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Muslim Lifestyle New Muslims

Work and Spiritually: Where Do They Meet?

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With sincere intentions and noble efforts you can hopefully recreate some of that much needed spiritual reformation.

For many of us as Muslims out in the working world or even at home, it can be a challenge to sustain our spirituality post-Ramadan. Many people I know complain of the need to reform their spiritual habits and I count being in in good companionship as one of the vital ways to continually boost your spiritual development.

In the modern day, it is easy to slip out of the ‘spiritually developing’ zone, especially when you are in a non-Muslim environment and don’t have the same network of ‘sisterhood’ or ‘brotherhood’ to encourage your spiritual growth let alone as much free time.

I know of many friends who are in professions such as doctors, lawyers and even bankers who feel this ‘void’ in spirituality after venturing out into the working world. They feel a real dip in their faith and are crying out for ways to stay in touch with their spirituality in the workplace.

This article is an attempt at providing practical ways for spiritual reformation that I have personally adopted to use in the working world. Although it will be a real challenge for many, with sincere intentions and noble efforts you can hopefully recreate some of that much needed spiritual reformation.

1- Find Good Work Buddies

Although it’s easier to surround yourself with Muslims, I have personally found that even being in the presence of people from other faiths can strengthen your own faith. It is important to find a work buddy who you can openly discuss your faith with and be in good company. Even if it can’t be a Muslim colleague, then at least a colleague who understands and respects you and your faith values. I often find that non-Muslim colleagues are more interested in chatting about general life matters, so find areas of common interest before you start talking to them about matters related to your faith.

For those of us fortunate to work in a predominantly Muslim environment, having good company is still important as we can often lose ourselves amidst work. In our office, we’ve started a regular 10 minute reminder with the sisters once a week which we rotate between staff to help us remind each other of how to strive to be better Muslims – it’s often the spiritual dose we need for the rest of the week’s work!

2- Talk about Faith

One of the beauties of working with non-Muslim colleagues is that there is a natural sense of curiosity about you as a Muslim, but also at a human level so ensure you break down any barriers and connect with them at a human level first. Find out about their life outside of work without prying too much of course! This always opens doors to then talking about more personal matters like your faith.

Hopefully by developing a bond with your colleagues which goes beyond work you can comfortably and confidently talk about what it is like being a Muslim. Being a visible Muslim woman at work, maybe through wearing the hijab, is a walking da`wah opportunity, as every action and conversation teaches others about Islam.

Also, I have often found my non-Muslim friends have niggling questions about Islam which I am able to talk to them about openly once we’ve built a good working relationship.

3- Read, Read and Read!

There is one practice I have continued since university to develop myself spiritually, which is reading books – the more I read the more I realize how little I actually know! It is vital you read Islamic books on spiritual development such as Al-Ghazali’s works. You can even fit this reading into your travel time to work as I often do by reading on my Kindle.

balanced life

Despite the challenges, it is really important to have a work-life balance for your wellbeing.

During lunch breaks you can also read articles which will boost your faith and remind you of Allah through websites such as Muslim Matters, Suhaib Webb or ProductiveMuslim.com to keep you stimulated and get a refreshing ‘spiritual break’.

4- Attend a Regular Circle/Class

Despite the demands on your time as a professional Muslim and even at home, it is really important to have a work-life balance for your wellbeing. One of the ways to boost your spirituality is to attend a regular class, even if it is online rather than in person, to surround yourself with like-minded people as well as to continue to benefit in the pursuit of knowledge.

Find out what local circles are taking place, some workplaces even have Muslim associations and events you can attend or better still set one up of your own! I often tell sisters that they need to ensure they invest in themselves to grow spiritually and emotionally.

5- Use Salah to Re-focus

We are blessed as Muslims to have the daily salah, yet so many of us rush through prayer in a bid to get other work done.

Instead, we should use salah to refocus and re-energized ourselves for work. I often find that when I have a difficult task to do at work, just switching off and going to pray helps me come back more focused to tackle the task.

Also, prayer is a constant reminder that we are dependent on Allah’s Help to succeed at work and any task which lies ahead. So capitalize on this spiritual booster in your working day!

Once you’ve started to take the above steps, make du`aa’ that Allah places blessing in your work and time through your endeavors to better yourself. Remind yourself of the importance of holding onto your faith values and how you are an ambassador for Islam through your actions in the workplace. Hopefully, using the steps above you can begin to make spiritual reformations at work and beyond.

Productive Muslim is a Muslim who is striving for the highest station in Jannah (Paradise) by making the best of all the resources around her.

_________________________

Source: Dawahskills.com.

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Conversion Stories New Muslims

Son of Former Anti-Islam Advocate Accepts Islam

By Muaz Shabandri

Son of Arnoud van Doorn

Iskander with his father Arnoud. (KT photo Muaz Shabandri)

Arnoud van Doorn’s son, Iskander Amien De Vrie, was one of the 37 people who converted to Islam during the Dubai International Peace Convention.

The son of Arnoud van Doorn, the famous Dutch policy maker and distributor of an anti-Islam film Fitna (Sedition), that caused unrest in 2008, surprised the audiences at the three-day Dubai International Peace Convention by 
embracing Islam.

“I bear witness that there is no God to be worshipped but Allah and I bear witness that Muhammad (peace be upon him) is His worshipper and last messenger,” said Iskander in his Shahadah (Testimony of Faith) to become a Muslim.

In the Father’s Footsteps

Arnoud van Doorn shot to fame in 2008 as one of the names associated with the anti-Muslim film Fitna, which was released in 2008. The film promoted misconceptions about Islam and Arnoud was one of the film’s distributors.

Five years later, Arnoud was a changed man having learned more about Islam, which he today calls as ‘a religion of peace’. He converted to Islam after learning more about the religion and his decision shocked the world.

“I saw my father become more peaceful after converting to Islam. That’s when I realized there is something good in this religion and it made me change my perception of Muslims. I started studying the Qur’an and going through lectures of important scholars,” said Iskander in an interview with Khaleej Times.

Iskander, 22, credited his college friend Younis for setting a good example of what Muslims really are and how they live their life.

“My friend Younis is a good practicing Muslim who taught me something new every day. He was patient with me and there was no way I could be rude to him,” said Iskander.

Iskander also drew inspiration from his father’s life and how he underwent a transformation to become a more peaceful person.

Correct the Mistake

Talking about the anti-Islamic movie Fitna, Arnoud called it a “mistake”, which he deeply regretted.

“There is a misconception among people that I produced the movie Fitna, but I wasn’t involved in it. I was only responsible for distributing the movie. Today, it is something that I deeply regret.”

Arnoud hopes to produce a movie about the righteousness preached in Islam and correct his earlier “mistakes”.

“I feel an urge and a responsibility to correct the mistakes I have done in the past. I want to use my talents and skills in a positive way by spreading the truth about Islam. I am trying to make a new movie about Islam and the life of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

It would show people what examples the Prophet set in his life and the 
movie would invite younger 
people to Islam.”

With both the father and son now leading life as Muslims, the astonishing story was talked about by speakers and scholars even after the convention was over.

Arnoud is now calling on people to support his Islamic Foundation, which is fighting Islamophobia in Europe. Having started the European Da`wah Foundation, Arnoud has come a full circle from his earlier days as a member of the right-wing anti-Islam Freedom Party.

His team of volunteers works towards bridging the gap between Muslims and non-Muslims and helping people clear their misconceptions about Islam.

Iskander now plans to take a trip to Saudi Arabia to perform `Umrah and hopes his mother would also embrace Islam soon.

Watch such an overwhelming, incredibly touching moment here…

_________________________

Source: khaleejtimes.com

Read Also:

Former Anti-Islam Advocate, Arnoud van Doorn, in Hajj

Geert Wilders Party Member, Arnoud van Doorn, Accepts Islam

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Articles of Faith New Muslims

Fear and Hope: God’s Two Blessings

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If a person acts without concern and fear as if he came to this world only to live, then they should be concerned about themselves.

It is narrated in a prophetic saying that God said ”I will not give my servant two assurances at the same time.” (Ibn Hibban)

Fear and hope are two great blessings that God has given us or will do so in the future. Using these two blessings in a measured way as a vehicle to reach God is another blessing, indeed a greater blessing.

For a Better Life

There’s an association between one’s sense of security and a life of comfort and possibly luxury while fear is connected with leading a life in poverty and destitution. At first glance, this may readily provide a partial explanation to the hadith above, but it would be wrong to assume that this is an exhaustive commentary.

Another way to understand this hadith could be as follows:

If a person is living carefree and in indulgence in the world, is not concerned about the next life, and has no worries about the destruction of his soul and spiritual life, and if that person has no fear of the losing his subtle qualities, no fear of the death of his feelings and the extinction of his spiritual faculties and thus lives without fear, that person cannot be without fear in the next world.

If a person lives with fear in this world-fear in the sense mentioned above, and is always anxious both in his words and actions, saying: ”O my Lord! If it were not for Your benevolence, I could not protect my faith; if not for Your grace, I could not protect my subtle points; if not for Your generosity, I could not survive; if not for Your compassion and mercy, I cannot enter Heaven. If not for the beloved, the mercy of the world, I would not have found my way and would have remained in depravity.”

If he can always exist in this fear and frequently take himself to account, control himself, and take the opportunity to renew himself, in the next world-God willing-there will be no fear for him.

However, there is an indispensible truth in the way this question is phrased, and it is not far from the meaning expressed in the hadith. If a person acts without concern and fear as if he came to this world only to live, and if he never feels any anxiety, then that person should be concerned about himself.

In fact, even if this does not happen often, he should worry about living only in comfort and languor and feel shame for it. The following example clarifies the matter a little more.

As related in sound narrations, `Umar ibn `Abdulaziz would sometimes repeat the verse, ”When the chains are around their necks, and fetters (around their legs). They will be dragged,” (Ghafir 40:71) and would fall on the floor.

In addition, he would read this verse many times and pass out:

You consumed in your worldly life your (share of) pure, wholesome things, and enjoyed them fully (without considering the due of the Hereafter, and so have taken in the world the reward of all your good deeds). So this Day, you are recompensed with the punishment of abasement because of your scornful arrogance on the earth against all right, and because of your transgressing (the bounds set by God). (Al-Ahqaf 46:20)

Sound Heart/Belief

Yes, it is very normal for a believer with a sound heart to have such a concern, and actually this fear is the result of profound contemplations. But God may have also given this world in terms of substantial health to a person as He gave to `Abdur-Rahman ibn `Awf and `Uthman ibn `Affan, two giant believers.

In that case, believers should make use of their wealth for the sake of lofty purposes and serve humanity for the sake of God. It is not necessary to give away possessions entirely; it is better to give in measured terms to those who are in need.

A part of the assets should be retained so that they can be invested and wealth multiplied; thus, in the end one can donate a greater amount. Let it suffice that our intentions are pure, that we know this wealth is a trust from God and that we are ready to give it away when our Lord wants it.

This should be a benchmark against which we frequently check the level of our hearts. Can we comfortably say, deep within our consciences, that we are ready to give every time we hear the command and suggestions by Our Lord? Can we say, ’Yes, O My Lord, I am ready to give!’?

If we can do this, in other words, if the state of our heart is not attached to the possessions we have, then an increase in wealth can bear no negative impact upon us, and our property will not be the cause of any worry concerning the Hereafter, if God so wills.

On the other hand, if a person insists on living heedlessly, having no belief or spiritual quest, simply, yet unwisely seeking to please the never-pleased carnal self-may God forbid-such a person will be bogged down in the swamp, headfirst. Let these two points not be confused.

_________________________

Source: The Fountain Magazine

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Islam & Life’s Struggles: What Is Missing in Your life?

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What is standing between you and God?

What do you struggle with in life? Do you ever wonder what is really missing in your life?

What is standing between you and true peace; between you and God?

In what do you believe? Do you really believe the things you believe in? Are you a true believer? And how do you know you are one? What should we do to enhance our faith?

Do you feel God’s love? Are you struggling with perfecting your faith and getting really close to Allah?

Have you asked yourself these questions before?

Some fellow American Muslims were asked these and other similar questions and here are their responses…

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Source: ibn.net

 

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Ethics & Values New Muslims

Good and Evil in Islam: From Moral to Legal

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It has been enjoined on Muslims by clear mandatory injunctions to refrain totally from everything that has been declared haram.

The Shari`ah shapes Islamic society in a way conducive to the unfettered growth of good, righteousness and truth in every sphere of human activity. At the same time it removes all the impediments along the path to goodness. And it attempts to eradicate corruption from its social scheme by prohibiting evil, by removing the causes of its appearance and growth, by closing the inlets through which it creeps into a society and by adopting deterrent measures to check its occurrence.

Ma`ruf (Good)

The Shari`ah classifies ma`ruf into three categories: the Mandatory (fard and wajib), the Recommendatory (matlub) and the Permissible (mubah).

The observance of the mandatory (ma`ruf) is obligatory on a Muslim society and the Shari`ah has given clear and binding directions about them. The recommendatory ma`ruf are those which the Shari`ah wants a Muslim society to observe and practice. Some of them have been very clearly demanded of us, while others have been recommended by implication and inference from the sayings of the Prophet (peace be upon him).

Besides this, special arrangements have been made for the growth and encouragement of some of them in the plan of life enunciated by the Shari`ah. Others still have simply been recommended by the Shari`ah leaving it to the society or to its more virtuous elements to look to their promotion.

This leaves us with the permissible ma`ruf. Strictly speaking, according to the Shari`ah everything which has not been expressly prohibited by it is a Permissible ma`ruf (i.e., mubah). It is not at all necessary that an express permission should exist about it or that it should have been expressly left to our choice.

Consequently, the sphere of permissible ma’ruf is very wide so much so that except for the things specifically prohibited by the Shari`ah, everything is permissible for a Muslim. And this is exactly the sphere where we have been given freedom and where we can legislate according to our own discretion to suit the requirements of our age and conditions, of course in keeping with the general spirit of the Shari`ah.

Munkar

The munkar (or the things prohibited in Islam) have been grouped into two categories: haram, i.e., those things which have been prohibited absolutely and kakruh, i.e., those things which have been disliked and discouraged. It has been enjoined on Muslims by clear mandatory injunctions to refrain totally from everything that has been declared haram.

As for the makruh (disliked) acts the Shari’ah signifies its dislike in some way or another, i.e., either expressly or by implication, giving an indication also as to the degree of such dislike. For example, there are some makruh bordering on haram, while others bear affinity with the acts which are permissible. Of course, their number is very large ranging between the two extremes of prohibitory and permissible actions. Moreover, in some cases, explicit measures have been prescribed by the Shari`ah for the prevention of makruh, while in others such arrangements have been left to the discretion of the society or of the individual.

The Shari`ah, thus, prescribes directives for the regulation of our individual as well as collective life. These directives touch such varied subjects as religious rituals, personal character, morals, habits, family relationships, social and economic affairs, administration, rights and duties of citizens, judicial system, laws of war and peace and international relations.

In short, it embraces all the various departments of human life. These directives reveal what is good and bad, what is beneficial and useful and what is injurious and harmful. What are the virtues and which are the evils for which we have to suppress and guard against.

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The Shari`ah prescribes directives for the regulation of our individual as well as collective life.

All-embracing Way of Life

What is the sphere of our voluntary, untrammeled, personal and social action and what are its limits. And finally, what ways and means we can adopt in establishing such a dynamic order of society and what methods we should avoid.

The Shari`ah is a complete plan of life and an all-embracing social order; nothing superfluous, nothing lacking.

Another remarkable feature of the Shari`ah is that it is an organic whole. The entire plan of life propounded by Islam is animated by the same spirit. Hence, any arbitrary division of its plan is bound to harm the spirit as well as the structure of the Islamic order. In this respect, it might be compared to the human body which is an organic whole.

A leg pulled out of the body cannot be called one-eight or one-sixth man, because after its separation from the living body, the leg can no longer perform its human function. Nor can it be placed in the body of some other animal with any hope of making it human to the extent of that limb.

Likewise, we cannot form a correct opinion about the utility, efficiency and beauty of the hand, the eyes or the nose of a human being separately, without judging its place and function within the living body.

The same can be said in regard to the scheme of life envisaged by the Shari`ah. Islam signifies the entire scheme of life and not any isolated part or parts thereof. Consequently neither can it be appropriate to view the different part of the Shari`ah in isolation from one another and without regard to the whole, nor will it be of any use to take any part and bracket it with any other ”ism”.

The Shari’ah can function smoothly and can demonstrate its efficacy only if the entire system of life is practiced in accordance with it and not otherwise.

_________________________

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

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Ethics & Values New Muslims

What Is Unique about Islamic Ethics?

 

balance in life

Individuals who are honest, sincere, and from whom nothing but good can be expected, have always formed the basis of any healthy human society.

A moral sense is inborn in man and, through the ages, it has served as the common man’s standard of moral behaviour, approving certain qualities and condemning others. While this instinctive faculty may vary from person to person, human conscience has consistently declared certain moral qualities to be good and others to be bad.

Justice, courage and truthfulness have always found praise, and history does not record any period worth the name in which falsehood, injustice, dishonesty and breach of trust have been praised; sympathy, compassion, loyalty and generosity have always been valued, while selfishness, cruelty, meanness and bigotry have never been approved of by society; men have always appreciated perseverance, determination and courage, but never impatience, fickleness, cowardice and stupidity.

Universal Code

Dignity, restraint, politeness and friendliness have throughout the ages been counted virtues, whereas snobbery and rudeness have always been looked down upon. People with a sense of responsibility and devotion to duty have always won the highest regard, those who are incompetent, lazy and lacking in a sense of duty have never been looked upon with approval.

Similarly, in assessing the standards of good and bad in the collective behaviour of society as a whole, only those societies have been considered worthy of honor which have possessed the virtues of organization, discipline, mutual affection and compassion and which have established a social order based on justice, freedom and equality. Disorganization, indiscipline, anarchy, disunity, injustice and social privilege, on the other hand, have always been considered manifestations of decay and disintegration in a society.

Robbery, murder, larceny, adultery and corruption have always been condemned. Slander and blackmail have never been considered healthy social activities, while service and care of the aged, helping one’s relatives, regard for neighbours, loyalty to friends, aiding the weak, the destitute and the orphans, and nursing the sick are qualities which have been highly valued since the dawn of civilization.

Individuals who are honest, sincere and dependable, whose deeds match their words, who are content with their own rightful possessions, who are prompt in the discharge of their obligations to others, who live in peace and let others live in peace, and from whom nothing but good can be expected, have always formed the basis of any healthy human society.

These examples show that human moral standards are universal and have been well-known to mankind throughout the ages. Good and evil are not myths, but realities well understood by all. A sense of good and evil is inherent in the very nature of man.

Hence in the terminology of the Qur’an good is called ma`ruf (a well-known thing) and evil munkar (an unknown thing); that is to say, good is known to be desirable and evil is known not to commend itself in any way, as the Qur’an says:

God has revealed to human nature the consciousness and cognition of good and evil. (Ash-Shams 91:8)

Why Differences?

The question that now arises is: if what constitutes good and evil is so clear and universally agreed, why do varying patterns of moral behaviour exist in the world? Why are there so many conflicting moral philosophies? Why do certain moral standards contradict each other?

What lies at the root of their differences? What is the unique position of Islam in the context of other ethical systems? On what grounds can we claim that Islam has a perfect moral systems? And what exactly is the distinctive contribution of Islam in the realm of ethics?

Although these are important questions and must be squarely faced, justice cannot be done to them in the brief span of this talk. So I shall restrict myself to a summary of some of the points crucial to any critical examination of contemporary ethical systems and conflicting patterns of moral behaviour:

1- Through their failure to prescribe specific limits and roles for the various moral virtues and values, present-day moral structures cannot provide a balanced and coherent plan of social conduct.

2-The real cause of the differences in the moral systems seems to lie in their offering different standards for judging what constitutes good and bad actions and in their laying down different ways to distinguish good from evil.

Differences also exist in respect of the sanction behind the moral law and in regard to the motives which impel a person to follow it.

3- On deeper reflection we find that the grounds for these differences emerge from different peoples’ conflicting views and concepts of the universe, the place of man in it, and of man’s purpose on earth.

The various systems of ethics, philosophy and religion are in fact a record of the vast divergence of views on such vital questions as: Is there a God of the universe and, if there is, is He the only one or are there many Gods?

What are the Divine attributes? What is the nature of the relationship between God and human beings? Has He made any arrangements for guiding humanity through the vicissitudes of life or not? Is man answerable to Him or not?

And if so, in what spheres of his life? Is there an ultimate aim of man’s creation which he should keep in view throughout his life? Answers to these questions will determine the way of life, the ethical philosophy and the pattern of moral behaviour of the individual and society.

It is difficult for me, in this brief talk, to take stock of the various ethical systems in the world and indicate what solutions each one of them has proposed to these questions and what has been the impact of these answers on the moral evolution of the society believing in these concepts. Here I have to confine myself to the Islamic concept only.

_________________________

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

 

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The Moral System of Islam: Motives and Practices

The Moral System of Islam: Motives & Incentives

sunset-nature

The love and fear of God become the real motives which impel man to obey the moral law without external pressures.

The fact that a man voluntarily and willingly accepts God as his Creator and obedience to God as the aim of his life and strives to seek His pleasure in his every action provides sufficient incentive to obey the commandments which he believes to be from God.

Belief that whoever obeys the divine commands is sure to be rewarded in the Hereafter, whatever difficulties he may have to face in his life on earth, is another strong incentive for leading a virtuous life.

And the belief that breaking the commandments of God will mean eternal punishment is an effective deterrent against violation of the moral law, however tempted a man may be by the superficial attractiveness of a certain course of action.

If this hope and fear are firmly ingrained in one’s heart, they will inspire virtuous deeds even on occasions when the immediate consequences may appear to be very damaging, and they will keep one away from evil when it looks extremely attractive and profitable.

This clearly indicates that Islam possesses a distinctive criterion of good and evil, its own source of moral laws, and its own sanctions and motivating force; through them it shapes the generally recognized more virtues in all spheres of life into a balanced and comprehensive scheme and ensures that they are followed.

It can therefore be justifiably claimed that Islam possesses a perfect moral system of its own. This system has many distinguishing features and I will refer to three of the most significant ones which, in my opinion, form its special contribution to ethics.

Distinctive Features

1- By setting divine pleasure as the objective of man’s life, Islam has set the highest possible standard of morality, providing boundless possibilities for the moral evolution of humanity.

By making divine revelation the primary source of knowledge, it gives permanence and stability to moral standards, while at the same time allowing scope for reasonable flexibility and adjustment, though not for perversions or moral laxity. The love and fear of God become the real motives, which impel man to obey the moral law without external pressures.

And through belief in God and the Day of Judgment, we are motivated to behave morally with earnestness and sincerity.

2- The Islamic moral order does not, through a mistaken love of originally and innovation, seek to lay down any new moral standards; nor does it seek to minimize the importance of the well-known moral standards, or give exaggerated importance to some and neglect others without cause.

Rather, it takes all the recognized morals and assigns a suitable role to each within the total scheme of life. It widens the scope of their application to cover every aspect of man’s private and social life – his domestic associations, his civic conduct, and his activities in the political, economic, legal and educational fields.

It covers his life at home and in society, literally from the cradle to the grave. No sphere of life is exempt from the universal and comprehensive application of the moral principles of Islam. These ensure that the affairs of life, instead of being dominated by selfish desires and petty interest, are regulated by the dictates of morality.

3- The Islamic moral order guarantees for man a system of life which is free from all evil. It calls on the people not only to practise virtue, but also to eradicate vice. Those who respond to this call are gathered together into an Ummah (a community) and given the name ‘Muslims’.

The main purpose underlying the formation of this community is that it should make an organized effort to establish and enforce goodness and suppress and eradicate evil. It would be a day of mourning for this community and a bad day for the entire world if its efforts were at any time directed towards establishing evil and suppressing good.

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

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For More Meaningful Effective Worship

By Jenna Evans

Oh mankind! Worship your Lord, who created you and those who were before you so that you may become pious. (Al-Baqarah 2:21)

du`aa' after prayer

Islam is a complete way of life where a constant state of worship is not an unreachable ideal, but a rational possibility.

When we hear the command to worship Allah (Exalted be He) in the Qur’an, what comes to mind?

Most likely we think of completing the five daily prayers, fasting during the month of Ramadan, or sharing a portion of our wealth with the poor. Although these acts are considered the foundations for faith – the pillars (arkan) of Islam – they comprise only one aspect of worship.

Worship, or `ibadah in Arabic, is an inclusive term for all that Allah loves. In other words, worship consists of everything one says or does for the pleasure of Allah, whether it is abiding by the required rituals, living by the example of the Prophet (peace be upon him), or perfecting our behavior.

Allah created us to worship Him and developed the religion of Islam as a “complete way of life” with rules and recommendations to govern our spiritual, physical, emotional, and social lives; these facts, clearly outlined in the Qur’an, suggest that a constant state of worship is not an unreachable ideal, but a rational possibility.

But when faced with the demands of school, work, and family, and desires to socialize and pursue hobbies, how can we engage in the ongoing worship Allah asks of us?

Part of the answer lies in the following seven words: Intention elevates deeds from habit to worship.

The Prophet emphasized the importance of our intentions when he said:

“All actions are judged by intention, and each person will be rewarded according to their intention.” (Al-Bukhari)

By explicitly changing our attitude from a bitter “I have to do this” to a positive “I want to do this for Allah” many of our habitual tasks can in fact become acts of worship.

The Qur’an and Sunnah of the Prophet set out specifics on morals and manners that can aid us in achieving a constant state of worship. Each of the following personal and social acts has the potential to draw us closer to our Creator:

Personal Acts

– Modesty in dress and behaviour

– Grooming and cleanliness

– Eating and drinking

– Using the bathroom

Seeking knowledge

– Travelling

– Going to work

Social Acts

– Keeping in touch with loved ones

Greeting others

Being punctual

– Exchanging gifts

– Respecting elders

– Kindness to animals

Expressing gratitude

– Volunteering

Many of us attend to these everyday tasks with little forethought, ignoring the numerous opportunities to earn reward.

Instead, take note of that which Allah loves, and use the power of intention to remain in a state of worship. As Khurram Murad states in the book “In the Early Hours”:

“Let there be no territories carved up and no frontiers set up in serving Him….Let nothing motivate us but an intense longing to please our Lord in the next world, and let that expectation give a decisive shape to our life here.”

_________________________

Source: Sisters Magazine

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Prophet Abraham & the Trial of Faith: Doubt & Trust

What trials did Prophet Abraham and his family go through? How did they come out of them? What is the difference between the Qur’anic and biblical accounts of the story?

Prophet Abraham & the Trial of Faith

Beyond his human grief, Abraham develops a relationship with God based on faithfulness, reconciliation, peace, and trust.

There are simple facts alone illustrate the remarkable bond linking Muhammad’s life to Abraham’s (peace be upon them). Yet it is the spiritual lineage that even more dearly reveals the exceptional nature of this bond.

The whole Abrahamic experience unveils the essential dimension of faith in the One. Abraham, who is already very old and has only recently been blessed with a child, must undergo the trial of separation and abandonment, which will take Hagar and their child, Ishmael, very close to death.

Doubt & Trust

His faith is trust in God: he hears God’s command-as does Hagar-and he answers it despite his suffering, never ceasing to invoke God and rely on Him.

Hagar questioned Abraham about the reasons for such behavior; finding it was God’s command, she willingly submitted to it. She asked, then trusted, then accepted, and by doing so she traced the steps of the profound ‘active acceptance’ of God’s will: to question with one’s mind, to understand with one’s intelligence, and to submit with one’s heart.

In the course of those trials, beyond his human grief and in fact through the very nature of that grief, Abraham develops a relationship with God based on faithfulness, reconciliation, peace, and trust. God tries him but is always speaking to him, inspiring him and strewing his path with signs that calm and reassure him.

Several years after this abandonment in the desert. Abraham was to experience another trial: God asked him to sacrifice his first-born son, Ishmael.

Abraham in the Qur’an

The Islamic tradition is that God asks Abraham to sacrifice Ishmael; in the Bible, the tradition is that Abraham is asked to sacrifice his second son, Isaac.

This is how the Qur’an recounts the story:

So We gave him (Abraham) the good news: the birth of a sweet-tempered son. Then, when (the son) was old enough to walk with him, he said: “0 my son! I have seen in a dream that I offer you in sacrifice. Now see what you think!” (The son) said: “0 my father! Do as you are commanded; you will find me, if God so wills, one of the steadfast” So when they had both submitted (to God), and he had laid him prostrate on his forehead, We called out to him: “0 Abraham! You have already fulfilled the dream!- thus indeed do We reward those who do right. For this was a clear trial.” And we ransomed him with a momentous sacrifice. And we left for him among generations (to come) in later times: peace and salutation to Abraham! (As-Saffat 37:101-109 )

The trial is a terrible one: for the sake of his love and faith in God, Abraham must sacrifice his son, despite his fatherly love. The trial of faith is here expressed in this tension between the two loves.

Abraham confides in Ishmael, and it is his own son, the object of sacrifice, whose comforting words to his father are like a confirming sign: “0 my father! Do as you are commanded; you will find me, if God so wills, one of the steadfast.”

As was the case a few years earlier with Hagar, Abraham finds in others signs that enable him to face the trial. Such signs, expressing the presence of the divine at the heart of the trial, have an essential role in the experience of faith and shape the mode of being with oneself and with God.

When God causes His messenger to undergo a terrible trial and at the same time associates that trial with signs of His presence and support (the confirming words of his wife or child, a vision, a dream, an inspiration, etc.), He educates Abraham in faith: Abraham doubts himself and his own strength and faith, but at the same time the signs prevent him from doubting God. This teaches Abraham humility and recognition of the Creator.

Then Abraham is tempted by deep doubt about himself, his faith, and the truth of what he hears and understands, the inspirations and confirmations of Hagar and Ishmael (whom he loves but sacrifices in the name of divine love) enable him not to doubt God, His presence, and His goodness. Doubt about self is thus allied to deep trust in God.

In the Bible

Indeed, trials of faith are never tragic in Islamic tradition, and in this sense, the Qur’an’s story of Abraham is basically different from me Bible’s when it comes to the experience of sacrifice. One can read in Genesis:

After these things God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here am I.” (God) said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering upon one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” …

And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it on Isaac his son; and he took in his hand the fire and me knife. So they went both of them together. And Isaac said to his father Abraham, “My father!” And he said, “Here am I, my son.” (Isaac) said. “Behold me fire and the wood; but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” Abraham said, “God Himself will provide the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of them together. (Genesis, 22:1- 2 and 6-8)

Abraham must sacrifice his son, and here he experiences this trial in absolute solitude. To his son’s direct question, “Where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” Abraham answers elliptically. He alone answers God’s call.

This difference between the two accounts may seem slight, yet it has essential consequences for the very perception of faith, for me trial of faith, and for human beings’ relation to God .

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The article is an excerpt from Dr. Tariq Ramadan’s In the Footsteps of the Prophet: Lessons from the Life of Muhammad, Oxford University Press (2007).

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When Hardship Afflicts A Believer…

When in any difficulty or hardship, what should the believer do, and how should he/she deal with it?

Prophet Ayyub (Job, may Allah have mercy on him) had fourteen children, and he had great health and wealth. Everybody loved him.

And one day, after eighty years, Allah took away all of his 14 children, one by one, then he took away his wealth, then his health until his skin started to fall off his body that you could see his muscles and bones. And he is still alive, breathing.

Not only that, the people began to say if this man had been a good person, Allah wouldn’t have done this to him.

In the midst of his severe affliction, what did he say? What did he ask God for, and how did he address Him (Exalted be He)?

And Ayyub (Job), when he cried to his Lord, (saying): Harm has afflicted me, and You art the most Merciful of the merciful. Therefore, We responded to him and took off what harm he had, and We gave him his family and the like of them with them: a mercy from Us and a reminder to the worshippers. (Al-Anbiyaa’ 21:82-83)

In the video below Ustadh Bilal Assad reflects on Prophet Ayyub’s affliction as an example and lesson on what may a believer face in life and how to face it …

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Source:  LoveAllah328 Youtube Channel

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