Mankind and the universe were not created by accident or chance, but according to the plan of the Creator, who is known as Allah (lit.: the one God) in Islam. The Qur'an states that it is the duty of all individuals to learn about Allah and to live according to His will. As we cannot accomplish this be ourselves, Allah has sent messengers and prophets to guide humanity All of these chosen individuals have brought the same message and have served as examples to their people of how Allah desires all human beings to live.
Through these selected people, we have been told why mankind was created, what will happen to us after death, and what Allah expects of us. But most importantly, we have been told that Allah is unique-He has no partners, no sons or daughters, and no competitors, as so many other man-made religious systems have postulated. This message always remains the same, whereas the laws laid down for a particular might show some slight differences.
Muhammad, the last of Allah's prophets, was sent to present Allah's revelation in its final form and for the last time. This was necessary because the message delivered by the previous prophets and messengers had been corrupted or distorted by their followers. They had been mixed with philosophical speculations, superstitions, myths, and neglect. Therefore, Islam is not a new religion-it is a restatement of the original religion of Allah in its purest form and is designed to provide humanity with the uncorrupted message of Allah.
Islam is an Arabic word that denotes submission and obedience to Allah. It also means "peace," for it brings peace of mind as well as peace on the individual and the social levels.
There are so many sects, cults, religions, philosophies, and movements in the world, all of which claim to be the right way or the only true path to Allah. How can one determine which one is correct or if, in fact, all are correct? The method by which the answer can be found is to clear away the superficial differences in the teachings of the various claimants to the ultimate truth, and identify the central object of worship to which they call, directly or indirectly. False religions all have in common one basic concept with regards to Allah. They either claim that all men are gods or that specific men were Allah or that nature is Allah or that Allah is a figment of man's imagination.
Thus, it may be stated that the basic message of false religion is that Allah may be worshipped in the form of His creation. False religion invites man to the worship of creation by calling the creation or some aspect of it God. For example, prophet Jesus invited his followers to worship Allah but those who claim to be his followers today call people to worship Jesus, claiming that he was Allah!
Buddha was a reformer who introduced a number of humanistic principles to the religion of India. He did not claim to be God nor did he suggest to his followers that he be an object of worship. Yet, today most Buddhists who are to be found outside of India have taken him to be God and prostrate to idols made in their perception of his likeness.
By using the principle of identifying the object of worship, false religion becomes very obvious and the contrived nature of their origin clear. As God said in the Our'aan:
That which you worship besides Him are only names you and your forefathers have invented for which Allah has sent down no authority: The command belongs only to Allah:
He has commanded that you only worship Him; that is the right religion, but most men do not understand ". (Soorah Yoosuf 12:40)
Since the consequences of false religion are so grave, the true religion of Allah must be universally understandable and attainable, not confined to any people, place or time.
There can not be conditions like baptism, belief in a man, as a saviour etc., for a believer to enter paradise. Within the central principle of Islam and in its definition, (the surrender of one's will to God) lies the roots of lslam's universality. Whenever man comes to the realization that Allah is one and distinct from His creation, and submits himself to Allah, he becomes a Muslim in body and spirit and is eligible for paradise.
Thus, anyone at anytime in the most remote region of the world can become a Muslim, a follower of God's religion, Islam, by merely rejecting the worship of creation and by turning to Allah (God) alone-It should be noted however, that the recognition of and submission to Allah requires that one chooses between right and wrong and such a choice implies accountability.
Man will be held responsible for his choices, and, as such, he should try his utmost to do good and avoid evil. The ultimate good being the worship of Allah alone and the ultimate evil being the worship of His creation along with or instead of Allah. This fact is expressed in the final revelation as follows:
"Verily those who believe, those who follow the Jewish (Scriptures), the Christians and the Sabians any who believe In Allah and the last day, and work righteousness *hall have their reward with their Lord;They will not be overcome by fear nor grief (Soorah Al-Baqarah 2:62).
If only they had stood by the law, the Gospel, and all the revelation that was sent to them from their Lord, they would have enjoyed happiness from every side. There Is from among them a party on the right course; but many of them follow a course that Is evil.". (Soorah Al-.Maa'idah 5:66)
The question which arises here is, "How can all people be expected to believe in Allah given their varying- backgrounds, societies and cultures? For people to be responsible for worshipping Allah they all have to have access to knowledge of Allah. The final revelation teaches that all mankind have the recognition of Allah imprinted on their souls, a part of their very nature with which they are created.
In Soorah Al-A'raaf, Verses 172-173; Allah explained that when He created Adam, He caused all of Adam's descendants to come into existence and took a pledge from them saying, Am I not your Lord? To which they all replied, " Yes, we testify to It:'
Allah then explained why He had all of mankind bear witness that He is their creator and only true God worthy of worship. He said, "That was In case you (mankind) should say on the day of Resurrection, "Verily we were unaware of all this." That is to say, we had no idea that You Allah, were our God. No one told us that we were only supposed to worship You alone. Allah went on to explain That it was also In case you should say, "Certainly It was our ancestors who made partners (With Allah) and we are only their descendants; will You then destroy us for what those liars did?" Thus, every child is born with a natural belief in Allah and an inborn inclination to worship Him alone called in Arabic the "Fitrah".
If the child were left alone, he would worship Allah in his own way, but all children are affected by those things around them, seen or unseen.
The Prophet (PBUH) reported that Allah said, "I created my servants in the right religion but devils made them go astray". The Prophet (PBUH) also said, "Each child is born in a state of "Fitrah", then his parents make him a Jew, Christian or a Zoroastrian, the way an animal gives birth to a normal offspring. Have you noticed any that were born mutilated?" (Collected by Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim).
So, just as the child submits to the physical laws which Allah has put in nature, his soul also submits naturally to the fact that Allah is his Lord and Creator. But, his parents try to make him follow their own way and the child is not strong enough in the early stages of his life to resist or oppose the will of his parents. The religion which the child follows at this stage is one of custom and upbringing and Allah does not hold him to account or punish him for this religion.
Since the total submission of one's will to Allah represents the essence of worship, the basic message of Allah's divine religion, Islam is the worship of Allah alone and the avoidance of worship directed to any person, place or thing other than Allah.Since everything other than Allah, the Creator of all things, is Allah's creation; it may be said that Islam, in essence calls man away from the worship of creation and invites him to worship only its Creator.
He is the only one deserving man's worship as it is only by His will that prayers are answered. If man prays to a tree and his prayers are answered, it was not the tree which answered his prayers but Allah who allowed the circumstances prayed for to take place. One might say, "That is obvious," however, to tree-worshippers it might not be. Similarly, prayers to Jesus, Buddha, or Krishna, to Saint Christopher, or Saint Jude or even to Muhammad, are not answered by them but are answered by Allah. Jesus did nottell his followers to worship him but to worship Allah. As the Qur'aan states:
"And behold Allah will say: "O Jesus the son of Mary Did you say to men, Worship me and my mother as gods besides Allah He will say-"Glory to you I could never say what I had no right (to say')" (Soorah Al-Maa'idah- 5:116)
Nor did he worship himself when he worshipped but rather he worshipped Allah. This basic principle is enshrined in the opening chapter of the Qur'aan, known asSoorah Al-Faatihah, verse 4:
"You alone do we worship and from you alone do we seek help".
Elsewhere, in the final book of revelation, the Qur'aan, Allah also said:
"And your Lord says:"Call on Me and I will answer your(prayer)."(Soorsh Mu'min 40:60)
it is worth noting that the basic message of Islam is that Allah and His creation are distinctly different entities. Neither is Allah His creation or a part of it, nor is His creation Him or a part of Him.
This might seem obvious, but, man's worship of creation instead of the Creator is to a large degree based on ignorance of this concept. It is the belief that the essence of Allah is everywhere in His creation or that His divine being is or was present in some aspects of His creation, which has provided justification for the worship of creation though such worship maybecalled the worship of Allah through his creation. How ever, the message of Islam as brought by the prophets of Allah is to worship only Allah and to avoid the worship of his creation either directly or indirectly. In the Our'aan Allah clearlystates:
The first thing that one should know and clearly understand about Islam is what the word "Islam" itself means. The religion of Islam is not named after a person as in the case of Christianity which was named after Jesus Christ, Buddhism after Gotama Buddha, Confucianism after Confucius, and Marxism after Karl Marx. Nor was it named after a tribe like Judaism after the tribe of Judah and Hinduism after the Hindus.
Islam is the true religion of "Allah" and as such, its name represents the central principle of Allah's "God's" religion; the total submission to the will of Allah "God". The Arabic word "Islam" means the submission or surrender of one's will to the only true god worthy of worship "Allah" and anyone who does so is termed a "Muslim", The word also implies "peace" which is the natural consequence of total submission to the will of Allah. Hence, it was not a new religion brought by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) I in Arabia in the seventh century, but only the true religion of Allah re-expressed in its final form.
Islam is the religion which was given to Adam, the first man and the first prophet of Allah, and it was the religion of all the prophets sent by Allah to mankind. The name of God's religion lslam was not decided upon by later generations of man. It was chosen by Allah Himself and clearly mentioned in His final revelation to man. In the final book of divine revelation, the Qur'aan, Allah states the following:
"This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion". (Soorah Al-Maa'idah 5:3)
"If anyone desires a religion other than Islam (submission to Allah (God) never will It be accepted of Him" (Soorah Aal'imraan 3:85)
"Abraham was not a Jew nor Christian; but an upright Muslim." (Soorah Aal'imraan 3:67)
Nowhere in the Bible will you find Allah saying to Prophet Moses' people or their descendants that their religion is Judaism, nor to the followers of Christ that their religion is Christianity. In fact, Christ was not even his name, nor was it Jesus! The name "Christ" comes from the Greek word Christos which means the annointed. That is, Christ is a Greek translation of the Hebrew title "Messiah". The name "Jesus" on the other hand, is a latinized version of the Hebrew name Esau.
For simplicity's sake, I will however continue to refer to Prophet Esau (PBUH) as Jesus. As for his religion, it was what he called his followers to. Like the prophets before him, he called the people to surrender their will to the will of Allah; (which is Islam) and he warned them to stay away from the false gods of human imagination.
According to the New Testament, he taught his followers to pray as follows: "Yours will be done on earth as it is in Heaven".
The very word ‘Islam’ (from the Arabic silm) connotes peace. According to a tradition of the Prophet, ‘Peace is Islam’ (Al-Bukhari). This means that peace is one of the prerequisites of Islam. Similarly, a Hadith states: A Muslim is one from whose tongue and hands people are safe.
One of the attributes of God described in the Quran is ‘As-Salam’, which means peace and security.’ That is to say that God’s Being itself is a manifestation of peace. Indeed, God is Peace (Al-Bukhari). In the Quran divine guidance is likened to the paths of peace. (5:16) Similarly, God's desired religion is called 'paths of peace' (5:16). Paradise, the ultimate destination of God's true devotees, is called the 'home of peace' (6:127). It is also said that, the people of Paradise will wish peace to one another, indicating that the social culture of the people of Paradise will be based on peace.
The Quran, avers that, ‘reconciliation is best’ (4:128), and judging by the consequences, the way of peace is far better than that of confrontation. By the law of Nature, God has decreed that success will be met with only on a reconciliatory path, and not on a confrontational or a violent course of action.
Whenever the Prophet had an option between two courses of action, he always chose the easier (non-confrontational) one. (Bukhari)
Certain verses of the Qur'an give the command to do battle (22:39). Here are a few points on this subject that we learn from our study of the Qur'an.
The first point is that to initiate aggression or armed confrontation is absolutely forbidden for Muslims. That is why the Qur'an clearly states: Fight in the cause of God those who fight against you, but do not transgress (2:190).
Islam allows only a defensive war. That is, when aggression is resorted to by others, Muslims may engage in war only in self-defence. The initiation of hostilities is not permitted for Muslims. Combat may be engaged in only when "they (the opponents) were the first to commence hostilities against you." (Qur'an, 9:13)
Furthermore, even in the face of aggression, Muslims are not immediately to wage a defensive war. Instead they are to employ all possible means to prevent a carnage from taking place. They are to resort to fighting only when it becomes totally unavoidable. All the battles that took place during the life of the Prophet provide practical examples of this principle. For instance, during the campaign of Ahzab, the Prophet attempted to avoid the battle by digging a trench, and thus successfully averted war. If, on the occasion of Hunain, the Prophet had to engage in battle, it was because it had become inevitable.
There was another kind of war, according to the Qur'an, which was temporarily desirable. That was the struggle to end religious persecution (fitna) (2:193).
The very word ‘Islam’ (from the Arabic silm) connotes peace. According to a tradition of the Prophet, ‘Peace is Islam’ (Al-Bukhari). This means that peace is one of the prerequisites of Islam. Similarly, a Hadith states: A Muslim is one from whose tongue and hands people are safe. One of the attributes of God described in the Quran is ‘As-Salam’, which means peace and security.’ That is to say that God’s Being itself is a manifestation of peace. Indeed, God is Peace (Al-Bukhari). In the Quran divine guidance is likened to the paths of peace. (5:16)
According to Islam, Paradise is the ideal human abode, and is thus called the ‘Home of Peace.’ It is also said that, the people of Paradise will wish peace to one another, indicating that the social culture of the people of Paradise will be based on peace. The Quran, avers that, ‘reconciliation is best’ (4:128), and judging by the consequences, the way of peace is far better than that of confrontation. By the law of Nature, God has decreed that success will be met with only on a reconciliatory path, and not on a confrontational or a violent course of action.
Whenever the Prophet had an option between two courses of action, he always chose the easier (non-confrontational) one. (Bukhari)
This means that, violent activism should not be indulged in if peaceful activism is an option. For, peace is the easier course as compared to violence.
For instance, trying to change the status quo in the very first stage of a movement is a hard option, while launching one’s activities in the available sphere without doing so is an easier option.
Going to war in confrontational situations is a hard option while following a conciliatory course in dealing with one’s rival is easier. Countering aggression with aggression is a hard option, while countering aggression with patience and forbearance is an easier option. An agitational course of action is harder than employing quiet strategy. Adopting a radical method of reformation is harder than that of following a gradual method.
It is true that jihad is one of the most important teachings of Islam. But jihad is not synonymous with war. In Islam another word is used for war and fighting. This word is ‘qital.’ When the Qur’an refers to war or fighting, it uses the word qital and not jihad.
Jihad literally means to strive or to struggle. So jihad actually means peaceful struggle, especially for da‘wah work. The Qur’an says:
Do great jihad with the help of the Qur’an. (25:52)
The Qur’an is simply a book, and not a sword, so “do great jihad with the Qur’an” means do great jihad with the ideological power of the Qur’an. In fact, jihad is only another name for peaceful activism. And peaceful activism is the only weapon by which Islam wants to achieve all its aims and objectives.
The Qur’an has this to say of the mission of the Prophet Muhammad:
We have not sent you forth but as a mercy to mankind. (21:107)
In Islam, war is not the prerogative of the individual but of an established government. Only an established government can declare war. In other words, individuals can pray on their own, but they cannot wage wars of their own accord. Only when a war is declared by the ruling government, can the public join in and support it, and not before that. Islam does not sanction individual actions on this issue. Therefore no Non Governmental Organization or NGO can declare a war.
As a general principle, the Quran tells us that, even where an external attack is feared, the common man should not act independently, but should take the matter to the ruler, and then under his guidance take proper counter measures. (4:83).
The Hadith also states that ‘the ruler is a shield, fighting is done under him, and security is attained through him.’
This clearly shows that the decision to do battle and its planning are the tasks of an established government. The common man can play his role as need be under government orders, and not independently.
This Islamic principle shows that there is no room for non-state warfare, which is what we generally call guerilla war. A guerilla war is fought by individual organizations, not by the State. As far as the state is concerned, if it wants to wage a defensive war against any country it has first—in obedience to the Quran—to issue a proper declaration. Only then can it wage a lawful war (8:58). In Islam, there is only ‘declared’ war. Therefore, in accordance with this principle, no proxy war in Islam can be lawful.
In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
In the Holy Quran we read:
"They ask thee about the new moons. Say, These are means for measuring time for people's affairs and for the Pilgrimage" (Holy Quran, Ch. 2 V. 190)
Islam has made use of both the lunar and solar system of measuring times. Where worship is to be performed in different parts of the day the solar system of reckoning time is used as in the five daily Prayers or for the beginning and breaking of the fast, and where worship is to be completed within a particular month or part thereof, the lunar system is used, as in the determination of the month or part thereof, the lunar system is used, as in the determination of the month of fasting or fixing the time of Hajj or other festivals.
To calculate conversions from one calendar year to the other the following formula is used:
G = H - ( (3 * H) / 100 ) + 622
H = G + ( ( G - 622) / 32 ) - 622
Where G = Gregorian year (AD)
H = Hijra year (AH)
Thus 2000 AD is 1421 AH
Islamic calendar consists of twelve lunar months. Each month may be of 29 or 30 days depending on the sighting of the new moon.
An lunar year has, on average, 355 days. This is 10 days less than the solar year. Hence an Islamic year is moved ahead 10 days each year in solar calendar year.
Following are the names of the Islamic months:
1. Muharram ul Haram
11. Dhul Qadah
12. Dhul Hijja
The Holy Quran states:
"The number of months with Allah has been twelve months by Allah's ordinance since the day He created the heavens and the earth. Of these four are known as sacred" (Holy Quran, ch., v 36)Muharram, Rajab, Dhul Qadah and Dhul Hijja are considered to be sacred months. Fighting during these sacred months is considered to be a sin.
The human being is the only creature who has been distinguished from other creatures with the instinct of knowing right from wrong. He is, therefore, the only one who is expected to be the perfect image of his Creator. That is why the objective of his life is to know his Creator and become a perfect image of his attributes, as Allah says in the Holy Qur'an:
"I have not created jins and humans but, for my worship"
SALAT or the method of worship is the main media through which a human can establish a relationship with his Creator and it is one of the main doors which leads to his complete submission to Allah's will.
Salat also prevents him from wrongdoings. Allah says:
"Surely prayer restrains one from indecency and manifest evil." Which shows that Salat or prayer is a guarantee from Allah that if a worshipper observes prayer with all its conditions, he will be safe from evils, manifest or hidden, small or great. The Holy Prophet (peace be on him) asked to the companions, "if one of you had a stream running by his door and he takes a bath in it five times a day, would any dirt be left on him?." They replied! "No dirt would be left on him". The Holy Prophet said: "This is the case with Salat (the five daily prayers) Allah makes the Salat wipe out his sins".
When we reflect on the creation of the universe and the law that governs it and the design and variety that pleases our eyes, we naturally are convinced of existence and greatness of Allah.
Allah says in the Holy Quran:
"In the creation of the heavens and the earth and in the alternation of the night and the day there are indeed signs for men of understanding;" Those who remember Allah while standing, sitting, and lying on their sides, and ponder over the creation of the heavens and the earth: "Our Lord, Thou hast not created this in vain; nay, Holy art Thou; save us, then, from the punishment of the Fire." (Aal-e-Imran, v19l-192)
This verse beautifully tells us that when a worshipper reflects upon the structure of the Universe he becomes overwhelmed with the greatness of its Creator. The ENTITY Who created such an awe-inspiring structure with such detailed arrangement and accuracy. He is alone to be worshipped and so right for protection.
The literal meaning of Islam is peace; surrender of one’s will i.e. losing oneself for the sake of God and surrendering one’s own pleasure for the pleasure of God. The message of Islam was revealed to the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings on him) 1, 400 years ago. It was revealed through angel Gabriel (on whom be peace) and was thus preserved in the Holy Quran. The Holy Quran carries a Divine guarantee of safeguard from interpolation and it claims that it combines the best features of the earlier scriptures.
The prime message of Islam is the Unity of God, that the Creator of the world is One and He alone is worthy of worship and that Muhammad (peace and blessings on him) is His Messenger and Servant. The follower of this belief is thus a Muslim - a Muslim’s other beliefs are: God’s angels, previously revealed Books of God, all the prophets, from Adam to Jesus (peace be on them both), the Day of Judgement and indeed the Decree of God. A Muslim has five main duties to perform, namely; bearing witness to the Unity of God and Muhammad (peace and blessings on him) as His Messenger, observing the prescribed prayer, payment of Zakat, keeping the fasts of Ramadhan and performing the pilgrimage to Mecca.
Islam believes that each person is born pure. The Holy Quran tells us that God has given human beings a choice between good and evil and to seek God’s pleasure through faith, prayer and charity. Islam believes that God created mankind in His image and by imbuing the attributes of God on a human level mankind can attain His nearness. Islam’s main message is to worship God and to treat all God’s creation with kindness and compassion. Rights of parents in old age, orphans and the needy are clearly stated. Women’s rights were safeguarded 1,400 years ago when the rest of the world was in total darkness about emancipation. Islamic teachings encompass every imaginable situation and its rules and principles are truly universal and have stood the test of time.
In Islam virtue does not connote forsaking the bounties of nature that are lawful. On the contrary one is encouraged to lead a healthy, active life with the qualities of kindness, chastity, honesty, mercy, courage patience and politeness. In short, Islam has a perfect and complete code for the guidance of individuals and communities alike. As the entire message of Islam is derived from the Holy Quran and indeed the Sunnah and Hadith (the traditions and practices of the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings on him) it is immutable in the face of change in time and place. It may appear rigid to the casual eye, in actual fact it is most certainly an adaptable way of life regardless of human changes.
Islam teaches that the path to spiritual development is open to all. Any individual who searches the One Creator can seek nearness to God through sincere and earnest worship; it is central to establishing a relationship with the Almighty. This positive message for humanity fills hearts with hope and courage.
At present there are 1.5 billion Muslims worldwide and they form the majority in more than 50 countries of the world. Today Islam is the fastest growing faith in the world - its beautiful message is reaching millions in the far corner of the earth.
Allah is the proper name of God, however, we know Him generally through His attributes. These attributes describe how Allah manifests Himself to us. God's attributes are innumerable since human intellect cannot possibly comprehend every aspect of the Supreme Being. A Hadith of the Holy Prophet (peace be on him) makes mention of Ninety Nine names of Allah commonly known as al- Asmaul Husna, the Most Names. In the Holy Quran we read: "And to Allah alone belong all perfect attributes. So call Him by these. And leave alone those who deviate from the right way with respect to His Attributes." (7:181).
"Allah - there is no God but He, the Living, the Self-Subsisting and All-Sustaining. Slumber seizes Him not, nor sleep. To Him belongs whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is in the earth. Who is he that will intercede with Him except by His permission? He knows what is before them and what is behind them; and they encompass nothing of His knowledge except what He pleases. His knowledge extends over the heavens and the earth; and the care of them burdens Him not;and He is the High, the Great." (2:256)
Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The similitude of His light is a lustrous niche, wherein is a lamp. The lamp is in a glass. The glass is as it were a glittering star. It is lit from blessed tree - an olive - neither of the east nor of the west, whose oil would well-nigh glow forth even though fire touched it not.Light upon light! Allah guides to His light whomsoever He will. And Allah sets forth parables to men, and Allah know all things full well.This light is now lit in houses with regard to which Allah has ordained that they be exalted and that His name be remembered in them, Therein is He glorified in the mornings and the evenings (24:36-37)
"He is Allah, and there is no God beside Him, the Knower of the unseen and the seen. He is Gracious, the Merciful.He is Allah, and there is no God beside Him, the Sovereign, the Holy One, the Source of Peace, the Bestower of Security, the Protector, the Mighty, the Subduer, the Exalted. Holy is Allah far above that which they associate with Him.He is Allah, the Creator, the Maker, the Fashioner. His are the most Beautiful Names. All that is in the heavens and the earth glorifies Him, and He is the Mighty the Wise.(59: 23-25)
Abu Huraira (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated: The Holy Prophet (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) said, "Allah has ninety nine Names, one hundred less one; and who memorized them all by heart will enter Paradise." (Bukhari, The Book of Tauhid.
Extracts from 'Saheeh al-Adab al-Mufrad' of Imaam Bukhaaree, checked by al-Albaanee.
Chapter 1: The saying of Allaah the Exalted, "and we have enjoined upon man to be good to his parents"
1/1 From Abu Umru ash-Shaibaanee who said, "The owner of this house narrated to us," and he indicated with his hand to the house of Abdullaah, that, "I asked the Prophet (SAW), 'which action is the most beloved to Allaah?' He said, 'Prayer at it's correct time'. I said, 'then which action? 'He said, 'birr (good treatment, kindness) to the parents.' I said, 'then which?' He said 'Jihaad in the way of Allaah'
Abdullaah said, "He told me these, and if I had asked further, he would have told me." Saheeh - Irwaa (1197)
2/2 From Abdullaah bin Umar who said, "The Lord is pleased when the parents are pleased, and is Angry when the parents are angry." Hasan as mawqoof, saheeh as marfoo' as-Saheehah 515
Chapter 2: Birr to the Mother
3/3 From Bahz bin Hakeem from his father from his grandfather who said, "I said, 'O Messenger of Allaah who is most deserving of my birr?' He said, 'your mother.' I said, 'who is most deserving of my birr?' He said, 'your mother.' I said, 'who is most deserving of my birr?' He said, 'your mother.' I said, 'who is most deserving of my birr?' He said, 'your father, then your closest relation, then your closest relation.'" Hasan - Irwaa (2232,829)
4/4 From Ibn Abbas, "That a man came to him and said, 'I proposed to a woman and I yearned that she marry me. Then someone else proposed to her and she desired to marry him. Then I seduced her, then killed her, so is there repentance for me?' He said, 'Is your mother alive?' He replied, 'No.' So Ibn Abbas said, 'Repent to Allaah Azza wa Jall and seek to get close to Him as much as you can."
(Ataa bin Yaaser) said, "so I went to Ibn Abbaas and asked him, 'Why did you ask if his Mother was alive?' He said, 'indeed I do not know an action which can get one closer to Allaah then birr to the mother'" Saheeh - as-Saheehah (2799)
Islam is claimed to be the fastest growing religion by the new prophet of Islam Dr Zakir Naik and his followers. Large section of people inspired by the new messenger can be seen indulged in debating others over the issue of fastest rate of growth of Islam.
Interestingly, on one hand, Mullahs in countries like India are assuring the people of other faiths about trueness of Islam through their own census, on the other hand, in Muslim countries like Pakistan, Afganistan, Iraq, etc, holy warriors are killing their fellow Muslims for not being true Muslims! But, one thing, which makes Islam different from others, is the spectrum of its preachers starting from Mullahs proving Islam through peaceful speeches to Osamas and Kasabs, who implement the peaceful teachings of Islam through their peaceful actions! That’s apart, today, we shall analyze the claims of muslims about Islam to be the fastest growing religion.
We will pick one by one the claims of Muslims on why Islam is from God, which we have come across quite often, and will scrutinize those in two ways. Comment “a” below every claim will examine it by assuming the claim to be true. Comment “b” will contain the reality of the claim, whether it is right or wrong.
Islam is best and the only religion from God because
Claim 1: it has the following of over 1.5 billion and in few years, Islam will become no. 1 surpassing Christianity.
(a).(i) Still the majority is with Christians! If number is the criterion of being best, Christianity is better than Islam. Moreover, we can generalize this logic and say that, since non muslims are 5.5 billions (almost 4 times the muslims), non muslims are better and hence Islam is not from God!
A modern Muslim scholar is of the opinion that growing beards might be encouraged, but it is not mandatory in Islam. He argues 1 " that Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, had reasons for his time only, 1400 years ago, to address his companions to grow beards and this doesn't mean that these reasons have to exist today. Islam is a rational religion.
Growing beards can actually cause trouble to some of the Muslims who live in the West today. If growing beards was mandatory in the Noble Quran, then we would have nothing to argue about. But since it was mentioned in the Sayings of our beloved Prophet peace be upon him, then it is important to know whether this law should apply to all times and all places or not. Some of our Prophet's Sayings and laws were made only to solve situations that occurred 1400 years ago.
These few Sayings don't necessarily have to be applied today. Only the Noble Qur'an's laws are all 100% applicable for all times and all places. Prophet Muhammad's Sayings, yet most of them should be applied for all times and all places, but few of them shouldn't."
Haron Amin, a one-time anti-Soviet and anti-Taliban fighter in Afghanistan, who is now his country's top diplomat in Washington, said to CNN News " Well, I think -- remember that growing a beard in Islam is not dictated in the Holy Koran. It's a tradition by the Prophet. In other words, it's not one those mandatory things that one must do.
I don't grow a beard and I'm a -- and I'm a perfect Muslim here in the sense that, you know, I practice and I have my own convictions. So it's not a big thing."
SHAVED HEADS AND BEARDS 2
In Egypt, many centuries before Christ, barbers were prosperous and highly respected. The ancient monuments and papyrus show that the Egyptians shaved their beards and their heads. The Egyptian priests even went so far as to shave the entire body every third day. The Bible tells us that when Joseph was summoned to appear before Pharaoh, a barber was sent for to shave Joseph, so that Pharaoh's sight would not be offended by a dirty face.
In Greece, barbers came into prominence as early as the fifth century, BC. These wise men of Athens rivaled each other in the excellence of their beards. Beard trimming became an art and barbers became leading citizens. Statesmen, poets and philosophers, who came to have their hair cut or their beards trimmed or curled and scented with costly essences, frequented their shops. And, incidentally, they came to discuss the news of the day, because the barber shops of ancient Greece were the headquarters for social, political, and sporting news. The importance of the tonsorial art in Greece may be gathered from the fact that a certain prominent Greek was defeated for office because his opponent had a more neatly trimmed beard.
From The Shari Length of the Beard by Mufti Afzal Elias, May Allah reward him abundantly, aameen.
Transferred to the web for the benefit of all Muslims by Islam.tc
This pamphlet is to emphasize the importance and the length of the beard. Many Muslims have queried regarding this point. I have also found that people prefer keeping a beard in imitation of what's in vogue rather than that prescribed by Nabi (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam). A compilation of this nature has become important because the impact of the western way of life seems to be luring unwary Muslims into such a craze that the importance of the beard itself is being doubted and scoffed at.
To those who feel the issue is trivial to worry about, may ALLAH guide him. But to those who genuinely wish to learn and practice what is right, here are sufficient proofs from the Qur'an, Ahadeeth, and learned scholars.
Concerning Adherence to the Sunnah in the Holy Qur'an:
"O ye who believe! Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger, and those charged with authority among you." (Quran 4:59)
"O ye who believe! Obey Allah and His Messenger, and turn not away from him when ye hear (him speak)." (Quran 8:20)
"O ye who believe! give your response to Allah and His Messenger, when He calleth you to that which will give you life; and know that Allah cometh in between a man and his heart, and that it is He to Whom ye shall (all) be gathered."(Quran 8:24)
"Ye have indeed in the Messenger of Allah an excellent exempler for him who hopes in Allah and the Final Day, and who remembers Allah." (Quran 33:21)
"What Allah has bestowed on His Messenger (and taken away) from the people of the townships,- belongs to Allah,- to His Messenger and to kindred and orphans, the needy and the wayfarer; in order that it may not (merely) make a circuit between the wealthy among you. So take what the Messenger gives you, and refrain from what he prohibits you. And fear Allah: for Allah is strict in Punishment." (Quran 59:7)
Importance of the Beard in the words of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam):
(1) Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said "I have no connection iwth one who shaves, shouts and tears his clothing eg. in grief or affication."
- Reported by Abu Darda (R.A.) in Muslim, Hadith no. 501
The Qur'an furnishes us with a number of lessons on housing. One of those lessons is related to the relationship between the house phenomenon and people's spiritual failings.
The Qur'an warns that the blessing and sanctity of the house must not be abused. The house must not be turned into a field, or a catalyst, for defying Allah's authority and the authority of His divine commandments. Doing that would imply a clear sign of one's disobedience and ungratefulness. In case someone rebels against Allah, using his house as a place and protective shield for his misbehavior, then only he will be the one to be blamed for whatever might come next as a consequence. Often, however, it is not only the people that are affected by the unavoidable outcomes resulting from their mischief, but also their houses, the very symbols of their being and their identities.
While revealing the causes of the spiritual ruin of certain people in this worldly life, Allah singles out the trap of excessive love for houses in which many people fall, as one of such causes. People tend to adore unduly their houses making use of them either as the end of their flawed spiritual cravings, or as the means for achieving some other forms of their waywardness. This is perhaps for the reason that people misconstrue the house phenomenon: as both a concept and sensory reality, as well as the roles of its form and function, and thus invest a lot of time, wealth and energy in those aspects of the house which are of less significance for the realization of man's purpose on earth. Allah says: "Say: If your fathers and your sons and your brethren and your mates and your kinsfolk and property which you have acquired, and the slackness of trade which you fear and dwellings which you like, are dearer to you than Allah and His Messenger and striving in His way, then wait till Allah brings about His command: and Allah does not guide the transgressing people." (al-Tawbah, 9:24)
When exposing the addiction to materialism and the selfish fancies and aims of the polytheists of Makkah, who persistently defied Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and his message, Allah says: "And they say: We will by no means believe in you until you cause a fountain to gush forth from the earth for us. Or you should have a garden of palms and grapes in the midst of which you should cause rivers to flow forth, gushing out. Or you should cause the heaven to come down upon us in pieces as you think, or bring Allah and the angels face to face (with us). Or you should have a house of gold, or you should ascend into heaven, and we will not believe in your ascending until you bring down to us a book which we may read. Say: Glory be to my Lord; am I aught but a mortal messenger?" (al-Isra',17:90-93)
Insisting on having "a house of gold", among other things, so that they could believe in the Prophet (pbuh) and his message, bears witness to the gross misjudgments, self-centeredness, going astray and the intellectual as well as spiritual flaws of every unbeliever and skeptic, which the polytheists of Makkah typified. As expected, the material aspect is the only lens through which things and events, including the issue of the house and housing, those people observe and judge.
'Ashura' commemorates the day that Allah saved the Children of Israel from Pharaoh.
Fasting on Muharram 10, known as the Day of 'Ashura', expiates for the sins of the past year. When the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) arrived in Madinah in 622 CE, he found that the Jews there fasted on Muharram 10 and asked them the reason for their fasting on this day. They said," This is a blessed day. On this day Allah saved the Children of Israel from their enemy (in Egypt) and so Prophet Musa [Moses] fasted on this day giving thanks to Allah."
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said,
"We are closer to Musa than you are."
He fasted on that day and commanded Muslims to fast on this day. (Al-Bukhari) The following year, Allah commanded the Muslims to fast the month of Ramadan, and the fasting of 'Ashura' became optional. It is also reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) intended to fast on the ninth and tenth. Ibn 'Abbas reported: The Messenger of Allah fasted on the day of 'Ashura' and ordered the people to fast on it. The people said, "O Messenger of Allah, it is a day that the Jews and Christians honor." The Prophet said, "When the following year comes, Allah willing, we shall fast on the ninth." The death of the Prophet came before the following year. (Muslim and Abu Dawud) For more on 'Ashura' and Muharram, please read:¤ The Significance of Fasting the Day of 'Ashura' Virtues of the Month of Muharram & Fasting during It
Traditional scholarship's divides Prophet Muhammad's life into Makkan and Madinahn phases. This is chronologically valid and represents the two broad aspects of his life before and after the watershed event of the Migration. It is historically important and marks the beginning of the Islamic calendar.
Additionally I believe Muhammad's struggle can be naturally divided into seven phases. Each phase brings forth a different aspect of his personality and highlights a different facet of his mission. Studying the Messenger's mission for its various phases and analyzing its internal dynamics is important as it gives the narrative relevance for today. Since his life is better documented than the lives of other prophets and leaders of major world religions, it is possible to build this analysis on a historical foundation.
The Search for Light in a Period of Darkness: The Seeker of Truth
As his biography (Seera) is recorded we find Prophet Muhammad pondering over societal ills for years. The society he was born in was in a state of moral, religious, economic and social chaos. It is difficult to resist drawing analogies between the seventh century world and the state of the human morality in today's world at the beginning of the new millennium. The nuclear man-woman two-parent family, as a core unit of society has eroded seriously in the West. Brazen sexual exploitation in the media is commonplace and illicit sex condoned and even accepted. Violence at home, against women, children, and violence in the streets, is frightfully routine. Substance abuse is widespread, with United States as the largest consumer of drugs in the world. Alcoholism is rampant, especially among college students, with only feeble attempts being made to address the problem. African- Americans have been liberated as slaves for a century and a half, yet many are still trapped in an unending cycle of poverty and discrimination, which is in a way a form of economic slavery. Because of a system that allows unrestrained growth of wealth without encouraging proper redistribution, economic disparities and injustices continue to grow at an alarming rate.
There are many excellent characteristics in Western societies, especially in the US that include the freedom of thought, speech and assembly, a tolerant attitude toward eccentricities in human nature and an ambition to be a just and compassionate society. These qualities of the ordinary American however are not always reflected in the policy makers and political leaders.
The unraveling of the moral fabric in today's society must weigh heavily on the minds of individuals with insight. They can draw personal solace and inspiration from the Prophet's life. The Arab tribal society of the Seventh century, whose structure was based on greed, debauchery, and violence, was changed in a very short time, by the Prophet, into a society with one of the highest moral standards in history. Compassion, humility, devotion to God and egalitarianism replaced the old well-entrenched tribal attitudes of pride in wealth, family and class and self-centered behavior. Women, for the first time in history, had rights and dignity, and the vulnerable and weak sections of the society were protected. Sexuality was removed from public prurience and became private and wholesome. Wealth was re-circulated so that even the poorest segments of the society were infused with energy and indigence became nearly extinct.
The Warner and Exhorter
During one his meditative trips to a cave near Makkah, Prophet Muhammad receives the revelation. Divine revelation is the reaffirmation of the fact that celestial knowledge is essential in guiding the inherently limited human intellect. The profundity of this realization that he is the recipient of this divine revelation and the enormity of the task ahead overawes him. Initially he shares the message only with his closest family and a few loyal supporters. It is both fascinating and revealing that even the individual who would later be rated as the most influential man in human history had these initial periods of doubt and uncertainty about his mission. It was the reassurance from the Quran and the confidence and support of his wife Khadijah (may Allah be pleased with her), and his close companions which provided him the support he needs-surely a lesson for us lesser mortals!
Before I genuinely began to cultivate and nurture my relationship with God, I regarded the five daily prayers that Islam enjoins on believers as laborious. It seemed impractical to expect that I would be able to stop what I was doing during my busy work schedule to take time out and pray.
Working as a news wire journalist, I was often spending upwards of 10 hours a day in the office or at conferences, interviews and meetings, barely able to make time for a lunch break. If I wasn't working, my time was divided between house chores, errands, family and friends, and exercise. I was punctual with everything in my life, except that I was late five times a day.
In my mind, it was not viable to expect that I could wake up before the crack of dawn to pray the early-morning prayer, fajr, otherwise I would be too tired to work effectively later that morning. It also seemed inefficient to interrupt my work meetings to pray duhr, the mid-day prayer, and asr, the afternoon prayer.
Making the sunset prayer maghrib was often a challenge because the window to pray is typically quite short and coincides with the time between finishing work, having dinner and returning home. So, in effect, the only prayer that was feasible for me to pray on time was isha, the evening prayer. For most of my life, thus, I would at best pray all five prayers in the evening, or skip prayers here and there to accommodate my immediate commitments.
Without realizing it, my inconsistency and approach to praying trivialized the principle behind performing prayers throughout the day. I believed in God and loved Him, but on my own terms, not on the terms very clearly set out in the Quran and Prophetic teachings. Yet praying the five daily prayers, at their prescribed times, is the backbone of being a Muslim; we cannot stand upright in our faith without them. It is one of the essential practices that God has called on those who endeavor to live in Islam, a state of existence whereby a human strives to live in submission to God.