- What Every Muslim Should Know About Christmas?
Al-Hamdulillah, All praise be to Allah alone, for making us Muslims and bestowing us the Deen of Islam to distinguish right and wrong. The holiday season is upon us again, and the ugly head of Satan is rising again to inspire people to indulge in innovation and shirk.What proceeds is an analytical view of Christmas and appropriate Muslim conduct during the Christmas season. Any belief system or ritual (Christmas or otherwise) in any religion should satisfy each of the following criteria to be labeled as authentic:
1. It should have its evidence from the scriptures or from the authentic sayings of the Messenger. 2. The Messenger himself and his companions should practice and propagate it. 3. The Scripture or the Messenger's sayings in which this belief system is present should be preserved from alterations or perishment.
Does Christmas have Biblical Evidence?The word 'Christmas' is not even present in the entire Bible. The Bible has closed lips on the entire feast of Christmas with one exception, the decoration of tree. Fortunately, for the Christians, the Bible does has a word or two to say on the decoration of the Christmas tree, but unfortunately for them, their own Bible criticizes the use of decorating tree:
"The customs of the people are worthless, they cut a tree out of the forest, and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel, they adore it with silver and gold, they fasten it with hammer and nails so it will not totter" (Jeremiah 10:3,4).Pre-Christian pagans superstitiously believed that the evergreen tree has special power of protection. In fact, the use of Christmas tree began in the 17th century, in Strasbourg, France and from there it spread to Germany, Britain and then to the U.S. "Tree worship was a common feature of religion among the Teutonic and Scandinavian peoples of northern Europe before their conversion to Christianity…German settlers brought the Christmas tree custom to the American colonies in the 17th century. By the 19th century its use was quite widespread". (Compton's Encyclopedia, 1998 Edition)
Was Jesus Born on Dec. 25th?Neither the date 25th Dec. nor any other date on Jesus' birth is mentioned in the Bible. Not until the year 530 C.E., that a monk, Dionysus Exigus, fixed the date of the birth of Jesus on Dec. 25th. "He wrongly dated the birth of Christ according to the Roman system (i.e., 754 years after the founding of Rome) as Dec. 25, 753". (Encyclopedia Britannica, 1998 ed.) This date was chosen perhaps in keeping with the holidays already indoctrinated into pagans. Roman pagans celebrated Dec. 25th as the birth of their 'god' of light, Mithra. "In the 2nd century A..D., it (Mithraism) was more general in the Roman Empire than Christianity, to which it bore many similarities" (The Concise Columbia Encyclopedia, 1995 ed.)
"The reason why Christmas came to be celebrated on December 25 remains uncertain, but most probably the reason is that early Christians wished the date to coincide with the pagan Roman festival marking the "birthday of the unconquered sun" (natalis solis invicti); this festival celebrated the winter solstice, when the days again begin to lengthen and the sun begins to climb higher in the sky". (Encyclopedia Britannica, 1998 Ed.)Other pagan 'gods' born on Dec. 25th are: Hercules, the son of Zeus (Greeks) Bacchus, god of wind, (Romans),Adenis god of Greeks Freyr the Greek-Roman god.
What about Santa Claus?Once again the word 'Santa Claus' appears no where in the bible. However Saint Nicholas (Santa Claus) was a real person, bishop, who was born 300 years after Jesus (pbuh). According to legend he was extremely kind and went out at night to distribute presents to the needy. After his death on the 6th of Dec., school boys in Europe celebrated a feast day every year on the anniversary of his death. Queen Victoria later changed the celebration date from Dec. 6th to Dec. 24th eve. Thus Christmas is an innovation (bidah) in their religion, associating it with Santa Claus, and changing the original date of death anniversary of Saint Nicholas are further deviations.
Did Jesus or his companions celebrated Christmas?Of course not. If Jesus meant his 'Ummah' to celebrate Christmas, he would have practiced it himself and enjoined it on his followers. Even the 'supposed pseudo-companions' of Jesus (and not the companions of Jesus mentioned in the Quran who called themselves as Muslims) mentioned in the bible made many innovations in their religion, but celebrating Christmas was not their endeavor.
"In fact, the church did not observe a festival for the celebration of the event until the 4th century" (Grolier's Encyclopedia).Even if Christianity passed the above two test, they still have to prove that their Bible have remained unaltered since its revelation. A whole separate article could be written on this topic. We'll mention three brief points, insha Allah. (1) Bible, unlike our Quran, was not written down during Jesus' lifetime and no evidence of it ever being memorized. (2) The oldest bible (Codex Siniticas) in possession of Christendom is only from the 4th century C.E. (3) verses are missing or added as to the Bible throughout the centuries. Compare different Bible versions (eg. compare the King James Version with Revised Standard Version. For verse: 1 John 5:7, this verse is missing in Revised Standard Version published in 1952). How unfortunate and pitiful: parts of the original Bible has been lost. Part surviving has been corrupted and the corrupted parts has been misinterpreted.
How should Muslims React to Christmas?Being the custodians of Truth and the 'Best Ummah created for mankind" and "witnesses unto Mankind", we Muslims just can't stay still as the society around us is entrapped by Satan. Enjoining good and forbidding evil should be our theme. The foremost thing to realize is that Christmas is a big innovation which is leading a big part of humanity to shirk (associating partners with God). Christianity has transgressed the limits set by Allah; therefore showing happiness and joy on Christmas, Halloween, Easter, Good Friday is like shaking hands with Satan and telling him to carry on the good work. Remember Allah commandment to us in the Quran:
"Help you one another in virtue and righteousness, but do not help one another in sin and transgression. And fear Allah, verily Allah is severe in punishment". (Quran, 5:2)Therefore, a Muslim can't enjoin in any aspect of Christmas in the disguise that Jesus is our Prophet too, we are just honoring him by celebrating Christmas. We should recognize the bidah of Christmas and the Prophet's warning that all bidah should be rejected. Therefore, accepting Christmas invitations, attending Christmas parties, buying small plastic Christmas trees to please the kids (some Muslims actually do) should be avoided. By greeting Christians with 'merry Christmas' we are legitimizing Christmas, by driving out on Christmas eve to witness the decoration of houses, we are appreciating bidah with our eyes, by placing our kids on the laps of Santa in the malls we are handing them in the hands of a fiend, by closing our Islamic Schools or shops during Christmas we are giving it our silent approval, by selling Christmas items in our shops, we are strengthening the pillars of Kufr. By purchasing for children books with Christmas themes ('The Night before Christmas'), by watching Christmas movies and by giving holidays to our regular Islamic schools or weekend schools, we are passing them a misguided message. Indeed Islam came to tear down the pillars of kufr and replace them with the pillars of Islam. Armed with facts on Christmas and eloquent words of Islam, the door of Dawah to the Christians should be wisely open. When the Christians see us restraining from observing Christmas, they will curiously ask us for the reason. This opportunity should be used by each single Muslim to discuss Islam and invite non-Muslims to Islam. It is highly recommended for all Muslims to carry brochures on Islam with them to pass on to non-Muslim classmates, co-workers, neighbors etc. after discussing Islam. Free brochures on various topics on Islam can be obtained by calling 1-718-658-1199 (for U.S. and Canadian residents). Writing articles in campus and local newspapers on 'Jesus (pbuh) in Islam', conducting soup kitchens in impoverished neighborhoods, clothing drives in schools and college campuses for the needy etc. are some proper modes of conduct during the Christmas holiday season. Thus the hearts and minds of non-Muslims should be exposed to the beautiful message of Islam. Truth comes, falsehood disappears; Islam came, now shirk must clear. Sabeel Ahmed October 1997. ----------------------------- [Currently, he is the co-chairman of the Da'wa Committee and Board of Director at the Muslim Community Center, Illinois. A student of Ahmed Deedat and now works for the 1-800-662-islam hotline of ICNA. His main interest is in comparative religion.]
- What is Jihad?
Jihad is a word that means striving and struggle; it does not mean terrorism or holy war. It is associated with acts that accompanied by hardship and require a person to strive and struggle to perform. It comprises many different efforts that a Muslim is required to take part in – spiritual, intellectual, and physical.
One aspect of many aspects of jihad is taking part in physical combat, in order to fight for justice and against tyranny. This kind of jihad is praiseworthy when done properly, as part of a legitimate and recognised army, just as those who fight to liberate the innocent from tyranny all over the world are regarded as heroes in their home nations and amongst the communities they serve and protect.
This kind of jihad is often hijacked by those who seek to justify their own selfish political desires; however, they can only justify terrorism and murder by twisting passages of the Qur’an, and misquoting the texts of Islam, since the Qur’an and the Prophet Muhammad (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) specifically prohibited transgression and persecution at times of war; the killing of women, children, and the elderly; the destruction of people’s crops and livelihood; the use of weapons that maim rather than kill; the harsh treatment of captives; and many other rules and regulations.Full Answer
The concept of jihad is a topic in Islam that receives a lot of attention. Often presented as synonymous with holy war, and more recently associated with terrorism, jihad is one of the most misunderstood words in Islam.
Linguistically, jihad is a noun meaning struggle or striving. It is important to note that the linguistic meaning of jihad is not related to war, for which the Arabic is harb.
Within the context of Islam, jihad refers to a variety of different efforts – spiritual, intellectual, and physical – that Muslims strive to do for the sake of God Almighty. It is most commonly associated with actions that are accompanied by hardship and require endurance to perform. Allah, the Exalted, said in the Qur’an:
“And those who strive for Us – We will surely guide them to Our ways. And indeed, Allah is with the doers of good.” [The Qur’an: al-‘Ankabut 29:69] (the word strive here is a derivative of the word jihad).The Prophet Muhammad (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said to his wife ‘Aa’ishah: “the best jihad [for women] is an accepted hajj” (i.e., the pilgrimage to Makkah) He also said: “The greatest jihad is speaking the truth in front of a tyrannical ruler” In all of these examples, the word jihad is used to refer to actions which are accompanied by hardship and require a person to strive and struggle to perform. Taking into account the various efforts that Muslims are required to perform in order to struggle for the sake of God, jihad has different levels. The levels of jihad begin with a personal struggle against one’s own desires. This includes striving to learn the teachings of Islam, striving to act upon them, striving to convey them to others, and striving to be patient over what happens as a result. So, a person who struggles with an addition to alcohol, for example, would be partaking in this form of jihad – a personal struggle against himself. Likewise, a person who suffers financial hardship in order to teach Islam to others would also be partaking in this form of jihad. The second level of jihad is to strive against the devil and his plots. This implies a wider struggle against the ills of society, warding off the doubts that are spread to undermine faith, and fighting corruption in the world. The third level of jihad is to strive against those who oppose the religion of Islam and seek to bring about its destruction. This includes the hypocrites who seek to destroy Islam by professing faith whilst concealing disbelief, as well as those who fight against Islam and the Muslims, whether by means intellectual or psychological attacks, or those who physically attack Muslims around the world. This level of jihad takes many forms; each form is particular to the circumstances and the ability of the individuals concerned. These forms include having hatred in the heart, speaking out with the tongue, and the spending of wealth. They also include, in certain specific circumstances, physical and military combat. It is this form of jihad that is hijacked by those who seek to use Islam to legitimise their own selfish aims. In reality, this form of jihad, which has an aspect of physical combat, is nothing like the terrorism and murder that we see committed all over the world in the name of Islam; rather, it based upon defending the rights of the oppressed, as Allah said in the Qur’an: “And what is [the matter] with you that you fight not in the cause of Allah while the oppressed among men, women, and children say, ‘Our Lord, take us out of this city of oppressive people and appoint for us from Yourself a protector and appoint for us from Yourself a helper?’” [The Qur’an: an-Nisaa’ 4:75] There is no doubt that military operations, carried out by a legitimate and recognised army whose objective is to free the oppressed and liberate those living in tyranny is something which is praiseworthy. The soldiers who take part in such combat are regarded as heroes by their home nations and those communities whom they protect and serve. They take part in a difficult but necessary action, in order to resolve problems that cannot be done so peacefully. When we look at wars such as World War II; although lives were tragically lost, the long term damage would likely have been more significant and catastrophic. This is something that Allah mentions in the Holy Qur’an: “Had Allah not checked one set of people by means of another, the earth would indeed have been full of corruption; but Allah is full of bounty to all the worlds” [The Qur’an: al-Baqarah 2:251]. There is also no doubt that just as there are armies who defend the oppressed and liberate those living in tyranny, there are armies who invade countries and attack their people, mercilessly killing and plundering resources for political and monetary gain. In Islamic history, there are those who have participated in the jihad of combat, and are regarded as heroes among the Muslims, defending the rights of the innocent, and fighting against tyranny; just there are those who use the concept of jihad to murder the innocent and terrorise the people. Both of these two groups of people recite the same parts of the Qur’an, but while one of them understands the passages in context, the other takes them out of context, in order to use Islam as an excuse for the corruption they seek to spread. An example of this is the oft-quoted passage of the Qur’an: “And kill them wherever you overtake them and expel them from wherever they have expelled you, and persecution is worse than killing. And do not fight them at al-Masjid al-Haram until they fight you there. But if they fight you, then kill them. Such is the recompense of the disbelievers.” [The Qur’an: al-Baqarah 2:191] Those who wish to murder the innocent quote this passage as their justification, making the passage a general permission to kill all those who do not believe in the religion of Islam, as well as all those Muslims who do not approve of their actions. Now let us look at the passage in the context of the passage that comes before: “Fight in the way of Allah those who fight you but do not transgress. Indeed. Allah does not like transgressors.” [The Qur’an: al-Baqarah 2:190] and the passage that comes after: “And if they cease, then indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.” [The Qur’an: al-Baqarah 2:192] When we see the context, it becomes clear that the passage is speaking of a specific battle, at a specific time; exhorting the soldiers to fight against those who persecuted them and were actively fighting against them, whilst not transgressing against the innocent, and commanding them to cease hostilities if their enemies do so. In fact, jihad which has an element of combat is regulated by an extremely strict set of rules, coming long before the Geneva Convention established humanitarian treatment at times of war. From the regulations of combat in Islam are the following: 1. That no form of transgression or persecution be carried out against the enemy; action must be surgical, and responses to aggression just and appropriate: “Fight in the way of Allah those who fight you but do not transgress. Indeed. Allah does not like transgressors.” [The Qur’an: al-Baqarah 2:190] 2. Not to continue fighting against those with whom there is a ceasefire, and to reach out for peaceful solutions to problems: “If they seek peace, then you seek peace. And trust in Allah for He is the One that hears and knows all things.” [The Qur’an: al-Anfaal 8:61] 3. The Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) “forbade the killing of women and children”. [Sahih Muslim, Book 019, Number 4320] 4. The forbidding of killing the wounded, mutilating the dead, and attacking those who take no part in the hostilities, as the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “ ..Do not behave treacherously, nor misappropriate war-booty, nor mutilate, nor kill children, nor the people in monasteries.” [Narrated by Ahmad, at-Tirmidhi]. 5. Forbidding the burning of crops and the destruction of people’s buildings livelihood. Abu Bakr, the best and most knowledgeable of the companions of the Messenger of Allah (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), said: “I advise you ten things: Do not kill women or children or an aged, infirm person. Do not cut down fruit-bearing trees. Do not destroy an inhabited place. Do not slaughter sheep or camels except for food. Do not burn bees and do not scatter them. Do not steal from the war booty, and do not be cowardly.” [al-Bukhari & others]. 6. Forbidding the use of weapons that maim and do not kill cleanly and mercifully. The Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) forbade the use of the slingshot, saying, “It does not catch game, nor does it inflict defeat on the enemy, but breaks teeth and puts eyes out.” [Narrated by al-Bukhari & others]. 7. Good treatment of captives and prisoners of war: “And they feed, for the love of Allah, the poor, the orphan, and the captive, (saying), ‘We feed you seeking the face of Allah alone; no reward do we desire from you, nor thanks’” [The Qur’an: al-Insaan 76:8-9]. In summary, jihad is a word that means striving and struggle. It is associated with acts that accompanied by hardship and require a person to strive and struggle to perform. It comprises many different efforts that a Muslim is required to perform – spiritual, intellectual, and physical. One aspect of many aspects of jihad is taking part in physical combat, in order to fight for justice and against tyranny. This kind of jihad is praiseworthy when done properly, as part of a legitimate and recognised army, just as those who fight to liberate the innocent from tyranny all over the world are regarded as heroes in their home nations and amongst the communities they serve and protect. This kind of jihad is often hijacked by those who seek to justify their own selfish political desires; however, they can only justify terrorism and murder by twisting passages of the Qur’an, and misquoting the texts of Islam, since the Qur’an and the Prophet Muhammad (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) specifically prohibited transgression and persecution at times of war; the killing of women, children, and the elderly; the destruction of people’s crops and livelihood; the use of weapons that maim rather than kill; the harsh treatment of captives; and many other rules and regulations.Read More
- Belief in day of Judgment
In the Name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful Death is one of the few indisputable facts of life. Regardless of faith, race, status or age, we will all die. While the certainty of death is universally accepted, the question of what happens afterwards has been debated throughout history. Islam teaches that one’s life doesn’t end on earth; rather, it is followed by the eternal life of the hereafter. This pamphlet explains how this belief has a major impact on our earthly lives, while instilling hope for healing in a perfect world where God’s ultimate justice will prevail. Despite its inevitability, we get so absorbed in living that we forget about death. Our daily routines, the comfort of our homes and our relationships keep us so busy that we have little time left to ponder over the fleeting nature of this world. Then, suddenly, we are forced to face the reality of our existence when a loved one is afflicted with a debilitating disease or we experience a shocking loss. Helpless, we are jolted by the frailty of life, leading us to question our priorities and reevaluate our lifestyles. According to Islam, when confronted with a calamity, one should say, “To God we belong and to Him we shall return” (Quran 2:156). This invocation is also recited when someone dies. Reminding us of our origin and our ultimate destiny, it puts the purpose of our lives in perspective. God clearly states in the Quran, the divinely revealed message from God to all humanity, that He has created humankind to worship Him. Since worship is a comprehensive concept in Islam, consisting of specific rituals as well as general actions that promote good, it encourages people to conduct every aspect of their lives with God-consciousness. Muslims believe they will return to God (Allah in Arabic) when they die. Therefore, instead of the end, death becomes part of a continuum which stretches into eternity. Beyond Here What happens after death? Does a world exist beyond this life? Is there such a place as heaven or hell? These are common questions we ask from time to time. After all, the enigma of death stumps us. We’ve devised various ways of killing other humans. Yet, despite innumerable technological and medical advances, we still cannot prevent an individual from dying. Furthermore, unlike life which we experience daily, we really don’t have firsthand knowledge of life after death. Aside from some near-death incidents, no one has come back from the dead to tell us what they encountered. Due to their faith in the One God who created this universe and sustains it, Muslims rely on divine guidance for glimpses of a reality invisible to human eyes. Divine guidance comprises prophetic examples and scriptural revelations. God sent prophets to guide humanity, such as Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad, the final prophet of God, peace be upon all of them. Moreover, He also revealed holy books, including the Torah, the Gospel and the Quran. In keeping with the universal message of God, every prophet warned of the certainty of the afterlife and each of the divine books speaks of the existence of the soul. In the Quran, God promises, “Every soul will taste death. Then to Us will you be returned” (29:57). On the Day of Judgment, every individual will be resurrected to account for their lives. God describes this event in the Quran, “On that Day, people will come forward in separate groups to be shown their deeds: whoever has done an atom’s weight of good will see it, but whoever has done an atom’s weight of evil will see that” (99:6-8). God will weigh everyone’s good and bad actions according to His Mercy and His Justice, forgiving many sins and multiplying the reward for many noble deeds. One who excels in goodness will be rewarded generously, but one whose evils and wrongs outweigh his virtues will be punished. Those who fulfilled their purpose in life and lived righteously will enter an eternal paradise of pure bliss. The people of heaven will reside in beautiful mansions, no longer suffering from fatigue, disease and old age. God will remove animosity and pain from people’s hearts, providing supreme healing in a world of abundance and luxury, of lush gardens and flowing rivers. In contrast, those who die in a state of transgression against God or oppress others will be led to Hellfire. Despite all of God’s blessings, they neglected their ultimate purpose of leading their lives in accordance with His Will and Guidance. The Quran describes Hell as a place filled with immense suffering, with extreme temperatures, unquenchable thirst and blazing flames. Truly, God wants each one of us to be salvaged in the afterlife. He has sent guidance and left signs for those who seek Him and reflect. At the same time, He has given us the choice to freely indulge in the world around us or to abide by His laws. In the Quran, God declares, “Why should God make you suffer torment if you are thankful and believe in Him? God always rewards gratitude and He knows everything” (4:147). The Greater Plan Belief in the soul and the afterlife gives a context to our current existence. Those who focus only on this immediate life miss out on the bigger picture. Indeed, they become heedless of their purpose in life. God reminds humanity, “The life of this world is merely an amusement and a diversion; the true life is in the Hereafter, if only they knew” (Quran 29:64). Islam teaches that this life is simply a test to determine our place in the eternal life after death. Those who understand the reality ahead of them are aware that their ultimate fate after death is based on their actions in this life. Such individuals are thankful for all the blessings that God has given them and humbly worship Him while promoting goodness in all aspects of their lives. When a person embraces such a God-conscious way of life, their purpose extends beyond merely enjoying worldly pleasures. Their life is one of submission to God and they seek to positively contribute to the world around them. All of their transactions with people, even animals and the environment, are rooted in this motivation. They are guided by the certainty that they will one day return to their Creator and be held accountable for their deeds. Although they have the freedom to live according to their whims, they limit their attachment to this brief and imperfect life, seeking an eternal paradise in the hereafter. Why Believe? Believing in the soul and the afterlife is foremost about having faith in the unseen. Just as our souls are intangible beings giving life to our physical bodies, the world we see around us is functioning based on an invisible system created by God who is Ever-Watchful and All-Aware. Muslims believe that God is also Just and He maintains a meticulous record of our deeds. We will be recompensed for our earthly lives in the hereafter where ultimate justice prevails. Humans naturally seek justice in all aspects of their lives. When a person works, they expect to receive an appropriate salary. When an individual is harmed, they seek compensation. When someone helps another, they anticipate appreciation for their effort. Even though humans strive hard to establish justice, the reality is that this world will never be perfectly just. Many criminals go unpunished while the oppressed are denied basic rights. Do their lives simply dissolve without any accountability or fair dealing? God proclaims in the Quran, “Do those who commit evil deeds really think that We will deal with them in the same way as those who believe and do righteous deeds, that they will be alike in their living and their dying? How badly they judge!” (45:21). In the afterlife, the evil doers will not be able to escape the grip of justice and victims of worldly suffering will be recompensed for their pain. People who spent their lives responsibly, avoiding temptations to commit sins, will also be rewarded. As mentioned in the Quran, “God created the heavens and the earth for a true purpose: to reward each soul according to its deeds. They will not be wronged” (45:22). According to Islam, one of the greatest injustices humans can commit is to deny God’s existence, add partners to Him or worship worldly ideals or materialistic goals. Islam teaches that God is the Creator, Sustainer and Nourisher of every being in the heavens and the earth. As His creation, it is His right that we worship and obey Him. He showers us with His blessings every day out of His love and mercy. Worshiping Him is an expression of gratitude to God, and ignoring Him or worshiping others is ungratefulness and a denial of His blessings. If our man-made judicial systems punish people for committing injustices against other people, it is even more understandable that God would punish those who deny Him His rights and commit injustices against His creation. God says in the Quran, “We shall set up scales of justice for the Day of Judgment, so that not a soul will be dealt with unjustly in the least, and if there be (no more than) the weight of a mustard seed, We will bring it (to account): and enough are We to take account” (21:47). God’s Mercy As imperfect beings, we often make mistakes and commit wrong actions. While God does not expect perfection from us, He calls on us to strive to the utmost to worship Him and to live righteously. Out of His Mercy, God pardons whom He wills in the hereafter. God promises us in the Quran: “And those who believe and do righteous deeds – We will surely remove from them their misdeeds and will surely reward them according to the best of what they used to do” (29:7). Muslims seek salvation in the hereafter by living a God-conscious and virtuous life in this world. The fear of accountability in the hereafter, along with hope in the promise of God’s ultimate justice, motivates them to orient their present lives around the comprehensive worship of God, the true purpose of human existence. In this way, they endeavor in this temporary life for eternal joy. [To the righteous it will be said], “O reassured soul, return to your Lord, well-pleased and pleasing [to Him], and enter among My [righteous] servants, and enter My Paradise.” (Quran, 89:27-30)Read More
- Marriage In Islam
“And among His signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that you may dwell in peace and tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts): Verily in that are signs for those who reflect” (Quran 30:21). “O Humans revere your Guardian Lord, Who created you from a single person created of like nature its mate, and from this scattered (like seeds) countless men and women. Reverence Allah through Whom you claim your mutual rights” (Quran 4:1). The above verses of the Quran lay out the framework for the basis and objectives of marriage in Islam. In the ultimate Wisdom of Allah we are first told that both partners, man and woman, are created from the same source and that this should be paid attention to as it is one of His Signs. The fact that we come from the same soul signifies our equality as humans. When the essence of our creation is the same, the argument of who is better or greater is redundant. To stress on this fact, and then to talk about marriage in the same verse, is of great significance for those of us who are in the field of marriage counseling. A shift in this attitude of gender equality as human beings causes an imbalance in marital relationships leading to dysfunctional marriages. Whenever one party considers that they are superior or above the law there is a power shift which may subsequently lead to misuse or abuse of that power. As a result, the less valuable partner is seen as an easy prey. Many marital difficulties are based on, or caused by, control and rule stratagem. By stressing on the equality of all humans, men or women, and making it the basis of marriage, Allah, in His Infinite Wisdom, has laid the ground rules for establishing peace. He has assigned different roles to husband and wife as functional strategy, rather than as a question of competence as humans. Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) has stated that: “men and women are twin halves of each other” (Bukhari). This narration also brings home the fact that men and women are created from a single source. Furthermore, by using the analogy of twin half, the Prophet (pbuh) has underlined the reciprocal and interdependent nature of men and women’s relationships. The objective of marriage, according to the above Quranic verses, is to enable us to dwell in peace and tranquility. It is important for us to reflect on these words and their significance in the Islamic frame of reference. In order to have peace certain condition must be met. These prerequisites to peace are Justice, Fairness, Equity, Equality, and fulfillment of mutual rights. Therefore any injustice whether it is oppression, or persecution, cannot be tolerated if there is to be peace in Muslim homes. In the domestic realm, oppression is manifested when the process of Shura (consultation) is compromised, neglected or ignored. When one partner (in most cases the husband) makes unilateral decisions and applies a dictatorial style of leadership, peace is compromised. Persecution is present when there is any form of domestic abuse being perpetrated. Tranquility on the other hand is a state of being which is achieved when peace has been established. Tranquility is compromised when there is tension, stress and anger. It is a mistake to take tranquility to mean perpetual state of bliss, since being a Muslim does not make one immune to tragedies and catastrophes. In fact God tells us repeatedly in the Quran that a believer will be tried and tested. However, a state of tranquility empowers one to handle difficult moments with their spouses as obedient servants of God. God, in His infinite Mercy, also provides us with the tools by which we can achieve this state of peace and tranquility. The second principle on which Islamic family life is based is Rahma, meaning mercy. As mentioned in the above verse, God tells us that it is He that has placed mercy between the hearts of spouses. We are therefore inclined by our very nature to have mercy for each other. Mercy is manifested through compassion, forgiveness, care and humility. It is obvious that these are all ingredients that make for a successful partnership. Marriage in Islam is above all a partnership based on equality of partners and specification of roles. Lack of mercy in a marriage, or in a family, renders it in Islamic terms dysfunctional. Allah further states that He has also placed in addition to mercy, love between spouses. It should be noted, however, that the Islamic concept of love is different from the more commonly understood romantic love that has become so valued. The basic difference is that love between man and woman in the Islamic context can only be realized and expressed in a legal marriage. In order to develop a healthy avenue for the expression of love between a man and woman, and to provide security so that such a loving relationship can flourish, it is necessary to give it the protection of Shariah (Islamic law). Marital love in Islam inculcates the following: Faith: The love Muslim spouses have for each other should be for the sake of Allah and to gain His pleasure. It is from Allah that we claim our mutual rights (Quran 4:1) and it is to Allah that we are accountable for our behavior as husbands and wives. It sustains: Love is not to consume but to sustain. Allah expresses His love for us by providing sustenance. To love in Islam is to sustain our loved one physically, emotionally, spiritually and intellectually, to the best of our ability. (Note : To sustain materially is the husband’s duty. However, if the wife wishes she can also contribute) Accepts: To love someone is to accept them for who they are. It is selfishness to try and mould someone as we wish them to be. True love does not attempt to crush individuality or control personal differences, but is magnanimous and secure to accommodate differences. Challenges: Love challenges us to be all we can, it encourages us to tap into our talents and it takes pride in our achievements. To enable our loved one to realize their potential is the most rewarding experience. Merciful: Mercy compels us to love and love compels us to have mercy. In the Islamic context the two are synonymous. The attribute Allah chose to be the supreme for Himself is that He is the most Merciful. This attribute of Rahman (the Merciful) is mentioned 170 times in the Quran, emphasizing the significance for believers to be merciful. Mercy, in practical application, means to have and show compassion and to be charitable. Forgiving: Love is never too proud to seek forgiveness or too stingy to forgive. It is willing to let go of hurt and letdowns. Forgiveness allows us the opportunity to improve and correct ourselves. Islam emphasizes the principle that if we want God to forgive our mistakes, then we should be forgiving of others too. Respect: To love is to respect and value the person, their contributions, and their opinions. Respect does not allow us to take for granted our loved ones or to ignore their input. How we interact with our spouses reflects whether we respect them or not. Confidentiality: Trust is the most essential ingredient of love. When trust is betrayed and confidentiality compromised, love loses its soul. Caring: Love fosters a deep fondness that dictates caring and sharing in all that we do. The needs of our loved ones take precedence over our own. Kindness: The biography of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is rich with examples of acts of kindness he showed towards his family and particularly his wives. Even when his patience was tried, he was never unkind in word or deed. To love is to be kind. Grows: Marital love is not static, for it grows and flourishes with each day of marital life. It requires work and commitment, and is nourished through faith when we are thankful and appreciative of Allah blessings. Enhances: Love enhances our image and beautifies our world. It provides emotional security and physical well being. Selflessness: Love gives unconditionally and protects dutifully. Truthful: Love is honesty without cruelty and loyalty without compromise. Edited from article by: Sahina Siddiqui www.soundvision.comRead More
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