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Saturday, April 30, 2005

HAVE YOU PREPARED?

All of us are familiar with the Signs of the Day of Judgement. They are mentioned in numerous hadith of the Prophet (saw). However, there is another "hour" that is, on an individual level, just as important that we must be aware of. This hour is described in the following hadith of the Prophet (saw). al-Bukhaari and Muslim record from A'isha (ra) that a bedouin came to the Prophet (saw) and asked him, "When is the Hour?" The Prophet (saw) pointed to a young boy and said, "If this boy lives by the time he is old and decrepit, your hour would have already taken place". This is the hour that each and every one of us will experience and must be aware of. This is the hour that is approaching us at every second of our lives. This will be the deciding time for us as our actions will come to an end. This is, in fact, OUR HOUR! It is the inevitable that every soul must taste. Allaah says in the Qur'aan: "Everyone shall taste death. And only on the Day of Resurrection shall you be paid your wages in full. And whoever is removed away from the Fire and admitted to Paradise, he indeed is successful. The life of this world is only the enjoyment of deception." (al-'Imraan, 185) This is when our deeds will come to an end. After that, we can just look towards our reckoning. Therefore, the question that we must ask ourselves and act upon before it is too late is: What have we prepared for our hour? What have we prepared for that moment when this life comes to an end for us? Perhaps this should lead us to ask another question: What is it that we can prepare for that Hour? In fact, the only thing that we can prepare for that Hour is true faith (iman) and good deeds. The Prophet (saw) has advised us and taught us that we must take advantage of our life before death comes. That is, we must use this life to prepare for the Hereafter before death comes to us and this life will no longer be of any avail to us. If we do not use this life to prepare for the Hereafter, then, in fact, we have simply wasted this life - no matter how much it seems that we have achieved in this worldly life. Even if we have twelve degrees, three mansions, four cars, it has all been a waste if we did not stop, think and prepare for the Hour. At the time of that Hour, three things will follow us to the grave. However, two of those three will leave us at the grave. Our wealth, family and deeds will accompany us to the grave. However, our wealth and family will return - they won't stay us with in the grave, we can't take them with us into our graves to use them in the Hereafter. We will be left with only one thing, as the Prophet (saw) told us. We will be left in our graves with our deeds only. Our deeds and nothing else will remain with us. Dear brothers and sisters, we must think about our Hour and prepare for it before it comes. We must prepare for it before the Angel of Death comes to us to take our souls. We should realise that if we prepare for that Hour, the angels will then come to us in a pleasing form, our souls will flow easily out of our bodies and the angels will be calling us to Allaah's pleasure and forgiveness. However, if we do not prepare for that Hour - if we are heedless and we are like those who are about to go on a long trip and don't prepare anything in advance for that trip - our situation will be completely different. The angels will come to the disbeliever or the evildoer in a completely different fashion. They will come in a form that is very displeasing to the person. They will call the soul to Allaah's anger and His Punishment. The soul will not want to leave the body and it will have to be dragged out of the body. The angels will have to tear the soul out of the body. Is this what we want to face? This is the result of not thinking about and preparing for our Hour. This is how the Prophet (saw) described that horrifying event: "When an infidel (or, in some narrations, an evildoer) is about to leave the world and proceed to the next, angels with black (and harsh) faces will come down to him from heaven with a hair-cloth (of fire) and will sit away from him as far as the eye can see. Then the angel of death comes and sits at his head and says, "Wicked soul, come out to the displeasure of Allaah". Then it becomes dissipated in the body, and he draws it out as spit is drawn from moistened wool. He then seizes it, and when he does so they do not leave it in his hand for an instant, but put it in that hair-cloth (of fire) and from it there comes forth a stench like the most offensive stench of a corpse found of the face of the earth." (Ahmad, Abu Dawud, Ibn Khuzaima, al-Hakim and others. According to al-Albaani, it is sahih. See Sahih al-Jami' as-Sagheer, vol.1, p.436, hadith no. 1676) In the Qur'aan, Allaah has also described the taking of the souls of the disbelievers in the following passage: "And if you could see when the angels take away the souls of those who disbelieve (at death), they smite their faces and their backs, (saying): "Taste the punishment of the blazing fire. This is because of that which your hands had forwarded. And verily, Allaah is not unjust to His slave"". (al-Anfal, 50-51) Why would the soul face such an evil end? Why would the soul not want to come out of its body to go toward his Lord and Creator? What would cause the soul to hesitate and want to cling to this world? I think the answers to those questions, are, for the most part, very clear to everyone. There are many reasons why a soul would not want to leave its body when the angels come to take it at its appointed Hour. Perhaps the most important reason for such an evil end is holding false beliefs or having doubts about the truth of Islaam. Anyone who believes in something that goes against the Qur'aan or Sunnah, or has any doubt concerning the Qur'aan or Sunnah - on that day, at that hour, his soul will admit and recognise its wrong. When that Hour comes, such a person will realise what it is that he has to look forward to. Indeed, all of that person's deeds will be of no avail to him at that time if he held such beliefs or doubts that took him out of the realm of Islaam. Allaah says, "Say: Shall We tell you of the greatest losers in respect of (their) deeds? Those whose efforts have been wasted in this life while they thought that they were acquiring good deeds". (al-Kahf, 103-104) Continually performing evil deeds and procrastinating when it comes to repentance may also lead the person to an evil end. At the time of death, the soul will not be able to think of anything, except the sins it committed and the wrong that it did. At that time, it will realise that it is too late to repent. He had his whole lifetime to repent from his evil deeds and change his ways - but he waited and waited. He waited too long. He waited until it was too late. The time of death - which no one knows except Allaah - has come to him and he has not yet repented to Allaah. The truth of Allaah's words will be very clear to him at that time: "Allaah only accepts the repentance of those who do evil in ignorance and foolishness and repent soon afterwards; it is they to whom Allaah will forgive and Allaah is Ever All-Knower, All-Wise. And of no effect is the repentance of those who continue to do evil deeds until death faces one of them and he says, "Now I repent", nor of those who die while they are disbelievers. For them We have prepared a painful torment". (an-Nisaa, 17-18) This is especially important for those people who consider themselves "young". Some people seem to think that being religious is for old people and that youth should be spent enjoying oneself. They think that they will have plenty of time to repent in the future. The fact is that they are not guaranteed that future. They may die in their youths and then realise that the time for repentance and doing good deeds is NOW no matter how old or young a person is. That person's soul will be very sorrowful and remiss when the angels take his soul in his youth before the time that he had set for himself for his repentance! On the other hand, the Prophet (saw) has also described to us those people who perform the deeds of Paradise until they are only a handspan away from Paradise and then they do the deeds of the Hellfire and they end up one of the inhabitants of Hell. Such a person will be able to do nothing but regret his later actions. He will wish that he had never changed his ways. His soul will refuse to leave from his body because it knows and recognises the good deeds that he used to perform and the bad deeds that he is now performing. Having a weak faith and preferring this life over the Hereafter is another cause for an evil end. In this case, the person, at his death, will have to say goodbye to that thing that he loves the most - this world or some aspect of this world. In fact, his soul will not be willing or ready to leave what he loves. If he can resist meeting Allaah and the Hereafter to stay here with the things he loves, he would do so. Some scholars have written about some people who, on their deathbeds, when being encouraged to say, "There is no true god except Allaah", could not respond. All they could think about or talk about was the things that they enjoyed of this world. For example, one person who was addicted to chess simply kept repeating the words, "Check, check", as the Angel of Death was coming to him. That was the real thing that was in his heart, the love of his life, what he lived his life for and that is what he could not wish to part from. Sulaiman ibn 'Abdul-Malik asked Abu Hazm, one of the followers, "O Abu Hazm, why is it that we hate death?" He answered, "You have built up (constructed) this world and you have destroyed the Hereafter. You hate to leave the thing that you have constructed for the thing that you have ruined." Indeed, how many Muslims put all of their time and energy into getting ahead in this world and very little preparing for the Hereafter. What do you think will be their state when the Angel of Death comes to them? Do you think they will be willing to give up everything they worked for to meet their Lord? Abu Hazm was also asked how the people will be presented to Allaah on that Hour and he said, "The pious person will be like the one who was gone for a while and is returning to his family. The evildoer will be like the runaway slave returning to his master". That is exactly how those who are disobedient to Allaah will be on that Day. They disobeyed their true and real master and now they have to meet Him. However, for the pious, it will be a joyous occasion, like that of a person returning to his family. The Prophet (saw) has clearly stated that if a person hates to meet Allaah, Allaah hates to meet him. That person, who has an evil end to his life, will be sitting in his grave seeing his place in the Hellfire. He will beseech Allaah not to bring about the Day of Judgement. He does not want to meet Allaah. However, his pleas will not be listened to. Indeed, his time for praying, pleading, beseeching and repenting is over and now he can only wait and face the results of his deeds. Dear believers, by preparing for that Hour, by making our deeds, beliefs and intentions righteous, our Hour can be completely different from what I have just described. Instead, it can be like the Prophet (saw) described it in another part of the hadith that I referred to earlier: "When a believer is about to leave this world and go forward to the Hereafter, angels with white faces, as if their faces were the sun, come down to him from heaven with one of the shrouds of Paradise and some of the perfume of Paradise and sit from him as far as the eye can see. Then the angel of death comes and sits at his head and says, "Good soul, come out to forgiveness and acceptance from Allaah". It then comes out like a drop flows from a waterskin and he seizes it. And when he does so, they do not leave it in his hand for an instant, but they take it and place it in that shroud and that perfume, and from it there comes a fragrance like that of the sweetest musk found on the face of the earth." In the Qur'aan, Allaah has also described the peaceful plight of the believers at the time of their death - those that are true to the faith, do good deeds and repent after doing evil deeds. Allaah says, "Verily those who say, "Our Lord is Allaah (alone)", and then they stick to that, on them the angels will descend (at the time of their death) (saying): "Fear you not, nor grieve! But receive the glad tidings of Paradise which you have been promised. We have been your friends in the life of this world and are (so) in the Hereafter. Therein you shall have (all) that your inner-selves desire, and therein you shall have (all) for which you ask for. An entertainment from (Allaah), the Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful" (Fussilat, 30-32) This person will be shown his seat in Paradise while he is in his grave. He will ask Allaah to bring forth the Day of Judgement. This is the meaning of the Prophet's statement, "Whoever loves to meet Allaah, Allaah loves to meet him". This will be our situation on that Hour - our own personal Hour that we all have to face at some time. We will either be from those whose souls will be taken easily from their bodies or from those whose souls do not wish to leave their bodies and this world. From now, however, this moment on, we must do our best to work to be among those who will have a wonderful end to their lives. We can do this by correcting our beliefs, removing any doubts, repenting from evil deeds and putting the Hereafter first in our hearts. I leave you then, with the advice of 'Ali ibn Abu Talib, the Companion of the Prophet (saw). He said, "Go with this life behind you and go with the next life in front of you. Each life has its children so be from the children of the Hereafter and be not from the children of this world. Today are deeds without reckoning and tomorrow is reckoning without deeds". I pray to Allaah to make us all from those people who will meet a good ending to this life. O Allaah, guide us all to the straight path and keep us firm along that path.

Benefitting the Dead

Dr. Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips

Chapter 6 from "Funeral Rites in Islaam" by Dr. Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips © Copyright 1996 Dar Al-Fatah



The Qur'aan established two general principles concerning the reward and punishment for deeds:

1) Each human will fundamentally only be benefited or harmed by the deeds which he or she actually did.
"...that humans will only have the result of their actions." [Soorah an-Najm (53):39]

2) No human can carry the sin of another.
"...that no one bearing sins can carry the sins of others." [Soorah an-Najm (53):38]

Consequently, when a person dies, the opportunity for that person to do good ends with the person's death. However, the chance to harvest good from deeds which were done prior to death remains.

Du'aa

The prayers of other Muslims on behalf of the dead will benefit the dead, by the permission of God. Had they done no good, no one would consider praying for them. If they were evil, the prayers of others will not benefit them. In Chapter al-Hashr (59):10, Allaah praises the believers who pray for those who have passed away before their time.
"And those who came after them say: Our Lord, forgive us and our brothers who preceded us in faith, and do not put in our hearts any hatred against the believers. Our Lord, You are indeed full of kindness, Most Merciful."
Furthermore, the funeral prayer itself consists mostly of prayers for the dead.
Safwaan [the narrator mentioned that Safwaan ibn `Abdillaah ibn Safwaan was married to ad-Dardaa] said, "I visited Abud-Dardaa's home in Syria, but did not find him there. Ummud-Dardaa asked [me], 'Are you going to make Hajj this year?' I said: 'Yes.' She said, 'Pray to Allaah for good for us, for the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam) said, "The prayer of Muslim for his Muslim brother in his absence will be answered. As long as he prays for the good of his brother, there is an angel assigned near his head who says: Amen, and may the same be for you." I left and went to the marketplace where I met Abud-Dardaa and he related from the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam) the same as that." [Sahih Muslim, vol.4, p.1429, no.6590.]

Fasting

Fasts missed by dead persons may be done on their behalf by their close relatives. The fasts may be from Ramalaan or from oaths (nathar).
`Aa'ishah quoted Allaah's Messenger (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam) as saying, "Whoever died owing fasts, his guardian should fast on his behalf" [Sahih Al-Bukhari, vol. 3, p.99, no.173, and Sahih Muslim, vol. 2, p.556, no. 2553.]
Ibn 'Abbaas said: A man came to the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam) and asked: O Messenger of Allaah, my mother died owing one month of fasting. Should I do it for her? He replied, "Yes, debts to Allaah, have more right to be paid." [Sahih Al-Bukhari, vol. 3, p. 99, no. 174, and Sahih Muslim, vol. 2, p. 556, no. 2554.] In another narration a woman asked about her mothers debt of fasting and got the same reply. [Sahih Muslim, vol. 2, pp. 556-7, nos. 2554, 2557-61.]

Paying Financial Debts

Anyone may cover the debts of a dead person, whether they are relatives or not. Furthermore, the payment of outstanding debts can benefit the dead by relieving them from some of the punishment due to them for their negligence in repaying them.
Jaabir said: A man died and we washed him, perfumed him and shrouded him. Then we brought him to Allaah's Messenger (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam) to lead the funeral prayer for him. We asked, "Could you pray for him?" He took a step forward then asked, "Does he have any outstanding debts?" We answered: "Two deenaars." [He said, "Make the funeral prayer for your companion," and] [This addition can be found in another narration of the hadeeth] began to leave. Aboo Qataadah took responsibility for [paying] them, saying, "The two deenaars are my responsibility." Allaah's Messenger (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam) asked, "Will the creditor be taken care of and will the dead person be absolved from them?" He replied, "Yes," so the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam) led the funeral prayer for him. One day later he asked [Aboo Qataadah], "What was done about the two deenaars?" He replied, "He only died yesterday!" The following day he returned to the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam) and said, "I have paid them off." The Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam) said, "Now his skin has become cool." [Musnad Ahmad, vol.3, p.330; authenticated in Ahkaamul-Janaaiz, p. 16]

The Charity of Children

Parents will benefit from whatever righteous deeds their children do, without decreasing the reward of their children's good deeds. A righteous child is considered to be part of the parent's earnings.
`Umaarah ibn `Umayrs aunt asked `Aaishah, "I have an orphan under my guardianship. May I consume some of his wealth?" She replied that she had heard Allaahs Messenger (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam) say, "Among the most pleasant things a man consumes is what comes from his own earnings, and his child is from his earnings." [Sunan Abu Dawud, vol. 2, p. 1002, no.3521; authenticated in Saheeh Sunan Abee Daawood, vol. 2, p. 674, no. 3013]
`Aaishah related that a man asked the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam): My mother died suddenly, and I think that if she had spoken [before dying], she would have given something in charity. If I give charity on her behalf, will she get the reward? He replied, "Yes." [Sahih Al-Bukhari, vol. 2, p.266, no.470, Sahih Muslim, vol. 3, p.866, no.4002, and Sunan Abu Dawud, vol. 2., p.812, no.2875]
Aboo Hurayrah quoted the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam) as saying, "When a man dies, his acts come to an end, except in three cases: an ongoing charity, knowledge from which people continue to benefit, and a righteous child who prays for him." [Sahih Muslim, vol. 3, p.867, no. 4005, and Sunan Abu Dawud, vol. 2, p.812, no.2874]
Muslims' Victories Before the Dajjal's Appearance
A. Hijazi © 1995
But, Some of Its Signs Have Already Come!

Jabir bin Samurah narrated, "Nafi' bin 'Utbah said, 'We were accompanying the Messenger of Allah sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam to a battle.' Then, he (Nafi') said, 'Then, some people from the west (of Madinah) came to the Prophet wearing clothes made of wool and they met him next to a mound. They were standing while the Messenger of Allah was sitting.' He (Nafi') then said, 'So I told myself, "Let me come closer to them and stand between them and him so that they will not assassinate him." He (Nafi') then said, '(Then, I said to myself) "They may be having a conversation with him." However, I came close by and stood between them and him.' He (Nafi') then said, 'And then I memorized four sentences from him, and I can count them with my hand. He said,
"You will invade the Arabian Peninsula and Allah will grant it (to you). Then (you will conquer) Persia and Allah will grant it (to you). Then, you will invade Ar-Rum and Allah will grant it (to you). Then, you will invade The Dajjal and Allah will grant him (to you)." Nafi' said to Jabir, "O Jabir! We do not believe that the Dajjal will appear until Ar-Rum is conquered."[Ibid., no. 2028]
The land of Ar-Rum is Europe and Rome is its heart. The Messenger of Allah gave us the good tidings that we will conquer Rome, the capital of Christendom today, after the Muslims conquered the first capital of Christendom, Constantinople.
Imam Ahmad narrated that Abdullah bin 'Amr bin Al-Aas said, "While we were around the Messenger of Allah) writing (the Hadith) the Messenger of Allah sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam was asked/ 'Which of these two cities will be conquered first, Constantinople or Romiyah (Rome)?' He said, 'The city of Heraclius will first be conquered.' He meant Constantinople.'' [Al-Hakim, Al-Mustadrak, vol. 4, p. 508. Also, see As-Silsilah as-Sahihah, vol. 1]


Signs of the Appearance of the Dajjal and His Destruction
© 1995 Al-Hijazi
Major Signs of the Last Hour

Signs of the Appearance of the Dajjal
A lengthy hadith narrated by Ibn Majah, Ibn Khuzaimah, and ad-Dhiyaa, attributed to Abu Umamah, reports that the Prophet of Allah, sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam, said,
There will be three hard years before the Dajjal (appears). During them, people will be stricken by a great famine. In the first year, Allah will command the sky to withhold a third of its rain, and the earth to withhold a third a third of its produce. In the second year, Allah will command the sky to withhold two thirds of its rain, and the earth to withhold two thirds of its produce. In the third year, Allah will command the sky to withhold all of its rain, and it will not rain a single drop of rain. He will command the earth to withhold all of its produce, and no plant will grow. All hoofed animals will perish, except that which Allah wills. He (sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam) was asked, What sustains people during that time? He said, Tahlil, takbir and tahmid (Saying, la ilaha ill Allah, Allahu Akbar and al-hamdulillah). This will sustain them just as food does. [Sahih Al-Jami` as-Saghir, no. 7875]
Abdullah bin Umar narrated that the Messenger of Allah sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam said,
The fitnah of Al-Ahlas (continuous calamity) is mass desertion and war. Then, the fitnah of As-Sarraa [meaning the rich, when some reach people use their money to hire others to fight for them] will start from under the feet of a man who claims that he is of me (of my descendants). However, he is not of me, for my loyal friends are the ones who have taqwa. Afterwards, people will unite around a man whose reign is unstable. Then, the fitnah of Ad-Duhaymaa [it is called dark and black fitnah because of its enormity] (will start) and will not leave any member of this nation without severely touching him. When it is thought that its time has come to an end, it will be lengthened. Meanwhile (during this fitnah), a man will wake up as a believer and will meet the night as a disbeliever, until people divide into two camps: A camp of belief that contains no hypocrisy, and a camp of hypocrisy that contains no belief. If this happens, then await the Dajjal on that day or the next. [Ahmad, Abu Dawood and al-Hakim, Mishkatul-Masabih, vol. 4, no. 5403]
There are other signs to the imminent coming of the Dajjal. Mu`ath narrated that the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam, said,
The flourishing of Jerusalem will mark the desertion of Yathrib (Madinah). The desertion of Yathrib will mark the start of Al-Malhamah [the great war that will start between ar-Rum and the Muslim forces before Muslims conquer Constantinople for the second time]. The start of Al-Malhamah will mark the conquering of Constantinople. The conquering of Constantionple will mark the appearance of Dajjal. [Sahih Al-Jami` as-Saghir, no. 4096]
The flourishing of Jerusalem will happen by the hands of Muslims, by the will of Allah, after it will be retrieved from the Jews.
The Holy Land will be the seat of the Caliphate because the Messenger of Allah sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam said to Ibn Hawalah,
O Ibn Hawalah! If you live to see the seat of the Caliphate of the Holy Land, then earthquakes, disasters and great calamities are imminent. Then, the Hour will be closer to people than this hand of mine to your head! [Al-Hakim in Al-Mustadrak, vol. 4, p. 420, and he says, Sahih]
Then, Muslims will migrate to Ash-Sham to join the Jihad against the enemies of Allah from among the Jews and Christians. People of Madinah will desert it, not because they dislike it, but for the purpose of joining the Jihad for the sake of Allah. Then, it will be totally uninhibited, wild animals and beasts will roam through it, and it will stay deserted until the Hour begins.
Abu Hurairah narrated that the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam, said,
Madinah will be deserted while in its prime! Then, it will be inhabited by birds and beasts. [Al-Hakim in Al-Mustadrak, vol. 4, p. 436]
They (Muslims) will leave Madinah while in its prime. Only wild beasts and birds will roam it. The last persons to be gathered (for the beginning of the Last Day) will be two shepherds from (the tribe) of Muzainah heading towards Madinah. They will be herding their sheep, and (when they reach it) they will find it deserted. When they reach Thaniyyat Al-Wadaa` they will collapse on their foreheads (because the Hour will have started then). [Ahmad, Al-Bukhari and Muslim, As-Silsilah As-Sahihah, vol. 2, no. 683]
Also, Abdullah bin `Amr said, There will be a time among people when every believer will migrate to Ash-Sham. [Al-Hakim in al-Mustadrak, vol. 4, p. 457, and he says Sahih according to the conditions of Bukhari and Muslim Adh-Dhahabee agrees.]
The Destruction of Al-Masih Ad-Dajjal
As was narrated in the Hadith by An-Nawwas bin Sam`an, the Dajjal will be killed at the hand of Jesus son of Mary.
The Dajjals death will occur after the angels turn him towards Ash-Sham away from the outskirts of Madinah. He will perish in Ash-Sham near the eastern door of Lud in Palestine, may Allah return it to the Muslim.
Before we start mentioning the second coming of Jesus son of Mary, we will mention the story of Al-Mahdy, Muhammad bin Abdillah.
Al-Mahdi will appear just before the coming of Jesus, alaihis salam. He will lead the Muslim nation with justice and kindness and establish Allahs rule. A righteous Caliphate will reappear after the earth has experienced its share of injustice and tyranny. Jesus son of Mary will pray behind him. Among Al-Mahdis characteristics is that he will spend money on his subjects without counting it, along with many of his other righteous deeds that were mentioned in several correct hadiths.


Signs of the Last Hour

Signs of the Last Hour

The following information is a summary of a lecture given by a scholar of Riverside, Gharm-Allah El-Ghamdy, around the fall of 1991. Editor's notes are in brackets []. It is hard to tell whether certain of these events have already occurred, or when they will precisely occur. Allah knows best.

Though Allah only knows when the Last Hour before the Day of Resurrection will come, He has given us 'clues' about its approach through information in the Qur'an and the hadith of the Prophet. The signs can be separated into two categories: minor and major. This article does not cover all the signs, but most of the important ones are here. All these signs are, of course, based on hadith and/or Qur'an, mainly the former.


Minor Signs (in no particular order)

"The coming of the Last Prophet, Muhammad ibn Abd-Allah (SAW)." [This has already happened, of course.]
"The slave will become the master."
"Shepherds will compete in the construction of tall buildings." [The modern ex-nomads of Saudi Arabia are an excellent example of this.]
"Knowledge of Islam will be taken away while ignorance will increase. This removal of knowledge will be because old scholars will die and fewer and fewer new scholars will replace them. The leaders of the Muslims will be chosen from ignorant people, and they will rule according to their whims." [Today, studying Islam formally is considered to be an inferior career in most of the Muslim world. The leaders of the Muslim world are more known for their political or military prowess (oppressive ability?) than Islamic knowledge.]
"Drinking and fornication will increase heavily."
"The population of men will decrease, and women increase till fifty women shall be for every man."
"Thirty people will claim to be prophets, followed by Al-Dajjal (the anti-Christ roughly)."
"There will be such an abundance of wealth that people will not be able to find recipients for zakat."
"Killing will increase."
"Time will be shortened so that a year will be like a month, a month like a day, a day like an hour." [This perception of the seemingly dwindling amount of time is very apparent, especially in First World countries.]
"Two great countries will fight and kill each other, both claiming the same thing."
"Earthquakes will increase in number." [Welcome to California. :-]
"A person will pass by the grave, and wish to trade places out of despair."


Major Signs (in rough chronological order)

"Al-Dajjal will come, claiming to be God holding Heaven and Hell. His purpose is to deceive, and unbelievers will follow him. He is short, red-faced, blind in the right eye, and has hair which sticks up. He will go around the world, but will be unable to enter Madinah or Makkah." [There are numerous detailed ahadith on this man.]
"Al-Mahdi will come at the time of Al-Dajjal. He will call to the true Islam, and will be a military leader. His name will be exactly like that of the Prophet: Muhammad ibn Abd-Allah, and his father's name will match the Prophet's father's name also. He will be descended from Fatima, the daughter of the Prophet."
"Isa (Jesus) will come at the time of Al-Dajjal and al-Mahdi as well. He will descend at the time of Fajr prayer on a masjid in Damascus, the capital of Syria. He is of medium height, red-faced, and his hair is as if he just took a shower. He will call people back to Islam, but he will also be a military leader. The People of the Book will revert to Islam, and wealth will be super-abundant. Isa will break the cross, kill the swine, and personally slay Al-Dajjal. He will stay on Earth for a long time thereafter, and then die."
"An animal will come and call people back to Islam." [A partial description of this animal is that it is very hairy, so much so that one will not be able to tell its front from its rear (Arabic: 'Dab-ba'). Reference to this animal is mentioned in the Qur'an.]
"Gog and Magog (two hidden tribes of people) will break free of the dam that holds them back, and ravage the earth. They will drink all the water, and kill people until Allah sends against them a worm which will wipe them out." [This is roughly before/during the time of Isa, although it is not entirely clear.]
"Three places in the world will sink and be swallowed up by the earth. One in the west, one in the east, and one in the Saudi Arabian peninsula." [This may refer to a series of giant, epic earthquakes.]
"Fire will come from the area of Aden in Yemen, and sweep northwards." [There are claims that this already happened in some medevial event.]
"The sun will rise from the west." [This description is not meant to be a symbolic one...but it is known that it is one of the last, if not the very last one before the following.]
"Smoke will appear all over the earth which will cause believers to catch something similar to a slight cold, whereas the unbelievers will be hit harder by it. Finally, a cold wind will come and kill all believers, leaving only unbelievers on the earth who will then witness the LAST HOUR. The angel Israfil will blow a trumpet, and the resurrection of all human beings will begin." [At this point, the Day of Resurrection commences in which the skies and earth are destroyed by Allah.]
This list is far from complete; there are many other signs. A couple more of interest are: Constantinople (Istanbul) will fall before Rome to Islam (note that this means Rome will indeed fall), and the Muslim political system will go from Prophetic leadership to a just Khilafah to a 'biting' authority to an oppressive authority and finally back to a just Khilafah. It seems that today we are in the next to last stage of this chain; now is a good time to actively work for the reestablishment of the Muslim state and Khilafah.

Finally, the Prophet has said that when the Signs start to come, they will come FAST - like a string of beads falling one after the other.

And Allah Knows Best.

HEAVEN,HELL AND DEATH

HEAVEN,HELL AND DEATH

All the information included in this discussion is derived from the Quran, the book that God describes as the BEST HADITH, 39:23. The book that God calls complete, perfect and fully detailed.
"God has revealed herein the BEST HADITH; a book that is consistent and points out both ways (to heaven and hell). The skins of those who reverence their Lord cringe therefrom, then their skins and their hearts soften up for God's message. Such is God's guidance; he bestows it upon whomever He wills. As for those sent astray by God, nothing can guide them." 39:23
"In their history, there is a lesson for those who possess intelligence. This is not fabricated Hadith; this (Quran) confirms all previous scriptures, provides the DETAILS of EVERYTHING, and is a beacon and mercy for those who BELIEVE." 12:111
These topics were taken from the appendix of the translation of the Quran by Dr. Rashad Khalifa. As Dr. Khalifa always taught, if you cannot verify the information from the Quran you should not accept it. You will find out that every point of discussion in these topics is supported by the Quranic verses.
Despite that we encourage the reader to check these verses him/herself. God told us in the Quran to verify everything ourselves. See 17:36

Heaven and Hell

The descriptions of Heaven and Hell throughout the Quran are allegorical. And the Quran tells us so whenever such descriptions occur as independent statements, not within a general subject. See 2:24-26, 13:35, and 47:15. The word "Mathal" (allegory) is used in these verses. Linguistically, the word "Mathal" in these verses can be removed, and we still have perfect sentences. But it is there because the descriptions of Heaven and Hell are allegorical.
What Heaven and Hell are really like is far beyond our comprehension. Hence the need for allegory. How can one describe, for example, the taste of chocolate to a person who never tasted chocolate? Allegory will have to be used. The person has to wait to actually taste chocolate in order to know what chocolate tastes like. Whatever allegory we use to describe the taste of chocolate can never approximate the real thing.
Heaven already exists, since Adam and Eve were placed in it during their days of innocence (2:35). We learn from Sura 55 that there are two "High Heavens" - one for the humans and one for the jinns - and two "Lower Heavens" - one for the humans and one for the jinns (see Appendix 11 for more details).
Hell is not created yet. It will be created on the Day of Judgment (69:17 & 89:23). More details are given in Appendix 11.

The High Heaven vs. The Lower Heaven
There are profound differences between the High Heaven and the Lower Heaven. Allegorically, water in the High Heaven flows freely (55:50), while the water of the Lower Heaven needs to be pumped out (55:66).
Allegorically, the High Heaven has all kinds of fruit (55:52), while the Lower Heaven has a limited variety of fruits (55:68).
Allegorically, the pure spouses readily join their spouses in the High Heaven (55:56), while the dwellers of the Lower Heaven must go fetch their spouses (55:72).
Yet, even the Lower Heaven is an incredibly fantastic prize for those who are fortunate enough to escape Hell and end up in the Lower Heaven (3:185) - going to the Lower Heaven is a great triumph. People who depart this life before reaching their 40th birthday, and did not sufficiently develop their souls, will go to the Lower Heaven (46:15, Appendices 11 & 32). The High Heaven is reserved for those who believed, led a righteous life, and developed their souls sufficiently.

"Whoever succeeds in barely missing Hell, and is admitted into Heaven, has attained a great triumph." 3:185
Death
Death is a great mystery to most people. Not so for the students of the Quran. We learn that death is exactly like sleeping; complete with dreams (6:60, 40:46). The period between death and resurrection passes like one night of sleep (2:259; 6:60; 10:45; 16:21; 18:11, 19, 25; 30:55).
At the moment of death, everyone knows his or her destiny; Heaven or Hell. For the disbelievers, death is a horrible event; the angels beat them on the faces and rear ends as they snatch away their souls (8:50, 47:27, 79:1).
Consistently, the Quran talks about two deaths, the first death took place when we failed to make a stand with God's absolute authority (Appendix 7). That first death lasted until we were born into this world. The second death terminates our life in this world (2:28, 22:66, 40:11).
Note: The following is a reproduction of the lead article from the February, 1990 issue of the Submitters Perspective, the monthly bulletin of United Submitters International. This was the second to last issue that was written by Dr. Khalifa. It was completed and mailed ahead of time, in December, 1989. Dr. Khalifa was martyred on January 31, 1990 and his soul was taken directly to Paradise.

The Righteous Do Not Really Die

They Go Straight to Heaven

"Give good news to those who believe and work righteousness that they will have gardens with flowing streams. When provided with provisions of fruits therein, they will say, "This is what was given to us in the past." They will be given similar provisions, and they will have pure spouses therein. They abide therein forever." 2:25
"Do not think that those who are killed in the cause of God are dead; they are alive at their Lord, being provided for." 3:169
"Do NOT say about those who are killed in the cause of God, "They are dead." For they are alive, but you do not perceive." 2:154
"O you who believe, you shall respond to God and the messenger when he invites to what keeps you alive." 8:24
"Those who emigrate in the cause of God, then get killed or die, God will surely provide for them a good provision." 22:58
"They do not taste death, beyond the first death, and God spares them the retribution of Hell." 44:56
"He was told, "Enter Paradise." He said, "I wish my people (on earth) know; that my Lord has forgiven me and honored me." 36:26-27
"The wages of sin is death" [The Bible, Romans 6:23]
As stated in 3:81 and 46:9, God's Messenger of the Covenant does not bring anything new; everything I receive and pass on to you is already in the Quran. However, the Quran is full of information that is kept by Almighty God for revelation at a specific time. Now is the time to look at the verses shown above and learn the great news: THE RIGHTEOUS DO NOT DIE; when their lives on this earth come to the predetermined end, the angel of death simply invites them to leave their earthly bodies and move on to Heaven, the same Paradise where Adam and Eve once lived. Heaven has been in existence since Adam and Eve. We learn from 89:27-30 that God invites the believers' souls:
"Enter My Paradise."
MY OWN EXPERIENCE
When God's covenant with the prophets was fulfilled in accordance with 3:81, I was taken to Heaven where the righteous live NOW (4:69). While my body was down here on earth, I was in the same Paradise of Adam & Eve.
THE DISBELIEVERS
As for the disbelievers, they know at the moment of death that they are destined for Hell. The angels beat them up on the faces and rear ends (8:50 & 47:27), order them to evict their souls (6:93), then "snatch their souls" (79:1). The Quran teaches that the disbelievers go through 2 deaths (2:28 & 40:11). They will be put to death - a state of nothingness during which they see Hell day and night in a continuous nightmare that lasts until the Day of Judgment (40:46). Hell is not yet in existence (40:46, 89:23).
Of Course, the Righteous Depart
As far as people are concerned, the righteous "die." People do not realize that the righteous simply leave their bodies, and move on to Paradise. The verses shown above are self explanatory. They tell us that the righteous die only once - the one death we have already experienced as a consequence of the great feud (38:69). In 36:26-27, we see the best evidence that the righteous go to Paradise, while their friends and relatives are still living on earth. Like going to Hawaii and waiting for us there. See also 16:32 & 6:60-62.

Islamic Terms

AL-HAMDU LILLAH: Praise be to Allah. Should be said on all occasions and especially after sneezing.

ALLAH: The Name of the Creator of the universe.

ASR: Late afternoon prayer

AYAH: Verse of the Holy Quran (also means a 'sign' of Allah)

BIDAH: Any innovated practices introduced in the religion of Islam.

BISMILLAH: 'In the Name of Allah", this statement is usually made by Muslims who are about to indulge in a lawful task.

DAJJAL: Anti-Christ.

DAWAH: Propagation of Islam through word and action, calling the people to follow the commandments of Allah.

DEEN: Usually translated as 'religion'. Deen is a comprehensive word which means a total way of life, following the commandments of Allah.

DUA: Supplication: invoking Allah for whatever one desires.

EID AL-FITR: three day festival marking the end of Ramadan - the 9th month (the month of fasting).

EID-AL-ADHA: The feast of Sacrifice. This feast commemorates the Prophet Abraham's obedience to Allah by being prepared to sacrifice his only son Ishmael. A four-day festival that completes the rites of pilgrimage and takes place on the 10th-13th of Dhul Hijjah (the last Islamic month)

FAJR: Early morning prayer

FATIHA: The opening Chapter of the Quran. Fatiha should be read in every prayer.

GHUSL: Full ritual washing of the body with water. Ghusl should be done after sexual intercourse, wet dreams, emission, menses, childbirth.

HADEETH: Sayings and traditions of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)

HAJJ: Pilgrimage to the Holy city of Makkah.

HIJAB: Veil worn by Muslim women for reasons of modesty and protection.

IMAM: A person who leads the prayer and also for a famous Muslim Scholar.

IMAN: Truth, faith and acceptance.

ISA: Arabic word for Jesus Christ.

ISHA: Night Prayer

ISLAM: literally means 'submission to the will of Allah'.

JAHANAM: Hell

JANNAH: Paradise.

JIBREEL: Angel Gabriel.

JIHAD: means struggling one's utmost to be a better person in the sight of Allah, and to establish Islamic way of life.

JINN: a race of created beings that are made out of smokeless fire.

JUMMA: 'Friday', the Muslim's day of gathering on Friday noon prayers.

KAABA: Holiest, and first shrine constructed for the worship of One God, Allah. Muslims face towards the direction of the Kaaba, Makkah.

KAFIR: Unbeliever, who have rejected the truth of Islam.

KHALIFA: A Muslim ruler of an Islamic State.

KHUTBA: Sermon.

MAGHRIB: Sunset Prayer

MALAIKAH: Angels.

MASEEH: A title which means "Anointed" or 'Christ' Title given to Prophet Jesus.

MASJID: Mosque, places of worship for the Muslims. In one sense the whole earth is a Masjid for the Muslims, The dome of the heavens its roof.

MIRAJ: The night journey of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) from Makkah to Jerusalem and then through the realms of the seven heavens.

MUHAMMAD: The name of the final Messenger and Prophet of God to Humanity.

MUHARRAM: The first month of the Islamic Calendar.

MUSLIM: Literally means 'submitting to the will', i.e. to the will of Allah, the Almighty.

QIBLA: Direction in which all Muslims face when praying, which is the Kaaba, in Makkah, Saudi Arabia. The direction is north east from New York.
QURAN: The last revelation of Allah given to Humanity, through his last Prophet and Messenger, Muhammad - peace be upon him.

RAMADAN: The month of Fasting, the 9th month of the Islamic Calendar.

SAHABI: Companion of Prophet Muhammad - peace be upon him.

SAJDA: Prostration, as in prayer.

SALAAM: peace

SALAAT: Prayer

SALLALLAHU ALAIHE WA SALLAM: means 'may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. This phrase is recited whenever the name of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing of Allah be upon him) is mentioned.

SAUM: Fasting

SHAHADA: The creed of Islam: 'I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah, and I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.

SHAITAN: Satan.

SHARIA: Islamic Law . It encompasses both the Quran and Hadith, the sayings of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)

SHIRK: Associating partners with Allah. The grave sin of Shirk is not forgiven if a person dies in that state.

SUBHAN ALLAH: means 'Glory be to Allah'.

SURA: Chapter of the Quran. Quran has 114 Suras or chapters.

TAHARA: purification of body, clothing and souls.

TAWHEED: The Divine Unity, in its most profound sense. Allah is One in His Essence and His Attributes and His Acts.

TAYAMMUM: Dry purification when water is not available or is detrimental to health.

UMRA: A pilgrimage to Makkah, but not during the Hajj period.

WITR: A prayer which has an odd number of Rakat (units). Usually referred to the last prayer of the night after the Isha prayer.

WUDU: Purifying with water before performing prayers.

ZAKAT: Obligatory Charity

ZUHR: Noon Prayer (early afternoon prayer)

I Love You

There is always a higher realm

No matter where you are


Humanity is as one person

All creation is as one body


You must purify your body

To gain control of your mind


When your mind controls your body

Let the Spirit control your mind


When you work…

Dedicate it to the Spirit


As you breathe…

Remember the Spirit


When you think…

Think about the Spirit


Every action you manifest

Let it be for the Spirit


Every body has a soul

When the eyes of the soul can see


The Spirit is what gives life

To a motionless body


Praise to our Master

Glory to our King


Allah is the Greatest

Maker of ALL things


Oh Allah…

I beg that you give all eyes to see you for what you really are

I beg that you give all ears to hear your pure truth

I beg that you allow the hearts of all to have love and understanding

I beg that you allow all to understand you and your Way

I beg that you strengthen all to embrace your Way and live it

I beg that you destroy the illusion after all understand it

I beg that you allow us to strengthen your Way through Unity

I beg that you allow all to become one family for eternity.


I do not know everything about you

No words could ever explain you

I want every thought of mine to be of you.

I only want to live to be with you


My only love is you

I love everything about you

I give thanks for letting me see you

For allowing me to experience you


Oh Allah…


I love you


The Mind

Living the Quran
Al-Anam (The Cattle)
Chapter 6: Verse 125


The Mind
"Whoever Allah wishes to guide, He expands his chest to Islam, and whoever He wishes to leave astray, He makes his chest narrow and constricted as if he were climbing up to the sky. So Allah lays abomination on those who do not believe."

One cannot possibly purify his heart unless he puts his mind to work, allowing faith and security into his heart. Mind and reason are an essential part of Islamic thought and legislation. One could not exist without the other. What exactly do we refer to when we talk about the mind? There are two kinds of reasoning by the mind that have been identified.

The first is intuitive reasoning that includes: the capacity to comprehend, make rational conclusions, form speech and behave sensibly. The second kind of reasoning is acquired from our environment, such as the things we have been taught or become familiarized with.

The Quran refers to the mind in different ways depending on the nature of the task being dealt with:

1. The mind is able to understand and process speech.

2. The mind is able to project coherent and non-conflicting thoughts.

3. The mind is able to understand proof and evidence of truth.

4. Actions must correspond to words.

5. The mind enables the person to make intelligent choices about what is good for him and what is harmful and should be rejected.

6. People of mind are able to give up immediate, short-lived benefits in favour of eventually gaining more valuable, eternal joy.

7. People of mind are able to learn valuable lessons from the events of life.

8. The mind enables us to learn from the lessons of history.

9. The mind enables us to understand and appreciate the signs of the Creator, while here on earth.

10. Sensible people will know to treat others with respect, particularly in their dealings with the prophets.

The qualities of the mind discussed are fairly indisputable and it is accepted by most people that a person who lacks these qualities will be seen as unreasonable or lacking in various ways. Thus the Quran has reminded us that certain behaviours are inconsistent with an intelligent and sound mind.

We must remember also that there are many verses of the Quran that do not specifically mention the mind; but indicate that thoughtful and reasonable people will be able to follow the way of Allah - making good use of their God-given gift: the mind.

Source:
"The Mind " - Dr. Jafar Sheikh Idris


O Allah, O Sufficer of the isolated and weak and Protector against terrifying affairs! Offenses have isolated me, so there is none to be my companion. I am too weak for Thy wrath and there is none to strengthen me. I have approached the terror of meeting Thee and there is none to still my fear. I beg for Your Mercy! Ameen
Push On Dua!

The Demand for Equal Rights for Men & Women

In the Name of God Most Gracious Most Merciful

May the Peace & Blessings of God Almighty Be Upon You All

The Demand for Equal Rights for Men & Women

One day the women of the world decided that when it comes to child bearing & upbringing of the children the women had to undergo the most suffering & pain. Whereas the men were having all the fun & enjoyment with little or no pain. This was total injustice. With the view to having the pain & suffering for child bearing & upbringing equally distributed among the men & women they confronted God Almighty.

They explained to God Almighty the pain & suffering that they have to undergofrom conception to the post natal period with a special emphasis on the painduring child birth which was considered to be the most distressing.

They wanted the labour pains & the pain during child birth to be handed to the father of the child (husband) while they will undergo the other pains & sufferings. This in their view will go someway in bringing about justice for the women.

God Almighty tried to explain to the women that the current process is how he in his wisdom has designed it to work. That was the best process available for mankind. But the women were not taking a no for an answer. So God Almighty agreed to their demand & put the process on a 3 months probationary period after which it will be reviewed. The women were ecstatic in their supposed achievement.

A few days later the time came for one of the women to deliver her baby. It was considered a historic occasion. The world media descended on her house with live TV coverage & what not. The women were no more willing to take things lying down. They were going to fight for their rights even if is necessary to force God Almighty to change his mind on how mankind should function. That was the slogan that was paraded about.

The time came for the woman to deliver her baby, but her husband nor herselfwere showing any signs of undergoing pain. The people around her were getting confused. They started thinking that God Almighty may have changed his mind at the last minute. Then out of the blue the man next door started screaming at the top of his voice in pain.

The women did not wait for the completion of the 3 months probationary period. They immediately went to God Almighty & wanted the things to be changed to what it was originally. Then God Almighty told them, you human beings think that you know better than me about my creation & you try to tell me on how the mankind that I have created should function. If the mankind were to function at the whims & fancies of you all it will end up in disaster. There is no such thing called mens rights & womens rights. I have created man & woman to function in a complementary role & not in a competitive role. Both enjoying their distinctiveness & not their sameness. Each by playing their respective roles will build a healthy society. If they try to do the opposite the whole social spectrum will collapse & it will spell disaster for mankind.

"For to us will be their return; then it will be for us to call them toaccount." (Holy Quran 88:25-26)

Copyright © 2005 by AB
Those wishing to reproduce the above article are most welcome. But please reproduce it in its entirety lest the message will get blurred.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

True Story: All lost - in a day (hardships our sisters and brothers face)

Shafts of light spread over the bedroom floor , slowly highlighting the criss-cross pattern of the mat, as the run rose on yet another day in the war torn village. The men had returned home the day before, after many weeks in the battlefield. Worn out, they fell into the loving arms of anxious wives. Weeks spent in fear, ended in a happy reunion of family life.

Soon after day break the baby cried. Aisha reached over to the basket and picked him up. His brown curls shone in the early morning light. She put him into bed next to her and fed him while she dozed peacefully off to sleep again.

The room was simply furnished. There was a rough wooden bed, a wardrobe and a chest of drawers. On the chest of drawers stood a square mirror, a brush and comb and a small jewelry box her husband had given her on her wedding day. Hand woven mats were spread across the floor, keeping away the growing cold of winter. The window was covered with dark green shutters. They were tightly closed. The baby's cot stood next to their bed which was covered with handmade, soft downy quilts. Squares of various colors, collected and sewn together.

Ahmad stirred and opened his eyes that were encased in dark circles. He turned over and looked at the sleeping baby nestled snugly against his mother. He smiled tenderly and stared at the ceiling, watching the growing formations of light and shade and drifted off to sleep once more.

The familiar sound of guns in the distance made him wake up immediately. Unconsciously he reached for his gun, kept just beneath the bed where he lay. It was loaded. The sound died away and he relaxed, replacing the gun beneath the bed. He stroked the tiny head of his son who lay between he and his wife. In waking hours, there was the ever-present fear of invasion and death. His concern for his family's safety and that of his village, urged him on into fields of blood and death. Constantly searching for the enemies who dealt out rape, torture and death.

He lay still in bed while his wife and son slept. After two days, he would have to return to the battle field. His thoughts were disturbed by a rumbling sound coming down the street, then the sound of running feet. His listened intently. Then there was a very loud bang at the door and a group of soldiers burst into the house. Within seconds they were in the bedroom just as Ahmad was reaching for his gun. Aisha awoke startled, and the baby screamed. Three soldiers with rough, hard hands pinned Ahmad to the bed while the officer in charge shouted questions at him. The silence that Ahmad maintained frustrated the Officer who kicked him hard and beat him across the back. Ahmad refused to speak. Aisha covered herself with the blanket and stared at her husband lying face down on the bed beside her. His dignity crushed by pinning hands. She couldn't move or speak. She sat frozen in terror. The baby kept screaming.

Question after question, repeating the same words while Ahmad pursed his lips and kept his eyes closed tight. He dreaded what might happen to his family but he couldn't reveal the information that would spell disaster to the whole district. He was being given the choice between betrayal or death. The choice was easy - death would be a final release from the hardships of life. Nothing could make him give in to these tyrants. After what seemed like hours, the Officer simply ordered, "It's no use, get rid of him." The second officer in charge had a face cut from granite. His square jaw never clinched and there was no _expression in his eyes as he took out his gun and shot the helpless man in the temple at point blank range, sending Ahmad on to a peaceful place that he, would never know.

Immediately the other soldiers let got their hold on him and started looking around the room. Their eyes turned to Aisha who sat there screaming and screaming and screaming. Her voice drowned out that of her baby son. The soldiers looked her up and down carefully then looked at each other and smiled. The Officer in charge called them. They left. "Don't worry, you dogs," he smiled, "you can come back a bit later to finish off your work."

Aisha's screams gave way to a frozen state of shock. She sat in the bed staring straight in front of her. The door opened quietly and footsteps were heard approaching her bed, now red with blood. The baby whimpered, too tired to scream. A hand touched Aisha's shoulder and she jumped in horror. She found the face of her neighbour who pulled her hand and dragged her from the bed.

"Aisha! Aisha! Pull yourself together. There's no time. We have to go now." She gave Aisha a drink and shook her.

"They will come back at any time and if you are here, well, you mustn't be here." The older lady shook her head and looked at the floor, she didn't dare look at the body on the bed.

"Come on Aisha, put on your warm clothes and boots. We have to run. My girls and I are ready and all the women who are still alive are leaving now. Aisha, listen! We have to leave now!"

Aisha blinked and looked around her. She saw the body of her husband and started to cry.

"Aisha," said her neighbour more gently, "there's no time for tears now. Come on, we have to go.." Aisha started to move.

"Good Aisha. Remember if they come back they will kill you and your baby, do you understand."

"Yes, yes, I do. I'm coming now," said Aisha in a daze. She was breathing heavily, concentrating on not looking at the bed. She gathered all her remaining strength in an effort to escape imminent death.

Feelings of panic overtook her. She rushed around the room thinking of what she should take. Her neighbour had already left and she could hear the sound of the other women and children leaving the village on foot. She didn't want to be left behind so she hurried even more. She packed a few necessities into a small bag, turned to where the baby lay and grabbed at him and the quilt and raced out the door.

All day and the next night they traveled without stopping. Aisha was exhausted. She continually saw stars in front of her eyes. Her mind was still in shock after witnessing the brutal death of her loving husband. There was no time or space to sort out everything that had happened. Her hand clung tightly to the precious bundle she carried and on she ran. Often blinded by tears, she walked, then ran, then walked again. Sometimes she would look back over her shoulder and see the flames of fire reaching up from her village; her home, and tiny feelings of gratitude, deep down in her soul made her glad she was not there. Her feet surged forward, lengthening the distance between herself and destruction.

Finally, they arrived at the border. Warm, caring eyes surveyed the scene and offered the poor, tired women and children warm drinks, bread and blankets. Only after safely crossing the border and finally sitting down to rest did Aisha open the bundle she had been carrying over all those miles. An explosion in the distance, rocked them from rest and Aisha's eyes looked up sharply as whatever remained of her village was wiped off the face of the earth.

With trembling hands she continued to unwrap her precious bundle.

Her screams alerted the guards and women surrounded her in pity and fear. Her thin, shaking hands had uncovered a pillow within her bundle. Previously, somewhere in her tumult and desire to escape death, her hands had reached for her baby but had mistakenly grabbed the pillow and quilt which in a blind race of fear, had been bundled up and carried with her these long, hard miles.

All lost - in a day
by Velma Cook
http://www.islamicgarden.com/lostinaday.html


This is the true story of a woman who escaped certain death in Bosnia. It all happened just a few years ago. I pray that we will never forget the atrocities that are daily perpetrated against the Muslims all over the world. May this story serve as a reminder of the unexpected nature of life and the importance of our reliance on Allah the Lord of the Worlds, as the only source of strength, help and peace.

It also shows us how lucky we are that Allah has not tested us like the women in the story. In one day she lost everything, her husband her body, her child, her home.

We should pray and be so thankfull and beg Allah to help us thru any trail which we'll face.

May Allah forgive our sins and shortcomings and bless us with the strength to bear the difficulties of this world.



In The Name of Allah, The Compassionate, The Merciful

Islamic Threat

In recent years, a great deal of attention in the media have been given to the threat of "Islamic Fundamentalism". Unfortunately, due to a twisted mixture of biased reporting in the Western media and the actions of some ignorant Muslims, the word "Islam" has become almost synonymous with "terrorism". However, when one analyzes the situation, the question that should come to mind is: Do the teachings of Islam encourage terrorism? The answer: Certainly not! Islam totally forbids the terrorist acts that are carried out by some misguided people. It should be remembered that all religions have cults and misguided followers, so it is their teachings that should be looked at, not the actions of a few individuals. Unfortunately, in the media, whenever a Muslim commits a heinous act, he is labeled a "Muslim terrorist". However, when Serbs murder and rape innocent women in Bosnia, they are not called "Christian terrorists", nor are the activities in Northern Ireland labeled "Christian terrorism". Also, when right-wing Christians in the U. S. bomb abortion clinics, they are not called "Christian terrorists". Reflecting on these facts, one could certainly conclude that there is a double-standard in the media! Although religious feelings play a significant role in the previously mentioned "Christian" conflicts, the media does not apply religious labels because they assume that such barbarous acts have nothing to do with the teachings of Christianity. However, when something happens involving a Muslim, they often try to put the blame on Islam itself -- and not the misguided individual. Certainly, Islamic Law allows war --- any religion or civilization that did not would never survive --- but it certainly does not condone attacks against innocent people, women or children. The Arabic word "jihad", which is often translated as "Holy War", simply means "to struggle". The word for "war" in Arabic is "harb", not "jihad". "Struggling", i.e. "making jihad", to defend Islam, Muslims or to liberate a land where Muslims are oppressed is certainly allowed (and even encouraged) in Islam. However, any such activities must be done according to the teachings of Islam. Islam also clearly forbids "taking the law into your own hands", which means that individual Muslims cannot go around deciding who they want to kill, punish or torture. Trial and punishment must be carried out by a lawful authority and a knowledgeable judge. Also, when looking at events in the Muslim World, it should be kept in mind that a long period of colonialism ended fairly recently in most Muslim countries. During this time, the peoples in this countries were culturally, materially and religiously exploited - mostly by the so-called "Christian" nations of the West. This painful period has not really come to an end in many Muslim countries, where people are still under the control of foreign powers or puppet regimes supported by foreign powers. Also, through the media, people in the West are made to believe that tyrants like Saddam Hussein in Iraq and Moamar Qaddafi in Libya are "Islamic" leaders -- when just the opposite is true. Neither of these rulers even profess Islam as an ideology, but only use Islamic slogans to manipulate their powerless populations. They have about as much to do with Islam as Hitler had to do with Christianity! In reality, many Middle Eastern regimes which people think of as being "Islamic" oppress the practice of Islam in their countries. So suffice it to say that "terrorism" and killing innocent people directly contradicts the teachings of Islam.

Who Is Allah?

Some of the biggest misconceptions that many non-Muslims have about Islam have to do with the word "Allah". For various reasons, many people have come to believe that Muslims worship a different God than Christians and Jews. This is totally false, since "Allah" is simply the Arabic word for "God" - and there is only One God. Let there be no doubt - Muslims worship the God of Noah, Abraham, Moses, David and Jesus - peace be upon them all. However, it is certainly true that Jews, Christians and Muslims all have different concepts of Almighty God. For example, Muslims - like Jews - reject the Christian beliefs of the Trinity and the Divine Incarnation. This, however, doesn't mean that each of these three religions worships a different God - because, as we have already said, there is only One True God. Judaism, Christianity and Islam all claim to be "Abrahamic Faiths", and all of them are also classified as "monotheistic". However, Islam teaches that other religions have, in one way or another, distorted and nullified a pure and proper belief in Almighty God by neglecting His true teachings and mixing them with man-made ideas.
First of all, it is important to note that "Allah" is the same word that Arabic-speaking Christians and Jews use for God. If you pick up an Arabic Bible, you will see the word "Allah" being used where "God" is used in English. This is because "Allah" is the only word in the Arabic language equivalent to the English word "God" with a capital "G". Additionally, the word "Allah" cannot be made plural or given gender (i.e. masculine or feminine), which goes hand-in-hand with the Islamic concept of God. Because of this, and also because the Qur'an, which is the holy scripture of Muslims, was revealed in the Arabic language, some Muslims use the word "Allah" for "God", even when they are speaking other languages. This is not unique to the word "Allah", since many Muslims tend to use Arabic words when discussing Islamic issues, regardless of the language which they speak. This is because the universal teachings of Islam - even though they have been translated in every major language - have been preserved in the Arabic language.
It is interesting to note that the Aramaic word "El", which is the word for God in the language that Jesus spoke, is certainly more similar in sound to the word "Allah" than the English word "God". This also holds true for the various Hebrew words for God, which are "El" and "Elah", and the plural form "Elohim". The reason for these similarities is that Aramaic, Hebrew and Arabic are all Semitic languages with common origins. It should also be noted that in translating the Bible into English, the Hebrew word "El" is translated variously as "God", "god" and "angel"! This imprecise language allows different translators, based on their preconceived notions, to translate the word to fit their own views. The Arabic word "Allah" presents no such difficulty or ambiguity, since it is only used for Almighty God alone. Additionally, in English, the only difference between "god", meaning a false god, and "God", meaning the One True God, is the capital "G". In the Arabic alphabet, since it does not have capital letters, the word for God (i.e. Allah) is formed by adding the equivalent to the English word "the" (Al-) to the Arabic word for "god/God" (ilah). So the Arabic word "Allah" literally it means "The God" - the "Al-" in Arabic basically serving the same function as the capital "G" in English. Due to the above mentioned facts, a more accurate translation of the word "Allah" into English might be "The One -and-Only God" or "The One True God".
More importantly, it should also be noted that the Arabic word "Allah" contains a deep religious message due to its root meaning and origin. This is because it stems from the Arabic verb ta'allaha (or alaha), which means "to be worshipped". Thus in Arabic, the word "Allah" means "The One who deserves all worship". This, in a nutshell, is the Pure Monotheistic message of Islam. You see, according to Islam, "monotheism" is much more than simply believing in the existence of "only One God" - as seemingly opposed to two, three or more. If one understands the root meaning of the word "Allah", this point should become clear. One should understand that Islam's criticism of the other religions that claim to be "monotheistic" is not because they are "polytheistic" in the classic sense, but because they direct various forms of worship to other than Almighty God. We will discuss the meaning of worship in Islam below, however, before moving on it should be noted that many non-Muslims are unaware of the distinction between simply believing in the existence of only One God and reserving all worship for Him alone. Many Christians are painfully unaware of this point, and thus you often find them asking how Muslims can accuse the followers of Jesus, peace be upon him, of being "polytheists" when they were all "monotheistic Jews". First of all, it should be clarified that the word "polytheist" doesn't really sound right in this context, since to many it implies simply believing in the existence of more than one God. So in an Islamic context, "associators", "man-worshippers" or "creature worshippers" might be more accurate and appropriate terms - especially since Christians believe Jesus to be both "100% God and 100% man", while still paying lip-service to God's "Oneness". However, as we're previously touched upon, what is really at the root of this problem is the fact that Christians - as well as the members of other religions - don't really know what "monotheism" means - especially in the Islamic sense. All of the books, articles and papers that I've read which were written by Christians invariably limit "monotheism" to believing in the existence of "One Sovereign and Creator God". Islam, however, teaches much more than this.
Suffice it to say that just because someone claims to be a "monotheistic" Jew, Christian or Muslim, that doesn't keep them from falling into corrupt beliefs and idolatrous practices. Many people, including some Muslims, claim belief in "One God" even though they've fallen into acts of idolatry. Certainly, many Protestants accuse Roman Catholics of idolatrous practices in regards to the saints and the Virgin Mary. Likewise, the Greek Orthodox Church is considered "idolatrous" by many other Christians because in much of their worship they use icons. However, if you ask a Roman Catholic or a Greek Orthodox person if God is "One", they will invariably answer: "Yes!". This lip-service, however, does not stop them from being "creature worshipping" idolaters. The same goes for Hindus, who just consider their gods to be "manifestations" or "incarnations" of the One Supreme God.
Everyone should be aware of the fact that throughout the long history of the "Abrahamic Faiths", there have people who, while believing in "One God", have adopted beliefs and practices that completely nullify their claim to "monotheism". This is the Muslim view of Christians. We're well aware of the fact that they claim belief in "One God" with their lips, but this doesn't mean that they don't nullify their claim in other ways. This is because many people simply haven't been taught everything that Pure Monotheism entails. From an Islamic point of view, "monotheism" can be nullified in many ways. For example, simply believing that it is permissible to rule by Western "liberal" and "democratic" laws in lieu of the Divinely Revealed Law of Almighty God makes one a "polytheist". Certainly, a person who does such a thing, whether Jewish, Christian or Muslim, doesn't ever believe that there is another Almighty Creator and Sovereign Lord. However, for all practical purposes, such a person has take another "god", whether they choose to admit it or not. In this way they are associating partners with Almighty God (Arabic: shirk), and thus become a "polytheist" in a practical sense, regardless of their lip-service to "monotheism". This holds true even if the person doesn't believe what they are doing is "worship". For example, Roman Catholics who pray to the Virgin Mary will staunchly deny that they are "worshipping" her. They instead call it "adoration" or some other watered-down term. However, from an Islamic point of view, what is worship if not this? Islam teaches that prayer and supplication are the marrow of worship, so if one directs their prayers to an intermediary (even if the pray is "ultimately" meant for God), then what is left of worship? Additionally, how can someone who believes in Almighty God follow man-made laws instead of God's Law, without admitting that they've begun worshipping other than God? Do they know better than God?
Additionally, the Old Testament makes it perfectly clear that making a "graven image" of any created thing (not to mention ones which are supposed to "represent" Almighty God) is prohibited. Please see Exodus 20:4-6, Leviticus 26:1 and Deuteronomy 4:16, 23, 25, 5:8 and Nehemiah 9:6 for some statements in regards to this point. Without addressing the issue that Christians commonly violate the unambiguous commandment not to even "make" representations of anything that is in the "heavens above or on the earth beneath", these verses not only teach that worshipping idols is prohibited, but also that Almighty God is eternally distinct from His creation and thus nothing in His creation can represent Him. To believe otherwise is to be a de facto idol worshipper - even if one claims belief in one, and only one, "True God". In Exodus 20:4-6 and Deuteronomy 4:16, Almighty God - who is a "Jealous God" - makes it perfectly clear that He is distinct from His creation.
By giving such clear and merciful guidance to human beings, God is establishing a universal and eternal Truth for the benefit of mankind. This eternal Truth is the bedrock of religious guidance, since once people begin to believe that Almighty God mixes with or can be represented by His creation, they can be duped into believing almost anything. Once someone accepts that God has become "incarnate" in His creation, or that someone or something is a "manifestation" - and thus representation - of Him, the floodgates are open and "Truth" becomes a matter of subjective guesswork. Once the first and most basic concept is violated - regardless of how complicated and sophisticated the rationale for it might be - it is very easy to fall further and further away from the Eternal Truth of Pure Monotheism. In the final analysis, it is not a question of whether God is capable of becoming a man, but rather a question of whether one bases their beliefs about God on clear, unambiguous and authentic guidance. Once it is left up to the human mind to decide what Almighty God can and cannot do, the stage is set for misguidance to take root. Human speculation about God only ends up leading to misguidance and despair, since no clear conclusions can ever be reached. For example, is God capable of creating an object so heavy that He is incapable of moving it? If not, does that mean that He is incapable? It is because of misguided questions like this that Islam clearly teaches that mankind should only say about God what He has said about Himself. This means all of our ideas about God must be based on Revelation - not human speculation. In short, the final prophet of Islam - Muhammad - was sent by Almighty God to preach the same Pure Monotheism that was practiced by Noah, Abraham, Moses, David and Jesus - peace be upon them all. This Pure Monotheism means not only believing that there is only One God in existence, but realizing that He is transcedent above His creation and that all worship is due to Him alone.
Before concluding, we should probably address the practice of those Muslims who insist on using the Arabic word "Allah" even when speaking English. Even though this practice certainly is not to be condemned when it is done around those who understand the meaning of the Arabic word "Allah", it is my experience - both during my years as a non-Muslim and my years as a Muslim - that such a practice can (and usually does) breed misunderstanding. It seems that often times, many of the Muslims who use the word "Allah" in lieu of the word "God", even when trying to attract people to Islam, are unaware of the severe misunderstandings that many non-Muslims have about Islam (and the distorted way which Islam has been portrayed in the West). Insisting on using the word "Allah" only fuels the flames of misunderstanding - so there's no good reason to do it. I've often wondered what value some Muslims think that using the word "Allah" adds to the Pure Message that they are trying to convey. ( . . . and I'm still waiting for an answer!) Unfortunately, those Muslims who insist on using the word "Allah" even when addressing non-Muslims who are unfamiliar with Islam and the Arabic language, do both a disservice to themselves and their religion. Unfortunately, this practice is usually based on the false assumption - by a non-native speaker of English - that the word "God" in English is incapable of expressing a pure and proper belief in Almighty God. This is certainly false. If someone says that the English word "God" cannot be used to express the Pure Islamic Belief in Tawhid, they are wrong not because they don't understand Tawhid, but simply because they don't understand the English language. Many people who insist on using the Arabic word "Allah" usually don't realize this, because in reality, they are not so much affirming the word "Allah" as they are rejecting the word "God" as unsuitable - based on incorrect assumptions. For someone to assume that the word "God" presupposes a certain theological point-of-view (such as the Trinity) is simply Wrong - and that's Wrong with a capital "W". To say the word "God" should be rejected because it can be changed into "god", "gods" or "goddess" is illogical because each of these words has a distinctive meaning and a distinctive spelling - at least to someone who knows how to speak English correctly. Using the same logic, I can demonstrate that the root letters "ktb" can be used to form the Arabic words "kitab" (book), "maktabah" (library), "maktab" (office) and "kaatib" (writer), but does that mean that these words have the same meaning? Do Arabic-speaking people go through life confusing libraries with writers and offices with books (both in conversation and in reality)? I think not! This is not to mention the fact that if the Arabic "Al-" was put in front of these words in order to make them definite, confusion would be even less likely! So the logic in both cases is the same, and this is because even though the same letters are used in "God" and "god", these two words have two different meanings in the English language. The capital "G" implies something different than the small "g" - and anyone who denies this simply doesn't know how to speak the English language.
In concluding this point, it should be mentioned that Arabic-speaking Muslims who believe in Pure Tawhid, Arabic-speaking Christians, the idol worshippers of Mecca and (so-called) Muslims who believe in "Wahdat al-Wujud" all use the word "Allah". However, does this guarantee all of them proper belief in "Allah"? Certainly not, because if they have a corrupt concept of "Allah" it doesn't matter what word they use!
This brings us to a more important point: It should be clearly understood that what Islam is primarily concerned with is correcting mankind's concept of Almighty God. What we are ultimately going to be held accountable at the end of our life is not whether we prefer the word "Allah" over the word "God", but what our concept of God is. Language is only a side issue. A person can have an incorrect concept of God while using the word "Allah", and likewise a person can have a correct concept of God while using the word "God". This is because both of these words are equally capable of being misused and being improperly defined. As we've already mentioned, using the word "Allah" no more insinuates belief in the Unity of God than the use of the word "God" insinuates belief in the Trinity - or any other theological opinion. Naturally, when God sends a revelation to mankind through a prophet, He is going to send it in a language that the people who receive it can understand and relate to. Almighty God makes this clear in the Qur'an, when He states:
"Never did We send a Messenger except (to teach) in the language of his (own) people in order to make (things) clear to them;" (Qur'an 14:4)
As Muslims, we think that it is unfortunate that we have to go into details on such seemingly minor issues, but so many falsehoods have been heaped upon our religion, that we feel that it is our duty to try to break down the barriers of falsehood. This isn't always easy, since there is a lot of anti-Islamic literature in existence which tries to make Islam look like something strange and foreign to Westerners. There are some people out there, who are obviously not on the side of truth, that want to get people to believe that "Allah" is just some Arabian "god", and that Islam is completely "other" - meaning that it has no common roots with the other Abrahamic religions (i.e. Christianity and Judaism). To say that Muslims worship a different "God" because they say "Allah" is just as illogical as saying that French people worship another God because they use the word "Dieu", that Spanish-speaking people worship a different God because they say "Dios" or that the Hebrews worshipped a different God because they sometimes call Him "Yahweh". Certainly, reasoning like this is quite ridiculous! It should also be mentioned, that claiming that any one language uses the only the correct word for God is tantamount to denying the universality of God's message to mankind, which was to all nations, tribes and people through various prophets who spoke different languages.
Before closing, we would like everyone to be aware of the fact that some Christian missionary organizations print English literature intended to teach Christians about Islam which say such things as: "Allah is the god of the Muslims" and that "Muhammad came to get people to believe in the god Allah" - implying that "Allah" is some sort of false "god". However, when these same organizations print literature in the Arabic language, hoping to lead Arabic-speaking Muslims "to Christ", they use the word "Allah" for God. It seems that if they were on the side of truth, they would not have to resort to such inconsistencies. And on an even more ridiculous note . . . there are also missionary organizations that exceed this in ignorance (or deceit) by writing books that call on Muslims to give up their belief in "Allah", and instead worship the "Lord" Jesus, "the Son of God". Besides making it abundantly clear that they are outside the community of Pure Monotheism, the people who write such material don't even realize that if they wrote such a pamphlet in Arabic, it would be self-contradictory. This is because in an Arabic Bible Jesus is the "Son of Allah"! If an Arabic-speaking person gave up the worship of "Allah", they would have no God to worship, since "Allah" is simply the Arabic word for God!
Before we conclude, however, we would like to ask our readers to ask themselves what they think the reasons are behind all of these lies? If Islam was just some false religion that didn't make any sense, would so many people, from Western scholars to Christian missionaries, have to tell so many lies about it? The reason is that the Ultimate Truth of Islam stands on solid ground and its unshakable belief in the Unity of God is above reproach. Due to this, Christians can't criticize its doctrines directly, but instead make up things about Islam that aren't true so that people lose the desire to learn more. If Muslims were able to present Islam in the proper way to people in the West, it surely might make many people reconsider and re-evaluate their own beliefs. It is quite likely that Christians, when they find out that there is a universal religion in the world that teaches people to worship and love God, while also practicing Pure Monotheism, would at least feel that they should re-examine the basis for their own beliefs and doctrines.

Jihad (the sacrificed struggle)

Like Christianity, Islam permits fighting in self-defense, in defense of religion, or on the part of those who have been expelled forcibly from their homes. It lays down strict rules of combat that include prohibitions against harming civilians and against destroying crops, trees and livestock. As Muslims see it, injustice would be triumphant in the world if good people were not prepared to risk their lives in a righteous cause.
One reads in the Qur'an: "Fight in the cause of God against those who fight you, but do not transgress limits. God does not love transgressors." (Qur'an 2:190)
"And fight them until persecution is no more, and religion is for God. But if they desist, then let there be no hostility except against wrongdoers." (Qur'an 2:193)
"If they seek peace, then you seek peace. And trust in God for He is the One that hears and knows all things." (Qur'an 8:61)
War is therefore the last resort, and is subject to the rigorous conditions laid down by the sacred law. The often misunderstood and overused term jihad literally means "struggle" and not "holy war" (a term not found anywhere in the Qur'an). Jihad, as an Islamic concept, can be on a personal level--inner struggle against evil within oneself; struggle for decency and goodness on the social level; and struggle on the battlefield, if and when necessary.

War is a Social Necessity


No doubt war is a social necessity which nations practice in order to solve their social problems which defy peaceful solution. Human communities have plunged into fights not only for the mere accomplishment of material aims but for the achievement of moral needs as well. Some historians explain that in the absence of war, progress and civilization would have been hindered in some nations.

Hegel, a pioneer of the study of historical development, for instance, says that change can take place only when there are opposing forces which struggle against one another so that a new product, stronger than the rest, issues from the clash. This view was later adopted by Marx and Engels, and the favor of the Qur'an in this regard springs from the fact that it offered this view fourteen centuries ago: "Had God not checked one set of people by means of another, the earth would indeed have been full of mischief; but God is full of bounty to all the worlds" (2:251).
But Islam recognized war as a means to solve some social problems at a time when tyranny was the sole obstacle in the face of the call for justice.
After having attained a certain level of scientific and cultural progress, western countries still tend at present to solve their problems by way of war. Hence, on the human level, one cannot see why Islam should have disallowed was fourteen centuries ago, while it intended to bring about general development, both on the religious and social scene. This refutes the view of hostile people who claim that Islam is a "military religion" and that "it spread only with the might of sword" -- meaning to distort the reality of Islam. In the "Encyclopedia of Islam," McDonald says, "Spreading the teachings of Islam with the might of the sword, is the religious duty of every Muslim." In the following I will try to refute such a false accusation.

The View of Judaism and Christianity of War


A look at the ancient religions shows that Judaism imposes war on its adherents to protect their existence and to spread their rule and conquests in the earth based on public massacres and the extermination of the people in the conquered countries. In the fifth Book of the Psalms, one reads: "When the Lord lets you into a land to rule it, after having destroyed nations before, see that you fight its people until you annihilate them all, and never make a covenant with them or feel pity for them."

Christianity then came and made a complete prohibition of war. In the Gospel of Matthew, Christ says: "I tell you: Do not resist the wicked, and if one slaps you on your right cheek, turn to him the other."
Similarly, those in favor of absolute prohibition of war, rely on the words of Christ to Peter: "Return your sword to its sheath, for all those who grab the sword, shall by the sword be slain."
Some Christians sacrificed their lives in the cause of prohibiting war, rather say the prohibition of the military profession itself. Other Christians made tremendous efforts to reconcile Biblical teachings and the necessities of the State, and their efforts resulted in a differentiation between permissible war and prohibited war. A war is fair and just, according to them, when it is declared by the prince or ruler, provided his motive is truthful without greed or cruelty. In the fourth century, that is after having established a State under the leadership of Constantine the Roman Emperor, Christianity had to use force in order to uproot paganism from the Roman Empire.

Islam's Call For Peace


In international law, there is a set of well-established rules concerning the obligations of nations toward each other in times of war and peace. The first of these is that a country should base its relations with other countries on terms of peace so that it may exchange benefit and cooperate with others in order to promote humanity to utmost perfection. Peaceful ties like these, they say, should not be broken except in extreme urgencies that necessitate war, provided that all peaceful steps have failed in terminating the cause of dispute.

This is what Islam has always been working for, and the relations of Muslims with others are primarily based on peace and confidence. Islam refuses the killing of people merely because they embrace a different faith, nor does it allow Muslims to fight against those who disagree with them on religious questions. It urges its followers to treat such people kindly: "God forbiddeth you not, with regard to those who fight you not for (your) Faith nor drive you out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them. God loveth those who are just" (60:8).
In another place, God says: "If they withdraw from you and fight you not, but (instead) send you (guarantees of) peace, then God alloweth no way for you (to war against them)" (4:90).
We also have: "If the enemy incline towards peace, do thou (also) incline towards peace, and trust in God" (8:61). Instructions like these pave the way for the establishment of peace, and go in harmony with the present tendency to set down principles that call for the abolishment of war.
Islam, in fact, makes of peace a special greeting which Muslims exchange whenever they meet by saying, "Peace be unto you" (Assalamu 'Alaykum). The Muslim also utters this statement at the end of every prayer; he concludes his prayer by addressing those praying with him with the words: Peace be unto you with God's Mercy!

Comparison between Islam and The International Law Concerning War


Islam permits war but keeps it within the limits of mercy at which the twentieth century civilization has not yet been able to arrive, not even to come near to. Islam has set down certain rules, the most merciful and considerate to people, and required people to observe them.

Such rules go in line with the principles of international law in many ways, but differ in that they are divine rules legalized through religion and executed through the faith of Muslims. The principle of international law lack this authority that ensures putting them into practical effect. Scholars even say that considering international rules as laws is a kind of leniency. A law is a law only when it is supported by some force that ensures its performance, and there is no such force for international law. The Muslim rules, though they aim at justice and mercy, have the faith of Muslims as an authority to ensure their being carried out.
A. International law determines that the citizens who are not regular members of an army are not considered as fighters, and hence should not be inflicted with harm; only regular soldiers (or armed men engaged in a war) are considered as fighters.
The Shariiah agrees on this point, for the Qur'an says: "Fight in the cause of God those who fight you, but do not transgress limits. God loveth not transgressors" (2:190). It is an act of transgression to when believers fight those who do not fight them, people like their enemy's children and wives, as well as their sick, old and clergy.
In the Raid of Mu'tah, the Prophet instructed his men, while about to set on, "Never kill a woman, a weak infant, or a debilitated old person; nor burn palms, uproot trees, or pull down houses!"
B. International law forbids killing the wounded, torturing the enemy, destroying them by treachery or deception, or using bombs, missiles or weapons which add to their torture. It also prohibits the poisoning of wells, rivers and foods; it recommends that the corpses of the dead be respected, and prohibits any severity or mayhem be inflicted on them, regardless of the nationality of dead people.
Islam applies the same principles, for when the Prophet appointed an army or troop leader he instructed him to be always God-fearing, and added: "Never transgress limits, or take your enemy by surprise or perfidy, or inflict atrocities or mutilation, or kill infants!"
Abu Bakr, the first Caliph in Islam, instructed his senior officer Oussama, saying, "Never betray, or transgress your limits, or take the enemy by surprise or perfidy, or inflict atrocities or mutilation upon them; nor kill young babies or old people or women; and never injure or burn palms or cut down a fruitful tree, or slay a sheep, a cow or a camel unless it is for your food!"
C. International law prescribes a number of principles regarding the proper treatment of captives. They should not be killed, injured, ill-treated or humiliated if they surrender or if they are deprived of their freedom.
Islam also urges on the polite treatment of captives in general, and God commends the righteous who treat such people hospitably, saying: "And they feed, for the love of God, the indigent, the orphan, and the captive, (saying), 'We feed you for the sake of God alone; no reward do we desire from you, nor thanks'" (76:8-9).
The Prophet was generous to his captives, but in return fir his setting them free he asked them to teach Muslim infants writing.

The Poll Tax (Jizya)


The Jizya or poll tax is a personal tax levied on non-Muslims in a Muslim State, and as such it resembles the Zakat (Alms Tax) which is levied on Muslim citizens by the Muslim State. The poll tax is levied so that all the capable non-Muslim citizens of the State can contribute, each from his own money, to the general welfare of the State, and that in return for this, they can enjoy their rights as nationals of this State, including compensation from the Muslim Exchequer when they are in need.

Valor and mercy are not forgotten here, as the poll tax is not collected from the weak and poor. In his message to the people of Hijra, Khaled Ibn Al-Walid says, "When a person is too old to work or suffers a handicap, or when he falls into poverty, he is free from the dues of the pull tax; his sustenance is provided by the Muslim Exchequer." In his book "Al-Kharaj," Abu Yusuf says, "No Jizya is due on females or young infants."
When the dues of the poll tax are paid by these people, they have to be supported, protected, granted a freedom of faith, and treated on a footing of justice and equality with Muslims. They are called "Zimmis" (the Arabic origin, "Zimma," meaning security, protection and custody) because the said rights are guaranteed by God and His Apostle, and such was the custom the Muslim leaders followed in dealing with the Zimmins. In his book "Futooh Al-Buldan" (Conquests of Countries), Al-Balathiri comments on this saying, "Khaled Ibn Al-Walid, on entering Damascus as a conqueror, offered a guarantee of security to its people and their properties and churches, and promised that the wall of the city would not be pulled down, and none of their houses be demolished. It was a guarantee of God, he said, and of the Caliph and all believers to keep them safe and secure on condition they paid the dues of the Jizya."
The poll tax is a small sum of money indeed when compared to the services the Muslim State offers to protect the Zimmis and support the army in charge to keep them safe from others' assaults. In his book "Al-Kharaj," Abu Yusuf gives the following reports: "After getting on peaceful terms with the people of Syria and collecting the dues of the Jizya and the Kharaj, news reached Abu 'Ubeida that the Byzantine had amassed their troops to attack him. The effect of this was great on Abu 'Ubeida and the Muslims. He sent messages to the rulers of cities with whose citizens he had made peace, asking them to return to their subjects the paid dues of the Jizya and Kharaj, with an instruction to tell these: 'We hereby return to you the money you have paid us, because of the news of the enemy troops amassed to attack us, but, if God grants us victory against the enemy, we will keep up to the promise and covenant between us.' When this was delivered to the Zimmis and their money returned to them, they told the Muslims: May God bring you back to us and grant you victory over them!"
In his book, "The Spirit of Laws," on dealing with the taxes levied by the government, Montesqieu says, "Such levied taxes were one reason for the strange facility which the Muslims faced during conquests. People, then, preferred -- instead of being subjected to an endless series of fines which entered the rich imagination of greedy rulers -- to submit to the payment of a minimal tax which can be fulfilled and paid with ease."

Those who Seek Protection


Among the principles of Islam which reveal tolerance toward the enemy in the time of war, is that it allows individuals and groups of the enemy who actively fight against Islam, to get in touch with Muslims and to reside in Muslim lands under the protection of a law which is known in the Muslim Shariiah as the "Law of Protection." Islam ensures the protection of such people and requires Muslims to protect them with all they can afford as long as they are in Muslim territories. It even offers them certain privileges and releases them from certain obligations which Muslims have to observe.

The purpose of this Law of Protection is to give these people a chance to learn the truth about Islam. In this way, Muslims could effectively spread the message of their faith. The origin of this lies in God's words: "If one of the Pagans ask thee for asylum, grant it to him, so that he may hear the Word of God; and then escort him to where he can be secure" (9:6). One may add with a scholar that "if they accept the Word, they become Muslims and brethren, and no further question arises. If they do not see their way to accept Islam, they will require double protection: (1) from the Islamic forces openly fighting against their people, and (2) from their own people, as they detached themselves from them. Both kinds of protection should be ensured for them, and they should be safely escorted to a place where they can be safe."
Islam deals with this point at length and permits the Muslim individuals to protect and settle a covenant with one or a group of non-Muslims. This measure of protection and guarantee on his part is to be respected, for the Prophet says: "The guarantee of all Muslims is one, and it may be fulfilled by the weakest of them." Islam also confirms guarantees reached by women, who typically do not do the fighting, for the Prophet once addressed Um Hani' saying: "We will protect all those to whom you offer your protection!"
Islam does not make specific demands regarding such measures, except that which ensures safety to Muslims, like making certain that those under protection have no force or resistance of their own, and that there is no likelihood of a tendency on their part to spread intrigue or spy on Muslims. To this effect, Islam confirms the right of the Leader to annul an individual's right for protection if this annulment be for the general good of Muslims.

Covenants in Islam


Treaties have always been an important means to strengthen relations and settle disputes peacefully. They are based on mutual confidence between parties, without which peace collapses.

Islam reserves special respect to treaties and allots to them all possible guarantees, so that Muslims may rise with such treaties above personal desires and passions. In the view of Islam, it is not necessary that, if situations arouse dispute between Muslims and their opponents, it should only leave to them a choice between embracing Islam, paying the poll tax, or joining in a war.
This is why, in many Qur'anic verses, Islam requires Muslims to abide by their covenants: "Fulfill (every) engagement, for (every) engagement will be enquired into (on the Day of Reckoning)" (17:34).
In describing the qualities of truthful believers, God says that they are "those who faithfully observe their trusts and their covenants" (23:8).
In the view of Qur'an, refusal to keep up trusts is like rejecting the virtues of humanity: "The worst of beasts in the sight of God are those who reject Him and will not believe. They are those with whom thou didst make a covenant, but they break their covenant every time, and they have not the fear (of God)" (8:55-56).
By honoring covenants with others, Islam does not mean to gain colonial authority or make stratagems to cheat people so as to attain strength over other nations -- but to establish peace: "Fulfill the Covenant of God when ye have entered into it, and break not your oaths after ye have confirmed them and after ye have amde God your surety; for God knoweth all that ye do. And be not like a woman who unravelleth the yarn which she hath spun, after it hath become strong. Nor take your oaths to practise deception between yourselves because of a nation being more numerous than another" (16:91-92).
The Qur'an charges Muslims to keep up their covenants, even if it might prevent them from rushing to the dupport of their brethren who live in a non-Muslim Statewith whom they have a treaty of mutual alliance, though also the Qur'an considers that Muslims, in spite of their different races and nationalities, constitute one Nation, and that every aggression inflicted on one Muslim community is an aggression against the Islamic Nation as a whole. God says: "But if they seek your aid in religion, it is your duty to help them except against a people with whom ye have a treaty of mutual alliance. And (remember) God seeth all that ye do" (8:72).
However, if such people violate the terms of the treaty, the Muslims are allowed to fight them: "But if they violate their oaths after their covenant, and taunt you for your Faith, then fight ye the chiefs of Disbelief -- for their oaths are nothing to them -- that thus they may be restrained" (9:12).

Testimony of Some Western Scholars on the Muslim Conquest


In his book "Civilization of the Arabs," Dr. Gustav LeBon says, "The reader will find, in my treatment of the Arabs' conquests and the reason of their victories, that force was never a factor in the spread of the Qur'anic teachings, and that the Arabs left those they had subdued free to exercise their religious beliefs. If it happened that some Christian peoples embraced Islam and adopted Arabic as their language, it was mainly due to the various kinds of justice on the part of the Arab victors, with the like of which the non-Muslims were not acquainted. It was also due to the tolerance and leniency of Islam, which was unknown to the other religions."

In another place of his book, Dr. LeBon adds, "The early Arab conquests might have blurred their common sense and made them commit the sorts of oppression which conquerors usually commit, and thus ill-treat the subdued and compel them to embrace the Faith they wanted to spread all over the globe. Had they done so, all nations, which were still not under their control, might have turned against them, and they might have suffered what had befallen the Crusaders in their conquest of Syria lately. However, the early Caliphs, who enjoyed a rare ingenuity which was unavailable to the propagandists of new faiths, realized that laws and religion cannot be imposed by force. Hence they were remarkably kind in the way they treated the peoples of Syria, Egypt, Spain and every other country they subdued, leaving them to practisetheir laws and regulations and beliefs and imposing only a small Jizya in return for their protection and keeping peace among them. In truth, nations have never known merciful and tolerant conquerors like the Arabs."
He further explains, "The mercy and tolerance of the conquerors were among the reasons for the spread of their conquests and for the nations' adoptions of their Faith and regulations and language, which became deeply rooted, resisted all sorts of attack and remained even after the disappearance of the Arabs' control on the world stage, though historians deny the fact. Egypt is the most evident proof of this. It adopted what the Arabs had brought over, and reserved it. Conquerors before the Arabs -- the Persians, Greeks and Byzantine -- could not overthrow the ancient Pharaoh civilization and impose what they had brought instead."
Then in another place he adds, "A few impartial European scholars, who are well-versed in the history of the Arabs, do confirm this tolerance. Robertson, in his book "Biography of Charlequin," says that the Muslims alone were the ones who joined between Jihad and tolerance toward the followers of other faiths whom they had subdued, leaving to them the freedom to perform their religious rites."
In his book "History of the Crusades," Michel Michaud says, "Islam, besides calling for Jihad, reveals tolerance toward the followers of other religions. It released the patriarchs, priests and their servants from the obligations of taxes. It prohibited, in special, the killing of priests for their performance of worship, and Omar Ibn Al-Khattab did not inflict harm on the Christians when he entered Jerusalem as a conqueror. The Crusades, however, did slay Muslims and burn the Jews when they entered the city."
In his book, "Islam: Impressions and Studies," Count de Castri says, "After the Arabs yielded to, and believed in the Qur'an, and people received enlightenment through the True Religion, the Muslims appeared with a new show to the peoples of the earth, with conciliation and treatment on basis of free thinking and belief. The Qur'anic verses then succeeded one another, calling on kind treatment, after those verses in which warnings had been addressed to the heretic tribes... Such were the instructions of the Apostle after the Arabs had embraced Islam, and the Caliphs who seuueeded Mohammed followed his example. This makes me say with Robertson that the people of Mohammed were the only ones who combined kindness to others and the pleasure of seeing their Faith spread. It was this affection that pushed the Arabs on the way of conquest, a boubtkess reason. The Qur'an spread its wings behind its victorious troops that invaded Syria and moved on like a thunderbolt to North Africa, from the Red Sea to the Atlantic, without leaving a trace of tyranny on the way, except what is inescapable in every war, and never did they massacre a nation who rejected Islam...
"The spread of Islam and the submission to its authority seem to have another reason in the continents of Asia and North Africa. It was the despotism of Constantinpole which exercised extreme tyranny, and the injustice of rulers was too much for people to bear...
"Islam was never imposed by sword or by force, but it got into the hearts of people out of longing and free will, due to the talents of stimulation and captivation of people's hearts, lodged in the Qur'an."
Many historians admit that the spread of Islam among the Christians of the Eastern Churches, was mainly due to a feeling of dissatisfaction that arose from the doctrinal sophistry which the Hellenistic spirit brought over to Christian theology. It was also due to the abundance of good that such Eastern Christians found in Islam, and due to its ability to rescue them from the disorder they were struggling in. In Caetani, for instance, one reads, "Known for its preference of simple and plain views, the East suffered, religiously, a great deal from the evil consequences of the Hellenistic culture which turned the refined teachings of Christ into an ideology rampant with complicated doctrines and doubts. This led to the rise of a feeling of despair, and even shook the very foundations of religious belief. When, at last, news suddenly came from the desert of the New Revelation, such Eastern Christianity, being torn by inner splits, was shattered... Its foundations were shaken, and, due to such doubts, the clergy of the church were taken by despair. Christianity was incapable, after this, of resisting the appeals of the New Faith which eliminated, with a mighty blow, all the trivial doubts and offered graceful, positive qualities in addition to its doubtless, simple and plain principles. It was then that the East forsake Christ and threw itself into the lap of the Prophet of Arabs."

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