Categories
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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Articles of Faith New Muslims

Prophet Abraham & the Trial of Faith: Doubt & Trust

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

Prophet Abraham & the Trial of Faith

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

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

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

Doubt & Trust

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

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

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

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

Abraham in the Qur’an

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

This is how the Qur’an recounts the story:

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

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

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

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

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

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

In the Bible

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

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

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

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

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

_________________________

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

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New Muslims Reflections

First Conversions to Islam: Lessons on Steadfastness

With steadfastness and forbearance, the Prophet had gathered around him a solid core of trustworthy women and men. How exactly did he build up this community?

steadfastness

From the beginning, the Prophet had given priority to quality over quantity.

After recovering from the distress caused by the initial experience of Revelation, and as he began to receive the subsequent Revelations, the Prophet began to share the message with those closest to him.

He had not yet received instructions on how to present the message to his people, but he anticipated fierce opposition, as had been foretold by Waraqah ibn Nawfal.

The First Conversions

After Khadijah, his wife and the first convert to Islam, the circle of those who accepted the message was to widen to include members of his close family, then his friends. `Ali ibn Abi Talib, who was the young cousin in his charge; Zayd, his adopted son; Urn Ayman, the nursemaid who had cared for him after he returned to Mecca at age four; and his lifelong friend Abu Bakr were thus among the first to recognize the truth of the message and to pronounce the profession of faith (Ash-Shahadah) expressing their adherence to Islam:

“I bear witness that there is no god but God and that Muhammad is His Messenger.”

The number of converts slowly grew as a result of the Prophet’s own discreet preaching and the very determined involvement of Abu Bakr, who was always ready to speak about the new faith and take action for its sake: he would buy slaves from their masters and set them free in the name of Islam’s principles stressing the equality of all human beings.

During those years, Muhammad’s presence in Mecca, his action, and his example were to attract a large number of women and men who were gradually to embrace the new faith.

The number of conversions nevertheless remained small during the first few months. Tradition reports that during the first three years, only thirty to forty Quraysh became Muslims. They would meet with the Prophet at the home of one of the converts, Al-Arqam ibn Abi Al-Arqam, and learn the basics of their religion while new Revelations kept arriving.

True Believers

The surrounding atmosphere was becoming more and more hostile as the inhabitants of Mecca learned about the essentials of this new message and took stock of its impact on the poor and the young.

The Prophet, aware of those upheavals and of the dangers ahead, decided to concentrate on discreetly giving a solid education to a small group, who he knew would face criticism, rejection, and most probably exclusion.

It was this very group who were later, thanks to the quality of their spiritual education and the sincerity of their involvement, to remain steadfast in the face of difficulties and persecution.

From the beginning, the Prophet had given priority to quality over quantity, and preferred to concern himself with the nature of the hearts and minds he addressed than their number.

For three years, he quietly built up the first community of believers, whose particular feature was that it gathered, without distinction, women and men of all clans and all social categories (although the bulk were young or poor).

The Public Call

After those years, Muhammad (peace be upon him) received a Revelation enjoining him to make his call public:

And admonish your nearest kinsmen. (Ash-Shu`araa’ 26:214)

The Prophet understood that he now had to convey his message to the members of the clans to which he was linked by kinship ties. He began to call them to Islam. One day, he climbed up Mount As-Safa and called the tribal chiefs one by one.

Thinking he had an urgent or important announcement to make, they gathered at the foot of the hill to listen to him. From where they stood, they could not look into the valley, whereas Muhammad was facing it. He called out to them:

”If I warned you that down in this valley, armed horsemen are closing in to attack you, would you believe me?” They answered, almost with one voice: “Certainly- you are trustworthy and we have never heard you tell lies!”

The Prophet then went on:

“Well, I am here to forewarn you of violent torments! God has ordered me to admonish my nearest kinsmen. I have no power to protect you from anything in this life, nor to grant you blessings in the life to come, unless you believe in the Oneness of God.”

He added: “My position is like that of he who sees the enemy and runs to his people to warn them before they are taken by surprise, shouting as he runs: ‘Beware! Beware!’” (Ibn Hisham, As-Sirah An-Nabawiyah)

His uncle Abu Lahab’s response was immediate and scathing: “Woe to you (taban laka)! Is this why you have gathered us?” He turned away instantly, taking the assembled chiefs with him: he was thus to come to epitomize those who rejected Muhammad’s message and opposed him most fiercely.

Because of this status, the Quran answered him in a later Revelation, using the same formula with the additional aesthetic power of assonance and consonance in the Arabic words: Tabat yada Abi Lahabin watab” (let the hands of Abu Lahab perish, let him perish). (Al-Masad 111:1)

Steadfastness

Later on, When the Prophet organized two meals to present the same message, the first was a failure because Abu Lahab again intervened to prevent his nephew from speaking.

During the second meal, Muhammad was able to convey the substance of his message, which was heard and secretly accepted by some members of the clans he had invited.

His kinsmen and the tribe’s elders had reacted in a rather cold and distant manner because they understood that the nature of Muhammad’s message threatened the age-old balance in their society. Both their gods and their power could be challenged, and the danger was serious.

Muhammad continued to speak to his kinsfolk until he received another Revelation ordering a forthright, determined attitude:

Therefore expound openly what you are commanded, and turn away from those who join false gods with God. (Al-Hijr 15:94)

The prophetic mission was entering a new phase. Now the message was addressed to all and required a clear-cut distinction between tawheed, faith in one God, and the polytheism of the Quraysh.

The Prophet had gathered around him a solid core of trustworthy women and men; some were his relatives, bur many came from different social categories and tribes, and he had been providing them spiritual and religious education for the previous three years.

With steadfastness and forbearance, they were to face rejection, persecution, and exclusion in a Meccan society that was beginning to split apart.

_________________________

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

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New Muslims Pilgrimage

Guideposts on the Hajj Route

By Dr. Atiyah Al-Weeshy

Guideposts on the Hajj Route

Hajj is one of the most pious acts which a person does in order to gain the pleasure of God.

For the intention of making hajj (pilgrimage) to germinate among the ribs of a believer, one is required to do much more than what is commonly done by tourists, including viewing plain ancient monuments or visiting places with origins and memories steeped in history, which may fill them with astonishment and admiration.

Rather, the experience outstrips those phenomena, going to the heart of the values of worship and the spiritual and sentimental impressions mingled with the blessing of God, the Almighty, which provide a Muslim with the spiritual provisions one needs for an immaculate, free, noble life.

Hajj is one of the pillars of Islam and an act of worship which God legislated for His servants. Also, it is one of the most pious acts which a person does in order to gain the pleasure of God.

However, most of those who can afford hajj often fail to meditate on, understand and comprehend the brilliant indications and denotations of that great rite. They may even overlook the purposes and the objectives for which this rite is legislated.

How many people wasted their money and endured travel hardship without getting sufficient reward for their hajj journey!

Therefore, we will spotlight some guideposts on the blessed hajj journey whereby the pilgrims may hopefully beware of slips and deviations and accomplish their chief purpose of this honorable rite.

First: Physical Ability

We mean by “physical ability” having lawful, legitimate money free from suspicion and ill-gotten gain. God is good and accepts only good things. In the Qur’an, God says:

And (due) to God from the people is a pilgrimage to the House – for whoever is able to find thereto a way. (Aal `Imran 3:97)

The income of usury, invalid transactions, gambling, and trafficking is not good gain which one may intend for God. ‘Ability’ cannot be based on a burden resulting from a debt, pledge or the like.

To conclude, self-restraint should be exercised to seek lawful gain for everything one is going to set out in one’s day-to-day life, considering that this worldly life is a farm for the Hereafter. In the Qur’an, God says:

But seek, through that which God has given you, the home of the Hereafter (Al-Qasas 28:77)

This worldly life may be likened to a journey man starts with a diaper and ends with an unsewn shroud, which resembles the hajj clothes in denotation and indication and amazes and reminds minds and hearts of death and the Hereafter. This requires a Muslim to exercise self-discipline and reconcile all of one’s conditions in such a way which pleases God.

Second: Sincere Repentance

Sincere repentance reflects the extent to which a Muslim understands the nature of the hajj rites and feels their deep values and considerable magnitude. However, there are some people who go on hajj while their hearts have yet to give up evil habits, negative qualities or bad characteristics. They make hajj while overburdened with people’s due rights and shouldered with such grievances which hinder them from having such accepted hajj that people hope for.

While repentance is obligatory at all times, it is more obligatory when making hajj. The Muslim going to be entertained as a guest of God is more required to lay down burdens so that one’s heart will not cherish anything which may affect one’s self-purity, pleasant connection or dignified meeting with God.

Repentance can be sincere only if fulfills its three conditions: giving up, regretting, and resolving not to return to sin. If any such sin is related to a right due to a human being, the acceptance of this repentance is conditional upon, along with the above three conditions, returning any such right to its recipient or asking the latter to absolve one from this right.

Third: Sincere Intention

A pilgrim must have a sincere intention when setting out on the journey to the holy sanctuary of God. The most graceful thing to be imparted by such a blessed outset is giving precedence for God by curbing the appetite for money whose collection often engrosses a good deal of man’s effort, health and lifetime.

Intention is the criterion for accepting or not accepting good deeds. Prophet Muhammad said: “Deeds are considered by intentions, and a person will get reward according to one’s intention behind.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Accordingly, the one who makes hajj for showoff, reputation, fame and honorary titles will not have one’s hajj accepted and for which one will not get reward from God.

In the Qur’an, God says:

Whoever desires the life of this world and its adornments – We fully repay them for their deeds therein, and they therein will not be deprived. Those are the ones for whom there is not in the Hereafter but the Fire. And lost is what they did therein, and worthless is what they used to do. (Hud 11:15-16)

Sincere intention in hajj, and thereby seeking the pleasure of God, is one of the determinants of the correct destination of the pilgrims’ organs, especially heart, apart from fancy, hypocrisy and polytheism. It rather necessarily motivates a pilgrim to turn from such distractions towards the side of God when going through the hajj rites.

Fourth: Detachment from Worldly Life

There is moral likeness and pedagogical similarity between the preliminaries and circumstances of hajj and those of death, which inspires imitation in terms of some arrangements and practices in both phenomena.

Therefore, a person detaches himself from this worldly life when one puts off one’s usual worldly clothes for getting into the state of ritual consecration (Ihram). By so doing, a pilgrim consecrates himself both physically and morally.

Consequently, a pilgrim should not be attached to, occupied with, pity or bemoan this worldly life in such a way which diverts one from the hajj blessings and benedictions. In the Qur’an, God says:

That (is so). And whoever honors the symbols of God – indeed, it is from the piety of hearts. (Al-Hajj 22:31)

Thus, discarding this worldly life in such honorable settings is legally desirable and commendable, so that man can hover in the divine space with all tranquility and peace of mind.

There are some measures which a Muslim should adopt upon detachment from this worldly life as follows:

  • Discharge from the moral rights of the others; grievances should be redressed, disputes and wrangles should be settled, and people’s pardon and forgiveness, especially parents, should be sought by obeying them, seeking their pleasure and satisfaction, and asking them to pray for the acceptance and facilitation of one’s hajj.
  • Paying debts, returning deposits, writing down and attesting the legal will; a pilgrim is recommended to advise one’s family and children to have fear of and abide by the guidance of God.

Fifth: Journey Provisions and Companionship

The mere material provisions are not intended. I rather mean such devotional tributary which provides the traveler to God with safety inspirations, good intentions and pious acts so that one will satisfy one’s burning desire and reach one’s destination. In the Qur’an, God says:

And take provisions, but indeed, the best provision is fear of God. And fear Me, O you of understanding. (Al-Baqarah 2:197)

Needless to say, the fear of God in this context is worthy of being taken into consideration given the fact that a number of pilgrims neglects one’s copy of the Qur’an, forgets the remembrance of God, supplication and meditation on the blessings of God all around, and does not occupy himself with receiving exhortation or seeking the forgiveness of God.

They rather turn to illegal sources of amusement and entertainment which, they think, may alleviate the hardship of travel. That is why they bring bawdy song tapes, not to mention ringing tambourines and the other means of amusement, including tobacco smoking, khat (Catha edulis) chewing and other practices deemed disgraceful, and improper on such a blessed, divine journey.

A pilgrim should get close to God by having such good travel companionship which helps one obey God and keeps one far away from clamor, backbiting, contention, disobedience, dispute etc.

“Choose the companion before the road to take” is a saying which should be taken into consideration in the context of a journey whose goodness and blessings may not be available twice in a Muslim’s lifetime.

Good company strengthens the determination to do good, alleviates loneliness and urges the traveler to increase one’s otherworldly provisions.

An old Arab poet once said:

Do you agree to accompany some people who have (otherworldly) provisions, while you have not?

_________________________

The article is translated from Arabic by Editorial Staff.

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Categories
Ethics & Values New Muslims

Islam: A Call for Moderateness

By Editorial Staff

Islam A Call for Moderateness

In Islam, even commands and prohibits are moderate; A Muslim is not charged except with that within its capacity.

Moderateness is one of the characteristics with which Islam is distinguished more than the other faiths. Therefore, God has set up the Muslim community as a witness over all other communities. God says:

And thus we have made you a just community that you will be witnesses over the people and the Messenger will be a witness over you. (Al-Baqarah 2:143)

Moderateness of Islam

The moderateness of Islam is reflected in its moderate teachings which are halfway between permissiveness and restrictiveness. In the Qur’an, God says:

And do not make your hand [as] chained to your neck or extend it completely and (thereby) become blamed and insolvent. (Al-Israa’ 17:29)

The moderateness of Islam is also represented by its moderate commands and prohibitions. A Muslim is not charged except with that within its capacity. God says:

God does not charge a soul except (with that within) its capacity. (Al-Baqarah 2:286)

God also says:

We do not charge any soul except (with that within) its capacity. (Al-An`am 6:152)

God further says:

No person is charged with more than his capacity. (Al-Baqarah 2:233)

The Muslim’s condition – either richness or poorness – is always taken into consideration when it comes to financial liabilities:

There is no blame upon you if you divorce women you have not touched nor specified for them an obligation. But give them [a gift of] compensation – the wealthy according to his capability and the poor according to his capability – a provision according to what is acceptable, a duty upon the doers of good. (Al-Baqarah 2:236)

God also says:

Let a man of wealth spend from his wealth, and he whose provision is restricted – let him spend from what God has given him. God does not charge a soul except [according to] what He has given it. God will bring about, after hardship, ease. (At-Talaq 65:7)

`Imran ibn Husain (may God be pleased with him) reported: “I had piles, so I asked Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) about prayer. He said, ‘Pray while standing and if you can’t, pray while sitting and if you cannot do even that, then pray lying on your side.’” (Al-Bukhari)

Prophet Muhammad used to command bearable acts of worship and prohibit unbearable ones. `Aishah (may God be pleased with her) reported that the Prophet came in to her and there was a woman with her. He said: “Who is this?” She said: “So-and-so, and she does not sleep.” And she told him about how she prayed a great deal. He said: “Stop praising her. You should do what you can, for by God, God never gets tired (of giving reward) until you get tired. And the most beloved of religious actions to Him is that in which a person persists.” (An-Nasa’i)

Anas ibn Malik (may God be pleased with him) reported: “The Prophet saw an old man walking, supported by his two sons, and asked about him. The people informed him that he had vowed to go on foot (to the Ka`bah). He said, ‘God is not in need of this old man’s torturing himself,’ and ordered him to ride.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Anas bin Malik also reported that a group of three men came to the houses of the wives of the Prophet asking how the Prophet worshipped (God), and when they were informed about that, they considered their worship insufficient and said, “Where are we from the Prophet as his past and future sins have been forgiven.” Then one of them said, “I will offer prayer throughout night forever.” The other said, “I will fast throughout year and will not break my fast.” The third said, “I will keep away from women and will not marry forever.” The Messenger of God then came to them and said, “Are you the same people who said so-and-so? By God, I am more submissive to God and more afraid of Him than you; yet I fast and break my fast, I do sleep and I also marry women. So he who does not follow my tradition in religion is not from me (not one of my followers).” (Al-Bukhari & Muslim)

Sa`d ibn Abi Waqqas (may God be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of God forbade `Uthman bin Maz`oun (may God be pleased with him) to abstain from marrying and if he had allowed him, we would have gotten ourselves castrated. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Prophet Muhammad used to prohibit extremism and fanaticism. `Aishah (may God be pleased with him) reported that Prophet Muhammad did something as it was allowed from the religious point of view but some people refrained from it. When the Prophet heard of that, he, after glorifying and praising God, said, “Why do some people refrain from doing something which I do? By God, I know God more than they do and I fear God more than they do.” (Al-Bukhari)

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Ethics & Values New Muslims

Islam and the True Meaning of Moderation

What is the meaning of moderation in Islam? How could the Muslim be moderate?

True Meaning of Moderation

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

The religion (of Islam) is easy, and whoever makes the religion a rigor, it will overpower him. So, follow a middle course (in worship); if you can’t do this, do something near to it and give glad tidings and seek help (of Allah) at morn and at dusk and some part of night”.  (Al-Bukhari)

In so many other hadiths, besides the one above, the Prophet warns against the dangers of fanatical beliefs and behaviors and to implement the moderate Islamic values in all aspects of life.

Still, how can somebody be too religious, and, more precisely, too Islamic?

What does Islam say about moderation and going to extremes in religion? What is the solution to tackle extremism?

In the video below Sheikh Yasir Qadhi answers these questions, and defines the true meaning of moderation in Islam and how to avoid extremism and its traps…

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Ethics & Values New Muslims

Muslims: The True Moderate Nation

Why are we (Muslims) called a moderate nation? What are the manifestations of the moderation of Islam?

God says:

moderate

In sight of Islam’s moderation, what kind of life does the religion give to man?

We have made you (true Muslims) a moderate nation so that you could be an example for all people and the Prophet an example for you. (Al-Baqarah 2:143)

What is meant by “moderate” here?

What are the manifestations of the moderation of Islam? Why are we (Muslims) called a “moderate” nation, and the religion is called a ‘moderate’ religion?

Between the two extremes: rationalizing everything – I must understand to believe – and having complete blind faith, where does Islam stand?

How does Islam combine the middle path between these two extremes?

True Moderate

Between religion and daily life, spirituality and rituals, between this world and the hereafter, work and life, pleasures of this life and rewards of the Hereafter, between needs of the body and needs of the soul, between mysticism and rationalism, where does Islam stand?

About the status, role, rights and duties of men and these of women, what does Islam say? How are they different and how are they seen?

In sight of Islam’s moderation, what kind of life does the religion give to man?

What does the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) seerah (biography) tell about such moderation? How does his character and teachings strike the balance between mercy and strictness?

Answers to such critical questions and other more are answered by Dr. Yasir Qadhi in that compelling talk…

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Categories
Ethics & Values New Muslims

EDC Wins 3rd Prize in Al-Aluka Competition on Moderation

In the competition launched by Alukah network, and supervised by E-Da`wah Association under the theme “Our Balanced Moderate Life”, the E-Da`wah Committee (EDC) came in third, Jamal Ash-Shatti, Consultant at Islam Presentation Committee (IPC) affiliated to Al-Najat Charity Society, announced.

EDC

Through the website (WWW.NEW-MUSLIMS.INFO), E-Da`wah Committee gained third position in the contest as one of the remarkable online resources presenting and promoting moderation as an authentic Islamic approach in multiple international languages.

Under the theme “Our Balanced Moderate Life” and through an effective coordination of efforts to introduce the moderate message of Islam, a wide range of articles, videos and editorials were published discussing Islamic values and how Islam is the religion of moderation. Of these material are the following:

  • Islam: A Call for Moderateness
  • Islam and the True Meaning of Moderation
  • Moderation: An Islamic Way of Life
  • Moderation in the Light of the Qur’an
  • Moderation in the Light of the Sunnah
  • Moderation: Your Way to Self-Development
  • Muhammad: The Exemplar of Coexistence and Moderation
  • Muslims: The True Moderate Nation
  • Prophet’s Moderation in Correcting People’s Mistakes

Hard Work

As a unique information content presenting and promoting Islamic values in some 12 languages, the New Muslims website has generated considerable praise and admiration in the competition.

“Not by chance we won this prize. It is the result of hard work and dedication,” Al-Shatti added.

“On all occasions inside and outside Kuwait, our informative and interactive content-rich websites have remarkable and impressive records, and today’s award is another step on the road to success, which adds to our long record of achievements”, Al-Shatti clarified.

“Since we began our online da`wah and academic work and over the course of four years, we’ve had remarkable achievements”, Al-Shatti added.

“It was not easy winning this competition. We have done something great with the dedication and hard work of the Editorial Board who over the last few months directed their efforts toward introducing the principle of “moderation” as an basic characteristic of Islam in efforts to presenting the true image of Islam and its message in general with distinguished video and visual  materials.”

History of Success

Starting from the first year of its existence the E-Da`wah Committee won Shaikh Salem Al-Ali Al-Sabah Informatics Award 2010.

Continuing ahead, in Kuwait E-Awards for 2012, organized by Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Science, the IPC website, www.ipc.org.kw won the first award in the Electronic Content field, while Electronic Da`wah Committee came second in Electronic Education category for its ‘Da`wah Skills’ website,www.dawahSdkills.com , and third for its ‘Learn to Pray’ DVD app in both English and Arabic.

In the same award for 2015, the the E-Da`wah Committee won the first place with The Comprehensive Muslim e-Library, www.muslim-library.com , run by skillful and qualified editorial board.

For their contribution in enriching local electronic content, the websites were recommended as official Kuwaiti candidate to compete in an international competition.

We’re not just listing the awards, it’s what we did to win them.

EDC Contribution to Kuwait

Praising the EDC for winning the prize, Al-Shatti clarified that the prize “reflects the status and role of Kuwait in the cultural field and development on Islamic, regional and international levels”.

“It is not strange for Kuwait with its pivotal role in the pursuit of knowledge and promotion of science, and its interest in encouraging excellence and creativity under Islam and its values”, he said.

“The EDC victory is a good indicator for our country’s increasing role in enriching the Islamic and cultural life. And in our turn we contribute this heritage to Kuwait which has been selected as the capital of Islamic culture this year.”

“I congratulate E-Da`wah Committee for their hard organized work and their distinguished achievements. So thank you and keep up the great work.”

All thanks to Allah that by His grace we’ve achieved that success.

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Categories
Divine Unity New Muslims

A God, A Place, and A Prophet

A God, A Place, and A Prophet

Abraham is the insistent, continuous expression of pure monotheism, of human consciousness’s adherence to the divine project through self-giving.

Islamic monotheism has always stood in continuity with the sacred history of prophethood. From the beginning, the One God sent humankind prophets and messengers entrusted with the message, the reminder of His presence, His commands, His love, and His hope.

From Adam, the first prophet, to Muhammad, the Last Messenger, Muslim tradition recognizes and identifies with the whole cycle of prophethood, ranging from the most famous messengers (Abraham, Noah, Moses, Jesus, etc.) to the lesser known, as well as others who remain unknown to us. The One has forever been accompanying us, His creation, from our beginnings to our end.

This is the very meaning of tawheed (the Oneness of God) and of the Qur’anic formula that refers to humankind’s destiny as well as to that of each individual: “To God we belong and to Him we return.”

A Lineage, a Place

Of all messengers, the most important figure in the Last Prophet’s lineage is undoubtedly Abraham (peace be upon him). There are many reasons for this, but from the outset, the Qur’an points to this particular link with Abraham through the insistent and continuous expression of pure monotheism, of human consciousness’s adherence to the divine project, of the heart’s access to His recognition and to His peace through self-giving.

This is the meaning of the word Islam, which is too often translated quickly by the mere idea of submission but which also contains the twofold meaning of “peace” and “wholehearted self-giving”.

Thus a Muslim is a human being who, throughout history-and even before the last Revelation-has wished attain God’s peace through the wholehearted gift of him- or herself to the Being. In this sense, Abraham was the deep and exemplary expression of the Muslim:

He (God) has chosen you, and has imposed no difficulties on you in religion; it is the cult of your father Abraham. It is He Who has named you Muslims, both before and in this (Revelation); that the Messenger may be a witness for you, and ye be witnesses for mankind! (Al-Hajj 22:78)

In God’s Scriptures

Along with this recognition of the One, the figure of Abraham stands out most particularly among the line of prophets leading up to the Messenger of Islam for several other reasons.

The book of Genesis, like the Qur’an, relates the Story of Abraham’s servant Hagar, who gave birth to his first child, Ishmael, in his old age. (Genesis, 15:5 (Revised Standard Version)

Sarah, Abraham’s first wife, who in turn gave birth to Isaac, asked her husband to send away his servant and her child.

Abraham took Hagar and Ishmael away to a valley in the Arabian Peninsula called Bakkah, which Islamic tradition identifies as present-day Mecca.

The Islamic account, like Genesis, relates the questionings, suffering, and prayers of Abraham and Hagar, who were compelled to experience exile and separation. In both the Muslim and Judeo-Christian traditions, this trial is recounted with the certainty and intimate comfort that the parents and child were carrying out a command from God, who will protect and bless Abraham’s descendants born of Hagar. To Abraham’s invocations about his son, God answers in Genesis:

“As for Ishmael, I have heard you; behold, I will bless him … and I will make him a great nation.” (Genesis, 17:20)

Then further on, when Hagar is helpless and without food and water:

“And God heard the voice of the child, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven, and said to her, “What troubles you, Hagar? Fear not; for God has heard the voice of the child where he is. Arise, lift up the child, and hold him fast with your hand; for I will make him a great nation.” (Genesis, 21:17-19)

As for the Qur’an, it relates Abraham’s prayer:

“O our Lord! I have made some of my offspring to dwell in a valley without cultivation, by Your Sacred House; in order, O our Lord, that they may establish regular Prayer: so fill the hearts of some among men with love towards them, and feed them with fruits: so that they may give thanks. O our Lord! truly do know what we conceal and what we reveal: for nothing whatever is hidden from Allah, whether on earth or in heaven. Praise be to Allah, Who has granted unto me in old age Isma`il and Isaac: for truly my Lord is He, the Hearer of Prayer! (Ibrahim 14:37-39)

Great Nation

On a purely factual level, the Prophet Muhammad is a descendant of Ishmael’s children and is therefore part of that “great nation” announced by the Scriptures.

Abraham is hence his “father” in the primary sense, and Islamic tradition understands that the blessings of this father’s prayers extend to his descendant the Last Prophet as well as to the place where he left Hagar and Ishmael, where, a few years later, he was to undergo the terrible trial of his son’s sacrifice, and where he was finally to raise with him God’s sacred House (the Ka`bah). Qur’anic Revelation recounts:

And remember that Abraham was tried by his Lord with certain commands, which he fulfilled: He said: “I will make thee an Imam to the Nations.” He pleaded: “And also (Imams) from my offspring!” He answered: “But My Promise is not within the reach of evil-doers.” 

Remember We made the House a place of assembly for men and a place of safety; and take ye the station of Abraham as a place of prayer; and We covenanted with Abraham and Isma`il, that they should sanctify My House for those who compass it round, or use it as a retreat, or bow, or prostrate themselves (therein in prayer).

And when Abraham prayed: My Lord! Make this a region of security and bestow upon its people fruits, such of them as believe in Allah and the Last Day. (Al-Baqarah 2:124-126)

This is the millenary teaching of Islamic tradition: there is a God and a line of prophets whose central figure is Abraham, the archetype of the Muslim, the blood father of this lineage of Ishmael leading up to Muhammad.

Abraham and Ishmael sanctified this place in Bakkah (Mecca) by building God’s House (bayt Allah) with their own hands. And this is precisely where the last of God’s messengers to humankind was born: Muhammad ibn `Abdullah, who bore the message reminding people of the One, of the prophets, and of the sacred House. A God, a place, a prophet.

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

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Categories
His Character New Muslims

Why Prophet Muhammad Exists in My Life

 

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No leader won his enemies to his cause through his noble character and magnanimity like he did.

The Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) has touched my heart like no other personality or hero in the world. I have had life long association with his life, his words, actions and behaviour; yet no day in my life passes without my love for the Prophet increasing. Let me explain the reasons:

1- The Prophet is my source of inspiration for my connection with Allah. I find myself closer to Allah as I awake to his words, “thank you Allah for your gift of life; health, and remembrance.”

He keeps me company, prodding me to take God’s name as I do my daily chores, bathroom rituals, ablutions, sneezing, yawning; as I take my breakfast, and as I chat with my family; and when I step out of my home; as I enter the mosque, and wait for prayer; and as I converse with people; he keeps reminding me how to be conscious of Allah; to smile; to be gentle; to show mercy to the young; to respect the old; to greet everyone; to walk humbly; to render tender care to all God’s creatures, big and small.

2- As I accomplish my tasks, and cherish the satisfaction of my achievement, I am reminded never to allow myself to slip into a feeling of vainglory, for the Prophet’s utter humility in his peak moment of victory as Makkah fell to his hands can never be forgotten.

3- How can I ever forget his hundreds of Companions, upon whom he had impressed the deepest love – so that their source of joy at the final moment of their life was they would have the chance to be reunited with their beloved.

How can the spectacle of Bilal’s death be out of my mind as he comforts his wife who cried to see her husband was dying, “honey, it is time to rejoice, for I will soon be reunited with my beloved Muhammad and his company.”

4- I wonder what charisma he possessed as the hundreds of men and women would only refer to him as the beloved, and they all give the impression that no matter how eloquent they were, their words cannot fully describe his magnanimity, his nobility of character, and benevolence.

5- To those who simply call him a conqueror or warrior, I can only point to the casualties of his wars. History does not record a warrior who won so many battles with so little bloodshed as he did. To those who say otherwise, listen well to his admonition to his soldiers before battle, “stay away from the habitat of animals”; “God admonished a prophet saying, “Because an ant stung you, are you to burn down an entire community that glorifies God?”

6- I find no leader who won his enemies to his cause through his noble character and magnanimity like he did. Their number and affiliations vary: chiefs of tribes, kings, commanders, orators, men and women of all types and ages: their enmity turned into passionate love for him and his cause – as if through a miracle.

7- The Prophet’s spiritual retreats, and his solitary moments of prayers and meditations as he slipped out of his bed at night, to be alone with the Alone, and then when distracted by his wife, saying to her, “let me be alone with my Lord”; the spectacle of his tears often soaking the blanket can never be erased from my mind. His constancy in celebrating God’s remembrance led his beloved wife to remark, “the Prophet was always celebrating the remembrance of Allah”.

8- To those who deify the Prophet and thus try to dilute his monotheistic faith, making it no different from a pagan cult, I can only remind them of his relentless efforts to remind men and women, young and old, of his mortal nature; his repeated assertions to the people that he was merely a simple slave of God; his rejection of their attributing knowledge of the unseen realities or what tomorrow will bring.

9- In spite of all these, when I hear people refer to him as a worldly leader, I find myself asking, which worldly leader had no cooking fire kindled for days at home, due to chosen poverty? Which worldly leader survived on dates, water and occasional cups of milk, preferring to part with everything he had, in order to provide for the poor? Wasn’t he the one who prayed, “Lord, let me live poor; die poor and be resurrected in the company of the poor?”

10- As I deal with the humblest creatures of God, I cannot take out of my mind his constant reminders to Muslims, “you are only fed and given water by God because of the weak among you”, and, “the best Muslim home is where an orphan is cared for”; and, “be conscious of Allah in the way you treat these mute creatures of Allah”.

Didn’t he teach his followers that God forgave a prostitute for giving water to a thirsty dog, thereby making constancy in mercy a trait of every person of faith?

11- I can only conclude this by saying: O Messenger of Allah, you are indeed my role model, for you taught me to find meaning and purpose in my life. My only prayer to God is to make me a worthy follower of yours – even as my parents chose your name for me. May Allah shower upon you, O Messenger of mercy, choicest blessings, and give us the honor of joining your noble company in the hereafter. Ameen.

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Source: askthescholar.com

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