A Glimpse of Islam

A Glimpse of Islam

Sheikh Yusuf Estes sheds light on the religion of Islam and its pillars. He also explains the meaning of the testimony of faith. Among other things, this lecture also touches upon the story of Adam and Eve and how Satan caused them to be drived out of Paradise. Watch this video to learn more…

 

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The Message of the Messengers

The Message of the Messengers

The Prophets of God came for the guidance of humankind; to save it from shirk, and to take them out of darkness into light.

God, the All Wise, All Knowing, All Merciful and Just, created this Universe in order to test and examine His obedient slaves and reward them, and to punish the disobedient. He says:

We did not create the heavens and the earth and that between them in play. We did not create them except in truth, but most of them do not know. (Ad-Dukhan 44:38-39)

God also made clear the main goal for the creation of mankind saying:

I did not create the Jinn and Mankind except for My worship. (Adh-Dhariyat 51:56)

Allah, the Exalted, did not leave His slaves to rely upon their intellect and inclination to guide them to the correct way; rather He sent them Messengers as bringers of good tidings and warners. He sent the revealed Books with them to be a reference in those matters wherein they disagreed, so that no excuse would remain for the people and the proof would be established against them. Thus, after sending the Messengers, there would be no further excuse for people before Allah.

Indeed, their mission covered every good and banished every evil. They brought to humankind everything needed for their wellbeing and happiness in this world and the Hereafter. There is nothing good, which they did not inform the people about and nothing evil that they did not warn the people against.

‘Abdullah bin `Amr ibn Al-`Aas (may God be pleased with him) said that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “There was never a Prophet before me except that it was a duty upon him that he should guide his nation to every good that he knew and warn them against every evil that he knew…” (Muslim)

Indeed, calling to God was the mission of the Messengers in order to bring the people out from darkness into light. There are many basic principles upon which their calls were based, which were the starting point for calling to God. These fundamental principles are:

1. Tawheed (monotheism)
2. Prophethood
3. The Hereafter

Every book revealed by Allah gave great importance to these points. The most important and sublime of these three principles and the most fundamental of them all is Tawheed (Oneness) of God.

Allah says:

And We certainly sent into every nation a Messenger, (saying): ‘Worship Allah and shun Taghut (all false objects of worship).’ (An-Nahl 16:36)

God has informed us about some of the Prophets (peace be upon them) and how they faced their people. We see that all of them proceeded upon the universal way laid down by God and followed the methodology He established for all of them. Not a single one of them is at variance with it:

And We had certainly sent Noah to his people, (saying): ‘Indeed, I am to you a clear warner, that you not worship except Allah. Indeed, I fear for you the punishment of a painful Day.’ (Hud 11:25-26)

The noblest of all Prophets and the last of them, Muhammad bin ‘Abdullah (who was sent with the greatest, most complete and comprehensive message), began with what all the Prophets started their Da`wah (call) – calling to the `aqeedah (creed) of Tawheed (Oneness of God), and calling for all worship to be made purely and sincerely for God alone. Allah’s Messenger started with the principle: ‘Witness that none has the right to be worshipped except Allah.’

Say, (O Muhammad): ‘O mankind, indeed I am the Messenger of Allaah to you all, (from him) to Whom belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth. There is no deity except Him; He gives life and causes death.’ So believe in Allah and His Messenger, the unlettered Prophet, who believes in Allah and His words, and follow him that you may be guided. (Al-A`raf 7:158)

The verses in this regard are many, what we quote here is just one example. With regard to the Sunnah (traditions and approved actions of Prophet Muhammad), there are many clear indications that Allah’s Messenger began his call to Islam with Tawheed.

1. `Amr ibn `Abasa Sulami said: “During the times of ignorance … I heard of a man in Makkah who received revelation. So I set upon my riding beast and came to him. At that time he was in hiding, due to the oppression of his people. So I behaved in a way that enabled me to gain access to him in Makkah. I said to him: “Who are you?” He replied: “I am a Prophet.’ So I said: ‘And what is a Prophet?’ He said: ‘Allah has sent me as a Messenger.’ So I said: ‘And what is it that He has sent you with?’ He said: ‘I have been sent to order the joining of ties of relationship, to break the idols, so that Allah is worshipped Alone and nothing at all is associated in worship along with Him.” (Muslim)

2. At the time of the peace of Hudaybiyah Hiraql (Heraclius) asked Abu Sufyan some questions about Allah’s Messenger, among which he asked: “What does he (Muhammad) command you?” Abu Sufyan replied: “He says: ‘Worship Allah Alone and do not worship anything else along with Him, and abandon what your fathers say. He also orders prayers, charity, and the joining of the ties of relationship.’” (Al-Bukhari)

Consequently, the Prophets did not come to bring about the downfall of one state to replace it with another. They did not seek sovereignty, nor did they organize political parties for this reason. Rather, they came for the guidance of humankind, to save it from misguidance and shirk (polytheism), and to take them out of darkness into light.

In this regard Prophet Muhammad gave an example about himself. He said:

“The similitude of me and the message with which Allah has sent me, is like a man who came to some people and said: ‘I have seen the enemy forces with my own eyes and I am a mere warner (to you). So, save yourselves, save yourselves!’ A group of his people obeyed him and went out at night, slowly and steadily and was safe; while another group belied him and stayed in their place until the morning when the army destroyed them. Such is the similitude of those who obey me and follow what I have brought (i.e., Message) and of those who disobey me and belie the Truth which I have brought.” (Al-Bukhari, Muslim and others)

The message of the Messengers, by the Mercy of God, revives and enlightens the believer’s soul. This enlightenment is the revelation of Allah, which leads mankind from the darkness of polytheism and ignorance to the light of truth and Islam:

Allah is the ally of those who believe. He brings them out from darkness into the light. (Al-Baqarah 2:257)

The Messenger and the Message are evidence against the disbelievers.

Allah sent His Messengers and His Books so that there can be no excuse for mankind on the Day of Judgment. The Qur’an says:

(We sent) Messengers as bringers of good tidings and warners so that mankind will have no argument against Allah after Messengers. (An-Nisaa’ 4:165)

The message of God deals with the rights of Allah on His bondsmen, the rights of man on His Creator, The Oneness of Allah and its influence on the creation, knowledge, admonition, the wisdom behind the creation, righteousness, mutual interactions, refutation of incorrect beliefs and deviations, lawful and unlawful, migration and Jihad. In totality, it is the complete code for righteous living, which results in delight, pleasure and harmony in this life and the Hereafter.

 

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Source: Islamweb.net

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Who Do Muslims Worship: God or Allah?

Who Do Muslims Worship: God or Allah?

One of the biggest misconceptions about Islam concerns the name “Allah”. Some people believe that Muslims worship a different God than Christians, Jews and others, and some missionary organizations distribute literature in English in which they say such things as: “Allah is the god of the Muslims” and “Muhammad told people to believe in the god, Allah”.

God Allah

“Allah” is the only word in the Arabic language equivalent to “God”

They thus imply and reinforce the idea that “Allah” is some sort of false deity.

This is totally incorrect because “Allah” is the same word that Arabic-speaking Christians and Jews use for God. If you pick up an Arabic Bible, you will find the word «Allah» wherever «God» is used in English.

“Allah” is also the proper name of God. Therefore, Muslims use the name “Allah” even when they speak other languages.

The Creator, the Sustainer

“Allah” is a special word. It indicates the only entity in existence who truly possesses the qualities of divinity and lordship, the Creator and Sustainer of the heavens and earth. It is the name of the only being worthy of worship, the one upon whom all creation is dependent at every moment.

(He is) the Creator of the heavens and the earth: He has made for you pairs from among yourselves, and pairs among cattle: by this means does He multiply you: there is nothing whatever like unto Him, and He is the One that hears and sees (all things). (Ash-Shura 42:11)

O men! Here is a parable set forth! listen to it! Those on whom, besides Allah, ye call, cannot create (even) a fly, if they all gathered together for the purpose! and if the fly should snatch away anything from them, they would have no power to release it from the fly. Feeble are those who petition and those whom they petition! (Al-Hajj 22:73)

This name belongs to God alone and no one else. “Allah” is the only word in the Arabic language equivalent to “God” with a capital “G”. It is also a unique word grammatically since it cannot be made plural or given a masculine or feminine gender. This is consistent with the Islamic concept of God. In English and other languages the word “god” can be used in various forms such as “God”, “gods” or “goddess”, all with different connotations and meanings.

The One and Only “God”

The only difference between “god” (meaning a false god or any object of worship) and “God” (meaning the one true God) is a capital “G”.

Thus, a more accurate translation of “Allah” might be “the one and only true God”.

But there is another important point, which is that Islam is particularly concerned with the correct concept of God.

Someone can have an erroneous concept of Him whether he uses the name “Allah” or the word “God”.

Followers of previous religions gradually deviated from the original pure belief in God due to the fact that their scriptures were not adequately protected from loss and alteration. None of these are still available for study in their original form or language.

But this is not true of the last divinely revealed message, the Qur’an.

No son did Allah beget, nor is there any god along with Him: (if there were many gods), behold, each god would have taken away what he had created, and some would have lorded it over others! Glory to Allah! (He is free) from the (sort of) things they attribute to Him! (Al-Mu’minun 23:91)

Hence, the accurate concept of God can be found therein.

Say: He is Allah, the One and Only; Allah, the Eternal, Absolute; He begets not, nor is He begotten; And there is none like unto Him. (Al-Ikhlas 112:1-4)

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Source: The article is excerpted from the book Clear Your Doubts about Islam, Compiled by Saheeh international.

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Ten Blessed Days: Don’t Miss

Ten Blessed Days: Don’t Miss

By His wisdom, God gave preference to some places and times over others. For Muslims, Friday is the best day of the week, Ramadan is the best month of the year, “Laylat al-Qadr is the best night in Ramadan, the day of “Arafah” is the best day of the year. Likewise the first ten days of the month of “Dhul-Hijjah” are the blessed days for Muslims.

God says in the Qur’an what means:

By the daybreak, by the ten nights, by the even and the odd, by the passing night – is this oath strong enough for a rational person? (Al-Fajr 89:1-5)

Early Muslim scholars differed on what is meant by the “ten nights”. But most of them agreed that the ten nights refer to the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah.

In another verse God says:

… to attain benefits and mention God’s name, on specified days. (Al-Hajj 22:28)

Most of the Qur’an commentators view that the specific days are the ten days of Dhul-Hijjah.

What a great virtue attached to those days which pass unnoticed by many people nowadays.

On the merits of the first ten days, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is reported to have said: “There are no days in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah than these ten days.” The people asked, “Not even Jihad for the sake of Allah?” He said: “Not even Jihad for the sake of Allah, except in the case of a man who went out to fight, giving himself and his wealth up for the cause, and came back with nothing.” (Al-Bukhari)

In what follows are suggested ideas on how to make the best use of the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah:

Repent to Allah

Make a sincere repentance to God and promise Him that you will not do bad deeds again. This may be your last chance. You are not sure if you will live till next year.

Pray at the Mosque

Try to perform the five daily prayers in the mosque. If you have time after Fajr prayer, try to sit in the mosque, read a juz’ (part) of the Quran, make du`aa’, or recite some Adhkar (remembrance of Allah). Then offer two rakahs before you go home. If you do so, you are reviving a tradition that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) used to do, a tradition which these days has been neglected by many Muslims.

Observe Fasting in the First Nine Days

Abu Sa`id al-Khudri said: I heard the Prophet saying, “Indeed, anyone who fasts for one day for Allah’s Pleasure, Allah will keep his face away from the (Hell) fire for (a distance covered by a journey of) seventy years.” (Muslim)

Do not observe fasting on the tenth day because it is an `Eid day and it is prohibited to fast that day.

Good deeds are rewarded abundantly in these first ten days; and as fasting is a good deed, it is recommended to fast these nine days.

Do not Miss Fasting the Day of `Arafah

On the day of `Arafah, non-pilgrims are highly recommended to maintain fasting. It is reported that the Prophet was asked about fasting on the day of `Arafah, whereupon he said: “It expiates the sins of the preceding year and the coming year.” (Muslim)

He also said: “There is no day in which Allah frees a greater number of His slaves from the Hellfire than the Day of `Arafah.” (Muslim)

Make a Lot of Supplications (du`aa’) on the Day of `Arafah

The Prophet said: “The best supplication is that of the Day of `Arafah, and the best thing that I and other Prophets before me said, is: La ilaha illa allahu wahdahu la sharika lah, lahu al-mulku wa lahu al-hamdu wa huwa `ala kulli shai’in qadeer (There is no god but Allah alone. He has no partners. To Him belong the sovereignty and all praise. He has power over all things.) (Al-Tirmidhi)

Try to Do Something New this Year

If you used to recite a part of the Qur’an last year, try to finish reading the whole Qur’an this year. Try to pick some verses everyday and check the books of Tafsir (exegesis of the Qur’an) to reflect on their meaning in order to derive lessons from them in your daily life.

If you do not read Arabic, I recommend Muhammad Asad’s translation of the Qur’an. If you are well-versed in the Qur’an recitation, try to teach a group of new Muslims how to read the Qur’an correctly.

Maintain your Family Relations

Visit your relatives even for a few minutes. If they live far away, give them a call. Do not forget your parents. Be kind to them, visit them, and attend to their needs. Some new Muslims think that after their conversion, they should cut off their family members. God orders Muslims to be kind to their parents even if they are non-Muslims. This occasion might be a good opportunity to talk about Islam to your non-Muslim parents.

Give to Charity

Make it a daily habit to help the needy. Look for humanitarian organizations in your neighborhood and help them in any way you can.

Don’t Miss Offering at Least Two Rak`ahs of “Tahajjud” at Night

Offer many extra prayers, as much as you can. God promised a great reward for offering extra acts of worship. The Prophet said: “Allah said, ‘I will declare war against him who shows hostility to a pious worshipper of Mine. And the most beloved things with which My slave comes nearer to Me, is what I have enjoined upon him; and My slave keeps on coming closer to Me through performing Nawafil (praying or doing extra deeds besides what is obligatory) till I love him, so I become his sense of hearing with which he hears, and his sense of sight with which he sees, and his hand with which he grips, and his leg with which he walks; and if he asks Me, I will give him, and if he asks My protection (refuge), I will protect him; (i.e. give him My refuge) and I do not hesitate to do anything as I hesitate to take the soul of the believer, for he hates death, and I hate to disappoint him.” (Al-Bukhari)

Reciting the Takbir

It is an act of Sunnah to say “Takbir” (Allah is the Greatest) in the first ten days.

The “Takbir” should be pronounced everywhere; in the mosque, at home, in the streets, etc. It is reported that: “Ibn `Umar and Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with them) used to go out in the marketplace during the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah, reciting Takbir, and the people would recite Takbir when they heard them.” (Al-Bukhari)

There are many forms of Takbir, but the most common one is: Allahu akbaru, Allahu akbaru, Allahu akbaru, la illaha illa Allah, Allahu akbaru, Allahu akbar, wa lillahi al-Hamd.

In another version of the Hadith mentioned above on the merits of the ten days, there is this addition: “… so increase saying Tahlil (saying la-illah illa Allah), Takbir (saying Allahu akbar), and Tahmid (saying Al-hamdullilah)” (Ahmad) Therefore, these kinds of “dhikr should be recited day and night.

The Best Good Deed in These Days is to Offer Hajj

Go to Hajj, if you are physically and financially able to perform it. If not, try to offer a sacrifice if you have the means. By doing this you are commemorating the story of sacrifice of both prophet Ibrahim and his son Isma`il (peace be upon them). The poor and the needy have a share in the sacrifice and feeding them is one of best deeds that can be done on the day of `Eid.

I pray to Allah to accept our good deeds in these days of Dhul-Hijjah and throughout the year. When our good deeds are accepted by God, we will be admitted to Paradise, by His Mercy.

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Shams al-Islam Broadcasting

Shams al-Islam Broadcasting

 

Shams al-Islam broadcasts its rays of light into the sky of knowledge, presenting Islamic knowledge to both Muslims who seek to learn about their religion, and non-Muslims looking for the truth of Islam.

With us, your time is invested with the light of Islam & Iman.

The radio broadcasts an interpretation of some Quranic verses and a reading of the book: A Beneficial Summary of Rulings for New Muslim”.

 

 

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A Beneficial Summary of Rulings to New Muslims (Online Radio)

Listen to a reading of the book “A Beneficial Summary of Rulings to New Muslims” produced by the Iftaa Department-Ministry of Awqaf, Kuwait.

The recording includes the interpretation of some Quranic verses and other issues related to new Muslims after taking the Shahadah.

 

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The Friends of Allah: Who and How?

The Friends of Allah: Who and How?

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That is what worship is all about: your purification and elevation in iman (faith) and taqwa (piety).

Good Deeds Will Get You Closer to Allah

Allah says:

But had they done what they were exhorted to (do), it would have been better for them; and would have strengthened/stabilized their (faith). (An-Nisaa’ 4:66)

Narrated Abu Hurairah that Allah’s Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

“Allah said: ‘Whoever harms a wali (a friend or a supporter) of mine I will declare war against him. And my servant has not drawn closer to me with anything more beloved to me than what I made obligatory on him (faridah). And he continues to draw closer to me with nawafil (the preferable non-obligatory deeds) until I love him; And when I love him I become his hearing with which he hears, and his sight with which he sees, and his hand with which he strikes, and his leg with which he walks, and if he asks Me, I will give him, and, if he seeks refuge in me, I will protect him and, I do not hesitate to do anything as I hesitate to take the soul of the believer for, he hates death and, I hate to sadden him’” (Al-Bukhari)

Why We Worship God?

In fact that is what worship is all about: your purification and elevation in iman (faith) and taqwa (piety), for Allah will not benefit from your worship. In a hadith qudsi (divine hadith) Allah said:

“O my servants! I have made unlawful oppression upon myself and I have made it unlawful between you. So do not oppress each other. O my servants! All of you are astray except the ones whom I have guided, so seek my guidance and I will guide you. O my servants! All of you are naked except those of you whom I have clothed, so seek clothing from me and I will clothe you. O my servants! All of you are hungry except those of you whom I have fed, seek food from me and I will feed you. O my servants! You make errors in the night and in the day and I forgive all sins. Seek forgiveness from me and I will forgive you. O my servants!

You will never be able to harm Me and you will never be able to benefit Me. O my servants! If the first of you and the last of you and the jinn from among you and the men from among you, were to fear Allah as the best among you, that would not increase in My Majesty/Mastership any. O my servants!

If the first of you and the last of you and the jinn among you and the men among you, were to perform the worst forms of crimes, that will not decrease from My Majesty/Mastership any. O my servants! If the first of you and the last of you, the jinn of you and the men of you, were to stand on one side and ask Me, I will give each one of you what you ask and still this will not decrease from My Majesty/Mastership; as if you dip a needle into the ocean.” (Muslim)

So when fasting was prescribed for you, it was to bring you closer (i.e., closer to Allah), Allah said:

O you who believe Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may attain piety. (Al-Baqarah 2:183)

And when you make Hajj and slaughter the sacrifice it is that you may get closer to Allah. Allah said: It is neither their meat nor their blood that reaches Allah but, it is piety from you that reaches Him. Thus, have We made them subject to you that you may magnify Allah for His Guidance to you. And give glad tidings to the good doers. (Al-Hajj 22:37)

And when you give charity it is to get closer, Allah said:

Take alms from their wealth in order to purify them and sanctify them with it, and invoke Allah for them. Verily! Your invocations are a source of tranquility for them; and Allah is All-Hearer, All-Knower. (At-Tawbah 9:103)

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The article is an excerpt from the paper “Acts of Worship as a Means to Strengthen the Attachment between the Servant and his Lord” by Dr. Hatem Al-Haj which was prepared for a conference in Austin, Texas, 2002. It first appeared at drhatemalhaj.com.

 

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Actions Are Judged by Intentions: How?

Actions Are Judged by Intentions: How?

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The reward of deeds depends upon the intentions and every person will get the reward according to what he has intended.

Selected Hadiths from Al-Bukhari

First hadith: “Actions Are Judged by Intentions”

Text: 

Narrated `Umar ibn Al-Khattab: “I heard Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) saying, “The (reward of) deeds, depend upon the intentions and every person will get the reward according to what he has intended. So whoever emigrated for the sake of Allah and His Apostle, then his emigration will be considered to be for Allah and His Apostle, and whoever emigrated for the sake of worldly gain or for a woman to marry, then his emigration will be considered to be for what he emigrated for.”

The Narrator: 

He is `Umar ibn Al-Khattab ibn Nufayl. He was born in 584-589 CE and killed in 644 CE – 23 AH. He descended from a rich family working in trade, which was his business until he became a caliph. `Umar was a firm believer who fiercely defended the Muslim community from attack. He became the second caliph of the Prophet after the death of Abu Bakr.

As Caliph, `Umar was known for acting justly with all people. During his rule, the Islamic state extended to Iraq, Syria, and Egypt. At zenith of his power, `Umar was assassinated at the hands of Abu Lu’lu’ah (Piruz Nahavandi). `Umar’s nicknames are Al-Faruq and Abu Hafs. 

Keywords:

Niyyah (Intention): It refers to the resolve of the heart to do an obligatory or non-obligatory action. (Al-Nawawi)

Hijrah (migration): In the Islamic context, it means moving from a place of non-Muslim majority and rule to a place of Muslim majority and rule.

Explanation: 

This hadith is one of the most eloquent and significant hadiths. It talks about the importance of sincere intention in the acceptance of acts of worship. Al-Bukhari (may Allah have mercy upon him) began his book with this hadith inspiring the meaning involved, namely sincerity.

Ibn Rajab Al-Hanbali said, “Al-Bukhari prefaced his book with this hadith referring to that every action performed for the sake of other than Allah is null and void, whether in this worldly life or in the Hereafter. It is reported from Ash-Shafi`i that he said, “This hadith is one third of knowledge and it comes under seventy sections of Fiqh.” Imam Ahmed said, “The principles of Islam are based on three hadiths: First, the hadith of `Umar (i.e. this hadith)….”(1)

The hadith at hand stresses the importance of intention in the acceptance of good deeds. It tells us that actions with good and sincere intention are only accepted, while those with bad and insincere intentions are of no avail.

Abu Umamah reported that a man came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and said, “What is about a man who goes for Jihad seeking reward (from Allah) and good reputation among people?” The Prophet replied, “Nothing.” The man repeated his question thrice and received the same answer from the Prophet. Then, the Prophet said, “Allah accepts only sincere actions that are done for the sake of Allah.” (An-Nasa’i)

The first word “actions” refers to good deeds as evil or prohibited deeds are already unallowable and intention has nothing with them, even if it is good. There is a basic rule that says, “Good intention does not validate the invalid action.”

So, the hadith is dealing with the allowable actions only, for which one seeks Allah’s pleasure. In fact, the prohibited actions are means of Satan to misguide the Muslim and incur the displeasure of Allah, the Almighty, upon him.

The scholars of Islam put two prerequisite for the acceptance of actions: permissibility and good intention. They took these conditions from Allah’s saying:

So whoever would hope for the meeting with his Lord – let him do righteous work and not associate in the worship of his Lord anyone. (Al-Kahf 18:110)

The Prophet gave an example for actions whose reward differs according to the intention. The example that the Prophet gave is worthy of great consideration; it is Hijrah (migration) from Makkah to Madinah. As we know, Muslims were oppressed and tortured in Makkah. They were forced to leave their homeland to Abyssinia or Madinah where they would feel safe regarding their religion and souls.

Yet, all of these sufferings can be fruitless if they were for the sake of other than Allah. Sheikh Al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah said, “It is reported that a man has migrated from Mecca to Medina because of a woman called Umm Qays, whom he loved. So, he was surnamed Umm Qays migrant.”(2) The Prophet maintained that whoever migrated for a worldly affair or business, he will take nothing in the hereafter.

Therefore, we all have to review our intentions and inspect our deeds, whether they are done for Allah’s sake or for worldly purposes. When a Muslim wants to do something good, Satan spares no effort to prevent him from that. If he fails, he will do his best to corrupt the Muslim’s intention. He reminds him with such and such of the beauties of world as well as people’s appreciation. He tries to make the Muslim forget Allah and sincerity.

So, we should be wakeful of Satan’s insinuations. Yet, the best way to confront these temptations is to always remember that this life is transitory but the other life is the permanent and endless one.

Moreover, Allah is more concerned with intention than with the deed itself. Abu Hurairah narrated, “The Messenger of Allah said, “Allah does not look at your figures, nor at your attire but He looks at your hearts and accomplishments”. (Muslim)

Lessons and Rulings:
  • Intention changes allowable things into worship: There are a lot of things that one makes by nature, such as eating, drinking, sleeping, etc. of permissible actions. One can take a reward for that if one does so with the intention of being able to perform the worship of Allah (Glory be to Him).
  • The reward of actions differs according to intention: The reward of the same action, such as prayer or fasting, may increase or decrease depending on the degree of the sincerity of one’s intention.
  • Setting examples for elaboration: A caller or teacher is advised to use examples to clarify the topic while addressing people or students. This is more helpful in understanding and elaboration, following the example of the Prophet in this hadith.

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(1) Ibn Rajab, Jami` Al-`Ulum wa Al-Hikam, Beirut, Al-Risalah, 2001, p. 62.

(2) Ibn Taymiyyah, Al-Fatwa, Riyadh: King Fahd Printing Complex, 1995, vol. 18, p. 254.

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Islam: Guidance to the Straight Path

Islam: Guidance to the Straight Path

Description of the Straight Path

Religious guidance is the greatest gift that a person can possess. It is something that we do not control or own, but rather it is bestowed upon us.

Muslims plead to be guided to the straight path at least seventeen times a day while reciting Surat Al-Fatihah (the first chapter of the Qur’an) in the five daily prayers. How many of us have reflected on the nature of this guidance and the path that we are supposed to be upon?

“Guide us” (Ihdina)

In Arabic the word hidayah does not simply mean guidance, but it means to guide gently. The word “gift” (hadiyyah) in Arabic also comes from the same root letters as the word for guidance (hidayah). Religious guidance is the greatest gift that a person can possess. It is also something that we do not control or own, but rather it is bestowed upon us in an act of infinite mercy and grace of Allah (Exalted is He).

Notice how it is in the plural- not ‘guide me’ but “guide us”. This instills in us a sense of brotherhood by making this request on behalf of fellow Muslims, especially as we stand in prayer as a group.

Types of Hidayah Mentioned in the Qur’an

There are four types of hidayah mentioned in the Qur’an, according to (Ibn Al-Qayyim).

1- General hidayah that is given to all creation. This type of guidance and knowledge is given by Allah to all created things. By this guidance, animals, plants and even inanimate objects fulfill the purpose for which they were created. This also includes the general intellect, wits and inherent intuitive knowledge given to all responsible beings regardless of their faith. This is referred to in the following verse:

He said, “Our Lord is He Who gave each thing its form and then guided (it)”. (Ta-Ha 20:50)

2- Hidayah that is in the form of explanation and education by way of defining the two paths of good and evil. It is when someone guides you by explaining that which is good and warns you from that which is evil according to Islam. This is the type of hidayah referred to in this verse::

And indeed, (O Muhammad), you guide to a straight path. (Ash-Shura 42:52)

3- Hidayah that is tawfiq (a specific type of divine guidance) and inspiration (ilham) from Allah to be guided to the truth of iman (faith), Islam (submission), etc. The following verses refer to this type.

…Thus does Allah leave astray whom He wills and guides whom He wills. (Al-Muddaththir 74:31)

No disaster strikes except by permission of Allah. And whoever believes in Allah He will guide his heart. And Allah is Knowing of all things. (At-Taghabun 64:11)

4- Hidayah that is in the next life, by which one shall be guided to Paradise.

And We will have removed whatever is within their breasts of resentment, (while) flowing beneath them are rivers. And they will say, “Praise to Allah, who has guided us to this”. (Al-A`raf 7:43)

Each one of the above types of hidayah has a sequential connection and relationship. Without the first level of guidance you will not have the capacity to attain the second and without the second you cannot attain the third and fourth levels.

We have absolutely no power to guide anyone using any of the above types of guidance except for the second type of hidayah that is explanation and education.  This type of guidance is what is referred to in the following verses.

And indeed, (O Muhammad), you guide to a straight path. (Ash-Shura 42:52)

You are only a warner, and for every people is a guide. (Ar-Ra`d 13:7)

The remaining types of guidance, particularly the third type which is tawfiq from Allah to have iman, are what are referred to in the following verse of the Qur’an, again addressing the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him):

Indeed, (O Muhammad), you do not guide whom you like, but Allah guides whom He wills. And He is most knowing of the (rightly) guided. (Al-Qasas 28:56)

In other words even the Prophets cannot guide whom they choose to become believers in the sense of actually putting faith in a person’s heart.  They can only guide in terms of explanation, exhortation, clarification and instruction regarding the truth.

The first lesson here is that we should seek guidance in every matter with Allah first and foremost before turning to others. Secondly, it should humble those of us who are inviting or ‘guiding’ others to Islam to acknowledge and internalize the fact that we have no real power over this matter, and that true guidance is the sole dominion of Allah, the ‘turner of the hearts’.

However, that should not make us despair of the work we do, for which our reward is with Allah. But rather it should increase our confidence in inviting others knowing that the result is not dependent on ‘my da`wah’ or speech, which is full of weakness and defects, but is in the hands of Allah Who can instantly change the hearts of the most wicked and tyrannical into the most pure and righteous.

The Ten Levels of Guidance

A Muslim may question why he or she has to ask for guidance at least seventeen times a day whilst they have already been guided to Islam. Scholars have explained that it is because firstly we ask for constancy (thabat) on guidance and secondly because there are so many levels and aspects of guidance that we are in need of in every detail of our daily life.

The following will help to clarify. For example, there are a further ten levels of guidance that need to be attained for one to be truly guided. (Ibn Al-Qayyim)

Therefore one should bear in mind when asking for guidance that one is asking Allah to:

1- Be granted guidance of knowledge and clarity, in order for one to know and reach the truth.

2- For the capacity to be guided

3- Make one desirous of guidance

4- Make one act upon the guidance

5- Make one remain steadfast on guidance

6- Remove all barriers and obstructions that impede guidance

7- Be granted a distinctive and detailed level of guidance on the path itself and its stations

8- Be granted sight of one’s ultimate goal along the path, to be alerted to it so that one can perceive it on the journey, catching sight of it without being blocked from seeing it.

9- Make one aware of one’s own destitution and desperate need for guidance (from Allah) over and above all other necessities.

10- Make one see the two misguided paths that veer off from the path of guidance; firstly the path of the people of wrath- those who intentionally, out of rebellion, turned away from following the truth; secondly the path of the people of misguidance- those who turned away out of ignorance and misguidance. One then sees the straight path upon which are all the Prophets and Messengers (peace be upon them) along with their followers from the truthful (siddiqeen), the martyrs and the righteous.

We are instructed by Allah to ask for guidance to the straight path (as-sirat al-mustaqim). What then is the nature of this path?

Description of the Straight Path

In the language of the Arabs a path (sirat) needs to possess five qualities for it to be called a sirat. The path needs to be:

1- Straight

2- Easy to travel upon

3- A familiar well-trodden path

4- Wide and spacious

5- Leading one to the desired destination

Since the path that we are asking guidance to is Islam itself, notice and reflect on how these qualities apply to Islam. Islam is straight in that it is a correct and firmly established way, pure and protected from any crookedness or deviation from the truth.  Allah describes those who want to block people on the path of Allah:

…Who averted (people) from the way of Allah and sought to make it (seem) deviant while they were, concerning the Hereafter, disbelievers. (Al-A`raf 7:45)

Islam is also easy as Allah has said:

Allah intends for you ease, and does not want to make things difficult for you, (Al-Baqarah 2:185))

and as the Prophet said, “The deen (Islam/religion) is easy…” (Al-Bukhari).

Allah does not burden a soul beyond its capacity. There will be challenges, temptations and difficulties in living as a Muslim but they are things that we ultimately have the capacity to bear. Everything in Shari`ah (Islamic law) benefits us or wards off harm for us in this world and/or the next.

Islam, which is submission to the commands of Allah, is also a familiar and well-trodden path, the path of all the Prophets and their followers. As Allah says:

And whoever obeys Allah and the Messenger – those will be with the ones upon whom Allah has bestowed favour of the prophets, the steadfast affirmers of truth, the martyrs and the righteous. And excellent are those as companions. (An-Nisaa’ 4:69)

The final, universal revelation of Islam is wide and spacious and accommodates all, regardless of color, race or social status. It is us with our parochial attitudes that restrict the vastness of this path to our favorite ‘saved’ group, way of thinking, sheikh or a specific allegiance that excludes others that Islam hasn’t excluded.

Ibn Majah records that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “I have left you on a (wide, spacious) clear (white) path, its night is like its day, whoever deviates from this after me will be destroyed….”

Indeed, the path of Islam leads to the desired destination, which is Allah’s Pleasure gained by obeying Him. Allah says:

So those who believe in Allah and hold fast to Him – He will admit them to mercy from Himself and bounty and guide them to Himself on a straight path. (An-Nisaa’ 4:175)

You will also notice that the word as-sirat (path) in the surah (chapter) has the definite article “Al”. The definite article is close to the meaning of ‘the’ which renders it ‘the straight path’ in English and has several possible meanings in Arabic. Here it is said that it denotes something definite which is in the mind as well as in reality.

For example, when students waiting for their teacher to arrive say ‘the teacher is late.’ The teacher they are referring to is known amongst them and in their minds they know exactly who they are referring to. In that sense, grammatically, ‘the teacher’ is a definite noun phrase and not an indefinite one. They would not say a teacher is late in this case.

Similarly, in this case, it is a specific and definite known path that we are seeking guidance to. It is the path that Allah has ordained for the people that He has favored, the path that leads to His Pleasure and His Paradise, which is in fact His deen (religion) – besides which nothing is acceptable to Him.

It is said that it is also the path that we intuitively know in the deepest core of our hearts that must exist because as human beings we were affirmed, when we were created, that Allah is our Rabb (Lord).

All praise is to Allah Who has gently guided us to the straight path, described to us with crystal clarity its features and guided us to pray for it every day of our lives.

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Source: suhaibwebb.com

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Noah and His People: The Flood and the Ark

Noah and His People: The Flood and the Ark

Noah’s Prayer

Noah's ark

When what Allah willed had happened and the unbelievers were drowned, the rain stopped and the water sank away.

Noah stayed with his people for nine hundred and fifty years, calling them to Allah, but his people would not believe. They would not stop worshipping idols. They refused to return to Allah.

How long could Noah wait? How long could he watch the earth and its people being ruined? How long could he put up with his people worshipping stones? How long could he watch them eat from Allan’s provisions while they worshipped something else?

Why did Noah not get angry? He was more patient than anyone else could have been! Nine hundred and fifty years: Glory be to Allah!

Then Allah revealed to Noah: “None of your people will believe except those who have already believed.” (Hud 11:36)

When Noah called his people again, “they said, ’Noah! You have disputed with us and you have disputed often with us, so bring us what you promised us if you are speaking the truth’.” (Hud 11:32)

Noah became angry for Allah and despaired of those people. He called upon Allah not to leave even one of the unbelievers on the earth!

And Noah said: My Lord! Leave not one of the disbelievers in the land. (Nuh 71:26)

The Ark

Allah answered Noah’s prayer and He decided what the fate of the unbelievers would be. All of them would be drowned in a great flood.

Allah wanted to save Noah and the believers. He commanded Noah to build a great ship, and Noah began straightaway.

The unbelievers from his people saw him working busily and they mocked: ‘What is this, Noah? Since when have you become a carpenter? Didn’t we tell you not to sit with the carpenters and ironsmiths and now you have really become a carpenter!

‘Where is this ship going, Noah? Everything about you is unbelievable! Is it going to sail in the sand or climb up the mountains? The sea is a long way from here. Will the jinn carry it or will oxen pull it?‘

Noah heard all that and was patient. He had heard worse things and had been patient. But sometimes he would say to them, “If you mock us, we will mock you as you mock.” (Hud 11:38)

The Flood

The promise of Allah came. We seek refuge with Allah!

It rained and rained until the sky was like a sieve which could not hold the water. Water poured down and gushed up and flowed in until it surrounded the people on every side.

Then Allah revealed to Noah, Take with you those of your people and family who believe.’

Allah revealed to Noah to take with him a pair of every animal and bird, a male and a female, because the flood would cover the earth. Neither man nor beast would be saved from it. Noah did so. With him in the Ark were those of his people who believed in him and a pair of every bird and animal.

The Ark rode with them on waves like mountains. The people outside the Ark climbed onto every high place and every hill, fleeing from Allah’s punishment.

But there is no refuge from Allah except in Him.

Noah’s Son

Noan had a son who was with the unbelievers. Noah saw his son in the flood and said, “‘My son, embark with us and do not be with the unbelievers.’ He said, ‘I will seek refuge on a mountain that will protect me from the water.’

Noah said, ‘Today there is no protector from Allah’s command except for the one to whom He shows mercy.’

The waves came between them and Noah’s son was among the drowned.” (Hud 11: 42, 43)

Noah was sad about his son; How could he not be sad about his own son? He wanted to save him from the Fire on the Day of Judgment since he was not able to save him from the water. The Fire is worse than the water.

The punishment of the Next World is harsher. Did not Allah promise that He would save his family? Yes! And Allah’s promise is true. He wanted to speak to Allah on behalf of his son.

“He Is Not One of Your Family”

Noah called on his Lord and said, ‘My son is part of my family and Your promise is true. You are the most just of those that judge.’ (Hud 11:45)

But Allah does not look at people’s family trees. He looks at their actions. Allah does not accept pleas on behalf of idol-worshippers. The idol-worshipper is not part of a Prophet’s family, even if he is his son.

Allah made Noan aware of that. He said,”Noah, he is not part of your family; he is of evil conduct Do not ask of Me that about which you do not know, I warn you lest you be one of the ignorant.” (Hud 11:46)

Nun became aware and turned to Allah, repentant. He said; “My Lord, I take refuge with You lest I should ask of You something about which i have no knowledge. If you do not forgive me and show mercy to me, I will he among the losers.” (Hud 11:47)

After the Flood

When what Allah willed had happened and the unbelievers were drowned, the rain stopped and the water sank away.

The unbelievers of the people of Noah were destroyed. Neither the heavens nor the earth wept for them. It was said, “Away with the wrong-doing people!“ (Hud 11:44)

The Ark stopped on Mount Judi. It was said, ”Noah, get down in peace.” (Hud 11:48)

Noah and the people of the Ark got down and walked on the earth in peace. Allah blessed the descendants of Noah and they spread in the land and filled the earth.

There were communities among them and there were Prophets and kings among them.

Peace be upon Noah among all beings!

Peace be upon Noah among all the worlds! (As-Saffat 37:79)

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 The article is an excerpt from the author’s Stories of the Prophets, UK Islamic Academy publications.

Read Also:

Prophet Noah’s Call and Message

From Adam to Noah: The Need for Guidance

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