Sunday, 18 January 2015

Convey From Me Even If One Verse

THE Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Convey from me even if one ayah (verse) for it may be that the one being informed will comprehend better than the one listening (at present).” (Al-Bukhari)

We learn from these words of wisdom that this Hadith encompasses the entire religion of Islam with respect to speech, belief and actions. Likewise, from the perspective of acting upon it with knowledge and from the perspective of calling towards it as much as one is able to. The Prophet (peace be upon him) implemented all of this – by speech, action, belief and giving Da’wah, i.e. his entire life was based on knowledge, acting on knowledge, and calling towards it.
Regarding this, Allah said: “Invite (mankind, O Muhammad, peace be upon him) to the way of your Lord (i.e. Islam) with wisdom (i.e. with the Divine Revelation and the Qur’an) and fair preaching, and argue with them in a way that is better. Truly, your Lord knows best who has gone astray from His path, and He is the Best Knower of those who are guided.” (Qur’an, 16:125)
Da’wah was the mission of all Prophets, from the first to the last of them. All of them called people to Allah’s religion. Their manhaj (methodology) was knowledge, implementation, application, and propagation. They called people by their speech and by their actions, because people are such that if you call them by speech which your actions contradict, they will not accept that Da’wah.

When you give Da`wah and your actions agree with what you are calling to, then people will accept the message

By Sheikh Abdullah Al-Ghudyan

Friday, 9 January 2015

How often do you hear we came about by evolution ?

Evolutionists must be forced back to the very first cell (which is as complex as a super-city), and explain how that came into existence?
 It could not function without all of its various components, so to suggest a series of accumulation is unfounded. However they will almost always retort with that being a different science altogether – as they deal with life changing over time not how life began. For the origins we need to study abiogenesis – which in simple terms “is life originating from inorganic matter” over time....Yes that’s right! Maybe if you wait long enough your table may turn into a dog.
 No one has yet synthesized a "cell" using basic components which would have the necessary properties of life. Instead they have tried the top down approach by stripping back genes of existing cells to try and ascertain the most minimal requirements for life. The alternative and more reasonable view must be biogenesis: that every living thing in creation came from a pre-existing living thing (which began with Allah initiating life). Therefore the best approach is to take it all back to the beginning as opposed to starting mid-way on a base of assumptions.
Evolutionists have a chequered past. Initially using and promoting the arguments of evolution to try and prove the white race as being evolved far greater than the black race – clearly a detestable concept to say the least. Even going as far as fabricating evidence in support of their theories; Archaeoraptor, Piltdown man, Nebraska man and other examples of fraud include the drawings of embryos of Ernst Haeckel and pictures of the peppered moths, which are still in some modern biology textbooks taught as fact.
The Tiktaalik fish was proposed as the missing link between fish and amphibians in the process of evolution towards man: Richard Dawkins, in his book The Greatest Show on Earth, claims “Tiktaalik is the perfect missing link—perfect, because it almost exactly splits the difference between fish and amphibian, and perfect because it is missing no longer.” However footprints found in Poland delivered an almost fatal blow to the theory since the footprints show that there were animals walking upright even before the proposed Tiktaalik fish was making its way onto land. Tetrapod (upright walking animal) footprints found in Poland were “securely dated” at 18 million years older than Tiktaalik, which means that Tiktaalik cannot be part of the fish to legged animal transition.
Another example of the errors of evolution is the belief that birds descended from dinosaurs. This is because recent investigations into Ostrich embryos in various stages of development discovered that while it is known that dinosaurs have digits one, two, three (thumb, index finger, middle finger); birds have digits 2, 3 & 4 (index, middle and ring finger) and that for birds to have come from dinosaurs would therefore be impossible. Couple this with the fact that superficially bird-like dinosaurs appeared some 25 million to 80 million years after the earliest known bird, which is 150 million years old.
Other fossils like that of Sharks (400 million years old), Dragonfly (135 million years old) and starfish (100-150 million years old) show no evolution between the fossil found and the current species.
There are only two theories which compete against Creationism. They are Evolution and Extra-terrestrial life forms.
 The first is evolution of species – in this context that we as humans share a common ancestor with chimpanzees. Evolution requires intermediate forms between species and palaeontology (pre-historic life/fossils study) does not provide them. Therefore this seems to be a classical case of pure dogma for which the world of palaeontology has found no transitioning evidence yet in the absence of accepting a Creator they must hold on to this stubbornly. Evolution must be redefined if it is to gain any acceptance in the Islamic ethos since Allah created Adam and hence he has no ancestor and that time does not create or develop creation; Allah does.
 The second; that extraterrestrial life forms (Aliens) having created life, stems resolutely from the fact that we cannot accept that ‘over time inanimate things became animate’ by themselves, which is what underpins Evolution. Therefore we now have a huge amount of scientific interest towards outer space in order to establish our beginnings. Now there has never been any conclusive evidence of any living life forms present on any of the meteors that have hit Earth – simply put there is absolutely no living evidence of life forms in outer space. However even if there was, we still go back to the issue of ‘well who created them’, and so on
 – ultimately we go back to creationism.

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Thursday, 8 January 2015

Morality - Who Decides?

Without God the concept of good & evil in actions or consequences all become subjective and agreeable by society. However we all judge by the straight line – Absolute Moral Law. There is no question that societies have different interpretations of morality but if you examine the following sentence you will see the illogic of thinking that societies determine morality. "The vast majority of the people in our country participated in that evil deed." If morality was up to society, that sentence would never make sense, but we know that morality is beyond societies and such a proposition is possible.
For example child abuse, rape or genocide – would never be acceptable to anyone on the planet if perpetrated against them or someone they love! Even if a whole society agreed on an immoral or evil thing – They could never justify it as right or good but as collateral or a necessary evil under the circumstances.
If there was no such thing as absolute morality then there would be no 'right' or 'wrong,' just things that you or your society happen not to like. Murder and Rape would not be wrong; they would just become manmade objections. The question then becomes: 'If man is the measure of all things which man? -Which society? If someone with enough power happened to like rape and murder, what right would we have to impose our morality on him? What would be wrong with the person or society, with the power, imposing their morality on you?
If objective moral values cannot exist without God, and objective moral values do exist, then it follows logically that God exists. Moral objectivity doesn’t exist outside of humans – it is inherent and therefore programmed within us (biologists call innate). Where there is programming there is a programmer. This innate ability is of an advanced consciousness and has a purpose. 
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A Brief Word on Missionaries

We encourage all Du’aat not to actively involve themselves with missionaries whilst out on the dawah tables and during street dawah,this is because the environment is not conducive to serious discussion on the truth. They are there to spread their message and you are there to spread the truth.
Therefore even when they are shown the error of their ways they do not use reason – instead they go around in circles continuing the debate – a method known as Gish Galloping. They have given up all hope of defeating Islam therefore by occupying you they prevent you from giving Da’wah to someone else.
Therefore a most befitting reply and closure to any episode of dialogue between them would be as below while maintaining composure in all regards:

“And [the believers among] those to whom We have given the [previous] Scripture rejoice at what has been revealed to you, [O Muhammad], but among the [opposing] factions are those who deny part of it. Say, "I have only been commanded to worship Allah and not associate [anything] with Him. To Him I invite, and to Him is my return." (Noble Quran 13:36)

And remember:

“You will surely be tested in your possessions and in yourselves. And you will surely hear from those who were given the Scripture before you and from those who associate others with Allah much abuse. But if you are patient and fear Allah -indeed, that is of the matters [worthy] of determination.” (Noble Quran 3:186)

However a special note for anyone who seeks to be extremely polite in the face of abuse against Islam or tries to please those factions who attempt to ridicule the Muslims or their message, so that they may warm to them and accept them:

“And never will the Jews or the Christians approve of you until you follow their religion. Say, "Indeed, the guidance of Allah is the [only] guidance." If you were to follow their desires after what has come to you of knowledge, you would have against Allah no protector or helper.” (Noble Quran 2:120)

How should we behave towards the older scriptures in their current form?

This issue is often one of confusion and debate amongst well to do Muslims. How do we tackle the scriptures and what they say? Well, the position we strive to take is one that inclines towards the Quran and Sunnah – simply put: we accept that there were previous revelations NOT because they have followers in their millions today but because the Quran confirms that the previous messengers received revelation. Therefore we believe in the original revelations of the book of Abraham, Torah of Moses, Psalms of David and Gospel of Jesus; peace be upon them all. However due to various verses in The Quran we see that the people of these Books had either forgot parts or changed the verses (intentionally & unintentionally) and therefore the books we have before us today are not representative of the pure word of God.

So woe to those who write the "scripture" with their own hands, then say, "This is from Allah ," in order to exchange it for a small price. Woe to them for what their hands have written and woe to them for what they earn. (Noble Quran 2:79)

And indeed, there is among them a party who alter the Scripture with their tongues so you may think it is from the Scripture, but it is not from the Scripture. And they say, "This is from Allah ", but it is not from Allah. And they speak untruth about Allah while they know. (Noble Quran 3:78)

And [mention, O Muhammad], when Allah took a covenant from those who were given the Scripture, [saying], "You must make it clear to the people and not conceal it." But they threw it away behind their backs and exchanged it for a small price. And wretched is that which they purchased. (Noble Quran 3:187)

So for their breaking of the covenant We cursed them and made their hearts hard. They distort words from their [proper] usages and have forgotten a portion of that of which they were reminded. And you will still observe deceit among them, except a few of them. But pardon them and overlook [their misdeeds]. Indeed, Allah loves the doers of good. And from those who say, "We are Christians" We took their covenant; but they forgot a portion of that of which they were reminded. So We caused among them animosity and hatred until the Day of Resurrection. And Allah is going to inform them about what they used to do. (Noble Quran 5:13-14)

Therefore we prefer not to cherry-pick verse against verse from their scriptures but instead opt to highlight the unreliability of their scriptures (in their current form).
There are obviously occasions depending on context and audience where the use of their scripture to highlight the error of their ways is used but this should not be an option from the outset. We argue that to try and ascertain the teachings of God from sources that are unreliable by their own scholarly admission (and also by Quran) is a futile and obviously unfaithful objective. After all why use something inferior (current state of scriptures) to describe something superior (God)?

The best position we take with regards to the teachings found in the Books of the People of Scriptures is as below:

Narrated Abu Huraira (RA): The people of the Scripture (Jews) used to recite the Torah in Hebrew and they used to explain it in Arabic to the Muslims. On that Allah's Apostle (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) said, "Do not believe the people of the Scripture or disbelieve them, but say: --"We believe in Allah and what is revealed to us." (Bukhari Volume 6, Book 60, Number 12)

Thereby in following the instruction of the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) we use the Quran as the measure or criterion to determine the right and wrong from what they present by way of discourse.

On a final note regarding missionaries, be advised that they will deliberately misquote texts from The Quran to highlight their beliefs as correct, so always double check what they quote.

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Women In Da'wah

From the very beginning, women have played vital roles in the propagation of the fundamental truths of Islamic da'wah. From the sacrifices of Sumayyah (RA), to the collected Ahadeeth of Aisha (RA), women have been instrumental in the flourishing and spreading of this deen. Unfortunately during these times, the Islamic revival suffers from weaknesses in its properly qualified personnel, which limits its spreading and restricts the da'wah work to an elitist group of activists, with finite and limited efforts of da'wah and tarbiyah being focused on women.

Da'wah amongst women deserves, and should get, far more attention than it does. So far, except in a few instances, women have been distanced from the field of da'wah work. If we look at the reality, and the situation of Islamic da'wah work, and the position of women in it today, we can easily find the following problems:

1- Deficiency in da'wah capabilities among and by women.
2- The ill use of existing limited-resources in combination with a lack of personal initiative on the part of women.
3- A neglect or omission of women's issues in the planning of Islamic da'wah.
4- Absence of strong tarbiyah and the lack of fundamental Islamic knowledge in the da'iyat (female callers) in the field of da'wah. Only a few of the wives and daughters of dou'at (male callers) have any worthwhile Islamic knowledge.

5- Most women do not possess a proper understanding the role of da'wah made incumbent on their husbands. Because of this, they may not understand the importance of time given to projects outside the home, which in turn may, become a source of tension within the home.
6- The level of general Islamic knowledge among most women is low.
7- Women's da'wah programs, as well as overall da'wah programs and institutions are rare, and not well organized.


Many obstacles and restraints have been the causes behind the weakness and neglect of da'wah work amongst women. One they have been recognized and analyzed, viable solutions can be sought and implemented.

One major reason, is that many men are not convinced about the importance of women's role and responsibilities in the field of da'wah. The Qur'anic verse "...remain at your homes..." [33:33] has been misinterpreted by many, and so has the right of stewardship or Qawama. In many instances we see men objecting to women's participation in da'wah and thus preventing them from fulfilling their role toward their fellow Muslims and to the larger society in general. Spreading Islam has been made incumbent on all Muslims, men and women.

"It is vital that husbands encourage their wives to participate in da'wah work," said Dr. Aisha Hamdan, Director of the Islamic Education Foundation, based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She has a Ph. D. in Clinical Psychology with a specialty in child and family issues. She teaches at a private university in the Twin Cities. The IEF is a two-year-old organization, with one of its goals being, to increase the level of awareness and to provide training in giving da'wah, amongst Muslim women and men. "They should encourage them to spread the message of this deen, perhaps by taking them along when they go out, and by instructing them on the proper ways of giving presentations about Islam."

A more particular reason is the absence or confusion of priorities in the minds of dou'at. Many of them have been overwhelmed and distracted by the state of the Ummah, even to the extent of ignoring to give proper attention to their homes and families. Their energies having been exhausted in the work outside the home, leaving them with nothing left for their families. This imbalance hurts not only the families, but also the community as a whole.

The level of women's education and awareness of their position and responsibility plays an important role. As education and awareness decline, women become disinterested, their level of giving and sense of sacrifice weakens. "Unfortunately, not a lot of Muslim women feel that they know enough about Islam to share it with others. They need to realize that it is their responsibility to obtain that knowledge and then share it with others. Many women also feel uncomfortable presenting to groups of people due to various reasons." Dr. Hamdan said. "This is why we are conducting training sessions here, about how to conduct da'wah. We are committed to trying to arm women with the necessary skills, that will give them the confidence to take up this very important, and often neglected role in their lives as Muslims."

Indulgence in luxuries, even if they are halal things, usually force women to devote more time to them and less time to doing da'wah. This also happens when they find it difficult to balance rights with duties. Sometimes women lose perspective, forgetting that the work inside the home is the core of their mission. By neglecting this role, or when they fail to arrange their priorities, and get tied to a job that distracts them, they ultimately fail at fulfilling their da'wah roles both inside and outside the home. "For many women, their jobs as wife, mother, cook, and teacher, inside their homes, are so time consuming, that the main barrier to engaging in da'wah work is oftentimes, a lack of time itself," said Dr. Hamdan. "This is why it is so important for husbands to be supportive to their wives in fulfilling their obligations both within and outside the home."

Another unfortunate reality is that most da'wah organizations have failed to absorb and utilize the energies of women, and have also failed to adjust their plans and programs in a way that would incorporate women as core assets in their da'wah work.

The media, and many other elements of the promiscuous society we live in, have had major impacts on the psyche of Muslim women. This psychic crippling has kept many women away from their mission and distorted the image of Islam in the minds of most of them.

A Desired ROLE for the MUSLIM WOMEN

A Crucial Role:

According to recent data, there are more women accepting Islam in this country, than any other group. The same can be said of Canada, England and many other places. A recent survey Al Jumuah magazine have conducted in the Dominican Republic, showed that about 75% of those who accepted Islam among the natives were women. Because of this, there is a tremendous need for Muslim women to participate in the field of da'wah. " The role of calling to this deen, does not stop at the pronunciation of the Shahada," Dr. Hamdan said. "Women are needed to help other women come to Islam, and are needed to instruct them after they become Muslims." The reasons women's participation is important are various and diverse:

1. Women are more capable than men are in communicating with other women. Women are usually more affected by word, deed, and conduct of other women, more so than by men. Women are more capable of recognizing the particularities and problems associated with women's education and tarbiyah.

2. Women can better comprehend the direction in which women's da'wah work should be geared. They can best discern the order of priorities, because they are more familiar with this sphere.

3. Women are more free than men in communicating with other women, either individually for da'wah activities, or in women's learning and other forums and places of meeting.

4. Many Muslim women who are in need of guidance, education, and direction lack the presence of men-folk who can provide this service, therefore it makes sense that qualified women in the community should offer this.

5. The educational and the tarbiyah need of women are greater than that of men. They get pregnant, give birth, and nurse children. The children are more tied to them than they are to their fathers. Women stay at home with their sons and daughters, and thus can bring them up as they please. If they are not allowed to share in the da'wah efforts of their husbands, a lot of the much-needed results may not be attained.

6. Women have a great effect on their husbands. If they have strong emaan and character, they have a very good chance at helping their husbands become strong as well.

7. Women have a lot of characteristics that stress the importance of their da'wah role. They should also be taken into account whenever any da'wah work is planned. Some are:

* Women have the innate ability to communicate strongly what they believe to be true in their hearts. Dr. Hamdan also points out that, "Women are also generally stronger in terms of verbal abilities and emotionality."

* Women sometimes lack will power and a sense of direction, and therefore need the assistance of other women to give strength and motivation.

A Definite Role

The work of the Muslim woman in the field of da'wah strengthens the man's work, and it expand it into areas where her effectiveness supersedes that of the man. It is sad that this role is so grossly overlooked and underestimated. By her nature as a spiritual and psychological comforter of man, the woman can play an important role in da'wah, for a man cannot -if his mind is preoccupied with works and goals- cope with his own problems, let alone undertake the burdens of giving da'wah. Many have failed on the path of da'wah for this very reason. Khadija's comfort, help, and support of the Prophet, sallallaahu alayhe wa sallam, offer the greatest proof of the vital importance of this role. The Prophet's companions who left their homes to go places that were thousands of miles away to take the new religion to people also had the support and the backing of their wives.

Very few women today understand or are aware of such a role, let alone carry it out. A woman may think that the marriage home is a place of rest and easy. They have yet to realize that marriage is the starting point of struggle, sacrifice, giving and responsibility.

The woman's role does not end at door. She can be greatly effective by being a good example to others, by being good-hearted, kindly spoken, and of friendly conduct. She can offer assistance, and share concerns as well as joys. She can also use all appropriate opportunities to educate, guide and call others though observing the conditions of those whom she addresses.

Examples Are Needed

Women, who understood their role, started educating themselves and achieving their rights to education and tarbiyah. Look at the hadeeth narrated by Abu Saeed that the women said to the Prophet, sallallaahu alayhe wa sallam, "The men are keeping you busy and we do not get enough attention from you. Would you specify a day for us, women? He promised them a day to meet them and educate and admonish them." (Bukhari) The fruits of this understanding and concern by the women companions of the Prophet, sallallaahu alayhe wa sallam, and the attention he gave them, are shining examples and a source of pride for Muslim women. Here are a few more to ponder:

Here is Umm Sulaim teaching her son Anas Ibn Malik about Islam, even though her husband rejected Islam. When Abu Talha proposed to her (before accepting Islam) she told him that her dowry was Islam, he in-turn embraced Islam and she married him. She made her son Anas the servant of the Prophet, sallallaahu alayhe wa sallam. Umm Hakeem was the reason behind her husband embracing Islam, and the aunt of Adi ibn Hatem led him to Islam. Amra, the wife of Habib Al-Ajami would wake up her husband to make salah at night. Asmaa, the daughter of Abu Bakr, forbade her son, Abdullah ibn Az-Zubair, to accept a demeaning way out to escape death although she was very old and needed him beside her.

If we move to a wider circle, we will find that Muslim women played a great role in sacrifice and service for the religion of Allah. Sumayyah gave up her life when Abu Jahl killed her for becoming a Muslim. She was the first Muslim, and woman, killed in Islam. Khadijah, the first wife of the Prophet, who was very rich, spent of her money to support the da'wah. Umm Salamah left her husband and saw her children persecuted when she migrated. Umm Imarah fought in defense of the Prophet, sallallaahu alayhe wa sallam, in the Uhud battle. Tending the wounded in battles was the role Muslim Women played throughout history.

Building SUCCESSFUL Da'wah Programs

There are conditions that must be met for women's da'wah work to succeed and achieve its expected outcome. Many of the items in the following discussion are good to consider at all time, but it is always important to be in touch with the specific environment one is working with, study it and design all programs to fit the specific reality and needs.

First: Important Guidelines

The fact that we stress the importance of women's role in Islamic da'wah should not lead us away from keeping the women's creation, nature and priorities clear in mind. There are important points that should be used as guidelines when planning or doing da'wah work:

1- Typically, the woman's main role and job is at home. This is clearly stated in Qur'an and Hadeeth. Allah says, "And stay in your houses." [33:33] Of course women can go out for salah in the masjid, participate in any other activities she may need and to do da'wah. However, none of these activities should conflict with her essential duties at home as wife and mother. In many cases, it is this balance between the woman's essential duties and the requirements of da'wah work, that have caused problems and misunderstandings in families and communities. "Women may find ways to fulfill their da'wah obligations at home, such as engaging in office work for an Islamic organization, answering telephones, or any other number of possibilities, depending on the skills and interest of each woman, " she said.

2- There are special injunctions regarding women, and the mixing of men and women, that must be observed in any da'wah activity and under any circumstances:

a) Proper hijab between men and women must be observed at all times.
b) Women cannot travel without a male companion who is her mahram.
c) Women cannot intermix freely with men who are not directly related to her.
d) Women cannot exit from their homes except by permission of those who are in charge of them and care for them, i.e. their husbands or fathers.

3- The enemies of Islam usually exploit these injunctions and use them to defame Islam as demeaning to women. Some dou'at get affected by these allegations and they are thereby led to be lax and unmindful. The true dou'at guided by the Sunnah must watch out, lest they be affected by the lusts and whims of society.

4- Men have the original right in da'wah activities to take the lead as was the case in the age at the Prophet, sallallaahu alayhe wa sallam, and the excellent generations that followed. Women's role in da'wah work is undeniable, provided the appropriate guidelines are adhered to.

Second: Objectives of the Program:

As the Prophet, sallallaahu alayhe wa sallam, saw a need to set aside a specific time to address the needs of women in his community, so organizations should try to tailor their da'wah work to the women and issues of the communities. Any da'wah program directed towards women should strive to, at least, serve the following ends:

Strengthening the Emaan: This comes about by increasing worship, remembrance of Allah (thikr), and reflection on Allah's names, and His power and creation in ourselves and in the universe. There is great power in reflection. And its positive impact on one's heart and emaan is almost limitless. This however, would not be possible without the inculcation of the right understanding of certain issues related to our aqeedah; the emphasis has to be on Tawheed.

Increasing knowledge: Without it one cannot achieve much. Special emphasis has to be put on the basics of Islam and on subjects that the da'iyah needs in her environments. Knowledge should be spread about deviant thoughts, ideas, groups and sects. Awareness must be raised concerning those who do not like to see the spreading of Islam and who are gaining grounds in the hearts and minds of people.

Building of the da'wah personality: Da'wah requires sacrifices and therefore women must be prepared to bear the burdens of calling to Islam. This comes through awakening them to the conditions of the Muslims and the endeavors of the enemies of Islam. Leadership, responsibility and individual initiative should be taught. Theoretical and practical educational faculties must be nurtured. The da'iyah must be taught the necessary social skills and the importance of da'wah through good example and conduct. They also must be taught the value of time, its management and how to use halal fun activity during their times of leisure.

Building up immunity to sin: This includes recognizing the ills of sins, particularly those relating to women, and blocking the way to them by shunning the means leading to them and the places where they exist.

Third: Training

A- On the theoretical side of this step, preparation may need to consider these aspects:

1- Educational preparation through providing a good presentation of appropriates materials. Islam gave women the rights to education. The knowledge meant to be attained, is that which is helpful to women in da'wah, like the shari'ah branches and the disciplines leading to understanding them. But seeking knowledge should not be a barrier to giving da'wah, as is the case with many today. Balance must be maintained.

2- Psychological preparation by ensuring that the women callers have faith in Allah sincerity, hopefulness, coverage in truth, pride in Islam, patience, and knowledge of the conditions and environments of those they are addressing. This is a very important aspect of preparedness, because the preacher is tied to the people, who have different characters and inclinations.

3- Social preparation by having the women da'iyat live an Islamic life in the family and society in a practical application of Islam. They should abide by the ethics of Islam and of the da'wah. Capping the elements of social preparation is the feeling that the da'wah is a right to all people that must reach them with sincerity, generality, honesty, gentleness and meekness.

B- Adequate practical training and preparation is must:

This involves training female callers in speaking and writing to be able to bring Allah's religion to the people through speeches, lessons, lectures, and writing. These are the methods of addressing people with the da'wah and they complete the theoretical preparation and ensure that it bears fruit. This aspect has largely been neglected resulting in severe shortcomings in the da'wah.

Da'iyat delivering lectures, seminars, sermons, etc. should be able to persuade the listeners by addressing their minds through proofs and evidence. They should also be able to arouse their passions, emotions, and feelings. Those making speeches and addresses must be well versed in the art and its importance, and should also practice delivering speeches to women in mosques, schools, or other places where women gather. They should also watch over and guide women trainees, and gently correct their mistakes.

Writing and publishing must not be neglected in an age when people are easily reached by and engrossed in all sorts of books, booklets, newspapers, and articles. Writings should both be eloquent and convincing, through sincere, sound and documented arguments. Writing is the form of da'wah which is in many ways one of the most appropriate and important means for women. They can write at home and thus make use of their spare time. They can in this way reach all classes of society.

AREAS of Da'wah for WOMEN

The educational field: These are related to the ennoblement of the spirit and the purification of the soul through faith. The minds and souls can thus be touched. These fields are to be found in mosques, schools, associations, da'wah groups, and others.

The social field: These relate to bodily and psychological health as well as to social development and interaction between people that reflect positively on the realization of spiritual education and the formation of Muslim character.

Both sides, spiritual and physical, are tied together and they should both be fulfilled in balance. To give the upper hand to the soul would be asceticism, and to the body would be hedonism. Fulfilling the physical needs has often been cause for many people embracing the guidance of Islam. Preachers of Christianity today, concentrate on this approach. It is difficult for the hungry, the naked, or the sick and homeless to listen to sermons.

More specific example of what women can take part in as da'wah are:

1. The Home: This is surely the most fertile and most effective channel. Allah has ordained both husbands and wives as nurtures for each other and the family. The mother shares with the father the responsibilities of educating and nurturing in all physical, moral, psychological, social, and external aspects each other and their children. Members of the family are gathered together in the home for many hours and this creates harmony among them as well as affords an opportunity for presenting good examples and guidance.

2. The Muslim Community: Charity, advice, and direction can be offered to relatives, neighbors, and the needy.

3. The Islamic School: Educational activities and curriculums can be used for the guidance of girl students as well as women teachers and staff.

4. The Masjid: Women should be allowed to go to the masajid to benefit from the lessons held there. The masjid is a suitable place for some of the women activities like Qur'an study groups and other training.

5. Hospitals, Prisons, and Social Welfare Institutions, Women's Colleges or Universities. "Women-only conferences can also be incorporated into an already scheduled major conferences, thus providing them with someone to travel with," Dr. Hamdan says.

"Also, da'wah work can be done on an individual level; such as with friends, families, peers, particularly those who are not Muslims, "said Dr. Hamdan. "Many women who have converted to Islam have families who are non-Muslim and this is a prime, although challenging, opportunity to do da'wah work."

What the Qur'an and Sunnah Said:

Muslim Women, Callers and Called

Certainly, the injunctions of Islam, from the Qur'an and the Sunnah, cover and apply to both males and females. Male pronouns were usually used mostly, only because that is the custom of the language. Nevertheless, there are certain injunctions that are exclusively meant for men. And at the same time, Allah has enjoined things upon women only. This shows that they have a character and a personality independent of men. This stresses the need to address women with the da'wah, education, reform, and guidance, in a way that is specific to them. They should not be ignored. It was on account of this that the Prophet, sallallaahu alayhe wa sallam, addressed women specifically, especially after addressing men, and that he fixed a special day of the week on which he taught them alone.

Qur'an tells us that man is responsible for his home and family, "O you who believe! Ward off from yourselves and your families a Fire (Hell) whose fuel is men and stones, over which are angel stern and severe," [66:6]. And the Prophet, sallallaahu alayhe wa sallam, also said, "The man is a shepherd of his family and he is responsible for his guardianship." (Bukhari and Muslim) In another hadeeth, the Prophet's, sallallaahu alayhe wa sallam, told of a double reward for the man who teaches well, cultivates and then frees any female-slave he has. (Bukhari) This surely stresses the need for the education of and care for women. On the other hand, there are many evidences from the Qur'an and the Sunnah that testify to the fact that women are also obligated to do da'wah work:

1- There many verses in the Qur'an that obligate Muslim men and women to do da'wah, and enjoin good and forbid evil. For example, Allah says, "Let there arise out of you a group of people inviting to all that is good (Islam),
enjoining good and forbidding evil. And it is they who are the successful." [3:104]

2- Women have been expressly addressed with the duty of the da'wah because Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala, says, "O wives of the Prophet! You are not like any other women. If you keep your duty (to Allah) then be not soft in speech, lest he in whose heart is a disease should be moved with desire, but say that which is Ma'roof (good)." [33:32] Ibn Abbas understood Allah's injunction to the Prophet's wives, to "say good," to mean that they have to enjoin what is good and forbid what is evil. This can be taken as a general address to all Muslim women. Allah also says, "The believers, men and women are Auliya (helpers, protectors) of one another, they enjoin the good and forbid the evil, they perform salah and give away zakah and obey Allah." [9:71] It is clear in this verse that women are addressed with this task, just as men, whenever they are capable of discharging it. The Prophet, sallallaahu alayhe wa sallam, said, "The woman is a steward of her husband's home and children and she is responsible for them." A steward here is a person entrusted with what has been put in his charge, cherishing and preserving it.

Furthermore, the following points, when properly put into perspective, also lead to the understanding that women are as responsible for carrying out da'wah as men are:

a) Because Islam prohibits the free intermingling of men and women, and the maintenance of hijab, it becomes vital, as well as practical, to have qualified women to do da'wah work among women in the community.

b) Some of the shari'ah rulings were reported from the Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, only through women companions.

c) Sometimes, it is difficult for the male-dou'at to carry out all that the da'wah among women requires because women have some private conditions that they may not feel comfortable revealing to men, and would rather convey them only to other women.

What We Sow We Reap

1. Banishing ignorance, increasing intellectual broad-mindedness, and the creation of qualified women da'wah cadres. These results have a lasting and beneficial influence, not only on women and the Muslim community, but also on the whole society at large.

2. Rectifying conduct and restitution of many erroneous practices that have come to be social phenomenon in many societies.

3. Da'iyat will develop maturity and show more disciplined characters. This in turn will result in stronger relationships between men and women.

4. Women's place and status in Islam would be highlighted and Muslim women would attain a better awareness of their rights and duties.

5. Efforts would be geared toward the cultivating of our young people, in order to ensure the Ummah, virtuous Muslims in the generations to come.

6. A sense of belonging to Islam would be fostered, and the key Muslim rite of enjoining good and forbidding the evil would be upheld.

7. An important financial tributary for da'wah work would be secured; i.e., women's charitable spending.

It is time that Muslims who profess to follow the Sunnah rethink the issue of dawah among women and by women. We should remember Khadijah, Aisha, Sumayyah, and many other Muslim women throughout our history, and what they did for Islam and learn from it. We also have to realize that mere talk and emotionalism are useless. We need to do something about our immediate situation now. Education, preparation, and qualification of women will be the key to our future success. Throughout history, the yardstick used to measure the well being of any society has been the condition of its women. Let us therefore, strive to improve the intellectual, spiritual and emotional condition of the Muslim woman by allowing her to fulfill all the God-given abilities and responsibilities made incumbent on her.

By Abdul Lateef M. al-Hassan & Sumayyah bint Joan  -  al-Jumu'ah Magazine

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Monday, 5 January 2015

The Hijab as Da'wah

Most Muslims are familiar with the various reasons that Allah has required women to wear hijab: The hijab reflects modesty, purity and respect; it lessens temptation so that more serious sins will be avoided; it protects women from the harm and molestation of evil men; a woman who wears hijab will be evaluated for her intelligence and skills rather than her appearance.

One important aspect that is often overlooked, however, is that the hijab is a symbol of Muslim identity. A woman who covers her head is making a statement that she is a member of the Muslim community and that she follows a particular code of moral conduct.

Allah says: "O Prophet, tell your wives and daughters and the believing women to draw their outer garments around them. That is more suitable that they will be known (as Muslims and chaste believing women) and not be abused." [Qur'an, 33:59]

"...that they will be known..." In America, where Islam is the fastest growing religion (alhumdullilah), many people are coming to know what this head covering really signifies and to understand the religion that mandates it. The hijab, in effect, is an amazingly powerful tool for dawah; one that Muslims themselves are probably not even aware of. As with any tool, the key for effectiveness is appropriate and knowledgeable use.

The most obvious first step would be for Muslim women to actually wear the hijab. It is a tragic and upsetting phenomenon to see so many Muslims dressing in the manner of the disbelievers (blue jeans, T-shirts, short skirts, even shorts). The Prophet, sallalahu allahe wa salam, said; "Whoever resembles a people is one of them." (Abu Dawood). This is not only happening in America and other Western countries as people attempt to assimilate and adopt the practices of the prevailing culture, but it is also occurring in Muslim countries at an alarming rate.

A woman who refuses to wear the hijab is disobeying Allah and committing a serious sin, putting worldly pleasures above spiritual attainment, and neglecting her duty to the religion of Islam. Many scholars agree that the only reason a Muslim may live in a non-Muslim country is to conduct dawah and bring people to the true religion. How can a woman perform dawah for Islam when she is not even practicing it herself? To do this would be a form of hypocrisy and it will not be successful.

Once a woman begins to wear hijab she completes a large portion of her responsibility for dawah with very little effort. Each time that she goes to the grocery store, the library, to work, to school, or to any other public place, she is spreading the magnificent message of Islam. This is not only because of the outer hijab that she wears, but more importantly, the modesty of her behavior that accompanies it. When a woman refrains from flirting with men, limits physical contact, and is reserved and respectful, people may become curious and want to learn more about this intriguing faith. It may just sow the seeds of something wonderful.

At the University where I teach (which happens to be a private, Catholic school), women are often interested in my manner of dress and demeanor. Each semester I have at least one student who requests my involvement in a project for another class, usually comparative religions. They are surprised when they learn the rationale for this injunction and the fact that it was part of their religious heritage as well. If I chose not to wear hijab, I would miss these wonderful opportunities to share the beauty, peace and universality of my faith.

When there is the possibility for further discussion with those who are interested, knowledge and understanding of the topic are imperative. A very effective technique is to relate the concept to something that is familiar to the other person. Some examples of questions that could be posed include:

•"Did you every wonder why Mary, the mother Jesus (alayhes salam) wore clothing very similar to that of Muslims?"

•"Why do Catholic nuns dress the way they do?"

•"Did you know that in the Canon laws of the Catholic church today there is a law that requires women to cover their heads in church?"

•"Have you read in I Corinthians (Bible, 11:3-10) the verses that Paul wrote: 'Every man who prays of prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head. And evey woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head - it is just as though her head were shaved. If a woman doesn't cover her head, she should have her hair cut off; and if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut off or shaved off, she should cover her head."

•"Did you know that there are some Christian denominations, namely the Amish and the Mennonites, who still require women to wear the head covering?"

•"Were you aware that is was the custom of Jewish women to go out in public with a head covering and that some denominations still practice this today?"

These discussion points demonstrate the obvious fact that the head cover was not introduced by Islam, but rather that this requirement has been in place for thousands of years. This can also be a cogent segue to more crucial topics such as the fact that Moses, alayhes salam, Jesus, alayhes salam and Muhammad, sallalahu allahe wa salam, were all prophets of the same God and that they each carried the same basic message. Islam corrected the errors that had been introduced into previous revelations by humans and completed the process that was planned by Allah.

We should be proud to be Muslim. We should also be grateful for the gift that Allah has given to each one of us: The perfect truth of Islam that is our key to paradise. All others are being deluded by Satan and following paths to destruction. With our gift comes the responsibility to share the truth with those who are less fortunate. We are all responsible to carry the light of Islam. The hijab is an outward manifestation of this light that burns within, and it can be an effective tool for fulfillment of our obligation. We choose whether to develop this light into a bright, radiant star or let it be extinguished by foolish and selfish desires.

May Allah guide each of us to the true path.Ameen!

By Dr Aisha Hamdan