Are You Like Her?

Source : SuhaibWebb | By Maryam Amirebrahimi

AMushafs I stood amongst millions of pilgrims from across the globe, I noticed a girl walk up to two elderly women sitting in front of Masjid al-Haraam.

After greeting them both, I noticed her asking if the women may be interested in a bag. One of the two women accepted it eagerly, excitedly pulling out one item after another. “A toothbrush!” she exclaimed with such delight. I realized these women might be amongst the very poor who traveled to Makkah with nothing more than the clothes on their backs.

As I watched the young girl and the two women, I saw the elderly woman pull out a small box with the widest grin on her face. As she held the box and fumbled to open it, she exclaimed with pure joy, “A mushaf (copy of the Qur’an)!”

The girl was taken aback. “No…no,” she stammered to correct the elderly woman. “It’s just a small box with things for…” The woman could not hear the girl beyond her enthrallment as she continued to try to get it open. She kept exclaiming her joy for the mushaf while the other elderly woman across from her grinned. Finally, she got the box opened and stared at it blankly. The girl sadly repeated what she had been trying to share, what she now knew the elder woman had unfortunately discovered. The girl mumbled with embarrassment, “It’s not a mushaf…it’s a sewing kit.”

The elder woman looked up from the box and peered into the girl’s face. The woman’s excitement re-appeared in her eyes, her smile lighting up her face full of soft wrinkles. She exuded with passion, “Please, give me a mushaf. Please, get a mushaf for me!”

Watching this, I was absolutely floored. This was a woman whose face, body and clothing were marked with signs of age, difficulty and poverty. And while many may not have looked twice at her because of her appearance, because of her sincere love and excitement for the Qur’an, she may have had a greater station with Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He) than all the rest of us combined.

Many of us consider great individuals in our communities to be those whose names are celebrated; some of us judge a person’s worth by the number of subscribers, comments or likes on their Facebook. Some of us consider those with hoards of followers on Twitter as those who are superior. Some of us look to Imams (religious leaders), scholars or pious individuals in our mosques as those who have a special place with Allah. But the reality is that we have no idea whom amongst us are the inhabitants of Paradise and who may be closest to Him to Whom we will all return. And perhaps those who are truly special with Him are those who are unknown to us. Perhaps it is because of them that Allah (swt) sends angels of mercy and protection to surround them and in turn, envelop us because of our proximity to such special people.

Some of us in the West are being tried with one of the greatest forms of tests in this life, and that is the test of luxury and ease. Will we continue to remember Allah, love His Book and cling to His path even amidst our comfort? How will we work to be of those whose hearts soar and eyes light up at the possibility of holding His Book and hearing His words?

For many of us living in lands of wealth and ease, accessing the Qur’an is as simple as clicking on an app, going to a website or taking it off our home’s bookshelf. Yet how many of us make a point to do so? How many of us put in the effort? How many of us, like this incredible woman who did not even have a mushaf, choose to have the Qur’an embellished in our lives?

Superstitions at the Speed of Light

The QuranIt would be hoped that the Muslim mind would have some natural reservations when it comes to believing in falsehoods and superstitions, since the Quran establishes for us an approach to knowledge founded on factual information and evidence.

Allah says: “Say: Bring your proof, if you are truthful.” [Surah al-Baqarah: 111]

A Muslim believes in empirical evidence and in the knowledge gained through accurate observation and experimentation. A Muslim believes in reason and the conclusions the rational mind arrives at when free from the influence of personal desires and vested interests. A Muslim believes also in the truth of Divine Revelation.

Therefore, proof as a Muslim sees it is either empirical, rational, or – in matters of the unseen – scriptural.

This is clear from Allah’s words:

“Allah brings you forth from the wombs of your mothers knowing nothing, and He provides you with hearing, sight, and a heart, that perhaps you might be thankful.” [Surah al-Nahl: 78]

In this verse, Allah defines the sources of knowledge that can bring a person forth from the snares of ignorance.

Allah says: “And pursue not that of which you have no knowledge; for every act of hearing, or of seeing, or of the heart, will be enquired into.” [Surah al-Isra’: 36]

This verse prohibits us following that which is not supported by evidence and defines for us the sources of evidence.

By way of our hearing, we learn about revelation. By way of our sight, we acquire empirical knowledge. By way of our hearts, we are able to reason and make determinations.

By employing this methodology, the Muslims of old were able to emerge from the age of ignorance that they had been living in and become the vanguard of history, leading civilization forward.

They did not suffer from any conflict between rational knowledge and spiritual belief. Theirs was a perfect harmony between the two which brought about a full realization of their human potential.

This is in stark contrast to the pitiful state that Muslims are in today. Muslims are practically cut off from the empirical sciences, which have witnessed startling transformations and discoveries at a rate unprecedented in history.

Muslims societies are plagued with fables and superstitions that stifle their intellectual output and that bring about nothing but confusion. For some, the distinction between fables and superstitions on the one hand and revealed knowledge on the other has become obscured. Ready acceptance of strange and unnatural claims is seen as a natural extension of our belief in the unseen. Some people are eager to accept the flimsiest of claims and the most unsubstantiated of reports. Beneficial and sound knowledge, on the other hand, is met by some people with suspicion and stiff resistance.

Fables and strange tales spread around, traveling at the speed of light. Indeed, the speed with which rumors and fables spread through society might become a new figure of speech to indicate fantastic speed. Sheikh Muhammad Rashîd Ridâ wrote something once about the visionary bequest of Ahmad, the bearer of the Kaaba’s keys, foretelling the end of the world. Thereafter, Sheikh `Abd al-`Azîz b. Bâz wrote a specific response to this fable, though some people were surprised that he saw it worth his effort to refute such a ridiculous tale. Alas, we see the tale in its various guises reappear year after year.

Modern technology has allowed such stories to spread and circulate faster than ever. The Internet, satellite broadcasts, cell phones, and other advancements in communication have exposed to us how weak Muslims are in sorting and verifying information and how easy they are willing to absorb ideas that are contrary to both the teachings of Islam and to good sense. They have shown us the simple-mindedness and gullibility of a wide section of the population.

How often to reformers have to waste time combating false reports that spread like viruses, lethal and insidious, unchecked by any immunity.

Religious people are often the victims of myths about saints, the Mahdi, and the Hour. Sick people are susceptible to instantaneous diagnoses about magic curses, with cures that are often ridiculous and contrary to Islamic teachings. Many wives are plagued by superstitions involving curses, Jinn, magic charms, and the interpretation of dreams.

People seeking quick wealth are often taken in by the tempting promises of mediums who claim that with the assistance of Jinn or other people, they can help uncover for them buried treasure.

The general public seems not to have the patience to try and understand things or to acquire accurate knowledge. They are not sufficiently prepared for critical thinking. They are attracted to the new and strange. A person might sit in on a lecture or hear a sermon and remember nothing that was said except for something that was strange and unusual. The same can be said for reading periodicals. Some people have no interest except in those articles that have the least benefit or value, but that provide them with strange and attention-getting anecdotes for conversation.

However, Allah directs us as follows:

“Those who hear advice and follow the best thereof, such are those whom Allah guides, and such are people of understanding.” [Surah al-Zumar: 18]

It never ceases to amaze how an erudite scholar or scientist who is able to employ his mind to great effect within his field of secular study can at the same time you find him in another setting with his head reverently bowed down, awaiting the arrival of Khidr or the appearance of one of the Companions or prophets who is to participate in their gathering. It leaves us to wonder how such good sense can reside in the same mind with such foolish superstition.

Does a Muslim’s faith in the unseen – in matters that cannot be subjected to empirical scrutiny – give him license to discard sense and discretion in what he accepts to be true?

When superstition to run rampant in people’s lives, they dissipates their mental powers, making them incapable of critical thinking. Superstitions blacken the image of Islam.

Superstitions take away people’s confidence in themselves and their own abilities. It is that confidence which is so vital to the pursuit of knowledge, to inventiveness, and to excellence.

Noble, healthy civilizations have no respect for superstitions. We must make it a priority to reform our approaches to education, to developing critical thinking skills. No one who is concerned about the future of Muslim society can fail to see the importance of doing so. We should not allow our problems and circumstances to distract us from this. Indeed, only in this way will we be able to develop a strong basis to meet the challenges that confront us.

By : Sheikh Salman al-Oadah

The Conquest of Space

- By Dr. Maurice Bucaille
From this point of view, three verses of the Qur’an should command our full attention. One expresses, without any trace of ambiguity, what man should and will achieve in this field. In the other two, God refers for the sake of the unbelievers in Makkah to the surprise they would have if they were able to raise themselves up to the Heavens; He alludes to a hypothesis which will not be realized for the latter.

1) The first of these verses is surah 55, verse 33: “O assembly of Jinns and Men, if you can penetrate regions of the heavens and the earth, then penetrate them! You will not penetrate them save with a Power.”

The translation given here needs some explanatory comment:

a) The word ‘if’ expresses in English a condition that is dependent upon a possibility and either an achievable or an unachievable hypothesis. Arabic is a language which is able to introduce a nuance into the condition which is much more explicit. There is one word to express the possibility (ida), another for the achievable hypothesis (in) and a third for the unachievable hypothesis expressed by the word (lau). The verse in question has it as an achievable hypothesis expressed by the word (in). The Qur’an therefore suggests the material possibility of a concrete realization. This subtle linguistic distinction formally rules out the purely mystic interpretation that some people have (quite wrongly) put on this verse.

b) God is addressing the spirits (jinn) and human beings (ins), and not essentially allegorical figures.

c) ‘To penetrate’ is the translation of the verb nafada followed by the preposition min. According to Kazimirski’s dictionary, the phrase means ‘to pass right through and come out on the other side of a body’ (e.g. an arrow that comes out on the other side). It therefore suggests a deep penetration and emergence at the other end into the regions in question.

d) The Power (sultan) these men will have to achieve this enterprise would seem to come from the All-Mighty.’

There can be no doubt that this verse indicates the possibility men will one day achieve what we today call (perhaps rather improperly) ‘the conquest of space’. One must note that the text of the Qur’an predicts not only penetration through the regions of the Heavens, but also the Earth, i.e. the exploration of its depths.

2) The other two verses are taken from surah 15, (verses 14 and 15). God is speaking of the unbelievers in Makkah, as the context of this passage in the surah shows:

“Even if We opened unto them a gate to Heaven and they were to continue ascending therein, they would say: our sight is confused as in drunkenness. Nay, we are people bewitched.”

The above expresses astonishment at a remarkable spectacle, different from anything man could imagine.

The conditional sentence is introduced here by the word lau which expresses a hypothesis that could never be realized as far as it concerned the people mentioned in these verses.

When talking of the conquest of space therefore, we have two passages in the text of the Qur’an: one of them refers to what will one day become a reality thanks to the powers of intelligence and ingenuity God will give to man, and the other describes an event that the unbelievers in Makkah will never witness, hence its character of a condition never to be realized. The event will however be seen by others, as intimated in the first verse quoted above. It describes the human reactions to the unexpected spectacle that travelers in space will see: their confused sight, as in drunkenness, the feeling of being bewitched…

This is exactly how astronauts have experienced this remarkable adventure since the first human space flight around the world in 1961. It is known in actual fact how once one is above the Earth’s atmosphere, the Heavens no longer have the azure appearance we see from Earth, which results from phenomena of absorption of the Sun’s light into the layers of the atmosphere. The human observer in space above the Earth’s atmosphere sees a black sky and the Earth seems to be surrounded by a halo of bluish color due to the same phenomena of absorption of light by the Earth’s atmosphere. The Moon has no atmosphere, however, and therefore appears in its true colors against the black background of the sky. It is a completely new spectacle therefore that presents itself to men in space, and the photographs of this spectacle are well known to present-day man.

Here again, it is difficult not to be impressed, when comparing the text of the Qur’an to the data of modern science, by statements that simply cannot be ascribed to the thought of a man who lived more than fourteen centuries ago.

source: islam101

To Kill a Mocking Tongue

- By Muhammad Al-Sharif

Al-Ma’roor ibn Suwayd narrates that he once saw Abu Dharr – radi Allaahu ‘anhu – wearing a beautiful shawl. His slave standing next to him was wearing a shawl exactly like it, warm and beautiful.

Ma’roor said to Abu Dharr, “Perhaps you could take the shawl of your servant and give him another (less expensive) one.”

“Never,” said Abu Dharr, “for I once had a servant whose mother was not Arab and I cussed him and his mother. That servant went to the Messenger of Allah – sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam – complaining of the words I had said.

“When Rasul Allaah – sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam – saw me he commented, ‘O Abu Dharr, you are a man who still has Jahilliyyah (Pre-Islamic Ignorance) in him.’”

Because of these painful words, Abu Dharr – may Allah be pleased with him – would always dress his servants in the exact same garments that he would wear.

Dear brothers and sisters, Allah is disobeyed most with our tongues. There is a sin that sweeps amongst us, a sin that many take lightly, a sin that is laughed at, a sin that could very well pull someone to Hellfire: It is the sin of insulting others.

Read carefully this following verse. It is a commandment of Allah that begins with a call to those who claim to have Eemaan. Allah ta’ala says in the Qur’an (49/11):

O you who believe let not one group of people make fun of another, perhaps the (one’s being made fun of) are better then them. And let not women make fun of other women perhaps the (woman being made fun of) is better then them. And do not insult one another and do not call each other by (offensive) nicknames. Wretched is the name (i.e. mention) of disobedience after (one’s) faith. And whoever does not repent – then it is those who are the Dhaalimoon (the wrongdoers).

Perhaps the one that is being made fun of is more beloved to Allah. Subhaan Allah, let us remember this if we ever try to make fun of someone, perhaps Allah loves them and does not love us. Didn’t the Mushrikeen make fun of Rasul Allah – sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam – and we know Allah loved him and not them. Didn’t the Munaafiqeen make fun of the Sahaabah – and we know Allah loved the Sahaabah and not them.

Rasul Allah – sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam – said, “Verily a person will speak words from those that Allah hates, paying no heed to what he is saying, and with those words he will plummet in to hellfire.” – Bukhari

There are different reasons why a person would want to insult, make fun of and ridicule other community members:

Firstly: They have weak Eemaan and their fear of Allah is poor. This is one of the major reasons.

Secondly: They spend a lot of their time in gatherings that bring no benefit.

Thirdly: They themselves may want others to praise them. Sadly, when there is a student or a community member that insults others, often it is they that want to be the ‘cool’ one. How can they be ‘cool’ if they are doing something that Allah and His Messenger hate?

Fourthly: They forget the punishment for those that make fun of others. Imam Al-Bayhaqee narrates in Shu’ab al-Eemaan, that Rasul Allah – sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam – said, “Verily those people that make fun of people – for them a gate of Jannah will be opened. It will be said to them: Come (and enter). That person will come with all their anguish and depression – but when he gets close, the gate will be closed in his face. Then another gate (to Jannah) will be opened and it will be said: Come (and enter). So that person comes with all his anguish and depression. But when he gets close, the gate will be closed in his face. This will keep happening to him until it gets to the point where it will be said: Come (and enter), and he will not come from the despair of ever entering paradise.”

Fifthly: Those that make fun of others may do so out of love for the Kuffaar and a love to imitate them. How many times do we see the comedians mocking people and everyone laughing? Indeed, mocking others and insulting them is a characteristic of Jaahiliyyah and kufr, and it is never a characteristic of a believer.

Allah ta’ala shows us in Surah Al-Mutaffifeen (83/29) how this characteristic of laughing at others is a characteristic of the Kuffaar:

Indeed, those who committed crimes used to laugh at those who believed.

The seriousness of this sin varies in accordance to the subject being insulted:

On the highest level of seriousness is to make fun of Allah or His Ayaat or His Messenger – sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam. A group of Munaafiqeen started joking one day about their Qurr’aa, i.e. the Companions of Allah’s Messenger. They described in ridiculing terms that they were large in stomachs, having lying tongues and being cowardly. Allah ta’ala tells us in the Qur’an (9/65-66):

And if you ask them, they will surely say, “We were only conversing and playing.” Say, “Is it Allah and His verses and His Messenger that you were mocking?” / Make no excuse; you have disbelieved (i.e. rejected faith) after your belief. If We pardon one faction of you – We will punish another faction because they were criminals.

To ridicule and make fun of the Sahaabah: In the incident just mentioned, the comment that the Munaafiqeen was actually directed at the Sahaabah. The Qur’aan shows us that this was a direct ridicule of Allah, His verses, and His Messenger.

Shaykh Al-Uthaymeen – rahi mahullaah – said: Thus it is understood that someone who curses and ridicules the Companions is a Kaafir. This is because cutting their honor is in reality an attempt at ridiculing Allah and His Messenger and His Sharee’ah.

To ridicule the pious believers: For example, if someone were to ridicule a pious believer because of his practice of the Deen, such as ridiculing a brother’s beard or to mock a sisters Hijaab, etc. Doing this – i.e. mocking a Muslim because of his Islam – may very well expel someone from the fold of Islam.

Allah ta’ala says in Surah Al-Mutaffifeen (29-30):

Indeed, those that committed crimes used to laugh at those who believed

As reported in Tafseer At-Tabaree, the Munaafiqeen were once sitting back watching the charity that the believers were giving. To those that gave much, like AbdurRahmaan ibn ‘Owf, they said, ‘he only gave it to show off’. For those that gave little, they said, ‘Verily, Allah has no need for his petty offering.”

And so Allah ta’ala revealed in Surat At-Tawbah (9/79):

Those who criticize the contributers among the believers concerning their charities and (criticize) the ones who find nothing (to spend) except their effort, so they ridicule them – Allah will ridicule them, and they will have a painful punishment.

To ridicule humans in general: This applies to the God-fearing and the Fussaaq, a believer should not humiliate people and or use derogatory nicknames for them, nor should they ridicule their creation.

Allah ta’ala says 49/11:

O you who believe let not one group of people make fun of another

And Rasul Allah – sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam – said, “It is enough sin for a person that they would ridicule their Muslim brother.”

Abdullaah ibn Mas’ood – radi Allaahu ‘anhu – used to say, as narrated by Ibn Abee ‘Aasim, “By Allah whom there is no god but He, there is nothing more worthy of a prolonged incarceration then one’s tongue.”

Abu Moosa – radi Allaahu ‘anhu – said: I asked Allah’s Messenger, ‘Who out of the Muslims is the best?’ He replied, “Those whom the other Muslims are safe from his tongue and hands.” – Agreed Upon

The mockingbird, native to the western hemisphere, has a very interesting name. The mockingbird gets its name from its ability to mimic the sounds of other animals. It combines song notes of it’s own with sounds from other birds, doing so in almost a mocking way. It is an endangered species, and we hope – in sha Allah – that the mocking it got its name after will become endangered in our communities too.

Al-Hasan Al-Basree – rahimahullaah – said, “Whoever does not guard the slips of their tongue has not understood their Deen.”

Dear brothers and sisters, one of the saddest things is to see the regulars of the masjid, or the leaders of the Muslim youth, being the ones who mock others. So many youth groups and Halaqahs around North America are built on this notion that in order to be cool you must ridicule and mock others.

In other places, I know personally people that abandoned the local Masjid because they did not want to be ridiculed by the Muslims. They felt more comfort and compassion in the character of the disbelievers. What will Allah ta’ala think of someone that does this to the Muslims, someone who is an obstacle for others to come closer to Allah?

If we find a gathering of Muslims to be like this, it is our duty to command the good and forbid the evil and demand that this ridiculing stop once and for all.

In conclusion, the questions that begs to be asked is: What is the cure for this disease of the tongue?

One: We should know that it is a major sin. In fact, a person may make a single statement – not paying any heed to it – by which he may slip in to Hellfire.

Two: We should follow what our tongues are saying and not allow ourselves to stoop to vain talk.

Three: We should distance ourselves from those long useless gatherings where nothing is done for hours except laughing and chatting. Instead, we should replace our gatherings with the remembrance of Allah and good speech.

Four: We must glorify this Deen and make enormous in our hearts the commandments of Allah ta’ala. If Allah says do not make fun of one another, our reply should be nothing more then: ‘we hear and we obey’.

Five: We should warn others of the sin of insulting other people and making fun of them. Let us not allow ourselves to be as a silent Shaytaan listening to others being insulted. Let us speak up and say it clearly that this is not something loved by Allah and His Messenger. Say that if Allah and His Messenger hate it, then so do I.

Six: If you feel yourself that you just have to insult someone, ask Allah to protect you from the Shaytaan and this satanic act. As Allah ta’ala says (7/200):

And if an evil suggestion comes to you from Satan, then seek refuge in Allah. Indeed, He is Hearing and Knowing.

Seven: And of course, if anyone of us should fall into this sin, we should be swift in turning back to Allah in Tawbah. Say Astaghfirullaah wa ‘atoobo ilayh, O Allah I ask You to forgive me and I return to You.

Allah ta’ala says in the Qur’an (49/11):

And whoever does not repent – then it is those who are the Dhaalimoon (the wrongdoers).

Finally, if there is one thing that you remember from this khutbah let it be this following commandment of Allaah ta’ala, memorize it and teach it to at least one other person:

O you who believe let not one group of people make fun of another

Picture Perfect : Foundation of Al Madinah

Photo Courtesy : http://www.flickr.com/photos/noushadali/sets/72157627017146419/with/5913861878/

Islamic Exhibition Posters and Models.   ~    Photo Courtesy : http://www.flickr.com/photos/noushadali/sets/72157627017146419/with/5913861878/

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