Saturday, January 31, 2009
By: Harun Yahya
Jesus ('Isa) (Upon whom be peace), just as all the other prophets, is a chosen slave of Allah whom Allah assigned to summon people to the true path. However, there are some attributes of Jesus distinguishing him from other prophets, the most important one being that he was raised up to Allah and that he will come back to earth again.
Contrary to what most people believe, Jesus was not crucified and killed nor did he die for any other reason. The Quran tells us that they did not kill him and they did not crucify him and that Allah raised him up to Him. In none of the verses, is there an actual reference to his murder or that he was killed, apart from the verse (ayah) which denies that it happened. Furthermore, the Quran acquaints us with some events from the life of Jesus which have not yet happened. Thus, his second coming to earth is a prerequisite for these events to happen. There is no doubt that the Quran's revelations will surely happen.
Despite this, however, many people assume that Jesus passed away some thousands of years ago and that thus it is unlikely that he will return. This is a misconception arising from lack of knowledge about the Quran and the Sunnah. A careful scrutiny of the Quran will render an accurate understanding of the verses about Jesus possible.
Our Prophet also told us that Jesus will be sent back to earth and related that in that time, which is called "the end of time", there may be a period in which the earth will attain unprecedented peace, justice and welfare. The "end times" refers to the period of time close to the end of the world. According to Islam, in this time, there will be the terrible trials of the Dajjal (Anti-Christ), many earthquakes and the emergence of Yajuj and Majuj (Gog and Magog) after which the ways of the Quran will prevail and people will extensively adhere to the values it introduces.
In their dreams, people always long for better. A more beautiful landscape, a more delicious food, a more socially promising society .. The later period of "the end of time" expresses a period which entirely embraces all these favorable concepts, "the better", "the more beautiful" etc. It is a blessed period people have been longing for ages. It is the glorious time of welfare and abundance, of justice and peace. It is the time when all these blessings will supersede injustice, immorality, conflict and wars. It is surely the blessed time when Islamic morals will penetrate to every aspect of life.
THE EXPECTED SAVIOR
In every age, Allah answered the call of His slaves who desperately needed His help. This also holds true for this age and for the future. As it was the case with the earlier ages, in our day, too, it is expected that Allah will save people from the injustice of the system of disbelief and present them with the beauties of Islam.
It is especially expected that the Islamic world will find a way out of the corruption it experiences today and the sincere believers will communicate the values of Islam to the whole world. Surely, as in every age, today people hope that a savior will appear. This savior, who will take mankind from the "darkness to the light," is the religion of Islam. The people leading the way to live by these superior values will defeat all the systems that deny Allah, and they will render corrupted ideologies invalid.
In brief, Allah will help each people as He did in previous ages. Allah promises this to His slaves who sincerely turn to Him and have deep fear of Him.
THE RETURN OF JESUS TO EARTH
An examination of the verses about Jesus in the Quran indicates that Jesus neither died nor was killed, but he was raised to the presence of Allah. In Surat an-Nisa, it is related that Jesus was not killed but raised to the presence of Allah. The related verse follows:
And (on account of) their saying, "We killed the Messiah, 'Isa son of Maryam, Messenger of Allah." They did not kill him and they did not crucify him but it was made to seem so to them. Those who argue about him are in doubt about it. They have no real knowledge of it, just conjecture. But they certainly did not kill him. Allah raised him up to Himself. Allah is Almighty, All-Wise. (Surat an-Nisa: 157-158)
From what has been related so far, it is clear that Jesus did not die but was raised to the presence of Allah. However, there is one more point that is underlined by the Quran: Jesus will come back to earth. That Jesus will come back to earth towards the end of time is related in another verse 43:61. [detailed references are available in the book related to other verses: 3:45-48; 3:55; 4:157-159].
Starting from Surat az-Zukhruf: 57, there is reference to Jesus :
When an example is made of the son of Maryam ('Isa) your people laugh uproariously. They retort, "Who is better then, our gods or him?" They only say this to you for argument's sake. They are indeed a disputatious people.
He is only a slave on whom We bestowed Our blessing and whom We made an example for the tribe of Israel. (Surat az-Zukhruf: 43-59)
If We wished, We could appoint angels in exchange for you to succeed you on the earth. (Surat az-Zukhruf: 43-60)
Just after these verses, Allah declares that Jesus is a sign of the Day of Judgment.
He is a Sign of the Hour. Have no doubt about it. But follow me. This is a straight path. (Surat az-Zukhruf: 43:61)
Ibn Juzayy says that the first meaning of this verse is that Jesus is a sign or a precondition of the Last Hour. We can say that this verse is a clear indication that Jesus will come back to earth at the end times. That is because Jesus lived six centuries before the revelation of the Quran. Consequently, we cannot interpret his first coming as a sign of the Day of Judgment. What this verse actually indicates is that Jesus will come back to earth towards the end of time, that is to say, during the last period of time before the Day of Judgment and this will be a sign for the Day of Judgment. Allah surely knows the best.
The Arabic of the verse "He is a Sign of the Hour" is "Innahu la 'ilmun li's-sa'atiÉ" Some people interpret the pronoun "hu" (he) in this verse as the Quran. However, the preceding verses explicitly indicate that Jesus is mentioned in the verse: "He is only a slave on whom We bestowed Our blessing and whom We made an example for the tribe of Israel" 
In Sahih Muslim, it is also stated that the Hadith in which it is said that the Prophet Jesus will descend amongst people at the end of time have reached the degree of being mutawatir, i.e. narrated by so many people in each generation that it is not possible to have any doubt of their authenticity, and that it is counted as one of the major signs of the Day of Rising. (Sahih Muslim, 2/58)
Hudhayfah ibn Usayd al-Ghifari said, "The Messenger of Allah (saas) came to us all of a sudden as we were (busy in a discussion). He said: 'What are you discussing?' We said: 'We are discussing the Last Hour.' Thereupon he said: 'It will not come until you see ten signs before it' - and (in this connection) he made mention of the smoke, the Dajjal, the beast, the rising of the sun from the west, the descent of 'Isa the son of Maryam, Yajuj and Majuj, and landslides in three places, one in the east, one in the west and one in Arabia at the end of which fire will burn forth from the Yemen, and drive people to the place of their assembly." (Sahih Muslim)
JESUS IN THE RISALE-I NUR COLLECTION
In the Risale-I Nur collection, a Quranic commentary written by Said Nursi, also known as Bediuzzaman (the Wonder of the Age), one of the greatest Islamic scholars of the 20th century, there is extensive reference to the end of time and the second coming of Jesus .
It is a fact that today Muslim communities embrace different thoughts. However, a great number of Muslims from various cultures agree that Bediuzzaman was one of the greatest scholars of the 13th century (Muslim Calendar). That is why the detailed descriptions of the end of time by Bediuzzaman are of great importance for all Muslims.
In his explanations regarding the end of time, Bediuzzaman states that two philosophical movements, described as serious endeavors to establish disbelief, would cause disorder on earth. The first one will be a covert threat to Islam while the second class of movements will openly reject the existence of Allah. The second current is materialist and naturalist understandings that affirm that matter is an absolute being, which has existed since eternity and which will exist until eternity. The two movements further hold that living beings accidentally came into existence from non-living matter. (Naturalism is known as the philosophical dimension of Darwin's theory of evolution.)
This definition surely provides the basis of all ideologies denying the existence of Allah. Since early times, materialists opposed all religions revealed by Allah, fought against their supporters, oppressed people, waged wars and opened the way to every sort of degeneration in society.
Jesus , too, in his second coming to earth, will struggle against these materialist and naturalist movements and, by the will of Allah, will gain victory over them. Bediuzzaman draws attention in his books to the materialist movement:
The Second Current: A tyrannical current born of Naturalist and Materialist philosophy will gradually become strong and spread at the end of time by means of materialist philosophy, reaching such a degree that it denies God. 
Bediuzzaman heralds that Jesus will come to earth at such a period when disbelief will dominate the earth. As stated in the following words of Bediuzzaman, in his second coming to earth, Jesus will rule with the Quran and eliminate all bigotry in Christianity. Uniting against disbelief, Christians who have embraced Islam and Muslims will prevail over the disbelieving ideologies by the guidance of the Quran. The related section in the Risale-i Nur follows:
At that point when the current appears to be very strong, the religion of true Christianity, which comprises the collective personality of Jesus , will emerge. That is, it will descend from the skies of Divine Mercy. Present Christianity will be purified in the face of that reality; it will cast off superstition and distortion, and unite with the truths of Islam. Christianity will in effect be transformed into a sort of Islam. Following the Quran, the collective personality of Christianity will be in the rank of follower, and Islam, in that of leader. True religion will become a mighty force as a result of its joining it. Although defeated before the atheistic current while separate, Christianity and Islam will have the capability to defeat and rout it as a result of their union. Then the person of Jesus , who is present with his human body in the world of the heavens, will come to lead the current of true religion, as, relying on the promise of One Powerful Over All Things, the Bringer of Sure News has said. Since he has told of it, it is true, and since the One Powerful Over All Things has promised it, He will certainly bring it about. 
In all his descriptions of the second coming, Bediuzzaman indicates that Jesus will remove all the systems of disbelievers in that period. He further adds that he will receive great support from Muslims. Jesus will act as a Muslim and pray behind the imam of the Muslims, and work together with the right-acting people from the Islamic world, and will assume leadership in spreading the Quran and its teachings, and remove the ongoing violence of the system of the disbelievers:
It will be the truly pious followers of Jesus who will kill the gigantic collective personality of materialism and irreligion which the Dajjal will form - for the Dajjal will be killed by Jesus' sword - and destroy his ideas and disbelief, which are atheistic. Those truly pious Christians will blend the essence of true Christianity with the essence of Islam and rout the Dajjal with their combined strength, in effect killing him. The narration: "Jesus will come and will perform the obligatory prayers behind the Mahdi and follow him," alludes to this union, and to the sovereignty of the Quran and its being followed. 
In the history of mankind, that Jesus will be sent back to earth for a second time by Allah is surely a divine favor to all humanity. Only a minority of people will enjoy this occasion. He will then be a blessed "savior" sent to all mankind. Indeed, in times when violence and disorder were increasingly experienced in the world, human beings begged a "helper" from Allah. Accordingly, Allah responded to their plea:
What reason could you have for not fighting in the Way of Allah - for those men, women and children who are oppressed and say, "Our Lord, take us out of this city whose inhabitants are wrongdoers! Give us a protector from You! Give us a helper from You!"? (Surat an-Nisa: 75)
As mentioned earlier, the "savior" in our time is the penetration of the Quranic values to our souls and society. Upon his second coming, Jesus will wholeheartedly adhere to these revealed values favored by Allah and strive purely to spread them to people all over the world.
The knowledge of unseen and future events is something only known to Allah. Yet, it is certain that those who expect this blessed period and this person must at that time undertake important obligations. Just as Jesus will protect and guide all believers, the believers will also have to give wholehearted support to Jesus and help him in the services he renders for the sake of Allah. This time, in other words, during his second coming, believers should never make him ask again, "Who will be my helpers to Allah?" (Surah Al 'Imran: 52) Otherwise, one will feel deep regret and torment both in this world and hereafter. Allah clearly threatens those who are ungrateful:
Then we sent our Messengers one after another, at intervals. Each time its Messenger came to a community they called him a liar so We made them follow one another too and turned them into myths and legends. Away with the people who have no faith! (Surat al-Muminun: 44)
On the other hand, those who follow him, who provide him sincere support and adopt the revealed values brought by him may well hope to earn the good pleasure, mercy and eternal paradise of Allah. This is a definite promise and good tidings given by Allah:
Allah has sent down a reminder to you, a Messenger reciting Allah's Clear Signs to you to bring those who have faith and do right actions out of the darkness into the Light. Whoever has faith in Allah and acts rightly, We will admit him into Gardens with rivers flowing under them remaining in them timelessly, for ever and ever. Allah has provided for him excellently! (Surat at-Talaq: 11)
We are grateful to Allah, the Almighty, Who will honor such of His slaves as He wills on such a great occasion as the second coming of Jesus and grant them this important opportunity to gain merit for their lives in the hereafter.
And peace be upon the Messengers. And praise be to Allah, the Lord of all the worlds! (Surat as-Saffat: 181-182)
*. : Upon whom be peace
1. Prof. Suleyman Ates, Yuce Kur'an'ın Cagdas Tefsiri (The Contemporary Tafsir of the Holy Quran, vol. 6, p. 4281)
2. Said-i Nursi, The Letters, The Fifteenth Letter, p.53
3. Said-i Nursi, The Letters, The Fifteenth Letter, p.54
4. Said-i Nursi, The Rays, The Fifth Ray, p. 493
Excerpts taken from Harun Yahya's book, titled "Jesus will Return". First English edition published in February 2001. To order this book, click here.
Muslims and Christians have to read both the Bible and Quran. The tribulation is a period described to both of us before Jesus Second Coming. God basically want all of us come back to him. He we will win with mercy and compassion or with power and might. If we would not get the world prepared to the second coming we will be all continuing to suffer. Christians have to wake up some of the pastors worngly think Islam is the beast of the book of revelation and Al Mahdi is the enemy of Jesus who will fight him in a cosmic war after he persecute the Christians and declare himslf as God.
Real Muslims would never persecute Christians. Al Mahdi would never be the enemy of Jesus in fact he will step aside when this great prophet takes over the world and establish the kingdom of God. Muslims worship only one God the same God of Israel. Muslims never worshiped Muhammad and Al Mahdi is too inferior to Muhammad and Jesus and will never be worshiped but respected and loved for his jusitce and removing tyranny. Unfortuanltely, some Christian pastors are understanding Islam and prophecies worng. We should not fight for Jesus but unite for him. There is no obligation in faith, God want us to find him with our minds and hearts.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
By Aisha Stacey
Omar Ibn Al Khattab was the second Caliph of the Muslim Ummah (Nation), and the first Muslim leader to be called the Commander of the Faithful. After Prophet Muhammad’s death, his closest friend Abu Bakr became his successor and led the Muslims for around two years. When Abu Bakr felt his own death approaching, he gathered his closest friends and advisors around him and informed them that their allegiance to him was over. Abu Bakr hoped that these men would choose his successor from among themselves. However, after much discussion Abu Bakr’s companions returned to him and asked him to choose for them for they trusted his choice beyond question. Abu Bakr chose Omar.
Some of the men around Abu Bakr voiced their concern that Omar, known to be a very harsh and tough man would be too hard on the people. Abu Bakr responded by saying that he considered Omar to be the best among them and explaining that Omar was tough because he, Abu Bakr, was a soft and gentle man. Despite these initial reservations among some men of Medina, Omar was appointed the second Caliph of the Muslims. He began his reign by addressing the people and immediately explaining his expectations for himself. Omar knew the people were wary of his reputation for toughness and he addressed this issue.
He took up his position on the rostrum and said, “Oh people, know that I have been appointed to govern your affairs, so recognise that my roughness is now weakened, but I will continue to be rough and harsh on the people of oppression and transgression and will put their cheeks into the dirt. Know also that I will put my own cheek into the dirt to defend the people of piety.”
Omar went on to explain to the people that he would take nothing from what their land produced or from the spoils of war except what God ordained and that he would only spend that money in a way that was pleasing to God. Omar was acutely aware of the importance of financial justice, and that he would be held accountable for every penny or dirham that belonged to the Muslim Ummah. Omar also informed the people that he would increase their salaries and provisions and guard their borders.
The fledgling Muslim nation that Prophet Muhammad and his companions had worked so hard to establish was an Ummah unlike no other. Benefits were paid to every member of the Ummah from the Muslim treasury; it was not necessary to be a government employee, the wealth of the ever-expanding nation was shared equally. Omar did not institute this, he was merely following the already established way of his predecessors, but he did promise to increase the payments.
Omar also promised not to send the Muslim armies “into destruction”, meaning that he would not send the armies out unless the risks were evaluated and deemed acceptable. He promised not to keep the soldiers away from their families for an extended period and reassured the men that while they were away fighting for the Muslim Ummah, and if they did not return, he, the Caliph would be the father of their children and the caretaker of their wives. Omar believed the role of the leader was to protect the people.
This concept seems very unusual now days when we see Presidents and Prime Ministers surrounded by bodyguards and willing to trample over anyone to protect themselves and their power. Omar Ibn al Khattab, although he was the leader of an Empire, never felt it necessary to have a bodyguard. He walked the streets of Medina like any ordinary citizen, even at night. In fact, it was during the nights that he roamed the streets checking up on those under his protection and anonymously distributing charity.
One of the years of Omar’s reign came to be known as the Year of Ashes. This year was a great test for the Muslim Ummah. It was a time of drought and famine, when the wind was so hot it burnt the skin as if with hot ashes. Meat, butter, and milk became unavailable, and the people existed on little more then dry bread sometimes dipped in oil. Omar took an oath that he would not eat or drink anything that was not available to the people. Even when foodstuffs became available in the markets again, Omar refused to buy them for inflated prices. He was heard to say, “How can I be concerned about and understand my own subjects if I am not going through the same trials that they go through?”
More then fourteen hundred years after his reign Omar, is still remembered as a man of justice. Drawing on the principles of justice, mercy and compassion inherent in Islam, Omar treated all those under his care equally, be they rich or poor, black or white, powerful or weak. He constantly feared that God would question him about his actions and found he worried that there may be sick or poor people among the believers that he had not cared for correctly. Omar ibn Al Khattab never appointed judges or governors who expressed a desire for such a job but chose wisely from the most pious members of the Ummah.
Omar considered himself an ordinary Muslim but history has recorded that he was anything but ordinary. Omar was strong, physically and spiritually, he was generous, noble and lived a life of humility. Omar followed in the footsteps of his beloved Prophet Muhammad, he followed his example and upheld his traditions. Omar’s whole being was focused on pleasing God; he feared God’s punishment but hoped for Paradise. Omar was able to distinguish between the truth and falsehood, he felt pain when the Ummah or any member of it was hurting, and he felt joy when those under his care were content and happy worshipping their Lord. Omar was one of four rightly guided Caliphs. Even today, he continues to be a role model for strength, justice, love, and mercy.
 This was an expression used by the Arabs of that time, to denote a harsh response, one that leaves no doubt that oppression of others and the transgression of their rights will not be tolerated.
Monday, January 26, 2009
By: Riffat Hassan
To many Muslims the Qur'an is the Magna Carta of human rights and a large part of its concern is to free human beings from the bondage of traditionalism, authoritarianism (religious, political, economic, or any other), tribalism, racism, sexism, slavery or anything else that prohibits or inhibits human beings from actualizing the Qur'anic vision of human destiny embodied in the classic proclamation: "Towards Allah is thy limit" 5. In the section entitled "General Rights" which follows, an account is given of the Qur'an's affirmation of fundamental rights which all human beings ought to possess because they are so deeply rooted in our humanness that their denial or violation is tantamount to a negation or degradation of that which makes us human. From the perspective of the Qur'an, these rights came into existence when we did; they were created, as we were, by God in order that our human potential could be actualized. Rights created or given by God cannot be abolished by any temporal ruler or human agency. Eternal and immutable, they ought to be exercised since everything that God does is for "a just purpose" 6.
A. Right to Life
The Qur'an upholds the sanctity and absolute value of human life 7 and points out that, in essence, the life of each individual is comparable to that of an entire community and, therefore, should be treated with the utmost care 8.
B. Right to Respect
The Qur'an deems all human beings to be worthy of respect 9 because of all creation they alone chose to accept the "trust" of freedom of the will 10. Human beings can exercise freedom of the will because they possess the rational faculty, which is what distinguishes them from all other creatures 11. Though human beings can become "the lowest of the lowest", the Qur'an declares that they have been made "in the best of moulds" 12, having the ability to think, to have knowledge of right and wrong, to do the good and to avoid the evil. Thus, on account of the promise which is contained in being human, namely, the potential to be God's vicegerent on earth, the humanness of all human beings is to be respected and considered to be an end in itself.
C. Right to Justice
The Qur'an puts great emphasis on the right to seek justice and the duty to do justice 13. In the context of justice, the Qur'an uses two concepts: "'adl" and "ihsan". Both are enjoined and both are related to the idea of "balance", but they are not identical in meaning. "'Adl" is defined by A.A.A. Fyzee, a well-known scholar of Islam, as "to be equal, neither more nor less." Explaining this concept, Fyzee wrote: "...in a Court of Justice the claims of the two parties must be considered evenly, without undue stress being laid upon one side or the other. Justice introduces the balance in the form of scales that are evenly balanced." 14. "'Adl" was described in similar terms by Abu'l Kalam Azad, a famous translator of the Qur'an and a noted writer, who stated: "What is justice but the avoiding of excess? There should be neither too much nor too little; hence the use of scales as the emblems of justice" 15. Lest anyone try to do too much or too little, the Qur'an points out that no human being can carry another's burden or attain anything without striving for it.16 Recognizing individual merit is a part of "'adl", The Qur'an teaches that merit is not determined by lineage, sex, wealth, worldly success or religion, but by righteousness, which consists of both right "belief" ("iman") and just "action" (" 'amal") 17. Further, the Qur'an distinguishes between passive believers and those who strive in the cause of God pointing out that though all believers are promised good by God, the latter will be exalted above the former 18. Just as it is in the spirit of "'adl" that special merit be considered in the matter of rewards, so also special circumstances are to be considered in the matter of punishments. For instance, for crimes of unchastity the Qur'an prescribes identical punishments for a man or a woman who is proved guilty 19, but it differentiates between different classes of women: for the same crime, a slave woman would receive half, and the Prophet's consort double, the punishment given to a "free" Muslim woman 20. In making such a distinction, the Qur'an while upholding high moral standards, particularly in the case of the Prophet's wives whose actions have a normative significance for the community, reflects God's compassion for women slaves who were socially disadvantaged. While constantly enjoining "'adl", the Qur'an goes beyond this concept to "ihsan", which literally means, "restoring the balance by making up a loss or deficiency" 21. In order to understand this concept, it is necessary to understand the nature of the ideal society or community ("ummah") envisaged by the Qur'an. The word "ummah" comes from the root "umm", or "mother". The symbols of a mother and motherly love and compassion are also linked with the two attributes most characteristic of God, namely, "Rahim" and "Rahman", both of which are derived from the root "rahm", meaning "womb". The ideal "ummah" cares about all its members just as an ideal mother cares about all her children, knowing that all are not equal and that each has different needs. While showing undue favour to any child would be unjust, a mother who gives to a "handicapped" child more than she does to her other child or children, is not acting unjustly but exemplifying the spirit of "ihsan" by helping to make up the deficiency of a child who need special assistance in meeting the requirements of life. "Ihsan", thus, shows God's sympathy for the disadvantaged segments of human society (such as women, orphans, slaves, the poor, the infirm, and the minorities)
D. Right to Freedom
As stated earlier, the Qur'an is deeply concerned about liberating human beings from every kind of bondage. Recognizing the human tendency toward dictatorship and despotism, the Qur'an says with clarity and emphasis in Surah 3: Al-'Imran: 79: It is not (possible) - That a man, to whom - Is given the Book, - and Wisdom, - And the Prophetic Office, - Should say to people:- "Be ye my worshippers - Rather than Allah's" - On the contrary - (He would say): - "Be ye worshippers - Of Him Who is truly - The Cherisher of all." 22The institution of human slavery is, of course, extremely important in the context of human freedom. Slavery was widely prevalent in Arabia at the time of the advent of Islam, and the Arab economy was based on it. Not only did the Qur'an insist that slaves be treated in a just and humane way 23, but it continually urged the freeing of slaves 24. By laying down, in Surah 47: Muhammad: 4, that prisoners of war were to be set free, "either by an act of grace or against ransom" 25, the Qur'an virtually abolished slavery since "The major source of slaves - men and women - was prisoners of war" 26. Because the Qur'an does not state explicitly that slavery is abolished, it does not follow that it is to be continued, particularly in view of the numerous ways in which the Qur'an seeks to eliminate this absolute evil. A Book which does not give a king or a prophet the right to command absolute obedience from another human being could not possibly sanction slavery in any sense of the word. The greatest guarantee of personal freedom for a Muslim lies in the Qur'anic decree that no one other than God can limit human freedom 27 and in the statement that "Judgment (as to what is right and what is wrong) rests with God alone" 28. As pointed out by Khalid M. Ishaque, an eminent Pakistani jurist: The Qur'an gives to responsible dissent the status of a fundamental right. In exercise of their powers, therefore, neither the legislature nor the executive can demand unquestioning obedience...The Prophet, even though he was the recipient of Divine revelation, was required to consult the Muslims in public affairs. Allah addressing the Prophet says: "...and consult with them upon the conduct of affairs. And...when thou art resolved, then put thy trust in Allah" 29.Since the principle of mutual consultation ("shura") is mandatory 30, it is a Muslim's fundamental right, as well as responsibility, to participate in as many aspects of the community's life as possible. The Qur'anic proclamation in Surah 2: Al-Baqarah: 256, "There shall be no coercion in matters of faith" 31 guarantees freedom of religion and worship. This means that, according to Qur'anic teaching, non-Muslims living in Muslim territories should have the freedom to follow their own faith-traditions without fear or harassment. A number of Qur'anic passages state clearly that the responsibility of the Prophet Muhammad is to communicate the message of God and not to compel anyone to believe 32. The right to exercise free choice in matters of belief is unambiguously endorsed by the Qur'an 33 which also states clearly that God will judge human beings not on the basis of what they profess but on the basis of their belief and righteous conduct 34, as indicated by Surah 2: Al-Baqarah: 62 which says: Those who believe (in the Qur'an) - And those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), - And the Christians and the Sabians, - Any who believe in God - And the Last Day, - And work righteousness, - Shall have their reward - With the Lord: on them - Shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve. 35 The Qur'an recognizes the right to religious freedom not only in the case of other believers in God, but also in the case of not-believers in God (if they are not aggressing upon Muslims) 36. In the context of the human right to exercise religious freedom, it is important to mention that the Qur'anic dictum, "Let there be no compulsion in religion" 37 applies not only to non- Muslims but also to Muslims. While those who renounced Islam after professing it and then engaged in "acts of war" against Muslims were to be treated as enemies and aggressors, the Qur'an does not prescribe any punishment for non-profession or renunciation of faith. The decision regarding a person's ultimate destiny in the hereafter rests with God. The right to freedom includes the right to be free to tell the truth. The Qur'anic term for truth is "Haqq" which is also one of God's most important attributes. Standing up for the truth is a right and a responsibility which a Muslim may not disclaim even in the face of the greatest danger or difficulty 38. While the Qur'an commands believers to testify to the truth, it also instructs society not to harm persons so testifying 39.
E. Right to Acquire Knowledge
The Qur'an puts the highest emphasis on the importance of acquiring knowledge. That knowledge has been at the core of the Islamic world-view from the very beginning is attested to by Surah 96: Al'Alaq: 1-5, which Muslims believe to the first revelation received by the Prophet Muhammad. Asking rhetorically if those without knowledge can be equal to those with knowledge 40, the Qur'an exhorts believers to pray for advancement in knowledge 41. The famous prayer of the Prophet Muhammad was "Allah grant me Knowledge of the ultimate nature of things" and one of the best known of all traditions ("ahadith") is "Seek knowledge even though it be in China." According to Qur'anic perspective, knowledge is a prerequisite for the creation of a just world in which authentic peace can prevail. The Qur'an emphasizes the importance of the pursuit of learning even at the time, and in the midst, of war 42.
F. Right to Sustenance
As pointed out by Surah 11: Hud: 6, every living creature depends for its sustenance upon God. A cardinal concept in the Qur'an - which underlies the socio-economic-political system of Islam - is that the ownership of everything belongs, not to any person, but to God. Since God is the universal creator, every creature has the right to partake of what belongs to God 43. This means that every human being has the right to a means of living and that those who hold economic or political power do not have the right to deprive others of the basic necessities of life by misappropriating or misusing resources which have been created by God for the benefit of humanity in general.
G. Right to Work
According to Qur'anic teaching every man and woman has the right to work, whether the work consists of gainful employment or voluntary service. The fruits of labour belong to the one who has worked for them - regardless of whether it is a man or a woman. As Surah 4: An-Nisa': 32 states: ...to men - Is allotted what they earn, - And to women what they earn 44
H. Right to Privacy
The Qur'an recognizes the need for privacy as a human right and lays down rules for protecting an individual's life in the home from undue intrusion from within or without 45.
I. Right to Protection from Slander, Backbiting, and Ridicule
The Qur'an recognizes the right of human beings to be protected from defamation, sarcasm, offensive nicknames, and backbiting 46. It also states that no person is to be maligned on grounds of assumed guilt and that those who engage in malicious scandal-mongering will be grievously punished in both this world and the next 47.
J. Right to Develop One's Aesthetic Sensibilities and Enjoy the Bounties Created by God
As pointed out Muhammad Asad, "By declaring that all good and beautiful things to the believers, the Qu'ran condemns, by implication, all forms of life-denying asceticism, world- renunciation and self-mortification.48 In fact, it can be stated that the right to develop one's aesthetic sensibilities so that one can appreciate beauty in all its forms, and the right to enjoy what God has provided for the nurture of humankind, are rooted in the life-affirming vision of the Qur'an.49
K. Right to Leave One's Homeland Under Oppressive Conditions
According to Qur'anic teaching , a Muslim's ultimate loyalty must be to God and not to any territory. To fulfill his Prophetic mission, the Prophet Muhammad decided to leave his place of birth, Mecca, and emigrated to Medina. This event ("Hijrah") has great historical and spiritual significance for Muslims who are called upon to move away from their place of origin of it becomes an abode of evil and oppression where they cannot fulfill their obligations to God or establish justice.50
L. Right to "The Good Life"
The Qur'an uphold the right of the human being only to life but to " the good life ". This good life, made up of many elements , becomes possible when a human being is living in a just environment. According to Qur'anic teaching, justice is a prerequisite for peace, and peace is a prerequisite for human development. In a just society, all the earlier-mentioned human rights may be exercised without difficulty. In such a society other basic rights such as the right to a secure place of residence, the right to the protection of one's personal possessions, the right to protection of one's covenants, the right to move freely, the right to social and judicial autonomy for minorities, the right to the protection of one's holy places and the right to return to one's spiritual center, also exist 51.
Excerpted from a paper written by Dr. Riffat Hassan, "Are Human Rights Compatible with Islam?". Dr. Hassan is a Professor in Humanities (Religious Studies) at University of Louisville, Kentucky.
5. Reference here is to The Qur'an, Surah 53: An-Najm: 42; the translation is by Muhammad Iqbal, The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, p. 57 (Lahore: Shaikh Muhammad Ashraf; 1971). 6. For instance, see Surah 15: Al-Hijr: 85; Surah 16: An-Nahl: 3; Surah 44: Ad-Dukhan: 39; Surah 45: Al-Jathiyah: 22; Surah 46: Al-Ahqaf: 3.7. Reference here is to, Surah 6: Al-An'am: 151.8. Reference here is to, Surah 5: Al-Ma'idah:32.9. For instance, see Surah 17: Al-Isra': 70.10. Reference here is to Surah 33: Al-Ahzab: 72.11. Reference here is to Surah 2: Al-Baqarah: 30-34.12. Reference here is to Surah 95: At-Tin: 4-6.13. For instance, see Surah 5: Al-Ma'idah: 8 and Surah 4: An- Nisa': 136.14. A.A.A. Fyzee, A Modern Approach to Islam, p. 17 (Lahore: Universal Books, 1978).15. Ibid.16. Reference here is to Sarah 53: An-Najm: 38-39.17. Reference here is to Surah 2: Al-Baqarah: 177.18. Reference here is to Surah 4: An-Nisa': 95-96.19. Reference here is to, Surah 24: An-Nur:2.20. Reference here is to, Surah 4: An-Nisa': 25; Surah 33: Al-Ahzab: 30.21. G.A. Parwez, Tabweeb-ul-Qur'an,(Urdu), Volume I, p. 78 (Lahore: Idara-e-Tulu'-e-Islam, 1977) .22. Abdullah Yusaf Ali(translation) The Holy Qur'an, p. 148 (Brentwood, Maryland: Amana Corporation, 1989).23. For instance, in Surah 4: An-Nisa': 36.24. For instance in Surah 2: Al-Baqarah: 177; Surah 4: An'Nisa': 92; Surah 5: Al-Ma'idah: 89; Surah 9: At-Tawbah:60; Surah 24: An-Nur: 33; Surah 58: Al-Mujadalah: 3.25. Muhammad Asad (translation) The Message of the Qur'an, p. 778 (Gibraltar: Dar Al-Andalus, 1980).26. G.A. Parwez, Islam: A Challenge to Religion, p. 346 (Lahore: Idara-e-Tulu'-e-Islam, 1986).27. Reference here is to, Surah 42: Ash-Shura: 21.28. Reference here is to Surah 12: Yusuf: 40.29. "Islamic law - Its Ideals and Principles"in The Challenge of Islam, p.157(A. Gauher, editor, 1980; London: The Islamic Council of Europe).30. Reference here is to the Qur'an, Surah 42: Ash-Shura: 38.31. The Message of the Qur'an, p. 57.32. For instance, see Surah 6: Al-An'am: 107; Surah 10: Yunus: 99; Surah 16: Al-Nahl: 82; Surah 42: Ash-Shura: 48.33. For instance, see Surah 18: Al-Kahf: 29.34. For instance, see Surah 6: Al-An'am: 108.35. The Holy Quran, pp. 33-34.36. For instance, see Surah 6: Al-An'am: 108.37. Reference here is to Surah 2: Al- Baqarah: 256; The Holy Quran, p-106.38. Reference here is to Surah 4: An-Nisa': 135.39. Reference here is to Surah 2: Al-Baqarah; also see G.A. Parwez, "Bunyadi Haquq-e-Insaniyat" (Urdu), in Tulu'-e-Islam, pp. 34-35 (Lahore, November 1981).40. Reference here is to Surah 39: Az-Zumar: 9.41. Reference here is to Surah 20: Ta-Ha: 114.42. Reference here is to Surah 9: At-Tawbah: 122.43. For instance, see Surah 6: Al-An'am: 165; Surah 67: Al-Mulk:15.44. The Holy Qur'an, p. 194.45. For instance, see Surah 24: An-Nur: 27-28, 58; Surah 33: Al-Ahzab: 53; Surah 49: Al- Hujurat : 12.46. Reference here is to Surah 49: Al-Hujurat: 11-12.47. For instance, see Surah 24: An-Nur: 16-19; also see Surah 4: An-Nisa': 148-149.48. The Message of the Qur'an, p. 207.49. For instance, see Surah 7: Al-A'raf: 32.50. For instance, see Surah 4: An-Nisa': 97-100.51. In this context, reference may be made to several Qur'anic verses. e.g., Surah 2:Al- Baqarah:229; Surah 3: Al-'Imran: 17,77; Surah 5: Al-Ma'idah:1; 42-48; Surah 9: At-Tawbah: 17; Surah 17: Al-Isra': 34; Surah 67: Al-Mulk:15.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
By: Maged Taman
Examine this simple verse of the Quran:
وَأَرْسَلْنَا الرِّيَاحَ لَوَاقِحَ فَأَنزَلْنَا مِنَ السَّمَاء مَاء فَأَسْقَيْنَاكُمُوهُ وَمَا أَنتُمْ لَهُ بِخَازِنِينَ (15:2215:22
15:22 (Picktall) And We send the winds fertilizing, and cause water to descend from the sky, and give it you to drink. It is not ye who are the holders of the store thereof.
God starts the water cycle by what humans mind think. They note the rain comes out of the clouds that is the water vapour that the wind fertilize them or make them mature enough to precipitate into the rain we see. The rain then fills up water in the springs of earth. We are not storing the rain since it evaporates or forms underground springs.
The water evaporation second to heat maintain this cycle of water. If most of the water would permeate to the underground there will be no evaporation and no water cycle.
67:30 (Asad) Say [unto those who deny the truth]: "What do you think? If of a sudden all your water were to vanish underground, who [but God] could provide you with water from [new] unsullied springs?"
The process of fertilization of the clouds is explained in more details in this verse:
[Shakir 24:43] Do you not see that Allah drives along the clouds, then gathers them together, then piles them up, so that you see the rain coming forth from their midst? And He sends down of the clouds that are (like) mountains wherein is hail, afflicting therewith whom He pleases and turning it away from whom He pleases; the flash of His lightning almost takes away the sight.
In this next verse it shows how God spreads the clouds. A scene we see every day and people anxiously wait for the rain for the multiple uses of the water.
[Shakir 30:48] Allah is he Who sends forth the winds so they raise a cloud, then He spreads it forth in the sky as He pleases, and He breaks it up so that you see the rain coming forth from inside it; then when He causes it to fall upon whom He pleases of His servants, lo! they are joyful.
God gives us the common scene in this verse who the water brings life to plants and how the plants themselves have their own life cycle.
[Shakir 39:21] Do you not see that Allah sends down water from the cloud, then makes it go along in the earth in springs, then brings forth therewith herbage of various colors, then it withers so that you see it becoming yellow, then He makes it a thing crushed and broken into pieces? Most surely there is a reminder in this for the men of understanding.
The rain comes in measures to earth and there is actually equilibrium in water cycle.
[Shakir 23:18] And We send down water from the cloud according to a measure, then We cause it to settle in the earth, and most surely We are able to carry it away.
God commonly give us the example of the dead earth that become alive with rain similar to the giving life to the dead in the day of judgment. Though the scientific part may be different however the metaphor is quite evident.
[Shakir 30:24] And one of His signs is that He shows you the lightning for fear and for hope, and sends down water from the clouds then gives life therewith to the earth after its death; most surely there are signs in this for a people who understand.[Shakir 7:57] And He it is Who sends forth the winds bearing good news before His mercy, until, when they bring up a laden cloud, We drive it to a dead land, then We send down water on it, then bring forth with it of fruits of all kinds; thus shall We bring forth the dead that you may be mindful.
God describes the rain as pure and recent science proved the rain to be pure distilled water.
[Shakir 25:48] And He it is Who sends the winds as good news before His mercy; and We send down pure water from the cloud,
God in many verses in the Quran remind us of his great gift of the rain. Which simply without it we will be dead. The wisdom of the Quran is the proportionality it means God mention in the verses of the Quran more frequently the most evident and important like the creation of heavens and earth, the day and night, the sun and moon, the rain....
[Shakir 25:49] That We may give life thereby to a dead land and give it for drink, out of what We have created, to cattle and many people.
[Shakir 35:9] And Allah is He Who sends the winds so they raise a cloud, then We drive it on to a dead country, and therewith We give life to the earth after its death; even so is the quickening.[Shakir 36:34] And We make therein gardens of palms and grapevines and We make springs to flow forth in it,
[Shakir 45:5] And (in) the variation of the night and the day, and (in) what Allah sends down of sustenance from the cloud, then gives life thereby to the earth after its death, and (in) the changing of the winds, there are signs for a people who understand.
[Shakir 50:9] And We send down from the cloud water abounding in good, then We cause to grow thereby gardens and the grain that is reaped,
[Shakir 56:68] Have you considered the water which you drink? [Shakir 56:69] Is it you that send it down from the clouds, or are We the senders? [Shakir 56:70] If We pleased, We would have made it salty; why do you not then give thanks?
The thing about the Quran you do not find myths or erroneous science. The Quran is not a science book and the science in the quran is derived by four main reasons. One is to give us the simple science of the creation of important things in our life like the universe, geology and embryology. Second it does not go in details of creation but main points. Third it is meant to assert that the Quran is from God and not the creation of Muhammad. Fourth and most important is if we to attest to his creation we obligated to worship him. In the last point you can see how science and spirituality handsomely converge.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
By BOB HERBERT
Published: January 19, 2009
And so it has happened, this very strange convergence. The holiday celebrating the birth of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. became, in the midnight hour, the day that America inaugurates its first black president.
It’s a day on which smiles will give way to tears and then return quickly to smiles again, a day of celebration and reflection.
Dr. King would have been 80 years old now. He came to national prominence not trying to elect an African-American president, but just trying to get us past the depraved practice of blacks being forced to endure the humiliation of standing up and giving their seat on a bus to a white person, some man or woman or child.
Get up, girl. Get up, boy.
Dr. King was just 26 at the time, a national treasure in a stylish, broad-brimmed hat. He was only 39 when he was killed, eight years younger than Mr. Obama is now.
There are so many, like Dr. King, who I wish could have stayed around to see this day. Some were famous. Most were not.
I remember talking several years ago with James Farmer, one of the big four civil rights leaders of the mid-20th century. (The others were Dr. King, Roy Wilkins and Whitney Young.) Farmer enraged authorities in Plaquemine, La., in 1963 by organizing demonstrations demanding that blacks be allowed to vote. Tired of this affront, a mob of state troopers began hunting Farmer door to door.
The southern night trembled once again with the cries of abused blacks. As Farmer described it: “I was meant to die that night. They were kicking open doors, beating up blacks in the streets, interrogating them with electric cattle prods.”
A funeral director saved Farmer by having him “play dead” in the back of a hearse, which carried him along back roads and out of town.
Farmer died in 1999. Imagine if he could somehow be seated in a place of honor at the inauguration alongside Dr. King and Mr. Wilkins and Mr. Young. Imagine the stories and the mutual teasing and the laughter, and the deep emotion that would accompany their attempts to rise above their collective disbelief at the astonishing changes they did so much to bring about.
And then imagine a tall white man being ushered into their presence, and the warm smiles of recognition from the big four — and probably tears — for someone who has been shamefully neglected by his nation and his party, Lyndon Johnson.
Johnson’s contributions to the betterment of American life were nothing short of monumental. For blacks, he opened the door to the American mainstream with a herculean effort that resulted in the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. He followed up that bit of mastery with the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
“Once the black man’s voice could be translated into ballots,” Johnson would say, “many other breakthroughs would follow.”
Without Lyndon Johnson, Barack Obama and so many others would have traveled a much more circumscribed path.
I wish Johnson could be there, his commitment to civil rights so publicly vindicated, his eyes no doubt misting as the oath of office is administered.
It’s so easy, now that the moronic face of racism is so seldom openly displayed, to forget how far we’ve really come. When Dr. King delivered his “I Have a Dream Speech” at the Lincoln Memorial in 1963, it was illegal, just a stone’s throw away in Virginia, for whites and blacks to marry. Illegal! Just as it is illegal now for gays to marry.
Less than a month after the speech, members of the Ku Klux Klan bombed a black church in Birmingham, Ala., where children had gathered for a prayer service. Four girls were killed. Three were 14 years old, and one was 11.
My sister, Sandy, and I, growing up in Montclair, N.J., a suburb of New York City, were protected from the harshest rays of racism by a family that would let nothing, least of all some crazy notion of genetic superiority, soil our view of the world or ourselves.
My grandparents, who struggled through the Depression and World War II, and my parents, who worked tirelessly to give Sandy and me a wonderful upbringing in the postwar decades, seemed always to have believed that all good things were possible.
Even if the doors of opportunity were closed, they didn’t believe they were locked. Hard work, in their eyes, was always the key.
Still, the idea of a black president of the United States never came up. Perhaps even for them that was too much to imagine. I wish they could have stayed around long enough to see it.
(CNN) -- Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th president of the United States and the nation's first African-American president Tuesday. This is a transcript of his prepared speech.
My fellow citizens:
I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.
Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often, the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forebearers, and true to our founding documents.
So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.
That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.
These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land -- a nagging fear that America's decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.
Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America: They will be met.
On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.
On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.
We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.
In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of shortcuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the fainthearted -- for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things -- some celebrated, but more often men and women obscure in their labor -- who have carried us up the long, rugged path toward prosperity and freedom.
For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life.
For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.
For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn.
Time and again, these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.
This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions -- that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.
For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act -- not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. And all this we will do.
Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions -- who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.
What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them -- that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works -- whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified.
Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public's dollars will be held to account -- to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day -- because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.
Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control -- and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our gross domestic product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart -- not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.
As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake. And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: Know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.
Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.
We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort -- even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet. We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.
For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.
To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society's ills on the West: Know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.
To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world's resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.
As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us today, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages. We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment -- a moment that will define a generation -- it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.
For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter's courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent's willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.
Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends -- hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism -- these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility -- a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation and the world; duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.
This is the price and the promise of citizenship.
This is the source of our confidence -- the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.
This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed -- why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent Mall, and why a man whose father less than 60 years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.
So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America's birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:
"Let it be told to the future world ... that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive... that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet [it]."
America. In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children's children that when we were tested, we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back, nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God's grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.
All About Barack Obama • U.S. Presidential Inauguration
Monday, January 19, 2009
One thing was making me feel missing when we go the afterlife: the Quran. I was wrong I found out recently from Hadith to the prophet that we will recite it in heaven (hopefully).
This enjoyment in the Quran is related to the following:
1- The human history and wisdom of creation.
2- The enjoyable stories of the prophets.
3- The great understanding in human psychology.
4- The glory of a God talking to us.
5- The universe above us that look as it is in the grip of God.
6- The feeling that good win over evil either now or the afterlife.
7- The strength you feel when you read it and feeling fear, lonely, weak or oppressed.
8- For sinners it takes their hands, forgive their sins and heal their hearts.
9- The scientific miracle of Quran.
10- The linguistic miracle.
11- The beautiful music of Quran.
12- The recitation by different people who have the best voices in Islamic world. It is like you love a song and you hear it by the best singers that you like to hear it from.
13- A song will give you good meanings and enjoyment of music and voice. The Quran will give you all of the above plus spirituality and high marks from God.
14- The endorphins you get from all of the above. Muslims do not need alcohols, drugs or gambling to get these endorphins. The high spiritual and intellectual enjoyments can give you these endorphins.
15- The satisfaction that we will not die and end as dust but we will be resurrected and having new, awesome and eternal life.
By Daniel Masters, Isma'il Kaka and By Daniel Masters, Isma'il Kaka and Robert Squires
1. What is Islam?
Islam is the name of the religion, or more properly the ‘way of life’, which God (Allah) has revealed and which was practiced by all of the Prophets and Messengers of God that He sent to mankind. Even the name stands out unique among other religions in that it means a state of being; it does not refer to any particular person, such as Christianity, Buddhism or Zoroastrianism; a tribe like Judaism; or a nation like Hinduism. The root Arabic word from which Islam is derived implies peace, safety, salutation, protection, blamelessness, wholesomeness, submission, acceptance, surrender, and salvation. Islam specifically means being in the state of submission to God, worshipping Him Alone, and reverently accepting and obeying His Law. Through this submission, the peace, security, and wholesome well-being implied in its literal meaning is achieved. Hence, a Muslim or Muslimah is a person (male or female) in that state of submission. A person’s Islam weakens through sins, ignorance, and wrong-doing, and becomes nullified in totality by associating partners with God or disbelieving in Him.
2. What are Muslims?
The Arabic word “Muslim” literally means “someone who is in a state of Islam (submission to the will and law of God)”. The message of Islam is meant for the entire world, and anyone who accepts this message becomes a Muslim. Some people mistakenly believe that Islam is just a religion for Arabs, but nothing could be further from the truth. In actuality, over 80% of the world's Muslims are not Arabs! Even though most Arabs are Muslims, there are Arabs who are Christians, Jews and atheists. If one just takes a look at the various peoples who live in the Muslim World - from Nigeria to Bosnia and from Morocco to Indonesia - it is easy enough to see that Muslims come from all different races, ethnic groups, cultures and nationalities. Islam has always been a universal message for all people. This can be seen in the fact that some of the early companions of the Prophet Muhammad were not only Arabs, but also Persians, Africans and Byzantine Romans. Being a Muslim entails complete acceptance and active obedience to the revealed teachings and laws of God the Exalted. A Muslim is a person who freely accepts basing his beliefs, values and faith on the will of Almighty God. In the past, even though you do not see it as much today, the word “Mohammedans” was often used as a label for Muslims. This label is a misnomer, and is the result of either willful distortion or sheer ignorance. One of the reasons for the misconception is that Europeans were taught for centuries that Muslims worshipped the Prophet Muhammad in the same way that Christians worship Jesus. This is absolutely not true, since one is not considered a Muslim if he worships anyone or anything besides God the Exalted.
3. Who is Allah?
Often one hears the Arabic word “Allah” being used in discussions regarding Islam. The word “Allah” is simply the Arabic word for Almighty God, and is the same word used by Arabic speaking Christians and Jews. As a matter of fact, the word Allah was in use far before the word God ever came into existence, since English is a relatively new language. If one were to pick up an Arabic translation of the Bible, one would see the word “Allah” being use where the word “God” is used in English. For instance, Arabic speaking Christians say that Jesus is, according to their canon belief, the Son of Allah. In addition, the Arabic word for Almighty God, “Allah”, is quite similar to the word for God in other Semitic languages. For example, the Hebrew word for God is “Elah”. For various reasons, some non-Muslims mistakenly believe that Muslims worship a different God than the God of Moses and Abraham and Jesus. This is certainly not the case, since the Pure Monotheism of Islam calls all people to the worship of the God of Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and all the other prophets, peace be upon them.
4. Who is Muhammad?
The last and final prophet whom God sent to humanity was the Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him. At the age of forty, he received the revelation from God. He then spent the remaining portion of his life explaining, and living the teachings of Islam, the religion that God revealed to him. The Prophet Muhammad is the greatest of all prophets for many reasons, but primarily because he was chosen by God to be the last prophet - whose mission to guide humanity would continue until the Last Day - and because he has been sent as a mercy to all of mankind. The result of his mission has brought more people into the pure belief in One God than any other prophet. Since the beginning of time, God sent prophets to the earth, each one to his own specific nation. The Prophet Muhammad, however, was sent as the final Messenger to all of humanity.
Even though other religious communities have claimed to believe in One God, over time, some corrupted ideas entered into their beliefs and practices leading them away from the pure sincere monotheism of the prophets. Some took their prophets and saints as intercessors with Almighty God. Some even believed that their prophets were the manifestations of God, or “God Incarnate” or the “Son of God”. All of these misconceptions lead to the worship of created beings instead of the Creator, and contributed to the idolatrous practice of believing that Almighty God may be approached through intermediaries. In order to guard against these falsehoods, the Prophet Muhammad always emphasized that he was only a human-being with the mission of preaching and obeying God's message. He taught Muslims to refer to him as “the Messenger of God and His Slave”. Through his life and teachings, God made Muhammad the perfect example for all people - he was the exemplary prophet, statesman, military leader, ruler, teacher, neighbor, husband, father and friend. Unlike other prophets and messengers, the Prophet Muhammad lived in the full light of history, and all his sayings and acts were meticulously recorded and collected. Muslims don't need to have mere ‘faith’ that he existed, or that his teachings are preserved - they know it to be a fact. God took it upon Himself to protect the message revealed to Muhammad from distortion or from being forgotten or lost. This was necessary because God promised that Muhammad was to be the final Messenger to mankind. All of God's Messengers preached the message of Islam - i.e. submission to the law of God and the worship of God alone – but Muhammad is the last prophet of Islam who brought the final and complete message which was never to be changed until the Last Day.
5. What are the Teachings of Islam?
The foundation of the Islamic faith is belief in absolute Monotheism (the Oneness of God). This means to believe that there is only one Creator and Sustainer of everything in the Universe, and that nothing is divine or worthy of being worshipped except for Him. Truly, believing in the Oneness of God means much more than simply believing that there is “One God” - as opposed to two, three or four. There are a number of religions that claim belief in “One God” and believe that ultimately there is only one Creator and Sustainer of the Universe, but true monotheism is to believe that only the One True Deity is to be worshipped in accordance to the revelation He sent to His Messenger. Islam also rejects the use of all intermediaries between God and Man, and insists that people approach God directly and reserve all worship for Him alone. Muslims believe that Almighty God is Compassionate, Loving and Merciful.
A common misconception is the claim that God cannot forgive His creatures directly. By over-emphasizing the burden and penalty of sin, as well as claiming that God cannot forgive humans directly, people often despair of the Mercy of God. Once they become convinced that they cannot approach God directly, they turn to false gods for help, such as heroes, political leaders, saviors, saints, and angels. We often find that the people who worship, pray to, or seek intercession from these false deities, do not consider them to be a ‘god’. They claim belief in One Supreme God, but claim that they pray to and worship others beside God only to get closer to Him. In Islam, there is a clear distinction between the Creator and the created. There is no ambiguity or mystery in issues of divinity: anything that is created does not deserve to be worshipped; only Allah, the Creator, is worthy of being worshipped. Some religions falsely believe that God has become part of His creation, and this has led people to believe that they can worship something created in order to reach their Creator.
Muslims believe that even though God is Unique and Exalted beyond speculative comprehension, He definitely has no partners, associates, peers, antagonists or offspring. According to Muslim belief, Allah “neither begets, nor was He begotten” - neither literally, allegorically, metaphorically, physically or metaphysically. He is Absolutely Unique and Eternal. He is in control of everything and is perfectly capable of bestowing His infinite Mercy and Forgiveness to whomever He chooses. That is why Allah is also called the All-Powerful and Most-Merciful. Allah has created the Universe for man, and as such wants the best for all human beings. Muslims see everything in the Universe as a sign of the Creatorship and Benevolence of Almighty God. Also, the belief in the Oneness of Allah is not merely a metaphysical concept. It is a dynamic belief that affects ones view of humanity, society and all aspects of practical life. As a logical corollary to the Islamic belief in the Oneness of Allah, is its belief in the oneness of mankind and humanity.
6. What is the Quran?
The Quran is the final revelation of Allah to all of mankind, which was spoken by Allah the Exalted Himself and conveyed through the Arch-Angel Gabriel in Arabic to the Prophet Muhammad, in sound, word and meaning. The Quran, (sometimes incorrectly spelled Koran), was then relayed to the Prophet's companions, and they diligently memorized it verbatim and meticulously complied it into written form. The Holy Quran has been continually recited by the companions of the Prophet and their successors until the present day. In short, the Quran is the revealed book of Divine scripture from Allah to all humanity for their guidance and salvation.
Today the Quran is still memorized and taught by millions of people. The language of the Quran, Arabic, is still a living language to millions of people. Unlike the scriptures of some other religions, the Quran is still read in its original language by countless millions of people. The Quran is a living miracle in the Arabic language, and it is known to be inimitable in its style, form and spiritual impact, as well as the unique knowledge that it contains. The Quran was revealed in a series of revelations to the Prophet Muhammad over a period of 23 years. In contrast to many other religious books, the Quran was always believed to be the exact Word of Allah. The Quran was recited publicly in front of both the Muslim and non-Muslim communities during the life of the Prophet Muhammad, and thereafter. The entire Quran was also completely written down in the lifetime of the Prophet, and numerous companions of the Prophet memorized the entire Quran word-for-word as it was revealed. The Quran was always in the hands of the common believers: it was always thought to be God's word; and, due to wide-spread memorization, it was perfectly preserved. Never was any part of it altered or decreed by any religious council. The teachings of the Quran comprise a universal scripture addressed to all of mankind and not to any particular tribe or ‘chosen people’. The message that it brings is nothing new but the same message of all of the prophets: 'submit to Allah the One God and worship Him alone and follow Allah's Messengers for success in this life and salvation in the hereafter'. As such, Allah's revelation in the Quran focuses on teaching human beings the importance of believing in the Oneness of Allah, and framing their lives around the guidance which He has sent, which is articulated in the Islamic Law. The Quran contains the stories of the previous prophets, such as Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus, peace be upon all of them, as well as commands and prohibitions from God. In our modern times, in which so many people are caught up in doubt, spiritual despair and social and political alienation, the Quranic teachings offer solutions to the emptiness of our lives and the turmoil that is gripping the world today.
7. How Do Muslims View the Nature of Man, the Purpose of Life and the Life Hereafter?
In the Holy Quran, Allah teaches human beings that they were created in order to glorify and worship Him, and that the basis of all true worship is God-consciousness. All of Allah's creatures worship him naturally and only the humans have the free will to worship Allah their Creator or to reject Him. This is a great test, but also a great honor. Since the teachings of Islam encompass all aspects of life and ethics, God-consciousness is encouraged in all human affairs. Islam makes it clear that all human acts are acts of worship if they are done for God alone and in accordance to His Divine Scripture and Law. As such, worship in Islam is not limited to religious rituals, and for this reason it is more properly known as ‘way of life’ than a religion. The teachings of Islam act as a mercy and a healing for the human soul, and qualities such as humility, sincerity, patience and charity are strongly encouraged. Additionally, Islam condemns pride and self-righteousness, since Almighty God is the only judge of human righteousness.
The Islamic view of the nature of man is also realistic and well-balanced in that human beings are not believed to be inherently sinful, but are seen as equally capable of both good and evil; it is their choice. Islam teaches that faith and action go hand-in-hand. God has given people free-will, and the measure of one's faith is their deeds and actions. However, since human beings have also been created innately weak and regularly fall into sin, they are in need of continually seeking guidance and repentance, which is, in itself , also a form of worship loved by Allah. The nature of the human being as created by God in His Majesty and Wisdom, is not inherently ‘corrupt’ or in need of repair. The avenue of repentance is always open to all. Almighty God knew that humans were going to make mistakes, so the real test is whether they seek repentance for their sins and try to avoid them, or if they prefer a life of heedlessness and sin, knowing well that it is not pleasing to God. The true balance of an Islamic life is established by having a healthy fear of Allah's rightful punishment for crimes and sins, as well as a sincere belief that Allah, in His infinite Mercy, takes pleasure in bestowing His reward for our good deeds and sincere worship to Him. A life without fear of Allah leads to sin and disobedience, while believing that we have sinned so much that God will not possibly forgive us only leads to despair. In the light of this fact, Islam teaches that only the misguided despair of the Mercy of their Lord, and only wicked criminals are devoid of the fear of Allah their Creator and Judge. The Holy Quran as revealed to the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, also contains a great deal of teachings about life in the hereafter and the Day of Judgment. Muslims believe that all human beings will ultimately be judged by Allah, the Absolute Sovereign King and Judge, for their beliefs and actions in their earthly lives. In judging human beings, Allah the Exalted will be both Absolutely Just, by only punishing the truly guilty and rebellious unrepentant criminals, and Absolutely Merciful for those people who He, in His wisdom, judges worthy of mercy. None will be judged for that which was beyond their capacity, or for that which they did not actually do. It is sufficient to say that Islam teaches that life is a test designed by Allah, the Creator, Almighty and Most Wise; and that all human beings will be accountable before Allah for what they did with their lives. A sincere belief in the life of the hereafter is the key to leading a well-balanced and moral life. Otherwise, life is viewed as an end in itself, which causes people to become more selfish, materialistic and immoral by their blind pursuit of pleasure even at the expense of reason and ethics.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
In mathematics there is a theory known as ‘Theory of Probability’. A dice has got six sides. If you throw a dice and guess any number between 1 to 6, the chances that your guess will be correct is 1/6. If you throw the dice the second time, the chances that your guess will be correct in both the throws is (1/6 x 1/6) which is equal to 1/36. If you throw the dice the third time, the chances that all your three guesses are correct is (1/6 x 1/6 x 1/6) is equal to 1/216 that is less than 0.5 %.
Let us apply this theory of probability to the Qur’an, and assume that a person has guessed all the information that is mentioned in the Qur’an which was unknown at that time. Let us discuss the probability of all the guesses being simultaneously correct:
1- At the time when the Qur’an was revealed, people thought the world was flat, there are several other options for the shape of the earth. It could be triangular, it could be quadrangular, pentagonal, hexagonal, heptagonal, octagonal, spherical, etc. Lets assume there are about 30 different options for the shape of the earth. The Qur’an rightly says it is spherical, if it was a guess the chances of the guess being correct is 1/30.
2- The light of the moon can be its own light or a reflected light. The Qur’an rightly says it is a reflected light. If it is a guess, the chances that it will be correct is 1/2 and the probability that both the guesses i.e the earth is spherical and the light of the moon is reflected light is 1/30 x 1/2 = 1/60.
3- Further, the Qur’an also mentions every living thing is made of water. Every living thing can be made up of either wood, stone, copper, aluminum, steel, silver, gold, oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen, oil, water, cement, concrete, etc. The options are say about 10,000. The Qur’an rightly says that everyliving thing is made up of water. If it is a guess, the chances that it will be correct is 1/10,000 and the probability of all the three guesses i.e. the earth is spherical, light of moon is reflected light and everything is created from water being correct is 1/30 x 1/2 x 1/10,000 = 1/60,000 which is equal to about .0017%.
The Qur’an speaks about hundreds of things that were not known to men at the time of its revelation. Only in three options the result is .0017%. I leave it upto you, to work out the probability if all the hundreds of the unknown facts were guesses, the chances of all of them being correct guesses simultaneously and there being not a single wrong guess.
It is beyond human capacity to make all correct guesses without a single mistake, which itself is sufficient to prove to a logical person that the origin of the Qur’an is Divine.CREATOR IS THE AUTHOR OF THE QUR’ANThe only logical answer to the question as to who could have mentioned all these scientific facts 1400 years ago before they were discovered, is exactly the same answer initially given by the atheist or any person, to the question who will be the first person who will be able to tell the mechanism of the unknown object. It is the ‘CREATOR’, the producer, the Manufacturer of the whole universe and its contents.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
By Brother Yahya Adel Ibrahîm
All Praise is for Allâh alone. He is the Rabb  of all that exists. Surely, we send the highest SAllâh and Salam  upon the Final Prophet, the leader of the pious and upon his family, companions and those who follow their example with Ih’san  till the Day of Reckoning.
Primer Before we begin, I will give you a primer on some of the Arabic words that I will use in my lecture today:
Allâh: Literally means “the God”, “the One who is deserving of worship”.
Qur’ân: The final scripture according to Muslim tradition; the final Word of God.
Sala Allâhu ‘alihi was-Salaam: You may hear me use this phrase after mentioning the names of the prophets. It means “may the peace and blessings of God be upon him”.
Today’s lecture is intended as an educational discussion. But it will also be useful for us to learn about each others’ beliefs, because the scholars – past and present – have said,“The root cause of hatred is ignorance”.
Jesus is known to the Muslims as ‘Issa – this is the name for Jesus that we have been given in our scriptures.
To Muslims, Jesus – or ‘Issa – is a saviour, a reformist, the Messiah (the anointed one), the“Word of God”. He was elevated to heaven. He could cure the ill, raise the dead, fashion inanimate objects and blow life into them, all by the Will of God.
We believe that the one who disbelieves in Jesus is not a Muslim, because the person who disbelieves in one the prophets disbelieves in all of them. So Muslims believe in Jesus and in his message. His message was one with all the other messengers. In the Qur’ân, it is said that God never sent a messenger to mankind except that he was sent with one warning: Worship Allâh alone.
Muhammad (sala Allâhu ‘alihi was-Salaam) said:
“I am the most worthy of ‘Issa bin Marium in this life and in the hereafter.” They (Sahaba) asked: “Why is that O Messenger of Allâh (sala Allâhu ‘alihi was-Salaam)?”
He (sala Allâhu ‘alihi was-Salaam) replied:
“The Prophets are paternal (bloodline) brethren (from fathers side). Their mothers may be different (races, peoples, bloodlines) yet their Deen is always one (Islam).” Reported by Bukhari and Muslim.
Therefore this necessitates that he who disputes the validity of one of the true Prophets and Messengers has in fact reviled and disputed all of them. One cannot believe in Muhammad (sala Allâhu ‘alihi was-Salaam) and not believe in ‘Issa (Alihi as-Salaam). Equally, one cannot truly believe in ‘Issa and not believe in Muhammad (sala Allâhu ‘alihi was-Salaam). To truly accept one Prophet or Messenger necessitates the acceptance of all those who came before him and all who will come after him, ending with Muhammad (sala Allâhu ‘alihi was-Salaam).
My lecture today will cover four main points:
Who was Mary – because before looking at Jesus in Islam, we must first recognise the status of Mary in Islam.
The immaculate conception.
The special traits sent to Jesus by Allâh as a way of proving to all humanity of the truth of the essential divine message.
The Muslim perspective on the crucifixion, and what came after.
1. Maryam (Mary) the daughter of ’Imrân Of the most poignant and telling mother-son relationships in the Qur’ân is that of ‘Issa bin Marium (Alihi as-Salaam). For the first and last time in history a Prophet would not be addressed by his father’s name. Rather, he is referred to as Jesus the son of Mary.
To assess and grasp the true virtue of ‘Issa (Alihi as-Salaam) it is necessary to learn about his mother Marium ibnata ‘Imrân (Alihi as-Salaam).
Mary’s mother grew to be of an old age, and became barren. She prayed to God for one final child, whom she would dedicate in God’s service. When she conceived in old age, she said as records to us in the Qur’ân says:
“Allâh chose Adam, Nuh (Noah), and the family of Ibrahim and the family of ‘Imrân above the ‘Alameen (all creation during their respective times). Offspring, one of the other and Allâh is the All-Hearer, All-Knowing.
(Remember) when the wife of ‘Imrân said: ‘O my Lord! I have vowed to You what (the child that) is in my womb to be dedicated for your services (free from all worldly work and obligations; solely for your worship) so accept this from me. Verily you are the All-Hearer (You hear my Du‘a) and the All-Knowing (and you know my sincere intention in fulfilling this vow).’
Then when she gave birth to her (Marium), she said ‘O my Lord! I have given birth to a female child.’ – And Allâh knew better what she brought forth (He is the Creator), - ‘And the male is not like the female, and I have named her Marium (literally = pure maidservant of Allâh), and I see refuge with You (Allâh) for her and her offspring from the Shaytan (Satan), the outcast.’
So her Lord (Allâh) accepted her with goodly acceptance. He made her grow in a good manner and put her under the care of Zakariyya (Prophet Zachary).” Ali-‘Imrân 3:33-37
When Mary’s mother gave birth to Mary, she was saddened that the child was a girl. This was because, in Jewish tradition, there are very few religious acts of devotion that could be performed by a female. Of 514 daily acts of devotion, only 4 required of a Jewish woman.
She named her child Maryam, which means “the pure one”, or “the one who is purified”. Allâh accepted the young female child into His service, and chose Zakariyyah – or Zacchariah – to be her caregiver. Zakariyyah was one of the prophets of Islam. He was chosen out of all of the scribes of his time, who were gathered together and instructed to throw their pens into a stream. They were told that whoever’s pen flowed against the current would be the child’s guardian. Zakariyyah’s pen was the one that flowed against the current.
Of Maryam, the Prophet Muhammad (sala Allâhu ‘alihi was-Salaam) said:
“Of men, many have attained completion with their Lord. But of women, there were four – Marium the daughter of ‘Imrân, Asiyah the wife of Pharoah, Khadeejah bint Khuwaylid and Fatimah the daughter of Muhammad.” (Agreed Upon)
The Prophet Muhammad (sala Allâhu ‘alihi was-Salaam) also said of Maryam, that when every child is born, the devil pricks the child at the time of its birth, and the child cries out, except for Maryam and her son.
Rasool ul Allâh (sala Allâhu ‘alihi was-Salaam) mentions:
“No new born escapes the prick (touch) of the Shaytan at the time of their birth. (The touch is what) causes them to begin to scream. Only Marium and her son (escaped being molested by the Shaytan).” Reported through authentic narrations in the Musnad of al-Imam Ahmed and the Sahih of al-Imam Muslim.
Allâh said in the Qur’ân:
“And (remember) when the angels said: “O Maryam! Verily, Allâh has chosen you, purified you (from polytheism and disbelief), and chosen you above the women of the ’آlamîn (mankind and jinn).” Qur’ân – Surat آl-Imrân 3: 41
Thus, Maryam was chosen above all of humanity to bear ‘Issa.
Chapter 19 of the Qur’ân is titled “Maryam”, and is dedicated to her story and the immaculate conception.
2. Immaculate conception In the Qur’ân, Muhammad is told to recite the story of Maryam:
“And mention in the Book (the Qur’ân, O Muhammad, the story of) Maryam, when she withdrew in seclusion from her family to a place facing east. She placed a screen (to screen herself) from them; then We sent to her Our Ruh (the angel Gabriel), and he appeared before her in the form of a man in all respects. She said: ‘Verily, I seek refuge with the Most Gracious (Allâh) from you, if you do fear Allâh.’ (The angel) said: ‘I am only a messenger from your Lord, (to announce) to you the gift of a righteous son.’ She said: ‘How can I have a son, when no man hath touched me, nor am I unchaste?’ He said: ‘So (it will be), your Lord said “That is easy for Me (Allâh): And (We wish) to appoint him as a sign to mankind and a mercy from Us (Allâh), and it is a matter (already) decreed (by Allâh).” ‘ “ Qur’ân – Surat Maryam 19: 16-21
Jesus was named the “Word of God”, because Allâh said “Be” and he was. Allâh sets forth a parable between Jesus and Adam: Adam was taken from the earth, not born from the womb of a woman. Allâh says:
“Verily the likeness of ‘Issa (Jesus) before Allâh is the likeness of Adam. He created him from dust, then (He) said to him: ‘Be’ – and he was.” Qur’ân – Surat آl-Imrân 3: 59
Jesus did not have a father. But this does not mean that Jesus is divine and worthy of worship, because Adam’s existence was more miraculous than that of Jesus.
Allâh also says in the Qur’ân that Jesus and his mother would become tired, and would need sustenance. Therefore, they could not be divine.
The story of the Immaculate Conception is continued in the Qur’ân:
“So she conceived him, and she withdrew with him to a far place. And the pains of childbirth drove her to the trunk of a date palm. She said: ‘Would that I had died before this, and had been forgotten and out of sight!’ Then [the baby ‘Issa] cried unto her from below her, saying: ‘Grieve not: your Lord has provided a water stream under you.’ ” Qur’ân – Surat Maryam 19: 22-24
Jesus spoke to Maryam as a miracle from God, to tell her that she should not be fearful and she should not be in sorrow. Maryam was instructed that when she returned to her family, she was not to answer any of their questions. So when they confronted her, she pointed to the child. They said, “How can we ask this child in the cradle?”Then the baby Jesus spoke, and said:
“ ‘Verily I am a slave of Allâh, He has given me the Scripture and made me a Prophet; and He has made me blessed wheresoever I be, and has enjoined on me Salaat (prayer) and Zakaat (alms-giving or charity), as long as I live. And to be dutiful to my mother, and made me not arrogant, unblest. And peace be upon me the day I was born, and the day I die, and the day I shall be raised alive!’ Such is ‘Issa, son of Maryam. (It is) a statement of truth, about which they doubt.” Qur’ân – Surat Maryam 19: 30-34
That is the story of the immaculate conception as it is related to us in the Qur’ân.
3. Special attributes of Jesus The immaculate conception was one of the many miracles that Allâh gave to Jesus.
In Islamic sources, Jesus began as a shepherd, as were all of the prophets of God before they received their Message. Jesus knew the Torah, and could read and write from the time of infancy.
Jesus grew up knowing his cousin Yahya (John the Baptist). Both of them would together call to the worship of God.
Jesus never once said:“Worship me” – this was not befitting for any of the Messengers of God.
Jesus lived a full life, but he was fought against and hated and reviled by different enemies, including the evil rabbis of the time, who wished for power and status.
The scholars state that every Prophet and Messenger was sent with the type of evidence, signs, and proofs that their respective nations would respond to. During the time of Mûsa (Alihi as-Salaam), magic and illusions were widespread and falsely attributed to false deities. So Allâh sent Musa with what would eclipse Pharaoh’s magicians. During the time of ‘Issa (Alihi as-Salaam) curing the ill was seen as a divine power. Allâh therefore sent ‘Issa and granted him unique abilities.
Allâh will remind ‘Issa of these abilities on the Day of Judgment as Allâh describes them to us in Suratil Ma’idah (5:110-115):
“(Remember) when Allâh will say (on the Day of Resurrection), ‘O ‘Issa son of Marium! Remember My Favour to you and to your mother when I supported you with Ruh ul-Qudus (Jibreel) so that you spoke to the people in the (from the) cradle (at a young age) and (while) in maturity. Jibreel aided you in ordering the people to work good deeds and to submit themselves to Allâh while staying away from evil deeds throughout the whole of your time with them (people).
And when I taught you writing, al-Hikmah (the power of reasoning, logic, understanding. Putting everything in its proper place at the proper time for the proper reason), and the Torah and the Injeel (Gospel). Allâh granted ‘Issa all of these intellectual capabilities from his inception as some of the people of Tafseer have stated. We do not establish this claim as truth, nor do we deny it as falsehood.
And when you made out of clay, as it were, the figure of a bird, by My Permission, and you breathed into it, and it became a bird by My Permission.
And you healed those who were born blind (not just those who happened to have lost their sight), the lepers by My Permission.
And when you brought forth the dead by My Permission.
And when I restrained the Children of Israel from you (when they resolved to kill you) since you came unto them with clear proofs, and the disbelievers among them said, ‘This is nothing but evident magic.’
This was the greatest miracle granted by Allâh to ‘Issa. We will shortly begin discussing the intricacies of how ‘Issa was saved from the Jews and the Romans. This ayah also shows that those who sought the death of ‘Issa were the Jews and not the Romans per-say. The ayah also shows that there were Jews who believed (Hawarieen or Disciples) and those who disbelieved.
And when I (Allâh) put in the hearts of al-Hawarieen (the Disciples of ‘Issa) to believe in Me and My Messenger (you O ‘Issa), they said: ‘We believe. And bear witness that we are Muslims.’
This ayah shows clearly that Allâh places guidance in the hearts of individuals. There were many that rejected the truth although they also witnessed the aforementioned miraculous occurrences. Guidance is solely from Allâh, as is the misguidance of those whom were destined to reject the truth and Light of Tawheed.
(Remember) when the disciples said: ‘O ‘Issa, son of Marium! Is your Lord able to send down to us a table spread (with food) from heaven?’ ‘Issa said, ‘Fear Allâh, if you are indeed believers!’
Although they have seen clay birds being brought to life, the blind and lepers alleviated of their illness, the raising of the dead and many other miracles, they still say, “Is your Lord able!” The syntax of their question implies that if your Lord does not furnish us this table spread then He is UNABLE, not unwilling!
They said, ‘We wish to eat thereof and to be stronger in Faith, and to know that you have indeed told us the truth and that we ourselves be its witnesses.’
Once again the weakness of their faith is apparent. The syntax in their statement indirectly implies that if you have told us the truth and you really are a Prophet and a Messenger then your Lord will bring down the table spread that we request. Otherwise you have not spoken the truth. They admit that their faith is weak. ‘Issa (Alihi as-Salaam) therefore invokes Allâh for the table spread.
‘Issa, son of Marium, said, ‘O Allâh, Our Lord! Send us from Heaven a table spread (with food) that there may be for us – for the first and the last of us – a festival and a sign from You; and provide us Sustenance, for You are the Best to Sustain.’
The request although seemingly simple enough in comparison with the other miracles performed by ‘Issa is of a different nature. The request of the Disciples is a challenge to Allâh. Sufyan ath-Thawri (radiya Allâhu ‘Anhu) states: A day of festivity means a day that we can mark with your worship.
Salman al-Farisi (radiya Allâhu ‘Anhu) said: A day for us to mark by remembering you.
Allâh said, ‘I am going to send it down unto you, but if any of you after that disbelieves, then I will punish him a torment such as I have not inflicted on anyone among (all) the ‘Alamin (all that exist, mankind and Jinn).’
‘Abullah bin ‘Amr bin al ‘Aws (radiya Allâhu ‘Anhu) states: “The three most punished peoples on the Day of Ressurrection shall be: The Hypocrites (at time of Rasool ul Allâh), those who disbelieved after the Table spread was brought down, and Pharaoh and his legions. Ma’idah (5:110-115)
4. The Muslim perspective on the crucifixion Jesus was saved by God for the end of times. Allâh said in the Qur’ân:
“And because of their (the Jews) disbelief and uttering against Marium a grave false charge (that she has committed illegal sexual intercourse);
And because of their (the Jews) saying (in boast), ‘We killed the Messiah ‘Issa, son of Marium, the Messenger of Allâh (they say this in mockery),’ – but they killed him not, nor crucify him, but the resemblance of a ‘Issa was put over another man (and they killed that man). And (surely) those who differ therein are full of doubts (amongst themselves). They have no (certain) knowledge, they follow nothing but conjecture (speculation). For surely they killed him not.
But Allâh raised him (Rafa‘ahu) up (‘Issa’s body and soul together) unto Himself. And Allâh is Ever All-Powerful, All-Wise.” Qur’ân – Surat An-Nisâ’ 4: 157
Some of the Jews and the Romans proclaimed in joy: “We have killed the Messiah!” But they did not kill him or crucify him; but he was saved by God and raised to heaven.
Allâh says in Surati Ali-‘Imrân (3:54-58):
“And they (the disbelievers from the Jews and Romans) plotted (to kill ‘Issa), and Allâh Planned too. And Allâh is the Best of Planners.
And (remember) when Allâh said: ‘O ‘Issa! I will take you (Mutawaafeek) and raise you to Myself and clear you (of the forged statements) of those who disbelieve, and I will make those who follow you (Monotheists) superior to those who disbelieve (in the Oneness of Allâh) till the day of Resurrection. Then you will return to Me and I will Judge between you in the matters in which you used to dispute.’”
We Muslims believe that one day the Antichrist will come, and then Jesus will descend from the heavens and slay him, and will live among the Muslims and rule them. During those times the earth shall be filled with justice and blessing.
Mohammad (sala Allâhu ‘alihi was-Salaam) said:
“The earth would be told to bring forth its fruit and restore its blessing and, as a result thereof, there would grow (such a big) pomegranate that a group of persons would be able to eat that, and seek shelter under its skin.
A cow would give so much milk that a whole party would be able to drink it. And the camel would give such (a large quantity of) milk that the whole tribe would be able to drink out of that.
And the sheep would give so much milks that the whole family would be able to drink out of that.
At that time, Allâh would send a pleasant wind, which would soothe (people), even under their armpits, and would take the life of every Muslim and only the wicked would survive who would commit adultery like asses and the Last Hour would come to them.” Reported by Imam Muslim.”
Muhammed (sala Allâhu ‘Alihi was-Salaam):
“How glorious will be the time when Jesus lives among you, and you will plant a seed on a barren rock and it will sprout; there will be no drought; vegetation will cover the earth, and a man will be able to sit next to a lion and feel no harm.” Authentic – reported by Ad-Dailamee.
Jesus will come again, and will marry and have children, and live for 40 years among us. And soon after he dies, the Day of Judgment will come.
Conclusion This is the empirical belief of the Muslims as regards Jesus.
Allâh (subhanhu wa Ta‘aala) said:
“And they say: ‘The Most Gracious (Allâh) has begotten a son (or offspring or children).’ Indeed you have brought forth (said) a most terrible, evil thing. Whereby the heavens are almost torn, and the earth is split asunder, and the mountains fall in ruins, that they ascribe a son (or offspring) to the Most Gracious!
But it is not befitting (the Majesty) of the Most Gracious (Allâh) that He should beget a son (or offspring).
There is none in the heavens and the earth but comes unto the Most Gracious as a slave.” Marium (19:88-93)
Allâh (Subhanhu wa Ta‘aala) says:
“No son (or offspring or children) did Allâh beget, nor is there any god along with Him. (If there had been other gods or rivals or sons), behold, each god would have taken away what he had created, and some (gods) would have tried to overcome other (gods)! Glorified is Allâh above all that they attribute to Him!” Al-Mu’minoon 23:91
There are more similarities than differences between Muslims and Christians. In Islamic law, we have special rules for “the People of the Scripture”, who are similar to us except for some minor differences in major areas of dogma. We conclude by saying:
“O people of the Book (Jews and Christians): Come to a word that is just between us and you, that we worship none by Allâh (alone), and that we associate no partners with Him, and that none of us shall take others as lords besides Allâh.“ Qur’ân – Surat آl-Imrân 3: 64
 Rabb: Allâh the One and the Only Lord of all that exists. He is the only One deserving of worship. Allâh is the Creator, Sustainer, Maintainer, Planner, Giver of Security, Innovator, etc. Rabb is one of the Names of Allâh.
 (SAAW=(SAllâh Allâhu ‘alihi wa Salaam): The SAllâh (prayers) of Allâh upon His Prophet, Muhammad, is His mentioning of the Prophet’s name and his praise in front of the angels in the Most High place in the Heavens. Refer to Al-Ahzab 56
 Ih’san: The highest level of deeds and worship. Perfection in ones worship of Allâh (SW). When you worship Allâh, consider yourself as if you see Him and if you cannot achieve this feeling or attitude, then you must bear in mind that He sees you.
 Amma Ba‘du: An expression used to separate between introductory remarks and the main body of the discourse. It translates into: ‘Whatever comes after.”