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Islam: A Religion of Love and Peace

Islam: A Religion of Love and Peace

Peace in Islam

A Muslim is one who is under the peaceful and safe shade of Islam

By: Huseyin ALgul**

Definition of Islam

The root of the word Islam, silm, refers to “making peace, being in a mutually peaceful environment, greetings, rescue, safety, being secure, finding peace, reaching salvation and well-being or being far from danger, attaining goodness, comfort and favor, keeping away from troubles and disasters, submitting the self and obeying, respect, being far from wrong.” “Submitting the self and obeying” here means “submitting to justice and righteousness in order to reach peace and safety and being in a peaceful environment by one’s free will.” In fact, salam and salamat, mean “to reach salvation,” aslama means “submitted, became Muslim, and made peace.” “Islam” as either a noun or a verb with these meanings is mentioned in many verses in the Qur’an.1

From this perspective, Islam is “submission to God, accepting His authority as well as obeying His orders”; “one’s total submission to God and serving only Him”; “accepting the message of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and abiding by it.” (At-Tirmidhi)

In this sense, a Muslim is one who is under the peaceful and safe shade of Islam. God wants a Muslim to live in a safe and peaceful environment and to make efforts for the spread and continuity of peace.

Since Islam means living in a peaceful environment that emerges as a result of submission to God, the Qur’an asks that all humanity should embrace silm, that is, peace, and reminds us to avoid following Satan. As stated in the following verse:

O you who believe! Come in full submission to God, all of you, (without allowing any discord among you due to worldly reasons), and do not follow in the footsteps of Satan, for indeed he is a manifest enemy to you (seeking to seduce you to rebel against God, with glittering promises) (Al-Baqarah 2:208)

Satan is the enemy of peace. This verse is followed by a reminder of God’s irresistible might if believers “stumble and fall back” from following God’s way to realize peace and agreement.

Purpose of Islam

In order to be able to portray a fair image of Islam, we have to consider its divinely inspired purposes, which yield, as a result, a just worldly order. By applying preventive measures to ensure security of wealth, life, mind, religion, and reproduction, Islam aims to build a society in peace, serenity, friendship, collaboration, altruism, justice, and virtue.

According to the Qur’an, all Muslims are brothers and sisters to each other and if a disagreement appears among them they make peace and correct it (Al-Hujurat 49:10). They help each other to avoid what God forbids and to observe their religious awareness at every stage in their life (Al-Ma’idah 5:2); they carry out important tasks after shura, that is, consultation (Aal `Imran 3:159; 42:38); and they always witness truthfully and are just even if it is against their close relatives (An-Nisaa’ 4:135).

Again, as mentioned in the Qur’an, a true Muslim follows the straight path. That means that he or she is faithful, honest, just, and calm, and lives to perfectly observe his or her religion and in guidance of reason.2 Pursuing the straight path can be understood as being absolutely truthful and honest in all circumstances, as well as embracing a moderate way of life that encourages good relations with everyone.

Living on the straight path is the most significant desire for any Muslim. Upon the revelation of the following verse:

Pursue, then, what is exactly right (in every matter of the Religion), as you are commanded (by God), and those who, along with you, have turned (to God with faith, repenting their former ways, let them do likewise); and do not rebel against the bounds of the Straight Path (O believers)! He indeed sees well all that you do. (Hud 11:112)

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “The Chapter of Hud has made me older.” (At-Tirmidhi) In this sense, the Companions commented on this verse, “There was no verse revealed to Prophet Muhammad that is more powerful than this.” Such a verse that so powerfully enjoins “what is right” should have the power to eradicate all kinds of violence and oppression, which are obviously not the right path to follow in social relations.

Mercy and Forgiveness

Divine compassion and Prophetic mercy assign special importance to forgiveness and tolerance. As God, the Most Gracious, is merciful to all people, His Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is merciful and compassionate to all believers (At-Tawbah 9:128). God’s clear order to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is to embrace forgiveness. The verse adopts the way of forbearance and tolerance, and enjoins what is good and right, and withdrawing from the ignorant ones. (Al-A`raf 7:199) indicates this.

By the blessing of God, the Prophet succeeded in establishing unity among people by acting with compassion and mercy. If he had treated the people around him severely and rudely, they would have left him and their unity would have collapsed (Aal `Imran 3:159).

Since God and the Messenger of God are merciful and compassionate to believers, those who take the divinely prescribed ethics and the prophetic character as their example should obviously treat one another with mercy and compassion. Therefore, those who have received Prophet Muhammad’s message can never be severe, arrogant, antagonistic, or hostile.

Furthermore, God Almighty advises His Messenger to be forgiving and to consult people by asking for their ideas (Aal `Imran 3:159; Ash-Shura 42:38) since exchanging ideas increases feelings of unity and cooperation while reducing tension among people. As a result, a desire for change that transforms hatred into peace and serenity appears in society.

According to the Messenger of God, people are equal before God as the teeth of a comb are equal. Characteristics like language, ancestry, race, wealth, and poverty are not signs of superiority. In the thirteenth verse of the Chapter of Al-Hujurat, the creation of humankind from a female and a male, the division of humanity into ethnic groups or nations and tribes in order to know one another, and the importance of fearing God in order to become valued in God’s view are pointed out.

The verse approves having an identity and being known by an identity; nonetheless, it rejects the abuse of affiliation (to different gender, social or ethnic groups) as a means of superiority. Thus, it assesses a person’s honor and value in terms of universal values that he or she gains through his or her own will and effort, and not in terms of gender or ethnic ties, which are not obtained through free will.3

In Islam, the individual is considered as a person that gains value within the society, as someone who is responsible to the community in a social context.

According to Islam, the life of a human being is a trust from God, irrespective of his or her ancestry, color, or language, and hence should be protected meticulously.

The main idea in Islam is to praise God, the Almighty (Al-Fatihah 1:1; Al-An`am 6:45), and to show compassion to creation. Humankind is the best of all creations (Al-Israa’ 17:70) and is created of the best stature (At-Tin 95:4). So, every human deserves respect by nature; approaching them with lenience, tolerance, and humility is certainly virtuous. Hence, staying away from hatred and having a tolerant attitude are essential for humanity.

God, the Almighty, commands the Messenger of God (peace be upon him) in particular and all Muslims in general to be forgiving (Ash-Shura 42:37; Aal `Imran 3:134). Thus, God loves good attitudes such as spending and serving for the sake of humankind at all times under all circumstances, forgiving people, and avoiding doing something wrong when we become angry.

Even if one has the right to retaliate in response to an evil action, forgiveness is more appropriate for those who are more pious. The Qur’an enlightens all humanity on this issue: The recompense of an evil deed can only be an evil equal to it; but whoever pardons and makes reconciliation, his reward is due from God. Surely, He does not love the wrongdoers (Ash-Shura 42:40; see also Ash-Shura 42:43).

Besides, each of us lives on the path that God has ordained for him or her. For this reason, it is important to emphasize serving rather than fighting. God says:

Strive then together as if competing in good works (Al-Ma’idah 5:48)

He also says:

Everyone acts according to his own character (made up of his creed, worldview and disposition), and your Lord knows best who is guided in his way. (Al-Israa’ 17:84)

Therefore, individuals should not dispute and fight over their different ideas to satisfy their ambitions and self-interests. Rather, on the contrary, they should compete to show good character and to serve in the best way; they should support each other not in wrongdoing, but in doing good.

Trustworthiness

An important dimension of being a Muslim is trustworthiness. Every Prophet is introduced in the Qur’an with the attribute of trustworthiness.4 First and foremost, Prophet Muhammad, the most trustworthy of the heavens and earth and all the prophets preceding him made efforts to promote trustworthiness in their societies.

In a place where trust does not exist, love, respect and solidarity are also absent. The lack of trust destroys family, as well as social, cultural, and economic life. For this reason, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) states that trustworthiness and treachery cannot exist together (Musnad) and asserts, “One, who betrays, harms, or deceives a Muslim, is not of us.” (Muslim) He describes the ideal Muslim as thus: “A Muslim is one from whose hand and tongue people are safe. A believer is one from whom people know that their wealth and lives are safe.” (Al-Bukhari)

In one hadith, the Messenger of God describes those who are good and those who are bad: “The good amongst you is the one from whom good things are expected and by whom people are sure that they will not be harmed. The bad amongst you is the one from whom good things are not expected and from whose evil people do not feel safe.” (At-Tirmidhi) From this, it can be understood that a believer is one who is trustworthy, and therefore, no one would fear any danger from him or her under any circumstances.

In Islam, good morals, love and respect for God and Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) are expected from believers. Appropriate love, mercy and compassion are to be shown, not only to people but also to every creature in nature since, according to Islam’s core understanding, every creation is a blessing from God and the protection of a blessing is the most fitting behavior for a human being.

Social Peace

In Islam, the right to life is an absolute value. In the Qur’an, God says:

He who kills a soul unless it be (in legal punishment) for murder or for causing disorder and corruption on the earth will be as if he had killed all humankind; and he who saves a life will be as if he had saved the lives of all humankind (Al-Ma’idah 5:32).

When the Messenger of God (peace be upon him) explained Islam’s potential to contribute to safety and peace in society, he specified one goal in his time as the following: “A rider will travel from Sana’a (a city in Yemen) to Hadhramaut (a region in the southwest of the Arabian peninsula) fearing none but God, or a wolf as regards his sheep.” (Al-Bukhari)

If we consider the troubles due to the extreme violence Muslims were exposed to both in the Medinan and Meccan periods, we can understand how meaningful this message expressed by the Prophet was. It does not include any desire for revenge against any person or any group; instead, it only expresses an ardent desire for a violence-free world for all.

The Prophet commanded us to maintain social solidarity and cooperation, to open our hearts to our fellows, and to help one another at all times. He said, “Do not cut relations among one another! Do not turn your backs on one other! Do not grow hatred among one another! O God’s servants! Become brothers and sisters!” (Muslim)

Peace, Reform, and Virtuous Deeds

The Arabic terms islah (reform) and sulh (peace) are from the same root. Islah means one’s reach of peace and serenity while leaving conflicts and deviations; in other words, it refers to leaving confusion by settling a dispute between two people or two sides.

Good deeds are actions that are beneficial for people and society, as well as actions that are taken to establish peace and serenity. This concept not only includes offering worship and spending in a good cause but also smiling, behaving warmly to others, establishing friendships, pleasing people by kind words, exchanging greetings, having warm conversation, and controlling bad feelings such as pride, arrogance, anger, envy, animosity, hypocrisy, rancor, and burning ambition. Thus, essentially, virtuous deeds are acts that purify humankind of aggression and bring them to peace.

In the Qur’an, it is recommended to cease disagreements by peace and not to commence further disputes, fights, confusion, and discord; in addition, people are asked to take a balanced approach and seek justice (Al-Anfal 8:1; Al-Hujurat 49:9–10). It is forbidden to spoil peace and tranquility by corruption; there are penalties for those who do.5 It is possible to apply the following verse:

Peace is better (An-Nisaa’ 4:128)

It was specifically revealed to eradicate disagreements among couples, to all kinds of human relations. Islam recommends a united and mutually helpful society, and this vision does not only refer to the level of nation, but includes international relations, too. In this sense, from an Islamic perspective, international law should take the establishment of peace as a foundation.

Conclusion

The Qur’an emphasizes peace and reconciliation as basic to all social and even international relations. As mentioned in the Qur’an, Paradise, which is the reward for the pious, is a place of serenity. One of the ninety-nine names of God is Salam, which means peace. Throughout history, Muslims have made every effort to establish peace and serenity everywhere in all divergent fields, only taking military measures when their enemies tried to hinder these efforts for humankind. Over the course of history, the general approach of Muslims has been supportive of maintaining peace, spreading an environment of serenity and trust, and constructing a civilization of love, compassion, and mercy to share with other people in peace.

Footnotes

1. See Mustafa Sinanoglu, “Islâm-Giris”, XXIII, 1-2; Hamdi Döndüren, “Islâm”, III, 179-191.
2. See Qur’an: 1:6-7; 11:112.
3. Karamani Hayrettin, et al. (edited by). Kur’an Yolu, Türkçe Meal ve Tefsir, Ankara: Diyanet Isleri Baskanligi Yayinlari, 2006, V, 97–98.
4. See Qur’an: 7:68; 26:107, 125, 143, 178; 44:18.
5. See Al Baqarah, 2:27, 205; Al Ma’idah 5:32-33; Al A’raf, 7:56, 85; Ar-Ra’d 13:25; Ash-Shu’ara’ 26:183
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Source: peaceandislam.com.

** Professor Huseyin Algul is a Faculty member, specializing in Islamic History, in the Department of Theology at Uludag University, Bursa, Turkey.

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Islam: A History of Tolerance

Islam: A History of Tolerance

Tolerance in Islam

Christendom regarded the outside world as damned eternally, but Islam did not.

By Muhammad Marmaduke Pickthall

One of the commonest charges brought against Islam historically, and as a religion, by Western writers is that it is intolerant. This is turning the tables with a vengeance when one remembers various facts: One remembers that no Muslim was left alive in Spain, Sicily or Apulia. One remembers that no Muslim was left alive and not a mosque left standing in Greece after the great rebellion in l821. One remembers how the Muslims of the Balkan peninsula, once the majority, have been systematically reduced with the approval of the whole of Europe, how the Christians under Muslim rule have in recent times been urged on to rebel and massacre Muslims, and how reprisals by the latter have been condemned as quite uncalled-for.

In Spain, under the Umayyads and in Baghdad under the Abbasid caliphs, Christians and Jews, equally with Muslims, were admitted to schools and universities – not only that, but were boarded and lodged in hostels at the cost of the state. When the Moors were driven out of Spain, the Christian conquerors held a terrific persecution of Jews. Those who were fortunate enough to escape fled, some of them to Morocco and many hundreds to the Turkish empire, where their descendants still live in separate communities, and still speak among themselves an antiquated form of Spanish. The Muslim empire was a refuge for all those who fled from persecution by the Inquisition.

The Western Christians, till the arrival of the Encyclopaedists in the eighteenth century, did not know and did not care to know, what the Muslims believed, nor did the Western Christian seek to know the views of the Eastern Christians with regard to them. The Christian Church was already split in two, and at the end, it came to such a pass that the Eastern Christians, as Gibbon shows, preferred the Muslim rule, which allowed them to practice their own form of religion and adhere to their peculiar dogmas, to the rule of fellow Christians who would have made them Roman Catholics or wiped them out.

The Western Christians called Muslims pagans, paynims, even idolaters – there are plenty of books in which they are described as worshiping an idol called Mahomet or Mahound, and in the accounts of the conquest of Granada, there are even descriptions of the monstrous idols which they were alleged to worship – whereas the Muslims knew what Christianity was, and in what respects it differed from Islam. If Europe had known as much of Islam, as Muslims knew of Christendom, in this days, those mad, adventurous, occasionally chivalrous and heroic, but utterly fanatical outbreak known as the Crusades could not have taken place, for they were based on a complete misapprehension. I will quote a learned French author:

Every poet in Christendom considered a Mohammedan to be an infidel, and an idolater, and his gods to be three; mentioned in order, they were: Mahomet, Mahound or Mohammad, Opolane and the third Termogond. It was said that when in Spain the Christians overpowered the Mohammadans and drove them as far as the gates of the city of Saragossa, the Mohammadans went back and broke their idols.

A Christian poet of the period says that Opolane the “god” of the Mohammadans, which was kept there in a den was awfully belabored and abused by the Mohammadans, who, binding it hand and foot, crucified it on a pillar, trampled it under their feet and broke it to pieces by beating it with sticks; that their second god Mahound they threw in a pit and caused to be torn to pieces by pigs and dogs, and that never were gods so ignominiously treated; but that afterwards the Mohammadans repented of their sins, and once more reinstated their gods for the accustomed worship, and that when Emperor Charles entered the city of Saragossa he had every mosque in the city searched and had “Muhammad” and all their Gods broken with iron hammers.

That was the kind of “history” on which the populace in Western Europe used to be fed. Those were the ideas which inspired the rank and file of the crusaders in their attacks on the most civilized peoples of those days. Christendom regarded the outside world as damned eternally, but Islam did not. There were good and tender-hearted men in Christendom who thought it sad that any people should be damned eternally, and wished to save them by the only way they knew – conversion to the Christian faith.

It was not until the Western nations broke away from their religious law that they became more tolerant; and it was only when the Muslims fell away from their religious law that they declined in tolerance and other evidences of the highest culture. Therefore, the difference evident in that anecdote is not of manners only but of religion. Of old, tolerance had existed here and there in the world, among enlightened individuals; but those individuals had always been against the prevalent religion. Tolerance was regarded un-religious, if not irreligious. Before the coming of Islam, it had never been preached as an essential part of religion.

For Muslims, Judaism, Christianity and Islam are but three forms of one religion, which, in its original purity, was the religion of Abraham: Al-Islam, that perfect Self-Surrender to the Will of God, which is the basis of Theocracy. The Jews, in their religion, after Moses, limited God’s mercy to their chosen nation and thought of His kingdom as the dominion of their race.

Even Christ himself, as several of his sayings show, declared that he was sent only to the lost sheep of the House of Israel and seemed to regard his mission as to the Hebrews only; and it was only after a special vision vouchsafed to St. Peter that his followers in after days considered themselves authorized to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles. The Christians limited God’s mercy to those who believed certain dogmas. Everyone who failed to hold the dogmas was an outcast or a miscreant, to be persecuted for his or her soul’s good. In Islam only is manifest the real nature of the Kingdom of God.

The two verses (Al-Baqarah 2:255-256) of the Qur’an are supplementary. Where there is that realization of the majesty and dominion of Allah, the Almighty, there is no compulsion in religion. Men choose their path – allegiance or opposition – and it is sufficient punishment for those who oppose that they draw further and further away from the light of truth.

What Muslims do not generally consider is that this law applies to our own community just as much as to the folk outside, the laws of Allah being universal; and that intolerance of Muslims for other men’s opinions and beliefs is evidence that they themselves have, at the moment, forgotten the vision of the majesty and mercy of Allah, the Almighty, which the Qur’an presents to them.

In the Qur’an I find two meanings (of a Kafir), which become one the moment that we try to realize the divine standpoint. The Kafir in the first place, is not the follower of any religion. He is the opponent of Allah’s benevolent will and purpose for mankind – therefore the disbeliever in the truth of all religions, the disbeliever in all Scriptures as of divine revelation, the disbeliever to the point of active opposition in all the Prophets (peace be upon them) whom the Muslims are bidden to regard, without distinction, as messengers of Allah.

The Qur’an repeatedly claims to be the confirmation of the truth of all religions. The former Scriptures had become obscure, the former Prophets appeared mythical, so extravagant were the legends which were told concerning them, so that people doubted whether there was any truth in the old Scriptures, whether such people as the Prophets had ever really existed. Here – says the Qur’an – is a Scripture whereof there is no doubt: here is a Prophet actually living among you and preaching to you. If it were not for this book and this Prophet, men might be excused for saying that Allah’s guidance to mankind was all a fable. This book and this Prophet, therefore, confirm the truth of all that was revealed before them, and those who disbelieve in them to the point of opposing the existence of a Prophet and a revelation are really opposed to the idea of Allah’s guidance – which is the truth of all revealed religions. Our Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) himself said that the term Kafir was not to be applied to anyone who said “Salam” (peace) to the Muslims. The Kafirs, in the terms of the Qur’an, are the conscious evil-doers of any race, creed or community.

I have made a long digression but it seemed to me necessary, for I find much confusion of ideas even among Muslims on this subject, owing to defective study of the Qur’an and the Prophet’s life. Many Muslims seem to forget that our Prophet had allies among the idolaters even after Islam had triumphed in Arabia, and that he “fulfilled his treaty with them perfectly until the term thereof.” The righteous conduct of the Muslims, not the sword, must be held responsible for the conversion of those idolaters, since they embraced Islam before the expiration of their treaty.

So much for the idolaters of Arabia, who had no real beliefs to oppose the teachings of Islam, but only superstition. They invoked their local deities for help in war and put their faith only in brute force. In this they were, to begin with, enormously superior to the Muslims. When the Muslims nevertheless won, they were dismayed; and all their arguments based on the superior power of their deities were forever silenced. Their conversion followed naturally. It was only a question of time with the most obstinate of them.

It was otherwise with the people who had a respectable religion of their own – the People of the Scripture – as the Qur’an calls them – i.e, the people who had received the revelation of some former Prophet: the Jews, the Christians and the Zoroastrians were those with whom the Muslims came at once in contact. To these our Prophet’s attitude was all of kindness. The Charter which he granted to the Christian monks of Sinai is extant. If you read it you will see that it breathes not only goodwill but actual love. He gave to the Jews of Medina, so long as they were faithful to him, precisely the same treatment as to the Muslims. He never was aggressive against any man or class of men; he never penalized any man, or made war on any people, on the ground of belief but only on the ground of conduct.

The story of his reception of Christian and Zoroastrian visitors is on record. There is not a trace of religious intolerance in all this. And it should be remembered – Muslims are rather apt to forget it, and it is of great importance to our outlook – that our Prophet did not ask the People of the Scripture to become his followers. He asked them only to accept the Kingdom of Allah, to abolish priesthood and restore their own religions to their original purity. The question which, in effect, he put to everyone was this: “Are you for the Kingdom of God which includes all of us, or are you for your own community against the rest of mankind?” The one is obviously the way of peace and human progress, the other the way of strife, oppression and calamity. But the rulers of the world, to whom he sent his message, most of them treated it as the message of either an insolent upstart or a mad fanatic. His envoys were insulted cruelly, and even slain. One cannot help wondering what reception that same embassy would meet with from the rulers of mankind today, when all the thinking portion of mankind accept the Prophet’s premises, have thrown off the trammels of priestcraft, and harbor some idea of human brotherhood.

But though the Christians, Jews and Zoroastrians rejected his message, and their rulers heaped most cruel insults on his envoys, our Prophet never lost his benevolent attitudes towards them as religious communities; as witnesses the Charter to the monks of Sinai already mentioned. And though the Muslims of later days have fallen far short of the Holy Prophet’s tolerance, and have sometimes shown arrogance towards men of other faiths, they have always given special treatment to the Jews and Christians. Indeed, the Laws for their special treatment form part of the Shari`ah.

In Egypt, the Copts were on terms of closest friendship with Muslims in the first centuries of the Muslim conquest, and they are on terms at closest friendship with Muslims at the present day. In Syria, the various Christian communities lived on terms of closest friendship with Muslims in the first centuries of the Muslim conquest, and they are on terms of closest friendship with Muslims at the present day, openly preferring Muslim domination to a foreign yoke.

From the expulsion of the Moriscos dates the degradation and decline of Spain. San Fernando was really wiser and more patriotic in his tolerance to conquered Seville, Murcia and Toledo than was the later king who, under the guise of holy warfare, captured Grenada and let the Inquisition work its will upon Muslims and Jews. And the modern Balkan States and Greece are born under a curse. It may even prove that the degradation and decline of European civilization will be dated from the day when so-called civilized statesmen agreed to the inhuman policy of Czarist Russia and gave their sanction to the crude fanaticism of the Russian Church.

There is no doubt but that, in the eyes of history, religious toleration is the highest evidence of culture in a people. Let no Muslim, when looking on the ruin of the Muslim realm which was compassed through the agency of those very peoples whom the Muslims had tolerated and protected through the centuries when Western Europe thought it a religious duty to exterminate or forcibly convert all peoples of another faith than theirs – let no Muslim, seeing this, imagine that toleration is a weakness in Islam. It is the greatest strength of Islam because it is the attitude of truth.

Allah, the Almighty, is not the God of the Jews, the Christians or the Muslims only, any more than the sun shines or the rain falls for Jews, Christians or Muslims only.
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Source: cyberistan.org.

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Islam is Love!

Islam is Love!

By Editorial Staff

Islam is Love

The Muslim faith is based on love of and for the sake of God

As a matter of fact, the Muslim faith is based on love of and for the sake of God. Such a rough, coarse person who does not feel love cannot be Muslim, simply because love is the mainstay of Islam. Love is a must for a person to be Muslim.

The heartfelt love of God is given precedence over any other sort of love. In Islam, the love of God must be the deepest ever kind of love. In the Qur’an, God says:

And [yet], among the people are those who take other than God as equals [to Him]. They love them as they [should] love God. But those who believe are stronger in love for God… (Al-Baqarah 2:165)

Next to the love of God, a believer’s heart must be full of love for the Messenger of God, Muhammad, (peace be upon him) because love for Prophet Muhammad is immediately ancillary to the love of God. God says:

Say, [O Muhammad], “If your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your wives, your relatives, wealth which you have obtained, commerce wherein you fear decline, and dwellings with which you are pleased are more beloved to you than God and His Messenger and jihad in His cause, then wait until God executes His command. And God does not guide the defiantly disobedient people.” (At-Tawbah 9:24)

Prophet Muhammad said: “None of you will believe until I am more beloved to him than his children, his father and all people.” (Al-Bukhari)

Next to love for God and His Messenger, Muhammad, a believer must feel love for his Muslim brothers. Any such sort of love must be intended for the sake of God only, being free from any worldly blemish, so that a believer can taste the sweetness of the true faith.

Prophet Muhammad said: “None will taste the sweetness of faith until he loves a person only for the sake of God, until he would rather be thrown in the fire than to return to unbelief, and until God and His Messenger are more beloved to him than anything else.” (Al-Bukhari)

A believer’s love for his fellow believer for the sake of God is a reason for God’s love for him. If a believer loves his fellow believer for the sake of God, God will love him for his love for his brother.

It is reported on the authority of Abu Hurairah that Prophet Muhammad said: “A person visited his brother in another town and God deputed an angel to wait for him on his way and when he came to him he said: Where do you intend to go? He said: I intend to go to my brother in this town. He said: Have you done any favor to him (the repayment of which you intend to get)? He said: No, except that I love him for the sake of God, Glorified and Exalted be He. Thereupon, he said: I am a messenger to you from God: (to inform you) that God loves you as you love him (for His sake).” (Muslim)

The indication of a believer’s love for his fellow believer is that he wishes for his brother as much goodness as he does himself. No wonder, a selfish person can never be a true believer. It is a part of a Muslim’s faith to wish for his brother as much goodness as he does himself, otherwise a person cannot be a true believer.

Anas ibn Malik reported that Prophet Muhammad said: “None of you will be a true believer until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself.” (Al-Bukhari & Muslim)

The feelings of love and affection dominated the first-generation Muslim community including the Immigrants and Ansaris. The Qur’an referred to those feelings of love and indicated how such love erased the blemishes of niggardliness and selfishness from their souls and conduced to reciprocal feelings of altruism. God says:

And [also for] those who were settled in al-Madinah and [adopted] the faith before them. They love those who emigrated to them and find not any want in their breasts of what the emigrants were given but give [them] preference over themselves, even though they are in privation. And whoever is protected from the stinginess of his soul – it is those who will be the successful. (Al-Hashr 9:59)

The Companions showed deep love for Prophet Muhammad. Anas reported that a man asked the Prophet about the Hour (i.e. Day of Judgment) saying, “When will the Hour be?” The Prophet said, “What have you prepared for it?” The man said, “Nothing, except that I love God and His Messenger.” The Prophet said, “You will be with those whom you love.” We had never been so glad as we were on hearing that saying of the Prophet (i.e., “You will be with those whom you love.”) Therefore, I love the Prophet, Abu Bakr and `Umar, and I hope that I will be with them because of my love for them though my deeds are not similar to theirs. (Al-Bukhari)

Prophet Muhammad used to share the feelings of love and affection with his Companions. Prophet Muhammad expressed his love for Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq more than once. Amr ibn Al-As reported: “The Messenger of God appointed me as commander of the army of Dhat Al-Salasil. So, I got to him, and said, ‘O Messenger of God, which of mankind is the most beloved to you?’ He replied, ‘Aishah.’ I said, ‘Who among men?’ He replied, ‘Her father.’” (Al-Bukhari & Muslim)

Also, about Abu Bakr, Prophet Muhammad said: “And were I to choose anyone as my dear friend, I would have chosen Abu Bakr as my dear friend.” (Al-Bukhari)

Not only did Prophet Muhammad love Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq only, but he also loved all of his companions. He expressed his love for some of his Companions. For example, Mu`adh ibn Jabal reported that Prophet Muhammad caught his hand and said: “O Mu`adh, by God, I love you!” Mu`adh replied: “I ransom you with my father and my mother! By God, I love you too!” (Al-Bukhari in Al-Adab Al-Mufrad)

Usamah ibn Zayd used to be called “the Beloved of the Messenger of God”. About Prophet Muhammad’s love for him, Osamah reported: “the Prophet used to take me and let me sit on his thigh and have Al-Hasan sit on the other thigh and he would hug us and say: ‘O God; have mercy on them for I have mercy on them.’” (Al-Bukhari)

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References:

1- The Glorious Qur’an (Sahih International Translation)

2- Sahih Al-Bukhari

3- Sahih Muslim

 

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Status of Mothers in Islam

Status of Mothers in Islam

A Muslim mother and her son

Islam commands kindness, respect and obedience to parents and specifically emphasizes and gives preference to the mother

This is one of the most convincing things about Islam – the treatment of women in general and especially the high position mothers hold in Islam.

Amongst the clearest examples of Islam’s honoring women is the great status of the mother in Islam. Islam commands kindness, respect and obedience to parents and specifically emphasizes and gives preference to the mother as shall be shown in this article. Islam raises parents to a status greater than that found in any other religion or ideology.

The command to be good to one’s parents begins right from the Qur’an. Allah says:

Worship God and join not any partners with Him; and be kind to your parents… (An-Nisaa’ 4:36)

The mention of servitude to parents follows immediately after servitude to God. This is repeated throughout the Qur’an.

Your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him and that you be kind to parents. Whether one or both of them attain old age in your life, say not to them a word of contempt, nor repel them, but address them in terms of honor. And out of kindness, lower to them the wing of humility and say, “My Lord! Bestow on them Your Mercy even as they cherished me in childhood. (Al-Israa’ 17:23-24)

The great scholar, Abu al-Faraj Ibn Al-Jawzi (d. 1201 CE) explained:

To be kind to one’s parents is: to obey them when they order you to do something, unless it is something which Allah has forbidden; to give priority to their orders over voluntary acts of worship; to abstain from that which they forbid you to do; to provide for them; to serve them; to approach them with gentle humility and mercy; not to raise your voice in front of them; nor to fix your glance on them; nor to call them by their names; and to be patient with them. (Ibn al-Jawzi, Birr al-Walidayn)

The Qur’an emphasizes the great struggles the mother goes through for her child, to highlight the need for one to reciprocate their parents sacrifice for them:

And We have enjoined on man [to be good] to his parents: in travail upon travail did his mother bear him and his weaning was over two years. Be thankful to Me and to your parents, unto Me is the final destination. (Luqman 31:14)

The renowned exegete, Shaykh Abdur-Rahman As-Sa`di (d. 1956), says about this verse:
{And to your parents} meaning, be kind to your parents, shower on them love, affection and piety, both in words and deeds, treat them with tender humility, provide for them and never harm them verbally nor physically. […] Then, Allah mentions the reason why we should be kind to our parents, when He says {His mother bore him in travail upon travail}, that is, the mother bore constant suffering; in pain and hardship from the first moment she felt the child moving in her womb to the worst pangs during the time of delivery. And {his weaning is for two years}, that is, during these two years the mother breast-feeds her child and looks after him/her. So after all the years of suffering, hardship, love and care, could we not, at least, compensate our mothers for what they have done for us and pay them back their rights? (Taysir al-Karim ar-Rahman fi Tafsir Kalam al-Manan)
The Qur’an repeats its mention of the struggles of the mother in yet another passage:

And We have enjoined upon man, to his parents, good treatment. His mother carried him with hardship and gave birth to him with hardship, and his gestation and weaning [period] is thirty months. [He grows] until, when he reaches maturity and reaches [the age of] forty years, he says, “My Lord, enable me to be grateful for Your favor which You have bestowed upon me and upon my parents and to work righteousness of which You will approve and make righteous for me my offspring. Indeed, I have repented to You, and indeed, I am of the Muslims. (Al-Ahqaf 46:15)

Mother has More Rights than Father

Although the first part of this verse is a command to do good to both the parents, the second sentence refers only to the hardships suffered by the mother, because they are unavoidable, and no child can be born without them. Every mother has to go through the problems of pregnancy and severe pains of delivery. As against this, it is not necessary for a father that he suffers any hardship in bringing up and educating the child, if he can afford to pay somebody else for these services. This is why the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) has given more rights to the mother than anybody else. According to a hadith he has said,

“Do good to and serve your mother, then your mother, then your mother, then your father, then the near relatives and then those who come after them.” [Mazhari]

And his carrying and his weaning is in thirty months. (Al-Ahqaf 46:15)

This sentence too describes the hardships suffered by the mother for her baby. It points out that even after suffering hardships during pregnancy and the severe labor pains, the mother does not get respite from toils, because the natural food of the infants is in her breasts, and she has to suckle them. (Shafi, Ma`ariful Qur’an [Eng. trans.], vol. 7, pp. 795-796)

Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) continually used to remind his followers of the status of the mother and the obligation of being good to one’s parents. The following narration is a beautiful example of the noble position of the mother:

A man came to the Prophet and said: “O Messenger of Allah! Who from amongst mankind warrants the best companionship from me?” He replied: “Your mother.” The man asked: “Then who?” So he replied: “Your mother.” The man then asked: “Then who?” So the Prophet replied again: “Your mother.” The man then asked: “Then who?” So he replied: “Then your father.” Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Commenting on this hadith, Shaykh Muhammad Ali Al-Hashimi notes:

This hadith confirms that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) gave precedence to kind treatment of one’s mother over kind treatment of one’s father (Al-Hashimi, The Ideal Muslimah, IIPH 2005, p. 165)

Likewise, the late Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, Shaykh Abdul-Aziz Ibn Baz (d. 1999) comments on this hadith saying:

So this necessitates that the mother is given three times the like of kindness and good treatment than the father. (Majmu` Fatawa wa Maqalat Mutanawwi`ah)

He also writes:

The secret of her importance lies in the tremendous burden and responsibility that is placed upon her, and the difficulties that she has to shoulder – responsibilities and difficulties some of which not even a man bears. This is why from the most important obligations upon a person is to show gratitude to the mother, and kindness and good companionship with her. And in this matter, she is to be given precedence over and above the father.[…] And I have no doubt that my mother – may Allah shower His mercy upon her – had a tremendous effect upon me, in encouraging me to study; and she assisted me in it. May Allah greatly increase her reward and reward her with the best of rewards for what she did for me. (Majmu` Fatawa wa Maqalat Mutanawwi`ah)

Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) also said in a famous narration:

“Paradise lies at the feet of your mother” (Ahmad, An-Nasai, and Ibn Majah)

What can be greater evidence of honoring women than this? Islam has effectively placed the ultimate reward for human beings in their devotion to their mothers.

Shaykh Ibrahim Ibn Salih Al-Mahmud writes:

Treat your mother with the best companionship, then your father; because Paradise is under the mother’s feet. Never disobey your parents, nor make them angry, otherwise you will live a miserable life in this world and the hereafter, and your children will treat you likewise. Ask your parents gently if you need something. Always thank them if they give it to you, and excuse them if they do not, and never insist on a matter if they refuse to give you something. (Al-Mahmoud, How to be Kind to your Parents, p.40)

It is related from Talhah ibn Mu`awiyah as-Salami that he said:

I came to the Prophet and said, “O Messenger of Allah, I want to perform Jihad in the way of Allah.” He asked, “Is your mother alive?” I replied, “Yes.” The Prophet then said: “Cling to her feet, because Paradise is there.” (At-Tabarani)

Shaykh Nidhaam Sakkijihaa comments:

Cling to her feet means to submit yourself to her, be close to her, protect her, serve her because in this is Paradise and with her satisfaction you will enjoy the good blessings of Allah. (Sakkijihaa, Honoring the Parents, p. 52)

Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) showed us the importance of serving one’s parents in the following narration reported by Abdullah Ibn Mas`ud:

I asked the Prophet, “O Messenger of Allah, what is the best deed?” He replied “Prayer offered on time.” I asked, “What is next in goodness?” He replied, “To be dutiful and kind to one’s parents.” I further asked, “What is next in goodness?” He replied, “Jihad in the Allah’s cause.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Just as the Prophet said that kindness to one’s parents was of the best deeds, he also said that disobedience to them was amongst the major sins:
“The greatest sins are to associate partners in worship with Allah, to be undutiful or unkind to one’s parents, to kill a soul forbidden by Allah and to bear false witness.” (Al-Bukhari)

Even after Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), the Muslim scholars continued to stress the importance of being dutiful to one’s mother. By examining the conduct and teachings of the early Muslim scholars, one may see how the direct recipients of the Islamic message understood the command to be dutiful to one’s parents. Their behavior towards their parents shows Muslims how one is to implement the teachings of the Prophet on honoring parents.

`Abdullah Ibn `Abbas (d. 687 CE), a companion of the Prophet and a great scholar of Islam, considered kind treatment of one’s mother to be the best deed for strengthening or rectifying one’s relation with God. He said:

I know of no other deed that brings people closer to Allah than kind treatment and respect towards one’s mother. (Al-Bukhari, Al-Adab al-Mufrad, 1/45)

An even more powerful example is found in the statement of another one of the Prophet’s companions, `Abdullah Ibn `Umar (d. 692 CE), who was also a great scholar of Islam. It has been related that:

`Abdullah Ibn `Umar saw a Yemeni man performing Tawaf (circumambulating the Ka`bah) while carrying his mother on his back. This man said to `Abdullah Ibn `Umar, “I am like a tame camel for her! I have carried her more than she carried me. Do you think I have paid her back, O Ibn `Umar?” `Abdullah Ibn `Umar replied, “No, not even one contraction!!” (Al-Bukhari, Al-Adab al-Mufrad, 1/62)

The efforts of a man who carries his mother on his back while performing tawaf cannot even repay his mother for a single contraction that she went through for him. Wise indeed was Ibn `Umar’s reply to this man to show him how massively indebted he was to his mother. This is the tremendous value and prestigious position of mothers in Islam!

Yet, another example is found in the following prophecy of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him):

There will come to you with reinforcements from Yemen a man called Uways ibn `Amir of the clan of Murad from the tribe of Qaran. He had leprosy but has been cured of it except for a spot the size of a coin. He has a mother and he has always treated her with kindness and respect. If he prays to Allah, Allah will fulfill his wish. If you can ask him to pray for forgiveness for you, then do so. (Muslim 16/95)

Indeed, later on, `Umar ibn al-Khattab met Uways who was exactly as the Prophet described, and upon `Umar’s request, Uways prayed for him.

Commenting on this narration, Shaykh Muhammad Ali Al-Hashimi writes:

What a high status Uways reached by virtue of his kindness and respect towards his mother, so that the Prophet recommended his Sahabah [Companions] to seek him out and ask him to pray for them!

All of this indicates the high status to which Islam has raised the position of motherhood, and given the mother precedence over the father. At the same time, Islam has given importance to both parents, and has enjoined kindness and respect to both. (Al-Hashimi, The Ideal Muslimah, IIPH 2005, p. 167)
So great was the Islamic emphasis on parents, that the Muslims considered a great opportunity to attain Paradise in service to one’s mother. Iyas Ibn Mu`awiyah was a famous Islamic scholar from the second generation of Muslims. When his mother died, Iyas Ibn Mu`awiyah cried. He was asked, “Why do you cry?” He said, “I used to have two gates open to Paradise, now one of them is closed.”

Zayn al-`Abidin (d. 713 CE) was the great grandson of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) and also a renowned scholar. He used to treat his mother with so much kindness and love as seen in the following narration:

Once he was asked, “You are the kindest person to his mother, yet we have never seen you eating with her from a single dish.” He replied, “I fear that my hand would take what her eyes have already seen in the dish, and then I would be disobeying her.” [At-Tartushi, Birr al-Walidayn]

In other words, he was so careful not to disobey his mother that he would even avoid eating out of the same plate as her. He thought that she would see a morsel and intend to take it, but before she did he might unknowingly take that same morsel and eat it. This is how careful he was to obey his mother in the minutest details.

Another early Islamic scholar, Sa`id Ibn Al-Musayyib (d. 709 CE), was asked about the meaning of the verse:

“But address them in terms of honor” (Al-Israa’ 17:23)

Sa`id Ibn Al-Musayyib replied:

It means that you should address them as a servant addresses his master.

Muhammad Ibn Sirin (d. 729 CE) used to speak to his mother in a very soft voice, out of respect for her. He was also often seen in the company of his mother and looking after her. (Ibn al-Jawzi, Birr al-Walidayn)

All that shows how the status of mothers – and consequently that of women – is elevated to the highest position in Islam. The honor Islam has given to mothers is beyond that found in any other religion, ideology or culture. This is a clear proof of the lofty status of Muslim Women.
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Source: http://www.islamswomen.com

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What Lessons Can We Draw from the Hijrah (Migration)?

What Lessons Can We Draw from the Hijrah (Migration)?

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) strove for about thirteen years of his time of prophethood in Mecca to spread the message of tawheed (monotheism). When he realized that his people in Mecca would not answer his Da`wah (call to monotheism), he began to look for alternatives.

For example, he went to the neighboring Taif to talk to them, but they rejected his Da`wah. Then, he focused on the people coming to Mecca during the Hajj season and other times to spread the message of Islam and see who will stand behind him when spreading his Da`wah.

Watch this video to learn lessons from the Hijrah (Migration) from Mecca to Medina!

By kind permission of Sheikh Abdur-Raheem McCarthy

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Non-Muslim Catholic Applauds Islamic Approach to Combat Epidemics

Non-Muslim Catholic Applauds Islamic Approach to Combat Epidemics

COVID-19 is the most pandemic-causing-panic nowadays worldwide. There have been few attempts to find religions approaches to face them. Strangely enough, Dr. Craig Considine, a non-Muslim Catholic and a scholar, professor, global speaker, and media contributor based at the Department of Sociology at Rice University. He is the author of The Humanity of Muhammad: A Christian View (Blue Dome Press, 2020), and Islam in America: Exploring the Issues (ABC-CLIO 2019), and many other collections. He presents the Islamic approach to combat epidemics and Prophet Muhammad’s advice on facing illness.

Dr. Craig Considine, a non-Muslim Catholic and a scholar, professor, global speaker, and media contributor based at the Department of Sociology at Rice University. presents his fair view on Islamic approach to combat epidemics

He showed  that the religion of Islam could present the most logical religious-tackle to combat epidemics. He claims that Prophet Muhammad’s approach to combat them could be beneficial to combat COVID-19 pandemic as his teachings contained reference to good hygiene and quarantining, or the practice of isolating from others in the hope of preventing the spread of contagious diseases, which are the most effective tools to contain +COVID-19.

Perfect Approach to Combat Epidemics

Dr. Considine says about Prophet Muhammad’s noble teachings which can put a perfect theory to combat epidemics: “While he is by no means a “traditional” expert on matters of deadly diseases, Muhammad nonetheless had sound advice to prevent and combat a development like COVID-19. Muhammad said: “If you hear of an outbreak of plague in a land, do not enter it; but if the plague outbreaks out in a place while you are in it, do not leave that place.”

He, Muahammad, according to Dr. Considine, also says: “Those with contagious diseases should be kept away from those who are healthy.” Muhammad also strongly encouraged human beings to adhere to hygienic practices that would keep people safe from infection”.

The anti-epidemic teachings of Prophet Muhammad stems it perfectness from being a revelation from God and focusing on the both the practical and spiritual aspects. They include preventive measures which were unprecedented by any religion before or even after Islam.  

Hygienic Procedures Set by Prophet Muhammad

Dr. Craig Considine sets some examples for Muslim Procedures to combat epidemics which exceeded all other well-known religions even Christianity, saying, ” Do you know who else suggested good hygiene and quarantining during a pandemic? Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, over 1,300 years ago. Consider the following hadiths, or sayings of Prophet Muhammad:

“Cleanliness is part of faith.”

“Wash your hands after you wake up; you do not know where your hands have moved while you sleep.”

“The blessings of food lie in washing hands before and after eating.”

There are many hygienic procedures that were also mentioned by the Prophet other than this:

“It was narrated from Jabir that the Messenger of Allah forbade urinating into standing water”.

The Prophet also says,

“None of you should urinate into still water and then perform Ghusl (general washing for body” with it.”

The Islamic approach to illnesses is fabulous as well. Prophet Muhammad teachings tackled pain and urged medical treatment . Dr. Craig Considine says:

“And what if someone does fall ill? What kind of advice would Muhammad provide to his fellow human beings who are suffering from pain? He would encourage people to always seek medical treatment and medication: “Make use of medical treatment,” he said, “for God has not made a disease without appointing a remedy for it, with the exception of one disease—old age.”

Balancing Faith with Reason

The most important aspect of Islamic Sharia (law) that its teaching are in balance with reason. Prophet Muhammad used to make analogy between similar things so that people may extend rulings to newly matters regarding which there are no certain  religious stand.

Prophet Muhammad used to focus on considering worldly means along with religious means. When he used to order to perform prayer, he also used to consider the hardship  a patient may encounter wen performing prayer. He, the Prophet, used used to say, 

“If you are unable to pray while standing, you may pray while setting….”. Umar, a companion of the Prophet,  used to say, “When a sick man is unable to prostrate he should refer with his head only”.

Prophet Muhammad used also to consider the psychological state of the patient and order his companions to ease his/her hardship:

Aisha used to recommend at-Talbina (a sertain beneficial and easy food) for the sick and for such a person who grieved over a dead person. She used to say,

“I heard Allah’s Messenger saying, ‘at-Talbina gives rest to the heart of the patient and makes it active and relieves some of his sorrow and grief.’”

Dr. Considine notices the following story, of Prophet Muhammad which proves his religion to utilize both religion and reason while practicing maters and his principles which do not find a conflict between reason and religion:

One day, Prophet Muhammad noticed a Bedouin man leaving his camel without tying it. He asked the Bedouin, “Why don’t you tie down your camel?” The Bedouin answered, “I put my trust in God.” The Prophet then said, “Tie your camel first, then put your trust in God.”


References

www.newsweek.com

Links

 

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