Wednesday, 31 May 2017
Tuesday, 30 May 2017
A dear friend told me recently, “I mean no offense, but your life is so fraught with trials and tribulations that when things are bad I just think of how things are for you. And it makes me grateful that things in my life aren’t as bad.” I took no offense at all. Because, yes, I have suffered and suffer more pain, loss and hardship than you could possibly imagine. But my life is also filled with miraculous stories of God saving me even from the grip of death when I was certain I would die. That is because God says in His majestic book, the Qur’an:
(فَإِنَّ مَعَ الْعُسْرِ يُسْرًا إِنَّ مَعَ الْعُسْرِ يُسْرًا)
“So for every hardship, there is relief. For every hardship, there is relief.”
[The Holy Qur’an, Surah al-Inshirah, 94:5]
It is one of the only sentences in the entire Qur’an repeated twice in a row. Because God wants that point to really hit home for you. When this verse was revealed, the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ came out literally laughing out loud in glee proclaiming glad tidings to his Companions saying:
(لَنْ يَغْلِبَ عُسْرٌ يُسْرَيْنَ، لَنْ يَغْلِبَ عُسْرٌ يُسْرَيْنِ)
“A hardship can never overshadow its relief which is twice as great! A hardship can never overshadow its relief which is twice as great.”
The great 17th Century Hanafi jurist and theologian of Herat, Mulla Ali Qari, said about this:
(يكون العسر واحدا واليسر اثنين ، فالعسر ما كانوا عليه من متاعب الدنيا ومشاقها ، واليسر في الدنيا الفتح والنصرة على الأعداء ، وفي العقبى الفوز بالحسنى ولقاء الأحباء)
“Hardship here is solitary but the relief is double. Hardship is what one experiences in the troubles of this world and its tribulations. But relief, when it comes to the world, is victory and prevailing against adversaries, whereas, in the Hereafter it is a most beautiful success and reunion with loved ones.”
The Prophet’s ﷺ Companion, `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud, said about this verse of the Qur’an:
(لو دخل العسر في جُحْر، لجاء اليسر حتى يدخل عليه)
“If hardship were to enter a hole, its relief would go after it until it vanquished it.”
This is critical and hearkens back to an important grammatical nuance in the first verse from Surah al-Duha which I mentioned. People often understand it to mean “after difficulty comes relief”, but that’s actually an incomplete understanding of the verse. It says “WITH (مع) hardship is relief”. It does not say “after hardship..” That is because it is God’s rule of the universe that every hardship’s relief is intrinsic and essential to the hardship itself.
Why is there this bond between such opposites? God has answered that in the Qur’an as well:
(يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ بِكُمُ الْيُسْرَ وَلَا يُرِيدُ بِكُمُ الْعُسْرَ )
“God wants ease for you, He doesn’t want difficulty for you.”
[The Holy Qur’an, Surah al-Baqara, 2:185]
God will always save you and the relief will be double the intensity that the hardship was. And the hardships He puts you through aren’t always punishment. They are the fires with which your metal will be shaped to a strong form. It is what shapes you into a powerful believer with an unbreakable faith (“imān”).
(أَحَسِبَ النَّاسُ أَن يُتْرَكُوا أَن يَقُولُوا آمَنَّا وَهُمْ لَا يُفْتَنُونَ * وَلَقَدْ فَتَنَّا الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِهِمْ ۖ فَلَيَعْلَمَنَّ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ صَدَقُوا وَلَيَعْلَمَنَّ الْكَاذِبِينَ)
“Do people really think that they’ll say ‘We have believed’ and they won’t be tested? Those before them were tested so that God can identify those who are true and those who are false.”
[The Holy Qur’an, Surah al-`Ankabut, 29:2-3]
Because in times of hardship is when you see people’s reality. Their true character will always surface in times of tribulation and efface any semblance of piety they had. But if they are true, they will hold strong. If they are false, they will give up and say “God hates me” or “God has abandoned me”. Neither should you feel that God has abandoned you or hates you. As He says in the Qur’an, in Surah al-Inshirah, which is actually the Chapter right before the one I started this commentary on:
(مَا وَدَّعَكَ رَبُّكَ وَمَا قَلَ)
“Your Lord has not abandoned you, nor does He despise you.”
[The Holy Qur’an, Surah al-Duha, 94:5-6]
So, I took absolutely no offense to my friends comment. I was truly happy that my pain and hardship could inspire someone to be grateful for what they have. My pain, my trials, my hardships, and even my failures, they all are a part of me. They made me who I am today, and continue to make me who I will be. And in a small way they make me, and all of us in the hardships we face in life, among those whose greatness seldom do any reach:
(أَمْ حَسِبْتُمْ أَن تَدْخُلُوا الْجَنَّةَ وَلَمَّا يَأْتِكُم مَّثَلُ الَّذِينَ خَلَوْا مِن قَبْلِكُم ۖ مَّسَّتْهُمُ الْبَأْسَاءُ وَالضَّرَّاءُ وَزُلْزِلُوا حَتَّىٰ يَقُولَ الرَّسُولُ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مَعَهُ مَتَىٰ نَصْرُ اللَّهِ ۗ أَلَا إِنَّ نَصْرَ اللَّهِ قَرِيبٌ )
“Or do you really think that you will enter Paradise without such trials that afflicted those before you? They faced suffering and adversity and were shaken to the core until the Messenger and those who believed with him cried out: ‘Where is the help of God?’ Ah! But the help of God is ever near.”
[The Holy Qur’an, Surah al-Baqarah, 2:214]
God may let you fall off the cliff to where you’re hanging by your fingers. But when you think all is lost, He will be there to catch you. Even if He wills a time of peril and doom for you, as we all will face in our lives, even if it is time for your death, you have to understand that He is still saving you, and in that difficulty is some form of relief that is twice as great. And it is often in ways that you may not necessarily perceive or understand. Will you have enough faith to bear it with patience believing that God has a plan for ease in your life in both this world and the next? Whether you do or not is how your hardships define you and determine whether you are true or false.
Be strong. Have faith. Be true.
Monday, 29 May 2017
Sunday, 28 May 2017
Saturday, 27 May 2017
Friday, 26 May 2017
Ramadan is starting tomorrow (27 May) in most countries Inshallah. Here are some links to help you:
Ramadan Section: http://islamawareness.net/Ramadhan/
Hadith and Fiqh on Ramadan fasting: http://islamawareness.net/Ramadhan/Hadiths/
Dua's section: http://islamawareness.net/Dua/
Ramadan: Video Lectures: http://islamawareness.net/Ramadhan/VideoLectures/
Taraweeh matters: http://islamawareness.net/Ramadhan/Taraweeh/
Fatawa related to Ramadan: http://islamawareness.net/Ramadhan/Fatawa/
Medical benefits and Health issues in Ramadan: http://islamawareness.net/Ramadhan/Health/
Everything about Zakat: http://islamawareness.net/Zakat/
Thursday, 25 May 2017
Wednesday, 24 May 2017
Waraqa ibn Nafal was one of the most well-known Arab Christians living in Mecca during the 7th century. He had converted to Christianity from paganism. Historical accounts tell us that Nafal was a Nestorian priest, a respected man, and scholar of Christianity. In terms of his scholarly background, a Hadith (Bukhari) states that Nafal “… would write from the Gospel in Hebrew as much as Allah wished him to write.” It has also been reported by Block that Nafal may have been an Ebionite. The Ebionites, Block writes, “stressed the humanity of Jesus and the oneness of God, a Christology not likely to have elicited a negative response from the Qur’an.”
So how exactly is Nafal connected to Muhammad? After receiving the first Qur’anic revelation on Mount Hira, Prophet Muhammad returned home in disarray and confusion to Khadija, Muhammad’s first wife and the cousin of Nafal. Khadija proceeded to bring her husband to Nafal, who told them both that Muhammad had met Gabriel, the angel of revelation, just as Gabriel had visited Moses centuries earlier. A Hadith describes the encounter between Prophet Muhammad and Nafal:
“… The Prophet returned to Khadija while his heart was beating rapidly. She took him to Waraqa ibn Nafal who was a Christian convert and used to read the Gospel in Arabic. Waraqa asked (the Prophet), ‘What do you see?’ When he told him, Waraqa said, ‘This is the same angel whom Allah sent to the Prophet Moses. Should I live till you receive the Divine Message, I will support you strongly.”
Nafal eventually emerged as a keen supporter of Prophet Muhammad. As a Christian, he encouraged Muhammad to spread his monotheistic message, which suggests that Nafal indeed believe in the Prophet’s leadership and moral character. Oxford Islamic Studies notes that “according to tradition, [Nafal] assured Muhammad that his call to prophecy and message were genuinely from God. [Nafal] acknowledged that Muhammad’s recitation was identical to the revelation given to Moses.”
Some scholars describe Nafal as a “believer” or “Muslim” because he accepted Muhammad as a prophet of God. This very topic of Christians recognizing the prophethood of Muhammad is something that I tried to unpack in a previous article. Other scholars posit that Nafal had a significant influence on the development of Prophet Muhammad’s religious views. Katz, for example, claims that Muhammad had probably met Nafal long before his marriage to Khadija. According to Katz, Prophet Muhammad likely had at least 15 years of opportunity of religious discussions with Nafal, a man who knew the scriptures.
Nafal is an interesting case for analysis because, as Block notes, the Qur’an did not refute his Christian theology. This is a similar argument that I made in claiming that a Christian, such as myself, can recognize Muhammad as a prophet of God. The approach that Nafal adopted towards Muhammad and Islam reminds me of a few passages from the Bible, particularly in the Book of Matthew. In this Book, Jesus tells his disciples to be “People of Peace” and encourages them to find worthy people who are open, hospitable, and knowledgable. Fortunately, Nafal found Muhammad. Their relations give us an imperative historical friendship that shatters the myth that Christianity and Islam are incompatible entities.
Tuesday, 23 May 2017
Muslims are arguably the most vilified group of people in the history of Hollywood. This article will reveal how Muslims are portrayed in Hollywood throughout its years in film production.
Since the emergence of Hollywood as the home of the U.S film industry, the various films made over the years have stolen the identity of numerous groups of people including the Muslim community. However, the consistency of negative Muslim stereotypes has remained from the earliest obscure Hollywood pictures to the most recent blockbuster action films.
The inheritance of exaggerated or fabricated images and tales from European travellers (200-150 years ago) have shaped the image of the Muslim we see today in our films. These images have become familiar within almost every film that depicts Muslims. So when Hollywood injects Muslims into their films they either cast them as:
- The rich, amorous ‘sheikh’ that loves the white American women, with blue eyes and blonde hair.
- The rich ‘sheikh’ who is trying to buy American Property.
- The terrorist who is trying to end the American way of life.
Monday, 22 May 2017
Friday, 19 May 2017
".. And We have enjoined on man (to be dutiful and good) to his parents. His mother carried him in weakness upon weakness, and his weaning is in two years. Give thanks to Me and to your parents, unto Me is the final destination." (Surah Luqman: 14)
Thursday, 18 May 2017
Wednesday, 17 May 2017
Tuesday, 16 May 2017
Monday, 15 May 2017
CHINESE officials describe the far western province of Xinjiang as a “core area” in the vast swathe of territory covered by the country’s grandiose “Belt and Road Initiative” to boost economic ties with Central Asia and regions beyond. They hope that wealth generated by the scheme will help to make Xinjiang more stable—for years it has been plagued by separatist violence which China says is being fed by global jihadism. But the authorities are not waiting. In recent months they have intensified their efforts to stifle the Islamic identity of Xinjiang’s ethnic Uighurs, fearful that any public display of their religious belief could morph into militancy.
Xinjiang’s 10m Uighurs (nearly half of its population) have long been used to heavy-handed curbs: a ban on unauthorised pilgrimages to Mecca, orders to students not to fast during Ramadan, tough restrictions on Islamic garb (women with face-covering veils are sometimes not allowed on buses), no entry to many mosques for people under 18, and so on.
But since he took over last August as Xinjiang’s Communist Party chief, Chen Quanguo has launched even harsher measures—pleased, apparently, by his crushing of dissent in Tibet where he previously served as leader. As in Tibet, many Xinjiang residents have been told to hand their passports to police and seek permission to travel abroad. In one part of Xinjiang all vehicles have been ordered to install satellite tracking-devices. There have been several shows of what officials call “thunderous power”, involving thousands of paramilitary troops parading through streets.
Last month, new rules came into effect that banned “abnormal” beards (such as the one worn by the man pictured in front of the main mosque in Kashgar in south-western Xinjiang). They also called on transport workers to report women wearing face veils or full-body coverings to the police, and prohibited “naming of children to exaggerate religious fervour”. A leaked list of banned names includes Muhammad, Mecca and Saddam. Parents may not be able to obtain vital household-registration papers for children with unapproved names, meaning they could be denied free schooling and health care.
Residents have also been asked to spy on each other. In Urumqi, the region’s capital, locals can report security threats via a new mobile app. People living in Altay in northern Xinjiang have been promised rewards of up to 5m yuan ($720,000) for tip-offs that help capture militants—over 200 times the local income per person.
Across Xinjiang residents have been asked to inform the authorities of any religious activities, including weddings and circumcisions. The government is also testing its own people’s loyalty. In March an official in Hotan in southern Xinjiang was demoted for “timidity” in “fighting against religious extremism” because he chose not to smoke in front of a group of mullahs.
Mr Chen is widely rumoured to be a contender for a seat in the ruling Politburo in a reshuffle due late this year. Displays of toughness may help to ingratiate him with China’s president, Xi Jinping, who has called for “a great wall of iron” to safeguard Xinjiang. Spending on security in Xinjiang was nearly 20% higher in 2016 than the year before. Adverts for security-related jobs there increased more than threefold last year, reckon James Leibold of La Trobe University and Adrian Zenz of the European School of Culture and Theology at Korntal, Germany.
Uighurs have been blamed for several recent attacks in Xinjiang. In one of them in February, in the southern prefecture of Hotan, three knife-wielding men killed five people and injured several others before being shot dead by police (local reports suggested the violence occurred after a Uighur family was punished for holding a prayer session at home). Officials may be congratulating themselves on the success of their tactics; reported large-scale attacks by Uighurs inside and outside Xinjiang have abated in the past 18 months. Yet as in Tibet, intrusive surveillance and curbs on cultural expression have fuelled people’s desperation. “A community is like a fruit,” says a Uighur driver from Kashgar. “Squash it too hard and it will burst.”Source
Friday, 12 May 2017
Thursday, 11 May 2017
Wednesday, 10 May 2017
Protesters in the capital, Stockholm, as well as in the cities of Malmo, Gothenburg, Vasteras, Sala and Umea, chanted slogans such as "crush racism", "my hijab is not your business" and "employment is our right".
Tuesday, 9 May 2017
The Real Meaning of “Taqiyya”
The origin of this conjured term however is a ruling that permits a believer to conceal his or her faith when under the threat of persecution or attack from forces hostile to Islam (Qur’an 16:106, 3:28). The word literally connotes being ‘fearful’ (Lane’s Lexicon, p. 310), and in fact conveys a commonsense notion present amongst all cultures and faiths – in a context in which someone is trying to kill you or others because of your beliefs, it is appropriate to hide those beliefs. Another famous example is Corrie Ten Boom lying to Nazis that she was hiding Jews in her attic – no one with a moral conscience would fault her for lying to save lives from murderous criminals.
Given that the word ‘taqiyya’ has only been used in Islam to refer to Muslims saving themselves from mortal danger by concealing their faith, that should readily dismantle the Islamophobic claim that Muslims are generally taught to lie to non-Muslims. However, when confronted with the fact that their use of the term ‘taqiyya’ is a grotesque misrepresentation, Islamophobes run to another concept in an attempt to buttress their caricature of Muslims as dishonest criminals. They cite a saying of the Prophet that “Warfare is deceit (Ar. khida’ah).” But here again they find no support as this reference to military strategy involving tricks has been echoed by practically every civilization in human history. It is most famous on the lips of Chinese philosopher Sun Tzu who stated in The Art of War, “All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when we are able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must appear inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.” Once again, we find that behind the seemingly scary use of Arabic jargon, there are nothing more than run-of-the mill commonsense notions that every civilization has expressed.
Moreover, by unanimous consensus, Muslim scholars have explicitly pointed out that tricking the enemy on the battlefield (khida’ah) is very different from treachery (khiyanah) or breaking a covenant, the latter being universally prohibited.
The lie that Islam condones lying
What Islamophobes who peddle the myth of taqiyya choose to ignore is that while Islam permits believers to conceal their faith in the face of persecution, nowhere does Islam grant Muslims general permission to lie with the intention of deception. In fact, Islam strongly condemns dishonesty as a trait that is antithetical to true faith in God, and a sign of hypocrisy.
Ayesha, the wife of the Prophet, said: “There was no behavior more hateful to the Messenger of Allah than dishonesty. A man would lie when narrating something in the presence of the Prophet and he would not be satisfied until he knew that he had repented.”
Moreover, Muslims must be entirely honest and truthful when conveying the teachings of Islam; the Qur’an states that one of the greatest evils is for a person to lie about the teachings of Islam, inventing a lie against God (Quran 39:32).
Monday, 8 May 2017
Good points made by this amazing sister, let them tell their own stories!
Within minutes of arriving to collect my professionally bound thesis, I found myself on the receiving end of an unsolicited and impenetrable rant about female genital mutilation.
“What’s your paper on?” the shop owner inquired.
“It’s on Muslim women and … ,” I began, but before I could finish my sentence, he had launched into the subject.
The fact that I hadn’t even mentioned the words “female genital mutilation” was irrelevant; merely saying “Muslim women” was a wide enough rabbit hole for him to dart down. My presence as a Muslim woman and my half-delivered topic were the only encouragement he needed.
That he felt authorised to deliver a lecture to me about his understanding of the allegedly sexist treatment of women in Islam, the very subject of my years-long PhD dissertation, didn’t surprise me. This was not the first time a stranger had felt entitled to raise the potential religious interference of my genitals with me.
It’s uncanny how often people try to demonstrate their concern about the alleged oppression of Muslim women by humiliating them. Even finding out the details of my research findings doesn’t seem to deter them from baldly sharing opinions.Full article