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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Hamas Q&A (source from alt.current-affairs.muslims)

What is Hamas?
Hamas is the Palestinians' largest and most influential Muslim
fundamentalist movement. It has an extensive social service network, as well
as a terrorist wing that has carried out suicide bombings and attacks using
mortars and short-range rockets in the Palestinian territories of the West
Bank and Gaza Strip and inside the pre-1967 boundaries of Israel. It is the
best-organized Palestinian challenger toPresident Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah
party, which holds political control of the Palestinian Authority (PA)-the
autonomous government in the West Bank and Gaza-and a determined foe of
Israeli-Palestinian peace. In Arabic, the word "hamas" means zeal. But it's
also an Arabic acronym for "Harakat al-Muqawama al-Islamiya," or Islamic
Resistance Movement.

What are Hamas' origins?
Hamas grew out of the Muslim Brotherhood, a religious and political
organization founded in Egypt with branches throughout the Arab world.
Beginning in the late 1960s, Hamas' founder and spiritual leader, Sheikh
Ahmed Yassin, preached and did charitable work in the West Bank and Gaza
Strip, both of which were occupied by Israel following the 1967 Six-Day War.
In 1973, Yassin established al-Mujamma' al-Islami (the Islamic Center) to
coordinate the Muslim Brotherhood's political activities in Gaza. Yassin
founded Hamas as the Muslim Brotherhood's local political arm in December
1987, following the eruption of the first intifada, a Palestinian uprising
against Israeli control of the West Bank and Gaza. Hamas published its
official charter in 1988.

The first Hamas suicide bombing took place in April 1993. Five months later,
Yasir Arafat, the then-leader of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)
leader, and Yitzhak Rabin, then-prime minister of Israel, sealed the Oslo
accords-an Israeli-Palestinian peace pact that eventually unraveled. Rabin
was assassinated by an Israeli right-wing fanatic in November 1995. Arafat
died in November 2004.

Who are Hamas' leaders?
Sheik Yassin was the group's political leader until his assassination in
March 2004 by Israeli security forces as part of an official policy of
targeting Hamas leaders. He was replaced by Abdel Aziz al-Rantisi, a
physician. Rantisi was assassinated a month later. Since then, Hamas has
hidden the identities of its senior political leadership to thwart targeting
by Israeli security. Other prominent Hamas officials killed by Israel
include Mahmoud Abu Hanoud, the senior Hamas commander on the West Bank, in
late 2001, and Sheikh Salah Shehada, founder of the group's terror wing, who
died in a July 2002 Israeli airstrike on a Gaza apartment building. Hamas'
current leader is believed to be Sheikh Khalid Meshal, who reportedly
directs the organization from Damascus, Syria.

Where does Hamas operate?
In Gaza, the West Bank, and inside Israel. A few senior Hamas leaders
reportedly live in Syria, Lebanon, Iran, and the Gulf States. Most of the
population of Gaza and the West Bank is officially governed by the PA
government; much of the land, however, is controlled by Israel. After Israel
and the PLO signed the Oslo accords, administrative responsibility for major
cities in the West Bank and Gaza was gradually turned over to the
Palestinian Authority. When the second intifada started in September 2000,
Israel reoccupied major cities in the territories in an effort to quell the
violence. In December 2003, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon announced a
plan to withdraw all Israeli soldiers and settlers from Gaza and parts of
the West Bank; that process was completed by October 2005. Despite the
withdrawal, Hamas has not renounced violence as a way to achieve its goals;
instead, it has claimed that its suicide attacks were responsible for
driving Israeli forces out of Gaza.

What does Hamas believe and what are its goals?
Hamas combines Palestinian nationalism with Islamic fundamentalism. Its
founding charter commits the group to the destruction of Israel, the
replacement of the PA with an Islamist state on the West Bank and Gaza, and
to raise "the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine." Its leaders
have called suicide attacks the "F-16" of the Palestinian people. Hamas
believes "peace talks will do no good," Rantisi said in April 2004. "We do
not believe we can live with the enemy."

Is Hamas only a terrorist group?
No. In addition to its military wing, the so-called Izz al-Din al-Qassam
Brigade, Hamas devotes much of its estimated $70-million annual budget to an
extensive social services network. It funds schools, orphanages, mosques,
healthcare clinics, soup kitchens, and sports leagues. "Approximately 90
percent of its work is in social, welfare, cultural, and educational
activities," writes the Israeli scholar Reuven Paz. The Palestinian
Authority often fails to provide such services; Hamas' efforts in this
area-as well as a reputation for honesty, in contrast to the many Fatah
officials accused of corruption-explain much of its popularity.

How big is Hamas?
Hamas' military wing is believed to have more than 1,000 active members and
thousands of supporters and sympathizers. On March 22, 2004, more than
200,000 Palestinians are estimated to have marched in Yassin's funeral. On
April 18, 2004, a similar number publicly mourned the death of Rantisi.

What attacks is Hamas responsible for?
Hamas is believed to have killed more than 500 people in more than 350
separate terrorist attacks since 1993. Not all Hamas' attacks have been
carried out by suicide bombers. The group has also accepted responsibility
for assaults using mortars, short-range rockets, and small arms fire.

How does Hamas recruit suicide bombers?
The organization generally targets deeply religious young men-although some
bombers have been older. The recruits do not fit the usual psychological
profile of suicidal people, who are often desperate or clinically depressed.
Hamas bombers often hold paying jobs, even in poverty-stricken Gaza. What
they have in common, studies say, is an intense hatred of Israel. After a
bombing, Hamas gives the family of the suicide bomber between $3,000 and
$5,000 and assures them their son died a martyr in holy jihad.

Where does Hamas' money come from?
Much of Hamas' funding comes from Palestinian expatriates, as well as from
private donors in Saudi Arabia and other oil-rich Persian Gulf states. Iran
also provides significant support, which some diplomats say could amount to
$20 million to $30 million per year. In addition, some Muslim charities in
the United States, Canada, and Western Europe funnel money into Hamas-backed
social service groups. In December 2001, the Bush administration seized the
assets of the Holy Land Foundation, the largest Muslim charity in the United
States, on suspicions it was funding Hamas.

How does Hamas train the bombers?
The recruits undergo intense religious indoctrination, attend lectures, and
undertake long fasts. The week before the bombing, the volunteers are
watched closely by two Hamas activists for any signs of wavering, according
to Nasra Hassan, writing in The New Yorker. Shortly before the "sacred
explosion," as Hamas calls it, the bomber records a video testament. To draw
inspiration, he repeatedly watches his video and those made by his
predecessors and then sets off for his would-be martyrdom after performing a
ritual ablution and donning clean clothes. Hamas clerics assure the bombers
their deaths will be painless and that dozens of virgins await them in
paradise. The average bombing costs about $150.

How does Hamas differ from the PLO and the PA?
The PLO, which was founded by Arafat, is not a fundamentalist group but the
main secular, nationalist organization of Palestinian politics. After Israel
and the PLO signed the Oslo Accords in 1993, Arafat founded the Palestinian
Authority, a new Palestinian-led government for the West Bank and Gaza.
Hamas and the PA sometimes cooperate, sometimes compete, and sometimes
clash. Hamas has cut deals with the Palestinian Authority, but frequently
accuses it of corruption and of selling out to Israel and America by
participating in the peace process. Since the PA gained control of Gaza, it
has been under heightened pressure to keep order. Meanwhile, Hamas has
become more brazen in its defiance of the PA, often outgunning Palestinian
police forces. On October 3, 2005, police stormed the Palestinian parliament
building in an appeal for more firepower to combat Hamas.

Is Hamas popular among Palestinians?
Yes, though less so than at the height of the second intifada. Following the
collapse of the peace process in the late 1990s, Hamas' popularity rose as
Arafat's fell. In the spring of 2002, during a period of intensified armed
conflict between Israeli security forces and Hamas militants, polls showed
that Arafat's Fatah faction of the PLO and the Islamists each commanded
support from roughly 30 percent of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.
(The remaining Palestinians were either independent, undecided, or supported
other factions.) But trust in Hamas dropped in 2004. In a poll conducted by
the Jerusalem Media and Communication Center (JMCC) after Arafat's death,
18.6 percent of Palestinians named Hamas as the Palestinian faction they
most trusted, down from 23 percent a year earlier. Hamas experienced a
short-lived spike in popularity after the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza;
after a rocket explosion at a Hamas rally September 23 killed 15 people,
Hamas blamed Israel and launched rocket attacks against it. Israel
retaliated with punitive air strikes, which Palestinians blamed Hamas for
provoking. The explosion was revealed to be an accident.

Does Hamas participate in the Palestinian electoral process?
Yes and no. Hamas boycotted the January 2005 PA presidential elections. But
it has made strong showings in municipal elections, especially in Gaza. In
December 2004 West Bank local elections, Fatah won 135 seats and Hamas won
75. In Gaza, where Hamas is based, it won 77 out of 118 seats in 10 council
elections held in January 2005. Hamas appeared to have lost its political
momentum in a September 2005 round of local elections in the West Bank:
Fatah, benefiting from the Israeli withdrawal, took 54 percent of the vote
over Hamas' 26 percent. The first Palestinian legislative elections in a
decade are scheduled for January 2006.

What is Palestinian Islamic Jihad?
Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), an offshoot of Hamas, is one faction within
a loosely organized, highly secretive group of Islamic jihad movements that
span the Middle East. PIJ was founded in the late 1970s by a group of
radical Palestinian activists living in Egypt. Led by Fathi Shaqaqi, these
activists broke away from the Muslim Brotherhood movement, arguing it had
become too moderate and had abandoned the Palestinian cause. Inspired by
Iran's Shiite Islamic revolution, PIJ blends Palestinian nationalism, Sunni
Islamic fundamentalism, and Shiite revolutionary thought into an ideological
agenda that stresses Islamic unity cannot be achieved until Israel is
defeated and all of Palestine liberated.

Where does PIJ operate and who are its leaders?
After radicals assassinated Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in 1981, PIJ's
leadership was expelled and moved to Gaza. During the first Palestinian
intifada, the PIJ leadership was exiled to Lebanon, where it developed close
ties with Hezbollah and Iran. The prominence of the organization has
somewhat diminished since 1995, when Fathi Shaqaqi was gunned down in Malta,
reportedly by Israeli security agents. Ramadan Shallah replaced Shaqaqi but
has never matched his popularity. PIJ was further weakened in February 2003,
when the U.S. Justice Department indicted Shallah-as well as other alleged
Islamic Jihad leaders, including a Florida college professor-for murder and
conspiracy to fund a terrorist organization. Still, PIJ is believed
responsible for suicide bombings inside Israel as recently as June 2003.
Like Hamas leader Khalid Meshal, Shallah now lives in Damascus.

What attacks is PIJ responsible for?
The organization is believed responsible for more than 40 attacks that have
killed more than 100 Israelis. Much like Hamas, PIJ's preferred methods of
assault include bombings, suicide bombings, and mortar attacks.

How does Islamic Jihad differ from Hamas?
Islamic Jihad is a much smaller, less well-organized group of Islamist
radicals who have closer ties to Iran. Unlike Hamas, PIJ has no network of
schools, clinics, mosques, or a political wing. It is solely a terrorist
organization. PIJ has a separate leadership and membership from Hamas, but
the two groups have coordinated attacks.

Do most Palestinians support suicide bombings?
When the second intifada erupted in the fall of 2000, polls showed up to 70
percent of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza backed suicide bombings.
After four years of fighting, that number dropped to some 41 percent,
according to a December 2004 poll. Those Palestinians who support the tactic
say suicide attacks are a legitimate way of resisting Israeli occupation.

What is the U.S. position on Hamas and PIJ?
Both groups have been denounced by the U.S. government and are included on
the State Department's official list of foreign terrorist organizations.
This designation legally requires all U.S. financial institutions to block
funding for the organizations or their agents.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

*Did You Know????*

*


*** Coca-Cola was originally green.*
*
* The most common name in the world is Mohammed.

* The name of all the continents end with the same letter that they
start with.

* The strongest muscle in the body is the tongue.

* There are two credit cards for every person in the United States.

* TYPEWRITER is the longest word that can be made using the letters
only on one row ! of the keyboard.

* Women blink nearly twice as much as men!!

* You can't kill yourself by holding your breath.

* It is impossible to lick your elbow.

* People say "Bless you" when you sneeze because when you sneeze,
your heart stops for a millisecond.

* It is physically impossible for pigs to look up into the sky.

* If you sneeze too hard, you can fracture a rib. If you try to
suppress a sneeze, you can rupture a blood vessel in your head or
neck and die.

* Each king in a deck of playing cards represents great king from
history.
Spades - King David
Clubs - Alexander the Great
Hearts - Charlemagne
Diamonds - Julius Caesar.

* 111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321

* If a statue of a person in the park on a horse has both front legs
in the air, the person died in battle. If the horse has one front
leg in the air, the person died as a result of wounds received in
battle. If the horse has all four legs on the ground, the person
died of natural causes.

* What do bullet proof vests, fire escapes, windshield wipers and
laser printers all have in common?
Ans. - All invented by women.

* Question - This is the only food that doesn't spoil. What is this?
Ans. - Honey

* A crocodile cannot stick its tongue out.

* A snail can sleep for three years.

* All polar bears are left handed.

* American Airlines saved $40,000 in 1987 by eliminating one olive
from each salad served in first-class.

* Butterflies taste with their feet.

* Elephants are the only animals that can't jump.

* In the last 4000 years, no new animals have been domesticated.

* On average, people fear spiders more than they do death.

* Shakespeare invented the word 'assassination' and 'bump'.

* Stewardesses is the longest word typed with only the left hand.

* The ant always falls over on its right side when intoxicated.

* The electric chair was invented by a dentist.

* The human heart creates enough pressure when it pumps out to the
body to squirt blood 30 feet.

* Rats multiply so quickly that in 18 months, two rats could have
over million descendants.

* Wearing headphones for just an hour will increase the bacteria in
your ear by 700 times.

* The cigarette lighter was invented before the match.

* Most lipstick contains fish scales.

* Like fingerprints, everyone's tongue print is different.

*

NAIL IN THE FENCE

There once was a little boy who had a bad temper.

His Father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his
temper,

he must hammer a nail into the back of the fence.

The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence.

Over the next few weeks, as he learned to control his anger,

The number of nails hammered daily gradually dwindled down.

He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails
into the fence.

Finally the day came when the boy didn't lose his temper at all.

He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy

Now, pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper.

The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father

That all the nails were gone.

The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence.

He said, "You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence.

The fence will never be the same.

When you say things in anger,

they leave a scar just like this one.

You can put a knife in a man and draw it out.

It won't matter how many times you say I'm sorry, the wound is still there.


" A verbal wound is as bad as a physical one
.
Friends are very rare jewels, indeed.

They make you smile and encourage you to succeed.

They lend an ear, they share words of praise

and they always want to open their hearts to us."

Show your friends! how much you care.

* *
*YOU ARE MY FRIEND AND I AM HONORED!*
* *
*Please forgive me if I have ever left a hole.*

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Eating habits and the diet of the Prophet (PBUH)

The Prophet’s (PBUH - peace be upon him) guidance with regard to food is perfect guidance. It was described by Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allah have mercy on him) as follows:

When he (the Prophet) put his hand in the food, he would say, “Bismillaah (in the Name of Allaah), and he told people to say this when eating. He said, “When any one of you eats, let him mention the name of Allaah. If he forgets to mention the name of Allaah at the beginning, let him say Bismillaahi fi awwalihi wa aakhirihi (in the name of Allaah at its beginning and at its end).” Saheeh hadeeth, narrated by al-Tirmidhi (1859) and Abu Dawood (3767).

The correct view is that it is obligatory to mention the name of Allaah (say Bismillaah) when eating. The ahaadeeth which state this are saheeh (authentic) and are clear, with no contradictions in them.

When he raised the food to his mouth, he would say, Allaah be praised with an abundant, beautiful, blessed praise. He is the One Who is Sufficient, Who feeds and is never fed, The One Who is longed for, along with that which is with Him, and the One Who is needed. He is Our Lord, may He be glorified. Narrated by al-Bukhaari (5142).

He never criticized food at all. If he liked it, he would eat it, and if he did not like it, he would leave it and not say anything. Narrated by al-Bukhaari (3370) and Muslim (2064).

Or he would say, “I do not feel like eating this.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari (5076) and Muslim (1946).

Sometimes he would praise the food, as when he asked his family for food, and they said, “We have nothing but vinegar.” He asked for it and started to eat it, saying, “What a good food is vinegar.” Narrated by Muslim (2052)

And he said to his step-son ‘Umar ibn Abi Salamah (ra - may Allah be pleased with him) when he was eating with him: “Say Bismillaah and eat from that which is in front of you in the dish*.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari (5061) and Muslim (2022). [* At the time of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), people used to eat together from one dish, and children would sometimes forget the correct etiquette. - Translator]

He would repeatedly urge his guests to eat, as generous hosts do, and as is seen in the hadeeth of Abu Hurayrah (ra - May Allah be pleased with him), narrated by al-Bukhaari, about the story of drinking milk, where he repeatedly said to him, “Drink” and he kept telling him to drink until he (the guest) said, “By the One Who sent you with the truth, I have no more room for it!” Narrated by al-Bukhaari (6087).

When he ate with others, he would not leave until he had made du’aa’ (supplication) for them. He made du’aa in the house of ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Bisr (ra), and said: “O Allaah, bless for them that which You have provided for them, forgive them and have mercy on them.” Narrated by Muslim (2042).

He commanded people to eat with their right hands and forbade them to eat with their left hands. He said, “The Shaytaan (the devil) eats with his left hand and drinks with his left hand.” Narrated by Muslim (2020). This implies that eating with the left hand is haraam (forbiden), and this is the correct view, because the one who eats with his left hand is either a shaytaan (a devil), or he is imitating the Shaytaan.

It was also reported in a saheeh hadeeth that he told a man who was eating with his left hand in his presence, “Eat with your right hand!” The man said, “I cannot.” He said, “May you never be able to!” – and the man never lifted his right hand to his mouth after that. Narrated by Muslim (2021). If it was permissible (to eat with the left hand), he would not have prayed against him for doing so. It was the man’s stubborn arrogance that made him refuse to obey the command, and this is the utmost disobedience which deserved this prayer against him.

He commanded those who complained that they never felt full to eat together and not separately, and to mention the name of Allaah (say Bismillaah) over the food so that He might bless it for them.” Narrated by Abu Dawood (3764) and Ibn Maajah (3286).

It was also reported that he said, “I do not eat reclining.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 5083.

He used to eat using the first three fingers (of his right hand), which is the best way of eating.

The Prophet’s guidance regarding diet:



1, The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to know what he was eating.

2, He used to eat what was good for him.

3, He used to eat enough to keep him going, but no so much as to make him fat. Ibn ‘Umar (ra - may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The believer eats in one stomach whilst the kaafir (dis-believer) eats in seven.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari (5081) and Muslim (2060).

4, He taught his ummah something to protect them from diseases caused by eating and drinking. He said: “The son of Adam does not fill any vessel worse than his stomach. It is sufficient for the son of Adam to eat a few mouthfuls, to keep him going. If he must do that (fill his stomach), then let him fill one third with food, one third with drink and one third with air.” Narrated by al-Tirmidhi (1381), Ibn Maajah (3349);

Sunday, January 22, 2006

AL- ‘AZEEZ

The Almighty

Do not imagine that Allah will break His promise to His Messengers. Allah is the Almighty , the Lord of Retribution. (Surah Ibrahim, 14:47)

This name of Allah expresses that He will always triumph and that He can never be refuted, for only He has true power. Allah created the universe's order, all of its laws (both known and unknown), and all beings on Earth. In the face of Allah's infinite power, which clearly manifests itself in the universe, the feebleness of every created being and thing is obvious. All that is created can only exist, survive, and act if He commands so.

No doubt, this feeling of feebleness also holds true for humanity. No matter how well-off, strong, and powerful people may be, each person is weak and helpless in Allah's sight. No possessions, money, or status can protect them from Allah's punishment; only those who surrender to Him, live by His orders, and strive to earn His consent will be protected. In the Qur'an, Allah promises to grant superiority to His loyal servants.

Allah has written: “I will be victorious, I and My Messengers.” Allah is Most Strong, Almighty. (Surah al-Mujadala, 58:21)

… and He has sent down the Furqan. Those who reject Allah's Signs will have a terrible punishment. Allah is Almighty, Lord of Retribution. (Surah ‘Al Imran, 3:4)

Allah bears witness that there is no deity but Him, as do the angels and the people of knowledge, upholding justice. There is no deity but Him, the Almighty, the All-Wise. (Surah Al ‘Imran, 3:18)

Do not be grieved by what they say. All might belongs to Allah. He is the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing. (Surah Yunus, 10:65)

A pertinent hadith of Prophet Muhammad (saw - may the peace & blessings of Allah be upon him) relates:

A bedouin once said to the Prophet (saas): “Teach me something to say.” The Prophet (saas) replied: “Say: ‘There is no god but Allah, the One with no partner. Allah is the Greatest by far; much praise be to Him. The Lord of the Worlds be praised; and there is no power and no strength save in Allah the Almighty, the All-Wise.'” (Sahih Muslim)

Why is My Supplication Not Answered?

‘Allaah says:

‘‘And your Lord says: Call upon Me and I will, respond to your supplication.’’ [Soorah Ghaafir 40:60]

So why is it that a person’s du’aa (supplication) is sometimes unanswered?’:

‘‘All praise is due to Allaah, Lord of the worlds. May the Prayers and Peace be upon our Prophet Muhammad, and upon his Family and his Companions. I ask Allah for the ability to be correct in belief, speech and actions, for myself and for my brothers and sisters.

Allaah says:

‘‘And your Lord says: Call upon Me and I will respond to your supplication. Verily those who are too arrogant to worship Me will, enter Hell in humiliation.’’ [Soorah Ghaafir 40:60]

The questioner stated that he did indeed make du’aa (supplication) to Allaah - the Mighty and Majestic - but it was not answered by Allaah. So he is in doubt with respect to this noble aayah (verse), in which Allaah promises to answer the one who supplicates to Him, and indeed Allaah - the Most Perfect - never breaks His promise. So the clarification of this is that there are certain conditions that need to be fulfilled in order for a supplication to be answered. These conditions are:

Firstly: Sincerity to Allaah - the Mighty and Majestic. That is to say, o?ne must be sincere in his du’aa (supplication), so he turns to Allaah - the one free from all imperfections with an attentive heart, being truthful in his turning to Him, knowing that Allaah - the Most Perfect, the Most High - is capable of answering his du’aa (supplication) and hoping that the du’aa will be answered.

Secondly: During the du’aa, the caller should feel that he is in need of Allaah - the Most Perfect, the Most High – in fact in dire need; and that o?nly Allaah alone answers the supplication of the o?ne in distress and the o?ne who removes evil.

Thirdly: That the o?ne making du’aa should refrain from haraam (unlawful) matters, as this acts as a barrier between the person and his du’aa (supplication) being answered - as has been established in the authentic hadeeth, from the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam - may the peace & blessings of Allah be upon him) who said:

‘‘Indeed Allaah - the Most High -is good and accepts o?nly that which is good. Allaah has ordered the Believers to do that which He commanded the Messengers. Allaah - the Most High -has said:

‘‘O you Messengers! Eat of the good things and do righteous actions.’’ [Sooratul-Mu‘minoon 3:51]

And Allaah - the Most High - says:

‘‘O you who Believe! Eat of the good things wherewith We have provided you.’’ [Sooratul-Baqarah 2:172]

Then he mentioned (the case of) a man who, having journeyed far is dishevelled and dusty and who spreads out his hands to the sky (saying): ‘O Lord! O Lord,’ whilst his food is unlawful, his drink unlawful and he is nourished unlawfully. So how can he be answered!’ [Muslim]

So the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) explained the un-likelihood that this person’s du’aa would be answered, even after fulfilling the apparent factors which aid the du’aa being answered.

The apparent factors being:

[i]: Raising o?nes’ hands towards the sky, meaning towards Allaah - the Mighty and Majestic. Extending the hands out towards Allaah -the Mighty and Majestic - is amongst the causes of du’aa being responded to, as is shown in the narration from the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) that he said: ‘‘Indeed your Lord is Alive, Most generous. He feels shy that when his servant raises his bands towards Him, calling upon Him, that He should return him empty, having nothing.’’ [Ahmad]

[ii]: This man called upon Allaah - the Most High - using the name Rabb (Lord). Seeking tawassul (the means of nearness to Allaah) with this name is also regarded as o?ne of the causes for du’aa to be responded to, since the Rabb is the Creator, the Owner, the Governor of all affairs - and the reigns of the Heavens and the earth are in His Hands. Due to this, you will find that most of the supplications made in the Noble Qur‘aan are by this name:

‘‘Our Lord! We have heard the call of o?ne calling us to faith: ‘Believe you in the Lord,’ and we have believed. Our Lord! Forgive us our sins, and remit from us our evil deeds, and take to Yourself our souls in the company of the righteous. Our Lord! Grant us what You did promise unto us through Your Messengers, and do not disgrace us o?n the Day of judgement, for You never break Your promise. And their Lord has accepted of them, and answered them: Never will I suffer to be lost the work of any of you, whether male or female.’’ [Soorah Aal-'lmraan 3:193-195]

So tawassul (seeking the means of nearness to Allaah) by this name is o?ne of the causes for the du’aa to be responded to.

[iii]: This man was a traveller, and journeying is often a cause for du’aa to be responded to, because a person feels more in need of Allaah - the Mighty and Majestic - when travelling, than when a person is resident with his family. He was dusty and dishevelled, seeming very insignificant in himself, as if the most important thing to him was to implore Allaah and to call upon Him - in any condition he may be - whether dusty and dishevelled, or in ease and oppulance. Being dusty and dishevelled is also instrumental, like in the hadeeth attributed to the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) in which he said: Indeed Allaah boasts to the people of the Heaven about the people standing at ’Arafah, saying: ‘‘Look at My servants who have come to Me dusty and dishevelled.’’ [Ibn Hibbaan]

However, these factors did not bring about anything, because his food, his nourishment and his clothing were all haraam (unlawful). So the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) remarked: ‘‘So how can he be answered!’’ Therefore, if these conditions are not satisfied, then the question concerning the du’aa (supplication) being answered will seem distant. However, if the conditions are satisfied and the o?ne supplicating is still not answered, then this is due to a wisdom which Allaah - the Mighty and Majestic - knows, and the o?ne supplicating does not know what this wisdom is; and maybe that you like a thing and it is bad for you. So when these conditions are fulfilled and the o?ne supplicating is not answered, then either he has been protected from an evil (Allah will remove a misfortune from his life due to his supplication) which is greater than what he has asked for, or Allaah stores it for him until the Day of Resurrection, and he then gets a greater reward. This is so, because the o?ne who makes du’aa - calling upon Allaah alone, fulfilling the conditions and not being answered, but rather being saved from a greater evil - is in the position of having carried out the causes yet has been prevented from being answered, and therefore has a two-fold reward. o?ne reward for making du’aa (supplication), and another reward for bearing the trial of not being answered.

So that which is greater and more complete is stored for him with Allaah - the Mighty and Majestic. Also of importance is that the o?ne supplicating should not express dissatisfaction if his du’aa is apparently not being answered, for this action in itself is a reason for the du’aa not being answered - as the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said: ‘‘A servants du’aa continues to be answered as long as be does not ask for anything sinful or breaking the ties of relations, and as long as be does not become impatient.’’ It was said: How does o?ne become impatient O Messenger of Allaah? He said: ‘‘He says: I have supplicated, I have supplicated, yet it has not been answered.’’ [Bukhaaree]

He therefore becomes dispondant and abandons supplicating. So it is not befitting that the o?ne supplicating should become impatient about being answered, then become disappointed and dispondant, and thereby abandon making du’aa. Rather, o?ne should call upon Allaah, since every du’aa you make to Allaah is an act of worship, which brings you closer to Him and increases your reward. So my brother/sister, you should take to making du’aa (supplication) in all affairs, be it general or specific, in difficulty or in ease. And if it was that supplication was o?nly a means of worshipping Allaah - the o?ne free from all imperfections, the Most High - then that would be sufficient. So it is more befitting that a person strives in this - and with Allaah lies the success and the ability.’’

Remember Just Remember

When things are down
And you are out of your mind
Remember just remember
Allah is The All-Kind.

When your life is in darkness
And nothing is right
Remember just remember
Through the darkness, Allah is The Light.

When nothing makes sense
And your heading for demise
Remember just remember
Allah is The All-Wise.

When times are troubled
And no one seems to care
Remember just remember
Allah won't hurt you, He is The Most Just.

When your heart is breaking
And your pain makes you fall
Remember just remember
Allah Sees it all.

When you are weak
And the road seems long
Remember just remember
Seek strength from The All-Strong.

When life is a burden
And everything is unstable
Remember just remember
Allah is The All-Able.

When the way is cloudy
And there is no one by your side
Remember just remember
Allah is The Only Guide.

When no one wants to listen
Or is willing to lend an ear
Remember just remember
Allah is always ready to hear.

When you are poor and penniless
And you are stuck in a niche
Remember just remember
Allah is The All-Rich.

When you are down in your misery
And there is nowhere to run
Remember just remember
You can always run to The One.

When your all alone
And your pain has no end
Remember just remember
Allah is the Most Compassionate.

And when your scars are hurting
And your heart is in fear
Remember just remember
Allah's help is near.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Constructive Positivism*

By Dr. Yusuf A. Al-Qaradawi

Anas (May Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, "If the Hour (the day of Resurrection) is about to be established and one of you was holding a palm shoot, let him take advantage of even one second before the Hour is established to plant it."
The spirit of constructive positivism and active endeavor is one of the principles stressed by Sunnah. This spirit should control the Muslim's mind, senses, thought, and conduct. It symbolizes interest in deeds rather than verbal eloquence and rhetoric. It lays great importance on construction rather than destruction, and in lighting candles rather than cursing darkness.
This positive orientation is quite evident in the above hadith, that calls for exerting one's utmost until the very last moment of one's life even though the Last Hour is established or is about to be. Now, why should a Muslim use this precious moment in planting a palm shoot? Why should he busy himself with it, when the Last Hour is established or is about to be, notwithstanding the fact that neither he nor anyone else is going to benefit from it? How come he wastes that invaluable second of the establishment of the Hour in planting a palm shoot that will not yield before years to come?
This tiny shoot is a symbol of the value of activity per se. A Muslim worships Allah through his work in constructing and developing the land. He is to keep on working until his last breath.
This positive orientation is evident in elevating the mastery of one's work to the level of obligation and worship. Encouraging Muslims to attain the highest degree of quality and perfection in their work, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) told us that Allah likes one to perfect one's work, no matter how big or small this work.
This principle appears in many hadiths that prohibit cursing and swearing. Even with regard to Satan, the open enemy to humans, we are ordered not to waste a moment in cursing him; rather, we should busy ourselves with more useful and fruitful acts such as remembering Allah and seeking His support and help. Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet said, "Do not abuse Satan, but seek Allah's Refuge from his evil" (Sahih al-Jami` as-Saghir).
Cursing Satan is futile. Instead, one should remember Allah the Exalted and seek His refuge from the evils of Satan. One of the most famous hadiths concerning this matter is as follows: Abu Tamimah Al-Hujaimi reported: One day as I was riding behind the Prophet on a donkey, it stumbled and I shouted, "Let Satan perish!" The Prophet said, "Do not say 'let Satan perish,' for if you say so he will feel important and haughty and he will say, 'I thwarted him with my power!' Instead say, 'In the name of Allah,' so that he will (feel humiliated and) be smaller than a fly" (Sahih at-Targhib wat-Tarhib).
This means that the devil becomes puffed up with pride whenever one curses him or invokes Allah against him. However, when one remembers Allah and ignores Satan, then Satan feels dwarfish and grovels. Certainly, pronouncing "in the name of Allah" is a positive act because it means that one is remembering Allah and seeking His refuge; whereas saying "let Satan perish" is a negative act, as it does not offer solutions nor achieve anything; thus Satan rejoices on hearing it.

---------------------------------
* Based on the book: The Sunnah: A Source of Civilization Dr. Yusuf Al-Qaradawi is the head of the European Council for Fatwa and Research (ECFR), and the president of The International Association of Muslim Scholars (IAMS). He has been active in the field of da`wah and the Islamic Movement for more than half a century.
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Muslim clerics should propagate true meaning of Islam

Posted on 16 Jan 2006 # IANS

Muslim clerics should propagate true meaning of Islam
By Firoz Bakht Ahmed


The Nimrah mosque congregation at the end of Haj resounded with an emphatic "yeah" when the grand mufti of Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Sheikh, declared in Arabic: "Islam does not allow terrorism because it (stands for) peace and harmony. Muslims all over the world must unite to follow true Islam propagated by Prophet Mohammed."

The declaration was very welcome because the address reached a gathering of 2.5 million Muslims. The mufti's words should serve as an eye-opener to those Islamic theologians in the Indian sub-continent who issue irrelevant 'fatwas' rather than condemning acts of terror committed in the name of jehad.

Muslims all over the world must exert their solidarity against the so-called jehadis who while having Islamic names and lifestyle commit deeds that are demoniac and devilish. It is time that Muslims must realise that they have a special role to play in making terrorism unacceptable.

The choice is between the terror-tainted religion of the extremists and the compassionate religion that initiates self-transformation. Sane people follow this religion that talks of the middle path of the Buddha and Sufi saints.

The need of the hour is that Muslim clerics like the grand mufti of Saudi Arabia and the intelligentsia must engage their counterparts not only in Jammu and Kashmir but also in Pakistan and elsewhere in a dialogue. Using the media, posters, public and personal meetings, jehadis should be advised to desist from employing armed hostilities in the name of god.

Time and again we have agonized over terror attacks - be it in New Delhi (Sep 29, 2005) or London (July 7, 2005) or Bali (Sep 12, 2002). It is sad that even in this hi-tech age, we are still anachronistic and a victim of that beastly instinct to go for each other's jugular in the name of religion.

To many non-Muslim friends of mine, Islam has come to be seen as an intolerant and violently proselytising religion whose followers enforce conversions, destroy shrines and idols of other religions, and indulge in terror in the name of religion. This is because religions are often judged by what their most debased, fanatical and intolerant followers do.

It has been the same in the case of Islam. The religion tends to be judged by the vandalism of a Mahmud of Ghazni, the Taliban and the terrorist acts in Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan and Bangladesh. This is as unfair as judging Christianity by the savage tortures perpetrated by the inquisitions of Spain or judging Hinduism by the vandalism of the Babri Masjid or the Gujarat killings.

The suicide bombers are doing something absolutely un-Islamic. The Quran states on suicide: "Let not your own hands throw you into destruction. Do not destroy yourselves; surely God is most gracious to you."

Islamic scholar and India's freedom fighter Maualna Abul Kalam Azad once stated in his publication Al-Hilal that in addition to being against true faith in Allah, committing suicide is also against the social well-being. Muslims around the world should condemn all violence perpetrated in the name of Islam.

The Western (and to some extent Indian) media has left no stone unturned in projecting Islam as a religion of terror and Muslims as terrorists. Muslims must be separated from "Muslim terrorism". We feel that those who commit devilish acts have nothing to do with Islam. Sura Al-Baqr (Verse: 114) in Quran states that Allah dislikes those who indulge in arson, loot and killings.

The Quran repeatedly calls for universal harmony between all races, peoples, tribes and clans irrespective of their faiths. Islam even says that if a Muslim ruler is hostile to non-Muslims under him, he should go.

Most so-called religious leaders, according to thinker and eminent lawyer M. Atyab Siddiqui, have lost the trust and confidence of the people. These leaders never allow the good ones to come forward. People understand this very well and know that they are being misled and exploited but feel helpless.

However, people have to stand up and fight for their freedom and rights. For this they have to study, understand and implement the true message of the holy books including the Quran.

Firoz Bakht Ahmed is a commentator on educational, social, religious and political issues. He can be reached at firozbakht@rediffmail.com

Thursday, January 19, 2006

"Why are Muslims so special?"

"Why are Muslims so special?" a man once asked Sheikh Rashidi.
"There are so many ways to God, and surely God loves all men equally.
Yet the Muslims act as if no one but a Muslim can go to Heaven. Isn't
this against the teachings of Islam?"
"Let me tell you a story," said the Sheikh. "Once upon a time, a
king had seven sons. Each son was inclined to think that he was the
most beloved of all. And each son had his own way of convincing himself
that he was right.
"The first son said to himself, 'I am the oldest, and so have been
in the presence of my father longer than the others. I am sure,
therefore, he loves me the most.' And with this thought uppermost in
his mind, he went his way and did what he liked.
"The second son said to himself, 'My father once said to me, 'My
son'. I have never heard him say that to anyone else. I am sure,
therefore, he loves me the most.' And with this thought uppermost in
his mind, he went his way and did what he liked.
"The third son said to himself, 'My father wants his sons to think
for themselves. I'm very good at that. If I can devise the best plan
of conduct on my own, I am sure my father will be most pleased with
me.' So the third son went off, thinking and writing and giving
speeches about his father's plans and preferences.
"The fourth son said to himself, 'There is no such thing as a
father, or a son. All is empty and illusory. This truth will suffice
me.' So the fourth son left the palace, and was never seen again.
"The fifth son said to himself, 'My father is a great and august
being. I must not disturb him with my petty concerns. If he sees how I
am overcome with reverence for him, glancing at him by way of mirrors
or through distant windows, then surely he will have pity on me and
call me to him.' And so the fifth son went around furtively, not
daring so much as to darken his father's path with his shadow, and
suffered constantly from his self-imposed separation.
"The sixth son said to himself, 'Imitation is the sincerest form
of flattery. I will do whatever my father does, follow in his
footsteps, sit in his throne, and generally act like his shadow. I am
sure that this will please my father like nothing else.' And so the
sixth son did indeed dog his father constantly, irritating him by his
proximity. He found himself continuously being put out of doors and
hauled away for affronting the royal dignity.
"The seventh son said to himself, 'I do not really know what would
please my father; I had better ask him.' So he made it a habit to
attend to his father, asking questions, seeking guidance, and studying
his father's decrees, while maintaining the respectful demeanour a
son owes to a father. In this there was seen natural love and humility
and grace, all truly royal qualities, and in good time the king made
the seventh son heir to the throne.
"Now," said Sheikh Rashidi, "Muslims are not permitted to
consider themselves better than the rest of mankind. They should,
however, be practising the virtues of the seventh son, who did not
presume to know what was pleasing to the king, but made a point of
asking the king directly, 'O father, how can I serve you better?'
His answers can be found in our Royal Revelations, the Holy Qur'an,
in the pronouncements of His Messenger our Prophet Muhammad (may Al-Lah
bless him and give him peace), and in our constant communion with God
through formal worship and intimate discourse in prayer. This is the
living, personal way, the way that makes sense, and so anyone whose aim
is the same will likely want to begin with this.
"As for those who think they know better, including many Muslims, it
is best to let them be. We are all princes anyway, and we will all get
to meet our King in the fullness of time."

The Origins of Christianity

"The origin of Christianity is like that of other Divine revelations such as the messages of Noah (Peace be upon him ) Abraham and Moses (Peace be upon them).
Every divinely revealed message is unanimous in its fundamental religious creed such as : Belief in Allah as the Only One True God without any associate ; Belief that He begets not , nor was He begotten ; Belief in Angels and the Day of Judgement in the Hereafter ; Belief in Divine predestination , and the good and the bad of it ; Belief in the Messengers and Prophets (Peace be upon them) .
There is nothing in recorded history , since the time of Adam (Peace be upon him) up through the last of the Muhammad (Peace and Blessings be upon him) , indicating that any known Divine revelation differs in these beliefs . Indeed , the differences found among them are connected to the forms of worship and various conditions or appearance . Also, those things that were forbidden or permitted differed for various reasons as legislated by Allah to the Prophets , each of whom was ordered to explain and clarify the law to the respective people . "
However the question is : How had the Original Teachings of Christ Peace be upon him completely changed ?! (Christianity The Original And The Present Reality- Dr. Muhammad Abdullah As- Saheem .) In order to answer this question , it is necessary to shed some light on these given facts :
1- "That there has never been in the history of the Torah (Old Testament) for the religion of Allah to named after a Prophet (i.e, , Adamanity , Abrahamity, Mosanity, etc. ) as the case of Christianity .
2- The word "Christianity" was not mentioned by Jesus (Peace be upon him), nor it was mentioned in the Bible , not even in a Bible dictionary. "
3- In the first century after the disapppearance of Jesus Peace be upon him , those who followed him continued to affirm the oneness of Allah (God) . This is illustrated in the Shepherd of Hermas , written in about 90 AD and once regarded as a book of revelation by the Church .
4- The first of the twelve commandments it contains begins : " First of all , believe that God is One and that He created all things and organized them , and out of what did not exist made all things to be , and He contains all things but Alone is Himself uncontained "
5- Theodore Zahn the author of (Articles of the Apostelic Creed) wrote: "Until about 250 AD the article of faith was , "I believe in God , the Almighty ." Between 180 and 210 AD the word "Father" was added before "Almighty." This was bitterly contested by a number of Church leaders . Bishops Victor and Zephysius are on record as condemning this act. They regarded it an unthinkable sacrilege to add or subtract any words in the Scripture . They also opposed the tendency to regardJesus (Peace be upon him) as divine. They laid great stress on the unity of Allah as expressed in the original teachings of Jesus Peace be upon him and asserted that although he was a prophet , he was essentially a man like other men , even if highly favored by his Lord .
6- The same faith was held by churches which had sprung up in North Africa and West Asia. As the teachings of Jesus Peace be upon him spread , it came into contact with different cultures and into conflict with those in authority .It didn't only begin to be assimilated and adapted by these cultures but it was also alterd in order to diminish persecution by rulers.
7- In Greece , especially , it became metamorphosed , both by its being expressed in a new language for the first time and by its realignment with the ideas and philosophy of that culture.
It was the multi-god viewpoint of the Greeks that largely contributed to the formulation of the doctrine of trinity together with the gradual elevation of Jesus (Peace be upon him) by some Christians , notably Paul of Tarsus , from prophet to God.
8- It was in 325 AD that the doctrine of trinity was declared to be the orthodox Christian belief . Even then , some of those who signed the creed did not believe in it , as they could find no authority for it in the Scriptures.
9- Athanasius , who is considered to be the father of this creed , was himself not very sure of its truth . He admits that whenever he forced his mind to meditate on the divinity of Jesus Peace be upon him , his toilsome and futile efforts recoiled on themselves , and the more he wrote , the less capable he was of expressing his thoughts . At one point he wrote, " There are not three but one God." His assertion of the doctrine of trinity was not based on conviction but on policy and apparent necessity . That this historic decision was based just as much on political expediency as on the faulty reasoning of philosophy is shown in the part played by Constantine, the pagan emperor of Rome who presided over the Council of Nicaea . The growing communities of Christians were a force whose opposition he feared . They could weaken his empire , but on the other hand , their support would be invaluable in strengtheing it . By remodeling Christianity , Constantine hoped to gain the Church's support and at the same time end the confusion that had arisen within it, which was the source of yet more conflict within his empire. The degeneration of Jesus Peace be upon him pure teachings never went unchallenged.
10- Bishop Arius (one of the leaders of the Apostolic Church in North Africa) stood up against the combined might of Constantine and the Catholic (Pauline) Church and reminded them that Jesus Peace be upon him had always affirmed the Oneness of God . Constantine tried to crush the troublesome " one God" people with all the force and brutality at his command , but he failed . Ironically , although Constantine embraced the belief that God is one before his death , the doctrine of trinity was eventually accepted officially as the basis of Christianity in Europe.
11- Other such man-made decisions of the Council contributed to the declaration of the Roman Sunday as the Christian Sabbath and the establishment of December 25 as Jesus birthday. This was done in order to have a celebration that occurred on the same day as the as the birthdays of pagan gods such as Nimrod (Babylon god) , Krishna (Hindus god) , Mithra (Greek/Roman god) , and Dionysius ( or Bacchus of Greece ) who is named the only son of Jupitar and was born of a virgin mother named Demeter on December 25 th .
12- Therefore , this doctrine caused much confusion among men , many of whom were told to believe without trying to understand it ; yet , some people tried to prove and explain it intellectually . Three schools of thought developed . The first is assosiated with ST. Augustine , who lived in the 4th century and was of the view that the doctrine could not be proven but could be illustrated. St. Victor , who lived in the 12th century , believed that the doctrine could be both demonstrated and illustrated. The 14th century saw the growth of the third school , which taught that the doctrine of trinity could be neither illustrated nor proven , but should be blindly accepted and believed .
13- The books (i.e., Gospels) in which Jesus Peace be upon him teaching had been written were either completely destroyed , suppressed , or altered in order to avoid any blatant contradictions with the trinitarian doctrine . There was a shift in emphasis from what the Scriptures said to what the leaders of the Church said. The doctrine , it was asserted , was based on the special revelation made to the Church , called the " Bride of Jesus."Thus , Fr. Fulgentio was reprimanded by the Pope in a letter which said, " Preaching of the Scripture is a suspicious thing. He who adheres to the Scriptures will ruin the Catholic faith."In his next letter he was more explicit , warning against too much emphasis on scripture , stating, " …..is a book , which , if anyone adheres to it, he will quite destroy the Catholic Church. "
14- The effective abandonment of the teachings of Jeus Peace be upon him was largely due to the complete obscuring of his historical reality . The Church had made religion not only independent of the Scriptures but independent of Prophet Jesus Peace be upon him as well, so the man Jesus does not necessarily mean belief in a resurrected Christ. Whereas the early followers of Jesus peace be upon him had based their lives on his example , Pauline Christianity was based on a belief in Christ after his supposed crucifixion .
15- The life and teachings of Jesus Peace be upon him were no longer important. As the established Church continued to distance itself from the teachings of Jesus Peace be upon him , its leaders became increasingly involoved in the affairs of those in authority throughout the land .As the diffrences between what Jesus Peace be upon him taught and what those in authority desired became blurred , the Church , while asserting its separateness from the state , became in reality more and more identified with it and thus grew in power .
16:- In the early days the Church had not been subject to imperial power , but once it had completely compromised itself , the position was reversed . As the Churchbecame more powerful , it bacame very dangerous to deny the trinity , something which led to almost certain death. Luther left the Roman church , but his revolt was against the authority of the Pope rather than the fundamental doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church .Although he founded another church and became its head , the new Protestants sanctioned all of the basic Christian doctrines held by the Catholics . This led to the establishment of a number of " reform" churches and sects , but pre-reformation Christianity remained undisturbed. These two main bodies of the Pauline Church have continued to exist up to the present day .

Why is it called then the Pauline Church not Jesus Church ?

Answers are given by eminent Christian scholars of recent times , who studied the Bible with impartial minds

1- The famous Christian historian James Mackinson admits openly :
" The train of thought is distinctively his own . Whether it is altogether in accord with the mind of Jesus is not so evident in spite of his claim to direct revelation …at the same time , Jesus's conception of the law is hardly in accordance with of Paul …In this respect Paul's – claim that he received his Gospel by revelation from Christ is rather problematic. "
2-The Encyclopedia Britannica says:
" One group among the writers , represented for examples by W.Wrede , who were by no means opposed to Paul , opine that Paul changed Christianity to such an extent that he has become its second founder,. In reality he is the founder of the church Christianity which is totally different from the Christianity brought by Jesus. They say follow Jesus or follow Paul , but both cannot be followed simultaneously. "
3- Also the Encyclopedia Britannica states:
" Paul quickly saw the need to stay in a quite and peaceful area where he could reflect over his new position . Hence he went to the Southern regions of Damascus …the main problem facing him was to interpret the law and teachings of Jesus in a new form in the light of his own novel experience ."
So who was Paul ?
William G.Joquin gives us the answer in the his book" Paul Apostle or Antichrist":
(PAUL OF TARSUS who had never met Jesus nor had he been well acquainted with any of his closest disciples.He had earned the reputation of being one of the greatest enemies of Jesus( Peace be upon him) .Moreover, there were many who suspected that he was a spy posing as a follower of Jesus Christ .It is recorded in The Act of the Apostles that PAUL , WHO WAS THEN CALLED SAUL , was responsible for a great persecution against the Church at that time :
"He made havoc of the Church , entering into every house and hauling men and women , commiting them to prison . " Acts 6:5
As he (Paul) himself admitted :
"For you have heard …how I persecuted the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it . And I advanced in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries in my own nation , being more exceedingly zealous for the tradition of my fathers." Galatians 1:13-14
And it is related in The Acts :
" Then Saul , still breathing threats and slaughter agains the disciples of the Lord , went to the high priest and asked of him letters to the synagogues of Damascus so that if he found any who were of the way , whether men or women , he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem . Acts 9:1-2"
It was on his journey to Damascus that Paul is said to have met Jesus (Peace be upon him ) in a vision and became one of his followers as a result . He claimed to have been pointed an apostle of Jesus (Peace be upon him)
And also, that he continued to receive instuctions directly from the Master even though they were sometimes contrary to what the disciples had heard from Jesus (Peace be upon him) in person . That incident is related three times in The Acts of the Apostles , each time differently .
The first version goes like this :
1-"And as he journeyed he came near Damascus and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven . And he fell to the earth and heard a voice saying to him , ' Saul , Saul , why do you persecute me ?' And he said , 'Who are you , Lord ? And the Lord said , 'I am Jesus , whom you persecute . It is hard for you to kick against the goads .' So he , trembling and astonished , said , ' Lord , what will you have me do ?' And the Lord said to him , ' Arise and go into the city , and you shall be told what you must do.' And the men who journeyed with him stood speechless , hearing a voice but seeing no man . "Acts 9:3-7 .
In this version the incident is related by the author of The Acts . Points worth noting are:
a- The light which Paul saw shined about him .
b- It is not related that others saw the light , but they did hear the voice .
c- It was Paul who fell to the ground .
d- The voice of Jesus (Peace be upon him) ordered him to enter the city and there he would be told what to do .
The second version of the story is reported in the same book , but the words are purpoted to be spoken by Paul before the tribune and a crowd of Jews . Here , he was answering charges of preaching against the law and defiling the Temple by bringing Greeks into it :
"And it came to pass that , as I made my journey and had come near Damascus about noon, suddenly a great light from heaven shone round about me . And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me , 'Saul Saul , why do you persecute me me ?' So I answered , ' Who are you , Lord ?" And he said to me , ' I am Jesus of Nazareth , whom you persecute .' And those that were with me indeed saw the light and were afraid , but they heard not the voice of him who spoke to me . So I said , 'What shall I do , Lord ?' And the Lord said to me , 'Arise and go into Damascus , and there you shall be told all things which are appointed for you to do .' Acts 22:6-10
This version agrees with the first version in that :
(a) The one who fell to the ground was Paul and not those with him .
(b) Paul was told to enter the city and there he would receive further further instructions . It differs with the first version in the statement that those who were with Paul saw the light but didn't hear the voice .
The third version of this incident is also contained in Paul's words as related in the same book , The acts of the Apostles :
" Whereupon , as I went to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests , at midday : O along the way I saw a light from heaven , brighter than the sun , shining round about me and those who journeyed with me. .And when we all had fallen to the earth , I heard a voice speaking to me in the Hebrew tongue , Saul , Saul , why do you persecute me ? It is hard for you to kick against the goads . ' So I said , 'Who are you , Lord ?' And he said , ' I am Jesus , whom you persecute . But rise and stand upon feet ; for I have appeared to you for this purpose , to make you a minister and a witness both of those things which I will reveal to you . I will deliever you from the people and from the Gentiles , unto whom send you , to open their eyes and to turn them from darkness to light and from the the power of Satan unto God , that they may receive forgiveness of sins and inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in me ." Acts 26:12-18.
Here we see a great divergence from the statement in Chapter 9 and Chapter 22 of the very same book :
a- According to this version , it is not Paul alone who saw the light , as related in the first version , but everyone , as related in the second.
b- Here Paul says that they fell to the ground , which contradicts the two previous versions in which it was Paul alone who fell .
c- Instead of being instructed by the mysterious voice of Jesus Peace be upon him to enter the city where Paul would be told what to do , this version gives detailed information about Paul's mission immediately on the spot :
Paul was to be :
1- Appointed as the Apostle of Jesus who also promises him ,that he will appear to him again and violating all of Jesus Peace be upon him teaching .
2 -Preaching the gospel to non-Jews.
3- Teaching salvation by faith alone which is considered also contrary to Jesus Peace be upon him teaching.
Why did Paul elucidate so much in the third version ? No doubt because he was addressing King Agrippa. But one pauses to wonder what he would think of a witness who relates one story to the police , changes it slightly when facing the magistrate, and presents a completely different version when the case reaches the High Court . No one can describe Paul better than he himself :
" For though I be free from all men , I have made myself a servant to all that I might gain the more. Unto the Jews I became as a Jew that I might gain the Jews . To those who are under the law , I am as under the law , that I might gain those who are under the law . To those who are without law {not being without law to God but under the law of Christ}, that I might gain those who are without law . To the weak I became as weak that I might gain the weak . I am made all things to all men that I might by all means save some . And this I do for the gospel`s sake that I might be partaker thereof with you . "
1Corinthians 9:19-23
These passages show Paul motive very clear. He wants to win converts by hook or crook and to discredit all the worthy companions of Jesus(Peace be upon him ) who studied at his feet and shared his tribulations . He produced – a synthetic religion which is mathematically absurd, historically false , yet psychologically impressive. Paul modified the status of Jesus Peace be upon him ,taking him as a mediator or reconciler between God and man as "Son of God" , then equal to God. Then finally declaring him as " God".
A: "God Emptied" is" God Not "
The major corruption that Paul had done is that he deviated the pure monotheistic teachings (to worship One and only God ) of Jesus Peace be upon him towards worshipping of an another being , equal to God . He proclaimed that Jesus (Peace be upon him ) is someone equal to God , and introduced the theory of " emptied God "
He said " Christ Jesus who , though existing in the form of God , did not consider his equality with God something to cling to , but emptied himself as he took on the form of a slave and became like human beings ".
( The letter of Paul to the Philippians 2:6)
All the creations of God are submitted to and are dependent on Him ; if according to Paul's theory , God emptied Himself and took the form of a salve , then who was the master and controller of the universe during that period of time , or does it suggest that there were two gods simultaneously , one emptied and other full of power ; but this is an open blasphemy and it leads to polytheism ( to worship others equal to God).
God has ever been and will ever remain the most powerful the Only God , with no one equal to Him . It is absolutely illogical to think of Him being emptied or devoid of Himself for any moment because God emptied is God not any more . This idea is physically unreasonable and spiritually inconceivable , the existence of God is beyond the human imaginative expance . God is NOT limited in any form . God is unlimited. This idolatrous ideology is not new , it is influenced by other beliefs and mythologies , where people exceeding in their saints and godly men to be worshipped as God or equal to God .To setup partners to God is an age old blasphemy .
According to the discriptions given in the Gospels and in the Holy Qur'an , Jesus Christ Peace be upon him is not only like human beings , but a human being in actuality as dependent and vulnerable as any other human; all his powers and abilities were granted to him by God , he had no authority of his own . In the light of these discriptions , it is difficult rather than impossible to accept him as God or even emptied God .
In the Gospels we find many verses that contradicts the theory of emptied God :
1-" And he (Stephen)said, " Behold , I see the heavens opened and the Son of man standing at the right hand of God." Acts 7:56
The Son of man , as Jesus preferred to call himself , is seen by Stephen to be standing at the right hand of God . Hence he cannot at the same time time be God.
2-" Father, if thou art willing , remove this cup from me ; nevertheless not my will , but thine bedone ." And there appeared to him an angel from heaven , strengthening him . " Luke 22:42-43
We note here three important things :
a- Jesus Peace be upon him prays to God , Jesus worship God . Hence they are two separate beings of unequal status to the extent that one has to pray to the other.
b- They have two separate wills , but the will of Jesus Peace be upon him , the son of man , is subordinate to that of God . God's will must prevail.
c- Jesus Peace be upon him , being man , loses heart and weakness , and God Almighty , as the source of all strength , sends an angel to strengthen Jesus.
3- " Jesus cried out with a loud voice , ' Eloi , Eloi , lema sabachtani?which means , My Lord , my Lord why have you forsaken me ? (Mark 15:34)
We note here two important things :
a- It is clear here that Jesus Peace be upon him and God are not only separate entities but their will are different and could be even contradictory ; the superior will must however prevail .
b- What is shocking , however, is the despairing tone of Christ's supplication on the cross . Far from being the only begotten Son of God or God , we could not expect such weakness even from an ordinary mortal with a trust in God .
4- Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the the wilderness to be tempted by the devil . ' (Matthew 4:1)
Note: Devil can never attempt God ,but the humans.
5-" I can do nothing independentely " (John 5: 30)
Note: A creature is always dependent on the Creator .
6- ." But he would withdrew to a deserted places and pray. "
(Mark 1:35) (Luke 5:16)
Note: Praying is purely a human need
7-" Then Jesus asked , ' Who touched me ? Someone touched me ; for I noticed that power had gone out from me . " (Luke 8:45-46)
Note : Unawareness is a human limitation .
8- " I do nothing of my own accord , but tell things just as the Father has taught me" (John 8:28)
Note : A Prophet is a human , and has no authority of his own.
9- " ….and while they were sailing he (Jesus)fell asleep." (Luke 8:23)
Note :Sleep is a human need , and to fall asleep is a human weakness .
10- " But in vain they do worship me ,teaching for doctrines the commandment of men " Matthew 15:9
Note : This verse is speaking of the Christians . For there is no other religion that worships Jesus (Peace be upon him) except Christianity .
11- " And behold one came and said to him (Jesus) , Good teacher , what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life ?So he said to him , Why do you call me good ? – No one is good but One , this is , God . But if you want to enter into eternal life , keep the commandments." Matthew 19:16-17
It is clear here that Jesus Peace be upon him would not allow any one even to call him "good" , let alone call him God?????!!!!
12- "Jesus wept" John 11:35 (no comment)
13- "(Jesus) saith , I thirst ." John 19:28 ( no comment) .
Missing Claims of believing that (Jesus Peace be upon him) is God
1- The Alpha and Omega :
In the Book of Revelation 1, verse 8 , it is implied that Jesus Peace be upon him said the following about himself : " I am Alpha and Omega , the beginning and the ending , saith the Lord , which is , and which was , and which is to come , the Almghty ."
These are the attributes of God. Consequently , Jesus (Peace be upon him ) , according to early Christians, is here claiming divinity . However, the above –mentioned wording is according to the King James Version . In the Revised Standard Version biblical scholars corrected the translation and wrote : " I am the Alpha and the Omega , " says the Lord God , who is and who was and who is to come , the Almighty." A correction was also made in the New American Bible produced by Catholics . The translation of that verse has been amended to put it in its correct context as follows : "The Lord God says: I am the Alpha and the Omega , the one who is and who was , and who is to come , the Almighty . " With these corrections , it becomes evident that this was a statement of God and not a statement of Jesus Peace be upon him .
2- The Pre-existence of Christ (Peace be upon him):
Another verse commonly used to support the divinity of Jesus (Peace be upon him) is John 8:58" Jesus said unto them , ' Verily , verily , I say unto you , Before Abraham was, I am ." This verse is taken to imply that Jesus Peace be upon him existed prior to his appearance on earth. The conclusion drawn from it is that (Jesus Peace be upon him) must be God , since his existence predates his birth on earth . However, the concept of the pre-existence of the Prophets , and of man in general , exists in both the Old Testatment , as well as in the The Noble Qur'an . Jeremiah described himself in The Book of Jeremiah 1:4-5 as follows : " Now the word of the lord came to me saying , ' Before I formed you in the womb I knew you , and before you were born I consecrated you ;I appointed you a prophet to the nations.' "
Prophet Solomon Peace be upon him is reported in Proverbs 8:23-27 , to have said : " Ages ago I was set up at the first , before the beginning of the earth . " When there were no depths I was brought forth , when there were no springs abounding with water , Before the mountains had been shaped , before he had made the earth with its fields , or the first of the dust of the world When he established the heavens , I was there . "
According to Job 38:4 and 21 , God addresses Prophet Job as follows : " Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth ? Tell me ,if you have understanding …You Know , for you were born then , and the number of your days is great!"
In the Noble Qur'an , Chapter Al-A'raaf , (7):172, God , informed that man existed in the spiritual form before the creation of the physical world .
" And (remember) when your Lord brought forth from the Children of Adam , from their loins , their seed (or from Adam's loin his offspring) and made them testify as to themselves (saying) :" Am I not your Lord ?" They said :" Yes !We testify ," lest you should say on the Day of Resurrection :" Verily , we have been unaware of this ."
Consequently ----, Prophet Jesus Peace be upon him statement , " Before Abraham was , I am , " cannot be used as evidence of his divinity . Within the context of John 8:54-58 , Jesus Peace be upon him is purported to have spoken about God's knowledge of His Prophets Peace be upon them all , which predates the creation of this world .
3-Those who claim that Jesus peace be upon him is God , also draw support for this belief :
a- From verse 30 of the Gospel according to John , chapter 10, in which Jesus Peace be upon him is reported to have said : ," I and the Father are one." Out of context , this verse does imply Jesus (Peace be upon him) divinity. However, when the Jews accused him of claiming divinity , based on that statement " Jesus answered them , 'Is it not written in your law ; "I said , Ye are gods? He clarified for them , with a scriptural example well known to them , that he was using the metaphorical language of the prophets which should not be interpreted as ascribing divinity to himself or to other human beings.
b- Further , evidence is drawn from verses ten and eleven of the Gospel according to John , chapter 14, where people asked Jesus Peace be upon him to show them the Father , and he was supposed to have said :" Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father in me ? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my authority , but the Father who dwells in me does his words ; or else believe me for the sake of the works themselves."
These phrases would imply Jesus Peace be upon him divinity, if the remainder of the same Gospel is ignored . However , nine verses later , in John 14:20, Jesus Peace be upon him is also recored as saying to his disciples " In that day you will know that I am in my Father , and you in me , and I in you ." Thus , if Jesus Peace be upon him statement " I am in the Father and the Father in me" means that he is God , then so were his disciples . This symbolic statement means oneness of purpose and not oneness of essence .The symbolic interpretation is further emphasized in John 17:20-21 , wherein Jesus Peace be upon him said " I do not pray for these only , but also for those who believe in me through their word , that they may all be one ; even as thou ,Father , art in me , and I in thee , that they also may be in us , so that the world may believe that thou has sent me"
Note that "dwells in me" means : that Jesus Peace be upon him(as well as all the other Prophets) is speaking and acting on God's authority and in obedience to His command .
b-" He Peace be upon him- as they claim - accepted worship"
It is argued that since Jesus Peace be upon him is reported to have accepted the woeship of some of his followers , he must have been God. However , a closer examination of the texts indicates both a case of dubious translation , as well as misinterpretation . The term " worship" can be found in the King James Version and The Revised Standard Version accounts of the three wise men who came from the east . They were reported in Matthew 2:2 , to have said , " Where is the baby born to be the King of the Jews ?We saw his star when it came up in the east , and we have come to worship him ." However, in The New American Bible (Catholic Press, 1970) , the text reads : " Where is the newborn king of the Jews ? We observed his star at its rising and have come to pay him homage".
In the Revised Standard Version , John 9:37-38, :" 'You have seen him , and it is he who speaks to you ,'38- He said , 'Lord , I believe ' and he worshipped him ." However , in The American Bible , the scholarly translators added a footnote which read :
9:38 This verse , omitted in important MSS (manuscript) , may be an addition for a baptismal liturgy .
Furthermore, as a renowed authority on the Bible and its original language , George M.Lamsa , explained , " The Aramaic word sagad , worship , also means to bend or to kneel down . Easterners in greeting each other generally bowed the head or bent down . …' he worshipped him' does not imply that he worshipped Jesus Peace be upon hm as one worshipped God . Such an act would have been regarded as sacrilegious and a breach of the First Commandment in the eyes of the Jews , and the man might have been stoned. But he knelt before him in token of homage and gratitude.
3- " In the beginning was the Word"
Perhaps the most commonly quoted 'evidence' for Jesus Peace be upon him claimed divinity is John 1:1 " In the beginning was the Word , and the Word was with God , and the Word was God ."
However , in John 5:37 it is stated , that no man has seen or heard God . So using John 1:1 in support that Jesus Peace be upon him is God would mean that there are at least two Gods (God and Jesus) ????!!!!!
Moreover, there are other disagreements to John 1:1 from Deuteronomy 4:39:" Know therefore this day, and consider it in thine heart, that the Lord he is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath there is none else.
Deuteronomy 6:4 , " Hear , O Israel :The Lord our God , the Lord is one ." Isaac 43:10-11 , Isaac 44:6 and Isaac 45:18. For Isaac 43:10-11 states there is no savior but God , and Isaac 45:18 concludes that God alone was the Creator and no one else , not even Jesus Peace be upon him , participated in the creation .
Note: The same verse with which St.John Gospels commence was often refuted by the early Unitarian writers , who rendered its true readings as follows : " In the beginning was the word and the word was with God , and the Word was God's ." It will be noticed that the Greek form of the genetive case " theou" i.e. "God's" was corrupted into " Theos" , that is , " God , " in the nominative form of the name !It is also to be observed that clause , "In the beginning was the word" expressly indicates the origin of the word which was not before the beginning ! By the "word of God" is not meant a separate and distinct substance , coeval and co-existent with the Almighty , but an expression and proclamation of His knowledge .
5- Upton Sinclair writes in his book A Personal Jesus:
" You percieve that those who tell the story cannot make up their mind whether Jesus is God or whether he is man. Truly it is difficult problem , once you admit such a thing as the possibility thatGod may take on the form of a man and come down to earth . When he becomes man , is he man or is He still God ? And how can He be betrayed when He knows He is going to be betrayed ?The legend never answers clearly , for basically it is an absurdity and there can be no answer , nor even any rational thought on such a subject .

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Helping Orphans and Widows

by Ayub A. Hamid


While the majority of humanity has shown their genuine concern and compassion towards the plight of the earthquake survivors, criminal elements devoid of any humanity have been active in preying on their helplessness. Considering the long-term support needs of the survivors and also considering the dangers to which they are exposed because of the terribly repulsive and repugnant crimes of the criminal elements, many sensible people and welfare organisations are seriously thinking about the best ways and strategies to provide the survivors support they require and deserve. The concern is acute for the most vulnerable of the victims -- children and women without adult family males to protect them. And we should all be concerned because it is their rights that the Prophet Sall Allaahu 'alayhi wa sallam was always concerned about and emphasised the most. For example, it was reported that he said, “O Allaah, I hereby sanctify the rights of two vulnerable groups: orphans and women.” (Nasaai reported from Khuwailad in ‘Amr)

Many ideas are being proposed to deal with their situation. These ideas are mainly based on the concepts of putting them into institutions such orphanages (Daarul-Atfaal), safe houses or shelters.

Unfortunately, putting them into institutions, or institutionalising them, will give rise to many problems of its own. These problems are inherent in the concept and operation of the institutions and they occur regardless of how fantastic the people are who establish the institutions and run them. Here a few problems to think about:

Lack of warmth and closeness afforded by the family environment;
Lack of a father/mother figure who can act as confidante, provide protection and suitable personalised advice on the basis of love and closeness of relationship, instead of a counsellor who is there to do a job;
Dehumanising effect of the institutions, like animals in a barn;
Institutional environment continuously reminds them that they do not have a family to call their own; they just have a place to stay with other deprived persons like them.
Chances of developing behaviour problems as a result of the above;
Open to abuse, exploitation and manipulation.
Institutions need funds, which they then raise by using their residents for that purpose. Using them to raise funds hurts their self-respect and their self-esteem.

Considering that survivors of the earthquake are already traumatised by the horror they have seen, they are the most in need of a personal touch, family environment and warmth and they are most vulnerable to develop the behavioural problems that the barn environment of the institution creates.

So what is the alternative?

Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala has given us a beautiful, most practical and the most healing method of treating such victims, if only we learn from the wisdom of the Qur-aan and put it into practice with proper spirit and Taqwa. Following are some points for guidance from the Qur-aan and Hadeeth in this matter:

1. Considering that orphan’s assets were the most common target of misappropriation by the powerful people of the Arab society, Allaah SWT started emphasising from the early days of revelation:

“Do not go near the assets of an orphan except for looking after them in the best manner until the orphan

attains full maturity.” (Al-An‘aam 6:152 and Banee Israaeel 17:34)

2. Spending one’s own money and precious assets to take care of orphans and the needy, even preferring their needs over one’s own family needs only for the pleasure of Allaah. (Ad-Dahr 76:8 and Al-Baqarah 2:177)

3. Although the rights of those widows who are poor are well taken care of in the Qur-aanic commands about poor, some of their chores of daily living may not be attended to because of a lack of a male member in the household. To ensure that people do not ignore that aspect, the Prophet Sall Alaahu `alayhi wa sallam said,

“The person who runs around for the needs of a widow or a poor person will be rewarded like a Mujaahid who dedicatedly strives in Allaah’s cause.” Reported by Aboo Hurayrah who also added: I think the prophet also said, “like a person who continually spends his nights worshipping Allaah and his days fasting.”

4. The Holy Qur-aan also expects that helping the orphans must be done in a manner that affords them respect and honour, and it condemns those who do not treat orphan with respect:

But you do not treat the orphan with respect … (Al-Fajr 89:17)

It commands believers to treat them in an excellent manner:

… Excel in your dealings with parents, the near relatives, the orphans, the needy … (Al-Baqarah 2:83 and An-Nisaa 4:36)

Putting them in institutions is neither respectful nor excellent. There is always some sort of stigma attached to it.

5. In Soorah Al-Balad, when talking about feeding the poor and orphans, it gives another hint as to who should preferably take care of an orphan:

An orphan of close relationship or A near related orphan (Al Balad 90:15)

6. In Soorah Baqarah, when spending for the poor and needy was emphasised in verse 215, taking care of orphans was listed right after close relatives. Taking care of orphans includes providing them a good living environment as well as handling their assets and finances in a prudent manner.[1] These objectives may best be achieved if their living is integrated with one’s own family especially through marrying their mothers and if their financial affairs are integrated with one’s own especially if their interest is fully protected through proper accounting and paper work. However, the sincere believers were very scared of dealing with orphans’ assets because of Allaah’s commands not to touch orphans’ property. For the sake of precaution, people who had orphans living with them had segregated even their groceries and food completely separate from their own family’s. Such caution caused extra hardships to the sincere believers. The following verse answered the concerns and questions arising from these concerns.

They also ask about orphans[2]. Say: Whatever improves their lot is better. If you mingle them with yourselves, they are your brethren; and Allaah knows who means corruption from the one who means improvement. Had Allaah wished, He could have made it difficult for you; surely Allaah is Mighty, Wise. 221 And do not marry women who equate others with Allaah, until they believe. Certainly a believing slave woman is better than a woman who equates others with Allaah, no matter how attractive she may seem to you. Similarly, do not give your women in marriage to those men who equate others with Allaah, until they believe. Certainly a believing slave is better than a free man who equates others with Allaah, no matter how attractive he may seem to you. Those (who equate others with Allaah) invite to the Fire, while Allaah invites by His grace to the Garden and to forgiveness. And He explains His commands to people that they may be mindful. (Al-Baqarah 2:220-221)

First of all, by saying “If you mingle them with yourselves, they are your brethren” Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala encourages people to make them socially part of their household, instead of treating them as different from the family. Secondly, it indicated that as long as the orphans’ best interests were kept in focus, their assets and finances could be managed as convenient because the purpose of Allaah’s commands is for us to protect their interest, not to create undue hardship for people. However, people should remember that if under that pretext someone practiced dishonesty, Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala will know it.

Note that right after encouraging intermingling, Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala starts talking about not marrying Mushrik women. What does that have to do with orphans? One effective way of making the orphans mingle with the family is to bring them into the family by marrying the orphans’ mothers. It provides them a safe home environment along with a father figure to take care of them and their own mother watching for their interests. However, even for this noble goal, a Muslim must not marry Mushrikah -- one who equates others with Allaah. Although the issue came up in reference to the welfare of orphans, the rule has been given as a general rule applicable to all situations.

7. Soorah An-Nisaa is the Soorah of social reforms. It was revealed after the Battle of Uhad in which 70 Muslims were martyred. That was a huge number for the small Muslim community of Madeenah at that time. Their children and widows needed appropriate care. Hence, the Soorah gives the top preference and prominence to protecting the rights of orphans and then those of their mothers and women in general.

In pre-Islamic society, many of the orphans’ guardians who were supposed to look after their interests used to take over the custody of their inherited assets under the pretext of managing them on their behalf; however, it ended up slowly becoming the guardians’ property, while the orphans were neglected and their needs were not appropriately met. Islam commanded extreme scruple in this respect and put a high value on being kind, generous, and charitable in looking after the needs of orphans. It transformed those people from being usurpers into being the protectors of orphans so much so that they would go out of their way to preserve the assets belonging to orphans and to be extra kind, gentle and caring for their needs, even if it meant giving from their own pockets.

2And give to the orphans their assets, and do not substitute worthless things for their good ones, and do not consume their assets by adding to your own assets; that would surely be a great crime. 3And if you fear that you on your own shall not be able to deal equitably with orphans[3], then marry such of their mothers[4] as are happy to do so, are legally allowed to you and you like them[5], two or three or four; but if you fear that you will not be able to treat all wives equally, then marry only one or what your right hands possess; this way it is more likely that you will not deviate from justice. (An-Nisaa 4:2-3)

Considering the exploitative practices of unscrupulous people in dealing with the inheritance and assets of the orphans, these verses warn Muslims of the heinous nature of this crime and command that the guardians of the orphans must ensure that:

§ Any assets belonging to the orphans are duly assigned to their name, spent only for their care and given to them when they grow up;

§ They are not substituted in any way, shape or form resulting in the reduction of their value; and,

§ They are not mixed up with the assets of their trustee or guardian such that they could not be accounted for fully and accurately.

Being kind to people, when Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala gives commands, He also ensures that measures are taken that will make it easy for people to fulfill the objectives of the commands. Therefore, this command was accompanied by a multipurpose, effective and tactful use of an existing institution of the society. Polygamy was a well-established and accepted practice all around the world including Arabia. Many people had multiple wives. In fact, there was no limit to the number of wives a person could have. Some people had a dozen or more wives, just like most of the Biblical personalities had many wives. It was suggested to men that to take care of the orphans, you should use this existing, established practice and marry the mothers of the orphans -- if they would like to do so, if you like them and if it would not result in an un-Islamic relationship.[6]

How was this going to achieve justice to orphans? The idea was that instead of putting orphans in orphanages, or leaving them under a loose relationship with a guardian for whom it may not always be possible to be fully attentive to the needs of the orphans under his care (even if the guardian had the best intention to do so), provide those children with a stable, inclusive, integrated home and family environment by marrying their mothers. This way, the widowed women will also be cared for. In addition, under this relationship, where the mother of the orphans is also the spouse and participant in the family affairs, the interests of her orphan children will be better served and any chances or opportunity for abuse or neglect would be minimised.

Thus, in brief, the message of these verses is that: to alleviate worries about properly fulfilling their guardianship responsibilities, people should use the existing practice of having multiple wives and should team up for that purpose with the orphans’ mothers by marrying them -- if they are legally eligible to marry each other and they mutually like the idea -- so that both can help each other in providing the children the most appropriate level of care.

8. Thus, as evident from the above-mentioned point, the Holy Qur-aan has repeatedly emphasised the importance of taking care of the orphans, especially by integrating them into one’s family. It wants people to bring orphans into their homes and keep them in a dignified manner like their own children, where the orphans feel themselves at home as a part of the family, not outsiders. This point is further clarified by the Prophet Sall Allaahu `alayhi wa sallam:

§ The best home of all Muslim homes is that where an orphan is being treated with excellence (kindly and respectfully); while the worst home is that where an orphans is being ill-treated. (Ibn Maajah and Bukhaaree from Aboo Hurayrah)

§ Anyone who takes an orphan includes him/her on his dinner table (makes them a part of the household), Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala allocates Jannah for him, unless he commits an unpardonable crime. (Tirmidzi From Ibn ‘Abbaas)

§ Whoever passes his hand affectionately over the head of an orphan only for the pleasure of Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala, he will be rewarded for every hair his hand passes over. And whoever excellently treats an orphan boy or girl living with him, I and he will be like this (he joined his two fingers to show the closeness) in Jannah. (Ahmad and Tirmidzi from Aboo Umaamah)

§ A person who undertakes the guardianship and living expenses of an orphan whether he/she is his own (such as a nephew, niece or grandchild) or not his own, I will be like this in Jannah – he showed his two fingers with a little bit of separation between them. (Bukhaaree from Sahl Ibn Sa’d)

9. The Holy Qur-aan also wants people to marry the widows, especially if they have children, so that both mother and children can be provided a good home environment and their interest can be served in a decent manner. If marriage of a widow is not warranted, then the believers should pay special attention to ensure that her matters are well-looked after.

Course of Action for Long term care for Children and women:

From these teachings, then, we learn that the Islamic welfare organisations such as HCI, Al-Khidmat, etc. should serve the long-term interest of the vulnerable survivors (women and children) by finding and screening appropriate people; arranging formation of relationships and providing resources to ensure the following:

1. People should take orphans without any parents to their homes, make them a part of their household[7], treat them and bring them up like their own children in the most excellent manner.

If any of their relatives are alive, they should take them to their homes. If those relatives need help, they should be helped financially, morally and by counselling.

If they do not have close relatives, other people with true fear of Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala and desire to be with the Prophet Sall Allaahu `alayhi wa sallam in Jannah should take them to their homes and bring them up with excellence.

2. It will be a good idea to marry widows and widowers to each other bringing their children, if any, together to form a new family. Again, they must be helped financially, morally and by counselling.

3. If there are widows with children and they are willing to re-marry, believers with Taqwa and fear of Allaah should marry them (if they both like and agree) and bring them and their children home to provide them a good environment and love. That is the most important cause for which Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala specifically mentioned marrying two, three or four wives. If the women prefer to live alone with their children, then their wish should be respected and they must be helped financially, morally and by counselling.
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[1] An orphan may have inherited a house in which the family was living in, goats or cattle, money, etc. For earthquake survivors, there may be the land where their house used to stand, bank balance, etc.

[2] In Arab society, an Orphan was a child whose father had died.

[3] Some people assume that orphans in this verse refer to orphan girls only; but that is an invalid assumption. The points about injustice that started with the preceding verse pertain to all orphans in general and not any particular section of them. The subject of remediation of those issues continues in this verse without any explicit or implicit indication that the emphasis has shifted from orphans in general to a specific group of orphans. Thus, there is no indication in the text about the shift from all orphans to orphan girls only. In addition, neither Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala nor His Messenger, Sall Allaahu `alayhi wa sallam has ever indicated the change in the definition of the term from one verse to the next. Hence, the idea of limiting the general word “orphans” in this verse to girls only is baseless and invalid.

[4] Although the word used here is “women” in general, the context requires that the women mentioned here must be those whose marriage can help alleviate injustice to orphans. ‘Women” here cannot be any women because of the following: Firstly, there was no reason to prescribe more than one wife in general because that was already a prevalent practice. The established rule was that existing practices were allowed unless and until explicitly disallowed by the Qur-aan or the Prophet. Secondly, the verse clearly mentions the purpose of proposing extra marriages in this context to be the fair treatment of the orphans. Marrying women in general does not help with that objective at all, rather it may hinder it as will become clear in the discussion that follows. Lastly and most significantly, there was no context here to bring up the issue of polygamy in general while addressing the issues related to orphans. It has been brought up only as a viable alternative to help the guardians appropriately fulfil the guardianship responsibility towards the orphans. Thus, the context requires that the women being referred to in this verse have to be those who have some specific relationship with orphans – the mothers of the orphans, marrying whom will help in the better treatment of their orphan children. The suggestion is that to minimise any chances of compromise in looking after the well-being of the orphans under your guardianship, you can use the existing practise of polygamy to marry their mothers and jointly look after the orphans’ affairs more appropriately and effectively. In his Tafseer Tadabburul-Qur’aan, Amin Ahsan Islahi has strongly presented this view. Maudoodi has also expressed this as one of the valid opinions.

[5] Mufassireen (exegetes) have indicated that the phrase used in the verse can have any or all of the three meanings. Hence, I have included all three meanings because they altogether represent the message of the verse fully.

[6] Some people may disagree with the meaning of the verse or its explanation given here. They are welcome to see detailed discussion and strong evidence on this topic in the Urdu Tafseer of this Soorah in the second volume of “Tadabbarul Qur-aan” by Maulana Amin Ahsan Islahi. Those who do not know Urdu can refer to my series of "Teachings of the Qur-aan" for Soorah An-Nisaa.

[7] That does not mean to adopt them or change their identity. Their true identity must be preserved linking them to their real father and mother.

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Note: The quotations of the Qur-aan provided in the above article is not a literal translation. Instead of literal translation, it gives interpretive meanings of the verses, along with their contextual details. Please remember that any translation of the Holy Qur-aan is in fact only an _expression of the translator's understanding of the Word of Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala, and hence cannot be equated with the Qur-aan itself. Only the original Arabic text can be called the Holy Qur-aan.
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