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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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Conversion Stories New Muslims

Theresa Corbin: Nothing but Islam Appealed to My Intellect and Feminist Ideals

By Theresa Corbin

muslim woman wearing hijab

I came to realize Islam is a world religion that teaches tolerance, justice and honor and promotes patience, modesty and balance.

My name is Theresa Corbin. I am a Muslim, but I wasn’t always. I converted to Islam in November 2001, two months after 9/11.

I was 21 and living in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. It was a bad time to be a Muslim. But after four years of studying, poking and prodding at world religions and their adherents, I decided to take the plunge.

Questions and Answers

I am the product of a Creole Catholic and an Irish atheist. I grew up Catholic, then was agnostic, now I’m Muslim.

My journey to Islam began when I was about 15 years old in Mass and had questions about my faith. The answers from teachers and clergymen – don’t worry your pretty little head about it – didn’t satisfy me.

So I did what any red-blooded American would do: the opposite. I worried about it. For many years. I questioned the nature of religion, man and the universe.

After questioning everything I was taught to be true and digging through rhetoric, history and dogma, I found out about this strange thing called Islam. I learned that Islam is neither a culture nor a cult, nor could it be represented by one part of the world. I came to realize Islam is a world religion that teaches tolerance, justice and honor and promotes patience, modesty and balance.

As I studied the faith, I was surprised many of the tenants resonated with me. I was pleased to find that Islam teaches its adherents to honor all prophets, from Moses to Jesus to Mohammed (peace be upon hem), all of whom taught mankind to worship one God and to conduct ourselves with higher purpose.

I was drawn to Islam’s appeal to intellect and heartened by the Prophet Mohammed’s quote, “The acquisition of knowledge is compulsory for every Muslim, whether male or female”. (Ibn Majah)

I was astounded that science and rationality were embraced by Muslim thinkers such as Al-Khawarizmi, who invented algebra; Ibn Firnas, who developed the mechanics of flight before Leonardo DaVinci; and Abu al-Qasim al-Zahrawi, who is the father of modern surgery.

Here was a religion telling me to seek out answers and use my intellect to question the world around me.

Taking the Plunge

It was 2001, and I had been putting off converting for a while. I feared what people would think but was utterly miserable. When 9/11 happened, the actions of the hijackers horrified me. But in its aftermath, I spent most of my time defending Muslims and their religion to people who were all too eager to paint a group of 1.6 billion people with one brush because of the actions of a few.

I was done being held hostage by the opinions of others. In defending Islam, I got over my fear and decided to join my brothers and sisters in the faith I believed in.

My family did not understand, but it wasn’t a surprise to them since I had been studying religion. Most were very concerned for my safety. Luckily, most of my friends were cool about it, and even curious to learn more.

The Scarf

These days, I am a proud wearer of hijab. You can call it a scarf. My scarf does not tie my hands behind my back, and it is not a tool of oppression. It doesn’t prevent thoughts from entering my head and leaving my mouth. But I didn’t always know this.

Studying Islam didn’t immediately dispel all my cultural misconceptions. I had been raised on imagery of women in the East being treated like chattel by men who forced them to cover their bodies out of shame or a sense of ownership.

But when I asked a Muslim woman “Why do you wear that?”, her answer was obvious and appealing: “To please God; to be recognized as a woman who is to be respected and not harassed. So that I can protect myself from the male gaze.”

She explained how dressing modestly is a symbol to the world that a woman’s body is not meant for mass consumption or critique.

I still wasn’t convinced and replied, “Yeah, but women are like second class citizens in your faith?”

The very patient Muslim lady explained that, during a time when the Western world treated women like property, Islam taught that men and women were equal in the eyes of God. Islam made the woman’s consent to marriage mandatory and gave women the opportunity to inherit, own property, run businesses and participate in government.

She listed right after right that women in Islam held nearly 1,250 years before women’s lib was ever thought of in the West. Surprisingly, Islam turned out to be the religion that appealed to my feminist ideals.

Getting Married

It might shock you to know that I had an arranged marriage. That doesn’t mean I was forced to marry my father’s first choice suitor, like Jasmine from “Aladdin”. Dad didn’t even have a say.

When I converted, it wasn’t a good time to be a Muslim. Feeling isolated, alienated and rejected by my own society pushed me to want to start a family of my own. Even before converting, I had always wanted a serious relationship but found few men looking for the same.

As a new Muslim, I knew there was a better way to look for love and a lifelong partnership. I decided that if I wanted a serious relationship, it was time to get serious about finding one. I wanted an arranged marriage.

I made a list of “30 Rock”-style deal breakers. I searched. I interviewed. I interrogated friends and families of prospects.

I decided I wanted to marry another convert, someone who had been where I was and wanted to go where I wanted to go. Thanks to parents of friends, I found my now-husband, a convert to Islam, in Mobile, Alabama, two hours from my New Orleans home. Twelve years later, we are living happily ever after.

Not every Muslim finds a mate in this manner, and I didn’t always see this for my life. But I am glad Islam afforded me this option.

Living in a Post-9/11 World

I never had to give up my personality, American identity or culture to be a Muslim. I have, at times, had to give up on being treated with dignity.

I have been spat on, had eggs thrown at me and been cursed at from passing cars. And I have felt terror when the mosque I attended in Savannah, Georgia, was first shot at, then burned down.

In August 2012, I moved back home to New Orleans, where being different is the norm. I finally felt safe- for a while. But now, with the continuous news coverage of the un-Islamic group known as ISIS, I have been subjected to much of the same treatment I received in other cities. And I now feel less safe than I ever have.

It enrages me to know there are some who call themselves Muslims and who distort and misappropriate Islam for political gains.

It weighs on me knowing that millions of my countrymen see only these images as a representative of my religion. It is unbearable to know that I am passionately hated for my beliefs, when those hating me don’t even know what my beliefs are.

In my journey to Islam, I came to learn that Muslims come in all shapes, sizes, attitudes, ethnicities, cultures and nationalities. I came to know that Islam teaches disagreement and that shouldn’t lead to disrespect, as most Muslims want peace.

Most of all, I have faith that my fellow Americans can rise above fear and hatred and come to learn the same.

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Source: cnn.com

Theresa Corbin is a writer living in New Orleans. She is the founder of Islamwich and a contributor to On Islam and Aquila Style.

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Conversion Stories New Muslims

More US Hispanic Women Convert to Islam

Hispanic Women

nature

These women feel more at ease with the traditional expectations of women in Muslim society.

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. The Pew Research Center says about six percent of American Muslims are Latino. And women make up a little more than half of the new converts (the people who have changed their religion to Islam).

On a recent Friday, men listened to their imam at Masjid Miami Gardens in Miami, Florida. This clergyman spoke about forgiveness.

On the upper level of the Gardens, the women watch through glass. They hear the imam through a monitoring system.

This is the world that Greisa Torres entered four years ago. That is when she arrived in Miami from Cuba. She says she lost her identify in the move, and found it in the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

Ms. Torres converted to Islam while pregnant with her second son.

“It’s very hard for me because we don’t have family here, just my husband and my kids. On this day, my baby, my Mahdi Aparicio, this day he was born. That’s why I convert to Islam, because I’m scared.”

Some estimates say there are 3,000 Hispanic Muslims in the Miami area and more than 40,000 nationwide.

Stephanie Londono received a master’s degree from Florida International University. She published a study about religious conversions by Latinas, women of Hispanic ancestry.

Safe Haven

Ms. Londono says some women turn to Islam because they reject Western values. They believe success in the West is measured by careers, education or wealth.

These women feel more at ease with the traditional expectations of women in Muslim society. They feel that what some consider less freedom in this way of life is something good or a benefit.

Ms. Londono says they like clear definitions between “halal”, meaning acceptable, and “haram”, which means unacceptable.

“So they know exactly where they stand. So the Qur’an happens to become this book that is almost like a guidebook, that tells you exactly how to wear, what to wear, when to wash, what to eat, how to behave, when to pray…”

Representing Islam

Less traditional Muslim women may avoid the hijab. But Latinas are happy to wear this head covering. Ms. Londono says they purposely speak Spanish while their heads are covered to show they represent Islam.

“When the people see you with the hijab, they respect you. It’s emotion you feel because you are different.”

Being seen in public in a hijab breaks traditional images that all Arabs are Muslims and all Hispanics are Catholic.

Ms. Torres also discovered similarities in the cultures as she changed religion. For example, 4,000 Spanish language words have roots in Arabic. This is because Moors (Arabs) occupied Spain in the Middle Ages.

Greisa Torres finds this useful. Some of what she is learning about Islam is taught in Arabic.

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Source: voanews.com

 

This report was based on a story from VOA’s Carolyn Presutti. Jeri Watson wrote the story for VOA Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

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New Muslims Society

Islam & Legal Rights of Women

Are women degraded in Islam? Do women have rights in Islam? What legal rights do women have on the ground, and where does Islam stand from rights of women?

Are women degraded in Islam? In what way does Islam talk about the rights of women? Do women have rights in Islam? Do women have a right to participate in public life? Do women have a right to inherit?

What legal rights do women have on the ground, and where does Islam stand from this?

Do you know that during his lifetime, Prophet Muhammad took counsel with and encouraged over 600 female scholars, warriors, nurses, businesswomen, teachers and students?

Rights of Women in Islam

From her main areas of experiences and practices in criminal defense, international law and legal issues, Sultana Tafadar, who is a barrister, talks about rights and status of women on the ground and How Islam helps her do her job…

To know the answer to these questions, watch this show of Inspired by Muhammad campaign in which Sultana Tafadar focuses on women’s rights.

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New Muslims Reflections

My Journey to Islam: A Worthy Struggle with the Hijab

New American Muslim sister, Lisa, shares her struggle with the hijab and how she converted to Islam.

struggle with the hijab

So, you feel like you’re in a battle; I’m trying to be Muslim, but I’m trying also to please my family.

I come from Michigan. I’m 31 years old, married. But I come from a Christian family, like most of us converts. My father’s side is Catholic, and my mother’s is very conservative Christian Baptist. So me converting was a very big deal for my entire family.

However my mother comes from a very large family as she was the one child out of six that may rebound and then she embraced Christianity. So she raised me quite differently. She raised me to be very open-minded, very liberal, politically and religiously. So, I embraced all her values and morals of thinking, but I never really embraced the way she thought about religion.

From a very young age I actually was very attached to Christianity, and on my own; nobody pushed me because my grandparents were already around pushing me into Christianity. But I just willingly entered into that religion. So I started going to young life and Christian camps; really trying to get involved in the religion as much as I could. I believe I was 15 years old when I went to Christian camps.

At Christian camps, you have amazing time but they have you staying up and have you claim Jesus as your Lord and Savior, and that exactly what I did. I did it but a kind of blindly as I was 15 years old. As such, you aren’t really researching as much as you should be, you are just following what people are telling you to believe. You don’t really question. I went ahead with that, but I had questions about my life.

I always had in my mind just what kind of what my mother would always be putting in my mind …for example, what about all the children who haven’t heard of the Gospel? Aren’t they going to Hell? Is that what they teach you? And so I’d be battling this; arguing within myself like… no I believe in Jesus, but my own mom is telling me something like how can anybody just tell you that a random person that they are going to Hell?!

And so I never really faced that question. Then after going to college and through Freshman year I met somebody who helped me exploring the world. I met some Muslim friends, some of them were from Morocco. A friend of mine was the grandson of the director of the American Language Center of Tangier, Morocco. And it seemed like there was an opportunity for teaching English there, he asked me “Do you want to go? And I said “yes, definitely.”

I went there, and, Alhamdulillah, I was able to live with that Moroccan family. So I did that and I was like, hey! I’d like to dress like you are dressing. Can I try that scarf! So, she gave me the scarf and I wore it. And I asked from where did you buy it? I want to buy one. So, for three months I’d wake up before Fajr. I had no idea what I was doing. I’d put my hijab and I didn’t know why, but I was just excited. It’s a new dress!

By time, I had found Morocco an awesome experience, but I never questioned anything I did. I spoke English, and they spoke Arabic. I started to learn a little Arabic, but we couldn’t communicate. So, it was just an awesome experience.

Back at Home

I came home. Back to my life, I graduated from college.  I worked at a bank. And here the irony comes in. Even though I lived in a Muslim country, I had no idea about Islam. And yes… I worked at a bank, and I was dealing with interest and basis, and something told me to quit.

Something within told me ‘this is not right”, and so I didn’t want to do it. Now I know what this thing was, but at the time I couldn’t explain it. I just knew I was not doing what I supposed to be doing. I was on the wrong path.

So, I’ve always wanted to be a photographer. I needed to be in a creative field. So, I quitted everything. I dropped everything. I moved to Florida. And I went to a photography school.

At the same time, I decided to join a project on town. So, I met tons of Muslim friends- one of them named Nadeen. She is an awesome friend. And at that time they asked me at photography school to do an assignment; a documentary on my choice.

So, I decided to do it on hijab. I lived in Morocco, and I had worn this for three months, and yet I still have no clue why they wear it. So I asked Nadden, “Can I please interview you?’ and she said “Absolutely.”

So we went ahead. I did an interview asking this question- just general questions I asked all the time: ‘why do you wear hijab?’ ‘Do people judge you? Is it hot?

These obviously were just ignorant questions because I had no idea what they were talking about. And so when she started speaking to me, she opened up my eye asking me: ‘you are a Christian, right? I said, ‘yes’.

She continued: ‘You know! It is in the Bible- specifically, in Corinthians chapter: 11, verse: 6, that a woman should wear a hijab. I said: ‘What? ‘Really?’

True Feminism

In that way she opened up my eyes, and it is one of the things I live about Islam; one of the beauties of Islam; such a feminist religion. And I grew up as the biggest feminist, fighting for women’s rights. And what of the things I learned is the rights Islam does give to women.  This is what I really loved about it

And so I started listening to her. Getting that other point of view  that you never thought of, you think that most of these women they don’t really have a career, they are just there for their husbands, and all the stereotypes that are always out there. They really are there. And she opened up my eyes as like: ‘Just look around! Look at the magazine aisles… nothing is sold without a  woman’s body being put next to it”. I remember her saying: “Can you even sell a pack of chips without having a naked woman next to it!” And I thought l “Oh My God! That is not feminism. That is oppression.”

I’ve been living in an oppressed society, and I without even knowing it. I asked myself: “why do we have to feel so self-conscious about our bodies all the time?

And so, I really started thinking about it. I went home. I looked for that verse of the Bible. And Wow! It was really there!

From there I got so interested, and I looked into the Qur’an and see what the Qur’an said about the hijab. And, surprisingly, when I read the Bible’s verse of the hijab it was actually very demeaning for women. I don’t know if many of you may read it. It says:

 “If it is a shameful for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, then she should cover her head.” (Corinthians chapter 11:6)

That seemed to me very demeaning way. But, on the other hand, the Qur’an talks how beautiful the woman is that she should be covered. And that’s why I just started looking at things differently.

So then I just was so interested I couldn’t get my hands of converting to Islam. So then I read many books. I read the Qur’an. I watched YouTube videos. Yusuf Estes is one of my favorites. I watched all his YouTube videos.

I did this for about three months. And at that time I knew I was going to become Muslim. But I felt I was not ready to take the Shahadah, but ready to put my hijab on. So I actually put the hijab on before I took my Shahadah.  And I didn’t put it full time. I traveled to New York and decided to put it on just because I felt comfortable to do so. And remember flying back . I remember going to class and I remember just being so nervous (crying).

And Alhamdulillah, I cut through it. You have to answer everybody’s question: “why are you wearing that?” “You came in and you were not wearing it.”

I know it’s minuscule now, but at that time it was so hard; I had to explain it to everybody, it took so much strength. But Alhamdulillah I’m so proud to wear my hijab now.

And then three months later, I kept researching and researching. And I found “yes! This is the real religion for me. I’m ready to do this”.

And I remember being alone. It was July 29th, 2011. It was the Friday before Ramadan. And I used to go to the mosque for Jum`ah (Friday) Prayer, but I was not yet a Muslim. But I remember sitting this day next to a lady and she said “I think you should convert before Ramadan starts. There’d be  so many blessings. So I thought more about it. I got my car and thought “yes. I guess this is what I want to do. I’m ready”.

So I went to the first woman I could find, and told her “I want to take my Shahadah”. And it was such a sense of peace that came over me when I took my Shahadah.

Since then it has been a journey, definitely a journey. I believe I-before taking the Shahadah- really was on the wrong path.

I wasn’t really praying. No one is there to guide you. You are trying to do things on your own, i.e. you don’t know how to pray, so you watch YouTube a video and try. You just do the best you can.

I’m supporting myself, living in an apartment alone; I even thought the fast began at sunrise not Fajr. So, you do things wrong but you do the best you can.

Me & My Hijab

My family, and particularly my Mom, took it very hard. And there was a kind or irony about it; she’d told me my whole life to be open-minded and to accept everybody, though it was so hard for her to accept this.

But though I has a very easy convert, comparing to other converts. My mom after a while-Alhamdulillah, accepted it. But she’d always say “why do you have to wear the hijab? Can’t you just take it off?”

So, I went through this struggle. Even if this (hijab) what let me to Islam, I’d take it for my Mom. I went home to Michigan, and I took it off. So, you feel like you’re in a battle; I’m trying to be Muslim, but I’m trying also to please my family. It was truly a struggle.

Now I’m on the right path, praying five times a day- Alhamdulillah. And I’m still learning.

And this is my story.

Watch Sister Liza tells of her touching journey to Islam in this video…

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Ethics & Values New Muslims

Does Islam Command Attacking Churches?

Can attacking the places of worship, i.e. churches, be justified in any religious teachings including Islamic? What does Islam say and teach about that? How can a religion be judged correctly?

It is safe to say that a given religion can be judged correctly only by two things: its own teachings and the practice of the mainstream doctrine of this religion. A religion cannot be judged by the centrifugal practices or beliefs of some followers, be they liberal or extremist, hither or thither.

churches

Islam pleads the cause of religion and defends all religions as well as their places of worship.

Attacking the places of worship is a criminal act which is done by individual followers of all religions all over the world. It is unfair to claim that it is Muslims only who attack the places of worship.

In fact, Islam prohibits any assault against the places of worship. The alleged attacks on the places of worship if really carried out by Muslims go against the well-established Islamic teachings. Such acts serve as odd precedents in the Islamic history. Suffice it to say they break with tradition.

Churches in Islamic History

The Messenger of Allah once wrote to the bishop of Banu Al-Harith Ibn Ka’b and the bishops and priests of Najran, their followers and their monks that everything, small or great, pertaining to their churches, chapels and monasteries would remain in their possession, that Allah and His Messenger would guarantee that no bishop would be removed from his see, nor any monk from his monastery, nor any priest from his office and none of their rights or powers would be changed as long as they were sincere and good, and no cruelty would be shown to them. This was scribed by Al-Mughirah.

Umar ibn Al-Khattab, the Second Muslim Caliph, concluded a treaty with the people of Jerusalem which read:

This is the assurance of safety which the servant of God, Umar, the Commander of the Faithful, has granted to the people of Jerusalem. He has given them an assurance of safety for themselves, for their property, their churches, their crosses, the sick and the healthy of the city, and for all the rituals that belong to their religion. Their churches will not be inhabited [by Muslims] and will not be destroyed. Neither they, nor the land on which they stand, nor their crosses, nor their property will be damaged. They will not be forcibly converted.

The people of Jerusalem must pay the poll tax like the people of (other) cities, and they must expel the Byzantines and the robbers. All this from the book they shall have as a pact of Allah, and as protection from his Messenger, from the Caliphs as well as from the Believers if they pay the jizyah. Witnesses of this are: Khalid bin Al-Waleed, `Amr ibn Al-`As, `Abd Al-Rahman ibn `Awf and Mu`awiya ibn Abi Sufyan. It was written with all present in the 15th year after Hegira.

Khalid bin Al-Waleed, the renowned Muslim commander, concluded a similar treaty with the people of Damascus which read:

This is what Khalid bin Al-Waleed shall grant to the people of Damascus: He shall grant them protection [and safety] for their lives, property [and possessions], their churches, and the walls of their cities. Nothing of their quarters will be destroyed nor shall anyone live in them. This they shall have as a pact of Allah, protection from his Messenger, from the Caliphs as well as from the Believers and nothing but good will remain for them if they pay the jizyah.

Habib bin Maslamah, a Companion of Prophet Muhammad and accomplished Muslim military commander, entered into a similar pact with the people of Dabil which read:

In the name of Allah, the beneficent, the merciful! This is a document from Habib bin Maslamah to the Christians, Magians and Jews of Dabil, present and absent. I assure you safety of your lives, properties, churches, places of worship and walls of your city. You are guaranteed protection and we are bound to fulfill our pact as long as you adhere to the jizyah and pay the kharaj. Allah is witness and He alone suffices as a witness.

In the Qur’an, we read verses telling us that Allah allowed the believers to fight against the unbelievers to prevent the demolition of the places of worship in general. Allah says:

Indeed, Allah defends those who have believed. Indeed, Allah does not like everyone treacherous and ungrateful.

Permission (to fight) has been given to those who are being fought, because they were wronged. And indeed, Allah is competent to give them victory.

(They are) those who have been evicted from their homes without right – only because they say, “Our Lord is Allah.” And were it not that Allah checks the people, some by means of others, there would have been demolished monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques in which the name of Allah is much mentioned. And Allah will surely support those who support Him. Indeed, Allah is Powerful and Exalted in Might.

(And they are) those who, if We give them authority in the land, establish prayer and give zakah and enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong. And to Allah belongs the outcome of (all) matters. (Al-Hajj 22:38-41)

However, somebody may wonder how the empowerment of Muslims will prevent the demolition of the places of worship.

The answer is that Islam binds Muslims to not only refrain from attacking the places of worship but also to protect them against attacks by any other people. It is safe to say that Islam is keen on the other faiths, even if they are contradictory to its principles.

Islam is nothing but a faith and a body of beliefs. The cause of faith serves as a common ground for their coexistence with the other, whose faith or beliefs might be right or wrong from Muslims’ point of view.

So long as some faith or belief is cherished, there is a way for communication. Islam looks for those who are willing to believe in religions simply because they are supposed to seek the truth. We, Muslims, think that we have that truth. Consequently, dialogue with those people will bring Muslims either new converts or allies and friends from the other religions. Therefore, it may be hard liaise with those who are unwilling to believe in any religion for they are unlikely to accept religion and religious people.

Furthermore, Muslims are deeply concerned about security, peace, justice and freedom on earth. Such security, peace, justice and freedom are more likely to be maintained by religion for religion usually preaches such values. Without religion, such values are at peril.

Therefore, Islam pleads the cause of religion and defends all religions as well as their places of worship. Muslims wish that even if Islam is not professed, one religion is still followed. This is better for Muslims themselves.

Islam & Non-Muslims

Just as Muslims guarantee security, peace, justice and freedom for non-Muslims, they expect that they are given equal treatment by non-Muslims.

Though Muslims see the followers of the other divine religions as unbelievers, Muslims still side with them against the atheists and the followers of the non-divine religions. Even though Muslims hope that the whole world converts to Islam, they prefer that if Islam is not embraced, the other divine religions are followed instead given the commonalities shared by those religions.

Muslims have shown sympathy for the followers of the other divine religions throughout history though such a feeling is not reciprocated by those followers, either Jews or Christians. Such sympathy is recorded in the Qur’an more than once.

For example, during Prophet Muhammad’s lifetime, the Magian Persian Empire defeated the Christian Roman Empire in one of the wars which would break out between them every now and then. At the time, Muslims sympathized with the Roman Empire. Qur’anic verses were revealed, prophesying a prospective victory by the Roman Empire over the Persian Empire.

We read the following verses in the Qur’an:

The Byzantines have been defeated in the nearest land. But they, after their defeat, will overcome. Within a few years. To Allah belongs the command before and after. And that day the believers will rejoice in the victory of Allah. He gives victory to whom He wills, and He is the Exalted in Might, the Merciful. (It is) the promise of Allah. Allah does not fail in His promise, but most of the people do not know. (Ar-Rum 30:1-7)

In a word, Islam commands Muslims to give kind treatment and act justly towards non-Muslims so long as they do not wrong Muslims.

Allah says:

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)

References:

1- The Glorious Qur’an (Sahih International Translation)

2- As-Sirah An-Nabawiyah by Ibn Ishaq

 

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Source: islamforchristians.com

 

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New Muslims Worldview

Women Before and After Islam

Did you know not that in the Christian France in 586 AD a conference was held to discuss whether women are humans with a soul or not? And if she has a soul, is it of a human or of an animal nature? And is her soul equal to that of a man or not?

Do you know what did they agree on then?

How did the Romans and Arabs before Islam treat woman? How was woman looked upon and considered before the advent of Islam?

Did you know not know that in such eras women was often treated worse than animals?

So, what did Islam come to give her? Besides, what about the widely held belief that Islam suffocates women’s rights, treating them as property?

The documentary here provides a factual record of the issue:

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His Companions New Muslims

Mus`ab ibn `Umayr: The First Envoy of Islam (1/2)

By: Khalid Muhammad Khalid

wild flowers

The flower of the Quraysh, the most handsome and youthful, historians and narrators describe him as “The most charming of the Makkans”.

The flower of the Quraysh, the most handsome and youthful, historians and narrators describe him, among the Companions of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), as “The most charming of the Makkans”.

He was born and brought up in wealth, and he grew up with its luxuries. Perhaps there was no boy in Makkah who was pampered by his parents like Mus`ab ibn `Umayr. This mirthful youth, caressed and pampered, the talk of the ladies of Makkah, the jewel of its clubs and assemblies: is it possible for him to be one of the legends of faith?

By Allah, how interesting a tale, the story of Mus`ab ibn `Umayr or Mus`ab, the Good, as he was nicknamed among the Muslims! He was one of those made by Islam and fostered by the Prophet Muhammad.

But who was he? His story is a pride of all mankind.

The youth heard one day what the people of Makkah had begun to hear about Muhammad, the Truthful, that Allah had sent him as bearer of glad tidings and a warner to call them to the worship of Allah, the One God. When Makkah slept and awoke there was no other talk but the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his religion, and this spoiled boy was one of the most attentive listeners.

That was because, although he was young, the flower of clubs and assemblies, the outward appearance of wisdom and common sense were among the traits of Mus`ab.

He heard that the Prophet and those who believed in him were meeting far away from the dignitaries and great men of the Quraysh at As-Safaa in the house of Al-Arqam lbn Al-Arqam, Dar Al-Arqam.

He wasted no time. He went one night to the Dar Al Arqam, yearning and anxious. There, the Prophet was meeting his Companions, reciting the Qur’an to them and praying with them to Allah, the Most Exalted. Mus`ab had hardly taken his seat and contemplated the verses of Qur’an recited by the Prophet when his heart became the promised heart that night.

The pleasure almost flung him from his seat as he was filled with a wild ecstasy. But the Prophet patted his throbbing heart with his blessed right hand, and the silence of the ocean’s depth filled his heart.

In the twinkling of an eye, the youth who had just become Muslim appeared to have more wisdom than his age and a determination that would change the course of time!

Bravery & Wisdom

Mus`ab’s mother was Khunas bint Malik, and people feared her almost to the point of terror because she possessed a strong personality. When Mus`ab became a Muslim, he was neither careful before nor afraid of anyone on the face of the earth except his mother. Even if Makkah, with all its idols, nobles, and deserts were to challenge him, he would stand up to it.

As for a dispute with his mother, this was an impossible horror, so he thought quickly and decided to keep his Islam secret until Allah willed. He continued to frequent Dar Al-Arqam and take lessons from the Prophet. He was satisfied with his faith and avoided the anger of his mother, who had no knowledge of his embracing Islam.

However, Makkah at that time kept no secret, for the eyes and ears of the Quraysh were everywhere, very alert and checking every footprint in its hot sands. Once, `Uthman ibn Taihah saw him steadily entering alarm’s house, then he saw him a second time praying the prayer like Muhammad. No sooner had he seen him than he ran quickly with the news to Mus`ab’s mother, who was astonished by it.

Mus`ab stood before his mother, the people, and the nobles of Makkah who assembled around him, telling them the irrefutable truth and reciting the Qur’an with which the Prophet cleansed their hearts and filled them with honor, wisdom, justice, and piety.

His mother aimed a heavy blow at him, but the hand which was meant as an arrow soon succumbed to the powerful light which increased the radiance of his face with innocent glory because it demanded respect with its quiet confidence.

However, his mother, under the pressure of her motherliness, spared him the beating and the pain, although it was within her power to avenge her gods whom he had abandoned. Instead she took him to a rough corner of her house and shut him in it. She put shackles on him and imprisoned him there until he heard the news of the emigration (hijrah) of some of the believers to Abyssinia.

He thought to himself and was able to delude his mother and his guards, and so escaped to Abyssinia. There he stayed in Abyssinia with his fellow emigrants and then returned with them to Makkah.

He also emigrated to Abyssinia for the second time with the Companions whom the Prophet advised to emigrate and they obeyed. But

whether Mus`ab was in Abyssinia or Makkah, the experience of his faith proclaimed itself in all places and at all times.

sunlight-nature

Mus`ab became confident that his life had become good enough to be offered as a sacrifice to the Supreme Originator and Great Creator.

The Power of Belief

Mus`ab became confident that his life had become good enough to be offered as a sacrifice to the Supreme Originator and Great Creator. He went out one day to some Muslims while they were sitting around the Prophet (peace be upon him), and no sooner did they see him than they lowered their heads and shed some tears because they saw him wearing worn out garments. They were accustomed to his former appearance before he had become a Muslim, when his clothes had been like garden flowers, elegant and fragrant.

The Prophet saw him with the eyes of wisdom, thankful and loving, and his lips smiled gracefully as he said, “I saw Mus`ab here, and there was no youth in Makkah more petted by his parents than he. Then he abandoned all that for the love of Allah and His Prophet!”

His mother had withheld from him all the luxury he had been overwhelmed by, when she could not return him to her religion. She refused to let anyone who had abandoned their gods eat of her food, even if he was her son.

Her last connection with him was when she tried to imprison him for a second time after his return from Abyssinia, and he swore that if she did that, he would kill all those who came to her aid to lock him up. She knew the truth of his determination when he was intent and decided to do something, and so she bade him good bye weeping.

The parting moment revealed a strange adherence to infidelity on the part of his mother, and the greater adherence to faith on the part of her son. When she said to him, while turning him out of her house, “Go away, I am no longer your mother,” he went close to her and said, “O mother, I am advising you and my heart is with you, please bear witness that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is His servant and messenger.”

She replied to him, angrily raging, “By the stars, I will never enter your religion, to degrade my status and weaken my senses!”

To be continued…

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The article is excerpted from the book “Men Around the Messenger”, which is translation based on Khalid Muhammad Khalid’s celebrated work in Arabic “Rijal Hawla Ar-Rasul” which represents the real inspirational stories of sixty-four Companions of the Prophet.

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Mus`ab ibn `Umayr: The First Envoy of Islam (2/2)

By: Khalid Muhammad Khalid

So Mus`ab, as mentioned in part 1, left the great luxury in which he had been living. He became satisfied with a hard life he had never seen before, wearing the roughest clothes, eating one day and going hungry another. This spirit, which was grounded in the strongest faith, adorned with the light of Allah, made him another man, one who appeals to the eyes of other great souls.

Great Mission

While he was in this state, the Prophet (peace be upon him) commissioned him with the greatest mission of his life, which was to be his envoy to Al-Madinah. His mission was to instruct the Ansar (Muslims of Madinah) who believed in the Prophet and had pledged their allegiance to him at (the Pledge of) `Aqabah, to call others to Islam, and to prepare Al-Madinah for the day of the great Hijrah.

There were among the Companions of the Prophet at that time others who were older than Mus`ab and more prominent and nearer to the Prophet by family relations. But the Prophet chose Mus`ab, the Good, knowing that he was entrusting to him the most important task of that time, putting into his hands the destiny of Islam at Al-Madinah.

The radiant city of Al-Madinah was destined to be the home of Hijrah, the springboard of Islamic preachers and the liberators of the future. Mus`ab was equal to the task and trust which Allah had given him and he was equipped with an excellent mind and noble character. He won the hearts of the Madinites with his piety, uprightness and sincerity. And so they embraced the religion of Allah in flocks.

At the time the Prophet sent him there, only twelve Muslims had pledged allegiance to the Prophet (peace be upon him) at the Pledge of `Aqabah. He had hardly completed a few months when they answered to the call of Allah and the Prophet. During the next pilgrimage season, the Madinite Muslims sent a delegation of 70 believing men and women to Makkah to meet the Prophet.

They came with their teacher and their Prophet’s envoy, Mus`ab ibn `Umair. Mus`ab had proven, by his good sense and excellence, that the Prophet knew well how to choose his envoys and teachers. Mus`ab had understood his mission well. He knew that he was a caller to Allah and preacher of His religion, which calls people to right guidance and the straight path.

The Right Man

Like the Prophet in whom he believed, he was no more than a deliverer of the message. There he stood fast, with As`ad ibn Zorarah as host, and both of them used to visit the tribes, dwellings, and assemblies, reciting to the people what he had of the Book of Allah, instilling in them that Allah is no more than One God.

He had confronted certain instances which could have put an end to his life and that of those with him but for his active, intelligent, great mind. One day, he was taken by surprise while preaching to the people to find Usaid ibn Hudair, leader of the `Abd Al-Ashhal tribe, at Al-Madinah confronting him with a drawn arrow.

He was raging with anger and animosity against the one who had come to corrupt the religion of his people by telling them to abandon their gods and talking to them about the idea of only One God Whom they did not know before and had never heard of. Their gods were to them the center of their worship.

Whenever any of them needed them, he knew their places. They would invoke them for help. That was how they thought and imagined!

As for the God of Muhammad, to whom this envoy was calling, nobody knew His place, nor could anybody see Him! When the Muslims who were sitting around Mus`ab, saw Usaid ibn Hudair advancing in his unbridled anger, they were frightened, but Mus`ab, the Good, stood firm. Usaid stood before him and As`ad ibn Zorarah shouting, “What brought you here? Are you coming to corrupt our faith? Go away if you wish to be saved!”

And like the calmness of the sea and its force, Mus`ab started his fine speech saying, “Won’t you sit down and listen? If you like our cause, you can accept; and if you dislike it, we will spare you of what you hate.”

Allah is the Greatest! How grand an opening whose ending would be pleasant! Usaid was a thoughtful and clever man, and here he saw Mus`ab inviting him to listen and no more. If he was convinced he would accept it, and if he was not convinced, then Mus`ab would leave his neighborhood and his clan, and move to another neighborhood without harm, nor being harmed.

There and then Usaid answered him saying, “Well, that is fair,” and he dropped his arrow to the ground and sat down listening. Mus`ab had hardly read the Qur’an, explaining the mission with which Muhammad ibn `Abd Allah came, when the conscience of Usaid began to dear and brighten and change with the effectiveness of the words. He became overwhelmed by its beauty.

When Mus`ab finished speaking, Usaid ibn Hudair exclaimed to him and those with him, “How beautiful is this speech, and how true! How can one enter this religion?” Mus`ab told him to purify his body and clothes and say, “I bear witness that there is no god but Allah.” Usaid retired for some time and then returned pouring clean water on his head and standing there proclaiming, “I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.”

The news spread like lightning and then Sa`d ibn Mu`adh came and listened to Mus`ab, and he was convinced and embraced Islam. Then came Sa`d ibn `Ubadah.

There and then blessings came with their entering Islam. The people of Al-Madinah came together asking one another, “If Usaid lbn Hudair, Sa`d ibn Mu`adh and Sa`d ibn `Ubadah have embraced Islam, what are we waiting for? Go straight to Mus`ab and believe. By Allah, he is calling us to the truth and the straight path!”

The first envoy of the Prophet succeeded without comparison. It was a success which he deserved and to which he was equal.

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The article is excerpted from the book “Men Around the Messenger”, which is translation based on Khalid Muhammad Khalid’s celebrated work in Arabic “Rijal Hawla Ar-Rasul” which represents the real inspirational stories of sixty-four Companions of the Prophet. 

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Salman Al-Farisi: A Journey of Truth and Existence (2/3)

Part 1

moon-nature

He moved from land to land, town to town, seeking acquaintances, persevering, worshiping and searching for his destiny.

I come from Isfahan, from a place called Jai, and I was the most beloved son of my father, who was a figure of high esteem among his people. We used to worship fire. I devoted myself to fire worship until I became custodian of the fire which we lit and never allowed to be extinguished.

My father had an estate. One day, he sent me there. I passed by a Christian church and heard them praying. I went in and saw what they were doing. I was impressed by what I saw in their prayers. I said, ”This is better than our religion.” I did not leave them until sunset, nor did I go to my father’s estate, nor did I return to my father until he sent people to search for me.

I asked the Christians about their affair and prayers which impressed me, and about the origin of their religion. They answered, ”In Syria.” I said to my father when I returned to him, ”I passed by people praying in a church of theirs, and I was impressed by their prayer, and I could see that their religion is better than ours.” He questioned me and I questioned him, and then he put fetters on my feet and locked me up.

Then I sent to the Christians saying I had entered their religion, and I requested that whenever a caravan came from Syria, they should tell me before its return in order for me to travel with them, and so they did.

I broke loose from the iron fetters and went away. I set out with them for Syria. While I was there, I asked about their learned man, and I was told that he was the bishop, leader of the church. I went to him and told him my story. I lived with him, serving, praying, and learning.

But this bishop was not faithful in his religion, because he used to gather money from the people to distribute it, but he would keep it for himself. Then he died.

They appointed a new leader in his place. I have never seen a man more godly than he in his religion, nor more active in his bid for the Hereafter, nor more pious in the world, nor more punctual at worship. I loved him more than I had ever loved any other person before.

When his fate came, I asked him, ”To whom would you recommend me? And to whom would you leave me?” He said, ”O my son, I do not know anyone who is on the path I am and who leads the kind of life I lead, except a certain man in Mosul.”

When he died, I went to that man in Mosul, and told him the story, and I stayed with him as long as Allah wished me to stay. Then death approached him. So I asked him, ”To whom would you advise me to go to?” He directed me to a pious man in Nisibin.

So I went to him and told him my story. I stayed with him as long as Allah wished me to stay. When death overtook him, I asked him as before. He told me to meet a person at `Amuriah in Byzantium. So, to Byzantium I went and stayed with that man, earning my living there by rearing cattle and sheep.

Then death approached him, and I asked him, ”To whom should I go?” He said, “O my son, I know no one anywhere who is on the path we have been on so that I can tell you to go to him. But you have been overtaken by an epoch in which there will appear a prophet in the pure creed of lbrahim (Abraham). He will migrate to the place of palm trees. If you can be sincere to him, then do so. He has signs which will be manifested: he does not eat of charity, yet he accepts gifts, and between his shoulders is the seal of prophethood. When you see him, you will know him.”

A caravan passed by me on that day. I asked them where they had come from and learned that they were from the Arabian Peninsula. So I told them, ”I give you these cattle and sheep of mine in return for your taking me to your land.” They agreed.

So they took me in their company until they brought me to Wadi Al-Quraa and there they wronged to me. They sold me to a Jew. I saw many palm trees and cherished the hope that it was the land that had been described to me and which would be the future place of the advent of the prophet, but it was not.

I stayed with this Jew who bought me until another from Bani Quraidhah came to him one day and bought me from him. I stayed with him until we came to Madinah. By Allah, I had hardly seen it when I knew that it was the land described to me.

I stayed with the Jew, working for him on his plantation in Bani Quraidhah until Allah sent His Prophet (peace be upon him), who later emigrated to Madinah and dismounted at Quba’ among the Bani `Amr ibn `Awf.

The Sign

Indeed, one day, I was at the top of a palm tree with my master sitting below it when a Jewish man came.

He was a cousin of his and said to him, ”May Allah destroy Bani Qubaa”. They are spreading a rumor about a man at Quba’ who came from Makkah claiming that he is a prophet.” By Allah, he had hardly said it, when I was seized by a tremor, and the palm tree shook until I almost fell on my master.

I climbed down quickly saying, ”What are you saying? What news?” My master gave me a nasty slap and said, ”What have you got to do with this? Return to your work!”

So, I returned to work. At nightfall I gathered what I had and went out until I came to the Prophet at Quba’. I entered and found him sitting with some of his Companions. Then I said, ”You are in need and a stranger. I have some food which I intend to give out as charity. When they showed me your lodgings, I thought you most deserve it, so I have come to you with it.” I put the food down. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said to his Companions, ”Eat in the name of Allah.” He abstained and never took of it. I said to myself, ”This, by Allah, is one sign. He does not eat of charity!”

I returned to meet the Prophet again the next day, carrying some food, and said to him, “I can see that you do not partake of charity. I have something which I want to give to you as a present.” I placed it before him. He said to his Companions ”Eat in the name of Allah“ and he ate with them. So I said to myself, ”This indeed is the second sign. He eats of presents.”

I returned and stayed away for a while. Then I came to him, and I saw him sitting, having returned from a burial, and surrounded by his Companions. He had two garments, carrying one on his shoulder and wearing the other. I greeted him, then bent to see the upper part of his back. He knew what I was looking for, so he threw aside his garment off his shoulder and, behold, the sign between his shoulders, the seal of Prophethood, was clear just as the Christian monk had described.”

At once, I staggered towards him, kissing him and weeping. He called to me to come forward and I sat before him. I told him my story as you have already heard me describe the events.

Within Islam

When I became a Muslim, slavery prevented me from taking part in the battles of Badr and Uhud. Therefore the Prophet (peace be upon him) advised me, ”Go into terms with your master for him to free you,” and so I did. The Prophet told the Companions to assist me, and Allah freed me from bondage. I became a free Muslim, taking part with the Prophet in the Battle of Al-khandaq and others.

With these simple clear words, Salman spoke of his great, noble, and sacrificial adventure for the sake of Allah, seeking after the reality of religion that led him to Allah and helped him to find his role in this life. What kind of a noble person was this man? What great superiority was achieved by his aspiring spirit, that restless spirit that withstood difficulties and defeated them, confronted the impossible and it gave way!

What devotion to the truth, and what sincerity that led its owner voluntarily away from the estate of his father, with all its wealth and luxury, to the wilderness, with all its difficulties and suffering. He moved from land to land, town to town, seeking acquaintances, persevering, worshiping and searching for his destiny among people, sects, and different ways of life.

And adhering all the way to the truth with all its noble sacrifices, for the sake of guidance until he was sold into slavery. He was then rewarded by Allah the best of rewards, making him reach the truth and come into the presence of His Prophet.

And then He granted him longevity, enough for him to see the banner of Islam fluttering in all parts of the world and His Muslim worshippers filling its space and corners with guidance, progress and justice!

What do you expect of the Islam of a man with such a noble character but to be a man of such truth!
It was an Islam of the God- fearing and innocent. In his devotion he was intelligent, pious, and the person nearest to `Umar ibn Al-khattab.

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The article is excerpted from the book “Men Around the Messenger”, which is a translation based on Khalid Muhammad Khalid’s celebrated work in Arabic “Rijal Hawla Ar-Rasul” which represents the real inspirational stories of sixty-four Companions of the Prophet. 

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