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"O you who believe! Be careful of your duty to Allah, and be with the truthful." [Noble Quran 9:119]

"If you obeyed most of those on earth they would mislead you far from Allah's way." [Noble Quran 6:116]

Return to the QURAN only - the complete and final STAND-ALONE Divine Message which also contains the authentic sunnah of the beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAAW)


I bear witness that NONE is worthy of worship except ALLAH, He has NO partner nor partners, and I bear witness that Muhammad is the slave and Final Messenger of Allah.


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Sunday, October 17, 2010

"Amr bil Ma'ruf wa Nahy an al Munkar" (امر بالمعروف و نهى عن المنكر)

"Establish worship and enjoin kindness and forbid iniquity, and persevere whatever may befall thee. Lo! that is of the steadfast heart of things." 31:17 (Glorious Quran)

The expression 'amr bi al-ma'ruf wa-nahy an al-munkar' is a very significant one. It is related to Jihad, that is, doing one's utmost to realize a goal. Jihad is not necessarily war fought on the battlefield for which the specific Arabic and Quranic term is 'qital.' Jihad has a very wide connotation and refers to striving for the cause of Allah Almighty to promote goodness and eradicate evil. A mujahid is a person who carries out Jihad or works hard for the cause of promoting the principles of the Glorious Quran.

Thus, Amr bil ma‘ruf wa nahy an al-munkar which means enjoining good and forbidding evil, is a Jihad related principle. It seeks to intellectually convey the benefits of Islam to the people and to inform them of the importance of abandoning evil practices. The Quran calls Muslims the model community which requires to convey the Prophet’s message to entire humanity and to live the Quran, just as the Prophet did.

"Amr bil Ma'ruf wa Nahy an al Munkar" is an essential Islamic duty, collectively accepted by all Muslims. The difference is in the interpretation of it. Some consider that it is sufficient to fulfil the duty by the "heart and tongue," which means one should support al-ma'ruf and oppose al-munkar in his heart and use his tongue to speak out for al-ma'ruf and against al-munkar. But there are some who justify taking up arms (if necessary) for the sake of fulfilling this duty.

As per the wishes of the Ummayad rulers, most Hadith narrators (who lived during their era) constructed Ahadith to suit their political interests. They considered it sufficient to fulfil the duty of al-Amr wa al-nahy by the heart and tongue. The Ummayads had a deeply autocratic trend and were not enthusiastic about peoples' opinion. Because of their many political blunders, the they were in need of the theory of Predestination, that man is not responsible for his actions because all human actions proceed from God. But as per the contents of the Noble Quran confirmed by Allah Almighty, the Ummayad view of predestination is not quite correct. Though Allah is All-Powerful and All-Knowing and can do anything at anytime, He has generally chosen to pre-ordain human fate in accordance with human action. Allah Almighty has plainly stated in the Noble Quran that He has given humankind a conscience and it's upto them whether they make it grow or leave it stunted. Allah has also said in the Quran that He does not change the condition of people until they first change that which is in their hearts.

"And the heaven and Him Who built it,
And the earth and Him Who spread it,
And a soul and Him Who perfected it
And inspired it (with conscience of) what is wrong for it and (what is) right for it.
He is indeed successful who causeth it to grow,
And he is indeed a failure who stunteth it." (91:5-10) Glorious Quran

"Lo! Allah changeth not the condition of a folk until they (first) change that which is in their hearts;" (13:11) Glorious Quran

There are many more similar verses that express the concept of human ability to initiate actions and thus reap its rewards or consequences.

The Islamic school of Mu'tazilah that originated in Basra and Baghdad between the 8th and 10th centuries bitterly opposed the Ummayad approach encouraging docility among the people. The Mu'tazilah school accepted the conditions for al-'amr wa-nahy by not limiting it to the heart and tongue. They maintained that if unlawful practices become widespread or if the state is oppressive and unjust, it is obligatory for Muslims to rise in armed revolt to confront corruption. I would think, this view is a lot more compatible with the Noble Quran than the theory of the Ummayad rulers. The Prophet (SAAW) and his early companions strongly upheld the doctrine of Sovereignty of Allah and the freedom of human will, that humankind would be judged by their actions. The early Islamic Empire was built precisely on this principle.

It's clear to perceive the difference of interpretation of Amr bil-ma'ruf wa-nahy 'an al-munkar between the Mu'tazilah and the ahl-Hadith. The Hadith ideology has a much more complacent approach toward governmental corruption in favor of which many Hadiths had been scribbled condemning peoples' revolt as Haram for the purpose of appeasing the rulers. The repercussions of this mentality can be found uptil the present in many Muslim countries, mostly in the predominantly Sunni circles.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Crescent moon is NOT a religious Islamic symbol

One often sees the image of a fine crescent moon above the minaret of a mosque in pictures.  This has caused some very absurd and ignorant misinterpretations by non-Muslims claiming that Muslims "worship the moon." 

The crescent moon has NO religious significance whatsoever for Muslims.   Muslims follow the lunar calendar.  As stated in the Glorious Quran, the importance of the moon is only for calculating the number of days in every month.   Similarly the different positions of the sun help to assert the time.

"He it is Who appointed the sun a splendour and the moon a light, and measured for her stages, that ye might know the number of the years, and the reckoning. Allah created not (all) that save in truth. He detaileth the revelations for people who have knowledge."  (10:5)

"They ask thee concerning the New Moons. Say: They are but signs to mark fixed periods of time in (the affairs of) men, and for Pilgrimage...."  (2:189)

At the dawn of Islam there were no printed calendars, watches or clocks.   The dates were often counted by the 'year of elephant,' the months were determined by observing the moon and the time was calculated by the movement of the sun.  The concept of hours and minutes developed some 500 years later.   In modern times the practical or non-religious reason for occasionally showing the crescent moon is to make known that Muslims use the lunar calendar to calculate the months, unlike the Christians, who use the solar calendar.

During the era of Prophet Muhammad (SAAW) and the early Muslim communities, there was no concept of the crescent even though the Muslims used the lunar calendar.   Islamic armies and caravans flew simple solid-colored flags (generally black, green, or white) for identification purposes.  In later generations, the Muslim leaders continued to use a simple black, white, or green flag with no markings, writings, nor symbols for the same purpose of identification.

The crescent was a non-religious symbol of the Ottoman Empire, not of Islam.  It was the Turkish Ottoman Empire that began using the crescent as a symbol of their dynasty.

Osman Ghazi, the founder of the Ottoman Empire was a devout Muslim.  There's a story about him that's well-known in history and sounds interesting to listeners.  It's known as the 'sleepless night of Osman' which he spent before taking the throne.

One day, when Osman was 19 years old, his father Ertugrul went to visit a friend with his family where they would stay overnight. Osman went along too. After dinner, the host showed Osman his room and everyone retired for the night. As he was preparing to sleep, Osman noticed the Noble Quran hanging on the wall. His respect for the Holy Book of Islam prevented him from lying down, and as he was a guest, he could not take the Quran out of the room. So, he decided not to sleep until morning and sat down beside the sofa. But he was unable to stay awake all night and dozed off for a while before Fajr. As he fell asleep, he had a strange dream that left him feeling a bit uneasy. He saw a huge crescent moon rising from his chest and stretching upto the chest of his mentor, Sheikh Edebali. When Osman and his family returned to their village, he recounted this dream to Sheikh Edebali. Edebali smiled and tried to interpret the dream. He told Osman that Allah Almighty would grant him and his descendants an enormous empire, and he would get married to Sheikh Edebali's daughter. It so happened that Osman did get married to the Sheikh's daughter, Malhoon, and he did become the first ruler of the Ottoman dynasty which ruled over large portions of the Middle East, Turkey and Southern Europe for 600 years. However, this isn't supposed to mean that Sheikh Edebali knew future events. What Osman saw was a random dream and what his mentor said was only a story but happened to come true by the Will of Allah. This episode is widely known to be the reason why the Ottomans chose the crescent to represent their Empire as a harbinger of future conquests.

The Ottomans ruled successfully for hundreds of years and fought many victorious battles against Christian Europe. Thus, the symbol of the crescent moon became linked in the minds of many Europeans as a symbol of Islamic Faith. But this notion is totally incorrect, just as they carry plenty of other incorrect notions of Islam based on their superficial observation and lack of information.

In modern times too, the crescent has no other significance for Muslims except the calculation of months by observing the appearance of the moon.  The commencement of the month of Ramadan, the start of the Muslim new year of Moharram, the month of Zil-Hajj and the start and finish of the 12 months of the Hijri calendar are determined by the appearance of the moon.  This lunar cycle, from new moon to new moon, takes 29 to 30 days to complete. When the crescent moon appears in the sky at its finest, that's the first day of every Islamic month.