In the Name of Almighty God, The Merciful, The Compassionate

بسم لله الرحمان الرحيم

Salaam Aleikum (Peace be with you)! I hope you may gain some insight from my work here. Remember, I'm not a scholar and don't claim to be. I only claim to be a person who has a passion for both Islam and this great republic in which I live and wish to share my thoughts with others. Remember that anything good you find in this blog is from Allah, and anything wrong or bad is from my own flawed self.

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The Holy Ka'aba

The Holy Ka'aba
The House of God built by Abraham (peace be upon him)

The Pledge of Allegiance

The Pledge of Allegiance
take out the 9th line, and it would be haram (forbidden) to say this.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

A House Divided Cannot Stand: part 1

بسمالله الرحمان الرحيم
In the name of Almighty God, the most gracious, the most merciful. All praise be to He that gives us life and takes it away. All praise be to Him that created the oceans and brought from them life of all kinds. May the peace and blessings of God be upon all His messengers and may He guide all of us, and may He have mercy on all of us.
Probably the single biggest problem facing the Muslims today, is disunity. In Islam we have at the center of our faith, the concept of tawheed. Tawheed means the absolute oneness, and "unity" of God. In other words there can be no two, or three, or more "versions" of God, or the way we see God. God reminds us in the Qur'an, " Say he is God, The ONE!!! God, the absolute, eternal, omnipotent. He does not beget or is he begotten, and there is NOTHING that compares to him." This short chapter of the Qur'an known as surat ul Ikhlaas, or the chapter of purity, is known in Islamic tradition to be equal in importance to one third of the Qur'an. It sums up our entire view of God. God, the ONE. There is nothing comparable to Him. This is why tawheed is translated as the "unity of God", because it means that there can only be one "version" of God. Likewise when it comes to us as the Muslim ummah (nation), unity is absolutely necessary for the preservation of Islam.
Today there are many different groups of Muslims. The most known groups or sects are Sunni and Shia. Sunni make up approximately 85% of Muslims, while Shia make up about 10%-13%. However, in recent history, as in the past one hundred years or so, many different groups have come fourth claiming different views of Islam. So, how do we as the Muslim Ummah know which group to follow or what kind of Muslim to be? The answer is very simple. If someone askes me "what kind of a Muslim are you?", I always answer, " I'm just a Muslim". I don't claim to be a Salafi, a Sufi, a Ahmedi, a Nation of Islami, or even a Shia or Sunni. I'm just a Muslim! Well what do I mean by that. Well in order to be considered Muslim you have to believe in six things.
1. Belief in Allah~meaning absolute tawheed in all three forms (talk about those in another post)
2. Belief in the Prophets ~ meaning all the prophets mentioned in the Qur'an and that there are many that were not mentioned (as it says in the Qur'an).
3. Belief in the books~ meaning the Torah (revealed to Moses) the Zaboor (Psalms of David) the Injeel (the gospel of Jesus) and the Qur'an ( revealed to Muhammad) "peace be upon them"
4. Belief in Angels ~ those mentioned by name and those that are not.
5. Belief in Jinn~ spirits and supernatural creatures that live amongst us
6. Belief in Pre-Ordainment~ believing that Allah pre-ordains all that will happen in one's life.
These are the six things that one MUST believe in order to be considered a Muslim, whether they call themselves one or not. Also, Islam is not just a religion of "belief", it's also a religion of "action". There are also five fundamental things that all Muslims must "do" to be considered a Muslim.
1. Shahadah (testimony of faith)~ saying "There is nothing worthy of worship other than God, and Muhammad is the messenger of God".
2. Salah (daily prayers) ~ one MUST prayer five times a day at the approximate times and in the manner shown to us by the prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
3. Zakat (charity) one MUST give 2.5% of their annual income to the needy.
4. Saum (fasting during Ramadan) one MUST fast during the month of Ramadan.
5. Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca) one MUST make or have the SINCERE intention to make the pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in their life.
So these six pillars of faith, and the five pillars of practices are essentially what makes a Muslim a Muslim. If any person knowingly rejects any of these things, they are not a Muslim. In fact if someone rejects any of these things with full knowledge of them and of Islam in general, they are what we call a kafr, or someone who rejects the truth when it's been made apparent to them. May Allah protect us from this.
Now, outside of those things there is a LOT of room for differences. So when it comes to these differences how do we know which way is the right one? Well ultimately it comes down to the Qur'an. Every Muslim sect, believes in the Qur'an. Every Muslim sect believes that the Qur'an is the authentic word of God. No Muslim can deny any part of the Qur'an because to deny one part of it is to by default deny the whole of the Qur'an, because the Qur'an all comes from the same source, unlike the Bible. If any one verse of the Qur'an was not credible, then the entire Qur'an would not be credible. But, there can be different interpretations of the Qur'an. So again, which one is the right one!?
Let's look to what Allah says in the Qur'an about the unity of Muslims. Allah, God almighty says, “The Believers, men and women, are protectors one of another: they enjoin the ma`roof (all of Islam), and forbid the munkar (all that is evil; kufr): they observe regular prayers, pay Zakat, and obey Allah and His Messenger. On them will Allah pour His mercy: for Allah is Exalted in power, Wise.” (The Holy Qur’an, 9:71) God Almighty, demonstrates in this verse, that Muslim unity is to enjoin ALL of Islam, not just parts of it that are convenient, to forbid and speak against all that is evil AND to point out kufr, or rejection of the truth, when it rears it's ugly head, to observe the daily prayers TOGETHER, pay Zakat and charity TOGETHER, and most importantly to OBEY ALLAH AND HIS MESSENGER MUHAMMAD (peace be upon him). This completely discredits those so called "progressive Muslims" who reject the idea of "Sunnah" or the example set by prophet Muhammad (pbuh), as recorded in hadith (and I'll talk about the science of hadith at a later date). The Qur'an says to OBEY THE MESSENGER, which means that the idea of rejecting sunnah is out of the question.
Also let us look at the words of prophet Muhammad (pbuh). In his final sermon he states,"O People, listen well to my words, for I do not know whether, after this year, I shall ever be amongst you again. Therefore listen to what I am saying to you very carefully and take these words to those who could not be present today.O People, just as you regard this month, this day, this city as Sacred, so regard the life and property of every Muslim as a sacred trust. Return the goods entrusted to you to their rightful owners. Treat others justly so that no one would be unjust to you. Remember that you will indeed meet your LORD, and that HE will indeed reckon your deeds. God has forbidden you to take usury (riba), therefore all riba obligation shall henceforth be waived. Your capital , however, is yours to keep. You will neither inflict nor suffer inequity. God has judged that there shall be no riba and that all the riba due to `Abbas ibn `Abd al Muttalib shall henceforth be waived.Every right arising out of homicide in pre-Islamic days is henceforth waived and the first such right that I waive is that arising from the murder of Rabi`ah ibn al Harith ibn `Abd al Muttalib.O Men, the Unbelievers indulge in tampering with the calendar in order to make permissible that which God forbade, and to forbid that which God has made permissible. With God the months are twelve in number. Four of them are sacred, three of these are successive and one occurs singly between the months of Jumada and Sha`ban. Beware of the devil, for the safety of your religion. He has lost all hope that he will ever be able to lead you astray in big things, so beware of following him in small things.O People, it is true that you have certain rights over your women, but they also have rights over you. Remember that you have taken them as your wives only under God's trust and with His permission. If they abide by your right then to them belongs the right to be fed and clothed in kindness. Treat your women well and be kind to them, for they are your partners and committed helpers. It is your right and they do not make friends with anyone of whom you do not approve, as well as never to be unchaste...O People, listen to me in earnest, worship God (The One Creator of the Universe), perform your five daily prayers (Salah), fast during the month of Ramadan, and give your financial obligation (zakah) of your wealth. Perform Hajj if you can afford to.All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over a black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good action. Learn that every Muslim is a brother to every Muslim and that the Muslims constitute one brotherhood. Nothing shall be legitimate to a Muslim which belongs to a fellow Muslim unless it was given freely and willingly. Do not, therefore, do injustice to yourselves.Remember, one day you will appear before God (The Creator) and you will answer for your deeds. So beware, do not stray from the path of righteousness after I am gone.O People, no prophet or messenger will come after me and no new faith will be born. Reason well, therefore, O People, and understand words which I convey to you. I am leaving you with the Book of God (the Quraan) and my Sunnah (the life style and the behavioral mode of the Prophet), if you follow them you will never go astray.All those who listen to me shall pass on my words to others and those to others again; and may the last ones understand my words better than those who listen to me directly. Be my witness O God, that I have conveyed your message to your people."In this long statement, the prophet of God, makes several key statements related to the unity of the Muslims. Firstly he mentions that there is no superior race. An Arab is not superior to a non-Arab or visa-versa, and a white has no superiority over a black and visa-versa. This first and foremost, completely discredits the ideology of the Nation of Islam and other so called black Muslim movements. Also for that matter the prophet says that NO prophets shall come after him, therefore the NOI belief of the prophethood of Elijah Muhammad is absolutely not sound as well as their belief that Allah Himself came in the "person" of Wallace Fard, which because of it's violation of tawheed is borderline kufr.
I could go on and on with different examples, but my point is made. Muslim unity is and can only be with the absolute adherence to the Qur'an and the Sunnah of our messenger Muhammad, peace be upon him. There are many amongst the Muslims who believe that the only way to revive the spirit of Islam is to adhere to EVERY detail of the life and times of the prophet (pbuh) and his companions. So much so that they may actually forbid the wearing of pants or more importantly forbid participation in democratic elections and claim that western society is an abomination of Shaitan. These people are not following the Qur'an and Sunnah and are therefore contributing to the disunity of the Muslim Ummah. There are people who think that the Qur'an justifies the killing of innocents. Osama bin Laden said, " killing American civilians is justified because the civilians choose their government, therefore making them "part" of the government". The Qur'an and the Sunnah doesn't just forbid the killing of civilians, it forbids the killing of "non-combatants" whether they be government or not. So these people are NOT following the principles of the Qur'an and Sunnah and are therefore contributing to the disunity of the Muslim Ummah. There are also people who believe that Islam or any religion should not be a part of government or public policy. The Qur'an and the Sunnah cover all aspects of human life including criminal law, politics, and public policy. Again as God says in the Qur'an, " enjoining ALL of Islam", not just what is convenient or what seems "modern". These people are not acting in accordance with the Qur'an and Sunnah and are therefore contributing to the disunity of the Muslim Ummah. Also there are many people who want to justify such moral problems such as the sexual exploitation of women, abortion, homosexuality, and usery based economics, in the name of "modernity" and "liberalism" despite the prohibition of these things in the Qur'an and Sunnah. These people are also contributing to the disunity of the Muslim Ummah.
The Qur'an and Sunnah are what makes Muslims, Muslims, and what makes Islam, Islam. If someone who believes themselves to be a Muslim is at odds with any of these things, than I suggest they look hard into the issues and assess their standing in their faith. Otherwise, we need to stop concentrating so hard on our petty differences, and focus on our brotherhood, our unity as a nation, and our common interest in enjoining the good and forbidding evil. In today's world, the concept of "Muslim Extremism" is a very common one. The definition of "extremist" is someone who goes either to the extreme right or extreme left. The right way is the middle way, the middle where we find the Qur'an and the example of our prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him. There is only ONE Islam, just as there is only ONE God. So let us all embrace Islam fully and completely, and close ranks behind the example of our beloved prophet Muhammad and behind the Holy revelation that God Almighty entrusted to him to give all of us.
...And Allah Knows Best...

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