Category Archives: The message
“Set thy face to religion as a hanif, in the primordial nature from God upon which He originated mankind—there is no altering the creation of God; that is the upright religion, but most of mankind know not—” Al-Rum (The Byzantines) Sura 30: ayah 30
To set, “turn,” or “submit” one’s face to or toward religion means to orient one’s whole being toward worship and obedience to God. The present ayah is thus taken by most commentators to be a command to follow the religion for which God created human beings. It is addressed directly to the Prophet or to all who hear the message. Some commentators take the first phrase to mean, “Follow the religion as a hanif and follow the primordial nature in which God created you“. In another interpretation, primordial nature (fitrah) modifies religion, which is referred to as “primordial” because human beings were originally created for religion. As a hanif is understood by most to mean in a straight and upstanding manner, neither inclining nor adhering to past religions that have been altered or abrogated. Hanif is usually employed in the Quran with reference to Abraham, but in general it indicates one who inclines away from misguidance and toward belief in the Oneness of God. The basic understanding of hanif may best be illustrated by a famous hadith qudsi: “God says, ‘Verily I created My servants as hunafa. Then the satans came to them and distracted them from their religion‘” (Ibn Kathir). Seen in this light, to be truly devout (hanif) and incline toward the worship of God and away from idolatry is to live according to one’s primordial nature (fitrah), in which all human beings have been created. One cannot change this underlying nature as a servant or worshipper of God, because there is no altering the creation of God. This phrase is also understood to mean that there is no change in God’s religion; that is, there is no change in the substance or universal truths of religion, only in the forms in which these truths are revealed in different religions.
The reference to the fiṭrah is read by some to mean that human beings are born for Islam, so that anyone who follows any other religion is “astray” or “misguided”. But al-Qurtubi maintains that it is impossible for the fitrah mentioned here to be Islam in its particular sense, because “Islam (submission) and iman (faith) are declaring with the tongue, embracing with the heart, and performing with the limbs,” implying that if fitrah pertains to the original human nature, which is related to the spirit, it cannot pertain to the specific practices of a particular religious tradition because these can only be performed while a spirit resides in a body in this world. From this perspective, the upright religion could refer to religion as such and thus to any religious practice that accords with the fitrah. Nonetheless, most interpret upright religion as a reference to Islam in particular.
Compiled From: “The Study Quran: A New Translation and Commentary” – Seyyed Hossein Nasr
Interesting animation explaining reasons for non-Muslims to embrace Islam, urging them to know it, and drawing attentions to its distinctive points such as being the religion harmonious with the human nature.
We know that love of this world destroyed the first and last, and that it lies behind the shocking crimes which the elite classes commit against the common people, leaders against followers, and the intelligent against fools; but the sound cure for the chronic illness lies in mastery of this world and then rising above its baseness. It is good for you to possess more treasure than Qarun and wield wider powers than those of Sulayman if you then use that in support of the truth when the truth needs a buttress, and abandon it for Allah’s sake when death is nigh. As for living in utter poverty and reckoning that vagrancy is the Path to the Garden, this is madness and self-deception. When atheism has imposed its power through control in the earth, your abandoning control of the earth is a worse outrage than fornication and usury.
Anas ibn Malik said, “Salman al-Farisi was fatally ill. Sad ibn Abi Waqqas visited him and saw that he was weeping. Sad asked him, ‘What makes you weep, my brother? Did you not keep the company of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. Were you not this? Were you not that?’ Salman replied, ‘I am not weeping from either reluctance to leave this world nor dislike of going to the Next. But the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, made a contract with us, and it seems to me that I have only broken it!’ Sad asked, ‘What was your contract?’ He said, ‘He made a contract with us that each of us should have only what which is adequate, like the provision of the rider, and I think that I have exceeded that. As for you, Sad, fear Allah in your ruling when you give judgement, in your distribution when you divide, and in your plan when you decide!'” Al-Mundhiri said, “We read in the Sahih of Ibn Hibban that Salman’s property was collected after his death and it amounted to fifteen dirhams.”
Salman was one of the great and loyal Companions. The hadith shows that he feared to meet Allah even though he left only fifteen dirhams. This is a picture which evokes fear and humility: the sight of one of the commanders of the Islamic conquest meeting his Lord with this divestment and piety at a time when you see the generals and commanders full of this world without limits! But there is a question of fiqh here: Sad ibn Abi Waqqas, who was speaking with Salman, heard this directive from the Messenger of Allah: “It is better for you to leave your heirs rich than to leave them in need, begging from people.” So a large legacy is certainly not a crime! Sad ibn Abi Waqqas was one of the ten promised the Garden, as we find in the Sunan, and those ten were all wealthy Muslims. There was not a poor man among them. Transmitters claim that one of them left so much gold that it was made into axes. The problem is not in owning vast wealth: the problem is in how to use it and how to spend it. In this world we have seen rich men who have built colleges to act as fortresses of knowledge and study, rich men who have combated illness and hardship with great vigour, and rich men who have offered their nations the taxes they paid to assist in matters of general public interest. Uthman ibn Affan offered a stupendous amount of money in preparing for the Expedition of Hardship, and the Messenger said, “O Allah, be pleased with Uthman! I am pleased with him.” The fact is that the hadith of Salman only represents a particular psychological state and does not imply a general legal judgement.
“The Sunna of the Prophet” – Muhammad al-Ghazali
In the name of God, the Lord of Grace, the Ever-Merciful. From Muhammad, God’s Messenger to Heracules, the Byzantine ruler. Peace be to those who follow right guidance. I call on you to believe in Islam. Adopt Islam and you will be safe, and God will give you a double reward. If you decline, you shall bear responsibility for the Arians.” [Bukhari]
When we look at the Prophet’s letters to the various rulers, including the two most powerful leaders in the world, we can identify several features that are common to all of them:
1. The Prophet’s address is powerful and decisive, and it does not seek to appease anyone or to defer to any authority.
2. The Prophet puts his purpose in very clear terms: he wanted to deliver a message from God Almighty, and explained the consequences of the addressee’s response, particularly if it is a negative one. Specifically, he highlighted that a ruler who denies the people a chance to learn of God’s message bears responsibility for their continued unbelief.
3. The Prophet also made it clear that he was a Messenger to all mankind. He dispelled any thought that might be entertained by the addressee that he could be looking beyond the area assigned to him.
4. Everyone was addressed in the language they understood. When the Prophet spoke to Christian rulers, his address took into consideration the fact that they believed in God, even though their concept of Him was at variance with that of Islam.
5. The Prophet further explained that no one would be coerced or pressured into accepting Islam. Emperors, kings and rulers may try to force their populations to follow a certain line, but the Prophet made it clear that neither Jews nor Magians would be forced to accept Islam; they would only be required to pay a tax in return for being protected by the Islamic state.
“Muhammad: His Character and Conduct” – Muhammad Adil Salahi
The following story is narrated by Abdul-Wahid bin Zaid:
“We were on a sea vessel once, when the wind suddenly became tempestuous, and we were forced to leave the high seas and seek refuge on an island. We were surprised to see that we were not alone on the island; there standing before us was a man who was busy worshipping an idol.
We said , Oh ma, Who do you you woship ?!
He responded I worship this idol
We said: ‘We have someone on our ship that can make one like this. This is not a god to worship.’
The man asked, ‘Then who is it that you worship?’
We said, ‘We worship Allah.’
He asked, ‘And who is Allah?’
We said, ‘He Whose Throne is in the Heavens and Whose dominion is in the heavens, the earth, and all that exists. and whose predistination/Qadar should apply to the living and the dead‘
‘And how did you come to know that?’ asked the man.
‘He sent a messenger to us with clear proofs and miracles, and it was that messenger who informed us about Him.’
‘And what has happened to your messenger?’
‘When he finished conveying the message, Allah caused him to die,’ we answered.
‘Has he left you no sign?’ the man asked.
‘He has left among us Allah’s Book,’ we said.
‘Show it to me,’ requested the man.
When we showed him a copy of the Quran, he said, ‘I cannot read it,’ and so we read a part of it for him.
He then cried and said, ‘The One, Whose speech is this, must not be disobeyed.’ Not only did the man then accept Islam, he also assiduously learned its teachings and then put what he learned into practice.
When the weather calmed down and we were ready to leave the island, he asked us if he could be a passenger on our ship. We of course agreed to have him join us, and it was a good thing that he came with us, for it gave us the opportunity to teach him a number of chapters of the Quran. At the end of the first evening of travel, all of us crewmen got ready to go to sleep. Our new passenger said, ‘O people, the Lord that you guided me to, does He sleep?’
We said, ‘He is the Ever Living, the One who sustains and protects all that exists. Neither slumber nor sleep overtake Him.’
He looked at us and said, ‘It is indeed bad manners for a slave to sleep in the presence of his master.’ With a great deal of energy and vigor, he then jumped up and began to pray; and his crying voice could be heard until the morning.
When we reached a place caled ‘Abaadaan [a place situated in present-day Iran], I said to my companions, ‘This man is a stranger here, moreover, he is a new Muslim. We would do well to gather some money for him in order to help him out.’ We gathered what we could, but when we tried to give him the money, he exclaimed, ‘What is this!’
We said, ‘Money that you can spend on yourself.’
He said, ‘How perfect Allah is! You have guided me to a way that you do not know yourselves. When I was living on a barren desert in the middle of the ocean, I worshipped other than Him, yet He did not allow me to go without; then how is it possible that He will make me be needy, when it is Him alone that I now worship? Indeed He is the Creator and the Provider.’ He then left us and went on his way.
A number of days passed before we heard any news of his whereabouts. We were told he was in such and such place and that he was extremely sick. When we reached him, we saw that he was on the verge of dying. After extending greetings of peace to him, I said, ‘Do you need anything?’
He said, ‘The One Who brought you to the island when I did not know Him has provided me with all that I need,’ he said.
I sat down beside him, thinking that I could stay for a while and comfort him. I soon fell asleep, howver, and saw a dream. In the graveyard of Abaadaan I saw the most beautiful girl that I have ever seen. She was saying, ‘Hasten his burial, for it is a long time now that I have been yearning for him.’ I woke up with a start and found that he had just died. I washed his body and enshrouded him. That night, after the burial had taken place, I saw another dream. In it, he was looking very handsome, and the same girl was sitting on the bed. Sitting beside her, he continued to repeat the ayah:
سَلَامٌ عَلَيْكُمْ بِمَا صَبَرْتُمْ فَنِعْمَ عُقْبَى الدَّارِ
Salaamun Alaykom for that you persevered in patience! Excellent indeed is the final home! ”
[al-Ra’ad : 24]
[al-Mawaa’idh wal-Majaalis: 40-42/Kitan Altawabeen]