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Emad  
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bullet Topic: FAQ’s for New Muslims
    Posted: 09 June 2005 at 7:12pm

Work in Progress:

1)  Do I have to change my name?

2)  How do I perform wudu (ablution)?

3)  How does a Muslim stay physically pure?

4)  Why Do I Have to Pray in Arabic?

5)  Commonly used Islamic terms

6)  What is Sunnah?

7)  What is Hadith?

8)  How do I treat my non-Muslim parents?

9)  Marriage in Islam



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bullet Posted: 09 June 2005 at 7:14pm

Do I Have To Change My Name?

 

Some new Muslims,  consider the matter of changing their name a mark in their lives between one stage (before Islam) and another (after Islam). This is something that is totally according to the individual.

 

Muslims should have good names and give good names to their children. Islam does not require all converts to change their names. New Muslims should only change their first names, if they contain wrong or bad meanings. As far as their last names are concerned they should not be changed unless their parents are alive and accept the change. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, "You will be called on the Day of Resurrection by your names and the names of your fathers, so have good names."

The Prophet Peace be upon him changed some other names that showed contradiction with Islam or had a dispraised meaning. Here are some examples:


1) A name that has the meaning of one's being a slave to another: 'Abd al-Rasul (the slave of the Messenger) and 'Abd al-Nabi (the slave of the Prophet).


2) A name that has one of the Divine attributes of Allah or His Names: al-Raheem (The Merciful), al-'Aleem (The Knower).


3) A name with a dispraised meaning: Jamra (firebrand), Harb (war) …


4) A name shows coquetry and bad behavior.


5) A name that has self-praise: For example the Prophet Peace be upon him changed the name Barra(righteous) to Zainab

 

The Prophet Peace be upon him said: "The worst names in the sight of Allah: a man whose name is the king of kings".

So the new Muslims should change their first names, if they contain wrong or bad meanings. As far as their last names are concerned they should not be changed, because it is also forbidden in Islam to take the name of someone other than one's own biological father. Allah says in the Quran:

 "Proclaim their real parentage. That will be more equitable in the sight of Allah. And if you do not know their fathers, then they are your brothers in the faith…" (Quran 33:5)

 



 



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bullet Posted: 09 June 2005 at 7:15pm

How Do I perform Wudu (ablution)?

 

“Cleanliness is half of faith,” the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) tells his companions in one of the Hadiths. These well-known and oft-repeated words reveal not only the central importance of purity and cleanliness, but also the essential role water plays in Islamic religion. Purification through ablution is an obligatory component of the Islamic prayer ritual; prayers carried out in an impure state are not valid. This means Muslims are obliged to carry out ritual ablution before salat and reading the Quran. There is no prayer without ablution.

 

1.  Have the intention of purifying your heart and say Bismillah (In the name of Allah).

 

2. Wash your hands, front and back, up to and beyond the wrist three times, right hand first, then left.

 

3. Rinse your mouth three times, scooping the water up with your right hand.

 

4. Wash your nose three times by sniffing water up the nostrils and blowing it out.

 

5. Wash your face three times from the lobe of the left ear to the lobe of the right (width of the face), from the roots of the hair of the head down to the lower part of the beard (length of the face), with due care, without neglecting any part.

 

6. Wash each arm up to and beyond the elbow three times, right arm first and then the left.

 

7. Pass the wet palms of both hands over your head and back. Then rub the inside and outside of the ears with the thumbs and forefingers.

If you are a female and a non-mahram male (or non-Muslim who you believe may describe you to others) may see you (such as in a public bathroom, etc.), do not remove your hijab or niqab... keep it on and wipe over it.

 

8. Wash your feet up to and beyond the ankle three times, right foot first and then the left. Make sure the water gets between the toes by using your fingers.

After completing the aforementioned say: “I bear witness that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah Alone and I bear witness that Muhammad is His messenger.”

Wudu: What invalidates it?

If any of the following happen, you must perform wudu again before doing salah.  It is recommended (but not mandatory) to always be in a state of wudu, so it is not necessary to wait until hearing the adhan (call to Salah) before performing wudu.

 

Relieving oneself from the call of nature

 

Passing gas, i.e. breaking wind

 The Messenger of Allah Peace be upon him said, "Allah does not accept the prayer of a person who has released gas until he makes a new ablution.” This means passing wind with or without sound." 

The Prophet said, "If one of you finds a disturbance in his abdomen and is not certain if he has released any gas or not, he should not leave the mosque unless he hears its sound or smells its scent."

The Prophet Peace be upon him was asked about a person who feels something in his abdomen while praying. The Prophet Peace be upon him said, "He should not leave (the prayer) until he hears or smells it."

    

Sexual Relations

One must perform ghusl (full bath) after sexual relations

 

Touching one's private parts with no barrier (i.e. cloth) between the hand and organ

 

In the event that you forget whether you have done wudu or not, err on the side of not re-performing wudu.... i.e. do not perform wudu again unless you are sure that you broke/invalidated it.

 

Tayyamum (Dry Wudu)

 

Tayammum, is an Islamic ritual to subsidies wudu or ghusl in the absence or impossibility of the usage of water. It is one of the special gifts to this Ummah (nation). The Messenger of Allah (saws) said: The earth has been appointed for us as a means of cleansing when we do not find water.

The method for performing Tayammum is described in the following hadith, in which the Prophet was instructing some of his companions on the correct manner of performing it:

“It would have been sufficient for you to do like this,” The Prophet Peace be upon him then stroked lightly the earth with his hands and then blew off the dust and passes his hands over his face and hands.

When is it permissible?

Tayammum can be performed in both states of impurity, ghusl or Wudu. This means, if one is in a state of major impurity and does not find water, one can perform tayammum. The same also applies for the one who wants to make wudu and does not find water, he can perform tayammum.

Inability, absence or insufficiency of Water:

The absence and insufficiency of water entitles one to perform tayammum. For Allah (swt) said: "...And you find no water, then perform tayammum..." [4:43].

As for the inability to use water due to an illness or an extreme cold weather, one should bear in mind that the fear for one's health must be certain and not imaginative. The scholars consider the illness which entitles one to tayammum as that which might add to one's physical injury. It does not necessarily mean that it has to be a near fatal illness.

As for the insufficiency of water, such as where someone does not have enough water for his daily intake and Salah, one should make tayammum for Salat and use the water for his needs. Imam Ahmed - May Allah have mercy on him, said (in the meaning): "Many of the companions performed tayammum to save their water for drinking."

 



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bullet Posted: 22 June 2005 at 4:32pm

              How Does a Muslim Stay Physicaly Pure?

Physical purity means cleanliness of the body, clothing and environment. According to the rules of Islam, Muslims should keep their bodies and clothing clean from any impurities, especially the body wastes of humans and animals.

It is a must for muslims to wipe off the last drops of urine from their bodies with tissue paper and to not allow specks of dried feces to cling to any parts of their bodies, even on clothing. After wiping with tissue paper, Muslims should find water and wash away thoroughly all the impurities on them. Also applying to this rule are semen discharges and ejaculations. After ejaculation, or sexual discharge a Muslim must wash his/her entire body. Islam insists on the use of clean water to cleanse the body of impurities, and only when water is not available can a person use other things. Even the clothing should be perfectly clean from any impurities. For that reason, Muslim bathrooms have a source of running water or pitchers of water next to the toilet.

Muslims should wash away any and all discharges received from animals during play, etc. This includes the saliva from dogs on the human body, clothing, or on dishes used by humans for food.

Also considered impure is unnecessary hair on the body. Hair of the underarms and pubic area is considered unnecessary and undesirable and should be removed regularly.

 Circumcision for Muslims is strongly recommended because of its health advantages such as cleanliness and reducing the risk of cancers in that area of the body. It is not required or recommended for Muslim women to do the same though.

Muslims must have perfect physical purity to pray the Salah (ritual Prayers), either by performing wudhu or ghusl.

Ghusl (Bathing)

A state of major impurity results from actions like sexual intercourse or sexual discharge for both men and women. A person in such a state much perform ghusl (bathing) before praying Salah or reading the Qur’an. Women also have to perform ghusl after their menstrual periods and postpartum bleeding.

The procedure for ghusl (bathing) is as follows:

1. Make the intention for ghusl.

2. Wash the private parts, using the left hand. Then wash the left hand three times.

3. Perform wudu’ (ablution) as described above, except for the feet.

4. Pour water over your head to thoroughly wet your hair three times.

5. Wash the whole head and body three times, starting with the right side. Use your hands to make sure that water reaches every part of your body.

6. Wash your feet up to and beyond the ankles three times, making sure the water gets between the toes.

A Muslim must bathe the whole body at least once a week. It is highly recommended that this be done each Friday before the congregational Prayer.

Because the Salah (ritual Prayer) requires that one be in a state of purity, a woman is excused from Salah during her menstrual periods and after childbirth until the postpartum bleeding stops or 40 days have passed, whichever comes first. She can and should make other kinds of prayer, such as du‘a’ (supplication), five times a day while she is unable to perform Salah. When her bleeding stops, she must perform ghusl (bathing) before performing Salah.



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bullet Posted: 22 June 2005 at 4:34pm

                                    Why do I have to pray in Arabic?

Being a universal religion, Islam is meant for all people with their different languages. Although Arabic is the language of the Qur'an and Islamic heritage, Islam did not aim at eradicating other languages that are mother tongues of Muslims in some parts of the globe. Islam views the differences of human tongues as one of the Signs of Allah in His creation. This is proven by the fact that Arabic is not the native tongue of the majority of Muslims. However, Muslims are required to perform prayer in Arabic.

"(1) It is well known that during their service of worship [Salaat], Muslims employ only the Arabic language: They recite certain passages of the Qur’an and pronounce certain formulae to attest to the sublimity of God and humility of man. This is done both by the Arabs and the non-Arabs, even by those who do not know a word of Arabic. Such was the case in time of the Prophet Muhammad and such has been the case (since to this day, whatever the country and the tongue of Muslims.

(2) At first sight it may seem normal and even desirable that the faithful should address his prayer to the Lord in a way that he is fully conscious of what he says. Of course, the mother-tongue is the medium best suited for the purpose, the worship being performed in as many languages as are spoken by the Muslim community. But a little deeper consideration shows that there are reasons that militate strongly against such a solution.

(3) It is noteworthy that according to the Islamic belief the Qur'an is the Word of Allah, the recitation of which is considered as something meritorious. This is evident from the spiritual point of view. It stands as the faithful journey's unto the Lord through the sacred word of the Lord Himself. His Word is the path towards Him, something like a wire to conduct the electrical current that illuminates the bulb. The journey unto the Lord is of course the ultimate goal that every soul aspires to reach. The original Word has been revealed in Arabic: any translation would be a human work and human word, and this can scarcely serve the purpose of this mystical journey.

(4) For those who would seek more mundane reasons, let us recall first that a clear distinction is to be made between prayer, in the sense of supplication (Du`aa'), and the prayer in the sense of the service of worship (Salaat), in so far as Du`aa' is concerned -- i.e., the prayer in general and outside the formal way of worshiping Allah, the tête-à-tête with the Lord (munajaat)-- nobody has ever raised the slightest objection to the liberty of the individual to address one's need, one's petitions to the Lord in any language and in any physical posture one prefers. It is purely personal and private affair and concerns the relations of the individual creature directly with the Creator.

The Salaat [prayer], on the contrary, is a collective and public affair, where the needs and requirements of other companions of the congregation are evidently to be taken into consideration. It is pointedly to bring into relief that the Salaat is in principle and preferably to be performed in common along with others (congregation): the Salaat individually and in isolation is only tolerated and never recommended, the preference going to the congregational service. Let us see now more closely the diverse aspects of this collective and public act which is performed in the company of others.

(5) Had Islam been a regional, racial or national religion, one would certainly have employed the current language of the region, of the race, of the nation. But quite different are the requirements of a universal religion, whose members speak hundreds of regional languages -- of which each is incomprehensible to all the rest of the human groups -- belonging to all the races and inhabitants of all the regions of the earth. Our life today is getting more and more cosmopolitan, and practically every town has Muslims belonging to several linguistic groups, both from among the permanent residents and the travelers in transit, and has to take into consideration the aspect of courtesy and hospitality to strangers. Supposing an Englishman goes to China and knows not a word of its language, and supposing he hears in the street something like "chen chu chih shan", evidently he would not understand what is meant by that; and if it is the regional translation of the well-known call to prayer, the Allahu Akbar, he would fail to perceive it and would miss the weekly prayer on Friday, or the congregational prayer of the moment.

Similarly a Chinese Muslim, traveling through other countries, would find nothing in common with his co-religionists if these others said their congregational worship in their local tongues. So a universal religion requires certain basic things to be common to all the faithful. The call to prayer and the formulae to be recited in the act of worship evidently constitute part of such fundamental and basic elements of the practice of the cult. A passing remark may be made about the fact that sometimes words of two different languages sound alike but have different significations, at times the harmless word of one signifying something ridiculous or obscene in another. Such a risk is greater in languages with which one is utterly unfamiliar, and hears them only during a journey for example. This would be contrary to the dignity of the service of worship to Allah. Things familiar from childhood avoid such complications, even if the individual is a non-Arab and recites in Arabic the required formulae.

(6) One cannot neglect the psychological aspect of human beings who have at times petty prejudices of xenophobia. Occasions would arise daily when political (national) or even personal and individual frictions would induce, for instance, an Englishman not to participate in the Salaat led in French or Russian or some other language. Arabic, as the language of the Qur'an and the Hadith, has a respect and a halo in the minds of every Muslim, and one employs it not as the language of the Arabs but as the language of the Prophet Muhammad, the language of the Mothers of the Faithful, the language Allah Himself has chosen for revealing His latest Word for us.

(7) The needs of unity among the co-religionists can never be too much stressed upon. One should create new links to strengthen their ties of fraternity, rather than destroy those that already exist.

(8) There is another aspect of the question which is no less important. In fact no translation ever replaces the original. There are for instance, nowadays numerous translations of the Holy Qur'an in English (as also in practically every language of the world), yet every now and then there are new and unceasing attempts to produce another translation, thinking that the older ones are partly defective. This is true not only of English but of every language of the world, and true also of the translation of any and every work. Should one utilize a defective thing or the perfect one, the translation or the original?

(9) Let us recall in this connection that practically no religion, excepting Islam, possesses today integrally the original of the Revelation on which it is based, the original teaching of its founder: It is the translation, or at best fragments, of which dispose the Christian, Jewish, and other communities. How fortunate the Muslims are that they form an exception, and possess integrally the original text of the Revelation, the Holy Qur'an!

(10) One should not lose sight of the fact that in the entire Salaat there are very few passages to recite. There are first the Adhan and Iqamah (call to prayer). Then inside the service of worship there are the formulae Allahu-Akbar, Subhana rabbiyal-'azim, Subhana rabbyal-a`la, the short chapter al-Fatiha, two other short chapters, the Tashahhud, and that is all. The totality does not exceed a page of small size, and most of the words of these texts are commonly understood by the Muslim masses and have penetrated into all the languages of the Muslim countries, so much so that even a child or a beginner learns their meaning without pain and without strain. And once the significance of these formulae is learnt, the Salaat of a Muslim remains no more a mechanical recitation without understanding.

(11) There is an aspect of Arabic language which merits to be brought into relief here. Apart from its incomparable musical qualities, recognized on all hands, the Arabic language itself, in its literary form, has changed since at least 1500 years neither in grammar, nor vocabulary, nor spelling, nor even pronunciation. Those who understand the language of Arabic newspapers and radio broadcasts today understand as perfectly the language of the Holy Qur’an. For a religion brought by the last of the Messengers of Allah and the Seal of the prophets, and also destined for all times till the end of the world, is it not providential that the language selected for this Message should also be otherwise stable and unchanging? Otherwise Allah in His unlimited mercy would uselessly be obliged to repeat the same Message to a new prophet in a new book comprehensible to the living men.




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bullet Posted: 22 June 2005 at 4:37pm

                                Commonly Used Islamic Terms

 

AL-HAMDU LILLAH: Praise be to Allah.  Should be said on all occasions and especially after sneezing.

ALLAH: The Name of the Creator of the universe.

SHAHADA: The creed of Islam: 'I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah, and

I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.

SALAAT: Prayer

FAJR: Early morning prayer

FITNA:  Trial, tribulation

ZUHR: Noon Prayer (early afternoon prayer)

ASR: Late afternoon prayer

MAGHRIB: Sunset Prayer

ISHA: Night Prayer

SAUM: Fasting

ZAKAT: Obligatory Charity

HAJJ: Pilgrimage to the Holy city of Makkah.

SURA: Chapter of the Quran. Quran has 114 Suras or chapters.

AYAH: Verse of the Holy Quran (also means a 'sign' of Allah)

BISMILLAH: 'In the Name of Allah", this statement is usually made by Muslims who are about to indulge in a lawful task.

DEEN: Usually translated as 'religion'. Deen is a comprehensive word which means a total way of life, following the commandments of Allah. 

DUA: Supplication: invoking Allah for whatever one desires.

GHUSL: Full ritual washing of the body with water.  Ghusl should be done after sexual intercourse, wet dreams, emission, menses, childbirth.  

HADEETHSayings and traditions of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)

HIJAB: Veil worn by Muslim women for reasons of modesty and protection.

IMAN: Truth, faith and acceptance.

ISA: Arabic word for Jesus Christ.

ISLAM: literally means 'submission to the will of Allah'.

JIHAD: means struggling one's utmost to be a better person in the sight of Allah, and to establish Islamic way of life.

JINN: a race of created beings that are made out of smokeless fire.

KAABA: Holiest, and first shrine constructed for the worship of One God, Allah.  Muslims face towards the direction of the Kaaba, Makkah.

KAFIR: Unbeliever, who have rejected the truth of Islam.

KHUTBA: Sermon.

QIBLA: Direction in which all Muslims face when praying, which is the Kaaba, in Makkah, Saudi Arabia.  The direction is north-east in the united states.

SAHABI: Companion of Prophet Muhammad - peace be upon him.

SALLALLAHU ALAIHE WA SALLAM: means 'may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.  This phrase is recited whenever the name of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing of Allah be upon him) is mentioned.

SHAITAN: Satan.

SHARIA: Islamic Law . It encompasses both the Quran and Hadith, the sayings of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)

SHIRK: Associating partners with Allah.  The grave sin of Shirk is not forgiven if a person dies in that state.

SUBHAN ALLAH: means 'Glory be to Allah'.

TAWHEED: The Divine Unity, in its most profound sense.  Allah is One in His Essence and His Attributes and His Acts.

WUDU: Purifying with water before performing prayers

For a more detailed list of words click this link: http://whyislam.org/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=1925&PN=1
 



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bullet Posted: 22 June 2005 at 4:41pm

                                                      What is Sunnah?

Lexically sunnah means: a way, course, rule, mode, manner, or manner of acting, or conduct of life. In the Quran the word sunnah and its plural sunnan have been used 16 times.  In every case it is used in the sense of an established course of rule, mode of life, and line of conduct. 

When Allah ordered us to obey the Prophet peace be upon him and take his life as a model, the term sunnah came into use.  The usage of the term began during the time of the Prophet peace be upon him and it was used by him.  The sunnah of the Prophet peace be upon him means his way and mode of life.  Hadith means the narration(s) about the life of the Prophet peace be upon him.  The terms sunnah and hadith are usually used almost interchangeably though there is a slight difference between them.

"And whatever the Messenger gives you, take it, and whatever he forbids you, leave it. And fear Allah: truly Allah is severe in punishment” (59:7)

In Islam, the Arabic word sunnah has come to denote the way Prophet Muhammad peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), the Messenger of Allah, lived his life. The Sunnah is the second source of Islamic jurisprudence, the first being the Quran. Both sources are indispensable; one cannot practice Islam without consulting both of them.

 The Arabic word hadith (pl. ahadith) is very similar to Sunnah, but not identical. In the Quran the word sunnah and its plural sunnan have been used 16 times.   A hadith is a narration about the life of the Prophet (SAW) or what he approved - as opposed to his life itself, which is the Sunnah as already mentioned.

The Prophet Peace be upon him used to teach the Sunnah to his companions in word and deed, and urged them to follow it, as he said in his hadith: Adhere to my Sunnah” and Whoever neglects my Sunnah does not belong to me. The companions of the Prophet peace be upon him (may Allah be pleased with them) used to spread the Sunnah of the Prophet Peace be upon him, among people and they called them to follow it.

The Messenger of Allah Peace be upon him said: There is no Prophet whom Allah sent to any nation before me, but he had disciples from among his nation, and companions who followed his Sunnah and obeyed his commands.”

Some aspects of the Sunnah are waajib (obligatory) and some are mustahabb (encouraged). The Muslim should follow the Sunnah of the Prophet Peace be upon him, whether it is waajib (obligatory) or mustahabb (encouraged), as long as it is proven in sound reports. The Prophet Peace be upon him, himself is the  model of behavior for the Muslim Society:  Allah says Quran 33:21 “Indeed a noble model you have in Allah’s Messenger...”

If we consider the Prophet Peace be upon him as the model for the community, than Muslims have to follow his sunnah (example) in every way.  Allah ordered complete obedience to the Prophet Peace be upon him.  For this reason the Muslim community accepted the authority of the Prophet Peace be upon him. 



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bullet Posted: 22 June 2005 at 4:43pm

WHAT IS HADITH?

 

A hadith (Arabic pl. ahadith) literally means “a saying,” but in the Islamic technical sense, a hadith refers to any of the following:

1. The sayings of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), for example:

“Islam has been built on five (pillars): testifying that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, performing the Prayers, paying the zakah, making the pilgrimage to the House, and fasting in Ramadan.”

2. The Prophet’s acts, for example:

Abdur-Rahman asked `A’ishah, “How was the prayer of Allah’s Messenger in the month of Ramadan?” She replied, “He used not to pray more than eleven rak`ahs whether in Ramadan or in any other month. He used to offer four rak`ahs, let alone their beauty and length, and then four rak`ahs, let alone their beauty and length. Afterwards he would offer three rak`ahs.

3. The Prophet’s tacit approval of an action or practice, for example:

The Prophet’s approval of Khalid’s eating of the meat of dabb (a desert lizard).

4. The Prophet’s attributes, whether physical or moral, for example:

“The Prophet was of moderate height, having broad shoulders and (long) hair reaching his ear-lobes. Once I saw him in a red cloak and I had never seen a more handsome man than him.”

“The Prophet was the most generous of all the people, and he used to become more generous in Ramadan when Gabriel met him. Gabriel used to meet him every night during Ramadan to revise the Qur’an with him. Allah’s Messenger then used to be more generous than the fast wind.”

The Hadith (capitalized) is sometimes used as a collective noun to refer to the entire collection of the hadiths.


Difference between Quran and Hadith

The Qur’an is the speech of Allah, sent down to the last prophet, Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), through the Angel Jibreel (Gabriel), in its precise wording, transmitted to us by numerous persons, both verbally and in writing.

Hadith, on the other hand, refers to the Prophet’s sayings, acts, tacit approval, and his physical and moral characters.

From the above we can infer that while the Qur’an is the very word of Allah, Hadith consists of the words, actions, and approval of a human being. Since Hadith does not convey the exact words of Allah, there is no problem, under certain conditions, to narrate the meaning of a hadith. This is not the case with the Qur’an, which should be recited in its exact words.

Further, only the Qur’an can be recited while performing Prayer (salah), NOT THE Hadith.

Significance of Hadith in Islam

Hadith is integral to the Qur’an, since they are inseparably linked to each other. It is impossible to understand the Qur’an without reference to Hadith. The Qur’an is the message, and the Hadith is the explanation of the message by the Messenger himself. I mention the following points to clarify the issue:

1. The Qur’an makes it abundantly clear that the function of the Messenger is not merely that of a deliveryman who simply delivers the revelation from Allah to us. Rather, he has been entrusted with the most important task of explaining and illustrating the same. This is a point mentioned in a number of verses in the Qur’an:

The Prophet peace be upon him is to show and explain what was revelaed. (An-Nahl 16:44)

Therefore, Hadith explains, clarifies, and removes ambiguities about the Qur’an. Hence, once we reject the Hadith, we may never be able to figure out the whole meaning of the Qur’an.

2. Much of Islam will remain mere abstract concepts without Hadith. We would never know how to pray, fast, pay zakah, or make pilgrimage without the illustration found in Hadith, for these acts of worship remain as abstract imperatives in the Qur’an.

3. The Qur’an tells us the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) has taught not only the Book but also the wisdom (See Qur’an: 96:2; 33:34; 4:113, etc.)  The word wisdom mentioned here is the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him); so if we were to reject the Hadith, we would be rejecting the Qur’an itself.



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bullet Posted: 16 August 2005 at 8:35pm

How do I treat my non-Muslim parents?

First of all, it is to be stated that Islam does not aim at severing the ties of kinship between its adherents and their non-Muslim relatives. Rather it tries to make it stronger and if they are not Muslim; even more so to try to guide them to the light of Islam. Therefore, Islam requires its followers to show all types of good treatment, respect, and honor to the parents. However, this does not mean blind obedience even in acts that involve disobedience to Allah. A Muslim gives top priority to obeying Almighty Allah, his Creator who granted him life, health, all faculties and even created his parents. At the same time a Muslim is under obligation to treat his parents softly and nicely, unaffected by their stand against his faith, and to follow the path of those righteous Believers who turn to Allah and to leave the judgment between himself and his parents to the Most Just of Judges, on a Day when the parents will not be able to benefit the child nor the child the parent. Indeed, such tolerant and beneficent teachings are not to be found in any other religion.

 Allah Al-Mighty says: Thy Lord has decreed, that you worship none save Him, and (that you show) kindness to parents. If one of them or both of them attain old age with thee, say not ‘Fie’ unto them nor repulse them, but speak unto them a gracious word. And, out of kindness, lower to them the wing of humility, and say: "My Lord! bestow on them thy Mercy even as they cherished me in childhood. (Al-Isra’: 23-24)

Asmaa’, the daughter of Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with them all, had a non-Muslim mother who lived in Makkah, whereas Asmaa’ had migrated with her father and the rest of the Muslims to Madinah. After the Treaty of Hudaybiya, peace was established and they could visit each other. So her mother came to Madinah to visit Asmaa’. She wanted some gifts and donations from Asmaa’. Asmaa’ was not sure what to do because she knew that her mother hated Islam and was a polytheist. So she came to the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, informed him of the situation, and asked him if she still owe her mother any dutifulness. The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, answered her making it clear that her mother’s being non-Muslim did not deprive her of the right to dutifulness she had on her daughter. The Prophet said: "Yes, do an act of kindness to her.”  

But remember, favoring parents and being dutiful to them is not allowed if such favoring and that obedience involve disobedience to Allah.

Allah Almighty says: But if they strive with thee to make thee ascribe unto Me as partner that of which thou hast no knowledge, then obey them not. Consort with them in the world kindly, and follow the path of him who repents unto Me. Then unto Me will be your return, and I shall tell you what you used to do.” (Luqman: 15)

“One has to obey one's parents if what they say is not against the teachings of Allah and His Messenger. He/she should treat them well and be nice and respectful to them. If there is any conflict between their demands and Allah’s Orders and His Messenger, then the priority goes to Allah and the Messenger.”

1-You should address your non-Muslim parents and family in the best of terms and treat them in the best manner.

2-Do not think at all that there is any burden or sin on you if your parents get angry with you for being a Muslim. Remember that when a person pleases Allah even though it makes people angry, Allah will be pleased with him and will make the people pleased with him.

3-Continue praying for your parents and family that Allah guides them to the truth, and call them to Islam with wisdom and fair exhortation. Maybe Allah will guide them through you.

In conclusion, Islam teaches that a good Muslim respects his/her parents even if they are non-Muslims. However, Islam demands us to give priority to our commitment to our religion and its teachings. If one's parents attempts to mislead him or demand him to do something against Islam he should not obey them and must refrain from doing this. Nevertheless, still one is required to treat his parents kindly, nicely and respectfully. Also, if they come to say bad things about Islam, you should not join their discussions and sarcastic talks. But you should keep on praying Allah to show them the straight path and show them the true image of Islam through your practical model.

 

Verily, either we or you are rightly guided or in plain error. (Quran Saba:24)

Emad@whyislam.org
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bullet Posted: 20 October 2005 at 6:51pm

Marriage in Islam

Allah has created men and women as company for one another, and so that they can procreate and live in peace and tranquility according to the commandments of Allah and the directions of His Messenger. The Quran says:

And among His signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that you may dwell in peace and tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts): Verily in that are signs for those who reflect" (Quran 30:21).

"O Humans revere your Guardian Lord, Who created you from a single person created of like nature its mate, and from this scattered (like seeds) countless men and women. Reverence Allah through Whom you claim your mutual rights" (Quran 4:1).

The above verses of the Quran lay out the framework as to what are the basis, the objectives, and the goal of marriage in Islam.

How do I find a mate?

First of all, you should always make dua’a to Allah that He gives you a good spouse. Constantly ask help and guidance from Allah in finding and choosing a mate.

"And when My servants ask thee concerning Me, I am indeed close (to them): I respond to the dua’a (prayer) of every suppliant when they calleth on Me –(Quran 2:186)"

Our marriage partners are determined by Allah before we were born. Allah is well aware of who is most suitable for you. Perhaps your partner has been intended to join you a little later than you anticipate. Perhaps there was khayr (goodness) in you not getting married all these years. Take comfort from the fact that Allah wants the best for His servants. Continue making dua'a. It might not happen over night…but Allah is the best of planners, and Allah loves those who are patient…

Things to think about when looking…

The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, taught us in many Hadiths about the various characteristics which one looks for in a spouse, their relative importance, and which ones determine success and bring Allah's blessing on a marriage, insha’Allah. Among these Hadiths are:

Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, quotes the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, as saying, "A woman is married for four things, i.e. her wealth, her family status, her beauty, and her religion. So you should marry the religious woman; (otherwise) you will be a loser."

The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, "If someone with whose piety and character you are satisfied comes to you, then marry him. If you do not do so, there will be disorder in the earth and a great deal of evil."

In a beautiful tradition the Prophet (peace be upon him) has given an important point that should weigh with every Muslim in selecting his bride:

"Whoever marries a woman solely for her power and position, Allah will only increase him in humiliation. Whoever marries a woman solely for her wealth, Allah will only increase him in poverty. Whoever marries a woman because of her beauty, Allah will only increase him in ugliness. But whoever marries a woman in order that he may restrain his eyes, observe cautiousness, and treat his relations kindly, Allah puts a blessing in her for him and in him for her."

The choice of a partner should be the one with the most "taqwa" (piety). Character is of extreme importance in Islam and goes hand in hand with faith and piety.

There are many Hadiths which urge the prospective spouse to get a look at the other before going through with the marriage. Once a Companion told the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, that he was going to get married. The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, asked if he had seen her. When the man answered he had not, he, peace and blessings be upon him, said, "Go and look at her for it is more likely to engender love between the two of you."

Beauty has its role, but remember that it is way down on the priority list under piety, character and religion. When a person puts beauty above all else, the consequences can be disastrous. The couple is permitted to look at each other with a critical eye and not a lustful one. This ruling does not contradict the ayah which says that believing men and women should lower their gaze. The couple, however are NOT permitted to be alone in a closed room or go out together alone. The Prophet (peace be upon him) reportedly said, "Whenever a man is alone with a woman, Satan (Shaytan) is the third among them" Also, there is no concept of courtship in Islam as it is practiced in the west.

Things to ask yourself:

·       Is he/she a practicing Muslim?

·       Is his/her family observant of Islamic obligations?

·       Are they kind and do they show love to you?

·       Is he/she the type to help you become a better Muslim and strengthen your relationship with Allah?

·       How has he/she prioritized Islam in his life?

·       Is he financially capable of supporting a home?

·       What is his/her relationship with his family?

·       Do you find him/her attractive?

·       A good idea would be to write down a short list of characteristics that you want in a person which you are not willing to compromise with.

·       Did you pray Istikharah (supplication for guidance in making a decision)?

Other things to think about:

To maximize the chances of success and stability in this very important Islamic institution of marriage, other things to think about include the following.

·       Educational background

·       Family background

·       Cultural background

·       Financial independence

The primary question when choosing a partner is a religious one—As far as language, background, or social position are concerned, these are not significant factors that must be fulfilled before a marriage can take place. If the prospective partner is of good character, with a strong religious inclination, and the two people are happy and feel compatible with one another, other considerations are not of such importance.

How to get things going….

If you have someone in mind you can ask the Imam of your local masjid about the person to find out whether he/she is a good Muslim and whether they are ready to get married.

If not, then you can ask the Imam and/or your parents to find a suitable spouse for you (you can give them an idea of what you are looking for).

Interview the people around the person…their friends, family, parents, etc. Try to ask about them from various people, not just their friends and family.

DO NOT GO UP AND TALK TO THEM ABOUT IT YOURSELF…ONE THING LEADS TO THE NEXT.

Things That Might Happen…?

Usually the father or mother approaches the other family to suggest a meeting.

If the person lives far away they might ask to see your picture …this is something normal.  Send your picture if you are comfortable doing so. You may meet the person in private, but with a chaperone. (This should occur if you are serious about marriage).

Agree to meet in a chaperoned, group environment.  When you sit to talk with the person you are interested in, ASK QUESTIONS!

Ask about:

                                                                                                            

·      General questions

§         Why are you interested in marrying at this time?

§         How would you describe yourself?

§         What do you consider your greatest achievement to date?

§         Describe three experiences you’ve had that you’ve benefited or learned from.

§         What has been the hardest obstacle you’ve faced so far in life? How has it affected you?

§         If there was one thing you would like to change about yourself, what would it be?

§         What are your goals for this life? What would you like to accomplish before you die?

§         What are you looking for in a spouse?

·      Deen (Islamic lifestyle)

§         What do you do to feel close to Allah (swt)?

§         How to you hope to get closer to Allah (swt) through marriage?

§         What do you want to improve about yourself Islamically?

§         How many times per day do you pray? What about while at work?

§         How much Quran have you memorized?

§         Do you fast during Ramadan?

§         How do you determine how to distribute Zakat? How do you give in Sadaqa?

§         Have you been on Hajj or Umrah? When would you like to go?

§         To what extent are you involved in the Islamic community?

§         Are you affiliated with a particular masjid or Islamic group?

§         How important do you think it is to only eat Halal meat?

§         How important do you think it is for women to wear hijab?

·      Extended family

§         What do you think parents/extended family’s role should be in making important decisions: wedding planning, child rearing, vacations, where you will live?

§         What do you do if there is a conflict between your spouse and your family?

·      Profession

§         What career path do you plan on taking?

§         Will both husband and wife work outside the home?

§         Under what conditions would you be willing to move to further your or your spouse’s professional growth?

§         How much time do you spend at work?

§         How do you plan to balance time at work and time with the family?

§         Would you encourage/support the idea of me going back to school for advanced degrees?

·      Interests/activities

§         How do you like to spend your free time?

§         How much time do you spend watching TV?

§         What interests would you like to share with your spouse?

·      Social life

§         How much time do you want to spend with friends? By yourself? As a couple?

§         How would you feel about your spouse having friends of the opposite gender?

·      Where are you interested in living

·      Children

§         What do you think is important to teach children?

§         What is your view on raising children?

§         How many children do you want to have?

·      Money

·      House

§         How do you feel about cleanliness, neatness and housework?

§         Have you ever lived alone? Have you ever had a roommate? Have you always lived with your parents?

§         What are your preferences in terms of food?

§         How do you feel about smoking?

·      Differences that could arise

§         What are your pet peeves?

§         How should disagreements be resolved?

§         How do you act when you get upset?

·      Culture

§         What role does culture play in your life?

 

What’s next…?

In order for a female to get married in Islam she must have a Wali.

What’s a Wali?  A Wali is a male guardian that a female must have in order to get married. The Prophet said “Any woman who gets married without a wali, her marriage is invalid, invalid, invalid.”

The Wali must be the closest (in blood relationship) male relative that is Muslim.

If she doesn’t have a close male Muslim relative, the Muslim leader is the Wali for any woman who does not have a Wali of her own.

The couple can pray Salat-al-Iistikhara (prayer for guidance) to seek Allah's help in making a decision. The two can agree to pursue marriage or part ways.

Allah Almighty Knows Best



Edited by Emad
Verily, either we or you are rightly guided or in plain error. (Quran Saba:24)

Emad@whyislam.org
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