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Sunday, February 29, 2004

It Wasn't Arabs
by Edgar J. Steele

November 18, 2003

"Let me count the ways..."
--- with apologies to Elizabeth Barrett Browning

The following email came from a list member this morning: "Today's Jews are far from perfect! But their enemies are my enemies too. I detest the Arabs. To my way of thinking they are two-faced butchers. It seems as though most of the world's terrorists come from their countries."

I got a little carried away with my response, I confess. It felt cleansing, somehow, to list all the reasons why this person was wrong. Maybe it was my being included in the SPLC's recent "List of 40 to Watch," meaning right wingers they have targeted for elimination, wherein I was labeled an anti-semite. (You want anti-semite? I'll give you anti-semite!) Here is my response, in full:

I haven't the degree of antipathy you feel for Arabs, despite a couple that I would willingly have dispatched, had it been legal. Nor do I have any particular love for them, other than that normally reserved for the underdog. Your hatred seems born of something quite apart from personal experience. Here is just part of the basis for my outlook:

It wasn't Arabs who tried to steal my law practice - it was a jew.
It wasn't Arabs who threatened to kill my children and wife - it was jews.
It wasn't Arabs who threatened to kill me - and continue to do so with regularity - it was/is jews.
It wasn't Arabs who screwed the stockholders of the company I worked for in SF - it was jews.
It isn't Arabs who fill my email inbox with pornographic spam - it is jews.
It isn't Arabs who send all those viruses to me over the Internet - it is jews.
It isn't Arabs who try to get my ISP to cancel my internet access - it is jews.
It isn't Arabs who periodically forge mass spam mailings to so many, using my domain name - it is jews.
It isn't Arabs who send me all that incredibly vituperative, irrational and pornographic hate mail - it is jews.
It wasn't Arabs who blocked my PayPal account and stole the balance it contained - it was jews.
It wasn't Arabs who painted a bullseye on my chest by labeling me one of "40 to watch" - it was jews.
It isn't Arabs who have made it all but impossible for me to work as a lawyer - it is jews.
It isn't Arabs who maintain a dossier on me and draw from it to defame me on every venue possible - it is jews.
It wasn't Arabs who have been bent upon bankrupting and imprisoning so many that I know - it was and is jews.
It isn't Arabs who have arrested and imprisoned Chester Doles as a felon in possession of a gun, though he is no felon and owned no guns - it is jews.
It wasn't Arabs who indicted David Duke on tax evasion charges that were pure speculation, forcing a plea deal and a 1-year prison sentence because he dared not go before a jury - it was jews.
It wasn't Arabs who arrested Artie Wheeler for domestic terrorism because he had firearm reloading equipment and supplies - it was jews.
It wasn't Arabs who arrested and imprisoned Christine Greenwood for distributing clothing to needy white children - it was jews.
It wasn't Arabs who sued and bankrupted Richard Butler because he provided shelter to some derelicts who stupidly shot at some people - it was jews.
It wasn't Arabs who had Ernst Zundel deported to Canada - it was jews - where he now stands accused of thought crimes - by jews - for which he could get deported again, to Germany, where he will be tried for more thought crimes - by jews.
It wasn't Arabs who sued and bankrupted Tom Metzger because one of his followers stupidly killed another - it was jews.
It isn't Arabs who have hijacked my government - it is jews.
It isn't Arabs who have hijacked the American legal system and now are transforming it to conform to Talmudic law - it is jews.
It isn't Arabs who own and run the Federal Reserve Bank, which is in the process of destroying the dollar and the American economy - it is jews.
It isn't Arabs rigging the US stock market and commodities futures markets - it is jews.
It wasn't Arabs who sent our military into Afghanistan and Iraq - it was jews.
It isn't Arabs who refuse to serve in the US Military in numbers proportionate to their population percentage - it is jews (1/10 of 1%, vs. 2-1/2%).
It wasn't Arabs who sued to remove "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance - it was jews.
It wasn't Arabs who sued to remove the Ten Commandments from that Alabama courthouse, had Judge Moore removed from the bench and now seek to disbar him - it is jews.
It isn't Arabs who sue to remove nativity scenes from public venues - it is jews.
It isn't Arabs who erect menorahs in public venues in place of crosses - it is jews.
It wasn't Arabs who sued to remove group prayer from public schools - it was jews.
It wasn't Arabs suing to remove decorative lights from schools at Christmas - it was jews.
It isn't Arabs who refuse to allow children to say grace over their school lunches - it is jews.
It isn't Arabs who continue to impose affirmative action upon us in all walks of life - it is jews.
It isn't Arabs who began and continue to expand militant feminism - it is jews.
It isn't Arabs who buy off all our legislators with our own tax dollars - it is jews.
It wasn't Arabs who tried to sink the USS Liberty and killed and maimed so many of its crewmembers during an extended attack - it was jews.
It isn't Arabs enacting hate crime laws designed to outlaw criticism of themselves - it is jews.
It isn't Arabs who run NAMBLA (North American Man-Boy Love Association) - it is jews.
It isn't Arabs suing to force us to allow homosexuals to lead boy scout troops - it is jews.
It wasn't Arabs who started and ran so many black organizations like the NAACP - it was jews.
It isn't Arabs importing huge numbers of Somalians and Bantu into American cities - it is jews.
It wasn't Arabs who formulated American legislation providing pensions to Russian jewish immigrants for doing nothing - it was jews.
It isn't Arabs who run organized crime throughout America - it is jews.
It isn't Arabs who import tons of drugs into America every day - it is jews.
It isn't Arabs who literally own and run all of Hollywood's moviemaking enterprise - it is jews.
It isn't Arabs who literally own and run all of America's mainstream media - it is jews.
It isn't Arabs spewing obscenity and race-mixing propaganda from the TV and movie screens - it is jews.
It isn't Arabs trying mightily to block release of the Mel Gibson movie, "The Passion" - it is jews.
It isn't Arabs lying about and guilt tripping us with "the holocaust" - it is jews.
It isn't Arabs stealing American tax dollars to fund all their holocaust monuments throughout America - it is jews.
It wasn't Arabs who forged the Anne Frank "diary" - it was jews.
It wasn't Arabs who lied about gas chambers at Dachau and Auschwitz - it was jews.
It wasn't Arabs who lied about mass graves at Treblinka - it was jews.
It wasn't Arabs who lied about jews being made into lamp shades and soap during WWII - it was jews.
It wasn't Arabs who doctored WWII prison camp photos to appear to be belching smoke from crematoria - it was jews.
It wasn't Arabs who used WWII pictures of dead non jews, claiming they were jews - it was jews.
It wasn't Arabs who made anti-semitical talk punishable by death in Russia after they took power - it was jews.
It wasn't Arabs who killed over 20 million Russian Christians - it was jews.
It wasn't Arabs who looted and destroyed the Russian economy - it was jews.
It isn't Arabs who have amassed an illegal arsenal of over 300 nuclear weapons in the Middle East - it is the jews.
It isn't Arabs who brag about controlling America - it is jews.
It isn't Arabs who advocate the use of torture by and on Americans - it is jews.
It isn't Arabs who twist American laws to punish anti-semitical speech - it is jews.
It isn't Arabs endeavoring to get America to outlaw anti-semitical speech - it is jews.
It isn't Arabs who sell goods that it is illegal in America to boycott - it is Israeli jews.
It isn't Arabs who extort "fees" for allowing their kosher label on goods - it is jews.
It isn't Arabs who retaliate against rock-throwing children by shooting them in the head - it is jews.
It isn't Arabs stealing land in Palestine - it is jews.
It wasn't Arabs who ran down Rachel Corrie with a bulldozer - it was a jew.
It isn't Arabs who have caused America to spend $2.5 trillion ($31,250 per American family) in the Middle East - it is jews.
It isn't Arabs who send teams of trained assassins into foreign countries, including America, to kill people with whom Israel disagrees - it is jews.
It isn't Arabs who run the ADL, which maintains dossiers on thousands of law-abiding American citizens, for the purpose of punishing those with whom they disagree - it is jews.
It isn't Arabs who break into and enter the offices and homes of law-abiding American citizens, to procure evidence both for their database and in the hopes of getting evidence they can pass to the FBI for prosecution - it is jews.
It isn't Arabs who have caused America to go from being the most-loved country in the world to the most hated - it is jews.

Finally, though most won't believe it (all the preceding are facts - provable facts):
It isn't Arabs who regularly phony up "hate crimes" against themselves - it is jews.
It wasn't Arabs who caused the Great Depression - it was jews.
It wasn't Arabs who started WWI - it was jews.
It wasn't Arabs who started WWII - it was jews.
It wasn't Arabs who killed JFK - it was jews.
It wasn't Arabs who demolished the World Trade Center - it was jews.
It isn't Arabs bent upon destroying Christianity - it is jews.

And, lest we forget:
It wasn't Arabs who had Jesus Christ crucified - it was jews.
Just Curious thinking

1. Ever wonder about those people who spend $2.00 apiece on those little
bottles of Evian water? Try spelling Evian backwards: NAIVE

2. Isn't making a smoking section in a restaurant like making a peeing
section in the swimming pool?

3. OK... so if the Jacksonville Jaguars are known as the "Jags" and the
Tampa Bay Buccaneers are known as the "Bucs", what does that make the
Tennessee Titans?

4. If 4 out of 5 people SUFFER from diarrhea...does that mean that one
enjoys it?

5. There are three religious truths:

a. Jews do not recognize Jesus as the Messiah.
b. Protestants do not recognize the Pope as the leader of The Christian
faith.
c. Baptists do not recognize each other in the liquor store or Hooters.

6. If people from Poland are called Poles, why aren't people from Holland
called Holes?

7. Do infants enjoy infancy as much as adults enjoy adultery?

8. If a pig loses its voice, is it disgruntled?

9. Why do croutons come in airtight packages? Aren't they just stale bread
to begin with?

10. Why is a person who plays the piano called a pianist but a person who
drives a racecar not called a racist?

11. Why isn't the number 11 pronounced onety one?

12. If lawyers are disbarred and clergymen defrocked, doesn't it follow that
electricians can be delighted, musicians denoted, cowboys deranged, models
deposed, tree surgeons debarked, and dry cleaners depressed?

13. If Fed Ex and UPS were to merge, would they call it Fed UP?

14. Do Lipton Tea employees take coffee breaks?

15. What hair color do they put on the driver's licenses of bald men?

16. I was thinking about how people seem to read the Bible a whole lot more
as they get older; then it dawned on me . .....they're cramming for their
final exam.

17. I thought about how mothers feed their babies with tiny little spoons
and forks, so I wondered what do Chinese mothers use? Toothpicks?

18. Why do they put pictures of criminals up in the Post Office? What are we
supposed to do, write to them? Why don't they just put their pictures on the
postage stamps so the mailmen can look for them while they deliver the mail?

19. If it's true that we are here to help others, then what exactly are the
others here for?

20. You never really learn to swear until you learn to drive.

21. Ever wonder what the speed of lightning would be if it didn't zigzag?

22. If a cow laughed, would milk come out of her nose?

23. Whatever happened to Preparations A through G?

Friday, February 27, 2004

Islam

{iz'-luhm}
Islam, a major world religion, is customarily defined in non-Islamic sources as the religion of those who follow the Prophet MUHAMMAD. The prophet, who lived in Arabia in the early 7th century, initiated a religious movement that was carried by the ARABS throughout the Middle East.
Today, Islam has adherents not only in the Middle East, where it is the dominant religion in all countries (Arab and non-Arab) except Israel, but also in other parts of Asia, Africa and, to a certain extent, in Europe and in the United States. Adherents of Islam are called Muslims (sometimes spelled Moslems).

The Name and Its Meaning

The Arabic word al-islam means the act of committing oneself unreservedly to God, and a Muslim is a person who makes this commitment. Widely used translations such as "resignation," "surrender" and "submission" fail to do justice to the positive aspects of the total commitment for which al-islam stands--a commitment in faith, obedience, and trust to the one and only God (ALLAH). All of these elements are implied in the name of this religion, which is characteristically described in the KORAN (Arabic, Qur'an; the sacred book of Islam) as "the religion of Abraham." In the Koran, ABRAHAM is the patriarch who turned away from idolatry, who "came to his Lord with an undivided heart" (37:84), who responded to God in total obedience when challenged to sacrifice his son (37:102-105), and who served God uncompromisingly. For Muslims, therefore, the proper name of their religion expresses the Koranic insistence that no one but God is to be worshiped. Hence, many Muslims, while recognizing the significance of the Prophet Muhammad, have objected to the terms Muhammadanism (or Mohammedanism) and Muhammadans (or Mohammedans)--designations used widely in the West until recently--since they detect in them the suggestion of a worship of Muhammad parallel to the worship of Jesus Christ by Christians.

Numbers

Estimates of the world population of Muslims range from a low of 750 million to a high of 1.2 billion; 950 million is a widely used medium. Notwithstanding the significant variations in these estimates, many observers agree that the world population of Muslims is increasing by approximately 25 million per year. Thus, a 250-million increase is anticipated for the decade 1990-2000. This significant expansion, due primarily but not entirely to the general population growth in Asia and Africa, is gradually reducing the numerical difference between Christians (the largest religious community) and Muslims, whose combined totals make up almost 50 percent of the world's population.




Origin

While many Muslims vehemently oppose the language that the Prophet Muhammad is the "founder" of Islam--an expression which they interpret as an implicit denial of God's initiative and involvement in the history of Islam's origins--none would challenge that Islam dates back to the lifetime (570-632) of the Prophet and the years in which he received the divine revelations recorded in the Koran. At the same time, however, most of them would stress that it is only in a sense that Islam dates back to the 7th century, since they regard their religion not as a 7th-century innovation, but as the restoration of the original religion of Abraham. They would also stress that Islam is a timeless religion, not just because of the "eternal truth" that it proclaims but also because it is "every person's religion," the natural religion in which every person is born.

Islam's Comprehensive Character

When applied to Islam, the word religion has a far more comprehensive meaning than it commonly has in the West. Islam encompasses personal faith and piety, the creed and worship of the community of believers, a way of life, a code of ethics, a culture, a system of laws, an understanding of the function of the state--in short, guidelines and rules for life in all its aspects and dimensions. While many Muslims see the SHARIA (the "way," denoting the sacred law governing the life of individuals as well as the structures of society) as fixed and immutable, others make a clear distinction between the unchangeable message of the Koran and the mutable laws and regulations for Muslim life and conduct. Throughout history, practices and opinions have differed with regard to the exact way in which Islam determines life in all its aspects, but the basic notion of Islam's comprehensive character is so intrinsic to Muslim thought and feeling that neither the past history of the Muslim world nor its present situation can be understood without taking this characteristic into consideration. According to Muslim jurists, the sharia is derived from four sources--the Koran; the sunna ("customs") of the Prophet, which are embodied in the hadith ("tradition"); qiyas ("analogy"; the application of a decision of the past, or the principles on which it was based, to new questions); and ijma ("consensus"; the consensus of the community of believers, who, according to a saying of the Prophet, would not agree on any error).

HISTORY AND SPREAD OF ISLAM

The Prophet

Muhammad was born in 570 in MECCA, a trading centre in western Arabia. About 610 he received the first of a series of revelations that convinced him that he had been chosen as God's messenger. He began to preach the message entrusted to him--that there is but one God, to whom all humankind must commit themselves. The polytheistic Meccans resented Muhammad's attacks on their gods and finally he emigrated with a few followers to MEDINA. This migration, which is called the Hegira (Hijrah), took place in 622; Muslims adopted the beginning of that year as the first year of their lunar calendar (Anno Hegirae, or AH). At Medina Muhammad won acceptance as a religious and military leader. Within a few years he had established control of the surrounding region, and in 630 he finally conquered Mecca. There, the KAABA, a shrine that had for some time housed the idols of the pagan Meccans, was rededicated to the worship of Allah, and it became the object of pilgrimage for all Muslims. By the time of his death in 632, Muhammad had won the allegiance of most of the Arab tribespeople to Islam. He had laid the foundation for a community (umma) ruled by the laws of God. The Koran records that Muhammad was the Seal of the Prophets, the last of a line of God's messengers that began with Adam and included Abraham, Noah, Moses, and Jesus. He left for the future guidance of the community the words of God revealed to him and recorded in the Koran, and the sunna, the collective name for his opinions and decisions as recorded in the tradition literature (hadith).

A Rapidly Growing Empire, 632-750

After the death of Muhammad, a successor (khalifa, or caliph; see IMAM) was chosen to rule in his place. The first caliph, the Prophet's father-in-law, ABU BAKR (r. 632-34), initiated an expansionist movement that was carried out most successfully by the next two caliphs, UMAR I (r. 634-44) and Uthman (r. 644-56). By 656 the CALIPHATE included the whole Arabian peninsula, Palestine and Syria, Egypt and Libya, Mesopotamia, and substantial parts of Armenia and Persia. Following the assassination of Uthman, the disagreements between those upholding the rights of the fourth caliph, ALI (r. 656-61), the Prophet's son-in-law, and their opponents led to a division in the Muslim community between the SHIITES and the SUNNITES that still exists today. When the governor of Syria, MUAWIYA I, came to power after the murder of Ali, the Shiites refused to recognize him and his successors. Muawiya inaugurated an almost 90-year rule by the UMAYYADS (661-750), who made Damascus their capital. A second wave of expansion followed. After they conquered (670) Tunisia, Muslim troops reached the northwestern point of North Africa in 710. In 711 they crossed the Strait of Gibraltar, rapidly overran Spain, and penetrated well into France until they were turned back near Poitiers in 732. On the northern frontier Constantinople was besieged more than once (though without success), and in now bordered China and India, with some settlements in the Punjab.

Rival Dynasties and Competing Capitals, 750-1258

In 750, Umayyad rule in Damascus was ended by the ABBASIDS, who moved the caliphate's capital to Baghdad. The succeeding period was marked more by an expansion of horizons of thought than by geographical expansion. In the fields of literature, the sciences, and philosophy, contributions by such Muslim scholars as al-KINDI, al-FARABI, and Ibn Sina (AVICENNA) far surpassed European accomplishments of that time. Politically, the power of the Abbasids was challenged by a number of rival dynasties. These included an Umayyad dynasty in Cordoba, Spain (756-1031); the FATIMIDS, a dynasty connected with the ISMAILIS (a Shiite sect), who established (909) themselves in Tunisia and later (969-1171) ruled Egypt; the ALMORAVIDS and the ALMOHADS, Muslim Berber dynasties that successively ruled North Africa and Spain from the mid-11th to the mid-13th century; the SELJUKS, a Muslim Turkish group that seized Baghdad in 1055 and whose defeat of the Byzantines in 1071 led indirectly to the Christian CRUSADES (1096-1254) against the Islamic world; and the AYYUBIDS, who displaced the Fatimids in Egypt and played an important role in the later years of the Crusades. The Abbasids were finally overthrown (1258) in Baghdad by the MONGOLS, although a family member escaped to Egypt, where he was recognized as caliph. While the brotherhood of faith remained a reality, the political unity of the Muslim world was definitely broken.

Two Great Islamic Powers: The Ottomans and the Moguls

The Ottoman Turkish dynasty, founded by OSMAN I (c.1300), became a major world power in the 15th century, and continued to play a very significant role throughout the 16th and 17th centuries. The BYZANTINE EMPIRE, with which Muslim armies had been at war since the early days of Islam, came to an end in 1453 when Ottoman sultan MEHMED II conquered Constantinople. That city then became the capital of the OTTOMAN EMPIRE. In the first half of the 16th century, Ottoman power, already firmly established over all Anatolia and in most of the Balkans, gained control over Syria, Egypt (the sultans assumed the title caliph after deposing the last Abbasid in Cairo), and the rest of North Africa. It also expanded significantly northwestward into Europe, besieging Vienna in 1529. The defeat of the Ottoman navy in the Battle of LEPANTO in 1571 was not, as many in Europe hoped, the beginning of a rapid disintegration of the Ottoman Empire; more than one hundred years later, in 1683, Ottoman troops once again besieged Vienna. The decline of the empire becomes more visible from the late 17th century onward, but it survived through World War I. Turkey became a republic under Kemal ATATURK in 1923, and the caliphate was abolished in 1924. The MOGULS were a Muslim dynasty of Turko-Mongol origin who conquered northern India in 1526. The Mogul Empire reached the climax of its power in the period from the late 16th century until the beginning of the 18th century. Under the emperors AKBAR, JAHANGIR, SHAH JAHAN, and AURANGZEB, Mogul rule was extended over most of the subcontinent, and Islamic culture (with a strong Persian flavor) was firmly implanted in certain areas. The splendor of the Moguls is reflected in a special way in their architecture. In the 18th century Mogul power began to decline. It survived, at least in name, however, till 1858, when the last sultan was dethroned by the British.

Two Examples of the Coming of Islam in Frontier Areas

Indonesia and West Africa. While there may have been sporadic contacts from the 10th century onward with Muslim merchants, it was only in the 13th century that Islam clearly established itself in Sumatra, where small Muslim states formed on the north-east coast. Islam spread to Java in the 16th century, and then expanded, generally in a peaceful manner, from the coastal areas inward to all parts of the Indonesian archipelago. By the 19th century it had reached to the north-east and extended into the Philippines. Today there are 140 million Muslims in Indonesia, constituting 90 percent of the population. Islam penetrated West Africa in three main phases. The first was that of contacts with Arab and Berber caravan traders, from the 10th century onward. Then followed a period of gradual Islamization of some rulers' courts, among them that of the famous MANSA MUSA (r. 1312-27) in Mali. Finally, in the 16th century the Sufi orders (brotherhoods of mystics), especially the Qadiriyya, Tijaniyya, and Muridiyya, as well as individual saints and scholars, began to play an important role. The 19th century witnessed more than one JIHAD (holy war) for the purification of Islam from pagan influences, while later in the 19th century and in the first half of the 20th century, Muslims formed a significant element in the growing resistance to colonial powers. In the post-colonial period Islam plays an important role in smaller Muslim communities in the other states in West Africa.

ISLAM IN MODERN HISTORY

Napoleon's invasion of Egypt in 1798, followed three years later by the expulsion of the French troops by the combined British-Ottoman forces, is often seen as the beginning of the modern period in the history of Islam. The coming to power of MUHAMMAD ALI (r. 1805-49) and the modernization of Egypt under his leadership was the beginning of a long struggle throughout the Muslim world to re-establish independence from the colonial powers and to assume their place as autonomous countries in the modern world. Resistance to foreign domination and an awareness of the need to restore the Muslim community to its proper place in world history are integral parts of the pan-Islamic efforts of JAMAL AL-DIN AL-AFGHANI as well as the nationalist movements of the 20th century. The political, social, and economic developments in the various countries with Muslim majorities show significant differences. For example, Turkey and many of the Arab countries have become secular republics, whereas Saudi Arabia is virtually an absolute monarchy, ruled under Muslim law. Iran was ruled from 1925 to 1979 by the Pahlavi dynasty, which stressed secularization and westernization. Growing resistance from the Muslim community, which is overwhelmingly Shiite, culminated in the forced departure of the shah and the establishment of an Islamic republic under the leadership of the Ayatollah KHOMEINI. However, while opinions differ with regard as to how Islam can continue to function in modern societies as a force relevant to all aspects of life, the great majority of Muslims hold fast to the notion of the comprehensive character of Islam as well as to its basic theological doctrines.

ISLAMIC DOCTRINES

Islamic doctrines are commonly discussed and taught widely--often by means of a catechism, with questions and answers--under six headings: God, angels, Scriptures,
messengers, the Last Day, and predestination. The Muslims' notion of God (Allah) is, in a sense, interrelated with all of the following points and will be referred to below. Some of the angels (all of whom are servants of God and subject to him) play a particularly important role in the daily life of many Muslims: the guardian angels; the recording angels (those who write down a person's deeds, for which he or she will have to account on Judgement Day); the angel of death; and the angels who question a person in the tomb. One of those mentioned by name in the Koran is Jibril (GABRIEL), who functioned in a special way as a transmitter of God's revelation to the Prophet. The importance of the Muslim recognition of Scriptures other than the Koran and of messengers other than Muhammad will be referred to below.
The promise and threat of the Last Day, which occupy an important place in the Koran, continue to play a major role in Muslim thought and piety. On the Last Day, of which only God knows the hour, every soul will stand alone and will have to account for its deeds. In the theological discussions of the Last Day and, in general, of the concept of God, a significant issue has been whether the descriptions in the Koran (of HEAVEN and HELL, the vision of God, God being seated on the throne, the hands of God, and so on) should be interpreted literally or allegorically. The majority view accepts the principle of literal interpretation (God is seated on the throne, he has hands), but adds the warning and qualification that humans cannot state and should not ask how this is the case, since God is incomparable (bila kayf, "without how"; bila tashbih, "beyond comparison").
The last of the six articles, PREDESTINATION, is also a theocentric issue. Because the divine initiative is all-decisive in bringing humans to faith ("had God not guided us, we had surely never been guided," 7:43), many concluded that God is not only responsible for guiding some but also for not guiding others, allowing them to go astray or even leading them astray. In the debate of later theologians on these questions, the antipredestinarians were concerned less with upholding the notion of human freedom and, therefore, of human dignity, than with defending the honor of God. According to these thinkers--the Qadarites and the Mutazilites, of the 8th to 10th centuries--the Koranic message of the justice of God "who does not wrong people" (". . .they wrong themselves," 43:76) excluded the notion of a God who would punish human beings for evil deeds and unbelief for which they themselves were not really responsible. The major concern of their opponents was to maintain, against any such reasoning, the doctrine of the sovereign freedom of God, upon whom no limits can be placed, not even the limit of "being bound to do what is best for his creatures." Two important theologians of the 10th century, al-Ashari (d. 935) and al-Maturidi (d. 944), formulated answers that would mark for the centuries to come the traditional (Sunni) position on these points. Although one's acts are willed and created by God, one has to appropriate them to make them one's own. A recognition of a degree of human responsibility is combined with the notion of God as the sole creator, the One and Only.
Around this concept of the unity of God another debate arose on the essence and attributes of God; it focused on the question whether the Koran--God's speech--was created or uncreated. Those who held that the Koran was created believed that the notion of an uncreated Koran implied another eternal reality alongside God, who alone is eternal and does not share his eternity with anyone or anything else. Their opponents felt that the notion of a created Koran detracted from its character as God's own speech. The Sunni position that emerged from these discussions was that the Koran as written down or recited is created, but that it is a manifestation of the eternal "inner speech" of God, which precedes any articulation in sounds and letters.
None of the theological issues referred to above can be understood fully unless the socio-political context of these doctrinal debates is taken into consideration.
The interrelation between theological positions and political events is particularly clear in the first issues that arose in the history of Islam. Reference has already been made to the division between the Shiites and the Sunnites. The Shiites were those who maintained that only "members of the family" (Hashimites, or, in the more restricted sense, descendants of the Prophet via his daughter, FATIMA and her husband Ali) had a right to the caliphate. Another group, the Kharijites (literally "those who seceded"), broke away from Ali (who was murdered by one of their members) and from the Umayyads. They developed the doctrine that confession, or faith, alone did not make a person a believer and that anyone committing grave sins was an unbeliever destined to hell. They applied this argument to the leaders of the community, holding that caliphs who were grave sinners could not claim the allegiance of the faithful. While the mainstream of Muslims accepted the principle that faith and works must go together, they rejected the Kharijite ideal of establishing here on earth a pure community of a person is a believer or an unbeliever must be left to God. Suspension of the answer till Judgement Day enabled them to recognize anyone accepting the "five pillars" (see below) as a member of the community of believers, and to recognize those Muslims who had political authority over them, even if they objected to some of their practices.

ISLAMIC WORSHIP, PRACTICES, AND DUTIES

To what extent faith and works go together is evident from the traditional listing of the basic duties of any Muslim, the "five pillars" of Islam: shahada, the profession of faith in God and the apostleship of Muhammad; salat, the ritual prayer, performed five times a day facing Mecca; zakat, almsgiving; sawm (fasting), abstaining from food and drink during the daylight hours of the month of RAMADAN; and hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca, incumbent on every believer who is financially and physically able to undertake it. The witness to God stands here side by side with the concern for the poor, reflected in almsgiving. The personal involvement of the individual believer, expressed most clearly in the formulation of the shahada, "I witness there is no God but God, and Muhammad is the messenger of God," is combined with a deep awareness of the strength that lies in the fellowship of faith and the community of all believers, significant dimensions of both the ritual prayer and the pilgrimage.
Muslim worship and devotion is not limited to the precisely prescribed words and gestures of the salat, but finds expression also in a wealth of personal prayers, in the gathering of the congregation in the central mosque on Fridays, and in the celebration of the two main festivals: Id al-Fitr, the festival of the breaking of the fast at the end of Ramadan; and Id al-Adha, the festival of the sacrifice (in memory of Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son). The latter, observed on the 10th day of the month of pilgrimage, is celebrated not only by the participants in the pilgrimage, but also simultaneously by those who stay in their own locations. The interpretations of jihad (literally, "striving" in the way of God), sometimes added as an additional duty, vary from sacred war to striving to fulfil the ethical norms and principles expounded in the Koran.

ISLAMIC VIEWS OF OTHER RELIGIONS

Islam is definitely an inclusivistic religion in the sense that it recognizes God's sending of messengers to all peoples and his granting of "Scripture and Prophethood" to Abraham and his descendants, the latter resulting in the awareness of a very special link between Muslims, Jews, and Christians as all Abraham's children. Throughout history there have been believers who discerned the Truth of God and responded to him in the right manner, committing themselves to him alone. Of these "Muslims before Muhammad," the Koran mentions, among others, Abraham and his sons, Solomon and the queen of Sheba, and the disciples of Jesus. This inclusiveness is also expressed in the Muslim recognition of earlier Scriptures, namely, the Taurat (Torah) given to Moses, the Zabur (Psalms) of David, and the Injil (Gospel) of Jesus.
This recognition of other prophets besides Muhammad and other Scriptures besides the Koran is coupled with the firm conviction that the perfection of religion and the completion of God's favour to humanity have been realised in the sending down of the Koran, the sending of Muhammad as "the Seal of the Prophets," and the establishing of Islam. People's reactions and response to this final criterion of truth became, therefore, the evidence of their faith or unbelief. Those who, on the basis of what they had previously received from God, recognize the message of the Koran as the ultimate Truth show themselves thereby as true believers, while those who reject it prove themselves to be unbelievers, no matter by what name they call themselves.
Willem A. Bijlefeld

Islamic art and architecture

Islamic art and architecture refers to artistic achievements in those lands where, from the 7th century on, ISLAM became the dominant faith. The Islamic tradition encompasses the arts of the Middle East, North Africa, Spain, Anatolia and the Balkans, Central Asia, and northern and central India, from the time each of these areas became Muslim--as early as AD 622 in parts of Arabia and as late as the 15th century for Istanbul, parts of the Balkans, and central India. Generally excluded from consideration in this context are the arts of sub-Saharan and eastern Africa, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Muslim parts of China. These areas did not adopt Islam untilrelatively late, generally after the 16th century, and by that time the artistic creativity of the central Muslim lands had weakened; their arts tend to be closer to local traditions.

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS

During the most creative millennium in Islamic art (about 650-1650) certain key features emerged that came to characterise the Islamic style of art and architecture. These shared characteristics appeared despite the differences in environment between such diverse lands as Mediterranean Spain, steppic Central Asia, mountainous Algeria, arid Arabia, and the subtropical Indus Valley, and despite cultural diversity of such distant ethnic groups as Arabs, Berbers, Persians, Turks, and Indians. The developing Islamic tradition drew on complex artistic inheritances that included Late Roman art, Early Christian art of the Byzantines and the Copts, and Sassanian art of Persia, and on lesser influences from Mongol, Central Asian, and Indian sources.



Function of Art

From its inception Islamic art was an art created for the setting of daily life. Most religious architecture, notably the MOSQUE and the MINARET, was built less as a testimonial to Allah than as a place where people could best express their piety and learn the precepts of the faith. In addition to that used to decorate buildings, Islamic painting developed primarily in the form of book illustration and illumination. Such painted works were generally created not as ends in themselves but to help explain a scientific text or to enhance the pleasure of reading history or literature.
In the field of the decorative arts the Islamic style is distinguished by the novelty and extraordinary quality of techniques used in the making of utilitarian objects. These techniques include the application of lustrous glazes and rich colours in ceramics and glassware; intricate silver inlays that transform the surfaces of bronze metalwork; lavish moulded stucco and carved wood wall panels; and endlessly varied motifs woven into textiles and rugs. In nearly all instances the objects decorated--whether ewers, cooking cauldrons, candlesticks, or pen cases--served fundamentally practical purposes; their aesthetic effect was aimed above all at making the daily activities or architectural setting more pleasurable.

Sources of Patronage

The vast majority of surviving examples of Islamic art reflect the patronage of a wide social spectrum, most of the patronage coming from the urban world of the great Islamic cities. From Cordoba in Spain to Samarkand in Central Asia, the cities were the centres of Islamic learning and of mercantile wealth. Of the thousands of ceramic objects excavated in the Persian city of Nishapur, the celebrated lusterwares from Fatimid Cairo, or the many inlaid bronzes from Herat (Afghanistan) or Mosul (Iraq), most were made for the bourgeoisie of the cities. The styles of these objects reflect the preferences of these urban dwellers; the variations in quality presumably reflect local variations in price and standards of appreciation.
In addition to the arts created for the urban strata of the Islamic world there was a splendid art of kings and emperors. Little has been preserved of this regal art, however, and only with imagination is it possible to reconstruct the secluded life of the 9th-century imperial palaces at Samarra, or the pleasure pavilions of the Safavids in Iran, such as the 17th-century Ali Qapu and Chehel Sutun in Isfahan. An exquisitely ornamented and rare rock-crystal ewer, preserved in the San Marco Museum, Venice, provides a hint of the richness of 10th- and 11th-century Fatimid art in Cairo; the countless treasures in the Topkapi Palace Museum, Istanbul, attest to the enormous wealth of the Turkish Ottomans.

Decorative Character of Art

A fundamental characteristic of much Islamic art is its powerfully decorative or ornamental quality. A variety of arbitrary geometric, floral, or other types of designs--such as the swirling, interlaced ARABESQUE--tend to predominate over specific motifs taken from nature or from an idealised version of the natural world. Although there are exceptions, the vast majority of motifs, decorating everything from architectural monuments to manuscript borders, do not seem to bear direct relation to a visually perceived reality. Even CALLIGRAPHY, the art of beautifulhandwriting, often seems removed from the meaning of the words depicted; it functions instead more as a decorative element. In this decorative tendency Islamic art contrasts sharply with the representational art of the West, in which precise iconographic meanings are attached to most artistic forms.
Whether in fact the Muslim world may also have sought to transmit a concrete message through its abstract forms is a subject of debate among scholars. Several possibilities have been suggested. One is that the Muslims tended to reject the representation of the visible in their art to emphasise that visible reality is but an illusion and that Allah alone is true. Abstraction thus became a way to make a very specific theological point. Another theory holds that an art which sought above all to enhance the setting of human activities, rather than to order human behaviour or beliefs, was by necessity compelled to develop abstract forms rather than forms with a single obvious meaning.
An excellent example of the difficulty involved in even defining this problem lies in the muqarnas (sometimes called the honeycomb or stalactite motif), a form of ceiling decoration composed of small, three-dimensional units invented in Iran in the 10th century and eventually found everywhere from Spain to India. The muqarnas appears at first glance to be an arbitrary and strictly ornamental architectural motif. In Iranian domes of the late 11th and 12th centuries, however, the muqarnas ceiling carries a structural significance, in which the parts of the design are carefully aligned with support thrusts from the dome. In the intricately faceted ceilings of the Moorish ALHAMBRA outside Granada or the Cappella Porlatina (Palantine Chapel) in Palermo, inscriptions and the particular sequence of designs indicate that the muqarnas ceiling was meant to symbolically represent the dome of heaven. Other existing examples show that many seemingly abstract motifs in Islamic art carried subtle layers of meaning discernible either through their context or through an inscription.

Iconoclastic Tendency

Another characteristic of Islamic art is what is generally called its iconoclasm, or rejection of the representation of religious images and other living beings. In many ways the term iconoclasm is not an appropriate one because no formal doctrinal statement against such representations appeared in the Koran but only in the Hadith (traditions), a later writing. Even there the statements are incidental and partial (the decoration of baths or floors, for example, are exempted from the prohibition). Nevertheless, it is true that early Islamic art modified the art of previous centuries by tending to avoid the representation of humans and animals. Whether this reluctance was derived from a still undetected religious prohibition or from a search for a cultural identity distinct from the identities of other traditions remains a matter of scholarly debate.


Primacy of Calligraphy

The art of calligraphy played a pre-eminent role throughout the world of Islam. Because of its association with the divine revelation, the Arabic alphabet became the vehicle for such diverse languages as Persian and Turkish. In addition, Islamic culture in general was highly verbal, therefore, unusual attention was given to the transformation of writing into a visually appealing expression of aesthetic forms. From the sharp angles of early Kufic to the flowing rhythms of later Persian shekasteh script or to the formal compositions of an Ottoman tughra (imperial emblem), many different systems of proportions between letters, relationships between parts of letters, and arrangements of words were developed. The impact of a fascination with writing appeared throughout the Islamic world: ceramics, metal objects, textiles, and architecture all acquired calligraphic forms as a universally appreciated means of decoration.

HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT

Although no universally accepted chronology of Islamic art and architecture exists, the following three major periods are generally recognized: the Formative period (650-1000), Middle period (1000-1250), and Late period (1250 on).

The Formative Period

From about 650 to 1000--under the Umayyad and early Abbasid CALIPHATES as well as of the first local dynasties in Spain, Egypt, and eastern Iran--the Muslim world created its own identifying forms, from mosques to the abstract design known as the arabesque. Major monuments from this period are found throughout the Islamic world--the mosques of Cordoba, Ibn Tulun in Cairo, Damascus, Samarra, and Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem; private palaces like Khirbat-al-Mafjar in Palestine; royal palaces like Samarra's in Iraq; the urban architecture of Baghdad; tin-glazed ceramics in Iraq, Egypt, and north-eastern Iran; woodwork and rock-crystal carving in Egypt; carved ivories in Spain. However, the most influential and perhaps most creative area was Iraq, which remained the centre of the Muslim world until the early part of the 11th century. Although some of the more imaginative ceramics have been found in Nishapur in eastern Iran, it was probably in Iraq that the technique of lusterware originated (9th century), along with other uniquely Islamic forms of decorative art.

The Middle Period

The year 1000 marks the beginning of the Middle period of Islamic art. During this brilliant period, cut short by the Mongol invasion during the early 13th century, a large number of local styles were formed. Eastern Iran, western Iran, Iraq, Egypt, Anatolia (newly conquered by the Seljuks), North Africa, and Spain all acquired their own stylistic and iconographic peculiarities, which corresponded to political and social differences between provinces and the weakening of central authority. Cairo, Nishapur, Herat, Isfahan, and the Anatolian centre of Konya rivalled the early Islamic capital city of Baghdad in cultural and artistic importance. Yet common threads were maintained in the art of these diverse centres. In almost all Islamic cities an architecture of citadels and city walls rather than of palaces reflected the new power of a military elite. Next to the single mosques were built small private mosques, mausoleums for holy men, and madrasahs (schools of law and theology) or khanqahs (semimonastic establishments for holy men and women). This proliferation of architectural complexes in Islamic cities illustrates the growing complexity of the Muslim religious system during this period. Throughout the Muslim world a new emphasis was given to external forms of architecture (minarets, gates, and domes) as well as to the muqarnas.
New or reinvented techniques in the decorative arts--minai, or enamelling in ceramics, lustre painting in glass, and silver inlays in metalwork--made it possible to increase the number and character of illustrated topics. Quite suddenly in the latter part of the 12th century, during this period of intense artistic creativity, books began to be illustrated. The reasons for this proliferation of new forms of representation are difficult to assess. In part it reflected new contacts with other cultures (India and the Christian West), but it probably also reflected an internal need for more complex expressions of a richer culture. The Middle period was also an era when mysticism began to affect all aspects of Muslim piety and when local cultural traditions, especially those in Iran, began to reassert themselves.

Late Period

After the devastating Mongol invasions of 1220-60 the Muslim world became more strictly divided both politically and culturally. The separate geopolitical entities that emerged tended to remain independent of one another although still frequently subject to common influence. West to east, the principal independent cultural areas were the Muslim West, the area comprising Egypt, Palestine, and Syria; the Ottoman Empire; Iran; and Muslim India.
In the Muslim West, Islam slowly disappeared from Spain, culminating in the fall of Granada in 1492, but was maintained in North Africa. Moorish art is distinguished primarily by brilliant geometrical ornamentation adorning mostly private, interiorized, architectural monuments. This striking decorative tradition was maintained by the Mudejars, Moors remaining in Spain after its reconquest by the Christians, and exerted a strong influence on later Spanish styles of craftwork and architectural decoration. Except for the unique masterpiece of the 14th-century Alhambra palace, however, most of western Islamic art tended to be conservative and repetitive, with limited novelties in the art of objects.
From 1258 to 1517 the area comprising Egypt, Palestine, and Syria was ruled by the unique system of military slaves known as the MAMELUKES. Its major artistic achievement was in architecture, as attested by the multitude of Mameluke monuments still extant in the cities of Cairo, Jerusalem, and to a lesser degree, Damascus and Aleppo. For complex economic and social reasons the affluent classes invested in vast architectural projects that transformed these cities. The buildings are traditional in function, but their forms and techniques--superb stonework, brilliantly decorated gates and minarets, complex domes--display a level of sophistication and quality hitherto unknown in the Islamic world. A characteristic example, ranked among the masterpieces of world architecture, is the immense madrasah of Sultan Hasan in Cairo. Built around a square court surmounted by four lofty cross vaults, it houses the mausoleum of the sultan, crowned by a huge cupola.
The Ottoman dynasty, having begun in western Anatolia, conquered the Balkans and took Constantinople in 1453 and nearly all Islamic lands around the Mediterranean by 1520. A strong, centralised state, the Ottoman Empire concentrated its creative energies on the development of a uniquely logical mosque architecture. As early as the 14th and 15th centuries, in Bursa and Iznik, the Ottomans chose to use the single dome as the focal compositional element of their monuments. This fascination with the cupola was in large part inspired by the Byzantine church of HAGIA SOPHIA (which was converted into a mosque) and culminated in the 16th-century masterpiece of the Suleiman (Suleymaniye) mosque in Istanbul. Its architect, SINAN, created numerous monuments in Edirne and Istanbul, which in turn became types adapted for use from Yugoslavia to Egypt. Ottoman decorative art, especially ceramic objects and tiles, and miniature painting are largely derivative of other traditions, although many examples are noteworthy for the exceptional precision of their execution.
Of all the Islamic lands Iran was most strongly affected by the Mongol invasions, but this traumatic experience led to a rejuvenation of the arts, despite continuous political upheavals. Under the Ilkhanids (1280-1336), the Timurids (1370-1502), and Safavids (1502-1712), and several other minor dynasties, Persian architecture exhibited a whole gamut of styles ranging from the grandiloquent monumentality of the Sultaniyah mosque to the intense piety of Samarkand's mausoleums, to the colourful brilliance of the monuments around Isfahan's Masjid-i-Shah mosque. It was an imaginative, inventive, accretive tradition remarkably attuned to the composition of Persian religious thought. Especially impressive is the development of Persian painting. From the Shah-Nama (Book of Kings) to lyrical poems of Nizami, Persian literature was illuminated through a striking array of painting styles--rough and brutal in the early part of the 14th century, poetically complex in the 15th century, and marked by precisely observed details of everyday life in later times.
Farther east, after several centuries of rule by various military dynasties, Islamic India reached its apogee under the MOGULS (1526-1707). Their architecture was often inspired by Persia but rapidly acquired its own identity through the use of local materials and techniques. The Mogul achievements in architecture are most impressive in such celebrated buildings as the TAJ MAHAL or the urban complex of FATEHPUR SIKRI. The Persian influence was also strongly felt in painting in the early years, but soon Mogul art became uniquely inspired by the remarkable traditions of painting.
Oleg Grabar

Islamic Jihad

The Middle East terrorist movement that calls itself Islamic Jihad (Islamic Holy War) has claimed responsibility for an series of bombings, murders, and kidnappings against U.S., French, Israeli, and other and personnel since 1983. While Jihad espouses the cause of radical Islamic fundamentalism, its degree of organisation, source of support, and command structure remain largely unknown. By some accounts Jihad is just a code name used by disparate groups or individuals to claim responsibility for random acts of violence. According to other intelligence sources, it is a cohesive organisation with strong ties to the governments of Iran and Syria.
Among the acts of terrorism for which Islamic Jihad has claimed responsibility are: the April 1983 bombing of the U.S. embassy in Beirut; the October 1983 bombing of U.S. and French military compounds at Beirut Airport; the December 1983 bombing of the U.S. embassy in Kuwait; the January 1984 murder of Malcolm Kerr, president of the American University of Beirut; the September 1984 bombing of the U.S. embassy annex outside Beirut; and numerous attacks against soldiers and civilians in Israel.

Islamabad

{is-lum-uh-bahd'}

Islamabad, the capital city of Pakistan, is located in the north-eastern part of the country, near the Himalayas. The city covers 65 sq km (25 sq mi) and has a population of 201,000 (1981). Islamabad's climate is hot and desertlike: the annual average temperature is 22 deg C (71 deg F), and average annual rainfall is 915 mm (36 in). Islamabad, whose name means City of Peace, is a new city, built between 1960 and 1975 to replace KARACHI as the capital. Nearby RAWALPINDI served as the interim capital (1959-67) until the new capital was completed. Islamabad is divided into eight districts; the government's administrative buildings make up the central district, which is surrounded by commercial, residential, and educational zones. Industrial and green zones encircle the city.

Bibliography:

GENERAL: Cragg, K., and Speight, R. M., The House of Islam, 3d ed. (1988); Gibb, H. A. R., Mohammedanism (1949; repr. 1975); Hitti, Philip K., Islam, A Way of Life (1970); Lapidus, I. M., A History of Islamic Societies (1988); Lewis, B., ed., Islam and the Arab World (1976); Nasr, Seyyed Hossein, Ideals and Realities of Islam (1966; repr. 1983); Schacht, Joseph, and Bosworth, C. E., eds., The Legacy of Islam, 2d ed. (1974); Watt, W. Montgomery, What Is Islam? (1968); Akhtar, S., A Faith for All Seasons (1991); Cragg, Kenneth, The Call of the Minaret, 2d rev. ed. (1985); Daniel, N., Islam and the West (1989); Esposito, J. L., Islam and Politics (1984) and The Islamic Threat: Myth or Reality? (1992); MacEnoin, D., and Al-Shahi, A., eds., Islam in the Modern World (1983); Mackey, Sandra, Passion and Politics: The Turbulent World of the Arabs (1992); Mernissi, Fatima, Islam and Democracy: Fear of the Modern World, trans. by Mary Jo Lakeland (1992); Nasr, S. H., Traditional Islam in the Modern World (1987; repr. 1989); Smith, Wilfred C., Islam in Modern History (1959); Watt, W. M., Islamic Fundamentalism and Modernity (1988); Wright, R., Sacred Rage (1985); Islamic Fundamentalism and Islamic Radicalism: Jihad as a Global Concern (1987); International Security and Terrorism Series (Number 5); Arnold, Thomas W., Painting in Islam (1928; repr. 1965); Aslanapa, Oktay, Turkish Art and Architecture (1971); Ettinghausen, Richard, Arab Painting (1962) and, as ed., Islamic Art in the Metropolitan Museum (1972); Falk, Toby, ed., Treasures of Islam (1985); Goodwin, Godfrey, A History of Ottoman Architecture (1971; repr. 1987); Grabar, Oleg, The Formation of Islamic Art (1973; repr. 1987); Gray, Basil, Persian Painting (1930; repr. 1971); Hoag, John D., Islamic Architecture (1977; repr. 1987); Kuhnel, Ernest, Islamic Art and Architecture (1966); Lane, Arthur, Early Islamic Pottery (1957) and Later Islamic Pottery, 2d ed. (1971); Safadi, Yasin, Islamic Calligraphy (1987); Talbot-Rice, David, Islamic Art (1965; repr. 1985); Welch, S. C., Persian Painting (1976); Wilkinson, Charles K., Nishapur: Pottery of the Early Islamic Period (1973); Al Faruqi, Ismail R., and Lamya, Lois, The Cultural Atlas of Islam (1986); Geller, E., Muslim Society (1981); Levy, Reuben, The Social Structure of Islam (1957; repr. 1965); Martin, R. C., Islam: A Cultural Perspective (1982).

Map Location[s]

Gilgit, Peshawar, Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Chenab, Lahore, Lyallbur, Multan, Quetta, Malakando Pass, Sukkur, Karachi, Hyderabad, Indus, Sutlej, Ravi, Khyber Pass, Indus, Arabian Sea.
Cruel Innovations and Countless Custom's

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. In my sermons (preaching) correction of Wrong deeds and giving up of sins are emphasized because these are the foundations of piety and religiosity. From among these wrong acts are the prevalent customs of sending over recompense to the dead which happen to be contrary to the way of sending over recompense prescribed by Allah's Prophet (peace be with him) and which are an unapproved of innovation in the Islamic religion because of their being a novel practice in Islam. That is why I keep talking about the correction of these innovations also. Praise be to God that due to this humble effort several people have renounced different unacceptable deeds and unapproved-of innovations.
One recent event happens to be that a gentleman who was susceptible to committing innovations received guidance from a talk of mine and he repented from these innovations. Because of his forswearing of unapproved-of innovations his brethren ostracized him. However, he did not care for his brethren's approval in comparison with Allah's approval.

If the whole world gets angry.
One should not worry.
One should keep the wish of one's love in mind.
You should decide by using this criterion only as to what should be done and what should not be done.

The Muslim's character and his relation with his Creator demand that. If you are not mine, nothing belongs to me. If you are mine, everything is mine--the sky, the earth, everything belongs to me.

The sustaining beneficent God in all His mercy guided this man and blessed and directed him towards the right path. God saved this man
From the devil's ambuscade and took him to the kindness of Allah's Prophet, the master in the two worlds here and hereafter, the great benefactor, the mercy for all worlds (peace be with him). In gratitude for this blessing this gentleman wished that the discourse be published 'as much as possible as much as possible in the form of a booklet so it becomes a source of guidance for other brethren gone astray. He accordingly wrote out this discourse-from its taped version and asked for my_ permission to publish it. I grant the permission to publish it after having reviewed it from a critical point of view.
Oh God, we pray to you through that limitless mercy of yours--an emanation of which turned and changed the outlook or a heart and mine and through which a person gone astray came back to the right path--that you grant us--all the readers and audience of this discourse---the same aforementioned, blessing of yours, and that you help us, and make this discourse a means of guidance of your worshippers.
Oh God, accept our humble efforts, bless our deeds, make this work a source of continuing requital till the Day of Judgment for us, for our seniors and predecessors, and for your beloved Prophet, the great benefactor (peace be with him) and make it a means of your and your beloved Prophet's (peace be with him) pleasure and our proximity to you and to him (peace be with him).
Oh God, help us. Nothing can materialize without your help. You are the resort of broken hearts. We return to you. Only you can fulfill our aims.

May God bless His beloved Prophet, his people and companions, and bestow upon then benediction and peace---with your grace, oh the kindest of all.
(Mufti) Rashiyd Ahmad (mudda zilluhu) 30 Muharram, 1402 A.H.


In the name of Allah, the Merciful, the beneficent.

INNOVATIONS:

The sin that ensues from innovations in Islam in considered wrongly by some to be a virtue. How can a man repent from a vice, which he considers to be a virtue? One can eventually repent from a sin which one knows to be a sin. Supposing one does not repent from a particular sin, at least one recognizes oneself to be a sinner. If one confesses one's sin, professes it, is ashamed of it, may be God will take pity on that person. But one, who takes a vice to be a virtue, it is clear cannot repent, cannot feel ashamed in his heart of hearts. Instead having committed such like sins a man is overjoyed because he has done a deed of virtue. That is why the Holy Prophet (peace be with him) has said. "Every innovation is a deviation and every deviation is in the fire".
the Prophet (peace be with him) says: Everything I have not bidden nor have my companions (May God be pleased with them) bidden, and which we have not acted upon, is an innovation in case people begin to do it as a cause for recompense.

Every such innovation is a deviation and every deviation will lead to the fire of the Hell.

If we appeal to reason, reason is enough as a deciding factor, Is it reasonable to consider a virtue what God did not command to be a virtue, His prophet (peace be with him) did not announce to be a virtue, the Prophet's Companions (may God be pleased with them) did not. act according to nor called a virtue, the generation following the Prophet's companions (may God bless them) did not act according to nor informed about, the religious scholars (may God's mercy envelop them) did not tell about nor acted upon. If we commit such an act that we consider a virtue, let us think--when we rise from here, let us think---let us think real well, how it became a virtue. May God give us the ability to think about this problem?
Whenever I happen to think of this problem, by God I feel disturbed as to what happened to the Muslim nation. The Muslims gainsay the teachings of God and God's Prophet (peace be with him) and still call themselves Muslims.
It is painful to me--not painful in the same way as to see the sinful people---that some people who call themselves Muslims consider the disobeying and gainsaying of God's and His Prophet's (may peace be with him) commands to be a virtue.
It is very distressing. Please pray that God may grant me the ability to explain in such ways that we fully understand the issue, completely comprehend it, and then are blessed by God with the ability to act accordingly. Amen.
Think; Think also when you have risen here. If you think continuously for several days, you may understand to some extent. Think this that what God did not say, God's Prophet (peace be with him) did not say, the Companions of the Prophet (may God be pleased with them) did not say or do, the religious leaders (may God bless them) did not say or do, where did you learn from after several hundreds of years? We are forced to answer that the devil inspires some minds. It is said in the Holy Book that the devils do inspire their minions to dispute with you" (6:121).
There is a kind of revelation from God to His Prophets (peace be with then). The other kind of inspiration is from the devil in the hearts of the sinful disobedient people. The devil inspires evil ideas in the hearts of these people; to oppose the ways of God tries to present irreligion in the form of religion. If God has not ordained something which according to you deserve recompense, then what shall we say? By adopting an innovation you claim (God save me from the evil of that saying) more knowledge than God's. You claim that God did not know the virtue of what you knew. Or you can say that God knew its virtue but deliberately hid the way that pleases Him and did not reveal it. Now after such a long time you came to know of it. How did you, brother, come to know if it? When God had hidden something, how did you learn about it? You may alternatively suggest that God had told His Prophet (peace be with him) but God forbid, the Prophet (peace be with him) did not grasp it, or after grasping it forgot about it. In this way you may suggest that (God protect us from that) the Prophet (peace be with him) did not know about these things, his knowledge of these things (God save us from saying that) was imperfect, and he did not know that the things we claim have virtue had virtue, and if he knew will then say that (God protect us from saying that) the Prophet (Peace be with him) God forbid committed perfidy, or did not proclaim and impart religious ordinances completely. Or would you say that the Prophet's companions (may God be pleased with them) did not communicate the religion to their followers nor did they abide by it themselves. Think about each and everything what will your mind reply? Didn't God know? Didn't God's Prophet (peace be with him) know? Or would you say that God (God forbid) scrimped its propagation? Or would you say that God's Prophet (peace be with him) did not (God forbid) communicate all the ordinances? Or the Prophet's companions (may God be pleased with them) did not sure up to their responsibility? What will you decide? For God's sake think! Ponder! For God's Sake think again. The Most severe crime, the most heinous sin, the most profane person is less than this innovation, this sin which is a real vice but which you consider a virtue.
To consider something part of religion that actually does not belong to religion and to attribute something to God and God's prophet (peace be with him), which they did not ordain, surely leads to infernal Fires. God's Prophet (peace be with him) said, "One who intentionally lied about me, should take his abode from fire" That is, one who attributes mendaciously something to the Prophet (peace be with him) will go to hell.
Think! If you call those things credit worthy that God did not ordain, then are you not establishing your rule parallel to God's rule? You want to run your own rule in opposition to the rule of God and His Prophet (peace be with him). The faith belongs to God the rule belongs to God. Since God did not make such a rule as you want, it seems as if you wish to ordain law opposing God's law. This is known as high treason, establishing a parallel government. The biggest lawbreaker can be forgiven but hot the one who establishes a parallel government.
Sending Over Recompense: Yes, It is such a problem that its introduction became so lengthy. That is because I know that it is very difficult to reform the current methods. Only if God helps, then it will not be difficult. The process of sending over recompense to the dead is quite easy. But the methods of this process that are being currently adopted are such that neither God prescribed them or His prophet (peace be with him). These methods were opted for neither by the Prophet's companions (may God be pleased with them) nor by the religious leaders (may God have mercy on them).
Let me tell you the story of a religious person. Not only is this one religious, he is the proprietor of a religious institution. In other words he is that kind of a religious person who produces scholars on religion.
He is not only religious himself; he prepares others for religious careers. He is the proprietor of the institution where persons equipped with religious knowledge, where scholars or religion are produced. Also that religious person has been a student of mine. Not only that, he has been & student unlike today's (selfish) students. he is very sincere, most loving, most obedient, and most helpful. Recently when his mother passed away, he began to plan to follow the custom of sending over recompense on the third day of the death. I pointed out to him that the third-day custom was not proper, was against the tradition of our Prophet (peace be with him). There is no evidence in our religion of sending over recompense to the dead in this way. I told him he had better not do that. In spite of his being my most helpful obedient student as well as a religious scholar, he paid a deaf ear to my advice. Upon that I told him that if he still continued that, I would not be party to this sin. He insisted on my joining the ceremony, but I refused to participate in it. at last he said, If we do not do it, people will become angry with us. That is why we are forced to do it. I answered him by saying. " At first I thought you are doing an innovation. Now 1 have come to know what you are doing is not only an innovation in the religion, it is also idolatry. That is because what you are doing is not for God's sake. You dread people so much that you begin to worship them. That is idolatry perse. You are doing so to please people rather than God. I advised him a lot, but he did not accept my advice. He was so obedient that he had never turned me down. But now the devil taught him to insist to disobey me. At last he celebrated the third day of the death. People are afraid that their acquaintances will taunt them and say
"Mar Gaya Mardood Na Khatm Na durood"
This survivor has no regard for his deceased relative. They think that their honor will be lost in society. People try not to cut a sorry figure, even though one gets one's head chopped off.

To illustrate it the following story will help. A group of people whose noses had been cut off was sitting together. A man with an uncut nose joined them. Everybody began to laugh at him and mockingly say "The man with the nose came' The man with the nose came". This man with the nose was as courageous as that religious person who feared that his brethren will get displeased with him if he did not follow the third-day custom. So the man with the nose took out his knife and cut off his nose. Just imagine how much people are afraid of their brethren. These brethren on the other hand are so cruel that as soon as somebody's relative passes away, they get ready to enjoy themselves and feast at the deceased person's relatives' expense.

I tend to believe that these days should somebody fall sick his relatives might not be praying for his quick recovery, instead they might be praying for his instant death so they can enjoy a banquet. When they might be through with one's third-day or the fortieth-day ceremony, they might be praying that some else should fall sick and die so again they can feast. When they might be through with his fortieth-day ceremony, they might be wishing ill health to someone else. As soon as somebody should reach hospital, they must begin to indulge in overabundant merry-making and exclaim with joy: "The feast is ready: The feast is ready'" in the manner of vultures hovering over a corpse.

The shameless so-called Muslim of today as well as shame-faced members of society hover like vultures over the dead body exclaiming "Now we shall find food" Now we shall find food". If one does not fear God, if one does not think of the Day of Judgment, if one is not worried how one will account for one's deeds, and if one is not mindful of God and Islam, one should at least have some shame, some pity for the person whose relative died. This person is aggrieved with his relative's death and a lot of money was spent on the sick person's treatment before he died, but shameless society only thinks of feasting on what remains. The members of Society Says,

"Feed us with what is left in you house!"

Once in this area 1 noticed that big feast arrangements were being made. I took it to be somebody's wedding. But when I asked around. I discovered that it was somebody's death. These relatives are so heartless and cruel that they enjoy feasts on their relatives' deaths as if these were wedding occasions. My hair stands on end even imagining such shamelessness. I wonder how delicious food goes down the throats of these shameless relatives.

If you really want to send the recompenses of good deeds to your relatives, if you really love the dead soul, if you really feel sympathetic and merciful towards the dead person, then why isn't the way prescribed by the greatest benefactor of humanity God's Apostle (peace be with him) enough for you? Listen, what is the essence of sending over the recompense of good deeds?

If you do any good deed that you normally do for yourself with the intention of sending over its reward to others, they will receive the reward of this good deed. If you intend in whatever virtues you do whether you offer voluntary prayers, whether you keep fast of your own accord, whether you recite al-Qur'an or bid God's name, whether you give out charity and alms, perform the pilgrimage, visit the Holy Mosque, perform circumambulations, in short in whatever voluntary good deed that you perform for yourself--chat its reward be given over to such and such a relative of mine, he will receive it if you have so intended. Only this is called the sending over of the recompense of good deeds to the dead. The full reward that was to come to you will come to you as well as to those who you intended should receive the reward. There is another widespread misunderstanding. People think that only the dead can receive the reward of good deeds. Please understand clearly that as you can send over the reward of good deeds to the dead, in the same way you can send over this reward to the alive. I published in my will that recompense of good deeds should continually be sent over to me. A question came to some
People’s minds that this man was still alive so how could the reward of good deeds be sent over to him?
That is why I am explaining that even an alive person could be given the reward of virtuous deeds. Intend in whatever virtues you do for yourself what so and so should also receive the reward and he will receive the reward. God's prophet (peace be with him) said:

"There is seven types of people whom God will put will put in the shade on the day when there will be no shade except God's shade. (Prophet's saying) (Peace be with him). These seven kinds of people are those whom God will grant shade in His mercy when there will be no shade anywhere else. People will be drenched in their sweat because of their sins. The more the sins, more the perspiration. Some people; will be drowned in their sweat up to the knee, other up to the belly-button, others up to the chest, others up to the lips, and thee will be quite a few who will be completely drowned in their sweat."
God's Prophet (peace be with him) says that on that day God will grant seven groups of people shade in His mercy that will be spared the sweat and heat of that day. Mentioning here all seven will make this talk long. Praise be to God that 1 read this saying of the Prophet (peace be with him) everyday without exception. It is one of my usual activities. I read this saying from the viewpoint of checking as to in which groups I already am and into which groups; I can enter so 1 make an effort to enter into them. What good news this saying of the Prophet (peace be with him) contains. We should think as to which groups we can become part of but are not becoming because of our negligence. Once in a lecture I explained in detail the method of joining all seven groups. May God bless us all and include us in all seven groups. Amen'

One of those seven in God's shade is one who hides giving charity from the people to the extent that his left does not know when his right hand gives the charity as to whom the right hand gave and how much it gave. It is said that this act has so much credit that God will protect such a person on the Day of Judgment from the heat of that day and will give him shade in his mercy. Let us think now that since concealment of distributing. Charity earns such a great reward, why do you make such a public occasion when you give out charity to send its recompense at somebody's death. Why - do you not hide your alms? Yes, one thing did not get mentioned. I enquired of that religious scholar as to how much he would spend on his mother's third- day -after-death ceremony. He mentioned a certain sum. I told him to spend twice as much if he wished but not publicly. He could have privately distributed the money among his students or he could have given it to the poor of his area. We do not stop people from giving away alms. Give more give double. But why do you insist on holding a banquet? Give away as much charity as you wish, but in accordance with the tradition of the Holy Prophet (peace be with him) But other's taunt keep people from doing the right thing. They are afraid of being accused of not caring for their relatives as per the Urdu Proverb
that is "the cursed person died and nobody cried". They fear that society will calumniate, People deify society will you be able to get away with this answer in front of God on the Day of Judgment. On that day you will have to account for all your deeds and nobody will be able to help anybody else:
That will be the day when a person will run away from his brother, his mother and father, his wife and sons.
God has said that on that day the husband will run away from his wife and the wife from her husband, the father from the son and the son from the father, the brother will run away from his own brothers. Only God in His mercy will help people otherwise nobody there will help anybody else. For God's sake think: Will this society for which you are putting your life hereafter at stake help you on that occasion? The hidden charity has such a great credit. Will you still say: No, we must throw out a banquet instead .

There is another thing with relation to this that should be pointed out. It a man has a little bit of reason, he can understand that it is better to give money to a poor person instead of holding of a banquet for him. The poor person can use money for any of his needs. The poor person is in need of clothes to put on, house to live in, blankets to use in the winter, books and school supplies to study in addition to school fees, medicine if he gets sick, fare if he needs to travel and lots of other needs. Anything he needs in the world he can buy with money. In case a person is not in need of something today, he may put aside money for tomorrow's need. Even food can be bought with money. That is why it is better to give alms in the form of money. Anything that is a greater use to a poor person will have greater reward. Another advantage in giving the money is that it is hidden and does not require a ceremony. Giving in hiding credits shade in God's mercy on the Judgment Day. The second merit in giving money in hiding is that money is more useful to a poor man and that is why it has greater reward. But the Devil has suggested to them to distribute food only. Even though the poor man has a stomachache, still give him food and more food. Only then, they presume, one will get credit otherwise one will get nothing. The strangest things that while the reward of the virtue comes from giving alms to the poor, in holding a banquet nobody lets a poor person get near; the relatives eat all of it. It is presumed that the reward of the alms given to the poor is to be sent to the dead person, but instead of alms the money is spent on the food to be gulped by the relatives. Even the rich people on such occasions present themselves as if they are poor. How do they accept to so shame-faced? When it is time for the third-day ceremony or the tenth day or the fortieth day ceremony and God knows for what other baseless things, well-to-do rich, wealthy people participate in eating as if they are quite poor on such occasions they make themselves extremely poor. That is great injustice. That is opposing God's Prophet (peace be with him). What cheating and what shame-faced ness it is that one should wrongly show ourselves to be poor and in that guise eat up what belongs to the poor.
When there is more credit in giving the money, also, it is hidden, and the money fulfils the need of the needy, and the money in the form of alms will go to the poor only, then why do people not adopt the method of giving out money? Why do people insist on holding a banquet? Another disadvantage is appointing the time and the form is restricting and limiting what has no restrictions. God says that you can send the credit of virtue in any form, whatever you can, wherever you can, whenever you can, and however you can. God in His great mercy accepts every voluntary act of virtue performed with sincerity. God is everywhere with us, He sees us. He accepts our good deeds. God listens to us and looks at us. God knows us and is aware of our conditions. But the Devil has taught the lesson of holding the credit-passing ceremony on the third-day alone neither before nor after. Also it is done in the house of the dead person. If they send the credit of their virtues from their own respective houses, will God not accept that? Also if they send the credit individually. What will happen? Why does it have to be done collectively? If they send the reward of their good deeds individually, will their leader, their lord "Devil" not accept it? They consider the Devil their lord and that is why they follow the Devil's teachings in preference to the teachings of God and His Prophet (peace be with him).
God's mercy is vast. Wherever and whenever you send the reward of your virtues, God will accept. People themselves have imposed so many restrictions as to it should be done only on the third, the tenth and the fortieth day, must be done at the dead persons house, must be done collectively, and the same thing must be recited by everybody. People usually recite al-Qur'an from the beginning to the end. If somebody says on such an occasion that he will stand in prayer to God during that time or will repeat God's name and send its reward to the dead person's soul, * people will not permit that. Everybody has to do what everybody else is doing. God may save us: once I joined such ceremony. I did not know ahead of the time what would happen there. I thought that people would be forwarding the reward of their good deeds in the right way, so I joined. No sooner did they finish the recitation of Al-Qur'an, one gentlemen stood up as their leader. The leader began to recite. Although the whole al-Qur'an had been read, the leader again read, first "Suwrah al Fatihah then the first part of Surah al-baqarah then the last part of the same "Suwrah" many other verses from al-Qur'an which I do not now recall. He was reciting and all the rest were listening to him. He was their leader and the others were his followers and were listening to him. After that they made some long requests to God and then the food began to be served. I told them that if they were not offering that food for credit but only for fear of the community, even then that food was not in order, although it was not an innovation. But if they were considering this way of offering food as a religious ceremony, which will gain them credit from God, then it was innovation on their part. This way of doing things is against the ways prescribed by God and His prophet (peace be with him) and is inventing a system in opposition to Islamic system. Those people said: If we did not consider it a virtuous act, then why shall we do it. We are doing it because we consider it virtuous. I said: then it is an open innovation. If you do not consider offering food after death a virtue then we may say that you are doing it for fear of people. People do not fear from God as much, instead dread other people more. But when you say that you do it because you consider it a virtue, means that you rebel against God and His Prophet (peace be with him) and oppose them. Who are you to consider as virtuous what God and His Holy Prophet (peace be with him) did not make virtuous. How can a worthless humble person oppose God and his Holy Prophet (peace be with him). For God's sake take pity on your souls. Be thoughtful. God has created facilities for his creatures. You can do voluntary virtuous deeds whenever and wherever you want, and in whatever condition you want. Whether you are; among the people, or in the market peace, at home or in your shop, in the mosque or whichever other place, whether you are walking or sitting, whether standing or lying down, in whatever condition you are whatever good deeds you do God will accept them. If you only intend, God will reward the dead person with your good deeds. Only have the intention that the reward of your virtuous deed reach so-and-so and it will reach the person you intended. But you have determined that un-less all of you exert collectively; the reward of a good deed will not reach the dead person. There should be a good gathering along with a driver and a guard. In order to convey the reward of good deeds the driver should read in all directions., front and back, right and left. Only then the reward will be conveyed. God save us there is an assumption that without all this it will not capture God's attention.
God protect us from the avaricious hell of belly, which never gets filled. Self-acclaimed religious charlatans have deceived people to make a living and fill their bellies with food. The need of a driver is conveying the reward of good deeds arises from the necessity of making money. The deception takes several forms and is practiced in different ways. The illusion is created that only the religious charlatan can convey the reward of good deeds to the dead person and only he can give a final wash to dead body.
That reminds me of an event that took place when the uncle of a knowledgeable pious friend of mine passed away. He started giving a bath to his uncle. Although he is a very rich man, materially speaking, and owns several factories and sundry companies, he himself gave a bath to the dead body of his uncle. As my friend was giving a bath to the dead body, a so-called religious quack reached there and said that he would give a bath to the dead body. My friend said to him, "Do not Worry". I shall give you the money, but I will give a bath to my uncle myself". Even so this quack tried to dominate the, situation. My friend who was the head of this household was praying the bath prayer with a low voice, but this quack began to shout with the prayer, and said so many different prayers that even we did not know. I do not know from where he had collected these prayers. I told him and my friend told him that he did not have to worry, as he will get the money anyway. It was better for him to relax and not work hard in this way. As soon as we became free, we would pay him. But he was shouting with his prayers. He was afraid that if he did not work hard, he would not get the money. He worked real hard. When the dead body was laid in the grave, he again began his job there. Again he was told that he would get the money and he should not interfere in that way. But that quack did not stop. 1 remarked that if he were given two to four hundred rupees at the outset, he would have remained quiet. But my poor friend was busy in his work and thought that he would pay money when he is free. This man on the contrary took it upon himself to show off how hard he worked.

As for conveying the recompense of good deeds to the dead, the religious charlatans have created the misunderstanding that by intention alone no credit will go to the dead. They claim that, not to talk of intending, even though you recite the whole al-Qur'an and pray for hours, unless you hire the driver the credit will not reach the dead. It sounds to them logical that a driver is needed to haul a commodity like that to the souls 1 of the dead. That is why ttj'e driver is hired at a very high rate.

There was a mosque, in which people gave food on Friday evenings to the leader of prayers, the "Imam" to deliver to their dead relatives.-It seems that the "Imam" was given the job of a driver to convey the reward of good deeds. The "Imam" was not only the leader and driver of the prayers but also the driver of conveying the reward to the dead. Once some travelers had stopover in the mosque. People gave some food to them instead of the "Imam" to be given to the souls of their dead relatives. The "Imam" sensed the danger of losing his weekly supply of food. Before the morning prayers he closed the doors of the mosque and began to beat the mosque walls with a stick. Sometimes he hit this wall and sometimes that leaving the marks on walls. As he damaged the walls, he was shouting: "Get out of here" What noise are you making" Get out of here". He continued hitting with the stick sometimes the doors and sometimes the walls. People came along, knocked at the door of the mosque, and enquired, "What is the matter?" The "Imam" answered that the souls were there and that he knew each one. He knew all the families because he had long been there. The "Imam" claimed to distribute the credit to the appropriate relative. But as the travelers among whom people distributed the food, did not personally know these souls, they did not distribute the credit of the food properly. That is why the souls came to the mosque and kept making hue and cry all night. Now that it is time for the morning prayers, I was chasing these souls away. The souls were fighting one another, each one claiming a part of credit its own. These souls were fighting while the 'Imam' claimed to disperse them. People remarked that the 'Imam' was right and promised never to give food to a poor person or travelers in the future. People told the 'Imam' that they would bring food only to him because he knew their relative individually. The gluttonous avaricious stomach motivates all these acts. May God save us all.
Another wrong belief needs to be rectified. If something is given to the poor, that thing exactly does not go to the dead, instead its credit reaches the dead. The belief of the common people that exactly the thing given in charity reaches the dead is wrong.

Another point that needs to be clarified is this. If a family is accustomed to unauthentic ways of sending over responses of good deeds to the dead, and one of the members of that family is blessed with mending his ways and finding out the right path, this person should advise every member of his family not to indulge in innovations upon his death and instead the recompense of good deeds should be sent over to him in the right way. Making this will is incumbent upon the member of the family who has mended his ways. If he does not leave a will and unauthentic innovations are committed after his death, the sin and burden of these misdeeds will reach the dead person also. It has been mentioned before that the sin and burden of an unauthentic innovation is greater than the greatest sin even.
Hearing my sermon one lady got so impressed that she emphatically and repeatedly advised her children not to celebrate the third-day or the fortieth-day ceremony after her death. For further emphasis she insisted that her will should be tape recorded that upon her death no food should be cooked in an unauthentic innovated way. Instead she wanted the credit of good deeds
Forwarded to her in accordance with the Prophet's (peace be with him) tradition. She felt satisfied only when her children promised solemnly to keep away from the unauthentic innovations. A few days ago that lady passed away Praise be to God that no unauthentic innovation was committed on her death. May God forgive her and make her holy effort a source of guidance and determination to others.
Whatever number of people gains guidance from her determinedness; their reward collectively will be written in the record of this lady also if God so wills. One who follows the tradition, of the Prophet (peace be with him) in the environment where unauthentic innovations prevail, is promised the reward of one hundred martyrs.
There is a contrast between the story of my former student who did not give up the unauthentic innovation in spite of my repeated advice, and the account of this lady who after hearing only one sermon followed God's path in such a way as to insist on getting her will taped. May God grant us a submissive heart that eagerly accepts God's commands? May God protect us from the impervious density of the heart that is not influenced even by the lucid enjoining of God's and His Holy Prophet's (may peace be with him) May God grant our hearts a concern for life hereafter and a worry in His way that relieves us from the frights of this world.

PRAYER
Oh God(Allah). Grant us the true love of yourself and of your Prophet (peace be with him), the real respect, the firm obedience' Give us the ability to follow your Prophet's (peace be with him) tradition. Oh God(Allah), make us such Muslims with whose faith you are pleased: Oh God(Allah), we believe in you as our sustainer, we believe in your messenger (peace be with him) as our Prophet, we believe in Islam as our religion! Oh God(Allah) protect us from the deceptiveness of the devil. Oh God(Allah), enable us to follow that religion and keep us away the ways prescribed by-the devil. May God(Allah) bless the best of His creatures Muhammad, and his family and his companions all of them in His utmost mercy.
Common Errors In Prayer That MUST Be Avoided

1. Reciting Surat al-Fatiha fast without pausing after each verse.

The Prophet (SAW) used to pause after each verse of this surah. (Abu Dawood)

2. Sticking the arms to the sides of the body, in rukoo' or sujood, and sticking the belly to the thighs in sujood.

The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: "Let not one of you support himself on his forearms (in sujood ) like the dog. Let him rest on his palms and keep his elbows away from his body." (Sahih Muslim)

The Messenger of Allah (SAW) used to keep his arms away from his body during rukoo' and sujood that the whiteness of his armpits could be seen (Sahih Muslim).

3. Gazing upward during prayer.

This may cause loss of concentration. We are commanded to lower our gaze, and look at the point at which the head rests during sujood.

The Prophet (SAW) warned: "Let those who raise their gaze up during prayer stop doing so, or else their sights would not return to them. [i.e. lose their eyesight]." (Muslim)

4.Resting only the tip of the head on the floor during sujood.

The Prophet (SAW) said: "I am commanded to prostrate on seven Bones the forehead and the nose, the two hands [palms], the two knees, and the two feet." (Sahih Muslim)

Applying the above command necessitates resting the forehead and the nose on the ground during sujood.

5. Hasty performance of prayer which does not allow repose and calmness in rukoo' or sujood.

The Messenger of Allah (SAW) saw a man who did not complete his rukoo' [bowing], and made a very short sujood [prostration]; he (SAW) said: "If this man dies while praying in this manner, he would die upholding a religion other than the religion of Muhammad."

Abu Hurairah (RA) said: "My beloved friend, Muhammad (SAW) forbade me to

perform postures of prayer copying the picking of a rooster; (signifying fast performance of prayer), moving eyes around like a fox and the sitting like monkeys (i.e. to sit on thighs)." (Imam Ahmad at-Tayalisi)

6.Stealing from ones prayer

The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: "The worst thief is the one who steals from his own prayer."

People asked, 'Messenger of Allah! How could one steal from his own prayer?' He (SAW) said: "By not completing its rukoo' and sujood." (At - Tabarani al - Hakim).

To complete rukoo' is to stay in that posture long enough to recite 'subhana rabbiyal Adtheem' three times, SLOWLY, and 'subhana rabbiyal-a'ala' three times, SLOWLY, in sujood. He (SAW) also announced:

"He who does not complete his rukoo' and sujood, his prayer is void." (Abu Dawood others)

7.Counting tasbeeh with the left hand

The Prophet (SAW) used to count tasbeeh on the fingers of his right hand after salah. Abdullah bin Amr (RA) reported that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said, "(There are) two good deeds, any Muslim who does them shall enter Jannah but few are those who do them: to say, 'subhanAllah' ten times, and 'alHamdulillah' ten times, and 'AllahuAkbar' ten times. And I have seen the Messenger of Allah (SAW) counting them on his hand."

lbn Qudamah (RA) said: "The Messenger of Allah (SAW) used his right hand for tasbeeh." (Abu Dawud)

The above hadeeth indicates clearly that the Prophet (SAW) used only one hand for counting tasbeeh. No Muslim with sound mind would imagine that the Prophet (SAW) used his left hand for counting tasbeeh.

Aa'ishah (RA) said that the Prophet (SAW) used his left hand only for Istinjaa', or cleaning himself after respon.....

8. Raising hands for dua' soon as prayer is over.

This was not the practice of the Messenger of Allah (SAW). The Sunnah is to start with thikr soon after salah is over. The best forms of du'a are those authentically related to the Prophet, (SAW). For authentic du'as please visit Authentic Supplications of the Prophet (SAW)

9. Crossing in front of a praying person.

The Messenger of Allah (SAW) warned: "Were the one who crosses in front of a praying person to know the consequences of doing so, he would have waited for forty better than to cross in front of him." (Sahih Bukhari and Muslim).

The forty in the tradition may be days months or even years. Allah knows best.

And our duty is only to proclaim the clear Message. Qur'an 36:17

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