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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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Articles of Faith New Muslims

The Deeds Most Beloved to God: The Gates to Goodness

First of all, the Muslim must commit to perfecting all the mandatory acts of worship. Thereafter, each one may find certain acts of worship which He likes most and make them His way to getting closer to the pleasure of Allah.

The Companions were keen to draw closer to Allah so; they used to ask the Prophet about the means for accomplishing that goal.

Here are some of the Prophet’s answers: (Note: The answers will vary according to the person and the situation)

Dhikr

Narrated Mu`adh ibn Jabal, I asked the Messenger of Allah, which of the deeds is more beloved to Allah, He said: “To die while your tongue is wet with the remembrance of Allah.” (Ibn Hibban and At-Tabarani)

Praying on Time, Being Good to Parents, and Jihad

Narrated `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud, ”I asked the Messenger of Allah, which of the deeds are most beloved to Allah? He said: ‘Praying on time” then I asked and which is next?

He said: ‘Kindness to parents’, then I asked, and which is next? He said: ‘Jihad in thecause of Allah’ and, if I asked him for more, he would have given me more.” (Al-Bukhari)

Devote all of your worship to Allah,

Be good to your Kin,

Ordain good and forbid bad

Itis reported from a man from Khath`am, who said, “I came to the Prophet and, he wasamongst his Companions and, I said, ‘you are the one who claims to be the messenger ofGod?’ He said: ‘Yes’. I said, ‘Oh Messenger of Allah, which of the deeds is morebeloved to Allah?’ He said: ‘Faith in Allah’. I said, ‘Oh Messenger of Allah, which isnext?’ He said: ‘Kindness to the kin’. I said, ‘Oh Messenger of Allah, which is next?’ Hesaid, ‘Ordaining good and forbidding bad’.” (Abu Ya`la)

Be good to your Muslim brother,

Help him with his needs,

Pay off his debt, and bringhappiness to his heart

Control Your Anger and Rage

Narrated Ibn `Umar that a man came to the Prophet and said: Oh Messenger of Allah,which of the people is more beloved to Allah and which of the deeds is so? The Messenger of Allah said: “The most beloved of people to Allah are those who are mostbeneficial to the people, and the most beloved deeds to Allah, the most High, is to bring happiness to a Muslim, or ease his hardship, or to pay off his debt for him, or to end his hunger. And it is more beloved to me to walk with a brother of mine (in Islam), to run an errand for him than to make I`tikaf (seclusion) in this Masjid (in reference to the Masjid of Al-Madinah) for a month. And he who controls his anger, Allah will cover his shortcomings, and he who suppresses his rage despite being capable of taking it out(against his opponent), Allah will fill his heart with hope on the Day of Judgment, and he who walks with his brother to run an errand for him until it is done Allah will make his feet stable on the Day when feet will be paralyzed.“ (At-Tabarani)

Prayers, Zakat, Fasting, Hajj, Mustahab Fasting and Charity, Night Prayers, Jihad,Control Your Tongue.

Narrated by Mu’adhibnJabal: “I was traveling with the Prophet and, I was close to himwhile we are walking then, I asked him, ‘Oh Prophet of Allah, tell me of a deed that willenter me Paradise and keep me away from the Hell?’ He said, ‘You have asked about agreat matter, but it is easy for those whom Allah will make it easy for; worship Allah anddo not associate partners with him, perfectly perform the prayers, give Zakat (obligatory donations), fast the month of Ramadan and make pilgrimage to the House (Al-Ka`bah).’

And then he said, ‘Should I tell you about the gates of goodness! Fasting is a protection(from Allah’s punishment), Charity puts off the sins, and a man’s Prayer in the middle of the night’ and, then He recited the saying of Allah the Most High:

“Their sides forsake their beds…” until he reached”…that which they do.”, and,then he said, ‘Should I tell you of the head of the matter (meaning the religion), its pillar,and its peak?’ I said, ‘Yes, oh Messenger of Allah.’ He said, ‘The head of the matter andits pillar is the prayers and, its peak is Jihad,’ and, then he said, ‘should I tell you of themalak(the string that holds all the beads together) of the matter?’ I said, ‘Yes, Oh Messenger of God.’ So, he held his tongue and said, ‘Control that.’ Then I said, ‘OhMessenger of Allah, shall we be accounted for what we say?’ He said, ‘May your mother lose you Mu`adh! (Note: the phrase is not interpreted literally), and would anything befall the people in the Hell but the earnings of their tongues.’” (Ahmad and others)

Control Your Tongue and Be Good to Your Neighbors

On the authority of Anas, the Prophet said: “The faith of a servant is not put right until his heart is put right and, his heart is not put right until his tongue is put right and, the man whose neighbor does not feel safe from his harm, shall not enter Paradise.”(Ahmad)

Reciting the Book of Allah with Contemplation

Almighty Allah says,

And those who disbelieve say, ‘Why is not the Qur’an revealed to him all at once?’ Thus (it is sent down in parts), that We may strengthen your heart thereby. And We haverevealed it to you gradually, in stages.(Al-Furqan 25:32)

Know that it is only Allah who guides and misguides and-as He said- all peoples’ hearts are between two of his fingers so, ask Him with humbleness, and humility, and, with certainty that without his help and favor you will perish.

Our Lord! Let not our hearts deviate (from the truth) after You have guided us…(Aal `Imran 3:8)

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Source: The article is an excerpt from the paper “Acts of Worship as a Means to Strengthen the Attachment between the Servant and his Lord” by Dr. Hatem Al-Haj whichwas prepared for a conference in Austin, Texas, 2002. It first appeared at drhatemalhaj.com.

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Articles of Faith New Muslims

Abraham & His Children: All Parts of the Same Structure

By Sheikh Ahmad Kuftaro, The late Grand Mufti of Syria

At each stage of human history no group of people were left without divine instruction.

At each stage of human history no group of people were left without divine instruction.

“O People of Faith!” This address is a continuation of a long history of dialogue among the people of revealed religions. Allah has favored them with His solicitude and granted them guidance through the light of His remembrance, thus uniting them as members of one family and spreading through them all good and mercy.

Though there were prophets before Abraham, it was the will of Allah that the later generation of prophets be his offspring. For that reason, Abraham became the friend of Allah and a spiritual symbol around whom the people of faith flocked.

The great succession of these prophets after Abraham called for the message of Allah, each paving the way for the next one, in accordance with Allah’s divine decree. Thus, at each stage of human history no group of people were left without divine instruction.

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) explained his mission in the following words:

“The comparison between me and the preceding prophets is similar to a group of people who took part in building a house and completed it but for an empty space for one block or brick. Onlookers admired it and said in astonishment, ‘What a beautiful mansion, if it were not for the place of the missing brick.’ I have been this brick and I am the last or the seal of the prophets.” (Al-Bukhari)

Muhammad then emphasized, “I am only one brick of it.”

In this analogy the Prophet does not refer to himself as the whole house but as a part of this structure of prophethood.

Thus, he draws the attention of his nation and the followers of previous prophets to the essential fact that the true glory of the people of faith can come only through cooperation and integration. As if to confirm this, Allah says in the Qur’an:

Verily, your community of religion is one community, and I am your Only Lord and Cherisher. Therefore serve Me (and no other). (Al-Anbiya’ 21:92)

Exemplars for Humanity

Islam does not identify itself with a single person or race, but rather with recognition of and submission to Allah. Thus, mere faith in Muhammad does not suffice. Islam demands belief in the great caravan of prophets, of which Abraham is the vanguard.

His offspring include Isaac, Ishmael, Jacob, Joseph, David, Solomon, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad (peace be upon them all). They are the teachers and examples to humanity, and their spiritual stations were assigned solely by Allah.

Thus, to attribute sinful behavior to any of them, which even ordinary people would be ashamed of committing, would be to question the wisdom of Allah in choosing such people. Hence, Islam emphatically maintains the high moral and ethical status of such men.

Furthermore, to deny or reject any of the prophets would be to abandon faith. Hence, preserving the integrity of prophethood and its lineage paves the way for cooperation of the people of faith. The Qur’an says:

Praise be to Allah, the Cherisher and Sustainer of the worlds. (Al-Fatiha 1:2)

Allah does not identify Himself solely with the Muslims, the Arabs, or the Semitic tribes. He is the Lord of the Worlds. Therefore, whoever turns to Allah in love and worship understands that there are other people of faith with whom he has to cooperate in order to fulfill the objectives of Allah and abide by His commands. In this connection, Allah not only counsels humans about their good behavior toward others, but cautions them as well:

Say to My servants that they should say (only) those things that are best, for Satan sows dissensions among them, and Satan is to man an avowed enemy. (Al-Israa’  17:53)

Their Father

Muslim scholars of the Qur’an say that linguistically the name Abraham means “a compassionate father”. This corresponds with the meaning found in most of the Semitic languages at that time. There is undoubtedly a direct relationship between his name and the great message for which Abraham was chosen, namely his responsibility for the universal call to Allah.

For his part, Prophet Muhammad is ordered in the Qur’an:

Say, My Lord has guided me to a straight path, to an upright religion, to the Path of Abraham, the true in faith, who was no idolater. (Al-An`am 6:161)

It is very wise that the Children of Abraham should call each other to a mutual encounter. In so doing, it brings them together and creates mutual love and affection within their hearts. Together they form the majority of the earth’s inhabitants, and so the harmony caused by such a union creates the nucleus for global harmony.

The One Message/Belief

The Children of Abraham are joined by the belief in the Oneness of God. Although the direction faced in prayer may differ among Abrahamic religions, this remains but a physical demarcation. The essential direction of the heart remains one, the direction toward Allah.

The Qur’an says that Abraham, after destroying the stone idols of his people in Babylon, said:

For me, I have set my face firmly and truly toward Him Who created the heavens and the earth, and never shall I give partners to Allah.  (Al-An`am 6:79)

This very same supplication is repeated by the Muslims each time they pray. They also acknowledge the two great commandments given in Matthew:

“Jesus said to him, you shall love your Lord, your God, with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: you shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 22, verses 37-40)

The Children of Abraham also believe in the same prophets, whose lives are examples to follow. The Qur’an stresses this when it says:

We sent you Inspiration to know Our will as We sent it to Noah and the Messengers after him. We sent Inspiration to Abraham, and Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob (Yakub) and the Tribes, to Jesus, Job (Ayub), Jonah (Yunus), Aaron (Haroun), and Solomon, and to David We gave the Psalms. Of some Messengers We have already told you (and Moses was addressed directly), but there are others of whom We have not yet spoken. (An-Nisaa’ 4:163-164)

All Prophets

Also in the possession of the Children of Abraham are books given to them by Allah for the guidance of their people. These revealed books enjoin the same virtues and ban the same vices. The Qur’an says:

There is guidance and light in the Torah, which We have revealed. Following its standards, the Jews have been judged by the prophets, who bowed (as in Islam) to God’s Will, by the rabbis, and by the doctors of law. (Al-Ma’idah 5:44)

The Qur’an also says:

Let the people of the Gospel judge by what Allah has revealed in it. (Al-Ma’idah 5:47)

The children of Abraham hold various tenets in common: they believe in Allah and His angels, and in His books and messengers. They also believe in the Day of Judgment. The Qur’an says:

Those who believe (in the Qur’an), and those who follow the Jewish (Scriptures), and the Christians and the Sabeans, any who believe in Allah, and the Last Day, and work righteousness, shall have their reward with their Lord. They have nothing to fear or regret. (Al Baqarah 2:62)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                           To be continued

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Source: islamic-study.org

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Articles of Faith New Muslims

Shari`ah (Islamic Law): The Whole Picture of Islam

By Abul A`la Mawdudi

Shari`ah Law

God has provided man with all the means and resources to make his natural faculties function and to achieve the fulfillment of his needs.

Our discussion of the fundamentals of Islam will remain incomplete if we do not cast a glance over the law of Islam, study its basic principles, and try to visualize the type of man and society which Islam wants to produce. Here we undertake a study of the principles of the Shari`ah (Islamic Law) so that our picture of Islam may become complete and we may be able to appreciate the superiority of the Islamic way of life.

Shari`ah… Its Nature and Purport

Man has been endowed with countless powers and faculties and providence has been very bountiful to him in this respect. He possesses intellect and wisdom, will and volition, faculties of sight, speech, taste, touch and hearing, powers of hand and feet, passions of love, fear, anger and so on. These faculties have been bestowed on him because they are indispensable to him.

His very life and success depend on the proper use of these powers for the fulfillment of his needs and requirements. These God-given powers are meant for his service and unless they are used in full measure life cannot become worth living.

God has also provided man with all those means and resources to make his natural faculties function and to achieve the fulfillment of his needs. The human body has been so made that it has become man’s greatest instrument in his struggle for the fulfillment of his life’s goal.

Then there is the world in which man lives. His environment and surroundings contain resources of every description: resources which he uses as a means for the achievement of his ends. Nature and all that belongs to it have been harnessed for him and he can make every conceivable use of them.

And there are other men of his own kind, so that they may co-operate with each other in the construction of a better and prosperous life.

These powers and resources have been conferred so that they may be used for the good of others. They have been created for your good and are not meant to harm and destroy you.

The proper use of these powers is that which makes them beneficial to you; and even if there be some harm, it must not exceed the unavoidable minimum. That alone is the proper utilization of these powers. Every other use which results in waste or destruction is wrong, unreasonable and unjustified.

For instance, if you do something that causes you harm or injury, that would be a mistake, pure and simple. If your actions harm others and make you a nuisance to them, that would be sheer folly and an utter misuse of God-given powers. If you waste resources, spoil them for nothing or destroy them that too is a gross mistake.

Such activities are flagrantly unreasonable, for it is human reason which suggests that destruction and injury must be avoided and the path of gain and profit be pursued. And if any harm be countenanced, it must be only in such cases where it is unavoidable and where it is bound to yield a greater benefit.

Any deviation from this is self-evidently wrong. Keeping this basic consideration in view, when we look at human beings, we find that there are two kinds of people: first, those who knowingly misuse their powers and resources and through this misuse waste the resources, injure their own vital interests, and cause harm to other people; and, second, those who are sincere and earnest but err because of ignorance.

Those who intentionally misuse their powers are wicked and evil and deserve to feel the full weight of the law. Those who err because of ignorance, need proper knowledge and guidance so that they see the Right Path and make the best use of their powers and resources. And the code of behavior, the Shari`ah – which God has revealed to man – meets this very need.

The Ultimate Goal

The Shari`ah stipulates the law of God and provides guidance for the regulation of life in the best interests of man. Its objective is to show the best way to man and provide him with the ways and means to fulfill his needs in the most successful and most beneficial way.

The law of God is out and out for your benefit. There is nothing in it which tends to waste your powers, or to suppress your natural needs and desires, or to kill your moral urges and emotions. It does not plead for asceticism. It does not say: abandon the world, give up all ease and comfort of life, leave your homes and wander about on plains and mountains and in jungles without bread or cloth, putting yourself to inconvenience and self-annihilation.

This viewpoint has no relevance to the law of Islam, a law that has been formulated by God Who has created this world for the benefit of mankind.

The Shari`ah has been revealed by that very God Who has harnessed everything for man. He would hardly want to ruin His creation. He has not given man any power that is useless or unnecessary, nor has He created anything in the heavens and the earth which may not be of service to man.

It is His explicit will that the universe – this grand workshop with its multifarious activities – should go on functioning smoothly and graciously so that man – the prize of creation – should make the best and most productive use of all his powers and resources, of everything that has been harnessed for him on earth and in the high heavens. He should use them in such a way that he and his fellow human beings may reap handsome prizes from them and should never, intentionally or unintentionally, be of any harm to God’s creation.

The Shari`ah is meant to guide the steps of man in this respect. It forbids all that is harmful to man, and allows or ordains all that is useful and beneficial to him.

The fundamental principle of the Law is that man has the right, and in some cases the bounden duty, to fulfill all his genuine needs and desires and make every conceivable effort to promote his interests and achieve success and happiness – but (and it is an important ‘but’) he should do all this in such a way that not only are the interests of other people not jeopardized and no harm is caused to their strivings towards the fulfillment of their rights and duties, but there should be all possible social cohesion, mutual assistance and co-operation among human beings in the achievement of their objectives.

In respect of those things in which good and evil, gain and loss are inextricably mixed up, the tenet of this law is to choose a little harm for the sake of greater benefit and sacrifice a little benefit, so avoiding a greater harm. This is the basic approach of the Shari`ah.

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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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New Muslims Pilgrimage

A Brief Guide to Hajj (EDC Video)

Islam organizes the spiritual and moral life of man as well as the practical in order to live a normal balanced life. Every act of worship in Islam has a meaning, a purpose and a significance, and of great spiritual, moral, and physical benefits.

Hajj, one of the five main pillars of Islam, gives a specific and practical example of acts of worship in Islam. A rich spiritual experience, Hajj has a great message and lessons for the benefit and wellbeing of man and all humanity, resulting in spiritual and behavioral development in the life of a Muslim.

Hajj is a life-time journey; if conducted properly, it will erase all sins of the pilgrim. So, every Muslim intending to undertake this journey should first learn well its rituals and how to perform them correctly.

The E-Da`wah Committee (EDC) is pleased to present this brief guide to Hajj for those intending to make this life-time journey.

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Ethics & Values New Muslims

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

heart-sky

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Real Goal

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

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

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

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

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

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Source: Dawahskills.com

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Divine Unity New Muslims

True Monotheism

From the definition of Islam we can learn what Islam is all about; to submit yourself to the will of God. It’s Just that simple, and that deep. On that meaning Islam, which is no different from all religions of God, is based. It’s monotheism in its true and origin meaning; to commit yourself to God, live in accordance with His teachings and commands as revealed to the prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

From here comes the trueness and purity of Islamic monotheism.

Tawheed (Islamic monotheism) is the basis of Islam. In this show, Yasir Qadhi explains true monotheism in Islam and how it is expressed in the declaration of faith.

 

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Taken with kind permission from: TheDeenShow.com

 

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Divine Unity New Muslims

The Concept of God in Islam

To a Muslim, Allah is the Almighty Creator and Sustainer of the universe.

To a Muslim, Allah is the Almighty Creator and Sustainer of the universe.

It is a known fact that every language has one or more terms that are used in reference to God and sometimes to lesser deities. This is not the case with Allah.

Allah is the personal name of the one true God. Nothing else can be called Allah. The term has no plural or gender. This shows its uniqueness when compared with the word ‘god’, which can be made plural, as in ‘gods’, or made feminine, as in ‘goddess’. It is interesting to notice that Allah is the personal name of God in Aramaic, the language of Jesus and a sister language of Arabic.

The one true God is a reflection of the unique concept that Islam associates with God. To a Muslim, Allah is the Almighty Creator and Sustainer of the universe, Who is similar to nothing and nothing is comparable to Him. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was asked by his contemporaries about Allah; the answer came directly from God Himself in the form of a short chapter of the Qur’an, which is considered to be the essence of the unity or the motto of monotheism.

This is chapter 112, which reads:

Say (O Muhammad), He is God, the One God, the Everlasting Refuge, who has not begotten, nor has been begotten, and equal to Him is not anyone. (Al-Ikhlas 112:1-4)

Some non-Muslims allege that God in Islam is a stern and cruel God who demands to be obeyed fully, and is not loving and kind. Nothing could be farther from the truth than this allegation. It is enough to know that, with the exception of one, each of the 114 chapters of the Qur’an begins with the verse: “In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate”.

In one of the sayings of Prophet Muhammad, we are told that “God is more loving and kinder than a mother to her dear child”. (Al-Bukhari)

On the other hand, God is also Just. Hence, evildoers and sinners must have their share of punishment, and the virtuous must have God’s bounties and favors. Actually, God’s attribute of mercy has full manifestation in His attribute of justice. People suffering throughout their lives for His sake should not receive similar treatment from their Lord as people who oppress and exploit others their whole lives. Expecting similar treatment for them would amount to negating the very belief in the accountability of man in the Hereafter and thereby negate all the incentives for a moral and virtuous life in this world. The following Qur’anic verses are very clear and straightforward in this respect.

Verily, for the Righteous are gardens of Delight, in the Presence of their Lord. Shall We then treat the people of Faith like the people of Sin? What is the matter with you? How judge you? (Al-Qalam 68:34-36)

Islam rejects characterizing God in any human form or depicting Him as favoring certain individuals or nations on the basis of wealth, power or race. He created the human-beings as equals. They may distinguish themselves and get His favor through virtue and piety only.

The concepts that God rested on the seventh day of creation, that God wrestled with one of His soldiers, that God is an envious plotter against mankind, and that God is incarnate in any human being are considered blasphemy from the Islamic point of view.

The unique usage of Allah as a personal name of God is a reflection of Islam’s emphasis on the purity of the belief in God that is the essence of the message of all God’s messengers. Because of this, Islam considers associating any deity or personality with God as a deadly sin that God will never forgive, despite the fact that He may forgive all other sins.

The Creator must be of a different nature from the things created because if He is of the same nature as they are, He will be temporal and will therefore need a maker. It follows that nothing is like Him. If the maker is not temporal, then he must be eternal. But if he is eternal, he cannot be caused, and if nothing caused Him to come into existence, nothing outside Him causes Him to continue to exist, which means that he must be self-sufficient. And if He does not depend on anything for the continuance of His own existence, then this existence can have no end. The Creator is therefore eternal and everlasting:

He is the First and the Last. (Al-Hadid 57:3)

He is Self-sufficient or Self-subsistent, or, to use a Qur’anic term, Al-Qayyum. The Creator does not create only in the sense of bringing things into being, He also preserves them and takes them out of existence and is the ultimate cause of whatever happens to them.

God is the Creator of everything. He is the guardian over everything. Unto Him belong the keys of the heavens and the earth. (Az-Zumar 39:62-63)

No creature is there crawling on the earth, but its provision rests on God. He knows its lodging place and its repository (Hud 11:16)

God’s Attributes

If the Creator is Eternal and Everlasting, then His attributes must also be eternal and everlasting. He should not lose any of His attributes nor acquire new ones. If this is so, then his attributes are absolute. Can there be more than one Creator with such absolute attributes? Can there be, for example, two absolutely powerful Creators? A moment’s thought shows that this is not feasible.

The Qur’an summarizes this argument in the following verses:

God has not taken to Himself any son, nor is there any god with Him: for then each god would have taken of that which he created and some of them would have risen up over others. (Al-Mu’minun 23:91)

And why, were there gods in earth and heaven other than God, they (heaven and earth) would surely go to ruin. (Al-Anbiyaa’ 21:22)

The Oneness of God

The Qur’an reminds us of the falsity of all alleged gods. To the worshippers of man-made objects it asks:

Do you worship what you have carved yourself? (As-Saffat 37:95)

Or have you taken unto yourself others beside Him to be your protectors, even such as have no power either for good or for harm to themselves? (Ar-Ra`d 13:16)

To the worshippers of heavenly bodies it cites the story of Abraham:

When night outspread over him, he saw a star and said: ‘This is my Lord’. But when it set, he said: ‘I love not the setters’. When he saw the moon rising, he said: ‘This is my Lord’. But when it set, he said: ‘If my Lord does not guide me, I shall surely be of the people gone astray’. When he saw the sun rising, he said: ‘This is my Lord; this is greater’. But when it set, he said: ‘O my people, surely I quit that which you associate, I have turned my face to Him who originated the heavens and the earth; a man of pure faith, I am not one of the idolaters’ (Al-An`am 6:76-79)

The Believer’s Attitude

In order to be a Muslim, that is, to surrender oneself to God, it is necessary to believe in the Oneness of God, in the sense of His being the only Creator, Preserver, Nourisher, etc. But this belief, later called Tawheed Ar-Rububiyyah, is not enough. Many of the idolaters knew and believed that only the Supreme God could do all this. But this was not enough to make them Muslims. To tawheed ar-rububiyyah, one must add tawheed al-uluhiyyah, that is, one acknowledges the fact that it is God alone who deserves to be worshipped, and thus abstains from worshipping any other thing or being.

Having achieved this knowledge of the one true God, man should constantly have faith in Him, and should allow nothing to induce him to deny truth.

When faith enters a person’s heart, it causes certain mental states that result in certain actions. Taken together, these mental states and actions are the proof for the true faith. The Prophet said, ‘Faith is that which resides firmly in the heart and which is proved by deeds’.

Foremost among those mental stated is the feeling of gratitude towards God, which could be said to be the essence of `ibadah (worship).

The feeling of gratitude is so important that a non-believer is called kafir, which means ‘one who denies a truth’ and also ‘one who is ungrateful’.

A believer loves, and is grateful to God for the bounties He bestowed upon him, but being aware of the fact that his good deeds, whether mental or physical, are far from being commensurate with divine favors, he is always anxious lest God should punish him, here or in the Hereafter. He, therefore, fears Him, surrenders himself to Him and serves Him with great humility. One cannot be in such a mental state without being almost all the time mindful of God. Remembering God is thus the life force of faith, without which it fades and withers away.

The Qur’an tries to promote this feeling of gratitude by repeating the attributes of God very frequently. We find most of these attributes mentioned together in the following verses of the Qur’an:

He is God; there is no god but He. He is the Knower of the unseen and the visible; He is the All-Merciful, the All-Compassionate. He is God; there is no god but He. He is the King, the All-Holy, the All-Peace, the Guardian of the Faith, the All-Preserver, the All-Mighty, the All-Compeller, the All-Sublime. Glory be to God, above that they associate! He is God, the Creator, the Maker, the Shaper. To Him belong the Names Most Beautiful. All that is in the heavens and the earth magnifies Him; He is the Almighty, the All-Wise. (Al-Hashr 59:22-24)

There is no god but He, the Living, the Everlasting. Slumber seizes Him not, nor sleep. To Him belongs all that is in the heavens and the earth. Who is there that shall intercede with Him save by His leave? He knows what lies before them, and what is after them, and they comprehend not anything of His knowledge save such as He wills. His throne comprises the heavens and earth. The preserving of them oppresses Him not; He is the All-High, the All-Glorious. (Al-Baqarah 2:255)

People of the Book, go not beyond the bounds in your religion, and say not as to God but the truth. The Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, was only the Messenger of God, and His Word that He committed to Mary, and a Spirit from Him. So believe in God and His Messengers, and say not ‘Three’. Refrain; better it is for you. God is only one God, Glory be to Him.

 

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Source: gainpeace.com

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Articles of Faith New Muslims

Worship, Humanity and Individual Liberties

The idea of servitude has become distasteful to the modern secular mindset which concerns itself with individual liberties. Some might say that humanity has no need to worship, and that doing so compromises freedom.

They forget, however, that absolute freedom is neither possible nor even desirable for all members of a society, and that is why every social order has its laws and restrictions.

Human Nature

Studies in human psychology confirm that man is a worshipper by instinct, that worship is instilled in him as part of his nature, and that he tends to direct it to whatever he considers worthy – other human beings, revered customs or superstitions, materialist ideologies, or his own personal inclinations.

An object of worship is that to which one devotes the greatest portion of his thought and effort. So one either worships God or he worships something other than Him – along with Him or instead of Him. The worship of God alone is liberating in that it frees one from servitude to all else.

Many people misunderstand the concept of worship, assuming that it is merely the practice of certain rituals. But in reality it includes everything done seeking the acceptance of the one worshipped.

Worship Means Obedience

According to Islam, the worship of God means willing obedience to His orders and prohibitions which, besides prayer and other religious obligations, include the fulfillment of promises and agreements, honesty and precision in work, teaching and counseling, encouraging righteousness, assisting others, opposing injustice and so on.

Worship is the right of the Creator upon His Creation. It is based on the perception that everything was brought into existence by God and is dependent upon Him in whose hand is life and death, benefit and harm, and the outcome of every matter.

Accountability

Further, it is based on the knowledge that man is an accountable being in need of God’s continuing guidance and acceptance. Islam confirms that although it is His divine right, God does not gain anything from the worship of His servants, nor is He harmed by their refusal.

He ordains worship for the benefit of the worshipper himself, and this benefit is obtained by him or her in both this life and the next.

When a believer understands that our Creator and Sustainer deserves to be worshipped, he wants to do so because of his gratitude and love for his Lord and because it is inherently right and correct.

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Source: The article is excerpted from the book Clear Your Doubts about Islam, Compiled by Saheeh international.

 

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Articles of Faith New Muslims

How Do We Know the True Religion?

By Hammudah Abd Al-Ati

Throughout history religion has been abused and misunderstood. Some people use it as a means of exploitation and suppression, as a pretext for prejudice and persecution. Some other people use it as a source of power and domination over the elite and the masses alike. But is that the true religion?

In the name of religion unjustifiable wars have been launched, freedom of thought and conscience has been oppressed, science has been persecuted, the right of the individual to maturity has been denied, and man’ s dignity and honor have been flagrantly debased. And in the name of religion an injustice has been inflicted upon humanity with the result that religion itself has suffered many losses.

These are historical facts which no one can deny. But is this the proper function of religion or the right approach to religion? Could this be the purpose of religion?

The indisputable answer is an emphatic no. There are many religions in the world, and each one claims to be the one and only true religion. Each religion is supposed to have come from God for the right guidance of man.

But these claims contradict each other and have caused dissensions among people and vehement reactions to religion – instead of welding mankind into one universal brotherhood under the One Universal Benevolent God.

This situation makes any neutral observer confused and perhaps averse to all kinds of religion.

The Islamic …”Religion”

The Islamic concept of religion is unique in the broadest sense of the word. It is true that genuine religion must come from God for the right guidance of man. And it is equally true that human nature and major human needs are basically the same at all times.

This conception leads to one conclusion, and that is: There is only one true religion coming from the One and the Same God, to deal with the outstanding human problems of all times.

This religion is “Islam”. But it should be borne in mind that Islam was taught by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) alone. On the contrary, Islam had been taught by all the prophets before Muhammad, and the true followers of Abraham and Moses as well as those of Jesus and the rest were all called “Muslims”.

So Islam has been, and will continue to be, the true universal religion of God, because God is one and changeless, and because human nature and major human needs are fundamentally the same, irrespective of time and place, of race and age, and of any other considerations.

The True Religion

Bearing this in mind, the Islamic concept maintains that religion is not only a spiritual and intellectual necessity but also a social and universal need. It is not to bewilder man but to guide him. It is not to debase him but to elevate his moral nature.

It is not to deprive him of anything useful, or to burden him, or to oppress his qualities but to open for him inexhaustible treasures of sound thinking and right action. It is not confine him to narrow limits but to launch him into wide horizons of truth and goodness.

In short, true religion is to acquaint man with God as well as with himself and the rest of the universe. This is by no means an oversimplification of the function of religion. Here is what it means.

When the purpose of true religion is carefully examined, it will be found that religion satisfies the spiritual and moderate material needs of man. It unties his psychological knots and complexes, sublimates his instincts and aspirations, and disciplines his desires and the whole course of life. It improves his knowledge of God – the Highest Truth in the universe, and of his own self.

It teaches him about the secrets of life and the nature of man and how to treat them, about good and evil, about right and wrong.

It purifies the soul from evil, clears the mind from doubts, strengthens the character and corrects the thinking and convictions of man. All this can be achieved only when man faithfully observes the spiritual duties and physical regulations introduced by religion.

The True Purpose

On the other hand, true religion educates man and trains him in hope and patience, in truthfulness and honesty, in love for the right and good, in courage and endurance, all of which are required for the mastery of the great art of living.

Moreover, true religion insures man against fears and spiritual losses, and assures him of God’s aid and unbreakable alliance. It provides man with peace and security and makes his life meaningful.

That is what true religion can do for humanity, and that is the concept of religion in Islam.

Any religion which fails to bear these fruits is not Islam or rather, is not religion at all, and any man who fails to draw these benefits from religion is not religious or God-minded. God is absolutely true when He says in the Qur’an:

Verily the religion with God is Islam. Nor did the People of the Book dissent therefrom except through envy of each other, after knowledge had come to them. But if any deny the Signs of God, God is swift in calling to account. (Aal `Imran 3:19).

And if anyone desires a religion other than Islam, never will it be accepted of him; and in the Hereafter he will be in the ranks of those who have lost (all spiritual good). (Aal `Imran 3:85)

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The article is excerpted from Dr. Hammudah’s well-known book “Islam in Focus”.

 

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