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Eid Has Arrived!

August 30, 2011 Leave a comment


Taqabbal Minna Waa Minkum. May Allah accept our fasts, our prayers – the wajibat and the nawafil, salatul layl, zakath, sadaqah, Quran recitation, kind words and all other good deeds we did this Ramadan and forgive us of our mistakes. Ameen. May Allah Multiply the rewards for our good deeds, and pour His mercy upon us and overlook our short comings, for He is Ar Rahman, Ar Raheem. Yaa Mutaqabbilul Qulub Wal Absar, Thabit Qulubanaa al’aa deenuk. Ameen ( Oh Changer of Hearts, orient our hearts towards your Deen.)

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Categories: Ramadan Tags:

Allah’s Attributes – similar to humans?

August 18, 2011 1 comment

BISMILLAH HIR RAHMAN NIRRAHEEM

We only call Allah with the beautiful names and attributes that He has assigned to Himself in the authentic texts, Quran and Sunnah. There are some attributes that are exclusive to The Lord of the Universe such as Al Muhyee (The Creator of Life) and Al Mumeet (The Creator of Death), while there are others such as Hearing, Seeing, Hands, Living etc that are also attributable to human beings. There are two groups who have gone to extremes in explaining this similarity. The Anthropomorphist (Muattil) take the position that Allah Azzawajal and human possess the exact same attribute, Allah has used the same name to describe that attribute. The Rationalists (Muatazilla) disregard the text that describe these attributes and deny them, explaining them away as secondary attributes. Then what is the correct understanding?

Firstly, we have to note that the human mind is incapable of comprehending the vastness of Allah’s Majesty. Allah states that:

“Their knowledge cannot encompass Him.” [ Quran Soorah Taahaa (20): 110]

So even though Allah informs us that He sees, it is impossible for us to understand “how”. Hence it is not possible for the finite, imperfect human mind to conceive and comprehend the infinite and perfect attributes of Allah. While there might be resemblance in name, such as Allah’s ‘hands’, the similarity ends at that; and it is impossible to imagine what Allah’s hands might look like. The imaginary description is forbidden as it is not based on knowledge but the human mind’s imagination is an amalgamation of observations from creation.

Secondly, Allah Subhana Wa Ta’alaa states that

“Nothing is similar to Him…” [Quran Soorah Shooraa, (42): 11]

Imam Abu Hanifa in his book “Fiqh Al Akhbar” further expounds that “There is none in His creations in His likeness” and goes on to say “His Attributes are totally different from the attributes of His creation. He knows, but not in the manner we know.” Additionally, Nuaym bin Hammad has written that “Whoever declared Allah similar to an attribute of His creation in any manner, committed disbelief.” Allah’s attributes are similar to humans, just in name. For instance, Allah mentions:

“… He is the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing.” [Quran Soorah ash-Shooraa, (42): 11]
“Then we made him (i.e. man) hearing, seeing.” [Quran Al-Insan 76:2]

From the above example, we see that qualities of hearing and seeing are present in man, but these attributes are not the same perfect attributes that Allah possess. This can be understood in the realms of man that two people possess intelligence. But, no one person may be equal to another in intelligence. Hence, Allah possess the perfection of the attribute without any deficiency. When we think of humans seeing, we can imagine an eye apparatus and light passing through and falling on the retina inverted and so on. But with Allah, it is impossible to imagine something like a big eye or delving into “how Allah sees?”

When we study the attribute of “Hearing” as in this hadith: ‘Urwah narrated from ‘Aa’ishah that she said, “All praise is due to Allaah whose hearing encompasses all sounds. Khawlah [bint Tha‘labah] came to Allaah’s Messenger complaining about her husband [Aws ibn as-Saamit] and I [according to Ibn Maajah’s narration: was in another corner of the house and] couldn’t hear what she said. Then Allaah, Most Great and Glorious revealed: “Allaah heard the statement …and Allaah hears your conversation.””
In this instance, hearing is referred to Allah’s general awareness of sound. So any human limitations of the definitions of hearing such as range, ears etc. does not apply. As Sheik Uthaimeen (RH) eloquently stated “All of Allah’s attributes are transcendent, attributes of perfection and praise, without any deficiency in any respect,” as stated in the following Quranic verse:

“And to Allah belongs the supreme example.” [Quran Surah Nahl 16:60]

To understand this principle further, let us look at the following hadith:
A man came to Allaah’s Messenger (r) and said: “O Messenger of Allaah! I am suffering from fatigue and hunger.” The Prophet (r) sent someone to his wives but did not find anything with them, so he said: “Isn’t there anyone who can entertain this man tonight so that Allaah may be merciful to him?” A man from the Ansaar got up and said, “I will, O Messenger of Allaah.” So he went to his wife and told her, “This is the guest of Allaah’s Messenger (r), so don’t save anything.” She replied, “By Allaah, I have nothing but the children’s food.” He told her, “When the children ask for their dinner, put them to bed and put out the light and we will not eat tonight.” She did so. When the man from the Ansaar came the next morning, he (r) said to him, “Allaah, Most Great and Glorious, was amazed at such-and-such a man and woman. So Allaah, Most Great and Glorious revealed: “… They give preference to others over themselves even though they are in need.” (Quran Soorah al-Hashr, 59: 9)”

We see “amazement” attributed to Allah in the above hadith. So how do we apply the principle of affirming perfection and disassociating deficiency? Amazement can occur either by the subject being surprised at an event as he was not aware of it or one can be amazed as a particular event was out of the norm, even though he may be aware. The latter is an amazement due to appreciation which can be attributed to Allah and the former is due to lack of knowledge and cannot be attributed to Allah Almighty.

In conclusion, we say state that the correct attitude towards Allah’s attribute is neither the extreme view of denying and misinterpreting those attributes that are common in name nor the other end of the spectrum of assigning human attributes in complete similarity to Allah’s but it is in between the two that Allah’s attributes are transcendent, attributes of perfection and praise, without any deficiency in any respect. While they may be similar to some attributes that His creation possess, the similarity ends in the name and it is impossible for us to comprehend the “hows” of His attributes.

Pg 13-14, Aqeedah Tahawi, Syed Iqbal Zaheer
Pg 11, The Radiance of Faith, Dr. Bilal Philips
Pg 24. Aqeedah Tahawi, Syed Iqbal Zaheer
Pg 11, The Radiance of Faith, Dr. Bilal Philips
Sahih Al Bukhari, vol. 9, p. 359, Chapter [9], Sunan Ibn Maajah, vol. 1, p. 105, no. 188
Pg 11, The Radiance of Faith, Dr. Bilal Philips
Sahih Al-Bukhari, vol. 6, p. 382-3, no. 411
Pg 36, The Radiance of Faith, Dr. Bilal Philips

Riba: The Forbidden Fruit

August 17, 2011 Leave a comment


Allah Almighty has decreed in the Quran that
“…Those who consume interest cannot stand [on the Day of Resurrection] except as one stands who is being beaten by Satan into insanity. That is because they say, “Trade is [just] like interest.” But Allah has permitted trade and has forbidden interest…” [Quran 2:275]

There are numerous ayat and ahadith in the Quran that prohibit Riba or Interest. In this short essay, we will attempt to look at the difference between the trade which Allah has allowed and Riba which The Almighty All Wise has forbidden.
Trade generally refers to the buying and selling of goods, services, houses, other necessities and luxuries that are needed for people. Trade is the fuel of the economy and means of livelihood that Allah Azzawajal has provided.
Riba on the other hand refers (linguistically) to illegal gains or increase in particular things. This can be consumed through conditional excess for delay of payments (ribah nisiah) or through selling of an item for another of the same type, on the spot, but in excess (ribah –fadl).

One may wonder that banks have become common place in today’s economy, virtually across the globe and they essentially survive based on riba. Is it really that bad? Some of the reasons riba is banned are that it leads to many social evils such as consuming people’s wealth unjustly, making money without producing anything, causing harm to the needy by placing extra burden, preventing good loans ( w/out interest), stopping gains, trades, profession and other business ventures where money could have been diverted towards instead of talking the “easy route” and making money out of nothing “risk free”.

On the other hand legal trade facilitates fulfilling the material need of the buyer and increasing the buying power of the seller. It helps both parties. In Riba transaction, the risk is borne by only one party (the lendee) and the one giving the loan pockets all the gains. In trade, the risk of profit/loss is shared by both parties, making it more just. Riba transactions promote “production-less” economies, where nothing physical is produced out of the transaction. Trade based transactions on the other hand promote the creation of goods, services and jobs, thereby becoming a source of livelihood and a vehicle for the rotation of capital across many players in the society. On the contrary, riba promotes the unfair accumulation of wealth in the hands of the elite few

Furthermore, Allah has stated that:

“Allah destroys interest and gives increase for charities. And Allah does not like every sinning disbeliever.” [Quran: 2:276]

This ayah indicates that Allah azzawajal strips the barakah out of riba transactions and condemns those who continue this evil practice as “sinning disbelievers.” There are many more ayaths and hadith indicating the severe punishment in the Akhira for those who practice this evil societal act.
Now let us look at some of the actual transactions to help us identify what exactly are Riba based transactions and what constitutes legal trade. There are essentially two types of Riba. The first is Riba Nisai which constitutes increasing the debt on an insolvent person. This includes charging a fixed interest rate or charging late fees for delay in repayments. The second type is Riba Fadl which constitutes selling an item for another of the same type but in excess. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) stated that

“Gold is to paid for gold, silver for silver, wheat for wheat, barley for barley, dates for dates and salt for salt, like for like and equal for equal, and payment is to be made hand to hand.” (Ahmad and Muslim)

In other words, if you are exchanging an item for another of the same type or class or quality, then the exchange has to take place for equal amounts and payment should be made on the spot. This should be taken into consideration during purchase of gold, exchange of like currencies etc.

Another form of forbidden transactions is Inah, in which a person buys an item and sells it back to original seller at a deferred higher price. This is considered indirect riba and is forbidden. For instance, Ahmed buys a car from Abu Umar for $20,000. Abu Umar immediately sells it back to Ahmed for $25,000, in installments over 5 years. This transaction is clearly a interest based loan, trying to use the car as a loophole. Prophet Muhammad has stated that:

“Indeed actions are based on intentions…” (Bukhari & Muslim)

All transactions that don’t involve Riba or Gharar (gambling) or cheating are normally allowed.
Allah The All Wise The All Mighty has legislated the sharia for our wellbeing and our Creator knows what is best for us. He has stated that the characteristic of the believer is that “…we hear and we obey”. Additionally, only a snapshot has been provided in this essay on the evil springing from this filthy practice of riba and the blessings of the halal alternative to create prosperity and livelihood while fulfilling our needs: trade. In closing, I end with this command from Allah Azzawajal:

“O you who have believed, fear Allah and give up what remains of interest, if you should be believers. And if you do not, then be informed of a war from Allah and His Messenger. But if you repent, you may have your princplal – you do no wrong, nor are you wronged.” [Quran 2:278-279]

Categories: Fiqh, Money Tags: , , , ,

Purification of the Soul – Backbiting

August 15, 2011 Leave a comment

Ramadan is the ideal time for us to work on cleansing our souls of sins and asking Allah for repentance sincierly. This is a must watch lecture on how easily we fall into this awful sin of backbiting and the cure:

Disease:

Cure:

Angel of Mercy or Angel of Death?

August 13, 2011 Leave a comment

World Food Program in Somalia
Angel of Mercy or Angel of Death?

By THOMAS MOUNTAIN
The World Food Program (WFP), one of the U.N.’s biggest aid agencies, has a very nasty history in Somalia.
Back in 2006 just as Somali farmers brought their grain harvest to market, the WFP began the distribution of its entire years grain aid for Somalia. With thousands of tons of free grain available Somali farmers found it almost impossible to sell their harvest and faced disaster.

Thousands of angry Somali farmers gathered at WFP distribution centers across Somalia to protest, sometimes violently. In an attempt to calm matters the WFP promised an investigation which in due course announced that yes the WFP had done the Somali farmers wrong and promised they wouldn’t do it again.

Then in 2007 just as the Somali grain harvest began to arrive in local markets the WFP once again distributed its entire years grain aid, only this time with the Ethiopian army there to protect it. With a four year long on and off again drought since afflicting most of Somalia you could say the WFP helped put the nail in the coffin of Somali agriculture.

Small wonder then why the Somali resistance, “The Youth”, Al Shabab, has since kicked the WFP out of most of southern Somalia that they control. It was only a couple of months ago that the WFP had cut by 70 per cent the minimum survival food rations for the one million or more Somali refugees it had been feeding due to a “funding shortfall,” yet today they would have us believe that they are desperately concerned for the survival of the Somali people suffering from the drought.

The WFP is one of the very few aid agencies allowed to operate in the Ogaden next door to Somalia in Ethiopia. They run a few “show case” distribution centers and have provided little or no aid for four years to over 90 per cent of the Ogaden suffering from the “The Great Horn of Africa Drought”, the worst in 60 years. This is also the area where the Ethiopian government is fighting a decade long counterinsurgency against the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF). The WFP’s cooperation in withholding food aid from the areas where the guerilla fighters operate is part of a classic counterinsurgency strategy, “if you can’t catch the fish, drain the lake”.

A couple of months ago a WFP team in the Ogaden was returning to their base and made the mistake of taking a short cut off of the Ethiopian-approved travel routes and came across an Ethiopian paramilitary unit carrying out their everyday practice of burning, looting, murder and mayhem in a village accused of being supporters of the ONLF. Apparently they tried to turn around but it was too late and the Ethiopian death squad opened fire, killing some of the WFP team and wounding the others. The wounded were trucked off to the local Ethiopian garrison town and thrown into the prison there.

Almost at once the Ethiopians announced that ONLF “terrorists” had “ambushed” the WFP team, “murdered” some, taken the rest “hostages” and that the Ethiopian military was in hot pursuit.
Two days later the ONLF launched an attack on the military base and prison holding the WFP captives and freed them and the other political prisoners detained there.
The Ethiopian military immediately brought in helicopter gun ships to pursue the ONLF and the freed prisoners but were unsuccessful and the WFP staff managed to make it to safety.

The ONLF subsequently delivered the freed hostages to the WFP expecting the truth of the incident to be told and the real criminals to be exposed.

To this day the WFP has remained silent about the details of the incident and has not condemned the murder of their staff by the Ethiopian paramilitary death squads. The freed staff’s families live in areas controlled by the Ethiopians. The message to many burnt villages, to many slaughtered families, keep ones mouth shut or your loved ones will meet the same fate. How would the world even know if you spoke out and your family was murdered, the Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders and just about all the other aid agencies besides the WFP having been kicked out of the Ogaden. End of story.

While some 10 million Somalis living in the Ogaden in Ethiopia are the victims of a drought and food aid blockade the WFP remains silent, complicit in genocide.

World Food Program, angle of mercy or angel of death? You be the judge.

Thomas C. Mountain is the only independent western journalist in the Horn of Africa, living and reporting from Eritrea since 2006. Email: thomascmountain@yahoo.com

Categories: Politics Tags: , , , , ,

The Somalian Crisis – How can you help? By Mansoor Danish

August 12, 2011 Leave a comment

Source: https://www.facebook.com/notes/mansoor-danish/somalia-crisis-here-is-where-you-can-helpby-mansoor-danish/10150349057701111


Asalamu ‘alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatahu

Firstly, All praises are due to Allaah ta’ala alone and may the peace and blessings of Allaah be on His last and final messenger Muhammad peace be upon him.

A few days back, I came across some images regarding the Somalia drought crisis. Whilst, the images were disturbing but more than that it was my helplesness that left me wondering all night long as to what could I do to help them. I saw some FB lnks being shared by our brothers and sisters and almost all of them, shared links with a message attached ‘Please make duah (supplications) for our brothers and sisters in Somalia’- BUT is that ALL that they need at this point of time!!! I wondered…

We had a suhoor to look forward to- and after a day long fast- we have an iftar to look forward to..But these people have NOTHING to look forward to…Don’t we have a responsibility? Why are we reminded several times in the Qur’an to give charity to the miskeen! Ever wondered why Allaah reminds us several times in the Glorious Qur’an to pay our Zakaah to the needy.

Yes, it is our responsibility to come out and help these brothers of ours and this help has to extend beyond the spiritual supplications to an actual act of charity. Somalia needs basic amenities to lift themselves up from the lowest of lows they find themselves in today. Whilst me alongwith Br. Aftab Alam (Kolkata), Br. Umar Shariff (DIET, Bangalore) and Br. Ashraf Mohamedy (Mercy Mission, Mumbai) work on setting up a feasible system to aid the Somalians, as of immediate effect, I am providing you all with links of some well established Charitable Concerns who are working 24 hours to help the East African cause.I request you all to not hold back your donations, but to immediately start reaching out to these organisations to assist them in their projects.Here are the list of two whom we have contacted and feel comfortable:
1) Islamic Relief
http://donations.islamic-relief.com/donate/t_signin.asp
http://www.islamic-relief.com/Emergencies-And-Appeals/5-63-747-east-africa-crisis-emergency-food-distribution-in-somalia.aspx

2) Gift of the Givers
http://www.giftofthegivers.org/contact-us/index.php

Kindly mail the organisation mentioning the details of your payments and specifying clearly the ’cause’ for which you are making these payments.

Incase of any queries please feel free to write into me and seek clarifications.

May Allaah subhanuwata’ala remove the afflictions of our Somalian brethren and may Allaah ta’ala accept our efforts in reaching out to them.Aameen

BaarakAllaahu feek

Mansoor Danish
AND PLEASE SHARE THIS POST WITH ONE AND ALL…

Categories: Ramadan

Top 10 Reasons – People don’t follow Islam

August 11, 2011 Leave a comment

“Islam began as something strange, and it shall return to being something strange, so give glad tidings to the strangers.”
Today there are many barriers that distract many born-Muslims from learning and implementing the way of life prescribed by our Creator, as well as from the true message of Islam reaching the ears of Non-Muslims. This short essay will look at some of these barriers.
From the inception of mass communication such as radio and television, those in power have utilized these powerful tools to sway public opinion to suit their interests. During the Cold War era, the “Russian” was the evil bad guy. Once USSR collapsed, and the attention was turned to the Muslim world, to preemptively stop the dormant Ummah from rising. With the retaliation by some in the Ummah to the unfair political policies of the US, the media attack on Muslims raised to a whole new level. Muslims started being portrayed as violent, blood thirsty, ancient “sharia” law following, woman oppressors among other stereoptypes. This implanted bias prevented many non-Muslims from being receptive to the message of Islam. All these media attacks, however, also have contributed to the rise in interest in studying Islam and many have accepted it as a result.
And when those who disbelieve plot against thee (O Muhammad) to wound thee fatally, or to kill thee or to drive thee forth; they plot, but Allah (also) plotteth; andAllah is the best of plotters. [Quran 8:30]
The capitalistic materialistic ideology has infected the majority of the world in this day and age. The essence of this secularism is to separate God Almighty from our lives and focus on accumulating as much wealth as possible. So, man has become lost in pursuit of “material” happiness which in reality brings only grief in this world and the next. As Allah says:

“Those who believe (in the Oneness of Allah – Islamic Monotheism), and whose hearts find rest in the remembrance of Allah, Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest.” [ Quran 13:28]

Even though one may have the fanciest of cars and grandest of houses, he may be constantly worried about “protecting” his wealth, warding of lawsuits etc. This obsession with the duniya distracts people from “seeking God” and finding their true purpose in life. It also distracts Muslims from the implementing their deen and finding true contentment in their hearts.

“Allah extends provision for whom He wills and restricts [it]. And they rejoice in the worldly life, while the worldly life is not, compared to the Hereafter, except [brief] enjoyment.” [Quran 13:26]

Satan constantly finds new ways to divert mankind from fulfilling his purpose:

And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me. [Quran 51:56]

One of the biggest distractions today is popular entertainment. Be it music, addiction to the “idiot box” commonly known as the tv, movies, theater, internet and so on. Hours can fly by before one realizes how much time just got wasted. Additionally, these movies, songs, advertisements are used to subconsciously program people and shapes their values and attitudes towards elders, God, religion, opposite sex and so on. The breakdown of family values and promulgation of promiscuity, rise of atheism etc. can be easily attributed to the negative social engineering utilizing these mediums. Man is either obsessed with this “entertainment” or his heart is filled with the light of divine guidance which his actions reflect.
“Allah has not made for a man two hearts in his interior…” [Quran 33:4]
Shaitan has been deceiving man since he had deceived Adam AS into eating the apple. He makes the immoral attractive by his lies until man desires it. We can see this deception in action today as the worst of deeds in the sight of Allah is called by “acceptable names” such as pooja (shirk), banks, time value of money (riba), common law / same sex marriage ( sodomy), sex-workers (prostitutes) making love (fahisha/zina), democracy (shirk), Feminism and so on. On the other hand, Shaitan is busy helping rebrand Islam with negative names such as Terrorists, Fundamentalists, and backward. This prevents people from recognizing the state of ignorance and heedless they are swimming in and when the boat of Islam comes to save them, they don’t get on it and choose to drown in their jahiliyah.
With this rebranding comes indulgence in desires such as lusts, women, overeating and so on. When one indulges in their desires, the heart becomes averse to the light of Al Quran, the guiding light towards eternal happiness.

Have you seen he who has taken as his god his [own] desire, and Allah has sent him astray due to knowledge and has set a seal upon his hearing and his heart and put over his vision a veil? So who will guide him after Allah ? Then will you not be reminded? [Quran 45:23]

Althought our Ummah is about 1.5 billion Muslims strong, however, a big majority of that number cannot be classified as truly practicing Muslims with the correct understanding of Islamic belief or Aqeedah. They have indulged in numerous evils and injustices which has led to the aversion of some Non-Muslims towards studying or accepting Islam. This behavior is in sharp contrast to our salaf, with whom people were impressed with their principles and actions and were attracted to Islam as a result. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) prophesized:
“The People will soon summon one another to attack you as people when eating invite others to share their food.” Someone asked, “Will that be because of our small numbers at that time?” He replied, “No, you will be numerous at that time: but you will be froth and scum like that carried down by a torrent (of water), and Allah will take the fear of you from the breasts (hearts) of your enemy and cast al-wahn into your hearts.” Someone asked, “O Messenger of Allah, what is al-wahn?” He replied, “Love of the world and dislike of death.” [An authentic hadith recorded by Abu Dawud and Ahmad]

Looking at some of the environmental factors that impede a “Muslim” from submitting to his creator, we can identify three major influences: Parents, Community and Education System. These three factors have tremendous influence on a person.

Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said ”Every child is born on Fitrah, then his parents make him a Jew, a Christian or a Magian”,

Similarly even ignorant Muslim parents who fail to give a Islamic foundation in their child’s life eventually turn out to be one of the key reasons that distance him from his deen in his later years. Additionally, if the child is raised in an “Non-Muslim” community, his connection with Islam would be further severed. He will begin to subconsciously look up to the pagan culture and look down upon the beauty of Tawheed. He would even try to hide his Muslim identity to fit in with the community. The final sharpening of the knife before the spiritual “slaughter” is when the parents send him to a Non-Islamic school where the child looks up to his teachers as the source of intellectual authority and corruption in belief, shirk, evolution, loss of moral values – free-mixing, pre-marital relations etc. can be easily injected in the child’s mind. His Non-Muslim friends would further compound the problem. Hence, the prophetic warning: “A person is likely to follow the faith of his friend, so look whom you befriend.” (Abu Dawood and at-Tirmithi)

Lastly, one of the major factors preventing the Dawah in todays world, is the absence of a truly Islamic State or Kilafha that is responsible for cleaning up its own society from shirk and other evils, implementing sharia, making it easy to do acts of ibadah and make it difficult to commit sins. In essence, this “Islamic Government” like the glory days of the Ummah, is responsible for providing an ideal environment for Islam to flourish within its boundaries and to remove obstacles in dawah outside her borders using physical and intellectual jihad as ordained by Allah Azzawajal:

“Fighting has been enjoined upon you while it is hateful to you. But perhaps you hate a thing and it is good for you; and perhaps you love a thing and it is bad for you. And Allah Knows, while you know not.” [Quran 2:216]

“And remember when you were few and oppressed in the land, fearing that people might abduct you, but He sheltered you, supported you with His victory, and provided you with good things – that you might be grateful.” [Quran 8:26]

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