Thursday, 31 December 2015

The Perfect Creation In The Voice Box (Larynx)

A short refutation of the false theory of evolution of man from ape.
Just as in the entire universe, miraculous systems that are created by our Lord also exist within the human body.Just as in the entire universe, miraculous systems that are created by our Lord also exist within the human body. One of these systems, the voice box or larynx is one of these superior miracles of creation. The voice box is the name given to the part of the windpipe, or trachea, that opens to the mouth, or oral cavity. Right at the entrance of the larynx are located the vocal cords. Thanks to the muscles that govern them, these cords can assume different shapes and as a result, we can make various sounds, including speech.
One reason why other living beings can not make sounds like human beings is that their voice boxes are located at a higher part of the mouth cavity than in human beings. The human larynx is lower in the windpipe than in any other animal, including monkeys. Thanks to this position, the breath coming out of the lungs is transformed by the voice box into a wide variety of different sounds.
Evolutionists fail to answer many questions. But when they try to explain them by offering the thesis of selection of advantageous traits through natural selection,it is at this point, they face another deadlock for the lower position of the voice box is by no means a physical advantage. Due to this position, the food we eat may easily get into the windpipe and choke us, or the liquids we drink may accidentally get into the lungs.
In order to prevent this, while we are eating or drinking anything, a little tongue has been created that closes the voice box. When we try to eat or drink something and speak at the same time, these two actions interfere with each other and as each of you have certainly experienced during your life we develop an immediate cough. But animals have a different system. The windpipes of animals including monkeys for instance are higher up in their throat. For this reason, whatever food they swallow never gets into their windpipe and consequently, they do not run the risk of choking.

Despite our dangers and difficulties in taking nutrition, our unique voice box structure allows for speech. The constant risk of getting food into the windpipe, on the other hand, is eliminated by reflexes gained during infancy and by an organ called the uvula, which is a little flap of tissue. Briefly the lower position for the voice box's structure is unique to human beings.

Evolutionists of course assert that natural selection has chosen the more advantageous structure over time, but the more advantageous larynx would only result in incoherence. But the true situation is exactly the opposite, and entirely at variance with the evolutionary rationale. This odd fact is something that Charles Darwin tried to explain away

" is an odd fact that every food and liquid we swallow has to pass over the opening to the windpipe with the risk of slipping into our lungs." (Darwin C.1859 On the Origin of Species, Facsimile edition. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, p. 191.)

When we examine the features of the voice box, we discover a miracle of creation with details that have been meticulously calculated. The voice boxes of babies are positioned higher up in the throat than in adults. This way, the infants can breathe while suckling, without running the risk of getting their mothers milk down into the windpipes and lungs. Yet before the infant gains the ability to speak, this voice box which has up until now  been a hindrance for speech lowers itself in the throat. In other words, it develops in the right way just at the right time.

This example once again reveals that human beings enjoy a perfect creation. Allah, the Lord of all the universes, the One Who creates man, grants him a body proper for its needs, protects babies against choking, and lets them speak by placing their voice box at the right position with an ideal timing.

In one verse, Allah proclaims: "He created Man and taught him clear expression." (The Quran 55:3)

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Satan: Mankind's Worst Enemy

Unlike the descriptions of the devil in Christian doctrine, Shaytan (Satan:The Devil) is not a fallen angel; rather he is a Jinn (A creation of Allah that was created before humankind from smokeless flame. They are referred to at times as spirit beings, banshees, poltergeists, phantoms and so forth) who can think, reason and has free will.
Allah allowed him to reside amongst the Angels, but because of his pride and arrogance he despairs of ever knowing Allah's mercy and has vowed not to inhabit the depths of Hell alone. Satan's wish is to take as many human beings with him to the Hellfire as he can. Make no mistake about it; Satan is mankind's mortal enemy. He is cunning, crafty and supremely arrogant.
The Qur'an warns us of his enmity over and over "O children of Adam. Let not Shaytan deceive you..." (Quran 7:27)
"Surely Shaytan is an enemy to you so take him as an enemy..." (Quran 35:6)
"...And whoever takes Shaytan as a protector or helper instead of Allah, has surely suffered a manifest loss." (Quran 4:119)
It is important to understand that even Satan himself recognises the Oneness of Allah and His right to be worshipped. Allah has informed us that the promises of Satan are nothing but deceptions and lies, and Satan concurs, for he can offer nothing.
"And Shaytan will say when the matter has been decided: "Verily, Allah promised you a promise of truth. And I too promised you, but I betrayed you. I had no authority over you except that I called you, and you responded to me. So do not blame me, but blame yourselves..." (Quran 14:22)
Every act of disobedience that is hated by Allah is loved by Shaytan, he loves immorality and sin. He whispers into the ears of the believers, he disrupts prayer and the remembrance of Allah. One of Islam's greatest scholars, Ibn ul Qayyim, may God have mercy on him, said: "One of his (Satan's) plots is that he always bewitches people's minds until they are deceived, he makes attractive to the mind that which will harm it".
Satan has wide-ranging experience in the field of deception; he has tricks and temptations and he whispers relentlessly. Satan is able to pinch and poke, implanting thoughts and desires. However Allah has not left humankind defenseless. He has provided us with weapons and one of the greatest is information. Satan is our mortal enemy and in order to combat his tricks and illusions we need to know him well. The long term goal of Satan is to deprive as many people as possible of Paradise and to lead them to Hell. To achieve this aim he has set many short term goals. Being aware of these goals means we are able to arm ourselves with weapons of defence.
Short Term Goals:
1.To cause people to commit the great sin of shirk. Everyone who worships something other than Allah, be it an idol, a statue, the sun, the moon, a person or a principle, is in essence worshipping Satan.[Sh.Omar al Ashqar in The world of the Jinn and Devils.]
2.To encourage people to commit sins and acts of disobedience. When Satan despairs of ever being worshipped he is content with being obeyed in matters that seem insignificant.[At-Tirmidhi, Saheeh Muslim] He loves immorality and sin because it has a direct effect on a person's religious commitment.
3.To prevent people from doing good deeds. Satan not only causes people to commit sin and acts of disobedience, he is also content with preventing them from doing acts of good. Satan is patient; he lays in wait, filling our minds with doubts, and superstitions. When a person is planning on doing a good deed or action, he whispers to them to avoid it and plants small nagging doubts in their mind.
4.To damage acts of worship. If Satan is not able to prevent people from obeying Allah and performing righteous actions, he strives to corrupt their acts of worship. When a person is praying he whispers and distracts him. Satan's desire is to prevent a person from taking their reward for praying with kushoo and eventually to lead him or her away from Allah altogether.
5.To cause mental and physical harm. In addition to causing believers to commit acts of shirk, Satan also aims to cause physical and mental harm. For instance he sends bad dreams to cause a person distress and fear. He disturbs people from the time they are born right up until the moment of death. In their final moments, he continues his whispering and harassment to prevent a person from calling on Allah and confirming their belief in God alone.
The means used by Shaytan to misguide people
Making lies and deceptions appear attractive. Shaytan makes falsehood appear in the guise of truth and truth appear in the guise of falsehood. He does this by planting doubts in people's mind in exactly the same way as he tempted our Father and Mother Adam and Eve. Whispers, doubts and delusions are all part of his bag of tricks. Nowadays we see unlawful activities being practiced by many; they are made to appear attractive and are given names that draw a person towards it. God has given us a great line of defense; once we equip ourselves with the knowledge of the laws of Islam, this will unveil the plots of Satan and make it clear to us his intent.
Tempting people to extremism or negligence. If Satan finds a person is serious and cautious, always trying to do the right thing, he tempts him to strive to excess. He whispers, do not sleep when others sleep, do not break your fast when others do and so on. If Shaytan sees that a person is lazy or prone to look for the easy way he will tempt him to be indifferent or negligent. He encourages procrastination and laziness. To protect oneself from this, one should stay close to the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad, may Allah praise him.
Making false promises. Quran stresses this evil ploy several times with great emphasis. "Shaytan makes promises to them, and arouses in them false desires; and Shaytan's promises are nothing but deceptions."(Quran 4:120) Satan fills people's heads with vain desires and wishes and keeps them busy working on false dreams and rewards. This distracts them from the more important things and working for the Hereafter. He calls humankind to sin and transgression yet he claims to be giving sincere advice.
Gradually misleading people. Satan makes minor sins appear to be nothing until they are piled high upon one another. Whenever Satan tricks a person into committing a sin, he leads him straight on to another sin, and then another and each time the sins become greater until finally he causes a person to commit the greatest sin of all, disbelieving in Allah, or ascribing partners to Him.
Causing people to forget what is in their best interest. Human beings are forgetful. It is a trait that in all of us and Our creator knows this very well. "And indeed We made a covenant with Adam before, but he forgot, and We found on his part no firm will-power." (Quran 20:115) Satan takes this a step further by whispering until a person forgets exactly what is good for him and what things will lead to sin. One example where this could happen is where the religion of Allah is being mocked in a light-hearted way. Allah cautions us not to take part in such conversations. He says:
"And when you see those who engage in a false conversation about Our Verses (of the Quran) by mocking at them, stay away from them till they turn to another topic. And if Satan causes you to forget, then after the remembrance sit not you in the company of the wrongdoing people." (Quran 6:68)
Making people afraid of his allies. Another way Satan misguides people is to make them afraid of his (Satan's) troops and allies. He has surrounded himself with evil minions, jinn and human beings. He instills the thoughts that they are powerful and fearsome, and if not obeyed they can harm us.
"It is only Shaytan that suggests to you the fear of his supporters and friends; so fear them not, but fear Me, if you are (true) believers." (Quran3:175)
Satan misguides a person through what he loves and desires. Satan finds out what we love or desire and uses it against us. He also passes this information on to his helpers and they attack us with the very things we are attached to. How often are our prayers disturbed by thoughts of our children or spouse? Are we guilty of shopping and delaying our prayer? Satan senses what we like and then sets about to twist our thoughts.
By instilling doubts. Satan does not want anyone to turn to Allah in repentance, regretting (past mistakes) and turning towards what is right and good.Instead he wants to divert people away from Allah by using many kinds of temptations and baseless arguments. He instills doubts to make a person feel anxious and uncertain.
Through alcohol, gambling, idolatry, witchcraft and fortunetelling. Although Allah warns us against these practices, human beings are weak and Satan takes advantage of this by making these practices look attractive or worthwhile. He encourages people to engage in these practices because they can easily lead to evil consequences and bad results. People may engage in this sort of behavior thinking it will be fun or interesting and they soon find that the consequences are neither of those things. Gambling is a serious addiction that destroys wealth and lives; alcohol makes people behave like fools and encourages one to engage in risky behaviour; idolatry is fraught with evil consequences, the worst being the sin of worshipping something other than Allah; believing in witchcraft and fortunetelling is a sign of irrational thinking and an irrational person has no control over himself. He could easily be led into evil situations that pull him further and further away from Allah.
"Oh you who believe! Intoxicants (all kinds of alcoholic drinks), and gambling, [sacrificing on] stone alters [to other than Allah], and Al-Azlam are an abomination of Shaytan's handiwork. So avoid (strictly all) that (abomination) in order that you may be successful." (Quran 5:90)
Encouraging negligence.If the believer adheres firmly to the straight path and calls on Allah to protect himself, Shaytan is prevented from leading him astray or misguiding him.However, if he is negligent or lazy Shaytan takes full advantage to attack while the believer's defenses are down.Immersing oneself in all the aspects of Islam is the way to be safe from Shaytan. Being negligent about our Islamic obligations keeps one away from the constant flow of Allah's mercy. When a person grows strong in Islam and his faith is firmly entrenched in his heart, Shaytan is the one who is afraid.
Arabic Terms:
Shaytan- sometimes spelled shaitan or shaytaan.It is the word used in Islam and the Arabic language to denote the devil or Satan, the personification of evil.
Al-Azlam - is the practice of casting featherless arrows to predict situations. It was prevalent in pre Islamic Arabia (includes such things as drawing lots, and trying to predict the future
Jinn - A creation of Allah that was created before humankind from smokeless flame. They are referred to at times as spirit beings, banshees, poltergeists, phantoms and so forth.
Shirk - a word that implies ascribing partners to Allah, or ascribing divine attributes to other than Allah, or believing that the source of power, harm and blessings comes from another besides Allah.
Kushoo - the act of being completely solemn, submissive and humble towards Allah during the prayer.

Experience The Beauty of Salah (Prayer)

Do you sometimes feel that your Salah [prayer] is not quite having the effect it is supposed to on you and your life? Have you ever considered that perhaps it is because we are not giving it its due importance? It seems we have lost [or were never taught] that ability to 'connect' in Salah that makes all the difference in its effect on us.
Consider the following examples of those who came before us:
The Muslims once headed out with the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) on way to battle. During the trip the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) ordered two companions, one of the Ansar [helpers] and one of the Muhajireen [emigrants], to stand guard over them. As they did the Muhajir decided to rest while the Ansari chose to stand in prayer. Along came a disbeliever and cast an arrow striking the Ansari in the chest. The Ansari pulled out the arrow and continued in prayer. The disbeliever struck him with a second arrow.Again the Ansari removed it and continued his prayer. A third arrow was cast but now the Ansari could no longer stand and finally fell bleeding into his Ruku [bowing position] and Sujood [prostration]. The aggressor fled as the Muhajir rushed to his brother's aid, "Subhanallah! Why didn't you alert me from the first arrow?" The Ansari replied, "I was in the middle of a [beautiful] Surah and didn't wish to interrupt my recitation of it."
Imam Bukhari was once stung by a wasp 17 times while standing in prayer. When he finished, he felt some discomfort and asked if anyone was aware of what caused it.
Ibn Zubair (May God be pleased with him) stood firm and unflinching in his prayer while catapults fired upon the ground he stood on.
It was said that when Ali (May God be pleased with him) washed in preparation for prayer, he always went pale and trembled with anxiety as he thought of himself about to stand before his Lord.
Another companion needed an amputation. He requested that it be performed while he was engaged in Salah.
An entire wall collapsed in the mosque that one companion was praying in, but he was too engrossed to realize what happened till his prayer was completed.
How did they attain that level of pleasure and inner peace that Salah is meant to inspire? Is it possible for us to reach that level too? How can we make our Salah effective?
To read more and learn how we too can try to achieve this download 'Love of Allah Experience The Beauty of Salah' (you can also order a free copy of this book from The Quran Project).

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Was Jesus Sent to be Crucified ?

One of the fundamental beliefs of Christianity is that Jesus had died and allowed for the shedding of his blood for the sake of granting forgiveness to people. In other words Jesus had died on the cross as a sacrifice for our sins. Let us investigate this topic from the Bible, and find out whether Jesus was sent to be crucified or that he was crucified:

1. Willingness of Jesus Christ to Die for Our Sins:

Peter and the two sons of Zebedee were with Jesus Christ before the elders of the people and the chief priests came to take him to crucify him. Jesus at this point talked to Peter and the two sons of Zebedee as in Matthew 26:38 " Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me". Then Jesus went a little further way from them and prayed to God as in Matthew 26:39 " And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt".
It is very clear from the above verse in Matthew 26:39 that Jesus had no intention of dying. In this verse it is shown that Jesus was praying strongly (Matthew mentions that Jesus repeated these prayer three time) to have this death removed from him.
Had Jesus Christ been sent to be crucified he would not have hesitated to be killed at all. When I relate this to my Christian brothers, they tell me that this hesitation comes from the flesh side of him (in other words he was tempted), and that his soul which is godly does not have this hesitation at all. When we look at Matthew 26:38 we see that Jesus is contradicting this idea by saying, "My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death" (Matthew 26:38). He himself says that it really his soul that is hesitating and not his body. These are Jesus' own words.

2. God Answered the prayers of Jesus Christ:
After Jesus made the above mentioned prayer he was answered by God according to Hebrews 5:7 " Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared". These words clearly show that when Jesus was praying strongly to God, God would grant him his request.

The word " heard in that he feared" (Hebrews 5:7) mean that God granted him what he requested. So the above verse shows that when Jesus asked of God to " let this cup pass from" (Matthew 26:39) him, God respond to his prayer and saved him from death or crucifixion.

3. The Post Crucifixion Prophesied Events never happened:

When the people were asking Jesus Christ if he was going to show them a sign, He replied by saying that the only sign that they should expect is the sign of Jonas. Jesus also made sure to specify what exactly this sign was. The details are shown in the following verses:

- Matthew 12:38 " Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee".

- Matthew 12:39 " But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas".

- Matthew 12:40 " For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth".

Jesus here emphasized what will happen to him by specifically saying that he will be like Jonas in terms of the number of days and nights he will be in the heart of the earth, " For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth" (Matthew 12:40). Now let us see if this prophecy came to pass.

Jesus was crucified on Friday, this is certainly known among all Christians, and that is the reason for calling that Friday by "Good Friday". Jesus was buried on Friday night. Now let us start counting:

1. Friday night Jesus was buried. This is night number 1.
2. Saturday day Jesus was still in the grave. This is day number 1.
3. Saturday night Jesus was still in the grave. This is night number 2.

Mary Magdalene, very early in the morning before sun rise and after the Sabbath (Saturday), went to the see Jesus, and he was not there. The following verses relate this event:

* Mark 16:1 " And when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him".

* Mark 16:2 " And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun".

* Mark 16:3 " And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?"

* Mark 16:4 " And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great".

* Mark 16:5 " And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted".

* Mark 16:6 " And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him".

The number of days and nights that Jesus had spent in the heart of the earth is 1 day and 2 nights. This clearly challenges what Jesus had prophesied. When I tell this to my Christian brothers, some of them responded by saying that what Jesus wanted to really say was that he will be gone for a while, and not that he will be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights. This is clearly not the case. Had Jesus meant that, he would have said it, but it is clear that he wanted the people to know that this was a sign (miracle) and that it will be like Joans' sign, and that he will be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights. These were his own words.

Why Would Jesus Have to Die on the Cross?

According to the Christian doctrine, Jesus died on the cross as a sacrifice for our sins. The idea here is that every human is born with sins, or that all humans will sin, and therefore it was necessary that someone as pure as Jesus would be the crucified to nullify these sins. The question is; why does anyone have to die for our sins when God, the All-Merciful, could as easily give us forgiveness if we ask for it? Isn't God the one who makes the rules? Why does He have to make someone suffer for our sins or for someone else's sins? Isn't that unjust of Him? According to the Bible the way to redemption could be obtained without the need for sacrifice. The Bible says:
* Ezekiel 18:20 " The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him".

* Ezekiel 18:21 " But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die".

Clearly the soul that sins shall die. Clearly that no one shall bear the iniquity (sins) of others. So Jesus cannot bear the sins of others either. If one is righteous then it shall be upon him, and if one commits a sin then it shall be upon him, and not on Jesus. Finally, the way to repentance and forgiveness is by turning from all sins, doing what is right, and keeping the commandments.

Also we see the same message given by Solomon. He says in the book of Ecclesiastes 12:13 " Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man". This is the whole message, and this is the conclusion of messages. It is that one should fear God, and keep the commandments, and nothing else.

Again in 2 Chronicles 7:14 " If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land". This clearly states that to seek forgiveness from God we have to humble ourselves, pray and seek God, and turn away from wickedness.

Finally the Bible says in Samuel 15:22 " And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams". This clearly states that obeying God is better that sacrifice whether this sacrifice is of objects, animals, or humans, or any other type. What God likes is for us to heed and obey Him, and if that is what God likes then it is not of Him to come later and change his mind, and change his ways. God says in the Holy Quran," Verily God is All-Knowing, All-Wise" (Ch 9: Vr 28).
Now that we have seen this, Christians say that Jesus has changed some of these laws. Let's look at what Jesus says. In Matthew 5:17 " Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil".

Jesus clearly states that he was not sent to abolish the law, the law of which had already existed. So what is mentioned above cannot be discounted. Then Jesus continues to say, in Matthew 5:18 and 19 " For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven". Jesus here states that not even as much as a dot (tittle) shall not pass from the law.

Every thing is kept the way it was. That is why the previous laws cannot be removed or discarded, and those who willfully change these laws " he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven".

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The Names and Attributes of Allah (God)

Allah has described Himself in the Quran through His Names and Attributes. Muslims believe that studying these Names and Attributes is one of the most effective ways of strengthening one's relationship with God. Each Name and Attribute nourishes a kind of consciousness and humility in man and their study leads one to constantly better their actions.
وَلِلَّهِ الْأَسْمَاءُ الْحُسْنَىٰ فَادْعُوهُ بِهَا ۖ
The most beautiful names belong to Allah: so call on Him by them.
[Surah Al-A'raf 7:180]
Muslims are asked to call upon God during their supplications by the most appropriate names that relate to what they are asking for. For example, if one is seeking forgiveness from God for a sin they have committed, they would call upon Him by His name "Al-Ghaffar," meaning "The Ever Forgiving." If one is asking for peace and tranquility in their life while experiencing a period of tension, they would call on God by His name "As-Salaam," meaning, "The Source of Peace."
The table below captures an approximate translation of a selection of Allah's names as found in the Quran. We have chosen to provide some commentary on His names relating to Mercy. However, each of the names listed could be the subject of its own article.
Names Relating to Mercy
The primary Names of Allah specifically dealing with mercy are "Ar-Rahmān" and "Ar-Rahīm." These two names frequently occur together in the Qur'an. They are both derived from the same root word rahmah which means mercy and also has elements of sympathy, kindness, gentleness, compassion and love intertwined with it. As with all the Names of Allah, these are Names of majesty and perfection. Allah therefore manifests these qualities to the most perfect level with His Creation. Ar-Rahman signifies a flood of mercy that covers us and is endless.
The mercy we see in this world which Allah has put among His creation is just a hundredth of all His mercy. Examples of mercy that we see in His creation includes the love a mother has for her child, human and otherwise, the eyes with which we are able to see, the food which we are provided to consume, the generosity and kindness we show to others. Can we image what life would be like if these things, that we often take for granted, did not exist? When we realize that this is only a small portion of His Mercy, we learn to better appreciate, although we cannot comprehend, the extent of His mercy. The other 99 parts are for the Day of Judgment and the Hereafter, when God provides shade for the believers, makes their accounting easy, and admits them to Paradise.
Allah's mercy comes before and prevails over His Anger. We take refuge in His mercy from His wrath.
قُلْ يَا عِبَادِيَ الَّذِينَ أَسْرَفُوا عَلَىٰ أَنفُسِهِمْ لَا تَقْنَطُوا مِن رَّحْمَةِ اللَّهِ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوبَ جَمِيعًا ۚ إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْغَفُورُ الرَّحِيمُ
Say: O My servants who have acted extravagantly against their own souls, do not despair of the mercy of Allah; surely Allah forgives the faults altogether. Surely, He is the Forgiving the Merciful.
[Surah Az-Zumar 39:53]
Allah's name "Al-Ghaffar", meaning "The Ever Forgiving", is related to His Mercy. If one is sincere in asking for forgiveness from Allah, there is no sin that it too great for Him to forgive. When asking for forgiveness, a person would ask directly of God and there is no intermediary or religious cleric that would intervene. Islam has the principle that one has a direct relationship with God and one should learn to have dependence, faith and trust in Him for all their affairs.
The Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, is reported to have said that no man's good deeds are alone enough to get him admitted into Paradise, but it is only by the mercy of Allah that people will enter Paradise. Our deeds are a tool to get close to Allah to a place where we can be hopeful of His mercy.
Some other Names of Allah that are related to His Mercy (with rough translations) are Al-Karīm (the Generous), Al-Halīm (the Forbearing), Al-Barr (the Generous), Al-Jawwād (the Bestower of Good), Ar-Rauf (the Kind) and Al-Wahhāb (the Bestower).
# Arabic Transliteration Translation (can vary based on context) Qur'anic Usage
1 الرحمن Ar-Rahman The All Beneficent, The Most Merciful in Essence, The Compassionate, The Most Gracious Beginning of every chapter except one, and in numerous other places
2 الرحيم Ar-Rahim The Most Merciful, The Most Merciful in Actions Beginning of every chapter except one, and in numerous other places
3 الملك Al-Malik The King, The Sovereign, The True and Ultimate King 59:23, 20:114
4 القدوس Al-Quddus The Most Holy, The Most Pure, The Most Perfect 59:23, 62:1
5 السلام As-Salaam The Peace and Blessing, The Source of Peace and Safety, The Most Perfect 59:23
6 المؤمن Al-Mu'min The Guarantor, The Self Affirming, The Granter of Security, The Affirmer of Truth 59:23
7 المهيمن Al-Muhaymin The Guardian, The Preserver, The Overseeing Protector 59:23
8 العزيز Al-Aziz The Almighty, The Self Sufficient, The Most Honorable 3:6, 4:158, 9:40, 48:7, 59:23
9 الجبار Al-Jabbar The Powerful, The Irresistible, The Compeller, The Most Lofty, The Restorer/Improver of Affairs 59:23
10 المتكبر Al-Mutakabbir The Tremendous 59:23
11 الخالق Al-Khaliq The Creator 6:102, 13:16, 39:62, 40:62, 59:24
12 البارئ Al-Bari' The Rightful 59:24
13 المصور Al-Musawwir The Fashioner of Forms 59:24
14 الغفار Al-Ghaffar The Ever Forgiving 20:82, 38:66, 39:5, 40:42, 71:10
15 القهار Al-Qahhar The All Compelling Subduer 13:16, 14:48, 38:65, 39:4, 40:16
16 الوهاب Al-Wahhab The Bestower 3:8, 38:9, 38:35
17 الرزاق Ar-Razzaq The Ever Providing 51:58
18 الفتاح Al-Fattah The Opener, The Victory Giver 34:26
19 العليم Al-Alim The All Knowing, The Omniscient 2:158, 3:92, 4:35, 24:41, 33:40
20 القابض Al-Qabid The Restrainer, The Straightener 2:245
21 الباسط Al-Basit The Expander, The Munificent 2:245
22 الخافض Al-Khafid The Abaser 95:5
23 الرافع Ar-Rafi'e The Exalter 58:11, 6:83
24 المعز Al-Mu'ezz The Giver of Honour 3:26
25 المذل Al-Mudhell The Giver of Dishonour 3:26
26 السميع As-Sami'e The All Hearing 2:127, 2:256, 8:17, 49:1
27 البصير Al-Basir The All Seeing 4:58, 17:1, 42:11, 42:27
28 الحكم Al-Hakam The Judge, The Arbitrator 22:69
29 العدل Al-'Adl The Utterly Just 6:115
30 اللطيف Al-Lateef The Subtly Kind 6:103, 22:63, 31:16, 33:34
31 الخبير Al-Khabeer The All Aware 6:18, 17:30, 49:13, 59:18
32 الحليم Al-Haleem The Forbearing, The Indulgent 2:235, 17:44, 22:59, 35:41
33 العظيم Al-Azeem The Magnificent, The Infinite 2:255, 42:4, 56:96
34 الغفور Al-Ghafoor The All Forgiving 2:173, 8:69, 16:110, 41:32
35 الشكور Ash-Shakoor The Grateful 35:30, 35:34, 42:23, 64:17
36 العلي Al-Aliyy The Sublimely Exalted 4:34, 31:30, 42:4, 42:51
37 الكبير Al-Kabeer The Great 13:9, 22:62, 31:30
38 الحفيظ Al-Hafeez The Preserver 11:57, 34:21, 42:6
39 المقيت Al-Muqeet The Nourisher 4:85
40 الحسيب Al-Hasib The Reckoner 4:6, 4:86, 33:39
41 الجليل Al-Jaleel The Majestic 55:27, 39:14, 7:143
42 الكريم Al-Karim The Bountiful, The Generous 27:40, 82:6
43 الرقيب Ar-Raqib The Watchful 4:1, 5:117
44 المجيب Al-Mujib The Responsive, The Answerer 11:61
45 الواسع Al-Wasse'e The Vast, The All Encompassing 2:268, 3:73, 5:54
46 الحكيم Al-Hakeem The Wise 31:27, 46:2, 57:1, 66:2
47 الودود Al-Wadud The Loving, The Kind One 11:90, 85:14
48 المجيد Al-Majeed The All Glorious 11:73
49 الباعث Al-Ba'ith The Raiser of The Dead 22:7
50 الشهيد Ash-Shaheed The Witness 4:166, 22:17, 41:53, 48:28
51 الحق Al-Haqq The Truth, The Real 6:62, 22:6, 23:116, 24:25
52 الوكيل Al-Wakeel The Trustee, The Dependable 3:173, 4:171, 28:28, 73:9
53 القوى Al-Qawee The Strong 22:40, 22:74, 42:19, 57:25
54 المتين Al-Mateen The Firm, The Steadfast 51:58
55 الولى Al-Walee The Protecting Friend, Patron and Helper 4:45, 7:196, 42:28, 45:19
56 الحميد Al-Hamid The All Praiseworthy 14:8, 31:12, 31:26, 41:42
57 المحصى Al-Muhsi The Accounter, The Numberer of All 72:28, 78:29, 82:10-12
58 المبدئ Al-Mubdi' The Producer, Originator, and Initiator of All 10:34, 27:64, 29:19, 85:13
59 المعيد Al-Mu'id The Reinstater Who Brings Back All 10:34, 27:64, 29:19, 85:13
60 المحيى Al-Muhyi The Giver of Life 7:158, 15:23, 30:50, 57:2
61 المميت Al-Mumit The Bringer of Death, The Destroyer 3:156, 7:158, 15:23, 57:2
62 الحي Al-Hayy The Ever Living 2:255, 3:2, 25:58, 40:65
63 القيوم Al-Qayyum The Self Subsisting Sustainer of All 2:255, 3:2, 20:111
64 الواجد Al-Wajid The Perceiver, The Finder, The Unfailing 38:44
65 الماجد Al-Majid The Illustrious, The Magnificent 85:15, 11:73,
66 الواحد Al-Wahid The One, The Unique, Manifestation of Unity 2:163, 5:73, 9:31, 18:110
67 الاحد Al-Ahad The One, the All Inclusive, The Indivisible 112:1
68 الصمد As-Samad The Self Sufficient, The Impregnable,
The Eternally Besought of All, The Everlasting 112:2
69 القادر Al-Qadir The All Able 6:65, 36:81, 46:33, 75:40
70 المقتدر Al-Muqtadir The All Determiner, The Dominant 18:45, 54:42, 54:55
71 المقدم Al-Muqaddim The Expediter, He Who Brings Forward 16:61, 17:34,
72 المؤخر Al-Mu'akhir The Delayer, He Who Puts Far Away 71:4
73 الأول Al-Awwal The First 57:3
74 الأخر Al-Akhir The Last 57:3
75 الظاهر Az-Zahir The Manifest, The All Victorious 57:3
76 الباطن Al-Batin The Hidden, The All Encompassing 57:3
77 الوالي Al-Waali The Patron 13:11, 22:7
78 المتعالي Al-Muta'ali The Self Exalted 13:9
79 البر Al-Barr The Most Kind and Righteous 52:28
80 التواب At-Tawwab The Ever Returning, Ever Relenting 2:128, 4:64, 49:12, 110:3
81 المنتقم Al-Muntaqim The Avenger 32:22, 43:41, 44:16
82 العفو Al-'Afuww The Pardoner, The Effacer of Sins 4:99, 4:149, 22:60
83 الرؤوف Ar-Ra'uf The Compassionate, The All Pitying 3:30, 9:117, 57:9, 59:10
84 مالك الملك Malik-al-Mulk The Owner of All Sovereignty 3:26
85 ذو الجلال والإكرام Dhu-al-Jalaliwa-al-Ikram The Lord of Majesty and Generosity 55:27, 55:78
86 المقسط Al-Muqsit The Equitable, The Requiter 7:29, 3:18
87 الجامع Al-Jami'e The Gatherer, The Unifier 3:9
88 الغني Al-Ghani The All Rich, The Independent 3:97, 39:7, 47:38, 57:24
89 المغني Al-Mughni The Enricher, The Emancipator 9:28
90 المانع Al-Mani'e The Withholder, The Shielder, the Defender 67:21
91 الضار Ad-Darr The Distressor, The Harmer, The Afflictor  6:17
92 النافع An-Nafi'e The Propitious, The Benefactor
93 النور An-Nur The Light 24:35
94 الهادي Al-Hadi The Guide 25:31
95 البديع Al-Badi The Incomparable, The Originator 2:117, 6:101
96 الباقي Al-Baqi The Ever Enduring and Immutable
97 الوارث Al-Warith The Heir, The Inheritor of All 15:23
98 الرشيد Ar-Rashid The Guide, Infallible Teacher and Knower 2:256
99 الصبور As-Sabur The Patient, The Timeless.

Friday, 30 October 2015

The Methodology of Dawah (The Miraculous Argument)

Our Dawah Method represents a core concept in Dawah. It highlights how the greatest evidence for the existence of God is the Qur'an itself. By means of what is known as "The Miraculous Argument" it allows the Da'ee to delve straight into a Qur'an focused Dawah conversation; overruling any need to resort to complex and digressive philosophical arguments. It is a manual that offers a structured approach to delivering the message of Islam while detailing practical steps of implementation. It is without doubt useful to both the beginner and seasoned practitioner.

The manual is freely available to anyone around the globe, in order to help them develop their Dawah skills. The methodology of dawah manual is freely available; to be copied, distributed, translated or hosted on websites for the promotion and development of Dawah.

Covert Opposition

Unfortunately when giving Da’wah we not only have to face apparent opposition but also covert opposition. There are deviated people who under the guise of Islam try to promote and argue the Islamic viewpoint from a view that is not consistent with the Qur’an, Sunnah or with the position of the pious predecessors. You may come across some of the folllowing deviants!
1. Ahmadis / Qadiyanis - Ahmadis or Qadiyanis are a missionary-oriented sect of Indian origin, founded by The Apostate Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1839-1908) who claimed to be a prophet. The Qadiyanis currently have a presence in many countries, including most Western countries. Their world wide numbers are estimated as high as 10 million. Even though their headquarters are in Pakistan, they have a strong presence in Manchester & London, UK.
The Qadiyanis also known as Ahmadis and Mirzais, have been declared as non-Muslims by thousands of Muslim scholars.
The following statement was issued by the Islamic Fiqh Council:
The claim that Mirza Ghulam Ahmed was a Prophet and that he received revelation makes him and anyone who agrees with him an apostate, who has left the folds of Islam. As for the Lahoris, (Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement for the Propagation of Islam) they are like the mainstream Qadiyanis. The same ruling of apostasy applies to them as well, in spite of their claim that Mirza was a 'shadow and manifestation of Prophet Muhammad'.[Majma' al-Fiqh al-Islami, p. 13]
This was also mentioned in the World Muslim League Conference, held in Makkah, Saudi Arabia, from the 14th to the 18th of Rabi al-Awwal 1394H (April 1974) wherein the members unanimously reached the conclusion that the Ahmadi/Qadiyanis are not Muslims
Although the followers of the heretic ‘Ghulam Mirza Ahmed’ vary –  they also argue that the Prophet Jesus (AS) died.
Therefore firstly we present 3 verses to show that Jesus (AS) has not died but has been risen up alive.
Verses highlighting that Jesus (AS) didn’t die:
“And there is none from the People of the Scripture but that he will surely believe in Jesus before his death. And on the Day of Resurrection he will be against them a witness.” (Noble Quran 4:159)
“And indeed, Jesus will be [a sign for] knowledge of the Hour, so be not in doubt of it, and follow Me. This is a straight path.” (Noble Quran 43:61)
“And [for] their saying, "Indeed, we have killed the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, the messenger of Allah." And they did not kill him, nor did they crucify him; but [another] was made to resemble him to them. And indeed, those who differ over it are in doubt about it. They have no knowledge of it except the following of assumption. And they did not kill him, for certain.” (Noble Quran 4:157)
Below we will highlight this personality, Mirza Ghulam, in and of himself; we know he cannot be a prophet but even as claiming himself some form of messiah we deduce that he was either deluded or a liar.
Liar: We find a prophecy of his in his book ‘Tadhkirah’ page 784, (2009 English rendering). “I shall die in Mecca or in Medina.” – He died in Lahore. Some followers try to explain his comments as him being victorious – He was never victorious.
Deluded: In his book Nur-ul-Haq, volume 8 of Roohani Khazain. From pages 158 – 162 he has cursed his opponent a thousand times but instead of saying for example ‘a thousand curses on you’ he instead wrote it LITERALLY word for word, writing CURSE1 CURSE2 CURSE1000; dedicating 5 pages to this.

2. Ismailis - Also known as "Sevener Shi'ites." The Ismailis reject the Quran and all forms of prayers found in the main Sunni Islamic tradition. This frees them from obligations such as prayer, fasting, and hajj. They are mostly located in Pakistan, North-west India and the Chinese province of Sin-Kiang. The Khojas, a sub-sect, are mainly to be found in Gujarat, India. There are also Khoja communities in East and South Africa. They are also found in the Western countries. Most Ismaili businesses put the picture of Prince Karim Agha Khan, their leader, at a prominent place in their shop.

3. Bahais - Bahais follow the teaching of Bahaullah ('splendor of God') (1817-1892). They attract followers by speaking of unity of humanity and the absolute equality of men and women. Bahais see themselves working towards the establishment of a world government which will eradicate extremes of wealth and poverty. The writings of Bahaullah are treated as sacred. It is estimated that there are between 3 to 4 million Bahais in the world today, spread in most countries of the world with the largest concentration in India. In Iran the Bahais remain the largest minority group with about 300,000 adherents. The international Baha'i center is in Israel.
Their leaders have made extraordinary claims to divinity similar to other religious cults. Although they seem to preach peace and unity, their history has been marred by violence. Their history and original teachings also contradict their averred concept of world peace and gender equality.

4. Shias - Also spelled "Shi'ites." The "Twelver Shias" believe that, after the death of the Prophet, the Imamate (the political and religious leadership of the Muslim community) should have gone to 'Ali - the cousin and son-in-law of the Prophet - and his descendants as a divine right.
Unlike the Sunnis, who perform prayers five times a day, the Shi'ites pray three times a day. The Twelver Shias population in 1980 was estimated to be 73,000,000. They are dominant in Iran, but are also found in Pakistan, India, Iraq, Lebanon, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Syria. There are also small Shia communities in the West, one of the largest in Dearborn, Michigan.
A religion based upon a claimed love of the family of Prophet Muhammad has lead them to beliefs contradicting the very essence of the message brought by him, the message of Islam

5. Nation of Islam - The Nation of Islam was founded by Wallace Muhammad in Detroit in 1930. The group believes that a person called Fard Muhammad was "God on earth." It sees Elijah Muhammad as the "Messenger of Truth." Warith Deen Mohammed, the son of Elijah Muhammad, brought the group closer to mainstream Sunni Islam. Some dissatisfied members were led by Louis Farrakhan, who revived the group in 1978 with the same teachings of Elijah. They only allow people of black ethnicity in and believe they are the original race on earth. They are especially popular in the prison system in the US.

6. Submitters - Founded by Dr. Rashad Khalifa, an Egyptian computer scientist. Submitters consider Rashad Khalifa to be a Messenger of God. They reject two verses of the Quran, preach the "miracle of 19," and reject the hadith and Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad. They are based in Tucson, Arizona, US, and are prominent on the Internet. They are considered completely out of the folds of Islam, due to their erroneous beliefs.

7. Sufis - The most controversial and confusing "sect" would be the Sufis. In the West alone, there are more than 1000 Sufi sects. They are a very diverse group. Some Sunni Muslims adopt certain Sufi ideas, while other sufi orders have close links to ancient mystical orders. Yet, others have developed their own teachings and adapted them to a Western audience. Still others just use the term "sufi" but declare they have no relation to Islam or any religion whatsoever.
Generally speaking, they misunderstand Islamic spirituality and make errors in many key Islamic concepts like proper trust in God, love for the Prophet, and exaggerate the position of pious deceased Muslims. In terms of rituals, some will hold "Islamic chanting circles" ("zikr" circles), religious dancing like the whirling dervishes of Turkey, and keenly celebrate the birthday of Prophet Muhammad.

Learn how to do da'wah. Get your free manual at Just Dawah

Tayammum (Dry Ablution)

Definition: In Arabic, the word Tayammum literally means an 'aim' or 'purpose.' In Islamic Law, it refers to: Aiming for or seeking soil to wipe one's face and hands with the intention of purification and preparing oneself to pray, and so on.
Proof of its Legitimacy: This act of ritual cleansing is proven by the Quran, Sunnah (prophetic tradition) and Ijmaa' (consensus of Muslim scholars). The Quran says (what means):"…And if you are ill or on a journey or one of you comes from the place of relieving himself or you have contacted women [i.e., had sexual intercourse] and find no water, then seek clean earth and wipe over your faces and your hands [with it]. Indeed, Allah is ever Pardoning and Forgiving." [Quran 4:43]
From the Sunnah, we have the Hadeeth (prophetic statement) related by Abu Umaamah  in which the Prophet  said: "All of the earth has been made a pure place of prayer for me and my nation. Whenever a person from my nation wants to pray, he has something with which to purify himself, that is, the earth." [Ahmad]
Finally, there is a consensus that Tayammum forms a legitimate part of the Sharee'ah (Islamic Law), as it replaces ablution with water or Ghusl (ritual bathing), under specific circumstances.
A Blessing from Allah
This form of ablution is viewed as a blessing from Allah to the Muslims. Jaabir  related that the Prophet  said: "I have been given five things that were not given to anyone before me: I have been made victorious due to fear of a distance of one month's journey; the earth has been made a place of prayer for me and a source of purification - wherever and whenever any member of my nation wants to pray, he may pray; and the war booty has been made lawful to me, and this was not lawful to anyone before me. I have been given permission to intercede. Prophets before me used to be sent to their own people only, but I have been sent to all of mankind." [Al-Bukhaari & Muslim]

When to Make Tayammum:

One is permitted to make Tayammum in any of the following cases:
1- If one cannot find water or the amount one finds is insufficient for ablution
'Imraan Ibn Husayn  said: "We were with the Messenger of Allah  during a journey. When he led the people in prayer, one man stayed apart. He  asked him: "What prevented you from praying?" He replied: 'I need a ritual bath (because of having a wet dream) and there is no water.' The Messenger  said: 'Use the soil, for it is sufficient (i.e. Tayammum).''' [Al-Bukhaari & Muslim]
2- If one is injured or ill
If one is in this condition and thinks that using water will worsen it (he does not have to be absolutely sure, but may base his assumption on past experience or what a knowledgeable person has told him), he may perform Tayammum.
Jaabir  said, "We were on a journey and one of us was injured. Later, he had a wet dream. He asked his companions, 'Can I perform Tayammum?' They said, 'No, not if you have water.' He performed Ghusl, which caused him to die. When news of this came to the Messenger of Allah  he said: "They killed him! May Allah kill them! Do you not ask if you do not know? The remedy for ignorance is to ask. He could have performed Tayammum and not dropped water on his wound, or wrapped it with something, then wiped over the wrapping, and then washed the rest of his body.""
3- If water is cold enough to physically harm the user
Tayammum is allowed when water is available but is too cold and cannot be heated, or there is no public bathroom available. 'Amr Ibn Al-'Aas  narrated that he was once participating in a military expedition. He had a wet dream during an extremely cold night, and was afraid that if he performed Ghusl he would die. He prayed the morning (Fajr) prayer with his companions. He then went to the Messenger of Allah  to ask him about this. The Messenger said: "O 'Amr! Did you pray with your companions while you needed a ritual bath?" 'Amr said to the Prophet  the verse (which means):"…Do not kill yourselves [or one another]. Indeed, Allah is to you ever Merciful." [Quran 4:29] The Prophet  smiled at this and did not say anything. [Al-Bukhaari]
4- If water is nearby, but one cannot fetch it due to fear
If one fears for his life, family, wealth, [for example, if an enemy (beast or human) is nearby or if one is a prisoner, and so on], he may perform Tayammum. This is also allowed if there is water but one lacks the proper means to get it, or if one fears some accusation against him if he gets it.
5- If one is saving his water for later use
This could be for dough, cooking, or to remove an impurity that is not pardonable. Imaam Ahmad  said: "Many of the Companions performed Tayammum to save their water for drinking." 'Ali  said: "A man who is traveling and becomes unclean because of sexual intercourse, or a wet dream, can perform Tayammum if he fears he will go thirsty. He should perform Tayammum and not Ghusl." [Ad-Daaraqutni]
6- If one can get water, but fears that the prayer will be over by the time he gets it
He can perform Tayammum and pray, and does not need to repeat his prayer (after he gets water).
The Soil Used for Tayammum
It must be pure soil: this can be sand, stone, gypsum, and so on. Allah Almighty Says in the Quran (what means): "…Perform Tayammum with pure soil..." [Quran 5:6] and all scholars of the Arabic language agree that 'soil' (in Arabic) is whatever covers the earth, dirt or otherwise.
How to Perform Tayammum
First, one must have the intention to perform ablution and purifying himself, then he mentions Allah's name, strikes the soil with his hands, and wipes his face and hands up to the wrist, starting with the right hand. Nothing is more authentic and clear than what 'Ammaar related. He said: "I once became sexually impure and had no water, so I rolled in the dirt and prayed. This was mentioned to the Prophet who said: "This would have been enough for you," and he struck the earth with his hands, blew in them and then wiped his face and hands with them." [Al-Bukhaari & Muslim]
This Hadeeth shows that one strike of the earth is sufficient, and one only wipes the arms to the wrists. It is an act of Sunnah that one who makes Tayammum with dirt should blow into his hands first and not make his face dusty or dirty.
What Tayammum Makes Permissible
After performing Tayammum, one is pure and may perform any of the acts requiring prior ritual purification, such as praying and touching the Quran. He does not have to perform it during the time of prayer, and he may pray as many prayers as he wishes (unless he nullifies it), exactly as it is the case with regular ablution. Abu Tharr  reported that the Prophet  said: "The soil is a purifier for a Muslim, even if he does not find water for ten years. Then, if he finds water, that is, to make ablution, and so on, it becomes incumbent upon him to use it." [Ahmad & At-Tirmithi]
Source: Fiqh Us-Sunnah, Volume 1
By: Sayyid Saabiq

What Muslims Believe

The fundamental message of Islam is simple: To worship God (Allah) alone.
The Quran (the revealed scripture of Islam) states:  “Say, He is Allah, (who is) One, Allah , the Eternal Refuge. He neither begets nor is born, Nor is there to Him anyequivalent.” [Qur'an chapter 112]
The first part of the Muslim testament of faith forms the basis for the concept of God in Islam. Muslims bear witness that: “There is no Deity worthy of worship but Allah”. The concept of deity is strictly monotheistic and Unitarian. God alone has absolute being, totally independent and totally self-sufficient. Whatever exists or ever could exist does so by His will. He has no ‘partner’ either in creating the universe or in maintaining it in existence. He is not only the ‘First Cause’ but also ultimately, the only cause and He is Himself uncaused.
The second part of the testament of faith is: “Muhammad (peace be upon Him) is the final Messenger.”
Muslims hold in high esteem all the previous Prophets and messengers including Adam, Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Isaac, Ishmael, Moses, David, Solomon, Jesus and many more (peace be upon them all); all of whom submitted and surrendered themselves to the One God who created them and chose them to be the bearers of His message.
As the Quran states: “Say, (O believers), “We have believed in Allah and what has been revealed to us and what has been revealed to Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the Descendants and what was given to Moses and Jesus and what was given to the prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and we are Muslims (in submission) to Him.” Quran chapter 2 verse 136
Muhammad, the last Messenger:  The last and final Prophet in a long chain of prophets and messengers was the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). He was sent to the lands of Arabia and thus spoke the language of Arabic. Muhammad (peace be upon him) was sent to re-affirm the message that all the previous prophets and messengers were sent with; i.e. calling to the worship of One God.
Michael Hart, in his book ‘The 100: a ranking of the most influential people in history’ states: “My choice of Muhammad to lead the list of the world’s most influential persons may surprise some readers and may be questioned by others, but he was the only man in history who was supremely successful on both the religious and secular levels. Of humble origins, Muhammad founded and promulgated one of the world’s great religions, and became an immensely effective political leader. Today, thirteen centuries after his death, his influence is still powerful and pervasive.”
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) as a prominent figure is universal not only because of his message of equality, but because of his altruistic character. He constantly helped the poor and anyone who needed assistance of any kind. His teachings apply to any timeframe, to people from any part of the world, be they rich or poor. Amongst his many wise teachings was: “Do not belittle even the smallest act of kindness, even if it were no more than greeting your brother with a smiling face”.
The following story demonstrates the Prophets altruism. An old woman had a habit of throwing rubbish on Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) whenever he passed by her house. When the old woman threw rubbish on him, he would pass silently without showing any anger or annoyance and this happened on a regular basis.
One day when the Prophet (peace be upon him) was passing by, the woman was not there to throw the rubbish. The Prophet (peace be upon him) asked permission to visit the woman. He found that she was actually ill. She thought that he had come to take revenge when she was unable to defend herself. But the Prophet (peace be upon him) assured her that he had only come to see her and to look after her needs, as it was the command of Allah that if anyone is sick, a Muslim should visit and help them if their help is needed.
The old woman was greatly moved by this kindness and love of the Prophet (peace be upon him). By this example, she understood that he was truly the Prophet of God and Islam was the true religion. She subsequently embraced Islam.
In this manner, (before the Prophet (peace be upon him) died at the age of 63,) most of the people of Arabia had embraced the message of Islam, and in less than a century the message had spread to Spain in the west and as far east as China.
In the Islamic view, the ‘message’ transmitted through the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon Him) represented, not a completely new religion, but a corrective to the falsifications and distortions which had taken place and at the same time, an uncompromising re-assertion of the pure doctrine of the One God.
The Qur'an: Just as the Prophets Moses, Jesus and David (peace be upon them) were given books of revelation so too was the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). The message brought by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was consolidated through successive revelations collectively known as the Qur'an. The Qur'an contains guidance for the whole of humankind and exists in exactly the same form today as it did when it was revealed over 1400 years ago.
“O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.” [Qur'an chapter 49 verse 13]
The guidance contained in the Qur'an enables all of us to live a life in a way that God loves and is pleased with. As the Creator, God knows us best and is therefore best placed to guide us on how to “function optimally”. Suppose you bought an iPhone, would you read an instruction manual produced by Sony Ericsson? Logically, no! The rationale is quite simple; the company that produces the phone knows its product inside out and so is best placed to write an instruction manual for its users.
The same is true of us. God created us, therefore knows us better than we think we know ourselves. The Qur'an is therefore a instruction manual, from the Creator to the created. Allah says: “This (Qur'an) is enlightenment for mankind and guidance and mercy for a people who are certain (in faith).” [Qur'an chapter 45 verse 20]  And in another verse:  “O mankind!  there hath come to you a direction from your Lord and a healing for the (diseases) in your hearts,- and for those who believe, a guidance and a Mercy.” [Qur'an chapter 10 verse 57]
The Muslim:  A Muslim enjoys two very specific relationships:
1. A relationship with his/her Creator. This essentially strengthens one’s faith and enables one to draw closer to Allah through engaging in acts of worship.
2. A relationship with the society within which he/she resides. Muslims have a responsibility to uphold basic moral values like enjoining good, forbidding evil, enjoining justice, fulfilling trusts, being kind to neighbours, helping those less fortunate etc. There are numerous Qur'anic verses to this effect, for example:
“Righteousness is not that you turn your faces toward the east or the west, but (true) righteousness is (in) one who believes in Allah , the Last Day, the angels, the Book, and the prophets and gives wealth, in spite of love for it, to relatives, orphans, the needy, the traveler, those who ask (for help), and for freeing slaves; (and who) establishes prayer and gives zakah; (those who) fulfil their promise when they promise; and (those who) are patient in poverty and hardship and during battle. Those are the ones who have been true, and it is those who are the righteous.” [Qur'an chapter 2 verse 177]
“Indeed, Allah commands you to render trusts to whom they are due and when you judge between people to judge with justice. Excellent is that which Allah instructs you. Indeed, Allah is ever Hearing and Seeing.” [Qur'an chapter 4 verse 58]
“Indeed, Allah orders justice and good conduct and giving to relatives and forbids immorality and bad conduct and oppression. He admonishes you that perhaps you will be reminded.” [Qur'an chapter 16 verse 90]

Articles of Faith & Five Pillars of Islam: Besides believing in One God, belief in all the previous prophets and messengers, and revealed scriptures, Muslims also believe in the existence of angels (for example, the archangel Gabriel responsible for bringing revelation), and a final day of reckoning (i.e. Judgement day) when every individual will be held to account for their actions. Their deeds will be judged by Allah and they will consequently enter paradise or hell. Allah is just and rewards and punishes fairly, however, one of His magnanimous qualities is that He is the most merciful of those who show mercy. Muslims also believe in the Divine decree or predestination; that all good and evil has been proportioned and that Allah has full knowledge of all things. However, every individual has free will within the realm of responsibility and is not pre-destined against their will, therefore is able to make choices in life.
Apart from the above six tenets of faith, there are five fundamental duties that a Muslim willingly practices which are known as the 5 pillars of Islam. Allah says in the Qur'an: “This is the Book about which there is no doubt, a guidance for those conscious of Allah, Who believe in the unseen, establish prayer, and spend out of what We have provided for them, And who believe in what has been revealed to you, (O Muhammad), and what was revealed before you, and of the Hereafter they are certain (in faith). Those are upon (right) guidance from their Lord, and it is those who are the successful.” [Qur'an Chapter 2 verses 2-5]
Practicing Muslims follow the commandments of Allah in order to seek His pleasure. But in addition to this, the commandments themselves contain certain inherent wisdoms. The five pillars of Islam thus form the basis of Muslim life.
The first pillar as mentioned previously is to testify that there is no God worthy of worship except Allah, and that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the final messenger. This is in fact is the essence of Islam.
The second pillar is to establish the five daily prayers. Allah says: “Indeed, I am Allah. There is no deity except Me, so worship Me and establish prayer for My remembrance.” [Qur'an chapter 20 verse 14] And in another verse: “Recite, (O Muhammad,) what has been revealed to you of the Book and establish prayer. Indeed, prayer prohibits immorality and wrongdoing, and the remembrance of Allah is greater. And Allah knows that which you do. [Qur'an chapter 29 verse 45]
Prayer is a time to stand before Allah and express faith, give thanks for the blessings He has bestowed upon us as well as to seek guidance and forgiveness. Through bowing and prostrating to the ground, Muslims express their utmost humility before the Almighty.
If we look at the concept of NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) we see that there is a two-directional relationship between our thought processes (Neuro), our communication (Linguistic) and our behavior (Programming). If you change one, it has a knock on effect on the other two variables. So if you change your behavior to perform prayer (which is a physical action as well as verbal communication with Allah) it will naturally affect your thought processes- increasing your faith as well as inspiring you to want to draw closer to Allah by performing righteous deeds.
The third pillar is to fast during the month of Ramadhan (the ninth month of the Islamic calendar) from dawn till sunset every day. Allah says: “O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous.” [Quran chapter 2 verse 183]
Fasting enables a person to develop self control and frees them to devote their body and soul to worship. Ramadhan is also a great opportunity to appreciate the blessings that Allah has bestowed upon us and gives us a taste of what the poor and hungry across the globe experience; often on a regular basis.
The fourth pillar is ‘Zakah’ or giving 2.5% of ones surplus wealth to those ordained by Allah to receive it. One of the most important principles of Islam is that all things belong to God, and that wealth is therefore held by human beings in trust. The word Zakah means both ‘purification’ and ‘growth’. Our possessions are purified by setting aside a proportion for those in need, and, like the pruning of plants, this cutting back balances and encourages new growth. Allah says:
“Zakah expenditures are only for the poor and for the needy and for those employed to collect (zakah) and for bringing hearts together (for Islam) and for freeing captives (or slaves) and for those in debt and for the cause of Allah and for the (stranded) traveler – an obligation (imposed) by Allah. And Allah is Knowing and Wise.” [Qur'an chapter 9 verse 60]
The active practice of zakah demonstrates that love for Allah in following His commandments is greater than the love for wealth. It also serves to help the poor, those in debt and protects the nation as well as strengthening one’s faith.
The fifth pillar incumbent upon a Muslim is that he/she performs the Hajj or known in English as the pilgrimage, at least once in their lifetime if they are financially able to do so. Allah says: “Indeed, the first House (of worship) established for mankind was that at Makkah – blessed and a guidance for the worlds. In it are clear signs (such as) the standing place of Abraham. And whoever enters it shall be safe. And (due) to Allah from the people is a pilgrimage to the House – for whoever is able to find thereto a way. But whoever disbelieves – then indeed, Allah is free from need of the worlds.” [Qur'an chapter 3 verses 96-97]
On average, approximately 3 million people attend the Hajj every year and it is an amazing spectacle for all of humanity. It demonstrates unity despite multiplicity, inculcates a sense of humanity, and for the individual pilgrim, inspires patience and tolerance. The journey itself is wholly a spiritual one, incomparable to any other on earth.
Although the dictionary defines Islam as ‘the religious faith of Muslims’ it is in fact much more than that. Islam is a way of life; an entire system of living that permeates every aspect of an individual’s day to day activities. Practising Islam is truly fulfilling and enables one to be at peace with oneself, one’s Creator, one’s family, neighbours and with society at large. The universe is filled – like a great picture book – with ‘signs’ which bear witness to its Creator and which reminds us, if we have pure hearts and seeing eyes, of God’s power, majesty and His beauty.
The Quran states: “Indeed, within the heavens and earth are signs for the believers. And in the creation of yourselves and what He disperses of moving creatures are signs for people who are certain (in faith). And (in) the alternation of night and day and [in] what Allah sends down from the sky of provision and gives life thereby to the earth after its lifelessness and (in His) directing of the winds are signs for a people who reason.” [Qur'an chapter 45, verses 3-5]
“In summary, the God of Islam is transcendent, the All Powerful, All Knowing Creator and Lawgiver, though at the same time Infinitely Merciful, Generous and Forgiving. The human, His creature and servant, stands before Him without intermediary or intercessor, meeting Him through prayer during this brief life on earth, and meeting Him face to face when life is over. In Islam God is nothing like a human being and doesn’t make Himself accessible through idols or images. He is what He is, Absolute and Eternal, and it is as such the Muslim worships Him”
Edited and sourced from works of Hassan Gai Eaton – The concept of God in Islam