“We follow only the Qur’an and Sunnah”

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by Muhammad Haq (Haq)

Sitting in the mosque board meeting, as one issue after another was raised, I’ll confess it was difficult not to drift into my own thoughts. However, one issue was raised that caught my attention that was, perhaps not surprisingly, the issue of finance and fundraising: the mosque needed funds for refurbishing the ablution (wuḍu) area. Without much progress being made, I identified a possible source, although it was not problem-free. The source I suggested had a large proportion earned from unlawful sources; however, there was an opinion within Fiqh (jurisprudence), which allowed the utilisation of such funds for public good (maslaḥa).1 This objection was fairly raised by some, but as I started to explain how there was a scholarly opinion – “Forget the scholars!! We only follow the Qur’ān and Sunnah,” shouted a fellow member, Continue reading

The Correct Meaning of the Statement “When a Hadīth Is Authentic, It Is My Opinion”

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By Shaykh Muhammad ‘Awwamah
Translated by Muntasir Zaman

Before concluding the first cause of difference, it is necessary to discuss two doubts that dwell in the minds of many people:

The statement, “When a Hadīth is authentic, it is my opinion”
The authenticity of a Hadīth is sufficient to practice upon it
The first doubt is put forth as follows:

Imām al-Shāfī‘ī mentions, “When a Hadīth is authentic, it is my opinion.’ Hence, if we come across an authentic Hadith in Sahīh al-Bukhārī, for example, in a particular issue and we practice according to that Hadīth, then we have practiced upon an established Sunnah and according to a reliable school of jurisprudence. Moreover, it is incorrect to confine the madhhab of Imām al-Shafi‘ī to what is written in the works of his school of jurisprudence because, based on his own statement, any authentic Hadith will also form part of his madhhab.”

The answer is that the statement “When a Hadīth is authentic, it is my opinion” has been recorded from scholars besides Imām al-Shāfi‘ī. Rather, this is the mute expression of every Muslim who understands the meaning of the statement, “there is none worthy of worship besides Allāh, and Muhammad is His messenger.” Continue reading

Women’s Mosque? Women’s Empowerment?

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The Women’s Mosque of America has started operations in Los Angeles. It is not a mosque per se, but the name of a non-profit organization. It began with holding female only Jumuah prayers, in an old synagogue with Stars of David etched on the stained glass windows. The decision to use this venue was made to “promote peace.”

Creating a separate space for Muslim women is a noble idea. Unfortunately the organizers chose the one event for this project for which it has no basis in the Shariah. Muslim women are not required to offer Jumuah. Continue reading

Aside

Valentine Day, Birthdays, and Other Daze

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What commercial and cultural propaganda presents as beautiful is rooted in ugly paganism but most blind followers do not know.

There is a group of practices that we can consider as the twin sister of bid’ah. Like bid’ah they flourish on the twin foundations of ignorance and outside influence. Like bid’ah they entail rituals. But unlike bid’ah the rituals have not been given an Islamic face. They are followed because they are considered an acceptable cultural practice or the hottest imported “in” thing.

Most of those who indulge in them do not know what they are doing. They are just blind followers of their equally blind cultural leaders. Little do they realize that what they consider as innocent fun may in fact be rooted in paganism. That the symbols they embrace may be symbols of unbelief. That the ideas they borrow may be products of superstition. That all of these may be a negation of what Islam stands for.

Christianity tried to stop the evil celebration of Lupercalia. Its only success was in changing the name from Lupercalia to St. Valentine’s Day

Consider Valentine’s Day, a day that after dying out a well deserved death in most of Europe (but surviving in Britain and United States) has suddenly started to emerge across a good swath of Muslim countries. Who was Valentine? Why is this day observed? Legends abound, as they do in all such cases, but this much is clear: Valentine’s Day began as a pagan ritual started by Romans in the 4th century BCE to honor the god Lupercus. The main attraction of this ritual was a lottery held to distribute young women to young men for “entertainment and pleasure”–until the next year’s lottery. Among other equally despicable practices associated with this day was the lashing of young women by two young men, clad only in a bit of goatskin and wielding goatskin thongs, who had been smeared with blood of sacrificial goats and dogs. A lash of the “sacred” thongs by these “holy men” was believed to make them better able to bear children.

As usual, Christianity tried, without success, to stop the evil celebration of Lupercalia. It first replaced the lottery of the names of women with a lottery of the names of the saints. The idea was that during the following year the young men would emulate the life of the saint whose name they had drawn. (The idea that you can preserve the appearance of a popular evil and yet somehow turn it to serve the purpose of virtue, has survived. Look at all those people who are still trying, helplessly, to use the formats of popular television entertainments to promote good. They might learn something from this bit of history. It failed miserably) Christianity ended up doing in Rome, and elsewhere, as the Romans did.

How can anyone in his right mind think that Islam would be indifferent to practices seeped in anti-Islamic ideas and beliefs?

The only success it had was in changing the name from Lupercalia to St. Valentine’s Day. It was done in CE 496 by Pope Gelasius, in honor of some Saint Valentine. There are as many as 50 different Valentines in Christian legends. Two of them are more famous, although their lives and characters are also shrouded in mystery. According to one legend, and the one more in line with the true nature of this celebration, St. Valentine was a “lovers'” saint, who had himself fallen in love with his jailer’s daughter.

Due to serious troubles that accompanied such lottery, French government banned the practice in 1776. In Italy, Austria, Hungry, and Germany also the ritual vanished over the years. Earlier, it had been banned in England during the 17th century when the Puritans were strong. However in 1660 Charles II revived it. From there it also reached the New World, where enterprising Yankees spotted a good means of making money. Esther A. Howland, who produced one of the first commercial American Valentine’s Day cards called— what else— valentines, in the 1840s, sold $5,000 worth–when $5,000 was a lot of money–the first year. The valentine industry has been booming ever since.

It is the same story with Halloween, which has otherwise normal human beings dressing like ghosts and goblins in a reenactment of an ancient pagan ritual of demon worship. Five star hotels in Muslim countries arrange Halloween parties so the rich can celebrate the superstitions of a distant period of ignorance that at one time even included the shameful practice of human sacrifice. The pagan name for that event was Samhain (pronounced sow-en). Just as in case of Valentine’s Day, Christianity changed its name, but not the pagan moorings.

Christmas is another story. Today Muslim shopkeepers sell and shoppers buy Christmas symbols in Islamabad or Dubai or Cairo. To engage in a known religious celebration of another religion is bad enough. What is worse is the fact that here is another pagan celebration (Saturnalia) that has been changed in name —and in little else— by Christianity.

During joys and sorrows, during celebrations and sufferings, we must follow the one straight path — not many divergent paths.

Even the celebration considered most innocent might have pagan foundations. According to one account, in pagan cultures, people feared evil spirits – especially on their birthdays. It was a common belief that evil spirits were more dangerous to a person when he or she experienced a change in their daily life, such as turning a year older. So family and friends surrounded the person with laughter and joy on their birthdays in order to protect them from evil.

How can anyone in his right mind think that Islam would be indifferent to practices seeped in anti-Islamic ideas and beliefs? Islam came to destroy paganism in all its forms and it cannot tolerate any trace of it in the lives of its followers.

Further, Islam is very sensitive about maintaining its purity and the unique identity of its followers. Islamic laws and teachings go to extra lengths to ensure it. Salat is forbidden at the precise times of sunrise, transition, and sunset to eliminate the possibility of confusion with the practice of sun worship. To the voluntary recommended fast on the tenth of Muharram, Muslims are required to add another day (9th or 11th) to differentiate it from the then prevalent Jewish practice. Muslims are forbidden to emulate the appearance of non-Muslims.

A Muslim is a Muslim for life. During joys and sorrows, during celebrations and sufferings, we must follow the one straight path — not many divergent paths. It is a great tragedy that under the constant barrage of commercial and cultural propaganda from the forces of globalization and the relentless media machine, Muslims have begun to embrace the Valentines, the Halloween ghost, and even the Santa Claus. Given our terrible and increasing surrender to paganism the only day we should be observing is a day of mourning. Better yet it should be a day of repentance that could liberate us from all these days. And all this daze.

By Khalid Baig

Attending a Janāzah

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by Shaykh Mawlānā Muhammad Saleem Dhorat hafizahullāh

The journey to the Hereafter is one which almost every person fears, yet we fail to show any concern for our dear and near ones from the time of their demise to after burial. Our condition at such a critical time is worthy of much lament and shame. Rather than our benefitting the deceased in anyway, we return from the funeral with no benefit to ourselves or to the family; in fact we return with increase in the hurt and grief of the family and maybe sin too. This is because we are neglectful and forget the severity of the stages which our beloved ones are soon to reach. Continue reading

The cleanliness of the Masjid

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By (Mufti) Abraar Alli

The religion of Islam being a natural way of life is promotes many simple, yet essential values to our existence. Islam lays a lot of importance to respect, etiquettes and moral conduct which can be found throughout the Quran and Sunnah.
An example of this is found where Allah Ta’ala has honoured and revered the Masajid, This entails that everyone else also follows in this order. Allah Ta’ala associates the respect shown to the symbols of Islam (here the Masjid) with the grand quality of Taqwa:
وَمَن يُعَظِّمْ شَعَائِرَ اللهِ فَإِنَّهَا مِن تَقْوَى الْقُلُوبِ
Those who show respect to the signs of Allah Ta’ala for this is from the Taqwa of the heart (Surah Hajj) Continue reading

33 Reasons to study under a Qualified Teacher

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Knowledge is attractive and it’s something everybody needs. However, when the correct procedure is not followed, the desired results are lost. The trend of self-study that has become ever so popular in the current times actually contributes to the destruction of pure knowledge. The boom of the internet and its search engines have also contributed to this trend. What follows is an in-depth look at the “Need for a Tutor”

Introduction
To acquire knowledge under the expertise of a fully qualified, Sunnah-conscious ‘Alim of deen is absolutely essential. Failure to do so will result in misguidance. In fact, the system of tutorship has been adopted throughout time and was even the practice of the Ambiya (‘alaihimusalam) and our pious predecessors. This is the only way in which one will acquire pure authentic knowledge. An added benefit is that one will also discover how to respect the people of knowledge. Continue reading

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