Monday, 20 June 2011

Islamic Virtues

In the Name of God, The Most
Gracious, The Most Merciful


Islamic Virtues

There is no better way to learn about Islam than to read the Holy
Qur'an and to observe the practices of a devout Muslim. Unfortunately,
the many stereotypes, misconceptions, and misrepresentations prevalent
today serve as a great barrier that prevent non-Muslims from understanding
the truth about Islam. Lack of access to an English translation
of the Qur'an and, moreover, to a knowledgeable Muslim who represents
Islam well may also be factors. Therefore, it is a hope that this
pamphlet will assist those who desire to know exactly what the Qur'an
teaches and how a practicing Muslim is supposed to act.

The Holy Qur'an, the revelation given to Prophet Muhammad almost
1400 years ago, is an instruction book for people of all times and
all places as to how one can live their life correctly. It contains
therein, among other things, the qualities that one should adopt
in order to please the Creator and to obtain true peace on Earth.
The ultimate result from a sincere striving towards such qualities
would be the fulfillment of the human being's purpose in this life
(submission to the One God) and the attainment of the reward in
the next life (eternal Paradise!)

This brief work is meant to convey the moral standard by which
the conscious Muslim lives his or her life according to. These moral
teachings have been extrapolated from the Holy Qur'an, a book which
Muslims believe is the final revelation of the Creator to His creation.
Muslims use this book as a standard for correct faith and action
because they have a firm belief that the Creator knows what is best
for His creation. In the Holy Qur'an, God says, "Verily this
Qur'an doth guide to that which is most right" (17:9). Muslims
believe that only when humanity believes in the One God and sincerely
follows the teachings of this divine book, will all the problems
of the world then be solved.


"Do no evil nor mischief on the (face of the) earth."

"Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all
that is good, enjoining what is right, and forbidding what is wrong."

"Do good to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, those in need, neighbors
who are of kin, neighbors who are strangers, the companion by your
side, the wayfarer (ye meet), and what your right hands possess."

"[God] forbids all indecent deeds, and evil and rebellion:
He instructs you, that ye may receive admonition." (16:90)

"Verily the most honored of you in the sight of God is (he
who is) the most righteous of you." (49:13)


"Give of the good things which ye have (honorably) earned,
and of the fruits of the earth which We have produced for you."

"If ye disclose (acts of) charity, even so it is well, but
if ye conceal them, and make them reach those (really) in need,
that is best for you ." (2:271)

"By no means shall ye attain righteousness unless ye give
(freely) of that which ye love." (3:92)

"Those saved from the covetousness of their own souls, they
are the ones that achieve prosperity." (59:9)

"[Do not] expect, in giving, any increase (for thyself)!"


"Eat of the good things that We have provided for you, and
be grateful to God, if it is Him ye worship." (2:172)

"Show gratitude to Me and to thy parents: to Me is (thy final)
Goal." (31:14)

"[God] liketh not ingratitude from His servants: if ye are
grateful, He is pleased with you." (39:7)


"In no wise covet those things in which God hath bestowed His
gifts more freely on some of you than on others: to men is allotted
what they earn, and to women what they earn: but ask God of His
bounty." (4:32)


"Call on your Lord with humility and in private: for God loveth
not those who trespass beyond bounds." (7:55)

"Celebrate the praises of thy Lord, and be of those who prostrate
themselves in adoration." (15:98)

"The servants of (God) Most Gracious are those who walk on
the earth in humility, and when the ignorant address them, they
say, 'Peace!'" (25:63)

"Exult not, for God loveth not those who exult (in riches)."

"Swell not thy cheek (for pride) at men, nor walk in insolence
through the earth; for God loveth not any arrogant boaster."


"God loveth those who are kind." (5:13)

"Be kind to parents. Whether one or both of them attain old
age in thy life, say not to them a word of contempt, nor repel them,
but address them in terms of honor. And, out of kindness, lower
to them the wing of humility, and say: 'My Lord! bestow on them
Thy Mercy even as they cherished me in childhood.'" (17:23-24)

"We have enjoined on man (to be good) to his parents: in travail
upon travail did his mother bear him, and in years twain was his
weaning." (31:14)

"Treat not the orphan with harshness, nor repulse him who
asks." (93:9-10)


"When a (courteous) greeting is offered you, meet it with a
greeting still more courteous, or (at least) of equal courtesy.
God takes careful account of all things." (4:86)

"Let not some men among you laugh at others: it may be that
the (latter) are better than the (former): nor let some women laugh
at others: it may be that the (latter) are better than the (former):
nor defame nor be sarcastic to each other, nor call each other by
(offensive) nicknames." (49:11)


"Eat of what is on earth, lawful and good; and do not follow
the footsteps of the Satan, for he is to you an avowed enemy."

"[God] loves those who keep themselves pure and clean."

"When ye prepare for prayer, wash your faces, and your hands
(and arms) to the elbows; Rub your heads (with water); and (wash)
your feet to the ankles. If ye are in a state of ceremonial impurity,
bathe your whole body... God doth not wish to place you in a difficulty,
but to make you clean." (5:6)


"Say to My servants that they should (only) say those things
that are best: for Satan doth sow dissensions among them."

"[The believers] have been guided... to the purest of speeches."

"Woe to every (kind of) scandal-monger and backbiter."


"Say to the People of the Book and to those who are unlearned:
'Do ye (also) submit yourselves?' If they do, they are in right
guidance, but if they turn back, thy duty is to convey the Message."

"Enter not houses other than your own, until ye have asked
permission and saluted those in them: that is best for you, in order
that ye may heed (what is seemly). If ye find no one in the house,
enter not until permission is given to you: if ye are asked to go
back, go back: that makes for greater purity for yourselves."

"Avoid suspicion as much (as possible): for suspicion in some
cases is a sin: and spy not on each other, nor speak ill of each
other behind their backs. Would any of you like to eat the flesh
of his dead brother?" (49:12)


"Invite (all) to the Way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful
preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious."


"Say: 'O People of the Book! come to common terms as between
us and you: That we worship none but God; that we associate no partners
with Him; that we erect not, from among ourselves, lords and patrons
other than God.' If then they turn back, say ye: 'Bear witness that
we (at least) are Muslims (bowing to God's Will).'" (3:64)

"If it had been thy Lord's Will, they would all have believed,
all who are on earth! Wilt thou then compel mankind, against their
will, to believe!" (10:99)


"Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to God, even as
against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, and whether it
be (against) rich or poor: for God can best protect both. Follow
not the lusts (of your hearts), lest ye swerve." (4:135)

"God loveth those who judge in equity." (5:42)

"Take not life, which God hath made sacred, except by way
of justice and law." (6:151)


"If the debtor is in a difficulty, grant him time till it is
easy for him to repay. But if ye remit it by way of charity, that
is best for you if ye only knew." (2:280)

"We ordained therein for them: 'Life for life, eye for eye,
nose or nose, ear for ear, tooth for tooth, and wounds equal for
equal.' But if any one remits the retaliation by way of charity,
it is an act of atonement for himself." (5:45)

"Overlook (any human faults) with gracious forgiveness."

"Repel (Evil) with what is better: then will he between whom
and thee was hatred become as it were thy friend and intimate!"

"(It is) for those who believe and put their trust in their
Lord... when they are angry even then forgive." (42:36-37)

"The recompense for an injury is an injury equal thereto (in
degree): but if a person forgives and makes reconciliation, his
reward is due from God: for (God) loveth not those who do wrong."


"To those against whom war is made, permission is given (to
fight), because they are wronged." (22:39)

"If any do help and defend themselves after a wrong (done)
to them, against such there is no cause of blame." (42:41)


"(It is) for those who believe... when an oppressive wrong
is inflicted on them, (are not cowed but) help and defend themselves."


"How many of the Prophets fought (in God's way), and with them
(fought) large bands of godly men? But they never lost heart if
they met with disaster in God's way, nor did they weaken (in will)
nor give in. And God loves those who are firm and steadfast."

"Bear with patient constancy whatever betide thee; for this
is firmness (of purpose) in (the conduct of) affairs." (31:17)


"Fear God, and make your utterance straight forward: That He
may make your conduct whole and sound." (33:70-71)


"Here is a plain statement to men, a guidance and instruction
to those who fear God. So lose not heart, nor fall into despair:
For ye must gain mastery if ye are true in Faith." (3:138-139)

"What is with you must vanish: what is with God will endure.
And We will certainly bestow, on those who patiently persevere,
their reward according to the best of their actions." (16:96)


"Seek (God's) help with patient perseverance and prayer: It
is indeed hard, except to those who are humble, who bear in mind
the certainty that they are to meet their Lord, and that they are
to return to Him." (2:45-46)

"Be sure we shall test you with something of fear and hunger,
some loss in goods or lives or the fruits (of your toil), but give
glad tidings to those who patiently persevere, who say, when afflicted
with calamity: 'To God We belong, and to Him is our return'. They
are those on whom

(descend) blessings from their Lord, and Mercy." (2:155-157)

"Pray for help from God, and (wait) in patience and constancy:
for the earth is God's, to give as a heritage to such of His servants
as He pleaseth; and the end is (best) for the righteous." (7:128)


"On no soul doth God place a burden greater than it can bear.
It gets every good that it earns, and it suffers every ill that
it earns." (2:286)

"Ye shall certainly be tried and tested in your possessions
and in your personal selves; and ye shall certainly hear much that
will grieve you, from those who received the Book before you and
from those who worship partners besides God. But if ye persevere
patiently, and guard against evil, then that will be of great resolution."


"Bow down, prostrate yourselves, and adore your Lord; and do
good; that ye may prosper. And strive in His cause as ye ought to
strive, (with sincerity and under discipline)." (22:77-78)


"Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those
before you, that ye may (learn) self-restraint." (2:183)

"[Do not follow] the lust (of thy heart), for it will mislead
thee from the Path of God." (38:26)

"For such as had entertained the fear of standing before their
Lord's (tribunal) and had restrained (their) soul from lower desires,
their abode will be the Garden." (79:40-41)


"Fight in the cause of God those who fight you, but do not
transgress limits; for God loveth not transgressors." (2:190)

"Commit no excess: for God loveth not those given to excess."

"And the servants of (God) Most Gracious are those who...
when they spend, are not extravagant and not niggardly, but hold
a just (balance) between those (extremes)." (25:63-67)

"Seek, with the (wealth) which God has bestowed on thee, the
Home of the Hereafter, nor forget thy portion in this world: but
do thou good, as God has been good to thee." (28:77)


"When ye deal with each other, in transactions involving future
obligations in a fixed period of time, reduce them to writing...
whether it be small or big; it is juster in the sight of God, more
suitable as evidence, and more convenient to prevent doubts among
yourselves." (2:282)

"If a wicked person comes to you with any news, ascertain
the truth, lest ye harm people unwittingly, and afterwards become
full of repentance for what ye have done." (49:6)


"Hold fast, all together, by the Rope which God (stretches
out for you), and be not divided among yourselves; and remember
with gratitude God's favor on you; for ye were enemies and He joined
your hearts in love, so that by His Grace, ye became brethren."


"Eat not up your property among yourselves in vanities."

"Waste not by excess: for God loveth not the wasters."


"God will never change the grace which He hath bestowed on
a people until they change what is in their (own) souls." (8:53)

"Woe to the worshippers... who (want but) to be seen."


"Whoever recommends and helps a good cause becomes a partner
therein: And whoever recommends and helps an evil cause, shares
in its burden." (4:85)


"Fulfill (every) engagement, for (every) engagement will be
inquired into (on the Day of Reckoning)." (17:34)


"If one of you deposits a thing on trust with another, let
the trustee (faithfully) discharge his trust, and let him fear God."

"God doth command you to render back your trusts to those
to whom they are due." (4:58)


"Cover not Truth with falsehood, nor conceal the Truth when
ye know (what it is)." (2:42)

"Take not your oaths, to practice deception between yourselves."

"Truly many are the partners (in business) who wrong each
other: Not so do those who believe and work deeds of righteousness,
and how few are they?" (38:24)

"Woe to those that deal in fraud, - Those who, when they have
to receive by measure from men, exact full measure, but when they
have to give by measure or weight to men, give less than due."


"Seek ye the forgiveness of your Lord, and turn to Him in repentance;
that He may grant you enjoyment, good (and true), for a term appointed
." (11:3)

"Your Lord knoweth best what is in your hearts: If ye do deeds
of righteousness, verily He is Most Forgiving to those who turn
to Him again and again (in true penitence)." (17:25)


"Behold! In the creation of the heavens and the earth, and
the alternation of night and day, - there are indeed Signs for men
of understanding, - Men who celebrate the praises of God, standing,
sitting, and lying down on their sides, and contemplate the (wonders
of) creation in the heavens and the earth, (with the thought): 'Our
Lord! not for naught hast Thou created (all) this! Glory to Thee!'"

"Establish regular prayer: for prayer restrains from shameful
and evil deeds; and remembrance of God is the greatest (thing in
life) without doubt." (29:45)

"True, there is for thee by day prolonged occupation with
ordinary duties: But keep in remembrance the name of thy Lord and
devote thyself to Him whole-heartedly. (He is) Lord of the East
and the West: there is no god but He: take Him therefore for (thy)
Disposer of Affairs." (73:7-9)



The Islamic Greeting and it’s Etiquette

The Islamic Greeting and it’s Etiquette

(Friday speech delivered by Imam Mohamed Baianonie at the Islamic
Center of Raleigh, NC on February 22, 1988.)

Islam has professed the use of the Islamic greeting when encountering
another Muslim or leaving the company of another Muslim because
it unifies the hearts and strengthens bonds between Muslims.

Imam Muslim reported that the prophet (S.A.W.) said, "I swear
by the one whose hand my soul is in that you will not enter paradise
until you believe. And you won’t be believed until you love
one another. May I tell you something, that if you practice it you
will love another, spread the (salam) Islamic greeting among you."
This makes it clear to us, that spreading salam among Muslims is
the first step towards paradise. This is because spreading salam
leads to increasing the love between our hearts. And the increase
of love between our hearts will increase the Iman, (faith).

An authentic hadith reported by Imams At-Termithi and Ibn Majah
that the prophet (S.A.W.) said: "Oh you people, spread salam
among you, serve the food, behave kindly with your blood relations,
and offer prayer at night when others are asleep, and you will enter
paradise safely." And Imams Bukhari and Muslim reported that
a man asked the prophet (S.A.W.), "what in Islam is the best?"
He (S.A.W.) answered, "To feed people and to say salam to everyone
whether you know them or not."

What is the history of the Islamic greeting, when did it start,
and who was the one who chose it?

Imams Bukhari and Muslim reported that the prophet (S.A.W.) said,
"When Allah created Adam he told him to go and say Assalamu
Alikum to a group of Angels and listen to their reply. It is your
greeting and the greeting of your descendants. Adam went and said:
Assalamu Alikum they said Assalamu Alikum Wa Rahmatulah."

The complete form for the Islamic greeting is Assalamu Alilkum
Wa Rahmatulah Wa Barakatuh meaning peace, mercy, and blessings be
upon from Allah (S.W.T.). This is because Imams Abu-Dawood and At-Termithi
reported in a good hadith that a man came to the prophet (S.A.W.)
and said, "Assalamu Alikum." The prophet responded and
the man sat down. The prophet said, "Ten rewards." Another
man came and said, "Assalamu Alikum Wa Rahmatullh." The
prophet responded and the man sat down. The prophet said, "twenty

Then another man came and said: Assalamu Alakum Wa Rahmatulah Wa
Barakatuh. The prophet responded and the man sat down. The prophet
said, "thirty rewards."

The Scholars have agreed that starting with salam is highly recommended.
And responding is obligatory because Allah (S.W.T.) said in surat
An-Nesa’, (verse 86), what can be translated as, "When
a courteous greeting is offered to you, meet it with a greeting
still more courteous, or at least of equal courtesy."

It is enough for one to say the Islamic greeting to a group and
it is enough for one of the group to return it. This is the meaning
of the two ahadith that were reported by Imams Abu Dawood and Malik.

From the Etiquette of Salam:

The one who comes greets the Muslims that are present.

The one who is riding greets the one who is walking.

The one who is walking greets the one who is sitting.

The smaller group greets the bigger group.

The young greet the elder.

Imams Bukhari and Muslim reported that the prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.)
said, "A rider should greet a pedestrian, a pedestrian should
greet one who is sitting, and a small party should greet a large
party, a younger should greet an elder one."

Salams are recommended when leaving as well as when you meet. Imams
Abu-Dawoud, and At-Tirmith reported in a good hadith that the prophet
Muhammed (S.A.W.) said, "When one of you joins a gathering
he should greet those present; and when he leave them he should
greet them because the first salutation is not better than the last

What does Islam say about saying salams to the people of the book?

The majority of scholars reported that starting with Assalamu Alikum
is not permitted. They refer to the hadith of the prophet that was
reported by Imam Muslim in which the prophet (S.A.W.) said, "Don’t
start with the (salam) Islamic greeting when encountering Jews or

Some scholars see no problem in starting with the Islamic greeting.
Some of the Shafies agree with this. This is the opinion of Ibn-Abbas
one of the companions of the prophet. He said that this hadith was
special for the Jewish of Quraizah, not for all of the people of
the book.

What if the people of the book start with the salams with the Muslims.
Some of the scholars, like Ahnaf say that it is allowed to return
salam and others say it’s obligatory.

Ibn Abbass said, "Whoever says Assalamu Alakum to you, you
have to return his greeting even if he was a Majos (fire-worshipper).
He was referring to a verse from surat An-Nesa’ (verse 86),
what can be translated as, "When a courteous greeting is offered
to you, meet it with a greeting still more courteous, or at least
of equal courtesy."

The scholar had agreed upon starting the greeting with the non-Muslims
is allowed with any word but Assalamu Alikum, like good morning,
how are you? etc..

When meeting another Muslim shaking hands is highly recommended,
along with a great smile, because it increases the love and respect
among Muslims.

It was reported by Imam Bukhari that Qatadah asked Anass (R.A.)
if shaking hands was practiced by the companion at the time of the
prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.). He said, "Yes."

Shaking hands with another Muslim will result in forgiveness from
Allah (S.W.T.).Imams Abu Dawood and At-Termithi reported that the
prophet (S.A.W.) said, "If Muslims meet and shake hands with
each other, they will be forgiven before they leave."

Imam At-Termithi reported a good hadith that a man said: "O
messenger of Allah if one of us meets his brother or friend, should
he bend down to him? The prophet said, " No." He asked
should he hug him and kiss him? The prophet answered, "No."
He asked should he take his hand and shake it. The prophet answered,

Imam At-Termithi reported that Anass (R.A.) said, "When the
prophet use to meet a man, he shook hands with him and the prophet
(S.A.W.) would not pull away his hand until the man would pull his
hand away first."





MUHAMMAD (p.b.u.h.) returned to live with his mother in Mecca when
he was about three years old. Three years later Aminah decided to
take her son to visit his uncles in Yathrib. She told her maid,
Barakah, to prepare everything they would need for the long journey,
and then they joined one of the caravans going there.

They stayed in Yathrib a month and Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) enjoyed
the visit with his cousins. The climate there was very pleasant
and he learned to swim and to fly a kite. On their way back to Mecca,
however, Aminah became ill and died. She was buried in the village
at al-Abwa not far from Yathrib. Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) returned sadly
to Mecca with his mother's maid. He was now six years old and had
lost both his father and mother. He was then adopted by his grandfather,
'Abd al-Muttalib, who loved him dearly and kept him by his

side at all times.

It was the custom of 'Abd al-Muttalib to sit on a blanket near
the Ka'bah. There he was always surrounded by people who had come
to speak to him. No one was allowed to sit on the blanket with him,
however, except his grandson Muhammad (p.b.u.h.), which shows how
close they were to each other. Many times 'Abd al-Muttalib was heard
to say: 'This boy will be very important one day.'

Two years later 'Abd al-Muttalib became ill and Muhammad (p.b.u.h.)
stayed by him constantly. 'Abd al-Muttalib told his son, Abu Talib,
to adopt Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) after his death, which he did. Abu
Talib had many children of his own, but Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) immediately
became part of his family and the favorite child.

The time came for Quraysh to prepare a caravan to go to Syria.
Abu Talib was going with them and he took Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) along.
It was Muhammad's first journey to the north. After days of travel,
the caravan arrived at a place near Syria where the Romans used
to come to trade with the Arabs. Near this marketplace lived a monk
called Bahira. His cell had been used by generations of monks before
him and contained ancient manuscripts.

Bahira saw the caravan in the distance and was amazed to see that
over it was a large white cloud. It was the only cloud in a clear
blue sky and it appeared to be shading one of the travelers. The
monk was even more surprised to see that the cloud seemed to follow
the caravan but disappeared when the person it was shading sat down
under a tree. Bahira knew from the scriptures that a prophet was
expected to come after Jesus and it had been his wish to see this
prophet before he died. Realizing that what he had just seen was
a miracle, he

began to think that his wish might, after all, come true.

The monk sent an invitation to the Meccans to come and eat with
him. The Arabs were surprised because they often passed by and Bahira
had never invited them before. When the group was all together for
the meal, the monk said, 'Is this everyone?'

'No', someone said, 'a boy was left watching the camels.'

Bahira insisted that the boy should join them. The boy was Muhammad
(p.b.u.h.). When he arrived Bahira said nothing, but watched him
all through the meal. He noticed many things about his appearance
which fitted the description in the old manuscripts. Later on he
took him aside and asked Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) many questions. He
soon found out how he felt about the idols in the Ka 'bah. When
Bahira tried to make him swear by them, as the Arabs used to do,
Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) said, 'There is nothing in this world that I
hate more'.

They talked together about Allah, and about Muhammad's life and
family. What was said made Bahira certain that this was indeed the
Prophet who would follow Jesus.

Then the monk went to Abu Talib and asked him how he was related
to Muhammad (p.b.u.h.). Abu Talib told him that Muhammad (p.b.u.h.)
was his son. Bahira replied that this could not be so because the
boy was destined to grow up an orphan, and he ordered Abu Talib
to watch over Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) with great care.

There are many stories told about Muhammad's youth. Some tell of
how he used to take the family's sheep to graze and was always kind
to them. While they grazed he would sit thinking about the mysteries
of nature.

Unlike those around him, he never worshipped the idols and never
swore by them. He also wondered why people were always struggling
for power and money, and this saddened him and made him feel lonely,
but he kept his feelings to himself. He was a quiet, thoughtful
boy, and rarely played with other boys of his age.

On one occasion, however, Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) went with some of
the boys to a wedding in Mecca. When he reached the house he heard
the sounds of music and dancing but just as he was about to enter
he suddenly felt tired and, sitting down, fell asleep. He didn't
wake up until late the next morning and thus missed the celebrations.
In this way Allah prevented him from doing anything foolish for
He was keeping Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) for something much more important.

The Prophet’s Marriage

By the time Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) was twenty-five he was famous for
his honesty. He was respected by everyone, even the elders of Mecca.
The purity of his nature increased with the years. It seemed he
had an inner knowledge that other people did not have. He believed
in one God-Creator of the world and he worshipped Him with all his
heart and with all his soul. Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) was the finest
of his people, the most kind, truthful and reliable person in Mecca.
He was known among Quraysh as 'the trustworthy' (al-Amin) because
of the good qualities Allah had given him. He spent many quiet hours
in a cave in Mount Hira, not far from Mecca, thinking about Allah.

Among Quraysh was a respected and wealthy woman named Khadijah.
She was involved in trade and on hearing of Muhammad's reputation,
sent for him and asked him to take her goods and trade with them
in Syria. Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) agreed and left for Syria with one
of Khadijah's caravans. With him went her slave, Maysarah, and they
spent a great deal of time talking together. Maysarah soon came
to admire Muhammad (p.b.u.h.). He thought he was quite different
from all the other men of Quraysh.

Two unusual events took place during this journey which puzzled
Maysarah very much. The first happened when they stopped to rest
near the lonely home of a monk. Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) sat under a
tree while Maysarah was busy with some work. The monk came up to
Maysarah and asked, 'Who is the man resting under the tree?'

'One of Quraysh, the people who guard the Ka’bah', said Maysarah.

'No one but a Prophet is sitting beneath this tree', replied the

The second event occurred on the journey back to Mecca. It happened
at noon, when the sun is at its hottest.Maysarah was riding behind
Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) and as the sun grew hotter he saw two angels
appear above Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) and shield him from the sun's harmful

The trading was very successful and Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) made more
profit for Khadijah than she had ever received before. When they
arrived back in Mecca Maysarah told Khadijah everything about the
trip and what he had noticed about Muhammad's character and behavior.

Khadijah was a widow in her forties and as well as being rich and
highly respected she was also very beautiful. Many men wanted to
marry her but none of them suited her. When she met Muhammad (p.b.u.h.),
however, she thought he was very special. She sent a friend to ask
Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) why he was not married. Muhammad (p.b.u.h.)
said that it was because he had no money, to which the friend replied:

'Supposing a rich, beautiful and noble lady agreed to marry you?'
Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) wanted to know who that could be. The friend
told him it was Khadijah. Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) was very happy, because
he greatly respected Khadijah. He went with his uncles, Abu Talib
and Hamzah, to Khadijah’s uncle, and asked his permission
to marry her. The uncle gave his permission and soon after, Muhammad
(p.b.u.h.) and Khadijah were married.

Their marriage was a joyful one and Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) and Khadijah
were well suited. Their life together, however, was not without
some sadness. They were blessed with six children, two sons and
four daughters.

Sadly their first born, a son called Qasim, died shortly before
his second birthday, and their last child, also a son, only lived
for a short time. Happily, their four daughters - Zaynab, Ruqayyah,
Umm Kulthiim, and Fatimah -all survived.

For a few years Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) lived a calm and quiet life
as a merchant in Mecca. His wisdom benefited many people. One such
time was when Quraysh decided to rebuild the Ka’bah. It was
a difficult decision for them because they had to knock it down
before rebuilding it and the people were afraid that Allah might
be angry with them for knocking down His sanctuary. At last one
of the wise old men of Quraysh decided to begin, then everybody
followed him.

They worked until they reached down to the first foundation that
Abraham had built. As soon as they began to remove the stones of
this foundation, however, the whole of Mecca began to shake. They
were so afraid that they decided to leave these stones where they
were and build on top of them. Each tribe brought stones and they
built the Ka'bah up until they reached the place where the black
stone was to be set. They then began to argue about who should have
the honor of carrying the black stone and lifting it to its place
in one of the

corners of the Ka’bah. They almost came to blows but fortunately
one of the men offered a solution. He suggested that they should
be guided by the first person to enter the place of worship. They
all agreed and as Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) was the first to enter everyone
was pleased, because they all trusted him.

They told him the cause of the argument and he asked them to bring
a large cloak. They did as he asked, and after spreading the cloak
on the ground. he placed the black stone in the centre of it. Then
he asked a man from each tribe to hold one edge of the cloak and
together to raise it to the height where the stone should be set.
When this was done, he took the stone off the cloak and put it into
place himself.

This story shows how all Quraysh respected and trusted Muhammad
(p.b.u.h.) and how, by his wisdom and good sense, he was able to
keep the peace.



From Drury Lane to Makka

From Drury
Lane to Makka

© Abdal-Hakim Murad

History has not recorded the name of the first British Muslim
to carry out the rites of Hajj. Rumours abound of converted Crusaders
who made the trip in medieval times, and of British Muslims in Ottoman
naval service who visited the hallowed precincts in the seventeenth
and eighteenth centuries. But the first detailed account of the
Hajj by an English Muslim had to wait until the Edwardian era, when
the artist Hedley Churchward became the first recorded British ‘Guest
of God.’

Like many Anglo-Muslims of his day, Churchward was the conservative,
gentlemanly scion of an ancient family; indeed, his ancestors possessed
the second oldest house in Britain. His father ran a successful
business in Aldershot, and was well-received in regimental circles,
enabling the young Churchward to meet Queen Victoria and the philanthropist
Baroness Burdett-Coutts. Showing an early artistic talent, Churchward
studied art and became a recognised painter, specialising in the
then highly prestigious field of theatrical scene painting. A familiar
figure in London’s West End in the 1880s, he worked closely
with celebrities as varied as Tennyson, Millais, Lord Leighton,
and the most famous of all Victorian ‘supermodels’,
Lily Langtry.

A leisurely trip through Spain opened the young scene-painter’s
eyes to the glories of Moorish architecture, and he was tempted
to venture across the Straits to Morocco. Here, in a world still
untouched by Western influence, he quickly fell in love with the
gentle and beautiful lifestyle of Islam. After several visits, he
gravely announced to his startled family that he had become a Muslim.

Churchward travelled on to Cairo, where he studied for several
years at Al-Azhar, the Muslim world’s highest seat of learning.
His scholarship developed apace, enabling him to preach Friday sermons
at a small mosque, and even landing him an appointment to the prestigious
post of lecturer in Sira (the Prophet’s biography) at the
Qadis’ Academy - no small achievement for a convert.

In need of more lucrative work, Churchward then sailed for South
Africa, where his art and his elegant drawing-room manner soon won
him the favour of Cecil Rhodes, who made him the gift of a rare
pink diamond. Moving effortlessly between the Muslim community and
the Transvaal’s white elite, it was thanks to Churchward’s
earnest intercession that President Paul Kruger granted permission
for the erection of the first mosque in the Witwatersrand goldfields.

On his return to Cairo, Mahmoud Churchward married the daughter
of a prominent Shafi‘i jurist of Al-Azhar, and continued his
Arabic lecturing. But both his head and his heart told him that
his Islam was not yet complete: the magnetic pull of the Fifth Pillar
was becoming impossible to resist. As he later recorded: ‘One
evening, as I strode along the looming Pyramid in the sunset, and
saw the jagged skyline of Cairo behind the dreamy African dusk,
I decided to carry through what I had intended to do ever since
I turned a Moslem - I would go to the Kaaba at Mecca.’

As an Englishman he realised that this ambition might prove hard
to fulfil: there was a danger that the Caliphal authorities at Jeddah
might distrust the sincerity of his claims to be a Muslim, and unceremoniously
turn him away. He therefore petitioned the senior Ulema for a letter
of recommendation. In the awe-inspiring presence of the Chief Qadi
of Egypt, together with Shaykh al-Islam Mehmet Jemaluddin Efendi
(the Ottoman Empire’s highest religious authority, who happened
to be on a visit to Cairo), he submitted to a three-hour examination
on difficult points of faith. Passing with flying colours, he received
a beautifully-calligraphed testimonial signed by the scholars present.
This religious passport was to serve him well in overcoming the
bureaucratic obstacles which lay ahead.

In 1910, after a further year in South Africa, the would-be Hajji
packed his trunks and set out from Johannesburg for the Holy Land.
Steamers in those days were slow, and Churchward faced the added
impediment of having to travel via Bombay, where he spent weeks
in frustrating negotiations with shipping-clerks, officials, and
an urbane Lebanese Christian who was the Ottoman consul. At last
he found an elderly pilgrim ship, the SS Islamic, and this vessel,
captained by an irascible Scotsman and armed with cannon against
the threat of pirates, chugged slowly across the shimmering heat
of the Indian Ocean, visiting the poverty-stricken Arabian Gulf
before wending its leisurely way up the Red Sea.

The days passed slowly, and the time for Hajj was fast approaching.
Steaming at six knots, halting at small ports to deliver sacks of
mail, which had to be handed over with six-foot tongs because of
the fear of plague, there was little to do except watch the dolphins,
eat curry, and pray on deck with the Indian pilgrims.

Landing briefly at the Sudanese port of Suakin, Churchward dropped
in on the British Consul, who airily told him that his plans to
visit Makka were doomed. ‘My dear chap,’ he told him,
sipping an iced drink on the Consular veranda, ‘to begin with
you will not be allowed to land at Jeddah.’

But two days later, the Islamic steamed into the roadstead of the
Arabian port. ‘On the Indian deck,’ he recorded, ‘there
started a great packing of pots, portable stoves, babies and sacks
of rice.’ It proved necessary to row ashore in a small dinghy,
plunging through the hot spray past a Turkish battleship that had
been moored for so long that the coral had grown up around it, immobilising
it forever. Once his little boat was beached on the sands, a short
conversation with the Ottoman officials established that all was
well, and Churchward went into the town to make contact with the
local representative (wakil) of Sharifa Zain Wali, a rich businesswoman
of Makka who ran a large organisation of ‘mutawwifs’
- pilgrim guides. Naturally, she could not attend him here in person
- as Churchward later observed: ‘Owing to the immense numbers
of pilgrims, hundreds of thousands, who reach Jeddah each year,
it is as impossible for these much-respected dignitaries to escort
their customers personally as it would be for Mr. Thomas Cook to
chaperone every Cockney globe-trotter through Europe. Like all her
colleagues, she employed a considerable staff, who saw that the
Hajis carried through the ritual prescribed by the Prophet.’

The Wakil took Churchward to his beautiful Arab house, and explained
how to don his Ihram clothing before letting him settle down for
the night. ‘Finding a level place on the irregular stones
I lay down anew’, he wrote. ‘This time a thousand million
mosquitoes hovered over me.’ The following day, he telegraphed
most of his money through to Makka, and entrusted, as was the custom,
the remainder of his funds to the Mutawwif. That evening, ‘while
the lamps of Jeddah glowed in a tropic sunset, two donkeys arrived.’
The road beyond Jeddah was little more than a camel track, but the
Wakil confidently led the small party towards the nocturnal east,
with Halley’s Comet hanging splendidly among the stars above.
‘Against the stars I saw rock faces; we seemed to be trotting
through a kind of canyon. Saving the fall of our donkeys’
feet there was nothing to be heard, not even a jackal. ... Bang!
Explosions suddenly rang from some place high in the dark hills.
No mistake, those were rifle shots ... The growing brightness showed
a very picturesque old building, a kind of tower several hundred
feet above the road. From the steep path serving the structure some
fez-adorned figures ran down. They wore uniforms and held guns in
their hands.’

An Ottoman officer came up, and politely explained that his men
had successfully chased off a band of robbers. In those days, attacks
by desert Arabs on pilgrims were distressingly common; but Churchward
and his party rode on, trusting in Allah. In the oven-like heat
of the early afternoon, after several stops at roadside coffee-houses,
they passed the stone pillars which indicated the beginning of the
sacred territory into which no non-Muslim may intrude.

‘On entering here my guide signed to me that we should say
the proper prayer. Touching his heart and forehead he muttered the
Fatiha and held his hands together as if to receive Heaven’s
blessing. Then he said, Hena al-Haram (Here is the Holy Ground).’

‘Some pigeons, wild doves and other birds were the first
specimens of desert fauna I came on. They appeared perfectly tame,
and fluttered a few inches from our faces. Some sat on the hard
stones and allowed the donkeys to go right upon them. Very carefully
the Wakeel led his beast around the little creatures, for no man
will dare to kill a living thing here.’

In the Holy City at last, after almost two days on the road, Churchward
and his companions entered the tall mansion-cum-hotel of the Sharifa.
This pious and aristocratic lady, a direct descendent of the Holy
Prophet, had family connections in Cape Town, where her company
of pilgrim guides had been recommended to Churchward. Unpacking
his goods, he sent her a gift of a Gouda cheese, which was borne
up to her unseen presence by excited servants. The Sharifa herself
shortly called to him from behind a wooden mashrabiya screen: ‘Mubarak!
Welcome to my house.’ ‘I replied that I felt proud to
live in her house, whereat she answered that she was proud of me.
‘The Kafirs make good cheese,’ declared the lady, ‘they
must have many cows.’’

The English pilgrim struggled up seven flights of stairs, bathed,
and slept on the roof. He was awoken before dawn by the strange
lilting sound of Ottoman bugles, and after prayers and a breakfast
of melons he set off behind the Mutawwif towards the Sacred Mosque.
Taking care to scuff their feet disdainfully on some well-worn flagstones,
which the Mutawwif declared were some former idols of Quraish which
had been cast down there by the Prophet to be humiliated, Churchward
and his companion finally entered the House of God. The first stage
of a five-month journey had finally come to an end.


Islam has a progressive tradition too

Most western views of Muslims are founded on ignorance


When a Welsh resistance leader was captured and brought before
the emperor in Rome, he said: "Because you desire to conquer
the world, it does not necessarily follow that the world desires
to be conquered by you." Today one could offer an echo of this
sentiment to western liberals: "Because you wish your values
to prevail throughout the world, it does not always follow that
the world wishes to adopt them." The imperial voice is based
on ignorance of the rich traditions of other civilisations, and
on an undue optimism about what the west is doing to the world politically,
economically and environmentally.

The entrenched beliefs many westerners profess about Islam often
reveal more about the west than they do about Islam or Muslims.
The Ottomans were history's longest-lasting major dynasty; their
durability must have had some relation to their ability to rule
a multi-faith empire at a time when Europe was busily hanging, drawing
and quartering different varieties of Christian believer.

Today Islam is said to be less, not more, tolerant than the west,
and we need to ask which, precisely, are the "western"
values with which Islam is so incompatible? Some believe Islam's
attitude towards women is the source of the Muslim "problem".
Westerners need to look to their own attitudes here and recognise
that only very recently have patriarchal structures begun to erode
in the west.

The Islamic tradition does show some areas of apparent incompatibility
with the goals of women in the west, and Muslims have a long way
to go in their attitudes towards women. But blaming the religion
is again to express an ignorance both of the religion and of the
historical struggle for equality of women in Muslim societies.

A careful reading of modern female theologians of Islam would cause
western women to be impressed by legal injunctions more than 1,000
years old that, for instance, grant women legal rights to domestic
help at the expense of their husbands. Three of the four Sunni schools
consider domestic chores outside the scope of a woman's legal responsibilities
toward her husband. Contrast that with US polls showing that working
women still do 80% of domestic chores.

Westerners, in their advocacy of global conformism, often speak
of "progress" and the rejection of the not-too-distant
feudal past, and are less likely to reveal their unease about corporate
hegemony and the real human implications of globalisation.

Neither are the missionaries of western values willing to consider
why Europe, the heart of the west, should have generated two world
wars which killed more civilians than all the wars of the previous
20 centuries. As Muslims point out, we are asked to call them "world
wars" despite their reality as western wars, which targeted
civilians with weapons of mass destruction at a time when Islam
was largely at peace.

We Muslims are unpersuaded by many triumphalist claims made for
the west, but are happy with its core values. As a westerner, the
child of civil rights and anti-war activists, I embraced Islam not
in abandonment of my core values, drawn almost entirely from the
progressive tradition, but as an affirmation of them. I have since
studied Islamic law for 10 years with traditionally trained scholars,
and while some particulars in medieval legal texts have troubled
me, never have the universals come into conflict with anything my
progressive Californian mother taught me. Instead, I have marvelled
at how most of what western society claims as its own highest ideals
are deeply rooted in Islamic tradition.

The chauvinism apparent among some westerners is typically triggered
by Islamic extremism. Few take the trouble to notice that mainstream
Islam dislikes the extremists as much as the west does. What I fear
is that an excuse has been provided to supply some westerners with
a replacement for their older habit of anti-semitism. The shift
is not such a difficult one. Arabs, after all, are semites, and
the Arabian prophet's teaching is closer in its theology and law
to Judaism than it is to Christianity. We Muslims in the west, like
Jews before us, grapple with the same issues that Jews of the past
did: integration or isolation, tradition or reform, intermarriage
or intra-marriage.

Muslims who yearn for an ideal Islamic state are in some ways reflecting
the old aspirations of the Diaspora Jews for a homeland where they
would be free to be different. Muslims, like Jews, often dress differently;
we cannot eat some of the food of the host countries. Like the Jews
of the past, we are now seen as parasites on the social body, burdened
with a uniform and unreformable law, contributing little, scheming
in ghettoes, and obscurely indifferent to personal hygiene.

Cartoons of Arabs seem little different to the caricatures of Jews
in German newspapers of the Nazi period. In the 1930s, such images
ensured that few found the courage to speak out about the possible
consequences of such a demonisation, just as few today are really
thinking about the anti-Muslim rhetoric of the extreme-right parties
across Europe. Muslims in general, and Arabs especially, have become
the new "other".

When I met President Bush last year, I gave him two books. One
was The Essential Koran, translated by Thomas Cleary. The second
was another translation by Cleary, Thunder in the Sky: Secrets of
the Acquisition and Use of Power. Written by an ancient Chinese
sage, it reflects the universal values of another great people.

I did this because, as an American, rooted in the best of western
tradition, and a Muslim convert who finds much of profundity in
Chinese philosophy, I believe the "Huntington thesis"
that these three great civilisations must inevitably clash is a
lie. Each civilisation speaks with many voices; the best of them
find much in common. Not only can our civilisations co-exist in
our respective parts of the world, they can co-exist in the individual
heart, as they do in mine. We can enrich each other if we choose
to embrace our essential humanity; we can destroy the world if we
choose to stress our differences.

· Shaykh Hamza Yusuf Hanson is the director of the US-based
Zaytouna Institute


Tradition or Extradition?

or Extradition?

© Abdal-Hakim Murad, January 2003

Is Western Islam inevitable? Until recently we scarcely asked the
question. We assumed that the demography of the East, and the expanding
economies of the West, made nothing so certain as continued Muslim
immigration to Europe, Canada and the United States.

The rise of Al-Qa‘ida has now placed that assurance in doubt.
An increasing number of academics and politicians in the West are
voicing their doubts about the Muslim presence. Citing the Yale
academic Lamin Sanneh, the right-wing English journalist Melanie
Phillips suggests that the time has come to think again about Muslim
immigration to the West. Sanneh, whose views on Islam’s inherent
inability to adjust to the claims of citizenship in non-Muslim states
have attracted several right-wing theorists, is here being used
to justify the agenda that is increasingly recommended on the far
right across Europe, with electrifying effects on the polls.

Cooler heads, such as John Esposito, reject the alarmism of Sanneh
and Phillips. Contrary to stereotypes, they insist, Islam has usually
been good at accommodating itself to minority status. The story
of Islam in traditional China, where it served the emperors so faithfully
that it was recognised as one of the semi-official religions of
the Chinese state, was the norm rather than the exception. Minority
status is nothing new for Islam, and around the boundaries of the
Islamic world, Muslims have consistently shown themselves to be
good citizens in contexts a good deal less multiculturalist than
our own.

The anti-Dreyfusard charge against the Muslim presence, however,
goes further than this. It is not enough to behave; you must show
that your religion teaches you to behave. And where a hundred years
ago the cultivated Western public problematized Jews, it is now
Muslims who are feeling the pressure. Anti-semites once baited the
Jews as an alien, Oriental intrusion into white, Christian Europe,
a Semitic people whose loyalty to its own Law would always render
its loyalty to King and Country dubious. Christianity, on this Victorian
view, recognised a due division between religion and state; while
the Semitic Other could not. There was little wonder in this. The
Christian, as heir to the Hellenic vision of St Paul, was free in
the spirit. The Semitic Jew was bound to the Law. He could hence
never progress or become reconciled to the value of Gentile compatriots.
Ultimately, his aim was to subvert, dominate, and possess.

Few in the West seem to have spotted this similarity. One of the
great ironies of the present crisis is that many of the most outspoken
defenders of the State of Israel are implicitly affirming anti-Semitic
categories in the way they deny the value of Islam. In many cases,
the transformation has taken place over so few generations that
one wonders whether the old prejudice has been entirely supplanted.
Pim Fortuyn, the Dutch anti-immigration politician who wanted to
close all of Holland’s mosques, published his book, Against
the Islamisation of our Culture, to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary
of the creation of Israel. Yet the book is filled with characterisations
of the new Muslim presence that fit perfectly the categories of
anti-Semitism. The Muslim Other is driven by the Law, not the Spirit.
He therefore is always the same, and cannot reform. His intentions
are not to enrich his country of adoption, but to overcome it for
the sake of a transnational religious enterprise of domination and

We are, in a sense, the New Jews. An odd transposition has taken
place, with one religious community ducking from beneath a Christian
yoke, which then found Muslim shoulders to rest on. We have little
time or inclination to contemplate the irony of this strange alteration,
however; since we cannot forget the fate of the prejudice’s
earlier victims, and its current prospects. The road from Auschwitz
to Srebrenica was not such a crooked one; and the new rightist politicians
in the West are surely positioned somewhere along that road.

Given that Al-Qa‘ida, or its surrogates, have massively reinforced
this new chauvinism, it is depressing that its roots and possible
entailments have yet to be assessed by most Muslim advocates in
the West. But we need to look it in the eyes. We are hated by very
many people; and cannot discount the possibility that this hatred
will spill over into immigration filters, mosque closures, the prohibition
of hijab in schools, and a generalised demonising of Muslims that
makes the risk of rioting, or individual violence against us, uncomfortably
great. Liberalism, as the Weimar Republic discovered, can be a fragile

The question that is increasingly being put to us is this. Was
our immigration purely economic? Or did we arrive to take tactical
advantage of liberal press laws in order to launch a subversive
internationalist agenda that will be profoundly damaging to our
hosts? Are we Americans, or Canadians, or Britons, simply by virtue
of holding a passport and finding employment? Or is this our home?

Traditional Islam has been expert in adoption and adaptation. The
new anti-Semitism makes not the slightest headway against it. Yet
many of our community leaders are sceptical of traditional Islam
and its historic flexibility. For them, we will always be a kind
of diaspora, with roots in an Arab elsewhere.

An inference needs to be squarely faced. If our belongingness to
our adopted countries is only about economics, then we cannot blame
the host societies for regarding us with dislike and suspicion.
For if we are suspicious of non-Muslims in Muslim majority countries
who fail to acclimatise themselves to the ambient values and sense
of collective purpose of their countries of citizenship, then why
should we demand that they behave differently when it is we who
are the minority? A country that accepts migrants, however conspicuously
economic their primary motives, has the right to expect that they
engage in some form of cultural migration as well. No Muslim would
deny that multiculturalism must always have some limits.

It is time to realise that if we are here purely to enhance our
earning power, then our sojourn may prove short-lived. It is annoying
that the new kind of sermonizers who are loudest in their demonising
of Western countries are often the slowest to accept that those
countries might turn out not to tolerate them after all. The greatest
irony of our situation might just be that our radicals end up on
the road to the airport, astonished at the discovery that their
low opinion of the West turned out to be correct.

So it is time to get moving. This will be hard for the older generation,
most of which is embedded either in regional folklorisms which have
no clear future here, or in a Movement Islam of various hues. But
we need some deep rethinking among the new generation, that minority
which has survived assimilation in the schools, and knows enough
of the virtues and vices of Western secular society to take stock
of where we stand, and decide on the best course of action for our
community. It is this new generation that is called upon to demonstrate
Islam’s ability to extend its traditional capacities for courteous
acculturation to the new context of the West, and to reject the
radical Manichean agenda, supported by the extremists on both sides,
which presents Muslim minorities as nothing more than resentful,
scheming archipelagos of Middle Eastern difference.

The first tough realisation that we face is that the future of
Islam in America will be an American future, if it is to happen
at all. As the ‘war against terrorism’, with all its
clumsy, pixellated violence, and cultural simplifications, gathers
momentum, it is likely that there will be further events and atrocities
which will render the current social and psychological marginality
of the community still more precarious. Unless American Muslims
can locate for themselves, and populate, a spiritual and cultural
space which can meaningfully be called American, we will be in the
firing line. Only a few of the ultras in the mosques would welcome
such a showdown; most of us would be appalled.

Regrettably - and this is one of its most telling failures - our
community leadership has invested much energy in Islamic education,
but has spent little time studying American culture to locate the
elements within it which are worthy of Muslim respect. Too many
of the activists dismiss their new compatriots as promiscuous drunkards,
or as fundamentalist fanatics. Movement Islam, with its vehement
dislike of the West on grounds that often in practice seem more
tribal than spiritual, and rooted in various utopian projects that
seldom seem to work even on their own terms, is, particularly in
its harder reaches, little better. Often it provides ammunition
to chauvinists allied to the stance of Daniel Pipes, for whom all
‘Islamists’ are a fifth column to be viewed with unblinking,
baleful suspicion.

What the new generation must do is therefore threefold. Firstly,
we need to acknowledge that confrontational readings of Islam, imported
by some leaders from countries where confrontation with local tyrannies
is often morally necessary, may not serve Muslims in the dangerous
context of the modern West. It is already clear to many that Mawdudi
and Qutb were not writing for 21st century Muslim minorities in
America, but for a mid-twentieth century struggle against secular
repression and corruption in majority Muslim lands. They themselves
would, quite possibly, be startled to learn that their books were
being pressed on utterly different communities, fifty years on.

Secondly, we need to turn again to the founding story of Islam
for guidance on the correct conduct of guests. An insulting guest
will not be tolerated indefinitely even by the most religious of
hosts; and our communal condemnations of Western culture have to
be seen as at best discourteous. A measured, concerned critique
of social dissolution, unacceptable beliefs, or destructive foreign
policies will always be a required component of Muslim discourse,
but wild denunciations of Great Satans or global Crusader Conspiracies
are, for Muslims here, not only dangerous, but are also discourteous
- scarcely a lesser sin.

Imam al-Ghazali provides us with some precious lessons on the conduct
of the courteous guest. He cites the saying that ‘part of
humility before God is to be satisfied with an inferior sitting-place.’
The guest should greet those he is sitting beside, even if he should
privately be uncomfortable with them. He should not dominate the
conversation, or loudly criticise others at the feast, or allow
himself to be untidy. Ghazali also tells us that he should not keep
looking at the kitchen door, which would imply that he is primarily
present for the food. It is hard to avoid thinking of this when
one contemplates the loud demands of many Muslims, particularly
in Europe, for financial payouts from the state. If we wish to be
tolerated and respected, one of our first responsibilities is surely
to seek employment, and avoid reliance on the charity of our hosts.

Some hardline scholars of the Hanbali persuasion took a narrow
view of the duty of guests. Imam Ahmad himself said that if a guest
sees a kohl-stick with a silver handle, he should leave the house
at once, on the grounds that it is a place of luxurious indulgence.
Yet for Imam al-Ghazali, and for the great majority of scholars,
one should always give one’s host the benefit of the doubt.
And in the West, our neighbours usually fall into the category of
ahl al-kitab, for whom certain things are permissible that we would
condemn among Muslims. Resentment, contempt, hypercriticism, all
these vices are discourteous and inappropriate, particularly when
used to disguise one’s dissatisfaction with oneself, or with
one’s own community’s position in the world.

The refugee, or migrant, is therefore subject to the high standards
that Islam, with its Arabian roots, demands of the guest. Discourtesy
is dishonour. And nowhere in the sira do we find this principle
more nobly expressed than in the episode of the First Hijra. Here,
the first Muslim asylum-seekers stand before the Emperor of Abyssinia
to explain why they should be allowed to stay. Among them were Uthman
and Ruqaiyya, and Ja‘far and Asma’, all young people
famous for their physical beauty. Umm Salama, another eyewitness,
narrates the respect with which the Muslims attended upon the Christian
king. They would not compromise their faith, but they were reverent
and respectful to the beliefs of an earlier dispensation. Their
choice of the annunciation story from the Qur’an was inspired,
showing the Christians present that the Muslim scripture itself
is not utterly alien, but is beautiful, dignified, and contains
much in common with Christian belief. Altogether, they made a hugely
favourable impression, and their security in the land was assured.

Today, of course, we do not usually use Surat Maryam as the basis
for our self-presentation to the host community. Instead, we create
lobby groups that adopt provocatively loud criticisms of American
policy, thereby closing the door to any possibility that they might
be heard. Our sermons pay little attention to the positive qualities
in our neighbours, but instead recite dire warnings of the consequences
to our souls of becoming ‘like Americans’. Again, the
danger is that the cumulative image given by many American Muslims
will result in our being treated as cuckoos in the nest, deprived
of rights, and even ejected altogether. In the long term, the choice
is between deportment, and deportation.

If we take this seriously, rather than trusting eternally to the
patience of our hosts, then we need a new agenda. And it is essential
that this not be defined as an Islamic liberalism. Liberalism in
religion has a habit of leading to the attenuation of faith. Instead,
we need to turn again to our tradition, and quarry it for resources
that will enable us to regain the Companions’ capacity for
courteous conviviality.

The first step has to be the realisation that Islamic civilisation
was a providential success story. Modern and modernist agendas which
present medieval Islam either as obscurantism or as deviation from
scripture will leave us orphaned from the continuing and magnificent
story of Muslim civilisation. If we accept that classical Islam
was a deviant reading of our scriptures, we surrender to the claims
of Christian evangelical Orientalism, which claims that the glories
of Muslim civilisation arose despite, not because of, the Qur’an.
We are called to be the continuation of a magnificent story, not
a footnote to its first chapter.

A recovery of our sense of pride in Islam’s cultural achievements
will allow us to reactivate a principle, the third in my list, that
has hardly been touched by most Muslim communities in the West,
namely the obligation of da‘wa. It is evident that da‘wa
is our primary duty as a Muslim minority; and it is no less evident
that da‘wa is impossible if we abandon tradition in order
to insist on rigorist and narrow readings of the Shari‘a.
Our neighbours will not heed our invitation unless we can show that
there is some common ground, that we have something worth having,
and, even more significantly, that we are worth joining. Radical
and literalist Islamic agendas frequently seem to be advocated by
unsmiling zealots, whose tension, arrogance and misery are all too
legible on their faces. Few reasonable people will consider the
religious claims made by individuals who seem to have been made
miserable and desperate by those claims. More usually, they will
be repelled, and retreat into negative chauvinism.

The believer’s greatest argument is his face. True religion
lights up the face; false religion fills it with insecurity, rage
and suspicion. This is perceptible not only to insiders, but to
anyone who maintains some connection with the fitra in his heart.
The early conversions to Islam often took place among populations
that had no access to the language of the Muslims who now lived
among them; but they were no less profound in consequence. Religion
is ultimately a matter of personal transformation, and no amount
of missionary work will persuade people - with the occasional exception
of the disturbed and the desperate - unless our own transformation
is complete enough to be able to transform others.

So rigorism and narrow-mindedness, the boring recourse of the culturally
outgunned, end up reinforcing the negative attitudes that they claim
to repudiate. Conversely, a reactivation of the Prophetic virtue
of rifq, of gentleness, which the hadith tells us ‘never enters
a thing without adorning it’, will make us welcome rather
than suspected, loved and admired rather than despised as a community
of resentful failures.

Virtues, therefore, need to be cultivated, to replace the self-indulgence
of hatred and self-exculpation. And these will not come easily until
we reconnect with the Umma’s history of spirituality. No other
religious community in history has produced the number and calibre
of saints generated by Islam. Jalal al-Din Rumi has now become America’s
best-selling poet, an extraordinary victory for Islamic civilisation
and the integrity of its spiritual life which our communities are
scarcely aware of. Our spirituality is the crowning glory of our
civilisation, and the guarantor of the transformative power of our
art, literature, and personal conduct. Once we have relearned the
traditional Islamic science of the spirit, we can hope to produce,
as great Muslim souls did in the past, enduring monuments of architecture
which will replace the sterile, ugly cement structures that we currently
commission as our places of worship. Beauty is the splendour of
the truth, and it is a measure of the decadence of our communities
that so few of our leaders seem capable of commissioning buildings
which uphold the glorious traditions of Islamic sacred design, traditions
which, it often seems, are better-known and more respected among
non-Muslims than among most Islamic activists and members of mosque

The task may seem daunting; but the new generation produces more
and more Muslims eager to reinvigorate Islam in a way that will
make it the great religious success story of modern America, rather
than the embarrassing sick man of the religious milieu that it currently
seems to be. Increasingly our young people want passionately to
be Muslims and to celebrate their uniquely rich heritage, but in
a way that does not link them to the desperate radical agendas now
being marketed in a minority of the mosques. As those young people
assume positions of leadership in their communities, and proclaim
a form of Islam that is culturally rich and full of confidence in
Allah’s providence, Islam will surely take its place as a
respected feature on America’s religious landscape, and begin
the process of integration here that it has so successfully accomplished
in countless other cultures throughout its history, and which is
a condition for its continuing existence in a potentially hostile

‘And if you turn aside, He will replace you with another
people, and they will not be like you.’ (47:38)


The Evils of Nationalism!


Evils of Nationalism!

of this page



From the Quran

From Hadith

Fatwaas from Ullima

From the Quran

you who believe! Let not a group scoff at another group, it may
be that the latter are better than the former; nor let (some) women
scoff at other women, it may be that the latter are better than
the former…” (Sura Al-Hujuraat # 49, ayah #11)

mankind! We have created you from a male and a female, and made
you into nations and tribes, that you may know one another. Verily,
the most honourable of you with Allaah is that (believer) who has
taqwa (i.e. is one of the muttaqeen – the pious). Verily Allaah
is All-Knowing, All-Aware.” (Sura Al-Hujuraat # 49, ayah #13)

Katheer (may Allaah have mercy on him) said, in his commentary on
this aayah:

“Here Allaah is telling mankind that He created
them from one soul, from which He created its mate – this refers
to Aadam and Hawwa’ (Adam and Eve) – and made them into nations,
which are bigger than tribes. Beyond the tribe there are other smaller
units and divisions, such as families and clans. An alternative
interpretation is that ‘nations’ refers to the non-Arabs and ‘tribes’
refers to the Arabs. All people are equal with regard to lineage
because of their descent from Aadam and Hawwa’, upon whom be peace,
but some may be better than others in religious matters, i.e., in
obedience to Allaah and in following His Messenger  (peace
and blessings of Allaah be upon him). For this reason, after forbidding
envy and scornful attitudes towards others, Allaah pointed out their
equality as human beings"O mankind! We have created you from a male
and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may
know one another" i.e., that they may know one another by referring
to their tribes. Mujaahid said that this meant by calling a person
‘So-and-so the son of So-and-so, from such-and-such a tribe.

believers are nothing else than brothers (in Islâmic religion).
So make reconciliation between your brothers, and fear Allâh, that
you may receive mercy."  (Sura Al-Hujurat ayah #10)

swell not thy cheek (for pride) at men, nor walk in insolence through
the earth; for Allah loveth not any arrogant boaster." (Sura Luqman
ayah #18)

Believers are but a single Brotherhood: So make peace and reconciliation
between your two (contending) brothers; and fear Allah, that ye
may receive Mercy." (Sura Al-Hujurat ayah #10)

From Hadith

(SAW)  said on the authority of Ubayy Bin Ka'b: "If anyone
proudly asserts his descent in the manner of the pre-Islamic people,
tell him to bite his father's penis, and do not use a euphemism".
(Mishkat Al-Masabih, Vol. 2, p. 1021)

Hurayrah (RAA) reported that the Messenger of Allaah  (SAW)
was asked, ‘Which people are the most honourable?’ He said: ‘The
most honourable in the sight of Allah (SWT) are the most pious
(those who have most taqwa).’
They said, ‘That is not what we
were asking about.’ He said: ‘The most honourable of people is Yusuf
(AS) the Prophet of Allah, the son of the Prophet of Allah, the
son of the Prophet of Allah, the son of the Friend (khaleel) of
Allah.’ They said: ‘That is not what we were asking about.’ He said,
‘Are you asking about which lineage of the Arabs is most honourable?’
They said, ‘Yes.’ He said: ‘The best of you at the time of Jaahiliyyah
are the best of you in Islam, if they understand properly.’”
Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) also reported that
the Messenger of Allaah  (SAW) said: ‘Allah does not look
at your outward appearance or your wealth, He looks at your hearts
and your deeds.’”

sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam also said: "Indeed there is no excellence
for an arab over a non-arab, nor a non-arab over an arab, nor a
white person over a black one, nor a black person over a white one,
except through taqwaa (piety and obedie nce to Allaah)

From Ullima

Evils Of Nationalism

the Shaikh Abdul'Azeez bin Baaz (RH)

has forbidden the calls of jaahiliyyah (the prelslaamic days of
ignorance) and there are many textual evidences which forbid all
of the characteristics and manners of jaahiliyyah and their actions,
except those (good and decent) practices which Isl aam agreed to.
And there is no doubt that the call to nationalism is from these
calls of jaahiliyyah, since nationalism is a call to other than
Islaam and an aiding of other than the truth. And how many ills,
evils and serious wars has such calls of jaahi liyyah caused to
their people, causing great harm to their souls, their wealth and
their possessions. The consequences of such calls (for the Muslims)
was a splitting up of their unity and a planting of enmity and hatred
of each other in their hearts and a fragmentation and splitting
between tribes and nations.

Taymiyyah (d.728H) rahimahullaah said: [2] "Everything which is
outside the call of Islaam and the Qur'aan, with regards to lineage,
land, nationality, schools of thoughts and ways, then it is from
the calls of jaahiliyyah. lndeed, even when the Muhaa jirs (those
Companions who migrated from Makkah to Madeenah) and the Ansaars
(those Companions who aided and supported those who migrated) argued,
such that one of the Muhaajirs said:" O Muhaajirs! (implying; rally
to my aid) " And one of the Ansaar said: "O Ansaar!" Upon hearing
this, the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam said: "Is it with
the calls of Jaahiliyyah that you call, and l am still amongst you!"
And he became very angry at that."[3]

from the textual evidences pertaining to this issue is Allaah the
Most High's saying:

stay in your homes and do not display yourselves, like the display
of the times of jaahiliyyah (pre lslaamic ignorance). But establish
the Prayer, give the Zakaat and obey Allaah and His Messenger. "
[Soorah alAhzaab 33:33]

those who disbelieved placed in their hearts pride and arrogance
the pride and arrogance of jaahiliyyah then Allaah sent down His
tranquillity upon His Messenger sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam and
upon the Believers ..." [Soorah alFath 48 26].

Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam said: "Whosoever leaves off
obedience and separates from the Jamaa'ah and dies, he dies a death
of jaahiliyyah. Whoever fights under the banner of the blind, becoming
angry for 'asabiyyah (partisanship and party s pirit), or calling
to 'asabiyyah, or assisting 'asabiyyah, then dies, he dies a death
of jaahiliyyah." [4]

in Saheeh Muslim (8/120) the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam
said: lndeed Allaah has revealed to me that you should have humility,
and that no one should act proudly and oppressively over anyone
else, nor should anyone boast over anyone else. "

there is no doubt that the call to nationalism is a call to 'asabiyyah
(partisanship and party spirit) and it is a call to becoming angry
for the sake of 'asabiyyah and fighting for 'asabiyyah. And there
is no doubt also, that the call to nationalism is a call to transgression,
pride and arrogance, since nationalism is not a divinely revealed
way of life which prevents its people from oppression and proud
boasting. Rather it is an ideology from the time of jaahiliyyah
which leads its people to boastin g about it and having 'asabiyyah
for it even if they are the oppressors and the others are the oppressed
! So O noble reader consider this and the truth will be clear to

from the textual evidences connected with this is what at-Tirmidhee
relates from Allaah's Messenger sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam that
he said: "Let people stop boasting about their forefathers who have
died, who are merely fuel for the Hell Fire; or they will certainly
be more insignificant with Allaah than the beetle which roles dung
with its nose. Allaah has removed from you the party spirit of the
days of jaahiliyyah and the boasting about one's forefathers. Indeed
a person is either a pious Belie ver or a wretched sinner. All of
mankind are the children of Aadaam, and Aadam was created from clay.[5]

Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam also said: "Indeed there is
no excellence for an arab over a non-arab, nor a non-arab over an
arab, nor a white person over a black one, nor a black person over
a white one, except through taqwaa (piety and obedie nce to Allaah)

this accords with Allaah the Most High's saying:

mankind! 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 noblest of you with Allaah is the one who has the most
taqwaa." [Soorah al-Hujuraat 49:13].

Allaah the One free from all defects- made clear in this noble aayah
(verse) that people have been made into nations and tribes so that
they may come to know each other, not that they should boast and
have pride over one another. And Allaah the Most Hi gh considered
the most noblest of them to be the one with the most piety and taqwaa.
Likewise, the previously mentioned narration shows the same meaning,
and guides to the fact that it is from the ways of jaahiliyyah to
vainly boast and to have false prid e for one's fore fathers and
ancestry. This is what the calls of jaahiliyyah lead to, whereas
Islaam is in opposition to this. Rather Islaam calls to modesty,
humility, taqwaa and to having love for the sake of Allaah, and
that the true and sincere Muslim s are merely one of the categories
of the children of Aadam 'alayhis salaam, and that the Muslims are
a single body and a single structure; each part supporting the other
and each part feeling the pain that the other parts are suffering
as occurs in an a uth entic hadeeth (narration) from the Prophet
sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam, that he said: "The Believer to the
Believer is like a solid building, one part supports the other."
And he interlaced his fingers to demonstrate this[7].

Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam also said: "The example of
the Believer in their mutual love and mercy is like the example
of a body, if one part of the body feels pain, then all the body
suffers in sleeplessness and fever. [8]

people! I call to you in the name of Allaah. Does your nationalism
call you to these noble manners of mercy and kindness to the Muslims
the arabs and the non arabs and of having mutual sympathy and concern
for them, and feeling pain at their pain? No by Allaah ! Rather
it calls you to having allegiance with those who have evil character
and it calls you to cultivating enmity and hatred for those who
deny this false creed of nationalism . So beware, O Muslim who desires
safety and salvation, and consider the reality of the affair with
a fair consideration, without being prejudiced with party spirit
and desires. Only then you will see the reality as it truly is.
So may Allaah guide me and you to the means of safety and salvation.

it is related by Imaam al-Bukhaaree in his Saheeh (8/137), that
a young man from the Muhaajirs and a young man from the Ansaar quarreled.
So the Muhaajir said: "O Muhaajirs! (meaning: rally to my help)"
And the Ansaaree said: "O Ansaar'" So the Prophe t sallallaahu 'alayhi
wa sallam heard this and said: ''Is it with the call off jaahiliyyah
that you are calling out, and I am present amongst you !"

though the term Muhaajir and Ansaar are two ascriptions which are
beloved to Allaah the One free from all defects and He has praised
these two groups with a very great praise, in His the Most High's

the first to embrace Islaam from the Muhaajirs and the Ansaar, and
those who followed them in goodness, beliefs and actions. Allaah
is well pleased with them, and they are well pleased with Him. He
has prepared for them Gardens of Paradise, beneath w hich rivers
flow, to live therein forever. That is the supreme achievement."
[Soorah at-Tawbah 9:100].

in the above incident, this ascription to the Muhaajirs and seeking
the help from them, and the Ansaar and seeking the help from them,
when the likes of this was considered to be from the calls of jaahiliyyah,
then what about those who claim allegianc e to nationalism and seek
help through that and become angry for that? Will this not be more
fitting to be considered one of the calls from the days of jaahiliyyah?
This is a matter in which there is no doubt, and it is one of the
clearest of all matters.

this is what has been established in the authentic hadeeth (narration),
from alHaarith alAsh'aree radiallaahu 'anhu, that the Prophet sallallaahu
'alayhi wa sallam said: "I order you with five things which Allaah
ordered me with: The Jamaa'ah, hearing , obeying, hijrah (migration)
and jihaad in the way of Allaah the Mighty and Majestic. So whosoever
separates from the Jamaaah by a handspan, throws the yoke of Islaam
from his neck, unless he repents. And whosoever calls with the call
of jaahiliyyah (the days of ignorance), then he is from the hoarded
heap of Hell Fire" It was said: Even if he fasts and prays? He said:
"Even if he fasts and prays. So call with the call of Allaah which
Allaah gave: The Muslims, the Believers, Worshippers of Allaah.'

hadeeth is absolutely clear with regards to rendering futile the
calls to nationalism. Its callers deserve that they should be from
the heap of Hell Fire, even if they fast and they Pray and claim
that they are Muslims. So what a severe threat and se vere warning
is given here; warning every muslim from the calls of jaahiliyyah
and warning them from entering into this even if such calls are
adorned with false talks and enchanting speeches . Rather it is
a deception and a blind following which leads it s people to the
worst and most despicable of ends. And we ask Allaah for safety
and freedom from that.



Nuqdul-Qawniyyatul Arabiyyah (pp.39-44), slightly edited.

2. Majmoo ul-Fataawaa (3/456).

3. Related by al-Bukhaaree (8/137).

4. Related by Muslim in his Saheeh (6/21), from Abu Hurayrah radiallaahu

5. Hasan: Related by Abu Daawood (no.5116) and at-Tirmidhee (no.4233)
from Abu Hurayrah radiallaabu anhu. It was authenticated by Ibn
Taymiyyah in Kitaabul-lqtidaa (p.35).

6. Saheeh: Related by Ahmad (5/411) and it was authenticated by
Ibn Taymiyyah in Kitaabul-lqtidaa (p.69).

7. Related by al-Bukhaaree (no.481) and Muslim (no.2585) from Abu
Hurayrah radiallaabu anhu.

8. Related by al-Bukhaaree (no.6011) and Muslim (no.2586) from an-Nu'maan
ibn Basheer radiallaahu anhu.

9. Saheeh: Related by at-Tirmidhee (nos.2863) and at-Tilyaalasee
(no.1161) and others. It was authenticated by Shaykh al-Albaanee
in his checking to Ibn Abee 'Aasim's as-Sunnah (no.1036).




Signs of Allah's Existence

Signs of Allah's Existence

Imam Ibn Kathir

Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged), Volume 1

© 2000 Darussalam

O mankind! Worship your Lord (Allah), Who created you and those
who were before you so that you may acquire taqwa (piety).

Who has made the earth a resting place for you, and the sky as a
canopy, and sent down water (rain) from the sky and brought forth
therewith fruits as a provision for you. Then do not set up rivals
unto Allah (in worship) while you know (that He alone has the right
to be worshipped." Qur’an, 2:21-22

Several scholars of Tafsir, like Ar-Razi and others, used this
Ayat (verse) as an argument for the existence of the Creator, and
it is a most worthy method of argument. Indeed, whoever ponders
over the things that exist, the higher and lower creatures, their
various shapes, colors, behavior, benefits and ecological roles,
then he will realize the ability, wisdom, knowledge, perfection
and majesty of the Creator. Once a Bedouin was asked about the evidence
to Allah’s existence, he responded: "All praise is due
to Allah! The camel’s dung testifies to the existence of the
camel, and the track testifies to the fact that someone was walking.
A sky that holds the giant stars, a land that has fairways and a
sea that has waves, does not all of this testify that the Most Kind,
Most Knowledgeable exists?" [Ar-Razi 2:91]

Hence, whoever gazes at the sky in its immensity, its expanse,
and the various kinds of planets in it, some of which appear stationary
in the sky – whoever gazes at the seas that surround the land
from all sides, and the mountains that were placed on the earth
to stabilize it, so that whoever lives on land, whatever their shape
and color, are able to live and thrive – whoever reads Allah’s

"And among the mountains are streaks white and red, of varying
colours and (others) very black. And likewise, men and ad-Dawwabb
(moving, living creatures, beasts) and cattle are of various colours.
It is only those who have knowledge among His servants that fear
Allah." (35:27-28)

Whoever thinks about the running rivers that travel from area to
area bringing benefit, whoever ponders over what Allah has created
on earth; various animals and plants of different tastes, scents,
shapes and colors that are a result of unity between land and water,
whoever thinks about all of this then he will realize that these
facts testify to the existence of the Creator, His perfect ability,
wisdom, mercy, kindness, generosity and His overall compassion for
His creation. There is no deity worthy of worship except Allah,
nor is there a Lord besides Him, upon Him we rely and to Him we
turn in repentance. There are numerous Ayat in the Qur’an
on this subject.