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Inspired By Muhammad – Social Justice

Inspired By Muhammad – Social Justice

The Inspired by Muhammad campaign was designed to improve the public understanding of Islam and Muslims. It showcased Britons demonstrating how Muhammad inspired them to contribute to society, with a focus on women’s rights, social justice and the environment. In this video, Myriam Francois Cerrah talks about how the Prophet’s social justice inspired her.

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Muslim Manners

Muslim Manners

Islam is a complete code of conduct. How should we conduct ourselves? How should we act in a certain way?  Watch this show to know Sh. Ibrahim Zidan’s answer to these questions and much more about Muslim manners.

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Taken with kind permission from: thedeenshow.com.

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Honesty in Islam

Honesty in Islam

Believers are honest and pure-hearted

“When honesty is lost, then wait for the Hour (the Day of Judgment).”

These are the noble words of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him).

They paint a picture of the time leading up to the Day of Judgement, when righteous people will be sorrowful due to the lack of honesty around them. In the 21st century, we live in a world where honesty is still valued and yet shunned at the same time. We expect people to be honest in their dealings and transactions with us; yet we watch and applaud television shows and movies that promote and encourage lying and deceitfulness in our society.

With our negligence, we teach our children that dishonesty is acceptable. When we expect our children to tell the caller on the telephone we are not home, whereas we are, this is a lesson in deceit for the leaders of tomorrow. When we refuse invitations and pretend we are busy, this is lying. We admonish our children for lying, yet the reality is we have been their teachers. Whether we tell lies, or we allow our children to live in a world surrounded by deceit, the lesson is learned and the honesty begins to disappear from the hearts of the next generation.

Furthermore, honesty incorporates the concepts of truthfulness and reliability and it resides in all human thoughts, words, actions, and relationships. It is more than just accuracy; it is more than just truthfulness. It denotes integrity and moral soundness. Islam commands truthfulness and forbids lying. Almighty Allah commands believers to be honest:

O you who believe! Fear God and be with those who are true. (At-Tawbah 9:119)

A true believer, one who is truly submitted to Allah, has many characteristics by which he or she can be identified. The most obvious of these are honesty of character and truthfulness of speech. Prophet Muhammad was a perfect example of honesty. Even before his prophethood, he had earned the titles of the trustworthy and the truthful.

The trustworthy Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) once gathered all the people of Makkah and asked them, “O people of Makkah! If I say that an army is advancing on you from behind the mountains, will you believe me?” All said in one voice, “Yes, as we have never heard you telling a lie.” All the people, without exception, swore to his truthfulness and honesty, because he had lived an unblemished and extremely pious life among them for forty years.

The Prophet’s honesty was described well by Abu Sufyan. When he sent a letter to Heraclius, the Emperor of Byzantium, inviting him to Islam, the Emperor sent for the Meccan trader, Abu Sufyan. Even though he was at that time a dire enemy of Islam, he spoke the truth about Prophet Mohammad. When asked about the Prophet, he said, “He neither tells lies nor betrays others; he bids people to worship Allah alone and orders us to observe Prayer, honesty, and abstinence.”

This honesty, an essential ingredient of the Muslim character, includes being truthful towards Almighty Allah, by worshipping Him sincerely; being truthful to oneself, by adhering to Allah’s laws; and being truthful with others, by speaking the truth and being honest in all dealings, such as buying, selling, and marriage. Cheating and deception should never exist among believers. A believer should be the same on the inside as he is on the outside.

Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) warned us of the dangers inherent in dishonesty, and informed us about the benefits of living in an honest way. He reportedly said, “Truthfulness leads to righteousness, and righteousness leads to Paradise. And a man keeps on telling the truth until he is written in the sight of Allah as a truthful person. Falsehood leads to wickedness and evil-doing, and wickedness leads to the (Hell) Fire, and a man keeps on telling lies till he is written before Allah as a liar.” (Al-Bukhari)

A true Islamic society is based upon honesty and justice, and is intolerant of dishonesty in all its various forms. Honesty in all business transactions is emphasised, and Prophet Muhammad exhorted Muslims to be scrupulously honest in all their dealings. `Abdullah ibn `Umar was once described as the “brother of the night”, for he would stand at night performing Prayer, weeping, seeking Allah’s forgiveness, and reading the Qur’an. One day, he was sitting among some close friends and he read the following verses:

Woe unto those who give short measure, those who, when they are to receive their due from people, demand that it be given in full; but when they have to measure or weigh whatever they owe to others, give less than what is due. Do they not know that they are bound to be raised from the dead [and called to account] on an awesome Day, the Day when mankind shall stand before the Sustainer of all the worlds? (Al-Mutaffifin 83:1-6)

Then, `Abdullah wept until he was faint and kept repeating the words (the day when mankind shall stand before the Sustainer of all the worlds). He was amongst the most honest and trustworthy men, but being reminded of the punishment for those who are deceitful filled him with fear.

Therefore, a Muslim seeking to please Almighty Allah and follow the path of righteousness should be aware of the dangers of deceit and dishonesty. However, he should equally know that Allah is All-Merciful and All-Loving, willing to forgive even the gravest sins for those who repent and strive for His sake. Honesty is very important in the life of a believer.

In a hadith on honesty, the Prophet is reported to have said, “Honesty descended from the Heavens and settled in the hearts of men, and then the Qur’an was revealed and they read the Qur’an and also learnt from the Sunnah. Both the Qur’an and the Sunnah strengthened their honesty.” (Al-Bukhari)

For those who wish to be among the truthful, Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) has left us with these words of guidance, “Let he who believes in Allah and the Last Day either speak good or keep silent.” (Muslim)

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This article was originally published on islamreligion.com. It has been taken with modifications from onislam.net


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Generosity in Islam

Generosity in Islam

Generosity in Islam

Generosity in Islam

As human beings, we have an innate sense of morality. No matter what religion, race or color we are, certain qualities serve as the moral standard.

We admire justice, bravery, honesty and compassion. We also abhor those who demonstrate treachery, cruelty or corruption. Moral standards are universal, and one of the most important aspects of Islam is adherence to high moral standards and good manners in society.

Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) taught Muslims to have the best manners and distinguished characteristics. The Prophet’s own high standard of morals and manners made him the best example for Muslims to follow. Almighty Allah said in the Qur’an:

And verily you, O Muhammad, are on an exalted standard of character. (Al-Qalam 68: 4)

Generosity was among the countless good qualities of Prophet Muhammad. He was the most generous of people and he used to be most generous in Ramadan. 

One day Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) offered Prayer in the mosque and then hurriedly went to his house and returned immediately. A companion asked why he left and he replied: “I left a piece of gold at home which was given for charity and I disliked letting it remain a night in my house, so I brought it to the mosque to distribute.” (Al-Bukhari)

Our worldly possessions are bounties from Allah, who is the Most Generous. Muslims believe that everything originates from Allah and everything will return to Him. Thus, it is logical to behave as if that which we possess is merely a loan, something we are obligated to preserve, protect and ultimately share.

Whenever Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) met a miserly person, he advised him to be more generous and charitable. Ibn `Abbas said that he heard Prophet Muhammad saying: “The believer is not the one who eats when his neighbor beside him is hungry.” (Al-Bayhaqi)

Another companion heard the Prophet saying: “The believer is simple and generous, but the wicked person is deceitful and ignoble.” (Abu-Dawud)

Definition of Generosity

Princeton University WordNet defines generosity as the willingness to give freely. Islam encourages this concept of generosity so much so that it is embedded in one of the five pillars of Islam, the obligatory charity known as Zakah. In Arabic, the term Zakah literally means purification of the heart; however, it is also the payment, from surplus money, of an obligatory charity designed by Allah to provide for all the needy members of the community. It is a fixed calculable amount.

There is also another form of generosity in Islam called Sadaqah (optional charity). Anything given generously – freely to others – with the intention of pleasing Allah is Sadaqah. Sadaqah can be as simple as a smile, helping an elderly person with their groceries or removing objects from the road or path.

Generosity can be viewed as a wise investment in the future. Generosity or Sadaqah may pave the way to Paradise because with every generous act comes great reward from Allah. However, being generous does not only mean giving freely from what you have in abundance. Generosity does not lie in giving away something that is no longer useful but in giving freely from the things we love or need.

`A’ishah (the wife of the Prophet) said: “A lady, along with her two daughters came to me asking for some alms, but she found nothing with me except one date which I gave to her and she divided it between her two daughters.” (Al-Bukhari)

Allah tells us in the Qur’an that whatever we give away generously, with the intention of pleasing Him, He will replace and multiply. Allah knows what is in the hearts of men. Allah says:

Say: Truly, my Lord enlarges the provision for whom He wills of His slaves, and also restricts it) for him, and whatsoever you spend of anything (in Allah’s Cause), He will replace it.And He is the Best of providers.(Saba’ 34: 39)

The Value of Generosity

The Companions understood the value of being generous. `Abdullah ibn `Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) was seen in the market buying fodder for his camel on credit. One of the men queried this knowing that `Abdullah had received 4,000 dirhams and a blanket the previous day. It was explained that before nightfall `Abdullah had distributed the money amongst the needy. He then took the blanket, threw it over his shoulder and headed home, but by the time he arrived even the blanket was gone, he had given it to a needy person.

After the death of the Prophet, the people faced great hardship due to drought. They came to Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) asking him to provide them with enough to sustain them, but he was unable to help, the treasury was empty. Just at that time, the camel caravan belonging to `Uthman (may Allah be pleased with him) arrived from Damascus. It was filled with foodstuffs and other goods. The merchants gathered at `Uthman’s house offering him large amounts of money for the goods; however, he turned them down saying he was prepared only to give the goods to the one from whom he would receive the greatest reward. `Uthman gave all the goods to the starving people of Madinah and did not charge them. He knew that Allah would reward him with something far greater than money.

Even in the direst of circumstances, a true believer is the one who gives generously.

The people came to Prophet Muhammad and asked: “If someone has nothing to give, what should he do?” He said: “He should work with his hands and benefit himself and also give in charity (from what he earns).” The people further asked: “If he cannot find even that?” He replied: “He should help the needy who appeal for help.” Then, the people asked: “If he cannot do that?” He replied: “Then he should perform good deeds and keep away from evil deeds and this will be regarded as charitable deeds.” (Al-Bukhari)

And Allah says in the Qur’an that He will repay the generosity of a believer.

And whatever you spend in good, it will be repaid to you in full, and you shall not be wronged. (Al-Baqarah 2:272)

Allah is the one who provides for us and He expects us to share generously. We are encouraged to be benevolent and unselfish with our possessions, with our time and with our exemplary behavior towards others.

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Source: Article by author titled (Generosity) published at The Religion of Islam web site islamreligion.com. Here taken form onislam.net.

 

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Six Tips to Boost New Muslims’ Faith After Shahadah

Six Tips to Boost New Muslims’ Faith After Shahadah


Number six

The moments leading up to the taking of the Shahadah exuberating.

As a convert to Islam, you can easily remember the moment that you discovered that Islam was the one and only true religion. The moment of realization is an intense whirlwind of emotions such as relief, joy, gratitude and peace.

The moments leading up to the taking of the Shahadah, or Islamic declaration of faith, are equally exuberating. You wear your best clothes, travel to the mosque and pronounce the testimony of faith: “Ash hadu an la ilaha illa Allah, wa ash hadu anna Muhammadan rasoolu Allah” (I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, and that Muhammad is His Messenger) in public for the very first time.

Afterwards, the Muslims at the mosque will offer their congratulations and so too will the Muslims in your community. Your new faith has lit up your heart and the sense of the Islamic nation surrounds you.

However, it is important to realize that the level of excitement you felt in taking the shahadah will likely fade away as you get back to living. It’s inevitable and it does not necessarily mean that you are a “bad” Muslim or have done anything wrong. The faith, ebbs and flows just like a babbling brook in the middle of a grassy meadow. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:

“Faith wears out in the heart of any one of you just as clothes wear out, so ask Allah to renew the faith in your hearts.” (Al-Hakim)

There are several reasons why our faith decreases. Everything from engaging in unlawful activities to committing major and minor sins takes a toll on our faith.

The good news is that there are several ways that you can maintain an optimum level of faith and enjoin the good while forbidding the evil.

Turn to God First

When you feel that your faith is weakening or that your heart is sick, turn to God in sincere du`aa’, or supplication. When a Muslim’s heart is filled with obedience, love and gratitude towards God, Satan increases his efforts to lead the faithful Muslim away from his Creator. He does so by means of waswas (insinuating whispers) that makes a Muslim question his faith, feel nervous about his choices or even causes him to forget to perform certain acts of worship such as the obligatory Prayers. You can fight off the whispers from the Shaytan by asking for Almighty’s refuge from it.

Another way is to increase your good deeds and increase other acts of worship. Perform dhikr (the remembrance of God), as often as you can and read the Qur’an on a daily basis. Spend in charity of what you are able, even if it is only a smile or a helping hand to someone who needs it. Most importantly, remember that you are not alone in suffering from weak faith. It can happen to any Muslim.

Follow the Five Pillars of Islam

God has given us the perfect prescription for joy and success in this world and the next. The first part of that prescription is the gift of the Qur’an and Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad. The second part is the five pillars of Islam:

1- Shahadah – Testimony of Faith

2- Prayer

3- Zakah – annual alms for the poor.

4- Fasting in Ramadan

5- Hajj – Pilgrimage to Makkah

In architecture, pillars are used to stabilize a building and give it strength. So too do the five pillars of Islam give a Muslim strength. By following the five pillars of Islam, you create a sound foundation for your life as a Muslim. Just like a building with weak pillars threatens to topple over, not following the five pillars of Islam will have a similar effect on your faith.

As a new Muslim, in particular, it may take you some time to learn the pillars of Islam perfectly. However, you must hasten to arm yourself with proper Islamic reading materials that teach you how to perform each pillar in the correct way.

For example, there are dozens of Islamic books that painstakingly detail how to fast properly in Ramadan. There is no excuse for not increasing your Islamic knowledge especially in our digital age. Countless Islamic websites that adhere to the Qur’an and Sunnah are only a couple of mouse clicks away.

Ponder on God’s Creation

The beauty of the rose as its petals intertwine seamlessly, the brightness of the sun as it rises each dawn, the carefree laugh of an infant for the very first time – these are just a few of the signs of God that are evident in His creation. All you really have to do is open your eyes, look and reflect. God Almighty reveals in the Qur’an:

And on the earth are signs for those who have Faith with certainty. And also in your own selves. Will you not then see? (Adh-Dhariyat 51:20-1)

Let’s use the example of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). Years before he received his mission as the Last Messenger, he would often contemplate the creation and reflect upon it.

Learn the Attributes of God

There are ninety-nine beautiful names of God and learning them perfectly is one of the keys to Paradise according to a hadith from the Prophet Muhammad:

“Indeed, Allah has 99 names (one hundred minus one); whoever memorizes them will enter Paradise.”
Some of the names are: Ar-Razzaq (The Ever Providing), Al-Sami` (The All Hearing) and Al-Ghafur (The All Forgiving). By learning the names and attributes of our Creator, we can better get to know our Lord. Try to learn at least three names a day along with the meaning. By the end of thirty-three days, you will have learned all ninety-nine.

Obedience and Free Will

There’s nothing to stop a Muslim from listening to the latest hit song on the radio or turning on the TV to tune into the latest drama or sitcom to come out of Hollywood. That is why humans possess free will.

However, as Muslims, we know that most music and most aspects of television are unlawful. The words woven into a song or the images of haram (unlawful) activities played out on TV have a direct effect on the human heart. It is a huge misconception if you believe that engaging in these wasteful activities won’t harm you. Not only will they cause harm, but also they will blacken the heart and cause your faith to wane. By obeying what God has decreed in the Qur’an and Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad, in every aspect of life, all Muslims can reap the benefits of a faith that is unwavering and never flinches.

Enhance Your Faith

Remember that as a new Muslim you should also surround yourself with people who are going to enhance your faith and not harm it. Befriend a good Muslim, of the same gender, in your community or reach out to the Imam at your local mosque for more guidance and advice.

May God strengthen your faith and always guide you to His Straight Path. Ameen.

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Taken with slight modifications from Onislam.net


 

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Showing Kindness to All Creatures

Showing Kindness to All Creatures

Commentary and Translation by Shazia Ahmad

Anyone who harms anything in existence is an aggressor against God's creation.

Anyone who harms anything in existence is an aggressor against God’s creation.

The historic Masjid al-Azhar (Azhar Mosque) in Cairo offers a number of classes and lectures to the public in the rooms that surround its famous courtyard. Along with the usual human attendees, it is also common to see cats seeking to enter through the mosque’s open doors and make their way inside. In this video of a lecture on hadith (prophetic narrations) by Sh. Usama Elsayed, a cat enters and makes himself comfortable in his class, prompting him to pause from the actual class material and share some anecdotes and lessons on showing kindness to cats and other animals.

 

Please note that this is not a literal or full translation, though it is intended to faithfully convey the ideas that were expressed. Words in brackets have been added for clarity. The translated portion begins at 1:40.

Al-Imam Shams ibn Tulun al-Hanafi, in his book al-Fulk al-Mashhun fi Ahwal al-Shams ibn Tulun, designated a special chapter for prophetic narrations related to cats, and called it Izhaar as-Sirr fi ma Warada fil-Hirr (‘Explanation of the Secrets Found in What has been Narrated About Cats’).

If a cat came close to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), he would lower his vessel to it so that it could drink, and he would say, “They are [creatures] that [live and] move about amongst you.”

Here at al-Azhar ash-Sharif, the great imam, Shaykh of Islam and scholar of the Malikis Abu al-Barakat Ahmad ad-Dardir was once teaching when a cat wandered between the rows of his students. One of the students pushed it away roughly. Imam ad-Dardir was deeply affected and saddened by this, and got up from his chair to bring the cat next to him. He took out some morsels from his own food and set it in front of the cat for it to eat, and held it in his lap.

From the next day on, whenever he entered the mosque to teach he would give the cat something to eat from his own food. More cats started to come, to the extent that after some time whenever Imam ad-Dardir entered al-Azhar Mosque more than two hundred cats would surround him and stay at his feet. May God have mercy on him.

Yet [we find] people saying (Muslims) are terrorists. We say that we seek to be kind to animals. The people of Islam—when the teachings of this great faith became deeply imbued in their hearts—did not fall short in giving animals their rights, nor in giving human beings their due rights.

On the contrary, their minds were occupied with concern about the rights of each and every creature. Because every single thing in this universe glorifies God; and therefore every single thing has certain rights and a certain sanctity, and it is upon us to build connections with them and deal with them in affection and kindness. To the extent that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “The mountain of Uhud – it loves us and we love it.” And he said, “When the profligate servant of God dies, relief is given to the worshippers, the land, the trees and the animals.” Because the worshippers, the land, the trees, and the animals all suffer at the hands of the dissolute sinner.

Proof of this is in the words of God, “And the heavens and the earth wept not for them, nor were they given a respite.” (Ad-Dukhan 44:29)

This implies that when people of goodness and righteousness pass away, the heavens and the earth weep [and mourn their loss].

In the past we used to have masaqi (places with water designated for drinking) for dogs and other animals. In some of the major squares of Cairo one would find places with fresh water for passersby to drink. At a taller height was fresh, clean water for people to drink, and the excess water would flow down below [to a container] for large animals to drink (like horses etc). Below that would be a [container] for smaller animals like dogs [to drink from], and lower than that, almost at level with the ground, was water for cats.

A person used to be specifically designated to clean the drinking places of dogs, and was given a salary for that from the treasury or by endowment. There were assigned workers who would go around and clean such drinking places from whatever fell into it of leaves, dirt, etc. Here, at Masjid Muhammad al-Bik Abu ad-Dahab which faces al-Azhar, there is an endowment specifically designated for food to be placed in containers at the top of the minaret for birds to eat from. Because they have a right to food.

(…) [My teacher] Mufti Dr. Ali Jumu`ah taught us, when he was explaining the prophetic tradition about a woman who enters hellfire [for mistreating and starving] her cat, that the people of knowledge understand this text outside of its specifics. Imam al-Qarafi defines specifics as time, place, circumstance, and individual.

This text is not limited to women specifically. It mentions a woman who was punished, but does that necessarily imply that if a man harms an animal he will not be punished? Absolutely not. It would be the same whether [the action was committed by] man or woman, young or old. Anyone who mistreats a creature from the creatures of God will be punished. What is implied [by the text] is a teaching more generally applied to both men and women, to the extent that the word “human being” can be understood in place of “woman.”

Similarly, is such a punishment limited only to one who mistreats a cat, such that if someone mistreats a dog they would not be punished? No, they would in fact be punished whether they mistreat a cat or a dog or any other animal or creature of God.

[In the same vein,] is this ruling limited only to the one who mistreats animals? No, it would in fact extend to everything else in existence. Anyone who harms anything in existence is an aggressor against God’s creation.

The implications of this text help the believer understand—beyond this particular woman being punished for abusing a cat—that no human being should ever harm any other creature. No human being should harm any other creature.

If we went out and explained these teachings, and translated them for other civilizations, cultures, communities and peoples, [to people of varying] tongues and languages, we would be given the honor of being considered forerunners [in civilization]. This is because we not only call [beyond human rights] for the rights of animals, but we call for the rights of every object and thing in existence.

A Muslim understands that everything around him in creation has a due right upon him, and he or she is responsible before God to honor everything that exists—inanimate and animate, humans, plants, and animals.

There is neither power nor strength save by God – but [unfortunately in these matters] “most of the people do not know.” (Al-A`raf 7:187)

Watch the video:

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Source: www.suhaibwebb.com.

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