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Necmettin Erbakan: Father of the Turkish Evolution

Dr Muhammad Wajid Akhter

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On the 27th of February 2011, an 86 year old Turkish man died in a hospital in Istanbul. However, he was no ordinary person. Necmettin Erbakan was one of the great Muslim leaders of the last century and a reviver of Islam in Turkey. The son of an Ottoman Qadi, Necmettin was born into a turbulent and unsettled world. The Ottoman Empire that had ruled large parts of the Muslim world for five centuries had just been dismembered and the Caliphate was abolished 2 years before he was born. His pious family were now faced with an entirely new reality – the aggressive militant secularism of Mustafa Kemal.

Within a few tumultuous years, Turkey had gone from being the last bastion of the Islamic world to a strange land where the absolute majority were Muslims but the adhan was banned in Arabic, Medrasa were closed down and all displays of faith disparaged. The fez and the veil were discarded as if they were chains holding back the march of progress. [1] The emphasis on Muslim unity was replaced with an even greater emphasis on Turkish Nationalism. To top it all off, the one-time Ghazi (or Islamic Warrior) Mustafa Kemal had now transformed himself into a “benevolent” dictator who was infallible, cultivating an increasingly extreme personality cult. [2]

The Turkey that Erbakan grew up in was one in which it was profoundly disadvantageous to be a man of faith, yet this did not dent his zeal. In his years at University, he used to lead the prayers for the few students who still followed even the most fundamental tenets of Islam. Interestingly, his colleague who performed the duties of the muezzin was Suleyman Demirel, who would go on to become the President of Turkey as well as an implacable foe. Soon after graduating as a mechanical engineer, Erbakan set forth his vision of a post-Kemalist Turkey that would return to the religion of Islam in a manifesto called “The National View.” [3]

He founded a party by the same name to help bring about this transformation. The party began to gain popularity and just as it was about to achieve critical mass, it was banned.

He then set up another political party with the same aim, but this too was banned. Undaunted, Erbakan picked himself up and started the process again. This time, due to infighting between the other parties, he actually got to become Prime Minister. However, the military elite decided that they could not tolerate a leader who openly believed in promoting brotherhood and cooperation between Muslims at home and abroad. Just over a year after he became Prime Minister, they sent in the tanks and forced him out. [4] Erbakan was back to square one again.

But Erbakan was more than just a politician with an Islamic outlook. In a lifetime of struggle and sacrifice, he kept the flame of Islam burning during the darkest days of the secular repression. His regular Islamic speeches and refusal to be cowed by intimidation, lifetime bans, and military coups showed to his countrymen and the world that not all Turks had abandoned the faith of their forefathers. Perhaps another leader would have been tempted to give up or turn to violence. The fact that Erbakan never despaired of raising Islam to its rightful place at the heart of the Turkish nation speaks volumes about his faith and determination.

Today, the President and Prime Minister of Turkey are his former students [5] and Turkey moves ever closer to taking its rightful place at the heart of the Muslim world. All this would have been unthinkable before a young engineering graduate decided that he must begin the process of change in his society. Necmettin Erbakan had his shortcomings; however, it is impossible to imagine the evolution in the psyche of the Turkish nation without him. Lest we become complacent, his final words, “work hard” were a reminder to his followers that the process of changing the situation of the Muslim Ummah is just beginning. May Allah have mercy on the soul of Necmettin Erbakan who earned his name “star of the faith.”

WAJiD Dr. Muhammad Wajid Akhter - Doctor, Medical Tutor (Social Media, History & Medicine) - Islamic Historian - Founder of, and current board member to Charity Week for Orphans and needy children. www.charityweek.com - Council member, British Islamic Medical Association

19 Comments

19 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Musa

    June 7, 2011 at 3:25 AM

    Great article… May Allah bless the man and the people in turkey working for Islam… I guess the current Turkish prime minister is one of the best Muslim rulers in this time. He is strengthening Turkey’s Muslim relations, and has visionary foreign policy.

  2. Avatar

    Abu Kamel

    June 7, 2011 at 4:16 AM

    As salam alaikum

    May Allah forgive him of his wrongdoings and misguidance and have mercy on him.

    It is unbecoming to speak poorly of the dead, but the matter of Erbakan politics should be made public as they currently affect how Muslims around the world percieve politics.

    Erbakan deemed it was necessary to work within the existing political system of Turkey to bring about change. This, except that Turkey’s system was strategically designed to resist Islam, to repress it, to halt its natural growth. Erbakan stepped down when the military ordered him to despite being elected by a majority. This showed his willingness to avoid harming Muslim people. But it also shows that the system of Turkey was NOT worthy of compliance and obedience as it stood.

    In this instance, when the Prophet Muhammad (saaw) was offered all kinds of worldly powers in exchange for his compromise and compliance with Jahili Makkan system, he refused. He refused t comply with a system designed to oppress, to spread corruption, to perpetrate association with Allah.

    This is the correct methodology of political action. Compliance with tyranny, oppression, corruption does not serve the cause of Islam.

    From Allah we come, to Allah we return.

    • Avatar

      Usama

      June 7, 2011 at 6:40 PM

      As Salamu Alaikum,

      If you try to overthrow the system and you fail, you and your followers will face a great deal of harm. Many times in this world you simply have to work within the system until you are strong enough to offer an alternative.

      Usama

      • Avatar

        Kashif H

        June 7, 2011 at 9:17 PM

        Nobody should have been protesting in Tahrir Square in Egypt then, since they could have faced “great harm” in doing so.

      • Avatar

        Abu Kamil

        June 8, 2011 at 5:27 AM

        Nobody should be protesting in Syria or bahrain then, since they will face “great harm” in doing so.

        • Avatar

          Usama

          June 8, 2011 at 6:44 PM

          The difference between Turkey, and other countries such as Egypt and Syria, is that in Turkey, Islamists weren’t always the majority, or even a respectable minority–Kemalism and Secularism was embraced by a lot of people, and Islam’s basis was effectively eroded, so many Turks lost attachment to it. If there was a revolution, very few people would have been a part of it, it would have been crushed immediately and suffered a further greater setback.

          Because Muslims in Turkey have been working within the system all these years, and not engaging in open rebellion, change has come and Islam is becoming a respectable presence.

          And by the way, don’t think for one second that what has happened in Egypt is a good thing–Egypt is full of fasad. Moreover, the military is extremely powerful at the moment, and trampling on people’s rights.

    • Avatar

      ZAI

      June 8, 2011 at 5:38 PM

      Didn’t Rasulallah agree to the Hudaibiyyah truce that contained many clauses unfavorable to Muslims? Didn’t many Sahabah, including Umar(R), not see the wisdom in it at the time but realize it later on? Was his strategic vision and wisdom not eventually realized when Makkah fell?

      Incremental change is NOT a negative thing necessarily.
      If the system allows for it and one can also avoid violence, anarchy and civil war…why is it not better to change the system that way?

      Unfair to compare the situation in Turkey over the century to straight out brutal dictatorships like Egypt, Bahrain or Tunisia. Incremental change is/was not POSSIBLE there because the uncle at the top would resort to crushing protests as in Syria or Bahrain, or throwing people in jail enmasse and rigging elections as in Egypt.

      Turkey has MANY flaws, but it is still a real democracy where governments can be peacefully changed and incremental slow progress made through the system. They’ve been moving in a positive direction: Erdogan is freeing up the public arena and introducing many laws to protect the rights of religious people and end discrimination against them and he is also slowly and steadily sidelining the secular ideologues in the military or opposition from carrying out coups or interfering in government. They are even going to amend the constitution to reflect the changes, a mandate by about 70% of the Turkish population that plans to vote the AKP back to power.

      Incremental progress within the system is not a bad thing if the system allows for it to be done. Even if it’s a struggle and we won’t see its fruits in our lifetimes, perhaps our children or their children will…and that’s preferable to anarchy and civil war. Fighting or mass rebellion where hundreds or thousands will die should be a last resort and taken only in places like Syria, Egypt, Bahrain, Libya, etc. where there is ZERO chance the dictator will allow any change…

  3. WAJiD

    WAJiD

    June 7, 2011 at 9:29 AM

    Asalaam alaikum brother Abu Kamel,

    JazakAllah khairun for your comment. I actually agree with what you are saying.

    However, for the general public, the aim of the article was to inform them of someone who had worked hard for the cause of Islam (in the way he felt was best) and perhaps inspire them to do likewise inshaAllah.

  4. Avatar

    BrownS

    June 7, 2011 at 9:56 AM

    Very interesting article. Jazakallahu khair. I’ve always been fascinated with this man.

  5. Avatar

    HFZ SP

    June 7, 2011 at 2:16 PM

    Having just returned from Turkey, I, together with my friends were disgusted and saddened to see the state of Islam in an Islamic country. The Islamic environment, we thought was a million miles away from being islamic. However, after reading about its modern Islamic history, it must be said the Islamic state of the country is also a million miles further away from the Islam during the time of Ataturk. So overall, Alhumdulillah, Alhumdulillah the country is heading in the right direction regardless of its pace.

    P.S it was sickening to see the hundreds of Turkish flags with the face of a man who caused unimaginable damage to Islam. Although not as pertinent as practising the Islam, who knows, maybe in the next century the government may ban his face from flags and replace it with someone who deserves to be like Necmettin Erbakan. (may Allah reward him abundantly, ameen)

    • Avatar

      Abu Kamil

      June 8, 2011 at 5:34 AM

      Having just returned from Turkey, I, together with my friends were disgusted and saddened to see the state of Islam in an Islamic country’

      Turkey is NOT an Islamic country
      It is a SECULAR country
      secularism is enshrined in the constitution
      in fact, most turkish political parties (even islamist like AK or Refah) have to give allegiance to a secular state and secularism, just like the president does when he gives the oath of office.
      Turkey is NOT Saudi Arabia or Iran…Its not even a pakistan or malaysia (where islam is only state religion)

      • Avatar

        HFZ SP

        June 8, 2011 at 9:52 AM

        Yes secularism maybe enshrined in its constitution without a state religion but only because of Ataturk and his efforts to make it as such, had another guy with a religious side such as Necmettin Erbakan or even Recep Tayyip Erdogan it may have been different. The majority (more than 90%) of the Turks are muslim so there should still be some form of an islamic environment and it is because of the huge % of muslim in Turkey which make me and many others consider Turkey to be a Muslim country.

  6. Avatar

    Nahyan

    June 7, 2011 at 6:39 PM

    That was very insightful.

    May Allah reward him and continue to improve the state of Turkey and its people

  7. Avatar

    Carlos

    June 7, 2011 at 7:21 PM

    I do not profess to be a scholar of Turkish politics, society or culture, but I do know some things about Turkey. It is unique in being a Muslim nation with an openly secular state. I believe that commitment to state secularism, an idea that has done so much to maintain peace and justice, and to advance humanity in the Western world, is part of the reason why Turkey is more economically, politically and socially developed than most other countries in the “Muslim World.” The Muslim World should be proud of Turkey, or at least respectful of it. The Turkish experiment is admirable, and reflects well on Islam. The Turkish experience shows that state secularism and Islam are not necessarily incompatible.

    Turkey’s commitment to secularism, however, was taken too far, when its military interfered with democracy by nullifying the results of fair elections. The military should stay out of governing. While secularism in government is an important component of freedom, justice and human dignity, democracy is also important. People need to feel they have a fair say in governing themselves, or they might not respect the rule of law, and might not accept the results of elections that their side loses. If political change cannot be accomplished through peaceful means, what happens? Anybody?

    Any party that seeks to gain and maintain power through peaceful means should be allowed to make its case to the voters, and to engage in and even win free and fair elections, even if that party is one that advocates theocracy. And if Islamic governments make Turkey more of a theocracy, that is okay, as long as the freedoms of individuals are respected, as long as the theocracy does not seek to undermine the democracy that put it in power, and as long as is does not seek to maintain its power through force. All governments must respect the will of the majority and the rights of individuals, and a religious government is no exception. The alternative is dictatorship, the loss of freedom and human dignity, and, potentially, conflict.

    • Avatar

      Drm

      June 9, 2011 at 11:55 PM

      Well, you were right about one thing, you’re not a scholar of Turkish politics. In fact your opinions are largely based on pro-western nonsense. Here’s a newsflash, the overwhelming majority of Muslim countries are failed secular(including Saudi Arabia) banana republics which were carved out by Europe. Ataturk was not even a Muslim, but a sabbtean Jew of the Donmeh tribe, much like the rest of the “young Turks” which played a key role in the destruction of Armenian population and the Ottoman Khilafa.
      Learn some real history for a change.

      http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=2633759824917228395#

      • Avatar

        Carlos

        June 11, 2011 at 3:44 PM

        Drm, with all due respect, how can you seriously write that Saudi Arabia is a secular state? Non-Islamic places of worship are illegal there. State-enforced sharia is practiced there probably more strongly than almost anywhere else in the world, including even public corporal punishment. Women are not even allowed to drive a car or go anywhere without a male relative. And, if SA is a banana republic, then they must have a whole lot of bananas to be able to afford all the things they can afford. I presume you are implying the US really controls SA. I find that hard to believe, considering SA is overflowing with oil and money, and the US practically has to go to SA with hat in hand, asking for both. And to call the most powerful and absolute monarchy in the world a “republic” is ironic.

        True, some of the borders in the Middle East were drawn by European colonial powers, but how much influence have European countries had in that region since World War II? I have been to the ME, and I would hardly describe the society and government I witnessed there as being secular. Of course, one does not need to physically go somewhere to learn about it. If that were the case, only Neal Armstrong and a handful of other American astronauts would know anything about the Moon, and nobody would know anything about the other planets, stars and galaxies. One can learn plenty about the Middle East from books, newspapers, magazines, internet, etc. I have read much in my life, and little of it suggests, to me, that the majority of Muslim countries are actually secular republics.

        I just read the Wikipedia articles on Ataturk and the Young Turks, and did not see anything indicating they were Jewish, other than a reference to Ataturk’s religious opponents accusing him of being a secret Jew (which sounds suspiciously like the way some American nationalists accuse Obama of being a secret Muslim, despite there being no evidence of that).
        Even if, for the sake of argument, Ataturk’s ancestry might possibly have contained some people who were Jewish by ethnicity or religious persuasion, what does that have to do with what we are discussing? I thought we were discussing secularism in Turkey, not Judaism in Turkey. I am having trouble understanding what you are trying to communicate.

        You imply that I am more ignorant of Turkish history than you, but your posting does not provide any enlightenment on the subject, either for me or for the other readers. I would go to the video link you provide, but my computer does not have a sound card. :-(

  8. Avatar

    Serhat

    June 10, 2011 at 4:54 AM

    Esselamu Aleykum ve Rahmetullah ve Berakatuh,
    Hayr Fridays to all Muslim brothers and sisters.

    This is Serhat from Istanbul – Turkey [Masters Degree in Computer Science – New York]

    I see you guys talking about Muslims of Turkey. I would like to give my opinion as well. Man count is nothing. Quantity is not important. What important is that true believers. Imagine a country with 100 million people or more but people are so called Muslim. They drink alcohol or they do zina they talk behind each other and they don’t stick together against Kufr. On the other hand if there is a small country or small group in a country with people obey Allah c.c. and Prophet Muhammad s.a.v. its a lot more precious then first example.
    I would like to remind this Ayah to all of you:
    Sure: Baqara 2-249:
    So when Talut departed with the forces, he said: Surely Allah will try you with a river; whoever then drinks from it, he is not of me, and whoever does not taste of it, he is surely of me, except he who takes with his hand as much of it as fills the hand; but with the exception of a few of them they drank from it. So when he had crossed it, he and those who believed with him, they said: We have today no power against Jalut and his forces. Those who were sure that they would meet their Lord said: How often has a small party vanquished a numerous host by Allah’s permission, and Allah is with the patient.

    Talut was heading fight with greater enemy. And Allah c.c. even eliminated munafiqs withing them.
    Now Talut has even smaller army but ALL TRUE BELIEVERS and we know who won the war.

    Now Turkey has changed over the last decades. Thanks to Mahmut Ustaosmanoglu (Efendi Hazretleri) leader of Nakshibendi Tariqah and other Tariqah leaders.
    Now thousands of his followers follows shariah and sunnah. They wear hijabs and men are in proper dresses gown etc. Please see 2011 umrah picture:
    http://img197.imageshack.us/img197/2981/mahmudefendihazretleri2.jpg

    This is important because for decades we were pushed away from Islam and forced to cut bears change dresses etc. They collected qurans. They forbid everything about Islam. Now Elhamdulillah we are coming back.
    Key is the Shariah. If we live Shariah then we will live the life we deserve.

    Little info about Turkey and Islam.
    As you all know Turkey is in the middle of eastern and western world. Land of Turkey has been attracted by khafirs for centuries. So we have had more pressure then other Muslim worlds. Recently western world started playing with mid-east and you all see what is happening. But this game has been played on us for centuries. Now looking back and i see every place Ottoman Empire lost having a chaos such as Palestine, Chechnya, Bosnia etc…
    Because Islam lost its amir al-mumin. And Muslims could not stick together. They fought with each other and who won ? Others.

    We have to live shariah and we have to love each other. Islam is hard to live and follow alone. Join a group but make sure they follow shariah.

    Esselamu Aleykum

  9. Avatar

    truthbetold

    June 23, 2011 at 2:03 AM

    What kind of a Muslim collects money (10 mio DM) for the cause of Bosnia, deposits it in a bank and consumes riba? Erbakan’s right hand man, Mercumek, did that in 1994.

    Erbakan’s “Lost Trillion” Case:
    In 2003 Erbakan was sentenced to two years and four months for falsifying documents to cover up the misuse of state funds granted to his Welfare Party.

    Islam in Turkey means only a means to gain worldly power. Never mind the official Muslim rate 99% or the 50% of the votes in the last 3 elections for the “Muslim” parties. The real practicing Muslims (who have at least established the salah i.e. 5 daily prayers on time!!!) are around 1-3 % of the population. Unfortunately we have never understood and appreciated Allah Azza wa Jal’s deen so we elect only munafiqun as our leaders and follow the kuffar down the lizard’s hole. If neither a mu’adhin calls the adhan nor the imam gets up for fajr because of a stupid football match and nobody shows up at the mosque except the one who almost missed it, what else can I say?

    May Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala forgive us and have mercy on us. Without Him we are truly lost!

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#Islam

What Does Sharia Really Say About Abortion in Islam

Abortion is not a simple option of being pro-life or pro-choice, Islam recognizes the nuance.

Reem Shaikh

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The following article on abortion is based on a research paper titled ‘The Rights of the Fetus in Islam’, at the Department of Sharia at Qatar University. My team and I presented it to multiple members of the faculty. It was approved by the Dean of the Islamic Studies College, an experienced and reputed Islamic authority.

In one swoop, liberal comedian Deven Green posing as her satirical character, Mrs. Betty Brown, “America’s best Christian”, demonized both Sharia law as well as how Islamic law treats abortion. Even in a debate about a law that has no Muslim protagonist in the middle of it, Islam is vilified because apparently, no problem in the world can occur without Islam being dragged into it.

It is important to clarify what Sharia is before discussing abortion. Sharia law is the set of rules and guidelines that Allah establishes as a way of life for Muslims. It is derived from the Qur’an and the Sunnah, which is interpreted and compiled by scholars based on their understandings (fiqh). Sharia takes into account what is in the best interest for individuals and society as a whole, and creates a system of life for Muslims, covering every aspect, such as worship, beliefs, ethics, transactions, etc.

Muslim life is governed by Sharia – a very personal imperative. For a Muslim living in secular lands, that is what Sharia is limited to – prayers, fasting, charity and private transactions such as not dealing with interest, marriage and divorce issues, etc. Criminal statutes are one small part of the larger Sharia but are subject to interpretation, and strictly in the realm of a Muslim country that governs by it.

With respect to abortion, the first question asked is:

“Do women have rights over their bodies or does the government have rights over women’s bodies?”

The answer to this question comes from a different perspective for Muslims. Part of Islamic faith is the belief that our bodies are an amanah from God. The Arabic word amanah literally means fulfilling or upholding trusts. When you add “al” as a prefix, or al-amanah, trust becomes “The Trust”, which has a broader Islamic meaning. It is the moral responsibility of fulfilling one’s obligations due to Allah and fulfilling one’s obligations due to other humans.

The body is one such amanah. Part of that amanah includes the rights that our bodies have over us, such as taking care of ourselves physically, emotionally and mentally – these are part of a Muslim’s duty that is incumbent upon each individual.

While the Georgia and Alabama laws in the United States that make abortion illegal after the 6-week mark of pregnancy are being mockingly referred to as “Sharia Law” abortion, the fact is that the real Sharia allows much more leniency in the matter than these laws do.

First of all, it is important to be unambiguous about one general ruling: It is unanimously agreed by the scholars of Islam that abortion without a valid excuse after the soul has entered the fetus is prohibited entirely. The question then becomes, when exactly does the soul enter the fetus? Is it when there is a heartbeat? Is it related to simple timing? Most scholars rely on the timing factor because connecting a soul to a heartbeat itself is a question of opinion.

Web MD

The timing then is also a matter of ikhtilaf, or scholarly difference of opinion:

One Hundred and Twenty Days:

The majority of the traditional scholars, including the four madhahib, are united upon the view that the soul certainly is within the fetus after 120 days of pregnancy, or after the first trimester.

This view is shaped by  the following hadith narrated by Abdullah bin Masood raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him):

قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: إن أحدكم يجمع خلقه في بطن أمه أربعين يوما ثم يكون في ذلك علقة مثل ذلك ثم يكون في ذلك مضغة مثل ذلك ثم يرسل الملك فينفخ فيه الروح..

“For every one of you, the components of his creation are gathered together in the mother’s womb for a period of forty days. Then he will remain for two more periods of the same length, after which the angel is sent and insufflates the spirit into him.”

Forty Days:

The exception to the above is that some scholars believe that the soul enters the fetus earlier, that is after the formation phase, which is around the 40 days mark of pregnancy.

This view is based on another hadith narrated by Abdullah bin Masood raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him):

قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: إذا مر بالنطفة إثنتان وأربعون ليلة بعث الله إليها ملكاً، فصوره، وخلق سمعها وبصرها وجلدها ولحمها وعظمها…

“If a drop of semen spent in the womb forty-two nights, Allah sends an angel to it who depicts it and creates its ears, eyes, skin, flesh and bones.”

Between the two views, the more widespread and popular opinion is the former, which is that the soul enters the fetus at the 120 days (or 4 months) mark, as the second hadith implies the end of the formation period of the fetus rather than the soul entering it.

Even if one accepts that the soul enters the fetus at a certain timing mark, it does not mean that the soul-less fetus can be aborted at any time or for any reason. Here again, like most matters of Islamic jurisprudence, there is ikhtilaf of scholarly difference of opinion.

No Excuse Required:

The Hanafi madhhab is the most lenient, allowing abortion during the first trimester, even without an excuse.

Some of the later scholars from the Hanafi school consider it makruh or disliked if done without a valid reason, but the majority ruled it as allowed.

Only Under Extreme Risks:

The Malikis are the most strict in this matter; they do not allow abortion even if it is done in the first month of pregnancy unless there is an extreme risk to the mother’s health.

Other Views:

As for the Shafi’i and Hanbali schools of thought, there are multiple opinions within the schools themselves, some allowing abortion, some only allowing it in the presence of a valid excuse.

Valid excuses differ from scholar to scholar, but with a strong and clear reason, permissibility becomes more lenient. Such cases include forced pregnancy (caused by rape), reasons of health and other pressing reasons.

For example, consider a rape victim who becomes pregnant. There is hardly a more compelling reason (other than the health of the mother) where abortion should be permitted. A child born as a result in such circumstances will certainly be a reminder of pain and discomfort to the mother. Every time the woman sees this child, she will be reminded of the trauma of rape that she underwent, a trauma that is generally unmatched for a woman. Leaving aside the mother, the child himself or herself will lead a life of suffering and potentially neglect. He or she may be blamed for being born– certainly unjust but possible with his or her mother’s mindset. The woman may transfer her pain to the child, psychologically or physically because he or she is a reminder of her trauma. One of the principles of Sharia is to ward off the greater of two evils. One can certainly argue that in such a case where both mother and child are at risk of trauma and more injustice, then abortion may indeed be the lesser of the two.

The only case even more pressing than rape would be when a woman’s physical health is at risk due to the pregnancy. Where the risk is clear and sufficiently severe (that is can lead to some permanent serious health damage or even death) if the fetus remained in her uterus, then it is unanimously agreed that abortion is allowed no matter what the stage of pregnancy. This is because of the Islamic principle that necessities allow prohibitions. In this case, the necessity to save the life of the mother allows abortion, which may be otherwise prohibited.

This is the mercy of Sharia, as opposed to the popular culture image about it.

Furthermore, the principle of preventing the greater of two harms applies in this case, as the mother’s life is definite and secure, while the fetus’ is not.

Absolutely Unacceptable Reason for Abortion:

Another area of unanimous agreement is that abortion cannot be undertaken due to fear of poverty. The reason for this is that this mindset collides with having faith and trust in Allah. Allah reminds us in the Quran:

((وَلَا تَقْتُلُوا أَوْلَادَكُمْ خَشْيَةَ إِمْلَاقٍ ۖ نَّحْنُ نَرْزُقُهُمْ وَإِيَّاكُمْ ۚ إِنَّ قَتْلَهُمْ كَانَ خِطْئًا كَبِيرًا))

“And do not kill your children for fear of poverty, We provide for them and for you. Indeed, their killing is ever a great sin.” (Al-Israa, 31)

Ignorance is not an excuse, but it is an acceptable excuse when it comes to mocking Islam in today’s world. Islam is a balanced religion and aims to draw ease for its adherents. Most rulings concerning fiqh are not completely cut out black and white. Rather, Islamic rulings are reasonable and consider all possible factors and circumstances, and in many cases vary from person to person.

Abortion is not a simple option of being pro-life or pro-choice. These terms have become political tools rather than sensitive choices for women who ultimately suffer the consequences either way.

Life means a lot more than just having a heartbeat. Islam completely recognizes this. Thus, Islamic rulings pertaing to abortion are detailed and varied.

As a proud Muslim, I want my fellow Muslims to be confident of their religion particularly over sensitive issues such as abortion and women’s rights to choose for themselves keeping the Creator of Life in focus at all times.

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#Current Affairs

Sri Lankan Muslims To Fast In Solidarity With Fellow Christians

Raashid Riza

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On Sunday morning Sri Lankan Christians went to their local churches for Easter services, as they have done for centuries. Easter is a special occasion for Christian families in ethnically diverse Sri Lanka. A time for families to gather to worship in their churches, and then to enjoy their festivities. Many went to their local church on Sunday morning to be followed by a traditional family breakfast at home or a local restaurant.

It would have been like any other Easter Sunday for prominent mother-daughter television duo, Shanthaa Mayadunne and Nisanga Mayadunne. Except that it wasn’t.

Nisanga Mayadunne posted a family photograph on Facebook at 8.47 AM with the title “Easter breakfast with family” and had tagged the location, the Shangri-La Hotel in Colombo. Little would she have known that hitting ‘post’ would be among the last things she would do in this earthly abode. Minutes later a bomb exploded at the Shangri-La, killing her and her mother.

In more than a half a dozen coordinated bomb blasts on Sunday, 360 people have been confirmed dead, with the number expected to most likely rise. Among the dead are children who have lost parents and mothers & fathers whose families will never be together again.

Many could not get past the church service. A friend remembers the service is usually so long that the men sometimes go outside to get some fresh air, with women and children remaining inside – painting a vivid and harrowing picture of the children who may have been within the hall.

Perpetrators of these heinous crimes against their own faith, and against humanity have been identified as radicalised Muslim youth, claiming to be part of a hitherto little-known organisation. Community leaders claim with much pain of how authorities were alerted years ago to the criminal intent of these specific youth.

Mainstream Muslims have in fact been at the forefront not just locally, but also internationally in the fight against extremism within Muslim communities. This is why Sri Lankan Muslims are especially shaken by what has taken place when men who have stolen their identity commit acts of terror in their name. Sri Lankan Muslims and Catholics have not been in conflict in the past, adding to a palimpsest of reasons that make this attack all the more puzzling to experts. Many here are bewildered as to what strategic objective these terrorists sought to achieve.

Sri Lankan Muslims Take Lead

Sri Lankan Muslims, a numerical minority, though a well-integrated native community in Sri Lanka’s colourful social fabric, seek to take lead in helping to alleviate the suffering currently plaguing our nation.

Promoting love alone will not foster good sustainable communal relationships – unless it is accompanied by tangible systemic interventions that address communal trigger points that could contribute to ethnic or religious tensions. Terror in all its forms must be tackled in due measure by law enforcement authorities.

However, showing love, empathy and kindness is as good a starting point in a national crisis as any.

Sri Lankan Muslims have called to fast tomorrow (Thursday) in solidarity with their fellow Christian and non-Christian friends who have died or are undergoing unbearable pain, trauma, and suffering.  Terror at its heart seeks to divide, to create phases of grief that ferments to anger, and for this anger to unleash cycles of violence that usurps the lives of innocent men, women, and children. Instead of letting terror take its course, Sri Lankans are aspiring to come together, to not let terror have its way.

Together with my fellow Sri Lankan Muslims, I will be fasting tomorrow from dawn to dusk. I will be foregoing any food and drink during this period.

It occurs to many of us that it is unconscientious to have regular days on these painful days when we know of so many other Sri Lankans who have had their lives obliterated by the despicable atrocities committed by terrorists last Sunday. Fasting is a special act of worship done by Muslims, it is a time and state in which prayers are answered. It is a state in which it is incumbent upon us to be more charitable, with our time, warmth and whatever we could share.

I will be fasting and praying tomorrow, to ease the pain and suffering of those affected.

I will be praying for a peaceful Sri Lanka, where our children – all our children, of all faiths – can walk the streets without fear and have the freedom to worship in peace.

I will be fasting tomorrow for my Sri Lanka. I urge you to do the same.

Had Allah willed, He would have made you one nation [united in religion], but [He intended] to test you in what He has given you; so race to [all that is] good. To Allah is your return all together, and He will [then] inform you concerning that over which you used to differ. Surah Maidah

Raashid Riza is a Sri Lankan Muslim, the Politics & Society Editor of The Platform. He blogs here and tweets on @aufidius.

 

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Are You Prepared for Marriage and Building a Family?

Mona Islam

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High School is that time which is ideal for preparing yourself for the rest of your life. There is so much excitement and opportunity. Youth is a time of energy, growth, health, beauty, and adventure. Along with the thrill of being one of the best times of life, there is a definite lack of life experience. In your youth, you end up depending on your own judgments as well as the advice of others who are further along the path. Your own judgments usually come from your own knowledge, assumptions, likes, and dislikes. No matter how wise, mature, or well-intended a youth is compared to his or her peers, the inherent lack of life experience can also mislead that person to go down a path which is not serving them or their loved ones best. A youth may walk into mistakes without knowing, or get themselves into trouble resulting from naivety.

Salma and Yousef: 

Salma and Yousef had grown up in the same community for many years. They had gone to the same masjid and attended youth group together during high school. After going off to college for a few years, both were back in town and found that they would make good prospects for marriage for each other. Yousef was moving along his career path, and Salma looked forward to her new relationship. Yousef was happy to settle down. The first few months after marriage were hectic: getting a new place, organizing, managing new jobs and extended family. After a few months, they began to wonder when things would settle down and be like the vision they had about married life.

Later with valuable life experience, we come to realize that the ideas we had in our youth about marriage and family are far from what are they are in reality. The things that we thought mattered in high school, may not matter as much, and the things that we took for granted really matter a lot more than we realized. In retrospect, we learn that marriage is not simply a door that we walk through which changes our life, but something that each young Muslim and Muslima should be preparing for individually through observation, introspection, and reflection. In order to prepare for marriage, each person must intend to want to be the best person he or she can be in that role. There is a conscious process that they must put themselves through.

This conscious process should begin in youth. Waiting until marriage to start this process is all too late. We must really start preparing for marriage as a conscious part of our growth, self-development, and character building from a young age. The more prepared we are internally, the better off we will be in the process of marriage. The best analogy would be the stronger the structure and foundation of a building, the better that building will be able to serve its purpose and withstand the environment. Another way to think of this process is like planting a seed. We plant a seed long before the harvest, but the more time, care, and attention, the more beautiful and beneficial the fruits will be.

 

Sarah and Hasan:

Hasan grew up on the East Coast. He had gone to boarding school all through high school, especially since his parents had died in an unfortunate accident. His next of kin was his aunt and uncle, who managed his finances, and cared for him when school was not in session. Hasan was safe and comfortable with his aunt and uncle, but he always felt there was something missing in his life. During his college years, Hasan was introduced to Sarah and eventually they decided to get married.

The first week of his new job, Hasan caught a really bad case of the flu that made it hard for him to get his projects done. Groggy in bed, he sees Sarah appear with a tray of soup and medicine every day until he felt better. Nobody had ever done that for him before. He remembered the “mawaddah and rahmah” that the Quran spoke of.

Knowledge, Skills, and Understanding:

The process of growing into that person who is ready to start a family is that we need to first to be aware of ourselves and be aware of others around us. We have to have knowledge of ourselves and our environment. With time, reflection and life experience, that knowledge activates into understanding and wisdom. This activity the ability to make choices between right and wrong, and predict how our actions will affect others related to us.

Preview:

This series is made up of several parts which make up a unit about preparation for family life. Some of the topics covered include:

  • The Family Unit In Islam
  • Characteristics of an Individual Needed for Family Life
  • The Nuclear Family
  • The Extended Family

Hamza and Tamika

Tamika and Hamza got married six months ago. Tamika was getting her teacher certification in night school and started her first daytime teaching job at the local elementary school. She was shocked at the amount of energy it took to manage second graders. She thought teaching was about writing on a board and reading books to kids, but found out it had a lot more to do with discipline, speaking loudly, and chasing them around. This week she had state testing for the students and her finals at night school. She was not sure how to balance all this with her new home duties. One day feeling despair, she walked in her kitchen and found a surprise. Hamza had prepared a beautiful delicious dinner for them that would last a few days, and the home looked extra clean too. Tamika was pleasantly surprised and remembered the example of our Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him).

The Family Unit in Islam

We always have to start with the beginning. We have to ask, “What is the family unit in Islam?” To answer this we take a step further back, asking, “What is the world-wide definition of family? Is it the same for all people? Of course not. “Family” means a lot of different things to a lot of different people across the world. As Muslims, what family means to us, is affected by culture and values, as well as our own understanding of Islam.

The world-wide definition of family is a group of people who are related to each other through blood or marriage. Beyond this point, is where there are many differences in views. Some people vary on how distantly related to consider a family. In some cultures, family is assumed to be only the nuclear family, consisting of mom dad and kids only. Other cultures assume family includes an extended family. Another large discrepancy lies in defining family roles and responsibilities. Various cultures promote different behavioral norms for different genders or roles in the family. For example, some cultures promote women staying at home in a life of luxury, while others esteem women joining the workforce while raising their kids on the side. Living styles vary too, where some cultures prefer individual family homes, while in other parts of the world extended families live together in large buildings always interacting with each other.

 

Layla and Ibrahim   

Layla and Ibrahim met at summer retreat where spirituality was the focus, and scholars were teaching them all day. Neither of them was seriously considering getting married, but one of the retreat teachers thought they might make a good match. It seemed like a fairytale, and the retreat gave them an extra spiritual high. Layla could not imagine anything going wrong. She was half Italian and half Egyptian, and Ibrahim came from a desi family. Soon after the nikah, Layla moved across the country into Ibrahim’s family home, where his parents, three siblings, and grandmother lived.  Come Ramadan, Layla’s mother-in-law, Ruqayya, was buying her new clothes to wear to the masjid. It was out of love, but Sarah had never worn a shalwar kameez in all her life! Ruqayya Aunty started getting upset when Layla was not as excited about the clothes as she was.

As Eid approached, Layla had just picked a cute dress from the department store that she was looking forward to wearing. Yet again, her mother-in-law had other plans for her.

Layla was getting upset inside. It was the night before Eid and the last thing she wanted to do was fight with her new husband. She did not want that stress, especially because they all lived together. At this point, Layla started looking through her Islamic lecture notes. She wanted to know, was this request from her mother-in-law a part of the culture, or was it part of the religion?

Marriage

The basis of all families, undoubtedly, is the institution of marriage. In the Islamic model, the marriage consists of a husband and a wife. In broad terms, marriage is the commitment of two individuals towards each other and their children to live and work together to meet and support each other’s needs in the way that they see fit. What needs they meet vary as well, from person to person, and family to family. The marriage bond must sustain the weight of fulfilling first their own obligations toward each other. This is the priority. The marriage must also be strong enough to hold the responsibility of raising the kids, and then the extended family.

How are we as Muslims unique and what makes us different from other family models? We are responsible to Allah. The end goals are what makes us different, and the method in which we work. In other family systems, beliefs are different, goals are different, and the motives are different. Methods can especially be different. In the end, it is quite a different system. What makes us better? Not because we say we are better or because we automatically feel better about ourselves due to a misplaced feeling of superiority. But instead it is because we are adhering to the system put in place by the most perfect God, Allah, the Creator and Sustainer of all the worlds, the One Who knows best what it is we need.

Family Roles:

Each person in the family has a role which Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) has meant for them to have, and which ethics and common sense tell us to follow. However, our nafs and ego can easily misguide us to live our family life in the wrong way, which is harmful and keeps us suffering. Suffering can take place in many ways. It can take place in the form of neglect or abuse. In the spectrum of right and wrong, Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) tells us that we are a nation meant for the middle path. So we should not go to any extreme in neglect or abuse.

What are the consequences of mishandling our family roles? Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) calls this type of wrongdoing “transgression” or “oppression”. There are definitely consequences of oppression, abuse, and neglect. There are worldly consequences which we feel in this life, and there are long term consequences in the Akhirah.

Razan and Farhaan

Razan and Farhan had gotten married two years ago. Since they were from different towns, Razan would have to move to Farhaan’s hometown. On top of the change of married life, Razan felt pangs of homesickness and did not know many people in the new town. However, Farhaan did not realize what she was going through. He still had the same friends he grew up with for years. They had a die-hard routine to go to football games on Friday night and play basketball on Saturday at the rec center.

Razan was losing her patience. How could he think it was okay to go out with his friends twice on the weekend? Yet he expected her to keep the home together? Her blood started to boil. What does Islam say about this?

Mawaddah and Rahma

The starting point of a family is a healthy relationship between the husband and wife. Allah SWT prescribed in Surah 25: verse 74, that the marriage relationship is supposed to be built on Mawaddah (compassion) and Rahma (mercy). A loving family environment responds to both the needs of the children and the needs of parents. Good parenting prepares children to become responsible adults.

Aliyaah and Irwan

Aliyaah and Irwan had homeschooled their twin children, Jannah and Omar, for four years. They were cautious about where to admit their children for the next school year. Aliyaah felt that she wanted to homeschool her children for another few years. There were no Islamic Schools in their town. Irwan wanted to let his kids go to public schools. He felt that was nothing wrong with knowing how things in the real world are. However, every conversation they started about this issue ended up into a conflict or fight. This was beginning to affect their relationship.

Parenting

Two significant roles that adults in a family play are that they are married and they are parents. It is important that parents work to preserve and protect their marital relationship since it is really the pillar which supports the parenting role. Parenting is a role which Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) directly addresses in our religion. We will be asked very thoroughly about this most important role which we will all play in our lives.

There is a hadith in which the Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) reminds us,

“All of you are shepherds and responsible for your wards under you care. The imam is the shepherd of his subjects and is responsible for them, and a man is a shepherd of his family and is responsible for them. A woman is the shepherd of her husband’s house and is responsible for it. A servant is the shepherd of his master’s belongings and is responsible for them. A man is the shepherd of his father’s property and is responsible for them”. (Bukhari and Muslim)

Islam has placed a lot of importance on the family unit. A family is the basic building block of Islam. A strong family can facilitate positive social change within itself and the society as a whole. The Quran asserts that human beings are entrusted by their Creator to be his trustees on Earth, thus they need to be trained and prepared for the task of trusteeship (isthiklaf).

Asa youth, it is important to make a concerted effort to develop our family skills so that we grow into that role smoothly. Proper development will prepare a person emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and physically for marriage and family life.

Mona Islam is a youth worker, community builder, motivational speaker, writer, and author. For the past 25 years, Sr. Mona has been on the forefront of her passion both locally and nationally, which is inculcating character development in youth (tarbiyah).  Sr. Mona has extensive knowledge of Islamic sciences through the privilege of studying under many scholars and traveling worldwide.  An educator by profession, she is a published author, completed her masters in Educational Admin and currently doing her doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction. Sr. Mona is married with five children and lives in Houston, TX.

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