Transcribed by Editorial Staff
As-salam ‘alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh
This is Sister Ameena Blake coming to you with the New Muslim Bites. And this is the second session.
And today we are going to be talking about “belief in the one God, Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala)”.
Now, when I first became Muslim one of the things that really surprised me was when I realised that Allah is the same as God and God is Allah and that actually Christian people call God Allah not God.
Allah is the correct name to use when we’re referring to God and the reason being is because in the Arabic language it’s totally unique. You can’t say goddess like you can say goddess in English but you can’t make the word Allah into a feminine tense. You can’t make it into a plural tense so it’s a totally unique word.
Now, when the belief in the one God that when belief in Allah is manifested in a word called “Tawheed”. Tawheed basically is an Arabic word which means unification or asserting oneness. So, Tawheed basically means believing in the Oneness of Allah.
Now, one of the questions that comes up a lot especially for new Muslims is: “where is Allah?”
Now, there’s a very simple answer to this and it’s very clear in the Quran and in the Hadith of the Prophet (peace be upon him) that Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) is in fact above his creation. He is above his throne. And this is related in Surah (70:3-4), surah (35:10). And also there is a hadith or many hadith but one particular one that says that Rasul Allah (Allah’s Messenger) (salla Allahu ‘alaihee wa sallam) says as part of this hadith:
He who is above the Heavens (fi al-samaa) which means the heavens will be Merciful to you.
So, these are sort of things because sometimes people misunderstand and people say that Allah is everywhere. Allah is not everywhere. Allah is All-Knowing. Allah is aware of everything, everything we do, everything we say, everything we think. He is so close to us but physically he is above His Throne in heaven.
Surah 112, Al-Ikhlas (Pure Sincerity)
Now one surah in the Quran which is usually one of the first ones that we learn is Surat Al-Ikhlas.
112:1 Qul huwa Allahu ahad (Say, “He (is) Allah, the One)
112: 2 Allah-u ṣ-ṣamad (Allah, the Eternal, the Absolute)
112: 3 Lam yalid walam yūlad (He begets not nor is He begotten)
So, in other words he doesn’t have a mother and father and he doesn’t have offspring, that sons and daughters.
112:4 Walam yakun lahu kufuwan aḥad (And there is nothing like Allah)
So, we can’t imagine what Allah looks like. We shouldn’t imagine what Allah looks like. However, Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) gives us a description of his attributes and there are 99 names that describe these. One of them for example is Al-Rahman, the Merciful.
Now, Tawheed like we were talking about before is split into three different areas:
The first area is Tawheed Al-Rububiyah (the Unity of Allah’s Lordship)
The second area is Tawheed Al-Asmaa wal Sifat which means the unity of Allah’s names and attributes. That basically means that we are not allowed to give a false attribute to Allah or add names to Allah’s names.
So, for example and we couldn’t describe Allah like in the Bible. Allah is described as creating the heavens in the earth in six days and resting on the seventh day. Resting is a human attribute. Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) doesn’t feel any fatigue or need a rest. Allah is not a human. Allah created humans. He doesn’t have these needs like we have.
And the third area is Tawheed Al-‘Ibadah. Al-‘Ibadah means the unity of worship. So, Tawheed (the Unity) Al-“Ibadah (of Worship)
Now, this is where we put our belief in the one God into action and that means that we avoid all Shirk. Shirk is a word that means when we associate something with Allah. So, for example (shirk is) when somebody worships another god other than Allah even if they believe in Allah but then they worship another god. So, for example that the Christians will say that in ’Isa or Jesus (peace be upon him) is the son of God. This is a shirk in Islam. This is something that is that is not allowed. And so we avoid all this.
The Purpose of Creation
In the Quran in surah (51:56) Allah says that he created us all with the purpose of worshipping Him. And we’re going to talk a little bit more about that in future sessions.
So, that’s the end of this little short mini session. I hope that it’s been helpful. The next session moving on is I’m going to talk a little bit about Shirk, the different types of shirk and how we can avoid committing Shirk. so (In sha’a Allah) I’ll speak to you next time.
Was-salam ‘alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh
Peace be to you all!
Session 1: The Meaning of Shahada in Four Minutes
By Editorial Staff
On the Day of Resurrection, Allah will give the right of intercession to Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace) in the first place. Other intercessors include the angels, the prophets, and the believers and, what’s more, there will be the Intercession of Allah.
There are still others who will be enjoying this high status on the Day of Judgment. We wrote about the first four intercessors in a previous article. The other intercessors include the following:
In the Hereafter, children will be united with their good and righteous parents even if they fall short of their parents’ status in the Paradise.
5. The martyrs
Once they die, martyrs get a lot of rewards and favors in their next life. One of these favors is that they will intercede with Allah on behalf of their relatives. Narrated Al-Miqdam bin Ma’diykarib:
That the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: “There are six things with Allah for the martyr. He is forgiven with the first flow of blood (he suffers), he is shown his place in Paradise, he is protected from punishment in the grave, secured from the greatest terror, the crown of dignity is placed upon his head – and its gems are better than the world and what is in it – he is married to seventy two wives from the wide-eyed houris of Paradise, and he may intercede for seventy of his close relatives.” (Al-Tirmidhi)
Parents’ righteousness and belief benefit their children in this life and Afterlife. In this life, children may follow and learn from their parents the teachings of Islam. In the Hereafter and as a result of following in their parents’ footsteps, children will be united with their parents even if they fall short of their parents’ status in the Paradise. Allah says,
“Moreover, (as for) those who (in the world) believed -and whose children followed them in faith- We shall unite their children with them. And We shall not deprive them of anything (from the rewards) of their (good) work.” (Quran 52:21)
It may happen that a child dies at an early age. If the child’s parents are patient, Allah will provide them with huge rewards that outweigh their anguish. Of these rewards, such a child will intercede with Allah on behalf of his or her parents. Abu Hassan reported:
I said to Abu Huraira that my two children had died. Would you narrate to me anything from Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) a hadith which would soothe our hearts in our bereavements? He said: Yes. Small children are the fowls of Paradise. If one of them meets his father (or he said his parents) he would take hold of his cloth, or he said with his hand as I take hold of the hem of your cloth (with my hand). And he (the child) would not take off (his hand) from it until Allah causes his father to enter Paradise. (Muslim)
8. The Gracious Quran
The Gracious Quran, especially Surat Al-Baqarah (the Cow) and Al-‘Imran (the Family of ‘Imran), will be interceding with Allah on the Day of Resurrection on behalf of those who believe in, always recite and follow the teachings of the Quran. Abu Umama said he heard Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) say:
Recite the Qur’an, for on the Day of Resurrection it will come as an intercessor for those who recite It. Recite the two bright ones, Surat Al-Baqara and Surat Al ‘Imran, for on the Day of Resurrection they will come as two clouds or two shades, or two flocks of birds in ranks, pleading for those who recite them. Recite Surat Al-Baqara, for to take recourse to it is a blessing and to give it up is a cause of grief, and the magicians cannot confront it. (Mu’awiya said: It has been conveyed to me that here Batala means magicians.) (Muslim)
Living persons interceding on behalf of the departed
This happens when a Muslim person dies and Muslims make supplications to Allah to shower such a person with His mercy and to forgive him. Supplications are made just after a person’s death, during funeral prayer, and after burial. In addition, people who love the departed continue to make supplications for him or her. Here supplication acts as an intercession with Allah. ‘Abdullah b. ‘Abbas reported that his son died in Qudaid or ‘Usfan. He said to Kuraib to see as to how many people had gathered there for his (funeral). He (Kuraib) said:
So I went out and I informed him about the people who had gathered there. He (Ibn ‘Abbas) said: Do you think they are forty? He (Kuraib) said: Yes. Ibn ‘Abbas then said to them: Bring him (the dead body) out for I have heard Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) as saying: If any Muslim dies and forty men who associate nothing with Allah stand over his prayer (they offer prayer over him), Allah will accept them as intercessors for him. (Muslim)
In fact, it is part of our Islamic teachings and traditions to make supplications to Allah for all our Muslim brothers and sisters who came before us even if we may not have seen them. This often happens especially when good sons or daughters ask Allah to forgive their parents. On the authority of Abu Hurairah (Allah be pleased with him) who said: the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said:
Allah (The One to whom belongs absolute power and majesty) does raise the status of a good servant in the Paradise. Thereupon, he or she will say, “O my Lord! How have I reached this degree?” He will say, “This is through asking for forgiveness for you by your son (or daughter)”. (Imam Ahmed)
Things that bring about intercession
We have already mentioned some of the things that bring about intercession whether you are the intercessor or the person interceded on his or her behalf. The Gracious Quran acts an intercessor on the Day of Judgment as mentioned above. Also, performing prayer more often may also bring about intercession. However, you may become an intercessor when you offer funeral prayers. Other things that may bring about intercession include:
1. Living in Medina
Ibn ‘Umar (Allah be pleased with them) reported Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) as saying:
He who patiently endures the hardships of it (of this city of Medina), I would be an intercessor or a witness on his behalf on the Day of Resurrection. (Muslim)
2. Saying prayers of supplications related to Adhan (the call to prayer)
‘Abdullah b. Amr b. al-As reported Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) as saying:
When you hear the Mu’adhdhin (the caller to prayer), repeat what he says, then invoke a blessing on me, for everyone who invokes a blessing on me will receive ten blessings from Allah; then beg from Allah al-Wasila for me, which is a rank in Paradise fitting for only one of Allah’s servants, and I hope that I may be that one. If anyone who asks that I be given the Wasila, he will be assured of my intercession. (muslim)
3. Avoiding cursing people
Abud-Darda’ (May Allah be pleased with him) said:
The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “Those who frequently resort to cursing (people) would neither be accepted as witnesses nor as intercessors on the Day of Resurrection.” (Muslim)
The way the Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) invited his people to Islam is entirely different from the way he invited his father. Read Prophet Abraham and His Non-Believer Father.
Prophet Ibrahim had the skill to awaken the latent powers of the heart and mind.
Recite to them the story of Ibrahim when he said to his father and his folk: ‘What do you worship?’ They said: ‘We worship idols, and are ever devoted to them.’ He said: ‘Do they hear you when you cry? or do they benefit or harm you?’ (Ash-Shu`araa’ 26:69-73)
Think over these verses and the sagacity and farsightedness with which the Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) spoke to his people. He did not speak ill of their idols.
If he had done so, they would not have given ear to him. He did not say anything on his own but forced them to admit:
“We worship idols, and are devoted to them,’ He said: ‘Do they hear you when you cry? Or do they benefit or harm you?” (Ash-Shu`araa’ 26:71-73)
Prophet Abraham did not employ logic nor did he philosophize with them. He put the simple question: “When you call them, do they hear you and benefit or harm you?” It is because human life requires something to fall back on when in distress. When a person is called by anybody he may hear him.
The caller has a hope of some benefit or fears some harm from the person addressed. These are the two links from which human life is never unshackled – the hope of gain or fear of loss – in fact the entire life revolves around these two human emotions. They said: “It is not that they benefit or harm us but”
We found our fathers acting in this way. (Ash-Shu`araa’ 26:74)
It was what the Prophet Abraham wanted them to come out with. They had no answer and they admitted their ignorance and helplessness. What relation did these humanly-sculpted idols have with human life and what could they do for human beings when they were themselves helpless? Is there any truth based on logic and knowledge behind them?
Read these verses again and again and you will feel that a world of meaning lies hidden in them. One interpretation leads to another and you will realize the difference between his way of conveying the truth to his father, and to his people.
Allah had granted him a deep insight into human psychology. He had the skill to awaken the latent powers of the heart and mind. How he made his people confess what was lying hidden at the back of their minds!
Their intelligence, power of argumentation and defensive capabilities were laid bare when they said: “We found our fathers acting in this way.”
The last arrow in their quiver was used and they had nothing more to add. Then he started to acquaint them with tawheed (the Oneness of Allah):
He said: ‘See how that which you worship, you and your fathers, truly, they are (all) an enemy to me, save the Lord of the worlds, Who created me, and guides me. And Who feeds me and waters me. And when I sicken then He heals me. And Who causes me to die, then gives me life (again). And Who, I ardently hope, will forgive me on the Day of Judgment’. (Ash-Shu`araa’ 26:75-82)
The Irrefutable Logic of the Qur’an
There is a unique and interesting point in the Qur’an towards which Shaykh Al-Is!am Ibn Taymiyyah has invited the attention of his readers. He said:
“When the Greek philosophers defined the attributes of Allah (Whom they called wajib al-wujud or The First Cause or The Prime Mover in philosophical language) they gave those attributes in detail which, according to them, are -unbecoming of Allah, i.e. He is not so or, that is, He is free from such and such limitations. But when they spoke about positive attributes, then they described those briefly (i.e. He is so and so or such and such). But against this there are details of positive attributes and brevity in the description of negative features in the Qur’an.
This is a common feature in the teachings of the prophets (peace be upon them all) and in the revealed religions which affirm positive qualities in detail and abridge the negative points. Allah says:
He is Allah, the One Whom there is no god but Him, the King, the Holy One, Peace, the Keeper of Faith, the Guardian, the Majestic, the Compeller, the Superb. Glorious is Allah from all that they ascribe as partners (unto Him! He is Allah the Creator, the Shaper out of naught, the Fashioner. His are the most beautiful names. All that is in the heavens and the earth glorifies Him, and He is the Mighty, the Wise’. (Al-Hashr 59:22-24)
Ibn Taymiyyah rightly says that negative qualities may be in hundreds, but they do not have the same impact on the mind as one positive attribute does. It is also a fact that human life is more dependent on positive qualities than upon negative ones. Negation of anything has very little part to play in human life and civilization.
Vigorous Remembrance of Allah
When Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) heard their reply: “We worship idols and are ever devoted to them”, he retorted, “Do they hear you when you cry? Or do they benefit or harm you?”
This is an example of abridged negation. When he spoke about the positive attributes of Allah he became eloquent. The Qur’an has reproduced his speech in these words:
Truly, they are (all) an enemy to me save the Lord of the worlds, Who created me and guides me. And Who feeds me and waters me and when I sicken, then He heals me and Who causes me to die, then gives me life (again) and Who, I ardently hope, will forgive me my sins on the Day of Judgment. (Ash-Shu`araa’ 26:77-82)
Prophet Abraham has mentioned five attributes of Allah in these noble verses (creation, guidance, sustenance, healing and power over death and life). But when he questioned them about idols, he enquired about just two qualities: “Do they hear your prayers and do they have power to benefit or harm you?” It appears that when he mentioned the name of Allah, his soul was inspired and enraptured, and he extolled the virtues of Allah with exaltation.
Prophet Abraham: Intimate Friend of Allah
It is also natural that when a person likes anything, for example, something edible, he wants to keep it in his mouth for a longer time and relish its taste. On the other hand, if he has to take anything bitter, he tries to swallow it at a gulp.
He, therefore, spoke with warmth and cheer about Allah. He said:
The Lord of the worlds. He created me, guides me, feeds-me: when I fall ill, He heals me; He will make me die and resurrect me, and I hope He will forgive my sins on the Day of Judgment.” (Ash-Shu`araa’ 26:77-82)
It seems he was not satisfied with it. His heart was filled with joy and a prayer gushed from the depth of his heart:
My Lord! Give me wisdom and unite me to the right-acting ones. And give me a good report in later generations. And place me among the inheritors of the Garden of Delight. (Ash-Shu`araa’ 26:83-85)
His thoughts turned towards his father who was the finest of the idolaters and their leader, for he said:
And forgive my father, surely he is one of those astray, and do not disgrace me on the day they are resurrected, the day when wealth and children will not benefit, except for whoever comes to his Lord with a sound heart. ( Ash-Shu`araa’ 26:87-89)
These verses make it clear why Prophet Abraham was elevated to the position of being an intimate friend of Allah:
Truly, Ibrahim was a model devoutly obedient to Allah, by nature upright and he was not of the idolaters! Thankful for His bounties; He chose him and He guided him to a straight path. And We gave him good in the world and in the Hereafter; and he is among the right-acting. (An-Nahl 16:120-122)
The article is excerpted from the book “Inviting to the Way of Allah”, by Sayyed Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi, Translated by Qazi Abdul Hamid, published by Ta-Ha Publishers Ltd. and UK Islamic Academy, 1996/1416 H.
By Abul A`la Al-Mawdudi
The word ‘deen’ is used in several meanings. The first is sovereignty, power, lordship, kingship, or rulership. The second is the opposite of this, i.e. submission, obedience, service or slavery. The third is to bring to account, to judge, or to dispense reward and punishment for actions. All those three uses are found in the Qur’an.
The only (true) Deen in the sight of God is (man’s) self-surrender (to Him). (Aal `Imran 3:19)
Here, deen is that way of life in which we recognize Allah alone as the possessor of all power and majesty and surrender ourselves to Him. We must not abase or humble ourselves before anybody save Him. We must regard only Allah as Master, Lord, and Sovereign, and must not be slaves or servants to anybody but Him. We must accept only Allah as the Lord of reward and punishment. We should covet no reward, fear no punishment, except His. Islam is the name of this deen.
False deen arises when you ascribe real powers to anyone besides Allah, when you take anyone as a real ruler and master, as a dispenser of real reward and punishment, when you bow your heads before him in humility, when you serve him and obey his orders, when you covet his reward and fear his punishment more than Allah’s. This kind of deen Allah never accepts because it is totally contrary to reality.
No other being in the whole universe except God possesses any power and might, nor does anybody else’s sovereignty and kingship exist. We have not been created to be servants and slaves of anyone or anything but God, nor is there anyone else except that real Master who can judge us and award reward and punishment.
In many places in the Qur’an these facts have been explained.
And whoso seeks a Deen other than Islam, it will not be accepted from him. (Aal `Imran 3:85)
Thus, anyone who disregards the sovereignty and kingship of God, acknowledges someone else as his master and ruler, becomes his servant and slave, and considers anyone as a dispenser of reward and punishment in his own right, will never have his Deen or conduct accepted by God because:
They were not enjoined anything but that they should serve God, making submission exclusively His, turning away (from all false gods). (Al-Bayyinah 98:5)
God has not created human beings to serve anyone except Himself. It is, therefore, incumbent on them to turn away from all false gods and reserve their submission, or their true deen, for Allah alone. They should single-mindedly devote themselves to His service and consider themselves as being accountable only to Him:
What! Do they seek a deen other than God’s, whereas unto Him surrenders whatever is in the heavens and on earth, willingly or unwillingly, and unto Him all must return? (Aal `Imran 3:83)
How can we human beings incline to be servants and to submit to someone other than God, when all other things on earth and in the heavens are slaves and obedient servants of God alone, accounting for their deeds to no other authority than God? Does man want to adopt a deviant way for himself, some kind of independent and autonomous existence, in defiance of the entire universe?
He it is Who has sent forth His Messenger with the Guidance and the way of Truth, so that he makes it prevail over all ways (religions), however much mushriks (who take gods besides God) may dislike it. (At-Tawbah 9:33)
Allah has sent His Messenger with the true deen for the purpose of ending the sovereignty of all false gods and granting us immense freedom so that we live as servants of none but the Lord of the universe, no matter how much the idolaters and polytheists may dislike or oppose such a course.
And fight them, until there is no rebellion (against God) and all submission is to God alone. (Al-Anfal 8:39)
The lesson is clear: we must fight until the sovereignty of all beings other than Allah is brought to an end, until only the law of God rules in the world, until the sovereignty of God alone is acknowledged, until we serve only Him.
Thus these three meanings of deen stand out:
– To acknowledge God as Lord, Master and Ruler.
– To obey and serve only Him.
– To be accountable to Him, to fear only His punishment and to covet only His reward.
Deen also includes obedience to God’s Messengers. For the commandments of God have been given to human beings through His Books and His Messengers.
Children of Adam! If there should come to you Messengers from among you, who convey My revelations unto you, then whosoever refrains from evil and lives rightly no fear shall be on them, and neither shall they sorrow. (Al-A`raf 7:35)
No individual receives Allah’s commandments directly.
Hence, whoever acknowledges Allah as Ruler can be accepted as obedient to Him only when he becomes obedient to His Messengers and lives by the guidance received through them.
Deen consists of these fundamental principles.
The article is an excerpt from Abul A`la Al-Mawdudi’s Let Us Be Muslims.