title: The Sanctity of Life and the Legacy of Prophet Muhammad,
content:
By Dr. CRAIG CONSIDINE
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“You shall not kill yourselves, for God is truly merciful” (َQuran 4:29).

What does it mean to be Muslim?

It is a striking question, especially when a Catholic – such as myself – considers it after years of research on Muslim-Christian relations. One matter which has struck me in my experiences with Muslims is the sanctity of life that so many of them hold dear in their hearts and minds.

Yet, many people are not able to view the Islamic tradition so favorably. In a country like the United States, the level of anti-Muslim sentiment has hit record highs.

Some U.S. citizens views acts like suicide bombings, carried out by Muslims worldwide, as true reflections of Qur’anic teachings and the life of Prophet Muhammad.

Are these beliefs correct? Where exactly did Muhammad stand on issues such as suicide and the preservation of human life? And what does Islamic scripture say about these matters?

Any discussion on the alleged permissibility of suicide bombings in the Islamic tradition must begin with the following verse of the Qur’an:

“You shall not kill yourselves, for God is truly merciful” (َQuran 4:29).

Another verse clearly states that killing – whether it is one’s self or another human being – is forbidden:

“… if anyone killed a person not in retaliation of murder, or (and) to spread mischief in the land – it would be as if he killed all mankind, and if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of all mankind” (Quran 5:32).

The Qur’an again makes it clear that there are rules to human conflict which must be followed:

“And fight in the way of God against those who fight you. But do not transgress the limits. God does not love transgressors” (Quran 2:190).

While we could explore more verses of the Qur’an which condemn suicide or killing in all forms, perhaps we are better served by looking at how Muhammad respected, preserved and cherished life over death.

During the pre-Islamic period of Muhammad’s life, violence and retaliation were commonplace on the peninsula of modern-day Arabia. Warfare between extended family networks in cities like Mecca caused great harm to many groups.

Muhammad struggled to end these kinds of divisions and tribal mentalities. He united the rivaling Arab tribes and brought together Jews, Christians and Muslims in several contracts including the Constitution of Medina and the Covenants with Christians. Above all else, Muhammad had focused on the divinity of all living things as the fundamental building block of his nation.

Prophet Muhammad laid out a set of points which are known today as “Muhammad’s Commands in Wars.” The list embodies the emphasis that he placed on the sanctity of life.

O people! I charge you with 10 rules; learn them well… for your guidance in the battlefield! Do not commit treachery, or deviate from the right path. You must not mutilate dead bodies. Neither kill a child, nor a woman, nor an aged man. Bring no harm to the trees, nor burn them with fire, especially those which are fruitful. Slay not any of the enemy’s flock, save for your food. You are likely to pass by people who have devoted their lives to monastic services; leave them alone.

Muhammad’s rules of war, as activist and human rights advocate Qasim Rashid notes, “permit defensive fighting against active combatants while forbidding harm to anyone or anything else – human, animal, property.” We can also assume that the Prophet would command his people that harming one’s self is strictly forbidden.

Perhaps my favorite story on the respect that Muhammad had for human life is noted in a hadith.

Muhammad and his companions were watching a funeral procession go down a street in Medina. In respect of the dead body, the Prophet stood up as the procession crossed in front of him. As he rose to his feet, a companion turned to Prophet Muhammad and commented: “This is a funeral of a Jew. He is not a Muslim.” Disappointed by those words, Muhammad responded back with a question: “Is he not a human soul?”

The message of this story is clear: Muhammad had a deep appreciation for life irrespective of race or creed, and he also hoped that human beings would not respond to injustice by doing further harm to themselves or others.

Prophet Muhammad’s life and legacy bring us to a natural concluding point – jihad, or the spiritual struggle against one’s self. My own lectures at Rice University in Houston, Texas, focus on jihad as a peaceful and humanitarian concept, and not a term which stands for suicide bombings or “holy war,” a frequent mistranslation which appears in the media. Considering the Qur’anic passages condemning suicide, and the Prophet’s own teachings on the sanctity of human life, it is reckless to place an act like suicide bombing within the realm of jihad. The greater jihad is to bring peace and justice without having to harm anyone.


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.


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<hr>

title: What Is the Quran?,
content:
By Abu Zakariya
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Muslims do not just believe that the Quran is from God based on blind faith. The Quran is a living miracle, one that we can all experience for ourselves.

What is the Qur’an, and how did it come about?

Muslims believe that the Quran was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, by God Almighty through the Angel Gabriel.

The Qur’an informs us that Muhammad is the final Messenger in a long line of Messengers that God sent before him, such as Abraham, Moses and Jesus, peace be upon them all.

This is one of the many unique aspects of the Quran: it acknowledges all of the Messengers sent by God.

The Quran’s impact on the world is immeasurable. Although the Quran was revealed in 7th century Arabia, it contains a universal message for the whole of mankind.

Because of the Quran, there are over 1.5 billion Muslims in the world today – nearly a quarter of humanity. They are people of all races, nationalities and back­grounds.

Just to give you a practical demonstration of how many Muslims there are in the world, at any given moment, on any day, someone, somewhere, is reciting the Quran.

It is estimated that there are many millions of Muslims alive today who have memorised the entire Quran.

One has to wonder, what is it about the Quran that has made such an imprint on the hearts of over a billion Muslims?

While the Quran is the most widely read book in the world, it is also arguably the most often misunderstood and misrepresented.

These days it seems that everyone is talking about the Quran. But how many have actually read it? How many have allowed it to speak for itself ?

Whether you have read the Quran or not, whether you have even heard of the Quran before or not, it has already shaped and influenced your life in ways you cannot imagine.

You may be thinking to yourself, do all religions not make fantastical claims? After all, if these ancient books were originally written in the past, and we were not there at the time to witness the events, then does not belief in them ultimately derive from blind faith?

Muslims do not just believe that the Quran is from God based on blind faith. The Quran is a living miracle, one that we can all experience for ourselves.

Bold claims need to be backed up by strong evidence. As you are going to see, the Qur’an challenges its reader and engages our intellect by providing many testable and verifiable proofs of its divine origin.

This book is going to challenge misconceptions and make some strong assertions. If you are a sceptic of religious books because you think that they are filled with too many fantastical claims and insuf­ficient evidence, then prepare to be surprised. If you have already read the Quran and think that you have seen everything it has to offer, think again!


The article is an excerpt from the author’s book “The Eternal Challenge: A Journey Through The Miraculous Qur’an” with some modifications.


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<hr>

title: A New Convert Becomes Interested in Teaching Islam 2,
content:
By Editorial Staff
""

I find Islam a learning religion. You don’t stop from learning new things when you’re Muslim.

Perhaps everywhere in the world, more and more people are converting to Islam and start learning about its teachings.

The reasons for this are many such as the sense of calmness that they would feel, the happiness, tranquility and inner peace that they achieve after conversion.

Life challenges often lead them to this point. Moreover, being a servant to the One True God liberates a person from slavery to everything other than God.

In short, every new Muslim has an inspiring story to tell. However, in this article, we have a new, simple and short message from someone who is not only a new convert, but also a teacher. Although he wishes to remain anonymous, the message may still be inspiring.

As-salam alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh (Peace, God’s mercy and blessings be upon you) brothers and sisters.

First, I would like to thank Allah (Subhana wa Ta’ala, highly exalted is He, and most high) for granting an opportunity to realize the true religion of Islam.

I would also want to thank my teachers who have been with me every step of the way. May Allah (Subhana wa Ta’ala) reward you handsomely.

I find Islam a learning religion. You don’t stop from learning new things when you’re Muslim. On this note, I know and believe it will be a wonderful opportunity if I can help my fellow brothers and sisters who would want to know more about the true religion of Islam.

Through teaching/guiding the new members, it will be of much benefit for me as I’ll be learning and keeping my faith strong.

I’m also attending Arabic language classes through social media links. So this will make it easy for me to be more perfect.

May Allah (Subhana wa Ta’ala) guide me and make me more knowledgeable about Islam as I start this noble course.

As-salam alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh.


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<hr>

title: A New Convert Becomes Interested in Teaching Islam,
content:
By Editorial Staff
""

7 April, one of my unforgettable days, was the first time I went to the mosque. I was welcomed warmly during Asr (Afternoon) prayer.

Abdullah (We gave him this name to protect his privacy) is now a junior teacher of Islam who wants to share his simple, short but touching story of conversion. Celebrating his first day of teaching, Abdullah wrote the following:

Al-Salam ‘Alaikum (Peace be upon you) my fellow Muslims. I am Abdullah , born Lovemore Vito from Christian family from Malawi.

My journey to Islam starts long back. In short, l was inspired by brothers and sisters l work with. Some of them were Muslims and were humble to me and everyone.

After some years l left them but l was still asking myself questions about their lifestyle. Luckily enough, l joined different groups on Facebook. Then, I started reading about Islam.

Luckily l joined Chat on faith. I was directed to Brother Fuhaid (May Allah bless him). He is the one who taught me all the doctrines on behalf of Chat of Faith. Though he was teaching me, l myself was working tirelessly reading different doctrines about Islam.

7 April, one of my unforgettable days, was the first time I went to the mosque. I was welcomed warmly during Asr (Afternoon) prayer.

About My Life after Converting to Islam

My life has totally changed because of this true and beautiful religion. I have met good and humble brothers and sisters.

Now I am always near Allah because most of my time is spent with my brothers in Islam discussing about Allah, the Last Day, life in the Hereafter and some good stories about Allah (God) and Muhammad (God bless him and grant him peace).

Why I Am Intrested in Teaching

Everything has a reward in the life of the Hereafter. If you do bad deeds you will not enter Paradise but if you do good deeds you will be rewarded with Jannatul Firdous (the Gardens of Paradise).

The Book(Quran) and Muhammad (God bless him and grant him peace)clarify clearly that the one who teaches other people about this true and beautiful religion will be rewarded after this painful world. So I am interested to impart knowledge to my fellow brothers and sisters regardless of culture, country and tribe so that Allah will reward me with Jannah (the Gardens of Paradise).


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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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<hr>

title: Life After Life?,
content:
""

Your life is really like an hour of a day. A moment. In this moment that is your life you have a simple task. Acknowledge that there is only one God.

Imagine you find yourself imprisoned in a strange land. You have been imprisoned for several weeks.

 

One day, two guards come to your cell. With them is a man dressed in a suit carrying a brown briefcase. They stand in front of your cell door. The man in the suit pulls out a piece of paper from the briefcase. He mentions your name, then hands you the paper. It reads:

 

In about one hour from reading this, you will die. It might be a bit more or a bit less than an hour, but when your time is up you will not be able to escape the punishment, Death! No one has ever escaped from this punishment except through one way. Those who have completed a single simple task. If you complete this task you will live. Indeed, not only will you live but your life will be unimaginably better than it is right now.

This task will take no more than five minutes of the one hour you have left. The task is to call your mother and tell her that she’s the only mother you have, that you appreciate and are grateful for all that she has done for you and that you should ask her to forgive you for anything that you’ve done to upset her. That’s it. You will be given a smartphone. Your mother’s number is stored on it and all you need to do is turn it on, find the number and call her. You have one hour.

Having finished reading you look up. The man in the suit hands you a smartphone and leaves with the guards. What will you do?

It may seem obvious, but what you are not told is that this phone is also connected to your text messages and social media accounts, and when you turn it on, the email, text and social media notifications start appearing on the screen, including your lawyer who has been messaging you that he can get you out.

Barely thinking you begin to flick through the messages, reading and then responding to them! The distraction is instant, yet prolonged. At the back of your mind you remember that you only have an hour, but you keep telling yourself you have plenty of time. Half an hour later a guard comes. “Did you complete the task?” he asks.

You look up confused, barely remembering why you were given the phone in the first place. The guard leaves and calls start coming from your lawyer. You answer. He’s promising he can get you out, and at the same time he’s telling you that your modest investment that you made with him is making massive amounts of money.

Everyone is talking about how rich you are, and that surely no one would dare do anything to you, you’re worth more alive…then you hear the sound of marching feet…you look up and there are the guards again. Six of them this time, dressed in black. They are holding heavy chains…

The hour is up!

This is an example of the life of this world. Your life, however long, is really like an hour of a day. A moment. In this moment that is your life you have a simple task. Acknowledge that there is only one God.

To do so is natural and rational and obvious. Deep down you already know that there is great, wise and mighty being that has created you and this universe and that He provides for and controls all things. Acknowledge His blessings and ask for His forgiveness.

Thank Him and Him alone. Worship Him alone and do not make anything equal with Him. It won’t take much time in your life to do that. Not much time at all. Like five minutes of the hour that is your life. If you do this you will get an eternal life of bliss, Paradise. A place of complete peace, happiness and joy where everything you could dream of and hope for will be there and more. Things that your heart cannot even imagine, and your mind cannot even conceive.

You will never get old, or tired, or bored or hungry or thirsty or too hot or too cold. Every moment in that place will be better than the moment before it.

…but the life of the world distracts you!

It distracts you until that moment when your time is up, but by then its too late! Certainly, when you are in the grave you will come to know with absolute certainty the reality that this life distracted you from, that this life was just a test. Passing this test involved something incredibly simple, easy and natural.

To testify that there is one true source of success and happiness; the Creator, who has no equal and no rival. To ask your Creator for forgiveness for your mistakes and be thankful by trying to live your life according to the guidance that He has sent.

…but the life of the world distracts you!

Death is the reality that will confront us all. It is absolutely certain. You will not escape it.

The rich and poor, healthy and sick, young and old, men and women, black and white from the East or West, death will reach them all. So, what have you prepared for the life to come? What have you done to save yourself from its perils and trials?

Do you really imagine that you will be left and not held to account for all that you have done and for all that you have failed to do? No, certainly you will be asked. Every atom’s weight of good and ever atom’s weight of evil will be made known on a day about which there is no doubt.

This is a Day of Accounting. The Day of Reckoning. The Day of Judgment.

Every injustice and every wrong will be made right, and then you will be presented with your scroll of deeds. Whoever’s scale is heavy with good will go to the gardens of delights.

Whoever’s scale of deeds is heavy with evil, for them is the burning fire of endless pain and suffering where its inhabitants will neither live nor will they die, a suffering that will only increase eternally. Death will approach them from every side, but they will not die.

“Bear in mind that the present life is just a game, a diversion, an attraction, a cause of boasting among you, of rivalry in wealth and children. It is like plants that spring up after the rain: their growth at first delights the sowers, but then you see them wither away, turn yellow, and become stubble. There is terrible punishment in the next life as well as forgiveness and approval from God; the life of this world is only an illusory pleasure. (The Qur’an Chapter 57 , Verse 20)

Think about it.

Where would you want to spend your eternity?

The Day of Judgement is true

Hellfire is true

Paradise is true

This is the certain truth

…but the life of the world distracts you!


Source: onereason.org


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<hr>

title: Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the Deluding Behavior of Man,
content:
By Dr. Ahmad Al-Khalidi

Man’s Free Will

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During the Coronavirus (COVID-19), the world realized that there is an absolute power that manages the whole world.

Allah (God) created Man and endowed him with the freedom of choice. So, unlike angels, who cannot disobey Allah (Exalted be He), Man can choose and decide what way to follow or what deed to do; however, he is responsible to Allah for what he does or for what he chooses whether good or evil.

Thus, Man will either be rewarded for his good deeds or punished as a result of his evil deeds. Nevertheless, Allah, the Most Merciful, does not leave Man without help or guidance.

He (Exalted be He) sends Messengers and Prophets to Mankind throughout Man-history to guide and enjoin them to follow the right path that leads to the pleasure of Allah and ultimately to Paradise, at the same time to warn Man against wrongdoing that may lead him to the wrath of Allah and eventually to torture in Hell.

Life Is a Test

If we trace Mankind history in this world, we notice that Allah (Exalted be He) tests Man by evil and by good.  We read in the Quran what means:

Every soul shall have a taste of death: and We test you by evil and by good by way of trial. to Us must you return. (Quran 21:35)

So, Allah blesses Man with the blessings of hearing, sight, and heart as well as so many blessings such as health and wealth to see if Man feels grateful or ungrateful to his Lord.

Allah says:

Say: “It is He Who has created you (and made you grow), and made for you the faculties of hearing, seeing, feeling and understanding: little thanks it is ye give. (Quran 67:23)

Trials and Tribulations

Likewise, Allah (Exalted be He) puts Man in clear and evident trials such as diseases, fear, hunger, loss of dear persons or loss of properties throughout lifetime to see if Man remembers his Lord, refuges to Him and seeks relief from Him or he forgets about his Lord depending only on his poor potentials. Allah says:

Be sure we shall test you with something of fear and hunger, some loss in goods or lives or the fruits (of your toil), but give glad tidings to those who patiently persevere, Who say, when afflicted with calamity: “To Allah We belong, and to Him is our return”: They are those on whom (Descend) blessings from Allah, and Mercy, and they are the ones that receive guidance. (Quran 2:155-157)

However, if Man passes these tests successfully through patience, gratitude, repentance and submission to His Creator, he, in this case, is successful and deserves guidance as well as the pleasure of his Lord.

On the other hand, if Man shows ingratitude to his Lord, challenge to His Will, and disobedience to His commands; he, in this case, shall be exposed to severer trials and ultimately to his Lord’s anger that may lead to his obliteration.

Man’s Ingratitude

Unfortunately, unlike believers, Man, in general, is often ungrateful to his Lord. Although Allah (Exalted be He) saves him from danger and destruction; he forgets his Lord’s Mercy and bounty, and instead of being thankful to Him, he shows ingratitude and wrongdoing.

That is why, when Man practices misconduct and betrayal like that; unluckily, he tastes its painful consequences during his lifetime before he tastes them in the Hereafter. Allah says:

When We make mankind taste of some mercy after adversity has touched them, behold! they take to plotting against Our Signs! Say: “Swifter to plan is Allah!” Verily, Our messengers record all the plots that you make! (Quran 10:21)

When Man is surrounded with danger, he supplicates the Almighty (Exalted be He) to save him from that danger promising Allah to be grateful and thankful for His Majesty. However, when he is saved and feels safe, he commits wrongdoing and transgresses himself forgetting his Lord’s favor upon him.

Allah says:

He it is Who enables you to traverse through land and sea; so that ye even board ships;- they sail with them with a favorable wind, and they rejoice thereat; then comes a stormy wind and the waves come to them from all sides, and they think they are being overwhelmed: they cry unto Allah, sincerely offering (their) duty unto Him saying, “If thou dost deliver us from this, we shall truly show our gratitude!”

But when he delivers them, behold! they transgress insolently through the earth in defiance of right! O mankind! your insolence is against your own souls,- an enjoyment of the life of the present: in the end, to Us is your return, and We shall show you the truth of all that ye did. (Quran 10:22-23)

Breaking Promises

This is the deluding nature of Man. As soon as he is saved by his Lord; he, being conning, does not keep his promise to his Lord Who saves him from danger and bestows blessings upon him.

On the contrary, he turns into a wrongdoer on the earth forgetting all his undertakings and pleas to Allah (Exalted be He) in time of danger thinking that he is quite safe from risk and he is no more in need to his Lord’s mercy and help.

Has not the ungrateful Man got that his Lord Who saves him from danger is able to place him again into risk where he shall find no protector nor helper to him except his Lord. Has not the obstinate and unwise man realized that Allah is capable in this case to destroy him as a punishment for his ingratitude.

Allah says:

When distress seizes you at sea, those that ye call upon – besides Himself – leave you in the lurch! but when He brings you back safe to land, you turn away (from Him). Most ungrateful is man

Do you then feel secure that He will not cause you to be swallowed up beneath the earth when ye are on land, or that He will not send against you a violent tornado (with showers of stones) so that ye shall find no one to carry out your affairs for you?

Or do you feel secure that He will not send you back a second time to sea and send against you a heavy gale to drown you because of your ingratitude, so that ye find no helper. Therein against Us? (Quran 17:67–69)

Conclusion

Strange is this human being! He does not remember Allah unless he is at a life-threatening situation; yet, he rarely returns to his innate pure nature, and cleans it from impurities and corruption except at time of distress, and as soon as he feels safe he either forgets his supplications and assurances to His Lord or becomes an ungrateful transgressor excluding the believer or the straightforward person whose innate nature is still alive, sound and always washed up with faith.

Nowadays, the whole world with all its various or different categories: the rich and the poor, the powerful and the weak, the easterner and the westerner, the progressive and the backward, they are all exposed to the same threat. That is why so many people all over the world have started to think of the absolute power that controls the whole world. So many apostates and unbelievers have started to look for the truth and they have realized through the evident universal signs and the current epidemic of Coronavirus (COVID-19) that there is an absolute power that manages the whole world. They realized that the super human powers stand unable to defend themselves against the Devine will of the Creator of the Universe.

Likewise, most people have realized that whatever Man plots, nothing takes place in this world except in accordance to what Allah the Almighty wills. Accordingly, so many non-Muslims have believed in the Oneness of the Creator who governs the whole world. They have believed in Allah and adopted the religion of Islam that calls for the Oneness of Allah the Almighty the Wise Who has neither a partner nor a son.


About the author:

Dr. Ahmad Muhammad Al khalidi is Researcher and translator, E L teacher and lecturer, an old member in the Islam Presentation Committee (IPC), Kuwait.


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title: The Beginning of Salvation Is to Reflect on the Signs of the Quran,
content:
By Abu Zakariya

The Importance of Reason in Finding the Truth

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“This is the Scripture in which there is no doubt, containing guidance for those who are mindful of God…” (Quran 2:2)

No one wants to dedicate their entire lives to a particular religion, philosophy or way of life only to find out when we die that we were wrong.

We only get one shot, we have only been given one life, and so the stakes are very high. The only way that we may find the truth about God, or anything for that matter, is to approach it objectively.

Other religions tell you to believe and not to think or question. The Qur’an is unique because it tells us that we must think and question so that we can reason our way to the truth.

The Qur’an constantly encourages its reader to think and reflect:

“Then do they not reflect upon the Qur’an, or are there locks upon [their] hearts?” (Quran 47:24)

Revelation can only benefit us if we reflect upon it, and the fact that God endowed every one of us with the ability
to reason is evidence that He does not want us to be blind followers.

The Qur’an in fact, admonishes those who follow blindly:

“Indeed, the worst of living creatures in the sight of God are the deaf and dumb who do not use reason.” (Quran 8:22)

If we reason about the nature of revelation, then what qualities would you expect to find in a book from God?

Would you not expect it to transcend human works?

If the work of God could not be distinguished from human works, then how could we be expected to distinguish truth from falsehood and identify God’s guidance?

The Qur’an is full of signs that it is the truth of God:

“We shall show them Our signs in every region of the earth and in themselves, until it becomes clear to them that this is the Truth…” (Quran 41:53)

Let us reflect on the different aspects of the Qur’an: its concept of God, preservation, timeless relevancy, literary features, structure, accurate future prophecy, revealing lost knowledge from history, the fact that it cannot be imitated and its impact on society.[i]

When a work excels in just one of these areas, they are rightly hailed as a masterpiece and revered across generations. What should we make of the Qur’an, a book that has achieved the inhuman feat of excelling in every area that it touches upon?
Muslims do not just believe that the Qur’an is from God based on blind faith. The Qur’an is a living miracle, one that we can all experience for ourselves just by opening it up and reading it.

As we have seen, the Qur’an challenges its reader and engages our intellect by providing many testable and verifiable proofs of its divine origin. Moreover, we should think about the purpose of these different aspects of the Qur’an. Are they present for the sake of our entertainment, or is there a grander and more meaningful purpose behind
them?

Each verse of the Qur’an is intended as a sign for mankind. Instead of viewing these different signs that we have focused on as isolated, unrelated wonders, we should look at their accumulated effect.

We should peer up to admire the sheer scale of this tower of evidence. This is a compass that points us to the heavens, and that is exactly what the Qur’an is – a guide for mankind:

“This is the Scripture in which there is no doubt, containing guidance for those who are mindful of God…” (Quran 2:2)


[i] These aspects are discussed in the author’s book.


The article is an excerpt from the author’s book “The Eternal Challenge: A Journey Through The Miraculous Qur’an” with some modifications.


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title: Who Is the First Anti-Racist in Human History?,
content:
By Dr. Craig Considine

This video presents the story of the first anti-racist, from the 7th century, who set in motion universal principles that forever changed the discourse on racial equality.

Transcript

Bilal ibn Rabah was born into slavery, a condition that was compounded after he became one of the first believers to follow the teachings of Prophet Muhammad.

Bilal’s father was an Arab slave and his mother was a former princess of modern day Ethiopia, who was also enslaved.

Bilal was ruled by a master, who punished him for his conversion to Islam. He dragged Bilal around Makkah, encouraging people to mock him. He even tried to force him to renounce his faith by placing a large rock on his chest and pinning him on the ground.

But far from renouncing his faith, Bilal showed a defiance and strength in the face of persecution and violence.

Impressed by Bilal’s steadfastness to the Islamic faith, Prophet Muhammad sent one of his closest friends, Abu Bakr, to pay for Bilal’s freedom.

Bilal, the Muezzin of the Prophet Muhammad (God Bless Him and Grant Him Peace)

Once freed, Bilal rose to prominence in the early Muslim community. Prophet Muhammad appointed him to serve the mosque by using his melodious voice to call the believers to prayer.

Bilal was a black man, and, for some, his blackness made him unfit for such an honor.

On one occasion, a companion of the Prophet, a man named Abu Dhar, disparagingly said to Bilal, “You, son of a black woman.”

This drew a swift rebuke from Prophet Muhammad.

“Are you taunting him about his black mother?” asked the Prophet. “There is still some influence of ignorance in you.”

The ignorance the Prophet identified was rooted in the misguided view that a person’s race reflects his or her moral character or social status.

In fact, the Prophet Muhammad’s message of racial equality stood in stark contrast to the prevalent racial animosities of 7th century Arabia.

Scholars refer to the period prior to the advent of Islam as Jahiliyyah, a time of ignorance, which included racism.

The First Declaration of Racial Equality

Arguably, Prophet Muhammad was the first person in human history to declare, in no uncertain terms, that no person is above another by virtue of race or ethnicity.

This declaration is crystallized in one of the Prophet’s notable speeches: His Last Sermon, as it is known, which was delivered on Mount Arafat in 632 A.D.

In that sermon, the Prophet Muhammad unequivocally condemned racism when he said:

“All mankind is descended from Adam and Eve. An Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab. And a non-Arab has no superiority over an Arab. A white person has no superiority over a black person, nor a black person has any superiority over a white person, except by piety and good action.”

Ever since then, Prophet Muhammad’s teachings on racial equality have inspired human beings to strive for racial equality and justice for all.

Malcolm X’s Life-Changing Journey to Mecca

Consider the life of el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz, more commonly known as Malcolm X, the black, Muslim civil rights leader who battled racism in the 1950s and 1960s.

After performing the Hajj, or Islamic pilgrimage, to the city of Makkah, Malcolm wrote his famous letter from Makkah in which he said:

“There were tens of thousands of pilgrims from all over the world. They were of all colors, from blue eyed blondes, to black skinned Africans. But we were all participating in the same ritual, displaying a spirit of unity and brotherhood that my experiences in America had led me to believe never could exist between the white and the non-white.”

He added that he had never before seen sincere and true brotherhood practiced by all colors together, irrespective of their color.

The Hajj, for Malcolm, represented a shift away from racism and towards racial equality.

Striving Towards Anti-racism

The teachings of Prophet Muhammad encouraged all people to strive towards anti-racism, which is quite different than simply non-racism.

While non-racists do not openly express prejudiced views, they also do not work to dismantle racism in any given society.

The Prophet of Islam actively challenged and dismantled the covert, the overt, and the systematic racism around him. He identified racism as a symptom and identified its root cause as arrogance in the human heart.

As our world becomes more and more diverse and interconnected, it is imperative that we strive to follow the teachings of Prophet Muhammad.

I am not a Muslim myself, but I have to say that I am deeply inspired by the anti-racism of Prophet Muhammad, because he showed that a person is distinguished over another not by race, but, rather, by the quality of one’s character and conduct.

I am Craig Considine for the Emir Stein Center.

 


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.


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title: Ramadan Is Not the End! It’s a New Start!,
content:
By Editorial Staff

Kinds of people after Ramadan

1. The successful ones

The Blessed month of Ramadan during which Muslims have performed many acts of worship is now over. It acts as a witness for or against people.

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Those who spared no effort to observe as many acts of worship as they could must be ecstatic with happiness. They hope that the month is not only a witness but that it is also their intercessor on the Day of Judgment.

Those who spared no effort to observe as many acts of worship as they could must be ecstatic with happiness. This is because they have successfully completed their fasting. They hope that the month is not only a witness but that it is also their intercessor on the Day of Judgment. Moreover, they have got rid of their past sins.

Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “He who observes fasting during the month of Ramadan with Faith while seeking its reward from Allah, will have his past sins forgiven.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

The same reward is granted to those who also performed the tarawih (night prayer). Every Muslim who observed fasting and tarawih prays to Allah to accept their good deeds.

2. The Most successful ones

Out of precaution, good people fear that their actions are not accepted because of likely shortcomings that may be there in their worship. That’s why they ask Allah to accept their fasting, tarawih, recitation of the Quran, giving in charity and the other good deeds they have performed.

It was narrated that ‘Aishah said: “I said: ‘O Messenger of Allah,

“And those who give that (their charity) which they give (and also do other good deeds) with their hearts full of fear.” (Quran 23:60)

Is this the one who commits adultery, steals and drinks alcohol?’

He said: ‘No, O daughter of Abu Bakr’ – O daughter of Siddiq – rather it is a man who fasts and gives charity and prays, but he fears that those will not be accepted from him.’” (Ibn Majah and Al-Tirmidhi)

Ibn kathir and Al-Albany declared this Hadith as authentic.

3. The unsuccessful ones

On the other hand, there are others who are happy because Ramadan is over. They do not like it to perform fasting and other acts of worship. Those lazy people often neglect performing the compulsory acts of worship. That’s why one can find the number of Muslims observing prayer in mosques decreases after Ramadan.

Such people should ask themselves whether their deeds are accepted. They should be truthful if they really seek Allah’s forgiveness and mercy.

Signs of acceptance

There are signs that denote that one’s good deeds are accepted. One of these signs is that one finds themselves more steadfast and unwavering in abiding by the rituals of Islam. The progress in worship and behavior Muslims make by the end of Ramadan denotes their success in benefitting from Ramadan.

On the contrary, there are people who have not made any progress. They are still lazy to do acts of worship. Thus, their condition after Ramadan is the same as or even worse than before it. This denotes non-acceptance of their worship.

In fact, they have not seized the opportunity to gain the great rewards of the blessed month. They may not have the chance to live until the next Ramadan. We ask Allah, Almighty, to guide such people to repentance and to shower them with His mercy.

Worship is not over after Ramadan

If the month of Ramadan is over, this does not mean the time of worship is over. Allah says,

“And worship your Lord (thus) – until the certainty (of death) comes to you.” (Quran 15:99)

We can understand from this aya that one should continue to worship Allah as long as he is alive because no one knows the specific time of his or her death. It’s everyone’s hope to die while they are in the best state of maintaining the rituals of Islam and closeness to Allah. To achieve this goal, one should consider the following aya. Allah says,

“O you who believe! Be ever God-fearing, with a fear justly due Him. And do not die, except while you are muslims, in willing submission to God (alone).” (Quran 3:102)

When interpreting this Aya, Imam Ibn Kathir, the great commentator of the Quran, said, “Preserve your Islam while you are well and safe, so that you die as a Muslim. The Most Generous Allah has made it His decision that whatever state one lives in, that is what he dies upon and is resurrected upon. We seek refuge from dying on other than Islam.”

In fact, good deeds should still be observed all the year round. Fasting, performing night prayer, reciting the Gracious Quran, giving in charity, making du’aa (supplication) and enjoining what is good and forbidding what is evil are just a few examples. Let us look at one or two of these kinds of worship!

Fasting

Although fasting is compulsory in Ramadan, it is still recommended in the other months. In Shawwal, it is recommended to fast six days.

Abu Ayyub (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “He who observes Al-Sawm (the fasts) in the month of Ramadan, and also observes Al-Sawm for six days in the month of Shawwal, it is as if he has observed Al-Sawm for the whole year.” (Muslim)

One can start to perform those six days from Shawwal 2 because it is prohibited to fast the first day of Shawwal. They may be observed consecutively or separately during the month.

The other supererogatory fasts

The other recommended fasts during the year include fasting on Mondays and Thursdays, and for three days every month, the 13th, the 14th and the 15th.

The Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) would also encourage Muslims to do more acts of worship on the first nine days of Dhul-Hijjah, the 12th month in the lunar calendar. This includes fasting on those days. Moreover, the reward for fasting on the Day of Arafat, the 9th day of Dhul-Hijjah, is the forgiveness of the sins of two years, one before and one after that day. It should be noted that it is not recommended for the pilgrim to fast the Day of Arafat. The reward of the pilgrim for standing on Arafat and doing other acts of worship is the forgiveness of all past sins. So, the pilgrim does not fast on that day to be better able to do more acts of worship.

It is also highly recommended to fast a lot of days of Al-Muharram, the first month in the lunar calendar. Fasting the 10th day of Al-Muharram forgives the sins of the previous year. Also, Prophet Muhammad (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) used to fast most days of Sha’ban.

The night prayer

The night prayer is not exclusively recommended in Ramadan. It can still be performed at every night of the year.

Narrated Abu Hurairah:

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) as saying: The most excellent fast after Ramadan is Allah’s month al-Muharram, and the most excellent prayer after the prescribed prayer is the prayer during night. (Muslim)

The night prayer is one of the best acts of worship that brings the Muslim closer to Allah. In addition, it is a symbol of goodness and excellence. Allah says,

“Little of the night did they lie down. For at night’s end they were seeking (God’s) forgiveness.” (Quran 51: 17-18)

Reciting the Gracious Quran

Reciting the Gracious Quran should be part and parcel of the Muslim’s everyday life. There are several ayat (verses) from the Quran and many hadiths that encourage Muslims to read the Quran, study its meanings and reflect upon its admonitions. The Muslim should spend some time to do this even if it is ten minutes. Allah says,

“Indeed, those who recite the Book of God, and who (duly) establish the Prayer, and who spend (charitably) from what We have provided them, secretly and openly- they have hope in a (blessed) transaction that shall never come to ruin- that He may give them their rewards (in full) and increase them evermore from His bounty. Indeed, He is all-forgiving, ever-thankful.” (Quran 35: 29-30)

There are a lot of other acts of worship which every Muslim should do a share of it. May Allah accept our and your good deeds! Ameen!

 


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