title: Dr. Murad Hofmann, Islamic Thinker and Former Diplomat, Dies Aged 89,
content:

Yesterday, the German Muslim diplomat, writer and thinker Murad Wilfried Hofmann died at the age of 89, after a long struggle with illness and a life full of intellectual work and authorship of important books in modern Islamic thought, including “German-Muslim Diaries” and “Islam as an alternative.”

The Central Council of Muslims in Germany mourned Hofmann, who worked as his adviser, and the council’s statement added that the German Islamic thinker died among his loved ones.

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“Islam is a comprehensive religion. It is capable of confrontation. It was able to render education into an obligation and learning into a worshipping.” Murad Hofmann

About Dr. Murad Hofmann

Dr. Murad Wilfred Hofmann was the ambassador of his country in Algeria and Morocco, born in 1931 to a Catholic family in Aschaffenburg, a large town in northwestern Bavaria, and embraced Islam in September 1980, provoking a controversy because of his high diplomatic status.

Hofmann worked for the German Foreign Ministry from 1961 to 1994, and he specialized in issues related to nuclear defense.

He continued his work as director of information for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in Brussels from 1983 to 1987, as ambassador to Algeria from 1987 to 1990, and as ambassador to Morocco from 1990 to 1994.

As a result of what he saw in the Algerian war of independence and his admiration for the patience of the Algerians and their understanding of what happened, and his passion for Islamic art, and for what he considered contradictions in the Christian belief that he embraced Islam.

Islam as an alternative

Hofman responds in his book “Islam as an Alternative” to the claim that secular and capitalist democracy is the pinnacle of civilization, and Hofman presented his book to “Westerners who seek to understand Islam on a personal level.”

The book was considered a declaration by the German diplomat and thinker about his Islam, which exposed him to an attack by German and European media as he was a former German diplomat and worked in a sensitive position in NATO.

Hofman converted to Islam on September 25, 1980, and spoke in his book about Islam providing his future vision of religion, and he sees in his book that the twenty-first century is the century of the revival of Islam in Europe.

The book deals with sensitive issues

Although the author presented the book to Western readers, he did not avoid sensitive issues such as the rulings on borders, polygamy of the Messenger, may God bless him and grant him peace, issues of justice, destiny, usury, and the four schools of thought, as well as controversial topics such as succession, Sufism, extremism, women, art, and others.

The book caused a sensation before its publication, just as it was announced that a well-known German publishing house would print it, and Hofmann was exposed to numerous rumors and mutilation campaigns, including from allegations that every woman in the German Foreign Ministry working under the Hofmann administration would be forced to wear the hijab.

Without reading the book, some writers and politicians attacked Hofmann by claiming that his ideas were inconsistent with the German constitution, and the German Foreign Ministry asked him to provide a statement about his views, and in the end the book was issued with the presentation of a prestigious German academy that praised the book, which sparked a long debate on the pages of German newspapers and books.

Hofman’s Diary

In his diaries, the first Arabic translation of which was published by the Al-Ahram Center for Translation and Publishing in 1985, Hofman deals with his journey of pilgrimage and the positions that occurred to him with Muslims in the West and the Islamic world, and expressed it by saying, “Brotherhood in Islam has no borders.”

It is noted in the diaries that Hofman dealt with Islam as a religion and belief more than it dealt with the reality of Muslims, and the German thinker believes that Islam can fill the vacuum created by the West’s departure from the Church to atheism.

He says in the introduction to his book, “It is inevitable that the newcomer to Islam will see his country in a new light that requires him to conduct a dialogue with himself, and this is in fact the subject of this book.”

In his discussion of Al-Madina newspaper, Hofman shows in the book that he is surprised that Western and Muslim diplomats alike have been unable to find common ground in them between them against a legal background.

The philosophical controversy between Abu Hamid Al-Ghazali and Ibn Rushd Al-Andalusi

In the book, he discusses the philosophical controversy between Abu Hamid Al-Ghazali and Ibn Rushd Al-Andalusi, after he read translations of their books, and also takes notes on Ibn Khaldoun’s study of the human meeting and compares it with Western philosophers such as Nietzsche, Hagel and Rousseau.

In the notes, Hofmann appears to be a fugitive from a Western material society and a searcher in Islam for lost spirituality. He criticizes the incarnation of God in Christianity in exchange for the abstract and monotheistic concept of deity in Islam.

Islam Hofman came as the culmination of a long process of research, reflection and comparison between religions and modern philosophies studied by a law scholar from Harvard University and doctorate from the University of Munich, and he also has a book “A Philosophical Approach to Addressing Islam” (1983) and “The Role of Islamic Philosophy” (1985). ).

In his book “A Journey to Mecca”, Hofman deals with his first trip to Mecca after his conversion to Islam, touching on the pillars of Islam and the reality of faith as he feels, exposed to his mystical and philosophical reflections that were necessary throughout the pilgrimage.

Hofman criticizes Muslims, “psychologically defeated”, considering that Islam is a viable alternative to solving the world’s major problems in the postmodern era and the third millennium. Hofman has offered his criticism of Western modernity and stereotypes about Muslims and hostility between East and West from the site of the German Muslim thinker.


Source: tellerreport and aljazeera websites


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title: The Seven Under Allah’s Shade,
content:
By Jamaal Diwan

The hadith (saying of the Prophet) of the seven who are in Allah’s shade, subhanahu wa ta’ala (exalted is He), on the Day of Judgment gives us guidance as to important milestones and markers for our spiritual development. These are goals that should be sought in one’s development.

The Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said:

There are seven whom Allah will shade in His Shade on the Day when there is no shade except His Shade: a just ruler; a youth who grew up in the worship of Allah, the Mighty and Majestic; a man whose heart is attached to the mosques; two men who love each other for Allah’s sake, meeting for that and parting upon that; a man who is called by a woman of beauty and position [for illegal intercourse], but he says: ‘I fear Allah’, a man who gives in charity and hides it, such that his left hand does not know what his right hand gives in charity; and a man who remembered Allah in private and so his eyes shed tears. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

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The seven things mentioned all relate to serious developmental goals that should be sought throughout our own personal development and our efforts to help other people in their own growth.

So there are seven things mentioned in this hadith:

  • A just ruler.
  • A youth who grows up in the worship of Allah.
  • A man whose heart is attached to the mosques.
  • Two people who love one another for the sake of Allah.
  • Someone who resists a direct temptation from the opposite gender.
  • A person who is completely selfless in charity.
  • A person who remembers Allah in private and sheds tears in doing so.

The seven things mentioned all relate to serious developmental goals that should be sought throughout our own personal development and our efforts to help other people in their own growth.

1. A Just Ruler

The first is to develop a level of Allah-consciousness (taqwa) in the way that one deals with power. Being in a position of authority in Islam is a responsibility that one is held accountable for and it is very serious. Part of that is that our base selves often push us to take advantage of our positions of authority and abuse our power at the expense of others. This is a serious developmental flaw because it shows irresponsibility and a lack of taqwa. We all have varying situations throughout our lives wherein we are in a position of authority and when we have such power we have to look critically at ourselves and hope that Allah gives us good friends who help keep us in line. The developmental lesson here is in learning to act responsibly with power.

2. A youth who grows up in the worship of Allah

The second is a special kind of person that you meet every now and then. They are just good and always have been. These people are truly special because their consistency in worship draws them close to the fitrah, or natural state of being. You can feel their goodness in their interactions and see their genuineness in the details of their behavior. Most of us were not raised this way but that does not mean that we cannot renew our commitment to Allah (swt). That is something that we can do it any time by asking His forgiveness and starting fresh. This developmental point is about being consistent in our servitude to Allah (swt).

3. A man whose heart is attached to the mosques

The third is the one whose heart is attached to the houses of worship. These are the people you meet who organize their lives around prayer. They make every effort to be at the mosque for prayer as much as possible and find beauty and pleasure in doing so. They recognize the peace and tranquility that comes from spending time in the mosque, and they call others to do so as well. This developmental point is about learning to love worship.

4. Two people who love one another for the sake of Allah

The fourth is two people that love each other for the sake of Allah (swt). There are many reasons why we could care for someone in this life. Sometimes those reasons are selfish and sometimes they are selfless. The one who loves solely for Allah’s sake (swt) is selfless in their love. This is a kind of training of the heart that all seekers of the Divine must experience. They must learn to purify their relationships with others and focus them on the ultimate goal, the pleasure of Allah (swt). This developmental point is essentially learning how to love properly and for the right reasons.

5. Someone who resists a direct temptation from the opposite gender

The fifth is someone who is called to fulfill their sexual desires in an unlawful way and resists. This is mentioned as a major trial that can afflict a person and as such the reward for passing it is Paradise. The person who is able to resist such a temptation is someone who has a strong control over their self and a clear awareness of Allah (swt). The developmental lesson is in learning to resist immediate temptations in favor of a greater reward with Allah (swt).

6. A person who is completely selfless in charity

The sixth is someone who is so charitable that they lose track of their charity. The expression here is that their right hand spends so freely that their left hand does not even notice it. This habit is not about simply giving when it is convenient or only on certain things and not others. This is a habit that becomes so much a part of the person’s being that it reaches all causes of goodness. The developmental lesson is in making charity a way of life.

7. A person who remembers Allah in private and sheds tears in doing so.

The seventh, and final, is the one who remembers Allah (swt) in private and tears up. This last one is very intimate. Many people are able to maintain a stable Islamic personality in public, but when they are left alone by themselves they start to slip. Their identity and worship are public affairs but have not reached the inner depths of the self where true spirituality lies. The one who remembers Allah (swt) when alone and cries is the one who has cultivated a truly special and unique relationship with their Creator; an intimate relationship that cannot be explained by words and is only obtained through long periods of struggling for His sake. The developmental goal is to become intimate with Allah (swt) and move past the superficiality of common religious discourse.


Source: muslimsincalgary website with some modifications

About the author:

Jamaal Diwan was born and raised in Southern California and received a Bachelor’s Degree in Third World Studies and a minor in Psychology from the University of California, San Diego. He has served with the Muslim Student Association (MSA), MSA West, and Muslim American Society (MAS) in varying capacities. He remains an active MAS member and is a scholarship student with the Islamic American University. Jamaal is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree at the College of Shari`ah at al-Azhar University in Cairo, and Master’s degrees from the American University in Cairo in Arabic Studies with an emphasis in Islamic Studies.

 


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title: Salat Al-Istisqa’ (Prayer For Rain),
content:
By Dr. Salih Al-Fawzan

Istisqa’ prayer is a means of seeking rain from Allah, Exalted be He, during times of drought. That is, people are naturally disposed to ask help from the One Who is able to support them; Allah Alone.

This prayer was known among the previous nations. It is regarded also as one of the acts of the prophets (peace be upon them all). Allah, Exalted be He, says:

“And [recall] when Moses prayed for water for his people…” (Quran: Al-Baqarah: 60)

Similarly, Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace) performed Prayer for Rain for his people many times, and in many ways. In addition, Muslim scholars unanimously agree on the legality of such an act.

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The Prayer for Rain is ordained during times of drought and times when rain fails, which causes harm to people. Then there is no way out except by supplicating their Lord and asking Him for water (rain).

When to perform Salat al-Istisqa’ (prayer for rain)?

The Prayer for Rain is ordained during times of drought and times when rain fails, which causes harm to people. Then there is no way out except by supplicating their Lord and asking Him for water (rain).

People may supplicate Allah in various ways. For instance, people may supplicate Allah in Prayer, whether in congregation or alone. They may also supplicate Him by invoking Him during the sermon of the Jumu’ah (Friday) Prayer, in which the imam may invoke Allah, and Muslims say, “Ameen”.

Furthermore, it may be by invoking Allah after performing prayers, or by supplicating Him in seclusions with neither prayer nor sermon. All such acts are related about the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace).

The legal ruling concerning Salat al-Istisqa’

The Prayer for Rain is regarded as a stressed Sunnah. There are many hadiths in support of this practice. ‘Abdullah Ibn Zayd (may Allah be pleased with him) said:

“The Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) went out to invoke Allah for rain. He faced the qiblah invoking Allah. Then he traversed his cloak and performed two rak’ahs and recited the Quran aloud in them” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

How to perform Salat al-Istisqa’?

The Prayer for Rain is similar to that of the Feast concerning its relevant rulings and the place where it is performed. That is, it is viewed desirable to perform it in the place where the Feast (‘id) Prayer is performed; outside the mosque.

Moreover, its rulings and practices are the same as those of the Feast Prayer.  Ibn ‘Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated:

“The Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) performed two rak’ahs as he does in the Feast (Prayer).

At-Tirmidhi says that this is a hasan (good) and sahih (authentic) hadith, and AI Hakim and others view it as a sahih (authentic) hadith, as well.

The one performing the Prayer for Rain is to recite the Sura of Al-A’la (the Most High) in the first rak’ah, and the Sura of Al-Ghashiyah (the Overwhelming Event) in the second one.

People are to perform it in a vast spacious place, away from the place of residence, as the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) did not perform it except in the desert.

This is because performing it in such a place is a means of showing much need to Allah, Exalted be He.

Recommended acts before performing Salat al-Istisqa’

When the imam wants to proceed to perform the Prayer for Rain, he should start with reminding people of what may soften their hearts by mentioning Allah’s reward and punishment.

They should also be commanded to turn to Allah in repentance and return rights to whom they are due. This is because sins are amongst the main reasons that cause rain and blessings to be withheld.

On the other side, repentance and asking Allah for forgiveness are reasons for Allah’s answering of supplication. Allah, Exalted be He, says:

“And if only the people of the cities had believed and feared Allah, We would have opened [i.e. bestowed] upon them blessings from the heaven and the earth; but they denied [the messengers], so We seized them for what they were earning” (Quran: Al-A’raf:96)

Furthermore, the imam should command people to give charity to the poor and needy, as this is regarded as a cause for sending Allah’s mercy.

After that, he is to set for them a certain day, at which they are to come out and be prepared for such an honorable occasion, and according to that which best suits it as an act of the Sunnah.

At that date, people are to go out to the place of prayer showing humbleness, submissiveness and neediness of Allah, Exalted be He, as Ibn ‘Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) said:

“Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) went out to perform the Prayer for Rain showing humility humbleness, and submissiveness and supplicating (Allah).” (At-Tirmidhi said that this is a hasan, sahih (good, authentic) hadith.)

No Muslim should stay behind (from going out) while able, even boys and women, whose presence does not cause temptation, are to go out to perform it.

The legal rulings concerning the sermon

Then, the imam is to lead people performing two rak’ahs, as mentioned before. After doing so, he is to deliver one sermon. However, some scholars view that the imam is to deliver two sermons. Both opinions are permissible, but the soundest opinion is to deliver one sermon, according to the most preponderant legal proof.

In most cases, the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) delivered the sermon after performing the Prayer for Rain, and Muslims acted according to this. However, it is related that the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) delivered the sermon before performing the prayer. This is the view of some scholars, but the first view (delivering the sermon after performing prayer) is more preponderant; and Allah knows best.

In the sermon of asking for rain, the imam should ask for Allah’s forgiveness as well as recite the verses that command asking for forgiveness, in abundance, as this is considered a cause for sending rain.

Etiquette of Supplication

Moreover, the imam should supplicate Allah, Exalted be He, with much invocation, asking for rain. When supplicating Allah, the imam should raise his hands, as the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) used to raise his hands when invoking Allah in the Prayer for Rain, so much that the whiteness of his armpits became visible.

The imam should also confer blessings upon the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace), as this is a cause for (Allah) answering his supplication. He may invoke Allah with the supplication related about the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) in such situations, as a means of following him. In this regard, Allah, Exalted be He, says:

“There has certainty been for you in the Messenger of Allah an Excellent pattern for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Last Day…” (Quran: AI-Ahzab: 21)

It is viewed as an act of the Sunnah (Prophetic Tradition) to face the qiblah (direction of prayer) at the end of supplication, and to traverse one’s clothes, as related in the Two Sahihs that the Prophet turned his back toward the people and faced the qiblah asking Allah (for rain). Then he traversed his cloak.

The wisdom behind this – Allah knows best – is that it is like a good omen that the present hard condition may turn into prosperity and the sending of rain. People should also follow the imam and traverse their clothes, as Imam Ahmad related,

“..the people followed him (the Prophet) and traversed their clothes”

This would be until Allah sends down rain; otherwise, Muslims should repeat asking for rain, as long as there is a need for that.

Recommended supplications to make when it rains

It is considered an act of the Sunnah (Prophetic Tradition) that when rain starts to fall, one is to stand and receive some of it and say:

“O Allah! Let it be a strong fruitful rain,” and say, “The rain is due to the Favor and Mercy of Allah.”

However, when rain falls heavily and there is fear that it might cause harm, one should say as the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) used to say:

“O Allah! (Let the rain be) around us, not on us. O Allah! (Let the rain be) on the plateaus, on the mountains, on the hills, on the hillocks, in the valleys, and on the places where trees grow.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)


The article is an excerpt from the author’s book “A Summary of Islamic Jurisprudence” with some modifications.

Dr. Salih Al-Fawzan is a Professor of Islamic Jurisprudence, Member of the Board of Senior Ulema & Member of the Permanent Committee for Fatwa and Research.


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title: Hanan’s and John’s Stories of Conversion to Islam,
content:
By Abbie Wightwick

Born to Christian but not especially religious families, Hanan Sandercock and her husband John Smith became Muslims as adults in Wales.

They celebrate Eid and not Christmas, pray five times a day, and don’t eat pork or drink alcohol. Hanan, 51, has worn a scarf for 23 years since converting aged 28 and raised all her four children in the faith.

Both say they felt a sense of relief and fufilment converting. They describe it as finding a community as well as a faith and finding answers to questions they’d been asking.

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Artist and play worker Hanan Sandercock has decorated the family home in Pentwyn with copies of ancient Islamic tile designs. She is pictured with husband John Smith

Searching for the meaning of life

While their families supported their choice some of Hanan’s friends drifted away when she became a Muslim in 1995.

Then Donna Sandercock, she arrived in Cardiff in the early 1990s as a young art school graduate looking for work.

“I was in my 20s and I think I was searching. I wanted to know the meaning of life. I went to a Buddhist meeting but that didn’t do anything for me.”

 

With Cardiff beginning to shake off the grey days of the 1970s and ’80s Donna, originally from a small village in Cornwall, was intrigued to be in a city with a historically multicultural population. She got to know and befriend young Muslims her age working and socialising.

“I was interested. Their religion was very important to them. They were solid and had a belief system I didn’t have.

“I’d eat at their houses and have the nicest food. They were really open and welcoming and happy I was interested.”

If we got our safely I’d become a Muslim

In the summer of 1994 visiting a kibbutz in Palestine she also learned more about Palestinian and Muslim history and culture and had a religious experience which led her to convert to Islam when she returned to Cardiff.

“I was walking in a wadi, a deep ravine, in the heat of the day with a friend and we got lost,” she said. “There were no mobile phones then and we had run out of water. I prayed in a way I’d never done before. I prayed that if we got our safely I’d become a Muslim. It wasn’t something I’d vocalised before but realised it had been inside me.”

Back in Wales she “read and read about Islam” and spoke to a Yemeni  friend “who kept asking me if I was sure” before converting at the South Wales Islamic Centre in Butetown.

The well-known late Imam Sheikh Said, whose own mother was a Welsh Muslim convert, listened as Donna changed her name to Hanan and recited the Shahada, the declaration of belief in the oneness of God and the acceptance of Muhammad as his prophet.

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Inside the The South Wales Islamic Centre where Hanan converted to Islam

“I immediately felt a great sense of relief,” she said. “Islam explains things to me. The answers are all there.

“I became part of a diverse community. I was not pressured to be or become a particular way.

“I wore an abayah. Being Muslim is an identity and I wanted to show that.”

Marrying an Algerian Muslim in Cardiff Hanan had four children, now aged 22, 21, 14 and 10, but later divorced.

And within a few years world events led her to stop wearing her robe robe because she was scared of being attacked. When 9/11 happened the whole landscape changed.

Although Hanan had been shouted at and had things thrown at her by men in cars in 1990s Cardiff, it was only when the Twin Towers were attacked in 2001 that she began to feel seriously at risk.

“I stopped wearing the abayah (robe) after 9/11. I knew some Muslim women had been attacked in the UK and America. I had little children and didn’t want us to be at risk. I carried on wearing the scarf but not the abayah.”

At the same time a few miles down the road 35 year-old John Smith was seeking out Muslims but for different reasons.

John’s journey of conversion

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John and Hanan’s bookcase is filled with books about Islam

Born in Omagh, northern Ireland, to a Protestant Irish mother and English army father, John was living in Pontypridd when the September 11 attacks happened in 2001.

“9/11 led to me converting to Islam,” he said as he recalled not so much a search for faith as a bolt out of the blue.

“I met a University of South Wales (USW) student who was Muslim and asked him: ‘How could Muslims do this? Where’s the rationale?’

“He told me the people who carried out the attacks had Muslim names but were not Muslims. He gave me a copy of the Quran.”

After reading the holy book John attended a lecture tour by a Muslim cleric and converted.

“I converted before I really found out about Islam. Saying the Shahada is a declaration. You have to take it slowly and really want to do it.

“Being Muslim for me means having a sense of family.

“You never stop learning. Islamic culture and religion is incredibly rich.”

As there is no mosque in Pontypridd John prayed at the prayer facility at USW. Although he wasn’t a student the room is open to the community. Now living in Cardiff he visits the Al Manar and Dar Ul-Isra mosques. Like Hanan he prays in Arabic.

The couple, who met through a friend in 2017 and married the same year, are horrified by extremism in any part of the Muslim or non-Muslim community.

“Extremist Muslims are the bane of our lives because it’s always those that make the headlines,” said John.

“They almost become the public face of Islam which is really difficult when you when you are living as a Muslim and it colours peoples’ judgement.”

Hanan has witnessed a child’s headscarf being snatched off her head in Roath Park by a teenager on a bike, knows people who have been insulted regularly in the street, and has herself been insulted and had liquid thrown at her from a car in the 1990s.

She is impatient with those who won’t adapt and celebrate diversity, saying she is proud to be a white “British Muslim”. She disagrees with the Salafi Muslim view that Muslims should not take part in Western democracy by voting and is frustrated by non-Muslim friends and acquaintances who turn up with bottles of alcohol or argue about the custom of not celebrating birthdays.

Both say they have been very lucky with their families accepting and embracing their change of religion and lifestyle.

Hanan’s younger sister Lisa also converted and their parents moved to Cardiff and enjoy celebrating Eid with their grandchildren, all of whom are Muslim.

 

Both Hanan and John feel it is vital to talk about their faith to counter ignorance.

Hanan, a play leader at the Steiner School in Cardiff, said she works and teaches with people who are Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Pagan and of no religion.

Her younger children attend the school and she likes that it is a place where discussion is easy and differences are accepted. She regrets this is not the case everywhere but said she and her family are happy to be who they are and say so.

“I am British Muslim and happy to be. At first when you convert you are shy and embarrassed. But I even make halal pasties now.

“This is who I am.”


Source: walesonline.co.uk with some modifications


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<hr>

title: A Documentary on Zamzam Water!,
content:

This is a documentary on the blessed Well of Zamzam. It reminds us about the story of Hajar, the wife of Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him), and her baby child Ishmael (peace be upon him). Hajar (peace be upon her) was alone in the desert with her child Ishmael (peace be upon him), who was about to die out of thirst. She, then, walked seven times between the two Mounts of Safa and Marwah in the hope that she would find water. At last, the archangel Gabriel (peace be upon him) came and struck the earth with his heel or wing. The water issued forth.

Every Muslim, whether performing Hajj and ‘Umrah or not, is recommended to drink from the the blessed water of Zamzam. Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace) described the water as being a blessing and food that satisfies.

In this video, you will know more about this blessed water; pumping, drawing, distribution, etc.


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<hr>

title: Eclipse Prayer,
content:
By Dr. Salih Al-Fawzan

Allah, Exalted be He, says:

“It is He who made the sun a shining light and the moon a derived light and determined for it phases – that you may know the number of years and account [of time]. Allah has not created this except in truth. He details the signs for a people who know.” (Quran: Yunus: 5)

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Eclipses are considered a kind of warning from Allah directed to people in order to make them turn to Allah in repentance and follow His right path.

The Legal Ruling and Evidence of the Eclipse Prayer

The Eclipse Prayer is a stressed act of the Sunnah according to the unanimous agreement of scholars. Its proof is derived from the confirmed act of the Sunnah of Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace).

Eclipse is a sign amongst the signs of Allah, which He reveals to warn and alarm His servants. Allah says:

“…And We send not the signs except as a warning.” (Quran: Al-Isra’: 59)

There was an eclipse in the lifetime of the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) and so he hurried to the mosque filled with fear. He led Muslims in prayer. Next, he told them that the eclipse is a sign amongst the signs of Allah by which He warns His servants. He also added that it might be the reason for a severe torment that might befall people.

Therefore, the Prophet (PBUH) ordered people to do acts that may eliminate it. That is, to perform prayer, supplicate, ask for Allah’s forgiveness, give charity, and other good deeds, so that people may be relieved.

Eclipses are considered a kind of warning from Allah directed to people in order to make them turn to Allah in repentance and follow His right path.

Misconception

In the Pre-Islamic Period of Ignorance (the Jahiliyyah), people used to believe that the reason behind eclipses was due to the birth or death of a great person.

Therefore, the Messenger (PBUH) invalidated such beliefs and showed the Divine wisdom behind eclipses. On the authority of Abu Mas’ud Al-Ansari who said:

“There was an eclipse on the day when Ibrahim, the son of the Prophet (PBUH), died. So, people said that the sun had eclipsed due to the death of Ibrahim.

Therefore, the Prophet (PBUH) said, ‘The sun and the moon are two signs amongst the signs of Allah. They do not eclipse because of the death or life of somebody. So, when you see that, seek refuge with the remembrance of Allah and perform prayer.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

In another narration, the Prophet (PBUH) says:

“Invoke Allah and perform prayer until the eclipse clears.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

There is also a similar hadith related in Sahih Al-Bukhari on the authority of Abu Musa, saying:

“…when you see anything thereof resort to remembering Allah, invoking Him and asking for His forgiveness”

Hence, Allah causes eclipses of these two great signs, namely, the sun and moon. This is to let people take warning and know that the sun and moon are creatures, just like the other creatures, that may be afflicted with imperfection and change.

Thus, Allah does this to show His servants His sublime, perfect Might and to confirm that He is the Only One deserving worship. Allah says:

“And of His signs are the night and day and the sun and moon. Do not prostrate to the sun or to the moon, but prostrate to Allah, Who created them, if it should be Him that you worship.” (Quran: Fussilat: 37)

When to Perform the Eclipse Prayer?

As for the time of the Eclipse Prayer, it is to start from the beginning of the eclipse until it is clear. The Prophet (PBUH) says:

“When you see the eclipse, perform prayer.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

It came in another hadith as:

“When you see any of this (i.e. eclipse), perform prayer until it dears.” (Muslim)

The Eclipse Prayer is not to be performed after the eclipse is over for its due time has been missed. Also, if the eclipse is over before people know of it, they are not to perform the Eclipse Prayer.

How to Perform the Eclipse Prayer?

Two ruku’s (bowings) and two sujuds (prostrations) for each rak’ah

According to the soundest opinion of scholars, Eclipse Prayer is to be performed with two rak’ahs (units of Prayer), in which one is to recite the Quran aloud.

As for the first rak’ah, one is to recite Al-Fatihah (the Opening Chapter of the Quran) and another long sura, such as the Sura of Al-Baqarah (the Cow) or any other long sura. Then, one is to perform a prolonged bowing, and raise one’s head and say tasmi’[i] and tahmid[ii] in the same way one does in other prayers.

The second recitation before the second ruku’ of the first rak’ah

Next, one is to recite Al-Fatihah and another long sura, but shorter than the first, such as the Sura of Al ‘Imran (the Family of ‘Imran).

After that, one is to perform a long bowing, but shorter than the first one, and raise one’s head and say tasmi’ and tahmid.

After saying so, one is to perform two prolonged prostrations and not to prolong sitting between them.

Then, one is to perform the second rak’ah similar to the first, namely with two prolonged bowings and two prolonged prostrations. Finally, one is to recite Tashahhud and say taslim[iii]. ‘A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) narrated:

“In the lifetime of Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace), the sun eclipsed and he went to the mosque and the people aligned behind him. He pronounced takbir and prolonged the recitation (of the Quran) and then said takbir and performed a prolonged bowing; then he (lifted his head and) said, Allah listens to the one who praises Him.’ He then did not prostrate hut stood up and recited a prolonged recitation, but shorter than the first one. He again pronounced takbir, then performed a prolonged bowing, but shorter than the first one and then said (after rising from bowing), Allah listens to the one who praises Him, O our Lord! (All) praise is due to You! Then, he prostrated and then he did the same in the second rak ‘ah; thus he completed four bowings and four prostrations. The sun (eclipse) had cleared before he finished the prayer” (Related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

It is an act of the Sunnah (Prophetic Tradition) to perform Eclipse Prayer in congregation, as done by the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace), yet it is permissible to perform it alone, like the case with the other supererogatory prayers. However, it is preferable to perform it in congregation.

Delivering a Sermon after Prayer

Moreover, it is an act of the Sunnah, for the imam, to preach people after performing the Eclipse Prayer, and warn them against heedlessness with regard to Allah’s commands, and against unawareness. The imam should also command them to invoke Allah frequently and ask for His forgiveness. ‘A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) narrated:

“The Prophet (PBUH) came to the people, after the sun became visible again after the eclipse, and delivered a sermon…” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

If the prayer is finished before the eclipse is over, one is to resort to remembering and invoking Allah until it is over, and not to repeat prayer.

However, if the eclipse is clear during prayer, one is to complete it quickly and not to stop it straight away. as Allah, Exalted be He, says:

“…And do not invalidate your deeds.’ (Quran: Muhammad: 33)

Hence, prayer is to be during the time of eclipse, as the Prophet (PBUH) says, “…until the eclipse is clear” (Al-Bukhari) and, “…until the eclipse is over” (Al-Nasa’i).


[i] Tasmi’: Saying “Sami’ Allah-u li-man hamidah” i.e. “Allah listens to the one who praises Him,” when standing following bowing in prayer.

[ii] Tahmid (in Prayer): Saying as a reply to tasmi’, “Rabbana wa laka al-Hamd” i.e. “Our Lord, to You be all praise.”

[iii] Taslim: Saying the final salams in prayer (saying, “As-salam-u ‘alaikum wa rahmat-ullah” i.e. Peace and mercy of Allah be upon you) when concluding prayer.

The article is an excerpt from the author’s book “A Summary of Islamic Jurisprudence” with some modifications.

Dr. Salih Al-Fawzan is a Professor of Islamic Jurisprudence, Member of the Board of Senior Ulema & Member of the Permanent Committee for Fatwa and Research.


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title: The Christmas Message of Jesus,
content:
By Idris Tawfiq

As Christmas is celebrated all over the world, it will come as a real surprise to many people that Muslims have any regard for Jesus at all.

Most people have no idea that Jesus has any part in Islam. And yet, for Muslims not only is Jesus revered as a Prophet of Islam, but whenever his name is mentioned, they will add the words “peace be upon him.”

Far from being a “foreign” religion, Islam teaches that all prophets in the Old Testament actually brought a message from Almighty God, Allah, to His people, and Muslims respect the same prophets revered by Christians and Jews.

Whilst Christians and Muslims believe very different things about Jesus, it is nonetheless a very useful starting point to know that both religious traditions honor Jesus as a very special person. In fact, it would be quite acceptable for Muslims to include the name of Jesus in their Shahadah, or declaration of faith.

Muslims say: “I bear witness that there is no God but Allah and I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah,” but they could just as equally declare “I bear witness that there is no God but Allah and I bear witness that Jesus is the Messenger of Allah.”

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As people throughout the world celebrate Christmas, it might be a very good way of building bridges between people of faith if Muslims were to let others know just what Islam teaches about Prophet Jesus.

Jesus (peace be upon him) in Islam and in Christianity

That being said, the Jesus revealed in Islam is in many ways quite different from the Jesus many Christians have come to know. The foremost difference is that Jesus is not considered by Muslims to be the son of God.

The next major difference is that Muslims do not believe that he died on the cross to save people from their sins.

They take their belief from what Allah tells them in the Quran. For example, regarding who Jesus was, we read:

O People of the Book! Commit no excesses in your religion: Nor say of Allah aught but the truth. Christ Jesus the son of Mary was (no more than) a messenger of Allah, and His Word, which He bestowed on Mary… (Quran 4:171)

And we also read:

{Christ the son of Mary was no more than a messenger; many were the messengers that passed away before him. His mother was a woman of truth. They had both to eat their (daily) food. See how Allah doth make His signs clear to them; yet see in what ways they are deluded away from the truth! (Quran 5:75)

Regarding Jesus’ death, we read in the Quran:

And they said we have killed the Messiah Jesus son of Mary, the Messenger of God. They did not kill him, nor did they crucify him, though it was made to appear like that to them… (Quran 4:157-158)

An Authentic Narrative about Jesus

It is important for us to understand why Muslims believe a different narrative about Jesus, rather than the one accepted by many Christians. Muslims in fact believe that the words about Jesus in the existing gospels are not the actual words revealed about him by Allah.

They believe, instead, that Almighty God, Allah, has spoken to His creation down through the centuries through prophets. Some of these prophets had books revealed to them. Prophet Moses, for example, had the Torah revealed to him, just as Prophet Jesus had a message revealed to him known as the Injeel.

Muslims believe that neither of these books now exist in the form in which they were originally revealed because they have been altered, either deliberately or accidentally, over time. Allah never intended these messages to last, since they were for a particular people at a particular time in their history.

The Quran revealed to Muhammad, however, was intended for all people and for all time. It is the fullness of revelation, affirming all that is correct of what had gone before and correcting all that had become unclear about previous revelation.

The Message of Jesus in Quran

The Quran, then, has a different nativity narrative for the birth of Jesus and a completely different approach to who Jesus was. Jesus according to the Quran, was “no more than a messenger,” delivering God’s words to mankind. Unlike prophets before him, he was given the gift of miracles, but these miracles were a manifestation of the power of God, not of Jesus’ own power.

The message of Jesus was the message given to all prophets before him: that God is One and that He deserves to be worshipped in a particular way. By following the “straight path” people can come to get to know God better. This is the message confirmed in the Quran and is what has come to be known as Islam today. For Muslims, Jesus is a Messenger of Islam.

So what about the “Christian message” preached by Jesus? What about all the teaching about love of neighbor? What about all the stories and the parables related by Christians today as the words of Jesus himself?

For Muslims, the Quran is the fullness of revelation. Everything that agrees with the Quran in the previous scriptures is considered to be true. Anything that disagrees with the Quran is considered to be false. And as for anything in the previous scriptures which is not found in the Quran, Muslims don’t know if it is true or false, whether it is divinely revealed or the invention of men.

Stories like the Good Samaritan and the Sermon on the Mount, for example, do not appear in the Quran so Muslims have no way of knowing who wrote them. Since they don’t actually disagree with Islamic teaching we cannot say they are wrong, but we remain unclear about where they came from.

In other words, much of Jesus’ so-called teaching, as narrated by the New Testament, sits very comfortably with the principles of the Quran, but is not to be found as divine revelation in the Quran itself.

Teaching that people should love their neighbor, although related in different language, is very much a part of what Muslims believe. Prophet Muhammad is the closest commentary we have on the Quran. In his life we see how the Quran should be lived and in his life we see that caring for neighbors, the widowed and the orphans is very much a part of being a Muslim.

Christmas Message

As people throughout the world celebrate Christmas, it might be a very good way of building bridges between people of faith if Muslims were to let others know just what Islam teaches about Prophet Jesus. This shouldn’t be done in a way that offends the belief of others. After all, disagreeing is not the end of the world!

If people could understand one another more and agree to differ on certain matters of belief, our world would be a much better place.

Christians would have us believe that “Peace” is the central message of Christmas. As Muslims we say “Amen” to that, since “Islam” itself comes from a root word that means “Peace” and Prophet Jesus came to teach the message of Islam.

Happy holidays!


Source: aboutislam website

About the author

Idris Tawfiq was a British writer, public speaker and consultant. For many years, he was head of religious education in different schools in the United Kingdom. Before embracing Islam, he was a Roman Catholic priest. He passed away in peace in the UK in February 2016 after a period of illness. May Allah (SWT) have mercy on him, and accept his good deeds. Ameen.


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title: Jesus in the Quran,
content:
By Idris Tawfiq

How Christians depict Jesus (peace be upon him)

Christian artists down through the centuries have shown Jesus surrounded by fluffy clouds or angels. Around his head a golden halo of light shines, while little children and lambs are always at his feet.

On the cross, this artistic Jesus is shown suffering terrible agonies on behalf of others, asking always that his enemies be forgiven. The “gentle Jesus, meek and mild” of the Christian hymn books, the blue-eyed Jesus with curly flowing hair, is the Jesus that sits in the popular imagination.

Maybe it is because Islam has always discouraged depictions of human beings in art that Christianity has managed to win the publicity prize for its portrayal of Jesus (peace be upon him).

In addition to art, the Christian Church chose four of the many Gospels that were written to describe the life of Jesus. Saint Luke`s is perhaps the most beautiful, being a Gospel of prayer, of the poor, and of women. The way in which Luke crafts his words makes Jesus so appealing.

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According to Islam, Jesus was a prophet of God. He belonged to a long line of prophets, calling people throughout history to the worship of One God.

The Description of Muhammad and Jesus (Allah bless them and grant them peace) in the Quran

Muhammad (God bless him and grant him peace)

Islam, on the other hand, has no artists to elevate Muhammad (peace be upon him) to the rank of a deity. It has no Gospel writers and no Paul to use their words to make Muhammad anything more than human. The Quran was revealed to a man who could neither read nor write. He simply recounted what was said as it was told to him.

Jesus (peace be upon him)

The Jesus which God tells about in the Quran is quite different from the Gospel Jesus, although there are some similarities. Especially at Christmas time, when the depictions of Prophet Jesus are at their most florid, we need to remind people who Jesus really was. In the Quran we read what means:

{He [Jesus] said: “I am indeed a servant of God. He has given me revelation and made me a prophet; He has made me blessed wheresoever I be; and He has enjoined on me prayer and charity as long as I live. He has made me kind to my mother, and not overbearing or miserable. So peace is on me the day I was born, the day that I die, and the day that I shall be raised up to life (again)!” Such was Jesus the son of Mary. It is a statement of truth, about which they (vainly) dispute. It is not befitting to (the majesty of) God that He should beget a son. Glory be to Him! When He determines a matter, He only says to it, “Be,” and it is.} (19:30-35)

In other words, according to Islam, Jesus was a prophet of God. He belonged to a long line of prophets, calling people throughout history to the worship of One God. These include such names as Abraham, Moses, David, and Solomon (peace be upon them all) and, like them, he is revered and honored by all Muslims. Whenever they mention the name of Jesus, Muslims will always say, “Peace be upon him.”

The Miraculous birth of Jesus (peace be upon him) and his other miracles

Like the accounts in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, the Quran shows that Jesus` birth was miraculous:

{Behold! the angels said, “Oh Mary! God gives you glad tidings of a Word from Him. His name will be Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, held in honor in this world and the Hereafter, and in (the company of) those nearest to God. He shall speak to the people in childhood and in maturity. He shall be (in the company) of the righteous… And God will teach him the Book and Wisdom, the Law and the Gospel.”} (3:45-48)

Not only did Jesus have a miraculous birth, but the Quran also tells us that he was born of a virgin mother and that he spoke in the cradle, that he performed miracles, and that he did not die on the cross, nor was he raised back to life after three days.

God sent messengers down through the ages to bring men and women back to Him. It is part of our human nature, isn`t it, that we constantly forget, and need to be called back to the straight path?

Different messengers were sent with different gifts, as they needed to speak to their own people in a way that would attract them and help them to understand. It was the special gift of Prophet Jesus that he could perform miracles:

{I have come to you with a sign from your Lord: I make for you out of clay, as it were, the figure of a bird, and breathe into it and it becomes a bird by God`s leave. And I heal the blind, and the lepers, and I raise the dead by God`s leave.} (3:49)

Jesus (peace be upon him) is only a Messenger, not God

Being able to perform miracles didn`t make Jesus equal to God. Everything he did was by God`s leave, to teach the people of Israel about God Himself. Even these miracles, though, were not enough to convince them.

It is the belief of Islam regarding Jesus that we should never confuse the message with the messenger. His message was to speak about God and to show the power of God in this world and the next, but the message didn`t make him equal to God. His miracles were his way of conveying the message.

In fact, the Quran is quite clear about this:

{Christ, the son of Mary, was no more than a messenger; many were the messengers that passed away before him. His mother was a woman of truth. They had both to eat their (daily) food. See how God makes His signs clear to them; yet see in what ways they are deluded away from the truth!} (5:75)

Jesus and his mother both had to eat food. They were human beings, like you and I. Jesus was given the loftiest of tasks in being called to speak God`s message to the world, but he remained just that: a man who ate food.

Christians’ confusion

Out of an exaggerated love for Jesus, many of his earliest followers, encouraged by the writings of Saint Paul, began to see Prophet Jesus as something more than human, a god.

They confused the beautiful message he brought with the One who sent it. They saw his gift of being able to calm the winds and the seas, or his gift of curing the sick, as indicating that he was more than just a man.

The Quran is quite clear about that, Jesus was a great prophet, but he was no more than that. He did not die on the cross, nor was he raised to life after three days, but he was a man.

One of the greatest men, yes. A man with very special gifts, yes. A man whom they revere as a great prophet, yes, but not a god. There is no God but Allah.

Dialogue between God and Jesus on the Day of Judgment

In summary of all this, the Quran tells us what God will say to Jesus on the Last Day, when He Almighty calls all people to Himself:

{And behold! God will say [on the Day of Judgment]: “Oh Jesus, the son of Mary! Did you say unto men, worship me and my mother as gods in derogation of God?” He will say: “Glory to Thee! Never could I say what I had no right (to say). Had I said such a thing, You would indeed have known it. You know what is in my heart, though I know not what is in Yours. For You know in full all that is hidden. Never did I say to them anything except what You commanded me to say: `Worship God, my Lord and your Lord.` And I was a witness over them while I lived among them. When You took me up, You were the Watcher over them, and You are a witness to all things.”} (5:116-17)


Source: muslimsincalgary.ca

About the author

Idris Tawfiq was a British writer, public speaker and consultant. For many years, he was head of religious education in different schools in the United Kingdom. Before embracing Islam, he was a Roman Catholic priest. He passed away in peace in the UK in February 2016 after a period of illness. May Allah (SWT) have mercy on him, and accept his good deeds. Ameen.


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title: The Belief in the Books of Allah!,
content:
Transcribed by Editorial Staff

This is Sister Ameena Blake coming to you with New Muslim Bites. And this is session number five in which (in Sha’ Allah) we’re going to be talking about the Article of Faith which is the belief in the Books of Allah, all the Books of the One God.

Now, there are several of the books of Allah mentioned in the Quran. Of course, we have the Quran itself which is mentioned in the Quran obviously, but we also have others. So, for example, the Torah which is the Book of Moses or Musa (‘Alaihi as-salam), the Zabur which is the Book of Dawud (‘Alaihi as-salam)and the Injil which is the Book of ‘Isa or Jesus (peace be upon him).

Now, I’m going to go through each one in turn, give you a little bit of information. It’s very important in order for us to understand our Deen that we understand that the Quran is the end product and a perfected product, a perfected way of life. But this message that has gone through to mankind throughout the other books is the same mental message essentially. And the message, of course, is that we would believe in the One God, Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) and worship Him only.

The Torah

So, the Torah! It’s mentioned 18 times in the Quran. And in Surah 5, verse 44, Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) says,

 We revealed the Torah which is a guidance and a light. (Quran 5:44)

And this was actually revealed for the Jews, for the Jewish community through Musa (‘Alaihi as-salam). And actually, it’s very interesting that even at the time of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), there was a point where the Jewish community actually approached him for some advice on a matter. A man and woman had been committing fornication, or zina in Arabic. And the Jews came to him to ask him for advice on the matter as regards what they should do with religious, the religious area. So, they asked him to go and judge in this matter.

So, he said, “Yes, I’ll go and judge”. And they gave him a cushion to sit on and the Prophet (peace be upon him) sat on the cushion and then asked them to bring the Torah to him.

So, subhan Allah, he asked them to bring their own Book to him and he removed the cushion from under himself and put it down and actually put the Torah on top of the cushion and said to the Torah, “I believed in you and in Him who revealed you”.

So, he was then affirming… and it was amazing Da’wah that he was affirming to the Jews that it’s part of the Islamic faith as well to believe in the Torah. And he actually then called them to bring one of their people of knowledge to help with judging, and somebody had the knowledge of the Torah. And (he) decided it between these two people using that, using something that they knew and they could relate to.

The Zabur, the Psalms

Now, the Zabur! It’s sometimes known… those of us who have been to church in the past and Sunday schools and stuff. It’s known as the Psalms, the Psalms of David, or Dawud (‘Alaihi as-salam)

Some say that that’s what the Zabur actually is. And now the word Zabur comes from the Hebrew zimrah which actually means ‘song’ which links in with the Psalms because the Psalms are actually the songs. It’s mentioned three times in the Quran. In surah 17, verse 55, Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) says,

 

We gave to David (the gift of) the Zabur. (Quran 17:55)

 

And there’s a hadith in which the Prophet (peace be upon him) mentions that the reciting of the Zabur was made easy for Dawud (‘Alaihi as-salam) to the extent that from the time it took him to ask his servants to saddle up the riding animals, the horses, camels, etc. to the time that the riding animals were actually saddled. If he started reciting at the beginning then he would continue and he would have finished reciting the Zabur when the saddles were on the animals, when they were ready to travel. So quite a short! It was made easy on him, may Allah be pleased with him!

The Injil

Now the Injil, sometimes known as the New Testament! Again for those of us who’ve been brought up as Christians. Of course, that was revealed to the prophet ‘Isa (‘Alaihi as-salam). And that is actually mentioned 12 times in the Quran.

Now, in Surah 5, verse 46, Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) says,

And in their footsteps, We sent ‘Isa (or Jesus), son of Mary, confirming the law that came before him. We sent him the Injil in which was guidance and light and confirmation of the law that had come before him. (Quran 5:46)

So, this is a confirmation in the Quran that, again, the same as the Torah. It is mentioned as a guidance and as a light. And also that, adding on that, it came to confirm what was before it. So, it came to confirm for Jews that the Torah was the Word of Allah. And this is what they should be following because the Jews at this point, the community, needed another prophet and a reminder of the laws that Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) had sent to them.

The Scrolls of Abraham and the Books of Yahya

Now, there’s a very brief mention of the Scrolls of Ibrahim (‘Alaihi as-salam), or Abraham, and also a brief mention of the Books of Yahya.  And the people who followed him were called the Sabians.

Now, we don’t have any real knowledge of where those books are now. They’re considered to be lost unfortunately.

The Belief in the Books of Allah

Now, as Muslims, we have to believe in all these Books. But we, of course, believe them in their original form. Now the people who believe in these books and follow these books are the Christians and the Jews and Sabians if there are any. And they are considered and mentioned in the Quran as Ahl al-Kitab, Ahl al-Kitab meaning the People of the Book. And they are very revered and put in a very high position in Islam and very, very respected and also protected under Islam.

The Quran

Now, the Quran of course! How can we not speak about this book of Allah? This is the final and protected and perfected Book of Allah and is actually protected by Allah from change and corruption. And Allah challenges people in the Quran saying bring even a verse like it! Bring in even a small verse like the Quran. And from men till now, nobody has been able to do this, and this stands right up until the Day of Judgment, this challenge.

Now, the things different about the Quran, of course, is that it’s perfected but also that it contains many miracles. We have the miracle of the science; we have the miracle of linguistics, of mathematics.

You can go online and you can look up all these things. There are books that you can read about. This is absolutely amazing! That proves that the Quran is the Word of Allah. That is also the fact that it is unchanged.

The Quran is Preserved

The Quran was revealed 1500 hundred years ago to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) who was essentially a guy living in a desert, who was illiterate. He didn’t have knowledge of these areas. He couldn’t even know how to read or write. Yet, the Quran which was this amazing linguistic miracle and scientific miracle was revealed to him.

It’s also preserved in its original language. Muslims across the world whether they’re English like myself or from China or Pakistan or an Arab country, we all read the Quran in Arabic.

Of course we read the translation, but the translation is a translation of the Quran. It’s not actually the original Quran. We always go back to the Arabic for this original meaning and this preserves it.

Now, the Quran and these other books of Allah share a lot of similarities one of which is that we all believe in the same God. I remember when I was being brought up and was introduced to Muslims, I used to think, “What’s this Allah, what’s this God?” And it was a big revelation to me when I realized that it’s the same God. Allah is God. God is Allah. It’s the same thing, like I said in one of my earlier sessions.

So this is the same message. The message essentially is of Tawheed, believing in the Oneness of Allah.

How should we approach the Quran?

Now, how should we approach the Quran is a totally different matter. We should approach it with an attitude that’s called Ikhlas. Ikhlas means that we have purity, a pure attitude towards it; we have a pure intention that we’re doing this for guidance and to read the Book of Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala), knowing and believing that this is the word of Allah. In surah 6, verse 115, Allah says,

Perfect are the words of your Lord in truth and justice. (Quran 6:115)

Now, the attitude is that we are approaching the Quran for guidance but also to change ourselves. Allah says in the Quran,

 He will not change the condition of a people until they change what is within themselves. (Quran 13:11)

which, of course, is the heart, the actions, the deeds, the intentions. So, we don’t just approach the Quran as a storybook or tales of all. You should accept the Quran like Allah is speaking directly to you.

Sources of Knowledge in Islam

Now, in Islam, we have different sources of knowledge. The Quran, of course, is the foundation of knowledge and is the basis of all our knowledge. However, we also have two other areas which bring more context and more details of the verses of the Quran and chapters of the Quran. We have the hadith which is the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) which you do need to be very careful with. And make sure if you’re going to read a hadith, read it in the context of the Sunnah which is the practice and all the things that the Prophet (peace be upon him) actually did.

The Importance of Sunnah and Hadith

So, we have the Quran, the Sunnah and the hadith which are a triangle of knowledge. Usually, when people make mistakes or get things wrong or get extreme and things like that, they’re doing it because they have taken something out of context. So, maybe they’ve taken a verse from the Quran and they’ve put an incorrect interpretation. But if then they look at the context, what the Prophet (peace be upon him) did in these particular situation, it changes the meaning completely.

So, you must be very, very careful on how you approach the Quran and make sure that you don’t take it as a black and white source. You have to take in the context of what it’s about or you might misunderstand what it’s saying to you.

Now, the Prophet (peace be upon him), of course… the reason why we have the Quran and the Sunnah and the hadith is because he was essentially the walking Quran. He was the embodiment of the Quran.

And this is something that we’re going to talk about next time, in sha’ Allah, when we talk about the belief in the prophets of Allah. And so, until next time, in the next session,

As-Salam ‘alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.


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title: New Reverts’ Christmas Dilemma,
content:
By Diva Allott

So you’re a new Muslim and it’s that time of year again, Christmas.

As a child it was one of our most awaited days of the year, to run downstairs and find all the beautifully wrapped gifts under the luminous Christmas tree.

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We believe that Jesus (peace be upon him) is a Prophet and not the son of God and that Allah is the only God, and we do not associate any others with Him.

Helping to prepare the dinner was a crucial part of this awaited day, we would then settle down on the sofa watching ‘Miracle on 34th. Street’ and then we would all pull our crackers and wear our Christmas hats.

As Muslims, we can’t celebrate Christmas as it is a Christian celebration. We believe that Jesus (peace be upon him) is a Prophet and not the son of God and that Allah is the only God, and we do not associate any others with Him. For many of you this can be a very difficult time as new Muslims, as your family may not understand and appreciate your new found beliefs.

In my first year as a Muslim I found Christmas very difficult, I had never celebrated Christmas in a religious way but just enjoyed all the traditions of sharing food, watching films and exchanging gifts with my family.

Also, I felt very bad as my mother is a widow and to leave her to celebrate Christmas alone pained me so much, I felt guilty. I knew that I couldn’t celebrate it so I tried my best to stay away over Christmas day.

I didn’t buy any gifts for any of my family as that is equivalent to celebrating it, and I struggled as I love seeing people’s joy when receiving an anticipated gift. I often went down a week or so before Christmas so my mother didn’t feel alone and she and other members of my family would always leave me gifts.

It is fine to accept the gifts on the grounds that it is not a religious emblem representing Christmas, or alcohol, or meat slaughtered purposely for Christmas or statues. I would accept the gifts and give thanks to them. The Prophet (peace be upon him) never used to refuse a gift from the Banu Israel (Jews) or from the Christians during their attributed festivities.

How to Cope with Christmas

Just think how much money you will save!

Now you know that you are not alone in your struggle and that al-hamdu lillah there are many more reverts experiencing a similar journey to you. Let’s focus on how to cope with Christmas.

First of all, don’t be sad that you have left Christmas behind in your new journey as a Muslim as God has blessed you with two celebrations Eid Al-Fitr and Eid Al-Adha. Just think how much money you will save! While everybody is running around like headless chickens worrying whether they have remembered everything on the Christmas list, sent all the cards and bought all the food, you can sit back and take the back seat. It is strange how funny the panic of Christmas is when you’re outside, watching all the fuss for just one day of the year.

Although Christmas may be difficult for you when you think how your family must be feeling having to continue their celebrations without you. Let them know why you can’t celebrate Christmas but that you are still the same person they know and love. Try avoiding going to visit family on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day or Boxing Day to avoid getting roped into the celebrations. Maybe you can go a few days before or after the celebrations just to let them know you’re there.

Another way of coping with Christmas is to use the holidays as a chance to improve on your Islamic knowledge, perhaps read some Quran, books of Hadith or just spend time making du`aa’ (prayer) and thanking God for the life He has given you as a Muslim.

This year, I decided to buy my family present for `Eid and try to involve them in my festivities to soften their hearts and in sha’ Allah (God willing) one day they will see the beauty of Islam and embrace it. For Eid al-Fitr I bought my mum and myself a trip to an all-women’s SPA for a chance for us to spend time together and to relax. She really appreciated the present as I don’t buy her gifts for Christmas, she felt like I had made an attempt to include her. For my aunt, I bought her a massive basket full of fresh fruit and decorated with ribbons. She loved the present and the feeling of being included. The first time I bought my mum a present for Eid I didn’t know whether she would be happy or offended. At first she said I don’t want anything for Eid because I don’t celebrate it. I said then: ‘I give you this present with the intention for `Eid, and if you wish to save it for Christmas then do as you will.’

Children & Christmas

Dealing with children in Christmas can also be difficult as they may feel jealous of their peers at school knowing they will return after the holiday bestowed with new gifts, toys and clothes. Teach your children the origins of Christmas and explain to them why Muslims do not celebrate it and that although the children have been offered many gifts for their celebrations that as Muslims, God has promised us much more in the afterlife and has blessed us with two `Eids.

When `Eid comes around, create your own family atmosphere as your family did with you at Christmas, build up the excitement and the anticipation of `Eid, but emphasize that it is not about gifts but about spending time with family and giving thanks to God on this special day. A good idea is to buy advent calendars around the Christmas period and keep them until `Eid and allow your children to begin opening them on the countdown to `Eid.

During this festive time, remember that you are not alone and that many others are on the same journey as you. Remember God and give thanks to Him for all that He has blessed you with at this time, don’t be envious of those celebrating Christmas as God has promised us so much more. Just be thankful for being shown the true light.

In sha’ Allah I hope that none of you struggle too much during this time and find the strength and faith to get through this busy period of the year.

You are all in my thoughts and my du`aa’ and may Allah bless each and every one of you for reading this article and seeking further knowledge.

Ameen.

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Source: onislam.net


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