What are the requirements of a Non-Muslim who wishes to convert?
Every person is born a Muslim because we are all created by God. Therefore, a preferred term would be reversion rather than conversion. A non-Muslim becomes a Muslim when he believes in his heart : "There is no God but Allah and I bear witness that Muhammad is His Messenger" Hence, belief in the Unity and Oneness of God and that Muhammad is his Messenger makes one a Muslim at heart. Recommended steps:
· Officially convert by pronouncing the shahadah (pledge of conviction of faith) in Arabic thus: "Ash HaduAllaa Ilaaha Il-lallaah Wa Ash Hadu Anna Muhammadar Rasullulah" which means "I bear Witness that there is no deity but Allah and I bear witness that Muhammad if His Messenger". The pledge is to be taken in front of at least two adult Muslim witnesses.
· It is recommended that he/she take a Muslim name
· It is recommended that he/she take up a basic course on Islam (if he/she hasn't already) and keep the company of other Muslims
Is it compulsory for a Non-Muslim man to be circumcised upon conversion?
A boy who
has not attained puberty must be circumcised when his family converts to Islam.
Circumcision is optional for a man above the age of puberty. But he who opts not
to be circumcised should regularly clean the area underneath the foreskin of his
penis because, in Islam, cleanliness of the body is obligatory for performing
Why is adopting a Muslim name so important upon conversion?
Two important reasons are given below, but otherwise, adopting a Muslim name is not necessary.
· For the sake of identification as a Muslim
· When a Muslim wants to enter Makkah and Madinah to perform Hajj or Umrah, he has to produce documents to show that he is a Muslim as Non-Muslims are not allowed to enter these cities.
Can reverts retain their previous names?
Yes he/she certainly can do so. Here are examples of names of people who have converted:
Hassan Guy Eaton previously known as Guy Eaton, Ruke Aldeen Smith, Aisha Gouverneur, Abdel Rashid Skinner, Ahmed Holt, Murad Aldeen, Ibrahim Hewitt, Ahmad Bullock, Ahmed Thomson, Jodi Anway, Mohammadzadeh, Susan Elsayyad, Jamilah Kolocotronis Jitmoud
How Long Does it Take for a Convert to be a full-fledged Muslim?
A person becomes a Muslim upon pronouncing the shahadah in front of two adult Muslim witnesses. A Muslim has to do the daily prayers, fast in Ramadan and apply the teachings of Islam in his daily life. But if a revert is unable to do all the prayers immediately after his conversion, he should try to do those he could. However, he should aim to be a practicing Muslim as soon as possible in order not to miss out in the race to accumulate blessings.
By Harun Yahya
moment one opens his eyes to this world a great order surrounds him. He needs
oxygen to survive. It is interesting that the atmosphere of the planet he lives
in provides just the adequate amount of oxygen he needs. This way, he breathes
without difficulty. For the existence of life in this planet, the existence of a
source of heat is essential. In response to this need, the sun is located just
at the right point to emit just the adequate amount of heat and energy. Man
needs to be nourished to survive. Every corner of the world abounds with an
astonishingly diversified food. Likewise, he needs water. Surprisingly, three
fourth of the planet is covered with water. He needs to take shelter and in this
world, there is proper ground and all sorts of materials to make shelter.
These are only a few among billions of details making life possible on earth. In brief, man lives on a planet perfectly designed for his survival. This is surely a planet created for human beings. A person's interpretation of the world rests on "acquired methods of thought." That is, a person thinks in the way he is indoctrinated. Under this guidance, a person often finds all the aforementioned to be "mundane realities." However, if he does not sidestep and start questioning the conditions making his existence possible, he will surely step out of the boundaries of his habitual thinking faculties and start to think:
· How does the atmosphere serve as a protective ceiling for the earth?
· How does each one of the billions of cells in the human body know and perform their individual tasks?
· How does an extraordinary ecological balance exist on earth?...
A person seeking answers to these questions surely proceeds on the right path. He does not remain insensitive to things happening around and doesn't feign ignorance about the extraordinary nature of the world. A person who asks questions, who reflects on and gives answers to these questions will realise that at every corner of the planet, a plan, an order reigns.
How did the flawless order in the whole universe come into being? Who provided the delicate balances in the world? How did living beings, incredibly diversified in nature, emerge?
oneself occupied with a relentless research to answer these questions results in
a sharp awareness; that everything in the universe, the order, every each living
being and mechanism is a component of a plan, a product of a design. In every
detail, from the excellent structure in an insect's wing to the system enabling
a tree to carry tons of water to its top branches, or the order of planets, the
ratio of gasses in the atmosphere, are all unique examples of perfection.
In every detail of the infinitely varied world, one finds his Creator. Allah, the owner of everything in the whole universe, introduces Himself to man through this flawlessness. Everything surrounding man, the flying birds and our heart, the birth of a child or the existence of sun in the sky, manifest the power of Allah and His creation. And what befalls man is to conceive this fact.
These purposes owe their existence to the fact that everything has been created. An intelligent person notices that plan, design and wisdom exist in every detail of the infinitely varied world. This draws him to recognition of the Creator.
So you never feign ignorance that all living beings, living or non-living, show the existence and greatness of Allah. Look at things surrounding you and strive to practise appreciation for the eternal greatness of Allah in the best manner.
The existence of Allah is APPARENT. Feigning to ignore it would only be the beginning of a great detriment one could ever do to himself. That is simply because Allah is in no need of anything. He is the One who shows His greatness in all things and in all ways. Allah is the owner of everything, from heavens to earth. We learn the attributes of Allah from the Qur'an:
Allah! There is no god but He,-the Living, the Self-subsisting, Eternal. No slumber can seize Him nor sleep. His are all things in the heavens and on earth. Who is there can intercede in His presence except as He permit? He knows what (appears to His creatures as) before or after or behind them. Nor shall they compass aught of His knowledge except as He wills. His Throne extends over the heavens and the earth, and He feels no fatigue in guarding and preserving them for He is the Most High, the Supreme (in glory). (Surat al-Baqara: 255)
Frustrations of Converts, Complacency of the Ummah
We proudly claim that we are Muslims but it is an insult to Allah and Islam if we forget that along with being Muslim comes certain responsiblities (to others). Living in Islam is not just about you and God. It is also about how you interact with other creations of God. That is also Ibadah (worship). How sincere and true is our worship of God if we pray every prayer fully 5 times a day but when a new Muslim turns to us for friendship, we become judgemental and assume they cannot be worth as much as "us born Muslims." They say a man's true nature is revealed when he is confronted with dealing with those who are of no direct importance to him. How do you treat those who are not important to you?
Allah will judge us according to our contribution to the image of Islam and to inviting those who are searching toward Islam. The world will be quick to judge Islam according to how we Muslims behave and how we Muslims lead our lives. If a person is dishonest, greedy and racist, we look around him/her to see who his friends are, who his colleagues are, what his religion is, etc. When a Muslim behaves badly, it is natural for people to assume that Islam cannot be as great as we claim it is, if it cannot even change a man for the better.
Allah's plan will never falter, and nothing will destroy Islam but we cannot take this as a cue to be complacent. When a person approaches you and you have the opportunity to help him or give dawah, grab the chance. Saying "no" because you have no time, or you assume the person "is not seriously worth helping", or that "I don't have time for things that don't benefit me directly", may satisfy you in the short run but think about how you will answer Allah on the Day of Judgement.
I would like to introduce the experiences of three converts, who experienced great difficulty getting accepted into the Ummah - because of their race or the fact that they were converts perhaps (and hence, not the real thing?)
Please don't overlook this! We may tell ourselves, "Oh we're nice to converts, we help them when we can." but in reality, little things we do (or don't do) may be affecting many people around us. We need to open our eyes and really see and think about what a small but kind gesture could do. Ideally, we should be inviting these people to become part of our families but if you are not ready for that, at least think about gradually building up to it.
1. Since my conversion two years ago, I have known a lot of disillusionment and anguish, not with Islam, the theology, to which I am committed, but with the Muslims I tend to come into contact with in real life and online. Read it here
2. "My First Year As A Muslim". An open letter from Jeremiah D. McAuliffe, Jr., Ph.D. to the Pittsburgh. Read it here
3. The story of an American girl called Zainab where, without going into details, she makes clear that she has faced outright hostility from born Muslim men who turned her family against Islam after her female Muslim friends had initially created a good impression.
Why Islam continues to be Successful in the Developed World
Islam continues to be successful in the developed world, and elsewhere, because its call is in accordance with the natural inclinations of mankind, and it advocates the best of human values, such as tolerance, love, mercy, truthfulness and sincerity.
Islam educates people and lifts them up to righteous conduct, good manners and virtue. Its call is distinguished from others by its realism, balance and moderation. Islam pays due attention to both the soul and the body. It neither suppresses physical desires nor allows extravagance in this regard; it makes a distinction between the natural inclination to enjoy the pleasures of this world and forbidden desires that come under the heading of depravity and perversion.
People embrace Islam because they find security, comfort and peace in it, they see a cure for their problems in it, and through it they are able to get rid of their feelings of confusion, anxiety and loss.
Islam is the religion of the fitrah, the natural inclination or pattern on which Allaah has created mankind. For this reason, people of sound minds and upright inclinations embrace Islam, as Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘There is no child who is not born in a state of fitrah (i.e., Islam), then his parents make him into a Jew, a Christian or a Magian (Zoroastrian), just as animals produce whole animals (i.e., the animals are born perfect with no part of their bodies missing). Do you find any born with their ears cut off?’” Then Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “ ‘… Allaah’s handiwork according to the pattern on which He has made mankind: no change (let there be) in the work (wrought) by Allaah: that is the Standard Religion…’ [al-Room 30:30 – interpretation of the meaning – Yusuf Ali’s translation].” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, 1359). What is meant is that Allaah has created mankind with the potential to learn the truth, accept Tawheed (pure monotheism) and submit to Allaah. Their natural inclination is to learn Islam and love it, but a bad education, a kaafir (disbelieving) environment, their own whims and desires and the devils among jinn and mankind turn them away from the truth.
Mankind is basically inclined towards Tawheed (pure monotheism), as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) reported that his Lord (Allaah) said: “I created all my slaves as ‘hunafa’ (pure monetheists), but the devils turned them away from their religion.” (Reported by Muslim). For this reason the one who becomes a Muslim after having been a disbeliever is described as having “reverted” to Islam, as this is more correct than saying that he “converted.” When Islam enters a country where there is no nationalism or great legacy of jaahiliyah (ignorance), it spreads quickly because of its strength and the small number of obstacles. You may also see that Islam is suitable for all people, educated and uneducated, male and female, old and young; everyone finds in it what he wants and needs. Those who become Muslim in developed countries realize what their country’s civilization and laws, which have been fabricated from men’s whims and desires, have done to them, and they realize the extent of the misery in which people in developed countries are living. They see how prevalent psychological illnesses, nervous breakdowns, insanity and suicides are, despite the technological advances and great number of discoveries and inventions and modern systems of management. This is because all of that is concerned only with the physical and the outward, but it neglects the inward and fails to nourish and nurture the heart and soul. Allaah says of these people (interpretation of the meaning): “They know only the outside appearance of the life of the world, and they are heedless of the Hereafter.” [al-Room 30:7]
Islam will continue to succeed, with the permission of Allaah, so long as those who work for its sake are sincere and its followers adhere to it and believe in it, and apply its laws.
The fact that there are those who are not committed or who fall short will not prevent Islam from succeeding, with the permission of Allaah, and nothing can distort its beauty. Its light will not falter because some people abandon it or fail to adhere to it. What Islam has given humanity in the way of progress and civilization, and lifting them up from the darkness of oppression and enmity, is pride enough.
Islam: The Proper Way
By Mufti Taqi Usmani, Albalagh E-zine
Q- "What is the procedure for a Christian to convert to Islam in order to marry a Sunni Muslim girl?"
A- It is not a correct practice to embrace Islam for the sake of marrying a Muslim girl only. Islam is a composition of certain beliefs and acts. It is a way of life. It is a matter of faith and conviction. In order to become a Muslim, it is necessary to accept all its basic teachings with one's heart and soul. If one's real purpose is only to marry a Muslim girl, and he wants to register himself as a Muslim only because he cannot marry that girl without it, while he does not have faith in the basic beliefs of Islam, he cannot be a Muslim in reality.
Therefore, one should know at the first instance that conversion to Islam is not meant for marrying Muslim girls. One should, first, study the basic Islamic beliefs and teachings, and if he is convinced that they are worth accepting, he should accept Islam for its inherent rightfulness and its intrinsic merits, and not only because he wants to marry a girl.
Now, the basic beliefs one is required to accept while entering into Islam are the following:
(i) God is One. He has neither a partner, nor a son or daughter. He is One in the true sense of the word that has no room for the concept of trinity, or for any other form of camouflage monotheism or a disguised polytheism.
(ii) The Holy Prophet Muhammad, Salla-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, is the last Messenger of Allah after whom no messenger or prophet of Allah (in any sense of the word) will come.
(iii) The Holy Qur'an is the last of the divine books revealed on the Holy Prophet, Salla-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, and all its contents are true.
(iv) The life Hereafter is the eternal life one has to live after his death where he will have to face the fate of his good and evil deeds.
(v) All the teachings given by the Holy Qur'an or by the Holy Prophet, Salla-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, in absolute and unambiguous terms are true and acceptable.
Once a person accepts all these fundamental beliefs as true, both verbally and in his heart, he becomes a Muslim.
Conversion to Islam has no particular procedure, like baptism, etc. As soon as a person accepts the aforementioned beliefs with his heart and soul and professes them verbally, he enters the fold of Islam. It is not necessary that he seeks the mediation of a saint or priest, nor is it a prerequisite to go to a mosque or to an institution for accepting Islam. One can accept Islam on his own. However, it is advisable to go to a learned Muslim who can inform him about the basic beliefs of Islam and can teach him the concise and comprehensive words to express his acceptance of those beliefs.
Normally following sentences are used for that purpose:
"I bear witness that there is no God but Allah, and I bear witness that Muhammad, Salla-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, is His slave and messenger."
"I have believed in Allah and His angels and His book (as they were originally revealed on His prophets) and in His messengers and in the Last Day and in the fact that all the good and bad destinies come from Allah and in being raised alive after death."
A further requirement for a convert Muslim is to free himself from those beliefs of his former faith or religion which are not in line with the Islamic beliefs. For example, a Christian must proclaim that he does no more believe Jesus Christ as the son of God or a part of Godhood. Instead, he accepts that he was a revered Messenger of Allah, and was no more than a messenger, having all the human attributes.
spread by the sword?
The myth and the reality
By Sherif Mohammed
Among the most widely believed myths about Islam in the West today is the myth of forcible conversion to Islam. Many Westerners do believe that Islam is so widespread in the world today simply because of a "holy campaign of terror" carried out by the early Muslims to convert non-Muslims to Islam. Non-Muslims were offered the freedom to choose either Islam or death.
In a discussion with a Baptist Minister he said to me that "Muslims tend to kill non-Muslims and anyone who disagrees with them". In a syndicated column appearing in over 30 papers (on July 23rd, 1994) entitled, "Muslim persecution of Christians increasing" the author blames many Muslims countries for persecuting Christians then he quotes the Qur'an, "There is no compulsion in Religion" and ends the quote by rudely writing "Really?".
How to confront such misconceptions? First, there is no need for us to be apologetic. We Muslims should search for the truth and present it as it is. This is how we have been instructed by Allah (SWT) "Say: the truth from your Lord and let him who will believe and let him who will reject."(18:29) Islam is the religion of the Truth. The Qur'an is the book of the Truth. "We sent down the Qur'an in Truth and in Truth has it descended." (17:105) "Put your trust in Allah for you are on the path of the manifest Truth."(27:79)
Therefore, we should ask ourselves first, before we are asked by anyone else, what is the truth? Did Muslims really force others to convert to Islam? Is there any evidence for consistent forcible conversion throughout the Islamic history? As a matter of fact, there is no such evidence anywhere in the history of Islam. Many distinguised Western historians have attested this fact-- foremost among whom is Sir Thomas W. Arnold in his book, "The Preaching of Islam". Also there is Marshall G. Hodgson in his book, "The Venture of Islam", Albert Hourani in his book, "A History of the Arab People", Ira Lapidus in his book, "History of Islamic Societies", L.S. Starorianos in his book, "A Global Hisotry, the Human Heritage" and many others. In fact, there is substantial evidence to the contrary. We have already seen in a previous *khutbah* that Muslims were often seen as liberators of the oppressed people everywhere.
The question that remains to be answered is why then so many people have chosen Islam throughout the more than 1400 years of its history. Islam has penetrated the Middle East, North Africa, Spain, West Africa, East Africa, Eastern Europe, Asia Minor, the Caucasus, Central Asia, Afghanistan, India, Western China, and the Malay archipelago. Islam in all these regions replaced so many other well-established religions: Christianity, Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Paganism and animism. What are the reasons behind the triumph of Islam over all these religions in so many different places at so many different times?
First and foremost, Islam is an amazing blend of simplicity and rationality: a very simple religion yet very rational at the same time. Professor Hodgson has explained the reasons for the popularity of Islam as follows: "Muslims made a personal appeal to people's religious consciousness. On the level of straight argument, they often put forward the populistic intelligibility of Islam. Muslims commonly ridiculed, in the name of intellectual good sense, the more mythically convoluted teachings of older traditions. This could seem attractively straightforward to people dissatisfied with taking things on faith from a learned priest whose mysteries they could not comprehend. A single Creator, to be worshipped by each person for himself, on the basis of revelation that had been given to a famous prophet whom millions already acknolwedged. This was at once intelligible and plausible."
The unambiguous and uncompromising belief in the Unity, the Greatness, the Wisdom of God, the Creator of the universe, is unparalleled among other religions. The French professor Edouard Montet said, "The dogma of the unity of God...has always been proclaimed in the Qur'an with a grandeur, a majesty, an invariable purity and with a note of pure conviction which is hard to find surpassed outside the pale of Islam. A creed so precise, so stripped of all theological complexities and so accessible to the ordinary understanding might be expected to possess and does indeed possess a marvellous power of winning its way into the consciences of men."
Besides its simple and rational creed, Islam offers an impressive set of rituals which has gained the admiration and, subsequently, the conversion of many non-Muslims. The second pillar of Islam, **salah**, the prayer, has been described as follows by Sir Arnold, "The religion of the Muslim is continuously present with him and, in the daily prayer, manifests itself in a solemn and impressive ritual which cannot leave either the worshipper or the spectator unaffected." Then Sir Arnold narrated the story of an Egyptian Jew who converted to Islam at the end of the 13th century mainly because of the sight of the **Juma'a** prayer. Actually, it is not only in the 13th century that people converted to Islam because of the prayers; it just happened a few years ago in Ottawa that a non-Muslim Canadian woman converted to Islam because of **Juma'a** prayers. She used to go to the Ottawa Mosque on Friday and pray among the sisters for several months. She loved the prayer and eventually she embraced Islam.
In addition to the prayers, the other pillars of Islam, **Zakah**, **Hajj**,**Siyam**, have always been factors in attracting many hearts to Islam. Up until the present day, one still meets converts who were impressed by the social justice of Islam brilliantly expressed in the payment of **Zakah**. The genius of **Hajj** and **Siyam** has always been a determining factor in the conversion of many people. It is this union of rationalism and ritualism that explains the power that Islam has exercised over the hearts and minds of so many people. Islam simply gives the truth, neat and clear in a visible and tangible form. The neatness and clarity of Islam was presented to human beings in the form of a miraculous book, the Qur'an. The marvellous power and beauty of the words of the Qur'an have always been a decisive factor in conversion to Islam. The famous Jewish American convert to Islam, Maryam Jameelah, cited the Qur'an as the major factor of her conversion. After a deep study of both the Old Testament and the Qur'an, the contrast between the two scriptures became increasingly evident to her until she firmly believed that the Qur'an was indeed God's message to the human race.
A conference of Christian missionaries in 1887 was discussing why Islam has almost swept away Crhistianity from the Middle East. What did Islam offer these people to forsake Christianity for good? One of the missionaries was insightful enough to say the following: "Islam brought out the fundamental dogmas of the Unity and Greatness of God, that He is mindful and Righteous. It proclaimed the responsibility of man, a future life, a Day of Judgement and stern retribution to fall upon the wicked, and enforced the duties of prayer, alms-giving and fasting. It replaced monkishness by manliness, it gave hope to the slave, brotherhood to mankind and recognition to the fundamental facts of human nature."
The formidable rationalism, ritualism and clarity of Islam did not only lead the Christians of the Middle East to forsake Christianity and embrace Islam in the past. It continues to do so with Christinas in the West to the presnt day. An Australian-born Christain who converted to Islam four months ago and who was studying here with us at Queen's wrote in her story of conversion to Islam, "Christianity continued to be difficult for me. So much didn't make sense, the trinity, the idea that Jesus was God incarnate, the worship of Mary, the Saints, or jesus, rather than God. The priests told me to leave reason behind". The she went on to say, "Could Muhammad really be a messenger? Could the Qur'an be God's word? I kept reading the Qur'an, it told me that Eve wasn't alone to blame for the fall, that Jesus was a messenger, that people would question the authenticity of Muhammad's claim to revelation but that if they tried to write something as wise, consistent and rational they would fail. This seemed true. Islam asked me to use my intelligence to contemplate God, it encouraged me to seek knowledge." Then at the end of her sincere search for the truth she prayed to God saying, "Dear God, I believe in You, I believe in the compelling and majestic words of the Qur'an and I believe in the prophethood of your messenger Muhammad (SAW)."
Another Muslim sister, from California, who was a practising Christian and an active member in her nearby Presbyterian church, wrote in her conversion story that despite her active affiliation with the church, she always had serious questions about the fundamentlas of Chrsitianity which did not make sense to her. She debated her questions with her friends but never came up with good answers. The church couldn't give them good answers either, they only told them to "have faith". All her questions were answered when she took a course about Islam. Listen to her own words. "This class brought back all of the concerns that I had about Christianity. As I learned about Islam, all my questions were answered. All of us are not punished for Adam's original sin. Adam asked God for forgiveness and our merciful, loving God forgave him. God doesn't require a blood sacrifice in payment for sin. We must sincerely ask for forgiveness and amend our ways. Jesus wasn't God, he was a prophet like all of the other prophets. This answered all of my questions about the trinity and the nature of Jesus. I found a teaching that put everything in its proper perspective and appealed to my heart and my intellect. It seemed natural. It wasn't confusing. I had been searching and I had found a place to rest my faith."
My dear brothers and sisters, Islam is so strong and so self-assured that it does not need to use force to attract others to it. The moral and intellectual superiority of Islam over all other religions has manifested itself so clearly throughout the history of Islam. Despite all of the ills of Muslims everywhere, Islam continues to be the fastest growing religion on earth. Professor Huston Smith of the MIT in his book, "The Religions of Man" says, "In some areas where Islam and Christianity are competing for converts, Islam is gaining at a rate of 10 to 1."
Ambassador Herman Ellis, in a testimony in front of the committee on Foreign Affirs of the House of Represntatives of the United States Congress on June 24th, 1985, said, "The Muslim community of the globe today is in the neighbourhood of one billion. That is an impressive figure. But what to me is equally impressive is that Islam today is the fastest growing monotheistic religion. This is something we have to take into account. Something is right about Islam. It is attracting a good many people."
Yes, something is right about Islam and that's why it has attracted so many people throughout its 1400 years of history.
There are also names which are contrary to the Shariah or which have meanings unacceptable to people of sound intellect and pure souls. These names are to be avoided. Giving these names to the children would be a crime against their Deen (beliefs) and their manners because they would grow up connected to these names and the meanings which they carry.
The prohibited names are of two categories: those which are forbidden in the Shariah and those which are either disapproved of due to the Shariah, or due to manners and good taste.
1. Names indicating servitude to other than Allah (SWT) such as: 'Abdun-Nabee (slave of the Prophet), 'Abdur-Rasool (slave of the Messenger) and 'Abdul - Muttalib - and whatever is like these names. Just the same in meaning are ‘Ghulaamun-Nabee’ and Ghulaamur-Rasool’.
2. Using these names which are particular names of Allah (SWT)- the One far removed from all deficiencies - like: al-Ahad (the One and Only, Unique in his Lordship, names and attributes, and His right to worship. The One having no equal, no assistant, no rival and no one similar to Him), ar-Rahman (the Most Merciful) and al-Khaliq (the Creator).
4. From the names which should also be avoided are the names of tyrants and despots like: Fir'awn (Pharaoh), Qaroon, Abu Jahl and their like, also the names of the leaders of Kufr and the heads of atheism such as Marx, Lenin and so on, since using their names would mean that one was pleased with their actions, and would mean imitation of them, and love of their systems of thought.
NAMES DISAPPROVED OF IN THE SHAREE'AH OR DISLIKED DUE TO GOOD MANNERS OR GOOD TASTE
1. Giving names which are meant to show servitude to Allah (SWT) but using names not known to be from Allah's (SWT) perfect names - like 'Abdul-Mawjood, 'Abdul-Maqsood and 'Abdus-Sattar. This is because nothing can be affirmed as one of Allah's (SWT) names without an authentic text, and these names do not satisfy this as they are rather attributes and information, so it is to be feared that in this way we might fall into giving Allah (SWT) names which neither He nor His Messenger (SAW) used for Him.
2. From these names are those which carry meanings of pessimism, or blameworthy characteristics which will be disliked or cause aversion or cause the possessor of the name to feel degraded, humiliated and such as will kill his personality - like Harb (war), Himar (donkey), and Kalb (dog).
3. From good manners is to avoid naming children with names which are suggestive or offend one's meaning of shame - such as: Huyam (one passionately in love), Nuhad (A young woman with full and raised breasts), Saham (summer heat)!, Wisal (sexual union), Ghadah (delicate young woman), Fatin (temptress), Fitnah (temptation), Shadiyah (female singer) and names with similar meanings.
So fathers and mothers should steer clear of giving these kind of names to their children - they will grow up having an attachment and fondness for them along with the meaning they convey. This may then lead them to imitate those people and follow their way, slowly losing their Islamic personality - and it is to Allah (SWT) that we turn for aid.
4. It is also disliked to give names which amount to a declaration of a person's being pious like: Barrah (pious / piety) and the like - due to this meaning the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) changed the name of one of his wives from Barrah to Zaynab, as he used to hate that it be said: "He left/went out from 'Barrah' (piety)."
5. From these names which it is disliked to use for naming are the names of the Angels. Particularly if they are used for females - such as Malik since it is to be feared that this involves imitation of the pagans who gave feminine names to the angels. But as regards to their use for males - then that is disliked by Malik, but allowed by a group of the scholars since the Hadith prohibiting it is not authentic.
6. Just as it is disliked to name with the names of Surahs of the Quran such as: TaHa, Yaseen and other names of Surahs. This is the saying of Imam Malik (Ra) - Ibnul- Qayyim also said: "The saying of the common people that Yaseen and TaHa are from the names of the Prophet (SAW) is not correct, there is no 'Sahih' Hadith about it or any 'Hasan' Hadith, nor anything 'Mursal' [having a missing link between the Tabiee and the Prophet (SAW)], nor any narration from any Companion, but rather they are letters like 'Alif Lam Meem', 'Ha Meem', 'Alif Lam Raa' and the like."
7. It is disliked to give names 'Yasar' (Ease), 'Rabah' (Profit), 'Najeeh' (Successful), 'Aflah' Prosperous), 'Ya'la' (Elevated)' and Barakah' (Blessing) since the Messenger (SAW) forbade that with his saying:
"Do not call your boy Yasar, nor Rabah, nor Najeeh, nor Aflah, since you will say: Is he there?' So it will be said: 'No'. Indeed they are four, so do not attribute more to me." (Reported by Muslim, Abu Dawud & At-Tirmidhee)
And the forbiddence of Ya'a and Barakah occurs in another Hadith reported by Muslim.
CHANGING PROHIBITED NAMES
The Messenger (SAW) used to love names which were good in their wording and meaning and he used to hate other names, prohibit them and change them. From these names which the Messenger (SAW) changed was:
‘Abdun-Nabee (slave of the Prophet)
‘Abdur-Rasool (slave of the Messenger)
Aasiyah (disobedient: not same as Pharaoh’s wife)
al-Khaliq (the Creator)
ar-Rahman (the Most Merciful)
Asram (cut off)
Banuz-Zinyah (sons of fornication)
Barrah (pious / piety)
Ghadah (delicate young woman)
Huyam (one passionately in love)
Jaththamah (signifying inactivity)
Malak (name of an angel)
Nuhad (a young woman with full and raised breasts)
Shadiyah (female singer)
Saham (summer heat)
Shihab (flame and fire)
TaHa (Surah in Quran)
Yaseen (Surah in Quran)
Wisal (sexual union)
Taken from Albalagh
Whenever there is any talk of following Islam in the collective life of any Muslim country, one inevitably hears a rhetorical question. Whose Islam? Always the question is posed by those who want an easy out. But in addition to antipathy or hostility to Islam, which is generally recognized, it also shows an intellectual dishonesty that is not as widely perceived.
Actually the question is borrowed from elsewhere---without the least effort to judge its applicability in case of Islam. Nevertheless, it is a valid question when posed in the context of, say, Hinduism, Christianity, or Judaism. Hinduism cannot even agree on its own definition or its articles of faith. ("Hinduism is whatever a Hindu believes in.") There is no unified code or source for a code, just some vaguely defined cultural traditions.
In case of Christianity, the Bible could be a central unifying instrument. The trouble is there is not one, but hundreds of them---none of them in the original language of its revelation. Whose Bible? Whose translation? Whose interpretation? (Bible critics argue that the Bible can be quoted in support of just about any cause). The same is true of Judaism, where even the question "Who is a Jew?" remains a bone of contention. (The common ground in Israeli Jewry is not based on theology but only on a common goal of oppressing the non-Jews).
In fact it was the problems with and within Christianity that lead to the doctrine of separation of Church and State in the U.S, the world leader now trying to export that ideology to the rest of the world. A little bit of history may be helpful here. A lot of those who came to the U.S from Europe were religious people. For example, in 1630 when John Winthrop reached Massachusetts Bay, the would-be governor of the new colony declared to his followers: " We are entered into Covenant with Him...we shall be as one body, always having before our eyes our Commission from God to walk in His ways and to keep His Commandments and His Ordinance and His Laws...so that the Lord, our God may bless us."
But not everyone agreed on what was presented as "His Laws". After all, these were, personal opinions of the religious authorities. What else could one expect in the absence of a well preserved Revealed Text and well preserved Prophetic interpretation of that Text. An obvious problem with this is that you can have as many contending interpretations as there are experts --- and vested interests --- willing to define them. Thus the question "Whose religion?" became relevant and there was no practical answer. As religion became a divisive force that could not hold the country together, it had to be relegated to the private space to protect it as well as the State. So a century and a half after Winthrop the framers of the constitution of the United States firmly embedded the doctrine of separation of Church and State in it.
Exactly the opposite is true in case of Islam. Here Allah's Book has been miraculously preserved in the original language of its revelation as has been the language of its revelation itself. The sayings of the Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, along with a complete account of his life down to the smallest details has also been preserved. As even a child knows, the question "Whose Qur'an?" is as absurd as the question "Whose Bible?" is relevant. The Shariah is rooted in Qur'an and Sunnah. With the twin rock-solid foundations plus historic continuity, Islam remains a sure and uncompromised source of guidance unlike any other.
Aren't there big differences between various schools of Islamic law? Not only are there various schools, but there are divisions within the schools themselves, some might point out. For example in the countries of the Indian sub-continent, where the great majority of Muslims belongs to the Hanafi school, there is this unbridgeable chasm between the Deobandi and Bralevi groups. What is generally not realized is that there is no difference on issues of law or fiqh between these groups. While there is disagreement between them over certain practices, they rely on the same authorities, quote from the same books, and follow the same exact code of law right down to the minutest details.
The four major schools of fiqh certainly have differences between them. Yet the relevance of these differences to Islamization of a society are vastly exaggerated, while the common ground between them is ignored. Just consider, are there any differences between them regarding the articles of faith? The pillars of Islam? The meaning of good and evil? The definition of right and wrong? Sources of law? Moral values? Role of government? The relationship of individual and the society? The role of women in society? The fact is that on all of these issues there is no difference between them. Yet these are central issues when organizing the collective life of any society.
For example, Islamization of education system means helping the students develop an Islamic outlook. In science they should see the signs of Allah. In history they should see the working of Allah's Laws that determine the rise and fall of nations. Islamization of the media means aligning their methods and goals with Islamic morality, throwing out a system that appeals to people's baser emotions as a means to attracting their attention and their money. Islamization of the economic system means replacing the injustice and irresponsibility of a riba based system with the justice and responsibility taught by Islam. It means developing a society in which affluence and poverty are not viewed as achievements and failures but only as different conditions that carry with them different sets of rights and responsibilities.
Now let us ask, which of the above is hampered by the differences between various Islamic schools? Which of these require us to ask the question "Whose Islam?" before we can proceed?
In map making, the prevalent European Mercator projection system introduces distortions making some areas much bigger and others much smaller. For example Greenland is in reality much smaller and Africa is much bigger than the maps show. A similar distortion has been introduced in the religious maps of the Muslim world that vastly enlarge our areas of disagreement and tremendously reduce our common ground, thereby portraying the picture of "so many irreconcilable versions of Islam". That, unfortunately, sometimes the distortions may be done by insiders does not change the fact of distortion. It is time we realized that there is something wrong with that picture and with the question: "Whose Islam?"
to Make America an Islamic Nation
by Yahiya Emerick
Congress just passed a bill declaring the consumption of alcohol a felony, punishable by up to 120 days in jail. Although critics said the new law wouldn't work anymore than Prohibition did in the 1920's, supporters of the measure felt confident that it would hold, given the large support from the Muslim America community. Even now, many Islamic organizations are setting up alcohol treatment centers and prevention programs designed to help people kick the dangerous habit. The president, a staunch supporter of moral values, is expected to sign the new bill into law when reaches his desk.
Sound like fiction? It may be fiction now, but the future is like a book of blank, white pages; anything can happen. When I accepted Islam and surrendered my heart to Allah's will, I didn't do it for economic or social reasons. In fact, I suffered in those two areas because of my conversion. Rather, it was a choice on my part to reform my soul, my mind and my understanding of why I was alive and why I would die one day.
I didn't think about living in some town for a few years and making my fortune so my kids could go to Ivy league schools. I wasn't thinking about how to get all my relative a green card nor was I planning to leave and go back home to some far land after my bank account was full enough.
I was born and raised here. This is my land. I'll raise my children here, Insha'allah and probably be buried here as well. I knew that by accepting Islam I was declaring that America needed to do so too. America, my home, would naturally become an Islamic country one day. There is no other way to think if you are a truly conscientious believer in Allah.
In past columns, I have raised complaints or alarm bells at the state of some segment of the Muslim community. Now I'm going to offer three suggestions for how we can turn the situation around and become the dominant social and cultural force in a country that needs Islam more than another pop-star, beer-brand or psychic network.
First, we must be reminded of a simple truth: if you believe in Allah, then you must be more than just a praying Muslim; more than just a fasting Muslim. A Christian can go to the masjid and pray side-by-side with us all he wants; a Jew can fast in Ramadan for forty years, but if such a person doesn't surrender their will to Allah, then all those activities won't mean much. Belief in Allah is what makes those actions have merit on Judgment Day.
In the same way, why should we see a praying and fasting Muslim and automatically assume he or she is a true believer? The blessed Prophet once observed that many are the people who fast but who get nothing from it but hunger and thirst. In a similar vein, Allah said that people who pray for show are those who deny the deen. The intention, the belief, that's what makes our Islam real. That's what builds a foundation for the future of our community here.
Secondly, what's more important than what people see us doing in the masjid, is what they see us doing outside in the society. If people view us as foreigners, it's not because everybody is an evil racist. It's because sometimes we're presenting ourselves that way. We have to look at ourselves with a critical eye!
As a quick note, lest multitudes write and complain: The vast majority of Muslims here have chosen to live in non-Muslim neighborhoods; have chosen to live far from the masjid, have chosen to turn their children into neo-kuffar by letting them be indoctrinated by the public school system and have chosen to have non-Muslims as the primary people they come into contact with. If you choose not to actively practice Islam in your daily life, if you choose not to build and Islamic community, then don't display yourself as an ethnic model and say this is what a Muslim should be.
This leads me to the third factor which will help our faith prosper and grow here. The essential, unifying force we must have is a solid, homogenous community. We must live together. All those people who cry about ghettoizing ourselves need to wake up. Why do the Orthodox Jews live together? Why do the Amish live together? Why do the Mormons, the Sikhs, the survivalists and the Koreans live together? Quite simply, to preserve the unique way of life from the scrourge of assimilation. Are they ghettoized? No. Are they poor? No. Their communities tend to be healthier, safer and more prosperous than the general melting pot.
How many Muslims have been lost to Islam in the last fifty years here? Tens of thousands have been lost. The only reason Islam is still growing here, by large, is because of a steady stream of immigration. But when that dries up, the assimilation will dwindle our community down to nothing. It's like we have a bucket with a hole in the bottom. We keep pouring new immigrants in, but so many are leaking out are lost forever. (And we're hardly making concerted or intelligent efforts at bringing others to the faith.) I used to have contact with a unique community in the heart of Detroit, Michigan. It was originally settled by Yemeni immigrants about ten years ago. Those Muslims could have gone the way of others and lost their Iman. But as you'll see, something quite different occurred.
I still remember my first visit to the area fondly. I was attending a meeting of the newly-formed local ICNA group and had never been exposed to the place before. What I saw amazed me. I was elated, in fact! Children were saying salaams to me on the street and women (in hijab) were walking around and going places leisurely and confidently. I saw Muslims who were Arab, Black and Bengali. But what took the cake for me was when out of nowhere I heard the adhan outdoors over a loudspeaker. They fought the city council and won the right to do adhan five times a day in the community!
clicked in the minds of these people. The Yemenis formed a master plan and
determined to stay together. They set up a fund and slowly bought one house
after another, moving Muslim families in and drug-infested kafirs out, until
they literally had thousands of Muslims businesses and stores in the heart of
the community and bought a huge Catholic church and made it into a beautiful
masjid. They even made a small community health care center!
When we were leaving our meeting and walking to the masjid for salat, it was the most beautiful sight: from all directions, men, women and children, of all races, were going to their masjid as a community. I've never been to Muslim country before, but I'll tell you this much, I felt as if I were in an Islamic country. And this wasn't Egypt or India or Turkey. It was right here - in America.
Muslims in the United States
Islam is especially growing in the United States. However, it is difficult to generalize about American Muslims. They are converts, immigrants, factory workers and doctors. This varied community is unified by a common faith, underpinned by a nationwide network of a large number of masjids (mosques). Muslims arrived early in North America, the first mosque being built in North Dakota in the 1920's. By the eighteenth century there were many Muslims in North America. Great numbers of born Americans have entered the fold of Islam. They are from different classes; the rich, the poor, the educated and the illiterate. Today, there are over five and a half million Muslims in the United States1 and some accounts have Islam as the second largest religion in the United States, surpassing even Judaism in its numbers2.
Further, it may be appropriate to point out an important indication of the truth of Islam. It is well known that in the United States Islam is the fastest-growing religion. The following are some observations on this phenomenon:
the fastest-growing religion in America, a guide and pillar of stability for
many of our people..." (Hillary Rodham Clinton,
are the world's fastest-growing group..." (The Population Reference Bureau,
is the fastest-growing religion in the country." (Geraldine Baum; Newsday
Religion Writer, Newsday).5
· "Islam, the fastest-growing religion in the United States..." (Ari L. Goldman, New York Times).6
This phenomenon indicates that Islam is truly a religion from God (Allah). It is unreasonable to think that so many American converted to Islam without careful consideration and deep contemplation before concluding that Islam is true. These Americans came from different classes, races and walks of life. They include scientists, professors, philosophers, journalists, doctors, nurses, teachers, artists, lawmakers, chefs, laborers, and every other sort of person imaginable.
World Almanac and Book of Facts 1996, Famighetti, p. 664
2. Ted Kopel, "Nightline", April, 1998.
3. Larry B. Stammer, Times Religion Writer, "First Lady Breaks Ground With Muslims," Los Angeles Times, Home Edition, Metro Section, Part B, May 31, 1996, p.3.
4. Timothy Kenny, "Elsewhere in the World," USA Today, Final Edition, News Section, February 17, 1989, p.4A.
5. Geraldine Baum, "For Love of Allah," Newsday, Nassau and Suffolk Edition, Part II, March 7, 1989, p.4.
6. Ari L. Goldman, "Mainstream Islam Rapidly Embraced By Black Americans," New York Times, Late City Final Edition, February 21, 1929, p.1.
All information on this page is taken from Understanding Islam and the Muslims which is from the Islamic Affairs Department of the Embassy of Saudi Arabia, Washington D.C. and A Brief Illustrated Guide to Understanding Islam by I. A. Ibrahim, published by Darussalam, Houston, TX.
Muslims must take the lead
By Brother Hassan
And say: "Act, and Allah will observe your actions, and so will his Messanger and the believers: and soon you will be brought back to the Knower of all Unseen and the Seen. then He will show you the truth of all that you did." At-Taubah (9):105.
The time has come for American Muslims to take the lead and coordinate the future of the Islamic Ummah. The world is watching us and some of the old (sic) Islamic countries are giving us a bad name and reputation. We can ill afford to alienate the rest of the world into believing that we are people of the sword. We can ill afford to make people of the world believe that we are merciless and unjust. We can ill afford to make the world feel that we are not united or that we do not follow our own scripture. We can no longer treat members or non-members of the ummah except according with the Holy Quran/Hadith and Sharia.
We have witnessed the unauthorized treatment of persons in some countries that profess to follow the Holy Quran and hadith. These countries are poison to the growth of the Islamic faith by their actions and it is now time to denounce the countries for what they are. Their actions have taken them out of the fold of Islam and into the realm of Shatianism and apostasy. We need to unite and label these countries/government as outlaws for the whole world to see. We can no longer sit around and let people think that their actions are inherent in Islam or that the ummah condone their actions.
We as Americans have to lead the way in order that the ummah may flourish in this country and others. I will list a few reasons why this leadership should fall on American Muslims.
· We American Muslims have the vote to help get things done
· We have access to the media that other Islamic countries do not.
· We can affect the vote on any cause of any country hostile to Islam.
· We can affect the monies that are payed by America to any hostile country.
· We can vote to block the sales of arms to any country hostile to Islam.
· We have access to world wide television.
· We have the computer equipments to help spread the real deal about Islam.
· We have the training of Islamic countries on Islam.
· We do not have any cultural habits as far as Islam is concerned.
· To change the world, you must change America.
· Change American and the others will fall in line.
the talent here at home and some excellent students from abroad to help in this
effort. Let your voices be heard so that the whole world will know that Islam is
the religion of peace and equality. Let the whole world know that Islam is the
worlds religion and not the devil's religion. Wake up and smell the coffee, we
have to continue/approve in our da'wa efforts. Let our examples bring converts
to the religion of Allah ( S.W ) and his prophet Muhummad ( PBUH ).
We must flush out all un-Islamic traditions such as family neglect, beatings and unjustice from the hearts and minds of some so called Muslims.
This article was written to address the role of the American Muslim. Many believe the light of Islam will rise in the West. This message applies to all Muslims around the world.
Revolution Without Revolutionaries
by Sherif Mohammed
Why is it that makes Muslims believe that Islam is a tremendous bounty and a gift from God, when the rest of the world views ALL religions as a burden on mankind created by backward cultures?
Islam is the faith that defines us, defines who we are, defines our identity. In fact anyone who truly understand's Islam will be well aware of it's simplicity, elegance and the power to lead man for what Muslims believe is mans true purpose. Why is there nothing like Islam on earth? Why is Islam so revolutionary?
is Islam that has taught human beings that the Lord their God is One and Only.
That He has no partners, no wife, and no son, and that there can be no
compromise on the unity of God.
is Islam that has taught human beings that they are all equal and that no Arab
is superior to non-Arab, nor a non-Arab is superior to an Arab and that the best
of all of us is the one who is most righteous.
is Islam that has taught human beings that they are all brothers and sisters
created from a single pair of a male and a female. Therefore, Islam , unlike
Hinduism, neither recognizes nor condones the idea of a caste system. Islam is a
war on caste systems, on aristocracies, and hereditary social groups of all
is Islam that has taught humanity the value of the intellect, the importance of
reflection, and the role of the mind in attaining faith. Christians teach that
one can never become a believer except when the Holy Spirit mysteriously
occupies one's heart. Islam teaches that faith is the fruit of reason and it is
through continuous reflection on the wonders of creation that faith can be
obtained, maintained, and nurtured.
is Islam that has has taught humanity that people of all races, all colors, all
ethnicities are perfectly capable of attaining faith in the One and Only God.
Hindus believe that Hinduism is just for those privileged to be born in the
faith and therefore they do not invite the "less privileged" to embrace their
faith. Jews believe that they are the chosen race and even when they accept
others to embrace Judaism, those converts are always lower in rank than those
born as Jews. Islam rejects all that and calls upon all people of all
backgrounds to submit themselves to their Creator. Once they do, they
automatically become members of the community of Islam with the same rights and
duties as any other Muslim. Islam is not, and can never be, the monopoly of one
race or a certain linguistic group.
is Islam that has taught humanity that God is absolutely Just and Merciful and
that He will never punish one person for the sins of others. Christianity
teaches that Adam and Eve had bequeathed their sin to all their descendants and
thus all humans are born in this "Original Sin" and therefore Jesus Christ had
to be sacrificed on the cross to redeem humanity of its 'original sin.' Islam
says, NO. Humans are not born in sin. No person will be held accountable for
another's mistakes. Every soul will pay for its own deeds, only. Divine justice
is Islam that has taught humanity that righteous deeds are necessary for
salvation. Faith is indispensable, but not sufficient. Humans will be admitted
to Paradise by their faith and their righteous acts. They have to go together,
hand in hand. Many Christian denominations teach that faith in Jesus is enough
for salvations. If you accept Jesus sacrifice on the cross, then you are saved
regardless of what you may do afterwards because Jesus has already paid for all
your sins. Islam totally disagrees. No one can pay for your sins. Faith, doing
righteousness, avoiding evil, and continuous repentance are the only ways for
salvation. Islam does not accept , nor condone the corrupting influence on the
individual as well as the society that can be caused by the idea of a
is Islam that has taught humanity how to balance the needs of this life and the
next. Islam does not accept the idea that renunciation of this world is the best
means to get salvation in the next. Catholicism and Buddism teach that by living
a reclusive life, one can attain higher spirituality. Buddism even taught the
recluse must make his living by begging. Islam rejects the whole notion of the
alleged goodness of renouncing the world. Islam teaches that best means for
advancement in the next life is by getting involved in the affairs of this world
by commanding good and forbidding evil; by helping one another in righteousness
and piety; by doing Jihad, by struggling against all forms of evil, injustice,
tyranny, intolerance...Islam does not teach rejection of the world, it teaches
involvement, struggle, and change.
is Islam that has taught humanity that kindness to parents, to kin, to
neighbors, and to fellow humans is an essential part of faith and righteousness.
Christianity claims that Jesus has taught that one cannot come closer to God
unless one hates one's father, mother, wife, children,...(Luke 14:26) Islam
teaches the opposite. One cannot come closer to God unless one acts so kindly
towards one's mother, father, family, neighbors, etc.
is Islam that has taught humanity that God is very close to them and that He is
with them wherever they are and that He hears their prayers and respond to them.
Islam teaches that God is so close that He needs no intermediaries to mediate
between Him and His servants. Islam does not accept the concept of priesthood
and clergy acting as mediators between God and humans. Islam teaches that one
does not have to confess one's sins to a priest in order to get forgiveness. One
can simply confess one's sins to God without any human intervention, seek
forgiveness, and God will grant it. Many Jews today still believe that prayers
cannot reach God and get a response from Him unless the prayer is made at the
Wailing Wall in Juresalem. Some even fax their prayers or send it via the
Internet to Jerusalem so that someone there would take it and put it on the
Wailing Wall to reach God. Islam teaches that wherever one maybe, one can pray
to God, confess to God, seek God's help and forgiveness, and God will certainly
respond. No human intervention is needed, no special place or time is necessary.
God is always very close.
· It is Islam that has taught humans to accept and respect their human nature. Islam recognizes the strengths, the weaknesses, and the needs of humans. Islam never requires humans to behave as angels or to ignore their physical and emotional needs. Christianity does not allow divorce. Islam recognizes it as a human reality. Catholicism considers celibacy an ideal. Islam does not. The Anglican Church frowns upon second marriages. Prince Charles in order to become King of England has to behave as a practicing Anglican. Therefore, he can commit adultery openly with his famous mistress but he cannot marry her or else he will lose the throne for violating the rules of the Church of England. Islam never engages in such irrationality and moral contradictions.
There is nothing like Islam on earth. There is no faith, no religion, no ideology, no system of belief that can rival Islam in its clarity and simplicity ; in its submission to God, the One and Only; in its rationality and intellectual depth; in its egalitarianism and equality; in its spirituality; in its code of ethics; in its unparalleled balance between the needs of this life and the demands of the hereafter. Islam has elevated the human soul, body, and mind to heights that have never been reached by any other faith or tradition. Islam is the only religion that has truly enabled human beings to fulfill their humanity.
Islam is like a perfect piece of art at which the human eye can keep looking and scrutinizing for days, weeks, years on end and still can find no flaws, no defects, and no contradictions. All the human eye can do is to keep wondering at the amazing beauty and coherence of this faith of ours: Islam.
Leopold Wiess, the Austrian Jew who embraced Islam in 1926 and became one of the greatest Muslim intellects of the twentieth century has expressed the same level of astonishment at the overwhelming beauty and coherence of Islam, "I was asked, time and again: 'Why did you embrace Islam ? What was it that attracted you particularly ?' -- and I must confess: I don't know of any satisfactory answer. It was not any particular teaching that attracted me, but the whole wonderful, inexplicably coherent structure of moral teaching and practical life programme. I could not say, even now, which aspect of it appeals to me more than any other. Islam appears to me like a perfect work of architecture. All its parts are harmoniously conceived to complement and support each other: nothing is superfluous and nothing lacking, with the result of an absolute balance and solid composure. Probably this feeling that everything in the teachings and postulates of Islam is 'in its proper place,' has created the strongest impression on me."
In a nutshell, Islam is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
important to note that Islam is not just a set of ideals, it is a tremendous
force capable of transforming and regenerating individuals as well societies and
whole nations. The influence of Islam upon the first society that embraced it,
the Arabian peninsula, was nothing short of a revolution. Islam has
revolutionized Arabia in all aspects of life: politically, economically,
socially, and above all morally:
was Islam that transformed the fiercely independent-minded Arabs who knew no
government, obeyed no authority, recognized no state into a nation with a
government, a capital, and a respected authority.
was Islam that taught the anarchic Arabs how to elect a head of state from among
themselves and how to run their government upon principles of mutual
was Islam that taught the Arabs who never agreed on any form of law to build a
nation based on the rule of one sacred, just, and merciful law. Islam also
taught them that they were all equals before the law and no one even the
daughter of the Prophet was above the law.
was Islam that transformed the intensely militant Arabs from a group of tribes
massacring each other all the time -- to the extent that they had to agree on
four months of peace every year to prevent their whole race from extinction due
to the incessant wars -- into one nation with united tribal armies able to
confront and defeat the armies of the surrounding superpowers: the Byzantines
and the Sassanids.
was Islam that abolished usury from Arabia and taught the Arabs how to make
business transactions justly and fairly without exploitation or abuse.
was Islam that abolished the gruesome habit of female infanticide from Arabia.
was Islam that taught the Arabs that women were full human beings, not mere
chattel, and that they were their sisters in humanity and in faith. It was Islam
that guaranteed for Arabian women their rights to: inheritance, property,
divorce, and independent legal personality.
was Islam that eradicated Alcohol, with all its evils, from Arabia.
was Islam that ended all forms of prostitution, gambling, and intoxicants from
the Arabian society. And it was Islam that opened all doors for freeing slaves.
was Islam that uprooted racism from the Arab mind completely to the extent that
the deeply racist and arrogant Arabs would accept to be soldiers in armies whose
leaders were black Africans.
· And above all, it was Islam that transformed the idolatrous and superstitious Arabs into believers in the One and Only God. It was Islam that transformed them from idol worshippers into a people who stand together in one line in prayer and prostrate their heads to the Almighty.
Arabia before Islam was a society bound by tradition and precedent. Whatever was customary was right and proper. Whatever the forefathers had done deserved to be imitated. Islam rejected this blind faith in tradition. Islam challenged all the customs of the society. Islam questioned all the mores and manners of the Arabs. Islam introduced to them the standards of morality and the fundamentals of right and wrong. Islam taught them how to think critically of everything around them and how to reject the bad habits and keep the good ones. Islam showed them the proper way for peace and happiness in this life and felicity in the next. This was the essence of the revolution that Islam was.
The question that irresistibly comes to the mind is this: that was the past, what about now? Can Islam revolutionize the world today as it did to seventh century Arabia? Is Islam relevant today? Does Islam have anything to offer today's world? Yes, a great deal.
Muslims living in the West, it would be reasonable to focus on what Islam has to
offer to our Western society at the dawn of a new millennium. The West, as the
seventh century Arabia and as any other society for that matter, has its own
virtues as well as vices. Islam can improve and enhance all the virtues while
eliminating -- or, at least, minimizing -- the vices.
a society where alcohol is the number one cause of criminal death and injury;
where alcohol costs billions of dollars each year in medical expenses and
property damage; where alcohol consumption causes the death of hundreds of
thousands of people annually; where alcohol is a major cause of rape and
domestic violence -- Is there any faith more able than Islam to prevent all the
ills of alcohol?
a society still tormented by racial strife; where "black" churches are
continuously fire-bombed by bigots of all kinds; where one rarely sees a black
person in a "white" church or a white person in a "black" church -- Islam has so
much to offer because Islam does not tolerate the very idea of a "black" mosque
or a "white" mosque; Islam obliges believers to stand together in one line,
shoulder to shoulder and foot to foot, and prostrate their foreheads to God so
that they learn they are all humble servants of the Almighty.
a society where violence against women has risen to alarming proportions, where
it is not safe for women to walk alone in the dark, where even institutions of
higher learning have to provide 'walk home service' to protect women on campus
at night -- Islam has much more to contribute than escort services or karate
lessons. Islam does implant modesty and sense of propriety in the minds of the
believers, Islam eradicates vulgarity, Islam eliminates any possibility that men
view women as sex objects.
a society as violent as the United States where some 25000 lives are taken every
year by handguns alone; where 5% of the world population consume 50% of the
world's illegal drugs despite the arrest of some 700,000 drug dealers every
year; where a car is stolen every few seconds; where a woman is raped every few
minutes -- Islam has a lot more to offer than merely putting more cops in the
streets. Islam teaches that prevention is better than cure and that crime can
best be reduced by taking care of the family, the community, and the
neighborhood. Islam attaches great esteem and honor to the role of the mother
because when she takes proper care of her children, the whole society benefits.
Islam reminds the fathers of their duties, encourages the neighbors to take care
of each other's needs, strengthen community bonds, advocates commanding what is
right and forbidding what is wrong instead of apathy and individualism. Islam
always eliminates problems from their roots.
· In a society afflicted with intense individualism, excessive materialism, fierce consumerism, and unabashed sensualism; Islam has the intellectual and the spiritual power required to rectify all the excesses of the society because Islam preaches moderation and balance in all worldly and other-worldly affairs.
The influence of Islam is not limited to the social and moral domains, it extends to the political, economic, legal, cultural, and educational realms as well. Two examples should suffice.
the realm of politics: the egalitarian nature of Islam requires major reforms in
the way democracy is practiced in the society today. As it stands, the existing
democracy is elitist and lopsided in favor of the wealthy, the powerful, and the
special interests.The average person almost has no meaningful say in how things
are run by the elite. This state of affairs falls far short of the ideal of
mutual consultation in all affairs advocated by Islam.
· In the realm of economics: capitalism left unregulated has a tendency to make the rich richer and the poor poorer. In a period of ten years only (1978-1987) the poorest fifth of the American population got 8% poorer while the richest fifth got 13% richer. This is the nature of capitalism; wealth breeds more wealth, sometimes even without any effort or creativity. Islam obliges all rich people to pay part of their wealth annually to the poor so that the wealth gets redistributed in the society in order to protect the poor from perpetual poverty and give them a fair chance to compete in a world dominated by the tyranny of capital.
There is so much in Islam that can truly make the West, and indeed the whole world, a safer, better, and more decent place to live in. Islam is a formidable force with potential great enough to revolutionize the world and radically change the course of history as it once did some 1400 years ago.
The problem is we have got the theory, but we don't have the practitioners. We have the revolution but we do not have the revolutionaries. And as there can be no democracy without democrats, no socialism without socialists, there also can be no Islam without Muslims. Islam is a message that is in constant need for messengers to deliver it to the world. Yes, the Book of God is there, the guidance of the Prophet is there, the testimony of history is there, but where are the Muslims? Where are the messengers? Where are the revolutionaries? They effectively do not exist.
What does exist in the world today is some sort of "de-Islamized" Muslims. People who call themselves Muslims but the Islam they practice is a vague shadow of the Islam described in the magnificent words of the Quran. Muslims of today practice an Islam without spirit, an Islam without a message to humanity, an Islam without a mission, an Islam without ambition... An Islam without identity.
Islam will never revolutionize the world, as it once did, unless there are true Muslims, as they once existed-- Muslims from the inside-out, Muslims in thought and in action, Muslims in theory and in practice, Muslims in private and in public, Muslims in spirit, in intellect, and in emotions.
The road to produce such Muslims is long and hard. It is perhaps more realistic to focus on just one good first step. This first step, I believe, would be to raise a generation of Muslim youth who take great pride in their great faith. A generation of young Muslims whose identity is purely Islamic, a generation of Muslims for whom Islam comes first and everything else - national, ethnic, racial, linguistic identity - comes, at best, a distant second-- a generation that totally believes in what the great khalifa Omar once said, " It is only because of Islam that we gained 'izzah' (honor, dignity, and pride), and if we seek 'izzah' outside of Islam, Allah will humiliate us."
I once had a conversation with a brother who embraced Islam several years ago. I asked him about the things he liked or disliked the most about Islam and Muslims. His answer was, " Everything about Islam is beautiful, but there is one thing I dislike in Muslims...They do not have a great sense of pride in Islam..."
The brother's point is precisely what we need to ingrain in the minds of our new generation: the sense of pride in belonging to Islam -- A pride strong enough to make them declare to the whole world openly and loudly, "We are Muslims, we will plead guilty to that, and we are extremely proud of it."
People Who Think
by A. Abd-Allah
Some people reject God because they can find no evidence for Him which satisfies both their hearts and minds simultaneously. Then there are others who accept God on the basis of emotional or irrational reasons which satisfy their hearts, but leave their minds unsure. These two groups of people have never found a satisfying answer to the question of their relationship with God. Then there are yet others who have found the correct path which God intended for us: to accept Him and His message to us using our minds first and foremost, and the heart follows easily and naturally as a consequence.
Instead of searching for the answer, there are also some people who chose to simply brush the question aside and ignore it unfortunately. This is the easy way out of what appears to be a very difficult, mysterious question which may seem to have no final solution. Most of these people are unaware of a very powerful message which completely and unequivocally establishes the correct path to God. This message squares with both the mind and the heart, and it has no equal since it comes to us straight from God Himself.
The message comes in the form of a book. In fact, God has given us several Books of guidance through the years, but each one was ultimately corrupted and changed by dishonest people. Each Book essentially contained the same fundamental message as the previous Books. Mankind was expected to guard these Books from harm, but unfortunately failed to live up to this expectation. Slowly but surely, each Book was edited and tampered with, destroying its authenticity. This is partly why God kept sending us more revelations.
almost 1400 years ago, God sent us another Book with the same basic message as
the earlier ones, but with a small but very important difference. This time, God
decreed that this Book would be the last Book sent down to us because God would
protect it Himself. Regarding this Final Book, God said,
it is We Ourselves who have bestowed from on high this reminder: and behold, it
is We who shall truly guard it" [Chapter 15, verse 9]
Today, if we compare the 114 chapters in every copy of this Final Book with each other, we will find they match perfectly word for word - from the oldest copies made 1300-plus years ago to the ones printed just a few hours ago. No human hand has changed it.
rational person has every right to be doubtful, of course, if he or she has
never read this book. For such people, here is a small sample of what the Final
Book contains. Suppose we wanted to ask God several questions about Him and
about ourselves. Short of Him speaking to us directly (such a privilege has been
granted to only one person out of all humanity), the Book has the best answers
one can find. It is on the strength of these answers that an honest person may
be struck with the conviction that the Final Book is from none other than God
Almighty. Again, here is only a small part of the information one might find.
1. On The Nature of God
Who is God? God explains in His Final Book that it is quite simply impossible for us to completely understand Him. We cannot pinpoint a definition of the Creator,
"Glory to the Sustainer of the heavens and the earth - the Sustainer, in almightiness enthroned - from all that they may attribute to Him by way of definition" [43:82]
Our inability to completely understand God does not mean that He is completely remote from us. In spite of our limited understanding, we are all quite capable of turning to God, and He is not unaware of our efforts,
"...and unto thy Sustainer turn with love." [94:8]
"Behold, for those who stand in awe of God although He is beyond the reach of their perception, there is forgiveness in store and a great reward" [67:12]
God has not left mankind entirely in the dark regarding His Nature. He refers to Himself by approximately 100 names in various places throughout the Final Book. Each name is a descriptive attribute of God, and they are all meant to help us understand the Creator. To gain this understanding involves simply thinking about God and reflecting on His names, and this type of awareness is a central pillar of faith (i.e. when one actively remembers God and is conscious of Him). A second benefit of these names is that some of them provide mankind with ideals to try to attain. For example, since God is the Most Forgiving, Most Patient, and Most Knowledgeable, we should each strive to be forgiving, patient, and knowledgeable (educated in our case).
Of all His attributes, God emphasizes a single one above all others in His Final Book: that HE IS ONE. God is not two, three, four, or more beings. There is only one deity, and He is God,
is God, Unique
God the Eternal, the Independent.
He begets not, and neither is He begotten.
And there is nothing that could be compared to Him.'" [112:1-4]
In other places of the Final Book, God emphasizes His Greatness and the impossibility of fully grasping Him by using the plural sense of pronouns for Himself - but He is strictly One and Unique with no other partners or deities.
After this aspect of Unity, God chose to emphasize two of His other names more often than the rest in the Final Book: "the Most Merciful, the One who acts Mercifully." In fact, each chapter but one in the whole Book starts with, "In the Name of God, the Most Merciful, the One who Acts Mercifully." These two names cannot be emphasized enough. They are meant to stress we should not let our sins keep us from coming back to God and calling to Him at all times, in joy or sadness. The Creator is more aware of our imperfections than we are, and so when we stumble and feel bad, God is far more likely to be kind than angry.
The Last Messenger and Prophet of God (i.e. the person whom God chose to deliver the Final Book to the rest of mankind) commented on God's mercy by informing us that,
"When God decreed the Creation He pledged Himself by writing in His book which is laid down with Him: `My mercy prevails over my wrath.'" - the Last Messenger
says: I am as My servant thinks I am. I am with Him when He makes mention of Me.
If he makes mention of Me to himself, I make mention of him to Myself; and if he
makes mention of Me in an assembly, I make mention of him in an assembly better
than it. And if he draws near to Me a hand's span, I draw near to him an arm's
length; and if he draws near to Me an arm's length, I draw near to him a
fathom's length. And if he comes to Me walking, I go to him with speed." - the
2. The Nature of Man
Who are we, and what makes us different from all other things? We are creations of God, along with the rest of the universe. We are human beings, all descendants of a common ancestry well known to most of us: Adam and Eve. Humanity, however, is distinct from the rest of the universe in a very fundamental way according to the Final Book,
"Verily, We did offer the trust to the heavens and the earth, and the mountains: but they refused to bear it because they were afraid of it. Yet man took it up - for verily he has always been prone to be most wicked, most foolish." [33:72]
Over the years, many scholars of the Book have tried to understand exactly what God meant by "the trust". The most convincing argument (based on other parts of the Book, and on certain statements of the Last Messenger) is that it refers to our ability to make decisions both freely and intelligently. In other words, our uniqueness as human beings stems from two gifts given to us by God:
· our ability to freely choose between actions (good and evil)
· our ability to intelligently weigh and make those choices
The price of these gifts is a tremendous amount of responsibility on our part; the responsibility not to abuse our gifts by rejecting God or by hurting each other unnecessarily.
The blessings of these two gifts are immeasurable, especially when God reminds us that He could have decided things otherwise by depriving us of either gift,
"Now had it been Our will [that men should not be able to discern between right and wrong], We could surely have deprived them of their sight, so that they would stray forever from the [right] way: for how could they have had insight [into what is true]? And had it been Our will [that they should not be free to choose between right and wrong], We could surely have transformed them [rooted] in their places, so that they would not be able to move forward, and could not turn back." [36:66-67]
However, God did NOT will this, and as a result we are blessed with will and reason. The Final Book clearly warns against abusing these blessings, either by neglecting ourselves when we don't think wisely, or by hurting others when we deny them the right to choose,
"Verily, the vilest of all creatures in the sight of God are those deaf, those dumb ones who do not use their reason." [8:22]
"There shall be no coercion in matters of faith. Distinct has now become the right way from error: hence he who rejects evil and believes in God has indeed taken hold of a support most unfailing, which shall never give way: for God is All-Hearing, All-Knowing." [2:256]
In spite of mankind's free will and reason, God warns us in His Book always to remember that these gifts are limited after all. The Final Word lies with Him in all matters. However, this is not to say that men's destinies are arbitrary - not at all. We are able to make decisions that affect our lives, but at the same time, God is also making decisions about us and for us,
"And had thy Sustainer so willed, all those who live on earth would surely have attained to faith, all of them: do you then think that you could compel people to believe, notwithstanding that no human being can ever attain to faith otherwise than by God's leave, and [that] it is He who lays the loathsome evil [of disbelief] upon those who will not use their reason." [10:99-100]
"...Verily, God does not change men's condition unless they change their inner
3. Free Will and Reason Applied
Has God given mankind a clear path to Him? In essence, every rational reader would like to know if they can trust the authenticity of the Final Book. It is perfectly natural to feel that way; after all, this is the outcome of our God-given gift of reason. However, our own skeptical minds are the keys here: the Final Book, according to God, is addressed to people who think, pure and simple,
"...In this, behold, there are messages indeed for people who think." [39:42]
"Thus clearly do We spell out these messages unto people who use their reason." [30:28]
No one but God can make a human being believe in the Truth of the Final Book, but that human being has to read it with an open mind, applying his or her powers of reason. The price of limited free will is that we must choose to be guided. Those people who do search for the Truth with an open mind and heart may find that the Final Book, while vast, is surprisingly clear,
"Nay, but this [divine writ] consists of messages self-evident in the breasts of those who have been given knowledge - and none could knowingly reject Our messages unless it be such as would do wrong [to themselves]." [29:49]
"This divine writ - let there be no doubt about it - is a guidance for all the God-conscious..." [2:2]
The guidance of the Final Book is available to anyone who goes in search of it,
"[O men!] We have now bestowed upon you from on high a divine writ containing all that you ought to bear in mind: will you not, then, use your reason?" [21:10]
One of the most interesting aspects of the authenticity of the Final Book is the quantity of scientifically accurate statements in it - on subjects not even dreamed of 1300 years ago. A sample of these includes the following:
· a large explosion marking the start of creation (Big Bang) [21:30]
· the initial smokey (nebulous) nature of the skies [41:11]
· the expansion of the universe [51:41]
· the presence of a huge amount of time before mankind appeared [76:1]
· the existence of sun and moon orbits [21;33]
· the finite sun and moon lifetimes [13:2]
· the final destination of the sun (Solar Apex) [36:38]
· the origin of all life based in water [21:30]
In fact, God states that the amazing beauty and intricacy of the natural world around us, as well as our own complex biological makeup, will ultimately lead us to Him as we grow in understanding,
We shall make them fully understand Our messages [through what they perceive] in
the utmost horizons [of the universe] and within themselves, so that it will
become clear unto them this [revelation] is indeed the truth. Is it not enough
that thy Sustainer is witness unto everything?" [41:53]
4. The Presence of Evil
Why does God allow men and women to be hurt? There are some people who use the presence of suffering and evil in this world as grounds to lose hope and perhaps even to reject God. However, according to the Final Book, the limited free will and reason of human beings destroys that argument. We are responsible for what we do, and must bear the consequences - that is the liability or price of freedom. The evil that we do and suffer from is chosen by us and not by God,
"...God wills no wrong to His creation." [3:108]
However, God also guarantees us that aside from our own evil actions and their effects, God Himself will put us through some trials and tribulations here on earth - but the key is they will never be more than we can handle, and they may even be good for us,
"If misfortune touches you [know that] similar misfortune has touched [other] people as well; for it is by turns that We apportion unto men such days [of fortune and misfortune]: and [this] to the end that God might mark out those who have attained to faith, and choose from among you such as [with their lives] bear witness to the truth - since God does not love evildoers - and that God might render pure of all dross those who have attained to faith, and bring to nought those who deny the truth. Do you think that you could enter Paradise unless God takes cognizance of your having striven hard [in His cause], and takes cognizance of your being patient in adversity?" [3:140-142]
"God does not burden any human being with more than he is well able to bear: in his favour shall be whatever good he does, and against him whatever evil he does..." [2:286]
An integral part of our being aware of God is hope and patience in times of hardship. In fact, the loss of hope is actually one of the symptoms of rejection of God,
"[Prophet Abraham] exclaimed, `And who - other than those who have utterly lost their way - could ever abandon the hope of his Sustainer's grace?'" [15:56]
The greatest source of hope is that God shall allow those people who accept Him to enter Paradise and, more importantly, to be close to Him. The Final Book contains many references on Paradise, and also on Hell, the destination of those people who knowingly reject God. Paradise is quite literally a place of indescribable joy, whereas Hell is its indescribable opposite (both places are given only partial descriptions in the Book). While the inhabitants of Paradise are permanent dwellers, the inmates of Hell are not necessarily imprisoned there forever; there are some who shall ultimately be freed,
"[But] verily, as for those who attain to faith and do righteous deeds - the gardens of Paradise will be there to welcome them; therein will they abide, [and] never will they desire any change therefrom." [18:107-108]
"And whoever rebels against God and His Apostle and transgresses His bounds, him will He commit unto fire, therein to abide; and shameful suffering awaits him." [4:14]
"There shall come out of Hell-fire he who has said `There is no deity except God' and who has in his heart goodness weighing a barley-corn; then there shall come out of Hell-fire he who has said `There is no deity except God' and who has in his heart goodness weighing a grain of wheat; then there shall come out of Hell-fire he who has said `There is no deity except God' and who has in his heart goodness weighing an atom." - the Last Messenger
5. This Life and the Next
What is the end to men's lives? There are two parts to men's lives: the part here on earth, and the part in the Hereafter. The dividing line between the two is known as death, followed by the Day of Judgement or Resurrection. As far as death is concerned, everyone must go through it, but on Judgement Day people will be sorted out from each other into different categories,
"Every human being is bound to taste death: but only on the Day of Resurrection will you be requited in full [for what you have done]..." [3:185]
Resurrection Day will actually be a huge period of time (not a regular 24-hour
day) in which every single human will be resurrected and judged by God on his or
her beliefs and deeds. No human being - not even any Prophet - knows when this
Day will come, for this is knowledge known only to God. The Final Book does
describe it in several passages as a giant disaster on many scales (physical and
ecological among others), and the Last Messenger was told of some of its
foreshadowing signs which he communicated to us.
6. Messengers and Prophets
Who delivered God's Message to mankind? God has sent us many `reminders' of Him and of our obligations to Him over the centuries, culminating in the Final Book almost 1400 years ago. Every one of those `reminders' was delivered to us via a selected human being, one who was strong enough to deliver God's message to his people. These human beings are called the Prophets. They were not supernatural or immortal or different in any way from other human beings except that they were entrusted by God to speak in His Name,
"For [even] before thy time, [O Prophet], we never sent [as Our messengers] any but [mortal] men, whom We inspired - hence [tell the deniers of the truth] `If you do not know this, ask the followers of earlier revelation' - and neither did We endow them with bodies that ate no food, nor were they immortal." [21:7-8]
Some of the Prophets were allowed to perform supernatural miracles but only with God's permission (i.e. if He willed it). However, the Final Book stresses that every Prophet is no more than a servant of God - they do not have a share in His Divinity.
also a small group of Prophets who were also Messengers. Every Prophet has
called his people to the Truth, but Messengers were additionally given a
rejuvenated Message from God to convey. Every Messenger is a Prophet, but not
every Prophet is a Messenger. There have been many Prophets, of which here are
the names of a few mentioned in the Book: Adam, Noah, Abraham, Lot, Ishmael,
Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Aaron, Elijah, Elias, David, Solomon, Jonah, Job,
Zacharias, John, Jesus, and, of course, the Last Messenger.
7. Eternal Salvation
Are certain people arbitrarily guaranteed the Favor of God, while others are excluded? The Mercy of God is not restricted arbitrarily to any one peoples. Everyone and anyone is free to accept the path to God using their own free will and reason,
"And they claim, `None shall ever enter Paradise unless he be a Jew' - or `a Christian'. Such are their wishful beliefs! Say [to them, O Prophet]: `Produce an evidence for what you are claiming, if what you say is true!' Yea, indeed: everyone who surrenders his whole being unto God, and is a doer of good, shall have his reward with his Sustainer, and all such need have no fear, and neither shall they grieve." [2:111-112]
The consequence of this is responsibility - everyone will be held accountable on the Day of Judgement. Some of us may be uncomfortable with this, but it is simply the price of freedom,
"It may not accord with your wishful thinking - nor with the wishful thinking of the followers of earlier revelation - [that] he who does evil shall be requited for it, and shall find none to protect him from God, and none to bring him succor, whereas anyone - be it man or woman - who does good deeds and is a believer, shall enter paradise, and shall not be wronged by as much as [would fill] the groove of a date-stone." [4:123-124]
8. Forgiveness of God
If we sin, what should we expect from God? If we subsequently feel guilty and repent after doing something evil, God wants us to expect Him to be forgiving, forgiving, and more forgiving. However, there is one sin which God will not forgive: worshipping anything besides Him (unless the person realizes his or her error and returns to worshipping the One God),
"Verily God does not forgive the ascribing of divinity to anything beside Him, although He forgives any lesser sin to whomever He wills: for he who ascribes divinity to anything beside God has indeed contrived an awesome sin." [4:48]
"Say, `O you servants of Mine who have transgressed against your own selves! Despair not of God's Mercy: behold, God forgives all sins - for verily, He alone is much-forgiving, a dispenser of grace.'" [39:53]
Again, the most common phrase in the Final Book is "In the Name of God, the Most Merciful, the One who Acts Mercifully."
The Last Messenger commented on God's forgiveness on many occasions as in the following case,
"God has said, `O son of Adam, so long as you call upon Me and ask of Me, I shall forgive you for what you have done, and I shall not mind. O son of Adam, were your sins to reach the clouds of the sky and were you then to ask forgiveness of Me, I would forgive you. O son of Adam, were you to come to Me with sins nearly as great as the earth and were you then to face Me, ascribing no partner to Me, I would bring you forgiveness nearly as great as it [i.e. the earth]'". - the Last Messenger
9. The Straight Way
What is the name for the way of life described in the Final Book? It is Islam, and it means "self-surrender [to God]". Any man or woman who accepts Islam is a Muslim. The Final Book is called the Qur'an (meaning "the Recitation"), and it is addressed to all of mankind in spite of being revealed in Arabic, the language of its Messenger and his people: Muhammad bin Abd-Allah. Muhammad is the Last Prophet and Messenger of God as the Qur'an says,
"[And know, O believers, that] Muhammad is not the father of any one of your men, but is God's Apostle and the Seal of all the Prophets..." [33:40]
And God has revealed to us His proper name, and it is ALLAH.
The Qur'an contains a great deal of guidance and information for anyone looking for final answers. The information given in this small essay is only the tip of the tip of the iceberg. There is no substitute for reading the Qur'an itself in its entirety - it is the closest we can come to having God speak to us directly and personally here on Earth. The Qur'an answers many questions which are commonly asked by today's men and women. Its scope is wide: from fundamental issues such as the nature of the Creator and mankind's limited free will and reason, to the more mundane such as marriage laws and whom to give charity to. Islam as described in the Qur'an is vastly and almost completely different than Islam as understood by most non-Muslims and even a few Muslims. The negative image of Islam today is an incredibly misleading deception. It is based on the moral weakness of some people who claim to be Muslims, and also on the unawareness of non-Muslims. Behind this image is the presence of a Truth which answers the fundamental questions we have, and which can reunite us with God. It is there for us to listen to, or to ignore.
And Allah Knows Best.
"And [know that] We have not created the heavens and the earth and all that is between them in mere idle play..." [21:16]
"Will they not, then, try to understand this Qur'an? Had it issued from any but God, they would surely have found in it many an inner contradiction!" [4:82]
"We did not bestow the Qur'an on thee from on high to make thee unhappy." [20:2]
"[O men!] We have now bestowed upon you from on high a divine writ containing all that you ought to bear in mind: will you not, then, use your reason?" [21:10]
"...so remember Me, and I shall remember you; and be grateful to Me, and deny Me not." [2:152]
"Verily, those who attain to faith and do righteous deeds will the Most Gracious endow with love." [19:96]
"Say [O Prophet]: `If you love God, follow me, [and] God will love you and forgive you your sins; for God is much-forgiving, a dispenser of grace.'" [3:31]
"Say: `If all the sea were ink for my Sustainer's words, the sea would indeed be exhausted ere my Sustainer's words are exhausted! And [thus it would be] if we were to add to it sea upon sea.'" [18:109]
is your Birthright!
WAMY Series on Islam No. 14
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.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------THE FIVE PILLARS OF ISLAM
In Islam, the term "worship" covers any action that one does in accordance with the will of Allah. It can be mental, physical, spoken, or otherwise. All such actions will be rewarded.
There are five acts of
worship that are so fundamental that the Prophet grouped them together as the
five pillars of Islam. Every Muslim is expected to fulfill these obligations.
THE DECLARATION OF MONOTHEISM:
Recognizing and acknowledging the monotheistic nature of Allah stands at the core of Islam. This consists of a public affirmation that "there is no god but Allah (God), and Muhammad is His Messenger." One cannot be a Muslim until he states this fact in the presence of Muslim witnesses.
A Muslim must perform the five daily prayers. These must be performed at specific times, corresponding roughly with dawn, noon, afternoon, sunset, and nightfall. The prayers can be made in any clean place, but it is preferable to pray them with others in a mosque, for this communal undertaking acts as a reminder that all Muslims are equal. When many people are praying together, it becomes clear that color, economic status, social position, and all other artificial distinctions have no importance to Allah, for all Muslims are commanded to stand together, shoulder to shoulder, and prostrate themselves before Him. There are no exceptions. Prayers also elevated the individual to a higher level of morality, purifies his heart, and helps him to resist his desire to engage in forbidden activities.
FASTING THE MONTH OF RAMADAN:
Every year during the Muslim month of Ramadan, Muslims abstain from food, drink, and sexual activity from dawn to sunset. While this gives the body a much needed rest and improves ones health by getting rid of excess weight, it also increases ones commitment to Allah, develops his social conscience, and reminds him of how the less fortunate live every day In addition, it strengthens one's patience, self-restraint, will power, and sincerity.
Every Muslim whose net annual savings are above a certain specified minimum must pay an annual amount of 2.5% to the poor and needy This action purifies one's accrued wealth, fosters the quality of sacrifice, and rids him of selfishness and greed. It also helps to reduce resentment and envy between a society's poor and rich classes.
HAJJ (Pilgrimage to Makkah):
Hajj is an act of worship
that is to be performed at least once in a lifetime, provided that one is
physically and financially able to do so. During this time, Muslims meet from
all corners of the world in an international congregation for the sole purpose
of responding to the call of Allah. It also reminds the participants that all
Muslims are equal, irrespective of their geographical, cultural, or racial
All Muslims believe in:
Islam does not divide life
into "spiritual" and "secular" realms. As all of life is thus unified and
interconnected, Islam avoids the dangers of the extreme ritualism, secularism,
or materialism that is found in other civilizations. Activities are not
classified as belonging to the state or the individual, religion or daily life,
but as belonging to Allah alone, Who has provided guidelines for individuals.
These are to be followed in every aspect of their lives: individual, social,
governmental, political, economical, spiritual, and otherwise Reflecting this
moderation, the Qur'an has entitled the Muslims the "moderate nation. "
The Islamic way of life is based on the teachings and laws found in the Qur'an and the example (Sunnah) of the Prophet Muhammad.
The Qur'an is the word of Allah and was revealed in potions to Muhammad, via the Angel Gabriel, over a twenty-three year period. Each portion was recorded in writing by his official scribes and memorized by thousands of his followers. After his death, the written collection was given to Abu Bark, the first caliph, who oversaw its collection into one volume. The third caliph, Uthman, prepared several copies and sent them to different Muslim territories. Ever since that time, the same version has been used by Muslims. The wording, order, and language have never been altered in the slightest manner. No other book claiming to be a divine revelation can make this claim, and no one has ever been able to refute the claim of the Qur'an to complete authenticity
The Sunnah consists of the
teachings, sayings, and actions of Prophet Muhammad. This information was
meticulously reported and collected by his Companions. It is essentially an
elaboration of the Qur'anic verses that shows how they are to be implemented in
one's daily life.
Islam recognizes no
man-made artificial distinctions based on color, tribe, race, nationality, or
otherwise. As all people come from the original couple-Adam and Eve-they are all
one family and therefore equal before God. What distinguishes people from each
other is their commitment to Islam: "The most honored in the sight of Allah is
(he who is) most righteous." (Qur'an 3:86).
Islam states clearly that
everyone is born a Muslim and is therefore monotheistic by nature. We read in
the Qur'an that humanity has been created with the natural disposition towards
the unity of God. This is to be expected, for Allah, who has breathed His spirit
into each of us, is Himself the example of perfect unity. In the words of the
Prophet Muhammad: "Every person is born with the innate religious faith (to
submit to God Almighty)." Thus when an individual accepts Islam, he is not
turning his back on any prior revelation but rather is returning to the original
and true revelation of Allah and to his own nature as a creation of Allah. This
being the case, Islam is your birthright-other religious or ideological systems
are either corruptions our outright denials of Islam.
How do you know if your
belief system is true? Take a moment to look at the following list:
Islam is not a new religion founded by Muhammad, but a final restatement of the original revelation that has been conveyed to humanity by messengers and prophets sent by Allah for that very purpose: "This day I have perfected your religion for you, completed My favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion" (5:3). As the Qur'an is the final revelation and Muhammad is the final prophet, humanity is obligated to accept it: "If anyone desires a religion other than Islam, never will it be accepted of him; and in the Hereafter he will be in the ranks of those who have lost all spiritual good" (3:86).
you afraid to become a muslim?
The Personal thoughts of Kian Yit of Malaysia
I have done a research about why Islam is not acceptable to some people and I found out that it's because they fear........
· Losing their culture
· Don't know how to speak Arabic
· Pressure from parents, friends and society
· Praying 5 times a day
· Changing their ways
Losing Your Culture
It's not true that you'll lose your culture. Lots of people misunderstand this. In the West, it is thought that when somebody becomes a muslim, he becomes an Arab too. In Malaysia, which is my country, when somebody becomes a muslim, people think that he becomes a Malay just because majority of the muslims in Malaysia are Malays.
This confusion is only brought up by narrow minded people who don't understand. Allah has made us to many races, many cultures and many languages too. It is one of the beauty of the many creations of Allah that we have our own culture and we should appreciate it.
Similarly, we shouldn't be selfish of our own culture. We should share it between our muslim brothers and sisters. Islam is a religion, not a race. An English parent would give birth to an English child, but a muslim parent might not give birth to a muslim child.
This is something which people shouldn't worry or get scared about. This is only an optional choice which you can decide later on. Circumcision does not make somebody a muslim, neither does it make somebody a non muslim. It is only a procedure of cleanliness which you right want to do to keep yourself clean.
It is stated in the hadith, sahih Muslim, it is a fitrah, meaning practice of the prophet. There is no compulsion to circumcision. Majority of the muslims are circumcised. However, I noticed that there are some muslims who are not circumcised too.
When a man urinates, some of the urine gets trapped on the foreskin. It is his duty to clean it with water. The foreskin traps smega, which is a smelly chesse-like substance on the foreskin. If it is left like that, infection will occur, thus making the foreskin swollen.
You must understand that Islam stresses on cleanliness and circumcision is one of the ways to preserve cleanliness. But if you can make sure your foreskin is clean by frequent washing, then circumcision is not necessary for you.
I noticed that some people don't want to be muslims because they fear circumcision. If that is the case, you have nothing to worry about, you can still be a muslim uncircumcised, no problem at all. Circumcision is only to be done for boys before the age of puberty anyway! After reading many articles, medical journals and after doing some research, I noticed that there are some bad points as well as good points to circumcision too. Therefore, I decided to stand neutral on this topic, meaning I neither support nor condemn it. I would say that this is a personal choice. Think carefully before you decide. May Allah help you choose.
more articles about how circumcision
prevents AIDS and other general medical
benefits of circumcision, if you would like to read it.
You Don't Know How To Speak Arabic
You don't have to worry about that. The Arabic language has been chosen as the International language for muslims. The original form of the Quran to the humans on this earth is Arabic. So, we need to learn it in order to understand and appreciate it. It so happened that Allah chose an Arab leader, our beloved prophet Mohammed SAW to begin the mission or conveying the message of Islam to mankind. Perhaps, it's because the Arabs are hard headed people and Allah wanted to improve them. If you notice, Moses and Jesus' mission was to spread the religion to the Israelites. Islam at that time was in a different form and name and therefore, it was incomplete. It was only during the prophet's time where Allah announced that on that very day, Allah has completed the religion for mankind.
Translations of the Quran and other Islamic books can be found in abundance all over the world.
Pressure From Parents, Friends and Society
Pressure is very normal but what we really want is the truth. There are lots of challenges in our lives. Lots of people want us to follow their ways, may it be good or bad. But the main thing we must realise that we are living for our own lives. If we do anything wrong, it is us that will suffer, not anybody else. So, it is most important that you make your own decision. If you make the correct decision, in the end, it will be you who benefit from it. Take it slowly, one at a time. You don't have to tell anybody that you are a muslim if the situation is bad. Why get yourself into so much trouble? Why tell your parents when you are still young and under their financial support and get yourself scolded badly left and right? That's not all. Words will travel to your relatives too and your relatives too will make you suffer. Allah gave us brains to think. Make use of it.
There is a reason to everything, similarly, there is a purpose for fasting. Look at the poor people. They fast even more often than us. We have a comfortable house to live in. Whenever we want food, we can easily go out to the shops to buy some. Allah wants us to feel how to poor people feel and suffer like how they suffer. You are allowed to eat when the sun is still down. But when the sun rises, you'll have to stop eating, stop smoking and also refrain from having sex till the sun is down again. It is not difficult to do so and this is only for one month. Is it too much to ask?
The poor people are forced to do it for all their lives. Then we'll know how lucky we are to live a comfortable live and our duty next is to help the poor.
Another explanation for this is that fasting is a very healthy practice. Our stomach has been working for 24 hours a day non stop every year. So, it's time to give it a rest. Besides, it'll help us slim down a bit too if we are overweight.
Islam is liberal. Travellers, the sick and pregnant women are not expected to fast. They can replace the fast when they are prepared to fast.
Praying 5 Times A Day
How would you feel if you have been invited by the ruler of your country to see him just once in your lifetime, because he wants to listen to you and solve your problems? You'll feel honoured and great, right? But this is different.
The Creator of the universe wants to see you! He's asking you to approach Him 5 times a day, to talk to him, so that He can help you in your life, insha-Allah. Isn't that marvellous?
As for me, the ruler of my country has never asked me to approach him before. Who am I anyway? I don't have a high status, neither am I rich. But look, what has the Creator of the universe has invited me to do. Praying 5 times a day is not taxing. Once you are used to it, you'll enjoy doing it. You should know why you are praying and the meaning words which you say, then only you'll appreciate the very essence of prayer.
Changing Their Ways
We must not be afraid to change whatever we have done wrong. Allah is merciful. He forgives as long as you sincerely repent and make sure never to repeat the same mistakes again. Allah won't punish somebody who realize that he has done wrong about something and decides to return to the true path.
This problem usually happens to people with high status, especially teachers of religious schools. Some of them think that if they suddenly tell people that they have done wrong, and tell them the correct thing, people will look down at them, and will ask them what they have been doing all this while. This action of admitting your mistakes is not shameful but rather honourable. We are human and it's only human nature to make mistakes. But it is our responsibility to check on ourselves and also help other people check on themselves and correct them if necessary.