Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Quran is the delight of the heart

Allaah, the Exalted, revealed the Quran, to be a beacon of light that cannot be extinguished. It is a methodology and way of life that is perfect in all respects. In it is strength that cannot be equaled or repelled. It is the foundation of Eemaan (Faith) and the spring of knowledge. Allaah willed that the Quran be what quenches the thirst for knowledge. It is the delight of the people of wisdom. The Quran is the greatest cure for all ailments. It is Allaah's Rope that cannot be severed. It is the Wise Reminder and the truly Straight Path.
In the Quran are the parables of those who were before us, a prophesy of that which will be after us and a criterion to judge between us. It is Truth with certainty that was revealed to us. The one who lives according to its dictations will be rewarded. The one who judges according to it will be just. The one who calls to it is on the Straight Path. Allaah raises and lowers people's status based on their adherence to it. The Quran, on the Day of Judgment, will intercede on behalf of those who recited it.
Prophet Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: "The one who reads a single letter from the Book of Allaah will be rewarded with one good deed. (Know that) A good deed is multiplied ten times over. I do not say Alif Laam Meem is one letter. Verily, Alif is one letter, Laam is one letter, Meem is one letter." [At-Tirmithi]
The Book of Allaah to mankind's guidance is like the soul in relation to the body. Therefore, he who abandons its recitation and does not act in accordance to its laws is in a state of spiritual death. Allaah Almighty Says (what means): "And is one who was dead and We gave him life and made for him light by which to walk among the people like one who is in darkness, never to emerge there from?" [Quran 6:122]
A person without Quran is like a person without water, air and medicine. Allaah, the Most Exalted, Says (what means): "And We send down of the Quran, that which is healing and mercy for the believers, but it does not increase the wrongdoers except in loss." [Quran 17:82]
The Quran is a healing for the body and the soul. Whenever life becomes hard and complicated, the Light of the Quran will always brighten the way. It will be a source of solace and tranquility. It will be a defender to you when you are powerless and in need. When the Muslim recites the Quran, he will feel matchless tranquility in his heart and being. This causes him only to fear Allaah alone.
Allaah Almighty Says (what means): "Those to whom people [i.e. hypocrites] said, 'Indeed, the people have gathered against you, so fear them.' But it [merely] increased them in faith, and they said, 'Sufficient for us is Allaah, and [He is] the best Disposer of affairs.' So they returned with favor from Allaah and bounty, no harm having touched them. And they pursued the pleasure of Allaah, and Allaah is the Possessor of great bounty. That is only Satan who frightens [you] of his supporters. So fear them not, but fear Me, if you are [indeed] believers." [Quran 3:173-175]
Sadly, many have not taken this Quran into consideration and have neglected its recitation and implementation. They sought the worldly life and neglected the Hereafter. Allaah Says (what means): "And if you obey most of those upon the earth, they will mislead you from the way of Allaah. They follow not except assumption, and they are not but falsifying." [Quran 6:116]
Tragically, there are those who recite the Quran in its entirety and finish with little more than with what they began with in terms of contemplation and action. Some are so concerned with how they sound, they beautify their voice without ever listening to what is being ordered or prohibited. Truly, there are many reciters of the Quran that the Quran is free from them and their evil. They recite the Quran and are oppressive to themselves and others by not following its orders or forbidding its prohibitions.
Nothing is more valuable to a Muslim in his worldly life and in the Hereafter than reciting the Quran and reflecting and trying to comprehend its meaning. In doing so, an individual will become acquainted with what is good and what is evil. He will see the effects of disobedience of Allaah and its punishment in the parables of those who have come before us. An example of such a punishment is the flood that was sent upon the people of Nooh (Noah)  may  Allaah  exalt  his  mention and others similar to it. It is a source of inspiration and it strengthens one's belief in Allaah. For this reason, Allaah Says (what means):  "…And when His (Allaah's) verses (Quran) are recited to them, it increases them in faith; and upon their Lord they rely." [Quran 8:2]
This Book was sent and revealed from above the seven Heavens so that it could be comprehended and implemented, it is not just to be recited while the heart is pre-occupied. Allaah Almighty Says (what means):
"This is a blessed Book which We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad, sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam], that they might reflect upon its verses and that those of understanding would be reminded." [Quran 38:29]
What has happened to our hearts? Why are our hearts locked out and unresponsive to the Quran? Why do the words enter from one ear and exit out the other? Why have our hearts hardened? Let us comprehend the Quran and implement it in our lives. Let us be from those who implement the Quran in our days and recite it during our nights.

The purpose of creation - I

The purpose of creation is a topic that puzzles every human being at some point in his or her lifetime. Everybody, at some time or another, asks themselves the question: "Why do I exist?" or "For what purpose am I here on earth?"

The variety and complexity of the intricate systems, which constitute the fabric of both human beings and the world in which they exist, indicate that there must have been a Supreme Being who created them. Design indicates a designer. When human beings come across footprints on a beach, they immediately conclude that a human being had walked by there some time previously.

No one imagines that the waves from the sea settled in the sand and by chance produced a depression looking exactly like human footprints. Nor do humans instinctively conclude that they were brought into existence without a purpose. Since purposeful action is a natural product of human intelligence, humans conclude that the Supreme Intelligent Being who created them must have done so for a specific purpose. Therefore, human beings need to know the purpose for their existence in order to make sense of this life and to do what is ultimately beneficial for them.

Throughout the ages, however, there has been a minority among humans who have denied the existence of God. Matter, in their opinion, is eternal and mankind is merely a chance product of accidental combinations of its elements. Consequently, for them there was no answer to the question: "Why did God create man?" According to them, there simply is no purpose to existence. However, the vast majority of humankind over the ages have believed and continue to believe in the existence of a Supreme Being who created this world with a purpose. For them it was, and still is, important to know about the Creator and the purpose for which He created human beings.

Why did God create man?
To answer the question: "Why did God create man?" it must first be determined from which perspective the question is being asked. From the point of view of God it would mean: "What caused God to create human beings?" While from the human point of view it would mean: "For what purpose did God create humans?" Both points of view represent aspects of the intriguing question: "Why do I exist?"

In the following pages, both aspects of the question will be explored based on the clear picture painted by divine revelation. This is not a topic for human speculation, because human guesswork cannot possibly produce the whole truth in this matter. How can human beings intellectually deduce the reality of their existence when they can hardly understand how their own brain or its higher entity, the mind, functions?

Consequently, the numerous philosophers who have speculated on this question through the ages have come up with innumerable answers, all of which are based on assumptions, which cannot be proven. Questions on this topic have even led a number of philosophers to claim that we do not really exist and that the whole world is imaginary.

For example, the Greek philosopher Plato (428-348 CE) argued that the everyday world of changeable things, which man comes to know by the use of his senses, is not the primary reality, but is a shadow world of appearances.

Many others, claimed and continue to claim that there is no purpose for the creation of humans at all. According to them, human existence is merely a product of chance. There can be no purpose if life evolved from non-living matter, which only became animate by pure luck. Humankind's supposed 'cousins,' the monkeys and apes, are not bothered with questions of existence, so why should human beings be bothered with them?!

The necessity of the answer
Although most people put the question of why we are created aside after occasional brief reflection, it is extremely critical for human beings to know the answer. Without knowledge of the correct answer, human beings become indistinguishable from the other animals around them. The animal needs and desires like eating, drinking and procreating become the purpose of human existence by default, and human effort is then focused to this limited sphere.

When material satisfaction develops into the most important goal in life, human existence becomes even more degraded than that of the lowest of animals. Human beings will consistently misuse their God-given intelligence when they lack knowledge of their purpose of existence. The degraded human mind uses its abilities to create drugs and bombs and becomes engrossed in fornication, pornography, homosexuality, fortune-telling etc.

Without knowledge of the purpose of life, human existence loses all meaning and is consequently wasted, and the reward of an eternal life of happiness in the hereafter is completely destroyed. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance that human beings correctly answer the question: "Why are we here?"

How to know the answer
Humans most often turn to other human beings like themselves for answers. However, the only place that clear and precise answers to these questions can be found is in the books of Divine Revelation. It was necessary that God reveal the purpose to man through His prophets, may Allaah exalt their mention, because human beings are incapable of arriving at the correct answers by themselves. All of the prophets of God taught their followers the answers to the question: "Why did God create man?"

From the perspective of humankind, the question "Why did God create man?' implies: "For what purpose was man created?" In the final revelation (i.e. The Holy Quran), this question is answered without any ambiguity. God informed humans that every human being is born with an innate consciousness of God.

In Chapter Al-A'raaf, Allaah Says (what means): "[Remember] when your Lord extracted from the loins of Aadam's children their descendants and made them testify (saying): 'Am I not your Lord?' They said: 'Yes, we testify to it.' [This was] in case you say on the Day of Judgment: 'We were unaware of this.' Or you say: "It was our ancestors who worshipped others besides God and we are only their descendants. Will you then destroy us for what those falsifiers did?'"
[Quran 7: 172-3]

The Prophet Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) explained that when Allaah created Aadam (Adam)  may  Allaah  exalt  his  mention He took from him a covenant at a place called Na'maan on the 9th day of the 12th month. He then extracted from Aadam  may  Allaah  exalt  his  mention all of his descendants who would be born until the end of the world, generation after generation, and spread them out before Him to take a covenant from them. He spoke to them, making them bear witness that He was their Lord.

Consequently, every human being is responsible for belief in God, which is imprinted on each and every soul. It is based on this inborn belief that Allaah defined the purpose of humankind's creation in Chapter Ath-Thaariyaat (which means): "I have created the jinn and humankind only for My worship." [Quran 51: 56]

We are here to worship God
Thus, the essential purpose for which humankind was created is the worship of God. However, the Almighty is not in need of human worship. He did not create human beings out of a need on His part. If not a single human worshipped God, it would not diminish His Glory in any way, and if all of mankind worshipped Him, it would not increase His Glory in any way. God is Perfect. He alone exists without any needs. All created beings have needs. Consequently, it is humankind that needs to worship God.

Penal laws in Islam

In Islam, there are specific penal laws for major crimes. The underlying principles here are the following. Firstly, no matter how ideal a religion is, there will be some forms of transgression by some persons. Secondly, there are major crimes that need major punishments.
The major transgressions, according to Islam, are murder, highway robbery, theft, adultery, and false accusation of adultery. These transgressions affect the individual and the society and create a state of confusion and insecurity.
The principles that govern penal laws in Islam are:

1. The punishment should be effective enough to deter the crime.
2. Punishment is necessary, though disliked.
3. Punishment is a means to social security.

The Penalty for Murder:
As for murder, the Islamic punishment for intentional murder is the execution of the murderer. Pardoning is possible if the closest relative of the murdered person accepts blood-money. However, if murder is unintentional, blood-money takes the place of the death sentence.
In countries that have abolished capital punishment, we notice that such a cancellation has ended up with more murders and more murderers. Any toleration of murders will encourage more murders and the result is the loss of security.
In countries that apply the death sentence for murder, one notices that such a sentence minimises the cases of murder. When a person knows that he will be killed if he kills, he will think at least a thousand times before he considers committing a murder.

Islam legislated killing as a punishment for murder fourteen centuries ago. Allaah is the Most Merciful: man need not wait centuries until sociologists finish their research on the subject or until parliaments vote for a solution!

Allaah, through the Holy Quran, shows us the right way that provides society with security: intentional murder is punished by killing the murderer. Although killing is a severe punishment, it is fair because murder itself is an even more severe action and such a punishment is necessary because without it more murders are encouraged.

The Penalty for Highway Robbery:
Another crime that is specified in the Quran is highway robbery. The punishment of a highway robber may take one of these forms depending on the seriousness of the case. The robber may be put to death, or crucified, or have his hand and leg cut off on opposite sides, or imprisoned.
Of course, highway robbers threaten the security of the society, endanger the lives of individuals, and rob persons of their money. If such persons are punished softly, the result is more and more robbers as is the case of countries that deal with such criminals leniently.

On the contrary, in a country like Saudi Arabia, which applies Islamic penal laws, we find that the cases of murder and robbery are the fewest in the whole world. We must remember that the function of the punishment is double: the criminal himself is punished for what he has committed and other persons in the same community are warned not to commit similar crimes.

The Penalty for Theft:
The other crime that is specified in the Quran is theft. As we know, Islam emphasises the individual's safety with regard to his life, property, and honour. Any threat to these three entities is severely punished by Islam. A person who kills another or robs him is severely punished because this is the only way to guarantee security for every individual.
Concerning theft, Islam legislates cutting the thief's hand off as a maximum punishment and under certain conditions. In countries that apply this punishment, like Saudi Arabia, we notice that theft is a very rare occurrence. The judge decides the seriousness of the case and decides if the thief should get the maximum penalty or not, according to certain conditions and restrictions.

When a person knows that he will lose his hand if he uses it in stealing, this makes stealing a rare possibility. The implication of such a punishment is this: each organ in the body must be used cleanly, honourably, and legally. The function of the hand is not stealing. If the hand is used to threaten other people, it is a dangerous hand and the judge is entitled to reconsider its existence.
The other implication of cutting the hand off is to give the thief and other people a permanent example and a continuous reminder of the fate of thieves. In countries that merely imprison the thief, the thief himself may steal again after being released from prison.
The Penalty for Adultery:
Another major crime in Islamic law is adultery. The Holy Quran tells us that the adulterer or the adulteress is to be flogged one hundred stripes while being witnessed by some people. The idea of letting some people witness the carrying out of the punishment is to add to the psychological effect of flogging on the culprit. If the adulterer or adulteress is married, the penalty is stoning to death, according to certain strict conditions.
The position of Islam with regard to adultery is clear. If adultery is punished softly or not punished at all, the result will be destructive to the family structure. The family, according to Islam, is the best structure that secures happiness, security, loyalty, and belongingness to the husband, the wife, and children. Therefore, this family must be protected from all dangers and threats. One threat to the family surely comes from adultery. That is why Islam punishes adultery severely in order to penalise offenders and to deter others.
In countries that are lenient with adultery, before and after marriage, the result is obvious for all of us. Those countries have frequent divorces, frequent cases of rape, countless cases of nervous breakdown caused by divorce, murders accompanying rape, and a series of psychological and mental complications.
According to Islam, all physical needs must be organised and all psychological needs must be guaranteed. Eating is a need, but it must be regulated; otherwise, a person may starve or explode out of overeating. The same applies to the sexual need; this need must be satisfied and organised at the same time. The only safe solution is the Islamic one: sexual satisfaction through marriage only. This solution has no single bad side effect. On the contrary, free sex satisfies the sexual need, but it has a countless number of ill-effects that harm the family, adults, and children.

The Penalty for False Accusation of Adultery:
The other major crime is the false accusation of a woman of adultery. The punishment of a false accuser is flogging him eighty stripes and not admitting evidence from him throughout his life.
This severe punishment for a false accusation of adultery is justifiable on the basis that this accusation has a destructive influence on the woman involved. If she is married, she may be divorced in addition to the disgrace that will follow her and her family. If she is not married, this accusation may block the way of marriage in front of her.
As we have said, Islam puts high emphasis on an individual's life, property, and honour. Any threat to a person's life, property, or honour is severely punished by Islamic law.
Of course, offences are more than five. Those five mentioned here are the major ones. Because murder, robbery, theft, adultery, and false accusation of adultery are the major crimes, the Quran mentions them and specifies the punishment for each. Other crimes and offences are punished according to what the judge sees in the light of the spirit and text of penal laws.
As we can see, Islam is not a system of prayers and fasting only. It is a system that regulates worship, penal laws, marriage and divorce, inheritance, taxes, eating, clothing, and social relations. In brief, Islam is a comprehensive system that regulates all the aspects of human life, guides man to the best solutions to his major problems, and helps man to avoid problems in the first place.
[From: Towards Understanding Islam, By Sayyid Abul A'la Maududi]

The miracle of honey as an alternative medicine

Honey is a sweet and viscous fluid produced by honeybees from the nectar of flowers. "The definition of honey stipulates a pure product that does not allow for the addition of any other substance. This includes, but is not limited to, water or other sweeteners," according to the United States National Honey Board 2003 and other nations' food regulations. Honey is significantly sweeter than table sugar and has attractive chemical properties for baking. Honey has a distinctive flavor which leads some people to prefer it over sugar and other sweeteners.
Liquid honey does not spoil. Because of its high sugar concentration, it kills most bacteria by crenation. Natural airborne yeasts cannot become active in it because the moisture content is too low. Natural, raw honey varies from 14% to 18% moisture content. As long as the moisture content remains under 18%, virtually no organism can successfully multiply to significant amounts in honey, though, importantly, enough bacteria survive to make honey dangerous for infants (especially Clostridium botulinum).
The study of pollens and spores in raw honey (melissopalynology) can determine floral sources of honey. Because bees carry an electrostatic charge, and can attract other particles, the same techniques of melissopalynology can be used in area environmental studies of radioactive particles, dust, or particulate pollution.
A main effect of bees collecting nectar to make honey is pollination, which is crucial for flowering plants.
Islam and honey
More than 1400 years ago Allaah and His messenger  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) told us that honey can heal a variety of medical problems.
Allaah Says (what means): "And the Lord inspired the bee, saying: Take your habitations in the mountains and in the trees and in what they erect. Then, eat of all fruits and follow the ways of your Lord made easy (for you)'. There comes forth from their bellies a drink of varying colors wherein is healing for men. Verily in this is indeed a sign for people who think." [Quran 16:68-69]
The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) has also told us of the healing found within honey for a variety of medical problems, including stomach ailments. It is reported by Al-Bukhaari  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him that a man came to the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) because his brother had a stomach disorder. The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: "Let him drink honey." The man returned a second time complaining that no improvement happened in his brother’s case, and again the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) responded: "Let him drink honey." The man returned again, and said: "I have done that but to no avail." Thereupon the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) responded: "Allaah has said the truth, but your brother's stomach has told a lie. Let him drink honey." He drank it and was cured.
It is also reported that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: "Make use of the two remedies: honey and the Quran." (At-Tirmithi)
Modern medicine has only recently discovered the fact that honey is a remedy to many diseases. Traditional uses of honey have included honey mixed with lemon for sore throats. Honey coats the throat and reduces throat irritation. Research has already shown that honey blocks the growth of oral bacteria.
Honey has also been used for stomach pains and problems. Modern research shows that honey is effective when used in the treatment of gastric or peptic stomach ulcers. Research has also revealed that honey is effective in the treatment of various wounds and infections because of its antimicrobial (antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal) properties.
Researchers are not absolutely sure why honey heals but they are learning new things about honey everyday. As mentioned in the beginning, honey contains a variety of sugars and minerals. Honey is also considered an antioxidant. This means it allows the blood to circulate better and provide more oxygen to areas of the body such as the brain.
Honey can also be used externally to promote healing when applied to wounds, even postoperative wounds. Honey has also been effective in its use to treat burns. It has even been shown to be low in calories and useful as a sweetener for diabetics, people with heart disease or those overweight.
Although there is healing in honey for a variety of medical disorders, certain precautions should be taken:
1-     Children under the age of one year should not be given honey due to the possibility of infant botulism. This type of food poisoning can be deadly, however, it only seems to affect infants under one year of age.
2-     If you have any known allergies to specific plants, then you should make sure the honey you are using is not produced from that plant.
3-     People with allergies to bee stings should be careful when using other bee-related products such as propolis or royal jelly.
However, if these precautions are followed, then honey may, Allaah willing provide healing for you.
Muslims acknowledge and accept that Allaah and His Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) know better and that our Creator Has revealed the truth. Therefore, we study the research that is available, not to confirm or deny the truth that has been revealed by Allaah and his Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) but to learn of new ways we can use honey.

Who is a Muslim

The word "Muslim" means one who submits to the will of God. The first principle of Islam is known as the Shahaadah (Testimony of Faith), and is as follows: "There is no one worthy of worship except Allaah (God)  and Muhammad is the Final Apostle (Messenger) of God.”

In a broader sense, anyone who willingly submits to the will of God is a Muslim. Thus, all the prophets preceding Prophet Muhammad,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ),  are considered Muslims.
One cannot judge Islam by looking at those individuals who have a Muslim name, but in their actions, they are not living or behaving as Muslims. Muslims are ordinary people like other humans; among them are the good and the bad. They are not infallible creatures and, therefore, make mistakes.  
When we mention the characteristics of a Muslim, we do not assume that all Muslims have these characteristics, but only those who follow -- to the best of their abilities -- the teachings of Islam.
We can thus summarize the teachings of Islam about the Muslim character concisely in the following way:
  • A Muslim is truthful, not dishonest
  • He is humble, not arrogant
  • He is moderate, not an extremist
  • He is honest, not corrupt
  • He is reserved, not garrulous
  • He is soft-spoken, not boastful
  • He is loving and solicitous to others, not unmindful of them
  • He is considerate and compassionate, not harsh
  • He is polite and helpful, not insulting and disrespectful to people
  • He is generous and charitable, not selfish and miserly
  • He is refined and gentle in speech, not prone to swearing or cursing
  • He is cheerful and generous, not bitter and resentful
  • He is grateful for what he has, not ungrateful
  • He is cheerful and pleasant, not irritable and gloomy
  • He is chaste and pure, not lustful
  • He is alert, not absent-minded
  • He is dignified and decent, not graceless
  • He is sincere and straightforward, not hypocritical
  • He is optimistic and hopeful, not cynical or pessimistic
  • He is confident and deep in faith, not doubtful and wavering
  • He is spiritually oriented, not materialistic
  • He always has faith in God’s mercy, not losing heart or becoming desperate
  • He is diligent and vigilant, not negligent to his duties
  • He is thankful to God and constantly prays to Him, not forgetful of His innumerable blessings  
The Muslim personality is balanced. He pays due attention to his body’s needs and his outward appearance, without letting it distract him from nurturing his inner characteristics, as befits man whom God has honored and made His angels prostrate to him, and subjugated for his benefit all that is in the heaven and earth. The Muslim is also concerned with that which will form sound intellectual development and ways of thinking, so that he understands the nature and essence of things. He does not forget that man is not only composed of body and mind, but he also possesses a soul and a spirit, and feels a longing for higher things that makes him rise above this materialistic life and ascend the heights of goodness, virtue and light. Therefore, he pays as much attention to his spiritual development as he does to his physical and intellectual development, in a precisely balanced fashion, which does not concentrate on one aspect to the disadvantage of others.

With his parents, he is an example of sincere filial piety, good treatment, infinite compassion, politeness and deep gratitude.

With his wife, he is an example of good and kind treatment, intelligent handling, deep understanding and proper fulfillment of his responsibilities and duties.

With his children, he is a parent who understands his great responsibility towards them. Although he floods them with love and compassion, he pays attention to things that may affect their Islamic upbringing.

With his relatives, he maintains the ties of kinship and knows his duties toward them. He understands the high status given to relatives in Islam, which makes him remain in touch with them regardless of the circumstances.

With his neighbors, the true Muslim is an example of good treatment and consideration of others’ feelings and sensitivities. He puts up with mistreatment and turns a blind eye to his neighbor’s faults while avoiding committing any such errors himself. He always adopts the Islamic attitude, whereby treating neighbors well was made a basic principle of Islam. His relationship with his brothers and friends is the best and purest of relationships, for it is based on love for the sake of God. This pure, sincere, brotherly love derives its purity from the guidance of the Quran and Sunnah (traditions and approved actions of Prophet Muhammad,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention )) that became a unique system in the history of human relations.

In his social relationships with all people, he is well mannered, civil and noble, characterized by the attitudes which Islam encourages. Good behavior which is taught in the Quran and Sunnah, has been made a religious duty in Islam, for which man will be brought to account.

 This is the clear, beautiful picture of the Muslim whose personality has been formed by Islam and whose heart, mind and soul are filled with its divine light.

The development of a society is not measured solely in terms of its scientific achievements and material inventions. There is another, more important standard by which a society is measured. That is the prevalence of human values such as love, empathy, altruism, sacrifice, uprightness and purity of thought, behavior and dealings with others.

If individuals are the basis of a society, then rightly guided societies pay attention to human development and enhance the positive, constructive aspects while seeking to eliminate evil, destructive motives, so that the individual will become a model citizen. It is from groups of such model citizens that clean, civil, strong, healthy, righteous societies are formed.

Equality in Islam

One basic element in the value system of Islam is the principle of equality or equity. This value of equality is not to be mistaken for or confused with identicalness or stereotype. Islam teaches that in the sight of Allaah Almighty, all people are equal, but they are not necessarily identical. There are differences of abilities, potentials, ambitions, wealth and so on.
The limitations in these examples are natural. The social limitations are those imposed by society as a result of experience and practice; in the final analysis, they are intellectual attitudes related to the previously mentioned traits. There is, for instance, the established difference between the ignorant and the learned. No one would assign major responsibilities that are crucial to the community to an ignorant person.
Yet, none of these differences can by themselves, establish the status of superiority of one man or race over another. The stock of man, the color of his skin, the amount of wealth he has and the degree of prestige he enjoys have no bearing on the character and personality of the individual as far as Allaah is concerned. The only distinction, which Allaah recognizes is the distinction in piety; the only criterion which Allaah applies, is the criterion of goodness and spiritual excellence. In the Quran, Allaah Almighty Says (what means): "O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female, and have made you into nations and tribes, that you may know one  another. Indeed the most honored of you in the sight of Allaah is the most righteous. Indeed, Allaah is Knowing and Acquainted" [Quran 49:13]
This is to assert that in Islam, no nation is created to be above other nations or to rise above them. Man's worth in the eyes of men and in the eyes of Allaah is determined by the good he does, and by his obedience to Allaah.
The differences of race, color or social status are only incidental. They do not affect the true stature of man in the sight of Allaah. Again, the value of equality is not simply a matter of constitutional rights or the agreement of noblemen or condescending charity. It is an article of faith, which the Muslim takes seriously and to which he must adhere sincerely. The foundations of this Islamic value of equality are deeply rooted in the structure of Islam. It stems from basic principles such as the following:
(1) All men are created by One and the Same Eternal God, the Supreme Lord of all.
(2) All mankind belong to the human race and share equally in the common parentage of Aadam (Adam)  may  Allaah  exalt  his  mention and Eve.
(3) Allaah is Just and Kind to all His creatures. He is not partial to any race, age or religion. The whole Universe is His Dominion and all people are His creatures.
(4) All people are born equal, in the sense that no one brings any possession with him; and they die equal in the sense that they take back nothing of their worldly belongings.
(5) Allaah judges every person on the basis of his own merits and according to his own deeds.
(6) Allaah has conferred on man, a title of honor and dignity.
Such are some of the principles behind the value of equality in Islam. When this concept is fully utilized, it will leave no place for prejudice or persecutions. And when this Divine ordinance is fully implemented, there will be no room for oppression or suppression. Concepts of chosen and gentile peoples, words such as ‘privileged’ and ‘condemned’ races, expressions such as “social castes” and “citizens” will all become meaningless and obsolete.
Prophet Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: "O mankind, your Lord is One and your father is one. You all descended from Aadam, and Aadam was created from earth. He is most honored among you in the sight of God who is most upright. No Arab is superior to a non-Arab, no colored person to a white person, or a white person to a colored person except by Taqwa (piety)." [Ahmad and At-Tirmithi ]
In another narration, the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) was asked: "Who among men is most favored by Allaah?' He,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) replied: "A man who does the most good to people." [At-Tabaraani ]Therefore, it would be unrealistic to assert the absolute equality of human beings, although humans are basically equal in rights, duties and accountability, and there is some degree of similarity in physical and mental traits, which enables them to understand and apply rules and laws. At the same time, it is obvious that there is a natural diversity among human beings in terms of traits and talents; therefore there will be limitations in natural, social and political positions. Some of the limitations are temporary, some permanent; some are infrequent, some frequent. However, a limitation is specific to a particular situation. It may not be generalized to inequality in other rights. A person who is morally upright is not equal to a crook in terms of morality, but they may be equal otherwise. Nor is an intelligent person equal to a dull one, but they are equal in other spheres. In the same way, a woman is not identical to man in her traits, gifts and abilities.

Some misconceptions about women in Islam – II

Islam considers marriage a basis for the Islamic family, since it develops bonds of love and caring and a secure atmosphere for the growth and progress of the human race. This, in turn, produces a sound society. This is why the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) taught us in a narration, that although classified ‘weak’, has a valid and important meaning. He  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: "The most detestable of all lawful things in the sight of Allaah is divorce."However, this does not mean that divorce is prohibited. On the contrary, it can sometimes be the best alternative. Divorce is a right for both women and men if their problems cannot be solved. Two French legislators, Planoil and Ripert, have said: "Divorce is a mischief. However, it is a measure that cannot be avoided for the welfare of the community, because it is the only remedy for another harm which may be more dangerous, i.e. murder."
The above statement applies to cases where the husband and wife have lost their love for each other and where harmony in the marriage is over. Indeed, any other alternative will make them unhappy and will affect their children in the long run.

In these cases, Islam advises the couple to try to reconcile their differences in the presence of some immediate relatives belonging to both sides. If they are unable to do so, they are instructed to seek counseling through a third party, such as friends or other relatives. If there is still no solution, then they should seek a solution through a judge.
The judge will advise the couple to be patient and think of the children. However, if the problem remains unsolved, the family life becomes unbearable and the children are affected, then divorce becomes the only alternative, to enable them to have other spouses.
When it is inescapable, divorce is neither harmful to men nor to women. It is also definitely not unjust to women.
 First, the couple must seek divorce in an amicable way. They are instructed to separate without hard feelings towards each other. They should keep a minimum of understanding that will secure the children's situation after the divorce.
The Quran says (what means): "Divorce is twice. Then [after that], either keep [her] in an acceptable manner or release [her] with good treatment. And it is not lawful for you to take anything of what you have given them unless both fear that they will not be able to keep [within] the limits of Allaah, and then there is no blame upon either of them concerning that by which she ransoms herself. These are the limits of Allaah, so do not transgress them. And whoever transgresses the limits of Allaah -- it is those who are the wrongdoers [i.e. the unjust]."  [Quran 2: 229]

In Islam, the woman is not neglected after the divorce. Indeed husbands are instructed to provide housing to the divorced wife until her waiting period is completed, as in the saying of Allaah (which means): "Lodge them (During their waiting period (referring to wives whose divorce has been pronounced) [in a section] of where you dwell out of your means and do not harm them in order to oppress them (so that they would be forced to leave or to ransom themselves). And if they should be pregnant, then spend on them until they give birth. And if they breastfeed for you, then give them their payment and confer among yourselves in the acceptable way; but if you are in discord, then there may breastfeed for him [i.e. the father] another woman." [Quran: 65:6]
Finally, although it is true that only men are allowed to pronounce divorce, yet a woman has the right to ask for a divorce, which is called ‘Khul’. In this case, she has to return the dowry given by the husband, so that he utters the divorce.
In Islam, one male witness equals two females: The Quran says (what means): "And get two witnesses out of your men. If there are not two men, then a man and two women such as you choose [maybe in place of two men as the witnesses]; so that if one of the women errs, the other one will remind her..." [Quran 2:282]
Here again, many people tend to denounce Islamic principles as unjust to women. They tend to interpret this requirement as proof of men's superiority over women. Again, this assumption is not true. In fact, various psychological and biological studies conducted on the psyche and hormonal functions of women, have proved that men generally tend to react more rationally and less emotionally, than women.
In cases of crime, for example, torn bodies and pouring blood are more likely to spur an emotional reaction among women than among men. This reaction is alone capable of distorting the female's perception and/or memory.
On the other hand, men are also bound by rules concerning their testimony. For instance, they must not be parents, friends or enemies of the accused. Can we then conclude that, if it was the case for women, that male parents and friends of the accused must be considered inferior too? Of course, they are not.
Finally, one should note that there are matters where a woman is the only witness required. These are related to areas where women are the experts, for example, in issues of breast feeding, bringing up children and the question of kinship (who is her child's father).
The Veil

How many times have you seen an educated veiled woman, working and acting normally on television ? Very, very rarely. On the other hand, how many times have you seen a veiled woman being hit by her husband, in tears or fighting and rioting along with fundamentalists?
Just think: What does a black 'Hijaab' veil evoke in your mind? Certainly not the image it is meant to evoke -- religious commitment and peaceful, deep-rooted faith. How many times have you seen a veiled young girl and said: "Haraam! Poor thing! She has not seen the world yet..." Is all this just a coincidence?

Veiled women today are either associated with alienation or fundamentalism. They are either looked upon with pity or fear. Have people ever asked the question: Where is the woman's will to surrender to God in this? Where is her choice of protecting her dearest possession, her body?

When Islam ordered women to wear the veil, it did it to privilege her, not constrain her:
The Quran says (what means): "O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw upon them their over-garments. That is more appropriate so that they may be recognized and not molested." [Quran 33: 59]
The above verses show that Islam aims to protect women from being considered sexual objects. It instructs women to uncover their faces in front of their husband, close relatives whom she cannot marry (Mahaarim) and other women. In front of strangers, she must conceal everything but her face and hands.
Why does one need to show a semi-clad woman in a car's advertisement? Why do we not see a veiled woman? In the first case, because the advertisers are trying to sell the image of the woman with the car. Unconsciously, you buy the car wishing it will provide you with such a "babe." In the second case, the woman has refused to be treated as an object for trade and has worn the veil, a sign of dignity rather than humiliation.

Summarized from: What Does She Expect Better? By: IIPH

Some Misconceptions about Women in Islam -I

Islam gave women rights and privileges at a time when only barbaric manners and values dominated.
Yet, some people argue that Islam has alienated women in some domains. In fact, this belief is a misconception. People who say so,
may have read about it in a magazine or seen it on TV. A quick examination of the issues judged as unjust to women will certainly correct the misunderstanding.

Man as the head of the household:

Some people believe that a woman in Islam is regarded as inferior to man since the Quran says (what means):
"Men have one degree above women."
[Quran 2: 228]

In fact, to understand this Quranic verse, you should see another one, related to the issue in question. It reveals the wisdom behind this concept.

·       Polygyny might be the solution for a couple if the wife is barren, the husband wants children of his own and the option of separation does not appeal to both parties.
·       If a woman is chronically ill and is unable to perform her marital duties. Polygyny may also be the solution when the couple does not want divorce.
·       Polygyny is the religion's answer to cases where some men have excessive sexual needs that cannot be fulfilled by one wife. This in no way means that men should abuse this right and use it whenever they fancy a woman. It is rather a chance Islam has provided to prevent men from committing adultery. Many people who condemn polygyny cheat on their wives, calling this phenomenon a 'swift affair.' Islam, at least, has offered the second woman the option of being called 'a wife' rather than 'a mistress', especially in some countries where women remarkably outnumber men.
·       Polygyny may settle the problem of an increased number of unmarried women, especially during wars.
However, polygyny has some limits and conditions to be met. Indeed, the Quran instructs the man to be fair with his wives on all levels, including treatment, money, house, etc. The only level where the man may have an uneven stance is the level of the feelings that he cannot control:
The Quran says (what means): "You will never be able to do perfect justice between wives even if it is your ardent desire, so do not incline too much to one of them [by giving her more of your time and provision] so as to leave the other hanging [i.e. neither divorced nor married]. And if you do justice, and do all that is right and fear Allaah by keeping away from all that is wrong, then Allaah is Ever-Forgiving and All-Merciful." [Quran 4:129]
Finally, it is worth knowing that Islam gives a woman the right to refuse polygyny for her husband by setting it as a condition during the marriage procedures. If this condition is set, then the woman is granted divorce if her husband marries another while he is still married to her.
You might ask, why could not there be polyandry (a woman having more than one husband)? The answer is simple. Islam did not allow it because Allaah is All-Aware that it will create a problem of kinship. This means that the child may not know who is actually his father (it could be anyone of the four husbands). In addition to the psychological damage it may cause, this problem also complicates the issue of inheritance. Even birds and animals do not allow polyandry.

Contribution of Islam to the world's civilization

Let us remember our great and glorious heritage by briefly surveying what Islam has already contributed to the world's civilization, education, culture and to scientific development.

Unlike Christianity where Religion and Science are two separate elements, the study of Science has always been compatible with Islam.
Many young Muslims are discouraged when they see the poor standard of living of Muslims throughout the world and their limited opportunities. They also know the undeveloped status of technology within the Muslim countries in comparison with the West. From these observations, they immediately leap to the conclusion that the Muslim countries are ‘backward’, because Islam cannot adapt itself to the changing conditions; cannot assimilate new knowledge. Some even go so far as to say that Islam is actually against progress and against scientific advancement. However, those Muslims who have studied the later part of Islamic history will know that this is a complete fallacy and misconception.

Let us do a brief review of the contribution of Islam to civilization as we know it.

Trigonometry, Sine, Tangent, Co-Tangent

The Arabs developed these functions in trigonometry and Ibn Moosaa's work Hisaab-Al Jab-Wal Muqaabala (The Calculation of Integration and Equation) presented 800 examples in the 8th century CE. His work was translated from Arabic into Latin and until the 16th century CE, it was
Europe's main textbook on the subject.

Algebra and Geometry
Muhammad bin Moosaa Al-Khawaarizmi is considered to be one of the founders of Algebra. The word ‘Algorithm’ or 'Algorizm' is a corruption of his name or the name of the town Khwaarizm (Kheva), in what is now Uzbekistan, where he was born. He adopted the use of ‘cipher’ (zero), that was devised in India some centuries earlier, a numeral of fundamental importance, leading up to the so-called arithmetic of positions and the decimal system. The very word ‘zero’ is a derivative of the Arabic ‘sifr’ or ‘cipher’. His pioneering work on the system of numerals is well known as "Algorithm," or "Algorizm." In addition to introducing the Arabic numerals, he developed several arithmetical procedures, including operations on fractions.
Another great mathematician was Omar Khayyaam, who offered to the world geometric and algebraic solutions of the second degree. Naseeruddeen wrote the treatise on quadrilateral trigonometry, as well as plain and spherical geometry.

Physics and Chemistry

Kamaaluddeen examined the refraction of sunlight in raindrops and offered an explanation of the genesis of primary and secondary rainbows. The story of the invention of the pendulum and the presentation of a water clock to Emperor Charlemagne by Haaroon Ar-Rasheed is well known.
The great historian Gibbons wrote in his Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (Volume 5) that the science of chemistry owes its origin and improvements to the Muslims.

Science of Mechanics

The development of the science of mechanics in Islam is an act of genius. Moosaa bin Shaakir described one hundred pieces of mechanical equipment in his book of artifices. Other outstanding Muslim treatises included Al Kitaab Fi Ma`rifat Al-Hiya Al-Handasiyyah (The Book of the Knowledge of Ingenious Geometrical Contrivances) by Abul Fiaz bin Al Raz and Al Kitaab Meezanal-Hikmah (The Book of Balance and Wisdom) by Al-Khazini. He also did work on accurate weighing, and determination of the specific gravity of substances.

Camera Obscura

In the field of optics, Camera Obscura was invented by Ibn Haytham in 1038 CE.

Theory of Relativity

Qaadhi Abu Bakr had developed the theory of relativity in the 8th century CE in terms of time and space by means of mathematical equations and astrophysics. Imagine, Einstein was not even born in the Western world, who propounded the same theory of relativity much later in the 20th century CE.


As far as geography was concerned, Muslim scientists established that the world was round in the 9th century CE, and the first map of the globe was made during the Caliphate of Ma’moon.

Paper Making

This was one of the earliest skills attained by the Muslims. As early as the 8th century CE, high quality paper was being manufactured in Samarqand.
Egypt was known to have its first paper mill in the year 900 CE. The earliest Arabic manuscript written on paper that has been discovered is the Ghareeb Al Hadeeth by Abu ‘Ubayed, dated 837 CE. It can be seen in Holland preserved in the library at the University of Leyden.

Advances in Industry

Under Islamic rule,
Spain was an industrial center. It was one of the wealthiest and most thickly populated of the European countries. Muslims were leading in weaving wool, producing silk, pottery, jewelry, leather and perfume industry. In the Middle Ages, world trade was commanded by Muslims and Baghdad Bukhaara and Samarqand remained centers for world fairs until the 16th century CE. The Bayt Al-Hikmah at Cairo contained two million books, the library at Tripoli contained some three million, but this library was burned down by the Christians during the first Crusade.

 Miracles of the Quran
Let us consider the hundreds of scientific facts mentioned in the Holy Quran. For example, the fact that the earth was previously a part of the sun and after its separation, it became a habitable place for humankind, as mentioned in chapter 21, verse 30. That matter is made up of sub-atomic particles (chapter 10, verse 61). That the embryo in the mother's womb in enclosed by three epithelial coverings (chapter 39, verse 6). That each human being has a unique fingerprint (chapter 75, verse 4) etc. There are thousands of other scientific facts in the Holy Quran.

Regrettably, today the West is at its peak and we have lagged behind so far. However, our downfall is not due to Islam, as the West would like us to believe, but due to our sheer neglect of Islamic principles. We must realize that Islam is undeniably the most progressive religion, which is in fact a way of life with a very wide scope.

Of course, life is a very hard struggle. However, struggle is an inbuilt instinct of human nature. Struggle is a way but not an accomplishment or attainment in itself. We should make an effort and struggle but at the same time make Du'aa. This is where Tawakkul, i.e. trust in Allaah comes because destiny supersedes thought. We must trust in Allaah for our betterment, because if success depended merely upon one’s personal struggle, then nobody in the world would be unsuccessful. Furthermore, struggle is itself predestined by Allaah. Man should do his best, then leave the rest to Allaah, Most High.

Islam and non-Muslim communities

It has always been said that the attitude of non-Muslim communities towards Islamic rule is a critical and delicate question, which many people hesitate to discuss for fear of causing dissension between Muslims and non-Muslims.
Let us be frank with the Christians of the Islamic East and put to them these questions: What do they fear from the rule of Islam? Are they afraid of the holy texts of Islam or of the manner of their application? As for the provisions, we may quote the Holy Quran (what means): “God forbids you not, with regard to those who fight you not for (your) Faith nor drive you out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them, for God loves those who are just.”  [Quran 60: 8].
And (what means): “The food of the people of the Book is lawful unto you and yours is lawful unto them. (Lawful unto you in marriage) are (not only) chaste women who are believers, but chaste women among the people of the book” [Quran 5:5].
We should also refer to the general principle in Islamic jurisprudence: “They shall have the same obligations and rights as we”. The Islamic holy texts enjoin Muslims to treat non-Muslims in a kind and fair manner. Apart from the rights and obligations involving worship, they are equal to Muslims with respect to all other rights and obligations related to social life and the rights of citizens. In addition, Islamic faith strives to strengthen the links connecting the non-Muslims to visit them and to eat their food, which is the custom of close friends.

Moreover, Islam tries to make the relationship grow closer by permitting inter-marriage with people of the Book, the strongest social bond, between Muslims and non-Muslims. As to the practical application of the Islamic holy texts, we quote a European Christian, who cannot be accused of bias or prejudice, Sir T.W. Arnold in his book The Preaching of Islam:

“That force was not the determining factor in these conversions, may be judged from the amicable relations that existed between the Christian and the Muslim Arabs. Muhammad himself had entered into treaty with several Christian tribes, promising them his protection and guaranteeing them the free exercise of their religion and to their clergy undisturbed enjoyment of their old rights and authority”. (pp. 47-48).

He goes on to say:

“From the examples given above of the toleration extended towards the Christian Arabs by the victorious Muslims of the first century of the Hijrah and continued by succeeding generations, we may surely infer that those Christian tribes that did embrace Islam, did so of their own choice and free will”. (P.51).

“When the Muslim army reached the valley of Jordan and Abu `Ubaydah pitched his camp at Fihl, the Christian inhabitants of the country wrote to the Arabs, saying: “O Muslims, we prefer you to the Byzantines, though they are of our own faith because you keep better faith with us and are more merciful to us and refrain from doing us injustice and your rule over us is better than theirs, for they have robbed us of our goods and our homed”. (P.55).

He also tells us: “Such was the state of feeling in Syria during the campaign of 633-639 CE in which the Arabs gradually drove the Roman army out of the province. And when Damascus, in 637 CE set the example of making terms with the Arabs, and thus secured immunity from plunder and other favorable conditions, the rest of the cities of Syria were not slow to follow. Emessa, Arethusa, Hieropolis and other towns entered into treaties whereby they became tributary to the Arabs.

Even the patriarch of
Jerusalem surrendered the city on similar terms. The fear of religious compulsion on the part of the heretical emperor made the promise of Muslim toleration appear more attractive than the connection with the Roman Empire and a Christian government, and after the first terrors caused by the passage of an invading army, there succeeded a profound revulsion of feeling in favor of the Arab conquerors.” (p.55). This is the evidence given by a Christian scholar on Islam. What is it then that the Christians fear from Islamic rule?

It may be that the Christians are afraid of Muslim fanaticism. If this is true, it seems that they have no idea of what fanaticism is. Here are a few examples of fanaticism. Courts of inquisition set up by the Christian Church were primarily meant to exterminate the Muslims of Spain. The said courts tortured Muslims in a monstrous way, which had never been experienced before. People were burned alive, their fingernails were pulled off, their eyes were put out and their limbs were amputated. This torture was inflicted in order to force the people to change their religion and adopt a particular Christian creed.

Have the Christians of Islamic East ever suffered such treatment?

Massacres are carried out for the extermination of Muslims in Europe,
Yugoslavia Albania Russia or countries under European rule such as North Africa Somalia Kenya Zanzibar or in other countries like India and Malaya. Such massacres are staged sometimes on the pretext of the purging of ranks and sometimes for the maintenance of peace and security.

Another significant example is the treatment of Muslims in
Ethiopia which has ancient historical, geographical, cultural and religious links with Egypt. It has a mixed population of Muslims and Christians. Although Muslims account for 35 to 65 percent of the total population there is not a single school where Islamic faith or Arabic is taught.

Private schools, which the Muslims open at their own expenses, are subjected to exorbitant taxes and inconveniences that lead to their closing, thus disheartening those who may think of opening new schools. In this way, Islamic teaching is confined to a primitive way of teaching.

Until very recently – just before the Italian invasion – a Muslim who could not pay a debt to his Christian creditor was taken in slavery by the Ethiopian Christians. The Muslim was caught, sold and tortured within sight of the government. It goes without saying that there is not a single Muslim in the cabinet or in any key post to represent one-third of the population. Have the Christians of the Islamic world ever experienced such a treatment? Would they accept reciprocal treatment?

That is real fanaticism.

The Communists believe that the real existence of man is essentially an economic existence. If so, have the Christians living in Islamic countries ever been denied the right to acquire and dispose of property or to amass wealth? Have they ever been denied, on account of their religious belief, the right to have education, to join public service or promotion to higher public posts?

As for the moral and spiritual existence, it should be stressed that the Christians living under Islamic rule have never been subjected to any form of religious persecution -- with the exception of the very rare incidents engendered by the British colonialists for sowing dissension and diversion. It is alleged that the imposition of tribute on non-Muslims is the result of religious discrimination. The best refutation of this baseless accusation lies in the words of T.W. Arnold, who says: “On the other hand, when the Egyptian peasants, although Muslim in faith, were made exempt from military service, a tax was imposed upon them as on the Christians in lieu thereof”.

“As stated above, the Jizyah was levied on the able-bodied males, in lieu of the military service they would have been called upon to perform had they been Musalmans; and it is very noticeable that when any Christian people served in the Muslim army, they were exempted from the payment of this tax. Such was the case with the tribe of al-Jurajimah, a Christian tribe in the neighborhood of
Antioch who made peace with the Muslims, promising them to be their allies and fight on their side in battle, on condition that they should not be called upon to pay Jizyah and should receive their proper share of the booty”.

From this it is clear that the imposition of tribute is not the result of any religious discrimination. The truth is that the tribute was imposed on all those who did not take part in military service regardless of their religious belief. It would be useful to refer in this respect to the following Holy verse (which means): “Fight those who believe not in God nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by God and His Apostle, nor acknowledge the Religion of Truth (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizyah with willing submission and feel themselves subdued”. [Quran 9: 29].

It should be pointed out that this verse refers to non-Muslims who wage war against Islam. It does not apply to the non-Muslims living in Islamic countries.

In conclusion, I should like to warn that the seeds of dissention between Muslims and non-Muslims living in Islamic countries are sown by colonialists as well as by Communists. The Communist devils address each community in accordance with its particular aspirations.

They address the working classes saying: “If you adopt Communism we shall hand over all factories to you”; while speaking to peasants, they promise to give them the lands. On talking to unemployed graduates they say: “If you become Communists you will get the jobs that fit in with your qualifications”.

As for the youth suffering from sexual repression, the Communists promise them a free society, where every one can act as one likes without intervention by law or subjection to traditions. The Communists address Christians in the following manner: “If you adopt Communism we shall destroy Islam, the religion that discriminates among people on account of their religion”. However, the Quran says (what means): “It is a grievous thing that comes from their mouths as a saying, for, what they say is nothing but falsehood” [Quran 18: 5].

It cannot be said that Islam distinguishes among people on account of their religion, because Islam confers the essential rights on all people without any distinction. Islam brings all people together on a purely human basis and at the same time guarantees them absolute freedom to adopt the religion of their choice, under its own care and protection.

Besides, as the Christians of the East are also anxious to retain their historical links with Muslims and protect their mutual interests, let us hope that they would not listen to these propagandists or dissenters.

By: Muhammad Qutub

The revolutionary role of Islam – I

As a result of ignorance the evil known as the worship of natural phenomena was born in human society. Man attributed divinity to mere creatures. He began to worship all the things in the world, holding them to be gods. Owing to this intellectual aberration, idolatry became a rooted feature of human civilization. Not even the coming of thousands of Prophets and reformers could bring about any change in this state of affairs, in the practical sense. The rejection of the Prophets brought down on the deniers the chastisement of God, but shirk (idolatry) could never be wiped out from society. Then God Almighty took it upon Himself to intervene. One major manifestation of this Divine intervention in human history was the emergence of the Prophet Muhammad, salallaahu alayhi wa sallam. An American encyclopedia has very appropriately described his coming as having “changed the course of human history.”
French historian, Henri Pirenne, has expressed it thus: ‘Islam changed the face of the globe. The traditional order of history was overthrown.”
The Quran, in defining the objective of the divine intervention, has this to say (what means): "It is He that has sent forth His Prophet with guidance and the true faith, so that he may exalt it above all religions. God is the All-sufficient witness." [Quran 48:28]
This has found expression in a hadith recorded in Saheeh Al-Bukhaari: "He will not depart from this world as God has decreed, unless and until these people are brought to the straight path."
This shows that, for the Prophets of the past, may Allah exalt their mention, communication alone was required, whereas for the Prophet Muhammad, salallaahu alayhi wa sallam, not just communication but also implementation was required.
The task of the earlier prophets was completed with the full communication of the message to the people. But the Divine plan in sending the Prophet Muhammad, salallaahu alayhi wa sallam, to the world was to bring about a practical revolution. His message could not, therefore, remain at the theoretical stage.
It being beyond human capacity to make the end result a certainty, how was the Prophet’s, salallaahu alayhi wa sallam, message to be translated into reality? It all became possible due to the special Divine succor extended to the Prophet, salallaahu alayhi wa sallam, by God Almighty. This took the form of a Divine plan which had two basic aspects to it: one, to provide the Prophet, salallaahu alayhi wa sallam, with a powerful and trustworthy team, and the other to significantly weaken the enemies of monotheism by means of a special strategy, so that the Prophet, salallaahu alayhi wa sallam, and his companions  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  them could easily dominate their opponents.
The first part of this Divine plan was brought to completion in the form of the settlement of Ismaa’eel, son of Prophet Ibraaheem, may Allaah exalt their mention, in the unpopulated desert of Arabia, two thousand five hundred years ago. At that time it was a totally isolated place situated far from the centres of civilization. There, a community was raised by Ismaaeel ibn Ibraaheem, may Allaah exalt their mention, trained in the desert atmosphere where there was nothing save nature. As a natural result of this unadulterated atmosphere, (free from all man-made pollution,) the human qualities of the inhabitants of the desert were fully preserved. It was like a vast natural training camp. It took more than two thousand years to evolve a nation of such high calibre as to be called a “nation of heroes” by a western scholar. In the history of the Arabs, this nation is known as the Ismaailites. Despite religious perversion having set in, so distinguished were they in human values—thanks to their particular training—that they had no peers among those who came before or after them.
The Prophet Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) one of the distinguished members of the Banu Ismaa’eel, struggled for about thirteen years in Makkah and ten years in Madeenah. Ultimately, more than one hundred thousand people believed in him and joined his mission. Each and every one of his companions  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  them possessed a strong and dependable character. In this way, the Prophet Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) in an exceptional way, secured a team by which he could bring the message of the Prophets, may exalt their mention, to fruition—taking the prophetic mission from the theoretical stage of ideology to the practical stage of revolution.
The next part of this Divine plan consisted of weakening these anti-monotheism forces so considerably that the last Prophet might subjugate them and usher in the desired revolution in the very first generation itself. To achieve this end, the Arabian tribes remained engaged for a long period of time in bloody, internecine warfare. Consequently, when the Prophet Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) was sent to the world, the idolatrous tribes of Arabia, having so weakened themselves, could not continue their resistance for long. This enabled the Prophet Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) to overcome Arabia and root out idolatry completely within a short period of time.
In those days there were two great empires outside of Arabia. These empires kept the major parts of Asia and Africa under their full control. Their power was so great that the Arabs could not even have dreamed of overcoming them. Despite this extremely out of proportion difference, how did it become possible for the Arabs of the very first generation, to conquer both these empires—the Sassanid and Roman—in such a decisive way as to crush them absolutely, resulting in the dominance of monotheism over idolatry throughout this region? This miracle became a reality owing to a special Divine strategy, which is paralleled by the case of the Romans:
Allaah Almighty Says what means:"The Romans have been defeated in a neighbouring land. But after their defeat they shall themselves gain victory within a few years." [Quran, 30:1-3]
History shows that from 602 to 628 A.D., extremely extraordinary events took place between these two great empires.
First, the royal families in the respective countries clashed internally with one another, and in consequence, many individuals of great political worth were killed. In fact, these feuds gave a death blow to these empires, shaking them to the very roots. Subsequently, certain factors led to the destructive collision of these empires with one another. First the armies of the Sassanid empire crossed the border of the Roman empire to attack it. Circumstances proved favourable and they succeeded to the extent that the Roman Emperor Heraclius decided to flee from his Palace in Constantinople. But again, events took a new turn. Heraclius regained his lost confidence and after making full preparations, attacked the Sassanid empire, destroyed their armed forces and penetrated right into the heart of Jerusalem.
These civil wars, lasting for about twenty five years, considerably weakened both these empires. Therefore, during the pious caliphate when the Arab forces entered the Roman and Sassanid empires, they managed to advance with great speed.