Has Science Become a New Religion?

Has Science Become a New Religion?

By Truth Seeker Staff

In this amazing video by the London Dawah Movement, Brother Abdurraheem Green answers this very problematic question of, has science become a new religion? And what does this mean with respect to Islam as well as other divinely revealed religions.

Join us to see what Brother Green has to say on this…

 

 

 

Soucre Link

Is Atheism Unnatural?

Is Atheism Unnatural?

By Hamza Tzortzis

Is Atheism Unnatural?

Why do human beings believe in God? This question has engrossed thinkers for centuries. Why are beliefs about supernatural agents and ritual practices derived from those beliefs found in all human societies, across disparate times and far-ranging cultures?

Join us to see this wonderful video…

 

 

 

Soucre Link

Existence of God: Between Faith & Atheism

Existence of God: Between Faith & Atheism

By Truth Seeker Staff

We should bear in mind that abundant as the proofs may be, they are only of avail to those who honestly and sincerely search for the truth.

We should bear in mind that abundant as the proofs may be, they are only of avail to those who honestly and sincerely search for the truth.

Existence of God: Between Faith & Atheism

Mankind, in general, has maintained a belief in the existence of the Creator of the universe since time immemorial.

The duty of the prophets of Allah was not so much to inform their people of Allah’s existence as to warn them against associating others with Him, and to teach them how to serve Him:

“Their messengers said, ‘Is there any doubt concerning Allah, the originator of the Heavens and the Earth?’” (Ibrahim 14:10)

The early Muslim scholars did not even have to address the issue of the Existence of God, for it was a blatantly obvious fact, which nobody questioned. It was only around the fourth century after the Prophet’s migration to Madinah, when people’s doctrine started being infiltrated with atheism and permeated by unbelief that the scholars had to address the issue.

The existence of Allah is established by various categories of proofs, which may be conveniently classified under four categories.

Scriptural

The major religions of the world have scriptures, which teach the existence of the Creator. In particular, the Qur’an, the only revealed book which has remained totally intact and preserved, establishes the existence of Allah by compelling rational arguments, while at the same time serving as an enduring miracle testifying to His reality. It decisively establishes His uniqueness and non-resemblance to creation, and emphasizes that worship is only for Him.

“Fitrah”

As already mentioned, the human being has an inherent and inborn recognition of his Creator. This is a consequence of a pledge which Allah took from the soul of every one of us before we came into this world:

“And [remember], when your Lord took from the children of Adam, their children behind them, and made them testify over their own selves, [saying to them], ‘Am I not your Lord?’ They said, ‘Yea.’” (Al-A`raf 7:172)

Every human being is born with this natural disposition, which is called in Arabic “Fitrah“. Abu Hurairah, may Allah be pleased with him, has reported that the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said:

“Every child is born upon Fitrah, then it is his parents who make him Jewish, or Christian, or Magian (Zoroastrian), just as an animal delivers a perfect baby animal; do you find it mutilated?” (Al-Bukhari)

But, this “Fitrah” sometimes becomes latent, especially when the human being is in a corrupt and spiritually degenerate environment, which is devoid of reminder and exhortation towards the Lord. The “Fitrah” surfaces, however, in times of calamity and distress. How many avowed atheists find themselves raising their hands to the skies in supplication when in affliction? And how do the staunch unbelievers cry out for deliverance when they are faced with death?

“[Allah] it is who causes you to travel over land and sea; until, when you are in the ships, and they sail with [their passengers] with a fair breeze, and they are glad therein, a tempestuous wind reaches them, waves are coming at them from everywhere, and they think that they are overwhelmed therein; [then] they call to Allah, making their faith pure for Him [alone], ‘If You save us from this, we will surely be among the thankful!’” (Yunus 10:22)

Yet, this sincerity is often short-lived:

“Then, when He saves them, behold, they rebel upon the earth wrongfully.” (Yunus 10:23)

Mankind is all too apt, during the course of his daily life of comfort and enjoyment, to forget his Lord:

“And when some trauma touches man, he calls to his Lord, turning repentant to Him. Then, when He grants him a favor from Himself, he forgets that for which he called to Him before, and sets up partners to Allah.” (Az-Zumar 39:8)

It is to awaken and alert this “Fitrah” that God, in His mercy and wisdom, sent messengers to remind people of their true religion, and to direct them towards fulfilling their commission of serving their Lord. Allah has ordered His prophet to proclaim:

“Say: O mankind! If you are in [any] doubt regarding my religion, then [know that] I do not worship those whom you worship besides Allah, but I worship Allah Who will take your souls (at death): I am commanded to be (in the ranks) of the Believers.” (Yunus 10:104)

The specific mention of death here drives home the stark reality, which even the pagans must concede to when faced with the glaring, intuitive evidence, that Allah alone causes death. The rational individual, then, should prepare for this inevitability by responding to his Lord.

Islam is merely a hearkening by man to his nature, an acceptance of that which is naturally good and intuitively right:

“So, set your face toward the religion in uprightness. That is the “Fitrah” of Allah, upon which He has created mankind. Let there be no changing of Allah’s creation.” (Ar-Rum 30:30)

There are others who stubbornly resist this truth and reject God’s message when it is presented before them, although they are well aware of its veracity. This was the attitude of Pharaoh and his supporters, and its consequences are severe, in this world and the Hereafter:

“They rejected [Our signs], although their own souls were convinced of their truth, out of iniquity and arrogance. See, then, what was the sequel for those who cause corruption!” (An-Naml 27:14)

Yet, even hardened deniers who stand in the way of truth and resist it may grab hold of it at the last moment, before it is too late, for on account of the surfacing of the “Fitrah“, a disbeliever who is faced with death on the battlefield may suddenly embrace Islam. The Muslim who fights in Jihad will similarly be exposed to death frequently, thus enhancing and sharpening his awareness of Allah.

Rational

Health and Islamic PhilosophyIt is intuitively obvious, and confirmed by science, that the universe had a beginning. Every action requires a doer, and thus the existence of creation necessarily indicates the existence of the Creator. Allah appeals to the human mind and rationality:

“Were they created from nothing, or are they [themselves] the creators?” (At-Tur 52:35)

Quite obviously, we have been created, and brought into existence after being non-existent, and it is also plain that we do not create ourselves.

A few years ago, the sands in the “Rub’ al-Khali” desert (the Empty Quarter), of the Arabian Peninsula, were blown away by a windstorm to reveal the ruins of a city that had been covered by the sands. Scientists began to examine the contents of the city to try to determine the period in which it had been built. Nobody among the archaeologists or others even suggested that this city could have appeared as a result of the natural actions of the wind, rain, heat and cold, and not by the actions of man. If anyone had suggested such a thing, people would have regarded him as crazy and would have taken pity on him. So how about if someone had said that this city was formed by the air from nothing in the far distant past, then it settled on the earth?

Having recognized the necessity of the existence of a Creator, one then realizes that there can only be one Creator:

“If there were in [the heavens and the earth] gods other than Allah, [the heavens and earth] would surely have been disordered.” (Al-Anbiya 21:22)

“Allah has not taken a son, nor is there any god with Him, for in that case, each god would assuredly have championed that which he created, and some of them would surely have overcome others. Glorified be Allah above that which they allege!” (Al-Mu’minun 23:91)

Further, this one and only Creator cannot possibly resemble creation:

“Is, then, He Who creates, like he who does not create? Do you not reflect?” (An-Nahl 16:17)

Perceptual

We witness and experience the answering of prayers, and this in itself indicates the existence of Allah:

“When you sought help of your Lord, and He answered you.” (Al-Anfal 8:9)

Al-Bukhari and Muslim, may Allah have mercy upon them, have both narrated the Prophet’s saying in which a Bedouin asked the Prophet, peace be upon him, to pray for rain, since crops were perishing and people were starving. The prophet prayed to Allah for rain, and almost immediately clouds began to gather and it began raining heavily. Also in this category of evidence are the miracles which people witness at the hands of the prophets, including the splitting of the moon by Muhammad, peace be upon him, and the enduring miracle of the Qur’an.

Finally, we should bear in mind that abundant as the proofs may be, they are only of avail to those who honestly and sincerely search for the truth. As for those obdurate ones who simply refuse to believe, they will not cease their idle disputation:

“And they say: ‘Our hearts are in a covering from that to which you call us, and in our ears is a deafness, and between us and you is a veil, so act, we [also] are acting.” (Fussilat 41:5)

“Those against whom the decree of your Lord has been verified, will not believe, although every sign should come to them, until they see the painful punishment.” (Yunus 10:96-97)

————-

Courtesy Islamweb.net web site – http://www.islamweb.net with slight editorial modifications.

Soucre Link

Activate Your God-Spot

Activate Your God-Spot

By Ebrahim Kazim

god

Religion is not only meditation and prayers. It is much more than that such as fasting, charity, visiting widows and orphans, and looking after their welfare.

Activate Your God-Spot

The human brain is the most complex organ man has been endowed with. Allah gave us the human brain to make us the best of all His creations, in order to differentiate us from animals and other creatures. It contains 100 billion neurons (nerve cells) and trillions of connecting fibers called synapses. It can store a hundred thousand facts at a time and a million billion facts in a lifetime.

Recently, a new science is being developed called neuro-theology to study the neurobiology of religion, to identify the brain’s spirituality circuit, and to explain how it is that religious rituals have the power to move believers and non-believers alike.

Tune into the Divine

Whenever any man sets foot in a holy place such as a mosque or a church, a feeling of reverence generates within him. Some scientists say there is a “God-spot” or a center for spirituality in the temporal lobe of the human brain (dysfunction of which may also cause seizures). This lobe has connections to the frontal cortex which also houses the attention center as well as the cognition center responsible for logical thinking.

Al Hamdu Lillah, some of us who do not believe in God at least possess a brain with the capacity to believe in God. The brain circuitry may amount to an antenna to make us tune in to the divine. Many people have a profound acceptance that religion has changed their lives, perhaps because spiritual practices activate the temporal lobe. That is why “God won’t go away” from us. Muslims are offended by the notion that God is a creation of the human brain, rather than the other way around.

Allah might have put a God-spot in the brain because it is His sovereign choice to be in relationship to humankind in order that we could develop it further if we want to understand more about Him. This higher center may have evolved to have control over the present day neo-cortex (our ‘new’ brain or ‘thinking’ brain which distinguishes us from animals), and thereby our mind, leading to deeper thinking and a prolonged state of Taqwa (God-consciousness).

This God-spot should be well developed in those of us who are religious as well as pious in our actions, but underdeveloped in those who do not respond to the Great Caller and who should be labeled as deaf, dumb and blind “Summun Bukmunn ‘Ummyunn” (Al-Baqarah 2:18). If the temporal lobe is surgically resected, then this lobectomy would amount to a “Godectomy” and the person would become an agnostic and would not know about God.

Difference between Brain, Body & Soul

Although it is said that the temporal lobe houses the God-spot and is the seat of a God-given human faculty for experiencing the divine, it is only acting as an antenna. It is not the locus of a person’s soul (Ruh), although Allah breathed His Ruh into the first man – Adam. The Ruh has an existence independent from the brain and the rest of the body.

There are very real differences between brain, body and soul. Whenever we feel carried away and transported to another scenario by intense prayer and an uplifting ritual, it is reflected in activity in the temporal lobe with changing of the frequency and amplitude of the brain waves as seen in the electro-encephalogram.

Moreover, brain imaging techniques such as FMRI (Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) and PET (Positive Emission Tomography) which are presently being used to locate and map out the different areas of the brain during prayers and meditation show activity in some areas while other areas in the brain are blanked off.

The prefrontal cortex of the brain, which is the seat of attention, lights up, and the superior parietal lobe, (acting as the “orientation association area,” which processes information about where our 3-dimensional body stands in space and time, and which is situated towards the top and back of the brain) is switched-off, and so is the amygdale, which registers fear and anger by monitoring the environment for threats and dangers.

Experimentally, bursts of electrical activity could be triggered in the temporal lobes through mini-electrodes, which produce sensations described by the patient as supernatural or a sense of the divine. Such brain storms can also appear in times of personal crisis and hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) suggesting a reason that some people “find God” in such moments.

However, losing one’s self in prayer and feeling good or uplifted have nothing to do with how well we communicate with God. In fact, many people pray best when harm afflicts them (Fussilat 41:51) and they feel guilty, shameful or sad. The sheer habit to pray may also be more affirmative than the occasional feeling that God is close by and listening to us.

Some scientists are not sure whether the brainwaves create God or God creates the brainwaves, though they admit that both prayers and meditation give rise to a relaxed dualistic mind with intense feelings of love and joy when both excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitters in the brain come into play to exert their biological and emotional effects. To the average man, it is a matter of faith. To a Muslim, everything is from Allah.

Thank Allah

Some studies have found no benefit at all from third-party prayer because, they say, it puts God to the test instead. However, the benefits of prayer and meditation to the individual himself are cumulative, leaving their footprints in the neural pathways. Hence, the importance of introducing children to prayers at an early age.

No matter how we take it, we must thank G.O.D. (the Great Organising Designer) Who gifted us with a brain equipped with different centers and neurotransmitters so that we could think of the divine and be confident, calm and comfortable.

The first to mature is that part of the brain controlling movement and senses followed by language, while the center for attention, reasoning and problem-solving is the last to mature, which leads to wisdom. Executive activities which are prioritized in the prefrontal cortex don’t fully develop until young adulthood.

The hyper-religiosity of some individuals has been attributed by some researchers to various grades of temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE). Approximately a quarter of TLE patients have intense religious experiences during seizures, saying that  they had an aura preceding the attacks that relate to God, such as hearing a divine voice or seeing a divine vision.

Although some non-Muslim scientists have labeled some prophets and some mystics as suffering from temporal-lobe epilepsy, recent studies have cast doubt on the connection between religiosity and temporal-lobe epilepsy (the latter disease presenting itself in a fascinating array of symptoms sometimes referred to as supernatural).

Laws of the land make human beings behave differently than they would have otherwise. Faith in God results in different behavior. There is no harm in such knowledge of neuroscience co-existing with a person’s faith. Muslims accept that even scientific inspiration comes to us from higher sources; Allah.

When prayers and meditation are repetitive, the various neuro-transmitters may stimulate growth of some dormant neurons in the brain to develop a higher centre on the evolutionary ladder of the present day cerebral cortex with a capacity to think and to rationalize much better.

Religion Linked to Better Mental Health

It is to be noted that, until 1994, the American Psychiatric Association officially classified strong religious belief as a mental disorder, but now they believe that religion is linked to far better mental health.

Mystics describe their experiences as ecstatic and serene, and they show utmost humility, while psychotics, schizophrenics and epileptics experience hearing the same voice with the same message during their bouts of illness. Although such persons are confused and frightened by these hallucinations, they see themselves as prophets or even God with special divine powers. However, mystical experiences can also come to anyone spontaneously without desiring them. The reader may refer to the Qur’anic verses (Ghafir 40:15) and (An-Nahl 16:2).

Having religious faith can speed recovery from depression in older patients. Religiously active older people tend to have lower blood pressure than those who are less active, and live longer. Religion is not only meditation and prayers. It is much more than that such as fasting, charity, visiting widows and orphans, and looking after their welfare.

————-

The above article was excerpted from the author’s book “Further Essays on Islamic Topics” with slight editorial modifications.

Dr. Ebrahim Kazim is a medical doctor and the founder and director of the Islamic Academy in Trinidad.

 

 

Soucre Link

Can We Be Happy Without God?

Can We Be Happy Without God?

By Shahul Hameed

Can We Be Happy Without God?

God“A million New Yorkers are good without God. Are you?”

This is one of the surprise questions that would greet New York commuters on the subway. A coalition of eight atheist organizations has purchased a month-long campaign that would place their posters in a dozen busy subway stations throughout Manhattan.

This is “part of a coordinated multi-organizational advertising campaign designed to raise awareness about people who don’t believe in a “god”, according to a statement from the group, the Big Apple Coalition of Reason. (Atheist ads to adorn New York subway stations, last accessed 24 October 2009)

The executive director of the New York Center for Inquiry, one of the associated atheists, explained that the coalition hopes “to encourage talking and thinking about religion and morality.”

As believers in Islam, we do welcome talking and thinking about religion and morality. And thinking of religion, we need to, first of all, confront the question of the existence of God:

If we just pass our eyes over the phenomena of nature with attention, we see a regularity and order in all things. We can see this, for instance, in the rotation of the day and night, in the new moon and the full moon, and in the change of seasons. We see the same pattern in the birth, growth and decay of plants and animals.

In short, we can very clearly observe that everything in nature follows an order or a regular pattern, which naturally presupposes a plan or design behind it. But if there is a design, shouldn’t there be a designer? Our reason tells us and our experience teaches us that a plan or design can come only out of an intelligent being.

And if so, how can we look at the grand design of the universe, the unerring order and regularity in nature, and say that these are mere coincidences?

Most assuredly, ours is a universe of order; it is a cosmos and not a chaos. Unless there is a reliable order, or a systematic predictability of laws governing the working of the universe, how can researchers do experiments and arrive at the laws of nature or laws of science?

The foregoing means that behind the operations of this universe, there must be a grand design that is the product of an extraordinary intelligence that comprehends and transcends all the areas of human knowledge, wisdom, and experience.

And what is more, we find that the unity and the uniformity of the Laws of Nature unerringly point to the unity of the power behind the universe. In short, if we are prepared to set aside all our prejudices, and let our minds free for reason to operate freely, we can recognize the overwhelming presence of God in all aspects of the universe.

 The Importance of Religion in Life

To consider the influence of religion in human life, we should make a distinction between “individual religiosity” and “organized religion”. By individual religiosity, we mean the faith and practices of individual persons.

And “organized religion” means an institution like the Roman Catholic Church, which has a hierarchical system. Even Islam, which has no clergy or a hierarchical system, is loosely considered an organized religion.

Indeed, Islam is a complete system covering all aspects of socio-political life as well as individual life, as embodied in the Qur’an and the Sunnah (the example of Prophet Muhammad). But such a complete system is visualized only under a government organized and run on the principles of Islamic jurisprudence.

But apart from it, there are politically or economically motivated groups among Muslims now, whom the media wrongly depicts as models of “organized Islam”.

One criticism of religion in this age is that it causes a lot of violence and intolerance. In fact, violence is not caused by religion as such. It is indeed an aspect of the human psyche, most evident in the socio-political sphere of life.

An objective study will convince us that most of the persisting conflicts of the world today are born out of some complexity of a political-economical nature, rather than from religion.

But vested interests often muddle the issue. For instance, to consider the Palestinian problem from a religious point of view is to distort the vital aspects of the problem, namely the Palestinians are denied their birthright to their home, to their land and their life. Even Israelis who quote their religious book as the basis of their claim to Palestine simply exploit their religion for political advantage.

Today the majority of refugees worldwide happen to be Muslims, and so often this situation is blindly attributed to the religion of Muslims. The truth is that racism, xenophobia, and morbid fear-mongering manipulate public opinion to equate refugees with illegal migrants and even terrorists. Such attitudes create misperceptions about Muslims and Islam. Why can’t we recognize the simple fact that refugees are the victims of state terrorism in the first place?

The Islamic Declaration of Human Rights — formulated on the basis of the Qur’an and the example of Prophet Muhammad — declares that every human being running away from persecution has the right of asylum, and deserves protection.

We can see that it is often the ethnocentrism of certain communities that generates violence, rather than religion. But essentially religion teaches peace, cooperation, and sacrifice. Consider for instance the Qur’anic verses:

Help you one another in righteousness and piety, but help you not one another in sin and rancor… (Al-Ma’idah 5:2)

Do no mischief on the earth, after it has been set in order, but call on Him with fear and longing (in your hearts): for the mercy of Allah is (always) near to those who do good. (Al-A`raf 7:56)

…But do you good, as Allah has been good to you, and seek not (occasions for) mischief in the land: for Allah loves not those who do mischief. (Al-Qasas 28:77)

Indeed, the moral worth of a society depends on the righteousness of the individuals who comprise that society. And an Islamic society is one in which the individual citizens of the society live by the tenets of Islam.

Regarding religion, one question that haunts thinking humans is about the meaning of suffering. Islam offers a satisfactory answer to this question, which is: If God is good and means well for humankind, why should He allow them to suffer?

Islam teaches that evil, which causes suffering, is the other side of good. That is to say, good in this world cannot exist without bad, as they are two sides of the same coin.

A little reflection would make us see that both good and evil are equally necessary for the spiritual growth of mankind.

Suffering tests the worth and mettle of a person. And the spirits of genuine believers do not weaken under suffering; nor does suffering frighten them or make them desperate.

The superiority of Islam over other philosophies or ideologies can be seen in that it equips its adherents with the spiritual strength to confront evil and overcome suffering. A sincere Muslim accepts physical pain, disease, and personal loss of life or property, as unavoidable tests of this life and as a means of purification; and so he or she strives to overcome them with an equal temper of mind.

As sensible beings, we ought to understand that as humans we are weak beings unable to control even our day-to-day affairs. As such, what can we really do when we are faced with situations that are beyond us? The only course open is not to lose hope, but to rely on the infinite mercy of God.

We should use our reason to assess the problems facing us, and do what we can by way of solving them. Having trust in God, we must adopt a policy of patient perseverance in the face of calamities:

O you who believe! seek help with patient perseverance and Prayer; for Allah is with those who patiently persevere. (Al-Baqarah 2:153)

Islam gives its followers the confidence that God’s mercy is all-pervading, and that He fulfills the smallest need of the lowest creature in the most unexpected ways.

Contentment and tranquility of mind can be attained only through the contemplation of God. God says in the Qur’an what means,

….for without doubt in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find satisfaction. (Ar-Ra`d 13:28)

Is Death the End?

Whatever happiness we enjoy in our life on earth is punctuated by the anxiety about impending death. Even those who are deluded by the idea that they can be “good without God” cannot escape the haunting thought of death.

At the time of death, they have to reckon with the fact that they have to leave their loved ones once and for all. If they still maintain their reason, how can they avoid asking at the point of death: “Has all the glamour and glory of our life come to this? Is this all?”

Indeed, Islam offers a satisfactory answer to the question, “why death?”

Death is only a transitional point in the life of a human being, whereby we leave this temporary world and enter into an eternal world at a different level of existence.

Since this world is imperfect and transient, and our earthly life is short, it is a horrible thought that suddenly one day, all our achievements in the world just vanish before our eyes for good.

It is only the natural corollary of our temporary existence, riddled with unhappiness, that we hope for an endless life of happiness, if not here, then in another world. And certainly, Islam answers to this natural yearning of humans for an endless life of uninterrupted happiness in the world to come:

As to those who believe and work righteous deeds, they have, for their entertainment, the Gardens of Paradise. (Al-Kahf 18:107)

From the point of view of Islam, God is the perfection of beauty, love, and justice. And the believers’ desire to meet their God in the end gives them the greatest incentive for leading a life of goodness in this world.

There is no way we can avoid facing our God to answer for all our actions on the Day of Judgment. On that day, those of us who led a good life are rewarded with an eternal life of bliss in the hereafter. And those who feel that they can be “happy without God” will necessarily be unhappy in the world to come.

The question is whether it is better to have the opportunity of enjoying an eternal life of bliss, or to miss that chance altogether by following the delusion that we can be happy without God.

The choice is ours.

 

——————–

Taken with slight modifications from onislam.net.

Professor Shahul Hameed is a consultant to the Reading Islam Website. He also held the position of the President of the Kerala Islamic Mission, Calicut, India. He is the author of three books on Islam published in the Malayalam language. His books are on comparative religion, the status of women, and science and human values.

Soucre Link

5 Actionable Sunnah of the Prophet Backed By Science

5 Actionable Sunnah of the Prophet Backed By Science

By Truth Seeker Staff

SunnahActionable Sunnah of the Prophet Backed By Science

We’ve all heard about scientific evidence in the Quran, where modern science has found scientific discoveries that have been revealed in the Qur’an 1, 400 years ago! Only now, scientists of the 20th and 21st centuries have found scientific facts that confirm revelations of the Quran from the origins of life, the sky, sun’s orbit, oceans, iron, the expanding universe and many more. If anything, these scientific pieces of evidence should strengthen one’s faith in Islam as the true faith.

So what about the Sunnahs of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)? He has been described as a walking Qur’an after all. For the devout Muslims, the Prophet is a role model and all his actions are to be followed and his manners to be imitated. So has the Prophet’s (PBUH) habitual actions (sunnah fi’lillyah) been confirmed by modern science too?

We did some research to find out. Due to time constraints, we’ve only limited our article to 5 actionable Sunnahs which we have found scientific studies confirming their benefits.

Why Emulate the Sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH)

You have a good model in the Messenger of Allah for one who hopes for Allah and the Last Day.” [Al-Ahzab 33:21].

A role model is someone you would admire and would follow his actions, habits, and way of thinking. In this modern age, so many of us would cite successful businessmen, scientists or even celebrities as our role models, but the real role model recommended by Allah is none other than our beloved Prophet (PBUH). The great scholars of the past, such as Imam Nawawi, had even compiled books on the Prophet’s actions on eating, sitting, and sleeping in his famous book, Garden of the Believers, Riyadh u’Saliheen.

1 – Smile: The Sunnah and The Science

The Prophet (Pbuh) has been described as someone who would often smile. “I have not seen anyone who smiled more than The Prophet (PBUH)” (at-Tirmidhi)

A recent study at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and Texas A&M found that simply smiling can make the person feel happier. The facial expression portrayed by the person impacts his emotions, so if you have a smile on your face, you will feel happier and if you have a frown on your face, you will feel angrier.

The Prophet (PBUH) encourages people to smile, as it is considered an act of charity (at-Tirmidhi)).

Another study found that when a person smiles at another person leads to a similar response. Really, when you smile at people, people will smile back at you. So smiling is also contagious!

2 – The Sunnah and the Science Eating While Sitting Down

The Prophet (Pbuh.) forbade us from drinking while standing. Qatadah reported: “We asked him: ‘What about eating?”‘ He said: “That is even worse, (or maybe he said) more detestable.” (Muslim)

Today, it is now common to see people walking whilst drinking and eating. We live in a fast pace world, and so time is saved when we walk and do other things. In the West, there are now cafes which offer standing room only for drinking and eating.

A recent study at the University of South Florida found that people who ate while standing did not enjoy their meal as much. They felt their food to be less tasty than compared to people who ate while sitting down. People who ate while standing also ate lesser amounts compared to those who ate while sitting. This is because the standing position created greater physical stress on the body, which led to decreasing sensory sensitivity.

There are also many other studies which have concluded that eating while standing up is bad for your health

3 – Fasting Regularly: The Science Behind the Sunnah

The Prophet (Pbuh) would often fast on Mondays and Thursdays (at-Tirmidhi) and recommended the fasting of Prophet Dawud (PBUH) (Bukhari) where fasting is done on alternate days.

This is now known as intermittent fasting and is practiced by health enthusiasts in the West, where food is not consumed for a period of 12-24 hours, followed by normal eating and the cycle then repeats.

Studies have shown that intermittent fasting can lead to health benefits such as weight loss, lowering type 2 diabetes and reducing neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson and stroke.

4 – The Sunnah of the Miswak – Dental Hygiene and Modern Science

The Prophet (PBUH) said: “If it were not that it would be difficult on my nation, then I would have ordered them to use the Siwak for each prayer.” (at-Tirmidhi)

Even 1,400 years ago, Islam showed the importance of body hygiene with the wudhu’ and dental hygiene by using the Miswak to clean the teeth.

In today’s modern age, we now use toothbrush and toothpaste to maintain dental hygiene. The Miswak is often dismissed as just a twig, an old-age tool. But is it really?

The Miswak vs The Toothbrush

Norms would have it that the toothbrush and the toothpaste are superior in protecting our teeth when compared to a traditional, centuries-old tool, the Miswak. Nonetheless, there have been many studies to compare the effectiveness of the Miswak against the toothbrush in today’s society to confirm or dismiss such norms. So which is better?

A study had found that using the Miswak lowered gingival bleeding when compared to toothbrush users. Another comparison study of Miswak vs toothbrush found that using the Miswak leads to reduced dental plaque and gingivitis. Another comparison study also found that using Miswak reduces dental caries when compared to using toothbrushes and toothpaste.

The Miswak, also known as Salvadora persica chewing stick in scientific communities has special properties: antibacterial compound, known as BICT which is found in certain plants. When the Miswak is mixed with the saliva, this antibacterial compound is released, according to this study. However, the amount of the antibacterial compound decreases gradually if the same piece of Miswak is used several times. Hence, the study recommends that the Miswak is cut prior to each use to ensure the freshness of the twig and new antibacterial compound is released at each teeth-cleaning session. Does this mean that you should ditch the toothbrush? Not necessarily.

Remember the path of moderation. While the Miswak has great benefits, so too does the toothpaste and toothbrush. The best practice would be to use the Miswak prior to the 5 obligatory prayers, just as The Prophet (Pbuh) has recommended, and of course, to continue with the toothbrush each morning and night.

5 – Sleeping Positions: The Sunnah and the Science

The Prophet (Pbuh) used to sleep with a sleeping position on the right side (Bukhari). He also forbade people from sleeping on the stomach (Abu Dawud). A study has found that sleeping on the side positions has benefits of reducing the chances of developing Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other neurological diseases.

Sleeping on the belly is harmful as research has shown that sleeping on the stomach for babies can lead to Sudden Death Syndrome (SIDS). Another study found that sleeping on the front causes children to grind their teeth when sleeping.

Reviving the Sunnah

As Muslims, our ultimate goal is to reach Jannah (paradise) and the ways to get there are plenty. Reviving the Sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH) is one such way. Allah has stated that he is the best role model, and what better ways to follow than The Prophet’s way. If anything, these scientific studies have shown that Islam is the truth, in the Qur’an and even in the manners and habits of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

For how could an illiterate man (Prophet Muhammad PBUH) who lived 1,400 years ago have known about his sayings and actions have scientific benefits, if not for the One True God guiding him?

——–

Adapted with editorial adjustments with permission from https://halalop.com/

Soucre Link

The Superficial and their Life of Unawareness

The Superficial and their Life of Unawareness

By A. O.

Unawareness

But a person lacking this awareness disregards the existence of Allah and the Hereafter for the most part of his daily life.

The Superficial and their Life of Unawareness

The word unawareness refers to those who forget our Lord’s existence, disregard the realities of death and the Hereafter, give themselves over to worldly desires and passions and as a result, do not obey Allah’s sublime commands. We are told in the Qur’an that these people are content to evaluate things by their external appearance:

“They know an outward aspect of the life of this world but are heedless of the Hereafter.” (Al-Rum 30: 7)

They do not consider that Allah has absolute sovereignty over all matters. A shallow way of looking at the world has become a culture for them, largely due to deficiencies in their faith. They cannot properly conceive of Allah’s infinite power and sovereignty; and this failure of theirs has endowed them with an unbecoming boldness to live in this culture.

If an individual understands that Allah sees him every moment, is aware of what he does and what he thinks, and that all this is recorded in his name in Allah’s presence, then fear of Allah will lead him to practice the moral teachings of the Qur’an. This will give him a special behavior and way of thinking that are easily recognized. This is a quality far removed from superficiality; it is a natural purity that resides in no culture apart from the morality of the Qur’an; and is seen in the dignity, penitence, faithfulness and conscience of the prophets. In this morality, there is a definite heedfulness and awareness that leads an individual to be aware every moment of the existence of Allah and the Hereafter, and to seek His pleasure in everything he does. In every word he utters, he knows he is in Allah’s presence, and he lives with this idea constantly in his mind. Such a person could not possibly (unless Allah wills the contrary) demonstrate a superficial personality’s manners and expressions. He will take great pains to make sure that his choices, facial expressions, and tone of voice befit the dignity of a Muslim.

But a person lacking this awareness disregards the existence of Allah and the Hereafter for the most part of his daily life. Very often, he is literally hypnotized by his contact with others, the variety of events that happen to him, and the countless details that confront him. It never occurs to him that Allah has created these things as tests and that Allah can easily create all these details. On the contrary, he disregards Allah and concentrates merely on the details. He believes that everything that happens in his life is the result of chance, under no one’s control. As a result of these unaware ideas, he thinks that human beings are absolute entities and that their reactions result from a chain of chance occurrences. Therefore, he adjusts all his expressions, reactions, way of life and future plans in favor of his relationships with others.

A person unaware of Allah’s existence and infinite power, or who is aware but sees nothing wrong with the false religion of superficiality, cannot truthfully say that he fears Allah. So it seldom occurs to him that he should make preparations for the next life. He does not hold the ideal of developing his personality and raising his morality to a level that will please Allah and be worthy of Paradise.

———

A. O. is a Turkish writer and author.

 

Soucre Link

Islam and Freedom of Thought

Islam and Freedom of Thought

By A. O.

Freedom of Thought

Belief and worship are only of any value when they are directed to God by the free will of the individual.

Islam and Freedom of Thought

Islam is a religion which provides and guarantees freedom of ideas, thought and life. It has issued commands to prevent and forbid tension, disputes, slander and even negative thinking among people.

In the same way that it is determinedly opposed to terrorism and all acts of violence, it has also forbidden even the slightest ideological pressure to be put on them:

“There is no compulsion in religion. True guidance has become clearly distinct from error.” (Al-Baqarah 2:256)

“So remind them! You are only a reminder. You are not in control of them.” (Al-Ghashiyyah 88:21-22)

Forcing people to believe in a religion or to adopt its forms of belief is completely contrary to the essence and spirit of Islam. According to Islam, true faith is only possible with free will and freedom of conscience. Of course, Muslims can advise and encourage each other about the features of Qur’anic morality. All believers are charged with explaining Qur’anic morality to people in the nicest manner possible. They will explain the beauties of religion in the light of the verse, “Call to the way of your Lord with wisdom and fair admonition…” (Al-Nahl 16:125), however, they must also bear in mind the verse, “You are not responsible for their guidance, but God guides whoever He wills.” (Al-Baqarah 2:272)

They will never resort to compulsion, nor any kind of physical or psychological pressure. Neither will they use any worldly privilege to turn someone towards religion. When they receive a negative response to what they say, Muslims will reply along the lines of: “To you your religion, and to me, mine” (Al-Kafirun 109:6)

The world we live in contains societies with all kinds of beliefs: Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, atheist, deist and even pagan. Muslims living in such a world must be tolerant of all beliefs they come up against, no matter what they may be, and behave forgivingly, justly and humanely. This responsibility placed on believers is to invite people to the beauty of the religion of God by means of peace and tolerance. The decision whether or not to implement these truths, whether or not to believe, lies with the other party. Forcing that person to believe, or trying to impose anything on him, is a violation of Qur’anic morality. In fact, God issues a reminder to believers in the Qur’an:

“If your Lord had willed, all the people on the earth would have believed. Do you think you can force people to be believers?” (Yunus 10:99)

“We know best what they say and you [O Muhammad] are not a compeller over them. But warn by the Qur’an whoever fears My warning.” (Qaaf 50:45)

A model of society in which people are forced to worship is completely contradictory to Islam. Belief and worship are only of any value when they are directed to God by the free will of the individual. If a system imposes belief and worship on people, then they will become religious out of fear of that system. From the religious point of view, what really counts is that religion should be lived for God’s good pleasure in an environment where peoples’ consciences are totally free.

The history of Islam is full of the tolerant practices of Muslim rulers who have respected all religions and built religious freedom with their own hands. For example, Thomas Arnold, a British missionary employed in the service of the Indian government, describes that Islam favors freedom in these words:

But of any organized attempt to force the acceptance of Islam on the non-Muslim population, or of any systematic persecution intended to stamp out the Christian religion, we hear nothing. Had the caliphs chosen to adopt either course of action, they might have swept away Christianity as easily as Ferdinand and Isabella drove Islam out of Spain, or Louis XIV made Protestantism penal in France, or the Jews were kept out of England for 350 years. The Eastern Churches in Asia were entirely cut off from communion with the rest of Christendom, throughout which no one would have been found to lift a finger on their behalf, as heretical communions. So that the very survival of these Churches to the present day is a strong proof of the generally tolerant attitude of the Muhammadan governments towards them.

———

A. O. is a Turkish writer and author.

Soucre Link

A Life of Trouble and Anguish

A Life of Trouble and Anguish

By A. O.

A Life of Trouble

On the other hand, believers who spend their lives in the cause of Allah are rewarded with a beautiful life both in this world and the Hereafter.

People in a state of ignorance invest all their hopes and dreams in this world alone and forget the Hereafter. However, the attachment they form for this life often turns into an unbridled ambition. At this point, fortune, fame or status cease to satisfy the individual’s worldly whims and desires. Success and prosperity only engender further ambition and greed rather than induce a peaceful state of mind.

Such ambition, however, is detrimental to man’s physical well-being. Ambitions also make him lose his moral values. Self-interest finally isolates him. Though surrounded by a lot of people, people in a state of ignorance feel lonely and insecure, never finding a true companion. These factors together with other troubles become a major source of disappointment. Under such circumstances, life becomes a burden rather than a source of joy and pleasure.

This is exactly what befalls the ignorant as a result of their own preferences. However, no matter what befalls them, they do not realize what is happening to their lives. Most of them only realize it after spending a whole life devoted to worldly pleasures, at the very time when they feel death is close. To their sorrow, however, it is too late. Even then, the grief does not stop there. Allah informs us that it is not only this life that they lose. Because of their adherence to primitive reasoning, these people will meet a grievous end in the Hereafter:

“They indeed are losers who deny their meeting with Allah until, when the Hour comes on them suddenly, they cry: Alas for us, that we neglected it! They bear upon their backs their burdens. Ah, evil are the burdens which they bear!” (Al-An`am: 31)

On the other hand, believers who spend their lives in the cause of Allah are rewarded with a beautiful life both in this world and the Hereafter:

“So Allah gave them the reward of this world and the glorious reward of the Hereafter. Allah loves those whose deeds are good.” (Al `Imran: 148)

“Say: Who has forbidden the adornment of Allah which He has brought forth for His bondmen, and the good things of His providing? Say: Such, on the Day of Resurrection, will be only for those who believed during the life of this world. Thus do we make plain Our revelations for peoples who have knowledge.” (Al-A`raf: 32)

This is the ayah starting with:

“Those who believe and carry out their duty to Allah, theirs are good tidings in the life of the world and in the Hereafter. There is no changing the Words of Allah; that is the Supreme Triumph.” (Yunus: 63-64)

 

———–

A. O. is a Turkish writer and author.

 

 

Soucre Link

What Is Your Objective in Ramadan?

What Is Your Objective in Ramadan?

By Dr. Ali Al-Halawani

Ramadan

Set a goal for yourself in Ramadan which you will do your best to achieve. Let that goal be to save yourself from Hellfire and to enjoy Allah’s pleasure and salvation during that noble month.

For one’s life to be meaningful, it has to have a goal that is worked toward or striven for. If one leads all of one’s life without a goal to be achieved or an end to be reached, all of one’s life goes with the wind. This is true of all people, Muslims and non-Muslims alike. But for a Muslim, this issue has much more value, as the end-goal is to attain Allah’s pleasure and to be granted admission to Paradise in the Hereafter.

Based on this, true Muslims should have an objective for both their whole life and their individual deeds during every minute that they stay on earth.

No one can deny the fact that Allah designed and subjugated the creation in order for man to fulfill the objective he was originally created for, which can be seen in Allah’s saying in His Ever-Glorious Qur’an:

“And I (Allah) created not the jinn and mankind except that they should worship Me (Alone). I seek not any provision from them (i.e. provision for themselves or for My creatures) nor do I ask that they should feed Me (i.e. feed themselves or My creatures).” (Adh-Dhariyat 51:56-57)

In addition, Allah Almighty gives man one chance after another to come back to Him and seek the straight path. As for Muslims, Allah gave them the month of Ramadan as a great opportunity to increase their potential good deeds and decrease their sinful ones, to help them attain Paradise in the Hereafter. Ramadan is the month where the reward for good deeds is multiplied manyfold by the grace of Allah. Thus, it is a real opportunity to overcome the obstacles of life and the malicious schemes of Satan.

Set a goal for yourself in Ramadan which you will do your best to achieve. Let that goal be to save yourself from Hellfire and to enjoy Allah’s pleasure and salvation during that noble month.

In order for you to achieve that lofty goal, you will have to stop with yourself at some important stations. These stations go as follows:

With Fasting

Let your objective this Ramadan be that you abstain from all that is prohibited for you by Allah. So do not cheat or lie or backbite or usurp others’ properties or gaze at what Allah has prohibited (the opposite sex). It is well-known that fasting is of three degrees:

  1. Abstaining from food, drink, and intimate intercourse.
  2. Keeping your ears, eyes, tongue, hands, and feet, and all other bodily organs free from sins.
  3. Avoiding occupying your heart with unworthy concerns and worldly thoughts, and upholding nothing in your heart but Allah the Almighty.

So, what holds you back from drawing nearer to Allah and being one of those very few people who observe fasting of that third and special degree?

With Standing in the Night in Prayer

Have an objective this Ramadan to perform a minimum of eight rak`ahs in Prayer after `Isha’ and before Fajr in addition to Shaf` and Witr. Do not let anything prevent you from performing these precious rak`ahs every night in Ramadan. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is reported to have said the following:

It is highly recommended for you to observe Qiyam al-Layl (Night Prayer), for it was the practice of your righteous predecessors. Qiyam al-Layl brings you closer to your Lord, atones for your sins, drives disease from your body, and stops transgression. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

With the Qur’an

Be keen on finishing reading the whole Qur’an at least once during the month of Ramadan. Recite at least one of its 30 parts every day. What if you are not that good at reading the Qur’an? You should not despair or be disappointed, for there is still a chance for you to gain reward from Allah. This can be achieved by listening directly to one who has better recitation, listening to a recording, or listening to a radio station. Spending your time listening to Qur’anic recitation is also good and rewarding.

With Ties of Kinship

During Ramadan, you should be keener on being connected with your family and relatives, especially those whom the vicissitudes of life prevent continual communication with. Spend some money on getting reconnected with them. You may assign, let us say, $10 for this purpose. Imagine, this tiny sum of money could bring you together with all your relatives! It will also bring you nearer to Allah the Almighty.

Also, in so doing, try to remember the hadith in which Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that a person said this:

“Allah’s Messenger, I have relatives with whom I try to have a close relationship, but they sever (this relation). I treat them well, but they treat me ill. I am sweet to them but they are harsh towards me.” Upon this he (the Prophet) said, “If it is so as you say, then you, in fact, throw hot ashes (upon their faces) and there would always remain with you on behalf of Allah (an angel to support you) who would keep you dominant over them so long as you adhere to this (path of righteousness).” (Muslim)

With Charity

Let there be a charity that you give to in Allah’s cause every day in Ramadan. The reward for charity and all other good deeds is multiplied manyfold in Ramadan. This is one of the blessings of this auspicious month. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is reported to have said, “Give out charity, for it guarantees your salvation from Hellfire” (At-Tabarani). However, what if you do not know one or it is not that easy for you to access a charity every day? You could try to gather and combine your charity every 10 days, for example, and then give it out at once.

With Dhikr (Remembrance of Allah)

Keep your tongue wet with the continuous remembrance of Allah. Remembrance of Allah is one of the best kinds of worship that is due for Allah, as well as one of the easiest kinds of worship for those for whom Allah makes it easy. The story of Hudair, one of the Prophet’s Companions who was persistent in remembering Allah during one of the great battles of early Islam, is a good example of the reward Allah Almighty has set for those who remember Him very frequently. It is reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) forgot to give Hudair his provision for the journey, but the remembrance of Allah removed his need for food for several days, till the Angel Jibreel descended to inform the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) about his case. The Prophet sent another companion after Hudair carrying the necessary provision for him.

With Supplication

A true Muslim should be keen on using “the believer’s weapon,” du`aa’ (supplication to Allah), in every situation. This is true of every situation that occurs for a Muslim in daily life. During fasting, stick to making du`aa’, because in this state you are nearer to Allah and your supplications are more likely to be accepted. Thus, you should make du`aa’ to Allah all the time and not forget that Allah responds to the invocations of the supplicant when he or she calls on Him sincerely from the heart. Allah says in His Ever-Glorious Qur’an:

“And when My slaves ask you (O Muhammad—peace be upon him) concerning Me then (answer them) I am indeed near (to them by My knowledge). I respond to the invocations of the supplicant when he calls on Me (without any mediator or intercessor). So let them obey Me and believe in Me, so that they may be led aright.” (Al-Baqarah 2:186)

Finally, let your other objective in Ramadan be to set your head free from things that can take you to Hellfire, by doing all the aforementioned things; they are so easy for those for whom Allah makes them easy.

———

Dr. Ali Al-Halawani is Assistant Professor of Linguistics and Translation, Kulliyyah of Languages and Management (KLM), International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He was Assistant Professor and worked for a number of international universities in Malaysia and Egypt such as Al-Madinah International Univerity, Shah Alam, Malaysia (Mediu) and Misr University for Science & Technology (MUST), Egypt; Former Editor-in-Chief of the Electronic Da`wah Committee (EDC), Kuwait; Former Deputy Chief Editor and Managing Editor of the Living Shari`ah Department, www.islamOnline.net; Member of the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS); and member of the World Association of Arab Translators & Linguists (Wata). He is a published writer, translator, and researcher. You can reach him at alihalawani72@hotmail.com.

 

Soucre Link