Saturday, June 15, 2013

Some characteristics of the believers

Describing some of the characteristics of the believers, the Quran says in chapter 25 verses 63-68:

وَعِبَادُ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الَّذِينَ يَمْشُونَ عَلَى الْأَرْضِ هَوْنًا وَإِذَا خَاطَبَهُمُ الْجَاهِلُونَ قَالُوا سَلَامًا
وَالَّذِينَ يَبِيتُونَ لِرَبِّهِمْ سُجَّدًا وَقِيَامًا
وَالَّذِينَ يَقُولُونَ رَبَّنَا اصْرِفْ عَنَّا عَذَابَ جَهَنَّمَ ۖ إِنَّ عَذَابَهَا كَانَ غَرَامًا
إِنَّهَا سَاءَتْ مُسْتَقَرًّا وَمُقَامًا
وَالَّذِينَ إِذَا أَنفَقُوا لَمْ يُسْرِفُوا وَلَمْ يَقْتُرُوا وَكَانَ بَيْنَ ذَ‌ٰلِكَ قَوَامًا
وَالَّذِينَ لَا يَدْعُونَ مَعَ اللَّهِ إِلَـٰهًا آخَرَ وَلَا يَقْتُلُونَ النَّفْسَ الَّتِي حَرَّمَ اللَّهُ إِلَّا بِالْحَقِّ وَلَا يَزْنُونَ ۚ وَمَن يَفْعَلْ ذَ‌ٰلِكَ يَلْقَ أَثَامًا

And the servants of (Allah) Most Gracious are those who walk on the earth in humility, and when the ignorant address them, they say, "Peace!"; Those who spend the night in adoration of their Lord prostrate and standing; Those who say, "Our Lord! avert from us the Wrath of Hell, for its Wrath is indeed an affliction grievous,- "Evil indeed is it as an abode, and as a place to rest in"; Those who, when they spend, are not extravagant and not niggardly, but hold a just (balance) between those (extremes); Those who invoke not, with Allah, any other god, nor slay such life as Allah has made sacred except for just cause, nor commit fornication; - and any that does this (not only) meets punishment.

The Quran also says in Chapter 23 verses 1-11 the following:

قَدْ أَفْلَحَ الْمُؤْمِنُونَالَّذِينَ هُمْ فِي صَلَاتِهِمْ خَاشِعُونَ
وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ عَنِ اللَّغْوِ مُعْرِضُونَ
وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ لِلزَّكَاةِ فَاعِلُونَ
وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ لِفُرُوجِهِمْ حَافِظُونَ
إِلَّا عَلَىٰ أَزْوَاجِهِمْ أَوْ مَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُهُمْ فَإِنَّهُمْ غَيْرُ مَلُومِينَ
فَمَنِ ابْتَغَىٰ وَرَاءَ ذَ‌ٰلِكَ فَأُولَـٰئِكَ هُمُ الْعَادُونَ
وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ لِأَمَانَاتِهِمْ وَعَهْدِهِمْ رَاعُونَ
وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ عَلَىٰ صَلَوَاتِهِمْ يُحَافِظُونَ
أُولَـٰئِكَ هُمُ الْوَارِثُونَالَّذِينَ يَرِثُونَ
 الْفِرْدَوْسَ هُمْ فِيهَا خَالِدُونَ

The believers must (eventually) win through,- Those who humble themselves in their prayers; Who avoid vain talk; Who are active in deeds of charity; Who abstain from sex, Except with those joined to them in the marriage bond, or (the captives) whom their right hands possess,- for (in their case) they are free from blame, But those whose desires exceed those limits are transgressors;- Those who faithfully observe their trusts and their covenants; And who (strictly) guard their prayers;- These will be the heirs, Who will inherit Paradise: they will dwell therein (for ever).


*********
There are many people in this world who claim to be or identify as Muslim, and I have no right to question the veracity of those who do. Their claims are between themselves and God and it is not my place to dig into people's hearts, for only God knows if one is sincere or not.  At best, I can only look at people's outward actions and words. 

But God does tell us in the Quran what some of the characteristics a believer should possess, and I find many people who say they are Muslim exhibit very little evidence of possessing any of these qualities. For many, being a Muslim is a matter of cultural identification and very little to do with religion. Such Muslims don't pay much attention to what the Quran actually says beyond a few flattering platitudes about it being the pure and unadulterated word of God. 

I invite you to ponder over the above verses and then take a look at the behavior of many Muslims you see around you or deal with and see if they are living up to what is described here. If they are not, it is most likely because they identify as being a cultural Muslim, or, if "religiously observant," they have failed to grasp the true meaning of what it means to be a Muslim and have most likely turned Islam into a performance of a set of rituals with no inner depth of meaning. The Quran says,لَن يَنَالَ اللَّهَ لُحُومُهَا وَلَا دِمَاؤُهَا وَلَـٰكِن يَنَالُهُ التَّقْوَىٰ مِنكُمْ ۚ كَذَ‌ٰلِكَ سَخَّرَهَا لَكُمْ لِتُكَبِّرُوا اللَّهَ عَلَىٰ مَا هَدَاكُمْ ۗ وَبَشِّرِ الْمُحْسِنِينَ --- "It is neither their meat nor their blood that reaches Allah, but it is piety from you that reaches Him...." (22:37) The behavior of both types of people have little or nothing to do with Islam as outlined in the Quran. Many of those who claim to be Muslim routinely exhibit arrogance toward other people, are argumentative and difficult to deal with, rarely pray, either are extravagant in their spending or are outright stingy, are guilty of acts of murder and regularly commit fornication. Furthermore, they very frequently break their promises, and are thus far from being trustworthy, and waste time chatting about foolishness. This is the exact opposite of what God describes as the characteristics of a true believer. 

It is not for me to determine who a Muslim is but God. He outlines what is means to be a true believer in the Quran and this goes well beyond words. But from what I see on a daily basis or witness in the news, many of these people are far from what God has described in the Quran and I wonder on what basis they have a right to be even be called Muslim  because what they are doing has zero sanction in the Quran.

God knows best. 

Friday, June 14, 2013

The rapid rise of Muslims around the world - Abdullah al Andalusi interview with Tariq Ramadan

   

40 Qur'anic supplications which begin with 'Rabbana'

    

There are 40 verses in the Quran which begin with the term Rabbana (رَبَّنَا). This is a supplication which can be roughly translated as "Our Lord."  But what does this term Rabb mean and why is it so important for us to understand what the term means?  In fact, Rabb has three meanings: (1) Lord and Master; (2) Sustainer, Provider, Supporter, Nourisher and Guardian, and (3) Sovereign and Ruler, the one who controls and directs. God is Rabb in all the three meanings of the term. The rational of the basic Qur'anic message - 'serve none but God' - is that since God is man's Rabb - Lord, Sustainer, Provider, Nourisher, etc. He alone should be the object of man's worship and service. See Quran chapter 2 verse 21 which reads:  يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اعْبُدُوا رَبَّكُمُ الَّذِي خَلَقَكُمْ وَالَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ  --- "O ye people! Adore your Guardian-Lord, who created you and those who came before you, that ye may have the chance to learn righteousness."

1.
Our Lord! Accept (this service) from us: For Thou art the All-Hearing, the All-knowing
[2:127]
رَبَّنَا تَقَبَّلْ مِنَّا إِنَّكَ أَنْتَ السَّمِيعُ العَلِيمُ
[البقرة :127]
2.
Our Lord! Make of us Muslims, bowing to Thy (Will), and of our progeny a people Muslim, bowing to Thy (will); and show us our place for the celebration of (due) rites; and turn unto us (in Mercy); for Thou art the Oft-Returning, Most Merciful
[2:128]
رَبَّنَا وَاجْعَلْنَا مُسْلِمَيْنِ لَكَ وَمِن ذُرِّيَّتِنَا أُمَّةً مُّسْلِمَةً لَّكَ وَأَرِنَا مَنَاسِكَنَا وَتُبْ عَلَيْنَآ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ التَّوَّابُ الرَّحِيمُ
[البقرة :128]
3.
Our Lord! Grant us good in this world and good in the hereafter, and save us from the chastisement of the fire
[2:201]
رَبَّنَا آتِنَا فِي الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً وَفِي الآخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً وَقِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ
[البقرة :201]
4.
Our Lord! Bestow on us endurance, make our foothold sure, and give us help against the disbelieving folk
[2:250]
رَبَّنَا أَفْرِغْ عَلَيْنَا صَبْراً وَثَبِّتْ أَقْدَامَنَا وَانصُرْنَا عَلَى القَوْمِ الكَافِرِينَ
[البقرة :250]
5.
Our Lord! Condemn us not if we forget or fall into error
[2:286]
رَبَّنَا لاَ تُؤَاخِذْنَا إِن نَّسِينَا أَوْ أَخْطَأْنَا
[البقرة :286]
6.
Our Lord! Lay not on us a burden Like that which Thou didst lay on those before us
[2:286]
رَبَّنَا وَلاَ تَحْمِلْ عَلَيْنَا إِصْرًا كَمَا حَمَلْتَهُ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِنَا
[البقرة :286]
7.
Our Lord! Lay not on us a burden greater than we have strength to bear. Blot out our sins, and grant us forgiveness. Have mercy on us. Thou art our Protector; Help us against those who stand against faith
[2:286]
رَبَّنَا وَلاَ تُحَمِّلْنَا مَا لاَ طَاقَةَ لَنَا بِهِ وَاعْفُ عَنَّا وَاغْفِرْ لَنَا وَارْحَمْنَا أَنتَ مَوْلاَنَا فَانصُرْنَا عَلَى الْقَوْمِ الْكَافِرِينَ
[البقرة :286]
8.
Our Lord! (they say), Let not our hearts deviate now after Thou hast guided us, but grant us mercy from Thine own Presence; for Thou art the Grantor of bounties without measure
[3:8]
رَبَّنَا لاَ تُزِغْ قُلُوبَنَا بَعْدَ إِذْ هَدَيْتَنَا وَهَبْ لَنَا مِن لَّدُنكَ رَحْمَةً إِنَّكَ أَنتَ الْوَهَّابُ
[8: آل عمران]
9.
Our Lord! Thou art He that will gather mankind Together against a day about which there is no doubt; for Allah never fails in His promise.
[3:9]
رَبَّنَا إِنَّكَ جَامِعُ النَّاسِ لِيَوْمٍ لاَّ رَيْبَ فِيهِ إِنَّ اللّهَ لاَ يُخْلِفُ الْمِيعَادَ
[آل عمران :9]
10.
Our Lord! We have indeed believed: forgive us, then, our sins, and save us from the agony of the Fire
[3:16]
رَبَّنَا إِنَّنَا آمَنَّا فَاغْفِرْ لَنَا ذُنُوبَنَا وَقِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ
[آل عمران :16]
11.
Our Lord! We believe in what Thou hast revealed, and we follow the Messenger. Then write us down among those who bear witness
[3:53]
رَبَّنَا آمَنَّا بِمَا أَنزَلَتْ وَاتَّبَعْنَا الرَّسُولَ فَاكْتُبْنَا مَعَ الشَّاهِدِينَِ
[آل عمران :53]
12.
Our Lord! Forgive us our sins and anything We may have done that transgressed our duty: Establish our feet firmly, and help us against those that resist Faith
[3:147]
ربَّنَا اغْفِرْ لَنَا ذُنُوبَنَا وَإِسْرَافَنَا فِي أَمْرِنَا وَثَبِّتْ أَقْدَامَنَا وانصُرْنَا عَلَى الْقَوْمِ الْكَافِرِينَِ
[آل عمران :147]
13.
Our Lord! Not for naught Hast Thou created (all) this! Glory to Thee! Give us salvation from the penalty of the Fire
[3:191]
رَبَّنَا مَا خَلَقْتَ هَذا بَاطِلاً سُبْحَانَكَ فَقِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ
[آل عمران :191]
14.
Our Lord! Any whom Thou dost admit to the Fire, Truly Thou coverest with shame, and never will wrong-doers Find any helpers!
[3:192]
رَبَّنَا إِنَّكَ مَن تُدْخِلِ النَّارَ فَقَدْ أَخْزَيْتَهُ وَمَا لِلظَّالِمِينَ مِنْ أَنصَارٍ
[آل عمران :192]
15.
Our Lord! We have heard the call of one calling (Us) to Faith, 'Believe ye in the Lord,' and we have believed.
[3:193]
رَّبَّنَا إِنَّنَا سَمِعْنَا مُنَادِيًا يُنَادِي لِلإِيمَانِ أَنْ آمِنُواْ بِرَبِّكُمْ فَآمَنَّا
[آل عمران :193]
16.
Our Lord! Forgive us our sins, blot out from us our iniquities, and take to Thyself our souls in the company of the righteous
[3:193]
رَبَّنَا فَاغْفِرْ لَنَا ذُنُوبَنَا وَكَفِّرْ عَنَّا سَيِّئَاتِنَا وَتَوَفَّنَا مَعَ الأبْرَارِ
[آل عمران :193]
17.
Our Lord! Grant us what Thou didst promise unto us through Thine apostles, and save us from shame on the Day of Judgment: For Thou never breakest Thy promise
[3:194]
رَبَّنَا وَآتِنَا مَا وَعَدتَّنَا عَلَى رُسُلِكَ وَلاَ تُخْزِنَا يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ إِنَّكَ لاَ تُخْلِفُ الْمِيعَاد
[آل عمران :194]
18.
Our Lord! We believe; write us down among the witnesses.
[5:83]
رَبَّنَا آمَنَّا فَاكْتُبْنَا مَعَ الشَّاهِدِينَ
[المائدة :83]
19.
O Allah our Lord! Send us from heaven a table set (with viands), that there may be for us - for the first and the last of us - a solemn festival and a sign from thee; and provide for our sustenance, for thou art the best Sustainer (of our needs)
[5:114]
رَبَّنَا أَنزِلْ عَلَيْنَا مَآئِدَةً مِّنَ السَّمَاء تَكُونُ لَنَا عِيداً لِّأَوَّلِنَا وَآخِرِنَا وَآيَةً مِّنكَ وَارْزُقْنَا وَأَنتَ خَيْرُ الرَّازِقِينَ
[المائدة :114]
20.
Our Lord! We have wronged our own souls: If thou forgive us not and bestow not upon us Thy Mercy, we shall certainly be lost.
[7:23]
رَبَّنَا ظَلَمْنَا أَنفُسَنَا وَإِن لَّمْ تَغْفِرْ لَنَا وَتَرْحَمْنَا لَنَكُونَنَّ مِنَ الْخَاسِرِينَ
[الأعراف :23]
21.
Our Lord! Send us not to the company of the wrong-doers
[7:47]
رَبَّنَا لاَ تَجْعَلْنَا مَعَ الْقَوْمِ الظَّالِمِينَ
[الأعراف :47]
22.
Our Lord! Decide Thou between us and our people in truth, for Thou art the best to decide.
[7:89]
رَبَّنَا افْتَحْ بَيْنَنَا وَبَيْنَ قَوْمِنَا بِالْحَقِّ وَأَنتَ خَيْرُ الْفَاتِحِينَ
[الأعراف :89]
23.
Our Lord! Pour out on us patience and constancy, and take our souls unto thee as Muslims (who bow to thy will)!
[7:126]
رَبَّنَا أَفْرِغْ عَلَيْنَا صَبْرًا وَتَوَفَّنَا مُسْلِمِينَ
[الأعراف :126]
24.
Our Lord! Make us not a trial for those who practise oppression; And deliver us by Thy Mercy from those who reject (Thee) 
[10:85-86]
رَبَّنَا لاَ تَجْعَلْنَا فِتْنَةً لِّلْقَوْمِ الظَّالِمِينَ ; وَنَجِّنَا بِرَحْمَتِكَ مِنَ الْقَوْمِ الْكَافِرِينَ
[يونس :85-86]
25.
O our Lord! Truly Thou dost know what we conceal and what we reveal: for nothing whatever is hidden from Allah, whether on earth or in heaven
[14:38]
رَبَّنَا إِنَّكَ تَعْلَمُ مَا نُخْفِي وَمَا نُعْلِنُ وَمَا يَخْفَى عَلَى اللّهِ مِن شَيْءٍ فَي الأَرْضِ وَلاَ فِي السَّمَاء
[إبرهيم :38]
26.
O our Lord! And accept my Prayer.
[14:40]
رَبَّنَا وَتَقَبَّلْ دُعَاء
[إبرهيم :40]
27.
O our Lord! Cover (us) with Thy Forgiveness - me, my parents, and (all) Believers, on the Day that the Reckoning will be established!
[14:41]
رَبَّنَا اغْفِرْ لِي وَلِوَالِدَيَّ وَلِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ يَوْمَ يَقُومُ الْحِسَابُ
[إبرهيم :41]
28.
Our Lord! Bestow on us Mercy from Thyself, and dispose of our affair for us in the right way!
[18:10]
رَبَّنَا آتِنَا مِن لَّدُنكَ رَحْمَةً وَهَيِّئْ لَنَا مِنْ أَمْرِنَا رَشَدًا
[الكهف :10]
29.
Our Lord! We fear lest he hasten with insolence against us, or lest he transgress all bounds
[20: 45]
رَبَّنَا إِنَّنَا نَخَافُ أَن يَفْرُطَ عَلَيْنَا أَوْ أَن يَطْغَى
[طه :45]
30.
Our Lord! We believe; then do Thou forgive us, and have mercy upon us: For Thou art the Best of those who show mercy
[23: 109]
رَبَّنَا آمَنَّا فَاغْفِرْ لَنَا وَارْحَمْنَا وَأَنتَ خَيْرُ الرَّاحِمِينَ
[المؤمنون :109]
31.
Our Lord! Avert from us the Wrath of Hell, for its Wrath is indeed an affliction grievous,- Evil indeed is it as an abode, and as a place to rest in.
[25: 65-66]
رَبَّنَا اصْرِفْ عَنَّا عَذَابَ جَهَنَّمَ إِنَّ عَذَابَهَا كَانَ غَرَامًا إِنَّهَا سَاءتْ مُسْتَقَرًّا وَمُقَامًا
[الفرقان :65-66]
32.
O my Lord! Grant unto us wives and offspring who will be the comfort of our eyes, and give us (the grace) to lead the righteous
[25:74]
رَبَّنَا هَبْ لَنَا مِنْ أَزْوَاجِنَا وَذُرِّيَّاتِنَا قُرَّةَ أَعْيُنٍ وَاجْعَلْنَا لِلْمُتَّقِينَ إِمَامًا
[الفرقان :74]
33.
Our Lord is indeed Oft-Forgiving Ready to appreciate (service)
[35: 34]
رَبَّنَا لَغَفُورٌ شَكُورٌ
[فاطر :34]
34.
Our Lord! Thy Reach is over all things, in Mercy and Knowledge. Forgive, then, those who turn in Repentance, and follow Thy Path; and preserve them from the Penalty of the Blazing Fire!
[40:7]
آمَنُوا رَبَّنَا وَسِعْتَ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ رَّحْمَةً وَعِلْمًا فَاغْفِرْ لِلَّذِينَ تَابُوا وَاتَّبَعُوا سَبِيلَكَ وَقِهِمْ عَذَابَ الْجَحِيمِ
[غافر :7]
35.
And grant, our Lord! that they enter the Gardens of Eternity, which Thou hast promised to them, and to the righteous among their fathers, their wives, and their posterity! For Thou art (He), the Exalted in Might, Full of Wisdom. And preserve them from (all) ills; and any whom Thou dost preserve from ills that Day,- on them wilt Thou have bestowed Mercy indeed: and that will be truly (for them) the highest Achievement.
[40:8-9]
رَبَّنَا وَأَدْخِلْهُمْ جَنَّاتِ عَدْنٍ الَّتِي وَعَدتَّهُم وَمَن صَلَحَ مِنْ آبَائِهِمْ وَأَزْوَاجِهِمْ وَذُرِّيَّاتِهِمْ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ وَقِهِمُ السَّيِّئَاتِ وَمَن تَقِ السَّيِّئَاتِ يَوْمَئِذٍ فَقَدْ رَحِمْتَهُ وَذَلِكَ هُوَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيمُ
[غافر :8-9]
36.
Our Lord! Forgive us, and our brethren who came before us into the Faith, and leave not, in our hearts, rancour (or sense of injury) against those who have believed.
[59:10]
رَبَّنَا اغْفِرْ لَنَا وَلِإِخْوَانِنَا الَّذِينَ سَبَقُونَا بِالْإِيمَانِ وَلَا تَجْعَلْ فِي قُلُوبِنَا غِلًّا لِّلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا
[الحشر :10]
37.
Our Lord! Thou art indeed Full of Kindness, Most Merciful.
[59:10]
رَبَّنَا إِنَّكَ رَؤُوفٌ رَّحِيمٌ 
[الحشر :10]
38.
Our Lord! In Thee do we trust, and to Thee do we turn in repentance: to Thee is (our) Final Goal
[60:4]
رَّبَّنَا عَلَيْكَ تَوَكَّلْنَا وَإِلَيْكَ أَنَبْنَا وَإِلَيْكَ الْمَصِيرُ
[الممتحنة :4]
39.
Our Lord! Make us not a (test and) trial for the Unbelievers, but forgive us, our Lord! for Thou art the Exalted in Might, the Wise.
[60:5]
رَبَّنَا لَا تَجْعَلْنَا فِتْنَةً لِّلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا وَاغْفِرْ لَنَا رَبَّنَا إِنَّكَ أَنتَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ
[الممتحنة :5]
40.
Our Lord! Perfect our Light for us, and grant us Forgiveness: for Thou hast power over all things.
[66:8]
رَبَّنَا أَتْمِمْ لَنَا نُورَنَا وَاغْفِرْ لَنَا إِنَّكَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ
[التحريم :8]


Tawheed the central message of the Quran


The central message of the Quran is tawheed -- the absolute oneness of God and the sinfulness of ascribing partners to Him -- and in its entirety the Quran seeks to convince people of this reality. Tawheed is the essence of Islam, it is the core of Islam, it is what Islam stands for, and it is the reason why God created us in the first place (see Quran 51 verse 56 and chapter 6 verse 162). All prophets and messengers were sent with the message of tawheed, the Quran itself is a book of taweed. To be a Muslim is to believe in tawheed, and if one negates tawheed they cease being a Muslim. One scholar wrote

"Tawheed is the foundation upon which this upright religion has been built, so focusing on it means to focus on the very core itself. For if we were to reflect over the Noble Qur'aan we would find that it expounds on issues of tawheed repetitively, so much so that there does not exist a single verse of the Qur'aan that does not mention tawheed, clarifying it and prohibiting what opposes it."

When reading the Quran keep in mind that every single verse is pointing us to the reality of tawheed. Failure to understand tawheed properly is a failure to understand the central message of Islam as all other issues or topics are secondary. If you want to know what Islam teaches in a single word the answer is tawheed. When reading the Quran always keep this in mind. Always ask the question during your reading, "How is this verse pointing me towards the message of tawheed?" As a very small sample, here is what the Quran says in chapter 27 verses 61-65:

  أَمَّن جَعَلَ الْأَرْضَ قَرَارًا وَجَعَلَ خِلَالَهَا أَنْهَارًا وَجَعَلَ لَهَا رَوَاسِيَ وَجَعَلَ بَيْنَ الْبَحْرَيْنِ حَاجِزًا ۗ أَإِلَـٰهٌ مَّعَ اللَّهِ ۚ بَلْ أَكْثَرُهُمْ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ
أَمَّن يُجِيبُ الْمُضْطَرَّ إِذَا دَعَاهُ وَيَكْشِفُ السُّوءَ وَيَجْعَلُكُمْ خُلَفَاءَ الْأَرْضِ ۗأَإِلَـٰهٌ مَّعَ اللَّهِ ۚ قَلِيلًا مَّا تَذَكَّرُونَ
أَمَّن يَهْدِيكُمْ فِي ظُلُمَاتِ الْبَرِّ وَالْبَحْرِ وَمَن يُرْسِلُ الرِّيَاحَ بُشْرًا بَيْنَ يَدَيْ رَحْمَتِهِ ۗ أَإِلَـٰهٌ مَّعَ اللَّهِ ۚ تَعَالَى اللَّهُ عَمَّا يُشْرِكُونَأَمَّن يَبْدَأُ الْخَلْقَ ثُمَّ يُعِيدُهُ وَمَن يَرْزُقُكُم مِّنَ السَّمَاءِ وَالْأَرْضِ ۗ أَإِلَـٰهٌ مَّعَ اللَّهِ ۚ قُلْ هَاتُوا بُرْهَانَكُمْ إِن كُنتُمْ صَادِقِينَقُل لَّا يَعْلَمُ مَن فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ الْغَيْبَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ ۚ وَمَا يَشْعُرُونَ أَيَّانَ يُبْعَثُونَ

"Or, Who has made the earth firm to live in; made rivers in its midst; set thereon mountains immovable; and made a separating bar between the two bodies of flowing water? (can there be another) god besides Allah? Nay, most of them know not. Or, Who listens to the (soul) distressed when it calls on Him, and Who relieves its suffering, and makes you (mankind) inheritors of the earth? (Can there be another) god besides Allah? Little it is that ye heed! Or, Who guides you through the depths of darkness on land and sea, and Who sends the winds as heralds of glad tidings, going before His Mercy? (Can there be another) god besides Allah?- High is Allah above what they associate with Him! Or, Who originates creation, then repeats it, and who gives you sustenance from heaven and earth? (Can there be another) god besides Allah? Say, "Bring forth your argument, if ye are telling the truth!" Say: None in the heavens or on earth, except Allah, knows what is hidden: nor can they perceive when they shall be raised up (for Judgment)."

FIFA says turbans are ok


Soccer's world body has struck a blow against Quebec's turban ban, saying such headwear is perfectly acceptable on the pitch.

FIFA said in a statement today it is authorizing the wearing of male head covers at all levels of Canadian soccer.

The statement says the headwear must be the same colour as the jersey, look professional, must not be attached to the jersey and not pose any danger to players.

The FIFA decision extends a decision on female head scarves from October 2012.

Read more


See also: The politics behind Quebec's soccer turban ban

Furqan -- The Criteria


In chapter 25 verses 1-3 it reads: 

تَبَارَكَ الَّذِي نَزَّلَ الْفُرْقَانَ عَلَىٰ عَبْدِهِ لِيَكُونَ لِلْعَالَمِينَ نَذِيرًا

الَّذِي لَهُ مُلْكُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَلَمْ يَتَّخِذْ وَلَدًا وَلَمْ يَكُن لَّهُ شَرِيكٌ فِي الْمُلْكِ وَخَلَقَ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ فَقَدَّرَهُ تَقْدِيرًا
وَاتَّخَذُوا مِن دُونِهِ آلِهَةً لَّا يَخْلُقُونَ شَيْئًا وَهُمْ يُخْلَقُونَ وَلَا يَمْلِكُونَ لِأَنفُسِهِمْ ضَرًّا وَلَا نَفْعًا وَلَا يَمْلِكُونَ مَوْتًا وَلَا حَيَاةً وَلَا نُشُورًا

"Blessed is He Who sent down

the Book of Criteria [the Qur’an]
to His servant [Prophet Muhammad]
to warn all beings.

"He is the One to Whom belongs the Kingdom

of the heavens and earth,
the One Who has begotten no son
and Who never had a partner to rule
and has created everything perfectly
in due proportions.

"Yet the nonbelievers take beside Him gods

who have never created anything,
but they themselves have been created
and cannot harm, nor benefit anyone
and cannot cause death, life or resurrection to anyone."


********************
When it comes to matters of religious beliefs (aqeedah), iman (faith) and worship (Ibadat) which way or system is correct? As human beings we have no way of properly answering this crucial question without divine guidance, otherwise our answer will be something we made up without any real substantive evidence other than our very productive imaginations. So where does this divine guidance come from? And how do we know it is divine guidance we are receiving?  

The Arabic word used for criteria in the first verse above is سورة الفرقان -- Al-furqan. The name Al-furqan refers to the Quran itself as the decisive factor between good and evil. It can also mean to distinguish between what is correct and what is not. In this passage, as with most of the Quran, the oneness of God is being discussed and informs us that to God, and no one else, belongs the kingdom of the heaven and earth. God, in His absolute oneness, did not beget a son for nothing or no one can share in His godhead. And yet humanity, for the most part, has indeed acknowledged and worshiped gods beside God even though these gods are the creation of their hands and minds and thus have no way of helping or hurting anyone, and the instinctively know this to be true. Neither do these false deities possess the ability to cause death, life or resurrection. The Quran has been sent to correct people's thinking regarding these matters and points to the reality of tawheed -- the absolute oneness of God. If there are any disputes or disagreements we can go back to the Quran for clarification and correction for the answer can always be found within its pages. Any system of belief which comes to us and calls us to worship and serve other than God and ascribes to Him partners in godhead is in error. The Quran highlights this point over and over again from cover to cover.

When truth is presented in a clear and concise manner, which the Quran does, error has no choice but to recede into the background. The Quran says is chapter 2 verse 256:

لَا إِكْرَاهَ فِي الدِّينِ ۖ قَد تَّبَيَّنَ الرُّشْدُ مِنَ الْغَيِّ ۚ فَمَن يَكْفُرْ بِالطَّاغُوتِ وَيُؤْمِن بِاللَّهِ فَقَدِ اسْتَمْسَكَ بِالْعُرْوَةِ الْوُثْقَىٰ لَا انفِصَامَ لَهَا ۗ وَاللَّهُ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ

"Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from error: whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah hath grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks. And Allah hears and knows all things."

The Fourth International Conference on the Quranic Studies Oxford, England 13 July 2013



Scriptural studies are central to the understanding of religions that have scriptures at their heart. This is certainly true about the Holy Quran. The conference propounds topics of universal interest with an eye on more pressing areas in the modern times.

Visit the website at http://quran-institute.org.uk/

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Cutbacks to basic science threaten future innovation


Basic research is the seed corn for economic growth


By: Alan I. Leshner 

Hefty federal deficits in Canada and the United States pose a significant threat to fundamental, basic research as some policy-makers seem to value near-term, industry-focused science more highly. That’s short-sighted and a shame. Basic research is the seed corn for economic growth and the foundation from which we build solutions to society’s big problems.

The temptation to favour quick-turnaround, low-risk research is certainly understandable in the face of Canada’s $26-billion federal deficit and America’s goal to close a $744-billion budget gap. Yet basic science, which aims to broadly expand human knowledge, provides a springboard to innovation, and gives rise to new business enterprises. The devaluation of such fundamental efforts therefore will slow, not speed the pace of economic progress over the longer term.

Industry support for science, which surpasses federal contributions in most countries, focuses mainly on short-term, practical efforts to develop new technologies and products. Basic research has traditionally relied upon government funding. In the United States, however, some policy-makers are insisting that every federal research grant must be “certified” as likely to advance specific national priorities. Officials in Canada, meanwhile, recently announced a restructuring of the National Research Council to focus on big projects “directed by and for” Canadian industry, a change aimed at spurring more business support for research. Full article here....

Montreal Muslim Ball Hockey Tournament Video


Montreal Muslim Ball Hockey (MMBH - mmbh.ca) Tournament Video 21 years and going strong: the tradition continues!

Turkish democracy cutting Erdogan down to size


By: Haroon Siddiqui Columnist, Published on Thu Jun 13 2013


He is displaying all the signs of a leader who gets more authoritarian the longer he stays in office and overstays his welcome.

“They call me harsh. But this Tayyip Erdogan won’t change.”

If he doesn’t, the thrice-elected prime minister of Turkey will likely be undone by the democracy he helped build. The man who tamed the powerful military is on the ropes for being dismissive of the voices from the street. The miraculous economic recovery that he brought about is no longer a buffer against the rising tide of popular anger.

The crisis is as prosaic and as democratically profound as that.

In case you forgot


The Quran says in chapter 23 verses 78-85:


وَهُوَ الَّذِي أَنشَأَ لَكُمُ السَّمْعَ وَالْأَبْصَارَ وَالْأَفْئِدَةَ ۚ قَلِيلًا مَّا تَشْكُرُونَ

وَهُوَ الَّذِي ذَرَأَكُمْ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَإِلَيْهِ تُحْشَرُونَ
وَهُوَ الَّذِي يُحْيِي وَيُمِيتُ وَلَهُ اخْتِلَافُ اللَّيْلِ وَالنَّهَارِ ۚ أَفَلَا تَعْقِلُونَ
بَلْ قَالُوا مِثْلَ مَا قَالَ الْأَوَّلُونَ
قَالُوا أَإِذَا مِتْنَا وَكُنَّا تُرَابًا وَعِظَامًا أَإِنَّا لَمَبْعُوثُونَ
لَقَدْ وُعِدْنَا نَحْنُ وَآبَاؤُنَا هَـٰذَا مِن قَبْلُ إِنْ هَـٰذَا إِلَّا أَسَاطِيرُ الْأَوَّلِينَ
قُل لِّمَنِ الْأَرْضُ وَمَن فِيهَا إِن كُنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ
سَيَقُولُونَ لِلَّهِ ۚ قُلْ أَفَلَا تَذَكَّرُونَ

"God gave you the senses of hearing and sight,
as well as creating the heart for reflection.
Yet you show so little gratitude for these blessings.

"And it is God who caused you to multiply
and prosper on earth
and will finally gather all of you [on the Last Day].

"God gives life, causes death,
and controls the sequences of night and day.
Do you not understand and believe?

"The nonbelievers ask
– as did the nonbelievers before them –
when we die and become dust and bones,
how shall we be resurrected again?
This is nothing but an ancient myth.
This is what we and our forefathers
have been promised before;
but resurrection never happened.

"If you ask the doubters,
‘Do you really know
Who owns the earth and everything on it?’
They will say that it belongs to God.
Then say to them,
‘why would you not remember
[and reflect on the resurrection]?’"

******************
Many times it is the case that when someone achieves some level of worldly success -- such as wealth, status, good health or high educational attainments -- they begin to feel pride within their hearts. They forget about God who caused to be put in place those conditions which afforded them the opportunity to achieve what they did. They fail to remember that they were given gifts and certain abilities which are not the outcome of their own doing and thus they can in no way take credit for them.

 As the above Quranic verses indicate, God gave humans the gift of sight, hearing and the ability to think or rationalize. These are not things we attained due to our own goodness or worthiness, but were given freely by God. And yet what does most of humanity do with these gifts? They forget about their true source. They even go so far as to deny that God exists. They instead use these precious God-given abilities to commit acts of disobedience. They use their eyes to look at the haram. The use their ears to listen to things which God told us to stay away from. And they use their intellect to think up new ways to disobey God, dispute with Him, or deny that He exists! These gifts help them to get along  in life so that they can survive and earn a living, but not one word of thanks to God is uttered. They even feel disdain over the very thought of doing so. "Why should I thank God for what I have worked hard for?" they ask. Furthermore, they will say, "God did not help me at all. What I have achieved is a result of my own hard work and perseverance and if other people did not attain what I did it is because they are either lazy or have some other moral deficiency. The very fact I have got this far is due to my superior abilities."  There is no doubt their abilities are remarkable, but what is more remarkable is how they can deny the truth in such a brazen fashion. And God says in the Quran in chapter 14 verse 34 -- وَآتَاكُم مِّن كُلِّ مَا سَأَلْتُمُوهُ ۚ وَإِن تَعُدُّوا نِعْمَتَ اللَّهِ لَا تُحْصُوهَا ۗ إِنَّ الْإِنسَانَ لَظَلُومٌ كَفَّارٌ  -- "And He gives you of all that ye ask for. But if ye count the favors of God, never will ye be able to number them. Verily, man is given up to injustice and ingratitude." Also, in chapter 27 verse 73 the Quran says:  وَإِنَّ رَبَّكَ لَذُو فَضْلٍ عَلَى النَّاسِ وَلَـٰكِنَّ أَكْثَرَهُمْ لَا يَشْكُرُون  -- "But verily thy Lord is full of grace to mankind: Yet most of them are ungrateful." And, in chapter 39 verse 49: فَإِذَا مَسَّ الْإِنسَانَ ضُرٌّ دَعَانَا ثُمَّ إِذَا خَوَّلْنَاهُ نِعْمَةً مِّنَّا قَالَ إِنَّمَا أُوتِيتُهُ عَلَىٰ عِلْمٍ ۚ بَلْ هِيَ فِتْنَةٌ وَلَـٰكِنَّ أَكْثَرَهُمْ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ ---"Now, when trouble touches man, he cries to Us: But when We bestow a favor upon him as from Ourselves, he says, "This has been given to me because of a certain knowledge (I have)!" Nay, but this is but a trial, but most of them understand not!"

See how such people forget God? See how the very favors they have been granted ends up being a source of their own destruction? They have deluded themselves into thinking that God had nothing to do with their success and that their superior abilities will protect them from all harm and help them rise above any calamities.   So many people have made this mistake, in fact countless millions. They forget God's favors and, in the process, fall into utter unbelief. 

But, as the above passage reminds us, it is God who causes one to prosper. Furthermore, it is God to whom we shall return and we will be held accountable for what we did with the gifts we have been given and whether we remembered to thank God for those gifts. 

Those who refuse to believe will say all this talk of a Day of Judgement is utter nonsense and that they have heard this warning all their lives and yet nothing has taken place. This, they say, is an ancient myth originating from people filled with superstitions.  Such people have embraced the mistaken belief that because something always was, it will always be. The Day of Judgement has not taken place -- despite numerous warnings -- and so they have come to the conclusion that it will never take place and feel secure in embracing that position. 

But God calls on us to reflect on the absolute assurance that we all will be resurrected and stand before Him for judgement. This thought alone should cause us to reflect and see the ephemeral nature of our earthly existence.  All of our puffing up with pride and boasting will do us no good and, in fact, will be a source of grief unless we turn in humble repentance and acknowledge that God is the source of all our our blessings.

This is not to say that we are not permitted the good and wholesome things of this life and the fruit of our labors, only that we put things in proper perspective and give God the proper acknowledgement. The Quran says in chapter 28 verses 60-61 the following:

وَمَا أُوتِيتُم مِّن شَيْءٍ فَمَتَاعُ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَزِينَتُهَا ۚ وَمَا عِندَ اللَّهِ خَيْرٌ وَأَبْقَىٰ ۚأَفَلَا تَعْقِلُونَ
أَفَمَن وَعَدْنَاهُ وَعْدًا حَسَنًا فَهُوَ لَاقِيهِ كَمَن مَّتَّعْنَاهُ مَتَاعَ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا ثُمَّ هُوَ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ مِنَ الْمُحْضَرِينَ

"Whatever you acquire or achieve on earth
is good only for the enjoyment of this worldly life,
while that which God has in store for you
in the Hereafter
is far better and lasts longer.
Why can you not understand?

"Consider whether these two things are the same.
First; We promised one person
the best of all things in the Hereafter
and that person believes it to be true.
To a second person
We give abundant enjoyment
only of this worldly life,
but on the Day of Judgment,
the latter will be one of those
brought up for punishment."

and

قُلْ مَنْ حَرَّمَ زِينَةَ اللَّهِ الَّتِي أَخْرَجَ لِعِبَادِهِ وَالطَّيِّبَاتِ مِنَ الرِّزْقِ ۚ قُلْ هِيَ لِلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا خَالِصَةً يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ ۗ كَذَ‌ٰلِكَ نُفَصِّلُ الْآيَاتِ لِقَوْمٍ يَعْلَمُونَ

لْ إِنَّمَا حَرَّمَ رَبِّيَ الْفَوَاحِشَ مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا وَمَا بَطَنَ وَالْإِثْمَ وَالْبَغْيَ بِغَيْرِ الْحَقِّ وَأَن تُشْرِكُوا بِاللَّهِ مَا لَمْ يُنَزِّلْ بِهِ سُلْطَانًا وَأَن تَقُولُوا عَلَى اللَّهِ مَا لَا تَعْلَمُونَ

"Say: Who hath forbidden the beautiful (gifts) of Allah, which He hath produced for His servants, and the things, clean and pure, (which He hath provided) for sustenance? Say: They are, in the life of this world, for those who believe, (and) purely for them on the Day of Judgment. Thus do We explain the signs in detail for those who understand.

"Say: the things that my Lord hath indeed forbidden are: shameful deeds, whether open or secret; sins and trespasses against truth or reason; assigning of partners to Allah, for which He hath given no authority; and saying things about Allah of which ye have no knowledge."


In relation to what I have written above, consider and reflect upon the following verse from the Quran chapter 27 verse 60 which reminds us once again that God is the source of everything we possess:


أَمَّنْ خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ وَأَنزَلَ لَكُم مِّنَ السَّمَاءِ مَاءً فَأَنبَتْنَا بِهِ حَدَائِقَ ذَاتَ بَهْجَةٍ مَّا كَانَ لَكُمْ أَن تُنبِتُوا شَجَرَهَا ۗ أَإِلَـٰهٌ مَّعَ اللَّهِ ۚ بَلْ هُمْ قَوْمٌ يَعْدِلُونَ

Is it not God alone
who sends down rain from the sky,
whereby beautiful gardens and trees grow?
For you to grow these trees would not be possible
without the One God
who is indeed partner to no other being.
People who believe in a god with partners
deviate from the Truth.   

And the believers say:  وَمِنْهُم مَّن يَقُولُ رَبَّنَا آتِنَا فِي الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً وَفِي الْآخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً وَقِنَا عَذَابَ -- "And there are men who say: "Our Lord! Give us good in this world and good in the Hereafter, and defend us from the torment of the Fire!" (2:201)