Archive for the ‘Miracles’ Category

Can faith go up and down?

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

Brother, I pray this finds you in high eman (faith) and good health.

Here is one of my serious questions. I did not know where to start the research.
I pray. I believe in prayer. I try not to miss my salat (prayer).

I got sick. I could not pray. I do not mean physically. There arose the problem. I could not make myself pray. I put it off. I blamed the physical lethargy. I could not understand nor rationalize the blockage.
The inability to pray ran down to my soul. I could not find an answer.

To try and sum it up in words: Why do we have periods of such low eman (faith) that prayer becomes difficult? It is not the total abandonment of prayer but a temporary inability to pray. Does this even make sense? I understand that the body hurts but the soul hurts more when prayer is ignored. It was as if I felt I was abandoned.

Point the passages in the Quran for me to ponder on this one. I know others who have the same blockage. It is not that you do not want to pray..but something prevents you from praying.

You’re asking why is this happening to you. The answer is simple: Satan got to you. Don’t panic; it happens to everybody. Satan never tires of trying to get to people so that they may follow him instead of following God. In the holy Quran, God quotes Satan challenging Him and saying, “I will come to them before them, behind them, at their right sides and at their left sides, and You will not find most of them thankful!” (7:17)

What do you do about it? You show Satan who’s boss! You fight him on it. You drag yourself to pray if necessary and cry to God in your prayer to help you win that fight. It is not an easy fight, it’s a jihaad (struggle). And if you just start it, God promises He will be on your side, “And those who struggle in Us, We shall surely guide them to Our ways.” (29:69)

Prayer is the second most emphasized notion in the Quran, after the oneness of God. Why? Because once you understand who God is, you certainly want to find out how to communicate with Him.

Prayer is an audience with God that He invites you to five times everyday. It is a privilege given to every believer, similar to the privilege God gave to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) on his Mi`raaj (ascension journey to heaven). Unlike audiences with human dignitaries, you don’t make an appointment first, you don’t need intermediaries, you can stay as little or as long as you want, and you can ask for anything and be sure that an answer will be given right away and in the way that fits you best.

Prayer, therefore, is much more than a duty upon every believer toward His Maker, it is a fabulous opportunity; like a freebie you get five times a day and all you have to do is open the door to get it. No strings attached.

Prayer is a chance to thank God five times a day for the many more than five favors He has given you that day.

Belief does not go up and down, but faith does. Belief is binary :-), you either believe or you don’t. Faith, on the other hand, is the practice, cordially, mentally, verbally and manually, that proves the belief and affirms it. Since all of these can go up and down, that’s why faith can go up and down. God defined believers as follows, “Verily, believers are only those who, when God is mentioned and His verses are recited to them, it increases their faith, and upon their Lord they rely.” (8:2)

To make your faith go up, you increase the rate at which you affirm your belief. Cordially, you contemplate God’s love and grace often. Mentally, you reflect on God’s creation and bounties often. Verbally, you do Zhikr often, and manually, you perform the rituals, charity and good deeds often. The more you commit yourself to that, the easier it gets, because Satan will find you a tough nut to crack and will look for an easier prey, just like a car thief doesn’t bother with cars that have a powerful alarm.

The Prophet (PBUH) often said this supplication, “O turner of hearts, steady my heart on Your religion! O diverter of hearts, direct my heart to obeying You!”

And he always said this supplication after ending each prayer, “Allahumma a`inni `ala zhikrika wa shukrika wa husni `ibaadatika” (“O God, help me to remember You, thank You, and comply well with your ordinance.”)

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.

Celebrating Israa’ and Mi`raaj

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

Got a simple question for you. I was reading that many Muslims are going to celebrate the Isra and Miraj of the Prophet, swas, today. I was unaware of the celebration until yesterday. What is your take. I know I have missed the boat on several things in life, but what is going on. It appears there are masjids in the US that will have special prayers. I kinda feel as I am Rip Van Winkle. When did this start?

Happy Israa’ and Mi`raaj to you. There is no official celebration of the occasion; it’s a new practice of many mosques. The more strict Muslims frown on such practice and call it a Bid`a (novelty), and they would be technically correct, but it’s harmless. A get-together of fellow Muslims to commemorate a seminal event in Islam, the highest honor God has given to any creature, and the launch of the prayer, cannot be a bad thing. Besides, my mosque has a program for the kids. They learn and they play.

Facing up to a Pharaoh

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

I just discovered first hand that reading the Quran is a journey. Some of the passages are so powerful that I actually slept all day one day.

I know I am going through a tough time but this time reading the Quran has been a drastically different experience.

Musa (ra) (Moses) had a staff. He had his brother (ra)…What staff can I hold onto?

What did Hagar hold on to? Her husband, Abraham (PBUH), told her he’s been commanded by God to leave her and their only son, Ishmael, who was still a baby, in a desert in the middle of nowhere. Her reply was, “God ordered you? Then He will not abandon us.”

I know you may be thinking that Hagar, peace be upon her, was in a completely different league than the rest of us. True, but she reached that plateau only because of her faith. She was an ordinary woman, a maid, with no material means. Because of what she did next, God sprang the Zamzam Well and that arid, vacant desert became Mecca. Since her time, millions of people have echoed her footsteps every year (during the pilgrimage).

I sure hope that you do not have to face a pharaoh anytime soon. Also remember that Aaron was not always very helpful to his brother.

One of the ways the Prophet (PBUH) described the Quran was, “Its wonders never cease.” Indeed, if you read the Quran and you get the feeling that you’re reading it for the first time, then rejoice, for God is bringing you closer to Him by giving you new insight into His word.

Funny thing I just saw a video on Hagar. I have always admired her faith.

What I have also experienced are the immediacies of receiving blessings. I see that Allah subhana wa taala does not hold back. When we ask He gives.

I am always about the inner journey. And the section of the Path that I am walking upon demands that I spend time on the quest. In a sense I am learning that we are always exactly where He wants us to be, at any given moment. Maybe that realization is the fountain of youth. It takes the stressors and anxieties away.

I do not think I will meet a pharaoh anytime soon, Besides, it is not the meeting that is momentous. It is the gathering of the faith leading to the meeting. On a deeper level don’t we meet mini-pharoah’s every day. They may not be as powerful but the sheer arrogance of their personalities and their inability to prostrate to the Lord of the Universe and persistence in sinning ways.

(May Allah subhana wa taala reward you immensely. Your words are always a source of strength and comfort)

The journey is indeed inner more than it is outer. The outer journey is perhaps easier because it is aided by other people. We are encouraged by parents, teachers and preachers to pray, fast, be charitable, exercise good manners and say and do good. We see immediately the effect of the good we do to others and it makes us happy and fulfilled. The reward is felt right away.

But the inner journey we make alone. And it is an arduous journey. God says in the holy Quran, “O man, you are toiling toward your Lord then meeting Him!” (84:6) The journey is hard because Satan and our desire keep interfering with it.

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?

Does the Quran confirm science or vice versa?

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

I am opposed to the whole idea of scientific nonimitability of the Quran; proving the truth of the Quran by means of showing its statements of scientific facts that were only established centuries after the Quran was revealed.

My reasons are three-fold:

  • It gives non-Muslims a license to bear witness for the Quran,
  • It exposes the total deficit of Muslims in the scientific fields, and
  • The Quran is not meant to be a book of science, but a book of guidance.

The Quran tells a lot of stories, doesn’t it? Does that make it a story book? Of course not. All the stories God tells us in the Quran are told for their moral lessons. They ferment the faith and teach us how to live a life that pleases God. They also tell details that were previously unknown to the Arabs or to the Prophet (PBUH). Thus, they also serve as confirmation of the truth of his prophethood.

The Quran also makes quite a few prophecies, most of which came true during the life of the early Muslims. Does that make it a book of prophecies? No. All the prophecies that God tells us in the Quran are told to confirm the truth of the Quran and the prophethood of Muhammad, peace be upon him.

Likewise are the scientific facts stated in the Quran. Most of those statements were not even understood by Muslims. It was only when those facts were discovered by scientists, Muslim and non-Muslim, that the wonder of those verses became appreciated.

Speaking of Muslim scientists, did you forget the it was Muslims who established the scientific method? That is the foundation of all scientific discoveries to date. There were hundreds of Muslim scientists inventing or discovering thousands of scientific facts that enriched the world. The fact that Muslims have not contributed to science for sometime now is a reflection on them not on the Quran. It was the Quran that inspired the early Muslims to seek knowledge and investigate the material world.

As for your objection to non-Muslims bearing witness for the Quran, I don’t understand your objection. God says in the holy Quran, “And a witness from the Children of Israel testified to it” (46:10). If God finds such testimony worthy of including in His Last Testament, why would you find it objectionable?

But even without that, the non-Muslims who made scientific discoveries confirming the Quran did not do them to confirm the Quran, nor were most of them even aware that the Quran had mentioned their discoveries 14 centuries earlier! So, it’s not a testimony.

The scientific statements made in the Quran confirm science and science confirms the Quran. That is only natural, since the author of the physical laws and the author of the Quran are the same: The One true God, Allah, may He be sanctified and exalted.

Are there miracles and healings in Islam?

Monday, December 6th, 2010

My whole family is Christian and they believe in doing miracles in the name of Jesus (PBUH). What do we Muslims believe about people being healed and miracles in present day?

Muslim scholars are in agreement that miracles have ceased with the death of the Prophet, peace be upon him. That said, healing is not a miracle. A miracle is supernatural, such as resurrecting the dead and parting the sea. Healing can be done by the Quran, since God says, “And We send down of the Quran what is a healing and a mercy to the believers, and it does not add to the wrongdoers but loss.” (17:82)

Can logic and reason be used in religion?

Friday, July 9th, 2010

I’ve noticed that in many of your articles, you use logic and critical thinking, but can they be used in religion? I’ll give you an example. Prophet Muhammad Went from Mecca to Jerusalem in one night, can you explain to me how this is logically possible? We know also Angel Gabriel took Prophet Muhammad’s heart out and cleansed it and put it back when he was little. Can you logically prove this? And Allah turned some Jews from among the Children of Israel into apes and swines, Can you explain this to me as well?

That’s easy! Let me start with the night journey. An object will move at a speed proportional to the force that pushed it, the stronger the force, the faster the move. That is why airplanes get us to our destination faster than automobiles and faster than walking. God has infinite power, therefore, He can push any object any distance in no time at all.

Creatures differ in their abilities. A horse can live and build muscles from a diet of grass and hay, but man can’t. Birds can fly but man can’t. Likewise, angels have powers that man doesn’t have.

And because God has infinite creation powers, He can turn any creation into any other creation. It’s the same logic with which a worm, the caterpillar, which can only crawl, has many legs and looks creepy, turns in three weeks into another species, an insect, a butterfly, which can fly thousands of miles, has only two legs and looks beautiful. The same logic that turns a seed into a palm tree, or a fertilized egg into a baby. Glory be to God.

What about God settling on His Throne? Where is the logic here?

It’s a metaphor, a figure of speech. The Arabs use metaphors all the time. You can see that a lot when you read their poetry. Exegesis books have pointed that out too about the Quran in abundance.

Please tell the story of Al-Israa’ and Al-Mi`raaj (The Night and Ascension Journey)

Thursday, July 8th, 2010

Al-Israa’ and Al-Mi`raaj (The Night and Ascension Journey)

Stated by the Quran (17:1 and 53:13-18), Islam’s holy scripture, and by the authentic Hadeeth (quotes of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him), the Night Journey, Al-Israa’ and the Ascension journey (Al-Mi`raaj) are the two parts of a journey that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) took in one night around the year 621. While some Muslims consider it a spiritual journey made in a vision, the majority believes it was a physical journey, evidenced by the fact that the Prophet named all the caravans that were travelling between Mecca and Jersulam that night and he described Jerusalem accurately though he had never been there.

After reaching Jerusalem, the Prophet met with and lead in prayer, at the site of Al-Aqsa Mosque, all the other Prophets and Messengers of God, from Adam to Jesus, peace be upon them. Hadeeths report that he described some of the prophets. He said that he looked a lot like Abraham, that Adam had a dark skin and that Jesus had very oily hair.

Starting off on a rock in the site of the Dome of the Rock, the Prophet was ascended to heaven. He was accompanied by archangel Gabriel. As he visited each heaven, he would see sites and people and would ask Gabriel about them and Gabriel would tell him what the sites mean.

Then, at the last heaven, Gabriel said to Muhammad, “You can ascend farther up but if I try, I’d burn.” No creature has ever been there before. The Prophet ascended up and saw God. God greeted the Prophet, blessed him and gave him the mandate of the formal, ritual prayers of Islam.

Scholars have offered several purposes for that miraculous journey. Some said it was consolation for the Prophet, who in that year had lost his beloved wife, Khadeeja and his uncle Abu-Taalib, who was his protection from the violent opposition of his tribe, Quraysh, and his mistreatment at At-Taa’if, a close-by city he went to calling them to Islam. Others said the purpose of the trip was to highlight the paramount importance of prayer and to give all Muslims a chance to have a similar experience to that of the Prophet. Several scholars have described prayer as the “ascension of the believer.”

The event is commemorated each year on the eve of the 27th of the seventh lunar month, Rajab. It is regarded as one of the most important events in the Islamic calendar. Though not required, many Muslims bring their children to the mosques, where the children are told the story, pray with the adults, and then afterward food and treats are served.

In a sermon I attended recently, the imam (preacher) mentioned three more lessons we can learn from that wonderful event,

  • No matter how hard times are, there is good news reserved for us from God. Good times ahead.
  • The connection between Mecca and Jerusalem is solid and was never severed as many Jews claim when they said that Hagar and her son Ishmael were “outcast” to the desert. Even today, Islamophobes and adversaries of Islam keep trying to isolate and alienate Islam and reject that it is part of the family of monotheist religions and Muhammad (PBUH) is part of the family of Prophets.
  • The quick move from Mecca to Jerusalem is a good omen to Muslims that Islam will reach Jerusalem and will spread fast and wide.

Do we know anything about the burak, the vehicle of the  journey, which I’ve read somewhere described as a winged horse? Is that true, or is it a wrong translation?

I found only one reference to Al-Buraaq in Al-Albaani’s book which he rated Hasan (OK). It describes it as a white, tall beast of burden. That’s all. All other references are either weak or fabricated.

I can’t find any authentic mention of it anywhere in the six acknowledged books of Hadeeth. If someone can, please reply.

The word Buraaq comes from the Arabic verb برق (bariqa) which means to appear suddenly and brightly and quickly disappear, like the English verb to flash. That is why lightning is called Al-Barq in Arabic.

Can you be a Christian Muslim?

Tuesday, June 19th, 2007

A Catholic man converting to Islam wrote,

I was raised Catholic and I’m converting to Islam. I feel it is vital to say that I am embracing Islam. In doing this, I am making my Christian heritage stronger and so I believe I can call myself a Christian Muslim.

In doing this I will be closer to Allah, I will respect my family and follow my own path in life.

The values of faith, hope and charity, dedicated service to God, love and gratitude for Jesus and Mary, and peace and harmony, the values you probably cherish the most about Catholicism are all very emphasized and stressed in Islam. If these values are what you think of when you think of Christianity then you’ll find yourself at home with Islam.

Where the two religions differ is in key Christian dogma: That sin is inherited; that a savior is needed to forgive sin; that God has a son and is a trinity; that Jesus is divine; and that Jesus was crucified. Islam teaches that sin is not inherited, every newborn is born sinless with the pure original nature. Repentance, good deeds and seeking God’s forgiveness are the way to wipe out sin. God is one, unique, indivisible and uncontainable and there’s none like unto Him. He has no son nor was He begotten. Jesus was human in every way, a very honorable and distinctly noble man. He was miraculously conceived by his chaste, virgin mother Mary. He was a prophet and a messenger of God. He was given the holy scripture of the Gospel and he was the Christ promised to the Jews. Jesus was not crucified and he didn’t even die. God saved his life and dignity and lifted him up to heaven. Jesus will come back to rule the world and establish peace on earth for a while before the world comes to an end.

Just like Jesus said to the Jews that he did not come to abolish the law but to complete it, so did Islam come to confirm God’s message to humanity and correct deviations from it. It has always been the same message “Worship God, you have none worthy of worship but He” (Quran 7:59) which is the first commandment and the first words God spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai “I am Eloah, your God. Worship none but Me.” To associate in the worship of God anything or anybody, be it a man, an image, a statue, a crucifix, a bite of bread, a sip of wine, you name it, is the one and only cardinal sin in Islam.