Archive for the ‘Attributes of God’ Category

A disproportionate reward?

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

Hope you are doing good by the grace and blessings of Allah(SWT).

I was asked this question by one of my friends recently and he asked me whether life in paradise is finite or eternal? I gave him the answer saying eternal. But then he put forward a question saying, when this life we live for(say about 60-70yrs) is finite, then how come righteous people are rewarded with infinite time in the paradise? I had given it a thought and I did derive at an answer. But I would like to hear it from you too brother.

Secondly, I would like to know about Islamic rulings on Movies? And related to Music, Is melody, slow songs, love songs, songs that stir your emotions allowed?

Usually, this question is asked about the flip side: is punishment of the hellfire disproportionate? The answer to both sides of this question is no, for the simple reason that “God does not do a spec’s weight of injustice” (4:40).

One may look at a good deed and think that it is rather minor, but God sees it as fabulous, and because He does, He rewards it more generously than the person who did it ever hoped for. The flip side of this is also true: one may say or do something that he doesn’t think is too bad, but God sees it as a grave sin, and because He does, He punishes it far more severely than the person who committed it ever feared.

To give you an example. God says in the holy Quran, “Did you not see how God strikes a parable of a good word like a good tree: its foundation is firm and its branch is in the sky. It delivers its food every season with the permission of its Lord!” (14:24-25). Did you get the reason for the seemingly disproportionate reward? It is a deed that constantly breeds good deeds. Its benevolent effect does not only positively touch the lives of many contemporary people, but goes on and on for all generations to come. That is why God rewards it so much. And bear in mind that the good deed referred to in this verse appears minor. It is just a good word!

As for your question about music, songs and stirring of emotions, it depends on the environment where the music is played, the lyrics of the songs and the emotion that is stirred and what that leads to. Music is neither good nor bad on its own, as Sheikh Shaarawi once said, may God bless his soul. If it is accompanied by lewd or violent acts or lyrics then it’s forbidden. Otherwise, how can it be bad, when we know that it soothes the soul, puts one in a good mood, a romantic mood or a patriotic mood? Documented evidence is plenty that music speeds up healing of wounds and calms the nerves of patients about to undergo surgery! See the Music category for more posts about this.

Likewise are love songs and love movies. It depends on whether they contain indecent lyrics or scenes. The emotions stirred by music, poetry, motion pictures, or art works in general can be benign and can be malicious. Art is neither good nor bad in the absolute. Art stems from love of beauty and awe at God’s creation and it is in fact an unconscious desire to connect with God, as the late President of Bosnia, Alija Izetbegović wrote in his book “Islam and the West.”

What happens to animals on the Day of Judgment?

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

AssalaamuAlaikum brother.
Hope you are doing good in health and imaan by Allah’s Grace.

Regarding what happens to animals on the day of judgment? If you could please state an authentic hadith & a verse from Quran.

Wa Alaykum Assalaam, brother.

That question was answered very well by the reverend Sheikh Muhammad Saalih Al-Munajjid. He wrote that all animals are assembled on the Day of Judgment, just like man will be. God says in the holy Quran, describing the Day of Judgment, “And when beasts are assembled.” (81:5)

Another verse that makes this clear is, “And there is no living creature within the earth nor a bird that flies with its wings but are communities like you. We have not neglected in the Book a thing. Then unto their Lord they will be gathered.” (6:38)

But does that mean they will be questioned and tried? The answer is yes! Sheikh Al-Munajjid quotes an authentic hadeeth, reported by Muslim and narrated by Abu-Hurayra, “You shall certainly pay off all dues to their rightful owners; even a stricken lamb will be given its compensation from the horned lamb that struck it!”

God’s justice is comprehensive, which brings up the question, “Will man be judged by his treatment of animals?” The answer to that question is also yes! Two famous authentic hadeeths give us the two flip sides of this question. The Prophet (PBUH) told us that “A woman entered Hellfire because of a cat that she tormented: neither did she feed it, nor let it out of the house to graze.” Narrated by Ibn `Umar and reported by Al-Bukhaari. On the flip side, the Prophet (PBUH) told us that a woman entered Paradise because of a dog: She was very thirsty and found a well. She took off a shoe and reached down in the well and filled the shoe with water then drank it. Then she saw a dog which also looked very thirsty, so she reached down into the well one more time, filled her shoe with water and gave it to the dog to drink 🙂 How beautiful is that? And get this.. the woman was a prostitute! That hadeeth was narrated by Abu-Hurayra and reported by Al-Bukhaari.

When Jesus comes back

Monday, October 1st, 2012

Assalam u Alaikum, I was just wondering what will happen to people other than the people of the book on the day of judgment? Because I read that when Isa ibn Mariam (as) (Jesus) comes back, all the People of the Book will believe in him and become Muslims. But what about people who are not from the People of the book like Hindus or Buddhists or Sikhs etc.? What about them? Will they convert and believe in Isa (as) or not? Will they follow Ad-Dajjal (Antichrist)? Thanks and may Allah (swt) bless you!

The short answer to your question is this verse,

“Verily, those who have believed (the Muslims), those who came back apologizing (the Jews), the Sabeans, the Christians, the Magi and those have associated [others with God in worship] – God will decisively judge between them on the Day of Resurrection. Verily, God is upon everything a Witness.” (22:17)

It is a matter of Al-Ghayb (the Beyond). This verse makes it clear that such judgment is up to God only. We cannot nor should attempt to make a judgment about the destiny of any people of any belief.

As for your point about Jesus, peace be upon him; God tells us in the Quran, “And there is from the People of the Book [none] but who will surely believe in him (Jesus) before his death. And on the Day of Resurrection he will be upon them a witness.” (4:159)

The preceding three verses state very emphatically and unambiguously that Mary (PBUH) was a virgin when she gave birth to Jesus (PBUH), that nobody killed Jesus and that, in fact, he never died at all – God raised him up to Him. When Jesus comes back, the People of the Book – the Jews and the Christians – will have to believe the truth about him as taught in the Quran, because Jesus will be there teaching the same teachings until he dies. Whether they continue to believe after his death is unknown. They may differ about him yet again like they did the first time!

The Antichrist, by definition, will come before Christ Jesus does. This is confirmed in the Hadeeth. Jesus will easily defeat him.

We don’t know whether people other than Christians and Jews will choose to follow Jesus when he comes back and accept Islam. Nor do we know what will be the judgment of non-Muslims on Judgment Day. But we know this for sure: “God does not do a spec’s weight of injustice” (4:40) So, rest assured that God will dispense His judgment fairly and gracefully as only He can. After Salmaan Al-Faarisi, may God have been pleased with him, accepted Islam (he had been a Christian), he asked the Prophet (PBUH), with great concern, what will be the destiny of his parents and other relatives who were righteous people but had no chance to know about Islam until they died. God revealed this verse to answer that question,

“Verily, those who have believed (the Muslims), those who came back apologizing (the Jews), the Christians and the Sabeans – those who believed in God and the Final Day and did a righteous [deed], for them will be their reward with their Lord and there shall be no fear upon them, nor shall they grieve!” (2:62)

God is fair; He would not punish a people until after He sends them a messenger (17:15). Thus, those who die without having any knowledge of Islam will be judged on their reply to their prophets and messengers. And if they had none, on their faith in God and Judgment Day and their actions in life, something which only God truly knows.

Don’t be so sure

Saturday, August 11th, 2012

Ever felt content with your worship of God and thought that you have done well for yourself and deserve to go to heaven? Let me tell you three stories.

A man observed Al-Hasan ibn Ali, may God have been pleased with both, supplicating hard and weeping. He approached him and said, “You cry out of fear of God when you have all the means to salvation?” He replied, “Like what?” The man said, “How about your lineage to the Prophet (PBUH)? [Al-Hasan was the Prophet’s grandson]. What about his mediation for Muslims? What about God’s vast mercy?”

Good points, right? Well, Al-Hasan answered him: As for my lineage, God says, “Then when the Horn is blown (on the Day of Judgment), there is no kinship between them!” (23:101) As for the Prophet’s mediation, God says, “Who is that who will mediate with Him except by His permission?” (2:255) As for God’s vast mercy, God says about it, “I will grant it to those who watch out [for Me].” (7:156) So, where is security, brother?

Good counter-points, don’t you think? If a saint whom the Prophet (PBUH) said was going to be a prominent youth among the people of Paradise isn’t sure, how can ordinary folks be sure?

Umar ibn Al-Khattaab, may God have been pleased with him, once said, “If an angel on the Day of Resurrection, announced that all people will go to Paradise but one, I’d worry I’m the one!” This, coming from the second Caliph, a man renowned for his piety, whom the Prophet (PBUH) gave him the good news that he was one of ten who will go to Paradise, if he is not sure, how can the rest of us be?

One time the Prophet (PBUH) surprised his fellows sitting with him listening to his teachings when he said to them, “The work of any of you will not enter him into Paradise!” They asked, “Even you, O Messenger of God?” He replied, “Even me, unless God covers me with mercy from Him and favor.” Narrated by `Aa’isha and Abu-Hurayra and reported by Al-Bukhaari and Muslim in their authentic collections.

The Prophet (PBUH) was teaching that while faith and good deeds are necessary for admission to Paradise, they are not sufficient. It is God’s mercy and favor that gets us there. Faith and good deeds only make it likely.

This is not to dash the hopes of Muslims, but rather to balance their attitude. Imam Al-Ghazaali, may God bless his soul, brilliantly defined faith in Islam as “The balance between fear and hope.”

Fire against fire

Sunday, January 1st, 2012

A man asked a Shaykh (Muslim scholar), “O Shaykh, the hell is made from fire, and Satan is made from fire! So, how will the punishment harm him when they are created from the same thing?”

The Shaykh told him to come closer, then he slapped him across the face! The man was in shock and asked, “That hurts! Why did you slap me!?” To which the Shaykh replied, “What is my hand made from?” The man replied, “Flesh.” He then asked the man, “And what is your face made from?” He answered, “Flesh!” The shaykh conclusively asked him, “Now, did you not feel pain?”

via Islamic Experiences

Clever, eh?

I’d add that the power of God overrules the laws that govern His creatures. He said to the fire in the pit where Abraham was thrown, “O fire! Be cool and safe on Abraham!” (21:69) And Abraham walked out of the pit unscathed.

Greetings between Muslims and non-Muslims

Sunday, May 8th, 2011

Can you talk about greetings between Muslims and non-Muslims? Can Muslims initiate greetings to non-Muslims? Are they obligated to return their greetings? What do they say? What if the non-Muslim greeting was “Assalaamu Alaykum” (Peace be upon you), the traditional Islamic greeting?

Let’s start with returning a greeting from non-Muslims. The Quran makes it clear that we must return the greeting with a more beautiful one, or at least one like it,

“And when you are greeted with a greeting, greet [in return] with a more beautiful one than it or [at least] return it [in a like manner]. Indeed, God is ever, over all things, an Accountant.” (4:86)

Notice how God ends this verse with His Attribute that emphasizes that He keeps count? Every time you fail to return a greeting, it is written down against you!

What do you say? Something more beautiful! Suppose a non-Muslim says to you, “Merry Christmas!” You can say back, “May you have a happy season!” If they say, “Assalaamu Alaykum”, you can say, “And may peace and guidance be with you!”

A beautiful person can think of many beautiful things to say.

Now, can a Muslim initiate greeting to a non-Muslim? You will read opinions out there that a Muslim shouldn’t. But that opinion does not square with the Quran, which tells us that Moses and Aaron were commanded by God to initiate greeting to Pharaoh! Read it, if you will in verse 20:47,

“So go (Moses and Aaron) to him (Pharaoh) and say, ‘Indeed, we are messengers of your Lord, so send with us the Children of Israel and do not torment them. We have come to you with a sign from your Lord. And peace is upon him who follows guidance.” (20:47)

If we can greet a sworn enemy, all the more reason we should greet friendly folks.

Finally, you may encounter a hadeeth, reported by Al-Bukhaari and narrated by `Aa’isha, may God have been pleased with her, in which she tells an event when a group of Jews came calling on the Prophet (PBUH). When they met him, they said, “Assaamu Alaykum”. A phonetic distortion which means “Death be upon you!” It sounds a lot like “Assalaamu Alaykum, except that it is missing an L. `Aa’isha recognized the curse and said to them, “And may God’s curse be upon you!” What did the Prophet (PBUH) say? He said, “Wa Alaykum” (Likewise)!! He followed God’s orders of returning the “greeting”. It was really a curse disguised as a greeting, but even then, the Prophet (PBUH) gives us the lofty role model of being magnanimous even when insulted. He said to `Aa’isha, “God loves gentleness in everything.”

What to tell a pantheist?

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

My older brother who’s 18 years old just left Islam. Now he’s a pantheist. Would you please help me to give a beautiful explanation, so he’ll think of Islam again? What should I say to him? What would YOU say to him if you were my parent? I don’t understand his philosophy very well, except that he believes in impersonal god and everything occurs in the universe has always been a mere mechanical process (not God’s will). He’s trying to convert me, my sisters, and my mother, a few days ago older sister’s starting to believe his conversion was making sense.

Sorry to hear that. I know you must be feeling terrible.

God is not a person, but He is not impersonal either! These terms apply to creatures only. He is above and beyond everything that we can imagine or conceive of. Everything in the universe did develop in a mechanical way, but it was God who created the mechanical and physical laws, right? God says in the holy Quran,

“[Pharaoh asking Moses and Aaron] saying, “Who then is your Lord, O Moses?” He said, “My Lord is He who gave everything its form and then guided [it]” (20:49-50)

The main question that no atheist has been able to answer is: who created the laws that operate everything? They say they don’t know how any law evolved and may never know. God tells us in the Quran that it is He and no one else who created all, including the laws by which all operate.

Why do these laws operate so orderly and so consistently? Has your brother ever been wounded? Did he ever reflect on how the wound heals? What tells scar tissue to form, just above new skin cells that are too ripe still to be exposed to air?! How does scar tissue know that new skin cells are ready and thus it drops off having served its purpose?! Isn’t this a sign of God, the Healer?

Atheists may think that they are intellectuals, but they really are irrational. Their motivation, IMHO, is one or more of three things: (a) Resentment of God for His Power over them, (b) resentment of God for allowing imperfections in this world, or (c) evasion of religious obligations. All three reasons are ill conceived. God’s power over us is a good thing, because we tend to abuse our powers while God never does, so He is the Balance in the universe. Imperfections in this world is the result of the exercise of the free will. Without the free will, no atheist would have been able to reject God! Finally, religious obligations are for our own benefit. They are our connection to God and the food for our souls.

Remain a good brother to your brother, and pray for him, but educate yourself and him. I suspect that the main reason he veered from Islam is that he knew little or knew wrong about Islam. Yes, many Muslims are ignorant about their religion, I’m sad to say.

A poem by Imaam Ash-Shaafi`i

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

I know you love poetry, especially by Imaam Ash-Shaafi`i, rahimahullah, so here is one:

عليك بتقوى الله إن كنت غافلا **يأتيك بالأرزاق من حيث لا تدري
وكيف تخاف الفقر والله رازق **فقد رزق الطير والحوت في البحر
ومن ظن أن الرزق يأتي بقوة **ما أكل العصفور شيئاً مع النسر
تزول عن الدنيا فإنك لاتدري **إذا جن عليك الليل هل تعش إلى الفجر
فكم من صحيح مات من غير علة **وكم من سقيم عاش حيناً من الدهر
وكم من فتى أمسى وأصبح ضاحكا **وأكفانه في الغيب تنسج وهو لا يدري

May God reward you well. Lovely poem. Here is its translation:

Commit to consciousness of God, if you’ve been heedless,
He will bring you sustenance from wherever you wouldn’t know.
How can you fear poverty knowing that God is Provider,
He provided for birds and the whale in the sea.
To whomever thought that sustenance is obtained by strength,
A sparrow wouldn’t be eating with eagles!
You depart the world [when you sleep] and you don’t know,
when night covers you, will you live till dawn?
How many healthy ones died without a sickness,
and how many sick ones lived for some time.
And how many a youth laugh night and day,
while their coffin in the Beyond is being sewn and he doesn’t know.

A sweet, but disbelieving mother

Saturday, January 22nd, 2011

My mum is very innocent and she just adheres to the rituals and religion that she has been witnessing since her childhood. Undoubtedly she commits Shirk (associating others with God in worship) but out of her innocence. By Allah I have never found her uttering a single word against any individual except out of advise.

The message of true Deen (way of life) is being passed to her but its on to Allah to guide her. She never stopped me following Islam. Rather when I acquainted her of my reversion she advised me to stand firm in Islam.

Is not Shirk by my Mum out of innocence forgivable?.

Only God knows for sure. Remember also that “God does not do an atom’s weight of injustice” (4:40). And He also said in a Qudsi hadeeth, “My Grace trumps My anger”, narrated by Abu-Hurayra and reported by Al-Bukhaari and Muslim.

That said, your duty of da`wa (calling for God) to her, with wisdom and good preaching (16:125) remains. Your love and kindness to her, your good example, your gentle but earnest advice may just be the instrument for her guidance. Amen.

Is this translation correct?

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

Is the following a correct translation of verse 31:34?

“Verily the knowledge of the Hour is with God (alone). It is He Who sends down rain, and He Who knows what is in the wombs. Nor does any one know what it is that he will earn on the morrow: Nor does any one know in what land he is to die. Verily with God is full knowledge and He is acquainted (with all things).” (31:34)

Actually many Non-Muslims use the highlighted part of the verse above to point out absurdity in Quran stating that we can know what is in the womb through the technique of amniocentesis.

The translation is correct. The detractors fail to recognize what the expression means in Arabic. It means the total knowledge of every minutia of what is in the wombs, not just what man can learn by analyzing a sample or by taking an ultrasound video. Things such as how the life of that fetus will be until he or she dies and where is he or she going after death.

God’s knowledge is not acquired, it’s original. It is also total, unlike our knowledge which is always limited to something.