.

.

IN THE NAME OF ALLAH, THE BENEFICENT, THE MERCIFUL
-------------- --------------- -------------- --------


"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.

--------


Zainabs Lounge blog tracker

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Does "Santa Claus" really originate from the pious St. Nicholas?

"Santa Claus" has become one of the central themes of modern-day Christmas celebrations.  There are plenty of documentary movies and online articles with stories on the Christmas tradition of "Santa Claus"   But the pagan mythical origin of this tradition is always concealed and altered.

If one reads ancient / medieval history, one will find that artists and thinkers back then portrayed the demon and all evil forces as a heavy-set man with a white beard.  There are actually paintings by Michael Angelo of this robust man in a sledge being drawn by snakes with wings!  The man is performing miracles, he's coming on December 25th which is not the birth date of Essa son of Virgin Maryam and it's got nothing to do with the real Christianity. Instead it originates from the celebration of Saturnalia* observed by pagan Romans.  This heavy-set man is shown as representing riotous fun and drunken revelry.  So what happens in the Christmas season today?   People are not even thinking of Prophet Essa, son of Virgin Maryam.   Most of them are thinking of getting drunk.  Even Christmas puddings, cakes and pies are laced with wine or rum.  That represents the spirit of the season.  This riotous occasion that went on during this season in ancient Rome, went so far that after the spread of Christianity the Christian church actually banned it.   The church of England according to several historical sources prohibited it until the year 1647.   Yes!  It was prohibited to celebrate Christmas because they saw Christmas as being a purely pagan holiday with too much drunkenness and debauchery.  This was an official position taken by the church of England up to the 17th century when it was dominated by the Puritans.  

Then later on, what actually happened was that a name was super imposed.  That name was St. Nicholas.    According to some Christian reports, St. Nicholas was a bishop who lived in the 4th century in Asia minor now known as Turkey.  He was supposed to be a very thin man who spent most of his time in prayer and fasting and he loved children.  He is reported spending a lot of time dealing with children.   His name was imposed on that day known as "Christmas" and thus St. Nicholas or St. Nick comes into the position of being the man of that day. 

Modern documentaries and articles on Santa Claus only go up to St. Nicholas to trace its origins.  They conveniently stay silent on what went on prior to Nicholas.

There's also another concept that goes even deeper, that is, St. Nicholas himself is supposed to be coming from the story of the wolves in the Celtic or Scandinavian regions.  In the folklore of this region, the name Nick or Nicker was supposed to be a demon - the demon of the North.  He was known as the evil spirit of the North .. based on the name of Odin, the evil principle.  For many generations people in Germany and other neighboring countries in Northern Europe looked upon this cult as a force of evil.  Parents used this cult image to prevent their children from staying outdoor saying "don't go out or else St. Nick will capture you, put you in his bag and take you away."   St. Nick or Nicholas was used as a very negative and frightening tale.   In the Christian bible, Isaiah, in chapter 14:13, the devil is known as the prince of darkness and it's portrayed that the seat of power of his evil was somewhere in the North.  So, when the Germans depicted this character, Nichols or pels Nichol (which in German means fairy-devil), they described him as man in a red fur coat as the essence of evil with his base in the North.   Thus, the church of England asserted  that this celebration could not go on and this rule lasted up to the 17th century.  That's because the  Christmas occasion actually became the time of evil.  It was the time of belief in Saturnalia*.

Because of the ban implemented by the church of England, this occasion with its loud celebrations and merriment was shifted to "New Year's Eve" which too has a tale of its own filled with pagan origins.

However, the concept of Christmas on December 25th returned later with dozens more fabrications and fantasies.  Briefly put, not only the date, but the large majority of Christmas symbols also include pagan rituals. Christmas largely comprises of nature worshiping with "Christmas trees, hollies, wreaths" etc. a typically pagan practice.

Today, the children are taught that this 300 pound man, Santa Claus or St. Nicholas, will come down the chimney on Christmas eve wearing red and white and put gifts for them under the Christmas tree and then fly off into the night.  The poor parents who sweat and toil all year to be able to afford these gifts for their children get no credit at all.  Many kids are raised with this belief.  Many of them also know they're being duped and they often sneak into their living rooms to see their parents putting presents around the tree on the night of December 24th.  The knowledge of this hoax is also more or less a part of the celebration. It's condoned by the usual idea which people babble, "well it's Christmas, don't you want the children to have some fun?"   But the point is, what are these parents and the society teaching their children .. a tradition based on falsehood that goes on from generation to generation?  Having fun is perfectly okay, but it ought not to be based on ideas that alter the truth and distort principles.   They hardly realize that they are using the name of Jesus, son of Virgin Maryam, who was a messenger of Allah Almighty, and associating it with false ideas and mere folklore.  Not just that , but they are using the name of the messenger of Allah and associating it with a character which has for long been recognized in mythical tradition as the devil.  This devil has now taken over the Christmas season which is also falsely assumed as the birth date of Jesus, son of Virgin Maryam.  How disrespectful and depraved traditions can be!

Not to mention, the passage of time has also turned this tradition as a symbol of materialism when one needs to spend and buy presents and cards not just for family but for cousins, aunts, uncles, friends, colleagues and acquaintances and by the time the season is over, everyone is neck deep in debts .. much to the pleasure of the banks and credit card centers. 

So, where is the thought of Jesus?  You get drunk, you fight, you lose the bulk of your savings, you are in debt for six months or more, the stores raise their prices and the business sector carefully monitors the profits of the retailers.  On the other hand, Prophet Jesus was a very humble man who had not more than a few pairs of ordinary clothes to wear.  He was a very simple person, eating very simple food, fasting most of the time, and always striving to work in accordance with the principles of the Divine Power.  Jesus, son of Virgin Maryam, was a strict Monotheist.   Associating him with pagan ideas as the so-called Christians do today is gross on their part!

To conclude, we can clearly see what's going on.  By now, in the third millennium, there are two streams - a stream of polytheism and a stream of Monotheism.   Unfortunately, since most humans are far more readily attracted to evil & falsehood than righteousness & truth, the stream of polytheism (along with its materialism) has taken over the truth of Monotheism.  


* Definition of Saturnalia:
Roman pagans first introduced the holiday of Saturnalia, a week long period of lawlessness celebrated between December 17-25.  During this period, Roman courts were closed, and Roman law dictated that no one could be punished for damaging property or injuring people during the weeklong celebration.  The festival began when Roman authorities chose “an enemy of the Roman people” to represent the “Lord of Misrule.”  Each Roman community selected a victim whom they forced to indulge in food and other physical pleasures throughout the week.  At the festival’s conclusion, December 25th, Roman authorities believed they were destroying the forces of darkness by brutally murdering this innocent man or woman.
          

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Dream and its connection with reality

When I was in college with psychology as one of my majors, our psychology lecturer (though a Muslim) mentioned that from the psychological view point, dreams had no connections with reality.  But we know according to certain information given in the Noble Quran that dreams do at times connote to reality or are symbolic of some future event.  For instance, the dream of Prophet Joseph mentioned at the beginning of Surah Yusuf (12:4) is an indication of his wisdom, quote - "When Joseph said unto his father: O my father! Lo! I saw in a dream eleven planets and the sun and the moon, I saw them prostrating themselves unto me."   Later in life, Prophet Joseph's perseverance, wisdom and insight were the causes of his success amidst very difficult circumstances as we've read in Surah Yusuf.   Thus, this dream as mentioned in Verse 12:4 was a harbinger of what lay ahead of him in his life. 

It's not surprising for psychologists to refute the concept of dreams carrying connotations of the future.   Like all sciences, the science of the mind too has its boundaries.  It can research and analyze only the earthly and perceptible aspects of the mind.  Though this perceptible sphere might be wide enough to study from the human perspective, the reality of the human mind goes farther and deeper into the spiritual sphere which doesn't give access to psychology just as science of the universe can only penetrate and read the physical aspects of the cosmos, not the spiritual ones.  Similarly, medical science can grasp many intricate details of human and animal physiology but it cannot answer a single question about the soul. 


In keeping with the same law of the unseen being beyond the bounds of scientific analysis, though psychology has acquired immense expertise in researching earthly aspects of the human mind including its various neurological factors, it has no idea of the interaction between the human mind and the unseen.  

Psychology has also come up with some remarkable findings on the perception of various animals involving their responses to occurrences around them such as pets recognizing their names, dogs being aggressive toward strangers in their homes and their unconditional love for their masters, cats acquiring a sense of belonging to the place they live in etc. etc.  But, phenomena such as dogs predicting epileptic seizures, wild animals being capable of sensing approaching earthquakes & tornadoes etc. are aspects of the unseen concerning the minds of animals which psychologists haven't been able to confirm inspite of extensive research.

Mostly, dreams are simply jumbled up thoughts that get cramped in our conscious or sub-conscious minds as an aftermath of the experiences we go through in our daily lives.  But suddenly we might experience an unusual dream that feels different from the rest and has no connections with our thoughts or experiences .. sometimes it can even have a clear connection with some future incident in our lives.  This can only be explained by God Almighty, not by the psychologists.  If psychologists try to explain it, their explanation will be based on the perspective of their earthly study which isn't broad enough to cover the unseen.  Thus, psychological interpretations on facts beyond their boundaries can only comprise of presumptions or guesswork that cannot take the place of truth.

Something else worth keeping in mind.   On those occasions when a dream does apparently signify something real in life, it's never that direct.  It almost always comes as something symbolic which, only if reflected upon, can be connected with that future event.   For example, one might suddenly see in a dream that one's home has been robbed and ransacked.  They'll wake up the next morning and forget about it.  Then, later in the evening or the next morning they may get the devastating news that a parent of theirs has passed away which might shatter their lives for years to come.  Thus, seeing something unusual and negative as their home being physically ravaged in a dream can be an indication of the emotional devastation that is to follow.  Only Allah Almighty knows the final truth about all similar events/interpretations, but such a perception as described is certainly a possibility.

Similarly, the example of Verse 12:4 is a very apt one.   The future success of Prophet Yusuf is portrayed in a very subtle manner, in that, the reference is allegorical which one can grasp only after putting aside all skepticism and being focused on the truth about the flawless principles of the Divine Power.

The downside is that the human mind lacks diversity of thoughts with plenty of inflexibility.  There are very few accomplished modern researchers who would be brave enough to admit that whatever they know is very little compared to what they do not know .. and might never know.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Conquest of Makhah - the only bloodless conquest in world history

How did it begin?
The event that directly led to the conquest of Makkah was the breaking of the truce of Hudaybiyah by the Qureysh.  The truce of Hudaybiyah was a peace treaty valid for ten years between Qureysh and Medinah when there were to be no wars and no killings.  The treaty was approved in the year 6 A.H. and violated by Qureysh in 8 A.H.  Qureysh attacked and killed many members of a tribe at Makkah which was in alliance with the Prophet.  Soon afterwards, Qureysh became nervous of what it had done.  Abu Sufian of Qureysh was sent to Medinah as emissary to request for the remaining treaty to be renewed and its term prolonged.  Qureysh hoped its emissary would arrive in Medinah before the tidings of the massacre.  But a messenger from the injured tribe arrived in Medinah before Abu Sufian and his embassy was fruitless.


Conquest of Makkah
The Prophet (S) then summoned all Muslims capable of bearing arms and marched to Makkah.  Qureysh was over-awed.  Its cavalry put up a show of defiance before the people of Makkah but to no avail.  It was routed without bloodshed and the Prophet entered his native city as conqueror.  Numerous citizens of Makkah feared vengeance for their past crimes against the Prophet (S) and his followers.  But the Prophet proclaimed general amnesty.  Only a few very notorious criminals were proscribed but only for a while.  They too were soon pardoned.  Abu Sufian was so horrified that he is reported to have fled Makkah.  He returned a fortnight later after being sure that there was general amnesty for all.  He was never harmed after his return even though the crimes by him and his family against Islam were plenty.  In their relief and surprise, the people of Makkah en masse hastened to swear allegiance and embrace Islam.

The Prophet (S) ordered all idols which were within the Kaaba to be destroyed which was the prime goal of his mission as the Messenger of Allah.  Soon after, the Muslim call for prayer was heard at Makkah.

In the same year (8 A.H.) there was an angry gathering of a few pagan tribes to regain the Kaaba.  The Prophet (S) led an army of 12,000 against them.  This was known as the battle of Huneyn which was a difficult one.  In a deep ravine at Huneyn, the Muslim army was ambushed by the enemy.  It was with much effort that they rallied to the Prophet (S) and his bodyguards of the faithfuls who stood firm.  And victory, when it came, was complete.

The Thaqif tribe of the city of Taif was among the enemies of Huneyn.  After the victory at Huneyn, the Muslim army besieged Taif and this city soon surrendered.


Return to Medinah
After the conquest of Makkah and having dealt with the uprising at Huneyn that followed, the Prophet (S) appointed a governor at Makkah and himself returned to Medinah to the boundless joy of the Ansars (the citizens of Medinah) who always loved the Prophet dearly and feared lest, now that he had regained his native city, he might forsake them and make Makkah the capital.  But that was not to happen.  The Prophet (S) was back in Medinah which continued being the capital of the first Islamic state until his death in the year 10 A.H.


The official proclamation concerning the Kaaba
Although Makkah was conquered in 8 A.H., its citizens embraced Islam and the idols had been removed from the Kaaba, the pagans were still allowed to visit the sanctuary and perform in their manner and the Muslims in their manner.

It was a year later in 9 A.H., after the Muslim pilgrims' caravan left Medinah when the Declaration of Immunity (as its called) was promulgated.*  Abu Bakr and Ali led this caravan of pilgrims.  The Prophet (S) sent a copy of the Declaration through Abu Bakr with the instruction that it was to be read to the multitudes in Makkah by Ali.  The Declaration of Immunity announced that after that year (9 A.H.), only Muslims were to make the pilgrimage to the Kaabah, exception being made for those idolaters who had a treaty with the Muslims and who had never broken their treaty nor supported anyone against them.  This condition would be valid until the treaty expired.  This proclamation of Declaration of Immunity marks the end of idol-worship in Arabia.

The 9th year of the Hijrah was one of the busiest for the Prophet (S).  Deputations came to Medinah from all parts of Arabia to swear allegiance to the Prophet and to hear the Noble Quran.  The Prophet (S) had become, in fact, the emperor of Arabia but his way of life remained no different from that of a common citizen of Medinah and just as simple as ever before.

The Prophet (S) made his final pilgrimage to Makkah in the year 10 A.H., often known as the "farewell pilgrimage."  His final sermon was given on this occasion from Mount Arafat in Makkah.  At the end of the discourse, he confirmed with the people of having conveyed Allah's message to them (that is, the Noble Quran).  It was indeed a very moving moment.  Surah An-Nasr (Succour), Chapter 110 of the Quran, which is generally taken to be revealed at Medinah was most likely revealed at Makkah during the final pilgrimage and was one of the final Divine Revelations.  The final verse quite definitely is portion of Verse 5:3 of Surah Al-Maidah, quote: "This day have I perfected your religion for you and completed My favour unto you, and have chosen for you as religion al-Islam."  Soon after the Prophet's arrival in Medinah from his final pilgrimage, he became ill and passed away a few weeks later.  The Prophet (S) is buried in Medinah. 


* Refer to Verses 9:3-7 of Surah At-Taubah and also refer to our post Surah At-Taubah, interpretation of Verses 2 to 14.  Non-Muslims often blatantly misunderstand and misinterpret this topic. 

Friday, December 9, 2011

Hadith Conspiracy and the Distortion of Islam

By Muhammad Asadi

The Quran and the History of Religion
"Humankind were one community, then God sent prophets as bearers of good news and as warners and revealed with them the Book with the truth that it [the Book] might judge between humankind concerning that in which they differed. And only those to whom the book was given differed concerning it, after clear proofs had been given them, through mutual hatred and rivalry." (Noble Quran 2:213)

Muslims have fallen victim to inventions against the word of God, the Quran. These inventions have distorted the way that God sent down via all the prophets. The message that God has been sending down has been the same  throughout history ..   Even though the Quran says in well over 15 places, that it is explained in detail (Verses 6:114 etc.) and contains a full explanation of whatever is needed by a believer (Verse 16:89) and should be enough, Kaafi, for them (Verse 29:51), and contains the complete law of God (Verse 45:18 and 42:13), as against man-made law or Shariah (Koran 42:21), "Muslims" insist that the Koran needs supplements to be understood, and lacks details. This amounts to disbelieving what God himself says in unequivocal terms in the Quran.

The Quran and the Hadith
The Quran states explicitly that the messenger's duty was only to convey (Balagh) the message (Verse 29:18) contained in the Quran (Verse 69:44) and that the Quran was the only Wahi (revelation) given to the Prophet (S) to be conveyed to people (Verse 6:19) by testimony of God Himself. Therefore to follow the words of God in the Quran would be to follow the Messenger. Thus following God is the same as following the Messenger, who only conveyed the Quran (see Verse 4:80)

The inventions against the true words of God revealed to the messengers are the so called "Hadith" (stories about the sayings and doings of the prophets) as narrated by the writers of the Old Testament, the Gospels of Jesus (i.e. the "Hadith" about Jesus), and the various Hadith about Prophet Muhammed contained in the many "extra-Qoranic" books believed in by the Sunni and Shiia schools of thought. People have attributed these things throughout history to the messengers, whereas the messengers could never have said them given the history of the documents and the Criterion (Furqaan) of the Quran (Verse 2:185)

The Quran states:
"Do they not consider the Quran with care, If it had been from anyone other than Allah, it would contain many discrepancies" (4:82).

Any document that claims to be from God but in actuality is not would contain some form of error.  What we see on analysis is that the Hadith attributed to Prophet Muhammad and the Gospels attributed to Jesus fail this test of authenticity. What we also see is the subjectivity of the various Muslims groups. They reject the Gospels of Jesus based on the same test as being corrupt whereas similar defects found in the books of Hadith are overlooked by them and they accept them as being authentic sayings of Muhammed. Let us have a look at the books of Hadith:

Hadith are the various traditions contained in specific books, believed in by the majority of Muslims to be the sayings of the Prophet Muhammed (S). These are extra-Quranic, i.e. from outside the Qoran. They either contradict or add to the Quran.  Muslims often present them as an explanation of the Quran or as an integral part of Islamic law, even though the Quran does not confirm them.

A minority among the Muslims does not accept the various books of Hadith as being an accurate representation of what the Prophet Muhammed said.  They take the Quran as Criterion (Furqaan) according to the Quran's own assertion (Verse 2:185), accepting only those Hadith [tradition or narration attributed to the Prophet] which the Koran confirms and attests in totality. I represent that view in this paper. Opposition to the Hadith and the whole body of extra-Quranic literature as doctrine, has existed from the early days of Islam. This is well documented by Shafi (died 204AH/ 819AD).

The Quran historically predates any written Hadith and there is no mention of Hadith or the Sunnah of the Prophet in what we possess as writings before the third century after the Prophet. Quran and rationality based on its principles formed the basis of religion for first century Muslims.  Thus contrary to being an innovation, following the Quran alone is historically the original Islam and hadith, and other extra-Quranic literature is the innovation introduced in its written form in the 3rd century after the Prophet.

The Hadith and the Gospels
The various books of Hadith that we see in Muslim society today are the same in relation to Prophet Muhammed as the gospels are to Prophet Jesus. They are both similar in that both were complied centuries later  [unlike the Koran which was memorized and written down at the time of its revelation] and they both present no proof of authenticity [unlike the Koran in which numerous verses say: "In this is a sign (or proof)" and then asks you to refute it]. Therefore, objectively speaking, both the Hadith and the gospels do not present any evidence as to be considered a 100% reliable representation of the words of the Prophets, Muhammad and Jesus.  Modern scholarship of both the gospels and the Hadith finds them an unreliable representation of the words of the prophets or even their close companions.

Professor Schacht .. did not believe that the Hadith or the concept of "Sunna of the Prophet" were part of first century Islam.  Shafi [150-204/767-819] introduced them, at the earliest, nearly two hundred years after the death of the Prophet. The Quran states exactly the same. The Quran was the only "Hadith" that was conveyed by the Prophet and formed the guidance for the early Muslim community.

Most Muslims who have taken on themselves the responsibility of teaching Islam to others have themselves abandoned the Quran by upholding Hadith. They say without hesitation: "The majority of Shariah (Law) in Islam is contained outside the Quran, in books of Hadith and fiqh."  Such a saying is a direct attack on the validity of the Quran which claims to contain the complete Islamic law from God. We need to ask ourselves, what kind of submission is this when you are rejecting God's words to follow your traditions.

"...If any do fail to judge by what Allah(God) has sent down (i.e the Quran), they are unbelievers (Kaafiroon)." (Verse 5:45).

"...If any do fail to judge by that which Allah has sent down, they are tyrants (dhilamoon)." (Verse 5:45)

"...If any do fail to judge by that which Allah has sent down, such are evil-livers (fasikoon)." (Verse 5:47)

The Quran reports that the messenger himself will complain to God about his so called followers abandoning the Quran:

"And the messenger says,"O my Lord, my OWN people have forsaken the Quran." (Quran 25:30)

Those Muslims who claim to believe in the Hadith need to be objective and not subjective. They should, as concern for truth demands not change standards while evaluating phenomena. If they reject the Gospels as being contradictions etc. (and they almost all do), then they should also reject the Hadith on the same criteria.  Hadith has the same problems of authenticity as the gospels do. Hadith do not represent the words of Muhammed just like the gospels don't represent the words of Jesus.

Both the Hadith and the Gospels are based on oral traditions that were written down, in the written form that we have today, centuries after the prophets, Muhammed and Jesus.  In recalling events, a gap of even a year can be distorted by memory beyond recognition.  When the gap is of more than a hundred years, and you're narrating something to support a point of view [the Ahl-al Kalam and Mutizila, against the Ahl al Hadith in early Islam or the Judeo Christians against the Pauline Christians in early Christianity], your own as against conflicting points of view, the distortions are immense. Since history shows that eventually the followers of the Hadith and the followers of Pauline Christianity, politically dominated the scene both the teachings of Muhammed and Jesus got distorted. Modern scholarship recognizes this.  Except for the QURAN, we have NO reliable historical record of the message that Prophet Muhammed conveyed.

The Noble Quran captures the similarity of what has happened in the case of both Jesus and Muhammed in this statement:
 
"Is not the time ripe for the hearts of those who believe to submit to Allah's reminder and to the truth which is revealed, that they become not as those who received the scripture of old but the term was prolonged for them and so their hearts were hardened, and many of them are evil-livers."  (57:16). 

"Science of Hadith"
Hadith believing Muslims make big claims on the so-called scientific compilation of Hadith. Let it be clear however, that no matter how "scientific" you are in your compilation of what is false to start with, the compilation cannot make it true. Even the criteria that is presented are un-objective, i.e. the truthfulness of a particular narrator with a story of how truthful he was. To repeat, falsehood is not converted to truth by its "scientific" compilation.

The scientific method demands that "subjective" proof (i.e. how truthful a person was) be ignored and the item tested on objective criteria. What does the content say?
 

The Dilemma
Hadith doctors have traditionally evaluated Hadith on its chain of narrators and its body text, according to their own criteria of what should be correct. However even according to their own standards, they fell into a dilemma.  Some Hadith exist which have according to them a "sound" chain of narrators but they dispute the text of the Hadith.  One example of this and their whole system collapses.  The Quran gives us the standard for judging anything that is presented.  If the Quran confirms it in total, its true.  If the material adds to or contradicts the Quran, its source is not God nor His messenger.

To read the history of Hadith compilation and the verdict of the Noble Quran, continue reading at MUSLIM VILLA.   

Friday, October 14, 2011

"If Imam Hussein isn't in the Quran, how can we accept his martyrdom?"

This sarcastic question has recently become a hot topic for 'combat' by Salafist Hadithists to antagonize ones like myself who don't accept Hadith.   However, I have no problem putting up the facts.  As a truth-seeker, it's a pleasure to expose the truth.

WHY ISN'T THE MARTYRDOM OF IMAM HUSSEIN OR THE INCIDENT OF KARBALA  MENTIONED IN THE QURAN?

To begin with, I'm neither a Shiia nor a Sunni and I dislike sectarianism.  I am just MUSLIM and Alhumdulilah, I'm proud of it.  Having said that, surely I accept ONLY the Noble Quran as my guide and NO other book or books.  And this, your question dear Hadithists, is one of the most irrational ones I've ever been asked.  It's not worth my precious time.  Nonetheless, I will put up a response owing to my passion for the Glorious Quran.

Proof of Imam Hussein in the Quran?  From that view point, no one should believe in the existence of the sahabas.  Are any one of them mentioned in the Quran?   Most importantly, the "bright" idea of calling oneself a Sunni or a Shiia is NOT mentioned in the Quran.  In fact, I can quote at least half a dozen verses which flatly condemn sectarianism.  So why do you guys indulge in sectarianism and sub-sectarianism as the foundation of your Faith?

However, coming back to the topic and based on the question you put, 90% of Islamic history ought be trashed.  But here is the important and indispensable point few reflect upon.  The Noble Quran narrates only selected aspects of history that are necessary for acquiring guidance and moral lessons.  Otherwise, the Quran is NOT a Book of history, prophecy, arithmetic or science etc. (even though it contains many amazing prophecies as well as scientific facts, some discovered as recently as the 20th century).  The Quran is a Book of Divine Guidance firmly based on Monotheism and a complete code of practical life. 

This isn't about the senseless wranglings between Shiias and Sunnis.  It's about logic and principles. Nor is Imam Hussein a sole 'property' of the Shiias alone.  The incident of Imam Hussein dominates world history as a symbol of resistance against injustice and oppression.  The Noble Quran has already mentioned similar past events when injustice and tyranny did not survive nor were they appreciated by Allah The Almighty.  I'm sure I don't need to quote any examples concerning it.   Indeed, Allah knew at the time He revealed the Quran that many more incidents of injustice would arise in future including the one involving Imam Hussein.  But that does NOT mean every one of those future events must be contained in the Quran.  Why?  As mentioned, the Divine Power has already highlighted this vital aspect along with the moral lesson it involves in His Final Message, loud and clear, with direct references to several events in ancient times .... all of which make up the group of allegorical verses, separating them from the substance.   For allegorical verses and verses of substance, refer to Verse 3:7.   If we still cannot get the moral behind those allegorical Quranic narrations, that's our problem .. though not mine.  I do understand them as well as their moral lessons.  But unfortunately many of my brethren don't and hence the sub-standard queries.

Although Allah Almighty has mentioned some remarkable prophecies in the Glorious Quran,  they are of a different category specifically for benefiting, helping and encouraging the Prophet (S) in his mission to spread the message of Monotheism.   Therefore, additional future incidents which do not play a direct role in the Prophet's mission are not included in the Quran.  That again doesn't mean these future events aren't important in the Sight of Allah.

All such events are expected to be preserved as history and heritages by the people namely the learned and conscientious ones, to further enhance the standard of human perception.  Whether we perceive them correctly to benefit our souls with the lessons they teach or squabble over them to divide ourselves is up to us.  In either case, Allah is a constant Witness and will surely question the ones He considers to be the transgressors on the Day of the Tryst.

Though many smaller details of Islamic history have been tampered with by both traditional Sunnis and Shiias, the major incidents remain intact by and large .. one of them being the incident of Karbala.  It's quite definitely one of the most significant ones in Islamic History owing to its far-reaching consequences that exacerbated the future spilt within the pan-Islamic world to the advantage of its enemies.



WHY IS THE INCIDENT OF KARBALA 'HISTORY' AND NOT 'HADITH?'

Though the Shiias might have constructed several interpolations in regard to the incident of Karbala in the form of stories called Hadith (just as the Sunnis have done with their side of the events), when I say that Imam Hussein's martyrdom (or the incident of Karbala) is History and not Hadith, I simply mean the very incident itself .. NOT the plenteous interpolations that have followed in the shape of Hadith.  These interpolations are simply Hadith, NOT the broad and basic event itself which is history.  I repeat .. while I do discard those many little stories on Karbala that fill Shiia Hadith collections, the precise event of Karbala is a historical data and cannot be rejected.   Similarly, many stories and gossips might have been constructed about Muawiyah bin Abu Sufyan and Yazid bin Muawiyah (neither of whom are mentioned in the Quran either) - positive ones in the Sunni Hadith collections and negative ones in the Shiia collections - the precise authenticity of all of which are unconfirmed, the exact truth known to God Almighty only.  But the existence of Muawiyah and Yazid, the introduction of a dynasty rule (first ever in Islam against the principles of the Quran) and their political ideology constitute a vital segment of Islamic history (NOT hadith) which cannot be denied nor overlooked.


WHY IS HISTORY DIFFERENT FROM HADITH?

The reason why History is totally different from Hadith is because the compilation of History involves a very different approach with a completely different set of rules mandatory for authentication.  Yet, History can falter to some extent but because it involves a far more thorough research, it doesn't go as baloney as the bizarre Hadith institution.  Unlike History, Hadith has preserved nothing because it contained nothing to preserve except its own constructions from generation to generation.  That big talk to impress naive about the "science" of Hadith is nothing beyond the notorious "isnad." It is anything but a foolproof evidence of authenticity.  Establishing a fraudulent 'isnad' is no tough job.  An "isnad" that cleverly connects family or social links as a chain of narrators may appear acceptable on the face of it, yet it could be a purely phoney construction.  There is NO research involved in Hadith. 

Many of our jurists boast endlessly about the "science" of Hadith.  But their own boasts have landed them in a strange dilemma.  Many Ahadith may comprise of a seeminlgy correct 'isnad' (or chain of narrators) yet their contents have been found absurd or offensive.  Thus, their entire argument on the authenticity of the "science" of Hadith falls flat on the ground.  Yes, I do not accept Hadith as the sayings of our beloved Prophet (S), not for a minute.  Hadith is the same man-written, unauthentic annexation as the altered Old and New Testaments.  Those of our Sunni and Shiia brethren who believe in the Hadith as being "totally authentic" need to be rational, not hyped.  As justice and fair play demands, they must not indulge in double standards while judging an ideology.  If they reject the altered Bible and Torah for being tampered with human hands (and surely the altered Bible and Torah are NO more authentic), then they should also reject the Hadith on the same criteria.  Hadith has precisely the same problems as the Old and New Testaments. Hadith does not represent the words of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) just as the altered Bibles do not represent the words of Jesus son of Virgin Mary (pbu them).  There's MUCH MORE to say on this which can be found in the extensive Hadith boards of our website.

Conclusion

If anyone still cannot understand or accept the above, the only plausible explanation can be that their heads are filled with clumps of horse feces .  Thus, no need badgering me any more.  Instead visit a neurosurgeon to replace that offensive stuff with some gray matter. Excuse me for forgetting my manners.  But those who insult others shouldn't expect anything different.  What goes around comes around.

Goodbye.  As-salaam Alaikum.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Is Optimism a Good Thing?

A simple question but needs a very thoughtful answer.   Optimism can be categorized in two groups.
1)  Optimism that ensues from Faith in God Almighty.
2)  Optimism of secular minds.

Secular Optimism
Secular optimism has a very narrow gap between itself and self-pride.  It's often based on blind self-confidence ignoring logic, realism and the bounds of nature consisting of human limitations.  Such optimism invariably has a dead-end at some point.  You keep traveling as long as your self-confidence holds you and then eventually to bang against that dead-end, finding it impossible to stand upon your feet again.  For instance, if an optimistic person with a secular mindset is diagnosed with a serious illness, their response might be along the following lines:
-  "I will fight it and win"
-  "I've always been a fighter and I've never lost"
- "I'm always a winner"   and so on.


But no!  It might not be up to you to fight beyond a certain limit and that may not be enough.  So, why do people make such blind promises to themselves and their loved ones when it's not within their capacity to guarantee their claims?  Obviously because it's emotionally comforting, but that's another matter, similar to being on denial of what's beyond human control.  Or, let's call it, optimism based on imagination and boast leaving no margin for conceding defeat.  It can also be described as the fear of realism or the fear of the ultimate, that is, death.  Instead of accepting it as a part of life along with the nicer possibilities, you simply become evasive about what you see as the unavoidable downside of earthly life.

Furthermore, it can be difficult for a depressed or despondent person to interact or even connect with someone who is unrealistically optimistic.  Unreal optimism frequently tends to bring an element of insensitivity which diminishes one's capacity to understand the human nature in a practical sense.  An overly optimistic advise to a distraught person might often consist of 'preaching what cannot be practiced' kind of talk.  More often than not, zealously optimistic suggestions can arouse feelings of guilt within an already distraught person, making them feel still more distressed. 

Faith Based Optimism
Optimism that arises out of one's understanding and unshakable faith in the Divine Power is a very different aspect.  It perceives the issues of life through a different prism - a prism that consists of a vivid picture of the reality.  And when reality is confronted with courage and acceptance, it cannot intimidate you any longer.  It helps you to understand that boasting of your strength is neither necessary nor a guarantee for success.  Subsequently it helps to clear up confusions and accept human limitations with a down-to-earth spirit.  In other words, it helps you to accept the possibility of the inevitable without a sense of defeat or loss.  

The optimism of a faith based person is intertwined with the Will of God Almighty concerning the ordainment of fate.  It contains one's readiness to accept the outcome chosen by the Creator, whatever that might be (good or tough), with a humble and unhesitating acknowledgement.  Such an optimism also carries the awareness that the Creator's decisions have specific and vital reasons.  Though sometimes these reasons might elude the human mind because of its limitations, that surely doesn't mean  those reasons don't exist.  This is in truth the perception of realism and sensibility which are the primary factors that balance one's sense of optimism with faith in Allah Almighty. 

Concept of Optimism in the Glorious Quran
There are some Muslims who equate lack of optimism with disbelief.  How thoughtless and wrong!  The Noble Quran asserts the importance of saying "InshAllah." 

"And say not of anything: Lo! I shall do that tomorrow, Except if Allah will. And remember thy Lord when thou forgettest, and say: It may be that my Lord guideth me unto a nearer way of truth than this."  (18:23-24)  Surah Al-Kahf.

Try to reflect carefully.  The verses indicate we are not to take the happening of anything for granted, good news or bad news, except by the Will of Allah.  This concept very clearly elucidates that nothing is within our control unless Allah agrees.  Certainly this is realism and a confirmed rejection of blind optimism.  

Interpreting lack of optimism or despair as Haram arises in the minds of some Muslims through their misunderstanding of Verse 60:13 of Surah Al-Mumtahanah.

"O ye who believe! Be not friendly with a folk with whom Allah is wroth, (a folk) who have despaired of the Hereafter as the disbelievers despair of those who are in the graves."  (60:13)

The words "despaired" and "despair" mentioned in the above Verse in context with the disbelievers make several of us misunderstand these terms as Haram because we associate them with disbelief.  What we overlook is that "despair" and "despaired" do not refer to the usual listless, sluggish feeling a person may experience during despondency or sadness or grief caused by the ups and downs of life.  Despairing of the Hereafter simply means not believing in the Hereafter.  Similarly, to despair of those in the graves means not believing in the Resurrection of the dead.   Thus, the term "despair" in the Quran carries a very different connotation compared to how it has been construed and given the Haram connection by our scholars. 

Concept of Optimism in Psychology
It's interesting to note that psychologists too have been candid enough about the huge disadvantages of optimism on exactly the same lines as detailed above.  The two categories of optimism in modern psycholoy are:

1)  false optimism
2)  rational optimism

False optimism harbors the same characteristics as blind secular optimism while rational optimism is based on a similar approach as Faith-based optimism.

"Don't worry or be concerned.  All will be fine." - That's false optimism.

"Things look difficult and threatening.  But if we handle them carefully, one step at a time, it's likely we'll succeed."  - That's rational optimism.

Thirdly, psychologists also admit that in many inevitable situations neither false nor rational optimism would work.  At such times what's necessary is simply the realistic acceptance of the inevitable without any twists or turns. 

Quoting from Psychology Today is a very fine excerpt.   

QUOTE:
'X' suffered from what could be called "blinding optimism." He focused exclusively on the bright side of life, on all the good events. By sweeping harsh realities under the rug, he was often taken by surprise when unmistakably negative circumstances arose. He was often off guard and unprepared due to his ever-present rose-colored glasses. 

But there is a big difference between healthy optimism and the Pollyanna pop psychology version of positive thinking. Giddy positivism advises us to look on the bright side at all times. These trite pep talks often tend to backfire ..  People who play the "everything-will-be-terrific" game not only overlook real problems and issues that need to be addressed, but they prevent others from expressing grief, pain, anger, loneliness, or fears. It is difficult if not impossible to air your true feelings in the presence of one of these ever-positive thinkers. They often make others feel guilty for harboring bad feelings.  Realistic optimists do not talk about how wonderful things are, how terrific everything will turn out, when faced with genuinely bad or unfortunate events.  

Those who believe if you smile in the face of tragedies, if you keep on chanting that everything will turn out wonderfully, often end up with even bigger problems.

Small problems, when ignored, glossed over or denied, have a way of spreading and growing into big problems. 

It is also important to realize that in some circumstances change cannot be achieved, and it is acceptance, not optimism or wishful thinking, that will prevent depression or endless frustration.
UNQUOTE:

Conclusion
In the light of the above discourse, merely the term "optimism" is a very broad or general expression.  To specify and determine it as something negative or positive, it needs to be analysed.  It could either lead to sensibility or stupidity, depending on how each individual reads it.  If you balance your optimism with the spirit of Truth of both realms - this life and the Hereafter - it could be a wonderful thing for you.  But if you embellish it with fantasy discarding the negative possibilities of life, that would be closer to deception than optimism, raising the possibility of greater disappointment in the future and leaving you more vulnerable.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Imāms should respect the Qur’ān when leading the Tarāwīḥ Prayer





By: Shaikh (Dr) Haitham Al-Haddad

The greatest favour bestowed upon humanity is the revelation of the Qur’ān as it is the only way human beings can be in continuous touch with their Creator. People can easily measure their level of attachment to their Lord by measuring their level of attachment to the Qur’ān - recitation, study and contemplation of it. This divine writ was not revealed to be a book of hymns for aural enjoyment, but instead as a book of guidance, for Allāh says in the Qur’ān, “(This is) a Book (the Qur’ān) which We have sent down to you, full of blessings that they may ponder over its verses, and that men of understanding may remember.” As the Qur’ān is the unique and inimitable speech of Allāh, reciting it is a tremendous act of worship. However, its reward and comprehensive benefit can only be achieved once we put into practice what we understand. In fact, not putting enough attention to understanding the Qur’ān is condemned as Allāh the Most High says, “Do they not then think deeply about the Qur’ān, or are there locks upon their hearts (from understanding it?)” Many early scholars also condemned those who read the Qur’ān without putting enough effort into understanding it.



The way many Imāms recite during the Tarāwīḥ prayer is inexcusable and should be condemned in the strongest of ways by the people of knowledge and all individuals who respect the words of God. These Imāms recite the Qur’ān as if they are competing with the allocated time in order to finish the set amount and be rid of a heavy burden placed on their shoulders. In listening to some of them it is extremely difficult to make out what they are saying, whilst simultaneously, they make constant mistakes. There are reports of some mosques completing both twenty rak‘ah (units) of the Tarāwīḥ prayer and a whole juz’ of the Qur’ān in thirty minutes. This means that each rak‘ah takes ninety seconds in which one page of the Qur’ān is recited! What justification can such Imāms (and consequently the committees of such mosques) possibly give?


I would like to pose the following question to individuals who legitimize such conduct and deem it acceptable: Imagine that you are standing before God and that He is looking at you while you are praying, do you think Allāh is happy seeing and hearing His words read in this manner without giving them their due rights in terms of recitation and contemplation? Furthermore, I wonder if any of these Imāms or committee members are bold enough to allege that the Prophet would endorse this kind of prayer.


A famous 13th century scholar/scientist/chemist/astronomer, Ibn Qayyim gave an excellent summary of what a Muslim must do to remedy the hardness of the heart with the Qur'an. 


QUOTE
There is nothing more beneficial for the heart than reading the Qur’ān with contemplation and reflection. The Qur’ān encompasses all levels of travelers, conditions of the workers, and stations of those possessing knowledge. It is the Qur’ān that generates love, desire, fear, hope, repentance, reliance, pleasure, entrustment, gratitude, patience and the rest of the different states that are life to the heart and perfection of it. Likewise, it repels all the rebuked characteristics and actions that cause corruption and ruin of the heart. If people were to possess a realization of what the recitation of the Qur’ān with contemplation contains, they would devote themselves to it at the expense of everything else. When the person reads it with reflection and he comes across an āyah (verse) that he is in need of for curing his heart, he repeats it, even if he does so a hundred times or the whole night. Hence, to recite a single āyah of the Qur’ān with contemplation and reflection is better than reciting the Qur’ān to completion without any contemplation. It is also more beneficial for the heart and more conducive to attaining īmān (faith) and tasting the sweetness of the Qur’ān.UNQUOTE 



Many of our acts of worship (ʽibādāt) have lost their spirit and have been transformed into meaningless ritual images where the focus is on completing them irrespective of whether they leave an impact on our souls or not and if they were perfected or at least performed in a truly satisfactory manner. That is why our worship does not change us for the better; our commitment to the dīn (religion/way of life) of Allāh is very weak and our willingness to sacrifice for the sake of Allāh is even more so - our morals and manners are not improving. Many of us want to be rid of the Tarāwīḥ prayer, no matter how it is offered. This is the opposite of what Allāh wants from us.  Humility, tranquility and reflection are insignificant elements for such Muslims.  We have removed the very elements from our acts of worship that have been purposely placed there to better us and focus instead on quantity rather quality - for those of us who have any focus at all. 


I call upon committee members and Imāms to seek the pleasure of Allah and not the pleasure of their congregation. I call upon Muslims to advice such Imāms and committee members who do not manifest enough respect to the Qur’ān.  We should also remember that completing twenty Rak’ah or even the whole Qur’an during Tarāwīḥ is not compulsory, yet listening to it attentively and reciting it with moderate speed is.  If the Tarāwīḥ prayer has to be completed in a specific time, then the amount set to be recited should be reduced so that a better quality of worship is achieved.


I believe it is time we should put a stop to this and mend our relationship with the Qur’ān as Allāh has commanded: “O mankind! There has come to you a good advice (i.e. the Qur’ān) from your Lord, and a healing for that (diseases of ignorance, doubt, hypocrisy and differences, etc.) in your breasts, - a guidance and a mercy for   the believers.”

Monday, August 1, 2011

What is the right time to break the fast?

To all our brothers and sisters in Faith who will be fasting during the present  month of Ramadan, remember to break your fast at the right time as instructed in the Glorious Quran.

It's a common mistake which many make by preferring man-made traditions over the Divine order.

The right time to break our fast is approximately 30 minutes after Maghrib or sunset when darkness has taken place completely.  Check the following Quranic verses for evidence and information.

وَكُلُوا وَاشْرَبُوا حَتَّى يَتَبَيَّنَ لَكُمُ الْخَيْطُ الأَبْيَضُ مِنَ الْخَيْطِ الأَسْوَدِ مِنَ الْفَجْرِ ثُمَّ أَتِمُّوا الصِّيَامَ إِلَى اللَّيْل
 2:187 - Al-Baqrah


TransliterationWa Kulū Wa Ashrabū Ĥattá Yatabayyana Lakumu Al-Khayţu Al-'Abyađu Mina Al-Khayţi Al-'Aswadi Mina Al-Fajri  ۖ  Thumma 'Atimmū Aş-Şiyāma 'Ilá Al-Layli    (2:187)


Translation"eat and drink until the white thread becometh distinct to you from the black thread of the dawn. Then strictly observe the fast till nightfall"  (2:187)  Surah Al-Baqrah


The above verse makes it clear that fasting begins from sunrise and ends when darkness of the night has taken place which is 30 to 40 minutes after we offer our Maghrib prayers.  The Arabic term used for describing the time to end the fast is ليل or "leyl."   This term refers to the darkness of the night and NOT sunset. 


Sunset (Maghrib or setting of the sun) and darkness of the night are NOT the same.  Sunset has been explicitly differentiated from nightfall in the Glorious Quran.   A very good example to elucidate this difference is Verse 17:78 of Surah Bani Israel (also known as Surah Al-Isra) which states the specific timing for the Maghrib or sunset prayer and the importance of reciting the Quran at dawn.

أَقِمِ الصَّلاةَ لِدُلُوكِ الشَّمْسِ إِلَى غَسَقِ اللَّيْلِ وَقُرْآنَ الْفَجْرِ إِنَّ قُرْآنَ الْفَجْرِ كَانَ مَشْهُودًا
17:78  - Surah Al-Isra


Transliteration
'Aqimi Aş-Şalāata Lidulūki Ash-Shamsi 'Ilá Ghasaqi Al-Layli Wa Qur'āna Al-Fajri  ۖ  'Inna Qur'āna Al-Fajri Kāna Mash/hūdāan    (17:78)

Translation
"Establish worship at the going down of the sun until the dark of night, and (the recital of) the Qur'an at dawn. Lo! (the recital of) the Qur'an at dawn is ever witnessed."    (17:78)  Surah Al-Isra

The above verse is self-explanatory asserting that the time for Maghrib prayer begins when the sun goes down, that is, at sunset.  The verse also clarifies that Maghrib prayer can be offered from the time the sun goes down until it gets dark which takes about 30 minutes, in certain parts of the globe it might take a bit longer, around 40 minutes.   In this verse 17:78 the Arabic term mentioned for sunset or going down of the sun is   دلوك الشمس  (dulook al-shams), and the Arabic term for "dark of night" is leyl or ليل


"Leyl" or night is by no means the same as as sunset of dulook al-shams.  That's absolutely clear and obvious.
And Verse 2:187 confirms that we are to break our fast at "leyl."


Also, another expression used in the Quran for the setting of the sun is مغرب الشمس or maghrib al-shams.   This expression has been used in Verse 18:86 of Surah Al-Kahf.

حَتَّى إِذَا بَلَغَ مَغْرِبَ الشَّمْسِ وَجَدَهَا تَغْرُبُ فِي عَيْنٍ حَمِئَةٍ وَوَجَدَ عِنْدَهَا قَوْمًا قُلْنَا يَا ذَا الْقَرْنَيْنِ إِمَّا أَنْ تُعَذِّبَ وَإِمَّا أَنْ تَتَّخِذَ فِيهِمْ حُسْنًا 
18:86  -  Surah Al-Kahf


Tranliteration
Ĥattá 'Idhā Balagha Maghriba Ash-Shamsi Wajadahā Taghrubu Fī `Aynin Ĥami'atin Wa Wajada `Indahā Qawmāan  ۗ  Qulnā Yā Dhā Al-Qarnayni 'Immā 'An Tu`adhdhiba Wa 'Immā 'An Tattakhidha Fīhim Ĥusnāan   (18:86)

Translation
"Till, when he reached the setting-place of the sun, he found it setting in a muddy spring, and found a people thereabout. We said: O Dhu'l-Qarneyn! Either punish or show them kindness."  (18:86)  Surah Al-Kahf.


Thus, you will observe that nowhere does the Quran refer to sunset as "leyl."  The word "leyl" has only one reference, that is, nightfall or the darkness of the night. 


It's very unfortunate that so many folks who fast regularly waste their entire day's effort by breaking their fasts 30 to 40 minutes prior to the prescribed time in the Glorious Quran.


Dhulook-as-shams  and leyl  .... the clear difference.   Ramadan, the month of fasting, is the Month of the Quran.  Yet so many of us violate the Quran by disobeying even the simple timings of fasting confirmed in the Glorious Quran.  




Friday, July 15, 2011

Laila-tul-Baraah

Lailatul Bara'ah and Shab-e-Barat are the same occasion with different labels.  In the Middle-East they call it Lailatul Bara'ah and in Pakistan it's known as Shab-e-Barat.  It takes place on the 15th of Shaban and the night of observance is between 14th and 15th of Shaban.  

It's not mentioned in the Glorious Quran.  It's entirely from the Hadith with numerous stories attached to it.  Even according to Hadith followers there are two opinions regarding this occasion. 

One group of Hadithists say that the Hadith narrations which mention about Lailatul Baraah or Shab-e-Barat are unauthentic or Daeef Ahadith and must all be discarded.  They also acknowledge that a lot of bid'ah or improper practices have ensued from the false Hadiths regarding Lailatul Baraah.

Another group of Hadith followers accept this occasion by upholding those Hadith narrations that mention it.  They guess and claim that the Prophet (SAAW) said it's the night for seeking forgivness.  Lailatul Baraah means the 'night of freedom from Hellfire.'  In this link you'll find the entire Hadith story adhered by those who observe Lailatul Baraah. These people have also tried to link this event with the Quran by claiming that Verses 2 to 6 of Surah Ad-Dukhan refer to Lailatul Baraah, but that's not true at all.  Verses 2 to 6 of Surah Ad-Dukhan refer to Laialtul Qadr as also mentioned in Surah Al-Qadr, 97th Chapter of the Glorious Quran.  Here, the Night of Qadr or the Night of Power means the Night when the Quran began being revealed which is on one of the blessed nights of the month of Ramadan. 

Here are the Verses of Surah Ad-Dukhan.  They do not refer to any other night except the night when the Quran was revealed.

By the Scripture that maketh plain
Lo! We revealed it on a blessed night - Lo! We are ever warning -
Whereon every wise command is made clear
As a command from Our presence - Lo! We are ever sending -
A mercy from thy Lord. Lo! He, even He is the Hearer, the Knower,
(44:2-6)


Tales about Leilat-ul Baraah have been circulating since years.  This itself is sufficient proof of its being unauthentic.  Some claim that the souls of the dead visit earth on this night.  Then again, some guess that their fate for the following year is given to the angels while others think it's the night to seek the forgivness of Allah.   However, Allah has not specified any particular days or nights for asking forgiveness of Him.  Repentance is permitted at all times of the year provided one is sincere. 

Those who accept the Hadith stories also fast during 14th, 15th and 16th of Shaban.  Some fast the entire month of Rajab which precedes  Shaban as a gesture to prepare and train oneself for Ramadan."  However, these practices are not warranted by the Quran.  Many of these folks exhaust all their energy by fasting on other months prior to the month of Ramadan, and by the time Ramadan arrives, they get so tired that they hardly enjoy their Ramadan fasts.  Allah has said that He has NOT placed any hardships in religion and  Allah has ordered to fast only in the month of Ramadan .. the blessed month when the Glorious Quran began being revealed.

Indeed preparing for Ramadan is a very good idea.  Also, many of us need to  save your energy so we can complete all 30 obligatory fasts during the month of Ramadan.  Preparation for Ramadan is done best with some additional worship in the month of Shaban, preferably in the form of nafl prayers, zikr and charity.  Of course, extra worship of Allah is permissible and useful at all times.  Extra fasting is also allowed whenever one wishes.   But many of our jurists have made a rigid rule to fast for the whole of Rajab and also certain days of Shaban which is not commanded in the Quran as obligatory.  The Divine Rule to fast is only in Ramadan.     

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Colosseum at Rome, a very disturbing monument

The Romans built the Colosseum as a place of gladiatorial combat in the years between 75 to 80 AD in Rome, Italy.  What is today supposed to be a tourist attraction is in plain terms a historical venue of countless gruesome murders through bloody gladiatorial fights, games killing animals and public executions that were supposed to be the most sought after entertainment in Rome mainly reserved for the elites to watch .. yes, to watch humans and wild animals tearing up each other in a bid to survive. Nine thousand animals were killed in the Colosseum during the first year of its construction alone! 

Unfortunately we are given very little details in journals, newspaper-articles and history books on this horrendous social culture because of which this venue should actually cease being a tourist attraction.  It's hard to understand what tourists could enjoy such a vacation which took them to watch the spot of cruel bloodshed where human life and the life of all living beings were indeed so cheap?  No wonder the 21st century is no different.  Landmarks that serve as reminders of murderous sports are still sources of pleasure, carefully maintained, photographed and visited, providing the local government with plentiful money. 

Commercialization is a huge hurdle that conceals the importance of promoting civilization.  Travel agents and tour guides are all praise about the architecture of this place, often referring to it as the "stunning framework of Corinthian, Doric, and Ionic columns."  Recently it was put up by the Yahoo website as among the 10 most visited places in the world, calling it "a gorgeous dichotomy hard to not want to capture it all." 

But evil places have evil history.  This colosseum was damaged by fire in the year 217 AD, almost destroyed by earthquakes in 443 AD and 1349 AD, converted into a cemetery in the 6th century, rented out as residential and commercial real estate in the 12th century and occupied as a castle in the 13th century.  After that, it was used as a bull fighting ring for many years.  Then, somehow, it it got transformed into a wool factory.  It was around 1750 AD that it began getting restored as a colosseum and shockingly began being looked upon as something "sacred."

And again, evil history carries evil rumors.  Stories about hauntings in the Colosseum have been passed down through generations.  These rumors tell ghastly tales.  Stories claim of unjustly slaughtered gladiators returning after dark to re-enact their final moments in combat and invisible chariots rattling across the arena.  Visitors often claim they hear words being spoken in Latin, screams of slaves and criminals slaughtered at the whim of the watching crowd and painful cries of wounded animals.  There are also many reports of seeing shadowy audience and Roman guards silhouetted against the darkness of the night.  Only God Almighty would know to what extent these stories are true or not.  However, such scenarios were commonplace within the Colosseum and to a reader, the distressing tales of this structure represent the ghost of the bloodthirsty Roman Empire itself.

I ask myself, how would the world react if there was a huge historical stucture built in Spain during the Muslim rule, or some splendid building in Persia constructed during the Safavid rule where humans and animals fought to their deaths at the pleasure of cheering elites?  Would the West today look upon it as a "gorgeous" landmark, requesting tourists to crowd around it with awe and admiration or would it become an agenda for trumpeting our "cruel history?"

The souls of numerous dueling gladiators, tormented prisoners and animals mercilessly mutilated and butchered at this ancient site will probably cry out on the Day of Judgment, asking for what sin were they treated so brutally to become a source of pleasure for their audience. 

Let us at least hope that the tourists visiting this ancient venue of mass murders are awakened by its horrific history to denounce killings perpetrated by the strong against the weak, and teach the same to their children.