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Islam means "submission to God in peace". Islam teaches there is only One God, whose primary name is "Allah" in the Arabic language. Islam is the same essential message given to all the prophets, from Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and finally to the Last Prophet, Muhammad, (peace be upon them all). They all proclaimed the same basic Divine message: worship only God, stop worshipping human beings and other created things There's a different between Islam and Muslims!! What's the purpose of life? What Do You Know About Islam? Not what you have heard about Islam, not what you have seen in the actions of some Muslims, but what do you really know about Islam?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Non-Muslims


غير مسمى



What is Islam?

Islam is not a new religion, but the same truth that God revealed through all His prophets to every people.  For a fifth of the world’s population, Islam is both a religion and a complete way of life.  Muslims follow a religion of peace, mercy, and forgiveness, and the majority have nothing to do with the extremely grave events which have come to be associated with their faith.

Who are the Muslims?
One billion people from a vast range or races, nationalities and cultures across the globe - from the southern Philippines to Nigeria - are united by their common Islamic faith. About 18% live in the Arab world; the world’s largest Muslim community is in Indonesia; substantial parts of Asia and most of Africa are Muslim, while significant minorities are to be found in the Soviet Union, China, North and South America, and Europe.

What do Muslims believe?
Muslims believe in One, Unique, Incomparable God (called Allah in Arabic); in the Angels created by Him; ; in the Angels created by Him; in the prophets through whom His revelation were brought to mankind; in the Day of Judgement and individual accountability for actions; in God’s complete authority over human destiny and in life after death.  Muslims believe in a chain of prophets  starting with Adam and including Noah, Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Job, Moses, Aaron, David, Solomon, Elias, Jonah, John the Baptist, and Jesus, peace be upon them.  But God’s final message to man, a reconfirmation of the eternal message and a summing-up of all that has gone before was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) through Angel Gabriel.

How does someone become a Muslim?
Simply by saying ‘there is no god worthy of worship besides God (Allah), and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. By this declaration the believer announces his or her faith in all God’s messengers, and the scriptures they brought.

What Is Ka'bah?
The Ka’bahah is the place of worship which God commanded Prophets  Abraham and Ishmael to build over Four thousand years ago. The building was constructed of stone.

Who is Muhammad peace be upon him ?
Muhammad (pbuh ) was born in Makkah in the year 570, at a time when Christianity was not yet fully established in Europe.  Since his father died before his birth, and his mother shortly afterwards, he was raised by his uncle from the respected tribe of Quraysh.  As he grew up, he became known for his truthfulness, generosity and sincerity, so that he was sought after for his ability to arbitrate in disputes.  The historians describe him as calm and meditative.
Muhammad (pbuh) was of a deeply religious nature, and had long detested the decadence and idolatry of his society.  It became his habit to meditate from time to time in the Cave of Hira near the summit of Jabal al-Nur, the ‘Mountain of Light’ near Makkah.
How did he become a prophet and a Messenger of God?
At the age of 40, while engaged in a meditative retreat, Muhammad ( pbuh ) received his first revelation from God through the Angel Gabriel.  This revelation, which continued for twenty-three years, is known as the Qur’an.
As soon as he began to recite the words he heard from Gabriel, and to preach the truth which God had revealed to him, he and his small group of followers suffered bitter persecution, which grew so fierce that in the year 622 God gave them the command to emigrate.  This event, the Hijirah, [migration], in which they left Makkah for the city of Madeenah some 260 miles from Mekkah.


How did the spread of Islam affect the world?
Among the reasons for the rapid and peaceful spread of Islam was the simplicity of its doctrine. Islam calls for faith in only One God worthy of worship.  It also repeatedly instructs man to use his powers of intelligence and observation.
Within a few years, great civilizations and universities were flourishing, for according to the Prophet ( pbuh ) , ‘seeking knowledge is an obligation for every Muslim. The synthesis of Eastern and Western ideas and of new thought with old, brought about great advances in medicine, mathematics, physics, astronomy, geography, architecture, art, literature, and history.  Many crucial systems such as algebra, the Arabic numerals, and also the concept of the zero (vital to the advancement of mathematics), were transmitted to medieval Europe from Islam.  Sophisticated instruments which were to make possible the European voyages of discovery were developed, including the astrolabe, the quadrant and good navigational maps.

What does ‘Islam’ mean?
The Arabic word ‘Islam’ simply means ‘submission’, and derives from a word meaning ‘peace’.  In a religious context it means complete submission to the will of God. ‘Mohammedanism’ is thus a misnomer because it suggests that Muslims worship Muhammad ( pbuh ) rather than God.  ‘Allah’ is the Arabic name for God, which is used by both Arab Muslims and Arab Christians alike.

Why does Islam often seem strange?
Islam may seem exotic or even extreme in the modern world.  Perhaps this is because religion does not dominate everyday life in the West today, whereas Muslims have religion always uppermost in their minds, and make no division between secular and sacred.  They believe that the Divine Law, the Sharee‘ah, should be taken very seriously, which is why issues related to religion are still so important.

Do Islam and Christianity have different origins?
No. Together with Judaism, they go back to the prophet and patriarch Abraham, and their three prophets are directly descended from his sons - Muhammad from the eldest, Ishmael, and Moses and Jesus from Isaac.  Abraham established the settlement which today is the city of Makkah, and built the Ka‘bah towards which all Muslims turn when the pray.
God commanded Abraham to summon all mankind to visit this place, and when pilgrims go there today the say ‘Here I am O Allah’, in response to Abraham’s summons.
What is the Qur’an?
The Qur’an is a record of the exact words revealed by God through the Angel Gabriel to the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).  It was memorized by Muhammad (pbuh) and then dictated to his Companions, handwritten down by scribes, who cross-checked it during his lifetime. Not one word of its 114 chapters, Suras, has been changed over the centuries, so that the Qur’an is in every detail the unique and miraculous text which was revealed to Muhammad (pbuh)  fourteen centuries ago.

What is the Qur’an about?
The Qur’an, the last revealed Word of God, is the prime source of every Muslim’s faith and practice.  It deals with all the subjects which concern us as human beings: wisdom, doc-trine, worship, and law, but its basic theme is the relationship between God and His creatures.  At the same time it provides guidelines for a just society , proper human conduct and an equitable economic system.

Are there any other sacred sources?
Yes, the sunnah, the practice and example of the Prophet (pbuh), is the second authority for Muslims.  A hadith is a reliably transmitted report of what the Prophet (pbuh) said, did, or approved.  Belief in the sunnah is a fundamental part of the Islamic faith.
Examples of the Prophet’s sayings
The Prophet (peace be upon him ) said:
‘God has no mercy on one who has no mercy for others.’
‘None of you truly believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself.’
‘He who eats his fill while his neighbor goes without food is not a true believer.’
“The truthful and trusty businessman is associated with the prophets, the saints, and the martyrs.’
‘Powerful is not he who knocks the other down, indeed powerful is he who controls himself in a fit of anger.’
‘God does not judge according to your bodies and appearances but He scans your hearts and looks into your deeds.’
‘A man walking along a path felt very thirsty.  Reaching a well he descended into it, drank his fill and came up.  Then he saw a dog with its tongue hanging out, trying to lick up mud to quench its thirst.  The man saw that the dog was feeling the same thirst as he had felt so he went down into the well again and filled his shoe with water and gave the dog a drink.  God forgave his sins for this action.’  The Prophet (pbuh) was asked: ‘Messenger of God, are we rewarded for kindness towards animals?’ He replied, ‘There is a reward for kindness to every living thing.’
From the hadith collections of Bukhaaree, Muslim, Tirmithee and Bayhaqee.

What are the ‘Five Pillars’ of Islam?
They are the framework of the Muslim life: faith, prayer, concern for the needy, self-purification, and the pilgrimage to Makkah for those who are able.
 
1. FAITH
There is no god worthy of worship except Allah and Muhammad is His messenger.  This declaration of faith is called the Shaahadah,  a simple  formula which all the faithful pronounce.  In Arabic, the first part is la ilaaha il - lal - ’laah-’ there is no god except Allah’; ilaaha  (god) can refer to anything which we may be tempted to put in place of God-wealth, power, and like.  Then comes il - lal - ‘laah:’  except Allah’, the creator of all things  The second part of the Shahaadah   is Muhammadun rasoolul-laah ‘Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.’ A Message of guidance has come through a man like ourselves.
 
2. PRAYER
Salaah is the name for the obligatory prayers which are performed five times a day, and are a direct link between the worshipper and God. There is no hierarchical authority in Islam and no priests, so the prayers, are led by a learned person who knows the Qur’an, chosen by the congregation.  These five prayers contain verses from the Qur’an, and are said in Arabic, the language of the Revelation, but personal supplication can be offered in one’s own language. Prayers are said at dawn, noon, mid-afternoon, sunset and nightfall, and thus determine the rhythm of the entire day.  Although it is preferable to worship together in a mosque, a Muslim may pray almost anywhere, such as in fields, offices, factories and universities.  Visitors to the Muslim world and struck by the centrality of prayers in daily life.

A translation of the Call to Prayer is:
Allah is most great.  Allah is most great.
Allah is most great. Allah is most great.
I testify that there is no god except Allah.
I testify that there is no god except Allah.
I testify that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.
I testify that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.
Come to prayer! Come to prayer!
Come to success (in the life and the Hereafter)! Come to success!
Allah is most great. Allah is most great.
There is no god except Allah.

3. THE ‘ZAKAAH’
One of the most important principles of Islam is that all things belong to God, and that wealth is therefore held by human beings in trust.  The word zakaah means both ‘purification’ and growth’.  Our possessions are purified by setting aside a proportion for those in need, and, like the pruning of plants, this cutting back balances and encourages new growth.
Each Muslim calculates his or her own zakat individually.  For most purposes this involves the payment each year of two and a half percent of one’s surplus savings.
A pious person may also give as much as he or she pleases as sadaqah, and does so preferably in secret.
Although this word can be translated as voluntary charity’ it has a wider meaning.  The Prophet (pbuh)  said
‘even meeting your brother with a cheerful face is charity.’
The Prophet (pbuh) said: ‘Charity is a necessity for every Muslim.’  He was asked’ What if a person has nothing?’ The Prophet (pbuh) replied: ‘He should work with his own hands for his benefit and then give something out of such earnings in charity.’  The Companions asked: ‘What if he is not able to work?’ The Prophet (pbuh) said: ‘He should help poor and needy persons.’  The Companions further asked, ‘What if he cannot do even that?’ The Prophet (pbuh) said’ He should urge others to do good.’  The Companions said ‘What if he lacks that also?’ The Prophet (pbuh) said’ He should check himself from doing evil. That is also charity.’

4. THE FAST
Every year in the month of Ramadaan, all Muslim fast from first light until sundown, abstaining from food, drink, and sexual relations.
Those who are sick, elderly, or on a journey, and women who are pregnant or nursing are permitted to break the fast and make up an equal number of days later in the year.  If they are physically unable to do this, they must feed a needy person for every day missed.  Children begin to fast (and to observe the prayer) from puberty, although many start earlier.
Although the fast is most beneficial to the health, it is regarded principally as a method of self purification.  By cutting oneself off from worldly comforts, even for a short time, a fasting person gains true sympathy with those who go hungry which leads to growth in one’s spiritual life.

5. PILGRIMAGE (Hajj)
The annual pilgrimage to Makkah the Hajj - is an obligation only for those who are physically and financially able to perform it.  Nevertheless, about two million people go to Makkah each year from every corner of the globe providing a unique opportunity for those of different nations to meet one another.
Although Makkah is always filled with visitors, the annual Hajj begins in the twelfth month of the Islamic year (which is lunar, not solar, so that Hajj and Ramadan fall sometimes in summer, sometimes in winter).  Pilgrims wear special clothes: simple garments which strip away distinctions of class and culture, so that all stand equal before God.
The rites of the Hajj, which were begun by Prophet Abraham, include circling the Ka’bah seven times, and going seven times between the mountains Safaa and Marwah as Hager did during her search for water.  Then the pilgrims stand together on the wide plain of ‘Arafah and join in prayers for God’s forgiveness, in what is often thought of as a preview of the Last Judgement.

In previous centuries the Hajj was an arduous undertaking.  Today, however, water, modern transport, and the most up-to-date health facilities are provided for the millions who take part in the pilgrimage.

The close of the Hajj is marked bya festival, ‘Eed al-Ad-haa, which is celebrated with prayers and the exchange of gifts in Muslim communities everywhere.  This, and the ‘Eedal-Fitr, a feast-day commemorating the end of Ramadan, are the main festivals of the Muslims’ calendar.

Does Islam tolerate other beliefs?
The Qur’an says:
Allah does not forbid you with regards to those who do not fight you for [your]  faith nor drive you out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them; for Allah loves those who are just. (Qur’an, 60:8)
It is one function of Islamic law to protect the privileged status of minorities, and this is why non-Muslim places of worship have flourished all over the Islamic world.  History provides many examples of Muslim tolerance towards other faiths: when the caliph Omar entered Jerusalem in the year 634, Islam granted freedom of worship to all religious communities in the city.
Islamic law also permits non-Muslim minorities to set up their own courts, which implement family laws drawn up by the minorities themselves.
SIN: According to Islam, man is not born in ‘original sin’. Every child is born with an innate disposition towards virtue, knowledge, and beauty.  Islam considers itself to be the ‘primordial religion’, it seeks to return man to his  original, true nature in which he is in harmony with creation, inspired to do good, and confirming the Oneness of God.

What do Muslims think about Jesus?
Muslims respect and revere Jesus (r), and await his Second Coming.   They consider him one of the greatest of God’s messengers to mankind. The Qur’an confirms his virgin birth (a chapter of the Qur’an is entitled ‘Mary’), and Mary is considered the purest woman in all creation.  The Qur’an describes the Annunciation as follows:
‘Behold!’ the Angel said, ‘God has chosen you, and purified you, and chosen you above the women of all nations.  O Mary, God gives you good news of a word from Him, whose name shall be the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, honored in this world and the Hereafter, and one of those brought near to God.  He shall speak to the people from his cradle and in maturity, and shall be of the righteous.’
She said: ‘O my Lord! How shall I have a son when no man has touched me?’  He said: ‘Even so; Allah creates whatever He wills.  When He decrees a thing, He says to it, “Be!” and it is.’ (Qur’an, 3:42-7)
Jesus (r) was born miraculously through the same power which had brought Adam (r)  into being without a father:
Truly, the likeness of Jesus with God is as the likeness of Adam.  He created him of dust, and then said to him, ‘Be!’ and he was. (3:59)
During his prophetic mission Jesus (r) performed many miracles. The Qur’an tells us that he said:
‘I have come to you with a sign from your Lord: I make for you out of clay, the figure of a bird, and breathe into it and it becomes a bird by Allah’s leave.  And I heal the blind, and the lepers, and I raise the dead by Allah’s leave.(3:49)
Neither Muhammad (r) nor Jesus (r) came to change the basic doctrine of the belief in One God, brought by earlier prophets, but to confirm and renew it.  In the Qur’an Jesus (r) is reported as saying that he came:
‘To attest the law which was before me.  And to make lawful to you part of what was forbidden you; I have come to you with a sign from your Lord, so fear Allah and obey Me.’
(3:50)
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)  said: 
‘Whoever believes there is no god but God, alone without partner, that Muhammad (r) is His messenger, that Jesus is the servant and messenger of God, His word breathed into Mary and a spirit from Him, and that Paradise and Hell are true, shall be received by Allah into Heaven.’
(Hadith from Bukhaaree)

Why is the family so important to Muslims?
The family is the foundation of Islamic society.  The peace and security offered by a stable family unit is greatly valued, and seen as essential for the spiritual growth of its members.  A harmonious social order is created by the existence of extended families; children are treasured, and rarely leave home until the time they marry.

What about Muslim women?
Islam sees a woman, whether single or married, as an individual in her own right, with the right to own and dispose of her property and earnings.  A marriage dowry is given by the groom to the bride for her own personal use, and she keeps her own family name rather than taking her husband’s.
Both men and women are expected to dress in a way which is modest and dignified.  Women are required to cover all of their body except for the face and hands in order to protect their modesty and honor.
The Messenger of God (pbuh) said:
"The most perfect in faith amongst believers is he who is best in manner and kindest to his wife."

Can a Muslim have more than one wife?
The religion of Islam was revealed for all societies and all times and so accommodates widely differing social requirements.  Circumstances may warrant the taking of another wife but the right is granted, according to the Qur’an, only on condition that the husband is scrupulously fair.

Is Islamic marriage like Christian marriage?
A Muslim marriage is not a ‘sacrament’, but a simple, legal agreement in which either partner is free to include conditions.  Marriage customs thus vary widely from country to country.  As a result, divorce is not common, although it is not forbidden as a last resort.  According to Islam, no Muslim girl or boy can be forced to marry against their will: their parents will simply suggest young men or women they think may be suitable.

How do Muslims treat the elderly?
In the Islamic world there are no old people’s homes.  The strain of caring for one’s parents in this most difficult time of their lives is considered an honor and blessing, and an opportunity for great spiritual growth.  God asks that we not only pray for our parents, but act with limitless compassion, remembering that when we were helpless children they preferred us to themselves.
 
Mothers are particularly honored:.  When they reach old age, Muslim parents are treated mercifully, with the same kindness and selflessness.
 
In Islam, serving one’s parents is a duty second only to prayer, and it is their right to expect it.  It is considered despicable to express any irritation when, through no fault of their own, the old become difficult.
 
The Qur’an says: ‘Your Lord has commanded that you worship none but Him, and be kind to parents.  If either or both of them reach old age with you, do not say ‘Uff’ to them or chide them, but speak to them in terms of honor and kindness.  Treat them with humility, and say, ‘My Lord! Have mercy on them, for they cared for me when I was little’. (17:23-4)
  

How do Muslims view death?
Like Jews and Christians, Muslims believe that the present life is only a preparation for the next realm of existence.  Basic articles of faith include: Resurrection the Day of Judgment, Heaven and Hell.
When a Muslim dies, he or she is washed, usually by a family member, wrapped in a clean white cloth, and buried preferably the same day. Simple prayers following Muslims consider this one of the final services they can do for their relatives, and an opportunity to remember their own brief existence here on earth.  The Prophet (pbuh) taught that three things can continue to help a person even after death; charity which he had given, knowledge which he had taught and prayers on their behalf by a righteous child.
What does Islam say about war?
Like Christianity, Islam permits fighting in self-defense, in defense of religion, or on the part of those who have been expelled forcibly from their homes.  It lays down strict rules of combat which include prohibitions against harming civilians and against destroying crops, trees and livestock.  As Muslims see it, injustice would be triumphant in the world if good men were not prepared to risk their lives in a righteous cause.  The Qur’an says:
‘Fight in the cause of God against those who fight you, but do not transgress limits.  God does not love transgressors.’ (2:190)
If they seek peace, then you should also seek peace.  And trust in Allah for He is the One that hears and knows all things. (8:61)
War, therefore, is the last resort, and is subject to the rigorous conditions laid down by the sacred law.
The term jihaad literally means’ struggle’, and Muslims believe that there are two kinds of jihaad.   The outer struggle against the forces of evil and corruption and the inner struggle which everyone wages against egotistic desires, for the sake of attaining inner peace.
What about food?
Although much simpler than the dietary law followed by Jews and the early Christians, the code which Muslims observe forbids the consumption of blood, pork and any kind of intoxicating substances.  The Prophet taught that ‘your body has rights over you’, and the consumption of wholesome food and the leading of a healthy lifestyle are seen as religious obligations.
The Prophet (pbuh) said:
‘Ask God for certainty [of faith]  and well-being; for after certainty, no one is given any gift better than health!’

How does Islam guarantee human rights?
Freedom of conscience is laid down by the Qur’an itself: ‘There is no compulsion in religion’. (2:256)

The life and property of all citizens in an Islamic state are considered sacred whether a person is Muslim or not. Racism is incomprehensible to Muslims, for the Qur’an speaks of human equality in the following terms:
‘O mankind! We created you from a single soul, male and female, and made you into nations and tribes, so that you may come to know one another.  Truly, the most honored of you in Allah’s sight is the greatest of you in piety.  Allah is All-Knowing,
All-Aware. (49:13)
Islam in the United States?
It is almost impossible to generalize about American Muslims: converts, immigrants, factory workers, doctors, all are making their own contribution to America’s future.  This complex community is unified by a common faith, underpinned by a countrywide network of more than a thousand mosques.
Muslims were early arrivals in North America.  By the eighteenth century there were may thousands of them, working as slaves on plantations.  These early communities cut off from their heritage and families, inevitably lost their Islamic identity as time went by.  Today many Afro-American Muslims play an important role in the Islamic community.
The nineteenth century, however, saw the beginnings of an influx of Arab Muslims, most of whom settled in the major industrial centers where they worshipped in hired rooms.  The early twentieth century witnessed the arrival of several hundred thousand Muslims from Eastern Europe: the first Albanian mosque was opened in Maine in 1915; others soon followed, and a group of Polish Muslims opened a mosque in Brooklyn in 1928.
In 1947 the Washington Islamic Center was founded during the term of President Truman, and several nationwide organizations were set up in the fifties.  During the fifties through seventies there was a great influx of Muslims from India and Pakistan who today represent a major segment of immigrant American Muslims.  From the early twenties until the seventies a few Pseudo-Islamic organizations have appeared among indigenous Muslims using Islamic terminology to cover racist un-Islamic teachings: The nation of Islam (commonly called “Black Muslims”), The Moorish Science Temple, The Ansarullah. 
Although they have always remained a small but vocal minority, some of their spokesmen continue to tarnish the image of Islam until today.  Today the Muslim population in America is estimated  by researchers at five to eight millions.


Zakaah Al-Fitr






Meaning

Zakaah al-Fitr is often referred to as Sadaqah al-Fitr. The word Fitr means the same as Iftaar, breaking a fast and it comes from the same root word as Futoor which means breakfast. Thus, Islamically, Zakaah al-Fitr is the name given to charity which is distributed at the end of the fast of Ramadan. 
 
Classification 
Sadaqah al-Fitr is a duty which is Waajib on every Muslim, whether male or female, minor or adult as long as he/she has the means to do so. The proof that this form of charity is compulsory can be found in the Sunnah whereby Ibn `Umar reported that the Prophet (sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam) made Zakaah al-Fitr compulsory on every slave, freeman, male, female, young and old among the Muslims; one Saa` of dried dates or one Saa` of barely.[1] The head of the household may pay the required amount for the other members. Abu Sa'eed al-Khudree said, "On behalf of our young and old, free men and slaves, we used to take out during Allah’s Messenger's (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) lifetime one Saa` of grain, cheese or raisins".
[2]



Significance

The significant role played by Zakaah in the circulation of wealth within the Islamic society is also played by the Sadaqah al-Fitr. However, in the case of Sadaqah al-Fitr, each individual is required to calculate how much charity is due from himself and his dependents and go into the community in order to find those who deserve such charity. Thus, Sadaqah al-Fitr plays a very important role in the development of the bonds of community. The rich are obliged to come in direct contact with the poor, and the poor are put in contact with the extremely poor. This contact between the various levels of society helps to build real bonds of brotherhood and love within the Islamic community and trains those who have, to be generous to those who do not have. 
 



Purpose 


The main purpose of Zakaah al-Fitr is to provide those who fasted with the means of making up for their errors during the month of fasting. Zakaah al-Fitr also provides the poor with a means with which they can celebrate the festival of breaking the fast (`Eid al-Fitr) along with the rest of the Muslims. Ibn Abbaas reported, "The Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) made Zakaah al-Fitr compulsory so that those who fasted may be purified of their idle deeds and shameful talk (committed during Ramadan) and so that the poor may be fed. Whoever gives it before Salaah will have it accepted as Zakaah, while he who gives it after the Salaah has given Sadaqah."[3] Hence, the goal of Sadaqah al-Fitr is the spiritual development of the Believers. By making them give up some of their wealth, the believers are taught the higher moral characteristics of generosity, compassion (sympathy for the unfortunate), gratitude to God and the righteousness. But, since Islam does not neglect man's material need, part of the goal of Zakaah al-Fitr is the economic well-being of the poorer members of society.


Conditions 



Zakaah al-Fitr is only Waajib for a particular period of time. If one misses the time period without a good reason, he has sinned and can not make it up. This form of charity becomes obligatory from sunset on the last day of fasting and remains obligatory until the beginning of Salaah al-'Eid' (i.e. shortly after sunrise on the following day). However, it can be paid prior to the above mentioned period, as many of the Sahaabah [companions of the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam)] used to pay Sadaqah al-Fitr a couple days before the `Eid. Naafi reported that the Prophet's companion Ibn `Umar used to give it to those who would accept it and the people used to give it a day or two before the `Eid.[4] Ibn `Umar reported that the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) order that it (Zakaah al-Fitr) be given before people go to make the Salaah (al-'Eid). And Ibn `Abbaas reported that the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said, "Whoever gives it before the Salaah will have it accepted as Zakaah, while he who gives it after the Salaah (will not, for it will only be considered as) ordinary charity. Therefore, one who forgets to pay this Zakaah al-Fitr on time should do so as soon as possible even though it will not be counted as Zakaah al-Fitr.
 



Rate

The amount of Zakaah is the same for everyone regardless of their different income brackets. The minimum amount is one Saa` (two handfuls ) of food, grain or dried fruit for each member of the family. This calculation is based on Ibn `Umar's report that the Prophet(sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) made Zakaah al-Fitr compulsory and payable by a Saa` of dried dates or a Saa` of barley. The Sahaabee, Abu Sa`eed al-Khudree said, "In the Prophet's time, we used to give it (Zakaah al-Fitr) as a Saa` of food, dried dates, barley, raisins or dried cheese".
[5] 




[1] Collected by Bukhaari - Arabic/English, vol. 2, p. 339, no. 579 

[2] Collected by Muslim - English transl. vol. 2, p. 469, no. 2155 
[3] Collected by Abu Dawood - Eng. transl. vol. 2, p. 421, no. 1605 - rated Sahih by Shaikh Naser Al-Albaani 
[4] Collected by al-Bukhaari - Arabic/English, Vol. 2, p.339, no. 579 
[5] Collected by al-Bukhaari - Arabic/English vol. 2, p. 340, no. 582




  



Ramadan and Fasting


غير مسمى




Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar, can be 29 or 30 days long. An Islamic month begins with the sighting of the new crescent in the western horizon, immediately after sunset. Muslims look toward the western horizon for the
new moon on the 29th day of Sha'ban, the eighth month. If the new moon is sighted, Ramadan has begun with the sunset but fasting begins with the next dawn. If the new moon is not sighted on this 29th day, Muslims complete 30 days of Sha'ban (the previous month) and Ramadan begins the following day.

The Significance of Ramadan and Fasting

God says in the Quran:
"O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you, even as it was
prescribed for those before you, that you may attain
God-consciousness." (Quran 2:183)
"The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Quran, a
guidance for humankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the
criterion. So whoever of you sights (the crescent on the first night of)
the month (of Ramadan) must observe the fasts that month, and
whoever is ill or on a journey, the same number from other days.
God intends for you ease, and He does not want for you difficulty.
(So you) must complete the same number, and that you must
magnify God for having guided you so that you may be grateful to
Him."
(2:185)

Accordingly, the month of Ramadan is called the month of the Quran. Therefore,
Muslims recite the Quran frequently in this month.

Sawm or Fasting

Sawm (fasting) begins with dawn and ends with sunset. Muslims rise before dawn, eat Sahur (pre-dawn meal) and drink an adequate amount of liquids for the preparation of sawm. Eating and drinking stops at dawn. During the day no eating, drinking or sexualas failure can violate the requirements of fasting.

Fasting in the month of Ramadan is an act of worship required of all Muslims who
have attained puberty. Women who are having their menstrual period or who have not fully recovered from childbirth postpone the fast until they are completely out of their given conditions. In addition, those who are ill or on travel may choose to postpone their fast.

Muslims fast because God has commanded them to do so. However, they may also
think about the benefits of fasting that include developing control over hunger, thirst and sexual urges, training to be a good moral person and testing sincerity to the Creator. During the fast, Muslims may conduct their business as usual.

The fast is broken immediately after sunset usually by eating dates and drinking water or juice. However, any lawful food or drink may be used to break the fast. This is followed by the Maghrib salah (after sunset prayer) which is followed by a complete meal. After a brief rest, Muslims go to the mosque to offer the 'Isha salah (night prayer) and then a special night prayer, called taraweeh.

Taraweeh

This nightly congregational salah (prayer) is performed after the regular night prayer. Traditionally, a Hafiz of the Quran, - a person who has memorized the whole Quran (in Arabic) - leads the prayer. He recites the Quran in small portions, in proper sequence, every night and completes the recitation of the whole Quran before the end of the month of Ramadan. Every Muslim who attends such prayers regularly gets the opportunity of listening to the recitation of the whole Quran by the end of the month. If a Hafiz of the Quran is not available, the Muslim who has memorized the most in the group leads the prayer and recites according to his ability. Many Islamic scholars cite the Sunnah (path of the Prophet Muhammad) of the Prophet - may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him - that he always prayed during the night alone at his home whether it was Ramadan or not and same was the habit of many of his great companions.

Ramadan Generosity

The month of Ramadan brings many blessings multiplied for those who do good.
During this month people are more generous, more cordial, friendlier and more ready than other times of the year to do good deeds. The poor and the needy receive food, clothing and money from the well-off in the community. Many people go to the mosque in the neighborhood for fast-breaking and meals. People in the neighborhood send fruit, food and drinks to the mosque - the atmosphere is that of a friendly dinner every evening of the month.

Well-known contributors of the Muslim community find themselves surrounded by the needy people for donations. Zakat, a wealth purifying alms, and donations are given at this time of the year since many Muslims wish to take the opportunity of multiplied rewards from God.

Laylat al-Qadr

This is the night of the Qadr. The term Al-Qadr has been frequently translated as "the power". A better translation may be "the value" or "the decree" because God says the value of this night is greater than one thousand months, a lifetime of over
eighty-three years! God sends His decrees in this night. This is the night when the Quran was first revealed at the time of Prophet Muhammad. God says in the Quran:

"We have indeed revealed this (the Quran) in the Night of Value (or
Measure). And what will explain to you what the Night of Value is?
The Night of Value is better than a thousand months. Therein come
down angels and the Spirit (the angel Gabriel) by God's permission
with all decrees. (That night is) Peace until the rising of the dawn."
(Quran 97:1-5)

The Night of Decree is a gift to mankind from God. However, it is not clear which
night is Laylat al-Qadr. Some reports by companions of the Prophet allude it to be the 27th night of the month of Ramadan, but many more sayings point to any of the odd date nights during the last third of the month of Ramadan. According to authentic teachings of the Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, Muslims are advised to spend the 21st, 23rd, 25th, 27th and 29th nights of Ramadan in worship and doing good works to assure finding Laylat al-Qadr. A portion of Muslims stay up all night in prayers and good works, however, the Prophet and his companions used to sleep at least one-third of the night.

In some Muslim countries, the 27th of Ramadan is a holiday to enable people to rest during the day after all night of worship.[1] Schools are closed from the 27th of Ramadan through the 2nd of Shawwal (5 to 6 days) to combine Laylat al-Qadr and Eid al-Fitr (An Islamic celebration that starts with the end of Ramadan) observances.

I'tekaf or Seclusion

The practice of the Prophet Muhammad was to spend the last ten days and nights of Ramadan in a mosque. Following his practice, it is considered, an act of worship for someone to go in seclusion in a neighborhood mosque. People in seclusion spend their time in various forms of dhikr (remembrance of God), such as performing extra prayers, recitation and study of the Quran, study of the Hadith (sayings of the Prophet Muhammad), and exhorting each other to be good through obeying God and His Messenger. Since people in seclusion are not permitted to go outside the mosque except for emergencies, they sleep in the mosque and use available facilities at the mosque.

The food for the people in seclusion is provided either by their own families or people in the community. Seclusion ends, generally, at the declaration of sighting of the moon or at the end of the month of Ramadan. For busy people a shorter version of seclusion is allowed, such as one night, one day or a few days.

Sadaqat al-Fitr

In general, any material help extended to the poor, needy and to those who ask and
deserve so is called Sadaqah. Sadaqat al-Fitr, which is also called Zakat al-Fitr, is the obligatory material help extended to the poor of the society before the Eid prayers, preferably to be given early enough for the poor to prepare for the celebration. In North America, the estimated amount of $5 to $8 worth of staple food (such as rice) is to be given on behalf of each member of the donor's family, including infants.

Eid al-Fitr

The end of the fasting month is celebrated on the first of Shawwal, the 10th month,
which follows Ramadan. On the 29th of Ramadan after sunset, people go out in the open looking for a new crescent in the western horizon where the sun sets. If the crescent is sighted, the end of Ramadan is declared. If the crescent is not sighted, Ramadan is extended by one day.

On the day of Eid, people take a bath or shower in the early morning, eat breakfast, wear their best clothes, use perfume and proceed to the place of Eid congregation while pronouncing takbeerat, saying, "God is the Greatest, there is no deity but God and all praise belongs to God." Muslims pronounce takbeerat in their homes, in the street and at the place of congregation while waiting for the leader, the Imam. It was the practice of the Prophet Muhammad to hold Eid prayer congregations in open grounds. Following the practice of the Prophet Muslims are advised to hold Eid prayers in open grounds. In Muslim countries with warm climate there are designated Eid prayer grounds. However, in North America Muslims rent halls at convention centers or major hotels.

The Imam leads the prayers at the appointed time, and then delivers a sermon. At the end of the sermon, people supplicate, greet, embrace and congratulate each other for the successful completion of Ramadan and ask God for the acceptance of their efforts in His obedience.

During the day, people visit each other and children receive gifts. In some countries, people go for picnics and other gatherings. Eid celebrations may be arranged at work or at any social settings. Essentially, Eid is a day of thanks to God and a day of meeting family and friends.



Umrah, or Minor Hajj, in Ramadan

There is a report from Prophet Muhammad saying that performing Umrah in the
month of Ramadan is equal to performing a major or complete Hajj. Hajj is the
pilgrimage to Mecca. Hajj is the enactment of some of the trials and tribulations of
Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him), his wife Hagar and his oldest son, Ishmael.
Complete Hajj lasts for five days but Umrah is completed in a couple of hours. Umrah is only a small part of the Hajj. An animal sacrifice may be offered at the completion of Umrah. Umrah may be performed anytime during the year but it has special significance in the month of Ramadan.




http://www.islamhouse.com/p/358820
http://www.islamhouse.com/










Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Amazing Quran - By: Dr. Gary Miller







Introduction

One thing which surprises non-Muslims who are examining the bookvery closelis that the Quran does not appear to them to be what theyexpected. What theassume is that they have an old book which camefourteen centuries ago from the Arabian desert; and they expect thatthe book should look something like that - an old book from the desert.And then they find out that it does not resemble what theexpected atall. Additionally, one of the firsthings that some people assume is thatbecause it is an old book which comes from the desert, it should talkabout the desert. Well the Quran does talk about the desert - some of itsimagerdescribes the desert; but it also talks about the sea - what itslike to be in a storm on the sea.

Merchant Marine


Some years ago, the storcame to us in Toronto about a man who was inthe merchant marine and made his living on the sea. A Muslim gave hima translation of the Quran to readThe merchant marine knew nothingabout the history of Islam but was interested in reading the Quran.When he finished reading it, he brought it back to the Muslim and asked,This Muhammad, was he a sailor? He was impressed at how accuratelythe Quran describes a storm on a sea. When he was told, No as a matterof fact, Muhammad lived in the desert,” that was enough for him. Heembraced Islam on the spot.
He was so impressed with the Qurans description because he had beenin a storm on the seaand he knew that whoever had written thatdescription had also been in a storm on the sea. The description of
“…a wave, over it a wave, over it clouds (Surah Nur, 24:40)
…was not what someone imagining a storm on a sea to be like wouldhave written; rather, it was written bsomeone who knew what a stormon the sea was like. This is one example of how the Quran inot tied tocertain place and time. Certainly, the scientific ideas expressed in it alsodo noseem to originate from the desert fourteen centuries ago.

The Smallest Thing

Many centuries before the onset of Muhammads prophethood, therewas a well-known theorof atomism advanced bthe Greekphilosopher, Democritus. He and the people whcame after himassumed that matter consists of tiny, indestructible, indivisibleparticles called atoms. The Arabs too, used to deal in the same concept;in fact, the Arabic word “dharrah” commonlreferred to the smallestparticle known to man. Now, modern science has discovered that thissmallest unit of matter (i.e., the atom, which has all of the sameproperties as its element) can be split into its component parts. This is anew idea, a development of thlast century; yet; interestinglenough,this information had alreadbeen documented in the Quran (SurahSaba, 34:3) which states:
He [i.e., Allah] is aware of an atoms weight in the heavens anonthe earth and even anythinsmaller than that...”
Undoubtedly, fourteen centuries ago that statement would have lookedunusual, even to an Arab. For him, thdharrah was the smallest thingexisting. Indeed, this is proof, that the Quran is not outdated.



Honey

Another example of what one might expect to find in an old book” thattouches upon the subject of health or medicine is outdated remedies orcures. Various historical sources state that the Prophet (r) gave someadvice about health and hygiene, yet most of these pieces of advice arenot contained in the Quran. At first glance, to the non-Muslims thisappears to be a negligent omission. Thecannot understand why Allahwould not include such helpful information in the Quran. SomeMuslims attempt to explain this absence with the followinargument:Although the Prophets advice was sound and applicable to the time inwhich he lived, Allah, in His infinite wisdom, knew that there wouldcome later medical and scientific advances which would make theProphets advice appear outdated. When later discoveries occurred,people might sathat such information contradicted that which theProphet (r) had given. Thus, since Allah would never allow anyopportunity for the non-Muslims to claim that the Quran contradictsitself or the teachings of the Prophet (r), He onlincluded in the Quraninformation and examples which could stand the test of time.However, when one examines the true realities of the Quran in terms ofits existence as a divine revelation, the entire matter iquicklbroughtinto its proper perspective, and the error in such argumentationbecomes clear and understandable.
It must be understood that the Quran is a divine revelation, and as such,all information in it is of divine origin. Allah revealed the Quran fromHimself. It is the words of Allah, which existed before creation, and thusnothing can be added, subtracted or altered. In essence, the Quranexisted and was complete before the creation of Prophet Muhammad (r),so it could not possibly contain anof the Prophets own words oradvice. An inclusion of such informatiowould clearlcontradict thepurpose for which the Quran exists, compromise its authoritandrender it inauthentic as a divine revelation.
Consequently, there was no home remedies in the Quran which onecould claim to boutdated; nor does it contain anmans view aboutwhat is beneficial to health, what food is best to eat, or what will curethis or that disease. In fact, the Quran only mentions one item dealingwith medical treatment, and it is not in dispute banyone. It states thatin honey there is healing. And certainly, do not think that there isanyone who will argue with that!

 Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and the Quran

If one assumes that the Quran is the product of a man's
mind, then one would expect it to reflect some of what was going on in the mind of the man who "composed" it. In fact, certain encyclopedias and various books claim that

the Quran was the product of hallucinations that
Muhammad underwent. If these claims are true - if it indeed originated from some psychological problems in
Muhammad's mind - then evidence of this would be apparent in the Quran. Is there such evidence? In order to
determine whether or not there is, one must first identify what things would have been going on in his mind at that time and then search for these thoughts and reflections in
the Quran.
It is common knowledge that Muhammad (Peace be upon him) had a very difficult life. All of his daughters died before him except one, and he had a wife of several years who was very dear and important to him, who not only preceded him in death but died at a very critical period of his life. As a matter of fact, she must have been quite a woman because when the first revelation came to him, he ran home to her, afraid. Certainly, even today one would have a hard time trying to find an Arab who would tell you, "I was so afraid that I ran home to my wife." They just aren't that way. Yet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) felt comfortable enough with his 

wife to be able to do that. That's how influential and
strong woman she was. Although these examples are only a few of the subjects that would have been on
Muhammad's mind, they are sufficient in intensity to
prove my point.
The Quran does not mention any of these things - not the
death of his children, not the death of his beloved companion and wife, not his fear of the initial revelations, which he so beautifully shared with his wife - nothing; yet these topics must have hurt him, bothered him, and caused him pain and grief during periods of his life. Indeed, if the Quran was a product of his psychological reflections, then these subjects, as well as others, would be
prevalent or at least mentioned throughout


Scientific Approach to the Quran

A truly scientific approach to the Quran is possible
because the Quran offers something that is not offered byother religious scriptures, in particular, and other
religions, in general. It is what scientists demand. Today
there are many people who have ideas and theories about
how the universe works. These people are all over the place, but the scientific community does not even bother to listen to them. This is because within the last century the
scientific community has demanded a test of falsification.
They say, "If you have theory, do not bother us with it unless you bring with that theory a way for us to prove
whether you are wrong or not."

Such a test was exactly why the scientific community
listened to Einstein towards the beginning of the century. He came with a new theory and said, "I believe the universe works like this; and here are three ways to prove
whether I am wrong!" So the scientific community subjected his theory to the tests, and within six years it passed all three. Of course, this does not prove that he was great, but it proves that he deserved to be listened to
because he said, "This is my idea; and if you want to try to
prove me wrong, do this or try that."

This is exactly what the Quran has - falsification tests. Some
are old (in that they have already been proven true), and




some still exist today. Basically it states, "If this book is not
what it claims to be, then all you have to do is this or this or
this to prove that it is false." Of course, in years no
one has been able to do "This or this or this," and thus it is
still considered true and authentic


Falsification Test

I suggest to you that the next time you get into dispute
with someone about Islam and he claims that he has the
truth and that you are in darkness, you leave all otherarguments at first and make this suggestion. Ask him, "Is
there any falsification test in your religion? Is there
anything in your religion that would prove you are wrong
if I could prove to you that it exists - anything?" Well, I can
promise right now that people will not have anything - no
test, no proof, nothing! This is because they do not carry
around the idea that they should not only present what
they believe but should also offer others a chance to prove
they're wrong. However, Islam does that.

A perfect example of how Islam provides man with a
chance to verify it authenticity and "prove it wrong" occurs in this chapter. And quiet honestly, I was very surprised when I first discovered this challenge. It states
(Surah An-Nisa, 4:82):



"Do they not consider the Quran? Had it been from
any other than Allah, they would surely have found
therein much discrepancy."

This is a clear challenge to the non-Muslim. Basically, it
invites him to find a mistake. As a matter of fact, theseriousness and difficulty of the challenge aside, the actual presentation of such a challenge in the first place is not
even in human nature and is inconsistent with man'spersonality. One doesn't take an exam in school and after
finishing the exam, write a note to the instructor at the endsaying, "This exam is perfect. There are no mistakes in it.
Find one if you can!" One just doesn't do that. The teacherwould not sleep until he found a mistake! And yet this is
the way the Quran approaches people.


Ask Those Who Have Knowledge

Another interesting attitude that exists in the Quran
repeatedly deals with its advice to the reader. The Quran informs the reader about different facts and then gives theadvice: "If you want to know more about this or that, or if
you doubt what is said, then you should ask those who
have knowledge." This too is a surprising attitude. It is notusual to have a book that comes from someone without training in geography, botany, biology, etc., who discusses these subjects and then advises the reader to ask men of
knowledge if he doubts anything. Yet in every age there have been Muslims who have followed the advice of the Quran and made surprising discoveries. If one looks to the
works ofMuslim scientistsof many centuries ago, one
will find them full of quotations from the Quran. These
works state that they did research in such a place, looking for something. And they affirm that the reason they looked in such and such a place was that the Quran
pointed them in that direction.

For example, the Quran mentions man's origin and then
tells the reader, "Research it!" It gives the reader a hint where to look and then states that one should find out
more about it. This is the kind of thing that Muslims today
largely seem to overlook - but not always, as illustrated in
the following example


Embryology

A few years ago, a group of men in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
collected all of the verses in the Quran which discuss
embryology - the growth of the human being in the womb.
They said, "Here is what the Quran says. Is it the truth?"
In essence, they took the advice of the Quran: "Ask the
men who know." They chose, as it happened, a non-
Muslim who is a professor of embryology at the Universityof Toronto. His name is Keith Moore, and he is the author of textbooks on embryology - a world expert on the subject. They invited him to Riyadh and said, "This is what the Quran says about your subject. Is it true? What
can you tell us?"

While he was in Riyadh, they gave him all the help that he
needed in translation and all of the cooperation for which
he asked. And he was so surprised at what he found that
he changed his textbooks. In fact, in the second edition of
one of his books, called Before We Are Born... in the section
about the history of embryology, he included some
material that was not in the first edition because of what hefound in the Quran was ahead of its time and that those
who believe in the Quran know what other people do not
know.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Keith Moore for a
television presentation, and we talked a great deal about



this - it was illustrated by slides and so on. He mentioned
that some of the things that the Quran states about the growth of the human being were not known until thirty
years ago. In fact, he said that one item in particular - the
Quran's description of the human being as a"leech-like
clot"('alaqah) [Ghafir : ] - was new to him; but when
he checked on it, he found that it was true, and so he
added it to his book. He said, "I never thought of that
before," and he went to the zoology department and asked
for a picture of a leech. When he found that it looked just like the human embryo, he decided to include both
pictures in one of his textbooks.

Although the aforementioned example of man researching
information contained in the Quran deals with a non-
Muslim, it is still valid because he is one of those who areknowledgeable in the subject being researched. Had some layman claimed that what the Quran says about embryology is true, then one would not necessarily have to accept his word. However, because of the high position, respect, and esteem man gives scholars, one naturally assumes that if they research a subject and arrive at a conclusion based on that research, then the conclusion is valid.


Skeptic's Reaction

Dr. Moore also wrote a book on clinical embryology, and
when he presented this information in Toronto, it caused quite a stir throughout Canada. It was on the front pages
of some of the newspapers across Canada, and some of theheadlines were quite funny. For instance, one headline
read: "SURPRISING THING FOUND IN ANCIENT PRAYER BOOK!" It seems obvious from this example that
people do not clearly understand what it is all about. As amatter of fact, one newspaper reporter asked Professor Moore, "Don't you think that maybe the Arabs might have known about these things - the description of the embryo, its appearance and how it changes and grows? Maybe they were not scientists; maybe they did some crude dissections on their own - carved up people and examined these things." The professor immediately pointed out to him that he [i.e., the reporter] had missed a
very important point - all of the slides of the embryo that
had been shown and that had been projected in the film
had come from pictures taken through a microscope. He
said, "It does not matter if someone had tried to discoverembryology fourteen centuries ago. They could not have  seen it!"

All of the descriptions in the Quran of the appearance of
the embryo are of the item when it is still too small to see

with the eye; therefore, one needs a microscope to see it.
Since such a device had only been around for little more than two hundred years, Dr. Moore taunted, "Maybe fourteen centuries ago someone secretly had a microscope and did this research, making no mistakes anywhere. Then he somehow taught Muhammad (SAW)and convinced him to put this information in his book. Then he destroyed his equipment and kept it a secret forever. Do you believe  that? You really should not unless you bring some proof because it is such a ridiculous theory." In fact, when he was asked, "How do you explain this information in the
Quran?" Dr. Moore's reply was, "It could only have been divinely revealed!"



Geology

One of Professor Moore's colleagues, Marshall Johnson,
deals extensively with geology at the University of Toronto.
He became very interested in the fact that the Quran's
statements about embryology are accurate, and so he
asked Muslims to collect everything contained in the
Quran which deals with his specialty. Again people were
very surprised at the findings. Since there are a vast
number subjects discussed in the Quran, it would certainlyrequire a large amount of time to exhaust each subject. It
suffices for the purpose of this discussion to state that the
Quran makes very clear and concise statements about various subjects while simultaneously advising the reader
to verify the authenticity of these statements with research
by scholars in those subjects. And as illustrated by theprevious examples of embryology and geology, the Quran
has clearly emerged authentic


You Did Not Know This Before!


Undoubtedly, there is an attitude in the Quran which is
not found anywhere else. It is interesting how when the Quran provides information, it often tells the reader, "You did not know this before." Indeed, there is no scripture
that exists which makes that claim. All of the other ancient
writings and scriptures that people have do give a lot ofinformation, but they always state where the information
came from.

For example, when the Bible discusses ancient history, it
states that this king lived here, this one fought in a certainbattle, another one had so may sons, etc. Yet it always
stipulates that if you want more information, then you should read the book of so and so because that is where
the information came from. In contrast to this concept, the
Quran provides the reader with information and states
that this information is something new. Of course, therealways exists the advice to research the information provided and verify its authenticity. It is interesting that such a concept was never challenged by non-Muslims fourteen centuries ago. Indeed, the Makkans who hated the Muslims, and time and time again they heard such
revelations claiming to bring new information; yet, they never spoke up and said, "This is not new. We know where Muhammad got this information. We learned this
at school." They could never challenge its authenticity
because it really was new!


Proof of Authenticity: An Approach

It must be stressed here that the Quran is accurate about
many things, but accuracy does not necessarily mean that a book is a divine revelation. In fact, accuracy is only one of the criteria for divine revelations. For instance,
the telephone book is accurate, but that does not mean that
it is divinely revealed. The real problem lies in that one must establish some proof of the source the Quran's information. The emphasis is in the other direction, in that the burden of proof is on the reader. One cannot simply deny the Quran's authenticity without sufficient proof. If, indeed, one finds a mistake, then he has the right to
disqualify it. This is exactly what the Quran encourages.

Once a man came up to me after a lecture I delivered in
South Africa. He was very angry about what I had said, and so he claimed, "I am going to go home tonight and find a mistake in the Quran." Of course, I said, "Congratulations. That is the most intelligent thing that you have said." Certainly, this is the approach Muslims need to take with those who doubt the Quran's authenticity, because the Quran itself offers the same challenge. And inevitably, after accepting its challenge and discovering that it is true, these people will come to believe it because they could not disqualify it. In essence, the Quran earns their respect because they themselves


have had to verify its authenticity.

An essential fact that cannot be reiterated enough
concerning the authenticity of the Quran is that one's
inability to explain a phenomenon himself does not require his acceptance of the phenomenon's existence or another person's explanation of it. Specifically, just
because one cannot explain something does not mean thatone has to accept someone else's explanation. However, the person's refusal of other explanations reverts the
burden of proof back on himself to find a feasible answer. This general theory applies to numerous concepts in life, but fits most wonderfully with the Quranic challenge, for it creates a difficulty for one who says, "I do not believe it." At the onset of refusal one immediately has an obligation to find an explanation himself if he feels others' answers are inadequate.

In fact, in one particular Quranic verse which I have
always seen mistranslated into English, Allah mentions a man who heard the truth explained to him. It states that he was derelict in his duty because after he heard the information, he left without checking the verity of what he had heard. In other words, one is guilty if he hears something and does not research it and check to see whether it is true. One is supposed to process all
information and decide what is garbage to be thrown out and what is worthwhile information to be kept and
benefited from immediately or even at a later date.


One cannot just let it rattle around in his head. It must be
put in the proper categories and approached from that point of view. For example, if the information is still speculatory, then one must discern whether it's closer to being true or false. But if all the facts have been presented, then one must decide absolutely between these two options. And even if one is not positive about the authenticity of the information, he is still required to process all the information and make the admission that
he just does not know for sure. Although this last point
appears to be futile, in actuality, it is beneficial to the arrival at a positive conclusion at a later time in that it forces the person to at least recognize research and review the facts.

This familiarity with the information will give the person
"the edge" when future discoveries are made and additional information is presented. The important thing is that one deals with the facts and does not simply discard
them out of empathy and disinterest.

Exhausting the Alternatives
                                  

The real certainty about the truthfulness of the Quran is
evident in the confidence which is prevalent throughout it;
and this confidence comes from a different approach -"Exhausting the alternatives." In essence, the Quran states,
"This book is a divine revelation; if you do not believe that,
then what is it?" In other words, the reader is challenged
to come up with some other explanation. Here is a book made of paper and ink. Where did it come from? It says it is a divine revelation; if it is not, then what is its source? The interesting fact is that no one has yet come up with an explanation that works. In fact, all alternatives have bee exhausted. As has been well established by non-Muslims,
these alternatives basically are reduced to two mutually
exclusive schools of thought, insisting on one or the other.

On one hand, there exists a large group of people who
have researched the Quran for hundreds of years and who claim, "One thing we know for sure - that man, Muhammad (SAW), thought he was a prophet. He was crazy!" They are convinced that Muhammad (SAW)was fooled somehow. Then on the other hand, there is a group which alleges, "Because of this evidence, one thing we know for sure is that that man, Muhammad (SAW)was a liar!" Ironically, these two groups never seem to get together without contradicting.


In fact, many references to Islam usually claim both
theories. They start out by stating that Muhammad ( ) was crazy and then end by saying he was a liar. They never seem to realize that he could not have been both! For
example, if one is deluded and really thinks that he is a
prophet, then he does not sit up late at night planning, "How will I fool the people tomorrow so that they think I am a prophet?" He truly believes that he is a prophet, and he trusts that the answer will be given to him by revelation.





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Dr.Gary Miller