Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Tolerance of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)

Many mistakenly believe that Islam does not tolerate the existence of other religions present in the world. This article discusses some of the foundations the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) himself laid in dealing with people of other faiths, with practical examples from his lifetime.
There are examples in the life of the Prophet in which he cooperated with people of other faiths in the political arena. He selected a non-Muslim, Amr-ibn Umaiyah-ad-Damri, as an ambassador to be sent to Negus, the King of Ethiopia.

These are only some of the examples of the Prophet’s tolerance of other faiths. Islam recognises that there are a plurality of religions on this earth, and gives the right to individuals to choose the path which they believe to be true. Religion is not to be, and was never, forced upon an individual against their own will.
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Thursday, December 20, 2007

Helping Others

Inspirational story regarding Helping Others:

"May I never get too busy in my own Affairs"

It was a bitter, cold evening. The old man's beard was glazed by winter's frost while he waited for a ride across the river. The wait seemed endless. His body became numb and stiff from the frigid north wind. He heard the faint, steady rhythm of approaching hooves galloping along the frozen path.

Anxiously, he watched as several horsemen rounded the bend. He let the first one pass by without an effort to get his attention. Then another passed by... and another. Finally, the last rider neared the spot where the old man sat like a snow statue.

As this one drew near, the old man caught the rider's eye and said, "Sir, would you mind giving an old man a ride to the other side? There doesn't appear to be a passageway by foot."

Reining his horse, the rider replied, "Sure thing. Hop aboard."

Seeing the old man was unable to lift his half-frozen body from the ground, the horseman dismounted and helped the old man onto the horse. The horseman took the old man not just across the river, but to his destination, which was just a few miles away.
As they neared the tiny but cozy cottage, the horseman's curiosity caused him to inquire, "Sir, I notice that you let several other riders pass by without making an effort to secure a ride. Then I came up and you immediately asked me for a ride. I'm curious why, on such a bitter winter night; you would wait and ask the last rider. What if I had refused and left you there?"

The old man lowered himself slowly down from the horse, looked the rider straight in the eyes, and replied, "I've been around here for some time. I reckon I know people pretty good."

The old-timer continued, "I looked into the eyes of the other riders and immediately saw there was no concern for my situation. It would have been useless even to ask them for a ride.

But when I looked into your eyes, kindness and compassion were evident. I knew, then and there, that your gentle spirit would welcome the opportunity to give me assistance in my time of need."

Those heartwarming comments touched the horseman deeply.

Moral to learn from Inspirational Story:

"I'm most grateful for what you have said," he told the old man. "May I never get too busy in my own affairs that I fail to respond to the needs of others with kindness and compassion."

Ya Allah, Make me among those about whom the Holy Quran has said: "And they give them preference over their own selves even though they are in need". (Hashr 59:9)

Eid-ul-Adha Mubarak

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Who is Responsible?

An article by Hafeeza Kashif, United Mothers for Moral Excellence (with some minor changes)

It has been said, "The duty of the civilized person is to bring civilization to the uncivilized." This is a Nobel calling of men and women who have accepted this responsibility assigned to them by God. Given the prevalent corruption in society today, the question that must be addressed is "Who is Responsible?"

In the Qur’an, Allah (SWT)clearly defines these "responsible" persons. In Surah Ali-Imaran, He says "Let there arise out of you a band of people, inviting to all that is good, enjoining what is right, and forbidding what is wrong; They are the ones to attain felicity."

Today however, we find that most of mankind has lost all sense of responsibility. Very few people are willing to take responsibility for anything. We may recall that our ancestors, Adam and Hawa (Eve) were warned about this while they enjoyed the fruits of the Garden: "O Adam" God said," Verily, this is an enemy to thee and to thy wife: so let him not get you both out of the Garden so that thou art landed in misery." (Ta Ha: 20:P117)

Despite this warning, Adam and his wife succumbed to the whispers of Satan.

Will this be our fate? We must establish "Taqwa" (God consciousness) within ourselves. Allah (SWT) created us to be the Khalifa or Vicegerent on earth. He made us the most intelligent among His Creation. Man is seen as the "crown of creation." He gave us responsibility (to be a witness) to mankind.

Let us review and re-evaluate ourselves. Each of us has a responsibility to Allah's creatures and creation. We share responsibilities with each other. The husband to the wife, the wife to the husband; parents to children and children to parents, etc. We also have responsibility to our neighbours and to society, even to the animals and to the plants. Every day we see these inanimate objects carrying out their responsibility to mankind in providing necessary life-giving resources for all and sundry.

How can we reverse the trend of irresponsibility among the human family? We might begin with the basic principles of faith: Belief in One god, establishment of salat, Charity, Fasting (for purification of our souls) and Pilgrimage (reflecting unity of mankind). These principles apply to all and embody such noble attributes as truthfulness, honesty, loyalty, justice, beneficence, peace, forgiveness and repentance.

Have we lost sensitivity toward others? We might begin by making an effort to take others "feelings," into consideration as we dialogue with them. We need to seek reconciliation, even with ourselves. Many of us have lost touch with the truth of our being. In this, we need to earnestly seek the help of Allah (SWT). It is He who invites us to accept His intervention.

We must shake off the shackles of Satan and reclaim the One God, Allah (SWT). He has given us our very being and yet many of us have given in to the evils of society. We must reconnect ourselves to Allah (SWT). "There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is His Messenger."

Let us give our children a good life. Let us teach them the right way. The Qur’an and ahadith is just the first step. We must emphasize "amal" (work), the practical side of life. "Action! Let us ask, who put the gambling dices in the hands of our children; who put guns in their hands? Did we truly speak out? Who allowed the secular society to take God out of the classrooms? Did we stand by while this was happening? Were we conscious of such activity, were we alert, were we aware?

Who is responsible? How did we let these low despicable values and immorality creep into our society and into our lives? Did we stand by? What about the thievery, the killing and the pornography? Have we really spoken out? Have we submitted our weakness to a false god of materialism, wealth, children, sport, play, etc.

Who can we blame? Why have so many facets of evil crept into society? Think, children killing children, children killing parents, husbands and wives killing each other, and on infinitum and we don't want to be responsible!

Allah (SWT) asks in the Quran: "Has not the Time arrived for the believers that their hearts in all humility should engage in the remembrance of Allah (SWT) and of the Truth which has been revealed (to them), and that they should not become like those to whom was given Revelation aforetime, but long ages passed over them and their hearts grew hard? For many among them are the rebellious transgressors. (Q57:16)

Where do we begin? We must begin with ourselves. Then Allah (SWT) tells us that He has created everything in pairs: "He is the Creator of the heavens and the earth: He has made for you pairs from among yourselves, and pairs among cattle: by this means does He multiplies you: there is nothing whatever like unto Him, and He is the One that hears and sees (all things)." (Q42:11)

He also said: "It is He Who has created man from water: then has He established relationships of lineage and marriage: for thy Lord has power over all thing." Q35:54

Can't we all agree that the family is the basis of all civilization? Thus proper family structure brings the right of the husbands, wives, children and relatives into a fine equilibrium.

This nourishes unselfish behaviour, generosity and love in the framework of an well-organized family system. The peace and security that is offered by a stable family unit is essential for both spiritual and societal growth. Home is where it begins!

In a lecture on this subject, Imam W. Deen Mohammed explained: "You have health care and hospitals, but the first health care center was in the home. The first store was in the home. The first government was in the home. The first governmental order was in the home. The first school was in the home. The first bank was in the home. The first transportation was home." He concluded, saying, "if the home is run well, society does not have to worry."

So the home is where the responsibility begins. Strong mothers are needed in the home and the home-extended. The Prophet (SAW) said that "Paradise is at the foot of the mother." Thus "responsible" wives and mothers have a mandate and so do the "responsible" husbands and fathers. Together they have the ultimate mandate to restore civilization to the world.


Thursday, December 06, 2007

The Goals of Da'wah

Following article received via e-mail from Brother Muhammad Rizwan Talib:

It is necessary that we Muslims have a clear understanding of the primary goals of da'wah, in order to direct our efforts toward the correct ends and achieve the intended effect.

We must know what specifically we intend to bring about and accomplish by making da'wah. Otherwise, we are likely to fail in ascertaining the priorities that are necessary for achieving what Allah Ta'aala wants from us by calling people to Him.

A clear formulation of the aims of da'wah can be summarized as follows:

1) To guide people to the religion of Allah Ta'aala.
2) To establish evidence against those who decline from, or oppose the religion.
3) To discharge the duty enjoined on us, the Muslims, by Allah Ta'aala.
4) To exalt the word of Allah Ta'aala on earth.

1) The first objective, of guiding people to Allah’s religion and establishing worship of Allah Ta'aala alone, was the primary task of the Prophets and Messengers. The Prophets were calling people to the realization and fulfillment of the purpose of creation, which is worship of their Creator.
Worship can be defined as: "everything that Allah Ta'aala loves and approves of from the apparent, and hidden sayings and deeds." [Ibn Taymeeyah]

The Qur'an makes it clear that worship is the specific reason why Allah Ta'aala created all that exists, animate or inanimate.

"And I created not the Jinns and men except that they may worship Me (Alone)."
[al-Qur’aan, adh-Dhaariyaat(51):56]

"There is not a thing but glorifies His praise. But you understand not that glorification."
[al-Qur’aan, al-Israa’(17):44]

The aim of Muslims in da'wah is the same, calling all of mankind to worship of Allah alone and submission to Him according to the Deen that He chose for His Prophets to convey. At the same time, it must be realized that the actual results of our efforts in guiding people to Allah’s religion are not in our hands, as it is only Allah Subhannah wa Ta'aala Who guides.

Even the Prophet himself (salallaahu 'alayhee wa sallam), was unable to guide his uncle Abu Taalib, about which Allah Ta'aala said:

"Verily you (O Muhammad) guide not whom you like, but Allah guides whom He wills.
And he knows best those who are guided."
[al-Qur’aan, al-Qasas(28):56]

2) Establishing Allah’s proof against the disbelievers and the rebellious is the second goal of da'wah, and is achieved by our relating the message in a proper way. Our success in this regard does not depend on whether Allah Ta'aala guides those whom we call or not.

The Prophets themselves were sent as warners to the mankind, having as their duty only to convey the message and explain the obligations of the people towards their Creator, and to warn of a severe torment for those who rejected the message.

Disbelievers are thus left with no excuse that can justify their disobedience to Allah Ta'aala.
These concepts are explained in the following Qur'anic verses:

"Messengers are bearers of good news as well as warning in order that mankind should
have no plea against Allah after the Messengers. And Allah is All-Powerful, All-Wise."
[al-Qur’aan, an-Nisaa’(4):165]

"Say: Obey Allah and obey the Messenger, but if you turn away, he is only
responsible for the duty placed on him (to convey the Message) and you for that
placed on you. If you obey him, you shall be on the right guidance. The
Messenger’s duty is only to convey [the Message] in a clear way."

Calling to Allah Ta'aala will therefore leave those who disbelieve without an excuse before Allah on the Day of Judgment, in case they do not respond to the call of the Messengers.

- Calling is our role, and responding is theirs.
"Say (O Muhammad, to the disbelievers): My Lord pays attention to you only
because of your invocation to Him. But now you have indeed denied (Him).
So the torment will be yours forever."
[al-Qur’aan, al-Furqaan(25):77]

3) The third goal of da'wah is to fulfill our duty of calling people to Allah Subhannah wa Ta'aala. Our duty is only to convey the message, so our success in realising this goal is also not dependent on the response of those that we are calling.

Allah Ta'aala says to the Messenger (salallaahu 'alayhee wa sallam) in several places in the Qur'an:

"Your duty is to convey the Message."
[al-Qur’aan, Ash-Shooraa(42):48]

"The Messenger’s duty is but to convey the Message."
[al-Qur’aan, al-Maai`dah(5):99]

"Whether we show you (O Muhammad) part of what We have promised them or cause you to die, your duty is only to convey (the Message) and unto Us is the reckoning."
[al-Qur’aan, ar-Ra`d(13):40]

Releasing ourselves from the duty of da'wah enjoined upon us by Allah Ta'aala is of particular relevance to those Muslims living in non-Muslim lands, as engaging in da'wah would, insha' Allah, justify their staying amongst the disbelievers.

The Prophet (salallaahu 'alayhee wa sallam) has also explained that fulfilling our obligations can provide us an excuse before Allah Ta'aala, otherwise we are bound to perish:

"The people will not perish until they have no excuse left for themselves."
[Authentic Hadeeth]

4) The fourth goal is establishing a Muslim nation and making the word of Allah Ta'aala dominant on earth. Allah Ta'aala explains in the Qur'an:

"It is He Who has sent His Messenger (Muhammad) with Guidance and the Religion of Truth, that He may make it (Islam) superior over all religions. And All-Sufficient is Allah as a Witness."
[al-Qur’aan, al-Fath(48):28]

Allah Ta'aala also says in the Qur'an:

"He it is Who sent among the unlettered ones a Messenger (Muhammad) from among themselves, purifying them, and teaching them the Book (the Qur'an), and Al-Hikmah (Sunnah). And verily, they had been before in manifest error."
[al-Qur’aan, al-Jumu`ah(62):2]

The Messenger of Allah (salallaahu 'alayhee wa sallam) and the Sahaabah established an Islamic society here on earth. Therefore, our aim in da'wah should also be to create a strong Muslim society that would exalt Allah’s word in this world. This goal, like the first one, is dependent on the response of those we are calling and is therefore in Allah’s Hands. However, Allah Ta'aala has promised to Muslims that He will establish them on earth if they believe and do righteous deeds:

"Allah has promised those among you who believe, and do righteous good deeds,
that He will certainly grant them succession to (the present rulers) in the earth,
as He granted it to those before them, and that He will grant them the authority to
practice their religion, that which He has chosen for them (i.e. Islam).
And He will surely give them in exchange a safe security after their fear (provided)
they (believers) worship Me and do not associate anything (in worship) with Me.
But whoever disbelieved after this, they are the Faasiqoon (rebellious, disobedient to Allah)."
[al-Qur’aan, an-Noor(24):55]

The Messenger of Allah, Muhammad (sallallahu alaihi wa-allehe wa-sallam) said
"Pass on knowledge from me even if it is only one verse"
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