance.

The Outcome

So what’s the effects of the realization that “…every created being is in a state of submission to Allah and worships Him in a manner appropriate to its situation. The sun, moon, stars, trees and animals are all in a state of subjugation and (prostration) to Allah, and all of them worship Him in an appropriate manner”?

A believer may find ridicule and rejection, hindrance and objection, in his endeavor to obey Allah and adhere to the straight path. However “Allah’s soldiers are with him. The angels worship Allah and dedicate their lives to Him as the believer does. Thus, this true believer is not alone on the road to Allah.”  (Kitab Al-Iman: According to the Classical Works of Sheikh Al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah, by Dr. Muhammad Naim Yasin)

As Sheikh Jamal Al-Din M. Zarabozo puts it: “An astounding result of this realization is that when the person truly obeys Allah, he is overcome with the feeling that he and all the forces of this creation are acting as one in worshipping the one and only true God and Creator.” (Purification of the Soul: Concept, Process, and Means)

Action Points

Remain sitting at your place of prayer a bit longer, as much as you can, whenever possible, remembering Allah (Exalted is He).

Allah is the One Who is praised extensively, and all that He does is praiseworthy, so we should remember His decree is praiseworthy and we are rewarded for showing patience and contentment. Be happy that we are among those whom Allah has guided to worship Him. We discussed how everything in the heavens and earth declares the perfection of Allah.

Learn a du`aa’ that our Prophet used to say in ruku` (bowing in prayer) and sujud (prostration): “Subooh, Qudoos, Rabb Al-Malaa’ikati wa Ar-RooH.” (the One Who is Exalted a lot, the One Who is very pure, the Lord of the angels and of Jibreel (Gabriel).

Also from this root of sa-ba-ha in subooh comes the dhikrsubhan Allah’  (Glory be to God). Choose a time every morning, daytime, or evening, to reap the following benefit: “Whoever says ‘Subhan-Allahi wa bihamdihi’ (Allah is free from imperfection and to Him belongs all the praise) 100 times a day, all his (minor) sins will be wiped out even if they are equal to the extent of the foam of the ocean.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Surely we’ll fell less lonely when praising and remembering Allah.

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Source: suhaibwebb.com.

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Articles of Faith New Muslims

Blessed to Be Muslim

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Successful

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

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

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

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

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

Against Suspicion and Illusion

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

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

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

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

The Criteria

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Ethics & Values New Muslims

What Does Islam Teach about Justice?

(Al-Ma’idah 5:8)

the justice ordained by Him calls for equal understanding and peaceable treatment of everyone, with no discrimination.

The true justice described in the Qur’an commands man to behave justly, not discriminating between people, protecting others’ rights and not permitting violence, no matter what the circumstances, to side with the oppressed against the oppressor and to help the needy.

This justice calls for the rights of both parties to be protected when reaching a decision in a dispute, assessing all aspects of an incident, setting aside all prejudices, being objective, honest, merciful and compassionate. In the event one fails to display any of these characteristics or attaches greater importance to a particular one, then it becomes hard to exercise true justice.

For instance, someone who cannot assess events in a moderate way, and who is swayed by his emotions and feelings, will fail to arrive at sound decisions and will remain under the influence of those feelings. However, someone who rules with justice needs to set all his personal feelings and views aside. He needs to treat all parties with justice when they ask for help, to side with what is right under all circumstances, and not to diverge from the path of honesty and truthfulness.

Justice in the Qur’an

A person should incorporate the values of the Qur’an into his soul in such a way that he may be able to consider the interests of other parties before his own and maintain justice, even if this harms his own interests.

You who believe! Show integrity for the sake of Allah, bearing witness with justice. Do not let hatred for a people incite you into not being just. Be just. That is closer to piety. Be careful of (your duty to) Allah. Allah is aware of what you do. (Al-Ma’idah 5:8)

As it is suggested in the above verse, Allah knows everything a man does. A person who fears Allah and who is aware that he will have to account for his deeds on the Day of Judgment, issues his commands in a just way in order to earn the good pleasure of Allah. He knows that all his words and thoughts will be judged on the Day of Judgment and will be rewarded accordingly.

For this reason, what one has to do to earn the good pleasure of Allah, to be saved from the torment of Hell and to attain the infinite favors of Paradise is to fully live by the Qur’an. In order to attain this morality, everyone must make personal efforts and set aside all his selfish desires and personal interests and adopt the guidance of justice, compassion, love and peace.

Allah gives a detailed description of true justice in the Qur’an and informs us that all sorts of disagreements can be solved by the maintenance of justice. In a society made up of righteous administrators and just people, it is obvious that all problems can be readily overcome.

In the Qur’an, Allah gives a detailed description of justice and informs believers of the attitude they have to adopt in the face of incidents they encounter and of the ways to exercise justice.

Such guidance is a great comfort to believers and a mercy from Allah. For this reason, those who believe are responsible for exercising justice in an undivided manner both to earn Allah‘s approval and to lead their lives in peace and security.

Justice Should Be Exercised Equally Among All People, With No Consideration of Language, Race, or Ethnicity

A close examination of developments all over the world reveals that the performance of justice varies according to place, time and people. For instance, in some societies, the color of someone’s skin influences decisions. Even under the very same circumstances, the same decision may not apply to a white and a black man.

In some societies, race is of great importance to people. In the 20th century, Hitler’s annihilation of millions of people solely because he deemed the Aryan race superior to other races is a good example of this. In our day, too, there are people being subjected to cruel and unjust treatment because of the color of their skin or their race. In the United States and South Africa, black people were for many years treated as second-class citizens, and savage disputes raged in many Asian and African countries simply because of racial differences.

The fact is, however, that Allah reveals in the verses of the Qur’an that one of the pieces of wisdom behind the creation of different peoples and nations is to allow them “to come to know one another” (Al-Hujurat 49:13).

scale of Justice

Those who believe are responsible for exercising justice in an undivided manner both to earn Allah‘s approval, to lead their lives in peace and security.

Different nations or peoples, all of whom are the servants of Allah, should get to know one another, that is, learn about their different cultures, languages, traditions and abilities. In brief, the purpose of the creation of different races and nations is not conflict and war but cultural richness.

Such variation is a bounty of Allah‘s creation. The fact that someone is taller than someone else or that his skin is yellow or white neither makes him superior to others nor is something to feel ashamed of.

Every trait a person has is a result of Allah‘s purposeful creation, but in the sight of Allah, these variations have no ultimate importance. A believer knows that someone attains superiority only by fearing Allah and in the strength of his faith in Allah. This fact is related in the following verse:

Mankind! We created you from a male and female, and made you into peoples and tribes so that you might come to know each other. The noblest among you in Allah’s sight is the one with the most piety. Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware. (Al-Hujurat 49:13)

As Allah informs us in that verse, the justice ordained by Him calls for equal understanding and peaceable treatment of everyone, with no discrimination.

Perfect Exemplar of Justice

In his time, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) treated people of different races and places with the utmost justice. He severely criticized subjecting people to different treatment because of their race, and attributed such acts to the “morality of the ignorant.”

The Prophet Muhammad reminded his people that people in ignorant societies may harbour enmity towards other people because of their color or race, and warned all Muslims against such an attitude, which is described as “ugly” in the Qur’an.

1,400 years ago, all these primitive ideas were abolished through the Qur’an, which was sent to mankind as a mercy, and it was proclaimed that all people, regardless of their color, race and language, are equal. The Prophet Muhammad criticized the unbecoming practice of people of ignorant societies who assessed others according to their race and color.

He cautioned the Arab people in these words in his last address (Farewell Sermon) to them:

“An Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab, nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over a black, nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good action.”

With these words, the Prophet Muhammad once again reminded all mankind the fact related in Surat  Al-Hujurat verse 13; that superiority among people is attainable only through fear of Allah.

Islam, as the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) also stresses, completely abolishes all these primitive ideas. In an environment where the values of Islam are established, a man cannot be accused, subjected to discriminatory treatment or oppressed because he is a Jew, a Christian, a black or an Indian.

Allah decides what race a person should belong to. He shaped man in the most perfect manner. Man’s duty is always to be just, loving, respectful, compassionate to and at peace with everyone.

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The article is an excerpt from the author’s book “Justice and Compassion in the Qur’an”. 

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Categories
Ethics & Values New Muslims

The People of the Book in the Qur’an

Religion of Peace

the Qur'an

While they rely basically on Allah‘s revelation, the People of the Book- as the Qur’an reveals- have moral precepts and know what is lawful and what is not.

There are many nations in the world with different colors, creeds, and languages. These differences have been a cause of enmity throughout history in societies that did not live by religious moral values.

The perceived wisdom is that people can never manage to co-exist and that disputes arise wherever such differences exist.

However, this is a great misconception and the facts are otherwise. In fact, it is Allah Who created human beings in different communities and in the Qur’an, He calls all people to peace and security:

O You who believe! Enter absolutely into peace (Islam). Do not follow in the footsteps of Satan. He is an outright enemy to you. (Al-Baqarah 2:208)

Allah calls to the Abode of Peace and He guides whom He wills to a straight path. (Yunus 10:25)

All divine religions revealed through Allah‘s messengers summon people to have faith in Allah, recommend them to display moral perfection and warn them against bad morals.

Despite the fact that all divine religions, except for Islam, are distorted, it is evident today that some of their messages are fundamentally the same. That is why these conflicts, which are stirred up artificially, lack reasonable and logical grounds.

As stated in the verse above, the main reason for unrest among people is not complying with Allah‘s summoning but following in the ”footsteps of Satan.” (Al-Baqarah 2:208)

Believers’ harboring hostile feelings to other people who have faith in Allah is a moral weakness that displeases Allah, Who prohibits all believers from displaying such feelings. He calls on people to establish peace and friendship.

In the Qur’an revealed to the Prophet Muhammad, the last Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him), Allah gives believers explicit commands and recommendations on this subject.

Their Status in the Qur’an

In the Qur’an, Jews and Christians, the members of the religions who abide by the Divine Books revealed by Allah, are called the ”People of the Book”. What Muslims’ views of the People of the Book should be, their relations, and the status of the People of the Book in social life are described in verses and the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad in detail.

The People of the Book, while they rely basically on Allah‘s revelation, have moral precepts and know what is lawful and what is not. For this reason, if one of the People of the Book cooks some food, it is lawful for Muslims to eat it.

In the same way, permission has been given to a Muslim man to marry a woman from among the People of the Book. On this subject Allah commands:

Today all good things have been made lawful for you. And the food of those given the Book is also lawful for you and your food is lawful for them. So are chaste women from among the believers and chaste women of those given the Book before you, once you have given them their dowries in marriage, not in fornication or taking them as lovers. But as for anyone who disbelieves, his actions will come to nothing and in the Hereafter he will be among the losers. (Al-Ma’idah 5:5)

Throughout Islamic history, the People of the Book have been always treated with compassion in Muslim societies. This was particularly evident in the Ottoman Empire.

It is a well known fact that the Jews, whose rights were denied and were exiled by the Catholic Kingdom of Spain, took refuge in the lands of the Ottoman Empire.

When Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror captured Istanbul, he granted both Christians and Jews all their fundamental rights. Throughout Ottoman history, Jews were regarded as a People of the Book and enjoyed peaceful coexistence with Muslims.

How Should a Muslim Regard Judaism?

As exemplified above, throughout his life, the Prophet (peace be upon him) treated the People of the Book with the utmost understanding and justice.

As a result of this noble attitude, Abdullah ibn Salam, a prominent rabbi, and his friends converted to Islam and came to believe in his prophethood.

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Source: The article is an excerpt from the author’s book “Justice and Compassion in the Qur’an”.

 

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