By Editorial Staff
Poverty is not a shame but still it is a big suffering for those who undergo its aches and pains.
Poverty is not a shame but still it is a big suffering for those who undergo its aches and pains. It is very hurting, arduous and annoying. Poorness is a challenge, if not appropriately handled, its aftermaths are striking. Poverty creates a fertile environment for the spread of fatal diseases, bad morals and common devastation. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) used to repeat a supplication in which he asked Allah to protect him from poverty. He (peace be upon him) would say, “O Allah! I ask You for guidance, piety, chastity and self-sufficiency.” (Muslim)
Islam has prescribed effective and practical measures for eradicating poverty and alleviating its effect on people. It is a part of the Muslim creed to engage in every possible means to alleviate the bad conditions of his Muslim brother. Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “It is not a (perfect) believer who eats his full while he has a starved neighbor close to him.” (Al-Hakim)
It is thus an Islamic duty upon a Muslim towards other Muslims to help them and relieve their sufferings. Nu`man ibn Bashir (may Allah be pleased with them) reported: “The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “The believers in their mutual kindness, compassion and sympathy are just like one body. When one of the limbs suffers, the whole body responds to it with wakefulness and fever”. [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
In a previous article, we discussed the ideological part of the Islamic approach in combating poverty. Today, we are going to tackle the economical side of the Islamic campaign against poverty.
Building up a fair economic system
Islam has presented an unrivaled economic system that leans on absolute justice, prohibits exploitation and monopolization, urges production and work, highlights honesty and noble manners, ensures fair distribution of resources, guarantees the rights of both the individuals and the governments, and forbids unfair devouring of people’s properties.
God is the real owner
The basis of Islamic economy is that that God is the real owner of everything as He has created them from nothing. However, man is the successor of God in the universe. Almighty Allah says,
To Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth and whatever is within them. And He is over all things competent. (Al-Ma’idah 5:120)
Man, in this life, is just a user of the natural sources of this universe while the original possessor of everything is the only True God, the Almighty. He (Glory be to Him) has prescribed obligatory share to be given out by the rich to the poor and needy. It is titled Zakah in Islam. This is a right of God to be delivered to the destitute and the weak. Man is not allowed to withhold this right from its beneficiaries because this calls for severe punishment in the hereafter and lack of God’s bless in this life. Almighty Allah says,
And let not those who [greedily] withhold what Allah has given them of His bounty ever think that it is better for them. Rather, it is worse for them. Their necks will be encircled by what they withheld on the Day of Resurrection. And to Allah belongs the heritage of the heavens and the earth. And Allah , with what you do, is [fully] Acquainted. (Aal `Imran 3:180)
Islam admits the rule of economic freedom for individuals. Everyone has the right to freely invest his money, but within the legal channels approved by Islamic law. There is not restriction or limit for individuals to work and earn so long as they keep away from the prohibited kinds of business, such as gambling, interest based transactions, etc.
There is no blame upon you for seeking bounty from your Lord. (Al-Baqarah 2:198)
It is He who made the earth tame for you – so walk among its slopes and eat of His provision – and to Him is the resurrection. (Al-Mulk 67:15)
The freedom of economy is highly effective in giving wide room for everyone to make use of their talents and skills in earning a sufficient living. There is no restriction for specific activity so long as it is not divinely prohibited for its bad effect on people and society. Otherwise, the whole universe is open for you to work and gain profits.
Capitalism made private ownership a general rule while the public ownership is limited to rare conditions. Socialism made the opposite by making public ownership a general rule and the private one is very special to rare conditions.
However, Islam has established different kinds of ownership to ensure balance between the individual and community requirements. These economic rules preserve both of the community rights and activities as well as the individual rights and properties. The government has no right to seize the properties of others while at the same time it is free to have economic activities and projects for the benefit of the whole society. This balance serves to provide a financial cover for the governmental contributions to care for the destitute, the ill and the old ones.
Establishing the individual rights
Islam has set up specific rights that pertain to the honor and dignity which God has endowed man with. Almighty Allah says,
And We have certainly honored the children of Adam and carried them on the land and sea and provided for them of the good things and preferred them over much of what We have created, with [definite] preference. (Al-Israa’ 17:70)
Islam admits the rights of people to life, work, freedom, education, medication, sufficient housing, food and drink, family, etc. These rights are not depending on the wish of the ruler or the demand of the ruled. Rather, they are fundamental and essential for everyone. It is a duty upon those in authority to secure these rights properly and equally without any discrimination relating to color or sex.
In the meantime, Islam has forbidden all kinds of playing with the properties of people and wasting them or taking them without right. For this reason, Islam forbade interest, gambling, prostitution, smuggling, bribe, monopolization, unknown selling, cheating, etc. These transactions destroy the economy, leave devastating impacts on the community as a whole and tear down all the sides of people’s life.
Islam, in clear divine texts, decisively prohibited these matters and threatened its perpetrators with severe punishment in the Hereafter. Abu Bakrah (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “Delivering the sermon during the Farewell Pilgrimage on the day of Sacrifice at Mina, the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “Verily your blood, your property and your honor are as sacred and inviolable as the sanctity of this day of yours, in this month of yours and in this town of yours. Verily! I have conveyed this message to you.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
Islam urged its followers to observe prudence in spending and not to be spendthrift. The Qur’an stressed this command in Allah’s saying,
And do not set up your hand shackled to your neck, (i.e., Do not be niggardly) nor outspread it widespread altogether, (Literally: outspread it all outspreading, i.e., do not be a spendthrift) for then you will sit blamed and regretfully rejected. (Al-Israa’ 17:29)
And do not be extravagant; surely He does not love the extravagant. (Al-An`am 6:141)
Islam commands people to help one another, especially those in need to that. God says,
And cooperate in righteousness and piety, but do not cooperate in sin and aggression. And fear Allah ; indeed, Allah is severe in penalty. (Al-Ma’idah 5:2)
Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “A Muslim is a brother to a Muslim. He should neither deceive him nor lie to him, nor leave him without assistance. Everything belonging to a Muslim is inviolable for a Muslim; his honor, his blood and property. Piety is here (and he pointed out to his chest thrice). It is enough for a Muslim to commit evil by despising his Muslim brother.” [At- Tirmidhi].
Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “O Muslim women, never belittle any gift you give your neighbor even if it is a hoof of a sheep.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported: “The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “He who believes in Allah and the Last Day let him not harm his neighbor; and he who believes in Allah and the Last Day let him show hospitality to his guest; and he who believes in Allah and the Last Day let him speak good or remain silent”. [Al- Bukhari and Muslim]
Abu Hurairah narrated that the Prophet said: “The generous one is close to Allah, close to Paradise, close to the people and far from the Fire. The stingy is far from Allah, far from Paradise, far from the people and close to the Fire.” (At-Tirmidhi)
These are some of the intrinsic economic bases that directly serve to tighten the grip around poverty, narrow its spaces, drain its sources, and cut its roots.
To be continued…
By Aisha Stacey
Homosexuality is seen as a perverted deviation from the norm and all schools of thought and jurisprudence consider homosexual acts to be unlawful.
Homosexuality is one of the 21st century’s hot topics. The issue of gay marriage is being debated around the world. Strangely, however, many people do not understand what the word homosexuality means nor do they understand what Islam says about the issue. In this article, we will define the term, look at scientific evidences related to homosexuality, discuss the view of other religious groups and finally see just what Islam says about the issue.
Homosexuality is the manifestation of sexual desire toward a member of one’s own sex or the erotic activity with a member of the same sex. (The Greek word homos means the same). A lesbian is a female homosexual. More recently the term “gay” has come into popular use to refer to both sexes who are homosexuals.
The Merriam Webster free online dictionary, in its concise encyclopedia defines homosexuality as sexual interest in and attraction to members of one’s own sex. Female homosexuality is frequently referred to as lesbianism; the word gay is often used as an alternative for both “homosexual” and “lesbian,” though it may (on occasion) refer specifically to male homosexuality.
The role of biological factors in the development of human sexual orientation is a widely debated topic. There is a wide spectrum of opinions about the effect genes, prenatal hormones and brain structure can have on the development of a heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual or asexual person. It seems unclear even to those who declare homosexuality an innate trait. At a PrideWorks conference for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender minors it was stated that “sexuality is fluid” and “may change over time” however, homosexual activists continue to maintain that they are “born gay.”
The latest research by the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS) suggests that homosexuality is not written in our DNA sequence, which explains why scientists have failed so far to find “gay genes,” despite intensive investigations. Instead, they say, it is in certain modifications to how and when DNA is activated. These changes can have environmental roots, so are not normally permanent enough to be passed from parent to child. There is a post script however, because apparently, occasionally they are passed from parent to child. This is a branch of science called epigenetics.
Throughout history particular cultures and societies have treated homosexuality in a number of ways. Homosexual behavior has variously been encouraged, approved of, tolerated, punished, and banned. The three so called Abrahamic faiths Judaism, Christianity, and Islam have generally viewed homosexuality as sinful.
Attitudes toward homosexuality are generally in flux, due in part to increased political activism, however until the early 1970s many medical organizations, including the American Psychiatric Association, classified homosexuality as a mental illness. In the past couple of decades many Christian denominations have changed their views quite significantly and we now see homosexual ministers and an acceptance of same sex marriages, this however is not the case with the Catholic Church. In late 2012 the Vatican spoke out against any suggestions that traditional marriage had been defeated, following significant victories for gay marriage activists in the United States and Europe. In his Peace Day message the pope said, “(There is) a need to acknowledge and promote the natural structure of marriage as the union of a man and a woman in the face of attempts to make it equivalent to radically different types of union. Such attempts actually harm and help to destabilize marriage, obscuring its specific nature and its indispensable role in society.” Earlier in the year the pontiff declared that same sex marriage threatened human dignity and the future of humankind.
Judaism is also struggling with modern day attitudes to homosexuality. The known history of homosexuality in Judaism begins in Leviticus, where intercourse between male homosexuals is a capital offence. “[A man] shall not lie with another man as [he would] with a woman, it is an abomination” (Leviticus 18:22). Thus Orthodoxy’s foundational beliefs concerning the Divinity of Torah and the authority of halachah (received Jewish law) declare homosexuality (the sexual act) as a prohibited action.
In late 2012 the USA’s largest rabbinic organization, the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA) formally withdrew its support of JONAH (Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality). Judaism’s approach to homosexuality has long been one of rehabilitation, as has the Mormon Church. In America, Jews struggling with homosexual inclinations are encouraged to seek therapy to help them overcome unnatural desires. At this point it is interesting to note that both JONAH and various gay organizations refer to homosexuality, as fluid, a state that can fluctuate. Many ex-homosexuals agree that homosexuality is a choice.
Greg Quinlan, president of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays (PFOX), says, “I, as a former homosexual, along with tens of thousands of others who left homosexuality, [am] proof that it is not immutable; you can change.” and “It is not innate; you are not born that way.” There are also a number of Islamic ex-gay groups aimed at attempting to guide homosexuals towards heterosexuality; including the Straightway Foundation, a UK based ex-gay organization which works with homosexual Muslims seeking to eliminate their same-sex attraction.
In the Qur’an, God explicitly condemns homosexuality.
When their brother Lot said to them, “Will you not fear God? Verily! I am a trustworthy Messenger to you. So fear God and obey me. I ask no reward from you, for my only reward is with the Lord of the Worlds. Must you, unlike [other] people, lust after males and abandon the wives that God has created for you? You are exceeding all bounds. (Ash-Shu`ara’ 26:161-166)
There is a consensus among Islamic scholars that human beings are naturally heterosexual. Homosexuality is seen as a perverted deviation from the norm and all schools of thought and jurisprudence consider homosexual acts to be unlawful. Islam considers that our relaxed attitude in this day and age is a product of the times in which we live, where morals have been completely liquefied.
Homosexuality is considered the sin of the people of Prophet Lot and its Arabic word is lutiyya. Liwat is the word for sodomy, under which heading the topic of homosexuality is found in the books of Islamic jurisprudence. Under Islamic law, both the (same-sex) sodomizer and sodomized are condemned to death. However it must be pointed out that the death penalty is applied only under strict conditions and rules of evidence, and only in places that live under Islamic law. There is no fixed prescribed punishment for lesbianism since sexual intercourse does not take place, however it is undoubtedly prohibited and sinful.
In words that are reminiscent of the Catholic pontiff speech in December 2012, the Qur’an tells us that marriage, a union between the two sexes is a combination of love, tenderness, and care, so that each finds in the other completeness, tranquility, and support (Ar-Rum 30:21). According to the Qur’an it is through this spousal connection that men and women find comfort, peace of mind, satisfaction, and fulfillment. These relationships extend beyond the physical sexual contact and to psychological, spiritual relations.
Islam says unequivocally that even if one harbors an urge for homosexual contact the nobility of the human spirit is able to overcome such urges through dedication to pleasing God, and submitting willingly to His commands that are undoubtedly designed for our benefit.
 A USA based conference for lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender youth and their allies.
 For more detailed information (http://healthland.time.com/2012/12/13/new-insight-into-the-epigenetic-roots-of-homosexuality/)
Source: Taken with modifications from Islamreligion.com
By Hanaa Hamad
When we open our hearts and pardon others, we are granting ourselves an inner peace.
It never ceases to amaze me that Allah can inspire so much fear in our hearts when we reflect on His supremacy, yet His Mercy is equally as vast as His Dominion. Allah tells us in a hadith qudsi (sacred narration of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him): “O son of Adam, were your sins to reach the clouds of the sky and were you then to ask forgiveness of Me, I would forgive you”. (At-Tirmidhi)
Subhan Allah (Glory be to Allah) there is no limit to Allah’s forgiveness, even though our mistakes are numerous.
But what’s disheartening is how seldom we are able to forgive each other and how often we are impetuously intolerant toward one another. Islam teaches us that the strongest of servants are those who not only have the strength to suppress their anger when they are tested but also possess an immeasurable capacity to forgive.
The Prophet said that: “Whoever suffers an injury and forgives (the person responsible), God will raise his status to a higher degree and remove one of his sins”. (At-Tirmidhi) If we can sincerely forgive those who anger us, inwardly and outwardly, then that cleanses our souls from the Satan and his negative energy. It is important to disregard vain criticisms and this is the first step toward being tolerant.
Of course, this is not done without difficulty because it is hard to understand why those who have caused us grievances wanted to do so in the first place. But this is where the battle with our inner self can take a positive turn and allow us to elevate our iman (faith). This inner struggle is what the Prophet called “the Greater Jihad” because it involves tolerance and fighting the evil within ourselves in order to purify our hearts. This is always done for the sake of Allah and to purify our spiritual conditions.
Islam also teaches us that the best kind of forgiveness is answering the oppression of others with kindness. The Prophet inspired us with this practice when he said to his followers: “God had ordered me to maintain ties with those who sever ties with me, and to give to those who deprive me, and to forgive those who oppress me.” (Al-Bukhari)
The Prophet and his Companions were so merciful in their conduct that instead of becoming angry with their offenders, they defended them and gave them gifts. What immeasurable acts of compassion! They went beyond human altruism and practiced unmatched generosity. They demonstrated that when we open our hearts and pardon others, we are granting ourselves an inner peace.
This is how we can prevent spite from suffocating our hearts, which is crucial because hatred has the ability to make us internally ill. We think that hatred is a means of revenge against those who have harmed us, but by begrudging them we are only harming ourselves. This is because our enemies will never feel our anger, and they live contently as we suffer. When we forgive others, it brings relief to our souls because it is a kind of liberating release. This is because when someone has upset us, they have a power over us because we allowed them to do so.
Life is short. Let us not waste our energy on being angry at our enemies and seeking revenge against them. If we can progressively minimize our spite every day, then soon we will bear no hatred or malice in our hearts, in sha’ Allah (God willing). This is how we can end conflict amongst ourselves, since it is a day to day issue we face.
After all, sometimes our own actions can provoke another person’s wrong doings and we may not be aware of how we contributed to the conflict. We tend to judge the faults of others, while being blind to our own. We forget how we have wronged others, and we only remember how others have wronged us. In the same manner, we forget the good things that others have done for us, and remember only the good that we have done for them. It is an innate human error. But let us try to remember our own shortcomings before we reflect on the shortcomings of others.
Let us stop victimizing ourselves and think about how we have victimized others, and then seek their forgiveness. And if they ask our forgiveness, let us always grant it to them. Because the Prophet taught us that: “Whoever does not show mercy will not be shown mercy”. (Al-Bukhari) And we must keep in mind that however we treat others is how Allah will treat us.
So in sha’ Allah when someone hurts us, let us try to meet their oppression with kindness and forgive them, even if they are not sorry.
By Editorial Staff
Friendship is a kind of relationship based on mutual affection, consent and respect between more than one people. It is something gorgeous and honorable but it can be detrimental at the same time. A friend is the mirror of his pal; they generally share a set of interests, inclinations, behaviors, ideas, choices, beliefs, attitudes, etc. You may not notice these similarities but they are a must in this kind of relation. For this reason, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) recommends us to be very careful while choosing a friend because of the very fact that the friend leaves significant impacts on the whole character of his friend. Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported: “I heard the Prophet (peace be upon him) saying, “Man follows his friend’s religion, you should be careful who you take for friends”. (At-Tirmidhi and Abu Dawud) The word “religion” here refers to the way of life of persons.
Therefore, the Qur’an alluded to the necessity of finding the righteous ones and taking them as companions owing to the substantial influences of the companions upon one another. Almighty Allah says,
And keep yourself patient [by being] with those who call upon their Lord in the morning and the evening, seeking His countenance. And let not your eyes pass beyond them, desiring adornments of the worldly life, and do not obey one whose heart We have made heedless of Our remembrance and who follows his desire and whose affair is ever [in] neglect. (Al-Kahf 18:28)
The good companion will not entice you to an evil action that displeases God, or recalls the censure of people. Rather, he will surely lend you a hand and assists you to the path of guidance. He will share the virtuous matters with you while the bad friend is generally on the other side. The Prophet (peace be upon him) makes a comparison between the good and bad friend in the following hadith narrated by Abu Musa Al-Ash’ari (May Allah be pleased with him) who reported: I heard the Prophet (peace be upon him) saying, “The similitude of good company and that of bad company is that of the owner of musk and of the one blowing the bellows. The owner of musk would either offer you some free of charge, or you would buy it from him, or you smell its pleasant fragrance; and as for the one who blows the bellows (i.e., the blacksmith), he either burns your clothes or you smell a repugnant smell”. [Al- Bukhari and Muslim]
Enjoy watching this interesting video by Sheikh Nouman Ali Khan sheds light on the concept of friendship in Islam and explains how one can get the best friend.
Source: Zulfiqaar Media Youtube Channel
Enjoy watching this video by Sheikh Mufti Menk in which he shows us how to bravely pass the tests of life to finally gain the pleasure and promise of God.
By Editorial Staff
Almighty Allah says,
Do the people think that they will be left to say, “We believe” and they will not be tried? But We have certainly tried those before them, and Allah will surely make evident those who are truthful, and He will surely make evident the liars. (Al-`Ankabut 29:2-3)
And We will surely test you until We make evident those who strive among you [for the cause of Allah ] and the patient, and We will test your affairs. (Muhammad 47:31)
Life is the field of tests. Everything in this life is a test for you; your work, properties, couple, children, health or sickness, poorness or richness, occupancy or leisure, etc. is a means of testing. Almighty Allah has made this temporary life as an introduction to the eternal life after death. The latter one is contingent on the former, which is already a field of tests. If you succeed to pass these tests, you will enjoy a pleasant life and if you fail, it is, unfortunately hell or otherwise God may forgive. This is simply the straight equation of this life.
Almighty God has created man for an ultimate goal, namely to worship God, in the broad meaning of worship. God has promised those who bravely fulfill this goal and overcome the obstacles that obstruct their way that they will remain in eternal bliss in the heavens. However, those who are trapped in the snares of Satan and take the other way of misguidance, they are in fact heading fast towards the hell. A paradise-seeker should know that paradise is invaluable and its way is fraught with many hindrances, such as the evil desires, Satan, plots of wrongdoers and prohibited matters. These things are embellished by Satan and one’s fancy in addition to the cost of leading a God-pleasing way of life which involves a straight lifestyle in which one’s freedom to act is limited by the commands and prohibitions of God, which is the core of the meaning of the tests of life.
Enjoy watching this video by Sheikh Mufti Menk in which he shows us how to pass the tests of this life to finally gain the pleasure and promise of God.
Source: Reminders From Mufti Menk Youtube Channel
“The technology industry would not exist without the contributions of Arab mathematicians,”
says Carly Fiorina.
In one of her lectures, Carly Fiorina, the CEO of Hewlett-Packard, said: ‘I’ll end by telling a story.’ And this is the story:
‘There was once a civilization that was the greatest in the world. It was able to create a continental super-state that stretched from ocean to ocean, and from northern climes to tropics and deserts. Within its dominion lived hundreds of millions of people, of different creeds and ethnic origins.
One of its languages became the universal language of much of the world, the bridge between the peoples of a hundred lands. Its armies were made up of people of many nationalities, and its military protection allowed a degree of peace and prosperity that had never been known. The reach of this civilization’s commerce extended from Latin America to China, and everywhere in between.
And this civilization was driven more than anything, by invention. Its architects designed buildings that defied gravity. Its mathematicians created the algebra and algorithms that would enable the building of computers, and the creation of encryption. Its doctors examined the human body, and found new cures for disease. Its astronomers looked into the heavens, named the stars, and paved the way for space travel and exploration.
Its writers created thousands of stories. Stories of courage, romance and magic. Its poets wrote of love, when others before them were too steeped in fear to think of such things.
When other nations were afraid of ideas, this civilization thrived on them, and kept them alive. When censors threatened to wipe out knowledge from past civilizations, this civilization kept the knowledge alive, and passed it on to others.
While modern Western civilization shares many of these traits, the civilization I’m talking about was the Islamic world from the year 800 to 1600, which included the Ottoman Empire and the courts of Baghdad, Damascus and Cairo, and enlightened rulers like Suleiman the Magnificent.
Although we are often unaware of our indebtedness to this other civilization, its gifts are very much a part of our heritage. The technology industry would not exist without the contributions of Arab mathematicians.’
Reference: A lecture titled: What does our future demand of leaders today?
* Who is Carly Fiorina?
Carleton S. (Carly) Fiorina is chairman and chief executive officer of Hewlett-Packard Company. HP is a leading global provider of computing and imaging solutions and services and is focused on making technology and its benefits accessible to all.
Since joining HP in July 1999, Fiorina has led HP’s reinvention as a company that makes the Internet work for businesses and consumers. Under her leadership, HP has returned to its roots of innovation and inventiveness and is focused on delivering the best total customer experience.
Prior to joining HP, she spent nearly 20 years at AT&T and Lucent Technologies, where she held a number of senior leadership positions in sales and marketing. As president of Lucent’s Global Service Provider Business, she expanded the company’s international business and spearheaded the planning and execution of its initial public offering and subsequent spin-off from AT&T.
Fiorina holds a bachelor’s degree in medieval history and philosophy from Stanford University; a master’s degree in business administration from the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland at College Park, Md.; and a Master of Science degree from MIT’s Sloan School. In July 2001, she was named an Honorary Fellow of London Business School. She serves on the board of Cisco Systems and was previously a board member of the Kellogg Company and Merck & Company.
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