title: Excellence of the Five Pillars of Islam,
content:
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These are the five fundamental acts of worship Islam has been based on

Allah’s favors are countless, yet the greatest and the most important one is the divine guidance to Islam. Once a person accepts Islam, they receive the first good tiding which is the forgiveness of all their past sins. Muslims should always thank and praise Allah that He guided them to Islam because Islam’s teachings and principles give a true meaning to this life and the Hereafter.

Islam encourages its followers to start, step by step, to learn those teachings so that they can worship Allah correctly and gain the great reward specified for them. The more they learn the more reward they will get.

Among those teachings and principles are the five pillars of Islam whose correct application helps a Muslim to better perfect their faith, behavior and manners and the reward for abiding by them is so great. Now, let’s have a look at these five pillars.

1. The Shahada, the Declaration of Faith

For a person to be a Muslim, he or she has to bear witness that there is no god but Allah and to bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and Messenger and that Jesus (Isa) is a servant and messenger of Allah. Having believed and pronounced that, one is, then, a Muslim who has performed the first pillar of Islam: the Shahada (the Declaration of Faith). Moreover, these are the best and the greatest words ever pronounced.

The believers in this Declaration of Faith have taken with Allah a binding covenant that He shall admit them into the Paradise and save them from the Hellfire or bring them out of it if they were to enter it. The Shahada is also the firmest handhold. Should the Shahada be the last words pronounced before a person’s death, he or she will enter the Paradise.

All Allah’s Prophets and Messengers, including Abraham (Ibrahim), Noah (Nu’), Moses (Musa), Jesus (Isa) and Muhammad (blessings and peace of Allah be upon them all), were sent to call people to believe in the Oneness of Allah. Allah, the Sole Creator, is One Who has no father, no mother, no consort and no son. Thus, anyone who claims Jesus or any other prophet to be god or son of god is a disbeliever.

Indeed, Allah Himself, His angels, messengers, including Jesus (peace be upon him), and people with deep knowledge bear witness that there is no god but Allah. In addition, one of the purposes of sending messengers and revealing down Scriptures is warning people who say Allah has a son or associate false deities with Allah.

2. Salah, the Prayer

As well as being the second pillar of Islam, the Salah (performing prayer) is the first practical pillar. It is the most beloved act of worship by Allah. When a Muslim performs the five daily prayers, all the minor sins he or she committed in that day will be forgiven.

The Salah is the link between Allah and His servant. For the person who performs it, Salah is the proof of faith, and it brings light for them in this world, in the grave and in the Hereafter. It guards one against immorality and evil, too. When trials and tribulations afflict people, they are encouraged to resort to it.

Reciting the Gracious Qur’an in prayer reassures the hearts of the believers and reminds them of the Hereafter and meeting with Allah on the Day of Judgment. This is what gives them strength and makes the acts of worship easy to perform. During prayer, the Muslim enters into intimate dialogue with Allah through reciting the best and the greatest sura (chapter) of the Qur’an i.e. Chapter of Al-Fatihah (the Opening).

To stress the importance of the Salah in Islam we have to say that it is the bequest of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) before his death. Besides, it is the first thing people shall be held accountable for on the Day of Judgment.

It is worth mentioning that when Sarah, the wife of Abraham (Ibrahim), (peace and blessings of Allah be upon them both) was captured by an unjust ruler, Abraham performed prayer. Then, Allah protected her and she was released safely.

3. Zakat, the Obligatory Charity

Zakat is the third pillar of Islam. There are a lot of verses in the Qur’an and sayings of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) that orders people to pay Zakat. If the wealth of a Muslim meets certain criteria, it is obligatory for them to pay a mere 2.5% of their wealth.

Zakat carries many benefits for the Muslim community for it purifies money, hearts and souls. Allah blesses the wealth of the givers. In fact, it is Allah who nurtures His creation and sustains it. Allah is the True Owner of all that is there in the earth and in the heavens.  It is right that rich people help the poor as an act of thankfulness to Allah.

Every morning, an angel invokes Allah to increase the wealth of the people who pay Zakat. Not only is it an act of worship, it is also one of the forms of humanitarian aids and social solidarity among the Muslim community. Zakat puts an end to the problems of poverty, homelessness, food and water shortage, etc.

4. Siyam, Fasting

Siyam (Fasting) is the fourth pillar of Islam. It means abstinence from food, drink and sexual intercourse from dawn to sunset during Ramadan, the ninth month in the lunar Islamic calendar.

The obligation of Fasting is meant to achieve certain goals. Allah does not want to torture us by obligating this kind of worship. On the contrary, He wants us to reach the highest degree of faith i.e. the degree of benevolence. This degree of faith, which is better than the two other degrees: Islam and Iman (Faith), is easily realized through fasting. What is meant by ‘benevolence’ here is the technical meaning of the term which is to worship Allah as if you see Him, but if you cannot see Him, He sees you.

Another good advantage of Siyam is to achieve piety or Allah-fearing. It nurtures patience and that is the reason why it is known as the Month of Patience.  On the other hand, Fasting helps people purify their souls and keep themselves away from indulging into or committing acts of disobedience.

The reward from Allah for performing Siyam in Ramadan is the forgiveness of all past sins. Moreover, fasting one day equals ten days whose reward is only known to Allah. Thus, we can say fasting the month of Ramadan equals ten months in reward. In general, any good deed is rewarded by ten times the like of it. On the Day of Judgment, the Paradise has a gate specified for those who fast.

If fasting causes any harm to the worshipper, they do not fast and feed an indigent person instead. In the month of Ramadan, there is the Night of Majesty on which Allah first revealed the Qur’an. The worship of Allah during this night is better than the worship during a thousand months without that night.

5. Hajj, Pilgrimage

Hajj (Pilgrimage) is the fifth pillar of Islam. Muslims from all over the world travel to Makka (mecca) to perform Hajj at the end of the lunar year. It’s obligatory for only those who can afford it and for only once in a lifetime. The reward for the accepted Pilgrimage is entering the Paradise.

Like the other pillars of Islam, the Pilgrimage is an exercise to the soul so that it can succeed in staying away from mischief, disputation, ungodliness, etc. If the pilgrim succeeds in keeping away from those bad manners, they will be back home with no sin at all.

Hajj teaches us to always remember Allah as all the rites in Hajj is mainly based on the remembrance of Allah. In Hajj, there is no difference that can be seen between a rich person and a poor one as all people dress the same.

In fact, there, here, is a lesson to be taught i.e. the unity of the Muslim nation that should be based on justice and benevolence. During Hajj, millions of Muslims can be seen worshipping Allah in one certain place where they fast at the same time, break their fast at the same time, pray to Allah at the same time and practice the other rites of Hajj at the same time.  Thus, on the ninth day of Dhul-Hijjah, the last month of the lunar year, Allah draws near the pilgrims, then praises them to the angels. This is called the Day of ‘Arafah on which Allah sets free too many of His servants from the Hellfire.

Finally, the acts of worship are so many. They include removing harm from the road, speaking to people nicely, helping the old and the weak, modesty and so on. However, the pillars of Islam are the greatest and the most important. The Declaration of faith is the most important at all.


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title: The Supererogatory Prayers,
content:
By Editorial Staff

The more one performs supererogatory acts of worship, the more beloved by Allah he or she is. Of these supererogatory acts of worship are the supererogatory prayers whose performance makes up for any performance deficiencies in obligatory prayers.

Indeed, there are supererogatory prayers which may be performed before and/ or after the obligatory prayers. Secondly, there are others which have their own specified time of performance such as the Night Prayers. Thirdly, there are the absolute voluntary prayers that may be performed at any time except those times at which this kind of prayer is reprehensible to perform.

This article discusses the first kind of these supererogatory prayers. We wrote an article called, “The Two Supererogatory Rak’ahs of the Dawn Prayer”. We continue in this article to write about the other supererogatory prayers.

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The more one performs supererogatory acts of worship, the more beloved by Allah he or she is.

Al-Dhuhr (The Noon Prayer)

Between every Adhan (the call to prayer) and Iqamah (the second call to prayer), it is recommended to perform two rak’ahs (units of prayer) or more. Muslims perform them individually before the congregational prayer.

Before and after the obligatory congregational Noon prayer, there are supererogatory prayers which are regarded as sunnah mu’akkadah, whose performance is stressed or highly recommended.

Before Al-Dhuhr

There are reports or hadiths that denote that one is recommended to perform two rak’ahs and others denoting that they are four. Ibn ‘Umar (May Allah be pleased with them) reported:

I performed with the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) two rak’ahs before and two after Dhuhr prayer. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

In another hadith related by ‘A’ishah (Allah be pleased with her) in which she said, ‘The Prophet (ﷺ) never omitted four rak’ah prayer before the Dhuhr prayer and two rak’ah prayer before dawn (Fajr) prayer. (Al-Bukhari)

Scholars hold different opinions concerning how to reconcile both hadiths. To act according to both hadiths, some scholars give preference to the hadith related by ‘A’ishah (Allah be pleased with her). However, others prefer to perform sometimes four rak’ahs and sometimes two. This latter opinion is more preferred as both hadiths mentioned above are authentic.

The legal ruling concerning the person who misses the two or four supererogatory rak’ahs before al-Dhuhr

The person can make them up after al-Dhuhr Prayer as this time is not one when prayer is reprehensible.

May the four rak’ahs be performed in pairs or four rak’ahs without separation?

The following hadith supports performing the four rak’ahs consecutively without taslim (uttering salutation) in the middle. Narrated Abu Ayyub:

The Prophet (ﷺ) said: The gates of heaven are opened for four rak’ahs containing no taslim (salutation) before the noon prayer. (Abu Dawud and Ibn Majah)

However, the early scholars of hadith are in agreement that this hadith is weak. There is also another hadith which supports the other opinion. Ibn ‘Umar narrated that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:

“Prayers at night and during the day are to be offered two by two.” (Abu Dawud, Al-Tirmidhi, Al-Nasa’I and Ibn Majah)

After relating this hadith, Al-Tirmidhi pointed out that the words “during the day” in this hadith are shadhah (anomalous). He added that the majority of scholars of Hadith had related it without these words.

In sum, a Muslim can choose either to perform four rak’ahs or to perform two ending them with taslim then performing another two separately.

After Al-Dhuhr

The famous hadiths found in Al-Bukhari and Muslim indicate that the supererogatory prayer after the congregational prayer of Al-Dhuhr are only two rak’ahs. The following hadith which state that they are four is not authentic. Umm Habibah narrated that:

Allah’s Messenger (S) said: “Whoever prays four before al-Dhuhr and four after, Allah makes him prohibited for the Fire.” (Al-Tirmidhi and Al-Nasa’i)

Al-‘Asr (The Afternoon Prayer)

Before Al-‘Asr Prayer

Some scholars hold the opinion that the supererogatory prayer before al-‘Asr is four rak’ahs. To support their opinion they quote the following hadith: Ibn ‘Umar (May Allah be pleased with them) reported:

The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “May Allah have mercy on a man who performs four rak’ahs before the ‘Asr Prayer.” (Abu Dawud and Al-Tirmidhi)

However, scholars of hadith are of the opinion that the hadiths stating that the supererogatory prayer before al-‘Asr is four are not authentic.

This does not mean the person may not perform supererogatory prayer before the obligatory congregational prayer of al-‘Asr. The following hadith is a proof to the contrary:

‘Abdullah bin Mughaffal (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “There is a Salat (prayer) between every Adhan and Iqamah; there is a Salat between every Adhan and Iqamah.” (While saying the same for the) third time (he (ﷺ) added), “It is for him who desires (to perform it).” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

According to this hadith, the person may perform voluntary prayer. This prayer is regarded as sunnah ghair mu’akkadah, whose performance is less recommended or not stressed.

After Al-‘Asr Prayer

Scholars are in agreement that a person cannot perform supererogatory prayers after the al-‘Asr Prayer except in the case of making up a missed prayer. Um Salamah (Allah be pleased with her) said, “I sent a slave-girl to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) asking her to stand by his side and say to him that Umm Salama says:

Messenger of Allah, I heard you prohibiting these two rak’ahs, whereas I saw you observing them; and if he (the Holy Prophet) points with his hand (to wait), then do wait.

The slave-girl did like that. He (the Holy Prophet) pointed out with his hand and she got aside and waited, and when he had finished (the prayer) he said:

O Daughter of Abu Umayya! You have asked about the two rak’ahs after the ‘Asr prayer. Some people of ‘Abd al-Qais came to me for embracing Islam and hindered me from observing the two rak’ahs which come after the noon prayer. So those are the two I have been praying. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Al-Maghrib (The Sunset Prayer)

Before Al-Maghrib

The supererogatory prayer before the congregational al-Maghrib Prayer is regarded as sunnah ghair mu’akkadah. Narrated `Abdullah Al-Muzni:

The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Pray before the Maghrib (compulsory) prayer.” He (said it thrice) and in the third time, he said, “Whoever wants to offer it can do so.” He said so because he did not like the people to take it as a tradition. (Al-Bukhari)

After Al-Maghrib

Generally the supererogatory prayers may be performed at home or at the mosque; however, the two supererogatory rak’ahs after al-Maghrib Prayer is especially recommended to be performed at home.

What verses to recite during the two supererogatory rak’ahs of Al-Maghrib?

It is an act of the sunnah to recite surat al-Kafirun (Chapter of The Disbelievers) after reciting surat al-Fatihah (Chapter of the Opening) at the first rak’ah and surat al-Ikhlas (Chapter of the Pure Sincerity) at the second one.

Al-‘Isha’ (The Evening Prayer)

Also the prayars performed here between Adhan and Iqamah are sunnah ghair mu’akkadah. On the other hand, it is sunnah mu’akkadah to perform two rak’ahs after al-‘Isha’ Prayer.

In short, the following two hadiths summarizes the supererogatory prayers a Muslim is recommended to perform before and/ or after the five obligatory prayers.

Hadith 1:

Ibn ‘Umar (May Allah be pleased with them) reported:

I performed along with the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) two rak’ahs of optional prayers before Dhuhr and two after the Dhuhr (Noon prayer), and two after the Friday prayer, and two after the Maghrib (Sunset) prayer, and two after the ‘Isha‘ (Evening) prayer.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Hadith 2:

‘Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her) reported:

Whenever the Prophet (ﷺ) stayed in my house, he would perform four rak’ahs (supererogatory prayer) before al-Dhuhr prayer. Then he would go out and lead the Salah (the obligatory congregational prayer). He (ﷺ) would then come back and perform two rak’ahs (supererogatory prayer). He would lead the Maghrib prayer and come back and perform two rak’ahs (supererogatory prayer). When he (ﷺ) had led the ‘Isha‘ prayer, he would enter the house and perform two rak’ahs (supererogatory prayer). (Muslim)


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title: Islam and Preservation of Human Life,
content:

Physical Security and Protection

"life

One’s soul or own body is a sacred entity entrusted to him by God on a temporary basis.

Human life is sacred and a gift from Allah, the Creator. For the protection of human life Islam has legislated capital and corporal punishments and retribution unto those transgressing criminals who murder and physically harm others. Killing falls into three types: intentional and/or premeditated murder,manslaughter, and total mistake.

Islam commands the execution of anyone who commits premeditated murder of an innocent person, seeking to place as strong a deterrent as possible to eradicate the temptation of intentional murder.

Unintentional manslaughter and mistaken killings are separate categories with separate lesser sentences and blood money is paid to the close relatives of the victim. The family or the heirs of the killed victim are given a diyyah (blood money) unless they choose to forgive the killer. The killer must repent to Allah and make atonement by the freeing a Muslim slave, and if this is not possible, by fasting for two consecutive months.

All such penalties are for preservation of life. No one has the right to possessions or estate without legitimate cause. All oppressive or abusive must be warned against unjust killing, victimizing or harassing other innocent members of the Islamic society, and these strict punishments should be made clear. If the retaliation is not similar to the crime itself, criminals become emboldened in their criminal activities.

All other corporal punishments have the same rationale, wherein the punishment is proportionate to the crime with specific measurements of retribution predetermined to stop all arguments and confusion.

All capital and corporal punishments are oriented for the preservation of human life and property in an Islamic society. Allah, the Exalted, states in the Qur’an:

And there is (a saving of) life for you in al-qisas (the law of equality in punishment), O men of understanding,that you may become pious. (Al-Baqarah 2:179)

The penalty of the Hereafter for the intentional murderer who does not repent will be the wrath of Allah. Allah, the Exalted, states in the Qur’an:

If a man kills a believer intentionally, his recompense is Hell, to abide therein (forever): and the wrath and the curse of Allah are upon him, and a dreadful penalty is prepared for him. (An-Nisaa’ 4:9)

Prescribed Duties

Islam has imposed certain specific duties on everyone in respect to protection of human life. The following are some of these duties:

1-Man does not own his soul or his own body: rather it is a sacred entity entrusted to him on a temporary basis. It is not allowed for anyone to intentionally torture or harm himself, or carry-out any type of suicidal crime or reckless act leading to his destruction.

Life is only given in sacrifice for the cause of Allah. Allah says:

O you who believe! Eat not up your property among yourselves unjustly: but let there be among you trade by mutual good-will: nor kill (or destroy) yourselves: for verily Allah has been to you Most Merciful! (An-Nisaa’ 4:29)

2-Man must maintain proper nutritional care to satisfy the minimum requirements essential for decent health. He is not allowed to deprive himself of permissible food, drink, clothing, marriage and proper care under any pretexts, if that causes him harm. Allah, the Exalted, states in the Qur’an:

Say: Who has forbidden the beautiful (gifts) of Allah,which He has produced for His servants, and the things,clean and pure, (which He has provided) for sustenance?
Say, they are, in the life of this world, for those who believe, (and) purely for them on the Day of Requital.
Thus do We explain the signs in detail for those who understand.
(Al-A`raf 7:32)

"flowers-nature"

Man may enjoy the lawful bounties offered by Allah to man on earth in moderation within the limits of the Islamic laws and without wastage

Halal in Moderation

Allah, the Exalted, admonished the Prophet (peace be upon him) when he abstained from eating honey in order to please one of his wives, and this became an eternal lesson for all Muslims. Allah states in the Qur’an:

O Prophet! Why do you make forbidden that which Allah has made lawful to you? You seek to please your wives but Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (At-Tahrim 66:1)

Moderation is between stinginess and extravagance. Man may enjoy the lawful bounties offered by Allah to man on earth in moderation within the limits of the Islamic laws and without wastage. Allah states in the Qur’an:

O Children of Adam! Wear your beautiful apparel at every time and place of prayer: eat and drink: but waste not by excess, for Allah loves not the wasters. (Al-A`raf 7:31)

It is forbidden to neglect the physical needs of the body and cause harm through negligence or self-torture:

On no soul does Allah place a burden greater than itcan bear. It gets every good that it earns, and it suffers every ill that it earns. (Al-Baqarah 2:286)

It is reported that Anas ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) said that, “Three men came to the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) mosque to inquire about the worship of the Prophet. When they were informed, they considered their worship insignificant and said: ”Where are we in comparison with the Prophet while Allah has forgiven his past sins and future sins“. One of them said: ”As for me, I shall offer salah all night long.” Another said:”I shall observe sawm (fasting) continuously and shall not break it”. The third one said: ”I shall abstain from women and shall never marry.”

The Prophet came to them and said,“Are you the people who said such and such things? By Allah, I fear Allah more than you do, and I am the most obedient and dutiful among you to Him, but still I observe fasting and break it; perform salah and sleep at night and take wives. So whoever turns away from my Sunnah does not belong to me.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

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The article is an excerpt from the author’s Human Rights in Islam and Common Misconceptions.


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title: The Forenoon Prayer (Salat Al-Duha),
content:
By Editorial Staff

Duha means the morning sunshine or forenoon. This time is so blessed that there is a surah (chapter) of the Gracious Quran that starts with the oath of Allah swearing by al-Duha and the night. Allah says,

“By (al-Duha) the morning sunshine! And (by) the night as it falls still! Your Lord has not deserted you, (O Prophet). And never has He abhorred you.” (Quran 93:1-3)

Some scholars interpret the word “duha” to mean the day thinking that it is the antithesis of night in the second verse. However, the other more preferred opinion is that it means only forenoon or the morning sunshine. Scholars who adopt the latter opinion use the following verse to support their opinion. Allah says,

(Moses) said: Your appointed time is the Day of Festival, at (Duha) mid-morning, while the people are assembled. (Quran 20:59)

Concerning the Duha Prayer, Ibn ‘Abbas (Allah be pleased with him and his father) used to name it the Sunrise Prayer.

In the technical usage al-Duha refers to a specific time that starts about 10 or 15 minutes after sunrise and finishes 10 or 15 minutes before the Dhuhr (noon) prayer or before it’s high noon i.e. when the sun starts to move from its highest point in the sky towards the direction of the sunset.

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The duha time is so blessed that there is a surah (chapter) of the Gracious Quran that starts with the oath of Allah swearing by al-Duha and the night.

The virtues of the Duha Prayer

1. Performing the Duha prayer acts as an act of thankfulness to Allah for He has blessed us with wellness. Abu Dharr (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:

The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “In the morning, charity is due on every joint bone of the body of every one of you. Every utterance of Allah’s Glorification (i.e., saying Subhan Allah) is an act of charity, and every utterance of His Praise (i.e., saying Al-hamdu lillah) is an act of charity and every utterance of declaration of His Greatness (i.e., saying La ilaha ill Allah) is an act of charity; and enjoining what is good is an act of charity, and forbidding what is evil is an act of charity, and two rak’ahs (units) of Duha prayers which one performs in the forenoon is equal to all this (in reward).” (Muslim)

2. It brings about Allah’s protection. Narrated Nu’aym ibn Hammar:

I heard the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) say: Allah, the Exalted, says: Son of Adam, do not be helpless in performing four rak’ahs for Me at the beginning of the day: I will supply what you need till the end of it. (Abu Dawud, Al-Tirmidhi and Ahmad)

3. Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace) instructed and encouraged some of his companions to perform it. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:

My friend (the Messenger of Allah) (ﷺ) directed me to observe fast for three days in every month, to perform two rak’ahs (optional) Duha prayer at forenoon and to perform the Witr prayer before going to bed. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Did Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace) use to perform the Duha Prayer?

Scanning the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace), one finds out that there are some contradictory evidence concerning this matter. Let us consider the following hadiths: Narrated `Aisha:

Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) used to give up a good deed, although he loved to do it, for fear that people might act on it and it might be made compulsory for them. The Prophet (ﷺ) never prayed the Duha prayer, but I offer it. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim) This is the wording of Al-Bukhari.

This hadith proves that the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) did not use to perform it. On the other hand, there is another hadith related also by ‘A’ishah (Allah be pleased with her) which provides evidence to the contrary. ‘A’ishah (May Allah be pleased with her) reported:

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) used to perform four rak’ahs of Duha prayer (at the forenoon) and would add to them whatever Allah wished. (Muslim)

To reconcile such contradictory hadiths, scholars of hadith hold the opinion that the latter hadith is shadh (anomalous). This is because a number of the companions relate that Prophet Muhammad did not use to perform the Duha Prayer. However, He does encourage Muslims to perform Duha prayer.

 Why did the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) make it recommended to perform the Duha prayer while he did not use to perform it?

One of the best answers to this question is as follows. Scholars believe that Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace) would choose to perform only the night prayer. However, in case he missed the night prayer, he would offer twelve rak’has in the forenoon. In addition, when the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) was back from travels, he would usually arrive in the forenoon and would start with entering the mosque and offering two rak’ahs.  On the Liberation of Makkah Day, he offered eight rak’ahs

How many rak’ahs a Muslim may offer for Duha Prayer?

The smallest number of rak’ahs a Muslim may perform is two. Also, a Muslim may perform four, six, or eight. Based on the practical Sunnah of the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace), the largest number is eight rak’ahs or twelve in case a person makes up the night prayer.

However, according to the verbal Sunnah, a person may offer as many rak’ahs as he or she wishes.

When is the best time to offer Duha Prayer?

A Muslim may perform the Duha prayer any time from about 10 or 15 minutes after sunshine to 10 or 15 minutes before noon. However, the best time is the hottest. In Middle Eastern countries, it becomes very hot at about 9, 10, or 11 am. Zaid bin Arqam (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:

I saw some people performing Duha (prayers) in the early forenoon and warned them (saying): These people must know that performing prayer a little later is better. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “The Salat (prayer) of the penitent is to be observed when the young ones of camels feel the heat of the sun (i.e., when it becomes very hot).” (Muslim)



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title: The Meaning of Marriage in Islam,
content:

 

"Qur'an-marriage

Marriage in Islam is regarded first and foremost as a righteous act, an act of responsible devotion.

Muslim scholars have interpreted the Qur’an to mean that marriage is a religious duty, a moral safeguard, and social commitment. As a religious duty, it must be fulfilled; but like all other duties in Islam, it is enjoined only upon those who are capable of meeting the responsibilities involved.

Challenging Commitment

Whatever meanings people assign to marriage, Islam views it as a strong bond (mithaq ghaleez), a challenging commitment in the fullest sense of the word. It is a commitment to life itself, to society, and to the dignified, meaningful survival of the human race. It is a commitment that married partners make to one another as well as to God.

It is the kind of commitment in which they find mutual fulfillment and self-realization, love and peace, compassion and serenity, comfort and hope. All this is because marriage in Islam is regarded first and foremost as a righteous act, an act of responsible devotion. Sexual control may be a moral triumph, reproduction, a social necessity or service, a sound health and a gratifying state of mind.

Yet, these values and purposes of marriage would take on a special meaning and be reinforced if they are intertwined with the idea of God, conceived also as religious commitments, and internalized as divine blessings. And this seems to be the focal point of marriage in Islam. To paraphrase some Qur’anic verses, the call is addressed to mankind:

O mankind! Be dutiful to God, Who created them from a single soul, and from it created its mate, and from the two of them scattered abroad many men and women. (An-Nisaa’ 4:1)

It was God Who created mankind out of one living soul, and created of that soul a spouse so that he might find comfort and rest in her. (Al-A`raf 7:189)

And it is a sign of God that He has created for men, of themselves, mates to seek in their company peace and tranquility, and has set between them mutual love and mercy. Surely, in that are signs for those who contemplate. (Ar-Rum 30:21)

"strong

Even at the most trying times of married life, and in the midst of legal disputes and litigation, the Qur’an reminds the parties of God’ s law.

Dutifulness

Even at the most trying times of married life, and in the midst of legal disputes and litigation, the Qur’an reminds the parties of God’ s law; it commands them to be kind to one another, truly charitable toward one another, and above all dutiful to God.

It is noteworthy that the Islamic provisions of marriage apply to men and women equally. For example, if celibacy is not recommended for men, it is equally so for women. This is in recognition of the fact that women’ s needs are equally legitimate and are seriously taken into consideration.

In fact, Islam regards marriage to be the normal, natural course for women just as it is for men. It may even be more so for women because it assures them, among other things, of relative economic security.

This significant additional advantage for women does not, however, characterize marriage as a purely economic transaction. In fact, the least focal aspect of marriage in Islam is the economic factor, no matter how powerful this may be. The Prophet is reported to have said that

“A woman is ordinarily sought as wife for her wealth, for her beauty, for the nobility of her stock, or for her religious qualities; but blessed and fortunate is he who chooses his mate for piety in preference to everything else.” (Muslim)

The Qur’an commands marriage to the spouseless and the pious even though they may be poor and slaves:

And marry those among you who are single and those who are fit among your male slaves and your female slaves; if they are needy, Allah will make them free from want out of His grace; and Allah is Ample-giving, All-Knowing. (An-Nur 24:32)

On the other hand, whatever dowry (marriage gifts) a man gives his prospective wife belongs to her; and whatever she may have acquired prior to or after marriage is hers alone. There is no necessary community of property of husbands and wives.

Furthermore, it is the husband who is responsible for the maintenance and economic security of the family. He must even provide the wife with the kind of help and service to which she was used before marriage, and, according to some scholars, she is under no legal obligation to do the routine housework, although she may do so, and usually does, for some reason or other, e.g. cooperation, economy, etc.

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The article is excerpted from Dr. Hammudah’s well-known book “Islam in Focus”.


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title: What Are the Requirements of Sincere Repentance?,
content:

By Editorial Staff

Definition of Tawbah

Tawbah (repentance) is an Arabic word which means in language to return. In the technical usage of the term, it means to return from disobedience of Allah’s commands to His obedience.

The greatest and most important kind of repentance is to desist from disbelief and revert to belief in Islam. Allah says,

“Say to those who disbelieve that if they desist (from unbelief) what (they have done) in the past shall be forgiven them.” (Quran 8:38)

Then, repenting of major sins comes second in importance. Next is the third kind which is to repent of minor sins.

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“But turn all together to God in repentance, O you believers, so that you may be successful.”

The legal ruling concerning tawbah

It’s obligatory to repent of all sins. There are many proofs from the Quran, the Sunnah and also the Consensus that indicate the obligation of tawbah (repentance). Allah says,

“Moreover, you shall (all) seek forgiveness from your Lord. Then repent to Him.” (Quran 11:3)

“But turn all together to God in repentance, O you believers, so that you may be successful.” Quran 24:31)

“O you who believe! Repent to God with a most sincere repentance.” (Quran 66:8)

Al-Agharr al-Muzani who was from amongst the Companions of Allah’s Apostle (ﷺ) reported that Ibn ‘Umar stated to him that Allah’s Messenger (may peace ‘be upon him) said:

O people, seek repentance from Allah. Verily, I seek repentance from Him a hundred times a day. (Muslim)

The stipulations concerning sincere repentance

The number of stipulations differs according to the kind of sin. If the sin committed is between the person and Allah, there will be three stipulations (2, 3 and 4 mentioned below). On the other hand, if the sin committed is related to other people’s rights, there will be four stipulations( 2, 3, 4 and 5 mentioned below). There are other scholars who mention more stipulations than these three or four. These are stipulations 1 and 6 mentioned below. However, the three or four are the most famous among scholars. Now, let us consider these stipulations!

1. Sincerity to Allah

Some scholars add this stipulation to the most famous ones discussed below while others think that it is implied in other stipulations.

Observing this stipulation here means the penitent person must intend to seek the Face of Allah. Moreover, he or she hopes that Allah will accept his or her repentance and forgive whatever acts of disobedience he or she has committed. If one’s intention is to make a show to deceive people, such repentance is invalid.

2. Feeling deep regret and sorrow for having committed acts of disobedience

Compunction is the feeling that shows the person’s repentance is truthful. The person who does not feel regret about the past sins he or she has committed but brags about committing them, his or her repentance will definitely not be accepted.

3. Giving up the sin

Sins include not fulfilling duties or obligatory acts of worship and/ or committing prohibited acts of disobedience. For instance, if a person does not perform obligatory prayer or does not give zakat (almsgiving), he or she must fulfill these pillars so that his or her repentance can be valid and accepted. On the other hand, if a person drinks alcohol or deals in usury, he or she must give up these sins immediately.

4. Firmly resolving not to commit such sins again

If a person repents with the intention to commit the same sin again when he or she has the chance, such repentance will not be accepted as the person is not truthful or sincere in his or her repentance.

However, if the penitent person duly fulfills this stipulation with a sincere intention and resolve not to commit such sins again but was later on overcome by his or her weaknesses, his or her repentance will still be sincere and valid. Such person should not despair or give up repenting to Allah because that’s exactly what the Satan wants. The Muslim person should always renew repentance every time he or she indulges in acts of disobedience. It doesn’t matter how many times a person is overcome by his or her weaknesses so long as he or she is truthful and sincere in repentance.

5. To give people their rights back

If the sin has to do with people’s rights, then this extra condition must be fulfilled. This stipulation includes preserving the right of other people whether they are Muslims or not. Repentance will not be valid so long as this stipulation is not fulfilled. Among the most important human rights is to protect people’s lives, honor or reputation and property.

a. Acts of disobedience related to people’s lives

These include homicide, which is one of the gravest and extremely major sins, suicide, acts of aggression, beating or any kind of harm directed towards others. To repent of such crimes or sins, the person must seek the offended people’s pardon. The offended person may choose to get retribution, accept blood money or to pardon. Allah says,

“For the recompense of a misdeed shall be a misdeed like it. Yet one who (instead) pardons (an offender) and sets things aright, his reward shall be with God. (For), indeed, He does not love the wrongdoers.” (Quran 42:40)

b. Acts of disobedience related to honor or reputation

These include backbiting, slander, libel and any action that involves defamation or using swear words.

In any of these cases or similar ones, the offender must seek the offended people’s pardon so that his or her repentance can be accepted.

c. Acts of disobedience related to other people’s property

These include stealing, usury, bribes, deception and any misappropriation of people’s wealth by using wrongful means.

For the repentance to be accepted, one must return other people’s properties to them. If the rightful owner of the stolen property has died, the perpetrator of such crime must return it to the heirs. If there are not any heirs, the perpetrator must give this money to charity.

6. Repentance must take place in a time when it can be valid

Any person can always repent to Allah at any time except in two cases:

a. At the time of death, repentance becomes invalid.

An example of this is the repentance of the pharaoh of Egypt who showed repentance while drowning in the middle of the sea. In general, the repentance of a person who has become certain of his or her near death is out of place. Allah says,

Yet there is (acceptance of) repentance with God only for those who do evil out of ignorance then repent soon after. It is to such as these whom God will grant repentance. And ever is God all-knowing, all-wise. But there is no repentance for those who (continue to) do (great) sins until, when death approaches one of them, he says: I do, indeed, repent now! Nor (is there repentance) for those who die while they are disbelievers. For such as these, We have made ready a most painful torment. (Quran 4:17-18)

b. When the sun rises from the west, Allah will no longer accept repentance.

Allah says,

“On a Day when some (of the awesome) signs of your Lord shall come (at the end of time, sudden) belief will not benefit a soul that has not believed before, nor (a soul that has not) earned any good from its belief Say (to them): Wait! Indeed, we too are waiting.” (Quran 6:158)

Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “The Hour will not be established until the sun rises from the West: and when the people see it, then whoever will be living on the surface of the earth will have faith, and that is (the time) when

No good will it do to a soul to believe then, if it believed not before.” (Quran 6:158) (Al-Bukhari)

So, repentance must take place in a time when it can be valid and accepted so that the penitent can benefit from it.

 


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title: The Meaning of La Ilaha Illa Allah (Tawheed),
content:
By Abdul-Rahman Al Sheha

This is the phrase of Tawheed (the concept of the Oneness and Uniqueness of Allah). Due to this concept Allah brought the creation into being, and due to this concept He created Paradise and Hellfire. Allah (Exalted be He) says:

"The

This is the belief which all the Prophets and Messengers called to.

And I have neither created the Jinn nor humans except to worship Me. (Adh-Dhariyat 51:56)

This is the belief which all the Prophets and Messengers called to, from Adam, the first Prophet, to Muhammad, the last messenger (peace be upon them all). Allah says:

And we have not sent before you any messenger except that We have revealed to him that there is no deity that is worshipped in truth except Me, so worship and obey Me. (Al-Anbiyaa’ 21:25)

Meanings of the Shahadah

There is no Creator of this existence except Allah. Allah says:

Such is Allah, your Lord! La ilaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He), the Creator of all things. So worship and obey Him (Alone), and He is the Wakeel (Trustee, Disposer of affairs, Guardian, etc.) over all things. (Al-An`am 6:102)

There is no True Master and Owner present in this existence except Allah. This is known as Tawheed Ar-Rubobiyyah, or the Oneness of Allah in His Attributes of Lordship. This is the belief that there is no Creator, Sovereign Master, Administrator, Provider, Sustainer, and Owner except for Allah:

Surely, His is the Creation and Commandment. Blessed be Allah, the Lord of the ‘aalameen (mankind, Jinns and all that exists)! (Al-A`raf 7:54)

No deity deserves servitude and worship except Allah. This is known as Tawheed Al-Ulohiyyah, or the Oneness of Allah in His Worship. This is the belief that no worship should be directed to any except Allah. Allah says:

No doubt! Verily, to Allah belongs whosoever is in the heavens and whosoever is in the earth. And those who worship and invoke others besides Allah, in fact, follow not the (Allah’s so-called) partners, they follow only a conjecture and they only invent lies. (Yunus 10:66)

All the Names and Attributes of Allah are perfect and complete. This is known as Tawheed Al-Asmaa´ wa As-Sifaat, that Allah has all the Best of Names and Attributes, and that there are none equal, comparable to, or like them. He is high above and free from all faults and shortcomings. Allah says:

And (all) the Most Beautiful Names belong to Allah, so call on Him by them, and leave the company of those who belie or deny (or utter impious speech against) His Names. They will be requited for what they used to do. (Al-A`raf 7:180)

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The article is an excerpt from the author’s book “How to Become a Muslim”.


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title: Life After Life?,
content:
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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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title: Apostasy & Drinking Alcohol,
content:

The noble Qur’an teaches us that there is no compulsion in religion. Does the punishment for apostasy conflict with this Qur’anic principle? What about drinking alcohol? Is it prohibited, and why? Watch this video and listen to Dr. Bilal Philips’ answers…


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title: Champion Weightlifter Rebeka Koha Converts to Islam,
content:
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Today is a special day for me, because I became a Muslim🧕🏻

Latvian weightlifter Rebeka Koha has announced that she has converted to Islam and, as a result, has decided to remove all photos and videos from her social media.

 

She has also asked other people not to post images featuring her hair, neck, arms or legs.

 

Dear friends, followers and just everybody!
I made a big decision in my life! And all I can tell is that I’m happy and thankful about it☺️I’m sure for myself that I did the right thing❤️
The only thing what I’m asking about is RESPECT and if you have nothing good to say you can leave and better remain silent!🙂
Today is a special day for me, because I became a Muslim🧕🏻
At 3:48pm I did the Shahada(which is a declaration of faith aka converting) and entered Islam🙏🏻 from here I believe that the new and beautiful chapter of my life can begin 🙌🏻😍🤩
As I’m a muslim now I would like to ask you to not post and share any pictures of me (if you have ofc) anywhere for a public use where is seen my hair and/or body(arms, neck, legs).‼️
Thanks to those who supports me and stays with me no matter what! Alhamdulillah, wishing you all the best and God bless all of you❤️

In a comment on the post, which is now the only one on her Instagram account, she clarified that she does not expect all existing content featuring her to be removed:

“What we have and what is done we can’t change that. I can’t ask all the people to delete everything, throw everything out. Just be respectful and don’t post anything from this moment. That’s it”

In another comment, she responded to a question about her reasons for converting:

“first of because of my future husband when we started dating I got to know more about Islam. Thank to him I found so many good things and this is one of them. I feel peace and happiness in this. So I found it right to do it”

In early May, Koha announced her engagement to Qatari discus thrower Moaz Mohamed Ibrahim. Twenty-one-year-old Ibrahim won a gold medal at the 2016 World U20 Athletics Championships but has not yet won a medal at a senior international competition.

Koha last competed at the Latvian Championships in early March, where she set new Latvian records with a 104kg snatch and a 227kg total. She has already done enough to qualify comfortably for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics (assuming it goes ahead in 2021), sitting fourth in the W59 rankings and having completed all of the required competitions.

The statement from Koha did not state whether her religious conversion or planned marriage will affect her weightlifting career. Latvian news is reporting that she currently has some knee issues but is training for upcoming competitions. Her coach, Eduards Andruškevičs, is quoted as saying:

“I think that everything is based on love. We talked to Rebeka before … She said that this would not interfere with her career in any way, but now there is another problem – health misfortunes. The doctor did not find anything in the initial tests, but Rebeka has problems with her knees. She is currently having difficulty withstanding a heavy load. “

He went on to say:

“I am worried about whether Rebeka will be able to withstand the whole program. She started well in the Latvian championship, but now there are health problems and I know that Rebeka will not want to fight for the tenth position”

Her next competition would be the Latvian individual lift championships in August. According to her coach, she will lift there in an outfit that is compatible with her faith.

The IWF has allowed full-body unitards and headscarves to be worn in competition since 2011, which has enabled several Muslim women to compete internationally.

According to reports in Latvia, Koha still plans to represent the country at the forthcoming European Championships in Moscow. The Latvian Olympic Committee has expressed its support for her, saying that they hope her conversion will positively affect her preparation for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Latvian Olympic Committee Secretary-General Karl Lejnieks said:

“The LOK respects the free choice of anyone that affects their privacy. The same goes for Rebeka Koha. We hope that this decision will have a positive impact on her sporting path to the most important competition of the four years – the Tokyo Olympics”


Source: Weightlifting House website with some modifications


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