Archive for February, 2008

THE FINAL EXAM: ARE WE READY?

Posted in Uncategorized on February 15, 2008 by tasmia

It’s so easy to lose focus of why we are in this world. We tend to take our present for granted and spend all our time working and/or enjoying the present. This life is merely a test to be followed by a life of eternity. We forget this, lose perspective and get frustrated when things go wrong!

Below I have highlighted only some aspects of the Day of Judgment (DOJ):

The Day will begin with the blowing of horn/trumpets. It will take place on a Friday, the same day (Friday) that Adam was created. When the horn is blown all that are living will die. Everything in the heaven and Earth will seize to exist. Then the process of resurrection will begin.

From then on it is said that the Disbelievers shall be humiliated, initially with their clothing. While the righteous shall be clad in noble clothing, the evil shall be seen in evil clothing. Also,

1.The Sun will be brought closer, almost close to a mile. Those who are good in deeds shall not sweat. While others depending on extent of wrong deeds, will be in knee depth or drowning in sweat.
2.Those who did not pay Zakat will find that their backs, foreheads are continually being branded by Fire.
3.Those who possessed pride shall be raised up the size of a corn
4.Cheaters will find a fire burning in their stomachs
5.The rich beggar who would beg even when it was unnecessary shall find that his face is without skin.

The Messenger (S.A.W.) told us in an authentic Hadith, “The first thing the people will be accountable for on the Day of Judgment is prayer, Allah will say to His angels (even though he already knows): “Look at my servants prayers. Were they complete or not?” If they were complete It will be written as complete. If they were not fully complete Allah will say: “See if my servant has voluntary prayers, If he has them Allah will say: Complete his obligatory prayers shortage with his voluntary prayers.” Then the rest of his deeds will be dealt with in the same manner.” Reported by Imams Ahmad, Abu Dawood, An-Nisa’i, and Al-Hakim}

Also, Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) said we will be asked about 5 things: “The son of Adam will not pass away from Allah until he is asked about five things: how he lived his life, and how he utilized his youth, with what means did he earn his wealth, how did he spend his wealth, and what did he do with his knowledge.” {Good hadith reported by Imam At-Tirmithi}

On the DOJ, everyone shall be tried for their own sins only and our own body parts shall bear witness to our deeds. Our Prophet (pbuh) was asked, who do you think shall be the most bankrupt person?

He answered it is the one who comes before Allah with scale of heavy good deeds, only to find that because they had back bitten people, cursed others, stolen property of others, their scale of good deeds will be taken away from them. The oppressed come and take away good deeds and in exchange they shall get the evil of the oppressed.

Only the pious shall be free from fear. It is also said that good deeds shall be multiplied while evil deeds shall be counted as one. This is the mercy of the Almighty. Those in the shade of Allah’s throne shall be ones who remembered Allah, gave charity, martyrs, those who controlled anger, freed believing slaves to name a few deeds.

At the end of the Day, there shall be a light. The believers shall be protected and cross over to Paradise and on the outside shall be the evil doers.

WHAT DO WE NEED TO DO TO ESCAPE HELL-FIRE?

It is not enough to know what happens on the DOJ. What are we doing about it? Are we prepared for our finals? Every moment is crucial as it accounts for one missed opportunity to acquire good deeds. That is why our Prophet (pbuh) says in the following Hadith

“The world is prison for the believers and paradise for the disbelievers. “Reporter: Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (r). Source: Sahih Muslim, Vol. 4, #7058

On a related note, people wonder if Allah has destined for us what is to happen, why are we judged for our deeds? Does this mean that we do not have any freedom of choice?

For example, a teacher can guess which students are going perform well, who all might fail etc. And when those same students perform as expected in the exams, does it mean the students are not at fault? No! The ones that did badly did so because they did not study hard. It was the student’s choice to study or not and their results cannot be attributed to the teacher.

And Allah is All-Knowing! For Him to know what our fates are is obvious. He knows what will happen before it happens (that is why He is God) . The difference is that if God knows what is going to happen it does not automatically mean that He affects the events in any way. However, if He has decided something it means that He has orchestrated the events. Knowing the future is different than creating the future.

The concept of reward and punishment in the hereafter entails the concept of free-will. After all, how can one be held responsible, punished or even rewarded for something in which he was not even free to do otherwise.The point is we shall be judged over things we have a choice over. That is why we were given free will. Allah will not judge us for actions taken under compulsion. Allah knows what our fate shall be, but it is only us who make it with the freedom Allah has given us.

Allah burdens not a person beyond his scope. He gets reward for that (good) which he has earned, and he is punished for that (evil) which he has earned. [Al-Baqara: 286]

So ACT now before its too late! A way (it worked for me) is to start with baby steps. Since Salat is the first thing we shall be asked about, its good to start right there. I focused on being a progressive pray-er, i.e. started with praying once a day at least and built up from there. Now Alhamdulillah I pray 5 times a day and working on praying the Sunnah as well. There is no guarantee that you will live till 70, and start praying when you are 50. That time may never come…..

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DAJJAL OR THE ANTI-CHRIST

Posted in anti-christ with tags , on February 11, 2008 by tasmia

Dajjal or Anti-Christ is mentioned in the Bible as well as many Hadith’s of our Prophet (pbuh). The reason for the detailed and numerous Hadith’s on Dajjal was to stress the importance about his existence so as to create awareness. The coming of Dajjal will be one of the greatest trials faced by mankind and is said to herald the end of the world. The appearance of Antichrist is confirmed by authentic Hadiths from the Prophetic Sunnah, but no one knows the exact time of his appearance as it is part of the Unseen and knowing the Unseen is something related to Allah alone.

Who is Anti-Christ?

Anti-Christ is said to come to call people to believe him and to worship him as Allah. Those who are weak believers or hypocrites, will be swayed by the powers of Dajjal. Dajjal using jinns will be able to show to people that he can bring the dead to life, an ability attributed to Allah. Those unaware of Dajjal will thus be fooled and those who follow his lead will be making a grave mistake. He is said to rule for 40 days as mentioned in Hadith (Muslim 7015) that, of the ‘forty days, one day will be like a year, one day like a month, one day like a week, and the rest of the days will be like days as we know them.’

Here are some facts about the Antichrist:

click here

1. “We believe that every Prophet has warned his people about this person.

2. The Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, stated that mankind will never experience a greater trial than that of the trial of the Antichrist.

3. He will make his emergence from Iran or its precincts.

4. A large number of his followers will be the Jews.

5. When he comes, he will come at a time when there is famine and starvation and war, and he will amplify his authority by manipulating people because of the great need of food and peace on the earth at that time.

6. Before he arrives, the earth will suffer from an unprecedented drought that will cause vegetables and cattle to die off. At this time, he will come with huge amounts of food and water and other means.

7. He will first declare that he is a prophet, and then eventually claim Divinity. Those who accept him as their lord, he will cause rain to fall on their land and supply with food and other essentials. Those who reject him, he will forbid rain from falling on their land and will prevent food and other means from being supplied to them.

8. His powers will be so great that he will rule the earth for a few years. Then when he gathers an army together to fight against those that reject him, Jesus, peace and blessings be upon him, will descend and eventually destroy him.

9. Jesus will unite the world under one Government, one religion.(Of course we Muslims believe that he will unite the world under the banner of Islam).

10. Jesus will live on the earth for a time, marry, have children and then eventually die a natural death.”

How to recognize Anti-Christ?

Our Prophet (pbuh) in several Hadiths described him as being one eyed human being with no children. His left eye will be defective as well and be green like glass (at that time the components which were used to make glass made it look green). He will have a wide neck and a curved back. Also, he will have curly hair. Below I have quoted some Hadith’s describing Dajjal further.

Hadith – Bukhari 9.245, Narrated Anas
The Prophet (pbuh), “No prophet was sent but that he warned his followers against the one-eyed liar (Ad-Dajjal). Beware! He is blind in one eye, and your Lord is not so, and there will be written between his (Ad-Dajjal’s) eyes (the word) Kafir (i.e., disbeliever).”
Hadith – Muslim #7015

We said: Allah’s apostle how quickly will he walk upon the earth?

Thereupon he said: Like cloud driven by the wind. He will come to the people and invite them (to a wrong religion); they will affirm their faith in him and respond to him. He will then give a command to the sky: there will be rainfall upon the Earth and it will grow crops. Then in the evening, their pasturing animals will come to them with their humps very high, their udders full of milk and their flanks distended. He will then come to another people and invite them. But they will reject him so he will go away from them; they will have a drought and nothing will be left with them in the form of wealth. He will then walk through the desert and say to it: Bring forth your treasures. The treasures will come out and gather before him like a swarm of bees. He will then call someone in the flush of youth, strike him with the sword, cut him into two pieces and (make these pieces lie at the distance which is generally between the archer and his target. He will then call (that young man) and he will come forward laughing with his face gleaming (with happiness).

What happens to Anti-Christ in the end?

Imam Mehdi will face Dajjal’s army. At this time Allah will send Jesus (pbuh) to kill Dajjal. Seeing Jesus (pbuh) Dajjal will flee because in his presence Dajjal’s body is said to dissolve into salt.

How do we protect ourselves from Dajjal?

Even if we do not face Dajjal during our lifetime, it is our duty to spread the word about the coming of Dajjal, so that our future generations are not deceived, rather cling to Islam during that time. Our Prophet (pbuh) also said as mentioned in Hadith – Al-Tirmidhi #2146, Narrated AbudDarda’

‘He who recites three verses at the beginning of Al-Kahf will be protected from the trial of the Dajjal.’

Also it was highlighted that we should not believe Dajjal when he claims to be Allah, because in our lifetime, we will never be able to see Allah anywhere in this world. Those who fall into the trap are only deluded.

For more information about Anti-Christ you can refer to the following lecture:
http://www.halaltube.com/bilal-philips/video/dajjal

ARE NON-MUSLIMS SECOND CLASS CITIZENS?

Posted in Non-Muslim Relations on February 11, 2008 by tasmia

Glossary:

*Dhimmi: Comes from the word Dhimmah and it means covenanted person. The word covenant here means that he or she has the covenant of Allah, His messenger and the Muslim community that their legitimate right shall be safeguarded.

**Jizya: Comes from ‘jaza’ which means something in return for something, i.e. services, defense and social security in return for financial
contribution.

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From the beginning of civilization man has traveled across nations for trading, conquests, in search of new land for settlement etc. These instances of migration for whatever purpose have created minority populations across nations. So, under the Islamic ruling how should non-Muslims be treated and what rights do they have in Muslim states?

Such non-Muslims are called Dhimmi* and as commonly misconceived, the term does not refer to second-class citizens. As we all know, the source of the Shari`ah is the Holy Quran and Sahi Hadith. To start off, the following Hadiths help to encapsulate the view on treatment of non-Muslims:

The Prophet is reported to have said,“He who hurts a dhimmi hurts me, and he who hurts me annoys Allah” (At-Tabarani).

He also says, “Whoever hurts a dhimmi, I am his adversary, and I shall be an adversary to him on the Day of Resurrection” (Al-Khatib).

“On the Day of Judgment, I will dispute with anyone who oppresses a person from among the People of the Covenant, or infringes upon his right, or puts a responsibility on him which is beyond his strength, or takes something from him against his will” (Abu Dawud).

In the Quran, Jews and Christians are always mentioned as ‘People of the Book’. This shows that they were originally people of a revealed religion. For this reason, there exists a relationship of mercy and spiritual kinship between them and Muslims, all having in common the principles of the one true religion sent by Allah through His Prophets (peace and blessings are upon them all). In the Quran, Allah says,He has ordained for (the Muslims) the same religion which He enjoined on Noah, and that which We have revealed to thee (Muhammad) and that which We enjoined on Abraham, Moses, and Jesus: that you should establish the faith and make no division in it (Ash-Shura 42:13).

Right to follow one’s own religious laws

The first Islamic State was established in light the Charter of Madinah, a real and actual social contract agreed upon by Muslims, Jews and others, stipulating that they all would be treated as equal citizens of Madinah, giving the non-Muslims right of choosing a legal system they wished their affairs be governed by, be it Islamic or Jewish law or pre-Islamic Arab tribal traditions. This confirms the principle “no compulsion in religion”, freedom of expression and religious practice was open to everyone.

There is sometimes a misunderstood view, that if any non-Muslim lives under the rule of Islam, he/she would be curtailed in their religious freedom. There is no compulsion in Islam to accept Islam as your faith. It is a misconception to say that Islam is spread by the sword, with forced conversions. That never took place.

Secondly, if you again look at the practice of Prophet Muhammad, he provided excellent facilities for non-Muslims. For instance in his time, the monks of Mount Sinai were given protection. The monasteries were protected, the monks themselves were protected from any attack or persecution. Churches could not be pulled down to be replaced by mosques or to build houses. They were seen as a place of sanctuary and protected by the Islamic state.

In most Western countries, whatever the law of the land is must be followed without any recognition to one’s personal beliefs. However, an Islamic state is much more flexible in this. Non-Muslim minorities, in certain matters of personal law, such as marriage, divorce, inheritance would be able to implement their own religious laws and would not be subject to Shari`ah-law.

Right to consumption of alcohol and pork

Another interesting fact in Islamic history is that although Muslims are prohibited from entering into manufacturing, selling and consuming alcohol, whereas the ruling is not the same with non-Muslim. If there was a non-Muslim minority in an Islamic state who wish to do so, and do not involve Muslims, they would actually be given this right.

The issue of Jizya**

The description of the term as a payment in return for services from the State helps to remove the misconception that non-Muslims are asked to pay Zakah in Muslim states. For example, Muslims are required to pay Zakah, which helps finance needs such as services, defence and social security. All citizens, Muslims and dhimis, have equal access to such services without discrimination. If the Shari`ah required dhimmis to pay Zakah exactly like their fellow Muslim citizens, it may be insensitive to their religious identity. The reason is that Zakah is not merely a tax, even though it serves the purposes of taxes. Zakah is an Islamic concept and is one of the five pillars of Islam. To ask a dhimmi to pay Zakah implies requiring him to tacitly believe in one of the pillars of Islam that he does not believe in. On the other hand, if he shares the cost of above services under a different and more neutral title, it is even more respectful to them. Hence the term jizya is used whereby the non-Muslim is merely paying for the services rendered by the State.

Conclusion

The above information only reiterates the meaning of ISLAM, i.e., PEACE! It teaches us to be tolerant and that non-Muslims are to be treated with respect and allowed to practice their own religion without fear of repression. Islam was not spread by the sword, rather by dawa. It talks about universal brotherhood. In contrast during the Spanish inquisition, Muslims were put to death for refusing to convert!

There is no compulsion in religion: true guidance has become distinct from error, so whoever rejects false gods and believes in Allah has grasped the firmest hand-hold, one that will never break. Allah is all hearing and all knowing (Al-Baqrah 2: 256).

Having said the above, in my opinion, Islam is not a means of oppression as misconceived by many, rather the champion of human rights!!!!