Muslim

Definition

From fr. Muslim, this from Persian mosolmān or moslemān, pl. of moslem, and this of the ar. clás muslim

1. adj. Who professes Islamism (‖ religion of Muhammad). U. t. c. s.

2. adj. Belonging to or relating to Muslims.

 

 

Arab, Muslim, Islamic, Islamist, Jihadist

 

The Islamic News Agency (AIN) has taken the trouble to elaborate a small repertoire of these terms, widely used nowadays, but not always properly interpreted. Frequently, the misuse of this lexicon adds more negative connotations even to conflicts, attacks and other violent acts that already bring their enormous burden of tragedy and suffering.

The purpose then is to clarify the meaning of these terms -which sometimes even varies according to geography- for their correct use.

 

Arab

 

It defines every person born in an Arabic-speaking country. The condition of Arabic has nothing to do with religion, political ideology or skin color. Arabic is not synonymous with Muslim. The Arab countries are 22: Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Sudan, Morocco, Tunisia, Kuwait, Algeria, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar, Mauritania, Somalia, Palestine, Djibouti and Comoros Islands.

 

Muslim

It is the person who professes the religion of the Prophet Muhammad. This is a religious adjective and totally independent of the individual’s nationality. A European can be Muslim as an Arab can be a Christian. In an Arab country like Lebanon, there are almost the same number of Muslims as there are Christians. At the same time, there are countries with a Muslim majority that are not Arab (in the case of Indonesia or Iran, for example).

Like Christianity, Islam has several branches, the main ones being Sunni and Shia.

 

Islamic

Islamic is something pertaining to or related to the Islamic religion: Islamic architecture (of the Alhambra or the mosque of Cordoba, for example), Islamic culture, and so on.

 

Islamist

The Islamic and Islamist terms do not have the same meaning: Islamic is that which is related to Islam: Islamic culture, Islamic architecture …, while Islamist refers to who advocates the application of Islamic law in political life.

In other words, the AIN adds that an Islamist is “a person who, based on Islam, creates a political ideology.” It is not a terrorist, but someone who belongs to a political movement that does not have to appeal to violence to impose its ideology.

 

Jihadist

At present, says the AIN, the one who uses violence to impose the Islamic religion is called a jihadist. But it is a term that, in the Arab world, has a different meaning. The word jihad in Arabic means effort, in general terms, and in the religious context it is understood as the “desire to improve as an individual or collective within the spiritual path of the Islamic faith”. That is to say that, in the Arab world, originally the term does not have a violent sense.

However, jihad is used in the West to refer to the holy war of radical Muslims. Islamic extremist organizations themselves adopted the term, giving it a more warlike than religious sense. That is why the terrorist groups that use violence to fight against the “infidels” in the name of Allah are designated with the expression “Islamic Jihad” and the tendency they conform is called jihadism.

Recapitulating, it is concluded that:

  • You can be Arab without being a Muslim. An Arab person can practice any religion.
  • Conversely, one can be a Muslim without being Arab.
  • Islamic is an adjective that refers to everything related to Islam.
  • A person or a party can be an Islamist without practicing violence. It can not be assimilated “Islamist” to “terrorist”.
  • Today, a jihadist is the individual who uses violence and therefore – although the term originally meant something else – currently a jihadist is a terrorist.
  • For the AIN, “properly differentiate between the different terms” is also “a way to fight against the jihadist movements”.
  • “Ignorance – says the agency – only leads to more hatred, segregation and injustice, do we really want to promote just what these despicable acts promote? Do not stoop to your level, intelligence is a stronger weapon than hate

 

Muslim Facts

 

It is the second most followed religion in the world

After Christianity with 32% of the world population, there is Islam with 19%, however its number of faithful has been increasing and it is believed that in the near future this difference will be shortened.

It is an Abrahamic religion

It has a common origin with Christianity and Judaism, in fact the three have more similar things than anyone would think; they share several prophets and important figures such as Moses, Abraham and Jesus himself.

Indonesia is the country with the largest number of Muslims

To surprise, it is not an Arab or African country that has the largest number of Islamists in its population; is the archipelago located in Southeast Asia called Indonesia the nation that with a population of 259 million people 86.1% is Muslim and the most Islamic has
.

The origin of polygamy

Islam expanded through military campaigns throughout the Arabian Peninsula, and was born in a barbarous era where tribal conflicts were common; With this scenario, thousands of men left their families (women and children) to go to war. Many women were widowed and orphaned, for this reason the plan was devised that men could marry more than one woman and thus take care of her and her offspring.

The use of the veil is optional

According to the Koran women can use the veil according to themselves, it is a personal decision, but unfortunately many extremist governments like the Taliban have taken control of different countries, forcing women to use it at all times and endless laws macho

Not all Islamists are Arabs

Although the majority are from Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia, Syria or Egypt, the truth is that not all of them come from this region; there are the Persians (inhabitants of Iran) and large communities from other parts of Asia and Africa, where there is more than a quarter of the faithful and there are also large Muslim communities in Europe.

 

Beliefs and practices

 

A recent religion

Islam is the newest of religions. Follow the principles revealed by Allah to the Prophet Muhammad, who was born in the year 570 of our era.

Islam has several sacred books. The most important is the Koran, whose message was written for the most part by the Prophet Muhammad. Hence, to declare that one is Muslim, it is said “Allah is the only God and Muhammad is his prophet”.
Another holy book of Islam is the Bible. In fact there is a great devotion in many Muslim groups for the Virgin Mary.
Islam preaches nonviolence, respect, solidarity, however it has been used, like the Bible by Christians, to justify violent acts throughout history

 

    A prophet

Muhammad was born in Mecca in the year 570 and died in the year 632. He lived in a time of religious and political crisis, immersed in a chaotic society, full of poverty and violence.

At the age of 43 the archangel Gabriel appears to him, who reveals to him that he has been chosen by Allah to preach his beliefs all over the world. From that moment, he began to preach in Mecca and, being persecuted, he emigrated to the city of Medina in the year 622. That exodus is known as ‘Hegira’ and is the date that marks the beginning of the Muslim calendar. After Muhammad’s death, people close to him who had heard his messages began to write about all these events; it is said that the secretary of the prophet wrote 114 chapters, called Suras, which make up the Koran. In addition to the Koran, Muslims are governed by another sacred text, the Sunna.

 

    Five columns of faith

The main characteristic of Islam is total submission to Allah.
Faith is expressed through five pillars:

  • Shahadah: Believe and confess that Allah is God and Muhammad your prophet.
  • Salah: Pray five times a day, in the direction of Mecca.
  • Zakat: Give legal alms, a form of solidarity with the poorest
  • Sawn: Fulfill the month of Ramadan.
  • Hajj: Pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in life.

 

    Muslim tradition-Customs

The Muslims must fulfill, at least once in their lives, the pilgrimage to Mecca, where, dressed in white, perform a series of rites and prayers.
Since there are no sacraments in Islam, children are Muslims from birth, as long as their parents are Muslims.
For those who are not born and want to convert, it is enough that they proclaim the confession of faith in the presence of two Muslim men.
In the Islamic religion there are no priests, because the relationship with Allah is personal, without intermediaries.
Muslims have a set of rules that affect eating habits, among other things:

  • Pork is banned, as are those animals that have not been bled.
  • It is forbidden to drink wine and alcoholic beverages.
  • Do not drink in gold or silver vessels.
  • You have to use your right hand to eat and your left hand for personal hygiene.

 

 Sacred sites

 

Jerusalem

The site of Muslim pilgrimage is the Dome of the Rock, which marks the place where Muhammad ascended to Paradise.

Originally the Muslims performed their prayers with orientation to Jerusalem. Then the Prophet Muhammad said that he should be oriented to Mecca, which is where the Ka’aba is.

 

Medina

Here is the Mosque of the Prophet Muhammad, where his grave also lies.

 

Mecca

The most sacred place in Mecca is the Ka’aba, where is the ‘Black Rock’ that every pilgrim should touch and kiss.

 

The Mosque

It is the prayer room for Muslims. In addition, Muslims usually deal with all the organizational issues of society around the mosque assuming the divine protection of God to guide them in their daily actions.

Most of them are huge buildings, although modestly decorated only with lattices or mosaics of inscriptions from the Koran.

 

More:

 

 

Wudu

 


Wudu, in Islam, is a minor ablution required to remove a minor ritual impurity, badath, which is incurred in everyday life. Following the niyya, the face is washed with pure water, the mouth and nose are also rinsed, then the hands and arms are washed up to the elbow; the head is rubbed with water; and the feet are washed up to the ankles. Wudu is usually carried out before each of the five daily prayer times. A.G.H.


Source:

Bowker, John, The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions, New York, Oxford University Press, 1997, p. 9

Umma

 


Umma (Arabic, plural, umam) designates a people or community; a powerful and sometimes a visionary concept of Islam. Although the word has various uses in the Qur’an, it principally designates social divisions of humanity: “Humanity was a single umma, then it fall into divisions. If a word had not previously gone out from the Lord, the matter between them would have been decided, concerning which they disagreed.” It is considered such a division is in disobedience conflict with the unity which is a necessary consequence of the unity of God from whom all creation comes. To each umma a prophet was sent to recall them to Islam; little success was achieved until the coming of Muhammad. While the Qur’an required Muhammad to establish an Arab umma out of the dissented tribes, it also envisaged the creation of a single umma transcending the further divisions in the world. The initial attempt of this was seen in the Constitution of Madina. However, the early division of the Muslim community between the Sunni and Sha’i Islam, and the relatively ineffective efforts to establish a pan-Islam, illustrate how far this vision is from being realized. Islam did experienced a resurgent in the 20th century, and was critical of governments under which Muslims are a majority, but, as yet, there is no Islamic constrained government A.G.H.


Source:

Bowker, John, The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions, New York, Oxford University Press, 1997, p. 1003

The World of the Jinn

 


by Jala Nyela

(Editorial Note: The material within this article is based upom Islamic befief.)

Throughout history man has always had a deep attraction for the supernatural and the unseen. The existence of a world parallel to our own has always fascinated people. This world is commonly referred to as the spirit world, and almost every set of people have some concept of one. With some people, these spirits are no more then the souls of dead people- or ghosts. With others, spirits are either the forces of good or the forces of evil – both battling against one another to gain influence over humanity. However, both of these explanations are more in tune with folk tales and fantasy. The true explanation of such a world comes from Islam. Like every other way, Islam also claims to explain this realm of the unseen. It is from this realm that Islam explains to us about the world of the Jinn. The Islamic explanation of the Jinn provides us with so many answers to modem day mysteries. Without the knowledge of this world, the Muslims would become like the non-Muslims and be running around looking for any old answer to come their way. So, who or what are the Jinn?

Existence

The Jinn are beings created with free will, living on earth in a world parallel to mankind. The Arabic word Jinn is from the verb ‘Janna’ which means to hide or conceal. Thus, they are physically invisible from man as their description suggests. This invisibility is one of the reasons why some people have denied their existence. However, (as will be seen) the affect which the world of the Jinn has upon our world, is enough to refute this modern denial of one of Allah’s creation. The origins of the Jinn can be traced from the Qur’an and the Sunnah. Allah says:

Indeed We created man from dried clay of black smooth mud. And We created the Jinn before that from the smokeless flame of fire
[Surah Al-Hijr 15:26-27]

Thus the Jinn were created before man. As for their physical origin, then the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) has confirmed the above verse when he said: “The Angels were created from light and the Jinn from smokeless fire” [1]. It is this description of the Jinn which tells us so much about them. Because they were created from fire, their nature has generally been fiery and thus their relationship with man has been built upon this. Like humans, they too are required to worship Allah and follow Islam. Their purpose in life is exactly the same as ours, as Allah says:

“I did not create the Jinn and mankind except to worship Me”
[Surah Ad-Dhariyat, 51:56]

Jinns can thus be Muslims or non-Muslims. However, due to their fiery nature the majority of them are non-Muslims. All these non-Muslim Jinns form a part of the army of the most famous Jinn, Iblis- the Shaitan[2]. Consequently, these disbelieving Jinns are also called Shaitans (devils). As for the Jinns who become Muslims, then the first of them did so in the time of the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) when a group of them were amazed by the recitation of the Qur’an. Allah orders the Prophet to tell the people of this event:

Say (O’ Muhammad): It has been revealed to me that a group of Jinn listened and said; ‘Indeed we have heard a marvellous Qur’an. It guides unto righteousness so we have believed in it, and we will never make partners with our lord’
[Surah Al-Jinn, 72:1-2]

In many aspects of their world, the Jinn are very similar to us. They eat and drink, they marry, have children and they die. The life span however, is far greater then ours. Like us, they will also be subject to a Final Reckoning by Allah the Most High. They will be present with mankind on Day of Judgement and will either go to Paradise or Hell.

Abilities

That which clearly distinguishes the Jinn from mankind, are their powers and abilities. Allah has given them these powers as a test for them. If they oppress others with them, then they will be held accountable. By knowing of their powers, we can often make sense of much of the mysteries which go on around us. One of the powers of the Jinn, is that they are able to take on any physical form they like. Thus, they can appear as humans, animals trees and anything else. Over the last few years the interest in the subject of aliens and UFO’s has become heightened. Programmes such as the X-files and the Outer limits have increased the popularity of the theory that aliens exist. Thousands of people have sighted strange looking creatures all over the world. These sightings however, have still not proven substantially that aliens exist. Rather – and it seems more plausible all the sightings of such creatures were just Jinns parading in different forms. So the next time you see something that looks like E.T, its most probably just a wicked Jinn trying to scare and confuse you!

The ability to possess and take over the minds and bodies of other creatures is also a power which the Jinn have utilised greatly over the centuries. This however, is something which has been prohibited to them as it is a great oppression to possess another being. Human possession is something which has always brought about great attention. But the true knowledge of this subject is rare amongst the people. Over the last 3 decades the subject of possession has become very commercialised. During the 70’s films such as The Exorcist and Rosemary’s Baby were used to educate people about possession. However, because such institutions (the film industry) were heavily influenced by Christianity, knowledge of the subject was non-existent. Rather then educate people about Jinn possession, films such as The Exorcist just tended to scare the living daylights out of us![3] Only through Islam can we understand such a phenomena. We know as Muslims, that Jinns possess people for many reasons. Sometimes it is because the Jinn or its family has been hurt accidentally. It could be because the Jinn has fallen in love with the person. However, most of the time possession occurs because the Jinn is simply malicious and wicked. For this reason we have been told by the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) not to loiter in those places where the Jinns reside, e.g. graveyards, ruins, deserts, market places etc. We have also been commanded to recite the Qur’an frequently in our houses as the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) said: “Indeed, the shaytan flees from the house in which Surah Al-Baqarah (the 2nd chapter of the Qur’an) is recited”[4].

If a person does become possessed, then the name of Allah has to be used in expelling the Jinn. If we look at the practice of the Prophet and his companions, we find many duas (supplications) to exorcise the Jinn. All these duas invoke Allah to help the possessed person. How contrary this is to many modern-day exorcists. Many exorcists, Muslim and non-Muslim, often invoke the names of others besides Allah to exorcise the Jinn[5]. When the Jinn does leave, these people believe that their way was successful. However, this is a ploy of the Jinn, as it knows that if it obeys the exorcist, then it has succeeded in making him worship others besides Allah i.e. commit shirk. The Jinn often returns when the exorcist leaves, as it knows that nothing except the words of Allah can stop it from oppressing others.

It is not only humans which are possessed, but also animals, trees and other objects. By doing this, the evil Jinn hope to make people worship others besides Allah. The possession of idols is one way to do this. Not so long ago the world-wide phenomenon of Hindu idols drinking milk, shocked the world. From Bombay to London, Delhi to California, countless idols were lapping up milk. Ganesh[6] the elephant god, Hanuman the monkey god and even Shiva lingam, the male private organ(!), all seemed to guzzle down the milk as if there was no tomorrow! Unfortunately people were taken in by this (including Muslims) and many flocked to feed (?) the Hindu gods. Anyone who knows about Jinn possession, will undoubtedly know that this is a classic attempt to make people commit shirk. And it worked, as many people started to worship these lifeless pieces of wood and marble. Anyone with half a brain would say to themselves, ‘why on earth does a god need to be fed?!! Surely if Ganesh, Hanuman or Shiva were divine then they wouldn’t need feeding?’ However, such common sense seemed to be lacking as the Jinns played havoc with these gullible people.

The Occult

Through their powers of flying and invisibility, the Jinn are the chief component in occult activities. Voodoo, Black magic, Poltergeists, Witchcraft and Mediums can all be explained through the world of the Jinn. Likewise, so can the illusions and feats of magicians. Because the Jinn can traverse huge distances over a matter of seconds, their value to magicians is great. In return for helping them in their magic, the Jinns often ask for the magicians to sell their souls to them and even to Iblis. Thus the magicians take the Jinn and Iblis as lords besides Allah. In our day, some of the feats performed by magicians and entertainers are without doubt from the assistance of the Jinn. Making the Statue of Liberty disappear, flying across the Grand Canyon and retrieving a ship from the Bermuda Triangle[7], have all been done by the Jewish magician David Copperfield. There is NO way that a man could do such things without the assistance of the Jinn. It would not be surprising therefore, if David Copperfield had sold his soul to Iblis himself. Because of their involvement with the Jinn, and its result in shirk, the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) said: “The prescribed punishment for the magician is that he be executed by the sword” [8]. Some may argue that this is barbaric, but if, the likes of David Copperfield truly had powers, then they could just put their heads back on again!!

One of the most frequent activities associated with the Jinn, is fortune telling. Before the advent of the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) fortune-tellers and soothsayers were wide spread. These people would use their associates from the Jinn to find out about the future. The Jinns would go to the lowest heaven and listen to the Angels conversing amongst themselves about events of the Future which they heard from Allah. The Jinns would then inform the fortune-tellers. This is why before the time of the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) many fortune-tellers were very accurate in their predictions. However, upon the Prophet’s arrival the heavens were guarded intensely by the Angels, and any Jinn who tried to listen was attacked by meteors (shooting stars):

And We have guarded it (the heavens) from every accursed devil, except one who is able to snatch a hearing and he is pursued by a brightly burning flame
[Surah Al-Hijr, 15:18]

The Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) also said: “They (the Jinn) would pass the information back down until it reaches the lips of a magician or forrtune-teller Sometimes a meteor would overtake them before they could pass it on. If they passed it on before being struck, they would add to it a hundred lies” [9]. Thus, it is clear from this as to how fortune-tellers get predictions of the future right. It is also evident as to why they get so many wrong. Men like Nostradamus[10] are an example, as some of his predictions of the future were correct whilst many were completely wrong. Unfortunately, the amount of fortune telling which occurs amongst the Muslims is also increasing. By visiting Muslim lands such as Morocco, one is able to see as to how much inter Jinn-fortune-teller activity there really is. If you look up at the sky on a clear night in Morocco, you will see the heavens ablaze with shooting stars! A clear display of the devils being chased away from the heavens.

Fortune-tellers also operate through the Qareen. The Qareen is the Jinn companion which is assigned to every human being. It is this Jinn which whispers to our base desires and constantly tries to divert us from righteousness. The Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) said: “Everyone of you has been assigned a companion from the Jinn. The companions asked: Even you O’ Messenger of Allah? And the Prophet replied: Even me, except that Allah has helped me against him and he has submitted. Now he only tells me to do good” [11]. Because the Qareen is with a person all his life, it knows all that has happened to the person from the cradle to the grave. By making contact with the Qareen, the fortune-teller is thus able to make out that it is he who knows about the person. He looks in his crystal ball or the palm of a person and proceeds to amaze him with knowledge which no one else knows[12]. The severity of going to a fortune-teller is such that the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) said: “The prayer of one who approaches a fortune-teller and asks him about anything, will not be accepted for forty days or nights” [13] and: “Whosoever approaches a fortune-teller and believes in what he says, has disbelieved in what was revealed to Muhammed” [14]

The effects of the Jinn are not just limited to fortune-tellers. Other activities such as oujia boards and seances, which are used to contact the dead, are manipulated by the Jinn. ‘Are you there Charlie? Speak to us Charlie!!’ are the sort of words spoken by anxious relatives (names are obviously different!) seeking to make contact with their loved ones. And it is when the Jinn starts to talk and communicate as ‘Charlie’, that the people are truly fooled[15].

One of the biggest manipulations of the Jinn is through visions. Through these visions the Jinns are more likely to lead people away from the worship of Allah then any other way. When a person sees a vision in front of his eyes it is something which is very hard to explain away. Only by having knowledge of the world of the Jinn and conviction in Allah, can a person fight such a trial. The countless numbers of visions of Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary over the centuries has been a popular choice for the devils. It almost seems as if leading Christians astray is the most easiest trick for the Jinns! Not only are Christians fooled by these visions, but often the Jinns possess and begin to talk from their voices. To the Christians this is known as the tongues of the Angels and thus a proof for their faith. However, the amount of unintelligible nonsense and rubbish which is heard is a clear proof that this is in fact the tongues of the devils! For other people, visions of their parents or relatives are commonplace. By taking on the form of peoples parents, the Jinns can convince people that the souls of dead people still mix with the people of the earth. This is why so many people believe in ghosts.

The onslaught of satanic visions has also hit the Muslims. Many Muslims claim to have seen visions of the Prophet Muhammed (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) and even Allah! By doing this, Shaitan is able to lead astray the weak Muslims. Through such visions, Muslims are often told that the commands of Islam are not applicable to them. The Jinns tell them that Prayer, Fasting, Hajj etc. are not obligatory for them. It is a great deception and unfortunately one which has been very effective. The extent of satanic visions still continues to this day. The recent death of Diana Princess of Wales sparked off great love and adoration for this woman. In fact the grief of the British people was such, that it was as if Diana was something divine. No sooner had the mourning of Diana reached its peak, that visions of her were already being seen at Hampton Court Palace! If these visions did occur, the desire of Iblis and his army of Jinn to capitalise on this event, was evident. Such visions are clear attempts by Iblis to lead mankind away from the path of Allah [16].

The world of the Jinn is one which is both sinister and intriguing. By knowing of this world we can explain many of the mysteries and issues which bother us. By doing this we can avoid the extremes which the people have gone to; nothing being more extreme then worshipping others besides Allah. By learning the Tawheed of Allah, we defend ourselves from these hidden allies of Iblis:

Indeed he (Iblis) and his tribe watch you from a position where you cannot see them
[Surah Al-A’raf, 7:27]

Maybe there is a Jinn sitting in the corner of your room right now, or even one behind you. If so, then how will you deal with this creation of Allah? Learn Islam properly and you will be able to deal with all of Allah’s creation – and not just the Jinn. By becoming true Muslims and followers of Islam, the fear of Iblis, Jinns and anything else will leave us – nothing will touch the Believer unless Allah wills.


Oyher sites:

http://www.geocities.com/mutmainaa/belief/jinn.html

C. Jinn:

6:130 “O ye assembly of Jinns and men! came there not unto you apostles from amongst you, setting forth unto you My signs, and warning you of the meeting of this Day of yours?” They will say: “We bear witness against ourselves.” It was the life of this world that deceived them. So against themselves will they bear witness that they rejected Faith.

46:29 Behold, We turned towards thee a company of Jinns (quietly) listening to the Qur’an: when they stood in the presence thereof, they said, “Listen in silence!” When the (reading) was finished, they returned to their people, to warn (them of their sins).

46:30 They said, “O our people! We have heard a Book revealed after Moses, confirming what came before it: it guides (men) to the Truth and to a Straight Path.

46:31 “O our people, hearken to the one who invites (you) to God, and believe in him: He will forgive you your faults, and deliver you from a Penalty Grievous.

46:32 “If any does not hearken to the one who invites (us) to God, he cannot frustrate (God’s Plan) on earth, and no protectors can he have besides God: such men (wander) in manifest error.”

51:56 I have only created Jinns and men, that they may serve Me.

72:1 Say: It has been revealed to me that a company of Jinns listened (to the Qur’an). They said, ‘We have really heard a wonderful Recital!

72:2 ‘It gives guidance to the Right, and we have believed therein: we shall not join (in worship) any (gods) with our Lord.

72:3 ‘And Exalted is the Majesty of our Lord: He has taken neither a wife nor a son.

72:4 ‘There were some foolish ones among us, who used to utter extravagant lies against God;

72:5 ‘But we do think that no man or spirit should say aught that untrue against God.

72:6 ‘True, there were persons among mankind who took shelter with persons among the Jinns, but they increased them in folly.

72:7 ‘And they (came to) think as ye thought, that God would not raise up any one (to Judgment).

72:8 ‘And we pried into the secrets of heaven; but we found it filled with stern guards and flaming fires.

72:9 ‘We used, indeed, to sit there in (hidden) stations, to (steal) a hearing; but any who listen now will find a flaming fire watching him in ambush.

72:10 ‘And we understand not whether ill is intended to those on earth, or whether their Lord (really) intends to guide them to right conduct.

72:11 ‘There are among us some that are righteous, and some the contrary: we follow divergent paths.

72:12 ‘But we think that we can by no means frustrate God throughout the earth, nor can we frustrate Him by flight.

72:13 ‘And as for us, since we have listened to the Guidance, we have accepted it: and any who believes in his Lord has no fear, either of a short (account) or of any injustice.

72:14 ‘Amongst us are some that submit their wills (to God), and some that swerve from justice. Now those who submit their wills – they have sought out (the path) of right conduct:

72:15 ‘But those who swerve,- they are (but) fuel for Hell-fire’-

72:16 (And God’s Message is): “If they (the Pagans) had (only) remained on the (right) Way, We should certainly have bestowed on them Rain in abundance.

72:17 “That We might try them by that (means). But if any turns away from the remembrance of his Lord, He will cause him to undergo a severe Penalty.

72:18 “And the places of worship are for God (alone): So invoke not any one along with God;

72:19 “Yet when the Devotee of God stands forth to invoke Him, they just make round him a dense crowd.”

72:20 Say: “I do no more than invoke my Lord, and I join not with Him any (false god).”

72:21 Say: “It is not in my power to cause you harm, or to bring you to right conduct.”

72:22 Say: “No one can deliver me from God (If I were to disobey Him), nor should I find refuge except in Him,

72:23 “Unless I proclaim what I receive from God and His Messages: for any that disobey God and His Apostle,- for them is Hell: they shall dwell therein for ever.”

72:24 At length, when they see (with their own eyes) that which they are promised,- then will they know who it is that is weakest in (his) helper and least important in point of numbers.

72:25 Say: “I know not whether the (Punishment) which ye are promised is near, or whether my Lord will appoint for it a distant term.

72:26 “He (alone) knows the Unseen, nor does He make any one acquainted with His Mysteries,-

72:27 “Except an apostle whom He has chosen: and then He makes a band of watchers march before him and behind him,

72:28 “That He may know that they have (truly) brought and delivered the Messages of their Lord: and He surrounds (all the mysteries) that are with them, and takes account of every single thing.”

Sharia Law

Islamic and Muslim rules


Definition

Sharia is in Arabic mean a way to a wet place. It was from the Arabian citizens who dwell in the desert where there is no much water. They really need to get to the place where there is water in straight path, and as fast as possible, because they want to get to the water as fast as they can. Water here connotes life, because without it you can barely survive.

But For Muslims, sharia is a path to lead them to good life, harmony, happiness, contentment in this present world and after they have died.

 

What is really involved?

Sharia represents a form of texts written that guides every area of life. Sharia is a collection of written texts that governs every single aspect of life. This can be marriage, burial ceremonies and many aspects of life. Although, Sharia is the main law that guides the religion of Islam but its wider than that due to political, social and various cultural and economic issues.

Sharia law is divided into two form which include: Islamic law and Koranic .

Though, Koran had rules and instructions about certain situations, like the inheritance law which favors the male child from getting the double of his father inheritance.

In Areas that, the Koran does not touch, we device Islamic

  1. Koran
  2. Ijma
  3. Hadith
  4. Ijtihad (individual or various scholarly reasoning).
  5. Qiyas

We don’t actually have any particular country on the world that depends on sharia law. This is the main reason we don’t have Islamic country but rather Muslim country.

An Islamic nation is completely guided by sharia. Even around Saudi Arabia, which is where Mecca is situated and Prophet Muhammad born, sharia is still not totally followed.

In Malaysia where their customary law is same as sharia. Most of the citizens still have dispute against the sharia, and the result may be accepted by the court. That simply means that different country has different way of viewing sharia.

 

What is the Reason for Amputation?

You must have seen or heard various tales relating to amputation, child marriage, not allowing woman to drive, female mutilation and stoning. Koran actually has certain rules and laws about all of these. But the adoption is depends on every country interpretation of this laws. Some might have just understanding, while a liberal approach needs to be taken when we are dealing with another. There has been a lot of controversy as to all these interpretations, which bring us to the Australia case, which involves whether a woman to put on hijab or a Vail covering their hair. And even Australia government threatens to deport you if you have hijab on. But the problem for the country is that once you have a Muslim around you they are under Sharia. And claiming to be a Muslim without sharia is doing Muslim half way which is not acceptable. And talking, eating and how Muslim relates are guided by Sharia.

  • So while Sharia may not directly dictate amputating a hand that steal, but its dependent on how the country interpret the text. That does not mean there won’t be alternative punishment, which is the area most people that interpret Sharia don’t understand. Such a person might choose the option of imprisonment rather than having is hand cut off.
  • Sharia allows a man to have up to four wives, but if the country objects that then that is it. So such a man will have to just live with a wife and be contented with her.

 

Sharia is mostly misinterpreted by most countries and even so called Muslims. Most Muslim are ignorant of various complexities and reality of Sharia. We all need to familiarize ourselves with it and understand what it really stands for.

 

Myths about Sharia

Why most counties call for the banning of sharia, united state of America has successfully done that. Here are the various myths about Sharia Law:

 

  1. Is an Islamic Law

Sharia in a sense is not really a law so to say as most people and even Muslim interpret it. And Sharia is not a law or constitution put up by any government; it’s just a part of Koran that guide how a Muslim should live peacefully. So it’s not from any state or collections of rules of law. Sharia is divine and is just a way to guide Muslims.

 

  1. Is the Law you follow In Muslim Countries

its true that most rules in Muslim countries are dominated by Sharia, those rules in recent times has been bent by quite a number of things like colonialism and European influence.

 

  1.  Treats woman unfairly

In most Muslim country they say that woman is not allowed to drive, that is farther from the truth. While it’s true that a lot of Muslim country treat woman as property rather than their part of life, like the Saudi Arabia banning of woman from driving, all of this does not have a place in the Koran. To be honest with you, they are all just woman interpretation and have nothing to do with Sharia.

 

  1. Demands extreme punishments

It’s true we still have the stoning, amputation of hand in stealing and all forms of brutal punishment against tan offenders this days, while this might be their own judgment it’s not what the Sharia says. Adultery attracts such punishment, but with only four eye witness and good proofs, it’s a sin and is the only thing that applies to the Sharia.

Sharia means the disciplines and principles that guide the behaviour of every Muslim and how behave, eat, talk, live peacefully, relate with community. Shariah also guide the interactions among groups, communities, and various organizations. Shariah lay the path the Muslim should follow in praising and worshiping Allah: fasting, prayers, pilgrimage and charity.

Shariah really means the right path to the watering, because without water there is no life, showing the way to Allah, as lay down by Allah, the creator of all being.


Salat

 


Salat is the ritual worship of the Muslim community; as worship through prayer, and it is distinguished from du’a, personal prayer or supplication by an individual or group. The words of salat are always in Arabic. It is derived from Syriac, or from Aramaic, where the root si’ means to bow or bend, the Arabic verb salla, to perform the salat, is derived from the noun.

The salat, one of the five pillars of the faith, is mentioned in the Qur’an as a duty performed by believers who give the Zakat, or alms. The times and regulations for the salat are given in detail in the hadith, and were eventually fixed at five times: Dawn, Noon, Afternoon, Sunset, and Night. According to tradition, Muhammad was given these instructions by Allah on the occasion of his Isra, Night Journey, to heaven.

The salat should be said in common in a mosque, especially the Noon prayer on Friday, jum’a. However, the Muslims may pray individually or in small groups, when one member is chosen as the Imam; and this may be in any ritually clean area, marked off by sutra. A prayer mat, sajjada, is commonly used. The salat must be performed facing the qibla, the direction of Mecca, which in a mosque is indicated by the mihrab.

Ritual ablution (wudu’ghusl or tayammum) precedes the salat as appropriate. Ablution is divided into distinct movements, followed by formula. First, in a standing position facing the qibla, is the pronouncement of the my(y)a, intention, to perform the salat; then the takbir followed by the Fatiha and a verse or two from the Qur’an. The movements then are ruku’, bending till the palms are level with the knees; kneeling; a prostration, supid, back again into a julus, between sitting and standing, another sujud, At most movements, the takbir is repeated. This set of movements, from the standing position to the end of the second sujud, constitutes one rak’a, the number is fixed for each prayer time. After the final rak’a, in a sitting position, the worshipper pronounces the tashahhud (profession of faith, shahada); the prayer upon the Prophet Muhammad; finally the taslima, greeting, Al-Salam “alaykum” (Peace be upon you), even when the person is alone. Extra rak’as may be added by the individual. The ritual may vary slightly according to the madhhab, direction as to thought or teaching.

The salat, as an obligation upon all Muslims and a sign of submission and humility, and adherence to the Islamic community, is held to be a sign of the true believer, who thus, for his devout and conscientious regular worship, will gain admittance to paradise. A.G.H.


Source:

Bowker, John, The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions, New York, Oxford University Press, 1997, p. 843

Qibla

 


Qibla is, in general, the direction of Mecca, more specifically the Ka’ba, towards which each Muslim must turn in order to perform the salat validly. In a mosque the qibla is marked by the mihrab. During a journey, a compass may be used to ascertain the correct qibla; in case of necessity, the individual may use his own judgment, or the general direction may be observed.

During the early period of Islam in Mecca, the Muslims prayed facing the Ka’ba, or, according to a alternative account, toward Jerusalem; after the Hijra, for awhile Muhammad directed prayers should be said facing Jerusalem, the qibla or the Jews. Then after six months Muhammad ordered Muslims to pray facing Mecca. This is made authoritative in the Qur’an: “The foolish will say: ‘What has led them to abandon their former Qibla?’ Say: ‘The East and West belong to Allah…Then turn your face towards the holy Masjid…'” (Qur’an 2. 142-144) It is said these words were revealed to Muhammad during the morning salat at a placed called Quba, or, alternatively, during the noon salat in a mosque known as Masjid al-Qiblatayn (Mosque of the two Qiblas).

The term qibla may also be use more loosely to designate a fixed direction of prayer in any religion. A.G.H.


Source:

Bowker, John, The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions, New York, Oxford University Press, 1997, p. 784

Islamic Prayer

 


In Islam, prayer is a practical expression of the ash Shahada, the witness that there is no Allah but Allah. Since all life comes from him, the only appropriate response is thanksgiving and praise, along with penitence, and supplication. The three major forms of Islamic prayer include the salat, the obligatory prayer recited five times daily; the dhikr, a remembrance of Allah, especially developed in Sufi Islam; and the dua, a more personal calling on Allah, of which the prayers based on ya Latif, “O Gracious One,” are an example based on Qur’an 42. 19, “O Gracious One…as you were generously kind in creating the heavens and earth, and to me in the darkness of the womb, so be generously kind in your unswerving decree (qadar), and in your decisions concerning me.”

Prayers and blessings, on the Prophet are also important, following Qur’an 33. 56, “You who believe, call blessings on him and peace.” From this derives the blessing on the Prophet whenever a believer speaks or writes his name–Muhammadsalla-llahu’alayhi wa sallam, “may Allah be with him and give him peace.” The formula also is followed for other prophets including Jesus/Isa and Gabriel. A.G.H.


Source:

Bowker, John, The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions, New York, Oxford University Press, 1997, p. 763

Muhammad

 


Muhammad ibn Abd Allah (570-632) is the last of the Prophets from whose proclamation of Qur’an Islam derives. Muhammad was born in Mecca in the Year of the Elephant, or when the Assyrian army attacked Mecca. He was of the family of Banu Hishim in the tribe of Quraysh. Being born after the death of his father, he became the ward of his grandfather, Abd al-Murralib. At an early age, he experienced a visitation by two figures, later identified as angels, who “opened his chest and stirred their hands inside.” This was the first of several unusual experiences which led Muhammad increasingly to search for the truth of Allah and religion on his own.

The quest was increased when he was employed by a widow, Khadijah, to take trading caravans north to Syria, where he met Christians and Jews, especially the monk Bahier who recognized in him the signs of the promised messiah. By this time, he was under the protection of his uncle, Abu Talib, and when twenty-five he married Khadijah who was fifteen years his senior; however, the marriage proved to be both successful and happy; they had two sons who died early, and four daughters. The marriage lasted twenty-five years until Khadijah’s death, and increased Muhammad’s already considerable prestige and respect in the eyes of the Meccans. Muhammad also adopted a slave woman, Zaid ibn Harithah, who was captured in a desert raid, but he later freed her.

When at the age of forty, Muhammad began experiencing spiritual trails leading up to his divine calling. He began a habit of retreating into periods of isolation, sometimes for days or weeks, in a cave on Mount Hira outside of Mecca. Within the cave, in retrospective and contemplative periods, Muhammad began contemplating the secrets of the universe and the powers of the Divine. He did not believe in idolatry like his follow Meccans, and gradually began thinking it was more and more wrong. Also during this time, he became acquainted with the hanifs, a small group that were viewed as being mysterious. Little is known concerning them except they were exponents of pure monotheism which they traced back to Ibrahim. The group seemed more like spiritual wanderers. Some members may have been Manicheans (see Manichaenism) or orthodox Christians, like Khadijah’s cousin Waraqah.

Once when in his cave, Muhammad, while asleep, sense a mysterious presence, then he saw the figure holding a scroll covered with letters. The figure, later identified as the angel Jibril (Gabriel), ordered him to read or recite it. Muhammad replied he did not know how to read. Again the strange figure ordered him to read. “What shall I read,” asked Muhammad after the figure wrapped the scroll around the bewildered man’s neck and ordered him to read for the third time.

Read in the name of your Lord Who created; Who created man from clots of blood. Read, for your Lord is most generous Who taught by the pen. He taught man what he did not know. Man indeed transgresses if he thinks himself a law unto himself, for to your Lord all things return.

Muhammad first experienced apprehension and doubt; at first, he suspected that he had been victim of some malicious jinns, or subjected to an illusion which might destroy him. Fearing he might be insane or possessed he returned home. Khadijah kindly and lovingly accepted her husband in his confused state, giving him her full support. She told him to believe what had occurred and test the truth of it. However his depression continued until at one point it became suicidal. Again the angle appeared to him saying, “O Muhammad, verily thou art in truth the Prophet of Allah.” When hearing these words all of his doubts and depression vanished. The Revelations began coming on a more frequent basis and continued over a period of twenty-three years. Muhammad received them not only in Mecca but in Yathrib, where he was exiled, as well. All the collected Revelations eventually became the Qur’an.

From his initiating vision he saw with absolute clarity that if Allah is Allah, then there can only be what Allah is: there cannot be a God of Christians, a God of Jews, still less can there be the many deities of Mecca. It followed that the idolatry of Mecca was very wrong about Allah and must be abolished. In a sense, the whole of Islam is a footnote to this simple observation, there is only one Allah and all creation is derived from him. Therefore all humans live in corresponding unity, such as community, or umma, under Allah.

At first, during the next three years, Muhammad only conveyed the Revelations to his immediate family and friends. Then Jibril told him to begin preaching openly to the Meccans. He begun with is own clan, the Hashinites, with whom he made a few conversions. Then he expended to include all of the Quraishites. His preaching against worldliness sparked anger, resentment and finally persecution, especially among the upper classes for Muhammad was preaching against the class system with his demands for the rights of the poor. This was why many of his disciples came from among the poor, but he could not convert his uncle, Abu Talib, his former protector and guardian. Muhammad not only attacked the economic interests of Mecca, but the idolatry as well. He lashed out at such idols as Al-Lat, Al-Uzza, Manat, and the murderous Hubal hidden in the Ka’ba. He even denounced the doctrine of Jesus as the Son of Allah, saying, “Allah has taken no wife, nor has He begotten any issue.”

In 620, Muhammad experienced his most famous vision known as the Night Journey (isra) or Ascension (mi’raj) in which he was carried from the Ka’ba at Mecca to the Temple in Jerusalem on the winged horse Buraq, under the guidance of Jibril. During the vision the Prophet ascends a ladder from the Temple to the foot of the heavenly throne. Sura 17 that mentioned this event is replete with moral and practical instructions for the faithful, including the injunction to pray fives times a day. Some Muslims accept the Journey literally while others only see it as a vision; but, the event is commemorated annually.

Not surprising, his message against the upper classes was vigorously resisted in Mecca. Khadijah, Ali, Muhammad’s cousin, and his servant Zaid were the first to believe, then followed by a non-family member Ali Bakr. They all were called al-muslimun, Muslim, because of their commitment to Allah. When the crisis and persecution worsen, Muhammad was invited to Yathrib to make his way of unity a practical reconciliation between the two contesting ruling families there. He went there, the Hijar in 62, which later became the first year of the Muslim calendar, and started establishing the first community under the rule of Allah’s Revelations as the continued to be given. Such Revelations were clearly distinguished from the words which Muhammad spoke as a man, both by the change of his appearance, and through the different style of utterance-rhythmic and tied loosely by rhyme, and without exact precedent in Arabic context.

At Yathrib, now known as al-Madina, “The City,” Muhammad was joined by seventy other emigrants, the Muhajirun. The opposition from the Meccans did not cease, partly because Muhammad began raiding their caravans. It was at the battle if Badr, in 624, that a small army of Muslims defeated a much larger army of Meccans; but this defeat was reversed in 625, at the battle of Uhud, and both battles remain epitomes of faith and lack of trust. In 627, the Quraysh fail to win a siege with numbers overwhelmingly in their favor, known as the battle of the Trench, and subsequently Muhammad took the fight to his enemies, capturing Mecca in 630, and purifying it from idols. Meanwhile he had organized in Madina and relations of the new community with the surrounding tribes.

Prior to such organization there was trouble in Medina. Although a majority of Medinans accepted Islam, amany in the Jewish community refused to accept Muhammad’s actions as the fulfillment of the Mosaic Law. A number of battles were waged against the Jews who combined with various tribes. The concept of “holy war,” or jihad, was born, the dead being promised “the enjoyment of Paradise” for having fought for Allah. Eventually Muhammad triumphed, and peace was established outside of Mecca. Two years later Muhammad declared idolatry illegal in Arabia and established the Ka’ba as the center of Islamic worship and the goal for Muslim pilgrimage. Feeling his death approaching, the Prophet led ninety thousand pilgrims into Mecca to perform a series of rites which are still observed. Ascending Mount Arafat, sanctified because it was where Adam and Hawa were reunited, and the Prophet Ibrahim performed his sacrifice to Allah, Muhammad preached the last time to his people exhorting them to stay united after his death; emphasizing the reciprocal rights of man and wife; restated the proscription of usury, and announced that the Islamic year would consist of twelve lunar months without solar corrected. Then the final Revelation came to him, which he uttered, Today I have made perfect that religion; I have fulfilled my Grace upon you and I am pleased that your faith should be Islam.

Muhammad died three month later in Medina. After his death in 632, there was no heir or successor. Muhammad had at various times eleven wives and at least two concubines, but no son survived. Ali, being the nearest blood relative as Muhammad’s cousin and son-in-law since he had married one of his daughters, was the closest to being a male heir. However, Arab communities recognized two forms of leadership, one of hereditary, and the other by selecting the best man in a situation such as a crisis. In this instance the Muslim community selected a successor, khalifa, by the second method. Abu Bakr was chosen, but many thought the selection should have been Muhammad’s next of kin, Ali, and from this uncertainty the division of Islam between Sunni and Shi’a Muslims became an embittered fact a generation after Muhammad’s death.

From the standpoint of the Seal of the Prophets, Muhammad is believed to have brought the Revelation of Allah as it had been mediated through the other prophets, but before Muhammad, all communities had corrupted the Revelation for their own purposes. Therefore, after Muhammad, there can be no further prophets or Revelation because now the pure and uncorrupted Revelation exists in the world. A.G.H.


Sources:

Bowker, John, The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions, New York, Oxford University Press, 1997, pp. 662-663
Rice, Edward, Eastern Definitions: A Short Encyclopedia of Religions of the Orient, New York, Doubleday, 1978, pp, 258-265

Mandalah

 


Mandalah is an Islamic derivation from the Hindu Mandala, consisting of a drawing of an inkspot surrounded by verses from the Qur’an, with verse 50. 22 always included, on the hand of a boy. After incantations, he is enabled to see the answer to questions about things of the unknown. A.G.H.


Source:

Bowker, John, The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions, New York, Oxford University Press, 1997, p. 610