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DR. ARAFAT EL-ASHI
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Preface I - ISLAM & SOCIETY 1. Women In Islam 2. Marriage and Divorce In Islam 3. Can Muslims Live Among Non-Muslims? 4. Rights of Brotherhood In Islam 5. Family Relationships In Islam 6. Kindness to Parents 7. Questions and Answers on Polygamy In Islam 8. Visiting the Sick II - ISLAMIC TEACHINGS 9. Islam In a Nutshell 10. Questions & Answers on Islam 11. Funerals In Islam 12. Fasting In Islam 13. D’ont Reject H A J J 14. Islam: Message of Hope 15. Recommended Prostrations on Reciting the Quran 16. Man and Miracles 17. Islam & Magic 18. Who Is Light? 19. Islam and the Environment 20. Good Conduct In Islam 21. Finality of Prophethood 22. Who will go to Heaven? 23. Islam’s Perspective on Life and Death 24. Fear and Love of God 25. Islam: The Religion of Moderation 26. A Supplication
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III - DISTORTIONS ON ISLAM 27. Is Satan the Author of the Qur’an? 28. Islam and Circumcision 29. Punishment of Theft In Islam 30. Islam & Cremation 31. Islam and Abortion 32. Islam and Adoption 33. Islam and Homosexuals 34. Islam and Drug Addiction 35. Islam vs. Terrorism 36. Islam and Racism IV - COMPARATIVE STUDIES 37. What They Say About Jesus Christ 38. A Dialogue With a Christian Priest - Part One 39. A Dialogue With a Christian Priest - Part Two 40. A Dialogue on the Internet V - MISCELLANEOUS 41. Do Muslims Worship the Moon? 42. A Brief History of Palestine
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Several questions are asked today about the position of Islam concerning certain issues. Many people volunteer to provide answers. It, however, happens, sometimes, that either the answers are confusing or they are incomplete. This, in fact, encouraged us to tackle such issues. We first published our contribution in flyers form. This book contains a collection of such flyers dealing with hot issues that require Islam’s position on them. The said flyers have been printed over and over again and were distributed far and wide. This book is not intended to take the place of the flyers which hopefully will continue to be available for their readers. If we succeeded in portraying the true image of Islam, then this is from Allah Almighty; otherwise mistakes are ours and we always stand to be corrected. Dr. Arafat El-Ashi
I - Islam & Society
12345678Women In Islam Marriage and Divorce In Islam Can Muslims Live Among Non-Muslims? Rights of Brotherhood In Islam Family Relationships In Islam Kindness to Parents Questions and Answers on Polygamy In Islam Visiting the Sick
WOMEN IN ISLAM
of the main areas where Islam is most maligned is the area of women. The opponents of Islam claim that Islam segregates against women, that it depreciates them and deals with them unjustly. Is it true that the status of women in Islam is much inferior to that of men? How does Islam look at women? Is it true that women are next only to slaves and minors under the banner of Islam? Does Islam uphold a policy of isolating women and depriving them of all rights of a human being? Is it true that under Islam women suffered from negligence, ignorance, and absolute isolation? Does Islam favor men and prefer them to women? In this chapter "Women in Islam" we shall discuss all these and other related issues. We shall see how the Quran, the Holy Book of Islam, looks at women. This last scripture of God states very clearly that God has created men and women from the same source, and that they are equal couples that complement each other so that happy life is unimaginable for one of them without the other. To start with, the Holy Quran states very clearly that men and women are absolutely equal in humanity. It declares: "O mankind! We have created you from a single pair of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes so that you may know each other" (49-13). In another verse the Quran says: "O mankind! Fear your Guardian Lord who created you from a single person, created his mate of like nature and from them both scattered countless men and women" (41). At a time when the whole world questioned the humanity of women and some people confirmed that they are creatures without souls, and if they have souls they must be akin to those of devils, Islam declared the full humanity of women. Islam honors women in all their capacities as mothers, sisters, wives, and daughters. As mothers, Islam confirms that Paradise is under the feet of mothers. This means that the only gate to Paradise and to the pleasure of God, for that matter, is through gaining the pleasure and satisfaction of
mothers. This is the meaning of one tradition of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him. Not only this but in another tradition, Prophet Muhammad p.b.u.h. says that he who brings up three daughters and educates them well, his reward will be Paradise. The Prophet was asked: suppose they were only two daughters, he said yes even if it was only one daughter. Thus Islam does not deprive women of any of their rights. As a matter of fact, it was only under Islam that women restored their full humanity. It was under this religion that women regained their rights to life, education, and property. Islam produced the most honorable examples of women that can be leaders of women liberation even for the fair sex of contemporary times. In many cases women were, in fact, teachers of religion for thousands of men. How then can opponents of Islam claim that women suffered ignorance under Islam? Does this mean that Islam establishes the absolute equality of both sexes so much so that it eliminates all differences between them and exposes them to all that is available to men? Here Islam is, in fact, unique. While establishing the absolute humanity of women, it does not require them to do all that men are expected to do. In other words, Islam acknowledges the physiological differences between men and women. It confirms that they are pairs that complement each other. Life in Islam is unimaginable for one sex without the other. That is why Islam has its own reservations to the absolute equality of the two sexes. What about polygamy in Islam? Why is it that Islam allows a man to have four wives? If Islam believes in equality, why does it allow more that one wife for a husband? Is not this a clear proof of depreciation and dishonor as far as women are concerned? Look also at the example given by the Prophet of Islam. We are told that he got married to more than ten wives in addition to concubines. How then can you, as Muslims, claim that Islam treats women well? This important misconception is propagated by the enemies of Islam.
In point of fact, the great majority of Muslims, both modern and old, got married to one wife only. The legislation of polygamy is there in Islam to solve certain problems and to face certain circumstances. Islam believes in the purity and chastity of the society. It does not allow sex outside marriage. Instead of the secretaries and girlfriends, Islam allows a second marriage for those who are not satisfied with one wife and they are the exception and not the rule. As for the numerous marriages of the Prophet of Islam, if we compare him with other prophets of God, particularly those whom we read about in the Bible, we find that Prophet Muhammad had very few wives. Take for instance the Prophet David who had hundreds of wives. If we review the stories of each and every marriage of the Prophet of Islam, it will be crystal clear that out of all his wives only one wife was virgin. The rest of his wives were either widows or mothers of orphans. Not only this but until the age of 51 the Holy Prophet stayed with one wife only during which time he was indeed the ideal husband and the best protector of women's rights. And even after he had several wives he dealt with them justly. He made those marriages for legislative, educational, political, and social reasons and far from sensual gratification only. Some opponents of Islam try to distort the image of this religion by claiming that Islam favors men at the expense of women. They cite the example of testimony where Islam treats each two women to be equal to one men. This, they say, is degrading. Why does Islam do this and on what grounds? In this connection Islam takes into consideration the nature of each of the two sexes. Doubtless that women are more sentimental and emotional than men. This is because being the natural mothers their best resource is their feelings and emotions. Thus when it comes to giving testimony there is always a risk of their being moved by their feelings which may affect their judgments. It is only to establish justice that Islam takes this step. It has no derogatory effect on the status of women in Islam. The same opponents would also refer to one tradition of the Prophet where he says: Women are lacking in religion and reason. When he was
asked to explain this, he said: Is not a women's testimony half that of a man? The attendants said 'yes". The Prophet then said: That is due to her lack of reason. Then he added: When a woman has her monthly period, doesn't she stop praying? Those present said 'yes indeed". The Prophet then said: This is due to her lack of religion. As a matter of fact, Islam does not look at women as inferior to men but rather appreciates their condition and provides them with an excuse, an advantage rather that a disadvantage. When we discuss the topic of woman in Islam, we have to refer to the issue of veil stipulated by Islam on women. Some modern secularists claim that this is another obstacle on the way of women's aspiration for freedom. Contrary to the basic philosophy of Islam aiming at the chastity and purity of the Muslim society, these secularists say that Islam, by this veil, imposes hard time on the fair sex. The veil is part of the Islamic measures to keep sex inside marriage. This is because Islam respects the honor of women and regards them as precious jewels that should not be prey to the lust of men. Free sex of modern times which transformed women into white slaves is completely alien to Islam. In the same spirit Islam prohibits the free mixing of the two sexes. The issue of the share of women in inheritance is also exploited by the opponents of Islam who cite it as another example of the so- called injustice of this religion towards women. Islam indeed gives women in inheritance half the share of men. Is it true that this is a clear injustice to them or that there is a contrary view if only we contemplate this carefully? If we think for a moment we will discover that a woman has the greatest share of inheritance in Islam simply because whatever she takes is only for her personally while men have the responsibility to provide for women and children. Men take more, this is true, but they spend much more with the result that women's savings are far greater than those of men. If the reader wants to know more about other related issues like the following: To what extent does Islam allow women's education? Does she have the right to higher education? What is the attitude of Islam towards women's work? Is it true that Islam shuts women in and does not allow them to work outside? Why does Islam not allow woman to be the
President or the Head of the Muslim State? These and many other important issues can be best answered by referring to one or more of the following books: 1. Purdah in Islam by Maulana A. Mawdoodi. 2. Women in Islam by Prof. Khurshid Ahmad. 3. Family Structure in Islam by Hammooda Abdul A'ati.
MARRIAGE AND DIVORCE IN ISLAM
Questions about Muslim Women in the modern world:
Here are a few questions asked by a non-Muslim woman who wants to know more about the position of women in Islam: 1 - What are the main changes taking place in the lives of modern Muslim women in general? 2 - Do Muslim women adopt any Western values? 3 - Can a Muslim woman get a driving license in your country? If not is this due to a certain Islamic legislation? 4 - Do Muslim girls attend the same schools with boys, share the same classes, and same teachers, etc...? 5 - How do Muslim women act towards Muslim men when both are not married? Can they look at each other, meet, date, etc...? 6 - Tell me about marriage customs in Islam? What about divorce?
1. The main changes happening in the lives of Muslim women in my country as in the rest of Muslim states are that they are rediscovering Islam after being fed up with other ideologies and shaping their lives according to its teachings. 2. Muslim women try to replace Western customs by Islamic ones. They follow in the footsteps of the Prophet (PBUH), his wives and companions. They do, however, pick up the useful
habits practiced by other people both east and west. 3. A Muslim woman is indeed entitled to get a driving license and to drive her own car. She can go shopping, but she should have a close relative as a companion on long distance trips. This is for her own safety. 4. In our country of origin, Muslim boys have separate schools as Muslim girls. We do not have co-education except under some secular regimes, which is against the teachings of Islam. 5. Muslim men and women should lower their gazes. They should not mix with one another unless it is necessary to do so. There is no dating in Islam. When a Muslim man wants to get married he can look at his future partner; the two families start to socialize until this is culminated by marriage. 6. Marriage Customs: We have first the attempt of each partner to look for the other. This is basically done by the male who tries to look for his wouldbe wife. Then his family would approach the other family. If the answer is in the affirmative, then a meeting is arranged in the would be wife’s family home where she would meet the other side in the presence of other relatives. Once this occasion is over each side would form his/her opinions about the other. More than one meeting can take place where the two can sit together, talk and try to know each other. In Islam it is the girl who gives the green light or refuses. The decision is hers. No one should force anything on her although the parents would discuss things concerning the other party. Once she says “Yes” then both families would arrange another occasion in the house of the girl so that the boy, his family and selected friends, would come to make the official asking of the girl’s hand. Some relatives and friends of both sides would also attend and sweets and refreshments would be distributed. A prayer would also be recited on the occasion invoking God’s
blessings to facilitate the fulfillment of this marriage. A talk will be given on the rights and duties of each of the couple in Islam. The next step would be that both sides would meet in the girl’s house in the presence of her family members; no dating is allowed, no outings are encouraged except in the company of the girl’s relatives. This is because Islam forbids sex before marriage or anything leading to it. If everything goes well, then the two parties agree on a day to make the marriage contract which should be implemented by a licensed Muslim scholar who would make sure that the girl has approved of this marriage and that she is going to receive her rightful dowry which is an essential part of every marriage contract. It is the right of the bride to receive her dowry, no one is allowed to take it or any part of it without her permission. Both sides then prepare for the marriage ceremony which is, in fact, a big dinner party attended by friends and relatives of both sides. This is usually given by the bridegroom’s family. Food is served preferably in two separate halls and gifts are presented to the couple. Songs are played and female friends and relatives would dance for the bride in the presence of women only. No men are allowed in. The groom would have prepared the future marriage home and the couple would go on a honeymoon trip according to the groom’s financial standing. In Islam the wife does not have to change her family name to adopt her husband’s family name. She has full right to keep her independent identity. 7. The veil or Hijab in Islam: Islam believes in modesty, purity and chastity. It takes every care that both sexes abide by these values. There is no pre-marital sex in Islam. Dating, dancing and mixed social gatherings are strictly forbidden. Women are entitled to education that suits their role as future mothers; they can have university or college degrees provided that they put on the proper Islamic dress. Islam considers women the most precious creatures in human life. To
protect them from all harm and intruders Islam stipulates Hijab or the veil on every grown-up woman. This means that she has to cover all her body with the exception of her face and hands. This is only when she goes out of her family home. But while among her close relatives – husband, sons, brothers, uncles, grandfathers, etc...– she can wear any dress as usual. Islam considers looking at the other sex with desire completely forbidden. Islam concentrates on the dignity and honor rather than the physical attractions of the fair sex. When their attractions are covered, women will be dealt with according to the more dignified human qualities they enjoy. Marriage life in Islam is based on mutual love, sincerity, cooperation and sacrifice. Both parties should watch their chastity and fidelity. Both should have no sexual relationship with anyone else. It happens some times that quarrels would take place in the family. So husband and wife should try to solve these quarrels and restore peace among themselves. The husband is the head of the family in Islam. He has the right to divorce because it is he who paid to establish the family structure. According to Islam divorce is resorted to when it is discovered that the couple can no longer keep their marriage. This they do after all possible attempts are made to settle their problems. These attempts may include the couple discussing their problems by themselves without the interference of other parties which is preferred in Islam. If this fails then other sincere well wishers of the family might interfere. If this again fails then the first degree of divorce is applied provided that the wife should stay at home to give the chance to the couple to mend things and patch up their differences. After a certain period-which is three months – passes then the first degree of divorce takes effect. The couple can either separate in peace or if they change their minds they can return to the fold of marriage but with one degree of divorce on record. Suppose this should happen again and divorce is resorted to once
again then the same procedure is applied to give another chance to this threatened family structure. They can return to one another after the second divorce too; but once the third divorce is made then marriage collapses and they have to be separated. After the third degree of divorce the divorced wife cannot return to her divorcing husband unless she gets married to another person. It should be a real marriage with the aim to give her a better chance for a happier life. If, however, this new marriage collapses, then she can remarry her previous husband if she so wishes. There are numerous regulations for marriage and divorce in Islam whose aim is to establish fairness and equity among the concerned partners. Recommended books on the subject: • H. Abdel Aatti, Family Structure in Islam • Abul Ala Al Maudooli, Purdah and the Status of Women in Islam.
CAN MUSLIMS LIVE AMONG NON-MUSLIMS ?
Can a Muslim live among non- Muslims? Why not? Indeed Islam, as we
know, is the message sent to all mankind. "Say O mankind, I am the Messenger of God to you all." (7:158) says the Quran. This message can only be conveyed when people have access to Muslims through meeting them, be introduced to them and deal with them. That was how Islam spread in various countries in the past. So in principle Islam is not in favor of keeping Muslims in isolation from other people. On the contrary, Muslims should travel far and wide to spread Islam through both practical models and proper presentation. We are, however, faced with one saying of the Prophet PBUH where he says: "I disown every Muslim who settles among polytheists." In what way should we understand this tradition; and how can we solve this paradox? Let us come closer and see what really takes place. Muslims living as minorities all over the world are either native citizens of these lands who have been there for centuries, or immigrants - students and others - who were forced to immigrate either to seek knowledge and obtain university degrees or people who could not live in their own countries due to a variety of reasons - political, economic, etc... These Muslim minorities could establish themselves to a certain degree as distinct communities having their own Islamic centers and schools. There is a varying degree of commitment to Islam by different members of these communities. Some of these communities enjoy a greater degree of freedom of expression and well-being than Muslims living in many majority Muslim countries. This is on the one hand. Secondly, among the minority Muslims there is a good percentage of people who are either stateless refugees who
cannot return to their original homeland or are natives of those nonMuslim countries they live in. If this category of people are required to move and settle in Muslim countries either they will not be accepted or they will be treated as foreigners deprived of many rights. How can we ask them to emigrate to other countries under these circumstances? The situation for many is exactly the opposite. Thousands of Muslims are now immigrating to new homelands all over the world especially Western lands. Thus instead of asking Muslims to go back to majority Muslim countries most of whose people are living under great disadvantages, we have to review our attitude and understand how the command of our Prophet applies to the present situation. We have to acknowledge here an important fact. There is a big challenge for our Islamic identity, especially for the new generation when it lives in a non- Muslim sometimes an anti-Islamic environment. Prophet Muhammad PBUH says: "The wolf can only eat the straying sheep." The reference here is to individual Muslims who do not care about Islam. They rarely or never go to the Mosque; they rather behave as non Muslims even worse in some cases. The natural result would be complete assimilation and disappearance of these so-called Muslims. You may not even recognize their names which they have changed into nonMuslim names lest they should be singled out as different. This type of people are also led astray even in majority Muslim countries. There is another category of immigrant Muslims to non-Muslim lands. These brothers and sisters feel the cultural shock they are facing and they try their best to join other Muslims in establishing centers, mosques, schools, etc... to protect themselves as well as their children from the danger of assimilation. They are proud of being Muslims and they live up to the values and ideals of Islam. The host community is given a favorable image about Islam by this group which is on the increase. Thus, and based on the Quranic verse referred to earlier that makes it a duty on Muslims to spread the message of Islam to the whole world, what is required is not to withdraw to other majority Muslim countries
where they would not fare better than they do in non-Muslim lands; What is needed is rather to support the committed Muslims materially and morally to enable them bring straying Muslims back to Islam on the one hand and to introduce Islam to other members of humanity on the other. The big question here is that why could other minorities keep their identity and culture while much is desired among Muslims? First, Muslims need unity. They should be caring to help one another and have a community feeling. They should sacrifice their time and money to establish various institutions necessary to preserve their identity. They have no other choice either to do this or disappear and cease to exist. It is under these circumstances that they are condemned by the Quran which says: "When angels take the lives of those who wrong themselves they say: In what condition were you? They reply: Weak and depressed were we in the land. They say: Was not the earth of Allah wide enough for you to immigrate through it. Such will find their abode in Hell - what an evil refuge." (4:97). Here a Muslim should not tolerate humiliation anywhere in the world, nor should he accept to be oppressed and forced to act against his religion. As this is the case in many countries today; thus a Muslim is in fact encouraged to flee for his religion even if this requires that he should go to the end of the world as long as he can practice his religion there. This is exactly what happened in Makkah at the time of Prophet Muhammad when he commanded a large number of his companions to emigrate twice to Abyssinia and once to Madina. As for the Prophet's tradition in which he disowns all Muslims living among polytheists, this applies to those who do not assert their Islamic identity, those who are ready to be assimilated and those who live the lives of polytheists. But as long as Muslims carry the torch of Islam, practise it and invite others to its path, they can live and settle anywhere in the world. Islam would not be the second widespread religion today had it not been that thousands of the Prophet's companions lived and died outside the Arabian peninsula. In fact some of them traveled as far east as China and as far west as Morocco and Spain.
By the same token, Muslims will influence others rather than be influenced by them and their religion will spread as long as they are committed to it, and as much as they resist the temptation of assimilation. It is indeed a big challenge that only true believers can stand. May Allah Almighty make Muslims viable examples of their faith in front of the rest of humanity. Then and only then can they spread the Islamic message of peace and mercy. i.e. Islam.
RIGHTS OF BROTHERHOOD IN ISLAM
In the name of Allah the Beneficent the Merciful
All praise is due to Allah, Sovereign of the worlds, we praise Him, seek His help and guidance and ask Him forgiveness; we seek refuge in Allah from the evils of ourselves, and our evil deeds. Whoever Allah guides no one can mislead and whoever Allah misleads no one can guide. I bear witness that there is no other god except Allah who has no partner; and I bear witness that Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) is His slave and messenger, and that he fulfilled his trust, conveyed the message and advised this nation and left it on the white straight right path whose night is like its day and whoever deviates from it will perish. I invoke the grace and the blessings of Allah upon His prophet Muhammad, his family and companions and upon his followers until the Day of Reckoning . I recommend you and my self to fear Allah, so fear Him and obey Him as He the Exalted said: “And have provision for surely the best provision is piety, so fear Me O you who have reason.” ( 197-2) Our topic this time is on rights of brotherhood in Islam. Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) said: “You will not enter Paradise until you have faith, and you will not have faith until you love each other. Shall I direct you to something which if you fulfill you will love one another? Spread peace among yourselves. (It was reported by Muslim). 1) In this tradition our beloved Prophet(P.B.U.H.) recommends that we should spread peace. This is fulfilled through many things: by saluting each other with the salutation of peace through saying peace be with you; by spreading a state of peace and not conflict, and by trying to spread peace in the society through reconciling our differences. This, in fact, is the slogan of Islam, namely spreading peace. For indeed “Islam” means peace
among other things, and this is the first right of brotherhood in Islam. 2) A Muslim should be smiling when he meets his brothers in faith. The Messenger of Allah (P.B.U.H.) said: “Don’t belittle any good deed even to meet your brothers with a smiling face. He also said: “Your smile in the face of your brothers is an act of charity.” That is why the Messenger (P.B.U.H.) had a smiling face all the time. A man came to Abu Darda and said: “Guide me to do a good deed that would benefit other Muslims?” Abu Darda replied: “Command them to do good and forbid them from evil.” The man said: “I can’t.” Then Abu Darda said: “Repel evil from them.” The man said: “I can’t.” Then Abu Darda said: “Spend charity on them.” He again said: “I can’t.” then Abu Darda said: “Meet them with a smiling bright face.” The man however said: “I still can’t.” Fed up with what he heard, Abu Darda finally said: “Then may Allah smite you with a thunder bolt from Heaven by which He would make the land and the people get rid of you. 3) The third right of brotherhood in Islam is to love for one’s brothers what one loves for himself. Allah says in the Qur'an: “And believers are loyal to one another.” (71-9) Confirming this the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) said: “Each of you cannot be a believer until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.” Not only this but the early Muslims used to prefer their brothers over their own selves. That is why the Qur'an praised them in the following: “And they prefer (their brothers) over themselves even if they are hungry.” (9-59) 4) To avoid harming other Muslims by words or actions. As a matter of fact Islam forbids vain or evil talk. The Qur'an says: “Those who turn away from vain talk.” (3-23) The Messenger of Allah (P.B.U.H.) said: “The Muslim is he who people are safe from his tongue and hand (actions).
One day, Aisha, the Prophet’s wife heard some Jews in Medina offending the Prophet by greeting him with the wish that poison would strike him. Getting angry at their offense she retorted: “And upon you be poison and curse O you children of apes and swine.” Hearing this the Prophet pacified her saying: “You should have said only, same be upon you also.” For the Muslim, he added is not an offender, nor a curser nor a mischief monger nor one who uses dirty language. 5) Humbleness and modesty: A Muslim should exercise humbleness and modesty in his dealing with other Muslims, nay even with all other people. That is why one precious piece of advice a pious father called Luqman gave to his son as the Qur'an reports is that: “Never turn your cheek to other people in arrogance.” (18-31)Describing believers the Qur'an also says: “They are hard on disbelievers but humble and modest towards believers” (54-5). In practice the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) used to be humble with all other people. It is reported that once a Bedouin met him; when he saw him he trembled in fear. Seeing this the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) said: “Calm down. I am only the son of a woman who used to eat dry meat in Makka (meaning a poor woman). The Prophet (P.B.U.H.) used to tell his companions: “Don’t exaggerate in praising me, as Christians exceeded the limits in praising the Messiah son of Mary, for I am the slave and Messenger of Allah.” He also used to declare: “Whoever humbles himself to Allah, Allah will raise him (in respect)and He will not enter Paradise who has in his heart an atom’s weight of arrogance.” 6) To turn deaf ears to other people’s slandering of your brothers or sisters. This means the elimination of backbiting and slandering in the Muslim society. That is why the Messenger (P.B.U.H.) once passed by two graves. He stood in front of them and said: “They (the dead ones) are being punished due to minor sins,” one of them used to spread calumny and slander among
people. Thus Muslims are reminded that: “He who slanders others in front of you will eventually slander you.” 7) To do good to them all as best as you can. In this context Allah says in the Qur'an: “And cooperate with one another in all that is good and pious and don’t cooperate in sin and aggression.”(2-S) The Messenger of Allah (P.B.U.H.) was asked: “Who is the dearest person to Allah?” He said: “Those who are most useful to (other) people.” That is why in another tradition the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) said: “And Allah will surely help the person as long as he helps his brother.” 8) To treat them nicely and with best manners: in this connection Allah says about Prophet Muhammad: “And you are indeed of supreme conduct.” (4-68) The Messenger of Allah, therefore says: “The most perfect believers are those who are best in conduct and who are nicest to their household.” In another tradition the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) said: “He is not one of us who does not respect the seniors among us and does not have mercy upon the juniors of us. 9) Don’t boycott your brothers over three days: Allah says in the Qur'an: “Believers are indeed brothers so reconcile your brothers.” (10-49)The Messenger of Allah also said: “Let not any one of you desert his brother more than three days.” They meet and each of them turns away from the other; but the best of the two is the one who starts with the salutation of peace. In another tradition the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) said: “Don’t exchange hatred, envy or boycotting for every Muslim is a brother to other Muslims. Thus he should not wrong him, nor surrender him, whoever walks to fulfil the needs of other Muslims Allah will attend to his needs.” 10) Not to enter upon a Muslim his house without his permission. Allah says in the Qur'an: “O you who believe enter not houses other than your own without first announcing your presence and invoking peace upon their folk; that is better for you so that you may be pious.” (37-24)
11) To acknowledge the rights of scholars among them by showing respect and grant honour to them. 12) Fulfilling one’s promise to them. 13) To settle the rights of other Muslims and to return to them whatever has been taken from them without right. 14) To grant to other Muslims the status they deserve, and acknowledge their prestige. 15) To reconcile differences among Muslims and to restore harmony. 16) To hide their shame and to conceal their weaknesses. 17) To preserve their wealth and honour. 18) To say God bless you to any one who sneezes. 19) To avoid mingling with the evil mongers among them. 20) To visit the sick Muslims. For there is a sacred tradition in which Allah says to his slaves on the Day of Judgement: “My slave I was sick and yet you did not visit me?” The slave would exclaim: “How can I visit you when you are the Lord of the worlds?” Allah would answer: “Did you not know that my slave so and so fell ill; don’t you know that had you visited him you would find that with me?” 21) To attend funeral prayer and to follow a funeral to the grave. 22) Visiting graves of Muslims and invoking Allah’s mercy upon them. These are the main rights of Muslim Brotherhood.
FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS IN ISLAM
Islam is a complete way of life. It considers the family the corner stone of
Islamic society. It bases the atmosphere in the family on sacrifice, love, loyalty, and obedience. When we say “family” we mean the traditional definition of it namely husband, wife and children. Grandparents are also part of the entended Muslim family. It may be asked here: how does Islam organize family relationships? To answer this we have to concentrate on: husband wife relationship and parent children relationship. As for husband wife relationship the following verse portrays the right Islamic atmosphere. “And among his signs is this: He created for you spouses from yourselves that you might find rest in them, and He ordained between you love and mercy.” (30-21) The Prophet of Islam p.b.u.h. also stressed these meanings when he said: (The best among you are those who are best to their families and I am the best of you to my family). He once exclaimed: (it is only the evil one who abuses them (women) and the honored one is he who honors them). Once a man came to the Prophet p.b.u.h. and asked: who is the person who is most worthy of my good companionship? (The Prophet answered your mother, your mother, your mother then your father). That is why Islam made Paradise under the feet of mothers according to one tradition of the Prophet p.b.u.h. If we contemplate the Quran we find that it refers to parents children relationships in four main places. Before it asks children to be good and loyal to their parents it requires parents to be extremely careful in upbringing their children. In other words it asks parents to do their duty before asking for their rights. Let us contemplate the following verses of the Quran: In the chapter called Luqman (No.31) God says: And surely We granted Luqman
wisdom saying Give thanks unto Allah; for whoever gives thanks, he gives thanks for his soul. And whoever disbelieves, Allah is All-Independent, Worthy of Praise. And when Luqman said to his son while he was exhorting him: O my dear son! Ascribe no partners unto Allah. Lo! To ascribe partners (unot Him) is a tremendous wrong. And we have enjoined upon man to be careful of his parents, His mother bears him in weakness upon weakness, and his weaning is in two years, so give thanks to Me and to your parents, for unto Me is the journeying. But if they strive with you to make you ascribe to Me as partner that of which you have no knowledge, then obey them not, but deal with them nicely in the world and follow the path of him who repents to Me. Then unto Me will be your return, and I shall tell you of what you used to do. The Quran then continues: O my son! Lo! Though it be but the weight of a grain of mustard seed, and though it be in a rock, or in the heavens or in the earth, Allah will bring it forth. For Allah is Suble, Aware. O my son! Establish prayer, enjoin goodness, forbid iniquity and bear with patience whatever may befall you. For that is the steadfast heart of things. Turn not your cheek in scorn towards people, nor walk the earth with pretenses, for Allah loves not each braggart boaster. Be modest in your bearing and subdue your voice for Lo! The harshest of all voices is the voice of the ass (31: 12-19). These verses provide Muslim parents with the way they should bring up their children; unless they do so, they can expect rebellion and hatred from them; but the devoted parents have full right to what the following verses from chapter 17 enjoin. In this chapter called the Night Journey Allah says: Your Lord has decreed that you worship non but Him, and that (you show) kindness to parents. Should one or both of them attain to old age with you, Say not “Fie” unto them nor repulse them, but speak unto them a gracious word. And lower unto them the wing of submission through mercy and say: My Lord! Have mercy on them both as they did care for me when I was little. Your Lord is best aware of what is in yourselves. If you are righteous, then Lo! He was ever forgiving unto those who turn unto Him. (17: 23-25). These are the two main chapters of the Quran that decide and clearly
depict the Islamic relationship between parents and thier children. It is a relaionship based as we see on belief in Allah, and feeling that He observes all what we do and that we are accountable to Him even in the bad breath that we may release against our parents when we are angry. Even this has to be controlled. Let us remember, however, that it is only the parents who do their duty, who deserve this honourable treatment of their children. That is why when a parent came to the Prophet p.b.u.h. and complained to him about the ingratitude of his son, the son said: He was ungrateful to me O Messenger of Allah, before I showed ingratitude to him. So the Prophet p.b.u.h. did not blame the son but disliked the attitude of his parent. This is a message to all parents. The third place in the Holy Quran that refers to parents-children relationship is in chapter 46 called Al Ahqaf where Allah says: And we have enjoined unto man kindness towards parents. His mother bears him with reluctance and delivers him with reluctance. His bearing and weaning are thirty months, till when he attains full strength and reaches forty years, he says: My Lord! Arouse me that I may give thanks for the favour where with you have favoured me and my parents, and I may do right acceptable unto You. And be gracious unto me concerning my seed. I have turned unto You repentant and Lo! I am one of the Muslims. Concerning this type of children the Quran has the following comment: those are they from whom We accept the best of what they do, and We overlook their evil deeds among the owners of Paradise. This is the true promise, which they used to be promised (in the world). The Quran then turns to the other category of children who are disbelievers and are as a result ungrateful to their parents. It declares: As for him who said to his parents: Fie upon you both! Do you threaten me that I shall be brought forth when generations before me have passed away! While they too cry unto Allah for help and say: Woe unto you! Believe! Lo! The promise of Allah is true. But he said: This is nothing but fables of the men of old.
Commenting on this attitude Allah saya: Such are those whom the Word concerning nations of Jinn and mankind which have passed away before has affect. Lo! They are the losers. And for each there will be degrees due to what they did; and He may recompense them in full for their deeds! And they will not be wronged. (46:15-19). The forth and last place in the Quran that refers to parents children relationship is what is mentioned briefly in chapter 29 that says: “We have enjoined on man kindness to parents. And should they strive to make you join with Me that of which you have no knowledge, then obey them not. Unto me is your return and I shall tell you what you used to do”. (29:8). This verse refers mainly to the unbelieving parents who still have the rights of obedience on their Muslim children unless they ask them to rebel against Allah. In this case they should not be obeyed, but doing good to them should continue regardless of the difference of religion. In conclusion since the family is the corner stone of society, happiness and prosperity will only be achieved if parents as well as children are committed to the guidance of the Quran, the only guidance proved to be successful. For in that case all will fulfil their duties and rights in the most satisfactory manner as we have seen earlier.
KINDNESS TO PARENTS
Allah says in the Quran: And worship Allah and ascribe no partners to
Him and do good to parents, relatives, orphans, the needy, the related neighbour, the distant neighbour, the fellow traveller, the wayfarer and the slaves whom your right hand possess. Lo! Allah loves not such who are proud and boastful. (4-36). Dear Muslims: Listen carefully to the owner of the noblest character, the kindest heart and the message of mercy who says in a brief but great tradition: Kindness to relations and charity cause homes to flourish and increase the life spans. Listen also to what the Messenger p.b.u.h. says: Listen to it with your hearts’ ears rather than your senses. For when hearts listen they comprehend, but when ears listen while hearts are neglected then there is no use of hearing anything. On the authority of Abu Hurairah R.A.A. who said the Messenger of Allah p.b.u.h. said: Allah the Most High created the creation. When He finished, kinship emerged and said: This is the position of one who seeks refuge in You from boycotting. Allah said: Will you be satisfied if I am close to him who is kind to you and I boycott hime who boycotts you. It said: Yes I will: He replied: This is for you. The Prophet p.b.u.h. then said recite if you like: Would you then, if you were given sovereignty, work corruption in the land and cut your ties of kinship? Such are they whom Allah curses so that he defeans them and makes blind their eyes. (47:2223). Will they not contemplate the Quran or do hearts have their locks on. (47:24) Dear Muslims: This is a serious issue and an important matter. The danger is
pending so we have to wake up from our slumber. When Allah finished creating heaven and earth, do you know the first statement He made to His creation? Do you know the first dialogue that took place between Allah and His creation? It was between Allah and kinship ties. Kinship is actually two types: a general kinship and a special kinship. As for the general kinship it encompasses every person who shares with you in saying La illaha illa Allah Muhammad Rassoolullah (ie there is no other God but Allah, and Muhammad is the Messenger of God). What is your duty and your rights towards such person? There are six things which have to be observed, namely: 1- That you offer salutations of peace whenever you encounter your brother or sister. 2- That you visit him when he is sick. 3- That you bless him when he sneezes. 4- That you follow his funeral when he dies. 5- That you give him sincere advice when he asks you for it. 6- And that you accept his invitation when he invites you. These are the general rights that bind you with everyone who says the testimony of faith. Dear Muslims: Now I move with you to the special kinship and this is our topic today God willing. By special kinship we mean the relatives whom the Prophet classified as follows: First of all one’s mother, for indeed when a mother dies a caller from heaven announces: O son of Adam! She has passed away for whose sake we used to honor you. So now do good so that we honor you for it. The mother then is the first name on the list of relatives. That is why a man once asked: O Messenger of Allah, my mother reached old age and I serve her. Did I pay back her right? The Messenger of Allah p.b.u.h. said: Whatever good you do to her, you will never pay back her right. The man again said: How is this O Messenger of Allah? He said: For she used to serve you as a little one and she used to wish you long life, as for you, you serve her as an old woman and you wish her death. There is a world
of difference between him who wishes long life and who desires death. On the authority of Abu Hurairah R.A.A. who said the Prophet p.b.u.h. said: He will be the lowest of the low, then the lowest of the low, who witnesses his parents at their old age either one of them or both and does not enter Paradise. Reported by Muslim. Thus your mother should top the list then your father, then your sister, then your brother, then your aunt, then your uncle on your father’s side, then your mother’s side; then after that the closer and the closer relatives. Dear Muslims: What are the rights of the special kinship? They have the same rights of the general kinship but added to them is that their expenses are your obligation if they need your financial help. That is why a man came to the Prophet p.b.u.h. and said: O Messenger of Allah! This son of mine was poor while I was rich, he was weak when I was strong and I used to spend on him from my money. Then when I became poor, he, however, refused me his money. Hearing this the honorable Messenger of Allah p.b.u.h. called that son and said: O youth, ther is no stone nor land but weeps for the affair of your father. Son! Spend on your father for you and your wealth belong to your father. Also Annas R.A.A. reported that the Messenger of Allas p.b.u.h. said: Whoever likes expansion in his provision and long life, let him do good to his kinship. (Agreed Upon). Now my dear Muslims! Listen to what our beloved Prophet said after Alqama was buried: He said: O mankind! Whoever prefers his wife over his mother, Allah will not accept from him neither obligatory nor voluntary actions. As a matter a fact the special kinship is hanging from the throne of the Beneficent calling: Whoever does good to me Allah will do good to him and whoever cuts me Allah will cut him off.
Dear Muslims: Today is a precious day. It is not a day of visits to the dead ones but a day for doing good to the living ones; a day of exchanging visits, mutual foregiveness, and tolerance. Thus if there is any dispute or boycotting between you and another person, be the first one to do good for the sake of Allah and his messenger, so do good to your kinship, and spread peace among yourselves. Allah says in the Quran: And those who do what Allah enjoined as good. “And we have recommended to man kindness to his parents. Here Allah commands us to worship Him and not ascribe any partners to him. He joined this command with his command of kindness to parents and to do good to them and to be kind to them at their old age one or both of them; we should avoid all that embarrasses them or is detested by them of deeds or words. We should treat them with the noblest behaviour and we should say all that is nice and beautiful to them. This is based on what Allah says: “And your Lord decreed that you worship none but Him, and enjoins kindness to parents. When either or both of them attain with you old age express not a breath of resentment to them and never repulse them, but say good speech to them. (17:23) Part of the beloved Prophet’s traditions concerning the obligation of this obedience and commitment is what Abdullah ibn Masoud says: I asked the Prophet p.b.u.h.: which is the dearest deed in the sight of God? He said: Performing prayer on time: I said: then which? He said to be kind to parents. I then asked then which? He replied: then fighting in the way of God. (agreed upon) On the authority of Abu Hurairah R.A.A. who said: The Messenger of God p.b.u.h. said: whoever believes in God and the last day let him be generous to his guests and whoever believes in God and the Last Day, let him do good to his kins, and whoever believes in God and the Last Day let him say what is good or be silent. (Agreed upon).
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ON POLYGAMY IN ISLAM
Bismillahi Rahmani Raheem Introduction: When the Holy Quran was revealed it found Arabs in the habit of marrying numerous wives. An average Arab would have ten wives at a time. The Quran in fact made the limit of four not to encourage polygamy but to discourage it. The legislation is there, it is true, for more than one wife but this is only whenever it is necessary to do so. The rule in Islam is one wife for every husband. That is why the Quran counts Allah’s blessings on every human and says: And among His signs is that He created for you from your own selves spouses so that you find comfort and serenity in them and He made among you Love and mercy. (30:21) Again before the verse of Polygamy in chapter 4 the Quran says: O mankind be concious of your Lord Who created you from a single self; and from it He created its mate; and from them both He spread out numerous men and women. (4:1) This verse clearly shows the rule: namely one for one. Thus when the verse mentions four it opens the door for a second wife if necessary. Should a second wife not solve the problem then a third wife can be taken; and should this again not fulfill the required aim then a fourth wife. The great majority of Muslims now as in the past use only the first option i.e. one wife for one husband. Justice is an essential prerequisite for polygamy. No justice, then no polygamy. The perverted habit of adding 2 to 3 to 4 to make 9 is alien to the Quran as well as to Arabic language. Prophet Muhammad p.b.u.h. had only one wife Khadijah for about 28 years (from the age of 25 to 53)
from whom he had all of his children but one. He started to take more wives due to many wisdoms. If you come closer, you will find his wives were either widows or divorced middle aged women except one namely Aisha, who was a little girl. There are other considerations for which the Prophet took more than one wife. Remember finally that polygamy in the Quran is mentioned in the context of taking care of orphans. Nine wives in the case of the Prophet was only a special case for him as the leader of Muslims. To come now to some specific questions: 1) There is no particular significance attached in Islam to number four. The rule is one wife; if there is need another wife can be the option; in very rare cases a third and rarer still is the fourth. 2) This is already answered in the introduction. 3) The guardians of the orphan girls used to look for marrying them. They were also inclined to deprive them of their dowery. So the Quran was revealed to warn these people not to practise injustice against orphan girls; and to encourage them to marry other girls. In other words it made it open for them to marry other women rather than their orphan girls if they are afraid to commit injustice towards them. 4) Human nature is against practising several mates for one woman. Even animals do not allow it. In Islam the main aim of marriage is to have children who must be called after their father. Imagine a woman having several mates. She doesn’t have several wombs. When she is pregnant who among her mates can claim the child? So Islam prohibited this relationship which was sometimes practised in Arabia before Islam. Those women who practised it were mainly prostitutes. As for the paralysed husband who cannot have sex with his wife she can marry another husband after being divorced from the first
one. The latter can be taken care of through other methods; like senior homes or other institutions; and the wife can keep the children. A Muslim does not deserve the name unless he or she submits to the rules of Islam. It is not a question of desires and wishes but one of submission and obedience to God Almighty Who knows what is best for us. 5) Although polygamy is allowed in principle, different cases have different judgements in the sight of Islam. In other words polygamy is sometimes allowed if the wife is barren and the husband wants children; it is not allowed if it stems from a vain wish of the husband when he has a pretty young wife that fulfills all the needs of the relationship, then Islam does not allow it if there is injustice involved. This and other cases should be decided by Islamic courts. 6) Verse 3 chapter 4 does not contradict with verse 129 in the same chapter. Let me explain. Justice as I said is the basis for polygamy, but there are two types of justice. We are responsible for material justice in dealing with wives; as for emotional justice i.e. to have more love for one wife than another, this is not accountable because it is uncontrollable. There is no abrogation or naskh in these verses. 7) If the husband is ill or impotent the Islamic solution is that the wife is given the choice either to be separated from him and start a new life with another husband or to stay with him and be patient and seek the reward of God Almighty. Some committed Muslim women accept blind husbands; when they are asked about it they say: I hope by this to enter Paradise. This is the spirit in the family relationship in Islam. It is not just a physical, or a material selfish relationship, but marriage in Islam is a contract concluded in the name of God seeking His pleasure. Suggested references on the subject: • Family structure in Islam, Hammoudah: Abdel Aatti • Gender Equity in Islam, Jamal Badauri • Purdah or The Veil, M. Abul Ala Al Maudoodi
VISITING THE SICK
Huraira may Allah be pleased with him ( R ) reported that the Messenger of Allah p.b.u.h. said: Every Muslim has five rights on other Muslims; returning his salutation, visiting the sick, following funerals, accepting invitations and blessing the sneezers. (Agreed upon) It goes without saying that Islam encourages the greetings of peace, "al-Salamu ‘Alaykum" and the response to it. Peace greetings should be reciprocated properly. Let us emphasise in this context that Allah doubles his reward for those who wish mercy and blessing of Allah for other Muslims. We must also stress that reciprocating "peace" greetings is obligatory in Islam. Every single Muslim and every individual Muslim in any given group should respond to the peace greetings. Spreading "peace" greetings is a principal factor that leads to the purification of hearts and cooperation. It leads to the spread of love among Muslims as well as to the elimination of rancour and hatred among them. Also, allow us to further explain the rest of this prophetic saying and how the Messenger p.b.u.h. emphasises, through other sayings, each and every one of the rights of Muslims. This time, we chose to discuss the right/obligation of `visiting the sick’. In the sight of Islam illness purifies sins and eliminates them. This is supported by a Prophet’s saying reported by Al-Bukhari and Muslim. Abu Huraira ( R ) quotes the Messenger p.b.u.h. saying: He for whom Allah decrees good Allah inflicts illness on him. In another context the Prophet was quoted as saying Whatever toil or fatigue or care or difficulty or harm a believer suffers from - even a thorn that pricks him - Allah will by it eliminate his sins.
The Messenger of Allah p.b.u.h. urges us to visit the sick because such visits console them and eliminate their pains. These visits bring comfort for the patients’ soul and fulfill their right to be visited. Visiting them, we have to advise the sick to be patient as well as to thank Allah for the aspired continuity of sound health and peace. Abu Moosa ( R ) quotes the Messenger of Allah p.b.u.h. saying: Visit the sick, feed the hungry and liberate the prisoner. (Al-Bukhari) According to Abu Huraira ( R ), the Messenger of Allah p.b.u.h. says: "On the Day of Judgment Allah will say: O son of Adam, I was sick but you did not visit Me. The son of Adam will say: My Lord! How can I visit You when you are the Lord of the worlds? God will answer: Did you not know that my slave so and so fell sick and you never visited him? Don’t you know that had you visited him, you would have found Me with him. O son of Adam: I asked you for food but you never fed Me. He will say: My Lord! How can I feed you when you are the Lord of the worlds? God will say: Did you not know that my slave so and so asked you for food but you never fed him, you would find the reward of this with Me. O son of Adam! I asked you for drink but you never gave me drink. He will ask: My Lord! How can I give you a drink when you are the Lord of the worlds? God will then say: My slave so and so asked you for drink but you withheld drink from him. Don’t you know that had you given him drink you would find its reward with Me." Thus the Messenger of Allah p.b.u.h. advises us to visit the sick because of the right we owe the sick. We also seek reward from Allah. Allah Almighty promises delicious and fresh fruits from Paradise for those who visit the sick and that angels will pray for the one who visits his brother throughout the period he spends on his way to him. If the visit occurs in the evening angels prayers last until the morning; if it occurs in the morning their prayers continue until the evening. What a great gift a Muslim gets just as a reward for visiting his Muslim brother! Exerting very little effort by a Muslim brings about all this overwhelming reward and forgiveness.
On the authority of Ali, who said that he heard the Messenger p.b.u.h. saying: Every Muslim who goes in the early morning to visit his sick brother, then seventy thousand angels will pray for him until he reaches the evening; and if he visits him in the evening 70 thousand angels will pray for him till the morning, and he will also enjoy delicious fresh fruits in Paradise.” Ibn Majah also reported on the authority of Abu Hurairah ( R ) who said that the Messenger of Allah p.b.u.h. said: Whoever visits a sick person a caller from Heaven will exclaim: You will have a good position in Paradise. Remember, that a part of the great reward a Muslim will get when he visits his sick brother is that he deserves to enter Paradise and get of its inexhaustible fruits as is clear from the following tradition. On the authority of Thawban ( R ) the Messenger of Allah p.b.u.h. says: "When a Muslim visits his sick brother he will be in the "Kharfa" of Paradise until he returns. Some asked: "O Messenger of Allah, what is "Kharfat ul Jannah" he replied: its fresh fruits." (Muslim). This was concerning the right of a sick Muslim to be visited by other Muslims. Visitors of patients, however, should not stay long unless they know that their stay does not disturb them but conforms and pleases them. They should come close to them, put their hands gently on their bodies and ask them to give vent to their pains. They should say to their patients what pleases them and should pray to Allah to grant them healing. This is what the Prophet p.b.u.h. asks us to do. Aisha ( R ) reported that the Prophet p.b.u.h. used to visit some of his sick relatives and would rub his hands and say: "O Allah! Lord of mankind! Remove the suffering and bring healing. You are the healer! No other healing exists except your healing, in a manner that leaves no weakness nor illness". The Companions also did the same thing, just as the Prophet p.b.u.h. did. They were guided by his acts and sayings and thus, we are obliged to follow his path and his example, as is clear from the above tradition.
Anas ( R ) reported that he said to Thabet - may Allah have mercy on him - "Shall I pray for you with the prayer of the Messenger of Allah p.b.u.h.? "Yes please!" Thabet responded. Anas then responded with the Messenger’s prayer: "O Allah! Lord of mankind! Remove the suffering and bring healing. You are the healer! No other healing exists except your healing, in a manner that leaves no weakness nor illness". Dear Muslims, "Here is another saying by the Prophet p.b.u.h., a saying that we need to study carefully as well as follow it in practice. Ibn Abbas ( R ) quotes the Prophet p.b.u.h. saying: "Whoever visits a patient whose term has not come (meaning death) and prays in his presence seven times: I appeal to Allah the Glorious, Lord of the Glorious Throne to heal you. Allah will surely heal the visited patient from his illness". This is how the Messenger of Allah p.b.u.h. guides us to visit our patients and how to pray for their recovery and healing from their illness. Our confidence in Allah should be the greatest confidence. For it is He who causes illness and it is He who brings about recovery and healing.
II - Islamic Teachings
910 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 Islam In a Nutshell Questions & Answers on Islam Funerals In Islam Fasting In Islam D’ont Reject H A J J Islam: Message of Hope Recommended Prostrations on Reciting the Quran Man and Miracles Islam & Magic Who Is Light? Islam and the Environment Good Conduct In Islam Finality of Prophethood Who will go to Heaven? Islam’s Perspective on Life and Death Fear and Love of God Islam: The Religion of Moderation A Supplication
ISLAM IN A NUTSHELL
Islam: The root word Islam means peace or submission. Technically it
means obedience to God Almighty through following His religion. Islam, not Muhammadism, is the name of the religion of over one billion people all over the world. It is not the religion of Arabs, Pakistanis or any one single race or nation, but rather an international religion that calls for the unity of God and the brotherhood of the human race. Islam in the broad sense, is the religion of all prophets of God from Adam to Muhammad the last prophet of God. In the narrower sense, it refers to the religion revealed to Prophet Muhammad, who lived in Arabia between 571 and 643 AD. Being a confirmation and a final edition of all previous messages, Islam is the only religion accepted with God as the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book, states (chapter 3, verse 19).
Allah: "Allah" is the Arabic name of God Almighty, the same God of
all prophets including Moses, Jesus and Muhammad. Allah means the One and Only God, the creator, the controller and the originator of the universe. He created us; to Him we all will return after death and He will bring us back to life. He is the prime mover of all things, the First, the Last, the All-Knower, the All-seer... to name only a few of His 99 names mentioned in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book. He begets not, nor was He begotten; prophets are his chosen slaves to convey His same message to different people over the ages. In a nut-shell His message is this: I am God, your Lord, so worship Me. Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala) did not force people to believe in Him or worship Him. He gave them the free choice to do so, but He will reward those who obey with everlasting life in Paradise, and will punish the disobedient with permanent suffering in Hell.
Life After Death:
This life of ours is only a temporary life.
Everybody acknowledges the fact of death, but few people believe in life after death. This is a fundamental fact confirmed by all revealed religions namely Judaism, Christianity and Islam. While other religions mention life after death in passing, Islam takes it seriously and uses the most convincing logic to prove it which is also the simplest. In the Quran, the Holy Book of Muslims, we are told time and again that everything around us is the creation of One God; He controls all, the sun, the moon and all stars and planets are under His absolute sovereignty. It is He who dominates heavens and earth, sends down rain, and causes vegetation and trees to grow; it is also He who causes the occurrence of night and day and it is He who takes lives. So it is He who will raise the dead. There is a Day of Judgement after death; there is also accountability for all and there is an end to this life.
Prophets of God: To convey His message to humanity God chose
some people who were the best among their country men in terms of modesty, piety, honesty and obedience to Him. 'These individuals are called messengers of God or prophets of God. They were clear in conveying their lord's message both in theory' and practice. They never expected any reward from mortals but expected it from their lord only. These prophets or messengers of God were rejected by their people with the exception of a minority. Not only this but they were subjected to all sorts of punishment: and yet they never hesitated in their missions. Many of them were either killed or deported. To prove their truth those sincere slaves of God were supported with miracles from their Lord. Still their opponents increased in their disbelief and oppression. This continued generation after generation and not a single people but had a warner to whom they turned deaf ears. They called prophets liars, soothsayers, imposters, wizards or mad people. Even the revelation God was also distorted by different people until humanity was groping in the dark with no divine guidance. Hence the message of Muhammad.
Muhammad: Muhammad, son of Abdullah was an Arab orphan born
to an honorable family in 571 AD. His name means "the praised one'. This name was rare in Arabia. He was an unlettered person, but wellknown for his modesty, uprightness and honesty until he was given the title "the Trustworthy". Although Arabia was full of idol worship, Muharnmad never bowed to an idol. He used to resort to a cave in a mountain in Makkah, in a sincere attempt to be guided to the true religion. He never expected to be a prophet nor was he looking for any position of authority. 'That is why when angel Gabriel the Carrier of Divine revelations appeared to him at the age of 40 and conveyed the first few verses, Muhammad was shaking with fear and surprise. He hastened back to his wife saying: Cover me! Cover me! When he conveyed to Khadijah, his only wife, the verses revealed to him, she said: By Allah, He will not let you down! For you are good to your kin. you carry' the helpless and support others in times of adversity. She took him to a cousin of hers called Waraqa who was a Christian. As soon as the latter heard the first revelations of the Quran he exclaimed "This is the law given to Moses. From then on portions of the new message -the Quran- were revealed. Some people embraced the new religion while others opposed it. At the age of 63 Muhammad died in the year 643 A.D. after Islam spread to all parts of Arabia.
The Quran: This is the name of the new book of God revealed to
Prophet Muhammad over a period of 23 years. The name in Arabic means the noble reading. Thus the Quran is the word of God not that of Muhammad. He was only the receiver and the honest conveyer of the revelation. Divine revelation did not start with the Quran. Other revelations were conveyed through previous prophets like Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus to name only a few. As all other scriptures were either lost, or changed; hence the need of the new and final revelation - the Quran. For thirteen long years the Quranic verses revealed to Muhammad concentrated on faith in the One God, the Hereafter, and patience towards all types of harm from idol worshippers. In the next ten years the
Quran guided Muhammad to establish the first Islamic state in Medinah, north of Arabia. The Quran is the last Divine message to all the worlds; humans as well as creatures of the underworld. The Quran is one all over the world. It is the same book revealed to Muhammad more than fourteen hundred years ago. It carries its own proof of authenticity. In it God challenged the world to produce the like of it. Despite numerous attempts on the part of Muhammad's eloquent opponents, they all failed and the Quran continues to be the pure word of God. It has been translated to various languages, but non of these translations is the Holy Quran. It is the Arabic text only that qualifies to claim this name.
Articles of Faith: Faith in Islam requires a Muslim to believe in God,
His angels, His books, His messengers, the Day of Judgement, and Predestination of good and evil. We already explained the Muslim belief in God whose name in Arabic is Allah, the One God. God's angels are His slaves created of light. They are the obedient mighty servants of God Almighty; they never disobey Him but discharge his commands. Muslims should also believe in the Holy scriptures of God revealed through His messengers. These books no more exist. What remain of them are only memoirs and hearsay of the original ones. Muslims have to accept all previous messengers from Noah to Jesus Christ. As a matter of fact, a Muslim would not deserve the name unless he believes in all messengers of God. Tile same applies to belief in the last Day or the Day of Judgement when all people will be resurrected and will be accountable for their deeds in the presence of God Almighty. Finally a Muslim should believe that God is the Controller of all our affairs. While we are free to choose our own way of action, Islam teaches that all things are in the final analysis controlled by God who is the Most Merciful, the Most loving and the Kindest. Thus a Muslim does his best to do good and avoid evil and he is at peace and has full trust in God Almighty.
Pillars of Islam: There are five pillars in Islam. First the Testimony of
faith, namely the declaration that there is no God except Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of God. Secondly we have prayer which is the direct and humble supplications (worship) of man to His Lord God. A Muslim should pray five times a day. Then there is Fasting the ninth month of the Lunar calendar called Ramadan. Then we have pilgrimage to Makkah in Arabia once in a life time; and finally we have charity according to which Muslims give 2.5% of their annual savings to the poor and the needy. Recommended books: • Islam in Focus by Hamoudah Abdul A'aty • Introduction To Islam by Dr. Muhammad Hamidullah • Towards Understanding Islam by M. A.Mawdoodi
QUESTIONS & ANSWERS ON ISLAM
These questions were addressed in Arabic to Sheikh Mustafa al-Zarqa,
the well known Muslim Scholar, and the following is a translation of both questions and answers: Ql: Does Islam allow a Muslim woman to marry a non Muslim husband (esp. a Jew or a Christian)? Al: This is in no way possible. We have, however, to distinguish between a Muslim woman who marries a non Muslim husband (Christian or Jew) without showing any care concerning difference of religion, and an already married woman from the people of the scripture (a Jew or a Christian) who has children and she embraces Islam while her husband does not follow her. This second woman is also not allowed to stay with her husband without his conversion to Islam. It is possible, however not to decide her immediate separation from him if he refuses to become a Muslim. This happened during the era of the Messenger (P.B.U.H.) when his daughter Zaynab was married before the message to a prominent member of the tribe of Quraish whose name was Abul Ass ibn al Rabee, who was an idolater. He participated with other idolaters in the battle of Badr, and Muslims took him as a prisoner of war. At dawn prayer Zaynab, may Allah be pleased with her, declared in the Mosque that she was the protector of Abul Ass ibn al Rabee. Then the Muslims released him. But the Messenger of Allah (P.B.U.H.) said to his daughter Zaynab: “Honour his stay, but don’t let him approach you for you are not lawful to him.” Abul Ass then returned to Makkah and finished his commitments there and returned whatever trusts he had to their owners and came back to Madinah as a Muslim. He thus
returned to his wife Zaynab and it is reported that the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) made no new marriage contract for him with his daughter. Thus giving some time to the new Muslim wife with the hope that her husband might accept Islam is really valid here temporarily based on this hope. Sexual relationship is, however, not lawful as long as the husband is not a Muslim. Q2: About the difficulty of wearing the Hijab (veil), for a new Muslim woman in a non Muslim country. Is it possible to allow such woman to discard the Hijab? A2: The foreign women who embrace Islam sincerely and whole heartedly but find it difficult to abide by the Hijab (covering what should be covered of their bodies), we cannot change the Islamic legal decision for their sake, and thus allow them to discard Hijab and go semi-naked or bare headed in order to satisfy them. For this would be a contradiction in the Islamic judgement between permission and prohibition. If, however, such women should discard the Hijab they should feel and believe that this is prohibited in Islam; because if they believe that it is permissible and is not prohibited in Islam, this is against Islam. There is indeed a big difference from the Islamic perspective between a person who disobeys God’s commands although he believes in the prohibition to do so and the person who considers his disobedience lawful. For indeed such a person who believes that the clear cut prohibited act to be lawful is a disbeliever. Like a person who drinks wine in disobedience, he is still a Muslim, while the one who thinks wine to be lawful, he is a disbeliever. Based on this the practice of those new Muslim women who discard Hijab without believing this to be lawful, but they only wait until their will becomes stronger, this is better than their remaining disbelievers and Allah knows best. The Messenger of Allah (P.B.U.H.) said: “Islam started as a stranger and will return a stranger as it started so good omen is for those strangers (may Allah make us among them).
On this occasion we should tell these women that it is better for them to wear this easy Hijab than to slip from Islam, or they may be advised to live in an Islamic environment. Q3: This is about a Muslim wife who is married to a Muslim husband who refuses to grow his beard or to wear an Arab dress in the streets due to his feeling of awkwardness in the sight of non Muslims. What should such wife do? A3: Who told you that among the conditions of being a Muslim is to grow one’s beard or to wear a Jallabiya (an Arab dress) in the streets. It is true that not to have a beard when one can is against the Islamic way of life for men, but it is not a prerequisite for becoming a Muslim. Many Muslims today shave their beards, also growing beards is not limited to Muslims, it is done very often by foreigners young and old. It even became one fashion for contemporary youth. And the least contravention to Islam is in the case of those whose only disobedience to it is that they shave their beards. As for wearing the Arab dress ( Jallabiya) for men, this is part of customs and not of worships. A Muslim can wear the foreign suit or any other dress according to the habits of the-people with whom he stays as long as he covers what he should of his body. Thus his wife should not use this as an excuse to discard her veil all what remains of which is the shortened scarf on her head and the long sleeves and the dress or the skirt that covers only half of the legs. Q4: Is it allowed for a Muslim who has a super market in America and he does not excel in any other job, and his store contains wine, gambling tickets and pork without selling which he will lose many customers. Can he sell these items? A4: I find in the Hanafi school permission for a Muslim who lives among disbelievers that his store would contain these items so that he can sell them to non Muslim customers. As for pork, he should not carry it unless it is canned as it is impure and its impurity is transferred through touching by the knife, hands and
other means. As a precautionary measure I think that the sales of all these items (gambling, wine and pork) should be kept in a separate box, then their profits should be calculated and given to poor Muslims as a help for the weak among them or that they are spent on the general interests of Muslims and the owner of the store should not take them for himself. Q5: Can a Muslim living in a non Muslim foreign country co-habit and have intercourse with a non Muslim woman and date her and live with her as husband and wife without marriage? A4: I cannot fmd anything that can accept this in Islam. It is equivalent to what the Imami Shiah school allows through Mutaa contract (enjoyment contract) which is not marriage but is adultery in reality. All Sunni schools agree on its confirmed prohibition due to the authentic traditions that abrogated AlMutaa contract as part of what they abrogated of the habits of pre-Islamic Arabs. This took place after it was practiced in the early days of Islam. Thus al-Shia view is rejected by the consensus of all Sunni Muslims as it is a camouflaged adultery. It’s practice during the early days of Islam is similar to drinking wine until it was prohibited. For indeed Islamic judgments came down gradually then my brother I tell you once again what difference remains between a Muslim and a disbeliever if a Muslim who lives in a non Muslim country should live like disbelievers and practice what they practice. He rather has to abide by Islamic regulations and his behaviour should be a propagation for Islam. If he cannot do this, he has to immigrate to a Muslim country where he does not find any awkwardness in his Islamic behaviour. Otherwise why has emigration been made lawful? Allah says in a situation like yours: as for those whom angels take
(in death) while they wrong themselves (angels) will ask: “In what were you engaged?” They will say: “We were oppressed in the land.” Angels will say: “Was not Allah’s earth spacious that you could have migrated there in?” As for such their habitation will be Hell, an evil journey’s end (94-4). Q6: Is it allowed to take a loan from the bank to buy a house with interest mortgage in a non Muslim country? A6: There is no harm in taking a loan with interest from the bank to buy a house that would be owned by the Muslim after the loan and the interest are paid with one remark that the loan’s instalments plus interest are not more than the house rent should a Muslim rent it but they may be less. This is according to AlHanafi school concerning a Muslim who lives in the house of war (among disbelievers) for in that case what is taken into consideration is the total a Muslim pays to them. If it saves his wealth then it is permissible as long as it is done with their approval and without cheating, even if it is done in an Islamically prohibited way like interest. Q7: Can a Muslim living among disbelievers participate in their political life? A7: I don’t see any harm in this, for through it he gains power. As for what some say that this represents subjugation and commitment to disbelievers’ laws, a residing Muslim is subject to these laws at any rate even if he does not enter the political life. Thus for him to have power is better than staying weak. Q8: Is it possible to bury a dead Muslim in a non Muslim cemetery with non Muslims? A8: If possible Muslims can ask for a separate corner in the general cemetery to bury dead Muslims in it. They should ask for this and use it that way. But if the law forbids this, then there is no other option and there is no solution for this problem. This
issue is then part of the rule of necessity (and being forced to do something which has no alternative). Q9: What is Islam ‘s position on organs’ donations? A9: Initially I don’t find any proof that forbids donation of some organs of a dead Muslim even if they are transplanted in the body of a non Muslim, because the donated organ when it is taken is not described as a Muslim or a non Muslim organ, but the description of a Muslim is applied to the person and not the organ. Many Muslims today donate their blood to hospitals and blood banks and it is unknown whether what they donated is given to a Muslim or to a non Muslim. As a matter of fact, blood is considered an organ in medicine. The whole issue is part of humanitarian actions and the Messenger of Allah (P.B.U.H.) said concerning feeding animals: “There is a reward in each wet liver. Should there be some doubt and a person is reluctant in this, then there is no problem in not donating to get rid of suspicion, for indeed such donation is not obligatory. This is what I think if it is correct then it is a favour from Allah, and if it is wrong, then it is part of my limitation. Allah, may He be gloried knows best and it is He who inspires all that is right. Sheikh Mustapha al-Zarka
FUNERALS IN ISLAM
Allah says in the Quran: "Whatsoever is on it (the earth) will perish" (26-55).
So glory to the living God who will never perish. Death will enter every house, because death is an inevitable fact. Thus each Muslim who believes in Allah and the Last Day has to prepare himself for the day of departure and to meet his end. For indeed this worldly life is nothing but a transient station leading to eternity, either to the everlasting pleasure of Allah, to eternal life in Paradise, or to the scorching Hell fire. O Allah, we don’t ask you to reverse the decree but to shower us with your gentleness in passing it. O Allah! If you keep us alive, keep us with faith, and if you cause us to die, make us die as Muslims. Dear Muslims: We hereby discuss with you the theme of death. Although this topic is both painful and horrifying, it is, however, a fact; we have to believe in death as truth. This is a part of our deep faith in Allah Almighty. We have to be ready to leave on a day when eyesight will be dazzled due to terror, a day when neither wealth nor children will avail anyone "except those who go to Allah with a sound heart". Prophet Muhammad p.b.u.h clarified to us one of the rights of every Muslim. It is also a duty of every Muslim, i.e., to follow funerals. Let us start from the moment when death approaches a person whose soul is about to leave his body. It is the duty of attending Muslims to encourage the dying one to say `La ilaha illa Allah`, as our beloved Messenger p.b.u.h. teaches us in the following tradition: On the authority of Abu Said al Khudry, may Allah be pleased with him ( R), who said: "the Messenger of Allah p.b.u.h. Said: `teach your dying ones La ilaha illa Allah`". (Reported by Muslim) "La ilaha illa Allah", Glory be to the Most High. This statement
leads to Paradise, as it is the slogan of Islam. Upon it we live, upon it we die and with it, we meet Allah, Lord of the Worlds. This is why Muadh ibn Jabal ( R) said: "the Messenger of Allah p.b.u.h. Said: ‘he, whose last words are La ilaha illa Allah, will enter Paradise`". Dear Muslims: If you attend a dying Muslim, a relative or a friend, say only what is good, appeal to Allah to support you in your misfortune and to compensate you with what is better. This is because angels confirm what you say followed by "amen", O Allah please accept. All of us will return to Allah one day. The dying ones are our predecessors and we shall follow them. The Prophet p.b.u.h. guides us to receive the occasion of death with good faith and best words. This is clear in the following tradition reported by Ummu Salamah ( R ) who said: "I heard the Messenger of Allah p.b.u.h. Saying: `every slave (of Allah) who suffers from a misfortune and says we belong to Allah, and unto Him we shall return. O Allah! Reward me in my misfortune and compensate me with what is better than that, Allah will surely reward and protect him and will grant him better than it`". Therefore, when Abu Salamah died, I repeated what the Messenger of Allah p.b.u.h commanded me to say. Thus, Allah compensated me with one better than him i.e. the Messenger of Allah p.b.u.h. Dear Muslims: As for him, who loses a dear relative or friend and thanks Allah, saying we belong to Allah and he seeks the reward of Allah and asks Allah to grant him patience and firmness, Allah will grant him Paradise as a reward for his patience. Abu Mousa ( R), reports that the Messenger of Allah p.b.u.h confirms this. The Messenger says: "When the son or daughter of the slave (of God) dies Allah Almighty says to His angels: You have taken the life of my slave’s child. They will say: `yes’. He will say: you have restored the fruit of his heart, they will say: `yes`. He will ask: what did my slave say? They will say: `he praised you and said: Unto Allah we belong`. Then Allah will say: Establish for my slave a house in Paradise and call it the house of praise". (Reported by Al-Tirmidhy)
Dear Muslims: As for praying the funeral prayer on the dead Muslim and escorting him to his grave, all this becomes a bound duty on other Muslims. Here is an abundant reward from Allah Almighty. This is clear from the tradition reported by Abu Huraira ( R). He quoted the Prophet p.b.u.h. saying: "whoever witnesses a funeral until the prayer is performed for it, he will have a carat worth of reward, and he who witnesses it until it is buried will have the equivalent of two carats". The Prophet p.b.u.h. adds: "like two great mountains". (Agreed upon) In another similar tradition, also reported by Abu Hurairah, the Messenger of Allah p.b.u.h. says: "whoever follows a funeral of a Muslim in good faith seeking God’s reward and stays with it until it is prayed upon and is buried, will return with a reward of two carats, each carat is equal to the mount of Uhud, and he who prays upon it and returns before it is buried will return with one carat". (Reported by Al Bukhari) Dear Muslims: As for the method of the funeral prayer, it is recommended to perform it by a large number of righteous worshippers, who do not associate any one with Allah so that they may intercede for their deceased brother or sister or son, thus Allah would accept it from them and grant their intercession. This is confirmed by the following tradition of the Messenger of Allah p.b.u.h who says: No Muslim dies and should forty persons - of those who do not associate any partner with Allah - attend his funeral, Allah will grant them intercession for him. The funeral prayer has a number of conditions and pillars. These must be strictly fulfilled. As regarding those who do not know how to perform a funeral prayer, I briefly state the following: First, Every one performing funeral prayer should maintain ablution, as is the case when performing any other prayer; Second, Every one should say four times Allahu Akbar. After the first one he should recite the Opening chapter of the Quran. After the second "Takbir" he should recite the second half of Ibrahim’s prayer (performed towards the end of each prayer). After the third Takbir he should pray for the dead one as well as for Muslims the following supplication or what is similar to it. This is reported from the
Prophet p.b.u.h. quoted by Abu Abdul Rahman ibn ‘Awf ibn Malek (R ) who said the Messenger of Allah p.b.u.h. prayed on a funeral, and I memorized from his supplication the following: O Allah, forgive him and have mercy on him. Relieve him of all evils and pardon him. Honour his status and expand his entrance. Wash him with water and ice and hail and purify him of sins as you purify a white garment of filth. Grant him an abode better than his abode, a family better than his family, and a spouse better than his spouse. Let him enter Paradise and protect him from the torment of the grave and the punishment of Hell. "Hearing this, I wished I had been that dead person", the narrator stated, (Reported by Muslim). The worshipper then makes the fourth Takbir and prays the following supplication, which is one of the best supplications: O Allah, do not deprive us of his reward; Don’t exercise any trial on us after him, and forgive us and him. There are many traditions in this context. It is recommended, however, to make a lengthy prayer for the dead person, a prayer that seeks Allah’s forgiveness for the dead person as well as for alive and dead Muslims.
FASTING IN ISLAM
is another unique moral and spiritual characteristic of Islam. Literally defined, fasting means to abstain “completely” from foods, drinks, intimate intercourse and smoking, before the break of the dawn till sunset, during the entire month of Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic year. But if we restrict the meaning of the Islamic fasting to this literal sense, we would be sadly mistaken. When Islam intoduced this matchless institution, it planted an evergrowing tree of infinite virtue and invaluable products. Here is an explanation of the spiritual meaning of the Islamic fasting: 1. It teaches man the principle of sincere Love: because when he observes Fasting he does it out of deep love for God. And the man who loves God truly is a man who really knows what love is. 2. It equips man with a creative sense of hope and an optimistic outlook on life; because when he fasts he is hoping to please God and is seeking His Grace. 3. It imbues in man the genuine virtue of effective devotion, honest dedication and closeness to God; because when he fasts he does so for God and for His sake alone. 4. It cultivates in man a vigilant and sound conscience; because the fasting person keeps his fast in secret as well as in public. In fasting, especially, there is no mundane authority to check man’s behaviour or compel him to observe fasting. He keeps it to please God and satisfy his own conscience by being faithful in secret and in public. There is no better way to cultivate a sound conscience in man.
5. It indoctrinates man in patience and selflessness, as through fasting, he feels the pains of deprivation but he endures them patiently. 6. It is an effective lesson in applied moderation and willpower. 7. Fasting also provides man with a transparent soul, a clear mind and a light body. 8. It shows man a new way of wise savings and sound budgeting. 9. It enables man to master the art of Mature Adaptability. We can easily understand the point once we realize that fasting makes man change the entire course of his daily life. 10. It grounds man in discipline and healthy survival. 11. It originates in man the real spirit of social belonging, unity and brotherhood, of equality before God as well as before the law. 12. It is a Godly prescription for self-reassurance and selfcontrol. Now, someone may be tempted to raise the objection: If this is the picture of Islam in this aspect, why are the Muslims not living in a utopia? To such an objection we can only say that Muslims have lived in and enjoyed a utopia in a certain epoch of their history. The realization of that utopia was a phenomenon of a unique achievement in the history of man. We say unique, because no religion or social system other than Islam has ever been able to realize its ideals in reality. The reason why the Islamic utopia is not being established nowadays is manifold and easily explicable. But to restrict our discussion to the institution of fasting we may say that some Muslims, unfortunately for them, do not observe the fast or, as best, adopt the attitude of indifference. On the other hand, some of those who observe it do not realize its true meaning and, as a result, derive very little benefit out of it
or, in fact, no benefit at all. That is why some Muslims today, do not enjoy the real privileges of fasting. It has already been indicated that the period of obligatory fasting is the month of Ramadan. The daily period of observance starts before the break of the dawn and ends immediately after sunset. Normally there are accurate calendars to tell the exact time, but in the absence of such facilities one should consult one’s watch and the sun’s positions, together with the local newspapers, weather bureau, etc. Fasting Ramadan is obligatory on every responsible and fit Muslim. But there are other times when it is recommended to make voluntary fasting, according to the Traditions of Prophet Muhammad. Among these times are Mondays and Thrusdays of every week, a few days of each month in the two months heralding the coming of Ramadam, i.e., Rejab and Sha’ban, six days after Ramadan following the ‘Eid-ul-Fitr Day. Besides, it is always compensating to fast any day of the month of the year, except the ‘Eid Days and Fridays when no Muslim should fast. However, we may repeat that the only obligatory fasting is that of Ramadan - which may be 29 or 30 days, depending on the moon’s positions. This is a pillar of Islam, and any failure to observe it without reasonable excuses is a grave sin in the sight of God. WHO MUST FAST? Fasting Ramadan is compulsory upon every Muslim, male or female, who has these qualifications: 1. To be mentally and physically fit, which means to be sane and able. 2. To be of full age, the age of puberty and discretion, which is normally about fourteen. Children under this age should be encouraged to start this good practice on easy levels, so when they reach the age of puberty they will be mentally and physically prepared to observe fasting. 3. To be present at one’s permanent settlement, your home town,
one’s farm, and one’s business premises, etc. This means not to be on a journey of about fifty miles or more. 4. To be fairly certain that fasting is unlikely to cause you any harm, physical or mental reactions to hunger, thirst, etc. EXEMPTION FROM FASTING: These said qualifications exclude the following categories: 1. Children under the age of puberty and discretion. 2. Insane people who are unaccountable for their deeds. People of these two categories are exempted from the duty of fast, and no compensation or any other substitute is enjoined on them. 3. Men and women who are too old and feeble to undertake the obligation of fast and bear its hardships. Such people are exempted from this duty, but they must offer, at least, one needy poor Muslim an average full meal or its value per person per day. 4. Sick people whose health is likely to be severely affected by the observance of fast. They may postpone the fast, as long as they are sick, to a later date and make up for it, a day for a day. 5. Travelers may break the fast temporarily during their travel only to make up for it in later days, a day for a day. 6. Pregnant women and women breast-feeding their children may also break the fast, if its observance is likely to endanger their own health or that of their infants. But they must make up for the fast at a delayed time, a day for a day. 7. Women in the period of menstruation (of a maximum of ten days) or of confinement (of a maximum of forty days). They must postpone the fast till recovery and then make up for it, a day for a day.
It should be understood that here, like in all other Islamic undertakings, the intention must be made clear that this action is undertaken in obedience to God, in response to His command out of love of Him. The fast of any day of Ramadan becomes void by intentional eating or drinking or smoking or indulgence in any intimate intercourse, and by allowing anything to enter through the mouth into the interior parts of the body. And if this is done deliberately without any lawful reason, this is a major sin which only renewed repentance can expiate. If anyone, through forgetfulness, does something that would ordinarily break the fast, his observance is not nullified, and his fast stands valid, provided he stops doing that thing the moment he realizes what he is doing. On completion of the fast of Ramadan, the special charity known as Sadaqat-ul-Fitr (charity of Fast-breaking) must be distributed before ‘Eid-ul-Fitr (approximately), seven dollars per head. GENERAL RECOMMENDATIONS: It is strongly recommended by Prophet Muhammad to observe these practices especially during Ramadan: 1. To have a light meal before the break of the dawn, known as Suhoor. 2. To eat a few dates or start breaking the fast by plain water right after sunset, saying this prayer: Allah humma laka sumna , wa ‘ala rizqika aftarna. (O God! for Your sake have we fasted and now we break the fast with the food You have given us). 3. To make your meals as light as possible because, as the Prophet put it, the worst thing man can fill is his stomach. 4. To observe the supererogatory prayer known as Taraweeh.
5. To exchange social visits and intensify humanitarian services. 6. To increase the study and recitation of the Qu’ran. 7. To exert the utmost in patience and humbleness. 8. To be extraordinarily cautious in using one’s senses, one’s mind and, especially, the tongue; to abstain from careless gossip and avoid all suspicious motions.
D’ONT REJECT H A J J
For some time now, doubtful sources have been whispering in Muslim
ears to reject Hajj i.e. Pilgrimage, putting it this way: why make Hajj seeing the presence of disbelievers near its sites! Not only this but one flyer claimed that Hajj is made obligatory in the Sunnah only, which should not be accepted as an Islamic source because, it is claimed, that it was only compiled three hundred years after the death of the Prophet! There is no clear-cut command in the Quran to perform Hajj!! To address these and other related issues, the Muslin World League office in Canada has prepared the following. This is an honest answer to a flyer rejecting Hajj i.e. Pilgrimage. The sender is either an ignorant person and does not understand the position of Hajj in Islam, or he is one of those enemies who claim to be Muslim and try to undermine Islam from within. I have no answer if he is one of this latter category. Thousands of hypocrites tried to undermine Islam over the years. The result was and will be the same by the will of Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala). They perished while Islam continues until the end of time. Should the writer of the flyer be one of those who are misguided, let me explain to him what Hajj means. what is the status of Hajj in the Quran and the Sunnah? First of all it is good, to start with, that he does not reject the Quran as the Book of Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala). If he accepts it as the Final Divine Scripture then he has to comply with all its verses and chapters. In one verse the Quran says: "So take what the Apostle assigns to you and deny yourselves what he with-holds you." (Chapter 59, Verse 7). There are many verses in the Quran that command us to obey the Messenger of Allah and to follow him if we want to be Muslims. So if you accept the Quran you have to obey the Sunnah which is the
collections of his deeds, sayings, and approvals. Suffice it to refute all false claims put from time to time that we obey the Quran and do not have to obey the Messenger, let me mention here how the Quran itself commands Muslims in more than twenty places in different Chapters to obey Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala) and His Apostle. Not only this but it is clearly stated in one verse that: "He who obeys the Apostle has in fact obeyed Allah." (Chapter 4, Verse 80). Those who ignore the Sunnah and claim that they only follow the Quran are not Muslims. Do you want to be another Rashad Khalifa who received funds from the enemies of Islam to do this? Who said that the Sunnah has been collected 300 years after the Prophet? This is a big distortion. Numerous Companions recorded the Sunnah during the lifetime of the Prophet (PBUH) like Abdullah Ibn Omar, Abu Huraira, Abdullah Ibn Abbas to name only a few. Before you distribute flyers read and read much. Or else you will be doomed to be led astray and others will be led astray by you. The Quran can only be understood through the Sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH). He was a Quran in motion. Those around him learned everything he said or did or approved and conveyed it to posterity. The Prophet told us in many traditions that Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam. He who rejects any of them rejects Islam in toto. Abu Huraira reported that the Messenger of Allah (P.B.U.H.) was asked: Which is the best of deeds? He said: "Belief in Allah and His Messenger." He was asked: Then which? He said: "Fighting in the way of Allah." He was then asked: Then what? He said: "A sinless Pilgrimage." A man once came to the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) and said: I am coward, I am weak. The Prophet said: "Come to a fight that has no thorns in it, Pilgrimage." In Bukhari and Muslim, we read that Abu Huraira said the Messenger of Allah (P.B.U.H.) said: "Umrah to Umrah eradicate sins between them and a sinless Pilgrimage has no other reward but Paradise."
Jaber may Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala) be pleased with him said: The Messenger of Allah (P.B.U.H.) said: "This house (in Makkah) is the foundation of Islam. Whoever emerges towards it as a pilgrim or making Umrah Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala) guarantees Paradise for him if he dies and to reward him abundantly if he returns." As for the claim that Pilgrimage is not made obligatory by the Quran there are two verses that foil this claim. In Chapter 33, Verse 97 Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala) says: "Pilgrimage is a duty men owe to Allah those who can afford the journey; but if any deny faith, Allah stands not in need of any of His creatures." Here it is clearly stated that those who can afford the journey and do not do it are disbelievers. In Chapter 2, Verse 196 Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala) says: "And establish Pilgrimage and Umrah for the sake of Allah." So how can we claim that Pilgrimage is not made obligatory in the Quran? Neither the generation of the Companions nor any other Islamic generation denied Hajj. To come to the Black Stone. Are you repeating what the enemies of Islam say that it is a remnant of paganism in Islam. Remember that Islam is the only religion that is free of paganism. Look how Omar Ibn Al-Khattab reacted towards kissing the Black Stone. He said: "By Allah, I know for sure that you are a useless stone; and had I not seen the Prophet kiss you, I would not kiss you." So to be a Muslim one has to submit and accept all that has been conveyed to us. Remember that the Quran itself has been revealed to the Prophet. How can you accept the Quran and reject the Sunnah? if you are sincere you must repent and seek forgiveness of Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala) before you die a disbeliever by rejecting Hajj or the Sunnah, for that matter.
ISLAM: MESSAGE OF HOPE
1. Say: "O my servants who have transgressed against their souls! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah: for Allah forgives all sins: for He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. • So turn to your Lord in repentance and bow to His will before the penalty comes on you. After that, you shall not be helped. • And follow the best of the courses revealed to you from your Lord, before the penalty comes on you while you perceive not. • Lest one soul should say: Ah! Woe to me in that I neglected my duty towards Allah, and was but among those who mocked. • Or lest it should say: If only Allah had guided me I should certainly have been among the righteous. • Or lest it should say when it actually sees the penalty: If only I had another chance I should certainly be among those who do good. • The reply will be: Nay, but there came to you My Signs, and you rejected them, you were naugthy and became one of the disbelievers. • On the Day of Judgement you will see those who told lies against Allah their faces will be black. Is there not in Hell an abode for the naughty? • But Allah will deliver the rightous to their places of salvation. No evil shall touch them, nor shall they grieve." (Surah 39, Verses 53-61) 2. By the Glorious Morning Light. • And by the Night when it is still. • Your Guardian-Lord has not forsaken you, nor is He displeased. • And verily the Hereafter will be better for you than the present. • And soon will your Guardian-Lord give you (that wherewith) you shall be well-pleased. • Did He not find you an orphan and give you shelter (and care)? • And He found you wandering, and He gave you guidance?
• And He found you in need, and made you independent? • Therefore, treat not the orphan with harshness? • Nor repulse the petitioner (unheard) • But the Bounty of your Lord rehearse and proclaim! (Surah 93, Verses 1-11) 3. Behold! Verily on the friends of Allah there is no fear, nor shall they grieve. • Those who believe and (constantly) guard against evil. • For them are Glad Tidings, in the life of the Present and in the Hereafter: no change can there be in the Words of Allah. This is indeed the supreme Felicity. (Surah 10, Verses 62-64) 4. Have We not expanded your breast? • And removed from you your burden? • The which did gall your back? • And raised high the esteem (in which) you (are held)? • So, verily, with every difficulty, there is relief. • Therefore, when you are free (from your immediate task), still labour hard. • And to your Lord turn (all) your attention. (Surah 94, Verses 108) 5. Verily Allah will defend (from ill) those who believe: verily, Allah loves not any that is a traitor to faith, or shows ingratitude. (Surah 22, Verse 38) 6. Verily never will Allah change the condition of people until they change it themselves (with their own souls). (Surah 13, Verse 11) 7. But if they turn away, Say: "Allah suffices me: there is no god but He: in Him is my trust, He is the Lord of the Throne (of Glory) Supreme! (Surah 9, Verse 129)
8. And O you believers! Turn you all together towards Allah, that you may attain Bliss. (Surah 24, Verse 31) 9. Whoever works rightousness, man or women, and has faith, verily to him will We give a new life, that is good and pure, and We will bestow on such their reward according to the best of their actions. (Surah 16, Verse 97) 10. O My servants who believe! Truly, spacious is My Earth: Therefore serve Me Alone)! (Surah 29, Verse 56) 11. The Believers must (eventually) win through. • Those who humble themselves in their prayers. • Who avoid vain talk. • Who are active in deeds of charity. • Who guard their chastity. • Except with those joined to them in the marriage bond, or (the captives) whom their right hands possess, for (in this case) they are free from blame. • But those whose desires exceed those limits are transgressors. • Those who faithfuly observe their trusts and covenants • And who (strictly) guard their prayers. • These will be the heirs. • Who will inherit Paradise; They will dwell therein (forever). (Surah 23, Verses 1-11) 12. O you who believe! Fear Allah, and (always) say a word directed to the Right. • That He may make your conduct whole and sound and forgive you your sins: He that obeys Allah and His Messenger, has already attained the highest Achievement. (Surah, Verses 70-71) 13. Behold, Luqman said to his son by way of instruction: "O my son! Join not in worship (others) with Allah: for false worship is indeed the
highest wrongdoing." • And We have enjoyed on man (to be good) to his parents: in travail upon travail did his mother bear him, and in years twain was his weaning: (hear the command), "Show gratitude to Me and to your parents; to Me is (the final) Goal." • But if they strive to make you join in worship with Me things of which you have no knowledge, obey them not; yet bear them company in this life with justice (and consideration), and follow the way of those who turn to Me (in love): In the End the return of you all is to Me, and I will tell you the truth (and meaning) of all that you did. • "O my son! (said Luqman), "if there be (but) the weight of a mustard seed and it were (hidden) in a rock, or (anywhere) in the heavens or on earth. Allah will bring it forth: for Allah understands the finer mysteries, (and) is well-acquinted (with them). • "O my son! Establish regular prayer, enjoin what is just, and forbid what is wrong; and bear with patient constancy whatever betide you; for this is firmness (of purpose) in (the conduct of ) affairs. •"And swell not your cheek (for pride) at men, nor walk in insolence through the earth: for Allah loves not any arrogant boaster. • "And be moderate in your pace, and lower your voice; for the harshest of sounds, without doubt, is the braying of the ass." (Surah 31, Verses 13-19) 14. And the servants of Allah Most Gracious are those who walk the earth in humility, and when the ignorant address them, they say "Peace". • Those who spend the night in adoration of their Lord prostrate and standing. • Those who say: "Our Lord! Avert from us the punishment of Hell, for its punishment indeed is an affliction grevious." • "Evil indeed is it as an abode, and as a place to rest in". • Those who, when they spend, are not extravagant and not niggardly, but hold a just (balance) between those (extremes)." • Those who invoke not, with Allah, any other god, nor slay such life as Allah has made sacred, except for just cause, nor commit fornication, and any that does this (not only) meets punishment. • (But) the Penalty on the Day of Judgement will be doubled to him, and he will dwell therein forever in ignominy.
• Unless he repents, believes and works righteous deeds, for Allah will change the evil of such persons into good, and Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most merciful. • And whoever repents and does good has truly turned to Allah with an (acceptable) conversion. • Those who witness no falsehood and, if they pass by futility, they pass by it with honourable (avoidance). • Those who, when they are admonished with the Signs of their Lord, drop not down at them as if they were deaf or blind. • And those who pray, "Our Lord! Grant unto us wives and offspring who will be the comfort of our eyes, and give us (the grace) to lead the righteous." • Those are the ones who will be rewarded with the highest place in heaven, because of their patient constancy: therein shall they be met with salutations and peace. • Dwelling therein, how beautiful an abode and place of rest! • Say (to the Rejecters): "My Lord would not concern Himself with you had it not been for your prayer." • "But you have indeed rejected (Him), and soon will come the inevitable (punishment)!" (Surah 25, Verses 63-77) 1. Abu Zarr relates that the Holy Prophet (PBUH) said:"Allah, the Lord of honour and glory, says: 'One who does one good deed shall be rewarded ten times or more, and one who does one evil deed shall be punished for only one sin, or he may be forgiven; and one who comes to Me by a hand's breadth I shall approach him an arm's and one who advances towards Me by an arm's length, I shall approach him the length of two arms; and one who meets Me with an earthful of sins, provided he has not associated anybody with Me, I shall meet him with an equal amount of pardon." (Narrated by Muslim) 2. Jabir relates that a bedouin came to the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and said: O Messenger of Allah, what are the two things which make Heaven or Hell necessary? He replied 'One who dies associating nobody with Allah, will enter Paradise, and one who dies associating anybody with
Allah will enter Hell." (Narrated by Muslim) 3. Abu Hurayrah states that the Prophet p.b.u.h. said: "When Allah created the creatures He wrote in the Book which is with Him in the highest heaven: 'My mercy shall prevail over my anger.' Another version says: 'My mercy covers my anger', and yet another version says: 'My compassion surpasses my anger.' (Agreed upon)
RECOMMENDED PROSTRATIONS ON RECITING THE QUR'AN
There are fifteen places in the Quran where prostration is recommended
once a Muslim recites any of those verses. This applies whether one is reciting the Quran in prayer or outside prayer. He has to stop reciting and prostrate himself. Along with the usual tasbeeh (glorification), a Muslim is recommended to say in Arabic: "O Allah! Accept this from me as You accepted it from your slave and Prophet Dawood." For the benefit of Muslims here are the different verses where prostration is recommended. We will start in order from the beginning of the Holy Quran until the end: 1. Al-A'raf (Chapter 7, Verse 206): "Those who are near to your Lord, disdain not to do Him worship; they celebrate His Praises and to Him they prostrate themselves." 2. Al-Ra'd (chapter 13, Verse 15): "Whatever beings there are in heavens and earth do prostrate themselves to Allah with goodwill or inspite of themselves: so do their shadows in the mornings and evenings." 3. Al-Nahl (Chapter 16, Verses 49-50): "And unto Allah prostrate all that is in heavens and on earth, whether moving living creatures or the angels: for none are arrogant (before their Lord). They all fear their Lord High above them, and they do all that they are commanded." 4. Al-Israa' (Chapter 17, Verses 107-109): "Say: 'Whether you believe in it or not' It is true that these who
were given knowledge beforehand, when it is recited to them fall down on their faces in humble prostration and they say: 'Glory to our Lord. Truly the promise of our Lord has been fulfilled.' They fall down on their faces in tears, and it increases their earnest humility." 5. Maryam (Chapter 19, Verse 58): "Those were some of the prophets on whom Allah bestowed His Grace of the posterity of Adam, and of those whom We carried (in the Ark) with Noah, and of the posterity of Ibrahim and Israel - of those whom We guided and chose; whenever the Signs of Allah Most Gracious were rehearsed to them, they would fall down in prostrate adoration and in tears." 6. Al-Hajj (Chapter 22, Verse 18): "Don't you see that to Allah bow down in worship all things that are in the heavens and on earth - the sun, the moon, stars, mountains, trees, animals, and a great number among mankind? But a great number are also such as are fit for punishment: and such as Allah shall disgrace, none can raise to honor: for Allah carries out all that He wills." 7. Al-Hajj (chapter 22, verse 77): "O you who believe! Bow down, prostrate yourselves, and worship your Lord; and do good so that you may prosper." 8. Al-Furqan (Chapter 25, Verse 60): "When it is said to them: 'Prostrate yourselves to the Most Gracious', they say: 'What is the Most Gracious? Shall we prostrate ourselves to that which you command us?' And it increases their flight from the Truth." 9. Al-Naml (Chapter 27, Verses 2-27): "I found there a woman ruling over them provided with every requisite; and she has a magnificent throne. I found her and her people prostrating themselves to the sun away from Allah; the Devil has made their deeds seem pleasing to their eyes, and has
kept them away from the Path - so they receive no guidance that they should not prostrate themselves to Allah, Who brings to light what is hidden in the heavens and the earth, and knows what you hide and what you reveal. Allah! there is no god but He! Lord of the Throne Supreme." 10. Al-Sajdah (chapter 32, Verse 15): "Only those who believe in Our Signs, who, when they are reminded of them (through recitation) fall down in prostration and celebrate the praises of their Lord; nor are they (ever) puffed up with pride." 11. Saad (Chapter 38, Verse 24): "(Dawood) said: 'He has undoubtedly wronged you in demanding your single ewe to be added to his flock of ewes; truly many are the partners who wrong each other: Not so do those who believe and work deeds of righteousness, and how few are, they?' Dawood then gathered that We had tried him: so he asked forgiveness of his Lord, fell down bowing in prostration and turned to Allah in repentance." 12. Fussilat (Chapter 41, Verses 37-38): "And among His Signs are the Night and the Day, and the Sun and the Moon. Don't prostrate yourselves to the Sun nor to the Moon, but prostrate to Allah, who has created them if it is Him you wish to worship. If however, they are arrogant, those who are in the presence of your Lord celebrate His praises by night and by day and they never flag." 13. Al-Najm (Chapter 53, Verse 62): "Do you then wonder at this recital? And will you laugh and not weep, wasting your time in vanities? Rather fall down in prostration to Allah and worship Him (alone)!" 14. Al-lnshiqaq (Chapter 84, Verse 21): "What then is the matter with them, that they do not believe? And when the Quran is recited to them they fall not prostrate?'
15. Al-'Alaq (Chapter 96, Verse 19): "Knows he not that Allah does see? Nay. let him beware! If he desist not, We will drag him by the forelock - a lying, sinful forelock! Then let him call for help to his council (of comrades): We will call on the angels of punishment. Nay: obey him not. But bow down in prostration and bring yourself the closer (to Allah)."
MAN AND MIRACLES
"Man" here refers to the human race and "miracles" are wonderful happenings that are beyond the known laws of nature according to one dictionary. In this sense miracles can either be real wonders or ordinary events that are made to appear as miracles. Here we want to discuss the former. As a matter of fact, life is full of miracles, not only this but life itself is a miracle. If this is the case why do most people lose sight of this? Maybe because they need an eye-opener, or this maybe due to being accustomed to miracles in our life. What we are trying here is to remove these barriers so that people can feel the presence of miracles in their lives. Modern science intentionally or unintentionally avoids discussing this issue. It only examines things as they are, and never asks why they take place this way. Thus this area is left for religions. They try to answer certain categorical questions that affect our existence as human beings on this earth like the question of miracles. The Bible is full of miracles that really bewilder and confound the reader as they bewildered and confounded the witnesses. It became a fashion these days that some hosts of religious TV shows claim that they practice miracles. They ask people to believe that Jesus Christ is their Lord and God. They strike them on the forehead and after a little while, the sick person is claimed to be miraculously cured of his illness. How can we judge these actions? First of all, we must remember that when Jesus Christ cured people of their illnesses he did ask them to believe in God and not in his own power of healing. He always confirmed to his people that the miracles he practiced are not his own but God's. How then can we attribute these
miracles to the one who always asserted that he could do what he did by the leave and with the permission of God. Hence whoever claims for himself anything different must surely be one of the liars. Allow me now to introduce Islam's concept of miracles. It may be asked, however, why should we bother ourselves with this issue? In what way or ways does it affect our life? Miracles, in fact, are at the core of our human existence. It means a lot to understand and examine their truth. According to Islam miracles can be divided into three categories: past, present and future miracles. According to the Quran, the Holy Book for Muslims, the creation of Adam, the father of humanity, was an outstanding miracle of the past. Miracles also took place at the hands of prophets to prove the truth of their messages to their people. These two types of miracles are naturally miracles of the past. We are only told about them and can only be impressed by them if we believe in what we are told. This is a common ground for all revealed religions i.e. Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. What Islam adds, however, is to draw our attention to the present miracles that surround us. The Quran does this in order to prove the truth of past as well as future miracles. Let us now quote from the Quran in order to prove what we say. About the creation of Adam and Eve, the Quran says: "Behold, your Lord said to the angels: I am creating a human from clay; when I fashion him and breathe into him of my spirit, then fall down in obedience unto him. The angels thus prostrated themselves, all of them together, not so Iblis. He was haughty and became one of those who reject Faith." (38:71-74). "O Adam, We said: Verily this is an enemy to you and your wife. Let him not get you both out of the Garden lest you should Land in misery..." (20:117). "But Satan whispered evil to him. He said: O Adam! Shall I lead you to the Tree of Eternity, and to a kingdom that never decays? As a result they both (Adam and Eve) ate of the tree, and so their nakedness appeared to them. They began to sew together for their covering leaves from the Garden. Thus did
Adam disobey His Lord, and allowed himself to be seduced. But His Lord chose him (for His Grace) He turned to him and gave him guidance." (2:l20-l22). The Quran, however, does not impose on us this miracle of the creation of the father and mother of humanity without proving it. First of all, it reminds us that this miracle has been practiced by God Almighty who says to anything Be and it is. Thus when the Quran tries to prove the miracle of the creation of Jesus Christ peace be with him from his virgin mother Mary, it says: "The similitude of Jesus before God is as that of Adam. He created him from dust, then said to him Be and he was." (3:59). To prove the past miracles, God draws our attention to the present ones. The Quran says: "And God created you from dust, then from a sperm drop, then He made you in pairs. No female conceives or lays down (her burden) but with His knowledge." (35:11). Let us contemplate the logic of the Quran concerning creation. In the same chapter verse 28, we read: "Don't you see that God sends down rain from the sky? With it we then bring out produce of various colors, and in the mountains are tracts white and red, of various shades of color, and black intense in hue; and so among men and crawling creatures and cattle, are they of various colors as well. It is only the knowledgeable among God's slaves who truly fear God, the Exalted in Might, the oft-Forgiving." (35:28). The Quran, again, is unique in drawing our attention to the present miracles around us. It says: "Don 't you see that God merges night into day and He merges day into night; that He has subjected the sun, and the moon; each running its course a term appointed; and that God is well-acquainted with all they you do." (31:29). Again in chapter 30 verse 48, we read: "It is God who sends the winds, which raise clouds, then does He spread
them in the sky as He wills, and breaks them into fragments, until you see rain drops issue from their midst then when He has made them reach such of His servants as He wills, behold, they do rejoice." The Quran also refers to other past miracles i.e. those given to previous messengers of God. To Noah, for instance God gave the Flood by which all disbelievers were wiped out. To Abraham, God made fire peace and tranquility and deprived it of its power of burning. To Moses, God gave the staff by which he could open a path in the middle of the sea and reach to safety he and his followers while his opponents perished drowning. To Jesus Christ, God gave the power to heal the blind, the leper and restore the dead to life. It is true that these and many other miracles have been mentioned in both the Quran and the Bible; but the Quran shows us the way to accept those past miracles. In chapter 30 we read the following: "So give glory to God when you reach evening and when you rise in the morning. To Him is due all praise in the heavens and the earth and in the late afternoon and when you reach noon. it is He who brings out the living from the dead and brings out the dead from the living; and Who gives life to earth after it is dead and thus will you be brought back (from the dead)." "Among His signs (miracles) is that He created you from dust and then you are men scattered far and wide. And among His signs is this: that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that you may dwell in tranquility with them: and He has put love and mercy between you. Verily in that are signs for those who reflect..." "And among His signs is your sleep by night and by day and the quest that you make for livelihood out of His bounty." To prove future miracles the Quran uses the most acceptable logic. Here is one example: "O mankind! if you have a doubt concerning the Resurrection (consider) that We created you out of dust, then out of sperm, then out of leech-like clot,
then out of a morsel of flesh, partly formed and partly unformed in order that We may manifest Our power to you; and We cause whom We will to stay in the wombs for an appointed term, then do we bring you out as infants, then foster you so that you may reach your age of full strength; and some of you are called to die, and some are sent back to the feeblest old age, so that they know nothing after having known much and you see the earth barren and lifeless, but when We pour down rain on it. it is stirred to life and swells, and it puts forth every kind of beautiful growth (in pairs). Even so, because God is the Reality; it is He who gives life to the dead, and it is He who has power over all things; and verily the Hour will come: there can be no doubt about it, and that God will raise up all who are in the graves." (22:5-7). Let me now cite two situations referred to in the Quran. Abraham, the father of all three revealed religions, was the son of Azar who used to be an idol-maker and worshipper. "Abraham said to his father Azar: Do you take idols for gods? I see you and your people in manifest error. Hence we showed Abraham the sovereignty and laws of heavens and earth, so that he might have certitude. when night covered him over he saw a planet. He exclaimed: This is my Lord; but when (the planet) set he said: I don't love those that set. when he saw the moon rising in splendor, he exclaimed: This is my Lord, but when it again set he said: Unless my Lord guide me, I shall surely be among those who go astray. Then when he saw the sun rising in splendor he exclaimed: This is my Lord. This is greater; but when it set also he said: O my people! I am indeed free from your guilt of ascribing partners with God. For me, I have set my face firmly and truly towards Him who created heavens and earth and never shall I be one of the polytheists." (6:74-79). The other situation is between Abraham again and the dictator of his time who claimed to have the power of life and death. The Quran says: "Bethink you of him who had an argument with Abraham about his Lord, because Allah had given him the kingdom; how, when Abraham said: My Lord is He who gives life and causes death, he answered: I give life and cause death. Abraham said: Lo! Allah causes the sun to rise in the East, so do you cause it to come up from the West. Thus was the disbeliever abashed. And Allah guides not
wrongdoing folk" (2-258). To conclude, miracles in the Quran have one aim i.e. to guide man to his Creator who is the source of all miracles.
ISLAM & MAGIC
Magic is an old human practice. It is sometimes defined as deception by
showing something to an audience, which is contrary to reality. In Islam this is part of magic, which is, however, defined as seeking the help of demons to perform something harmful against somebody. In the light of the above definition, Islam considers magic to be an act of blasphemy. Thus, the Holy Quran say: Suleiman (Solomon) did not disbelieve, but the devils disbelieved teaching men magic (2:102). In an authentic saying, the Prophet of Islam p.b.u.h. said: Whoever goes to a fortune teller (a soothe sayer) or a diviner and believes him, has, in fact, disbelieved in what has been revealed to Muhammad. Thus Islam condemns magic – even what is called the horoscope or luck or reading one’s palm to foretell the future is also prohibited in Islam. This is based on the belief that no one knows the future or the unseen except God almighty. That is why the Quran asserts that even Muhammad does not know the unseen. Concerning this, it says: If I had the knowledge of the unseen, I should have secured abundance for myself, and no evil would have touched me (7:188). Again, God is described in the Quran as the knower of the unseen and the manifest (6:73) and as the holder of the keys of the unseen (6:59). In another tradition, Prophet Muhammad p.b.u.h. says: “Avoid the seven deadly acts which are: ascribing partners to God, magic, killing the human self which Allah prohibited except with right, eating usury, devouring the orphan’s wealth, defecting from the battle-field (without a justified reason) and slandering chaste, unwary believing women. Thus Islam has closed the door for practicing magic, simply because it is against its teachings, and it is deceptive and harmful. Let us now review some of the verses of the Holy Quran that refer to
magic: In Chapter two verse 101-102, the Quran says: And when there came to them a Messenger from Allah confirming what was with them, a party of those who were given the scripture threw away the book of Allah behind their backs as if they did not know. And they followed what the devils gave out falsely of magic on the reign of Solomon; for Solomon did not disbelieve but the devils disbelieved, teaching men magic and such things that came down at Babylon to the two angels Harut and Marut, but neither of these two (angels) taught anyone (such things) until they had said: we are only for trial, so don’t disbelieve. And from them (magicians) people learn that through which they would cause separation between a person and his spouse, but they could not thus harm anyone except by Allah’s leave; and they learn that which harms them rather than profits them. And indeed they knew that its practitioner would have no share in the Hereafter. And how bad indeed was that for which they sold their own selves if they but knew” (2:101-2). Although Solomon was the Prophet and Messenger of God, he was accused by some of his opponents to be practicing magic. Those who claimed this could not distinguish between magic and miracles. Almost all messengers of God were granted miracles as a proof of their authenticity. To name only a few: Moses was granted the staff by which he could divide the sea and make water gush from rocks. Abraham was flung in the middle of a huge raging fire, which Allah made cool and peaceful to him. Jesus Christ could heal the blind and the leper and bring back the dead to life. If we contemplate these acts we find that miracles are totally different from magic. While magic is always harmful, miracles are useful. Magic is from devils while miracles are from God. When these miracles are rejected other miracles are imposed to inflict severe punishments on rejecters. On the other hand, miracles are real while magic is sometimes deceptive. It may be said that the Prophet Muhammad p.b.u.h. was himself exposed to the effect of magic. How could you explain this? This is true; but God saved him from the spell of magic through the repeated remembrance of God and the recitation of some chapters and verses of the Holy Quran. This took place to confirm the humility of Muhammad
p.b.u.h. who was a human like other humans. This made it easier for his followers to imitate him. Two questions are pertinent in this context: How to protect one’s self from magic? And how to treat a person under the spell of magic? Prophet Muhammad p.b.u.h. provided us with the recipe through which we can protect ourselves from magic. We shall be immune from magic if we recite – after the five daily prayers – the last three chapters of the Holy Quran which are number 112, 113 and 114 And here is their translation: UNITY In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful Say: He is Allah, the One! Allah, the eternally besought of all! He begets not nor was begotten. And there is none comparable unto Him. DAYBREAK In the name of Allah the Beneficent, the Merciful Say I seek refuge in the Lord of daybreak From the evil of that which he created; From the evil of the darkness when it is intense, and from the evil of malignant witchcraft, And from the evil of the envious when he envies. MANKIND In the name of Allah the beneficent, the Merciful Say: I seek refuge in the Lord of mankind, The King of mankind, The God of mankind, From the evil of the sneaking whisperer, Who whispers in the hearts of mankind, Of the jinn and of mankind. These chapters are also recommended to be recited three times after the dawn prayer and three times after the sunset prayer. Secondly Prophet Mohammed p.b.u.h. encouraged us to recite the greatest verse in the Quran called the verse of the Throne, translated as
follows: “Allah! There is no God save Him, the Alive, and the Eternal. Neither slumber nor sleep overtakes Him. Unto Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth. Who is he that intercedes with Him save by His leave? He knows that which is in front of them and that which is behind them, while they encompass nothing of His knowledge save what He will. His chair encompasses the heavens and the earth, and He is never weary of preserving them. He is the sublime, the Tremendous (2:225). This verse should be recited after each and every one of the five daily prayers and before going to bed. The Prophet p.b.u.h. also encouraged us Muslims to recite the last two verses of Chapter two at the beginning of every night whose translation is as follows: The Messenger believes in that which has been revealed unto him from his Lord and (so do) the believers. Each one believes in Allah and His angels and His messengers and they say: We hear, and we obey. (Grant us) Your forgiveness, our Lord. Unto you is the journeying (2:285). Allah tasks not a soul beyond its scope. For it (is only) that which it has earned, and against it (only) that which it has deserved. Our Lord! Condemn us not if we forget, or miss the mark! Our Lord! Lay not on us such a burden as you did lay on those before us! Our Lord! Impose not on us that which we have not the strength to bear! Pardon us, absolve us and have mercy on us. You are our Patron; so grant us victory over the disbelieving folk (2:286). Prophet Mohammed p.b.u.h. said: (whoever recites the last two verses of the chapter called the Cow, they will suffice him). This means that they will protect him from every evil. Again seeking refuge in Allah and remembering his name is an effective protection against all evils including magic. Two main supplications are recommended in this
respect. They are: 1. I seek refuge in the complete words of Allah from the evils of what He created; 2. In the name of Allah through whose name nothing on earth or in heaven can cause any harm. If these two prayers are recited three times in the beginning of the day and in the beginning of the night, then no harm or evil will approach the reciter by the grace of Allah. It remains to mention how we can treat a person under the spell of magic. It is possible, on the one hand, to learn magic so that one can use the same tactics. All in all, the best cure is to recite the Quran and seek God’s help.
WHO IS LIGHT?
The term “noor” or light and its derivatives are mentioned 49 times in the
Holy Quran. There is one verse called the verse of light, which says: “Allah is the Light of Heavens and earth. The similitude of His Light is as a niche wherein is a lamp, the lamp is in glass, and the glass is as it were a shining star. (This lamp) is kindled from a blessed tree. Light upon light, Allah guides to His light whomsoever He wills. (Chapter 24 V. 34). According to this verse Allah is the source of all light in Heaven and earth. If we trace the occurrence of this term “noor’ meaning light in the Quran and Sunnah we will indeed learn a lot. Let us start with the Quran first. In some verses light means guidance to Islam. In chapter two we read: Allah is the patron of those who believe, from the depths of darkness, He leads them into light. As for disbelievers their patrons are the Evil ones who lead them out of light into depths of darkness. (2-257) The Torah and the Gospel are described in the Quran as sources of light too. Islam is light also. The Quran says: “They want to extinguish Allah’s light with their mouths.” Allah, however will make His light prevail even though disbelievers detest this. (9-32) The Quran is the road to light: “ALR. a book which we revealed to you so that you bring out people from the depths of darkness into light. (14-1) Moses was sent with light (Ibrahim-5) like all other Messengers of God. Is he whose bosom Allah has expanded for Islam so that he follows a light from His Lord (as he who disbelieves) ? A believer walks in light. (39-22). The Messenger, Muhammad, is a source of light: “O Prophet! We sent you as a witness, a bringer of glad tidings and a warner, and a caller to Allah by His leave and a shining lamp.” (33-46)
The Quran is light: “So believe in Allah and His Messenger and the light He revealed.” (64-8) “O Mankind! There has come to you a proof from your Lord and We revealed to you a clear light.” (4-174) Most scholars affirm that light here refers to the Quran. Some scholars are, however, of the opinion that it is a reference to Prophet Muhammad p.b.u.h. which is, however, proved to be wrong by the same verse that refers to both the proof and the light as one thing. On the other hand the Quran confirms the absolute humanity of the Prophet. In chapter 42 Allah says in the Quran: “You never knew what is the scripture nor what is faith; We, however, made it a light by which We guide whomsover We wish of our slaves. (42-52) Light is guidance to the straight path according to the Quran. It is God who grants guidance or light to whom He wills. Martyrs and honest slaves of God have their own light; and naturally messengers of God are sources of light. This is, in brief, a review of how the Quran refers to light. One remark is necessary here namely that in one place only, the word light is said to refer to Prophet Muhammad as a shining lamp. The rest of the 48 verses refer to God as the source of light, to the Quran, to believers, and to Islam. This is supported by the traditions of Prophet Muhammad p.b.u.h. who always stressed his mortality and human capacity. Here are some examples: Zayed Ibn Arqam reported the Messenger of God who said: ”As to what follows. O people! I am only a mortal about to respond to the call from the Messenger of my Lord. I am leaving with you, two trusts: First is the Book of Allah in which there is guidance and light. Whoever abides by it and follows it will be on guidance; and whoever misses it will be led astray. So be committed to the Book of Allah and hold fast to it; and my household I remind you of Allah in dealing with them. “Ibn Amr quoted the Messenger of God as saying: “Allah had created His creation in darkness. He then granted them with His Light. He who got part of that light on that day will be guided and he who missed the light will be misled. Abu Moosa reported the Messenger of God p.b.u.h. to have said:
“Allah does not sleep; nor is it becoming of Him to sleep. He lowers the measure and raises it, to Him are raised the deeds of the day before the deeds of night. His veil is light; should He uncover it the effect of his complexion would burn every thing to which His sight reaches. Ibn Umer quoted the Messenger of God as saying: “On the Day of Judgement the just ones will be on pulpits of light on the right hand of the Beneficent and all his hands are right, those who are just in their rulings, their families and what they control. Amr Ibn Anbasah said the Messenger of God said: “ Any man whose hair becomes grey in the way of Allah then this will be a light for him.” In a weak Hadith quoted by Irbad Ibn Sariya we are told by the Prophet p.b.u.h.: “I was with Allah written in the mother of the Book as the last seal of prophets. That was when Adam was still in his mud stage. I shall tell about the meaning of this: I am my Father Ibrahim’s call, the glad tiding of Isa and the vision of my mother who saw as she gave birth to me, as though a light has gushed out of her by which Syria’s palaces were lit. This is also seen by mothers of Prophets.” But in an authentic Hadith reported by Abi Omama Prophet Mohammad p.b.u.h. said: “My mother saw as though a light came out of her which lit palaces of Syria.” In a very weak saying Abu Thar said: “Keep on remembering the Quran and remembering Allah as this will be a remembrance for you in Heaven and a light for you on earth. But in an authentic Hadith reported by Burayda and Sahl ibn Saad the Messenger of Allah said: Give glad tidings to the walkers across darkness to mosques of complete light on the Day of Judgement. Aisha reported that the Messenger of God p.b.u.h. to have said Allah created angels from light. In another Hadith reported by Ibn Amr the Messenger of God p.b.u.h. said: “Grey hair is the light of the believer. No Man acquires a grey hair in Islam but will get for every single hair one reward and will be promoted for it one degree. Abu Malek Al-Ashaari quoted the Messenger of God p.b.u.h. who said: “Cleanliness is one half of faith, “Praise be to Allah fills the balance, and “Glory to Allah and Praise be to
Allah” fill the space between Heaven and Earth, prayer is light, charity is a proof, patience is a brilliance, the Quran is a testimony for you or against you. All people strive, they however, vary. Some sell their souls, others emancipate them or destroy them. (Authentic). Muath reported the following sacred Hadith where the Prophet p.b.u.h. quoted Allah as saying: “Those who love each other in my majesty will have pulpits of light, for which prophets and martyrs would envy them. Ubadah Ibn Al-Samet said: that the Messenger of Allah p.b.u.h. said: “Allah Glory be to him says, My love is sure for those who exchange advice for my sake; my love is sure for those who exchange visits for my sake. Those who exchange love for my sake will be on pulpits of light due to which prophets, honest slaves and martyrs would vie them. (Authentic). Abu Moosa quoted the Prophet p.b.u.h. as saying: “The parable of Muslims, Jews, and Christians is like a man who hired some people to perform a job for him at night. They started work till midday. Then they said: We don’t need either your payment that you have decided for us or our job for you. He replied: don’t do this but complete the rest of your work and receive your payment in full. They refused and left. He then hired other employees after them. They did exactly the same thing as the first group and left before completing their job, neither did they get their payment, but left empty handed. Then a third group took over; they completed the job and received the whole payment. This is the example of the light they expected. Authentic. Abu Saeed reported the Messenger of God p.b.u.h. to have said; whoever recites Al-Kahf chapter on Friday will have light from then until the next Friday. Authentic. Once we have read the above Quranic verses as well as the Prophet’s traditions we understand that God Almighty is the source of all material as well as spiritual light. He grants His light to Prophets including Prophet Muhammad p.b.u.h. Believers in the message as well as the
Quran and mosques are also sources of light as long as they convey the light of Allah and His guidance.
ISLAM AND THE ENVIRONMENT
Many people express their concern these days about the preservation of
the environment so much so that this has become a trend worldwide. It is interesting to indicate here that an increasing number of people in the West ask about the position of Islam toward the environment. Here are a few thoughts on the subject: • First of all, Islam makes it incumbent on every Muslim to contribute his share in improving greenery. Muslims should be active in growing more trees for the benefit of all people. In one tradition the Prophet says: “If the Hour is about to take place while any one of you has a sapling in his hand, which he can cultivate before it takes place, let him cultivate it for he will be rewarded for it .” • Every country in the world worries about wasting water. This applies even to Canada, one of the richest states in water resources. Look how Islam deals with this issue. A Muslim is recommended to save water in his ceremonial washing for prayer even if he has a river at his disposal according to one tradition of the Prophet. • Again, a Muslim is warned against urinating in still water. • Islam’s care of the environment is not limited to times of peace. This also applies to behaviour in wars where Muslims are required to avoid cutting trees which are useful to people in general. • On the other hand, Islam’s mercy is not restricted to human beings but is extended to animals and birds. Game hunting of birds or animals just for the pleasure of the sport and not for a real need is forbidden in Islam.
• Even when a Muslim slaughters an animal or a bird for eating, he has to sharpen his knife and to treat the animal gently and never cut its meat until it becomes completely senseless and lifeless. • The Prophet once saw a mother bird flying over the heads of a group of Muslims as if seeking for its little one which they had taken. Seeing this, the Prophet ordered them to return the little bird back to its mother. • Even insects, Islam gives a special attention to them. It considers them signs and miracles of God. That is why insects like flies, spiders and bees, ants, etc... are mentioned in the context of being miracles of God in the Qur'an. • Once the Prophet said: “One woman qualified to enter Hell fire just because of her behaviour towards a cat. she imprisoned it, and neither did she feed it nor did she release it to seek for its food from the open land. • On the other hand, we are told by the Prophet of mercy that a prostitute’s sins were forgiven because she gave drinking water to a thirsty dog. After she drank from a well, she saw a thirsty dog to which she gave drinking water. • Again, the Prophet warned us of cursing animals which we ride and carry our burdens on. He, on the contrary, commands Muslims to treat them gently and with kindness. • All games and sports harmful to animals and birds are forbidden in Islam because of their cruelty. • In no other religion, philosophy or ideology except Islam do we find a unique attitude toward nature i.e. the universe. Time and again we find God swearing in the Qur'an by various elements of nature, His creation. Several chapters in the Holy Book of Muslims begin with an oath like: By the Heavens,. by the moon, the sun, the stars, the night, the day, the trees, animals,
vegetation, etc... This is to indicate, among other things, the great value of these elements. • For here, Islam considers all creatures to be salves of the Almighty God. They surrender to his laws and every creature has his form and method of worship. They all glorify God, each in his own way. • Thus Islam establishes a relationship of true love and harmony between man and all creation. • Again, Islam has in fact introduced a more comprehensive meaning of environment or nature. It considers man the major factor in this universe and defined for him a course of action and behaviour that makes him an ideal model. In this context, Islam enjoins the protection of human nature. Human life is sacred in the sight of Islam. No one is permitted to take the life of another person except as life for life. Suicide is a crime in Islam. • Islam forbids that men should imitate women in dress and behaviour and vice versa. That is why the Prophet cursed any of the two sexes that imitates the other. • Islam encourages breast feeding for the full period of two years for the sake of both the new babies as well as their mothers. • It recommends women to specialize in taking care of children, bringing them up and serving the needs of the family rather than going out for jobs unless it is necessary for them to do so. • As for children there is no child abuse or wife abuse in Islam. A practising Muslim society does not prefer one sex over another. This fairness results in peace and love in the family. • As for personal hygiene, Islam recommends a weekly bath at least every Friday for Muslims especially those who attend Friday congregational prayer which is an obligation on all Muslim men
and it is an option for Muslim women. Thus cleanliness can prevail among people. • Islam is not only keen on outward cleanliness but has its own guidelines in inward cleanliness. The Prophet said: “Five things are in harmony with nature: cutting one’s moustache, removing hair of the armpit, shaving the pubic region, trimming one’s nails and circumcision. • It enjoins avoiding eating onions or garlic before attending public meetings to prevent bad odour. • The Prophet likens socialization with good and bad companions to two parables. He says a good company is like a person carrying musk while a bad companion is like the black smith who blows fire. From the former, you would either buy some musk or you will at least find a good smell from him, while the latter would either burn your clothes or at least you will find a bad smell from him. • It is the duty of Muslims to remove dirt and harm from roads and streets. This is an act of worship in Islam. Cleanliness of front and back yards is encouraged also. • Islam enjoins treating neighbours with kindness. • The Prophet says: “God is beautiful and He loves the beautiful.” • Islam commands Muslims to avoid all bad habits that are harmful to their bodies, to other people like smoking, drug addiction, alcoholic drinks, etc... • A Muslim should discharge his work in the best possible way, be honest, true to his word and fulfil his promise. In brief, Islam makes this world of ours a better and a happier place for all creation.
GOOD CONDUCT IN ISLAM
In previous sermons we referred to levels of iman, and the manners Muslims should adhere to, otherwise their faith weakens, their balance is shaken and their steps will have difficulty in following the right path. Today we continue our talk about the same subject but from a different angle and a different style. Prophet Muhammad p.b.u.h. said: The Muslim is the one from whose hands and tongue other Muslims are safe, and the immigrant is he who abandons what Allah forbids. When the Messenger p.b.u.h. was asked: Which Islam is better? He said the same thing. And when a man asked the Prophet the same question the Prophet answered: That you provide food, deliver the salutation of peace upon those you know and those you don’t know. Thus the fact is the same about Islam or iman. In other words that there should be action, or behavior that confirms faith in the heart of a believer so that his Islam is reflected in good deeds, peace, and blessings in his movements and words. Thus he would harm or hurt no one, he would destroy no buildings and would do no wrong nor take the right of any one. On the contrary he would be a strong and useful member of his society. This is clear in the Prophet’s sayings mentioned earlier which assert that the best Muslims are those who fulfil the rights of Allah as well as the rights of other Muslims. Practically speaking a Muslim should not only discharge his duties through believing in Allah, His Messenger and His books, neither just by establishing worships that are obligatory on him, but in addition to this he has to fulfil the rights he owes to other people. That is why good conduct and nice manners with other people are the real signs of a true believer and a good Muslim.
We notice from the above sayings that the companions of the Prophet p.b.u.h. were keen to learn more about their religion so that they could be sincere and strong in their faith. Thus comes the question that showed their competition to acquire the virtues of Islam to avoid sins and evils. This is how a Muslim should be. He should ask about what he doesn’t know and should learn all that benefits him and his society and should seek to apply good manners, he should avoid all evils and sins. That is why a Muslim is a person who abstains from hurting other Muslims; a Muslim is he who tries to know other Muslims and make peace with them by his words and actions; he delivers the salutation of peace to them and grants them all that is good and useful. Dear Muslims! The Messenger of Allah p.b.u.h. urges us to fulfil the highest standard of conduct; that is why he concentrates in his teachings on these lessons of education and manners so that we may become the best nation evolved for mankind. The Prophet p.b.u.h. for instance, says: May Allah have mercy on the person who is tolerant when he sells, tolerant when he buys, and tolerant when he seeks judgement. This saying is either a prayer from the Prophet for the person who is tolerant in his dealings. It may also be a piece of news about tolerant Muslims. In this case it is a glad tidings of good and blessings and happiness. For a Muslim to be tolerant with other Muslims requires that he should not be harsh or violent towards them, neither should he insist on his mistakes, but should surrender part of his right to the helpless, he should forgive those who offended him if they apologize. He should give respite to those who owe him money, and should do good to relatives even if they boycott him. Dear Muslims! We should remember here that part of true faith is to love for the sake of Allah and to hate for the sake of Allah. This is a sign of sound hearts that are free from vicious whims and material greed. The Prophet p.b.u.h. says: Every time a Muslim enjoys three things, he in fact, enjoys the sweetness of faith: 1) that Allah and his Messenger are dearer to him than any one else 2) that he should love other people for the sake of Allah
alone and 3) that he should hate to return back to disbelief as he would hate to be thrown in a fire. “Agreed upon.” In another tradition the Prophet p.b.u.h. says: Seven persons will be under the shade of Allah on the day when there will be no other shade but His: A just leader, a young man brought up in the worship of Allah, a man whose heart is committed to mosques, two people who love one another fot the sake of Allah, they meet and part for His sake, a person whose left hand does not know what his right hand has spent, a person whose eyes overflow with tears due to his remembrance of Allah when he is all by himself and a person whom a pretty and influential woman encourages to commit adultery with her but he said “I fear Allah” Reported by al-Bukhary. In a sacred tradition the Prophet p.b.u.h. quotes Allah as saying: My love is binding for those who love one another for My sake, who sit with one another for My sake, and who visit one another for My sake. Reported by al-Tirmithy. Dear Muslims! What do you learn from these great Prophetic traditions? First: that the Prophet p.b.u.h. gave good tidings to the believer who loves his brother believer that he will enjoy the sweetness of faith in his heart due to his love. In other words he will feel good, satisfied and will have faith and peace through his love to his brother without any worldly interests in that love. Second: that the Messenger p.b.u.h. also promises another good news in addition to the first one which is in this world namely his feeling of satifaction and comfort. The second good news is that Allah will shade him under his shade on the day of judgement, His special shade which is only for His slaves whom He loves and who love him and He will honour them with what he does not honour any body else with. Third: that the Messenger p.b.u.h. warns us never to love other people for worldly gains or interests so that our love for them will disappear once these gains vanish. Thus we stop our love or visits to them accordingly. There is a warning for those who love a person for his prestige, or authority or power and they don’t dare advise or blame him or say the true words to him
because they are afraid for their interests, their positions and their livelihood. Those are the hypocrites. They are in the lowest level of Hell fire. In Allah we seek refuge from that. Dear Muslims! Islam is such a wonderful religion that urges its followers to be tolerant, gentle and loving; and how great is the need of Muslims to abide by these teachings of the Prophet p.b.u.h. for great supreme conduct. It is time that Muslims should review their conditions, correct their concepts, mend their mistakes and straighten their behavior. We are a nation created to lead other nations. This is a fact clearly decided in the Book of Allah and the traditions of his Messenger p.b.u.h. Why then should some among us continue to insist on argumentation and futile disputes doing their best to reject their material interests and gains? This is nothing but a sincere call to correct the wrong in ourselves and to cultivate love, and friendship in the hearts of men. It is a call to Paradise using vessels of piety, good conduct and sincere repentance. And indeed Allah alone will have his way to pass.
FINALITY OF PROPHETHOOD
Before we deal with the above title let us first define what is meant by a
prophet. According to the three divine religions i.e. Judaism, Christianity and Islam, a prophet is a sincere human being who quotes God Almighty. He is entrusted with a message from God (thus he acquires the title "messenger"). He follows what he teaches and always asserts that he speaks not from himself but from God. He does not look for any worldly or material reward for his mission. To prove his claim he is supported with miracles from God. Based on this definition a prophet is not a liar, but an honest conveyer of a message from God. He does not seek any worldly gains or prestige. He is rather ready to suffer for his message and does not waiver nor change it at all costs. There were many prophets over the ages sent by God to their peoples. Among these are Adam, Noah, Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Job, Junah, Lot, Hud, David, Solomon, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad. The Quran, the Holy Book for Muslims, mentions 25 messengers or prophets of God by name. Having said this can we accept today the rise of a new prophet of God? Why not if this applied to certain individuals in the past? And why at all should Muslims insist that Muhammad is the last and final messenger and prophet of God? To begin with all prophets of God conveyed one and the same message to their people, namely to worship God alone who created them for this purpose, who provides for them and unto whom they will return one day. He gave them life and will take it one day. Whenever people deviated from the path of God shown to them by an earlier messenger, God would send a new one to reassert the mission of the previous
messenger and to restore the original message. Thus the series extended until it was concluded by Prophet Muhammad the last messenger. But why is Muhammad the last and final messenger of God, why can`t we accept prophets or messengers of God as we accepted them before? One reason is that his message is for all the worlds. It is not limited for one generation or one people at a certain time or place. He is rather the messenger of God to all times and climes. While other messengers were sent to one particular people, and were supported with physical, material miracles to prove their authenticity, Muhammad whose message is universal, received a universal miracle that is not affected by the change of time or place. This message is the Holy Quran. A word is pertinent here about the Holy Quran. This book is “Holy” or sacred because it is the word of God revealed in letter and spirit to Prophet Muhammad over a period of 23 years. Unlike other scriptures, it was revealed piece meal and Muhammad was only the vehicle that conveyed the message honestly and accurately. So, if the Quran is the book of God that was not changed, why then should there be any new message or messenger for that matter? Let us come closer. Islam states clearly and decisively that Muhammad p.b.u.h was the last and final messenger. In one Quranic verse he is described as the seal and the stamp of all prophets. In chapter 33 verse 40 we read : Muhammad was not the father of any of your men but the messenger of God and the seal of all prophets. "seal” in Arabic, the original language of the Quran means both the final, the last and the stamp of prophets. When any thing is sealed this means that it is closed and concluded. That is the case with Muhammad p.b.u.h. On the other hand we have a number of statements by Prophet Muhammad p.b.u.h. warning against any future prophet.
In one of them he said: There will be no prophethood after me. In another tradition he asserted: Nothing of prophethood remains after me except righteous vision. In a third saying Prophet Muhammad said: I have names: I am Muhammad, I am Ahmad, I am the eliminator at whose hands God will eliminate unbelief, I am the gatherer on whose footsteps people will be gathered ( for the day of judgement) and I am the last one as there will be no prophet after me. Here are more sayings of the Prophet Muhammad p.b.u.h. to this effect. In Musnad Imam Ahmad, one of the reliable sources of prophetic traditions, Anas ibn Malik reported the Messenger of God to have said: Apostleship and prophethood have been concluded. So there will be neither apostle nor prophet after me" hearing this the people around the prophet felt very bad, thus he said: but there will only remain glad tidings. They said: What are glad tidings? He answered: the vision granted to some pious Muslim individuals. It is in fact one part of prophethood. In the same source, namely Musnad Imam Ahmed, Al Irbad ibn Saryah quoted the Prophet to have said: I have been the seal and the final prophet while Adam was still in his mud stage. In Sahih Muslim, another authentic source of the Prophet`s traditions, Jaber reported the Messenger of God p.b.u.h. to have said : The parable of me and the prophets is like a man who built a house which he perfected and completed except a spot of one brick. Thus people started to enter it and express their surprise from it saying: Had it not been for the absence of the brick. I am the missed brick. I came and thus I concluded the prophets. The same tradition was also reported by the famous reporter Abu Huraira. To come now to the decisive Quranic statements that declare that " The only religion with God is Islam "(19-3)And whoever seeks any religion other than Islam, it will not be accepted from him, and he will be a loser on the Day of Judgement (85-3).
In other words those who claim to be prophets after prophet Muhammad are trying to change his religion and thus introduce a new one . To be a Muslim the first pillar is to testify that God is one and only and that Muhammad is his messenger. Thus one automatically puts himself out of the fold of Islam if he claims or accepts any new prophet after Muhammad p.b.u.h. May God guide all people to the straight path of Islam, the path of Prophet Muhammad p.b.u.h Amen.
WHO WILL GO TO HEAVEN?
This question requires one basic belief namely that there will be life after
death. Although many religions claim this belief, esp. the three Divine religions ( Judaism, Christianity and Islam) if we review the concept of the second life in them we find many interesting things: In the scriptures of Jews we notice that the concept of life after death is a vague one. It is, in fact, a materialistic concept, and it is also a racist one. For Jews God is a pro-Jewish Lord. He gives them the right to crush and eliminate all other nations who are called Goyim (non-Jews). These people do not deserve to be human and naturally do not qualify to enter Heaven. It is a concept of bias, hatred and racism. If we comtemplate the Christian scriptures, basically the New Testament, we find one thread running all through as far as the second life is concerned. The reader is required to believe in the original sin and in the necessity of crucifixion for salvation. The intelligent examiner would easily come to the conclusion that God Almighty was reluctant and hesitant for thousands of years. He could not make his decision until he was guided to the idea of sacrificing His own son for the salvation of humanity. Under some scrutiny this idea would easily be refuted. This is exactly what Islam provided. First of all if we solve the riddle of the original sin we can easily know who is going to Heaven and who is not. The Bible upholds the concept of the original sin. It says that when God created Adam and Eve He warned them against eating from one particular tree. They, however, ate from it; the blame in the Bible goes to Eve. She is depicted as the one who brought the condemnation and the downfall of Adam as well as the human race. There is no role of the Devil in the story according to the Bible.
Thus man suffered from the original sin which was passed from one generation to another. the Bible says that man is born sinful. His only hope of entering heaven i.e. and have salvation is to believe in the crucifixion of Jesus. Islam came to restore the original pure concept. It agreed that God created Adam and Eve and warned them against eating from a certain tree. But He also warned them from the Devil (Satan) who, not Eve, could encourage them to eat and fall. Their sin was reflected in their becoming naked and thus, they started to cover themselves and sought foregiveness. When God rebuked them both and not just Eve; for God put the blame on both Adam and Eve, they both repented and they were accepted on the spot and thus they passed the test. Contrary to the Bible that insists that Adam and Eve were banished from Heaven; and that they were cursed and doomed, Islam declares that they were created for the earth and that they started the challenge and confrontation with their deadly set enemy the devil. In Islam the riddle does not exist. It declares that every human is born sinless and he is responsible for his own deeds. Thus, according to Islam, the human who will go to Heaven is he who passes the new test on earth which has alredy been passed by Adam and Eve. If we obey God Almighty and avoid rebellion we will go to Heaven. The opposite is also true. To come now to the imposed idea of sacrificing Jesus on the Cross. Why should God Almighty send down his only “begotten son” (as they claim) to die on the cross for the sake of strangers? Is it not silly on behalf of any one not to say God, to kill his only son for the sake of his neighbours? Secondly why should we attribute cruelty and helplessness to God and that this continued for thousands of years until he sent Jesus. On the other hand why should we take Jesus Christ for son of God? He never claimed this for himself in the Bible. Is it because he was born
to a virgin mother? without a father? Well Adam was created without the two parents. According to Christians does he too qualify to be the son of God? Jesus is not the only son of God in the Bible.Thousands of people are given this name by the Bible. “O people of the Book, rise to a straight word between us and you that we worship none but Allah, and ascribe no partners to Him, and not to take each other as Gods in place of God. If they turn away then say: We are Muslims. These my dear friends are the ones who are rightly guided, and these are they who will go to Heaven. All prophets of God including Jesus were Muslims i.e. obedient slaves of God. Will you be among them?
ISLAM’S PERSPECTIVE ON LIFE AND DEATH
Islam and Illness: Islam has a unique view of illness. It is a test from God Almighty in which He tries both committed and non- committed believers alike. On the one hand, believing Muslims, through illness, achieve purification of sins and they rise in their degree with God on the other. Thus they do not utter any curses but do their best and seek medication. They know that everything, good or bad, is from God. They even, out of politeness ascribe the bad things to themselves and the good things to God. They are, thus, patient and submissive to the will of the Lord. When Muslims recover from illness they are indeed grateful to those who helped them; but their greatest gratitude is to God Almighty the giver, sustainer and taker of life. If Muslims are told by their doctors that they are terminally ill and that their days are counted; and that they will die soon, they don’t listen to these doctors whom they think exceeded their limits by so saying. They never lose hope, because they know for sure that the decision is not with doctors but with their Creator. Many a time a miracle would take place and the hopeless case turns out to be the most hopeful one. Not only this but I remember how one patient of this category survived and the doctor died. This happened several times. For Muslims, same as others, death is a tragedy. They don’t like death; but once it approaches and they could do nothing to prevent it, they are serene and submissive and this is a big difference indeed. This spirit is based on taking the life after death seriously and believing that ours is only the prelude to the everlasting life of bliss for believers and perpetual
suffering and punishment for unbelievers. This is in brief the Islamic philosophy on illness. Muslim Diet: As far as diet is concerned, the rule in Islam is that everything harmful is forbidden and everthing good is allowed. Thus Islam prohibited dead carcases, blood, swine flesh, the meat of animals slaughtered in the name of idols, strangled animals, or animals killed by a violent blow, or by a headlong fall, or by being gored to death; that which has been partly eaten by a wild animal unless you are able to slaughter it (in due form)..etc. All beasts of prey are also forbidden. Muslims are not supposed to drink any intoxicants by which ever name they are called. If wine, beer, or any alcoholic beverages are added to their food, then it is forbidden. Animals slaughtered by Jews and Christians are permissible to eat for Muslims provided that they are properly killed i.e. in the neck cutting the two juglar viens and draining the blood. Any food in which lard is used is forbidden for Muslims also. Otherwise everthing else is allowed. It is wrong to say that Muslims are vegetarians. They eat meat of all animals that live on plants, grains..etc provided that they are properly slaughtered. Every time a Muslim eats he says “In the name of God the Beneficent, the Merciful.” Once he finishes his food he says: Thank God or praise be to God. He is recommended to wash hands and mouth after each meal. This may sound too familiar for some, but it was strange 1400 years ago. The philosophy of Islam on food is that it commands its followers to avoid filling their stomachs with food, for this is the source of all ills. In one tradition the Prophet of Islam recommends Muslims to fill one third of their stomachs with food, keep one third for drink and one third for breath. Muslims are supposed to eat only when they are hungry; and when they do eat, they do not take their fill. In other words a Muslim is
neither a miserly nor an extravagant person, but follows the middle path. The surplus of his food is shared with the poor and the needy. On the occasion of birth: It is preferred that the physician who helps in child delivery should be a woman; if this is not possible then a male physician can do it. There is no special ceremony for the birth as far as nursing and medication are concerned. Muslim parents are, however, encouraged to cut the hair of the male baby on its seventh day and slaughter two lambs and distribute part of their meat to the poor and friends. They can slaughter one lamb for the female baby. Secondly, circumcision is recommended for the male baby as early as possible. All Muslim males are circumcised during their early childhood. This is part of the Islamic hygenic sysytem as well as it is a requirement for cleanliness which is the foundation for prayer. On the occasion of death: Islam holds the Muslim body as a sacred thing. It does not allow any kind of mutilation or removing parts of the carcase under the excuse of autopsy. Donating organs of the dead one is however, permissible if the concerned person gives a written approval before hand. The body should be surrendered to its relatives so that they can use the help of the closest Islamic centre for washing it, making the funeral rites and burying it in the Islamic cemetery. This is, in brief, the philosophy of life, illness and death in Islam. It is the philosophy of nature.
FEAR AND LOVE OF GOD:
Christians claim that Muslims are haunted by the fear of God.
They seek the foregiveness of God from their sins and they have to work hard in order to qualify for this foregiveness, while Christians are free from all this. Instead of fear they have the love of God. Their sins are already forgiven merely through their belief in Christ the Saviour. They don’t have to work righteous deeds to qualify for Paradise. This might look logical and attractive to simpletons. The truth of the matter, however, is that Islam holds a balance between God’s love and mercy on the one hand and justice and punishment on the other. Being the religion of both worlds Islam tries to establish the kingdom of God on this earth as a preparation for the next. That is why Islam insists on individual responsibility. How can a criminal and a righteous person be equal in the sight of God by merely claiming verbal love of God without leading a clean life? This is contrary to God’s principle of justice. And it is also due to this that Christianity no more appeals to modern man. In Islam the love of God is only for those who deserve it and the wrath of God is for the sinners until they desist and repent. The door is always wide open, however, for repentence as long as a person lives. To bypass the importance of individual behaviour and accountability for one’s deeds is to eliminate the difference between criminals and righteous people. Muslims and the sense of sin: It is claimed by some Christian missionaries that most Muslims have a certain sense of sin. This, they say, is due to their failure to attain the standard required by God. How can these people claim this when their religion itself is based on belief in the original sin while they know that Islam is based on the the belief in purity from sins. It is true that a Muslim is aware of the punishment of God if he commits sins; but he is also aware and confident of the mercy and the foregiveness of God Almighty. Islam gives Muslims the greatest hopes until the last minutes
of their lives. The Quran addresses those falling in sins in the following words from their Lord: O my servants who have transgressed against their souls! Despair not of the mercy of Allah; for Allah forgives all sins; He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. So turn to your Lord in repentence and bow to His will before the penalty comes on you. -Distortions concerning fasting: Is it true that during Ramadan the month of fasting for Muslims that Muslims should not swallow their saliva, nor should they touch a person of the opposite sex and that Ramadan nights are spent in pleasure and excess? This shows two things at the same time: first it shows the ignorance of those who claim this; because a fasting person can swallow his saliva, and his fasting is not cancelled by merely touching a person from the opposite sex. Secondly Ramadan nights are recommended to be spent in worship and voluntary prayer and not in pleasure and excess which some so-called Muslims do. But this is not the fault of Islam, but rather the mistake of the people who commit such deeds. Again Christian missionaries notice that some Muslims are nervous and have short temper in Ramadan. The blame here falls on them not on Islam that encourages them to be patient and observe self-control. -Who was the target of sacrifice: Ishmael or Isaac? Most Muslim scholars affirm that it was Ishmael and Christians say it was Isaac. The name is not as important as the event itself. Abraham was put to the test. He was in Makkah when this happened even before the birth of Isaac. How then can the latter be the target of sacrifice when he was not yet born?
ISLAM:THE RELIGION OF MODERATION
While for instance, we find some religions believe in mortification of the body in favour of the growth of the soul, Islam charts out a middle path. It does not encourage its followers to indulge in carnal desires. Rather it raises the slogan that the strong believer is better and closer to God than the weak believer. The strength referred to here is an all-embracing strength encompassing body, mind and soul. Thus the annihilation of the body does not lead in Islam to the upliftment of the soul. Let us come closer and look at the Islamic practice in fasting. First of all fasting is prescribed for the able bodied only to observe it. Neither sick people nor travellers who face hardships are required to fast until they return to normal conditions. Muslims are encouraged to take a light meal before dawn the starting time of the fast. They should not, however, take their fill, but the practice is to have a few morsels that would keep the body active while it discharges its duties. On the other hand the fasting period every day is from dawn to sunset where it is recommended to break the fast as soon as the sun sets. The Prophet pevented Muslims to carry on their fast without breaking it although he himself used to fast for days on end. It may be asked here why did he do this? Unlike other leaders who more often that not give themselves greater enjoyments than other people around them and allocate to themselves what they deprive their followers of, Prophet Muhammad used to suffer double the sufferings of his companions. In the case of fasting he would sometimes continue his fast while he would make it easy for his followers to break it. In the battle of Ahzab (The Ditch) while he and his companions were digging the ditch around Madinah, some companions complained to the Prophet of their hunger. They showed him that they
Fasting confirms the unique nature of Islam.
pressed their stomachs with one stone each to decrease their feeling of hunger. The Prophet p.b.u.h. showed them two stones which proved his greater hardship and patience. The point here besides the great mercy and role model given by the Prophet is that Islam upholds the middle path through making the fast easy to bear by Muslims. Let us now contemplate why a Muslim is strongly recommended not to stuff his stomach with food and drink both in Ramadan and on all other days of his life. As we know the teaching of the Prophet p.b.u.h. in this respect runs as follows: The son of Adam fills no pot worse than his stomach. It is sufficient for him to take a few morsels that would help him survive. If he has to do it at all, let him keep one third (of his stomach) for his food, one third for his drink and one third for his breath. See again how Islam calls for moderation and warns against extravagance. This is reflected in fasting as well as in all other teachings of Islam. Let us take one more example from the fasting month of Ramadan. It is true that Ramadan has been stipulated for Muslims to observe its fasting so that they may fulfill piety as the verse goes. And yet Islam did not prevent sex in Ramadan. It allowed Muslims to feel free to seek it with their wives at night. The verse referring to this says: It’s made lawful for you to go unto your wives on the night of the fast. They are raiment for you and you are raiment to them. (2-187) Here again Islam obseves its well-known moderation policy. It does not prohibit sex completely under the excuse of concentrating on matters of the soul, neither does it allow indulgence in carnal desires only, but holds the balance and observes the middle course. It is not strange then that Islam is called the religion of the Middle Path and Muslims the nation of moderation. Extremes, in other words, are alien to Islam under whatever pretext they might be. Lastly it is true that a Muslim is encouraged in Ramadan to perform voluntary prayers and thus sacrifice part of his sleeping hours every night of the Holy Month. And yet the best approach here is that a Muslim should also have some sleep and rest. This again reflects the policy of moderation adopted by Islam. Let us refer here to the three companions
who came to the Prophet’s household and asked about his worship and his way of life. This was in his absence. They said: what they heard was not enough but justified it by reminding themselves that they could not compare themselves with the Prophet whose sins have already been forgiven and each one of them promised to go to the extreme in his worship. Now when the Prophet of moderation knew of their attitudes he said to them: By God, I am the one who fears God most among you, but I fast and break my fast, I pray at night and rest and I marry women. Whoever abandons my way is not of me. This is Islam the religion of moderation in all its teachings. I wish Muslims would understand this and practise it in Ramadan as well as elsewhere.
A SUPPLICATION BY OMER IBN AL-KHATTAB
In his book “al-Aqd al-Farid” ibn Abd Rabbuh the Andalusian scholar
reported that Omer ibn Al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him, made the following prayer when he became Caliph. After praising Allah and paying tribute to Him he said, O people! I am going to pray so say amen after me: Oh Allah I am tough so make me soft towards those who obey you through complying with the truth seeking your countenance and the Hereafter. Grant me toughness and strength against your enemies and the upholders of adultery and hypocrisy without any injustice or aggression against them on my part. O Allah! I am miserly so make me generous in doing all that is good with moderation and without extravagance, show or for reputation but make me seek your countenance and the Hereafter. O Allah grant me humbleness and gentleness towards believers. O Allah! I am often heedless and forgetful so inspire me to remember you on all occasions and let me always remember death. O Allah! I am weak in performing your obedience so grant me the activity to do this with strength and sincerity which can be achieved through your dignity and support. O Allah! Support me with firmness through surety of purpose, doing good, piety, and the rememberance of standing in your presence, and shyness from you. Provide me with humbleness in performing what pleases you towards me, and enable me to hold my own reckoning of my
deeds; and grant me sincerity of intention and warn me against doubtful things. O Allah! Grant me contemplation and reflection of what my tongue recites of your scripture, and comprehension and understanding of its meanings. Enable me to have insight into its miracles, and to put it into practice as long as I survive for you are capable of all things. Amen.
III - Distortions on Islam
27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 Is Satan the Author of the Qur’an? Islam and Circumcision Punishment of Theft In Islam Islam & Cremation Islam and Abortion Islam and Adoption Islam and Homosexuals Islam and Drug Addiction Islam vs. Terrorism Islam and Racism
IS SATAN THE AUTHOR OF THE QUR'AN?
friend of mine shared with me an article from the Internet. It was under the title “The Qur'an is written by Satan.” This made me laugh for indeed every time a Muslim recites the Qur'an, he is recommended by the Qur'an itself to say “I seek refuge in God from the cursed Devil.” Also the last chapter of the Qur'an teaches Muslims how to protect themselves from the Devil-Satan who is described as the sneaking whisperer. If that is the case, how then can Satan be the author of the Qur'an? On the other hand, Satan is mentioned several times in the Qur'an. One may ask: what is the image of Satan in that book? First of all it is an image of scandal, humiliation, arrogance, banishment and eternal curse. Like the Bible, the Qur'an tells its reader about the story of Satan with Adam and Eve. Basically the report is identical with the following differences: The Bible puts the blame of instigation on the snake rather than the Devil or Satan. It also makes Eve the encourager of Adam to eat from the tree and the result in the Bible is the original sin i.e. an eternal curse on Adam and his progeny. So the Bible puts Adam in some way in place of the Devil: In other words, Satan is innocent in the Bible of that crime; and all the blame is on Adam and Eve particularly Eve. In the Qur'an the story is concluded differently. It was Satan who persuaded Adam to eat from the tree. There is no snake in the Quranic version. Adam fell due to his weakness; Eve followed him; but both discovered their mistakes and repented to God who accepted them and forgave them So in the Quranic version, Adam and Eve were winners while Satan was the loser. This is one aspect of the image of Satan in the Qur'an. Can anybody claim after this that Satan is the author? It is
ignorance and prejudice that make some people uphold this baseless claim. Satan, on the other hand, is described in the Qur'an as the deadliest enemy of man. He refused to prostrate himself to Adam and rejected this command of God who banished and cursed him but gave him respite until the Day of Resurrection. Due to his arrogance and envy he declared that he will do his best to bring about the fall, and the doom of Adam and humanity. Thus in the Qur'an, Satan is the source of all evils in human life. Man is warned against that greatest foe of his i.e. Satan. This is another aspect of the personality of Satan in the Qur'an. It also refutes the claim that Satan is the author of this Divine Book. Let us now review some of the verses that refer to Satan who is also called “Shaytan” i.e. the Devil in the Qur'an so that we can have a clear image about him. As a matter of fact Satan is given two names in the Qur'an: one is “Iblis” that is Lucifer which occurs eleven times in the Qur'an. Iblis was originally honoured by God. He was called the peacock of angels. He however, rebelled and was arrogant. Thus he brought his own downfall. To come now to the other title given to Satan in the Qur'an. He is referred to as “Shaytan” meaning the one who rebelled and thus he is cursed and banished. It means the Devil. The word devil occurs 138 times in the Qur'an. Thus the two titles occur 149 times. They are all references of warning, condemnation and curse. Here are some Quranic quotations that show the role and nature of the Devil: “And Satan, indeed, proved true his thought about them so they followed him all except a group of true believers. And he had no authority over them.” (v.20-21 -34). “Then they will be hurled therein, they and the seducers and the hosts of Satan together.” (v.94-95-26). “The angels fell down prostrate, everyone except Iblis (Satan) he was arrogant and became one of the disbelievers.” (v.74-7538)
THE DEVIL • “And if the Devil should cause you to forget, sit not after the remembrance, with the congregation of wrongdoers.” (v.68-6) • “O you who believe! Follow not the footsteps of the Devil, for those who follow the footsteps of the Devil, he commands lewdness and evil.” (v.21 -24) • “The devil promises you poverty and enjoins on you lewdness, but Allah promises you forgiveness from Himself and bounty.” (v.268-2)
• About Virgin Mary and her son Jesus Christ the Qur'an says: “And I crave your protection for her and for her offspring from the outcast devil.” (v.36-3) • “Those of you who turned back on the day when the two hosts met, the devil alone was the one who caused them to backslide, because of some of that which they have earned.” (v.155-3) • It is only the devil who would make his partisans fear (men). Fear them not, but fear Me if you are believers.” (v.175-3) • “Those who are pious when a glamour from the Devil troubles them, they do but remember. Thus they become seers.” (v.201 -7) • “Those who believe do fight for the cause of Allah, and those who disbelieve fight for the cause of idols. So fight the partisans of the devil. Lo! The devil’s strategy is ever weak. (v.76-4) • They pray to none else than a rebellious devil, whom Allah cursed and he said: “Surely I will take of your bondmen an appointed portion and surely I will lead them astray, and surely I will arouse desires in them, and who chooses the Devil for a patron instead of Allah is truly a loser and his loss is manifest.” (v.117-l l9-4)
• “O you who believe! Intoxicants, games of chance, idols and divining arrows are only an infamy of the Devil’s handiwork. Avoid it so that you may succeed. The devil seeks only to cast among you enmity and hatred by means of intoxicants and games of chance and to turn you from the remembrance of Allah and from prayer. Will you then not desist? (v.90-91-5) • “The Devil was ever man’s deserter.” (v.29-25) • “And the Devil made their actions fair seeming to them so he debarred them from the way (of truth) so they did not go aright.” (v.24-27) • “Even though the Devil was inviting them to the doom of flame?” (v.21 -31) • Finally we have the following Quranic image of Satan the Devil on the Day of Judgement: “And the Devil said when the matter has been decided: Lo! Allah promised you the promise of truth, and I promised you and failed you! And I had no power over you save that I called unto you and you obeyed me. So blame me not, but blame yourselves! I cannot help you, nor can you help me. Lo! I disbelieve in that which you before ascribed to me. Lo! For wrong doers is a painful doom.” (v.22-14) To conclude, the Qur'an is the divine revelation to man. This is not the first time that God spoke to man. Many scriptures reflected this before the Qur'an. They were, however, either lost or changed. The Qur'an is the only exception because it is the message of God to the worlds. It is not strange that God says in the Qur'an: “It is We, only We, who have sent down the Remembrance (the Qur'an), and it is We who will protect it.” (v. 9-15)
ISLAM AND CIRCUMCISION
What is meant by circumcision:
Circumcision is an ancient practice by which the foreskin of the penis (for males) is removed and the visible portion of the clitoris (for females) is cut. When Islam came it adopted the former and made it a strongly recommended practice in order to safeguard purity from any traces of urine, as purity is a prerequisite for the acceptance of prayers. As for females Islam made the practice optional, according to the nature of the clitoris which actually varies among women from one country to another. The Prophet of Islam “Muhammad” p.b.u.h. said: Circumcision is a strongly recommended path for men and it is an honour for women i.e. they are free to do it or not. In another tradition Prophet Muhammad says: Five things are in harmony with nature: circumcision, removing hair from around the private parts, cleaning the armpits from hair, clipping nails and cutting the moustache. Is circumcision mutilation? As we understand it mutilation is the deformation of one part of the human or animal body by making it look ugly and unable to perform its functions (for example: cutting some animals’ ears, tails and horns). Does this apply to circumcision as some people insist? In the case of males circumcision as we mentioned earlier is the removal of the foreskin that covers the tip of the penis. People might differ concerning the appearance of the penis after this operation; they, however, should agree that the absence of the foreskin does not allow any traces of urine on the penis after urination. It provides a better chance for cleanliness. For, as a matter of fact, when traces of urine remain embedded inside the foreskin, harmful bacteria and rottenness start to grow. So to remove the foreskin is an improvement from the hygenic point of view. On the other hand since circumcision is not an obligation for females
in Islam, but is an optional practice, then we leave it to conditions of females in each environment. For, indeed when females in some countries have a clearly visible clitoris that might encourage them to seek sex through unlawful means, in such situatuins Islam encourages it for females and calls it an honourable practice thanks to its results and effects on females’ chastity and behaviour. Again is female circumcision an act of mutilation? Does it lead to any deformity in the female’s organs? the answer is that, if it is properly done, it on the contrary, brings about numerous benefits for females as well as for society at large. Suffice it to say that if clipping nails or cutting moustaches is a deformity or a mutilation, which is not in the least, then the same judgement should apply to circumcision. It would be appropriate here to give more details about circumcision in Islam. How much should be cut: Male circumcision is achieved through cutting the foreskin that covers the tip of the penis so that all the tip is visible. There is a view among the Hanbalis that if most of the foreskin is removed, that is acceptable. As for female circumcision what should be cut is the visible part that looks like the comb of a cock which is above the urine exit. The recommended is that it should not all be cut but part of it. This is based on the saying of the Prophet p.b.u.h. reported by Umme Attiya to the effect that a woman used to perform female circumcision in Madinah; so the Prophet p.b.u.h. said to her: Don’t over do it for that is more attractive for the female and more beloved by the husband. Time of Circumcision: It is recommended to perform circumcision in early childhood preferably on the seventh day after birth because it is less painful and quicker to heal. However, the ability of the new born should be taken into consideration so that if there is fear on his life, it should be postponed until he can bear it.
Insurance and Compensation: In case the circumcised person dies due to circumcision or the performer exceeds the limit or he or she cuts in the wrong place, he is liable to compensate for he has to pay insurance to his victim. Jurists agreed on this and said that such individual has the same verdict as the physician who neglects or exceeds the limits even if he or she is not an expert in circumcision. Abuse of the Practice: It happens some times that circumcision is over done which leads to tragedies and the loss of life. We already mentioned the compensation and insurance imposed on the practitioners but this should not lead in any way to condemning the practice itself which has been there since the beginning of Islam. Although circumcision is a side issue, it is basic for the cleanliness required for prayer the second most important pillar of Islam. This is concerning males; as for females it is optional and Muslim scholars of each country have the right whether to perform it or not depending on its benefits they envisage or the harms it prevents.
Circumcision of Women in Islamic Law: A delegation of Muslim women in Toronto Canada visited the Muslim
World League office in Toronto and expressed their disappointment and concern for the abuse of circumcision of women practiced in some Muslim countries. They asked the following question which was sent to Dr. Nazih Hammad the well-known Muslim scholar of Vancouver B.C. who kindly gave the following answer: Q: What is Islam’s position concerning the circumcision of women practiced in some Muslim countries which in many cases causes harmful effects to circumcised women to such an extent that sometimes families break down due to absence of the sense of fulfillment in sex that is essential to maintain marital relationship. This habit is sometimes over done so that tragedies result leading to death or mutilation?
A: 1) Circumcision of females is one of the ancient habits known among many nations due to beliefs and thoughts revolving around it which assert that abandoning female circumcision leads to raising the sexual desire of women after puberty. Thus they may rush to commit what they should not. Hence they should be circumcised to preserve their honor and chastity. 2) As for the position of Islam concerning this habit there is no clear text neither in the Quran nor in the authentic Sunnah that shows that female circumcision is legally required as an obligation or as a recommendation; although there are some jurists who are of this opinion. In this context the supreme Imam Mahmoud Shaltout of Al Azhar says: “Upon reviewing reports about the issue of circumcision we came to the conclusion that there is nothing in them that can be taken as an authentic proof of its being a juristic legal prophetic method (not to say that it is binding legally.) This is in fact, the same conclusion to which some scholars arrived and they expressed it in the following statement: There is no reliable news neither any prophetic path that has to be followed concerning circumcision. (Shaltout’s Fatawa p. 332) 3) Based on the aforementioned the Hanafi school -in what is approved among them- stated that female circumcision is neither a duty nor a recommended act (sunnah); it is, however, an act of honor for women i.e. it brings about the happier intercourse (Rad al-Muhtar by ibn Abdeen 5/479), and (alIkhtiyar by al-Mawsili 4-167) In al-Mughny by ibn Qudama the Hanbali scholar we read: A chapter: As for circumcision, it is a duty on men and an act of honor for women, but it is not incumbent upon them. This is the view of numerous scholars. (alMughny 1-115). Even the Malekis who said it is attributed to ibn al-Hajj, the Maleki jurist who said: There is difference concerning women, should they at all have circumcision? Or should we differentiate between the inhabitants of the East and
the inhabitants of the West; for the inhabitants of the East are commanded to perform it due to the presence of a surplus piece in their creation, while inhabitants of the West are not commanded to perform it. There are two views in this school (ibn al-Hajj al-Madkhal 3-296) This gives the impression that the issue is based on opinion and perseverance; it is subject to viewpoints and further details. 4) After sufficient study and contemplation I am more inclined to believe that female circumcision is neither a duty nor a recommended prophetic path (sunnah); it is one of the permissible acts if there is a clear authentic benefit in it for women (not an imagined one). But if a harm, a clear or an expected evil is resulted from it then it becomes a prohibited act in Islam. This is based on the Prophet’s saying: There should be no harm for oneself nor for others; and due to the accumulated proofs that forbid committing evils or causing clear or probable harms. And Allah knows best. Dr. Nazih Hammad, Member of the Fiqhi Council of North America, and other Fiqhi councils of the Middle East. January 2, 1997.
PUNISHMENT OF THEFT IN ISLAM
Some people claim that punishments in an Islamic state are harsh and
barbaric. They ask with sarcasm: why should a thief ’s hand be cut? Why should an adulteress be stoned to death and why should a killer be killed? and so on and so forth. Fisrt of all it is unfair to judge Islamic puishments out of context. We should rather judge them within the framework of Islamic way of life. Islam is the religion of justice and mercy. We shall talk about the punishment for theft in Islam being our present topic. Islam safeguards the protection of wealth which can only be acquired through legal methods. Appreciating the remorse and bitterness suffered by a person who is deprived of his wealth, Islam legislates strict measures to protect it. Let me ask a question: should you catch a person who intentionally ripped you of your wallet, what would you like to do for him if you have your way? I am sure you would like him to be punished. In earlier legislations theft had capital punishment. This was a deterrent against thieves. What Islam did is the following: It made it an obligation on the state to safeguard an honourable and a stable life for its citizens. Should any one steal under the pressure of necessity he is not to be punished. Theft is, however punishable when it becomes a profession. On the other hand all citizens are equal in the sight of Islamic law. There are no exceptions. That is why the Prophet of Islam once exclaimed: By God, should Fatima, the daughter of Muhammad steal, Muhammad will surely cut her hand. Muslims are not in the habit of mutilating the organs of other citizens. If we count the hands cut for theft during the first thirty years of Islamic history, we will find them not to exceed the number of the fingers
in one hand. But the result was astonishing: people felt secure and enjoyed safety for their wealth. I remember once when the electrical current was cut off for 24 hours in New York City. What happened? Thousands of thefts were reported! This is just in 24 hours in one city. Secondly, Islam develops a vibrating and sensitive conscience in its citizens. Each Muslim is himself/a guardian over himself. He has an inner watch and police that stops him from committing crimes. This is because he believes that God sees him wherever he might be. This is the best detterent in an Islamic State. If however, such watch is dormant or weak in some indviduals, the law is there to stop him from committing crimes. Can modern man imagine something that takes place in the modern kingdom of Saudi Arabia which tries to apply Islamic law? Five times a day people go to mosques for their daily prayers leaving behind their shops open and unattended. Though wide open no one touches anything in their absence. This is because Islam as a way of life is observed. Is not this an ideal situation coveted by all other countries? This is one result of the blessing of applying Islam as a way of life. To come now to what the Holy Quran says in chapter 5 V 38 we read: As to the thief, male or female, cut off their hands a punishment by way of example, from Allah for their crime and Allah is exalted in power, Wise. This verse is followed by the following one: But if he (the thief ) repents after his crime and amends his conduct, Allah turns to him in foregiveness; for Allah is Oft-forgiving, Merciful. To conclude we may refer to the incident that took place during the reign of Omer Ibn Al Khattab, the second successor of the Prophet, when some boys were brought to him for punishment for they were accused of theft. This happened in a year of famine. Under the circumstances the ruler stopped this punishment due to the situation. Islam is for peace and security which has a price, but wonderful results for all.
ISLAM AND CREMATION
By cremation we mean burning dead bodies as a religious practice and
collecting the ashes and keeping them. These rites are adopted by followers of some religions like Hinduism. In Islam the funeral rites do not at all accept cremation as such. The spirit behind it is to honour the human body. Neither the Quran nor the Prophet Mohammad ever allowed this. On the contrary, in one tradition we are told that a dying man once asked his children to cremate his body after his death which they did and they dispersed the ashes. When the man was asked by God why he did this he said: It was out of fear of you. Then God forgave him. This was not because he had his body burnt but thanks to his fear of God. Accordingly the funeral practices in Islam are as follows: • The body of the deceased has to be washed and covered with three layers of white sheets. • No mutilation or autopsty for its own sake is allowed. • No delay for any excuse is tolerated for the burial. The sooner it is done the better. • Islam states clearly that there is full fledged life after death. This is one basic foundation of faith in Islam. • Before burial, Muslims should perform the funeral prayer on the dead body. To conclude, Islam has come to protect its followers from Hell Fire, so how can we burn the dead bodies of followers of religion that safeguards for them absolute protection from Fire.
ISLAM AND ABORTION
of the burning issues these days in Canada and in all Westcrn countries is that of abortion. In the absence of a specific law on abortion, the provincial governments are, in fact, groping in the dark. One court in Ontario allowed a woman to have abortion. The interesting thing, however, is that on her way out of the court, she announced that she already had abortion but she repented for doing so simply because she returned back to her boyfriend. So she no more supports the proabortion campaign in Canada. This statement was hailed by what is called prolifers in North America. Another woman from Quebec, called Chantal Daigle, asked the court there to allow her have abortion of her 21 week pregnancy. The court prevented her from doing so. The woman, however, insisted and defied the court’s judgement. She did have abortion. Not only this but she resorted to the Supreme Court to change that decision. The Supreme Court gave its approval and repealed the prevention decision. In the light of the above, it may be asked here: What is the attitude of Islam towards the issue of abortion? Is it true that women have full control over their bodies and they can have abortion any time they wish? Or does Islam agree with those who say: “No, the fetus is a human being and has full human rights”? It has the right to live and to be protected. So it is a crime to have abortion? How does Islam look at this issue? Basically, Islam considers life as a sacred gift from God Almighty. No one is allowed to take or stop the life of anyone else except by way of justice or according to Islamic law. Thus, the Holy Qur'an says: “Say: Come, I will rehearse what God has really prohibited you from: Join nothing as equal with Him; be good to your parents, kill not your children on a plea of poverty; we provide sustenance for you and for them; approach not shameful deeds, whether open or secret; take not life, which God has made
sacred, except by a way of justice and law (Chapter 6, Verse 15 1). In another verse, the Holy Qur'an says: “Kill not your children for fear of want; it is we who provide sustenance for them as well as for you; for verily killing them is a great sin (Chapter 17, Verse 31). What should we understand from these two verses? First of all, it is a grave sin to take the life of children for fear of want as was the habit during that period. Neither is it allowed to do so for any other reason unless a great evil is caused by the presence of the fetus that may cause the death of the mother. But is the fetus a human being? Or is it part of the woman’s body and she is free to do what she likes with it? This is the logic of modem materialistic way of life. Islam has something else to offer. It is completely different from all other concepts or religions. Here are a few details. As a comprehensive and unique way of life, Islam does not at all agree with those who say that a woman has full control over her body. This does not mean that Islam subjugates women and puts them under men’s control. Islam considers our bodies as a trust which we have to preserve and maintain. It also confirms that the fetus is the creation of Almighty God. No one, not even the mother, has the right to get rid of it unless its presence threatens the life of the mother. For in that case, Islam allows abortion within those limits only. As a matter of fact, Islam encourages procreation as a rule. But it leaves the door open for birth control. Thus we are told by some companions of the Prophet, peace be upon him, that they used a method of birth control during the time of revelation. The Prophet knew about it and yet he never asked them to stop using it. We have to confirm here that it is basic in Islam to believe that having children is not decided by parents but is part and parcel of God’s will and sole action. All that people can do is to try their human means leaving the decision to God. The attitude of Islam can be better understood if we elaborate a little bit on the issue of sex. How does Islam look at sex between men and women? Does it allow free sex as long as it is agreed upon by the two adult
partners as is the case nowadays with most of the non-Muslim nations so much so that the word “adultery” has been dropped from their dictionary? Or does Islam consider sex as a filthy sin that does not suit men of God? Neither of these extremes is accepted in Islam. This last religion of God allows no sex whatsoever before or outside marriage. It, however, honours sex in marriage and raises it to a lofty standard. When a Muslim gets married he secures one half of his faith thanks to this contract. So sex in Islam is not at all a filthy sin as long as it is inside marriage. Not only this but a Muslim is rewarded even when he gratifies this desire. In one tradition the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “To cohabit with your wife is charity.” Hearing this the Companions asked: “O Messenger of Allah. Is it possible that each one of us will be rewarded when he satisfies his sexual desire?” He said: “If he satisfies his urge through prohibited means would it not be sinful?” They said: “Yes indeed.” Therefore, the Messenger of Allah concluded: “When he satisfies it lawfully he will be rewarded for it.” (Narrated by Muslim). Thus Islam does not look at sex as an end in itself, but as a means to an end. The end of sex according to Islam is to have children. So, it is not allowed in Islam that a woman can have abortion simply because it is her wish to do so, under the pretext of keeping her beauty and to avoid responsibility. This is considered as selfishness. Should a pregnant woman make abortion without any justified reason such as the expectation of risk on the mother’s life, then this act amounts to murder according to Islam. Islam is the religion of strong family relationships. Once marriage is achieved, the two partners should have no sex with anybody else. Not only this but Islam has imposed a severe penalty on those who commit adultery even before marriage. Thus the society Islam tries to establish is a pure and chaste society where women and men are modest. It is a society that does not raise the madness of sex nor does it exploit women’s bodies under the false claim of freedom. It is a pure society that is immune from all evils resulting from sex. It is thus free from AIDS, Herpes, and other evils and epidemics that became rampant in modem free-sex communities. For humanity to be saved of all the ailments of modern civilisation, it has to follow the laws of Islam in sex relationships. We can safely say that
Islam’s attitude towards sex is the middle and the best attitude. Will people understand this and follow the path of happiness, i.e. Islam? SEX IN ISLAM 1. It is not allowed in Islam to perform insemination between two strangers i.e. out of wedlock. In other words this practice is allowed only in marriage. No exceptions. 2. Procreation or having children is the main target of marriage in Islam. Prophet Mohammed p.b.u.h. said: perform (the contracts of ) marriage and procreate, for I will have the chance to be proud of you in front of other nations on the Day of Judgement. In chapter 16-v.72 Allah says in the Quran: (And Allah has made for you mates of your own nature, and made for you out of your spouses children and grand children.) 3. Sex in Islam is that intimate relationship between husband and wife, that is culminated by intercourse. It is both a spirituous and physical relationship. It is characterized by purity, chastity and honesty. Fornication is a serious crime in Islam, so is homosexuality- for gays and lesbians see enclosed brochures.
ISLAM AND ADOPTION
Charitable organizations and humanitarian individuals pride themselves
these days of adoption of poor children whom they pick up and save from the clutches of poverty and tragic situations. The main protagonists in this field are non-Muslim charities and individuals and the principal victims are mostly Muslim children. A recent example is the Muslim children of Bosnia and Hercegovena, hundreds of whom have been lately adopted by church organizations in Italy, Germany, France, and other countries. So far, no Muslim country opened its borders for these wretched Muslim children. Some Muslim activists in Canada moved to have some share in this adoption process of Muslim orphans. The question here is does Islam approve of adoption? If not, what is the Islamic alternative for adoption? Let us first start with definition. What is meant by adoption? In Webster Dictionary, we find the following: to adopt is to take into one’s own family by a legal process and to raise some one else’s child as one’s own. This naturally means that an adopted child will no more carry the name of his original father. He or she would, as a result, be cut off from any rights or responsibilities towards his biological parents and would, instead be treated as a full child of the adopting ones. Does Islam approve of this? As a matter of fact, adoption in this sense was wide-spread in Arabia and the rest of the world when Islam was revealed. In fact, Prophet Muhammad P.B.U.H. himself, had Zayd as his adopted son. He was called Zayd son of Muhammad. Some Muslims lose sight of one important characteristic of Islam and hastily pass their judgement that Islam indeed accepts adoption. They cite this incident from the Prophet’s family life. The truth, however, is that Islam believes in the gradual solution of deeply rooted issues like adoption and alcoholic drinks, etc. It prepares Muslims through a number of stages for the
implementation of the Islamic system. Now while Islam does encourage sponsorship of orphans and poor little ones, so much so that Prophet Muhammad P.B.U.H. said: I and the orphan’s guardian will be together in Paradise; it also calls upon Muslims to give the best treatment to those wretched children. Even a touch on an orphan’s head or a pat on his or her shoulder is a great act of righteousness in the sight of God. Islam also gives the strongest warning to those who devour the property of orphans for they only devour fire in their stomachs and will go to hell fire! (Qur'an, 4-10). Despite all this, Islam considers calling people’s children after other parents who are not their own as an injustice. Thus we read in Chapter 33 of the Holy Qur'an: Nor has He made your claimed children your own offspring. Such is only your manner of speech by your mouths. But Allah tells you the truth and shows you the right way. Call them after their fathers, that is juster in the sight of Allah. But if you know not their fathers (call them) you brothers (and sisters) in faith or your close friends. (Chapter 33, Verse 4-5). Thus when these verses were revealed, Zayd who was previously called son of Muhammad was called after his real father although he continued to pay allegiance to the Prophet P.B.U.H. until the end of his life. To confirm this cancellation of adoption, Allah commanded His Prophet to get married to Zayd’s divorced wife Zainab so that Muslims would practically understand that an adopted son is not a real son at all. This was among other things for which the Prophet was put to the test. Since adoption is an injustice and a falsification of truth, we find also the Prophet P.B.U.H. say on the authority of Saad Ibn Abi Waqqas who reported that the Messenger of God said: Whoever is called after another person other than his father and he knows this person is not his father, Paradise will be prohibited for him. Again, Abu Zar heard the Prophet P.B.U.H. say: He is a disbeliever who is called after a person other than his father and he knows the truth (but hides it). As a matter of fact; many opponents of Islam today exploit this
incident i.e. the Prophet’s marriage to the divorced wife of his ex-adopted son to accuse Prophet Muhammad of committing incest, for they say, he married his daughter-in-law. What is the truth of the matter in this context? Reliable sources tell us that Zayd’s marriage to Zainab was not a successful one. He complained to the Prophet about it and expressed his desire to be separated from her. Time and again the Prophet interfered and restored the healthy relationship between them. He always reminded them of their duty to fear Allah and observe His commands in their treatment of one another, and yet there was a mutual desire from them both to end this marriage. In the meantime, Allah revealed to His Messenger that once divorce takes place between these two, Allah has decided to have His Messenger marry Zainab. Muhammad P.B.U.H. hesitated to convey this command. Then Allah rebuked him for it. This is what we read in the same Chapter. (33 verses 36 to 38 where Allah Almighty says: “It is not fitting for a believer, man or woman, when a matter has been decided by Allah and His Messenger, to have any option about their decision: if anyone disobeys Allah and His Messenger, he is indeed on a clearly wrong path”. This was the prelude to Allah’s decision in this case which was revealed in the following verses: And when you said to the one who had received Allah’s grace and your favour: “Retain your wife in wedlock) and fear Allah. “, while you hide in your heart that which Allah is going to make manifest. You fear people although it is more becoming that you should fear Allah.” The Prophet here did not intend to disobey the orders of His Lord. He wanted to give the couple a final chance to continue their relationship on the one hand; and it still looked horrible for him to break the hereditary custom of considering an ex-adopted son’s wife a daughter-inlaw. Yet scholars, in fact, say here that this is a proof that the Qur'an is the word of Allah and not that of Muhammad; because it is reported that this was the hardest situation faced by the Prophet of Islam so much so that he would have wished to drop these verses had the Qur'an been his. Being however, a Messenger, a conveyer of the message, he had no other choice but to convey it exactly as it descended.
In these circumstances the Prophet called upon the two quarrelling couple and revealed to them as well as to all other Muslims the following Divine decision: Then when Zayd has dissolved (his marriage) with her, we joined her in marriage to you: in order that in future there may be no difficulty to the believers in the matter of marriage with the wives of their ex-adopted sons, when the latter had dissolved their marriage with them. And Allah’s command must be fulfilled. There should be no awkward situation for the Prophet in what Allah has indicated to him as a duty. “ The Qur'an, Chapter 33, verses 36-38). Hence, the custom of adoption was practically cancelled among Muslims, the person of the Prophet himself was used to exercise this new legislation. Since then, guardianship, orphan sponsorship and brotherhood took the place of adoption among members of the Muslim Community. To conclude, let Muslim activists call upon other Muslims to apply for guardianship and not adoption of poor Muslim children and orphans. The law in Ontario, Canada can be changed accordingly. A seminar was held recently about this in Winnipeg, Manitoba which was attended by some MPs and representatives of Federal minsters. A memorandum was presented to the government to amend the Canadian law of adoption so that Muslims in Canada can practise guardianship and not adoption of other people’s children. May Allah accept every sincere step that aims at abiding by Islam and commitment to its teachings. Amen.
ISLAM AND HOMOSEXUALS
An increasing number of people in Canada, as elsewhere, are becoming
homosexuals (either gays or lesbians)- The former refers to the perverted sexual relationship between man and man while the latter is the title for women practicing sex with women. This is, however, not a new phenomenon; what is new is the attempt of those people who have been considered all the time as outcasts and perverts, to assert their identity and force the rest of the people to recognize and accept them and their relationships as natural ones. Statistics say that Metro Toronto alone has a community of homosexuals who are three hundred thousand strong which means that more than one in every ten residents of Toronto is a homosexual. A few years ago, the city of Vancouver in British Columbia witnessed the third round of the international Olympic games for gays and lesbians where representatives from more than 250 cities from all over the world participated. As this is becoming an increasingly dangerous issue, and as some mercenary pens in Toronto claimed recently that there are hidden homosexuals among Muslims in Canada, adding that these people are proud of both being homosexuals and Muslims! Hence it is indeed important to clarify the attitude of Islam towards homosexuality. In both the Quran and the Bible, we are told that the first people who started this habit on a national scale were the people of Lot in the old city of Sodom which used to occupy the area where the Dead Sea now exists. (See Genesis 19). Let us concentrate on what the Holy Quran says about these people: In Chapter 26 Verses 160 to 173 we read; "The people of Lot rejected the messengers. Their brother Lot said to them: 'Will you not fear God? I am to you a messenger worthy of all trust. so fear God and obey me. No reward do I ask of you for it. My reward is only from the Lord of the
worlds. Of all the creatures of the world will you approach males, and leave those whom God has created for you as mates? Nay. You are people transgressing all limits.' They said: 'If you desist not O Lot, you will surely be cast out!'. He said: 'I do detest your doings. O my Lord! Deliver me and my family from such things as they do.' So we delivered him and his family, all except an old woman who lingered behind. The rest we destroyed utterly. We rained down on them a shower; and evil was the shower on those who were admonished." In chapter 27 verses 54 to 56 we read: "And Lot who said to his people: 'Do you do what is indecent though you see its iniquity? Would you really approach men in your lusts rather than women? You are a people grossly ignorant.' His people gave no answer but this: 'Drive out the followers of Lot from our city. They are indeed men who want to be clean and pure.' But we saved him and his family except his wife: We destined her to be of those who lagged behind. And We raked down on them a shower: and evil was the shower on those who were admonished". Then in Chapter 11 Verses 77 to 83 we read: "When our messengers came to Lot, he was grieved on their account and felt himself powerless to protect them. He said" 'This is a distressful day.' His people came rushing towards him and they had been long in the habit of practicing abominations. He said: '0 my people! Here are my daughters: they are purer for you (if you marry). Now fear God and cover me not with disgrace about my guests! Is there not among you a single right-minded man?' They, however said: 'You know very well we have no need of your daughters. Indeed you know quite well what we want'. He said: 'Would that I had power to suppress you or that I could betake myself to some powerful support'. (The angels) said: '0 Lot! We are messengers from your Lord! By no means shall they reach you. Now travel with your family while yet a part of the night remains, and let not any of you look back; except your wife, to her will happen what will befall them. Morning is their appointed time. Is not the morning near'. When Our decree was issued we turned the cities upside down, and rained down on them brimstones hard as baked clay, spread layer on layer, marked from your Lord. Nor are they ever far from those who do wrong".
Let us see now how the Bible depicts this incident. In Genesis 18, Abraham intercedes for Sodom and the Lord accepts his intercession. Then God destroys Sodom and Gomorrah as in Genesis 19. From these texts we notice that both scriptures (the Quran and the Bible) mention that Lot, the Prophet and Messenger of God, advised his people to stop this habit and to return to the natural relationship with their wives. Instead they threatened to expel him and those who followed his advice. (See the Quran chapter 26 Verses 160-173). According to the Quran, Prophet Lot never despaired nor gave up. He continued to warn his people against this crime of theirs. He faced a lot of hardships. They began to comment sarcastically that he tries and his followers to be pure. Even his wife was inclined towards them. When these people turned deaf ears to Prophet Lot's call, both sides were put to the test. God sent down a group of angels in the form of attractive young men. These angels were first the guests of Lot. As soon as his wife saw them, she immediately told her people about them. They rushed to practice their abominations against the guests (Quran 11, 77 83). Lot reminded his people once again to refrain from this and not make a scandal for him and his guests. As a matter of fact, until this point of time Lot took the guests for ordinary human beings. To his surprise and relief they told him that they were the Messengers of God and that no harm will be caused to him (Quran 11, 77-83). He even defended his guests physically; but when every attempt to stop them completely failed, God Almighty sent His punishment from Heaven. The city was turned upside down and brimstone rain was sent against them so that they all perished along with Lot's wife, their collaborator. The Holy Quran makes the following comment after this tragedy took place. it says: 'Such a punishment is not far from the unjust ones' (11-83), which means that the same fate will happen to those who commit this injustice. We are also told in the Quran that Lot's people used to practice this same sex relationship in public (27-54). They saw no harm in looking at each other while doing this. They claimed that it is beyond the capacity of human beings to be pure or clean in this area.
Part of the Quranic perspective of the universe is that God Almighty controls everything in this world. Being the Creator of life and death, He is also the Sovereign and the legislator. He sends messengers to different peoples from among themselves who are role models as well as conveyers of His message to them. If they listen and obey, this is for their own good in this world and the next. Whatever God permits is everything that is good, pure and healthy; and whatever he forbids us to do, it is also for our own sake. This is how the Holy Quran looks at this issue of homosexuality. It is against human nature; it is harmful to man and it betrays one basic goal of sex, namely: procreation within the limits of marriage only. That is why it is prohibited to practice homosexuality. It is really sad to remark here that while the Bible condemns homosexuality, it ascribes to Lot, the Prophet of God and His Messenger, that be was given wine by his two daughters and that he committed incest with each of them in the cave to which they resorted. This, the Bible says, took place on two consecutive nights! (See Genesis 19). How can this be said about Prophets of God and their daughters? This is not, however, strange for those who are familiar with the present version or rather versions of the Bible. David, the well-known Prophet of God and King of Israel, is accused of committing adultery with the wife of Uriah, a military commander of his. Several other crimes are also attributed to sons and daughters of prophets of God. In the Quran, however, we find the image of all prophets of God to be the best images of obedient slaves of the Almighty. In Chapter 21 verse 73 and after, we have the following description of Lot as well as other prophets of God: "And We made them leaders, guiding (men) by Our command; We inspired them to do good deeds, establish regular prayers, and to give alms. They constantly worshipped Us". Not only this but the Quran specifically describes Lot as follows: "And to Lot, too, We gave wisdom and knowledge; We saved him from the town which practiced abominations. Truly they were a people given to evil, a rebellious people. And We admitted him to Our mercy; for he was one of the righteous". (Chapter 21, Verses 74-75).
Two more points deserve our attention before we conclude this article about Islam and homosexuality. One is that Islam does not consider sex as a sinful deed. It does not look down on this human instinct. On the contrary, it considers it to be rewarded by God provided that it is practiced within the limits of marriage. For the Prophet of Islam says: "He who gets married has acquired one half of his faith, so let him fear God in the other half ". The second point I would like to make is that the present Bible reports a number of sexual crimes attributed falsely to Prophets, Messengers of God and their children. Not only this but crimes of incest are said to be committed by prophets with their own daughters as we mentioned earlier. On the other hand, there are passages of pornography in the Bible that escaped the. attention of religious censors. Take the song of songs by Solomon. You cannot imagine these passages to be part of a Divine scripture. It is time that the Bible itself be purified from all these falsehoods before purifying the actual lives of the people.
ISLAM AND DRUG ADDICTION
an attempt to follow up the burning issues of modern societies, I picked up an article in the “Globe and Mail” of Canada (September 7, 1989) issue. It was under the caption “ What if illegal drugs were made legal?”. I held the pen and wrote a counter article which I called “Legalising drugs will add fuel to fire”. Although I sent the article to the “Globe and Mail”, I was not aware whether it was published or not. Hence, this brochure in order to share with as many people as possible what I feel to be the Islamic solution for drug addiction. I was indeed infuriated by that article which suggested legalising drugs as one solution to end this age-old problem. The reason behind my anger was not because I am a drug trafficker or consumer. On the contrary, as a committed Muslim I am whole-heartily in favour of a successful campaign against drug addiction as well as drug trafficking. The difference is only in method and approach. It is, no doubt, a great difference which I would like to share with other well-wishers of a better North America or more correctly for a better humanity. This is simply because we are living in a small world where anything good or bad that takes place in one end of it immediately takes place in the other. On the other hand, going back to the American scene we hear Americans from time to time admitting that America’s advancement has only been possible and could be achieved through collective contributions from various cultures and civilisations. This is actually true and is applicable particularly to the major cultures of the world. Thus when the first American astronaut set foot on the moon the same acknowledgement was confirmed admitting indebtedness to all humanity. This is indeed a healthy sign. In the same spirit then why don’t we also share ideas to find a conclusive solution for one of the major problems of America as well as
of the world at large? To begin with, in my humble opinion as a Muslim who is residing in America, I believe that the treament of this fearful ailment should be from within rather than from the outside. In other words, it should not be forced by the government only but the core of of the problem should be treated first. As long as the core is rotten what is the use of treating the shell or the surface only? The efforts should act first from within. In the light of the above, let us ask ourselves the following question: why and when do people resort to drugs? Statistics show a common factor namely that there are several problems that face people which they think to be unsurmountable. They imagine, in other words, that drugs provide them with a satisfactory escape from their problems. It is in this spirit that taking drugs in many cases start. Thus, in order for us to treat drug addiction, we have first to try to solve those persisting problems. This is only the first step towards complete rehabilitation. It may be asked: what other more important measures should be taken in order to fulfill our target? As a matter of fact, what is more important than just solving the immediate problems is education and raising the moral standards of those infected with addiction. Again in my point of view, the basis of education and morals should be commitment to religion; for there is no really solid basis for morals without religion. But how does Islam prevent the problem of drug addiction before it actually takes place? Islam, in fact, gives both hope and commitment to the believing Muslim. A drug addict is a hopeless victim. He or she does not have any goal in life. Islam, however, always gives hope to the most wretched persons. Let us contemplete the following verse: “Say: O my servants who have transgressed against their souls, despair not of the mercy of God; for God forgives all sins, for He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (53/39) In this verse Islam provides hope. It is, in fact, a message of hope. I remember once how a hopeless drug addict wanted to commit suicide. She had a commited Muslim neighbour who came to visit her and
conveyed to her this message of hope. This worked like wonders and the woman asked more questions about the Quran and Islam until she embraced it and that was her way out of that inferno. Islam, in fact, came to Arabia at a time when wine was consumed by the great majority of the Arabs. They loved wine more than anything else. What did Islam do to ban wine and stop it? It did not issue a drastic order and stopped it once and for all. On the contrary, it applied a gradual process of four steps the final one of which was the prohibition command which acted like magic. People immediately responded and accepted this prohibition so much so that we can safely say that this was one of the first laws in the world that witnessed collective implementation. People could not believe their own eyes. All of a sudden, the once most beloved drink of Arabia became the most avoidable abhored drink of all. Islam succeeded when all similar both earlier and later attempts failed. Why don’t people today use the Islamic solution to ban drugs? It is the most successful method. What is needed is to change people from within, to make them God fearing, God conscious and make them feel that they are obeying God by boycotting this evil. This is the decisive role Islam can play to save humaity from drug addiction. Some people may ask: but why Islam in particular? Why don’t we follow any religion and not necessarily Islam? This is simply because other religions have no say in the solution. They even encourage taking wine. So how can they solve the problem. Let us come closer and contemplete the Quranic verses that provided the gradual solution of wine addiction which is to this day a unique achievement of Islam in the history of humanity. In the first place the Quran implied that wine is not a good drink when it said: And from the fruit of the date palm and the vine you get out intoxicant drink and wholesome provision (67-16). Thus the Quran frowned on intoxicants which it indicated not to be wholesome things to consume.
Then the Quran took a second step when it conveyed the following message: They ask you about wine and gambling, say in them is great sin and some profit for men; but their sin is greater than their profit (219-2). Establishing this the Quran then commanded believers not to approach prayer while they are intoxicated. It said: O you who believe! Approach not prayer with a mind befogged, so that you can understand what you say (43-4). Finally came the conclusive command when the Quran declared: O you who believe! Intoxicants and gambling, dedication of stones and divination by arrows are an abomination of Satan’s handiwork. So eschew it all so that you may prosper. Satan’s plan is to excite enmity and hatred among you, with intoxicants and gambling and hinder you from the rememberance of God and from prayer. Will you not, then, abstain (90-5). All believers adstained and the problem of wine addiction was solved once and for all. Why don’t people today try the Islamic solution for drug addicition after all other attempts completely failed?
ISLAM VS. TERRORISM
What is meant by this expression “Jihad”? Is it true that Islam was spread
by the sword and is Islam the religion of terrorism? Is Jihad limited only to actual fighting and how can we reconcile the call to fight with the call of peace which is said to be the slogan of Islam? It is really sad that when some people in the West deal with any subject, they take every care to be objective and neutral, but once they come to Islam and Muslims, many people here in the West enjoy distorting the truth and try their level best to destroy the image of Islam, the religion of mercy to mankind. A recent example of this trend is what took place in April 1990 when what is called the Counter Terror Study Centre, based in Winnipeg, Manitoba in Canada, held its third conference on terrorism. Despite the fact that in the two previous conferences dealing with terrorist groups among followers of other religions, there was no mention whatsoever nor was there any claim or attempt to ascribe terrorism to the religion of the concerned groups. When, however, the organizers of this third conference on terrorism came to Muslims they indicated that Islam encourages terrorism. It is pertinent to ask here: How come that these people are given a free hand to spread what is bordering on hate literature as one fair minded Canadian non-Muslim put it? In the words of a well known Canadian journalist, Ali Khan, of the Ottawa Citizen, “if there is one thing we need, it is more understanding between Canadians of diverse faiths and backgrounds. What we do not need is stirring up hatred, prejudice, and enmity among citizens of different faiths and to import the bitter conflicts of other regions”. Let us now come closer and try to clarify the questions referred to in
the first paragraph of this brochure. To answer these questions we must first understand the nature of Islam. It is indeed true that Islam preaches peace but peace based on justice and mercy, peace of the honourable and the dignified Muslims not that of the weak and the oppressed ones. Islam does not in any way accept the slogan that says: Whoever beats you on your right cheek turn your left cheek for him. On the contrary, Islam teaches that an eye is for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. In other words, it is based on justice, mercy, and equality. As the word Islam in Arabic indicates, it is the message of peace, peace with one’s own soul, peace with Allah and peace with humanity at large. That is why if we contemplate the biography of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), we find him abstaining from war and commanding his followers to do so during the first thirteen years of his preaching in Makkah. He used to pass by his followers while they were suffering at the hands of their oppressors and would ask them to have patience which will lead them to Paradise. This is what he told Bilal when he passed and found him tortured in Makkah. Bilal was repeating the word “Ahad Ahad” which means “One God and Only”. When the Prophet saw him in that situation he ordered him to be patient. It was only when the Kuffar (nonbelievers) of Makkah confiscated everything Muslims had, i.e. their properties, homes, and even their country, and started to plan to crush the Muslims, that fighting was permitted. After Muslims fled to another city (Madinah) then only Islam gave permission to fight. In this context the Qur'an says: To those against whom war is made, permission is given to fight, because they are wronged and Allah is most powerful for the aid to those who have been expelled from their homes unjustly, on account of nothing save that they say our Lord is Allah. (3940/22). Thus, fighting was prescribed for self defense. Hence, the Qur'an says: Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you but do not transgress, for Allah does not like transgressors. (190-2) And because Muslims are more inclined to peace being the basis of Islam, Allah
Almighty tells them that he knows, Muslims dislike fighting. Thus we read in the Qur'an: Fighting is prescribed for you even though you very much dislike it. But you may dislike a thing which is good for you and you may like a thing which is bad for you; but Allah knows and you know not. (216/2) In the light of the above, Jihad takes the form of fighting only when there is injustice and oppression inflicted on Muslims. When Muslims cannot fight back, sometimes they are ordered to emigrate to another country if that is the only way to safeguard their honour and be free to practise their faith. Thus, the Qur'an says: When angels take the souls of those who die in sin, they say, in what plight were you? They reply: Weak and oppressed were we on earth. They (angels) say: Was not the earth of Allah large enough for you to move yourself away from evil? Such men will be sent to Hell-what an evil refuge! (97-4). Islam is thus the religion of respect and honour. It does not accept weakness or oppression but prescribes war in self defense. Fighting is permissible only when the pious launch war to restore peace and establish justice on earth. Yet Islam has certain ethics even in war against the enemies. It orders its followers to be always the first to accept peace: But if they incline towards peace, you also incline towards it and trust in Allah. For He is the one that hears and knows all things (61-8). Islam does not allow the mass killings of innocent women, children, or old people. It respects places of worship and defends them against any offence. It does not permit the cutting of trees or destruction of homes of the civilians. And fighting is in some cases launched to restore the human rights of the oppressed even if they are non-Muslims. Many people embraced Islam simply by virtue of this method adopted by early Muslims. We must clarify here that the life of a true Muslim should be a continuous Jihad, in the sense that it is an on going struggle against evil; it is a Jihad to carry the message of the Qur'an to other people. It is a Jihad of patience, and patience is of four kinds:
1. Patience to establish Islamic worship and obedience to Allah in all that He commanded Muslims to do. 2. Patience to abstain from sins and to avoid all that Allah has commanded us to avoid. 3. Patience towards all pleasures and luxuries of life that a Muslim is ordered to behave properly towards all the blessings of life, and to control himself from all evil temptations. 4. And finally patience in times of adversity and misfortunes. That is why a Muslim reminds himself that he will not have a real rest and peace until he returns back to Allah, his Lord. But as long as he lives he has to be in constant Jihad; Jihad as we have explained it which would sometimes be fighting against evil or oppression. This is in a nutshell what Jihad in Islam means. Far from being the religion of terror or terrorists, it is the religion of honour and dignity, the religion of peace and mercy and the faith of love, equality, and justice. Humanity is in dire need of such faith. Isn’t it so?
ISLAM AND RACISM
does "Racism" mean? The definition of this term in Webster's New World Dictionary is as follows: "A doctrine or teaching without scientific support, that claims to find racial differences in character, intelligence, etc. that asserts the superiority of one race over another or others, and that seeks to maintain the supposed purity of a race or races. It also includes any program or practice of racial discrimination or segregation based on such beliefs." As a matter of fact, when some nations practiced racism this only brought about destruction and war. Take the Nazi racism and what followed it. In fact it destroyed the claimants of superiority, namely the Nazis in the first place. The world today still suffers from racism, which continues to exist on different human levels. Let us now see what Islam has to say on this issue and how it solved it for good. The Holy Quran has abolished racism in a clear-cut categorical manner. In chapter 49 verse 13 we read: "O mankind. We have created you from a single male and female and made you into nations and tribes so that you may know each other The most honorable of you in the sight of Allah are surely the righteous ones." In chapter 4 verse 1 of the Holy Book of Islam we read: "O mankind. Fear you Guardian - Lord who created you from one single soul and created its mate from it, then scattered from them twain countless men and women." A third quotation from the Quran is from chapter 35 verses 27-28 which say: "Have you not seen that Allah sends down rain from the sky? with it we bring out produce of various colors. And in the mountains are tracts white
and red, of various shades of colors, and black intense in hue, and so among men, crawling creatures and cattle, are they of various colors." According to these verses the Prophet of Islam stressed the absolute unity in variety of the human race. In his famous farewell pilgrimage sermon, he declared: "O people. You are all to Adam and Adam was made of dust. No Arab is to be preferred over a non-Arab except by virtue of his piety." In another tradition he said: "God does not look at your images or your colors but he looks at your hearts (intentions) and your deeds. Creatures are the dependants of God and the closest among them to God are indeed the most useful to His dependants." In practice the Prophet of Islam peace be upon him had among his closest companions Salman the Persian, Suhaib the Roman, and Bilal the Ethiopian. Two of the three Companions were ex-slaves who were liberated after embracing Islam, namely Salman and Bilal. Despite this, and in spite of the black complexion of Bilal, he was chosen by the Prophet Muhammad as the first caller to prayer, a position coveted by many. As a matter of fact, senior companions like Abu Bakr and Omar used to call Bilal "our master", and the Prophet himself used to say: "Salman is a member of our family." It was not, however, an easy task to cancel racism in Islam. But every time it rose its head the Prophet used to give the Muslims an important lesson. Thus when his Arab companion Abu Zar called Bilal "son of the black woman" the Prophet got angry and told him: "You are a man who has ignorance in him." Abu Zar felt such a great remorse that he put his cheek on the ground and asked Bilal to tread on his other cheek if he so chooses. Time and again the Prophet used to stress the unity of the human race in Islam. Suffice it to mention one tradition. The Prophet once said: "Listen and obey even if your ruler was an Ethiopian slave whose head looks like a raisin." On another occasion when al-Aws and al-Khazraj, the two main Muslim tribes of Madinah were about to fight each other as they used to do before Islam, the Prophet rebuked them saying: "Do you still cultivate the call to ignorance even though I am in you midst?" Hearing this, they restored their
solid unity and fraternity. This spirit continued as long as Islam ruled and this racism was abolished in the Muslim world for good. This is how Islam cancelled racism in theory and practice. It set the best example for humanity to follow.
IV - Comparative Studies
37 38 39 40 What They Say About Jesus Christ A Dialogue With a Christian Priest - Part One A Dialogue With a Christian Priest - Part Two A Dialogue on the Internet
WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT JESUS CHRIST
The Jesus Seminar has held twelve conferences in the last decade. As its
name indicates it is a seminar concentrating on the personality of Jesus. Who was he? What was his real message and which of the present gospel sayings and parables attributed to him are true? Here is an answer and an introduction which was published in the Toronto Star Jan 2, 1992. The Jesus Seminar is sponsored by the California-based Westar Institute, a private research and study center founded by New Testament expert Robert Funk. For the past six years (1985-1991) its members, who come from most major Christian denominations and who teach at leading North American colleges, universities and seminaries, have been taking an objective critical look at the Bible. They examined the authenticity of Jesus' words, sifting fact from fiction. This seminar used the method of dropping colored beads into a box by which its members voted on what they believe to have been said by Jesus as opposed to words put in his mouth by the early church and gospel writers. They came to the conclusion that 80% of the sayings and parables attributed to Jesus in the Bible are either false or possibly so; and that 20% only of those sayings and parables are true or possibly true. These and other conclusions pertaining to the personality of Jesus Christ have outraged many conservative Christians, especially those who believe in the inerrancy of the Bible. Charges of blasphemy have been hurled at the seminar. One of these critics is Michael Green, a wellknown Anglican conservative evangelist who accused Jesus seminar of pretension for setting themselves up as judges of authenticity. He says it is hard to take their work seriously. He then defends the gospels with a vein of sentimentalism rather than historical or scholarly logic. Robert Funk responded to Green's claims through the following reply:
Professor Michael Green reflects a widespread uneasiness with any forthright exploration of the real figure of Jesus behind the many images of Him created after and, in some cases, in spite of, the facts. "He believes it is 'pretentious' of the many scholars in the Jesus Seminar to address the question of the authenticity of sayings attributed to Jesus. But he doesn't hesitate to set himself up as such an authority and claim, without consulting his professional colleagues, that his view is the only credible one. Does this mean that he believes that every word ascribed to Jesus in all surviving sources from the first three centuries was actually spoken by him? "He finds it strange that historians and scholars 'vote' on the probable authenticity of individual parables and sayings. Has he forgotten? The books to be included in the New Testament were determined by vote in various ecclesiastical councils. That vote was often determined by theological rather than historical considerations. Moreover, the textual committee of the United Bible Societies decides which Greek text to print in its official editions by vote. Does he find it equally hard to take these decisions 'seriously' because they were voted? "Green confidently asserts that the Jesus Seminar is not representative of New Testament scholarship. How does he know? He suggests that, 'If you took a vote from all the members (of the Society for New Testament Studies), 'we would get 'a very different story.' That indeed is presumptuous. Let him take the vote and then make the claim. "As a one-time member of the Society for New Testament Studies, I doubt that his assessment of his colleagues is correct. He should also poll the 5,000 members of the Society of Biblical Literature, to which most Canadian and U.S. scholars belong. At least the Jesus Seminar makes no claims beyond those authorized by its participating members. "Those who elect to defend traditional dogmatic views of the gospels often fail to mention facts pertinent to any examination of the evidence. "The oldest extant scrap of any gospel is a tiny fragment of the
Gospel of John that can be dated to about 125 CE - almost 100 years after Jesus' death. That fragment contains only a few words. "The next oldest fragment is from an unnamed gospel, known as the Egerton gospel (named after the fund used to purchase it for the British Museum). This interesting scrap contains several stories about Jesus, some of which have no parallels in other surviving gospels. "It is not until we get to the end of the 2nd century, around 200 CE, that we have substantial surviving manuscripts of the gospels. And it is not until we come to the early 4th century that we have complete copies of the New Testament. "The gap separating Jesus from the most important copies of the gospels known to us is 175 years. And, because all copies of the gospels were handmade prior to the invention of the printing press centuries later, no two copies are identical. Textual critics have estimated that there are about 70,000 significant variations in the Greek text of the entire New Testament. That fact makes it difficult to hold literally to a doctrine of inerrancy. "Green fails to mention that, in the judgement of most scholars, including those who belong to his society, Matthew and Luke copied Mark in composing their gospels. Moreover, they also made use of a hypothetical gospel called Q, which was a compendium of sayings attributed to Jesus. In using these sources, Matthew and Lake do not hesitate to modify, alter or rearrange materials in their sources, including words attributed to Jesus. "The Sayings in Gospel Q, as it has come to be known, did not have an account of Jesus' trial and death or of His birth and childhood. Indeed, it does not have a narrative framework at all. And yet, it is the earliest of the gospels known to us. "The Gospel of Thomas, the Coptic text of which was discovered in Egypt in 1945, is similar to Q. It, too, is a collection of sayings and parables, without narrative framework. The earliest forms of Thomas, in
the judgement of some Thomas specialists, may well go back to 50 or 60 CE, barely three decades after Jesus' death. We have three fragments of Greek Thomas dating to about 200 CE, the same date as the most important manuscripts of the canonical gospels. "Q and Thomas are extremely important witnesses to the history of the traditions about Jesus. They both suggest that Jesus was known initially as a teacher, a sage, a wise man, before His birth and death became part of the gospel story. Of course, once the Christian understanding of Jesus as a redeemer figure became established, the Christian community lost its interest in preserving gospels depicting Jesus primarily as a teacher. "Green also subscribes to the theory that Jesus' spoke only in Aramaic, His native tongue. In that case, the actual words of Jesus have been lost forever, since the gospels are all written in Greek. The only exceptions are a few Aramaic terms, like Abba, the Aramaic term for father. Some scholars believe that Jesus also knew Greek and that He developed His teachings in that language. So, far from being on the 'skeptical' end of the spectrum to which Green apparently belongs, some Fellows of the Jesus Seminar believe that some specific words spoken by Jesus in Greek have been preserved in the records. "The 182 versions of 92 sayings and parables the Jesus Seminar believes were spoken in some proximate form by Jesus (they received either a red or a pink designation) is a substantial and positive result of six years of intense labor. Somewhere in the welter of 1,372 sayings and parables attributed to Jesus in all our surviving gospels (more than 20 in number), the real man from Galilee lurks. "Fellows and Associates of the Jesus Seminar would like to know who He really was. Most people would like to know who He really was. Only by freeing him from the overlay of Christian piety and rhetoric can we hope to discover the profile of that single face in a Galilean crowd." (Courtesy: The Toronto Star Newspaper, Saturday, January 4, 1992, J9)
A DIALOGUE WITH A CHRISTIAN PRIEST - PART ONE
It has been the habit of numerous Christian missionaries from various sects to try to convert Muslims to their religion. Their approach varies from one place to another and from one church to another One popular way, however, is to ask Muslims certain questions to confuse them and then to try to convert them. Not very recently one missionary in Toronto tried to use this approach. In his first letter to Muslim World League, Canadian office, he claimed that he is a seeker after truth and that he had “read some books but they were not too clear; and that he was seeking help.” Then he changed his tactic when he was discovered to have distributed the same letter to a number of Islamic organizations. The under-signed sent him a detailed answer to his letter providing him with conclusive comments on all the issues he raised. Had he been a seeker after truth, as he claimed he would not have insisted on asking the same questions again and sending them to many centres. His new tactic was that he raised similar questions claiming the following: “After carefully studying both the Qur’an and the Bible. I have decided to become a Muslim. Following Islam for the last five years has not filled my desire for God. When confronted with the following topics, I could not remain a Muslim. “ He then mentions a number of questions and comments and finally says: “For fear of further persecution, I am omitting my name.” When he was confronted that this trick did not work either and that
Muslims knew who he was, he still sent the same questions under a new name. He said, “After 35 years as a Hindu” I have become disillusioned with its many false teachings. I wish to find the truth about God. I have been looking at the faith of Islam and Christianity as my final quest for truth” but I still have some doubts. Could you explain some of what Islam teaches in relation to Christianity.” Reading some Islamic books did not resolve my thoughts. Then he coined a false name by which he signed his letter. Although a number of Muslims sent this man convincing answers to his questions and comments, he continued to play games and tricks with many people. Thus we thought it a good idea to publish his questions along with the Islamic answers for them. ‘The answers given by Dr. Jamal Badawi of St. Mary’s University, Halifax are also included in flyer no. 20. We present these for every real seeker after truth as well as for Muslims who may be the target of such questions and comments. Dear Sir, Peace be with you. I greet you with this greeting of peace because peace is the basic message of Islam, the religion of all prophets. I have received with thanks your letter dated Feb. 14, 1992. And although I did not receive any reply from you to my invitation to you to come over for a cup of coffee so that we know one another and then discuss the issues you raised in your letter, I am now answering your points as best as I can. I don’t want to defeat you in argument. Let us agree to seek the truth regardless of its source. It is only in this spirit that I am writing to you. I am aware though. that you have distributed your letter on a number of other Muslim organizations, which gives the lie to your claim that you are a seeker after truth and proves that you are a preacher of what you ask about. THE QUR’AN AND JESUS CHRIST Q - The Qur’an proves the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ in Surat Maryam 19: 32-34 Since God is the author of creation, then the
Qur‘an says that Jesus is God by also calling him the author of creation (see Sura Maida; 113, 114) Why don’t Muslims believe their own sacred book? A - Should Jesus Christ be taken for God because he could create? Does the Qur’an accept Jesus as God? Let us see what the Qur’an has to say about the concept of godhood. In chapter 21 ( Al Anbiya- The Prophets v. 23-24) the Qur’ an says: Had there been in them (heavens and earth) other gods except Allah they would be both in confusion. But glory to Allah the Lord of the Throne above what they describe. He cannot be questioned for His acts while they are questioned. In chapter 23 v. 91 Al Mu‘minoon (The Believers) we read: “No son did Allah beget nor is there any god along with Him. otherwise each god would have taken away what he had created and some would have lorded it over others ! Glory to Allah, He is far from what they describe.” Again in chapter42 Al Shoora v. 9 the following question is asked: “Will they take protectors other than Him (Allah) Nay Allah is indeed the Protector and He restores the dead back to life and He is Able, All powerful.” In v. 51 of the same chapter we read: “It is not fitting for a man that Allah should speak to Him except by inspiration or from behind a veil or by sending a messenger to reveal with His permission what He wills. Allah is Most High, Most Wise.” According to these and other verses, Jesus Christ or any other figure in the world can never qualify to be God. He cannot compare with God the Only One OverLord and Sovereign of the universe. Jesus never claimed to be God either in the Qur’an or in the Bible. In the Qur’an the phrase: “With my permission” is repeated in the context of these miracles. On the other hand, was Jesus Christ the only man who got God’s permission to create? Not in the least. Ibrahim or Abraham, the Father of Prophets, had this experience by the leave of God. The Qur’an tells us in chapter 2 v. 260 how he asked God to show him how he brings the dead back to life; “He said Do you not then believe? He said: Yes! but to satisfy
my own understanding. He said: Take four birds; tame them to turn to you, put a portion of them on every hill, and call to them; they will come to you running with speed. Then know that Allah is Exalted in power, Wise!” The problem with you Christian fnends, particularly priests, is that you cannot distinguish God from His messengers. Any one who can fulfill miracles is a god for you. Not so in the Qur’an which draws a clearcut line between God and His messengers. Here is how the Qur’an establishes this: “It is not possible for any messenger to bring a sign except by the leave of Allah. But when the command of Allah is issued, matters are decided in truth.” 40-78. Again in chapter 41 v. 6 the Qur’an says: “Proclaim! I am only a mortal like you who is inspired that your God is One God. So turn straight towards Him and seek His forgiveness. And Woe to the polytheists.” Let us now see what Jesus Christ testified when he was born. According to theQur’an,the second miracle in the life of Jesus after his miraculous birth was that he could speak as a new born. He said: “I am indeed the slave of God. He has given me the Book and made me a prophet. He has made me blessed wheresoever I be and has enjoined on me prayer and charity as long as I live; He has made me kind to my mother and not overbearing or miserable. So peace is on me the day I was born, the day that I die, and the day that I shall be raised up to life.” 19: 30-33 Again in chapter 5, Al Maida or the table, God conveys to us the following message from the Hereafter: on the day when God will gather the Messengers together and ask: What was the response you received? They will say: we have no knowledge. It is You who know in full all that is hidden. Then God Almighty will ask Jesus Christ on that same day in front of all Messengers after reminding him of his blessings upon him and how with His permission he could do many miracles. After this, God will ask:
“O Jesus son of Mary; Did you say unto men; worship me and my mother as gods in derogation of God? He will say: Glory be to You! Never could I say what I had no right to say. Had I said it, You would indeed have known it. You know what is in my mind, though I know not what is in Yours. You, indeed You know in full all that is hidden. Never said l to them anything except what You commanded me to say, namely: Worship God, my Lord and your Lord; and I was a witness over them as long as I dwelled among them, when You look me up, You were the Watcher over them and You are the Witness to all things. If You punish them, they are Your slaves, and if You forgive them, You are the Exalted in power, the Wise.” This is how Jesus Christ p.b.u.h. testified at the moment of birth: this is how he will testify on the Day of Judgment and finally this is how he testifies in both the Bible and the Qur’an where he never ever said I am God so worship me. Is it not time for our Christian friends to acknowledge the truth before it is too late; because we are also told in the Qur’an that each Chnstian will also testify on his death bed the same testimony when it is too late and his testimony will not avail him anything. CORRUPTION OF THE BIBLE: Q.- Is the Bible corrupted? Would God allow His words to be changed? A- You don’t need the opinion of Muslims to judge the corruption of the present day Bible. Textual critics of the Bible affirm that here are about 70,000 significant variations in the text of the entire New Testament. The fact that there are numerous contradictions and variations in the different editions of the Bible is enough as a proof for those who honestly seek the truth. I would also refer to those who defend the Bible to Jesus Seminar convened by world Christian Bible experts who confirmed that 80% of what is attributed to Jesus Christ in the Bible is false or probably false, and that only 20% is true or probably true. The Prophet of Islam was the first and the most objective personality who gave his view of the Bible. In one of his sayings he said: “Neither believe nor disbelieve them. “ which acknowledged the Divine origin of the Bible
in spite of the great corruption (omission and deletion) that crept into it over the years. In the light of the continuous amendments in the Bible, Christians have no choice other than admitting this fact. Whenever there is a dilemma or a crisis faced by the church, its leaders immediately add or omit what they like or dislike. Examples of such dilemmas or crises are the following: Should the Jews be held responsible for the blood of Jesus? The Bible confirms this while the Pope absolved them of it! Should homosexuals be ordained as priests? Some churches ordain them against the teachings of the Bible. And so on and so forth. The corruption in the Bible is thus a continuous process. The Qur’an does not testify as you claim, to the authenticity of the Bible. On the contrary, it confirms the innumerable changes: It says: “Then woe to those who write the book with their own hands and then say: this is from God, to traffic with it for a miserable price.” (2-79) “Those who conceal the clear signs we have sent down and the Guidance after we have made it clear for the people in the Book on them shall be God’s curse.” (2-59) and “Those who conceal God’ s revelations in the Book and purchase for them a miserable profit; they swallow into themselves nothing but fire.” (2174). This is how the Qur’an looks at corruption in the Bible. It is the same view held by Islam today. The Qur’an testifies and confirms the Divine origin of the Bible. It also establishes the fact of omission and deletion in the Bible. The verses you quoted do not refer to the Bible. The Reminder is one name of the Qur’an. The Scripture referred to in chapter 2 v. 2 of the Qur’an is the same i.e. the Qur’an. Don’t mix things. Muslims are the only ones who believe in all the original books of God and in all the Messengers of God. That is why the Qur’an has been revealed to add the omissions and to correct the deletions in the Bible. Your bosses should know where the authentic Old and New Testaments are. Have you read “The Dead Sea Scrolls Deception” by Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh? It is one example of how original documents are concealed.
Q - There are many instances in both the Qur’an and the Bible about people having more than one wife. God is both against a man having more than one wife” and He is also against people who have sex outside of marriage. Adultery and Fornication are huge mistakes in His sight. Islam teaches that a man may have as many wives as he can support. In the beginning, God made ONLY ONE woman for Adam. I was reading one Islamic view of Paradise and it said that it would be perpetual luxury with lovely maidens. and virgins. This would imply that God will change His mind and allow a lot of forbidden sex in Heaven. Do you believe that God will allow such sin in heaven? A- What exactly do you want to say here? Are you attacking both the Bible and the Qur’an? Yes indeed both allow man to have more than one wife. In the present Bible though the number of wives has no limit. It runs into hundreds sometimes, while the Qur’an does not allow more than four wives as a legislation. Islam does not allow man to have as many wives as he can support as you claim. Four wives is the limit. This is in cases of necessity. Which is better, to have four wives or to embark upon this Sex chaos indulged in by people around us? Concerning Paradise where perpetual luxury, lovely maidens and virgins are promised in Islam, you seem not to differentiate between two things: this world and the second life. According to Islam this worldly life is a test. Those who pass will go to a second life of eternal bliss and enjoyment. No work is required there. Sex and other enjoyments in the Hereafter are not sins. They are rewards from God Almighty. Even here sex should not be a sin. In Christianity, you believe in original sin while Islam confirms the sinlessness of new borns. Sex is not a filthy act in Islam as long as it is in marriage. Q - Some people believe that AI-Aqsa is the spot where Muhammad supposedly journeyed on his horse into heaven. Isn’t it strange that the Qur’an never identifies Al-Aqsa with Jerusalem? A- I must correct your question here. All Muslims, and not just some people, believe that Al-Aqsa mosque was the site of Prophet Muhammad’s ascension to heaven, not on his horse though, but on a celestial means of transport. This is a major miracle granted by God to His Prophet Muhammad and no Muslim or non-Muslim fair historian question the site to be in Jerusalem so much so that it is silly to ask or doubt.
Q - The Bible says that Israel belongs to the Jews. The Qur'an says that it belongs to the Arabs. People should learn a very important Biblical lesson: That even though God Himself disciplines Israel woe to the man or nation who mistreats them. History is strewn with the wreckage of leaders and nations who treated the Israelites unjustly. It is very clear that God was fighting on the side of the Jews in 1948 1956 1967 and 1973. A- Neither the Bible says that Palestine not Israel belongs to the Jews nor the Qur’an says that it belongs to the Arabs. Be fair and understand your book. This is a blessed land that belongs to the believers who worship the One and Only Lord. God is not racist as some people try to depict Him. He does not prefer any race against others. The best people in the sight of God are the most fearing and obedient ones. He i s the Lord of all and sundry. Through change the present Bible depicts Him as you say. Your claim that God is always on the side of Jews must be a joke. You can claim the same thing for Hitler, Napoleaon, Alexander..etc, to name only a few dictators the world has witnessed. The longer the present struggle between Zionists and Muslims, the more Muslims become committed to the Qur’an and its message. It is only when Arabs became good Muslims that they could overcome their enemies. This also applies to the present problems faced by today’s Muslims.
A DIALOGUE WITH A CHRISTIAN PRIEST - PART TWO
The Crucifixion of Jesus Fact or Fiction?
1. According to the Qur’an (4:157), Jesus (P) was neither killed nor crucified. As such, the notion of “death-like swooning” is not based on the Qur’an. 2. The Qur’an did not say that someone like Jesus was crucified in his place. The Qur’an (4:157) says: “...but it so appeared to them~ or “it was made to appear to them.” Yet, this was one interpretation of the Qur’an. It suggests that God punished Judas the Iscariot, for his betrayal, by changing his face and speech to look and sound like Jesus (who was raised up) and that Judas was crucified with the mistaken assumption that he was Jesus (P). Lack of specification of the name of that crucified person in the Qur’an, if that interpretation is likely one, does not mean that it was Jesus, since this was negated in no uncertain terms. The Qur’an is not like the Bible in terms of focus on chronology, detailed names or places. There is no evidence if it were true [from the Qur’anic standpoint]. There is no concept of original sin or necessity of bloodshed for forgiveness as claimed by Paul (Heb. 9:22). As to “Biblical Prophecies” about crucifixtion, many Bibilical scholars believe that these are forced interpretations, out of context, or “prooftext”: Following are a few examples as per your letter: i) believed by Edward Schweizer (in Jesus, pp 92-94) to be a reference to the suffering of the righteous of Israel. Unlike Isa. 53:7, Jesus (P) is reported to have prayed to be spared the cross and in his trial opened his mouth (e.g. Mark 14:3639 and John 18:19-23). ii) As to claimed New Testament prophecies, it should be remembered that these were written after the fact and after
Paul’s ideas began to spread. This led the gospel writers to put words in the mouth of Jesus (P) only to support their convictions. John Fenton, for example, gives good reasons why Mathew (addressing mainly Jews) was obsessed with trying to “prove” that Old Testament Prophecies were fulfilled in Jesus. In fact some prophecies attributed to Jesus (P) proved to be untrue. Muslims believe in God’s love for humans. In the Qur’an He is called “Wadood” or “full of loving compassion”. But they do not see crucifixion as proof of that love. Mercy, and justice can be shown best by God’s willingness to forgive the fallible human, whom He created. As such, when one repents sincerely and undergoes a change of heart, mind and action, he/she is accepted by God. ON TRINITY A-1. The Qur’an speaks about attributes of God (which are not limited to three) but not of “persons” constituting a triune godhead. The same applies to one’s attributes as father, son, brother ~ grandson...etc. All other analogies to trinity can be shown to be futile. 2. Foreknowledge of God, including the message to be sent later as the Qur’an who was co-eternal with God and constitutes part of divinity. This is a reflection of confusion between “attributes” and “persons in Godhead”, this is only shirk or ascribing partners to God Almighty. 3. Birth of Jesus (P) was unique so were the miracles of other prophets. Uniqueness does not imply divinity. Each prophet’s miracle is suited to the circumstances of his people. Adam was created from neither man nor women’s side. All humans are endowed with a spirit from God, not Jesus (P) alone (see for example 15:29, 32:9, 38:72). 4. The question of understanding “What God is like” is a wrong Question. Nothing is like unto God. Even long after baptism, Jesus (P) was stating that no one ever heard God’s voice or saw Him [ John 5:37, which seems to contradict the baptism episode as in Matt. 3:17]. If what is meant is to understand and relate to the attributes of God and His love,
then there are superior ways of achieving that without resorting to theories that are not befitting for the Glory of God, without borrowing from mythical religions and without bloodshed that is contrary to both justice and mercy. ON EARTHLY EMPIRES To say that all Islam did was to establish a serious common error which is contrary to the nature of Islamic teachings and inconsistent with historical facts. Islam (as well as all original teachings of the Prophets) is a complete way of life under divine guidance, including the administration of law and public affairs. It is like establishing an interim “Kingdom of God” on earth. All prophets were involved in establishing the “spiritual kingdom” as is the core of their mission. Some great prophets were enabled by God, additionally, to establish a righteous spirituality-based kingdom on earth as well, including Moses, David and Muhammad (peace be upon them all.) ON RITUALISM VS SELF-PURIFICATION Prophets Jesus and Muhammad (P), drawing from the same source (God’s revelation) said many things that are remarkably similar. Prophet Muhammad (P) said “the [whole] earth was made a Masjid [place of worship] for me.” Like his brother Jesus (P), Prophet Muhammad (P) also condemned hypocrites and show-offs. Both agreed that what matters is the state of the worshipper’s heart. In the Qur’an we read, “It is not righteousness that you turn your faces to the East or the West, but righteousness is...” [2:177]. About the sacrificial animals God states in the Qur’an: “It was not their meat nor their blood, that reaches God: it is your piety that reaches Him..”[22:37]. With this essence of worship, firmly established, there is nothing wrong to have common places of group worship, fast together in certain days or make pilgrimage to sacred places. This is common to Jews,
Christians and Muslims. So we are in agreement on this point. ON JESUS “CLAIMING” TO BE SON OF GOD 1-Jesus (P) was addressing Jews. In the Old Testament, several prophets were called sons of God ( Jer. 31:9, Exod.4:22, II Sam, 7:14, I Chor. 22:10, PS. 2:7). Are these prophets to be worshipped as sons of God? 1- See Jeremiah 31-9 which ends thus: For I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn. 2- In Exodus 4:22: And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the Lord, Israel is my son, even my firstborn. 3- In II Samual 7:14:1 I will be his father, and he shall be my son, if he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men. 4-I Chronicle 22:10: He shall build a house for my name and he shall be my son, and I will be his father...etc. 2- The expression “worshipped him” the references you cited means simply adored him, not believed that he is divine. Jesus himself taught his disciplines and joined them in prayers and worship of God (e.g. Lord’s prayers). He fell on his face and worshipped God (similar to Muslims sujud in prayers), see for example Matt 26:39, MK 14:35, Mathew 26:39 : And he went a little farther and fell on his face and prayed saying: O my father, if it be possible let this cup pass from me, nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt. Mark 14:35: And he went forward a little and fell on the ground and prayed that if it were possible the hour might pass from him. 3- In John 9:35 you cited, there is a significant discrepancy. In the KJV it reads “Son of God” while the RSV translates it “Son of Man” based on more authentic MS. According to interlinear translation of the Greek text (by the New World Bible Translation Committee, 1985) the “original” Greek term used in John 9:35~~ This shows that for many centuries, some Bible writers translators tried, deliberately, to misreport
and/or mistranslate the MS to suit their preconceived ideas and technology. 4-Jesus (P) was referred to 68 times in the New Testament as the “Son of God”, not once was he called “God the Son”, which is a considerable difference theologically. God has many “sons” according to the Bible. Even in the New Testament, Adam was called “Son of God” (Luke 3:38). 5-The most common title Jesus used to refer to himself was “Son of man” which simply means a human being nothing more and nothing less. ANALOGY WITH JOHN THE BAPTIST AND RETURN OF JESUS (P) 1– In 19:15,32, The Qur’an reminds us that Jesus (P) like John the Baptist is subject to the same laws applicable to all humans. The Qur’an is to be understood in its own context, also alongside with the explanation of its recipient (authentic Hadeeth). In the Qur’an 19:33 Jesus (P) prays for peace the day he was born, the day that he will die (after his second return) according to Hadeeth and the day he will be raised up (on the day of judgement) like John the Baptist “19:15” and all humans for that matter. As such there is absolutely no contradiction between 19:15 and 4:157-158. What is negated in the Qur’an is the New Testament version of the story of crucifixion [or more accurately the identity of the person who may have actually been crucified]. 2–The death of Jesus (P) after his second coming is not death “without purpose”. All great prophets died also (naturally or killed). His death is part of God’s Law “Every soul shall have a taste of death...”[3:185]. His death is simply deferred by God’s command. Furthermore, the death of Jesus (P) after his second coming serves another important purpose; to show that he was only a righteous human and creature of God, who came back by God’s leave, got married, begat children, rebuked those who deified him and finally died like other humans. Surely this is important enough.
ON LIFTING JESUS (P) UP Gabriel (according to LK 1:35) was not lying when he told Mary of the upcoming birth of Jesus (P). This is similar to the Qur’anic statement (19:17). As to the term “Son of God”, please see section E. In John 3:16, the word “begotten” does not appear in the Greek MS and was an interpolation for nearly 2000 years. Please compare John 3:16 in KJV and RSV. This is a further indication of suiting the translation (and in many cases the writings of the Biblical authors) to support the post-Jesus theological arguments. Even the term “only” is not used literally. In Genesis 2:22 the term “only son”, in reference to Isaac, is not to be taken literally since Isaac (P) was never the only legitimate son of Abraham. Ishmael (P) was born fourteen years earlier. Anyone who believes in the legitimate prophet of his time shall have everlasting life in Paradise by God’s grace. ON SALVATION AND BLOODSHED 1-The story of Abraham (P) and his son of sacrifice (Ishmael not Isaac) has nothing to do with the notion of God’s sending His divine son as a vicarious sacrifice. Not even the Old Testament’s rites of sacrifice signify that. This is a later (and not mistaken) interpretation. 2–Muslim commemoration of Abraham and Ishmael’s faith and trust in God. As the Qur’an indicates, God is not interested in flesh or blood (22:37) but rather in our piety and actions. This applies even more to human blood. For Biblical references in agreement with this Qur’anic principle, please see Hos.6:6, PS 30:5, 51:15-17, even Matt 9:13. 3–What does it mean that we have to either “pay the penalty ourselves by death, or will we allow God to pay for us through a sacrifice supplied by Him”? Obviously “death” here is not the physical as all will die. If what is meant is spiritual death, then repentance and correction suffice. They do reform the heart “...whoever believes in God, (God) guides his heart (aright)” [Qur’an 64:11]. Does God pray to Himself?
4–What does it mean to say “God sacrificed” or “God provided His sacrifice”? 5–Why would God insist on sacrifice if He is the Sovereign of the universe and can forgive directly? The assumption of tension between justice and forgiveness as two attributes of God is not shared by Muslims. God’s mercy precedes His wrath. There is neither justice nor mercy in rejecting sincere repentence of a human who is created fallible and in insisting that an innocent person be punished instead to satisfy the demands of bloodshed. ON THE AUTHORITY OF THE BIBLE Q. Has the Bible been corrupted? A-1 God did preserve His word (teachings) through the Qur’an, the final and preserved revelation. The responsibility to preserve the revelation prior to the Qur’an was entrusted to the Rabbis and Doctors of Law (5:47). When they failed, God took charge of preserving His word in the form of the Qur’an (15:9). 2–Not all previous revelations were totally lost or “corrupted”. Muslims believe that the Bible contains, in part, the word of God, in addition to human ideas, opinions, biographies and interpretations. The functions of the Qur’an are to confirm what remains intact, reveal whatever was lost, correct whatever was misunderstood and remove whatever errors were added to the original revelations. As such it is called the “Criterion” (between original pristine revelation and man-made doctrines). It is also a “watcher over” previous revelations or Muhaimin (5:51). 3-There are no versions of the Qur’an even though there are translations of the same text. This is not the same as the Bible where there are translations and versions. The number of books in the Catholic Bible is different from the Protestants. There are important differences between KJV and RSV (eg. John 3:16, I John 5:7, and MK. 16:9-20). While there are thousands of MS, there are numerous variations between them as well (eg. different endings of MK 16).
4–Unlike the Qur’an there is no copy of the New Testament available in the original language of Jesus (P), Aramaic, which came to us with an unbroken chain of narration, both in writing and by memorization. Nothing comes even close to the Qur’an when it comes to authenticity and authority as well. 5–It is true that there are divisions and weakness of commitment on the part of Muslims, Christians and others as well. Muslims do not differ, however, on the question of divinity. Christians did and continue to have important differences on the foundation of faith. Early Christians were mainly “Jewish Christians” as Hans Kung calls them. A strong Unitarian stream existed in early Christianity but was persecuted when Christianity became a state religion early in the fourth century. In early Church Councils, there has been major differences even physical fighting as to what is orthodoxy and what is heresy. Even trinity took more than one council to evolve. Today, the nature of Jesus is still a subject of differences. 6–It is incorrect to say that “liberal scholars” changed the Bible. Actually it is their examination of older (yet different) versions that they discovered discrepancies, mistranslations and clear cases of interpolation (eg. I John 5:7) 7–The question is not which is the word of God, the Bible or the Qur’an. Muslims believe that the Bible contains, in part, the word of God (those portions that agree with the Qur’an). The real question is the purity of the text. Only an honest and objective comparative study will show that the Qur’an is purely God’s revelation. Even Prophet Muhammad’s words, which were not specifically part of the Qur’an, were kept separately and were never incorporated in the text of the Qur’an. Even the style of such words is different and distinct from the Qur’anic revelatory nature. All these reasons are prompting ordinary Christians all over the world, to read the Qur’an. Then they must decide for themselves whether they will accept or reject Jesus (P) as a great prophet of Allah and accept his brother – Prophet Muhammad (P) as the final prophet through whom truth was completed so as to bring mankind from darkness back to light.
A DIALOGUE ON THE INTERNET
From: An anonymous person To: email@example.com Date: April 23, 1988 2.08PM Hello! My name is … and I’m a student at Messiah College. I’m currently taking a world religions’ class and we just have got done studying Islam. I found the faith to be very fascinating and I still have a few questions, which I was unable to find answers for since the class is designed as an introductory class and can not spend a lot of time on one particular religion. So I thought I maybe I could ask you guys. I hope that you have time to answer my questions below, and increase my knowledge about your interesting faith!! Questions: 1) We have learned that Muslims believe that Allah could not have any of his prophets be put to death, as we believe Jesus was. But, since Islam means to be obedient and submissive, wouldn’t Jesus’ death be seen as the ultimate act of obedience and submission and thus he’d be greatly venerated? I have been reading the Quran and in Surah 3:54, doesn’t it say that Allah will cause Jesus to die? 2) If the Quran is eternal then isn’t the sin of Ishrak committed by equating it to God, Who is eternal as well? 3) According to Islam, what are the proofs that Islam is the true religion of God? 4) If Muhammad was sinless as Islamic tradition regards him, and that Islam follows the basic ethical teachings contained in the ten commandments and the Bible as a whole, wouldn’t he have committed a sin since having more than one wife is regarded as a sin?
5) ...Do Muslims believe that Jesus will come back again instead of Muhammad? 6) We learned in class that Muslims believe that previous divine revelations had been distorted by man, which was why the Quran came about to correct man’s distortions. Could you give examples of some distortions of the Bible? Given the fact that the Bible was written over many years and in different locations, and with the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, wouldn’t the alterations been hard to have occurred universally? 7) How would you assess modern day Islam-Christian relations? 8) What do you cherish most about your faith? Comment: I know I have asked a lot of questions that might not be easily answered. It is my hope though that you will answer my questions. As I mentioned before I find the Islamic faith to be very interesting and I would like to be as knowledgeable about the faiths around me as possible, so that I can be in a position of respect, rather than ignorance if I were to meet Muslims, as adherents of other faiths, in the future. Again I pray that you can answer my questions and thanks for your time and efforts…. Answers: TO: ... E-mail:... From: Dr. Arafat El-Ashi, Muslim World League, Toronto, Canada Dear Sir, Thank you for your internet message. Here are my answers to your questions on Islam: 1. Your statement that "Allah could not have any of His prophets be put to death" is inaccurate. For indeed, some prophets mentioned in the Quran, were saved by God at the critical moments; but other prophets and believers were tested by death. Jesus Christ, p.b.u.h., differs. He had a miraculous birth, could
perform miracles by God’s leave, and was raised to heaven (alive) by another miracle. All this was meant to be an eye opener to his followers. Instead, they went to two extremes: some of them who were the majority in the beginning believed that he was an impostor, the son of an adulteress and an unbeliever in their perverted religion so he deserved to be crucified. Others claimed that he was God incarnate and that he was raised from death after three days and that he went up to heaven with God the father. So the meanings of obedience and submission you attribute to his claimed death are out of context. Your question No. 5 is related to this answer. Muslims believe in all prophets. They are all messengers of God. We do not prefer or even compare between one and another prophet. It doesn’t matter to us, whether Jesus or Muhammad will come back to earth. But the Quran asserts that Jesus will return so that 1) he may kill the antiChrist, 2) he will follow the religion of Islam, 3) he will get married, have children and then die a normal death. Muhammad died a natural death after he performed his mission, so there is no point in his return while in the case of Jesus his term is still incomplete. That is why he has to return to complete it, because God alone does not perish. 2. You seem to be confused about the nature of God. Eternity for any thing does not qualify it to be God-like. Paradise and Hell are also eternal. Does this equate them with God? You may need to review the 99 names of God so that you do not confuse Him with any one or any thing. 3. The main proofs that Islam is the only true religion with God are the following: - The Holy Quran asserts this, when it states "the only religion acceptable to Allah is Islam". - The Quran that we have today is word for word, even syllable for syllable, the same book that was revealed to Muhammad over 14 centuries ago. By Quran I mean the one in Arabic and not translations. - If you pick up any edition of the Quran and compare it with any
other edition published anywhere in the world you will find it one and the same. So Muslims today have one book not several. - There is not a single instance of any contradiction in the Quran. The Quran was not the work of Muhammad. It is the divine revelation he received from God. To Muslims Muhammad is not God, but he is a mortal, a slave and a messenger of God. - In the Quran, Muhammad himself is criticised and disciplined. The address in the Quran is often in the second person singular, "You", which shows that he is the receiver not the author of the Quran. - The Quran refers to certain scientific facts which neither Muhammad nor his age nor several centuries after, knew anything about them. Modern man discovered some of them. - Finally, there still exists to this day two copies of the Quran from the era of Muhammad: one in the famous Top Capi Saray museum in Istanbul-Turkey and the other is in Tashkent, Central Asia. They are identical to all other copies of the Quran. - This shows among many other things that the true book of God is the Quran which conveys the true religion of God - Islam. 4. It is wrong to claim that Muhammad was faultless or sinless. To Muslims, Muhammad was the messenger of God not God or a semi God, but a human among humans. He was born, ate food, got married and had children and then he died. This is one thing. The other point is that he was entrusted with a message to convey to humanity which he did. He, however, made some mistakes or, rather, he was expected to do something better in the worldly affairs than what he did sometimes. So, he was corrected by the will of God. And he acknowledged this, when he said ": You know better the affairs of your world. He was a man among men. And this is the beauty of his message for how could you follow him and imitate him if he was super human? 5. On the other hand he never made any mistakes in conveying the message, nor committed any crime, but was the ideal example for his followers to imitate. To claim that he sinned by having several wives, this stems from the Christian perspective of sex
where it is considered as a sin. Not so is sex within marriage in Islam. On the contrary, we learn from a saying by Prophet Muhammad that he who gets married secures one half of his religion. So in Islam marriage is a type of worship rather than a sin. As for polygamy in the case of Prophet Muhammad, it has several good reasons for it and here is not the right context for it. 6. The Bible itself is not one Bible. The Catholics’ Bible is composed of 73 books, while the Protestant Bible consists of 66 books. This is one example of the process of omission and addition in the Bible. You don’t have the Bible in the original language. Do you? It is only through translations that you read the Bible. There are four variations in the first four gospels of the New Testament about the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and his lineage. Which one should we take? There are innumerable contradictions in the Bible that is why another scripture had to be revealed to confirm what is correct in it and what is wrong. That scripture is the Quran. Bible experts themselves acknowledge the existence of inaccuracies in the Bible. Remember the recommendations of Jesus Seminary, which held its concluding sessions in California in the early nineties. They asserted among other things that only 20 per cent of Jesus sayings in the New Testament are either true or possibly true. 7. Modern Muslim Christian relationship is of two types: Christians living with Muslims in the east have always enjoyed the tolerance and good treatment of Islam and Muslims. Unfortunately many Western Christians preferred and still prefer to be the enemies of Islam and Muslims. One example is the Colonial Rule of Muslim countries committed by Christian powers in the 19th century. Muslims are always ready to improve this relationship if Christians do their part. 8. What I cherish most about Islam is my faith in God Almighty, the Unique Lord of the universe, who is most compassionate, absolute, completely different from His creation, fair and most
just. Living, and most Loving. He begets not, nor was begotten and there is no one like unto Him. He is the First and the Last , the All-powerful. Whatever problems or crises face me, they disappear once I resort to God Allah Almighty. I do not need any one to intercede between my Lord, Allah, and myself. With my best wishes that you meet success in finding the path of truth - Islam.
V - Miscellaneous
41. Do Muslims Worship the Moon? 42. A Brief History of Palestine
In the name of Allah, the Compassionate the Merciful
DO MUSLIMS WORSHIP THE MOON?
The brief answer to this question is an absolute NO. One may ask why this question at all? This is claimed by one Christian flyer from California where it is stated that Muslims do not worship the same God as Jews and Christians? They are said to worship the moon? Not only this but the flyer continues claiming that if you tell this to Muslims they will kill you!!! A verse is then wrongly quoted from the Quran chapter 5 verse 33 that says: The only reward of those who make war upon Allah and His Messenger and strive after corruption in the land will be that they will be killed or crucified or have their hands and feet cut off on alternate sides or to be deported from the land. Such will be their degradation in the world and theirs will be an awful doom in the Hereafter. Now let us review some details about the first claim namely Muslims’ claimed worship of the moon. As a matter of fact Islam is based on two sources i.e the Quran and the Sunnah that is the practice and sayings of the Prophet Muhammad. The Quran mentions the moon twenty seven times. If we contemplate them we find one verse as follows: And among His signs is the night and the day and the sun and the moon. Adore not the sun nor the moon but adore Allah Who created them, if it is in truth Him whom you worship (41-37) This verse alone shows the real God in Islam. Surely He is neither the sun nor the moon, neither the day nor the night, for all these are only miracles and eye openers from God the creator. The other 26 verses of the Quran referring to the moon assert that
the moon is only a creation of God Almighty which He made subservient to man like the rest of God’s creation. Thus it is silly to claim this. Here are a few examples: ...the sun, the moon and the stars are made subservient by His command (7-54) It is He Who made the sun a shining glory and the moon a light (10-5) ..and He made the sun and the moon subservient; each runs for an appointed term (13-2) and it is He Who created the night and the day and the sun and the moon (21-33) These and many other verses prove that the moon is only a creation of God. It has an appointed term after which it will cease to exist. Thus it is like man a mortal, not a god. Once the moon was cleft asunder during the life time of Prophet Muhammad p.b.uh. This coincided with the death of one son of the Prophet; thus some people claimed that the moon was divided that way due to the death of the Prophet’s son. The Prophet, however, responded by asserting that the sun and the moon are two signs of God. They are never eclipsed due to the death or life of any mortal. Secondly the Islamic calendar is based on the moon i.e it is a lunar calendar; but this does not ascribe any shred of holiness to the moon just like the solar calendar which does not give any special status to the sun. Also the Quran mentions the story of Abraham the father of the three Divine religions. It runs as follows: Thus did we show Abraham the kingdom of the Heavens and the earth that he might be of those possessing certainty. When the night grew dark upon him he beheld a planet. He said this is my Lord. But when it set, he said I love not those that set And when he saw the moon uprising he exclaimed: This is my Lord. But when it also set he said: Unless my Lord should guide me I surely shall become one of the folks led astray. Then when he saw the sun uprising he cried: This is my Lord. This is greater. And when
it set he exclaimed: O my people! I am free from all that you associate with Him. I have turned my face unto Him Who created the heavens and the earth, as one upright by nature and I am not of the idolaters. (6-77 to 80) So it is crystal clear who is the God for Muslims. He is the God of Abraham and all the prophets of God. Some people might differ with Muslims on one issue or another but here is a call upon them to abide by the truth and never use lies and falsehoods to support their claims. For indeed lies are short lived and will be discovered sooner or later as is the case concerning the moon. Now is it true that Muslims will kill any one who puts this or other claims against their religion? If not how can we understand the above verse quoted by some opponents that gives permission to Muslims to kill those who differ with them in religion? Here is the explanation for those who seek the truth. The Quran was revealed piece meal over a period of 23 years. Whenever a few verses were revealed there was a reason, some times, a story behind them. The said verse was no exception. Tradition has the following to tell us: a group of unbelievers came to Prophet Muhammad in Madina and expressed their desire to embrace Islam. Then they fell ill and expressed their wish to leave Madina, upon which the Prophet told them to join a sheperd in the outskirts of Madina to be fed from his camels. They did so and after they restored their health they jumped on the sheperd, killed him and ran away with the camels. Thus the verse was revealed giving Muslims permission to kill those traitors which was done by their ruler only as a deterrent. In Islam killers should be killed and this is what exactly happened. Interestingly enough the same verse is preceded by another verse that says that whoever takes the life of a human being for other than man slaughter or corruption in the earth, it shall be as if he had killed all mankind, and whoever saves one life, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all humanity. (5-32) Human life nay life in general is sacred in the sight of Islam. No life
of any creature can be taken without a justified cause. Let people be fair and try to understand Islam as it really is. May Allah (God) guide us all to the straight path Amen.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF PALESTINE
The Palestinian people are Semitic Arabs. They are the original inhabitants of this land-Palestine-called after them since fifty centuries. The Semitic Arabs emigrated from Syria in the year 3500 B.C. In 2500 B.C. the Canaanites-a Semitic tribe-settled in Palestine. Canaan was the first state established in Palestine in 200 B.C. The first Jewish invasion of Palestine took place in 1230 B.C. as a result of which the Hebrews conquered parts of Palestine. In 1000 B.C. David ruled over Palestine for about forty years followed by his son Solomon. Solomon died in 923 B.C. soon after which occasion his kingdom in Palestine was divided into two states namely Yahuda in the south and Israel in the north. In 731 B.C. Israel was conquered by the Assyrians who enslaved its inhabitants and deported them to the east. In 587 B.C. Nabukhaz Nasser - the Babylonian kingconquered the state of Yahuda, destroyed Jerusalem, enslaved its inhabitants and drove them to Babylon. In 539 B.C. the Persian emperor Qorosh brought 42000 Jews from Babylon and granted them residence in Palestine. In 330 B.C. the Arab Anbat tribes conquered Palestine, destroyed the Hebrew kingdoms there and established their state in the Southern part of Palestine and Eastern Jordan. They made Al-Batra their capital.
Thus in 300 B.C. the Macedonian rule over Palestine came to an end and the Anbat’s rule began. In 63 B.C. the Anbat’s rule came to an end due to the Macabian revolution. In 40 B.C. the Macabian rule over the remaining Hebrew parts of Palestine was ended. In 70 B.C. the Romans invaded Palestine. Between the Roman era and the Islamic conquest of Palestine in 639 the Arabs continued to form the great majority of the people of Palestine. In 312 C.E. Emperor Constantine the Great embraced Christianity. He established the church of Nativity in Bethlehem and the church of Resurrection in Jerusalem. In 395 C.E. the Roman Empire was divided into two parts: the eastern part whose capital was Constantinople and the western part with Rome as its capital. Palestine was part of the eastern empire. Palestine was the target of numerous conquerors. It, however, continued to be mainly under the Romans until the Islamic conquest in 639 C.E. In 639 C.E. the Islamic armies conquered Palestine, Iraq, Syria, and Egypt. In 1099 the crusaders conquered parts of Palestine. In 1187 A.E. Saladin liberated Jerusalem. In 1517 the Ottomans conquered Palestine which became part of their Caliphate. In 1897 the first Zionist conference was held in PalSwitzerland presided over by Theodor Hertzel. This conference chose Palestine as a national home for Jews. World War One broke out on July 5, 1914 where Turkey
entered the war in alliance with Germany against the Allied states. Britain convinced the Arabs to revolt against the Ottoman empire. The British promised to make Sharif Husain of Makkah to be the king of the Arabs. Thus Arabs started the Great Arab revolt on June 10, 1914. While Britain gave the Arabs its solemn word it secretly concluded Sykes-Bekou agreement with France. This took place on May 16, 1916 in which they plotted to divide the Arab world among themselves. Palestine was accordingly given to Britain. By the end of World War One, Britain deported Sherif Husain to Rhodes island where he died. In 1918 Jews constituted only 8% of the population of Palestine and they owned 2.5% of its land. In 1923 Palestine was put under the British mandate which was rejected by the Palestinians who revolted against the British and over 50,000 martyrs fell while Britain hanged 175 Palestinians, sent 300 others for life imprisonment and unleashed an era of terror against the Palestinian people while supporting Jews and encouraging them to immigrate to Palestine. In 1923 Jews formed 32% of Palestine’s population while they owned only 5.5% of the land. In 1947 the Security Council issued its decision for the partition of Palestine among Jews and Palestinians. This took place on November 29, 1947. It was an unjust resolution and thus was rejected by the Palestinians. Britain ended its mandate over Palestine only when it made sure that Jews could establish and defend their own state. On April 9, 1948 the famous inhumane massacre of Deir Yasin was committed by Zionists one day after the martyrdom of Abdel Qader Al Huseini, the famous Palestinian military leader. In this massacre Zionists killed 340 Palestinian old men,
children, and women. The year 1948 also witnessed several Zionist massacres against Palestinians. It was in this year also that Zionists declared the establishment of their state ñ Israel. This was on May 14, 1948. Ben Gurion, was the first Israeli prime minister who declared that Israel’s boundaries will be from the Eaphrates to the Nile. Soon after this both the U.S.A. and the Soviet Union recognized the new Zionist state. On May 15, 1948 seven Arab armies entered Palestine not to liberate it but to control those parts of Palestine given by the Partition resolution which gave only 43% of Palestine to its rightful owners. The Arab armies were 21,000 fighters strong while the Zionists were 61,000 fighters strong. In 1949 Zionists occupied the western part of Jerusalem and moved their capital to this city from Tel Aviv. On April 24, 1950 king Abdullah of Jordan annexed the West Bank to the East Bank, both of which formed the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. On October 29, 1956 Britain, France and Israel launched the Tripartite Aggression against Egypt, thus Israel occupied Gaza strip and Sinai, while Britain and France occupied the Suez Canal. The aggression was brought to an end on Nov. 7, 1957 by a resolution from the U.N. Security Council through the pressure from the U.S.A. and the USSR. The aggressors were forced to withdraw on Dec. 23, 1956. On May 1964 the first Palestinian National Council was convened in Jerusalem and the Palestine Liberation Organization -the PLO- was established. On June 5, 1967, Israeli fighter planes destroyed the air force of Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan. About 420 Arab planes were destroyed.
This aggression resulted in the occupation of the West Bank, Gaza strip, Sinai, and the Golan Heights. More than half a million Palestinians were added to the refugee camps. In Sep. 1970 Jordan launched an offensive against the military bases of the PLO in Jordan after the mutual relationship deteriorated to the no-return point. This offensive ended in the expulsion of the PLO troops to Lebanon. On October 6, 1973 Egypt made a successful attack against Israel joined by Syria to restore their occupied territories. Egypt could restore a narrow strip pf Sinai while Syria lost 16 new villages in the Golan Heights. Jordan did not take part in this offensive. UN resolution No. 338 was issued demanding the stoppage of war and the implementation of resolution 242. On April 12, 1975 civil war broke out in Lebanon between the Lebanese Christian Falangists and the Liberal party on the one hand and the PLO and the Lebanese Muslims on the other. The latter could conquer 90% of the Lebanese land. They were about to overcome the rest had it not been that the Syrian army intervened in favour of the Christians on June 11, 1976. This turned the scales in favour of the Christians who committed the worst crimes against the Palestinian refugee camps. On Nov. 19, 1977 the Egyptian president Anwar Al sadat made a surprise visit to Jerusalem. He signed Camp David treaty on March 26, 1979 which stipulated the termination of the state of war between Egypt and Israel. On July 30, 1980 the Israeli Parliament, the Kneiset, declared Jerusalem as the permanent capital of Israel after annexing the Arab Eastern part of the Holy city. In 1981, a number of Arab projects for peaceful negotiations with Israel mushroomed. On April 11, 1983 an uprising took place in Al-Aqsa mosque as a result of the Jewish desecration of the mosque. On June 6, 1983, Israel launched a widespread attack against
the PLO in Lebanon until the Zionist army reached Beirut on June 13, 1983 and started besieging it. The Lebanese as well as the Palestinian resistance showed a heroic steadfastness for 88 days. This however, ended in the exodus of the Palestinian resistance from Lebanon to eight Arab countries and the PLO moved its headquarters to Tunis in Tunisia. On August 26, 1983 the Israeli army entered Southern Lebanon with the collaboration of some Christian factions. They reached Beirut to end the Palestinian presence in Lebanon. This witnessed an Arab and world silence. The PLO factions were dispersed in most Arab countries. This was a rehearsal for the massacres of Sabra and Shatela, two main Palestinian camps in Lebanon. The second planned Israeli massacre against Palestinians in Lebanon took place on three consecutive days (September 16,17, and 18 1983). These were the massacres of Sabra and Shatela camps where more than 2,000 Palestinian youth were butchered. The supreme court of Lebanon issued a statement on December 1983 declaring that the victims of Israeli invasion to Lebanon in 1983 reached more than 19,000 killed and about 32,000 injured. Between 1983 and 1985 more projects of settlement were discussed and the stage was prepared for the recognition of Israel by its Arab neighbours. This started with the battle of Biqa, then that of Tripoli and ended with fighting in the camps. On December 7, 1987 the Palestine National Council ñthe Palestinian parliament in exile-declared its acceptance of the U.N. Security Council resolutions No. 242 and 338 which recognize the state of Israel and demand that Israel withdraw to the 1967 border. The Council also announced the establishment of a Palestinian state based on the U.N. resolution of 1947 for the partition of Palestine. On December 13, 1988 Yasser Arafat, the PLO chairman
acknowledged Israel’s right to exist and stopped all acts of resistance. The U.S.A., however, considered this not sufficient. It told Arafat that there would be no dialogue with him until he speaks the same language of the U.S.A. i.e. until he fully adopts the U.S. attitude. On October 8 1990 worshippers at the Al Aqsa mosque confronted the Israeli occupation army and 30 martyrs fell. On October 1991 Madrid conference was convened to discuss possibilities of peace between Israel and its Arab neighbours and to find a solution to the Palestinian problem. On Dec. 17, 1992 Israel deported 415 Palestinians to a no man’s land between Israel and Lebanon. The latter refused to accept them and Israel was put in an awkward position worldwide. The U.N. asked Israel to accept the deportees back. It rejected this as usual and the peace negotiations collapsed. Two uprisings took place so far. One in 1987 and the second in 2000 in which hundreds of Palestinians were killed and thousands were injured, hundreds of houses were demolished and numerous trees uprooted. Palestinians continue to resist the Israeli occupation until their own state is established. Israel continues to suppress Palestinians in their own land, killing many of them everyday and putting many others in jail. This only increased the Palestinian resistance.