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New Muslims Pilgrimage

Abraham: The Muslim Prophet

By Sarah Joseph

Abraham is a central figure to three faiths – Judaism, Christianity and Islam – but the scriptural differences can cause deep divisions. So here we examine how Abraham’s story can heal our fractured world.

He defied his father and his community; he had to flee for his life; he abandoned his family in the wilderness; he was prepared to kill his son. With such a background, Abraham would not appear to be a good role model. Yet, he is revered by billions of people over thousands of years, and his life is a testament to pure monotheism, great sacrifices and devotion to

kabah_Makkah

“Muslim” is not a noun introduced from the time of Muhammad; rather it is a way of being and thinking that has existed since the beginning of creation.

God. The Qur’an speaks of Abraham with great admiration:

And who could be of better faith than the one who surrenders utterly to God, and is a doer of good and follows the faith of Abraham, the upright one? ( An-Nisaa’ 4:125)

Abraham was born in a society steeped in the worship of idols. Early on in his life, he tried to persuade his father to reject this practice and submit himself to the One True God. But his father’s business centered on crafting idols of worship, and so he rebuked Abraham, “I shall most certainly cause you to be stoned to death!” (Maryam 19:46)

Abraham’s reply is a perfect lesson in gentleness and politeness:

Peace be upon you! I shall ask my Lord to forgive you: for, behold, He has always been kind to me. (Maryam 19:47)

Idol-worship was seen by Abraham as something self-degrading and enslaving. He saw no greatness and experienced no awe in the worship of statues that his father and other human beings crafted with their own hands. So he tried to free his community from this harmful practice.

In the Qur’anic narrative, he sets a testing scenario for the people by destroying all their idols except the largest one. When the people remonstrated with him, Abraham mockingly told them to ask the big idol for answers. The people were confounded, but only momentarily, and soon they demanded his death: “Kill him… burn him”. (Al-`Ankabut 29:24). But God saved him by cooling the flames.

By this point, the young Abraham had defied his father, enraged his community, and derided their beliefs. He had challenged the centers of power and upset the status quo with his persistent reasoning and logic. He even won the public debate with Nimrod, the king. By doing so, he became a dangerous dissident.

Though he had won the intellectual arguments against his father, his community, and his king, he had been unable to win their hearts, and they threatened him with death. So Abraham was forced to flee with his wife Sarah and nephew Lot.

But his trials and tribulations were not over. Having committed his life to God, he was tested still further. He was commanded to leave his wife Hagar and son Ishmael in the wilderness, and later to sacrifice Ishmael.

On the sacrifice, it is written in Genesis that, “Sometime later, God tested Abraham… ‘Take your son, your only son, whom you love – Isaac… Sacrifice him as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.’” (Genesis 22:1-2)

In the Qur’an, however, it intimates that Ishmael is the one whom God had commanded for sacrifice.

The Qur’an tells us, after the story of sacrifice was finished, that as Abraham showed his faith in God and his willingness to sacrifice his only son, Isma`il, then God gave him the news that Isaac was to be born. So this whole event took place before the birth of Isaac.

And We gave him the good news of Isaac – a prophet,- one of the righteous. (As-Saffat 37:112)

The fundamental lesson for us here is our willingness to give up that which is dearest and closest to us; whether we have the resolve and willpower necessary to achieve the higher spiritual goals.

The Qur’an praises Isaac, and his son Jacob, calling them “righteous men” (Al-Anbiyaa’ 21:72), and explains how God “made them leaders who would guide in accordance with Our behest: for We inspired them to do good works, and to be constant in prayer, and to dispense charity: and Us alone did they worship.” (Al-Anbiyaa’ 21:73) And Jacob’s son, Joseph, is also a prophet blessed by God.

The Qur’an reveres all the prophets, named and unnamed, and as such, it is an amazingly inclusive religious text. It even insists on equality, stating that “no distinction is to be made between them.” (Al-Baqarah 2:285)

However, some factual differences with other religious texts are paramount to Muslim theology, as the following example of ‘informed consent’ shows. The Bible informs us that Isaac had no idea what his father was intending, “The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” (Genesis 22:7).

In the Qur’anic version, Abraham asked his son’s opinion, and Ishmael was fully aware and readily submitted to his father’s obligation:

And when the child had become old enough to share in his father’s endeavors, the latter said: ‘O my dear son! I have seen in a dream that I should sacrifice you: consider, then, what would be your view!’ He answered: ‘O my father! Do as you are commanded: you will find me, if God so wills, among those who are patient in adversity!’ (As-Saffat 37:102)

Without Ishmael’s consent, to the Muslim mind Abraham’s submission to God is tantamount to human sacrifice; with Ishmael’s consent it is a joint act of submission to God. Of course, God requires no such sacrifice, consensual or otherwise. Abraham could keep his beloved son and more, for God promises Abraham a nation (an ummah).

Much is made of God’s promise. Abraham was indeed concerned for his children and his descendants. Firstly, and primordially, our responsibility to the world begins with our responsibility to our children. But perhaps also because he had a sense of history, and knew that what he wanted to achieve could not be done within one generation. God however tells him, “My Covenant does not include the wrongdoers.” (Al-Baqarah 2:124)

Role Model, Living Lessons

Thus, affirming through Abraham’s story that it is deeds, not birthright that ultimately matter. Much also is made of the fact that according to the Bible God promises to Abraham a land. Thousands of years later, people are still fighting and killing one another because of those disputed claims. This should be an uncomfortable reality for anyone who claims to believe in Abraham’s message of honest and upright conduct.

But Abraham does not have to be a divisive figure. Regardless of who claims him, or makes claims on his lineage, he is a role model for all. As God says in the Qur’an, “I am going to make you a leader for all of mankind to follow” (Al-Baqarah 2:124), it is the message of Abraham that is consistent in all the scriptures, and over which we can unite.

Abraham taught belief in the One God, and urged the leading of an upright life. Abraham’s story, primordial and archetypal, much of which is re-enacted annually through the Hajj, shows us the common, ancient origin of our human roots. Those roots have grown to become different trees, but each is a manifestation of the same reality, namely worship of the One Creator Who created us all; who created us into diverse nations and identities so that we can constructively engage with one another, and compete in the doing of good.

Abraham expressed an archetypal spirituality which is in harmony with our natural inclination towards good. The Qur’an describes how Abraham was “neither a Jew nor a Christian, but a hanif (an upright man who had surrendered (to Allah), a Muslim. And he was not of the polytheists.” (Aal `Imran 3:67)

Not being a Jew or a Christian is undisputed from a historical perspective as he pre-dates both, but how could he be a “Muslim” (Aal `Imran 3:67) as he predates that too, does he not? This is where we have to understand that Muslim is not a noun introduced from the time of Muhammad; rather it is a way of being and thinking that has existed since the beginning of creation. It describes the one who surrenders himself to God, and thus all the prophets were in that sense Muslims, for they all surrendered to God.

As for Abraham being a hanif (an upright, righteous person) the word has at its root in the way of Abraham, to incline towards good, to turn away from wrong. Thus, a person without any taught religion would come to the way of the hanif if they were to ponder the revelation of the created world.

Through Abraham’s progeny, we are united by familial ties: Jews and Muslims are often described as cousins. The story of Abraham reminds us of the deep connection of our kinship. We have a shared human experience, and remembering Abraham’s story gives us the opportunity to remember our original spiritual and moral substance.

Remembering his covenant with God gives us the opportunity to remember our own original covenant. When we were souls with God, He asked us, “Am I not your Lord?” (Al-`Araf 7: 172) And our souls affirmed, “Yes, we do so testify.” (Al-`Araf 7:172).

We all have the same essential experience of being human. We will have different physical experiences; of wealth or poverty, of health or illness, of gender and race, but the essence of being human is the same.

We can argue about whom the covenant between God and Abraham is with, or we can fulfill our own covenant with God. We can disagree about whom God asked Abraham to sacrifice, or we can dedicate our own sacrifices to Him.

We can dispute with each other about the nature of the tests Abraham faced, or we can face our own tests with fortitude, forbearance and patience. We can fight about our differences, or we can remember that we are united in the singular conviction that Abraham held; there is only One God worthy of worship, and we surrender ourselves to Him.

Abraham’s life was the exact opposite of idol worship. If he is to be relevant today, we have to ask what are the idols which we have crafted with our own hands, and which we take to be our gods.

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Source: Emel Magazine.

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New Muslims Pilgrimage

Hajj: From Abraham to Muhammad, and In-between

Kabah_Makkah

Just as Ibrahim strove to end the worship of false gods and bring people under submission to the One God, so did the Prophet Muhammad revive the same pure deen.

 

Brothers in Islam! Hajj, or the Pilgrimage, was instituted by the Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) to serve as the focal meeting place for all believers in the One God. Thus he made Makkah the center of the world-wide Islamic movement and installed his elder son, the Prophet Isma`il, there to continue his mission.

Idol Worship among Ibrahim’s Descendants

Only God knows exactly how long Isma`il’s children stayed on the right path. But within a few centuries of the death of Ibrahim and Isma`il people had abandoned their teachings and had gradually gone astray like all other people around them. Hundreds of idols were installed in the sacred Ka`bah, which had been built as a center for the worship of the One God.

Ironically enough, idols were made of Ibrahim and Isma`il too, whose whole lives had been spent eradicating idol-worship. The descendants of Ibrahim, who had repudiated all idols, began to worship idols like Lat, Manat, Hubal, Nasr, Yaghuth, `Uzza, Asaf, Na`i/ah and many more. They also worshipped the sun, moon, Venus, and Saturn. They also worshipped jinns, ghosts, angels and the spirits of their dead ancestors.

Superstition rose to such a level that if they did not have the family idol with them while away from home, they worshipped any stone they came across on their way. Or, if no stone was available, even a round ball made of clay with a sprinkle of goat’s milk over it served as their god.

Reverting to the same kind of priesthood which Ibrahim had fought so fiercely against in Iraq, they turned the Ka`bah into a sort of temple and installed themselves as priests there. Adopting all the tricks of priests, they began accepting gifts and offerings from pilgrims flocking from the four corners of Arabia.

In this way all the work done by Ibrahim and Isma`il was destroyed and the purpose for which they had introduced the system of Hajjwas superseded by different types of objectives.

How Corrupted Hajj Became

A Yearly Carnival

The degree to which Hajj was corrupted in that period of Jahiliyyah (Ignorance) can be gauged from the fact that it degenerated into an annual carnival. For many tribes from near and far, Hajj became an important social event. Poets and clowns used it to brag and boast about the bravery, renown, dignity, strength and generosity of their tribes. They even resorted to hurling insults at one another.

The chiefs of the tribes vied with each other in flaunting their generosity. They slaughtered camel after camel with the sole purpose of extolling their name, generosity and hospitality. Singing, revelry, drinking, and adultery were part and parcel of the festivities. The thought of God scarcely occurred to anybody.

Perverse Rites

Tawaf (Circumambulation of the Ka`bah) did continue, it is true; but in what form? Men and women walked together around God’s House stark naked, saying, “We go before God just as our mothers gave birth to us”.

Worship also continued to be performed in the mosque of Ibrahim, but again, in what form? By clapping hands, by whistling and by blowing horns. The name of God was proclaimed, but with what words? They said: “Here am I, my Lord, I am present. No one is Your partner except the one who is Yours. You are its master, of whatever it possesses”.

They did make sacrifices in the name of God. But the blood of the sacrificial animals was spilt on the walls of the Ka`bah and their flesh thrown at its door in the belief that Allah needs that flesh and blood.

Sacrilege of Sacred Months

Ibrahim had declared four months of Hajj as sacred and had directed that no warfare should be waged in these months.

These people partially observed this sanctity; but if they wanted to fight during the sacred months, they simply declared Ibrahim’s ruling null and void for a particular period and added extra ‘holy months’ the following year.

Self-imposed Restrictions

Even those who were sincere towards religion were led into strange, excessive ways by their ignorance. Some people used to set out for Hajj without any provisions for the journey and lived by begging food. They considered this an act of piety, claiming that they had full trust in God and, while proceeding towards the House of God, had no need of worldly goods.

Doing business or working during the Hajj journey were generally considered unlawful. Many people gave up food and water during Hajj, and regarded this abstention as worship.

Others stopped speaking while on Hajj, which they called al-hajj al-mumit (the dumb Pilgrimage).

There were countless other customs of this type which I do not want to waste your time describing.

Restoration of Hajj

Fulfillment of Ibrahim’s Prayer

This situation lasted for about two thousand years. No prophet was born in Arabia during this long period nor did any prophet’s genuine teachings reach the people of Arabia.

Finally, however, the time arrived for granting Ibrahim’s prayer which he had made while raising the walls of the Ka`bah:

Our Lord! Do You send to them a Messenger, from among them, who shall convey unto them Your revelations, and teach them the Book and the wisdom, and purify and develop them. (Al-Baqarah 2:129)

The perfect man who descended from Ibrahim was Muhammad ibn `Abdullah (blessings and peace be on him).

Just as Ibrahim was born into a family of priests, so was Muhammad into a family which had been for centuries priests of the Ka`bah. Just as Ibrahim struck a blow with his own hands against the priesthood of his family, so did Muhammad finally eradicating it for good.

Again, just as Ibrahim strove to end the worship of false gods and bring people under submission to the One God, so did the Prophet Muhammad revive the same pure deen (religion) which had been introduced by Ibrahim.

After 21 years, when he had completed this work, once again, at God’s command, he declared the Ka`bah the center of all those in the world who surrendered to God alone and issued the same summons to the people to come to it for Hajj as had Ibrahim.

A duty owed to God by all men is the Pilgrimage to the House, if one is able to make his way there. And as for the disbeliever, God is All-sufficient, needing nothing from all the worlds.(Aal `Imran 3:97)

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The article is an excerpt from Abul A`la Al-Mawdudi’s book “Let Us Be Muslims”. 

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Articles of Faith New Muslims

God Has Chosen You to Be Muslim

As a new Muslim, what has led you to Islam? How did you respond to the call of God?

First, I would like to extend my warmest congratulations to you on your wonderful choice of Islam as your religion and I ask God to give you steadfastness on the truth, elevate your status, increase your faith, and strengthen your conviction.

God

Be joyful and pleased and thank Allah, the Exalted, as He has chosen you to be His servant.

A Gift From God

Dear truthful Muslim, Allah, your Lord, has sealed all previous divine laws with those of Islam and has sealed the coming of prophets with the Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) and called humankind to accept these two things.

Those that accepted the call of Allah have become true believers, they are required to fulfill all religious obligations for which they are entitled to all rights afforded to Muslims.

Be joyful and pleased and thank God, the Exalted, as He has chosen you to be a servant of His amongst many who have been misguided. Your response to the call of Allah and His Messenger is the sole guarantor for a good life as He said in the Qur’an:

O you who have believed, respond to Allah and to the Messenger when he calls you to that which gives you life. (Al-Anfal 9:25)

And He also said:

Whoever does righteousness, whether male or female, while he is a believer – We will surely cause him to live a good life. (An-Nahl 16:97)

Why Islam?

Glad tidings to you and do not despair by what you see in regards to the condition of the Muslims as you have caught on to the mount of those who are making their way to Allah the Exalted and you have become one of them. Do you not know that this religion has spread throughout the four corners of the world and there is no city worldwide except that there are Muslims who worship Allah alone?

This religion has astonished thousands of educated and uneducated people alike who every year come into the fold of Islam convinced by its dominance over all other religions.

Don’t look back, that which has passed in your life has passed and Islam has guaranteed for you a new life free from impurities and sins as if you have been born in to this world again.

You are now unsoiled and pure as our Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) said to one of his companions who wanted to enter Islam, but was afraid for the sins he had committed:

“Do you not know that Islam wipes out the actions that came before it?” (Muslim)

There is no religion that exists that is similar to the religion of Islam -which you have decided to enter- for your Lord is the Most Merciful of those who show mercy, your Prophet is a ‘Mercy to the Worlds’ and the divine laws were revealed through mercy and kindness.

In Islam there are no extreme hardships or impossible regulations, but all commands have come in harmony with your natural disposition and take into consideration your normal and urgent situations.

Be convinced that you will not find an Islamic rule that contradicts your natural disposition or contravenes your life from all angles; rather you will find that Islamic laws have combined between the complete obedience of God (Exalted be He) and your need to have a gracious, sophisticated and pure life.

Be Guided by the Qur’an

Read in the Book of your Lord –the Qur’an– and peruse in it and you will find what you had lost, for indeed it is a complete book that covers all spheres of your life including Tawheed (The Oneness of Allah), worship, anecdotes, history, morals and knowledge through which you will know your Lord as He wants you to know Him with His perfect attributes, His glorified description and His excellent, wise and fair injunctions.

Whatever your education and irrespective of your background, the Book of Allah, will amaze you by its style and words as it has come directly from Allah the Exalted. From Him it has come, to Him it will return, and no falsehood can be found within it.

In fact, there is not a single book in existence that challenges its readers to find a single, even minute mistake or contradiction as Allah the Exalted had challenged the people of eloquence and rhetoric (The tribe of Quraish- the most noble Arab tribe at the time of the Prophet Mohammed).

Then do they not reflect upon the Qur’an? If it had been from (any) other than Allah, they would have found within it much contradiction. (An-Nisaa’ 4:82)

True Belief/Full Submission

Reason, think, perceive, contemplate, traverse through the world and increase yourself in knowledge and understanding are the things that are wanted of you by your Lord in Islam as we find in the Qur’an in numerous places:

Perhaps they will give thought. (Al-Hashr 59:21)

Then will you not reason?  (Al-Baqarah 2:44)

So have they not traveled through the earth and observed… (Yusuf 12:109)

For everything in existence guides you to God and He has given you these senses then sought from you to use them to come to know and believe in Him.

Moreover, with this, our religion is one of acknowledgement and submission and it is Islam that you have chosen to follow to the end of your days until you meet your Lord.

Those things that your intellect and the combined intellect of humankind are unable to comprehend should be entrusted to Allah the Exalted.

You should have full faith in Him and completely submit to him in order to be a true believer.

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The article is excerpted from the book “A Beneficial Summary of Rulings for New Muslim”, published by The Ministry of Endowments & Islamic Affairs, Kuwait- 2nd Edition 1436/2015.

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Articles of Faith New Muslims

All Humans Are Inclined to Be Muslims

Allah (the Exalted) sent His Messenger Muhammad (peace be upon him) with a religion to complete all religions and He made it a judge over them and a nullifier of their commandments. Allah has guaranteed that He would preserve this religion from all corruption and alteration and he described it as the ‘Straight Path’ all humans naturally incline to it.

humans

As long as the heart remains capable of accepting truth, it will perceive and be guided to it.

Whoever walks on it will be safeguarded in this world and the Hereafter and whoever turns away from it and walks on another path will be misguided and in ruin because opposing it means that a human being contradicts the natural disposition which Allah has created him upon.

Allah the Exalted said:

So direct your face towards the religion, inclining to truth and turning away from all that is false, in accordance with the natural disposition which God has instilled into man. No change should there be in the creation of Allah. That is the correct religion, but most people do not know. (Ar-Rum 30:30)

All Humans Are Naturally Muslims

Allah created the human self in a way that it is naturally inclined to everything that is good, practical and beneficial and to dislike everything that contains evil, corruption and harm.

Therefore, you see humankind incline naturally to good food and drink which is tasty and wholesome and stay away from food that is filthy and harmful.

In the same way, humans incline towards keeping the company of those who have high morals and upright character and keep away from those who are immoral and ill mannered. They love and respect those who have faultless qualities treating such people with decency and respect and at the same time, they do not treat those who have many faults with the same decency and respect.

This is the natural disposition that Allah has created in the human heart and self and He has made the heart capable of accepting the truth as he has created the eyes capable of seeing and the ears capable of hearing.

As long as the heart remains capable of accepting truth it will perceive and be guided to it; but if the heart changes because of following whims and desires, then it becomes misguided and follows falsehood. As we find in the words of the Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) who said:

“Allah said: ‘I created my servants as monotheists, but the devils came to them and deviated them from their religion, prohibiting what I allowed and commanding them to ascribe partners to me for which I gave no authority’.” (Sahih Muslim)

“Verily, the Religion with Allah is Islam”

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) has informed us that there is no human born into this world except that he is upon the nature that Allah has created him upon. Then external influences come along that affect and change this nature.

As we find on the authority of Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him):

“No child is born except on Al-Fitrah (Islam) but his parents make him Jewish, Christian or Magian, as an animal delivers a perfect young animal: do you see any part of its body mutilated?”

Then Abu Hurairah said: “Read if you will the following verse: “..the natural disposition which God has instilled into man. No change should there be in the creation of Allah. (Ar-Rum 30:30) (Al-Bukhari & Muslim)

Subsequently, the Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) informed us that it is human nature to follow Islam and to not follow any other erroneous religion or misguided sect that was not revealed by Allah.

Notice how, in the previous narration the Prophet Mohammed did not say “or make them Muslim” as this shows that Islam is the religion of human nature and this is supported by another narration which clearly states this:

“There is no newborn baby, except that he is born on this religion until his tongue allows him to express himself otherwise.” (Muslim)

Why Islam?

Those that get to know the teachings of Islam recognize clearly that it is the truth that must be followed because its teachings nurture the healthy nature of humankind and promote it, and they do not revolt against it as it is made up of the following:

1- It commands us to worship Allah alone ascribing no partners to Him; He is the Creator of the whole universe and for him alone is sovereignty and He alone has power over all things. The healthy human nature requires that he who is described with perfection deserves respect and esteem, so how about He whose perfection is absolute and has no end or limits?

2- Islamic teachings have permitted all things of goodness and have forbidden all things that contain impurity because the healthy nature inclines towards all goodness and keeps away from impurity.

3- The teachings of Islam emphasize the adornment of oneself with good morals and an upright character and has forbidden obscenity and indecency because virtuous individuals prefer everything that is from goodness and reject everything that is indecent.

On the authority of Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him), the Prophet said: “Then I was brought two cups in one of them was milk and in the other one there was wine and it was said to me: Select any one you like. So I selected the cup containing milk and drank it. Then I was told: You have attained what is natural (i.e. Islam) had you selected the wine your nation would have gone astray.” (Al-Bukhari & Muslim)

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The article is excerpted from the book “A Beneficial Summary of Rulings for New Muslim”, published by The Ministry of Endowments & Islamic Affairs, Kuwait- 2nd Edition 1436/2015.

 

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Articles of Faith New Muslims

Islam…What Makes It Special?

Why do we follow Islam? What makes Islam special? Why is Islam the universal and one true religion of all God’s prophets?

Islam

Islam is the universal and one true religion of all God’s prophets

Islam: Equality

0 mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed the most noble of you in the sight of God (Allah) is the most righteous of you. Indeed God (Allah) is Knowing and Acquainted. (Al-Hujurat 49:13)

Confirming this wonderful concept of equality in Islam, Prophet Muhammad, in his last sermon, said:

“O people, your God is one and your father is one. You are all from Adam and Adam is from dust. An Arab is not superior to a non-Arab, and a non-Arab is not superior to an Arab. A white has no superiority over a black, nor does a black have superiority over a white. You are all equal.”

Nobody has superiority over others except through piety and good action.

Islam teaches us not to hate or put down others based on their race, color of skin or eye, or nationality.

Islam is a practical remedy for the racial conflict and discrimination which the world witnesses.

In Islam, blacks and whites are just brothers and sisters in the same human race. They are all from the same father, Adam, who was created from dust. Thus, we are all from earth and we will go back to earth and turn to dust again.

This is an important lesson that we can derive from the above quotes from the Qura’n and the Prophets’ last sermon. And this was the lesson that Malcolm X learned when he went to Makkah to perform Hajj (pilgrimage).

So, why do some people feel or act with arrogance or false pride towards others?

Universality and Unity of Message

Say; We believe in God (Allah), and the revelation given to us, and that given to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob and the tribes, and that given to Moses and Jesus, and that given to all prophets from their Lord: We make no difference between one and another of them and we submit to God. (Al-Baqarah 2:136)

Muslims love and believe in all God’s prophets including Adam, Noah, Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad (may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon them all).

Prophet Muhammad said, “I am the nearest of all the people to Jesus, the son of Mary. For there was no prophet between me and him (Jesus). The prophets are just brothers; their mothers are different, but their religion is one.”

Allah and His Messenger

Islam is the universal and one true religion of all God’s prophets. God says:

It is He (Allah) who has sent His messenger (Muhammad) with guidance and the religion of truth… (Al-Fath 48:28)

Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but (he is) the Messenger of Allah, and the Seal of the Prophets: and Allah has full knowledge of all things. (Al-Ahzab 33:40)

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The article is excerpted from the author’s Have You Discovered It’s Real Beauty?”

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Articles of Faith New Muslims

Between Heart & Limbs: How to Achieve Reality of Faith

If you contemplate the pillars of faith and Islam, you will see that they have combined between the actions of the heart and limbs.

faith

Based on your nearness to Allah, your knowledge of Him & His religion you will achieve the reality of faith.

“Whosoever testifies that None has the right to be worshiped but Allah Alone who has no partners, and that Mohammed is His slave and apostle, and that Jesus is Allah’s slave and apostle and His word which He bestowed on Mary and a spirit from Him, and that Paradise is true, and Hell is true, Allah will admit him into Paradise through any of its eight gates that he likes.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Faith.. Heart.. Body

Faith addresses the heart with Tawheed (Oneness of God) and conviction; and the pillars of Islam address the body with subservience and subjugation each of them complements the other.

Therefore, based on your nearness to Allah and your knowledge of Him and His religion you will achieve the reality of faith and the soul of Islam.

Look at the divine laws and rulings of Islam and you will see that it contains both ritual worship and daily transactions. The ritual worship is how we deal with our Lord and our daily transactions are how we deal with His creation.

Islam has not neglected any of these aspects at the cost of the other, rather as we are commanded to strive for excellence in our ritual worship we are also commanded to strive for excellence in the way we deal with people. Allah has said:

And your Lord has decreed that you not worship except Him, and to parents, good treatment. (Al-Israa’ 17:23)

“Make things easy for people and do not make things difficult. Spread good news and bring them joy do not be harsh and turn them away.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

With these words our Prophet (peace be upon him) enjoined his companions to deal with people as our religion does not have any place for extremism or harshness. Seek closeness to Allah by performing voluntary actions when you have energy and a content heart and you will enjoy your worship and achieve your goals.

Ask Allah the Exalted to bless you with beneficial knowledge and virtuous deeds and sit in the gatherings of knowledge in your mosque and ask any questions that you have. Do not neglect yourself as questioning in Islam for those who want to practice and worship is obligatory as you find in the Qur’an that Allah (the Exalted) has said:

 So ask the people of the message if you do not know. (An-Nahl 16:43)

Path to Success

Your dedication to learning Islam is your path to success and the main cause for your stability so if you want to increase yourself in the strength of your faith then be steadfast in your obedience to Allah as a person’s faith increases and decreases.

It increases with obedience and decreases with sin, so be steadfast as you have been commanded to be by Allah and be punctual in your prayers with your brothers at the mosque.

Attend the religious celebrations and do not be lax in any of the pillars of Islam such as the five daily prayers, obligatory almsgiving, and Hajj as Allah has guaranteed that if you do this, your faith will become stronger, rather you will taste the sweetness of this faith.

The best friend that you have is the one that shows you goodness and helps you to remain upon it and who you can trust in your religious affairs. Find out where the Islamic presentation committees are and follow the way of the good people that work there and attend their educational gatherings and Islamic lectures as these contain many benefits.

Despair Not

Beware of feeling estranged on your path to Allah (Exalted be He). If Allah is with you does it harm you that no one else is with you? It is stated in the Qur’an:

And when the two companies saw one another, the companions of Moses said, “Indeed, we are to be overtaken!” (Moses) said, “No! Indeed, with me is my Lord; He will guide me”. (Ash-Shu`araa’ 26:61-62)

You are always close to Allah wherever you may be; do not despair in the mercy of Allah even if you have shortcomings. Turn to him and ask him for forgiveness for your sins as Allah the Exalted loves those who seek repentance and the door to repentance is open and your Lord is Oft-forgiving.

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The article is excerpted from the book “A Beneficial Summary of Rulings for New Muslim”, published by The Ministry of Endowments & Islamic Affairs, Kuwait- 2nd Edition 1436/2015.

 

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New Muslims Pillars of Islam

You Are a Muslim and Your Prophet Is Muhammad

Your Prophet is Muhammad (peace be upon him). You should read his biography and get to know him and you will read about the greatest human being that has ever been known.

muhammad

The Prophet whom you have got to know is colossal, you will accompany the most virtuous in the Hereafter.

Allah, Exalted be He, did not create anyone better than him nor did he create anyone similar to him in his sublime character. As Allah raised the ranks of all Prophets over the rest of creation, he too raised the rank of Muhammad (peace be upon him) over all the worlds.

Are you not aware that all the sublime characteristics are combined in his person?

Perfect Character

He was the kindest of people to live with and possessed the softest of hearts. He was the most easygoing person in his dealings, always smiling and never frowning at his companions. None had ever witnessed any evil from him, neither in Islam nor before the advent of it. He was the best of people in speech and he stated:

“The Muslim is the one whom other Muslims are safe from his tongue and hand.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

He was persecuted in the way of Allah, but was patient and was put through many ordeals in relation to his companions and family, but he bore them and forgave all. He was hurt by those who were closest to him, who expelled him from his home and the most beloved and sacred of cities and all for the sake of Allah the Exalted.

However, he was the most truthful of people in delivering the message of his Lord and the most forgiving of them.

He was the best of people towards his people and the most ascetic in what the people possessed; yet the most generous in what he possessed. He never refused a soul and never said the word ‘no’ to anyone. He would always be good to the people and only seek his reward with Allah the Exalted.

Best Example

He was the most courageous and outspoken of people when spreading the truth; never fearing for a moment. He would command his people to do good and forbid them from evil and was the first to fulfill these commands and was the best of role models for his companions.

No one ever saw him except that they would love him and any human who met him irrespective of their background and stature in society would become awestruck by him. He had the softest of hearts, the kindest of temperaments, and a strong stature. He was handsome and blessed with graciousness.

Sympathetic and loving, a sincere friend, the best of people in how he dealt with his family, the best in keeping ties of kinship. He would not get angry except for the sake of Allah and he never took revenge or made enemies with anyone for himself or through his own desire.

Know dear friend, that which you have believed in is great, and the Prophet Muhammad whom you have got to know is colossal and you will accompany the most virtuous in the Hereafter.

Muhammad & Other Prophets

Your faith in Prophet Muhammad is not correct if you reject Prophet Jesus (peace be upon them both) for you are required to believe in all of them and not to differentiate between them, however it was from the limitless wisdom of Allah that he decided to conclude all messages with the message of Islam. Whoever believes in the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) must believe in the complete message that he brought.

On the authority of `Ubadah ibn Samit (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet of Allah (peace be upon him) said:

“Whosoever testifies that None has the right to be worshipped but Allah Alone who has no partners, and that Mohammed is His slave and apostle, and that Jesus is Allah’s slave and apostle and His word which He bestowed on Mary and a spirit from Him, and that Paradise is true, and Hell is true, Allah will admit him into Paradise through any of its eight gates that he likes.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

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The article is excerpted from the book “A Beneficial Summary of Rulings for New Muslim”, published by The Ministry of Endowments & Islamic Affairs, Kuwait- 2nd Edition 1436/2015.

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New Muslims Pilgrimage

The Story of Hajj: How Did It Begin? (Part 1)

By Abul A`la Al-Mawdudi 

Hajj, or the Pilgrimage, is the last among those acts of worship which Islam enjoins upon you.

Like the Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving, it moulds your life and prepares you so that you may live in surrender to Allah.

The word Hajj means to make a resolve to visit a holy place: visiting the Ka`bah in Makkah is therefore called Hajj.

How did it begin?

The origin of Hajj is rooted in the Prophet Ibrahim’s life (peace be on him). That story is very instructive, and illustrative, too, of the true meaning and significance of Hajj. That story you must know to fully understand the benefits Hajj can bring to you.

Life and Mission of the Prophet Ibrahim

Which Muslim, Christian or Jew does not know the name of Ibrahim (peace be on him)! Two-thirds of mankind revere him as their leader. The Prophets Musa, `Isa and Muhammad (peace be on them) are all his descendants. It is the lamp of guidance lit by him that has for long illuminated the whole world.

Ibrahim was born in what is now Iraq, over four thousand years ago. At that time, the people had forgotten the One God. No one recognized Him as the Master, no one lived in surrender and obedience to Him.

The people among whom Ibrahim was born, while the most advanced in the world in art and science, industry and agriculture, were also the most steeped in ignorance and error.

One simple thing they, despite their technological advance, could not understand: anything which has itself been created cannot be worthy of worship.

Idolatry was the norm. Superstitions like astrology, idol-worship, divination, witchcraft and use of talismen and amulets were widespread.

A priest class controlled the temples, supervised worship rites and rituals, conducted marriage and funeral ceremonies, and claimed to be oracles, able to disclose the unknown, foretell the future, and determine Divine wishes.

And the people, in general, believed that they indeed had such powers, that they had access to their deities, that they could intercede with them on their behalf or invoke their wrath to fall upon them. For them, the priests were the lords of their fate.

The kings were in collusion with the priests, the two sides working together to keep the people under their servitude.

They gave full backing to the priests, and the priests made the people believe that the king of the day, as well as being the owner of his country and complete master of his subjects, was also a god among other gods. His word was the supreme law; his power over their lives and properties was absolute.

Indeed, worship rites were performed for and before the king so that the belief in his godhood came to be entrenched in the minds of his subjects.

In times like this, the Prophet Ibrahim was born into a family of privileged priests. His forefathers were high priests and it was quite natural that he should follow in their footsteps. He received the same education and training; the same gifts and offerings were awaiting him.

Many adherents were eagerly waiting for the moment when they could bow their heads before him with folded hands. The ancestral seat of priestly power could be his for the taking.

In this dismal darkness, where not a single soul existed who knew or believed in the Truth, it would not ordinarily have been possible for a man like Ibrahim to find its light, nor break away from the life of comfort and power mapped out for him by his family.

Commitment to the Truth

But the Prophet Ibrahim was no ordinary man; he was made of different stuff. On reaching maturity he began to reflect thus: How can the sun, moon or stars, which are rotating as if by order like slaves, and these stone idols, which are made by man himself; and these kings, who are human beings like ourselves, be gods?

What is there in these powerless objects, which cannot move of their own volition, which have no power to help themselves and have no control over their own lives and deaths, that man should worship them, seek fulfillment of his wants from them, fear their powers and submit in obedience to them?

Among all the objects on earth and in the heavens, there is not a single one which itself is not subject to some higher power and which does not fade away into oblivion at some time or other.

When none of them is my creator, when neither my life nor death is in the hands of any of them, when none of them possesses the key to my means of sustenance or the fulfillment of my needs, why should I accept them as lords, surrender to them, and obey them? Only that Being can be my Lord who created all things, on whom depends everything and in whose hands are the lives and deaths of all people.

These thoughts led the Prophet Ibrahim to the decision that he would never worship the deities which his people worshipped, and he openly declared before them:

O my people, I am quit of all those you take as gods beside God. I have turned my face unto Him who brought into being the heavens and the earth, having turned away from all false gods; and I am not of those who take gods beside God. (Al-An`am 6:79-80)

                                                                                                                                                    To be continued…

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The article is an excerpt from Abul A`la Al-Mawdudi’s Let Us Be Muslims.

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Categories
New Muslims Pilgrimage

What Are the Benefits of Hajj?

The following are some of the most important benefits of Hajj:

1- It deepens our awareness of the Oneness of Allah and helps us to be God-centered.

2- It teaches us the oneness of the human family under the Lordship of One God.

3- It helps us to develop a feeling of universal human brotherhood.

4- Finally, it enables us to renew our faith by making us aware of the transient nature of this life and our final standing before the Lord on the Day of Judgment.

Learn more from the video below by E-Da`wah Committee 

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Source: www.edc.org.kw

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Categories
New Muslims Pilgrimage

The Story of Hajj: Prophet Ibrahim & His Journey to Truth (Part 2)

By Abul A`la Al-Mawdudi 

No sooner had Ibrahim made this declaration than tribulations and calamities of the greatest magnitude descended on him.

His father threatened him with expulsion from the family home. His community warned him that no one among them would give him refuge. And the government officials insisted on his case being brought before the King. But Ibrahim, lonely and forsaken by his relatives and friends, stood firm as a rock in the cause of Truth. He told his father respectfully:

The knowledge I have has not been vouchsafed to you. As such, instead of my following you, you should follow me. (Maryam 19: 41-5)

In answer to the threats of his community he broke their idols with his own hands to prove how powerless they were:

And by Allah, I have a plan for your idols – after ye go away and turn your backs. So he broke them to pieces, (all) but the biggest of them, that they might turn (and address themselves) to it… (Al-Anbiya’ 21: 57-58)

In the court of the King, he boldly declared: “You are not my Lord. My Lord is He in whose hands are your life and death as well as mine, and within the bounds of whose law even the movements of the sun are circumscribed.” (Al-Baqarah 2:258)

The royal court decided that Ibrahim should be burnt alive and he willingly came forward to suffer this horrible punishment for the sake of his unshakeable faith in the One God. After Allah with His supreme power saved him from this fate, he abandoned his home, his relations, his community and his country. He set out with his wife, Sarah, and a nephew, Lut, to wander from one land to another.

To this man the undisputed religious leadership of his people had been available. Yet he gave up wealth and power and preferred the life of a homeless and destitute wanderer rather than have to mislead people into the continuing worship of false gods.

He chose to live for the purpose of summoning people to their true God, even though he would be driven from place to place.

Migration

After leaving his home, the Prophet Ibrahim wandered in Egypt, Palestine and Arabia. God, alone, knows what sufferings he went through on his journeyings. He had no money or possessions nor did he have time to earn his livelihood. His sole vocation, day and night, was to bring people to the worship of the One God.

If a man of such ideas could not be tolerated by his own father and his own community, how was he going to be any more successful elsewhere? Where would he be welcomed? Everywhere the same temple priests and kings claiming godhood held sway; everywhere the same confused and ignorant common men lived, who were completely hoodwinked by them.

How could, then, Ibrahim live peacefully in such an environment? For, not only was he himself not ready to accept the godhood of anybody except God, but he was also committed to proclaiming to the people that none except Allah was their Master and Lord and that, therefore, they should ignore the authority of their leaders and demi-gods and submit only to that One Being.

Thus condemned to a nomadic existence, wandering through Palestine, Egypt and the vast deserts of Arabia, he passed his whole adult life.

Raising a New Generation

During the last period of his life, when he was eighty-six and had despaired of offspring, Allah gave· him a child, Isma`il. But even then, this loyal servant of Allah did not think that, having himself wrecked his own home life, he should at least prepare his children to earn their living. No.

His only concern was that the mission on which he had spent his whole life should be carried on after his death. It was for this purpose that he had prayed to Allah to grant him children:

Our Lord! And make us submissive unto You and of our seed a nation submissive unto Thee, and show us our ways of worship, and relent toward us. Lo! You, only You, are the Relenting, the Merciful. (Al-Baqarah 2:128)

And when Allah granted his request, his only thought was to educate and train them to continue his mission.

The life of this perfect man was the life of a true and genuine Muslim. In early adulthood, when he had found God, God asked him: ‘aslim‘, that is, enter Islam, surrender yourself totally to Me, be solely Mine. In reply, he gave the pledge:

‘aslamtuli-rabbi al-almin’, that is, I have entered Islam, I belong to the Lord of the worlds, I have entrusted myself wholly to Him, I am ever-ready to obey:

And when it is said unto them: believe as the people believe, they say: shall we believe as the foolish believe? are not they indeed the foolish? But they know not. (Al-Baqarah 2:13)

To this pledge Ibrahim remained true throughout his life.

He gave up, for the sake of the Lord of the worlds, his ancestral religion together with its beliefs and rituals and renounced all the material benefits he could have derived from it. He braved the danger of fire, suffered homelessness, wandered from country to country, but spent every moment of his life in obedience to the Lord and in propagating His Deen.

The Greatest of Trials

But even after all these tribulations, there was still one trial left to determine whether Ibrahim’s love for his Lord was supreme above all else. Before the birth of his second son, he was asked to sacrifice what was then his only child to God. (Surat As-Saffat 37: 99-111)

When Allah had shown that Ibrahim was prepared to slaughter his son for His sake with his own hands, He said: ‘You have fully vindicated your claim to be a totally true Muslim. Now you deserve to be made the leader of the whole world.’ This act of investiture has been described in the Qur’an thus:

And when his Lord tested Ibrahim with (His) commands, and he fulfilled them all, He said, Behold, I make you a leader of mankind. Said he (Ibrahim) And of my offspring (will they too be leaders)? He said: My covenant shall not reach the evil-doers. (Al-Baqarah 2:124)    

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            To be continued…

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The article is an excerpt from Abul A`la Al-Mawdudi’s Let Us Be Muslims.

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