Monday, January 15, 2007

* The Holy Qur'an

The Qur'an being the guide for mankind contains within it pearls of wisdom that not only guides man in attaining the pleasure of Allah Ta'ala by treading on the correct path but also teaches them a total way of living and passing their time in this world as mere traveller or passer by.
The Qur'an, being in a book form, was sent down to the final Messenger, Muhammad Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam. It is he who took this book and conveyed its message to his people, both verbally and physically.

Therefore, the connection between the Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam and Qur'an is immense. The Qur'an was in a form of a book, whilst the Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam was the walking talking model of the Qur'an; the Qur'an being the guidance and the Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam was the guide; the Qur'an being the light and the Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam being the lantern containing that light.
It is for this reason that if anyone wishes to be the beloved of Allah Ta'ala he has to follow the steps of the Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam.
Allah Ta'ala has proclaimed in the Holy Qur'an:

"Say (O Muhammad): "If you (really) love Allah, then follow me, Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful".

(Aal Imran - 3:31-32)

We can deduce for this verse that in order for us to attain salvation and the love of Allah Ta'ala we need to follow the Qur'an and the Sunnah, both being the guide for mankind.

The Qur'an being the word of Allah Ta'ala can never be understood by us, mere mortals. For that reason Allah Ta'ala sent down His beloved Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam to explain to us the meanings and aim of the Holy Qur'an. The method in which the Qur'an changed mankind from the state of animals to the state of being Humans.

Before the revelation of the Qur'an men would kill their own daughters, people would drown themselves in intoxication and live a barbaric life.

It was the mercy and compassion of Allah Ta'ala through which he sent down the best of creation Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam amongst this nation to guide them and save them from the eternal hellfire.
The efforts exercised by the Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam is known to every believer; the events of Taif and being stoned by the people; the scorching sun in the battlefields; the swelling of the feet whilst asking for the forgiveness of his Ummah; the sacrificing of his family for our sake; the cursing of the people and the hardships given by them only for because he was the messenger that came to save us.

Despite knowing this many chose to disbelieve in him, yet his mercy was such that despite this he prayed for their guidance and forgave their torturing acts.
Allah Ta'ala states in the Holy Qur'an:

"And We did not send you (O Muhammad) except as a mercy to the world."

(al-Anbiyaa - 21:107)

What is our duty to such a Prophet? How are we actually expected to follow the Qur'an?

We understand how the Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam was sent down by Allah Ta'ala as a mercy to mankind. It was our Beloved Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam that took the word of Allah Ta'ala and made it his lifestyle so that the people, present and yet to come, would be able to follow the path that Allah Ta'ala had laid out in front of them with ease.
So, the question remains, What is our duty to such a Prophet? How are we expected to follow the Qur'an.

The answers, though simple, need much attention and awareness.

We need to recognise the sacrifices that the Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam made for us, his Ummah. Once we have familiarised ourselves with the sacrifices he made we need to compare that to the sacrifices we are making for him.There is no doubt in the fact that no mortal can ever make as many sacrifices for anyone similar to those made by the Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam for us, a nation he had not even seen, but only knew of to be his followers.
It is for this reason, that despite all our desires, we create a burning desire to be like the beloved Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam. A desire that will allow us to live our lives in accordance to his will and the will of Allah Ta'ala.
It is only in this way that we may able to achieve a portion of the duty that we hold towards the Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam. It is only through his lifestyle that we can truly follow the Qur'an the way it is meant to be followed.

We need to introduce the lifestyle of Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam in order to please Allah Ta'ala and gain Jannah.

No doubt, changing from one lifestyle to another is no easy task, nor can it be accomplished in a matter of days. Nevertheless, a person who chooses to reform himself and chooses the lifestyle shown by Islam, is regarded as that person who is reformed. Allah Ta'ala makes no task difficult upon his believers and rewards without any limitations.

In conclusion, one must take time out everyday and judge himself. He should be honest to himself and question his Nafs (lower self) as to how many sins he committed in that day, he should question his Nafs as to how many times he displeased Allah Ta'ala directly or by hurting one of His creations. Thereafter, he should resolve that matter by contacting a Shaykh (Spiritual Guide) or by making a personal attempt to release himself from that sin and never to return to it.

Insha-Allah one by one, a person can leave all sins and join the list of the Awliyaa (friends of Allah Ta'ala).

I pray to Allah Ta'ala to accept our efforts and forgive our shortcomings. I ask Him of His mercy and kindness and to give me the knowledge, strength and inclination to follow and live the lifestyle shown to us by our beloved Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam.AameenWasalaam.

* Is Islam, Truly, a Religion of Peace?

Bism Illah Ar-Rahmaan Ar-Raheem,

You might have come across this phrase before if you have read the Quran or any Islamic literature,

Arabic is language based on rhythm, i.e. words that sound the same, are close in meaning. So just as how Shab’aan means full (of food), and Atshaan means full of thirst, Rahmaan means full of mercy. And just like Kareem means most-generous and Azeez means most-powerful, Raheem most-merciful. So God not only he is the most able to be merciful, be he too is the most merciful. He is the most being to have mercy, and the most being to give mercy.

Therefore, this phrase can be translated to “By the name of God, the Possessor-of-All-Mercy, the Most-Merciful.”

It is not a coincidence that as we are encountering several terms in beginnings of our talk about Islam, many of them are related to peace, mercy and forgiveness…

How come that the image of Islam in the world today is very bloody and violent?

And why Islam is called the religion of Peace, if the Quran contains many verses provoking Muslims to war?

This naturally might seem contradictory at first glance to most people. Many people actually find this the most important reason to not believe in the entire message of Quran; because it seems contradictory to them, especially in regards of this point.
Having understood a little of God’s wisdom in this subject, I will try to explain this to you, and may God support me.

the matter of warfare in Quran, i.e. Jihad as known to non-Arabs.

Jihad actually means “making the effort”, it refers to any action made for the cause of Allah that one’s self would not prefer to do. The strongest form of Jihad is holding man’s horses of his basic instinct of sexuality and aggression. Also, the prophet Mohammed says “the greatest Jihad to God is a word of truth before an unjust ruler.”

War for the cause of God is the a crucial part of Jihad, first because a normal sane person would always prefer to stay alive, enjoy being around his wealth, family and all other blessings which God gave him, and hence going to Jihad risking one's life is an indicator of true faith; that obeying the will of God is above the soul’s appetites. The second reason is that Jihad is the fortifications and walls of Islam; it is the strongest defense mechanism that Islam has. Some though consider the Jihad of the tongue (of sometimes referred to as Jihad of the pen): all persuasive arguments in religion, known as ‘apologetics’, and the various forms of invitation, propaganda, and defense of Islam as important as the Jihad of the sword.

There are two major points regarding wars for the cause of God,


The divine inspiration to Mohammed took over two decades, meaning that Quran did not descend at one; but it went through a long process and underwent several changes, these gradual steps were necessary to reach the final form of Islam that we have today, just like what happened with other major world religions like Judaism. Judaism was descended in a time were all nations were polytheists. Therefore introducing monotheism was a very difficult thing to do, and it actually took gradual steps from having one ‘superior God’ as transcendent being with the existence of lower Gods… then this eventually reached the final step of monotheism with one God both on earth and in the heavens. This gradual inspiration is a key to establishment of strong basis for the religion. And this is what happened in Islam when it was first addressing people of Arabia, who were tribal peoples and had very hostile and violent type of living. Islam gradually introduced the concept of religion-kinship instead of blood-kinship, and subsequently, fighting for the cause of religion instead of fighting for the cause of the tribe. People of Arabia back then considered warfare a sign of manhood and power, and hence if Islam ignored this part and promoted only what can be called as ‘passive-peace’, people would not want to join this new religion-of-wussies.

This is not only limited to the people of Arabia, actually Sigmund Freud (the father of human psychoanalysis) argued that men had two basic instincts that could not be ignored: sexuality and violence; both of which Islam handled in the most wise way. And we shall explore this further in later times if God wills.

So, declaring war for the cause of God was the best solution for two things: a short-term way of quickly spreading the new religion of Islam, and another long-term way of holding horses of man’s aggression and forming certain rules and ethics for this aggression.


Islam came to become the perfect and complete code for humanity. It guarantees happiness of man in life and afterlife. Naturally, any complete code or constitution must contain separate sub-codes; this can be exampled in the constitutions of nation-states in which they have articles and sub-articles of constitution. Islam does this in the same way by creating a complete constitution that explains the general rights and duties of humans between them and God as well as amongst themselves. It also sets complete articles and laws for the civil society in the times of peace, equally to how it sets complete articles and laws for the civil society in the times of war.
Hence, at times of peace, Muslims may not hurt or attack peoples of the book (Jews and Christians), or people of other religions (e.g. Zoroastrians, Manicheans, etc…), or ever people of no religious belief (i.e. agnostics and atheists). The prophet Mohammed clarifies: “he who hurts an accordion [someone who has an accord with Muslims, i.e., not declared war or supported those who declared war against Muslims] during the period of his accord will never smell the scent of paradise, and the scent of paradise can be smelled from a hike of three hundred years from it.”
Therefore, yes, Islam does talk about wars from the sense that wars are inevitable because of man’s aggressive instinct… and that when a war reaches a point of inevitability then Muslims must not run away and must stand up and fight. In addition, Islam does not leave that warfare matter unplanned, despite all other religions which tend to promote ideal peace and sometimes negative/passive peace and completely ignore matters of war, like in Buddhism or Christianity. The followers of these religions fall in a dilemma when they are in wars, since their religion mentions nothing about the customs, dos and don’ts of war. Eventually they decide to do what their aggressive instinct tells them and you get horrific results like the ones seen in the crusade campaigns when they brutally murdered Arabs, Muslims, Jews, and any living creature they found on their way.

Islam brings out the issue of declaring war for the cause of God in order to teach Muslims the rules and ethics of war. Muslims are forbidden to kill women, children and the elderly no matter what they did to them. They are forbidden to kill monks, priests and all kinds of ascetic people. Muslims are even forbidden to cut trees or kill animals for no urging and important reason, like food or clothing. Most importantly, Muslims are forbidden to fight unless that war is to bring peace! If the enemy [any enemy, regardless of the enemy being a troublemaker, unbeliever, etc…] asks for truces or accepts peace with Muslims, then Muslims must obey that and establish peace.

Therefore, an analogy can be made between Jihad to Islam from one side and police and army forces to society from the other. Now, you can have people who argue that armies are bloodthirsty savages who all what they do is murder and destroy, but if you look at the bigger picture, the police and army when controlled by the state, they are the key to maintaining order and peace. It is completely wrong to say that war does not bring peace. Even though that peace is the way to maintain peace in everyday life, war at rare events must be declared to maintain peace; to maintain awe and loyalty of people to their state and maintain fear to enemies of the state.

Thus, he who argues that Islam is a violent religion is absent-minded, Islam promotes peace at all times, even to the point that it obliges its followers to sacrifice with their souls in order to bring peace. That, by all means, is the true religion of peace.


Sunday, January 7, 2007

Saturday, January 6, 2007

* The Rising Religion

The Rising Religion

By Ali Mohamed Mori

About 18 years ago, I was in Manchuria where Japan was still wielding power. It was in a desert near Pieching that I first came across a group of Muslims. They were leading a pious life and I was deeply impressed by their way of living and by their attitude on life. This impression became deeper and deeper as I traveled into the interior of Manchuria.

I returned to Japan, a defeated country, in summer of 1946 and I found that the situation in Japan had changed altogether. There was tremendous change in the realm of thinking of the people. Buddhism which was the faith of the majority of Japanese, was thoroughly corrupted and instead of providing salvation it was exerting an evil influence upon society.

Christianity, after the war had made rapid strides in Japan although it existed there for the last 90 years, but it had remained as a formal religion only. At first, Christianity seemed to be accepted by the innocent, pure and simple young people who in a way had ‘ killed’ their love for Buddhism, but to their great disappointment they soon found out that behind the cover of Christianity there existed the network of British and American capitalist interest. Christianity, which has been given up in Christian countries is now being used for export, to serve their capitalistic interest.

Japan is geographically located between Russia on the one hand and America on the other and both wish to exert their influence on the Japanese people. None can offer a lasting and happy solution to the spiritually disturbed Japanese people.

To my mind it will be the doctrine of Islam and none other that undoubtedly offers the much sought solution. Particularly, I am appreciative for the fraternity in Islam. All Muslims are brethren unto one another and God has enjoined that they should live in peace and harmony with each other. I believe that it is this type of ‘Brotherhood’ which is so vital and needed most by the world today.

Last summer three Muslims visited Tokushima. They had come from Pakistan and it was from them that I learned a great deal about Islam and what it stands for. Mr. Motiwala in Kobe and Mr. Mita in Tokyo came to my help and I embraced Islam. Last but not least, I eagerly hope that one day the bonds of Islam will infuse new spirit among Muslims from every nook and corner of the world and this great message of God will resound once again with full glory from every land, so that the Earth becomes a Heaven to live in and God's creatures be really happy— both materially and spiritually elevated as God does intend.