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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?

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Mary, the Mother of Jesus (part 1 of 2): Who is Mary?




 

  


Description: Christians know her as Mary, the mother of Jesus. Muslims also refer to her as the mother of Jesus, or in Arabic, Umm Eisa. In Islam Mary is often called Maryam bint Imran; Mary, the daughter of Imran. This article gives some background about her adoption by Zachariah so she could serve in the temple.
It may surprise many people to learn that Mary is one of the most esteemed and respected women in Islam and that the Quran gives her great importance.  Maryam is the name of chapter 19 of the Quran, and Chapter 3 is Aali Imran, named after her family.  Islam holds the entire family of Imran in very high regard.  The Quran tells us that:


“God chose Adam and Noah, the family of Abraham and the family of Imran over all others of world’s of mankind and jinn.”
 (Quran 3:33)


God choose Adam and Noah individually, but He chose the family of Abraham and the family of Imran. 

“Offspring of one another.”

(Quran 3:34) 


The family of Imran are from the descendents of Abraham, the family of Abraham are from the descendants of Noah and Noah is from the descendents of Adam.  The family of Imran also includes many people known and respected in the Christian traditions – Prophets Zachary and John (known as the Baptist), Prophet and Messenger Jesus and his mother, Mary.


God chose Mary above all the women of the world.  He said:

“And  when the angels said: ‘O Mary!  Verily, God has chosen you, purified you,and chosen you above the women of the worlds of mankind and jinn.’”
(Quran 3:42)




Ali ibn Abu Talib said:


“I heard the Prophet of God saying Mary, the daughter of Imran was the best among women.”
 (Saheeh Al-Bukhari)

  In Arabic the name Maryam means the maidservant of God, and as we shall see, Mary, the mother of Jesus, was dedicated to God even before she was born.

The Birth of Mary

The Bible is unable to give us any details of Mary’s birth; however, the Quran informs us that the wife of Imran dedicated her unborn child to the service of God.  Mary’s mother, the wife of Imran, was Hannah[1].  She was the sister of Prophet Zachary’s wife.  Hannah and her husband Imran had believed they would never have children, but one day Hannah made a sincere and heartfelt supplication to God begging for a child, and vowing that her offspring would serve in God’s House in Jerusalem.  God heard Hannah’s supplication and she fell pregnant.  When Hannah realised the glorious news she turned to God and said:

“O my Lord!  I have vowed to You what is in my womb to be dedicated for Your services, so accept this, from me.  Verily, You are the All-Hearer, the All-Knowing.”
(Quran 3:35)



There are lessons to be learned from Hannah’s vow to God, one of which is caring for the religious education of our children.  Hannah was not thinking in terms of this world at all, she was trying to ensure that her child was close to God and in His service.  These chosen friends of God, such as family of Imran, are the parents whom we should take as our role models.  God says many times in the Quran that He is the One who supplies provision for us, and He warns us to save ourselves and our families from the fires of Hell.


In her supplication, Hannah asked that her child be free from all worldly work.  By promising that her child would be the servant of God, Hannah was securing her child’s freedom.  Freedom is a quality of life that every human being strives to attain, but Hannah understood that true freedom comes from complete submission to God.  This is what she aspired to for her yet unborn child.  Hannah wanted her child to be a free person, a slave to no man and no desire, but a slave only to God.  In due time, Hannah gave birth to a girl, again she turned to God in prayer and said:


“‘O my Lord, I have delivered a female child,’ and the male is not like the female, and I have named her Mary, and I seek refuge with You for her and her offspring from Satan, the outcast.”
(Quran 3:36)


Hannah named her child Mary.  With reference to her vow to God, Hannah now found herself facing a dilemma.  Serving in the House of Prayer was not acceptable for women.  Mary’s father, Imran had died before she was born, so Hannah turned to her brother in law, Zachary.  He comforted Hannah and helped her to understand that God knew that she had delivered a girl.  This girl child, Mary, was from the best of creation.  Prophet Mohammad mentioned[2]  that whenever a child is born Satan pricks him or her and therefore the child cries loudly.  This is a sign of the great enmity between mankind and Satan; however there were two exceptions to this rule.  Satan pricked neither Mary nor her son Jesus[3], due to the supplication of Mary’s mother.


When the time came for Mary to go into the House of Prayer, everybody wanted to take care of this pious daughter of Imran.  As was the custom of the time, the men drew lots for the privilege, and God ensured that her guardian was Prophet Zachary.


“So her Lord accepted her with goodly acceptance, and made her grow in a good manner, and put her under the care of Zachary.”
(Quran 3:37)


Prophet Zachary served in the House of God and was a wise and knowledgeable man devoted to teaching.  He had a private room built for Mary so that she was able to worship God and go about her daily duties in private.  As her guardian, Prophet Zachary visited Mary daily, and one day he was surprised to see fresh fruit in her room.  It is said that in winter she would have the fresh fruits of summer and in the summer she would have the fresh fruits of winter.[4]  Prophet Zachary inquired about how the fruit got there, to which Mary replied, it was indeed God Who provided her sustenance. She said:

“It is from God.  Verily, God provides sustenance to whom He wills without limit.”
(Quran 3:37)


Mary’s devotion to God was at that time unparalleled, but her faith was about to be tested.


Footnotes:
[1] From the Tafseer of Ibn Katheer.
[2] Saheeh Al-Bukhari.
[3] Saheeh Muslim.
[4] Based on the work of Al Imam ibn Katheer.  The Stories of the Prophets.



Mary, the Mother of Jesus (part 2 of 2): The Birth of Jesus


Description: This article describes what happened to Mary after she came under the care of the Prophet Zachariah.  It tells how the angel Gabriel announced the birth of a special child, how she coped with the bearing her baby, and relates some of the miracles that took place around the time Jesus was born.


Esteemed and loved by all Muslims and known as a pious and devout woman, Mary, the mother of Jesus was chosen above all other women.  Islam rejects the Christian notion that Jesus is part of a trinity that is God, and denies emphatically that either Jesus or his mother, Mary, are worthy of worship.  The Quran categorically states that there is no god but God.


“Such is God, your Lord! None has the right to be worshipped but He, the Creator of all things.  So worship Him
 (Quran 6:102)

 

Muslims are required, however, to believe in and love all of the Prophets, including Prophet Jesus, who holds a special place in the Islamic creed.  His mother, Mary, holds a place of honour.  As a young woman, Mary went into the House of Prayer in Jerusalem, her entire life dedicated to the worship and service of God.


Mary Hears the News of Jesus


While she was in seclusion from everybody, a man appeared before Mary.  God said:

“She screened herself from them; We sent to her Our Spirit, and he appeared before her in the form of a man in all respects.”
(Quran 19:17)


Mary was afraid and tried to flee.  She appealed to God saying:


“Verily!  I seek refuge with the Most Gracious (God) from you, if you do fear God.”  The angel said: “I am only a Messenger from your Lord to you, announcing the gift of a righteous son.”
(Quran 19:18-19)


Mary was amazed and puzzled by these words.  She was not married, rather a virgin who kept chaste.  She asked incredulously:


“‘O my Lord!  How will I have a son when no man has touched me?’  He said, “So (it will be): for God creates what He wills;  when He has decreed something, He says to it only ‘Be’ – and it is.”
(Quran 3:47)



God created Adam from the dust of the earth, without either mother or father.  He created Eve from Adam's rib; and Jesus, He created without a father, but with a mother, the pious Virgin Mary.  God, who has only to say ‘Be’ to a thing in order to bring it into existence,, blew the spirit of Jesus into Mary via the Angel Gabriel.

“And We breathed into it[1] through Our Spirit, and she testified to the truth of the Words of her Lord ...”
(Quran 66:12)



Although the stories of Mary in the Quran and in the Bible have many aspects in common, the view that Mary was betrothed or married is totally rejected by Islam.  Time passed, and Mary became afraid of what the people around her would say.  She wondered how they could possibly believe that no man had touched her. The majority of scholars in Islam agree that the duration of Mary’s pregnancy was normal.[2]  Then, as the time came for her to give birth, Mary decided to leave Jerusalem, and travelled towards the city of Bethlehem.  Even though Mary must have recalled the words of God, for her faith was strong and unwavering, this young woman was anxious and uneasy.  But the angel Gabriel reassured her:


“O Mary, Verily God gives you glad tidings of a word  from Him, whose name will be the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary – held in honour  in this world and the Hereafter and will be one of those who are  near to God.”
(Quran 3:45)


Jesus is Born


The pains of childbirth drove her to clutch at the trunk of a date-palm tree and she cried out in anguish:


“Would that I had died before this, and had been forgotten and out of sight”
(Quran 19:23)


Mary delivered her child right there, at the foot of the date tree.  She was exhausted after the birth, and filled with distress and fear, but nevertheless she heard a voice calling out to her.  .


“Grieve not!  Your Lord has provided you a stream of clear water under you; and shake the trunk of palm tree towards you; it will let fall fresh ripe dates upon you.  So eat and drink and be glad...”
(Quran 19:24)


God provided Mary with water, as a stream suddenly appeared beneath the place she was sitting.  He also provided her with food; all she had to do was shake the trunk of the date tree.  Mary was scared and frightened; she felt so weak, having just given birth, so how could she possibly shake the immense trunk of a date tree?  But God continued to provide Mary with sustenance. 


The next event was indeed another miracle, and as human beings we learn a great lesson from this.  Mary didn’t need to shake the date tree, which would have been impossible; she only had to make an effort.  As she attempted to follow God’s command,  fresh ripe dates fell from the tree and God said to Mary: “…eat, drink and be glad.”
(Quran 19:26)


Mary now had to take her new born child and go back to face her family.  Of course she was afraid, and God knew this well.  Thus He directed her not to speak.  It would not have been possible for Mary to explain how she had suddenly become the mother of a new born child.  Since she was unmarried, her people would not believe her explanations.  God said:


“And if you see any human being, say: ‘Verily!  I have vowed a fast unto the Most Gracious (God) so I shall not speak to any human being this day.’”
(Quran 19:26)


Mary came to her people carrying the child, and they immediately began accusing her; they exclaimed “What have you done?  You are from a good family, and your parents were pious.”



As God had directed her, Mary did not speak, she merely pointed to the baby in her arms.  Then Jesus, son of Mary, spoke.  As a newborn baby, Jesus, the Prophet of God performed his first miracle.  By the permission of God he said:


“Verily!  I am a slave of God.  He has given me the Scripture and made me a Prophet; and He has made me blessed wheresoever I be, and has enjoined on me prayer, and alms, as long as I live, and to be dutiful to my mother, and made me not arrogant, unblest.  And peace be upon me the day I was born, and the day I die, and the day I shall be raised alive!”
(Quran 19:30-34)


Mary is referred to in the Quran (5:75) as a siddqa (truthful one) but the Arabic word siddiqa implies more then just speaking the truth.  It means that one has achieved a very high level of righteousness.  It means that one is truthful, not only with themselves and those around them, but also with God.  Mary was a woman who fulfilled her covenant with God, Whom she worshiped with full submission.  She was pious, chaste, and devout; the woman chosen above all other women to be the mother of Jesus was Mary, the daughter of Imran.


Footnotes:
[1] This is explained in commentaries as an opening in her garment, though the verse itself speaks of “her chastity” (i.e. guarding herself from opening up to marriageable men).  Thus God blew into what she guarded by means of the angel Gabriel.
[2] Sheikh al Shanqeeti in (Adwaa’ al-Bayaan, 4/264)

Friday, December 28, 2012

The Prophecies of Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him)






Description: Prophecies of the Prophet Muhammad which were fulfilled in his lifetime and after his death.  These prophecies are clear proofs of Muhammad’s prophethoodmay the mercy and blessings of God be upon him.

One of the ways in which a person proves his prophethood is honesty, whether it be in regards to incidents in the past, in their everyday life, or things to come in the future.  In addition to the Quran, there are many sayings of Prophet Muhammad which contain prophecies he made in his lifetime dealing with near and distant future.  Some of them have come true, others await fulfillment.  Hudhaifah, a disciple of Prophet Muhammad, tells us:



“The Prophet once delivered a speech in front of us wherein he mentioned everything [all the signs] that would happen till the Final Hour without leaving anything.  Some of us remembered it and some forgot it.  After that speech, I used to see events taking place which were referred to in that speech, but I had forgotten them before their occurrence.  Then I would recognize such events as a man recognizes another man who has been absent and then sees and recognizes him.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhari)




There are at least 160 known and confirmed prophecies of Prophet Muhammad which were fulfilled in his lifetime and the first generation after him.[1]  We will mention some here.


(1)  Preceding the Battle of Badr, the first and decisive confrontation with pagan Meccans in the second year of migration from Mecca in 623 CE, Prophet Muhammad foretold the precise spot every pagan Meccan soldier would fall.  Those who witnessed the battle saw the prophecy come true with their own eyes.[2



(2)  Prophet Muhammad prophesized the Battle of the Confederates (al-Ahzab) would be the last invasion the tribe of Quraish (the pagan Meccans) would launch against the Muslims.  It was fought in the fifth year of migration, 626 CE and was the last military conflict between the two sides.  All Meccans embraced Islam after a few years.[3]



(3)  The Prophet informed his daughter, Fatima, that she would be the first member of his family to die after him.  There are two prophecies in one: Fatima will outlive her father; Fatima will be the first member of his household to die after him.  Both were fulfilled.[4



(4)  The Prophet Muhammad prophesized Jerusalem would be conquered after his death.[5]  The prophecy was fulfilled when, according to Encyclopedia Britannica: “In 638 the Muslim Caliph, Umar I, entered Jerusalem.”[6



(5)  The Prophet Muhammad prophesized the conquest of Persia.[7]  It was conquered by Umar’s commander, Sa’ad bin Abi Waqqas.  In the words of Encyclopedia Britannica:



“…raids into Sasanian territory were quickly taken up by Muhammad’s Caliphs, or deputies, at Medina - Abu Bakr and Umar ibn al-Khattab… an Arab victory at Al-Qadisiyyah in 636/637 was followed by the sack of the Sasanian winter capital at Ctesiphon on the Tigris.  The Battle of Nahavand in 642 completed the Sasanids’ vanquishment.”[8]



(6)  The Prophet Muhammad prophesized the conquest of Egypt.[9]  In the words of Encyclopedia Britannica:


“Amr… undertook the invasion in 639 with a small army of some 4,000 men (later reinforced).  With what seems astonishing speed the Byzantine forces were routed and had withdrawn from Egypt by 642… Various explanations have been given for the speed with which the conquest
was achieved.”[10]


(7)  The Prophet foretold confrontation with the Turks.[11]  The first conflict took place in the caliphate of Umar in 22 AH.[12]


(8)  The Prophet foretold the first maritime battle to be undertaken by Muslims would be witnessed by Umm Haram, the first woman to participate in a naval expedition.  He also prophesied the first assault on Constantinople.[13]


The first maritime battle in Muslim history was in 28 AH in the rule of Mu’awiya.  It was witnessed by Umm Haram as foretold by Prophet Muhammad, and Yazid ibn Mu’awiya led the first attack on Constantinople in 52 AH.[14]



(9)  The prophecy that Rome, Persia, and Yemen will be conquered was made during the Battle of Confederates in 626 CE,[15]  under extreme circumstances, as is described by the Quran:



“[Remember] when they came at you from above you and from below you, and when eyes shifted [in fear], and hearts reached the throats and you assumed about God [various] assumptions.  There, the believers were tested and shaken with a severe shaking.  And [remember] when the hypocrites and those in whose hearts is disease said, ‘God and His Messenger did not promise us except delusion.’” (Quran 33:10-12)



(10)     Prophet Muhammad prophesized an imposter claiming to speak in the name of God would be killed at the hands of a righteous man in Muhammad’s lifetime.[16]  Al-Aswad al-Ansi, an imposter prophet in Yemen, was killed in the Prophet’s lifetime by Fayruz al-Daylami.[17


There are at least an additional 28 prophecies pertaining to the end times which are awaiting fulfillment.


Indeed these well-documented prophecies are clear proofs of the Prophethood of Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him.  There is no possible way that the Prophet could have knowledge of these incidents except if it were inspired by God Himself, all in order to further prove the authenticity of the Muhammad, that he was not an imposter, but rather a Prophet raised by God to deliver humanity from Hellfire.




 
 
Footnotes:
[1] They are collected by Dr. Muhammad Wali-ullah al-Nadavi in his Master’s thesis entitled, ‘Nubuwwat al-Rasul,’ from al-Azhar University, Cairo, Egypt.
[2] Saheeh Muslim, Abu Ya’la.
[3] Saheeh Al-Bukhari, Bazzar, and Haithami.
[4] ‘Sharh’ Saheeh Muslim,’ by Imam al-Nawawi.
[5] Saheeh Al-Bukhari.
[6]Jerusalem.” Encyclopædia Britannica from Encyclopædia Britannica Premium Service. (http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-61909)
[7] Saheeh Muslim.
[8]Iran.” Encyclopædia Britannica from Encyclopædia Britannica Premium Service. (http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-32160)
[9] Saheeh Muslim.
[10] “Egypt.” Encyclopædia Britannica from Encyclopædia Britannica Premium Service. (http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-22358)
[11] Saheeh Al-Bukhari, Saheeh Muslim.
[12] Ibn Kathir’s ‘al-Bidaya wal-Nihaya.’
[13] Saheeh Al-Bukhari, Saheeh Muslim.
[14] Ibn Kathir’s ‘al-Bidaya wal-Nihaya.’
[15] Saheeh Al-Bukhari.
[16] Saheeh Al-Bukhari.
[17] Encyclopedia of Islam.

Who Invented the Trinity? (part 1 of 2)



 


Description: How the concept of the Trinity was introduced into the Christian doctrine.


What is the source of the Christian concept of the Trinity?



The three monotheistic religions – Judaism, Christianity, and Islam – all purport to share one fundamental concept: belief in God as the Supreme Being, the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe.  Known as “tawhid” in Islam, this concept of the Oneness of God was stressed by Moses in a Biblical passage known as the “Shema”, or the Jewish creed of faith

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord.”
(Deuteronomy 6:4)


It was repeated word-for-word approximately 1500 years later by Jesus, when he said:



“...The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; the Lord our God is one Lord.”
 (Mark 12:29)


Muhammad came along approximately 600 years later, bringing the same message again:


“And your God is One God: there is no God but He...”
(Quran 2:163)



Christianity has digressed from the concept of the Oneness of God, however, into a vague and mysterious doctrine that was formulated during the fourth century.  This doctrine, which continues to be a source of controversy both within and outside the Christian religion, is known as the Doctrine of the Trinity.  Simply put, the Christian doctrine of the Trinity states that God is the union of three divine persons – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit – in one divine being.


If that concept, put in basic terms, sounds confusing, the flowery language in the actual text of the doctrine lends even more mystery to the matter:


“...we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity... for there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, another of the Holy Ghost is all one... they are not three gods, but one God... the whole three persons are co-eternal and co-equal... he therefore that will be saved must thus think of the Trinity...”
 (excerpts from the Athanasian Creed)


Let’s put this together in a different form: one person, God the Father, plus one person, God the Son, plus one person, God the Holy Ghost, equals one person, God the What?  Is this English or is this gibberish?

It is said that Athanasius, the bishop who formulated this doctrine, confessed that the more he wrote on the matter, the less capable he was of clearly expressing his thoughts regarding it.


How did such a confusing doctrine get its start?

Trinity in the Bible


References in the Bible to a Trinity of divine beings are vague, at best.
In Matthew 28:19, we find Jesus telling his disciples to go out and preach to all nations.  While this “Great Commission” does make mention of the three persons who later become components of the Trinity, the phrase “...baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” is quite clearly an addition to Biblical text – that is, not the actual words of Jesus – as can be seen by two factors:


1)    baptism in the early Church, as discussed by Paul in his letters, was done only in the name of Jesus; and


2)    the “Great Commission” was found in the first gospel written, that of Mark, bears no mention of Father, Son and/or Holy Ghost – see Mark 16:15.


The only other reference in the Bible to a Trinity can be found in the Epistle of 1 John 5:7.  Biblical scholars of today, however, have admitted that the phrase:


“...there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one”


…is definitely a “later addition” to Biblical text, and it is not found in any of today’s versions of the Bible.


It can, therefore, be seen that the concept of a Trinity of divine beings was not an idea put forth by Jesus or any other prophet of God.  This doctrine, now subscribed to by Christians all over the world, is entirely man-made in origin.

The Doctrine Takes Shape

While Paul of Tarsus, the man who could rightfully be considered the true founder of Christianity, did formulate many of its doctrines, that of the Trinity was not among them.  He did, however, lay the groundwork for such when he put forth the idea of Jesus being a “divine Son”.  After all, a Son does need a Father, and what about a vehicle for God’s revelations to man?  In essence, Paul named the principal players, but it was the later Church people who put the matter together.


Tertullian, a lawyer and presbyter of the third-century Church in Carthage, was the first to use the word “Trinity” when he put forth the theory that the Son and the Spirit participate in the being of God, but all are of one being of substance with the Father.





Who Invented the Trinity?

(part 2 of 2)



Description: How the injected doctrine of the trinity remained part of the beliefs of the Christians and how Islam defines God.


A Formal Doctrine is Drawn Up


When controversy over the matter of the Trinity blew up in 318 between two church men from Alexandria – Arius, the deacon, and Alexander, his bishop – Emperor Constantine stepped into the fray.


Although Christian dogma was a complete mystery to him, he did realize that a unified church was necessary for a strong kingdom.  When negotiation failed to settle the dispute, Constantine called for the first ecumenical council in Church history in order to settle the matter once and for all.


Six weeks after the 300 bishops first gathered at Nicea in 325, the doctrine of the Trinity was hammered out.  The God of the Christians was now seen as having three essences, or natures, in the form of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.



The Church Puts its Foot Down


The matter was far from settled, however, despite high hopes for such on the part of Constantine.  Arius and the new bishop of Alexandria, a man named Athanasius, began arguing over the matter even as the Nicene Creed was being signed; “Arianism” became a catch-word from that time onward for anyone who didn’t hold to the doctrine of the Trinity.


It wasn’t until 451, at the Council of Chalcedon that, with the approval of the Pope, the Nicene/Constantinople Creed was set as authoritative.  Debate on the matter was no longer tolerated; to speak out against the Trinity was now considered blasphemy, and such earned stiff sentences that ranged from mutilation to death.  Christians now turned on Christians, maiming and slaughtering thousands because of a difference of opinion.



Debate Continues


Brutal punishments and even death did not stop the controversy over the doctrine of the Trinity, however, and the said controversy continues even today.


The majority of Christians, when asked to explain this fundamental doctrine of their faith, can offer nothing more than “I believe it because I was told to do so.” It is explained away as “mystery” – yet the Bible says in 1 Corinthians 14:33 that:

“... God is not the author of confusion ...”



The Unitarian denomination of Christianity has kept alive the teachings of Arius in saying that God is one; they do not believe in the Trinity.  As a result, mainstream Christians abhor them, and the National Council of Churches has refused their admittance.  In Unitarianism, the hope is kept alive that Christians will someday return to the preachings of Jesus:

“... Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve.”
(Luke 4:8)

Islam and the Matter of the Trinity


While Christianity may have a problem defining the essence of God, such is not the case in Islam:


“They do blaspheme who say: Allah is one of three in a Trinity, for there is no god except One God”

(Quran 5:73)



It is worth noting that the Arabic language Bible uses the name “Allah” as the name of God.
Suzanne Haneef, in her book What Everyone Should Know About Islam and Muslims (Library of Islam, 1985), puts the matter quite succinctly when she says:

“But God is not like a pie or an apple which can be divided into three thirds which form one whole; if God is three persons or possesses three parts, He is assuredly not the Single, Unique, Indivisible Being which God is and which Christianity professes to believe in.”[1]

Looking at it from another angle, the Trinity designates God as being three separate entities – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.  If God is the Father and also the Son, He would then be the Father of Himself because He is His own Son.  This is not exactly logical.

Christianity claims to be a monotheistic religion.  Monotheism, however, has as its fundamental belief that God is One; the Christian doctrine of the Trinity – God being Three-in-One – is seen by Islam as a form of polytheism.  Christians don’t revere just One God, they revere three.


This is a charge not taken lightly by Christians, however.  They, in turn, accuse the Muslims of not even knowing what the Trinity is, pointing out that the Quran sets it up as Allah the Father, Jesus the Son, and Mary his mother.  While veneration of Mary has been a figment of the Catholic Church since 431 when she was given the title “Mother of God” by the Council of Ephesus, a closer examination of the verses in the Quran most often cited by Christians in support of their accusation, shows that the designation of Mary by the Quran as a “member” of the Trinity, is simply not true.


While the Quran does condemn both Trinitarianism (the Quran 4:171; 5:73)[2] and the worship of Jesus and his mother Mary (the Quran 5:116)[3], nowhere does it identify the actual three components of the Christian Trinity.  The position of the Quran is that WHO or WHAT comprises this doctrine is not important; what is important is that the very notion of a Trinity is an affront against the concept of One God.


In conclusion, we see that the doctrine of the Trinity is a concept conceived entirely by man; there is no sanction whatsoever from God to be found regarding the matter simply because the whole idea of a Trinity of divine beings has no place in monotheism.  In the Quran, God’s Final Revelation to mankind, we find His stand quite clearly stated in a number of eloquent passages:


“... your God is One God: whoever expects to meet his Lord, let him work righteousness, and, in the worship of his Lord, admit no one as partner.”
(Quran 18:110)


“... take not, with God, another object of worship, lest you should be thrown into Hell, blameworthy and rejected.”
(Quran 17:39)



– because, as God tells us over and over again in a Message that is echoed throughout ALL His Revealed Scriptures:


“... I am your Lord and Cherisher: therefore, serve Me (and no other) ...”
(Quran 21:92)





Footnotes:

[1] What Everyone Should Know About Islam and Muslims
 (Library of Islam, 1985) (pp. 183-184)


[2]O People of the Scripture, do not commit excess in your religion or say about God except the truth.  The Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, was but a Messenger of God and His word which He directed to Mary and a soul [created at a command] from Him.  So believe in God and His messengers.  And do not say, ‘Three’; desist—it is better for you.  Indeed, God is but one God.  Exalted is He above having a son.  To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth.  And sufficient is God as Disposer of affairs.”
(Quran 4:171)

[3] “And [beware the Day] when God will say, ‘O Jesus, Son of Mary, did you say to the people, ‘Take me and my mother as deities besides God?’  ‘He will say, ‘Exalted are You!  It was not for me to say that to which I have no right.  If I had said it, You would have known it.  You know what is within myself, and I do not know what is within Yourself.  Indeed, it is You who is Knower of the unseen.’
(Quran 5:116)



Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Prophet and Children





 

Description: An all round role model, he was respected by leaders, emulated by his followers, and surprisingly, loved and cherished by children.


Prophet Muhammad, may God send His praises upon him, was an extraordinary husband, a perfect father, and a unique grandfather.  He was unique in every way.  He treated his children and grandchildren with great compassion and never neglected to direct them to the straight path and to good deeds.  He loved them and treated them tenderly, but did not allow them to neglect matters related to the afterlife.  He showed them how to lead a humane life and never allowed them to neglect their religious duties or to become spoiled.


His ultimate goal was to prepare them for the Hereafter.  His perfect balance in such matters is another dimension of his divinely-inspired intellect.  Anas Ibn Malik, the Messenger’s helper for 10 years, says:


“I have never seen a man who was more compassionate to his family members than Muhammad.”[1]


Muhammad was a human like us, but God inspired in him such an intimate affection for every living thing that he could establish a connection with all of them.  As a result, he was full of extraordinary affection toward his family members and others.



All of the Prophet’s sons died.  Ibrahim, his last son, died in infancy.  The Prophet often visited his son before the latter’s death, although he was very busy.  Ibrahim was looked after by a nurse.  The Prophet would kiss and play with him before returning home.[2]


When Ibrahim took his last breaths, the eyes of the Prophet started shedding tears.  Abdur-Rahman Ibn Awf said:


“O God’s Messenger, even you (weep)!”  The Prophet said, “O Ibn Auf, this is mercy.”


Then he wept more and said:


“The eyes shed tears and the heart grieves, and we will not say except what pleases our Lord, O Ibrahim!  Indeed we are grieved by your separation.”


The Messenger was completely balanced in the way he brought up his children.  He loved his children and grandchildren very much, and instilled love in them.  However, he never let his love for them be abused.  None of them deliberately dared to do anything wrong.  If they made an unintentional mistake, the Messenger’s protection prevented them from going even slightly astray.  He did this by wrapping them in love and an aura of dignity.  For example, once Hasan or Hussain wanted to eat a date meant for distribution among the poor as alms.  The Messenger immediately took it from his hand, and said:


“Anything given as alms is forbidden to us.”[3]



In teaching them while they were young to be sensitive to forbidden acts, the Prophet, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, established an important principle of education.


Whenever he returned to Medina, he would carry children on his mount.  On such occasions, the Messenger embraced not only his grandchildren but also those in his house and those nearby.  He conquered their hearts through his compassion.  He loved all children.


He loved his granddaughter Umamah.  He often went out with her on his shoulders, and even placed her on his shoulders while praying.  When he prostrated, he put her down; when he had finished praying, he placed her on his back again.[4]


The Prophet showed this degree of love to Umamah to teach his male followers how to treat girls.  This was a vital necessity; only a decade earlier, it had been the social norm to bury infant or young girls alive.  Such public paternal affection for a granddaughter had never been seen before in Arabia.


The Messenger proclaimed that Islam allows no discrimination between son and daughter.  How could there be?  One is Muhammad, the other is Khadijah; one is Adam, the other is Eve; one is Ali, the other is Fatima.  For every great man there is a great woman.



As soon as Fatimah, the daughter of the Messenger, entered the room where the Messenger was, he would stand, take her hands, and make her sit where he was sitting.  He would ask about her health and family, show his paternal love for her and compliment her.


Fatimah, knowing how fond he was of her, loved him more than her own self.  She always watched her father and how he called people to Islam.  She wept profusely when the Messenger told her that he would die soon, but her tears of sorrow turned to tears of joy when he informed her that she would be the first of his family to follow him.[5]


This is the Prophet and his relation to children, A man respected by leaders, cherished and loved by children.


Footnotes:
[1] Saheeh Muslim
[2] Saheeh Muslim
[3] Saheeh Muslim
[4] Saheeh Muslim
[5] Saheeh Al-Bukhari, Saheeh Muslim

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Marriages of Prophet Muhammad (part 1 of 2): Stages of Life

  



  


Description: The marriages that Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) contracted in the various stages of his life.  Part 1: His life before prophethood and upon the death of his wife Khadeejah.


The prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) was a religious and political figure whose mission was to unite the various tribes of the Arabian peninsula specifically, and the whole world generally, under one religion.  As an example for the world to follow, the life and decisions of the Prophet Muhammad are those from which much benefit and wisdom may be drawn.  From the time of revelation, the Prophet lived a life under the direct supervision of the Creator.  Thus he was under protection of God from committing any error in portraying the religion and correct way of life.  His each and every action is one which ought to be emulated, as God himself said about him:


Indeed you are upon a high moral standard of character.”



The Prophet was a man bent upon a mission, and his concerns were not those of other ordinary humans.  For these reasons, one must look into the reasoning why the Prophet took certain decisions during the course of his life.  Though some of them may seem easily applicable, others may be unfamiliar to this day and age.  Consequently, taking things from his life at face value may lead one to draw false conclusions without any basis or evidence.


One of those facets of the life of the Prophet which is often misunderstood, or quite frankly misconstrued, is the fact that he had contracted a number of marriages in the course of his lifetime.  In order to understand the wisdom in this, one must do a case study of the various factors which surrounded this decision.  Only then can a proper conclusion be made based upon them.


The domestic life of the Prophet can be divided into four stages.


The First Stage


 The first twenty five years of his life were a period of celibacy.  Youth is normally the stage of life when people get reckless, when the passions stirred in adolescence run wild because self-control is not yet learnt.  Moreover, at the period of time he lived in, Arab society did not restrict sexual relations.  Yet, he led a chaste, pure life earning him the title of ‘Ameen,’ ‘the trustworthy.’  A man who can control himself as a young adult is much more likely to keep self control in old age


The Second Stage

When he eventually married, it was not to a young virgin, junior to him.  Instead, after spending 25 celibate years, his first wife, Khadeejah, was 40 years of age and married twice before.  They stayed happily married for twenty five years until she died, and he did not marry anyone else during that period.  After he received the first revelation, she was the first person to believe in him as a Prophet of God.  Can there be a greater testimony than a wife fifteen years older than her husband being the first one to believe in his calling?


He also had every reason to marry another wife while he was married to her:


First, although she gave him three daughters, Khadeejah did not bear him any male children who survived infancy.  In a society that practiced female infanticide due to their preference for male infants, this was indeed a hard trial.  His adversaries even jeered at him after the death of his second son.  God, however, repudiated them,


“Surely he that insults you will himself remain childless.”

(Quran 108:3)



Second, he was an extraordinarily handsome man.  One of his companions described him,


‘I began to look at him and at the moon, he was wearing a red mantle, and he appeared to be more beautiful than the moon to me.’[1]


Third, polygamy was widespread and socially acceptable to women at the time.  There were no social barriers preventing him from taking another wife.  He could have easily married a younger, more beautiful, woman had he so chosen, but he did not.  Furthermore, when pressured to remarry after Khadeejah's death, he chose another widow.

Fourth, the pagans of Mecca offered him wealth, trappings of gold and silver, leadership, and even marriage to their most beautiful women only if he would stop preaching; but he refused.  He said,


“Even if they set against me the sun on my right and the moon on my left, I will not abandon my purpose until God grants me success or until I die.”[2]



Could this be the reply of a man given to the call of his flesh, or one given to the call of God?

The Third Stage

After passing the prime of his life (physically), he contracted marriages to more than one wife from the period 2 A.H. - 7 A.H. (623-628 CE).  This happened between the ages of 55 and 60, and all of the marriages were contracted for unselfish reasons.  These were years of wars for the nascent Muslim nation, when Muslims had to fight in self-defense to protect their lives and the religion.  Consequently, hundreds of his companions were killed, leaving behind widows and orphans without anyone left to care for them.  Prophet Muhammad set an example for the surviving companions to remarry the widows in order to support them, so most of his wives were widows.  If sheer lust was the motive, the choice would not have been widows or divorcees.


The Prophet Muhammad did marry one virgin, Aisha, who was very young.  This marriage is the one that causes the most controversy among critics who impute immorality in the character of the Prophet due to this. He married her on the request of her father, Abu Bakr, who was his closest and earliest follower outside the family.  Abu Bakr was the first among the companions in the Prophet's esteem, and his most trusted ally.  With him he shared the dangerous flight to Medina.  Why would he gratuitously offend such an ally by refusing his request?  Aisha is also the source of much of what we know of the Prophet's Sunnah, without which the legacy left by him would be so much poorer.  Also, the Prophet was fulfilling a commandment of God, which is to marry those who are ready to marry as soon as they are ready.  The consummation, or full wedding (nikah), was three years after the contractual arrangement (engagement), when she was fully mature.  As a child, she lived in her father's house, where Muhammad would visit, often joining in with her play with dolls.


Another reason behind his marriages was to cement alliances.  By marrying into the families of key allies and vanquished enemies, he laid the ground work for cooperation between Muslims of different tribes.  None of the wives the Prophet married after Aisha compared with her in youth, intelligence or desire to learn, but all of them contributed in other ways to the stability of the Muslim nation.  Such a man was a master, not slave, of his passions.  His marriages point to farsighted planning and compassionate interest.  If it was not for this compassion, he would have definitely have chosen, besides Aisha, others similar to her rather than widows or divorcees to be his wives!
 

 

Footnotes:
[1] Al-Tirmidhi
[2] Al-Serah Al-Nabaweyyah, Ibn Hesham, vol. 1, pp. 265-266

 


The Marriages of Prophet Muhammad (part 2 of 2) A Humble Life



Description: The marriages that Prophet Muhammad contracted in the various stages of his life.  Part 2: A look into some aspects of the humble life of the Prophet and how it relates to the reasons he contracted his marriages.

The Fourth Stage

Upon the conquest of Mecca in 8 A.H., warfare came to an end for the most part.  After this time, the Prophet did not remarry.  This shows that he added wives to his family only in the time of instability and warfare, both to protect them and their children, and to expand and stabilize the Muslim nation.


The fact that Prophet Muhammad led a morally upright life was acknowledged by his adversaries, and this is referred to in the Quran where God challenges his detractors by asking them, rhetorically, if they can find any moral defect in his life.  He told Prophet Muhammad to


“…(Say), I have lived among you a lifetime before this.  Do you not then use your reason?”
(Quran 10:16)

No one was able to find any fault in his character that they could make stick.  Assuming, against all evidence, that he was an imposter and the personal author of the Quran; would he have presented his morally upright life as proof for his claim to be God’s prophet?

His Humble Standard of Living

 Those few years in Medina in which most of his marriages took place was not one spent in luxury and comfort Rather, his was a harsh life, marred with the death struggle against the pagans.  Huge armies were at the gates of Medina ready to crush the Muslims, and most of Arabia had united against him.  Battles had to be fought in quick succession, no time for resting on the laurels of victory or ashes of defeat between them.  For a responsible leader, it was no time for indulging the passions; not even the ordinary man who was so inclined would find much to indulge his passions in such times.


Once an orphan, he then became the ruler of a unified Arabia; but that did not change his simple way of living.  He ate the same humble food and wore the same manner of dress he had worn from his early manhood, perhaps even more simple and humble than then.  The furniture of his sleeping room consisted of a bed made of date palm leaves which left marks on his body, one about which even one the closest companions remarked:


“O Messenger of God, the leaders of the Persians drink from vessels of gold silver, and you do as such?” (Ahmed)


 He would often go without eating for nights on end, and for days no fire would be lit in his house to prepare food.  When this happened, the whole family would survive on dates and water, despite the fact that the public treasury was at his disposal.  The Prophet could have lived in comfort if he wanted to, as his followers, some of them quite wealthy, were ready to sacrifice anything for him.  However, due to God's command concerning the behavior of Prophets, he would accept no charity for himself or his family.  Moreover, whether in times of poverty or plenty, he was not a man devoted to the pleasures this worldly life.

His Nights

Prophet Muhammad had many wives, but he did not spend most of his night in conjugal enjoyment with them.  The Prophet was commanded by God to


“Stand (praying) all night, except a little; half of it or a little less than that, or a little more.  And recite the Quran (aloud) in a slow, (pleasant tone and) style.”
(Quran 73:2-4)


His wives described how his feet would swell from standing in prayer.  This habitual and constant occupation clearly does not belong to the life of a man given to sensual pleasures.


The Simple Life of His Wives

After migration to Medina, prosperous trade changed the condition of Muslims.  Conquests brought the comforts of life, and the wives of the Prophet naturally desired to share the legitimate comforts of life.  However, God revealed:


“O Prophet, say to your wives, if you desire the life of this world and it’s charms, come, I will give you a provision and set you free with kindliness.  But if you desire God and His Messenger and the life of the Hereafter, then, truly, God has prepared for those of you who are virtuous, a great reward.”
(Quran 33:28-29)

All the wives were offered alternatives, but not a single one of them left him for a more comfortable life.  Had they suspected him of being an imposter, or had found the least fault in his character, or even truly desired the comfortable life offered as an alternative to being married to him, they could have simply left.  Instead, every single one of them chose the honor of being his wife.  Surely if he was a sensual man, he would not deny the wishes of his wives like this and be willing to divorce all of them if they had inclined, even if briefly, towards the worldly pleasures that had become available.