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Fasting New Muslims

In the Shade of Ramadan (5) Episode 2: Racing to the Houses of Worship

The popular MAS Youth video series, “In The Shade of Ramadan” is BACK!

“In the Shade of Ramadan” is an annual online video series that is produced by MAS Youth during the month of Ramadan every year. It is a series of educational and motivational reflections on the month of Ramadan featuring various speakers across the country. This year’s season will feature 15 episodes (an episode every other day) with the theme: “Racing to Allah.”

Watch Episode 2: Racing to the Houses of Worship by Jamaal Diwan.

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Categories
Ethics & Values New Muslims

Think before Doing… Is It Really for the Sake of God?

heart-sky

To stay true to their principles is to remember that it is Allah Who gives victory, and it is Allah Who controls all affairs.

When people come together and struggle for a cause they have a tendency to focus on the details and materialistic aspects; in others words, they become consumed by the means. The potential downside of this is losing sight of one’s principles.

The message of Islam is based on principles; there are lines that cannot be crossed. An important concept that helps one stay true to their principles is to remember that it is Allah (Exalted is He) Who gives victory, and it is Allah, All-Mighty, Who controls all affairs.

In doing so we put our focus on the principles and we work for the long term, without bending on our values in order to attain short term results.

This brings us to the lesson that that which is beneficial and sincerely done for Allah will remain. Allah mentions this in Surat Ar-Ra`d:

He sends down from the sky, rain, and valleys flow according to their capacity, and the torrent carries a rising foam…

Thus Allah presents (the example of) truth and falsehood. As for the foam, it vanishes, (being) cast off; but as for that which benefits the people, it remains on the earth. Thus does Allah present examples. (Ar-Ra`d 13:17)

In this example Allah compares that which is not beneficial to foam. At first glance it looks impressive and it takes up a lot of space, but when you try to test it there is no substance. It does not really consist of anything, and just as quick as it shows up, it disappears. He also gives the example of truth and says that it remains on the earth.

Truth then has substance. It does not leave quickly. Its results do not wear off in fifteen minutes or an hour. It is the kind of thing that you can build on, and more importantly depend on.

The Real Goal

In the realm of Islamic work there are at least three important ways to look at this. The first is that when we plan and organize we should always stick to our principles. This in and of itself is proof of our belief and our dependence upon Allah.

The second and third are things that we should focus on when developing as individuals. Those two things are correct knowledge and sound worship. These are evidences that a person is truly growing in their relationship with their Creator.

Hype and large attendance are not indicators of success. That excitement should be directed into teaching people about their faith and encouraging them to increase and improve their relationship with Allah.

To do these things is to focus on what is beneficial and long lasting, putting emphasis on long-term growth. It is also a reminder of what we need to focus on in our own development.

May Allah put barakah (blessings) in all that we do for His sake and may He increase us in closeness to Him. Ameen.

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Source: Dawahskills.com

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New Muslims Society

Muslims and Merry Christmas Wishes

By Jamaal Diwan
merry christmas

Exchanging greetings , even gifts with non-Muslims out of companionship and manners is permissible.

Is it permissible for me to say “Merry Christmas” to my non-Muslim classmates, friends, family, neighbors, and others this holiday season?

(Please keep in mind that on the days of `Eid they always wish me a “Happy `Eid” and even buy me gifts.)

Allah says in the Qur’an, addressing how Muslims should deal with non-Muslims:

Allah does not forbid you from those who do not fight you because of religion and do not expel you from your homes – from being righteous toward them and acting justly toward them. Indeed, Allah loves those who act justly. Allah only forbids you from those who fight you because of religion and expel you from your homes and aid in your expulsion – (forbids) that you make allies of them. And whoever makes allies of them, then it is those who are the wrongdoers. (Al-Mumtahanah 60:8, 9)

There are also many places in the Qur’an and Sunnah that encourage the Muslim to be of the best of manners. One example of this is the adith of the Prophet (peace be upon him) where he said: “The believers with the most complete faith are the ones with the best manners.” (Ahmad, Abu Dawud, Ibn Habban, and Al-Hakim)

The Prophet also said: “Verily, I was sent to perfect good character.” (Al-Bukhari)

That being said there are a couple of things to take into consideration here. The first is that there is no disagreement between the scholars regarding the impermissibility of celebrating Christmas. It is a religious holiday that is based on beliefs that are against Islam and it is not permissible for Muslims to celebrate it.

This is because it goes against the concept of protecting one’s deen (religion) and contradicts the teachings of the Prophet which limited Muslim religious holidays to the two `Eids. That does not mean that they cannot spend time with their non-Muslim family on such a day if there is a family get together but that is a different issue.

As to whether or not one can greet their non-Muslim family and friends with “Merry Christmas” there are two major opinions. The first says that it is impermissible and was held by scholars such as Ibn Al-Qayyim, Ibn Taymiyya, Ibn `Uthaymin, and others.

The second opinion is that it is permissible as long as the intention is to interact with them in the best way possible without supporting their belief.

What is meant by this is not that people are not allowed to believe what they want to believe. They are. What rather is meant by this is that the Muslim is not agreeing with their belief. This opinion was held by scholars like Yusuf Al-Qaraḍawi and Muṣṭafa Zarqa. The latter opinion also allows the exchanging of greeting cards on holidays like Christmas as long as the card is free from any sort of religious symbolism.

Al-Qaradawi in his fatwa specifically mentions  being aware of the opinion of Ibn Taymiyya, but that he does not agree with it based on the influence of the different times and  circumstances during Ibn Taymiyyah’s era.

Al-Qaradawi speculated that had Ibn Taymiyyah lived during the times in which we live and seen the importance of good relationships between Muslims and non-Muslims, that he would have changed his opinion. Regardless whether that would be the case or not,  it does show that Al-Qaradawi was acutely aware of Ibn Taymiyyah’s opinion when he gave his fatwa.

Social Sensitivity

The argument against saying “Merry Christmas” to one’s family, friends, neighbors, or co-workers is based on the concept that in doing so you are approving of their beliefs in some way. This is simply not the case, and saying “Merry Christmas” is nothing more than an act of good societal manners.

However, it should be noted that this is not the same as actually celebrating Christmas or other non-Muslim religious holidays. Celebrating these holidays is not allowed but exchanging greetings and even gifts with non-Muslims on them out of companionship and manners is permissible, as long as the gifts themselves are permissible. This is especially the case when those same friends and family greet and exchange gifts with you on the Muslim holidays.

In conclusion, in America, for example, we need to try and seek a balance between maintaining our identity and the purity of our beliefs while at the same time dealing with our greater society in the best way possible.

Therefore, I think the way Muslims in America should deal with this issue depends on their circumstances. An interesting way to understand this predicament is to look at how Jews in America deal with this same question. It seems that they have many of the same discussions that we have around this time of year.

In general there are a couple of things that we want to try and be aware of at the same time: we want to maintain our identity and belief, we want people to understand Islam as much as possible, we want to respect and appreciate others, we want to treat others in the best way possible, we don’t want to be socially awkward or insular. Different situations will require different responses. Those of us who have non-Muslim families have different situations than those of us who do not.

You could reply with a number of different answers, including: “Merry Christmas”, “Happy Holidays”, “As a Muslim I don’t celebrate Christmas”, or “Thank you.  I don’t celebrate Christmas, but merry Christmas to you.” The appropriate answer will depend on the person, the situation, one’s internal intentions, and the perceived intentions of the one they are speaking to.

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Source: Jamaaldiwan.com

Note: The answer here by Jamaal Diwan is based on the fatwas of Sheikhs Yusuf Al-Qaraawi and Muṣṭafa Al-Zarqa.

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