Whatever we do, we’ll pay the price
In the depths of hell or in paradise
For the believer ,this life is just like a cage
For the unbeliever, it’s the ultimate stage
Little does he know about the awaiting reward
Which is full of luxuries, where no-one gets bored
You’ll enter the gate of paradise, if it’s in your fate
Your deeds and actions will determine by which gate
No worldly things will you ever miss
On entering the gate, you’ll be surrounded by bliss
Four rivers will be granted by the Divine
containing water and milk, honey and wine
People will live in mansions built high
Where they’ll live forever, no-one will die
It’s bricks will be made of silver and gold
The climate will be perfect, not hot and not cold
A hundred years it will take to circle a tree
Surrounded by loved ones for all eternity
There will be no calls of nature, no-one will sleep
There will be no worries, no one will weep
When people sweat, it will smell of musk
Allah swt will be praised from dawn till dusk
Everyone will be aged 30 or 33
And they’ll stay at that age for eternity
The inhabitants will be wearing a beautiful green gown
Sitting on thrones, wearing a crown
People will be happy, there’ll be no remorse
To visit others, they’ll have a flying horse
Men will have 2 houris as their wives
Who will remain with them for the rest of their lives
On Friday there will be a dinner for people of all races
And a bazaar where people can exchange their faces!
When walking along there’ll be many meetings
With prophets and angels, exchanging greetings
Such is the ecstasy that will then prevail
When Allah swt removes His veil
There will be no kings, there will be no peasants
And everyone will see the Divine Allah’s presence
There are 100 levels to paradise and we should pray
That Al Firdaus, the highest will be where we stay
Allah swt has showered us with His grace
And we have to be worthy to show our face
Whatever we do ,we’ll pay the price
In the depths of hell or in paradise
31 May 2008
Whatever we do, we’ll pay the price
30 May 2008
Shaitan means devil
I saw you yesterday as you began your daily chores. You awoke without stopping to pray. As a matter of fact, you didn't even bless your meals, or pray before going to bed last night. You are so unthankful, I like that about you. I cannot tell you how glad I am that you have not changed your way of living, Fool, you are mine.
Remember, you and I have been going steady for years, and I still don't love you yet. As a matter of fact, I hate you, because I hate God. I am only using you to get even with God. He kicked me out of heaven, and I'm going to use you as long as possible to pay him back. You see, Fool, GOD LOVES YOU and HE has great plans in store for you. But you have yielded your life to me and I'm going to make your life a living hell. That way we'll be together twice. This will really hurt God. Thanks to you.
I'm really showing Him who's boss in your life. With all of the good times we've had..... We have been watching dirty movies, cursing people, out partying, stealing, lying, being hypocritical, indulging in fornication, overeating, telling dirty jokes, gossiping, back stabbing people, disrespecting adults and those in leadership position, NO respect for the mosque, bad attitudes: SURELY you don't want to give all this up.
Come on, Fool, let's burn together forever. I've got some hot plans for us. This is just a letter of appreciation from me to you. I'd like to say "Thanks!" for letting me use you for most of your foolish life. You are so gullible, I laugh at you. When you are tempted to sin, you give in HA HA HA, you make me sick. Sin is beginning to take its toll on your life. You look 20 years older, I need new blood. So go ahead and teach some children how to sin.
All you have to do is smoke, drink alcoholic beverages, cheat, gamble, gossip, fornicate, and listen to and dance to the top 10 jams. Do all of this in the presence of children and they will do it too. Kids are like that. Well, Fool, I have to let you go for now. I'll be back in a couple of seconds to tempt you again. If you were smart, you would run somewhere, confess your sins, ask forgiveness from Him, live for God with what little bit of life that you have left. It's not my nature to warn anyone, but to be your age and still sinning, it's becoming a bit ridiculous. Don't get me wrong, I still hate you...... IT'S JUST THAT YOU'D MAKE A BETTER FOOL FOR GOD.
Once upon a time a very strong woodcutter asked for a job in a timber merchant, and he got it. The pay was really good and so were the work conditions. For that reason,the woodcutter was determined to do his best.
His boss gave him an axe and showed him the area where he was supposed to work. The first day, the woodcutter brought 18 trees.
"Congratulations," the boss said. "Go on that way!" Very motivated for the boss' words, the woodcutter try harder the next day,but he only could bring 15 trees. The third day he try even harder, but he only could bring 10 trees. Day after day he was bringing less and less trees.
"I must be losing my strength", the woodcutter thought. He went to the boss and apologized, saying that he could not understand what was going on.
"When was the last time you sharpened your axe?" the boss asked. "Sharpen? I had no time to sharpen my axe. I have been very busy trying to cut trees."
Our lives are like that. We sometimes get so busy that we don't take time to sharpen the axe." In today's world, it seems that everyone is busier than ever, but less happy than ever. Why is that? Could it be that we have forgotten how to stay sharp?
There's nothing wrong with activity and hard work. But God doesn't want us to get so busy that we neglect the truly important things in life, like taking time to pray, to read. We all need time to relax, to think and meditate, to learn and grow.
If we don't take time to sharpen the axe, we will become dull and lose our effectiveness. So start today. Think about the ways by which you could do your job more effectively and add a lot of value to it.
We are all drawn to people with a good sense of humour. Humour has the power of warming people’s hearts and lifting the spirits like no other human characteristic, and it provides a welcome break amidst the pressures of life.
Humour and joking are permitted in Islam. We learn this from several ahadith of the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him. Abu Huraira radi allahu anhu said that the Prophet peace be upon him was told, “O Prophet of Allah, you are joking with us.” He said, “I only say what is true.” (Tirmidhi) Another Hadith relates that the Prophet would nickname Zainab bint Salama by repeatedly calling her ‘O Zuweinab’.
Other ahadith relate that the Prophet peace be upon him would play and joke with small children. Thus we see that joking is a Sunnah. Sufyan ibn Aiyna was asked, “Is joking prohibited?” He replied, “It is a Sunnah, but the point is that it must be done appropriately.” Many of the scholars agree. Umar said, “I admire a man who is like a child with his family (playful), and once he leaves them, he is more serious.” Thabit ibn Ubaid said, “Zayd ibn Thabit was one of the most humorous men in his home. Outside of his home, he was as serious as any man.” It is also related that Ibn Abbas asked some of his guests to have light and humorous conversation so that they would have a good time and not feel bored.
Rabi’a said, “Virtue is made of six parts, three while in town (at the place of your home) and three while on journey. The first three are reciting the Qur’an, frequently being at the mosque, and spreading the way of Allah to other lands. The other three parts while travelling are spending, showing virtuous behaviour and joking in what Allah has permitted.” Ibn Abbas said, “Joking appropriately is permissible. For the Prophet joked but he said what was true.” Al ibn Ahmad Al Faraheedi said, “People would feel imprisoned if they did not joke”
On the other hand, some of the scholars have prohibited joking and they are supported by some ahadith. It is related that the Prophet said, “Do not be vague with others and do not joke.” (Tirmidhi) Another Hadith states that the Prophet said, “Everything has a beginning and hostility begins with joking.” Ja’far ibn Muhammad said, “Beware of joking for it causes embarrassment.” Ibrahim Al Nakh’I said, “Joking shows foolishness and arrogance.” Imam ibn Abdul Bar said, “Some of the scholars denounced joking for what it causes of offences, spite and malice between people.”
So how are we to compromise between these two views? Al Hafeth said, “What is prohibited is exaggerated or continuous joking as it distracts from worship of Allah and being serious about religious matters. This often leads to hard-heartedness, envy and loss of respect. Useful joking, which aims to calm people or entertain or relieve them for a short time is permissible.”
Types of Joking:
According to ibn Hayan, there are two types of joking.
The first is preferred and defined as, “That which Allah has permitted, which commits no sin and does not lead to separation between people.”
The second is the negative harmful type, which is defined as, “Causes hostilities and sadness, and creates disrespect amongst people.”
Outlining some of the benefits and harms of joking is beneficial in that it entertains, lifts the spirit and lightens the burdens of life, bringing people closer together. In describing this kind of joking, a man wrote, “Such humour does not hurt or criticize anyone. It leads a person from sadness to happiness, ceases the frown an allows people to relax and be themselves.” Joking defeats its purpose when it separates people, causes hostilities and envy between them.
Guidelines for Humour:
• Joking should not deviate from the truth. The Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him said, “I only say what is true.”
• Joking should not become consistent in a person’s manner, for seriousness is also a virtue. Muhammad ibn Ar Rashid said, “The issues of Islam are more serious than to be dealt with jokingly. Smiling, joking, relaxing and laughing are certainly welcome at appropriate times and places. But at times of work, seriousness is called for.
• Bad language or reference to improper topics of conversation may not be subject of jokes.
• Joking must be at the appropriate time and place. Dr Adel Shuweikh said, “Humour is most welcome after the Fajr prayer. He is supported by what has been related by Sammak ibn Harb, “I asked Jaber ibn Samra if he spent time with the Prophet and he said, “Yes, the Prophet would often not leave the mosque after the Fajr prayer until the sun rose. They would be laughing and he would be smiling.” (Muslim).
He also said, “Another time for making light was after the ‘Isha prayer. Humour is permitted with family uncles and siblings. It is more preferred if it serves the purpose of advice and guidance, or if it creates friendship and warmth between people.” It is up to the person to decide whether the time is right for humour.
Thus it can be seen that it is the topic of humour and its effects, which determine whether or not it is permissible by Islam. Imam Nawawi said, “Joking is prohibited when it is excessive and consistent. It becomes ineffective and causes the heart to harden. It distracts a person from worship of Allah and concern with religious issues. It often causes harm, envy and disrespect. If these elements are absent from a joke, then it is what is permissible by Islam. The Prophet would use humour to reach people and draw them together.”
In any case, being modest and natural will, much of the time, serve the same purpose as joking. This is useful for people whom jokes do not come naturally. It is good to always remember in mind that humour must have a purpose in order to be fruitful. Joking is like adding salt to food. It must be measured and we must remember that some people do not eat food with salt. In other words, it is inappropriate to joke with some people.
Adh-Dhahabi related that Khalaf ibn Salim said, “We were at Yazeed ibn Haroun’s and he made a joke. Ahmad ibn Hambal cleared his throat, and Yazeed said, ‘Who cleared his throat?’ When he found out who it had been, he put his hand on his forehead and cried, ‘Why didn’t you tell me Ahmad ibn Hambal was here, so I would not joke?”
At other times, joking may cause you to lose dignity. It is said, “Do not joke with children to the extent that they lose respect for you.” Ibn Hayan said, “Whoever jokes with an inappropriate person will lose that person’s respect, even if what he is saying is true. One should be selective with whom he jokes.” Ibn Al Muqafa’ said, “One should separate his behaviour between two groups of people. One group is made up of public. Here he should be serious and purposeful with every word he speaks. The other group is made up of people who are closer to him. With this group, he should be humorous and caring. Each of these behaviours will be beneficial and productive in the right place.”
Try to understand the people you deal with, in order to decide whether or not it is appropriate to joke with them. Such was the way of the Prophet, for he would not joke with all his friends. Here are a few points to keep in mind. Although it may seem common sense that we should be respectful when joking but many of us end up hurting someone’s feelings unintentionally. Humour is a great way to diffuse a bad situation, or ease an uncomfortable one but it must be used appropriately. Just as a knife is useful and necessary to prepare food, so it can cause you to bleed. Many people don’t realize it, but sarcasm is anger thinly veiled.
Points to remember:
• Is this time a right time to joke?
• Is this an appropriate person to joke with?
• Is this an appropriate topic to joke about?
• Is this the right place?
Also remember these points while joking:
• Never criticize while joking.
• Do not impose jokes if they do not come naturally.
• Beware of excessive joking with certain individuals.
• Show respect to the person you are joking with, as the Prophet Muhammad did when he told a man he was joking with, “In the eyes of Allah you are great.”
• Monitor yourself when you are feeling humorous.
• Maintain good behaviour with people who make a mistake when joking with you. Do not answer harshly or stare back.
• It is better not to joke with someone when you meet for the first time.
We must be careful to maintain a Muslim code of behaviour and never harm another Muslim through humiliation or insensitivity. While joking we should implement all the above-mentioned points and maintain a good Muslim personality.
The only survivor of a shipwreck was washed up on a small, uninhabited island ....
He prayed feverishly for Allah to rescue him,and every day he scanned the horizon for help, but none seemed forthcoming.
Exhausted, he eventually managed to build a little hut out of driftwood to protect him from the elements and to store his few possessions.
But then one day, after scavenging for food,he arrived home to find his little hut in flames, the smoke rolling up to the sky. The worst had happened;everything was lost. He was stunned with grief and anger.
"Allah, how could you do this to me!"he cried.
(Comment; Plenty of people use such statement,think again you should never question Allah nor object to his willing)
Early the next day, however, he was awakened by the sound of a ship that was approaching the island. It had come to rescue him.
"How did you know I was here?"asked the weary man of his rescuers.
"We saw your smoke signal,"they replied.
It is easy to get discouraged when things are going badly.
But we shouldn't lose heart, because Allah is at work in our lives, even in the midst of pain and suffering.
Remember, next time your little hut is burning to the ground, it just may be a smoke signal that summons the grace of Allah.
This is the story that must be told
of an Iraqi baby, not very old.
Lying in her crib one star lit night
How could she know of those planes in flight?
She lay there quietly touching her nose,
Watching her mobile, wiggling her toes,
Oohing and cooing, so sweetly is she,
Talking to someone, who could it be?
An angel is standing with her in the room.
The baby is smiling, unaware of her doom.
The crib starts to shake and the mobile goes round.
And suddenly comes a most deafening sound.
The ceiling drops in, in a second or two ...
On top of her crib so she ceases to coo ...
No one knows how long she lie there
Who thought about it? doesn't anyone care?
Is she alive? is she dead? Is she in any pain?
Now that you mention it, who knows her name?
Her name is Amal. In English we say Hope.
Crushed between the rubble,her tiny fingers start to grope.
Where is my mommy? I love her so dear
Come, get me mommy! It's dark in here!
I'm scared and I'm hungry and I can't see my feet.
There's blood in my mouth! Give me something to eat!
Where is my daddy? Where's my big brother?
It hurts when I breath! Where is my mother?!
How long have I been here? Is this just a dream?
I open my mouth, but can't even scream.
That angel appears once again to my side,
This time with a tear I plead Why have I died?
Am I alone in my sufferings? No, there are many others.
In our grief and our misery, we are sisters and brothers.
Who are we? I ask you ... for what crime did we die?
They're throwing a party! Doesn't anyone cry?!
Is it True? Am I nothing?! How could it be?
Don't they also have babies, just like me?
It is war they say, of which death is part.
How blind they've become, How hardened of heart.
Did someone say hero? To whom do they speak?
A victory claimed for killing the weak?!
Why are they happy? Why are they proud?
Don't they know that I'm cold in my burial shroud?!
No war has been won; No ifs, buts, or maybes,
Large scale bloodshed and that little babies!!!!
Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream!
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.
Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.
Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each tomorrow
Find us farther than today.
Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.
In the world's broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
Be a hero in the strife!
Trust no Future, however pleasant!
Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act, --act in the living Present!
Heart within, and God overhead!
Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time;
Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o'er life's solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.
Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labour and to wait.
By : Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
It was early in the morning at four.
When death knocked upon a bedroom door.
"Who is there?" the sleeping one cried.
"I'm Izraeel, let me inside."
At once, the man began to shiver,
as one sweating in deadly fever.
He shouted to his sleeping wife,
"Don't let him take away my life."
"Please go away, O Angel of Death!
Leave me alone, I'm not ready yet.
My family on me depend, give me a chance,
O please prepense!"
The Angel knocked again and again,
"Friend! I'll take your life without a pain,
It is your soul Allah require,
I come not with my own desire."
Bewildered, the man began to cry,
"O Angel! I'm so afraid to die
I'll give you gold and be your slave.
Don't send me to the unlit grave."
The man held a gun in his right hand,
ready to defy the Angel's stand,
"I'll point my gun, towards your head.
You dare come in, I'll shoot you dead."
By now, the Angel was in the room,
Saying, "O Friend! Prepare for your doom.
Foolish man, Angels never die,
Put down your gun and do not sigh."
"Why are you afraid? Tell me, O man,
to die according to Allah's plan?
Come, smile at me, do not be grim,
be happy to return to Him."
"O Angel! I bow my head in shame,
I had no time to take Allah's name.
From morn till dusk I made my wealth,
not even caring for my health."
"Allah's commands I never obeyed
nor five times a day I ever prayed.
A Ramadan came and Ramadan went
but no time had I to repent."
"The Haj was already fard on me
But I would not part with my money.
All charities I did ignore
Taking usury more and more."
"Sometimes I sipped my favorite wine
with flirting women I sat to dine.
O Angel! I appeal to you spare my life for a year or two."
"The Laws of Qur'an I will obey,
I'll begin Salat this very day.
My Fast and Haj, I will complete,
and keep away from self conceit."
"I will refrain from usury,
and give all my wealth to charity,
wine and wenches I will detest,
Allah's oneness I will attest."
"We Angels do what Allah demands,
we cannot go against His commands.
Death is ordained for everyone,
father, mother, daughter or son."
"I'm afraid, this moment is your last,
now be reminded, of your past.
I do understand your fears
but it is now too late for tears."
"You lived in this world, two score and more,
Never did you, your people adore.
Your parents, you did not obey,
hungry beggars, you turned away."
"Your two ill-gotten, female offsprings,
in night-clubs, for livelihood they sing.
Instead of making more Muslims,
you made your children non-Muslims."
"You ignored the Mu'athin's Athaan,
nor did you read the Holy Qur'an.
Breaking promises all your life,
backbiting friends, and causing strife."
"From hoarded goods, great profits you made,
and your poor workers,you underpaid.
Horses and cards were your leisure,
money-making was your pleasure."
"You ate vitamins and grew more fat,
with the very sick, you never sat.
A pint of blood you never gave,
which could a little baby save."
"O human, you have done enough wrong,
you bought good properties for a song.
When the farmers appealed to you,
you did not have mercy, 'tis true."
"Paradise for you? I cannot tell,
undoubtedly you will dwell in hell.
There's no time for you to repent,
I'll take your soul for which I'm sent."
The ending, however, is very sad.
Eventually the man became mad.
With a cry, he jumped out of bed.
And suddenly, he fell down dead.
O Reader! take a moral from here!
You never know, your end may be near.
Change your living and make amends,
for heaven, on your deeds depends
If the Prophet Muhammad visited you,
Just for a day or two;
If he came unexpectedly
I wonder what you'd do.
Oh! I know you'd give your nicest room
To such an honored guest;
And all the food you'd serve to him
Would be the very best;
And you would keep assuring him,
You're glad to have him there;
Your hospitality would be beyond belief
And service beyond compare.
But... when you saw him coming,
Would you meet him at the door
With arms outstretched in welcome
To your honoured visitor?
Or... would you have to change your
Clothes before you let him in?
Or hide some magazines and put
The Quran where they had been?
Would you still watch movies
On your trusty TV set?
Or would you rush to switch it off
Before he gets upset?
Would you turn off the radio
And hope he hadn't heard?
And wish you hadn't uttered
That last loud nasty word?
Would you hide you worldly music
And instead take Islamic books out?
Could you let him walk right in,
Or would you rush about?
And, I wonder... if the Prophet spent
A day or two with you,
Would you go right on doing the things
That you always do?
Would you go right on saying the things
You always used to say?
Would life for you continue
As it does from day to day?
Would your family conversation
Keep its usual pace?
Or would you find it hard each meal
To say a table grace?
Would you keep up each and every
Prayer, forcing back a frown?
And would you always jump up early
For every prayer at dawn?
Would you sing the songs you always do
And read the books you read?
And let him know things on which
Your mind and spirit feed?
Would you take the Prophet with you
Everywhere you normally go?
Or would you , maybe, change your plan
Just for a day or so?
Would you be glad to have him meet
Your very closest friends?
Or would you hope they'd stay away
Until his visit ends?
Would you be glad to have him stay
Forever on and on?
Or would you sigh with great relief
When he at last was gone?
It might be interesting to know
The things you would do
If the Prophet Muhammad, in person,
Came to spend some time with you.
A woman was waiting at the airport one night,
With several long hours before her flight.
She hunted for a book in the airport shop,
Bought a bag of cookies and found a place to drop.
She was engrossed in her book, but happened to see,
That the man beside her, as bold as could be,
Grabbed a cookie or two from the bag between,
Which she tried to ignore to avoid a scene
She read, munched cookies, and watched the clock,
As the gustly "cookie thief" diminished her stock
She was getting more irritated as the minutes ticked by,
Thinking, "If I wasn't so nice, I'd blacken his eye!"
With each cookie she took, he took one too.
When only one was left, she wondered what he'd do.
with a smile on his face and a nervous laugh,
He took the last cookie and broke it in half.
He offered her half, and he ate the other.
She snatched it from him and thought, "Oh brother,
This guy has some nerve, and he's also so rude,
Why, he didn't even show any gratitude!"
She had never known when she had been so galled,
And sighed with relief when her flight was called.
She gathered her belongings and headed for the gate,
Refusing to look at the "thieving ingrate".
She boarded the plane and sank in her seat,
Then sought her book, which was almost complete.
As she reached in her baggage, she gasped with surprise.
There were her bag of cookies in front of her eyes!
"If mine are here," she moaned with despair.
"Then the others were his and he tried to share!"
Too late to apologize, she realized with grief,
That she was the rude one, the ingrate, the thief!!!!
29 May 2008
Quick Islamic GuideThis very brief and non conclusive Islamic guide will answer some of the very basic questions relating to Islam. Should take you no more than 5 minutes to quickly read to read this Islamic Information.
What is Islam?
Who is Allah?
Who are the Muslims?
Who is Muhammad?
What is the Quran?
What does Islam say about the elderly?
What are the teachings of Islam?
How Do Muslims View the Nature of Man, the Purpose of Life and the Life Hereafter?
How does someone become a Muslim?
Why does Islam often seem strange to non-Muslims?
Do Islam and Christianity have different origins?
What is the Ka'bah?
What is Hadeeth and Sunnah?
What are the Five Pillars of Islam?
What do Muslims think about Jesus?
What does Islam say about family?
What About Muslim Women?
Is Islamic Marriage like a Christian Marriage?
How do Muslims view Death?
What does Islam say about War?
How does Islam guarantee Human Rights?
Freedom of conscience is laid down by the Qur'an itself:
'There is no compulsion in religion'.
The life and property of all citizens in an Islamic state are considered sacred. Racism is incomprehensible to Muslims, the Qur'an speaks of human equality as follows:
O mankind! We created you from a single soul, male and female, and made you into nations and tribes, so that you may come to know one another. Truly, the most honoured of you in God's sight is the greatest of you in piety. God is All-Knowing, All-Aware. Al-Quran 49:13
(Picture depicting one of the crimes of US Soldiers in Iraq)
Like Christianity, Islam permits fighting in self-defence, in defence of religion, or on the part of those who have been expelled forcibly from their homes. It lays down strict rules of combat which include prohibitions against harming civilians and against destroying crops, trees and livestock. As Muslims see it, injustice would be triumphant in the world if good men were not prepared to risk their lives in a righteous cause. The Qur'an says:
Fight in the cause of God against those who fight you, but do not transgress limits. God does not love transgressors. If they seek peace, then seek you peace. And trust in God for He is the One that heareth and knoweth all things. Al-Quran 2:190 & 8:61
War, therefore, is the last resort, and is subject to the rigorous conditions laid down by the sacred law. The term Jihad literally means 'struggle', and Muslims believe that there are two kinds of Jihad. The other 'Jihad' is the inner struggle which everyone wages against egotistic desires, for the sake of attaining inner peace.
Like Jews and Christians, Muslims believe that the present life is only a trial preparation for the next realm of existence. Basic articles of faith include: the Day of Judgement, resurrection, Heaven and Hell. When a Muslim dies, he or she is washed, usually by a family member, wrapped in a clean white cloth, and buried with a simple prayer preferably the same day. Muslims consider this one of the final services they can do for their relatives, and an opportunity to remember their own brief existence here on earth. The Prophet taught that three things can continue to help a person even after death; charity which he had given, knowledge which he had taught and prayers on their behalf by a righteous child.
A Muslim marriage is not a 'sacrament', but a simple, legal agreement in which either partner is free to include conditions. Marriage customs thus vary widely from country to country. As a result, divorce is not common, although it is not forbidden as a last resort. According to Islam, no Muslim girl can be forced to marry against her will: her parents will simply suggest young men they think may be suitable.
Islam sees a woman, whether single or married, as an individual in her own right, with the right to own and dispose of her property and earnings. A marriage dowry is given by the groom to the bride for her own personal use, and she keeps her own family name rather than taking her husband's. Both men and women are expected to dress in a way which is modest and dignified; the traditions of female dress found in some Muslim countries are often the expression of local customs.
The Messenger of God said:
'The most perfect in faith amongst believers is he who is best in manner and kindest to his wife.'
The family is the foundation of Islamic society. The peace and security offered by a stable family unit is greatly valued, and seen as essential for the spiritual growth of its members. A harmonious social order is created by the existence of extended families; children are treasured, and rarely leave home until the time they marry.
Muslims respect and revere Jesus, and await his Second Coming. They consider him one of the greatest of God's Messengers to mankind. A Muslim never refers to him simply as 'Jesus', but always adds the phrase 'upon him be peace'. The Qur'an confirms his virgin birth (a chapter of the Qur'an is entitled 'Mary'), and Mary is considered the purest woman in all creation.
The Qur'an describes the Annunciation as follows:
'Behold!' the Angel said, 'God has chosen you, and purified you, and chosen you above the women of all nations. O Mary, God gives you good news of a word from Him, whose name shall be the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, honoured in this world and the Hereafter, and one of those brought near to God.
He shall speak to the people from his cradle and in maturity, and shall be of the righteous.' She said: 'O my Lord! How shall I have a son when no man has touched me?' He said: 'Even so; God creates what He will. When He decrees a thing, He says to it, "Be!" and it is.' Al-Quran 3:42-7
Jesus was born miraculously through the same power which had brought Adam into being without a father:
"Truly, the likeness of Jesus with God is as the likeness of Adam. He created him of dust, and then said to him, 'Be!' and he was." Al-Quran 3:59
During his prophetic mission Jesus performed many miracles. The Qur'an tells us that he said:
" I have come to you with a sign from your Lord: I make for you out of clay, as it were, the figure of a bird, and breathe into it and it becomes a bird by God's leave. And I heal the blind, and the leapers, And I raise the dead by God's leave". Al-Quran 3:49
Neither Muhammad nor Jesus came to change the basic doctrine of the belief in One God, brought by earlier prophets, but to confirm and renew it. In the Qur'an Jesus is reported as saying that he came:
"To attest the law which was before me. And to make lawful to you part of what was forbidden you; I have come to you with a sign from your Lord, so fear God and obey me". Al-Qur'an, 3:50
The Prophet Muhammad said:
Whoever believes there is no god but God, alone without partner, that Muhammad is His messenger, that Jesus is the servant and messenger of God, His word breathed into Mary and a spirit emanating from Him, and that Paradise and Hell are true, shall be received by God into Heaven.
Hadith from Bukhari
They are the framework of the Muslim life: faith, prayer, concern for the needy (Zakah), self-purification, and the pilgrimage to Makkah for those who are able.
Five Pillars of Islam: Faith
There is no god worthy of worship except God and Muhammad is His messenger. This declaration of faith is called the Shahadah, a simple formula which all the faithful pronounce.
Five Pillars of Islam: Prayer
Salat is the name for the obligatory prayers which are performed five times a day, and are a direct link between the worshipper and God. There is no hierarchical authority in Islam, and no priests, so the prayers are led by a learned person who knows the Qur'an, chosen by the congregation. These five prayers contain verses from the Qur'an, and are said in Arabic, the language of the Revelation, but personal supplication can be offered in one's own language.
Five Pillars of Islam: Zakat
One of the most important principles of Islam is that all things belong to God, and that wealth is therefore held by human beings in trust. The word Zakat means both 'purification' and 'growth'. Our possessions are purified by setting aside a proportion for those in need, and, like the pruning of plants, this cutting back balances and encourages new growth.
Five Pillars of Islam: The Fast
Every year in the month of Ramadan, all Muslims fast from first light until sundown, abstaining from food, drink, and sexual relations. Those who are sick, elderly, or on a journey, and women who are pregnant or nursing are permitted to break the fast and make up an equal number of days later in the year. If they are physically unable to do this, they must feed a needy person for every day missed. Children begin to fast (and to observe the prayer) from puberty, although many start earlier. Although the fast is most beneficial to the health, it is regarded principally as a method of self-purification. By cutting oneself off from worldly comforts, even for a short time, a fasting person gains true sympathy with those who go hungry as well as growth in one's spiritual life.
Five Pillars of Islam: Pilgrimage (Hajj)
The annual pilgrimage to Makkah – the Hajj – is an obligation only for those who are physically and financially able to perform it. Nevertheless, about two million people go to Makkah each year from every corner of the globe providing a unique opportunity for those of different nations to meet one another. Although Makkah is filled with visitors all year round, the annual Hajj itself begins in the twelfth month of the Islamic year (which is lunar, not solar, so that Hajj and Ramadan fall sometimes in summer, sometimes in winter). Pilgrims wear special clothes: simple garments which strip away distinctions of class and culture, so that all stand equal before God.
Yes, the Sunnah, the practice and example of the Prophet, is the second authority for Muslims after The Quran (the word of God!). A Hadith (narration/tradition) is a reliably transmitted report of what the Prophet said, did, or approved. Belief in the Sunnah is part of the Islamic faith.
The Ka'bah is the place of worship which God commanded Abraham and Ismael to build over four thousand years ago. The building was constructed of stone on what many believe was the original site of a sanctuary established by Adam. God commanded Abraham to summon all mankind to visit this place, and when pilgrims go there today they say 'At Thy service, O Lord', in response to Abraham's summons.
No. Together with Judaism, they go back to the prophet and patriarch Abraham, and their three Prophets are directly descended from his sons - Muhammad from the eldest, Ismael, and Moses and Jesus from Isaac. Abraham established the settlement which today is the city of Makkah, and built the Ka'bah towards which all Muslims turn when they pray.
Islam may seem exotic or even extreme in the modern world. Perhaps this is because religion does not dominate everyday life in the West today, whereas Muslims have religion always uppermost in their minds, and make no division between secular and sacred. They believe that the Divine Law, the Shariah, should be taken very seriously, which is why issues related to religion are still so important.
To convert to Islam and become a Muslim a person needs to pronounce the below testimony with conviction and understanding its meaning (This article talks about joining Islam in more detail)
I testify “La ilah illa Allah, Muhammad rasoolu Allah.”
The translation of which is:
“I testify that there is no true god (deity) but God (Allah), and that Muhammad is a Messenger (Prophet) of God.”
In the Holy Qur'an, God teaches human beings that they were created in order to worship Him, and that the basis of all true worship is God-consciousness. Since the teachings of Islam encompass all aspects of life and ethics, God-consciousness is encouraged in all human affairs. Islam makes it clear that all human acts are acts of worship if they are done for God alone and in accordance to His Divine Law. As such, worship in Islam is not limited to religious rituals. The teachings of Islam act as a mercy and a healing for the human soul, and such qualities as humility, sincerity, patience and charity are strongly encouraged. Additionally, Islam condemns pride and self-righteousness, since Almighty God is the only judge of human righteousness. The Islamic view of the nature of man is also realistic and well-balanced. Human beings are not believed to be inherently sinful, but are seen as equally capable of both good and evil. Islam also teaches that faith and action go hand-in-hand. God has given people free-will, and the measure of one's faith is one's deeds and actions.
However, human beings have also been created weak and regularly fall into sin. This is the nature of the human being as created by God in His Wisdom, and it is not inherently "corrupt" or in need of repair. This is because the avenue of repentance is always open to all human beings, and Almighty God loves the repentant sinner more than one who does not sin at all. The true balance of an Islamic life is established by having a healthy fear of God as well as a sincere belief and hope in His infinite Mercy. A life without fear of God leads to sin and disobedience, while believing that we have sinned so much that God will not possibly forgive us only leads to despair. In light of this, Islam teaches that only the misguided despair of the Mercy of their Lord. Additionally, the Holy Qur'an and traditions/narrations of the Prophet Muhammad contain a vast amount of clear and concise teachings about the life of the hereafter and the Day of Judgement. They paint a clear picture and act as a unique blueprint about the prospective grief and torment or inconceivable pleasures and bliss of the life to come.
Hence Muslims believe that all human beings will ultimately be judged by God for their beliefs and actions in their earthly lives. In judging human beings, Almighty God will be both Merciful and Just, and people will only be judged for what they were capable of. Suffice it to say that Islam teaches that life is a test, and that all human beings will be accountable before God. A sincere belief in the life hereafter is key to leading a well-balanced life and moral. Otherwise, life is viewed as an end in itself, which causes human beings to become more selfish, materialistic and immoral.
The foundation of the Islamic faith is belief in the Unity of God. This means that one believes that there is only one Creator and Sustainer of everything in the Universe, and that nothing is divine or worthy of being worshipped except for Him. Truly believing in the Unity of God means much more than simply believing that there is "One God" as opposed to two, three or four. There are a number of religions that claim belief in "One God" and believe that ultimately there is only one Creator and Sustainer of the Universe. Islam, however, not only insists on this, but also rejects using such words as "Lord" and "Saviour" for anyone besides Almighty God. Islam also rejects the use of all intermediaries between God and Man, and insists that people approach God directly and reserve all worship for Him alone. Muslims believe that Almighty God is Compassionate, Loving and Merciful.
The essence of falsehood is the claim that God cannot deal with and forgive His creatures directly. By over-emphasising the burden of sin, as well as claiming that God cannot forgive you directly, false religions seek to get people to despair of the Mercy of God. Once they are convinced that they cannot approach God directly, people can be mislead into turning to false gods for help. These "false gods" can take various forms, such as saints, angels, or someone who is believed to be the "Son of God" or "God Incarnate". In almost all cases, people who worship, pray to or seek help from a false god do not consider it to be, or call it, a "god". They claim belief in One Supreme God, but claim that they pray to and worship others beside God, only to get closer to Him. In Islam, there is a clear distinction between the Creator and the created. There is no ambiguity in divinity - anything that is created is not deserving of worship and only the Creator is worthy of being worshipped. Some religions falsely believe that God has become part of His creation, and this has led people to believe that they can worship something created in order to reach their Creator.
Muslims believe that even though God is Unique and beyond comprehension, He has no "Son", partners or associates. According to Muslim belief, Almighty God "does not beget nor was He begotten" - neither literally, allegorically, metaphorically, physically or metaphysically - He is Absolutely Unique and Eternal. He is in control of everything and is perfectly capable of bestowing His infinite Mercy and Forgiveness to whomever He chooses. That is why He is called the All-Powerful and Most-Merciful. Almighty God has created the Universe for man, and as such wants the best for all human beings. Muslims see everything in the Universe as a sign of the Creator and Benevolence of Almighty God. Also, the belief in the Unity of God is not merely a metaphysical concept. It is a dynamic belief that effects ones view of humanity, society and all aspects of life. As a logical consequence to the Islamic belief in the Oneness of God, is its belief in the oneness of mankind and humanity.
In the Islamic world there are no old people's homes. The strain of caring for one's parents in this most difficult time of their lives is considered an honour and blessing, and an opportunity for great spiritual growth. God asks that we not only pray for our parents, but act with limitless compassion, remembering that when we were helpless children they preferred us to themselves. Mothers are particularly honoured: the Prophet taught that 'Paradise lies at the feet of mothers'. When they reach old age, Muslim parents are treated mercifully, with the same kindness and selflessness. In Islam, serving one's parents is a duty second only to prayer, and it is their right to expect it. It is considered despicable to express any irritation when, through no fault of their own, the old become difficult. The Qur'an says:
Your Lord has commanded that you worship none but Him, and be kind to parents. If either or both of them reach old age with you, do not say 'uff' to them or chide them, but speak to them in terms of honour and kindness. Treat them with humility, and say, 'My Lord! Have mercy on them, for they did care for me when I was little'. Al-Quran 17:23-4
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was born in Makkah in the year 570 CE, at a time when Christianity was not yet fully established in Europe. Since his father died before his birth, and his mother shortly afterwards, he was raised by his uncle from the respected tribe of Quraysh. As he grew up, he became known for his truthfulness, generosity and sincerity, so that he was sought after for his ability to arbitrate in disputes. The historians describe him as calm and meditative. Muhammad (peace be upon him) was of a deeply religious nature, and had long detested the decadence of his society. It became his habit to meditate from time to time in the Cave of Hira near the summit of Jabal un-Nur, the 'Mountain of Light' near Makkah.
At the age of 40, while engaged in a meditative retreat, Muhammad (peace be upon him) received his first revelation from God through the Angel Gabriel. This revelation, which continued for twenty-three years, is known as the Qur'an. As soon as he began to recite the words he heard from Gabriel, and to preach the truth which God had revealed to him, he and his small group of followers suffered bitter persecution which grew so fierce that in the year 622 God gave them the command to emigrate. This event, the Hijra, 'migration', in which they left Makkah for the city of Madinah some 260 miles to the north, marks the beginning of the Muslim calendar. After several years, the Prophet and his followers were able to return to Makkah, where they forgave their enemies and established Islam definitively. Before the Prophet died at the age of 63, the greater part of Arabia was Muslim, and within a century of his death Islam had spread to Spain in the West and as far East as China.
The last and final prophet that God sent to humanity, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) explained, interpreted and lived the teachings of Islam. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the greatest of all prophets for many reasons, but mainly because the results of his mission have brought more people into the pure belief in One God than any other prophet. Even though other religious communities claimed to believe in One God, over time they had corrupted their beliefs by taking their prophets and saints as intercessors with Almighty God. Some religions believe their prophets to be manifestations of God, "God Incarnate" or the "Son of God". All of these false ideas lead to the creature being worshiped instead of the Creator, which contributed to the idolatrous practice of believing that Almighty God can be approached through intermediaries. In order to guard against these falsehoods, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) always emphasised that he was only a human-being tasked with the preaching of God's message. He taught Muslims to refer to him as "the Messenger of God and His Slave".
To Muslims, Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the supreme example for all people - he was the exemplary prophet, statesman, military leader, ruler, teacher, neighbour, husband, father and friend. Unlike other prophets and messengers, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) lived in the full light of history. Muslims don't need to have "faith" that he existed and that his teachings are preserved - they know it to be a fact. Even when his followers only numbered a few dozen, Almighty God informed Muhammad (peace be upon him) that he had been sent as a mercy to all of mankind. Because people had distorted or forgotten God's messages, God took it upon Himself to protect the message revealed to Muhammad (peace be upon him). This was because Almighty God promised not to send another messenger after him. Since all of God's messengers have preached the message of Islam - i.e. submission to the will of God and the worship of God alone - Muhammad (peace be upon him) is actually the last, seal of the prophets of Islam, not the first.
One billion people from a vast range of races, nationalities and cultures across the globe – from the southern Philippines to Nigeria – are united by their common Islamic faith.
About 18% live in the Arab world, substantial parts of Asia and Africa are Muslim, while significant minorities are to be found in the Soviet Union, China, North and South America, and Europe.
The Arabic word "Muslim" literally means "someone who submits to the will of God". The message of Islam is meant for the entire world and anyone who accepts this message becomes a Muslim. Some people mistakenly believe that Islam is just a religion for Arabs, but nothing could be further from the truth, since in actuality over 80% of the world's Muslims are not Arabs!
Even though most Arabs are Muslims, there are Arabs who are Christians, Jews and atheists. If one just takes a look at the various peoples who live in the Muslim World - from Nigeria to Bosnia and from Morocco to Indonesia - it is easy enough to see that Muslims come from all different races, ethnic groups and nationalities. From the very beginning, Islam had a universal message for all people. This can be seen in the fact that some of the early companions of the Prophet Muhammad were not only Arabs, but also Persians, Africans and Byzantine Romans.
Muslims believe in One Unique, Incomparable God; in the Angels created by Him; in the Prophets through whom His revelations (including the Bible) were brought to mankind; in the Day of Judgement and individual accountability for actions; in God's complete authority over human destiny and in life after death.
Muslims believe in a chain of prophets starting with Adam and including Noah, Abraham, Ismael, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Job, Moses, Aaron, David, Solomon, Elias, Jonah, John the Baptist, and Jesus, (peace be upon them all). But God's final message to man, a reconfirmation of the eternal message and a summing-up of all that has gone before was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad through angel Gabriel.
In the past, even though you don't see it as much today, the word "Mohammedans" was often used as a label for Muslims. This label is a misnomer and is the result of either wilful distortion or sheer ignorance. One of the reasons for the misconception is that Europeans were taught for centuries that Muslims worshipped the Prophet Muhammad in the same way that Christians worship Jesus. This is absolutely not true since a Muslim is not permitted to worship anyone or anything besides Almighty God.
Many non-Muslims have come to incorrectly believe that Allah is the ‘God of Muslims’ – A deity somehow different from the God of the other faiths. It should be emphasized that the term “Allah” has no implied meaning at all of an Arabian god, a Moon god or even a Muslim god. Muslims are not claiming any exclusiveness when they say "Allah". However Allah is simply the Arabic Name of the one Almighty God; the same name by which Arabic-speaking Jews and Christians, refer to God. The Allah comes from the term ‘al-ilaah’. Al is the definite article in Arabic, equivalent to ‘the’ in English, while ilaah means ‘a deity or god’. So Allah means The God. This is beautifully articulated in the first pillar of Islam which is to believe that God is One, in Arabic it would be, "La ilaha illallah" meaning "There is no god but God"
The word "Islam" is an Arabic word that means "submitting and surrendering your will to Almighty God". The word comes from the same root as the Arabic word "salam", which means peace. Unlike the names used for other religions, such as Buddhism, Hinduism and Christianity, the name for the religion of Islam was both revealed by God and carries a deep spiritual meaning, only by submitting one's will to Almighty God can one obtain true peace both in this life and in the life hereafter.
Islam teaches that all religions originally had the same essential message, which was to submit whole-heartedly to the will of God and to worship Him and Him alone. For this reason, Islam is not a new religion but is the same divinely revealed ultimate truth that God revealed to all prophets, including Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus (peace be upon them all).
For a fifth of the world’s population, Islam is both a religion and a complete way of life. Muslims follow a religion of peace, mercy, and forgiveness, and the vast majority have nothing to do with the extremely grave events which have come to be associated with their faith.
28 May 2008
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