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The Beginning of Salvation Is to Reflect on the Signs of the Quran

The Beginning of Salvation Is to Reflect on the Signs of the Quran

By Abu Zakariya

The Importance of Reason in Finding the Truth

“This is the Scripture in which there is no doubt, containing guidance for those who are mindful of God…” (Quran 2:2)

No one wants to dedicate their entire lives to a particular religion, philosophy or way of life only to find out when we die that we were wrong.

We only get one shot, we have only been given one life, and so the stakes are very high. The only way that we may find the truth about God, or anything for that matter, is to approach it objectively.

Other religions tell you to believe and not to think or question. The Qur’an is unique because it tells us that we must think and question so that we can reason our way to the truth.

The Qur’an constantly encourages its reader to think and reflect:

“Then do they not reflect upon the Qur’an, or are there locks upon [their] hearts?” (Quran 47:24)

Revelation can only benefit us if we reflect upon it, and the fact that God endowed every one of us with the ability
to reason is evidence that He does not want us to be blind followers.

The Qur’an in fact, admonishes those who follow blindly:

“Indeed, the worst of living creatures in the sight of God are the deaf and dumb who do not use reason.” (Quran 8:22)

If we reason about the nature of revelation, then what qualities would you expect to find in a book from God?

Would you not expect it to transcend human works?

If the work of God could not be distinguished from human works, then how could we be expected to distinguish truth from falsehood and identify God’s guidance?

The Qur’an is full of signs that it is the truth of God:

“We shall show them Our signs in every region of the earth and in themselves, until it becomes clear to them that this is the Truth…” (Quran 41:53)

Let us reflect on the different aspects of the Qur’an: its concept of God, preservation, timeless relevancy, literary features, structure, accurate future prophecy, revealing lost knowledge from history, the fact that it cannot be imitated and its impact on society.[i]

When a work excels in just one of these areas, they are rightly hailed as a masterpiece and revered across generations. What should we make of the Qur’an, a book that has achieved the inhuman feat of excelling in every area that it touches upon?
Muslims do not just believe that the Qur’an is from God based on blind faith. The Qur’an is a living miracle, one that we can all experience for ourselves just by opening it up and reading it.

As we have seen, the Qur’an challenges its reader and engages our intellect by providing many testable and verifiable proofs of its divine origin. Moreover, we should think about the purpose of these different aspects of the Qur’an. Are they present for the sake of our entertainment, or is there a grander and more meaningful purpose behind
them?

Each verse of the Qur’an is intended as a sign for mankind. Instead of viewing these different signs that we have focused on as isolated, unrelated wonders, we should look at their accumulated effect.

We should peer up to admire the sheer scale of this tower of evidence. This is a compass that points us to the heavens, and that is exactly what the Qur’an is – a guide for mankind:

“This is the Scripture in which there is no doubt, containing guidance for those who are mindful of God…” (Quran 2:2)


[i] These aspects are discussed in the author’s book.


The article is an excerpt from the author’s book “The Eternal Challenge: A Journey Through The Miraculous Qur’an” with some modifications.

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New Zealand Rugby Player Ofa Tu’ungafasi Converts to Islam

New Zealand Rugby Player Ofa Tu’ungafasi Converts to Islam

New Zealand’s All Blacks rugby player Ofa Tu’ungafasi has reverted to Islam and has taken the Shahadah, confirmed fellow Muslim convert John Fontaini on social media.

“Allahu akbar today Sonny Bill William’s mother and his teammate Offa Tuungafasi accepted Islam. May Allah make it easy for them and grant them firdous ameen. Podcast coming soon inshallah,” John Fontain wrote on Twitter.

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The conversion came after Ofa’s visit accompanied by his Muslim best friend and teammate Sonny Bill Williams to Christchurch Hospital, where they spent time with the injured, less than two weeks after the terrorist Christchurch mosque massacre.

Tu’ungafasi described how the survivors inspired him and prayed for their speedy recovery.

“Verily, with every hardship comes ease. Had the most amazing experience visiting the Muslim Brothers in hospital on the weekend. Am inspired and have drawn so much strength from you all. May the Almighty bless you all with quick recovery. Love and Duas,” he wrote on wrote on Instagram and Twitter.

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All Black star Sonny Bill Williams grew up as a Christian before famously converting to Islam in 2008, what turned his life around.

Muslim Worldwide Welcome

Muslim community around the world has welcomed the ‘positive news’ and showed their support.

“We just simply can’t get enough of the glad tidings that continue to come out of New Zealand since that tragic Christchurch massacre,” the Muslim Council of Hong Kong wrote in response.

“Though the Islamophobic incidents sadly continue worldwide, there are plenty of positive news too, this being one of them.”

“Just came across great news that the mother of our brother @SonnyBWilliams accepted Islam, along with his best friend and teammate. All praises belong to Allah alone. He is most kind. Even though I’m far away; I am genuinely pleased for my brother. Allah has honored him”, tweeted Zimbabwean-based imam Sajid `Umar.

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Source: Newspapers

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To Those Responsible for Christchurch Mosque Terror Attacks…

To Those Responsible for Christchurch Mosque Terror Attacks…

It is written to the killer who attacked Muslims in Christ Church, New Zealand.

We appreciate that you made the effort to find out the timing of our noon prayer.

To Those Responsible for Christchurch Mosque Terror Attacks…

We appreciate you for showing that our mosques have no locks or gates, and are unguarded because everyone and anyone is welcome .

We appreciate that you learnt more about our religion to know that Fridays are the days the men go to the Mosques for their congregational prayers.

But I guess there were some things you, rather unfortunately, didn’t get to learn.

Perhaps you didn’t know that what you did made them martyrs.

And how you have single-handedly raised the statuses of our brothers and sisters in the eyes of their beloved Creator with your actions. And how, through your actions, they will be raised as the most righteous and pious of Muslims.

Perhaps you didn’t know that doing what you did, at the time and place you chose, it actually meant that the last words that escaped their lips were probably words of remembrance and praise of Allah. Which is a noble end many Muslims could only dream of.

And perhaps you didn’t know, but what you did would almost guarantee them paradise.

Appreciate that you showed the world how Muslims welcome, with open arms, even people like yourself into our mosques, which is our second home.

We appreciate you for showing that our mosques have no locks or gates, and are unguarded because everyone and anyone is welcome to be with us.

We appreciate you for allowing the world to see the powerful image of a man you injured, lying on back on the stretcher with his index finger raised high, as a declaration of his faith and complete trust in Allah.

We appreciate how you brought the Churches and communities together to stand with us Muslims.

We appreciate that you made countless New Zealanders come out of their homes to visit the mosques nearest to them with flowers with beautiful messages of peace and love.

You have broken many, many hearts and you have made the world weep. You have left a huge void.

But what you also have done have brought us closer together. And it has strengthened our faith and resolve.

In the coming weeks, more people will turn up in the Mosques, a place you hate so much, fortified by the strength in their faith, and inspired by their fallen brothers and sisters.

In the coming weeks, more non-Muslims will turn up at the gates of mosques with fresh flowers and beautifully handwritten notes. They may not have known where the mosques in their area was. But now, they do. All because of you.

You may have achieved your aim of intended destruction, but I guess you failed to incite hatred, fear and despair in all of us.

And while I understand that it may have been your objective, I hate to say that after all of that elaborate planning, and the perverse and wretched efforts on your part, you still failed to drive a divide among the Muslims and non-Muslims in the world.

For that, I can’t say that I’m sorry.

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By Nur Jihan Li, a Chinese revert sister.

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Telling People about Their Lord: 25th Stop of Your Spiritual Journey to God

Telling People about Their Lord: 25th Stop of Your Spiritual Journey to God

By Dr. Jasser Auda

Every speech comes out with a cover from the heart of the speaker. If God allows a speaker to express himself, people will understand his words and comprehend his gestures.

Telling People about Their Lord 25th Stop of Your Spiritual Journey to God

Their speech deserved to be recorded by God in His Glorious Book, the Qur’an.

This stage on our journey to God relates to the servant’s speech in which he tells people about God. Every servant has a responsibility to call people to their Creator, to remind them of their Lord, and to set things right in the universe:

I desire no more than to set things to rights in so far as it lies within my power… (Hud 11:88)

Say (O Prophet): “This is my way: Resting upon conscious insight accessible to reason, I am calling (you all) unto God – I and they who follow me. (Yusuf 12:108)

There are different kinds of speech. God says: “However, man is, above all else, always given to contention…” (Al-Kahf 18:54) There is a certain type of speech which has a considerable influence on people. This speech, as the Sheikh explains, is not the fluent speech that comes out from an intelligent mind or an eloquent tongue, but it is the speech that comes out directly from one’s heart.

Here I recall the speech of the prophets, messengers, and righteous people. Their speech came out form pure hearts. Their speech deserved to be recorded by God in the Qur’an. There are many examples of this speech.

Read the speech of prophet Abraham (peace be upon him): {Said (Abraham): “Have you, then, ever considered what it is that you have been worshiping – you and those ancient forebears of yours? “Now (as for me, I know that,) verily, these [false deities] are my enemies, (and that none is my helper) save the Sustainer of all the worlds, who has created me and is the One who guides me, and is the One who gives me to eat and to drink, and when I fall ill, is the One who restores me to health, and who will cause me to die and then will bring me back to life, and who, (hope, will forgive me my faults on Judgment Day! “O my Sustainer! Endow me with the ability to judge (between right and wrong), and make me one with the righteous, and grant me the power to convey the truth unto those who will come after me, and place me among those who shall inherit the garden of bliss!

And forgive my father for, verily, he is among those who have gone astray and do not put me to shame on the Day when all shall be raised from the dead: (and when) only he (will be happy) who comes before God with a heart free of evil! (Ash-Shu`araa’ 26:75-89)

Read also the speech of Prophet Noah (peace be upon him):

And convey unto them the story of Noah-when he said unto his people: “O my people! If my presence (among you] and my announcement of God’s messages are repugnant to you -well, in God have I placed my trust. Decide, then, upon what you are going to do (against me), and (call to your aid) those beings to whom you ascribe a share in God’s divinity; and once you have chosen your course of action, let no hesitation deflect you from it; and then carry out against me (whatever you may have decided), and give me no respite! But if you turn away (from the message which I bear, remember that) I have asked no reward whatever of you: my reward rests with none but God, for I have been bidden to be among those who have surrendered themselves unto Him. (Yunus 10:71-72)

All these speeches came out with a cover from the heart of the speakers.

The same holds true for Prophet Muhammad’s speech. Read, for example, his speech in the Battle of Tabuk:

“Verily the most veracious discourse is the book of God (the Quran). The most trustworthy handhold is the word of piety (taqwa). The best of religions is the religion of Abraham. The best of the sunan is the Sunnah of Muhammad. The noblest speech is the mentioning of God. The finest of narratives is this Qur’an. The best of affairs is that which has been firmly resolved upon. The worst religions are those which are created without sanction. The best of ways is the one trodden by the prophets. The noblest death is the death of a martyr. The most miserable blindness is waywardness after guidance. The best of knowledge is that which is beneficent. The best guidance is that which is put into practice. The worst blindness is the blindness of the heart. The upper hand is better than the lower (i.e. it is better to give than to receive). The little that suffices is better than the abundant and alluring. The worst apology is that which is tendered when death stares one in the face. The worst remorse is that which is felt on the Day of Resurrection. Some men do not come to the Friday prayer, but with hesitance and delay. And some of them do not remember God but with reluctance. The tongue that is addicted to false expression is a bubbling spring of sins. The most valuable possession is contentment of the heart. The best provision is that of piety. The highest wisdom is the awe of God. The best thing to be cherished in the hearts is faith and conviction; doubt is part of infidelity. Impatient wailing and fulsome praise of the dead is an act of ignorance. Betrayal leads one to the fire of Hell. Wine (alcohol) is the mother of evils. Each one of you must resort to a place of four cubits (the grave). Your affairs will be decided ultimately in the next life. He who pardons is himself granted pardon. He who forgives others, is forgiven by God for his sins. He who represses anger, God rewards him. He who faces misfortunes with perseverance, God compensates him. He who shows patience and forbearance, God gives him a double reward. He who disobeys God, God chastises him.”

This is a speech which came out from the Prophet’s heart so that it reached the people easily and it had a considerable influence on them. It is a prerequisite for anyone who tells the people about their Creator that his speech should come out from the heart.

If you want to offer advice to any one, you should mend your hear first. When you have a sincere intention in your heart, your influence on people will be stronger, i.e. people will understand your words and comprehend your gestures as the Sheikh says in this word of wisdom.

The Prophet’s companions also gave very fluent speeches which did not change the people only but changed the history. Abu Bakr As-Siddiq (may God be pleased with him) said: “I have been given the authority over you, and I am not the best of you. If I do well, help me; and if I do wrong, set me right.” `Umar ibn Al-Khattab (may God be pleased with him) said: “When did you enslave people whose mothers bore them free?”  `Uthman ibn `Affan ((may God be pleased with him) said: “O people, you need a credible and an active ruler not a useless ruler.” Ali ibn Abi Talib (may God be pleased with him) said: “The keeper of a safe dies and what he guards and the treasures remain, however, a man of knowledge lives throughout the ages.”

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The article is excerpted from “Some of Al-Hikam Al-Ataiyyah” (The Path to God: A Journey with Ibn `Ata’illah’s Words of Wisdom In the Light of the Quran, the Prophetic Tradition, and Universal Laws of God- By Dr. Jasser Auda

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The Incredible Journey of “The Fortunate Slave: Ayuba Suleiman Diallo

The Incredible Journey of “The Fortunate Slave: Ayuba Suleiman Diallo

“The Fortunate Slave” is a famous painting painted by William Hoare in 1734. What makes this painting extraordinary is that among all the paintings of the famous English men and women of the 18th century, this is the very first in which the subject is black. So, who is this man?

He is Ayuba Suleiman Diallo (1701-1773).

Diallo was born and raised in Eastern Senegal to a prominent Muslim family. Always known for his great intelligence and memory from a young age, by the time he was fifteen  Ayuba had memorized the entire Qur’an and familiarized himself with the Malaki School of Islamic Law.

Unfortunately for Diallo, his life critically changed; from one of study and scholarship to the horrors of slavery. Sinegal was a major victim to the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. By the age of forty he was captured, enslaved and shipped to the United States.

Despite the cruelty and abuse he faced he always remained devoted to his Islamic identity and rituals, going to nearby woods to pray five times a day. After his owners humiliated him he flee the plantation before being recaptured and prisoned. By his own enterprise, and assisted by a series of spectacular strokes of fortune, Diallo arrived in London in 1733.

What happened to him after that? How did he remain stable and committed to his Islamic identity? How was depicted in this famous painting? What about the red book hung around his neck in the painting?

How did he impact Britain’s understanding of West African culture, black identity and, most importantly, of Islam? WHat do we learn from his life journey?

Learn about this and listen to the Story of “The Fortunate Slave”…

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Source: Digital Mimbar

 

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Witnessing God’s Bounty and Your Shortcomings: 23rd Stop of Your Spiritual Journey to God

Witnessing God’s Bounty and Your Shortcomings: 23rd Stop of Your Spiritual Journey to God

By Dr. Jasser Auda

The twenty third stop of your spiritual journey to God: “If you want the doors of hope opened, recall what He offers you, and if the doors of awe opened, recall what you offer Him.”

Hope & Owe

Sometimes our sins, forgetfulness, and lusts block our ways to God. Therefore, we do not feel an overwhelming longing to Him. The Sheikh here guides us to two doors which can be opened by reason, the tool that God granted us and that can be used at any time. The two doors are that of hope and awe.

The questions that the Sheikh is answering here are: how can the door of hope be opened while I do not feel this hope in my heart? How can the door of awe be opened for me while I do not feel this awe in my heart?

The answer is: try to calculate the bounties that God bestowed on you, and calculate the acts of worship and the good deeds that you offered for Him.

As for God’s bounties, they cannot be counted in any way. God says: “For, should you try to count God’s blessings, you could never compute them!” (An-Nahl 16:18) When you remember one of God’s bounties, you will realize how generous, merciful, and most forbearing He is. When you are preoccupied by these meanings, the door of hope in God’s generosity, forbearing, and mercy will be opened for you.

When you remember your shortcomings to ascend to the level of thankfulness, the level of mentioning God or the level of worship, then the door of awe will be opened in your heart.

A servant’s condition should vary between hope and awe so that he will become, as Ibn Al-Qayyim describes, like a bird with two wings; one wing for hope and the other for awe.

Striking a balance between the opposites is one of the invariable universal laws of God. Here we should strike a balance between hope and awe so that the bird can fly because it cannot fly with one wing.

One should be cautious that his hope does not turn to a feeling of being secured, i.e. one feels that he is saved from God’s punishment:

And they say, ‘The fire will most certainly not touch us for more than a limited number of days.’ (Aal `Imran 3:24)

The verse was revealed regarding some of the previous nations who had a belief that they are God’s chosen people, regardless of their actions. Nowadays, some Muslims think that as long as they are Muslims, they can do whatever they want and they will not be harmed. God says: “But none feels secure from God’s deep devising save people who are (already) lost.” (Al-A`raf 7:99)

Hope should not become a state of being secured or that there is a guarantee that God will bestow His mercy on you. The only guarantee is your actual admission to Paradise.

Without Despair

Awe should not lead one to a feeling of despair. God says: “Say: ‘Thus speaks God:’ ‘O you servants of Mine who have transgressed against your own selves! Despair not of God’s mercy: behold, God forgives all sins – for, verily, He alone is much-forgiving, a dispenser of grace!’” (Az-Zumar 39:53) In another verse, we read, “… and do not lose hope of God’s life-giving mercy: verily, none but people who deny the truth can ever lose hope of God’s life-giving mercy.” (Yusuf 12:87)

What we need is to strike a balance between hope and awe. We have to repent to God and seek His forgiveness. At the same time, we should worry that God may not accept our deeds or that He will not grant us forgiveness because of our sins and shortcomings. Our sins should not turn us away from having hope in God’s mercy. Likewise, hope should not keep us away from fearing Him.

We pray to God to grant us the good understanding and open for us the doors of hope and awe in order that our spiritual status is improved and that we follow the right path and do not go astray.

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The article is excerpted from “Some of Al-Hikam Al-Ataiyyah” (The Path to God: A Journey with Ibn `Ata’illah’s Words of Wisdom In the Light of the Quran, the Prophetic Tradition, and Universal Laws of God- By Dr. Jasser Auda

 

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