April 20, 2014

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    The Important of Mother.

    Every society is made up of blocks of family units. The stronger each block is, the stronger the structure of the society. Families are thus the building blocks upon which rests the fate of society. For the development of good families, the mother plays a vital role. Many women today have aspirations of progress in their careers, and degrees in various fields. However it is indisputable that the most important achievement of a mother is the raising of sensible, virtuous children who will then move on to build other strong blocks for society. It has been said that it is easy to bear children but it is difficult to raise them well. In that lies the challenge for all mothers.  

    Islam’s respect for the Mother

      A Muslim mother has a valued and dignified role. Her contribution is acknowledged and appreciated. Her unparalleled gifts to the child have been aptly described by Imam Zaynul `Abidin (a) in Risalatul Huqooq – The Chapter of Rights.   It is the right of your mother that you should appreciate that she carried you [in her womb] the way nobody carries anybody, She fed you the fruits of her heart which nobody feeds anybody. She protected you [during pregnancy] with her ears, eyes, hands, legs, hair, limbs, [in short] with her whole being, gladly, cheerfully, and carefully; suffering patiently all the worries, pains, difficulties, and sorrows. Till the hand of God removed you from her and brought you into this world. Then she was most happy, feeding you forgetting her own hunger, clothing you even if she herself had no clothes, giving you milk and water not caring for her own thirst, keeping you in the shade, even if she had to suffer from the heat of the sun, giving you every comfort with her own hardships; lulling you to sleep while keeping herself awake.   The foundation of the family is laid with the decision to marry, and the importance of the mother is evident in Islamic teachings beginning with marriage, conception and then child rearing. The following points illustrate how Islam sanctifies the role of the mother  

    Emphasis on choosing a good wife

      Islam advocates choosing of a wife based on moral characteristics. The Holy Prophet says: Marry into a decent family, for genes have effects. He is also reported to have encouraged Muslims to marry virtuous women in order to have virtuous children He has condemned those who look only for wealth and /or beauty when choosing a spouse.  

    Respect in this world

      A mother commands great respect from her family. She is to be obeyed, and venerated. The Qur’anic verses which talk about the rights of parents include the mother. However the Holy Prophet (s) has enjoined goodness to the mother even before the father. A man once came for advice to him, as to who he should be good to. The Prophet (s) advised him to do good to his mother again. Three times the man asked, and three times the Prophet (s) told him to do good to his mother. At the fourth time, the Prophet (s) told him to do good to his father. This well-known story clearly illustrates the position of the mother in Islam.  

    Respect in the Hereafter

      The famous hadith of the Holy Prophet (s) says: Jannat lies under the feet of the mothers. A woman came to the Holy Prophet (s) and asked why going for Jihad was not obligatory on women. She was afraid that women were barred from achieving the great reward for those who fought and died in the way of the Almighty. The Prophet (s) explained to her that a woman was a fighter in Allah’s way from the time she became pregnant up to the time she delivered, and from the time she began breast-feeding till the time she stopped. If she died during that period, her position would be that of a martyr. To raise a virtuous child is one of the greatest good deeds. It continues to bring reward even after death.   Holy Qur’an on the Mother   Allah says in Sura Luqman:   And We have enjoined man in respect of his parents - his mother bears him with faintings upon faintings, and his weaning takes two years - saying : “Be grateful to Me and to both your parents, to Me is the eternal coming.    (31:14)   And in Sura Ahqaf  He says: And We have enjoined on man doing of good to his parents; with troubles did his mother bear him and with troubles did she bring him forth; and the bearing and the weaning of him was thirty months. (46:15)   In both the above verses, although both parents are mentioned, the mother is singled out as she bears a greater responsibility and ultimately a greater reward.   Two mothers are mentioned by name in the Qur’an. When Bibi Maryam, the mother of Nabi Isa (a) suffered the pangs of childbirth, she wished she was dead. She was all alone and worried about what was about to happen to her. At that time Allah consoled her and told her not to grieve. She was provided with fresh dates and water. She was also told to fast for three days by abstaining from talk, and Allah made the baby talk to prove that he was a miraculous baby (19:23-26).The mother is shown concern and consideration for her state.Allah does not abandon her, or reprove her by telling her that she is privileged to give birth to a Prophet. Although that was true, motherhood entails great difficulty, a fact recognized by the Qur’an.   Another mother mentioned by the Qur’an is the mother of Prophet Musa (a). When she was told to put her baby in the river, she was given an assurance that the baby would be returned to her. Allah knows the love of the mother, and knows it is difficult to give away one’s child. When the baby was picked up by Firawn’s wife, he refused to suck the milk of any foster mother. Prophet Musa’s sister then suggested that they try her mother. Mother and baby unite, and Allah’s promise was fulfilled. (Sura TaHa 37-40, Qasas 7-13)

    Qualities of a Mother

      A good mother has outstanding qualities. No one can replace her in the life of her children. The following are some of the things which make her so unique.  

    1. A deep love for her children

      A mother’s love is unmatched. Whether young or old, healthy or handicapped, troublesome or obedient, the child is still beloved to the mother. This love may be displayed in various forms. Sometimes children misinterpret scoldings and rebukes to be a sign of lack of love. It is important to assure the child that he is always loved, even when his behavior warrants disciplinary measures. Such a child becomes confident and happy, and will never seek solace elsewhere. The love of the mother becomes a source of happiness and peace at home. Children feel attached to the home because of the mother.  

    2. Sacrifice and dedication

      A mother gives up a great deal for the sake of the child. She gives up her time, her sleep, her  pleasures etc. to ensure that the child is all right. As Imam Zaynul ‘Abidin(a) says in his book Risalatul Huquq (mentioned earlier), nobody comes even close to doing what a mother does for her child. That is why he says that it is only with help of the Almighty that one can thank the mother for all her sacrifice and efforts.   A good mother places the needs of the child, both physical and emotional needs, first. This is an important point to keep in mind, especially in these modern times. Women today are deluded by society into making their own careers and jobs more important than their homes. The home will always remain a woman’s most valuable work and that may require all types of sacrifices. It is not really a sacrifice, but is an investment which will reap great dividends.  

    3. Protection and security

      A mother always tries to safeguard the child from danger and difficulties. However some mothers tend to be over protective. It is wise for the child to learn to face some problems in life, according to his age and circumstances. A coddled child will be unable to face the realities of the world when he grows up, a world which will not be as considerate of him as his mother.   The role of the Mother  

    A window of the child to the world

      When a baby is born, he is totally unaware of the outside world. The mother plays an important part in introducing him to the world. The outlook that the child will form towards life depends a lot on the mother. His attitude, his views - religious or otherwise- his perspective on life and its goals, will all be gained from her. Eventually he will mature and perhaps form his own changed views, but the initial years and what he learns in them will always have a lasting impression on his mind.  

    Model for the child

      Since the mother is the most important person in the life of a child, she is greatly revered. Her habits and behavior become a model for the child. Whatever the child observes from her, such as her housekeeping habits, her manners, her relationships with others, the way she spends money, and in general her lifestyle, will all undoubtedly affect the child’s character. A mother is said to be better than a hundred teachers. Her emotional strengths and weaknesses are an example for the child, and will be followed for many years to come even though all of it may not be worthy. People have been reported to be following their mother’s ways even when they know the mothers were wrong. It is almost like an unconscious reaction, and it takes effort to behave differently. Thus mothers have an important task of setting forth a good example. It may seem difficult, even impossible. Many mothers think it too great a burden to be acting near perfect all the time, even in the familiarity of their own homes. However it is a good training. What mothers will change in themselves for their children will become a habit, and will lead to a real change. It is not perfection that Islam demands from mothers, but a willingness to accept the responsibility of modeling good acceptable behavior.   Many great people remember their mothers and the role they played in nurturing their greatness. Syed ar-Radhi, the compiler of Nahjul Balgha, mourned the death of his mother greatly. He wrote a poem for her in which he says:   O Mother! I cry and shed tears for your separation hoping that perhaps the burning drops of tears coming out of my sorrowful eyes may melt and remove the mountain of sadness from my heart.   O Mother! You were such a precious jewel and valuable pearl that for getting you released from the plundering enemy’s hand I would have sacrificed everything in my possession as your ransom. But Alas! The death ahs snatched you away from my hand and nothing can be taken back from its deadly claws.   O Mother! If all the mothers of the world would have been righteous like you, indeed the children of the world would not have required the presence of their fathers.   O Mother! All are witness that you were an honorable and noble lady because you have handed over decent and noble children to society.

    Excerpts from Meeting the Pious, Ash-Sharif ar-Radi

      Shaykh Mutaza Ansari, a great Shi`a Jurist also wept bitterly at the death of his mother. One of his scholarly pupils reproached him, saying it did not befit a learned scholar to agonize so much over the death of his mother. The Shaykh replied: It seems you are not aware of the high status enjoyed by a mother. The proper training given by this mother of mine to me, and the numerous hardships borne by her for my sake elevated me to this position. The initial training given by her to me paved the way for my making all this progress and acquiring this high status in the world of knowledge.      

    Strengths of a Mother

      The following qualities need to be acquired by all mothers.

     

    Awareness of responsibility

      Motherhood is a career, and those who take it up must try and excel at it. It is the duty of every mother to look into better techniques and strategies of parenting. A wide variety of material is available, both Islamic and secular. Although Islamic material may not be abundant in English, many secular books and magazines are published about parenting. Reading these from time to time helps increase awareness and vision. When a mother reads about problems that parents face, she is comforted by the fact that she is not alone. That is very reassuring as often parents assume they are the only ones having difficulties. Also, reading about solutions used by other people, or advice given by psychologists etc. helps broaden the choice of possible tactics in dealing with children.  

    Setting clear goals

      A mother has to know what she expects from her children, and then explain that to them. It is not enough to want good children. The children must know what exactly is expected from them, and what the mother wants them to do. Sometimes a mother tells the child to lay the table properly. Because it has not been explained to the child what properly means, he does it the way he thinks it right. The child may consequently be blamed for being sloppy, lazy etc. for not setting the table right. The frustration and heartache could have been avoided if the child knew exactly what was expected from him, rather than a vague order to lay the table. The same can be applied to all chores, behavior with others, academic achievements etc. The mother must have definite goals of what she wants, and make them clear.  

    Encourage children according to their potential

      Each child comes with his own distinctive potential. The Holy Prophet (s) has said: Human beings are like mines of gold and silver. Children have abilities that could lead to great achievements. Some show skill and interest in a certain area, while others prefer a different one. Apart from not trying to compare children with one another, a good mother tries to bring out the best in each child. She makes the child develop his skills in whatever area he is good at, as well as remedy the weakness in each child. If one child is very shy, for example, the mother should not demand that he socialize and interact with others the way his siblings do. Some mothers unwittingly put their children through a great deal of embarrassment and humiliation. The child must be taught to overcome his shyness. Some books on shyness may help. Or the mother could give practical suggestions of what the child could talk about to others. A mother’s gentle guidance can remedy many a flaw and weakness in the character of the child.  

    Wise Words

      1. Fortunate is the person whose mother is chaste and virtuous.

    Imam Ja`far as-Sadiq (a)

      2. Each one of you is a guardian (shepherd), and each one of you is responsible for his charges . . . so the man is a guardian over his family, and is responsible for them. A woman is a guardian over the family of her husband and his children, and she is responsible for them.

    Holy Prophet (s)

         

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    Quran Is Unchange

    The awakening of Europe from the Dark Ages and the subsequent intellectual enlightenment of the 1600s-1800s was one of the most powerful movements in modern history. It brought to Europe a dedication to empirical science, critical thinking, and intellectual discourse. Much of this was imported from the Muslim world’s intellectual history, through Muslim entry points into Europe such as Spain, Sicily, and Southeast Europe. This rise in intellectual work coincided with a period of European imperialism and colonialism over the Muslim world. European nations such as England, France, and Russia slowly conquered portions of the Muslim world, dividing it among themselves. Thus the intellectual enlightenment, coupled with imperialism over the Muslim world, led to what the Europeans saw as a critical study of Islam, its history, beliefs, and teachings. This movement is known as Orientalism. One of the greatest shortcomings of Orientalism, however, is the analysis of Islamic history on European terms, discarding the centuries of academic work put in by great Muslim minds since the time of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. One of the most dangerous aspects of Orientalism was the European study of the origins of the Quran. Since it is well accepted in academic circles that both the Torah of the Jews and the New Testament of the Christians have changed over the centuries, European academics erroneously believed the same must be true about the Quran. Their efforts to prove their belief that the Quran has been changed and is not authentic led to studies and works of questionable intention and low scholarly merit. This article will critically analyze the origins of the Quran, its transmission, and its compilation, to understand why Muslims accept the copies of the Quran they have in their homes to be the exact same words that were spoken by Prophet Muhammad ﷺ in the early 600s AD.   The Promise to Protect Muslims believe that Allah has already promised to protect the Quran from the change and error that happened to earlier holy texts. Allah states in the Quran in Surat al-Hijr, verse 9: إِنَّا نَحْنُ نَزَّلْنَا الذِّكْرَ وَإِنَّا لَهُ لَحَافِظُونَ “Indeed, it is We who sent down the Quran and indeed, We will be it’s guardian.” For Muslims, this verse of promise from Allah is enough to know that He will indeed protect the Quran from any errors and changes over time. For people who do not accept the authenticity of the Quran in the first place, however, clearly this verse cannot serve as proof of its authenticity, since it is in the Quran itself. It is from here that the academic discussion begins. Narration of the Quran to the Companions The revelation of the Quran was not an isolated event in time. It was a constant stream of verses descending to Muhammad ﷺ throughout the 23 years of his prophethood in Makkah and Madinah. The Prophet ﷺ appointed numerous Companions of his to serve as scribes, writing down the latest verses as soon as they were revealed. Mu’awiya ibn Abu Sufyan and Zaid bin Thabit were among the scribes who had this duty. For the most part, new verses would be written on scraps of bone, hide, or parchment, since paper had not yet been imported from China. It is important to note that Muhammad ﷺ would have the scribes read back the verses to him after writing them down so he can proofread and make sure there were no errors.1 To further ensure that there were no errors, Muhammad ﷺ ordered that no one records anything else, not even his words, hadith, on the same sheet as Quran. Regarding the sheets that the Quran was being written down on, he stated “and whoever has written anything from me other than the Quran should erase it”2. This was done to ensure that no other words were accidentally thought to be part of the text of the Quran. It is important to understand, however, that physical writing down of the Quran was not the main way that the Quran was recorded. Arabia in the 600s was an oral society. Very few people could read and write, thus huge emphasis was placed on ability to memorize long poems, letters, and other messages. Before Islam, Makkah was a center of Arabic poetry. Annual festivals were held every year that brought together the best poets from all over the Arabian Peninsula. Exuberant attendees would memorize the exact words that their favorite poets recited and quote them years and decades later. Thus, in this type of oral society, the vast majority of the Companions learned and recorded the Quran by memorization. In addition to their natural ability to memorize, the rhythmic nature of the Quran made its memorization much easier. The Quran was not narrated to just a few select Companions. It was heard and memorized by hundreds and thousands of people, many of them travelers to Madinah. Thus, chapters and verses of the Quran quickly spread during the life of the Prophet ﷺ to all corners of the Arabian Peninsula. Those who had heard verses from the Prophet ﷺ would go and spread them to tribes far away, who would also memorize them. In this way, the Quran achieved a literary status known among the Arabs as mutawatir. Mutawatir means that it was so vastly disseminated to so many different groups of people, who all had the same exact wording, that it is inconceivable that that any one person or group could have falsified it. Some sayings of the Prophet ﷺ are known to be authentic through it being mutawatir, but the entire Quran itself is accepted as being mutawatir, because of its wide spread during the life of the Prophet ﷺ through oral means. Collection After the Death of the Prophet ﷺ We have thus far seen that the way the Quran was taught to the numerous Companions of the Prophet ﷺ prevented it from being subject to the protection of a few people. As verses became widespread across the Islamic world, it was impossible for those verses to be changed without Muslims in other parts of the world noticing and correcting them. Furthermore, during the life of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, the angel Jibreel would recite the entire Quran with him once a year, during Ramadan. When the Quran was finished being revealed near the end of the Prophet ﷺ’s life, he made sure that numerous companions knew the entire Quran by heart. During the reigns of the first caliphs, however, a need to compile all the verses into a central book arose. Taking preemptive action, the caliphs who ruled the Muslim world after the death of the Prophet ﷺ feared that if the number of people who had the Quran memorized dipped too low, the community would be in danger of losing the Quran forever. As a result, the first caliph, Abu Bakr, who ruled from 632 to 634, ordered a committee be organized, under the leadership of Zaid bin Thabit, to collect all the written pieces of Quran that were spread throughout the Muslim community. The plan was to collect them all into one central book that could be preserved in case the people who had the Quran memorized died out. Zaid was very meticulous about who he accepted verses from. Because of the enormous responsibility of not accidentally altering the words of the Quran, he only accepted pieces of parchment with Quran on them had to have been written down in the presence of the Prophet ﷺ and there had to be two witnesses who can attest to that fact.3 These fragments of Quran that he collected were each compared with the memorized Quran itself, ensuring that there was no discrepancy between the written and oral versions. When the task was completed, a finalized book of all the verses was compiled and presented to Abu Bakr, who secured it in the archives of the young Muslim state in Madinah. It can be assumed with certainty that this copy that Abu Bakr had matched exactly the words that Muhammad ﷺ had spoken because of the numerous memorizers of Quran present in Madinah, coupled with the disseminated pieces of parchment on which it was recorded. Had there been discrepancies, the people of Madinah would have raised the issue. There is, however, no record of any opposition to Abu Bakr’s project or its outcome. The Mus’haf of Uthman   A copy of Uthman’s Mus’haf, kept in Topkapi Palace in Istanbul During the caliphate of Uthman, from 644 to 656, a new issue regarding the Quran arose in the Muslim community: pronunciation. During the life of the Prophet ﷺ, the Quran was revealed in seven different dialects - qira’as. The dialects differed slightly in their pronunciation of certain letters and words, but the overall meaning was unchanged. These seven dialects were not an innovation brought in by corruption of the Quran in later years, as it was mentioned by the Prophet ﷺ himself, and there are numerous sayings of his describing the authenticity of all seven dialects that are recorded in the hadith compilations of Bukhari and Muslim. The reason for there being different dialects for the Quran was to make it easier for different tribes around the Arabian Peninsula to learn and understand it. During Uthman’s reign, people coming into the Muslim world at its periphery, in places like Persia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, and North Africa were beginning to learn the Quran. An issue arose for them when it came to pronunciation of words, as they would hear different Arabs pronouncing the same verses differently. Although the different pronunciations were sanctioned by the Prophet ﷺ and there was no inherent harm in people reciting and teaching them, it led to confusion among new non-Arab Muslims. Uthman responded by commissioning a group to come together, organize the Quran according to the dialect of the tribe of Quraysh (the Prophet ﷺ’s tribe), and spread the Qurayshi dialect to all parts of the empire. Uthman’s team (which again included Zaid bin Thabit) compiled a Quran into one book (known as a mus’haf – from the word for page, sahifa) based on first hand manuscripts along with the memories of the best Quran reciters of Madinah. This mus’haf was then compared with the copy that Abu Bakr commissioned, to make sure there were no discrepancies. Uthman then ordered numerous copies of the mus’haf to be made, which were sent to far off provinces throughout the empire, along with reciters who would teach the masses the Quran. Because the Quran was now compiled and being produced on a regular basis, there was no need for the numerous fragments of verses that people had in their possession. He thus ordered that those fragments be destroyed so they cannot be used in the future to cause confusion among the masses. Although Orientalists use this incident to try to prove the erroneous claim that there were some discrepancies that Uthman wanted to eliminate, that is a simplistic way of looking at the event. The entire community in Madinah, including numerous eminent Companions such as Ali ibn Abi Talib, willingly went along with this plan, and no objections were voiced. Had he been eliminating legitimate differences, the people of Madinah would have surely objected or even revolted against Uthman, neither of which happened. Instead, the mus’haf of Uthman was accepted by the entire community as authentic and correct. The Script of the Quran Another complaint that Orientalists make deals with the fact that the Mus’haf of Uthman lacked any diacritical marks (dots that differentiated the letters and vowel markings). The letters seen in his mus’haf are thus just the skeletal base of Arabic letters. For example, the word قيل (he said), without diacritical marks would look like this: ڡٮل. According to the claims of Orientalists, a reader can then read the word as فيل (elephant), قبل (before), or قَبّل (he kissed). Clearly, reading such different words would have a huge difference in meaning. Orientalists such as the Australian professor of the early 1900s, Arthur Jeffery, claim that Uthman’s copy of the Quran, with its lack of diacritical marks made it possible for variant readings, and thus variant meanings to exist, making the Quran today not authentic. There are numerous flaws in this argument: First, the fact that Uthman sent reciters with his copies of the mus’haf is of huge importance. We must remember that the main way the Quran was preserved was orally, and the written copies were only meant to be a supplement to oral recitation. If someone already has a verse memorized, the skeletal letters in a copy of Uthman’s mus’haf served only as a visual aid when reciting. To illustrate this example, we can look at the following inscription on the inside of the Dome of the Rock, in Jerusalem. The building was built in the late 600s and features one of the oldest calligraphic inscriptions in Arabic on the inside of the building, written in the same Kufic script as Uthman’s mus’haf:   For someone familiar with the Arabic language and some basic common phrases regarding the supremacy of Allah, it is easy to make out what this part of the inscription says: بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم لا اله الا الله وحده لا شريك له له الملك و له الحمد يحي و يميت و هو على كل شئ قدير محمد عبد الله و رسوله In the name of God, the Merciful the Compassionate. There is no god but God. He is One. He has no associate. Unto Him belongeth sovereignity and unto Him belongeth praise. He quickeneth and He giveth death; and He has Power over all things. Muhammad is the servant of God and His Messenger.4 In the same way as this passage, the mus’haf of Uthman could be easily read by someone who was familiar with the verses and the Arabic script. Thus the claim that the lack of diacritical marks makes it impossible to know what the original word was is clearly baseless.   A page from the Uthmani Mus’haf showing part of Surat Muhammad. Note the lack of diacritical marks. The second problem with the claims of Orientalists like Jeffery deals with the idea of reading a word completely wrong based on the lack of diacritical marks. Let us assume for a moment that there are no reciters around to explain how a verse should be read from Uthman’s mus’haf and someone comes across the word ڡٮل. As we stated earlier, this can be a number of different words based on where the diacritical marks are. However, from context clues, an educated reader can easily figure out what word it is supposed to be. It is almost impossible for a reader to replace the word “before” with “elephant” and have the sentence still make sense. While in some cases a reader may accidentally replace one word with another that still makes sense, these occasions are rare with the way the Arabic language is set up, and all that is still assuming there are no Quranic reciters around to guide the reader. Over time, during the 700s and 800s, diacritical marks began being added to the mus’hafs throughout the Muslim world. This was done as the Muslim world shifted from an oral to a written society, to further facilitate reading from a copy of the Quran, and to eliminate errors by people who did not already know the verses they were reading. Today, almost all modern mus’hafs include diacritical marks on the skeletal letters along with vowel markings to make reading easier. The Isnad System One of the most pressing issues in the eyes of the early Muslims was the protection of the sanctity of the Quran. Numerous times throughout the Quran and sayings of the Prophet ﷺ, the Muslims are reminded that the Jews and Christians corrupted their texts over time, which now cannot be taken as authentic. As a result, early Muslims developed a system for ensuring that the Quran and hadith would not be subject to change by human error, either intentional or unintentional. The system that developed is known as the isnad system. The isnad system emphasized the sanad, of a particular saying. For example, in the hadith compilation of Bukhari, each hadith is preceded by a chain of narrators that goes from Bukhari back to the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. This chain is known as a sanad. To ensure that the hadith is authentic, each narrator in the chain must be known to be reliable, have a good memory, be trustworthy, and have other righteous qualities.   Part of the Arabic inscription in the Kufic script inside the Dome of the Rock, built in 691. The early Islamic community placed huge emphasis on this system for determining the authenticity of hadith as well as verses from the Quran. If someone were to claim to have had a verse that was not in the canonical text of Uthman’s mus’haf, scholars would look at the chain that person claimed went back to the Prophet ﷺ and determined from it if there was a chance that it was authentic. Clearly, anyone forging verses of the Quran would not be able to connect it to the Prophet ﷺ, and his/her claim would be discounted according to the isnad system. The isnad system thus worked to preserve the sanctity of the Quran as well as the hadith, as it prevented people from making erroneous claims that could then be accepted as fact. Through the focus on the the reliability of the sanad, the reliability of the verses or hadith themselves could be ascertained. Zaid bin Thabit used a proto-isnad system in his work compiling the Quran during the caliphate of Abu Bakr, and the growth of the isnad system in subsequent decades helped protect the text from being altered in any way. Conclusions This article is not meant to be a fully exhaustive study of the history of the Quran. The scholarship of hundreds of people throughout Islamic history to ensure the sanctity of the Quran cannot be boiled down to a few thousand words. However, it is clear through the introductory issues mentioned here that the text of the Quran clearly was not altered from the time of Muhammad ﷺ to the present day. The fact that it was so widespread during his life helped ensure that any malicious attempts to change the words of the holy book would be futile. The meticulous compilation of the text by Abu Bakr and Uthman served as a backup system in case the oral preservation of the Quran was lost. Finally, the isnad system helped ensure any claims to add to or remove from the Quran could not pass by a scholarly process that was central to the preservation of Islam itself. In conclusion, the claims of Orientalists that the Quran has been changed overtime as the Bible and Torah have are clearly misleading. There is no evidence backing up the idea that the Quran has changed, and attempts to prove that it has are based on rudimentary and uneducated understandings of the history of the Quranic text.

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    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)

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    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.com

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