Sunday, May 31, 2009

Fluctuations of Life

article from islamonline.net..

Tests for the Believers: Fluctuations of Life *


By Sheikh. Salim Al-Hilali
A Scholar of Hadith

A person’s life in this world is not stable. One passes through alternating periods of happiness and dismay, strength and weakness, wealth and poverty, health and sickness, etc. A true believer is one who maintains a clear level of faith throughout the worldly fluctuations. He continues to remember Allah and ascribe the bounties to Him, and he turns to Him in submission, asking for relief from his affliction. This is described by the Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him), who said:

“Indeed amazing are the affairs of a believer! They are all for his benefit. If he is granted ease of living he is thankful; and this is best for him. And if he is afflicted with a hardship, he perserveres; and this is best or him.” (Muslim)

And Allah said:

[Certainly, We shall test you with fear, hunger, loss of wealth, lives and fruits; but give glad tidings to the patient—those who, when afflicted with calamity say, “Truly to Allah we belong, and truly to Him shall we return.” It is those who will be awarded blessings and mercy from their Lord; and it is those who are the guided ones.] (Al-Baqarah 2:155–157)

Thus, a believer shows gratitude and thankfulness for all the wonderful blessings that Allah grants him. And he displays patience and submission during sickness and hardships, hunger, or other afflictions.

Hardships Benefit the Believer

Allah has decreed that, in this life, hardships and disasters strike both believers and non-believers. For a non-believer, they are inconveniences that hinder him from proceeding with his normal involvement in the worldly life. For a believer, on the other hand, they are instances of rest and remembrance, tests that promise great rewards, and indications of atonement and expiation of sins. Regardless of how little is the harm that strikes a believer, it carries with it good news of forgiveness and elevated rank in Paradise. The Righteous Predecessors used to be pleased when a hardship afflicted them, seeing it as a token of Allah’s forgiveness and benevolence.

Expiations of Sins

Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet said, "Hardships continue to befall a believing man and woman in their body, family, and property, until they meet Allah burdened with no sins” (At-Tirmidhi).

Sign of Allah’s Love

Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Whenever Allah wills good for a person, He subjects him to adversity” (Al-Bukhari and others).

Sign of Faith

Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) and Ka`b ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said:

“The parable of a believer is that of a fresh and moist plant; the wind tilts it this way and that way; and so is the believer; he continues to be subject to affliction. And the parable of a hypocrite is that of a firm cedar tree; it does not shake—until it is uprooted all at once.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Sign of Righteousness

The prophets and righteous people are afflicted the most, and their rewards are the highest. Sa`d (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said:

“The most in their suffering among the people are the prophets, then the best, then the (next) best. One is afflicted in accordance with his faith. If his faith is firm, his affliction is hard, and if his faith is weak, his affliction is light. Indeed, one would be so much subjected to adversity until he walks among the people without any sins.”
(Ahmad and At-Tirmidhi)

Early Punishment

Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said:

“When Allah wills good for a servant of His, He expedites his punishment in this life; and when He wills retribution for a servant of His, He holds his sins for Him to judge him by them on the Day of Resurrection.” (At-Tirmidhi)

Multiplication of Rewards

Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said:

“The amount of reward is in accordance with the amount of suffering. When Allah loves some people, He tries them (with affliction). He who then is content (with Allah’s decree) has achieved the acceptance (of Allah), and he who is dissatisfied (with Allah’s decree) will attain the anger (of Allah).” (At-Tirmidhi)

Rewards for Sickness

One should not look to sickness as a gloomy episode, but should remember the great good in it. It is one form of affliction with which Allah tests His servants, giving them a chance to acquire rewards, as was explained above, as is further emphasized below.

Removal of Sins and Elevation in Ranks

Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Whenever a Muslim is afflicted by harm from sickness or other matters, Allah will drop his sins because of that, like a tree drops its leaves” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim).

Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “A Muslim is not afflicted by hardship, sickness, sadness, worry, harm, or depression—even if pricked by a thorn—but Allah expiates his sins because of that” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim).

Sa`id said, “I was with Salman (may Allah be pleased with him) when he visited a sick man in Kindah (in Persia), and he said to him, “Expect good because Allah makes a believer’s sickness an expiation (for his sins) and a period of rest. However, when a disbeliever falls sick, he is like a camel whose owner ties it then lets it loose—it does not understand why it was tied nor why it was freed.” (Al-Bukhari)

`A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) narrated that once some pain afflicted the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) causing him to suffer and turn about in his bed. She said, “Had one of us done this, you would have blamed him.” He (peace and blessings be upon him) replied:

“An ailment is intensified for the righteous. Whenever a believer is afflicted by a hardship, whether it is a thorn or more, a sin is taken off from him because of it, and he is elevated by one rank (in Paradise).” (Ahmad)

Retaining Rewards for Deeds Before Sickness

Usually, when a believer falls sick, he would not be able to do the same amount of good (prayer, fasting, helping Muslims, etc.) that he used to do when he was well. But Allah, out of His great mercy, continues to record for him the good deeds that he was forced to stop because of his sickness. Abu Musa Al-Ash`ari narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “For a traveling or sick person, his deeds will be recorded in accordance with what he used to do when he was resident or well.” (Al-Bukhari)

`Abdullah ibn `Amr reported that the Prophet said, “No (believing) person gets sick, but (his deeds) will be recorded for him in accordance with what he used to do when he was well.” (Al-Bukhari)

Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said:

“No Muslim body is afflicted by Allah, but He will record (his deeds) for him in accordance with what he used to do when he was well—as long as he is sick. Thus, if He takes his life, He forgives him; and if He cures him, He washes him (from sins).”
(Al-Bukhari)

Reason for the Reward

`Atta ibn Rabaah reported that Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) told him, “Do you want to see a woman from the people of Paradise?” He said, “Yes.” He said, “It is this black woman. She came to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) saying, ‘I have (epileptic) seizures, and I get exposed, so supplicate to Allah for me.’ He (peace and blessings be upon him) said, ‘If you wish, be patient and you will attain Paradise; or if you wish, I will ask Allah to cure you.’ She replied, ‘I will be patient! But my body gets exposed (because of the fall), so supplicate to Allah for me that I do not become exposed.’ And he (peace and blessings be upon him) did.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

The scholars have differed in opinion as to whether a sick person will be rewarded for the sickness itself or for being patient during it. The correct opinion is that if he is patient and submits to Allah’s will, as in the above hadith, he would be rewarded for both the submission and the sickness; otherwise, he would not be rewarded at all because he resented Allah’s decree. This is what should be understood from Ibn Hajar Al-`Asqalani’s words: “The authentic hadiths are clear in that the rewards are recorded once affliction strikes a Muslim. As for patience and acceptance, they are virtues for which a person may get additional rewards over those for the affliction.”

`Abdullah ibn `Amr reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “If a Muslim is pricked by (as little as) a thorn in the worldly life, and he seeks its reward from Allah, some of his sins will be removed, because of it, on the Day of Judgment.” (Al-Bukhari)

* Taken from The Inevitable Journey: Sickness, Death, and the Grave, Quran and Sunnah Society of North America.

Sheikh Salim Al-Hilali is a Scholar of Hadith. He studied under the prominent Hadith Scholar Al-Albani.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Belief of the Names and Attributes of Allah

Stumbled upon this entry @ ibnyusof.blogspot.com. Posted with slight modifications.

Say (O Muhammad): 'He is Allah, (the) One,
Allaah-us-Samad [Allaah - the Self Sufficient Master, Whom all creatures need, (He neither eats nor drinks)]
He begets not, nor was He begotten
And there is none coequal or comparable to Him.'

(Surah Al-Ikhlas 112: 1-4)

Tauhid Al-Asma' Wa Sifat is one of the most important branches of tauhid yet the most misunderstood aspects of "Lordship" in Islam. It is an area where many go astray in their thinking and belief. The knowledge of understanding and knowing God's attributes (Ma'rifatullah) is obligatory upon every Muslim.

Islam in fact describes ninety-nine names of God, in each ninety-nine names reflecting the attributes of God. It is termed as Asma' Al-Husna or The Beautiful Names, a subject of much adoration and celebration among Muslims. The most common name for the one true God in Islam is Allah.

Some confusion regarding understanding the attributes of Allah are answered in several verses in the Holy Quran.

That is He, the All-Knower of the unseen and the seen,
the All-Mighty, the Most Merciful.

(Surah As-Sajdah 32:6)

He is Allah beside Whom Laa ilaaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He)
The All-Knower of the unseen and the seen.
He is the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

(Surah Al-Hashr 59:22)

He is Allah beside Whom Laa ilaaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He)
the King, the Holy, the One Free from all defects,
the Giver of Security, the Watcher over His creatures
the All-Mighty, the Compeller, the Supreme.
Glorified is Allah! (High is He) above all that they associate as partners with Him.

(Surah Al-Hashr 59:23)

He is Allah, the Creator, the Inventor of all things, the Bestower of forms.
To Him belong the Best Names.
All that is in the heavens and earth glorifies Him.
He is the All-Mighty, the All-Wise.

(Surah Al-Hashr 59:24)

Therefore, the correct way of understanding Allah's attributes is how it has been practiced by the companions which was described by the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) himself as the best generation.

Allah must not be named or qualified by anything other than what Allah Himself and His Messenger, have named or qualified Him. No attribute or quality should be offered in explaining or describing the Lord of Universe unless He or His Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) has already offered this description.

Allah will not leave the believers in the state which you are now, until He distinguishes the wicked from the good. Nor will Allaah disclose to you the secrets of the Ghaib (Unseen),but Allaah chooses of His Messengers whom He wills. So believe in Allaah and His Messengers. And if you believe and fear Allaah, then for you there is great reward. (Surah Al-Imran 3:179)

As to the brain-twister such as the paradoxical question: "Where is Allah before He build 'Arasy?" raised by some quarters. The key lies in the proper understanding of the branch of Tauhid (field of "Unique Oneness of God").- Tauhid Al-Asma' Wa Sifat as what has been mentioned earlier.

The answer to matters of the unseen (al-Ghaib) is that no one knows them but He since it is not mentioned in the Holy Quran and neither by the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). We're only required to be steadfast with what have been revealed to us.


This is of the news of the Unseen which We reveal to you (O Muhammad); neither you nor your people knew it before this. So, be patient. Surely, the (good) end is for the Muttaqoon (the pious)
(Surah Hud 11:49)

In conclusion, total submission towards the Qur'an and Sunnah is needed when us Muslims interact with matters of the Unseen. There is no need to include logic, philosophy, debate and so forth in understanding God's names, attributes and actions as it is clearly and obviously stated that no one knows Himself better than He does.

And with Him are the keys of the Ghaib (all that is hidden), none knows them but He. And He knows whatever there is in the land and in the sea; not a leaf falls, but He knows it. There is not a grain in the darkness of the earth nor anything fresh or dry, but is written in a Clear Record.
(Surah Al-Anaam 6:59).


Ibn Yusof
17 May 2009 / 21 Jumad Al-Awal 1430
3.30 p.m
www.ibnyusof.blogspot.com

Friday, May 22, 2009

"Mom, when can I get a girlfriend?"

"Eh, Ridhuan, how come you are still single aah? Ah Chong is even getting married already. When are you planning to get a girlfriend?" a Chinese ex-schoolmate and friend asked me one day while we were catching up over coffee.

"I'm not planning to get a girlfriend ah.. I hope to get married without an intimate pre-marital relationship. That's what Islam teaches."

"What?! Muslims cannot have relationships before marraige?! Really meh? Then, how come ah I see so many Muslims having relationships?"

"Yea, really..". And I proceeded to explain to my Chinese friends in simple terms, that Islam is not only about prayers and rituals. Islam is a way of life and this means that whatever that we do in our life (relationship/work/food/interaction etc.) that abides by the rules and regulations of Allah, provided by Him in the Qur'an and Prophet Muhammad's Sunnah, that is the concept of worship in Islam.

"Oh I see.. like that uhh?!" my Chinese friend somewhat tried to come to an understanding, though still looking puzzled.

Boy-Girl relationships (BGR) are so common nowadays and it is even widespread among Muslims. It's understandable if those who were brought up in a Secular school setting since young with little or no knowledge in Islam are influenced, but the reality is that even those who were brought up in a more religious setting such as Madrasahs practice it. Where did it go wrong? Do we blame the school? Do we blame the society and its bad influences? Or even the parents?

For some cases the parents can be partly at fault. Parents play a very influential role in the upbringing of their child. Once I overheard a primary schoolboy asking his mother,

"Mom, when can I get a girlfriend?".

The reply was, "Oh not now, do well in school, get a good job and then you can find one!" she answered being amused at the same time at how fast her son is growing.


Instead of trying to explain according to the Islamic guidelines, the parent had actually encouraged the child saying that he is free to find a girlfriend when he's older and more stable in life. Still, it's understandable why the mother gave an advice in that manner as she herself has little knowledge in Islam.

However, there still exist children brought up with the discipline and knowledge of Islam but chose to go against what they already know is wrong. When this happens, nothing can stop them even if the parents nag or advise countless number of times. Sometimes all the parents can do is keep advising, hoping and praying that their child will be rightly guided, realise their mistake and revert to a healthier Islamic lifestyle.

Passing through such a phase as a youth growing up in Secular settings, I can understand the pulling factors and influences among peers about BGR relationships. You can't really blame a Muslim who's ignorant about his own religion indulging in it.

But for a Muslim, who already knows that it is not permissible and still indulges in it, that is the real problem here. Some may be even known to the society as religious people, go to mosques often, help out at communities and charity works, but involve themselves in BGR relationships. It's a contradiction of how Islam actually is. The problem is that they are looked upon as role models in the Muslim society and their influences are even greater. Thus, they are sending out the wrong signals about Islam by having relationships and dating around.

I have nothing against them, it's their life, I agree. A friend quoted, "Kubur sendiri, jawab sendiri ah". (literally meaning: It's my life and I'll answer myself to God!). Seriously, I shudder at the lax attitude and the seriousness of this quote. I hope that Allah forgives my friend for his error and guide him.

The actions from these religious figures will influence others who look to them as role models and when this happens, it's not just about their own private lives. It has become a public matter!


And there's a certain trend of thinking among some youths with backgrounds of Secular schools today. This took place in an 'usrah' (group discussion session) at a mosque when discussing about a certain "It's Sexier to Say NO to Sex" campaign, I voiced out my opinion..

"The campaign is positive that it reminds youths and educates them the dangers and realities of indulging in casual sex before marriage but I think they should do more. We should keep going after that to try educating youths about the Islamic way of relationships and the successes and benefits of marriages maybe even encouraging and aiding for those who are ready for marriage earlier, as recommended in Islam. Then a youth activist rebutted me,

"I think the campaign is good that it reminds youths to take precaution. But I feel, there is no problem with BGR with Muslims as we are currently living in the modern society and everyone does it! We can't prevent the trend and have to adjust Islam according to the current trends." Then, another more influential youth activist gave similar views.

I reiterated my views on it and then waited for some in the group to back me up knowing that they had understood where I was coming from but it never came.

This is a dangerous form of thinking as it contradicts the basic teachings of the Qur'an and Sunnah itself! They are saying things that they don't know about and tried to justify their opinions with their own understanding of Islam. Na'udhubillaahi min dhaalik.(We seek protection from Allah from this form of thinking.) And May Allah guide them away from this form of thinking.

For relationships and love in Islam, there is no such thing as strict or less-strict practice of Islam when a Muslim chooses not to indulge in BGR before marriage. It's just permissible or non-permissible. How can we permit BGR when it is clearly stated that it's impermissible and proven throughout the generations that there are more negatives than positives from it?

Islam recognises feelings and needs that exists in humans, between a guy and girl but disciplines and regulates it by allowing it to be expressed only after marriage. We can't help it having feelings for the opposite sex, this is only natural.

I remembered a talk by Dr. Asri, goes something like this..

" Kalo seseorang itu nyatakan dia cinta kepada kita, kita katalah, terima kasih..Nak buat macam mana kan, cinta itu fitrah. Takkan nak marah dia pula, eh apa ni cinta, cinta?!!.. Orang lain susah-susah nak cari cinta, dah bagus tu ada orang cinta kat kita(laughter from audience).. Tapi kita salah bila kita bertindak atas cinta itu"

[If someone confesses to us that he/she is in love with us, we just tell them, "Thank You..". There's nothing we can do. Love is something that naturally exists within us. How can we rebuke that person, "What's the meaning of this?! What Love Love!?" Many others already find it so hard to find love and here we have someone loving us. Isn't that a good thing? (Laughter from the audience). But as Muslims, we're in the wrong if we start indulging in it and transgress the boundaries.]

When we act upon our feelings by going out on dates and doing BGR related stuff, that act is not permissible in Islam. If relationships are allowed before marriage, it would have been clearly stated and explained. Think about it.

So what's the solution for all this? How about those who are already indulging in it and find it hard to change? Or how about those who want to change? Do they remain in the relationship or should they just break it off?

I understand that not all relationships before marriage have spiralled into disasters. I do know of relationships that lasted for years and went on towards marriage that have lasted. However, the truth is that, these cases are very few. It has been proven that the larger majority have suffered much from pre-marital relationships in all its bad forms.

The first and foremost is to try our best to abide by what Islam teaches. And this is to strive towards what Islam has recommended which is marriage, to prevent ourselves from falling into fitnah and sins.

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: "O young men, whoever among you can afford it, let him get married, for it is more effective in lowering the gaze and guarding one's chastity. And whoever cannot afford it, let him fast, for it will be a shield for him." ) (al-Bukhaari and Muslim)

The only time we'd be in some sort of a closer relationship with more communication, but still within the boundaries and not transgressing limits, would be after the taa'ruf (Islamic courting) session, when both have been engaged and families have agreed and they have clear ideas and goals to get married within a short term period.

(excerpt from islamonline.net article) Though love is something nice, and it is recommended for a man to marry a woman whom he loves, because the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said: "There is nothing better for two who love each other than marriage." (Sahih Al-Jami`, 5200)

However, this love should not be overwhelming and cause a person to forget other characteristics which he should look for in the person he wants to marry. The most important characteristic is religious commitment. The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, says: "A woman may be married for four things: her wealth, her lineage, her beauty and her commitment to religion. Choose the one who is religious, may your hands be rubbed with dust [i.e., may you prosper]!" (Agreed-upon Hadith).


Secondly, for those already in relationships, though this is not something that's recommended in Islam, but I'd suggest that they'd start being serious and take the relationship towards marriage as soon as possible. We'd only know how serious the other person is when marriage is suggested.

(Excerpt from islamonline.net article) The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, says: "Three qualities, if found in a person, will help him have perfect faith: Having Allah and His Messenger, peace and blessings be upon him, as the most beloved ones, loving a person only for the sake of Allah and hating getting back to Kufr (disbelief) the way one hates to be thrown into fire."

Truly, love is a fruit of piety and love without piety is mischief!


Lastly, for those who are still single and can't really foresee themselves being married in the near future, try to prevent from thinking too much about love for now. Though it is something that can be unpredictable and uncontrollable; being fond/in love of someone, try to keep away from it by forgetting about it.

How? Keep ourselves busy in beneficial and meaningful activities. Channel the drive and youthful energy towards positive things that will benefit ourselves, our family, friends and the society for this world and the hereafter. Once we get into marriage life, our priorities and responsibilities would have changed, so make full use of the time that we currently have.

May Allah guide us always and forgive us whenever we forget or fall into error. I remind myself of this before others and Allah Almighty knows best.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Not much time to rilek, really...

Article from islamonline.net..

Name of Questioner: United Arab Emirates
Title: Signs of the Day of Judgment: Past, Present & Future
Question:

Dear dignified scholars: As-salamu `alaykum! The coming of the Day of Judgment is really a hot topic these days and everyone has a say in the issue. Could you enlighten me on the real signs or portents of the Day of Judgment as shown in the authentic sources of Islam?

Jazakum Allahu Khayran!

Date: 09/Aug/2003
Name of Counsellor: Group of Muftis
Topic: Afflictions & Portents of the Last Hour

Wa `alaykum As-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

Dear questioner! Thank you for this question, which reflects a true desire to get more knowledge about Islam and its guidance.

In the first place, we would like to stress that a Muslim should make his first priority to be prepared for the Day of Judgment. When a man came to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and asked, "What is the exact date of the Day of Judgment?" the Prophet answered, "What have you prepared for that day?"

This indirect positive answer from the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) directs every Muslim to concern himself, before anything else, with performing good deeds and acts of worship so as to be safe on that day.

The appearance of some signs of Judgment Day should motivate Muslims to turn back to their Lord, repenting and surrendering themselves to Him alone. Muslims should not sleep or wait with hands tied; rather, they should work for a better future for the whole Muslim Ummah and Islam, for Allah helps only those who want to help themselves.

Coming to the question in point, here are the words of the late Sheikh Ibn `Uthaymeen, a prominent Saudi Muslim scholar, regarding the major signs of the Day of Judgment:

1. The Emergence of the Dajjal (the Anti-Christ). This refers to a man who is an imposter and who will appear during the Last Days, claiming lordship. Regarding his coming, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: "Say: 'O Allah! Verily I seek refuge in you from the punishment of the Hellfire, and I seek refuge in you from the punishment of the grave, and I seek refuge in you from the trial of Dajjal. And I seek refuge in you from the trial of life and death."

The Dajjal will emerge from a road in an area between the Levant and Iraq and will begin to call the people to worship him. A majority of the people that will follow him will be from the Jews, women and Bedouins. Seventy-thousand Jews from Asfahan (in present-day Iran) will follow him and he will travel throughout the entire earth, just as the wind blows rain in all directions, except for Makkah and Madinah, for he will be prevented from entering them.

The length of his stay will be forty days. One day will be like a year, one day like a month, one day like a week and the rest of the days will be as normal. He is one-eyed (i.e., one eye is good and the other is defective) and between his two eyes will be written in Arabic letters “KA FA RA”, that is, kafir (disbeliever). Only the believers will be able to read it. He will bring about great trials, some of which are that he will command the heavens and it will rain and he will command the earth and it will produce vegetation. He will have with him a garden and a fire. However, his garden will be a fire, and his fire will be a garden.

2. The descent of Jesus, son of Mary. This is established in the Qur'an, the Sunnah, and the consensus of the Muslims. Allah says what means: “There is not one of the People of the Scripture but will believe in him before his death, and on the Day of Resurrection he will be a witness against them" (An-Nisa': 159).

This refers to the death of Jesus, which will occur after his descent, as has been interpreted by Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him). The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, "I swear by Allah, that Jesus, son of Mary will indeed descend judging (mankind) with justice."

Muslims have unanimously agreed upon his descent. He will descend by the white minaret in the east of Damascus, placing his hands upon the wings of two angels. Then it will not be possible for a disbeliever to perceive the scent of his breath without dying. And his breath will extend as far his eyesight extends. He will search for the Dajjal until he reaches him by the gate of Ludd, where he will kill him. He will break the cross and abolish the jizyah (tax paid by non-Muslims living under Muslim rule), and prostration will be only for Allah the Lord of the universe. He will also perform Hajj and `Umrah.

3. The emergence of Gog and Magog. They are two nations from the tribe of Adam that are currently in existence, based upon the evidence from the Qur'an and the Sunnah.

Their emergence, which is one of the signs of the Day of Judgment, has not occurred before in the past. However, its first indications were present during the time of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), who said, “Today a hole has been opened in the barrier of Gog and Magog like this”, and he made a circle with his index finger and thumb.

4. The emergence of the beast. This refers the beast that Allah will bring forth close to the time of the Day of Judgment. Its emergence is confirmed in the Qur'an and the Sunnah. Allah says what means: "And when the word of torment is fulfilled against them, We shall bring out from the earth, a Beast for them, to speak to them because mankind believed not with certainty in Our signs." (An-Naml: 82)

5. The rising of the sun from the west. This is established in the Qur'an and the authentic Sunnah. Allah says what means: "The Day that some of the signs of your Lord do come, no good will it do for a person to believe then, if he believed not before nor earned good (by doing good deeds), through his Faith." (Al-An`aam: 158)

The above is excerpted, with slight modifications, from: http://www.geocities.com

Elaborating more on the other signs, we would like to cite for you the following:

The signs are listed in roughly chronological order, although the order is not necessarily precise, especially for those in the future.

This is a brief summary of the signs; there are many books, articles, cassettes, et cetera that discuss these in greater detail. May Allah enable us to recognize and heed the signs of Judgment Day and strengthen us in the times of tribulation!

Past

1. Splitting of the moon.

2. Death of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him).

3. A form of death that will kill thousands of Muslims (understood to refer to the plague of Amwas during the
caliphate of `Umar ibn al-Khattab).

4. A major fighting in Madinah (understood to refer to the Battle of al-Harrah during the caliphate of Yazid, 63 A.H.).

5. The Muslim conquest of Jerusalem.

6. The Muslim conquest of Constantinople.

7. Two large groups of Muslims will fight in war.

8. A war between the Muslims and a reddish people with small eyes, wearing sandals made of hair (understood to refer to
the Mongol Tatar invasion of the Islamic lands).

9. A peace agreement between the Muslims and non-Muslims from the yellow race (Chinese, Mongols, et cetera).

10. Thirty impostors will appear, each thinking he is a prophet.

Present

11. Naked, destitute, barefoot shepherds will compete in building tall buildings.

12. The slave-woman will give birth to her master or mistress.

13. A trial (fitnah) that will enter every Arab household.

14. Knowledge will be taken away (by the death of people of knowledge) and ignorance will prevail.

15. Wine (intoxicants) will be drunk in great quantities.

16. Illegal sexual intercourse will become widespread.

17. Earthquakes will increase.

18. Time will pass more quickly.

19. Tribulations will prevail.

20. Bloodshed will increase.

21. A man will pass by the grave of another and wish he was in the latter’s place.

22. Trustworthiness will be lost, that is, when authority is given to those who do not deserve it.

23. People will gather for Prayer but will be unable to find an imam to lead them.


Future

24. The number of men will decrease while the number of women will increase until for every man there are 50 women.

25. The Euphrates will reveal a treasure of gold, and many will die fighting over it, each one hoping to be the one who gains
the treasure.

26. The Romans (Europeans) will come to a place called A’maq or Wabiq, and an army of the best people will go forth from Madinah to face them.

27. The Muslims will conquer Rome.

28. The Mahdi will appear and be the imam of the Muslims.

29. Jesus Christ will descend in Damascus and pray behind the Mahdi.

30. Jesus will break the cross and kill the swine, that is, destroy the false Christianity.

31. The Antichrist (the Dajjal) will appear, with all his tools of deception, and be an immense trial. He will be followed by 70,000 Jews from Isfahan (present-day Iran).

32. Gog and Magog will appear with all the associated tribulations.

33. The beast from the Earth will emerge, carrying the Staff of Moses and the Seal of Solomon; it will speak to the people, telling them they did not believe with certainty in the Divine Signs.

34. There will be a major war between the Muslims (including Jews and Christians who truly believe in Jesus after his return) led by Imam Mahdi, and the Jews plus other non-Muslims led by the Antichrist.

35. Jesus will kill the Antichrist at the gate of Ludd (Lod in present-day Israel, site of an airport and a major Israeli military base).

36. There will be a time of great peace and serenity during and after the remaining lifetime of Jesus.

37. Wealth will be so abundant that it will become difficult to find someone to accept charity.

38. Arabia will become a land of gardens and rivers.

39. Society will then decay.

40. The women of the tribe of Daws will again circumambulate the idol Dhul-Khulsah.

41. There will be a great fire in the Hijaz, that will be seen by the inhabitants of Busra.

42. Three major armies will sink into the earth: one in the east, one in the west, one in Arabia.

43. An Abyssinian leader with thin shins will destroy the Ka`bah.

44. There will be a huge cloud of smoke.

45. The sun will rise from the west (its place of setting).

46. A gentle wind will take the souls of the believers.

47. There will be no one left on the earth saying "Allah, Allah" or "There is no god but Allah."

48. Eventually the Day of Judgment will fall upon the worst of the people, who copulate like donkeys in public.

49. The Angel Israfil will blow the Trumpet, upon which everyone will faint except as Allah wills.

50. At the second blowing of the Trumpet, everyone will be resurrected."


The above is excerpted, with slight modifications, from: www.islaam.com

Almighty Allah knows best.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Rilek and Riflek

Ever heard of Imam Hasan al-Banna? Depending on the way we've been informed about him, our perceptions would be either positive or negative. Well here's a link to one of his articles to learn more about his ideas and stand as a Muslim living in an everchanging modern society. Towards the Light by Hasan Al-Banna

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On a side note, just some random excerpts about maintaining optimisim in life..

“Janganlah kamu berputus asa. Sesungguhnya berputus asa itu bukanlah akhlaq kaum Muslimin. Realiti hari ini hakikatnya adalah impian semalam. Dan impian hari ini (itulah bakal menjadi) realiti esok. Sesungguhnya masa itu masih luas dan anasir-anasir yang sejahtera itu masih kukuh terpahat di jiwa bangsamu yang beriman, biar pun dengan kerosakan yang menggila itu. Si lemah tidak akan kekal lemah sepanjang hayatnya, dan yang kuat itu tidak akan kuat selama-lamanya” - Al-Imam Hasan al-Banna.

{Or think you that you will enter Paradise without such (trials) as came to those who passed away before you? They were afflicted with severe poverty and ailments and were so shaken that even the Messenger and those who believed along with him said, "When (will come) the Help of Allah?" Yes! Certainly, the Help of Allah is near!} [Al-Baqarah 2: 214]

{"Oh my sons! Go you and enquire about Yusuf (Joseph) and his brother, and never give up hope of Allah's Mercy. Certainly no one despairs of Allah's Mercy, except the people who disbelieve”} [Yusuf 12: 87]

Friday, May 15, 2009

'Harmless' Chatting.

Alhamdulillaah. I’ve got the answers to the questions that have been ringing in my head. The answer is simple and clear, and no doubt, I’ve came across it and pondered about it before, however, I’d probably disregarded it back then trying to look for an alternative. Maybe I was just not ready to accept it then.. Hm.

I’ve decided to cut down on chatting on MSN with the opposite sex especially when it leads to unnecessary chatting about almost everything and anything at all.

“What? Absurd!! First no BGR, no dating, now no chatting? C’mon man!? ” some might think.

Wait, wait.. it's not no chatting at all.. if you refer to the statement just above..

"especially when it leads to unnecessary chatting about almost everything and anything at all"

Have a look at this article from islamonline.net;

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Name of Questioner: Nihad
Title: Talking with Members of the Opposite Sex
Question:

Dear scholars, As-Salamu `alaykum. Many Muslim husbands order their wives not to speak to visitors or with any non-mahram man, while the husband addresses any woman. What is the ruling on this matter? Jazakum Allah khayran.

Date: 10/Nov/2005
Name of Mufti: European Council for Fatwa and Research
Topic: Relationship between sexes, Mixing

Wa `alaykum As-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

Dear questioner, we would like to thank you for the great confidence you place in us, and we implore Allah Almighty to help us serve His cause and render our work for His Sake.

It is to be stressed first of all that Muslims, men and women, must observe haya' (shyness or modesty) in all their correspondence and conversations. Islam does not forbid women from talking to men, nor men to women if the situation calls for it and the conversation abides by the boundaries of Islamic Shari`ah.

In response to the question in point, the European Council for Fatwa and Research issued the following Fatwa:

In the authentic Hadith of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), he said: "Shyness is from iman." (Reported by al-Bukhari and Muslim)

In another Hadith: "Shyness brings only good." (Reported by al-Bukhari and Muslim)

This shyness is a beautiful manner for both men and women, but more so for women, because it agrees with their feminine nature, which is why women do not initiate a conversation with strange men.

However, traditions and customs govern this matter, and these change from one country to another, from one time to another and from one situation to another.

Nevertheless, it is important to realize that Islam does not forbid women from talking to men, nor men to women if the situation calls and the conversation abides by the boundaries of Islamic Shari`ah. Allah addressed the wives of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him):

{O wives of the Prophet! You are not like any other women. If you keep your duty to Allah, then be not soft in speech, lest he in whose heart is a disease should be moved with desire, but speak in an honorable manner.}
(Al-Ahzab 33: 32)

Thus, despite the special position and laws which govern them alone and which place more restrictions upon them than any other, Islam did not prevent the wives of the Prophet from speech, but forbid them to speak in such a way which would move those with illness in their hearts with desire and lust.

However, honorable and reasonable speech falls within Islam as stated by the previous verse.

There are many Hadiths which confirm the permissibility of men greeting women and women greeting men, as well as the lawfulness of men visiting sick women and vice versa.


However, this does not imply the lifting of all boundaries so that women start speaking to all men who come and go or that men start speaking to all women, as this is rejected by logic and good taste before being rejected by Islam.

It is permissible for a woman to speak to a male relative, a teacher, a neighbor, a supervisor at work, and others according to the requirements and needs of everyday life and complex relations amongst people in our days, as long as trust is established, troubles (fitnah) are restrained, and conditions are normal.


Indeed, the custom in many Islamic countries is for men to greet women and for women to greet men when they meet. They also exchange conversation (honorable speech) regarding important and relevant matters, all with the approval of fathers, husbands and brothers as well as the scholars.

We do not deny that some countries have very strict traditions regarding women so that they become more like prisoners in their own homes until death comes to them.

However, even though some scholars may agree with this, it remains that clear, covert and correct legal evidence contradicts these traditions in addition to the objectives of Shari`ah, the interests of mankind, and the development of age and people.

Excerpted, with slight modifications, from: http://www.ecfr.org

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Some may say, chatting on MSN or Y!Messenger is different from talking! We don’t even hear or see the other person. How can it be the same with reference to this article which is on talking?

Yes, we don’t see or hear the other person. And chatting is definitely safer than meeting face-to-face, keeping ourselves within the limits.

The problem comes when we overdo it.

Have there ever been cases whereby we’ve exceeded the relevant matters of discussion with unnecessary and prolonged conversations that it leads from one thing to another?

Has there been a case during those ‘discussions’ whereby we shaped the words that we typed in the form of teasing, banters and jokes to make the other person laugh? Hm, what's wrong with this? No matter how you look at it, this is flirting.

Have there ever been cases whereby we’ve answered those banters and jokes with emoticons and replies that will make the person on the receiving end be entertained as well? Maybe we're just being friendly and polite replying this way but if we're not careful, it could be misinterpreted. Normally this can be considered as a form of flirting too.

Maybe some might think.. what's wrong with harmless flirting among friends just having some fun? Rilek ah..Chill ah, Go fly kite ah.. tak salah pe? It's normal what this flirting?

However, have there ever been cases whereby chatting with the person becomes more and more engaging that it grew from chatting once or twice a week to chatting almost every day that it even made you neglect more important matters in your life?

And girls, have there been cases whereby someone, whom you regard just as a normal friend but a fun and engaging chat buddy, suddenly confesses one day that he has a thing for you?

How did it get so engaging and fun in the first place?


Errr, its because of the many interesting, serious discussions we had on matters of Life and Islam...Really? Oh c'mon..

With the few examples above, how can it not be transgressing the boundaries? Is it in conjunction with the examples from Hadith and the Noble Qur’an in the article above about observing haya' (shyness or modesty) and being honourable in speech?

Lastly, if we ponder on the Hadith, No man and woman are allowed to be together in a place where no other males exist, for the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “(Doing so) their third mate will be Satan i.e. leading them to sin.”

Isn’t it possible in a situation whereby two persons of the opposite sex chatting privately on MSN would be in danger of this? Even though the sin may be smaller, but all sins no matter how small opens the door to something bigger.

No doubt, it is permissible to chat on relevant and important issues in normal conditions. But as normal human beings always prone to error, especially when influenced by an-Nafs al-Amaarah and whispers of Satan, most tend to overdo it and transgress the boundaries more so if we happen to be attracted to that person.

Furthermore, the cases whereby one or both will remind each other once they’ve realised they’ve ‘over chatted’ is far and few in between.

So i guess this is something for us to think about. Reminding myself before others.

Once again, as Allah addressed the wives of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him): {O wives of the Prophet! You are not like any other women. If you keep your duty to Allah, then be not soft in speech, lest he in whose heart is a disease should be moved with desire, but speak in an honorable manner.} (Al-Ahzab 33: 32)

And Allah Almighty knows best.

Here's a link to other articles regarding this matter;

Correspondance between the sexes

Instant Messaging with the Opposite Sex

Monday, May 11, 2009

Turn off the TV!

Article from islamonline.net

TV Turnoff Week

By Family Editorial

In 2008 April 21–27 was TV Turnoff Week, this year conditioning your finger to not push the illusory magic button, is from April 20 - 26. TV Turnoff Week is an event that aims at reminding the family members who love to sit in front of the TV that there are other things to do in life, like, for example, that they have families to care for! A silly idea? Well, wait and see.

In a longitudinal study by Rowell Huesmann and others, it was found that there exists a direct relation between the behavior of children between 6 and 10 years of age and their behavior in adulthood 15 years later. It was also found that the children perceive the violence on TV as a mirror of real life.


Men who had participated as children in the group named TV High Violence Viewers were, as adults, more likely to push or grab their spouses or to commit a crime than those who had participated in the groups TV Low Violence Viewers and TV Medium Violence Viewers.

Women who had participated as children in the group TV High Violence Viewers were, as adults, more likely to throw something at their spouses than those who had participated in the other two groups. Also, they were more likely to react with physical aggression against anyone who made them mad.

This study was carried out between 1977 and 1992, so one can imagine the results that would come out nowadays. A child can start to watch TV at the age of two. On average, people watch the TV four hours a day. Multiplied by seven days a week, 52 weeks a year, and then averagely 16 years of one's lifetime, this results in a long period of time, during which one is "trained" on how not to behave!

Meanwhile, thousands upon thousands of real people are suffering somewhere in the world, including your neighborhood, and real lives are being lost. If you are not stuck in front of the TV, that is because you are a mom who is struggling to make a hotel seem like a home.

While your children are sitting in front of the TV, how much do you know about what they think or feel? How much do you know about what they are watching when you are not watching? Instead of becoming desensitized by TV, your children can be actively engaged in real communication with real people, using their imagination and doing activities as members of a family.

While your children are glued to the TV, a number of negative effects take place.

* Your 2-year-old's brain, which is in need of real-life communication and challenges that stimulate healthy growth, passively takes in values and patterns of behavior from the TV. In the process, your child develops a consumerist mentality that is not favored in the family. The child then stops to use his or her brain to think, inquire, or work things out.

* An average American child will see 200,000 acts of violence and 16,000 murders by the time he or she is 18 years of age.

* Girls will learn to sexualize their self-image, and boys will learn to see girls as sex objects. All this does not take into account what they will learn from the CDs, DVDs, and videos.

* The two-dimensional screen of a TV and the constant flicker of light impair the development of the eyes. A child's eyes continue to develop up until the age of 12 years.

* While children are being bombarded with images from the TV, they are not developing their own images essential to the development of their own creativity and imagination, as well as their social and cognitive skills.

If you still do not believe in any of the above, it will do you no harm to switch off the TV for just one week and plan a week of family activities instead. Even if you have a busy week of work and studies, the family spirit is still possible by

* Praying together

* Eating together at previously set times

* Sharing what each one has done during the day

* Sharing concerns and stories

* Helping with the housework

* Helping with the schoolwork

* Finding out about the topic being studied for homework

* Playing with children

* Gathering around a newspaper, with each one taking a turn in sharing something of interest in that newspaper and discussing that piece of news with the others

* Visiting relatives together

* Going out to a Muslim event together

* Planning a summer activity or holiday together

* Sharing a lesson, a Qur'anic verse, or a Prophetic hadith

* Playing a game together

* Going to bed at a reasonable time, so that each one can get up the next day refreshed and ready to take on the world


You never know — you might find your children more willing to listen when the week is up. You might find that there is much less aggression in the home, in sha' Allah.

Sources:

"What Do I Need to Know About Children and TV? " University of Michigan Health System. Accessed 30 Apr. 2008.

Huesmann, L. Rowell, et al. "Longitudinal Relations Between Children’s Exposure to TV Violence and Their Aggressive and Violent Behavior in Young Adulthood: 1977–1992." Developmental Psychology 39.2 (2003): 201–221.

TVTurnoff.org: Center for Screen-Time Awareness . Accessed 30 Apr. 2008.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Hypocrisy in Deeds

The following are two Supplications (do’as) for Anxiety and Sorrow taken from ‘Hisnul Muslim min Adzkaar Al-Kitaab wa As-Sunnah’ (Fortification of the Muslim through remembrance and supplication from the Qur’an and Sunnah) - a very useful booklet for use in a Muslim’s everyday life.

‘O Allaah, I am Your servant, son of Your servant, son of Your maidservant, my forelock is in Your hand (You have total Mastery over), Your command over me is forever executed and Your decree over me is just. I ask You by every name belonging to You which You named Yourself with, or revealed in Your Book, or You taught to any of Your creation, or You have preserved in the knowledge of the unseen with You, that You make the Qur’aan the life of my heart and the light of my breast, and a departure for my sorrow and a release for my anxiety.’ (Ahmad 1/391 and Al-Albanee declared it saheeh.)

‘O Allaah, I take refuge in You from anxiety and sorrow, weakness and laziness, miserliness and cowardice, the burden of debts and from being over powered by men.’
(Al-Bukhaaree 7/157)

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Here are some questions for us to think about. For all the good deeds that we strive to do in our daily lives as Muslims, how much of it is actually free from Hypocrisy (Riya’)? How much of the good deeds that we strive for everyday is directed fully towards Allah Almighty?

A Muslim strives to perfect his movements during his prayer (solat) in a congregation at the Mosque - Does he strive to do the same when he’s all alone at home and no one would be watching?

A blogger posts articles and writes his thoughts on Islam - is he doing it purely for his own reflection and as a form of da’wah for Allah and His religion, or is it done to gain popularity and for others to acknowledge or praise him?

A youth activist strives in his free time to help out in the community – is he doing it purely for Allah’s sake? Or is it done as a platform to meet the opposite sex, to be seen as someone who’s a good role model, to gain something out of doing it in worldly matters?

A Muslim regularly reminds others to enjoin in goodness and refrain from evil – does he do it himself when he is alone, away from the watchful eyes of others? does he do it to attract the attention of others?


Muslims should fear hypocrisy. Hypocrisy in deeds (lesser hypocrisy), which is not an act of shirik but is still dangerous, may lead to major hypocrisy if one fails to repent from it. The companions of the Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alaihi wasallam) were afraid of having traits of the lesser hypocrisy.

It has been reported by ibn Abi Maleekah (rahimahulLAah) “I met thirty of the companions of the Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and all of them were afraid of committing acts of hypocrisy.”

Al-Hasan al-Basri (rahimahulLAah) said: “No one fears hypocrisy except a believer, and no one feels secure from it but a hypocrite.”

Umar said to Hudhaifah (radiAllaahu’anhum) [Hudhaifah was the keeper of the secrets of the Prophet. He was also the only person who was informed by the Prophet who the hypocrites were in Madeenah.] : “I plead to you by Allaah, did the Messenger of Allaah mention me among them (meaning the hypocrites)?” He said: “No, and I will not inform anyone of this after you.”

It is important that we strive to be sincere in all our deeds. Someone who’s sincere will not bother what others will think about him. It will be enough for him to know that Allaah Almighty knows. At times, thoughts will crop up in his head; if he portrays his deeds to others, maybe it will act as a reminder for others and a motivation for them to do the same, but this kind of thinking is just another form of trick and ‘ghurur’.

To refrain from hypocrisy, we have to know the factors that will lead to hypocrisy. Hypocrisy is mainly derived from the inclination and love for power, to attain a good status among men and the feeling of importance. Someone who seeks the goodness of life in this world, will strive for this. However, the reality is that everything in this world is temporary. What is more important for a Muslim is how he fares for Allaah and to work towards the eternal life in the hereafter in Jannah (Heavan). If he realizes this, instead of seeking acknowledgement from men, he will strive to block all factors that could have even a small hint of hypocrisy in his deeds and to perform it sincerely for Allaah.

Striving to perform one’s deeds secretly as much as possible will help to curb hypocrisy. We would know how sincere we are when performing deeds alone and no one is watching. Always reflect whether we’d perform our deeds similarly or even better, when we’re alone, as to how we would behave in front of others.

Another way is to strive to fight off any factors which could lead to hypocrisy the moment we begin performing our deeds. This can be done by pondering on the fact that Allaah is with us all the time. He is Al-‘Aleem (The All Knowing; the Omniscient) and Al-Baseer (The All Seeing). We shouldn’t lean to anything which could incur the wrath of Allaah. Shaitaan will make it harder for us all the time but we have to strive to continuously ward off any bad thoughts and to refrain from letting our emotions take control over mind. This is only possible with proper knowledge, continuously seeking help from Allaah and remembering Allaah (dhikrulLaah), regular practice and reflection, patience and perseverance.

As regards to Purity of Intention in our deeds, Allaah (Azza wa Jalla) said: “And they were not commanded except that they should worship Allah being sincere in their religion for Him and worshipping none except Him Alone, and establish prayer and give charity and that is the right (straight) religion.” [98:5]

Rasoolullah (sallalLAahu ‘alaihi wasallam) also said: “Allaah has forbidden the Hell-fire for anyone who says ‘none has the right to be worshipped except Allaah (Laa Ilaaha illAllaah)’, desiring the face (and pleasure) of Allaah.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

And Allaah Almighty knows best. I remind myself before others. How perfect You are and I praise You. None has the right to be worshipped except You, I seek Your forgiveness and turn in repentance to You.

References:

· An Explanation of the Last Tenth of the Noble Qur’an (Also with Crucial Matters in the Life of a Muslim)

· Intisari Ihya ‘Ulumuddin Imam Al-Ghazali, Mensucikan Jiwa (Kaedah Tazkiyatun Nafs Bersepadu Ditaskhih & Disusun Semula Oleh Sa’id Hawwa).

Friday, May 01, 2009

Which Group is the Right Group?

Article taken from - www.4newmuslims.org/e/articles/art42.htm - Just to share.. May Allah guide us to the Right path, Ameen.

So many different Muslim groups:

Sunnies, Salafies, Wahhabies, Shi'ites, Ahmadiyans, Kadianis, Sufis, Hanafis, Shafis, Aghakhanis & even Modernist Reformed Muslims.

But Which One is Right?


Seems like these days the Muslims now come in "All Flavors." There are so many different names of so many groups in the world today. But which are the "true Muslims?"
The groups carry names like:

Sunnies, Salafies, Shi'ites, Ahmadiyah, Kadianis, Sufis, Nation of Islam, Hanafi, Shafi, Wahabis, Moorish Science, Five Percenters, Aghakhanis, Ansar Allah, Modernists, and even Reformed Muslims.

So many sects and groups - all claim to be the "Saved sect of Islam"
- But is there really a saved sect of Islam? If so, which one?
- And how would we know for sure?

Good Questions!

Each of the "faith groups" mentioned have been labeled by different people as sects or deviant groups in degrees from border line to completely out of Islam.

Before we begin trying to gain an understanding of who is right or wrong on this issue it is quite advantageous to spend a moment in reviewing the meanings of the actual words which will be using in our discussion.

We begin by looking to the meanings of key words from the Arabic language as this will assist us in making the right conclusions and avoid more confusion. The first of all the words to understand has to be "Islam" and then immediately following that, the word "Muslim." These words are not English and have to be understood in the Arabic. They do not translate into one word.

First word - "ISLAM." We should have been asking all along, "What does the term ISLAM actually mean, anyway?"

ISLAM comes from the root "SLM" or "salama". The word ISLAM in reference to the faith is understood in Arabic as the:

ISLAM means =

Surrender "Give up evil and lusts - give in to the Creator"
Submission "Agree to the terms and conditions of being a servant of Almighty God"
Obedience "Comply with His Commandments to the best of your ability"
Sincerity "Do it all whether or not anyone else notices or cares."
Peace "Accept what Almighty God gives you in this life in serenity."

All of which come about only by giving up the Free Will of the nafs (self or ego) in favor of the Will of the Creator and Sustainer of All That Exists (ALLAH).

This would be similar to the teaching in the Lord's Prayer for the Christians, when Jesus, peace be upon him, taught his followers a prayer asking for "God's Will to be done on earth as it is in Heaven." (Matt. 6)

ISLAM is mentioned in the Quran as a "deen" or way of life of an individual. A complete way of living in balance with everything else in the creation of Almighty Allah. ISLAM provides inclusive instructions for everything including eating, sleeping, dealing in relationships, economics, politics, health, worship and even death. The entire universe is "IN ISLAM" because it is all a part of what has been created and is being sustained by Almighty Allah.

Now let us consider the next logical question; "What does the term "Muslim" actually mean?"

Again, we must keep in mind that it is an Arabic word and is of course subject to the rules of the Arabic language. Actually, it is derived from the word ISLAM. Whereas, you might think of ISLAM as the verb or action and MUSLIM as the noun, or the one performing the action. In English whenever we have a noun performing a verb, we add the two suffix letters; ER. But in the Arabic language many times you will find that the prefix letters of MU are used for the same purpose.

A few examples may help to better understand. We will compare the verb of each language to the one who is reforming the verb:

MU - prefix for the verb
Preforming the verbs in ENGLISH Preforming the verbs in ARABIC

Travel = TravelER Safar = MUsafar
Call = CallER Adhan = MUadhan
Pray = PrayER Salah = MUsalah
Submit = Submit ER Islam = MUslim

A "MUSLIM" is one who follows or practices the action of "ISLAM"

In English, when we understand that "ISLAM" is an action, we might say that anyone who "Islams" is an "Islam-ER." Right? We see in the chart above, in Arabic the "mu" preceding a verb indicates the same thing. Therefore, we would understand that the one who is actively doing the verb of "Islam" [submission to God] is a "Mu"-Islam or "Muslim."

Make sense?

Now, we should ask, "How does a person become a MUSLIM?"

Only when a person is willing to submit to the Commandments of the Higher Authority from Above, meaning to obey Allah on His terms as much as possible does he/she become a "MUSLIM."

Allah Says in Quran, all of creation is in submission to Him (MUSLIM).

What if the sun asked the moon, "Hey moon! What kind of Muslim are you? A Shia' or a Sunni?" - Such an idea just does not make any sense.

And fortunately there are several clear evidences for us to determine the correct solution to this problem.

The first evidence to mention about Islam is that the actual teachings of the faith are preserved in their original language and texts.
Allah sent down the Quran (Recitation) to the Prophet Muhammad, may Allah exalt his mention, in the Arabic language, through the angel Gabriel, who memorized it and taught it to his companions who also memorized it and then passed on this tradition from generation to generation, to us today. The Quran is the same in every single mosque on earth and no one has ever changed a single word of it in 1,400 years.

Certainly one of the most important beauties of Islam is the preservation of scripture, The Quran (which is still being memorized and recited in the exact form and language {Arabic} as it was over 1400 years ago)

The second evidence is the authenticity of references known as Hadeeth [verified teachings of Muhammad, peace be upon him] the teachings of Muhammad, may Allah exalt his mention, are also available to us today and have been preserved by his followers and passed on along with the chain of narrators to insure the reliability and authenticity of each one.

The third point, Islam provides a totally complete and balanced way of life for all of the creation of the Almighty. Islam comes as more than just another faith or religion. Islam offers a path to the unity of all people and provides for them instructions from the Almighty Above in how to solve all of their problems and differences.


Let us now look to the actual teachings of these two Holy Sources [i.e.; Quran and Hadeeth] to learn what Islam teaches about the subject of dividing up into various groups or sects. As we have already established, Islam is based on two evidences: 1.) The Quran; and 2.) Hadeeth (The Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him].

Let us begin first with the Quran. Allah talks about those who divide up Islam into sects or groups in the Quran:

"And how would you disbelieve, while unto you are recited the Verses of Allah, and among you is His Messenger (Muhammad, peace be upon him)? And whoever holds firmly to Allah, (i.e. follows Islam Allah's Religion, and obeys all that Allah has ordered, practically), then he is indeed guided to a Right Path.

O you who believe! Fear Allah (by doing all that He has ordered and by abstaining from all that He has forbidden) as He should be feared. [Obey Him, be thankful to Him, and remember Him always], and die not except in a state of Islam (as Muslims) with complete submission to Allah.
And hold fast, all of you together, to the Rope of Allah (i.e. this Qur'an), and be not divided among yourselves, and remember Allah's Favor on you, for you were enemies one to another but He joined your hearts together, so that, by His Grace, you became brethren (in Islamic Faith), and you were on the brink of a pit of Fire, and He saved you from it.

Thus Allah makes His Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.,) clear to you, that you may be guided.

Let there arise out of you a group of people inviting to all that is good (Islam), enjoining Al-Ma'ruf (i.e. Islamic Monotheism and all that Islam orders one to do) and forbidding Al-Munkar (polytheism and disbelief and all that Islam has forbidden). And it is they who are the successful.

And be not as those who divided and differed among themselves after the clear proofs had come to them. It is they for whom there is an awful torment." [Quran 3:100 - 3:105]

"As for those who Divide their Religion and Break up into Sects, thou hast no part in them in the least: their affair is with Allah. He will in the end tell them the Truth of all that they did." [Quran 6:159]

Let us examine some important facts. Think for a moment and then ask yourself this question:

"Do the words; 'Islam' and 'Muslim' appear in the scripture of Islam [Quran]?" Answer: YES!


We as Muslims, have been instructed in the Quran itself to resolve any of our differences according to these two sources or otherwise to be considered as non-believers, by our Lord. As He has mentioned in the Quran:

"But no, by your Lord, they can have no faith until they make you [Muhammad] as a judge between them in all their disputes, and find in themselves no resistance against your decisions, and accept with full submission [Islam]."
[An Nisaa' 4:65]

'It is not for a believer, man or woman, when Allah and His Messenger have decreed a matter that they should have any option in their decision. And whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger, he has indeed strayed in plain error." [Al Ahzab 33:36]

Now let us return to what Allah said in His Holy Book, The Quran, Allah has called those who follow His Straight Path (Al Mustaqeem) of Islam: "Muslims". He also says that we should not die except as "Muslims" followed by the statement ordering the believers not to divide up into groups:

"Truly the only acceptable Way of worship to Allah is submission, obedience in peace to His Commandments (ISLAM)." [Al Imran 3:19]

"And whoever seeks a way of life and worship to Allah (DEEN) other than being in submission and obedience to His commandments (ISLAM), it will never be accepted of them." [Al Imran 3:85]

"O you who believe! Fear Allah as He should be feared. and do not die except as being in submission to the Will of God and obeying His Commandments (MUSLIMS)." [Al Imran 3:102]

"And hold fast, all of you together, to the Rope of Allah (i.e. this Qur'an), and be not divided among yourselves, and remember Allah's Favor on you, for you were enemies one to another but He joined your hearts together, so that, by His Grace, you became brethren (in Islamic Faith), and you were on the brink of a pit of Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus Allah makes His Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.,) clear to you, that you may be guided." [Al Imran 3:103]

"And whoever Allah wills to guide, He opens his breast to the way of submission and obedience to Allah's Guidance (ISLAM); and whoever Allah wills to misguide, He makes his breast constricted as though he is climbing up in the sky. Thus Allah puts the wrath on those who believe not." [An Aam 6:125]

"Is he whose breast Allah has opened to the way of submission and obedience to Allah's Guidance (ISLAM), so that he is in the light from His Lord (like the one who does not believe)? So woe to those whose hearts are hardened against the remembrance of Allah! They are in plain error!" [Az-Zumar 39:22]

"And who does more wrong than the one who invents a lie against Allah, when he is being called to the way of submission and obedience to Allah's Guidance (ISLAM)?" [As Saff 61:7]

"Verily, my Salat, my sacrifice, my living and my dying are for Allah, the Lord of the Alamin." [An Aam 6:162]

"He has no partner. And of this I have been commanded, and I am the first of those who are being in submission to the Will of God and obeying His Commandments (MUSLIMS)." [An Aam 6:163]

"And the foremost to embrace the way of submission and obedience to Allah's Guidance (ISLAM) of those who migrated (from Makkah to Madinah) and the Ansar (helpers from Madinah) and also those who followed them exactly (in faith). Allah is well pleased with them and they are well pleased with Him. He has prepared for them Gardens under which rivers flow to dwell therein forever. That is the supreme success." [At Taubah 9:100]

"And I am commanded in order that I may be the foremost of those who submit themselves to Allah as being in submission to the Will of God and obeying His Commandments (MUSLIMS)." [Az Zumar 39:12]

"And strive hard in Allah's Cause as you ought to strive. He has chosen you and has not laid upon you in a way of life and worship to Allah (DEEN) any hardship: it is the a way of life and worship to Allah (DEEN) of your father Ibrahim. It is He Who has named you being in submission to the Will of God and obeying His Commandments (MUSLIMS) both before and in this (Quran), that the Messenger (Muhammad, peace be upon him) may be a witness over you and you be witnesses over mankind!" [Al Hajj 22:78]

"Certainly, the Muslim men and Muslim women, believing men and believing women, obedient men and obedient women, truthful men and truthful women, patient men and patient women, charitable men and charitable women, fasting men and fasting women, chaste men and chaste women, pious men and pious women (remembering Allah with their hearts and tongues), for them Allah has prepared forgiveness and a great reward." [33:35]

Let us now look to the sayings and teachings of the Prophet Muhammad, may Allah exalt his mention, who told us:

"Remember, one day you will appear before Allah and answer for your deeds. So beware, do not stray from the path of righteousness after I am gone. People, no prophet or apostle will come after me and no new faith will be born. Reason well therefore, O people, and understand words which I convey to you. I leave behind me two things, the Quran and the Sunnah (Hadeeth), and if you follow these you will never go astray."


In Khutbatul Wada' (also known as The last Sermon of Prophet Muhammad may peace and blessing of Allah be upon him) stated:

"Muslims will divide into 73 groups. All will be in Hell, except one. The one me and my companions are on today."

That is the universal group of Islam leading life based on Quran and Sunnah. Prophet may peace and blessing of Allah be upon him never said that he was a salafi or sunnie or shiite and we are suppose to do what our prophet , may Allah exalt his mention, did which is Call us Muslims and Muslims only.


Muhammad, may Allah exalt his mention, said in one hadeeth :

'Both legal and illegal things are evident but in between them there are doubtful (suspicious) things and most of the people have no knowledge about them.

So whoever saves himself from these suspicious things saves his religion and his honor. And whoever indulges in these suspicious things is like a shepherd who grazes (his animals) near the Hima (private pasture) of someone else and at any moment he is liable to get in it.
(O people!) Beware! Every king has a Hima and the Hima of Allah on the earth is His illegal (forbidden) things. Beware! There is a piece of flesh in the body if it becomes good (reformed) the whole body becomes good but if it gets spoilt the whole body gets spoilt and that is the heart.
(Sahih Al Bukhari Vol.1, Hadeeth No.49)

Prophet Muhammad, may Allah exalt his mention, told us in a hadeeth (teachings and sayings); He had prayed and asked Allah for three things, but he was only granted two of them. He tells us:

"I asked Allah that my nation (the Muslims) would not be destroyed by being out numbered. And Allah granted that prayer.

I then asked Allah that my nation (Muslims) would not be destroyed from poverty. And Allah granted that prayer.

I asked Allah that my nation (Muslims) would not be destroyed by being divided and fighting amongst themselves. Allah did not grant that prayer."

Additionally, the prophet, may Allah exalt his mention, said:

"Muslims will divide into 73 groups. All will be in Hell, except one. The one me and my companions are on today."

Notice, he said the "saved sect" would be those who remained on what he and his companions were on, meaning, "Quran and Sunnah." We see clearly from the above that Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala has named us as "Muslims" alone.

Additionally, when we consider that the deviant groups always have to have a name of some kind in order to distinguish themselves from the others, we begin to see the pattern. If someone feels that it is necessary to describe himself as a certain kind of "Muslim" then this is his or her problem.

Now of course one could say that: "I am a tall Muslim." or "He is a small Muslim." and then this type of description is for the purpose of identifying physical characteristics.

Additionally, a person might use someone's country or nationality to describe a Muslim for the purpose of determining their heritage such as a "Pakistani Muslim" or an "Arab Muslim."

These types of descriptions do not put a person out of the fold of Islam.

Where the problem comes in is when the adjective related to the word "Muslim" or the word "Islam" has to do with FAITH or BELIEF.

We must understand that Allah , Most High, has made it perfectly clear both in the Quran and in the sayings of the Holy Prophet, may Allah exalt his mention, that the religion of Islam was perfected and completed during the lifetime of the Prophet, may Allah exalt his mention, and that no new religion would come until the Last Day and that those who followed Islam were called by Allah, MUSLIMS.

In one hadeeth of the prophet, may Allah exalt his mention, drew a straight line in the dirt with a stick. He said, "This is the straight path to Allah [meaning the Way of Islam]." Then he drew angles right and left off of the straight line and said, "These are the deviant groups (or sects of Islam) and each one has a devil calling to it."

He mentioned that there would always be a main body of Muslims who would be on the straight path until the Last Day.

So, now let us consider that same concept and apply it to the various groups, all of them come along claiming to be the "saved sect." If it was not revealed during the time of the prophet, may Allah exalt his mention, and it was not something done by his companions, may Allah be pleased with them all, then why would we want to incorporate it into our deen [way of life in Islam]? While Allah has already made it clear in His Book:

{Inna deenah innda lahi, Islam}
"Certainly, the only way [deen] acceptable to Allah is the submission to Him in Islam."(3:19)

And again in Chapter Mayadah (5:3), when Allah , Most High, says:

{Al yawmal akmal tu lakum deenakum wa atmumtu alaykum ni'mati wa raditu lakum al Islam adeena}
"On this day have I perfected your way of life (sometimes translated as [religion]) for you, completed My Favor upon you and have chosen for you ISLAM as your way of life."

Sheikh Mohammad Jibaly, a learned teacher of Islam, mentioned a hadeeth of the prophet, may Allah exalt his mention, to me some time back, wherein the prophet, peace be upon him tells us it is forbidden for us until the Last Day to call ourselves by any names except "Abdullah, Abdur Rahman and Muslim."

These words should have a profound impact on the believers today as much or more that those who heard them one thousand four hundred years ago. Today more than ever before we have seen what these names and groups have produced in the way of division, hatred and violence.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The text is that of an article written by Yusuf Estes, just that a few stylistic and minor alterations were made. The original format is found at this webpage: http://www.islamnewsroom.com/content/view/220/52

- Original text by Yusuf Estes