Friday, October 31, 2008

Guidance from The Prophet (saws)

Abdullah Ibn Abbas (r.a.) reported: ‘I heard the Messenger of Allah (saws) saying, "Put on white clothes because they are the best; and use them for shrouding your dead.'
Related by At-Tirmidhi and Abu Dawud.

Commentary:

Although it is permissible for the believers to adorn themselves with almost any color clothes they wish and please, the Messenger of Allah (saws) encouraged the believers to prefer white clothes as they are the purest and closest to modesty; and he (saws) guided the believers to shroud the dead in white.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Culture verses Islam

Culture verses Islam

[www.missionislam.com]

Culture is defined as a people's complete way of life. It consists of all the ideas, objects and ways of doing things created by the group. Culture includes beliefs, customs, language and traditions (World Book Encyclopaedia).

While there are numerous cultures and subcultures present in the world, of primary concern to us in this discussion are the two main opposing cultures in present-day society. One is the culture of Islam (I?? (B the "complete way of life" set forth in the Qur'an and Sunnah. On the other opposing end is the Western culture. Both cultures present a "complete way of life." However, both ways of life differ drastically.

The difference in the two cultures stems primarily from the source of the cultures. Islamic culture (I?? (B the way of life of a Muslim (I?? (B is defined by the Qur'an and Sunnah. It is the culture of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). It is that way of life upon which he established the Sahaaba ( R.A.) after having turned them away from the culture of jahiliyyah (ignorance).

On the other hand, Western culture is fashioned by a host of people; Capitalists, atheists, people who believe in same-gender marriages and others of a similar nature. Such people determine the decadent culture of the West.

NO FLIRTATIOUS INTENT

The cornerstone of Islamic culture is morality (hayaa)and simplicity. Hayaa (morality / modesty) and simplicity are both qualities of Imaan. Thus the true Islamic society upholds the highest levels of morality and maintains simplicity in every aspect. Some of the salient features of this society are:

  •     No free intermingling between non-mahram (those who are not forbidden to marry) males and females. The laws of Hijaab will be observed.

  •     Modest dressing. Clothing will truly cover the body (also loose enough to cover the shape) and have no flirtatious intent.

  •     Men and women will fulfil the separate roles that have been apportioned to them (I?? (B the husband as breadwinner and the wife as mother and one who fulfils the household responsibilities, etc. This is the foundation to a stable Islamic family which together with other such families forms a stable Islamic community.

Contrary to this, the cornerstone of Western culture is immorality and extravagance. The "live-in" culture where a couple live like man and wife but never marry (I?? (B is almost the norm. While there are numerous aspects that highlight the immorality of Western culture, perhaps the most visible and marked expression of this culture is in it's dressing. Shorter, tighter and more revealing is the rule by which the dress code keeps changing. Western clothing, instead of covering and distracting any wrongful glances, is by and large designed for flirting, attracting and arousing.

As for simplicity in Western culture, it is almost a kind of tragedy. Since the poor fellow cannot afford to indulge in anything extravagant, hence merely due to circumstances, he is forced to adopt a simple lifestyle. Fashion-slavery is part of western life. If one does not have a branded garment, it is tragic. If the real thing is not available, a fake will also do. If it is not a branded product, it is then only for the have-nots even if it is of a better quality and lesser cost.

While the above are some of the serious core differences between Islamic and Western culture, the most important aspect is the difference in the mindset of both cultures.

PURPOSE OF LIFE

The mindset of the Islamic culture stems from the conviction that Allah Ta'ala is our Creator and Sustainer. Hence in this short stay on earth, we are to serve Him alone in the manner taught by His beloved Rasul (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). Thus the Islamic culture revolves around the firm belief that our mission in life is to establish complete Deen in ourselves and on the face of this earth. With this mindset, one will sacrifice one's wealth, energies and time as much as possible for the purpose of life. Indeed one will acquire the necessities of life as well, but Deen will be the guiding light and driving force. Deen will dictate and all else will follow. The "purpose of life" will demand (I?? (B and all else will submit. As a result if one does not acquire many comforts and luxuries, it will not matter. Rather, life will be regarded as a journey wherein the traveller is not too concerned about the luxuries and comforts en-route. The traveller is focused towards his destination. Yet, as a result of one's obedience to Allah Ta'ala, one will be blessed with true peace, serenity and contentment.

CHASING FUN

Conversely, the mindset of Western culture is that the purpose of life is worldly enjoyment. Every comfort and luxury that can be acquired must be attained at all costs. Everything centres around entertainment, chasing fun (I?ě(B and chasing more fun. There is no mission in life. No objective. Merely the pursuit of temporal pleasure permeates every cell of the mind. And yes indeed! The constant pursuit of greater comfort and luxury and continuously chasing fun demands loads of money. Thus life revolves around making money (I?? (B from early morning till late at night (I?? (B and having fun. If anything comes in the way of this fun, it must be removed. If looking after elderly parents "spoils the weekends and holidays" they should be dispatched to the old-age homes. If children come in the way of earning extra money to afford "the better quality of life," they can be entrusted to day-care centres where they are treated almost like mechanical objects. There is no concern for proper upbringing. In order to "enhance the quality of life" (which means making more money to have more luxuries and more fun) anything can be sacrificed (I?? (B parents, children and even religion. It is an extremely hollow existence without any peace or contentment (I?? (B which only stops when one is placed in the hollow of the grave!

It is thus evident that Islamic culture and Western culture are worlds apart. The problem is that when people of different cultures live together in the same community, the process of enculturation takes place where people from one culture adopt traits, customs, habits and ideas from the other culture. There is no doubt that this enculturation has occurred in our communities. Many Muslims have tragically become greatly Westernised in their mindset, in adopting a very extravagant lifestyle, in their dressing, in making life revolve mainly around chasing money and fun, etc. Deen for such people has become a "side-line."

Why has this enculturation occurred? The answer is alarming! According to social scientists, people abandon their own culture and borrow from another culture when they regard aspects of the other culture as "better" (World Book). Encyclopaedia Britannica (CD version) highlights this aspect in the following words: "To be sure, a culture trait must offer some advantage, some utility or pleasure to be sought and accepted by people." Allah forbid! Due to the weakness of Imaan and ignorance, the Sunnah culture is being abandoned by Muslims for some Western way which they regard as "better" or as having more pleasure and advantage than the Islamic culture! This is no different to a child who gives away a priceless diamond in exchange for an insignificant shiny stone. He has no idea of the value of the gems he is abandoning and is duped by the shine on the stone.

"FOOLS"

Western culture is being glorified and vigorously promoted by the media as the culture. The media message simply is: "If you are not following the Western trend, you are old fashioned, backward and maybe dumb." However, these slogans should not make us lose our priceless gems for worthless stones, rather, poisonous pebbles. Instead we should adopt the stance of Hazrat Huzaifa bin Yamaan ( R.A.). While eating in the court of the Persians, a morsel of food fell from his hand onto the floor. In emulation of the Sunnah, he picked it up to eat it. Somebody next to him cautioned him that to pick up a fallen morsel was against the culture of the Persians. He should therefore follow their way and refrain from picking up the morsel. His spontaneous response was: "Should I leave the Sunnah (culture) of my beloved Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) for these fools?"

Adopting Western culture will bring along its severe negative consequences. Some of them are:

  •    A materialistic society with no mission in life

  •    Indulgence in drugs and immorality "for fun"

  •    Break-down of respect for parents and elders

  •    Disintegration of family structures
  •    High divorce rate, etc.

Every effort must therefore be made to preserve the culture of the Qur'an and Sunnah. This requires adopting the company of those who are sunnah conscious, learning about the various sunnats and making an effort to bring them alive in ones home, community and the Ummah at large.

If Western trends take root, besides harming ourselves, we will also lay the foundation for the destruction of future generations. According to Encyclopaedia Britannica, "once established, culture has a life of it's own ... it flows down through time from one generation to another." It is therefore imperative that we guard against this.

The only success for us in this world and the Hereafter is in upholding the way of life of the Qur'an and Sunnah. May Allah Ta'ala keep us steadfast on His Deen. Aameen.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Guidance from The Prophet (saws)

Hadrat Umar bin Al-Khattab (r.a.) reported: ‘The Messenger of Allah (saws) said, "The deeds are considered by the intentions, and a person will get the reward according to his intention. So whoever emigrated for Allah and His Messenger, his emigration will be for Allah and His Messenger; and whoever emigrated for worldly benefits or for a woman to marry, his emigration would be for what he emigrated for".
Related by Bukhari and Muslim.

Commentary:

The reward of each and every act depends entirely upon the intention which inspired the act. Thus only those deeds which are done with the sole intention to earn the Pleasure and Good Will of Allah Subhanah will be acceptable to the Lord Most Gracious…..but a deed, however noble it may seem, if done with the intention of anything else other than earning the Pleasure and Good Will of the Lord would not be eligible to earn any rewards in the Presence of the Lord on the Day of Judgment

What does the Qur’an have to say?

What does the Qur’an have to say?

This should be important to know for all who are concerned with humanity and peace in this world, torn apart by strife, hatred and violence. It should be important whether one believes that theQur’an is the Word of God or not.

To know what the Qur’an says is important because theQur’an has made a deep and abiding impact on the course of human civilization and history in many fundamental ways’ because it has been inspiring, shaping, governing, and directing countless human lives over the ages, since it first appeared fourteen hundred years ago. And, it still does.

The Qur’an, among all other books believed to be divine, is the only book which itself claims, and is believed by its followers, to be literally the word of God. Those who first heard it from the lips of the prophet Muhammad had absolutely no doubt that, through him, God was speaking to them. It totally transformed them: it quickened their hearts, it reshaped their minds; it made their eyes overflow with tears and their bodies tremble with awe, it changed them into new individuals, as well as a new society and polity; it lead them to be the leaders of making and founders of a rich and flowering civilization.

However, everyone cannot venture to read the whole of theQur’an though its length is less than that of the New Testament. Yet everyone should have the opportunity to taste the delicious fruits in the garden of the Qur’an.

The Quranic Treasures is a small step towards the fulfillment of the enormous task of making the words of the Qur’an heard in our times. This pocket-size, short book is an anthology of its selected verses, arranged under various topics. Though an anthology by its very nature has to leave out much precious and important material, these selections, it is hoped will give even the unfamiliar and the uninitiated a good glimpse of the vast treasures of knowledge and wisdom offered in the Qur’an, and will bring them face to face with the light that the Qur’an is.

This short pocket book, it is also hoed may spur and temp the readers to take up the reading of the whole of the Qur’an. Even the believers may fine it a useful companion for keeping in touch with the Qur’anic Teachings and making them heard in our times.

Please read

The Quranic Treasures

Khurram J.  Murad

Available FREE

www..al-islamforall.org

(A unique & comprehensive FREE e-Library in Multiple Languages)

Many more books are available in Multiple Languages

*** *** ***

The purpose of the web site is to provide wide range, authentic & comprehensive information about all theteachings of Islam at one place with a unique FREE downloadfacility.

We will highly appreciate if you introduce among your friends in the best possible manner.

Jazakumullah Khair

Affliction

Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) said, "On the Day of Resurrection, when people who have suffered affliction are given their reward, those who are healthy will wish their skins had been cut to pieces with scissors when they were in the world."

Al-Tirmidhi Hadith 1570        Narrated by Jabir ibn Abdullah

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) said, "The magnitude of the reward goes along with the magnitude of the affliction. When Allah who is Great and Glorious loves people He afflicts them (so that He may reward the pious who display patience and perseverance in their affliction in their eternal life of the Hereafter)."
Al-Tirmidhi Hadith 1566        Narrated by Anas ibn Malik

Why I shed bikini for Niqab

Why I shed bikini for Niqab

By Sara Bokker (a former actress/model/fitness instructor and activist)

I AM an American woman who was born in the midst of America's "Heartland." I grew up, just like any other girl, being fixated with the glamour of life in "the big city." Eventually, I moved to Florida and on to South Beach of Miami, a hotspot for those seeking the "glamorous life." Naturally, I did what most average Western girls do. I focused on my appearance and appeal, basing my self-worth on how much attention I got from others. I worked out religiously and became a personal trainer, acquired an upscale waterfront residence, became a regular "exhibiting" beach-goer and was able to attain a "living-in-style" kind of life.

Years went by, only to realize that my scale of self-fulfillment and happiness slid down the more I progressed in my "feminine appeal." I was a slave to fashion. I was a hostage to my looks.

As the gap continued to progressively widen between my self-fulfillment and lifestyle, I sought refuge in escapes from alcohol and parties to meditation, activism, and alternative religions, only to have the little gap widen to what seemed like a valley. I eventually realized it all was merely a pain killer rather than an effective remedy.

By now it was Sept. 11, 2001. As I witnessed the ensuing barrage on Islam, Islamic values and culture, and the infamous declaration of the "new crusade," I started to notice something called Islam. Up until that point, all I had associated with Islam was women covered in "tents," wife beaters, harems, and a world of terrorism. As a feminist libertarian, and an activist, I was pursuing a better world for all.

One day I came across a book that is negatively stereotyped in the West – The Noble Qur'an. I was first attracted by the style and approach of the Qur'an, and then intrigued by its outlook on existence, life, creation, and the relationship between Creator and creation. I found the Qur'an to be a very insightful address to heart and soul without the need for an interpreter or pastor.

Eventually I hit a moment of truth: my new-found self-fulfilling activism was nothing more than merely embracing a faith called Islam where I could live in peace as a "functional" Muslim.

I bought a beautiful long gown and head cover resembling the Muslim woman's dress code and I walked down the same streets and neighborhoods where only days earlier I had walked in my shorts, bikini, or "elegant" Western business attire.

Although the people, the faces, and the shops were all the same, one thing was remarkably distinct – I was not – nor was the peace at being a woman I experienced for the very first time. I felt as if the chains had been broken and I was finally free. I was delighted with the new looks of wonder on people's faces in place of the looks of a hunter watching his prey I had once sought. Suddenly a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. Finally, I was free.

Of all places, I found my Islam at the heart of what some call "the most scandalous place on earth," which makes it all the more dear and special.

While content with Hijab I became curious about Niqab, seeing an increasing number of Muslim women in it. I asked my Muslim husband, whom I married after I reverted to Islam, whether I should wear Niqab or just settle for the Hijab I was already wearing. My husband simply advised me that he believes Hijab is mandatory in Islam while Niqab is not. At the time, my Hijab consisted of head scarf that covered all my hair except for my face, and a loose long black gown called "Abaya" that covered all my body from neck to toe.

A year-and-a-half passed, and I told my husband I wanted to wear Niqab. My reason, this time, was that I felt it would be more pleasing to Allah, the Creator, increasing my feeling of peace at being more modest.

He supported my decision and took me to buy an "Isdaal," a loose black gown that covers from head to toe, and Niqab, which covers all my head and face except for my eyes. Soon enough, news started breaking about politicians, Vatican clergymen, libertarians, and so-called human rights and freedom activists condemning Hijab at times, and Niqab at others as being oppressive to women, an obstacle to social integration, and more recently, as an Egyptian official called it – "a sign of backwardness."

I find it to be a blatant hypocrisy when Western governments and so-called human rights groups rush to defend woman's rights when some governments impose a certain dress code on women, yet such "freedom fighters" look the other way when women are being deprived of their rights, work, and education just because they choose to exercise their right to wear Niqab or Hijab.

Today I am still a feminist, but a Muslim feminist, who calls on Muslim women to assume their responsibilities in providing all the support they can for their husbands to be good Muslims. To raise their children as upright Muslims so they may be beacons of light for all humanity once again. To enjoin good – any good – and to forbid evil – any evil. To speak righteousness and to speak up against all ills. To fight for our right to wear Niqab or Hijab and to please our Creator whichever way we chose. But just as importantly to carry our experience with Niqab or Hijab to fellow women who may never have had such a chance.

Most of the women I know wearing Niqab are Western reverts, some of whom are not even married. Others wear Niqab without full support of either family or surroundings. What we all have in common is that it is the personal choice of each and every one of us, which none of us is willing to surrender.

Willingly or unwillingly, women are bombarded with styles of "dressing-in-little-to-nothing" virtually in every means of communication everywhere in the world.

As an ex non-Muslim, I insist on women's right to equally know about Hijab, its virtues, and the peace and happiness it brings to a woman's life as it did to mine. Yesterday, the bikini was the symbol of my liberty, when in actuality it only liberated me from my spirituality and true value as a respectable human being.

Today, Niqab is the new symbol of woman's liberation.

To women who surrender to the ugly stereotype against the Islamic modesty of Hijab, I say: You don't know what you are missing.

– Sara Bokker is a former actress/model/fitness instructor and activist.

Permission is granted to circulate among private individuals and groups, to post on Internet sites and to publish in full text and subject title in not-for-profit publications.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Charity...

The Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, advised us:
"Guard yourselves against the Fire (of Hell) even if it be only with half a date (a small fruit), given in charity. And if you cannot afford even that you should at least say a good word.
--Reported by Bukhari and Muslim  http://prophetofislam.com/

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The greatest statement ever

 

MILLIONS of Muslims around the world pronounce this statement on a regular basis. It is heard in the call to prayer, in our daily lives, in sermons, read in books, fought and died for and the basis of our religion. It differentiates believers from non- believers and is the key to enter into paradise. All the Messengers and Prophets came to propagate and teach it in order to take people from darkness to light. Above all, it is the reason Allah created us for. Allah says in the Qur'an:

"And I (Allâh) created not the jinns and humans except they should worship Me (Alone)..." (Qur'an, 51:56)

The testimony of faith, the Kalimtul-Haqq, the Kalimatul-Ikhlas – Laa ilaaha illa Allah – comprises the greatest statement ever. It means 'None has the right to be worshipped except Allah'. However, as we all utter these beautiful words on a daily basis we should ask a few questions:

Do we understand it and fulfill its obligations?

Are we aware of its conditions?

Just utterance alone without understanding its meaning is something that may not stop us from associating partners with Allah; something that is the essence of this great statement. Allah says in the Qur'an,

"Worship Allâh and join none with Him in worship..." (Qur'an, 4:36)

Allah, our Creator and Sustainer, has commanded us to worship Him alone, without any partners.

We may think we are, but without knowledge of this statement can we really knowingly stop ourselves from the gravest of sins?

"Verily, Allâh forgives not that partners should be set up with him in worship, but He forgives except that (anything else) to whom He pleases, and whoever sets up partners with Allâh in worship, he has indeed invented a tremendous sin." (Qur'an, 4: 48)

The statement has two pillars:

1-NEGATION

None has the right to be worshipped

To negate anything and everything that is worshipped besides Allah

2-AFFIRMATION

Except Allah

To affirm that Allah and only Allah has the right to be worshipped

Conditions of Worship:

Must be sincerely for the sake of Allah alone

Must be in accordance with the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him)

Types of worship in the Qur'an and Sunnah:

Supplication (Du'a), Fear (Khawf), Hope (Rajaa), Reliance (Tawakkul), Longing (Raghbah) and Dreading (Rahbah), Submissiveness (Khushoo'), Awe (Khashyah), Repentance (Inaabah), Seeking Assitance (Isti'aanah), Seeking Refuge (Iti'aadhah), Asking for Help (Istighaathah), Offering Sacrifices (Dhabah), Making Oaths (Nadhar) and all other types of worship that Allah commanded – all of these belong to Allah alone.If any act of worship is directed to other than Allah, then Shirk has occurred.

Conditions of the Laa ilaha illAllah are seven:

Conditions Results

1 Knowledge expels ignorance

2 Certainity expels doubt

3 Sincerity expels shirk

4 Truthfulness expels hypocrisy

5 Love expels hate

6 Submissive compliance expels deviation

7 Acceptance expels rejection

References: Aqeedah of Tawheed, by Sheikh Saleh Al-Fawzaan and The Three Fundamental Principles, by Sheikh Muhammad Ibn Abdul WahhabVirtues of Laa ilaaha illAllah

Haafidh Ibn Rajab mentions many virtues of this statement in his essay entitled Kalimatul-Ikhlaas ( p. 54 -66)

• It is the price to pay for the Gardens of Paradise

• His whose last words are none has the right to be worshipped except Allah will enter Paradise

• It is a salvation from the Hellfire

• It necessitates being forgiven

• It is the best of all good actions

• It wipes away sins

• It renews the faith in the heart

• It outweighs the record of sins on the scales

• It is the best of what the Prophets have said

• It is the best form of remembrance, the best of actions and the one that is that is multiplied the most in reward

• It is a protection against the devil

• All eight gates of Paradise will be opened to its testifier and he may enter from any gate he chooses

With all this in mind it is imperative that we all learn its pillars and conditions so that we can say it with full meaning and understanding preventing us from falling into associating partners with Allah.

Indeed Allah has forbidden for Hell the person who says 'There is nothing that has the right to be worshipped but Allah', seeking thereby the Face of Allah.

(Bukhari and Muslim)

Permission is granted to circulate among private individuals and groups, to post on Internet sites and to publish in full text and subject title in not-for-profit publications.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Wife calls her husband...

Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "When a man calls his wife to satisfy his desire (ie. sexual intercourse) she must go to him even if she is occupied at the oven!"

Al-Tirmidhi Hadith 3257 Narrated by Talq ibn Ali