Wednesday, 14 January 2015

The Family in Islam


The family, which is the basic unit of civilization, is now disintegrating.  Islam’s family system brings the rights of the husband, wife, children, and relatives into a fine equilibrium.  It nourishes unselfish behavior, generosity, and love in the framework of a well-organized family system.  The peace and security offered by a stable family unit is greatly valued, and it is seen as essential for the spiritual growth of its members.  A harmonious social order is created by the existence of extended families and by treasuring children.

Status of Women in Islam

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 without any guardianship over her (whether that be her father, husband, or anyone else).  She has the right to buy and sell, give gifts and charity, and may spend her money as she pleases.  A marriage dowry 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.
Islam encourages the husband to treat his wife well, as the Prophet Muhammad  said: {The best among you are those who are best to their wives.}1
Mothers in Islam are highly honored.  Islam recommends treating them in the best way.  A man came to the Prophet Muhammad  and said, “O Messenger of God!  Who among the people is the most worthy of my good companionship?”  The Prophet  said: {Your mother.}  The man said, “Then who?”  The Prophet said: {Then your mother.}  The man further asked, “Then who?”  The Prophet  said: {Then your mother.}  The man asked again, “Then who?”  The Prophet  said: {Then your father.}2

Human Rights and Justice in Islam

Islam provides many human rights for the individual.  The following are some of these human rights that Islam protects.
The life and property of all citizens in an Islamic state are considered sacred, whether a person is Muslim or not.  Islam also protects honor.  So, in Islam, insulting others or making fun of them is not allowed.  The Prophet Muhammad  said: {Truly your blood, your property, and your honor are inviolable.}1
Racism is not allowed in Islam, for the Quran speaks of human equality in the following terms:
 O mankind, We have created you from a male and a female and have made you into nations and tribes for you to know one another.  Truly, the noblest of you with God is the most pious.2  Truly, God is All-Knowing, All-Aware.  (Quran, 49:13)
Islam rejects certain individuals or nations being favored because of their wealth, power, or race.  God created human beings as equals who are to be distinguished from each other only on the basis of their faith and piety.  The Prophet Muhammad  said: {O people!  Your God is one and your forefather (Adam) is one.  An Arab is not better than a non-Arab and a non-Arab is not better than an Arab, and a red (i.e. white tinged with red) person is not better than a black person and a black person is not better than a red person,3 except in piety.}4
One of the major problems facing mankind today is racism.

  The developed world can send a man to the moon but cannot stop man from hating and fighting his fellow man.  Ever since the days of the Prophet Muhammad , Islam has provided a vivid example of how racism can be ended.  The annual pilgrimage (Hajj) to Makkah shows the real Islamic brotherhood of all races and nations, when about two million Muslims from all over the world come to Makkah to perform the pilgrimage.
Islam is a religion of justice.  God has said:
 Truly God commands you to give back trusts to those to whom they are due, and when you judge between people, to judge with justice....  (Quran, 4:58)
And He has said:
 ...And act justly.  Truly, God loves those who are just.  (Quran, 49:9)
We should even be just with those who we hate, as God has said:
 ...And let not the hatred of others make you avoid justice.  Be just: that is nearer to piety....  (Quran, 5:8)
The Prophet Muhammad  said: {People, beware of injustice,5 for injustice shall be darkness on the Day of Judgment.}6
And those who have not gotten their rights (i.e. what they have a just claim to) in this life will receive them on the Day of Judgment, as the Prophet  said: {On the Day of Judgment, rights will be given to those to whom they are due (and wrongs will be redressed)...}7 

Monday, 12 January 2015

What Does Islam Say about Terrorism?

Islam, a religion of mercy, does not permit terrorism.  In the Quran, God has said:
 God does not forbid you from showing kindness and dealing justly with those who have not fought you about religion and have not driven you out of your homes.  God loves just dealers.  (Quran, 60:8)
The Prophet Muhammad  used to prohibit soldiers from killing women and children,1 and he would advise them: {...Do not betray, do not be excessive, do not kill a newborn child.}2  And he also said: {Whoever has killed a person having a treaty with the Muslims shall not smell the fragrance of Paradise, though its fragrance is found for a span of forty years.}3
Also, the Prophet Muhammad  has forbidden punishment with fire.4
He once listed murder as the second of the major sins,5and he even warned that on the Day of Judgment, {The first cases to be adjudicated between people on the Day of Judgment will be those of bloodshed.6}7
Muslims are even encouraged to be kind to animals and are forbidden to hurt them.  Once the Prophet Muhammad  said: {A woman was punished because she imprisoned a cat until it died.  On account of this, she was doomed to Hell. While she imprisoned it, she did not give the cat food or drink, nor did she free it to eat the insects of the earth.}8
He also said that a man gave a very thirsty dog a drink, so God forgave his sins for this action.  The Prophet was asked, “Messenger of God, are we rewarded for kindness towards animals?”  He said: {There is a reward for kindness to every living animal or human.}9
Additionally, while taking the life of an animal for food, Muslims are commanded to do so in a manner that causes the least amount of fright and suffering possible.  The Prophet Muhammad  said: {When you slaughter an animal, do so in the best way.  One should sharpen his knife to reduce the suffering of the animal.}10
In light of these and other Islamic texts, the act of inciting terror in the hearts of defenseless civilians, the wholesale destruction of buildings and properties, the bombing and maiming of innocent men, women, and children are all forbidden and detestable acts according to Islam and the Muslims.  Muslims follow a religion of peace, mercy, and forgiveness, and the vast majority have nothing to do with the violent events some have associated with Muslims.  If an individual Muslim were to commit an act of terrorism, this person would be guilty of violating the laws of Islam.

What Do Muslims Believe about Jesus?

Muslims respect and revere Jesus (peace be upon him).  They consider him one of the greatest of God’s messengers to mankind.  The Quran confirms his virgin birth, and a chapter of the Quran is entitled ‘Maryam’ (Mary).  The Quran describes the birth of Jesus as follows:
 (Remember) when the angels said, “O Mary, God gives you good news of a word from Him (God), whose name is the Messiah Jesus, son of Mary, revered in this world and the Hereafter, and one of those brought near (to God).  He will speak to the people from his cradle and as a man, and he is of the righteous.” She said, “My Lord, how can I have a child when no mortal has touched me?” He said, “So (it will be).  God creates what He wills.  If He decrees a thing, He says to it only, ‘Be!’ and it is.”  (Quran, 3:45-47)
Jesus was born miraculously by the command of God, the same command that had brought Adam into being with neither a father nor a mother.  God has said:
 The case of Jesus with God is like the case of Adam.  He created him from dust, and then He said to him, “Be!” and he came into being.  (Quran, 3:59)
During his prophetic mission, Jesus performed many miracles.  God tells us that Jesus said:
 “I have come to you with a sign from your Lord.  I make for you the shape of a bird out of clay, I breathe into it, and it becomes a bird by God’s permission.  I heal the blind from birth and the leper.  And I bring the dead to life by God’s permission.  And I tell you what you eat and what you store in your houses....”  (Quran, 3:49)
Muslims believe that Jesus was not crucified.  It was the plan of Jesus’ enemies to crucify him, but God saved him and raised him up to Him.  And the likeness of Jesus was put over another man.  Jesus’ enemies took this man and crucified him, thinking that he was Jesus.  God has said:
 ...They said, “We killed the Messiah Jesus, son of Mary, the messenger of God.” They did not kill him, nor did they crucify him, but the likeness of him was put on another man (and they killed that man)...  (Quran, 4:157)
Neither Muhammad  nor Jesus came to change the basic doctrine of the belief in one God, brought by earlier prophets, but rather to confirm and renew it.1 
The Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem
The Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

How Did the Spread of Islam Affect the Development of Science?

Islam instructs man to use his powers of intelligence and observation.  Within a few years of the spread of Islam, great civilizations and universities were flourishing.  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 the concept of zero (vital to the advancement of mathematics), were transmitted to medieval Europe from the Muslim world.  Sophisticated instruments which were to make possible the European voyages of discovery, such as the astrolabe, the quadrant, and good navigational maps, were also developed by Muslims.
 
The Astrolabe: One of the most important scientific instruments developed by Muslims which was also used widely in the West until modern times.
The Astrolabe
An old manuscript by Muslim physicians
Muslim physicians paid much attention to surgery and developed many surgical instruments as seen in this old manuscript.

Who Is the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.S)

Muhammad  was born in Makkah in the year 570.  Since his father died before his birth and his mother died shortly thereafter, he was raised by his uncle who was from the respected tribe of Quraysh.  He was raised illiterate, unable to read or write, and remained so till his death.  His people, before his mission as a prophet, were ignorant of science and most of them were illiterate.  As he grew up, he became known to be truthful, honest, trustworthy, generous, and sincere.  He was so trustworthy that they called him the Trustworthy.1  Muhammad  was very religious, and he had long detested the decadence and idolatry of his society.
 
The Prophet Muhammad’s Mosque in Madinah
The Prophet Muhammad’s  Mosque in Madinah.
At the age of forty, Muhammad  received his first revelation from God through the Angel Gabriel.  The revelations continued for twenty-three years, and they are collectively known as the Quran.
As soon as he began to recite the Quran and to preach the truth which God had revealed to him, he and his small group of followers suffered persecution from unbelievers.  The persecution grew so fierce that in the year 622 God gave them the command to emigrate.  This emigration from Makkah to the city of Madinah, some 260 miles to the north, marks the beginning of the Muslim calendar.
After several years, Muhammad  and his followers were able to return to Makkah, where they forgave their enemies.  Before Muhammad  died, at the age of sixty-three, the greater part of the Arabian Peninsula had become Muslim, and within a century of his death, Islam had spread to Spain in the West and as far East as China.  Among the reasons for the rapid and peaceful spread of Islam was the truth and clarity of its doctrine.  Islam calls for faith in only one God, Who is the only one worthy of worship.
The Prophet Muhammad  was a perfect example of an honest, just, merciful, compassionate, truthful, and brave human being.  Though he was a man, he was far removed from all evil characteristics and strove solely for the sake of God and His reward in the Hereafter.  Moreover, in all his actions and dealings, he was ever mindful and fearful of God.

What Is the Quran About?

The Quran, the last revealed word of God, is the primary source of every Muslim’s faith and practice.  It deals with all the subjects which concern human beings: wisdom, doctrine, worship, transactions, law, etc., but its basic theme is the relationship between God and His creatures.  At the same time, it provides guidelines and detailed teachings for a just society, proper human conduct, and an equitable economic system.
Note that the Quran was revealed to Muhammad  in Arabic only.  So, any Quranic translation, either in English or any other language, is neither a Quran, nor a version of the Quran, but rather it is only a translation of the meaning of the Quran.  The Quran exists only in the Arabic in which it was revealed.

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