Archive for the ‘Abraham’ Category

Answers to quizzes 19-25

Saturday, April 5th, 2014

19. Noah (PBUH) to his son who remained a disbeliever and tried to escape the Great Flood by taking shelter in a high mountain. Verse 11:42.

20. Prophet Shu`ayb (Jethro)’s daughter. She recommended Moses (PBUH) to her father as a hired hand for he is “strong and trustworthy.” Verse 28:26.

21. Righteous man Luqman preaching to his son. Verse 31:18.

22. Prophet Saalih (Mesoselah), PBUH, to his destroyed people who refused to believe in his message. Verse 7:79.

23. Young Abraham (PBUH) to the idols in his city’s temple. Subsequently, he axed them all, but the biggest one, to make the point to his people that these statues they worship cannot even defend themselves. Verses 37:91-92.

24. Pharaoh’s sorcerers, impressed by the magic performed by Moses. They included his brother Aaron too, although Aaron is not mentioned performing any magic. Verse 20:63.

25. Joseph (PBUH) after the wife of the nobleman kept pursuing him for an illicit affair. Verse 12:33.

What is Sunna and what is not

Thursday, October 10th, 2013

An article I read suggests that a congregational supplication after a prayer is discouraged, because neither the Prophet (PBUH) nor the Sahaba (his fellows) have done it.

They may not have done it, but the Prophet (PBUH) never said we couldn’t do it. There is a difference between “not practiced” and “forbidden.”

The problem with issues like that one is that the people who rule in such a way, do so out of concern that something which is not Sunna becomes a regular part of Islam in the minds of the masses. That would establish a Bid`a (novelty) in religion, which the Prophet (PBUH) warned us not to do. The solution to this problem, IMHO, is not to forbid what is not forbidden, but to ensure that it doesn’t become a novelty, by deliberately not doing it on a consistent basis.

Scholars have differed on what constitutes a Sunna (Practice of the Prophet). That’s because following the Sunna is a requirement of Islam. Therefore, knowing what is Sunna and what is not becomes of religious essence.

The Sunna is not simply everything that the Prophet (PBUH) said or did or approved or did not disapprove, but rather what he consistently said and did and encouraged us to follow him on. The scholars have attempted to differentiate between the two by classifying the latter as Sunna Mu’akkada (Emphasized practice). That’s fine. Then, what we are required to follow is the emphasized Sunna.

As usual you gave me the words to clarify the issue. Not practiced and forbidden. A world apart. It opens a new universe.

You may already know this hadeeth, but it illustrates the point very clearly. One day, Khaalid ibn Al-Waleed (RA) invited the Prophet (PBUH) and others to dinner. His aunt, Maymoona, had prepared for them a grilled porcupine! Everyone stretched their hands to grab a bite of it, except the Prophet. Khalid’s face paled like he saw a ghost. He said to the Prophet (PBUH), “Is it forbidden, O Messenger of God?” He answered, “No, but I find myself not agreeing with it!” Narrated by Khaalid and reported by Al-Bukhaari.

So, just because the Prophet didn’t do something is no reason for us not to do it. Only if he told us “don’t do it!”, then we will have to stay away from it. It seems obvious, but in these days of massive confusion and disinformation, the obvious needs to be stated!

That is why the world always needs teachers. They are know to excel in one thing: to repeat and repeat and repeat.

We have so much confusion. Our faith is ripe not with bida but cultural and nationalistic nonsense. Yet, the hadeeth of the simple woman who kept repeating her question to the embarrassment of the Prophet (swas) helps us. She wanted an answer, although it was intimate, she would not give up until she gained knowledge.

We need to simplify Islam. We have so much on the agenda. Let’s forget trying to save the universe and remember how to make salat.

On a personal note: Eid Mubarak. May Allah reward you immensely for your kindness to me. I have been given a trial which in turn seems to be a blessing. It has made me reach deep into my being. Kinda sorta letting go of a lot of pretenses in life, too. I heard a sheik relate a hadeeth about the Prophet (swas) telling some Sahaba (ra) sometimes our deen is like a hot coal in our hands. (I have always been the princess who felt the pea at the bottom of ten mattresses). Your kindness is akin to the cool of the fire for Prophet Ibrahim.

A blessed and happy Eid to you and your loved ones.

Thank you for your kind words.

How do you simplify something which both God and His Messenger have repeatedly said was already simple? By removing the fluff and pork that accumulated on it over the centuries. My blog is my humble way of doing that.

Brother,

All I can respond is to write “Blog on baby blog on!” It takes wisdom to understand simplicity. When endeavoring to resolve a complex problem the walls are everywhere. Once we have the solution it is so simple.

Likewise, our faith has been mingled with politics and men of various ambitions. The simple laity is lazy. We want the ends and care little about the means. For those of us who are foolish, we seek the means. It makes for a lonely road. (Cf. Zen/Sufism).

Your blog serves the purpose of giving the readers solutions without having to do all the homework. Blog on baby blog on.

(Trust me, I do take advantage of your wisdom…I am all over the universe in my thoughts and it helps to have some notion of being grounded).

There is no problem in taking a voyage in a hot-air balloon, as long as you can always land safely on earth 🙂

I guess I have a license, then, to keep blogging? LOL.

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.

Focus on the rain

Saturday, January 26th, 2013

I am concerned about a brother. He is on the brilliant end of the scale. He is one of the most compassionate human beings I know. He is a good person. He supports many many people. Should someone need a hand he drops everything and does it for them. He is respected for his skills and accomplished.

He was turned off to Islam. The Muslims are what he has difficulty with. As Yusuf Islam has stated he was glad he became Muslim before he met many!

I make dua (supplication) that Allah subhana wa taala soften this brother’s heart to Islam. He is knowledgeable about the history and politics of Islam. Any suggestions?

The Prophet (PBUH) gave a parable one day. He said that rain falls on the earth carrying blessings but different terrain react differently to those blessings. Fertile soil blooms with flowers and vegetation, rocks are washed but that’s about it, sand brings out palm trees and cactus but not much more, etc. Human reception of God’s blessings is kinda like that. This brother should not be disillusioned because all he sees is rocks. He should instead focus on the rain!

It is understandable to be frustrated by an environment that does not nourish spirituality and righteousness. But this brother should keep in mind that being a Muslim does not mean following other Muslims; being a Muslim means following God and His Messenger. Whether his fellowship consists of him alone, like Abraham’s was at first, or has billions of faithful people, should not be the primary concern of a believer, as nice as it is to have.

I have a feeling that things will be alright. Tests of life are tests of character. They expose a person’s true colors. From what you said, it sounds like the seed of goodness is in this brother. I know someone who once had a bout with doubt and left the faith for several years but came back. That was a much harder test than what this brother is going through. A believer comes out of such tests stronger and so will this brother, insha-Allah (God willing).

Answers to quizzes 5-10

Monday, December 31st, 2012

See if your answers to quizzes 5-10 match these:

5. Noah said it to his son who did not accept his message and thought that climbing a mountain will save him from the Great Flood. It is from verse 11:42.

6. Shu`ayb’s (Jethro’s) daughter said it to her father, suggesting to him that he hire Moses as his assistant. It’s from verse 28:26.

7. Abraham said it to God out of curiosity and fascination only. It is from verse 2:260.

8. Moses said it to God. God told him that he couldn’t possibly see him and then showed him why. It is from verse 7:143.

9. A host from Solomon’s court said it to the Queen of Sheba who was visiting him in Jerusalem. It is from verse 27:42.

10. Jesus says it to God on the Day of Judgment. It is from verse 5:117.

On gentleness and responsibility

Monday, May 7th, 2012

We are such passionate beings we forget the message of Allah is one that encourages the best of manners. But it is more than a superficial gesture. We have to recall the gentleness that the Prophet always carried. We forget the strength of being kind and gentle. The refinement it carries. The respect it brings upon the personhood of the gentle being.

One day a man said something abusive to the Prophet (PBUH). `Aa’isha (RA) was standing there and heard it and she returned it in kind! The Prophet (PBUH) promptly said to her, “Easy now, `Aa’isha, God loves gentleness in everything.” Narrated by `Aa’isha and reported by Al-Bukhaari.

Indeed, the Prophet (PBUH) was gentle and friendly even to his enemies. God says in the holy Quran, “So by mercy from God, [O Muhammad], you were lenient with them. And if you had been rude [in speech], thick-hearted (harsh), they would have disbanded from about you. So pardon them, ask forgiveness for them and consult them in the matter. And when you have decided, then rely upon God. Indeed, God loves those who rely [upon Him].” (3:159)

A major role for gentleness is in the call to Islam. God emphasizes that calling people to Islam must be done with “wisdom and good preaching” and that arguing with them must be “in the most beautiful manner” (16:125). Yet, you find some Muslims today that drive away potential converts by the way they behave, by the way they talk and even by the way they look! Why would anybody in their right mind consider giving Islam a first look after seeing what these Muslims do?

That is the opposite of Da`wa (proselytizing)! The Prophet’s advice to his missionaries has been, “Make things easy and don’t make them difficult. Give good news and don’t repulse.” Narrated by Anas ibn Maalik and reported by Al-Bukhaari, and also narrated by Abu-Moosa Al-Ash`ari and reported by Muslim. See how beautiful the Prophet’s advice has been and how many Muslims do the exact opposite!

Most major figures in history are either remembered for being gentle or ruthless. But, we forget that a major component of piety is gentleness.

Did you notice that the gentle are far more remembered? How many people remember Abraham (PBUH) and are named Abraham? How many people remember Nimrod, if that’s even his name?

And my major thought; the one that makes me write to you is our lack of understanding of the covenant we have made with Allah. The one we forget so easily. We proclaimed to Allah subhana wa taala, and let me know if I am wrong, that we would take care of His Earth and all its inhabitants. Is not the English word vicegerent? I wish I knew the Arabic word.

The Arabic word is Khaleefa, which means deputy. A deputy’s job is to take care of things on behalf of the King. God made it clear that man’s job on earth was to be His deputies (2:30). When God appointed David (PBUH) King of Israel, He said to him, “O David, We have made you a deputy in the land, so judge between people with the truth and do not follow desire.” (38:26)

As I mentioned in a previous post, all suffering, misery and imbalance in the world is a direct, predictable result of injustice, which comes from not abiding by the truth and following desire instead.

God praises people who cultivate and improve the earth and chastises those who ruin it and spread mischief.

We do not recall that we are the ones who are responsible for the contents of the Quran. We have forgotten that we are responsible and accountable.

Excellent point. In fact, God vowed to preserve the text of the Quran, but left to us the preservation of its teachings. But even the text of the Quran would not have been preserved if it weren’t for the righteous people who did the work! There were attempts early on to have differing versions of the Quran, however slight, but they all failed, thanks to upstanding leaders such as Uthmaan ibn `Affaan, may God have been pleased with him.

You are indeed correct that we have a covenant with God. I talked about that in this earlier post. God expects us to fulfill all covenants we make. Consider:

“O you who have believed, fulfill contracts.” (5:1)

“And fulfill [the terms of] a treaty. A vow will be accounted.” (17:34)

“And remember the favor of God upon you and His covenant with which He bound you when you said, ‘We hear and we obey’; and watch out for God. Indeed, God knows well what is within.” (5:7)

“They fulfill their pledges and fear a Day whose hardship flares up.” (76:7)

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.

Happy Eid-ul-Adhha

Sunday, November 6th, 2011

Eid Mubarak to all fellow Muslims around the world. Today is the feast of sacrifice, commemorating the ultimate willingness to surrender to God by prophets Abraham and Ishmael and Lady Haajar (Hagar), peace be upon them. They all teach us the lesson that surrender to God, which is what the word Islam means, is the gateway to peace, prosperity and longevity.

Hijr-Ismail

Tawaaf around the Ka`ba

Can one sell one’s soul to Satan?

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

Do you know Lady Gaga? I heard that she worships, or sold her soul to satan and that’s why she’s successful. Is there really something that you sell your soul and become successful? Doesn’t success comes ONLY from Allah (SWT)? Please don’t talk about Lady Gaga at all and that all forms of music is haraam. I want to talk about people being successful by worshiping Shaytan. This not about Lady Gaga but applies to others to.

Not all forms of music is haraam (forbidden). See the Music category for explanation.

“Selling one’s soul to Satan” is a metaphor. It means following Satan’s whispers in violation of God’s teachings. The Quran calls this “being an ally of Satan”, e.g.,

“[Abraham speaking to his father], ‘O my father, do not worship Satan. Indeed Satan has ever been, to the Beneficent, disobedient.
O my father, verily, I fear that there will touch you torment from the Beneficent so you would be to Satan an ally.’ ” (19:44-45)

Abraham’s father did not, to the best of our knowledge, sell his soul to Satan, or engage in what is commonly known as Satanic rituals. However, he worshiped idols. This is what prompted Abraham to plead with his father to stop that blasphemy and follow him instead in worshiping the only true God. Abraham equated worshiping idols to worshiping Satan.

Now, your question was about whether dedication to Satan can result in success. If you define success as material wealth, fame, etc., then the answer is yes! We learn that from the holy Quran,

“So when they forgot that by which they had been reminded, We opened to them the doors of every thing until, when they rejoiced in that which they were given, We seized them suddenly, and they were [then] in despair.” (6:44)

The Quran teaches us to never be impressed with abundance of worldly goods, regardless of its source,

“And do not extend your eyes toward that by which We have given enjoyment to [some] categories of them, [its being but] the splendor of worldly life by which We test them. And the provision of your Lord is better and more enduring.” (20:131)

And that goes double if the source of the wealth is unlawful,

“Say, ‘Not equal are the filthy and the pure, although the abundance of the filthy might impress you.’ So fear God, O you of understanding, that you may be successful.” (5:100)

God teaches us to seek what is good in both this life and the Hereafter, not just what is good in this life. He says,

“…And of the people are [some] who say, ‘Our Lord, give us in [this] the nearest [life]’; they will not have in the lasting [life] not a share.
And of them are [some] who say, ‘Our Lord, give us in [this] the nearest [life] good and in the lasting [life] good, and shield us from the torment of Hell.
Those will have a share of what they have earned, and God is swift in account.” (2:200-202)

Is this a contradiction in the Quran?

Sunday, January 2nd, 2011

The Quran states that the family of Pharaoh has been cursed and are going to Hell. But it also says that Pharaoh’s wife, Asia, was a role model for believing women. Is that a contradiction, or an exception?

The Quran does not condemn the family of Pharaoh, it condemns “Aal” of Pharaoh. The difference is that the word Aal, which is often translated as “family of” or “house of”, actually means “followers of”. Asia was not one of those. She was a believer and a follower of Moses, not of Pharaoh. Thus, while she was from the family of Pharaoh, she was not from his Aal.

In each prayer, we Muslims acknowledge that God has blessed Aal of Abraham. We do that a minimum of nine times everyday! But we know that Abraham’s father is declared in the Quran as “an enemy to God!” (9:114) Therefore, he cannot be from Aal of Abraham! Sarah, Haajar, Isaac, Ishmael, etc. are.

This is further confirmed by the story of Noah (PBUH) and his son. Noah thought that his son would be saved from the Flood, but God explained to him that Noah’s son “is not from his family!” See verses 11:40-49.

I read this poem on another forum and thought it articulated this concept quite well,
The Aal of the Prophet are the followers of his religion,
Be they foreign or Arab.
If his Aal were only his kinsmen,
We would be praying for his tyrant uncle Abu-Lahab!