Category Archives: Da’wah

I chose Islam

If you asked me 6 months ago what my religion was, I would tell you Christianity. If you asked me why, I would tell you because it’s all I have ever known, it’s what my grandparents are, it’s who my grandparents are. But here is what you don’t know. I’ve always prayed to God. Always. I always felt that God was listening, that He hears our prayers if we just humble ourselves to Him. I can’t tell you exactly when I knew that God was real, I’ve just always known. Yes, I believe in Jesus Christ (peace be upon him), I follow his teachings (more so now than ever before) and I know that  he done great and amazing things, through GOD. Jesus says in the bible that he is nothing without his Father. I’m not going to go back and forth with scriptures. I love Christians, Jews, Hindus, Atheists, etc. I don’t judge. Anyway, my point was, I didn’t know WHY I associated with the Christian faith other than “just because my family did”. Fast forward to February 28, 2015, I find out that my best friend of 29 years has died. She was 33 years old. I’ve known her since I was 4 years old. In kindergarten is was like we were looking for each other, like our souls were connected. You can ask any of my classmates from way back then, and if they remember, they can tell you that we were inseparable.

I was lost. I was devastated. I was broken. I was scared of myself. But, no one understood, not really. Maybe I wasn’t accepting of the ones who tried, I don’t know.. all I know is that I was a different person. All I knew was that I needed someone, something, to make it all make sense. I turned to this and that and finally I started searching for a closer relationship with God. Because when no one else is there, God is there. Always, God never leaves us. He never abandons us. He is merciful. Even if your sins reach as high as the sky, God forgives us, if we just ask.

I started questioning what I’d heard my whole life. I started looking into different religions and looking at the similarities of the great religions of the world. I always believed in Jesus (peace be upon him) but I never worshiped him as God. I had questions that no one has ever answered for me answered in Islam. Islam makes sense to me. Islam and Muslim simply mean to believe in one God and willful submission to God. That’s all Islam means. There isn’t beheadings and torture and kill, kill, kill. That’s all media rhetoric. It’s not true. It’s fabrications and misinterpretations and distorting verses. If any of you have any questions at all, ask me. If I can’t answer them, then I can find someone who can, or I can give you resources and references. Please don’t think I would take my salvation blindly. That I would risk my soul on something that I haven’t researched and something that I don’t fully understand or believe in. Yes, it’s been hard. I have lost friends, I have lost family, simply because I believe in God? It doesn’t make sense to me, but God knows best. If you ask me today what religion I am, I will tell you I am Muslim. I am not perfect. No, I don’t go out in Jacksonville wearing a hijab (headscarf), simply because, I don’t feel it’s safe, due to the number of PTSD Veterans that we have in this town. I am Muslim but I am not a terrorist. Terrorism has no religion. Please don’t hate me. Please let me show you that Islam is peaceful and Islam is love. I just ask for acceptance. I will never push my faith on you. I respect all religions and people who have no religion. I am finally a happier me.

LeAnna

Teachers, Tips, and Dawah Tricks

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Islam is not a dress code that we wear for specific occasions but rather it’s our way of living and we adhere to its principles all round the clock.

There is unfortunately a widespread notion, that whilst we are at our workplace we have to be ‘professional’ and only do those tasks that we have been assigned to do, therefore I have come up with this series where In Sha Allah we shall learn how to give dawah and impart beneficial knowledge even when we are at our workplace.

We shall commence this series by delving into the tactics that a teacher can employ to give dawah.

Known as a second mother, a teacher plays a paramount role in our lives. It’s of no surprise that many a times based on a teacher, a child pictures for himself a role model or pursues an ambition. The phrase ‘ One day I just wanna be like her’ is not uncommon for children to say about their teachers. At other times some children are seen devoting their time and skills in making picturesque cards for their teachers, or purchasing expensive gifts for them.

Yes, it’s true, a teacher is indeed an extremely important puzzle piece in the complicated jigsaw that makes up a child’s life.

But apart from imparting the knowledge that she has been enlisted to teach, a teacher always has to remember that she is a Muslim, irrespective of where she is, whether she happens to be at her workplace or at home; furthermore Da’wah is part and parcel of a Muslim’s life.

So here arises the big question, how can a teacher do Da’wah at her workplace?

Well, this makes me nostalgic of my past, bringing back memories of my geography teacher who would give us a treat after our classes on ‘climate’, ‘landmarks’ etc. with the story of Yusuf (Peace Be upon him). Being a teacher, one develops the ability to give narrate eloquently stories and my teacher was no different, the way she narrated the story of the noble Prophet (Peace Be upon him) was not only enlightening but entertaining as well.

An excellent idea indeed to educate the masses, but this is just one of the many techniques by which a teacher can convey beneficial knowledge to her students.

What with our glorious Islamic history, the immense discoveries that our great ancestors have made, the knowledge indeed serves as a treasure chest to teachers.

Let me explain, for example many a times the ‘fact’ that the Wright brothers had invented the airplane has been fed into our minds at a very tender age, I myself was of the same view until recently, when I discovered that Abbas Ibn Firnas had already pioneered the flight system 1000 years before the Wright brothers.

Trigonometry, medicine, astronomy etc. discovered by our great ancestors are just some of the countless examples that glorify our illustrious history. But alas! Our Muslim teachers themselves should take the effort to acquaint themselves with such beneficial knowledge, at least in the fields that they teach, for indeed our history spans from subjects to subjects and themes to themes.

History is what strengthens the society, and when a teacher discloses the facts about our brilliant Muslim inventors, she nonetheless carves the crest for a strong Muslim society to build on. The honor and glory inspires the youth as they aspire to succeed and strengthen the present Ummah.

Moreover, a teacher can expose the truth behind the fabricated lies that fill our educational books.

Am I calling our education a lie? Well in certain topics they definitely do lie.

For example the renowned Darwin’s theory proposed by the celebrated Charles Darwin that proposes that humans and apes have evolved from the same ancestor. A memory of my Biology teacher lingers, as she was once describing the theory to us, she did explain the whole thing to us as her job required of her, but not without concluding the class by telling us that she didn’t believe the theory and as Muslims we all are from the progeny of Adam (Peace be upon him). It does take courage to expose the truth especially if we happen to be in a non- Muslim school but the action done subtly and with wisdom does ensure that the truth gets past across the façade of lies into the hearts of the children.

These are just few examples and the spring of Islamic knowledge that a teacher can use in her own specific field gushes endlessly.

Many a times a teacher is liked and disliked based on her personality and nature. No one likes being treated in a harsh manner and scolded abusively. So therefore nature undoubtedly is of extreme importance where a teacher is concerned.  Also when a teacher conducts herself with good character and manners, she also is doing Da’wah, as it leaves an indelible mark in the hearts of students as when they recall her, they recall her religion as well.  Also children tend to take more into consideration the lessons taught to them when a teacher has good akhlaq (character). Hence, it is imperative that a teacher cultivates good akhlaq. It is understandable that sometimes the children can be intensely annoying and aggravating but patience is the key and the following hadith an incentive:

The Messenger (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “I guarantee a house in the upper part of Paradise for a person who has good character.”

[Abu Dawud ~ Hadith Sahih]

Lastly, as an ending note I would like to bring to your attention that we all at some point in our lives are teachers; professional or otherwise and henceforth we should try to learn how to teach from the best human teacher of all, our great Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).

An intricate combination of modesty, humility, humbleness, honesty etc. he taught Islam by the will of Allah to mankind, and so excellent were his methods not to mention that Islam itself is the ultimate truth, that the banner of Islam raised high from Arabia throughout the world and up till today 1400 years later his teachings have been preserved and followed.

Finally my dear friends let us take heed of these tips and try to execute them and discover more ways as there are yet many more tips. Remember one shouldn’t be a Muslim for half a day but should reinforce their deen in every aspect of their lives with the intention of attaining Allah’s pleasure alone.

Bint Ayesha

Writer, AAT

 

Classroom Da’wah

Sitting in a classroom trying to defend your deen is not the easiest. Many students who attend non-muslim schools, even if the school is in a muslim country, can find it a challenge to explain their deen to their peers, and sometimes even teachers. What makes it even more difficult, is when there are muslims within the school, who do the opposite of Islam. At one point in life I attended an international non-muslim school, though in a muslim country. Previously I had always attended muslim schools. When I arrived I was shocked. There were muslims who wore mini-skirts. Muslims who attended parties. Muslims who had boyfriends and girlfriends, and weren’t ashamed to hide it. Muslims who drank alcohol. Muslims who engaged in all these sins and more, and what’s worse, they considered it ‘good’ and sometimes their parents promoted such a lifestyle. To top it off, these muslims were almost against talking about Islam, they didn’t want to hear it. Or sometimes they would be the one to question islam instead of the non-muslim. They painted images of islam, that were far from the truth. Nevertheless, may Allah guide them.

So, I took it upon my shoulders to give some da’wah, whilst I attended this school. Here is a few of my experiences.

“God is like a father to us all.” I barely just caught what my religious studies teacher said. I looked up, suddenly interested in what he was saying. Why is god like a father? How can He be so? That made no sense! The teacher carried on explaining the concept of god in Christianity, then said, “even in Islam, god is like a father,” he looked towards the muslim students who made up more than half of the classroom population. I immediately interrupted, “No sir! In Islam, god is god, He is not our father.” “No, but, he is a father,” he replied. I recited the translation of Surah Ikhlas, making it clear, that Allah is not our father, “He begets not nor is He begotten,” as He, Himself says in the Qur’an,” I replied with a smile. I had proof! The teacher looked at me bewildered. “What does beget mean?” He asked. Not for his benefit, but rather for the class’. Thankfully, I do not memorise without understanding, and quickly replied, “have children. God doesn’t have children and neither is He is born.” The teacher, was amazed, though I daresay he was a little red. Well, someone had to correct him about what we muslims believe, right?

“We all come from apes; our great, great, great, great….grandfathers were apes.” Are you serious? Do you really want to insult your ancestors like that? This time, I was in biology class. I put my hand up, “Sir, why then are we not continually evolving? Why have we stopped at humans?” “We are evolving, you don’t see it because it takes thousands of years,” he replied confidently. “Ok, but we have been humans in the same form for thousands of years now, so shouldn’t we evolve further?” I decided that this time logic would work best. As a muslim, I know my roots, and it goes back to Adam (peace be upon him), whom Allah created with His own hands, out of clay. I didn’t think the teacher would believe the story of Adam, so I didn’t use it, I don’t think he even believed in religion. Why would I reduce myself to an animal? The teacher replied with another excuse defending the theory of evolution. “Sir, all those skeletons they supposedly found of evolving monkeys into humans, you know, they were all fakes, right? They don’t really exist.” As it happened, I had recently watched a documentary about the fake skeletons, and had learnt a good amount to sustain my argument. The teacher continued to try to reason with me to believe that we were all descended from apes. Nope, I’m not swallowing that pill! The teacher began losing patience. Oops! I quickly tried another approach. “Sir, in the Qur’an, God tells us that He created us in the best form, so why should we reduce ourselves?! If God is telling us that, I mean shouldn’t it be worth something?!” I was of course referring to Surah Teen, in which Allah tells us that He created us in the best of forms. I don’t think the teacher was too happy with me that day, nevertheless, I gave him something to think about. Maybe he went home and questioned his beliefs. Alhamdulilah for me, the bell went off signifying the end of lesson.

Sitting in art class, someone asked, “are you bald under there?” I was taken by surprise. I most certainly am not bold under my hijab! “Can’t you see the shape of her hair!” someone else exclaimed. This was not going well. How do you explain hijab to a bunch of teenagers who seem intent on finding fault with it? “Maybe her hair is grey then?” Ya Rabb! What was up with these kids? “No,” I carefully replied, “I’m not bald and my hair is not grey.” Somehow I get the feeling they were teasing, rather than genuinely asking. Nevertheless, I tried to explain the hijab. After two sentences they found another topic to talk about and left me and my hijab alone. Except it was brought up again, on another hot summer day. “Don’t you get hot with your scarf?” This time, it was outdoor on the playing field. The sun was at its peak, just after lunch. I was sweating to say the least. But I calmly replied, “Isn’t hell hotter?” The person was so confused, which meant I had more hijab explaining to do!  (not my proudest da’wah moment I admit.)

Nevertheless, before I left the school, I gave each teacher some Qur’an to listen to with the English translation of course. Perhaps one day Allah may open their heart.

Giving da’wah in a classroom can be challenging to say the least. School kids are inquisitive, and don’t usually understand that principles are to be upheld, and rules are not to be broken. Or sometimes they are unable to grasp certain concepts, or because of their limited intellectual abilities find things funny. Teachers on the other hand are adamant that their perspective or knowledge is correct. We have to equip the younger generation, with firm knowledge of their deen so that they are able to deal with both. We have to educate them on the founding principles and the more complex ones too. We shouldn’t just teach them to memorise Qur’an, then recite it devoid of understanding. Rather we should explain to them the meanings of the verses that they have memorised, and narrate to them the stories found within its pages.  We should impart to them a love of their deen, so that they can champion it. Moreover, we have to instil in them confidence, so that they stand up for the truth, and not be afraid of opposition.

Women in Da’wah

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“You are the best nation produced [as an example] for mankind. You enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and believe in Allah. If only the People of the Scripture had believed, it would have been better for them. Among them are believers, but most of them are defiantly disobedient.”(Surah al- aal Imran: 110) 

The very purpose of Da’wah is worship of the one true God and negation of the false gods; which has been conveyed through the Prophets and Messengers (peace and blessings be upon them all) and the revealed book (i.e., Quran).

The obligation of propagation of Islam is on both the male and female Muslims. Both have to have the same characteristics a Da’ee should possess. The only difference is the means to be used in their propagation.

Although the mobility of women is comparatively low, they can in a sense do more than men while remaining on their premises. In order to achieve the goal, a woman must keep every household chores scheduled. Out of 12 hours, the least 2 hours can be given to the Da’wah work. For example: Rafia is a mother of two, ages 2 and 4. After sending her kids off to school, rather than sleeping for a couple of hours she can sit in front of a computer screen or call her female neighbors and give them Qur’an and Hadith lessons or educate them in whatever Islamic field she has expertise .

Women of this era are well-educated and many are familiar with Information Technology. Online da’wah is a boon. Because of the busy schedule of working mothers, they prefer such studies at home. Even an hour lesson to them online can make a lot of difference, by the will of Allah. Moreover, if the neighbors share the same language, then it is possible to hold gatherings or a lesson or two with a bit of fun later. One must not neglect the fact that our neighbors have more right to our Da’wah than the outsiders.  As far as the children are concerned, female Da’ees come together and establish a school solely for girls which also aims to inculcate good manners. Establishing online website or a monthly magazine by a group of Da’ees is also favorable. These are some ideas which can be used to make our Da’wah effective.

In a remote village of southern India, a woman of three children began to read Islamic books from a city nearby as she would frequently visit. She then gathered her friends to read and understand with her. Eventually, these group of 5-6 women, in search of true knowledge, moved to the city-side. After they thought they had acquired enough knowledge to convey to their people, they moved back and rented a room for teaching women. Gradually, women of stringent customs and traditions became more unbiased and unprejudiced. They now have a meaning to their lives. A one room school later changed to a 200 rooms building with a special facility to the poor and orphan children. This is by the will of Allah and the sincerity of the women in search of light.

“You educate a man; you educate a man. You educate a woman; you educate a generation.”

Maliha Rahmat

 

 

 

 

Dawah And Me

Praise be to Allah, The Almighty, The Supreme

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One of the worst calamities faced by the Muslim ummah was in 1258, when Genghis Khan’s grandson, Hulagu Khan and his people ravaged through the city of Baghdad, committing numerous atrocities and massacring the Muslims, where they made the Muslim blood lawful, until they drenched the city in it.

A horrible carnage and catastrophe that history has borne witness to. A crime so heinous, that it has left an indelible mark in our hearts, a time when the Muslim world was ransacked and decimated. An era which witnessed 800 000 Muslims butchered mercilessly.
Reading all this, a question arises in our minds, the fact that, how then in only 80 years did these barbaric Mongols convert to Islam?

By the mercy of Allah, it were those remaining Muslims who even in those tragic moments continued to work for Islam, enjoining good and forbidding evil, as a result ,the Mongolians took a complete turnover, now raising the banner of Islam as their religion. It was at this time where women were at the forefront of Da’wah. If the Mongolians who massacred muslims could find the truth in Islam, then so to can our many enemies today, Muslims continue to be massacred, in Syria, in Burma, in Palestine and across the globe.

This gives rise to a very important question, a question in need of comprehension, a question we need to ask ourselves indeed, What have we done for Islam? Have we served this ummah, for is it not mentioned in the Quran?….

“Let there arise out of you a group of people inviting to all that is good, enjoining Al-Maroof (Islamic Monotheism and all that Islam orders one to do) and forbidding Al-Munkar(polytheism and disbelief and all that Islam has forbidden ). And it is they who are successful.” (Al-Imran: 104)

And then what about the famous hadeeth, where Prophet (Peace and Blessings be upon him) said: “Convey from me, even one verse.” (Bukhari)

It’s not a voluntary deed, dear friends but in fact an obligatory one. The obligation is further emphasized by the following verse which explains that not conveying the message – hiding knowledge – is disobedience to Allah that causes Allah’s curse to descend upon such people, which shows that such a sin leads to the Hellfire.

 “Verily, those who conceal the clear proofs, evidences and the guidance, which We have sent down, after We have made it clear for the people in the Book, they are the ones cursed by Allah and cursed by the cursers.” (Quran, al-Baqarah: 159)

People have died for the cause of Da’wah. The sahabah sacrificed their lives to promote and propagate this deen in hopes of attaining Allah’s pleasure alone. The question remains what about me and you? Have we fulfilled our duty in this regard?

The barbaric Mongolians converted to Islam, the flag of Islam raises itself high in several countries, and even now Muslims occupy an extremely large portion of the globe, would such have been the situation if Muslims hadn’t adhered to the commands of Allah and propagated our deen. All these undoubtedly shows the extreme importance of Da’wah in our lives. We definitely need to imbibe Da’wah in our everyday routine. We have ample opportunities to give Da’wah, at our workplace, colleges, on the bus, at the airport etc. It’s our duty to make the best of these moments.
It is essential that contribute to this developing Ummah, we need to motivate ourselves by remembering our ancestors, after all giving Da’wah is obligatory and we will be questioned, so let’s prepare ourselves by realizing the importance of Da’wah and then implement in it our lives.

Allâhumma zayyinnâ bi-zînati-l-îmâni, wa ja’alnâ hudâtan muhtadîn

O Allah, beautify us with the adornment of faith and make us of those who guide and are rightly guided.”

Ameen ya Rabbil Alameen

Bint Hasan

Writer, AAT

Actions Speak Louder Than Words!

actions speak louder than words

Dawah is obligatory on every muslim, we are obliged to call people towards the good and forbid what is evil. Those who hold Islam to be correct, should surely call to it, and invite others to share in the truth. Enjoining what is good and forbidding what is evil is an important mission, hence those who undertake this mission must be of good character and must understand the objectives of shariah; they must call people with wisdom and fair preaching and deal with them in a kind and gentle manner.

“Actions speak louder than words,” a strong saying indeed! Throughout history there are countless examples of empty words and inaction, which have lead to the masses losing trust in the leader or speaker. Such situations can only escalate, as people lose hope in that individual, and refuse to trust them anymore. When one embarks on a Da’wah mission, not only must they convey the truth, but they should also pair their message with correct action.

“Look at Islam and not the Muslims,” is yet another coined phrase. Though Muslims are supposed to be an embodiment of Islam and its principles, sadly this phrase has become an all too common sight. Our Prophet peace and blessing be upon him, won the hearts of people through his exceptional standard of character, to the extent that his enemies could not speak about him in regard to it!

Muslims need to be exemplary so that non-Muslims begin to judge Islam by the people who adhere to it, as the media has already engraved a very negative and hostile image of Islam, especially for those who have little contact with Muslims. People are thirsty, thirsty for the truth, and as the saying explains, your actions often leave a bigger impact and more lasting effect in people’s minds. You will be judged as a Muslim, and some may receive guidance from the way you talk, walk, deal with others overall how you carry yourself.  Plant a seed of interest and curiosity in the person’s heart by your excellent character, and the person will be inquisitive to find out more.

The Prophet was sent as an example for us to follow.  When asked about the Prophet’s manners, Aishah, the Mother of the believers said: “He was a walking Qur’an”.

He (peace and blessing be upon him) applied the Qu’ran in his life so much so that it was as though he was the Qur’an! A muslim, who truly believes that the Qur’an was the final guidance, should adhere to its guidance! Allah says in the Qur’an,

“O you who believe! Why do you say that which you do not do? Most hateful it is with Allah that you say that which you do not do” [Surah Al-Saff  61:2-3]  

When we say we believe in the Quran then we must adhere to its every word and letter.

Let us now try to focus on some points that will help us to be a positive impact while giving dawah and also be a better Muslim:

  1. Gentleness goes a long way:

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Verily, gentleness is not in anything except that it beautifies it, and it is not removed from anything except that it disgraces it.”(Sahih Muslim)

Be gentle in your approach and your speech. Effective da’wah is done in a gentle and loving manner. Everyone loves to be addressed in a gentle tone. A simple smile is a curve that sets everything straight. Smile at those around you, as it is an act of charity, the Prophet was always seen smiling; it is amazing how a smile can brighten a person’s day up.

Quick tip to remember: First Impression is a lasting impression.

  1. Dress the part:

Decent dressing makes a good impression on the mad’oo. Dressing appropriately, neatly and with clean clothes will alter other’s perspective of you. People are more accepting of one whose clothes are tidy and who has well-kept outlook. Wearing clothes that are within the limits of Islam will also show dedication and devotion to your faith.

  1. Empathise with theMad’oo:

One needs to first understand where the madoo is coming from, what is his level of understanding and knowledge, his background etc. This will provide insight as to how best to introduce Islam, and what aspects of Islam will touch a senstive chord with the mad’oo.

One should try to open the conversation with friendliness, perhaps by touching up on similar interests and activities. By doing so, the madoo will find you an interesting person and not think of you as muslim and a potential threat.

Imam Ibn Qayyim said in his Fawa’id: “The smart one calls the people to Allah from their dunya, and this makes it easier for them to respond to him. The zahid (ascetic) calls them to Allah by way of abandoning the dunya, and this makes it hard for them to respond, since it is very hard to pull someone away from the breast that he has developed his mind while suckling on…”

  1. Inviting neighbours and giving presents:

Allah says in the Qur’an: “Serve Allah and join not any partners with Him: Show kindness unto parents, and unto near kindred, and orphans, and the needy, and to the neighbour who is of kin (unto you) and the neighbour who is not of kin and the fellow traveller and what your right hands possess: for Allah loves not the arrogant the vainglorious.”  [Surah An-Nisa,04:36]

Our neighbours are the first rightful owners of our da’wah. One should be kind to them, help them in every way and keep good contact with them. Taking time to visit them, saying hello to each other in the morning, all will do wonders.

The neighbour has so many rights upon us, and are so special that the sahaba thought that they could be ordered to make their neighbours inheritors of their property, due to their numerous rights.

  1. Help those with greater needs than yourself.

It is considered a cliché to hold doors for others, but it never fails to attract appreciation. Giving up a seat for the elderly or the pregnant or those with little children may come as a natural response to some; Muslims however should always be the first to use initiatives that brings comfort to others. Aid anyone who may need assistance, help them as best as you can, give them the right of way and show patience instead of irritation. Whatever ensures the comfort of people should always be preferable to the Muslims. Turn every situation into an opportunity for da’wah.

  1. Do not over-exert yourself

Enthusiasm is good, however we must always remembers the Prophetic advice that the best form of charity is that which is done regularly. Da’wah is also a form of charity, where the Muslim spends time and makes effort for the benefit of others. Do not over-exert yourself and take time-out when you need it. Make sure you always spend time to learn and grow with Islamic knowledge. Take enough time to refresh and revitalise the senses as is needed. Take a break to boost your iman and personal growth every now and then.

  1. Wear Islam Responsibly.

The Qur’an and the Sunnah are the ‘blueprints’ of Islam; when Muslims start to follow them, they will become positive examples to those around them. Whether we like it or not, people will judge Islam by what they see, if people see hypocrisy, internal fighting, cheating, continuous brash debating etc. they will likely dismiss Islam out of hand. They will equate such behaviour with Islam and won’t understand that Muslims, who are humans after all, may not always be “Islamic”. The fundamental principle of ‘practicing what you preach’ must always be at the forefront of our minds.

The most important task for the daa’ee is that he must have a righteous lifestyle, he must be righteous in his actions and possess a righteous character so that he can be emulated in his words and actions.

As for the successful believers they call to the truth, act upon it, eagerly seek it, and hasten towards it. They also keep away from those things that they themselves forbid. We must remember that a bad word travels faster, much more than a good word.

So Don’t tell the People, show them…..

actions-speak-louder

Fatima Damad

Writer, AAT

 

Who do Muslims Worship?

 

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Misconception #10

Many people are confused as to what, or who muslims worship. Majority of religions have an image or statue which is a depiction of their god in some form or shape; often this is a representation of the founder of that religion, to whom the followers direct their acts of worship and devotion. Hence, they assume that it is just the same for Muslims too.

To explain who muslims worship, it is necessary to explain what Islam; the religion adhered to by muslims, is. Islam is the total submission to the will of Almighty God. Keeping this definition in mind, Islam is a way of life; that has been in existence since the beginning of time, and is as old as history itself. Muhammad was not the founder of Islam, as Islam has been the religion of the Prophets and Messengers since the creation of the first man on earth. Each of the apostles submitted their will to the will of Almighty God; Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad, all of them surrendered themselves to the One God, hence were all muslims.

Back to point of who Muslims worship. Some would assume muslims worship the black box in the desert (also called the Ka’bah), this is merely a point of direction for unity amongst muslims. In reality, muslims worship Allah, the One Almighty God. Allah is the proper name for God in Arabic; it refers to the Supreme Being who is unlike any of the creation, who has no partners or associates, and no daughters or sons, who resembles none. Neither was He born nor, does He give birth.

“Say (O Muhammad): He is Allah the One. The Eternal, Absolute. He begets not, nor was He begotten and there is none like him.” (Surah Ikhlaas, 112:1-4)

The role of Muhammad (peace be upon him) was merely that of a messenger, to convey to the people the message which Allah had entrusted him with, and that is to teach the worship of Allah alone. He communicated to us the message of Allah, and the words of Allah, which are contained in the Qur’an.

Allah says in the Qur’an, “O Mankind, worship your Lord, who created you and those before you, that you may become righteous. He who made for you the earth as a bed (spread out) and the sky a ceiling, and sent down from the sky rain and brought forth thereby fruits as provision for you. So do not attribute to Allah equals while you know (there is nothing similar to Him).” (Al Baqarah 02:21-22)

Allah informs us, that He is our Lord, our Creator and Provider. Muslims believe that Allah possesses numerous attributes which describe His being. These attributes cannot be fully understood by our limited knowledge, nor are they similar to that of any created being. Some of these are mentioned in the Qur’an, and some double up as names.

“He is Allah, other than whom there is no deity, Knower of the unseen and witnessed. He is Ar-Rahman (The Entirely Merciful), Ar-Raheem, (The Especially Mericful). He is Allah, other than whom there is no deity, Al-Malik (The Sovereign), Al-Quddus (The Pure), As-Salam (The source of Peace), Al-Mu’min (The Bestower of Faith), Al-Muhaymin (The Overseer), Al-Aziz (The Exalted in Might), Al-Jabbar (The Compeller), Al-Mutakabbir (The Superior). He is Allah, Al-Khaliq (The Creator), Al-Bari (The Inventor), Al-Musawwir (The Fashioner), to Him belong the best names…” (Al-Hashr 59:22-24)

These are the descriptions and Names of Allah. However, we cannot see Him in this life, until the Day of Judgement. He is beyond the limitations of time, and space. He is perfect in His attributes, with no defect, fatigue does not touch Him, nor inability. He is over all things competent and able.

Muhammad was a man who lived amongst the people, who ate food, who retired to rest. Allah, on the other hand, is unaffected by ‘human nature’ and is above the need for nourishment and reproduction. If god were to manifest himself in human form, he seizes to be a god, for Almighty God is perfect and without need, whereas humans are flawed. How can one who is need of support, support others? How can one who is lost, serve as a guide for others? How can one who is weak, and prone to maladies and poverty, be a source of strength and victory for others? How can one who is in need, give to others? Such is the nature of human kind, we are in need of support, weak, frail, prone to maladies and poverty, in need, and lost. Only a being, who is above these lowly qualities, can be a Lord for us. How can we turn our attention and devotion to men who are like ourselves? They are in need like us, lost like us, weak like us. Thus it is Allah to whom we submit, for truly He has power of all things.He gives without measure, forgives without reproach, creates without examples, sees without limits, and hears without impediments. Everything is under His command, and we are subservient to Him.

“And to Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and earth, and Allah is over all things competent.” (Surah Aal-Imran 03:189)

 

Family and Friends

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If we were given a beautiful gift like a pair of diamond earrings or a brand new luxury sports car, by default, we would like to show the world what we have. When there is something given to us, normally we do not just keep it hidden and stored away from others so nobody can see it! We want to share with people and show them the beauty of what we own! Similarly, once we are blessed with the gift of Islam, we should feel the urge to share this huge blessing with everyone we know and don’t know!

When I became Muslim four years ago, I was so full of zeal and joy that I wanted all my family members to know that Islam is the truth! Coming from a Chinese background where I was raised as a Christian, who later was forced to become a Buddhist, I wanted my parents to know about Islam so they would understand how true the religion is! Of course Allah guides whom He wills and giving dawah to my parents and family members truly was not as easy as I thought it would be. Rather, it was very difficult. I do admit though, my ignorance added to the challenge of conveying the message to them. I was trying to tell them about Islam instead of showing them Islam. Prior to Islam, I had bad manners and was a very rude person. I was very selfish and I also would go through many different phases in my life. My parents thought my reversion to Islam was just another phase but I wanted to prove them wrong! My uncle had been feeding them a lot of lies about Islam and he was always saying rude things and turning my parents against me. I know he was just worried about me but he did more harm than good. Subhana’Allah (Glory be to Allah!) Allah took his life a few months after I had reverted and it brought me closer to my parents. From then on was when my journey to giving dawah to them truly began.

Prior to my uncle’s death, I would often just preach about Islam and try to send them things that would tell to them about Islam and how Isa (Jesus) was not the son of God and I even tried to make my father read the Qur’an in Chinese! All of this did not work and it only caused more problems between us. After some time, I moved away to America to be with my husband and the distance made my relationship with my parents much stronger. I started learning more about Islam and how to preach by good manners and good deeds instead of just with speech as Allah says in the Qur’an, “And who is better in speech than he who (says: ‘My Lord is Allah (believes in His Oneness),’ and then stands straight (acts upon His Order), and) invites (men) to Allah (Islamic Monotheism), and does righteous deeds, and says: ‘I am one of the Muslims.'” (Quran, Fussilat: 33)

“Invite to the Way of your Lord (i.e. Islam) with wisdom and fair preaching, and argue with them in a way that is better. Truly, your Lord knows best who has gone astray from His Path, and He is the Best Aware of those who are guided.” (Quran, an-Nahl: 125)

I remembered that Allah often mentioned the importance of treating parents with kindness and gentleness. That was something I had never done before with my parents. I never had a close relationship with my mother because she sort of just had this “I give up on her” attitude with me because of all the things I put her and my father through. I was a true rebel before Islam, so I tried really hard and asked Allah for assistance to help me with my manners towards my parents. I asked Allah to soften my heart towards them. Alhamdulillah, somehow, some way, I started to treat my parents with more respect and good manners. Allah says in the Qur’an,

“Your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him, and that you be kind to parents. Whether one or both of them attain old age in your life, say not to them a word of contempt, nor repel them, but address them in terms of honour.” (Qur’an, Al Isra 17:23)

“And We have enjoined on man (to be dutiful and good) to his parents.  His mother bore him in weakness and hardship upon weakness and hardship, and his weaning is in two years give thanks to Me and to your parents, unto Me is the final destination.” (Qur’an, Luqman 31:14)

I tried hard to exercise these verses whenever I had to deal with my parents. Every time I went home to visit, I would try my best to go above and beyond and show them with my manners what my religion has taught me. I would bite my tongue (sometimes literally) to keep my mouth from talking back or saying rude things. I kept telling myself there was no room for failure because I am trying to represent the deen of Allah to my parents. I kept thinking that one wrong move, and they would change their perception of Islam forever. I am representing Islam and my actions and speech are crucial. Although this put a lot of pressure on me, I knew that good things don’t come easy and I really needed to work hard to change their idea of me, and Islam. I kept working at it slowly and steadily and by the Permission of Allah, I saw my parent’s attitude towards me slowly start to change. They became more pleased with me and happy with me! Something that was very rare in my non-Muslim days. We argued less and even my mom became more careful with her words around me. I can even wear abaya and hijab with them and go out in public with them and my mom tells her friends how proud she is of me with my huge change. This is not to boast, Allah knows best my intentions, but I wanted to share this as an example to let other knows that it is possible for our parents to accept us and our religion, it just starts with us and our actions. We must be wise and learn how to deal with our parents.

My relationship with my parents has changed a complete 180 degrees and all because of Allah the Almighty. How important it is to read the Qur’an and reflect upon the verses and to truly know what is expected of us as Muslims? Had I not come across these verses and reflected upon them, I would still be treating my parents with an attitude that was displeasing to Allah. The key to giving Dawah to your family is not just through speech, because parents have this “talk is cheap, actions are louder than words” mentality so we should show them through our actions as they hold a heavier weight. Making lots of duaa and being sincere to Allah and understanding the importance of spreading the deen in a kind, gentle way is something that must be done in order for success. I still struggle with my attitude sometimes , and that is normal since I am only a human being, so do realise that you are not perfect and you will have your moments where you slip, but ask Allah for forgiveness and tawfeeq and get back up and keep going. This journey is not an easy one but hopefully our parents will see the beauty of Islam and decide to follow us together to Jannah insha’Allah.

Umm Abdur-Rahman

Importance of Dawah

The Prophet (peace be upon him) has said: “Convey from me, even one verse.” (Bukhari)

When I was living in my world of ignorance, I knew nothing about Islam. For nearly 20 years of my life, I never had a clue about Islam or who Muslims where. I thought that most hijabis were all Indians or Pakistanis and that they all were hindus or sikhs! I was trapped in my ignorant bubble and my life only revolved around the gym and social parties. I was completely clueless about Muslims and I had never spoken to one in my life (or so I thought). Had Allah not put my husband in my path, I feel like I would have been living my life full of ignorance (Allah Knows Best) not knowing what the true religion of Islam was. As I look back, I realised that I must have known a handful or more of Muslims (by their names and ethnic background) but I never knew a thing about Islam because they never outwardly showed that they were Muslims or because they just never talked about it. Perhaps they were afraid that if they mentioned Islam, I would have turned my back and fled (because of 9/11) or maybe they just did not know the importance of spreading Islam and conveying the message of truth.
So here I am, writing to you all about the utter importance of spreading the gift of Islam. After Allah guided me to this beautiful religion, I realized just how important it was for me to share this beautiful gift with others. I think that educating non-Muslims, and even Muslims about the true Islam is extremely important. Not only are there many people who do not know anything about Islam and Muslims but there is also a huge misconceptions about the religion which has been circulating the world (thanks to the media). Many non-Muslims learn the religion through watching unreliable news channels and reading anti-Islam websites on the internet. But the only way others can learn about the true Islam is from Muslims who understand and practise the religion according to the Qur’an and Sunnah! Therefore, it is very important that we must continue educating ourselves about our own religion and to lead by example through our character and manners.

“Invite (mankind, O Muhammad) to the way of your Lord (i.e. Islam) with wisdom (i.e. with the Divine Revelation and the Qur’aan) and fair preaching, and argue with them in a way that is better. Truly, your Lord knows best who has gone astray from His path, and He is the Best Aware of those who are guided” [al-Nahl 16:125]
The only way that Islam spread through to the lands and reached us today is because of the dedication of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). He (peace be upon him) and his companions (May Allah be pleased with them) worked day and night to spread the beautiful message of Islam. So, we have no excuse. We should not be afraid of society and the media and we should never have to water down the deen or cater to the non-Muslims and keep quiet. There are many individuals out there (like how I once was), who are trying to seek the truth and find that true religion. Many individuals already believe in one God, they just need to learn about Islam so they are able to find Allah and turn to Him alone. I encourage all the Muslims who practise Islam and who follow the Qur’an and Sunnah with the understanding of our pious predecessors, to take da’wah more seriously and to reflect upon the countless rewards that Allah promised to the one who guides one to Islam (by the Permission of Allah).

With regards to the reward, the Prophet (peace be upon him) has said: “Whoever guides (another) to a good deed will get a reward similar to the one who performs it.” (Sahih Muslim) He also said, “By Allah, if Allah were to guide one man through you it would be better for you than the best type of camels.” (Bukhari, Muslim)

As a revert, I truly understand the importance of spreading Islam and showing others this beautiful gift. I see how my parents and old friends who are in such darkness and leading a life full of worry, despair and unhappiness. It really makes me feel sad to know that one strives so hard for this dunya and that in the end all their efforts are being wasted because they do not know their purpose of life. I know many reverts can relate to me because they see how their family suffers in their ignorance. That is why it is our duty as Muslims to show others Islam through good manners and kind words and if Allah wills, He will guide them just how He guided me, because of someone else’s good character and kind manners.

Umm Abdur-Rahman,

Writer, AAT

 

Muslims Don’t believe in Jesus?!

Many people are of the opinion that Muslims disregard Jesus, as he is a symbol of Christianity. However, the opposite is truer than can be explained.  With Easter coming up, this issue needs to be set aright!

Muslims believe in Jesus, revere him, hold him in high honour and love him. In fact, it is part of the Muslim belief system to acknowledge Jesus, or in Arabic, Isa, as he is known. The difference arises in that Muslims, believe him to be a prophet of God, not a son of God, nor God himself. He was messenger sent to the Children of Israel, like many other prophets before him.

Muslims believe he was born of a miraculous birth without a father. His mother Mary (Maryam in Arabic) was a chaste woman and did not have a husband.

“And mention in the Book, the story of Mary. When she withdrew from her family to a place in the East. And she took in seclusion from them a screen. Then We sent to her Our Angel, and he presented to her, himself as a well-proportioned man. She said, “Indeed, I seek refuge in The Most Gracious from you, (so leave me), if you should be fearing of Allah.” He said, “I am only the messenger of your Lord to give you news of a pure boy.” She said, “How can I have a son when no man has touched me, and I have not been unchaste?” He said, “Thus it will be, and your Lord says, ‘It is easy for Me’ and We will make him a sign to the people, and a mercy from Us. And it is a matter already decreed. So she conceived him, and she withdrew with him to a remote place.” (Surah Maryam 19:16-21)

This is story of the birth of Jesus as is believed by all Muslims. Jesus did not have a father, his mother was a pure and chaste woman who guarded herself. Allah simply willed for Jesus to be, and he was. Allah created Adam without mother or father, so how can the creation of Jesus be any more difficult?!

Muslims also believe that Jesus was among the best of the Prophets (known as ulul ‘azm), along with Abraham, Moses, Noah and Muhammad, Peace be upon them all. They were chosen by Allah, and possessed a strong will and determination in fulfilling their duties of prophet hood. They endured the negativity of their people and bore the torture with patience. Jesus was also special in that he performed many miracles. He spoke from the cradle, amongst others,

“So she pointed to him. They said, “How can we speak to one who is in the cradle, a child?” He (Jesus) said, “Indeed, I am the servant of Allah. He has given me the scripture and made me a prophet. And He has made me blessed wherever I am, and has enjoined upon me prayer and charity as long as I live,” (Surah Maryam 19:29-31)

“And a messenger to the Children of Israel, ‘Indeed I have come to you with a sign from your Lord in that I design for you from clay the like of a bird, then I breathe into it and it becomes a bird by the permission of Allah. And I cure the blind and leper, and I give life to the dead, by the permission of Allah. And I inform you of what you eat and what you store in your houses. Indeed in that is a sign for you, if you are indeed believers.” (Aal-Imran 03:49)

Jesus (peace be upon him) performed many other miracles, and it is part of a Muslims belief to accept this. Jesus had no super power, rather it was by Our God’s permission that he was able to perform these wonders. Indeed, this was a sign to the people whom he was sent to, and to us today. For who can perform such tasks except with the aid of only God! Jesus was no more than a messenger of Allah, as he himself said, that his miracles were accomplished by only God’s permission.

Jesus worshipped the only One God alone. He was a servant of Allah, obedient to His commands. He prayed and worshipped the only God as was prescribed for him. He was not a god on earth, nor was he the son of God. He ate food, drank, and prayed. It is not for any divine being to indulge in the same activities as the creation. Allah is far superior to His creation. Jesus was only a messenger of Allah, who was sent to earth to teach the people about Allah.

With Easter round the corner, it’s important that we cover another point of difference; the crucifixion of Jesus. Muslims believe Jesus, was not crucified, though it was made to seem so. We believe that Jesus is alive, and will return to earth near the end of times.

Allah says in the Qur’an, “And their saying, ‘indeed we have killed the messiah, Jesus the son of Mary, the messenger of Allah.’ And they did not kill him, nor did they crucify him, but another was made to resemble him to them. And indeed those who differ over it are in doubt about it. They have no knowledge about it except the following of assumption. And they did not kill him for certain.” (Surah An-Nisa 04:157)

Muslims revere Isa (peace be upon him), we admire him, and venerate him. He is one the greatest Prophets, and his significance is illustrated by the fact that he is mentioned 25 times in the Qur’an by name, whereas Muhammad (peace be upon him) is only mentioned 5 times by name!

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