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Fasting New Muslims

Qur’anic Gems: Juz’ 22

Welcome to a new interesting episode the Qur’anic Gems series with Nouman Khan.

In this episode, Nouman reflects on the verse number 70 of Surat Al-Ahzab (the 33rd chapter of the Qur’an).

He talks in brief about taqwa (piety and fear of Allah) which is a high state of heart, which keeps one conscious of Allah’s presence and His Knowledge, and it motivates him to perform righteous deeds and avoid those, which are forbidden.

Follow us on this fascinating episode to know more about this state of heart which prevent the believer form everything that may lead him to Allah’s wrath.

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Fasting New Muslims

A Blessed Month of a Special Nature

Fasting in the month of Ramadan is one of the five pillars upon which the structure of Islam is built. The other four are the declaration of one’s belief in God’s oneness and in the message of Muhammad (peace be upon him), regular attendance to prayer, payment of zakah (i.e. obligatory charity), and the pilgrimage.

If we examine these five pillars, taking into account the fact that Islam aims at improving the quality of human life at both the individual and social levels, we find that the first of these five pillars is concerned with beliefs which influence man’s conduct. The second, i.e. prayer, provides a constant reminder of man’s bond with God. Zakah, the third pillar, is a social obligation which reduces the gap between the rich and the poor, while the fifth, i.e. the pilgrimage, has a universal aspect that unites the Muslim community throughout the world.

Fasting in Ramadan, which is the fourth of these pillars, has a particularly high importance, derived from its very personal nature as an act of worship. Although in a Muslim country it is extremely difficult for anyone to defy public feelings by showing that one is not fasting, there is nothing to stop anyone from privately violating God’s commandment of fasting if one chooses to do so. This means that although fasting is obligatory, its observance is purely voluntary.

The fact is that fasting cannot be used by a hypocrite in order to persuade others of one’s devotion to God. If a person claims to be a Muslim, he is expected to fast in Ramadan. On the other hand, a person fasting voluntarily at any other time should not tell others of the fact. If he does, he detracts from his reward for his voluntary worship. In fact, people will find his declaration to be fasting very strange and will feel that there is something wrong behind it.

This explains why the reward God gives for proper fasting is so generous. In a sacred, or Qudsi hadith, the Prophet quotes God as saying: “All actions done by a human being are his own except fasting, which belongs to Me and I reward it accordingly.” This is a mark of special generosity, since God gives for every good action a reward equivalent to at least ten times its values. Sometimes He multiplies this reward to seven hundred times the value of the action concerned, and even more. We are also told by the Prophet that the reward for proper fasting is admittance into heaven.

It may be noted that we have qualified fasting that earns such great reward as being ‘proper’. This is because every Muslim is required to make his worship perfect. Perfection of fasting can be achieved through restraint of one’s feelings and emotions. The Prophet said that when fasting, a person should not allow himself to be drawn into a quarrel or a slanging match. He teaches us: “On a day of fasting, let no one of you indulge in any obscenity, or enter into a slanging match. Should someone abuse or fight him, let him respond by saying: ‘I am fasting! I am fasting!’” (Al-Bukhari)

This high standard of self-restraint fits in well with fasting, which is, in essence, an act of self-discipline. Islam requires us to couple patience with voluntary abstention from indulgence in physical desire. This is indeed the purpose of fasting. It helps man to attain a standard of sublimity, which is very rare in the practical world. In other words, this standard is actually achieved by every Muslim who knows the purpose of fasting and strives to fulfill it.

Fasting has another special aspect. It makes all people share in the feelings of hunger and thirst. In normal circumstances, people with decent income may go from one year’s end to another without experiencing the pangs of hunger which a poor person may feel every day of his life. Such an experience helps to draw the rich nearer to the poor.

Indeed we are encouraged to be more charitable in Ramadan in order to follow the Prophet’s lead who was described by his companions as “the most generous of all people.” Yet he achieved in Ramadan an even higher degree of generosity. His companions say of him that he was in Ramadan “more generous and charitable than unrestrained wind.”

Fasting has also a universal or communal aspect. As Muslims throughout the world share in this blessed act of worship, they feel their unity and equality. Their sense of unity is enhanced by the fact that every Muslim individual joins voluntarily in the fulfillment of this divine commandment. The unity of Muslims is far from superficial; it is a unity of action and purpose, since they all fast in order to be better human beings. As a person restrains himself from the things he desires most, in the hope that he will earn God’s pleasure, self-discipline and sacrifice become part of his nature. He learns to give generously for a good cause.

The month of Ramadan is aptly described as a “festive season of worship.” Fasting is the main aspect of worship in this month, but people are more attentive to their prayers in Ramadan than they are in the rest of the year. They are also more generous and charitable. Thus, their devotion is more complete and they feel in Ramadan much happier because they feel themselves to be closer to God. Therefore, they love this month, which is one of endless benefits and blessings.

Indeed, nothing describes our great month better than the words of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) as he addresses his companions and all generations of Muslims on the eve of Ramadan, saying: “A great and blessed month is approaching. One of its nights is better than a thousand months. God has made fasting in it obligatory and worship in its nights voluntary.

He who fulfils one religious obligation in it receives the reward of 70 such obligations fulfilled in other times. It is the month of perseverance and endurance, which can be rewarded only be admission into heaven. It is the month of comforting in which the means of a believer are improved. He who gives food to another to break his fast is forgiven his sins; thus he saves his neck from hell. He is also given a similar reward to that given to the fasting person without detracting anything from the other’s reward…

God gives this reward even to a person who offers another a piece of a date, a drink of water or milk… the beginning of this month is compassion, its middle is forgiveness and its end witnesses people’s release from the fire of hell.”

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Taken with slight modifications from: www.arabnews.com.

Adil Salahi teaches Islamic Studies at the Markfield Institute of Higher Education, Leicester, England. After working for the BBC Arabic Service for several years, he worked for the Arabic daily, Al-Sharq Al-Awsat. He continues to publish a column, “Islam in Perspective”, in its sister publication, Arab News, an English daily published in Saudi Arabia.


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Fasting New Muslims

The Four Sacred Months: What Do You Know about Them?

From the twelve lunar months of the Islamic calendar there are four sacred, concerning them Allah says:

Verily, the number of months with Allah is twelve months (in a year), so it was ordained by Allah on the Day when He created the heavens and the earth; of them, four are sacred. That is the right religion, so wrong not yourselves therein. (At-Tawbah 9:36)

Four Months Are Sacred

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) also said about them:

“The division of time has turned to its original form which was current when Allah created the Heavens and the Earth. The year is of twelve months, out of which four months are sacred. Three are in succession: Dhul-Qi`dah, Dhul-Hijjah, and Muharram, and (the fourth is) Rajab of (the tribe of) Mudar which comes between Jumada Thani and Sha`ban.” (Al-Bukhari)

So what characterizes these four months, and what should we do in them?

Sheikh Muhammad Salah answers in this video…

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Fasting New Muslims

Ramadan and the Three Types of Fasting

When it’s done right, fasting leads to taqwa (piety and God-consciousness). There’re three levels of fasting. The first level fasting from food and drink and intimate relationships. And there’s fasting of the limps. The higher level of fasting is that of the heart.

What do you know about these level of fasting? How does our heart fast?

 

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Source: TheProphetsPath YouTube Channel

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New Muslims Pilgrimage

Places of Ihram (Miqat) Map

ihram

Places of Ihram (Miqat) map

There are five particular places appointed for entering the state of ihram, which is a basic condition for the validity of hajj.

1- Dhul-Hulaifah, a place southwest of Madinah and 18 km from its mosque. It is the miqat for the people coming from Madinah and beyond.

2- Dhat-`Irq, a place 94 km to the northeast of Makkah. It is the miqat for the people coming from Iraq and beyond

3- Al-Juhfah, a place 187 km to the northwest of Makkah.

This was the miqat for the people coming from or passing through Syria and Egypt.

It was on the eastern coast of the Red Sea, but it has completely disappeared and Rabigh (to the north of Al-Juhfah) is used as the substitute for this miqat now.

4- Qarn Al-Manazil, 94 km to the east of Makkah. It is the miqat for the people of Najd and the pilgrims who pass by it.

5- Yalamlam, 54 km to the south of Makkah. It is the miqat for those coming from Yemen and the pilgrims who pass by it.

E-Da`wah Committee presents this map as an illustrated guide to explain the different places of Ihram

http://bit.ly/1JUlbKz

 

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New Muslims Pilgrimage

What to Pack for Hajj

Hajj Baggage

Having an idea of what you will be doing each day helps immensely.

Hajj is a spiritual journey made by Muslims who travel to Saudi Arabia for 2-4 weeks. It is usually made once in a lifetime, and it’s difficult to get an idea of what you might need to take because you’ve never done it before! During Hajj, you don’t just stay in one place.

Every couple of days, you keep moving. You move from hotels to old apartments to tents to sleeping under the stars out in the open. Then back to tents then apartments and finally a hotel, if your duration of stay is over two weeks.

This, in a way, symbolizes that life is a journey. We’re constantly moving, and our lives in this world are only temporary.

So, what are you supposed to pack for such a journey?

First, find a group that is recommended to you by others, and that you know is organized. This is everything during Hajj. An organized group saves you from stressing out about other things and focusing on the real goal when you get there, which is worship.

This type of group could also give you information on what they will provide for you during Hajj, and it will save you from taking extra things that you don’t need.

Also, you will need a lot of knowledge beforehand. Don’t go into Hajj thinking you will be guided every step of the way. There are around 120 people per group and only two leaders.

Although they are there to help, having an idea of what you will be doing each day helps immensely.

Now, on to the list of things to take:

My husband and I took one large suitcase with us. We were not going there for shopping, so we took the minimal amount of items. For gifts, we only got some prayer beads for direct family members and some dates.

You will need a backpack for this journey. Make sure it is comfortable with thick, cushioned straps, and a medium size. As you get ready to board your flight to Saudi Arabia, keep your backpack with you rather than checking it in. The last thing you need is losing all your essentials!

There is a chance of buses breaking down during journeys, resulting in walking a few miles with your bag, so make sure it is not too heavy or big in size. Some people brought rolling luggage but you’ll need to remember that the streets aren’t smooth and there are also a lot of stairs, so backpacks are the best option.

Comfortable walking shoes are a must. We always heard that we have to walk a lot during Hajj but only realized how much after we got there.

Tawaf and sa`i were easy for us Alhamdulillah. But just to give you an idea, to find a taxi from the Mina tents, you will need to walk around 1.5 hours. Our walk to Jamarat was also 1.5 hours in the heat, and then we had to come back as well same distance (the group website said it will be 45 minutes, so be prepared to walk more than expected!).

Practice walking for over an hour nonstop before leaving for Hajj. Make sure to buy them at least a month in advance and break into them before the journey.

Finally, I got a neck pillow for the bus journeys, tent, and sleeping in Muzdalifah out in the open. I kept it in a drawstring bag which I attached to the strap of my backpack so that I don’t have to carry it around.

Also, you will need two other bags apart from the backpack. One will be a small, cross-body messenger bag for the airport and during travel in general. You will need to take this during your visits to both Al-Masjid Al-Haram (in Makkah) and Al-Masjid An-Nabawi (in Madinah) as well.

Cross-body is important so that it  cannot be easily snatched like a shoulder bag, and it is also more confortable. In here, keep some cash, phone, solar power charger, snacks for energy, notebook and pen in which you have noted down addresses of where you’re staying and directions, prayer books and sunglasses.

On the main day of Hajj, you will be away from your tents and your belongings for an entire 24 hours. You will spend the entire day in `Arafat and entire night in Muzdalifah. For this you will need a medium sized bag, because there really isn’t any space in both places for anything bigger.

I didn’t want to have to take a whole different bag just for this one day, so I found a foldable bag online that worked perfectly for this occasion. It unfolds to a backpack that is ideal for a day trip. Keep an extra pair of clothes in this bag apart from other necessities.

Men will need a money belt to wear under their ihrams.

A document folder is essential to keep all your paperwork together in one place and safe from getting dirty. There are number of things you’ll need to keep in here:

Passport copies – at least 3 passport sized photos

Flight details

Credit/Debit Card copies

Hajj notes printouts

Proof of having taken the proper vaccines

Marriage Certificate copies if traveling with spouse

A Will is highly recommended and should be given to family members before leaving.

Finally, communication. It is absolutely necessary to get phones for all members of the family going. First of all, men and women stay in separate places throughout the stay and phones are the best way to get in touch. In a lot of cases in our group, only the husbands had phones and not the wives.

The husbands would be standing outside the women’s area, knocking loudly on doors, yelling out names. It was very disturbing for other people trying to worship or rest.

We got an extremely basic phone and used it every day.

I also took my smartphone. I had left my two-year old son with my parents and just needed to see him on Skype and through pictures. It definitely made me feel at ease. There is Wi-Fi in very limited pl

aces there.

In hotels they are reliable but outside that it’s hit or miss. If by chance it got connected, I was able to receive my son’s latest pictures and it comforted me knowing he’s having (way too much) fun!

I hope this post was helpful to you!

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Source: simplyincontrolplog.

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Best Days of the Year & the Best Deeds in Them

Do Not Miss out on `Arafah (9th Dhul Hijjah)!

The great importance of the day of `Arafah, the day when pilgrims gather in Mountain of `Arafah and perform the most important ritual in Hajj, is shown by the fact that Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) swears an oath by this day:

Don’t waste this golden, annual opportunity to gain enormous rewards.

And (by) the witness and what is witnessed (the day of `Arafah). (Al-Buruj 85:3)

To make the most of the grand day of `Arafah, make sure to:

1- Fast and expiate your sins

Out of the first nine days, this is the most important day to keep a fast on:

Abu Qatadah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Fasting on the Day of `Arafah, I hope from Allah, expiates for the sins of the year before and the year after.” (Ibn Majah)

Fasting this day is only recommended for those who are not performing Hajj, and it is not permitted for those performing Hajj to fast on the day of `Arafah.

2- Repent

The Messenger of Allah said: “There is no day when Allah ransoms more slaves from the Fire than the day of `Arafah. He draws near and expresses His pride to the angels and says: ‘What do these people want?’” (Muslim)

Don’t settle for less. You will have your minor sins forgiven with the fast of `Arafah (In sha Allah), so what about your major sins? Repent sincerely and remember that Allah is capable of forgiving all our sins no matter how great they are. Allah subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He) says in the Qur’an:

Say, “O My servants who have transgressed against themselves (by sinning), do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful”. (Az-Zumar 39:53)

These grand days are a great opportunity to quit your sinful habits once and for all! Be regretful for committing sins and make a strong determination to never commit them ever again.

3- Make du`aa’, ask forgiveness

Even though the Day of `Arafah has a special status, it’s important to remember that all the days of Hajj are days of dhikr (remembrance of Allah).

The importance of dhikr is demonstrated in the following verses in which Allah addresses the pilgrims in Surat Al-Baqarah:

…But when you depart from ‘Arafat, remember Allah at al- Mash’ar al-Haram. And remember Him, as He has guided you, for indeed, you were before that among those astray. (Al-Baqarah 2:198)

Then depart from the place from where [all] the people depart and ask forgiveness of Allah… (Al-Baqarah 2:199)

And when you have completed your rites, remember Allah like your (previous) remembrance of your fathers or with [much] greater remembrance… (Al-Baqarah 2:200)

And remember Allah during (specific) numbered days… (Al-Baqarah 2:203) in reference to the Days of Tashreeq (11-13 Dhul-Hijjah).

With regards to making du`aa’, the Prophet said: “The most excellent du`aa’ is the du`aa’ on the Day of `Arafah, and the best of what I and the prophets before me have said, is ‘There is no god but Allah, alone, without partner.’ (Malik)

Another recommended du`aa’ that is mentioned in the Qur’an is:

…Our Lord, give us in this world (that which is) good and in the Hereafter (that which is) good and protect us from the punishment of the Fire. (AL-Baqarah 2:201)

What a great chance you have to get your du`aa’ accepted! Prepare a du`aa’ list, as advised in Ramadan, so that you don’t spend a minute without asking Allah for everything you want, in this life and the Hereafter.

Again, don’t waste this golden, annual opportunity to gain enormous rewards. Fast and spend your time in supplication, repentance and remembering Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He).

The Udhiyah (Sacrifice)

A great act of charity to get closer to Allah on the day of `Eid Al-Adha is sacrificing a livestock animal. This revives the sunnah of Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) was ready to give up everything for the sake of Allah and submitted unconditionally to Allah’s commands by even offering his beloved son as a sacrifice.

Revive the spirit behind the Sunnah, be generous and select a healthy animal for sacrifice. You may have given a lot of charity other than the udhiyah, but if you miss out on this, you have missed out on a great act of charity specific to this occasion. Look at how you have spent your money on luxuries for the entire year. Now what will you offer as a sacrifice to gain the closeness of Allah?

Give Charity

The days of `Eid are the days of sacrifice. Apart from the udhiya, what will you give for the pleasure of Allah?

a Spend from what you really love

Allah says in the Qur’an:

Never will you attain the good (reward) until you spend [in the way of Allah ] from that which you love. And whatever you spend – indeed, Allah is Knowing of it. (Aal `Imran 3:92)

What is it that you value greatly? What possession can you sacrifice for Allah’s sake by giving it in charity? This may even be your precious talents, time, reputation, etc. How can you spend that in the way of Allah?

b- It’s time to give away everything extra

This may be the best time to de-clutter your house. Give in charity everything extra that you possess. What is the use of hoarding stuff that you will never use?

Assess your community needs. What can you do to help your community?

Befriend the Qur’an

The immense reward of reciting the Qur’an is evident from the following hadith:

Ibn Mas`ud (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever recites a letter from the Book of Allah, he will be credited with a good deed, and a good deed gets a ten-fold reward. I do not say that Alif-Lam-Mim is one letter, but Alif is a letter, Lam is a letter and Mim is a letter.” (At-Tirmidhi)

As Muslims, our job is to not only recite, but also to understand, implement and spread the teachings of the Qur’an. How can we expect to be guided to the straight path unless we read The Book of guidance?

Given the importance of reciting the Qur’an, it is essential that we block time out of our day especially for this task. The most productive time to recite the Qur’an is in the early hours, as Allah says:

Establish prayer at the decline of the sun [from its meridian] until the darkness of the night and (also) the Qur’an of dawn. Indeed, the recitation of dawn is ever witnessed. (Al-Israa’ 17:78)

Reading around 3½ juz each day will allow you to finish the Qur’an before `Eid begins Insha’Allah (within the first 9 days)!

Do Not Waste Time

These are the best days of the year! How can you possibly waste your time? Reject all invitations to parties and appointments which can be delayed to a later date. Tell them about the immense importance of these days and Insha’Allah you will even get rewarded for every good that they consequently do. If you can take time off work, do so. Again, remember that these are the most valuable days of the year!

Maintain Good Character

Just like the person performing Hajj must refrain from getting into disputes and acts of disobedience or risk the acceptance of their Hajj, you should try to do the same. Forgive everyone no matter what they have done to you. Visit the sick. Have good relations with people, especially your parents, relatives and neighbors. This would be the best time to re-establish ties of kinship and put barakah (blessing) in your life.

Spread the Knowledge

Unfortunately, many Muslims are unaware of the superiority of these days, or are unsure how to make the most of them. Spread the knowledge and multiply your rewards. This will also In sha Allah get you motivated to be foremost in performing good deeds.

The best days of the entire year have almost arrived! Muslims from around the globe will unite to perform one of the greatest forms of worship: Hajj.

Make the most of this grand opportunity by drawing nearer to our Creator by performing acts of worship with true sincerity and according to the Sunnah.

May Allah (Exalted be He) make us understand the greatness of these days and help us perform the best possible deeds with the purest of intentions. Ameen.

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Source: productivemuslim.com

 

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Ethics & Values New Muslims

What Does Islam Teach about Justice?

(Al-Ma’idah 5:8)

the justice ordained by Him calls for equal understanding and peaceable treatment of everyone, with no discrimination.

The true justice described in the Qur’an commands man to behave justly, not discriminating between people, protecting others’ rights and not permitting violence, no matter what the circumstances, to side with the oppressed against the oppressor and to help the needy.

This justice calls for the rights of both parties to be protected when reaching a decision in a dispute, assessing all aspects of an incident, setting aside all prejudices, being objective, honest, merciful and compassionate. In the event one fails to display any of these characteristics or attaches greater importance to a particular one, then it becomes hard to exercise true justice.

For instance, someone who cannot assess events in a moderate way, and who is swayed by his emotions and feelings, will fail to arrive at sound decisions and will remain under the influence of those feelings. However, someone who rules with justice needs to set all his personal feelings and views aside. He needs to treat all parties with justice when they ask for help, to side with what is right under all circumstances, and not to diverge from the path of honesty and truthfulness.

Justice in the Qur’an

A person should incorporate the values of the Qur’an into his soul in such a way that he may be able to consider the interests of other parties before his own and maintain justice, even if this harms his own interests.

You who believe! Show integrity for the sake of Allah, bearing witness with justice. Do not let hatred for a people incite you into not being just. Be just. That is closer to piety. Be careful of (your duty to) Allah. Allah is aware of what you do. (Al-Ma’idah 5:8)

As it is suggested in the above verse, Allah knows everything a man does. A person who fears Allah and who is aware that he will have to account for his deeds on the Day of Judgment, issues his commands in a just way in order to earn the good pleasure of Allah. He knows that all his words and thoughts will be judged on the Day of Judgment and will be rewarded accordingly.

For this reason, what one has to do to earn the good pleasure of Allah, to be saved from the torment of Hell and to attain the infinite favors of Paradise is to fully live by the Qur’an. In order to attain this morality, everyone must make personal efforts and set aside all his selfish desires and personal interests and adopt the guidance of justice, compassion, love and peace.

Allah gives a detailed description of true justice in the Qur’an and informs us that all sorts of disagreements can be solved by the maintenance of justice. In a society made up of righteous administrators and just people, it is obvious that all problems can be readily overcome.

In the Qur’an, Allah gives a detailed description of justice and informs believers of the attitude they have to adopt in the face of incidents they encounter and of the ways to exercise justice.

Such guidance is a great comfort to believers and a mercy from Allah. For this reason, those who believe are responsible for exercising justice in an undivided manner both to earn Allah‘s approval and to lead their lives in peace and security.

Justice Should Be Exercised Equally Among All People, With No Consideration of Language, Race, or Ethnicity

A close examination of developments all over the world reveals that the performance of justice varies according to place, time and people. For instance, in some societies, the color of someone’s skin influences decisions. Even under the very same circumstances, the same decision may not apply to a white and a black man.

In some societies, race is of great importance to people. In the 20th century, Hitler’s annihilation of millions of people solely because he deemed the Aryan race superior to other races is a good example of this. In our day, too, there are people being subjected to cruel and unjust treatment because of the color of their skin or their race. In the United States and South Africa, black people were for many years treated as second-class citizens, and savage disputes raged in many Asian and African countries simply because of racial differences.

The fact is, however, that Allah reveals in the verses of the Qur’an that one of the pieces of wisdom behind the creation of different peoples and nations is to allow them “to come to know one another” (Al-Hujurat 49:13).

scale of Justice

Those who believe are responsible for exercising justice in an undivided manner both to earn Allah‘s approval, to lead their lives in peace and security.

Different nations or peoples, all of whom are the servants of Allah, should get to know one another, that is, learn about their different cultures, languages, traditions and abilities. In brief, the purpose of the creation of different races and nations is not conflict and war but cultural richness.

Such variation is a bounty of Allah‘s creation. The fact that someone is taller than someone else or that his skin is yellow or white neither makes him superior to others nor is something to feel ashamed of.

Every trait a person has is a result of Allah‘s purposeful creation, but in the sight of Allah, these variations have no ultimate importance. A believer knows that someone attains superiority only by fearing Allah and in the strength of his faith in Allah. This fact is related in the following verse:

Mankind! We created you from a male and female, and made you into peoples and tribes so that you might come to know each other. The noblest among you in Allah’s sight is the one with the most piety. Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware. (Al-Hujurat 49:13)

As Allah informs us in that verse, the justice ordained by Him calls for equal understanding and peaceable treatment of everyone, with no discrimination.

Perfect Exemplar of Justice

In his time, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) treated people of different races and places with the utmost justice. He severely criticized subjecting people to different treatment because of their race, and attributed such acts to the “morality of the ignorant.”

The Prophet Muhammad reminded his people that people in ignorant societies may harbour enmity towards other people because of their color or race, and warned all Muslims against such an attitude, which is described as “ugly” in the Qur’an.

1,400 years ago, all these primitive ideas were abolished through the Qur’an, which was sent to mankind as a mercy, and it was proclaimed that all people, regardless of their color, race and language, are equal. The Prophet Muhammad criticized the unbecoming practice of people of ignorant societies who assessed others according to their race and color.

He cautioned the Arab people in these words in his last address (Farewell Sermon) to them:

“An Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab, nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over a black, nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good action.”

With these words, the Prophet Muhammad once again reminded all mankind the fact related in Surat  Al-Hujurat verse 13; that superiority among people is attainable only through fear of Allah.

Islam, as the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) also stresses, completely abolishes all these primitive ideas. In an environment where the values of Islam are established, a man cannot be accused, subjected to discriminatory treatment or oppressed because he is a Jew, a Christian, a black or an Indian.

Allah decides what race a person should belong to. He shaped man in the most perfect manner. Man’s duty is always to be just, loving, respectful, compassionate to and at peace with everyone.

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The article is an excerpt from the author’s book “Justice and Compassion in the Qur’an”. 

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The People of the Book in the Qur’an

Religion of Peace

the Qur'an

While they rely basically on Allah‘s revelation, the People of the Book- as the Qur’an reveals- have moral precepts and know what is lawful and what is not.

There are many nations in the world with different colors, creeds, and languages. These differences have been a cause of enmity throughout history in societies that did not live by religious moral values.

The perceived wisdom is that people can never manage to co-exist and that disputes arise wherever such differences exist.

However, this is a great misconception and the facts are otherwise. In fact, it is Allah Who created human beings in different communities and in the Qur’an, He calls all people to peace and security:

O You who believe! Enter absolutely into peace (Islam). Do not follow in the footsteps of Satan. He is an outright enemy to you. (Al-Baqarah 2:208)

Allah calls to the Abode of Peace and He guides whom He wills to a straight path. (Yunus 10:25)

All divine religions revealed through Allah‘s messengers summon people to have faith in Allah, recommend them to display moral perfection and warn them against bad morals.

Despite the fact that all divine religions, except for Islam, are distorted, it is evident today that some of their messages are fundamentally the same. That is why these conflicts, which are stirred up artificially, lack reasonable and logical grounds.

As stated in the verse above, the main reason for unrest among people is not complying with Allah‘s summoning but following in the ”footsteps of Satan.” (Al-Baqarah 2:208)

Believers’ harboring hostile feelings to other people who have faith in Allah is a moral weakness that displeases Allah, Who prohibits all believers from displaying such feelings. He calls on people to establish peace and friendship.

In the Qur’an revealed to the Prophet Muhammad, the last Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him), Allah gives believers explicit commands and recommendations on this subject.

Their Status in the Qur’an

In the Qur’an, Jews and Christians, the members of the religions who abide by the Divine Books revealed by Allah, are called the ”People of the Book”. What Muslims’ views of the People of the Book should be, their relations, and the status of the People of the Book in social life are described in verses and the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad in detail.

The People of the Book, while they rely basically on Allah‘s revelation, have moral precepts and know what is lawful and what is not. For this reason, if one of the People of the Book cooks some food, it is lawful for Muslims to eat it.

In the same way, permission has been given to a Muslim man to marry a woman from among the People of the Book. On this subject Allah commands:

Today all good things have been made lawful for you. And the food of those given the Book is also lawful for you and your food is lawful for them. So are chaste women from among the believers and chaste women of those given the Book before you, once you have given them their dowries in marriage, not in fornication or taking them as lovers. But as for anyone who disbelieves, his actions will come to nothing and in the Hereafter he will be among the losers. (Al-Ma’idah 5:5)

Throughout Islamic history, the People of the Book have been always treated with compassion in Muslim societies. This was particularly evident in the Ottoman Empire.

It is a well known fact that the Jews, whose rights were denied and were exiled by the Catholic Kingdom of Spain, took refuge in the lands of the Ottoman Empire.

When Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror captured Istanbul, he granted both Christians and Jews all their fundamental rights. Throughout Ottoman history, Jews were regarded as a People of the Book and enjoyed peaceful coexistence with Muslims.

How Should a Muslim Regard Judaism?

As exemplified above, throughout his life, the Prophet (peace be upon him) treated the People of the Book with the utmost understanding and justice.

As a result of this noble attitude, Abdullah ibn Salam, a prominent rabbi, and his friends converted to Islam and came to believe in his prophethood.

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Source: The article is an excerpt from the author’s book “Justice and Compassion in the Qur’an”.

 

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Ethics & Values New Muslims

How to Deal with Unjust People?

flower among thorns

A person of faith knows that he will attain the pleasure of Allah only when he acts justly.

Hatred Felt Towards a Community Does Not Prevent Believers From Exercising Justice

Hatred and anger are the major sources of evil, and are likely to prevent people from making just decisions, thinking soundly and conducting themselves rationally.

Some people can readily inflict all kinds of injustice on people for whom they feel enmity. They may accuse these people of acts they have never committed or bear false witness against them, although their innocence is known to them.

Only on account of such enmity, many people may be subjected to unbearable oppression. Some people avoid bearing witness in favor of people they disagree with, although they know they are innocent, and they keep evidence which would reveal their innocence hidden.

Furthermore, they take pleasure in the misery these people face, their encounters with injustice or great suffering. Their greatest worry, on the other hand, is that justice should be done and these peoples’ innocence proved.

For these reasons, it is very hard for people in corrupt societies to trust one another. People worry about being harmed by someone else all the time.

Having lost mutual trust, they also lose their human feelings, such as compassion, brotherhood and co-operation, and start hating one another.

According to God’s Commands

However, the feelings someone holds in his heart towards a person or community should never influence a believer’s decisions.

No matter how immoral or hostile the person he is considering may be, the believer sets all these feelings aside and acts and makes his decisions justly and recommends that which is just. His feelings towards that person cast no shadow over his wisdom and conscience. His conscience always inspires him to comply with Allah‘s commands and advice, and not to abandon good manners, because this is Allah‘s command in the Qur’an. In Surat Al-Ma’idah, it is related as follows:

You who believe! Show integrity for the sake of Allah, bearing witness with justice. Do not let hatred for a people incite you into not being just. Be just. That is closer to faith. Heed Allah (alone). Allah is aware of what you do. (Al-Ma’idah 5:8)

As is related in the verse, displaying a just attitude is what most reflects having fear of Allah. A person of faith knows that he will attain the pleasure of Allah only when he acts justly.

Every person who witnesses his or her good manners will trust this person, feel comfortable in their presence and trust them with any responsibility or task. Such people are treated with respect even by their enemies. Their attitude may even lead some people to have faith in Allah.

Our Exemplar

gentle flower

A Muslim is responsible for being understanding, forgiving, just and humane towards people, regardless of whom they may be.

The best example to follow for believers in our day is also the actions of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) as described in the Qur’an. Similar to the blessed period of the first community of Islam – an age of well-being when people in general adhered to the Qur’an – in our day, too, people of different  beliefs such as Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, atheists, idolaters and pagans live together.

A Muslim is responsible for being understanding, forgiving, just and humane towards people, regardless of whom they may be. It is probable that in time everyone will place his faith in Allah, become a Muslim and surrender himself to Allah.

A believer should always bear this fact in mind. The responsibility of a believer is to summon people to Allah‘s religion with a favorable, peaceful attitude.

The decision to follow divine guidance and have faith rests with another party. Compelling a person to have faith and forcing him to do things are against the Qur’an.

Allah states the following about this:

There is no compulsion in religion. True guidance has become clearly distinct from error. Anyone who rejects false deities and has belief in Allah has grasped the Firmest Handhold, which will never give way. Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing. (Al-Baqarah 2: 256)

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Source: The article is an excerpt from the author’s book “Justice and Compassion in the Qur’an”. 

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