Saturday, June 27, 2009

Al-Hasan al-Basri said,

"Two innovations have appeared in Islam: a man of bad judgement who holds that the Garden will be the reward only for those who see eye to eye with him, and a man of luxury and extravagance who worships this world. .. Reject these two for they are doomed to the Fire."

A strong movement toward right Islamic practice

If Muslims are able to show that Islamic teachings when practiced by the ummah offer a complete and right way of life which offer solutions to all of the world problems this will proves strongly persuasive to non Muslims and will attract them to Islam We can see in the present day that many people are like baby ducklings who have lost their mother, because they have no one to guide them they do not know which direction to follow. Likewise, in human society when we do not have right guidance we do not know how to overcome all the problems and the sickness that occurs in society. This lack of guidance harms Muslims when we are not united behind right Islamic belief and practice. Muslims then fight with each other, quarrel with each other and insult each other while the enemies of Islam laugh at us and continue their great success in attracting our good Muslim brothers and sisters to their secular ideas, their immoral entertainment and their corrupt social life. Let us, dear brothers and sisters in Islam, unite with sincerity and strength under the name of Islam. As it is mentioned by Allah Almighty in the Qur'an, "And hold fast, All together, by the Rope which Allah (stretches out for you), and not be divided among yourselves"( Al Qur'an 3:103). The call to right Islamic belief and practice must be done always with beautiful words and wisdom. Even the wonderful things offered by Islam must be served to the people in a good way, otherwise the people will have difficulty in accepting it. It is like a cake which must be served in a good manner or otherwise some people will refuse it even though it is delicious.

In Islam, there are obligations upon individual and there are obligations upon ummah. Every Muslim is responsible for fulfilling his or her own individual obligations by purifying themselves, creating a healthy body and mind during the physical existence so that the soul may return to Allah. Allah has stated in the Holy Quran, "Indeed he succeeds who purifies his ownself. And indeed he fails who corrupts his ownself"(Al Quran91:9-10). The purified heart will always produce positive action, and a poluted heart will result in negative action.Responsibilities upon the ummah are usually fulfilled by only those individuals among the ummah who specifically take on that responsibility. Those individuals fulfilling collective obligation (fard kifayah) will still need the support from all other Muslims. By fully knowing and accepting our role as Servant and Khalifah (vicegerent) of Allah on this earth we will be able to produce strong Islamic personalities and a right Islamic society working only to fulfill the Will of Allah the Sustainer, who has the right to be worshipped, who is owner of this world and creator of universes. May our dream of the unity of the ummah and khilafah system become a reality.

جزاك الله خير
Jazakallah Khair
'May Allah grant you goodness'

Friday, June 26, 2009

Lustful Gaze

Many of us who are used to watching Sinbad or Temptation Island, or are addicted to Hollywood/Bollywood movies, or enjoy the company of people of opposite gender, may wonder what’s wrong with lustfully staring at the attractive features of the opposite gender? Perhaps one saying of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) sums it all:

"The furtive glance is one of the poisoned arrows of Shaytan, on him be God's curse. Whoever forsakes it for the fear of Allah, will receive from Him (Great and Gracious is He) a faith, the sweetness of which he will find within his heart." (al-Haakim.)

Therefore, a secret lustful look at a person of opposite gender has been compared by the Prophet (pbuh) to an arrow from Shaytan that:

  1. poisons our hearts
  2. ruins our intentions
  3. gives rise to false hopes and desires
  4. distorts our perception of 'reality'
  5. deprives us from enjoying and concentrating in Prayers
  6. gives rise to constant feeling of guilt and depression
  7. sometimes leads to sleepless nights
  8. renders our heart weak for continuous Shaytanic attacks
  9. promotes hypocrisy
  10. weakens our memory
  11. eventually leads to Zina (adultery)
  12. above all, diminishes our love for and fear of Allah
Compiled From:
"Watch Out for The Arrow" - Young Muslims Publications

From Darkness into Light

Al-Ahzab (The Confederates)
Chapter 33: Verse 43

"It is He who bestows His blessings upon you, with His angels, so that He might take you out of the depths of darkness into the light."

People are reminded of God's grace and the care He takes of His creation and the favours He bestows on them. Yet He is in no need of them while they need His care and blessings.

All glory to God who bestows great favours and doubles them over and over again. Yet He also remembers His weak servants who have no real power of their own and whose life is only transitory. He remembers them, taking care of them and blessing them together with His angels. One can hardly imagine it, when one knows that the whole earth with all the creatures living on and in it is no more than a tiny particle in relation to the great galaxies of the universe.

God's light is one, comprehensive, continuous. What does not belong to it is darkness, which differs and has several depths. If people stray from God's light, they have only darkness to live in. Nothing can save them or bring them out of this darkness except God's light that enlightens hearts and minds, filling souls and guiding them to what suits their nature. The grace God bestows on them and the angels' blessings and prayers for them are what takes them out of the darkness into the light. This is what happens to them when their hearts open up to faith.

Compiled From:
"In The Shade Of The Quran" - Sayyid Qutb, Volume 14, pp. 92, 93

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Individual

Broadly speaking, Islam pursues its social objectives through reforming the individual in the first place. The individual is thus seen as a morally autonomous agent who plays a distinctive role in shaping the community's sense of direction and purpose. The individual is admittedly required to obey the government but he obeys the ruler on condition that the latter obeys the Shariah. This is reflected in a renowned hadith that

there is no obedience in sin, obedience is only in righteousness. [Tabrizi]

We may also quote here two other hadiths that substantiate the moral autonomy of the individual. In one of these Abu Dhar al-Ghifari reported that the Prophet, peace be upon him, ordered him to

tell the truth even if it is unpleasant. [Ahmad]

and in the other he declared that

the best form of jihad is to tell a word of truth to an oppressive ruler. [Ibn Majah]

The dignity and welfare of the individual is of central concern to Islamic law. The five essential values of Shariah on which the ulama are in agreement, namely faith, life, intellect, property and lineage are all premised on the dignity of the individual, which must be protected as a matter of priority.

Compiled From:
"Shari'ah Law - An Introduction" - Mohammad Hashim Kamali

Single Heart

Al-Ahzab (The Confederate Tribes)
Chapter 33: Verse 4 (partial)

"Never has God put two hearts in one man's body"

Man cannot have one source for his manners and morality, another for his laws and legislation, a third for his social and economic values, and a fourth for his art and philosophy. Such a mixture does not produce a man with a sound heart: it only produces a confused medley that lacks solid form or basis. A person with faith cannot truly hold to his faith and abandon its values and requirements in any situation in life, serious or not. He cannot say a word, take an action, formulate a concept, make a decision unless he remains within the limits established by his faith, which must always be a reality in his life. This is because God has not given him more than one heart, one law and one standard of values. A person of faith cannot say of anything he does: 'I am doing this in my personal capacity and I am doing this in my Islamic capacity', as we frequently hear politicians, businessmen, acad emics and others say. Since he is one person with one heart, he has one faith and one standard that govern all that he does and says in any and every situation. With this one heart he lives as an individual, a family man, a member of the community, a citizen of the state and the world; he lives in public and private, employer or employee, ruler or ruled, in situations of comfort or distress; having the same values and standards at all times.

In short, we have a single system outlined by the same revelations and submitting to the One God. A single heart cannot worship two deities, serve two masters and move in two directions. Otherwise, it will be pulled apart and will have different motives and considerations. It could easily fall into the trap of hypocrisy.

Compiled From:
"In The Shade Of The Quran" - Sayyid Qutb, Volume 14, pp. 13, 14

Respecting Water

Creation is filled with signs that tell of the goodness and generosity of its Creator, and it is hence a sacred space: respecting it is akin to charity (sadaqah) or invocation. One day, as the Prophet, peace be upon him, passed Sad ibn Abi Waqqas, who was performing his ritual ablutions, the Prophet said to him: "Why such waste, O Sad?" "Is there waste even when performing ablutions?" Sad asked. And the Prophet answered: "Yes, even when using the water of a running stream." [Ahmad, Ibn Majah]

Water is essential element in all the teachings and ritual practices, for it represents the purification of body and heart, of physical outwardness as well as spiritual inwardness. But the Prophet taught Sad and his other Companions never to consider water, or any other element of nature, as a simple means towards their spiritual edification; on the contrary, respecting nature and using it moderately was already, in itself, a spiritual exercise and elevation, a goal in their quest for the Creator.

Compiled From:
"In The Footsteps of The Prophet" - Tariq Ramadan, p. 202

The Lasting Nature of Good

Al-Rad (Thunder)
Chapter 13: Verse 17 (partial)

"Scum disappears like froth cast out; while that which is for the good of mankind remains on earth. Thus does Allah set fort parables."

The above verse underscores the workings of the universe. We learn from both the Quran and history that whatever is good has an enduring quality. This is an altogether different notion from the survival of the fittest that has gained much popularity in our times.

The Nature of Scum

Whatever is not good or positive or useful and which does not contribute to man's survival or comfort or progress is branded as "scum" by the Quran. As a comprehensive, wide-ranging term this refers to something which is devoid of substance. It lacks stability and constancy. At most, it signifies a sudden, powerful movement which does not have any permanent form. Scum appears at the top, comprising dirt and impurity. It is not of any benefit for mankind. Either it disappears while floating on the top or is relegated to the sides. In either case it does not last. It does not have the capacity for survival.

Allah's law entails that evil or scum cannot flourish for long. Were scum to last, it would pose a danger to the existence of all creatures in the world. By contrast to it is that which benefits mankind and that which lasts on earth.

Justified Presence

If Muslims prove themselves as beneficial for their society, they will justify their presence. So doing, they will appear as indispensable. In that eventually they cannot be uprooted by tyranny. Muslims will remain unaffected by their surroundings. Having displayed their mettle, they will be held in high esteem by everyone. Allah has guaranteed the presence and existence of those who are valuable for the cause of true faith.

Compiled From:
"Guidance from the Holy Quran" - Sayyid Abul Hassan Ali Nadwi, pp. 221, 222

Friday, June 5, 2009

Understanding "What is not extremism?"

The degree of a person's piety as well as that of the society in which he lives affect his judgment of others as far as extremism, moderation, and laxity are concerned. A religious society usually produces a person sensitively aversive to any deviation or negligence, however slight it may be. Judging by the criteria of his own practice and background, such a person would be surprised to find that there are Muslims who do not offer Ibadah during the night or practice siyam. This is historically obvious. When examining the deeds and practices of people, the nearer one gets to the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him), his companions and the Tabiun the less worthy seem the deeds and practices of the pious among the later generations. Hence the gist of the saying: "The merits of those nearest to Allah are but the demerits of the righteous."

This reminds one of what Anas ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) used to tell the Tabiun of his contemporaries, "You do things you consider trifling. But during the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him) these same actions were seen as mortal sins."

On the other hand, a person whose knowledge of and commitment to Islam is little, or who has been brought up in an environment which practices what Allah has forbidden and neglects Shariah, will certainly consider even minimal adherence to Islam a kind of extremism. Such a person-who quite often feigns godliness would not only question and criticize, but would even deny the validity of a certain practice. He would also accuse those who are committed to Islam, and initiate arguments on what is haram and what is halal. His attitude would, of course, depend on his distance from the fundamentals of Islam.

Some Muslims-those who are influenced by alien ideologies and practices consider adherence to clear-cut Islamic teachings concerning eating, drinking, beautification, or the call for the application of Shariah and the establishment of an Islamic state as manifestations of "religious extremism." For such a person, a young Muslim with a beard or a young girl wearing hijab are both extremists! Even the commanding of the common good and the prohibition of evil are regarded as forms of extremism and interference with personal freedom.

Although a basis of faith in Islam is to believe that our religion is right and that those who do not believe in it are wrong, there are Muslims who object to considering those who take a religion other than Islam as kuffar (non-believers), considering this as extremism and bigotry. This is an issue upon which we must never compromise.

Compiled From:
"Islamic Awakening between Rejection and Extremism" - Yusuf Al-Qaradawi

Fabrication for Material Gains?

Is it reasonable to assert that Muhammad, upon him be peace, might have claimed prophethood to attain some material gains? This question may be answered by looking into his financial status before and after prophethood. Before his mission as a prophet, Muhammad, upon whom be peace, had no financial worries. His loving and rich wife, Khadijah, may Allah be pleased with her, had made available to him all that he needed. As a successful and reputed merchant, Muhammad had a comfortable income. It is ironic that the same man, after his mission as a prophet and because of it, becomes worse off materially.

Describing their life, his wife, Aishah, may Allah be pleased with her, narrated that a month or two might have elapsed before fire was lit in the Prophet's house (to cook a meal), while the household subsisted on milk and dates. (Riyad al-Saliheen) After eighteen years of his mission, when Muslims emerged victorious, we still find a kind of revolt in Muhammad's household in protest to the difficult life characterized by a considerable self-imposed material deprivation. This incident took place at the time when the Muslim treasury was under his disposal (Bukhari, Muslim). Asked about Muhammad's bedding Hafsah, may Allah be pleased with her, answered, "It comprised of a piece of canvas which I spread double folded under him." Bilal, may Allah be pleased with him, reported that the Prophet never kept back anything for future use, tha t he spent what he had on the poor and needy, and that on one occasion, Muhammad received a gift of four loaded camels, yet he took nothing for himself and he further insisted that he would not go home until the whole lot was given away to the needy. (Riyad al-Saliheen) At the time of his death, and in spite of all his victories and achievements, Muhammad, upon whom be peace, was in debt, and his shield was in the hands of a Jewish citizen of Madinah as a collateral for that debt! (Riyad al-Saliheen)

One may then inquire: Are there any materialistic motives behind Muhammad's claim of Prophethood?

Compiled From:
Islam: A Way of Life and a Movement, "Muhammad's Prophethood: An Analytical View" - Jamal Badawi, pp. 69, 70

Satan's Promptings

Maryam (Mary)
Chapter 19: Verse 83

"Do you not see that We have set Satans against the unbelievers, to incite them with fury?"

Satan incites man in numerous ways. It is hard to enumerate the forms, degree and means of Satan's promptings directed at those who follow him. He facilitates the path of evil for his followers and tempts them in every conceivable way.

The Quran makes a succinct observation that Satan prompts those given to doing evil. Satan fills them with false hopes and even makes them think that their evil deeds are all right. He makes them insensitive to sin.

This should not, however, be taken to mean that Allah has preordained evil for the unbelievers and that they cannot escape from doing evil. Rather, the Quranic statement informs man of divine dispension and of how Allah tests the unbelievers. Satans have been granted the opportunity to incite the evil-doers into committing sin.

The Quranic reference covers all temptations offered by Satan in man's financial, sexual, political and social life. Man is liable to fall prey to Satan at every step. For Satan has made misdeeds seem alluring to man.

Satan is consistently engaged in wielding his evil influence on man. Many men and women are swayed by his temptations. They are enticed and incited by him in a number of ways. So doing, they abase and degrade themselves. The Quranic account is too graphic to be adequately translated, so suffice to say that it explains how man succumbs to Satan's temptations.

Compiled From:
"Guidance from the Holy Quran" - Sayyid Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi, pp. 214, 215