What is Madhab?Why it is necessary to follow one?

•December 28, 2008 • Leave a Comment

“The slogans we hear today about ‘following the Qur’an and sunna instead of following the madhhabs’ are wide of the mark…In reality it is a great leap backward, a call to abandon centuries of detailed, case-by-case Islamic scholarship in finding and spelling out the commands of the Qur’an and sunna,” argues Nuh Ha Mim Keller.

The word madhhab is derived from an Arabic word meaning “to go” or “to take as a way”, and refers to a mujtahid’s choice in regard to a number of interpretive possibilities in deriving the rule of Allah from the primary texts of the Qur’an and hadith on a particular question. In a larger sense, a madhhab represents the entire school of thought of a particular mujtahid Imam, such as Abu Hanifa, Malik, Shafi’i, or Ahmad–together with many first-rank scholars that came after each of these in their respective schools, who checked their evidences and refined and upgraded their work. The mujtahid Imams were thus explainers, who operationalized the Qur’an and sunna in the specific shari’a rulings in our lives that are collectively known as fiqh or “jurisprudence”. In relation to our din or “religion”, this fiqh is only part of it, for the religious knowledge each of us possesses is of three types. The first type is the general knowledge of tenets of Islamic belief in the oneness of Allah, in His angels, Books, messengers, the prophethood of Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace), and so on. All of us may derive this knowledge directly from the Qur’an and hadith, as is also the case with a second type of knowledge, that of general Islamic ethical principles to do good, avoid evil, cooperate with others in good works, and so forth. Every Muslim can take these general principles, which form the largest and most important part of his religion, from the Qur’an and hadith. The third type of knowledge is that of the specific understanding of particular divine commands and prohibitions that make up the shari’a. Here, because of both the nature and the sheer number of the Qur’an and hadith texts involved, people differ in the scholarly capacity to understand and deduce rulings from them. But all of us have been commanded to live them in our lives, in obedience to Allah, and so Muslims are of two types, those who can do this by themselves, and they are the mujtahid Imams; and those who must do so by means of another, that is, by following a mujtahid Imam, in accordance with Allah’s word in Surat al-Nahl,

” Ask those who recall, if you know not ” (Qur’an 16:43), and in Surat al-Nisa, ” If they had referred it to the Messenger and to those of authority among them, then those of them whose task it is to find it out would have known the matter ” (Qur’an 4:83), in which the phrase those of them whose task it is to find it out, expresses the words “alladhina yastanbitunahu minhum”, referring to those possessing the capacity to draw inferences directly from the evidence, which is called in Arabic istinbat. These and other verses and hadiths oblige the believer who is not at the level of istinbat or directly deriving rulings from the Qur’an and hadith to ask and follow someone in such rulings who is at this level. It is not difficult to see why Allah has obliged us to ask experts, for if each of us were personally responsible for evaluating all the primary texts relating to each question, a lifetime of study would hardly be enough for it, and one would either have to give up earning a living or give up ones din, which is why Allah says in surat al-Tawba, in the context of jihad:

” Not all of the believers should go to fight. Of every section of them, why does not one part alone go forth, that the rest may gain knowledge of the religion and admonish their people when they return, that perhaps they may take warning ” (Qur’an 9:122).

The slogans we hear today about “following the Qur’an and sunna instead of following the madhhabs” are wide of the mark, for everyone agrees that we must follow the Qur’an and the sunna of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace). The point is that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) is no longer alive to personally teach us, and everything we have from him, whether the hadith or the Qur’an, has been conveyed to us through Islamic scholars. So it is not a question of whether or not to take our din from scholars, but rather, from which scholars. And this is the reason we have madhhabs in Islam: because the excellence and superiority of the scholarship of the mujtahid Imams–together with the traditional scholars who followed in each of their schools and evaluated and upgraded their work after them–have met the test of scholarly investigation and won the confidence of thinking and practicing Muslims for all the centuries of Islamic greatness. The reason why madhhabs exist, the benefit of them, past, present, and future, is that they furnish thousands of sound, knowledge-based answers to Muslims questions on how to obey Allah. Muslims have realized that to follow a madhhab means to follow a super scholar who not only had a comprehensive knowledge of the Qur’an and hadith texts relating to each issue he gave judgements on, but also lived in an age a millennium closer to the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) and his Companions, when taqwa or “godfearingness” was the norm–both of which conditions are in striking contrast to the scholarship available today. While the call for a return to the Qur’an and sunna is an attractive slogan, in reality it is a great leap backward, a call to abandon centuries of detailed, case-by-case Islamic scholarship in finding and spelling out the commands of the Qur’an and sunna, a highly sophisticated, interdisciplinary effort by mujtahids, hadith specialists, Qur’anic exegetes, lexicographers, and other masters of the Islamic legal sciences. To abandon the fruits of this research, the Islamic shari’a, for the following of contemporary sheikhs who, despite the claims, are not at the level of their predecessors, is a replacement of something tried and proven for something at best tentative.

The rhetoric of following the shari’a without following a particular madhhab is like a person going down to a car dealer to buy a car, but insisting it not be any known make–neither a Volkswagen nor Rolls-Royce nor Chevrolet–but rather “a car, pure and simple”. Such a person does not really know what he wants; the cars on the lot do not come like that, but only in kinds. The salesman may be forgiven a slight smile, and can only point out that sophisticated products come from sophisticated means of production, from factories with a division of labor among those who test, produce, and assemble the many parts of the finished product. It is the nature of such collective human efforts to produce something far better than any of us alone could produce from scratch, even if given a forge and tools, and fifty years, or even a thousand. And so it is with the shari’a, which is more complex than any car because it deals with the universe of human actions and a wide interpretative range of sacred texts. This is why discarding the monumental scholarship of the madhhabs in operationalizing the Qur’an and sunna in order to adopt the understanding of a contemporary sheikh is not just a mistaken opinion. It is scrapping a Mercedes for a go-cart.

(source: http://www.sunnipath.com/Library/Articles/AR00000081.aspx )

The Meaning of Ramadan

•September 11, 2008 • Leave a Comment


The Meaning of Ramadan

 

 

Fasting during Ramadan, the Muslims holy month, was ordained during the second year of Hijrah. Why not earlier? In Makkah the economic conditions of the Muslims were bad. They were being persecuted. Often days would go by before they had anything to eat. It is easy to skip meals if you don’t have any. Obviously fasting would have been easier under the circumstances. So why not then? 

The answer may be that Ramadan is not only about skipping meals. While fasting is an integral and paramount part of it, Ramadan offers a comprehensive program for our spiritual overhaul. The entire program required the peace and security that was offered by Madinah. 

Yes, Ramadan is the most important month of the year. It is the month that the believers await with eagerness. At the beginning of Rajab — two full months before Ramadan — the Prophet Muhammad, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, used to supplicate thus: “O Allah! Bless us during Rajab and Sha’ban, and let us reach Ramadan (in good health).” 

During Ramadan the believers get busy seeking Allah’s mercy, forgiveness, and protection from Hellfire. This is the month for renewing our commitment and re-establishing our relationship with our Creator. It is the spring season for goodness and virtues when righteousness blossoms throughout the Muslim communities. “If we combine all the blessings of the other eleven months, they would not add up to the blessings of Ramadan,” said the great scholar and reformer Shaikh Ahmed Farooqi (Mujaddad Alif Thani). It offers every Muslim an opportunity to strengthen his Iman, purify his heart and soul, and to remove the evil effects of the sins committed by him. 

“Anyone who fasts during this month with purity of belief and with expectation of a good reward (from his Creator), will have his previous sins forgiven,” said Prophet Muhammad, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam. “Anyone who stands in prayers during its nights with purity of belief and expectation of a reward, will have his previous sins forgiven.” As other ahadith tell us, the rewards for good deeds are multiplied manifold during Ramadan. 

Along with the possibility of a great reward, there is the risk of a terrible loss. If we let any other month pass by carelessly, we just lost a month. If we do the same during Ramadan, we have lost everything. The person who misses just one day’s fast without a legitimate reason, cannot really make up for it even if he were to fast everyday for the rest of his life. And of the three persons that Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam cursed, one is the unfortunate Muslim who finds Ramadan in good health but does not use the opportunity to seek Allah’s mercy. 

One who does not fast is obviously in this category, but so also is the person who fasts and prays but makes no effort to stay away from sins or attain purity of the heart through the numerous opportunities offered by Ramadan. The Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, warned us: “There are those who get nothing from their fast but hunger and thirst. There are those who get nothing from their nightly prayers but loss of sleep.” 

Those who understood this, for them Ramadan was indeed a very special month. In addition to fasting, mandatory Salat, and extra Travih Salat, they spent the whole month in acts of worship like voluntary Salat, Tilawa (recitation of Qur’an), Dhikr etc. After mentioning that this has been the tradition of the pious people of this Ummah throughout the centuries, Abul Hasan Ali Nadvi notes: ” I have seen with my own eyes such ulema and mashaikh who used to finish recitation of the entire Qur’an everyday during Ramadan. They spent almost the entire night in prayers. They used to eat so little that one wondered how they could endure all this. These greats valued every moment of Ramadan and would not waste any of it in any other pursuit…Watching them made one believe the astounding stories of Ibada and devotion of our elders recorded by history.” 

This emphasis on these acts of worship may sound strange — even misplaced — to some. It requires some explanation. We know that the term Ibada (worship and obedience) in Islam applies not only to the formal acts of worship and devotion like Salat , Tilawa, and Dhikr, but it also applies to worldly acts when performed in obedience to Shariah and with the intention of pleasing Allah. Thus a believer going to work is performing Ibada when he seeks Halal income to discharge his responsibility as a bread-winner for the family. However a distinction must be made between the two. The first category consists of direct Ibada, acts that are required for their own sake. The second category consists of indirect Ibada — worldly acts that become Ibada through proper intention and observation of Shariah. While the second category is important for it extends the idea of Ibada to our entire life, there is also a danger because by their very nature these acts can camouflage other motives. (Is my going to work really Ibada or am I actually in the rat race?). Here the direct Ibada comes to the rescue. Through them we can purify our motives, and re-establish our relationship with Allah. 

Islam does not approve of monasticism. It does not ask us to permanently isolate ourselves from this world, since our test is in living here according to the Commands of our Creator. But it does ask us to take periodic breaks from it. The mandatory Salat (five daily prayers) is one example. For a few minutes every so many hours throughout the day, we leave the affairs of this world and appear before Allah to remind ourselves that none but He is worthy of worship and of our unfaltering obedience. Ramadan takes this to the next higher plane, providing intense training for a whole month.

This spirit is captured in I’tikaf, a unique Ibada associated with Ramadan, in which a person gives up all his normal activities and enters a mosque for a specific period. There is great merit in it and every Muslim community is encouraged to provide at least one person who will perform I’tikaf for the last ten days of Ramadan. But even those who cannot spare ten days are encouraged to spend as much time in the mosque as possible. 

Through direct Ibada we “charge our batteries”; the indirect ones allow us to use the power so accumulated in driving the vehicle of our life. Ramadan is the month for rebuilding our spiritual strength. How much we benefit from it is up to us. 

Contributed by: Khalid Baig 

http://english.islamway.com/bindex.php?section=article&id=240

How I became Muslim

•August 13, 2008 • Leave a Comment

How I became Muslim

 

A must read testimony for every Muslim and non-Muslim

 

By S. Ghaffan

 

 

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent the Merciful

 

I was born of staunch Catholic Christian parents. My father was a preacher who knew the Bible almost by heart my mother, an orthodox Catholic, would only give us the morning coffee after her return from Church. Even from my youngest days, I was made to memorize certain verses from the Bible. By the time I had completed the study of all the four Gospels and knew many important verses, in those four books, by heart.

 

My father sometimes took me along with him when he went to preach, and from the special attention he paid to my knowing certain controversial points, and his teaching me the methods of explaining to the others those intricacies, it was quite obvious that he wanted me to succeed him in his profession. The strong desire of the paternal love to make me a priest was implemented by educating me with a detailed knowledge of the Bible and the science of ministering it to others. By the time I reached the Form IV in school I could preach the gospels in my own way, supervised by my father. Many senior missionaries admired my knowledge of the important doctrines of the faith. I passed the Form VI and joined College. There I came in contact with several classmates who were Protestants, and some of whom were well versed in the study of the Protestant Bible.

 

I often met my Protestant classmates and discussed matters regarding differences in our faith and the performance of rituals. There were also some Muslim students, but I met them only in the play ground as I hated meeting Muslims whom I took to be dangerous fanatics. By the time I completed the first year in College, I was sufficiently grounded in the knowledge of the Christian faith as held by the Catholic Church and had also considerable knowledge of the Protestant view point. Appreciating this knowledge of the Catholic faith in my young age I was given a scholarship from the church funds and in return for the help I received, I was required to receive special coaching in the guidance of deeper thoughts about certain parts of the Holy Book, under of the Chief Priest of the Church who loved to teach me very much and was very intimately attached to me. He used the special devotional methods of worshiping Jesus and his Holy Mother. Having appeared in the first group for my intermediate course I used to sit working at his subjects till late at night.

 

One night when all were asleep and I was absorbed in my studies an idea suddenly struck my mind to examine the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, the Basic formula of the Christian faith. The question, how three different things can be one and the same, arose in my mind i.e. how anything singularly absolute in its unity with its indivisible oneness, can ever by itself become divided into three separate beings with three variant native attributes opposed to each other justifying the distribution into the three different entities.

 

My failure to reconcile my belief in the Trinity with the reasoning of the science of logic, created a mental restlessness in me. Days passed on and many a time I thought of asking my father to help me in solving the problem which was puzzling my mind. But I knew that my father would never appreciate the least doubt in the dogmatic belief of the Catholic School and my venture to discuss anything hated by the Catholic faith, would only create further problems in my domestic life. However, one day when I found my father in a happy mood, I asked him as to how he would defend the Christian faith in the Holy Trinity against the attacks from the members of the other religions of the world. The answer was:

 

“In matters of faith one has to stop reasoning. One should belief in the doctrine only by one’s heart and mind.”

 

This reply from my father upset me further more and disappointed me to a very great extent and all my thinking got centered in the question which had become a definite problem to puzzle my mind further and I wondered saying:

 

“What! Is this the Foundation upon which is built the huge edifice of the Christian faith? Is the basis of my own faith only a matter of a blind following of some dictated belief which can never stand reasoning or the independent scrutiny by the dispassionate and impartial arguments from the clean conscience?”

 

I became much worried and made up my mind to find some arguments to somehow make my much disturbed mind at least imagine that one could at one and the same time be three different persons, and the three different persons could at the same time remain one.

 

One day our Mathematics Professor was sitting alone in his room and I got in with his permission and asked him if he would help me to solve something which to me was an intricate and a perplexing problem. He very kindly asked me what it was. I told him to explain to me in what sense one and the same person could be three different beings, and the same three different beings with their individual differences could at the same time be the indivisible absolute one?

 

The Professor smiled and said:

 

“Is it that you do not like my stay in this college?”

 

I asked him: “Why Sir?”

 

He said: “What do you think the college authorities which are staunch Catholics will do with me, if some one informs them that I discuss in my private room things opposed to the Catholic or the Christian faith in general? Will they keep me on the staff of the College any longer? If you want to discuss anything here, you may do so but mind you, you must confine your discussion to the subject of your studies in the College, otherwise you will be doing the worst harm to me for I will be thrown out of my job.”

 

I felt the truth in his statement and made an appointment with him to see him the next Sunday at 3.00 pm in his house. On Sunday when I met the Professor he first asked me as to what made me enquire into the Doctrine of Trinity. I said that I wanted to know how far the doctrine stood to reasoning.

 

The Professor smiled and said, “Why don’t you ask any one of our priests?”

 

I said, “I have asked them but they say it is a matter of belief or faith and it should not be subjected to any logic or philosophy. This has upset me. It has raised the question in me, if what I believe in, is unreasonable and illogical, why should I subject myself to any blind following? Is God so unjust and cruel to expect man to believe in a doctrine about Himself, which no human brain can ever reasonably conceive? I request you, Sir; to some how give me some method of arguing out the possibility of such an existence as the doctrine of Trinity wants us to believe in!”

 

The professor smiled and said: “My dear Joseph suppose you want me to prove by some mathematical formula how water can remain water and at the same time be fire, or how a stone can be a stone at the same time be water too, how can I do it? I do not think any sensible man on earth can ever conceive such a possibility. How the Ever living God who being the Ever living Life itself, can also at the same time be a mortal i.e. be a man to suffer death at the hands of the other mortals? And how the same mortal being at the same time could be the Absolute Immortal God? It is a problem which our priests want us to believe and we have to merely believe in it and none has any choice of even questioning the practicability of this inconceivable dogma.”

 

On hearing the answer I asked him: “Then, what about you, Sir? Don’t you also believe in it?”

 

He replied: “It is a matter of my own personal and individual choice and decision. Even if I or the world, were to believe in such a doctrine the liability still remains for every believer to answer the question if he or she can prove the doctrine as a reasonable or practical phenomena.”

 

He went on saying: “The fact is when God, Whom we believe as One, is Absolutely One Being in His perfect unity, it means that God is singularly one in natural essence of His existence, free from any different or variant factors having anything to do with His pure or Absolute Unity to justify His being The Absolute One, owing an indivisible existence, by Himself. Division suggests that the one is not an Absolute One, but a compound of some variants and that which is a composed being can never be really one in the true meaning of oneness. And certainly the one dependent in its existence upon its different components can never be independent in its action, whereas God is the Absolute One, Independently Omnipotent in His Will and His Action.”

 

“Besides how can any three which are three separate beings, with three variations justify their being three separate entities, remain there separately as they are and at the same time by themselves lose their different individual native properties differentiating them from each other, and become conceivably the absolute indivisible one, without the least variation in the essential oneness.”

 

“An Absolute one must be totally independent in its existence, Mr. Joseph, as it impossible to reason out the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. The science of Mathematics or any other science which any human genius can ever conceive, until the end of time, can never solve this inconceivable riddle.”

 

He continued: “The only thing is that we, Christians, are shut out of the vast sources of knowledge about the truth and of the higher factors in matters of religion which are available outside our own fold, by damning every non-Christian as the devil’s work. We Christians, Mr. Joseph, in our madness to swell up our ranks have played such a disgraceful role that a great head like Sir Dennison Ross had to helplessly disclose the truth about this in his foreword to the translation of the Quran by George Sale.”

 

I was amazed to hear the arguments of the Professor who was himself known as a Catholic, and at the same time I was very much encouraged to know that my doubt about the unreasonability of the doctrine of Trinity was something which had made a highly educated and enlightened mind like the Professor of Mathematics also to enquire into it. I was much benefited by the discussion with the Professor as I came to know arguments justifying the doubt created in my mind.

 

My study of the matter in the Islamic Literature, and the translation of the Quran opened my eyes to many great and very important factors that effect human life on earth. Once I visited the Professor in his house and to my further amazement I found him possessing a great amount of literature on Islam.

 

I asked him:

 

“May I know, Sir, if you have embraced the faith of the Muslims?”

 

He replied:

 

“It is a question yet to be decided. You do not worry yourself about my personal choice. I, for the time being, want to be known as no other than a Catholic Christian. I will tell you later.”

 

I took the copy of the translation of the Quran by George Sale and read the introduction by Sir E. Dennison Ross. The introduction needs to be read with special attention. Sir Ross says:

 

“For many centuries the acquaintance which the majority of Europeans possessed of Muhammadanism was based almost entirely on distorted reports of fanatical Christians which led to the discrimination of a multitude of gross calumnies. What was good in Muhammadanism was entirely ignored and what was not good in the eyes of Europe was exaggerated or misinterpreted.”

 

“The unity of God and that the simplicity of his creed was probably a more potent factor in the spread of Islam than the sword of the Ghaziz.” (G. Sale’s translation of the Koran – Introduction)

 

This statement of the great Christian scholar of international repute, created in me the thirst to know the original teachings of Islam, especially about the Islamic conception of God.

 

About four years passed away, and by this time I knew the contents of the Quran. Many things had arrested my special attention. I had discussed many doubtful points with the Professor whom I found to have read the Quran several times with a better and more critical view. I was now longing to meet some Muslim scholar to cross-examine him about certain doubts about the Islamic faith.

 

Once I thought of Hinduism but what I saw daily with my own eyes, curses of untouchability and the reservations of the caste system prevalent before us, and besides everything else, the idol worship and the observance of innumerable rituals did not prompt me to take up any enquiry into the tenets, the practice of which manifested in the daily life of the millions of Hindus living with us. I could never understand the superiority exclusively and arbitrarily claimed for the members of certain castes, simply because they had accidentally been born in those folds. I had seen with my own eyes how the people belonging to certain castes are imagined as lower in the society and are treated as the untouchables, not allowed even to enter into the Hindu temples. I had seen these poor souls being prohibited even to take drinking water from the wells reserved for the superior classes.

 

I met several Brahmin Pundits but none of them could answer any one of my objections against the several Hindu theories regarding the authorities of the hundreds of gods and goddesses and the observance of the rituals which did not appeal to me in the least.

 

The havoc in the social life played by Hinduism dividing humanity into castes and sub-castes and the unreasonable superiority of one caste over the other, is itself so much repulsive that none would like to take any trouble of executing any studies about the doctrines of the faith.

 

While resenting the caste system and the sectarian segregation in the Hindu folds, I was automatically reminded of the similar restrictions amongst Christians. Caste hatred has been sunk so deep in the minds of the Hindus that even after entering Christianity they are unable to overcome the complex.

 

I asked myself: “Why criticize other people and their belief when the religion which I myself belong to, has in it the sectarian segregation of the Brahmin Christian, the Naidu Christian, the Chuckli Christian and similar sectarian differences, having full sway over the social order? Are not churches in Christendom owned exclusively for the members of particular sects? Are there not churches belonging to a particular sect which cannot be used by the people of the other sect? Has not Christianity failed to unite mankind into one human society? Did Jesus preach all these differences and dissensions which we the Christians have innovated? Is it not then that we are far away from the original objects of the Mission of Jesus Christ?”

 

Against the irreconcilable differences and the innumerable dissensions of the social order in the folds of Hinduism and Christianity, I was very much impressed by the genuine and the real brotherhood practiced day and night among the Muslims. I found that a Muslim mosque is a mosque belonging to every one who calls himself a Muslim and that there is no reservation of seats in the mosque or any sectarian segregation in any of the Muslim places of worship. I saw with my own eyes, Muslims of all ranks, all social and economic status, of different complexions, of various nationalities, all standing in one row, turning towards one direction, praying to one God, in one language, and immediately after the prayer, shaking hands with each other. Brotherhood or social equality claimed more in theory by the other schools of thought in the world; I found it to be an ever experienced, and a living reality in the daily life of the Islamic folds.

 

One day I was informed by the Professor who by this time had become an intimate friend of mine that a Muslim scholar was to deliver some talks in English on the life of the Prophet of Islam in a Hall near the Big Juma Mosque, under the auspices of the Muslim Youth Association of Trichinopoly Town. My Professor and I, both attended the three talks and met the Lecturer who was an old friend of the Professor. We had a heart to heart talk with the Lecturer about several important topics. The Lecturer presented to me a few more back numbers of the magazine ‘The Peace Maker.’

 

“And as for Ishmael I have heard thee, Behold, I have blessed him and will make him fruitful, and I will multiply him exceedingly, Twelve Princes shall he beget and I will make him a great nation.” (Genesis 17:20)

 

During my meeting with the Muslim Lecturer I asked him if he would kindly answer some questions for my own information. He said:

 

“I will most willingly do it.”

 

I put the following questions which he very cheerfully answered:

 

“What proofs have you besides the Quran to establish that Muhammad was truly a Prophet of God?”

 

He answered: “Have your own Bible with you?” I said, “Yes.”

 

He took the following verses and read them to me one after another:

 

“For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise unto you of your brethern, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you.” (Acts 3:22)

 

“And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that Prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people.” (Acts 3:23)

 

“Yea! And all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days.” (Acts 3:24)

 

“This is that Moses, which said unto the children of Israel, A Prophet shall the Lord raise up unto you of your brethern, like unto me; him shall ye hear.” (Acts 7:37)

 

In John Jesus says:

 

“I will pray the Father, and he shall give another comforter – that he may abide with you forever.” (John 14:16)

 

“I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye can not bear them now.” (John 16:12)

 

“Howbeit, when he the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you unto all truth for he shall not speak of himself, but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak; he will show you things to come.” (John 16:13)

 

I read the passages which I had already gone through several times before, but this time the perfect confidence with which the Lecturer asked me to read the verses from my own sacred scriptures in support of his claim, threw a new light upon them for me to understand the matter dispassionately. Yet I replied:

 

“But the prophecy is about the advent of Jesus?”

 

He smiled and said:

 

“You read the verse again! Does not the verse say that God will raise a Prophet like unto Moses” i.e. He will be a man born of a father and a mother as was born Moses; whereas Jesus was born only of a mother. Besides, the Prophet promised by God must be a man like Moses but you yourself call Jesus as the son of God. Moses was a law giving Prophet and the one like him must also be a law-giver, whereas Jesus was only a law-abider, following the law or the Ten Commandments already introduced through Moses. Besides, one must betray his common sense as well as his learning to say that, I and He, the two different person i.e. The First and the Third person mean the same, or the one who departs prophesying about the advent of some one else, to be one and the same.”

 

The argument was quite reasonable and unbreakable. Then I asked the Lecturer:

 

“Do you not believe in Jesus as the son of God? Cannot Jesus be God himself in the form of a man?”

 

The Lecturer smiled and very cheerfully replied:

 

“Can there be a son to any one without a wife, my friend? Can anyone, or you yourself, who believes in the sonship of Jesus, at any time sensibly imagine Virgin Marry to have been used by God as a wife was done to conceive an issue? Let us seek protection of God against any such devilish straying of our minds. Sonship, if used in the Bible, can be used only to mean a creature or the one who has received life from God. Otherwise what do you say about Jesus addressing himself as a son of man?

 

“The son of man is come eating and drinking and ye say, behold a gluttenous man, and a wine biber, a friend of publicans and sinners.” (Luke 7:34)

 

“The son of man be ashamed.” (Luke 9:26)

 

“Jesus addressed God as his father and also as our father which means that God is taken as the father of Jesus as much as He is the father (or the Creator) of any one of us, and hence Jesus’ sonship can mean in the sense of a creature of God, the term son of God used by Jesus can be used only in sense of a servant of God – as Jesus himself refers to himself as God’s servant. This fact is testified by the verses by which every prophet of God until Adam has been termed as the son of God in Luke 3rd Chapter in verses from to 30 Jesus is called as the son of Joseph and the genealogy of Joseph is traced to Adam and Adam is called the son of God. Read the 30th verse of the same chapter.”

 

“Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God.” (Luke 3:37)

 

(These ready answers from the Bible created a very deep impression upon my mind about the mount of comparative study the Muslims do and how strong and reasonable they are in their faith about Unity of God. One can say that the faith of the Muslims is not a matter of mere blind following of any prescribed belief in unreasonable dogmas but it is the result of a sincere comparative study of the various schools of though.)

 

I asked the Lecturer:

 

“Do you Muslims study every other religion before you embrace Islam?”

 

The lecturer replied:

 

“No. Even as we remain Muslim, born of Muslim parents, we have been commanded by God to compare and contrast the truth, i.e. Islam, with every other faith and then own for ourselves a belief or conviction of our own which alone shall be acceptable to God as mere blind following of any particular doctrine, be that from our own parents, will not be of any credit to such a believer. Read what the Holy Quran enjoins upon those who have already professed Islam as their faith merely by heredity.”

 

I asked:

 

“Do you believe in the Holy Bible as a Heavenly Book or not?”

 

In reply to my question the Lecturer requested me to answer the following questions:

 

1) “Is the Bible, which is in your hands, the book which Jesus wrote as a scripture revealed by God or to be called the book of his own?”

 

I had to say, “No.”

 

2) “Did Jesus order or desire at any time in his life to write anything on his behalf?”

 

“No.”

 

3) “Was this Bible which is in your hands written during the time of Jesus?”

 

“No.”

 

4). “Was this Bible which is in your hands today written immediately after the departure of Jesus?”

 

“No.”

 

“Then” he said, “Please read page 17 in ‘The Founder of Christianity and His Religion’ published by the Christian Literature Society, Madras. It is said in the Book:

 

The whole Bible contains sixty six books written by forty different authors over a space of about fifteen centuries.

 

It is clearly said in the book that:

 

‘Jesus Christ himself wrote nothing.’

 

Oral teaching was for several years – the only means employed in the spread of Christianity. It was for the guidance of those young converts, that the earliest writings of the New Testament were composed.”

 

The same book further discloses that:

 

“They were probably written about twenty years after the death of Christ.”

 

On page 18 it is stated:

 

“The Gospels do not give a complete history of the Life of Christ, they are rather memoirs.”

 

I said:

 

“But the Bible is the word of God inspired and written by the disciples of Jesus.”

 

He again smiled and said:

 

“Mr. Joseph, if the Bible is the Book of the disciples and of Jesus, how would you account for the differences in the Book, if it is an inspired word of God. Does not the Catholic Bible Duay contain some books which the Protestant version does not own? Have you read what Mr. Wilson says about the Bible, in his introduction to the ‘Diaglot’ published by the Watch Tower Society?”:

 

“If it had not been published by kingly authority it would not now be venerated by English and American Protestants, as thought it had come direct from Cod. It has been convicted of containing over 20,000 errors. Nearly 700 Creeks MSS. are now known and some of them very ancient whereas the translator of the common version had only the advantage of some 8 MSS none of which was earlier then the tenth century.”

 

“Is not the Bible based upon only 8 manuscripts whereas there are 700 manuscripts now available? If what is contained in all such manuscripts is also the inspired word of God, why were these manuscripts left away? In view of all these facts brought to your light, if you still believe in the Bible as the inspired word of God, you may do so but you can’t expect the whole world to do it. If you make a serious and an impartial study of the Old and the New Testaments, you will find in them the amount of blasphemies which the Jewish mind has fabricated against Lot , David, Noah and Abraham who were the Holy Apostles of God viz:

 

 

“And Noah began to be a husbandman, and he planted a vineyard. And he drank of the vine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent. And Ham, the father of Canaan , saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two breathren without. And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father’s nakedness.” (Gen. 9:20-23)

 

“Lot committing adultery with his own daughters.” (Gen. 19:36)

 

“David taking possession of his neighbor’s wife.” (II. Sam, 11:4)

 

I asked, “What? Do you Muslims believe in the prophets of God other than Muhammad to be totally sinless and holy?”

 

He answered me by reciting to me the following verses of the Holy Quran:

 

“Say (O Muslims): We believe in Allah and that which is revealed unto us and that which was revealed unto Abraham, and Ishmael, and Isaac, and Jacob, and the tribes, and that which Moses and Jesus received, and that which the prophets received from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and unto Him we have surrendered.” (Quran 2:136)

 

“The Apostle (Muhammad) believes in what has been revealed to him from his Lord, and so do the believers, (i.e. Muslims) they all believe in Allah (God) and his angels, His book (the different holy scriptures) and His Apostles; we make no difference between any of His apostles.”

 

The following verse of the Holy Quran informs us of the fact that Prophets were raised by God, among all nations in all parts of the earth:

 

“There is not a nation but a Warner has gone among them.” (Quran 35:24)

 

It convinced me that Islam alone, is an all comprehensive faith which recognizes all other religions and which contains in it a perfectly harmonious integration of all the good, found partly in the other religious orders of the world. The sacred book of Islam i.e. the Holy Quran, is the final exposition of the Divine Truth in its Perfection which was revealed at different times, through the other heavenly scriptures, in parts suiting the various evolutionary levels.

 

The above verses of the Holy Quran bear clear of conception by the human minds. The limitation testimony to the, fact that, as one of the fundamentals of the human mind of the different ages, did not of his Faith, every Muslim has to believe not only allow even prophets like Jesus to speak out the whole in the Holy Prophet Muhammad but in all the other of the truth. Jesus had to depart with many things prophets as truthful and holy and should not make yet to be told to his people. (John. 16:14). Jesus had to tell his people to wait until the advent of the Spirit of Truth to disclose the whole of the Truth. (John 16:13)

 

I was further impressed by the Universal aspect of the religion Islam.

 

Every answer from the Lecturer was with an unchallengeable authority and with an unbreakable argument. I was awakened to differentiate between genuine truth and the fabrications of falsehood and to know many new factors to which I was blind all these years. But I did not know how to reconcile the dawn of true knowledge of truth with my original blind dogmatic belief and my belonging to the Christian faith any longer. I wanted to find out some failure on the part of the Lecturer to answer satisfactorily some questions or the other, so that I may have some excuse, be that even a false one, to maintain my position in the Christian faith.

 

The Lecturer continued after some time with the question:

 

“Shall I ask you something if you do not mind answering it for my information?”

 

I said: “Yes”.

 

He asked: “Do you think Jesus to be a son of God or God himself?”

 

I said: “Jesus, according to the Christian belief is God Himself in the form of His Son.”

 

He asked: “Can you ever conceive anyone to be the immortal God and at the same time be a mortal (Man) to be caught in the hands of other mortals to suffer death? Can anything be high and at the same time low, black and at the same time be white? Can there be darkness and the same time light? What philosophy is this?”

 

The Lecturer continued saying:

 

“Do you ever consider that there is one other question confronting the doctrine of the Trinity which needs to be answered by every Trinitarian that if any three different beings which are three different entities, are also at the same time One, with absolute unity in all the perfect sense or meaning of Oneness, what is the common control which makes them remain three and also be one at one and the same time? If there be any factor of such a wonderful and inconceivable phenomena causing this amazing effect, then that supreme causative power, which controls the number and the unity, will alone be the Omnipotent God and not any one of the three which are only the controlled components.”

 

“Besides, there arises another problematic question which a believer in the Trinity will have to answer i.e. as to whom is that controls or determines the splitting of one into only three different others, to be neither more nor less in number? There must be some cause for this controlled effect and that the causative factor acting supreme over three will be the Omnipotent God and not any one of the three which will only be the effect of the supreme controlling cause.”

 

“Similarly, will arise the question, what is the causative power which affects the three to be only one when joining together and not divided into many groups of beings and if there be any such cause, that supreme controlling cause will be the Omnipotent God and not anyone of the three which will only be the subservient one.”

 

“Under any circumstances no sensible man can ever reasonably believe in any effect whatsoever without some causative factor effecting it.”

 

“However the Holy Trinity is only a problematic doctrine created by the Christian Church which no logical reasoning can ever prove true.”

 

I had to helplessly agree to the views of the Lecturer for I could not now reasonably believe in the existence of anything being itself and at the same time being its own opposite.

 

“I would like you, Mr. Joseph” said the Lecturer, “to ponder a little over the belief that Jesus being God Himself or the son of God, was so terrified at the impending crucifixion that he shouted:

 

“Eli, Eli, Lama Sabachthani” (My God, My God, hast thou forsaken me?) (Matthew 27:46)

 

“What philosophy is that? If Jesus was God Himself, does it mean that God was forsaken by God Himself and can that be God who felt hopeless and shouted to be rescued?

 

“Your Bible itself, Mr. Joseph, reports that the son of God was forsaken by his father (God) in which case the forsaken son automatically and quite naturally forfeits his personal merits as a son and his relationship of being a son to his father. What do you say? Of what profitable use can the attachment to a forsaken son be? Mr. Joseph, please tell me.”

 

I was struck dumb – I did not know what to say and what to do with the faith I already possessed as a staunch Christian.

 

“Besides,” the Lecturer continued: “Do you think Jesus to be God Himself when he falls down crying, praying to someone else to remove the cup of death by crucifixion?”

 

I asked: “Alright Sir, how do you reconcile the violence used by the Prophet of Islam to his being an Apostle of God?”

 

Immediately came the reply from the Lecturer: “Please, Mr. Joseph, quote a single instance from the whole life history of the Holy Prophet Muhammad to show that he has ever committed any unprovoked aggression or any single instance of his taking the least initiative in attacking any single soul. Each expedition of a battle he led or he allowed was only in self-defense. Had he not defended as he did, today his advent in this world and his teachings about the truth about God which the world has learnt only through his holy mission, would have become legends of ancient times full of blasphemies for you and for me, only to be read in story books and thus be deluded by falsehood for all times. The Bible does not preach self-defense. The Bible only preaches self-surrender to the extent of handing over everything of one’s possession when anything which was in one’s hand has been taken away by any aggressor. Does any Christian power follow this?”

 

“Apart from the political history of the Christian nations of Europe do you not remember the inhuman methods employed by Christendom to spread its faith?”

 

I was ashamed to hear what has been reported and I had to listen quietly to the records of the disgraceful conduct of the Christians. I, at last, ventured to ask one more question, “There is the doctrine of atonement or expiation of sins of men through the blood of Jesus. Jesus having paid the price of the sins of man i.e. he who believes in Jesus is cleansed and saved. Have you any such accommodation in Islam?”

 

The Lecturer smiled and replied: “My friend, the greatest of God’s gifts to man is common sense. If man forfeits it of his own accord, then none can help him.”

 

“First let me know if this doctrine appeals to reason and common sense. A, for example, a Christian by faith i.e. a believer in Jesus Christ as his Savior, plunders the house of B and the members of B’s family. Does sense or logic agree to A being let off unpunished by any law, particularly the Law of the All Just Lord of the Universe, simply because A accepts Jesus as his Savior?”

 

I had to say, “No”. Because, to say otherwise would mean I forfeit my common sense and go against reasoning.

 

He continued:

 

“There is one very grave aspect of the doctrine of atonement through the blood of Jesus i.e. when we pay for a thing, the thing becomes our own and the previous owner of the thing forfeits all his claim over it for the price he has already received. Is it not?”

 

I said, “Yes”.

 

Then he said:

 

“If the sins of man have been paid for, God has no right to punish any sinner every sinner who merely believes in Jesus would be free to do anything in the world which his brutal passion dictates him to do, for God his Lord has no right whatsoever even to question any sinner, for Jesus has met the cost of all his sins. Can this ever be sensible logic or common sense? Can this doctrine help life on earth to continue for one moment in peace and security?”

 

He continued: “Please remember, Islam wants every individual to be kept bound by his being answerable with his individual responsibility to virtue against vice, in the interest of his own individual life as well as the interest of the collective life in this world, himself as a member of not only the human race but also of the creation of the Lord as a whole. Islam continuously invites and encourages man towards righteousness with the promise of the blissful life in the hereafter and repeatedly warns him against vice and the consequent chastisement from the All-just Lord. The Holy Quran repeatedly warns saying:

 

“And be on your guard against a day when one soul shall not avail another in the least, neither shall intercession on its behalf be accepted nor shall they be helped.” (2:28 )

 

“Whoever goes aright, for his own soul does he go aright; and whoever goes astray, to its detriment only does he goes astray; nor can the bearer of a burden bear the burden of another, nor do we chastise until we raise an apostle.” (17:15)

 

“O ye men! Surely we have created you of a male and female, and made you tribes and families that you may know each other; surely the most honorable of you with Allah is the one among you most careful (of his duty) surely Allah is knowing, Aware.” (49:13)

 

“While threatening man with grievous punishment in recompense for his evils, the Holy Quran discloses also the infinite mercy of the All-Merciful Lord who does not want man, however, much a sinner the individual be, to be totally dejected or hopeless of the merciful pardon from Him. The only condition for the pardon he needs, being the sinner’s repentance against his vices, with his intention of amending his conduct in the future, and turning whole heartedly to obedience and gratitude to the All-Merciful Lord for His Infinite Grace.”

 

“For goodness sake, tell me, Mr. Joseph, which do you think is reasonable and sensible, either making man intoxicated and careless against sinning, i.e. making him unreasonably confident of the price of his sins as having already been paid by someone or alerting with his commitment to virtue against vice, i.e. keeping him warned of the natural consequence of getting punishment by the All-Just Lord, against any misconduct or disobedience?”

 

I felt that I had that day understood the hollowness of the doctrine of atonement upon which is built the whole edifice of the Christian faith. The divine mercy of the Lord dawned upon my heart, a new light of the divine guidance. I thanked God for liberating me from the clutches of the grossly misleading dogmatic doctrine and leading me to Islam which I have myself found through an impartial enquiry that it is the Right and the Straight Royal Road to Salvation which the All-Merciful Lord Himself has shown man through this Last Apostle Muhammad, may peace be on Him and his divinely chosen descendants.

 

When I disclosed my acceptance of the true arguments advanced by the Lecturer and thanked him, he told me:

 

“Mr. Joseph! You must thank God for blessing you with the fulfillment of His merciful promise to every sincere seeker of truth!”

 

The All-Merciful Lord by His infinite mercy has fulfilled His merciful promise to give mankind the everlasting guidance through the Holy Prophet Muhammad who would abide in his guidance for all times. (John 16:14)

 

In Muhammad was fulfilled the divine promise for the Prophet, and the promise of the Lord to raise Twelve Princes in the seed of Ishmael was fulfilled in God’s raising the Twelve Holy Imams in the family of the Holy Prophet Muhammad who is the divinely chosen issue of Ishmael.

 

“And as for Ishmael I have heard thee, Behold, I have blessed him and will make him fruitful, and I will multiply him exceedingly, Twelve Princes shall he beget and I will make him a great nation.” (Gen. 17:20)

 

All these Holy Imams were of the purest character and of an undoubtedly godly conduct and though they never received any education from any other mortal in this world, all of them, like the Holy Prophet Muhammad, were the wonderful stores and the Divinely caused fountainheads of knowledge to enlighten the world with the true knowledge about the Lord of the Universe.

 

Eleven of these Twelve divinely commissioned Imams or Guides lived as the perfect models of pure humanity in complete resignation to the Divine Will and all of them were martyred. If any one wants to see a perfect model of a man surrendering his all, most willingly suffering the worst and the most painful affections in the way of the Lord severed, one must see the Holy Imam Hussain at Karbala.

 

The world will find Hussain not shouting, “Eli, Eli, Lama Sabachthani.”

 

Or desiring in the least the removal of the cup of death, but drinking it cheerfully, glorifying the Lord in his last thanks-giving prayers while he was being butchered in the most heartless way.

 

As the promise of God to give mankind a Prophet to abide for ever has been recorded in the Old Testament this Great Sacrifice has also been prophesied in, Jeremiah 46:10 “For this is the day of the Lord God of hosts a day of vengeance, that he may avenge him of his adversaries; and the sword shall devour, and it shall be satiated and made drunk with their blood; for Lord God of Hosts hath a sacrifice in the north country by the river Euphrates.”

 

After coming across so many sane and unbreakable arguments against the doctrine of the Holy Trinity and also about many other fundamentals of Christian belief, I only wondered how such an unreasonable faith could attract such a huge number of people in the world. Once I found my father returning home very happy and immediately as he arrived he called me and said:

 

“You will be glad to know my dear son that, today I got 109 souls into our fold. At the baptism of such a big number in one day the Rev. Father, the Chief of Our Mission praised my services very much and has increased my salary as well my traveling allowance and has awarded me with a token reward of Rs. 109 corresponding to the number baptized through my efforts.”

 

I asked: “Who are they, father, who were baptized today?”

 

The reply was: “They are from five surrounding villages. There are men, women, and children, 109 souls together.”

 

I asked: “Are they all educated?”

 

The reply was: “No. They are the poor people of the cherries (slums). They are only laborers in the paddy fields of their villages.”

 

I asked if they had understood fully their undertaking as converts to the Christian faith. Would every one of them stand any cross examination against their decision to leave the folds they were in, and their joining the Christian belief?

 

The reply was: “What do you mean? I told you they are all uneducated poor illiterates; laborers from the slums. The group consists of men, women, and children. Now, I will have to go there every day and coach them up in the doctrine of our faith.”

 

On hearing this I smiled, and seeing me smiling my father asked: “Why do you smile, Joseph? What is the matter?”

 

I said: “Nothing father! I do not see in this mass conversion, any matter of pride or pleasure which any true religion or any genuine or reasonable faith can claim for itself, for it is nothing but exploiting the illiteracy and ignorance of the poor laborers. It is leading the mentally blind ones into something which they neither know nor recognize. Do you think father that any sensible man can reasonably be proud over his getting some illiterate men, women and children to accept his own ideals and justifiably claim the least merit or value to his thoughts?”

 

“While the entry into a faith like Islam is effected only after a detailed study and enquiry by the learned ones with perfect conviction, we Christians pride over our success in swelling up our ranks by mass conversions of illiterate laborers, who, by circumstances, are forced to accept the Christian doctrines without knowing what they do is right or wrong? An ignorant mind is like a blank sheet, one can draw upon it whatever one’s fancy chooses and once the inscription is made to be settled upon such raw material, any artist can pride over the plate having any particular design of his own. If today to win the sympathy of the ignorant masses, we boast before our illiterate converts of our humanity and self sacrifices in the cause of the spread of our faith, will the outer world also forget the Edict of Milan, father, and will all the records of the history of the brutal outrages that Christendom committed against the poor helpless Jews, in its own passionate eagerness and anxiety to swell its ranks, all together totally vanish?”

 

I continued: “If you kindly permit me father, I would like to know from you if this Bible in your hands is to be merely read memorized and preached to the others or is it to be acted upon in our daily life? If it is to be acted upon will you kindly show me father, if the Christian world could ever practice the principle of turning the other cheek also if one is already smitten? Could any sincere Christian till now, give away his shirt when his coat was taken away?

Will you, father, surrender our whole house if any body invades our residence and takes possession of any of the rooms in these premises? If the Christian powers of the world really believe in this doctrine of self surrender, why do they maintain their military and the police forces? Kindly tell me, father, if there is any earthly use of merely believing in any golden ideals which can only adorn the pages of some books and which can only be preached but never practiced. Why should we not reasonably accept the doctrine of self-defense taught by Islam and the principle of pardoning our offenders if they are repentant? For goodness sake let me know, father, how can three different ones at the same time be an absolute one, both numerically and also in the essential nature of perfect unity? On what reasonable grounds can the one who is forsaken by God, be God Himself and if Jesus is to be believed as the son of God what claim to the relationship with his father can a forsaken son have?”

 

“What right has Christendom to claim any truth in it when its spread was caused by the inhuman atrocities committed by the Christian forces against the poor helpless Jews? The conduct of the brutal outrages committed in the holy name of Christ, has been fully reported even by the Christian authorities on Edict of Milan and by the world renowned Christian Scholar Gibbon in his famous work, ‘The Decline and the Fall of the Roman Empire .”

 

“The Doctrine of Atonement through the blood of Christ, will naturally attract those sinner who have sinned and who do not want to give up sinning under the protection of the doctrine that the price of their sins has already been paid away and however much worst sinners they themselves choose to be, they will not in the least be chastised for their heinous crimes, for, after Jesus having paid away for the sins of man, God must have forfeited His claim to punish the sinners thereafter.”

 

There are many such things father which need a dispassionate study and an impartial judgment.

 

“I tell you father, that whatever be the consequences and whatever misfortune may afflict me, I as one, have decided not to sell away or forfeit my conscience and common sense to the belief in such unreasonable dogmatic doctrines. I have embraced Islam, and if you do not get angry with me and kindly allow me to explain to you the details of my enquiries, I will do it whenever I am wanted to do so I do not like any thought or belief of mine to be swallowed by anyone by force, for the religion Islam, which I now openly declare to have embraced, enjoins that there shall not be any compulsion in the matter of faith as the truth has been revealed against falsehood.”

 

To my utter surprise I found my father fully attentive to exposing my personal views and convictions and at the end he said:

 

“Son! Do not think that your father is a fool I have been occasionally confronted with such ideas during my life whenever I had the occasion of discussing religion with my Muslim friends. But today the sincerity and the boldness with which you expose your own convictions make me bold to decide about the matter. I shall tell you later but, for God’s sake keep this matter strictly confined to you. Otherwise be sure we will be thrown out into the street as destitute.”

 

A few days later my father had a long talk and he decided to declare himself a Muslim. The details of our sufferings and the social persecution we had to pass through is a history by itself.

 

I, now, for the information and guidance of every seeker after Truth, openly declare the actual findings of my sincere enquiry that Islam is not only the last of the mighty religions which had revolutionized the world and changed the destinies of nations, but it is also the perfect and all inclusive faith which contains in itself all the good, found partly in all other religions which had preceded it. One of the most distinguishing and striking characteristics of Islam is that it requires of its followers to believe that all the religions of the world that preceded it were revealed by God for the respective people of those ages.

 

It is one of the fundamentals of this faith that its followers must believe in all the Prophets who were sent into the world before the Holy Prophet MUHAMMAD as truthful and sinless.

 

Muhammad is the name of the Holy Prophet through whom all this comprehensive Faith was revealed in its complete or perfect form and meaning, for humanity as a whole for all times. It is the West that named this Faith as Mohammadanism on the fashion of Christianity, Buddhism, Confucianism, Zoroastrianism and Hinduism. Otherwise the name of this religious order is already given in its book the Holy Quran as ISLAM as quite opposed to the method of naming the order after its founder, the founder of Islam himself is called a MUSLIM as any other believer. As the various prophets preached this same Truth among different nations at different times in different languages, every Apostle of God is spoken of in the Holy Quran as a Muslim.

 

Thus I have found, beyond all doubts that Islam is the religion which humanity needs for its progress in all spheres or aspects of its material as well as Spiritual life, to earn Salvation in the end.

 

A Muslim has to believe in all the prophets as truthful and sinless and their holy books as the true word of God, revealed for the people and for the age, and also believes in Muhammad as the last of the apostles of God and his book i.e. the holy Quran as the last of the revealed Word of God to abide forever.

 

In short, a Muslim embraces, through the holy Quran. Every beauty in every religion, and turns his face from that which has been added to the religion of God by man, and that is Islam.

 

With the truth sufficiently explained, will not every one of us love it? Or will not every one of us embrace it?

 

This solemn declaration I make just to be helpful to those who sincerely desire to know the Truth which they need for themselves to live the life in this world to reach the blissful destination which is called salvation.

 

None can ever deny that there can never be any other way to please God than completely surrendering ourselves to His Will, an act which is called ISLAM.

 

Thus the promise of the Lord to Abraham’s seed was fulfilled in the Advent and success of the Holy Prophet in establishing the Truth for all times:

 

New Testament Acts: 3:22-25

 

“For Moses truly said unto the fathers, a Prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your breathren, like unto me, him shall ye hearken-in all things whatsoever he shall stay unto you.”

 

 

The Top Misconceptions About Islam

•July 5, 2008 • 1 Comment

bismi-lLahi-rRahmani-rRahiem

In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful

=== News Update ===

The Top Misconceptions About Islam

Wednesday, 25 June 2008 11:52 http://www.daily.pk

 

Muslims are violent, terrorists, and extremists!

This is the biggest misconception in Islam, no doubt resulting from the constant stereotyping and bashing the media gives Islam. When a gunman attacks a mosque in the name of Judaism, a Catholic IRA guerrilla sets off a bomb in an urban area, or Serbian Orthodox militiamen rape and kill innocent Muslim civilians, these acts are not used to stereotype an entire faith. Never are these acts attributed to the religion of the perpetrators. Yet how many times have we heard the words ‘Islamic, Muslim fundamentalist. etc.’ linked with violence.

Politics in so called “Muslim countries” may or may not have any Islamic basis. Often dictators and politicians will use the name of Islam for their own purposes. One should remember to go to the source of Islam and separate what the true religion of Islam says from what is portrayed in the media. Islam literally means ‘submission to God’ and is derived from a root word meaning ‘peace’.

Islam may seem exotic or even extreme in the modern world. Perhaps this is because religion doesn’t dominate everyday life in the West, whereas Islam is considered a ‘way of life’ for Muslims and they make no division between secular and sacred in their lives. Like Christianity, Islam permits fighting in self-defense, in defense of religion, or on the part of those who have been expelled forcibly from their homes. It lays down strict rules of combat which include prohibitions against harming civilians and against destroying crops, trees and livestock.

NOWHERE DOES ISLAM ENJOIN THE KILLING OF INNOCENTS… The Qur’an says: “Fight in the cause of God against those who fight you, but do not transgress limits. God does not love transgressors.” (Qur’an 2:190) “If they seek peace, then seek you peace. And trust in God for He is the One that heareth and knoweth all things.” (Qur’an 8:61) War, therefore, is the last resort, and is subject to the rigorous conditions laid down by the sacred law. The term ‘jihad’ literally means ‘struggle’. Muslims believe that there are two kinds of jihad. The other ‘jihad’ is the inner struggle of the soul which everyone wages against egotistic desires for the sake of attaining inner peace.

Islam oppresses women.

The image of the typical Muslim woman wearing the veil and forced to stay home and forbidden to drive is all too common in most peoples’ thoughts. Although some Muslim countries may have laws that oppress women, this should not be seen as coming from Islam. Many of these countries do not rule by any kind of Shari’ah (Islamic law) and introduce their own cultural standpoints on the issue of gender equity.

Islam on the other hand gives men and women different roles and equity between the two is laid down in the Qur’an and the example of the Prophet (peace be upon him). Islam sees a woman, whether single or married, as an individual in her own right, with the right to own and dispose of her property and earnings. A marriage gift is given by the groom to the bride for her own personal use, and she keeps her own family name rather than taking her husband’s. Both men and women are expected to dress in a way which is modest and dignified. The Messenger of God (peace be upon him) said: “The most perfect in faith amongst believers is he who is best in manner and kindest to his wife.”

Violence of any kind towards women and forcing them against their will for anything is not allowed. A Muslim marriage is a simple, legal agreement in which either partner is free to include conditions.

Marriage customs thus vary widely from country to country. Divorce is not common, although it is acceptable as a last resort. According to Islam, a Muslim girl cannot be forced to marry against her will: her parents simply suggest young men they think may be suitable.

Muslims worship a different God

Allah is simply the Arabic word for God. Allah for Muslims is the greatest and most inclusive of the Names of God, it is an Arabic word of rich meaning, denoting the one and only God and ascribing no partners to Him. It is exactly the same word which the Jews, in Hebrew, use for God (eloh), the word which Jesus Christ used in Aramaic when he prayed to God. God has an identical name in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam; Allah is the same God worshiped by Muslims, Christians and Jews. Muslims believe that Allah’s sovereignty is to be acknowledged in worship and in the pledge to obey His teaching and commandments, conveyed through His messengers and prophets who were sent at various times and in many places throughout history.

Islam was spread by the sword and is intolerant of other faiths

Many social studies textbooks for students show the image of an Arab horseman carrying a sword in one hand and the Qur’an in the other conquering and forcibly converting. This, though, is not a correct portrayal of history. Islam has always given respect and freedom of religion to all faiths. The Qur’an says: “God forbids you not, with regards 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 loveth those who are just.” (60:8 ) Freedom of religion is laid down in the Qur’an itself: “There is no compulsion (or coercion) in the religion (Islam). The right direction is distinctly clear from error”. (2:256)

Christian missionary, T.W. Arnold had this opinion on his study of the question of the spread of Islam: “… Of any organized attempt to force the acceptance of Islam on the non-Muslim population, or of any systematic persecution intended to stamp out the Christian religion, we hear nothing. Had the caliphs chosen to adopt either course of action, they might have swept away Christianity as easily as Ferdinand and Isabella drove Islam out of Spain, or Louis XIV made Protestantism …”

It is a function of Islamic law to protect the privileged status of minorities, and this is why non-Muslim places of worship have flourished all over the Islamic world. History provides many examples of Muslim tolerance towards other faiths: when the caliph Omar entered Jerusalem in the year 634, Islam granted freedom of worship to all religious communities in the city.

Proclaiming to the inhabitants that their lives, and property were safe, and that their places of worship would never be taken from them, he asked the Christian patriarch Sophronius to accompany him on a visit to all the holy places. Islamic law also permits non-Muslim minorities to set up their own courts, which implement family laws drawn up by the minorities themselves. The life and property of all citizens in an Islamic state are considered sacred whether the person is Muslim or not.

Racism is not a part of Islam, the Qur’an speaks only of human equality and how all peoples are equal in the sight of God. “O mankind! We created you from a single soul, male and female, and made you into nations and tribes, so that you may come to know one another. Truly, the most honored of you in God’s sight is the greatest of you in piety. God is All-Knowing, All- Aware.” (49:13)

All Muslims are Arabs

The Muslim population of the world is around 1.4 billion. 1 out of 4 people in the world is a Muslim. Islam is the fastest growing religion in the World and North America. They are a vast range of races, nationalities, and cultures from around the globe–from the Philippines to Nigeria–they are united by their common Islamic faith. Only about 18% live in the Arab world and the largest Muslim community is in Indonesia. Most Muslims live east of Pakistan. 30% of Muslims live in the Indian subcontinent, 20% in Sub-Saharan Africa, 17% in Southeast Asia, 18% in the Arab world, and 10% in the Soviet Union and China. Turkey, Iran and Afghanistan make up 10% of the non-Arab Middle East. Although there are Muslim minorities in almost every area, including Latin America and Australia, they are most numerous in Russia and its newly independent states, India and central Africa. There are about 8 million Muslims in the United States.

The Nation of Islam is a Muslim group

Islam and the so called “Nation of Islam'” are two different religions. Muslims consider this group to be just one of many cults using the name of Islam for their own gain. The only thing common between them is the jargon, the language used by both. “The Nation of Islam” is a misnomer; this religion should be called Farrakhanism, after the name of its propagator, Louis Farrakhan.

Islam and Farakhanism differ in many fundamental ways. For example, Farrakhan followers believe in racism and that the ‘black man’ was the original man and therefore superior, while in Islam there is no racism and everyone is considered equal in the sight of God, the only difference being in one’s piety. There are many other theological examples that show the ‘Nation’s teachings have little to do with true Islam. There are many groups in America who claim to represent Islam and call their adherents Muslims.

Any serious student of Islam has a duty to investigate and find the true Islam. The only two authentic sources which bind every Muslim are 1. The Quran and 2. Authentic or sound Hadith. Any teachings under the label of “Islam” which contradict or at variance with the direct understanding of fundamental beliefs and practices of Islam form the Quran and authentic Hadith should be rejected and such a religion should be considered a Pseudo-Islamic Cult. In America there are many pseudo-Islamic cults, Farrakhanism being one of them. An honest attitude on the part of such cults should be not to call themselves Muslims and their religion Islam. Such an example of honesty is Bahaism which is an off-shoot of Islam but Bahais do not call themselves Muslims nor their religion, Islam. In fact Bahaism is not Islam just as Farrakhanism is not Islam.

All Muslim men marry four wives

The religion of Islam was revealed for all societies and all times and so accommodates widely differing social requirements. Circumstances may warrant the taking of another wife but the right is granted, according to the Quran, only on condition that the husband is scrupulously fair. No woman can be forced into this kind of marriage if they do not wish it, and they also have the right to exclude it in their marriage contract.

Polygamy is neither mandatory, nor encouraged, but merely permitted. Images of “sheikhs with harems” are not consistent with Islam, as a man is only allowed at most four wives only if he can fulfill the stringent conditions of treating each fairly and providing each with separate housing etc. Permission to practice polygamy is not associated with mere satisfaction of passion. It is rather associated with compassion toward widows and orphans. It was the Quran that limited and put conditions on the practice of polygamy among the Arabs, who had as many as ten or more wives and considered them “property”. It is both honest and accurate to say that it is Islam which regulated this practice, limited it, made it more humane and instituted equal rights and status for all wives. What the Qur’anic decrees amount to, taken together is discouragement of polygamy unless necessity for it exists. It is also evident that the general rule in Islam is monogamy and not polygamy. It is a very tiny percentage of Muslims that practice it over the world. However, permission to practice limited polygamy is only consistent with Islam’s realistic view of the nature of man and woman and of various social needs, problems and cultural variations. The question is, however far more than the inherent flexibility of Islam; it also is the frank and straightforward approach of Islam in dealing with practical problems. Rather than requiring hypocritical and superficial compliance, Islam delves deeper into the problems of individuals and societies, and provides for legitimate and clean solutions which are far more beneficial than would be the case if they were ignored. There is no doubt that the second wife legally married and treated kindly is better off than a mistress without any legal rights or expermanence.

Muslims are a barbaric, backwards people

Among the reasons for the rapid and peaceful spread of Islam was the simplicity of its doctrine-Islam calls for faith in only one God worthy of worship. It also repeatedly instructs man to use his powers of intelligence and observation. Within a few years, great civilizations and universities were flourishing, for according to the Prophet (pbuh), ‘seeking knowledge is an obligation for every Muslim man and woman’.

The synthesis of Eastern and Western ideas and of new thought with old, brought about great advances in medicine, mathematics, physics, astronomy, geography, architecture, art, literature, and history.

Many crucial systems such as algebra, the Arabic numerals, and also the concept of the zero (vital to the advancement of mathematics), were transmitted to medieval Europe from Islam. Sophisticated instruments which were to make possible the European voyages of discovery were developed, including the astrolabe, the quadrant and good navigational maps.

Muhammad(PBUH) was the founder of Islam and Muslims worship him

Muhammad (pbuh) was born in Mecca in the year 570. Since his father died before his birth, and his mother shortly afterwards, he was raised by his uncle from the respected tribe of Quraysh. As he grew up, he became known for his truthfulness, generosity and sincerity, so that he was sought after for his ability to arbitrate in disputes. The historians describe him as calm and meditative. Muhammad (pbuh) was of a deeply religious nature, and had long detested the decadence of his society.

It became his habit to meditate from time to time in the Cave of Hira near Mecca. At the age of 40, while engaged in a meditative retreat, Muhammad (pbuh) received his first revelation from God through the Angel Gabriel. This revelation, which continued for 23 years, is known as the Quran. As soon as he began to recite the words he heard from Gabriel, and to preach the truth which God had revealed to him, he and his small group of followers suffered bitter persecution, which grew so fierce that in the year 622 God gave them the command to emigrate.

This event, the Hijra ‘migration’, in which they left Mecca for the city of Medina, marks the beginning of the Muslim calendar. After several years, the Prophet and his followers were able to return to Mecca, where they forgave their enemies and established Islam definitively. Before the Prophet saw dies at the age of 63, the greater part of Arabia was Muslim, and within a century of his death Islam had spread to Spain in the West and as far East as China. He died with less than 5 possessions to his name.

While Muhammad (pbuh) was chosen to deliver the message, he is not considered the “founder” of Islam, since Muslims consider Islam to be the same divine guidance sent to all peoples before. Muslims believe all the prophets from Adam, Noah, Moses, Jesus etc. were all sent with divine guidance for their peoples. Every prophet was sent to his own people, but Muhammad (pbuh) was sent to all of mankind. Muhammad is the last and final messenger sent to deliver the message of Islam. Muslims revere and honor him (pbuh) for all he went through and his dedication, but they do not worship him. “O Prophet, verily We have sent you as a witness and a bearer of glad tidings and a warner and as one who invites unto God by His leave and as an illuminating lamp.” (33:45-6)

Muslims don’t believe in Jesus or any other prophets

Muslims respect and revere Jesus, upon him be peace, and await his Second Coming. They consider him one of the greatest of God’s messengers to mankind. A Muslim never refers to him simply as ‘Jesus’, but always adds the phrase ‘upon him be peace’ (abbreviated as (u) here). The Quran confirms his virgin birth (a chapter of the Quran is entitled ‘Mary’), and Mary is considered the purest woman in all creation. The Quran describes the Annunciation as follows: “Behold!” the Angel said, “God has chosen you, and purified you, and chosen you above the women of all nations. O Mary, God gives you good news of a word from Him whose name shall be the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, honored in this world and the Hereafter, and one of those brought near to God. He shall speak to the people from his cradle and in maturity, and shall be of the righteous.” She said: “O my Lord! How shall I have a son when no man has touched me?” He said: “Even so; God creates what He will. When He decrees a thing, He says to it, “Be!” and it is” (Quran 3:42-47)

Jesus (u) was born miraculously through the same power which had brought Adam (u) into being without a father: “Truly, the likeness of Jesus with God is as the likeness of Adam. He created him of dust, and then said to him, ‘Be!’ and he was.” (3:59) during his prophetic mission Jesus (u) performed many miracles. The Quran tells us that he said: ” I have come to you with a sign from your Lord: I make for you out of clay, as it were, the figure of a bird, and breathe into it and it becomes a bird by God’s leave. And I heal the blind, and the lepers, and I raise the dead by God’s leave.” (3:49) Neither Muhammad (pbuh) not Jesus (u) came to change the basic doctrine of the brief in One God brought by earlier prophets, but to confirm and renew it.

In the Qur’an Jesus (u) is reported as saying that he came: “To attest the law which was before me. And to make lawful to you part of what was forbidden you; I have come to you with a sign from your Lord, so fear God and obey Me. (3:50) The Prophet Muhammad(pbuh) said: “Whoever believes there is no god but God, alone without partner, that Muhammad(pbuh) is His messenger, that Jesus is the servant and messenger of God, His word breathed into Mary and a spirit emanating from Him, and that Paradise and Hell are true, shall be received by God into Heaven. “(Hadith related by Bukhari)

source : http://www.daily.pk/general/generalnews/67-generalnews/4903-the-top-misconceptions-about-islam. html

Why I Choose Islam?

•June 28, 2008 • 1 Comment

Why I choose Islam ?


I was raised in a house where we prayed every night and morning. We were not taught set prayers but to pray from the heart. We went to church every Sunday and were active participants in the activities held there…..

By the time I was in my late teens I was a missionary.

I always felt close to ‘God’ and prayer was a way of life for me. Deep in my mind, for I could never voice any doubts, I had some misgivings; some things that didn’t make sense to me but as a missionary I felt I was calling to God, not to that particular church. I knew God, to be the Infinitely Powerful Being Who had created all there is. I could recognize a harmony and structure in all the nature around me, yet I found an absence of order wherever I looked around people. I learned to love Jesus as a messenger of God but it seemed strange to me, that God would require a sacrifice in order to forgive us. I believed that God was above having any need. I felt I could communicate with God as I was, without the necessity of an intermediary because, again, God didn’t need any help to hear what I said.

One day I moved into a flat and met my neighbors who were Muslims. I thought I would try out some missionary work on them. They listened to me patiently and then I too, listened to them . They didn’t try to explain any complicated issues, they just read to me from the Qu’ran. First they read in Arabic, then in English. It was Sura (Chapter) Maryam. I listened in silence. The beautiful sound of the Arabic recitation touched my heart and then the plain and direct language of the English translation struck a chord within. The beautiful story of Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) and his miracle birth to the virgin Mary was a marvel of simplicity. God, or as I learned to call Him, Allah s.w.t. had provided mankind with Prophets and Messengers since the beginning of time. From Prophet Adam (peace be upon him), Prophet Abraham, Prophet Moses, Prophet Jesus and Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon them all) and many others. They were all sent with God’s message to disdain all worship except, worship of the One True God and to submit to His Will. Such is the meaning of Islam. A Muslim is one who bows to the will of Allah s.w.t. refusing the worship of anyone or anything else and seeking to establish piety on earth. a

Author : Velma Cook

http://english.islamway.com/bindex.php?section=article&id=26

 

The Holy Quran

•June 28, 2008 • Leave a Comment

The Holy Quran

 


          As people would hesitate to travel without a map and guide book, so the Muslim carries with him/her the Qu’ran; their guidebook, manual and map, to take them safely through this life into success in the Hereafter.

Human beings left to themselves achieve as much greatness as the ancient empires that ended up by destroying themselves through disease, violence, oppression and war. Even in today’s world, the people, who profess high technology and ‘development’, are destroying themselves through the dissolution of the family, hopelessness, depression, suicide, sexually transmitted diseases, which are the product of promiscuity, and an artificial approach to life that places importance on beauty and wealth and renders the poor, weak and un -beautiful of the world, completely without value, and with little hope.

Child pornography, prostitution, drug abuse, corruption, social inequality, monopolization of money and goods, and general godlessness, spell ruin to all those who are not a part of the elite few of the modern world, who own the banks, the multi national companies and the economic reins of power.

Historians agree that the best time to have been alive in the history of the world, is the 80 or so years since the advent of Muhammad (peace be upon him). They came to this conclusion by analyzing the factors of safety, justice, peace, equality and development. What was it that turned desert nomads into the position of deserving such a title? The simple answer, is that the revelation of the Qu’ran had a natural affect on the body, mind and spirit of individuals who submitted to the right of Allah, to be worshipped and obeyed.

The Qu’ran outlined the position of the human being before Allah, before fellow human beings and before the whole of creation. Through the guidance of the Qu’ran, the Muslim came to know what was expected of him/her by their Creator. They knew the rights of the people over them and even the rights of animals and nature. The Muslims came to know their tremendous responsibility to act as the viceregent of Allah on this earth; the caretaker of creation. Look around today, and notice the pollution of air, land and water, the injustices and oppression that is carried out daily in every country of the world and the monopolization of power in the hands of the unscrupulous few. The Qu’ran remains with us, as a blessing and source of guidance. However, if we continue to act against it, it will in turn be a witness against us on the Day when all humanity’s deeds and misdeeds are opened; when the cries of the helpless and oppressed will ring out and the tyrants will be brought to justice.

The cure for the ills of the world, lies in our adherence to the morals, principles and laws of the Qu’ran. Surely, left to ourselves, we will destroy all that is around us.

Is it pride that prevents us from submitting to the Creator?
Or is it foolishness?

Contributed by : Velma Cook, Australia

http://english.islamway.com/bindex.php?section=article&id=142

 

 

why Islam

•June 25, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Why Islam?