The Prophet’s Guidance for New Muslim Youth

The Prophet’s Guidance for New Muslim Youth

Prophet Muhammad came through with the message of Islam, and his target audience, so to speak, revolved around the youth of the time.

Prophet Muhammad came through with the message of Islam, and his target audience, so to speak, revolved around the youth of the time.

By Maria Zain

For new Muslims, it is vital to read up on how Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) kept the teenagers around him in good company, enjoining them in doing good deeds. Embracing Islam can be a life-changing experience.

Some new Muslims come to Islam alone, whereas others revert together with their whole family. If a couple decides to embrace Islam and have young children, it is most likely that their children will also become Muslims. For those with older children, especially those well in their teens, the transition can be trickier.

Some teenagers may very well follow in their parents’ footsteps whole heartedly, others may embrace Islam with a certain amount of wariness and there are probably many others who would prefer not to make the change.

However for family members who decide to come to Islam and who join them on their journey in becoming observing Muslims, it is worth to note the Sunnah on how Prophet Muhammad treated the youth. This will enable the transition to become smoother and more of a positive challenge for the family as a whole.

When Prophet Muhammad was given the first revelation in the cave of Mount Hira’, it was well known that he was 40 years old. As many men at that age, he had reached a certain pinnacle of leadership qualities. Men at the age of forty are often seen running their own corporations and enterprises, have attained successful marriages and raised teenage children.

What differentiates the Prophet’s leadership qualities, though, was that an important majority of followers were at the time new Muslim youth.

In the most important mission of any man’s plight, Prophet Muhammad was commanded to change the mindset of the pagan Arabs, to do away with waylay practices, oppressive behavior, corrupted attitudes, and to embrace Islam as their comprehensive way of life.

Islamic history relays that this was a gruelling attempt at changing the culture of stone-cold pagans who were deeply rooted in their traditions. Prophet Muhammad came through with the message of Islam, and his target audience, so to speak, revolved around the youth of the time.

Anas ibn Malik (may God be pleased with him) was one of the young men who grew very close to the Prophet. Anas mentioned that the Prophet never once uttered a word of disgrace upon him, neither any other member of the youth of society. He had worked for the Prophet and grew up observing and learning through the Prophet’s actions and behavior. Anas was recognized as one of the most fluent narrators of hadiths of his time.

Prophet Muhammad had other young companions who flocked with him like feathers of a bird. He often joked with them, calling ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib (may God be pleased with him) ‘AbuTuraab’ (father of the dust), for sleeping on the dusty ground. He was also very close to his family members, in particular his youngest daughter Fatimah, and was known to show his affection for her in public.

On several occasions, when Fatimah entered a room where the Prophet was, he would rush over to her, take her by her hands, kiss her and offer her his seat. Fatimah was also known to reciprocate in kind. But as much as the Prophet kept affectionate and jovial relations with the youth, he continuously moulded them to be the leaders of the future.

There is no doubt that ‘A’ishah, Prophet Muhammad’s wife, rose to the ranks of leadership at a very young age and as she outlived her husband for half a century, she became a teacher like no other woman seen in history. Until this very day, Muslims around the world read of her narrations and regard her with the highest respect as one of the feistiest women of the companions. Another young wife, Hafsah, daughter of Umar, was appointed as the keeper of the Holy Qur’an, a grave responsibility for any youth. This shows that though many companions were teens during the Prophet’s lifetime, adulthood was only a stone-throw away.

 How the Prophet did it?

The Prophet (peace be upon him) was also adamant in protecting the youth in public, honoring their opinions during debates, even against the wisest of Muslims.

‘Ali once narrated that youth between the age of fourteen and twenty-one needed to be befriended – treated as friends. Do we teach the Muslim youth the same way? Do we earn their trust by befriending them, respecting their opinions and helping them through difficulty much like good friends would do? Or do we continue to berate them for their mistakes; chastise them for their ignorance; and ignore them when they are in need, with the excuse that they are just ’troubled teenagers’?

The youth face a plethora of social ills today. From drugs to prostitution, from school drop-outs to poor qualifications; from obsession with pop culture to over-indulgences in peer pressure– it can be difficult for the Muslim youth to stand by Islamic principles with so many distractions surrounding them.

As parents of the youth of this chosen religion, we have to realize that education spans further than the walls of the classroom. The youth surrounding the Prophet were continuously surrounded by adults, not by their peers. They learned hands on how to deal with business transactions, travelling for da`wah (calling to God), teaching those who were illiterate (regardless of age) and engaged in household chores the way adults would do.

The Prophet would have frowned at those who removed the autonomy of the youth in making their own decisions, partaking in society, learning from real life scenarios and exploring their own interests and strengths that will eventually help them excel as adults in the real world. The Prophet was also adamant in protecting the youth in public, honoring their opinions during debates, even against the wisest of Muslims and allowing them to join him on even the most dangerous entourages. The youth surrounding the Prophet were definitely very involved in society.

Parents nowadays should not just categorize their teens as hormonal teenagers. For new Muslims, it is vital to read up on how Prophet Muhammad kept the teenagers around him in good company, always enjoining them in doing good deeds and encouraging them gently to ward off evil.

Embracing Islam as a family may be difficult, especially with elder children in tow, but showing how well they are appreciated within the realm of Islam, reinforces individualism, independence and autonomy in making decisions. The upside of a Muslim family coming together to Islam is that parents and children can learn together and teach each other as they journey along to becoming better Muslims. Even if older children decide not to follow their parents’ choice in faith, they still need to be treated with love and respect in light of the Sunnah, as in time they may open up to the beautiful faith and its stance on the importance of the youth.

Prophet Muhammad recognized the youth as important individuals of society. They were encouraged to learn and grow by participating in business trades, much like Anas ibn Malik; scholarly discussions, much like `Ali; and negotiations across nations, much like Usamah ibn Zayd; who led the Muslim army, including men who were old enough to be his grandfathers, at the tender age of fifteen.

The female youth of the time were not excluded from such responsibility. Ruqayyah (daughter of Prophet Muhammad) co-lead the first emigration to Abyssinia during the worst chapter of oppression upon the Muslims. Asmaa’ (daughter of Abu Bakr, may God be pleased with them all) risked her life during the Prophet’s and Abu Bakr’s plight to Madinah. She could have been killed, but due to her strong upbringing based on love for and fear of God, she took it upon her duty to protect the Prophet and her father when they were being hunted down by the Quraish.

Prophet Muhammad always perused kindness and patience in dealing with youngsters, treating them with respect, valuing their opinions and allowing them autonomy to make their own decisions.

Becoming a Muslim family, together, changes a person’s mindset on how they view teenagers. Instead of individuals who are either too young to make their own decision; or individuals who should be doing homework in order to earn straight A’s that will determine their success; or individuals who should be ‘enjoying’ life through partying and gossiping about celebrities, or being obsessed about reality television stars; the youth should be encouraged to be strong and active members of society.

The youth of today do not face the challenges of the youth of the companions. But they do definitely face a whole suite of fitnah (temptations) and conflicting identities in their own right. There are plenty of ways for the youth to become active members in the community; they just need to be befriended and encouraged by adults who wish to raise them as God-fearing adults rather than allow them to be trapped in the confusion of hormonal changes.

However, this has to be done in accordance with the Sunnah. Prophet Muhammad always perused kindness and patience in dealing with youngsters, treating them with respect, valuing their opinions and allowing them autonomy to make their own decisions.

For new Muslims, it is also important for their teenagers to find comrades of a feather, regardless of age and culture. As long as the new Muslim youth find a strong sense of belonging in Islam and a thriving Muslim community, their priorities as Muslims will be set on the right track and they will be able to achieve the same glory as the youth who surrounded Prophet Muhammad in the golden years of Islam.

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Source: islammessage.com

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Can the Power of Prayer Alone Stop a Pandemic like the Coronavirus? Even the Prophet Muhammad Thought Otherwise

Can the Power of Prayer Alone Stop a Pandemic like the Coronavirus? Even the Prophet Muhammad Thought Otherwise

By CRAIG CONSIDINE

The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing governments and news sources to provide the most accurate and helpful advice to the world’s population, as the disease is indeed global in reach. Health care professionals are in high demand, and so too are scientists who study the transmission and effect of pandemics.

Muhammad said: “If you hear of an outbreak of plague in a land, do not enter it; but if the plague outbreaks out in a place while you are in it, do not leave that place.”

Experts like immunologist Dr. Anthony Fauci and medical reporter Dr. Sanjay Gupta are saying that good hygiene and quarantining, or the practice of isolating from others in the hope of preventing the spread of contagious diseases, are the most effective tools to contain COVID-19.

Do you know who else suggested good hygiene and quarantining during a pandemic?

Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, over 1,300 years ago.

While he is by no means a “traditional” expert on matters of deadly diseases, Muhammad nonetheless had sound advice to prevent and combat a development like COVID-19.

Muhammad said: “If you hear of an outbreak of plague in a land, do not enter it; but if the plague outbreaks out in a place while you are in it, do not leave that place.”

He also said: “Those with contagious diseases should be kept away from those who are healthy.”

Muhammad also strongly encouraged human beings to adhere to hygienic practices that would keep people safe from infection. Consider the following hadiths, or sayings of Prophet Muhammad:

“Cleanliness is part of faith.”

“Wash your hands after you wake up; you do not know where your hands have moved while you sleep.”

“The blessings of food lie in washing hands before and after eating.”[i]

And what if someone does fall ill? What kind of advice would Muhammad provide to his fellow human beings who are suffering from pain?

He would encourage people to always seek medical treatment and medication: “Make use of medical treatment,” he said, “for God has not made a disease without appointing a remedy for it, with the exception of one disease—old age.”

 

Perhaps most importantly, he knew when to balance faith with reason. In recent weeks, some have gone so far as to suggest that prayer would be better at keeping you from the coronavirus than adhering to basic rules of social distancing and quarantine. How would Prophet Muhammad respond to the idea of prayer as the chief—or only—form of medicine?

Consider the following story, related to us by ninth-century Persian scholar Al-Tirmidhi: One day, Prophet Muhammad noticed a Bedouin man leaving his camel without tying it. He asked the Bedouin, “Why don’t you tie down your camel?” The Bedouin answered, “I put my trust in God.” The Prophet then said, “Tie your camel first, then put your trust in God.”[ii]

Muhammad encouraged people to seek guidance in their religion, but he hoped they take basic precautionary measures for the stability, safety and well-being of all.

In other words, he hoped people would use their common sense.


Source: Newsweek website

Editorial notes:

[i] This hadith is not authentic. However, a number of scholars hold the opinion that washing hands before and after eating is recommended.

[ii] Although the story is not authentic, it gives a good explanation to the concept of tawakkul (to put your trust in God)


About the author:

Dr. Craig Considine is a scholar, professor, global speaker, and media contributor based at the Department of Sociology at Rice University. He is the author of The Humanity of Muhammad: A Christian View (Blue Dome Press, 2020), and Islam in America: Exploring the Issues (ABC-CLIO 2019), among others.

 

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Coronavirus – an Islamic Perspective

Coronavirus – an Islamic Perspective

Allah has blessed us with a religion that is complete and perfect for all times and places.  Allah tells us in the Qur’ān:

“This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed My favour upon you and have approved for you Islam as your religion” (Quran 5:3)

Whatever problem or issue a Muslim is facing, he returns back to Allah and his Messenger for guidance; there is nothing that happens in the life of a Muslim except that his religion has a solution to it.

The coronavirus is a reminder to us all of our weak state. Regardless of our social standing and our financial position, we are helpless.

We recently heard about the coronavirus which is spreading to a number of countries, affecting the lives of many people, causing death to others.

There are a number of thoughts that should cross the mind of a Muslim when they hear something like this. Below are some points that a person must remember and internalise when they see or hear of such incidents:

Trials and tribulations

Trials and tribulations are part of life, this is something that Allah informs us of and warns us so that when we are afflicted, we remember that it is ultimately Allah who controls of our affairs. It is He who will provide help and His knowledge of our affairs surpasses our restricted intellect. As He says in the Qur’an:

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

Allah sends us tests to see how we will react and handle them. How are we going to respond? When you hear the news that your umrah trip is cancelled because of this virus, how will you respond? When you hear your flights have been cancelled, your loved ones have fallen ill, how will you respond?

Allah says in the Qur’an:

“And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient” (Quran 2:155)

 So how do we respond to a calamity? Allah tells us immediately after the previous āyah:

“Who, when disaster strikes them, say, ‘Indeed we belong to Allah , and indeed to Him we will return.’” (Quran 2:156)

A Muslim is patient in trials; he knows Allah will never forsake him, nor will Allah burden him with a trial that is more than what he can handle.

This is not something new

Illnesses and viruses such as the coronavirus are not something new, nor is the fact that people are afflicted with illnesses.

The companions once asked the Prophet (peace be upon him):

“Oh Messenger of Allah, who from amongst the people were tested the most? The Prophet (peace be upon him) responded and said, the Prophets, then the next best and then the next best.”

We see the great Prophet of Allah, Ayyūb (peace be upon him),اwas tested with a great illness.  His story is synonymous with patience. He lost everything; his family, wealth, and health. Some narrations say he was bedridden for 18 years, tested with a great illness, yet we find he did not give up hope in Allah and turned to him in this great trial.

Allah tells us his story in the Qur’an:

And Ayyūb, when he called to his Lord, saying ‘Harm has inflicted me and You are the Most Merciful” (Quran 21:83)

“So We answered him and removed his affliction and We gave him his family and the like of them with them, as a mercy from Us and a reminder to Worshippers.” (Quran 21:84)

The story of Prophet Ayyūb (peace be upon him) is one filled with lessons for us to ponder over. The virtue of patience is shown to us in the Prophet Ayyūb (ʿalayhi al-Salām) through some of the most dire situations that one can come across in life.

Qadar

The concept of pre-destination is extremely important for a Muslim to understand.  When incidents such as the coronavirus occur, a Muslim should know that this is what Allah had decreed 50,000 years before the creation of the universe. The Prophet (peace be upon him) explained:

“Allah had written the ordained measures (and due proportions) of the creation, fifty thousand years before the creation of the heavens and the earth…” (Muslim)

All good and bad is from Allah, as is mentioned in the Hadeeth of Jabir: ‘No slave of Allah will truly believe until he believes in al-Qadr; its good and bad from Allāh, and until he knows that what has befallen him was not going to miss him and that what missed him was not going to befallen him.’ (Al-Tirmidhi)

Allah will never harm us nor does he want evil to befall us. We may think something is bad for us due to our restricted view of life, but there is always good in a situation. Allah tells us that perhaps you hate a thing but it is in fact good for you, and perhaps you love a thing when in reality and it is bad for you, yet Allah knows while you know not!

A believer has two positions when it comes to pre-destination: one is before the situation occurs, and one is after. Before the situation he seeks help from Allah, makes dua to him, and relies upon him; he asks Allah for good to come from it.

After the situation, if the result was positive and good the person thanks Allah.  If the event had a negative outcome the person is patient because he knows that Allah will never forsake him even if it seems the result is negative, because indeed Allah is the best of planners.

Taking necessary precautions

A Muslim should not overreact; at the same time he should not be oblivious about a situation and do nothing!

Taking the necessary means and then relying upon Allah is something which is emphasised in Islam.

“One day Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), noticed a Bedouin leaving his camel without tying it. He asked the Bedouin, ‘Why don’t you tie down your camel?’ The Bedouin answered, ‘I put my trust in Allah ’ The Prophet then said, ‘Tie your camel first, then put your trust in Allah ’ (Al-Tirmidhi)

We also find in the incident of Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) taking necessary precautions is a must when you know of a harm or potential danger that could afflict you.

Umar ibn al-Khattab was traveling with a group of companions during his reign. They approached a town in which it was said had a contagious/infectious disease. Umar asked his group whether they should proceed or return (to Madinah). The majority of the companions said they should go back but some said they should proceed. Then one companion said he knew a hadith where the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “If you hear that this disease (plague) exists in a country, do not travel to that country.” So Umar decided that they should go back. Another companion asked him whether he was running away from qadar. Umar replied that they were moving away from one qadar to another qadar.

Whenever there is a problem, a challenge, or any hardship which we can remove, overcome, solve, or minimise, we must do so.

Many of the health guidelines given by the NHS are in fact normal practices for Muslims, some of which are as follows:

1. Washing hands: this is a part of ablution, a Muslim’s daily ritual of purity.

2. General cleanliness

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

“Cleanliness is part of faith” (Muslim)

Keeping our surroundings tidy, cleaning up after ourselves, and wiping surfaces down are all aspects of cleanliness which must be adhered to in these situations.

3. Covering your mouth when sneezing

The Prophet would cover his mouth when he sneezed. This basic etiquette can take big part in the stopping of the spread of viruses

“Whenever the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) sneezed, he would cover his mouth with his hand or a piece of cloth.” (Abu Dawud and Al-Tirmidhi)

4. Quarantine in times of viruses which can spread.

The Prophet gave instructions on what to do if there is an outbreak. Abd al-Rahmān ibn ‘Awf  that he said:

“I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) say: “If you hear that it (the plague) is in a land, do not go there, and if it breaks out in a land where you are, do not leave, fleeing from it.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

The Prophet (peace be upon him) also taught us how to protect ourselves by maintaining our adhkar from the Sunnah. One such dua that he taught us was:

“In the name of Allah with Whose name nothing can harm on earth or in heaven, and He is the All-Hearing, All-Knowing” (Abu Dawud, Al-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah)

Being positive and having an optimistic outlook

Always have a positive outlook regardless of the situation you’re in, this is what our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) taught us, when he told us

Amazing is the affair of the believer, verily all of his affairs are good and this is not for no one except the believer. If something of good/happiness befalls him, he is grateful and that is good for him. If something of harm befalls him, he is patient and that is good for him.” (Muslim)

He also said:

“There are no omens, but the best of it is optimism” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

When we look through the seerah we find many examples of the Prophet (peace be upon him) being optimistic event though he was in a dire situation.

We should also not blame others or ridicule them because they are from a certain country or they have come from a part of the world that has been affected by the virus. Unfortunately, we have seen physical attacks on people, racist remarks made, and people making a joke and mocking the situation people are in.

Conclusion

The coronavirus is a reminder to us all of our weak state. Regardless of our social standing and our financial position, we are helpless. Allah says:

“Mankind was created weak” (Quran 4:28)

Situations like this remind us to turn back to Allah.  Allah controls everything and he is the one that can relieve us from our difficulties, we must return to Allah and seek refuge in him and ask his protection.


Source: www.islam21c.com with some modifications

 

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The Valentine’s Day Traps of New Muslims

The Valentine’s Day Traps of New Muslims

By Shannon Abulnasr

Valentine’s Day…ahhhh, the day of “love”!

I’m not going to jump into the evolution of Valentine’s day to what it is today, nor the innovation it is to practice in Islam.

Many become depressed because they still don’t know how to find a spouse, or to find one they are compatible with.

Instead of a history lesson, or barking rules, I would rather give warnings to Muslims and new Muslims about the traps we can fall into, and how we should feel about the intended methods of expressing love in Islam.

New Muslims usually learn very quickly that in Islam love has a different approach than it did before accepting Islam. Since in Islam, we do not “date” and intermingle with the opposite sex, it can cause a new Muslim to feel lost in their “journey of love”.

While learning about the tricks of Shaytan (Satan), which are well hidden behind the mask of red roses, and boxes of chocolate, we can be more on guard and prevent ourselves from falling into such traps.

The “Single” New Muslim Traps

Single new Muslims, still having the lingering emotional attachment that comes with Valentine’s Day, can really play a number on them. Many become depressed because they still don’t know how to find a spouse, or to find one they are compatible with, leaving them to feel they will forever be alone. This is most prevalent amongst the new Muslim brothers, more so than the sisters.

I’ve had numerous new Muslim brothers telling me that they are fed up with their search for a spouse, and have considered looking for a non-Muslim spouse instead. This shows me that there is a big problem for new Muslim brothers when it comes to finding a mate.

Although they are permitted to marry from the People of the Book (Jews & Christians), the approach is what makes it difficult because they don’t want to approach marriage in the same regards a Muslim is required to do so. As a result, the brothers tend to resort back to their “pre-Islam” way of interacting with the opposite sex when they feel they can’t find a Muslim to marry– but not always of course.

Non-Muslims in the West will not agree to be in a relationship without touching and kissing, and even without intercourse. Many do not respect the sanctity of marriage and chastity in these days and times. It is difficult to find a non-Muslim in the West that would accept such a “cold” seeming relationship. This is a jihad for the new Muslim brothers.

So, what should they do to overcome these feelings during the time period leading up to and including Valentine’s Day that has engulfed the non-Muslim mindset?

How can they attempt a halal relationship that would lead to marriage with a non-Muslim, especially when there are obstacles like Valentine’s Day in their midst?

There is no cookie cutter answer that will suite everyone. I would suggest that they avoid trying to find a partner that would cause them distress in their religion in this regards. There are pious non-Muslims out there, but they are just really difficult to find these days.

It will be tough to get over such obstacles the first few years of being a Muslim, especially in regards to these sorts of holidays and feeling lonely, but it will fade over time, I promise. Just remember to pray to Allah regularly to help you find ease in overcoming the emotional attachment to such holidays. Sometimes being single is a blessing in disguise. Don’t lose hope!

The “In a Relationship” New Muslim Traps

Some new Muslims may actually still be in a relationship with a non-Muslim, or even a Muslim that they were dating from before they accepted Islam. It is complicated, especially when holidays that revolve around “love and intimacy” come around. It all boils down to avoiding haram situations.

We can’t even think about Valentine’s Day, when the bigger issue we face is that we are in a haram relationship to begin with. New Muslims in this situation are stuck in a state of limbo. They “love” their boyfriend/girlfriend, and don’t want to break up simply because they accepted a new religion. Some feel they should stay in it for the sake of da`wah too. So, what should they do?

No one will ever like to hear the typical advice for this situation, which I agree with, which is to end such relationships. More harm can come from staying in these relationships than leaving them. We need to worry more about pleasing Allah instead of people. If they truly care about your relationship with God, they will understand and accept, and if they don’t, then that is a clear indicator that they are not a good match for you in regards to protecting your religion.

You have to just put your trust in Allah, and pray for it to be easy on you.

It really isn’t worth all the sins that you would accumulate to stay in such relationships. It may in fact cause that person to have respect for you in the end, because they will see your dedication to being a good Muslim, and may cause them to be interested in learning more about Islam since they saw you do something so big for the sake of Allah!

Let’s be realistic, and face it… How many sins are you accumulating by staying in this relationship? If we review just the basics, you will have sins for:

  1. touching, kissing, etc.
  2. being alone without mahrams (husband or close male relative forbidden in marriage)
  3. inappropriate speech between one another
  4. lusting after the other
  5. exposing `awrah (parts of the body that must be covered)
  6. intercourse outside of marriage (be realistic, it is more likely than not… going to happen)
  7. lying to others to hide it
  8. repeating all the previous seven things daily.

Is it really worth all that?

Satan is very active in relationships outside marriage, so remember what Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) told us about how that when a man and a woman are together alone, the Satan is the third wheel.

For those born and raised in Islam, that are involved in such relationships, you are spreading the wrong impression about Islam and how the status of women is raised in Islam.  How can you honestly feel good about having a haram relationship with a woman outside of marriage?

Even if, and when they convert to Islam and learn all this, you can probably expect them to not have respect for you knowing that you were willing to do such a thing! More likely than not, once they learn this about Islam, they will leave you, so it would be all for nothing! Be responsible and give non-Muslims and new Muslims the correct image of Islam about love and marriage from the beginning, because you are not ‘helping’ anyone by doing this.

All of these things are considered cooperating in sin and transgression and disobedience to Allah, who tells us:

Help you one another in Al-Birr and Taqwa (virtue, righteousness and piety); but do not help one another in sin and transgression. And fear Allah. Verily, Allah is severe in punishment. (Al-Ma’idah 5:2)

The “Engaged” New Muslim Traps

Alhamdulilah, you have found a mate! However, you are not married yet, and can still fall into the traps of Satan, especially during the time surrounding Valentine’s Day. You have to fight the urges to do the “romantic” things that non-Muslims do on this day. Do not make a special day out of it.

If you find yourself wanting to do these things with your mate, then you need to re-analyze your boundaries in the relationship. It means that you are starting to lean into the haram areas of relationships outside marriage. It calls for hearts to be preoccupied with foolish things that contradict the way of the righteous believers.

The engagement time should still have boundaries in place, and you shouldn’t be “infatuated” with the other. You should simply be just getting to know one another, and not “dating” while engaged.

Does this mean that you can’t have feelings for the other? Absolutely not.

It just means that you have to avoid falling into lust, and infatuation. If you are staying within the guidelines of Islam, you will not get overly attached to the point you would fall into a deep depression if it fell through. You can “care” about someone without being “in love” with them.

Romantic love comes in time. Love will blossom once you are married, so don’t preoccupy yourselves with Valentine’s Day in trying to gain their affection, because it may cause you to lose respect in the end.

Always keep in mind that pre-marital relationship is not always a guarantee for a successful marriage. Usually a couple finds love and happiness and their world revolves around each other, and once they marry, they start to see the “real world, and real life problems” that married couples will encounter and feel when they are sloping downward, and ultimately contemplate if they ever were a good match to begin with. That’s worth thinking about, so while you can care about a person, don’t invest too much of your emotions into it before marriage.

Also, for the sake of Allah, do not plan your wedding day to be on Valentine’s Day! Don’t begin your marriage upon innovation. Marriage takes lots of effort, and you need Allah’s blessings in it.

The “Married” New Muslim Traps

“And of His Signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquility in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy.” (Qur’an 30:21)

This verse does not end with “… on Valentine’s day.” This expresses my point to be made for those that are married already. It is important for a Muslim to express their love and appreciation for their spouse every day, instead of focusing their efforts to make them feel special only on one measly day of the year.

Make it a daily habit to show your love and affection, instead of trying to prove it in a once-yearly tradition. Your spouse would rather have it regularly than just “every now and then” anyway.

When you love someone, make sure that you are loving them for the sake of Allah, and that your love for them does not overpower the love you have for Allah. If you feel that you would die without them, or would lose your mind if they were to leave you, then you need to take a step back and purify your heart and mind, because it is pushing the limits Allah sets.

If you are not careful you can fall into the trap of idolizing your partner. This sneaks up on people and they don’t even realize they are doing it. God tests us with things we love, and people we love, so don’t let them become a false idol of the heart.


Source: muslimsincalgary website

 

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New Muslims on Thanksgiving

New Muslims on Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a celebration observed on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States and the second Monday of October in Canada. The celebration is about giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year.

The celebration is about giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year.

Though it started as a Christian tradition, the current form of celebration is a culture holiday observed by all people of all faiths. The celebration is marked by family gatherings, cooking food, being thankful, watching football matches, staying home from work, and all the malls offer discounts on that occasion.

A Sense of Gratitude

Muslims are urged to give thanks to God (Allah) all the time. Giving thanks to Allah and showing gratitude are not limited to a certain time of the year. Actually the life of a Muslim is all about thanksgiving and gratitude.

A Muslim thanks Allah for creating him in the first place. A Muslim thanks Allah for guiding him to the right path of Islam. A Muslim thanks Allah for bestowing on him many blessings such as the blessing of health, money, having a good wife, having good children, etc.

We read in the Qur’an:

So remember Me; I will remember you. Be thankful to Me, and never ungrateful. (Al-Baqarah 2:152)

Allah promised that if we thank Him, He will give us more. This is a divine promise and we believe that Allah never breaks His promises.

Allah says what gives the meaning of:

Remember that He promised, “If you are thankful, I will give you more, but if you are thankless, My punishment is terrible indeed.” (Ibrahim 14:7)

These are the things that we should God for:

It is God who brought you out of your mothers’ wombs knowing nothing, and gave you hearing and sight and minds, so that you might be thankful. (An-Nahl 16:78)

Thanksgiving and Family Ties

New Muslims might find it an opportunity to meet their parents and family members whom they do not see usually. Meeting parents and family members will strengthen the family ties. It will give them a sense of belonging. It will give them a feeling that their son or daughter is still a member of the family and he is not detached from them. It will also be a good opportunity to explain to them how Muslims thank God and they do so.

Islam places great emphasis on maintaining family ties. We read in the Qur’an:

… Beware of severing the ties of kinship, God is always watching over you. (An-Nisa’ 4:12)

The Prophet (peace be upon him) urged Muslims to keep their family ties when he said:

“Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him maintain the bonds of kinship.” (Al-Bukhari)

Do’s and Don’ts

When attending such gatherings, please note that your attendance will be judged according to your intention. The Prophet said: “Actions are judged by intentions.” (Al-Bukhari)

Don’t participate in any activity that is against the teachings of the Qur’an and the Sunnah such as eating pork or drinking alcohol. Don’t compromise the basic teachings of Islam.

You as a Muslim, should explain to them that thank Allah is not limited to that day. Muslims thank Allah on all other days of the year.

When offering prayer, a Muslims is thanking Allah. When helping the poor, a Muslim is thanking Allah. When offering fasting, a Muslim is thanking Allah. When making hajj, a Muslim is thanking Allah.

The Prophet used to thank Allah when he ate, drank, dressed new clothes, mount on his camel, etc. Therefore the whole life of a Muslim is about thanksgiving from an Islamic perspective, i.e. thanking Allah for His blessings.

It is permissible for a Muslim also to thank anyone who does him a favor. The Prophet is reported to have said: Whoever does not thank people, does not thank Allah.” (At-Tirmidhti) You are allowed to thank your parents, friends, people next to door, etc.

About thanking parents, we read in the Qur’an:

We have commanded people to be good to their parents: their mothers carried them, with strain upon strain, and it takes two years to wean them. Give thanks to Me and to your parents– all will return to Me. (Luqman 31:14)

It’s about God’s Blessings

What is unique about Allah is praising Him, i.e. saying Alhamdullilah (praise be to Allah). You say to friend (thank you), but you do not say (I praise you or ahmaduka.)

New Muslims should understand that celebrating thanksgiving is not the sixth pillar of Islam or the seventh article of faith. If you decide not to participate, it is up to you. We are talking about cases in which you are invited to a family gathering.

I would like to invite everyone to sit back, relax, reflect for a moment and count God’s blessings on him. You will find countless blessings. God tells us:

… If you tried to count God’s favors you could never calculate them: man is truly unjust and ungrateful. (Ibrahim 14:34))

Think of how you are going to thank God for all that. The least you can do is to recognize His infinite mercy on you and declare His Oneness and that He is the only one worthy of worship. God is the most worthy of our thanks, praise and gratitude.

We should note that God does need our thank. It us who benefit from offering thanks to God:

…Be thankful to God: whoever gives thanks benefits his own soul, and as for those who are thankless–God is self-sufficient, worthy of all praise. (Luqman 31:12)

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How Mohamed Salah Inspired Me To Become A Muslim!

How Mohamed Salah Inspired Me To Become A Muslim!

I have gone from hating Islam to becoming a Muslim – and the Liverpool forward is the principal reason for that

Mohamed Salah was the first Muslim I could relate to.

Mohamed Salah really and honestly inspired me. I’m a Nottingham Forest season-ticket holder, I can be myself but because I made the declaration of faith I’m a Muslim. I’m still me and that’s what I took from Mohamed Salah. I’d love to meet him, just to shake his hand and say “Cheers” or “Shukran”.

I don’t think my mates quite believe that I’m a Muslim because I’ve not really changed. I just think my heart is better. I’m really trying to change on match days. Normally it’s pub, put a bet on, then after the game back to the pub and realise you’ve lost a lot of money. It’s hard when you’re used to such a culture and it’s part of football for a lot of people.

How Ben used to think about Islam?

I’m embarrassed to say this but my opinions on Islam used to be that the religion, the culture and the people were backward; that they didn’t integrate and wanted to take over. I always looked at Muslims like the elephant in the room. I had a hatred of Muslims.

When I was in sixth form it was a period where I think I needed someone to blame for my misfortunes. Unfortunately Muslims got the brunt of it and I quickly discovered right-wing media pages. They sort of groomed me by sending me long propaganda pieces and suchlike.

Even though I had these horrible ideas of Islam, I would never say them to a Muslim. At this point I didn’t know any Muslims. My degree in Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Leeds changed everything.

The Academic Study of Islam

We had to do a dissertation and I wanted to do something a bit different. I remember my dyslexia tutor telling me: “What about Mohamed Salah’s song?” I was aware of it and I thought it was fantastic but I hadn’t considered it in those terms.

I finally got the question: “Mohamed Salah, a gift from Allah. Is the performance of Mohamed Salah igniting a conversation that combats Islamapobia within the media and political spheres?”

The Liverpool fans’ song – to the tune of Dodgy’s hit Good Enough – includes the line “If he scores another few then I’ll be Muslim too”, and I literally took that to heart.

I was a typical white-boy student who went to a different city, would get absolutely hammered and lived the student life. My degree was the first time I learned about Islam in an academic way.

University gave me the opportunity to meet a lot of students from Saudi Arabia. I thought they were evil people who carried swords but they’re the nicest people I’ve met. The conceptions I had about Arab countries completely dissolved.

Mohamed Salah was the first Muslim I could relate to.

It’s the way he lives his life, how he talks to people. The other week he posed for a picture with a Liverpool fan who suffered a broken nose chasing after him. I know some other footballers would do that but you expect it now from Salah.

At university I interviewed Egyptian students and when they found out my research was about “Mohamed Salah, a gift from Allah” – which is also another Liverpool song – they would talk to me for hours about how great he is and what he’s done for their country. One million Egyptians spoiled their ballots and voted for him to be president last year.

One of the Egyptians I talked to told me that Salah encompasses what being a Muslim is, following Islam correctly. He believed that Salah is making people love Muslims again.

That really resonated with me. When Salah scores I think he’s scoring for the faith. When he won the Champions League I said to my friend that was a victory for Islam. After each of his goals Salah practises the sujood (prostration) and exposes a very Islamic symbol to the world. How many people watch the Premier League every week? Millions globally.

Salah showed me that you can be normal and a Muslim, if that’s the right phrase. You can be yourself. He’s a great player and is respected by the football community and his politics, his religion, don’t matter – and to me that’s what football can do.

True Islam is not portrayed in the media

When people read the Quran, or read about Islam, they see something different that is not always portrayed in the media. I’m new to the Islamic community and I’m still learning. It is hard. It’s a lifestyle change.

What would I say to the Ben of old? I’d give him a smack, to be honest, and I’d say: ‘How dare you think like that about a people that are so diverse. You need to start talking to people. You need to start asking the questions.’ We live in a multicultural, multifaith, multinational society.

Last season Chelsea fans were singing “Salah is a bomber”. That’s the first time on my social media that I had a right go. I was livid because I’m for football banter but you know when things are just not true.

Now, I’d say to Muslim kids: ‘Don’t be afraid to go to a football match.’ I think that’s an issue we have to look at from both sides. I was afraid of being segregated. I don’t want to lose my mates because I look at them as brothers to me. Now I’ve got a fifth of the world’s population as brothers and sisters.

The community has to branch out, play football, go to football. It’s up to us to realise that we’re in this together. And the best spokesman for that could be Mohamed Salah.

Ben Bird was speaking to Tusdiq Din

 


Source: The Guardian

 

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Four Reasons Make Us Convert to Islam

Four Reasons Make Us Convert to Islam

Many articles could explain how easy it is to convert to Islam. A real convert tell his/her stories, and we can share their elation and excitement. There are even articles that explain exactly how to become Muslim.

Converting to Islam liberates a person from slavery to man-made systems and lifestyles.

Many advantages are gained by converting to Islam, the most obvious one being the sense of calmness. Establishing a relationship with God in the most pure and simple way is liberating and exhilarating.

1. Converting to Islam liberates a person from slavery to man-made systems and lifestyles

Islam emancipates the mind from superstitions and uncertainties. It liberates the soul from sin and corruption.

Submission to the will of God, does not curtail freedom, on the contrary it gives a very high degree of freedom and filling it with truth and knowledge.

Once a person accepts Islam they are no longer slaves to fashion, or consumerism.

On a smaller but equally as important scale Islam liberates a person from the superstitions that rule the lives of those not truly submitted to God.

A believer knows that good and bad luck do not exist.

Both the good and the bad aspects of our lives come from God and as Prophet Muhammad explains all the affairs of a believer are good:

“If he is granted ease then he is thankful, and this is good for him. And if he is afflicted with a hardship, he perseveres, and this is good for him”. (Muslim)

After a person is freed from manmade systems and lifestyles he or she is free to worship God in the correct manner.

A believer is able to put his trust and hope in God and sincerely seek His mercy.

2. Converting to Islam allows a person to truly experience God’s love.

Converting to Islam allows a person to achieve God’s love by following His guide to life – the Quran, and the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad.

When God created the world He did not abandon it to instability and insecurity.

He sent a rope, firm and steady, and by holding tightly to this rope an insignificant human being can achieve greatness and eternal peace.

God makes His desires perfectly clear, however human beings have free will to please or displease God.

Say (O Muhammad to mankind): “If you (really) love God then follow me (i.e. accept Islamic Monotheism, follow the Qur’an and the Sunnah), God will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Quran 3:31)

And whoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it will never be accepted of him, and in the Hereafter he will be one of the losers. (Quran 3:85)

There is no compulsion in religion. Verily, the Right Path has become distinct from the wrong path. Whoever disbelieves in Taghut and believes in God, then he has grasped the most trustworthy handhold that will never break. And God is All-Hearer, All-Knower. (Quran 2:256)

3. A benefit of converting to Islam is that God promises Paradise to the believer

Paradise, as described in many verses of Quran, is a place of eternal bliss and it is promised to believers.

God shows His mercy to the believers by rewarding them with Paradise.

Whoever denies God or worships other than Him will be doomed in the Hereafter to the hellfire.

Converting to Islam will save a person from the torment of the grave, suffering on the Day of Judgment and eternal hellfire.

4. A convert to Islam can achieve happiness, tranquility and inner peace

Islam itself is inherently associated with inner peace and tranquility.

When one submits to the will of God he or she will experience an innate sense of security and peacefulness.

Perfect happiness exists only in Paradise.

There we will find total peace, tranquility and security and be free from the fear, anxiety and pain that are part of the human condition.

However the guidelines provided by Islam allow us, imperfect humans, to seek happiness in this world.

The key to being happy in this world and the next is seeking the pleasure of God, and worshiping Him.


Source: Islamreligion.com

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Egypt’s 2019 AFCON: Here Are Teams with Key Muslim Players

Egypt’s 2019 AFCON: Here Are Teams with Key Muslim Players

The 2019 continental Africa Cup of Nations will start in few days, precisely on June 21, in Egypt.

The 32nd edition of the biennial competition will be the first enlarged version to be contested between 24 teams.

Because of the massive number of Muslim players and countries participating in the tournament, it was moved from its original dates of 15 June – 13 July because of Ramadan as hundreds of religiously devoted players were fasting during the holy month.

Half of the teams come from Muslim countries in different regions of Africa. Here are some facts on some prominent Muslim players in some of the participating teams.

Egypt, the Host Nation

Mohamed Salah

The host nation Egypt, where Muslims represent 90% of its population, is the most successful country in the cup’s history, winning the tournament a record of seven times. Egyptian winger and forward Mohamed Salah is considered by experts to be one of the best players in the world.

 

Tunisia

Wahbi Khazri

Another Muslim country participating in the competition is Tunisia where Muslim form 98% of its population. The Tunisian team won one African Cup of Nations in 2004 and it has been runner-up twice in 1965 and 1996.

Wahbi Khazri, who plays for French Ligue 1 side Saint-Étienne, is one of the most prominent players in the Tunisia national team.

 

 

 

Senegal

Sadio Mane

Senegal is a country where Muslims constitute 92% of its total population.

Established in the early 1960s, the Senegalese national football team has been a regular competitor in the Africa Cup of Nations, where their best performance was  being a runner-up in 2002.

Sadio Mané, 27, is the captain of the Muslim West African country of Senegal. Mané has earned 60 caps for Senegal since his debut in 2012 and represented the national team at the 2012 Olympics, 2015 Africa Cup of Nations, 2017 Africa Cup of Nations and the 2018 FIFA World Cup. A few days ago, Mané won the 2019 Premier League Golden Boot with 22 goals.

Nigeria

Ahmed Musa

The most populous African country, Nigeria, where Muslims form the majority by 55%, has also qualified for the Nations cup. Nigeria is three-time winners. In 1994, it was ranked 5th as the highest FIFA ranking position ever achieved by an African team.

Ahmed Musa is one of the best players in the Nigerian national team. Born in Nigeria in October 1992, the Muslim player was  among the key players who played for Nigeria in the World Cup 2014. The forward player currently plays for Saudi Arabian team Al-Nassr.

Mali

Sékou Koïta

Sékou Koïta

Hailing from the Muslim country of Mali where 90% of its population adhere to Islam, the Malian team was the runner-up of the 1972 edition. It has qualified for the cup eleven times, finishing as 3rd twice, and 4th three times.

19-Year-old Sékou Koïta is one of the most important players in the Malian national team. He plays for forward for Austrian Football Bundesliga club Wolfsberger AC and the Mali national team. He is on loan from FC Liefering.

Morocco

Hakim Ziyech

Morocco has also qualified to the awaited tournament. In fact, about 99% of Moroccans are Muslim. As one of Africa’s most prestigious football teams, Morocco is the winner of the 1976 African Nations Cup. The team was also the runner-up of 2004 edition.

Hakim Ziyech, who plays as an attacking midfielder for Ajax and for the Morocco national team, is known for his finishing, dribbling, speed, technique and free kick ability.

 

Guinea

Naby Laye Keïta

About 85% of Guinea’s population believes in Islam. Their Guinea national football team was the runner-up of the 1976 Africa Cup of Nations. It reached the quarter-finals in four editions 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2015.

Naby Laye Keïta, 24, is a Guinean professional footballer who plays as a central midfielder for Premier League club Liverpool and captains the Guinea national team.

 

Algeria

Islam Slimani

Another participant team is Algeria where 99% of the country’s population adheres to Islam. The Algerian football national team won the African Cup of Nations once in 1990 when they were the hosts.

Algerian team puts hopes on many starts including Islam Slimani who plays as a striker for Süper Lig club Fenerbahçe on loan from Leicester City.

 

Mauritania

Cheikh El Khalil Moulaye Ahmed

As a newcomer in the cup, Mauritania made history on November 18, 2018, when they succeeded in qualifying to their first ever African Cup of Nations. About 99% of Mauritanians adhere to Islam.

Cheikh El Khalil Moulaye Ahmed, more commonly known as Bessam, who currently plays for Ligue 1 Mauritania club FC Nouadhibou, is one of the Mauritanian team stars.

Countries with Predominantly Muslim Population

The national football team of Côte d’Ivoire which qualified to the cup has previously won two editions in 1992 and 2015. It achieved the 2nd place twice and the 3rd place four times. Islam is the most followed religion in Côte d’Ivoire as Muslims form the plurality religious group by 43%.

Guinea Bissau succeeded in returning to the cup after their first participation in the previous 2017 edition. Islam is the most followed religion in Guinea Bissau as Muslims form the plurality religious group by 45%.

After 39 years from their debut in the 1980 edition, Tanzania succeeded on March 24, 2019, to qualify to the cup. About 50% of Tanzania’s total population adheres to Islam.

As a newcomer in the cup, Mauritania made history on November 18, 2018, when they succeeded in qualifying to their first ever African Cup of Nations. About 99% of Mauritanians adhere to Islam.

Moreover, several Muslim players can also be found in the other 12 participating teams.


Source: aboutislam.net

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Peace, Security and Other Basic Human Rights in Islam

Peace, Security and Other Basic Human Rights in Islam

By Abdul-Rahman Al Sheha

The right of security and protection to a person and all his family is the most basic of all human rights. All citizens in the Muslim society legally must not be frightened or threatened by words, actions or weapons of any type.

Peace, Security and Other Basic Human Rights in Islam

The right of security and protection to a person and all his family is the most basic of all human rights.

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) says:

“It is not allowed for a Muslim to frighten another Muslim.” (Abu Dawud and Ahmad)

Feeling secure enables individuals of a society to have freedom of mobility and movement in order to work and earn an honest living. Corporal and capital punishment have been laid down and established in order to impose strict penalties on those who attempt to cause disruption to the peace, security and stability of a Muslim’s society. Allah’s Messenger stated in his farewell speech:

“Truly, your body, honor, and your wealth are unlawful to one another. They are unlawful to tamper with like it is unlawful to tamper with this (honorable and sacred) Day (the Day of `Arafah during Hajj), in this Sacred Month (the month of hajj “Dthul-Hijjah”), and in this Sacred Town (the city of Makkah). (Al-Bukhari)

Sustenance, Wholesome Food & Drink for All

Wholesome sustenance is to be secured for all people in an Islamic society by availing decent and suitable work opportunities for the work force in the society.

Availability of  suitable opportunities of trades and work is crucial for people in order to satisfy their basic needs. Those who cannot work due to old age, disabilities, chronic disease, or the lack of bread-earner in the family, become entitled to public aid from the Islamic government.

Zakah, (obligatory alms and charity) given by the wealthier people of the society, is to be made available to the needy that cannot earn a decent income because of legitimate reasons. Zakah is an obligatory charity that is taken from the rich and given to specific categories of the society.

This is based on the hadith of Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) in his advice to his Companion Mu`adh ibn Jabal (may Allah be pleased with him) while sending him on the mission to call to Islam in Yemen saying,

“…Tell the people of Yemen … that Allah has prescribed a certain percentage of their wealth as zakah (obligatory charity) to be taken from the rich members among them and given to the poor and needy ones. (Muslim)

Other voluntary donations, gifts, financial commitments and the like are given in good cause to please the Almighty Allah, and extended willingly to the poor and needy members of the society. This is also based on many scriptures including the hadith of the Prophet (peace be upon him),

“One is not a believer who satisfies himself while his neighbor is hungry.” (Al-Bukhari)

These poor and needy people are also entitled to a fair right and share of the Islamic Treasury. This is also based on the hadith of the Prophet:

“Whoever leaves behind a legacy (wealth and estates), will become the right of his heirs. As for the person who leaves behind poor and needy members of his family, Allah, and His Messenger will take care of them.” (Al-Bukhari)

Proper & Adequate Health Facilities

Islam prohibits all such reasons that may cause detrimental effect to public health. Islam bans all types of harmful drugs and intoxicants. Islam bans eating blood, carrion, unclean animals, unwholesome meats like swine, and all their byproducts, etc.

Islam bans all immoral acts such as fornication, adultery, and homosexual activities. Islam imposes a quarantine in the time of plague for both incoming and outgoing traffic of people in order to make sure that no epidemic or harmful diseases are spread in the wider community. Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said:

“If you hear about an epidemic in a country, do not enter it, and if you are in a place that has an epidemic disease, do not leave it.” (Ahmad)

And he (peace be upon him) said:

“A sick person must not be brought to visit a recovering person.” (Al-Bukhari)

_________________________

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

 

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How Islam Defines Terrorism

How Islam Defines Terrorism

Terrorism is generally defined as killing of civilians for political reasons. Dr. Azzam Tamimi, President of the Fiqh Council of North America, writes: “A straightforward definition of terrorism has been: ‘the use of force (or violence) to advocate a political cause’.”

quran fights terrorism

The Qur’an is based on the concepts of morality, love, compassion, mercy, modesty, self-sacrifice, tolerance and peace.

It is to be emphasized that terrorism against the innocent civilians, whether through aggression or suicidal means, is under no circumstances permissible in Islam. Islam encourages the oppressed people to struggle for their liberation and it commands other Muslims to help those who are oppressed and suffering, but Islam does not allow, under any circumstance, terrorism against non-combatants and innocent people.

Islam has not only forbidden terror and violence, but also abhors even the slightest imposition of any idea on another human being. Allah Almighty says:

Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from error: whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah has grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks. And Allah hears and knows all things. (Al-Baqarah 2:256)

So remind, you need only to remind. You cannot compel them to believe. (Al-Ghashiyah 88:22)

Some people who say they are acting in the name of religion may misunderstand their religion or practice it wrongly. For this reason, it is a mistake to form any idea of that religion from the activities of these people.

The best way to understand Islam is through its main source, the Qur’an; and the model of morality in the Qur’an is completely different from the image of it formed in the minds of some Westerners or some bigot Muslims.

The Qur’an is based on the concepts of morality, love, compassion, mercy, modesty, self-sacrifice, tolerance and peace, and a Muslim who truly lives according to these moral precepts is highly refined, thoughtful, tolerant, trustworthy and accommodating. To those around him he gives love, respect, peace of mind and a sense of the joy of life.

A Religion of Peace & Well-Being

The word Islam has the same meaning as ‘peace’ in Arabic. Islam is a religion that came down to offer humanity a life filled with the peace and well-being in which Allah’s eternal mercy and compassion is manifested in the world.

Allah invites all people to accept the moral teachings of the Qur’an as a model whereby mercy, compassion, tolerance and peace may be experienced in the world. In Surat Al-Baqarah, this command is given: “You who believe! Enter absolutely into peace (Islam). Do not follow in the footsteps of Satan. He is an outright enemy to you.” (Al-Baqarah 2:208)

As we see in this verse, people will experience well-being and happiness by living according to the moral teaching of the Qur’an.

Allah & Mischief

Allah has commanded humanity to avoid evil; He has forbidden immorality, rebellion, cruelty, aggressiveness, murder and bloodshed. Those who do not obey this command of Allah are walking in the steps of Satan, as the Qur’an says in the verse above, and have adopted an attitude that Allah has clearly declared unlawful.

Of the many verses that bear on this subject, here are only two:

But as for those who break Allah’s contract after it has been agreed and sever what Allah has commanded to be joined, and cause corruption in the earth, the curse will be upon them. They will have the Evil Abode. (Ar-Ra`d 13:25)

Seek the abode of the hereafter with what Allah has given you, without forgetting your portion of the world. And do good as Allah has been good to you. And do not seek to cause mischief on earth. Allah does not love mischief makers. (Al-Qasas 28:77)

As we can see, Allah has forbidden every kind of mischievous acts in Islam including terrorism and violence, and condemned those who commit such deeds. A Muslim lends beauty to the world and improves it.

Islam, Tolerance and Freedom of Speech

Islam is a religion, which fosters freedom of life, ideas and thought. It has forbidden tension and conflict among people, calumny, suspicion and even having negative thoughts about another individual. To force anyone to believe in a religion or to practice it is against the spirit and essence of Islam. Because it is necessary that faith be accepted with free will and conscience.

Of course, Muslims may urge one another to keep the moral precepts taught in the Qur’an, but they never use compulsion. In any case, an individual cannot be induced to the practice of religion by either threat or offering him a worldly privilege.

Allah has commanded tolerance and forgiveness:

Take to forgiveness and enjoin good and turn aside from the ignorant. (Al-A`raf 7:199)

The phrase “practice forgiveness here expresses the concept of forgiveness and tolerance which is one of the basic principles of Islam.

When we look at Islamic history, we can see clearly how Muslims established this important precept of the moral teaching of the Qur’an in their social life. At every point in their advance, Muslims destroyed unlawful practices and created a free and tolerant environment.

In the areas of religion, language and culture, they made it possible for people totally opposite to each other to live under the same roof in freedom and peace, thereby giving to those subject to them the advantages of knowledge, wealth and position.

Likewise, one of the most important reasons that the large and widespread Ottoman Empire was able to sustain its existence for so many centuries was that its way of life was directed by the tolerance and understanding brought by Islam.

For centuries, their tolerance and compassion have characterized Muslims. In every period of time they have been the most just and merciful of people. All ethnic groups within this multi-national community freely practiced the religions they have followed for years and enjoyed every opportunity to live in their own cultures and worship in their own way. Indeed, the particular tolerance of Muslims, when practiced as commanded in the Qur’an, can alone bring peace and well-being to the whole world.

The Qur’an refers to this particular kind of tolerance: “The good deed and the evil deed are not alike. Repel the evil deed with one which is better, then lo! he, between whom and thee there was enmity (will become) as though he was a bosom friend.” (Fussilat 41:34)

Islam & Terrorism

A straightforward definition of terrorism has been: ‘the use of force (or violence) to advocate a political cause’.

All this shows that the moral teaching offered to humanity by Islam is one that will bring peace, happiness and justice to the world. The barbarism that is happening in the world today under the name of “Islamic Terrorism” is completely removed from the moral teachings of the Qur’an; it is the work of ignorant, bigoted people, criminals who have nothing to do with religion. The solution which will be applied against these individuals and groups who are trying to commit their deeds of savagery under the guise of Islam, will be the instruction of people in the true moral teaching of Islam.

Islam’s Counter-terrorism Principles

Eminent Muslim scholar Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi states:

“No doubt, aggression against innocent people is a grave sin and a heinous crime, irrespective of the victim’s religion, country, or race. No one is permitted to commit such crime, for Allah, Most High, abhors aggression. Unlike Judaism, Islam does not hold a double-standard policy in safeguarding human rights.”

The following are three relevant Islamic principles based on the Qur’an and Sunnah:

1- Islam Forbids Aggression against Innocent People

Islam does not permit aggression against innocent people, whether the aggression is against life, property, or honor, and this ruling applies to everyone, regardless of post, status and prestige. In Islam, as the state’s subject is addressed with Islamic teachings, so is the ruler or caliph; he is not allowed to violate people’s rights, lives, honor, property, etc.

In the Farewell Pilgrimage, the Prophet (peace be upon him) declared the principle that people’s lives, property, and honor are inviolable until the Day of Judgment. This ruling is not restricted to Muslims; rather, it includes non-Muslims who are not fighting Muslims. Even in case of war, Islam does not permit killing those who are not involved in fighting, such as women, children, the aged, and the monks who confine themselves to worship only.

This shouldn’t raise any wonder, for Islam is a religion that prohibits aggression even against animals. Ibn `Umar (may Allah be pleased with them both) quote the Prophet as saying: “A woman (was made to) enter (Hell) Fire because of a cat which she tied, neither giving it food nor setting it free to eat from the vermin of the earth.” (Al-Bukhari)

If such is Islamic ruling concerning aggressive acts against animals (a kind of terrorism), then, with greater reason, the punishment is bound to be severe when human being happens to be the victim of aggression, torture and terrorism.

2- Individual Responsibility

In Islam, everyone is held accountable for his own acts, not others’. No one bears the consequences of others’ faults, even his close relatives. This is the ultimate form of justice, clarified in the Qur’an:

Or has he not had news of what is in the books of Moses and Abraham who fulfilled (the commandments): That no laden one shall bear another’s load. (An-Najm 53:36-38)

Therefore, it’s very painful to see some people ‘who are Muslims by name’ launching aggression against innocent people and taking them as scapegoats for any disagreement they have with the state’s authority!! What is the crime of the common people then?!

Murder is one of heinous crimes completely abhorred in Islam, to the extent that some Muslim scholars hold the opinion that the repentance of the murderer will not be accepted by Allah, Most High. In this context, we recall the Qur’anic verse that reads, “…if any one slew a person – unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land – it would be as if he slew the whole people.” (Al-Ma’idah 5:32)

3- Ends Do Not Justify Means

In Islam, the notion “End justifies the means” has no place at all. It is not allowed to attain good aims through evil means, and, therefore, alms collected from unlawful avenues are not halal (lawful). In this context, the Messenger of Allah said, “Surely, Allah is Good and never accepts but what is good.”

Thus, in Shari`ah, with all its sources: “the Qur’an, the Sunnah, consensus of Muslim jurists”, aggression and violation of human rights are completely forbidden. On this issue, Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi adds:

“The Islamic position as regards non-Muslims is that they should recognize Allah’s Oneness and Prophet Muhammad as Allah’s Final Prophet. They should accept Islam to live happily and successfully in this world and to be saved in the Hereafter. It is Muslims’ duty to give them this message clearly, but without any coercion or intolerance. If others accept this message it is good for them, but if they do not accept, Muslims should still treat them with kindness and gentleness and leave the final judgment to Allah.”

In our enthusiasm for da`wah, we should not be intolerant and aggressive towards others. However, in our politeness and civility we should also not give up our mission and message. We should not be intimidated to become quiet and we should not feel shy to tell the truth.

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Source: witness-pioneer.com.

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