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New Muslims Qur'an & Sunnah

The Muslims between Hadith & Sunnah

What is a Hadith?

Our scholars from the first century to the fourth gathered millions of hadiths and recorded and classified hundreds of thousands.

In the revelation of Islam, God Almighty has separated His guidance into two entities:

1- The Qur’an is His exact speech which is linguistically miraculous. No one other than Almighty God is responsible for one letter therein and no one else is capable of reproducing such a work.

2- The Sunnah is the authentically recorded words and actions of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). The Sunnah is inspired by the guidance of God, but is not linguistically miraculous because it came from the mind of the Prophet.

The words Hadith (saying/report) and Sunnah (tradition/life style) of Prophet Muhammad are similar because one is taken from the other. Our scholars from the first century to the fourth gathered millions of hadiths and recorded and classified hundreds of thousands. As you will see some hadiths are regarded as a reliable source of revelation and some are proven to be fabricated by the hands of misguided people. The Sunnah is a collection of all hadiths which are proven to be authentic.

What Is a Hadith?

The word Hadith refers to the recorded sayings, deeds, tacit approvals, as well as the exalted character and physical appearance of the Prophet Muhammad.

Examples of hadiths:

From His sayings which occurred and were recorded throughout His prophethood:

“Indeed, Actions are judged by their intentions and for every person is what he/she intended.” (Al-Bukhari)

From His deeds: This includes all the actions committed by the Prophet which were witnessed, memorized, and recorded such as his performance of the prayer, pilgrimage, and so on.

From His tacit approval: This refers to the occasions when the Prophet approved some statement or action of his companions by remaining silent; for example, when his Companions ate a lizard in front of him. Though he didn’t join them, the Prophet didn’t object to them eating it. Had it have been forbidden, he would have definitely clarified its prohibition.

From His characteristics: The physical characteristics and moral etiquette that are reported about the Prophet.

Hadiths constitute the second source of revelation in Islam. This is made clear in several verses where God commands us “O you who believe! Obey God and Obey His Messenger”. (An-Nisaa’ 4:59) Obeying God can only be in obeying the Qur’an which is His only preserved message to mankind.

The Qur’an never mentions “Obey God” without mentioning “and obey His Messenger” as a separate entity entitled to obedience. The Prophet was sent to expound upon God’s message with the guidance of God. There are a few instances where the Prophet did something and God immediately sent a verse reprimanding him.

God says:

And whoever obeys the Prophet has indeed obeyed God. (An-Nisaa’ 4:80)

God says:

There has certainly been provided an excellent example to follow in the Messenger of God for anyone who hopes to be with God and succeed on the Day of Judgment and remembers God often. (Al-Ahzab 33:21)

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New Muslims Qur'an & Sunnah

Prophetic Traditions: Types & Authenticity

 

authentic hadith

The Islamic definition of infallibility does not necessarily include technical worldly matters that are not part of conveying the message.

Scholars of Islamic Law differentiate between two types of Prophetic actions and sayings: actions and sayings that are meant to be part of the Shari`ah (Islamic way and rules for life) and others that are only part of the Prophet’s life as a human, which are not always meant to be a law for every Muslim to follow. They call these two kinds of Prophetic tradition as-sunnah at-tashri`yyah (legislative tradition) and as-sunnah ghair at-tashri`yyah (non-legislative tradition). For example, Talha narrated the following:

“I was walking with the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) when he passed by some people at the tops of their palm trees. He asked, “What are they doing?” They answered, “Pollinating the male into the female.” He replied, “I do not think that this will be of benefit.” When they were told about what the Prophet said, they stopped what they were doing. Later, when the trees shed their fruits prematurely, the Prophet was told about that. He said, “If it is good for them they should do it. I was just speculating. So pardon me. But if I tell you something about God, then take it because I would never lie about God.” Another narrator said that the Prophet added, “You know your worldly affairs better than I.” (Muslim)

This hadith shows one such non-legislative judgment given by the Prophet, which he made to the best of his knowledge. The hadith even shows an error in this technical advice, which the Prophet and his Companions discovered later via human experience, rather than via divine revelation. I believe that the rationale behind this hadith is to show that it is not part of the Prophet’s mission to contribute to technology and other similar worldly affairs through the revelation. Rather, human empirical experience is meant to be the only means for these developments.

Regarding the error that happened concerning the palm trees, the word `ismah (protection) is mentioned in the Qur’an in the context of the Prophet being protected from people’s whims and Satan’s delusions. The protection of all prophets in the above sense is an Islamic belief, which is a precondition to trusting the prophets’ message and following their example. However, the Islamic definition of infallibility does not necessarily include technical worldly matters that are not part of conveying the message, as the above example shows.

Furthermore, if the tradition or hadith is of a legislative type, it is not always necessarily and literally meant for all Muslims. Some rulings are for rulers only, some are for judges only, and so on. The following is one example:

“Hind Bint `Utbah complained to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) about the stinginess of Abu Sufian (her husband) and asked whether she was allowed to take from his money without his knowledge. So the Prophet said, “Take what you and your children normally need (without telling Abu Sufian).” (Al-Bukhari)

Scholars commented on this hadith that the Prophet was acting here as a judge rather than a prophet. In other words, he allowed Hind in her specific case to do that, but the hadith does not give every woman a right to take whatever she wants from her husband’s money without his knowledge, just for her own whim. So scholars maintain that this hadith is for judges to learn from when they make a similar judgment, but not for every Muslim.

Hadith Authenticity

Regarding the question about the possibility of error in the narrators’ accounts, it is true that there is a chance of error. That is why scholars differentiated between different levels of authenticity, concerning the discipline of knowledge of Prophetic Hadith, by setting precise and rigid criteria. The following are two of these levels – among others – that are related to that:

1- Hadith Mutawatir (Recurring, Most Famous)

These are narrations that are conveyed through a ‘large number of people who could not possibly agree to lie.’ The Qur’an and a certain number of Prophetic traditions fall under this category. The Qur’an, for example, was recited by thousands of people, and their recitations are the same. It is a logical conclusion that one can build firm beliefs and true obligations on this level of authenticity.

2-  Hadith Ahad (Individual, Single-chained Narrations)

These are narrations according to one or two narrators, and hence are less ‘confirmed’ than the first kind. Scholars judged that these kinds of narrations could teach us about halal and haram (the lawful and the forbidden), but could not be evidence of faith (`aqeedah) in their own right. This is because of the possibility of error in something that is narrated by only one or two people.

But a possibility of error in Companions’ narrations should not ‘discredit them completely’. There are levels of authenticity and there are many sources of error that do not necessarily ‘discredit’ a person. So if the person is trustworthy, we accept his or her individual account, but do not build matters of faith on it, unless it is confirmed by a number of other narrators or witnesses.

In addition, there are many hadiths that scholars reject because they were not up to the level of authenticity that implies any credibility. One example is when the narrator is known to be forgetful, ill-intentioned, or biased one way or another. That is why it is important to check the authenticity of a hadith before we take it.

In addition, scholars have also set specific criteria for narrators of hadith before they can be accepted as narrators. These criteria are related to the biography of the narrator, including his or her reputation and moral attitude.

Actually, hadith authenticity is an independent discipline of knowledge that has variable areas to discuss and study. This is not the place for that because this discipline is of a legal nature.

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Source: jasserauda.net.

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New Muslims Qur'an & Sunnah

How Do We Determine What Is Right and Wrong?

Religious Criterion

Islam came to secure the welfare of people. Therefore, something that brings about the realization of the general welfare and prevents harm is correct.

Do methodologically sound criteria exist for determining what is correct and what is in error? They certainly do. Those criteria are clear and precise, and we shall be discussing some of them.

One: The Religious Criterion

This criterion is established upon three sources:

1- The Qur’an

Allah says:

Lo! those who disbelieve in the Reminder when it comes unto them (are guilty), for lo! it is an unassailable Scripture. Falsehood cannot come at it from before it or from behind it. (It is) a revelation from the Wise, the Owner of Praise. (Fussilat 41:41-42)

The Qur’an is absolutely certain in its authenticity. This is a point upon which all Muslims unanimously agree.

As far as what we derive from it or its meanings, this depends on the specific passage and the manner of interpretation. Some verses convey meanings that are absolutely certain so that no alternative interpretation is tenable. Much of the Qur’an is of this nature, especially the texts that refer to the essentials of faith and the guiding principles upon which the edifice of Islam is built.

Some passages of the Qur’an indicate meanings that are conveyed with less certainty, and scholars differ as to their interpretation. One interpretation is given preference over another by considering the scholarly disagreement, the opinions of Arabic linguists, and commentaries of the Qur’an.

It is possible that some scholars will classify a certain passage as being absolutely certain in its indication of a given meaning while others consider the indication to be uncertain. However, this is rare, and when it occurs, the matter remains open to juristic discretion and opinion.

2- The Sunnah

Whatever is established to be authentically related from Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), is clear in meaning, and is not countered by any other evidence, is something that a Muslim has no option but to accept.

The authenticity of some narrations from the Sunnah might be unquestionably certain to those who are specialists in the field of Hadith criticism, though that certainty may not be felt by a non-specialist. Those who are proficient in studying and cross-referencing the lines of transmission will be sure of the Hadith’s authenticity. On the other hand, a jurist or legal theorist – never mind the layman – who is not so skilled in Hadith studies will not be able to regard the narration with the same level of confidence.

Indeed, specialists of Hadith disagree with each other in their assessment of certain hadiths. This leads to disagreements among those who are certain of a hadith and are obliged to act upon the dictates of its textual evidence and those who do not regard the Hadith with such certainty or who do not regard it as authentic or who simply are unaware of it.

3- Consensus of the Muslims

What we are concerned with here is consensus that is well established where we are absolutely certain of unanimity of opinion. Nevertheless, we can see from looking at numerous examples that the opinion held by the majority of the people of knowledge is usually the correct one.

Two: The Criterion of Considering the General Welfare

Islam came to secure the welfare of people. Therefore, something that brings about the realization of the general welfare and prevents harm is correct. By contrast, something that results in harm while failing to further the general welfare is clearly wrong. When something furthers the general interest more than it causes harm, it is preferable. Whatever does more harm than good, by contrast, is generally to be rejected.

Al-Faysal ibn `Iyad, when commenting on Allah’s words “…which of you is best in deeds…” (AL-Mulk 67:2), discusses what it means for something to be described as “good”.

He explains that when the matter relates to acts of pure worship, good is defined as that which fulfills two criteria: It must be carried out sincerely and exclusively for Allah’s sake and it must be in accordance with the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him).

When the matter relates to the worldly activities of our daily lives, or in matters wherein the law is silent, that which is good is defined as that which furthers the general welfare.

The scholars of Islamic jurisprudence have set forth principles to govern legal research into these matters. There is the principle of choosing the greater of two benefits and the principle of choosing the lesser of two evils. There is the principle that avoiding harm takes precedence over achieving a benefit when the benefit and harm are equal.

Otherwise, the overwhelming benefit is to be sought, even if achieving it brings about some lesser harm. Likewise, an overwhelming harm is to be avoided, even if it means sacrificing some lesser benefit. Matters need to be weighed justly.

The question that remains to be answered is: how do we recognize that which is a benefit, that which constitutes part of the general welfare?

When there is no evidence from the sacred texts on a matter, benefits are determined by employing reason, research, and drawing conclusions. A person who enjoys greater intellectual abilities, experience, education, and understanding of the intent of Islamic Law will be better equipped to correctly determine what is of greater benefit.

This question of the general welfare is extremely important, and deserves considerable research and discussion. In all aspects of life – economics, politics, society, Islamic work – we are faced with many problems, contradictions, and disagreements. Each party to these disagreements has its own arguments and evidence. Often none of the evidence related to an issue will be able to stand on its own. Sometimes, a person might rely on textual evidence that brings about confusion in those trying to follow the argument, while the real crux of the matter. This is the greatest aspect of Islamic Law that only the most erudite scholars have a mastery of. Allah says:

And no one will be granted such goodness except those who exercise patience and self-restraint, none but persons of the greatest good fortune. (Fussilat 41:35)

When we talk about the general welfare, we do not mean the interests of any individual, group, or faction, but the interests of everyone in society. Only if the issue at hand is individual in scope do individual interests come into play. Those who are referred to in such matters are “those among them who can search out the knowledge of it.” (An-Nisaa’ 4:83) They are the scholars of Islam and the scholars in the various fields of worldly knowledge, those who have the wisdom, the sagacity, and the intelligence to be qualified to make such determinations.

`Izz Ad-Din ibn `Abd As-Salam writes in his book on the general axioms of Islamic Law entitled ‘Qawa`id Al-Ahkam’:

As for questions of welfare related to matters of the world – what brings about such welfare and what spoils it – these questions are known by means of necessary knowledge, by experience, by way of custom, and by educated assessments. If anything still remains obscure, then evidence is sought out.

Whoever wishes to know what is appropriate, what is beneficial, what is harmful, what takes precedence and what is to be forgone for the sake of something else, he must deliberate on the matter with his mind under the assumption that it has not been addressed by Islamic Law, and then build his rulings upon it. He will find that the rulings he arrives at rarely differ, except in matters of pure worship, an area where we have not been given to discern specific benefits and harms. In his way, you can distinguish the good works from the bad.

When juristic matters are decided by a large number of scholars and experts working together, the results are better, more accurate, and less biased than when such matters are decided by a single individual working on his own. This is especially true in modern times, when the relationships between various interests are quite complex and inter-related, scientific advances have been considerable, and many matters require specialized knowledge. Working together is also more possible now than ever before, because of advances in communications.

We need to organizations devoted to the research of Islamic legal matters that Muslims scholars from all over the world can participate in. To the extent that these organizations operate independently and are free from political influence, they will be effective and balanced in their resolutions. Unfortunately, the prevailing situation in the Muslim world today is that each country has its own organizations that look into matters and study them in light not only their intrinsic natures, but also in how they relate to the interests of the political establishment.

The Personal Criterion

The individual, in numerous instances, is able to distinguish between right and wrong, to determine what is satisfactory and what is censurable. His heart tells him whether what he is doing is right or wrong.

This is what the Prophet meant when he said: “Appeal to your heart, and to your soul, for a verdict. Righteousness is what your soul will be at peace with and sin is what disquiets you and makes you feel hesitant – even if the people repeatedly tell you otherwise.” (Ahmad and Ad-Darimi)

A person sees what he should not be looking at and his own heart gives him a decision about it. This is because his heart can detect the ill-will, the vain desires, or the unfulfilled passions that his gaze incites.

This criterion is, by and large, restricted to purely personal matters involving the individual and his private relationship with his Lord when the question is one of piety and sinfulness. A person might find himself beset by hesitations or misgivings and have to explore his heart to arrive at the truth of the matter, a matter too subtle and intrinsically personal to ask others about.

These are some of the criteria by which we can determine what is right from what is in error.

Allah says most eloquently:

O ye who believe! if you fear Allah, He will grant you a criterion (to judge between right and wrong), remove from you (all) evil (that may afflict) you, and forgive you: for Allah is the Lord of grace unbounded. (Al-Anfal 8:29)

He also says:

Oh, but the human being is a telling witness against himself, though he puts forth his excuses. (Al-Qiyamah 75:14, 15)

An honest soul is like a mirror that reflects the facts as they are.

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Source: islamtoday.net.

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New Muslims Qur'an & Sunnah

Hadith: The Second Fundamental Source of Guidance

By Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips 

The Prophet’s sayings and actions (the Hadith) were primarily based on revelation from Allah and, as such, must be considered a fundamental source of guidance second only to the Qur’an. Allah in the Qur’an said concerning the Prophet (peace be upon him):

Hadith The Second Fundamental Source of Guidance

It is largely due to the science of Hadith that the final message of Islam has been preserved in it is original purity for all times.

(Muhammad) does not speak from his desires; indeed, what he says is revelation. (An-Najm 53:3-4)

1- Revelation

Therefore, the Hadith represents a personal source of divine guidance which Allah granted His Prophet (peace be upon him) which was similar in its nature to the Qur’an itself. The Prophet reiterated this point in one of his recorded statements,

“Indeed, I was given the Qur’an and something similar to it along with it.” (Abu Dawud)

2- Tafseer

The preservation of the Qur’an was not restricted to protecting its wording from change. Were that the case, its meanings could be manipulated according to human desires, while maintaining its wording.

However, Allah also protected its essential meanings from change by entrusting the explanation of the meanings of Qur’an to the Prophet himself. Allah states the following in the Qur’an regarding its interpretation:

And I revealed to you the Reminder (Qur’an) in order that you explain to the people what was revealed to them. (An-Nahl 16:44)

Therefore, if one is to understand the meanings of Qur’an, he or she must consider what the Prophet (peace be upon him) said or did regarding it. E.g. in the Qur’an, Allah instructs the believers to offer salah (formal prayers) and pay zakah (obligatory charity) in Surat Al-Baqarah:

And establish worship, pay the poor-due, and bow your heads with those who bow (in worship). (Al-Baqarah 2:43)

However, in order to obey these instructions correctly, one must study the methodology of the Prophet in this regard. Among his many clarifications concerning Salah and zakah, he instructed his followers saying “Pray as you saw me pray,” (Al-Bukhari) and he specified that 2.5% of surplus wealth, unused for a year, should be given as zakah.

There are a number of authentic hadiths in which the Prophet gave specific instructions concerning the items and quantities on which zakah was due, as well as the time it is due. Among them is the following narration from `Ali ibn Abi Talib:

`Ali ibn Abi Talib quoted Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) as saying: “Whenever you possess 200 dirhams and a year passes on it, 5 dirhams is to be paid on it. You are not liable to pay anything until you possess 20 dinars and a year passes on it, in which case ½ a dinar is due. Whatever exceeds that will be counted likewise. And no zakah is payable on wealth until a year passes on it.” (Abu Dawud)

3- Laws

One of the primary duties of the Prophet (peace be upon him) was to judge between people in their disputes. Since his judgments were all based on revelation, as stated earlier, they must be considered a primary source of principles by which judgments are carried out in an Islamic State. Allah also addressed this responsibility in the Qur’an saying:

O believers obey Allah, obey the Messenger and those in authority among you. If you dispute about anything, refer it to Allah and the Messenger. (An-Nisaa’ 4:59)

Thus, hadiths are essential for the smooth running of the law courts in an Islamic State.

4- Moral Ideal

Since the Prophet (peace be upon him) was guided by revelation in his personal life, his character and social interactions became prime examples of moral conduct for Muslims until the Last Day. Attention was drawn to this fact in the following Qur’anic verse:

Surely there is for all of you a good example (of conduct) in the way of Allah’s Messenger. (Al-Ahzab 33:21)

Consequently, the daily life of the Prophet as recorded in Hadith represents an ideal code of good conduct. In fact, when the Prophet’s wife,`A’ishah, was asked about his conduct, she replied, “His character was the Qur’an.” (Ahmad)

5- Preservation of Islam

The science of narration, collection and criticism of Hadith was unknown to the world prior to the era of the Prophet (peace be upon him).

In fact, it was due in part to the absence of such a reliable science that the messages of the former prophets became lost or distorted in the generations that followed them. Therefore, it may be said that it is largely due to the science of Hadith that the final message of Islam has been preserved in it is original purity for all times. This is alluded to in the Qur’anic verse:

Indeed, I have revealed the Reminder, I will, indeed, protect it. (Al-Hijr 15:9)

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The article is an excerpt from the author’s book “Usool Al-Hadith”.

Dr. Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips was born in Jamaica, but grew up in Canada, where he accepted Islam in 1972. He completed a diploma in Arabic and a B.A. from the College of Islamic Disciplines (Usool Ad-Deen) at the Islamic University of Madinah in 1979. At the University of Riyadh, College of Education, he completed a M.A. in Islamic Theology in 1985, and in in 1994 at the University of Wales, the department of Islamic Studies he completed a Ph.D. in Islamic Theology.

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New Muslims Pillars of Islam

The Muslim’s Rights towards the Prophet

Allah sent His Messenger and Prophet to guide mankind and if man believes and obeys him giving him all his due rights, Allah has promised success in this life and the Hereafter as a reward. These rights are summarized in the Testimony of Faith (There is no god worthy of being worshipped except Allah). Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the slave and Messenger of Allah).”

This declaration requires the following:

A Believer must comply with the commands of the Prophet and must strive to avoid acts of disobedience as Allah says in the Qur’an:

So take what the Messenger gives you, and abstain from that which he forbids you. And fear Allah, verily Allah is severe in Punishment. (Al-Hashr 59:7)

A Muslim must follow the authentic traditions of the Sunnah (way of the Prophet) to the best of his ability. No one has any authority to alter, add or omit any of the Sunnah traditions of the Messenger of Allah. Allah says in the Qur’an:

Say: ‘If you do love Allah, follow me: Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Aal `Imran 3:31)

A Believer must honor the special status and dignity bestowed by Allah to His Prophet (peace be upon him). No one must adulate or degrade this status. The Prophet said:

“Do not adulate me as the Christians adulated the son of Maryam; (as) I am no more than a salve of Allah…so  say: Allah’s slave and His Messenger.” (Al-Bukhari)

And he (peace be upon him) said:

“O people! Say what you have to say, and do not allow yourselves to be seduced by Satan. I am Muhammad, the slave and Messenger of Allah. I do not like you to elevate me above the status assigned to me by Allah the Almighty.” (An-Nasa’i)

And he is reported to have said:

Do not praise me more than I deserve. Allah (Exalted be He) created me as a slave before calling me a Prophet and Messenger.” (At-Tabarani)

A Muslim must show acceptance and satisfaction of any verdict passed by the Prophet of Allah as Allah (the Exalted) says in the Qur’an:

But no, by Your Lord, they can have no (real) Faith, until they make you judge in all disputes between them, and find in their souls no resistance against your decisions and accept them with full submission. (An-Nisaa’  4:65)

Belief in the universality of the Message of Prophet Muhammad to all humanity. Islam is not oriented to a specific category of people, as it was the case with previous Prophets and Messengers. This is derived from the verse of the Qur’an:

Say:  “O mankind! Verily, I am sent to you all as the Messenger of Allah – to Whom belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth. La ilaha illa Huwa (there is no god but He); It is He Who gives life and causes death. So believe in Allah and His Messenger, the Prophet who can neither read nor write, who believes in Allah and His Words, the Tawrah (Torah) and the Injeel (Gospel) and also Allah’s Word: “Be!” – and he was, i.e. `Isa (Jesus) son of Maryam (Mary), and follow him (Muhammad) so that you may be guided. (Al-A`raf 7:158)

Belief that Allah’s Prophet and Messenger Muhammad has been protected by Allah against possible human errors in relation to his mission to mankind. This includes the belief that the Prophet never omitted or added anything to the complete Message of Allah. This is based on the verse of the Qur’an:

Nor does he speak of (his own) desire. (An-Najm 53:3)

Belief that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the final Prophet and Messenger of Allah to mankind, and that no Prophet or Messenger will come after him. Allah says in the Qur’an:

Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but (he is) the Messenger of Allah, and the Last of the Prophets. (Al-Ahzab 33:40)

And the Messenger of Allah said: “…and there’s no prophet after me.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Belief that the religious duties and divine commands Allah sent to mankind are complete, and that the Prophet has delivered the Message of Allah in its entirety, and gave the best advice to his Ummah (nation) and the best guidance to do all good and to avoid all evil. This is based on the verse of the Qur’an:

This day, those who rejected Faith have given up all hopes of your religion, so fear them not, but fear Me. This day I have perfected your religion for you, completed My favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion. (Al-Ma’idah 5:3)

Belief that the laws legislated in Islam are approved by Allah, and that all the various types of worship are based upon and revolve around these divine laws. Independent human actions will not be accepted, Allah knows best, unless and until they are in conformity with these divine laws. This is based on the verse:

And whoever seeks a religion other than Islam (submission to Allah), never will it be accepted of him, and in the Hereafter he will be among the losers. (Aal `Imran 3:85)

A Muslim must offer the proper greeting to Allah’s Prophet and Messenger (peace be upon him) when his name is mentioned as a form of respect, as instructed in the verse of the Qur’an:

Allah and His Angels send blessings on the Prophet: O you who believe! Send your blessings on him, and salute him with all respect. (Al-Ahzab 33:56)

A Believer must have true love and affection for the Prophet and Messenger of Allah above the love of all others, since information and practices of the true religion of Allah and the many blessings that the Prophet (peace be upon him) brought as guidance, are the only means of salvation by the will of Allah. This is based on the instruction of Qur’an:

Say: If your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your wives, your kindred; the wealth that you have gained; the commerce in which you fear a decline; and the dwellings in which you delight -are dearer to you than Allah and His Messenger, and striving hard and fighting in His cause- then wait until Allah brings about His decision. And Allah guides not the rebellious. (At-Tawbah 9:24)

A Muslim must devote every possible effort and opportunity available to him to call, with wisdom and patience, all others to the Message of Muhammad (peace be upon him). He should strive to inform those who are unaware and misinformed and strengthen the faith of people with weak, wavering faith. As Allah (the Most Wise) says:

Invite (all) to the Way of your Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in a way that is better and most gracious. Truly, your Lord knows best who has gone astray from His Path, and He is the Most Aware of those who are guided. (An-Nahl 16:125)

This is also based on the statement of Allah’s Prophet and Messenger: “Propagate, on my behalf, even if one verse.” (Al-Bukhari & At-Tirmithi)

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Source: The article is an excerpt from the author’s book “Human Rights in Islam and Common Misconceptions”.

 

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Family New Muslims

Parents in Islam: Their Rights and Status

 

fatherhood

“No son can repay (the right of his father) unless he finds him a slave, buys him and then emancipates him.”

The rights of parents include respect, love and obedience. This obedience is conditional that it does not contradict obedience to the commands of Allah and His Messenger. It involves care and kindness to both parents, and provision of necessities for elder parents. Humility and respect to both parents equally is an obligation, and any arrogance or insolence is forbidden.

Patience and perseverance are required when serving parents, no matter what the circumstances. Allah says in the Qur’an:

Your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him, and that you be kind to parents. Whether one or both of them attain old age in their life, say not to them a word of contempt, nor repel them, but address them in terms of honor. (Al-Israa’ 17:23)

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) instructed us saying:

“(Allah’s pleasure on someone) is based on the pleasure of his parents. The wrath of Allah is based upon the anger of his parents.” (At-Tirmidhi)

Both parents are entitled to this right even if they are not Muslims so long as they do not command their children to do any act of disobedience to Allah (Exalted be He).

Asmaa’, the daughter of the Abu Bakr, said My mother came to visit me while still not a Muslim. I asked Allah’s Prophet (peace be upon him) concerning her visit (and how to treat her while visiting me) and said, ‘My mother is eager to visit with me. Should I (or should I not) extend my courtesy (as a host) to her?’ He said: “Yes, extend courtesy”. (Muslim)

The mother must be given priority in terms of kindness, sympathy, good feelings, love and affection as mentioned by Allah’s Prophet:

“A man  came to Allah’s Prophet and asked him: ‘O Prophet of Allah! Who is the most worthy and deserving person of my good treatment and companionship? He replied: ‘Your mother.’ The man asked: ‘who is next?’ Allah’s Messenger replied: ‘your mother.’ The man asked ‘who is next?’ Allah’s Messenger replied: ‘your father.’  And in another version there is the ending: ‘your father and then the next nearest and next nearest.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Allah’s Messenger assigned the mother with a three-fold portion of the right of companionship. The father, in comparison, receives only one share. This is due to the fact that mothers suffer more hardships during pregnancy and during the delivery and care of their children. Allah says in the Qur’an:

And we have enjoined on man kindness to his parents: in pain did his mother bear him, and in pain did she give him birth. (Al-Ahqaf 46:15)

This in no way demeans the rights of the father, since the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

“No son can repay (the right of his father) unless he finds him a slave, buys him and then emancipates him.” (Muslim)

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The article is an excerpt from the author’s book “Human Rights in Islam and Common Misconceptions”.

 

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Family New Muslims

Between Belief and Treating Parents in Islam

motherhood

Islam portrays parents, particularly the mother, as one’s benefactors. One is reminded of how they faced hardships in bringing one up.

And We have commanded man kindness to his parents: with hardship his mother bears him and with hardship she brings him up, and the weaning of him is thirty months, until, when he attains his full strength and attains the age of forty years, he says: “Lord! Grant me the ability that I may give thanks for the favor You have done to me and my parents and that I may act piously such as You may approve. And be gracious to my children. Truly I have turned to You and truly I submit to You (in Islam).” (Al-Ahqaf 46:15)

And We have commanded man about his parents, his mother bears him in hardship upon hardship, and his weaning is in two years. Give thanks to Me and your parents. Unto Me is the return. (Luqman 31:14)

Man has obligations towards his fellow human beings, but his obligations towards his parents, according to Islam, are of the utmost importance. The Qur’an mentions this duty, next only to that of serving Allah:

And your Lord has commanded that you should worship no one but Him and show kindness to your parents; and if either or both of them become old, do not say to them “pooh”. Do not show any disrespect to them. Speak to them a word of respect. And lower unto them the wings of humility out of kindness and say: Lord! Have mercy on them as they brought me up when young. (Al-Israa’ 17:23-24)

To begin with, the following points are worth noting, as one studies these passages, prescribing how we should treat our parents:

1- That parents are to be treated with kindness and respect features as a divine command in all the above instances. It underscores the tremendous importance attached to this duty in the Islamic scheme of things. It is not some moral precept which one may observe as a dictate of conscience or as a discretionary matter. On the contrary, it is a definite divine command which must be obeyed unquestioningly by everyone and at any cost.

2- The Qur’an repeatedly asks man to thank Allah for His numerous favours. Parents alone hold the distinction of being mentioned along with Allah, who deserve to be thanked for their favours. Man is directed to recall with gratitude the favours done to him by his parents. One should constantly bear in mind the exalted rank accorded to parents by the Qur’an.

Furthermore, besides enacting the command for the good treatment of parents, Allah teaches man the following supplications, which he should make for his parents:

Our Lord! Forgive me and my parents and the believers on the Day of Reckoning. (Ibrahim 14:41)

Lord! Grant me the ability that I may give thanks for the favour You have done to me and my parents … (Al-Ahqaf 46:15)

Lord! Forgive me and my parents and him who enters my house as a believer, and all the believing men and women … (Nuh 71:28)

By making these supplications, love and respect for parents is likely to be ingrained in both mind and heart. Man is thus instructed to regard his parents as an almost inseparable part of his self, as he seeks Allah’s forgiveness both for himself and his parents. Islam, thus, ensures that love and respect for parents is infused deeply into man’s consciousness. Man should imbibe this truth thoroughly.

3- Significantly enough, Islam admits no distinction between one’s Muslim or non-Muslim parents in treating them well. The parents of many early Muslims in the Prophet’s day clung to their ancestral faith out of blind conformity and imitation, and some of them even opposed Islam. Yet these Muslims were directed not to break their family or social ties with their parents.

Rather, they were told to treat them well, irrespective of their religious affiliations. The Prophet’s noble example bears out this point. It is on record that he always spoke affectionately of his loving uncle, Abu Talib, though the latter refused to embrace Islam, even in the face of the Prophet’s repeated and persuasive pleas.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) used to recount gratefully the invaluable patronage and protection extended by Abu Talib and mourned his death, describing it as his irreparable personal loss.

The same point comes out unmistakably from the following report, recorded by Al-Bukhari:

“Asmaa’, Abu Bakr’s daughter, sought the Prophet’s directive as to how she should treat her polytheistic mother who visited her. The Prophet told her to maintain filial ties with her mother and to look after her well.” (Al-Bukhari)

Other Qur’anic passages instructing man to treat his parents with love, kindness and respect are verses 83 of Surat Al-Baqarah 2, 36 of Al-Nisaa’ 4, 151 of Al-An`am 6 and 19 of An-Naml 27.

The directive embodied in the above is elucidated in several hadiths. Take the following for instance: The Prophet is on record declaring: “Your Paradise lies under the feet of your mother.” (Ahmad)

– The Prophet spelled out the following as cardinal sins: “To associate partners with Allah, to disobey parents, to commit murder and to give false testimony.” (Muslim)

– Once the Prophet exclaimed:

“Let him be disgraced!” On being requested to identify the culprit, he clarified: “One who is with his parents in their old age, both or either of them, and yet fails to win a place for himself in Paradise by serving them well.” (Muslim)

– That one may discharge one’s obligation towards one’s parents even after their death is clarified in the following hadith reported by Abu Usayd Sa`idi:

“Once while we were in the Prophet’s company, someone from the tribe of Salamah called on the Prophet and asked him: ‘O Messenger of Allah! Do I owe obligations to my parents even after their death?’ The latter replied: “Yes, you must pray to Allah to favour them with His forgiveness, honour the commitments which your parents made and maintain ties with their relatives and friends.” (Abu Dawud)

Non-Muslim Parents

Notwithstanding its emphatic exhortation for kindness towards parents, the Qur’an makes it plain that they are not to be obeyed if they ask their children to follow a faith other than Islam. Allah alone is to be obeyed in matters of faith, as is evident from the following assertions: “If they try to make you associate anyone with Me, of which you have no knowledge, do not obey them.” (Al-`Ankabut 29:8)

If either of them should try to make you associate anyone with Me, of which you have no knowledge, do not obey them, although you may keep company with them honorably in this world. Follow the way of him who turns to Me in repentance. (Luqman 31:15)

Islam adopts a balanced approach regarding one’s non-Muslim parents. This issue made its appearance in the early days of Islam.

Today, the same problem is faced by new Muslims. On the one hand, Islam directs a Muslim not to abandon his unbelieving parents. Nor should he/she recant his/her belief in Islam as a result of emotional blackmail from them.

That one should adhere steadfastly to Islam once the truth dawns on one is illustrated by Sa`id ibn Malik’s conduct. His acceptance of Islam in response to the Prophet’s call was vigorously resented by his polytheistic mother. She refused to take food, demanding that Sa`id should give up his allegiance to Islam.

However, he did not relent and told her plainly that her fasting unto death would not deter him even in the slightest. After a couple of days when her condition worsened and she realized Sa`id’s unwavering commitment to Islam, she recanted her stance and resumed eating and drinking.

A Muslim is not to budge an inch in the face of such pressure. Yet a Muslim must make a point of maintaining his social relations with his unbelieving parents. His treatment should be characterized by gentleness and kindness. He should help them financially and emotionally.

Particularly the Mother

In the Qur’anic passages setting forth one’s obligations towards parents, it is worth noting that they, particularly the mother, are portrayed as one’s benefactors. One is reminded of how they faced hardships in bringing one up.

As thanksgiving one should be kind to them. This fits in with the larger scheme of things Islamic. For Allah is the benefactor par excellence. It is on account of Allah’s favour that one is blessed with parents who selflessly and lovingly spend all that they have for their children.

In comparison, Allah’s concern and bounties for His servants are beyond measure. One should be thankful, in the first place, to Allah and then to one’s parents. Islam infuses gratitude into the hearts of believers.

Prompted by the same they profusely thank Allah. And on a much narrower scale, a Muslim is naturally drawn towards his parents out of gratitude for them.

Another striking point about the Qur’anic directive is that one should treat one’s parents well in their old age. This pointed reference to their old age rests on several important considerations. First, they need greater care and attention as they turn physically and emotionally infirm.

At this juncture they are especially sensitive to any neglect shown them. Being physically weak, they are more prone to being irritable and unable to exercise self-restraint. At times, they may behave irrationally, placing such demands on their children which may be hard to meet. It is in the face of all these irritants that one is directed by the Qur’an to treat them with love and respect.

Man is reminded of his own infancy and childhood when he placed too many demands on his parents and they cheerfully bore all such hardships. In turn, one should bear with his parents’ foibles and temperamental problems.

Against this backdrop, one realizes the significance of the prayers taught by the Qur’an to man, for seeking strength from Allah, which may enable one to treat one’s parents well.

Obviously, Allah’s mercy can help one discharge this difficult duty. Furthermore, it explains why many hadiths highlight the importance of this obligation and speak of Allah’s reward and punishment for one’s treatment of one’s parents.

The Reward

It is, no doubt, quite a task to maintain excellent relations with parents consistently. At the same time, it is vital for protecting and upholding the social fabric. Accordingly, many hadiths graphically spell out Allah’s reward on this count. Take the following hadiths as illustrative.

It is related on Ibn `Abbas’ authority that the Prophet made the following observation:

“A dutiful son who only looks at his parents with love and kindness will earn the reward due for Hajj for each glance of his. Someone asked: If one casts such a glance one hundred times a day, will he get the reward one hundred times? The Prophet replied: Yes, he will be credited with this reward for each glance. Almighty Allah’s treasure is not diminished on account of even such generous and ample rewards.” (Al-Bayhaqi)

“Abu Bakr reports that the Prophet said: While Allah may defer the punishment for one’s sins until the Day of Recompense, one guilty of denying one’s parents their due and disobeying them is punished in this world itself. This is in addition to the punishment to be inflicted in the Hereafter.” (Al-Bayhaqi)

The Qur’anic passages urging the good treatment of parents make pointed reference to man’s total submission to Allah in this world and his ultimate return to Him.

The point pressed home is that one’s excellent attitude towards one’s parents should flow from one’s wholesale surrender to Allah. As part of this and in accordance with divine command one should treat one’s parents well.

One should not be prompted by any material interest or selfish motive such as that of eliciting praise from others in serving one’s parents. Rather, one’s eyes should be set on the Hereafter, and, in view of divine reward, one should be kind to one’s parents, as this will win Allah’s pleasure in the Hereafter.

In sum, a Muslim’s conduct including his relationship with parents should be governed by Allah’s commands recorded in the Qur’an and elaborated in Hadith.

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The article is an excerpt from the author’s The Qur’an: Essential Teachings, published by the Islamic Foundation, 2005/1426 H.

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Family New Muslims

The Two Words I Never Was Fortunate to Say to My Mother…

Not too long ago I went to visit a friend of mine whose mother was dying of cancer. She had been battling cancer for about five years, and the news came to me that she was on her last days.

mother

My mom has been there all my life, never failed me once, never. And never once have I ever come to her and just said it…

So, I went to visit the brother, and I sat down with him, he was explaining to me that his mother is going through this state of “Sakarat Al-Mawt” conscious and then unconscious, and that the cancer was really starting to spread all over.

So, as I sat with this friend of mine and he was talking his eyes tear up. So I naturally assumed it was because his mother was dying. So I tried to comfort him and tell him that this was natural in life. He said to me, “I’m not crying because she is leaving and of course I’m upset, but this is not why I’m crying”.

I said, “then why are you upset?”

He said “I’m upset because all my life I never thanked Mother for what she’s done.”

Honestly I can’t explain what happened to me when he said these words.

“All my life I’ve never said ‘thank you’ to my mum”, he continued.

And now that she’s sitting in the next room and she’s alive but she is conscious and unconscious, and even if I spoke to her she is not going to be able to understand or comprehend the words that I’m saying.

What about You & Your Mother?

Can you, brothers and sisters, imagine that?

For those of us who are fortunate enough that their mothers are still around, how does this affect you?

My mom has been there all my life, never failed me once, never. And never once have I ever come to her and just said “Thank you”.  Can you imagine that?

Listen to the details of this pitiful story from brother Brother Mohamad Hoblos…

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Source: OnePath Network

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Family New Muslims

Islam and the Institution of the Family

By: Abul A`la Mawdudi

The foremost and fundamental institution of human society is the family unit. A family is established by the coming together of a man and a woman, and their contact brings into existence a new generation.

Islam and the Institution of the Family

In Islam, marital bond is founded on the sweetness of love with the possibility of lasting companionship.

Family… First Unit of Civilization

This, then, produces ties of kinship and community, which, in turn, gradually develops further ties. The family is an instrument of continuity which prepares the succeeding generation to serve human civilization and to discharge its social obligations with devotion, sincerity and enthusiasm.

This institution does not merely recruit cadets for the maintenance of human culture, but positively desires that those who are to come will be better members of society.

In this respect, the family can be truly called the source of the progress, development, prosperity and strength of human civilization. Islam, therefore, devotes much attention to the issues relating to the family and strives to establish it on the healthiest and strongest possible foundations.

Unity

According to Islam, the correct relationship between man and woman is marriage, a relationship in which social responsibilities are fully accepted and which results in the emergence of a family.

Sexual permissiveness and other similar types of irresponsible behavior are not dismissed by Islam as mere innocent pastimes or ordinary transgressions.

Rather, they are acts which strike at the very roots of society. Hence, Islam holds all extra-marital sex as sinful and forbidden (haram) and makes it a criminal offence. Severe punishments are prescribed to deter would-be offenders.

Purdah, which regulates the free association of men and women, restrictions on erotic music and obscene pictures and the discouragement of the spread of all forms of pornography, are other weapons used in the fight to protect and strength the institution of the family.

Islam does not look on adult celibacy simply with disfavor-it calls on every young man to take upon himself the social responsibilities of married life just as his parents did in their time.

Nor does Islam regard asceticism and lifelong celibacy merely as being of no benefit; it sees them as departures from the nature of man and as acts of revolt against the Divine scheme of things.

It also strongly disapproves of those rites, ceremonies or restrictions which tend to make marriage the easiest and fornication the most difficult thing in society – and not vice versa as it is in most societies today.

Hence, after debarring certain blood relatives from entering into matrimony with one another, it has legalized marriage with all other near and distant kith and kin. It has removed all distinctions of caste and community, and permitted matrimony of any Muslim with any other Muslim. It has urged that the mahr (dower) should be fixed at a figure which can be easily borne by both sides. It has dispensed with the necessity of priests and register offices.

…and Harmony

In an Islamic society, marriage is a plain and simple ceremony which can be performed anywhere before two witnesses, though it is essential that the proceedings should not be kept secret. Society must know that the couple are now going to live as husband and wife.

Within the family itself Islam has assigned to the man a position of authority so that he can maintain order and discipline as the head of the household. Islam expects the wife to obey her husband and look after his well-being; and it expects the children to behave accordingly to their parents.

Islam does not favour a loose and disjointed family system devoid of proper authority, control and discipline. Discipline can only be maintained through a central authority and, in the view of Islam, the position of father in the family is such that it makes him the fittest person to have this responsibility.

But this does not mean that man has been made a household tyrant and woman has been handed over to him as a helpless chattel. According to Islam, the real spirit of marital life is love, understanding and mutual respect.

If woman has been asked to obey her husband, the latter has been called on to treat the wife with love, affection and sweetness and to make the welfare of his family his top priority.

Although, Islam places great emphasis on the marital bond, it only wants it to remain intact as long as it is founded on the sweetness of love or there exist at least the possibility of lasting companionship.

If neither of these two conditions can be maintained, it gives man the right of divorce and woman the right of separation; and under certain conditions, where married life has become a source of misery, the Islamic courts of justice have the authority to annul the marriage.

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The article is excerpted from the author’s The Islamic Way of Life.

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Ethics & Values New Muslims

Prophet Abraham and His Non-Believer Father

There’re two examples of da`wah of Prophet Abraham (Ibrahim). One was when he presented haqq (the Truth) to his father and the other was when he addressed his people. There is a marked difference between the two.

Prophet Abraham dender nature

Paternal affection has been aroused in his address to his father.

The difference is not in the mode of discourse and clear presentation, but the deep knowledge shown of the prevailing conditions and psychology of the people addressed and how such discourse appeals to the hearts.

The son invites his father to Islam:

And make mention (O Muhammad) in the book of Ibrahim. Truly, he was a saint, a Prophet. When he said to his father: ‘O my father! Why do you worship that which does not hear nor see, nor can in any way avail you? O my father! Lo! There has come to me of knowledge that which did not come to you. So follow me, and I will lead you on a right path. O my father? Do not serve the Satan. Truly, the Satan is a rebel to the All Merciful. O my father! I fear that a punishment from the All Merciful will overtake you so that you become a comrade of the Satan. (Maryam 19:41-45)

Paternal affection has been aroused in these verses. Think over the repeated address: “O my father!” It shows obedience, love and humility. It requires an aesthetic taste to understand the eloquence of this address.

Mode of Address

Those who have a deep knowledge of the language of the Qur’an can really enjoy the spirit of this mode of address. It has been said that when such persons recite any ayah which delineates the punishment of Allah, their voices tremble and their faces redden with fear. When however they recite any ayah regarding Allah’s pardon and mercy, their hearts melt and their voices show mildness and the warmth of love.

When a son addresses his father thus: “O my father”, he arouses his paternal affection. If he had said the same thing with the voice of a preacher, he would have said,

“Exalted Sir! hear me, or O reverend priest! think it over.”

It would have then given an altogether different impression.

But he said: “O my father”. He adopted this mode intentionally so that his words might touch a sympathetic chord and arouse paternal affection, and thus open the way to his father’s heart. When a son addresses his father in this manner, however angry the father may be, his heart melts and he is inclined to hear what the son has to say.

The prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) touched the sympathetic chord in his heart before he discoursed. Because it has been seen that sometimes affection finds a place in the heart before faith finds acceptance with the person addressed.

It is also possible that a father may be affectionate but may not be a believer. If he is to be invited to true faith then one has to enter through the door which is open.

Hikmah

One who is inviting to the ‘way of Allah’ who is blessed with hikmah (wisdom) cannot lose sight of this aspect. If he does so, it may be harmful to him and his cause. If, however, he is bad-tempered he cannot succeed in his mission.

… if then (O Muhammad) you had been stern and fierce of heart they (the Companions) would have dispersed from around about you. (Aal `Imran 3:159)

When the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) addressed his uncle Abu Talib, at a very critical juncture, he addressed him as “Dear Uncle”.

It was at a time when Abu Talib was afraid of a boycott by Quraysh.

“Dear Uncle! If they place the sun on my right hand and the moon on my left and ask me to abandon this mission, still I will not give it up. I will continue to work for it until Allah makes it prevail or I sacrifice my life for it.”

The result of these soft-spoken words was that the natural emotion of sympathy and affection was aroused and, though Abu Talib remained attached to his ancestral religion, he said: “O my son! continue with your mission and do what you like. I will not hand you over to anybody.”

Prophet Abraham’s Invitation 

While speaking to his father the Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) did not take to logic nor speak in the high-flown language meant only for the intelligentsia. He began his talk in the language used in common parlance which could be understood by any man with common sense.

He said, “My father! Why worship an idol which does not hear, see nor can it be of any help lo you. I have been revealed the truth of which you have no knowledge.” (Maryam 19:42-43)

It is also a matter of pleasure for a father that his son should excel him in knowledge and intelligence. That is not surprising.

It has sometimes been found that the father is illiterate and the son becomes a learned and proficient man.

The Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) said to his father, “O my father! I have been revealed the Truth of which you have no knowledge, so follow me. I will guide you to the right path. O my father! Do not worship the Satan. The Satan is disobedient to Allah.” (Maryam 19:43-44)

Each and every word in this ayah has a depth of meaning in it and is a treasure of wisdom. He spoke to him in a simple language because his father was a simpleminded sculptor. It was no use talking to him in a sophisticated way. He just said, “O my father! I fear that you may be taken as a follower of the Satan and the punishment of Allah may strike you.” (Maryam 19:45)

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 The article is excerpted from the book “Inviting to the Way of Allah”, by Sayyed Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi, Translated by Qazi Abdul Hamid, published by Ta-Ha Publishers Ltd. and UK Islamic Academy, 1996/1416 H.

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