Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Miracles of Islam Khutba

 Here's some of my notes, delivered on 5/11/10, Warwick University for Jumu'ah:

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, Most Merciful,
As Muslims living in non-Muslim lands, particularly at university where there is continuous exchange with people of other beliefs, it is important to discuss dawah (the propagation of Islam) and its different aspects. I plan to do this by first touching upon what is dawah and its proofs, then move on to the proofs of Islam and then enumerate the methods of dawah.
Dawah is a fardh upon every Muslim as the Prophet (SAW) said "Convey from me, even one verse." And the Qur’an says "Invite to the Way of your Lord (i.e. Islam) with wisdom and fair preaching, and argue with them in a way that is better. Truly, your Lord knows best who has gone astray from His Path, and He is the Best Aware of those who are guided." [al-Qur'an, an-Nisa'(16):125]
We see the example of the Prophet (SAW) continuously spreading the truth about Islam and its message, even when undergoing pain and numerous hardships. There is the well-known example of Ta’if about hardship and persistence.
I believe that in this day and age, people should commit themselves to learning the proofs of this Din of Islam so that when they have waswasa, they can answer them insha'Allah but also they are able to engage in dawah.Here's a few points:

1) understanding the Qur'anic miracles- they're many from the historical, to the linguistic, to the scientific. However not all of the acclaimed miracles are exactly miracles and can be stretching the texts(such as the speed of light in the Qur'an) so you need to pick something solid such as the embryological miracles; An example is the prediction of Ibn Barrajan (died in 536 AH) in 522 AH in his tafsir is that the Muslims would conquer Jerusalem from the Christians in 583 AH in Rajab and that came true as narrated by Ibn Kathir and other historians

2) understanding how the Hadiths were transmitted and how they lead to certain knowledge about miracles done at the time of the Holy Prophet(Sallalahu alaihi wa sallam) since the science of the verification of Hadiths is very meticulous and many Hadith scholars dedicated their lives and often travelled thousands of miles just to hear a Hadith. Related to this is the topic of mutawatir Hadiths which are Hadiths narrated through so many narrators at each stage of transmission that it is impossible that the Hadiths be fabricated since all the people could not have come together for a conspiracy, as in the case of water multiplying or the tree that cried;

3) understanding the miracles done by the Awliya and how they have been authentically related and still happen and are witnessed in this day and age. On a related point is the scientific study on "Rapid Wound Healing: A Sufi Perspective" where two American psychologists investigated in a scientific setting the ability of Iraqi Muslims to defy scientific and medical knowledge through the rapid healing of wounds, prevention of blood flow, pain and infection;
Let me tell you about Sheikh Murabit al-Hajj, he’s a famous and pious Sheikh in Mauritania, once he there was a drought and the people came to him asking him to pray to Allah so he prayed and as soon as he finished, it started raining.
Also there is a well known guy (called the Durood sheriff guy)  that scholars and laymen know him in Leicester who is known for the Salawat that he reads upon the Best of Creation 10,000 times a day. He often sees the Prophet (Sallalahu alaihi wa sallam) in his dreams so once when he was in the Mosque, a person quietly asked Allah to send salams upon His Prophet and the Durood sheriff guy dozed off and the Prophet came to him in his sleep and told him to give salams to so and so. So when he woke, he told the guy that the Prophet returned his salams, how amazing is that? And he did it with other people in the Mosque too, subhanAllah!

4) understanding the many predictions made in the Qur'an and Hadiths about the future and about phenomena that we know scientificially know). One example is the Hadith predicting burning rain and television, RasulAllah (SAW) said that 'there will appear instruments of music and dancers/songstresses in every home', noting that it says “appear” which is so obvious now.
Further to this is the Hadith about talking shoes which was fulfilled by Nike producing ‘talking’ shoes.
One work on it is Mutabaqat al-Iktira`at al-`Asriyya lima Akhbara bihi Sayyid al-Bariyya SallAllahu `alayhi wa-Sallam ("The Conformity of Contemporary Inventions to What Was Foretold by the Master of Creation upon him peace"). An interesting book on the hadiths announcing modern inventions and scientific discoveries as well as innovations such as zoos, the circus, Communism etc by the famous Hadith scholar Ahmed al-Ghumari.  

5) understanding the existence of the cases of jinns and interactions with humans and how they provide testable evidence of many Islamic claims in regards to the other realms. Indeed the cases of jinns are soo numerous and easily verifiable, that to deny they exist is utter stupidity and to explain them all under the name of psychology is also deceit since then how is it that reciting the Qur'an etc cures them when medicines don't?(And it’s not the placebo affect);

6) understanding the miracles associated with relics associated with the Prophets and Awliya such as the Blessed Hairs of the Holy Prophet(sallalahu alaihi wa sallam) or graves. Indeed scholars and those who possess the Hairs have stated that the latter have particular qualities of having no shadow and still growing (without any nutrients) and eventually splitting to create replicas;

Whilst knowing the proofs, certain other things should to be fulfilled for a more fruitful dawah since Iman does not enter just intellectually but also through example and most importantly the Help of Allah Most High.
The first is that a person be sincere in his dawah, doing it purely for Allah whilst wishing the best for people by them attaining the pleasure of Allah Most High. Insha’Allah your path will be made easy through this. Add to this much du’a, salutations upon the Prophet (SAW) and extra vigils.
The second is that the da’i (the person doing the dawah) embody noble character such as being truthful, not swearing, not backbiting, generous, helpful, cheerful and so on since that will set you apart from the majority of people and since it is Islam that inculcates that in you, it will portray a good image of Islam but you should make it clear that it is due to Islam.
The third is to understand who your audience or target is, try to be in their shoes, understand their lifestyles, background and needs. Grab their attention and make them want to look into Islam, perhaps say something controversial. If you find that they prejudge Islam then ask them to research on Islam and read the biography of the Prophet (SAW) to at least know Islam in an open minded way since who rejects a major opinion that can impact one’s life without even researching the view of the other side?
The proofs of Islam are many and enough to guide any fair minded person to Islam, whether a scientist or a layman.

Buti and the Unfortunate Woman

For the benefit of the people, i have transcribed this incident, here it is by Sheikh Ramadan al-Buti or Bouti (other spelling):

One day a few years ago, there walked into my office at the College of Islamic Law a young woman who was feigning a hijab- or so it appeared to me- by covering part of her hair. She requested my permission to sit down and tell me about her situation in the hope that I might point her to a way out of her dilemma or aid her in finding a solution.

Her story in short was that she had been brought up in a household which had no understanding of the meaning of religion and which lived by none of its values. She received her education and cultural conditioning first in the schools, then in the university, without anyone to watch over her or advice her in a spirit of compassion and concern. She said, “From the time I started high school, boys started hovering around me, showing admiration for me and pushing me to be more ‘liberated’ in the way I looked and acted.

“So,” she continued, “I went along with all this, and my heart turned into a kind of ‘hotel room’ that was occupied by one boy after another.

“When I went to the university I got even more involved with young men, and they all liked my liberated style. At the same time, there was constant pressure on me to ‘liberate’ myself even more and strive for self-fulfillment. During this same period of time, I got attached to a guy that I felt I’d come to love, and my feelings for him took over my whole being. He used to assure me of his sincere love for me and attachment to me, so I suggested that he approach my family about getting engaged. His response to my suggestion was positive and enthusiastic. He said that marriage was what he had in mind and that he would approach my family about the matter in the near future. As a result of this growing trust, our relationship grew even stronger and deeper. Then during one of our trysts, he managed to take from me the most precious thing I possessed. I’d been sure of his love and trusted his promises, and I’d believed my dreams that he was the one I could depend on and come to for protection.”

“What happened during that one meeting happened again on other occasions and I started reminding him about the matter of our getting engaged and urging him to hurry in fulfilling his promise to me. As for him, he started putting me off and making excuses which I realized only later he was just making up.”

“Finally during one of our times together, I demanded that he do what he had promised me with regard to talking to me family about our engagement. In response, he looked at me contemptuously and said “When I decide to get married, I’ll look for an honorable girl, not one who makes herself into a plaything for all the guys.”

“What he said that day cut me to the quick. It was like a shout that wakened me out of a long deep sleep to find myself surrounded by a crowd of ‘playboys’ who only wanted to make sport of me. I saw that I was a stranger in this world, even to my family, who had let me wander about aimlessly with no one to show me the way. Even so, I know that if I told them what had happened as a result of their neglect and lack of concern, I’d be certain to face the worst fate imaginable.”

Then, with great emotion, she said “I know for sure now that if I had protected myself with the principles and wise counsel of Islam, no impostor could have taken advantage of me and I would have continued to have both happiness and honor. And now I don’t know what to do.”

I said to her, “Was it necessary for you to put God’s commands to the test and plunge headlong into this devastating experience in order to arrive at this certainty? Wouldn’t it have been enough to realize ahead of time that this religion, in essence, is nothing but the wise admonitions of the God who is the most Merciful of the merciful? Through these admonitions, God addresses His honored servants so that they can find happiness in the care and nurture they give and in the protection which they provide from all harm.”

“You turned away from God over the past years, preferring to be led astray by the deceit of wanton, disreputable individuals rather than to be obedient to His commands and precepts. Even so, you’ll find Him to be the only true Friend capable of comforting you in your alienation and of delivering you from your misery and pain. All it will cost you to find Him is for you to be reconciled with Him in sincerity and to obey His commands to the best of your ability and with confidence and assurance.”

She said to me, “From now on, I promise God in repentance and remorse to obey His commands and submit to all His judgments. Never again will I pay attention to Satan’s deception, and I won’t give into any sort of passion or enticement.”

I said to her, “Come by to see me from time to time, and I feel confident that God will provide you a way out of your difficult.”

Then, in an extraordinary demonstration of God’s grace, only three or four days later I was visited by a young man who had come to complain to me that he felt the need to get married but hadn’t been able to find the right girl with the religious commitment that he wanted in a life partner. It was apparent that the young man was devout himself and committed to Islam based on genuine awareness and understanding.

So I asked him, “Would you be willing to consider a young woman with a pleasant appearance and whose religious faith and conduct you can be assured of? By marrying her you would merit a reward the likes of which only the most righteous attain, and I’m willing to vouch for the marriage myself.”

“Yes!” he replied enthusiastically. “Who is she?”

I then told him the girl’s story just as she had recounted it to me, and I assured him of my confidence in the sincerity of her repentance. As I spoke, he grew more and more happy and enthusiastic and in the end, he gave me the go-ahead to handle the matter as I saw fit.

Glory be to the One Who changes people’s hearts! Praise be to my merciful, loving Lord, who opened people’s minds and brought this union to pass, wiping away the crushing sorrow that had threatened to quench the spirit of this unfortunate girl who had fallen victim to profiteers- profiteers of the call to “progress “ and the warning against “backwardness.”In short, God gave me success in bringing these two together. In a single introductory session, they established a dialogue, affirmed their confidence in each other and exchanged pledges. The young man then arranged with her family for their engagement in the customary manner and God joined them in comfortable, happy marriage beneath the protective umbrella of mutual commitment to His blessed teachings. Truly did God speak when He declared, “O you who have believed, respond to Allah and to the Messenger when he calls you to that which gives you life” (8:24).

Taken from Sheikh Ramadan al-Buti’s book “Women between the tyranny of the western system and the mercy of the Islamic law”(pages 246-251)

May Allah have mercy upon him.

Working with "Big firms" and Spirituality

Peace be upon you!
I write this as something to enlighten me and you, and all those in need of light in this darkened age, this "advanced age", where there has been a never ending increase in anxieties.
I know its hard to be the only one who is the odd one in society. The pressures are hard to go to gatherings that aren't exactly halal, but we should understand our principles and that we should stick to them and be ambassadors of Islam. Do we want popularity in front of Allah Most High and His Angels (which fill the whole universe!), or popularity in front of the disobedient, who are neither able to benefit nor harm us? When our Lord asked us "Am I not your Lord", we all responded "Yea! We do testify!". So remember that, and don't be hypocritical, such that we say the Kalima by our tongue, yet our limbs say "O bank, you are my lord!" 
Such gatherings of haram where alcohol is a major thing or people drink is a place that Allah detests. They are gatherings where darkness abounds and if our eyesight was opened up, we would see that and flee with terror. From each action, darkness emanates, and the soul is affected negatively and starts to darken. And there are other gatherings that we should visit, where Nur/light emanates, barakah/blessings and Angels are present and Allah looks upon favourable. The good deeds send out light that reaches to the heavens. And the believers' light increases and he becomes closer to Allah. And the closer one becomes to Allah Most High, the more the inner vision of the believer increases, and his du'as become more powerful. In blessed gatherings, the heart finds tremendous tranquility, whilst in cursed gatherings, the heart feels perturbed. If we were truly pious, we would see such things ourselves, see the light and the darkness emanating from people, as some people see! So we should set our priorities.
It is not compulsory to attend gatherings of the haram, but if one thinks that they have to, then they have re-evaluate their purpose in life.
Remember also that when it is just a few who stick to principles in front of the large pressures of society, the reward from Allah Most High is even greater! And the virtue of the believer increases. Do you not see, that the less the supply of gold, the higher is its value?
How many are the Muslims that succumb to the haram? And how priceless are those who stick to Allah's commands? Are our souls really worth so little that we'll give them away for the £1000s that such firms offer us? This is though such firms will lay it off whenever they want?
Who chose us to be in this job, out of all others that applied? Who gave this job to us, and all that we have? Of course none other than Allah. Then to whom do we have allegience first and foremost? Of course it is Allah.
Consider the example of a person who gives you £1 million and asks you to invest it in ethical investments and not to invest in alcoholic firms. Then you can keep the £1 million and all its returns. But then you go about investing the money in alcoholic firms and ignore the person's instructions, thinking that you can get a higher return in alcoholic firms. Do you think that that is a just use of the donor's money?
We should be grateful that Allah favoured us to work in the "number 1 investment bank", so we think that we've achieved the "peak". But far from it we are! We should also strive to be the best amongst all the people alive today, aim to be of the Friends/Awliya of Allah. Those about whom the Qur'an says "they shall have no fear, nor shall they grieve". Ah, look at the stress and worries of today's society, especially in the "big firms"! How desirable is such a reward, that much of today's society would leave everything to achieve it!
And being amongst the Awliya leads to changing people's lives for the better, drawing them closer to Allah, not just performing miracles (though they often happen, even in today's times). What other thing can a person hope to achieve that is better for society? How many are the flawed experiments to "improve society", and how many are the ignorant that claim that "greed is ingrained in humans and cannot be removed"? They only say the latter because they have not recognised or seen the Awliya.
Thus we must ask, what is it that gave Sheikh Abdul Rahman ash-Shaghouri this personality:
"Twenty-two years ago... I watched for a moment as he stopped to buy some apples from a cart in front of the mosque. He took the plastic bag from the seller and filled it with the worst apples he could find nicked, bruised, and worm-holed which he chose as carefully as most people choose good ones, then paid for and with a smile shook hands with the man before we went up the hill to the sheikh s home...When I reflected on his strange shopping, I realized that it had been to save the apple man from having to throw any out. The incident summed up the sheikh s personality and life, which was based on futuwwa or putting others ahead of oneself" (
What allowed them to behave like that is the company they kept with the Friends of Allah, as the Prophet (Sallalahu alaihi wa sallam) said “A person is upon the religion of his close friend, so beware whom you befriend.” In this day and age of confusion and bad manners, how badly we all are in need of good company, and don't think that the station of the Awliya is beyond us, since even the majorly sinful can become the Awliya if they repent and turn to Allah Most High sincerely. See the example of Habib al Ajami, or the robbers that repented at the hands of Sheikh Abdul Qadir al Jilani!
As Imam Ibn Ata Allah said:

"If someone's state does not lift you up,  
and his words do not lead you to Allah
- then do not keep his company!
It may well be that you are in a bad state -
but to keep company with someone worse than you
would allow you to see good in yourself."


"Do not travel from phenomenal being to phenomenal being.
You will be like the donkey going around at the mill.
It travels to what it set out from.
Travel from phenomenal beings
to the Maker of Being.

"And the final end is to your Lord."

I really recommend the following talk, one of the best I've heard:

May Allah Most High allow me and you to implement what has been written here in the way of advices, and make our hearts reflect the Divine Lights, and open our hearts to the overflowing of Divine Grace!

Walaikum us salam
Aslan- the one in need of your du'as!

What is an Excellent Muslim?

Said the Noble Sheikh Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani (RA), basically giving an example of what a Muslim should be like and what Islam is about:
“What is required of the spiritual pauper is that he should be flexible in thinking and centred in remembrance, courteous in disagreement and ready to assist in reconciliation. He must seek nothing from the Lord of Truth but the Truth, and he must practice nothing but truthfulness. He must be the most tolerant of people, and the most self-effacing. His laughter should be of the cheerful, smiling kind, and his curiosity should be used as an instrument of learning. He should be a reminder to the heedless, and a teacher to the ignorant. He must not hurt those who hurt him, and he must not meddle in things that do not concern him.
He must give plenty in the way of favours, but little in the way of offense. He must be careful to abstain from things that are unlawful, and stand well clear of things that are of dubious legality. He must be a helper to the stranger, and a father to the orphan. His joy should be apparent in his face, while his sadness stored in his heart. He should be engrossed in his contemplation and happy in his poverty. He must not disclose a secret, nor rend a veil. He must be graceful in movement, bountiful in kindness, charming in outlook, generous in providing benefits, refined in taste, excellent in moral character, and very gentle.
He should be a precious substance that melts and flows. He should be long on silence, agreeable in manner, forbearing when he is treated foolishly, and very patient with anyone who treats him badly. There should be no freezing of the feelings in his presence, and no extinguishing of the fire of Truth. He must never be slanderous, envious, impetuous, or malicious. He must treat the elderly with deference, and the young with compassion.
He must be worthy of trust and far from betrayal. His habit should be true devotion, and modesty should be his natural disposition. He should always be on the alert, and make vigilance his constant practice. He should take little for granted, and be very long-suffering. He should mean little to himself, but a great deal to his brothers. His behaviour should be an example of good conduct, and his speech should be a marvel. He must never gloat over anyone’s misfortune, nor speak ill of anyone behind his back.
He must be dignified and very patient, content and very thankful. He should spend little time in talking, and make a frequent practice of ritual prayer and fasting. He must be truthful of tongue and steadfast of heart. He should treat his guests with cordial hospitality, and supply everyone present with whatever food is available. When disasters befall him, his neighbours must not be adversely affected.
He must not be a verbal abuser, a backbiter, a slanderer, a calumniator, or a faultfinder. He must not be impetuous, inattentive, envious, irritable, malicious or ungrateful.
He must have a tongue that is stored away, a heart that is grief-stricken, a way of speaking that is measured, and a way of thinking that travels far and wide, through what has been and what is yet to be.”

Monday, 27 February 2012

Repenting to Allah and what to do?

Quite a few people have asked me about repentance and how to become steadfast in Islam. So I did some reflecting, and Alhamdulillah wrote this.
Firstly we should be grateful that Allah swt has turned our hearts to Him and made us realise our mistakes and allowed us to become alive, and repent. This is when many people are lost around us, we don't want to realise our mistakes when its too late I.e. When we die.
So Allah swt iA wishes good for us:) so take things as a positive sign, and don't lose hope in Allah swt.
We know that when we turn to Him, He turns to us even more closer. A hadith qudsi is: "Allah the Almighty said:

‘I am as My servant thinks I am (1). I am with him when he makes mention of Me. If he makes mention of Me to himself, I make mention of him to Myself; and if he makes mention of Me in an assembly, I make mention of him in an assembly better than it. And if he draws near to Me an arm's length, I draw near to him a fathom's length. And if he comes to Me walking, I go to him at speed."  (Muslim)
As for the past, remember it is the past and we just have to repent and fulfill the conditions of repentance and leave the rest to Allah swt, since He promised to forgive those who repent. And His promise is true and His mercy is bigger than our sins. The promise of despair and non-forgiveness that shaytan gives us is false.
Now what we should focus is what we can change. And that is the future. So we should strive to avoid sins, especially the ones we have repented from.
This needs different steps:
1) Strong will and trusting and turning to Allah, even if we sin again and again
2) Remind yourself of the reward of paradise for those who turn to Him, read about the rewards, and think about the things you want in your life, and you can't get. But you can get in jannah, like lost relatives, or eternity with spouse, or the palace you've dreamed of, or the clothes that you want, or the beautiful things you enjoy or see etc. I don't know what you want dearly, but I want to have a dragon ball z world and its characters in my jannah:) I want to turn super saiyan hahah! Maybe you want sailor moon stuff haha. After all, one of the companions wanted a red camel in paradise and the Prophet said he can get it, and we can get anything we want in paradise. Of course most importantly I want to see Allah swt, our Creator, and the Prophet, our guide. And I want to meet my mothers, the mothers of the believers, I.e. The wives of the Prophets. And I want to eat from the tree that the Prophet planted in paradise, because the tree cried for the Prophet when in this world, and it wanted to be put in paradise so that the friends of Allah swt can eat from it.
Write or print out verses and hadiths on topic of jannah. So you remember before you start day or sin
3) Remind yourself of the punishment of hell by reading its description, and touch something hot, like a boiling kettle, and then remember that the fire of hell is 1000+ times greater. Write or print out verses and hadiths on topic of hell. So you remember before you start day or sin, what the consequences are
4) Seek righteous/good religious muslim friends and be in their company, so they encourage and help you in good and in avoiding bad. If you can't find them in real life, then try to find them online (although need to be careful)
5) Avoid bad friends, especially those that encourage you to sin. But if you can't avoid them, then don't become close to them. Don't socialise much with them. Try not to go to their parties where they forget Allah or sin. And remember that the company of Allah, His angels and the righteous is better.
See Hadith qudsi about Allah mentioning such people to Angels etc. Remember that the Prophets and Sahaba/companions and many righteous people faced total isolation for their beliefs, and many had to sacrifice their lives and wealth. So seek inspiration through that. Remember that bad friends will abandon us in the next world and will say to us (if we encouraged them in bad) 'why was I ever your friend? You should get double punishment'
6) Watch and read inspiring Islamic books/talks/articles so your Iman becomes stronger, you gain knowledge and become stronger in facing your challenges
7) Read and reflect on the Quran everyday, both Arabic and translation. When you come across verses that touch you, bookmark them, maybe with a sticky note. So you can turn to that verse again when down.
8) Stick to your fardh acts always, never give them up.
9) Remember the mercy of Allah and have hope, but also have fear
10) Remember that you are human so you might fail or fall, but your job is to get up and try again. It helps if you do the daily dhikr for forgiveness, like the dua sayyidul istighfar

Now that's for stuff relating to repentance. There's other things you should do too:
1) Increase in good deeds, even if the deeds are small. This is so that you can replace the bad deeds. Remember to start with things you can do and in a quantity that you can sustain. And then you increase those things and quantity over time. It is like you don't try to learn physics degree in one day, but you start from things you can do and you increase:)
2) Help others in doing good deeds and in gaining knowledge. This is a way of getting lots of reward, since when they do the good, you get the good deeds too inshaAllah. And the one who teaches knowledge, her sins are forgiven
3) Increase your love for Allah and His Prophet, since that is your connection to Islam and it makes your Iman grow and gives you sweetness of Iman
4) Attend Islamic courses and events, so that you meet and make new good Muslim friends. And the one who seeks knowledge, her sins are forgiven
5) Join an Islamic organisation or group, such as an Islamic project to help homeless or to gain knowledge etc, so you meet good Muslim friends.
6) Remember Allah swt much and read much selawat, especially go to gatherings of knowledge and zikr/dhikr and your sins will be forgiven.
The parts about sins being forgiven, that's from Hadiths like:
Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Allah Almighty has angels who travel the highways and by-ways seeking out gatherings of dhikr in the earth. When they find a gathering of dhikr, they enfold them with their wings stretching up to the heaven. Allah asks them, 'From where have you come?' They reply, 'We have come from Your slaves who are glorifying You, praising You, proclaiming Your oneness, asking of You and seeking refuge with You.' He says � and He knows better than them, 'What are they asking Me for?' They reply, 'They are asking You for the Garden.' He says, 'Have they seen it?' They reply, 'No, our Lord.' He says, 'How would it be if they were to see it?' Then He asks � and He knows better than them, 'What are they seeking refuge from?' 'From the Fire,' they reply. He asks, 'Have they seen it?' 'No,' they reply. Then He says, 'How would it be if they were to see it?' Then He says, 'I testify to you that I have forgiven them, I have given them what they ask Me for, and I give them the refuge which they ask of Me.' They say, 'Our Lord, among them is a wrongdoer who is sitting with them, but is not one of them.' He says, 'I have forgiven him as well. The one sitting with these people will not be wretched.'" (Muslim, at-Tirmidhi, al-Hakim)

 Remember that Islam is a struggle, precious things in life are a struggle and need effort. Like getting a degree or A levels needs work and effort, sometimes sleepless nights and worse health because of exams and stress.
But what is the reward? ANYTHING that you want and for eternity in Jannah. If we get there, then we will have no worry, no pain, no jealousy, no anger, no sadness. It will be pure happiness.
And all we have to do is sacrifice maybe 60 years of our life

I leave you with the phenomenal advice of the Prophet:“Ahead of you there lie days of patience, during which being patient will be like grasping a hot coal. The one who does good deeds then will have a reward like that of fifty men who do such deeds. They (the companions) said: O Messenger of Allah, the reward of fifty of them? He said: “The reward of fifty of YOU.” (Tirmidhi)

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Criticising Islam- A Malaysian Insider article

In the name of Allah Most High, and in whose name we seek Aid.
May the peace and blessings be upon the beloved, best of creation, the light of all times, Sayyidina Muhammed, and upon his family and companions.
A nice brother Syazwan Zainal I know has written a second article on Malaysian Insider (1), and it has gotten a lot of positive publicity lately. The reasons for that will insha'Allah be explained later, but I have felt a strong need to write on it, primarily because there are gross errors in the article, and my love for truth and Allah Most High means that I have to refute my friend.
I plan to take his arguments down one by one insha'Allah, and I seek Allah's aid in defending the truth here.
(Note that whenever I refer to the word "author", I mean brother Syazwan Zainal, and red writing is his.)

The author seems to think that it is his duty to correct the "evil" Islamic practices of the day, as he says "
This article is a humble attempt to point out what appears to me to be the faults of Islamic practices in Malaysia whilst trying to keep my feet planted firmly on earth."

He also thinks that this is only a few of the errors that he has spotted of the Muslim scholars in Malaysia as he says "A few examples are given. Needless to say these are non-exhaustive. This is not a comprehensive assessment of Islamic practices in Malaysia. "

And then he goes on further to label his opponents as "anti-intellectuals" and "non-Islamic" as he says "
It should also be noted that these are not “Islamic” practices per se, but rather an anti-intellectual culture that is embedded in our psyche as axiomatically non-Islamic."
With that, we already see the aim of the author here and what he thinks about others.

Considering the context, the author even thinks non-Muslims should tell us about what our Islamic practices should be, as he says "
Indeed I think it would do the nation good if our non-Muslim friends would give us constructive criticism and if need be, slap some sense into us."
Can the author give us examples where the non-Muslims can correct our Islam taught by our scholars?
This opinion about us being taught the correct Islam by non-Muslims is despite the fact that Allah said “And so amongst men and crawling creatures and cattle, are they of various colours. Those truly fear Allah, among His Servants, who have knowledge: for Allah is Exalted in Might, Oft-Forgiving.” (35:28)
“This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed My favor upon you and have approved for you Islam as the religion” (5:3 Qur’an).
 Thus we see that we are not in need of non-Muslims telling us about what Islam is, since Allah has taught us that already and confirmed that those with knowledge fear Him. And obviously non-Muslims don’t fear Allah, since they don’t believe in His Qur’an and commands, so they don’t have knowledge of Islam that has entered their hearts. And what value is learning Islam from one whose heart has not been opened by Allah Most High? How can someone say that the non-Muslims know something about Islamic law that we don't? After all, it is we who preserved the religion and believed in it, and Allah swt gave us the complete religion.
Furthermore the Prophet said “"There will always be a group from my Community that fight for truth and remain victorious until Judgment Day.” (Bukhari). Note the Prophet used “my community”, i.e. the Muslims, not “non-Muslims”. So the truth is found amongst the Muslims in regards to Islamic practices. It can’t be that all the Muslims be wrong, and then a non-Muslim comes and points out the correct way of Islam. That would contradict the above hadith and the hadiths on ijma (see later in my article).
And the Prophet even said: "My Community will split into seventy-three sects.  All of them will be in the fire except one group.  They asked: Who are they, O Messenger of Allah?  He said: Those that follow my way and that of  my companions." (Tirmidhi).
So which non-Muslim knows about the way of the Prophet and his companions and follows them, and thus can even be in a position to teach us Islam or criticise us on it?
The way our Islamic knowledge works is through the concept of isnad. The isnad connects the teacher to the Prophet, and so that is where the authorisation to teach comes from (and is given through the concept of ijazah). 
Imam Abd Allah ibn al-Mubarak (Allah be pleased with him) said: Isnad is part of religion (deen), and if it was not for Isnad, one would have said whatever one desired. When it is said (to the one who speaks without an Isnad):  Who informed you? He remains silent and bewildered. (Introduction to Sahih Muslim). He also said “The one who seeks matters of his deen without an Isnad is similar to the one who climbs to the roof without a ladder”/

The first assumption/generalisation the author makes is "At a time when Europe is fiercely atheistic, " 
Obviously that's wrong since Europe is a Christian majority continent. France, UK, Spain, Germany and Italy are majority Christians, and Christianity is their largest official religions.

Then he uses that false assumption to say ", it is laughable that some commentators still invoke Christianity as the justification for the complete ban on Muslims to celebrate Christmas" (bold is my edit)

Well pretty much all known Sunni scholars ban Muslims from celebrating Christmas because of Christianity (the origins of Christmas being Christianity or pagan), so its not a case of just a few or some. Its actually the case of the vast majority (probably the consensus) of all the scholars (including Shi'ites). And I've not come across any Sunni or Shia scholar to allow Muslims to celebrate Christmas.

It doesn't matter even if the majority of people celebrating Christmas are atheists. The issue is whether its still practised as a religious thing by some, and what it is associated with. There still are many Christians that take Christmas as a religious celebration. Even if you ask a 5 year old kid, "what is Christmas?", he will say "when Jesus was born, and he was son of God". So its haram. But if in 1000 years time, if no one is Christian, and people don't associate Christmas with any religion, and its just a cultural thing, then it could be different case.

I guess his own statement "If you want to make a case against something, at least make sure that the case would be able to withstand public scrutiny." applies to himself too.

And then he contradicts himself here "It might appear that you are merely doling out these edicts and invoking the most convenient stereotype as an excuse.". Clearly he made a stereotype by claiming that Europe is fiercely atheistic, and then he condemns Muslim scholars for their supporting a stereotype!

Now what is strange is that this author seems to not know in regards to why Muslim scholars ban Muslims from celebrating Christmas. He seems completely oblivious to the fact that many modern day scholarly fatwas already consider the fact that there are many atheists that celebrate Christmas. I would have hoped that the author had done some research before bashing scholars and the Muslim community.
My own discussions with an insightful and well-educated local scholar (who Syazwan could easily ask if he wanted) showed that he already knew of the current practice of Christmas and that some people celebrate it for cultural reasons and are atheists. Yet he still declared it haram/prohibited for Muslims to partake in Christmas since its origins are pagan and Christian and still it is partaken of by significant number Christians as a Christian thing. However in the past only Christians would celebrate Christmas, so scholars in the past gave the fatwas against it with an added reason of "imitating the religious traditions of another religion". Actually it still applies since Christmas is a religious tradition of the Christians, and Muslims are warned against celebrating in the religious traditions of other religions (and Sayyidina Umar (RA) expressely forbade it).
This is due to the hadith about festivities of other people or where certain practices are unique to non-Muslims, “Whoever imitates or resembles a people is one of them” (Bukhari)
The issue where traditions are banned, even though it is no longer religious, is explicitly shown by the fatwas against halloween and valentines day, since it is obviously hardly believed to belong to any modern religion (2)
The Prophet also prohibited people from being similar to non-Muslims in their unique features, as he saidAct contrary to the polythesists, trim closely the moustache and grow the beard." This is despite the fact that not all polytheists didn’t have beards, and some polytheists did have beards.
And so how will the author understand this Hadith and command? Will he say that many people had beards at the time and weren’t Muslim and we can all challenge the Prophet? Will he say the Prophet should not have made statements that are not “able to withstand public scrutiny”?
May Allah Most High save us!

Furthermore if one considers the fact that in the past, some people celebrated Christmas, yet were atheists (even though in the minority), you see the fatwas still don’t become inapplicable now.
How many people must celebrate a religious festival for non-religious reasons, for the festival to become halal to celebrate? This the author doesn’t answer, so he hasn’t proved that the situation has changed enough from the past to require a different fatwa. I guess its because he isn’t a scholar nor trained in the Islamic sciences.

Then the author says "Personally I do not see anything particularly wrong with joining in another faith’s celebration as long as one’s faith is not compromised. " Obviously this is his personal opinion and not the opinion of Islam, since it clearly contradicts the Hadith above, and the practice of the Sahaba and Sayyidina Umar (RA). They encountered many other religions, yet they did not partake in their religious practices. Furthermore by merely partaking in another faith’s celebration, one’s faith is compromised (unless there is a valid reason like the scholars just attending a Christmas celebration for the sake of community relations).
Indeed the verse about entering Islam completely was revealed due to a Muslim person wanting to celebrate Sabbath! It looks like the author wants to take us to the days of jahiliyya (pre-Islamic days). See the tafsir of the verse O you who have believed, enter into Islam completely [and perfectly] and do not follow the footsteps of Satan. Indeed, he is to you a clear enemy. (2:208)
Before understanding the legal ruling with regards to celebrations, it is worth remembering here that imitation (in certain cases) of the non-Muslims is something that Islam strictly disapproves of. Please see an explanation of it in the fatwa given in the reference (4).

The author says:
"Besides, Christianity is probably the last thing on the minds of many of the people who celebrate Christmas each year. Christmas is wildly popular in Japan and China even though, Christianity is merely the minority religion in both countries."
But those countries aren’t Muslim, and so they don’t have the concern of maintaining the purity of Islam. They’ve adopted many things like the culture of consumerism and materialism from America, so should we follow them too? You’ve seen how the beliefs of the Japanese and Chinese on family have been compromised by following things seen as “harmless”, like consumerism.
The Prophet forbade prostration to people, because he feared that it would lead to shirk, as people would become closer to doing shirk. That's how Islam has been able to be fiercely monotheistic, by clearing itself of foreign elements.
Also these countries are following America and Europe in Christmas, and who are they (and the atheists etc) following or imitating in celebrating Christmas? Well they're imitating the current Christians. So there you have it in another way, Christmas being celebrated by misguided Muslims would fulfill the Hadith about imitating the non-Muslims.
The Prophetic example is the best. He didn't have Christmas trees, nor did anything that was tied to another religion or non-Muslims uniquely. He didn't say "we need to have some pictures of the Quraysh idols so that we can show intercommunity faith-building" or any of that nonsense used to justify haram practices.

Then the author says ". I hardly think that to have a Christmas tree inside your house and to exchange presents on December 25 each year counts as a radical departure of faith."
The author can also say against the Prophetic hadith on beards "I hardly think that to not keep a beard is a radical departure of faith". This is a misunderstanding of Islam, because Islam a complete religion based on following the commands of Allah and His Prophet. Furthermore, the issue of Christmas is more serious because it involves shirk and polytheism/idolatry, the precise things the Prophet came to take away and remove, and protect Islam from..
Is the author going to say “we can wear crosses on our necks because many punks wear crosses even if they’re atheist”? There are many logical flaws that arise by the reasoning of the author.
It still is a departure nevertheless to put Christmas trees, due to scholars pointing out that it resembles a religious tradition. But such a point aside, why should we put them?
After all, the author linked recently in facebook to the article (3) about the large loss of trees in Malaysia. I suppose if Christmas trees become more common in Malaysia, even more trees will be lost and the environment damaged for the sake of consumerism and greed (after all, Syazwan says it isn't for religion, but for other reasons).  So having Christmas trees doesn't lead to much benefit to people, but damages the environment, what a way to go! What is the benefit of having the trees, that we're destroying the environment for?
Also the author ignores certain other reasons why scholars prohibit Christmas celebrations. That is based on the fiqh principle of "blocking the means"/sad adh-dhara'i. This is because Islam is a practical religion and based on history, wants to stop Muslims from engaging in the dilution of the religion, and engagement in the haram.
Indeed the Qur’an shows the principle many times. Like with alcohol. Alcohol was prohibited because it would lead to some people committing bad things, like murder and discord, even though not everyone drinks to that level.
So Islam is prohibiting us from taking part in other religion’s festivities because it will eventually dilute our religion, like it did with the Christians and Jews. The Christians get their Christmas ideas from the pagans in many ways. And the Jews got their ideas from the Greeks. And it all started from the idea “oh we’ll accept their festivities because they’re no longer religious and everyone else does them”

The author then said ". Quite a number of us Muslims for example seem to think that just because an individual holds an opinion dissimilar to an ulama, it becomes an act worthy of condemnation."

Actually if a person holds an opinion that contradicts the consensus of the scholars/Ulema, then does the opinion of the unqualified person become worthy of condemnation. If s/he follows the opinion on which there is a difference of opinion, then the person is not condemned.
However the intention of the author (based on the context of this article) is that it is wrong to condemn people for holding opinions that disagree with all the scholars. This view of the author is incorrect and contradicts the Prophetic hadiths on following the majority. The Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) strongly condemned disagreement with the ijma/consensus as he said: "My community shall never agree upon misguidance, therefore, if you see divergences, you must follow the greater mass or larger group” (Ibn Majah)
In another Hadith: "Verily Allah will not make my community (jama'a) agree on error, and Allah's hand is with the largest congregation."  Tirmidhi said: "And the meaning of "jama`a" according to the people of knowledge is: the people of jurisprudence, learning, and hadith (i.e. the Ulema/scholars).”
If one sees the meaning of the hadith from
And proof for following scholars is found in the last part of this verse:
"O you who believe, obey Allah and obey the Prophet and those of authority among you" (4:59).
And in the Hadith “Scholars are the heirs of the Prophets” (Abu Dawud).
So knowledge of Islam is preserved with the scholars, and we don’t need to go any further for the knowledge of Islam. We shouldn’t diminish the status of scholars and think that we are of the same authorisation in Islam.
He says "
I remember a particularly controversial moment during the Projek Amanat Negara. A participant pointedly dismissed Zainah Anwar as unworthy of commenting on Islamic law simply because she did not have an Islamic Law degree."
What if Zainah was talking about how to do a heart operation in medicine, and making recommendations on that? If someone said she's unworthy of commenting on it, would the author or anyone else have complained for telling her the plain truth? Hardly!
So you see the logical contradictions facing the author and his followers. They make Islam as the exception and think that anyone can comment on Islam, but for other sciences, you need to be a doctor or have a degree in physics and so on to have your opinion as worthy of consideration and worth anything.
But why exclude Islam? The author thinks he MUST have his opinion taken into consideration, he MUST be thought of as worthy and at the same value as other people who spent 20 years studying and mastering the sciences of Islam.

However Islam needs even more restrictions in terms of who can speak about Islam or give opinions on it, since Islam deals with the soul and its eternal condition, thus more important than medicine is for the body.
I mentioned the importance of Isnad in Islamic scholarship and in learning religion. In fact we also have the Prophet only allowing very few people to give fatwas (decisions on Islam to others). This Prophetic example is the best and soundest example to follow. Yet Syazwan has given the decision to others that Christmas is halal to celebrate.
The Prophet also warned us on making fatwas without Islamic knowledge as he said:
"Whoever gives fatwa without knowledge, the angels of the heaven and the earth curse him" (Suyuti)
And he also said:
"Whoever interprets the Qur'an without knowledge should make his abode in Hell." (Tirmidhi)

Seriously we should look at the example of the Sahaba and how they were hesitant on giving their opinions on Islamic matters.  Ibn Jareej used to attend the majlis (sitting) of Abdullah ibn Umar, Radi-Allahu anhuma. "In answer to more than half the questions he used to say I don't know." Ibn Abi Layla saw 120 Sahaba (companions). "Whenever one of them was asked a question he wished that someone else would answer it." (5)

The author then tried to prove everyone can comment and issue opinions and criticisms on Islam as he said "It was reported that when Umar wanted to put a maximum cap on the amount of Mahr for marriages, a woman stood up and invoked a verse from the Quran establishing that the Mahr is the right of the woman, hence the Caliph had no authority or power to put a cap on the amount of Mahr. Umar immediately agreed and discontinued the policy.  "

However the woman was not a person ungrounded in Islam, but she had the necessary Islamic knowledge to correct him, since she knew the relevant Islamic proof from the Qur'an and Sunnah (since she quoted the proof), and learnt from the Prophet directly, and knew Arabic. Apart from the narration being weak (since its broken, see Bayhaqi and its relevant commentary on who it was), the Sahabi knew Arabic (if its a real incident), and had met the Prophet, and that makes the analogy to now very different and wrong, where the people don't know Arabic, let alone the Arabic to understand the Prophet.
Furthermore, Syazwan's opinion of anyone (especially laymen) commenting on Islam, and the above basis being used as proof of that, is refuted by his own words as he says "the rest of the companions of the Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. are all Islamic intellectuals in their own right." So obviously these companions weren't ordinary people, and no one today, even if all of humanity alive today were put on one side of the scale, and one of the sahaba put on another side, the value of the one sahabi would outweigh them all. In fact Syazwan deems the Sahaba all intellectuals, and thus qualified in Islamic matters. So using the sahaba example is not relevant to his arguments
So I'll let Syazwan decide how his proof works now.
However I will point out the fact that most of the companions were not qualified in giving Islamic opinions or criticisms, and only a handful of the Sahaba were allowed to give fatwa.
Note that the author’s opinion would also logically mean that this was okay to speak against the Prophet:
While the Prophet was distributing something, 'Abdullah bin Dhil Khawaisira At-Tamimi came and said,"Be just, O Allah's Apostle!" The Prophet said, "Woe to you ! Who would be just if I were not?" (Bukhari)
Note that the people who acted like that were compared to the khawarij (I’ll let readers research on who such people are).
Then  the author says It would seem that by extension, criticism of a government policy, even if it is based on an Islamic injunction, is not wrong per se.”
The criticism is valid if some conditions are fulfilled:
1)      The person criticising is qualified in Islamic matters
2)      The person criticises based on Islamic sources like the Qur’an and Sunnah
3)      The person criticises not those matters of Islam which have an ijma’
However to criticise Islam or Islamic law is a serious crime and sin.

Now lets take issue with the belief that the understanding of all the Muslim scholars could be wrong, and so we need the laymen to correct them.
We know that the scholars are the heirs of the Prophets, and we know that the scholars won’t agree on error (based on the Hadith), and we know that Islamic rulings are based on the necessary knowledge (such as Arabic) of Islam, and we know that the Qur’an commanded to follow scholars. And we know the Prophet commanded to follow the Qur’an and Sunnah, and he only appointed very few people to give Islamic opinions to people. And we know that the din is based on isnad (which is basically only what the scholars have). Thus we know that to give an Islamic opinion, and to criticise, one needs to KNOW what one is criticising, such as the legal premises, the various evidences and ways of analysing the evidences and so on. This means one must know the Arabic language, the science of tafsir, fiqh, hadith, qiyas and so on.
Thus any layman who criticised scholars, is criticising from a prima facie position of ignorance. He is lacking the tools to analyse the evidences and the issue at hand. His opinions have no worth. He will draw the wrong conclusions because the Prophet guaranteed that the Ulema are right. It is like a kid who has just done GCSE Physics challenging Einstein on the theory of relativity. How preposterous is that kid! Yet Islamic law is harder than physics.
With Islamic law, it is beyond thinkable that the laymen come up with the truth that the Ulema/scholars don’t have. After all, the Prophet assured us that the jama’ah (and it means the Ulema) won’t agree on error, and that the majority group in every age is on the right path. And if you see the meaning of ijma, it means what the scholars agree upon. Thus if you see a layman criticising the whole body of the Ulema, then know that the Prophet guaranteed the layman is wrong.
Now instead of following laymen, let us follow the example of these people: “The Abdal are in Syria, and they are 40 men. Whenever one of them dies,Allah substitutes another in his place. By means of them, Allah brings down the rain, givesvictory over enemies, and diverts punishment from the people of Syria.” (Ahmad)
And amongst these Abdals, in modern times was Sheikh Ahmad al-Habbal. Now we ask ourselves this question:
Who do we follow? Laymen about whom we can’t see any signs of wilaya (friendship with Allah swt), or scholars in whom we can see that they Walis? Indeed Allah swt has made the lights of guidance clear, even in this day and age through the miracles they have been given, and the extraordinary love for Allah and His Messenger. So we should follow them.

The article of Syazwan has got a lot of publicity due to the following reasons:
1) lack of knowledge amongst people
2) the want of people to follow their desires and to rationalise their desires
3) it favours non-Muslims, 

Thus you see many non-Muslims spreading and promoting the article. 

The author has been taking the Islamic law module by Dr Shaheen at Warwick, a woman who isn’t qualified in Islamic matters, and makes many blunders (like claiming that the Islamic law schools are against women and indirectly claiming that 1200 years of Islam were wrong).  That probably explains somewhat why the author has made many blunders in this article.
Also note that I'm not saying one can't follow one's own opinion. People are free to believe whatever illogical stuff they want. I'm just saying that it is a dangerous slope to issue one's own opinions, and that one can't expect one's opinion to be taken seriously when one isn't qualified. And the Prophet warned against it.
Alhamdulillah we have the Malaysian Insider (6) posting a beneficial article for once, as it defends scholars in the piece.
I also am not saying that Syazwan can't give his opinion in a public platform. I'm just saying that Islamically he shouldn't, because he's not qualified, and the Prophet warned against it, although no one will force anything upon Syazwan. And readers should realise that he's not an authority in the matter.
The fatwās of unqualified individuals are considered “null and void,” according to  Sayyidina Umar (RA), second caliph of the Prophet.
I leave you with a beautiful and intelligent Hadith that is being fulfilled now as we speak and reflect upon what has happened and is happening, and how the Prophet viewed people who give opinions without being Islamic scholars:
The Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) said: "Truly, Allah does not remove Sacred Knowledge by taking it out of servants, but rather by taking back the souls of Islamic scholars [in death], until, when He has not left a single scholar, the people take the ignorant as leaders, who are asked for and who give Islamic legal opinion without knowledge, misguided and misguiding" (Bukhari)

May Allah Most High guide us to the straight path, ameen 


"A criticism of Islamic practices in Malaysia" by Syazwan Zainal 
6) "Of ulama and misconceptions" By Muhammad Imran Mustafa

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Dawah to the ill

Many people neglect dawah (or in Malay it is called dakwah), and some even think it is bad to do dawah to those one knows and are dying or ill. But we should do dawah to all types of people because we want them to be saved and have a better life in the afterlife. We don't want to be in the future and have regrets about not trying to save the ill/dying The dawah should be done with wisdom of course (and can be done by anyone as long as one knows one's limits. The Prophet commanded conveying Islam, even if it is ONE verse, and he would send people who recently converted, to go and do dawah to their people)
The below Hadith illustrates this, and note that the boy was with the Prophet through serving him, and so knew of the Prophet and should know of his truthfulness as a Messenger.
Anas said, "A Jewish boy used to serve the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and then became ill. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, went to visit him and sat at his head and said to him, 'Become Muslim.' He looked at his father who was with him. He said to him, 'Obey Abu'l-Qasim.' So he became Muslim. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, left saying, 'Praise be to Allah who has saved him from the Fire.'" [al-Bukhari]

Prefering others

Allah Almighty says, "They prefer them to themselves, even if they themselves are needy," (59:9)

and the Almighty said, "They give food, despite their love for it, to the poor and orphans and captives..." (76:8 to the end)

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Review: The Indicator to the Virtues of Commerce

The Indicator to the Virtues of Commerce
Book review

The recent translation by Dr Adi Setia of one of the earliest books in economics, “The Indicator to the Virtues of Commerce”, written by Abu al-Fadl Ja’far al-Dimashqi (a merchant and Islamic scholar from the 6th century) is a welcome addition to the modern world, where too often credit is given to Adam Smith for the founding of economics.

This book shows that economic thought was prevalent at quite a sophisticated level even within the early history of the Islamic world, but this aspect perhaps was ignored by modern historical economists because the book is actually about commerce, but has economic aspects spread throughout the book. Or it can be because the Western world wants to claim credit for invention of such fields (though sound papers have been written on the economics of Imam Ghazali etc, they are not generally given credit by historical economists).
The book is divided into twenty-four chapters, ranging from descriptions of wealth, different types of merchandise and trades, measurements of items, to how people should act with their income.

The starting discussion gives a refreshing insight on the different types of wealth, how they are achieved, their different virtues, money and the different types of money (including the suitability of different types, such as gold and silver). It shows that the current paper currency, that is the bane of modern society through inflation, can be countered through a different type of money.

Even the description of merchandise is fascinating since it shows the different items sold in historical Asia, how to assess their quality and how to deal with them (such as how to preserve meat) and how life must have been like in such an era.  It does away with the notions that life in the middle ages must have been backward and unsophisticated. Yet it indicates that there were some counterfeiters then too.

But the more relevant ideas come through the discussion of how businesses/merchants should behave towards customers, and this includes not just not cheating them, but also to be generous, not to deceive, to offer a fair price, and so on. It emphasises the need for knowledge and good character/morals amongst businessmen, how to detect and avoid deceptive people, and how to ensure that the person you are dealing with is reliable. All this is needed in current times when many people go to extremes in deceiving people.

Furthermore there is theoretical and practical discussion of economics, through how the forces of market demand and supply work, how prices are set and change, how arbitrage is made, the causes of price changes, what is needed to reach the “correct” price (like an equilibrium price) and so on. This means that one can understand to some extent the thought processes of businesses at the author’s time, and that their knowledge was very practical.

The book’s final chapters discuss the approaches to the preservation of wealth, how to plan expenditure and revenue, both at the governmental level and the individual level. It emphasises prudence like modern accounting, tries to curb greed, and balances between profit making and risk taking.

The book is not large, about 172 pages, so it can be read through quickly. But some areas need to be reflected over, since some theory comes into play, and one should try to understand it and ponder over the life at the time. It is a welcome addition to the history of Islamic civilisation. and in cultivating an authentic appreciation for it.

Helping people

Today's Hadith for my blog continues with the topic of helping people, since it is an excellent way to draw close to Allah Most High, and for dawah, love, unity and improving society. Note that it applies to sisters as well, since the nature of the Arabic language applies the word brother to sister as well, in this context:

Allah's Apostle said, "A Muslim is a brother of another Muslim, so he should not oppress him, nor should he hand him over to an oppressor. Whoever fulfilled the needs of his brother, Allah will fulfill his needs; whoever brought his (Muslim) brother out of a discomfort, Allah will bring him out of the discomforts of the Day of Resurrection, and whoever screened a Muslim, Allah will screen him on the Day of Resurrection . " (Bukhari)

So if you see a person in need, we should try to help the person for the sake of Allah Most High, and hope in His reward. Don't expect the reward of people. If they don't want your help, then at least you tried. 

Monday, 13 February 2012

Religion is sincerity, caring and helping

When one observes the Prophetic life, and indeed the life of all the Prophets, one sees a profound care for people, profound sincerity, and profound help.

They gave their lives for the sake of Allah Most High, trying to fulfil their mission of leading the people to heaven and saving them from hell. They faced much oppression and hostility, even from their own family, yet they persevered in the truth with patience, will and endurance, not sacrificing the truth at all. They didn't ask for any reward from people, their reward is from Allah Most High only.

Indeed the Prophets often said: And I do not ask you for it any payment. My payment is only from the Lord of the worlds.(26:127)

We should aim to to look at people, look at their best interests (in terms of the next world), and help them in achieving those best interests. We should put other people ahead of ourselves and work selflessly to benefit them, and not seek reward from them. Our reward should be from Allah Most High, so that if the people don't listen, and reject us, then our reward still exists with Allah Most High.

The Holy Prophet showed his concern and sincerity when he said:
, "The metaphor of me and people is like a man who lights a fire and the and moths and these creatures begin to fall into the fire." (Bukhari)

Do not be disheartened by what the people say against Islam, or against the truth that you preach. But rather know that you have to fulfil your duty of commanding the right and forbidding the evil. The reward of that is great.

Even if people don't appreciate your help, or they stop being your friend or cut the ties of family, you should still try to help them. You don't help them for their sake, but for Allah's sake. You want to please Him, and He is pleased by those who seek his path. 

He said:  - And those who strive for Us - We will surely guide them to Our ways. And indeed, Allah is with the doers of good. (Surat Al-`Ankabut [verse 69])

So with that, I present an article and Hadith I love:
Giving Good Cousel And Advice

The Messenger of Allah  said, "Religion (dîn) is sincerity (nasiha) (corrective advice, good counsel and sincere conduct). The dîn is nasiha. The dîn is nasiha." They asked, "To whom, Messenger of Allah?" He said, "To Allah and His Book and His Messenger and the Imams (leaders) of the muslims and the common people."[*]
To counsel and to be sincere with someone as in the Quranic verse:
wa innâ lahu la-nâSiHûn }

And we are good friends of him
| And most surely we are his sincere well-wishers.
Quran, sura Yusuf (12) verse 11

Religion is sincerity – meaning: “religion is hinged upon sincerity”, or “religion depends on sincerity.”
It is obvious that religion and sincerity are not synonymous to one another, and by turning to the tools of Arabic rhetoric and style we understand that a word must be added in order to understand the sentence. In Arabic this is known as 'idmar', or interpolation. The most commonly accepted meaning is “religion is hinged upon sincerity”, while other possibilities include: “Religion in its complete form is sincerity”, or “Religion ... one of its conditions is sincerity”.
• sincerity – in Arabic nasihah, which means “sincerity” as well as “advice”, and here is perhaps best understood as “sincere counsel”.
• towards Allah – by believing in Him, establishing what is obligatory, thanking Him, and bringing people to do this.
• His book – by learning it, acting according to it, and guiding people to this.
• His Messenger – Muhammad bin `Abd Allah MHMD Allah bless him and give him peace - by following him, assisting him, and defending him.
• the leaders of the Muslims – those responsible for their affairs, by respecting them and obeying their orders in what pleases Allah and His Messenger MHMD Allah bless him and give him peace ; O you who believe! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those of you who are in authority” (Sura Al-Nisa', 4:59), and by correcting them when they err.
• their common folk – by guiding them to what contains their happiness in the Dunya and the Akhira, and offering them assistance and protection.