Unconditional Charity…

In the name of Allah, most Gracious, most Merciful.

Last weekend was the Salvation Army’s Door Knock Appeal and when I heard about it, I thought about whether or not I would donate to the cause and it reminded me of a story I read as a kid about the Prophet Ibrahim (A.S) or Abraham (PBUH).

Ibrahim (A.S) would never touch food unless there was a beggar in his house, when no beggars visited in a few days, he began to wonder if it was through some fault of his own that God had not sent a beggar to him. Eventually, a beggar came knocking at his door and when he inquired, he learnt that the beggar was a Magian or Fire worshipper. Ibrahim (A.S) proclaimed, ” I cannot help unbelievers who attribute partners to Allah and wander about in this condition. Go away till you have repented, asked forgiveness of God, embraced Islam and cleaned yourself up. Then you will come back to an open door.” As the begged left, Ibrahim heard these words from above: ” Ibrahim, since I, with my Godhead, do not deny him sustenance, despite the fact that he disobeyed me and committed the one sin I do not pardon, namely that of attributing partners to Me, how could you – My servant – send him away without even a crust of bread? Go and make it up to him at once. If you had done this for your own sake, rather than to please Me, I would have wiped you from My friendship.

Upon receiving this divine command, Ibrahim (A.S) took to the road until he found the beggar. He treated him kindly, invited him into his home and fed him well. Through this generosity and charity, the beggar turned to Allah and was blessed with the honour of true faith.

The story demonstrates the importance of unconditional charity and the value of Da’wah through action. Most people would donate to their own religious groups, the true test arises when you are approached by members of other faiths. I still maintain a preference for Islamic Charitable Organisations and I don’t think there can be anything wrong in that, however, the story of Ibrahim (A.S) encourages us as Muslims to be charitable to all of God’s creation.

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “The believer’s shade on the Day of Resurrection will be his charity.” – Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith 604.

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Lending a helping hand!

In the name of Allah, most Gracious, most Merciful.

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To help a Muslim in some important work and to do it for his sake or to remove his troubles and worries is an act which has been promised much reward by the Prophet. Abdullah bin Omar said that our Holy Prophet said, “’One who helps someone in his need, Allah helps him in his work, and one who removes any worry or trouble of any Muslim, Allah, in return, removes anyone of his worries on the Day of Judgment’. (Abu Daud, Kilab-al-Adab, Bad-al-Muvakhat)

Showing someone the way, sharing someone’s load or helping him with it, and all other acts of public service are included in the acts defined by this Hadith.  “Those who help others are truly much blessed,” as the Hadith says, “Best people are those who are useful to others.”

Hence all occasions of service, big or small, must be sought for; this increases one’s merits. If someone is a victim of tyranny, it is the duty of every Muslim to save him from it.

A Hadith tells us that the  Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) said “A Muslim is the brother of another Muslim”, and “A brother does not leave his brother helpless nor does he lie to him nor yet makes false promises, nor treats him with cruelty.” (Tirmidhi: AI Birr wa-al- Silah)

Another Hadith states that, “If a Muslim is being insulted and degraded and his honour besmirched somewhere and another Muslim leaves him helpless, Allah would leave the latter helpless on occasions when he would need help. And if any Muslim helps him in when he is insulted and degraded, Allah shall help him when he would need help” (Abu Da’ud: Adab)

Helping a Muslim includes appropriate refutal of any wrong charges or insinuations levelled against another Muslim. Abu Darda’ report that our Holy Prophet has said, “One who defends the honour of his brother, Allah keeps the fire of hell away from his face on the Day of Judgment.” (Tirmidhi: al Birr wa al Silah, Chapter 20) *

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* Above post written and researched by a friend and fellow brother in Islam – May Allah reward him.

In the wake of the current crisis in Egypt and the ongoing struggle for Palestine, it is important to understand that as Muslims and as Human Beings, we have certain rights and obligations towards each other.  Remember this when you next see someone in need and if you can assist, do so with sincerity and for no reason but for the abovementioned Hadith. It is important to remind ourselves of such sayings and Hadith so if we are given the opportunity to assist or lend a helping hand, we do so for the right reasons, with the right intentions and Insha Allah we’ll be rewarded.

Following the recent flood crisis in Queensland, an Imam urged his congregation to extend the Muslim brotherhood to the people of Queensland. He emphasised the need and the duty for  Muslims to assist the broader community especially at times of crisis. I believe this is one of the greatest forms of Dawah and is an effective way of displaying our Faith.

I would like to emphasise the principle in the above Hadith and extend it to both, Muslims and non-Muslims. We engage with members of various faiths and beliefs on a daily basis and our religion is on display and under scrutiny 24/7. Islam teaches peace, love, respect and understanding and does not limit it to Muslims only. Sometimes lending a helping hand could make the difference between a Muslim and non-Muslim.

I hope we can implement this in our daily routine, spare a thought for your neighbour, your colleague, the guy on the street or the old lady at the shopping centre. Even the smallest of actions could have ever-lasting effects.

May Allah assist us and allow us the opportunity to assist others.

 

 

 

An Islamic adaptation of the Sabbath…

In the name of Allah, most gracious, most merciful.

I recently became aware of the religious beliefs and rituals of some of the people I work with and I found the idea of the Sabbath very intriguing. Most people know the Sabbath to be the day Jews are forbidden to work,  however from  a Jewish perspective it is more than just rules and restriction.  As Tracey R. Rich puts it, “”it is a precious gift from God, a day of great joy eagerly awaited throughout the week, a time when we can set aside all of our weekday concerns and devote ourselves to higher pursuits.” According to the Torah,  the purpose of Sabbath observance is to remind the Hebrew people of two very important events in history: the creation of the world (Ex. 20:11) and the deliverance from slavery in Egypt (Deut. 5:15). Both highlight the central Jewish religious belief: that there is one, powerful creator God who cares for his people.

People of different religions and faiths observe the Sabbath in different ways and for different reasons. For members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or Mormons, Sunday is a quiet day for church attendance, rest from worldly pursuits, and spiritual reflection. I work very closely with members of the Mormon Church and their beliefs and spirituality have truly inspired me.

While different religions have different interpretations of the Sabbath, the principle remains the same and I believe the principle is Islamic at its core.

Examples of appropriate Sabbath activities include:

  • Attending Church
  • Prayer
  • Reflection & Contemplation
  • Studying scriptures
  • Spending time with family
  • Visiting the sick
  • Physical rest

As a Muslim, I was amazed at the spiritual devotion of the people who observe the Sabbath and I questioned my own devotion and spirituality. I began contemplating an Islamic adaptation the Sabbath.

Based on the principles and teachings of Islam and drawing inspiration from the Jewish and Mormon faiths, I believe we can increase our spirituality and our awareness of God by setting aside Sabbath-like periods in our lives.

Depending on the level of your faith and your circumstances this could be implemented daily, weekly or however you see fit. The frequency and duration is up to the individual, but the intention should be for the pleasure of Allah and to elevate your spirituality.

Examples of appropriate activities from an Islamic perspective would include:

  • Reading Quran
  • Prayer/Dua
  • Reading/Learning Hadith
  • Optional (Nafl)  Prayers
  • Spending time with the family (NO TV)
  • Visiting the sick
  • Fasting
  • Dhikr & the remembrance of Allah
  • Visiting the Mosque (besides the daily prayers)

The key is to avoid all worldly matters and take part in activities that will enhance your spirituality and create a better awareness and understanding of your faith.

Some may argue that we should be practising these activities all the time anyway, even if we do, there can be no harm in setting aside time each day or each week in devotion to your Lord.

I hope we can all benefit from this, set aside some time each day or each week to remove yourself from worldly matters and spend some time contemplating and reflecting on your faith. Insha Allah we will become better Muslims and will better appreciate the bounties of our Lord.

” O ye who believes remember Allah very often and glorify Him morning and evening.” (33:41-2)

” Then do ye remember Me I will remember you.” (2-152)

If those who burnt or threatened to burn the Quran had read the Quran, what would they have found???

Despite the cancellation of Pastor Terry Jones’s “Burn a Quran Day”, there were many copycat incidents reported throughout the world. Shameful as it is, I am convinced that the publicity the Quran and Muslims have received since the incident, though negative, will benefit the religion in many ways – Allah works in mysterious ways.

Anyone who was previously oblivious to Islam and the Quran was suddenly bombarded by the media with all things Muslim and despite the current “Islamophobic” environment; the beauty and truth of Islam will always reach those whom are destined to receive it.

The 9/11-Eid Coincidence also played its part in creating awareness about the month of Ramadhan and the celebration of Eid by Muslims around the world. This year, everyone knew when Ramadhan began and ended, people learnt about the role of the lunar calendar in Islam and everyone became aware of the requirements and rules of fasting. The fact that I received more Ramadhan and Eid messages from (non-Muslim) colleagues and clients this year could not have been a mere coincidence. This awareness alone is enough to bring people to Islam and I think we should capitalise on these situations.

I remember seeing a number of blogs and Facebook groups declaring “Read a Quran Day” instead of “Burn a Quran Day” and it got me thinking, what would they find if they actually read the Quran?

They would find that the 19th chapter of the Quran is named after Jesus’ mother, Mary. They would read that the Quran has high regard for the Virgin Mary:”And [we have propounded yet another parable of God-consciousness in the story of] Mary, the daughter of Imraan…” (66:12)

They would find 73 passages in the Quran detailing the story of Moses and they would read that the Quran says that God bestowed His grace upon Moses and Aaron (37:114), that he was “specially chosen” by God (19:51) and that God bestowed on Moses “wisdom and knowledge” (28:14) as a reward for doing good. In addition, the Book of Moses in the Jewish Bible is described by the Quran as a “Light and Guide” (6:91).

In the Quran they would find a passage that states “Verily, those who have attained to faith, as well as those who follow the Jewish faith, and the Christians, and the Sabians — all who believe in God and the Last Day and do righteous deeds — shall have their reward with their Sustainer; and no fear need they have and neither shall they grieve. (2:62)

Our faiths have so much in common, we need to use these common beliefs to bring people together and put an end to the media’s misinformation of Islam and Muslims. Though it may seem like it at times, the broader community is not out there to put Islam down; they are simply acting and reacting to what they are being fed through the media. It’s up to us to exercise discretion, tolerance and patience to allow the beauty and truth of Islam to be exposed. Sometimes the only thing stopping people from coming to Islam… are Muslims.