Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Lessons from Hajj (পবিত্র হজ্ব হতে আমরা কী শিখব?)

"For Hajj are the months well known. If anyone undertakes that duty therein let there be no obscenity or wickedness nor wrangling in the Hajj. And whatever good you do Allah knows it. And take a provision for the journey but the best of provisions is right conduct. So fear Me. O Men of understanding." [TMQ Al-Baqarah: 197]

Dear brothers and sisters, the days of Hajj are upon us! May Allah (swt) reward those amongst us who have left and enable those who were unable to undertake this blessed journey to fulfil it in the future. For it is an obligation from the pillars of Islam, the reward of which the Prophet (saw) has spoken about.

Abu Huraira narrated that Allah's Apostle (saw) was asked, "What is the best deed?" He replied, "To believe in Allah and His Apostle." The questioner then asked, "What is the next (in goodness)? He replied, "To participate in Jihad in Allah's Cause." The questioner again asked, "What is the next?" He replied, "To perform Hajj 'Mubrur" [Bukhari]

Abu Huraira narrated that the Prophet (saw) said, "Whoever performs Hajj for Allah's pleasure and does not have sexual relations with his wife, and does not do evil or sins then he will return as if he were born anew." [Bukhari, Volume 2, Book 26, Number 596]

I wish to highlight some of the lessons that can we learn from the Hajj:

1) Unity

If we look to Islam we see that many of the Shariah rules demonstrate the concept of unity of the Ummah, Hajj is one of them.

It is a time where the believers gather in unison to worship their Lord reciting the Talbiya which the Messenger (saw) recited.

Abdullah bin 'Umar narrated that the Talbiya of Allah's Apostle (saw) was : 'Labbaika Allahumma labbaik, Labbaika la sharika Laka labbaik, Inna-l-hamda wan-ni'mata Laka walmulk, La sharika Laka'. "I respond to Your call O Allah, I respond to Your call, and I am obedient to Your orders, You have no partner, I respond to Your call All the praises and blessings are for You, All the sovereignty is for You, And You have no partners with you." [Bukhari, Volume 2, Book 26, Number 621]

Indeed one of the astonishing things about the Hajj even for the non-Muslims is that people from all colours, the black and white; people from all races – from Europe, Turkey, Indonesia, India, Africa; people from all ages - the young and the old are united in the worship to Allah (swt) and are all equal before Him.

Hajj symbolises the concept of 'Ummatun Wahida' 'One Ummah'. The Muslims from all parts of the world who speak different languages and have different looks upon their faces, all perform the various obligatory acts together like the Tawaf around the Ka'ba, the running between Safa and Marwa, the stoning of the Jamarat and the wearing of the Ihram.

Indeed the concept of one united Ummah with no distinction, with no racism or nationalistic divisions is a fundamental concept in Islam. Allah (swt) says:

"And hold fast all together by the rope which Allah and be not divided among yourselves" [TMQ Al-Imran 3:103]


Abu Musa (ra) narrated that the Prophet said, "A believer to another believer is like a building whose different parts enforce each other." The Prophet then clasped his hands with the fingers interlaced (while saying that). [Bukhari]

The letter that Al-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz otherwise known as Malcolm X wrote from Makkah after performing the Hajj expresses beautifully the brotherhood of Islam, he wrote:

"Never have I witnessed such sincere hospitality and overwhelming spirit of true brotherhood as is practiced by people of all colors and races here in this ancient Holy Land, the home of Abraham, Muhammad and all the other Prophets of the Holy Scriptures. For the past week, I have been utterly speechless and spellbound by the graciousness I see displayed all around me by people of all colors."

"I have been blessed to visit the Holy City of Mecca, I have made my seven circuits around the Ka'ba, led by a young Mutawaf named Muhammad, I drank water from the well of the Zam Zam. I ran seven times back and forth between the hills of Mt. Al-Safa and Al Marwah. I have prayed in the ancient city of Mina, and I have prayed on Mt. Arafat."

"There were tens of thousands of pilgrims, from all over the world. They were of all colors, from blue-eyed blondes to black-skinned Africans. But we were all participating in the same ritual, displaying a spirit of unity and brotherhood that my experiences in America had led me to believe never could exist between the white and non-white."

"America needs to understand Islam, because this is the one religion that erases from its society the race problem. Throughout my travels in the Muslim world, I have met, talked to, and even eaten with people who in America would have been considered white - but the white attitude was removed from their minds by the religion of Islam. I have never before seen sincere and true brotherhood practiced by all colors together, irrespective of their color."

"You may be shocked by these words coming from me. But on this pilgrimage, what I have seen, and experienced, has forced me to rearrange much of my thought-patterns previously held, and to toss aside some of my previous conclusions. This was not too difficult for me. Despite my firm convictions, I have always been a man who tries to face facts, and to accept the reality of life as new experience and new knowledge unfolds it. I have always kept an open mind, which is necessary to the flexibility that must go hand in hand with every form of intelligent search for truth."

"During the past eleven days here in the Muslim world, I have eaten from the same plate, drunk from the same glass, and slept on the same rug - while praying to the same God - with fellow Muslims, whose eyes were the bluest of blue, whose hair was the blondest of blond, and whose skin was the whitest of white. And in the words and in the deeds of the white Muslims, I felt the same sincerity that I felt among the black African Muslims of Nigeria, Sudan and Ghana."

"We were truly all the same (brothers) - because their belief in one God had removed the white from their minds, the white from their behavior, and the white from their attitude."

[Extract from 'The Autobiography of Malcolm X']

The rules (Ahkam) of Islam promote unity and collectivism not nationalism and individualism. The rules of caring for your neighbours, visiting the sick, helping the believers and keeping relations with the relatives (Silat ar-rahm) all demonstrate this.

Nationalism is a concept alien to Islam because it calls for unity based on family and tribal ties, whereas Islam binds people together on the 'aqeedah, that is, belief in Allah (swt) and His Messenger (saw). In other words, Islam calls for the ideological bond.

It was reported by Abu Dawud and Tirmidhi that the Prophet (saw) said: "Undoubtedly Allah has removed from you the pride and arrogance of the Age of Jahilliyah (Ignorance) and the glorifications of ancestors. Now people are only of two kinds: Either believers who are aware or transgressors who do wrong. You are all the children of Adam and, Adam was from clay. People should give up their pride in nations because that is a coal from the coals of hell-fire. If they do not give this up Allah will consider them lower than the lowly worm which pushes itself through dung."

It is narrated by Abu Dawud that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, "He is not one of us who calls for 'asabiyyah, (nationalism) or who fights for 'asabiyyah or who dies for 'asabiyyah."

Mishkat al-Masabih, the Messenger of Allah (saw) said "He who calls for 'asabiyyah is as if he bit his father's genitals"

There are many examples in the seerah where the Messenger of Allah (saw) had rebuked those who upheld nationalism. On one occasion a party of Jews conspired to bring about disunity in the ranks of the Muslims after seeing the Aus and Khazraj within Islam. A youth from amongst them was sent to incite remembrance of the battle of Bu'ath where the Aus had been victorious over the Khazraj, and he recited poetry to bring about division between them. As a result there was a call to arms. When the news reached the Messenger of Allah (saw), he (saw) said, "O Muslims, remember Allah, remember Allah. Will you act as pagans while I am present with you after Allah has guided you to Islam, and honoured you thereby and made a clean break with paganism; delivered you thereby from disbelief; made you friends thereby?" When they heard this they wept, and embraced each other. This incident clearly highlights how the messenger of Allah (saw) rebuked any forms of tribalism. Allah (swt) then revealed,

"O you who believe! Fear Allah as He should be feared and die not except in a state of Islam. And hold fast together all of you to the rope of Allah, and be not divided among yourselves; and remember with gratitude Allah's favours on you; for you were enemies and He joined your hearts in love, so that by His Grace you became brothers; and you were on the brink of the pit of fire, and He saved you from it. Thus Allah make His signs clear to you that you may be guided." [TMQ 3:102-103]

It is transmitted by at-Tabarani and al-Hakim that in one incident some people spoke very lowly about Salman al-Farsi. They spoke of the inferiority of the Persian in relation to the Arabs, and upon hearing this the Messenger of Allah (saw) declared, "Salman belongs to ahl al-bayt (the Prophet's family)." This statement of the Messenger of Allah (saw) disassociates all links based on lineage and tribal considerations.

It is also transmitted, in two different versions, by Ibn al-Mubarak in his two books, Al-Birr and As-Salah, that some disagreement occurred between Abu Dharr and Bilal and Abu Dharr said to Bilal, "You son of a black woman." The Messenger of Allah (saw) was extremely upset by Abu Dharr's comment, so he (saw) rebuked him by saying, "That is too much, Abu Dharr. He who has a white mother has no advantage which makes him better than the son of a black mother." This rebuke had a profound effect on Abu Dharr, who then put his head on the ground swearing that he would not raise it until Bilal had put his foot over it.

Some people claim that the Messenger of Allah (saw) approved of nationalism because during the migration to Madinah, he (saw) said about Makkah with tears in his (saw) eyes, "You are the most beloved land of Allah to me." However, this saying has nothing to do with nationalism, and this can be seen from the full saying which people often do not quote, "You are the most beloved land of Allah to me because you are the most beloved land of Allah to Allah." The Messenger of Allah's (saw) love for Makkah was based on the noble status that Allah (swt) has given to Makkah, and not because he (saw) was born there. All Muslims should have this love and affection for Makkah because it is the most beloved land in the sight of Allah (swt). After all, the Muslims pray towards Makkah and go there to perform hajj there as it houses the Ka'ba. The above saying of the Messenger of Allah (saw) therefore has nothing to do with nationalism. Also in origin love your city of origin is not haram, but to say you are better than others and look down on them is what is haram as it would be considered from nationalism or tribalism.

It is also forbidden in Islam for the Islamic land to be divided as it is today. It is colonialist powers that divided our lands after they destroyed the Islamic Khilafah state. When Muslims go for Hajj, why do they need a visa? Did Muslims need a visa in past under the Khilafah for over one thousand years? 'Laa illaha illallah' should be the only visa which we require!

Ruling according to Islam can only be achieved in one state, with one Khaleefah not the over 50 divided nation state we have today. It is reported in Sahih Muslim that 'Abdullah ibn 'Amr ibn al-'As narrated that he heard the Messenger of Allah (saw) say, "He who gave the bay'ah to an Imam, giving him the clasp of his hand and the fruit of his heart has to obey him as long as he can. If another comes to dispute with him (his authority) strike the neck of that person." Abu Said al-Khudri narrated that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, "If a bay'ah is taken for two Khaleefahs, kill the latter one." And 'Arafaja said that he heard the Messenger of Allah (saw) say, "If someone comes to you when you are united over one man and wants to break your strength and divide your unity, kill him."

The colonialist powers knew this in the past very well, this is why they agitated the Arabs against the Turks using their agents such as the famous Lawrence of Arabia.

The British Foreign minister addressing the Prime Minister shortly before World War II, "We must put an end to anything which brings about Islamic Unity between the sons of the Muslims. As we have already succeeded in finishing off the Caliphate, so we must ensure that there will never arise again unity for the Muslims, whether it be intellectual or cultural unity".

The colonialist powers today such as Britain and America also wish for us to remain divided. The agent rulers appointed in our lands by them promote the ideas of nationalism, the national anthem, national flag and the nationalistic celebrations such as independence days.

The false borders and disunity in the Muslim lands, the domination of the rules of man over the Ka'ba which Ibrahim (as) and his son constructed with their own hands, the presence of the forces of the Kuffar in the land of Zam Zam and the restriction of the Hajj by a King who places his laws above those of the King of the Universe should make us work harder to liberate the Islamic lands from the yoke of Kufr by the re-establishing the Khilafah which will manifest the truly manifest the unity of this Ummah .

2) Story of Ibrahim (as) and his adherence to the Shariah

We should take a lesson from the well known story of Ibrahim (as) and his son Ismael (as). We are all reminded of this story because Eid al Adha is close. Allah (swt) informs of his story in the Quran,

"O my Lord! grant me a righteous (son)! So We gave him the good news of a boy ready to suffer and forbear. Then when (the son) reached (the age of) (serious) work with him he said: 'O my son! I see in vision that I offer thee in sacrifice: now see what is thy view!' (The son) said: 'O my father! do as you are commanded: you will find me if Allah so wills one practicing Patience and Constancy! So when they had both submitted their wills (to Allah) and He had laid Him prostrate on his forehead (for sacrifice) We called out to him 'O Ibrahim! You have already fulfilled the vision!' thus indeed do We reward those who do right." [TMQ As-Saffat: 99-105]

If one we ponder over the story of Ibrahim (as) carefully we find that Allah (swt) ordered His believing slave, Ibrahim (as), to slaughter his beloved son! Both the father and the son fully submitted to the order of Allah (swt) without questioning it. Ibrahim (as) didn't look for a reason for the command that Allah (swt) gave him, nor did Ismael (as) knowing that he was going to be sacrificed. Rather they both willingly accepted the decision of Allah (swt), because they realised that He (swt) was the creator and that their purpose was to worship Him. The lesson we can learn from this is to submit to the orders of Allah whether Allah has given us a reason for them or not. So we know that Allah (swt) has many actions for us such as the prohibition of Riba (usury), pre-marital relations with the opposite sex and supporting non-Islamic political parties. We must submit to these rules completely without attempting to justify engaging in them based on our own rationale.

3) Eid – a celebration from Islam

As Muslims we have a unique Deen and have our own celebrations, the two eids. We should not fall into celebrating festivals of the Kuffar as this is haram such as the nationalistic celebration of Republic days, independence days, Christmas, Divali and the like.

Ibn Abbas (ra) reported that the Messenger said, "He is not one of us who imitates other than us. Do not imitate the Jews and the Christians" [At- Tirmidhi]

Also, the Prophet said (saw), "Whoever brings something that is not from our affair, it is rejected." [Bukhari]

Al-Baihaqi reported in his Sunan that Anas Bin Malik (ra) said: When the Prophet (saw) came to Medina, the people had two holidays from the days of Jahiliyyah. He (saw) said: "When I came to you, you had two days which you used to celebrate in Jahiliyyah. Allah has replaced them for you with better days, the days of slaughter (Adhaa) and the day of Fitr." Also Imam Ahmad in his Musnad reported that Uqbah bin Amir (ra) reported the Prophet (saw) to have said: "The day of Fitr and days of Tashriq are our holidays, the people of Islam."

Indeed, Eid al Adha is a time of celebration for over one billion people around the globe. Although we will perform the slaughter, pray the Eid Salah and play with the children on this day our hearts and our minds will not be at ease due to suffering felt by our brothers and sisters around the world.

The food that we eat on this day should remind us of the many who are dying hungry in Darfur in Sudan and all over the Muslim world. The slaughtering that we perform on this occasion as a worship to Allah (swt) should provoke us to think about our rulers worship of the Kuffar allowing them to inflict slaughter upon the Muslims of Iraq. The sons of Abu Hanifah (ra) have been repeatedly attacked and barbarically treated by the new age Genghis Khan, America and Britain, the so-called 'peacemakers' of the world. On this occasion of Eid when we spend the days with our family and friends, let us make sure that we do not forget the problems of the Muslims worldwide.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Should we be 'Ramadhan Muslims'?

The great month of Ramadhan is upon us; the month, during which the gates of mercy are wide open, the gates of hell are shut and the shayateen are chained up. It is a month chosen by Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’aala) as a month of fasting; an act of ibadat that Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’aala) made special to Him. He (Subhanahu wa ta’aala) favoured this month over all other months by making it the month of mercy and reverence for all the believers. This month is the most superior of months in which Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’aala) revealed the Qur'an. Also, in this month were revealed the scriptures of Musa (as), as well as the Zabuur and the Injeel.

It is natural within this month for the Muslims to increase their good deeds in order to gain the vast reward of Ramadhan and get closer to Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’aala).This is something that has occurred throughout history and is a positive sign that the flame of Islam still burns brightly in the hearts of Muslims worldwide.

All mature Muslims are obligated to fast within this month from dawn to sunset abstaining from food and drink. The hunger and thirst that is felt during the day is automatically connected in our minds to the reason as to why we are fasting, as a worship of Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’aala).

Unfortunately, for some amongst us, instead of being a month of increasing ones good deeds on top of the obligations we consistently perform, we find today that for many it is a month of only temporary change. Unheard of in the early days of Islam, today we have the phenomenon of the 'Ramadhan Muslim' - one who is Muslim in name but only Muslim in action for one month in the year.

The examples of such individuals are numerous, to the extent that it has become a norm amongst Muslims in the West to find a contingent of 'Ramadhan Muslims' within them. These are Muslims who usually practise little of Islam but suddenly transform in this holy month into actively practising Muslims. They begin to perform their Salah, are careful of their speech, control their tempers, lower their gaze and increase their remembrance of Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’aala). On top of the obligatory actions, people even compete in the recommended ones such as tarawih salah and recitation of the Qur’an, such that the mosques are full at many times during the day.

Haram (prohibited) actions are also avoided by many during Ramadhan, the talk of which also suddenly becomes taboo. Young Muslim friends would even shun talking to each other about 'clubbing', 'spliffing' or chasing after the opposite sex even though these are popular pastimes for the same people throughout the rest of the year.

Examples of the 'Ramadhan Muslim' can be seen amongst both the youth and the elders alike. Some of the elders put away their lottery cards, refrain from backbiting, and are much more controlled with their temper towards their children or spouses during Ramadhan.

And when Ramadhan ends on the day of Eid, it is unfortunately all too common to see all the good that was witnessed in the holy month to be rapidly reversed. The headscarves come off the women, the 'rizla' and the 'weed' comes out for many youngsters, the tempers flare, the mosques are again empty, the Qur’an is left on the shelf, the clubbing, partying, tribal squabbles, and promiscuity restarts.

This demonstrates clearly that Ramadhan has not truly been understood by many Muslims. It is sad to see Ramadhan treated as people of other religions treat their religious occasions, in a manner which only temporarily alters their actions.

Why?

It is no mystery as to why many Muslims have become like this. This part-time attitude to religion is enshrined in the society in which we live. In the view of the West religion is meant to be a personal matter that is limited to a set of rituals and morals that should not play a part in the rest of our lives.

Many Muslims would openly declare their belief in Islam yet at the same time have adopted this corrupt notion that relegates Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’aala) and the Qur’an to one month in the year or only to personal worship. A Muslim who treats Ramadhan and Islam in this manner resembles the Christian who acts as he pleases and attends the church on Sunday or during Lent expecting to be forgiven.

People who hold this notion will often feel very emotional during Ramadhan and will spend hours during prayer and supplication. Some even cover up the television seeing it as an evil. They often feel guilty for actions throughout the year such as their illicit relationships or interaction with the opposite sex, their backbiting, mortgage on their house, missing of salah, interest based loans, foul language or neglect of their parents or children. Going into a mode of submission during Ramadhan is an attempt to exonerate themselves and is a way to boost themselves with some 'spiritual energy'. The effect is temporary and after Ramadhan the actions and together with them the guilt returns.

The uneasiness and guilt is bound to remain with such people. As to believe on one hand that we have been created by our Lord, Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’aala) and that our clear purpose in life is to worship Him and on the other hand to completely disregard this belief in the rest of life would naturally leave an individual at unease.

This is the true dilemma of the 'Ramadhan Muslim', a mixed, confused personality torn between Islam and the secular Western values. It is a personality lacking distinctiveness and direction.

We need to be true to ourselves and ask the following serious questions:

Do we believe the Qur’an that was revealed in this month by the Creator of the universe is a book of guidance only for this month or partial aspects of our lives?

Do we think that fasting in this month and then returning to the neglect of the Islamic duties will grant us forgiveness? Is this the basis by which we convince ourselves that it is fine to be distant from Islam for the rest of the year?

The true meaning of Ramadhan

Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’aala) says:
شَهْرُ رَمَضَانَ الَّذِيَ أُنزِلَ فِيهِ الْقُرْآنُ هُدًى لِّلنَّاسِ
وَبَيِّنَاتٍ مِّنَ الْهُدَى وَالْفُرْقَانِ

"Ramadhan is the month in which the Qur’an was revealed, a guidance for mankind, and clear proofs of the guidance and as a criterion (al-Furqan)" [TMQ Al Baqarah: 185]
We should realise that the deen has come to regulate the dunya. Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’aala) revealed the Qur’an within this blessed month so that it acts as al-Furqan, the criterion between right and wrong for all of our actions throughout the twelve months of the year.

Islam is different to Christianity, Judaism and all the other religions, for it is the true Deen, a complete way of life with detailed shari'ah rules and solutions to all of life's problems. Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’aala) has revealed to us not only how to fast, He (Subhanahu wa ta’aala) has also given us details for how to trade in a halal way avoiding riba (interest) and all haram contracts, how to live in the West without becoming integrated into the society and adopting its corrupt values, how to bring up and educate our children and guard them from the kufr culture that the society bombards them with, how the houses of Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’aala) - the mosques should be a centre for Islam that are open to the young and old rather than being places that turn people away. Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’aala) has revealed to us detailed rules for all issues just as He (Subhanahu wa ta’aala) revealed to us how to fast and perform the recommended acts during the month of Ramadhan.

Ramadhan should be a month for us to increase our remembrance of Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’aala) rather than a month of temporary obedience to His (Subhanahu wa ta’aala) orders. Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’aala) says,
"Oh you who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that you many gain Taqwa" [TMQ Al Baqarah:183]
Taqwa comes from the word 'waqiya', which means to protect. It is protection from the anger of Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’aala) and His (Subhanahu wa ta’aala) punishment. This is why taqwa is used to describe the performing of actions, which pleases Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’aala) and abstaining from all actions that displeases Him (Subhanahu wa ta’aala).

Taqwa in essence means God consciousness, being conscious of Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’aala) in all our actions and affairs. Fasting should aid us in gaining taqwa, as it puts us in an atmosphere of obedience to Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’aala), every time we feel hunger during the fast or fatigue, we know that we are doing it for the obedience of Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’aala). It makes us realise our relationship with Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’aala).

Umar ibn al Khattab (ra) once looked at those praying and said, "The great number of times any of you raises and lowers his head does not deceive me. The [real] deen is being cautious and meticulous in the deen of Allah, and refraining from what Allah has forbidden, and acting according to what Allah permits and forbids."

The son of 'Ali (ra), Al-Hasan (ra) once said, "The people who have taqwa (al-muttaqoon) are the people who avoided whatever Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’aala) has prohibited and have done whatever Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’aala) has ordained."

'Umar ibn Abdul Aziz (ra) once said, "Taqwa is not by fasting the day and not by praying the night. And it is not by mixing between the two of them.But taqwa is leaving what Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’aala) has made haram and by doing what Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’aala) has made fard. After one has done this, Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’aala) will provide good things for that person."

Ibn Juzayy said in his dictionary of terms from the introduction to his tafsir:

"Taqwa's meaning is fear, clinging to obedience to Allah and abandoning disobedience to Him. It is the sum of all good."

To achieve taqwa and avoid the label of the 'Ramadhan Muslim' we must have a solid foundation. We must base our belief on conviction, clearly comprehending the fact that Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’aala) is the Creator of the universe and linking that realisation to our actions. Our belief is unlike the belief of the Christians and other faiths which have no proof for them. The existence of Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’aala) and the definitiveness of the Qur’an are facts to us just as we believe that fire burns. To achieve this belief we must apply the mind that Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’aala) has given us rather than just imitating others blindly without any comprehension.

Ibn Abbas (ra) said, "The light of Iman is thinking".

Contemplating upon the dates which we break our fasts with and the hunger which we feel during our fast is enough to lead us to conclude that we are needy and dependent upon a creator. The entire universe and whatever it contains is proof enough for the existence of Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’aala) and smashes the myths of the theory of evolution or the 'big bang'.

The Qur’an which we recite during this month is not a book like any other, written by men. It is a miracle proving beyond any doubt the truthfulness of Islam. Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’aala) challenges all humanity to produce even one chapter like it which mankind has failed to achieve. Even America with the billions of dollars it spends in fighting Islam, all it has to do is to produce one chapter (Surah) similar to the Qur’an for all the 1.5 billion Muslims to apostatise and leave Islam. It has failed, as will all those who attempt the impossible. For the challenge of the Qur’an has been set by Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’aala).

Possessing an unshakeable belief allows the Muslim to accept his position as the slave of Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’aala) and enables him to submit completely to all the commands and prohibitions, thus attaining taqwa.

It is linking the realisation of Allah's existence to our actions that shapes the Islamic personality. The Muslim does not consider his own benefit or pleasure as factors in deciding right or wrong, so he will fast the long day, wake up early in the morning for fajr salah, share his food with others, avoid temptations andindecency, avoid Haram and tirelessly engage in the da'wah to resume the Islamic way of life. This selflessness is what completely defies the West who are obsessed with following their lusts and personal desires.

Islam should flow in our veins such that we think and feel according to it. This is what allowed the Muslims to stand firm in the battle of Badr in the second year after the Hijra. On a Friday, morning the 17th of Ramadhan the Prophet (salAllahu alaihi wasallam) led the Muslims outnumbered 3 to 1, 305 believers defeated an army of over 900 kuffar. The Quraysh were humiliated and the Muslims were victorious.

It was this conviction that shaped the personalities of Muslims throughout the ages such that our history is full of examples of strength, courage, determination and enlightenment.

It is this belief and understanding that allowed the Muslims under the leadership of Tariq ibn Ziyad to liberate Spain during Ramadhan, Ninety-two years after the Hijrah. It was also in this month of sacrifice in 1187 (CE) that Salahaddin Ayyubi defeated the Crusaders. On this day the Muslims virtually routed all the local Crusader forces capable of defending the Crusaders establishment in the Near East. With a 12,000 strong cavalry they defeated the Crusaders and re-took al-Quds back into its rightful hands.

Benefiting from Ramadhan

Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’aala) has allowed each and everyone of us to witness again the month of Ramadhan that we may benefit from it by drawing closer to Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’aala), by making sincere repentance, and seeking His mercy and forgiveness. For those of us who are 'Ramadhan Muslims' we must let this Ramadhan be a time of true change where we completely mould our personalities according to Islam so that we will remain steadfast for the whole of our lives. For those of us who are already practising Islam let it be a time where we redouble our efforts, attain the reward and strengthen our relationship with Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’aala).

Indeed the one who fails to benefit from the month of Ramadhan is one of the losers, and deserves to be distanced from Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’aala).
The Prophet (salAllahu alaihi wasallam) said,
"Fasting is a shield with which a servant protects himself from the fire." [Ahmad]
Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet (salAllahu alaihi wasallam), climbed upon the minbar and said:
"Ameen, ameen, ameen". So it was said, "O Messenger of Allah (salAllahu alaihi wasallam), you climbed upon the minbar and said, "Ameen, ameen, ameen"? So He (salAllahu alaihi wasallam) said "Jibreel came to me and said, 'Whoever reaches the month of Ramadhan and does not have his sins forgiven and so enters the fire, then may Allah distance him, say ameen" So I said "Ameen" [Ibn Khuzaimah, Ahmad & al-Baihaqi].
The Messenger of Allah (salAllahu alaihi wasallam) said,
ر"Ramadhan has come to you. (It is) a month of blessing, in which Allah covers you with blessing, for He sends down mercy, decreases sins and answers prayers. In it, Allah looks at your competition (in good deeds), and boasts about you to His angels. So show Allah goodness from yourselves, for the unfortunate one is he who is deprived in (this month) of the mercy of Allah, the mighty, the exalted." [Tabarani]
The Prophet (salAllahu alaihi wasallam) said:
"He who is amongst those who pray will be called from the gate of the prayer (in paradise) and he who is from the people of jihad will be called from the gate of jihad, and he who is from those' who give in charity (i.e. zakat) will be called from the gate of charity, and he who is amongst those who observe fast will be called from the gate of fasting, the gate of raiyan." Abu Bakr said, "He who is called from all those gates will need nothing," He added, "Will anyone be called from all those gates, O Allah's Apostle?" He said, "Yes, and I hope you will be among those, O Abu Bakr." [Bukhari]
Abu Said al-Khudri reported that the Messenger of Allah, said: "No servant fasts on a day in the path of Allah except that Allah removes the hellfire seventy years further away from his face." [This is related by "the group," except for Abu Dawud]

Abdullah ibn `Amr reported that the Messenger of Allah (salAllahu alaihi wasallam), said:
"The fast and the Qur'an are two intercessors for the servant of Allah on the Day of Resurrection. The fast will say: 'O Lord, I prevented him from his food and desires during the day. Let me intercede for him.' The Qur'an will say: 'I prevented him from sleeping at night. Let me intercede for him.' And their intercession will be accepted." [Ahmad]
Abu Umamah reported:
"I came to the Messenger of Allah and said: 'Order me to do a deed that will allow me to enter Paradise.' He said: 'Stick to fasting, as there is no equivalent to it.' Then I came to him again and he said: 'Stick to fasting."' [Ahmad, an-Nasa'i, and al-Hakim]
Let us ensure that we take heed from the words of our master, Muhammad (salAllahu alaihi wasallam) who said,
"Whosoever does not stop saying and acting upon falsehood, Allah’s (Subhanahu wa ta’aala) in no need for them to abandon their food." [Bukhari]
This narration from our beloved Prophet (salAllahu alaihi wasallam) should serve as a stark warning to all those who stick to Islam during Ramadhan and then abandon it after the day of Eid ul Fitr.

Recommended Actions

For the one who has taqwa sticking to the minimum of performing the obligations and refraining from the prohibitions does not seem enough as he continuously wants to develop his personality in order to gain the pleasure of Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’aala). The month of Ramadhan is full of opportunities to gain the extra reward by undertaking the acts that please Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’aala).

The Messenger of Allah (salAllahu alaihi wasallam) addressed his companions on the last day of Sha`ban, saying, "Oh people! A great month has come over you; a blessed month; a month in which is a night better than a thousand months; month in which Allah has made it compulsory upon you to fast by day, and voluntary to pray by night. Whoever draws nearer (to Allah) by performing any of the (optional) good deeds in (this month) shall receive the same reward as performing an obligatory deed at any other time, and whoever discharges an obligatory deed in (this month) shall receive the reward of performing seventy obligations at any other time. It is the month of patience, and the reward of patience is heaven. It is the month of charity, and a month in which a believer's sustenance is increased. Whoever gives food to a fasting person to break his fast shall have his sins forgiven, and he will be saved from the fire of hell, and he shall have the same reward as the fasting person, without his reward being diminished at all." [Narrated by Ibn Khuzaimah]

There are particular actions that have been encouraged within this month like suhur, tarawih salah, performing umrah, qiyam and feeding the fasting people.

There is much reward to be had by the one who partakes in the suhur, the pre-dawn meal, and the one who invites others to break fast with him.

The Prophet (salAllahu alaihi wasallam) said, "Take suhur as there is a blessing in it."

He (salAllahu alaihi wasallam) also said, "Whoever will invite a person who is fasting to break the fast with him will get the same reward as the one who was fasting and there will be no reduction in his reward either".

In the nights of this month there is much opportunity for repentance and supplication, both collectively in the tarawih prayers and also individually in the other prayers such as salat al-tahajjud and by remembering Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’aala) by performing dhikr, and by praising and glorifying Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’aala) with the heart and the tongue.

Abu Hurairah said, "I heard the Messenger of Allah (salAllahu alaihi wasallam) say,
'the one who does qiyam (staying up the night in remembrance of Allah) in Ramadhan with faith and sincerity, all his sins will be forgiven.'"

Ramadhan is the month in which the umrah is equivalent to a single Hajj (in reward). The Messenger of Allah (salAllahu alaihi wasallam) said to a woman from the Ansar, "If it is Ramadhan, make umrah for indeed it is equivalent to Hajj" [Nisaa'i]

Praying with full devotion upon the night of al-qadr is of great reward, for it is a night that is better than a thousand months.

Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’aala) said,

"Verily! We have sent it down in the night of Al-qadr. And what will make you know what the night of Al-qadr is. The night of Al-qadr is better than a thousand months" [TMQ: Al-Qadr: 1-3]

Maintaining Consistency

Remaining consistent post Ramadhan is the true test. As observing the Islamic rules is much easier when the environment is Islamic, when most people in your family and many of your friends are doing similar. However post Ramadhan, when things go back to normal, the atmosphere is likely to change. If one has truly based their belief on conviction and understood the significance and meaning of Ramadhan, he or she will remain steadfast and committed to Islam.

If we feel that life will go back to normal after Ramdhan and that the effect will wear off then we need to ponder deeply as to the reasons why this may happen. By doing so we will realise that we may have fundamental flaws in our thinking such as not being clear upon the proof of the definitiveness of Islam itself, our decision making process may revolve around personal selfish interests instead of the shari'ah and the lack of linking Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’aala) and the afterlife to our everyday actions. If this is the case we need to spend time in resolving these weaknesses by contemplation, thought and asking help from those more knowledgeable than ourselves. This soul searching process is a must for a Muslim who should be a consistent Islamic personality as tomorrow may never come and who knows if we will live to next Ramadhan. So let us work against the tide, remain strong, embody Islam and be a light to guide others to the truth.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Only the return of the Khilafah will silence those who attack Islam

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Thursday, 03 April 2008

This week has seen new heights of arrogance as the Dutch MP Geert Wilders has released a film that attacks Islam, in particular the Noble Quran. Wilders has called for a ban on the Quran in the name of the defence of "freedom". It is this "freedom" that he and others use to uphold the release of this film, which like the disgusting Danish cartoons, was designed to offend, provoke and incitehatred towards Islam and Muslims. This is the same "freedom" they wish every Muslim country to adopt as their values system though it is far away from thenoble Islamic values. For this western idea that permits the open abuse ofother people and their beliefs can never bring harmony to any society, as Islam successfully managed to do over centuries.

In their hypocrisy they contradict this "freedom" by calling for a ban on thehijab, the niqaab, political parties who speak out against western imperialism and now the Noble Quran itself. Such selective application of "freedom" is yet more proof that this is a war on Islam and not a war on terror!

The claim that Secular Europe is some bastion of tolerance seems laughable in the face of the attacks by secular extremists towards millions of Muslims. But in truth Europe still suffers from its historic persecution of minorities. Muslims are often told that our responses are too emotional but their attacks on Islam are little more than vitriolic hatred. When it comes to Islam they make emotional rants and spread lies, whilst it is the Quran that appeals to the rational mind to think and debate about man's creation and purpose.
Meanwhile, the governments in Europe that support a war on Islam, occupation in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine, and support for tyrants in the Muslim lands welcome this propaganda to fuel their imperialist adventures. For it is not merely the media who engage in this propaganda. Recently when seventeen Danish newspapers all reprinted the filthy and blasphemous cartoons Germany's Interior Minister called for all European newspapers to similarly publish them.

The Muslim world cries out against these hostile acts, but western politicians and media sustain this attack without fear of any repercussions politically, economically or even militarily. Whilst the newspapers publish these evil cartoons, western politicians either remain silent about this hate filled propaganda or actually join in the attack. Yet, no Muslim country has severed its diplomatic ties with such countries. Their embassies in the Muslim world are accorded full respect and not one of their ambassadors has been reprimanded. Oil from the Muslim lands continues to provide energy the machines that print this filth. No regime in the Muslim world has withdrawn their money from their banks to shake the economies of these countries.

Given this, why would the West have anything to fear when defaming Islam, the Prophet of Islam (saw) and the Qur'an? Could they ever fear the spineless rulers of the Muslims lands who have abandoned Islam and surrendered their lands and resources? These regimes fought against the return of the Khilafah, and those who work to revive the Khilafah. They imprison, torture and even martyr them. These rulers only care about protecting their thrones, their power and their wealth. They care nothing about protecting Islam and its lands, even if the deen is humiliated, the Muslims countries are attacked and occupied.

Dear brothers and sisters

Only the return of the Khilafah will stop the relentless slander of Islam; for the Khilafah stands not for any throne, material power or personal interest, but for Islam. Violating Islam's sanctities is an act of aggression against Islam for which the Khilafah would mobilise all its strength to respond, such that the enemies of Islam could never think of speaking ill of Islam. In the past the colonialist states were fearful of the Khilafah's stern response and rarely dared to speak ill of Islam. They were shaken by the mere thought of the response and backed down even for relatively minor violations, never mind the current attacks on the Quran and the Prophet of Islam (saw).

George Bernard Shaw wrote in his diaries in 1913, at the time when the Khilafah was at its weakest, that he was prevented by Lord Chamberlain from writing anything derogatory about RasulAllah (saw) because he was scared of the reaction of the Ambassador of the Uthmani Khilafah in London!

Brothers and sisters

Whoever truly loves RasulAllah (saw) and the Quran al-Kareem should stand up and work sincerely to re-establish the Khilafah. Whoever feels pain from the calls to ban the Quran al-Kareem and the evil cartoons defaming RasulAllah (saw) should strive to re-establish the Khilafah. Whoever reveres the Quran as the Word of Allah must work to re-establish the Khilafah because Allah (swt) says in this same Quran:

"So judge between them by that which Allah has revealed and follow not their desires away from the truth that has come to you." [Translated meaning Quran Surah Maidah 5:48]

Brothers and Sisters,

Here in Europe the work for re-establishing the Khilafah involves building strong Islamic communities calling for an Islamic leadership in the Muslim world that will stand up for Islam. It also involves engaging with the wider non-Muslim society in dispelling the myths and propaganda against Islam and showing them how Islam is the solution to the chaos and disorder that prevails in the world today.

Join with Hizb ut-Tahrir and be part of the global movement to re-establish the Khilafah that will rule and lead the Ummah by the Qur'an and the Sunnah of the Messenger (SAW).

"In it is the message for those who worship Allah." [Translated meaning Quran Surah al-Anbiya 21:106]