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31 January 2013

The Obvious Existence of God

From the moment man opens his eyes to this world a great order surrounds him.  He needs oxygen to survive; it is interesting that the atmosphere of the planet on which he lives provides more than just the adequate amount of oxygen he needs.  This way, he breathes without difficulty.  For the existence of life on this planet, the existence of a source of heat is essential.  In response to this need, the sun is located at just the right distance to emit the exact amount of heat and energy human life needs.  Man needs nourishment to survive; every corner of the world abounds in astonishingly diversified provisions.  Likewise, man needs water; surprisingly, three-fourths of the planet is covered with water.  Man needs shelter; in this world of ours, there is land on which it is suitable to build and all sorts of materials with which to make shelters.

These are only a few among billions of details making life possible on earth.  In brief, man lives on a planet perfectly designed for his survival.  This is certainly a planet “created for human beings”, as God said in the Quran:

Do you not see that God has subjected for you all that is in the Heavens and all that is on the Earth, and has completed and perfected His Bounties upon you, [both] apparent and hidden?...” (Quran 31:20)

A person’s interpretation of the world rests on “acquired methods of thought.” That is, he thinks in the way he has been taught, or, less kindly, the way in which he is indoctrinated.  Under this misguidance, he often dismisses all the aforementioned as “trivial realities.” However, if he does not side-step the matter, and start questioning the conditions making our existence possible, he will surely step out of the boundaries of habitual thinking and start to think:

How does the atmosphere serve as a protective ceiling for the earth?

How does each one of the billions of cells in the human body know and perform its individual tasks?

How does this extraordinary ecological balance exist on earth?

A person seeking answers to these questions surely proceeds on the right path.  He does not remain insensitive to things happening around him, and doesn’t plead ignorance about the extraordinary nature of the world.  A person who asks questions, who reflects on and gives answers to these questions will realize that, on every inch of the planet, a plan and an order reigns:

How did the flawless order in the whole universe come into being?

Who provided the delicate balances in the world?

How did living beings, incredibly diversified in nature, emerge?

Keeping oneself occupied with relentless research to answer these questions results in a clear awareness that everything in the universe, its order, each living being and structure is a component of a plan, a product of design.  Every detail: the excellent structure of an insect’s wing, the system enabling a tree to carry tons of water to its topmost branches, the order of planets, and the ratio of gases in the atmosphere; all are unique examples of perfection.

In every detail of the infinitely varied world, man finds his Creator.  God, the owner of everything in the whole universe, introduces Himself to man through the flawless design of His creation.  Everything surrounding us, the birds in flight, our beating hearts, the birth of a child or the existence of the sun in the sky, manifest the power of God and His creation.  And what man must do is understand this fact.

These purposes owe their existence to the fact that everything has been created.  An intelligent person notices that planning, design and wisdom exist in every detail of the infinitely varied world.  This draws him to recognition of the Creator.

So you need never plead ignorance that all living beings, living or non-living, show the existence and greatness of God, look at the things around you.  Strive to show appreciation in the best manner for the eternal greatness of God.  For the existence of God is obvious, and ignoring it would only be the beginning of the greatest damage we could ever do to ourselves.  That is simply because God is in no need of anything.  He is the One Who shows His greatness in all things and in all ways.

God is the owner of everything, from the heavens to the earth.  We learn the attributes of God from the Quran:

God!  There is no god but Him, the Living, the Self-Sufficient.  He is not subject to drowsiness or sleep.  Everything in the heavens and the earth belongs to Him.  Who can intercede with Him except by His permission?  He knows what is before them and what is behind them but they cannot grasp any of His knowledge save what He wills.  His Footstool encompasses the heavens and the earth and their preservation does not tire Him.  He is the Most High, the Magnificent.” (Quran 2:255)

29 January 2013

Harms Of The Tongue

In today's times, most people tend to be careless about avoiding the harms of the tongue, which are widespread among the people. The following are some of the most common harms:

Talking about what does not concern you:

This is a common practice, even though the Prophet (pbuh) said: “A sign of a person's good practice of Islam, is giving up that which does not concern one.” 

The Prophet (pbuh) also said: “The people with the most sins, are those who most frequently indulge in conversations which do not concern them.

In order to set the limits for what does not concern you, you must ask yourself the following questions:

-      Is there any harm if you remain silent?
-      Is it an issue that concerns you?
-      Is it some information that is vital to your well-being and which you need?

The matters that concern a person are those which directly relate to his life, or things which would prevent harm from afflicting him.

The reason behind the prevalence of such practices is when a person is eager to know what he has no need for, prolonging the conversation is a way of strengthening social relations with the one being talked to or passing time in useless talks.

The way to cure this problem is by remembering that death could attack you at any time, and you will questioned about your words. Time is your capital in life, and silence is a way to earn eternal joy and the company of the purified consorts of Paradise. You should train yourself to be silent gradually by avoiding idle chatting and gossip as far as possible. 

Indulging in falsehood:

This includes talking about women, and sitting in gatherings which include drinking, conveying and spreading innovations in the religion. All of this is prohibited because it goes under the saying of the Prophet (pbuh): “A man may utter a word which pleases Allaah, which causes the pleasure of Allaah upon him until the Day of Resurrection. A man may utter a word which displeases Allaah, which causes the wrath of Allaah upon him until the Day of Resurrection.[Ahmad]

Disputing and arguing which we were prohibited to do:
Allaah The Almighty Says (what means): “And of mankind there is he whose speech may please you (O Muhammad ), in this worldly life, and he calls Allaah to witness as to that which is in his heart, yet he is the most quarrelsome of the opponents. And when he turns away (from you O Muhammad ), his effort in the land is to make mischief therein and to destroy the crops and the cattle, and Allaah likes not mischief[Quran, 2: 204-205]

The Prophet (pbuh) said: “The most hated person to Allaah, is the one who always disputes and starts enmity.” [Al-Bukhaari]. A Muslim should guard his tongue from saying what intimidates others or angers them, and remember the saying of the Prophet (pbuh) : “I will guarantee a house in Jannah (Paradise) for the one who ends an argument even if he was in the right. [Abu Daawood].

Cursing and badmouthing: 

The Prophet (pbuh) said: “A Muslim does not badmouth, curse, nor is he spiteful. [Ahmad, At-Tirmithi].He  also said: “Reviling a Muslim is an act of outrage (moral depravity) and fighting against him is an act of disbelief (Kufr)”. [Al-Bukhaari and Muslim] Unfortunately, this is common amongst the people nowadays, especially amongst the youth. A Muslim is commanded to purify his tongue from immoral words.

Claiming eloquence: 

This is dispraised and it leads to boasting. The Prophet (pbuh) said: “Those most hated and the farthest on the Day of Resurrection are those with the worst manners, those who prattle, boast and the arrogant.[At-Tirmithi].
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26 January 2013

When Ignorance is an Excuse

The extent to which human ignorance can be regarded as excuse to exempt a person from sin and accountability in matters of Islamic Law is a matter that scholars have explored in depth. It is also matter about which they have expressed widely divergent opinions. Some people make ignorance a valid excuse for anything. Others never accept ignorance as an excuse, regardless of the circumstances. The true and balanced approach, of course, lies somewhere in between. This is what we will seek to uncover in this article.

Ignorance, as a term, can be defined as a person being devoid of knowledge. More precisely, it is to be lacking knowledge that one is supposed to be acquainted with. People, naturally, start out life in a state of ignorance. In fact, at the beginning of any pursuit, the person will be in a state of ignorance concerning it and will have to do what is necessary to dispel that ignorance.

Allah says: “And Allah brings you fourth from the wombs of your mothers knowing nothing.” [Surah al-Nahl: 78]

Once a man gave to the Prophet (peace be upon him) a flask of wine as a gift. The Prophet (peace be upon him) asked the man: “Do you know that Allah has prohibited this?” The man replied that he did not know of its prohibition." [Sahih Muslim (1579)]

The man had not yet come to know that wine had been prohibited, so he was not blamed or rebuked. This hadith shows us that a person who really does not know something is exempted from sin.

Allah says: “And we would not punish a people until after we had sent to them a Messenger.” [Surah al-Isra: 15]

However, this is the case for someone who has truly not received knowledge. Someone who is able to learn and simply neglects to do so is accountable for the ignorance that he has on account of his negligence. This is stated as a general axiom of Islamic Law: “A legally accountable person can not use ignorance as a defense if he had been able to overcome his ignorance.

This is because Allah has sent his Messengers to us and has required all of us to learn the Message and then to act upon it. Allah obligates us to know what is required of us and to act accordingly.

On this basis, a new convert who has just embraced Islam will be excused for not knowing that prayer is enjoined upon him or for thinking that drinking wine is alright. He will not be considered an unbeliever on account of it. However, if that person is properly presented the evidence for these matters and still insists that prayer is not obligatory or that wine is lawful, then the consensus of the Muslims is that he becomes an unbeliever.

Ibn Taymiyah says:

There are some people who are ignorant of these rulings and have an excuse to be ignorant. Therefore, no one should be declared an unbeliever until the proof is established to him by way of conveying the message to Him, since Allah says: “…Messengers who gave glad tidings and warnings, sothat humanity will have an argument against Allah after the Messengers.” [Surah al-Nisa: 165]

Therefore, if a person accepts Islam and does not know that prayer is incumbent upon him or does not know that wine is prohibited, then he will not fall into unbelief on either account. Likewise, he ill not be punishable for it until after the scriptural evidence has reached him…

Possibly the clearest proof that ignorance can be a legal excuse is the following hadith where the Prophet (peace be upon him) said [Sahîh al-Bukhari (7506) and Sahih Muslim (2756):

A man who had never done any good deed before instructed his family to burn him when he dies and to scatter his ashes half on the land and half in the sea. He said: “If Allah gets hold of me, He will punish me as he has never punished anyone else before.”

When the man died (and his instructions were carried out), Allah ordered the land and sea to collect his remains together. Then Allah asked him: “Why did you do that?” The man said: “Out of your fear O Lord!” So Allah forgave him.

Ibn Taymiyah comments on this hadîth, saying:

This man was ignorant of Allah’s ability to bring him back together, He had hoped that Allah would not resurrect him because he was ignorant of what had been revealed regarding the resurrection. Nevertheless, since he believed in Allah, His commands and prohibitions, and His promises and warnings, and since he feared His punishment, and since his ignorance was in a matter about which the proof that would have made him an unbeliever had never reached him, Allah forgave him.

Today, we live in an age where the means to disseminate the message of Islam throughout the word are so varied and so advanced as to make the world as if it were a single country. Nevertheless, there are still many cases of ignorance where that ignorance is excusable. This is because there is a scarcity of knowledgeable people who put their knowledge into practice, while at the same time there are numerous people who are calling what is wrong, who are experts at making falsehood and unbelief appealing to the masses and are equally expert at disseminating misinformation.

Indeed, Ibn Taymiyah lamented a similar state of affairs centuries ago. In spite of the fact that many of the people were engaged in all sorts of heresies and false beliefs, he did not declare them to be unbelievers, but pardoned them on account of their ignorance:

Such people are plentiful today, and this is because of the scarcity of those who disseminate knowledge and call people to faith. There is an absence of the Islamic Message in most countries. Most of the people do not have with them enough of the Message – and of the Prophet’s legacy – to realize their guidance. It has not even reached many of them. In such times when the Message is absent, a man benefits from whatever little faith he has. Allah pardons for someone who has not had the proof established against him what he does not pardon for someone who has.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “A time will come when the people will not know prayer, fasting , or either pilgrimage, except for some old man or woman among them. They will say: ‘We had known our fathers to say ‘There is no God except Allah’.

The narrator of the hadith, Hudhayfah, was asked: “What good will saying ‘There is no God except Allah’ be to them?” Hudhayfah replied: “It will save them from Hell.” [Sunan Ibn Majah and Mustadrak al-Hakim. It is authenticated by al-Albani in al-Silsilah al-Sahihah (78)]

Though we maintain that ignorance is an excuse in matters of faith and disbelief, this does not mean that it is accepted from everyone who cites ignorance as a defence  The eminent jurist, al-Shafi`î said: “There are some things that no sane adult can possibly be ignorant of – like the five prayers, and that the fast of Ramadan is due to Allah, and that the Pilgrimage is obligatory upon one who is able to do so, and that the Zakah tax is due on their wealth, and that fornication, murder, theft, and wine are unlawful, and other such matters.”

There are various factor to consider when considering the excitability of someone’s ignorance. One of these is the nature of the matter that the person is ignorant about – is it something obscure or generally well known? The person’s state must also be taken into consideration. Is he new to Islam? Did he live his life in some remote area? The social circumstances must also be considered to determine whether or not someone in his environment would be likely to know the matter in question.

With respect to the essential tenets of faith, they are set forth in the Quran, so anyone who has access to the Quran and who can read and understand it would not be excused for ignorance in those matters.

May Allah give us success and bless us with beneficial knowledge.

Sheikh Abd Allah b. Muhammad al-Tayyar, professor at al-Qasim University

20 January 2013

Hadith Info: Contentment versus Patience

The Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “When Allah loves someone then He tests him: as for whoever is content – Allah will be pleased with him; and as for whoever is discontented – Allah will be displeased with him.[As-Suyuti; al-Jami as-Saghir]

A Muslim may experience one of two states as regards what he dislikes: the state of being content, or that of being patient. Both are praiseworthy but being content is a higher quality, while being patient is a duty which the believer must fulfil.

Being patient involves restraining the self and preventing it from giving in to resentment, in spite of any suffering that it experiences – in the hope that the misfortune which afflicts it will come to an end – as well as restraining the limbs from behaving badly, out of impatience.

Being content, on the other hand, involves feeling at ease in accepting the Divine Decree, and being unconcerned with when any suffering will stop, even though it is being experienced. If the contentment increases in its intensity, then it removes the experiencing of any suffering altogether.

But from where does such contentment come?

It comes from knowing that Allah ta’Ala is always right in whatever He decrees. It comes from knowing that only Wisdom, Beauty and Perfection are the source of all that He decrees. It comes from knowing that “no misfortune happens without the permission of Allah” [Quran: Surah At-Taghabun, Ayat 11]. And so we place our trust in Him.

15 January 2013

Muhammad Ali's advice to his daughters

The following incident took place when Muhammad Ali's daughters arrived at his home wearing clothes that were not modest. Here is the story as told by one of his daughters:

When we finally arrived, the chauffeur escorted my younger sister, Laila, and me up to my father's suite. As usual, he was hiding behind the door waiting to scare us. We exchanged many hugs and kisses as we could possibly give in one day.

My father took a good look at us. Then he sat me down on his lap and said something that I will never forget. He looked me straight in the eyes and said, "Hana, everything that God made valuable in the world is covered and hard to get to. Where do you find diamonds? Deep down in the ground, covered and protected. Where do you find pearls? Deep down at the bottom of the ocean, covered up and protected in a beautiful shell. Where do you find gold? Way down in the mine, covered over with layers and layers of rock. You've got to work hard to get to them."

He looked at me with serious eyes. "Your body is sacred. You're far more precious than diamonds and pearls, and you should be covered too.

Source: Taken from the book: More Than A Hero: Muhammad Ali's Life Lessons Through His Daughter's Eyes.

13 January 2013

Picture Perfect: Beneficial Knowledge

Umm Salamah (Radhi Allaahu anha) narrated that the Prophet (pbuh) used to say after the dawn prayer, 

Allaahumma inni as’aluka ‘ilman naafi’an, wa rizqan tayyiban, wa ‘amalan mutaqabbalan.” 

“O Allaah, I ask You for beneficial knowledge, acceptable action, and good provision.”

[Tirmidhi 2487, Ahmad and Ibn Majah]

06 January 2013

How to deal with the increasing sex crimes?

Capitalism, the system practices in this country, is the instigator of the emergence of societal damage including fertilizing sex crimes. Its capitalist economic system has led to rampant poverty; it also encourages women to leave their homes to work late hours at night. This system also teaches people to justify any means to achieve material things. The capitalist social system allows women to expose their bodies becoming an object of sexual exploitation. Worst of all, the state does not position itself as a servant, protector, or responsible agent for its people. Therefore, it's difficult to expect any guarantee by the state to provide adequate and safe means of transportation to protect the honour of women. It is also understandable if the public loses trust in the government because the perpetrators were not subjected to any criminal sanctions due to the corrupt judiciary.

Here we would like to highlight the following important points regarding the issue of sex crimes:

1. The widespread cases of sex crimes only occur in societies which apply and allow the Capitalist ideology of freedom (liberalism) to expand rampantly. These crimes will be stopped through the implementation of the Islamic system, the Khilafah Islamiyah. The Islamic economic system, Islamic social system and the Islamic system of punishments will be implemented so as to prevent various acts of criminality including sex crimes.

2. The Islamic system will provide education for women to recognize how Islam safe-guards their honor and will place sanctions on those who publicly expose their bodies. It would impose strict penalties on perpetrators of rape based on Nidzam Uqubat fi al-Islam (Islamic system of punishments). Rape accompanied by the threat of a weapon is convicted as a highway robber. Meanwhile, the penalty for highway robbers has been mentioned by Allah.

"The reprisal against those who wage war on Allah and His Messenger, and go about the earth corrupting it, is that they should be killed or crucified, or have their alternate hands and feet cut off, or be banished from the land. That will be their degradation in this world and in the Next World they will have a terrible punishment." #Quran 5:33

So the judge has the choice of the four punishments mentioned in this verse, and may choose whichever he thinks is most suitable to attain the objective, which is to spread peace and security in society, and ward off evildoers and aggressors. 

3. Only Islam and the implementation of the Islamic Sharia are able to provide reassurance to the needs of women. Protection and the fulfilment of women's needs by the state have been widely proven throughout the history of Islamic government. Throughout the history of Islamic government, women were protected and their needs were fulfilled by the State. An example of this was during the Prophet Muhammad's صلى الله عليه وسلم time when a Muslim woman was in the market of Bani Qainuqa (Jewish tribe) when a Jew untied her clothes exposing her body while she was standing. Other Jews gathered around her laughing. The woman screamed. Then one of the Sahabah came to her help and immediately killed the culprit. As a result, the Jews killed him. When this news reached the Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم he immediately gathered his army. The Prophet's صلى الله عليه وسلم troops besieged them for 15 days until Bani Qainuqa surrendered due to their fear.

It is time to return the glory to human life through an earnest struggle for the Islamic Khilafah system so that all forms of criminality which damage people could soon be stopped.

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  • 01 January 2013

    Picture Perfect: Fireworks 2013, Dubai

    The Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam) said,

     “You shall follow the practices of those before you, inch by inch and mile by mile, to the degree that if they enter into the hole of a lizard, you will follow them.” He was asked: “O messenger of Allah, are they the Jews and Christians?” He replied: “Who else?[Bukhari]