title: Coronavirus: BBC Begins Broadcasting Weekly Islamic Sermons as Mosques Remain Shut,
Local radio to broadcast weekly Islamic religious service in the absence of congregational prayer.
The broadcast aims to create a radio community when there can not be a physical one.
To help Muslims self-isolating at homes, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has begun airing Islamic reflections and prayers on 14 local radio stations as mosques remain shut amid the coronavirus pandemic, Leicester Mercury reported.
From Friday, April 3, Muslim communities in the city have become able to tune in to BBC Radio Leicester on Friday mornings, when an imam will share reflections and Islamic readings.
In accordance with Government guidance, religious institutions have now closed to the public, including the many mosques across the city. The changes have affected the daily routine of many Muslims who attend a mosque regularly to pray.
Now, in addition to the weekly Christian service broadcast locally on Sundays, a spot for Muslim listeners will coincide with the day of Jummah – the Friday prayers that hold special significance in Islam.
Each week, at 5.50am, a different imam will lead the broadcast, reciting a verse from the Quran or saying from the Prophet, then translate it and talk about its relevance today followed by a minute of prayer.
A senior imam in Leeds, Qari Asim MBE, was the first to lead the weekly service.
Chris Burns, head of BBC Local Radio, said: “Local radio is all about connecting communities and we hope these weekly reflections will go some way to helping Muslims feel a sense of community while they are isolating.”
While many Muslims already pray at home, for some people an absence congregational prayer in a mosque will be missed, especially during Ramadan.
The religious services have begun broadcasting on 14 local radio stations across the UK, including Leicester.
The broadcasts will also be available to listen to afterwards on the BBC Sounds website.
The stations broadcasting the reflections are:
Coventry and Warwickshire
Source: https://www.leicestermercury.co.uk with some modifications
title: Politician who said ‘the Quran is poison’ announces he has become a Muslim after trying to write anti-Islam book,
By Samuel Osborne
Former member of Geert Wilders’ far-right party converts while writing anti-Islam book
A Dutch MP who was formerly a member of anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders‘ far-right party has announced he has converted to Islam.
Joram van Klaveren had denounced Islam as “a lie” and said “the Quran is poison” during his time as a politician for the Freedom Party (PVV).
However, the 40-year-old has now said he had become a Muslim while writing what was intended to be an anti-Islam book.
“During that writing I came across more and more things that made my view on Islam falter,” he told Dutch TV show NieuwLicht.
Mr Wilders compared his former right-hand man’s conversion to “a vegetarian going to work in a slaughterhouse”, RTL TV reported.
Mr Van Klaveren was an MP for the PVV between 2010 and 2014, but left after Mr Wilders asked supporters if they wanted fewer Moroccans in the Netherlands during a rally in 2014.
When the crowd shouted back “fewer”, Mr Wilders smiled and answered: “Then we’ll fix it.” He has since been convicted of inciting hatred and discrimination”.
In an interview with Dutch newspaper NRC, Mr Van Klaveren said his comments about Islam were “simply incorrect”.
He added: “But that was PVV policy: everything that did not work had to be linked to Islam in one way or another.”
Mr Van Klaveren’s book, which he initially intended to be anti-Islam, will now be called Apostate: From Christianity to Islam in the Time of Secular Terror.
For more information, you can watch this video:
title: A Closer Look at the Virtues of Sha’ban,
By Editorial Staff
Sha’ban before and after Islam
Sha’ban is the eighth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. The name is derived from the root word ‘sha’ab’ which means to scatter or disperse. During the pre-Islamic period, Arabs used to scatter in this month in search of water. It is also said that they did that to make predatory incursions.
This is because Sha’ban is preceded by the month of Rajab, one of the four sacred months of the Islamic lunar year, during which Arabs who lived before Islam did not use to commit such crimes.
Sha’ban is followed by the month of Ramadan in which Muslims perform the fourth pillar of Islam i.e. Siyam (Fast). There are many other acts of worship whose performance is far more recommended in Ramadan such as performing the night prayer in congregation, reciting the Gracious Qur’an, giving to charity, etc. Thus, Sha’ban, the month that the Prophetic traditions point out that it receives less attention by most people, comes between two very important months whose virtues are very well known to many Muslims.
Actions of people are submitted to Allah on a daily, weekly and yearly basis. That should help and encourage Muslims to increase their worship and overcome any shortcomings affecting their worship.
It should be noted that Allah does know everything that happens in the earth and in the heaven. Nothing escapes His knowledge as He is all-aware of all that people do.
Actions are presented before Allah twice a day:
Abu Huraira reported:
The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: Angels take turns among you by night and by day, and they all assemble at the dawn and afternoon prayers. Those (of the angels) who spend the night among you, then, ascend, and their Lord asks them, though He is the best informed about them: How did you leave My servants? -they say: We left them while they were praying and we came to them while they were praying. (Muslim)
Scholars said that this hadith is a proof that actions are presented to Allah daily. As for the reason for the question asked by Allah to the angels, it points out that there always are people who worship Allah sincerely along with the angels. Before Adam (peace be upon him) was created as a successor upon the earth, the angels thought he would spread corruption and shed blood. It becomes clear that those who worship Allah and refrain from committing mischief are the successful ones in his regard. This means they have succeeded in being good human successors upon the Earth.
Actions are also presented before Allah twice a week:
Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) said:
The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “People’s deeds are presented before Allah on Mondays and Thursdays, and then every slave (of Allah) is granted forgiveness (of minor sins) if he does not associate anything with Allah in worship. But the person in whose heart there is rancour against his brother, will not be pardoned. With regard to them, it is said twice: ‘Hold these two until they are reconciled’.” (Muslim)
This Hadith stresses the importance of worshipping Allah alone and warns against committing any actions that are related to shirk (polytheism). It also encourages Muslims to maintain close links, to love each other, to care for each other, etc. This is how the Muslim community should look like.
In Islam, there should be no room for heart’s bad qualities such as hatred, spleen, jealousy. Having purified their hearts and souls from shirk and other diseases, Muslims will have their sins forgiven and Allah’s mercy will shower them.
Actions are presented before Allah yearly:
Usamah bin Zaid said:
“I said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, I do not see you fasting any month as much as Shaban.’ He said: ‘That is a month to which people do not pay much attention, between Rajab and Ramadan. It is a month in which the deeds are taken up to the Lord of the worlds, and I like that my deeds be taken up when I am fasting.”‘ (Sunan an-Nasa’i 2357)
Although his actions are perfect, Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) liked that his actions are presented when he is fasting. Many of the Muslims’ actions may harbor clear deficiencies. To make up for such deficiencies, Muslims are encouraged to observe those recommended acts of worship. Moreover, Muslims should be keen on emulating Prophet Muhammad so that they can have their sins forgiven.
In fact, it is recommended to fast on Mondays and Thursdays and to fast many days of Sha’ban. Some scholars hold the opinion that the recommended fast during Sha’ban before the obligatory fast during Ramadan resembles the recommended prayer performed by Muslims before the obligatory congregational prayer.
Making up for the Missed Days of the Last Ramadan
‘A’ishah (May Allah be pleased with her) used to fast in Sha’ban the obligatory days she could not fast during the last Ramadan.
Performing Fast after the Middle of Sha’ban
There are other Hadiths that highlight that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) used to fast most days of Sha’ban. However, as for the hadith that reads:
Abu Hurairah (RAA) narrated that The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:
“When it is the middle of Sha’ban do not fast (until it is Ramadan).”
There is a disagreement among scholars of Hadith concerning it. The great scholars Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Imam Yahya ibn Ma’in, ibn ‘ady and Al-Shawkany declared this Hadith as weak.
Other scholars such as Imam ibn al-Qayim and Imam Al-Albany hold the opinion that the Hadith is sound. In the latter case, the hadith is interpreted as to disallow the person to start to fast after the middle of Sha’ban. There is no problem to fast after the middle of the month so long as the person fasts regularly on Mondays and Thursdays or has fasted before the middle. The preferred opinion is the first one as the above mentioned Hadith is contradicted by the Hadith that prevent a Muslim to fast the last day or last two days of Sh’aban.
The 15th night of sha’ban
There are many misconceptions and innovations in religion people practice at that night. According to scholars of Hadith, There is no authentic hadith concerning the 15th night of Sha’ban. However, Imam Al-Albany is of the opinion that a very few number of Hadith are Hasan (good) because they are related through many weak chains of narrations that strengthen one another making the hadiths acceptable. The Hadiths have almost the same meaning. So, it will be enough to quote one of them:
“Allah looks down on the night of the middle of Sha’ban and forgives all His creation, apart from the idolater and the Mushahin (the person in whose heart there is rancour against his brother).”
Another thing is that some people also have a misconception about the following aya (verse of the Qur’an):
(In that blessed night, every wise affair is determined) (Qur’an: 44:4)
They think that this is the 15th night of Sha’ban. This is not correct as the context makes it clear that this is the Ramadan’s Night of Majesty that marks the revelation of the Gracious Qur’an.
In short, there are no special acts of worship that should be performed during that night or the following day the 15th. All the Hadiths that are mentioned in this regard are weak. If there is anything to be observed, it will be to fast most days of Sha’ban, avoid committing any acts of shirk and to purify one’s heart from hatred, grudge, enmity, and so on.
title: The Swiss Nora Illi, the Co-founder of the Swiss Central Islamic Council, Dies Aged 35,
Nora Illi, a famous Islamic preacher who co-founded the Swiss Central Islamic Council (IZRS), died on Monday at the age of 35, after a long illness. As the IZRS now reports, Nora Illi has lost the fight against breast cancer diagnosed in 2012. She is survived by six children and her husband.
Originally from Zurich, Illi converted to Islam in 2002, aged 18, after a trip to Dubai. Prior to this, she had been a punk and had also been interested in Buddhism.
Nora Illi was born in 1983 to a German psychotherapist and a Swiss social worker. Illi dropped out of high school and trained as a polygraph. In addition, she became active in the punk scene of her hometown Uster ZH. As an 18-year-old, she converted to Islam.
At a solidarity campaign for Palestine, she met her future husband, Schaffhausen’s Patric Illi (now Qaasim Illi). In 2003 they married in Jordan. Together, they subsequently represented the Swiss Islamic Central Council (IZRS) in public: Nora Illi as the commissioner for women’s affairs, her husband as the PR manager.
Influence of chemotherapy
She was known in public for always wearing her Niqab. Illi was an advocate of polygyny. This differs from polygamy in that a man may have several women, but a woman may only have one man.
In the talk show Anne Will in 2016, she was defending the woman’s right to wear niqab. Thus, she was falsely accused of supporting extremist groups like ISIS. Replying to this false accusation, she stressed that any Muslim whether in Switzerland or any other country in the world should denounce and avoid violence.
Bussenfang in Ticino
As a Niqab activist, Illi publicly caught fines: After the ban on veiling came into force in the canton of Ticino in July 2016, she received the first banned buses because of her public appearance in the Niqab. In 2017 she also had to pay for her veiling in Vienna.
Her husband, Qaasim Illi on the passing of Nora Illi, said, “We are overwhelmed by your tributes from all over the world – Thank you!” Keep her and us in your du’a’.
Sources: 20min.ch/schweiz/ (as cited in allaboutgeneva.com) with some modifications.
title: Why I Converted to Islam – Part 2,
By Sarah Price
I was a very strong Christian before converting to Islam. It’s an extremely focal point of my faith journey and without it I would not be a Muslim.
My love for Jesus (peace be upon him) actually led me to Islam. Christianity is actually the closest religion to Islam, not only theoretically but also historically.
There are many misconceptions about what Islam teaches about Christianity. To begin, the Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace) taught Muslims regarding how they should treat Christians.
To summarize it, we are to treat Christians with respect, and even if a Muslim man is married to a Christian woman, she cannot be stopped from praying in her place of worship. In Surat Al-Ma’idah (The Table Spread), 5:82, this is what it says –
‘and you will find the nearest of them in affection to the believers who say, “We are the Christians”. That is because among them are priests and monks and because they are not arrogant’. (Quran 5:82)
Christians and Jews are commonly referred to as ‘People of the Book’ in Islam, because we all have the same Abrahamic roots.
The Status of Jesus and Mary (Peace Be Upon Them) in Islam
Jesus’ (peace be upon him) name is actually mentioned more times in the Qur’an than the Prophet Muhammad’s (peace be upon him).
Muslims still believe in the virgin birth and place importance on Mary (may Allah be pleased with her). Jesus (peace be upon him) is an important figure and you cannot be a Muslim without believing in the life and work of Jesus (peace be upon him). I could write a huge post about this, which I will discuss further in future blog posts.
Jesus (peace be upon him) prostrated and humbled himself before God. He only performed miracles under God’s permission. He was an incredible prophet who taught love and compassion to the children of Israel.
The only difference between Christians and Muslims is that we take Jesus (peace be upon him) to be a prophet and not to be worshipped alongside God.
Islam teaches the Oneness of God, and to worship Allah alone and we believe that Jesus (peace be upon him) taught this himself. The term ‘Allah’, by the way, is the Arabic word for ‘God’ and is not just an Islamic term. Arab Christians also call God ‘Allah’.
Christianity vs. Islam
However, after returning from Malaysia I felt like something was missing. I researched key aspects and foundations of Christianity, right down to the trinity and where the concept came from.
I researched what Paul taught, what various historical leaders implemented after the death of Christ and I read my Bible inside out. I researched on what has been taken out of the Bible, what has been put in and the various contradictions and solid truths of the Bible.
There are similarities between the Qur’an and the Bible. For me, the Qur’an answered many questions I had about my Christian faith for a long time. I could find no fault, no contradictions in the Qur’an. I listened to debates between world-renowned Biblical and Qur’anic scholars, and felt that the Qur’an made more sense.
My sheer drive to be a journalist has taken me to places I never imagined and allowed me to meet amazing people. I’ve interviewed famous people such as One Republic, Bastille, Marina Mahathir, Kristian Chong, Yannick Bovy, Sisters in Islam, Virginia Haussegger, Senator Michaelia Cash, VJ’s Hanli Hoefer and Alan Wong and the list goes on.
I’ve been to incredible events and interned at really great places. I am very fortunate to have experienced so much at such a young age while still completing my undergraduate degree in journalism.
However, the best part of being a journalist is being able to make some change in the world. To give people a voice, to learn about human beings and the world around me. This is so humbling and motivates me every day.
Being a journalist led me to learn about Islam.
Yes, I am still a journalist and still as motivated (if not more) as a Muslim woman. Incorporating my faith and career is not a difficult task, and in fact Islam helps me to appreciate people and the world around me in many different ways.
Interviewing UN Person of the Year, passionate leader of SIS (Sisters in Islam), writer and strong advocate for women’s rights Marina Mahathir definitely shaped my view of Muslim women’s rights and of Islam itself.
I still remember how sweaty my palms were. A million thoughts were rushing through my head. ‘Am I good enough?’ ‘Am I really cut out for journalism?’ This was my first interview with someone quite famous.
As soon as I met Marina, her quiet yet assertive nature impressed me and I immediately felt a sense of ease with her. I knew the interview was an important one, a life-changing one. She answered so many questions I had been asking myself since arriving in Malaysia.
The Qur’an does not teach inequality.
It does not permit men to beat their wives. Her knowledge was exuberating, and I felt as if I had a newfound understanding of something much bigger and deeper than I ever thought possible.
“We are all one people on this Earth, ” said Marina as we finished the interview. I smiled at her in appreciation, and looking back now I know that was the most important lesson I had learned thus far.
Despite various factors that apparently make us so different – such as national borders, countries, politics, culture, tribes, heritage, skin color, race and religion – we all bleed the same and breathe the same air. I think we should all try to remember this daily.
It’s Important Not to Judge Too Harshly
The most vital thing I’ve learnt in Islam which I incorporate into journalism is no matter what evil and good I see in people, it’s important not to judge too harshly (that would be bias for one, we need to be as objective as possible in our reporting) because EVERYONE is capable of anything.
‘The greatest jihad (struggle) is to battle your own soul; to fight the very evil within yourself,’ Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). We can always look at others and improve certain things about ourselves. There’s so much worldly wisdom in this one quote, and it truly inspires and humbles me.
But let me not disillusion you – becoming a Muslim and incorporating it into my way of life has not been easy in the slightest. It’s hard, and you learn more every day.
People judge you, even Muslims judge you. I’m not going to just put some holy light around it…being a Muslim has tested my patience more than ever before, more than I ever imagined. But they say the right path is not always the easiest one – and despite how hard it is at times, it also brings an incredible sense of peace in my heart and into my life.
I wouldn’t have it any other way. It is part of me now, but not all of me. It makes me happy, it makes me cry, and it makes me question a lot of things about society and about the Dunya (this life).
All I can say is that I find rest with Allah , and no matter what I go through, I know I am never alone every time I make Salat to my Creator. Truly,
‘verily with every hardship comes ease’ (Quran 94:6).
Source: http: muslimsincalgary.ca with some modifications
title: Can the Power of Prayer Alone Stop a Pandemic like the Coronavirus? Even the Prophet Muhammad Thought Otherwise,
By CRAIG CONSIDINE
The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing governments and news sources to provide the most accurate and helpful advice to the world’s population, as the disease is indeed global in reach. Health care professionals are in high demand, and so too are scientists who study the transmission and effect of pandemics.
Experts like immunologist Dr. Anthony Fauci and medical reporter Dr. Sanjay Gupta are saying that good hygiene and quarantining, or the practice of isolating from others in the hope of preventing the spread of contagious diseases, are the most effective tools to contain COVID-19.
Do you know who else suggested good hygiene and quarantining during a pandemic?
Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, over 1,300 years ago.
While he is by no means a “traditional” expert on matters of deadly diseases, Muhammad nonetheless had sound advice to prevent and combat a development like COVID-19.
Muhammad said: “If you hear of an outbreak of plague in a land, do not enter it; but if the plague outbreaks out in a place while you are in it, do not leave that place.”
He also said: “Those with contagious diseases should be kept away from those who are healthy.”
Muhammad also strongly encouraged human beings to adhere to hygienic practices that would keep people safe from infection. Consider the following hadiths, or sayings of Prophet Muhammad:
“Cleanliness is part of faith.”
“Wash your hands after you wake up; you do not know where your hands have moved while you sleep.”
“The blessings of food lie in washing hands before and after eating.”[i]
And what if someone does fall ill? What kind of advice would Muhammad provide to his fellow human beings who are suffering from pain?
He would encourage people to always seek medical treatment and medication: “Make use of medical treatment,” he said, “for God has not made a disease without appointing a remedy for it, with the exception of one disease—old age.”
Perhaps most importantly, he knew when to balance faith with reason. In recent weeks, some have gone so far as to suggest that prayer would be better at keeping you from the coronavirus than adhering to basic rules of social distancing and quarantine. How would Prophet Muhammad respond to the idea of prayer as the chief—or only—form of medicine?
Consider the following story, related to us by ninth-century Persian scholar Al-Tirmidhi: One day, Prophet Muhammad noticed a Bedouin man leaving his camel without tying it. He asked the Bedouin, “Why don’t you tie down your camel?” The Bedouin answered, “I put my trust in God.” The Prophet then said, “Tie your camel first, then put your trust in God.”[ii]
Muhammad encouraged people to seek guidance in their religion, but he hoped they take basic precautionary measures for the stability, safety and well-being of all.
In other words, he hoped people would use their common sense.
Source: Newsweek website
[i] This hadith is not authentic. However, a number of scholars hold the opinion that washing hands before and after eating is recommended.
[ii] Although the story is not authentic, it gives a good explanation to the concept of tawakkul (to put your trust in God)
About the author:
Dr. Craig Considine is a scholar, professor, global speaker, and media contributor based at the Department of Sociology at Rice University. He is the author of The Humanity of Muhammad: A Christian View (Blue Dome Press, 2020), and Islam in America: Exploring the Issues (ABC-CLIO 2019), among others.
title: Why I Converted to Islam – Part 1,
By Sarah Price
Islamic. Jihadist. ISIS. Terrorist. Women banned from driving in Saudi Arabia. Burqa. 9/11…unfortunately, the term ‘Muslim’ or ‘Islam’ isn’t always associated with the most positive attributes. In fact, the term ‘Islam’ can inflict some pretty negative connotations in this day and age. For a term that means ‘peaceful submission to God’, it is a religion that is often seen in the media for all the wrong reasons.
So, why would an educated, independent and well-travelled young Australian woman decide to convert to a religion widely considered ‘backwards’?
Well, it’s for multitude of reasons. Although people usually assume it’s for a man. Why else would a woman do that, right?
WRONG. Not in my case anyway. It’s pretty dazzling how some people assume these things though. Even asking for halal food at my local university cafe received a snarky comment from the waitress asking if I ‘converted for my boyfriend’.
I get confused looks at my fair skin and light eyes, some Australians ask what country I’m from, only to be shocked to hear I am myself an Australian. Australian AND Muslim? The combination is unthinkable to some.
Converting to Islam Has Been No Easy Task.
Despite some pretty harsh and rude comments about my change in faith, I’ve also had some amazing people come up to me and ask me why. This, ladies and gentleman, is the question that I am happy to answer.
You don’t have to agree with it – my word, you don’t even have to accept it – but this is my story and reasons which led me over the course of two years to where I am now.
Converting to Islam has been no easy task. I’ve been called names, been scrutinized, rejected and fired from jobs, lost friends and had a really difficult time with my family accepting the changes in my life. But with prayer, investigation, lots of reading and researching and talking to people from different faiths and backgrounds has all contributed to my peaceful way of life now.
Yes, I am Muslim. I am also Australian, I’m a journalist, and I am also a traveler. Being a Muslim doesn’t change the elements that make up who I am as a person. Although you can never truly express what comes from your own heart in your own personal journey, my reversion to Islam was due to three main factors. This is my story and mine alone.
Traveling to Malaysia was definitely the foundation for my conversion to Islam. After deciding on a whim to go on student exchange to Malaysia, I never imagined what a crazy adventure I had set myself up for.
Malaysia is my second home. It holds a very special place in my heart and I grew immensely as a person there. I experienced some of the best and worst moments of my life; and the whole experience was filled with color, adventure and opportunity.
From sleeping in a dirty ferry port for eight hours, getting lost in a rainforest on Tioman Island (and trying to make it back before dark), riding on motorbikes in Penang and scuba-diving in Perhentian Islands, these were just the beginning of my adventure there.
I was getting out of my comfort zone in Malaysia and exposed to things I had never seen as a small town Australian girl from Gippsland. Nothing went to plan nor was expected in Malaysia.
My Thoughts About Islam Before Malaysia
Before Malaysia, I knew nothing about Islam. I had never met a Muslim (to my knowledge) and I always thought of Muslims as wearing heavy black garments somewhere in the Middle East, far, far away from ‘civilization’.
Yes, I also thought Muslim women were oppressed. That they couldn’t go anywhere without their husbands, that they couldn’t have careers, and had to wear black all the time. Not that I really thought about it much, I was always in my own bubble of society to ponder too much about it.
So, my somewhat fabricated image of Islam was shattered when I came to Malaysia. Suddenly, I found myself becoming curious of the pretty South-East Asian Muslim girls with their colorful hijabs and clothes. I met many Muslim friends – who became life-long friends- who went to university, who had jobs, who wore veils and also many who didn’t, and they all seemed quite content and loved their religion.
An Article on Muslim Women’s Rights
Being a journalism student, I’ve always been an open-minded person and have a lust for the unknown. Islam quickly became a mysterious religion I wanted to learn more about. That’s when I decided to do one of my investigative articles about Muslim women’s rights.
THIS was the beginning of everything. My eyes and mind were completed opened and bursting with knowledge about Islam and the fact that WOMEN HAVE MANY RIGHTS IN ISLAM!
In fact, Muslim women were legally given rights (that’s including divorce, land rights, monetary rights, the right to choose who to marry, etc.) in the Qur’an and Hadiths hundreds of years before Western women were legally given the same rights.
There’s even a whole chapter about Women in the Qur’an. Men are taught to lower their gaze, and to treat women and their wives with utmost respect because this is favored in God’s eyes.
THIS, of course, does not mean Muslims are sinless. People need to differentiate between culture, politics and religion. We humans are not perfect, in fact far from it. Even I learned this in Malaysia – instead of judging a whole religion on a few people’s actions, look into the religion and what it teaches.
Feelings Never Felt Before
When I first stepped into a mosque, I felt an immediate sense of calm and peace. I even interviewed an imam. The strong yet humble cry of the call to prayer invoked feelings in me I had never felt before. When I first bowed my head toward the Ka’ba, I felt home in my heart. I didn’t convert to Islam in Malaysia – I was to over a year later – but it introduced me in a beautiful way to Islam and to the Oneness of God.
As each day passed in Malaysia, and with each experience I lived, it dawned on me that I was starting to outgrow the sheltered life I was living back home in my country town, and the various stereotypes placed on society from culture to culture. Malaysia was having an effect on me far greater than the boundaries of Monash University, cool clubs and intriguing food; it was the people itself and the lessons I was learning. I realized that every little moment in Malaysia would be some of my best.
I was definitely not the same girl that left Melbourne airport for this unexpected journey I grew immensely, while paradoxically also finding myself and what I’m truly capable of. I was a girl who was insecure and always feeling confined and trapped in the community I was living in – Malaysia, in a way, set me free.
The Best Decision I Have Ever Made
While we can’t be sure of much in this world, I know without a shadow of a doubt that going to Malaysia randomly was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Malaysia didn’t turn out as I imagined or planned, and that in itself made it so wonderful. It taught me to believe in my own capabilities and in myself more than ever, and that comes with taking a deep breath and stepping into the world on your own for the very first time.
Malaysia gave me adventure. It kick started my career in journalism. It allowed me to meet wonderful, terrible yet interesting people. But most importantly…Malaysia gave me Islam. I truly believe I was meant to go there.
To be continued…
Source: http: muslimsincalgary.ca with some modifications
title: The Islamic Guidance to Deal with Coronavirus COVID-19,
By Kamal Amara Councilor of Imams in Europe
Schools have been closed, sports events have been cancelled and religious and cultural institutions shut down around the world as countries try to stem the Coronavirus outbreak.
The virus has dramatically spread across Europe. In Italy, the situation was more serious and the authorities were obliged to put strict measures across the entire country to limit the infection.
This crisis has challenged European Muslim communities and raised many questions that require answers and clarification.
1. The basic obligations for Muslims (institutions and individuals) in the countries affected by the epidemic:
✓ It’s an Islamic obligation and civil responsibility for us to follow the instructions and guidelines of the authorities presiding over the effected countries, whether it’s in our private lives or in the Mosques and Islamic cultural centers.
✓ To be patient and work for the common good, especially Muslims who work in the health and service sectors, following the message of the Hadith: “The best among you are those who bring greatest benefits to many others” Prophet Mohammed(PBUH)
✓ Muslim researchers and scientists should unite and put their best efforts forward to come up with a vaccination against this virus as soon as possible . It is a part of Islamic teaching to believe that Allah(SWT) has created a cure for every disease, hence diligence is needed in this matter.
✓ To Avoid rumors and spreading false news and information. Muslim should try to give hope and spread positivity because everything that may happen is by Allah the Almighty’s will and decree.
✓ To take the necessary precautions and educate ourselves about this matter in detail without panicking.
*Those who get infected with the virus should follow and accept the safety regulations and should be patient and ask Allah(SWT) for full recovery and also be sure that patience is greatly rewarded during sickness and times of distress.
2. The Islamic view regarding the cancellation of Friday prayers and daily prayers in mosques:
Individuals who suspect being infected are obliged to stay away from mosques and all other crowded gatherings until they are examined and ensured that they are not infected. Doing otherwise is considered a harmful and sinful act in Islam.
Islam forbids self-harm and bringing harm to others. Furthermore Islamic rules were very sensible in the matters of respect to other to the point that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) requested from his Companions to avoid going to the mosque after eating garlic as to not bother other worshipers with its odor.
If you follow these general guidelines, it will be clearly a priority to not go to the mosque in case of an infectious virus harming others.
3. Can we leave the countries that are affected by the virus to avoid infection?
It is not allowed to leave the country in which the virus has spread for the sake of self-protection. According to the Hadith, “If you found out about it in a country, you do not enter that country, and if it hits the country you’re in, then do not leave it anymore”
If leaving, the country or region infected, has justifications other than escaping the disease and is approved by health authorities, then it is Islamically unobjectionable.
4. Can we enter countries where the virus has spread?
The simple answer is no following the guidelines of the aforementioned Hadith. In exceptional cases, such as helping authorities with efforts to contain the disease, then entrance would be permitted.
5. What borders should be considered when entering or leaving an infected area?
The official borders set out by authorities of the given country are the ones that should be observed and respected. If this such official borders are contested, then the geographical borders are to be considered, otherwise the borders known by the locals are taken into account.
6. Is it permitted to interrupt Friday and common prayers in the mosques because of the epidemic?
Human preservation is respected as one of the primary goals of Islamic jurisprudence and therefore If strong evidence is presented showing that the epidemic will spread faster through big gatherings like Friday prayers and common prayers, then these communal prayers should be canceled until the country recovers from the epidemic and the emergency status is lifted.
Islamic Council of Fatwa in Europe have already issued a corresponding press release in this regard.
7. Can the Hajj and Ummrah be canceled due to the Coronavirus?
If Muslim doctors have decided that the gathering of pilgrims will cause the virus to spread faster and pose a risk to pilgrims, the pilgrimage and Ummrah may be canceled until the danger is over and the virus has been fully eradicated.
Allah(SWT) says in the Quran:
Do not throw ( yourselves) with your ( own) hands into destruction ( by refraining). And do good; indeed, Allah loves the doers of good. (Surat Albaqara: 195)
There are also Hadiths, mentioned above, in which the Prophet (PBUH) forbade Muslims from entering a land in which the plague is occurring and leaving a land in which the plague is happening.
Al-Bukhari (5739) and Muslim (2219) narrated from ‘Abd ar-Rahmaan ibn ‘Awf (RA) that he said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) say: “If you hear that it (the plague) is in a land, do not go there, and if it breaks out in a land where you are, do not leave, fleeing from it.”
8. What is the Islamic ruling regarding the quarantine at home or in certain designated locations?
Islam encourages and supports those in charge to take all necessary measures that seem sensible to avoid contagion among people and to contain the epidemic as justified in the hadith mentioned earlier.
9. Regarding the washing of a Coronavirus infected dead body.
Washing the dead body is the first essential step before shrouding and burying in Islam. It is a collective obligation to wash the body which means that if some people attend to it or do it, then the rest are excused.
However, if there is a risk of contagion from touching the body of the deceased, then rubbing part of the wash is excluded and instead one can simple pour an ample amount of water on the body without touching it.
If washing with water does not seem possible, then Tayammum will suffice ( to clean body parts with dry sand or earth, without using water).
If there is any risk from being in close proximity to the dead body, then it is recommended to proceed with the funeral prayers without any washing, which would be the safest option for the people around the deceased in such a scenario.
In the Holy Quran, Surat Al Baqara, Ayah 185, the approximate translation reads:
“… Allah wants relief for you; He does not want any difficulty for you … “
“Therefore fear Allah as far as you can …” (Surat Al-Taghabun:16)
10. Islamic guidelines in dealing with epidemic and protection procedures:
Islam values public health by placing very detailed measures to avoid diseases and to protect humanity from any imbalances that affect the Allah’s perfect creation.
for instance, Islamic law is considered as one of the most organised and detailed in the rulings that deal with the use of livestock. While it details the various possibilities of benefitting from animals and puts specific regulations for that, It forbids eating some animal meats. It also places strict regulations to protect the public health of people while preserving the rights of animals. Caring for animals, gentle handling of animals during slaughter, and consumption of permitted animal meat are some example of these sensible guidelines.
Islam allows good things and forbids bad ones
In the Holy Quran, Allah(SWT) says (the approximate translation reads) :
“Who follow the Messenger, the prophet with no writing, whom they find written down in the Torah and in the Gospel. He commands them the right and forbids them the reprehensible, he allows them the good things and forbids them the bad, and he takes away their burden and the bonds that were on them. …. “ (Surah Al-Araf : 157)
Also: in the Quran (the approximate translation reads) :
“I find nothing in what was given to me (as revelation) that would be forbidden for the eating to eat, unless it is dead or poured out blood or pork – because that’s an abomination – or an outrage about what other (name) than Allah (s) has been called. But whoever is in a predicament without desiring or exceeding the measure – your Lord is Forgiving and Merciful” (Surah Al-An’am: 145)
In similar verses of the Holy Quran, the approximate translation reads:
“You are forbidden (to enjoy) those who have died, blood, pork and what has been called (name) other than Allah (s), and (to enjoy) suffocated, slain, fallen or thrown, and what has been torn from a wild animal – besides what you slaughter – and (forbidden to you) what has been slaughtered on a sacrificial stone and to be released with arrows .. “ (Surah Al-Ma’ida:3)
In other Hadith, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) advises us believers not to leave our pots open with food, but to cover them.
The Importance of Personal Hygiene
Islam also emphasises the important role of personal hygiene and made a regular ritual and condition for prayer. Also, clean clothes and pleasant smell as well as good habits in everyday life were repeatedly mentioned in many hadiths of the Messenger of Allah.
In the Holy Quran,the rough translation reads:
“And your garments, purify, and the (impurity of) idol (service), avoid,” (Surat al-Muddaththir: 4-5)
Islam has Also forbidden intimate relationships outside of marriage because it has been proven that it is a source for the spread of contagious diseases in addition to their catastrophic affects on the social fabric of society.
Islam also prohibits abnormal sexual inclinations that contradict human nature.
Islamic precautions regulate and protect societies from illnesses and social conflicts and turmoil. In the event of an epidemic, it starts with people’s mental preparation for the situation right through to meeting appropriate protective measures and handling in the event of infection and finally finding a Vaccination for healing.
In view of the fact that the virus differs in its spread and its danger in different countries, the top priority for mosques, board members, and imams is to cooperate with the local health authorities and to support them in the virus containment and disease prevention procedures, as they are more able to assess the overall situation and take appropriate measures accordingly.
May Allah the Almighty protect all of us, heal those who are in pain and have mercy on our dead. Amin!
title: Coronavirus – an Islamic Perspective,
Allah has blessed us with a religion that is complete and perfect for all times and places. Allah tells us in the Qur’ān:
“This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed My favour upon you and have approved for you Islam as your religion” (Quran 5:3)
Whatever problem or issue a Muslim is facing, he returns back to Allah and his Messenger for guidance; there is nothing that happens in the life of a Muslim except that his religion has a solution to it.
We recently heard about the coronavirus which is spreading to a number of countries, affecting the lives of many people, causing death to others.
There are a number of thoughts that should cross the mind of a Muslim when they hear something like this. Below are some points that a person must remember and internalise when they see or hear of such incidents:
Trials and tribulations
Trials and tribulations are part of life, this is something that Allah informs us of and warns us so that when we are afflicted, we remember that it is ultimately Allah who controls of our affairs. It is He who will provide help and His knowledge of our affairs surpasses our restricted intellect. As He says in the Qur’an:
“Do you think you that you will enter Paradise without such [trials] as came to those who passed away before you? They were afflicted with severe poverty and ailments and were so shaken that even the Messenger and those who believed along with him said, ‘When [will] the Help of Allah [come]?’ Yes! Certainly, the Help of Allah is near!” (Quran 2:214)
Allah sends us tests to see how we will react and handle them. How are we going to respond? When you hear the news that your umrah trip is cancelled because of this virus, how will you respond? When you hear your flights have been cancelled, your loved ones have fallen ill, how will you respond?
Allah says in the Qur’an:
“And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient” (Quran 2:155)
So how do we respond to a calamity? Allah tells us immediately after the previous āyah:
“Who, when disaster strikes them, say, ‘Indeed we belong to Allah , and indeed to Him we will return.’” (Quran 2:156)
A Muslim is patient in trials; he knows Allah will never forsake him, nor will Allah burden him with a trial that is more than what he can handle.
This is not something new
Illnesses and viruses such as the coronavirus are not something new, nor is the fact that people are afflicted with illnesses.
The companions once asked the Prophet (peace be upon him):
“Oh Messenger of Allah, who from amongst the people were tested the most? The Prophet (peace be upon him) responded and said, the Prophets, then the next best and then the next best.”
We see the great Prophet of Allah, Ayyūb (peace be upon him),اwas tested with a great illness. His story is synonymous with patience. He lost everything; his family, wealth, and health. Some narrations say he was bedridden for 18 years, tested with a great illness, yet we find he did not give up hope in Allah and turned to him in this great trial.
Allah tells us his story in the Qur’an:
“And Ayyūb, when he called to his Lord, saying ‘Harm has inflicted me and You are the Most Merciful” (Quran 21:83)
“So We answered him and removed his affliction and We gave him his family and the like of them with them, as a mercy from Us and a reminder to Worshippers.” (Quran 21:84)
The story of Prophet Ayyūb (peace be upon him) is one filled with lessons for us to ponder over. The virtue of patience is shown to us in the Prophet Ayyūb (ʿalayhi al-Salām) through some of the most dire situations that one can come across in life.
The concept of pre-destination is extremely important for a Muslim to understand. When incidents such as the coronavirus occur, a Muslim should know that this is what Allah had decreed 50,000 years before the creation of the universe. The Prophet (peace be upon him) explained:
“Allah had written the ordained measures (and due proportions) of the creation, fifty thousand years before the creation of the heavens and the earth…” (Muslim)
All good and bad is from Allah, as is mentioned in the Hadeeth of Jabir: ‘No slave of Allah will truly believe until he believes in al-Qadr; its good and bad from Allāh, and until he knows that what has befallen him was not going to miss him and that what missed him was not going to befallen him.’ (Al-Tirmidhi)
Allah will never harm us nor does he want evil to befall us. We may think something is bad for us due to our restricted view of life, but there is always good in a situation. Allah tells us that perhaps you hate a thing but it is in fact good for you, and perhaps you love a thing when in reality and it is bad for you, yet Allah knows while you know not!
A believer has two positions when it comes to pre-destination: one is before the situation occurs, and one is after. Before the situation he seeks help from Allah, makes dua to him, and relies upon him; he asks Allah for good to come from it.
After the situation, if the result was positive and good the person thanks Allah. If the event had a negative outcome the person is patient because he knows that Allah will never forsake him even if it seems the result is negative, because indeed Allah is the best of planners.
Taking necessary precautions
A Muslim should not overreact; at the same time he should not be oblivious about a situation and do nothing!
Taking the necessary means and then relying upon Allah is something which is emphasised in Islam.
“One day Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), noticed a Bedouin leaving his camel without tying it. He asked the Bedouin, ‘Why don’t you tie down your camel?’ The Bedouin answered, ‘I put my trust in Allah ’ The Prophet then said, ‘Tie your camel first, then put your trust in Allah ’ (Al-Tirmidhi)
We also find in the incident of Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) taking necessary precautions is a must when you know of a harm or potential danger that could afflict you.
Umar ibn al-Khattab was traveling with a group of companions during his reign. They approached a town in which it was said had a contagious/infectious disease. Umar asked his group whether they should proceed or return (to Madinah). The majority of the companions said they should go back but some said they should proceed. Then one companion said he knew a hadith where the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “If you hear that this disease (plague) exists in a country, do not travel to that country.” So Umar decided that they should go back. Another companion asked him whether he was running away from qadar. Umar replied that they were moving away from one qadar to another qadar.
Whenever there is a problem, a challenge, or any hardship which we can remove, overcome, solve, or minimise, we must do so.
Many of the health guidelines given by the NHS are in fact normal practices for Muslims, some of which are as follows:
1. Washing hands: this is a part of ablution, a Muslim’s daily ritual of purity.
2. General cleanliness
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
“Cleanliness is part of faith” (Muslim)
Keeping our surroundings tidy, cleaning up after ourselves, and wiping surfaces down are all aspects of cleanliness which must be adhered to in these situations.
3. Covering your mouth when sneezing
The Prophet would cover his mouth when he sneezed. This basic etiquette can take big part in the stopping of the spread of viruses
“Whenever the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) sneezed, he would cover his mouth with his hand or a piece of cloth.” (Abu Dawud and Al-Tirmidhi)
4. Quarantine in times of viruses which can spread.
The Prophet gave instructions on what to do if there is an outbreak. Abd al-Rahmān ibn ‘Awf that he said:
“I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) say: “If you hear that it (the plague) is in a land, do not go there, and if it breaks out in a land where you are, do not leave, fleeing from it.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
The Prophet (peace be upon him) also taught us how to protect ourselves by maintaining our adhkar from the Sunnah. One such dua that he taught us was:
“In the name of Allah with Whose name nothing can harm on earth or in heaven, and He is the All-Hearing, All-Knowing” (Abu Dawud, Al-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah)
Being positive and having an optimistic outlook
Always have a positive outlook regardless of the situation you’re in, this is what our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) taught us, when he told us
Amazing is the affair of the believer, verily all of his affairs are good and this is not for no one except the believer. If something of good/happiness befalls him, he is grateful and that is good for him. If something of harm befalls him, he is patient and that is good for him.” (Muslim)
He also said:
“There are no omens, but the best of it is optimism” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
When we look through the seerah we find many examples of the Prophet (peace be upon him) being optimistic event though he was in a dire situation.
We should also not blame others or ridicule them because they are from a certain country or they have come from a part of the world that has been affected by the virus. Unfortunately, we have seen physical attacks on people, racist remarks made, and people making a joke and mocking the situation people are in.
The coronavirus is a reminder to us all of our weak state. Regardless of our social standing and our financial position, we are helpless. Allah says:
“Mankind was created weak” (Quran 4:28)
Situations like this remind us to turn back to Allah. Allah controls everything and he is the one that can relieve us from our difficulties, we must return to Allah and seek refuge in him and ask his protection.
Source: www.islam21c.com with some modifications
title: Ten Reasons to Be a Muslim,
By Editorial Staff
The following video provides ten reasons why you should be a Muslim. These reasons and many others prove that Islam is the most rational religion. In addition, it is in harmony with human nature. Thus, it’s one of the fastest growing religions in the world.
Give me a reason to be a Muslim!
Just one reason? Come on! Let’s see what you have here! I’ll give you ten.
1. Islam gives clear and rational answers to the important questions on everyone’s mind like:
Why were we created?
What is our purpose in life?
And what will happen to us after death?
2. Islam takes human nature into consideration. Thus, it puts neither the spiritual side before the physical side nor the physical side before the spiritual side. Islam creates a balance between the two that is enough to reform all aspects of human life.
3. Islam does not actually recognize blind submission and does not call for it. It elevates the value of the mind and intellect. There are no prohibited areas or taboos in thought. It rather tells its followers to think as a way to strengthen their faith in God.
4. Islam refuses worshipping creations. It rather focuses on worshipping the Creator solely, The Mighty Lord who is described by all attributes of perfection.
5. Islam does not allow confusion in the day-to-day life. It presents a set of legislations to organize society, economy, politics and even personal relationships. Its laws call for high values without disregarding human nature.
6. While religions are different in how they perceive the Creator, Islam announces it clearly.
“There is nothing like Him.” (Quran 42:11)
And there is nothing that could be compared to Him. He has all the attributes of perfection that make Him worthy of worship.
7. Islam respects all prophets and describes them as the most reformed and pious of humans worshipping God, Almighty, whom He chose to deliver His message.
8. Islam refuses alleged mediators between man and God like priests, clergymen or idols, etc. It connects you directly to the Creator because all men are equal before the Creator and no one is above the other except by their piety.
9. Islam does not force anybody to embrace it. You have to think for yourself to finally be chosen by God to enter His Paradise. Almighty God says,
“There shall be no compulsion in acceptance of the religion. The right course has become clear from the wrong.” (Quran 2:256)
10. By testimony of all those who embrace it, Islam changes the life of the new adherent 180 degrees to the better. And this is why it’s one of the fastest growing religions in the world according to Guinness actually.