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.

Friday, November 7, 2008

The Qur'an: The Incomprehensible's Communication with Man

بسم لله الرحمن الرحيم

In the name of Almighty God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. All praise be to God, the Lord of all that exists. We give him our praise, we seek his guidance, we seek his forgiveness, and we seek refuge in Him from the evil within ourselves and in our deeds. No one whom the Almighty gives His divine guidance, can be misguided, and no one whom the Lord allows to go astray, will be guided (except by his grace). I bear witness that there is nothing worthy of worship except Almighty God alone, without partners, and I bear witness that Muhammad is the slave and messenger of Almighty God.
Today Scientists spend a lot of time pondering the wonders of the universe and the origins of all that "is". Millions of dollars have been spent in the pursuit of the quote "truth" of our existence, and the origins of the universe and all that is in it. While doing this no doubt brings about countless amazing discoveries about us as a people, and the world around us, they have never, and can never "scientifically" know the answer to that most fundamental question, "What is the origin of all of "this".
When the word "God" is mentioned to many of these people, many of them will smile, offer an anecdotal "could be", and write off whatever else you say as "legend", "myth", or maybe even "superstition". The fact is that someone with a "scientific" mind (i.e. one that deals with tangible and testable evidence) often times cannot except the simple fact that there are just some things that the human mind is incapable of comprehending.
Civilizations and religions of the past have come up with many ways to explain the unexplainable. Most people's of the Earth have always recognized the existence of a "supreme being", that was ultimately incomprehensive to humans. So, in order to bring the incomprehensive into comprehension, they developed intercessors between them and that supreme being; thus idol worship was born. People would view these intercessors as earthly representations of that incomprehensible supreme being. The Hindus of India have intercessors such as Shiva, and Krishna. The Buddhists have Guatama Buddha, The Mayans had Chac and Yum Cimil, and the Christians have Jesus Christ, peace be upon him. People throughout time have developed these intercessors because the incomprehensible, inconceivable supreme being was to them, too lofty of a concept to grasp in worship. Even the Children of Israel, who, with us, are one of the only true monotheistic faiths, at one time feel into this trap, with the famous story of the Golden Calf. However, that inconceivable incomprehensible supreme being (which in Arabic translates as Allah) has continually, since the first man, communicated with a select few human beings known as prophets, so that mankind might be reminded of the real source of all that "is". While many of these communications have since been distorted, altered, or even lost forever, the last of these communications, sent to a 7th century Arab whom We know as the beloved prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, has miraculously survived the ages, through the protection that the Almighty, Allah, promised in the communication itself.
Allah teaches us in this communication, the perfect prayer, in the very first chapter, Al Fatihah or "The Opening". In it, it says,

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
All praise be to Allah, the Lord of all the worlds
The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful
Master of the Day of Recompense
You alone we worship, and You alone we ask for help
The path of those whom You have favored
Not the path of those who have earned Your anger
or those who have gone astray.
Then, in the beginning of the very next chapter, known as Al Baqarah or "The Cow", He answers this pray when He says,
This is the book wherein there is NO DOUBT,
A guidance to those who seek Allah's favor.
This communication, known as Al Qur'an Kareem, or in English the Holy Recitation, is a book in which there truly is no doubt. It confirms and at the same time corrects previous communications, and unlike manmade works, flows seemlessly without contradiction or flaw. It is through this book that we see, in the words of Allah Himself, how to truly understand who He is.
In the famous verse known as Ayat ul Kursi, or the "Verse of the Throne", Allah, the Almighty, provides us with an emaculate describtion of Himself, that we might be able to start to understand His incomprehensiveness. It says...
Allah! There is none worthy of worship except Him, the Ever Living, the One who sustains all that is. Neither slumber nor sleep overtakes Him. To Him belongs all that is in the Heavens and the Earth. Who is he that can intercede with Him except by His permission. He knows what happens to his creatures in this world, and what will happen to them in the next, and they will never encompass any knowledge except by His permission. His Throne extends over the Heavens and the Earth and He feels no fatigue in guarding and preserving them, and He is the Most High, the Most Great.
In this verse Al Hayyul Qiyuum means "The Ever Living, The One who Sustains all that is". This very concept is beyond our comprehension. We are not able to comprehend something "ever living" because everything in our world has a beginning and an end. We live in a finite world, and as the great French philosepher René Descartes said, "the finite is incapable of understanding the infinite".
Also the verse says "neither slumber nor sleep overtakes him". This is also beyond our comprehension because everything in our world rests and awakes periodically. Even the Earth itself does. Finally it also reminds us that we will never attain any knowledge, except what He, Allah, permits us to attain.
This final communication from Allah, the supreme incomprehensible, inconceivable creator also reveals to us another scientifically unanswerable question, that is the creation of the universe and our planet; the Heavens and the Earth. Allah says in the Qur'an,
Have not those who disbelieve known that the Heavens and the Earth were joined together as one unit, then we cleaved them? And we have made every living thing from water. Will they not then believe?
These are things that science only recently has discovered, and as Allah says, "will they not then believe?" This is the guidance from that one inconceivable, unimaginable God.
This glorious revelation in addition to being divine guidance, is also divine protection. It is recorded in the authentic hadith collection of Imam Bukhari, that once the prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, had ordered Abu Harairah, may Allah be pleased with him, to guard the Ramadan charity stockpiles. That night a man came by and tried to steal from the stock. Abu Harairah caught him and said "I'm going to take you to rasoolullah (messenger of God)." The man replied saying, "Please don't take me to rasoolullah! If you don't I'll tell you something by which you will benefit." The thief went on saying, " If you recite Ayat ul Kursi at night before you sleep, it will serve as a guard against the Devil, and he will not be able to come close to you till morning". Later, Abu Harairah related the story to the prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, the prophet replied by saying, "indeed what the thief said was truth, although he is a liar. He was the Devil."
This story shows us the emmense power that this recitation has. If you've ever seen an Islamic exorcism, you'd see this power. When someone has been possessed by a Jinn or Demon, the Ayat ul Kursi is often used as a most effective weapon. When the verse is recited it often burns the Jinn or Demon so severely that they throw the human being they are possessing into harsh and often violent convulsions. This is because this holy verse reminds then that no matter how powerful they may seem to a human being, they are nothing compared to Allah, and they are no match for a true believing human or jinn who has the words and commands of Allah in their arsenal. All praise be to He, who gives us, his servants this emaculate and divine guidance and this most powerful of weapons against the evils we face in this dunya (present life).
We often forget about the truly miraculous nature of the Holy Qur'an. The Holy Qur'an is so much more than words on a page, or utterances in our prayers. It is a code of conduct; an owner's manual for our lives as human beings. It's a sword, mightier than any one made of steel. It is a medicine for any sickness. It is a comfort for sorrow, a celebration in times of joy. During Ramadan we are often reminded of the importance of the keeping the Qur'an, but it is also important to do so the whole year. We go to work and class day after day, week after week, where we read countless things that benefit either our job or our degrees, but how much time do we make for reflecting on this most glorious of books? The best of guidance and the key to Jennah (Paradise/Heaven). This khutbah (sermon) today is nothing more than a reminder firstly to myself, and to all of you to keep this holy book near and dear to our hearts every day of our lives.
...And Allah Knows Best...

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