Circle of Unity

26 09 2007

An excellent collective Qur’an reading program over at Shahrzad’s blog.

Please participate, if you can.

http://shahrzaad.wordpress.com/circle-of-unity/





akismet

20 09 2007

Is there a way of removing this thing?  Its eating up all comments including my own! arggh





How to achieve Taqwa?

18 09 2007

Taqwa (of Allah swt) means: taking protection from the anger of Allah and his punishment. This protection is realised by doing what Allah (swt) commands, and refraining from everything that Allah forbids. In brief, this protection is realised by obeying Allah which emanates only from the correct and strong belief in Him. This belief comprises the genuine love of Allah as well as the genuine fear of Him.

Question is, how can we achieve taqwa in our life?

We can answer this question in a general way based on the definition of taqwa that I mentioned; taqwa can be achieved by doing everything that increases and strengthens link between belief and actions, and doing everything (sayings and actions) that increases the love of Allah (swt) and increases the fear of Him (swt).

Taqwa can be achieved in three ways:
The first way to achieve taqwa of Allah (swt) is reciting the Qur’an reflecting upon its meanings and implementing its verses. Allah (swt) says in surat Al-Baqarah, (verse 121), what can be translated as, {Those to whom We gave the book (the Qur’an) recite it as it should be recited, they are the ones that believe therein. And who disbelieves in it (the Qur’an), those are the losers.}

Imam Ibn Katheer says about this verse that Ibn Mas’oud, may Allah be pleased with him, said, ”By the one whose hand my soul is in, the real recitation of Qur’an is to adopt its halal and refrain from doing its haram, and recite it exactly like Allah (swt) has revealed it, without altering the meaning of its words, and without interpreting anything from it except the way it is to be interpreted, so it is to be followed faithfully.” Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, said about reciting the Qur’an the way it should be, ”They (the ones who really recite Qur’an) are the ones who, when they pass by a verse of mercy, asked it from Allah (swt) and when they pass by a verse of punishment, they seek refuge from it, like the prophet (saw) used to do”.

Indeed, this is the real recitation of Qur’an that leads to the knowledge of Allah (swt) and to the knowledge of His names, attributes, reward, and punishment. About this knowledge, the Prophet (saw) said, ”I am the most knowledgeable person, among you, about Allah and I fear Him more than you do.” Whoever does not know Allah does not fear Him. For this reason, Allah (swt) specifically categorised those who fear Him only with those who have knowledge of Him. Allah (swt) says in surat Fatir, (verse 28), what can be translated as, {…It is only those who have knowledge among His servants that fear Allah.}

This shows the greatness of the true recitation of Qur’an and the great effects it has on the lives of people and their behavior and conduct, and the greatness of reward for reciting, reflecting and understanding it.

Allah (swt) stresses that the purpose of revealing the Qur’an in Arabic; an understandable and clear language, with a lot of warnings in it, is to help people attain taqwa and wake them up from their absent-mindedness. Allah (swt) says in surat Taha, (verse 113), what can be translated as, {And thus We have sent it down as a Qur’an in Arabic, and have explained therein in detail the warnings, in order that they may have taqwa, or that it may cause them to learn a lesson from it.}

Allah (swt) stresses that the purpose of revealing the Qur’an to Muhammad (saw) is to help people reflect upon his verses and understand them, so the verses will be a reminder for them. Allah (swt) says in surat Saad, (verse 29), what can be translated as, {(This is) a book (the Qur’an) which We have sent down to you, full of blessings that they may ponder over its verses, and that men of understanding may remember.}

Allah (swt) scorns the people who do not reflect upon Qur’an and do not understand its meanings. Allah (swt) says in surat Muhammad, (verse 24), what can be translated as, ‘{Do they not then think deeply in the Qur’an, or are their hearts locked up (from understanding)?}

Every verse that Allah (swt) revealed in the Qur’an is to help guide the people to achieve taqwa. Allah (swt) says in surat Al-Baqarah, (verse187), what can be translated as, {Thus does Allah make clear His ayat to mankind that they may become Al-Muttaqun.}

Why do we see so many Muslims today, reciting Qur’an so frequently without any positive effects on their lives?

We let two companions of the Prophet (saw) answer this question. They are Abdullah Bin Omar and Jundob, may Allah be pleased be with them (this is reported, authentically, by Imam At-Tabarani.), ”I lived a period of my life when some of us (the companions) would attain the Iman before Qur’an, while the surah was being revealed to the prophet (saw.), so we learn its halal and its haram and learn to reflect upon it. Then, I saw people who would attain Qur’an before the belief, so they read between the Fatiha and the end of the book without knowing what commands them and what forbids them and where to reflect; reading it like throwing away bad dates.”

So, no one will benefit from the recitation of the Qur’an if it is not preceded with the correct belief, which will turn this recitation into a reality. Also, no one will benefit from the recitation of the Qur’an unless they understand the halal and haram, and the verses of glad tidings of Paradise and the verses of the warning of Hell Fire.

What are the reasons that make us not reflect upon the meanings of Qur’an when we recite it?

There are two main reasons:
Firstly, weakness in the belief and absent-mindedness when reciting Qur’an. So, many of us recite Qur’an symbolically without any life in it to the extent that many of us look for the beautiful voice and great harmony when checking out the different reciters, and react and get affected by the voice and harmony, not by his appreciation for the meanings.

‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud said to a certain man ”You are in a time when men of understanding (fuqaha’) are many and Qur’an reciters are few, when the hudud(limits) defined in the Qur’an are guarded and its letters are neglected, when few people ask and many give, when they make the prayer long and the khutba short, and put their actions before their desires. A time will come upon people when their fuqaha’ are few but their Qur’an reciters are many, when the letters of the Qur’an are guarded carefully but its hudud are neglected, when many ask but few give, when they make the khutba long but the prayer short, and put their desires before their actions.”

Secondly, our weakness in the Arabic language which Qur’an is revealed in. Many native Arabs do not understand many of the words in the Qur’an that they recite and do not exert any effort to understand the meanings of those words. The brief interpretation of Qur’an can help them a lot and there are many available resources.

As to the non-Arabic speakers, the problem is worse. It can be solved by referring to more than just one translation of the meaning of the Qur’an. They should not depend on one translation because the translator chooses from the language the word that is closest to the meaning of the Arabic word and ignores, on many occasions other words that carry different meanings.

In conclusion, indeed, reciting Qur’an lively leads to the taqwa of Allah, and every verse in Qur’an increases the belief of the believers, while at the same time increases the ungratefulness of the non-believers. Allah (swt) says in surat At-Tawbah, (verses 124&125), what can be translated as, {And whenever there comes down a surah, some of them say: ”Which of you has his iman increased by it ? As for those who believe, it has increased their iman, and they rejoice. But as for those in whose hearts is a disease, it will add suspicion and doubt to their suspicion, disbelief and doubt, and they die while they are disbelievers.}





British Apostates should Not be Killed!

16 09 2007

When was the last time we heard of a former Muslim being killed in Britain for apostasy? The Church is at it again, unable to preserve its own creed which has been compromised so much that what is left of it is just complete sham. Pseudo intellectuals still holding on the religious dogma with dubious foundation and no appeal have decided to attack the Islamic ideology once again using a secular premise… contradictory to their own belief. I read in the observer today:

One of the Church of England’s most senior bishops is warning that people will die unless Muslim leaders in Britain speak out in defence of the right to change faith.

Michael Nazir-Ali, the Bishop of Rochester, whose father converted from Islam to Christianity in Pakistan, says he is looking to Muslim leaders in Britain to ‘uphold basic civil liberties, including the right for people to believe what they wish to believe and to even change their beliefs if they wish to do so’. Source

Not so long ago, the Catholic Church was all too concerned about the ‘Islamisation of Europe‘ and now the would be Archbishop of Canterbury is fearing safety for an estimate of 3000 Muslims who have switched to other beliefs in Britain. The figure of 3000, sounds like a calculation of apostates since the very first existence of Muslims in Britain, in which case, none have been killed so far. Perhaps his fears are based on the same superstition as the entire belief system imposed in the name of a sham called modern Christianity.

“It is very common in the world today, including in this country, for people who have changed their faith, particularly from being Muslim to being Christian, to be ostracised, to lose their job, for their marriages to be dissolved, for children to be taken away,’ Ali said. ‘And this is why some leadership is necessary from Muslim leaders themselves to say that this is not what Islam teaches.” Source

yes, indeed it is common today, including in this country, for people changing their faiths to be ostracised. But why, Sir, did you feel the need to single out Islam on this? When Islam happens to be the fastest growing religion in the world, particularly in the west. Which according to your logic would mean… most of those being ostracised are actually those accepting Islam. Though, I won’t deny a Muslim leaving Islam is not always taken lightly, as with most other faiths, but to suggest a Muslim apostate would be killed in the UK is based on your prejudice and the deep rooted hatred you carry for Islam.

It is true that according to Islamic shariah the one who leaves Islam, an apostate (Murtadh), publicly, in form of a rebellion, as long as he is mature and sane in invited back to Islam thrice before being killed, in an Islamic State. Apostates, before them have many options to consider, they can hide their apostasy, simply leave the Islamic State to a place where they can freely practice their new belief. But the problem here is not even that, since Britain is not an Islamic State and killing of an apostate would not just find any justification in Islam, it would also be a criminal activity according to State law. In which case, Mr Ali should get over his imaginary fears, stop hating and perhaps do something constructive like pressuring his own leaders to stop mass killing Muslims in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere who are apostates of freedom, secularism and the very liberty the west stands for and enforcing upon others using brutal force.

Islam, to Muslims is an intellectual belief in the existence of God- the creator, His books, His angels, His Prophets and so on… a doctrine based on irrefutable facts carried by Muslims as basis of their life. The Muslims will never accept to change the divine laws of the creator to conform with the type of man made modernity and liberty which has almost destroyed most religions of the world including Christianity.

· ‘Dispatches: Unholy War’ will be on Channel 4 at 8pm tomorrow.





Why do we fast?

13 09 2007

Ramadan is continuously the subject of much writing and discussion. There are many lessons and angles elucidated for us through the writings and words of those who wish to share their opinions and insights. These perspectives, when coming from accomplished Savants of Islam are invaluable to seekers looking to deepen their understanding of religion. Before we proceed, it is always important to bear a couple of crucial items in mind.

First, when it comes to the fast of Ramadan, there are a myriad of analyses, observations, and teaching points that give us perspective regarding the experience of Ramadan. Therefore, one must always realise that no one particular perspective neither is an ‘only perspective,’ nor is any one or few described experiences the only experience/s. Secondly, while highlighting various efficacies, fruits, consequences, and utilities of ritual practice (i.e. fasting), no one should ever limit the reason for the existence of ritual, or limit the reason for practicing ritual, or limit the reason for the prescription of ritual, to the production of those various fruits, efficacies, consequences or utilities the said ritual may yield for a given level of human experience.

In other words, one may often come across statements in the literature or made by well meaning folks to the effect that …”we fast because X, Y, Z”, or ”we pray 5 times a day because X, Y, Z ”.

Read Complete Article





In Prepartion of Ramadhan

10 09 2007

The following are some brief reminders of the great rewards and merits of this blessed month:

Allah (swt) says;
“The month of Ramadhan in which the Qur’an was revealed, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance of the Criterion between right and wrong. So whosoever of you sights the crescent for the month of Ramadaan, he must fast that month.” [Al-Baqarah 2:185]

The Prophet (saw) said,
“There is a gate in Paradise called Ar- Raiyan, and those who observe fasts will enter through it on the Day of Resurrection and none except them will enter through it. It will be said, ‘Where are those who used to observe fasts?’ They will get up, and none except them will enter through it. After their entry the gate will be closed and nobody will enter through it.”

The Prophet (saw) said;
“The reward of every good deed is multiplied ten up to seven-hundred times, except that of the Fasting; it is usually done in sincerity and will be multiplied by as many times as Allah wills.”

Rasoolallah (saw) said,
“Allah said, ‘All the deeds of Adam’s sons (people) are for them, except fasting which is for Me, and I shall give the reward for it.’ Fasting is a shield. If one of you is fasting, he should avoid obscenity and quarrelling, and if somebody should fight or quarrel with him, he should say, ‘I am fasting.’ By Him in Whose Hands my soul is’ The unpleasant smell coming out from the mouth of a fasting person is better in the sight of Allah than the smell of musk. There are two pleasures for the fasting person, one at the time of breaking his fast, and the other at the time when he will meet his Lord; then he will be pleased because of his fasting.” (Sahih Bukhari)

Abu Huraira related that the Prophet (saw) said:
“Whoever established prayers on the night of Qadr out of sincere faith and hoping for a reward from Allah, then all his previous sins will be forgiven; and whoever fasts in the month of Ramadhan out of sincere faith, and hoping for a reward from Allah, then all his previous sins will be forgiven.” (Bukhari, Muslim).

The Messenger (saw) said
“He who feeds a fasting person will gain the same reward as he will, without decreasing from the fasting person’s rewards.” (Ahmad).

Muhammad (saw) said
“In Paradise there are rooms that their inside can be seen from outside and outside can be seen from inside.” He was asked, “For whom are these rooms, O Messenger of Allah?” He said, “They are for he who soften his speech, feeds the people, continues to fast, and prays at night while the people are asleep.” (Ahmad).

The Prophet (saw) said:
“When the first night of Ramadhan comes, the devils and demons are chained up, and the gates of Hell are closed and not one gate of it is opened. The gates of Paradise are opened and not one gate of it is closed. And a caller calls out: “O seeker of good, come to Allah; O seeker of evil, desist.” Allah will have ransomed some people from the Fire, and that happens every night.” (Narrated by al-Tirmidhi and Ibn Maajah with a hasan isnaad).

The Prophet (saw) said:
“Whosoever reaches the month of Ramadhan and does not have his sins forgiven, and so enters the fire, then may Allah distance him.” (Saheeh: Ahmad and al-Bayhaqeee)

Imam As-Shafee, once said, ‘It is beloved to me to see one increasing his acts of generosity during the month of Ramadhan, following the example of Allah’s Messenger (saw), and for one’s own good. There are many who become over-occupied with fasting and Prayers, forgetting the other benefits of the month of Ramadhan ‘