Archive for December, 2009

Condemnation of terrorist act committed by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab

Condemnation of attempted attack on Northwest airlines flight

All Muslims must condemn terrorist attacks. Terrorism is not condoned by Islam and violates the principles of justice and compassion that Islam represents.

“The worshippers of the All-Merciful (God) are they who tread gently upon the earth, and when the ignorant address them, they reply, “Peace!“ – Qur’an 25:63

Nigerian-American Muslim Group Condemns Failed Plane Attack

The National Council of Nigerian Muslim Organizations in the United States of America today issued a statement condemning Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab’s attempted bombing of a Northwest Airline flight into Detroit on Friday.

The statement, issued by Mufutau R. Adeleke, the Council’s General Secretary, was released from the Council’s ongoing annual convention in Boston:

“On behalf of the National Council of Nigerian Muslim Organizations in the United States of America and thousands of Nigerian-Americans across the country, I condemn the attempted terror attack on Christmas Day.

“The National Council of Nigerian Muslim Organizations in the United States of America condemns all acts of terrorism. Any human being who attempts or commits acts of terror, murder, or any act of cruelty in the name of a religion is not only destroying innocent lives, but is also debasing the values of the faith of that religion. Neither such behavior nor the individual involved represent Islam.

“Nigerian-American Muslims are active promoters of peace and tolerance in the community. We are currently holding our annual convention in Boston, with a major focus on training our youth in the peaceful way of Islam to become the next generation of upright Nigerian-American leaders.

“The incident that occurred on Northwest Airline Flight 253 on Friday is an attack on all Americans. The perpetrator neither represents Nigerian Muslims nor Muslims in general. We encourage a thorough investigation of the incident and full disclosure of the findings.”

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We at IslamIsLife.org completely agree with the above statement issued by the National Council of Nigerian Muslim Organizations.

In fact, all Muslims must condemn terrorist attacks. Terrorism is not condoned by Islam under any circumstances; and it violates the principles of justice and compassion that Islam represents.

The condemnation of terrorism is deeply rooted in true Islamic values based on the Qur’anic instructions which consider the unjust killing of a single person equivalent to the killing of all humanity (Quran, 5:32 ). It also forbids destruction and mischief on earth (Quran, 28:77,83). This violence is contrary to the authentic universal core message of peace, love, tolerance and mutual co-operation taught by Islam and all of the God’s Prophets.

See also the Islamic Society of North America, ISNA (U.S.) Statement Against Terrorism and Religious Extremism 8/05. This 2 page flier is available as a PDF and is the best short statement available and should be printed out and widely shared. The link can be found on their front page.

Belief in Revealed Scriptures

Muslims believe in all the revealed scriptures, with the Quran as the final and authoritative revelation

Muslims believe in all the revealed scriptures, with the Quran as the final and authoritative revelation

Belief in the scriptures revealed by Allah (God) is the third article of Islamic faith.

We can identify four main reasons for the revelation of scriptures:

(1) The scripture revealed to a prophet is a point of reference to learn the religion and obligations towards God and fellow human beings. God reveals Himself and explains the purpose of human creation through revealed scriptures.

(2) By referring to the scripture, disputes and differences between its followers in matter of religious belief and practice or in matters of social practice could be settled.

(3) The scriptures are meant to keep the religion safe from corruption and deterioration, at least for some time after the death of the Prophet. At the present time, the Quran revealed to our Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, is the only scripture to remain safe from corruption.

(4) It is God’s proof in favor of and against human behavior. Human beings are not allowed to oppose or overstep it.

A Muslim firmly believes that divinely revealed books were actually revealed by the Compassionate God to His prophets to guide mankind. The Quran is not the only spoken Word of God, but God also spoke to prophets before Prophet Muhammad.

“…and to Moses God spoke directly.” (Quran 4:164)

God describes true believers are those who:

“…believe in what has been sent down to you (Muhammad) and what has been sent down before you…” (Quran 2:4)

The most important and central message of all scriptures was to worship God and God alone.

“And we sent never a prophet before you except that we revealed to him, saying, ‘there is no God but I, so worship Me.’” (Quran 21:25)

Islam is more inclusive in the holy revelations it affirms than any other heavenly religion in its present form.

Muslims uphold and respect the following scriptures:

  1. The Quran itself, revealed to the Prophet Muhammad.
  2. The Torah (Tawrah in Arabic) revealed to the Prophet Moses (different from the Old Testament read today).
  3. The Gospel (Injeel in Arabic) revealed to Prophet Jesus (different from the New Testament read in churches today).
  4. The Psalms (Zaboor in Arabic) of David.
  5. The Scrolls (Suhuf in Arabic) of Moses and Abraham.

Third, Muslims believe whatever is true in them and has neither been altered or deliberately misconstrued.

Fourth, Islam affirms that God revealed the Quran as a witness over the previous scriptures and confirmation of them, because He says therein:

“And We have sent down to you (O Muhammad) the Book (the Quran) in truth, confirming the scripture that came before it and trustworthy in highness and a witness over it (the collection of old scriptures)…” (Quran 5:48)

Meaning the Quran confirms whatever is true in previous scriptures and rejects whatever alterations and changes human hands have made to them.

Original Scriptures and the Bible

We must distinguish between two matters: the original Torah, Gospel, and Psalms and the present day Bible. The originals were God’s revelation, but the present day Bible does not have the exact original scripture.

No divine scripture exists today in the original language it was revealed in, except the Quran. The Bible was not revealed in English. Different books of today’s Bible are at best tertiary translations and different versions exist. These multiple translations were done by people whose knowledge, skill, or honesty is not known. As a result, some bibles are larger than others and have contradictions and internal inconsistencies! No originals exist. The Quran, on the other hand, is the only scripture in existence today in its original language and words. Not one letter of the Quran has been changed since its revelation. It is internally consistent with no contradictions. It is today as it was revealed 1400 years ago, transmitted by a rock-solid tradition of memorization and writing. Unlike other sacred texts, the entire Quran has been memorized by almost every Islamic scholar and hundreds of thousands of ordinary Muslims, generation after generation!

The previous scriptures essentially consist of:

(i) Stories of man’s creation and earlier nations, prophesies of what was to come like signs before the Judgment Day, appearance of new prophets, and other news.

The stories, prophecies, and news in the Bible read in churches and synagogues today are partly true and partly false. These books consist of some translated fragments of the original scripture revealed by God, words of some prophets, mixed with explanations of scholars, errors of scribes, and outright malicious insertions and deletions. Quran, the final and trustworthy scripture, helps us sort out fact from fiction. For a Muslim, it is the criterion to judge the truth from the falsehood in these stories. For example, the Bible still contains some clear passages pointing to God’s unity.[1] Also, some prophecies regarding the Prophet Muhammad are found in the Bible as well.[2] Yet, there are passages, even whole books, almost entirely recognized to be forgeries and the handiwork of men.[3]

(ii) Law and rulings, the allowed and prohibited, like the Law of Moses.

If we were to assume the law, that is the lawful and the prohibited, contained in the previous books did not suffer corruption, the Quran still abrogates those rulings, it cancels the old law which was suitable for its time and is no longer applicable today. For example, the old laws pertaining to diet, ritual prayer, fasting, inheritance, marriage and divorce have been cancelled (or, in many cases, reaffirmed) by the Islamic Law.

The Holy Quran

The Quran is different from other scriptures in the following respects:

(1) The Quran is miraculous and inimitable. Nothing similar to it can be produced by human beings.

(2) After the Quran, no more scriptures will be revealed by God. Just as the Prophet Muhammad is the last prophet, the Quran is the last scripture.

(3) God has taken it upon Himself to protect the Quran from alteration, to safeguard it from corruption, and to preserve it from distortion. On the other hand, previous scriptures suffered alteration and distortion and do not remain in their originally revealed form.

(4) The Quran, for one, confirms early scriptures and, for another, is a trustworthy witness over them.

(5) The Quran abrogates them, meaning it cancels the rulings of the previous scriptures and renders them inapplicable. The Law of the old scriptures is no longer applicable; the previous rulings have been abrogated with the new Law of Islam.

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Footnotes:
[1] For example the declaration of Moses: “Hear, O Israel The Lord our God is one Lord” (Deuteronomy 6:4) and the announcement of Jesus: “…The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; the Lord our God is one Lord.” (Mark 12:29).
[2] Refer to (Deuteronomy 18:18), (Deuteronomy 33:1-2), (Isaiah 28:11), (Isaiah 42:1-13), (Habakkuk 3:3), (John 16:13), (John 1:19-21), (Matthew 21:42-43), and more.
[3] For example, refer to books of the Apocrypha.

Source: IslamReligion.com

Belief in the Angels

Belief in the angels is one of the six pillars of belief in Islam (belief in Allah, belief in angels, belief in the revealed books, belief in the Prophets, belief in life after death, and belief in the Divine decree).

Reality of Angels

In common folklore, angels are thought of as good forces of nature, hologram images, or illusions. Western iconography sometimes depicts angels as fat cherubic babies or handsome young men or women with a halo surrounding their head. In Islamic doctrine, they are real created beings who will eventually suffer death, but are generally hidden from our senses.

They are not divine or semi-divine, and they are not God’s associates running different districts of the universe. Also, they are not objects to be worshipped or prayed to, as they do not deliver our prayers to God. They all submit to God and carry out His commands.

In the Islamic worldview, there are no fallen angels: they are not divided into ‘good’ and ‘evil’ angels. Human beings do not become angels after death. Satan is not a fallen angel, but is one of the jinn, a creation of God parallel to human beings and angels.

Angels were created from light before human beings were created, and thus their graphic or symbolic representation in Islamic art is rare. Nevertheless, they are generally beautiful beings with wings as described in Muslim scripture.

Angels form different cosmic hierarchies and orders in the sense that they are of different size, status, and merit.

The greatest of them is Gabriel. The Prophet of Islam actually saw him in his original form. Also, the attendants of God’s Throne are among the greatest angels. They love the believers and beseech God to forgive them their sins. They carry the Throne of God, about whom the Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, said:

“I have been given permission to speak about one of the angels of God who carry the Throne. The distance between his ear-lobes and his shoulders is equivalent to a seven-hundred-year journey.” (Abu Daud)

They do not eat or drink. The angels do not get bored or tired of worshipping God:

“They celebrate His praises night and day, nor do they ever slacken.” (Quran 21:20)

The Number of Angels

How many angels there are? Only God knows. The Much-Frequented House is a sacred heavenly sanctuary above the Kaaba, the black cube in the city of Mecca. Every day seventy thousand angels visit it and leave, never returning to it again, followed by another group.[1]

The Names of Angels

Muslims believe in specific angels mentioned in the Islamic sources like Jibreel (Gabriel), Mika’eel (Michael), Israfeel, Malik – the guard over Hell, and others. Of these, only Gabriel and Michael are mentioned in the Bible.

Angelic Abilities

The angels possess great powers given to them by God. They can take on different forms. The Muslim scripture describes how at the moment of Jesus’ conception, God sent Gabriel to Mary in the form of a man:

“…Then We sent to her Our angel, and he appeared before her as a man in all respects.” (Quran 19:17)

Angels also visited Abraham in human form. Similarly, angels came to Lot to deliver him from danger in the form of handsome, young men. Gabriel used to visit Prophet Muhammad in different forms. Sometimes, he would appear in the form of one of his handsome disciples, and sometimes in the form of a desert Bedouin.

An image of the sun rising from behind the earth, taken from the Apollo 12 spacecraft in 1969Angels have the ability to take human forms in some circumstances involving common people.

Gabriel is God’s heavenly messenger to mankind. He would convey the revelation from God to His human messengers. God says:

“Say: whoever is an enemy to Gabriel – for he brings down the (revelation) to your heart by God’s will…” (Quran 2:97)

Tasks of the Angels

Some angels are put in charge of executing God’s law in the physical world. Michael is responsible for rain, directing it wherever God wishes. He has helpers who assist him by the command of his Lord; they direct the winds and clouds, as God wills. Another is responsible for blowing the Horn, which will be blown by Israafeel at the onset of the Day of Judgment. Others are responsible for taking souls out of the bodies at the time of death: the Angel of Death and his assistants. God says:

“Say: the Angel of Death, put in charge of you, will (duly) take your souls, then shall you be brought back to your Lord.” (Quran 32:11)

Then there are guardian angels responsible for protecting the believer throughout his life, at home or traveling, asleep or awake.

Others are responsible for recording the deeds of man, good and bad. These are known as the “honorable scribes.”

Two angels, Munkar and Nakeer, are responsible for testing people in the grave.

Among them are keepers of Paradise and the nineteen ‘guards’ of Hell whose leader is named ‘Malik.’

There are also angels responsible for breathing the soul into the fetus and writing down its provisions, life-span, actions, and whether it will be wretched or happy.

Some angels are roamers, traveling around the world in search of gatherings where God is remembered. There are also angels constituting God’s heavenly army, standing in rows, they never get tired or sit down, and others who bow or prostrate, and never raise their heads, always worshipping God.

As we learn from above, the angels are a grandiose creation of God, varying in numbers, roles, and abilities. God is in no need of these creatures, but having knowledge and belief in them adds to the awe that one feels towards God, in that He is able to create as He wishes, for indeed the magnificence of His creation is a proof of the magnificence of the Creator.

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Footnotes:
[1] Saheeh Al-Bukhari.
Source: IslamReligion.com

How to Get Peace and Joy in Life – by Yasir Qadhi

Shaykh Yasir Qadhi, an Islamic scholar, appears on The Deen Show, an Islamic TV show hosted in Chicago USA:

A Brief Biography of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)

Al-Masjid an-Nabawi ash-Sharīf, The Prophet's Mosque in Madinah

Al-Masjid an-Nabawi ash-Sharīf, The Prophet's Mosque in Madinah

A Brief Biography of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)

Childhood

Muhammad (pbuh) was born in Makkah on 12 Rabi` al-Awwal 570 c.e.

His father, `Abdullah Ibn `Abdul Muttalib of the Banu Hashim clan of the Quraysh tribe, died before his birth. According to the custom of the Quraysh nobility, the infant Muhammad (pbuh), when only eight days old, was handed to a Bedouin wet-nurse to be brought up by her in the healthy atmosphere of the desert.

At the age of five, Muhammad (pbuh) returned to the care of his mother, Aminah bint Wahb, whose father was the chief of the Banu Zahrah clan, but she died a year later. Muhammad (pbuh) then went to his paternal grandfather, `Abdul Muttalib, the chief of Banu Hashim and the leader of the people of Makkah, who gave him loving care. He died when Muhammad (pbuh) was eight, and the boy was then brought up by his uncle Abu Talib, who was to prove his shield and protection when some thirty years later his preaching brought upon him the enmity of the people of Makkah.

Abu Talib was a merchant of modest means, and when Muhammad (pbuh) grew up, he assisted him in his business. At the age of twelve, he accompanied his uncle in a merchant’s caravan to Syria. Muhammad (pbuh) was content with his lot as a shepherd, but his uncle Abu Talib desired something better for him and obtained him employment with a rich widow, Khadijah bint Khuwaylid ibn Asad.

Muhammad’s (pbuh) Marriage and Growing Reputation

Thus Muhammad (pbuh) found himself at the age of twenty-five in charge of a caravan conveying merchandise to Syria. On his return, Khadijah was so pleased with his successful management of her business, and was so attracted by his nobility of character – reports about which she had heard from her old servant who had accompanied him – that she sent her sister to offer the young man her hand. Muhammad (pbuh) had felt drawn to Khadijah, and so matters were soon arranged and, though Khadijah was fifteen years his senior, their twenty-six years of married life were singularly happy. Muhammad (pbuh) continued to work as a merchant. His fairness further enhanced his reputation as Al-Amin (The Trustworthy).

In the year 605 c.e., a dispute arose during the reconstruction of the Ka`bah (the cube-shaped house of worship originally built by the Prophet Abraham), which threatened to plunge the different clans of the Quraysh tribe into war, but the sagacious arbitration of Muhammad (pbuh) saved the situation and settled the dispute to everyone’s satisfaction. He continued to take an ever-increasing interest in public affairs and to exert himself in the service of the poor, the helpless and the weak. Many were the slaves who owed their freedom to Muhammad (pbuh), and many were the widows and orphans who lived on his generosity.

Whenever the iniquities of his people oppressed him, Muhammad (pbuh) retired to the solitude of a cave in Mount Hira’ outside Makkah. There his soul tried to peer into the mysteries of creation, of life and death, of good and evil, to find order out of chaos. Solitude became a passion with him, and every year he would retire to the cave for the whole month of Ramadan, to mediate.

The Call to Prophethood

It was on one of these occasions, when he was forty years of age, that Muhammad (pbuh) received the Call. One night, while lying absorbed in his thoughts in the solitude of the cave, Muhammad (pbuh) was commanded by a mighty Voice to go forth and preach. Twice the Voice called and twice he ignored the Call. The Voice called for the third time and revealed to him the first verses from the Qur’an. Alarmed by the experience, Muhammad (pbuh) rose trembling, and hastened home to seek rest and solace for his troubled mind and tortured soul in Khadijah’s tender care, and she calmed and comforted him. When he had recovered sufficiently, he sought the solitude of the hills to soothe his anguish of mind when the Angel of Allah appeared to him and recalled him to his duty to mankind.

Awe-stricken, he hurried back to his house and asked Khadijah to wrap him in warm garments. She did her best to reassure him, saying that his conduct through life had been such that Allah would not let a harmful spirit come to him. She later consulted her kinsman, Waraqah ibn Nawfal, an old man who knew the Scriptures of the Jews and the Christians. He declared that the heavenly message that had come to Moses of old had now come to Muhammad (pbuh), and that he was chosen as a Prophet of Allah. The very thought of being chosen out of all mankind with such a Mission profoundly disturbed Muhammad’s (pbuh) humble and devout mind.

Khadijah was the first to accept the truth of his Mission, and then he communicated his experience to his cousin `Ali, his adopted son Zayd, and his intimate friend Abu Bakr. These persons, who knew him best and had lived and worked with him and noted all his movements and the sincerity of his character, became his first converts. The Prophet then began by preaching his mission secretly first among his intimate friends, then among the members of his own tribe and thereafter publicly in the city and suburbs. Standing alone, he proclaimed the glory of Allah, publicly denounced the idolatry of his people and their evil ways, and called them to Allah and the better life.

Reaction of the Quraysh Tribes

The Quraysh tribe and clans were the guardians of the Ka`bah, the holy place to which all Arabs made pilgrimage, and it was a source of great prestige and profit to their city, Makkah (Editor: commonly spelled Mecca). They were, therefore, seriously alarmed and became actively hostile towards Muhammad (pbuh), who was now publicly preaching against the worship of the idols in the Ka`bah, which ranked first among the vested interests. During the season of the pilgrimage, men were posted on all the roads to warn the tribes against the madman who was preaching against their gods. The early converts of Muhammad (pbuh), who were mostly humble folk, were subjected to great oppression. And in spite of his rank, Muhammad (pbuh) himself would have been killed if the Quraysh had not been deterred by the fear of blood vengeance from his powerful clan, Banu Hashim.

The persecution increased as Muhammad’s (pbuh) converts grew in number and influence. The fury of the people of Makkah knew no bounds. Muhammad (pbuh), the respected citizen of rank and high descent, “Al-Amin” of his people, was henceforth subjected to insults, to personal violence, and to the bitterest persecution, and his converts were most relentlessly oppressed, persecuted and tortured. Deeply grieved at the sad plight of his followers, Muhammad (pbuh) advised them in the fifth year of his Mission to leave the country and seek refuge from the persecution of the idolators among the Christian people of Abyssinia. Muhammad (pbuh) and a few stalwart followers remained in Makkah and suffered untold misery and oppression, but still their number continued to increase.

The Boycott and the Passing Away of Khadijah and Abu Talib

In their exasperation, the Quraysh outlawed Muhammad (pbuh) and asked his clan to forgo their right of avenging his blood. Though unbelievers and participators in the persecution, the proud clansmen refused to give up the right at the bidding of the people of Makkah, who thereupon boycotted them. Muhammad (pbuh), the small band of his followers and Banu Hashim and Banu Al-Muttalib suffered such terrible hardships that the better minds among the people of Makkah grew weary of the social ostracism of old friends and neighbors. After three years, towards the end of 619 c.e., the ban was lifted.

Banu Hashim and Banu Al-Muttalib were now free to follow their vocations, but opposition to Muhammad (pbuh) became ever more relentless. A year later, Muhammad (pbuh) lost his uncle and protector, the noble Abu Talib, and his beloved wife, Khadijah, in whose love and devotion he had found comfort, solace and encouragement.

The death of Abu Talib removed the last check on the Makkans’ violence. Muhammad (pbuh) was now defenseless and in continual peril of his life. Persecution grew ever fiercer, and Muhammad (pbuh) sought refuge in the neighboring city of Ta’if, where he was met with great hostility and barely escaped with his life. But a turning point in his career was at hand.

Emigration to Yathrib

Muhammad (pbuh) made several converts in a party of pilgrims from the prosperous city of Yathrib. After the Pilgrimage, the men of Yathrib returned to their city with a Muslim teacher, and in the following year, at the time of Pilgrimage, seventy-three Muslims from Yathrib came to Makkah to vow allegiance to the Prophet and invited him to go to their city. Muhammad (pbuh) took council with his Makkan followers, and it was decided that they should immigrate to Yathrib. They left gradually and unobtrusively, Muhammad (pbuh) remaining to the last.

Their departure was soon discovered by the Quraysh, who decided to slay Muhammad (pbuh) before he too escaped, for although they hated the idea of his preaching in their midst, they dreaded still more the spread of his influence if he escaped from Makkah. They, therefore, cast lots and chose forty men, one from each clan, who took a solemn vow to kill Muhammad (pbuh). They were to strike simultaneously so that the murder could not be avenged by blood feud on any one clan. But on the night they were to kill him, Muhammad (pbuh) left Makkah with Abu Bakr. Eluding his pursuers over a long distance of desert and rocks, he reached Yathrib, thereafter known as Madinah.

This event is called the Hijrah, or emigration. It marks the greatest turning point in the history of Muhammad’s (pbuh) Mission, and the Muslim calendar is named after it.

Establishment of Islam in Arabia and Beyond

The Sacred Mosque in Makkah; The Prophet returned to Makkah in victory and compassion, and destroyed the idols around the Ka'bah

The Sacred Mosque in Makkah; The Prophet returned to Makkah in victory and compassion, and destroyed the idols around the Ka'bah

Muhammad (pbuh) was now free to preach and his followers increased rapidly. The Muslims could now worship freely and live according to the laws of Allah. It was during this period, with the Prophet now the head of a nascent Islamic State, that most of the Qur’anic verses regarding the rules of society were revealed. But the people of Makkah were not going to allow Muhammad’s (pbuh) movement to take root in Madinah. They organized three great expeditions against the city, but all were beaten back.

Eventually the Makkans and Muslims concluded the Treaty of Hudaybiyah to maintain peace between them and to observe neutrality in their conflicts with third parties. Profiting by the peace, the Prophet launched an intensive program for the propagation of Islam. A few weeks after the Treaty of Hudaybiyah, the Prophet (pbuh) sent letters to several kings and the Byzantine and Persian Emperors inviting them to Islam. The king of Abyssinia and the ruler of Bahrain accepted Islam, while the Byzantine ’Emperor, Heraclius, acknowledged Muhammad’s (pbuh) Prophethood without actually accepting Islam.

It was not until the eighth year after the Hijrah that the Muslims were able to put an end to this war by gaining a bloodless victory over Makkah when the Makkans violated the terms of their treaty. The people of Makkah, who had relentlessly oppressed Muhammad (pbuh) and his followers for twenty-one years, expected dire vengeance, but in the hour of their defeat they were treated with the greatest magnanimity. “Go, you are free!” were the words with which Muhammad (pbuh) gave them general amnesty. The Prophet (pbuh) removed all the idols in and around the Ka`bah, saying, “And say: Truth hath come and falsehood hath vanished away. Lo! falsehood is ever bound to vanish.” (Al-Isra’: 81). Also, the Muslim call to prayer was heard in this ancient sanctuary.

The Opening of Makkah was followed by the submission of the surrounding tribes and the acknowledgement of Muhammad’s (pbuh) spiritual and temporal leadership over the whole of Arabia. During the ninth year of the Hijrah, delegations came from all parts of Arabia to swear allegiance to the Prophet (pbuh) and to hear the Qur’an. Islam now spread by leaps and bounds, and the peoples of the Arabian Peninsula and the southern regions of Iraq and Palestine had voluntarily embraced Islam.

Muhammad’s (pbuh) Final Pilgrimage

In the tenth year, Muhammad (pbuh) went to Makkah as a pilgrim, and he felt it was for the last time because of the Revelation he received there included the verse, ” [...]This day have I perfected your religion for you and completed My favor unto you [...]” (Al-Ma’idah: 3) On his return to Madinah, he fell ill of a mortal fever. It lasted for fifteen days, but he continued to lead the prayers until three days before his death, when he deputed Abu Bakr. At early dawn on the last day of his earthly life, Muhammad (pbuh) came out from his room beside the mosque and joined the public prayers, but later in the day he died. The end came peacefully; murmuring of pardon and the company of the righteous in Paradise, the Prophet (pbuh) of Islam breathed his last breath, at the age of 63, on Wednesday, 12 Rabi` al-Awwal 11 a.h.

By the time his mission had ended, the Prophet (pbuh) was blessed with several hundred thousand followers, both men and women. Toward the end of his lifetime, thousands prayed with him regularly at the mosque and listened to his sermons. Hundreds of sincere Muslims found every opportunity to be with him following the five daily prayers and at other times. They sought his advice for their everyday problems and listened attentively to the interpretation and application of revealed verses to their situation. They followed the message of the Qur’an and the Messenger of Allah with utmost sincerity and supported him with everything they had. After his death, they faithfully carried the message of Islam, and within ninety years the light of Islam reached Spain, North Africa, the Caucasus, northwest China and India.

Source : IslamOnline.net

Who is Allah?

Islam is the complete submission and obedience to Allah (God). The name Allah (God) in Islam never refers to Muhammad (peace be upon him), as many Christians may think; Allah is the personal name of God.

What do Muslims believe about Allah?

1. He is the one God, Who has no partner.

2. Nothing is like Him. He is the Creator, not created, nor a part of His creation.

3. He is All-Powerful, absolutely Just.

4. There is no other entity in the entire universe worthy of worship besides Him.

5. He is First, Last, and Everlasting; He was when nothing was, and will be when nothing else remains.

6. He is the All-Knowing, and All-Merciful,the Supreme, the Sovereign.

7. It is only He Who is capable of granting life to anything.

8. He sent His Messengers (peace be upon them) to guide all of mankind.

9. He sent Muhammad (peace be upon him) as the last Prophet and Messenger for all mankind.

10. His book is the Holy Qur’an, the only authentic revealed book in the world that has been kept without change.

11. Allah knows what is in our hearts.

These are some of the basic guidelines Muslims follow in their knowledge of God:

1. Eliminate any anthropomorphism (human qualities) from their conception of Allah. His attributes are not like human attributes, despite similar labels or appellations.

2. Have unwavering faith in exactly what Allah and Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) described Allah to be, no more, no less.

3. Eradicate any hope or desire of learning or knowing the modality of His names and attributes.

4. Believe totally in all the names and attributes of Allah; one cannot believe in some and disbelieve the others.

5. One cannot accept the names of Allah without their associated attributes, i.e. one cannot say He is Al-Hayy – ‘The Living’ and then say that He is without life.

6. Similarity in names (or meanings) does not imply similarity in what is being described (referents). As a robotics arm differs from a human arm, so the “hand” of Allah is nothing like a human hand, His speech is nothing like human speech, etc.

7. Certain words are ambiguous or vague in their meanings, and thus may be susceptible to misinterpretation. Only those meanings that are in accordance with what is specified by Allah and His Prophet (peace be upon him) are acceptable.

- from BeConvinced.com

“Whoever works righteousness, whether male or female, while he (or she) is a true believer, verily to him we will give a good life, and we shall pay them certainly a reward in proportion to the best of what they used to do.” Quran 16:97

Masjid al-Haram, the Sacred Mosque. The Ka'bah at the center is the ancient house of worship built by Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him)

Masjid al-Haram, the Sacred Mosque. The Ka'bah at the center is the ancient house of worship built by Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him)

Welcome and As-salamu alaykum wa Rahmatullah (peace be upon you and the mercy of Allah).

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Images of the Ka’bah, and the Significance of the Ka’bah in Islam

The Ka’bah: the First House of Worship Ever Built, and Dedicated to one God

A Blessed Place

The Ka`bah is the first and the most ancient house of worship ever built for all humankind and it was dedicated to the worship of one God. It is found in the city of Makkah in Arabia, and is surrounded by a mosque known as “Masjid Al-Haram” or The Sacred Mosque, and by a sacred precinct in which no animal may be killed, no plant cut, no weapons borne, and no lost object may be picked up by anyone except with the intention of locating the owner.

Muslims all over the world face toward the Ka’bah in prayer at least five times every day. Also, every capable Muslim is required once in his lifetime to make a pilgrimage known as Hajj to Makkah, and to perform ancient rites of worship to God along with other Muslims from all over the world.

By facing toward the Ka`bah in our prayers, Muslims are stressing the unity of mankind under the Lordship of the One and only God. Moreover, by facing toward the Ka`bah, we are stressing the concept of Allah, the Almighty being the center of our lives.

Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and an Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states:

Allah says in the Qur’an;

“The first sanctuary ever built for mankind was that at Bakkah (Makkah), a blessed place, a guidance to the peoples.” (Aal `Imran 3: 96).

Thus, by ordering us to face towards the Ka`bah, we are taken back to our Adamic roots. One of the most essential messages of Islam is to break the barriers such as race, language and ethnicity, etc. that separate human beings from one another by stressing their common origin in Adam and Eve. We need not emphasize the fact that racism is the scourge of humanity in all times. Thus, through its entire teachings, Islam cuts at the root of this menace. It is no wonder then that all of the Islamic rituals of worship stress equality and egalitarianism rather than division and distinction based on caste, clan or status. One of the last messages delivered by the Prophet during his farewell pilgrimage was, “O people, (through Islam) Allah has abolished from your hearts your boasting on your ancestors. Remember all of you are descended from Adam and Adam is created from the dust of the ground.”

Do Muslims Worship the Kabah or the Black Stone?

Islam teaches us to worship one and only God. Unlike all other religions, which tend to revere their founders excessively often to the point of worshiping them, Allah makes the Prophet Muhammad to declare: “I am only a human being like you …”

Therefore, nothing is farther from the truth than stating that Muslims worship the Ka’bah or the black stone, or that they undertake the Pilgrimage (Hajj) to touch the black stone or the Ka`bah. They are going to undertake the Hajj, which is one of the five pillars of Islam.

While it is true that while going around the Ka`bah, some pilgrims may touch the black stone, doing so is not an integral rite of Hajj. It is therefore totally absurd and incorrect to say that Muslims go to Makkah to touch the stone.

Touching the stone is a mere symbolic act; it is merely intended to symbolize the beginning of the ritual of circumambulation around the Sacred House. In this context, it is worth remembering what the Caliph `Umar said while touching the black stone: “I know for a certain fact that you are simply a stone; you have no power to benefit or harm anyone; if I hadn’t seen the Prophet touching you I wouldn’t have even bothered to touch you.”

We do not attach any importance to this stone other than the fact that it was placed there by Prophet Ibrahim by the order of Allah. So we are merely renewing our memory of the great Prophet, whose faith and sacrifice is celebrated in the rituals of Hajj.

Do Muslims Turn to “The East” in Prayer?

This is a common misconception. In reality, it is not correct to say that Muslims always turn to the East; rather they always turn towards the Ka`bah while performing their prayers, and its precise direction may be different, depending on where we are located in the world.

The Unity of Humankind

The Ka`bah is the first and the most ancient house of worship ever built for all of humankind and dedicated to the worship of one God. So by facing toward the Ka`bah in our prayers, we are stressing the unity of humankind under the Lordship of the One and only God. Moreover, by facing toward the Ka`bah, we are stressing the idea of centrality of God in our life.

Excerpted, with slight modifications, from: www.islam.ca

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