Archive for the ‘Beliefs’ Category

Being a beacon of light

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

Brother, why do people, believers and non-believers, not understand the power of faith?

And question number two: The prostration of the heart. I have read that once the heart prostrates it remains in that position. That the body returns to the upright position but the heart has no fear of death. Can you give me some links to ponder this one?

Lastly, I have caught so many blessings my hands are teaming full. Now…what do I do with the blessings. How do I serve my Lord and Creator such that the blessings are spread as the hadith about the corn…how does one make one blessing turn into the thousands? I am a simple woman. I am not Yusef (Joseph, peace be upon him).

I would respectfully disagree that the heart remains prostrate. Did you know that the word for heart in Arabic, Al-Qalb, literally means that which keeps turning over? Recall the supplication of the Prophet (PBUH), “O Turner of hearts, steady my heart upon Your religion. O Diverter of hearts, direct my heart toward obeying you.” (Narrated in different versions by Umm Salama and Anas and reported and rated between authentic and sound by At-Tirmizhi and Al-Albaani).

I wish the heart could be set once and for all, the task of faith would’ve been easy.

People underestimate the power of faith because it does not work the way they expect! People want things now and faith produces results on God’s own timing. People want specific things, but faith brings them what God has determined to be best for them. “And God knows and you do not know.” (3:66)

The way to turn one blessing into thousands is to “lend God a goodly loan” (57:18). That expression God uses in the Quran several times and it a surprising statement, isn’t it? How do we creatures lend anything to our Creator? And what do we lend Him? He is the owner of everything we’ve got, including our lives. How do you lend someone something he owns and you don’t?

The best way to understand this metaphor is to contemplate an Egyptian proverb that says, “Do the good and throw it in the river!” What the Egyptians mean by that is that we are to do good and not expect anything in return because we know that God will reward us for it sometime somehow. That is the goodly loan. You do not collect interest on it nor recall it nor does it become due any time, but it pays off big time. You just don’t know when or how.

The dark night of the soul

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

I now have insight into why I could not pray. InshaAllah (God willing), you will be able to give me Quran verses and hadeeth quotes to verify my insight.

I have been tested. I was blessed with a test that was life-changing. Trust me brother, I have broken down and called out to Allah swt. A common theme in these times of despondency is the alienation from the duyna (this world).

We are human beings. Part of the human condition is the social condition. In times of tests our world is narrowed. Shytan (Satan) promises us poverty. He can be very demonstrative. Accompanying poverty is social disgrace. He promises us a world of fear and want.

We are fragile. When the stressors of want explode into fear our bodies can break down. When fear reigns the soul, Shytan is pleased, the want is our physical existence. We need to protect it. We yield to base instinct for survival. We get sick.

In sickness our soul gets neglected. Our perception of the world and our state of want to survive are the overriding factors. Our physical pain is a mirror of the state of our spiritual state. The soul is in agony. Sabr (endurance) is a most difficult construct. Why am I going through this much pain. The what did I do to deserve this. When is this going to end. As the pain swells hope fades. The pain is both physical and emotional, thereby compounding the sense of hopelessness. This is the trick of Shytan.

The intellect alleviates the sense of hopelessness. This is simply turning the sense of loss into the hope. It is counting the blessings of Allah swt. It is taking the anguish of pain and transforming it into a moment of joy; of acknowledging the blessing of pain as being the expiation of sin. Furthermore, pain increases our dependence on Allah swt.

When the body can not cope the intellect has to make the decision. Enlightenment comes from the union of the body and intellect in acknowledging the Divine Presence. At that moment want turns into abundance. And the best moment of union is prayer.

I hope this makes sense.

May God keep being with you in your tribulations.

Very profound essay. I can hardly add to it.

Count yourself among those God may be pleased with. You keep bouncing back to God and thus escaping the traps of Satan. That bounce back is what entitled David, Solomon and Job to the label of Awwaab, which God praises them with in Chapter 38. The word means one who keeps coming back to God. A child instinctively runs to mom. A believer finds herself running to God.

It was profound only in the sense that the depth of the experience is difficult to capture in words. Hence, I used the word insight. I had to contemplate. There is that fine line in illness. Susan Sontag wrote a wonderful book she entitled, “Illness as Metaphor”. She did not develop the religious themes. Much of traditional psychoanalysis attempts to understand the relationship between illness and rebirth process. St. John of the Cross discusses the dark night of the soul. The Persian scholar, Sadr, had a metamorphosis.

I am blessed. But the letting go process is not easy. There seems to be a strong physical component to spiritual growth. It is a process of emptying oneself of a lifetime of false desires. And some are stuck like white on rice.

Many Eastern philosophies and religions have long postulated that there is a mutually exclusive relationship between the body and the spirit. That, in order for the soul to reach enlightenment, the body needs to be deprived. That the food for the soul is the lack of food for the body.

Islam does not agree. Islam does say that there is a relationship between the body and the spirit, the union of which is the self. If the body fasts, it has a chance to heal itself, and it also gives the “heart” a chance to cultivate the spirit. This is analogous to the Eastern philosophies but is fundamentally distinct from it. It’s not the hunger and thirst that is nourishing the spirit. Rather, it is the attention a believer can give to his spirit now that his attention is not busy with food and drink. Illness can work in a similar way. A patient may use the time he suddenly has to shift his focus to his spirituality, knowing that God is with him. It’s not the illness that is doing this; it’s the focus afforded by the illness.

Put another way, it is quite possible in Islam to nourish the body and the spirit at the same time without sacrificing either one. All the believer has to do is remain mindful of God and of what’s important and lasting. The Prophet (PBUH) once ate a rich delicious dinner he was invited to and still woke up for Tahajjud (vigil) in the middle of the night.

And by the reverse token, one can deprive both his body and his spirit at the same time, sacrificing both! That can happen when one stops eating and drinking and seeks enlightenment at all the wrong places.

And the physical movements of prayer are healing. I have read how the positions correspond to the chakras. Could we say Islam allows us to have the best of both worlds. Our body is the theater of revelation which is nourishing to the soul. Simply put without the body the soul could not receive the benefit of prayer. And, naturally vice versa.

Nicely put. However, any resemblance between the movements in a Muslim prayer and the chakras is a mere coincidence, unless it can be shown that chakras originated from God.

Does Islam prophesy an Anti-Christ?

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

What do you know and what do you believe about this person whom some people claimed that Prophet Muhammad prophesied as Mahdi and this event called Dajjal Fitnah. I’m not sure but I think these are unfounded claims as far as the Qur’an is concerned. I don’t know but some people relate these things to what is happening in Syria.

There are several authentic hadeeths, reported in Al-Bukhaari and Muslim’s compilations and narrated by Al-Khudri, Ibn Umar and others, which mention Al-Maseeh Ad-Dajjaal (the luring messiah). In these hadeeths, the Prophet (PBUH) forewarns Muslims of the coming of the Anti-Christ, a man who will possess great powers, even power to resurrect people from the dead, and succeed in luring most people away from true faith to follow him instead. He will claim to be God. The Prophet (PBUH) said that the Dajjaal Fitna (test of faith) is the greatest and that every prophet had forewarned his people against it.

While the Quran does not mention Ad-Dajjaal, there is no reason to doubt the story. It would be a different matter if the Quran has contradicted the story. One authentic hadeeth I know of is reported by Al-Bukhaari and narrated by `Aa’isha, may God have been pleased with her, in which she relates that the Prophet (PBUH) used to say in his supplication during prayer, “O God, I seek refuge in You from the trying times of the Luring Messiah.”

Several authentic hadeeths also mention the coming of the Anti-Christ as one of several grand signs of the approach of the Hour (the Day of Judgment). Most of the signs mentioned in those hadeeths are also mentioned in the Quran, such as the second coming of Jesus Christ, the release of Gog and Magog, and the animal which will preach to people. Thus, there is no cause to deny the story about the Anti-Christ while the other, equally spectacular stories are confirmed by the Quran.

There is no evidence that the war in Syria has anything to do with the Anti-Christ.

As for Al-Mahdi (the guided one), the hadeeths about him are far less authentic. Neither Al-Bukhaari nor Muslim have reported any hadeeth about him, to the best of my knowledge. Whether he will exist has no bearing on your or my faith, since we already have all we need to be true believers: the holy Quran and the authentic Sunna.

Beliefs Muslims and Christians share about Jesus

Tuesday, December 25th, 2012

Egyptian Coptic Christian writer Louis Grace wrote recently, “I learned to love Jesus Christ because of the Quran!”

Did that statement surprise you? Though I was delighted to read it, it did not surprise me. Mr. Grace grew up in a Muslim country that has a 1400 year history of cordial relations between Muslims and Christians. Even though many attempts throughout the centuries tried to sew seeds of division between the two, none has succeeded.

The Quran mentions Jesus, son of Mary, peace be upon both, numerous times and always with high praise and affection. In case you didn’t know, here are what Muslims and Christians have in common in regard to Jesus (PBUH):

  • Jesus was born miraculously to the virgin Mary.
  • Jesus was “the word of God”.
  • Jesus was a true prophet and a messenger of God.
  • Jesus is the Christ (Messiah) promised to the Children of Israel.
  • Jesus received from God a holy scripture, the Gospel.
  • Jesus performed many miracles, including raising people from the dead.
  • Jesus will come back.

Did any of that surprise you? It’s all in the Quran for all to read and learn. With all this in common between Muslims and Christians, what can be between them short of a cordial relationship?

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.

Can I participate in non-Muslim celebrations?

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

My mother was born and raised Catholic but converted to Islam when she married my father. Although she embraced Islam as her religion it didn’t affect her very close relationship with her family. So, whenever there are occasions like Christmas, All Saint’s Day, and birthdays we would usually go as a family. Even after my mother’s passing we still continue the tradition. Are we committing any sin?

Being kind and courteous to your family and relatives is something that Islam emphasizes a lot, even if the family is non-Muslim. What Islam warns against is participation in Zoor (lies and falsehood). God says in the holy Quran,

“And those (worshipers of the Beneficent) who do not witness falsehood, and when they pass by frivolity, they pass dignified” (25:72)

The reason for this warning is that participation in such activities, sooner or later, affects one’s beliefs and may taint his faith. Islam has made it clear that Muslims must express Walaa’ (allegiance) to the truth and Baraa’ (detachment) from falsehood.

It is because of Baraa’ that Asmaa’ bint Abi-Bakr, may God have been pleased with both, refused to receive her mother, Qateela bint Abdil-`Uzza, who was a polytheist, who traveled from Mecca to Medina to see her and brought her a gift. Asmaa’ would not let her in her house and would not take her gift! Just then, God revealed verses 60:8-9,

“God does not forbid you from those who did not fight you because of religion and did not expel you from your homes – from being cordial toward them and acting with equity toward them. Indeed, God loves the equitable.
God only forbids you from those who fought you because of religion and expelled you from your homes and aided in your expulsion – [forbids] that you ally with them. And whoever allies with them, then it is those who are the wrongdoers.” (60:8-9)

The Prophet (PBUH) promptly ordered Asmaa’ to receive her mother, accept her gift and be kind and hospitable to her. These verses correct the misunderstanding that some Muslims have about Walaa’ and Baraa’. These teachings do not imply hatred of non-Muslims; they teach that Baraa’ is the separation from hostile enemies of Islam and that Walaa’ is the allegiance with those who testify to the truth about God.

So, to answer your question, you are not committing a sin if the celebrations you attend are free from falsehood. If a celebration starts to take a religious inclination in which false theology is uttered or blasphemous acts are practiced, then you should immediately excuse yourself and leave, after wishing your relatives well.

My aunt keeps telling me about Jehovah

Tuesday, November 8th, 2011

Hello, I have a Jehovah’s Witness aunt whom I think is trying to convert me. No one in my family knows that I’m a Muslim, being that I’m only a 15 yrs old convert. My aunt who’s a Jehovah’s Witness gave me a Jehovah’s Witness book for young people which I still read, because it has good moral messages which comply with Islamic morals and I find nothing wrong with them. But I just feel a lil uncomfortable when she’s telling me about Jehovah God and how he’s blessing me etc. What should I do? How should I respond to this? Should I tell her I’m Muslim and talk to her about the Quran? Thanks

Your aunt loves you and if she’s trying to convert you, she’s doing it out of her belief and out of her love for you. You should be kind to her as you have been. You are probably too young to tell her about Islam though, but it’s your call. If she’s a supportive kind of person, you may tell her. But bear in mind that many people nowadays have a negative view of Islam because of the media, so if she’s the kind of person who believes what she hears on TV, you’d be better off not telling her.

Jehovah did bless you! The name Jehovah is the English pronunciation of the Hebrew word Yahweh, which means “O You who is He!” The reason for this name is that many Jews took the third Commandment very seriously and thought it meant to never say God’s name. What the commandment actually teaches is that a believer should not swear by God’s name unless he means what he says and will honor what he promises. This is the same teaching in the Quran,

“And do not make God a subject to your oaths…” (2:224)

And God explains this verse further in the following verse,

“God does not chastise you for what is unintentional in your oaths, but He chastises you for what your hearts have earned. And God is Forgiving and Forbearing.” (2:225)

And the Prophet (PBUH) explained oaths etiquette by saying, “Whoever is going to swear, let him swear by God or be silent.” (Narrated by Abdullah ibn Umar and reported by Al-Bukhaari who rated it authentic).

So, Jehovah is Allah and He blessed you by guiding you to Islam.

A Satan inside him

Sunday, October 2nd, 2011

For the past 3 or 4 years I have suffered a great deal due to the influences of black magic and shayateen jinn (Satan sprite).I have learnt that some people from a non-muslim background have placed a shaytan inside of me using black magic. The shaytan is under their control and they have been using it harm me constantly, mentally and physically, as well as using it to communicate to me. I have concluded that these people have been hired by someone to do this to me, to harm me in my Iman and Deen and mentally, physically and in my family life. Even my wife was affected by this, through possessions and the like.

How do you know, brother, that this is what happened to you? Did you or anybody else see those people grab a Satan and move him inside your body?

That is NOT what happened to you. You are a victim of false belief. Demon possession is a fable perpetuated by beneficiaries, such as self-proclaimed exorcists, and by lack of knowledge. Do not believe a fable. You are a Muslim. God and His Messenger gave you the guidance you need and the way to distinguish truth from falsehood. Demon possession is falsehood that taints your faith. God says in the holy Quran, quoting what Satan will say on the Day of Judgment,

“And Satan said when the matter is done, ‘Verily, God promised you the promise of truth and I promised but failed you. And I had no power over you, except that I called you and you responded to me’..” (14:22)

There is a difference between black magic, which does exist, and demon possession, which does not. Unfortunately, so many Muslims combine the two. I hope you don’t anymore.

This is something difficult to explain to my elders as they would not understand, since you probably would be aware of the different types of people out there you would know how to deal with these people, the black magic and the shaytan.

I beg two things of you for the sake of Allah, show me how to deal with this and please could you recommend to me from here or another country someone renowned in curing black magic and the shayteen problem that I am suffering from, who will be a cause of shifa for me and help me rid of my problem. aswell help me to deal with the people who did this, as they will if I am cured, are likely to do this again and my wife and children are in danger, if they have not already been effected."

You do not need any healers. God gave you the prescription for healing from black magic: Chapters 113 and 114. Recite them often with certainty that God, and only God, can heal you. Reject false beliefs and reject false proclaimers. Your faith depends on it.

Can we call upon other than God in supplications?

Sunday, May 8th, 2011

I have noticed that Sufis (transcendentals) call upon Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in their supplications. Some of them believe that he is still alive in his grave and hears all supplications and greetings sent his way. I seriously doubt this view, though it’s making me a bit confused in my theology, because God emphasizes in the Quran so many times that we must not call upon any one but Him.

You arrived at the right conclusion, Bless your heart. And how did you do it? You consulted the source of guidance: the Quran. It’s not hard to arrive at the truth and clear up any confusion. Simply test an argument/evidence against the Quran. If it fails, it has no value regardless of who said it! Always put God first.

Is Aql subservient to Naql?

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

What is the status of Aql (mind) in Islam? Is it true that Ahl-us-Sunna wal-Jamaa`a (People of the Sunna and consensus) believe that Aql is subservient to Naql (narrations)?

We know the validity and authenticity of any narration by way of the mind! Therefore, `Aql (the mind) is superior to Naql (narrations), not the other way around.

The reason we know that the Quran is God’s word is because we’ve read it and came to the unshakable conclusion that it is the truth. The Quran made its case for being holy scripture by invoking our minds, as well as our hearts, and inviting us repeatedly to think, contemplate and reason. Thus, the Quran makes it clear that the mind is one of the two ways we can find the truth. The other being the heart. Both are required.

With that established, we can now feel comfortable accepting matters of the Beyond that are hinted at in the Quran. Because we trust the Source of information, we can trust everything He says, even if our minds cannot grasp it. That is the point where Ahl-us-Sunna wal-Jamaa`a mean when they say that `Aql is subservient to Naql: they mean authenticated Naql.

This is a key differentiator of Islam. Belief in Islam is not blind and is not without questioning. Faith in Islam is educated. It is only after you have become convinced in your heart and in your mind that the Quran is the whole truth about God, then you believe in Islam. And the Quran emphasizes that each of us can tell if it is the truth or not!

As for narrations, such as the Hadeeth, they have been evaluated by scholars on two fronts: Sanad (attribution chain) and Matn (content). A narration that passes authenticity tests of both fronts may be declared authentic and only then does it become part of the religion.

The question “Is `Aql subservient to Naql” has two problems: (a) It does not define what is meant by either term, and (b) It is what is called in logic a false dilemma. It makes an assumption that has not been established as fact, namely, that one of the two is superior and the other is inferior. A third option, which is the case actually, is that both are equally important.