Why Do We Worship and Obey God?

Why Do We Worship and Obey God?

nature way

By walking on the straight of God you will receive dignity in this world as well as in the Hereafter.

Brothers in Islam! I have frequently emphasized that ‘Islam‘ means total surrender to Allah and the Messenger, and that no one can become truly Muslim unless he gives up obedience to anyone or anything apart from God.

But why is so much stress laid on obedience to God and His Messenger? You may ask: Does God need our obedience so badly that He has to demand it so insistently from us? Is He, too, like the rulers of the world so power-hungry that He has to insist His rule cannot be sustained without subjugating us?

Let us try to examine these questions.

Our Well-being

Essentially, the demand for obedience to Allah is intended for the well-being and betterment of man himself. He is not like the rulers of the world. They subjugate people to benefit themselves, but Allah needs nothing from anybody.

He is not in need of taxes from you, nor does He require to build mansions, buy cars and amass luxury articles at your expense. He is not dependent on anyone for anything. Whatever is in the world belongs to Him alone and He alone is the Master of all treasures.

He demands obedience from you only because He does not want man – that creation of His whom He has declared to be the noblest – to be the servant of another man like him, or of Satan or bow his head before unworthy things.

He does not desire that His vicegerents on earth grope in the darkness of ignorance and, like animals, become slaves to their desires and thus degrade themselves to the level of the lowest of the low. Therefore He urges: You obey Me and walk by the light I have sent through My Messengers. You will find the straight path. By walking on it you will receive dignity in this world as well as in the Hereafter.

No coercion is there in religion. Distinct has become the right way from [the way of] error. So whosoever rejects false gods and believes in God has indeed taken hold of the most firm handle which shall never break. God is All-hearing, All-knowing. God is the Friend of those who have faith; He brings them out of darkness into the light. And the disbelievers their friends are false gods that bring them out of the light into darkness; those are the inhabitants of the Fire, therein to abide forever. (Al-Baqarah 2:256, 257)

Obeying Others Besides Allah

Why will a man plunge into darkness by obeying others besides Allah and why is it that only by obeying Allah can his life be illumined?

Let us look into this important question…

Our lives are made up of countless relations and transactions. Our first relationship is with our own bodies: these hands, these feet, these eyes, these ears, this tongue, this heart, the mind, this belly – all these have been entrusted to you by Allah to serve you. You have also been given freedom to decide to what end to employ them.

What to put in your bellies, and what to avoid. What to make your hands do, and what to keep them away from.

Where to let your feet walk, and when to hold back. What to let your eyes see and ears hear, and what to refrain from.

What to allow your tongues to say, and when to fall silent. What kind of thoughts to make your hearts and minds reflect upon, and what to shun. These servants of yours you can make do good work or bad, as you choose. In return, they can make you ascend great heights or plunge you into abysmal depths.

Then you have relationships with the members of your family; with your fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, wives, children and other relatives with whom you have to deal continuously.

You have to decide how to behave with these people, what rights you have over them, and what rights they have over you. Your comfort, your happiness and your success in this world as well as in the Hereafter depend very much on how correctly you behave with them. If you behave wrongly, you will make this world a Hell for yourselves. And in the Hereafter, too, you will have to answer to God.

You have relationships with many other people. They are your neighbours, friends and enemies. There are also many who work for you in various ways. To some you have to give something and from others you have to receive something.

Some entrust you with their works while you entrust Your works to others. You are in command over some people and others are in command over you. In this world, your happiness, your honour and your good names all depend entirely on your ability to maintain these relationships properly.

In the Hereafter, too, you can acquire places of honor near God only by scrupulously avoiding abusing the rights of others and doing them injustices. There, let no one charge you with having ruined his life or having illegally harmed his honour, life or property.

You therefore have to maintain these relationships in a proper manner; actions which may spoil or disrupt these relations should be avoided.

open book before the sun

If you try to find this knowledge with the help of your reason and feelings alone, you will not find it.

Following One’s Desires

Now consider: in order to maintain proper relationships with your own bodies, with the members of your families and with all other people, you need the light of knowledge at every step.

You have to know what is right and what is wrong; what is true and what is false; what is just and what is unjust; what rights you have over others and what rights others have over you; in what there is real benefit and in what lies real harm.

If you try to find this knowledge with the help of your reason and feelings alone, you will not find it. Because yourself is overpowered by the urge to immediate gratification of desires. Your reason and feelings are therefore ruled by physical pleasure and immediate temptations.

They will tempt you to earn money by doing illegal things, drink alcohol and commit adultery. They will lead you to usurp the rights of others and withhold things due to them on the grounds that such behaviour will profit you: take everything and give nothing. They will also make you exploit others to serve your ends while avoiding the doing of any service to anybody, arguing that this will make life easy and comfortable.

If you allow yourselves to be led by a self which gropes in such darkness, it will drag you down to the level of selfish, depraved, and corrupt persons and your lives both on earth and in the Hereafter will be ruined.

Alternatively, instead of following the self, you may rely on other human beings like yourselves, and place yourselves in their hands to take you in whichever direction they like.

The dangers in such a course are obvious: selfish persons may make you slaves of their own desires, and ignorant men, who have themselves gone astray, may mislead you also. Tyrants may use you to perpetrate oppression and injustice on others.

From human beings like yourselves, too, you cannot get that light of knowledge which can guide you to distinguish between right and wrong, between good and bad, and direct you on the right path.

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The article is an excerpt from the author’s book Let Us Be Muslims.

 

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What Do the Prophet’s Traditions Say about Jesus?

What Do the Prophet’s Traditions Say about Jesus?

Allah (Exalted be He) selected the finest amongst humanity as messengers whom He sent to His creation with specific legislations: for them to worship and obey Allah and to establish His Religion and His tawheed (Oneness of Allah) in His Lordship, Worship, and Names and Attributes. This is how the Muslim believes in Allah’s messengers.

jesus

Muslims believe that Jesus will return before the Day of Judgment to bring justice and peace to the world.

And We sent not before you (O Muhammad) but men to whom We inspired, so ask the people of the reminder (Scriptures) if you do not know. And We did not create them (the messengers, with) bodies that ate not food, nor were they immortal. (Al-Anbiyaa’ 21:7-8)

Therefore, one must believe in all of God’s prophets and that they were purely and truly only human in nature; they were not supernatural beings.

`Umar ibn Al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Faith is to believe in Allah and His angels and His Books and His Messengers and in the Last Day, and in divine destiny, both in its good and in its evil aspects.” (Muslim)

Allah says:

Lo! those who disbelieve in Allah and His messengers, and seek to make distinction between Allah and His messengers, and say: We believe in some and disbelieve in others, and seek to choose a way in between; Such are disbelievers in truth; and for disbelievers We prepare a shameful doom. (An-Nisaa’ 4:150,151)

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Send peace and blessings upon the Prophets and Messengers of Allah, for He (Allah) has sent them (to people) as He (Glory be to Him) sent me.” (Al-Albani)

God’s Word

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “He who bears witness that there is no true god except Allah, alone having no partner with Him, that Muhammad is His slave and His Messenger, that `Isa (Jesus) is His slave and Messenger and he (Jesus) is His Word which He communicated to Maryam (Mary) and His spirit which He sent to her, that Paradise is true and Hell is true; Allah will make him enter Jannah (Paradise) accepting whatever deeds he accomplished”. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Between Jesus and Muhammad

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “Both in this world and in the Hereafter, I am the nearest of all the people to Jesus, the son of Mary. The prophets are paternal brothers; their mothers are different, but their religion is one.” (Al-Bukhari)

Ibn `Abbas narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “I saw Moses, Jesus and Abraham (on the night of my Ascension to the heavens). Jesus was of red complexion, curly hair and a broad chest. Moses was of brown complexion, straight hair and tall stature as if he was from the people of Az-Zutt.” (Al-Bukhari)

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: There is no prophet between me and him, that is, Jesus (peace be upon him). He will descent (to the earth). When you see him, recognize him: a man of medium height, reddish fair, wearing two light yellow garments, looking as if drops were falling down from his head though it will not be wet. He will fight the people for the cause of Islam. He will break the cross, kill swine, and abolish jizyah. Allah will perish all religions except Islam. He will destroy the Antichrist and will live on the earth for forty years and then he will die. The Muslims will pray over him. (Abu Dawud)

Virtues of Jesus

Abu Hurairah narrated that the Messenger of Allah said, ‘I am the most close to Jesus, son of Mary, from among the whole of mankind in this worldly life and the next life.’ ‘They said: Allah’s Messenger how is it?’ Thereupon he said: ‘Prophets are brothers in faith, having different mothers. Their religion is, however, one, and there is no Prophet between us (between me and Jesus Christ).” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “When any human being is born. Satan touches him at both sides of the body with his two fingers, except Jesus, the son of Mary, whom Satan tried to touch but failed, for he touched the placenta-cover instead.”

About Maryam (Mary), the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Many a man achieved perfection, but no woman achieved perfection except for Maryam (Mary), the daughter of `Imran, and Asiyah, the wife of Pharaoh…” (At-Tirmidhi)

Jesus’ Return

Muslims believe that Jesus will return before the Day of Judgment to bring justice and peace to the world.

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon) said, “Dajjal (the Antichrist) will appear in my Ummah and he will stay in the world for forty. I do not know whether this will be forty days or forty months or forty years. Allah will then send (Prophet) ‘Isa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary). ‘Isa will pursue him and slaughter him. Then people will survive for seven years (i.e., after the demise of ‘Isa) in the state that there will be no rancour between two persons…. (Muslim)

This Islamic belief about Jesus is similar to the belief of some of the early Christians.

In the Qur’an, God addresses the Christians about Jesus in the following way:

O People of the Book, do not commit excesses in your religion, and do not say anything about God except the truth: the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, was nothing more than a messenger of God, His word, directed to Mary and a spirit from Him. So believe in God and His Messengers and do not speak of a ‘Trinity’– stop (this), that is better for you– God is only one God, He is far above having a son, everything in the heavens and earth belongs to Him and He is the best one to trust. (An-Nisaa’ 4:171)

 

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Rites of Tarwiyah and ‘Arafah Days, the First Two Days of Hajj

Rites of Tarwiyah and ‘Arafah Days, the First Two Days of Hajj

By Dr. Salih Al-Fawzan

Upon reaching the site for ihram (a state of ritual consecration during Hajj or ‘Umrah a pilgrim declares his intention to perform one of three types of Hajj (Pilgrimage):

Ifrad

‘There is no deity but Allah Alone, Who has no partner. To Him belongs dominion, and to Him belongs (all) praise, and He is over all things Omnipotent.

It means that a pilgrim enters the state of Ihram with the intention of performing Hajj only, keeping in the state of Ihram until he stones Jamratul-‘Aqabah on the Day of the Feast of Sacrifice (‘Eid al-Ad-ha; on the tenth of Dhul-Hijjah). Then, a pilgrim shaves his head, and performs the Ifadah (Going forth) Tawaf along with sa’y (going between Al-Safa and Al-Marwah) in case he has not performed it (i.e. sa’y) following the Arrival Tawaf.

Qiran

It means that a pilgrim assumes Ihram for performing both ‘Umrah (Lesser Pilgrimage) and Hajj (Pilgrimage) together. The rites of performing qiran are the same as those of performing ifrad except that a pilgrim is obliged to slaughter a sacrificial animal in the former case.

Tamattu’

It means that a pilgrim assumes ihram for performing ‘Umrah only, keeping in such state of ihram until he finishes the rites of ‘Umrah, such as tawaf, sa’y, and shortening or shaving the hair. After that, a pilgrim may get out of the state of ihram until he assumes another ihram for performing Hajj.

The best of the three forms is tamattu’. It is desirable for a pilgrim performing ifrad or qiran and has not got a sacrificial animal to change his intention and perform tamattu’ instead, carrying out all its rites.

It is also desirable for the one performing tamattu’ (even if it has been ifrad or qiran that converted to tamattu’ as well as the residents of Mecca and the surrounding places, to assume ihram for Hajj on the Day of Tarwiyah (the eighth day of Dhul-Hijjah). This is because Jabir (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated, in his description of the Prophet’s performance of Hajj:

“…All the pilgrims dissolved the state of Ihram except the Prophet (PBUH) and whoever had a sacrificial animal with him. When it was the Day of Tarwiyah, they proceeded to Mina and assumed ihram for Hajj.” (Muslim)

The place where you can assume Ihram for Hajj

A pilgrim performing tamattu’ may assume ihram from the place where he stays, whether in Mecca, Mina, or any place outside Mecca, but he should not perform tawaf after assuming ihram for Hajj (as it has been already performed during ‘Umrah).

The Prophet (PBUH) said, ‘And whoever is living within these boundaries can assume ihram from his home, and the people of Mecca can assume Ihram from Mecca. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Heading for Mina on the eighth of Dhul-Hijjah

Once a pilgrim assumes ihram tor Hajj, he should then preoccupy himself with chanting talbiyah and continually repeat it every now and then, raising his voice with it until he stones Jamratul-‘Aqabah on the Day of the Feast of Sacrifice (on the tenth of Dhul-Hijjah). Those pilgrims who have assumed their ihram from Mecca on the Day of Tarwiyah should head for Mina; the optimum time for moving is after the sun has reached its meridian. Then, they perform the Zuhr (Noon) Prayer there, at Mina, camping there until they perform the rest of the Five Daily Prayers including the Fajr (Dawn) Prayer of the following day (the ninth of Dhul Hjjjah). Jabir (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated:

“…The Prophet (PBUH) rode his mount (heading for Mina) and performed there the Zuhr, the ‘Asr (Afternoon), the Maghrib (Sunset), the ‘ Isha’ (Night), and the Fajr (Dawn) Prayers. Then, he(PBUH) stayed there for a while until the sun rose.” (Muslim)

It is worth mentioning that spending that time in Mina (from the noon of the Day of Tarwiyah until the dawn of the following day) and performing those five prayers there is an act of the Sunnah, not an obligatory one. Likewise, assuming ihram on the Day of Tarwiyah is considered an act of the Sunnah. So, it is permissible for a pilgrim to assume ihram before or after that day.

The Day of ‘Arafah

On the ninth of Dhul-Hijjah and after sunrise, a pilgrim proceeds to ‘Arafah; the whole area of ‘Arafah is a standing place except for the valley called Batn ‘Uranah, Thus, it is sufficient for a pilgrim to stand anywhere on that day within the boundaries of ‘Arafah, excluding the place pointed out by the Prophet (PBUH), namely Batn ‘Uranah. The boundaries of ‘Arafah are clearly distinguished by means of signs, so standing anywhere within these boundaries will be regarded as standing at Arafah. Still, a pilgrim has to pay attention to these signs in order not to stand outside ‘Arafah.

When the sun passes its meridian, a pilgrim performs the Zuhr (Noon) and the “Asr (Afternoon) Prayers, shortening and combining them at the due time of the Zuhr Prayer (i.e. performing each as two rak’ahs instead of four) with one prayer call (adhan) and two immediate prayer calls (iqamahs). We should know that a pilgrim shortens every four-rak’ah prayer (i.e. performs it as two rak’ahs) at Arafah, Muzdalifah, and Mina, However, at ‘Arafah and Muzdalifah the prayers are to be shortened and combined whereas they are only shortened at Mina, i.e. performing each prayer at its due time for there is no need for combining them at Mina.

After a pilgrim performs the Zuhr and the ‘Asr Prayers, shortening and combining them (for he is at ‘Arafah), he should spend the rest of the day remembering, invoking, glorifying, and praising Allah, seeking His forgiveness, and so on and so forth. This is to be done while a pilgrim is sticking to his place at ‘Arafah. In other words, a pilgrim does not have to go to the Mount of Ar-Rahman, or to watch it, or even to face it, while performing such supplications; standing anywhere at ‘Arafah while facing the direction of the Ka’bah is sufficient.

The best du’a during Hajj

A pilgrim should spare no effort supplicating Allah and turning to Him in repentance on such a glorious day, whether he is walking, sitting, riding, standing, or even lying down. He should also choose the most comprehensive supplications that were reported to have been observed by the Prophet (PBUH), for he(PBUH)said:

“The best supplication is the one on the Day of ‘Arafah, and the best thing which I and the prophets before me have said is: ‘There is no deity but Allah Alone, Who has no partner. To Him belongs dominion, and to Him belongs (all) praise, and He is over all things Omnipotent.” (Al-Tirmidhi)

A pilgrim keeps supplicating Allah at ‘Arafah until sunset. It is impermissible to leave before sunset, and if a pilgrim does, he must go back soon before sunset, to witness it there. However, if a pilgrim leaves ‘Arafah before sunset and does not go back, he is then obliged to slaughter a sheep of Hajj (or to get one seventh of a camel or a cow) and divide it among the poor residents of the Sanctuary of Mecca in expiation for missing an obligatory ritual of Hajj.

The Day of Arafah starts from the noon of the ninth of Dhul-Hijjah until the dawn of the tenth of Dhul-Hijjah (the Day of the Feast of Sacrifice) according to the sound opinion in this regard. As for a pilgrim who is present at Arafah at daytime, he is obliged to stay there until sunset as we previously said. But if someone arrives at ‘Arafah at night, it is sufficient for him to stay there for any length of time, even if for only one moment, as the Prophet (PBUH) said:

“If anyone gets (i.e. stays at) “Arafah before the dawn (of the tenth of Dhul-Hijjah) breaks, then he has performed Hajj.” (Abu Dawud, Al-Tirmidhi and Al-Nasa’i)

The legal ruling concerning staying at ‘Arafah

Staying at ‘Arafah is one of the obligatory fundamental rituals of Hajj, and it is the most important and the greatest one as well for the Prophet (PBUH) said:

“Hajj is ‘Arafah (i. e. staying at ‘Arafah is the most important ritual of Hajj). (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

As for the place of staying at ‘Arafah, a pilgrim may stand anywhere within the boundaries of ‘Arafah, and this ritual is deemed invalid if one stands outside them.


The article is an excerpt from the author’s book “A Summary of Islamic Jurisprudence” with some modifications.

Dr. Salih Al-Fawzan is a Professor of Islamic Jurisprudence, Member of the Board of Senior Ulema & Member of the Permanent Committee for Fatwa and Research.

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All About Hajj (1441/2020)

All About Hajj (1441/2020)

By Editorial Staff

Islam organizes the spiritual and moral life of man as well as the practical in order to live a normal balanced life. Every act of worship in Islam has a meaning, a purpose and a significance, and of  great spiritual, moral, and physical benefits.

Hajj, one of the five main pillars of Islam, gives a specific and practical example of acts of worship in Islam. A rich spiritual experience, Hajj has a great message and lessons for the benefit and wellbeing of man and all humanity, resulting in spiritual and behavioral development in the life of a Muslim.

Hajj is a life-time journey; if conducted properly, it will erase all sins of the pilgrim. So, every Muslim intending to undertake this journey should first learn well its rituals and how to perform them correctly.

This special folder presents a complete picture of Hajj, its wisdom, its rituals and the benefits that are reaped from undertaking the blessed journey.

The Obligation of Hajj-The Fifth Pillar of Islam

The Obligation of Hajj: The Fifth Pillar of Islam

Allah has made an obligation on Muslims to perform Hajj to Makkah. Why? What is the condition on whom performing Hajj is obligatory? Why do we perform Hajj?

Read also:

First 10 Days

Hajj: Its Meaning and Position from the Qur’an

All about the First Ten Days of Dul-Hijjah and Udhiyah – a Special Folder

Like no other days in the Islamic calendar, the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah have a very special status. What should we do in these cherished great days? How could we get the utmost benefits of these days?

Rituals of Hajj and `Umrah

The Rituals of Hajj

The Rituals of Hajj

What are the rituals of hajj? What is the difference between hajj and `Umrah? What are the conditions of ihram? What nullifies one’s hajj? What makes one’s hajj accepted?

Read also:

E-Books on Hajj & `Umrah

New Muslims Guide Hajj and Umrah

New Muslims’ Guide for Hajj and Umrah

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “And Allah’s guests are three: A pilgrim performing Hajj, one performing `Umrah, and a person who fights in the cause of Allah”.

Read also:

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All about the First Ten Days of Dul-Hijjah and Udhiyah – a Special Folder

All about the First Ten Days of Dul-Hijjah and Udhiyah – a Special Folder

By Editorial Staff

About the merits of the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “There are no days on which righteous deeds are beloved to Allah more than (the righteous deeds on) these 10 days.”

The people asked, “Not even jihad for the sake of Allah?” He said, “Not even jihad for the sake of Allah, except for the case of a man who went out, giving up himself and his wealth for the cause of Allah, and came back with nothing.” (Al-Bukhari)

These articles will help you learn every thing about those blessed days and how to make the best of them.

 

The Fiqh of Udhiyah (The Sacrificial Animal)

This article discusses the meaning of Udhiyah, its legal ruling, the prerequisites, the time for offering it and how it can be distributed.

2. Rulings and Conditions of Udhiyah

3. Offering Sacrifice: Refrain from This

4. The Sacrifice: Rulings and Conditions

 

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Hajj Is a Shift Away from Racism and Towards Social Equality

Hajj Is a Shift Away from Racism and Towards Social Equality

Allah has created people to be different in their living; some are rich and some poor, some well-off, affluent and high-esteemed, and others indigent, miserable and astray in life.

That is great wisdom decreed by Allah so that people would exchange work, cooperate with one another, and use one another to achieve their requirements and needs: the rich person spends his money, and the poor person exerts his effort in labor for remuneration. In confirmation of that, Allah Almighty Says (what means):

“Do they distribute the Mercy of your Lord? It is We Who Have Apportioned among them their livelihood in the life of this world and Have Raised some of them above others in degrees [of rank] that they may make use of one another for service. But the Mercy of your Lord is better than whatever they accumulate.” (Quran 43:32)

Hajj as a shift against Racism:

Indeed, the most noble of you in the Sight of Allah is the most righteous of you.

Had the difference been limited to the exchange of benefits, it would have been good. But some rich people exalt themselves above the poor, and their arrogance produces hatred among the poor.

On the other hand, some poor people envy the rich, with the result that the rich boycott and neglect them; arrogance among some rich people versus hatred among some poor people, and haughtiness among some dignitaries versus envy among some of the common people.

In this way, the social classes of the same nation have mutual aversion to each other, cooperation disappears, bonds are undone, and production decreases.

A Remedy of Racism

The remedy of that disease lies in the religious acts of worship in general, and Hajj in particular, which has a practical healing and effective decisive medicine to put an end to haughtiness, and lay the foundation for equality between all people in the form of (putting on the same clothing of) Ihram, performing Tawaaf, Sa‘y, and so on.

In Hajj, no one could be distinguished from others with a particular uniform, clothing, appearance or adornment, because all of them are equal in their simple united appearance. That is indeed equality between individuals as well as between races and peoples, in compliance with what Allah Says (which means):

“O mankind, indeed We Have Created you from male and female and Made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the Sight of Allah is the most righteous of you.” (Quran 49:13)

Islamic views on piety:

Our Messenger, God bless him and grant him peace, said: “No Arab is superior to a non-Arab, nor a white-complexioned to a black-complexioned except by virtue of piety.”

Is Hajj then, from this point of view, worthy of the care of reformers, the concern of the sincere and the effort of the passionate?

We are all subject to our habits and governed by our traditions as a result of the house in which we live, the school in which we learn, and the environment surrounding us.

A lot of our customs and habits are bad and harmful, the majority of our traditions are invalid and superstitious, and the greater part of what we agree upon is false and ignorant. Worship, as they said, is a second disposition, and to be released from traditions is very difficult upon a lot of people.

When a reformer likes to straighten the crookedness of his nation, and push it towards the pathways of perfection, he encounters the rocks of habits and traditions. He may perish and die before changing his people from a familiar habit, given that “people are slaves of their traditions”.

Hajj comes to release the individual from his habitual customs, and change his familiar traditions. Hajj, in this way, enables the pilgrim to govern himself, control his deeds, give up bad customs, and come away from awful traditions to the immense field of piety, virtues and spiritual elevation.

That is because the pilgrim becomes a sovereign over his own self after having been a slave of his habits.
In confirmation of that, Allah Almighty Says (what means):

Hajj is [during] well-known months, so whoever has made Hajj obligatory upon himself therein [by entering the state of Ihram], there is [to be for him] no sexual relations and no disobedience and no disputing during Hajj. And whatever good you do – Allah Knows it.” (Quran 2:197)

The Messenger of Allah, God bless him and grant him peace, stated that Hajj brings the Muslim out of his sins, misdeeds, bad customs and habits, saying:

“Whoever performs Hajj during which he does not have sexual intercourse (with his wife) nor commit wickedness, will become (as sinless) as he was on the very day his mother gave birth to him.”

Is Hajj, in this sense, not worthy of the care of educationalists and psychologists?

What is worthier of care than a worship-based practical system that releases man from the slavery of loss, and joins him to (Allah) The Most Merciful with a strong bond of truthfulness, certainty and faith?

Countries allocate money to physical sports and military exercises, a system for which our youth in schools are preparing. Without doubt, sport is a source of strength, valor, courage and gallantry, and an important support pillar in the construction of the glory of the Ummah.

Islam was a forerunner in recognizing the virtue of sport, when it commanded people to learn racing, archery, horsemanship, swimming and sword fight to prepare for Jihaad in the way of security, truth and peace. It joined sport with acts of worship, so that the emotion and feeling would share with the heart in performing it. Thus, sport becomes a physical power and a spiritual worship which has its glorious benefits in this world, and its great reward in the Hereafter.


Source: britishhajtravel website with some modifications.

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Life After Life?

Life After Life?

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The hour is up!

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

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

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

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

…but the life of the world distracts you!

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

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

…but the life of the world distracts you!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Think about it.

Where would you want to spend your eternity?

The Day of Judgement is true

Hellfire is true

Paradise is true

This is the certain truth

…but the life of the world distracts you!


Source: onereason.org

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Juristic Rulings on Congregational Prayer Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Juristic Rulings on Congregational Prayer Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

By Editorial Staff

The spread of the novel coronavirus (covid-19) has affected people’s lives worldwide. In their attempt to limit the spread of the virus, governments are banning public gatherings. The outbreak of the virus has led to the suspension of congregational prayer including the Jumu’ah (Friday Prayer) at mosques in most countries.

However, family members still have the opportunity to perform prayer in congregation at home. This article will address this recent juristic issue.

“The congregational prayer is twenty seven times superior to the prayer offered by person alone.”

The General Ruling on Congregational Prayer

Scholars have divergent opinions regarding the legal ruling of congregational prayer. It is highly recommend according to the majority of the shafi’i and maliki scholars. On the other hand, the hanbali scholars hold the opinion that it is compulsory. The following hadith may serve as evidence for the first opinion.

Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said, “The congregational prayer is twenty seven times superior to the prayer offered by person alone.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

As for the second opinion, there is evidence from the Quran and the Sunnah to support it. Allah says,

…and you shall bow (to God in Prayer) along with those who bow (to Him). (Quran 2:43)

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

A blind man came to the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) and said: “O Messenger of Allah! I have no one to guide me to the mosque”. He, therefore, sought his permission to perform Salah (prayer) in his house. He (ﷺ) granted him permission. When the man turned away, he called him back, and said, “Do you hear the Adhan (call to prayer)?” He replied in the affirmative. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) then commanded him to respond to it. (Muslim)

Suspension of Congregational Prayer during the Pandemic

Today, there is an exceptional situation which requires a new legal ruling. Since covid-19 is highly contagious, it is allowed to suspend congregational acts of worship especially prayer.

In fact, scholars have mentioned a good number of legal excuses that allow a person not to perform prayer at the mosque. The fear that harm can befall oneself, one’s property or one’s honor is one of these excuses. This includes the fear to contract covid-19 or pass it to others. In this situation the fear has prevailed. So, it is right to suspend the congregational prayer at mosques. Narrated Hudhaifa:

The Prophet (ﷺ) said (to us), “List the names of those people who have announced that they are Muslims.” So, we listed one thousand and five hundred men. Then we wondered, “Should we be afraid (of infidels) although we are one thousand and five hundred in number?” No doubt, we witnessed ourselves being afflicted with such bad trials that one would have to offer the prayer alone in fear. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

In addition, the general juristic rule is that the repelling of harm takes presence over the procurement of good.

There are a few countries where people can still perform prayer at mosques. They have taken different precautions to contain the spread of the virus. Although people can attend the congregational prayer at mosques, everyone must keep a space between himself and the person next to him. Other precautions include avoiding shaking hands, using private prayer mat, allowing a few number to attend, etc. If covid-19 did not spread easily in closed spaces, such measures might be a good solution.

How to Perform Congregational Prayer at Home?

If you live in a country where the congregational prayers are suspended, you can perform them with your family members. In this way, you can get the reward of performing prayers in congregation.

As for the Jumu’ah prayer, there is a substitute for it i.e. the Dhuhr (Noon) Prayer. The preferred opinion is that Jumu’ah may not be performed at home.

Besides, you may not follow the imam in prayer through broadcast while you are at home. This is by no means in accordance with the prerequisites of congregational prayer.

Who may be the imam?

According to the majority of scholars, youngsters may lead the prayer in presence of the older family members. This is especially recommended if youngsters are more knowledgeable about recitation of the Quran and the rulings of prayer. If the older members are more knowledgeable, it is better that they lead the prayer.

A male person can lead both men and women. On the other hand, a female person may lead only females.

 

 

 

In case there is a father and a son, one of them can lead the prayer with the other following him while standing next to him on his right side.

Second, if the family members are three or more males, one of them can be the imam while the others standing behind him in a row.

Third, the family members may be one male and one female such as husband and a wife, a son and his mother, a father and his daughter, etc. Here, the male must be the imam and the female follows him in prayer while standing behind him.

Fourth, in case there are two males and one female, one of the two males may be the imam and the other male stands next to him on his right side. As for the female, she stands behind the imam.

Fifth, if there are three or more males and one female or more, one of the males can lead the prayer. The other two or more males stand behind him in a row. Then, the female stands behind the row alone. In case there are two or more females, they stand in a row behind the row/rows of the males.

Sixth, the family members may all be females. In this case one of them can lead the prayer. The more knowledgeable one in this regard is the best. However, according to the majority of scholars, the female imam stands in the middle of the first row among other women and girls.

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AMJA Declaration Regarding Coronavirus and Congregational Prayer

AMJA Declaration Regarding Coronavirus and Congregational Prayer

The World Health Organization (WHO) says the new coronavirus could spread worldwide. More and more countries are banning major public events to try to limit the spread of the virus. Last Thursday, Saudi Arabia announced a temporary ban on Muslims from entering the country to perform ‘Umrah (the Lesser Pilgrimage).

On the other hand, many Muslims are asking about congregational prayer. Is it allowed to suspend the congregational  prayers in Masjids? Here is AMJA Declaration Regarding this issue.

People with symptoms of the disease (which are like those of flu) should avoid coming to the masjids if they suspect that they may be infected until they check with their healthcare providers and ensure they are not.

All Praise Be to Allah, and May His Blessings and Peace Be on the Messenger of Allah,

The Assembly of Muslim Jurists in America (AMJA) received several inquiries regarding the current outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and the proper response by the masjids and individual Muslims. In response, AMJA issued the following statement:

First: concerning the managements of the Islamic centers

It is not permissible for the masjids and Islamic centers to suspend the congregational prayers and jumuah because of the spread of the virus in the United States, unless the local public health authorities in a particular city advise the suspension of services at the houses of worship and avoidance of large public gatherings. In the event of that development, the masjid managements should comply with such instructions. This would be a sufficient excuse to pray jumuah at home (as dhuhr) until the restriction is removed.

It is permissible for the masjid managements to demand those with flu symptoms to wear masks during the congregational prayers. It is also permissible to assign a room for them or a designated area in the prayer hall, and to advise them to avoid handshaking with the other worshippers and follow the proper precautions to prevent the transmission of the disease.

The masjid managements should follow the updates that are periodically issued by the public health agencies like CDC and comply with their instructions.

Second: concerning the Muslim public

The permissibility of missing jumuah and congregational prayers out of fear of the disease depends on several variables. As for the daily congregational prayers, the matter is simpler since they are not obligatory according to the majority. The majority of those who considered them obligatory did not demand their performance at a masjid. As for the jumuah, it is not permissible for adult men who are otherwise required to attend it to miss it except in the case of justifiable, not conjectural, fear. What matters in this regard is the instructions of the public health authorities. If they advise the avoidance of all public gatherings, then the epidemic has reached a level making that fear justifiable. As for the higher risk groups, such as old people and those with chronic disease, they should follow the advice of their primary healthcare providers. They are most entitled to concessions.

People with symptoms of the disease (which are like those of flu) should avoid coming to the masjids if they suspect that they may be infected until they check with their healthcare providers and ensure they are not. This is because the harm of spreading this virus is much greater than that of bothering the people with the odor of garlic; and the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, “He who eats of this plant (garlic) should not come near our masjid and should not bother us with the odor of garlic.”

We ask Allah for safety and wellbeing for ourselves and all people.

AMJA Resident Fatwa Committee


Source: amjaonline.org

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The Prophet On Charity and Its Virtues

The Prophet On Charity and Its Virtues

By Editorial Staff

Charity is one of the best deeds a Muslim can do. Giving charity, we are actually giving back to Allah what He has gifted us, is a practical way of showing gratitude to Allah:

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Save yourself from Hell-fire even by giving half a date-fruit in charity.”

Allah will deprive usury of all blessing, but will give increase for deeds of charity: For He loves not creatures ungrateful and wicked. (Al-Baqarah 2:276)

Narrated Asmaa’ bint Abu Bakr that she had gone to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and he said, “Do not shut your money bag; otherwise Allah too will withhold His blessings from you. Spend (in Allah’s Cause) as much as you can afford.“ (Al-Bukhari)

Several hadiths (sayings) of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) indicate the virtues, importance and rewards of spending in the way of Allah.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Save yourself from Hell-fire even by giving half a date-fruit in charity.” (Al-Bukhari)

Narrated Ibn Mas`ud: I heard the Prophet (peace be upon him) saying:

“There is no envy except in two: a person whom Allah has given wealth and he spends it in the right way, and a person whom Allah has given wisdom (i.e. religious knowledge) and he gives his decisions accordingly and teaches it to the others.” (Al-Bukhari)

Virtues of Charity

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Every day two angels come down from Heaven and one of them says, ‘O Allah! Compensate every person who spends in Your Cause,’ and the other (angel) says, ‘O Allah! Destroy every miser.’” (Al-Bukhari)

Allah says:

And the likeness of those who spend their wealth seeking Allah’s pleasure, and for the strengthening of their souls, is as the likeness of a garden on a height. The rainstorm smites it and it brings forth its fruit twofold. And if the rainstorm smite it not, then the shower. Allah is Seer of what you do. (Al-Baqarah 2:265)

A Way to Paradise

It was narrated that Abu Hurairah said: The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “Who among you is fasting today?” Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “I am.” He said: “Who among you has attended a funeral today?” Abu Bakr said: “I have.” He said: “Who among you has fed a poor person today?’ Abu Bakr said: “I have.” He said: “Who among you has visited a sick person today?” Abu Bakr said: “I have.” The Messenger of Allah said: “These (traits) are not combined in a person but he will enter Paradise.” (Muslim)

Narrated Abu Hurairah that a Bedouin came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and said, “Tell me of such a deed that will make me enter Paradise, if I do it.” The Prophet said, “Worship Allah, and worship none along with Him, offer the (five) prescribed compulsory prayers perfectly, pay the compulsory Zakah, and fast the month of Ramadan.” The Bedouin said, “By Him, in Whose Hands my life is, I will not do more than this.” When he (the Bedouin) left, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Whoever likes to see a man of Paradise, then he may look at this man.” (Al-Bukhari)

Charitable People Will Be under Allah’s Shade on the Day of Judgment

Narrated Abu Hurayiah:

The Prophet said, “Seven people will be shaded by Allah under His shade on the day when there will be no shade except His. They are: (1) a just ruler; (2) a young man who has been brought up in the worship of Allah, (i.e. worship Allah (Alone) sincerely from his childhood), (3) a man whose heart is attached to the mosque (who offers the five compulsory congregational prayers in the mosque); (4) two persons who love each other only for Allah’s sake and they meet and part in Allah’s cause only; (5) a man who refuses the call of a charming woman of noble birth for an illegal sexual intercourse with her and says: I am afraid of Allah; (6) a person who practices charity so secretly that his left hand does not know what his right hand has given (i.e. nobody knows how much he has given in charity). (7) a person who remembers Allah in seclusion and his eyes get flooded with tears.” (Al-Bukhari)

The Best Charity

Narrated Abu Hurairah:

A man came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and asked, “O Allah’s Messenger! Which charity is the most superior in reward?” He replied, “The charity which you practice while you are healthy, niggardly and afraid of poverty and wish to become wealthy. Do not delay it to the time of approaching death and then say, ‘Give so much to such and such, and so much to such and such.’ And it has already belonged to such and such (as it is too late).” (Al-Bukhari)

Narrated Abu Hurairah:

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “The best charity is that which is practiced by a wealthy person. And start giving first to your dependents.” (Al-Bukhari)

Anas narrated that the Prophet was asked which fast was most virtuous after Ramadan? He said: “Sha`ban in honor of Ramadan” He said: “Which charity is best?” He said: “Charity in Ramadan.” (At-Tirmidhi)

Before It’s Too Late

Narrated Harithah ibn Wahab: I heard the Prophet (peace be upon him) saying,

“O people! Give in charity as a time will come upon you when a person will wander about with his object of charity and will not find anybody to accept it, and one (who will be requested to take it) will say, “If you had brought it yesterday, would have taken it, but today I am not in need of it.” (Al-Bukhari)

Narrated Abu Hurairah:

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “The Hour (Day of Judgment) will not be established till your wealth increases so much so that one will be worried, for no one will accept his Zakah and the person to whom he will give it will reply, ‘I am not in need of it.’” (Al-Bukhari)

The Longest Hands

Narrated `A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her):

Some of the wives of the Prophet (peace be upon him) asked him, “Who amongst us will be the first to follow you (i.e. die after you)?” He said, “Whoever has the longest hand.” So they started measuring their hands with a stick and Sauda’s hand turned out to be the longest. (When Zainab bint Jahsh died first of all in the caliphate of `Umar), we came to know that the long hand was a symbol of practicing charity, so she was the first to follow the Prophet and she used to love to practice charity. (Sauda died later in the caliphate of Mu`awiyah).

Only the Halal

No charity is accepted from what is grabbed from an illegal way.

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

“If one give in charity what equals one date-fruit from the honestly earned money and Allah accepts only the honestly earned money –Allah takes it in His right (hand) and then enlarges its reward for that person (who has given it), as anyone of you brings up his baby horse, so much as that it becomes as big as a mountain. (Al-Bukhari)

To Relatives

It was narrated from Salman bin `Amir that the Prophet said:

“Giving charity to a poor person is charity, and (giving) to a relative is two things, charity and upholding the ties of kinship.” (An-Nasa’i)

Narrated Zainab (the daughter of Um Salamah): My mother said, “O Allah’s Messenger! Shall I receive a reward if I spend for the sustenance of Abu Salama’s offspring, and in fact they are also my sons?” The Prophet replied, “Spend on them and you will get a reward for what you spend on them.” (Al-Bukhari)

Good Deeds are Charity

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

“Every Muslim has to give in charity.” The people asked, “O Allah’s Prophet! If someone has nothing to give, what will he do?” He said, “He should work with his hands and benefit himself and also give in charity (from what he earns).” The people further asked, “If he cannot find even that?” He replied, “He should help the needy who appeal for help.” Then the people asked, “If he cannot do that?” He replied, “Then he should perform good deeds and keep away from evil deeds and this will be regarded as charitable deeds.” (Al-Bukhari)

Abu Dharr narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said :

“Your smiling in the face of your brother is charity, commanding good and forbidding evil is charity, your giving directions to a man lost in the land is charity for you. Your seeing for a man with bad sight is a charity for you, your removal of a rock, a thorn or a bone from the road is charity for you. Your pouring what remains from your bucket into the bucket of your brother is charity for you.” (At-Tirmidhi)

Abu Hurairah reported that Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said,

“On every joint of man, there is charity, on every day when the sun rises: doing justice between two men is charity, and assisting a man to ride an animal or to load his luggage on it is charity; and a good word is charity, every step which one takes towards (the mosque for) Salah is charity, and removing harmful things from the way is charity”. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Even Voluntary Prayers

Even the Duha (fore-noon) Prayer is a charity. It is recommended to pray Duha, the least of which is two rak`ah, the best of which is eight, and the average of which is four or six, and encouragement to do so regularly

Abu Dharr reported Allah’s Apostle (peace be upon him) as saying:

“In the morning charity is due from every bone in the body of every one of you. Every utterance of Allah’s glorification is an act of charity. Every utterance of praise of Him is an act of charity, every utterance of profession of His Oneness is an act of charity, every utterance of profession of His Greatness is an act of charity, enjoining good is an act of charity, forbidding what is disreputable is an act of charity, and two rak`ahs which one prays in the forenoon will suffice.” (Muslim)

Abu al-Aswad al-Dailani said:

While we were present with Abu Dharr, he said: In the morning, alms are due for him, ever fast is alms, every pilgrimage is alms, every utterance of “Glory to be Allah” is alms, every utterance of “Allah is most great” is alms, every utterance of “Praise be to Allah” is alms. The Messenger of Allah  recounted all such good works. He then said: Two rak’ahs which one prays in the Duha serve instead of that. (Abu Dawud and authenticated by Al-Albani)

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