Monday, October 29, 2007

UNGS 2030 : Sample final exam Question 2

INTERNATIONAL ISLAMIC UNIVERSITY MALAYSIA
KULLIYYAH OF ISLAMIC REVEALED KNOWLEDGE AND HUMAN SCIENCES
DEPARTMENT OF GENERAL STUDIES
Final Exam

Course code: UNGS 2030 Total Marks : 50 marks
Course Title : The Islamic Worldview Time : 2 ½ Hours


Instruction :
a. Answer Four questions only. Question One is compulsory
b. Support your answer with relevant Quranic verses when necessary.



Question One

Explain how to actualize the concept of Tawhid in order to improve a Muslim’s personality

( 14 marks)

Question Two

Write short notes on the following concepts:
a. Comprehensiveness (syumul)
b. Liberal Islam
(12 marks)


Question Three

“Al-Dunya aspect must be related in a profound and inseparable way to al-Akhirah, which is the ultimate and final phase of the life”.
Discuss the above statement according to your understanding of Islamic worldview.
(12 marks)


Question Four

Discuss the significance of prophethood in developing Muslim character.
(12 marks)


Question Five

Discuss the challenges of glabalization faced by the Muslim ummah and how to overcome them in the light of the Islamic worldview.
( 12 marks)

Friday, October 26, 2007

SECULARISM

Secularism

Dr. Yusuf al-Qaradawi

From 'Al-Hulul al Mustawradah wa Kayfa Jaat `alaa Ummatina'

("How the Imported Solutions Disastrously Affected Our Ummah"), pp 113-4
Secularism may be accepted in a Christian society but it can never enjoy a general acceptance in an Islamic society. Christianity is devoid of a shari`ah or a comprehensive system of life to which its adherents should be committed. The New Testament itself divides life into two parts: one for God, or religion, the other for Caesar, or the state: "Render unto Caesar things which belong to Caesar, and render unto God things which belong to God" (Matthew 22:21). As such, a Christian could accept secularism without any qualms of conscience. Furthermore, Westerners, especially Christians, have good reasons to prefer a secular regime to a religious one. Their experience with "religious regimes" - as they knew them - meant the rule of the clergy, the despotic authority of the Church, and the resulting decrees of excommunication and the deeds of forgiveness, i.e. letters of indulgence.

For Muslim societies, the acceptance of secularism means something totally different; i.e. as Islam is a comprehensive system of worship (`ibadah) and legislation (Shari`ah), the acceptance of secularism means abandonment of Shari`ah, a denial of the divine guidance and a rejection of Allah’s injunctions; It is indeed a false claim that Shariah is not proper to the requirements of the present age. The acceptance of a legislation formulated by humans means a preference of the humans’ limited knowledge and experiences to the divine guidance: "Say! Do you know better than Allah?" (2:140).

For this reason, the call for secularism among Muslims is atheism and a rejection of Islam. Its acceptance as a basis for rule in place of Shari`ah is downright riddah. The silence of the masses in the Muslim world about this deviation has been a major transgression and a clear-cut instance of disobedience which have produces a sense of guilt, remorse, and inward resentment, all of which have generated discontent, insecurity, and hatred among committed Muslims because such deviation lacks legality. Secularism is compatible with the Western concept of God which maintains that after God had created the world, He left it to look after itself. In this sense, God’s relationship with the world is like that of a watchmaker with a watch: he makes it then leaves it to function without any need for him. This concept is inherited from Greek philosophy, especially that of Aristotle who argued that God neither controls nor knows anything about this world. This is a helpless God as described by Will Durant. There is no wonder that such a God leaves people to look after their own affairs. How can He legislate for them when He is ignorant of their affairs? This concept is totally different from that of Muslims. We Muslims believe that Allah (SWT) is the sole Creator and Sustainer of the Worlds. One Who "…takes account of every single thing) (72:28); that He is omnipotent and omniscient; that His mercy and bounties encompasses everyone and suffice for all. In that capacity, Allah (SWT) revealed His divine guidance to humanity, made certain things permissible and others prohibited, commanded people observe His injunctions and to judge according to them. If they do not do so, then they commit kufr, aggression, and transgression."

Thursday, October 25, 2007

THE FOUNDATION OF ISLAMIC ETHICS

The Foundation of Islamic Ethics *

By Dr. Jamal Badawi **
September 8, 2005


Morals can either be classified as secular or religious. Secular morality tries to establish a moral system that is independent of God and religious faiths. In terms of motives for morality, various explanations have been given. One explanation is that people are ethical in pursuit of happiness or perfection. Another suggests that pressure by political power or social means forces people to follow a certain code of conduct. Yet another explanation is that a feeling of duty makes people moral.
Another problem in this classification for morals is that it lacks clarity in defining ethical knowledge. For example, is happiness mental, physical, or spiritual?
As for religious morality, it is fundamentally based on two things; first is the belief in God as the Creator of the universe, and second is the belief in the Hereafter.
“Religious morality” is not a uniformly used term because the fundamentals of religious morality are not the same for all religions.


Islamic Concept of God

A Muslim believes in the absolute perfection, sovereignty and lordship of God, that He is the sole Lord, Creator and Sustainer of this universe. Some of God's divine attributes include; absolute and perfect knowledge, absolute life, perfection, wisdom, power, mercy, and justice. In Islam, the relationship of a Muslim with God is a loving, conscious, and voluntary submission to the will of God. One verse in the Qur'an describes this relationship: And We are nearer to him than his jugular vein (by our knowledge) (Qaf 50:16).

Unlike some Hellenic philosophical ideas, advocated by thinkers such as Plato and Aristotle, propose that God is both transcendent and remote from this universe, Islam teaches both the absolute transcendence and perfection of God alongside His direct relationship with mankind.


Differences from Other Religious Communities

The Muslim belief in a supreme and universal God whose divine attributes are not shared by any of His creatures, automatically leads to the belief in one single ultimate supreme will (God's will). This leads to stability and a sense of certitude because that there is only one ultimate ideal to look up to. For example, some people refer to phenomena in nature as "laws of Mother Nature". Muslims believe that God created laws in nature, and that nature has permanent laws that are not haphazard. This leads to the conclusion that there must be one single and uniform Will behind creation.

Polytheism is the belief in more than one ultimate God, or that other creatures of God share some or all of His divine attributes, or the belief in some minor gods that intercede between man and the Ultimate God. All this leads to the belief in more than one ideal or ultimate source of guidance which would cause chaos in the universe. That is why the Qur'an is very clear when it says what means: Had there been therein (in the heavens and earth) gods besides Allah, then verily both would have been ruined. Glorified be Allah, the lord of the throne, (High is He) above what they attribute to him! (Al-Anbiyaa' 21:22)

Comparison with Biblical Concept of God

The difference between Islamic monotheism and the concept of God as depicted in the Bible is definitely not as comparatively large as the difference between Islamic monotheism and other forms of polytheism. A very common error about the Islamic concept of monotheism is that it is simply an extension of the Biblical concept of God or is based on it.


The concept of God in Islam is the purest form of monotheism.

Many non-Muslim scholars have pointed out that among the early Israelites the nature of God seems to be like that of a super-human being. In the Book of Genesis you find the description of God as someone needing to rest after He created the heavens and earth. It describes Him as walking in the garden and Adam and Eve hearing the sound of his feet. It also depicts God making mistakes and people correcting him. God is portrayed as being jealous of the power of humans in the story of the Tower of Babel . When humans started building the Tower of Babel , God, according to the Bible, believed they were becoming very smart and powerful, so He changed their language so they would not understand each other. This is what caused the multiplicity of languages, according to the Bible. Many times the term "God of Israel" is used, giving the impression that He is a tribal God.

These descriptions that depict God as a super-human contradict Islam’s emphasis of God’s transcendence, His total freedom from all human defects, and that He is not human-like because He is not “physical” in the sense that He can be perceived.
If the Islamic concept of God is compared with Biblical concept of "God of Israel", we find that the first chapter in the Qur'an describes God as Lord of the universe (Al-Fatihah 1:2), and the last chapter of the Qur'an describes Him as Lord of mankind (An-Nas 114:1). The Qur'an does not say "God of Arabs" or "God of Muslims" or God of any ethnic group, but God is the God of all humanity.

In the New Testament, Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) is described as the intimate, sole son of God, who came to save humanity by shedding his blood on the cross. But from the Qur'anic point of view, this is not acceptable. A Muslim believes in Jesus as a righteous, noble prophet who is among the greatest prophets of God, and that he is only a human, in the same way that all other prophets of God are human. In addition, Muslims believe his relationship with God is metaphorical in a sense that all human beings are “children” of God, whom He provides for. The concept of God in Islam is the purest form of monotheism and is a consistent and coherent system of belief that is completely independent from any other belief.


Implication of Ethics

Self-discipline must be at the heart of any ethical or moral code of conduct.
The concept of God in Islam affects its ethical system in many ways. For example, when the pure monotheism of God and the conception of the highest ideal are mixed up with imperfections, errors, or inconsistencies as it is in other religions, then how can that be an ultimate, single and absolute source of ethics? In addition, acknowledging God as the sole Bestower of all that we have in this life leads to a feeling in the heart of a loving, conscious, and voluntary submission to God, which is the meaning of the word "Islam" as a faith. This in turn leads the individual to have a sense of ultimate loyalty to God alone.

By believing in God, His Perfection and divine attributes, that He is the sole power in this universe, and believing that He is the Ultimate God Who has the full, perfect and complete knowledge, it follows that God knows what is in our hearts and minds and we can not hide anything from Him or deceive him. This results in increased self-discipline by knowing that you can not get away with wrong-doing if you are not caught by humans because God is the All Encompassing. This self-discipline must be at the heart of any ethical or moral code of conduct.


Difference from Other Beliefs in the Hereafter

Muslims are told to prepare for the Hereafter by struggling in this life on earth to right wrongs, and to establish justice and peace.
Some of the views held by religions other than Islam on the Hereafter are quite different. Some “eastern” religions look at the pleasures and desires of this world as being temporary and conclude that because life is a passing pleasure, then there is no sense in trying to accomplish anything in this world. This leads to a renouncing of the body and of physical existence, and a focus on purifying the soul and saving it by getting it out of the shackle of the material world. In that sense, the life of meditation and religious exercise becomes what the ideal human being aspires to. This is not only limited to “eastern” religions. Ernest Findley Scott, in his book, The Ethical Teaching of Jesus, indicates that some early Christians, especially in the first, second and third centuries, upheld that somehow the kingdom of God is something that is going to take place only in the future miraculously, and that denouncing this world would be an act of piety because only then can you focus on self-purification.


Balancing This World and the Next

Muslims believe strongly in the Hereafter, but at the same time, Islam teaches that the belief in the Hereafter should not lead to the neglect of this life. For example the Qur'an says, when addressing Qarun, who was a wealthy contemporary of Moses:
But seek, with the (wealth) which God has bestowed on thee, the Home of the Hereafter, Nor forget thy portion in this world: but do thou good, As God has been good to thee, and seek not (Occasion for) mischief in the land: For God loves not those who do mischief (Al-Qasas 28:77).

So when Islam teaches the belief in the Hereafter and the belief in punishment and reward, it does not mean that the ultimate piety or righteousness can be attained through the renunciation of this world. Rather, worldly life should be coordinated with the Hereafter. Muslims are told to prepare for it by accumulating “credit” for salvation by struggling in this life on earth to right wrongs, and to establish justice and peace.

* Adapted from a lecture in Dr. Jamal Badawi’s Islamic Teachings series.
** Dr. Jamal Badawi is a professor at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, Canada where he currently teaches in the areas of Management and Religious Studies. He is the author of several works on various aspects of Islam.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

UNGS 2030 : Sample Final Exam Question

International Islamic University Malaysia
Department of General Studies
Kulliyyah of Islamic Revealed Knowledge and HumaI1 Sciences
C,urse Title: Islamic Worldview Course Code: UNGS2030
Time: 2 Hours Marks: 40



Instructions to the Candidates:

1. Answer Three Questions Only
2. Question one is compulsory
3. Support your answers with the Quranic Ayat when necessary



Question 1.
The Doctrine of al- Tawhid is comprehensive and addresses issues such as
values, society, and state. Discuss.the above statement in light of the
Islamic worldview.

(14 marks)


Question 2
How far have Secularism and Materialism influenced various aspects of a
Muslim life. Discuss
(13 marks)


Question 3.
Discuss the challenges of globalization faced by the Muslim ummah and
prescribe ways and means to overcome them in light of the Islamic
Worldview.
(13 marks)


Question 4.
Elaborate the impact of the concept of al-Akhirah on Muslim's behavior.
(13 marks)

Monday, October 22, 2007

UNGS 2030: Recommended reading - Man in the Quran and Sunnah

YOUR WAY 2 HAPPINESS

by Ghalib Ahmad Masri and Nathif Jama Adam


based on "Happiness between Illusion and Reality " by Dr. Nasser AlOmar & "Causes of Happiness" by Sheikh AbdurRahman AlSa’adi.
The present work has been written jointly by the two coauthors. Nathif Jama Adam has contributed the section on "Sources of Happiness." Ghalib Ahmad Masri has written the other sections of the book.

In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

INTRODUCTION

To my surprise, he returned from the rich dinner very unhappy. I wanted to know the reason. He explained to me: If only you had seen the luxury they are living in a splendid villa, rich food, luxurious furniture, servants and a fleet of cars! It makes me feel extremely miserable".
"But, is he enjoying his life?" I asked, "Is he really happy?"
"As far as I know", he replied a little pacified," he is not enjoying the luxuries of his life. He wishes he could eat ordinary food, even bread, even though he loses all his wealth."
"So you are much richer and happier than he is", I said. "Your health is a greater wealth than those luxuries which have made you so depressed. Wealth alone does not give happiness. You will not sell one finger or eye of yours or your appetite for all his riches or cam!"
I saw the tears of satisfaction and gratefulness shine in his eyes.
"Thank Allah! Thank Allah!" He said.

Very often man meets with incidents and situations in his life that make him unhappy. Later, when, he recovers his consciousness and reflects on such incidents and situations, he finds that his unhappiness was simply a reaction, and that man can react differently, achieving thereby a higher a degree of stability and tolerance if he is able to cope with the situation.

A neighbour of the wellknown German Philosopher Immanuel Kant (17241804) had a cock whose crowing annoyed him and distracted him from his work. When he got fed up with the cock, he sent his servant to buy it and slaughter it for his meal. He invited a friend of his to the meal and both of them sat waiting for lush. He talked to his friend about the cock and the annoyance it used to cause and described the peace and happiness he was enjoying after he had got rid of the cock’s crowing. When the servant brought in the food he explained that their neighbour refused to sell his cock and so he purchased one from the market. Kant became suddenly conscious of the fact the cock was still crowing.

Thinking of this wellknown philospher, I found that he felt miserable because of the cock’s cry, and he also felt happy although the cock was still crowing. Nothing had changed; the change was inside him. It was the inner man, not the cock, that made him happy or unhappy!

I sleep in my house, not disturbed by the rolling noise of cars and their horns in the street nor by salesmen’s loud voices. Yet, the sound of a footstep or a whisper inside my bedroom would wake me. If I sleep in the train, even the talk of those sitting next to me will not disturb my sleep. What makes me endure the rumbling noises of cars and salesmen, or the train, though a whisper or footstep would rouse me from my sleep?

It is because sensation is like a light which, when on, makes things around you visible whether they are pleasing or displeasing to you, and when it is off you fail to hear the noises in the street tough they are louder. In fact, you heard the low whisper in your bedroom because you directed your sensation and attention to it; while you missed other sounds because you kept them out of your perception despite their loudness, so they disappear, as do big things in darkness.
Why not divert your attention and sensation from all discomforts of life? Not all discomforts penetrate into your heart. Only what YOU allow into your heart willingly will enter, like a king who allows the enemy into his fortress by leaving a hole in its walls. So why not strengthen and fortify ourselves against pains and discomforts?
Two men of equal physical strength may carry the same load: the first may complain as if he carried double weight; while the other may laugh and sing as if he carried nothing.

Two men of similar physique may suffer from the same illness: one may react pessimistically and always imagine death, thereby increasing illness:
While the other may endure patiently, feel optimistic and expect sooner recovery, thereby expediting good health.

Bismark, the man of iron and blood, genius of war and peace, could not give up smoking for one moment; he used to light one cigarette from another all the day. Without smoking, he was not able to think, plan or take appropriate action. Once, while in war, he found only one cigarette in his pocket, so he put off smoking it to the time hardship. He waited for a full week without smoking, entertaining the hope of using this cigarette in time. He realized that he was able to do without smoking all this time. He decided to stop smoking for good because he did not want his happiness to be dependent on a single cigarette.

Imagine a man whose body was exhausted with illness, and that suddenly he noticed a snake crawling towards him and at once jumped out of his bed as if he were full of health and vigour... or a man who returned home exhausted with hunger and looking only for a chair to rest on when he received a call from a dear person saying he was coming, or an urgent letter from the Minister calling him with the news of promotion, he would feel lighthearted and full up and would hurry up to the station in the former or to the Minister’s office in the latter.

Such powers are the source of happiness!

Dear readers! You are rich, but you do not realize how wealthy you are. Some may suffer from headache, toothache or colic, which makes them feel that life is dark. Why did they not see the bright side of life when they were healthy? If someone goes on a diet, he will long for a mouthful of bread or meat and envy those who enjoy various foods. ‘Why did he not value the pleasures of food before his illness? Why does man recognize the value of boons and bounties only when he loses them? Why does an old man lament the passing of his youth, while the young man fails to smile at his youth?

Why are we aware of happiness only when it is far from us?
Almost everybody is lamenting and yearning to his past! Why not think about the present before it becomes part of the past?

We may think that richness can be attained by possession of money alone. What can money alone give to man? You may have heard of the sick king who was brought the most delicious meals, but he was unable to eat any of them. Once, he was looking through a window of his palace, when his eyes caught a farmer eating brown bread with black olives: pushing one mouthful into his mouth, taking a second in his hand, and setting his eyes on a third. The king wished he had been a farmer and enjoyed such an appetite.

Why don’t you recognize the value of health? Is there no value for health? Who would agree to give up his sight for a hundred thousand dollars, or part of his nose for the riches of a millionaire? Gold and money cannot give life and happiness to every man. Rothschild entered his large safe, and while he was inside, its door banged and he died in a sea of gold. Why are we seeking gold anxiously though we possess ample gold? Isn’t sight as precious as gold? And health and time... and the human mind, too all these are treasures. Why don’t we make the best of our time Why don’t we recognize the value of life? Why don’t we make the best use of our minds? Health, time and mind are an invaluable wealth that may lead man to happiness if he takes the right way.

But what is the right way to that goal which is pursued by man everywhere and at all times throughout history?
*There are several trends that describe the reality of happiness and the way leading to its attainment by man. The major trends can be summed up as follows:
1. Spiritualistic School, in which philosophers and theosophists believe that real happiness consists essentially in spiritual life.
2. Materialistic School or theory, which upholds that real happiness lies in materialism.
3. Rationalistic School, in which rationalists believe that happiness can be attained only by reason and logic.
4. Islamic Trend, which states that the three types of life: the spiritual, the material and the rational are together essential elements of happy life if they are ruled by the Islamic belief, practice and values. That is because man is a combination of those very three ingredients: the body, mind and spirit: the body is nourished by food and drink, the mind by knowledge and experiments, and the spirit by faith and goodness. But it is sound faith that builds up a healthy spirit and gives a realistic and truthful explanation of man’s position in this universe, Divine Reality and the basic concept of the Oneness and Perfect Attributes of God, and here we are going to use the name "Allah’ for God as it is not associated with any distortions added by upholders of idolatry, polytheism, trinity and other worshippers of false gods.

Let us consider the crimes and evils of modern societies: murders, suicides, rapes, drug abuse, robberies, thefts, and sexual, neurological, psychological, juvenile and many other abnormalities and disorders.., the void man suffers because of the absence of true faith that springs from human nature and does not conflict with logic, reason and established facts of science....the lack of awareness of the real aim behind man’s existence in this universe, i.e., to build and establish an ideal and sound society controlled by the instructions and injunctions of his Merciful and Wise Creator so as to free man from destructive drives and inclinations, and the world from injustice and tyranny.

In fact, Islam, and only Islam, is the true Saviour of humanity and the answer to all problems and questions faced by man.

The happiness Islam achieves for man has two major domains:

I. This wordly life, both on the individual and collective levels. It seeks to give man a happy life free of cares and evils, characterized by sound faith. It is a life in which every thing should be placed at the service of man:
"And He (Allah) has subjected to you, as from Him, all that is in the heavens and on earth: behold, in that are Signs indeed for those who reflect." (Qur’an 45:13)
Everything in nature is made available by Allah for the use of man through the genius and faculties Allah has given to man.
Yet, many people behave adversely as if they were created to serve wealth and be slaves to the pleasures and luxuries of life, losing thereby their freedom of will and becoming servants of transient trivialities instead of being servants of their Beneficent Sustainer and Cherisher, the Eternal and Almighty Allah.
As for the Collective aspect, Islam embraces all rules and principles contributing to a happy society, whether a family, a nation or on larger scale, i.e., on the international level.

2. The Eternal Life after Death:
The Life after death is a demonstration of Divine Justice. That day is a must for the achievement of retributive justice and settlement of all injustices and outstanding accounts, and at the same time for the generous reward of good acts. Since we believe that Allah is the One and Only God with perfect attributes, it would be illogical to entertain the notion that He will leave justice unfulfilled. This life so full of wrongs, crimes, inconveniences, good deeds unrewarded, and many human affairs unsettled is infact just an introductory chapter which prepares for the book of eternal life in which justice is restored and a person meets with his (or her) just deserts.

The wrongdoers who have persisted in their sins and wrongdoing and failed to repent and give up sound conduct will go to endless punishment in Hell. While those with good records and righteous deeds will receive generous reward and attain real and eternal happiness in the Heaven of Allah, in Paradise or the Garden of Eden. That is the abode of perfect bliss, which deserves to be sincerely and industriously sought by man.

There may be some difficulties and handicaps on the road to this exalted goal of wise and faithful people, as stated by the Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) that "Hell is surrounded with whims and waton desires, while the Garden is surrounded with hardships." Such hardships will serve as a test of man’s goodly nature and of his truthful insistence on the attainment of Allah’s pleasure and reward. A trader may spend sleepless nights and put up with arduous efforts in order to win a gainful deal. However, the eternal life in the abode of happiness is the biggest deal which man has ever competed or striven to attain. But what is Paradise like? The answer can only be found in the word of Allah in His Glorious Quran or in the words of His Gracious Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him), who is the genuine Authority on the affairs of the seen and unseen in general and the Hereafter in particular, as he learnt about such realities through Revelation received from the All-knowing, All-aware, Absolute Allah. The righteous soul of a good believer returns to its Lord "well pleased and well pleasing":
(To the righteous soul will be said:)
"0 (thou) soul, in (complete) rest and satisfaction! Come back thou to thy Lord, wellpleased (thyself), and wellpleasing unto Him! "Enter thou, then, among my Devotees! "Yea, enter thou My Heaven!" (Qur’an, 89:2730)
The above passage refers to the state of freedom and ease, to the final and everlasting stage of human bliss, when the righteous soul of the righteous believer, at peace with its Lord, certain of its way and fate, is welcomed among those servants of Allah chosen to enjoy this Divine grace and to receive Allah’s mercy and protection.
‘Every soul shall have a taste of death: and only on the Day of Judgment shall you be paid your full recompense. Only he who is saved far from the Fire and admitted to the Garden will have succeeded: for the life of this world is but goods and chattels of deception." (Holy Qur’an, 3:185)

The blessings of Paradise cannot be conceived in this life, and are not, therefore, things of this world: "Now no person knows what delights of the eye are kept hidden (in reserve) for them as a reward for their (good) Deeds" (Qur’an, 32:17)
An explanation of this is given in the Prophet’s (Peace and blessings be upon him) tradition mentioned in lmam Bukhari’s compilation of Hadith:
"Allah says: I have prepared for my righteous servants that which no eye has ever seen, no ear has ever heard, and no man’s mind has ever conceived."
We read in the Glorious Qur’an about the Garden or Gardens of everlasting bliss passages the meaning of which runs as follows:
"Allah hath promised to Believers, men and women, Gardens under which rivers flow, to dwell therein, and beautiful mansions in Gardens of everlasting stay. But the greatest bliss is the Good Pleasure of God: That is the supreme felicity." (Qur’an, 9:72)
"My devotees! No fear shall be on you today nor shall ye grieve Those who have believed in our Signs and submitted (to Us). Enter ye the Garden, ye and your wives, in (beauty and) rejoicing. To them will be passed round, dishes and goblets of gold:there will be there all that the souls could desire, all that the eyes could delight in: and ye shall abide therein (for aye). Such will be the Garden of which ye are made heirs for your (good) deeds (in life). Ye shall have therein abundance of fruit, from which ye shall eat." (Qur’an, 43:68-73)

What for sinners and disobedient criminals?

"The Sinners will in the Punishment of Hell, to dwell therein (for aye): ‘No wise will the (punishment) be lightened for them, and in despair will they be there overwhelmed.No wise shall We be unjust to them: but it is they who have been unjust themselves.’ (Qur’an, 43:74-76)

The need to discuss this subject of "happiness" has arisen as a result of various reasons some of which may be summed as follows:
(I) People could belong to different religious denominations, or schools of thought, could have different feelings, wishes and aspirations, yet they are apparently in total agreement about the pursuit of one goal in their life that is happiness.
This is true of all persons believers and non-believers, rulers and ruled, rich and poor, they all toil to achieve happiness.

(2) Notwithstanding the consensus of all human beings on seeking happiness, it is however, surprising how different individuals and different groups of people have chosen and defined for themselves differing ways and avenues to achieve this common goal. And in so doing a large number of them seem to have missed the proper avenues to this goal and have consequently failed to achieve any happiness throughout their lives but only have succeeded in attaining what can be termed as ‘illusory" and "transitory" happiness as opposed to "real" and "permanent" happiness. Hence, the attempt in this book to redirect these people to the proper course of action to be able to achieve the soughtafter happiness.

The above, as well as many other reasons, have led to our discussion of this important subject with a sincere hope that this treatise would prove of help to many who are earnestly searching for real happiness.


# for further reading on this book , please refer to asbul.wordpress.com

UNGS 2030 : Recommended Reading - Man in the Quran and Sunnah

The Spiritual and Moral Health of the Heart

By Dr. Muzammil H. Siddiqi


Please refer to Aal `Imran 3:8)

Heart is a very important part of the human body. A lot depends on the heart: Not only our physical health, but also our spiritual and moral health depends on the soundness of the heart. Someone said rightly, "The problem of the heart is the heart of the problem." All problems, whether individual, familial, social, economic, political, national, or international, stem from the problems of the heart.
The heart indeed has a physical function, but there is no evidence to prove that it has no spiritual or moral functions. The soul probably resides in the heart or is attached to it. The soul is the inner dimension of our being. It is related to the body and mind as well, but it has its own existence, most probably, in or near the heart.

The heart is an amazing organ. I am not going to talk about the physical problems of the heart. That is a subject for cardiologists to discuss, but I shall talk about the moral and spiritual aspects of the heart.

In the Qur'an, the words qalb and fou'ad are used. The word qalb (plural qoloub) occurs 132 times and the word fou'ad (plural af'idah) occurs 16 times.
Qalbis used both in its physical and spiritual senses, while fou'ad is used more in the spiritual sense. Both mean heart, and the heart is the seat of awareness, consciousness, feelings, and thought. It could be good or bad, healthy or unhealthy.
Believers are required to pay special attention to their hearts. We pay attention to the physical health of our hearts; we should also pay attention to the spiritual and moral health of our hearts. Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) was quoted by Abu Hurairah as saying,
"Allah does not look at your bodies or possessions, but He looks at your hearts and actions."(Muslim)

Allah, of course, looks at everything and He knows everything, but the point of the hadith is that the real thing that matters to Allah is not whether you are young or old, tall or short, fat or skinny, white or black, Arab or non-Arab, rich or poor, upper class, middle class, lower class, etc. What matters in the sight of Allah is whether your heart is sincere, truthful, and honest or not and whether your actions are good or not.

Allah tells us in the Qur'an that He has prepared Paradise only for those who are good at heart, not those who have a strong family, power, or wealth,
[The Day when neither wealth nor children can help, but only he (will prosper) that comes before Allah with a sound heart. To the righteous, the Garden [ Paradise] will be brought near.] (Ash-Shu`araa' 26:88-90)

[And the Garden will be brought nigh to the righteous, no more a thing distant. (A voice will say,) "This is what was promised for you, for everyone who turned (to Allah) in sincere repentance, who kept (His Law), who feared (Allah) Most Gracious unseen and brought a heart turned in devotion (to Him): Enter you therein in peace and security; this is a Day of Eternal Life!' There will be for them therein all that they wish, and more besides in Our Presence.](Qaf 50:31-35)

Types of Hearts

From the spiritual and moral point of view there are different types of hearts. These types are related to their awareness and consciousness. In this respect, the Prophet is reported to have said,
"There are four types of hearts: a pure heart that shines like a lamp, the covered up and closed heart, the upside down heart and the mixed up heart. The pure heart is that of the believer. The covered up heart is that of the non-believer. The upside down heart is that of the hypocrite who knows and then denies. The mixed up heart is that in which there is both faith and hypocrisy. The example of faith in it is like a small plant that grows with good water and the example of hypocrisy in it is like a wound that grows with pus and blood. So whichever grows bigger takes over the heart." (Ahmad)

Diseases of the Heart

According to Imam Al-Ghazali in his book Ihyaa' `Uloum Ad-Deen [The Revival of Religious Sciences], every organ of our body has a function. When it fails to do its function, that's a sign of it being not well.
The function of the soul or the spiritual heart is to know its Creator, to love Him, and to seek closeness to Him. If the heart fails in this function, then we must realize that it is sick.

It is important to know the ailments that make the heart weak and sick. In the language of the Qur'an, it is not only the eyes that go blind, the hearts also become blind.

[Do they not travel through the land, so that their hearts may thus learn wisdom and their ears may thus learn to hear? Truly it is not their eyes that are blind, but their hearts that are in their breasts.](Al-Hajj 22:46)
The Qur'an tells in many places about the sickness of the hearts. Allah says [about the hypocrites] in the Qur'an:
[In their hearts is a disease, and Allah has increased their disease: And grievous is the penalty they (incur) because they are false (to themselves)](Al-Baqarah 2:10)
When the heart gets sick, it loses its desire and ability to do right and good deeds. This affects the morals and manners as well as the general behavior of a person.

What are the major diseases that affect the heart? What is there to do to take precaution? What are the cures in case one is affected with these ailments? Scholars have spoken about seven major diseases of the hearts:
1. Arrogance and conceit (kibr and ghurur)
2. Ostentation (riyaa')
3. Jealousy or envy, hate and deceit (hasad, hiqd, and ghish)
4. Suspicion (sou' azh-zhan)
5. Anger (ghadab)
6. Stinginess (bukhl)
7. Love of power, position, and fame (hub al-jah)

These are called "diseases of the heart" and they lead to major sins if they are not controlled and carefully treated. In the Qur'an and Sunnah and in the spiritual writings of Muslim scholars such as Al-Ghazali and Ibn Al-Qayyim, we find a lot of discussion on the treatment of these ailments.

Arrogance and conceit. These diseases stem from egotism and overestimation of oneself and one's abilities or merits. This leads sometimes to the denial of the Creator, as what happened to Satan.

The best treatment of this disease is to cultivate modesty. We have to remind ourselves always that we are the servants and slaves of Allah. We totally depend on Him for our being and existence.
Ostentation.This is called "hidden idolatry" (ash-shirk al-khafi). It is a desire to show off and seek praises from others. It takes away sincerity and seriousness to pursue one's goals and objectives. When a person becomes too much involved with ostentation, he or she becomes shallow and superficial. It may also lead to hypocrisy.

The best cure for it is to check the "intention" before any action. A believer must remind oneself that his or her work is for the sake of Allah alone.
Jealousy, e nvy, hate, and deceit. These diseases are due to lack of respect, mercy, and love for others. A jealous person does not like to see others happy, successful, and prosperous. Very often jealousy and envy lead to hate, deceit, and violence.
The best treatment is to have positive envy by competing with others in acts of goodness and use this as an incentive to achieve more and better goals.
Suspicion. This comes from lack of trust and confidence in others. Allah says in the Qur'an,
[Surely, suspicion in some cases is a sin. ] (Al-Hujurat 49:12)
Suspicion creates cynicism and takes away hope and optimism. Suspicious persons Suspicion creates cynicism and takes away hope and optimism. Suspicious persons or cynics are those who, when they see actions and hear some words that have the possibility of being positive or negative, focus on the negative and evil sides of the matter.

Suspicion sometimes leads to violence. It is good to be cautious and careful, but we must keep our attitude positive. If we want to be trusted, we must trust others as well.

Anger. This is given to people as a mechanism for self-defense. However, if it is not properly controlled, it becomes very destructive. In the hadith, it is called "fire." The Prophet said that when one gets angry, one is to change one's position (Abu Dawud). Imam Al-Ghazali said, "Love of Allah extinguishes the fire of anger."

Stinginess.This is a terrible disease. The Prophet taught us to seek Allah's refuge from stinginess. Stinginess stems from selfishness, materialism, and too much love of this world. It means lack of care and consideration for others. It holds people from fulfilling their duties and recognizing the rights of others. It leads sometimes to cheating and dishonesty. The Prophet said,
"Beware of stinginess. It destroyed many nations before you. It made them shed the blood of one another and misappropriate what was sacred."(Muslim)
Extreme desire for power, position, and fame.This is called in Arabic hubb al-jah. It is another major disease of the heart. This is also called in the Qur'an and Hadith as "love of this world" (hub ad-dunya). The Prophet was quoted as saying,
"Two hungry wolves in a herd of sheep are not as destructive and harmful as the love of the money and extravagance for the religion of a person."(Al-Tirmidhi)
The cure for this is to remind oneself always that this world is a test and trial, and that the real world is that of the hereafter.

Duties of the Heart

Rulings of Shari`ah — being obligatory (fard), recommended (mustahab), forbidden (haram), undesirable (makrouh), and permissible (mubah) — do not apply only to the external laws that we observe, they apply also to the internal matters of the heart. There are duties of the bodies, and there are duties of the hearts. It is thus:
1. obligatory for the heart to have sincerity, trust, awe, and reverence of Allah, as well as hope and repentance;
2. recommended to have contentment and satisfaction, humbleness, and the desire to be closer to Almighty Allah;
3. forbidden to have belief in the divinity of anyone other than Allah, and forbidden to doubt in Allah's existence or in the truth of His Prophets. It is also prohibited to show off and to show arrogant pride, jealousy, or hypocrisy;
4. undesirable to have desire for sinful acts, to feel too much attachment to worldly things;
5. permissible to like and care for worldly and material things without neglecting one's duties or committing anything that is forbidden.
According to many scholars, the following hadith contains one third of Islam:
An-Nu`man ibn Bashir reported that he heard the Prophet saying,
"Halal(things permitted by Allah ) is clear and haram (things prohibited by Allah) is clear and between the two of them are doubtful matters about which not many people know.

Thus, the Muslim who avoids doubtful matters clears himself in regard to his or her religion and honor, but the Muslim who falls into doubtful matters falls into that which is forbidden, like the shepherd who pastures around a boundary line ofa private pasture of someone else and at any moment he is liable to get in it.

Truly, every king has a boundary line [that is not to be crossed by others], and truly Allah's boundaries are his prohibitions. Truly, in the body there is a morsel of flesh that, if it be whole, all the body is whole, and that, if it be diseased, all the body will be diseased. This is the heart." (Al-Bukhari)


Dr. Muzammil H. Siddiqi is President of the Fiqh Council of North America.

UNGS 2030: Required reading - Man in the Quran and Sunnah

The People of Bliss


by Imam Ibn ul Qayyim al Jawziyyah

From the book Ar-Risaalat ut-Tabukiyyah
Translation & Comments by Muhammad al-Jibaali
© QSS



Contrary to the miserable people discussed in the last chapter,our discussion will now focus on the people of happiness and bliss. These can be divided into two classes.

The First Class of Happy People

The first class consists of those who possess the quality ofintellectual independence; they are described by Allah (T) as follows:
"The first and foremost [to embrace Islam] of the Muhaajireen(1)and the Ansaar(2), and also those who follow them in the bestway; Allaah is well-pleased with them, and they are with Him." [Soorah at-Tawbah 9:100]
These are the happy ones for whom Allah's acceptance is confirmed. They are the Companions of Allah's Messenger (S) and those who follow them in the best way until the Day of Resurrection.

The conventional expression 'Taabi'oon' applies to the companions' followers who have met with them in person. However, the description here is not restricted to them, but includes anyone who righteously follows their way; and any such person is of those with whom Allah (T) is pleased and who are also pleased with Him.

FOLLOWING WITH IHSAAN

The manner of following the Sahaabah (in this aayah) is notambiguous. It is restricted by Allah (T) to being in the 'best way'. It cannot be fulfilled merely by wishes, or by adhering to them in some matters while rejecting them in others. It should always be done with Ihsaan (with righteousness and in the best way); this is a condition to deserve Allah's (T) acceptance and His Gardens. He (T) said:
"He it is Who has sent among the unlettered a messenger [Muhammad] from among themselves, to convey unto them His messages, to sanctify them, and to instruct them in the Book and the Wisdom, although they had been before in manifest error. And He has sent him also to other people who have not quite reached them (the Sahaabah); He is All-Mighty, All-Wise. That is the bounty of Allaah which He bestows on whom He wills. Allaah is the One of great bounty." [Soorah Al-Jumu'ah 62:2-4]

The first group of people mentioned here are those who met the Messenger (S) and accompanied him. The latter are those who did not meet the first group; this applies to anyone who comes after them and adheres to their way, until the Day of Resurrection.This group falls behind the first group (the Sahaabah) both in era and in stature, even though both groups are of the happy ones.

THREE KINDS OF HEARTS

A third group of people would be those who reject the Guidance that Allaah (T) sent with His Messenger (S), or who do not benefit from it. Those are described by Allah (T) in the following:
"The likeness of those who were entrusted with the responsibility of the Torah, but who subsequently failed in that, is as the likeness of a donkey which carries a huge burden of books [but understands nothing of them]..." [Soorah Al-Jumu'ah 62:5]
The Prophet (S) also classified people into three groups based on their response to his Message and Guidance. He said:
"An example of the guidance and knowledge with which Allah (T) has sent me is that of a rain that falls on different kinds of land:
1) One land is good; it accepts water and produces vegetation and grass in plenty.
2) Another land is dry with a solid bed that reserves water so that people can drink and irrigate with it.
3) The third kind is a porous land that can neither retain water nor produce vegetation.

This is an example of those who acquire the knowledge of the Deen and benefit from that with which Allah (T) sent me, and of those who do not take heed and who insist on rejecting Allah's (T) Guidance." (3)

The Messenger (S) likens the knowledge (with which he came) to rain, because both are causes of life. Rain is the cause of life for the body, while knowledge is the cause of life for the heart. He (S) also likens different hearts to different valleys, as Allah (T) said:
"He sends down water from the sky, making different valleys flow according to their different natures..." [Soorah Ar-Rad 13:17]
Thus, just as there are three kinds of land, there are three kinds of hearts:
1) The first is a good land which accepts water and is ready to produce vegetation. When rain falls on it, it absorbs the water eagerly, giving rise to all sorts of pleasant vegetation.
This is an example of one with a healthy, pure, and intelligent heart, which embraces knowledge, and is guided by its true intelligent nature, blossoming by that wisdom and true faith. Therefore, it is eager to take the knowledge, and ready to bear fruits because of its good nature.
It is also like a rich business man who has experience in different trades and investments, which enables him to invest his wealth inthat which brings the best profit.

2) The second kind is a hard, solid land prepared to preserve and keep water: It benefits people who visit it to drink or irrigate.
This is an example of one whose heart preserves knowledge and safeguards it so as to convey it just as he hears it, without changing it or deriving conclusions from it. This is also described in another hadeeth:
"There is often one who conveys knowledge to one who is more knowledgeable than himself; and there is often one who carries knowledge when he himself is not knowledgeable."(4)
It is also like a rich man who does not possess the knowledge orexperience to invest his wealth, but who knows very well how to preserve it.

3) The third is a barren land which is incapable of holding water or producing vegetation: no matter how much rain falls, it does not profit by it.
This is an example of one whose heart does not accept any knowledge or wisdom. It is also like a poor man who neither possesses wealth nor knows how to preserve it.
The first of the above three examples applies to a learned man who teaches knowledge, and who calls people to Allah (T) with clear guidance; such are the inheritors of the Prophets.

The second applies to one who preserves the knowledge, and who transmits what he hears precisely; he carries to other people precious goods that they can use for trade and investment.

The third applies to one who neither accepts Allaah's Guidancenor benefits from it.
Thus this hadeeth covers the different types of people and their different attitudes toward the Prophet's (S) Da'wah, which make them either happy or miserable.

The Second Class of Happy People

The second class of Happy People consists of the believers' followers from their offspring who die before reaching the status of takleef (5). They will be with their parents [in the Hereafter], as Allaah (T) said:
"As for those who believe and whose offspring follow them in faith, We shall unite them with their offspring, and We shall not let any of their deeds go to waste; every person is responsible for that which he has earned." [Soorah At-Tur 52:21]
Allah (T) tells that He unites the offspring with the parents in the Jannah(6), just as He united them in faith (Eemaan). And because the offspring did not do deeds that would make them deserve this high honour, Allah (T) informs that this union does not waste any of the deeds of the parents. They receive their full reward for what they did, plus the bonus of uniting them with their offspring.

Also, because this reunion in rewards and ranks is a bounty from Allah (T), one might imagine that it would be in violation of the rules of justice. To clarify this, the ayah indicates that if the children committed sins, they alone would be liable for punishment, and that every person is responsible for what he does without involving others with him in punishment. Thus this union takes place in terms of rewards and bounties, but not in terms of justice and penalty.
This is indeed one of the keys and treasures of Qur'aan, the knowledge of which Allah (T) gives only to those whom He wills.

Thus this ayah covers all people: the miserable and the happy - those who are followed, and those who follow them.
Consequently, let a prudent person who cares about his well-being see to which class he belongs. Let him not be influenced by habits or ruled by laziness. If he finds that he belongs to a happy class, let him strive to move to a higher rank, seeking Allah's help and facilitation. And if he finds that he belongs to the miserable class, let him move out of it into a happy class while it is still possible, and before he would have to say:
"Oh! Would that I had followed the path shown to me by the Messenger." [Soorah Al Furqan 25:27]


FOOTNOTES:
1 Muhaajir: A migrator - one who undertakes hijrah. Plural: muhaajiroon or muhaajireen. Reference here is specifically to those who migrated from Makkah to al-Madeenah in obedience to Allah.
2 Ansaar: Those who give help and aid. It usually refers to the citizens of al-Madeenah who gave aid to the Muhaajireen when they migrated to their town.
3 Al-Bukharee and Muslim.
4 Narrated by Zayd bin Thaabit, Anas bin Maalik and others; recorded by Aboo Daawood, at-Tirmithee, Ahmad, and others; authenticated by al-Albaanee (as-Saheehah no.404).
5 Takleef: Responsibility for one's deeds.
6 Jannah: Literally: garden. It usually refers to the Gardens of Paradise.

UNGS 2030: Required reading - Man in the Quran and Sunnah

Life Based on Ethics and Wisdom *


By Dr. Muzammil H. Siddiqi

.
[In whatever matter you [Muhammad] may be involved, whatever portion of the Qur'an you may be reciting, and whatever work you [humankind] may be doing, We witness you when you are engaged in it. Not even the weight of a speck of dust in the earth or sky escapes your Lord, nor anything lesser or greater: It is all written in a clear record. But for those who are on Allah's side there is no fear, nor shall they grieve. For those who believe and are conscious of Allah, for them there is good news in this life and in the Hereafter — there is no changing the promises of Allah — that is truly the supreme triumph. ](Yunus 10:61-64)

Every day we are involved in different decisions related to our life affairs: our food, clothes, business, sports, entertainment, relations with family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, Muslims, non-Muslims, and so on. Sometimes the issues are simple and easy, and sometimes they are complex and difficult. Sometimes they are of social and financial nature, and sometimes they are of economic and political nature. Sometimes they are national and sometimes international. Depending on who we are, our age, profession, and position in life, the place we live in, the circumstances and conditions surrounding us, we are all involved more or less, one way or another, in decision making.

Islam has a very strong ethical perspective. It teaches us that in whatever we say and whatever we do, we must think very carefully and our decisions must be ethical. We must keep in mind certain principles of our faith and certain rules of our life. Basically, each one of us is urged to consider the following:
1. Allah knows everything that I say and do, and everything is recorded in a permanent register of deeds.
2. On the Day of Judgment, I may be asked by Allah to give the account of every thing that I said and did in my life.
3. Is my action lawful or unlawful in the viewpoint of Islam, right or wrong, fair or unfair, good or bad?
4. What will be the consequences of my words and actions?
5. What are my other duties and responsibilities? Am I keeping a balance between all my duties and responsibilities?
6. What are the rights of others with whom I have relations and among whom I live?
7. What does my conscience say about the decision or action that I am going to take?
8. What is the goal of my life? What is my vision and mission?

In each and every situation, we should consult the Qur'an and the Sunnah, consensus of Muslim scholars, and mind and reason. We should also take into account customs, traditions, different cultures, and rules and regulations. Islam emphasizes all these things and puts them into consideration.

In Islamic terminology, this is also called al-hikmah (wisdom and sagacity). A wise person is he or she who knows what to do, when to do it, and in which situation.
Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) came to teach the Book of Allah — the Qur'an — and wisdom. This is mentioned many times in the Qur'an. (See Al-Baqarah 2:129, 151, and 231; Aal `Imran 3:164; An-Nisaa' 4:113; Al-Ahzab 33:34; Al-Jumu`ah 62:2). The Qur'an does not contain the rules only, but also the wisdom. The Sunnah is full of wisdom too. It gives us practical rules and guidelines for making ethical decisions. No one can make proper ethical decisions without being wise.

Let's take Prophet Yusuf (Joseph) (peace and blessings be upon him) as an example for ethical and wise handling of issues. The story of Prophet Yusuf is the most beautiful story in the Qur'an. It is the most rich, dramatic, and compelling story. It is full of ethical judgments. Prophet Yusuf was a very talented, intelligent, and handsome person. He had to deal with all kinds of situations: jealousy, deceit, slavery, seduction, and imprisonment, and also power, prestige, and authority.
In every situation, Prophet Yusuf acted in the most ethical manner. He survived hardships, had self-control in the face of seduction, and was compassionate and forgiving when he became powerful. He had no grudge against those who mistreated him nor against those who put him in prison. He forgave his brothers who threw him in a ditch. With all welcome, he received and fulfilled the request to interpret the vision of the King of Egypt, though Prophet Yusuf was still inEgypt's prison, and though the request came through a person who once was asked by Prophet Yusuf to remind the king of his case but forgot, causing Yusuf to remain in prison for extra years.

Prophet Yusuf did not hesitate to help the people of Egypt when they needed his help. He saved them from a disastrous famine, and in the process he was able to save his own family and his people as well. He was able to have them all migrate to Egypt.
In brief, Prophet Yusuf was smart, but he was not cunning. He knew how to take advantage of situations, but he was not an opportunist. He was a man of character, truth, and sincerity.

We have to learn how to live in every situation with great vision and understanding. We must not lose sight of our moral values under any situation. Whatever we say and do, we should be based on wisdom and ethics. Not all rules are written in the Qur'an and Hadith; a lot of rules and decisions depend upon our own conscience, the inner voice of our heart.

It is reported in a hadith thatWabisah ibn Ma`bad said,
I came to the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) wishing to ask him everything concerning virtue and sin, but I found a gathering of people around him. I went towards him, crossing the people. They said to me, "Away, O Wabisah, get away from the Prophet." I said, "I am Wabisah; allow me to go near him. I really love to be close to him." The Prophet said, "Come near, O Wabisah, Come near." So I went very close to him (and sat so close to him) until my knees touched his knees. The Prophet said, "O Wabisah, should I tell you what you want to know or do you want to ask?" I said, "O Messenger of Allah, You tell me." He said, "You came to ask me about virtue and sin." I said, "Yes." The Prophet put his three fingers together and then kept sticking them to my chest and said, "O Wabisah, seek answer from your own self. Virtue is that in which the heart finds rest and soul finds peace, and sin is that which makes you uneasy and hesitant, even if people say it is all right." (Ahmad)


* Excerpted, with some modifications, from: http://www.pakistanlink.com.
Dr. Muzammil H. Siddiqi is President of the Fiqh Council of North America

UNGS 2030: Required reading - Man in the Quran and Sunnah

On God We Rely

By Sayed Qutb
Egyptian Muslim Intellectual



(Never say about anything, “I shall do this tomorrow,” without adding, “if God so wills.” Should you forget, then call your Lord to mind and say, “I pray that my Lord will guide me even closer than this towhat is right.”) (Al-Kahf 18:23–24)
Every action a human being does or omits to do, indeed every breath a human being takes, is subject to God’s will. The curtains hiding the future are stretched in full so as to hide everything beyond the present moment. Our eyes cannot discern what is behind that curtain, and our minds are finite, no matter how advanced our knowledge may be.

Hence a human being must never say that he is definitely doing something tomorrow unless he attaches his intention to God’s will. This is because tomorrow belongs to the realm that lies beyond the reach of human perception. As such, it is known only to God. Hence, we do not make any assertion about it.

This does not mean that man should be fatalistic, giving no thought to the future and making no plans for it. He should not live for the present moment, cutting himself off from his past and future. No, this is not what the directive implies. Rather, what is implied is that every human being must make an allowance for what God may will in his case. He may intend to do whatever he wants, always seeking God’s help, feeling that His will is in full control of everything. It may well be however that God may decide something different to what he intends. Should God help him to put into effect what he intends, then all well and good. But if God’s will moves in a different direction, he should not despair or be sad. All matters belong to God at the beginning and at the end.

What this means in practice is that every person should think and plan as they wish, but they must always remember to rely on God’s help and guidance. They should realize that they only have the faculties of thinking and deliberation God has given them. This should not lead to laziness or disinterestedness. On the contrary, it should give us more strength, confidence, reassurance and resolve. Should events reveal that God’s will has moved in a direction different to what we planned, we should accept this with contentedness and reassurance. We submit to God’s will, because it is beyond our knowledge until God makes it known.
This is the method Islam instills into the minds of its followers. Hence a Muslim does not feel alone when he plans or thinks of the future. Neither does he show any conceit or arrogance when he succeeds, nor is he overtaken by depression and despair when he fails. In all situations, he remembers God, feeling stronger for relying on Him, expressing gratitude to Him for his success, resigned for whatever God’s will may determine.
(Should you forget, then call your Lord to mind) (Al-Kahf 18:24). This is what a Muslim should do when he forgets to relate his intentions to God’s will. He should remember God and renew his reliance on Him. He should also hope to remain always conscious of God, turning to Him in all situations and all future actions, always saying (I pray that my Lord will guide me even closer than this to what is right) (Al-Kahf 18:24).

This short prayer indicates that it is not so easy to always turn to God in all affairs. Hence the prayer to try always to maintain it and improve on one’s situation.

Sayed Qutb(1906-1966) was a prominent and influential Muslim intellectual and writer. He wrote many books about Islam and its distinctive features as a comprehensive way of life. Among his most important works is his exegesis of the Qur'an In the Shade of the Qur'an, which was widely welcomed among Muslims and established itself as one of the best references in Qur'an exegesis.

UNGS 2030: Required reading - Man in the Quran and Sunnah

Women in the Qur'an and the Sunnah
_________________________________________________________________

Dr. 'Abdur Rahman I. Doi
Professor and Director, Center for Islamic Legal Studies,
Ahmadu Bello University, Zaire.
_________________________________________________________________

In Islam there is absolutely no difference between men and women as far as their relationship to God is concerned, as both are promised the same reward for good conduct and the same punishment for evil conduct. The Qur'an says:
And for women are rights over men similar to those of men over women. (2:226)
The Qur'an, in addressing the believers, often uses the expression,'believing men and women' to emphasize the equality of men and women in regard to their respective duties, rights, virtues and merits. It says:
For Muslim men and women, for believing men and women, for devout men and women, for true men and women, for men and women who are patient and constant, for men and women who humble themselves, for men and women who give in charity, for men and women who fast, for men and women who guard their chastity, and for men and women who engage much in God's praise, for them has God prepared forgiveness and great reward. (33:35)

This clearly contradicts the assertion of some the Christian Fathers that women do not possess souls and that they will exist as sexless beings in the next life. The Qur'an says that women have souls in exactly the same way as men and will enter Paradise if they do good :
Enter into Paradise, you and your wives, with delight. (43:70) Who so does that which is right, and believes, whether male or female, him or her will We quicken to happy life. (16:97)

The Qur'an admonishes those men who oppress or ill-treat women:
O you who believe! You are forbidden to inherit women against their will. Nor should you treat them with harshness, that you may take away part of the dowry you have given them - except when they have become guilty of open lewdness. On the contrary live with them on a footing of kindness and equity. If you take a dislike to them, it may be that you dislike something and God will bring about through it a great deal of good. (4:19)

Considering the fact that before the advent of Islam the pagan Arabs used to bury their female children alive, make women dance naked in the vicinity of the Ka'ba during their annual fairs, and treat women as mere chattels and objects of sexual pleasure -- possessing no rights or position whatsoever, these teachings of the Noble Qur'an were revolutionary. Unlike other religions, which regarded women as being possessed of inherent sin and wickedness, and men as being possessed of inherent virtue and nobility, Islam regards men and women as being of the same essence created from a single soul. The Qur'an declares:
O mankind! Reverence your Guardian-Lord, who created you from a single person, created, of like nature, his mate, and from this pair scattered (like seeds) countless men and women. Reverence God, through Whom you demand your mutual (rights), and reverence the wombs (that bore you); for God ever watches over you. (4:1)

The Prophet of Islam, peace be upon him, said, "Women are the twin halves of men". The Qur'an emphasizes the essential unity of men and women in a most beautiful simile:
They (your wives) are your garment and you are a garment for them. (2:187)
Just as a garment hides our nakedness, so do husband and wife, by entering into the relationship of marriage, secure each other's chastity. The garment gives comfort to the body; so does the husband find comfort in his wife's company and she in his. "The garment is the grace, the beauty, the embellishment of the body, so too are wives to their husbands as their husbands are to them." Islam does not consider woman "an instrument of the Devil", but rather the Qur'an calls her muhsana - a fortress against Satan because a good woman, by marrying a man, helps him keep to the path of rectitude in his life. It is for this reason that marriage was considered by the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, as a most virtuous act. He said: "When a man marries, he has completed one half of his religion." He enjoined matrimony on Muslims by saying: "Marriage is part of my way and whoever keeps away from my way is not from me (i.e. is not my follower)." The Qur'an has given the raison d'ĂȘtre of marriage in the following words:
And among His signs is this, that He has created for you mates from among yourselves, that you may dwell in tranquillity with them; and He has put love and mercy between you. Verily in that are signs for those who reflect. (30:21)
The Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, was full of praise for virtuous and chaste women. He said: "The world and all things in the world are precious but the most precious thing in the world is a virtuous woman." He once told the future Caliph, 'Umar: "Shall I not inform you about the best treasure a man can hoard? It is a virtuous wife who pleases him whenever he looks towards her, and who guards herself when he is absent from her." On other occasions the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: "The best property a man can have is a remembering tongue (i.e. which remembers God), a grateful heart and a believing wife who helps him in his faith." And again: "The world, the whole of it, is a commodity and the best of the commodities of the world is a virtuous wife." Before the advent of Islam women were often treated worse than animals. The Prophet wanted to put a stop to all cruelties to women. He preached kindness towards them. He told the Muslims: "Fear God in respect of women." And: "The best of you are they who behave best to their wives." And: "A Muslim must not hate his wife, and if he be displeased with one bad quality in her, let him be pleased with one that is good." And: "The more civil and kind a Muslim is to his wife, the more perfect in faith he is." The Prophet, peace be upon him, was most emphatic in enjoining upon Muslims to be kind to their women when he delivered his famous sermon (Arabic: khutba on the Mount of Mercy, at Arafat, in the presence of one hundred and twenty-four thousand of his Companions who had gathered there for the Hajj al-Wada (Farewell Pilgrimage). In it he ordered those present, and through them all those Muslims who were to come later, to be respectful and kind towards women. He said:
"Fear God regarding women. Verily you have married them with the trust of God, and made their bodies lawful with the word of God. You have got (rights) over them, and they have got (rights) over you in respect of their food and clothing according to your means."

In Islam a woman is a completely independent personality. She can make any contract or bequest in her own name. She is entitled to inherit in her position as mother, as wife, as sister and as daughter. She has perfect liberty to choose her husband. The pagan society of pre-Islamic Arabia had an irrational prejudice against their female children whom they used to bury alive. The Messenger of God, peace be upon him, was totally opposed to this practice. He showed them that supporting their female children would act as a screen for them against the fire of Hell:

It is narrated by the Prophet's wife, 'A'isha, that a woman entered her house with two of her daughters. She asked for charity but 'A'isha could not find anything except a date, which was given to her. The woman divided it between her two daughters and did not eat any herself. Then she got up and left. When the Prophet, peace be upon him, came to the house, 'A'isha told him about what had happened and he declared that when this woman was brought to account (on the Day of Judgment) about her two daughters, they would act as a screen for her from the fires of Hell.
The worst calamity for a woman is when her husband passes away and, as a widow, the responsibility of maintaining the children falls upon her. In the Eastern World, where a woman does not always go out to earn her living, the problems of widowhood are indescribable. The Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, upheld the cause of widows. Most of his wives were widows. In an age when widows were rarely permitted to remarry, the Prophet encouraged his followers to marry them. He was always ready to help widows and exhorted his followers to do the same. Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet said: "One who makes efforts (to help) the widow or a poor person is like a mujahid (warrior) in the path of God, or like one who stands up for prayers all of the the night and fasts all of the day."

Woman as mother commands great respect in Islam. The Noble Qur'an speaks of the rights of the mother in a number of verses. It enjoins Muslims to show respect to their mothers and serve them well even if they are still unbelievers. The Prophet, peace be upon him, states emphatically that the rights of the mother are paramount. Abu Hurairah reported that a man came to the Messenger of God, peace be upon him, and asked: "O Messenger of God, who is the person who has the greatest right on me with regards to kindness and attention?" He replied, "Your mother." "Then who?" He replied, "Your mother." "Then who?" He replied, "Your mother." "Then who?" He replied, "Your father."

In another tradition, the Prophet advised a believer not to join the war against the Quraish (i.e. the pagan disbelievers at that time) in defense of Islam, but to look after his mother, saying that his service to his mother would be a cause for his salvation. Mu'awiyah, the son of Jahimah, reported that Jahimah came to the Prophet, peace be upon him, and said: "Messenger of God! I want to join the fighting (in the path of God) and I have come to seek your advice." He said, "Then remain in your mother's service, because Paradise is under her feet."

The Prophet's followers accepted his teachings and brought about a revolution in their social attitude towards women. They no longer considered women as a mere chattels, but as an integral part of society. For the first time women were given the right to have a share in inheritance. In the new social climate, women rediscovered themselves and became highly active members of society rendering useful service during the wars which the pagan Arabs forced on the emerging Muslim umma. They carried provisions for the soldiers, nursed them, and even fought alongside them if it was necessary. It became a common sight to see women helping their husbands in the fields, carrying on trade and business independently, and going out of their homes to satisfy their needs.

'A'isha reported that Saudah bint Zam'ah went out one night. 'Umar saw her and recognized her and said, "By God, O Saudah, why do you not hide yourself from us?" She went back to the Prophet, peace be upon him, and told him about it while he was having supper in her room, and he said: "It is permitted by God for you to go out for your needs." The predominant idea in the teachings of Islam with regard to men and women is that a husband and wife should be full-fledged partners in making their home a happy and prosperous place, and that they should be loyal and faithful to one another, and genuinely interested in each other's welfare and the welfare of their children. A woman is expected to exercise a humanizing influence over her husband and to soften the sternness inherent in his nature. A man is enjoined to educate the women in his care so that they cultivate the qualities in which they, by their very nature, excel.

These aspects were much emphasized by the Prophet, peace be upon him. He exhorted men to marry women of piety and women to be faithful to their husbands and kind to their children. He said: "Among my followers the best of men are those who are best to their wives, and the best of women are those who are best to their husbands. To each of such women is set down a reward equivalent to the reward of a thousand martyrs. Among my followers, again, the best of women are those who assist their husbands in their work, and love them dearly for everything, save what is a transgression of God's laws."

Once Mu'awiyah asked the Prophet, peace be upon him: "What are the rights that a wife has over her husband?" The Prophet, peace be upon him, replied: "Feed her when you take your food, give her clothes to wear when you wear clothes, refrain from giving her a slap on the face or abusing her, and do not separate from your wife, except within the house." Once a woman came to the Prophet, peace be upon him, with a complaint against her husband. He told her: "There is no woman who removes something to replace it in its proper place, with a view to tidying her husband's house, but that God sets it down as a virtue for her. Nor is there a man who walks with his wife hand-in-hand, but that God sets it down as a virtue for him; and if he puts his arm round her shoulder in love, his virtue is increased tenfold." Once he was heard praising the women of the tribe of Quraish, saying: " . . . because they are the kindest to their children while they are infants and because they keep a careful watch over the belongings of their husbands."

The Shari'ah (Islamic Law) regards women as the spiritual and intellectual equals of men. The main distinction it makes between them is in the physical realm based on the equitable principle of fair division of labor. It allots the more strenuous work to the man and makes him responsible for the maintenance of the family. It allots the work of managing the home and the upbringing and training of children to the woman, work which has the greatest importance in the task of building a healthy and prosperous society.

It is a fact, however, that sound administration within the domestic field is impossible without a unified policy. For this reason the Shari'ah requires a man, as head of the family, to consult with his family and then to have the final say in decisions concerning it. In doing so he must not abuse his prerogative to cause any injury to his wife. Any transgression of this principle involves for him the risk of losing the favor of God, because his wife is not his subordinate but she is, to use the words of the Prophet, peace be upon him, 'the queen of her house', and this is the position a true believer is expected to give his wife. In contrast to these enlightened teachings of Islam in respect of women, Western talk of women's liberation or emancipation is actually a disguised form of exploitation of her body, deprivation of her honor, and degradation of her soul!

UNGS 2030 : Required reading - Eschatology

The Qur’an says several times that Allah is most Merciful and Forgiving but also says many times that He gives severe punishment. Is He Forgiving or Revengeful?



Question:

The Qur’an says several times that Allah is most Merciful and Forgiving but also says many times that He gives severe punishment. Is He Forgiving or Revengeful?

Answer:
1. Allah is most Merciful

The Qur’an says several times that Allah is the most Merciful. In fact all the 114 Surahs i.e. chapters of the Glorious Qur’an except for Surah Taubah chapter 9, begin with the beautiful formula, Bismillah-hir-Rahman-nir-Rahim, which means, "In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful".
2. Allah is Forgiving

The Glorious Qur’an mentions in several verses including Surah Nisa, chapter 4 verse 25 and Surah Maidah, chapter 5 verse 74:

"And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful."
3. Allah gives severe punishment to the deserving

Allah besides being Merciful and Forgiving is also strict in giving punishment to the deserving. The Qur’an mentions in several verses that Allah will give severe punishment to the unbelievers and rejecters of faith. He will give punishment to all those who disobey Him. Several verses of the Qur’an describe the various types of severe punishment that Allah will give in hell to all those who disobey.

"Those who reject our Signs, we shall soon cast into the Fire; as often as their skins

Are roasted through, we shall change them for fresh skins, that they may taste the penalty: for Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise".
[Al-Qur’an 4:56]
4. Allah is Just

The question is, whether Allah is forgiving or revengeful? An important point to be noted is that Allah besides being Merciful and Forgiving, He also has to give severe punishment to the deserving wicked or evil people, because He is also Just. The Qur’an mentions in Surah Nisa: "Allah is never unjust in the least degree".
[Al-Qur’an 4:40]

It is further mentioned in Surah Al-Ambiya:

"We shall set up scales of justice for the day of Judgement, so that not a soul will be dealt with unjustly in the least. And if there be (no more than) the weight of a mustard seed, we will bring it (to account): and enough are we to take account".
[Al-Qur’an 21:47]
5. Example: Teacher forgives a student who copies in the examination

If during an examination, a student copies and the teacher who supervises in the examination catches the student red-handed, the teacher says that he is very merciful and kind and forgives him and allows him to continue copying. Those students who have worked hard for the examination will not call the teacher merciful and kind but will call him unjust. This merciful act of the teacher will encourage the other students to also copy. If all the teachers are merciful and kind and allow the students to copy then no student will ever study for examinations and all will pass with flying colours by copying. The theoretical results of the examinations will be excellent in which all the students will pass with first class and distinction but practically these students will be a failure in life. The whole purpose of the examination would be defeated.
6. This Life is a Test for the Hereafter

The life in this world is a test for the Hereafter. The Qur’an says in Surah Al Mulk: "He who created Death and Life, that He may try which of you is best in deed; and He is the Exalted in Might, Oft-Forgiving".
[Al-Qur’an 67:2]
7. If Allah forgives all and punishes none, who will obey him?

If Allah (swt) forgives each and every human being and punishes no one, then why should the human beings obey the command of Allah (swt)? I do agree that no one will go to hell, but this world would become hell to live in. If all human beings are going to go to heaven then what is the purpose and use of the human beings to come to this world, this life cannot be called a test for the hereafter.
8. Allah only forgives if a person repents

Allah (swt) only forgives if a person repents. The Qur’an says in Surah Al-Zumar, chapter 39 verse 53-55:

"Say: ‘O my servants who have transgressed against their souls! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah: for Allah forgives all sins for He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful."

"Turn ye to your Lord (in repentance) and bow to His (will), before the penalty comes on you - after that ye shall not be helped."

"And follow the best of (the courses) revealed to you from your Lord, before the penalty comes on you - of a sudden, while ye perceive not!"
[Al-Qur’an 39:53-55]

There are four criteria for repentance: First, agree that the act is wrong. Secondly, stop it immediately. Thirdly, never do it again in future. And lastly, compensate for the loss if caused to anyone.

UNGS 2030 : Required reading - Eschatology

The reality of belief in the Last Day

Question:
What is meant by belief in the Last Day?

Answer:

What is meant by belief in the Last Day is:
Firmly believing that everything that Allaah has told us about in His Book and that His Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) has told us about what will happen after death, will indeed happen and come to pass. That includes believing in the signs of the Hour which will happen before the Last Day; in death and things that accompany it when a person is on his deathbed; what comes after death, namely the trial of the grave and torment or blessing therein; the Trumpet-blast and resurrection; the standing and terrors of the Day of Resurrection; the details of the gathering and reckoning; Paradise and its delights, the greatest of which will be looking upon the Face of Allaah; Hell and its torments, the most severe of which will be their being veiled from seeing their Lord. And belief in the Last Day includes acting in accordance with what is implied by these beliefs.
If this belief is firmly established in a person’s heart, it will bear great fruits, including the following:
1 – The desire to do acts of obedience and worship, and to strive hard in doing so, in the hope of attaining the rewards of that Day.
2 – Fear of committing sin or approving of it, for fear of the punishment of that Day.
3 – The believer will be consoled for whatever he misses out on of worldly luxuries and delights, because of his hope for the delights and rewards of the Hereafter. We ask Almighty Allaah to bless us with sincere belief and unshakeable certainty of faith… Ameen.


See A’laam al-Sunnah al-Manshoorah, 110; Sharh al-Usool al-Thalaathah by Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen, 98-103.

Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid

UNGS 2030 : Required reading - Eschatology

How can you prove the existence of hereafter, i.e. life after death?


Question

How can you prove the existence of hereafter, i.e. life after death?



Answer


1. Belief in the hereafter is not based on blind faith?

Many people wonder as to how a person with a scientific and logical temperament, can lend any credence to the belief of life after death. People assume that anyone believing in the hereafter is doing so on the basis of blind belief.

My belief in the hereafter is based on a logical argument.


2. Hereafter a logical belief

There are more than a thousand verses in the Glorious Qur’an, containing scientific facts (refer my book "Qur’an and Modern Science-Compatible or Incompatible?"). Many facts mentioned in the Qur’an have been discovered in the last few centuries. But science has not advanced to a level where it can confirm every statement of the Qur’an.

Suppose 80% of all that is mentioned in the Qur’an has been proved 100% correct. About the remaining 20%, science makes no categorical statement, since it has not advanced to a level, where it can either prove or disprove these statements. With the limited knowledge that we have, we cannot say for sure whether even a single percentage or a single verse of the Qur’an from this 20% portion is wrong. Thus when 80% of the Qur’an is 100% correct and the remaining 20% is not disproved, logic says that even the 20% portion is correct. The existence of the hereafter, which is mentioned in the Qur’an, falls in the 20% ambiguous portion which my logic says is correct.


3. Concept of peace and human values is useless without the concept of hereafter

Is robbing a good or an evil act? A normal balanced person would say it is evil. How would a person who does not believe in the hereafter convince a powerful and influential criminal that robbing is evil?

Suppose I am the most powerful and influential criminal in the world. At the same time I am an Intelligent and a logical person. I say that robbing is good because it helps me lead a luxurious life. Thus robbing is good for me.

If anybody can put forward a single logical argument as to why it is evil for me, I will stop immediately. People usually put forward the following arguments:

a. The person who is robbed will face difficulties

Some may say that the person who is robbed will face difficulties. I certainly agree that it is bad for the person who is robbed. But it is good for me. If I rob a thousand dollars, I can enjoy a good meal at a 5 star restaurant.

b. Someone may rob you

Some people argue that someday I may be robbed. No one can rob me because I am a very powerful criminal and I have hundreds of bodyguards. I can rob anybody but nobody can rob me. Robbing may be a risky profession for a common man but not for an influential person like me.

c. The police may arrest you

Some may say, if you rob, you can be arrested by the police. The police cannot arrest me because I have the police on my payroll. I have the ministers on my payroll. I agree that if a common man robs, he will be arrested and it will be bad for him, but I am an extraordinarily influential and powerful criminal.

Give me one logical reason why it is bad for me and I will stop robbing.

d. Its easy money

Some may say its easy money and not hard-earned money. I agree completely that it is easy money, and that is one of the main reasons why I rob. If a person has the option of earning money the easy as well as the hard way, any logical person would choose the easy way.

e. It is against humanity

Some may say it is against humanity and that a person should care for other human beings. I counter argue by asking as to who wrote this law called ‘humanity’ and why should I follow it?

This law may be good for the emotional and sentimental people but I am a logical person and I see no benefit in caring for other human beings.

f. It is a selfish act

Some may say that robbing is being selfish. It is true that robbing is a selfish act; but then why should I not be selfish? It helps me enjoy life.

1. No logical reason for robbing being an evil act

Hence all arguments that attempt to prove that robbing is an evil act are futile. These arguments may satisfy a common man but not a powerful and influential criminal like me. None of the arguments can be defended on the strength of reason and logic. It is no surprise that there are so many criminals in this world.

Similarly raping, cheating etc. can be justified as good for a person like me and there is no logical argument that can convince me that these things are bad.

2. A Muslim can convince a powerful and influential criminal

Now let us switch sides. Suppose you are the most powerful and influential criminal in the world, who has the police and the ministers on his payroll. You have army of thugs to protect you. I am a Muslim who will convince you that robbing, raping, cheating, etc. are evil acts.

Even if I put forth the same arguments to prove that robbing is evil the criminal will respond the same way as he did earlier.

I agree that the criminal is being logical and all his arguments are true only when he is the most powerful and influential criminal.

3. Every human being wants justice

Each and every human being desires justice. Even if he does not want justice for others he wants justice for himself. Some people are intoxicated by power and influence and inflict pain and suffering on others. The same people, however, would surely object if some injustice was done to them. The reason such people become insensitive to the suffering of others is that they worship power and influence. Power and influence, they feel, not only allows them to inflict injustice on others but also prevents others from doing likewise to them.

4. God is Most Powerful and Just

As a Muslim I would convince the criminal about the existence of Almighty God (refer to answer proving the existence of God). This God is more powerful than you and at the same time is also just. The Glorious Qur’an says:

"Allah is never unjust
In the least degree"

[Al-Qur’an 4:40]

5. Why does God not punish me?

The criminal, being a logical and scientific person, agrees that God exists, after being presented with scientific facts from the Qur’an. He may argue as to why God, if He is Powerful and Just, does not punish him.

6. The people who do injustice should be punished

Every person who has suffered injustice, irrespective of financial or social status, almost certainly wants the perpetrator of injustice to be punished. Every normal person would like the robber or the rapist to be taught a lesson. Though a large number of criminals are punished, many even go scot-free. They lead a pleasant, luxurious life, and even enjoy a peaceful existence. If injustice is done to a powerful and influential person, by someone more powerful and more influential than he, even such a person would want that person perpetrators of injustice to be punished.

7. This life is a test for the hereafter

This life is a test for the hereafter. The Glorious Qur’an says:

"He who created Death And life that He May try which of you Is best in deed; And He is the Exalted In Might, Oft-Forgiving" [Al-Qur’an 67:2]

8. Final justice on day of judgement

The Glorious Qur’an says:

"Every soul shall have A taste of death: And only on the Day Of Judgement shall you Be paid your full recompense. Only he who is saved Far from the Fire And admitted to the Garden Will have attained The object (of life): For the life of this world Is but goods and chattels Of deception." [Al-Qur’an 3:185]

Final justice will be meted out on the Day of Judgement. After a person dies, he will be resurrected on the Day of Judgement along with the rest of mankind. It is possible that a person receives part of his punishment in this world. The final reward and punishment will only be in the hereafter. God Almighty may not punish a robber or a rapist in this world but he will surely be held accountable on the Day of Judgement and will be punished in the hereafter i.e. life after death.

9. What punishment can the human law give Hitler?

Hitler incinerated six million Jews during his reign of terror. Even if the police had arrested him, what punishment can the human law give Hitler for justice to prevail? The most they can do is to send Hitler to the gas chamber. But that will only be punishment for the killing of one Jew. What about the remaining five million, nine hundred and ninety nine thousand, nine hundred and ninety-nine Jews?

10. Allah can burn Hitler more than six million times in hellfire

Allah say in the Glorious Qur’an: "Those who reject Our signs, We shall soon Cast into the Fire; As often as their skins Are roasted through, We shall change them For fresh skins, That they may taste The penalty: for Allah Is Exalted in Power, Wise" [Al-Qur’an 4:56]

If Allah wishes he can incinerate Hitler six million times in the hereafter in the hellfire.

11. No concept of human values or good and bad without concept of hereafter

It is clear that without convincing a person about the hereafter, i.e. life after death, the concept of human values and the good or evil nature of acts is impossible to prove to any person who is doing injustice especially when he is influential and powerful.


Moderator : Dr Zakir Naik

Visit : www.DrZakirNaik.com

Saturday, October 6, 2007

UNGS 2050: Required reading - Islamic medical issues - Euthanasia

Euthanasia
(Mercy Killing)


presented by :
Nik Nur Hikmah Bt Ramli
Sharifah Nur Hidayah Syed Abu Bakar

Definition
 From Greek word
 Eu = good, nice, merciful and facilitated
 Tathanos = death or killing
 Linguistically = ‘merciful’ death or killing or ‘good’ or facilitated death
 Modern science = facilitating the death of an incurable patient at his own pressing request presented to the treating physician.

People who are involved… Patient in permanent vegetative state who is awake and kept alive on artificial life support (respirators, heart-lung machine and IV nutrition)
 Patient in terminal ill and may not be subject to any life support machines

Types of euthanasia

 Passive
 Letting a person die by taking no action to maintain his/her life.
 Withdrawing medical or surgical procedures and life support system.
 Active
 An act of commission by taking action that leads to death – fatal injection

Conditions that leads to euthanasia

 Muslim medical experts have defined death in the following way
 An individual is considered dead in one of the following two situations:
 Complete irreversible cessation of respiratory and cardiovascular systems.
 Complete irreversible cessation of the functions of the brain including the brain stem.

 In case of brain death it is required to have the presence of a reliable medical specialist well experienced in the clinical diagnosis of brain and brain stem death and the various implications of such diagnosis.
 The team comprises two specialists with experience in diagnosing brain death. One of the two doctors of the team should be a specialist in neurology, neurosurgery or intensive care.

 If a number of medical experts determine that a patient is in a terminal condition, and there is no hope for his/her recovery and all medications have become useless, then it permissible for them, through a collective decision, to stop the medication.

Hukm of Euthanasia Islam opposed euthanasia, regards it as an act of murder.

“Do not take life, which Allah made sacred, other than in the course of justice.” ( Surah Al-Isra' 17:33)

“Do not kill (or destroy) yourselves, for verily Allah has been to you most Merciful” ( Surah An-Nisa’ 4:29).

Fatwa of Prominent Muslim Scholar Sheikh Yusof Al-Qaradawi

 Euthanasia is Islamically forbidden for it encompasses a positive role on the part of the physician to end the life of the patient and hasten his death via lethal injection, electric shock, a sharp weapon or any other way. This is an act of killing, and, killing is a major sin and thus forbidden in Islam, the religion of pure mercy.

 As for the suspension of medical treatment via preventing the patient from his due medication which is, from a medical perspective, thought to be useless, this is permissible and sometimes it is even recommended. Thus, the physician can do this for the sake of the patient’s comfort and the relief of his family. Nothing is wrong in this, Insha’ Allah (Allah willing).


 Thus, due to his fatwa, the active euthanasia is totally prohibited in Islam.

 But, the passive euthanasia is permissible as long as there is no hope for the patient to recover.

 The Islamic Code of Medical Ethics endorsed by the First International Conference on Islamic Medicine includes:
“Mercy killing, like suicide, finds no support except in the atheistic way of thinking that believes that our life on this earth is followed by void. The claim of killing for painful, hopeless illness is also refuted, for there is no human pain that cannot be largely conquered by medication or by suitable neurosurgery...”

 On pain, suffering and endurance, Islam has special consideration:

“Those who patiently persevere will truly receive a reward without measure” ( Surah Az-Zumar :10).

Conclusion

 Active euthanasia is haram in Islam because it is likely the act of murder according to Quranic verses and fatwa of Muslim scholars.
 It is permissible due to some conditions- passive euthanasia.
 The patient that request for euthanasia in order to stop his burden and pain is considered as committing suicide.

 When someone in pain or suffering severe disease, he must be patient and willingly accept it as well as attempted to get better treatment.

Prophet Muhammad taught “When the believer is afflicted with pain, even that of a prick of a thorn or more, God forgives his sins, and his wrongdoings are discarded as a tree sheds off its leaves.”